Amazon patents countermeasures to safeguard its drones from possible threats and attackers

Amazon completes its first-ever commercial drone delivery in the U.K in just 13 minutes

After Amazon’s successful commercial drone delivery early this month, the company now has been granted a new patent to safeguard its flying drones. The patent named, ‘Countermeasures for threats to an uncrewed autonomous vehicle’ (UAVs) was filed by the company in November, 2014 which was published just last week. It is a 33 page long patent and includes all possible counterattacks and their respective drone-securing measures.

Few of the possible situations include bad weather, crowded sky, a network jamming attack or being struck with a rock, gun or an arrow. These measures also include sensors attached to orient the drone based on the sun’s position in the sky in order to protect from lightning and flash. The patent also states a mesh network to check data sources and  satellite signals for verifying reading the drones are following. If the readings don’t match from all the sources, the drone will go with the majority vote.

A fail-safe module has been designed if the drone gets attacked by a rock, gun or an arrow. As per the patent,

The fail-safe module terminates the navigation to the first computing device, and the fail-safe module directs the UAV towards the ground. In some implementations, the fail-safe module may be configured to direct the UAV to take evasive maneuvers, navigate to a safe landing or parking zone for inspect, and so forth.

Further, the drone would be able to send its location data as an alert in case it gets lost. The drone may also deploy a protective device such as an airbag, foam, parachute, bumper or shift into a mode such as configuring auto-rotation of one or more rotors depending upon the circumstances it faces. Further, Amazon has also developed electronic systems to detect signal jammers and other hacking attacks.

Though Amazon has not yet detailed which of these patented measures it would be using with its drones, the said patents will surely eliminate ill acts, inadvertent system failures and hence result in seamless prime deliveries.

Read more here… 

Comcast adds home internet data cap

Comcast adds home internet data cap

Comcast customers who use a lot of bandwidth will need to start keeping an eye on their data usage.

Starting November 1, Comcast is rolling out a one terabyte data cap in 18 new markets, including Washington. This applies to all home customers, regardless of the speed of your plan.

Customers who go over the data limit will be charged $10 per 50 gigabyte data block (up to $200). Comcast is also offering an unlimited data plan for an additional $50 per month.

Comcast says it  will offer “two courtesy months, so customers will not be charged the first two times they exceed one terabyte while they are getting comfortable with the new plan.”

You will be able to track data usage online and sign up for notifications.

Comcast claims 99-percent of customers use less than 1 TB per month, but it could be an issue for fans of online gaming or 4K streaming.

The data cap is already active in parts of 16 states. On November 1, Comcast will add 18 new markets including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, Minnesota, Texas (Houston), parts of Florida, southeastern Georgia, parts of Michigan and Western Ohio. You can find a full list of markets here.

Here’s what Comcast says you could do with a terabyte of data in a month:

  • Stream between 600 and 700 hours of HD video
  • Play online games for more than 12,000 hours
  • Stream more than 15,000 hours of music
  • Upload or download more than 60,000 hi-res photos

You can learn more about the Comcast changes on its FAQ page.

Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone catches fire on Southwest plane

A second replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device, deemed safe by the company, has caught fire in the US, US media report.

Samsung has been forced to issue new models of the smartphone following complaints of faulty batteries.

A man in Kentucky said he was “scared to death” when he woke to a bedroom full of smoke, local media say.

It comes after another replacement Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines plane on Wednesday.

“The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe,” Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky, told local broadcaster WKYT.

He added that his device was not plugged in when it caught fire at his home on Tuesday.

The BBC’s North America technology reporter Dave Lee says Samsung is now facing a “full-blown crisis”, adding that this latest news raises “serious questions over its obligation to protect the public”.

The Note 7 was subject to a mass recall in September, but Samsung said it had identified and fixed the problem.

Smoke on a plane

On Wednesday a replacement Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines plane due to fly from Louisville, Kentucky, to Baltimore, Maryland.

A Southwest Airlines spokesperson told the BBC: “A customer reported smoke emitting from an electronic device. All customers and crew deplaned safely via the main cabin door.”

The plane was evacuated before take-off and Samsung said it was investigating the incident.

“We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause,” the company said in a statement.

“Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”

Last month the company assured customers that the fixed devices were safe.

How to Avoid Making a Horrible Speech That Everyone Will Hate

The only thing worse than sitting through a boring or obnoxious speech is being the poor soul who just gave it.

Whether it’s wedding toasts or the too-early start of the 2016 election season, every time you turn around somebody is standing up to share a few remarks.

Some are brilliant and inspiring. Others, not so much.

I know a bit about how to give a great speech–and probably more importantly, how to avoid giving a really bad one. I’ve had a side business as a professional ghostwriter for years, and I also run a network that connects other freelance ghostwriters with paying clients. While I’ve written more articles and books than I could possibly count, it’s the speeches–everything from eulogies and father-of-the-bride speeches to professional presentations–that can be most daunting.

I think this is because speeches are a multifaceted form of communication, most often given in real time, and that means there are simply more ways to screw thing up. So, in the interest of improving your next audience’s experience, here are 10 key steps that you absolutely must take to avoid a crowd full of groaners and yawners–or worse.

1. Understand the occasion.

Too basic? Please. We all have a story about the wedding toast that was completely inappropriate, or the professional address that got way too personal, or the supposedly friendly speech that turned into a complete bummer. Understanding the occasion and getting the tone right are crucial. People mess this up all the time, and yet it’s so easy. Think about your audience. What are they expecting to hear?

2. Take the time to prepare.

Whether you have a month’s notice or just a minute, it is your responsibility to prepare. It can be simply three main points you’ve jotted on a napkin, but remember that there are only a very few, rare people who can give an off-the-cuff speech with no preparation. (I saw Bill Clinton do it once. It was impressive, but he’s the exception. It’s also a big part of why he was president.)

3. Structure is your friend.

Make me listen to a horrible speech, and I bet I’ll tell you afterward that it lacked structure. Think of it this way–if the audience doesn’t know where the speaker is going and how long he or she is going to take to get there, they’re less likely to be on the his or her side.. We’ve all sat through these kind of long, boring diatribes. At the very least, even if you get everything else on this list wrong, at least respect your audience enough to let them know how long the torture is going to last.

4. Sing, don’t just speak.

You don’t have to rhyme your words or look up what iambic pentameter means, but remember to write prose with a dash of poetry. Here are two simple tips to make it easy. First, boil the theme of your speech down to a simple phrase, and repeat it at well-spaced intervals (classic example: “I have a dream…“). Second, remember that the human brain is hardwired to respond better to three-item lists. I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet that’s why in his classic 2005 speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs mapped out his speech and told his audience he planned to share three stories.

5. Get the logistics right.

Basic stuff: Don’t read your speech verbatim, but have your notes with you. Project your voice–and if that isn’t going to work, make sure you’ve got a working microphone or plan to speak from the center of the crowd. If you’re physically short, stand on top of something. And at the risk of being crass, look in the mirror. Make sure your hair isn’t standing on end and you don’t have any boogers hanging out of your nose. Don’t let practical things that have nothing to do with your speech ruin everything.

6. Make it shorter.

Fewer words, fewer minutes, fewer points. If you were to read this column as a speech, it would probably take you about six minutes. Any longer, and your audience would probably revolt. (I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve worked on speeches and thought, “You know, this really needs to be longer.”)

7. Use props, literally.

Don’t over-rely on them, but use them as tools to “prop” up your speech (hence, “literally”). Also, if you absolutely have to use PowerPoint–you probably don’t, but if you really do have to–the fewer words on each slide, the better. Oh, and plan for the worst. Assume the projector will break, or your computer will freak out. What’s your backup plan?

8. Strive for connections.

Even though you’re doing most of the talking, a good speech is ideally a multi-way communication between you and multiple audience members. That’s actually a pretty high standard, but aim for it, and when things are going wrong, fall back on it. Focus at least on finding one or two friendly faces in the crowd, and engage them–whether it’s through simple nonverbal communication, questions, or something else.

9. Own your emotions.

I can’t tell you whether you should start with a joke, mainly because I have no idea whether you’re funny. However, I can tell you that in almost every speech, you’re better off sharing some kind of human emotion. Even just briefly (but authentically!) sharing how proud or sad or flat-out nervous you are to be making the speech can help you connect. (When in doubt here however, the key word is “briefly.”)

10. Pretend you’re on an airplane. Know where the exits are.

Even when you’ve prepared perfectly, sometimes a speech just doesn’t go well. Sometimes you run out of time (maybe it’s not even your fault), and sometimes you just plain lose the audience. So, prepare for it, by building escape hatches into your remarks. Know how you can cut them on the fly without seeming like you just quit in the middle. I guarantee you that at least once in your speaking career, both you and your audience will be glad you did.

 

 

 

By Bill Murphy Jr.

Connecticut Website Designers

Executive editor, TheMid.com, and founder, ProGhostwriters.com

Apple car could drive company to $1 trillion valuation

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Apple Inc.’s experimentation with car technology could help push the company’s valuation past $1 trillion within the next 12 months from nearly $750 billion today, according to the new bull-case price target set Monday by Morgan Stanley.

The brokerage raised its 12-month stock price target on Apple AAPL, -0.07%  to $160, from $133 previously, and established a $190 bull-case scenario, up from $160. Morgan Stanley’s previous bull case didn’t take into account the car opportunity.

Apple’s expanding ecosystem, including the Apple Watch and CarPlay, have created a “virtuous cycle” that could quadruple Apple’s total addressable market by 2020, said Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, whose price target puts her among the most bullish Apple analysts on Wall Street.

‘We are convinced that Apple will have a significant presence in the auto industry in the coming years.’

Morgan Stanley

While Apple hasn’t confirmed plans to develop its own car, reports have suggested that it is hiring auto experts, including former Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA, +2.06%  employees, and has established a top-secret team to invest in car technologies.

The company’s iOS-based CarPlay, which brings iPhone features to the touch screen control panel on a vehicle’s dashboard, rolled out in several car models this year, and Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas said it would be natural for Apple to expand beyond infotainment to the rest of the interior, particularly if driverless-car technologies begin to be more integrated within new vehicles.

“Cars could become the fourth screen, after PCs/tablets, smartphones and TVs,” Huberty said.

Apple declined to comment on what it called “rumor and speculation.”

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In a report last week, Jonas said he would not be dismissive of Apple’s automotive ambitions, calling the potential opportunity too large to ignore.

The brokerage’s calculations put the total automotive addressable market at $10 trillion, with the annual revenue potential on new vehicles amounting to roughly $1.6 trillion, compared with the current global smartphone market of $400 billion. Jonas’s argument is that if Apple were to corner just 25% of the value of the car, its revenue potential would equate to that of the entire smartphone industry today.

Shares of Apple traded up 0.2% to $128.71 in recent trade. They are up more than 71% over the past year.

Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.

The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.

“The competition certainly needs to be taken seriously,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “The closer we get to autonomous driving, the weaker the connection becomes between the customer and the car. And Google and Apple aren’t burdened with old technology but can start fresh.”

Barriers Falling

Tesla Motors Inc.’s success in creating a startup car company has also shown that the traditional barriers of entry into the auto industry aren’t as difficult to overcome as some thought. Tesla and General Motors Co. are both targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.

At the same time, automakers have struggled to bring technical leaps to car development, something that Silicon Valley is also seeking to accomplish. For example, Google Inc. has invested in developing an autonomous vehicle since 2010.

“It’s exactly what this industry needed: a disruptive interloper,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. “It’s a good thing but when you are one of the guys whose life is being disrupted then you are not necessarily looking forward to the event.”

German Plan

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing party is seeking to help German carmakers and technology companies better compete with Silicon Valley. Merkel’s bloc is working on legislation to advance the move toward driverless cars, according to a policy paper provided by two lawmakers who asked not to be identified because the draft isn’t public. The goal is to present a plan before the Frankfurt auto show in September.

“We never underestimate any competition,” said Ian Robertson, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales chief. “The entry barriers, which were in the past maybe more substantial, are now slightly lower. But at the same time, the complexities of the car industry are still there as well.”

An experienced automaker typically spends five-to-seven years developing a new vehicle from scratch, with just the testing phase needed to get regulatory approval often taking three years. Analysts estimate for a company from outside the industry to build a car could take a decade.

Apple Funding

Apple, which posted record profit of $18 billion during the past quarter, in any case has the funds to do it. The Cupertino, California-based company has $178 billion in cash and CEO Tim Cook has been pushing the iPhone maker to enter new market segments to further envelop users’ digital lives with Apple’s products and services.

“The traditional thinking in the automotive industry isn’t suited to exploit the opportunities in the Internet community,” Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of engineering, said in an interview. “If you need committees and so on to make decisions, then you’ve lost before you started.”

Apple’s foray into cars follows a path it’s taken to break into other industries. The company wasn’t the first to make a digital-music player or smartphone, and only entered those markets once it had a compelling product. Google says it’s seeking partners to help realize co-founder Sergey Brin’s vision of safer and more efficient mobility.

And while car manufacturers see Google and Apple as potential competitors, they also view them as partners to advance their own technology. A number of automakers last year signed on for Google’s Open Automotive Alliance to bring the Android operating platform to cars.

“The key element is to make sure that when we’re working with them — and we’re totally open to work with any of them — it’s a real win-win,” said Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Corp.’s European chief. “The carmakers don’t want just to become a kind of commodity, where somebody will only deliver an empty box and somebody will put in the box something which will be the real added value.”

 

Original article can be found here:

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/apple-car-seen-as-serious-competitor-by-auto-executives

Apple Car Coming Soon

Mooted Apple electric car is expected to be released by the end of the decade

Speculation regarding a possible Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Car has been accelerating, and to exacerbate this process the website carwow has produced a digital impression of this mooted vehicle. And considering the well-documented links between Apple and Tesla, it should not come as a huge surprise that this particular impression of the Apple Car very much resembles a Tesla vehicle.

Apple-Tesla links

Apple has previously been associated with Tesla for several reasons. Firstly, it was reported last year that the consumer electronics giant could be in buyout talks with the electric car manufacturer. Apple has invariably denied this, but links between the two corporations continue.

 

It has also been asserted that Apple is intending some sort of collaboration all linked-up with Tesla, with the intention of strongly pushing its software as a car-based solution. But the strongest indication that Apple is planning to manufacture an electric car has been with regard to the revolving door between the two companies. Although, it must be said that this door is primarily revolving one way.

Rumors about a possible Apple electric car were stimulated by the fact that Apple has recruited numerous notable individuals who previously worked for Tesla. Not to be outdone, it was reported by Bloomberg Business in February that Tesla had also been recruiting employees from Apple. Tesla has hired at least 150 former Apple employees; more than from any other company.

Producing an electric car would also seem to make sense for Apple in some respects. There is certainly scepticism that Apple has the production capabilities to produce an electric vehicle, and there will also be issues for the company with regard to some of the logistics of vehicle manufacturing.

Apple Car

 

Apple Car logical

But Apple has always attempted to push its green credentials, and it obviously has many of the capabilities and much of the experience required to manufacture something which is at least partly electronic in nature. And somehow an electric vehicle just seems to fit the Apple remit and image. There is something inherently Apple-like about an electric car, quite aside from the fact that the consumer electronics giant is already very strongly placed to produce software for vehicles.

Apple’s Tesla-like vehicle

Thus, the carwow impression of a possible Apple Car is certainly not baseless. Already the media has dubbed the potential Apple electric vehicle as the iCar, but whether this would seriously turn out to be the name of an Apple Car is dubious. Apple has moved away from naming all of its products as iDevices with the release of the Apple Watch, and it seems an unlikely prospect for Apple to call its proposed vehicle iCar.

Nonetheless, according to this hypothetical design, the links between Apple and Tesla are about to intensify. It is notable that the Apple Car could take strong cues from the Tesla Model S, which would seem to be logical considering that Tesla is by far the most successful manufacturer of electric cars in the history of the niche.

 

Other technical specifications involved in the vehicle include a futuristic looking interior, featuring an iPhone dock on the center console, large navigation displays, and a separate screen for the front passenger. Clearly this is precisely the sort of design which one would associate with Apple, and it seems inevitable that any Apple Car would be one very much focused on multimedia.

 

Apple Car challenges

One cannot underestimate the massive undertaking involved in producing a motor vehicle from scratch. Apple has absolutely no experience in this whatsoever, and simply producing a roadworthy car is a huge challenge. Once this has been achieved, convincing the notoriously harsh and demanding motoring press that you have produced a genuinely high-quality vehicle that people will actually want to drive will be no easy task. And Apple cannot call upon the usual cachet which is the foundation of its success in consumer electronics; if anything people will be sceptical about the haughty claims of this newcomer to the auto trade.

So with this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that the technical specifications proposed for the so-called Apple iCar are somewhat modest. Carwow claims that the top of the range Apple vehicle would benefit from 250 BHP Billiton plc (NYSE:BBL) (LON:BLT) (186 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) output while the battery pack would last for up to 310 miles (499 km). It also believes that a recharge of an electric car produced by Apple would take around four hours.

Apple Car

Apple Car by 2020

Although Apple will remain resolutely quiet about the prospect of an electric car for many years, as is its general conduct, analysts believe that we can expect such a vehicle by the end of the decade. Having said that, the number of delays which Tesla has experienced with regard to some of its vehicles, and the general trend of release dates of motor vehicles being pushed backwards, suggest that this should be very much viewed as a tentative suggestion.

Another interesting aspect of a possible Apple Car is the idea that it will feature some form of autonomous driving technology. This is becoming increasingly feasible with modern technology, and indeed numerous vehicles already feature driving assists, with apps available to expand this process still further. By the end of the decade, and even some way into the next decade, by which time Apple is expected to have released this proposed vehicle, such autonomous technology will have advanced even further.

In the meantime, Apple is also strongly pushing its CarPlay feature. As in all areas that Apple becomes involved in, there is already a battleground between Apple and an Android competitor, Android Auto. Many analysts believe that Apple’s interest in the electric car niche is at least partly motivated by its intention to dominate it with its own proprietary software.

And the company has certainly been making progress with this plan, with current Apple CEO Tim Cook suggesting during a media event recently that the Apple CarPlay infotainment system will become available on 40 new car models before the end of the year.

Apple clearly has designs on the car market by hook or by crook, and it could be that many of us will be driving around in an Apple ‘iCar’ before too much longer.

 

See the original article here:

 

Apple Car Resembles Tesla Vehicle In These Concept Images

126 million will ship in 2019

 

IDC attributes the rapid growth to a combination of new vendors, new devices, and greater end-user awareness.

“Smart wearables,” that is, wearables capable of running apps will fuel the growth of the space. These devices include the Apple Watch, Motorola’s 360 smartwatch, and the Samsung Gear watches.

Such smart wearables sold about 4.2 million of such smart wearables sold in 2014, but IDC expects that number to rocket up to 25.7 million units this year. Dumber wearables, like basic fitness trackers that don’t run apps, IDC says, will grow from sales of 15.4 million units in 2014 to 20 million units in 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.32.02 AM

“Smart wearables are about to take a major step forward with the launch of the Apple Watch this year,” said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas. “The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general and there are many vendors and devices that are eager to share the spotlight.

“Basic wearables, meanwhile, will not disappear,” Llamas says. “In fact, we anticipate continued growth here as many segments of the market seek out simple, single-use wearable devices.”

Google-Owned Traffic App Will Tap Into GPS Technology to Bring You Amber Alerts

When a child is missing, one second could mean everything.

The Waze traffic app, owned by Google, announced Tuesday that it would begin redistributing AMBER alerts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The app is a way for drivers to determine the fastest route to where they are going by relying on crowdsourced reports to “outsmart traffic.”

Image source: Waze

Waze scans the national AMBER alert system every 10 minutes to determine if there is an active missing child alert in the area where the user is located. If there is, the driver in the respective area will see a specially designated icon on the map.

 

When a child is missing, one second could mean everything.

The Waze traffic app, owned by Google, announced Tuesday that it would begin redistributing AMBER alerts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The app is a way for drivers to determine the fastest route to where they are going by relying on crowdsourced reports to “outsmart traffic.”
Image source: Waze

Image source: Waze

Waze scans the national AMBER alert system every 10 minutes to determine if there is an active missing child alert in the area where the user is located. If there is, the driver in the respective area will see a specially designated icon on the map.

But the message will only appear after the car has been stopped for at least 10 seconds in order to keep drivers from becoming distracted and it will disappear if and when the vehicle starts moving again. Further, users of the app will see the same alert only once a week.

The blog post in which Waze announced the new feature says it will use all of the information that is available on missing children, such as the model, make and license plate of a vehicle believed to be transporting them. A separate screen will give users the option of seeing “more information,” such as the child’s age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight and a brief description.
Image source: Waze

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 6.15.07 PMAccording to the NCMEC, the AMBER alert system is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and the wireless industry to send widespread, urgent messages to assist in the search for and rescue of children involved in the most serious abduction cases.

As of the time this article was published, AMBER alerts had helped to recover 734 missing children since it was introduced in 1996. It’s named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted while riding her bike in Arlington, Texas, and later found murdered.

According to AMBERalert.gov, notifications are already automatically sent to millions of cellphones using the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.

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