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CarTrack’s Online Self help system is a rippoff for clients

As a systems engineer I find it very disturbing that a company of the magnitude of CarTrack has such ancient systems in 2019. I recently registered two vehicles with CarTrack . Their self help system needs to be revamped or replaced completely.

Why have separate system for one client ?

The CarTrack systems have different systems like to change your details , you need to go into one system and then to track your vehicle , you need to go into another system. This is very inconveniencing. CarTrack should rectify this.

Determining the exact  location

When you log onto their website and determine the current location of your vehicle , the system gives you a wide area which is way off the mark. Lets face it geolocation has so improved that you need to point me to the exact location of my vehicle. Whats is  the point of locating your asset if those that are suppose to give you the exact location are not giving you an accurate location ? Self service is very important to clients in determining the location of their vehicle. One doesn’t need to call a callcenter and be placed on hold for a service that you should access urgently.

No Geofencing facility

In their basic package , there is no geofencing facility on the website. This is something that the company should look into their system as it is very important to all clients.

Website Not Mobile Friendly

The website is very unfriendly.  CarTrack needs to look into this. The company should invest into their systems and understand that in 2019 most people access their internet on mobile devices. This is not an option but a necessity.

Recommendation

As a systems Engineer , I recommend CarTrack to invest heavily into their systems especially the self service aspects as this helps their clients to access the much needed vehicle tracking data without making calls. Accuracy is of paramount importance in modern days and their systems need to give an exact location in the serf service portal. More basic self service aspects need to be added into the web system.

 

 

UMiDigi A3 Pro Review – The Best Looking Budget Smartphone

Two new budget-friendly smartphones recently surfaced on the market – the UMiDigi A3 and the UMiDigi A3 Pro. Both feature premium iPhone-clone designs, with the Pro model also rocking a notch and receiving a small bump in performance.

As you can guess from the title, in this review I’ll be dealing with the UMiDigi A3 Pro. If you want to learn more about the non-pro version, then check it out the UMiDigi A3 review here.

So what sets the UMiDigi A3 Pro apart from the competition?

It comes down to three things. The first is the low price tag, the second is its premium dual-glass design and the third is that beautiful notch’d display. I’m a big fan of the glass sandwich design as they not only feel great, but look fantastic and are a rare treasure on budget phones.

Related: Top 5 – UMiDigi Smartphones

Priced at around the £100 mark, ($125 | 115), it offers solid entry-level performance, stock Android 8.1 Oreo and a dedicated SD Card slot.

In short, if you are in the market for a good-looking budget phone that can handle light workloads, then the A3 Pro needs to be on your shortlist. But first, let’s take an in-depth look at what the UMiDigi A3 Pro has to offer in our full hands-on review.

Pros

  • 5.7″ display
  • 19:9 aspect
  • Glass-sandwich design
  • Above average dual camera setup
  • 3300 mAh battery
  • Dual 4G VoLTE support with dual standby
  • Stock Android 8.1 Oreo
Cons

  • Fingerprint scanner at the back
  • Headphone jack and micro USB port side by side
  • Just 720p screen
  • No NFC
  • Entry-level specs

Umidigi A3 Pro Display

Display

With the A3 Pro, the first thing you’ll notice is the 5.7″ near bezel-less screen that’s rocking a slimline 19:9 aspect ratio. With a slight chin at the bottom, you’re left with an overall 90% screen-to-bod-ratio, which is impressive. This gives it a much more modern look in comparison to the regular A3.

In terms of screen real-estate, the A3 Pro steals the show.

Moving on to the display quality. The colour reproduction is good, viewing angles are excellent and the white balance is neutral. The 1512×720 resolution gives us a crisp PPI of 293. While not Full HD, at this price-range I’m not complaining.

Overall, it’s another solid budget display from UMiDigi.

Display Tech Specs: 5.7″ display, 19:9 aspect ratio, Notch display, 1512×720 resolution, 293 PPI

Umidigi A3 Pro Build Quality

Design & Build Quality

Boasting a glass-sandwich design, which is usually reserved high-end modern flagships, the A3 Pro punches above its weight. While glass battery covers are usually paired up with wireless Qi charging, on the A3 Pro, it’s purely for aesthetic reasons. For a little extra, you can upgrade to the UMiDigi One, which does has the Wireless Qi charging built in.

In your hand, the A3 Pro feels fantastic thanks to that curved iPhone-like design coupled with the relatively thin 8.5mm metal frame. The highly polished silver metal edge reflects the light nicely and adds a very premium feel to this very budget phone.

All in all, the phone is definitely an eye-catcher, but that’s not to say I liked everything about the A3 Pro’s design. Both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro USB port are located together, at the bottom which is irritating. That being said, at least it has a headphone jack.

Coming to durability, with glass on both sides, you’re going to want a case ASAP. Luckily, UMiDigi provides one in the box to get you started. This way you can avoid it sliding off your couch five minutes after you’ve opened it.

Summing up, the UMiDigi A3 Pro design is its number one selling point! It’s lightweight, it’s glass and it looks just like an iPhone. What more could you want?

Available in Colours: Space Grey & Gold
Dimensions: 147 x 70 x 8.5mm
Weight: 187g

Umidigi A3 Pro Performance

Performance

Powering the device is the MediaTek MT6739 chipset. It’s an entry-level quad-core CPU for budget devices. Don’t expect lightning speeds but it gets the job done. You’ll notice it slows down a little when you have multiple apps open, or you’ve got a lot syncing going on. Day-to-day though, it handled email, social media and videos pretty easily.

It’s worth noting that the UMiDigi A3 (non pro) still has the same CPU performance but with 2GB’s of RAM. So if you’re not a fan of the notch, you can grab a yourself a real bargain with the standard A3.

Playing a few of my favourite 2D games, Clash of Clans & Angry Birds, the A3 Pro held up well. The same couldn’t be said for PUBG or Asphalt 9. Now, if you decide you need a little more umph, then you might want to check out the UMiDigi One Pro, which features the more capable Helio P23.

Umidigi A3 Pro Gaming

Speaking of memory, the UMiDigi A3 Pro comes with 3GB’s of RAM. While RAM alone won’t solve the budget CPU, it does go some of the way to smoothing things out. Especially when it’s combined with the stock version of Android 8.1. Storage-wise we get 32GB and a dedicated SD Card slot, expandable up to 256GB.

Quick Tech Specs:

  • CPU: MT6739 (4 cores @1.5 GHz)
  • GPU: IMG 8XE (570 MHz)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB (expandable up to 256GB)

Umidigi A3 Pro Camera

UMiDigi A3 Pro – Camera

For the main camera, we get the Sony IMX386 lens that takes photos at 12MP. This is backed up by a 5MP OV lens to help add depth and bokeh to your photos. Outdoors with bright lighting, the camera performed well but loses detail when zooming in. Using the camera at night resulted washed out grainy photos.

Rear Camera:

  • Sony 12MP + 5MP
  • f/2.0 aperture,
  • 25 μm large pixels
  • Dual LED Flash

Front Camera:

  • Single 8MP camera
  • f/2.0 aperture

Umidigi A3 Pro Connectivity

Battery Life, Sensors & Connectivity

Inside is a 3300mAh non-removable battery which lacks any form of fast charging. You’ll have to jump up to the UMiDigi One and above if you want wireless or quick charging.

We found we were able to squeeze a full days use out of the UMiDigi A3 Pro when on WiFi mainly using social media and watching YouTube. When playing games, we found the battery drained very quickly.

Related: Top 10 – Phones with Awesome Battery Life

The UMiDigi A3 Pro doesn’t compromise with any of the basic sensors. You get access to everything, including a proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS (+GLONASS) and a rear-facing fingerprint reader.

On the front, there is also an LED notification light, that’s often missed off on budget phones. It’s worth noting that NFC is missing, but this is understandable considering the price-point. But, I would have appreciated USB type-C port instead of the older micro USB.

In terms of mobile connectivity, the main highlight is its Dual-SIM compatibility with support for 4G VoLTE on both numbers. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 5GHz Wi-Fi for faster and more reliable indoor coverage. It also has full UK Network Support.

Connectivity Options:  Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 5GHz (a,b,g,n) Wi-Fi, true Dual-SIM support, Supports 4G VoLTE

Umidigi A3 Pro SIM Tray

UMiDigi A3 Pro – The Verdict

The UMiDigi A3 Pro offers everything you could want from a budget smartphone. A crisp HD display, beautiful design, okay performance, a Sony IMX camera and decent connectivity. Yeah, you can get faster phones at this price-range, but none of them look quite as premium as the A3 Pro.

If you’ve been looking for a budget phone that you’re not ashamed to get out of your pocket, then you couldn’t do any better.

If notch’s aren’t your thing, then I highly recommend you check out the A3 as well. Both models include a dedicated SD card slot, so you’re only sacrificing 1GB of RAM and saving yourself some money.

Do we recommend the UMiDigi A3 Pro? Absolutely, it’s a budget beauty! But if your budget can stretch, then go for the feature packed UMiDigi One.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse post-credits scene, explained

The animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse mixes things up by introducing a whole bunch of Spider-people, one of the elements that makes it easily the best Spidey movie ever.

Plus, as with Venom and movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s a little bonus for fans who sit through the credits (which are stylish and fun to look at anyway). But maybe wait until you’ve seen the Golden Globe-nominated film before reading on and unpacking those last few minutes.

spoilers-mcu

A trip to the future… and the past

We meet another pair of Spider-Men, one from the distant future and another from more than 50 years ago, before they end up in an intense (and meme-worthy) bout of literal pointing.

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Spider-Man 2099 has been around since 1992.

Marvel Comics

The first of these is Miguel O’Hara, better known as Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), who’s been monitoring the action with his holographic assistant Lyla (Greta Lee) and sees that everyone has returned to their own realities. With the multiverse saved, Miguel decides to go on his own reality-hopping adventure.

“Let’s start at the beginning.”

Miguel travels to Earth-67, the reality of the 1967 Spider-Man animated series. That’s the one with the glorious theme song and the first animated Spidey. Thus “the beginning” here.

He encounters the Spider-Man of this universe, and the pair end up arguing over who pointed first — a moment based on the famous pointing meme that’s been around since 2011. We even get a cameo from Earth-67’s J. Jonah Jameson.

What it means

Spider-Man 2099 was created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi, and made his debut in 1992’s Spider-Man 2099 No. 1, the lead series in Marvel’s 2099 imprint.

Miguel is a gifted geneticist living in New York (renamed Nueva York) in 2099, an era when a dystopian US is run by evil megacorporations like Alchemax, a company that plays a big role in the Spider-Verse.

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You can unlock the Spider-Man 2099 costume in the PS4 Spider-Man game.

Insomniac screenshot by CNET

While trying to replicate the abilities of original Spidey Peter Parker for Alchemax, Miguel is forced by his unethical boss, Tyler Stone, to take an addictive drug. In an effort to shake the addiction, Miguel accidentally splices his DNA with that of a spider and gains a similar set of abilities as the original Spider-Man.

He’s also the first Latino character to become Spider-Man. His costume is available in Spider-Man PS4, and he was a playable character in 2010’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and its 2011 sequel, Edge of Time.

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Such intense pointing.

ABC/Marvel; screenshot by CNET

In the post-credits scene, Miguel travels to Double Identity, a Season 1 episode of the 1967 animated series. It focuses on an actor impersonating others to throw off police as he commits crimes. The pointing scene is from a moment when he pretends to be Spider-Man, and it inspired one of the many memes based on the show.

It’s not clear why Miguel is traveling through the multiverse, but the casting of a big name like Oscar Isaac suggests it’s more than a throwaway joke.

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Japan set to resume commercial whaling, defying international ban

Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, which it’s been a part of since 1951, to resume commercial whaling in 2019, a government spokesperson said Wednesday.

“After the withdrawal comes into effect on June 30, Japan will conduct commercial whaling within Japan’s territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone,” said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary.

The IWC was established in 1946 to govern the conduct of whaling worldwide, ensuring proper conservation of whale stocks, and currently has 88 member nations including the US, UK and Australia. Its global moratorium on whale hunting has been in place since 1986, but Japan has been able to circumvent the agreement because the IWC allows for hunts if the goal is scientific research.

The country has operated its scientific whaling program since 1985, carrying out hunts in Antarctic waters that saw 333 minke whales killed over the 2017-2018 season, according to IWC. In total, almost 2,000 whales have been killed in the Antarctic since 2009 under a special permit granted by the IWC for research purposes.

However, by withdrawing from the IWC as a member nation, Japan will no longer be able to hunt in Antarctic waters and the Southern Hemisphere, according to Suga. This seems like a win for whales, at least in the Antarctic, but similar numbers of whales have been hunted and killed around Japan and in the northwest Pacific Ocean under the same special permit since 2009.

The nation has lobbied against the global moratorium since inception, expressing the belief that many species are not endangered and reinforcing the notion that whale meat is central to Japanese culture. In September, Japan put forth a proposal to the IWC to allow commercial whaling operations to resume, but it was voted down 40-27.

As the gap between pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations widened with that loss, it was expected Japan would leave the IWC. With Wednesday’s formal announcement, Japan will withdraw as an IWC member state but continue to participate in talks as an observer. Commercial whaling operations will begin on July 1, 2019.

This doesn’t mean Japan is operating outside the law, as such, and the country will still conduct its hunts in accordance with international laws and limits calculated by the IWC.

The Australian government, which has long fought the idea of Japan’s whaling for scientific purposes, expressed disappointment at the withdrawal, as did New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and environmental organization Greenpeace, which labeled the withdrawal “sneaky.”

“It’s clear that the government is trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year away from the spotlight of international media, but the world sees this for what it is,” Sam Annesley, executive director of Greenpeace Japan, said in a statement.

“The declaration today is out of step with the international community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures.”

Much of the whale meat in Japan ends up for sale, but most Japanese no longer eat it, according to Reuters.

“We ate whale meat in the old days,” a shopper told the news service, “but there are lots of other things to eat now.”

Microsoft and Razer launch an Xbox One wireless keyboard and mouse

Xbox One owners now have a solid alternative to their game controllers: Razer and Microsoft have collaborated on a wireless keyboard-and-mouse combo called the Razer Turret.

It features a full-size mechanical keyboard with a dedicated Xbox key that pulls up the Xbox One dashboard. The mouse is modeled after the Razer Mamba wireless mouse and can sit on a retractable base that slides out from the keyboard.

In November, Microsoft rolled out keyboard and mouse support for a handful of games including Fortnite, Warframe and Bomber Crew.

The Turret mouse and keyboard have 16.8 million different color options. Razer worked alongside developers to support Xbox Dynamic Lighting and Razer Chroma in-game experiences on titles such as X-Morph-Defense and Vermintide 2 among others.

mika-d2-236-r2
The mouse sits on a retractable base that can slide under the keyboard for charging and storage.

Razer

A single dongle connects the Turret to the Xbox One via a 2.4 GHz connection. Razer claims the keyboard and mouse combo can last up to 40 hours on a single charge. And the Razer Turret can work with a Windows 10 PC, which is great if you split your time between an Xbox One and your computer.

The Razer Turret costs $250 which converts to about £200 or AU$350. It’s available for preorder now on the Microsoft Store and each preorder comes with a $25 Xbox gift card.

Check out Razer’s website for more information.

Facebook’s terrible year just got worse: What you need to know

                       The social media giant is under fire for whether it does enough to safeguard user data.

Facebook can’t seem to get through a week without another scandal popping up.

On Tuesday night, the tech giant’s woes continued to grow after The New York Times reported that Facebook gave companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft greater access to users’ personal data than the social network had previously disclosed. Among the details: Some companies reportedly could “read, write and delete users’ private messages,” the Times reported.

The deals with Facebook made the services sold by partner companies more attractive. For Facebook, the deals were designed to help fuel its user growth and advertising revenue. By 2013, Facebook had entered into so many partnerships that its employees had trouble tracking them, according to the Times. So the company built a tool that tracked which partners were granted access to data and could turn that access on or off, according to the report.

The report reinforces how valuable user data is to Facebook, which makes billions of dollars from showing ads. It also raised more questions about whether the world’s largest social network is doing enough to inform users about the data it shares and how that data is being used. Facebook acknowledged in a blog post it gave tech firms access to user data but has denied it did so without users’ permission. Some of the companies such as Netflix said they didn’t access the private messages of Facebook users or ask for the ability to view this data.

Then on Wednesday, Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine announced he’s suing Facebook over alleged privacy violations.

The company that CEO Mark Zuckerberg started in his Harvard dorm room is facing the toughest stretch of its 14-year history.

Facebook has had to contend with a data misuse scandal, the spread of disinformation on its platform, and allegations that it’s helped spur genocide in Myanmar.

Internally, Facebook hasn’t fared much better. The company’s leadership has faced intense scrutiny over how it responded to a series of scandals, including election meddling and data privacy concerns.

Here’s a look at the biggest scandals that’ve rocked the social media giant.

Data breaches, bugs and misuse

American online social media and social networking service
Facebook has faced a number of scandals in 2018 over data privacy and security.

Getty Images

Cambridge Analytica
The scandal that kicked it all off was Cambridge Analytica. In March, a joint investigation by The New York Times, the Guardian and the Observer revealed that a UK-based consultancy with ties to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had misused the data of tens of thousands of Facebook’s more than 2 billion users.

The trail allegedly leads back to a Cambridge professor named Aleksandr Kogan, who created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife,” a personality quiz that was billed as “a research app used by psychologists.” He legitimately gained access to information on 270,000 accounts through Facebook’s Login feature, which lets people use their Facebook account to log in to outside apps so they don’t have to create new usernames and passwords. But he broke Facebook’s rules by sharing the data with Cambridge Analytica.

The investigative report set off a firestorm over how Facebook handles people’s personal information. What made it worse: Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg remained silent for days before commenting on the scandal. Eventually, Facebook admitted that the scope of the problem was larger than once thought. It was originally reported that the incident affected 50 million users. Turns out it was 87 million. Facebook later built a tool to let people know if their data had been accessed.

‘View as’ data breach
As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook in September disclosed a breach that affected 50 million people on the social network. The vulnerability stemmed from Facebook’s “view as” feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other people. Attackers exploited code associated with the feature and were able to steal “access tokens” they could use to take over people’s accounts. Though access tokens aren’t your password, they let people log in to accounts without needing it.

Two weeks later, Facebook said the data of 29 million people had been stolen, including names, email addresses and phone numbers. For 14 million of the people, hackers also nabbed birth date, hometown and workplace, along with most-recent searches or places the people had checked in to on the social network.

Later on, Facebook said it thought spammers masquerading as a digital marketing company were behind the security breach, and not hackers working for a nation-state.

Photos exposed
On Dec. 14, Facebook disclosed its latest breach. A bug on the social network exposed 6.8 million people’s photos to outside developers. The developers could see the photos if users uploaded them to the social network, even if the users didn’t actually post them.

Data-sharing deals
Facebook’s problems didn’t stop there. On Dec. 18, the Times reported on how much user data Facebook provided to some of its partners. Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada could read users’ private messages, the Times said. Microsoft could reportedly see the names of all the friends tied to a Facebook user without that user’s permission. And Amazon reportedly had the ability to view users’ names and contact information through their friends.

The list went on. Yahoo could read the real-time feeds of friends’ posts. Apple could access the calendar entries and contact numbers of people who disabled all sharing through their accounts. Even the Times had access to a users’ friends list as part of an article-sharing app it shut down in 2011.

The deals, which helped more than 150 companies, dated back to 2010 but were still active in 2017.

The tech firm may have violated a 2011 agreement it had with the Federal Trade Commission to protect user data. The “consent decree” barred Facebook from sharing user data with third parties without their permission. Facebook, though, argues its data partnerships were exempted from the consent decree but former FTC and officials told the Times it disagreed with that interpretation.

Leadership and culture woes

Executive missteps
Facebook’s endless list of scandals not only appeared to be taking a toll on employee morale, but it also raised questions about the company’s culture and whether its executives should be fired.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a leaked 2016 memo from Facebook executive Andrew “Boz” Bosworth suggested the company prized growth above user safety.

Even when Zuckerberg tried to explain how his company handles fake news and hate speech, his remarks sparked more criticism. In July, the tech mogul clarified that he found Holocaust denial “deeply offensive” after suggesting such content shouldn’t be pulled from the platform.

A leadership shake-up
Meanwhile, founders at companies owned by Facebook continued to head for the exit amid tensions with Zuckerberg and the parent company. That included WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum; Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom and Chief Technical Officer Mike Krieger; and Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe.

But Facebook’s prior executive departures also came back to haunt the company. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left Facebook last year, not only urged the public to #DeleteFacebook but later also told Forbes he sold his users’ privacy.

Internally, Facebook tried to assure its employees it tolerated diverse politicalviews, including from conservatives. Facebook pushed back against a report that it fired Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, who donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group during the 2016 presidential election, for his political views.

Response to scandals
Then in November, The New York Times published an investigation into how the company’s executives handled a series of scandals over the last three years. Executives “delayed, denied and deflected,” the report said.

Facebook also resorted to “aggressive” lobbying tactics and tapped its Washington connections to shift blame to tech rivals and ward off critics. The company hired a firm known for opposition research, Definers Public Affairs, which tried to discredit Facebook’s critics by linking them to liberal billionaire George Soros.

It turned out Sandberg asked her staff to look into Soros’ financial motivations after he called companies like Facebook and Google a “menace” during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Facebook’s board defended Sandberg’s actions, but by then her image had been tarnished.

Diversity concerns
And just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse for Facebook, former employee Mark Luckie accused the company of having a “black people problem” and failing its black users.

Government clashes

Washington testimony
As Facebook’s scandals piled up, lawmakers and governments were also under growing pressure to take action.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies At House Hearing
Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in April.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg made his first appearance before Congress to answer questions from US lawmakers. For the most part, the tech mogul walked away unscathed after more than five hours of grilling. The line of questioning, though, illustrated that lawmakers still had a lot to learn about the industry they’re trying to regulate. Facebook’s apology tour continued in September when Sandberg testified before Congress.

Hate speech and misinformation abroad
In Myanmar, Facebook was under fire for the role it played in spreading hate speech that fueled what human rights organizations called ethnic cleansing targeting Rohingya Muslims. WhatsApp was also reportedly being used to spread misinformation in Brazil and Nigeria. Meanwhile, ahead of the US midterm elections, Facebook was trying to combat disinformation campaigns that appeared to be coming from RussiaIran and other countries.

European scrutiny
In Europe, lawmakers and regulators were digging into the company’s data practices. Italian regulators fined Facebook $11.4 million for misleading users about how their data is used.

And in a rare move, the UK Parliament seized internal Facebook e-mails and documents that were part of a lawsuit involving now-defunct app developer Six4Three. The documents reinforced the public’s privacy concerns about the social network, which has denied selling user data.

Critics argued that Facebook, which makes billions of dollars from advertising, not only lacked an “ethical roadmap” but also had a history of placing its profit before user privacy.

Elon Musk unveils first Boring Company tunnel under SpaceX HQ

Two years ago, the relentless Los Angeles traffic frustrated Elon Musk so much he tweeted that he was going to build a tunneling machine to take transport subterranean, helping drivers beat the crazy backups altogether.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is known for making outlandish Twitter statements, but this time he wasn’t joking. He was set on building a tunnel.

And lo, what seemed like a joke turned into a reality: In December 2016, The Boring Company was born.

On Tuesday, Musk officially opened the highly anticipated first Boring Company test tunnel under SpaceX headquarters in the Southern California city of Hawthorne, where The Boring Company is also located. Musk has slowly drip-fed information on the underground effort to the public on social media, but Tuesday marked a turning point as Boring’s underground vision officially surfaced with not so much a party as a PowerPoint presentation.

One end of a Boring Company tunnel
Welcome to the tunnel.

The Boring Company

Measuring 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) long and 14 feet (4.3 meters) wide, the test tunnel winds its way underneath Hawthorne and is estimated to have cost $10 million. This, Boring notes, is a fraction of the cost of traditional tunneling. It exists as a research and development tunnel for Boring’s aspirations of improving tunneling capabilities and creating new modes of public transport.

The tunnel was originally designed to have the capability to transport vehicles on a pair of innovative electric skates that zip along at up to 150 mph (241 kph). However, that plan seems to have been given the kibosh for now, with Tesla vehicles that use “tracking wheels,” rollers that flip out from underneath the front of the car and keep it within the tunnel’s one-way lane.

Shortly before Tuesday’s event, Musk tweeted an image of a Tesla Model X, on track, inside the tunnel, later clarifying that any autonomous electric vehicle, not just a Tesla, could use the system and that it would cost around $200 to $300 to install.

Elon Musk

@elonmusk

Tesla in @boringcompany tunnel with retractable wheel gear that turns a car into a rail-guided train & back again

10.8K people are talking about this

Boring has also shown footage demonstrating that it can deliver cars from the test tunnel directly to a garage or parking lot using a lift system, which plucks vehicles from the tunnel and transports them above ground.

Several VIPs got to take rides on the newly opened track, with one reporter complaining of motion sickness. According to the Associated Press, Musk attributed the bumpy rides to the team running out of time and said the system will be “smooth as glass” when fully operational.

Former President Jacob Zuma joins Twitter

Former president Jacob Zuma has joined Twitter in his personal capacity, putting up his first posts this morning.

Zuma said he wanted to move with the times and join the platform, which was an important place for discussions to take place.

“Thank you for the warm welcome, I look forward to engaging with you,” said Zuma in his first tweet.

His second tweet referenced a “false” fundraising campaign in his name, which contained details of a Capitec bank account.

Jacob G Zuma@PresJGZuma

Good morning Mzansi

Thank you for the warm welcome, I look forward to engaging with you.

10.3K people are talking about this

Big petrol price drop expected for January

South Africans can expect a big petrol price drop in January, said the AA.

The prediction is based on data released by the Central Energy Fund.

“The South African fuel price has yet to fully catch up with considerably lower international petroleum prices,” it said.

“However, a sharp depreciation of the rand versus the US dollar has been noticeable since December 4, and we will be monitoring this trend closely for the remainder of the month.”

The expected price changes are:

  • Petrol – R1.19 decrease
  • Diesel – R1.44 decrease
  • Illuminating paraffin – R1.32 decrease

“The expected decreases are attributable to continued downward movement in international product prices.”

The AA said that “much will depend” on political and economic stability in South Africa, however.

MyBroadband

Facebook wants you to pay to watch HBO shows on its own app

We spend so much time on Facebook, why not watch our Game of Thrones on there too.

Facebook is reportedly in talks with HBO and other pay TV channels including Showtime and Starz to sell their services through Facebook, according to Recode.

Video content would likely be accessed through Facebook’s mobile app and the “Watch” video-on-demand hub.

If the deal is settled, the new option would arrive in the first half of next year, according to Recode, citing “industry sources.”

Over the past three years, Facebook has been aggressively pushing into video. It’s come up with original programs to compete with the likes of YouTube, many of them pulling in numbers Facebook was happy to release. (Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk program Red Table Talk is the biggest show with 4.3 million viewers.)

But you don’t have to pay to watch those. This would be Facebook’s first premium programming.