Twitter hacks

Twitter was hacked by a group with the intention of running a bitcoin scam. We’re assuming they were Nigerian princes, but that hasn’t been proven….yet.

They targeted 130 accounts of high profile people such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, and Kanye West and sent bogus messages that encouraged people to send them Bitcoin. All told, they gained about $120,000 in currency.

It happened from the inside

The investigation is showing that the group gained access to the accounts by targeting mid-level employees at Twitter.

Two scenarios:
1. The employees were victims of complex phishing schemes (social engineering attacks designed to get people to give away sensitive information like user names, passwords, etc.)
2. An employee was in on it.

Neither situation is good for Twitter as it reveals significant security vulnerabilities. Twitter released a statement saying that they have “taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems,” but that’s easier said than done. This type of mess isn’t easy to clean up and often creates additional vulnerabilities.

Word of advice to all: Don’t click a link (any link) unless you know exactly what it is, who it’s from, and where it’s taking you. Clicking on mystery links is a great way to get your information stolen.

5G: What should we expect? 

Let’s start with a quick overview of 5G. There are three aspects to it:

Low-Band: Transmits on the 600mhz frequency and has a very long range. Useful for covering rural areas where towers and antennas are sparse. Speeds can be around 300 Mbps if you’re close to a tower. Average speeds are probably closer to 50 Mbps, which makes it slightly better than 4G.

Mid-Band: Transmits on frequencies that range from 2 GHz to 6 GHz, depending on the country it’s in (here in the US, Sprint uses 2.5 GHz). It doesn’t have the same range as low-band but can cover any major metro area without having to be very close to a tower or antenna. Speeds can be as high as 1 gig but average closer to 200 Mbps.

High-Band (also called Millimeter Wave): Superfast but has a short-range and is ideal for population-dense urban areas and where infrastructure has a lot of concrete and steel which can’t be penetrated by Mid-Band 5G. Speeds can be as high as 10 Gig (!) but require significant antenna buildout. Average speeds will probably be between 1 Gig and 2 Gig.

Side note: High-Band is the technology that conspiracy theorists think is part of the government plot to control our minds.

Carrier specific

T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T are taking different approaches when it comes to 5G. They will all EVENTUALLY have 5G across all three bands. Just not quite yet.

Verizon is focusing on High-Band buildout, to start. They have 5G available in 35 cities, but coverage is spotty. They got spanked by the National Advertising Division of the BBB this week for claiming that their coverage can span across cities, which it can’t yet.

T-Mobile and AT&T have focused on Low-Band 5G. It’ll give them better nationwide coverage, in the short term. Not as fast as Verizon but still better than 4G.

AT&T launched “5G Plus,” which is its high band service, but it’s only available in a fraction of major metro markets. Their coverage isn’t significant enough to make an impact; however, they’re rapidly building out more small cell towers.

The coveted Mid-Band is still scarce; however, T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint will allow them to bring Sprint’s 2.5 GHz mid-band network into the mix.

Android Only

For now, 5G is only available on Android phones with Samsung and LG leading the pack. There have been no plans announced for Apple to include 5G capabilities on it’s next iPhone, but it hasn’t stopped rumors of an Apple 5G phone from whipping around the internet.

New Tech

Amazon’s cashier-less cart

Amazon is testing Dash Cartat select stores in LA. It has a touchscreen and other sensors to allow it to detect what you put in your cart. The cart can handle about two bags worth of groceries, so the technology isn’t ready for scale.

There’s something to be said about a grocery store where you do all the work yourself and never interact with another human being.

DeepFake: The Musical

Microsoft, in partnership with Chinese researchers, has created technology that allows an AI program to sing to you. Because who wouldn’t want a robot to serenade them?

The program takes multiple data points and creates a fake yet believable copy of a singer’s voice. It’s able to match the pitch, range, and tone in an incredibly realistic way. You may think it’s Beyonce, but it’s really a computer program pretending to be her.

We already granted Robots the ability to create music with JukeBox AI. Now they can sing to us. Anyone else looking forward to Robo-chella?

Google product pipeline

The stuff coming down the Google product pipeline is super freaking cool (which isn’t a surprise). Google is betting that wearable tech is going to be all the rage.

Here are a few (you can read more here):

  • Holographic sunglasses
  • A tattoo that turns you into a living touchscreen
  • VR that feels as lifelike as it looks
  • Wearable interactive clothing
  • A smartwatch with analog hands

Librarians: More than the Dewey Decimal System

Librarians are helping students stay intellectually active during quarantine by using Google Forms to create virtual escape rooms.

The only way you can escape the terror of the Google Form is to solve a series of puzzles.

The first-ever Google Forms virtual escape room was in Pennsylvania, and it’s Harry Potter themed. Check it out here.

Coca Cola goes touchless

Want to pour yourself a Coke from the fountain but too disgusted to touch it? Coca Cola Freestyle has created a solution that allows you to pour a coke from the machine without getting coronavirus on your hands.

You hold up your camera to the machine and scan the QR code. It then brings up the Freestyle menu. Simply tap the artificial flavor you’d like and pour. No app download needed.

“Modern problems require modern solutions.” – Dave Chappelle

The literal high-tech Queen

How do you keep a nation’s symbolic figure relevant when no one can see her?
Technologically, of course.

The 94-year-old Queen of England has adapted to technology “like a duck to water.” She’s knighting people over Zoom and giving virtual national addresses. She’s a phenomenal example of what a tech-savvy queen should be.

I can’t even change my Zoom background.

Self Help: Why a technology detox is important

Burnout is very real and can impact more than just your career. It can lead to depression and aggravation, which affects your personal life and relationship with your loved ones.

Being always connected to technology is a significant contributor to burnout. Forbes had a great article this week on how to do a technology detox. I’d recommend it.

Rapid Fire
Getting water from the desert air
Facebook launching music videos
Open windows still help cancel noise
Zoom is selling hardware (at $599)
Wearables: The future of Healthtech
Hazmat suit for air travel
Doordash delivering Walgreens
American Airlines touchless check-in

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