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July 22, 2016
healthcare-ransomware
Ransomware infections are on the rise, and healthcare organizations are ripe targets, which may be why the federal government addressed the subject last week. Ransomware attacks have risen from about 1,000 a day last year to 4,000 a day this year, Symantec has reported. Many of those attacks are for small change, but some of the larger ones have been directed at healthcare providers. [More...]

July 22, 2016
Tinder has announced the launch of Tinder Social, a new platform that helps users plan group nights out. The new platform will help users plan double dates or larger group events, creating new opportunities for people to make connections, the company said. Tinder took the platform for a test drive in Australia and found that users wanted a better way to add friends to their night out in real time. [More...]

July 21, 2016
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and noted hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang on Thursday published a paper on their collaboration to design a smartphone case that will protect user privacy. The pair developed a prototype compatible with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, as it's "driven primarily by what we understand to be the current preferences and tastes of reporters," the paper states. [More...]

July 21, 2016
teal-drone
Teal Drones on Wednesday introduced what it billed as the world's fastest production drone. Aside from its drone's capabilities, the company is drawing attention because George Matus Jr., its founder and CEO, is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. The drone can fly at 70 mph in all weather conditions and has reached a top speed of 85 mph. It can withstand 40 mph winds. [More...]

July 21, 2016
Splice Machine has open sourced its Spark-powered relational SQL database system. The company has set up a cloud-based sandbox for developers to put its new open source Splice Machine 2.0 Community Edition to the test. The company also announced the release of a cluster version and the launch of a developer community site. Splice Machine is designed for high-speed performance. [More...]

July 20, 2016
twitter-verification
Twitter on Tuesday announced it has opened up the application process for verified account status, which previously was reserved for celebrities and other high-profile users. Any user may now file an online application to have an account verified. Twitter account verification, denoted by a blue badge icon, flags individuals and organizations as authentic, the company explained. [More...]

July 20, 2016
internet-medical-things-security
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices. [More...]

July 19, 2016
pokemon-go
Pokemon Go, the augmented reality overnight sensation, experienced sluggish performance over the weekend, possibly from a hacker attack on its login servers. Shortly after Pokemon Go devs tweeted that the game was rolling out to 26 additional countries, this tweet appeared: "Trainers! We have been working to fix the server issues. ... We'll post an update soon." [More...]

July 19, 2016
spacex-falcon-9-rocket-landing-cape-canaveral-july-2016
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday returned safely to Earth, touching down at Landing Zone 1 after launching the Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. "As with previous first stage land and drone-ship landings from SpaceX, this achievement is a testament to the leadership and innovation of America's commercial space industry," said NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner. [More...]

July 19, 2016
Microsoft has introduced a new Web-based Skype for Linux client in alpha. Based on WebRTC, it uses Microsoft's next-generation calling architecture. It lets users share files, photos, videos and new emoticons. Users will be able to call others using the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android -- but not with earlier versions of Skype for Linux. [More...]

July 18, 2016
wynd-personal-air-purifier
I was diagnosed with mild asthma as a kid. I don't take any medication, yet knowing that illness lives in my respiratory system means I try to be especially conscious of what I'm breathing. Air quality is difficult to control, so a personal air purifier is something that fundamentally interests me. Wynd filters allergens, dust, smoke and other pollutants. [More...]

July 18, 2016
elon-musk-tesla-autopilot
Something like 90 percent of CEOs are planning to put their companies out of business accidentally, based on a KPMG report I just reviewed. After watching Tesla of late, I think Musk is on the fast track to lead this effort, and since I'm a Tesla fan, and I know a lot of you drive Teslas, I thought that might be an interesting, if scary, topic for this week. [More...]

July 16, 2016
apple-patent-iphone-camera-block
A patent for an infrared system that could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at live performances is one of dozens recently awarded to Apple. The system could assist the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. It could have other applications as well -- for example, turning an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide. [More...]

July 15, 2016
nest-cam-outdoor
Nest has introduced an outdoor surveillance camera to complement its indoor Nest Cam. The Nest Cam Outdoor will go on sale this fall for $199. It is easy to mount on any outdoor surface, according to the company, and even has a magnetic base for attaching to gutters. The camera, which resembles a unit of track lighting, can capture 1080p video and has live-streaming and two-way audio capabilities. [More...]

July 15, 2016
nintendo-classic-mini
Nintendo on Thursday unveiled its latest gaming console: the NES Classic Edition, a mini replica of the original home console that can connect directly to a TV via an HDMI cable. The system features 30 built-in games from the 8-bit era, including fan favorites such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN and Kirby's Adventure. [More...]

July 14, 2016
opencellular
Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas. The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point. [More...]

July 14, 2016
pokemon-go-data-permissions
Just days after Pokemon Go sent Nintendo shares soaring in Tokyo, the game's developers were scrambling to close a massive privacy hole. The iOS version of the mobile game -- which superimposes figures onto real-world environments through augmented reality technology -- apparently had a default setting that required users to grant broad permissions to access their Google accounts. [More...]

July 13, 2016
polaroid-swing-photography
Polaroid Swing, a new iOS app for creating animated photos, on Tuesday debuted at the App Store. The app has ties both to instant photography pioneer Polaroid and Twitter founder Biz Stone. Polaroid Swing lets a "phonetog" capture 1-second videos posing as images that become animated when a phone is tilted, or when they're swiped or tapped. The app presents three options. [More...]

July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible. [More...]

July 13, 2016
sifive-freedom-open-source-soc-system-chip
SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models. [More...]

July 12, 2016
quantum-cryptography
Google has launched an experiment with post-quantum cryptography in Chrome. A small fraction of connections between Google's servers and Chrome on the desktop will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm already being used. The idea is that large quantum computers eventually might be able to break current security algorithms retroactively. [More...]

July 12, 2016
internet-medical-things-online-healthcare-medicine
Concerns have been multiplying in the United States over the creaks of a medical infrastructure that's bearing the weight of an aging population. Current and upcoming members of the over-65 club are helping to drive a new age in healthcare, in which devices connect patients with caregivers, things get even smarter, and machines get even better at learning what sensors are saying. [More...]

July 11, 2016
The U.S. government's campaign to counter ISIS' social media presence is bearing fruit. More anti-ISIS content than pro-ISIS content is appearing on the Net by a ratio of six to one. Twitter traffic for accounts affiliated with the Islamic State is down by 45 percent compared to two years ago, and the average number of followers for an ISIS account has plunged to 300 from 1,500 in 2014. [More...]

July 11, 2016
fbi-james-comey-hillary-clinton-email
I've been watching the Clinton email scandal closely, because I not only have been in and out of law enforcement and security for much of my early life, but also was an internal auditor for IBM and one of the leading email experts in the 1990s. I think this is the only time I've seen an investigator channel a prosecutor and give someone a pass without addressing why crimes were committed. [More...]

July 9, 2016
pokemon-go-ios-android
Pokemon Go, the highly anticipated augmented reality game from Niantic Labs, is finally available for download for iOS and Android mobile devices in the U.S., as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Niantic, the former Google unit behind the popular augmented reality game Ingress, has teamed up with The Pokemon Company and Nintendo to bring the iconic Pokemon title to mobile platforms. [More...]

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Would you drive a Tesla?
I already do, and I love it!
Yes -- if the price were lower.
No -- I wouldn't trust its Autopilot.
I'd drive an electric car but not a Tesla.
I'm not yet sold on electric vehicles.