Wendy’s to install self order kiosks in 1,000 stores #Robots #IOT #Automation #Wendys

This happens when wage and benefit requirements rise as capital costs (robots/automation) fall rapidly:

“Wendy’s plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores — about 16 percent of its locations — by the end of the year.”

Source: Wendy’s to install ordering kiosks in 1,000 stores this year

Amazon’s #IOT remote control button

Amazon.com: All-New AWS IoT Button (2nd Generation) – intended for now, I think, be used by product developers who want a simple, remote button that connects to applications in Amazon’s cloud services. The button could be used as a remote control, or it might be used to automatically order items from Amazon. For example, one located in a laundry room might be programmed to automatically place an order for more detergent, at the touch of the button (the button supports single push, double push and long push formats).

Source: Amazon.com: All-New AWS IoT Button (2nd Generation): Kindle Store

Computer security

I lost Internet service for about 3 days this week. Bad timing!

Once my Internet came back I  discovered that while offline, malware took over one of my web sites. It was sending spam messages to Twitter and Facebook, which I quickly blocked. Took me longer to identify the mechanism, clean it up, then remove the spam messages. The malware also prevented me from logging into the control panel for the web site, which I fixed by FTP’ing some replacement code.

I thought I’d gotten everything – but no, I missed the entry point for the malware – how that was discovered was unexpected!

Today, I backed up that web site and all of my web sites – files plus databases. While I was copying files from the remote web server to my local PC, my local PC’s antivirus software detected the malware file! It was a backdoor entry script that was installed to the web server in 2016. Someone used that to use the web site’s software to send out spam messages.  Visibly, the web site continued to operate as normal – pretty sneaky.

I try to run “clean” and “secure” systems with many precautionary measures in place. But … every second of every day, we are under attack. Hacking is rarely prosecuted, and I’ve heard that in some countries, it is never prosecuted. Those countries host an entire industry of hackers, who have now moved on to ransomware and other tricks to make a profit off of hacking.

Websites Can Track You Online Across Multiple Web Browsers

Researchers have determined a method of tracking individual users across web browsers. That means, changing to a different browser – or even using incognito or private browsing mode – to avoid tracking your online behavior, is no longer sufficient.

The researched identified 36 different properties that can be identified across browsers – some of which, when combined, identify a unique computer user – with 99% accuracy.
Source: Websites Can Now Track You Online Across Multiple Web Browsers

Astronomers propose global network of low cost receivers or cell phones #Astronomy #Radio

Astronomers have proposed a global network of radio receivers to search for fast radio bursts. Their concept would use either smart phones and an app listening to a portion of the cellular spectrum allocation, or a low cost device that could be plugged in to the USB port of personal computers.

Full paper available at the link.

Source: [1701.01475] Searching for giga-Jansky fast radio bursts from the Milky Way with a global array of low-cost radio receivers

Border searches of social media accounts will never work #privacy #social

US border officers are, at times, asking visitors for their social media account information, and there is discussion they may ask for account passwords to review private messages of individuals from designated countries.

This will never work for obvious reasons – create two accounts, one that is sanitized and one that is for naughty activities.

Beyond that simple work around, there are other methods of spoofing such requirements. Besides, what do you do about people who choose not to have social media accounts? Are we going to require that everyone must have an online presence?
Source: Engineering around social media border searches

Bank of America testing fully automated bank branches – devoid of staff #IOT #Automation

Bank of America is designing bank branches that no longer have onsite staff. Interaction with the bank will be through automated systems and ATMs – with video conferences to remotely located banking staff if you need a live person for assistance.

“We are literally automating every single thing”

Source: Bank of America says it’s testing ‘completely automated’ branches | The Charlotte Observer

Policy makers are oblivious to understanding the technology trends – and that many of their policies have the side effect of accelerating the elimination of labor with automation.

Calls for higher minimum wages and more mandated benefits increase the costs of labor to a point that automation is not only cheaper, but may even deliver improved service quality.

The transition to automation – and loss of jobs – were going to happen anyway. But policy choices have the side effect of accelerating this transition.


FedEx seeks to automate much of the package delivery process

FedEx is looking at everything – replacing drivers with autonomous delivery trucks and small robots, integration with Google Echo and Amazon Alexa to request package delivery via voice command, using “platooned” semi-automated truck caravans to reduce the number of drivers and reduce fuel consumption, and more:

The shipping giant is investing in autonomous trucks, and is interested in delivery robots and an Alexa app.

Source: FedEx Bets on Automation as It Prepares to Fend Off Uber and Amazon

Last night I had a bizarre dream. In my dream (really, I had this dream), Amazon had located package warehouses near trauma centers. After helicopters delivered trauma patients, they were then picking up and carrying packages by air on their return trip to their operation base generating a little revenue on the otherwise non revenue part of the flight.

Yes, probably a silly dream, but who knows?