Google Driverless Cars Coming Sooner Than We Thought!

Google Driverless CarThis is WAY sooner than I thought it would be? The question is, would you buy one? Or, do you think they will mainly use it in “closed use” areas (in that timeframe?)

Google Expects to Bring Driverless Cars to the Market Within 2 to 5 Years

Techsmash – By: Ryan Egan – “Contrary to the predictions of many industry analysts, Google’s head of self-driving cars, Chris Urmsan, expects actual people to be driving in self-driving cars within the next 2-5 years. However, the cars may not quite yet be a consumer product. Chris stated, ‘the cars would still be test vehicles, and Google would collect data on how they interact with other vehicles and pedestrians.’ The extent of that testing and the stakeholders involved has yet to be disclosed. (Sign me up!)

This may not come as a surprise to some, as Google made a similar announcement back in September of 2012. In that instance it was Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founders, stating that we should expect to see the vehicle brought to the general public within 5 years. It’s been just over 2 years since that statement.

Safety and legislation are currently the two biggest roadblocks that must be overcome before self-driving vehicles can become a realistic consumer option. Already, four states have enacted laws to enable driver-less vehicles. It started with Nevada back in June of 2011. That was followed by Florida in April of 2012. California and Michigan followed shortly thereafter. Also, the city Coeur d’Alene in Idaho passed a law during mid-2014 on the use of robotics which included a section on driverless vehicles. These changes represent movement in the right direction from a legislation perspective.

Google and other self-driving automakers are going to have to pick up their pace in enacting state and nationwide laws to legislate the use of driverless vehicles if they want to release to the general public within the next 5 years.

While many analysts have argued that sufficient safety will prevent the vehicles from releasing any time soon, it is apparent that Google is focusing on safety as a prime priority in the vehicle’s proper development. Anthoney Levandowski, Google’s Product Manager of the self-driving vehicle, said the following:

We’re really focusing on building in the reliability so we can trust and understand the system will perform safely in all conditions…How do you design it with proper processes in order to understand and minimize failure? How do you bake into a car redundant braking?

With over 700,000 accident free autonomous miles, it’s apparent that Google’s vehicles are quite safe already. Hopefully, Google’s prophesy is true and that we will have bug-free driverless vehicles in the hands of the general public within the next five years. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think Google needs to take more time to perfect the technology? Or do you have confidence in Google’s sensibility in ensuring sufficient safety prior to a public release?”

Geek Software of the Week: Ninite!


My last software to perform updates may have been malware according to a viewer’s report and research, so please DO NOT USE Patch My PC! I have deleted the entry for “Patch My PC” from my Geek Software of the Week! I will cover it more in this week’s show.

The Ninite Web Site

Ninite installs and updates all your programs at once…

Trusted by Millions
We install and update over 500,000 programs each day for millions of home users and Ninite Pro subscribers like NASA, Harvard Medical School, and Tupperware.

1. Click all the apps you want
You can learn more about a program by hovering over it.

2. Click Get Installer and run it
Ninite installs apps for you in the background. No clicking next. We say NO to toolbars or other junk.

3. Run it again later
Your installer will update apps to the latest versions. If something is up-to-date we’ll skip it.

Ninite will:

  • start working as soon as you run it
  • not bother you with any choices or options
  • install apps in their default location
  • say no to toolbars or extra junk
  • install 64-bit apps on 64-bit machines
  • install apps in your PC’s language or one you choose
  • do all its work in the background
  • install the latest stable version of an app
  • skip up-to-date apps
  • skip any reboot requests from installers
  • use your proxy settings from Internet Explorer
  • download apps from each publisher’s official site
  • verify digital signatures or hashes before running anything
  • work best if you turn off any web filters or firewalls
  • save you a lot of time!

Elon Musk Plans to Build a Space Internet

Elon MuskElon Musk is like the “real life” Tony Stark…. and he wants to build a space based Internet… like Google has proposed.

Revealed: Elon Musk’s Plan to Build a Space Internet

Bloomberg BusinessWeek – By: Ashlee Vance – “Because he doesn’t have enough going on, Elon Musk—he of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the Hyperloop—is launching another project. Musk wants to build a second Internet in space and one day use it to connect people on Mars to the Web.

Musk is tonight hosting a SpaceX event in Seattle, where the company is opening a new office. The talk will mostly be about SpaceX’s plans for hiring aerospace and software engineers in the Pacific Northwest to boost the company’s rocket-building efforts. But he’ll also use the talk to announce his newest idea, which would launch a vast network of communication satellites to orbit earth. The network would do two things: speed up the general flow of data on the Internet and deliver high-speed, low-cost Internet services to the three billion-plus people who still have poor access to the Web. ‘Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date,’ Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek ahead of the announcement.

The Space Internet venture, to which Musk hasn’t yet given a name, would be hugely ambitious. Hundreds of satellites would orbit about 750 miles above earth, much closer than traditional communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit at altitudes of up to 22,000 miles. The lower satellites would make for a speedier Internet service, with less distance for electromagnetic signals to travel. The lag in current satellite systems makes applications such as Skype, online gaming, and other cloud-based services tough to use. Musk’s service would, in theory, rival fiber optic cables on land while also making the Internet available to remote and poor regions that don’t have access.

In Musk’s vision, Internet data packets going from, say, Los Angeles to Johannesburg would no longer have to go through dozens of routers and terrestrial networks. Instead, the packets would go to space, bouncing from satellite to satellite until they reach the one nearest their destination, then return to an antenna on earth. ‘The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber,’ Musk says. ‘The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas.”

This project, he says, will be based in the Seattle office. (Musk has yet to determine the location of the satellite factory.) The office will start with about 60 people and may grow to 1,000 within three to four years. The employees will also work on SpaceX’s Falcon rockets, Dragon capsules, and additional vehicles to carry various supplies (and soon, people) into space. “We want the best engineers that either live in Seattle or that want to move to the Seattle area and work on electronics, software, structures, and power systems,” Musk says. ‘We want top engineering talent of all kinds.’

Earlier this week, the entrepreneur Greg Wyler announced a similar effort through a startup called OneWeb. Wyler has spent the last 15 years trying to bring Internet access to the so-called ‘other three billion.’ He started a telecommunications company in Rwanda that set up Africa’s first 3G cell network. Later, he founded a company called O3b, which owns a satellite network that delivers fast, cheap Internet to hard-to-reach places along the equator. Through OneWeb, Wyler looks to expand this vision and fill the skies with hundreds of satellites that will beam their signals down to low-cost, solar-powered rooftop antennas.

OneWeb has announced that Qualcomm and the Virgin Group will invest in its effort, which is expected to cost around $2 billion. Wyler has also already secured the spectrum needed to deliver such a service from space and expects to be up and running by 2018. He has a team of more than 30 engineers developing the satellites, antennas, and software for OneWeb.

Musk and Wyler have known each other for years. Musk, in fact, used to crash at Wyler’s guest house in Atherton, Calif. While there are major similarities between the two ventures, Musk says he’ll have an edge through SpaceX’s smarts and manufacturing techniques. ‘Greg and I have a fundamental disagreement about the architecture,’ Musk says. ‘We want a satellite that is an order of magnitude more sophisticated than what Greg wants. I think there should be two competing systems.'”

The Steam Client for Linux Has Issues!

Steam LogoThis is a rough week for Linux users! Ouch! This is, at least, a problem with the Steam client, not Linux itself.

Steam on Linux bug can delete all user’s files

Slash Gear – By: JC Torres – “No software bug is more egregious than one that can potentially wipe out users’ precious files without warning or indication. Some Linux users are finding this out the hard way when they discovered that their Steam client was silently deleting files starting from the very root directory all the way into the deepest folders. While the system’s files might remain intact because of how Linux security policies work, user data are left unprotected, making this serious flaw even more personal and frightening.

The small bit of good news is that this bug doesn’t happen randomly and would require you to actually be a semi power Linux user of some sort to trigger it. It only happens when you try to move the Steam directory, located at ~/.local/share/Steam by default, somewhere else, like on a more spacious storage device, and then try to symlink (like ‘create shortcut’) it to the original location. This seems to trigger Steam’s automatic integrity detection which, in turn, triggers its reset mechanism and, along the way, will try to delete everything. User TcM1911 seems to have traced the root cause (no pun intended) in the following snippet of code.

Due to symlinking, the variable $STEAMROOT ends up as blank, so that later on the command ‘rm -rf $STEAMROOT/’ will actually just read as ‘rm -rf /’. Any seasoned Linux user will tell you how dangerous that command is, which is basically like deleting all the contents of your C:\ drive on Windows. Fortunately, thanks to how Linux works, it can only delete the files owned by the user, which means that the OS itself remains untouched and functional. That doesn’t save the user’s own files though, and any external storage attached to the computer at that time will also be effected.

The problem is somewhat easy enough to fix by simply checking whether or not $STEAMROOT is empty or invalid before proceeding with the command. Variations of that idea have been suggested in Valve’s Github account, but Valve has yet to chime in on the issue.

One interesting note is that this side effect, if you could call it that, isn’t really peculiar to Linux only. Steam’s uninstallation guide does warn that if you had moved or installed the contents of the Steam folder somewhere else on Windows, it will delete everything there as well during the process. Meaning if you, for one reason or another, put all the contents of C:\Program Files\Steam\ inside C:\, uninstalling Steam will delete everything in C:\. Given how permissions work on Windows, that will have even more destructive consequences.”

Star Trek Continues Has Another “KirkStarter!”

Star Trek Continues!

I LOVE this continuation of the Star Trek: TOS (The Original Series) story! PLEASE consider helping them continue with “Star Trek Continues!”

Star Trek Continues Web Site

Star Trek Continues Episodes on Vimeo

The KirkStarter 2 Kickstarter Page

“Trek Continues Inc. in association with Farragut Films and Dracogen Strategic Investments, presents the acclaimed webseries Star Trek Continues!

In November 2013, we launched a successful ‘Kirkstarter’ that allowed us to produce three new Star Trek Continues episodes. We’re now launching ‘Kirkstarter 2.0’ so we can continue our journey and produce additional stories!

Keep an eye on the “UPDATES” page… We’ll be adding new content throughout this campaign, including video updates every 5 days!”

Sad…But True… a Trojan Malware for Linux!

Why is this happening? Because Linux is getting more popular. So, mixed feelings… no, I take that back, I hate it!

Stealthy ‘XOR.DDoS’ trojan infects Linux systems, installs rootkit

SC Magazine – By: Ashley Carmen – “A newly discovered trojan is infecting Linux systems and possibly building up an arsenal of devices to be used in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, according to a blog post from Avast.

The new threat, XOR.DDoS, alters its installation depending on the victim’s Linux environment and then later runs a rootkit to avoid detection. Although a similar trojan has been spotted in Windows systems, Peter Kálnai, malware analyst at Avast, said in a Wednesday interview with that this trojan ventures into relatively untapped territory by targeting Linux systems.

“It’s very hard to set a rootkit component within a Linux boundary because it needs to agree with the versions of the victims’ operating systems,” Kálnai said.

Attackers using XOR.DDoS prey on users who haven’t changed default logins for their devices through brute force tactics against various network IDs. If successful, the trojan will then determine whether it’s compatible with the kernel headers installed on the victims’ systems and install a rootkit, if so.

“The rootkit hides all the files that are indicators of compromise, so the victims could not see those indicators,” Kálnai explained. “It also hides processes and other indicators of compromise.”

Kálnai said that the rootkit aspect of the attack was first spotted around October 2014. The trojan itself was initially detailed on MalwareMustDie in September 2014.

The trojan and its variants can infect 32-bit and 64-bit Linux web servers and desktops, as well as ARM architecture, which could indicate that routers, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, NAS storages and 32-bit ARM servers could be also be affected, the blog post said.

Not many infections have been detected yet, although those that have been do not follow a particular pattern. Both enterprises and individuals could be impacted, although Kálnai noted that individuals should be particularly aware of the threat, as enterprises typically have stronger security measures in place.

The Avast analyst also noted a small group is likely behind most infections because the trojan hasn’t been spotted on any forums.”

Dr. Bill.TV #368 – Video – “The CES Back With A Vengeance Edition”

Windows 10’s new browser, codename: Spartan, Bitdefender BOX, Toyota frees Fuel Cell patents, Apple Watch may run Samsung processor, Fedora 21 has a ‘flavor’ for the Cloud, Palm back from the dead, GSotW: PatchMyPC! What you need to know about Gogoro!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Patch My PC – Patch Management Program

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


Dr. Bill.TV #368 – Audio – “The CES Back With A Vengeance Edition”

Windows 10’s new browser, codename: Spartan, Bitdefender BOX, Toyota frees Fuel Cell patents, Apple Watch may run Samsung processor, Fedora 21 has a ‘flavor’ for the Cloud, Palm back from the dead, GSotW: PatchMyPC! What you need to know about Gogoro!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

Patch My PC – Patch Management Program

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio

Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

You may also watch the Dr. Bill.TV Show on these services!


Dr. Bill.TV on YouTube Dr. Bill.TV on Vimeo


Palm is Being Brought Back!?!

Palm PilotCross-posted from Hand Held Hack

What? I don’t think so!

Palm is being brought back from the dead

Variety – By: Marc Graser – “Chinese electronics maker TCL, which spent considerable coin to rename Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, has acquired the rights to revive the once-dominant maker of digital personal organizers.

TCL said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that it will re-create Palm in Silicon Valley, after having purchased the brand’s assets from Hewlett-Packard late last year. HP had paid $1.2 billion to purchase Palm in 2010, but sold off the company’s webOS operating system to LG in 2013, leaving TCL with little other than nostalgia to work with.

‘Palm has always carried a lot of affect and emotions,’ TCL said in a statement. ‘That’s why TCL has set the direction to rebuild the brand involving Palm’s very own community, making it the largest scale crowdsourced project ever seen in the industry.’

The company will set up a new Palm Inc. in Silicon Valley. It also will back the development of new Palm products with 5,000 engineers and seven research and development centers around the world.

TCL, which is a substantial producer of electronics in China, with its line of TVs and mobile devices, is still relatively unknown in the U.S., although it’s looking to change that through high-profile placements in movies like ‘Iron Man III,’ and naming-rights deals like the one in Hollywood.

It also owns the Alcatel OneTouch brand through which it produces lower priced smartphones Stateside. The new Palm products are likely to become the company’s more high-end line of mobile devices.

Palm was founded in 1992 and had various owners, including US Robotics and 3Com. Its devices essentially established the handheld market, especially among business execs, with the Treo and Pilot, and opened the door for rivals like BlackBerry to step in and take over.

Palm isn’t the only mobile brand trying to make a comeback.

Lenovo is trying to breathe new life into Motorola after buying it last year, with three new smartphones it will launch in China this year. The new Moto X rolls out in February.”

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