This Week in Tech News

Weather Channel Goes Down Due to Randomware

The Weather Channel

Episode 1585

The Weather Channel went down this week for about 90 minutes due to a phishing attack and ransomware. Leo says that it's impressive that the Weather Channel came back up so quickly, but this is going to keep happening as long as people click on attachments.

Another Security Issue Hits Facebook

Facebook Security

Episode 1584

Facebook had another security issue hit this week, as the social media company admitted that millions of Instagram passwords were stored in a plain text file that could be easily accessed from anyone on the network.  But they swear that it wasn't accessed or maliciously maligned. Since they initially stated thousands, then admitted millions of accounts were at risk and that it has happened many times now, Leo says that Facebook's priorities are out of whack. They don't really care about protecting user data.

Samsung's Folding Phone Breaks Easily

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Episode 1584

The infamous $2,000 Samsung Galaxy Fold folding phone has been reported by reviewers to break after just a day or two of regular use. Leo says this is the reason why early adopters should avoid bleeding edge technology. Samsung says that two of the reviewers removed a protective film that was required to keep the phone in shape, but other reviewers had debris that got jammed into the hinge causing the screen to crack. That's normal use. While Samsung says that reviewers were mistreating the phone, Leo's advising users not to buy this one.

Great Apps for your Phone

YouTube Music

Episode 1583

Here's a handful of Rich's favourite phone apps.

EVERLANCE, an app that's designed for freelancers. It keeps track of mileage and expenses. Great for the mobile phone.

Google Assistant. Great for using to do various things, including making dinner reservations through Google Duplex.

Disney Lays Out Details for their Streaming Service - DISNEY +

DISNEY +

Episode 1582

Disney+ launches November 12th, for $6.99 a month. This will include more than 25 original series and 10 original films, plus the entire Disney catalogue of 7500 TV episodes and 2500 films, content from National Geographic, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, ESPN, and more. Rich adds that Disney will also probably offer a bundled deal with HULU, which offers LiveTV as well.

Rich says that by comparison, that will put tremendous pressure on Apple and Netflix who are charging more.

AT&T Launches 5G, but Good Luck Trying to Use it

AT&T

Episode 1582

AT&T has launched its 5G service in 17 cities around the country, but Rich says good luck trying to use it. First, you can't find a map of 5G coverage to see where it's available, plus you need a $500 hotspot device to use it if you do. Also, 5G doesn't travel very far, requiring even more towers.

Meanwhile, Verizon has launched in Chicago and Minneapolis for everyone, but in very small areas. Rich says that while 5G is the future, it's just not the future now. 

RIP Google+ and other Services

 Google+

Episode 1581

A Sad Week in Google, as Google killed off a ton of services this week. Google+ closed down. Google Chromecast Audio was discontinued. The InBox in Gmail is now gone. Leo was really sad that Google+ never really grabbed the kind of attention from users that Facebook has. The sad part is that Google+ was very popular with photographers since images posted weren't as compressed as other social media sites do. They could upload uncompressed, or hi-resolution versions. But no more. 

2019 - Ransomware is everywhere

Arizona

Episode 1580

Leo says that while 2018 was the year Ransomware, 2019 is even worse. Arizona Beverages got hit by ransomware last week. The attack shut down sales operations for days, scuttled their networks, and servers. The network was hacked and encrypted, targeted by hackers with a ransom note posted to their website.  Leo says that Arizona struggled with trying to rebuild their operations for five days. Most of their servers hadn't been given security patches in years and their backups didn't work.

Lyft Goes Public, Worth $23 Billion

Lyft

Episode 1579

Lyft went public this week, and on shares, it was worth $23 Billion. Leo thinks that Wall Street is banking on a future when these ride-sharing companies will have driverless vehicles. Until then, Lyft has to share the fare with its drivers and even subsidize nearly 40% of what cabs would normally charge. But once driverless cars are the norm, Wall Street believes the profits will come. But the real question is, would you get into a driverless car and trust that the computer will get you to your destination safely? Especially with other human drivers on the road with it?

Apple Kills AirPower Two Years After Announcing It

Episode 1578

Two years after it announced the surfboard like Qi charging station known as AirPower, Apple announced today that it was cancelling the product, citing engineering issues. Leo says that according to iFixIt, Apple probably never would've been able to get it approved by the FCC.  Apple did release the AirPods 2, which now has wireless charging. So while you can't charge your iPhone and your AirPods at the same time, you can now charge both wirelessly.