Tech Today w/ Ken May

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$12k for a guitar made of the boards where people sat and listened to historic concerts. What kind of pick-up does this fantastically expensive beauty come with? Best I can tell: Black. I hope it sounds really, really good. This is especially the case with Fender’s new, limited edition Front Row Legend Esquire line. Made in Fender’s Custom Shop by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, these special Telecasters are built to order using 100–year–old Alaskan yellow cedar from the Hollywood Bowl’s original bench boards. Since its official opening in the summer of 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has spent almost 100 years hosting some of the biggest acts of every decade. Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, and Black Sabbath are just a smattering of the talent that has graced the Bowl’s stage, and now, you can own a functional piece of its history. Shishkov maintained the characteristics of each piece of bench board that he used, with all of its original scratches, cracks, and bolt holes. The top of each guitar will also feature the original seat number. Via Reverb ( Thanks, Jason Mancebo! )

Enlarge Apple released a slew of software updates today for nearly all of its systems; you can now download macOS Sierra 10.12.6, iOS 10.3.3, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2 to any of your compatible devices. The updates appear to be minor, as most of them focus on bug fixes. MacOS Sierra 10.12.6 is the sixth update to this version of Apple’s operating system, and it may very well be the last before the introduction of macOS High Sierra . As per Apple’s usual refresher schedule, macOS High Sierra should be pushed out to users this fall. According to Apple’s information page , macOS Sierra 10.12.6 improves the “security, stability, and compatibility” of Mac systems and tackles three main issues: “Resolves an issue that prevents making certain SMB connections from the Finder.” “Fixes an issue that causes Xsan clients to unexpectedly restart when moving a file within a relation point on a Quantum StorNext File System.” “Improves the stability of Terminal app.” That’s the extent of the details provided for any of these updates. Neither iOS 10.3.3 nor watchOS 3.2.3 lists any new features, but they do mention general “improvements” and “bug fixes.” Similarly to macOS, the operating systems for iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches will be totally revamped when iOS 11 and watchOS 4 launch. Both of those updates are expected to come out alongside macOS High Sierra in the fall. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Much of what happens in North Korea remains hidden from the outside world. But commercial satellite imagery and Google Earth mapping software are helping a human-rights organization take inventory of the worst offenses of the North Korean regime and identify sites for future investigation of crimes against humanity. A new report from the South Korea-based Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) —a non-governmental organization that tracks human-rights abuses and crimes against humanity by the world’s most oppressive regimes—details how the organization’s researchers used Google Earth in interviews with defectors from North Korea to identify sites associated with mass killings by the North Korean regime. Google Earth imagery was used to help witnesses to killings and mass burials orient themselves and precisely point out the locations of those events. Entitled “Mapping Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea: Mass Graves, Killing Sites and Documentary Evidence,” the report does not include the actual locations of what the researchers deemed to be sensitive sites out of concern that the North Korean regime would move evidence from those sites. But it does provide location data of other sites with potential documentary evidence of crimes, including police stations and other government facilities that may have records of atrocities. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Shape of Water looks magical, disturbing, and weirdly romantic. Though Guillermo del Toro took Hollywood by storm with movies like Hellboy and Pacific Rim , he truly made his mark with gothic indies like the Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and the sumptuous Crimson Peak . Now he’s back with The Shape of Water , another intimate look at the inner lives of monsters and the humans who love them. Anyone who has been immersed in del Toro’s lush, magical films knows he’s a master of design, especially when it comes to creatures. Nearly all of his movies deal with the idea that monsters are better people than their human counterparts, and he always manages to get us to identify with giant hellbeasts and gore-soaked ghosts. Though del Toro’s monsters have always been mesmerizing and gorgeous, The Shape of Water is the first of his movies to deal overtly with a human falling in love with one of these otherworldly creatures. Like Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak , The Shape of Water is also a period piece. Set in the early 1960s during the Cold War, it’s about Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute janitor working at what seems to be a top-secret government facility. She’s assigned to clean a lab where the government has imprisoned a beautiful, intelligent fish-like man (Doug Jones), sort of a glimmering cross between the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Aquaman. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: An unknown hacker has used a vulnerability in an Ethereum wallet client to steal over 153, 000 Ether, worth over $30 million dollars. The hack was possible due to a flaw in the Parity Ethereum client. The vulnerability allowed the hacker to exfiltrate funds from multi-sig wallets created with Parity clients 1.5 and later. Parity 1.5 was released on January 19, 2017. The attack took place around 19:00-20:00 UTC and was immediately spotted by Parity, a company founded by Gavin Wood, Ethereum’s founder. The company issued a security alert on its blog. The Ether stolen from Parity multi-sig accounts was transferred into this Ethereum wallet, currently holding 153, 017.021336727 Ether. Because Parity spotted the attack in time, a group named “The White Hat Group” used the same vulnerability to drain the rest of Ether stored in other Parity wallets that have not yet been stolen by the hacker. This money now resides in this Ethereum wallet. According to messages posted on Reddit and in a Gitter chat, The White Hat Group appears to be formed of security researchers and members of the Ethereum Project that have taken it into their own hands to secure funds in vulnerable wallets. Based on a message the group posted online, they plan to return the funds they took. Their wallet currently holds 377, 116.819319439311671493 Ether, which is over $76 million. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA is putting hundreds of historical videos on YouTube

Posted by kenmay on July - 19 - 2017

As part of its mission to make its research easier to access, NASA is uploading decades’ worth of archived footage to YouTube. So far around 300 videos have been uploaded, with a further 200 on the way. Each clip documents an important part of NASA’s history, including Space Shuttle landing research, X1 and X43A trial flights and the testing of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle. SpaceX chief Elon Musk has previously commented on how difficult it was to find historical footage on NASA’s website. Before the uploading project, curious flight-fans would have to laboriously search through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection via the Dryden Flight Research Center website. Standard search queries in Google would reveal nothing. Now, with the video library prominently on the (renamed) Armstrong Flight Research Center’s website and YouTube channel , everyone has easy access to these fascinating historical highlights. Via: Motherboard Source: Armstrong Video Gallery

Hackers can take control of your Segway hoverboard

Posted by kenmay on July - 19 - 2017

We can list so many reasons why you should never set foot on a hoverboard . Now, we’ve got yet another: Cybersecurity company IOActive has figured out how to hijack the Segway MiniPro ” self-balancing personal transporter ” through its Bluetooth connection. It seems like only yesterday that we were discussing how hoverboards had a tendency to spontaneously combust and wondering who exactly was actually buying these products. But clearly some of you out there are interested, because Segway has kept cranking them out. The MiniPro, which retails for $600, allows for remote control of the hoverboard-scooter hybrid (seriously, who thought this was a good idea?) through a Bluetooth app. And there’s no way to turn off the Bluetooth if your hoverboard is hacked. While people can’t cause battery explosions (I guess we should be thankful for the little things), “an attacker could bypass safety systems and remotely take control of the device, including changing settings, pace, direction, or even disabling the motor and bringing it to an abrupt and unexpected stop while a rider is in motion, ” says the press release . Hackers could even track and discover the location of the hoverboard user through this exploit. IOActive did let Segway know about these issues (they discovered them last year; results were partially released today), and they have patched some of the vulnerabilities in the product. Still, this is an increasing problem as devices are becoming more connected . Without proper security (or let’s be honest: even with it), these devices and their users are incredibly vulnerable. At this point, not implementing security for connected devices is shoddy at best and dangerous at worst. Via: CNet Source: IOActive

Whether it’s using corn to make sustainable sneakers , or 3D printing some pretty out there looking footwear, Reebok isn’t afraid of taking bold new steps with its shoes. Now, however, it looks like the brand has decided to take one giant leap for mankind. On Tuesday, Rebook revealed that it’s developing a new type of shoe for an upcoming mission to the International Space Station. Christened The Floatride Space Boot SB-01, Reebok’s latest is looking to replace the tough and tragically uncool leather boots that have cramped astronauts’ feet (and style) for years. The reason for calling on Rebook to make the wrestling boot-esque Floatride is that Boeing is sending its astronauts to the ISS clad in a shiny new lightweight space suit. Like with any solid new outfit, Boeing has decided that these spacemen’ll need fresh new kicks to match. The sci-fi-looking space boot uses Reebok’s Floatride foam, which adds an extra layer of cushioning to the midsole without adding extra weight to the shoe. This latest tech is used in the brand’s latest sneakers too, the Floatride Run. In an interview with Digital Trends , Reebok’s Vice president of Innovation, Dan Hobson describes The Floatride as “a hybrid of a runner, sandal, wrestling boot, and aviator boot.” Unfortunately, the verdict is still out on the SB-01s with Astronauts currently testing the new kicks. Still, with the classic space boot not seeing an update in the last fifty years, we’re sure that these comfy-looking new shoes will be a welcome sight for many achy astronauts. Source: Designboom

An anonymous reader writes: “Thai security researcher Worawit Wang has put together an exploit based on ETERNALSYNERGY that can also target newer versions of the Windows operating system, ” reports Bleeping Computer. “ETERNALSYNERGY is one of the NSA exploits leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacking group in April this year. According to a Microsoft technical analysis, the exploit can allow an attacker to execute code on Windows machines with SMB services exposed to external connections. The exploit works up to Windows 8. According to Microsoft, the techniques used in the original ETERNALSYNERGY exploit do not work on newer platforms due to several kernel security improvements. Wang says his exploit targets the same vulnerability but uses a different exploitation technique. His method ‘should never crash a target, ‘ the expert says. ‘Chance should be nearly 0%, ‘ Wang adds.” Combining his exploit with the original ETERNALSYNERGY exploit would allow a hacker to target all Windows versions except Windows 10. This is about 75% of all Windows PCs. The exploit code is available for download from Wang’s GitHub or ExploitDB. Sheila A. Berta, a security researcher for Telefonica’s Eleven Paths security unit, has published a step-by-step guide on how to use Wang’s exploit. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bosch took us for a ride in its level 3 autonomous car

Posted by kenmay on July - 18 - 2017

Bosch provided flights to Frankfurt and three nights’ accommodation for this trip to the Bosch Mobility Experience. Video edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) BOXBERG, GERMANY—Are autonomous cars like buses? In one way, yes. You wait ages for a ride in one, and then all of a sudden several show up in short succession. In late June,  we went for a spin in Jack , Audi’s level 3 autonomous test vehicle. Then, a couple of weeks later in Germany at the Bosch Mobility Experience, we got to sample another such vehicle. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments