Here's why Facebook is ending Aquila, its drone-delivered internet project
Facebook has closed the office responsible for the Aquila drone-delivered internet project following substantive difficulties getting the service off the ground.
By James Sanders | June 27, 2018, 6:14 AM PST
Facebook has suspended its internet via Drone experiment Aquila in an announcement posted to Facebook Code on Tuesday. Aquila was part of Facebook's Internet.org initiative, which is seeking to connect more people to the internet in unserved and underserved markets.
The project, which started in 2014, faced significant difficulties getting off the ground, which Facebook's statement concedes "has involved a lot of trial and error." Andy Cox, the engineer responsible for the project, as well as Martin Gomez, Facebook's director of aeronautics, left the company last month.
The first test flight in Arizona in June 2016 launched and flew as expected, though turbulence before touchdown resulted in the drone landing short of the runway and receiving damage to the right wing in the process. A second test flight of a different model drone in May 2017, did not crash, though apparently suffered dings during landing, according to a post by Gomez at the time.
The Aquila drones are slightly larger than a Boeing 737 in terms of wingspan, though they lack the standard landing gear that aircraft typically have as part of an effort to reduce weight. Instead, they are intended to land on specially designed kevlar pads.
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/he ... t-project/
9 posts • Page 1 of 1
from link of article above:
Meanwhile, Project Loon, a similar endeavor of Google's parent company Alphabet, is being deployed in Puerto Rico in an attempt to restore internet connectivity following the infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Maria last September.
Richard, can you change the title to "all other tech stuff"? Otherwise it sounds too much like Hijack This Thread.
Hopefully, this will blossom into a snowball.
Your voice was heard...
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
for S9 and S9+ owners
Samsung smartphone users are reporting that their photos are randomly being sent to contacts without their knowledge
Jul. 2, 2018, 10:54 PM
Some Samsung smartphone users have reported that their devices randomly sent photos to their contacts without their knowledge and without a trace.
Samsung is aware of the issue and is working to resolve the problem.
A small number of people that own Samsung smartphones have reported that their devices randomly sent photos from their gallery to their contacts without their knowledge, according to several reports on Samsung's forums and Reddit that were first discovered by Gizmodo.
A Reddit user reported their Samsung phone sent their entire photo gallery to their girlfriend. Another reported that their device sent photos to their wife.
Specifically, the photos were sent over Samsung's stock text messaging app. Notably, there's also no record that the photos were sent from an affected users' phone, according to the Reddit user.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/samsung-s ... cts-2018-7
originally reported in the WSJ (paywall)
Think your Gmail is secure? App developers are sifting through your inbox
Even after assurances, Google continues to let software developers scan hundreds of millions of emails of users who sign up for email-based services
Douglas MacMillan | WSJ
Last Updated at July 3, 2018 08:23 IST
Google said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information to personalise advertisements, saying it wanted users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount.”
But the internet giant continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools. Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers—and, in some cases, employees—to read their users’ emails, a Wall Street Journal examination has found.
One of those companies is Return Path Inc., which collects data for marketers by scanning the inboxes of more than two million people who have signed up for one of the free apps in Return Path’s partner network using a Gmail, Microsoft Corp. or Yahoo email address. Computers normally do the scanning, analyzing about 100 million emails a day. At one point about two years ago, Return Path employees read about 8,000 unredacted emails to help train the company’s software, people familiar with the episode say.
In another case, employees of Edison Software, another Gmail developer that makes a mobile app for reading and organizing email, personally reviewed the emails of hundreds of users to build a new feature, says Mikael Berner, the company’s CEO.
Letting employees read user emails has become “common practice” for companies that collect this type of data, says Thede Loder, the former chief technology officer at eDataSource Inc., a rival to Return Path. He says engineers at eDataSource occasionally reviewed emails when building and improving software algorithms.
https://www.business-standard.com/artic ... 143_1.html
Google, FB using tricks to prevent users from exercising privacy rights
The consumer watchdog studied the privacy settings of the firms and found a series of "dark patterns"
IANS | London
Last Updated at June 29, 2018 18:40 IST
Tech giants Google, Facebook and Microsoft have been using "dark patterns" around privacy settings to discourage users in the European Union from exercising their privacy rights, according to a new report by the Norwegian Consumer Council.
The popups from Facebook, Google and Windows 10 have design, symbols and wording that nudge users away from the privacy friendly choices, said the study.
The consumer watchdog studied the privacy settings of the firms and found a series of "dark patterns", including intrusive default settings and misleading wording, the BBC reported on Thursday.
"The use of exploitative design choices, or 'dark patterns', is arguably an unethical attempt to push consumers toward choices that benefit the service provider," the Norwegian Consumer Council said in its report.
It picked Facebook, Google, and Microsoft for the study as they are some of the world's largest digital service-providers.
In this study, the Norwegian group looked at user settings updates in the three digital services that relate to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in May.
https://www.business-standard.com/artic ... 662_1.html
it happens even to the most sophisticated
Internal documents show how Amazon scrambled to fix Prime Day glitches
Amazon wasn't able to handle the traffic surge and failed to secure enough servers to meet the demand on Prime Day, according to expert review of internal documents obtained by CNBC.
That led to a cascading series of failures, including a slowdown in its internal computation and storage service called Sable, and other services that depend on it, like Prime, authentication, and video playback.
Amazon immediately launched a scaled-down "fallback" front page to reduce workload and temporarily killed all international traffic too.
Eugene Kim CNBC.com
Amazon failed to secure enough servers to handle the traffic surge on Prime Day, causing it to launch a scaled-down backup front page and temporarily kill off all international traffic, according to internal Amazon documents obtained by CNBC.
And that all took place within 15 minutes of the start of Prime Day — one of Amazon's biggest sales days every year.
The e-commerce giant also had to add servers manually to meet the traffic demand, indicating its auto-scaling feature may have failed to work properly leading up to the crash, according to external experts who reviewed the documents. “Currently out of capacity for scaling,” one of the updates said about the status of Amazon’s servers, roughly an hour after Prime Day’s launch. “Looking at scavenging hardware.”
A breakdown in an internal system called Sable, which Amazon uses to provide compute and storage services to its retail and digital businesses, caused a series of glitches across other services that depend on it, like Prime, authentication, and video playback, the documents show.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/19/amazon- ... amble.html