Apple’s new iOS center in Naples raises eyebrows

Source: USA Today

Apple has announced the founding of its first European center for the development of iOS software in the southern city of Naples, a move seen in Italy as a new front in its war against a wave of European tax probes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook personally announced the plan Friday in Rome, saying the company was “thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success.”

Cook came to Italy from Brussels, where he lobbied European officials as the prospect of a $19 billion tax bill loomed. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is looking into the legality of Apple paying most of its European taxes in Ireland, a low-tax jurisdiction.

Just three weeks before Cook landed in Rome, Apple settled a tax investigation in Italy in terms Italian media described as favorable to the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant: The Italian government said Apple underpaid taxes for the 2008-2013 period by $958 million and Apple agreed to pay $346 million.

A few weeks before the announcement of the Italian settlement, Cook dismissed the investigation as “political crap” and promised “Apple pays every tax dollar” it owes. The settlement did not come up during Cook’s brief stop in Rome, but Italian analysts see the announcement of the Naples development center as related.

“What is most interesting about the announcement is that there was no warning, it just suddenly appeared like a gift under the Christmas tree,” Jeev Trika, director of TopSEOs, a leading iOS and SEO information site, said in an interview.

“I would be surprised if this was not part of Apple’s public relations efforts to illustrate that it plays a positive role in Europe, a role that goes beyond what the company pays in taxes,” Trikka said.

Apple’s press release announcing the deal stressed that theme. It noted that while Apple directly employs 22,000 workers in Europe, it indirectly employs more than 1 million more, such as software developers. All told, the release said, 1.4 million European jobs depend on Apple products.

The center in Naples, when it opens, will broaden those numbers even further: Apple said 600 students a year will be trained at the center.

Driverless Cars Are Coming. Here’s What to Expect

Imagine commuting to work while catching up on your favorite TV show, reading the paper, or checking email. Millions of people do this daily while using public transportation to commute to work.

Now, imagine all the multi-tasking — along with luxuriant coffee drinking — inside the peace and quiet of your own car. You program your destination, your car chooses the least congested route, and you skip the stress ulcers from dealing with traffic.

Driverless cars aren’t science fiction anymore. They’re already on the road. In the U.S., Google has long been developing and testing driverless cars. Apple and Tesla, according to Time Magazine, may develop their own driverless cars, too.

How They Work

A car without a driver needs four components to safely navigate traffic: a GPS system, external sensors and cameras, a central computer, and connected vehicle technology.


Today’s GPS systems, whether they’re part of a car or within our smart devices, enable drivers to input a destination and determine the optimal route. The same technology humans already use creates a plan of action for driverless cars. GPS can also update the planned route in real time based on changing traffic conditions.

External Sensors and Cameras

Driverless cars use video cameras to read road signs, detect stoplights, notice other vehicles, and avoid pedestrians. They also use sensor technology to adjust to dynamic road conditions:

  • Radar sensors. Radar monitors the position of nearby vehicles. If you buy a car today that features adaptive cruise control, it’s using the same radar technology as a driverless vehicle.
  • Lidar sensors. By bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings, lidar sensors detect both lane markings and road edges.
  • Ultrasonic sensors. Ultrasonic sensors come in handy when driverless cars attempt to park. They detect both curbs and other vehicles to avoid parking-related collisions.

Central Computer

The CANbus (controller area network) analyzes all GPS and sensor data. It then interprets data to control steering, braking, and acceleration. Cars have had central computers for decades to analyze vehicle status, so driverless cars simply build on existing computer systems in today’s vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Technology

Car manufacturers are building the framework for connected vehicle technology, which essentially makes cars able to communicate with one another. The U.S. Department of Transportation expects big improvements to safety, emissions controls, and congestion thanks to intelligent tracking systems in cars.

  • Intelligent tracking systems will help both traditional and driverless cars avoid accidents. They’ll warn of merging vehicles, sudden braking, or vehicles hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Eliminating unnecessary stops and starts thanks to communication between cars will improve fuel efficiency.
  • In addition to helping cars find optimal traffic routes, intelligent tracking systems will help drivers identify last-minute ride sharing opportunities and detect open parking spaces. Best of all, transportation officials can use the swarm of data connected vehicles generate to understand traffic patterns, improve roads, and make travel more efficient.


Right now, the biggest obstacle to driverless car adoption is what it’s trying to replace: human drivers. Driverless cars follow the letter of the law. They stop for pedestrians and patiently wait their turn at four-way intersections.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t always the best drivers, and they don’t always follow the rules. When driverless cars stop at crosswalks, they get rear-ended. When no one completely stops at four-way intersections, driverless cars don’t know when to go.

Also, driverless cars swerve to avoid collisions in ways that seem unnatural to human drivers. One Google driverless car, for example, approached a red light and detected an oncoming car traveling over the speed limit. The Google car jerked to the right to prevent a crash, but the oncoming car stopped in plenty of time. These unusual and unnecessary swerves can cause chain reactions because human drivers don’t expect them.

When They’re Coming

Even with these glitches, Google predicts driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. Research from Boston Consulting Group suggests 1 in 5 drivers would pay $4,000 extra for driverless car technology, and 44 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a driverless car within the next 10 years.

Still, consumers often say they’re enthusiastic about new technology, but old habits die hard. Case in point: electric and hybrid vehicles account for only 0.8 percent of new car registrations.

A Nostalgic Look At Technology That is Dead and Gone

[pullquote position=”left”]We live in an age preoccupied with novelty…[/pullquote]

Technology is evolving as such a rapid pace, with everything from disruptive technology to smarter, lighter and more intelligent products that make our lives easier, we take a look back at technology that is still around that you may come to never see again, or maybe you’ve seen this stuff at all! If you’re a millennial that’s probably the case.

Many believe that advances in technology will radically transform society, and we are witness as humans to this shift. We can already see the effects everywhere around us in our day to day lives. Our relationship with technology is an interesting subject. New advances in product innovation and technology push us to adapt to using these new gadgets. New devices and services are replacing things of the past, present and the future (even before products are made) and becoming part of our everyday lives.

With technology evolving at such a high rate, we can’t say for sure what’s around the next corner. When a new high-tech gadget is born, something else will become obsolete. Sometimes, the loss might be a positive thing, but at other times, the product’s extinction or eventual demise may stir some bittersweet or nostalgic emotions.

We live in an age preoccupied with novelty. The adoption of new gadgets is happening faster than ever. For example, we have moved from the launch of tablet computing in the year 2011 to tablets sharing over half of the global market in personal computers in the year 2014.

If you are over 30 years old you will most likely remember all these, yet you may never see them again due to advances of technology that will likely make them extinct either now or in the near future:


— they were cutting edge technology just 20 years ago and more than half of all American homes
still have at least one. But they are no longer made and people who still have one never use them anymore.


Arcade Game Venues

– once a favorite entertainment of geeks, playing video games at an arcade
already began fading away in the mid-1990s. A few arcades survive nowadays, but their days of glory are
long gone. The advent of high-tech gaming systems allows you to enjoy a better gaming experience at home.
Today we can even play on our mobile phones. Arcade games will soon be totally extinct and live only in our memories.

Arcade games


— running out of space on your hard-drive will become a thing of the past soon. Terabyte
size drives are already selling for affordable prices. But soon the hard drive technology will become totally
extinct and replaced by holographic drives and cloud storage.

hard drive

Floppy disks

– storing data on a floppy disk was once the standard protocol for transferring and storing
data on personal computers. But by today’s file size standards the 1.44 MB of storage seems almost
ridiculous. PCs are not being built with a floppy disk drives anymore these days and the floppy disk is
already nearly extinct.

floppy disks

56k Computer Modems

– once hearing the sound of a modem connecting was the sign of getting Internet
access. Today, in the age of high speed Internet, 56k modems have become nearly extinct.


Polaroid Cameras

— Polaroid will soon stop selling its instant film. All film-based cameras will be soon
completely gone, as well digital cameras are everywhere and provide many more advantages.



— The traditional typewriter is already nearly extinct, being replaced by computers, word
processing software and keyboards.



The dot matrix printer, born in the 1970s, delivered low-quality printouts before
laser and inkjet technology took over the market. It will be soon a thing of the past, with its slow and noisy
operation, frequent paper jams, and general faults no one can or be bothered to figure out – and its thin strips of perforated paper.


Answering Machines

Most people are using now dial-in voice mail instead of the answering machines.

answering machine

Calculator Watches

— one a favorite gadget of nerds, the calculator watch is nearly extinct today. It was
replaced by phone watches.


Public Phone Booths or Pay Phones

— in an age of mobile phones public phone booths are on life support.


Dial Phones

— the ease of the touchtone dial has made rotary phones virtually deceased.


Mobile Phones for Cars

— the early mobile phones were installed in people’s cars. The spread of mobile
phone technology lead to the extinction of mobile phones attached to cars.

car phone

Laser Discs for Movies

— this technology is definitely obsolete now.

laser disc

Car Cigarette Lighters

— most automobile manufacturers are dedicating ports to electronics charging
instead of the classic cigarette lighter.

car lighter

Incandescent Light Bulbs

— more and more people are using instead energy saving, ecologic friendly

incandescent bulb

CRT TV’s and Monitors

The huge and wieldy TV’s and monitors of the past are most likely now to be seen on the side of a road or in a dumpster somewhere.

tv side of road


Audio Cassettes

— the life of the cassette is over in the era of mp3 players and smartphones.


Hardcover Books

— in our age of increased interest for ecologic-friendly technologies the hardcover
printed books might be close to their end. They are being replaced by digital versions that are easy to read on mobile
devices such as Kindle. Thousands of bookstores have closed in the past decade, victims of Kindle, Apple,
and Amazon readers. In ten years’ time it’s possible that all reading will be done via digital means.

hardcover book

Carbon Copy Paper

– with printers now able to scan and copy, you don’t see the old-fashioned carbon
copy paper so often anymore.

carbon copy paper

Fax Machines

— today the fax machines are nearly extinct, since most documents are now created on
computers and easy to attach and send by email.


Clock Radios

— Replaced by smartphones.

clock radio

DVD players, Blu Ray players

– these will be soon become extinct, being replaced by streaming video. In
the near future new technology will allow us to enjoy 3D and holographic movies.


Stand-alone GPS devices

— since the car’s infotainment system or your smartphone does the same
thing, the stand alone GPS device is a thing of the past.


Desktop Computer

— once considered a revolutionary gadget, desktop computers are becoming extinct,
being replaced by laptops, netbooks, and tablet PCs. Computing is going mobile and in the near future we’re
going to see a wide range of handheld computing devices.

desktop pc

It’s obvious that some of the items enumerated are already nearly extinct, available for sentimental viewing in museums or to buy at thrift stores, or on some huge landfill in China, all we know, or will come to know will be extinct before its new, as technology rates increase.

Why Tesla’s Powerwall Battery Is Amazing

Energy Storage for a Sustainable Home

All of humanity wants a really important victory in our battle to lower the CO2 emissions that are causing climate change.  Not long ago Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk introduced the world to the power wall, a wall-mounted battery for your house which aims to accelerate our transition to clean solar and wind power. Before the power wall there was no way to store the energy generated from the panels that capture sunlight on our roofs. So during the day they could give you the power you needed, but at night you had to rely on the grid which gets most of its electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear reactors. There had been some early home batteries out there, but nothing that was nearly this affordable. But Tesla which has built thousands of large lithium ion battery packs for its growing electric car business was able to produce a similar battery for buildings at a scale that dropped the production costs dramatically. The lowest capacity model will cost just $3000 and this is the first generation of the product. Before Tesla has even completed building its massive new giga-factory, or any real competitors have entered the market, events that will surely push the price down even further while increasing the energy storage capacity of the power wall.

Here’s how it works. When the sun is out, solar panels will power your house and charge the power wall at the same time. And when the sun goes down, this charged battery will kick in to meet most or all of your electricity needs until the sun comes back up again the next morning. This is game changing. More and more people will go completely off the grid. Every building whether it’s a home, office, business, warehouse or factory they can all install solar panels and some power walls and instantly see their fossil fuel generated electricity needs drop significantly. Not every building will be able to go completely solar powered, but most will get pretty close. Especially as our appliances and other electronics become more and more energy efficient. And it gets even better; the power will be connected to the Internet and the rest of the energy grid. In Southern California, and most other heavily populated places around the country, the energy company charges a lot more when we use electricity during peak times.

That’s in the afternoon and early evening when the temperatures are warmest and most of us are home and still awake. The Tesla battery is smart and knows when electricity is cheapest. So that’s when it will draw power from the grid to charge itself. And then during peak time when you need electricity, the battery will power the house. This is going to lower everyone’s energy bills and sometimes you’ll even be able to sell back unused power to the utility company during peak time, even making a profit. It’s basically going to make each individual building its own power station. Overnight, Tesla has seemed less like a futuristic car company, and more like the man who inspired the company’s name, a revolutionary electricity engineer named Nicola.

Xbox One turns 180

Microsoft backtracked on its much derided policy that would have required Xbox One gamers to connect their consoles to the Internet once a day to prevent game piracy. They faced a huge backlash when it announced its policy, just before the E3 video game conference earlier in May. Then, the company said it would allow gamers to play offline for up to 24 hours on a primary console, or 1 hour if they were logged onto a separate console accessing their library of titles. At that point, offline gaming would have been disabled until players re-establish a Web connection. The restrictions that Microsoft made for its consumers have clearly affected the gaming community.

Gamers all around the world “protest” to these evil policies and became victorious, well in a sense. Some speculations say that the reason why Microsoft “opened up” their eyes, is because of their low pre orders from Gamestop and also in Best Buy a well. There’s truth in this because official records of both retail companies say that most consumers pre ordered the Playstation 4. There are a lot of PS4 pre orders from gamers today. Microsoft has no choice, but to turn 180 with their “restricting” policies, if not they will lose sales to Sony.

During E3 Microsoft was very “arrogant” enough in saying that their policies are “the future”. There’s also an interview conducted by Angry Joe with Major Nelson, of which Nelson asked Angry Joe, “Do you want to come to the future with me Joe?”  This arrogant statement makes it more hilarious because after a week, Microsoft abolished their polices. The reason why gamers/consumers are so angry with the Xbox one policies is because the policies are very anti consumer. You buy an xbox one game, but technically the game is not yours. You can’t sell it to a friend or even let him borrow the “traditional” way. The move by Sony in E3 has been one of the most exciting and mostly well received.

It has been awhile since we saw companies retaliate and bash each other. Sony did a great job in punching the lights out of Microsoft. They even made a video on how to share your PS4 game with a friend. This depicted as simple portrayal of a person lending his friend with a PS4 game, by just giving it to him. Microsoft went overboard that this video was made, of which seemed so hilarious because that’s what’s a console is all about. You can do anything with your game because you paid for it.

Microsoft policies want to restrict the gamer, therefore, even though it’s a simple video made by Sony, it’s very strong in its message. Microsoft’s anti consumerism and lack of value to its loyal fans have really damaged their name. Even loyal Xbox fans started to move away from Microsoft. These Xbox fans are now heading for Sony’s new platform, the Playstation 4. Other gamers griped because Xbox one’s feature are not focused on games but rather in useless gimmicks like the “TV Television” concept. Many fans during the Microsoft pre E3 presentation were disappointed albeit, annoyed with that useless concept. That’s why Sony is better because of its gamer friendly options. Plus, you can even sell your game to your friend with no restrictions whatsoever.

In conclusion, Microsoft turns 180 realizing that their sales have gone down because of poor messaging and restrictive policies. They want something new but their message isn’t clear to the public, especially to the gaming community. They have made a huge scar or wound in their image as a gaming company. Although, there will always be fanboys, many believe that Sony will take lead this console generation. Microsoft’s restrictions really took the toll. Sony’s console is much more powerful and is much more cheaper compared to the Xbox One. Sony’s Playstation 4’s price is $399 only, while Xbox One is 599. Most consumers will definitely pick the PS4. There are a lot of reasons, but these events prove that gamers aren’t idiots. Microsoft wanted to milk money from the consumer to the last penny, they thought that the consumers will accept that. However, they are wrong, this just shows that most consumers and gamers’ aren’t fooled that easily by capitalism and anti consumerism.