SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk wants to spend $10 Billion to put hundreds of satellites in low earth orbit to wire space for internet access. As a precursor to putting up a duplicate network on Mars, Musk says that he believes that a space-based internet would be 100 times faster than fiber optic connections and would reach everyone on earth.
This Week in Tech News
A bill sponsored by Rep. Joshua Peters (D) in Missouri would require customers show their ID whenever making a purchase with a mobile payment system such as Apple Pay.
A YouTube musician named Zoe Keating is resisting YouTube's latest demands that all musicians sign a draconian, 5 year agreement to provide ads on all music videos, make the entire music catalog available, and release exclusively on YouTube first. She would also be prohibited from putting any music on other free services like BandCamp or SoundCloud.
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for everyone running Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and even for Xbox. Microsoft has brought back a lot of the desktop interface from Windows 7, and when you move into a tablet-like environment, Windows will detect it and adjust itself accordingly. You can download the new Windows 10 now through the Windows Insider Program, but Leo doesn't recommend putting it on your primary system. Windows 10 will be available to consumers in the Fall.
Windows 10 will be revealed on Wednesday of this week, January 21. It probably won't be out until Fall, but we'll learn more about it. There is a public stream of the event Wednesday morning at 9am Pacific time, and you can find out more about it at blogs.windows.com. We'll also have coverage of the event at live.twit.tv starting Wednesday at about 8:45am Pacific time.
Airplane pilots are pushing for new rules from the FAA to protect them from unmanned aerial drones, and according to GigaOm the pressure from aviation groups has been part of the reason why the FAA hasn't adopted formal commercial drone rules. Leo says that the other part of the problem is that the FAA, while having the authority to put forth said rules, has no way to enforce them.
Using the Paris attack to justify stepping up the intrusiveness of state surveillance, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for and end to any communication that the government is unable to read with a simple warrant signed by the home secretary. Leo says that this can't happen. The US even tried to prevent strong encryption by classifying it as munitions, and it just didn't work because it's really easy to create strong encryption.
The big story at CES 2015 was in drones, virtual reality headsets, and 4K TVs. The big news with the 4K TVs is that we may finally have a standard for the ultra high definition sets, as a UHD alliance has been formed and UHD Blu-ray players finally had a standard adopted. But they won't be available until the fall. The standard defines the dynamic range and color gamut, as well as the compression algorithm, which is HEVC/H.265.
In addition to some interesting new products, like self driving cars and drones, CES was what Leo called "Groundhog Day." There was about 10% new stuff, another 20% crazy stuff that will never see the light of day, and the rest we've all seen before.
CES starts this week in Las Vegas, NV. The confab, which is meant to bring together electronics manufacturers and retailers, also attracts media and tech geeks. All too often, Leo says that a lot of what we'll see at CES never gets released. But we'll see some pretty cutting edge stuff including smart thermostats, self driving cars, and the "internet of things."