Tech news round up – 19th Sep 2016

In this week, starting the 21st September 2016, the following news items caught my attention.


chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Many Amazon Reviews are bogus

As you may have already suspected, after looking at over 18 million reviews on Amazon, they are found to be heavily influenced by those that were highly incentivized to give a favorable review.  As with anything on the Internet – reader beware.   Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-21-25Tesla releases v8.0

I am a proud Tesla owner and I love how my car simply improves the longer I keep it and version 8 comes with a whole host of new goodies that was released this week.  In addition to a major UI upgrade, there was an overhaul of the AutoPilot software to make sure the driver doesn’t drift their attention too far.  As a keen user of this feature I am glad they didn’t cripple it to the point of being useless.

Another cool feature was one that stops dogs and children from dying due to excessive heat inside the car.  So instead of cracking a window, the Tesla car will automatically cool the car if it gets above a certain temperature.  Beautiful life-saving feature.  Read more


chrome_2016-09-24_05-26-07

Tesla hacked and then fixed

A group of Chinese hackers successfully hacked a Tesla and was able to remotely turn on its brakes.  While at first blush this is alarmist, they would have to wait for a Tesla driver to connect the car to an untrusted WiFi network (one that was under the control of the hackers).  Given the Tesla comes with its own 3G network connection there is no need that this would ever be done by a driver in the field – you don’t just throw your Tesla onto the Starbucks free WiFi!   But good news, Tesla quickly showed that its OverTheAir update works beautifully and they had a fix out before the v8.0 software was shipped.  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-32-48Premium Gas may be a waste of money

The AAA organization completed its research and noted that the vast majority of people filling up with premium gas don’t need to – their car will work with no notable performance loss.  Some $2 billion wasted every year.  This includes some of the high performance German (BMW, Mercedes, VW) and British (Range Rover, Mini) cars.  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-35-57Resist plugging in that unknown USB

Don’t let curiosity get the better of you; see a USB stick don’t insert it into to see what it is.  A recent study noted that nearly 50% of the people inserted a USB stick they found in the parking lot.  Now that browsers have got a whole lot more clever in detected naughty sites, USB’s still pose a huge security problem and can install software without you even noticing.  Plugger beware!  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-40-0723andMe offers $99 DNA test kit

If you haven’t had your DNA profiled yet then you should give it some serious thought.  I took it out when it first hit the seen a number of years ago.  I found out a whole lot about my health and potential issues that I could be facing as I get older.  Also explained why coffee has absolutely no effect on me.  Well they are now offering a $99 that will tell you where your ancestry originates.   Don’t bother with the cheap product; get the full health DNA done.  It is your body; know all you can.  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-43-52Google/SalesForce eyes up Twitter

Another week, another potential rumor about who is buying Twitter.  This one seems to have got some legs to it, as the stock price on Twitter this week popped 15%.  Google and SalesForce are said to be circling.  Google I can see making a strategic move here, but SalesForce I find a little harder to believe.  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-46-33Can SnapChat succeed where Google Glass failed?

That is the question to be answered when it was confirmed that SnapChat (now Snap Inc – the camera company) has developed a pair of glasses that can record video and take pictures retailing at $129 a pair.   Given Google Glass was at $1500 this ‘toy’ (by their own words) may just be at the price point where it could take off.  Read More


chrome_2016-09-24_05-50-17Google Home will be $50 cheaper than Amazon’s Echo

The race to give our homes a voice to command is heating up with Google entering the race with a much cheaper version of Amazon’s Echo.  I am an Echo user, and I will confess, to not using her as much as I did at the start.  The novelty has worn off, and she has been moved to the guest bathroom as a shower-music device.  Read More


Google Chromecast reading a 4K versionchrome_2016-09-24_05-54-43

The excellent Chromecast device, that plugs into any HDMI input and lets you stream and cast content (web pages, video, music etc) is my gadget of the year – I have 5 of them.  Now there is a new one coming, supporting 4K resolution, at only $69 compared to the $30 at the moment.  Read More