Last week of November, we see hackers giving the residents of San Francisco a day of free rides, an anchor takes out the internet of an island, Netflix allows viewing of content in the air, FitBit rescues Pebble, Amazon beats its chest in Las Vegas, Russian bank loses a lot of shekels and once more the nation’s favorite banned executive toy, is back on the shelves.
- Robin Hood Hacker, gives free rides to San Francisco’s MUNI passengers
Last weekend, there was an attack on the network that controls San Francisco’s MUNI transit system, resulting in everyone getting free rides at the weekend, since the gates were free to walk through.
There was some gloating from a hacker online, that said their systems was very open, another reminder that it is vitally important to keep systems updated with the latest patches.
- The island of Jersey taken offline, by a ship’s anchor
Sometimes it is good old fashioned human error that can take networks offline. This time it was a ship’s anchor dragging along the floor bed of the sea, that snagged 3 fibre optic cables, ripping them apart, resulting in the islands links to the UK cut.
This has resulted in all traffic going via the line to France, with very slow connections. The ship in question, King Arthur, is being investigated if it dropped anchor in a banned area – like say the sea!
- Netflix finally offers offline viewing; but there is a small catch
This was the week that Netflix finally relented to continued pressure and released an update to its mobile apps to allow for users to download content for viewing offline.
Only selected content, namely their own, is available, but still, that opens up a lot of options. This closes the feature gap with other players in the market, namely BBC iPlayer and Amazon’s Prime Video.
- FitBit buys Pebble for $40M
FitBit has added to its portfolio by acquiring the struggling smartwatch manufacturer, Pebble. Pebble came to prominence many years ago as a big winner of KickStarter that help raise millions and get it started. I was one of such early investor.
However it has been a tough road since with the company hitting hard times, laying off large portions of its workforce. Only last year, Citizen is said to have offered $700M for the company – bet someone in Pebble is kicking themselves for saying no to that deal! Though, now when they do kick themselves, FitBit can register it towards their daily step count!
- Amazon Web Services had its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas
No denying it, Amazon is doing terribly well in the cloud space, on track to book $13B in revenue this financial year. They are adding more servers daily, than it took to run the whole AWS cloud in 2003.
They are showing no signs of stopping; they have added 1000 features to their offering this year alone, including lower prices across the board. Some interesting features announced last week, including Windows 10 on Amazon Workspaces.
- Apple confirms they are getting serious about self-driving cars
Apple has written to the US regulator telling them they are excited about this new space of self-driving cars and they will be working on bringing something to market. Details are a little sketchy at the moment, if this means a car, or just the software that other car makes can license.
Comes at an interesting time, as analysts at Oppenheimer have announced they believe Apple will no longer lead the charge in innovation for the next 10 years and they will see their dominance shrink. Don’t think Apple is going anywhere, but these things come in cycles.
- Russian bank, runs foul of hack, loses $31M
No small change, but the Central Bank of Russia, has been compromised with $31M being removed through fraudulent client accounts. This one could easily not be anything that sophisticated but merely relied on social hacking – the ability to convince another human you someone you are not.
Though, silver lining it could have been worse, they were wanting to get away with double that amount, but failed. Failed I would use in the loosest sense of the word!
- Metal Balls .. they are once more allowed in the USA
Got to love the land of the free; you are free to buy a gun that can result in untold mayhem, but don’t you dare buy small magnetic balls that you might swallow, resulting in them being attracted to large magnets, you know, like an MRI machine!
A Judge however has seen sense and once more allowed them to be sold, so a whole legion of desk bound people can once more buy them as your classic fidget toys. I loved my blue metal balls – until I started losing them (or was someone eating them?!?)
… and this week’s soundtrack is brought to you from the grandfather of Christmas music, Bing Crosby with his classic White Christmas, which first appeared in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, and not as people think, White Christmas.