Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for September 2019

What’s in a Domain Name Server?

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Happy Monday.

The news you need to know about this fine Monday morning (that doesn’t involve impeachment inquiries): Google and Mozilla are looking to encrypt the Internet domain name system (better known as DNS), which could keep bad actors from snooping on websites and spoofing.

But which could also keep ISPs from gathering user data because the browser session data would become opaque to them.

As a report in The Wall Street Journal observed, Google indicated it is making this move to improve users’ security and privacy and will leave consumers more in charge of who shares their Internet data.

Though ISPs are logically concerned by the move, so are the Three Letter Agencies, for which the move could make it more difficult to monitor Internet traffic.

And with Google operating its own DNS service, the story cites that some “are concerned that the DNS upgrade could ultimately concentrate too much off the Internet’s traffic in the hands of Google.”

Engadget is reporting separately that this move is “raising hackles among American officials” and that the U.S. Department of Justice has received complaints and the House Judiciary Committee is investigating.

Turns out the answer to the question “What’s in a name?” is, quite a bit.

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

Out of AC/DC

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Happy Friday. Well, save for the cop in Fremont, CA last Friday night who had to halt a high-speed pursuit ‘cause his Tesla Model S patrol car ran out of battery. Doh!

Some security/privacy exploits on a Friday PM worthy of note.

First, the new Checkm8 jailbreak that apparently impacts all iOS devices running on A5 to A11 chipsets (Spoiler: That’s a lot of chips, ranging from the iPhone models ranging from the 4S to the 8 to the X…so, 100s of millions of devices).

The jailbreak exploits vulnerabilities in Apple’s Bootrom that grants phone owners full control over their device, according to a report from ZDNet. Be careful out there, boys and girls.

They’re also reporting some new malware called “Nodersok” that installs Node.js to turn systems into proxies so they can perform click fraud. That’s one way to drive up CPMs!

And, DoorDash has confirmed a data breach on May 4 that affected 4.9M customers, workers, and merchants…included last four digits of payment cards, driver’s license info, etc etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.

Yes, ladies and germs, you can’t even get a meal delivered anymore without getting hacked. Lost your appetite yet?

Bon Appétit!

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Amazon Eyes

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“Hey Alexa, squinch my eyes!”

That’s what I’d probably be saying to my new Amazon Echo Frames eyeglasses, which doesn’t include a display or camera, but does include directional microphones you can use to talk back to, as well as receive notifications, create reminders, play music, and the like.

In other words, Alexa in your glasses or, dare I write it down, “smart glasses.”

There’s so many directions I could go with this, but I think I’ll just turn off my Echo Frame microphone and go to the optometrist, just to be safe.

Maybe I’ll call myself an Uber to get a ride there. 

The Verge is reporting that Uber has overhauled its app to become “the OS for everyday life.” The changes include merging its ride-hailing and food delivery apps, adding a bunch new safety features, and getting involved in virtual restaurants.

Let’s just hope I don’t leave my glasses in my Uber on the ride over to the virtual restaurant!

Written by turbotodd

September 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Pricing the Fold

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Happy Monday. For those of who you have been waiting on pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, your wait is over.

9to5 Google is reporting that Samsung will offer the new fold in two variants, one through AT&T/Best Buy and an unlocked version through Best Buy stores and its retail site. Drum roll, please: $1,980.

Just as a point of a comparison, one can buy a new MacBook Pro for as little as $1,299. And it folds up as well!

To get in some exercise for all that folding, you might want invest in a Peloton, which only costs around $400 more than the Fold and which will take you absolutely nowhere fast. Peloton is expected to raise $1.2B in its IPO this week.

And on the topic of raising capital, Crunchbase is reporting that the number of $5M+ seed rounds in the U.S. Has risen from 45 in 2014 to 180 in 2018, but that we may be seeing a cooling trend, with only 110 rounds in 2019 YTD.

Whatever the number, Binance.US this morning launched a digital assets marketplace. The company is the world’s top crypto exchange by trading volume, and will initially list bitcoin, BNB, ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP, among others.

Buy some bitcoin, hope the price goes way back up, buy a Fold with no guilt whatsoever!

Written by turbotodd

September 23, 2019 at 10:57 am

Yankee Clinch

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Happy Friday.

Apple iOS 13 is now available for download.  I’ve been using an earlier beta for a few weeks, and while some have said it was buggy, I’ve certainly been digging the dark mode.

Apple’s also including some new (but some may say, annoying) privacy friendly features, like periodic pop-ups to remind you how many times an app has tracked your location (that could get interesting). 

You can also now give an app location access just once, and Bluetooth access now requires consent.  This is starting to sound like verbiage from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (but kudos on the privacy-friendly moves).

On a related front, ZDNet is reporting that 47% of organizations now have cyber insurance (up from 34% in 2017). And 57% of large firms with revenues over $1B have it compared with 35% of those with under $100M. The more they stand to lose, the more insurance they have@

Okay, I can’t let Friday PM slide home without a shout-out to the New York Yankees for clinching the AL East for the first time since 2012. Both they and the Houston Astros have 100 win seasons to date (and it’s the second time in a year that that’s happened for the Yankees). 

Remember, every game is game 7!

Written by turbotodd

September 20, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Big Builds, Bigger Dogs

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Yesterday it was AI and agriculture, today it’s AI and construction. Built Robotics is a company looking to make construction equipment autonomous and has raised a $33M Series B round. Recognizing that the industry is facing a labor shortage, Built is building systems that would allow one equipment operator to oversee a fleet of vehicles working autonomously in parallel. 

But there’s plenty more VC money sloshing around where that came from…Wordpress parent Automattic raised $300M in a Series D round from Salesforce Ventures, valuing the company at $3B. Thirty-four percent of the world’s top 10 million websites now run on WordPress. No word yet if that means everyone at the company gets an “automattic” raise! 

There’s also more consolidation on the developer tooling front with GitHub’s acquisition of code analysis tool Semmle. Semmle streamlines security testing and offers developers a query languages to allow researchers to more easily test their code. No price on the deal, but Semmle was born from Oxford just last year and had raised a $21M Series B round led by Accel.

And app performance monitoring firm Datadog raised $648M in its U.S. IPO, valuing the company at $7.83B. Datadog had previously declined a buyout offer from Cisco.

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

Quantum Leap

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IBM is ramping up its investments in quantum computing.

Today it announced the opening of the IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York state, one which expands the company’s fleet of quantum computing systems for commercial and research activity that exist beyond the confines of experimental lab environments.

To date, the global IBM Quantum user community has run more than 14 million experiments on IBM’s quantum computers through the cloud, and published more than 200 scientific papers. To meet growing demand for quantum hardware access, ten quantum computing systems are now online through IBM’s Quantum Computation Center, composed of five 20-qubit systems, one 14-qubit system, and four 5-qubit systems.

Within a month, IBM’s commercially available quantum fleet will grow to 14 systems, including a new 53-qubit quantum computer, the single largest universal quantum system made available for external access in the industry, to date.

Advances in quantum computing could open the door to future scientific discoveries such as new medicines and materials, vast improvements in the optimization of supply chains, and new ways to model financial data to make better investments.

You can learn more at http://www.ibm.com/ibmq

Written by turbotodd

September 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Posted in 2019, ibm, quantum computing

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