Archiv der Kategorie: Mobility

June 2018 Tech News & Trends to Watch

1. Companies Worldwide Strive for GDPR Compliance

By now, everyone with an email address has seen a slew of emails announcing privacy policy updates. You have Europe’s GDPR legislation to thank for your overcrowded inbox. GDPR creates rules around how much data companies are allowed to collect, how they’re able to use that data, and how clear they have to be with consumers about it all.

Companies around the world are scrambling to get their business and its practices into compliance – a significant task for many of them. While technically, the deadline to get everything in order passed on May 25, for many companies the process will continue well into June and possibly beyond. Some companies are even shutting down in Europe for good, or for as long as it takes them to get in compliance.

Even with the deadline behind us, the GDPR continues to be a top story for the tech world and may remain so for some time to come.

 

2. Amazon Provides Facial Recognition Tech to Law Enforcement

Amazon can’t seem to go a whole month without showing up in a tech news roundup. This month it’s for a controversial story: selling use of Rekognition, their facial recognition software, to law enforcement agencies on the cheap.

Civil rights groups have called for the company to stop allowing law enforcement access to the tech out of concerns that increased government surveillance can pose a threat to vulnerable communities in the country. In spite of the public criticism, Amazon hasn’t backed off on providing the tech to authorities, at least as of this time.

 

3. Apple Looks Into Self-Driving Employee Shuttles

Of the many problems facing our world, the frustrating work commute is one that many of the brightest minds in tech deal with just like the rest of us. Which makes it a problem the biggest tech companies have a strong incentive to try to solve.

Apple is one of many companies that’s invested in developing self-driving cars as a possible solution, but while that goal is still (probably) years away, they’ve narrowed their focus to teaming up with VW to create self-driving shuttles just for their employees.  Even that project is moving slower than the company had hoped, but they’re aiming to have some shuttles ready by the end of the year.

 

4. Court Weighs in on President’s Tendency to Block Critics on Twitter

Three years ago no one would have imagined that Twitter would be a president’s go-to source for making announcements, but today it’s used to that effect more frequently than official press conferences or briefings.

In a court battle that may sound surreal to many of us, a judge just found that the president can no longer legally block other users on Twitter.  The court asserted that blocking users on a public forum like Twitter amounts to a violation of their First Amendment rights. The judgment does still allow for the president and other public officials to mute users they don’t agree with, though.

 

5. YouTube Launches Music Streaming Service

YouTube joined the ranks of Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon this past month with their own streaming music service. Consumers can use a free version of the service that includes ads, or can pay $9.99 for the ad-free version.

youtube music service

With so many similar services already on the market, people weren’t exactly clamoring for another music streaming option. But since YouTube is likely to remain the reigning source for videos, it doesn’t necessarily need to unseat Spotify to still be okay. And with access to Google’s extensive user data, it may be able to provide more useful recommendations than its main competitors in the space, which is one way the service could differentiate itself.

 

6. Facebook Institutes Political Ad Rules

Facebook hasn’t yet left behind the controversies of the last election. The company is still working to proactively respond to criticism of its role in the spread of political propaganda many believe influenced election results. One of the solutions they’re trying is a new set of rules for any political ads run on the platform.

Any campaign that intends to run Facebook ads is now required to verify their identity with a card Facebook mails to their address that has a verification code. While Facebook has been promoting these new rules for a few weeks to politicians active on the platform, some felt blindsided when they realized, right before their primaries no less, that they could no longer place ads without waiting 12 to 15 days for a verification code to come in the mail. Politicians in this position blame the company for making a change that could affect their chances in the upcoming election.

Even in their efforts to avoid swaying elections, Facebook has found themselves criticized for doing just that. They’re probably feeling at this point like they just can’t win.

 

7. Another Big Month for Tech IPOs

This year has seen one tech IPO after another and this month is no different. Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has a particularly large IPO in the works. The company seeks to join the Hong Kong stock exchange on June 7 with an initial public offering that experts anticipate could reach $10 billion.

The online lending platform Greensky started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 23 and sold 38 million shares in its first day, 4 million more than expected. This month continues 2018’s trend of tech companies going public, largely to great success.

 

8. StumbleUpon Shuts Down

In the internet’s ongoing evolution, there will always be tech companies that win and those that fall by the wayside. StumbleUpon, a content discovery platform that had its heyday in the early aughts, is officially shutting down on June 30.

Since its 2002 launch, the service has helped over 40 million users “stumble upon” 60 billion new websites and pieces of content. The company behind StumbleUpon plans to create a new platform that serves a similar purpose that may be more useful to former StumbleUpon users called Mix.

 

9. Uber and Lyft Invest in Driver Benefits

In spite of their ongoing success, the popular ridesharing platforms Uber and Lyft have faced their share of criticism since they came onto the scene. One of the common complaints critics have made is that the companies don’t provide proper benefits to their drivers. And in fact, the companies have fought to keep drivers classified legally as contractors so they’re off the hook for covering the cost of employee taxes and benefits.

Recently both companies have taken steps to make driving for them a little more attractive. Uber has begun offering Partner Protection to its drivers in Europe, which includes health insurance, sick pay, and parental leave ­ ­– so far nothing similar in the U.S. though. For its part, Lyft is investing $100 million in building driver support centers where their drivers can stop to get discounted car maintenance, tax help, and customer support help in person from Lyft staff. It’s not the same as getting full employee benefits (in the U.S. at least), but it’s something.

Source: https://www.hostgator.com/blog/june-tech-trends-to-watch/

2017 Guide to all Porsche Models

Porsche 911 GT3 991.22018 Porsche 911 GT3 991.2.Porsche

Porsche rounded out the 911 family on Tuesday at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of its latest track-bred GT3 variant. At the heart of the new Porsche 911 GT3 is a 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six-cylinder engine, which produces 500 horsepower and 339 lb.-ft. of torque. The GT3 becomes the first of the 991.2 generation 911s to eschew turbocharging.

Customers can option the GT3 with either a traditional six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed twin-clutch PDK unit. The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, expected to reach US showrooms this fall with a starting price of $143,600, is available with active rear-wheel steering and carbon-fiber aerodynamic elements.

According to Porsche, the PDK-equipped GT3 can sprint to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 197 mph. In six-speed guise, the Porsche requires 3.8 seconds to reach 60mph before hitting 198 mph. Even though, the six speed is slower off the line, the holy combination of a clutch pedal with a naturally aspirated powerplant will be too much of a draw for Porsche purists to ignore.

There are few cars in the world more iconic than the Porsche 911. Over the years, the rear-engine sports car has gotten bigger, faster, and more technologically advanced. But its spirited driving dynamics and on-track capabilities have continued to make it a favorite among enthusiasts worldwide.

But you often hear the complaint that all current 911s look pretty much the same. And if you ask critics such as Jeremy Clarkson, host of Amazon’s „Grand Tour“ show, he’ll tell you that all Porsche 911s since the model’s debut in 1963 look identical. The truth is, most of the various versions of the current generation of 911s do look similar, yet they can all be identified by numerous subtle but important differences.

Like Taco Bell in the fast-food industry, what Porsche has managed to do so successfully is create multiple iterations of the 911 by mixing and matching the same ingredients, and packaging them in a lot of different ways. And if you’ve ever driven a 911, you’ll probably agree with me in saying there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So here it is, the most current lineup of Porsche’s 911 Taco Bell menu.

 

Carrera: The Carrera is the „base“ 911, if there is such as thing. The 991.2 Carrera powered by a 3.0-liter, 370-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, flat six …

Carrera: The Carrera is the "base" 911, if there is such as thing. The 991.2 Carrera powered by a 3.0-liter, 370-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, flat six ...

Porsche

… and the Cabriolet is the convertible version of the Carrera.

... and the Cabriolet is the convertible version of the Carrera.

Porsche

The Carrera 4 Coupe is a Carrera Coupe with all-wheel drive …

The Carrera 4 Coupe is a Carrera Coupe with all-wheel drive ...

Porsche

… and the Carrera 4 Cabriolet is the convertible variant.

... and the Carrera 4 Cabriolet is the convertible variant.

Porsche

The Carrera S gets a 50 hp boost from the base Carrera, thanks to larger turbochargers and an upgraded exhaust system on the 3.0-liter 420 hp flat-six engine …

The Carrera S gets a 50 hp boost from the base Carrera, thanks to larger turbochargers and an upgraded exhaust system on the 3.0-liter 420 hp flat-six engine ...

Porsche

… and here’s the convertible Cabriolet Carrera S.

... and here's the convertible Cabriolet Carrera S.

Porsche

The Carrera 4S is the Carrera S with all-wheel drive …

The Carrera 4S is the Carrera S with all-wheel drive ...

Porsche

… and the Carrera 4S Cabriolet is the convertible edition.

... and the Carrera 4S Cabriolet is the convertible edition.

Porsche

The Carrera GTS is a step up from the Carrera S. With turbochargers even larger than those found on the S, the GTS packs a stout 450 horsepower.

The Carrera GTS is a step up from the Carrera S. With turbochargers even larger than those found on the S, the GTS packs a stout 450 horsepower.

Porsche

… and the Carrera GTS Cabriolet is yet another convertible version!

... and the Carrera GTS Cabriolet is yet another convertible version!

Porsche

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS is the GTS with all-wheel drive …

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS is the GTS with all-wheel drive ...

Porsche

… and Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet is, naturally, the accompanying convertible.

... and Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet is, naturally, the accompanying convertible.

Porsche

The Targa 4 is a Carrera 4 with an awesome electric lift-away roof!

The Targa 4 is a Carrera 4 with an awesome electric lift-away roof!

Porsche

While the Targa 4S is a Carrera 4S with the special „Targa“ roof.

While the Targa 4S is a Carrera 4S with the special "Targa" roof.

Porsche

The Targa 4 GTS is a Carrera 4 GTS with the Targa roof.

The Targa 4 GTS is a Carrera 4 GTS with the Targa roof.

Porsche

The latest generation of the legendary Turbo gets a 3.8-liter, 540 horsepower version of the twin-turbocharged flat-six found in other 911 models. Thanks to a pair of monster turbochargers, the Turbo has become a benchmark vehicle for aspiring supercars everywhere.

The latest generation of the legendary Turbo gets a 3.8-liter, 540 horsepower version of the twin-turbocharged flat-six found in other 911 models. Thanks to a pair of monster turbochargers, the Turbo has become a benchmark vehicle for aspiring supercars everywhere.

Porsche

There’s a Turbo Cabriolet, as well.

There's a Turbo Cabriolet, as well.

Porsche

The Turbo S is a Turbo with a 580 hp engine.

The Turbo S is a Turbo with a 580 hp engine.

Porsche

And of course … a Turbo S Cabriolet is available, too!

And of course ... a Turbo S Cabriolet is available, too!

Porsche

The GT3 is the hard-core, track-oriented member of the 911 family. In the spirit of purity, its 500 horsepower, 4.0-liter engine is naturally aspirated — making it the only 991.2 to refrain from turbocharging.

The GT3 is the hard-core, track-oriented member of the 911 family. In the spirit of purity, its 500 horsepower, 4.0-liter engine is naturally aspirated — making it the only 991.2 to refrain from turbocharging.

Porsche

Finally, there’s the 911R. It’s an ultra-lightweight special edition, with only 991 expected to be built worldwide. The 911R is powered by a 500-horsepower, naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter unit that’s shared with the GT3 RS. It is also the only 911 that’s available exclusively with a manual transmission. The 911R is out of production — which means there will be no 2017 models made. However, they may be a few new cars floating around out there, but they will likely come with an extreme markup over the $185,000 MSRP. The 911R is a 991.1 spec model.

Finally, there's the 911R. It's an ultra-lightweight special edition, with only 991 expected to be built worldwide. The 911R is powered by a 500-horsepower, naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter unit that's shared with the GT3 RS. It is also the only 911 that's available exclusively with a manual transmission. The 911R is out of production — which means there will be no 2017 models made. However, they may be a few new cars floating around out there, but they will likely come with an extreme markup over the $185,000 MSRP. The 911R is a 991.1 spec model.

Porsche

Audi R10 V10 is a supercar for everyday life

Audi R8 12 toutHollis Johnson

When the Audi R8 arrived on the world stage in 2007, the German supercar took the automotive world by storm. In short time, the stylish Audi became not just one of the most sought-after machines in the world, but also a pop-culture icon. („Iron Man,“ anybody?)But after a decade of excellence, it was time for a successor.

How do you improve upon an icon? We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump or the disappointing sequel. After all, disasters such as „Jaws 2“ or „Speed 2“ happen way more often than an „Empire Strikes Back“ or a „Dark Knight.“

With the R8, Audi had the tall task of coming up with a sequel to its flagship model. After all, this is Tony Stark’s official ride.

For 2017, there is indeed an all-new, second-generation R8. Recently, Audi dropped off this R8 V10 Coupe Quattro S tronic for Business Insider to check out. Our ibis-white R8 V10 had a base price of $162,900, but with options the car left the showroom at $183,050.

So does the sequel live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Photos by Hollis Johnson unless otherwise credited.

 

Our stunning ibis-white test car is the latest car to carry the R8 badge. But it certainly wasn’t the first.

Our stunning ibis-white test car is the latest car to carry the R8 badge. But it certainly wasn't the first.

Hollis Johnson

The R8 road car we know today is named after Audi’s all-conquering R8 Le Mans Prototype race cars. In 1999, Audi debuted the open cockpit R8R …

The R8 road car we know today is named after Audi's all-conquering R8 Le Mans Prototype race cars. In 1999, Audi debuted the open cockpit R8R ...

Audi

… and the closed cockpit R8C race cars. In its first time out, at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, the R8Rs finished third and fourth. Unfortunately, neither of the R8Cs made it to the finish.

... and the closed cockpit R8C race cars. In its first time out, at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, the R8Rs finished third and fourth. Unfortunately, neither of the R8Cs made it to the finish.

Audi

In 2000, Audi returned with the R8 LMP.

In 2000, Audi returned with the R8 LMP.

AP

From 2000 until it was replaced in 2006, the R8 LMP racked up an astonishing 63 victories in 79 races.

From 2000 until it was replaced in 2006, the R8 LMP racked up an astonishing 63 victories in 79 races.

REUTERS

This includes five outright victories at Le Mans in six years. Its only loss at Le Mans came at the hands of VW Group stablemate Bentley’s Speed 8. And even then, the Speed 8 that won can actually trace its roots back to the Audi R8C.

This includes five outright victories at Le Mans in six years. Its only loss at Le Mans came at the hands of VW Group stablemate Bentley's Speed 8. And even then, the Speed 8 that won can actually trace its roots back to the Audi R8C.

Audi

With this level of success. Audi was keen to provide its rivals with a lasting reminder of its prowess.

With this level of success. Audi was keen to provide its rivals with a lasting reminder of its prowess.

Audi

The result was the R8 — Audi’s first legitimate supercar. It arrived in 2007 with a 4.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8 and a 185-mph top speed.

The result was the R8 — Audi's first legitimate supercar. It arrived in 2007 with a 4.2-liter, 420-horsepower V8 and a 185-mph top speed.

Audi

Although the R8 immediately became infinitely cool and built a reputation for being great to drive and easy to live with, critics also felt the V8 lacked muscle compared with other supercars of its day.

Although the R8 immediately became infinitely cool and built a reputation for being great to drive and easy to live with, critics also felt the V8 lacked muscle compared with other supercars of its day.

Audi

That all changed with the arrival of a 525-horsepower, 5.2-liter V10 borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo. Now the R8 had the face-melting speed to go along with the looks.

That all changed with the arrival of a 525-horsepower, 5.2-liter V10 borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo. Now the R8 had the face-melting speed to go along with the looks.

Audi

For 2017, there’s a new second-generation version of the Audi supercar. It’s available in two different flavors:

For 2017, there's a new second-generation version of the Audi supercar. It's available in two different flavors:

Hollis Johnson

The hardcore R8 V10 Plus …

The hardcore R8 V10 Plus ...

Hollis Johnson

… and the tamer — but still very capable — R8 V10. Our test car was an R8 V10.

... and the tamer — but still very capable — R8 V10. Our test car was an R8 V10.

Hollis Johnson

Aesthetically, the exterior of the new R8 is an evolution of the first-generation car. The design has aged rather gracefully. After all, you don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Aesthetically, the exterior of the new R8 is an evolution of the first-generation car. The design has aged rather gracefully. After all, you don't fix what isn't broken.

Hollis Johnson

Up front, Audi’s domineering front grille makes its presence felt. Whether this new grille is an improvement over the outgoing model is in the eye of beholder.

Up front, Audi's domineering front grille makes its presence felt. Whether this new grille is an improvement over the outgoing model is in the eye of beholder.

Hollis Johnson

However, the LED headlights look terrific.

However, the LED headlights look terrific.

Hollis Johnson

On the flanks, Audi changed one of the previous-gen car’s signature features by splitting the R8’s carbon-fiber blade into two — a potentially controversial move that some will applaud while others will lament.

On the flanks, Audi changed one of the previous-gen car's signature features by splitting the R8's carbon-fiber blade into two — a potentially controversial move that some will applaud while others will lament.

Hollis Johnson

The R8’s gas cap is still located on the top portion of the carbon-fiber blade.

The R8's gas cap is still located on the top portion of the carbon-fiber blade.

Hollis Johnson

The rear of the V10 gets an adjustable spoiler, which extends at 75 mph, while the V10 Plus gets a larger unit that’s permanently bolted to the rear deck lid.

The rear of the V10 gets an adjustable spoiler, which extends at 75 mph, while the V10 Plus gets a larger unit that's permanently bolted to the rear deck lid.

Hollis Johnson

Although many of the car’s fans may prefer the aggressive front-end design …

Although many of the car's fans may prefer the aggressive front-end design ...

Hollis Johnson

… I find the rear three-quarter view to be the car’s most appealing.

... I find the rear three-quarter view to be the car's most appealing.

Hollis Johnson

Step inside and you’ll find the most impressive part of the R8.

Step inside and you'll find the most impressive part of the R8.

Hollis Johnson

Although the first-generation R8’s exterior design aged well, its interior has not. For the all-new 2017 R8, Audi has completely revamped the cabin. The result is one of the finest in any supercar. It’s covered in rich nappa leather and alcantara.

Although the first-generation R8's exterior design aged well, its interior has not. For the all-new 2017 R8, Audi has completely revamped the cabin. The result is one of the finest in any supercar. It's covered in rich nappa leather and alcantara.

Hollis Johnson

Every aspect of this cockpit is focused on the driver.

Every aspect of this cockpit is focused on the driver.

Hollis Johnson

As you can see, there isn’t much for the passenger to do.

As you can see, there isn't much for the passenger to do.

Hollis Johnson

What would normally be found on the center stack …

What would normally be found on the center stack ...

Hollis Johnson

… has been relocated to the steering wheel.

... has been relocated to the steering wheel.

Hollis Johnson

The start-stop and drive-select buttons are kinda hard to miss.

The start-stop and drive-select buttons are kinda hard to miss.

Hollis Johnson

What makes the R8 really stand out is the inclusion of Audi’s new Virtual Cockpit system. Instead of a traditional gauge cluster and infotainment screen, Virtual Cockpit integrates the two in a single 12.3-inch, high-definition display.

What makes the R8 really stand out is the inclusion of Audi's new Virtual Cockpit system. Instead of a traditional gauge cluster and infotainment screen, Virtual Cockpit integrates the two in a single 12.3-inch, high-definition display.

Hollis Johnson

Everything the driver needs to control the car’s many features can be accessed through Virtual Cockpit.

Everything the driver needs to control the car's many features can be accessed through Virtual Cockpit.

Hollis Johnson

This includes the car’s superb 12-speaker, 550-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo.

This includes the car's superb 12-speaker, 550-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Hollis Johnson

The most incredible function the system offers is a full-screen map that’s unlike anything offered by other brands.

The most incredible function the system offers is a full-screen map that's unlike anything offered by other brands.

Hollis Johnson

The Virtual Cockpit is a fairly risky move for Audi. The company’s infotainment system is one of the — if not the — best in the business right now. And to make such a drastic change could have been a disaster. Fortunately for Audi, Virtual Cockpit is intuitively organized, very easy to use, and beautifully presented.

The Virtual Cockpit is a fairly risky move for Audi. The company's infotainment system is one of the — if not the — best in the business right now. And to make such a drastic change could have been a disaster. Fortunately for Audi, Virtual Cockpit is intuitively organized, very easy to use, and beautifully presented.

Hollis Johnson

Virtual Cockpit is controlled either through the traditional rotary controller and script pad, located on the center console …

Virtual Cockpit is controlled either through the traditional rotary controller and script pad, located on the center console ...

Hollis Johnson

… or with steering-wheel-mounted buttons.

... or with steering-wheel-mounted buttons.

Hollis Johnson

The sparse center stack is populated only by the car’s climate controls.

The sparse center stack is populated only by the car's climate controls.

Hollis Johnson

Our R8 test car came equipped with a pair of beautifully quilted nappa leather seats. Unlike the seats in many supercars, the R8’s 18-way adjustable seats are not only supportive, but also comfortable.

Our R8 test car came equipped with a pair of beautifully quilted nappa leather seats. Unlike the seats in many supercars, the R8's 18-way adjustable seats are not only supportive, but also comfortable.

Hollis Johnson

The R8’s center armrest doubles as …

The R8's center armrest doubles as ...

Hollis Johnson

… cup holders!

... cup holders!

Hollis Johnson

Behind the driver is the R8’s 5.2-liter V10 engine. The V10, which is shared by the Lamborghini Huracan, is an absolute gem of a motor. It’s docile in normal driving, but capable of becoming a fire-breathing power plant when called upon.

Behind the driver is the R8's 5.2-liter V10 engine. The V10, which is shared by the Lamborghini Huracan, is an absolute gem of a motor. It's docile in normal driving, but capable of becoming a fire-breathing power plant when called upon.

Hollis Johnson

These days, the R8’s V10 is a dying breed. It’s one of the few remaining supercar powerplants to take a pass on turbocharging or hybridization. As a result, the Audi delivers a more connected driving experience. No need to wait for turbos to spool up!

These days, the R8's V10 is a dying breed. It's one of the few remaining supercar powerplants to take a pass on turbocharging or hybridization. As a result, the Audi delivers a more connected driving experience. No need to wait for turbos to spool up!

Hollis Johnson

The R8 V10 Plus gets a 610-horsepower version of the engine.

The R8 V10 Plus gets a 610-horsepower version of the engine.

Hollis Johnson

The R8 V10, our test car, came with a detuned 540-horsepower variant.

The R8 V10, our test car, came with a detuned 540-horsepower variant.

Hollis Johnson

According to Audi, the 540-horsepower R8 V10 is capable of making the run to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 199 mph.

According to Audi, the 540-horsepower R8 V10 is capable of making the run to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 199 mph.

Hollis Johnson

The more powerful V10 Plus speeds up the process with a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph.

The more powerful V10 Plus speeds up the process with a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph.

Hollis Johnson

All R8s get Audi’s highly capable seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. Our V10 test car handled the engine’s prodigious power with ease. The shifts were smooth and immediate in every situation we encountered during our few days with the car.

All R8s get Audi's highly capable seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. Our V10 test car handled the engine's prodigious power with ease. The shifts were smooth and immediate in every situation we encountered during our few days with the car.

Hollis Johnson

Stopping power comes courtesy of these ventilated wave-design disc brakes.

Stopping power comes courtesy of these ventilated wave-design disc brakes.

Hollis Johnson

The R8 is incredibly smooth, steady, and easygoing. It’s very difficult to the push the car beyond its capabilities. The combination of quattro all-wheel-drive and active aerodynamics gives the car endless traction. The V10 offers instant power to get you out of trouble.

The R8 is incredibly smooth, steady, and easygoing. It's very difficult to the push the car beyond its capabilities. The combination of quattro all-wheel-drive and active aerodynamics gives the car endless traction. The V10 offers instant power to get you out of trouble.

Hollis Johnson

Alas, here lies our only issue with the R8 V10: While there’s no doubting its capabilities and competence on both road and track, the R8’s easygoing driving experience lacks the excitement and insanity one might hope for in a supercar.

Alas, here lies our only issue with the R8 V10: While there's no doubting its capabilities and competence on both road and track, the R8's easygoing driving experience lacks the excitement and insanity one might hope for in a supercar.

Hollis Johnson

In fact, you can say that this car offers a very similar experience to other high-performance Audis such as the RS7 and the RS5. This sentence serves both as praise and criticism because the R8 V10’s relaxed nature offers buyers a relatively worry-free ownership experience. On the other hand, this clinical efficiency detracts from the car’s charisma and charm. The driving experience simply doesn’t feed your soul the way other supercars can.

In fact, you can say that this car offers a very similar experience to other high-performance Audis such as the RS7 and the RS5. This sentence serves both as praise and criticism because the R8 V10's relaxed nature offers buyers a relatively worry-free ownership experience. On the other hand, this clinical efficiency detracts from the car's charisma and charm. The driving experience simply doesn't feed your soul the way other supercars can.

Hollis Johnson

In other words, the R8 V10 is the car choice should you want to tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans in style and comfort, but not if your goal is attention.

In other words, the R8 V10 is the car choice should you want to tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans in style and comfort, but not if your goal is attention.

Hollis Johnson

More times than not, the purchase of a supercar is an emotional buy and not a rational one. Supercars are generally useless in most daily situations and can be a great hassle to live with. The R8 isn’t. It’s one of the few cars of this genre that can be rationally justified.

More times than not, the purchase of a supercar is an emotional buy and not a rational one. Supercars are generally useless in most daily situations and can be a great hassle to live with. The R8 isn't. It's one of the few cars of this genre that can be rationally justified.

Hollis Johnson

Overall, the 2017 Audi R8 V10 is a worthy sequel to one of the most iconic cars in recent memory. Its combination of exotic looks, high performance, and day-to-day usability makes this a supercar you can live with.

Overall, the 2017 Audi R8 V10 is a worthy sequel to one of the most iconic cars in recent memory. Its combination of exotic looks, high performance, and day-to-day usability makes this a supercar you can live with.

Hollis Johnson

Here’s the electric car Audi is building to take on Tesla

Audi E-tron quattroAudi

Tesla’s Model S and Model X are soon going to have some serious competition.

Last September, Audi revealed its all-electric e-tron quattro concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The SUV, which is slated to go into production by 2018, will have three electric motors, a range of 310 miles on a single charge, and quick charging capabilities.

Here’s a look at some of the features in the e-tron quattro that we hope to see in the production version.

Like the e-tron concept, Audi will most likely include piloted driving technology in its upcoming all-electric SUV.

Like the e-tron concept, Audi will most likely include piloted driving technology in its upcoming all-electric SUV.

Audi piloted techYouTube/Audi

The e-tron quattro concept has piloted driving technology, which uses radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors, and a laser scanner to collect data about the car’s environment and create a model of the vehicle’s surroundings in real-time.

Audi currently has a lot of this tech in its newer vehicles, so it’s likely we will see a more advanced piloted system in the production version of the e-tron quattro.

 

Cameras could replace side view mirrors.

Cameras could replace side view mirrors.

Audi

The e-tron quattro has curved displays built into the front section of the doors that lets the driver view what is around them. There’s no guarantee we’ll see this in the production version, but automakers are beginning to experiment with new kinds of mirror designs.

For example, GM’s a digital mirror in the Chevy Bolt and the Cadillac CT6that uses cameras to stream whatever is behind you.

It will likely be covered in screens.

It will likely be covered in screens.

Audi

The e-tron quattro concept features two touch displays in the cockpit, one to the driver’s left to control lights and the piloted driving systems and one to the right where media and navigation is controlled.

The center console has two more OLED displays for climate control and infotainment.

With its 95 kWh battery, the e-tron quattro has an impressive range of 310 miles on a single charge.

With its 95 kWh battery, the e-tron quattro has an impressive range of 310 miles on a single charge.

Audi

To put that into perspective, Tesla’s Model X SUV with all wheel drive and a 100kWh battery has a range of 289 miles on a single charge. Audi has already said its range will beat this.

It may be able to fully charge in just 50 minutes.

It may be able to fully charge in just 50 minutes.

Audi

We know the production version will have quick charging capabilities, but we don’t know exactly how fast it will work. However, we’re hoping it’s in line with the e-tron quattro concept’s charge time.

The concept car has a Combined Charging System (CCS), meaning it can be charged with a DC or AC electrical current. It can fully charge with a DC current outputting 150 kW in just about 50 minutes.

 

The e-tron quattro concept is equipped with induction charging technology, so it can be charged wirelessly over a charging plate.

The e-tron quattro concept is equipped with induction charging technology, so it can be charged wirelessly over a charging plate.

Audi

We can’t say if this is a definite feature the production version will have, but our fingers are crossed.

It will have super fast connectivity.

It will have super fast connectivity.

Audi

Audi announced at CES this year that it is the first automaker to support the latest standard for mobile communications: LTE Advanced.

LTE Advanced is the latest enhancement to LTE, meaning that it can deliver larger and faster wireless data payloads than 4G LTE. We can almost certainly expect to see the technology integrated into the upcoming production car.

http://www.businessinsider.de/audis-electric-vs-tesla-2016-9?op=1

Daimler präsentiert futuristisches Trio: Urban e-Truck, Vision Van und Future Bus

Der Mercedes Benz Urban eTruck feiert auf der Nutzfahrzeug-IAA seine Weltpremiere.Der Mercedes Benz Urban eTruck feiert auf der Nutzfahrzeug-IAA seine Weltpremiere.

Der Urban e-Truck, der Vision Van und der Future Bus – Mercedes zieht auf der Nutzfahrzeug-IAA die ganz große Elektroshow ab. Hinter den futuristischen Studien steckt aber mehr. Denn die Daimler AG versteht sich nicht mehr ausschließlich als Hersteller.

Es ist das gleiche Bild wie beim Pkw-Pendant in Frankfurt: Wer in diesen Tagen bei der Nutzfahrzeug-IAA in Hannover den Daimler-Stand besucht, wird auf eine Zeitreise mitgenommen. Denn hier stehen nicht die Laster von morgen, sondern die von übermorgen. Mit einem Aufwand, wie man ihn in dieser Branche so noch nicht erlebt hat, haben die Entwickler der Bus-und-Truck-Sparte aus dem Sternen-Imperium gleich drei visionäre Studien verwirklicht: Vision Van, Urban e-Truck und Future Bus.

Wie weit uns Mercedes mit diesen drei spektakulären Studien, die allesamt auf reinen Elektroantrieb setzen, in die Zukunft blicken lässt, weiß keiner genau. Wolfgang Bernhard, der für die Nutzfahrzeugsparte zuständige Daimler-Vorstand, ist allerdings überzeugt, dass die Zeitenwende bei der Elektro-Mobilität bereits eingesetzt hat und sie sich „viel dynamischer entwickelt, als wir das alle für möglich halten würden“.

Die Marschrichtung ist klar

Über 200 Kilometer soll der 25-Tonnen-Koloss rein elektrisch fahren.
Über 200 Kilometer soll der 25-Tonnen-Koloss rein elektrisch fahren.

Und kühn ergänzt der 56-Jährige, dass Daimler mit der Umsetzung der visionären Ideen „den Transport völlig neu erfindet“. Für Güter und Personen. Auf Autobahnen und in Städten. So sei der Urban e-Truck als erster emissionsfreier schwerer Truck die beste Antwort auf immer rigideren Zufahrtsbeschränkungen in verstopften Großstädten. Der sogenannte Verteilerverkehr im eher innerstädtischen Bereich könne mit ihm flüsterleise und sauber durchgeführt werden. Und mehr noch. Er ist komplett vernetzt, und bietet einschließlich eines intelligenten Reichweiten-Managements quasi ein Rundum-Sorglos-Paket für Transport- und Logistik-Unternehmen aus einer Hand.

Das umfasst eine flexible und effiziente Routenplanung, die Staus und sogar die Wetterlage einbezieht, die Optimierung des Energieverbrauchs, das Ansteuern der Ladestationen bis hin zum kompletten Lademanagement. „Das garantiert einen hoch effizienten Betrieb“, erklärt Bernhard. Und zudem will Daimler künftig auch noch stationäre Stromspeicher anbieten, die schon heute aus Antriebsbatterien von Elektroautos hergestellt werden. „Wir müssen uns von einem reinen Hersteller in einen Dienstleistungsanbieter verwandeln“, gibt der Kopf der Nutzfahrzeug-Division die Marschrichtung für die Zukunft vor.

Auch Langstrecke ist „physikalisch“ möglich

Während die Außenhaut des Urban e-Truck futuristisch anmutet, ist das Cockpit vergleichsweise konventionell gestaltet.
Während die Außenhaut des Urban e-Truck futuristisch anmutet, ist das Cockpit vergleichsweise konventionell gestaltet.

Ehrgeizige Pläne, wobei der Urban e-Truck aber allein schon technisch beeindruckt. Verantwortlich für den leisen Auftritt des 25-Tonnen-Kolosses sind zwei Elektromotoren an der Hinterachse direkt neben den Naben, die für eine Gesamtleistung von 340 PS sorgen und es im Zusammenspiel auf ein Drehmoment von 1000 Newtonmeter bringen. Damit ist volle Durchzugskraft direkt aus dem Stand garantiert. Die drei modularen Batteriepakete mit einer Gesamtleistung von 212 kWh sind immerhin für eine Reichweite von 200 Kilometern gut, was für eine Tagestour im Verteilerverkehr üblicherweise voll ausreicht. Die Ladezeit an einer 100-kW-Säule soll nur knapp über zwei Stunden betragen, allerdings sind solch potente Kraftquellen derzeit noch eine Seltenheit.

Und auch wenn die Lithium-Ionen-Akkus zusammen fast 2,5 Tonnen wiegen, wird der Stadt-Laster mit einer Nutzlast von 12,8 Tonnen, wie sie im Verteilerverkehr gängig sind, fertig. Auch der typische 7,4 Meter lange Kühlkoffer für den Frischedienst-Einsatz von Supermärkten und Einzelhandelsgeschäften mit Lebensmitteln lässt sich hinterm Fahrerhaus verbauen.

Mit seinen Drohnen soll der Vision Van vor allem den Lieferverkehr "auf der letzten Meile" revolutionieren.
Mit seinen Drohnen soll der Vision Van vor allem den Lieferverkehr „auf der letzten Meile“ revolutionieren.

Während Wolfgang Bernhard die Einführung rein elektrischer Antriebe im schweren Truck auf der Langstrecke für „physikalisch unmöglich“ hält, gibt er dem Verteiler-Lkw eine gute Chance. „Der Urban e-Truck würde im Vergleich zu einem Diesel-Lkw heute sicher einen Aufschlag in fünfstelliger Höhe erfordern“, erklärt der Nutzfahrzeug-Chef. Allerdings sei der stromernde 25-Tonner frühestens Anfang des nächsten Jahrzehnts serienreif und bis dahin seien die Batteriepreise allemal günstiger. Hinzu kämen aber auch noch die deutlich geringeren Betriebskosten. Denn erstens liegen die Stromausgaben rund 40 Prozent unter einem vergleichbaren Dieselverbrauch und zweitens besitzt ein E-Antrieb viel weniger Verschleißteile, was die Wartungs- und Instandhaltungskosten maßgeblich reduziert. Auch Ölwechsel fallen ja nicht mehr an.

Ohne Lenkrad, aber mit Drohnenlandeplatz

Mindestens genauso futuristisch von Chefdesigner Gordon Wagener gezeichnet präsentiert sich der Vision Van, der mit einer Cloud-basierten Steuerungssoftware ebenso in ein Gesamtkonzept einer komplett digitalisierten Lieferkette eingebunden werden soll. Das Fahrzeug kommuniziert beispielsweise auch über ein als „Kühlergrill“ gestaltetes Black Panel mit der Umwelt und soll vor allem den Lieferverkehr „auf der letzten Meile“ revolutionieren. So gibt es im Cockpit weder Lenkrad noch Pedalerie, dafür aber auf dem Dach zwei Landeplätze für Drohnen, die bei der Auslieferung den letzten Teil des Zustellungsweges vom Auto zum Kunden überbrücken sollen.

Eher als Meilenstein auf dem Weg zu einem autonom fahrenden Omnibus gilt der Mercedes Future Bus, der auch bereits in der Praxis bewiesen hat, dass mit einem City-Pilot an Bord zumindest teilautomatisiertes Fahren im öffentlichen Nahverkehr technisch bereits möglich ist. Auf der knapp 20 Kilometer langen Strecke vom Flughafen Amsterdam Schiphol bis nach Harlem musste der Fahrer jedenfalls kein einziges Mal Gas oder Bremse betätigen.

Dass Mercedes auf der Nutzfahrzeug-IAA mit den drei Zukunftsstudien aber nicht nur eine Show fern jeglicher Realität abzieht, beweist die Ankündigung, schon 2018 mit zwei voll elektrischen Fahrzeugen auf den Markt zu kommen. So ist ein ausschließlich mit Strom angetriebener Bus ebenso versprochen wie ein Sprinter mit E-Antrieb. Und schon im nächsten Jahr ist die Kleinserie eines Fuso e-Canter geplant. Der Kleinlaster der japanischen Tochter, ein Überbleibsel der einst gescheiterten Fusion mit Mitsubishi, setzt je nach gewünschter Reichweite auf individuelle Batteriesätze mit drei bis sechs Akkupacks à 14 kWh, mit denen die Kunden ihre Bedürfnisse in puncto Reichweite, Preis und Gewicht flexibel anpassen können. Er werde um einen vierstelligen Betrag teurer sein als ein vergleichbarer Diesel, würde in den Betriebkosten aber rund 1000 Euro auf 10.000 Kilometer einsparen und sich so bereits nach drei Jahren amortisieren.

http://www.n-tv.de/auto/Daimler-praesentiert-futuristisches-Trio-article18709651.html

The next 60 years of wireless and networking technologies will be exponentially more exciting than the first 60 years

Wireless networking will cover the world

The next 60 years of wireless and networking technologies will be exponentially more exciting than the first 60 years. As radio frequency (RF) bandwidth becomes consolidated under that banner of the worldwide right of every citizen to connectivity, the technologies of photonic LiFi, peer-to-peer communications, and low-orbit satellite integration for back-haul will unify the Earth.

Flexible smartphones

Source: Nokia
Flexibility will be an option on all components in the future so that devices can be shaped for different purposes. The Nokia flexible, transparent smartphone shown above can be shaped into a wrist bracelet or be flattened out for desktop use. The small insert ring allows the user to view functions, such as who is calling, without taking the entire phone out of ones briefcase, backpack, or handbag. The white ring can be worn on the wrist or clipped to a carry-bag strap or another convenient wearable.

Graphene transistors


Source: IBM
Click to enlarge.

IBM’s three-stage graphene RF receiver integrated circuit shows (in the top box) the enlarged scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of an integrated circuit. Look closely to see the successful integration of all key RF components (inductor, capacitor, and graphene field-effect transistor—FET). Note (in the bottom box) a single chip which contains a dozen graphene RF integrated circuits per chip, allowing wireless devices, like smartphones, to require only a single 2-by-2 centimeter RF front-end.

Wearables


Source: Valencell
Click to see the whole infographic.

Today, according to a national survey on wearable technology devices, consumers consider accuracy the most important feature of wearables. More than half of those who do not own a wearable, however, will consider buying one in the future when accuracy is improved. Look for wearables to take over every wireless and networking application as accuracy improves every year, according to Valencell—the biometric data sensor technology company.

Intrusion tolerant networks

In the future, networks will become „intrusion tolerant“ by adopting a message system that effectively oversees the underlying communications to prevent malicious software from executing. Illustrated above is the intrusion tolerant network designed by Johns Hopkins University to prove the concept of preventing sabotage from disrupting major infrastructure such as power grids and the cloud. Johns Hopkins, in collaboration with Northeastern and Purdue as well as Spread Concepts LLC and LTN Global Communications, developed this approach over the course of five years. Intrusion tolerance protects a network and keeps it running essential services even during an attack. Called the “first practical intrusion-tolerant network service,” this model will be deployed on a global scale long before 2076. As the first network service that can overcome sophisticated attacks and compromises, it has undergone evaluation and validation in tests that ran for nearly a year using the LTN Global Communications cloud. The test showed success, but the price will have to be reduced for vital infrastructure networks such as power grids and commercial clouds.

Remote control


Source: Texas Instruments

All remote controls will be voice controlled long before 2076, using technologies such as Texas Instruments‘ new voice control solutions for remotes. As part of its SimpleLink ultra-low power platform, it was specifically created to help developers easily add ultra-low power Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee RF4CE (radio frequencies for consumer electronics) or even combined multi-standard connectivity to voice controlled remotes for TVs, set-top boxes and other consumer electronics. Multi-standard devices can use TI’s CC2650, which combines both RF transmitters or use the same boards for multiple products using only one of the RF transmitters.  Voice-activated RF commands such as search, gesturing and pointing also save power compared to the infrared remotes used today.

Software-defined radio


Click to enlarge.

Today smartphones and other wireless devices, such as machine-to-machine (M2M) IoT devices must cope with all the multiple bands used for the same functions in different countries (and sometimes in different regions of the same country). That means as many as a dozen RF front-ends in the same device. In the future, however, software-defined radios will lessen that burden by allowing a single radio to be tuned to a variety of bands, leaving multiple RF front-ends on for bands that must run simultaneously (such as LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi). The world’s first commercial software-defined radio is already here from Silicon Labs which supports FM, HD Radio, and Digital Audio Radio (DAB/DAB+) broadcasts. However, in the future any RF band will be available in a software-defined radio that allows the designer to build-in automatic changing of frequencies as people travel the globe.

5G to 10G


Source: Xilinx and BEEcube

If we assume that 5G bands and networks will begin replace 4G by 2020, and that the next generations beyond that will come along at roughly decade intervals, then by 2076 we will be at 10G. None of the analysts to whom I spoke would commit to predicting anything 60 years out from now, so I’m going out on a limb here; get ready for a wild ride. 5G’s stated goals are to more efficiently manage the entire spectrum—from ultra-sonic to ultra-violet light—rather than continue concentrating on the 2.4-GHz band designed to cook meat in microwave ovens and already affecting the health of humans working too close to microwave towers. In addition to faster data rates (up to one gigahertz, 1-GHz), 5G also aims for lower battery consumption, lower outages, better coverage, lower latency, lower infrastructure costs, higher scalability, and more reliable communications. What could 6-to-10G add: connectivity with household devices (thus eliminating the tangle of wires behind every desk, TV, and home entertainment console), peer-to-peer communication (to reduce backbone congestion), compatible protocols among every band, integration with Li-Fi networks (that use LED signaling for communications), and low-orbit satellite integration for back-haul.

RFID tags


Source: Wikipedia

Wireless RF identification (RFID) tags began as espionage tools invented by Léon Theremin for the Soviet Union to retransmit incident audio—in other words as passive „bugs.“ In 1945 when they were invented, sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which altered the shape of a radio-frequency resonator thus modulated it. Even though this device was a covert listening device, it inspired the current generation of passive RFID tags that are proliferating wildly—from inventory tracking to finding lost pets. By 2076, every device manufactured will have a built-in RFID capability so that no piece of equipment will ever be lost again (of course also spawning a black-market industry of how to defeat them).

Artificial neural networks

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are the only technology capable of solving tough multi-variable problems in nondeterministic polynomial time—called NP complete (although quantum computers too are said to be able to solve NP complete problems but have yet to fulfill that promise). ANNs, on the other hand, are easily constructed to solve NP complete problems with mixed-signal materials (such as memristors), as well as with emulating digital networks, such as IBM’s True North. Deep learning, which merely means an ANN with many layers, is the latest catch phrase, but by 2076 superconducting ANNs, whether mixed signal, all digital, or quantum based, will be the smartest artificial intelligences in the universe. The good news is that they will not take over the jobs of humans, but will extend their capabilities by being in constant wireless contact with human implants, allowing them to turn even average intellectuals into Einsteins, and Einsteins into demigods.

Omnirelevance


Source: Globant
Click to enlarge.

Long before 2076, wireless/networked consumer electronics will become so ubiquitous that they will no longer be marketed for their features, but for their omnirelevance—that is, how a brand impacts the lifestyle and longevity of the buyer. Omnirelevance is built around an understanding of the customers‘ „journey to a brand“ by maintaining relevance in the face of increasing brand competition.

http://www.edn.com/design/wireless-networking/4442396/Wireless-networking-will-cover-the-world

The tyranny of messaging and notifications

Welcome to Mossberg, a weekly commentary and reviews column on The Verge and Recode by veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg, now an Executive Editor at The Verge and Editor at Large of Recode.

Up until just a few years ago, I got around 350 emails a day, which presented me with an exhausting, time-consuming daily task that I grumbled about plenty. Now, because of social media and messaging services, that number has been cut by more than half. But things are actually worse.

These days, messages come at me from so many directions that it’s incredibly distracting and even harder to deal with. Friends, co-workers, business acquaintances and strangers contact me on multiple siloed services, which can signal subtle shades of immediacy or weight. And when I have to reach someone with something important and time-sensitive, I often wind up resorting to two or more similar but independent pathways, because I’m never sure which one will be likelier to work, since he or she is under a similar assault.

And then there are the notifications, ever-present on every operating system on every device. Sure, you can fine tune or even silence them with some work (more on that later), but most people don’t, or don’t know how, or feel they don’t dare. Notifications are supposed to save you time, but often they wind up doing the opposite.

Many mornings, it’s common for the lock screen of my iPhone and the right-hand side of my Mac’s screen to be jammed with notifications about „news“ I don’t care about, messages whose relevance has come and gone overnight, tips on birthdays of people I’m not close to, reminders of meetings I’m not attending, and warnings of traffic tie-ups on roads I don’t use. The signal-to-noise ratio is very poor, and gets only marginally better during the work day.

The confusion will only grow

And this weird, mixed-up communications structure is about to get more complex, because U.S. tech companies — following a strong trend in Asia — are turning messaging from a service into a platform, with supposedly intelligent bots and assistants and apps built into them. Apple is beefing up iMessage. Facebook is beefing up Messenger. Google, which has been behind in messaging, is launching two new platforms: Allo for text and images and emojis, and Duo for videos.

Maybe these bots and assistants and apps will be a means to controlling and focusing your messaging and communications, but that would be a hard, tricky job. More likely, I fear, they will just spew more messages and notifications they think — wrongly — you care about.

Alongside the race for consumer loyalty among these giants, there’s a parallel race to become the new-style internal messaging system for companies. In the lead so far is Slack, an unthreaded, sometimes chaotic series of chat rooms which my employer, Vox Media, uses, and which claims to be the fastest-growing business application on the market. Microsoft and others are trying to catch up. Slack is just another thing you have to keep up with.

I don’t know about you, but I expect to be pretty cautious about committing to Google’s new Allo service, once I’ve tried it out. Other new services inspire similar caution. All due respect to the smart folks at Google, but I’m just not sure I can handle yet another messaging service in my life.

Stop! Attention thief!

Sometimes, I yearn for the old days of email dominance (I can’t believe I typed those words). Why? Because despite the spam, you could be pretty sure you were good if you just checked it a few times a day, since most people used it as their primary means of written communication and they usually didn’t expect an immediate response.

A text, or short internet message, on the other hand, seems to demand instant attention, and may even lead to a whole thread of conversation. This can sometimes be delightful or enlightening, but it takes you away from the moment — from your thinking, reading, working. It steals your attention at a time of the sender’s choosing.

Even social network posts can act like this. You might be succeeding — for a while at least — in staying away from Facebook or Twitter while you work on a project or think through a problem. But then somebody acts on one of your posts, or even on a post you merely commented on, and boom! There’s a notification nagging at you. This happened to me as I was writing this column, because I forgot to kill notifications for awhile.

And, of course, a tweet or Facebook post can spawn a whole, sometimes heated, conversation that’s hard to ignore, even if you’re not browsing your whole feed for news or amusing GIFs.

The rabbit holes are everywhere, and it’s too easy to fall down them.

Dumb and dumber

One reason for the messaging overload, especially when it comes to notifications, is that too many apps just have no idea what’s relevant to you, or don’t care. For instance, I signed up for a local text alert service to get notified of things like dangerous storms on the way or bad road conditions, But I’m on the verge of shutting it off because it floods me with texts about anything worse than a fender bender on roads I never travel. It knows nothing about my driving habits and offers no way to teach it. Then, it compounds the distraction by texting me again when the irrelevant traffic tie-up is cleared.

Starbucks notifies me when I’m near one of its branches where I buy a lot of coffee. But the notification remains on my Apple Watch long after I’ve left the vicinity of that store. CVS notifies me of sales, when I really don’t care and I only wanted to know if my prescription is ready.

And to make some of these apps smarter, I might have to give up more of my personal information, which is a dangerous balance — especially when dozens of these apps start asking for it.

The big solution?

It would be nice if, like most email services, these major and forthcoming messaging services could somehow interoperate in the same client of your choice, so they could all somehow learn your preferences and you could use a single scheme of settings and preferences to control their behavior (maybe you could „snooze“ them) and their notifications. But that seems highly unlikely.  Palm’s webOS operating system had a feature something like this called Synergy, but it’s defunct.

So the big fix to this is probably up to the makers of the operating system platforms. They permit and control the notifications, at the least. They could create more and better user tailoring and learning that could be shared by all messaging services. But the problem, of course, is that the two big mobile OS makers, Apple and Google, are also deeply enmeshed in the messaging wars.

The small, available solution

So, what can you do? Well, you can be like me and vow to stick with one or two messaging services, turn off all notifications when need be, and, at times, when it really matters, put your mobile devices into airplane mode for an hour here and there, even on the ground.

Or, you could carefully tweak your notifications on iOS and Android. For instance, if you have an iPhone, you could open your Notification settings and go through the long list of apps you own, decide if you want notifications from each, and then, if so, what types of notification (sounds? lock screen snippets? A badge? one of two types of banners?)

And then, you could dive into the preferences on Facebook and Twitter, and quiet the notifications that stem from threads in which you are involved.

This might do the trick, but, if you’re a power user, it’s a daunting task. It’s like that vow you make, but never keep, to devote a bunch of time to paring down your list of Facebook friends.

A shorter, simpler list of steps outlined here should help.

But none of the excitement and energy around messaging as a new platform will go anywhere if managing the flow of messages is more trouble than they’re actually worth.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/6/12102874/walt-mossberg-messaging-notifications

The 15 coolest concept cars revealed this year so far

Automakers are pushing bold, innovative ideas forward with their latest concept cars.

Faraday Thumb23Rob Ludacer

Whether it’s a car with nothing inside but a sofa and TV or an electric car resembling the Batmobile, concept cars give us a glimpse of how technology will shape the future of driving.

1. Volkswagen unveiled a microbus concept meant to give a modern spin to the classic Volkswagen bus at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

1. Volkswagen unveiled a microbus concept meant to give a modern spin to the classic Volkswagen bus at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Volkswagen

Called the BUDD-e, the electric car gets up to 373 miles of range.

The doors open with a simple wave of the hand, and you can control the console’s interface by making hand gestures.

The doors open with a simple wave of the hand, and you can control the console's interface by making hand gestures.

Volkswagen

You can also use the interface to control things like the temperature and lighting in your house.

2. The big unveiling to come out of the Consumer Electronics Show was Faraday Future’s concept car, the FFZERO1.

2. The big unveiling to come out of the Consumer Electronics Show was Faraday Future's concept car, the FFZERO1.

Rob Ludacer

It can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds.

Four motors placed over each wheel give the car a top speed of 200 miles per hour. It’s also capable of learning the driver’s preferences and automatically adjusting the internal settings.

Four motors placed over each wheel give the car a top speed of 200 miles per hour. It's also capable of learning the driver's preferences and automatically adjusting the internal settings.

Faraday Future

Although Faraday Future plans to release a production car in 2020, the FFZERO1 is just a show car.

3. LeEco, a Chinese tech company, unveiled its Tesla killer concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show.

LeEco is also partners with Faraday Future.

Called the LeSEE, the car has a top speed of 130 miles per hour. It also has an autonomous mode.

Called the LeSEE, the car has a top speed of 130 miles per hour. It also has an autonomous mode.

LeEco

The steering wheel will retract back into the dashboard when the car is in autonomous mode.

4. The Lincoln Navigator concept car comes with giant gullwing doors. It was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March.

4. The Lincoln Navigator concept car comes with giant gullwing doors. It was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March.

Ford

We won’t be seeing those doors in the production model of a Lincoln Navigator anytime soon, unfortunately.

The six seats inside can be adjusted 30 different ways, and there’s entertainment consoles on the back of four seats so passengers can watch TV or play games.

The six seats inside can be adjusted 30 different ways, and there's entertainment consoles on the back of four seats so passengers can watch TV or play games.

Ford

There’s even a built-in wardrobe management system in the trunk so you can turn your car into part walk-in closet.

5. BMW’s Vision Next 100 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It comes with an AI system called Companion that can learn your driving preferences and adjust accordingly in advance.

5. BMW's Vision Next 100 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It comes with an AI system called Companion that can learn your driving preferences and adjust accordingly in advance.

BMW

The side panels of the Next 100 are made of carbon fiber.

The steering wheel will retract into the dashboard when the car is in autonomous mode.

The steering wheel will retract into the dashboard when the car is in autonomous mode.

BMW

There’s also a heads-up display that will show information about your route on the windshield.

6. BMW added to its Vision 100 line in June. Here we see the Mini Vision Next 100 that was built for ridesharing.

6. BMW added to its Vision 100 line in June. Here we see the Mini Vision Next 100 that was built for ridesharing.

BMW

The car can recognize who you are when it comes to pick you up and will greet you with personalized lighting.

The steering wheel will shift into the center of the console when the car is in autonomous mode.

The steering wheel will shift into the center of the console when the car is in autonomous mode.

BMW

The BMW also comes with a heads-up display that will show information about your route on the windshield.

7. The last addition to the BMW Vision 100 line is this futuristic Rolls-Royce.

7. The last addition to the BMW Vision 100 line is this futuristic Rolls-Royce.

Rob Ludacer

The Rolls-Royce is also completely autonomous.

Because the car envisions a completely autonomous future, the interior is composed entirely of a two-person, silk sofa and a giant OLED TV.

Because the car envisions a completely autonomous future, the interior is composed entirely of a two-person, silk sofa and a giant OLED TV.

Rolls-Royce

There’s also a secret compartment in the car for storing your luggage.

8. McLaren unveiled a stunning concept car called the 675LT JVCKENWOOD at the Consumer Electronics Show.

8. McLaren unveiled a stunning concept car called the 675LT JVCKENWOOD at the Consumer Electronics Show.

McLaren

The McLaren 675LT comes with a wireless networking system so it could communicate with other cars on the road about traffic and accidents.

The car comes with a steering wheel that looks like a video game controller!

The car comes with a steering wheel that looks like a video game controller!

McLaren

The controller is meant to help the driver control the heads-up display while in motion.

9. Italian automaker Pininfarina unveiled a beautiful hydrogen-powered concept car at the Geneva Motor Show.

9. Italian automaker Pininfarina unveiled a beautiful hydrogen-powered concept car at the Geneva Motor Show.

Pininfarina

The car, called H2 Speed, refuels in just three minutes.

It has a top speed of 186 miles per hour and can go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds.

It has a top speed of 186 miles per hour and can go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds.

Pininfarina

The car can regenerate energy from braking.

10. Audi unveiled its connected mobility concept car in April. There’s a longboard integrated in the bumper in case you want to roll from the parking lot to work.

10. Audi unveiled its connected mobility concept car in April. There's a longboard integrated in the bumper in case you want to roll from the parking lot to work.

Audi

It conveniently pulls out when you need it and is stored in the bumper when you’d rather travel on foot!

The car’s infotainment system can calculate the fastest route based on real-time data and will suggest using the longboard if that seems faster.

The car's infotainment system can calculate the fastest route based on real-time data and will suggest using the longboard if that seems faster.

Audi

It will even show you the best parking spot to make the longboard portion of your commute shorter.

11. Aston Martin showed off a beautiful concept car in May called the Vanquish Zagato Concept.

11. Aston Martin showed off a beautiful concept car in May called the Vanquish Zagato Concept.

Aston Martin

All of the body panels in the Vanquish Zagato are made of carbon fiber.

Aston Martin made the car with Italian auto design company Zagato. The two have worked together since 1960.

Aston Martin made the car with Italian auto design company Zagato. The two have worked together since 1960.

Aston Martin

There’s not too many details on this car since it’s just a concept, but it sure is pretty.

12. Jeep showed off a crazy looking wrangler in March at the Easter Jeep Safari, an off road rally.

12. Jeep showed off a crazy looking wrangler in March at the Easter Jeep Safari, an off road rally.

Chrysler

That is a monster car.

The Wrangler Trailcat concept had to be stretched to 12 inches to accommodate the massive engine providing 707 horsepower.

The Wrangler Trailcat concept had to be stretched to 12 inches to accommodate the massive engine providing 707 horsepower.

Chrysler

It comes with racing seats from a Dodge Viper.

13. Toyota unveiled a strange-looking concept car dubbed the uBox to appeal to Generation Z in April.

13. Toyota unveiled a strange-looking concept car dubbed the uBox to appeal to Generation Z in April.

Toyota

The uBox is all-electric.

The interior is entirely customizable so it can transform into a mobile office or fit more people.

The interior is entirely customizable so it can transform into a mobile office or fit more people.

Toyota

It also comes with a nice curved glass roof that lets plenty of light inside.

14. French automaker Renault showed off a stunning, high-tech sports car dubbed the Alpine Vision in February.

The Alpine Vision is a two-door, two-seater sports car.

It can go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds

The interior is decked out with a LCD gauge cluster in the center console.

15. Lastly, Croatian automaker Rimac designed a stunning, all-electric concept car for the Geneva Motor Show.

15. Lastly, Croatian automaker Rimac designed a stunning, all-electric concept car for the Geneva Motor Show.

Rimac

Called the Concept_One it can accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in just 2.6 seconds.

The Concept_One can reach a top speed of 185 miles per hour.

The Concept_One can reach a top speed of 185 miles per hour.

Rimac

It has a regenerative braking system that allows it to generate energy whenever it brakes.

http://www.businessinsider.com/coolest-concept-cars-revealed-in-2016-2016-6

The Evolution of Messengers at Google

Google has announced three new communication apps this week: Spaces, Allo and Duo. That’s in addition to the three it already has. To understand why it’s doing this, and why it’ll do it again, we only need to look to its past.

Twelve years ago, Google began its shift from being „just“ the world’s most popular search engine to something much more: It released Gmail. Soon, the company was offering several options for communication. By 2009 Google users had a pretty robust set of tools at their disposal. Gmail for email, Talk for real-time text and voice chats, Voice for VoIP calling, and Android to facilitate everything else. Unfortunately, this simple delineation would quickly disappear as the company launched more and more services.

Google Wave was the first addition. Announced in mid-2009, it mashed together elements of bulletin boards, instant messaging and collaborative editing to pretty awesome effect. It grew a small but fervent community — I was a big fan — until Google halted development.

Then came Buzz. Launched in 2010, it was Google’s first attempt at a bona fide social network. It failed miserably, not least due to complaints about the way Google forced it upon users and some valid privacy concerns. Although neither Wave nor Buzz really competed with what the company was already offering, that would change when Google launched its next attempt at a social network, Google+.

In addition to standard social networking, Google+ also had two features that facilitated direct communication with individuals and groups: Hangouts and Huddles. Not to be mistaken with the current app, Hangouts at the time offered multiuser video chat for people in the same Circle. Huddle, on the other hand, was an instant messaging app for talking with other Google+ users.

Huddle would soon become Google+ Messenger, offering the same functionality as Google Talk, while Hangouts would expand to seriously encroach on Google Voice. Within a year, Google had added the ability to make „audio-only“ calls by inviting users to join Hangouts over a regular phone line.

Google now had two apps for everything, coupled with the problem that many users — even on its Android platform — were still using SMS to communicate on the go. It began work to rectify this and unify its disparate platforms. In 2013 we got an all-new Hangouts, available cross-platform and on the web. It merged the functionality of Hangouts and Messenger, and it also replaced Talk within Gmail if you opted to upgrade. Voice was still out in the cold and SMS wasn’t integrated, but the company was moving in the right direction.

In late 2013, Google added SMS to Hangouts, and in Android 4.4 it replaced Messaging as the OS default for texting. By Oct. 2014 Google had integrated VoIP into Hangouts as well. It finally had one app for everything.

You could assert that Hangouts was a better app because of the confusing mess that preceded it. Google tried lots of things and put the best elements from all of its offerings into a single app.

That arguably should have been the end of the story, but it’s not. For whatever reason — probably because it figured out that a lot of Android users didn’t use Hangouts — Google released another app in Nov. 2014 called Messenger. This Messenger had nothing to do with Google+ but instead was a simple app focused on SMS and MMS. Hangouts could and can still handle your texts, but Messenger is now standard on Nexus phones and can be installed on any Android phone from the Play Store. This confusing muddle means that if you have, say, a new flagship Samsung phone, you’ll have two apps capable of handling your SMS (Samsung’s app and Hangouts), with the possibility of adding a third with Messenger.

Hangouts, for the most part, has been doing a fine job.

Still, SMS isn’t exactly a burning priority for most people, and Hangouts, for the most part, has been doing a fine job. I can’t say I use it that often — my conversations are mostly through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, because that’s where my friends are — but when I do, it’s a pleasant-enough experience. The same can be said for Google+: It’s actually a great social network now, aside from the fact that barely anyone uses it.

That’s the issue that Google faces today and the reason why these new apps exist. More people are using Facebook Messenger than Hangouts. More people are using WhatsApp than Hangouts. More people are using Snapchat than Hangouts. And everyone uses everything other than Google+.

So we now have three new apps from Google, each performing pretty different tasks. The first is Spaces. Think of it as Google+ redux redux redux. It takes the service’s fresh focus on communities and collections and puts it into an app that exists outside the social network. The end result is a mashup of Slack, Pinterest, Facebook Groups and Trello. It’s promising, but, as of writing, it’s very much a work in progress.

Next up is Allo, a reaction to Facebook Messenger and Microsoft’s efforts in the chatbot space. It uses machine learning to streamline conversations with auto replies and also offers a virtual assistant that’ll book restaurants for you, answer questions and do other chatbotty things. Just like Spaces exists outside Google+, Allo exists outside Hangouts. You don’t even need a Google account to sign up, just a phone number — much like how WhatsApp doesn’t require a Facebook account.

Finally we have Duo, which is by far the most focused of the three. It basically duplicates Hangouts‘ original function: video calling. According to the PR, it makes mobile video calls „fast“ and „simple,“ and it’s only going to be available on Android and iOS. Both Duo and Allo also have the distinction of offering end-to-end encryption — although Allo doesn’t do so by default — the absence of which has been something privacy advocates have hated about Hangouts.

This summer, when Duo and Allo become available, Google users will be at another confusing impasse. Want to send a message to a friend? Pick from Hangouts, Allo or Messenger. Want to make a video call? Hangouts or Duo. Group chat? Hangouts, Allo or Spaces. It’s not user-friendly, and it’s not sustainable.

Sure, Facebook sustains two chat services (WhatsApp and its own Messenger) just fine, but it bought WhatsApp as a fully independent, hugely popular app and has barely changed a thing. Google doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, it’ll borrow another Facebook play: Test new features on a small audience and integrate. Over the past couple of years Facebook has released Slingshot, Rooms, Paper, Riff, Strobe, Shout, Selfied and Moments. I’m probably missing a few.

All of these apps were essentially built around a single feature: private chats, ephemeral messaging, a prettier news feed, selfies, etc. The vast majority won’t get traction on their own, but their features might prove useful enough to fold into the main Facebook and Messenger apps. And if one of them takes off, no problem, you’ve got another successful app.

This has to be Google’s strategy for Allo, Duo and Spaces. We don’t know what Google’s communication offerings will look like at the end of this year, let alone 2017. But chances are that Google will continue to float new ideas before eventually merging the best of them into a single, coherent application, as it did with Hangouts. And then it’ll start the process again. In the meantime, Google will spend money developing x number of duplicate apps, and users will have to deal with a confusing mess of applications on their home screens.

 

http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/19/why-google-cant-stop-making-messaging-apps/