14 things you need to know in tech for Thursday, Feb. 14


Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Happy Valentine’s Day, too!)

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1. Apple asks out Hollywood for streaming service launch

Following yesterday’s news that Apple plans to launch its new News subscription on March 25, it’s now reported that Apple will also launch a subscription streaming video service at the same event.

  • The follow-up is that Apple is said to be inviting the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and director JJ Abrams to this event. (Bloomberg)
  • Why? It’s expected we’ll see the launch of Apple’s own Netflix/Amazon Prime Video rival.
  • The service will “include TV shows and movies either acquired or funded by Apple,” said Bloomberg. Remember Oprah is part of Apple, now!
  • Plus there’s also other partner content from other studios, although it isn’t clear how many or which companies are signed on.
  • Significantly, CNBC reports Netflix won’t take part, while HBO is in doubt.
  • Some movie and TV content – such as Carpool Karaoke, which is already free – will reportedly still be free via Apple’s new app, with a paid subscription tier for additional premium content.
  • Apple will take a reported 30% cut – not screwing studios as hard as it is newspapers and publishers, for whatever reason.
  • The big question: will Apple have enough goodies stashed away to get people to pay? Also, how will its current iTunes offering be impacted? And will this just make people resort to piracy again, rather than pay for four different services just to watch whatever they want? (TechDirt)

2. Farewell Opportunity 😥

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's shadow

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity’s shadow (Credit: JPL/NASA)

Yesterday was the day NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars died (NASA), after 5498 days (15 years) and 228,771 images sent back to Earth.

  • Poor Opportunity had been very likely dead since June 10, 2018, the last time NASA heard from the little rover that could.
  • A dust storm in May last year appears to have coated the solar panels of the Opportunity rover, denying it the chance to recharge and keep sending back data from Mars.
  • But late yesterday was the last time NASA tried to reach the little rover that could.
  • NASA tried to contact Opportunity 1,000 times before yesterday’s final attempt. The team was hoping strong winds might blow accumulated dust off the solar panels, but had no such luck.
  • “I declare the Opportunity mission as complete,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen at a briefing on the rover.
  • Even since passing its expected 90-day expiry date, NASA has been keeping it going with sticky tape and bubblegum from afar.
  • In 2005 alone, Opportunity lost steering to one of its front wheels, a stuck heater threatened to severely limit the rover’s available power, and a Martian sand ripple almost trapped it for good.
  • In 2007, a two-month long dust storm imperiled the rover before it escaped.
  • In 2015, Opportunity lost the use of its 256-megabyte flash memory.In 2017, it lost steering to its other front wheel.
  • I’m pretty sad about this, but NASA’s new rover, InSight, is busily taking Mars temperature (NASA).
  • (Maybe one day, Elon Musk can go and clean her solar panels, and fire her up again?)

3. Expect Google to release a budget Pixel cheaper than the iPhone XR, new Watch, updated Google Home, Nest Cam, and more, all this year (Android Authority).

4. LG G8 ThinQ to pack OLED screen that can be used as an amplifier (AA).

5. Waymo’s self-driving cars need humans to intervene every 11,018 miles. Next best is GM Cruise, at 5,205-miles. Apple’s self-driving cars need humans to intervene every 1.1 miles. Baffling, confusingly bad, if Californian DMV data, which comes from self-reported data, is anywhere close to accurate (Bloomberg). How can Apple be this far behind? Check the data yourself at the Californian DMV.

6. The secret history of women in coding: From Ada Lovelace to today (NYTimes Magazine)

7.  The Verge is issuing copyright claims against other YouTubers who called them out on their (very bizarre) build a $2,000 PC video (YouTube).

8. Also on The Verge: “YouTube’s copyright strikes have become a tool for extortion”. Published three days ago. Awkward. (I tweeted to them to ask them if the copyright claim is true.)

9. Netflix has saved every choice you’ve ever made in ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’. At the time, some people speculated that Bandersnatch was largely a data-harvesting operation. (Motherboard). A good result from GDPR here.

10.  ‘Tetris 99’ is a new battle royale Tetris game out on Nintendo Switch… and I really want to play? (CNET) (I shared this with some friends and one claimed to hold both the first and second high score records in the Tetris game loaded on an Emirates Airbus that flew between Glasgow and Dubai. He swears it wasn’t just the record for that route, but for the plane across all sectors it has ever flown. Feel free to write in with your Tetris records, with proof or not.)

11. Also, have you ever had Tetris dreams? It’s a real thing! (Wikipedia)

12. After a brief rebellion, the EU link tax and upload filter will move to a final vote (The Verge).

13. “You are offered $1,000,000 USD if you can hide a pair of car keys from the entirety of the FBI force for 7 days. Where do you hide the keys?” (r/askreddit).

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via Android Authority

February 14, 2019 at 04:51AM