1. Yahoo not selling its Alibaba stake; may still sell its core internet business
Last week, Wall Street Journal reported that during a series of meetings over three days, the board of Yahoo had decided to sell off its core business. Reports also suggested the company would divest its stake in Alibaba. Now CNBC reports that Yahoo is still weighing a sale of its core internet business but it will not sell its stake in the Chinese e-commerce firm. An announcement is imminent.
This move deviates from Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer's plans to sell Yahoo's USD 30 billion stake and revive Yahoo's core internet unit. In after-hours trading on Tuesday, Yahoo's shares rose 2 percent and Alibaba's rose 1.3 percent. There is also the question of what to do with their stake in Yahoo Japan. Yahoo owns about 35 percent of that company and in current exchange rates, it's worth 8.5 billion dollars.
2. iPhone goes thinner but at the cost of the headphone jack
ICYMI, the next iPhone will lose a few more grams, but at a radical price: the headphone jack, say reports.
In a race to be the thinnest, smartphone manufacturers have been going the extra mile - but Apple, already leading the way in slimness, may just make a big leap.
It's so intrinsic to smartphones that it's hard to imagine public life without headphones plugged into one. They're not doing away with audio entirely though - the intention is to move to wireless headphones instead.
It's important to contextualise the gains: removing the headphone jack will save one millimeter. We're at a stage of tech competitiveness where that, apparently, can be a gamechanging difference.
3. Google's November self-driving car report; 10,000-15,000 miles, a car going too slow and a rear-end collision
Monthly self-driving car reports from Google are both hilarious and a deep insight into the future.
The company is currently averaging 10,000-15,000 autonomous miles per week on public streets. This has been achieved with a fleet of 23 Lexus RX450g SUVs and 30 prototype vehicles on the roads.
We also got other details about the self-driving car that was pulled over for going too slow, and one that was rear-ended at a red light. The reason for slower speeds? Cars going at slower speeds are easier for the development process. "A simpler vehicle enabled us to focus on the things we really wanted to study, like the placement of our sensors and the performance of our self-driving software."
The car that got rear-ended was hit from behind by a car going as slow as 4 mph. This happened when the Google car was waiting to take a right at a red light. The car that hit it rolled after its stop and thus hit the Google car. Nobody was hurt.
4. Wikipedia now has an AI that can automatically spot bad edits
Wikipedia for the win! The website has just gotten friendlier for new contributors. The AI, called Objective Revision Evaluation Service (ORES), scours newly submitted revisions for additions that look like they are trolling or just plain spam.
Created by Wikimedia Foundation, this AI "functions like a pair of X-ray specs". Anything that is suspect will be set aside for "human editors" to look at. If the editors decide that the content needs to be pulled down, the contributor will be notified.
It promises to be a signficant improvement on the current system, where suspect submissions are deleted without explanation.
The ORES was trained to distinguish between unintentional human error and what's called "damaging edits". This is done by using the Wiki teams' article-quality assessments as examples.
5. Google wants your blood
Google has a new patent! This time they want to join the needle-free blood test party, not that we think it's much of a party.
The patent was filed for a "needle-free blood draw" system - another version of a wearable that can be worn on someone's wrist or hand-held device, which takes blood from the tip of a finger or other parts of the body.
The patent, pending, describes the system, which works by sending a surge of gas into a barrel containing a micro-particle that pierces the skin. Then, once the blood is released from the skin, a negative pressure barrel sucks it up.
The application can be used to draw small amounts of blood for things like a glucose test. Potentially, the technology could be gamechanging for people with diabetes.