Author: Greg Kumparak

Lowe’s is killing off and bricking its Iris smart home products at the end of March

If you’ve got any gear from Lowe’s Iris line of smart home products, it’s time to start looking for alternatives. Lowes has announced that the line is toast, with plans to flip the switch on “the platform and related services” at the end of March. In other words: much of this once smart connected gear is about to get bricked. On the upside, Lowe’s is committing to refund customers for “eligible, connected Iris devices” — with the caveat that you’ve got to go through its redemption portal. “PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOUR CONNECTED IRIS DEVICES BACK TO A LOWE’S...

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Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja is retiring

At the tail end of Tesla’s earnings call today, Elon Musk dropped a surprise bit of news: the company’s CFO, Deepak Ahuja, will be retiring. “There is no good time to make this change”, said Deepak, but noted that after two back-to-back profitable quarters, now might be the best time. Zach Kirkhorn, currently Tesla’s VP of Finance, will take over the role. Elon notes that Ahuja’s retirement “won’t be immediate,” but didn’t give a specific timeline. He also says that he plans for Ahuja to stay on as a senior advisor “for probably years to come.” Story...

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Elon Musk wants Teslas to automatically call a tow truck when something breaks

As Tesla ramps up production and gets more cars on the road, the company is still working out a few speed bumps when it comes to service. When something goes wrong, getting it fixed tends to take longer than many owners are willing to wait. In September of last year, Elon Musk promised to make fixing service times a priority. On an earnings call today, he outlined two ways they’re working on it: more spare parts at service centers, and giving Tesla cars the ability to automatically get the process started by calling a tow truck as soon as it detects an issue. Said Elon on the call: “The next thing we want to add is if a car detects something wrong — like a flat tire or a drive unit failure — that before the car has even come to a halt, there’s a tow truck and service loaner on the way” False alarm? Don’t want a tow truck to show up? You’ll be able to cancel it through the in-dash display. If they can get it to work, it sounds great — but it’s not an easy challenge. Pulling it off in one or two major cities? Simple enough. But nationwide, or worldwide? That’s a much bigger logistical problem. Elon didn’t give a timeframe for when such a feature might roll...

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Elon says Tesla might unveil its pickup truck “this summer”

Tesla is building a pickup truck. We’ve known that for a few years now. But when? In an earnings call this afternoon, Elon Musk said that he’s hoping to unveil the truck this summer. “It will be… unique,” he added. Note, of course, that “unveil” doesn’t mean “ship”. That presumably won’t happen for a while. The company is still knee deep in Model 3 production, finishing its Gigafactory in Shanghai and its long awaited Semi truck, and is actively working on getting its SUV (tentatively called the “Model Y”) into the tooling stage. The company has a lot on...

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Apple’s FaceTime bug will be investigated by New York’s Attorney General

Earlier this week, a bug was found in FaceTime that could let others listen in to your Apple device’s microphone (or, in specific cases, view video from the camera) without you accepting the FaceTime call. Apple disabled the Group FaceTime feature that enabled this bug server-side, thus preventing its future misuse while they worked on a proper patch. Apple says that patch should land later this week, but it sounds like that won’t be the end of it for the company. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew Cuomo have just announced their intent to investigate the matter — how it happened, and what they call Apple’s “slow response”. While Apple responded with its temporary fix once the bug started going viral, reports suggest that at least two users — a 14-year-old from Arizona and his mother — had been trying to no avail to warn Apple of this matter for over a week prior. While bugs happen, this is a particularly egregious and mystifying one. It’s like the perfect storm of bugs — there’s the bug that turns on the microphone early, then a second stage of the bug that for some logic-defying reason turns on the camera if the call recipient hits the power button to try to decline the call. Then it slipped through QA. Then, finally, it gets noticed by someone with good...

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Many Xbox Ones aren’t working right now due to Xbox Live outage

If you just tried to turn on your Xbox One and were met with nothing but a black screen: you’re not alone. A particularly bad outage in Xbox Live’s core services is causing the console to get stuck at boot. Microsoft is aware of the outage, and says they’ve “identified the cause”. We are aware of reports of Xbox One console startup, title update and sign-in errors. We will keep everyone informed once we have more information to share. Thank you all for your patience. — Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) January 30, 2019 Our teams have identified the cause for...

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Nasty FaceTime bug could allow others to eavesdrop on your microphone or camera

You might want to turn off FaceTime for a few days. A newly discovered bug in iOS allows FaceTime callers to listen in before you accept the call. Word of the bug started spreading this morning after Chicago artist Benji Mobb demonstrated it in a tweet, later being spotted by by 9to5Mac. The bug relies on what appears to be a nasty logic screwup in FaceTime’s group call system. While we’re opting to not outline the steps here, the bug seems to trick the recipient’s phone into thinking a group call is already ongoing. A few quick taps, and FaceTime immediately trips over itself and inexplicably fires up the recipient’s microphone without them actually accepting the call. Weirder yet: if the recipient presses the volume down button or the power button to try to silence or dismiss the call, their camera turns on as well. Though the recipient’s phone display continues showing the incoming call screen, their microphone/camera are streaming. TechCrunch has verified this bug on multiple iPhones running iOS 12.1.2. We reached out to Apple for insight on the issue, and a spokesperson for the company responded: “We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”  So they know, and are working on it — but in the meantime, the quickest fix might be to...

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Hidden screen in iOS 12.2 beta hints at AirPods that can handle “Hey Siri”

Its a weird quirk of the current generation of AirPods: they support Siri, but only if you double tap one of the earbuds first. Unlike with iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and HomePods, you can’t just say “Hey Siri” and babble out your request. Rumors have been floating around for a while suggesting that a new iteration of AirPods — AirPods 2, the rumor mill is calling them — would bring “Hey Siri” functionality. Now a screen hiding in the latest iOS beta seems to suggest the same. While it’s not a publicly accessible screen, Guilherme Rambo of 9to5mac managed...

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