Malware at the root of Target’s data breach
And the malware wasn’t in internal systems, either. Reportedly the malware was installed at point-of-sale registers. According to federal and private investigators, the malware was very sophisticated and was partly written in Russian, suggesting the attack may have ties to organized crime that country. While it seems customers (such as myself) could not have protected themselves against this malware, there are ways to guard your own machines/mobile devices. F-Secure wrote a great run-down of all the different kinds of malware and ways to keep your information safe in this blog series.
Google bought Nest
Nest products have been frequently mentioned in my blogs since I have many friends who are fans (and my husband I also got on the Nest bandwagon). Well, the big news this week is that Google has purchased Nest for a whopping $3.2 billion (yes, with a “b”) dollars. On the surface, Google buying a company isn’t big news. However, what makes this interesting is that Nest was founded by two people who used to work for Apple. This makes the purchase a, “you got your chocolate on my peanut butter/you got your peanut butter on my chocolate” moment for both Apple fanatics and Android devotes. That said, Nest’s founders say it will keep its “distinct brand identity” and continue to support both the iOS and Android apps. It’ll be interesting to see what Google brings to the mix!
Google develops smart contact lenses for diabetics
If buying Nest wasn’t enough news for Google this week, they also announced they’ve developed glucose monitoring contact lenses. If they can perfect this technology, it would be huge for anyone with Type 1 diabetes. As Google notes in their blog, “Glucose levels change frequently with normal activity…sudden spikes or precipitous drops are dangerous and not uncommon, requiring round-the-clock monitoring.” While continuous glucose monitors are available, they require needles to be inserted under the skin at all times—not fun. Google is hoping to help change all that with their contact lenses. They’re soft lenses with a chip the size of a piece of glitter with an antenna thinner than a human hair imbedded in it. This technology is years away from being fully tested and approved (and there’s still the question of whether monitoring tear glucose is as accurate as monitoring blood glucose), but it’s still an exciting idea. Here’s Google’s blog post about the smart contacts.
The influence of the movie Her on tech design
Wired had a really interesting piece this week on why Her will dominate user interface design even more than Minority Report did. Why? Because it shows a world that doesn’t have more technology— it shows a world where technology is more people-centric. The technology on the film is “invisible,” said the film’s designer. Not that you can’t see through the technology but in that has, “dissolved into everyday life” and doesn’t intrude. I haven’t seen the movie (yet), have you? After reading this piece I am more curious than ever to check it out.
Build your own $35 film camera
I was really kind of fascinated by a story on The Verge this week. Lomography has developed a 35mm SLR camera that you build yourself. It’s sort of high tech meets low tech in a way I think is kind of fun. According to the company, the camera can be assembled in between one and two hours and is so easy, even a 12-year-old can do it. Building and experimenting with the camera could be a fun for any photography enthusiast, young and old alike. For some example photos, check out the review of the camera here.
Coinye West is no more
I told you about this new digital currency only two weeks ago, but it’s already going down the tubes. Kanye West hit Coinye with multiple lawsuits for using his name and image without permission. Later, he went further and included Coinye exchange operators in his legal battle. As a result, the project’s creators said this week, “You win, Kanye” and are abandoning the project.
Side of a building will display 3D faces at the Sochi Winter Olympics
Remember those “pin art” desk toys from the 80’s and 90’s that let you make a 3D image of your hand, (or even your face) by pressing it into a pad of small, metal “pins”? Picture that, only on a side of building and you’ve got the idea of a new installation in Sochi. In this case, it’s a bit more high tech than the desk toy—there are 10,000 pin-like actuators filled with LEDs to create the 3D display. MegaFon, one of Russia’s largest telecoms, is sponsoring this Olympic pavilion. Visitors at the event and all around the country will be invited to get their picture taken in special 3D photo booths so they can appear on the building. Check it out:
Xbox One beats out the competition in December
More Xbox Ones were sold than PS4s in December, the first full month both gaming consoles went head to head in the marketplace. This is according to a market research firm, but Sony is saying it’s still the “cumulative leader” since it launched the PS4 a week earlier than the Xbox One. What about the Wii U though? Well, let’s just say that Nintendo is hurting…big time. Today they announced they’re reducing slashing their 2014 Wii U sales forecast by more than half, from 9 million to 2.8 million. Ouch. Note: Barclay will be publishing his review of the Xbox next week so be sure to watch for it!