Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March 23rd, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Bruce Leighty / Getty Images News ) In the wake of recommendations that were part of a recent study of its red-light cameras , the Chicago Department of Transportation has agreed to immediately increase the so-called “grace period”—the time between when a traffic light turns red to when a ticket is automatically issued. Under the new policy, which was announced Monday, the grace period for Chicago’s red lights will move from 0.1 seconds to 0.3 seconds. This will bring the Windy City in line with other Americans metropolises, including New York City and Philadelphia. In a statement , the city agency said that this increase would “maintain the safety benefits of the program while ensuring the program’s fairness.” On Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the city would lose $17 million in revenue this year alone as a result of the expanded grace period. Michael Claffey, a CDOT spokesman, confirmed that figure to Ars. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Pope Francis holds his homily during his weekly audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis is warning the world’s youth to be wary of the “false image of reality” portrayed in social media and on reality television shows. In a written message the Vatican issued Tuesday, the pontiff cautioned followers not to let the Internet dilute the church’s message. The speech will be released in video format on World Youth Day on April 9. “History teaches us that even when the Church has to sail on stormy seas, the hand of God guides her and helps her to overcome moments of difficulty. The genuine experience of the Church is not like a flash mob, where people agree to meet, do their thing, and then go their separate ways,” Francis wrote. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Mike Mozart ) Update on March 23 : Less than 24 hours after it began, AT&T said that “The brief grievance strike has been resolved and employees are returning to work today.” Original story : About 17,000 AT&T wireline technicians and call center employees went on strike in California and Nevada today while filing an unfair labor charge to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that AT&T violated federal law. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Arcade Flyer Archive ) The historical record of video games received a strange shake-up on Wednesday from Ed Fries, the ex-Microsoft executive who had a huge part in the creation of the original Xbox . Fries took to his personal blog, which typically covers the world of retro gaming, to announce a zany discovery : he had found the world’s earliest known arcade game Easter egg. His hunt began with a tip from Atari game programmer Ron Milner about the 1977 game Starship 1 . This tip seemingly came out of nowhere, as the duo were talking about an entirely different ’70s arcade game, Gran Trak 10 , which Fries was researching separately. Starship , Milner said, had a few special twists that didn’t all make it to market, but one did: a secret message to players. The game would display “Hi Ron!” if players put in the right combination of button commands. This type of thing is better known to gaming fans as an Easter egg , and more than a few Atari games had them as a way to include the developer’s name (which Atari never put in games or on cabinets). Milner didn’t tell anyone at Atari about the secret message for 30 years, he told Fries, and one reason is because he’d forgotten how to trigger it. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A hacker or group of hackers calling themselves the “Turkish Crime Family” claim they have access to at least 300 million iCloud accounts, and will delete the alleged cache of data if Apple pays a ransom by early next month. Motherboard is reporting that the hackers are demanding “$75, 000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another increasingly popular crypto-currency, or $100, 000 worth of iTunes gift cards in exchange for deleting the alleged cache of data.” From the report: The hackers provided screenshots of alleged emails between the group and members of Apple’s security team. One also gave Motherboard access to an email account allegedly used to communicate with Apple. “Are you willing to share a sample of the data set?” an unnamed member of Apple’s security team wrote to the hackers a week ago, according to one of the emails stored in the account. (According to the email headers, the return-path of the email is to an address with the @apple.com domain). The hackers also uploaded a YouTube video of them allegedly logging into some of the stolen accounts. The hacker appears to access an elderly woman’s iCloud account, which includes backed-up photos, and the ability to remotely wipe the device. Now, the hackers are threatening to reset a number of the iCloud accounts and remotely wipe victim’s Apple devices on April 7, unless Apple pays the requested amount. According to one of the emails in the accessed account, the hackers claim to have access to over 300 million Apple email accounts, including those use @icloud and @me domains. However, the hackers appear to be inconsistent in their story; one of the hackers then claimed they had 559 million accounts in all. The hackers did not provide Motherboard with any of the supposedly stolen iCloud accounts to verify this claim, except those shown in the video. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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About half of Detroit can’t read

Posted by kenmay on March - 23 - 2017

America’s public education system is failing the citizens of Detroit, where the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reports that 47% of people in Detroit are illiterate . In nearby suburbs, up to one-third are functionally illiterate. (more…)

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Android O is actually here! After diving into Google’s blog post , we fired up our developer tools and loaded Android O on a sacrificial device. There are a few new interesting features, lots of UI tweaks, and plenty of odd bugs and unfinished areas. Let’s dive in. Notifications: Snooze, channels, and a terrible new ambient mode My favorite new feature in Android O is the ability to do system-wide notification snoozing. If you don’t want to deal with a notification right now, just pull it to the side a bit, which will unveil a new “clock” icon. Tap it, and the notification will be automatically snoozed for 15 minutes. You can tap on the drop-down menu to increase the time to 30 minutes or an hour. This is really handy, but I’d like to be able to customize the times here. I’m sure some people would like a few hours, or maybe a “tomorrow” option. A “type in your time” option would be fine, too. Read 32 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Instagram Rolls Out Two-Factor Authentication for Everyone

Posted by kenmay on March - 23 - 2017

Instagram has finally pushed out the update they tested over a year ago  that adds two-factor authentication to its accounts. Here’s how to set it up. Read more…

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London police allegedly used hackers to target activists

Posted by kenmay on March - 23 - 2017

If it wasn’t already clear why it’s a problem when police surveillance goes wrong , it is now. An independent investigator is looking into claims that London’s Metropolitan Police used an illegal, roundabout way to access the emails of activists and journalists. An anonymous former worker alleges that a Met intelligence unit took advantage of India “counterparts” that used hackers to obtain email logins for innocent people ranging from Greenpeace protesters to Guardian reporters. The snooping had been going on for a “number of years, ” according to the insider, and there was reportedly widespread document shredding to cover up the monitoring. There’s evidence to support the claim. The tipster provided passwords for 10 email accounts, most of which have been proven authentic by the users themselves. The investigation is still early, but a police spokesman says that the claims are “deeply troubling” and that the force will provide its “fullest possible support.” If the allegations are as serious as they sound, though, they would represent a serious blow to the Met’s reputation. They would show that a key law enforcement division was regularly spying on people who weren’t even suspected of crimes, and was fully aware that it was doing something wrong. Via: Ars Technica Source: The Guardian , BBC

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Modern John Deere tractors are outfitted with dozens of sensors and computers, many of which cannot be serviced by owners because of a stupid licensing agreement John Deere forces upon its customers. Since farmers have neither the time nor money to waste on a technician’s visit, some are taking matters into their own… Read more…

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