Friday tech news roundup for January 24

Worst passwords of 2013
You’ll be astounded by this one–the most common password of 2013 was “123456.” Yes, really. Any fan of the movie Spaceballs is smacking their forehead in amazement right now:

The most common passwords were revealed in a report by security company Splash Data. Other popular ones included the oh-so-creative, “password” and “password1.” For goodness sake, if you’ve got any of these passwords change them ASAP! (might I suggest F-Secure’s suggested method we reported on here?)

ChromeGoogle Chrome bug could let others spy on you
Reported this week, it’s possible for someone to exploit bugs in Google’s Chrome browser to listen through a computer’s microphone—even if the browser window isn’t open (eek!). A developer by the name of Tal Ater spotted this flaw. In a video on his website, “What you see here essentially turns Google Chrome into an espionage tool that compromises your privacy in your office or your home, even when you’re not using your computer.” Google has responded saying that a user must first turn on speech recognition by clicking a button, to give a website access to the computer’s microphone—a safeguard that is within web standards. Ater says that no one has used the bugs he found for spying, but it’s still a little creepy, don’t you think? So, be very careful about which websites you grant access to the microphone!

Apple supposedly working on two larger iPhones
Sure, Apple rumors abound, but this one seems to have some teeth—it was reported in the Wall Street Journal. Apparently one iPhone will have a 4.5-inch display and another will have a 5-inch display. This would put Apple’s lineup in a size that’s more comparable with Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 (but still smaller than the Note and LG’s G2 and Google’s Nexus 5). Adding fuel to this rumor’s fire? Apple struck a deal with China Mobile recently, and larger screened phones are all the rage in Asia. Folks are speculating the announcement about larger iPhones could come in June.

Verizon entering Internet TV?
The tech world was abuzz on Tuesday when Verizon announced it is buying Intel Media—the failed TV set-top box division. The idea Intel had was to develop a box to deliver what the industry calls “over the top” TV service. This means that you buy a set-top box so you can access services like Netflix, Hulu, NowTV over the Internet. The provider is only responsible for delivering the bandwidth, not the actual content. It’s expected that Verizon will integrate the Intel tech with its existing FiOS video services and possibly even expand TV services outside of its current reach.

nest protectReview of the Nest Protect
Last week I told you about Google purchasing Nest, and I’ve also talked about the new Nest Protect smoke detector. But is the Protect really worth the extra money? That’s what The Verge set out to find out when they gave it a try in a real home. Their review is decidedly mixed. They say that yes, it’s cool and declare, “it’s a product for the future” because of Nest’s holistic approach to connecting living spaces. That said, they felt like it’s a pricey gadget and pointed out it, “can’t promise to make your home any safer than any other smoke detector either.” Still, if you’ve got the thermostat, theoretically you’ll save the cost of the Protect over time, since the motion sensor makes the automatic settings better at identifying when you’re home and when you’re not. But at $120 a pop for the Protect, that could take a while.

Email soon to be a thing of the past?
That’s what Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz thinks. In an article in Wired, he talks about how email is peaking because it’s taking up too much time to deal with. A recent report found that corporate workers spend nearly one-third of their time managing email! Moskovitz thinks we will be moving to a “follow model” from social media—and of course has developed an email replacement called Asana that uses work nodes, rather than social nodes, to organize business communications. A world without traditional email does sound pretty nice many days, doesn’t it? It’s certainly an interesting idea so if you like stories about visionaries and their ideas, be sure to check it out.

Sherlock from imdb
Geek news: Sherlock details and Top Gear’s test track on Google Maps
First, Sherlock: Series three debuted last Sunday (woohoo!) and Wired shared “all the shout-outs and references you missed” in the premiere. If you’re a fan like I am, you should check out this list.

Second, Google has added the Top Gear track to Google Street View, making fans of the show super happy (can I get another woohoo!?). If you watch the show, you’ve watched their race car driver (“The Stig”) and the hosts cut the corners on the track many, many, many times. But getting an aerial view of “the Hammerhead” and Gambon is pretty fun.

Hot on Facebook this week
There were lots of quizzes on my feed this week. These were the most fun:

What Star Wars character are you?
Which New Girl character are you?
What city should you actually live in?
Which Hogwarts house do you belong in?

I am apparently Leia and Cece at once, and also a Ravenclaw—which is fitting since I should actually live in London :-).

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday tech news roundup | TDS Home - January 31, 2014

    […] Another major Google acquisition—this time, an artificial intelligence company Google has purchased a London-based company called DeepMind for $500 million. What’s interesting about this deal is that DeepMind is an artificial intelligence company, but the details about what exactly they do is a little fuzzy. Recode, who broke the news, said that the company was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with two others, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. Speculation is that DeepMind’s AI tech may be applied to such home products such as Nest – which, of course, Google just bought last week. […]

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