Uber Fires Former Google Engineer at Heart of Self-Driving Dispute

Uber has long denied the accusations. But when Mr. Levandowski was ordered by a federal judge to hand over evidence and testimony to that end, he asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, seeking to avoid possible criminal charges, according to his lawyers. Uber has been unable to convince Mr. Levandowski to cooperate.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/30/technology/uber-anthony-levandowski.html?_r=1

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Apple hints you should wait to buy that MacBook Pro

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

If you needed a clue that Apple might be launching new Macs at WWDC, you just got it. Typical free shipping times for 15-inch MacBook Pro orders have slipped from same day to 3-5 business days in many countries, pushing deliveries to June 6th or later – conveniently, a day after the WWDC keynote. There aren’t any delays for the 13-inch model as of this writing, but it’s not clear whether that’s due to more bountiful supply or a lack of planned updates.

If the rumors are accurate, there won’t be any major external changes. This would be the classic speed bump with new processors (Intel’s 7th-generation Core chips) and other possible under-the-hood improvements, which isn’t surprising when the current design isn’t even a year old. While you’re unlikely to see a dramatic leap in performance, this could lead to longer battery life and better integrated graphics performance (mainly useful for 13-inch models). You could also see the MacBook Pro support up to 32GB of RAM, addressing a pain point for pros who struggle with the current 16GB limit.

I guess we’ll see at WWDC if we get a new MacBook or not…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/30/apple-macbook-pro-delays-hint-at-new-models/

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Apple Pay and Patents

A small Boston company, founded by the inventor of a popular corporate encryption technology called RSA SecurID, sued Apple and Visa on Sunday, arguing that the Apple Pay digital payment technology violates its patents.

The lawsuit, filed by Universal Secure Registry in Federal District Court in Delaware, says that its chief executive, Kenneth P. Weiss, received 13 patents for authentication systems that use a smartphone, biometric identification such as a fingerprint and the generation of secure one-time tokens to conduct financial transactions.

In the suit and in an interview, Mr. Weiss said he had extensive meetings in 2010 with Visa officials, including its chief executive at the time, to discuss working together on the technology. In the interview, he said that Visa had signed a 10-year nondisclosure agreement to gain access to the technology, assigned engineers to fully understand the details, but then dropped further communication without securing a license.

Mr. Weiss said he also wrote to Apple at the same time seeking to license his technology, but the iPhone maker never responded to his inquiries.

Three years later, Visa began work on the Apple Pay technology with Apple, MasterCard and American Express. Apple released Apple Pay to iPhone users in 2014.

Although Apple has heavily promoted Apple Pay as an alternative to paying with a credit card at retail stores, in apps and on websites, it has not gained much traction with consumers or merchants. Users enroll a credit card on their phone, then touch a finger to the iPhone’s Touch ID sensor to pay a merchant that has installed a wireless terminal that can receive a signal from the phone.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/21/technology/apple-pay-patent-lawsuit.html?_r=0

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Apple is testing a glucose tracker for the Apple Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been wearing a prototype glucose tracker that pairs with the Apple Watch, according to a report from CNBC. The revelation adds weight to a previous report from CNBC, which said last month that Apple has hired a team of biomechanical engineers to develop a noninvasive device to monitor the blood sugar levels of people with diabetes.

Citing unnamed sources, CNBC reports that Apple’s Palo Alto-based team has already begun feasibility tests with the tracker, which connects to the Apple Watch. Glucose trackers currently on the market use sensors that penetrate the skin. Cook told students at the University of Glasgow in February that he had been wearing a glucose tracker, and that it helped him understand the impact of different foods on his blood sugar levels.

“It’s mentally anguishing to stick yourself many times a day to check your blood sugar,” Cook said, according to CNBC. “There is lots of hope out there that if someone has constant knowledge of what they’re eating, they can instantly know what causes the response… and that they can adjust well before they become diabetic.”

More than 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes, according to recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among those who have the disease, one in four are unaware of their condition, according to the CDC.

Being a diabetic who has to check his sugars multiple times a day and inject insulin, having some method of checking sugar levels without poking my fingers each time would be fantastic.

It’s also a feature I wondered if the apple watch could do somehow back in the beginning so if we’re finally getting that then I’m happy.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/19/15662316/apple-watch-glucose-tracker-tim-cook

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The Case of Panics Stolen Source Code

Steven Frank:

Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer.

In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned.

Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps

Before I continue, three important points:

  • There’s no indication any customer information was obtained by the attacker.
  • Furthermore, there’s no indication Panic Sync data was accessed.
  • Finally, our web server was not compromised.

Source: https://panic.com/blog/stolen-source-code/

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Apple to discontinue iPad mini

First introduced in 2012, Apple’s iPad mini was a welcome alternative to the much larger, thicker, and heavier 9.7-inch iPad. There was no 5.5-inch iPhone Plus, so the iPad mini made a great choice for light reading and effortless web browsing, email, and gaming. The market doesn’t stand still, however, and we’re now looking at a redesigned iPad Pro to be launched this summer that should offer everything the current 9.7-inch iPad features, but in a smaller footprint with a larger 10.5-inch display.

On the other side, there’s the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which is large enough to negate the need for a tablet for many users. The device you take everywhere, that’s always with you, that has the best camera, and that has everything else you need. The device that you already own. Therein lies the problem, and that’s why we have heard from a source close to Apple that the iPad mini is being phased out.

Source: https://bgr.com/2017/05/16/ipad-mini-ipad-pro-10-5-inch-wwdc/

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Microsoft’s president on the WannaCrypt attacks

Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer for Microsoft on the WannaCrypt attacks:

Early Friday morning the world experienced the year’s latest cyberattack.

Starting first in the United Kingdom and Spain, the malicious “WannaCrypt” software quickly spread globally, blocking customers from their data unless they paid a ransom using Bitcoin. The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA, in the United States. That theft was publicly reported earlier this year. A month prior, on March 14, Microsoft had released a security update to patch this vulnerability and protect our customers. While this protected newer Windows systems and computers that had enabled Windows Update to apply this latest update, many computers remained unpatched globally. As a result, hospitals, businesses, governments, and computers at homes were affected.

All of this provides the broadest example yet of so-called “ransomware,” which is only one type of cyberattack. Unfortunately, consumers and business leaders have become familiar with terms like “zero day” and “phishing” that are part of the broad array of tools used to attack individuals and infrastructure. We take every single cyberattack on a Windows system seriously, and we’ve been working around the clock since Friday to help all our customers who have been affected by this incident. This included a decision to take additional steps to assist users with older systems that are no longer supported. Clearly, responding to this attack and helping those affected needs to be our most immediate priority.

At the same time, it’s already apparent that there will be broader and important lessons from the “WannaCrypt” attack we’ll need to consider to avoid these types of attacks in the future. I see three areas where this event provides an opportunity for Microsoft and the industry to improve.

As a technology company, we at Microsoft have the first responsibility to address these issues. We increasingly are among the first responders to attacks on the internet. We have more than 3,500 security engineers at the company, and we’re working comprehensively to address cybersecurity threats. This includes new security functionality across our entire software platform, including constant updates to our Advanced Threat Protection service to detect and disrupt new cyberattacks. In this instance, this included the development and release of the patch in March, a prompt update on Friday to Windows Defender to detect the WannaCrypt attack, and work by our customer support personnel to help customers afflicted by the attack.

Source: https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2017/05/14/need-urgent-collective-action-keep-people-safe-online-lessons-last-weeks-cyberattack/#sm.004axasq1299f9k104d21r8ybr3l6

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Amazon’s Video app may be finally coming to Apple TV this summer

Amazon and Apple may have reached a truce.

The tech giants, who are increasingly competing for customers’ time, eyeballs and money, are close to an agreement to bring an Amazon video app to Apple’s Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the two companies.

Amazon employees expect the app to show up on Apple’s hardware in the third quarter of the year.

That move would allow Amazon Prime Video subscribers to easily watch TV shows and movies from the service using Apple TV.

For the past few years, Amazon subscribers have only been able to watch their shows on Apple TV using Apple’s comparatively cumbersome Airplay system, which involves connecting another Apple product, like an iPhone, to an Apple TV using a Wi-Fi connection.

We don’t know whether the agreement between the two companies means that they have also settled other disputes involving their rival video ambitions.

Amazon, for instance, stopped selling Apple TV boxes on its online store in the fall of 2015. And while an Amazon video app exists for Apple iOS devices, it’s a crippled version of the app, one that doesn’t allow users to buy or rent individual programs without visiting Amazon first.

Reps from Apple and Amazon declined to comment.

Amazon Prime works for all other iOS devices except the Apple TV, and it’s always been annoying.

Hopefully these two companies have finally settled their differences as the reverse would be Amazon pulling the app from all Apple app stores.

Source: https://www.recode.net/2017/5/5/15552954/amazon-video-apple-tv-app-jeff-bezos-tim-cook

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Amazon Alexa and Solar Panels

Terence Eden, on trying to get his Amazon Echo to respond to a custom query:

I kinda thought that Amazon would hear “solar panels” and work out the rest of the query using fancy neural network magic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The developer has to manually code every single possible permutation of the phrase that they expect to hear.

This isn’t AI. Voice interfaces are the command line. But you don’t get tab-to-complete.

Amazon allow you to test your code by typing rather than speaking. I spent a frustrating 10 minutes trying to work out why my example code didn’t work. Want to know why? I was typing “favourite” rather than the American spelling. Big Data my shiny metal arse.

Source: https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2017/05/amazon-alexa-and-solar-panels/

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Matt Gemmell on damages to software values

Matt Gemmell:

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn’t have done the same thing — they would have. It’s just that Apple was the successful one.

It’s resolutely the fault of us as consumers, and it’s actively encouraged by the App Store.

I’m not sure it’s entirely only Apple that gets the blame for this though, as Google Play isn’t much better, nor are any other app stores.

Source: http://mattgemmell.com/damage/

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