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Today’s guest: Breki Tomasson, founder of the CSICON podcasting network
Venturebeat reports that Google announced today that it has completed the first prototype of its self-driving vehicle. This is Google’s first fully functional self-driving car, complete with headlights, a steering wheel and pedal systems. Google says it plans to spend the holiday season driving it around the test track, with the goal of bringing the vehicle to Northern California streets in 2015.
Let’s catch you up on the weekend in Sony Pictures News. North Korea’s KCNA state news agency said regarding the group responsible for the attacks, “We do not know who or where they are but we can surely say that they are supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK.” The statement also suggested the US and North Korea should cooperate on an investigation to find the true perpetrators and said if the US did not cooperate the country would take counteraction against the US. Japan condemned the attacks but did not blame North Korea by name. Finally, Reuters reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the US Secretary of State that China “opposes all forms of cyberattacks and cyber terrorism,” but also stopped dhort of blaming North Korea. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “Before making any conclusions there has to be a full (accounting of) the facts and foundation.”
The New York Times passed along that Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research reports North Korea has lost access to the Internet. Access became unstable Friday, worsened over the wekend and disappeared by Monday morning. The difficulties seem consists with a DDoS attack according to Madory. The cause of the problem is unclear and no organization has claimed responsibility. North Korea has only 4 networks connecting it to the rest of the Internet, all running through China. The government might have taken the network down or it could be the work of outside actors.
The Next Web reports South Korean nuclear plant operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Coo. or KHNP is running cyber warfare drills after documentation such as manuals was copied from its servers and posted online last week. An account that posted the leaked documents on Friday warned that unless three reactors were closed by Christmas, people should “stay away” from them. KHNP has said the leaked data does not undermine the safety of the reactors which are also not on the same network as the severs that were compromised.
The Next Web repots that Google will begin selling Android One phones in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the next few weeks. Micromax, Karbonn and Spice from India, and Bangladeshi manufacturer Symphony will also begin retailing Android One devices, beginning with its Road A50.
Reuters reports Blackberry is working with Boeing on a high-security Android-based smartphone that would wipe it’s data if tampered with. Reuters says the phone uses dual SIM slots and can be configured to connect with biometric sensors and satellites. Boeing has begun offering the phone to potential customers.
ZDNet notes a recent ITG research report states Apple Pay was responsible for 1 percent of digital payment dollars spent in November while Google Wallet accounted for 4 percent. The report also indicated Apple Pay customers tend to return to merchants who accept Apple Pay. 60 percent of Apple Pay customers used Apple Pay on multiple days in November.
And just a note that a page has gone back up at thepiratebay.se with a pirate flag, a counter marking the time since the raid took the site down, and an AES string. A Slashdot posting notes the domain is pointing to a server in Moldova.
News From You
metalfreak sent us a PC World report that the new developer builds of the Chromebook software let users ask the laptop questions using the “OK Google” voice command. The feature is still experimental, with no guarantee of ending up in a consumer version of the Chromebook OS.
johndezember pointed out the Technology Review article on a new kind of battery invented by Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials science at Carnegie Mellon University. Electrical current in the battery is generated as sodium ions from a saltwater electrolyte shuttle between manganese oxide–based positive electrodes and carbon-based negative ones. The batteries are expected to last twice as long as lead-acid batteries and cost about the same to make. Their slow charhe and discharge makes them suitable for things like storing power from a solar panel. The professor’s startup, Aqion Energy is about to start full-scale production of the batteries at a factory in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
Discussion Links: What’s next for Sony?
Hey DTNS folks. Tom made a comment about folks who didn’t have access to the Google Play store sometimes using Amazon as an alternate marketplace, so I wanted to share my favorite source for Android software, https://f-droid.org/. F-droid is a repository of free and open source software. You initially side load the app, but then it functions just like any app store, except it’s free, (both gratis and libre).