#391 Dec 08, 2014 – Happy Computer Science Education Week!

This week’s headline story: Happy Computer Science Education Week!

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 9.23.19 AMIt’s Computer Science Education Week, and code.org is once again promoting its Hour of Code in efforts to provide every young person with an opportunity to access and understand the nature of technology. Technology is the biggest growth industry in the world, so it would behoove everyone to take an hour this week to visit code.org and try your hand at coding. If you find it a fun exercise, continue on to codecademy.com and try your hand at making a website, or learning to program with Javascript or Python.

in other tech news…

  • Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind [BBC News]
    Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. Although Hawking is a physicist and not an expert in AI, he stated that if computer intelligence exceeds human intelligence, “It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Experts in AI disagree.
  • Stanford engineers take big step toward using light instead of wires inside computers [Stanford News]
    Soon beams of light may replace the electrical signals used in todays computers to increase processing speeds. Using a new algorithm, Stanford engineers can design and build a prism-like silicon structure that can bend light at right angles. When a beam of light is shined at the structure, two different wavelengths of light split off at right angles to the input, forming a T shape. This is a big step toward creating a complete system for connecting computer components with light rather than wires.

 

and in Information Security news this week..

  • North Korea treats its state-sponsored hackers like royalty [Engadget]]
    While in most countries hackers are hunted down and imprisoned, in North Korea, they are treated like royalty, given huge posh apartments and fat pay checks. The lavish treatment isn’t totally surprising. North Korea doesn’t have many resources for fighting conventional wars, so its cyber spy division named Bureau 121 represents its best chance at hitting enemies where it hurts. Actually, it’s probably a safe bet that cyber-spys in every country are pretty well treated. Yet another reason to participate in the Hour of Code this week!
  • Hackers threaten Sony employees [Computerworld]
    North Korea is one of the suspects in the attack on Sony Pictures last week. A group named Guardians of Peace (GOP), took the credit. Now the group is sending threatening email to Sony employees and their families. The email state that “Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. … Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger,” the message reads.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Intel Gives Google Glass a Big Break [Ecommerce Times]
    Google has teamed up with Intel to target the corporate market with its Glass eyewear. The company has given up on the consumer market for Glass, for the time being at least, due to privacy concerns and a backlash from privacy concerned individuals. The next version of Glass, due out next year, will sport an Intel processor rather than the Texas Instruments dual-core 4430 OMAP used in current versions, and will be marketed to hospitals, manufacturers and other companies.
  • With Cortana on Windows 10, Microsoft’s bringing its virtual assistant full circle [Engadget]
    It’s looking as though Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will play a key role in Windows 10. Cortana will be always present ready to assist with an question or task using resources on the Web and on your computer. Analysts are predicting that the competition between Microsoft, Apple and Google will likely evolve to become a competition between Cortana, Siri and Google Now as these digital assistants gradually become the core of Web search and the user interface of their respective computer platforms.
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop Users Fume Over Bugs [NewsFactor]
    The recently released Android 5.0 Lollipop is reportedly filled with bugs. What’s the problem? One user comments “Where do I begin?” Batteries that drain too fast, Wi-Fi connection difficulties, and apps not working properly. Lollipop is touted as being the biggest Android update to date. It features a new “material design” support library that is supposed to provide a consistent look and feel across all Android devices, from smartphones and tablets to TVs, wearables, and one day, even car electronics.
  • Apple Pay To Confront Holiday Shopping Bonanza [NewsFactor]
    After some initial bumps in the road,Apple’s new wireless payment system, Apple Pay, is running smooth and growing in the number of transactions it has supported.” Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy writes that Apple Pay has demonstrated that its user experience is the easiest of any of the alternatives, and very safe, to boot. The holiday shopping season will test Apples payment system, and most likely propel it to higher levels of popularity.

and finally…

  • UBS Says Apple Will Sell 24 Million Smart Watches in 2015 [NewsFactor]
    Global financial services company, UBS, is predicting that the Apple Watch will be a huge success. Based on a recent survey UBS predicts that Apple Watch could lead the market with sales of 24 million units on a $3.4 billion profit during the first nine months on the market. Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 starting at $349.

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