Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 10th October

This weeks top tech stories for the week of the 10th Oct. Amazon, SalesForce, Netflix, Twitter, Samsung, AOL

Another week in the world of tech and here are the stories that caught my attention on this week starting 10th October 2016.

  1. Samsung pull the plug on its flagship Note 7
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-28-02After all of its woes, and for the first time a manufacturer has done such a step, Samsung have finally stopped making and shipping the Note 7.  Too many flames in that smoke.  This whole incident will cost the company $5B in real money and likely a more in customer goodwill and brand damage.   It is a complete nightmare.

    After recalls and units still bursting into flames, the Department of Transport officially ban people from flying with the phone, there is no recovery from this, so Samsung are looking to S8 due out in the 1st quarter of 2017.   You can be rest assured the likes of Apple, Google, HTC and LG are looking into the quality of their supply chain.

  2. Twitter is the house on the block no one wants to buy
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-37-48The last few weeks had a lot of buzz around the potential buy-out of Twitter by the likes of SalesForce, Google or even Disney.  However, all parties have had a deep look at the in’s and out’s and opted to walk away, citing they aren’t the right fit.

    This is seriously bad news for Twitter, because if those big players are out of the picture, who else is left that thinks they can monetize this medium that fits between the cracks of social media.  Stock price depressed upon this news.

  3. Yahoo fighting for survival on a number of fronts
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-32-32Yahoo is trying to close the sale to Verizon, however Verizon are now looking to walk away from the deal due to the huge data security breach of its user base. If that isn’t enough, those people still using @yahoo.com email accounts, discovered this week that Yahoo pulled the feature to auto-forward emails.   This effectively is locking people into Yahoo and not making it easy for them to migrate off.  As you can appreciate this is infuriating its user base.  Yahoo put it back in again at the end of the week, but its excuse was awfully flimsy to why it pulled the feature in the first place.

    Marissa Mayer looks to be blundering here at the very time Yahoo needs a strong and determined CEO.   She can still save this so the next couple of weeks is going to be crucial.

  4. Germany votes to ride the combustion engine by 2030
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-51-37The home of the automobile (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche) have voted to stop manufacturing and selling traditional gas powered engines by 2030.  A bold step but their hopes is to speed up the innovation around alternative fuels.  Tesla has already set the bar very high as to what electric cars can do, and Mercedes has declared they will over take Tesla’s innovation in 10 years time.

    The reality here is that they looking to have zero-emission engines.  Be interesting to see if other countries will follow suit here, but one upside is that we are going into a phase of extremely clean air in our cities.

  5. Amazon calls bullshit on Oracle’s cloud claims
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Oracle has never been shy about its boasts on its own technology.  Do you remember the whole ‘Unbreakable Linux’ claim 15 years ago, until it was proven it was indeed breakable?   Well Larry Ellison is at it again, claiming that Amazon is 20 years behind Oracle’s cloud and up to 24 times slower.   Oh dear.

    Well Amazon, who usually do not dignify such claims by getting involved, fired back at Larry.   Oracle is desperately trying to be relevant in the cloud space and the reality is that they are the ones that are years too late with too little services too late.  Gartner noted that Amazon is 10x bigger than its next 14 competitors combined.  There is a reason for this – it works and works very well.

  6. Morgan Stanley updates its yearly 30 top stocks to look for
    Morgan Stanley released the top stocks that they believe will do best when should the economy slow down a little.  We have Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook in there from the world of big tech.
  7. Netflix will offer offline viewing by year end
    chrome_2016-10-16_11-16-04Speaking of Netflix, it looks like that they can’t dodge the disconnected offline world we live in and are going to finally allow its content to be downloaded to be viewed later.  Applaud Netflix for listening to its paying customers.

    This could actually lessen the bandwidth load as people can download quicker in short bursts and then enjoy the content at their leisure in the air for the example.

  8. The history of the AOL CD
    This week, we seen the head of sales leave AOL, reminding us all that AOL still exists (part of Verizon if you recall).  You have to wonder just how hard a job that is, when you have a brand that people associate most with is dial-up internet access and their infamous CD ROM.

    Mental Floss published a fascinating look back at the history of the CD ROM this week.


and finally, this week’s audible distraction was provided by Nate Ruess and his, Grand Romantic album released last summer.


Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 3rd October

The top stories from the week of the 3rd Oct; Samsung, Amazon, SalesForce, VMware, Yahoo, security and candles!

Here are the stories that caught my attention in the week starting 3rd October 2016.

  1. Samsung’s Note 7 replacement catches fire; plane is evacuated
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-28-02Samsung’s woes just got worse when its flagship Galaxy Note 7 burst into flames, when it was already turned off, onboard a Southwest flight.  The irony here was that this was a replacement phone from the first batch of faulty phones.  Network carriers are now offering free replacements to other handsets.

    Such a shame to see this, as I love my Note 5 and I was looking for to upgrading to the Note 7.  My reason is because the phone is waterproof – though I will need it to be flame proof too!

  2. Yahoo caught spying on its users emails for the NSA
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-32-32This is the first major email provider that has been caught with its fingers in their user’s inbox.   They not only gave data to the NSA, but actually helped the NSA do their job by building filtering software to track for certain keywords. This is not good for Yahoo as they try to close the deal with Verizon, who are seeking a $1B discount off the sale price because of the stolen 500M users details.

    Email is still our primary link to our digital world – we have to trust our email providers safeguard our precious data.  This is 2 major strikes against one of the oldest domains.

  3. Saving babies lives thanks to IoT
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-54-21Internet of Things is creating buzz all over the industry at the moment as we look to track everything, and one company, Owlet Baby Care has taken it to your baby.   They have developed a sock ($250) that monitors the wee ones heart rate and oxygen levels alerting the parents when things significantly change.

    This gives me such joy to see technology coming together so beautifully to save lives in a space where there is much research being done on infant premature death.

  4. Save yourself – how to avoid being scammed online
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-56-35The vast majority of security hacks are down to the infallibility of the human – we’re so easily seduced and tricked into doing things we really shouldn’t.  A very handy info-graphic was released this week to show all the ways scammers try to seduce you and the very simply steps you can do to present.

    Covers all forms of online scams in a very easy digestible format.  Do yourself a favor and take a look, and then either feel educated, or smug you already knew it all.

  5. SalesForce announces an improved IoT offering
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-03-07The big cloud providers are desperate for your IoT data – Amazon, Google, Microsoft and SalesForce have extremely rich offerings to make it real easy to pump your device data to their cloud.   This week was DreamForce in San Francisco, the annual SalesForce love fest, where they announced a number of updates to their Thunder IoT cloud.  The main one is marrying up the device data with core data stored in SalesForce.

    This is a huge step considering how many companies run exclusively inside of SalesForce.  Though price is their achilles heel – running inside SalesForce is not a cheap experience when compared to Amazon.

  6. Dongle technology finally comes to ordinary credit cards
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-17-06.pngI am sure you have seen the security dongles that many banks issue for online access to your account.  They are small devices that continually generate numbers that you read off and type in to gain access.   This technology has now come to credit cards, with France trialing the card that updates the 3 digit number on the back every hour.

    While this will complicate our lives a little more, not being able to save the card online for fast purchasers as we will be forced to look at the card and type in the ever-changing 3 digits, it is a small price to pay to be immune from hacks and data dumps.

  7. VMware throws in the towel; joins Amazon’s cloud
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50VMware, recently part of Dell, was the early pioneer of virtualization technology that allowed the cloud world to even exist.  Like the Yahoo’s of its era, VMware has struggled to compete with the mammoth Amazon offering and this week, we learned that they have finally decided to stop fighting it and now offer their software to run within the Amazon cloud.

    This is a huge admission that their own cloud offering is failing to take off and instead of losing out on the customer relationship altogether they have wisely decided to give their clients what they want.

  8. Keep that new Apple Mac feeling going longer with the Mac candle
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-24-52Nothing better than that new smell that comes with a car or even a house, but what about the smell from a newly booted Apple Mac?   Well for those diehard Apple fanboys they can keep that smell going longer, thanks to a new candle that burns the scent of a new Mac.

    Naturally, special order at the moment, until such times that Yankee Candle decides they need a whole range of ‘new unboxing scents’.


and finally, this week’s soundtrack was Passenger’s new album.

This week’s highlinks – 26th Sep 2016

Another week in the crazy world of technology. Here are this week’s stories that stood out for the week starting 26th September 2016.

Another week in the crazy world of technology.  Here is this weeks stories that stood out for the week starting 26th September 2016, with Uber, Amazon, IMDB, Plex, Blackberry, Slack and why airplanes have ashtrays.

chrome_2016-09-30_21-38-35Uber drivers take selfies before they come for you

Uber is always on the look out to make sure we all feel safe and secure when our driver appears.  They are introducing a feature where your driver will take a selfie of themselves before they appear, thus giving you an opportunity to decide if they are good looking enough for your transportation needs.  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_21-45-09Actors can remove their age from IMDB

Can you believe it?  California have made it law that an actor can remove their age from IMDB.  The idea is to stop agents and casting directors from discriminating based on age.  Completely pointless since this information is still freely available on news outlets who are not under this restriction.  /cue rolling of eyes/  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_21-49-50Google Pixel laptop will merge Android with Chrome OS

Chromebooks have found a wonderful home with students and people that want more than a tablet but less than a PC.  With the merging of the Android space, it opens up a whole world of Android apps to this platform making it a very attractive choice over a traditional Windows/Mac laptop.  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_21-53-25Plex & Amazon teams up to offer Plex cloud

Plex, the popular personal media server hub that lets you stream your movies, tv, music and photos to any device in the world, has teamed with Amazon to let you host your content in the cloud without running your own server.

Sounds a great idea, but with the vast majority of content hosted on peoples Plex servers of questionable origin, Amazon won’t tolerate this and start shutting down and removing users files.   Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_22-00-12We finally learn what #slack means

This week we discovered that slack means something other than what we all thought which was to slack off work and chat – Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.   Consider yourself informed.  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_22-02-21IOT devices create the largest BOT net

This is a huge wake-up call to IOT developers – security really matters, it isn’t just about protecting your data.  Devices such as cameras and routers, were hijacked and performed a continual Denial of Service attack by continually hitting the same URL, producing 620 gigabits per second from all over the world.  Astonishing.  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_22-06-31Where are all the Fortune 500 companies headquartered?

A great info-graphic was produced by Fortune magazine to highlight where the headquarters of all the top 500 companies in the USA.  As you can see, the MST timezone is not represented at all (interesting fact I heard on this weeks Freakonomics podcast was that there is more people in Manhattan than in the whole MST timezone).  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_22-10-45Blackberry finally gets out of making handsets

I know, I know, you thought Blackberry had already died, but this seems to be the last nail in the coffin – they are getting out of making their own handsets.   Such a shame, I loved my Blackberry back in the day.  They should have adopted Android from the start and hooked into the huge app store.  Oh hum – my quest for a keyboard on an Android phone continues.  Read More.

chrome_2016-09-30_22-14-12… and finally why do airplanes still have ashtrays?

Ever wondered why airplanes still have ashtrays when its been 26 years since smoking was banned?  Its for those buggers that try to have that sneaky light-up thinking they will be the only one not to be caught!   When caught, we prefer them not to throw it in the trashcan, creating a fire.  /shakes head/  Read More.

Tech news round up – 19th Sep 2016

what took my eye in the world of technology this week, 19th September 2016

In this week, starting the 21st September 2016, the following news items caught my attention.

chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Many Amazon Reviews are bogus

As you may have already suspected, after looking at over 18 million reviews on Amazon, they are found to be heavily influenced by those that were highly incentivized to give a favorable review.  As with anything on the Internet – reader beware.   Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-21-25Tesla releases v8.0

I am a proud Tesla owner and I love how my car simply improves the longer I keep it and version 8 comes with a whole host of new goodies that was released this week.  In addition to a major UI upgrade, there was an overhaul of the AutoPilot software to make sure the driver doesn’t drift their attention too far.  As a keen user of this feature I am glad they didn’t cripple it to the point of being useless.

Another cool feature was one that stops dogs and children from dying due to excessive heat inside the car.  So instead of cracking a window, the Tesla car will automatically cool the car if it gets above a certain temperature.  Beautiful life-saving feature.  Read more


Tesla hacked and then fixed

A group of Chinese hackers successfully hacked a Tesla and was able to remotely turn on its brakes.  While at first blush this is alarmist, they would have to wait for a Tesla driver to connect the car to an untrusted WiFi network (one that was under the control of the hackers).  Given the Tesla comes with its own 3G network connection there is no need that this would ever be done by a driver in the field – you don’t just throw your Tesla onto the Starbucks free WiFi!   But good news, Tesla quickly showed that its OverTheAir update works beautifully and they had a fix out before the v8.0 software was shipped.  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-32-48Premium Gas may be a waste of money

The AAA organization completed its research and noted that the vast majority of people filling up with premium gas don’t need to – their car will work with no notable performance loss.  Some $2 billion wasted every year.  This includes some of the high performance German (BMW, Mercedes, VW) and British (Range Rover, Mini) cars.  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-35-57Resist plugging in that unknown USB

Don’t let curiosity get the better of you; see a USB stick don’t insert it into to see what it is.  A recent study noted that nearly 50% of the people inserted a USB stick they found in the parking lot.  Now that browsers have got a whole lot more clever in detected naughty sites, USB’s still pose a huge security problem and can install software without you even noticing.  Plugger beware!  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-40-0723andMe offers $99 DNA test kit

If you haven’t had your DNA profiled yet then you should give it some serious thought.  I took it out when it first hit the seen a number of years ago.  I found out a whole lot about my health and potential issues that I could be facing as I get older.  Also explained why coffee has absolutely no effect on me.  Well they are now offering a $99 that will tell you where your ancestry originates.   Don’t bother with the cheap product; get the full health DNA done.  It is your body; know all you can.  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-43-52Google/SalesForce eyes up Twitter

Another week, another potential rumor about who is buying Twitter.  This one seems to have got some legs to it, as the stock price on Twitter this week popped 15%.  Google and SalesForce are said to be circling.  Google I can see making a strategic move here, but SalesForce I find a little harder to believe.  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-46-33Can SnapChat succeed where Google Glass failed?

That is the question to be answered when it was confirmed that SnapChat (now Snap Inc – the camera company) has developed a pair of glasses that can record video and take pictures retailing at $129 a pair.   Given Google Glass was at $1500 this ‘toy’ (by their own words) may just be at the price point where it could take off.  Read More

chrome_2016-09-24_05-50-17Google Home will be $50 cheaper than Amazon’s Echo

The race to give our homes a voice to command is heating up with Google entering the race with a much cheaper version of Amazon’s Echo.  I am an Echo user, and I will confess, to not using her as much as I did at the start.  The novelty has worn off, and she has been moved to the guest bathroom as a shower-music device.  Read More

Google Chromecast reading a 4K versionchrome_2016-09-24_05-54-43

The excellent Chromecast device, that plugs into any HDMI input and lets you stream and cast content (web pages, video, music etc) is my gadget of the year – I have 5 of them.  Now there is a new one coming, supporting 4K resolution, at only $69 compared to the $30 at the moment.  Read More