Congress Could Make Self-Driving Cars Happen or Ruin Everything

Congress just stepped into the robocar game. Previously two times, a couple of senators started drafting legislation to advance autonomous automobiles, and the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and customer Protection held a two-hour hearing exploring how regarding the tech may be implemented. For the elected officials, it’s a large, if tentative, step into the future of transportation.

Obviously, they’re just a little late. Little numbers of robocars currently wander the San Francisco Bay Area as well as other towns, and you’ll probably begin riding included in just a couple of years as Uber among others commercialize the technology. Everything is rushing before a regulatory structure ill-equipped to usher inside modification.

The nation’s patchwork of laws and regulations regulating this technology state nothing about how precisely it’s tested (and on occasion even defined), exactly how cars using it will run, as well as who should settle these questions. Congress can address these all of those questions and guarantee this technology succeeds.

Or they are able to screw all of it up.

“I’d keep clear of dramatic proposals that could produce more dilemmas than they solve,” says Bryant Walker Smith, a professional on autonomous automobiles at University of sc class of Law. Most likely, this evolving technology permeates many parts of society: public security, privacy, the surroundings, obligation and insurance coverage legislation, employment, urban preparation, and more. A legislation aimed at cutting congestion could tangle with tort law; a clause ensuring passenger privacy could eliminate financial benefits for automakers.

State legislators have already stepped in it. The folks behind California’s autonomous automobiles legislation couldn’t also define “autonomous car” without giving Uber a plausible argument for ignoring the rules. Michigan’s law favors founded automakers over newcomers like Bing and Uber. Nevada was able to write a law requiring anyone running an autonomous vehicles to improve its permit dish upon going into the state.

New Law for a Brand new Period

Automakers and technology organizations developing autonomous technology inhabit fear of states drafting their very own rules, making a patchwork of laws. That’s precisely what’s taking place, because although federal regulators dictate almost anything in regards to a car you are able to think about (brake lights should be red, turn alert icons are green, passenger vehicles have airbags), states regulators stipulate their procedure by establishing speed limits, traffic guidelines, an such like.

That’s why the GMs and Googles worldwide see federal intervention being a potential savior. Federal oversight provides a broad, constant framework for evaluation and deploying their robots. During Tuesday’s home subcommittee hearing, representatives of General Motors, Toyota, Volvo, and Lyft said they’re okay because of the voluntary 15-point list the federal Department of Transportation released last fall. (Among other items, the principles favor greater flexibility by federal regulators and present automakers wide latitude in the way they prove the security of the technology.) The guidelines alert states against creating extra laws, and don’t plunge too profoundly into stipulating what kind of technology every person uses—Tesla’s opposition to LIDAR is OK, as is Ford’s lack of curiosity about vehicle-to-infrastructure technology and GM’s commitment to deploying ride-sharing robocars with Lyft.

The absolutely wishes the feds to step it. “Do you agree that Federal automobile protection criteria have to be updated to be able to support the deployment of automated automobiles?” Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, expected industry witnesses. 1 by 1, they took place the line: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Of course, they aren’t the only real stakeholders. Any major legislation should think about the issues of independent researchers, privacy and consumer advocates, transport specialists, driver unions, as well as others. Further complicating things, the technology can be so brand new that nobody agrees how a finished product works, as well as how exactly to figure out whenever a robocar is ready for primetime.

“We neither know what test autonomous cars must have to just take nor exactly what should constitute a moving grade,” testified Nidhi Kalra, co-director and senior information scientist within RAND Center for choice generating Under Uncertainty.

Nips & Tucks

If Congress does not have the need to study the matter very carefully and tackle it by having a comprehensive law, it could go at things piecemeal and still nudge automation along. It might begin by revising the Federal automobile protection Standards to reflect autonomous technology. Including, the rules require things like foot-activated brake system. The National Highway Transportation protection management can amend the regulations, but it calls for a few rounds of draft guidelines and public comments. That takes years. Congress will make the same change quickly with a law, or even a clause tucked into, state, an infrastructure omnibus.

It could also tweak Title 49 associated with US legal rule, allowing the assistant of transport to exempt automobiles from federal standards—to a point. What the law states (especially area 30113(d) and 30113(e)) limits those cars to 2,500 per maker in a 12-month duration, and exemption can’t last a lot more than 3 years. Federal regulators are very happy to let Bing produce a car with no controls or brakes, but without congressional assistance, that goodwill can simply go up to now.

Congress additionally could provide regulators the best to accept these automobiles before they go on sale. The nationwide Highway Traffic Safety Administration springs into action whenever cars already traveling prove on their own unsafe. If the DOT published its AV instructions this past year, it suggested Congress treat self-driving vehicles like aircraft, drugs, and medical devices—unsafe and un-OK until evidence states otherwise. You could argue that’ll slow things down, but ensuring these vehicles are safe before they hit the street could avoid crashes that might set the entire industry right back.

That one’s an extended shot, because a hates the concept (you’ll stifle innovation!) and today’s Republican-dominated federal government barely lusts after more regulation. “It does not look like there’s lots of passion for that,” states Smith, the legal expert. “And the agency would require more resources.” Don’t expect Congress to unlock more money, either.

Whatever Congress decides, it must chart a careful course. The age of the robocar is nigh, plus the change will stir up some scary seas.

Aarian Marshall contributed reporting.

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5 Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builders Compared (2017)

Do you want an easy way to build and customize your WordPress site? That’s where drag and drop WordPress page builder plugins come in handy. These WordPress page builders allow you to create, edit, and customize your site layout without writing any code. In this article, we will compare and review 5 of the best drag and drop page builders for WordPress.

Best drag and drop WordPress page builder plugins

Why Use a Drag and Drop Page Builder for WordPress?

When starting a blog, many WordPress beginners find it difficult to change or customize page layouts on their site. While a lot premium WordPress themes come with different page layouts, those are extremely hard to customize for anyone who does not know code (HTML / CSS).

This is why users often ask us questions like: “how can we make WordPress drag and drop?” or “is there an easy drag and drop page builder for WordPress?”

When we talk with users who switch from Weebly to WordPress or from Wix to WordPress, their most common response is: “I wish WordPress had a drag and drop website builder”.

Well, there are several great drag and drop page builder plugins available for WordPress. They allow you to customize every component on your site without writing a single line of code.

These components can be anything like adding multiple columns, parallax backgrounds, full width images, content slider, etc. Users can use these components as blocks to build their own layouts within their WordPress themes.

Since there are different type of WordPress drag and drop page builders, some which are part of theme frameworks while others are plugins, we decided to compare them to help you choose the best page builder for WordPress.

Our criteria for comparing these WordPress page builders are: ease of use, flexibility, and the design output.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the best page builders for WordPress in the market.

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is a premium WordPress drag and drop page builder plugin. In our opinion, it is by far the best WordPress page builder plugin in the market.

It is extremely fast and comes with a built in on-boarding tour that quickly familiarizes users with their interface.

Beaver Builder comes with a live drag and drop interface. You get to see all your changes as you add them by simply dragging elements from the right sidebar and dropping them on your page. You can click on any element in a page to edit its properties.

It has several basic and advanced modules which cover almost anything you may want to add. There are modules to add sliders, carousel, backgrounds, content blocks, buttons, among many other things.

Most importantly, Beaver Builder is very easy to use for beginners. Check out our tutorial on how to create custom WordPress layouts with Beaver Builder.

Pricing: Starting from $99 for single site license.

Our Grade: A+

Review: Beaver Builder is the easiest page builder option in the market. It comes with pre-made templates to help you get started. The ability to customize every little detail makes it the perfect solution for WordPress users.

Elementor

Elementor

Elementor is a powerful drag and drop WordPress page builder. It is built from ground up for speed, and you will immediately notice how fast and responsive it is.

It is a live page builder plugin which means you get to see your page live as you edit it with Elementor. Simply create sections and select the number of columns for each section.

You can then drag and drop widgets from the left panel to your section. Elementor comes with tons of widgets including most commonly used website elements.

From basic image and text widgets to advanced accordions, sliders, testimonials, icons, social media, tabs, etc. Each widget comes with its own settings.

Elementor will also let you add widgets created by other WordPress plugins.

Don’t want to build your own layout?

Elementor also comes with many ready-to-use templates that you can just insert into your pages. You can simply point and click to edit any item on the page and replace it with your own content.

Pricing: Starting from $49 for single site license. WPBeginner users can use our Elementor Pro coupon code to get 10% off any licensing plan.

Our Grade: A

Review: Elementor is one of the best page builder plugin in the market. It is super fast, extremely easy to use, and comes with tons of modules and templates.

Page Builder by Site Origin

Page Builder by Site Origin user interface

With more than one million active installs, Site Origin’s Page Builder is one the most popular WordPress page builder in the market. One of the primary reason for it’s popularity is the price (free). It is available as a fully functional free plugin.

Site Origin Page Builder is fairly easy to use and works with any standard compliant WordPress theme. For components, Site Origin Page Builder allows you to use WordPress widgets. It comes with several widgets of its own, and you can download and install any widget. See our list of the 25 most useful WordPress widgets because you can add all of them using this page builder.

It also comes with a history tool which allows you to switch back and forth to undo / redo changes that you made. This is a huge time saver, and it gives you a peace of mind knowing that you can revert and undo changes.

Pricing: Free

Our Grade: B

Review: Site Origin Page Builder is a good free plugin with drag-and-drop interface to create and customize layouts. Although the live editing is not comparable to other solutions mentioned in this comparison.

Themify Builder

Themify Builder

If you are already using a WordPress theme by Themify, then Themify Builder is already part of your theme. For other non-Themify WordPress themes, you can get the Themify Builder plugin.

This simple and highly intuitive page builder comes with several ready to use modules that you can add to your pages or posts. Many of these modules usually require you to install separate WordPress plugins.

Themify Builder allows you to edit your pages from the admin area as well as from your live site. With live editing you get to see exactly how your changes will appear on the site. Apart from that, Themify Builder comes with ready-to-use layouts that you can quickly apply to your page.

Pricing: $39

Our Grade: C+

Review: While the builder comes with promising features, there is a learning curve that can leave a user frustrated. You can get nearly everything from the Themify builder in Site Orign page builder for free.

Divi

Divi

Divi is a drag and drop theme and WordPress page builder. It is an extremely easy to use and fast WordPress theme with 20+ layouts/templates for different kind of websites.

You can create and save your own Divi layouts. You can also export a layout from one Divi installation into another. Divi also comes with tons of elements that you can drag and drop anywhere in your layout.

Pricing: Starting from $69 per year

Our Grade: C+

Review: Divi is a good page builder. The page builder functionality is superb which allows you to work with other WordPress themes as well. However, Divi uses a lot of shortcodes, and this makes it difficult for you to switch themes or use a different page builder in the future.

Conclusion

As we compared different drag and drop WordPress page builders, one thing became very clear. Beaver Builder and Elementor are clearly the top choice.

If you don’t mind spending little money to get the best in market along with guaranteed support from developers, then go for any of these two, and you won’t regret it.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress drag and drop page builder plugins for your site. You may also want to see our comparison to find the best WordPress photo gallery plugins and the best WordPress contact form plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying on You

This week, Vizio, making popular, top-quality, affordable TV sets, consented to spend a $2.2 million fine on FTC. Because it turns out, those same TVs were additionally busily tracking just what their owners were viewing, and shuttling that information back to the company’s servers, where it might be offered to eager advertisers.

That’s just as gross as it appears, but Vizio’s offense ended up being certainly one of level, perhaps not of kind. While other smart television platforms don’t sell your viewing data during the IP level to your greatest bidder without permission, like Vizio did, numerous do monitor your habits on at the very least some level. And also the businesses which have shifted from ACR—like LG with regards to embraced webOS—have older models that liberally snoop.

But good news! There are methods to help keep your smart TV through the prying eyes associated with company that caused it to be. In fact, there’s one absurdly simple way that will benefit any tv you should buy. Let’s begin here.

Dumb It Down

The single most foolproof method to keep an internet-connected television from giving data to far-flung advertisement tech servers world wide? Disconnect it from the web. And honestly, you need to be doing that anyway.

Think about what you’re actually getting from “smart” section of your high-tech television. A shoddy interface? Voice commands that work half enough time, if you’re lucky? Several bonus advertisements popping up in unforeseen places? No many thanks! head to Settings, get the Wi-Fi On/Off toggle, and shut it straight down.

That does not mean you need to live a Netflix-free life. However you should very much opt for a streaming package or dongle for your televised internet passions. They’re more user-friendly, frequently more feature-packed, even though some still monitor your watching habits pretty aggressively—looking at you, Roku—they at least offer you a little more control, or at the minimum act the way in which you’d expect them to. Apple television, as an example, hardly songs you anyway, since is in keeping with Apple’s stance on privacy generally speaking. Chromecast and Android os television are both Google items, which, well, let’s simply say they’re subject to similar privacy agreement you sign away for several of one’s Google requirements.

Usually the one arguable exclusion here? TV sets which have absorbed traditional streaming package platforms, like Roku TVs from TCL and Hisense, or Sony’s Android os TV models. On these the experience—including the privacy strengths and weaknesses—are practically the same as just what you’d get out of a different set-top package anyway.

In the event that you insist on keeping your smart television connected to the big bad internet regardless, here’s a quick primer on the best way to limit what it tracks by brand.

Vizio

The good thing about the Vizio settlement, if you get one regarding the 11 million data-collecting sets they offered over the last several years, is that the company needs to delete most of the data it built-up prior to March 1, 2016. Vizio also states that the environment is disabled on every one of its TVs utilizing the Vizio Internet Apps platform, but just in case, here’s how exactly to cut it off your self.

From your TV’s Menu option, visit System. choose Reset & Admin, choose Smart Interactivity, and hit the best arrow to toggle over to Off.

Newer Vizio sets use SmartCast, which is basically a built-in Chromecast, meaning they’re not afflicted with ACR. Google will still gather some data though..

LG

The good thing, according to Consumer Reports, is that LG’s present type of webOS sets does not automatically gather important computer data. The bad news is that LG’s older sets, well, do.

When you yourself have those types of real time Plus models, visit Options, then Live Plus, and switch it off.

Samsung

Samsung does require your consent to track your viewing behavior when you change it in, so hopefully you declined at the time if that pests you. If instead, in your haste to setup your shiny new big screen prior to the Castle show finale, you opted in, it’s nevertheless maybe not far too late available.

Check out the Smart Hub menu, then to Terms & Policy. ChoooseSyncPlus and advertising, and disable it. While you’re within, you may also wish to deactivate Voice Recognition Services; in 2015 Samsung TVs were found to be hearing literally everything within earshot. The company has since amended its sound recognition to concentrate only when spoken to particularly, but, you realize, still.

Sony

The majority of high-end Sony TVs today use Android television, meaning you are at the mercy of Google’s data-collection methods. Sony it self can also gather data through audio recognition, however the company provides a clear-eyed privacy conditions and terms display screen when you put it to use, plus it’s very easy to decide down then.

That should about do it! It’s crucial that you understand that virtually any unit that’s linked to the net will likely track you one way or another or any other. But having even a little control over who and how matters. How many episodes of The Bachelor you’ve watched this season is nobody’s business, particularly no advertiser’s.

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Moment’s Snap-on iPhone Lenses Get Their Own Battery Case

Until phones last a week per charge, everyone’s in the market for a battery case. Most of them have a problem: Once you slap a battery pack on your smartphone, there’s no room for fancy lens attachments. Most bulky, pro-minded lens cases don’t have built-in batteries, so you’re stuck with a decision between more juice or more photographic firepower.

Well, you were stuck with that decision, because Moment’s new case pulls double duty. It’s a high-capacity battery case, and it’s built to accept the company’s excellent lens attachments. The thing’s even got a physical shutter button on it—one that uses the Lightning connector, making it much faster than the older Moment case’s Bluetooth button. You also get DSLR-type actions with the button when you take photos within Moment’s app: A half press resets focus and exposure, a full press snaps a photo, and a press-and-hold action fires a burst.

Moment’s Battery Photo Case is roughly the same size as Mophie’s very popular Juice Pack, but it actually outdoes Mophie in terms of capacity. The iPhone 7 version of the case more than doubles the phone’s battery life, thanks to a 2,500mAh cell stuffed inside of it. The iPhone 7 Plus case goes even further, with a 3,500mAh battery to sip from. There’s no physical charge switch on the case as there is on Mophie’s stuff; you choose when you want to recharge via the Moment app.

MomentlensTA3.jpgMoment

This is also Moment’s first case that’s made to work with both lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus, albeit not at the same time. There’s two mounting slots on the case that match up with that phone’s dual-lens setup, so you can use the company’s macro, fisheye, wide-angle, and telephoto lenses with either one.

We usually don’t get down with Kickstarters (they’re unpredictable in terms of quality, and they often don’t even ship), but Moment has a solid track record. The Battery Photo Case will set you back $100 if it reaches its $500,000 goal on Kickstarter. They’ll hit that number number quickly; Moment has a strong following among mobile photography enthusiasts.

Also on offer is a new Photo case—a basic protective case with a mount for Moment lenses—and a redesigned wide-angle lens that works better with the iPhone 7, but also fits Moment mounts for Pixel, Galaxy phones, and older iPhones.

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What Are WordPress Plugins? And How Do They Work?

Often beginner users ask us what are WordPress plugins and how do they work? Plugins are an important part of the WordPress ecosystem, and they are essential for building great websites using WordPress. In this beginners guide, we will explain what are WordPress plugins and how do they work?

What Are WordPress Plugins? How Do They Work?

What Are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features and functionality to your WordPress website. Exactly the same way as apps do for your smartphone.

New plugins directory page on WordPress.org

There are more than 48,000 free plugins available right now on the WordPress.org plugin directory. Thousands more are available from third-party websites like Github.

On top of that, there are also thousands of premium WordPress plugins that are sold by individual developers and companies like ourselves.

In 2003, WordPress started as a simple tool to help you start a blog. Over the years, it has evolved into a powerful content management system and application framework, thanks primarily to plugins.

What Can WordPress Plugins Do?

WordPress plugins are small software apps that integrate and run on top of the WordPress software. This allows you to create almost any kind of website with WordPress (not just blogs).

For example, you can:

There is a popular saying in the WordPress community, “There is a plugin for that”.

No matter what you are trying to do on your WordPress site, it’s possible. If the feature is not available in default WordPress, then there is certainly a plugin available for that.

There are WordPress plugins to improve SEO, boost performance, add contact forms, social media buttons, create galleries, and so much more.

Plugins can be small and offer just one tiny little feature (like adding an image to sidebar).

Or they can also be quite large and act as their own platform as well (Example: WordPress eCommerce plugins or WordPress membership plugins).

More feature rich plugins can have their own addon plugins to extend them just like you would extend WordPress.

How WordPress Plugins Work?

WordPress is written in a way so that other developers can add their own code into it. The WordPress plugin API offers a robust set of hooks and filters which allow developers to modify existing WordPress functionality or add new functionality.

WordPress also allows developers to store data in the WordPress database. Plugins can utilize WordPress content types, taxonomies, and custom fields which allow users to store different types of content not just post and pages.

Each WordPress plugin installed on your site is registered in your WordPress database. You can activate and deactivate them at any time you want.

Installed WordPress plugins

Upon each visit, WordPress connects to the database, loads the core software, and then loads your active plugins. All this code is processed on your server and then sent to user’s browser.

How to Find WordPress Plugins and Install Them?

You can find free WordPress plugins by visiting WordPress.org plugin directory or you can also find them directly from your WordPress admin area.

Simply head over to Plugins » Add New page and search by typing plugin name or functionality you want to add.

Searching for plugins from WordPress admin area

WordPress will search the plugin directory and display the available plugins in a list. You need to review the results, and click on the install now button next to the plugin you want to install.

Reviewing and installing plugin from search results

However, search results inside the WordPress admin area are not always helpful because they are limited to free plugins only. Most beginners find it difficult to decide which plugin is best for the job.

Another approach is to look for plugin recommendations and tutorials on sites like WPBeginner.com. We have a WordPress plugins section where you can find the best WordPress plugins that we have thoroughly tested and reviewed.

You can also find WordPress plugins in our editor’s pick of the best WordPress plugins for business websites or checkout the plugins we are using on our website in the WPBeginner’s Blueprint.

More FAQs About WordPress Plugins

I cannot see or install plugins on my WordPress blog?

Most probably you are using WordPress.com. You can only install WordPress plugins on self-hosted WordPress.org websites. See our guide on the difference between self hosted WordPress.org vs free WordPress.com blog.

How many WordPress plugins are too many?

A common misconception among users is that too many plugins can slow down their website. It is NEVER too many plugins that are slowing down your site. It is always poorly coded plugins that degrade performance. For details see our guide on How many WordPress plugins should you install?.

Should I install plugins not tested with my WordPress version?

Sometimes authors of free plugins do not update their plugin files on each new WordPress release. Simply because if it works, then they don’t feel the need to update it. For more on this topic, see our article on installing plugins not tested with your WordPress version.

How to choose between free vs paid plugins?

There are thousands of free plugins and there is a good chance that you can find a free plugin offering the same functionality as a paid plugin. If it works good for you, then use it.

Please keep in mind that free plugins are offered as they are, with no warranties, and no promise of support. Plugin author can stop working on a plugin at anytime they want.

If you feel you will be needing lots of support, and you want regular updates, then paid plugins do a much better job at it.

We use a combination of both free and paid plugins on all our websites.

How do I get support for free WordPress plugins?

Free WordPress plugins are offered without the promise of support. However, most good plugins offer limited free support for their plugins through the official WordPress support forums. Simply visit the plugin page and click on the support tab to post your question.

Getting support for free WordPress plugins

For more on this topic, we recommend you take a look at our guide on how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.

We hope this article helped you understand what are WordPress plugins and how do they work. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on how to choose the best WordPress plugin.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.