In a shocking turn of events in China, a citizen sued after visiting a zoo and being forced to have his face and fingerprints scanned. And he won, in China! Leo says that China is doing a better job reigning in Big Tech than we are.
This Week in Tech News
Over 100 navy vessels from various countries, including Russia and the US, have had their GPS location hacked to make it look like they are unlawfully entering a nation's waters. Leo says that the hackers have been quite busy with not only messing with military ship GPS but also commercial traffic. And it has governments concerned that they could accidentally cause an international incident or even conflict.
Thanks to the so-called RickRoll phenomenon, Rick Astley's music video NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP has surpassed one billion plays, a rare achievement on the streaming site. Astley took to social media to thank fans, calling the achievement "amazing, and crazy." But Leo suspects that Astey isn't really getting that rick rolling is a punk, not a compliment.
"Ängström" is a word that represents 1/10,000,000,000,000th of a centimeter. That's pretty small. Why do we care? Leo says it's because it's the new measure of the latest processors, known as 20A processors. So when you upgrade your PC, you're going to be hearing that term. The more transistors you can get on a processor, the more powerful they become. Up until recently, processors had been plateaued due to Moore's Law (which stated that transistors would double every 18 months). That had caused chip makers to put multiple processors on a chip. But we're at the end of Moore's Law now.
Actress Scarlett Johannson is suing Disney over their decision to simultaneously stream BLACK WIDOW at the same time the film has been released in theaters. Her position is that Disney violated her contract, which pays her most of her salary based on box office receipts. By releasing the film also on Disney+, even though it was behind the premium tier, she contends it cost her millions.
Emma Stone is also considering doing the same thing over CRUELLA.
Google uploaded an update to ChromeOS this week that was missing the "&" ampersand code, causing many Chromebooks out in the wild to be locked out of ChromeOS. This comes fresh off another update that left out the "%" sign, causing similar issues should your wifi network or password rely on it. Google didn't announce the problem, but it was ferreted out by a Reddit user this week. The only fix was to powerwash your Chromebook and start over.
Elon Musk announced this week that Tesla will replace round steering wheels with a yoke-based design in X/S models starting immediately. Originally an option that customers could pick, the yoke will now be standard moving forward, with no ability to choose a round steering wheel. Leo says that not only is that a difficult proposition for those who were taught to steer at 10 and 2, but the steering ratio remains at 14-1, something the Yoke is not designed to accommodate.
Companies like Amazon and Google are doing to great lengths to make their assistant voices sound more human. Even going so far as to bring celebrities in to record random sentences and then use artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps. Known as "prosody," the technique is starting to put voiceover artists out of work since a computer can fake recorded sounds that are indistinguishable now from the human voice.
Due to the fact that it's just too small to fully recharge the iPhone (only 40%), Leo says that the new Magsafe battery charger isn't really worth buying at $99. Anker has one that's half the price and is a little larger. So save your money.
In what was dubbed the "battle of the billionaires," Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson became the first billionaire to touch space. Branson beat the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, by one week who is planning to launch on Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. Bezos took the high road, wishing Branson best wishes as he plans to join the Virgin founder flying above the "Von Karman" line to become an official astronaut. Leo wonders what's the point of it all, though, since Alan Shepard was the first American in space doing the same kind of sub-orbital flight in 1961.