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New car radar from the military

Now Playing: Watch this: Magna’s new car technology is really smart 2:35

The modern car bristles with sensors, and radar is usually one of them. But compared to LIDAR and cameras, auto engineers tell me radar is sort of low-res, not too far removed from the image we have of it in all those old war movies. Until now.

Car tech supplier Magna just introduced what it calls iCON Radar, which sees the world more like LIDAR or a camera does, with more resolution and greater ability to discern objects from one another as well as their changing relationship in space, a handy skill for a sensor on a car. Specifically, iCON Radar shoots its signal out a much longer 300 meters, with aiming precision of less than 1 degree vertical or horizontal. It receives the signals back on a silicon receptor disc that is divided by software into 192 virtual receivers.

All of that adds up to a radar that can work more rapidly, increasing its ability to follow things in motion, sort of like a camera with a higher frame rate.

Startups Metawave and Echodyne are also developing radar for cars that goes after similar performance gains, using synthetic meta-materials not found in nature that make for radar antennas with advanced beamforming characteristics.

Check out the video and you’ll see that this new radar appears to see the world in a way that looks a lot like the perceptions we see from LIDAR, the current darling of many auto engineers when it comes to helping cars see.

We don’t care how we get there, but anything that helps car perceive the world with more nuance, and fewer dumb, deadly mistakes is welcome and overdue.

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Intel will release Meltdown and Spectre-proof processors later this year

Intel has been busy fire-fighting the Meltdown and Spectre bugs[1] throughout January, and the firm’s latest step in its uphill PR battle is to clarify that new chips which are bulletproof to the vulnerabilities will start to turn up later in 2018.

This information was imparted by the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich himself, in an earnings call to investors following the revelation of the company’s latest financial results.

As Hexus[2] reports, Krzanich said that Intel was still ‘working around the clock’ on patches to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre, but that software fixes obviously aren’t enough in terms of looking to the future, and that changes in the architecture of upcoming CPUs are underway to defend against the bugs on a fundamental level.

Krzanich said: “We’re working to incorporate silicon-based changes to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware. And those products will begin appearing later this year.”

This is nothing less than you would hope, really, but it’s still positive news to hear that next-gen chips will (hopefully) soon have protection baked in.

How to protect against Spectre and Meltdown

For the latest on how to protect yourself from Spectre and Meltdown[3], read our comprehensive guide.

Facing flak

Intel is currently facing a barrage of criticism from all quarters – including class-action lawsuits[4], and accusations of possible mishandling[5] of the embargo regarding disclosure of the bugs.

And it really hasn’t helped matters that the firm’s patches have been found to cause instability with some processors[6]. Indeed, Intel even recommended against installing its own patches[7] earlier this week.

Despite all this, Intel’s fiscal results for Q4 2017 showed record revenue – up 8% year-on-year – with revenue for the full year growing 9% and reaching $ 62.8 billion (around £44 billion, AU$ 78 billion), another record.

References

  1. ^ Meltdown and Spectre bugs (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ Hexus (hexus.net)
  3. ^ how to protect yourself from Spectre and Meltdown (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ class-action lawsuits (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ accusations of possible mishandling (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ cause instability with some processors (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ recommended against installing its own patches (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ best laptops (www.techradar.com)

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Hawaii's U.S. Senator promises legislation to stop states from sending missile alerts

US Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, wants to make sure local authorities never send a mistaken missile alert again.

US Sen. Brian Schatz (left), Democrat of Hawaii, said he plans to introduce legislation to make federal agencies solely responsible for sending alerts about a missile attack.

A Hawaiian state agency bungled a test of the system recently, terrifying island residents.

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Schatz said Thursday that he’s introducing legislation to make sure only federal officials are tasked with the responsibility of sending alerts in the event of a ballistic missile attack. Schatz, who announced plans for the legislation at a hearing examining the incident, said it made no sense for local authorities to alert the public of such an event. “A missile attack is federal,” Schatz said. “A missile attack is not a local responsibility.

Confirmation and notification of something like a missile attack should reside with the agency that knows first and knows for sure, in other words the people who know should be the people who tell us.” The hearing was held in response to the Jan.

13 alert that was sent to millions of residents and visitors on Hawaii telling them a ballistic missile was heading toward them and they should take shelter. The message also said this was “not a drill.” The message sent people into a panic, prompting them to contact loved ones and brace for the worst.

The errant alert was caused by a local official from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, who mistakenly “pushed the wrong button” and sent the message out to broadcasters and to smartphones and other wireless devices. Within minutes officials tried to set the record straight on Twitter and Facebook, but it took more than a half hour for the state agency to send a correction telling the public the message was a mistake. The Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the technical standards behind the alerts, launched an investigation and said the mishap was the result of the state having insufficient safeguards and process controls in place.

At the hearing, Lisa M. Fowlkes, chief of public safety and homeland security for the FCC, said the mistake was unacceptable and has eroded the public trust. While she commended higher-ups in the state agency for their cooperation in the investigation, she also noted she was disappointed that the employee who sent the erroneous alert is refusing to cooperate with the FCC and has yet to be interviewed by investigators.

She added that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is still working with its vendor to integrate technical safeguards into its software and change protocols to ensure two people are required to sign off on a live alert. She acknowledged that better coordination between state and local authorities and the federal government is needed to ensure mistakes don’t happen in the future. Senators said too much is at stake for the incident to be repeated.

“False alerts not only create unnecessary panic, they undermine the integrity of the emergency alert system, leading to public distrust and confusion,” Sen. John Thune, chairman of the committee, said in his opening statement. “What happened in Hawaii is inexcusable and must be addressed to ensure an incident like that never happens again.” Thursday’s hearing is the first of two that will look at the emergency alert system and what went wrong in Hawaii.

Another hearing will take place in Hawaii.

The House of Representatives is also expected to hold a hearing.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

‘Alexa, be more human’: Inside Amazon’s effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

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Apple will soon let you turn off the software feature slowing your iPhone

Yes, Apple has been slowing down your old iPhone, but you’ll soon be able to do something about it.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Following an uproar from customers last month, Apple on Wednesday said it’s adding a feature to its latest iOS update that will let customers turn off software that slows down their iPhones. Apple in December revealed that it released software a year earlier that makes your phone run more slowly to prevent problems with its aging lithium ion battery, such as unexpected shutdowns. As part of the new iOS 11.3 update, iPhone users will get a recommendation if a battery needs to be serviced.

Plus, they will be able to see if the power management feature that slows the phone’s performance is on and can choose to turn it off, the company said Wednesday. CEO Tim Cook last week mentioned the new features were in the works, telling ABC News that the next iPhone update will let people disable the software that slows down its phones. But while 11.3 will be coming in the spring, Apple said the new battery features will be coming in a later iOS 11.3 beta release.

The new features may help smooth over customer angst about the phone slow downs and show that Apple is trying to be more transparent with any performance changes it makes to older iPhones. Still, some customers will likely still be annoyed even after these changes are made.

Now Playing: Watch this: Tim Cook promises iOS update will stop iPhones from slowing… 1:18

The new battery feature will be found in the Battery section in Settings and will be available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In response to customer complaints about the slowed down iPhones, Apple cut the price for replacing an iPhone battery from £79 to £29.

The battery update is part of a broader iOS update, which includes augmented reality updates and new health records for iPhones.

CES 2018: CNET’s complete coverage of tech’s biggest show.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

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Donald Trump points finger at Samsung for lost FBI messages

Thousands of text messages between FBI agents have gone missing, and US President Donald Trump is suggesting — perhaps wryly — that Samsung may have played a role. “In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night, referencing texts exchanged between Peter Strzok, a former lead agent working on the Special Council investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, and Lisa Page, an attorney on the same team. “Where are the 50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?

Blaming Samsung!,” he tweeted 14 hours later on Tuesday night.

In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time. Wow!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018

In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time.

Wow!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018

Strzok, who in a 2015 text message to Page called then-candidate Trump an “idiot,” was reassigned from the Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential Trump-Russia ties last summer for fear of bias. His text messages to Page also criticized Obama Attorney General Eric Holder and Bernie Sanders.

Page, meanwhile, was reported to have moved out of the Special Council team and back into regular FBI duties in September.

Now Playing: Watch this: Trump’s tweets: A year in review 2:29

A software glitch on Samsung-branded, FBI-provided phones is reported to have permanently deleted five months’ worth of FBI messages, from Dec.

14, 2016, to May 7, 2017.

Trump’s tweet read as though Strzok and Page’s exchanges numbered around 50,000, but that’s thought to be the total amount of FBI messages lost.

Samsung and White House representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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