No Picture

DHS launches a new cyber hub to coordinate against threats to US infrastructure

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Among the many things the current administration has been criticized for is its lack of a unified strategy to combat cyber threats, especially in light of ongoing election interference and psy ops perpetrated by Russia. The Department of Homeland Security is advancing the ball with the creation of the National Risk Management Center, intended on protecting critical infrastructure from attacks and subversion by online adversaries.

The NRMC was announced today at a cyber summit in New York held by the agency, where DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained the purpose and justification for this new entity. Remarkably, she directly contradicted the ongoing soft-pedaling by the Executive of Russian operations targeting the country.

“Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right. It was the Russians. It was directed from the highest levels. And we cannot and will not allow it to happen again,” she said.

DHS Secretary Nielsen in 2017.

Thus the creation of the NRMC, which will w..

No Picture

Spotify now offers motion comics starring Archie

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Spotify has been experimenting with incorporating non-musical formats over the last couple of years, including videos and multimedia podcasts. Next up: Motion comics based on new Archie stories.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of the comics incarnations of Archie and his friends, the title was recently rebooted by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). While I was initially skeptical about the need to mess with the characters’ classic designs, I found the first collection to be a perfectly enjoyable combination of teen comedy and soap opera.

Now, as announced in Nerdist, the first six issues have been transformed by digital comics startup Madefire with music and voice acting.

It’s still a comic book, and you can still see Staples’ gorgeous art, but it’s a story that you hit a “play” button to experience, rather than turning any pages. (Madefire and its CEO Ben Wolstenholme prefer the term “motion books” to distinguish the format from the che..

No Picture

Apple Pay is finally coming to CVS and 7-Eleven, and will soon expand to Germany

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Longtime Apple Pay holdout CVS will finally be adding support for Apple’s mobile payments platform this fall, along with 7-Eleven, Apple CEO Tim Cook said this afternoon on the company’s earnings call. The news is particularly notable because CVS was one of the first major retailers to snub Apple Pay, choosing instead to launch its own barcode-based mobile payments solution “CVS Pay” back in 2016, following the failure of the retailer-backed Apple Pay rival CurrentC.

CVS Pay had become the first mobile payments solution the pharmacy chain adopted, after having purposefully avoided support for Apple Pay or any other rival NFC (tap to pay) technologies at its register. The company believed there was value in offering its own end-to-end solution to customers that combined both payments and loyalty, it had said.

In addition, CVS had earlier backed an Apple Pay alternative called CurrentC, which was developed by the merchant consortium MCX, led by major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, R..

No Picture

Four million people are using Apple’s OS betas

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

For the past few years, Apple has made early versions of its operating systems available to those willing to brave the bugs. Through its beta software program, anyone willing to deal with spotty battery life or a crash or three could load up pre-release builds of iOS, macOS, watchOS or tvOS.

Ever wonder how many actually take advantage of it?

According to Tim Cook on today’s earnings call, more than four million people are currently running on the betas.

Alas, that’s as detailed as he got. He didn’t break down which platforms had the most beta users (though I’d bet iOS or macOS lead the way), nor what percentage of that beta group was developers (accessing the beta to debug their apps before the update) versus consumers (who just want to poke around the new goods early).

For reference: As of February of 2018, Apple had 1.3 billion active devices across Apple TV, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac. So if each of the users Tim Cook mentioned is running a beta OS on one device, that’s a..

No Picture

Tesla whistleblower countersues over Elon Musk’s ‘defamatory’ statements

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

The former Tesla employee who was sued for allegedly hacking and leaking trade secrets has filed a counterclaim against the company over potentially defamatory comments made by CEO Elon Musk. Martin Tripp, who worked at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada until June, says in the new filing that a number of comments Musk made about him in the past few weeks — some from a company-wide email, others in various statements to the press, and some from a handful of the CEO’s tweets — are false, caused emotional distress, and have even led to “numerous threats to his personal safety.”

Tripp also claims in the countersuit that he has been forced to relocate, has experienced health problems like anxiety and nausea, and has trouble sleeping as a result…

Continue reading…

No Picture

Spotify is now streaming Archie motion comics

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Spotify has partnered up with Nerdist to offer motion comics based on new Archie comics. All six issues/episodes feature music and voice acting alongside the original comic illustrations. If you watch Riverdale on CW or Netflix, you’ll be familiar with the characters and their backstories, but the storyline follows the comics and diverges from the television show.

The motion comics are available in Spotify’s mobile app. To watch, tap play and the episode will begin. You’ll be reading, hearing, and experiencing the comic all at once. The text of the comics still appear, but since the comic auto-plays rather quickly between panels, you don’t really get the option to read at your own pace. The graphics also appear a bit small compared to W…

Continue reading…

No Picture

Facebook shuts off access to user data for hundreds of thousands of apps

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Facebook this evening announced that it’s shutting off access to its application programming interface, the developer platform that lets app makers access user data, for hundreds of thousands of inactive apps. The company had set an August 1st deadline back in May, during its F8 developer conference, for developers and businesses to re-submit apps to an internal review, a process that involves signing new contracts around user data collection and verifying one’s authenticity.

The goal is to ensure third-party software on Facebook was in line with the company’s data privacy rules and new restrictions put in place in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a third-party developer siphoned user data and sold it to another…

Continue reading…

No Picture

Waymo begins experimenting with self-driving taxi prices

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has kept mum about how much it will eventually charge people to ride in its autonomous taxis. But according to Bloomberg,the self-driving company has begun testing out trip fares with its early riders as it moves closer to launching its commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix.

In interviewing members of Waymo’s “Early Rider” program, reporters from Bloomberg got to see a mock-up of the company’s still-underwraps ride-hailing app, complete with probable fare prices. Waymo insists those numbers are just placeholders, but they would appear to be aligned with preexisting services like Uber and Lyft.

According to Bloomberg:

All rides are free for volunteers, but the Waymo app…

Continue reading…

No Picture

Apple races to become the first trillion-dollar company after strong Q3 earnings

July 31, 2018 Alex 0

Apple posted its third quarter earnings today with a revenue of $53.3 billion, surpassing its projection by $1 billion. It’s the strongest third quarter for the company ever, despite one that tends to slow on iPhone sales as consumers prepare for new smartphone announcements in the fall. The average selling price of the iPhone was $724, which was above analyst estimates of $693.

Apple’s expected revenue for fiscal Q4 is $60 to $62 billion, a 16 to 19 percent growth from this period last year. The strong forecast could suggest that multiple new hardware devices are coming in the fall; so far, rumors suggest that up to three new iPhone models could be announced, while consumers are also anticipating a new version of the iPad Pro and a…

Continue reading…