The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, February 3
- 03 February, 2015 23:53
Google showed off its prototype self-driving car on Tuesday in a video and blog post. It wants to build about 100 vehicles and start a pilot program in California
Uber teams with CMU on its own self-driving car tech
Ride-hailing app company Uber Technologies has big plans: it has teamed with U.S. engineering powerhouse Carnegie Mellon University on plans to open a research center that will develop self-driving cars. The Uber Advanced Technologies Center, near the CMU campus, will do work primarily on mapping, vehicle safety and "autonomy technology," Uber said. Such a move may put it squarely in competition with Google, which coincidentally on Monday was reported to be working on its own ride-hailing service, but sources dismissed the significance of that development and said a company engineer was simply working out ideas for improving car-pooling among employees.
Microsoft may pull the plug on Windows RT
The operating system that Microsoft developed to run on systems using ARM processors may be retired: the Nokia Lumia 2520, the last tablet running Windows RT, will no longer be manufactured, Dutch publication PCM confirmed on Monday. The first tablets with Windows RT shipped in 2012, but PC makers including Dell, Asustek Computer, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics have abandoned devices with the OS, and Microsoft last year cancelled plans to launch a small-screen tablet with Windows 8.1 RT.
U.S. FCC ramping up broadband, net neutrality actions
The U.S. agency regulating communications is following through on directions laid out by President Obama that are meant to expand access to broadband and limit the power of large providers to throttle bandwidth allocations by content provider. The Federal Communications Commission will vote late this month on whether to overturn two state laws limiting deployment of broadband networks funded by local governments -- setting up what is almost certain to be a court case pitting states' rights against federal powers. And on Thursday, Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to propose reclassifying high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, along with net neutrality rules that would prevent paid fast lanes and would cover fixed and mobile networks.
$14 billion in cybersecurity spending proposed
With hacking concerns higher than they have ever been, the proposed U.S. federal budget released Monday is asking $14 billion for cybersecurity spending, Reuters reports. The money would go to beef up security on government networks, an intrusion detection and prevention system, and training in testing and incident response.
Samsung Galaxy S6 could be curvy
Smartphone watchers are expecting the Samsung Galaxy S6 to bow at Mobile World Congress next month, and the artwork on the invitation to a press event for March 1 has some speculating that the new flagship device will share some design features with the Galaxy Note Edge, namely, its curves. There are also rumors that Samsung will follow the trend of using more metal on the device.
Users warned about yet another critical Flash Player vulnerability
For the third time in a month, users of Adobe Systems' near-ubiquitous Flash Player have been told that it has an unpatched vulnerability that hackers are exploiting to infect computers with malware. Adobe is planning to release updates to address the flaw later this week, but in the meantime there are reports that drive-by-download attacks are targeting systems running Flash Player under Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox on Windows 8.1 and below.
Google's search share dips while Yahoo's blips up
Yahoo's deal with Mozilla to get the position of default search engine on the Firefox browser has provided a boost to its anemic position in the U.S. search market. According to StatCounter, Google's U.S. usage share slipped by four-tenths of a percentage point last month to end with 74.8 percent, the first time it has fallen below the 75 percent mark since the tracking began about 6 years ago, while Yahoo's share in the U.S. climbed by half a point to 10.9 percent. Yahoo's gains were entirely the result of its larger increase among Firefox users, StatCounter said.
Rocket launches never get old. Here's NASA sending up a satellite this past weekend.
One last thing
Most of us have happily taken up the opportunity provided by Yelp and other online services to rate our experiences with restaurants, hotels and shops. But the tables are turning: How does it feel, and what does it mean, when consumers are rated by service providers? The New York Times digs in.