Tech Friday

  • Twitter passwords leaked:
    • Twitter recently admitted that user's passwords were stored as plaintext (unencrypted) and were stored in an internal log
    • In a blog post, Twitter wrote "When you set a password for your Twitter account, we use technology that masks it so no one at the company can see it. We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log"
    • Twitter urged users to change their passwords immediately
    • They have 330 million users, but did not say how many accounts were affected
    • A source cited by Reuters said the number of impacted users was "substantial" and affected passwords were exposed for "several months"
    • Twitter said they protect passwords with the bcrypt hashing algorithm, but a flaw in the process cause the passwords to be "written to an internal log before completing the hashing process"
    • A spokesperson for Twitter said the bug "is related to our internal systems only" and reported that the bug has been corrected
    • Twitter also indicated that an internal investigation "shows no indication of breach or misuse"
    • Twitter said "Since this is not a breach and our investigation has shown no signs of misuse, we are not forcing a password reset but are presenting the information for people to make an informed decision about their account"
    • Sadly, Twitter is the second company to admit a password related bug in the last few weeks
    • GitHub said it exposed some users' plaintext passwords after they were written to an internal logging system
    • You should change your Twitter password now
    • You can read Twitter's blog post on the subject here:
  • High-tech graduation gift ideas: 
    • TUMI Lightning Cable Key Fob: Professional looking key fob with a built in battery charger - $55
    • Belkin Car Power Valet: Power for all your mobile devices on the road - $79
    • Roku: Cut the cable $30
    • Vizio E series 60 inch LCD TV: $600
    • Amazon Fire HD 82: Great tablet: $80
    • Surpernova Sphere: a cool decoration for a grad out on their own: $40
    • Amazon Kindle 2016: Designed specifically for reading e-books: $60
    • JBL Link 20: Great sound from a portable, Bluetooth speaker: $149
    • Notebook computer: Prices vary widely based on power, but a good machine can be had for less than $500
  • Google is ready to let its AI talk for you:
    • A new artificial intelligence (AI) technology named Google Duplex was announced on Tuesday at Google I/O, their annual developer conference
    • Duplex has advanced to the point that it can have a conversation with a real person in real-time and is good enough to make an appointment for you
    • At the conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai played real-life calls using Duplex during his presentation
    • Pichai acknowledged that Duplex isn’t perfect, but they are planning to roll it out in the next few weeks
    • "The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments,” Yaniv Leviathan, principal engineer, and Yossi Matias, vice president for engineering, said in a blog post
    • The AI sounds surprisingly realistic and can even ask follow-up questions when discussing options on a call
    • I listened to some calls and would not be surprised if humans don't realize they're talking to machine
    • Duplex uses Google’s real-time supervised training to improve it's capabilities
    • Google uses "experienced operators" to monitor the system when it makes a new type of call. Operators "can affect the behavior of the system in real time as needed" 
    • The interaction with human operators "continues until the system performs at the desired quality level, at which point the supervision stops and the system can make calls autonomously" Leviathan and Matias explained
    • "We are working hard to get this right" Pichai said
    • Duplex demonstrates how far AI has come
    • You can learn more and hear examples of calls here:
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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