Daily Tech Headlines – June 29, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – June 29, 2016
Number 15
Broadcast Date JUNE 29, 2016
Episode Length 10:07
Hosts Tom Merritt

Sony starts using robots, Windows 10 gets a release date and Facebook explains the news feed.


That blog post listing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update as releasing August 2 is back and this time it's not a mistake. However when it arrives it will not have the messaging everywhere feature that was tested in the preview edition. Instead Microsoft says it will deliver an experience that's even better through the Skype app. Microsoft ended Skype Integration in Windows Mobile messaging in April.
Facebook published a document explaining changes to how things show up in its news feed. The post by VP, Product Management, News Feed Adam Mosseri emphasizes that user interest and friends and family are priorities over publisher and advertiser needs. After friends and family, Facebook tries to prioritize items that inform and entertain, based on behavior such as likes and clicks. Facebook also encourages users to use the “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” options on News Feed options to help the algorithm improve. Facebook does expect the changes may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages.
Amazon announced today that they will begin offering Prime members discounted unlocked smartphones, with pre-installed Amazon apps and lockscreen ads. Similar to what Amazon does with its Kindle with Special Offers, this is the first time Amazon will subsidize a device not sold with their branding. The first two devices will be the Moto G for $150 and the BLU R1 HD for $50. The ads will appear both on the lock screen as well as below lock screen notifications, although these can be swiped away. Amazon did not announce a release date.
UStream will no longer be an option for streaming gameplay from the PlayStation 4 after August 1st. UStream broadcasts will no longer be viewable in Live from PlayStation either. Sony will continue to support Twitch, YouTube and DailyMotion.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai told investors at the company's corporate strategy meeting in Tokyo that it started a robot division in April focused on providing "emotionally compelling experiences." Hirai also expects the PLayStation VR which launches in October to lead a future area of growth. Sony's image sensor business has begun to decline along with the slowing of the smartphone market, though dual-lens cameras may help slow the slide. Sony revised its financial targets for fiscal 2017 up fro gaming and down for mobile, semiconductors and imaging.
Google's Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy says they found vulnerabilities in 25 Symantec products including Norton Antivirus. Some of the vulnerabilities could be triggered by emailing a file with no user interaction required. Symantec has published fixes for all the vulnerabilities. Ormandy chided Symantec for allowing its unpacker to have kernel access and using 7-year-old code in need of updates in its decomposer library.
Venturebeat reports that the DoNotPay bot, created to challenge traffic tickets, will expand to Seattle this fall. Bot creator Joshua Browder claims that the bot has successfully challenged 160,000 out of 250,000 tickets in London since launching last year and more than 9,000 times by New Yorkers since its launch there in March. Browder also revealed he's working on similar bots to help refugees apply for asylum, help individials with HIV understand their legal rights, and collect compensation for delayed flights.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit, Sandvig v. Lynch, Wednesday against the US Attorney General asking the court to declare that a section of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violates the First and Fifth Amendments. The section in question makes it illegal to "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains information from any protected computer." Researchers want to use bots and fake profiles to study racial discrimination in online advertising for housing and employment. Doing so offline would be legal, but doing so online may violate terms of service and thus potentially run afoul of the broad CFAA language.
Uber will now use information gathered from drivers phones to send a weekly score card, speeding alerts and reminders to take breaks. The Uber app for drivers will use the gyrometer, accelerometer and GPS to collect data. Uber has been experimenting with looking at the data to confirm complaints about aggressive driving. Monthly reports sent to drivers in some markets resulted in a 10% reduction in harsh braking. The features will roll out in 11 cities across India and the US.
Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica reports that Qualcomm worked with Google's Project Tango team for the last 18 months to optimize performance on its Snapdragon chips. Previous Project Tango developer phones used a Movidius computer visions chip as a co-processor for the additional computer power required for the AR overlay. However, Qualcomm uses the digital signal processor (DSP) to offload some of Project Tango's computing overhead, resulting in Tango requiring less than 10% additional CPU resources to run. This allows Project Tango to run on a mid-tier SoC, such as the Snapdragon 652 found on the first consumer Tango device, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto told investors the company did not display the Nintendo NX console at E3 because it is concerned about copycats. The NX is expected to arrive in March. Myamoto also said Nintendo has the core technology for VR bu wants to release, "something that can be played for long periods, carries value, and is affordable." Engadget notes that in a slide presentation, Nintendo said it is shifting focus from expanding the gaming population to increasing exposure of Nintendo's characters and game titles.
The WiFi Alliance announced an update to its certification program requiring devices to support wider channel bandwidth, an additional spatial stream and something called MU-MIMO which means a router can send data to four devices at the same time. The WiFI alliance formalizes which features of the standard are required. It does not set the actual WiFi standard and products do not need to get certified to go on sale. But it is supported by most major device makers.
LG Innotek has developed a flexible textile pressure sensor. Current pressure sensors are inflexible. The new sensor can detect pressure across its entire exterior not just at specific points. It could be used in shoes to detect movement and balance, in a golf club to detect grip and in car seats to detect posture and weight and automatically adapt the height of the seat and adjust the pressure of an airbag. The sensors work from 40°C degrees below zero to 80°C above for more than 240 hours at a time and can be sat on by a 70-kg person 100,000 times. It will be a couple years before commercial availability.
UploadVR.com reports Twitter has hired former Apple interface designer Alessandro Sabatelli as Director of VR and AR. His LinkedIN profile says his job is to empower “us all in the spatial computing revolution.” Stable most recently worked for IXOMOXI on using VR and AR to enhance visual experiences. Its app Lucy gives filtered views of the world in Gear VR. He worked on contextual and location based user interfaces while at Apple. It’s reasonable to expect this could tie in with Twitter’s recent acquisition of Magic Pony which is now Twitter’s Cortex division for machine learning including visual experience. This all could help Periscope with 360-degree video.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – June 28, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – June 29, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – June 30, 2016"