#462 May 31, 2016 – Floppy Disks in Washington

This week’s headline story: Floppy Disks in Washington

floppyAccording to a recent report, the US government is spending three quarters of its $80 billion technology budget maintaining archaic computer systems that support critical areas from nuclear weapons to Social Security. Amazingly, some of these systems are so old that they depend on floppy disks to operate. The ongoing investment in these ancient systems comes at the cost of modernization.

The White House HAS been pushing to replace legacy systems, some of which date back more than 50 years. But the government is expected to spend $7 billion less on modernization in 2017 than it did back in 2010, said the Government Accountability Office. “Clearly, there are billions wasted,” GAO information technology expert David Powner told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing.

other Technology Headlines…

  • E Ink Unveils New Full Color Display [NewsFactor]
    The eInk and ePaper that was introduced with the first Kindle, is entering a new phase of development: Color! The new electrophoretic display technology is named Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP) and brings a full color array to every pixel on the display. Like regular E Ink ePaper, ACeP maintains the ultra-low power and paper-like readability under all lighting conditions, the company said. The technology will be primarily used for digital signage at first.
  • Facebook and Microsoft Team On Transatlantic High-Speed Data Cable [NewsFactor]
    This August, Facebook and Microsoft will belaunching a 14-month-long project to lay 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) of high-speed cable across the Atlantic, from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain.
    The companies said the system — designed to support the fast-growing demand for cloud and online services — will be the highest-capacity subsea cable ever across that span. Composed of eight fiber pairs, the cable will have an initial estimated data-carrying capacity of 160 terabytes per second.
  • House Republicans Move To Eliminate Net Neutrality [NewsFactor]
    The battle over Net Neutrality continues. A new proposal by House Republicans would effectively put an end to net neutrality while slashing funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation would reduce the agency’s funding by more than 17 percent, leaving the agency crippled and incapable of enforcing its regulations. While Obama is likely to veto any legislation that would block one of the key initiatives of his FCC chairman, Republicans are likely to continue the fight against Net neutrality with the next president.

in Information Security News…

  • The most followed account on Twitter has been hacked [Engadget]
    Twitter’s most popular user, with 89 million followers, Katy Perry, had her account hacked. After briefly spewing a few vulgar and racist tweets the incident was quickly cleaned up, with no indication of exactly what went down.
  • Researchers: Asian Bank Hacks May Be Linked to North Korea [NewsFactor]
    Cybersecurity researchers say North Korea might be connected to a recent attack that resulted in the theft of over $100 million from the Bangladeshi central bank and the attempted thefts of millions more from other Asian banks. Security researchers at Symantec say that the malware used in the bank attacks is similar to that used in the past by a group sponsored by the North Korean government.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Microsoft Drastically Scales Down Smartphone Biz [Ecommerce Times]
    More Job Cuts Signal Microsoft’s Flee from the Phone Business [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft seems to be backing away from the smartphone business. Last week, the company announced that it would be cutting 1,850 jobs from its mobile division. “We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft is also selling off its feature phone brand and design business to Finland-based HMD Mobile.
  • PayPal Deep Sixes Windows, BlackBerry and Amazon Apps [NewsFactor]
    PayPal has announced that it is abandoning its apps for Microsoft Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire OS and focusing on Apple IOS and Google Android that together account for 97 percent of phone sales.
  • Apple Reportedly Prepping Siri SDK Launch Ahead of WWDC [NewsFactor]
    Apple appears to be ready to unveil a smart home device controlled by Siri. The new device would resemble Amazon’s Echo that responds to voice commands to provide useful information and services. Google announced a similar device last week called Google Home. Advances in artificial intelligence are expected to improve our device’s ability to understand what we say, leading to what analysts are referring to as the “voice-first” revolution where we speak instead of type.


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