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The New York Times reports the US Department of Transportation seeks explicit authority from the US Congress to regulate driving navigation aids, including apps on smartphones. The President’s proposed transportation bill includes a provision to give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the authority to set restrictions on apps and order changes if they are deemed dangerous. Software makers say the rules would be unenforceable and a drag on innovation.
TechCrunch passes along that Amazon announced it now has more than 240,000 apps in the Amazon App store, available in almost 200 countries. As a comparison both Apple and Google have reported around 1.2 million apps in their stores. Amazon touted an IDC study, funded by Amazon, that developers make as much money or more on Kindle Fire than any other platform.
The Next Web reports BlackBerry announced BBM Protected, bringing enhanced messaging security to its enterprise customers. Business users with BlackBerry Device Software 6.0 or newer on BES 5 and some customers with BlackBerry 10 smartphones with gold licenses on BES10 can start using the new feature from today. The extra layer of encryption means BBM Protected users can only send messages to other users of BBM Protected if they want the message protected.
BloombergBusinessWeek has the story of Microsoft introducing a new data analysis service that predicts behavior. The machine learning service lets users build algorithms to predict things like purchasing patterns and electricity usage. Azure Machine Learning can then host the results on the Web through Microsoft Azure’s cloud service. Microsoft believes the service could speed up work for data scientists but also benefit non-mathematicians as well. Microsoft will offer a public preview of the service, which was code-named Project Passau, in July.
Reuters reports a group of companies in the Netherlands hope to have self-driving trucks making deliveries from Rotterdam to other Dutch cities within the next five years. Initial testing would start on computer simulations and the trucks will be tested on a closed track before ultimately driving out on public roads. The proposal is backed by Transport and Logistics Netherlands, DAF Trucks, Rotterdam Port and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.
GigaOm reports The European Commission has revealed an agreement with South Korea to “work towards a global definition of 5G” and share spectrum and standards. The two governments will work together on cloud and Internet-of-things research as well. China’s Huawei, Japan’s NTT Docomo, the U.S.’s Intel are all independently working on 5G.
News From You
spsheridan sent the science alert story about an artificial pancreas controlled by a smartphone to help regulate blood glucose levels. Clinical Trials showed it worked better at regulating glucose levels than fingerstick tests or manually injected insulin. A team from Boston University developed the system which uses a removable sensor inserted under the skin to beam real time glucose levels to a smartphone. The app calculates what’s needed to balance blood sugar and sends a signal to an implanted pump. Patients can even input what they’re eating so the app knows what to expect.
KAPT_Kipper posted the TorrentFreak article that Automattic, proprietors of WordPress are seeking $10,000 plus $14,250 in attorney’s fees for alleged abuse of copyright takedown notices. Oliver Hotham wrote an article on his WordPress blog last November about “Straight Pride Uk.” including a quote from the organization’s press officer, Nick Steiner. Steiner sent a copyright takedown notice to WordPress alleging Hotham had violated his copyright. Hotham and Automattic, claim the quote was fair use and did not violate copyright and therefore Steiner’s takedown notice, which did result in the post being removed, was an abuse of the system.
metalfreak posted the Ars Technica article that a list of Microsoft patents that apply to Android has been published on the Chinese language version of the Ministry of Commerce website. The list was compiled apparently as a result of the government’s antitrust review of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia. The list is part of a page regarding the conditions related to approval of the merger. The English-language version of the page does not include the list of patents.
spsheridan pointed out the BBC story that the US government is lifting restrictions on satellite images. Up until now, services like Bing Maps could not use images where features smaller than 50 cm were visible. That restriction has been lowered to 31 cm. A company called Digital Globe applied to the US Department of Commerce asking for restrictions to be lifted. The company’s Worldview-3 satellite is due to launch in August.
And metalfreak posted the Ars Technica story that a Bitcoin mining contributor known as GHash has been topping 51 percent of Bitcoin’s total cryptographic hashing output for a span of 12 hours on June 12. Any one entity processing more than 50% can be troublesome to the decentralized nature of the system. A miner with more than 50% could theoretically spend the same coins twice, reject competing miners’ transactions, or extort higher fees from people with large holdings. Researchers from Cornell University detected the peak and have recommended a hard Bitcoin Fork.
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Pick of the day: Seat Guru via Loren Ahrens
In episode 2256 you mentioned travel apps, which reminded me of Seat Guru. It’s available online and through the app stores. I travel 35+ weeks a year to different locations so sticking with a single airline is impossible. When I’m not sure of the seat layout on an airline, or when I have someone new join the team, I suggest and use Seat Guru to help book the best seat available. My travel tip – The exit rows have additional room and the back row of most airlines overwing exits recline, unlike the forward row. Choose wisely my friend.