Posted by & filed under Huawei, IT and Politics.

The Huawei P30 Pro motherboard, which uses tech sourced internationally (Picture provided by iFixIt.com)

Google’s announcement that it was no longer able to work with Huawei is just one repercussion of the US decision to add the Chinese tech giant to its “entity list” of companies American firms cannot work with.

The true impact to Huawei may be enormous. While we often refer to the firm’s devices as simply “Chinese”, the reality is much more complicated – it sources parts and expertise from all over the world. The same can be said for the likes of Apple, of course, which relies at least in part on chips created by its rival, Samsung.

To get an idea of how disruptive the US move is, let’s take a look at just one component of one device: the motherboard in Huawei’s flagship smartphone, the P30 Pro.

Source: BBC Business

Date: May 21st, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48345509

Discussion

  1. This is an incredibly useful article in that it lays out all the components of a smartphone, with photos, and explains in simple terms what they do and where they come from. Why is so important that a good deal of the components for a Chinese smartphone come from the U.S?
  2. ” Analysts predict the decision [by the U.S. to ban U.S. components in Chinese Huawei products] could encourage China’s desire to build more technology within its own borders. That would be a difficult, costly, and in some areas sub-par, move to take. But long-term it would give China a chance to set its own standards on future technologies.” What issues arise when countries have different technology standards?

Posted by & filed under Self-driving vehicles.

Journey in Waymo car

It was on the motorway near Phoenix, Arizona, that I realised fully driverless cars might be quite a distant dream. And that was because our Google Waymo robo-taxi seemed incapable of leaving that motorway.

We were in Arizona to record a radio documentary for the BBC World Serviceabout the progress towards creating autonomous vehicles that would make our roads safer and replace human drivers with robots.

Google leads this race at the moment and for the past six months has been offering a robo-taxi service, Waymo One, to a select few early adopters in and around the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.

Our first ride with Waymo took us through the quiet suburban streets, where traffic is sparse and drivers well mannered.

Here, the minivan, fitted out with a battery of sensors and high-definition cameras, performed very impressively, handling slightly tricky left turns, spotting other road users and slowing down as it passed a school.

While a Google engineer sat behind the wheel, she never intervened and soon we relaxed and forgot that we were effectively being driven by a robot.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 20th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48334449

Discussion

  1. The report here notes that the autonomous-driving vehicle was not “assertive enough” to push over in to heavy traffic. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
  2. How might you design “assertiveness” in to autonomous-driving software?

Posted by & filed under Space-based internet, The Internet.

Image result for spacex 60 satellites

SpaceX wants to beam cheap broadband internet all over the planet. It’s gearing up for the first crucial step toward making that a reality.Elon Musk’s rocket company will try to deliver a batch of 60 satellites into low-Earth orbit, the first for a megaconstellation of satellites that SpaceX is calling Starlink. The launch could happen sometime next week.It was scheduled to take off Wednesday night, but rough winds in the upper atmosphere caused a one-day delay. And SpaceX said in a Thursday tweet that it would wait another week so the company can “update satellite software and triple-check everything again.”The upcoming mission is a small part of what SpaceX ultimately wants to be a much grander project: a group of potentially thousands of satellites swirling over Earth that the company says could eventually make available low-cost internet for a significant portion of the world’s population that isn’t yet online.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: May 17th, 2019

Link:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/tech/spacex-starlink-internet-satellites-first-launch/index.html

Discussion

  1. When space-based internet is discussed, the discussion usually focuses on ” a significant portion of the world’s population that isn’t yet online “. However, space-based internet could fundamentally change how countries like China and Iran are online. In what ways?
  2. What sort of companies could you build if internet were available everywhere?

Posted by & filed under Robotics.

Why are walls always straight? Why does it cost so much to build them? And why do big construction projects so often run late? Construction has always been a conservative industry, used to doing things how they have always been done.

But a new wave of innovation is coming, which will change what buildings look like, how they are made, and who wins in the new era of the construction industry.

Architects have always been limited by what their builders can actually make. But if robots were doing the building, all sorts of new possibilities open up.

Source: BBC Future

Date: May 17th, 2019

Link:
http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/the-disruptors/the-house-the-robots-built/

Discussion

  1. Why is it taking so long to deploy robotic construction techniques?
  2. What are some issues with using robots to build houses?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

Group of people on computers around a table at work

Real life is rarely as exciting or fraught with complications as the movies, except when it comes to businesses under attack. Cybercriminals around the world take hacking to the next level — stealing passwords, scraping credit card numbers and attacking the Internet of Things. That’s where “ethical hackers” like Sherri Davidoff come in, finding weaknesses and helping businesses protect themselves and their communities.

Davidoff is a cybersecurity and digital forensics expert and CEO of LMG Security and BrightWise Inc. She has worked with businesses and organizations for several years, evaluating security systems and data breach responses. A

Source: National Retail Federation

Date: May 16th, 2019

Link:
https://nrf.com/blog/behind-business-hacking

Discussion

  1. The hackers “kept to normal U.S. business schedules. ” Why is this an important part of criminal hacking?
  2. Then they sent me a fake invoice that said, “Hey, can you send our payment to this other place?”  How could you train users to not be conned by this?

Posted by & filed under Facebook.

Facebook logo

Facebook has been accused of “auto-generating” extremist content, including a celebratory jihadist video and a business page for al-Qaeda.

The material was uncovered by an anonymous whistleblower who filed an official complaint to US regulators.

Similar content for self-identified Nazis and white supremacist groups was also found online.

Facebook said it had got better at deleting extreme content but its systems were not perfect.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 11th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48217827

Discussion

  1. Facebook says that its “systems are not perfect”, but how can it be making such mistakes?
  2. What steps could you make to improve the Facebook systems?

Posted by & filed under Uber.

Uber sign on car


For sale: shares in a company that has already burned through $27bn (£20.7bn; €24bn) in cash, will burn through tens of billions more of its new shareholders’ money, has never made a profit and won’t for many years – if ever.

Sounds too bad to be true, but that is precisely what is on offer when Uber shares start trading today.

It seems impossible to imagine why anyone would want to buy them, and yet market watchers expect there to be no shortage of people queuing up to buy a slice of a company whose name has become a recognised noun in dozens of languages around the world.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 11th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48228812

Discussion

  1. What are some points to be made for BUYING shares in Uber?
  2. What are some points to be made for NOT BUYING shares in Uber?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, App Economy.

YOU might expect to hear an angry buzzing when honeybees have been disturbed. But some apiarists reckon they can also deduce the condition of their bees from the sounds they make. A steady hum could be the sign of a contented hive; a change in tone might indicate that the bees are about to swarm. That intuition is about to be put to the test. Soon, beekeepers will be able to try to find out what is troubling a colony by listening to the buzz using a smartphone app.   

The app, which is in the final stages of testing, has been developed by Jerry Bromenshenk and a group of fellow bee experts at the University of Montana. It uses a form of artificial intelligence to analyse the sound that bees are making in order to deduce whether they are suffering from a number of maladies.

Source: Bee Culture Magazine

Date: May 3rd, 2019

Link:
https://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-a-new-app-listens-to-the-problems-of-bees-matching-honey-bee-noises-to-their-ailments/

Discusssion

(Note: David Firth, the author of this blog, is the business manager and co-developer of the Bee Health Guru app

  1. What are some of the issues of pushing a smartphone technology app on to beekeepers?
  2. What are some other possible applications of this app?

Posted by & filed under Apple.

At one time, the staggering success of the iPhone helped catapult Apple to become the world’s most valuable company. Now, its lackluster smartphone sales are dragging down Apple’s business.Apple (AAPL) said Tuesday that its revenue for the first three months of 2019 declined 5% from the year prior to $58 billion as it grappled with sluggish smartphone demand. iPhone sales for the period fell 17% from the year prior.For years, Apple’s iPhone business appeared to defy gravity as the company managed to sell more devices and gradually charge more for them. But that narrative was shattered at the beginning of this year when the company warned investors that iPhone sales had taken a hit from a slowdown in China amid an ongoing trade war.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: May 3rd, 2019

Link:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/30/tech/apple-q2-earnings/index.html

Discussion

  1. Does it matter that iPhone sales are slowing down?
  2. What was last genuinely innovative thing Apple came up with?

Posted by & filed under Payment Technology, Uber.

Uber office sign

Uber has revealed that it is seeking a valuation of $90bn (£70bn) in its much anticipated stock market flotation.

The taxi-app firm has said that its shares will be priced at between $44 and $50 each, with the share issue set to raise about $10bn.

As part of the offer it will sell $500m worth of shares to payment giant, PayPal.

Uber warned earlier this month that it may never make a profit.

The IPO price values the company below the $100bn some had expected it to aim for.

As well as the original “ride-hailing” business, Uber is developing driverless cars, and has a food delivery business, Uber Eats.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: April 26th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48063637

Discussion

  1. Why is Paypal buying half-a-billion dollars of Uber stock? What’s in it for PayPal?
  2. Why would anyone buy IPO stock in a company that is losing $1bn a quarter?