Saturday, December 10, 2016

I am not going to say, “I told you so!” 
Gabe Friedman reports:
A federal judge on Friday unveiled a long sealed proposed class-action complaint that accused the law firm, Johnson & Bell, of failing to take adequate steps to protect the data on its servers.
The case is currently proceeding in confidential arbitration and the complaint was filed in April by the plaintiff’s firm Edelson P.C. on behalf of two of Johnson & Bell’s onetime clients, Jason Shore, a California resident, and Coinabul, a Wyoming limited liability company.
Read more on Bloomberg Law.

I don’t think they mean hacking as we know it.  They seem to think that millions of Russians were shipped into the US Midwest and voted for Trump.  Or perhaps they just think it wasn’t fair that Democrats were hacked and Republicans were not? 
Obama Orders Investigation Into Election-Related Hacking
President Obama asked intelligence officials to perform a “full review” of election-related hacking this week, and plans will share a report of its findings with lawmakers before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Friday that the investigation will reach all the way back to 2008, [See?  It’s not just Trump.  Bob] and will examine patterns of “malicious cyber-activity timed to election cycles.”   He emphasized that the White House is not questioning the results of the November election. 

CIA 'believes Russia intervened to help Donald Trump win Presidential Election - and now has the proof'
   Last night, the Washington Post reported CIA sources as saying the agency now believes it has evidence individuals with connections to the Russian government were behind a number of hacks targeting the Democrats.
   CIA agents allegedly say it is now "quite clear" that electing Trump was Russia's goal..

Russia Hacked Republican Committee but Kept Data, U.S. Concludes
American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

Is Verizon assuming Samsung’s liability here? 
Verizon Won’t Brick Galaxy Note 7 Citing Conflicting Dedication To Customer Safety
Well, we were definitely wrong, because Verizon Wireless has just issued a statement saying that it will not send the death ROM update to Galaxy Note 7 devices.  Interestingly enough, the company says that it is taking this precaution in order to ensure the safety of its customers in the case of an emergency.  The statement reads:
Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note 7 users that do not have another device to switch to. We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.
For starters, this wording is a bit curious, as no one is going to be boarding a flight domestically or from the U.S. to a foreign destination with a Galaxy Note 7 in tow — they’ve been banned from all airlines.  And the part about not being able to contact emergency responders is a bit comical considering that you wouldn’t be able to call anyway if your Galaxy Note 7 is on fire.

Is Detroit ready for this? 
Michigan Just Embraced the Driverless Future
The Wolverine State just became one of the first in the country to formally give the thumbs-up to autonomous cars on public roads, with no driver in the front seat.
Friday, Governor Rick Snyder put his signature on bills permitting automakers to operate networks of self-driving taxis in the state.1
   “As near as I can tell from the language and the context, what’s going on is a specific effort to implement a specific regime for a specific company,” says Bryant Walker Smith, a legal scholar with the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies self-driving vehicles.

I have a couple of friends (I do, honest!) who speak better French than I do.  Perhaps this will allow me to catch up?
While the world waits on Apple, Molotov brings the future of TV to France and raises $23 million
   Molotov is a free app that allows users to watch any of the 70 basic free channels in France.  It works in partnership with French TV stations, so it’s all perfectly legal.  And no cable subscription is required to access the stations.  It is a big step toward making those over-the-top (OTT) dreams a reality.
   Molotov’s app has been available on almost all iOS, tvOS, Windows, and Android platforms. It allows for a continuous viewing experience across all those platforms. But it also solves the problem of needing a dozen apps for each channel to catch what limited live streams may be available.

I can’t help it, I love lists!
Friday Reads: Best Books Lists
It’s that time of year again, when the “Best Books of the Year” lists begin to flurry like snowflakes.  There’s the august New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year, many of which also appear on the year-end round ups by Publisher’s Weekly, BuzzFeed Books, NPR, BookRiot, the user-generated lists on Goodreads…and the list of lists goes on and on.

Hack Education Weekly News
   Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of complaints filed last year with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights soared to a record 16,720, according to a report the department released Thursday.  The number of complaints was a 61 percent increase over the previous year’s total.”
   Via Inside Higher Ed: “After months of review, the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday approved the proposed $1.14 billion sale of Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, to a group of three private equity firms.”  The sale comes with conditions, including: 1) the Department of Education demands a letter of credit valued at 25% of the company’s federal funding allocation; 2) the company cannot add or change its educational offerings or open new locations until 2018; and 3) enrollment must be maintained at or beneath current levels.  More via The Chronicle of Higher Education and via Bloomberg.
   Via The Guardian: “ To Kill a Mockingbird removed from Virginia schools for racist language.”
   Common Sense Media surveyed parents on their own digital media habits.  “On any given day, parents of American tweens and teens average more than nine hours with screen media each day.”

Friday, December 09, 2016

A most interesting hack.  Do you suppose that every phone manufacturer has the ability to turn your phone into a worthless lump of plastic and glass?  If so, would it surprise you to know that my Ethical Hacking students are looking for that secret code?
Samsung Plans to Disable All Galaxy Note 7 Handsets in the US
The Galaxy Note 7 is a smartphone Samsung wants everyone to forget about as soon as possible, but for now, the company is still trying to stop Note 7 handsets from being used due to the danger they pose.  This is a handset that can explode, after all.
Following a ban by airlines, a recall program, and even a battery charge-limiting update, Samsung looks set to take yet another, much more final step to stop Note 7 use.
An image shared with The Verge shows an alert sent out to a Note 7 owner in the US stating that their phone will be prevented from charging as of December 15.  In other words, the Note 7 is being permanently disabled.

Another amusing hack.
Georgia says it's traced an attempted voter hack to DHS
Georgia's secretary of state says the state was hit with an attempted hack of its voter registration database from an IP address linked to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
   The hacking attempt reportedly took place on Nov. 15, after the presidential election, according to the Wall Street Journal, which saw a copy of the letter.

The continuing saga of “we were breached” “no we weren’t” “were too!”  Were not!”  continues.  Something is going on here, but I don’t see it all yet.
Russia Says Thwarted Fresh Cyber Attacks on Major Banks
Rostelecom said in a statement that it "successfully thwarted DDoS (distributed denial of service) on the five biggest banks and financial organisations in Russia" on December 5.
"The most sustained attack lasted more than two hours," it said.
Russia's FSB security service last week said it had uncovered plans by foreign intelligence services to carry out massive cyber attacks targeting the country's financial system from December 5.
    The FSB did not say which countries' secret services were involved in the latest plot against Russian banks but alleged the attacks would use servers and "command centres" located in the Netherlands belonging to Ukrainian hosting company, BlazingFast.

I expected this long ago.
   The game is free to download but features a one-time $9.99 purchase to unlock all levels. iOS software piracy is possible on jailbroken devices with app stores dedicated to downloading cracked apps and games.
From Mashable, Miyamoto says there is no ability to play offline to protect against software piracy
   According to the transcribed interview, Nintendo is worried about piracy risks as the game is launching in 150 countries on devices it does not control.  He says that the network connection is used to update game saves and sync progress across devices via a Nintendo cloud account.

Perspective.  Big Data keeps getting bigger.  Can future traffic control systems handle this much data?
Just one autonomous car will use 4,000 GB of data/day
   Vehicles will generate and consume roughly 40 terabytes of data for every eight hours of driving, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, speaking at the auto show’s technology pavilion, Automobility.
There is a “flood of data that’s coming,” he told the automotive industry professionals.  And it’s going to be significantly more than the amount of data that the average person generates today.
The averagely driven car will churn out 4,000 GB of data per day, he says.  And that's just for one hour of driving a day.  One can compare that to an average person’s video, chat and other internet use, which Krzanich says is about 650 MB per day and will escalate to 1.5 GB per day, or essentially double, by 2020.  

Are Starbuck customers also gamers?
It’s Official: Starbucks Just Came Out with a Pokémon Go Frappuccino
Starbucks’ newest pink drink is being rolled out at some 7,800 stores across the United States—stores that are also being turned into PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms.
In these virtual arenas players can pit monsters they’ve caught in battles against those captured by others—victorious trainers can even take over a gym and then defend it from virtual attack.  All while supping on a Pokémon GO Frappuccino (a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with raspberry syrup and freeze-dried blackberries.)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Another example of: “This technology is so new we don’t even need to secure it!”  (Goes back at least to the walls of Troy.)
Thieves using a $17 power amplifier to break into cars with remote keyless systems
Cars with keyless entry systems are capable of searching for a wireless key fob that is within a couple feet of the vehicle, but car thieves can use a $17 "power amplifier" to boost the key searching capabilities, sometimes up to around 100 meters, and pull off a high-tech car break-in.
   Mr. Danev said that when the teenage girl turned on her device, it amplified the distance that the car can search, which then allowed my car to talk to my key, which happened to be sitting about 50 feet away, on the kitchen counter.  And just like that, open sesame.
"It's a bit like a loudspeaker, so when you say hello over it, people who are 100 meters away can hear the word, ‘hello,' " Mr. Danev said.  "You can buy these devices anywhere for under $100."  He said some of the lower-range devices cost as little as $17 and can be bought online on sites like eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.

For my students.  Sounds like dossier building to me.
How LinkedIn acquisition will change the way organizations work
   those who closely follow their efforts say the combined entity will focus on three areas: increasing knowledge worker productivity, improving human resource and people management, and boosting marketing and sales performance.
   Microsoft’s Office Graph is a backend, machine-learning system that runs as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity tools, including Word, Outlook and Excel.  The Office Graph provides data about who a user is and what he or she is doing with Office and various other Microsoft applications, such as Yammer, its enterprise collaboration program.
Unlike LinkedIn’s social graph, the 1 billion users of Office don’t access Office Graph directly and may not even be aware that it’s there; its function is to operate behind the scenes to connect people, content and events
   But as Microsoft looks to make these connections more ubiquitous and more central to how professionals work, it requires more data than its own customer base can provide, and gathering external data—from sources such as LinkedIn—becomes increasingly important.

Trump the inscrutable?
Can algos trade Trump’s tweets? Absolutely. Maybe.
Donald Trump sent the tweet heard 'round the defense industry Tuesday morning at exactly 35 seconds after 8:52 a.m. ET, blasting Boeing and suggesting he wanted to cancel the company's contract for the new Air Force One aircraft.
One second went by.  Then two.  No reaction on Wall Street.
It wasn't until a full 10 seconds later that Boeing stock began trading down on the news in the premarket hours, a dive that would shortly send Boeing's stock price down by as much as 1 percent in early trading, before rallying back later in the day.
The 10-second delay, which was calculated by the analysis firm Nanex, indicates that something rare was likely happening in global markets Tuesday morning: Human beings were seeing — and reacting to — news before computer trading programs could move on it.
In an era of super-fast algorithmic trading in which delays are measured in milliseconds and less, the 10-second gap indicates that possibly no one in global markets has yet figured out a way to incorporate Trump's tweets into their trading algorithms.  If they had, the market response would likely have come much, much faster.  

Everything changes everything?
How Blockchain Will Change Organizations
   we believe that the technology underlying digital currencies such as bitcoin — technology commonly known as blockchain — will have profound effects on the nature of companies: how they are funded and managed, how they create value, and how they perform basic functions such as marketing, accounting, and incentivizing people.  In some cases, software will eliminate the need for many management functions.

A programming challenge?  Other than a few questions, this should be simple.
The Cynical Gambit to Make ‘Fake News’ Meaningless
Is “fake news” a reference to government propaganda designed to look like independent journalism?  Or is it any old made-up bullshit that people share as real on the internet?  Is “fake news” the appropriate label for a hoax meant to make a larger point?  Does a falsehood only become “fake news” when it shows up on a platform like Facebook as legitimate news?  What about conspiracy theorists who genuinely believe the outrageous lies they’re sharing?  Or satire intended to entertain?  And is it still “fake news” if we’re talking about a real news organization that unintentionally gets it wrong?  (Also, what constitutes a real news organization anymore?)

I expect enrollment in our Ethical Hacking class to explode!
Hackers wanted
As its ‘bad guy’ stereotype wanes, hacker job postings in the enterprise jump 700% in three years.
   Some 59 percent of executives surveyed by Radware and Merrill Research have either hired or would hire an ex-hacker as a way to inject cybersecurity talent into their workforce.  More than a quarter of organizations have been using ex-hackers for more than two years, according to the survey, including so-called white hats or ethical hackers, gray hats – those who skirt the law or ethical standards but not for malicious purposes -- and black hats who operate with malicious intent.
   “Hackers are exceptionally skilled in finding the little tiny things that other people forget – those vulnerabilities you don’t know yet, things you thought you fixed but not entirely properly,” says Alex Rice, CTO and co-founder of HackerOne, a bug bounty platform with 70,000 hackers in its community.  “Every organization out there has something they’ve missed.”  Organizations are willing to assume the risks in exchange for access to the unique mindset and skillset of a hacker.

I find the list of legacy technologies interesting…
Mingis on Tech: Hot tech skills for 2017
A PDF with complete survey results is available as a free download.

Dilbert continues to suggest uses for Samsung’s phones.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Does it take 10 years to get through law school in Wisconsin?  Why else would these records still be online? 
Karen Herzog reports:
A database within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School that contained Social Security numbers and name pairs corresponding with 1,213 Law School applicants for 2005-’06 was hacked last month, the university announced Tuesday.
The university became aware Nov. 3 that the database had been breached, and sent notices to those affected Dec. 6, offering them free credit monitoring for a year to help protect them against identity theft.  No other personal identification information was contained in the files, according to a news release.

For my Computer Security students.  Keep studying, Watson won’t do it all.
IBM’s Watson Now Fights Cybercrime in the Real World
Starting today, 40 organizations will rely upon the clever computers cognitive power to help spot cybercrime.  The Watson for Cybersecurity beta program helps IBM too, because Watson’s real-world experience will help it hone its skills and work within specific industries.
   Watson isn’t starting from scratch here.  IBM researchers started training Watson in the fundamentals of cybersecurity last spring so the computer could begin to analysize and prevent threats.  Now it graduates to real-world situations to further hone its skills.  Think of it as the world’s smartest intern.

No doubt this would make an amusing student debate, if I could get them to stop laughing.
Why Canceling the New Air Force One Is an Awful Idea
Tuesday morning, President-Elect Donald Trump sent out a tweet expressing dismay at the cost of the ongoing process to build a new pair of planes for serve as Air Force One.   (Perhaps not coincidentally, this was shortly after Boeing's CEO expressed concerns about Trump's trade policy.)
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!

Trump Is Right To Attack The Cost Of Air Force One Replacement Program

Scary.  Trump the anti-geek?  (Sounds a lot like Chauncey Gardiner from ‘Being There.’)  
Here’s Where Donald Trump Gets His News
Since winning the presidential election, Donald Trump has reportedly skipped out on the majority of his intelligence briefings; this past Sunday, Trump made headlines after sharing false information blaming his loss of the popular vote on mass voter fraud — a claim previously reported by the conspiracy news site Infowars.  It’s been widely reported that Trump is an obsessive consumer of cable news — he has himself admitted to receiving at least a portion of his military advice from “the shows.”
   What we know of Trump’s relationship to the modern internet suggests the president-elect rarely browses it himself.  Trump campaign press secretary Hope Hicks told GQ he relies largely on Google News printouts from staffers and sparingly reads his own email.  And a 2007 deposition suggests that Trump doesn’t use a computer or carry a smartphone during the daytime hours, and often dictates daytime tweets to his assistants.

It’s far safer to tap Janet Yellen’s phone. 
Supreme Court Upholds Insider-Trading Convictions For Family And Friends
The U.S. Supreme Court handed white-collar prosecutors a victory by upholding the conviction of a man who traded on insider information that came from his brother-in-law.  But the court rejected the government's more expansive view of insider-trading law, sticking to a decades-old precedent requiring prosecutors to prove the tipper received some benefit -- even the intangible benefit of rewarding family and friends -- in exchange for inside information.
The court's unanimous decision in Salman v. U.S. chips away at Newman v. U.S., the 2014 ruling by a federal appeals court in New York that reversed the convictions of two hedge-fund executives who traded on information without knowing the ultimate source or whether he received a benefit for it.  When the tipper and tippee are linked by close ties of family or friendship, the Supreme Court ruled today, a benefit can be assumed.

YouTube has paid over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone in the last year
Bolstered by music subscription revenue, the music industry is growing again for the first time in over a decade.  Last month, analysts at Macquarie even predicted that global recorded music revenues will double over the next 10 years.

Perhaps this will translate to being a good student?
In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of 62 meetings per month, your boss or HR leadership simply doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to properly think through how best to deploy your talents moving forward.  Instead, we have to take control of our career planning to ensure we’re putting ourselves in position for long-term growth. Here are four ways to become more strategic about the process.

Because I love to read…
NPR’s Book Concierge Our Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 6, 2016
What would you like to read? 309 recommended titles.  “Use the filters…to explore more than 300 titles NPR staff and critics loved this year.  (You can also combine filters!)  Want even more recommendations?  Check out our favorite books from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Another ‘phack” (phony hack)?  How would your organization respond if someone claimed to have breached your security?
It was only last week that Experian released a white paper on what it sees as data breach risks for 2017.  Perhaps ironically, then, it was only days later when a dark web vendor claimed to have Experian’s database for sale.  HackRead reported  on “DoubleFlag’s” listing:
The hacker claims he has access to the Experian database which contains information of some 203,419,083 accounts and has set the price for this database at Bitcoin 0.8082 (USD 600.00).
   Waqas was clear to report this only as a claim and he stated that the database had not been confirmed as an Experian database. reached out to Experian for either a confirmation or refutation of Doubleflag’s claim.  Today, a spokesperson for Experian sent the following statement:
“We’ve seen this unfounded allegation and similar rumors before.  We investigated it again – and see no signs that we’ve been compromised based on our research and the type of data involved.  Based on our investigations and the lack of credible evidence, we consider this an unsubstantiated claim intended to inflate the value of the data that they are trying to sell – a common practice by hackers selling illegal data.”

(Related) Perhaps they are just really slow to detect their breach?
Millions of User Accounts Allegedly Stolen From Dailymotion
Data breach notification service LeakedSource has obtained a database containing the details of roughly 85 million Dailymotion users, including usernames, email addresses and, in many cases, passwords.
According to LeakedSource, the database stores 87 million records with 85 million unique email addresses. More than 18 million of the entries also include password hashes. LeakedSource said the hackers claimed to have stolen the data on around October 20.
SecurityWeek has analyzed a sample of nearly 10,000 entries and determined, based on LeakedSource and Have I Been Pwned searches, that many of the accounts had not been compromised in previous breaches.

Eventually, the US will follow, simply because it is so easy to use.
Asheeta Regidi reports:
The government is pushing very strongly for a cashless society.  After the demonetisation move, several initiatives have been seen to further encourage going cashless.  The latest of these is the Ministry of Urban Development’s direction for all Urban Local Bodies to shift to e-payments.  While cashless transactions are a convenience and the future, it is being pushed without addressing two critical concerns – security and privacy of digital transactions.  In the case of e-wallets and other fintech corporations, laws establishing security requirements and liabilities for loss are missing.
Read more on FirstPost.

I could not agree more.  Geeks are terrible at explaining what they do, just as business managers are terrible at explaining what they need.  
Why Your Company Needs Data Translators
   What is to be done?  From our work with successful sports leaders, we accept that there is a significant gap between the quants and the decision makers, a gap that we call the “interpretation gap.”  We believe that those who are needed to fill that gap are what we call “data translators.”  While some have argued that data scientists can bridge the gap, we think that, in many cases, the data translator role can best be filled by domain experts.  To date, many businesses have been trying to bridge the gap by teaching the quants (often recent graduates) about the business in which they operate.  

How do I get access to the raw data? 
Partnering to Help Curb Spread of Online Terrorist Content
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online
   Starting today, we commit to the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services.  By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms.  We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Tech does grocery?  Which part of “we will sell everything” didn’t you get?
How Amazon Plans to Totally Reinvent Grocery Shopping
   Today, Amazon made a modest announcement that looks straight out of the Bezos playbook: Amazon Go, “a new kind of store with no checkout required.”  The company calls it “Just Walk Out” shopping.  But it’s really an attempt to eradicate one of the more frustrating aspects of shopping in stores: the checkout line.  It’s pure Bezos: start with 1,800 ft. of grocery retail space in downtown Seattle and see if you can remake retail all over again.
The basic idea behind Go isn’t completely original.  Years ago, companies like IBM foresaw a checkout-line-free future, using RFID chips embedded in packages.  But Amazon is using the kind of modern deep-learning technology it’s rolling out to its cloud clients, along with computer vision and sensor fusion.  For shoppers, the tech will be invisible.  They just fire up a Go app, grab what they want, and be on their way.

I have many students from India.  Their perspective is a bit different, but interesting to listen to.
Walmart vs. Amazon: Is India the Next Battleground?
Amazon is on overdrive in India.  Earlier this year, the world’s largest online retailer became the second-largest online marketplace in the country by shipments and gross merchandise value. (Flipkart remains number one in India.)  It also announced an additional $3 billion investment, taking its total investment in India to $5 billion
   According to media reports, Walmart is all set to join the Indian e-tail party soon.  While the company is reported to be talking to several Indian e-tailers like Snapdeal and Shopclues, the strongest buzz is around Walmart entering into a strategic alliance with Flipkart or making an investment in the company, possibly to the tune of $1 billion.

After getting caught cheating, VW wants you looking in another direction.
Volkswagen Takes Challenge to Uber, Lyft With New Berlin-Based Company
Volkswagen AG on Monday launched a new company to challenge Uber Technologies Inc. and other tech rivals, seeking to become a global force in the digital auto services that are threatening established car makers.
   One of Moia’s businesses already is operating: the Gett ride-hailing service, in which Volkswagen acquired a strategic stake in May for $300 million.  Moia plans next year to launch another service, an app-based shuttle, or ride-pooling service using electric vans to transport commuters.
   The German company still has much catching up to do.
Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. launched the Leaf, an electric compact car, in 2010.  Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, launched its Car2Go car-sharing service in 2008, followed by BMW AG and its DriveNow service.  In January, General Motors Co. invested $500 million in Uber rival Lyft Inc.  GM’s move on Lyft spurred Volkswagen into action.
   Volkswagen eventually wants to equip Gett with a fleet of robot taxis, anticipating that car ownership could decline with the emergence of new car-sharing services, creating fresh competition from shared vehicles and self-driving taxi and delivery services.

Who is this for?  Not the owner of the phone.
With Google's New App, Your Loved Ones Can Find You During Emergencies
   From Apple’s Find My Friends to Facebook’s Safety Check, tech giants are creating ways to help people during emergencies.  And Google has taken things one step further with Trusted Contacts.
Trusted Contacts allows users to share their location with any of their designated “trusted contacts,” while trusted contacts can request the user's location as well.  A person can accept or decline someone’s request, but if they don’t respond, the app will automatically accept the request and share that individual's location.
   The app is only available for Android right now, but will be available on iPhones soon.

Might make a fun class project.
Design your own custom drone
A new system from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the first to allow users to design, simulate, and build their own custom drone.  Users can change the size, shape, and structure of their drone based on the specific needs they have for payload, cost, flight time, battery usage, and other factors.

If a car company can lock you in your car, can a hacker?  Stay tuned!
Car Thief Foiled By Police, Nap, Power Door Locks
   Just before 5 AM, the BMW’s owner discovered her car was missing and called 911.  Officers contacted BMW corporate, which was able to track the vehicle to the 2100 block of NE 63rd Street.  When officers pulled up on the block around 5:45 AM, they found the BMW parked in an alley, still running, with a man asleep in the driver’s seat.
BMW employees were able to remotely lock the car’s doors, trapping the suspect inside

Samsung is going to have to live with their failure for a long, long time.

Monday, December 05, 2016

One choice management can make after a through Risk Analysis.  I bet they are reviewing their process now.
Samsung Knew Note 7 Had A Dangerous Design, But Took The Risk Anyway, Say Analysts
   according to a respected independent team of hardware engineers who cracked open a Note 7 for a test recently, they've concluded that the phone's tendency to combust is due to a "fundamental problem with the design of the phone," and that Samsung sort of knew the "super aggressive" design was risky, but went with it anyway because it was trying so hard to innovate and gain a competitive edge.

(Related) There are way too many laws!

Did the guy at Ohio State tell social media he was going to start stabbing people?  First I’ve heard that. 
Boston Police Plan to Monitor Internet for Threats Draws Criticism
The Boston Police Department is taking heat from civil liberty groups for plans to spend up to $1.4 million on new software that scours social media and the internet for potential threats.
The attack Monday on the Ohio State University campus is just the latest illustration of why local law enforcement authorities need every tool they can muster to stop terrorism and other violence before it starts, according to Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.
Monitoring technology can quickly mine the internet, from chat rooms to social media to blog posts, for certain keywords and phrases.  It can track postings in a certain geographic area, send alerts to police about potentially dangerous postings and more.  Law-enforcement officials say the technology allows them to more quickly and efficiently spot possible red flags in near real-time.
   A Facebook post by the suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan before the attack suggested he was angry over what he perceived as mistreatment of Muslims, but didn’t express loyalty to a specific group or ideology, according to people familiar with the case.

Will we even notice an impact from this law?
It will soon be illegal to punish customers who criticize businesses online
Congress has passed a law protecting the right of US consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies.
The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate yesterday, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said.  The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature.

For my Software Architecture students.  Why, The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley.”
Report – The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 4, 2016
Jakob Nielsen on November 13, 2016. “Summary: Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.  One of usability’s most hard-earned lessons is that you are not the user.  This is why it’s a disaster to guess at the users’ needs.  Since designers are so different from the majority of the target audience, it’s not just irrelevant what you like or what you think is easy to use — it’s often misleading to rely on such personal preferences.  For sure, anybody who works on a design project will have a more accurate and detailed mental model of the user interface than an outsider.  If you target a broad consumer audience, you will also have a higher IQ than your average user, higher literacy levels, and, most likely, you’ll be younger and experience less age-driven degradation of your abilities than many of your users.  There is one more difference between you and the average user that’s even more damaging to your ability to predict what will be a good user interface: skills in using computers, the Internet, and technology in general.  Anybody who’s on a web-design team or other user experience project is a veritable supergeek compared with the average population.  This not just true for the developers.  Even the less-technical team members are only “less-technical” in comparison with the engineers.  They still have much stronger technical skills than most normal people…”

So, is Uber a ride-sharing company or a technology company?
Uber Bets on Artificial Intelligence With Acquisition and New Lab
Uber envisions a future in which a fleet of vehicles can make the most complex maneuvers while carting passengers around without the help of a driver.  To achieve that, cars will need to get a whole lot smarter.
Enter Gary Marcus and Zoubin Ghahraman.  The two men are being appointed as co-directors of Uber’s new in-house research arm on artificial intelligence, which the ride-hailing company unveiled on Monday.  The research arm’s aim is to apply A.I. in areas like self-driving vehicles, along with solving other technological challenges through machine learning.

Another car company struggling to catch up to Uber.  They even have a good reason to do it.
Here's How BMW Plans to Outpace Uber
BMW will test autonomous vehicles in Munich next year as it seeks to keep up with ride-hailing firms like Uber, which have spent billions on pay-per-use personal transport.
The German carmaker will have about 40 vehicles with self-driving functions in Munich’s inner city and then expand the project to other cities, BMW executives said on Friday.
“There is a trained test driver behind the wheel of every car,” Klaus Buettner, BMW’s Vice President in charge of Autonomous Driving said.
Uber’s rapid growth has prompted BMW to consider how autonomous vehicles may help them accelerate their own push into pay-per-use transport.
   “Ride hailing is nothing more than manual autonomous driving,” Tony Douglas, Head of Strategy for BMW’s mobility services said.  “Once you dispense with the driver you have a license to print money.”

Another tech transformation.
Capital One rides the cloud to tech company transformation
The Fortune 500 company, one of the top 10 largest banks in the U.S. with $313 billion in total assets, wants to be a tech company that also is a top financial services provider.
   "We need to be a high-productivity software engineering organization," Alexander said in an interview with Computerworld at this week's AWS re:Invent conference.  "The winners in banking are going to be really great technology companies.  It didn't use to be the case historically that you really needed to be a great software development company and a great analytics company, but it's really important today."

Geeking out your car?
Automotive Tech Flying Off the Lot
Panasonic is taking another spin on the automotive-technology highway, and investors should take note.
The Japanese electronics company plans to buy car-component maker ZKW Group for ¥100 billion ($881 million), according to The Wall Street Journal.  The Austrian company is a leading supplier of automotive lights for car makers such as Audi and BMW.
Headlamps may not sound like the sexiest part in a car, but innovations are popping up even there.  A matrix of LED lights controlled by a front camera, for example, can allow cars to maintain high-beam headlights without blinding other road users by turning parts of the light off when there is oncoming traffic.  A headlight could also send targeted light at potential hazards detected by a night-vision system, say a pedestrian crossing the road in the dark.
It is precisely such redesigning of boring old auto parts that has kicked up a flurry of deals in the space, long before futuristic self-driving vehicles arrive.

Gosh, I could be on double-secret probation and not even know it!
The New Era of Secret Law
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 4, 2016
Brennan Center for Justice – New Report: “Secret Law” Governs Key Aspects of National Security Policy – “At least 74 opinions, memoranda, and letters issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) between 2002 and 2009 on core post-9/11 national security topics, including intelligence activities and the detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects, remain entirely classified, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.  OLC’s advice is legally binding on the executive branch in the same way a court order would be.  OLC opinions are just one component of an unprecedented buildup of secret law created by the federal government since 9/11 through a range of unpublished legal rules and opinions – all issued without public scrutiny or input – that govern policies affecting the lives and liberties of U.S. citizens.  Relying partly on new data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the Brennan Center’s report, The New Era of Secret Law, concludes that secret law is prevalent throughout all three branches of government.  Along with OLC opinions, the report examines classified rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the “FISA Court”), secret presidential directives, unpublished regulations, redacted opinions in regular federal courts, agreements with foreign nations, closed immigration proceedings, and even classified provisions of legislation…”

For my students.  Design matters, even in the little things.
Fukushima reactor briefly loses cooling during inspection
One of the melted reactors at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant had a temporary loss of cooling Monday when a worker accidentally bumped a switch while passing through a narrow isle of switch panels during an inspection and turned off the pumping system.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said cooling for the No. 3 reactor, one of the three that melted following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, was out for nearly an hour before a backup pump kicked in.

Amazon cloud demands massive on-the-ground infrastructure
   Here’s one way to look at it: Every single day, Amazon’s cloud-computing business adds enough server capacity to support the data-storage and computing needs that the online tech giant had in 2005, when it had revenue of $8.5 billion.  That’s about the revenue of a middling Fortune 500 company.
   Another way of measuring it: As of December, AWS either rented or owned about 6.7 million square feet of space, or the equivalent of some 116 football fields.

Artificial intelligence for my students, even if they don’t have the natural kind…
Elon Musk's OpenAI and Google's DeepMind release their AI playgrounds to everyone
Artificial intelligence developed by the likes of Google's DeepMind and Elon Musk's OpenAI is taught within the confines of game worlds – including navigating around mazes, dodging deadly cliffs, playing laser tag and flying through space.
In a mission to build a general AI capable of solving any problem put in front of it, DeepMind is open-sourcing its game code to everyone.  The software and 14 levels from DeepMind Labs will be put on GitHub later this week.
And, not to be outdone, Elon Musk's own OpenAI is also releasing its own 'computer training ground' called Universe.  Universe is open-source software that supports Gym; OpenAI's toolkit for testing its algorithms which help software play games, for example, using a reward scheme.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  In this case, DigitalTrends doth. 
Tech is upending the ways we write, speak, and even think
When you look back a decade, it’s easy to feel that little has changed.  Sure, you had a different job back then, there were other shows on TV, and no one had described your shoes as “on fleek” just yet, but what’s different, really?  Yet when asked to think about the year 2006, most people today would probably Google it on a smartphone.
See, right then and there, you have your answer: Smartphones changed everything.

Yes, I run you over, but I still enjoy playing with you?  Miller is a nicer guy than his victims think!
Von Miller gives every player in AFC West custom bottle of wine, thank you note
   On the label of each bottle is an orange outline of eye-glasses, Miller’s signature accessory, and his autograph. And shipped with each was a note that read:
It is an honor and a privilege to take the field and compete with you twice a year.  We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to fulfill our childhood dreams of playing in the NFL.  The blood, sweat, aches and pains, and endless hours spent watching film are a testament to the love and dedication we have for this game.  So take a moment, reflect on all your successes, and enjoy your accomplishment.  Appreciate those who have helped you get this far, and start working towards your next childhood dream.
Thank you for helping to make our game great!
— Von Miller