7 US Tech Companies Pile on Google

Some very prominent tech companies have sent a letter to Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner of Competition, which we are learning about on the heels of the $2.7B fine announced yesterday. It seems that these companies want regulatory action against Google and are not afraid to ask for it.

Google ( or, to be more accurate, Alphabet ) is so huge at this point – and has its hands in so many different industries – that it is fighting a war on a seemingly infinite number of fronts. That inevitably wins the company many enemies, and while their voice is unified in the letter sent to the European Commission, each of them have their own motives for supporting regulatory action against Google and its parent company.

The list of companies that include Disconnect, Inc., Getty Images, Inc., News Corporation, News Media Alliance, Oracle Corporation, Trip.com, and Yelp Inc. have some fairly solid beefs against the Alphabet giant.


Source: [H]ardOCP – 7 US Tech Companies Pile on Google

Tech Firms Want to Know Your Emotions

Tech companies wanted to detect your emotions and relaying those back to said company is nothing new, remember when Google Glassholes were getting scraped, or Facebook was advertising based on emotion? Well, we are not close to that being over, and folks don’t seem to like it very much. Whodathunkit?

As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that’s friends’ holiday photos, or advertisements.

Facebook is not the only company in this mix as Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon are looking to know what you are feeling as well. I wonder if they can tell when you are pissed?


Source: [H]ardOCP – Tech Firms Want to Know Your Emotions

You Petya Ass We Have Some Details

It is looking that Petya might have been a wolf in wolf’s clothing which brings an interesting new wrinkle to the surface in all of this ransomware nonsense that we are dealing with. Petya, NotPetya, NewPetya, whatever you may want to call it, looks as though its primary goal may have not to been to actually be ransomware at all, but rather a tool that was being directed at specific entities in order to destroy data residing on those systems. Ransomware may have just been a cover for something more nefarious as is being looked into by security experts currently. It looks as though the worst is behind us at this time. If you have patched with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 – Critical and have Windows Defender up to date with current definitions, you should be “safe” from Petya and its variants.

Point of entry for Petya appears to be a corrupted Ukrainian accounting software and a Ukrainian government website hacked to be a watering hole. Petya was likely updated WannaCry code.

The killswitch that referred to earlier has been tested extensively and does in fact work. It seems that WannaCry greatly hampered Petya’s ability to infect systems globally, due to the extensive attention that WannaCry did get. And this again brings into question the exact motive behind Petya.


Source: [H]ardOCP – You Petya Ass We Have Some Details

Petya Ass There is a Killswitch for NotPetya

So I have been watching this while Petya / NotPetya Ransomware / Ransomworm story since yesterday morning and trying to get solid information on it, which has not been easy. It now seems that if you did the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 – Critical patch from back in March you should be immunized. We did report yesterday that the Petya/NotPetya did not have a built-in killswitch, but one enterprising security researcher from Boston has found a fairly simple way to usurp the file encrypting madness.

So it seems that Petya or NotPetya is spread like WannaCry, so hopefully most folks would have been ready for this from the get-go. That all said, think before you click.

If you want to know a little more about Petya from a analytical level, Colin Hardy has a good video up on it showing it in action.

Ongoing Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Petya Ass There is a Killswitch for NotPetya

Fallout 3: Original Game Soundtrack – Exclusive Vinyl LP

Hold onto your man-buns and pull up your skinny jeans, because you are about to blown away by the sonic stylings of Fallout 3 on vinyl. Hear it like you never heard it before, with real static! I suggest having a few triple iced mocha lattes so you can Snapchat your way to the release date of the 30th, but make sure you don’t miss that part-time DJ gig at the thrift shop. And this record is only $30. WooHoo!

That’s why we’re so excited to get our hands on this pre-war relic: the vinyl LP of the original game soundtrack, in a radaway yellow variant made just for ThinkGeek. Featuring the instrumental and ambient themes of Fallout 3 that will put you right back in the Capital Wasteland. Available in LP format now, holodisk coming in 2277. Stay tuned!


Source: [H]ardOCP – Fallout 3: Original Game Soundtrack – Exclusive Vinyl LP

Infarm Wants to Put a Farm in Every Grocery Store

Getting closer to resembling what a post-apocalyptic future would look like post humanity, TechCrunch has a story about vertical farming start-up, Infarm. The company of 40-plus workers was the first to have a vertical farming system in a supermarket, one located in Berlin. Nested inside a series of trays, the farming system allocates plants based on size and growth, distributing the plants from the center to the outer area. A concept that has already taken off in Japan, the idea of farming as a service on-demand is still relatively new for most. Each of Infarm’s units can be configured to grow different crops to the vendors own-choosing from a simple herb garden to one with bell peppers or even fruit. I’m awaiting a meat tree that provides its own beef, but the food dehydrator will do for now.

Check out the video.

“When we presented our idea three or four years ago, people looked at us as though we [had] lost our mind,” says Infarm co-founder Erez Galonska. “We are the first company in the world that has put vertical farming in a supermarket. We did it last year with Metro Group, which is one of the biggest wholesalers in Europe, and now we are facing very big demand from other supermarkets that want to do the same.”

The resulting combination of IoT, Big Data and cloud analytics is akin to “Farming-as-a-Service,” whilst, space permitting, Infarm’s modular approach affords the ability to keep adding more farming capacity in a not entirely dissimilar way to how cloud computing can be ramped up at the push of a button.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Infarm Wants to Put a Farm in Every Grocery Store

EA's Anthem is Science Fantasy not Science Fiction

In a radio interview with BioWare’s general manager, Aaryn FLynn explains why the game is a science fantasy title instead of a science fiction type of story. The Edmonton based company is responsible for bringing the new videogame for its parent company, Electronic Arts after finishing Mass Effect 3, a game that still is very divisive. Anthem has garnered quite a bit of industry praise, but lukewarm reception for its generic design by non insiders. Flynn passingly mentioned Star Wars as an example, which I assumed was in the space opera genre versus Star Trek’s hard sci-fi that some consider soft.

“It’s in a genre we call science fantasy, very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe. You see a lot of amazing things happening but we don’t worry too much about why they are happening or how they are happening; the science of it.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – EA’s Anthem is Science Fantasy not Science Fiction

SpaceX Plans Expansion of Rocket Refurbishing Facilities in Florida

According to Reuters, Elon Musk’s own personal rocket company, SpaceX is planning to expand the facilities used for its refurbishment and storage of rockets in a 2.2 acre lot of land next to the building it currrently occupies. Formerly the building was used for Nasa’s Spacehab modules, the facility has since been taken over by SpaceX in March. Besides saving mucho dollars, the company will consolidate its production and work more efficiently.

So far, two of its refurbished rockets have been relaunched this past weekend with 12 successful landings all together since the first Falcon rocket’s launch in December 2015. Nothing beats napalm in the morning or a new car smell, but I’d wager one of those things smell like a rocket fuel.

The company is preparing for its 10th flight of the year, and third launch in nine days, on Sunday. SpaceX has a backlog of more than 70 missions, worth more than $10 billion, spokesman Taylor said.


Source: [H]ardOCP – SpaceX Plans Expansion of Rocket Refurbishing Facilities in Florida

Drive.ai Raises $50 Million

Drive.ai, another start-up in the burgeoning tech sector of autonomous self-driving cars raised an additional $50 million in funding for R&D following $12 million financed last year. The company with its group of about 70 computer scientists and engineers make kits for retrofitting cars currently on the streets, allowing it to be self-driven amongst the rest of us. Andrew Ng, one of the top AI researchers also joins the board of the company, who has previously stated that we shouldn’t worry of our robot overlords just our wallets. Take it as you will, Ng is married to co-founder and president of the company.

Check out a rainy night test drive of their tech.

Drive.ai is a Silicon Valley startup founded by former lab mates out of Stanford Universityss Artificial Intelligence Lab. We are creating AI software for autonomous vehicles using deep learning, which we believe is the key to the future of transportation. We founded Drive.ai because we believe that this technology has the potential to save lives and transform industries, and we think this is the right team to do it.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Drive.ai Raises Million

Florida Man Tied to Global Hacking Scam Gets 5 1/2 Years

Anthony Murgio, one of the operators of the infamous bit coin exchange site Coin.mx has been sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to three conspiracy counts, which include fraud and operating a non-licensed money transaction business. The sentencing was half of what prosecutors were seeking. Murgio along with others were part of a data breach of at least nine companies including JPMorgan Chase and E*Trade gaining access to more than 100 million customers’ info. The information was used for stock scams and online gambling. The group was also involved in a take over of a New Jersey credit union used for hiding money laundering transactions for hackers from victims of ransomware. Don’t forget to check up on any suspicious activities on your accounts folks.

Murgio unsuccessfully fought back tears and lost his composure several times in expressing “enormous regret” for his crimes, which the judge credited as genuine.

“I am wiser today than when the case began, and I am sorry for all the damage I caused to so many people,” Murgio said. “Believing what I was doing was OK did not make it OK.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Florida Man Tied to Global Hacking Scam Gets 5 1/2 Years

Future Pixel Smartphones May Come with Rear Touchpad

New patents reveal that someone on the Pixel engineering team is a fan of the PlayStation Vita: it is a real possibility that future iterations of the device may include a touchpad on the backside, just like the Sony handheld. This could be pretty neat, if you think about it: imagine being able to scroll up and down a site with your pointer finger instead of your thumb during one-handed usage, or being able to take a photo just by making a flicking motion.

…in one embodiment, the touch sensitive surface is disposed along a rear major face of a device housing. This configuration permits the front major face of the device to accommodate a display. The user can control the device, and data presented on the display, by interfacing with the touch sensitive surface disposed on the backside of the device. Placing the touch sensitive surface on the rear of the device both provides for simpler user operation in one embodiment and leaves the entire front side of the device available for the display so that a finger does not need to occlude the touch sensitive display to interact with the images on the display.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Future Pixel Smartphones May Come with Rear Touchpad

Former Engadget and Verge Chief Trashes the New iPad Pro

Joshua Topolsky, the former editor-in-chief of Engadget and The Verge, has taken to Twitter to slam Apple’s latest big-screen iPad, which is typically advertised as a practical laptop replacement. Not so, says Topolsky, calling it a computer where “everything works worse than you expect” and condemns its keyboard, calling it an atrocity. I am rather amused by this, as the sites he headed always appeared to have a heavy bias toward Apple products. He does claim that the iPad Pro is still better than any Android tablet, however.

If you think you can replace your laptop with this setup: you cannot. Imagine a computer, but everything works worse than you expect. That is the new iPad. Now, I know the software is in beta, but I also know how Apple betas work. They don’t massively change. I have no doubt it’s a very powerful piece of hardware, and the screen is gorgeous. Garageband is a lot of fun to play with. But this doesn’t COME CLOSE to replacing your laptop, even for simple things you do, like email. AND one other thing. Apple’s keyboard cover is a f*cking atrocity. A terrible piece of hardware. Awkward to use, poor as a cover. Okay in a pinch if you need something LIKE a keyboard.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Former Engadget and Verge Chief Trashes the New iPad Pro

Raphael Colantonio, Creative Director of Dishonored and Prey, Leaves Arkane Studios

Arkane Studios president and longtime game developer Raphael Colantonio is moving on from the company he founded nearly two decades ago. There doesn’t seem to be any drama; his departing words merely suggest that he wants more family time and is interested in tackling new adventures.

The last 18 years have been an amazing adventure – from starting Arkane in 1999, to making our first game, Arx Fatalis, to joining ZeniMax Media in 2010 and releasing the Dishonored series and Prey to critical acclaim – it is time for me to step out to spend some time with my son and reflect on what is important to me and my future. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest people in the industry, and I feel extremely lucky to have been part of this journey with everyone at Arkane.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Raphael Colantonio, Creative Director of Dishonored and Prey, Leaves Arkane Studios

John Romero Is Auctioning off His Doom 2 Floppy Disks

You can now buy the Doom 2 creator’s original copy of Doom 2: John Romero has decided to put up his set of floppies on eBay. The current bid is now up to $850, but many would argue that Romero should be giving things away for free after what happened with Daikatana and him trying to “make you his bitch.”

Romero announced via Twitter that he’s currently auctioning off his original five Doom 2 floppy disks on eBay and will sign them if the winner requests so. The starting bid was $10 USD but this has since increased to a whopping [$850] USD. Romero promises that the disks don’t contain any defects but, since they are 23-years-old, the glue from the label is inevitably coming off. The disks also won’t include the original box.


Source: [H]ardOCP – John Romero Is Auctioning off His Doom 2 Floppy Disks

Facebook Now Has 2 Billion Monthly Users

The social network had been creeping up toward the milestone since March, but now it’s official: Zuckerberg has announced that his site now has 2 billion monthly users. Based on the wordage, these are all active accounts that actually see regular usage – I guess Facebook will be around for many years to come.

…we reached a new milestone: there are now 2 billion people connecting and building communities on Facebook every month. This wouldn’t have happened without the millions of smaller communities and individuals who are sharing and making meaningful contributions every day. Each day, more than 175 million people share a Love reaction, and on average, over 800 million people like something on Facebook. More than 1 billion people use Groups every month. To show our appreciation for the many ways people support one another on Facebook, we will share several personalized experiences over the coming days.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Facebook Now Has 2 Billion Monthly Users

Sony: It Will "Probably Be Some Time" before We See PS5

Will we be getting another version of the PlayStation 4 Pro? That doesn’t seem out of the question: Sony President and CEO Shawn Layden suggests that there will a substantial wait before we hear anything about a true next-generation PlayStation, unofficially killing those rumors of a PS5 debuting as early as the end of next year. Based on previous generations, we may not see it until 2020 or 2021.

“With the PlayStation 4 Pro we have for the first time implemented this kind of innovation within the life cycle of a console,” said Layden, according to a rough translation in Google Translate. “The Pro is really only to offer advantages such as 4K resolutions and HMD for players who can and want to use that. Add to this a more stable image rate and larger hard disk space. But [PS4 owners have] no real disadvantages. Each of our games will continue to run on the classic PS4 and possibly slightly better on the Pro.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Sony: It Will “Probably Be Some Time” before We See PS5

Micron Discontinuing Lexar Removable Storage Retail Business

The Lexar name is no more: parent company Micron has decided to shutter the popular memory card brand, which offered cards, USB flash drives, card readers, and storage drives. The good news is that existing customers will continue receiving support (at least, through the “transition period”). Micron will attempt to sell all or part of the business.

Micron Technology today announced that it is discontinuing its Lexar retail removable media storage business. The decision was made as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to focus on its increasing opportunities in higher value markets and channels. The Lexar portfolio includes memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives for retail and OEM customers. Micron is exploring opportunities to sell all or part of the Lexar business.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Micron Discontinuing Lexar Removable Storage Retail Business

Apple Releases First Beta of iOS 11 to Public Beta Testers

Those who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program should be getting an over-the-air update for the iOS 11 beta after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device. New additions include a revamped control center, updated design elements, drag and drop, an iPad dock, Siri improvements, peer-to-peer Apple Pay, and a Do Not Disturb driving mode.

iOS 11 brings subtle design changes to the operating system, including a new Lock screen experience and a customizable, redesigned Control Center. Siri is smarter, has a more natural voice, and can do more, Messages features person-to-person Apple Pay, Notes has searchable handwriting and document scanning, and Music now lets you share playlists with your friends. A new Files app improves file management on iOS devices, and for the iPad in particular, there’s a new Dock, an App Switcher, and support for Drag and Drop, all of which vastly improves multitasking on the device.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Apple Releases First Beta of iOS 11 to Public Beta Testers