Why Hyperloop Won't Work

Why Hyperloop will never work in the United States

By on August 17, 2016 at 7:49 PM.

Why Hyperloop will never work in the United States

A few years ago, definitely-not-Iron-Man Elon Musk unveiled his concept for the future of transportation: small train cars travelling in a tube with low air pressure and levitated by magnets, which could travel at the speed of planes for a fraction of the cost. Numerous companies are working to make his idea a reality, but for the United States, it’s all going to be in vain.

This video from YouTuber Wendover Productions lays out all the reasons that conventional trains have never caught on as passenger transport in the US. It’s a combination of factors, but as the reasoning is laid out, you realize that basically everything that stops high-speed trains will also make Hyperloop dead on arrival.

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Hit List

Verizon Bloatware List

Verizon wants to dump even more bloatware onto your smartphone

By on August 17, 2016 at 2:54 PM.

Verizon wants to dump even more bloatware onto your smartphone

Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system for several reasons. It’s open source, free for smartphone and tablet makers to use, it’s packed full of great features, and so on. But all that freedom comes at a cost for end users. For example, they have to wait months or even years for Android updates that include new features and crucial security fixes. Beyond that, unless they buy unlocked smartphone models directly from the vendor, they also have to deal with all kinds of bloatware that can often cause the user experience to suffer.

Speaking of bloatware, Verizon is one of the worst offenders and now it looks like the company wants to pack even more bloatware onto your next smartphone. More →

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Delta Outage Delays

Delta finally explained how one power outage grounded an entire airline

By on August 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM.

Delta finally explained how one power outage grounded an entire airline

Earlier this week, Delta passengers worldwide were stranded as a computer failure completely screwed up operations. The ensuing chaos provided a good look at how the robots are actually going to kill us, but also raised some good questions: how does one power outage ground an airline, and how fired is the sysadmin?

The Week spoke to Delta’s COO, Giles West, to try and understand what happened to take the entire network offline. It’s a sad story of backups that should’ve worked, knock-on effects, and one seriously expensive outage.

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Game Changers

iPhone Sales 2016

Sinking iPhone sales aren’t just hurting Apple

Sinking iPhone sales aren’t just hurting Apple

By on August 12, 2016 at 5:30 PM.

The price of Apple shares dropped like a rock earlier this year after the company reported a worse than expected decline in iPhone sales for the March quarter. On year, iPhone units sales plummeted by 10 million iPhones, which inevitably led to doomsday prepping among finicky investors. The tide turned quickly though, and Apple share have since recouped those losses and then some when June-quarter earnings were better than expected.

Of course, iPhone sales are still sinking despite how well the fiscal third quarter was aligned with investor expectations, and Apple isn’t the only company that relies on iPhone sales as its chief moneymaker. More →

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HTC 10 T-Mobile

It’s getting pretty embarrassing to not be Apple and Samsung

By on August 12, 2016 at 11:28 AM.

It’s getting pretty embarrassing to not be Apple and Samsung

If your company isn’t named Samsung or Apple, the smartphone market is a difficult place to be in the United States. The two companies combine to own more than half of the US smartphone market. More importantly, they pull in just about all of the industry’s profit. LG has done the best job in the recent past of competing with Apple and Samsung in the US, but no other company has managed to build market share that even reaches into the double digits. And the saddest story likely continues to be HTC, which briefly sat atop the US smartphone market at one point but has since struggled to stay afloat thanks to competition from Apple and Samsung at the top, and China-based smartphone makers at the bottom.

HTC has been struggling for years, but the company’s most embarrassing moment wouldn’t come until this week. More →

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Google Fine

Google slapped with multi-million dollar antitrust fine

By on August 12, 2016 at 9:34 AM.

Google slapped with multi-million dollar antitrust fine

Following an antitrust investigation that ultimately determined Google has been engaging in anticompetitive practices in Russia, the company has been slapped by a multi-million dollar fine. What exactly are the anticompetitive practices Google was found to be engaging in? Pre-installing apps on its mobile OS Android, which is by far the most popular smartphone platform in Russia.

Yeah… More →

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Apple Car Progress

Apple has its first vehicle patent, and uh that doesn’t look like a car

By on August 9, 2016 at 11:25 AM.

Apple has its first vehicle patent, and uh that doesn’t look like a car

So it looks like the vehicle people at Apple didn’t get the memo that they’re supposed to be designing a self-driving car. Instead, they’ve filed a patent for something that looks suspiciously like a tracked, articulated vehicle. Apple Tank 2020?

As first spotted by Patently Apple, the company was just granted 80 patents by the USPTO. It’s not the usual Apple patent, because rather than covering chamfered corners or digital scepters, it’s related to a steering device for an articulated vehicle.

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Delta Flight Delays

Delta flights across the world are grounded because of a computer outage

By on August 8, 2016 at 10:40 AM.

Delta flights across the world are grounded because of a computer outage

Computers are a vital part of sending thousands of people miles into the air in steel boxes. So when they stop working, the airplanes generally stop flying. This is the reality Delta is having to deal with today, as a computer outage at its main hub in Atlanta has grounded flights worldwide.

The outage was first reported around 5.00AM ET this morning. Without the computer systems online, Delta personnel cannot check in passengers, and the flight information systems seem to be broken. Some reports claim that Delta staff in London were filling out boarding passes by hand.

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Apple AI, Siri

Report: Apple just bought an AI startup to make Siri better

By on August 5, 2016 at 4:30 PM.

Report: Apple just bought an AI startup to make Siri better

Apple doesn’t just invent things in its labs in Cupertino. The company also buys companies with impressive frequency — five so far this year. Actually, make that six, because Apple just picked up a significant Seattle-based artificial intelligence outfit, Turi.

The news comes in a report from GeekWire, which heard about the deal through sources. Neither Apple nor Turi is confirming right now, although Apple is famously tight-lipped about these kinds of deals. The acquisition is rumored to be worth more than $100 million.

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AT&T Internet Cap

AT&T did something nice for a change

By on August 4, 2016 at 10:35 PM.

AT&T did something nice for a change

I see you reaching for your calendar, but it’s true: this is not April 1st, and the story is not a joke. A large internet service provider in the USA voluntarily did something that benefits its customers and (temporarily) hurts its bottom line.

Starting on August 21st, AT&T will be increasing the data cap for home internet users on U-Verse and GigaPower plans. I have not yet found the catch, but I’m still looking.

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macbook pro

Discounts abound as Apple’s laptops show their age

By on August 1, 2016 at 6:20 PM.

Discounts abound as Apple’s laptops show their age

Apple’s MacBook is suffering as models get stale, sales plummet, and retailers resort to discounting.

During the most recent quarter ending in June, Apple sold 4.3 million Macs, an 11 percent drop compared to the same period last year, the company announced on Tuesday. That wasn’t much better than the previous quarter when Apple sold only 4 million Macs, a 12 percent decline over the previous year.

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Comcast Lawsuit

Washington state is suing Comcast for $100 million for lying to customers

By on August 1, 2016 at 6:00 PM.

Washington state is suing Comcast for $100 million for lying to customers

Comcast is the most-hated brand in the US, and its slippery marketing tactics and bullshit charges are well known to the entire Western world. But nothing ever gets done, because Comcast is (mostly) a monopoly and people love internet more than they hate Comcast.

But as it happens, the government can (and should!) deal with monopolists that abuse their power, especially by bare-faced lying to customers. That’s exactly what Washington state has done: it has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Comcast for “engaging in a pattern of deceptive practices” that ended up costing customers tens of millions of dollars.

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