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T-Mobile Denies Lying To FCC About Size of Its 4G Network
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: T-Mobile has denied an allegation that it lied to the Federal Communications Commission about the extent of its 4G LTE coverage. A group that represents small rural carriers says that T-Mobile claimed to have 4G LTE coverage in places where it hadn't yet installed 4G equipment. That would violate FCC rules and potentially prevent small carriers from getting network construction money in unserved areas. T-Mobile said the allegations made by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) in an FCC filing on Friday "are patently false." "RWA's misrepresentations are part of an ongoing pattern of baseless allegations by the organization against T-Mobile designed to delay or thwart competition in rural America and deprive rural Americans of meaningful choice for broadband services," T-Mobile wrote. "The organization's repeated disregard for fact-based advocacy is a disrespectful waste of Commission time and resources." RWA members have conducted millions of speed tests at their own expense to determine whether the major carriers' coverage claims are correct. The RWA says both Verizon and T-Mobile have exaggerated coverage, and the FCC is taking the allegations seriously. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced last week that the FCC has begun an investigation and that a preliminary review of speed-test data "suggested significant violations of the Commission's rules." The FCC has not said which carrier or carriers violated the rules.

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Ex-Uber Engineer Claims a Self-Driving Car Drove Him Coast-To-Coast
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

"Anthony Levandowski, the controversial engineer at the heart of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, claims to have built an automated car that drove from San Francisco to New York without any human intervention," reports the Guardian. Levandowski told the Guardian that he completed the 3,099-mile journey on October 30th using a modified Toyota Prius, which "used only video cameras, computers and basic digital maps." From the report: Levandowski told the Guardian that, although he was sitting in the driver's seat the entire time, he did not touch the steering wheels or pedals, aside from planned stops to rest and refuel. "If there was nobody in the car, it would have worked," he said. If true, this would be the longest recorded road journey of an autonomous vehicle without a human having to take control. Elon Musk has repeatedly promised, and repeatedly delayed, one of his Tesla cars making a similar journey. A time-lapse video of the drive, released to coincide with the launch of Levandowski's latest startup, Pronto.AI, did not immediately reveal anything to contradict his claim. But Levandowski has little store of trust on which to draw.

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Kroger Begins Autonomous Grocery Deliveries
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Kroger is launching its unmanned grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company first announced the pilot with robotics company Nuro in June, and since August, "they have tested an autonomous fleet of 'a handful of' Priuses with safety drivers just in case someone needed to intervene," reports Adweek. "Together, they have completed nearly 1,000 deliveries in Scottsdale." From the report: Now, Kroger is adding two R1 unmanned vehicles to its fleet, which Nuro designed to transport goods on public roads without passengers and marks the first deployment of its technology for the general public. (The Priuses will continue to have safety drivers.) To start, deliveries are available from a single store in the "Kroger Family," the Fry's Food Store at 7770 East McDowell Road. A Kroger rep said customers who live within the store's zip code -- 85257 -- will have access to the service. Customers place orders online or via the Fry's app. An announcement said same- and next-day delivery is available. All orders have a $5.95 fee, but there is no minimum for order total.

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Researchers Make RAM From a Phase Change We Don't Entirely Understand
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: We seem to be on the cusp of a revolution in storage. Various technologies have been demonstrated that have speed approaching that of current RAM chips but can hold on to the memory when the power shuts off -- all without the long-term degradation that flash experiences. Some of these, like phase-change memory and Intel's Optane, have even made it to market. But, so far at least, issues with price and capacity have kept them from widespread adoption. But that hasn't discouraged researchers from continuing to look for the next greatest thing. In this week's edition, a joint NIST-Purdue University team has used a material that can form atomically thin sheets to make a new form of resistance-based memory. This material can be written in nanoseconds and hold on to that memory without power. The memory appears to work via a fundamentally different mechanism from previous resistance-RAM technologies, but there's a small hitch: we're not actually sure how it works. The two mechanisms used to change the resistance have been reported in the journal Nature Materials.

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Remove.bg is a Website That Removes Backgrounds from Portraits in Seconds
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader shares a report: If you often find yourself needing to remove the backgrounds from photos but don't have the time to manually do it, you might want to bookmark Remove.bg. It's a simple free website that automatically removes the backgrounds from photos in just 5 seconds with a single click. Simply use the button on the homepage to select a photo from your computer (or you can also enter a photo's URL on the Web). The website then processes the photo and shows the result in moments. Under the result is a button that lets you download it as a PNG image with a transparent background.

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