Last weekend, the WannaCry Ransomware bit several hundred thousand computer systems, including sixteen hospitals in the UK. The ransomware infected the systems and encrypted all data. The reason this one was really bad is that it was a "worm," or a "network aware virus" that would spread out over the local area network to find other computers to infect, and bring the whole establishment to its knees.
This Week in Tech News
Google I/O was this week and the keynote had a bunch of new products and services. Google Home, the Amazon Echo killer, now has the ability to make unlimited phone calls anywhere for free. Should you then get rid of your home phone? Leo says no, because if the power or internet goes out, you'll have no phone for emergencies.
Find out about all of the announcements from Google I/O at techradar.com.
According to a new study, social media is making us miserable as we compare our lives to those posting online. Leo suggests trying to search the beginning of a phrase in Google, such as "I always," and Google will finish the phrase using search data from other people. You'll immediately find out that everyone else's lives are not as glamorous as they seem on social media.
Known as Facebook Spaces, this new virtual meeting place/world enables you to use your Oculus Rift to interact with others around the world through your avatar, as if you're in the same room. Leo says it's buggy, but it's a beginning. You can share video or pictures, and add images to your world so it becomes part of the background. It's interesting. Maybe even intriguing. But Leo says you wouldn't want to live there.
Find out more at newsroom.fb.com.
A hacker by the name of "The Dark Overlord" broke into Netflix' servers and released the new season of "Orange is the New Black," after demanding payment not to. According to TDA, he also has shows from ABC, IFC, and other channels. Leo says that is a childish act that probably was perpetrated by an ambitious teenager and Netflix did the right thing by refusing to pay up.
Quarterly earnings came out this week and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all posted record earnings in cloud services. Leo says that sadly, hardware earnings fell short for Microsoft whose tablets and laptops fell short. Leo says that's unfortunate because they make some nice hardware these days.
Leo also says that Google made a lot of money, up 49%, on their Pixel Android phone and their Google Home devices. Google's advertising revenue was also up 29% with nearly $2 billion a month in profit.
In a clear sign that they are going after Snapchat, Facebook announced that they are opening up their API to allow app developers access to the camera in the Facebook app. They will also add support for filters, overlays, and other features that are similar to Snapchat, luring users away.
Leo says that Facebook is going after augmented reality in an effort to stay on top of the virtual genre. Leo says that competition is good. It'll be interesting to see how Snapchat and other companies respond.
Facebook and Oculus had their big confab this week and they're focusing on Augmented Reality, which will bring virtual elements into the real world through a headset that shows you the real world, with virtual elements overlaid on it. Leo says that Facebook is looking to that because they are aware that everyone is getting into VR and they are worried about losing their edge in the genre. So look for Facebook to add AR to Oculus VR. Facebook is also going to add vanishing messages to Instagram in an effort to bury Snapchat since they couldn't buy them.
Leo got the Samsung Galaxy S8 this week and it has a 6.2" screen, but it's a bit weird because of its aspect ratio. Like the iPhone 5 which had a tall, narrow screen, the S8 is doing the same thing to make it tall and larger without being wider. The edge is more aesthetic and has less usable area as before. It is "bezel-less" now, so the image goes edge to edge making it look larger without being wider. It's not the same camera as the S7 – it's extremely nice with an upgraded sensor.
With most of its money stashed in Irish banks, Apple's $246 Billion is tucked safely away from the US Tax Code. So much so, that they've created a separate Irish subsidiary which then licenses Apple's own intellectual property back to Cupertino. It's all the same corporation, mind you, but it enables them to avoid taxes in the US. And it's completely legal. They have more money in the bank than the GDP in Sri Lanka, and the 13th largest country in the world, if it were a country.