Samsung Breaks Silence on Note 7 Battery Failure »

Ina Fried at Recode:

For those who want to get a bit nerdy, here’s what Samsung says was wrong with each battery. For the first battery, Samsung says a design flaw in the upper right corner of the battery made the electrodes prone to bend and, in some cases, led to a breakdown in the separation between positive and negative tabs, causing a short circuit.

With the second battery, which came from a separate supplier, Samsung believes there was nothing wrong with the design itself, but says a manufacturing issue led to a welding defect that prompted that battery to also shortcircuit and ignite.


Obama’s Space Legacy »

Loren Grush, writing at The Verge, on the mark Obama left on NASA:

In the space community, Obama will undoubtedly be heralded for focusing on stronger partnerships with the private sector. And Obama has made a big commitment to NASA’s Earth Science programs, as well as the agency’s investments in technology development.

But not all of Obama’s decisions for NASA have been met with praise. The Space Shuttle program ended during his administration, and the US has had no way of sending people to space without cooperation from Russia. And NASA has gone through a pivotal transformation in recent years, as a result of Obama. The president shifted NASA’s focus from a return to the Moon to a human mission to Mars.

There are still a lot of questions about what NASA under a Trump administration will look like. If I had to guess, I would say that the Journey to Mars program will be pivoted again, if not canned altogether in favor of a moon mission. Some Republicans really like the moon.

Qualcomm vs. Everybody 

Earlier this week, the United States Federal Trade Commission claimed that chip giant Qualcomm forced Apple into using its LTE chipsets, as Aaron Tilley writes at Forbes:

Qualcomm is the dominant supplier of modem chips that enable phones to hook up to cellular networks, but the company also extracts licensing fees for nearly every modern phone in the world. The agency’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, said the San Diego-based chipmaker used its dominant position to maintain an illegal monopoly over its phone partners like Apple.

The FTC said Qualcomm established an exclusivity agreement with Apple from 2011 until 2016. Qualcomm provided “billions” in rebates to Apple for the arrangement. But if Apple bought modem chips from another chip supplier during that time, the FTC said Apple would face large penalties by losing out on Qualcomm’s rebate payments.

This year, Apple shipped some iPhone 7s with Intel chips inside, which could possibly fit with this timeline.

Today, Apple has sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, as reported by Anita Balakrishnan at CNBC:

Apple says that Qualcomm has taken “radical steps,” including “withholding nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them.”

Apple added, “Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.”

Clearly something is going on here. While this may not be as fun to watch as the Apple/Samsung case was, I think this could prove very interesting, and mean wide-reaching changes across the technology industry.

The Joyous Work »

Barack Obama:

All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work — the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’

Yes, we can.

1Writer 2.5 Released »

1Writer has been my iOS text editor of choice for a while now. Today, it saw a nice update that adds a lot of nice features, including the ability to import and preview images in Markdown documents.

Lattner Says Tesla Autopilot Was ‘Irresistible’ »

Chris Lattner, in an interview with Joe Rossignol at MacRumors:

This was a very difficult decision, because I care deeply about the technology and people at Apple and because I could see myself staying there for many more years. In the end though, the opportunity to dive into a completely new area and work with the amazing Tesla Autopilot team was irresistible.

I believe him, but I still can’t help but wonder what the hell is happening with Project Titan.