GM Starts Mass Producing Self-Driving Electric Cars; Firefox Gets Multiprocess Update (Finally); Amazon Patents Delivery Drone with Winch

It’s likely that the Tesla Model S can be fully self-driving with software activation, but isn’t yet. Meanwhile, they aren’t asleep at the switch at General Motors. GM has cranked out 130 electric Bolts on a production line. according to engadget.com, the General had already built 50 self-driving Bolt EVs, but this latest batch is fully mass produced, and more advanced than the hand finished models. The future really is coming at warp speed.

Mozilla has finally released Firefox with multiprocess architecture, 8 years after starting the project. Arstechnica.com says, without getting into the weeds, the net is that it’s faster and more stable, and despite multiprocess platforms hogging more memory, they were able to build it so it is quicker and uses less RAM than Google’s Chrome. It’ probably worth giving a spin if you’re not already a Firefox user.

Amazon has patented a couple of interesting things for drones. Geekwire.com reports that one is a winch setup that can lower packages to the ground on a tether. It has a counterbalance to keep the package from swaying wildly on its way to your porch or other delivery spot. Another patent is for folding wings, that fold in half, but then extend themselves for flight. Amazon had previously experimented with dropping packages with a small parachute.


Apple May Switch iPhone to USB-C; Mozilla Buys Pocket

In something of an unusual move for them, Apple may ditch their proprietary Lightening port for USB-C on upcoming iPhones. Arstechnica.com says that since the switch to USB-C on the MacBook Pro, it makes sense, as then Apple devices could settle on an industry standard in all their devices that can do all the Lightening port can do and more. Apple has used Lightening for some 5 years. Get ready to buy yet more dongles and converters!

Theverge.com reports that Mozilla has bought Pocket, a sort of DVR for the internet. Pocket saves articles and videos for viewing and reading later. It’s something of a Back to the Future moment, since Pocket first bowed as a Firefox extension. It has already been Firefox’s default read later service for a couple years. This should help Mozilla grab more eyeballs on mobile, where they have lagged as desktop use has been declining.


Firefox May Come to Internet of Things; First Ransomware on Macs

Mozilla bowed out with its Firefox OS for mobile the end of the year, but now, may be positioning the platform for the Internet of Things. Techcrunch.com says we could soon have a ‘personal user agent’ that understands your preferences for all the connected devices in your home. One TechCrunch staffer remarked that it was reminiscent of the personal assistant Samantha from the movie ‘Her,’ or even a light version of IBM’s Watson. Mozilla thinks that its Project Smart Home will fill the gap between do it yourselfers and tightly controlled IOT setups using Apple HomeKit. It would be cool to tell your IOT assistant ‘please turn the lights off upstairs,’ or turn the heat up a couple degrees!

Over the weekend, the first ransomeware showed up on Macs. It’s been around for a while on PCs, but Reuters.com says researchers at Palo Alto Networks first spotted the malware late Friday. Ransomware, one of the fastest-growing types of cyber threats, encrypts data on infected machines, then typically asks users to pay ransoms in hard-to-trace digital currencies to get an electronic key so they can get their data back. This ransomware has been dubbed KeRanger, and it first showed up on the Transmission website. Transmission offers open source software that some Mac users use to download videos, music, etc via BitTorrent peer-to-peer. Transmission has since released version 2.91 of their software, and advises to stay away from 2.90, which was infected.


Firefox Exploit Found in Wild…Patch it Now!

On Wednesday, an ad was spotted on a Russian news site for a nasty exploit in Firefox that uploads sensitive files. Yesterday, Mozilla pushed out a security update to close it off. If you run Firefox, go to the ‘about Firefox’ tab, download the update, and restart. It’s version 39.0.3. Interestingly, Mozilla says Firefox for Android is not effected, and some ad-blocking software acts to protect machines, but if you are running Windows or Linux, download the patch now!

Speaking of security, that brings up your privacy. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just dropped Privacy Badger 1.0, their browser extension that blocks some of the sneakiest trackers that try to spy on your Web browsing habits. The EFF notes that more than a quarter million users…including yours truly….have already installed the Alpha or Beta releases of Privacy Badger. Version 1.0 includes blocking of certain kinds of super-cookies and browser fingerprinting—the latest ways that some parts of the online tracking industry try to follow Internet users from site to site.


Trade In Your Old Surface for a Surface Pro 3

Because everybody likes a deal, Microsoft is offering trade in credit on the Surface Pro 3. Cnet.com says you can get up to $650 in credit for your old Surface tablet on a 3, but only at Microsoft’s online site and from now until March 8th.

That OTHER tablet now has Inbox by Gmail. According to thenextweb.com, Google has released its invite only mail app for the iPad now. It works with Safari and Firefox, as well as Chrome. If you do have an invite, it’s available at the App Store now.

IF triple T has released a flurry of ‘DO’ apps for Android and iPhone. Gigaom.com says they just give you a big, simple button to do something when you’re ready…send pics to your family, turn on your connected thermostat, or send a document to Evernote with one press instead of a series of clicks and swipes.


Firefox Scores a ‘Forget’ Button On Its Anniversary

For their 10th anniversary, the open Firefox browser has added a ‘Forget’ button. Thenextweb.com says it will clear your history, cookies, etc. for the past 5 minutes, 2 hours or 24 hours. This is in addition to private mode.

Kidizen-a mobile startup to sell your used kids clothes, toys, and the like- is expanding 50% month to month. Unlike similar sites such as ThreadUP, tech crunch.com reports sellers keep 90% of the selling price. That might beat a yard sale or craigslist hands down.

Moving into mid priced smartphones more, Samsung is dropping a cool 3 billion to build a second factory in Vietnam. 9to5google.com says cheaper wages and tax breaks sealed the deal.