Tech News

Apple Loses Siri Patent Case, When Uber Drivers Go Bad, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 10-07-2014

Also, Aereo uses the recent Supreme Court ruling to its favor, Chromecast gets an AirPlay-like update, Spotify is finally coming to Canada, you WILL want a pair of RocketSkates, and a YouTube video that makes you hallucinate.

Apple In Siri-ous Trouble In China

Apple has failed in its attempt to have voice-recognition patents held by a Chinese company ruled invalid in China. The Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology holds patents which could see Siri 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More labelled as infringing on intellectual property rights.

According to BBC News, Zhizhen has its own virtual personal assistant, called Xiao i Robot, which began life as a chatbot in 2003. Zhizhen claims Apple is infringing on its patents, and China’s State Intellectual Property Office agrees, refusing to grant Apple’s wishes that the patents be invalidated.

Apple’s options include stopping selling all products containing Siri in China, and reaching a financial settlement with Zhizhen over its patents. The latter is far more likely, but won’t be cheap. Still, Apple could always use the money it has received from Samsung in their many disputes over patents. Irony.

The Uber Taxi Ride From Hell

Uber What Is Uber and Why Is It Threatening Traditional Taxi Services? Uber has landed, and it's fundamentally changing inner-city transit. And some might say, not entirely for the better. Read More continues to disrupt (we hate the word 7 Technology Buzzwords That Need To Die The Cloud. Web 2.0. Meme. What do these words even mean? At this point, hardly anything: they've all switched from being useful terms to pointless buzzwords. Read More but it is rather fitting) the taxi business. But the latest drama isn’t one Uber will be boasting about. As detailed by The Washington Post, Ryan Simonetti experienced the Uber ride from Hell when his driver fled from a taxi inspector in Washington D.C.

The Uber driver is alleged to have been trying to avoid a fine, and thought it appropriate to exceed the speed limit and drive through red lights in order to do so. The taxi inspector eventually saved the day, but not before Simonetti and his fellow passengers had a scary trip.

An Uber spokesperson said, “Rider safety is our #1 priority. We will cooperate with authorities in their investigation and have deactivated the driver pending the outcome.” And what about the vetting procedure for Uber drivers? Which clearly failed on this occasion.

Aereo Now Claims To Be A Cable Company

In its ongoing effort to stay alive, Aereo is using the ruling about its illegality against the U.S. Supreme Court. While backing the broadcasters in their case against Aereo, judges ruled Google I/O Reveals Android Is Everywhere, Aereo Loses Big Fight, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Microsoft could be planning to give Windows 9 away for free, Europe is halving mobile roaming charges, Rock Simulator 2014 has arrived to blow your mind, and CollegeHumor demonstrates how the Internet has killed... Read More that Aereo “is for all practical purposes a traditional cable system.

Aereo is now taking those words literally and arguing that as a “traditional cable system” it’s entitled to a statutory license. The broadcasters are, unsurprisingly, rallying against this move, calling Aereo’s new stance “astonishing.” We think “genius” is a more apt description.

Chromecast Gets Android Screen Mirroring

Google has added Android screen mirroring to Chromecast in an AirPlay-like update introducing ‘Cast Screen’. This new feature was revealed at Google I/O 2014 Google I/O Reveals Android Is Everywhere, Aereo Loses Big Fight, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Microsoft could be planning to give Windows 9 away for free, Europe is halving mobile roaming charges, Rock Simulator 2014 has arrived to blow your mind, and CollegeHumor demonstrates how the Internet has killed... Read More but will take time to roll out to all users. Android screen mirroring is also only available on select devices from select manufacturers.

Spotify Is Coming To Canada

Spotify is finally coming to Canada three years after launching in the United States. Canadian music lovers can now sign up for an invitation to use the streaming service, with a gradual rollout expected to last several months.

If you do get an early invite then please tell us what you think of Spotify. And download our free guide to Spotify Spotify Music Streaming: The Unofficial Guide Spotify is the biggest music streaming service around. If you're not sure how to use it, this guide will walk you through the service, as well as offer some crucial top tips. Read More to help you get started with the service.

RocketSkates Zoom Onto Kickstarter

Not all Kickstarter projects deserve press attention, but in a week when potato salads are raising thousands of dollars Zuckerberg Wants Free Internet For All, XP Upgrades Halt PC Decline, And More... [Tech News Digest] New Zealand ISP gives its customers what they want, Isis discovers power of branding, GameStop sets out to ruin video games, potato salad is funded through Kickstarter, and we watch a 72-minute-long trailer. Read More , motorized skates surely do. RocketSkates from Acton are rollerskates which use hub motors to propel the wearer along at up to 12 mph.

These are the successor to the company’s first effort called Spnkix; the major improvement being removing the need for a remote control. At $399 per pair RocketSkates aren’t cheap, but they are insanely cool. And I want some. Now.

How To Hallucinate Without Taking Drugs

And finally, you no longer need to take illegal drugs to get a hallucinogenic high. Instead, just watch this YouTube video following the on-screen prompts. You may not see purple unicorns jumping over rainbows, but you will see something strange and unusual. HT: Gizmodo.

Warning: Please do not watch this video if you suffer from migraines or have a history of seizures.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

How will Apple handle Siri in China? Does the taxi ride from Hell make you less keen to use Uber? Did the featured YouTube video make you hallucinate as advertised?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Global X via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Chromecast, Spotify, YouTube.

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  1. Tom W
    July 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I think that Aero is attempting to be very clever, but we'll have to wait and see if they actually manage it.

    Those RocketSkates will probably have the same problems as Segways in the UK - Not allowed on pavements or roads, so only usable on private land.

    • Dave P
      July 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      I suspect Aereo's time is up, but you can't blame them for trying. It seems the broadcasters want it both ways, and the courts are allowing them to have it.

      Hmm, I wouldn't be so sure about that. I mean, these aren't really any different than normal rollerskates, at least in terms of the danger they pose to other pedestrians.

  2. dragonmouth
    July 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    You mean to tell us that there are patents that Fruitco does not own?!
    Fruitco finally ran into somebody they cannot bully, intimidate or buy. WHAT A PITY!

    • Dave P
      July 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Shocking, eh? Apple obviously didn't think to patent stuff in China back in the early 2000s, and now it's opening up as a huge market, they're playing catchup.

    • Edson M
      July 27, 2014 at 6:54 am

      i agree