Blaming a weakened economy in China for lackluster sales of the iPhone, Apple's CEO Tim Cook sought to explain their huge drop in stock value this week, and as such, Apple has stopped trading until they figure out what's going on. That's not a good thing, but it's pretty clear that the company hasn't really had a good sales experience over the last quarter or two, and Cook expects the next quarter results to be no better. Leo says it was only last August that Apple became the first company to be worth a trillion dollars.
This Week in Tech News
1. Facebook had a terrible year, starting with leaked information to Cambridge Analytica of up to 87 million users. It lost 19% value, up to $100 billion, the biggest loss in the history of the stock market. Mark Zuckerberg lost $40 billion personally. And there was congressional investivations. All told, Facebook had 21 scandals centered around privacy violations. It was as bad a year as Facebook could get.
2. Apple lost 20% of its value. It went from being the first trillion dollar company to no longer holding that title.
Mark Rober, former NASA engineer, got fed up with package thieves and decided to do something about it. So he made a glitter bomb using an Apple HomePod box with a fake mailing label with the name 'Kevin McAllister' from the Home Alone movies. Inside the box, he had four smartphones with cameras that were recording, and an engine that spun with glitter. He also had aerosol cans with odor that would spray a nasty smell. The video of this with the reactions of the thieves has 45 million views on YouTube.
Australia has recently passed a bill that would require companies like Signal and 1Password to provide the government with user messages and data upon request. Many companies that offer encrypted communications, however, don't have access to that information themselves because it uses end-to-end encryption. But now that sort of encryption technology is illegal in Australia without a 'back door' being put in. If there is a back door, then access to that data isn't just available to the government, it could be available to any hacker as well.
In what could simply be a case of hitting a speed wall, the latest sales figures indicate that smartphone sales began a decline in 2017, with sales in the US declining for the first time in 2018. Market saturation is nearing 100%, and everyone who wants a smartphone has a smartphone. Phones are now like cars, which you don't really replace as often anymore, since the new phone won't be significantly better.
259 selfie deaths in 137 incident globally, is the latest tech story going. Male deaths outpace females 3-1. With the majority happening in India. Most are falling to their deaths, or getting too close to a dangerous situation like traffic, or wild animals. So much so that parks are starting to carve out No Selfie zones.
The moral here ... be safe.
Parliament in Australia is pushing through an anti-encryption law that will make it not only illegal to use encrypted communications, but will also give law enforcement and other government authorities the power to use malware to crack an encrypted network. Leo says it will endanger the security of anyone using an online service and obvious violates an individual's privacy rights. Russia has a similar law, as does England.
For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.
Marriott just announced this week that it learned of a security breach from four years ago, and 500 million users are affected. For 327 million guests, the exposed information include names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and arrival and departure information. For millions of others, credit card numbers and expiration dates were compromised. Marriott says it will begin emailing guests affected by the breach.
Alphabet's life sciences company Verily has announced that it is discontinuing development on 'Smart Lens,' which promised the ability to read blood glucose levels using contact lenses. The company said that not only is this hard to do, but there's massive and potentially insurmountable technical and scientific problems with it.
Read more at blog.verily.com