Facebook to Target Kids, Frowning Poop Emojis Out, and Of Course, CryptoKitties

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‘Tis the season to be merry.

Yes. I still haven’t gone Christmas shopping. And no, I don’t know when. But, I know one thing, technology news keeps on giving us gems to laugh and cry about. We talk about Facebook mining children for their data, virtual kittens, and frowning poop emojis on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Listen in LIVE.

WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN: FACEBOOK ROLLS OUT MESSENGER FOR KIDS
“Well, if someone wasn’t going to make a messaging platform specifically for kids then we should,” at least that the answer Facebook is giving parents and media after rolling out their new Messaging app, Facebook Messenger for Kids. The app is specifically geared towards children who are between the ages of 6 and 12 years old skirting child privacy laws because kids need their parent’s permission to hop on the app. The app will work like any other messaging app, create a profile using your kids real name, and then build a social graph of contacts you can share messages, stickers, and funny internet memes with. It wasn’t as if we were sitting on mountains of data insisting that social networks cause real world depression amongst its users. First, let’s state, FM4K is ad free. But, it’s obvious to me that Facebook is treating children as a potential mine of data to sell to marketers and advertisers on its main platform. Facebook isn’t saying a whole lot, regarding how the intend to monetize this thing or how much data parents will have access to on their kids usage. Also, it’s obvious that once a kid turns 13, Facebook will probably have a single click button allowing said adolescent to grow up to a full on FB account. I’m not impressed.
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Death Knell for Net Neutrality, UBER Cheaps Out on Ransom, and Contractor Screw Ups

ajitpai

Yeah, I know.

But, I’ve been busy. This morning on First News 570, we talk about pouring one out for Net Neutrality and how hard it is to leave your intelligence in wide open public view.

CONTRACTOR LEAVES TREASURE TROVE OF SOCIAL MEDIA DATA ON S3
Some people just give government contractors a bad name. In the latest incident of contractors messing up badly, a Pentagon contractor left a vast archive of social media intelligence publicly available on Amazon’s disk in the sky, S3. Simple Storage Service, S3, is Amazon’s cloud data storage solution and it’s not exactly easy to leave an S3 bucket, a storage location, open to the world. The bucket contained over 1.8 billion, with a ’B’, online posts scraped by the Pentagon over eight years.
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Have You Been Pwned, AMZN Slashes Arugula Prices, & Cortana and Alexa Team Up

I’m back from vacation and back on the air to share this week’s technology news on First News 570. Listen in LIVE and here Mark and I kick around the zany and unpredictable industry who’s mission is to save the world.

SPAMBOT SCOOPS UP 711 MILLION EMAIL ADDRESSES IN BIGGEST HEIST EVER
Parisian malware researcher, Benkow, has discovered a spamming operation that has lifted over 700 million email addresses. The size of the spam operation is the largest of its kind with many of the hijacked email addresses being used to spam others into getting their address lifted. People interested in knowing if their email address was caught in the breach can use Troy Hunt’s website, haveibeenpwned.com. I can safely report that my email address has only been found on one breached site. Which only means I use the internet for more research purposes than anything else and I don’t have a social media life to speak of. Still this number is staggering and eclipses anything we’ve seen from Yahoo’s massive breach, the ashleymadison hack, or Adult Friend Finder.
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Still Riding the High from Blerdcon

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It’s Monday morning and I’m still riding high from the Inaugural weekend of Blerdcon, a first of its kind, exclusively inclusive convention for the Blerd in all of us. Even though Blerdcon is a convention produced by and for people of color, everyone of all walks of life, ethnicities, persuasions, and characters were there for three fun filled and action packed days of nerdom.

AI Writes Screenplay, UK Leaders Demand More from Tech Firms, and SONY Tops in VR

I began this week by joining the news crew on First News 570 Monday morning reporting on the London attacks and the technology the attackers could have possibly used to plan and execute the attacks. We finish the week with some lighter news and reflection on what’s at stake for personal privacy and what’s needed to combat terrorism. Tune into First News this morning and listen in with Mark Starling.

POSSIBLY SIGNALING THE END OF FORMULAIC MOVIES AI WRITES SCREENPLAY
Director Oscar Sharp and AI researcher Ross Goodwin collaborated on writing the screenplay of Sunspring, a sci-fi movie that debuted at SciFi London using an AI called Benjamin. Benjamin is an AI which uses the latest in state of the art technology, a recurrent neural network. Benjamin was fed with over a dozen sci-fi films sourced online and wrote a compelling and funny film. SciFi London’s Judges placed Sunspring in the Top 10 out of hundreds of entries, a first for a screenplay written by an AI. Voting got intense at the end as voting was opened to an online audience for the top 10 films.
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DAYS AFTER LONDON ATTACKS UK LEADERS SAY MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE BY TECH FIRMS
The first ask from all government leaders is to do more to stop the spread of hate speech which no one disagrees with. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all have flawed systems but take quick action when hate speech is posted online and reported by users. The second ask is problematic. UK leaders are asking for weaker encryption which is a bad idea or the equivalent of a wiretap for encrypted transmissions. Part of the problem is that implementations are different between one tech firm and another, it’s not like the standards used in voice traffic. The other part of the problem is that once you provide this access is becomes open to the world as witnessed by the leaked NSA exploits. There’s no easy answer, but we all need to do something.
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THREATENING TO BECOME MORE THAN JUST A FAD, SONY SELLS ONE MILLION HEADSETS
Yesterday, Sony announced that they have sold more than 1 million virtual reality headsets. Sony’s headset is priced cheaper than its competitors from Facebook and HTC at $399 and probably has something to do with it. Also, SONY is uniquely positioned because it has a built in market. More than 60 million players play games on the PlayStation 4 and VR is a new content stream for the console. Analysts estimate that more than 2 million headsets were sold in the first quarter of 2017 and this may make VR more than just a passing fad.
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AMAZON OFFERS DISCOUNT PRIME MEMBERSHIPS TO LOWER INCOME FAMILIES
American families who qualify for government assistance will be eligible to receive discounted Amazon Prime memberships for $5.99 per month instead of $10.99 per month. Amazon is trying to persuade low income families away from Wal-Mart to buy more crap from them instead. Last year, Wal-Mart generated about $3 billion in sales from shoppers who qualified for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, SNAP, or formerly known as food stamps.
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I’ve Moved to Primetime! Loudest Cyberattack in Dallas, Twitter Commune, and Tamagotchi!

Your boy has moved to Primetime people!

Mark Starling and the producers of First News 570 have brought me in for their Thursday morning time slot. In commemoration of this occasion, we talk about the loudest hack attack on record, Twitter’s upcoming shareholder meeting and the Return of the Tamagotchi! Listen in.

A Tamagotchi in the Hand

A Tamagotchi in the Hand

Chip in the Hand, Privacy Out the Window, OAF, and an Apple a Day

Another juicy week in the tech news industry. We’ve voluntarily given up our privacy, why not up the ante by chipping ourselves. Epicenter, Yahoo/AOL/OATH, and Apple feature in this week’s stories on the Talk of the Mountains, First News 570, with Mark Starling. Make sure you listen in.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Photo Credit: NBC News

NOT CONTENT WITH HIRING NOSY RECEPTIONISTS EPICENTER CHIPS EMPLOYEES TO KEEP TABS ON THEM
Back-in-the-day, the nosy receptionist worked a side hustle by keeping tabs on employees as they came and left the office. That, “must have been an awesome lunch,” was code for you should get your ass back to work. Fast forward to the 90s and the first proxcards were used to know who coming in late and lying on their timesheet. New for the 21st century and straight out of Black Mirror, Swedish company, Epicenter is chipping employees and doing away with proxcards. 160 or their 2000 employees have agreed to have a near-field RFID chip implanted in the meat between their index finger and thumb. Epicenter employees will be able to pay for food at the cafe, exchange contacts, use RF activated door knobs, and of course fill out their timesheets. Of course this could lead to invasions of privacy. But, what’s privacy?
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YAHOO CONTINUES IDENTITY CRISIS POST VERIZON BY HITCHING UP WITH AOL AND CALLING ITSELF OATH
Yep. AOL and Yahoo, two early Internet pioneers and behemoths in their hey day. Both companies have faced issues as social platforms and mobile were smaller, faster, and just plain cooler. OATH, is now saying that it will rule the digital world and deliver exciting and impactful content to Internet users. Yahoo for years faced an identity crisis across its apps and properties, AOL failed to innovate for its excited and marketable audience, and now we have the taking an OATH and teaming up. I’m not convinced. Oh, and Marissa Mayer will not be taking one.
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APPLE MAKES COMPANIES AND BREAKS COMPANIES
Take it from me. Having a big ass company as a customer is good business. And take it from me, having a big ass company as a customer is bad for business. Imagination Technologies is experiencing that feeling right now. The graphics chip maker boasts Apple as one of it’s largest customers to the tune of accounting for 50% of its revenue. Well, Apple is now deciding to build their graphics technology for their next set of phones. Thereby, putting Imagination Technologies future prospects into question. IT for their part says that they don’t believe Apple will be rolling their own tech, but after watching the company make their own processors, I’m not convinced. And, this is coming on the heels of Apple’s mega deal with Samsung for the purchase of 70 million OLED screens for hopefully the iPhone8.
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A Chip in Every Brain, Bad Guys’ Encryption, and the Trump Tweeter Memorial Library

I could have used a chip in Differential Equations. (I got a B)

I could have used a chip in Differential Equations. (I got a B)

You know President Donald Trump is the perfect president for our flash-in-the-pan, Internet celebrity culture. This week we talk about chipping your brain, the DJT Twitter Library, and how the bad guys are one-upping the good guys on our Wednesday tech talk with Mark Starling on First News 570. Listen in now.

“I BOW DOWN TO OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS”, PART THREE
From the man who used to warn us about the dangers of AI, Elon Musk, GenX’s Howard Hughes, has announced the formation of a new company named Neuralink, founded with the aim of bridging the gap between man and machine. Nerualink and Musk seek to create implantable smart devices on human brains. They want to start out by helping patients with neurological disorders, but chipping a human holding a gun is of course the second phase, or we could always live Edit & Ja in real life.
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Venmo’s March Madness Gambling Dens, Google Pulls Ads That Weren’t, the Uber Soap Opera Unfolds, and Chinese Toilet Paper Restrictions

The sordid and stuck to the bottom of your shoe underbelly of the tech world was discussed at length with Mark Starling on First News 570 this morning.

IN LARGEST EVER ILLEGAL GAMBLING RING, VENMO TELLS USERS TO NOT USE PLATFORM TO BUST BRACKETS
It’s true. It is very illegal to bet money on college basketball games, but as we all know, even the most devout church lady can’t help checking on her brackets while sitting at the end of the third pew. The day before the NCAA tourney started, online money sending company, Venmo reported that approximately 250,000 users used the platform to send money to another user. There’s no word on the actual cash that was sent using the platform, but assuming that the average bracket buy-in is $20, that’s a cool $5,000,000 in the kitty. It’s probably too late now, but remember, using online money sending platforms for sports betting is…illegal.
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IN A HARBINGER OF THINGS TO COME OUT OF SPEAKING ASSISTANT MOUTHS, GOOGLE PULLS ADS, THAT AREN’T ADS FROM GOOGLE ASSISTANT
The digerati is starting to call Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa’s estranged cousin. As many a giggly 8 year old, or Disney fan, knows Gaston vs. the Beast , I mean Beauty and the Beast, debuted last Friday. To mark the occasion, Google decided to finally try out a new ad delivery channel using some of that cold hard Disney ad dollars. Unsurprisingly, the Internet howled, believing that the all-knowing, and all-spying assistant shouldn’t be used to deliver messages to make a buck. Somehow these people don’t realize that that’s the only way Google makes real money. Google said that the ads weren’t ads however, specifying how cute the copy was, and the fact that the only thing GA wanted to do was for them to “be their guest”. I hope this won’t become the norm, but I know better.
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I CAN’T FIND A MCRIB, BUT MCDONALD’S INDIA LEAKS USER DETAILS WHILE DELIVERING THEM
In a stunning development, McDonald’s delivery app had leaked user info and profiles for its customers because of an improperly configured server. McDonald’s India says that the app has been fixed, and that no financial data was leaked. I’m writing this still in shock, that McDonald’s does deliver, and they deliver in India! I’ve been driving around all of this time, looking for a McRib, and now Indians are having them home delivered. I’m flabbergasted!
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AS THE SANDS OF THE HOUR GLASS FALLS, UBER PRESIDENT QUITS AS COMPANY SOAP OPERA UNFOLDS
As a company owner and CEO, I deal with monster’s of the week all of the time. I can’t help getting caught up in the details of juicy company drama. Uber has skirted regulations, released gray balled apps, black balled customers, harassed employees, and even harassed drivers. Jeff Jones must have had enough drama for a quarter and is reportedly leaving the unlicensed taxi company. Jones was lured away from Target to supposedly boost Uber’s reputation, but even he can’t help the four letter company’s image issues.
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BONUS: CHINA INSTALLS FACIAL RECOGNITION SENSORS TO PREVENT CHINESE TOILET PAPER ABUSE

https://thehustle.co/china-toilet-paper

Apple Patent Hints at Next Big Thing, More Yahoo Drama, & Cleaner Air in the Windy City

It’s not even close to WWDC 2017 and the fans of the Apple faithful are already placing bets on the next big thing to be announced this summer. Just like Redskins fans, Apple fanatics can’t help but spend the year speculating on the biggest obsession. Mark and I chatted about Apple, Yahoo, and Chicago on First News 570 this morning.

iGlass

iGlass

DESPERATE FOR GROWTH AMID DYING PC BUSINESS, INTEL BUYS MOBILEYE
It’s a fact that Intel has been having challenging days. With PC sales decreasing year over year, and mobile devices using processors from everyone except Intel, the company had to find a new way to grow. In a bid making it the second highest in the company’s history. Intel is buying the Israeli’s telematics company, MobileEye for $15 billion. Billion with a ‘B’. If Intel is the brains in our driverless futures, then MobileEye is its eyes. The deal is a greedy one with Intel paying a high premium, over 34% higher than its closing price. Intel thinks its a good bet though, they are predicting the driverless telematics market to reach $70 billion by 2030.
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THE DRAMA IS STILL UNFOLDING AS NEW DISCLOSURES HIGHLIGHT BACKROOM YAHOO DEALS
You didn’t think the drama that is Yahoo’s unwinding would end since Verizon bought the company last winter, but more details are coming out. For instance, the fact Verizon wanted to pay $925 million less than their initial offering for the company after the world learned how Yahoo leaked 700 million email addresses. Yahoo and VZ decided to settle on a $325 million discount. And then, there’s Mayer’s golden parachute for delivering less than spectacular results, $23 million in cash, another $69 million in unexercised stock options, and $97 million dollars in shares totaling $189 million. Only if I could receive such largess for running one of the Internet’s founding members into the ground.
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IN A DESIRE TO IMPROVE CITIZEN’S HEALTH, CHICAGO ROLLS OUT CITY-WIDE AIR QUALITY SENSORS
A city-wide network of sensors, dubbed a fitness tracker for a city, is being installed in Chicago.
The Array of Things will monitor a variety of data from local climate, to traffic levels and the city’s air quality.
Installation of the array began towards the end of 2016. By the end of 2018, 500 nodes are planned for the network, spread across the city.
The data from the array will eventually be made freely available online for anybody to use. Honestly, I’ve been to Chicago a few times, they need to release cholesterol sensors instead. I swear I gained 3 pounds in as many days eating my way out of town.
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SKIPPING VIRTUAL, APPLE RUMORED TO ANNOUNCE AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY THIS YEAR
It seems that the world is always anticipating the next big thing coming from Cupertino’s most famous fruit company. Apple has filed a patent for augmented reality, a method of rendering real time content on top of live video on phones and computer screens. The technology uses a combination of computer vision technology, location sensing tech, and of course the Internet. 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and with a new iPhone 8 slated for release this fall, the rumor mill is cranking full speed ahead with pundits and analysts predicting the new hotness Apple is building to mark the occasion.
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