This week, Leo attended a Podcast convention in Orlando, FL. There were 3,000 people in attendance, listening to Leo's presentation. Podcasting has become to popular that users are calling the market "peak podcast."
A teenage hacker discovered flaws in his school's educational Blackboard software and presented his findings with the eye of improving security. He made a presentation at the Black Hat Hackers convention in Las Vegas. But while he could have changed his grades, he opted not so. But he did break into a college network to change his admissions status to "accepted" to make a point. And while the software company lauded the teen for discovering the flaws, he was suspended at school.
The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile has been approved by the Department of Justice, giving mobile another major carrier to compete against AT&T and Verizon. The talk is, that T-Mobile is going to work with DISH Network to create a huge new 4th carrier by Dish. Dish will also get Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and several other MVNOs. As a long-time T-Mobile user, Leo doesn't really have a problem with it, especially as we move into 5G speeds. But it's not in the clear yet, as 13 state attorney generals are suing to stop it.
Everyone is up in arms about the app FaceApp and it's privacy concerns. People are concerned because the app will upload your images to a third party server and use them whenever and however they want. Leo says that the server is not in Russia, but is actually Amazon Cloud Services. It also has a boiler plate terms of service that users should pay attention to, that transfers your likeness rights to them to do whatever they want. Period. While technically true, it's also probably true of Instagram, Facebook, and others.
After agreeing to a consent decree to protect user privacy in 2011, Facebook has been fined $5 billion for failing to obey the decree. It's the largest fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission, but it didn't really hurt Facebook, as the stock market rewarded the social media company with a $6 billion stock bump. This leaves Leo to wonder if you can really fine Facebook enough to make it hurt and if the only way to punish the social media giant is to stop using it.
Speaking of the end of eras, Apple's iconic designer, Jony Ive, has announced he's leaving the company to begin his own startup. Ive designed the iconic gumdrop iMac, the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. But Leo says that perhaps his shining design achievement is the Spaceship headquarters at Apple Park. But his worst design were the butterfly keyboards on the recent MacBook Pro. And within days of the announcement Ive was leaving, Apple announced it would dump the butterfly keyboard in favor of scissor switches in the upcoming MacBook Pro in 2020.
June 29, 2007, twelve years ago, Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone. Apple hadn't invented the app store yet, so the original iPhone didn't really have but a few very basic apps. In fact, Steve Jobs thought everything would be done through websites, not apps. It was listed at $499 and people lined up three days before it launched to get one. But a smartphone wasn't really new, what did change the world was having a full-time connection to the internet in your pocket.
Leo doesn't really get what's going on, but it appears that Huawei is now allowed to be sold in the US. For the last few years, Huawei was declared as a "dangerous foreign entity," but now it appears that at the recent G20 summit, the President has officially lifted all restrictions. Which is puzzling, because recent news reports hint that Huawei has been up to no good. Huawei is much more vulnerable to hackers, perhaps even intentionally, according to a recent report.
The latest news about YouTube is that the federal government is investigating the streaming video portal for violation of provisions of the Child Online Privacy Act. The problems are in the recommendation engine, which veers to strange videos, even in the YouTube Kids channel. Numerous complaints to the Federal Trade Commission questions if YouTube is collecting data on kids under 13.
Target's computerized cash registers went down yesterday, leaving customers left holding the literal bag with no real way to pay for them. Some employees got around the problem by using their personal phones to check out using the online interface. Target assures it wasn't a data breach, but Leo isn't so sure about that. It has happened before.