Americans Ready for Tougher Privacy Rules on Big Tech

According to a national survey of 2,500 adults in the US at least 83% of those surveyed want tighter rules on companies like Facebook that have their personal data. Also, the same percentage of those surveyed think companies that have their information should be legally responsible in the event there’s a breach. One other item of note is the fact that 55% of those surveyed believe there is political bias and censorship alive and well on Facebook. There are lots of other survey results and I recommend you read about them and make up your own mind.



It wasn’t all bad for the technology sector. Sixty-three percent of Americans perceive technology to be a “good force”, with 68% perceiving it to have a “positive impact on the world”. However, when they were asked about specific companies, none received majority approval for being “good for democracy”.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Americans Ready for Tougher Privacy Rules on Big Tech

AT&T Getting Ready to Offer Skinny TV Streaming Package for $15

During his recent testimony in the AT&t/Time Warner antitrust trial, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson mentions a new skinny streaming TV option without sports is going to be offered for $15 a month. Wireless customers will get the best deal….free. Even though AT&T already offers a $35 per month service with DirecTV Now it appears they feel the need to tap into the low cost market and give everyone something for a pretty low price. Seeing is believing they say and once it’s out I’ll believe it.



Called AT&T Watch, it would ditch sports to keep the price low, and be available for free to the company’s wireless subscribers. There’s no word on exactly what channels would be included but it’s apparently going to launch in the next few weeks. At that price it would be cheaper than AT&T’s lowest-price DirecTV Now package ($35 for 60+ channels) and Sling TV’s cheapest lineup ($20 for 25+ channels).

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – AT&T Getting Ready to Offer Skinny TV Streaming Package for

Elon's Tunnel Under Los Angeles May Get Fast Tracked

Los Angeles is looking at putting the 2.7-mile tunnel Elon Musk is going to bore onto the fast track. The plan is to exempt the construction from the California Environmental Quality Act and shave a few years off of the project. Also, early in March Musk tweeted the priority of the project would be on providing for pedestrians and cyclists before working on auto transportation. Boondoggle or legitimate use of tax dollars?



“Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met. It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first,” Musk tweeted in early March. “Boring Co urban loop system would have 1000’s of small stations the size of a single parking space that take you very close to your destination & blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city, rather than a small number of big stations like a subway.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Elon’s Tunnel Under Los Angeles May Get Fast Tracked

Meet Apple's New Recycling Robot

Apple has replaced their old recycling robot with a new one called Daisy. Daisy has the capability of disassembling 200 iPhones and hour. During the process Daisy also sorts all of the parts and puts those aside that have valuable materials that can be recycled. If you think about this it’s a really good process for Apple and the environment. The more minerals that are recycled means less mining overall has to get these minerals in the first place (in theory). Also, this means less harmful scrap is sent to third world countries to pollute their environment. Check out the robot below.



Apple’s newest disassembly robot, Daisy, is the most efficient way to reclaim more of the valuable materials stored in iPhone. Created through years of R&D, Daisy incorporates revolutionary technology based on Apple’s learnings from Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Meet Apple’s New Recycling Robot

Chinese AI Helps Breed 6 Billion Roaches

AI is without a doubt one of the most exciting (and scary) fields of study in the world today. The Chinese have heavily invested in the technology and are using AI in many ways, but their use of AI to help breed cockroaches (Warning auto play video) has got to be one of the most awful. The roaches are grown for some kind of “healing potion” that supposedly cures things like stomachache. In order to get the billions of roaches they need the AI ensures an optimal growth environment and helps those nasty bugs live and breed and breed and breed. I wonder what Skynet would use all of these roaches for?



The giant facility is managed with the help of a “smart manufacturing” system powered by AI algorithms. The system is responsible for collecting and analysing over 80 categories of data to ensure an optimal environment for the cockroaches to grow, according to the SCMP. These include factors such as humidity, temperature, food supply and consumption, as well as changes like genetic mutations. The system also “learns” from its historical data so it can make improvements to grow the population.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Chinese AI Helps Breed 6 Billion Roaches

Create Your Own Alexa Skills at Home With Alexa Blueprints

Amazon has released their ‘Alexa Blueprints’ to the public that will enable anyone to create their own Alexa skills at home. Amazon claims you don’t need to know code or anything like that to utilize the Blueprints. All you have to do is go to blueprints.amazon.com and get started with one of their templates. Since I have a couple of Dots I think I’ll give this a shot myself.



The templates are designed so you can just fill in the bits and pieces that make them personalized to your needs. You won’t need to go through a series of complicated steps, and no technical knowledge is required. The templates are even pre-filled and work as is, if you just want to try them out before making your own.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Create Your Own Alexa Skills at Home With Alexa Blueprints

NASA About to Begin Lunar Space Station Project

NASA’s lunar “Gateway” project begins early next year (Warning auto play video) when they will award a contract to build power and propulsion elements for the orbital platform. This platform will orbit the moon and will be one of the first steps to putting man on the moon in permanent bases. The components will begin launching towards the moon in 2022 and the platform should be complete and orbiting by 2025. This is definitely one giant leap for mankind.



The Gateway would also further NASA’s goal of another human landing on the moon and will help determine whether water near the surface could be used to manufacture propellant for deep-space missions. The moon’s gravity could also help a spacecraft reduce the blistering speeds used for six-month voyages back-and-forth to Mars, thus facilitating re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – NASA About to Begin Lunar Space Station Project

AT&T Starts 5G Groundwork in More U.S. Cities

AT&T has begun upgrading some of the equipment in an additional 117 cities to get ready for their deployment of 5G wireless. These upgrades don’t bring full 5G speeds to customers, however, they do give some customers up to 400Mbps service if they are using the right phone. I think this is a welcome surprise for those living in the upgraded cities. On one hand you can enjoy those speeds, but on the other hand you can watch your data cap go away much faster. Catch-22.



As of now, supported 5G Evolution devices include Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, S8 Active, S9, S9+, and Note8, LG’s V30, and the Moto Z2 Force Edition. AT&T promises theoretical peak speeds of up to 400Mbps, which is twice as fast as current standard LTE, though around one-third to one-fifth the base speeds expected from initial 5G networks. The enhanced LTE will serve as a higher-speed backbone as 5G rolls out on a market-by-market basis in 2018 and 2019.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – AT&T Starts 5G Groundwork in More U.S. Cities

AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen 2 2700X Zen+ CPU Review

AMD has made a huge push back into the CPU market over the last year with its Ryzen CPUs for the desktop market. The Ryzen started the Thread Wars and Intel has tried to answer. We are reviewing the 2nd generation Ryzen today. Did AMD take an already great CPU and make it better?

Source: [H]ardOCP – AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen 2 2700X Zen+ CPU Review

CoD Black Ops 4 and Battlefield 2018 May Have Battle-Royale Modes

Multiple sources have been reporting on rumors for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Battlefield 2018. Fortunately DSOGaming was kind enough to consolidate them to let us know that CoD:Bo4 and BF2018 may feature battle-royale modes because of course they will, with Battlefield’s battle-royale likely not available at launch and added after release via a free update.

In addition we are reporting that DSOGaming is reporting that Polygon reported that the new CoD may not feature any single-player whatsoever, with Treyarch focusing on the games multiplayer and zombie modes, further increasing the likelihood that I will not be buying it.



It appears that 2018 is the year of battle-royale (which is something we’ve expected after the incredible success of both Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds). And according to the latest rumours, both Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and Battlefield 2018 (codenamed Battlefield V) may feature such a mode.

DIscussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – CoD Black Ops 4 and Battlefield 2018 May Have Battle-Royale Modes

Scott Herkelman Confirms NVIDIA GPP Tactics

Scott Herkelman, Vice President & GM Radeon Gaming at AMD, has been getting a bit higher profile this week. We dropped you a bit of his backstory earlier this week and how AMD is launching a marketing campaign focused directly on NVIDIA’s GPP action. Scott was in London this week working with AMD resellers and he posted something very interesting on Twitter that goes straight to the heart of our article entitled, “GeForce Partner Program Impacts Consumer Choice.” If you have doubts that NVIDIA GPP is real, hear what he has to say:



I wanted to personally thank all of our resellers who are attending our AMD sales event in London this week, it was a pleasure catching up with you and thank you for your support. Many of you told me how our competition tries to use funding and allocation to restrict or block your ability to market and sell Radeon based products in the manner you and your customers desire. I want to let you know that your voices have been heard and that I welcome any others who have encountered similar experiences to reach out to me. Together we can work to ensure that we give gamers what they truly deserve — freedom of choice.

The emphasis above is mine, but if you have a “GPP” story to tell, Scott wants to hear about it from you.

In other news, NVIDIA PR is now telling hardware reviewers and journalists that HardOCP was paid by AMD to tell you about GPP. The GPP “transparency” continues. For the record, AMD did not. And for the record, NVIDIA continues its lies.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Scott Herkelman Confirms NVIDIA GPP Tactics

Amazon Receives Patent for Cryptocurrency Tracking

Amazon just received a patent for a product that tracks cryptocurrency transactions. It’s going to be a subscription service that agencies can use to identify those that use cryptocurrency. Some of the primary targets that Amazon is going after are law enforcement and the IRS. Whether or not this product actually makes it to the market is still up in the air, but I bet it happens since Amazon loves to make money.



Amazon imagines that cops will be potential customers. Identifying Bitcoin users is a major project in global law enforcement, and the National Security Agency was working on it in 2013, documents from whistleblower Ed Snowden showed.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Amazon Receives Patent for Cryptocurrency Tracking

Fake Ad-Blockers Removed From Chrome Store After 20M Users Download Them

Google has removed several fake ad blockers (Warning auto play video) after research firm AdGuard published a blog showing that over 20 million Chrome users had downloaded them over the last year. I have to say that AdGuard did everyone a service by finding this, but the fact that Google didn’t vet these ad blockers well is concerning. I hope some of you [H] readers didn’t fall for any of these fake ad blockers.



The most popular fake ad blocker was AdRemover for Google Chrome, which had over 10 million users, putting a massive botnet of infected browsers at its authors’ disposal.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Fake Ad-Blockers Removed From Chrome Store After 20M Users Download Them

Epic Games is Raking in the Simoleons With Fortnite Mobile

Fortnite has only been out on mobile (iOS) since the first of April and it has already raked in $25 million. The only app in Apple’s store that has done better is Netflix. Estimates are that Fortnite could earn over $500 million this year alone once it is ported to Android. This game is a money making machine and Epic needs to reinvest it into their other PC franchises and bring us some updated Unreal Tournament action or a Gears of War MMO.



Epic Games has yet to divulge when Fortnite will launch on Google Play, but, should that happen by summer—and if the title is able to maintain its current hysteria-level popularity among gamers for a few more months—our estimates indicate the game could be poised to gross more than $500 million by the end of 2018 across both platforms combined.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Epic Games is Raking in the Simoleons With Fortnite Mobile

Revenge of the Nerds

PlayVS is teaming up with the National Federation of State High Schools Associations to bring eSports to high school. This will allow all of the nerds to finally get that sweet letterman jacket and woo all of the hot girls away from those Neanderthal jocks. Before you know it l337 is going to be better than buff. Now go and get your game on, nerds!



Like traditional sports, PlayVS isn’t free. To participate, each student must pay $16 per month — which ends up being cheaper on average than the hundreds to thousands of dollars they pay for each traditional sport every year. For that price, students can participate in two 3-month seasons per academic year, with playoffs in the last month culminating in offline regional and state championships, which PlayVS will pay for. Finally, there will be summer competition to bide players’ time until the first season starts in fall.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Revenge of the Nerds

Poorly Configured AWS S3 Bucket Exposes More Personal Data Once Again

Once again a poorly configured AWS S3 bucket has exposed millions of users personal data. The culprit this time is social network data aggregator LocalBlox and they left their bucket of 48 million records open for anyone to take a look at. The information contained names, addresses, DOB, Twitter handles, and Zillow real estate data. All of this data was linked by IP addresses. Who knows if or when anyone will be notified if their data was exposed?



Poorly configured AWS S3 buckets have been an source of shame for Amazon Web Services and its users. Last year, the cloud platform giant introduced a tool to warn customers about insecure storage setups and earlier this year made the business version of the tool free, to avoid embarrassment by association.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Poorly Configured AWS S3 Bucket Exposes More Personal Data Once Again

Get a Robot if You're Tired of Putting Together IKEA Furniture

A group of researchers have put together a robot that’s pretty good at putting together IKEA furniture. In this case it’s an IKEA chair and they wanted to see if AI could be competitive with humans in this task. After letting the robot take pictures of everything and ensuring an algorithm for planning the motions was in place they let the robot get to it. It put the chair together in about 20 minutes with the human team beating this time by 50 seconds. When you think about it this is actually a good result for early AI and I can’t wait till I have my own AI robot to put things together for me because I hate doing that kind of stuff. Can I haz robot? Watch the robot work below.



Unlike our humans, the chair-building bots were not fully autonomous, as scientists needed to program the sequence of steps they took in advance. But the researchers say that with further advances in artificial intelligence, robots could work this out themselves by communicating with a supervisor—or even by reading the manual.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Get a Robot if You’re Tired of Putting Together IKEA Furniture

Uber Designing Their Own Batteries for Flying Taxi

Uber has their eyes set on the future with their Uber Elevate flying taxi service. They hope to begin deployment of flying taxis by 2023 and plan to transition them to autonomous capability sometime in the future. The taxi is going to be designed and built by others, but they are doing all of the battery work. To make this happen they hired a former Tesla battery engineer and the new batteries will have sufficient power for VTOL with a 60 mile range. To top that off the battery pack will be refreshed in five minutes to help further increase range. Sounds too good to be true if you ask me, however, if they accomplish what they are trying to do it will be an engineering marvel. Good luck, Uber.



This is a departure for Elevate, whose model is to contract with other companies, such as Bell Helicopter and Embraer, to develop the craft that ferry its passengers. While those contractors will still build most of each plane, the battery engineering will come from Uber.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Uber Designing Their Own Batteries for Flying Taxi

Amazon Releases Letter Full of Good News to Shareholders

Amazon seems to be firing on all cylinders lately and their letter to shareholders just reinforces that impression. Prime membership has jumped to 100 million customers and AWS continues to grow at an accelerating rate. Also, the Marketplace is now shipping half of all units sold worldwide. Alexa has become a phenomenon and everyone is jumping on that ship for controlling devices around the home. All of this means that shareholders should be very happy with their investment and the best is probably yet to come.



We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of “study hall.” Not surprisingly, the quality of these memos varies widely. Some have the clarity of angels singing. They are brilliant and thoughtful and set up the meeting for high-quality discussion. Sometimes they come in at the other end of the spectrum.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Amazon Releases Letter Full of Good News to Shareholders

Intel Jumps Into the Smart Glasses Game and Then Exits Quickly

Just a few months ago Intel decided to put their New Devices Group on the development of smart glasses called Vaunt. All seemed right in the world since no one else has really come out with anything worth a darn in the smart glasses market and Intel with their huge bank account might be able to get it right this time. However, in an amazing turn around Intel has dropped the Vaunt smart glasses project like a hot potato. It was nice to meet you Vaunt. RIP.



A few months after their flashy online debut, the Vaunt smart glasses are dead, the chipmaker has confirmed. Some things, it seems, are just too beautiful to live – or receive sufficient investment from their parent company.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Intel Jumps Into the Smart Glasses Game and Then Exits Quickly