Web host agrees to pay $1m after it’s hit by Linux-targeting ransomware — from arstechnica.com by Dan Goodin
Windfall payment by poorly secured host is likely to inspire new ransomware attacks.

Excerpt (emphasis above and below by DSC):

A Web-hosting service recently agreed to pay $1 million to a ransomware operation that encrypted data stored on 153 Linux servers and 3,400 customer websites, the company said recently.

The South Korean Web host, Nayana, said in a blog post published last week that initial ransom demands were for five billion won worth of Bitcoin, which is roughly $4.4 million. Company negotiators later managed to get the fee lowered to 1.8 billion won and ultimately landed a further reduction to 1.2 billion won, or just over $1 million. An update posted Saturday said Nayana engineers were in the process of recovering the data. The post cautioned that that the recovery was difficult and would take time.

 

 

 

AIG teams with IBM to use blockchain for ‘smart’ insurance policy — from reuters.com by Suzanne Barlyn

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Insurer American International Group Inc has partnered with International Business Machines Corp to develop a “smart” insurance policy that uses blockchain to manage complex international coverage, the companies said on Wednesday.

AIG and IBM completed a pilot of a so-called “smart contract” multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC which the companies said is the first of its kind using blockchain’s digital ledger technology.

IBM has been partnering with leading companies in various industries, including Danish transport company Maersk, to create blockchain-based products that can streamline complex international dealings across sectors.

 

Blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of individual computers. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets or transactions across all industries.

 

 

From DSC:
Why post this item? Because IBM and others are experimenting with and investing millions into blockchain-based technologies; and because the manner in which credentials are stored and recognized will most likely be significantly impacted by blockchain-based technologies. Earlier this year at the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference in San Diego, I mentioned that this topic of blockchain-based technologies is something that should be on our radars within higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Apple itself:

 

  • HomePod reinvents music in the home
    San Jose, California — Apple today announced HomePod, a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music.

    As a home assistant, HomePod is a great way to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. When away from home, HomePod is the perfect home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.

 

 

 

 



Also see:



 

The 8 biggest announcements from Apple WWDC 2017 — from theverge.copm by Natt Garun

Excerpt:

Apple introduced a new ARKit to let developers build augmented reality apps for the iPhone. The kit can help find planes, track motion, and estimate scale and ambient lighting. Popular apps like Pokémon Go will also use ARKit for improved real-time renders.

Rather than requiring external hardware like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Apple seems to be betting on ARKit to provide impressive quality imaging through a device most people already own. We’ll know more on how the quality actually compares when we get to try it out ourselves.

 

 

Everything Apple Announced Today at WWDC — from wired.com by Arielle Pardes

Excerpt:

On Monday, over 5,000 developers packed the San Jose Convention Center to listen to Tim Cook and other Apple execs share the latest innovations out of Cupertino. Over the course of two and a half hours, the company unveiled its most powerful Mac yet, a long-awaited Siri speaker, and tons of new software upgrades across all of the Apple platforms, from your iPhone to your Apple Watch. Missed the keynote speech? Here’s a recap of the nine biggest announcements from WWDC 2017.

 

 

Apple is launching an iOS ‘ARKit’ for augmented reality apps — from theverge.com by Adi Robertson

Excerpt:

Apple has announced a tool it calls ARKit, which will provide advanced augmented reality capabilities on iOS. It’s supposed to allow for “fast and stable motion tracking” that makes objects look like they’re actually being placed in real space, instead of simply hovering over it.

 

 

Apple is finally bringing virtual reality to the Mac – from businessinsider.com by Matt Weinberger

Excerpt:

Apple is finally bringing virtual reality support to its Mac laptops and desktops, bringing the company up to speed with what many see as the next phase of computing.

At Monday’s Apple WWDC event in San Jose, the company announced that with this fall’s MacOS High Sierra update, the Mac will support external graphics hardware — meaning you can plug in a box and greatly increase your machine’s graphical capabilities.

In turn, that external hardware will give the Mac the boost it needs to support virtual reality headsets, which require superior performance to create an immersive experience.

 

 

The Slickest Things Google Debuted [on 5/17/17] at Its Big Event — from wired.com by Arielle Pardes

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At this year’s Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference and showcase, CEO Sundar Pichai made one thing very clear: Google is moving toward an AI-first approach in its products, which means pretty soon, everything you do on Google will be powered by machine learning. During Wednesday’s keynote speech, we saw that approach seep into all of Google’s platforms, from Android to Gmail to Google Assistant, each of which are getting spruced up with new capabilities thanks to AI. Here’s our list of the coolest things Google announced today.

 

 

Google Lens Turns Your Camera Into a Search Box — from wired.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

Google is remaking itself as an AI company, a virtual assistant company, a classroom-tools company, a VR company, and a gadget maker, but it’s still primarily a search company. And [on 5/17/17] at Google I/O, its annual gathering of developers, CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new product called Google Lens that amounts to an entirely new way of searching the internet: through your camera.

Lens is essentially image search in reverse: you take a picture, Google figures out what’s in it. This AI-powered computer vision has been around for some time, but Lens takes it much further. If you take a photo of a restaurant, Lens can do more than just say “it’s a restaurant,” which you know, or “it’s called Golden Corral,” which you also know. It can automatically find you the hours, or call up the menu, or see if there’s a table open tonight. If you take a picture of a flower, rather than getting unneeded confirmation of its flower-ness, you’ll learn that it’s an Elatior Begonia, and that it really needs indirect, bright light to survive. It’s a full-fledged search engine, starting with your camera instead of a text box.

 

 

Google’s AI Chief On Teaching Computers To Learn–And The Challenges Ahead — from fastcompany.com by Harry McCracken
When it comes to AI technologies such as machine learning, Google’s aspirations are too big for it to accomplish them all itself.

Excerpt:

“Last year, we talked about becoming an AI-first company and people weren’t entirely sure what we meant,” he told me. With this year’s announcements, it’s not only understandable but tangible.

“We see our job as evangelizing this new shift in computing,” Giannandrea says.


Matching people with jobs
Pichai concluded the I/O keynote by previewing Google for Jobs, an upcoming career search engine that uses machine learning to understand job listings–a new approach that is valuable, Giannandrea says, even though looking for a job has been a largely digital activity for years. “They don’t do a very good job of classifying the jobs,” Giannandrea says. “It’s not just that I’m looking for part-time work within five miles of my house–I’m looking for an accounting job that involves bookkeeping.”

 

 

Google Assistant Comes to Your iPhone to Take on Siri — from wired.com by David Pierce

 

 

Google rattles the tech world with a new AI chip for all — from wired.com by Cade Metz

 

 

I/O 2017 Recap — from Google.com

 

 

The most important announcements from Google I/O 2017! — from androidcentral.com by Alex Dobie

 

 

Google IO 2017: All the announcements in one place! — from androidauthority.com by Kris Carlon

 

 

 

 

2017 is the year of artificial intelligence. Here’s why. — from weforum.org

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A recent acceleration of innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made it a hot topic in boardrooms, government, and the media. But it is still early, and everyone seems to have a different view of what AI is.

I have investigated the space over the last few years as a technologist and active investor. What is remarkable now is that things that haven’t worked for decades in the space are starting to work; and we are going beyond just tools and embedded functions.

We are starting to redefine how software and systems are built, what can be programmed, and how users interact. We are creating a world where machines are starting to understand and anticipate what we want to do – and, in the future, will do it for us. In short, we are on the cusp of a completely new computing paradigm. But how did we get here and why now?

 

 

 

From DSC:
There are now more than 12,000+ skills on Amazon’s new platform — Alexa.  I continue to wonder…what will this new platform mean/deliver to societies throughout the globe?


 

From this Alexa Skills Kit page:

What Is an Alexa Skill?
Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to create a more personalized experience. There are now more than 12,000 skills from companies like Starbucks, Uber, and Capital One as well as innovative designers and developers.

What Is the Alexa Skills Kit?
With the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach millions of customers. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design.

You can build and host most skills for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

 

 

 


 

 

Complete Guide to Virtual Reality Careers — from vudream.com by Mark Metry

Excerpt:

So you want to jump in the illustrious intricate pool of Virtual Reality?

Come on in my friend. The water is warm with confusion and camaraderie. To be honest, few people have any idea what’s going on in the industry.

VR is a brand new industry, hardly anyone has experience.

That’s a good thing for you.

Marxent Labs reports that there are 5 virtual reality jobs.
UX/UI Designers:
UX/UI Designers create roadmaps demonstrating how the app should flow and design the look and feel of the app, in order to ensure user-friendly experiences.
Unity Developers:
Specializing in Unity 3D software, Unity Developers create the foundation of the experience.
3D Modelers:
3D artists render lifelike digital imagery.
Animators:
Animators bring the 3D models to life. Many 3D modelers are cross-trained in animation, which is a highly recommended combination a 3D candidate to possess.
Project Manager:
The Project Manager is responsible for communicating deadlines, budgets, requirements, roadblocks, and more between the client and the internal team.
Videographer:
Each project is captured and edited into clips to make showcase videos for marketing and entertainment.

 

 

Virtual Reality (VR) jobs jump in the job market — from forbes.com by Karsten Strauss

Excerpt:

One of the more vibrant, up-and-coming sectors of the tech industry these days is virtual reality. From the added dimension it brings to gaming and media consumption to the level of immersion the technology can bring to marketing, VR is expected to see a bump in the near future.

And major players have not been blind to that potential. Most famously, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg laid down a $2 billion bet on the technology in the spring of 2014 when his company acquired virtual reality firm, Oculus Rift. That investment put a stamp of confidence on the space and it’s grown ever since.

So it makes sense, then, that tech-facing companies are scanning for developers and coders who can help them build out their VR capabilities. Though still early, some in the job-search industry are noticing a trend in the hiring market.

 

 

 

 

 

What to look for when hiring an entry-level data scientist? — from datasciencecentral.com

Excerpt:

What I look for the most is some signal that the junior data scientist:

  1. Has the drive and determination to be a self-directed learner
  2. They understand the fundamentals of “enough” programming,
  3. They understand how to analyze data when the goals and metrics are not explicit or time boxed.

Let’s put aside the need for some level of formal training, that is a non-negotiable baseline. You have to have enough understanding of mathematics and statistics to know when you are getting yourself into trouble, you have to understand data management practice enough to understand how to access data, and you have to understand enough about machine learning to make the appropriate series of tradeoffs in model development and validation. That is table stakes, however what makes one candidate stand out above the others is everything else surrounding these core concepts.

 

Also see:

Image from Ronald van Loon

 

 

 

 

Five things to know about Facebook’s huge augmented reality fantasy — from gizmodo.com by Michael Nunez

Excerpt:

One example of how this might work is at a restaurant. Your friend will be able to leave an augmented reality sticky note on the menu, letting you know which menu item is the best or which one’s the worst when you hold your camera up to it.

Another example is if you’re at a celebration, like New Year’s Eve or a birthday party. Facebook could use an augmented reality filter to fill the scene with confetti or morph the bar into an aquarium or any other setting corresponding with the team’s mascot. The basic examples are similar to Snapchat’s geo-filters—but the more sophisticated uses because it will actually let you leave digital objects behind for your friends to discover. Very cool!

 

“We’re going to make the camera the first mainstream AR platform,” said Zuckerberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots — from wired.com

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots!

 

Facebook’s bold and bizarre VR hangout app is now available for the Oculus Rift — from theverge.com by Nick Statt

Excerpt:

Facebook’s most fascinating virtual reality experiment, a VR hangout session where you can interact with friends as if you were sitting next to one another, is now ready for the public. The company is calling the product Facebook Spaces, and it’s being released today in beta form for the Oculus Rift.

 

 

 

From DSC:

Is this a piece of the future of distance education / online learning-based classrooms?

 

 

 

Facebook Launches Local ‘Developer Circles’ To Help Entrepreneurs Collaborate, Build Skills — from forbes.com by Kathleen  Chaykowski

Excerpt:

In 2014, Facebook launched its FbStart program, which has helped several thousand early stage apps build and grow their apps through a set of free tools and mentorship meetings. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled a new program to reach a broader range of developers, as well as students interested in technology.

The program, called “Developer Circles,” is intended to bring developers in local communities together offline as well as online in Facebook groups to encourage the sharing of technical know-how, discuss ideas and build new projects. The program is also designed to serve students who may not yet be working on an app, but who are interested in building skills to work in computer science.

 

 

Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

Excerpt:

Facebook will rely on an army of outside developers to contribute augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its new Camera Effects platform. After today’s Facebook F8 conference, the first effects will become available inside Facebook’s Camera feature on smartphones, but the Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware, such as eyeglasses.

While critics thought Facebook was just mindlessly copying Snapchat with its recent Stories and Camera features in Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg tells TechCrunch his company was just laying the groundwork for today’s Camera Effects platform launch.

 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook — from nytimes.com by Mike Isaac

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform, a way for people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world around them through the lens of their smartphone cameras.

 

 

Facebook Launches Social VR App ‘Facebook Spaces’ in Beta for Rift — from virtualrealitypulse.com by Ben Lang

 

 

 


Addendums on 4/20/17:


 

 

 

 
 
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