Tech Today w/ Ken May

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Spotify is in ‘advanced talks’ to buy SoundCloud

Posted by kenmay on September - 28 - 2016

Those rumors that SoundCloud is shopping itself around ? They just got more substantial. Financial Times sources understand that Spotify is in “advanced talks” to buy SoundCloud. Details of the terms are still scarce at the moment, but it won’t surprise you to hear that Spotify is declining to comment. We’ve asked SoundCloud for its take as well. A buyout would be expensive for Spotify, which is seeing a surge of paying customers but still isn’t turning a profit . However, it would definitely make a sense from a strategic perspective. Spotify has been expanding to include more than just albums — this would give it a wider catalog of DJ sets, demos and other rough tracks. That, in turn, would give it leverage over Apple Music, Tidal and other services that try to lure you away with artist exclusives . You could listen to an in-development song and check out that artist’s commercially available music immediately afterward. And SoundCloud… well, it may not have much of a choice. Its paid SoundCloud Go service hasn’t exactly taken off, and it can’t really make money from those unofficial mashups and remixes. There’s no saying whether or not SoundCloud as you know it would survive under Spotify, but it would at least have a financial cushion. Source: Financial Times

The United Nations Will Send Its First Mission to Space in 2021

Posted by kenmay on September - 28 - 2016

The United Nations just announced a date for its first ever mission to space—and it’s pretty soon. Read more…

HP to issue “optional firmware update” allowing 3rd-party ink

Posted by kenmay on September - 28 - 2016

An HP Officejet ink cartridge, just $26.99. (credit: HP ) HP Inc. today said it will restore the ability of certain OfficeJet printers to use third-party ink cartridges, after being criticized for issuing a firmware update that rejects non-HP ink. But HP is still defending its practice of preventing the use of non-HP ink and is making no promises about refraining from future software updates that force customers to use only official ink cartridges. HP made its announcement in a blog post titled ” Dedicated to the best printing experience .” Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hell yeah. Read more…

In Australia there’s a spider known as Thwaitesia argentiopunctata , a/k/a the Mirror Spider. Apparently they have cousins in Southeast Asia as well, as photographer Nicky Bay has been shooting them in his home city-state of Singapore. Writes Bay: For several years, I have been observing the odd behavior of the Mirror Spider ( Thwaitesia sp. ) where the “silver-plates” on the abdomen seem to shrink when the spider is agitated (or perhaps threatened), revealing the actual abdomen. At rest, the silver plates expand and the spaces between the plates close up to become an almost uniform reflective surface. You can see more shots of this supremely creepy bug—which, if you ask me, should really be called the Disco Ball Spider— here . Via Colossal

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images) An Alabama man who worked as a Verizon Wireless technician has agreed to plead guilty to a federal hacking charge in connection to his illegal use of the company’s computers to acquire customer calling and location data. The man, Daniel Eugene Traeger, faces a maximum five years in prison next month. He admitted Thursday that he sold customer data—from 2009 to 2014—to a private investigator whom the authorities have not named. According to the man’s signed plea deal  (PDF): At some point in 2009, the Defendant met a private investigator (“the PI”) who wanted to buy Verizon customer information from the Defendant. The Defendant accepted the PI’s offer. The defendant used Verizon computer systems and facilities to access customer call records and customer location data that he knew he was not authorized to access, and provided that information to the PI even though the Defendant knew that he was not authorized to provide it to a third party. The Defendant accessed customer call records by logging into Verizon’s MARS system. The Defendant then compiled the data in spreadsheets, which the Defendant provided to the PI, including by e-mail. The Defendant accessed customer location data using a Verizon system called Real Time Tool. Using RTT, the Defendant “pinged” cellular telephones on Verizon’s network and provided location data for those telephones to the PI. The plea agreement said that Traeger began making $50 monthly in 2009, when he sold two records a month. By mid-2013, he was earning $750 each month by selling 10 to 15 records. In all, the plea deal says he made more than $10,000 over a five-year period. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple logs your iMessage contacts and could share them with police

Posted by kenmay on September - 28 - 2016

Apple’s iMessage had a few security holes in March and April that potentially leaked photos and contacts, respectively. Though quickly patched, they are a reminder that the company faces a never-ending arms race to shore up its security to keep malicious hackers and government agencies out. But that doesn’t mean they will always be able to keep it private. A report from The Intercept states that iMessage conversation metadata gets logged in Apple’s servers, which the company could be compelled to turn over to law enforcement by court order. While the content of those messages remains encrypted and out of the police’s hands, these records list time, date, frequency of contact and limited location information. When an iOS user types in a phone number to begin a text conversation, their device pings servers to determine whether the new contact uses iMessage. If not, texts are sent over SMS and appear in green bubbles, while Apple’s proprietary data messages appear in blue ones. Allegedly, they log all of these unseen network requests. But those also include time and date stamps along with the user’s IP address, identifying your location to some degree, according to The Intercept . Like the phone logs of yore, investigators could legally request these records and Apple would be obliged to comply. While the company insisted that iMessage was end-to-end encrypted in 2013, securing user messages even if law enforcement got access, Apple said nothing about metadata. Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it does comply with subpoenas and other legal requests for these exact logs, but maintained that message content is still kept private. Their commitment to user security isn’t really undermined by these illuminations — phone companies have been giving this information to law enforcement for decades — but it does illustrate what they can and cannot protect. While they resisted FBI requests for backdoor iPhone access earlier this year and then introduced a wholly redesigned file system with a built-in unified encryption method on every device, they can’t keep authorities from knowing when and where you text people. Source: The Intercept

South Australia, a state with a population of about 1.7 million, was hit by a massive storm system on Wednesday. The entire region went without power for much of the day as a result. Read more…

Dang. This is some truly gorgeous footage. Read more…

Reader coondoggie writes: As expected the IEEE has ratified a new Ethernet specification — IEEE P802.3bz — that defines 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T, boosting the current top speed of traditional Ethernet five-times without requiring the tearing out of current cabling. The Ethernet Alliance wrote that the IEEE 802.3bz Standard for Ethernet Amendment sets Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 2.5G and 5Gbps Operation lets access layer bandwidth evolve incrementally beyond 1Gbps, it will help address emerging needs in a variety of settings and applications, including enterprise, wireless networks. Indeed, the wireless component may be the most significant implication of the standard as 2.5G and 5G Ethernet will allow connectivity to 802.11ac Wave 2 Access Points, considered by many to be the real driving force behind bringing up the speed of traditional NBase-T products. Read more of this story at Slashdot.