Daily Tech Headlines – March 16, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – March 16, 2018
Number 460
Broadcast Date MARCH 16, 2018
Episode Length 5:39
Hosts Sarah Lane

US accuses Russia of hacking power grids, Plattsburgh NY imposes moratorium on bitcoin mining, Lyft tests subscription model.

Headlines

Apple announced a media event Tuesday, March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, focused on "creative new ideas for teachers and students." The implied educational theme could include lower-priced iPads and MacBook Airs targeted at classrooms or a new Apple Pencil. Apple hosted a similar education-focused event in New York City in January 2012 and announced iBooks 2 with interactive textbooks, iBooks Author, and a new version of iTunes U for iPad.
The Trump administration blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks going back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid. This is the first time the United States has publicly accused Russia of hacking into US energy infrastructure. In a security alert published Thursday, The Department of Homeland Security and FBI said a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” had targeted the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.” The alert did not name facilities or companies targeted.
Google Lens is rolling out over the coming weeks to all users using Google Photos, including those on iOS. Google Lens, like Assistant, is an extension of Google Search and analyzes what’s in an image to give more context on details on places of interest and photo subjects. Lens is rolling out on version 3.15 of the iOS app starting today with a complete release for all users over the next week.
Thursday evening, the city council in Plattsburgh, New York unanimously voted to impose an 18-month moratorium on Bitcoin mining. The move was proposed by Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after residents started reporting much bigger electricity bills in January. The moratorium affects only new commercial Bitcoin operations and will not affect companies that are already mining in the city. Plattsburgh is near a hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence river and affords residents cheaper electricity than the national average, but Plattsburgh only has an allotment of 104 megawatt-hours of electricity per month before prices go up. Read suggested solutions like making miners pay for any overages of the city’s power budget, or increasing the kilowatt rate for miners. Local miners say they're willing to work with the city to lift the moratorium.
A study from MIT's Sloan School of Management released last week shows false news travels farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth, “in all categories of information, and in many cases by an order of magnitude." The study claims false news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories, and it takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it takes for false stories to do the same. As for bots, the MIT study found humans are equally to blame: when researchers removed bots from their dataset, the rate at which false news spread compared to accurate news remained unchanged.
Fortnite Battle Royale's invite-only beta version hit iOS Friday morning and quickly grabbed the top position in the Free Apps category for games on the App Store. Epic Games which makes the game said an Android version is on the way but hasn't said if an Android beta will roll out the same way. Thanks to hip hop artist Drake, who played Fortnite on the live-streaming platform Twitch with Twitch celeb Ninja, the broadcast was the top trending global topic on Twitter, and Google search volume for Fortnite beat Minecraft and Bitcoin over the past week.
Qualcomm's board meets today to discuss next steps for director Paul Jacobs, the former chief executive officer and son of the company’s founder. This is according to the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources. Jacobs lost his executive chairman status last week and has been meeting with investors for a management buyout of Qualcomm, according to the Financial Times. U.S. President Donald Trump blocked a deal for Broadcom to acquire Qualcomm earlier this week.
Adobe reported Q1 sales and profit that beat analysts’ estimates thanks to growth in its suite of digital-media software and increased subscriptions. Revenue jumped 24 percent to $2.08 billion and profit climbed to $1.55 a share. Adobe's raising prices on some of its popular software like Photoshop next month, and analysts point to that as a reason for the surge in subscription sales as customers looked to lock in lower rates.
Lyft is testing monthly subscription plans for high-frequency users. New offers to users who spend up to $450 on ride-hailing a month include a one all-access pass offered up to 30 standard Lyft rides for $199 a month, another was priced at $300, and another at $399 for 60 rides. Individual rides up to $15 were covered under the all-access pass. A Lyft spokesperson said that the company had been testing all-access passes for several months now. Uber tested its own subscription service in a number of cities in 2016.

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Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – March 15, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – March 16, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – March 19, 2018"