Last Week’s Top 8 Tech Stories – 14th Nov

The week that was gave us another 8 interesting stories, including this year’s biggest software hack, how you can easily hack with your laptop, VW embroiled in another emission software scandal, Amazon gets into the car business, Tesla into the sun business and how users can no longer hide from Skype calls!

The week that was gave us another 8 interesting stories, including this year’s biggest software hack, how you can easily hack with your laptop, VW embroiled in another emission software scandal, Amazon gets into the car business, Tesla into the sun business and how users can no longer hide from Skype calls!

Enjoy.

  1. AdultFriendFinder is the winner of the years biggest hack with 412M users
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-21-06Barely a week goes by when we don’t learn of a hack of some sort, but this one takes the prize for the largest number of users affected in 2016 at 412M users.   This haul included passwords, in both clear and (weak) hashed format.  The issue here is of course that the vast majority of people repeat their email/passwords combinations, opening them up for not only blackmail, but identify theft.

    Interesting tidbit; LeakedSource did an analysis on the passwords and found nearly a 1M people still use the classic 123456 as their password – no sympathy for those people anymore.

  2. Give a man one laptop; and he can bring down major pieces of the Internet
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-27-32When we hear of Denial of Server attacks, we picture 1000’s of independent machines infected with a piece of malware that saturate a servers infrastructure.  Well that may not be the case anymore if researchers from TDC Security are to believed.

    Armed with a single laptop, that has access to a fast network, you can use BlackNurse, a new technique that bombards network equipment with malformed ICMP packets.  So forget the foreign nationals trying to hack us – all it takes is a pissed off employee!

  3. VW are still caught in the emission cheating scandal with Audi
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-34-19.pngWith all the news this week about fake news stories on Google and Facebook you would think you can take solace that something as mechanical as a car won’t betray you.  Think again – those pesky German VW software engineers have been caught with their compilers down again – this time with the Audi brand.

    The US EPA are investigating Audi about discrepancies in their reports with particular attention being applied to the software.  This whole scandal is just ridiculous and I hope a single developer is not fired over this; management had to know, their heads need to roll.

  4. Do you want to Amazon Prime that new Fiat car?
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Yes, Amazon are getting into the automotive business, by offering 3 Fiat models on their Italian website.  If you recall they announced a few months ago, Amazon Vehicles that was more like a Wikipedia for cars, so this is a logical step to start selling cars direct online.

    This will be an interesting to watch and see how customers react to this model.  Personally, I think it will be a big hit, as the likes of CarMax (and Tesla) demonstrate, as people hate haggling and dealing with car salesmen.

  5. Tesla and SolarCity are now a single entity after 85% shareholder approval
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-49-48With Amazon getting into the car selling business, Tesla is now in the solar business after shareholders overwhelming approved the acquisition.  All gone crazy!  At first blush, a car company buying a solar panel maker makes absolutely no sense.  However, to understand this you need to buy-in to Elon Musk’s vertical transport energy company (car + battery + solar).

    This is a bold move and their stock took a bit of a beating on the official confirmation.  If Tesla can produce the Model 3 in the numbers this will be just a bump in the road as this journey is just starting out.

  6. Russia bans LinkedIn
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-56-57.pngWhat is a Russian recruiter to do now?!?   Russia has added LinkedIn to the list of foreign sites that are no longer accessible to the average Russian user.  LinkedIn has  succumb to that law that dictates that any company storing personal Russian citizen data need to have those servers hosted within Russia.  LinkedIn does not.

    LinkedIn are not the only sites to fall foul of this – YouPorn and PornHub are also in this list.  WikiPedia was also banned for a few days, and Facebook/Twitter are also on the cusp of being banned after repeated warnings.

  7. Skype no longer requires a username to call someone
    chrome_2016-11-20_20-03-06File this under, #finally.  Skype is a great service, but requires both parties to have a Skype account to really benefit.   Not any longer.  Microsoft have finally relented and can offer Skype call sessions via a web browser, single unique link experience.

    There are some limitations, but at least you can now call your Linux friends who have been holding out on you.

  8. Sssh … can you hear that?  Is that an electric car approaching?
    chrome_2016-11-20_20-08-02.pngDang naggit the US DoT has gone ruined one of the best bits of fun you can have in an electric car – that is sneaking up on runners in your neighborhood, dogs also fall into that category.   They now want all cars that can run silent to emit a sound while they are under 19 mph.

    Now details are a little sketchy here as to what type of sound we are talking.  I really hope Tesla allow me to upload my own MP3 – maybe the fun hasn’t been ruined after all.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was brought to you by Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice.  Christopher Walken dancing I could watch all day – every time I press the elevator button this is what goes through my head!

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 24th October

A big week in the world of tech where Google, Apple, Tesla and Microsoft had big product announcements and Amazon had its quarterly earnings report.

A big week in the world of tech where Google, Apple, Tesla and Microsoft had big product announcements and Amazon had its quarterly earnings report.

  1. Google redefines the whiteboard at $6,000
    Googlechrome_2016-10-29_18-33-16.png announced the Jamboard, a very rich interactive whiteboard that integrates deeply with their recently rebranded Google Suite (formerly Google Apps).  This puts it in direction competition with Microsoft’s Surface Hub 55″/80″ line.

    On this 55″ whiteboard, you can have ‘jams’ with your fellow colleagues, with a huge amount of interactivity bringing in content from all over.   Gone are the days of whiteboard inked hands and taking photos of creations.

  2. Microsoft announces its first ever desktop PC
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-39-39For a company that shaped the PC industry it is a little baffling they are only getting into creating their own desktop PC nearly 30 years since the desktop revolution began.  But the wait was worth it.

    In addition to their Surface laptops getting major updates, they introduced the Surface Studio, a $4,000 desktop that is not like anything we’ve ever seen, including a very cool input device, called the Surface Dial.  Move over Apple, there is a new cool kid in town now.

  3. Apple announces the new MacBook with the touch bar
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-45-37While Microsoft was putting its vision of the non-tablet world forward, Apple is trying to redefine the laptop with its latest MacBook, with the new interactive touch bar.

    Instead of the usual row of function keys, they have replaced it with a OLED touch bar, that will change context depending on the application you are in.  Function keys have become ingrained in our brains for various things.  First it was the 3.5mm audio jack, now the function keys – is nothing sacred?  Qwerty layout next?

  4. Tesla announces near on invisible solar roofs and a large power pack
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-52-55Ahead of the shareholder vote later in November about the Solar City deal, Elon Musk took to the stage to announce a new revolutionary solar panel for residential homes that is near on invisible to the naked eye – no more unsightly big silver boxes on the roof.

    In addition, he announced that Tesla have doubled the capacity of its Powerwall product while keeping the price at $5,000 and throwing in an inverter at the same time.  Running your house off-the-grid just got way more affordable and real.

  5. Twitter kills off the 6.5 second video service Vine; 300 people lose jobs
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-37-48Twitter is desperately trying to make money, but while it figures that out, it is killing off the Vine service it launched under 3 years ago.  As part of this cost restructuring 300 people will be losing their jobs.  With all the free media publicity Twitter gets, especially with this years US elections, they still can’t make money or find a buyer (though rumor has it that Disney maybe sniffing around again).

    Though not all may be lost, never wanting to miss an opportunity, the popular adult site, PornHub, has said they are willing to buy it from Twitter, because as they said it, “6 seconds is more than enough” – and they have the data to prove it!

  6. Slack may be in for some serious competition, with Microsoft Teams
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-56-16Microsoft is expected to release next week it’s version of Slack, called Microsoft Teams.  There was a desire internally to buy Slack for $8B but Bill and Satya weren’t for having it.

    Microsoft have been here before, when they bought Yammer in 2012 – the Facebook for business as it was billed.  The leaked photos of Team looks suspiciously close to an updated Yammer. Slack has found a lot of love with its users, so it will be interesting to see if teams are willing to move away.  Pricing could be the key.

  7. Amazon releases weaker profits, stock takes a dive
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50As part of its quarterly report, Amazon announced its profits weren’t as strong as they had hoped, but still profitable, 6 quarters in a row.  However that isn’t enough to appease the stock market who punished the stock by taking nearly $70 off its share price.

    Amazon for so long operated at a loss and now it is profitable it doesn’t seem to be enough for some, who had pegged the stock to break the infamous $1,000 stock price.  AWS was up 55% year-on-year, showing that their grip on the cloud market is showing no signs of letting it up.

  8. Need some sleep on the move?  The OstrichPillow may be what you need
    chrome_2016-10-29_19-17-23.pngWe’ve all been there, schedules get pushed around and before you know it, you are grasping for some sleep whenever you can.   Except you can’t just get comfortable.  Anyone of my fellow air warriors will know the pain of trying to sleep on a cramped plane.

    One company, Studio Banana Creations, may have the solution for us, with their new flexible pillow that transforms from a discrete scarf into something that is well, not discrete.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was brought courtesy of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.  I particularly love his ‘I need never get old’ track.  Excellent album check it out.

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 17th October

This weeks top tech stories for the week of the 17th Oct. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, IoT and Indiana Jones.

For those that missed out this week, here are the stories in the tech world that was making the headlines in the week of the 17th October.

  1. Apple iCar isn’t going to happen
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-11-56It was a long standing rumor for many years that Apple was getting into the electric car business, competing head on with Tesla.  Bloomberg announced this week that the project that headed up this initiative has been dismantled with many lay-offs coming.

    One wonders if Tesla/Ford/Mercedes will welcome back those that defected.  Oops.

  2. Tesla announces cars rolling off their production line can self-drive
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-21-25While we are on the subject of electric cars, Elon Musk teased the internet for a week about a big announcement and this Wednesday he held a press conference and demonstrated a Model X driving by itself from home to the office.  The video is extremely impressive and worth the watch, complete with Rolling Stones theme.

    This in the same week that Germany have asked Tesla to stop using the term Auto Pilot as it is confusing the poor Germans drivers.

  3. First it was Samsung’s Note 7; now Apple’s iPhone 7 bursts into flames
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-25-13While Samsung are figuring out how to rebuild its reputation Apple’s latest flagship handset, the iPhone 7, has had a couple of reports of it bursting into the flames.   They haven’t officially commented on this, only to say they are investigating this thoroughly.

    This could seriously rock the high end handset market if both market leaders turn out to have handsets that can light a campfire quicker than Bear Grylls!

  4. Nintendo announce its new handset, the Switch
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-31-16The king of gamers for the masses have set the standard again with its latest Switch device. Just as the Wii appealed to everyone, Nintendo are hoping to capture that same family appeal with the Switch.  Think of the Wii and the 3DS and then put that in a portable, multi-player handset and you have something that could catch on.

    Nintendo are entering a very competitive space now, with smartphones accounting for a large amount of mobile gaming (assuming they don’t catch fire!).  They are missing the Christmas buying period by launching it March 2017.

  5. Internet for North America goes offline this Friday, due to IoT devices
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-42-35The previous week, we had DNS provider, hover.com, go offline due to a massive DoS attack on its servers.  This week it was the turn of Dyn who were the target of the same attack that knocked out many of the big players, including Twitter, Amazon and Spotify.

    Insecure IoT devices such as routers, printers, cameras, etc were at fault again.  These devices are very easy to take over due to default username/passwords that most people don’t even know to change, though some can’t be changed anyway.  This problem is not going away anytime soon.  The ISP’s may have to step up and start firewalling these devices.

  6. Amazon looking to provide you with Internet
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Amazon is looking to become an ISP, in Europe initially, and start to offer that as part of its Prime service.  This may not be as big a leap considering how big and expansive their AWS cloud computing is.

    Amazon have repeatedly said that their Prime membership is where they make their money as members are more likely to buy from Amazon.com instead of going elsewhere.

  7. Microsoft’s SalesForce competitor, Dynamics is selling very well
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-56-16This week Microsoft’s stock was at its highest after a very good earnings call this week detailing that all its subscription services are way above expectations, with the enterprise suite Dynamics getting most of that attention.

    Microsoft have successfully redefined itself away from relying on just Office and Windows revenue as it looks to things like Azure, Dynamics and Office 365 (an online subscription service).

  8. Indiana Jones, Ark of the Covenant, now on display
    chrome_2016-10-22_11-00-51The real big news of the week, was that a real piece of movie history, the Ark of the Covenant, went on display at Walt Disney World Hollywood in Orlando.   You can view this legendary prop while you are queuing for the Great Hollywood Movie Ride, though you will be forgiven for just queuing and not making it to the ride.

    Hurry before Disney decide to put it back into the huge warehouse!

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was provided by Norah Jones new album Day Break released this month.  Good to see her back to releasing under her name.