Apple releases Mountain Lion 10.8.1 – now’s a good time to update/buy

Mac OS 10.8.1 Mountain Lion released

Apple just released OSX 10.8.1 Mountain Lion via Software Update. The delta update weighs a paltry 7.28MB on my Retina MacBook Pro, but your mileage may vary. Apple did not confirm reports that 10.8.1 improves battery life but many other issues appear to be resolved.

A rather intelligent friend of mine told me that when Apple comes out with something new it’s always best to wait for the stable release. That usually is the next release and typically means the point-one (10.8.1) package.

In this case he was definitely right. My computer has been slowing down like a hog in mud. It’s good to have this release.
Continue reading Apple releases Mountain Lion 10.8.1 – now’s a good time to update/buy

Cadillac releases sophisticated array of semi-autonomous sensors for self-driving cars

Google isn’t the only company working on a self-driving car. Cadillac today announced that it is actively road testing a semi-autonomous system called Super Cruise that can control a vehicle’s steering, braking and lane-centering capabilities. Super Cruise, according to Cadillac, is designed to help make freeway driving easier on the driver when either stuck in traffic or during long hauls down the interstate.

The system works by combining on-board radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS data to give your car the ability to read lane markings and detect curves in the roadway.

via Laptop Magazine

 

For certain luxury cars, we are already half-way (or more) there. From the Cadillac news release:

Many of the building block technologies for Super Cruise are already available on the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS luxury sedans, as part of the available Driver Assist Package:

  • Rear Automatic Braking
  • Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Intelligent Brake Assist
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Safety Alert Seat
  • Automatic Collision Preparation
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Adaptive Forward Lighting
  • Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines
  • Head Up Display

The key to delivering semi-autonomous capability will be the integration of lane-centering technology that relies on forward-looking cameras to detect lane markings and GPS map data to detect curves and other road characteristics, said John Capp, General Motors director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation.

 

 

Pretty crazy to think about all the technology needed to self drive a car. That’s 12 sensors/alerts/displays with more needed to fully automate the simplest of driving tasks. Makes our brains seem pretty sophisticated.

Great documentary to watch: A Murder of Crows

Crows live everywhere in the world except Antarctica and are a part of myths and legends in many cultures. Their reputation in the stories varies from comical to frightening, godlike or wise, bringers of light and bringers of death, though a “murder” of crows refers to a flock of crows, and not to anything murderous, at all.

They may be all these things, but what we are learning is that they are especially smart. New research has shown that they are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, and recognize 250 distinct calls.

They thrive wherever people live and have used their great intelligence to adapt again and again to a constantly changing world. Some memorize garbage truck routes, and follow the feast from day to day. Others drop nuts in the road and wait for passing cars to crack them open.

via Introduction to A Murder of Crows

The full documentary, which was featured at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival, can be watched online at, A Murder of Crows.