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Cringely Pans Self-Driving Car Hype, Says They’re Years Away

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In what may be his final year of technology predictions, columnist Robert X. Cringely argues “I can’t say that we’re going to see anything beyond more beta tests of self-driving cars in 2019… We simply aren’t ready and probably won’t be for years to come….”

“The problem isn’t with the self-driving cars, it’s with the cars that aren’t self-driving, cars that are driven by idiots like me.”
It will eventually happen. Once half the fleet has been replaced with cars that could be self-drivers if we allowed them to be, then there will be a huge financial incentive to get the other half off the street. This will be especially the case if climate change is still accelerating. I’m guessing that most cars from 2020-on could be self-driving with only a software upgrade, which is why Elon Musk is predicting Tesla will have full autonomy by the end of 2019. But notice that Elon isn’t predicting Tesla will be allowed to have its cars drive themselves everywhere…

So why is the world talking so much about self-driving cars and full autonomy? Some of it is Tesla hype, some of it is marketing as the car companies try to get us to buy cars that will eventually be self-driving, but probably not until their second owners. And the other reason why we’re talking so much about self-driving cars is because Uber is planning to go public later this year…an IPO that will go smoother if the driving public thinks autonomous cars are something that we’ll be seeing soon. Uber has a labor problem. If it can spin a story that surly and expensive human drivers are soon to be replaced with electrons, that will be very reassuring to Wall Street. But as I explained, it also isn’t true.

The world isn’t yet ready — something Uber and Tesla and all the others will suddenly admit in about a year (post-IPO).
Cringely also argues that the problem isn’t just the “millions of drivers who are still controlling their vehicles the old fashion way, which is often in a barely competent fashion…”

“We keep our cars longer because they don’t rust and we can’t afford to replace them so often. The result is that while we could expect a complete turnover in car technology every decade, now it takes closer to two decades.”

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Chinese national killed in Sri Lanka attacks on Sunday: Chinese state media

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BEIJING (Reuters) – One Chinese national was killed during the attacks on Sri Lankan churches and hotels on Sunday, Chinese state newspaper People’s Daily said.

Earlier, state news agency Xinhua said four Chinese nationals were injured, but were in a stable condition in hospital.

Bomb blasts at three Sri Lankan churches and four hotels killed 138 people and wounded more than 400 on Easter Sunday.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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Did Google Sabotage Firefox and IE?

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Firefox’s former VP accused Google of sabotaging Firefox — for example, when Gmail and Google Docs “started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox” and demo sites “would falsely block Firefox as ‘incompatible’… There were dozens of oopses. Hundreds maybe… [W]hen you see a sustained pattern of ‘oops’ and delays from this organization — you’re being outfoxed.”

Now Nightingale’s accusations have stirred up some follow-up from technology reporters. An anonymous reader shares a blog post by ZDNet security reporter Catalin Cimpanu:
Nightingale is not the first Firefox team member to come forward and make such accusations. In July 2018, Mozilla Program Manager Chris Peterson accused Google of intentionally slowing down YouTube performance on Firefox. He revealed that both Firefox and Edge were superior when loading YouTube content when compared to Chrome, and in order to counteract this performance issue, Google switched to using a JavaScript library for YouTube that they knew wasn’t supported by Firefox.

At this point, it’s very hard not to believe or take Nightingale’s comments seriously. Slowly but surely, Google is becoming the new Microsoft, and Chrome is slowly turning into the new IE, an opinion that more and more users are starting to share.
On Twitter, a senior editor at the Verge added “Google did a lot of ‘oops’ accidents to Windows Phone, too. Same pattern of behavior with its services and Edge. Oopsy this, oopsy that.” The site MSPowerUser also shares a similar story from former Microsoft Edge intern, Joshua Bakita. “I very recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up.”

Meanwhile, Computerworld argues that data “backs up Nightingale’s admission, to a point.”
[I]f Google monkey business contributed to Firefox’s fall, it must have really damaged Microsoft’s IE. During the time it took Chrome to replace Firefox as the No. 2 browser, Firefox lost just 9% of its user share, while IE shed 22%. And Chrome’s most explosive growth – which began in early 2016 – didn’t come at Firefox’s expense; instead, it first hollowed out IE, then suppressed any potential enthusiasm for the follow-on Edge.

Chrome didn’t reach its current place — last month capturing nearly 68% of all browser activity — by raiding Firefox. It did it by destroying IE.

Oops.

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Easter weekend brings more road fatalities – SABC News

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Police are investigating the cause of a three-vehicle pile-up in which four people were killed on the R57 road between Reitz and Kestell in the Free State. The crash involved a truck, a bakkie and a minibus taxi. Police say the deceased were occupants of the minibus taxi.

Free State police spokesperson Mako Mophiring says two people were critically injured and taken to hospital.

“Four people died in the accident – there was an involvement of a kombi from Mpumalanga, there is a truck and a van. We have opened case of culpable homicide and those injured have been taken to the local hospitals.”

Two people have also been killed after two vehicles collided head on, on the R66 at Eshowe in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Philamed Ambulance Services spokesperson Thobani Ngcobo says the two people were confirmed dead on the scene. Ngcobo says the injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.

“It happened on the R66 in Eshowe at Ulalazi area when two light motor vehicles lost control and collided head on. There were two blue codes on the scene, and four yellow codes who were transported to Eshowe hospital. The cause of an accident is still unknown at this stage, but the SAPS are on the scene and will investigate what led to the accident.”

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