Reacting to the recent SolarWinds hack by Russia, the US has created a new Cybersecurity for Emerging Technologies agency. Leo says that it will largely focus on security and diplomacy.
This Week in Tech News
The annual consumer electronics show, known as CES, will be virtual this year with presentations via Zoom. Does Leo say "why even bother?" More companies are doing their own thing and doing it year-round. So why even waste the time? Let companies do their own thing.
January 3, 2004: seventeen years ago, the Tech Guy radio show hit the airwaves. 1759 episodes later, we're still going strong. Happy Anniversary Leo!
Facing a downward trend in the last few years, 2020 brought a surge of audio and eBooks as people looked for ways to pass the time during the Pandemic. The result was a 17% increase in sales. Leo also says it could signal a seed change back to people reading.
On December 31, 2020, Adobe announced that Flash had officially reached its end of life and will no longer be supported by the company. Apple hastened the demise of Flash several years ago when it announced it wouldn't support Flash, but it really was Youtube's abandoning the platform that put the last nail in the coffin, even though many websites continued to use it. But even Adobe saw that Flash's end was nigh and abandoned development, except for security updates. Now, it's at end of life, and Leo says it's the end of an era.
Leo says that Apple's new $550 Airpod Max Headphones are too cheap for high-end headphones, and too expensive for just about everything else. But he says that while these fit into a gray area that's going to use computational audio driven by 10 core processors. So customers have a supercomputer in each ear. It will support things like surround sound and will take an imperfect stream of audio and make it better. But Leo will never buy them, even though while they are pricey status symbols now, they may end up being worth the price down the line as the technology improves.
Russia may have hacked several local, state, and federal government agencies this week, according to the NSA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. With all the hallmarks of Russian hacking group "Fancy Bear," Leo says that the hack was discovered because the group went too deep and too far and triggered security software designed to detect such attempts.
During a four hour stream for its annual Investor Day, the Walt Disney Company executives previewed their slate of new content for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, and National Geographic. Leo says the huge takeaway here is that Disney's upcoming slate is 80% streaming content. That's huge.
A few days later, it was reported that Disney+ streaming service will be raising its rates in 2021.
The much-anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077 was released and even with a physical disc, expect an updated download of over 100GB. But there is an alternative. Leo bought the game through Google Stadia and was able to play the game by streaming it. The game-changer here is that it doesn't really matter what platform you play the game on, you'll be able to still play it.
The deadline for TikTok to cease operations or sell to a US investor has come and gone, leading Leo to conclude that the Trump administration has bigger fish to fry. TikTok sued, and Oracle won the bid to buy TikTok. But the deadline to complete the sale has passed as of Friday. The government has chosen to do nothing. So Leo thinks that TikTok may be in the clear. At least for now.
Meanwhile, TikTok downloads have surged during the pandemic, second only to Zoom with 23 million downloads.