Weekly tech news roundup (April 18)

FT_online-privacy-breaches321% of online Americans have had their email or social media account compromised
This number comes from a new survey by the Pew Research Center—and if you thought the problem ended with email or social media, you thought wrong. Eighteen percent of online adults have had important information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information. That’s a substantial increase from 11% of online adults in 2013. Of course, the Target leak likely affected these numbers, as will the following news that just hit the presses…

2.6 million credit cards breached at Michaels craft stores
According to reports, the breach happened between May 8, 2013 and January 27, 2014 and affected 7% of all credit card payments. In good news, there’s no evidence that customer data such as names and personal identification numbers was taken. In a good PR move, Michaels is offering 12 months of free identity protection, credit monitoring , and fraud assistance services to affected customers in the United States. (I do feel compelled to note that TDS also offers Identity Protection!)

GoogleGlassTrial-640x473Try Google Glass before you buy
This week you may have heard that Google had a one-day sale of Google Glass to anyone willing to pay the $1,500 price tag. If you’re curious, but didn’t want to spend that much on something you might not like, you’re in luck—Google is launching a try-it-at-home pilot for Google Glass. The program was discovered by a Reddit user who was offered a try-at-home kit. No word how you can get in on this pilot program, but maybe you’ll get lucky! Mashable has more photos and the story.

 

Breeze iOS app is an exercise tracker for those who don’t exercise
Basically, it’s a daily activity tracker, instead of a workout tracker. From the sounds of it, it functions like a FitBit or Nike Fuelband—it keeps track of your movements throughout the day. So what? What makes it different is that it uses the iPhone 5S’ M7 coprocessor to track movement without sucking the battery dry. If you’ve got an iPhone 5S and have always wanted a FitBit (which I do recommend—I’ve got a One and love it), from the sounds of it, you don’t need to buy one if you’ve got this app.

Control your Nest, Tesla, Spotify, and Google Maps with a Siri hack
Some University of Pennsylvania students have made Siri into the uber-helpful companion you always wanted her to be. They created something called GoogoPlex which basically hacks Siri and allows users to enter custom commands. Engadget calls it “neat” even though there can be some lag between giving the instruction and seeing action. Here’s a video of it in action:

Dyson’s river-cleaning vacuum concept
The Verge this week had drawings of James Dyson’s proposed river-cleaning vacuum. He calls it the “M.V. Recylcone barge” (you knew it was going to have the word “cyclone” in there somewhere, didn’t you?). At this stage, it’s just an idea he’s floating around (ha!), but the idea is that it would use suction similar to what’s used in Dyson’s vacuums to suck up plastic and other debris floating on the surface of the water. Check out the full article here.

sustainable_highway_2Tron-like road, coming to a neighborhood near you?
In the Netherlands, they’re experimenting with some photoluminescent paint for roads that has resulted in some rather Tron-like stretches of highway. The idea is that the glow-in-the-dark paint could help make roadways safer and possibly even reduce the need for street lights. The question is whether the paint will hold up to the wear and tear of road use and whether it’ll glow all night if it charges in the sun all day. Time will tell, but it’s an interesting idea to put energy into road innovations, instead of only developing new car technologies. Wired UK has the original story and more images.

Paying at the register could be in the palm of your hand
Swedish students have developed a new type of payment system that lets you pay using only the palm of your hand. The system identifies shoppers by identifying the entirely unique vein patterns in their hand. Of course, shoppers must first go to scanner-enabled stores to have your palm scanned and tie the information with some personal identifying information including a bank account. But, once you’re in the system, all it takes is a scan and the last four digits of your phone number to pay at the checkout. Right now it’s only available around the Lund University campus, but it sure has wider potential, I would think. Here’s a video about it:

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.
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