Boston Dynamics' creepy robot dog Spot has found another new employer for its unique skillset.
Having previously found work checking out nuclear power plants, probing suspect packages, maintaining social distancing rules during the pandemic and – briefly – working as a police dog in New York before being unceremoniously fired, the headless robohound is now being tapped up by US company Farmers Insurance to assist its agents with property inspections and "in-field catastrophe claims", or assessments in the immediate wake of natural disasters and major events.
The scary but willing cybernetic pooch has been adapted for Farmers' needs, receiving extra equipment to assist it in its new task, adding a 360° camera, site documentation software, and a new blue paintjob over its regular yellow-and-black-clad headless chassis.
Smartphones, tablets, and cameras sold within the European Union could be forced to adopt a single standard charging port by the middle of the decade if the latest plans from the European Commission get the go-ahead.
The proposals for a revised Radio Equipment Directive would mean that charging port and fast-charging technology would be "harmonised" across the EU with USB-C becoming the standard for all tech. Quite where this leaves Apple is open to some debate.
Sponsored The hyperscalers are an unsentimental bunch. So it is that they are disaggregating servers from storage, allowing each to scale separately as applications and workloads demand, and squeezing the maximum benefit from their Kubernetes environments.
However, this is no trivial task and regular enterprises might not have the resources to follow hyperscalers down this path, particularly as their applications are often geared towards local flash-based storage. This then leaves them facing the possibility of underutilized storage and/or servers, and the fact that they are not fully exploiting the portability potential of Kubernetes.
So what’s the solution? Can you balance portability and the performance benefits of local flash? You can find out on September 28 at 09:00 PST / 12:00 EST / 17:00 BST with this webcast on “Kubernetes Portability with Local NVMe Performance”.
Facebook is remaining silent over two explosive lawsuits unsealed this week which contain allegations that board members "authorized" the overpayment of an FTC fine by up to $4.9bn in order to protect CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The $5bn penalty was dished out to the social network by the Federal Trade Commission back in 2019 for "deceiving users" about their control over private data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Other allegations detailed in the complaints include claims the firm deliberately swerved implementing privacy controls in service of an "illegal" business model and that board members, including Marc Andreessen, Palantir boss Peter Thiel, Sheryl Sandberg, Michael Schroepfer (who resigned as Facebook CTO on Monday – see sidebar) and Zuckerberg himself, had exploited the company's "non public information" (insider trading).
The GNOME Foundation has released GNOME 41 - six months after GNOME 40, which was the first to be based on the GTK4 toolkit.
Although GNOME 41 is out, it will take time before the various distros support it and even longer before it turns up as a default desktop environment.
We used a pre-release of Fedora 35 (full release expected next month) and updated it to the latest available GNOME 41.
Mobile tech outfit GigSky is to add a data plan to its mobile app, using the Citizen's Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) small cell infrastructure deployed by the Helium blockchain community.
Interesting stuff. More interesting, however, is the 5G option afforded by FreedomFi (whose gateways will cheerfully mine HNT cryptocurrency in return for a bit of bandwidth to provide 5G coverage for passing users.)
FreedomFi buddied up with Helium earlier this year with a view to adding 5G to Helium's LoRaWAN network. The addition of the US Helium plan to GigSky is therefore significant, since it represents an offloading of traffic from cellular phones rather than the IoT devices and sensors with which Helium has been associated.
Google has again refused to say whether it will reimburse the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for all the money it has spent warning consumers about dodgy financial ads carried on the tech giant’s platform.
The director of Trust and Safety at Google, Amanda Storey, was among a number of tech bigwigs quizzed about economic crime by MPs at the Treasury Select Committee meeting on Wednesday (video link here).
Speaking yesterday, Storey said: "Scams and fraud are organised crime, much like identity theft or hacking, and we're really working in three main ways to try and tackle that problem. Most recently we launched the Financial Services Certification. So, any advertiser wanting to target a UK user with a financial services ad has to be FCA authorised and has to pass identity checks first before they can run those ads."
Northern Irish prosecutors are pondering whether to charge two police officers with Computer Misuse Act offences after what local reports described as a Twitter trolling campaign.
Local politicians and lawyers were said to have been targeted by a Twitter account called @DonYeeoo – and its operators also allegedly tweeted information that only police officers could have known.
Belfast Live reported the probe, which appears to have broadened to include the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) since it was first opened in 2017.
GAIA-X, Europe's long awaited federated data infrastructure, got a fresh bulding block this week in the shape of the Eclipse Dataspace Connector, an open-source framework for multi-cloud, policy-based B2B data sharing.
Presented by the German and French Ministries of Economic Affairs in October 2019, the ultimate aim of GAIA-X is to safeguard the sovereignty, availability, interoperability, portability and transparency of data by defining the rules of engagement for cloud providers in the EU.
GAIA-X is Europe's great fluffy white hope to help businesses meet EU data regulations - as part of the wider European Data Strategy - and to do so in a way that is safe from the American and Chinese service providers.
BT has spelled out its opposition to the proposed takeover of Hutchison’s mobile phone masts and towers in the UK by Spanish towerco Cellnex following the publication of legal documents yesterday.
BT – which owns mobile outfit EE – backs the Competition and Merger’s Authority (CMA) investigation into the deal, insisting that if it goes ahead, it could have a lasting impact on the UK’s mobile landscape.
In November 2020, CK Hutchison Holdings, the Hong Kong-based firm that owns UK network Three, confirmed plans to sell its European tower business to Cellnex, the Spain-based operator of wireless telecoms infrastructure.
A second leak of personal data was reportedly committed by the Ministry of Defence, raising further questions about the ministry's commitment to the safety of people in Afghanistan, some of whom are its own former employees.
The BBC reported overnight that the details of a further 55 Afghans – claimed to be candidates for potential relocation – had been leaked through the classic cc-instead-of-bcc email blunder, echoing the previously reported breach of 250 Afghan interpreters' data through a similar failure.
An MoD spokeswoman said in a statement: "We have been made aware of a data breach that occurred earlier this month by the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) team. This week, the defence secretary instigated an investigation into data-handling within that team."
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