Waymo Asks NHTSA To Fix Self-Driving Barriers; Disney Sells Yes Net; Facebook Mines AI in Minecraft; Microsoft-Back to Desktop for ConvertablesPosted: August 30, 2019
Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet has urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to “promptly” remove regulatory barriers for cars without steering wheels and brake pedals.
Automakers must currently meet nearly 75 auto safety standards for self-driving cars, many of them written under the assumption that a licensed driver is in command of the vehicle using traditional controls. NHTSA has been grappling for more than three years with how to address those requirements. General Motors, Lyft, and Honda also filed separate comments asking the agency to clear these barriers to self-driving cars.
Disney has announced it has sold its stake in the YES Network to an investor group including Amazon.
The investor group, which also includes the Yankees and Sinclair Broadcast Group, acquired the 80% stake of the YES Network that was not already held by the Yankees. Disney agreed to sell the 22 regional sports networks (RSNs) owned by 21st Century Fox as a condition of Disney’s acquisition of the company. The total enterprise value of the deal was $3.47 billion, according to CNBC. The YES Network, which airs Yankees games as well as other local sports and specialty content, was among the RSNs the Department of Justice required Disney to sell.
Facebook is hoping it can train an AI assistant to understand a broad range of human commands with a little help from one of the biggest games in the world — Minecraft. According to businessinsider.com, a group of Facebook researchers published a paper in July explaining why they think Minecraft is the perfect place for an AI to learn about human communication. The key lies in the fact that Minecraft is what’s known as a “sandbox” game, where players can roam around with relatively free rein as to what they want to do or build, while also following a set of relatively simple rules. The researchers hope that the natural curiosity of Minecraft players will give the AI plenty of humans to practice with.
Minecraft has 91 million monthly active users, so the potential pool of humans who could help train the AI is pretty vast.
Microsoft is planning to redesign the tablet experience for Windows 10. The software giant has started testing a new design for 2-in-1 convertible PCs that will keep the user interface more similar to the existing desktop design. Currently, Windows 10 throws you into a more tablet-optimized UI that removes task bar icons and puts the Start menu full-screen when a device automatically switches into “tablet mode.” Microsoft is now walking back some of those changes, while keeping some touch-optimized elements for 2-in-1 PCs. Theverge.com says in the new tablet experience, the desktop will remain in full view, with the task bar icons visible and increased spacing between them.
Personalized Yelp; Opendoor Goes For Mortgages; Apple Letting Indies Fix iPhones; Better Battery Tech ComingPosted: August 29, 2019
Yelp announced that it will start allowing users to tailor their search results and homepage based on their personal preferences. According to techcrunch.com, that means if you’re vegetarian, or if you’re parent who’s usually looking for kid-friendly restaurants, you won’t have to reenter that information every time you do a search. Instead, you can enter it once and Yelp will prioritize those results moving forward. Just select the “Personalize your experience” option, then choose options around dietary restrictions, lifestyle, accessibility needs, the types of food they prefer and other interests. Once you’ve made your selections, those preferences will start affecting the search results you see in your browser.
Opendoor, the well-funded San Francisco online real estate marketplace that buys and sells homes, is getting into mortgages, intensifying competition with Seattle rivals Zillow and Redfin. Geekwire.com reports the company is starting with six markets: Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix and Tucson. One of Opendoor’s major selling points is that it will cut the time to secure financing in half. If Opendoor fails to close a loan by the scheduled date, it will credit $100 back to the buyer for every day of delay. Opendoor is now buying and selling more than 3,500 homes per month in 20 markets across the U.S. The company aims to get to 50 markets by the end of 2020.
Apple is launching a new independent repair provider program that will provide independent repair businesses with the same Apple genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Authorized Service Providers, starting in the United States. Reuters says the program will only allow independent repair shops to offer out-of-warranty repair service for iPhones, with no mention of in-warranty repairs or other devices at this time. Apple has set up a new page on its website with more details. To qualify, repair shops must be an established business with verification documents available for review by Apple, must be in a commercially zoned area, and must have an Apple-certified technician on staff to perform the out-of-warranty iPhone repairs when using genuine parts. There is no cost to join the program.
For a couple of years now, scientists have touted lithium metal batteries as the next major breakthrough in battery technology. Engadget.com says they can store at least 33 percent more power per pound, and they’re significantly lighter. The problem with lithium metal batteries is that they frequently develop small, tendril-like protrusions called dendrites. Over time, they can puncture the protective film that separates the positive and negative ends of the battery, leading to fires. A team of researchers at Stanford thinks they’ve solved that problem. This battery tech would be a game-changer for electric vehicles (EVs). EVs spend about a quarter of their battery capacity carrying around their power source. The range of EVs would increase significantly with these batteries.
Microsoft Surface Event October 2; Yelp-Personalize Your Home Page; New Coating = Lighter Lithium Metal Batteries; K-Swiss CEO Shoe CollectionPosted: August 28, 2019
Microsoft will hold a special Surface hardware event in New York City October 2nd. Theverge.com reports it could serve as the first unveiling of Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface device. Redmond has been building a new dual-screen device, codenamed “Centaurus,” for over two years. It’s designed to be the hero device for a wave of new dual-screen tablet / laptop hybrids that should roll out in 2020.
Yelp announced that it will start allowing users to tailor their search results and homepage based on their personal preferences. According to techcrunch.com, that means if you’re vegetarian, or if you’re parent who’s usually looking for kid-friendly restaurants, you won’t have to reenter that information every time you do a search. Instead, you can enter it once and Yelp will prioritize those results moving forward.
Just select the “Personalize your experience” option, then choose options around dietary restrictions (whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and so on), their lifestyle (whether they’re parents, car owners or pet owners), their accessibility needs (wheelchair access, gender neutral bathrooms), the types of food they prefer and other interests (like bookstores or date nights).
Once you’ve made your selections, those preferences will start affecting the search results you see.your browser.