Tech News

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Crash, CHIP Is a $9 Computer, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 12-05-2015

Google car accidents, CHIP gets Kickstarted, the end of Mad Men, Giphy for Gmail, block the Kardashians, and that Leeroy Jenkins video is still worth watching.


Google Admits its Cars Occasionally Crash

Google is busy developing self-driving cars How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Transportation Forever As we move into 2015, the question is no longer whether self-driving cars will replace manually driven cars, but how quickly they'll take over. Read More for a number of reasons, one of which is their potential to reduce the number of accidents that occur on the roads each year. However, that doesn’t mean Google’s autonomous vehicles are immune from the odd crash here and there.

It turns out that Google’s self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents in the six years since the project began. Thankfully, these were all minor accidents with no injuries sustained by those involved. And considering that Google’s vehicles have covered 1.7 million miles in that time, these figures are actually rather refreshing.

Google maintains none of the accidents were the fault of the cars and their futuristic technology How Self-Driving Cars Work: The Nuts and Bolts Behind Google's Autonomous Car Program Being able to commute back and forth to work while sleeping, eating, or catching up on your favorite blogs is a concept that is equally appealing and seemingly far-off and too futuristic to actually happen. Read More . Instead, all 11 accidents were caused by careless driving by people in other cars. And these incidents are now helping Google identify patterns of poor driving and adapt the software to better predict this flawed human behavior.

According to Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program, there are 33,000 accidents on roads in the U.S. every year, and 94 percent of these are caused by human error. So, while Google still needs to get this figure of 11 down to zero, it appears the company’s autonomous vehicles are much safer than any driven by people rather than computers.

CHIP: The $9 Potential Raspberry Pi Killer


The Raspberry Pi What You Need to Know About Getting Started with Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi computer is the latest in a line of compact, multi-function devices, shipped as a barebones package so that end users can use the hardware for virtually any computing project that comes to... Read More , which retails for around $35, is an incredibly popular device. But it now faces competition in the form of CHIP, a similar proposition priced at just $9. For that price, its developers are promising a computer you can use to browse the Web, play games, run apps, edit documents, and even learn to code.

CHIP features a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. It also boasts Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and works with any screen via the composite port, VGA, or HDMI. There is also a Pocket CHIP available for $49, which turns the regular CHIP into a portable device with a touchscreen, keyboard, and battery.

At the time of writing, CHIP is close to having raised $1 million through Kickstarter, which should be enough to ensure this actually goes into production. Whether it then lives up to the considerable hype being lavished upon it remains to be seen, but we should know by the end of the year when the first 5,000 units are expected to be shipped.

Google Offers Up Mad Men Retrospective

Mad Men is set to finish this weekend, with the finale airing on May 17, 2015. While it has only ever been watched by a couple of million people, Mad Men is rightly considered to be one of the finest television dramas of all time.


To mark its passing, Google has brought The Mad Men Experience to Google Play. This takes the form of an interactive retrospective, letting viewers follow all seven seasons from beginning to end. Actually buying the episodes is, of course, an optional extra.

Giphy for Gmail Brings GIFs to Email

You can now insert GIFs into every email you send thanks to the Giphy for Gmail Chrome extension. This lets you search for the perfect GIF GIFs, The Language Of The Web: Their History, Culture, and Future Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of GIFs, how they've evolved, and their cultural impact and significance. Read More right from within your email inbox, and insert it into an email with just one click. Not that we would recommend you do this, unless you want your contacts to block you one after the other until they have all disappeared.

Block the Kardashians With #KardBlock


Are you sick of endless stories about Kim Kardashian and the rest of her talentless clan? Do you wish there was some way of stopping these stories from ever crossing your path again? Well, now there is, with an app called #KardBlock promising to block all things Kardashian.

#KardBlock, which is a kind of AdBlock Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer It’s no secret that we’re not huge fans of Adblock here at MakeUseOf. But we know that some of you won’t let go of Adblock until it’s pried out of your cold, dead hands. If... Read More for the Kardashians, stops you seeing any news related to the Kardashians while you’re browsing the Web. The app is currently in beta, with a customized version aimed at blocking all mentions of Justin Beiber Why The Internet Hates Justin Bieber [Weird & Wonderful Web] Justin Bieber is a phenomenon. He has millions of fans hanging on to his every word and action. Yet, this child of the '90s is hated in no uncertain terms by the Internet. But why? Read More also in the works. Ain’t life grand!

Leeroy Jenkins Revisited 10 Years On

And finally, all right, time’s up, let’s do this! It has now been over 10 years since Leeroy Jenkins found fame online by, well, being Leeroy Jenkins. Or should that be “Leeeeroy Jeeenkins!” If you have never seen the infamous Leeroy Jenkins then you really should watch it right now.

This video, which shows a World of Warcraft player charging headlong into battle to the disbelief of his teammates, was first uploaded to YouTube on May 11, 2005. Yep, a full 10 years ago. Which makes me feel so old I may just pull a Leeroy Jenkins in real life.


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you ever trust Google’s self-driving cars to get you from A to B? Is CHIP really a potential Raspberry Pi killer? Can you believe it has been 10 years since Leeroy Jenkins found fame?

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: Jerzy Kociatkiewicz via Flickr

Related topics: GIF, Gmail, Google, Google Play, Meme, Raspberry Pi, Self-Driving Car.

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