Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for April 28th, 2017

Haha! Lucky riders on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland were treated to a live Jack Sparrow animatronics performance yesterday by Johnny Depp. He made a surprise visit to the park as part of a PR stunt. It’s fun to hear the passengers as they realize that the real Johnny Depp is standing right in front of them.

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Facebook and Google Were Victims of $100M Payment Scam

Posted by kenmay on April - 28 - 2017

Employees of Facebook and Google were the victims of an elaborate $100 million phishing attack, according to a new report on Fortune, which further adds that the employees were tricked into sending money to overseas bank accounts. From the report: In 2013, a 40-something Lithuanian named Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly hatched an elaborate scheme to defraud U.S. tech companies. According to the Justice Department, he forged email addresses, invoices, and corporate stamps in order to impersonate a large Asian-based manufacturer with whom the tech firms regularly did business. The point was to trick companies into paying for computer supplies. The scheme worked. Over a two-year span, the corporate imposter convinced accounting departments at the two tech companies to make transfers worth tens of millions of dollars. By the time the firms figured out what was going on, Rimasauskas had coaxed out over $100 million in payments, which he promptly stashed in bank accounts across Eastern Europe. Fortune adds that the investigation raises questions about why the companies have so far kept silence and whether — as a former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission observes — it triggers an obligation to tell investors about what happened. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Nintendo programmer Masahiro Sakura coded the Game Boy classic Kirby’s Dream Land on a cartridge-based Famicom console and Disk System that lacked a hardware keyboard. According to a recent presentation given by Sakura, “values had to be input using a trackball and an on-screen keyboard.” Sakura, who was 20-years-old at the time, said he just thought that was “the way it was done.” From Game Watch’s report in Japanese, translated by Source Gaming : At the time, the development tool that HAL Laboratory was using was the Twin Famicom, a console that combined the Famicom and the Famicom Disk System. A trackball made specifically for the Twin Famicom was used with the machine, which read and wrote data to a floppy disk and uploaded data to the floppy disks [during development]. Essentially, they were using a Famicom to make Famicom games. Sakurai told the crowd, “It’s like using a lunchbox to make lunch”. However, because of that, they were able to create a functional test product before the project plan was even completed. (via Ars Technica )

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McDonald’s already tried delivering Quarter Pounder combo meals via Uber in Florida and now the fast-food restaurant it ready to expand the option. Crain’s Chicago Business reports that McDonald’s will launch its delivery option in more cities before the end of June. And yes, it’s still powered by UberEats . That original testing phase included 200 locations in Florida, and for now, there’s no word on exactly where the delivery option is headed next. Those details are likely to come soon, so you might be able to satisfy your Big Mac craving without leaving the house in the near future. For now, McDonald’s is trying to perfect the process of accepting orders, finding the right packaging for deliveries and tackling other “operational challenges.” The company also tried its hand at delivery in 2015 with help from Postmates. That initiative is limited to New York City, though. Delivery isn’t the only move McDonald’s is making to meet the needs of diners in 2017. The company began testing mobile ordering and payments back in March, a feature of its app that’s now available for 400 locations in Chicago, California, Washington state and the DC area. The plan is for every location to have the mobile ordering system in place eventually. As part of the Uber news, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook explained that restaurant redesigns and digital options like mobile ordering are top priorities over the next two years. Source: Crain’s Chicago Business

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Take a look at Apple’s self-driving test vehicle

Posted by kenmay on April - 28 - 2017

Photos obtained by Bloomberg are giving us our first look at what appears to be a testbed for Apple’s self-driving car technology. An observer caught the Lexus SUV (looking similar to the demo vehicle above) rolling out of an Apple facility in Silicon Valley, rocking an extensive kit including Velodyne LiDAR units and radar sensors, which help the car observe the world around it. Apple picked up a permit to test its autonomous technology on California streets a couple of weeks ago, and it apparently isn’t waiting to get started. According to an expert cited by Bloomberg, the kit observed appears to consist of “off the shelf” sensors from third parties like Velodyne , instead of custom hardware. It’s unclear what form the scaled-back Project Titan plans could eventually take, but getting time on the road is a big first step. Here’s the car that #Apple ‘s using to test its autonomous car technology. Story with @mhbergen . https://t.co/jHLnJDRjoS pic.twitter.com/zTezUmcZwC — Alex Webb (@atbwebb) April 27, 2017 Source: Bloomberg

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