Tech News 2Night 179 (Transcript)

[Top TN2 Animation ] Tonight! Comcast accuses merger opponents of "extortion", Amazon might be building smart-home devices, and the mess Apple created with the iOS 8.0.1 update... Tech News 2Night is Next! [TWiT Open] [Main TN2 Open] This is Tech News 2Night Episode #179, for Wednesday September 24, 2014 {no ad} I'm Sarah Lane, Let's get right to the Tech Feed! Comcast has accused Netflix, Discovery Communications and other companies opposing Comcast’s $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable of failing at “extortion” attempts to get special favors... this is in response to comments filed over the summer by a variety of companies who oppose the deal. Comcast told regulators today that the complaints “are even more unfounded here because many of them are being made only because Comcast refused to grant various self-interested requests” soon after the Time Warner Cable deal was announced, such as free backbone interconnection, wholesale arrangements, and “many requests to agree to carry networks that do not even exist yet.” Discovery and Netflix have already publicly denied Comcast’s extortion charges. In a statement today, Netflix argues: “It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they’ve paid for so they can enjoy Netflix. It is extortion when Comcast fails to provide its own customers the broadband speed they’ve paid for unless Netflix also pays a ransom." / Reuters is reporting that Amazon is hiring empoloyees at its Silicon Valley-based hardware unit, Lab126, by at least 27% over the next five years, and plans to boost its full-time payroll to at least 3,757 people by 2019, citing an agreement the company reached with California in June that would give Amazon $1.2 million in tax breaks. People familiar with the company's plans tell Reuters that Lab126 will test Internet-connected "smart" home gadgets such as a one-button device to order supplies. Specifically, Amazon is reportedly testing a wi-fi device that could be placed in the kitchen or a closet, allowing customers to order products like detergent by pressing a button, and is also interested in wearable devices, Lab126's projects include the 2007 debut of the first Kindle e-reader, and the recently launched Fire phone. / BlackBerry's new handset, the Passport, went on sale today at BlackBerry’s website and at Amazon, with an off-contract price of $599, lower than the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy 5S. AT&T announced it will also offer the smartphone, but hasn't announced pricing or availability yet. The Passport has a square shape at 4.5-inches with a 1,440 by 1,440-pixel touchscreen. The square screen is 30 percent wider than the average five-inch smartphone, allowing it to display 60 characters across, compared to 40 characters on a five-inch device, though some reviewers have complained the phone feels too wide. The Passport ships running the latest version of BlackBerry's OS, 10.3, which inludes a new voice-controlled BlackBerry Assistant. As always, the company touts the Passport's security as a strong point, including remote lock and wipe, control over apps permissions, and data encryption. / Samsung has announced that its upcoming Tizen-based smartwatch, the Gear S, which the company announced back in August, will go on sale later this fall at Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The Gear S will have a 2-inch curved AMOLED display, support for 2G and 3G wireless networks and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware. The watch will house a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 300mAh battery designed to last up to two days. Still no word on pricing though. / Shipping company DHL has announced that on Friday it will begin piloting drone deliveries with a fleet of "parcel-copters" to Juist, a German island in the North Sea, which has no cars but has a population of around 1,700 people. Drone flights will take place when other aircraft and ferries aren't operating. The parcelcopter can travel up to 65 kilometers an hour. Drone testing is all the rage these days - Google recently completed a series of drone deliveries in Australia, and Amazon said back in April that it was working on a seventh-generation drone prototype. / Oh but let's not forget about Facebook. Speaking on Monday during a talk at the Social Good Summit in New York City, Engineering director of Facebook’s new Connectivity Lab Yael Maguire said of the company's work on its own drones, “We’re going to have to push the edge of solar technology, battery technology, composite technology." The Connectivity Lab was established earlier this year with a goal is to build and launch a fleet of solar-powered drones that can connect billions of people currently living off the grid to the internet. In order to fly its drones for months or years at a time, Maguire says the drones will have to fly “above weather, above all airspace,” which is anywhere from 60,000 to 90,000 feet in the air, and that “All the rules exist for satellites, and we’re invested in those. They play a very useful role, but we also have to help pave new ground." Coming up, it's a drone extravaganza! What's the punishment for the German man who crashed his drone into a lake at Yellowstone? [Segment #2] Tim Stevens Editor at large, CNET Apple pulls iOS 8.0.1 after users report major problems with update iOS 8.01 update was to fix several issues from last week’s iOS 8 release including the HealthKit bug (so related Apps could be released in the App Store) What were some of the other fixes? -What were the main problems with this update? (“so service” cell reception, Touch ID not working) -How long did it take for Apple to pull it? -How can people revert back to 8.0? -Any word on when the next update will be released? [Kicker!] Finally, you crash your drone in a national park, you get in trouble. Andreas Meisner has been sentenced to a year of probation in his native country of Germany, a one-year ban from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and a $1,600 fine after pleading guilty to illegally flying a drone and crashing it into a lake in the park back in July. In June, the US's National Park Service banned drones in all parks following an initial ban in California’s Yosemite National Park. Rangers are currently trying to find the drone. The court's judgment stipulates that both the drone and its camera will be returned upon payment of the fine. [good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night. Subscribe to this show at, and write us at Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, tomorrow and every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Sarah Lane, thanks for watching.
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