This Week in Tech News

Did the Russians Really Hack Us or Not?

Episode 1352

hacking

The Russian hacking story is now all over the news, especially after the joint agency report about the hacking. Many security experts aren't basing their assessment on that report, and it was most likely misdirection for public consumption having nothing to do with the actual information. In the report, they listed about a hundred IP addresses that they believe were used by Russian government hackers. The problem with those IP addresses is that a lot of them are TOR exit nodes, which could have been used by anyone.

Michigan Passes First Autonomous Car Laws

Episode 1347

Autonomous Car

Michigan became the first state in the union to pass laws that would pave the way for autonomous self driving cars. But in doing so, they made it only legal for auto manufacturers to do so. Leo says that no driver will be required and that Google and other companies pushing for the laws applauded the move even though they can't create them just yet. But Leo suspects there's a loop hole in there somewhere. Next comes Florida.

Samsung to Send Kill Switch to Remaining Galaxy Note 7s

Episode 1347

Galaxy Note 7

With about 100,000 Note 7s still out in the wild, Samsung is about to send out an update that will make the mobile phone inoperable unless it's plugged in. It is hoped that these outlyers will then be returned by owners. Verizon has already said it won't push that update over the air during the holiday season. Meanwhile, Samsung has upped the ante to a full refund, plus an additional $100 for the trouble.

AT&T Has to Pay Back over $88 Million to Customers

Episode 1347

AT&T Logo

In performing what what the FCC called illegal "sneak charges" for ring tones and other items without consent, AT&T violated FCC regulations and must now pay customers back over $88 million in charges. Leo says it amounts to about $30 per customer.

White House Releases Augmented Reality App

Episode 1346

1600 app

The White House has released an augmented reality app. The app called "1600" allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Leo believes it's far more useful than virtual reality.

Microsoft is the first to leverage augmented reality with HoloLens. It's currently $3,000, but that should get cheaper soon. Leo says he wouldn't be surprised to see if plummet in price by next year.

Hands-on with the Microsoft Surface Studio

Episode 1345

Microsoft Surface Studio

The Microsoft Surface Studio is, believe it or not, Microsoft's first desktop computer. It's got a high resolution 27" screen and Leo simply can't stop playing with it. It's ideal for artists. It's expensive, though, at $3,000. What's disappointing is that the low end model at that price point only has 8GB of RAM, an i5 processor, and a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive. So Leo thinks it's a bit underpowered. He also says it's a great tool for those in creative endeavors.

Samsung Buys Harman

Episode 1342

Samsung Logo

Samsung has gotten into the high end audio world by picking up Harman, the maker of luxury and studio sound including JBL, AKG, Mark Levinson Sound, Revel Speakers, and Bowers and Wilkins.

Read more at news.samsung.com.

Fake News Is Not Just a Problem with Facebook

Episode 1341

Facebook Logo

Leo says that Facebook is learning about how to deal with fake news, but it's by no means the only portal that has to deal with it. There are plenty of news websites that fall for it as well. But while people are caught up in fake news, they are missing real news, like Apple being able to turn over the content of your iCloud account to authorities with a simple request. But nobody reports on that.