Tech Digest daily roundup: App outage locks Tesla owners out of cars


Tesla drivers say they have been locked out of their cars after an outage struck the carmaker’s app. Dozens of owners posted on social media about seeing an error message on the mobile app that was preventing them from connecting to their vehicles. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk personally responded to one complaint from a driver in South Korea, saying on Twitter: “Checking.” Mr Musk later said the app was coming back online. The Tesla app is used as a key by drivers to unlock and start their cars. Owners posted a multitude of complaints online about not being able to use their vehicles. BBC

Windows 11 has core elements of the desktop interface which are performing disappointingly sluggishly for some users, with Microsoft working on fixes for well-documented issues with File Explorer – and the software giant further promising that it’ll concentrate on improving performance levels in the OS next year. In a Reddit AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’, meaning a Q&A session) with the Windows Developer team, spotted by Windows Latest, one user commented on a trend towards UI sluggishness continued in Windows 11, to which the Microsoft team responded: “Performance will be an area of focus for us in 2022,” including having UI elements rendering on the screen faster. The questioner carried on to clarify their main bugbears with poor performance in Windows 11 (and with Windows 10, too), with the central issues being around File Explorer as already mentioned, and the sluggish right-click menu. Tech Radar

Social media companies should face sanctions if they do not prevent adults from directly messaging children, the head of Ofcom has reportedly said. The communications watchdog will regulate the sector under the Online Harms Bill and have the power to fine companies and block access to sites. And The Times reported Dame Melanie Dawes will encourage the regulator to closely examine direct messaging when the new regulations are introduced in 2023. Her colleague, director of online safety policy Mark Bunting, was quoted by the paper saying cutting grooming off at source was a “blindingly obvious” solution. Yahoo!

Ford no longer plans to make an electric vehicle with EV startup Rivian, CEO Jim Farley tells Automotive News. The Detroit automaker originally announced it wanted to make a Rivian-powered EV in 2019 when it made its first investment of $500 million into the startup. Ford and Rivian already canceled a vehicle they planned to make for the Lincoln luxury brand in 2020. One reason Farley gave for canceling the EV collaboration was the complexity of combining Rivian’s electric architecture with Ford’s own software. “When you compare today with when we originally made that investment, so much has changed: about our ability, about the brand’s direction in both cases, and now it’s more certain to us what we have to do,” Farley said. “We want to invest in Rivian — we love their future as a company — but at this point, we’re going to develop our own vehicles.” The Verge

Google said Friday it has signed agreements with several large German publishers to avoid copyright disputes over the use of their material. The Internet giant said it reached deals with publishers including news weeklies Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, technology portals Golem and Netzwelt, as well as the business publications WirtschaftsWoche and Manager Magazin. “Numerous conversations with various publishers are at an advanced stage,” Google added in a statement. The move comes after Germany introduced a new ancillary copyright law in June that grants publishers additional rights over their content. The new law makes a distinction between the use of very short extracts — so-called snippets — and extended previews, but doesn’t specify where the line between the two lies. AP News 

Chris Price
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