The Motorola Assist app received a nice update on Monday, adding a feature that lets you respond to text messages by voice while driving. The contextual software, available on the Moto X and latest Verizon Droid lineup, could already detect when you were driving. In addition to the hands-free SMS responses — the app could already read incoming messages aloud — this new version can also automatically open the music app of your choice as soon as it determines you’re driving; helpful if you want to stream tunes in the car over Bluetooth or a wired connection. Android Central notes that driving detection is improved in this version as well.
Uber has annoyed many traditional taxi drivers, but none more so than in Paris, it seems. As spotted by Rude Baguette, on Monday morning a protest by taxi drivers on the freeway near the airport turned ugly when several people – not confirmed as cabbies — smashed a window and slashed the tires of an Uber car containing Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage and Five by Five co-founder Kat Borlangan, who tweeted that she had “bleeding hands” after the incident. This happened less than two weeks after a new French law came into effect to protect traditional taxis, forcing cars from chauffeur app services such as Uber to wait 15 minutes before picking up clients.
Norway’s Aftenposten has published an interesting account of the decisions taken by those who were formulating GSM – the world’s most widely deployed mobile telephony standard – in Europe in the early 80s. Sources told the paper that the British (and possibly others) put pressure on standards-setters to ensure a relatively weak level of encryption was used, in order to make surveillance possible. An unspecified Asian country was the main target, but the negotiations were colored by the Cold War. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, carriers such as Deutsche Telekom have been upgrading their network encryption so people’s conversations can’t be so easily tapped.
Dish Network’s courtroom dance with LightSquared appears to have concluded. Reuters reports that the committee overseeing LightSquared’s bankruptcy auction confirmed Dish has withdrawn its $2.2 billion bid for the company, leaving its controversial L-band spectrum on the table. Dish has other options when it comes to building a mobile broadband network, and now LightSquared’s owners — who opposed Dish’s involvement — appear to be free to pursue their plan to lobby the FCC for relief, assuming the court plays ball.