This Week in Tech News

Researchers Have Created A Battery That Could Last Forever

Episode 1281

A student researcher has taken a jell and coated the inside of a lithium ion battery with it, that will enable it to cycle hundreds of thousands of times. The result is that if commercialized, there could be batteries that could last forever. It doesn't improve capacity, but it does eliminate the wearing out issue.

Microsoft Sues Feds Over Rampant Encroachment to Privacy

Episode 1279

Microsoft campus

Saying that the federal government has demanded personal data of their customers over 2500 times this year, Microsoft has sued the federal government demanding that the court rule on how the company must provide the information. According to the complaint, Microsoft is not allowed to tell their customers of the action, nor is there any expiration on the demands, effectively tying up the company forever. Microsoft is asking the court to rule and provide a level of transparency, and to act as a hedge against an overreaching government.

Usage of Ad Blockers Are on the Rise

Episode 1277

Use of ad blockers is on the rise, lending many who rely on browser ads to complain. And it raises the question ... who owns your browser and the media that comes to you? Leo says he understands while viewers want to avoid ads they don't care about while surfing, but as someone who makes a living by providing ad supported content, he is also understanding on of the impact of blocking the ads, it costs him money. It's a fine line to tow. Should users be allowed to block ads? Some believe they shouldn't.

What Technology Will Be the Next Big Thing?

Episode 1276

Oculus Rift went on sale to the public this week. It's a virtual reality headset that has motion tracking in it along with a camera that can track your body's movements. It also has headphones with very good quality sound. For video, it means that you'll be able to look around and see things all around you. Instead of a camera man or director determining what you'll be seeing, you can look at anything you choose. Gaming is another big use case for these headsets. HTC has made a VR headset called the Vive in conjunction with Steam, a distributor of games for PC.

Google's April Fool's Joke Backfired

Episode 1275

Google had two April Fool's jokes this year, one being the introduction of Google Cardboard Plastic, which is a VR headset to experience real life. It's simply clear plastic that you'd wear on your face just to see the real world through it.

The other April Fool's joke actually altered the way Gmail behaves, and it had some disastrous results. It was called "Gmail Mic Drop," and it replaced the "Send & Archive" button with "Send and Mic Drop." This inserted a goofy animated GIF of a Minion doing a mic drop.

Tesla Model 3 Already Has 232,000 Pre-Orders

Episode 1275

Elon Musk announced the Tesla Model 3 this past week, and they have already received 232,000 preorders. Customers had to put down $1,000 to preorder, and it may not be available for 2 or more years yet. This is the first Tesla at a relatively reasonable price of $35,000.

Read more at TheVerge.com

Run Amazon's Echo Software on a Raspberry Pi

Episode 1274

Raspberry Pi 3

Amazon revealed this week that it's possible to make your own Echo speaker using a $35 Raspberry Pi computer. Next week, Amazon will be shipping its Amazon Tap, which is a portable Echo device. Then the Echo Dot, which is a microphone that can be attached to existing speakers, will be going on sale to the public.

Read more at TheVerge.com

Microsoft's AI Chat Bot Becomes Racist and Sexist

Episode 1273

Microsoft

Microsoft launched an AI chat bot called "Tay," which was originally made to mimic the responses of a 19 year old girl. The bot was put on Twitter, and because it had a "repeat after me" type of feature, users were getting it to say awful things. Within 24 hours, Tay had become a white supremacist nazi.

Read more at ArsTechnica.com