TECH BLITZ: Uber Cuts Out Drivers, U.S. Giving Up Internet Control

Izenda Content Strategist

August 24, 2016

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by Bob Pepalis, Izenda Content Strategist

Uber Letting Cars Drive Themselves in Pittsburgh

Would you jump in a Uber car with no driver at the wheel? If you head to Pittsburgh late this month, don't be too surprised if you have to make that decision when you call Uber.

The company announced plans to test semi-autonomous vehicles in that Pennsylvania city in late August. Partially self-driving Volvo XC90 vehicles will be sent to customers at random who use the Uber app.

OK, since these are semi-autonomous Volvos, a real live person will be in the driver's seat monitoring performance. So it's not driver free yet, though if everything works that person essentially will be another passenger. Rumor has it that if you get a ride on one of these almost driverless cars, it will be free.

Why Pittsburgh? Uber has its headquarters there.

U.S. Handing Over Control of Internet Naming

Can ICANN keep doing its job, even without the direct influence of the United States? We'll get to find out soon, as this nation hands over control of the internet's naming system on Oct. 1, 2016.

The Domain Naming System (DNS), sure has made it easier than having to type in IP addresses directly. Since ICANN has handled control of DNS for years, none of us should notice any difference. That is, unless U.S. fears are realized and nations such as China and Russia mess with the system.

I wouldn't worry too much about that, however. ICANN has enough on its plate dealing with what looks like politics on a regular basis, if you examine the key takeaways from its most recent meeting.

Software to the Rescue!

Has that Surface 3 batter drain gotten you down? Microsoft says yes, they can fix it with a software update. Just give them a little time to test it out.

The Redmond-based corporation checked out reports of experiencing problems charging their tablet's batteries. A Microsoft forum moderator confirmed a possible fix.

Microsoft released the Surface 3 in 2014. The Surface 4 became available in 2015. One can suppose the corporation hopes more users buy this latest model that doesn't seem to have this battery problem.

Microsoft 'Powers' up Linux, Mac

Open source software developers might want to say thank you to Microsoft. The corporation open-sourced PowerShell.
Nothing's being ported to Linux by Microsoft. But developers can use PowerShell on Linux and run its scripts on Linux servers - or use Microsoft's own Linux servers through the Azure cloud computing service. SQL Server's coming to Linux, too.

And the Visual Studio code editor got released as an open source project for other platforms, giving Visual Studio a bit of a presence on Linux and Mac.

Did Windows 10 Break Your Webcam?

One of the latest updates to Windows 10 "busted" a bunch of webcams, all because of a compression issue.

Many webcams perform digital compression on the video before it even reaches the computer via USB as a means to lighten the load on the system.

But this has disadvantages. Every app does its own video decoding. Two apps sharing access to streaming video at the same time can interfere with each other. Multiple apps processing live video simultaneously add extra load to the system also.

So Windows 10 won't allow apps to request video streams in compressed out-of-the-camera formats. That "broke" the webcams that always compress those video streams.
Paul Ducklin in his Naked Security blog advises software developers to test early and often. You might need to ask your camera vendor for a workaround. Microsoft may make changes, but you still might need to take action to make them work.

Author's Bio

Izenda's business intelligence platform is purpose-built for independent software vendors and solutions providers and enterprise users. Izenda embeds seamlessly in applications to deliver BI directly to the people who need it most. Our integrated BI platform allows end users to easily analyze, visualize, and share valuable data and insights in real time. More than 10,000 organizations use Izenda's embedded BI and analytics platform on a daily basis. To find out more about Izenda's platform, visit Izenda.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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