Today's Top Technology Headlines
- Apple shows ambition to get into self-driving car race
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc is wading in to the debate over regulation of self-driving cars, declaring it is excited about the potential for automated transportation and calling on U.S. regulators not to restrict testing of such vehicles. A five-page letter from Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the company's most comprehensive statement yet about its interest in self-driving vehicle technology. "Executed properly under NHTSA's guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience — to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without." Apple urged regulators not to impose too many restrictions on testing of self-driving cars, saying "established manufacturers and new entrants should be treated equally." Since software would decide what actions to take in potentially dangerous situations, Apple said certain areas need special attention.
- Philippines urges Bangladesh to share results of heist investigation
The Philippine government wants Bangladesh to share the findings of its investigation into how unknown hackers pulled off one of the world's largest cyber bank heists, to help speed up recovery of the stolen funds. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who last week met with a Bangladesh delegation, said Manila "strongly recommended" Dhaka share the results of its investigation. Cyber criminals tried to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank in February and made off with $81 million via an account at the New York Federal Reserve.
- Pentagon says Raytheon making progress on satellite control station
Raytheon Co is making progress on a long-delayed program for new ground control stations for next-generation GPS satellites, although it is lagging a remedial schedule agreed with military officials, the Pentagon's chief arms buyer said. "It's actually making progress," Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall told Reuters during the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California. Kendall decided in October to continue work on Raytheon's Operational Control System (OCX) program after a mandatory live-or-die review triggered when the program breached critical cost thresholds earlier this year.
- Airbnb, New York City settle rental law lawsuit
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc and New York City said on Friday they had resolved a lawsuit brought by the company challenging a law it argued could expose it to significant penalties for advertising short-term apartment rentals. Airbnb had contended that the law's ambiguous wording could allow New York authorities to apply it to online platforms like itself that host third-party listings, creating the risk of significant civil penalties and criminal liability. Under the terms of the settlement, New York City agreed that the law would not be enforced against the company and was instead aimed at individual violators, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
- U.S. presidential commission issues recommendations on cyber security
The U.S. government and the private sector must cooperate to improve the security of digital networks, a U.S. presidential commission on cyber security recommended in a wide-ranging report issued on Friday. The commission created by President Barack Obama earlier this year also recommended that the president and Congress accelerate the pace at which technology is updated in the federal sector and that the president appoint an ambassador for cyber security for efforts abroad. Obama said in a statement after meeting the commission's head, his former national security adviser Tom Donilon, on Friday that his administration strongly supported the commission's "thoughtful and pragmatic" recommendations.
- Obama bars China's Fujian from buying Aixtron's U.S. business
By Matthias Inverardi and Diane Bartz FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese investment fund from acquiring the U.S. business of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron because the deal posed a risk to American national security, the Treasury Department said on Friday. Obama's executive order barring China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund (FGC) from completing the acquisition of a German company with American assets was one of few such instances in which a U.S. president has blocked a transaction due to national security concerns.
- Chimpanzees recognize each other’s butts the way we recognize faces
This is called the inversion effect. The researchers theorized that if this was the case, there would be a “behind inversion effect” — that is, they would have more trouble identifying inverted butts than recognizing right-side-up butts. Humans, as predicted, had the inversion effect for faces but not for butts.
- GoPro’s Karma stabilizer grip goes on sale starting today
GoPro is giving users a new way to capture footage. Starting today, the company is selling the Karma stabilizer grip — which was originally bundled with the now-recalled Karma drone — on its own for $299.
- US, China, EU, others fail to reach environmental goods deal
GENEVA (AP) — Forty-six countries including the U.S., China and European Union nations failed Sunday to agree on a list of "environmental goods" like solar-powered air conditioners or LED light bulbs that could be targeted for lower tariffs.
- Microsoft kicks off 12 Days of Deals sale: Good Windows 10, Xbox One, and VR deals
Microsoft’s annual 12 Days of Deals promotion is back, so if you missed out on any of the company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday Windows and Xbox deals you still have a chance. Just like in previous years, each day will offer you a different deal that’s going to be valid for one day only. DON’T MISS: A 75-year-old’s excellent Tweet may be the only good thing in 2016 The 12 Days of deals sale starts on December 5th and contains plenty of exciting deals on Windows 10 and Xbox One products. There's even a VR deal that you should check out: 12/5: Save up to $1,000 on select Intel-powered PCs, starting at $199. 12/6: Only $199 for a Lenovo Ideapad 110 laptop (save $100). 12/7: Save up to 50% on select Xbox One games, now $19.99. 12/8: Save $250 on Surface Pro 4 with Intel Core m3 and 128GB SSD (now $649), plus free sleeve. 12/9: Save up to 70% on select Windows 10 tablets, now starting at $49. 12/10: Save up to $250 on Windows Premium Collection devices, starting at $499. 12/11: Buy select Xbox controllers and get a $25 Microsoft Store gift code. 12/12: Save $50 and get 2 free games with select Xbox One consoles, plus save big on Xbox accessories and games. 12/13: Get a $100 Microsoft Store gift code with purchase of HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift. 12/14: Save up to $1,000 on select gaming PCs, starting at $799. 12/15: Save up to 40% on select Dell PCs, starting at $199. 12/16: Save up to $200 on select Surface Pro 4, plus get a free Type Cover (up to $359 value). Check out Microsoft’s full 12 Days of Deals offer at this link .
- How to be human: when you fall in love with the very unavailable
Iouri Goussev/Flickr Leah Reich was one of the first internet advice columnists. Her column "Ask Leah" ran on IGN, where she gave advice to gamers for two and a half years. During the day, Leah is Slack’s user researcher, but her views here do not represent her employer. How to be Human runs every other Sunday. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more How to be Human here.Hi Leah,I’m a 21-year-old gay male who lives in the Pacific Northwest. I’m out to those close to me, but I’m in the closet publicly for now. ...
- Microsoft takes aim at Amazon’s Echo with Windows 10 HomeHub feature
Microsoft is planning to build a HomeHub feature into future Windows 10 updates to better compete against devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the feature is currently in the planning stages, and the software maker is expected to introduce a “HomeHub” in updates due in 2017 and 2018, and not the upcoming Creators Update. Windows Central reports that the feature will “crush” Google Home and Amazon Echo, but The Verge understands that HomeHub is designed to be a service and feature that will run on any Windows 10 PC and turn it into a machine where Cortana can be summoned from the lockscreen to provide useful information.
- Donald Trump angrily tweeted about the SNL sketch about him tweeting
When Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, it quickly became clear that Alec Baldwin would have steady work on Saturday Night Live for his portrayal of the President-elect. The show lampooned Trump on last night’s show, drawing a quick response from him on his favorite medium, Twitter. Baldwin’s Trump can’t seem to get through a security briefing without retweeting or complaining about the pictures news outlets have been using of him.
- Movie studios want to let you rent movies two weeks after they hit theaters
Box office success for movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens , Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman might lead you to believe otherwise, but movie studios aren't thrilled about the downward trend in home video sales. DON'T MISS: How to enable the secret iPhone emoticon keyboard Bloomberg reports that Hollywood studios are mulling over a new plan that would allow consumers to pay a premium price to rent a movie as soon as two weeks after it arrives in theaters. If this were to come to fruition, the new Disney movie Moana , which launched on November 23rd, would be available to rent next Wednesday. According to Bloomberg's sources, the rentals would cost between $25 and $50, although the price is far from settled. That might sound like a lot, but it would cost you more than $25 to go see Moana with a friend in theaters in New York City. Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said at an investor conference this week that after speaking with exhibitors about the new home movie plan, he and his studio are ready to make these premium rentals a reality. "We’re working with them to try and create a new window," Tsujihara said. "But regardless of whether it happens or not -- whether we are able to reach that agreement with them, we have to offer consumers more choices earlier." As you might have guessed, the major hurdle here is the movie theaters. As Bloomberg notes, when theaters have been approached about similar arrangements in the past, they have said that they would need to be compensated for the potential lost revenue from viewers who decide to wait two weeks until they can watch a new release in the comfort of their own homes. You probably won't be renting Rogue One: A Star War Story in January, but sooner or later, something's gotta give if home video sales are ever going to recover.
- Totally Accurate Battle Simulator brings the wacky joy of fighting action figures to life
The true essence of battles with the level of total accuracy that Totally Accurate Battle Simulator has. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is a new game coming out in 2017 from developer Landfall Games (you may recognize one of the company's earlier games, Clustertruck, which made the rounds this year). TABS, as the same suggests, is a battle simulator in the broadest sense.