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LanceList - Issue #17

Facebook Part Deux, Hard to watch, Tesla Loves Siri, Game Changers


March 22 · Issue #17 · View online
Tech stories that matter, Gadget Quests, nerd pursuits, and other things you ought to know.

Facebook Part Deux, Hard to watch, Tesla Loves Siri, Game Changers

Facebook Part Deux. In case you didn’t notice it, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is apologizing everywhere. I caught him last night on CNN, where he said he’d happily testify before congress and he promised to notify all those affected by the Cambridge Analytica data harvest. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg outlined significant changes to how the company lets apps gather and share data. These are welcome changes, but don’t think this is the last you’ll hear of third-party apps and your data. Zuckerberg all but promised that there are other Cambridge Analyticas out there. If all this makes you want to take a Facebook break, you can temporarily deactivate your account (it’s under General Account Settings). That will shut the thing down, without deleting all your data. Then you can sign back in whenever you’re ready for more Facebook time.
Are self driving cars smart enough? Remember that fatal, Uber self-driving car accident? Now Arizona State Police have released a disturbing video of the collision that took the life of one pedestrian. While not graphic (it stops just a fraction of a second before the actual collision), it’s hard to watch and raises many important questions about the self-driving technology Uber uses, driver attentiveness and sensor technology in the dead of night. As illustrative as the video is, it still doesn’t tell the whole story, one we won’t know until we have all the car data and more information from the driver who appears, in the video, to be looking down at her phone. I’ve been covering self-driving car technology for years and have driven in a few. They tend to be overly cautious and always follow the rules of the road. But I really don’t know how prepared they are for the unexpected. 
Arizona Police Release Video of Fatal Self-Driving Uber Accident
Gaming is about to change. Over the last few days, I’ve seen two videos that explore the power of new video gaming technologies. One, Siren from Epic Games, shows a real-time face-rendering using Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 technology. It’s so realistic that it completely blows by the uncanny valley problem. The second is Ray Tracing demo (another more GPU-intensive rendering technology) that creates a new, rather humorous, Star Wars scene featuring storm troopers and Phasma. The reflections (a key skill of Ray Tracing) are unreal. Right now, these are just short clips and technology demos, but expect them to impact future generations of games. Marry that with VR technology and get ready for some other-worldly gaming experiences.
Reflections Real-Time Ray Tracing Demo
Hey Siri, Find a Supercharger. Tesla updated its Model 3, so you can now bypass the app and ask Siri on your iPhone to unlock the car, turn on the lights and more. It’s a good week for Elon Musk’s car company. Musk just agreed to take zero salary until Tesla meets certain market goals, and Switzerland chose the Model X for its next fleet of police cars. Now if Tesla could just ramp up that Model 3 production.
Siri can now talk to Tesla's Model 3
iPhone goes Hollywood: Unsane arrives in theaters this weekend. The Claire Foy starrer looks like an above-average psycho-drama, but the real reason you should care is that the whole thing was shot on an iPhone 7. Yup, Director Steven Soderbergh didn’t even use the more powerful and expensive iPhone X or even the iPhone 8 Plus. He went old-school-ish. I know I’m curious to see the result.
What It Was Like Filming Unsane On An IPhone, According To The Cast
This is spring? Another storm dumped a foot or more of snow in the North East. I used the Samsung Galaxy S9’s Hyperlapse mode to capture my dig out.
Lance Ulanoff on Twitter: "How was your morning? #snow… "
Thanks for reading
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