Welcome to this week’s, election free, roundup of the news that caught my attention this week, ranging from self-testing USB sticks, security attacks on Tesco, how Facebook buys passwords from hackers, NFL losing viewers, cramped airlines, Yahoo still dancing with Verizon, to a warning about pervy teenagers in sunglasses.
- USB stick for detecting the HIV virus in blood
A company in the UK has developed a USB stick that can detect the amount of HIV in the blood within 20 minutes, with 88% accuracy. This is a huge improvement on the ‘try-at-home’ mouth swab self testing kits that are currently available. No hint of availability or cost.
This is a very controversial space since Elizabeth Holmes, of Theranos fame, somewhat shit in the blood test nest for everyone else. If it does bear out, it will have huge implications for testing in 3rd world countries where access to medical equipment is scant at best.
- Tesco Bank, the UK’s largest supermarket, runs foul of cyber thieves as they do a ‘Superman III’ attack
Last weekend, cyber thieves managed to successfully siphon off £2.5M from 9000 online accounts. There is no official how so far, but experts have stepped forward noting their mobile apps had some possible problems, coupled with a potential insider who was apparently selling access in the dark web.
No amount of security will protect us from the disgruntled employee; every company has that person that knows that little too much. Apparently they have been sucking off small amounts for months now, but someone got greedy/impatient I imagine, resulting in everything being shut down.
- Verizon and Yahoo continue to tease us, with threats Verizon may step away
This one is turning out to be the tech equivalent of will they or won’t they Mulder and Scully love affair. After discovering a huge data breach (500M accounts) was lost and some inside Yahoo knew this before the deal was signed, Verizon are being very coy and stroking their chins deciding on whether to continue with the $4.8B deal.
Of course they aren’t walking away, they are just going to lob off a couple of billion and get one of the oldest Internet properties at a steal (ironic eh?).
- Facebook buys stolen passwords on black market to help protect the stupid
This week, head of security at Facebook gave a talk on security noting that the biggest problem facing security today, is that users are still using the same password across all their online properties. To help them fight this, they have bought password lists from hackers in the dark web to run them against their database to flag such people and have them update accordingly.
This one has me on the ethical fence; like a movie where the company buys back the painting from the cat burglar to save some bad publicity. There is no excuse for reusing the same password, we just need to educate people – LastPass went free for everyone the other week.
- NFL ratings tank; who knew that 70 ads per game was too much?
One of America’s most loved sports is in chaos as ratings plunge. NFL Commissioner has come out and said the game needs to change because people are just not willing to wait anymore. Continual timeouts, stoppages, ads (70 per game!!) are all adding up to a frustration that are turning people off the game. The Netflix ‘ad-free uninterrupted experience‘ culture is being blamed.
Though, if non-stop action is what you are looking for, then take a look at soccer or even rugby (which is NFL without padding) – it may surprise you.
- New York to London in 3hrs and for only $2500? Sonic jets are back
Ever since Concorde got grounded 13 years ago, we’ve had no way to get around the planet at any faster than 575 mph commercially speaking. However a new company, Boom Super Sonic has emerged stating they could begin flying us back and forth as early as 2020, for as little as $2500.
Their technology is promising even faster speeds than Concorde, using less fuel and less noise. Though we will still have that wonderful boom as the sound barrier is broken. About time air travel had some real innovation.
- BA planes to add 52 seats to existing planes for more capacity
To know love, we first must suffer pain and BA is going to help us with that after reading about supersonic jets. They plan to add an extra seat to every row, increasing the number of seats in a standard 777 to 332 from 280.
Assuming the laws of physics are still being adhered to, if the total volume inside the plane isn’t increasing, then we can only assume the already thin seats are about to get smaller. Where the hell you going to put an extra 52 people and all their carry-on in a 777!?!?
- Beware of grinning teenagers wearing cheap looking plastic shades
As I’ve noted before, Snapchat is getting into the wearables market with a pair of sunglasses that can record 10 seconds of video for only $140 a pair (compared to the $1500 of the Google Glass experiment). This week they tested the market with a stealth pop-up kiosk selling the first run of units.
What makes the Snap glasses different is that they don’t look like glasses with a video camera installed in them; so infinitely more stealthy. You’ve been warned.
… and this week’s soundtrack is a bittersweet one, with 2016 claiming another victim, as Leonard Cohen was taken from the world at 82 years of age. So I give you one of my favourite video’s from the gentlemen of music.