GeekSpeak for 2015-08-01

Updated Drones Swarm Earth 2

Teaser medium

Kepler did it again, a call to stop Skynet before it starts, iOS 9 beta woes for developers, Swarming Drones, Hacking Jeeps and more GeekNews of the week.

Ad Blocking Follow-up: Ad Tracking

Ghostery

Test Chances are, you visit a huge array of different websites every day. What you might not know is that while you do that, there is an “invisible web” at work: companies are following your activities, collecting your data, and using it in various ways. They do it through technology known as “trackers.”

Sites with lots of trackers will load more slowly, which can be frustrating — and cause you to move on instead of waiting. For businesses, this can mean lost customers.

That’s where the Ghostery Add-On comes in. This free, easy-to-use tool gives you the power to decide who sees your data. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It allows you to see what trackers are following you and decide which ones to allow and which ones to block, or what kinds of companies to allow vs. block.

Disconnect

Unsecured connections and hidden requests for your personal info leave you vulnerable to privacy and security threats. We show you what’s going on and allow you to block the trackers and hackers.

Earth 2 Found

This world, named Kepler 452b, is about 60% larger than Earth and is located about 1,400 light-years from our planet. Scientists think that the planet’s host star, a cousin of the sun, is about 10% brighter than our star and 4% larger, marking the first time an Earth-size world has been found orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.

Apple Disables App Store Reviews From Devices Running iOS 9

Apple has quietly changed its App Store policies and is no longer permitting iOS devices running pre-release software to be used to write App Store reviews. When attempting to write a review from a device that has iOS 9 installed, a popup is displayed that tells users reviews can’t be submitted while using beta software.
This is a much needed change that will prevent developers from having their App Store ratings and reviews affected by beta-related problems that are out of their control. As MacStories’ Federico Vittici pointed out last week, negative App Store reviews left by beta testers have been an unaddressed issue for developers since Apple started providing beta software to public testers.

Swarming Drones

“With swarming you can surround an enemy, target and overwhelm its defenses, so that even if they were able to shoot down 90 percent, that last 10 percent can still cause damage or even sink you.”
There could be civilian uses too. Swarms could monitor large agricultural fields or help add eyes in the sky to a search and rescue operations.
But the technology still faces challenges.
Some are political, such as following air traffic rules and concerns about privacy. And some issues are technical, such as withstanding high winds, or having enough power to stay in the air for long periods of time.

Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway

Aside from wireless hacks used by thieves to open car doors, only one malicious car-hacking attack has been documented: In 2010 a disgruntled employee in Austin, Texas, used a remote shutdown system meant for enforcing timely car payments to brick more than 100 vehicles. But the opportunities for real-world car hacking have only grown, as automakers add wireless connections to vehicles’ internal networks. Uconnect is just one of a dozen telematics systems, including GM Onstar, Lexus Enform, Toyota Safety Connect, Hyundai Bluelink, and Infiniti Connection.

Musk, Hawking warn of 'inevitable' killer robot arms race

A global robotic arms race “is virtually inevitable” unless a ban is imposed on autonomous weapons, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and 1,000 academics, researchers and public figures have warned.
In an open letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries, the Future of Life Institute signatories caution that “starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control”.

Vulnerabilities found in Internet Explorer for Smartphone

Researchers from TippingPoint, a division of HP, disclosed publicly 4 vulnerabilities to the Internet Explorer running on Windows phone. The researchers privately shared three of these vulnerabilities in January and one in November of last year. And Microsoft was not addressing them.

Microsoft recently responded “We’re aware of the reports regarding Internet Explorer for Windows Phone. A number of factors would need to come into play, and no attacks have been reported. We continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate steps to protect our customers.”

Announcing Apple IIgs System 6.0.2

Apple IIgs has been updated after 22 years, 2 months, 2 days and 2 hours since its last update, System 6.0.1, was released.

Merely receiving a phone notification is enough to distract a driver

Beyond a small minority of drivers, most of us are terrible at driving and doing anything else at the same time. Distracted-driving legislation has banned using hand-operated cell phones in cars in many states. Consequently, automakers, Apple, and Google are all pushing voice controls as a solution for a public that seems to have no desire to stop communicating on their commutes. But even using voice control appears to be little safer than button pushing; both are dismal compared to simply paying attention to the task of piloting several thousand pounds of steel, something we reported last year.
In Stothart’s study, published last week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the challenge wasn’t even as significant as issuing voice commands while concentrating on another task. Instead, the researchers measured the effect of receiving cellphone notifications while trying to focus on a task.

The pace of the [Sustained Attention to Response Task] was fast enough that they wouldn’t be able to answer their phones and still complete the test.

Google+ and YouTube are finally splitting up

Google is officially divorcing Google+ profiles from its other, more popular services. Today the company published a blog post announcing that over the next few months, “a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google.”

The decision comes several months after Google stopped forcing new users to create accounts under its social network, which has failed to become the Facebook and Twitter competitor Mountain View once hoped it would be. Google has also split successful Google+ features like Photos into stand-alone products, a strategy it says will continue. “We’re well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs,” Google’s Bradley Horowitz wrote. “We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.”