Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing.

Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon

A technology company bidding for a Pentagon contract to store sensitive data has close partnerships with a firm linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, the BBC has learned.

The Jedi project, a huge cyber-cloud which could ultimately store nuclear codes, has already sparked security fears.

Viktor Vekselberg, who is close to the Kremlin, has links to C5, a group of cyber-investment companies which has worked closely with the leading bidder, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46489689

Discussion

1) Just because a cloud stores something incredibly secret, does it also mean that the secret thing being stored is not safe?

2) Why is the U.S. Pentagon moving to a secure cloud?

Posted by & filed under Apple.

market share of mobile phone companies by shipments

You don’t need to look hard to see how the Global Times – the state-backed Chinese newspaper – is interpreting the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

“Washington’s move to stifle Huawei will undermine itself,” reads a headline. “Banning Chinese companies like Huawei will isolate US from digital economy of the future,” reads another.

It’s that second headline, the threat of isolation, that should give US technology companies considerable pause as we head into Ms Meng’s 12th day of detention in a Canadian jail.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 11th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46516662

Discussion

1) Every class I’ve asked has thought that Apple had somewhere around 60% of the world smartphone market. As the chart shows, it is around 13% and falling.  Why do most people in north America overestimate the amount of people with an Apple smartphone?

2) Why is Huawei growing?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Transportation Market, Uber.

Grab, the most popular ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, will end 2018 with $3 billion in new funds as it seeks to fend off rivals in a region of more than 600 million people.

The Singapore-based startup has raised more than $2.7 billion so far this year and will get to $3 billion “before New Year’s bell,” President Ming Maa said in an interview Tuesday with CNN Business.

The new funding, which includes a $1 billion investment from Toyota (TM) in June, values Grab at over $11 billion, according to a person familiar with the company.

Grab made international headlines in March when it bought Uber’s operations in eight Southeast Asian countries. The startup now dominates those markets, but it no longer wishes to be known as a ride-hailing company.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: December 6th, 2018

Link (includes 2 minute video): https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/04/tech/grab-president-ming-maa/index.html

Discussion

1) “Grab wants to be a “daily lifestyle platform,” Maa said, as it expands into areas like digital payments and health care services”.  How can a ride-hailing company move into digital payments and health care?

2) Should Uber and Lyft be looking to move in the same direction as Grab?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Facebook.

Facebook documents

Emails written by Facebook’s chief and his deputies show the firm struck secret deals to give some developers special access to user data while refusing others, according to MPs.

A cache of internal documents has been published online by a parliamentary committee.

It said the files also showed Facebook had deliberately made it “as hard as possible” for users to be aware of privacy changes to its Android app.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 6th, 2018

Link:  https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46456695

Discussion

1) Why is it important news that Facebook is playing favorites with some developers and blocking access to others?

2) Facebook is a public company, not a government entity, is run for profit, and is not a requirement for life.  Why should it not be able to treat certain customers more favorably than others?

 

Posted by & filed under Biohacking.

Liviu

Biohackers want to make their bodies and brains function better by “hacking” their biology. The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme meets the people who are inserting technology under their skin, adopting extreme diets and trying to change their DNA.

Liviu Babitz wants to create new human senses. Touch his chest and you feel his first effort, a vibration every time he faces north. If some animals can already sense direction, why shouldn’t we?

He can feel north because of an electronic implant on his chest called the “North Sense”. It includes a compass chip, Bluetooth connection and is attached to the skin with two titanium bars like a piercing.

Source: BBC Future

Date: December 6th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46442519

Discussion

1) What sorts of things might you usefully bio-hack on to your body?

2) What sort of business could you set up around this technology?

Posted by & filed under Career, Ethical issues.

Meghan Young is a professional Instagram star. She gets paid to climb beautiful mountains, photograph their glittering summits and post about her adventures to her fans. “My job is to make it look effortless, to look like it’s the most fun ever and it’s never a job,” she says. “But it is a job.”

Young, 33, makes money from companies that pay her to endorse their products on her Instagram feed, and she’s part of a burgeoning ecosystem of social media influencers—made possible by the billions of users eager for their content, and advertisers hungry for new ways to a youthful audience.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link (open with an incognito window to avoid download limits): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-29/what-it-takes-to-make-instagram-influencing-a-full-time-career?srnd=technology-vp

 

Discussion

1) What sort of person could do this sort of job?

2) Is it ethical that there are paid influencers like this?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, Blockchain.

Gold bitcoins on circuit board graphic

As we approach Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary at the end of this month, we ask whether blockchain – the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency – is fulfilling its promise, or a tech still looking for a better reason to exist.

There have been some very grandiose claims made about blockchain.

Source: BBC Business Technology

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45919700

Discussion

1) Do you understand what the difference is between Bitcoin and Blockchain?

2) Blockchain should really be called Distributed Ledger Technology.  Why?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix.

The FAANGs have been savaged over the past week

 

Technology stocks have had a very bad week. For the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) which have led the charge in growth over the past decade, it was grim.

At their lowest point, all five were down more than 20 per cent from their peaks. This translates to hundreds of billions of dollars in value being wiped from them.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-46317205

Discussion

1) Who else might we consider adding to the FAANG group?

2) This article brings up a very interesting point: “Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, has co-authored an important new book called Blitzscaling. This riffs on the idea that it is the remorseless pursuit of scale that gives data-based companies their advantage. The first scaler, rather than the first mover, will emerge victorious in various markets. That, according to Hoffman, is why venture capitalists are happy to tolerate the lack of profits at a company like Uber.”  Which do you think is more important, being the first mover or being the first scaler?

Posted by & filed under Apple.

Well, you don’t see that every day – Apple has rushed out a patch to fix a major security bug.  It had been revealed that users of its new MacOS High Sierra operating system can access it without using a password.

Just use “root” as a username, leave the password field blank and hit “Enter” a few times.  It’s an embarrassing slip-up and not one users are used to from Apple, whose products are often cited as more reliable and secure than its rivals’.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 23, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42166438

Discussion

1) “We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.”  What steps might this audit include?

2) Apple’s development process has obviously already been audited many times, so to suggest that Apple is now “auditing our development processes” is just saying something that is obviously true but not very useful.  What could have gone wrong here?

Posted by & filed under Big Data, Bots, Business Analytics, Civil Liberties, Electronic Surveillance, Ethical issues.

HiQ is a “people analytics” firm that creates software tools for corporate human resources departments. Its Skill Mapper graphically represents the credentials and abilities of a workforce; its Keeper service identifies when employees are at risk of leaving for another job. Both draw the overwhelming majority of their data from a single trove: the material that is posted—with varying degrees of timeliness, detail, accuracy, and self-awareness—by the 500 million people on the social networking site LinkedIn.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: November 23, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-11-15/the-brutal-fight-to-mine-your-data-and-sell-it-to-your-boss

Discussion

1) “Depending on whom you talk to, the sides are arguing about free speech or privacy, the scourge of data scraping or the danger of digital monopolies.”  Where do you come out in this debate?

2) What other sources of data might be scraped by bots and what could you learn from this?