I seem to run into many software defects, ranging from the amusing, like this one, to serious errors. I occasionally do screen captures and post them on my personal Facebook page to share with my software and tech industry colleagues.
I will wait for the version with prop safety guards!
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.
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 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.
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 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”
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 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.
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?
Yet another example of labor saving automation, applied to the restaurant industry:
… today Domino’s Pizza opened its Facebook Messenger bot to allow people to make entire orders.
Recent IoT technology partnerships with three global packaging giants will bring connectivity to everyday consumer products.
It’s called “Connected Packaging”.
Namely, by using existing bar codes, QR codes and perhaps new coding technology, purchasers of consumer products will be encouraged to interact with the manufacturer or retailer by pointing their smart phone at the package.
In this way, the manufacturer and retailer may gather information about their consumer, product usage and product life cycle.