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Techlife News #397

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Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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52 期号


regulators give phone companies new tools to fight robocalls

Federal regulators voted Thursday to give phone companies the right to block unwanted calls without getting customers’ permission first. The Federal Communications Commission’s move could make call-blocking widespread and help consumers dodge annoying robocalls. The agency expects phone companies to offer these tools for free, but it doesn’t require them to. Consumers can also “opt out” and ask their company not to block anything. As the robocall problem has grown, Congress is taking steps, too. But political gridlock could derail bills aimed at beefing up enforcement and forcing phone companies to do more. The companies have been slow to act against such automated calls on their own. And even if companies do implement better technology, scammers and telemarketers will somehow get through in this never-ending arms race. “We get things working really well. We’re flagging…

google’s challenge to game consoles to kick off in november

Google will start its Stadia streaming service to challenge the video game industry in November — but initially only as part of a $130 bundle that includes hardware and a pass for a friend. Google announced the game service in March with few details. On Thursday, Google said it will start advance sales for the limited “Founder’s Edition” bundles right away, though it isn’t saying how many are available. Google won’t offer stand-alone subscriptions, for $10 a month, until next year. Stadia is Google’s attempt to make traditional video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation obsolete. Games are stored online, and players can pick up where they left off on traditional computers with Google’s Chrome browsers and Chromebooks running Chrome OS. Players can also use Google’s Pixel phones, but not…

google to acquire data firm looker for $2.6 billion

Google is acquiring data analytics firm Looker for $2.6 billion cash in an effort to expand its Google Cloud business. The company says Looker will give its cloud-computing customers more ways to use their data. The companies were already working together and share about 350 customers including Buzzfeed, Hearst and Yahoo! The deal is expected to close later this year. Cloud computing involves companies using remote servers to house their data rather than storing things locally. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are some of the biggest players in the increasingly competitive market. The acquisition is Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s first major move since he came aboard from software maker Oracle in November 2018.…

amazon says drones will be making deliveries in ‘months’

Amazon said that it plans to use self-piloted drones to deliver packages to shoppers’ home in the coming months. The online shopping giant did not give exact timing or say where the drones will be making deliveries. Amazon said its new drones use computer vision and machine learning to detect and avoid people or clotheslines in backyards when landing. “From paragliders to power lines to a corgi in the backyard, the brain of the drone has safety covered,” said Jeff Wilke, who oversees Amazon’s retail business. Wilke said the drones are fully electric, can fly up to 15 miles (24 kilometers), deliver in 30 minutes and carry goods that weigh up to 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms), like a paperback or toothpaste. Amazon has been working on drone delivery for years. Back in December 2013,…

nj transit rolls out bus fare scanners on select routes

New technology is greeting passengers on select New Jersey Transit bus routes. Passengers will use a new onboard ticket validation system which scans barcodes on NJ Transit paper and mobile tickets. Passengers can scan the barcode on paper or mobile tickets or passes when boarding. Executive director Kevin Corbett says it sets the stage for the future use of new fare cards and opens the door for contactless payments through credit and debit cards. The pilot program is available on NJ Transit bus route numbers 871, 872, 873, 874, 875 and 880, which operate out of the Morris Garage.…

better camera technology game-changer for triple crown races

Without high-tech cameras and updated monitors, TV viewers would not have been able to see Justify win the 2018 Preakness. At least not nearly as clearly as they did. When the fog descended on Pimlico Race Course, everyone was blinded to the track. But NBC Sports’ use of the “BatCam” and high-definition monitors in the broadcast booth for the first time allowed announcer Larry Collmus to call the race - providing viewers accurate play-by-play - despite not being able to see the horses. Much of the same technology will be utilized again at the Belmont on Saturday. In fact, it could be used at all Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races to ensure fans at home can see the race sometimes better than those at the racetrack. “They put you in the best…