The Echo Dot, Amazon's voice-controlled device that play music, audiobooks, radio shows, podcasts, news alerts, and more is just $(removed) right now. I bought it a couple of months ago when it was $(removed) My family uses it many times a day. My favorite use for it listening to Audible books while I clean the kitchen (I'm currently tearing through Michael Connelly's oeuvre). I also use it a lot to add items to my shopping list and to-do list. The speech recognition is excellent. I love this thing. Read the rest
When the heat goes out during Finnish winter, it's a matter of life and death, so when two automated buildings controlled by Valtia systems suffered DDoS attacks that shut off the heat, Finns were understandably alarmed about the new threat. Read the rest
I just bought another Amazon Dash Button for my growing collection of wireless one-push product ordering buttons. (This time, I got the button for Amazon Basic Batteries.) Dash Buttons are usually $5, but you can get one for $1 if you use the promo code CYBERDASH. You'll also get a $5 Amazon credit after your first press. Read the rest
A China-based maker of surveillance cameras said Monday it will recall some products sold in the United States after a massive "Internet of Things" malware attack took down a major DNS provider in a massive DDOS attack. The stunningly broad attack brought much internet activity to a halt last Friday.
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Security experts hired by the short-selling firm Muddy Waters said in a legal brief filed today that cardiac implants made by St. Jude Medical can be hacked. If hackers can pwn your heart device, the researchers say, they can kill you--from as far away as 100 feet. Read the rest
The iKettle is advertised as “the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle.” Mark Rittman got one and said it took 11-hours to make a cup of tea.
From The Guardian:
A key problem seemed to be that Rittman’s kettle didn’t come with software that would easily allow integration with other devices in his home, including Amazon Echo, which, like Apple’s Siri, allows users to tell connected smart devices what to do. So Rittman was trying to build the integration functionality himself.
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John McAfee observed something unusual running on a fridge at the local Home Depot: porn.
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Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, working with the students on design fiction and futurism. Read the rest
A woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a sex toy that sends data back to the company.
In the suit, N.P. says she bought a We-Vibe in May and used it “several times” until she realized that it was sending data about her usage practices back to Standard Innovation’s servers, including when she used it, which vibration settings she used, and her email address.
The company that makes the We-Vibe, Standard Innovation, says it will do a better job of letting its customers know that the device can transmit data, which is “mostly anonymized” and used only for “market research.” Read the rest
Particle is a company makes low-cost Wi-Fi and cellular connected microcontrollers for prototyping the Internet of Things stuff. TJ Hunter used a Particle Electron and a GPS chip to make a Pokéball that wiggles when a rare Pokémon is nearby.
Here are Hunter's build instructions.
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The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now testing a new unmanned drone warship.
The first Navy drone ship is a 132-foot ACTUV (Antisubmarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these “robot ships” could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States.
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Julian Bleecker and his Near Future Laboratory have followed up on their amazing Skymall-of-the-future catalog with an imaginary near-future Ikea catalog that jam an insane amount of witty futuristic speculation into elegantly presented, arresting images. Read the rest
Charlie Stross is preparing for five more years of Tory rule in the UK by thinking up business-models that monopolize mandatory activities and extract rent from them. Read the rest
Alan sez, "Spark.io provides instructions for making your own Nest-like 'smart' thermostat. Of course it's entirely open source, with files on github." Read the rest
A mediagenic press-release from Proofpoint, a security firm, announced that its researchers had discovered a 100,000-device-strong botnet made up of hacked "Internet of Things" appliances, such as refrigerators. The story's very interesting, but also wildly implausible as Ars Technica's Dan Goodin explains.
The report is light on technical details, and the details that the company supplied to Goodin later just don't add up. Nevertheless, the idea of embedded systems being recruited to botnets isn't inherently implausible, and some of the attacks that Ang Cui has demonstrated scare the heck out of me.
For more speculation, see my story The Brave Little Toaster, from MIT's TRSF. Read the rest
A clever combination of motorized reaction wheels, sensors, processors and software allow the 15cm^3 Cubli to balance on its corner or edge, and to stabilize itself in the face of disturbances, or spin on its corner. It can also ramp up its wheel speed, brake them suddenly and use the angular momentum to leap up onto its corner from a flat rest, then fall onto a proscribed side, and leap up -- walking, in other words. Read the rest