#373 Aug 4, 2014 – THE DRONES ARE COMING!

This week’s headline story: The Drones Are Coming!

survey-dronesA police controlled drone may soon be making the rounds over the San Francisco Bay area streaming video back to the station. The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) has became one of the first local law enforcement agencies in California—and one of the few in the country—to acquire a drone. The department says the $7000 drone is to be used by the city bomb squad.

San Jose joins a handful of other cities and counties deploying drones for police work including Arlington, Houston, and Montgomery County in Texas; Miami-Dade, Orange County, and Polk County in Florida; Seattle, Washington; Herington, Kansas; North Little Rock, Arkansas; Gadsden, Alabama; Mesa County, Colorado; and Otter Tail County, Minnesota.

In a bit of “turnabout is fair play,” a Southern California man has been flying a drone over the Hollywood police station capturing footage of the gated parking lot. “What concerns us is that they are filming over private property and it’s gated – you’re looking at the layout of the police station, how we operate, personnel license plates,” police Lt. Michael Ling said. “They bring up the expectation of privacy, I’m not buying it,” the man told the Los Angeles Times. “Suddenly they’re talking about how I’m trespassing on a public sidewalk. They do not have an expectation of privacy…if you want privacy, build a roof.”

Federal regulators bar the commercial operation of them, yet hobbyist such as the Hollywood CA man, may operate freely so long as they are safely flying and do not accept payment for their services. The FAA is scrambling to create new regulations for drone aircraft before the skies fill.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Obama signs cellphone unlocking bill [Computerworld]The right to unlock your cellphone became law on Friday as President Barack Obama signed a bill that rapidly passed both houses of the U.S. Congress.
  • UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January [BBC]The UK government has announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads beginning January next year. It has invited UK cities to compete to host one of three trials of the technology, which would start at the same time. In addition, ministers ordered a review of the UK’s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines.
  • LCD Hacking Trick Could Make Virtual Reality More Real [Technology Review]Virtual reality is about to get four times more real. Researchers at Nvidia have built a prototype VR headset to demonstrate a technique that can quadruple the pixel density of an LCD panel. They call their new design—made by modifying two off-the-shelf LCD panels—a “cascaded display.”

and in Information Security news this week..

  • iPhone gets first free app for encrypting voice calls [Computerworld]iPhone users concerned about NSA agents and hackers listening in on their phone calls, now have a free solution. A new free app named Signal scrambles voice calls providing end-to-end encryption over a data connection. Similar apps, Red Phone and TextSecure, are available for Android from the same company.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Delta’s new iPad app lets you watch movies, shows on flights [engadget]Delta has revamped its Fly Delta app for iPad to give passengers access to streaming movies, TV shows and other media — in addition to the destination info and interactive live-map view features that were already there.
  • Facebook is killing its Gifts service, still wants you to buy stuff [Engadget]Mark Zuckerberg’s experiment in social network retail is coming to an end: on August 12th, Facebook Gifts will close forever. No longer will you be encouraged to buy your friends a gift on their birthday.
  • Android grabs record 85% smartphone share [Computerworld]Google’s dominance of the smartphone market has reached new heights, with its Android operating system now accounting for a record 84.6% share of global smartphone shipments, according to research by Strategy Analytics.
  • One of Google’s mystery barges has been sold and is shipping out [arstechnica]Perhaps you recall the story about mysterious barges that Google purchased and parked in the San Francisco Bay and South Portland. It was rumored that Google intended them to be a show floor for projects in work. The barges held structures made of 40-foot shipping containers that could be put together, rearranged, and transported as needed. The structures also reportedly included a “party deck” and various amenities for receiving clients, business partners, and VIPs. Well it appears that we may never know what Google intended for it’s barges as the company has sold one back to an international barging company. Yet another Google experiment scrapped?
  • Sprint Will Sell a $12 Wireless Plan that Only Connects to Facebook or Twitter [WSJ]Sprint is experimenting with less expensive, limited, data plans. It plans to sell a $12 wireless plan that provides subscribers with access to Facebook and Twitter only. Or, for the same price connect only with Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. For $10 more enjoy unlimited use of all four. Another $5 will get you unlimited streaming of a music app of your choice.

and finally…

  • Nanobots get tiny propellers for targeted drug delivery [engadget]A group of German and Israeli scientists have developed teeny-tiny corkscrew-shaped propellers made out of silica and nickel to propel nanobots through the blood stream to deliver drugs to targeted areas. The propeller is 100 times smaller than the diameter of a red blood cell and is guided through the bloodstream by a weak rotating magnetic field outside the body.

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