Google has announced the new Pixel 4a and discontinued the Pixel 4. Leo says that at $350, it signals that users are done paying over $1,000 for a mobile phone every two years.
This Week in Tech News
You may not know her name, but Frances Allen passed away this week. She is responsible for the software used to compile computer code and optimize it into programming. A legend in the computer community. After retiring, she turned her attention towards enabling young girls to see careers in math, science, and computing.
TikTok will be banned on September 20th in the United States, according to the White House. Leo says that technically, the ban is only on money that is transferred out of the US to China, including ad revenue. The President has also given Microsoft the OK to buy TikTok and they have until Sept 20 to get a deal done. Not only that, but Trump wants the US to receive a cut of the deal if it happens.
Leo downloaded and installed TikTok today, to get the experience before the US bans it. Is he worried about his data getting grabbed by the PRC? Not at all. Leo says it's the most creative and fun app going right now. TikTok has been trying to avoid the ban by having a US CEO, hired over 10,000 US jobs, and even courting Microsoft to buy their US operations. But the White House seems in earnest to ban it.
Citing security concerns with Tik Tok, the fastest growing social network in the world, the White House is poised to announce it will ban the app in the US. The app, which includes a lip-syncing feature that is very popular with teens and preteens, caused Tik Tok to catapult to the number one social network in the US. The feds are concerned that the Chinese owned Tik Tok is a security concern for spying on US users, and many banks, companies, and government agencies have banned its use on employee phones.
Researchers have announced a theoretical new internet known as the Quantum Internet, which will use quantum entanglement to connect computers without a physical connection. And the government is investing $500-700 million a year to make it a reality. Researchers also claim that because of the nature of photons to connect, there will be absolute security with no means to hack into it, thanks to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Norsk-Hydro, a huge international conglomerate was hit with ransomware, costing the company $60 million. The malware came from an innocent email that had been intercepted and altered to include malware that infected the network when opened. Encrypting all data. The malware infected the company in December but wasn't triggered until March. Norsk-Hydro had a cyber insurance policy that consistently tests the network, but they were infected anyway. The company decided not to pay and relied on backups to restore their network. But the damage had been done as the network was down for weeks.
Microsoft announced some new versions of old games at their annual Xbox Games Showcase including Tetris and Halo Infinite. Microsoft is also making all their games available through Microsoft Game Pass, a monthly subscription service. Leo also says that Microsoft is also working on a new streaming game service, codenamed XCloud, which won't require a game platform. Users will play anywhere on any device, as the game servers will do all the work.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the US Government may be banning Tik Tok within weeks due to national security issues. The app is already banned in India, and Wells Fargo has banned it as well. The US government has banned it government-wide as well.
Tik Tok is subject to the authority of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party. The app has deleted posts that are critical of that government. But it also has a feature that looks in your clipboard, which could be a security issue due to data snarfing.
This week, Twitter got hacked, compromising verified user accounts. Leo says it's a big deal, and a little weird, because the Tweets started with BitCoin accounts and spreading out to other verified users. It was all wrapped around "giving back" bitcoin to communities, buy offering a two for one deal on sending bitcoin. A complete hoax. But then, other verified users started to tweet it, including Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Apple, and Elon Musk, clearly indicating that Twitter had been hacked.