Written to Binge – This Week in Tech 688

– Defending Bloomberg’s Chinese spy chip story Google+ killed by a breach that wasn’t a breach.
– Facebook breach that WAS a breach hits 30 million users. In related news, Facebook now sells a video chat device with a camera that can follow your every move.
– Made by Google event: what we think of the Pixel 3, Pixel Slate, and Home Hub.
– Apple’s TV content will be free for everyone who owns an Apple device.

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Odorless and Weightless Hackers – This Week in Tech 687

Chinese Spy Chips, Microsoft Highs and Lows, Pixel 3 Event Predictions, and More! Bloomberg reports that China used tiny chips to spy on Apple, Amazon, and the US government. Apple and Amazon deny it. How do we know who is right? All the news from the Microsoft Surface event, plus some rumors of what was supposed to be there but wasn’t. Windows 10 update deletes people’s files. What we expect this Tuesday at Google’s Pixel 3 Event. Amazon raises its minimum wage to $15/hr, kills stock options and bonuses. Facebook hacked by “odorless and weightless hackers.” CA passes new laws restoring Net Neutrality and banning bots that pretend to be human. Presidential Alert hits phones nationwide.

This Week in Tech 685: Emotional Support Ham

Apple Watch and heart health, Magic Leap first look, your future Amazon House, and more.

• iPhone XS and XS Max are flying off the shelves (especially in Santa Rosa).
• Pixel 2 camera beats the iPhone XS.
• Why the dual-sim iPhones are a bigger deal than you think.
• (Heart) doctors hate it! Apple Watch’s one weird ECG trick.
• Elon Musk introduces the first SpaceX moon passenger, DOJ introduces a criminal investigation to Musk.
• Amazon introduces a slew of new Alexa devices in its continuing mission to control everything in your home (including you).
• Magic Leap One first look: nobody should buy it, but it is absolutely the future.
• Happy 10th anniversary, T-Mobile G1! We have come full circle: the first android phone didn’t have a headphone jack, either.
• Google’s plans for China, and China’s plans for the world.
• John Hancock won’t sell you life insurance unless you strap on a fitbit or Apple Watch.
• Coding error scraps Subaru Ascent.
• Salesforce’s Mark Benioff buys Time magazine.
• Freezing your credit report is now free thanks to a new law.

This Week in Tech 678: Popcorn and Brown Liquor

This Week in Tech

Trillion Dollar Apple, Facebook dating, Surface Go review, and more.

–Apple is the first trillion dollar company ever.
–Is Universal Basic Income the fix for poverty in America?
–Alexa is Now the Ultimate in Home Security
–Why you should avoid Chinese phones.
–Facebook Dating is coming soon – will this make you spend too much time on Facebook?
–People still don’t understand blockchain.
–Maybe you just shouldn’t tweet.
–Ed Bott thinks the Surface Go is great!
–MoviePass is going out of business, and it’s Owen JJ Stone’s fault.
–Fortnight doesn’t want to pay the Google Play store.

This Week in Tech 667: Give Me your History Hat

Microsoft’s new Surface Hub 2. Google Duplex freaks everyone out. GDPR shouldn’t freak people out – unless you work in adtech. Fortnite is coming to Android. Apple caves in to China again, pays some Irish taxes, and goes shopping for a new campus. Washington D.C is full of Stingray spy devices. Yanny or Laurel: depends on your speakers. US Copyright laws may be extended to protect Mickey Mouse for 144 years.

This Week in Tech 657: DadGum Cell Phone

SXSW features killer robots and killer barbeque. Alexa’s spontaneous laugh makes us afraid of an AI takeover. Amazon wants to take over your checking account. Can blockchain reinvent fintech? Android users more loyal than iOS users. Is AI really all that smart? Apple hires M. Night Shyamalan. Millennials love Apple more than anything. Mario takes over Google Maps. Facebook asks if pedophilia is ok. On Twitter, fake news spreads faster than the truth. China’s new Department of PreCrime.

Chinese users blast Microsoft’s draconian Windows 10 upgrade

By | PCWorld

Chinese users have complained about Microsoft’s latest aggressive move to get them to adopt Windows 10, according to the news service backed by the country’s Communist government.

“IT giant Microsoft is under fire in China as the company pushes users to upgrade their operating systems to Windows 10,” said China Daily, an English-language newspaper in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in a story reprinted from Xinhua, the government’s official news agency.

Xinhua’s account resembled those in Western media, describing users whose PCs were upgraded to Windows 10 without their approval or because they overlooked an on-screen notification.

Earlier this month, Microsoft began another push to boost adoption by pre-scheduling the free Windows 10 upgrade. On-screen notices warned users of the impending upgrade, but limited the cancel option to an easily-overlooked, one-word link in the notification’s text. And clicking the red “X” in the upper-right corner of the dialog box — by convention a last resort for users wanting to cancel an operation — instead authorized the upgrade to begin at the allotted time.

“Just because I didn’t see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed,” Yang Shuo, an employee of a Beijing-based public relations firm, told Xinhua.

Microsoft remains on shaky ground in China as a two-year-old antitrust investigation continues. But the Redmond, Wash. company has also scored victories, including partnering with one of the country’s largest defense conglomerates to promote and sell Windows 10 to PRC government agencies.

Microsoft has also joined forces with Baidu to distribute the Windows 10 upgrade in China in exchange for making the search provider the default within Edge, the operating system’s newest browser.

The Chinese government often uses Xinhua to express its views on Western technology firms, which makes another quote in the story stand out. “The company has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play,” Zhao Zhanling, a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China (ISC), told the news service.

The ISC is supported by several Chinese government agencies, including the Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Education and the State Council Information Office.

The Windows 10 upgrade offer is to expire July 29.

China retains supercomputing crown as U.S. representation lingers near historic lows

A supercomputer developed by China’s National Defense University remains the fastest publically known computer in the world while the U.S. is close to an historic low in the latest edition of the closely followed Top 500 supercomputer ranking, which was published on Monday.

The Tianhe-2 computer, based at the National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou, has been on the top of the list for more than two years and its maximum achieved performance of 33,863 teraflops per second is almost double that of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Cray Titan supercomputer, which is at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The IBM Sequoia computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is the third fastest machine, and fourth on the list is the Fujitsu K computer at Japan’s Advanced Institute for Computational Science. The only new machine to enter the top 10 is the Shaheen II computer of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked seventh.

The Top 500 list, published twice a year to coincide with supercomputer conferences, is closely watched as an indicator of the status of development and investment in high-performance computing around the world. It also provides insights into what technologies are popular among organizations building these machines, but participation is voluntary. It’s quite possible a number of secret supercomputers exist that are not counted in the list.

With 231 machines in the Top 500 list, the U.S. remains the top country in terms of the number of supercomputers, but that’s close to the all-time low of 226 hit in mid-2002. That was right about the time that China began appearing on the list. It rose to claim 76 machines this time last year, but the latest count has China at 37 computers.

While there are few major changes in the top positions in the ranking, the aggregate computing power of the 500 companies continues to advance, but the pace is slowing. The current list represents 361 petaflops per second of performance, up 31 percent on this time last year, but a noticeable slowdown in growth, according to the authors of the study.

The rise of the use of graphics processors, so-called GPU computing, is reflected in the top 10. Two machines used Nvidia K20x processors: the second-ranked Cray Titan and sixth-ranked Cray Piz Daint, which is installed at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre.

But Intel’s Xeon E5 chip continues to outrank all others. Taken together, three generations of the chip (SandyBridge, IvyBridge and Haswell) are in 80 percent of systems, representing 67 percent of total performance.

The Top 500 list is compiled by supercomputing experts at the University of Mannheim, Germany; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

via China retains supercomputing crown as U.S. representation lingers near historic lows | PCWorld.

Russia, China reportedly crack Snowden’s files, identify US, UK spies

Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have reportedly decrypted files of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden, and have identified British and U.S. secret agents.

MI6, the U.K.’s secret intelligence service, has withdrawn agents from overseas operations in hostile countries, according to a report in the Sunday Times of London, citing U.K. government officials and Western intelligence agencies.

The report contains some apparently contradictory information. Although The Sunday Times quoted a U.K. Home Office official saying that Snowden has “blood on his hands,” it also quoted a government source saying that there was no sign that agents have been hurt.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s aides, however, confirmed that Snowden’s files are in the hands of Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the report.

“It is the case that Russians and Chinese have information,” according to one top U.K. government source cited by the report. “It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information. There is no evidence of anyone being harmed.”

The report quotes David Omand, the former director of the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agency, saying that access by Russia and China to Snowden’s material is a “huge strategic setback” that was “harming” to the U.K., the U.S. America and their allies.

The NSA and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency did not reply to requests for comment about the report.

The first leaks about U.S. surveillance operations from Snowden came out two years ago. Snowden fled the U.S. to go first to Hong Kong before seeking refuge in Russia.

Snowden has said in the past that he was capable of preventing files that he obtained from being decrypted by foreign intelligence agencies. The information he leaked has led to ongoing debate in the U.S. about the scope of government spying. Just last week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to curb the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic telephone records, sending the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.

via Russia, China reportedly crack Snowden’s files, identify US, UK spies | PCWorld.