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Archives for: July 2013

There were 40 posts published in July 2013.

Tech and Startup News: Top 7 Things You Missed Today

Tech and startup news: Here are the top 7 things you missed today.


  1. Tool Used By NSA Collects Everything You Do Online


On June 10th, Edward Snowden stated in an interview: “I, sitting at my desk could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.


This statement was vehemently opposed by the USA, although it now seems to be quite possible with a tool called XKeyScore. The Guardian has reported that training materials for XKeyscore details how to use this and other systems to hack vast databases including emails, online chats, and browsing histories.


The worst part – no prior authorization or clearance is needed for analysts to access this information.


 2. Starbucks and Google Team up


Venti mocha lovers have a new reason to rejoice. Google is teaming up with Starbucks to provide WiFi with service up to 10x faster. Over the next 18 months, 7,000 Starbucks locations will be converted to “Google Starbucks SSID.”


This is important for more than just the merger of internet services. Google Fiber has aspired to bring free internet to rural locations, and has successfully done so in Kansas City. Yet,  no internet service has brought free WiFi to the masses quite like Starbucks. As noted on Google’s blog, Starbucks has provided internet for Hurricane Sandy, as well as high school students with no home internet. Together, the implication could be affordable, high-speed internet for the masses.


 3. Minnowboard: Intel’s first open-source PC and answer to Raspberry Pi

Intel’s first open source hardware called “The Minnowboard” will rival Raspberry Pi … at 10x the cost.

The MinnowBoard, which measures 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) by 4 inches, is Intel’s first open-source hardware design for enthusiasts and developers.


4. Medium Losing Writers

The much anticipated and well-publicized website of former Twitter-founder Ev Williams is receiving scrutiny. Today, a writer has explained why he is leaving the platform: low traffic and little control over his articles.


Kenneth Reitz points out quite a few drawbacks to working on another platform, citing the inability to track his own statistics including referrers, cannot embed content on a post, cannot pick his own URLs, etc.


This comes at a crucial time for the website as it’s picking up speed, but apparently dis-satisfying its own user base.


5. Apigee Raises $35M Round

Apigee builds and supports APIs so developers can access a company’s data and services. They’ve been most successful with telecom, and translating those backend systems into languages developers and understand and work with.


One example is an API program entitled ‘OneAPI Exchange,’ which is an API program that helps unify APIs for mobile carriers, allowing a developer to design one app that can translate location, ID verification and payment tools across multiple operators.


The current round of $35M makes this a Series F with a total of $107 million in funding. BlackRock led the round with Accenture participating.


6. City of Oakland takes $2 Million for City Wide Surveillance

The City of Oakland has accepted $2 million in federal funding to link surveillance cameras, license-plate readers, gunshot detectors, Twitter feeds, alarm notifications and other data.

Residents spoke out, saying the measure grants too much freedom to the Oakland Police Department.


How to Protect Your Business From Attacks Without Really Trying

You trust your employees, right? Maybe you shouldn’t…


At least, not in issues of network security.  Whether you like it or not, employees use office computers to communicate on social networking sites, share links to online entertainment, or download files from suspicious sources. At the same time, cybercriminals use social networking sites for phishing and malware distribution. They infect personal blogs, entertainment sites, file-sharing services, and torrent trackers. They regularly hack passwords to email accounts.  To protect your network, here is a list of security threats and protection techniques you should know:


Targeted attacks


Because the majority of threats target mass audiences, antivirus software can prevent most accidents. Targeted attacks are different: hackers perform them secretly, often using a non-standard approach; they are highly sophisticated and well organized.  These are the attacks you should worry about the most.


Social Engineering Attacks

In 2009, over 20 major software companies fell victim to the Operation Aurora targeted attack. In one incident, hackers lured company employees with social networking sites and IM clients. Using social engineering techniques, the scammers got acquainted with their victims, gained their confidence, and did whatever was necessary to make the recipients open a link. The fraudsters only needed to:


-Collect widely available information about the user from social networks

-Create an account with the victim’s personal information

-Become “friends” with the people from the victim’s list of contacts

-And get in touch with the victim using an established “cover”


When an account has been so thoroughly prepared, it can easily trick victims into clicking a suspect link. If this fails, the scammer can try a more sophisticated trick; hacking the account of a user whom the victim trusts and sending links from there. This is especially easy if the victim’s trusted contacts include vulnerable users like elderly people, children, or teenagers.


In a targeted attack, a link may lead the victim to a site with 0-day exploits, which allow criminals access to vulnerable computers. By communicating on social networks from the office computer, employees may unwittingly help hackers penetrate the corporate network.


Watering Hole Attacks

In ​​this type of attack, hackers infect the sites that your employees use the most. Recently, the U.S. Ministry of Labor site was infected, but the real target of the attack was the Department of Energy.  The criminals had tried to infect the computers of DOE employees who regularly visited the Ministry of Labor’s website.


Once targeted employees open an infected page,  malware redirects their browser to a malicious site, which may contain 0-day exploits.  By hiding malware in such a way, scammers can also hide their targeted attacks from antivirus companies and IT security experts.


Before you assume that your network is secure, remember that fraudsters will try to infect trusted sites. Even when users must carry out additional steps, like turning on JavaScript, they may innocently click “Allow” and “Confirm.”


Protection through Policy

Users may cause targeted attacks by allowing scammers to access the system. Unfortunately, there is no technology to eliminate human error from corporate network security. However, reinforcing security policies provides protection by combating targeted attacks at every stage - from the first attempt to exploit a vulnerability to attempts to compromise the network.


Protection Against Exploits

Since targeted attacks use unique malware, signature-based detection isn’t enough to identify the malicious code. Yet, antivirus programs have long had more weapons at their disposal than signature-based detection. AEP technology methods of heuristic analysis and control over executable code can block execution of malicious code when it exploits a 0-day vulnerability.


If fraudsters can attack the system, network traffic and application controls may prevent further penetration into the corporate network.


Network traffic control

Once malicious code gets in the system, it usually attempts to:


-Establish connection with a command center

-Open ports for incoming connections

-Download additional modules

-Implement malicious code in other processes to maintain connection with the command center

-Gather information about the network like its systems and users

-And send the harvested information to the fraudsters’ server.


Having connected to the system, scammers collect information about it and the computer’s corporate network. To collect local information, the fraudsters don’t need extra privileges.  They can find a list of running processes, installed software, and more, with little effort. They collect information about the corporate network using special scripts and utilities for masking activity and bypassing security systems. Then they analyze this information before the next stage of attack.


Using network traffic control technology, system administrators and IT security specialists can block dangerous network activity and detect any penetration into the corporate network. For instance, Firewall and IPS / IDS can:


-Block incoming/outgoing connections by port, protocol, domain name, and IP address.

-Generate statistical analysis of traffic for anomalies

-Collect suspicious network traffic for further analysis

-Detect or block outgoing commands or similar output sent online, downloads of suspicious files from the Internet, and transmissions of confidential information


Firewall and IPS / IDS can detect anomalies in the interactions of network nodes once the malicious code tries to contact the command center or scans the corporate network for other systems like open ports. This anomaly detection allows IT security experts to respond to the threat, preventing further intrusion into the corporate network.


Application control

Having accessed the target system, the criminals aim to consolidate their success.  By downloading additional modules, malicious code, and utilities onto the system, they incorporate a connection with the command center into trusted processes like explorer.exe.


Application Control can block the launch and download of untrusted programs and modules from the scammer’s hacker set.  HIPS policies should also block dangerous non-standard behavior from legitimate software. Browsers shouldn’t open ports for incoming connections. System processes and other applications shouldn’t be connected to external servers to deploy malicious code to other trusted processes.  This behavior should be prohibited.


To prevent criminals from gaining control of the system, IT security specialists should:


-Stop trusted or vulnerable programs from implementing code in other processes

-Restrict applications’ access to critical system resources and files only

-Block dangerous functions that aren’t a default feature of the applications

-Safeguard systems that require the highest protection level with the Default Deny mode.  This mode can block programs from starting up if they aren’t included in the white list, stored locally, or in the cloud.


File encryption

If the scammers seize control of the system and penetrate the corporate network, they may try to find and upload files that contain important information like:


-Corporate documents, including security policies

-Files containing credentials

-Configuration files

-Source codes

-Private keys


This information appears on the main victim machine as well as in open network folders on other systems. To prevent a data leak, IT security specialists should use file/disk encryption to restrict local access to the confidential information. Data is also transferred in an encrypted form. Even if the criminals manage to download something, they couldn’t read the content of the encrypted files.


Security policies

In isolation, none of the above technologies can prevent a targeted attack. To protect the corporate network, all these technologies must be well integrated and carefully tuned.


However, system administrators and IT security specialists should also use administrative protection measures:


All users must:

-Know and observe company security policies

-Understand the ​​possible consequences of the Internet threats, such as phishing, social engineering, or malware sites

-Inform the security service about all incidents.

-Accept user access rights and privileges:

-Scan the systems for vulnerabilities and unused network services:

-Detect and analyze vulnerable network services and applications

-Update vulnerable components and applications. If there is no update, vulnerable software should be restricted or banned.


Rights and privileges should be granted only when necessary and recorded.  Many of these measures can be automated. If security policies are violated, special software shows the user a warning message. Systems Management technology can be used to search for network services and unauthorized devices, vulnerabilities, and automatic updates of vulnerable applications.



Misuse of company resources can lead to direct financial losses and a serious IT security incident. While communicating on social networking sites or viewing websites on the office computer, employees can become unwitting victims and involuntary allies of criminals who plan targeted attacks.  Though they may have honest intentions, it’s never a bad idea to have a backup plan.


The Technology Powering the Fantasy Football Machine

FX’s comedy “The League” is preparing its fifth season this year thanks to its success and the popularity of fantasy football. The show follows six adults holding onto childhood friendships through a fantasy football league taken way too seriously.

And while the show is fiction, the premise is common fact throughout the country. Fantasy football is big business. Forbes reported that 32 million people participated in 2010 and it’s a number that continues to rise.


But unlike “The League,” many who play in the same league live in different states or possibly a different country. The technology that drives fantasy football makes it possible to compete as if the person is in the same room.



In its infancy, player statistics like rushing yards, touchdowns and interceptions were gathered from the sports section of the morning paper. Participants looked for each player on their fantasy roster and wrote down the stats by hand to figure their score for the week. It was a process that could take hours each week.

Now the process is completely hands-off. Companies like Yahoo and ESPN have teams dedicated to tracking statistics and points. A fantasy player only needs to set his or her roster before the weekend and the technology does the rest.


Live Tracking

Not only do fantasy players no longer track their own stats, the automation is done in real time. Adrian Peterson scores a touchdown? You’ll see those points on your board within seconds. You can even track your players on live television without switching the channel. If you’re a Sunday Ticket subscriber through cable.org or another retailer, you can track up to 18 players live on game day. If one of your guys makes a big play, Sunday Ticket will alert you and even let you watch the footage.


Xbox and Mobile

Microsoft announced in May that it would broadcast exclusive NFL footage to Xbox and Microsoft tablet users this season, ranging from unique views during the game to a live view at the coach’s playbook as he calls the offense. The features can be enjoyed by the casual fan, but they serve a fantasy purpose too. Like Sunday Ticket, the new Microsoft features will let fan track their fantasy player and receive real-time updates with their progress. Anyone who owns an Xbox and is a Sunday Ticket subscriber is going to have a good time with this.


Mobile tech is also moving the game forward. You don’t even need a laptop or TV to track fantasy stats anymore. ESPN, Yahoo and the NFL all have mobile apps that let you set rosters, check stats and keep up with other teams in your league.


Video Chat

Fantasy football isn’t just about statistics, it’s about the competition and smack talk between you and your friends. When everyone is separated by state lines, it’s tough to talk trash over an e-mail. Technology like Skype and Google Hangouts lets everyone get in a virtual room together and tout (or mourn) their own lineups on Sunday. If you activate Google+ premium features, you can fit 15 people in a single hangout, which could be the whole league.


Resilience - The Way To Survive A Cyber Attack

The claim that any Western, information technology dependent society could be brought down by a fifteen-minute cyber attack has recently provoked intense discussion.


In reality, a well-prepared cyber attack does not need to last for 15 minutes to succeed.  It takes only seconds to conduct an attack that could hit targets next door or on the other side of the world.


Society’s capability to withstand the attack determines whether or not it will lead to chaos - and in what time.  As a general rule, it takes a lot longer than 15 minutes for all consequences to manifest themselves and for Society to absorb and react to them. Re-establishing the equilibrium that existed before the attack may take years.


There is no such thing as absolute security; neither in the physical nor in the virtual world.  While technology could eliminate human error from the threat catalogue through automation, with it brings novel and constantly evolving threats.  Information technology vows to enhance situational awareness for security, yet carries unknown vulnerabilities with it.  Incomplete security is nothing new in itself, but the enmeshment of physical and virtual worlds creates new kinds of security opportunities and needs to address.


Today’s overall threat catalogue is versatile and in constant change.  As it includes both unemerged and just gradually appearing threats, it forces Society to plan and prepare for the unknown.  Preparing for the unknown can only take place through strengthened resilience. Resilience refers to the continuation of operations even when Society faces a severe disturbance in its security, the capability to recover from the shock quickly, and the ability to either remount the temporarily halted functions or re-engineer them.


Resilience is a multidimensional phenomenon. It affects Society at present, but will affect its future even more . Resilience is not only a headache for the decision-makers, but also a feature of states, organizations, corporations, and individuals.  Society’s overall resilience builds upon the capabilities of its parts to prevent and resist exceptions from the usual and adapt to them rapidly.


Resilience can be categorized as “infrastructure resilience,” “community resilience,” “business continuity” and “corporate resilience.” All of these are important for the survival of Society in a contemporary security environment. Resilience is not only physical - it is mental as well. Hence it also includes, for instance, the capability to make justifiable decisions and act upon them under distress. Tolerance for crisis should be seen as a function vital to society.


Western societies are used to a prevailing state of peace and have managed to construct well-functioning societal operations based on the utilisation of technology.  As a drawback to this state, however, they have lost some important survival capabilities.  Their mental ability to deal with distress is especially declining because of the lulling belief that nothing can go too wrong. This belief can lead to a situation in which the physical features of Society recover from an attack relatively quickly, but poor mental tolerance keeps it from re-balancing itself for years or decades.


Developing and maintaining resilience is a central demand presented by contemporary security thinking. Its importance will only heighten in the future as the world becomes more interconnected, threats become more complex and cooperation becomes a necessity to address complicated security questions. Resilience enables both efficient operating in times of distress and smooth societal functioning. The intertwinedness of physical and virtual worlds requires that preparation, acting, and learning take place in the intermingled reality .  This enables the utilisation of opportunities information technology and cyberspace create without exposing oneself to unnecessary risk.


Even the virtual world breaks sometimes. But minor disturbances, like temporal interruptions in communications networks or defunct ATMs, are only beneficial because we tend to trust the operability of bytes too much. If bytes do not function, we become helpless.


Temporal cyber disturbances and shocks will always happen. This could save us, because they keep us alert. Our future depends upon our resilience and our resilience depends on Society’s ability to protect itself from cyber attacks.


Tech & Startup News: Top 7 Things You Missed Today

Tech & Startup News: Here are the Top 7 Developing Stories

  1. Maker Plane


Pilots and engineers are attempting to build a plane using 3D Printing, home-built composites, - and most importantly, the open source community. There have been many home-built planes before, yet this will the first to be built by entirely off open-source contributions.


Following the LSA category for ‘light sport aircraft,’ the airplane will have two seats, weigh a maximum of 1,320 pounds, and reach a max speed of 138 mph. Even more impressive, they’re goal is to build the airplane for under $15K

Here’s a statement from their IndieGoGo campaign:


“Using low-cost digital manufacturing technologies, people will be able to build their aircraft quickly, safely and at low cost. All of our plans are free for the community to download and use.”



2. Twitter Fouls Again: Dick Costolo Commits Recruiting Violation

On the heels of a fraudulent tweets being sent to 1.5 million users, Twitter’s CEO has committed a NCAA recruiting violation by contacting a recent Michigan recruit, George Campbell.

Costolo, who is also a Michigan booster, is not allowed to contact recruits for any reason, even after a recruit has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University.

Perhaps this is minor compared to the social media giant illegally using real profiles to pump out a promotion, but these are two back-to-back incidents of Twitter breaking rules.

 3. Google Glass Releasing a Developers’ Kit – But Not Just Yet

Excited developers will have to wait a little bit longer, according to an announcement last Friday by Google. Rather than providing a release date, app developers were encouraged to start building apps for Glass on the current Android SDK. Perhaps the GDK-specific kit won’t be needed though, as Google hinted towards demonstrating how Android apps will and can be turned into a Glass app.


4. Vimeo, Redbox Instant and Plex prepare to offer Chromecast support


Priced at just $35, everyone and their mother wants a Chromecast – and now every streaming service on the planet wants to be on Chromecast. The announcement is barely a week old, and we are already seeing evidence of the clamoring.

Here’s who is making announcements:

-Vimeo, the video streaming service

  • -Plex, the media center maker
  • -Verizon’s Redbox Instant
  • -Pandora
  • -AOL
  • -The Washington Post
  • -HBO Go


“Yes we know you are all excited about ChromeCast, we are too! :)” –Plex on Google+

“We’re excited about the emerging opportunities bridging mobile to Connected TV and we look forward to offering Chromecast support in our products.” – Nick Alt, VP of Mobile, Vimeo

 5. Paranoid Yet? NSA Planting BackDoors in Intel and AMD Chips

Rumors are spreading that the NSA may be implanting backdoors into Intel chips and AMD Chips. The main proof experts seem to state is actually quite simple: it’s practical.

Here are your options:


  1. Crack conventionally, which for some encryptions – such as an AES 256 bit encryption, would be nearly impossible.
  2. Hollywood style: Find a 19-year old genius hacker
  3. Or, capture the information easily and seamlessly just before or after the encryption/decryption.

Here’s the full story, quoting Silicon Valley’s favorite expert Steve Blank and Jonathan Brossard, who demonstrated this concept at last year’s BlackHat Conference.



6. Bradley Manning Not Convicted of Aiding the Enemy; Convicted on 19 Other Charges


It appears Bradley Manning will be spending a very long time in jail. Yet, Manning advocates, at the very least, are pleased that he was not convicted of aiding the enemy – a conviction that has not been used since the Civil War.


Manning, who deployed to Baghdad in 2009, was so startled by the U.S. wartime conduct, that he released 700,000 documents to the anti-secrecy group Wikileaks. These documents ranged from war logs between Iraq and Afghanistan, to assessments of Guatanamo Bay detainees.


There are two opinions of Manning. Those who see him as a publicity-seeking, cunning and reckless American. Yet, others see him as honorable for disclosing information about military misconduct – which the public may have the right to know.


7. Car Hacked with Nintendo Controller


Hackers from DARPA have demonstrated how to take over a car with only a laptop and NES controller. The proof of concept included how to start and stop the engine, - but also steer the car with a 1980s game console controller.


The two brilliant minds, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, were retained by DARPA to determine whether today’s cars can be hacked. Well, apparently, the answer is an emphatic yes.


Want proof? The duo will be at DefCon next month in Vegas,


Fake Tweets Used To Promote New Ad Products

Over the years the internet has become another media platform that survives financially  through promoting various products, tv shows, and films.

Visit your favorite clothing site and then cruise over to Facebook.  Odds are you’ll see an advertisement to the far left promoting a clothing store you like and certain sales you need to take advantage of.  The frustration of enduring advertisements has entered the realm of the internet.  An eye roll may induce when someone wants to listen to a new Jay Z song because they first have to sit through Wendy - The Progressive Car Insurance Lady.

But what happens when a social network exploits their user’s privacy in order to promote a product? Recently, Twitter apologized for faking tweets from real users for a mock-up promoting an ad platform.  These fake tweets depicted users talking positively about TV advertisements.  As SFGate’s website explains “The blog post promoted new Twitter Ads integration with tv commercials”.


These tweets look very real, however, users whose image and screen name were used soon spoke out.


These users were not informed that their profile pics and accounts were being presented in a post on Twitter’s blog - sent out to large amounts of users via @Twitterads Twitter account and re-tweeted to more than 1.5 million.


Neil Gottlieb replied “It’s disturbing and has no place” when referring to a Twitter blog post that featured a tweet of him saying “What is the song in the new @barristabar commercial?  I love it!!”.  Gottlieb who is in charge of the medical animation company 3FX in Philadelphia continued and said “To use my image and fake a tweet is wrong and needs to be addressed.”


Gottlieb is right. Taking users account information and using it to advertise products is a violation of privacy. If advertising like this becomes more popular and acceptable how long will it be before companies and other institutions are able to use users account information in order to state views that are not the user’s own.


It's Time To Flip Your Webinars

Increasingly, webinars are considered one of the most effective ways to get listeners to understand,

products, solutions, and market trends, as well as to conduct training or make other announcements. More and more marketers are hosting them regularly as a way to generate and convert business leads. Webinars also allow for two-way interaction and a personalized approach.


The staggering success of webinars is reflected in a report published by Demand Gen Report, a marketing publication, which found that 95% of the companies surveyed used webinars.


Despite the popularity of hosting webinars, there are indications that the novelty of these online events may be wearing off. A recent survey conducted byClickZsuggests that of 400 consumers surveyed only 16% preferred to watch a live webinar. The survey finds that consumers would prefer to watch a webinar at their own convenience.


The webinar as we have come to know it is outdated. Most webinars are far too lengthy and simply aren’t interactive enough. Instead they inundate viewers with information and interaction is limited to messenger chat, with few opportunities to ask questions. Generally webinars rely on a combination of slides and video which fails to properly engage viewers. And the content of most webinars is not tailored to suit individuals and their unique interests, but rather a group.


With all the technological innovations available at our fingertips, the time has never been riper to reinvent the webinar.


After having conducted numerous “traditional” webinars at Kaltura, and inspired by the “flipped classroom” format, which has been catching on in the educational scene, we have recently adopted a new  “flipped webinar”, format, which  dramatically changes the way webinars are run.


This is a novel and more interactive approach which is flipping the traditional webinar on its head. With our new webinars we hope to address all the drawbacks of the typical webinar and thereby offer something which is beneficial to both us and our viewers.


The “flipped webinar” draws on the success of a similar concept, the  flipped classroom, which is being used by educators around the globe. Both models aim to offer a more interactive and hands-on experience that encourages engagement with content, be it in the classroom or webinar.


Our webinars are designed to be as interactive as possible. Drawing on the flipped classroom model, we tailor each of our webinars to suit the participants who will be attending, and their unique needs.


We do this by sending all those who are invited (and later to all registrants) a two minute video which outlines the aims of the webinar and provides an “in video survey” to get as much feedback as possible beforehand. This helps us tailor the content of the webinar and gives us an idea of how we should focus that particular event. During the actual webinar, we run many polls and surveys and use that feedback to further personalize and adjust content in real-time.


This personalized approach transforms the traditional webinar into something which is dynamic and gives those attending a more interactive and individually tailored experience. Of course, our approach is quite time consuming; the amount of preparation, planning and analysis that goes into running a successful flipped webinar cannot be underestimated. However, despite the time investment,  we have found flipped webinars to be a highly effective tool to convert leads.


The results we have seen are quite amazing. There is impressive interest in pre-webinar questions, including very useful input to open ended questions, and during the actual webinar we generally get about 90% of the audience to actively participate in the polls and surveys. Depending on the context of the webinar these results help us in product development efforts, in market analysis and in providing important qualifying information. It is clear to us that the active and engaging nature of the flipped webinar is superior to passive traditional webinars.


Do you have other ideas for how the traditional webinar can be made more engaging and interactive? I’d love to hear them.


Tech & Startups: Top 7 Things You Missed Today

Tech & Startups:  Top 7 News Items From Across the WeJuly 29th, 2013

  1. Tech Giants Beware! $35.1 B Merger creates World’s Biggest Advertising Agency


Omnicom and Publicis are merging to create the world’s biggest advertising agency worth $35.1 billion. The company will be called Publicis Omnicom Group and will be led by Omnicom CEO, John Wre,n and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy. They will be co-chief executives.


Meanwhile, Google is currently the world’s biggest digital ad network, and Facebook recently showed promising returns on mobile. Both of these companies, plus Yahoo, Apple and other tech giants have reason to be alarmed by this recent acquisition and potential threat in what is considered to be the internet’s top bounty: digital advertising.


2. 60 Minutes Predicts Steve Jobs Will Be Forgotten


In a recent documentary on Bill Gates, 60 Minutes highlighted the business magnate gone philanthropist, asserting he will make a longer-lasting imprint on society than Steve Jobs.


Here’s a link to the video: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50151799n


3. Heart Surgery in India for $1583.00 costs $106,385 in U.S.


A heart surgeon turned businessman, Devi Shetty, has cut the price of coronary bi-pass surgery down to a mere $1583. It currently costs $106,385 at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, as first reported by Bloomberg.


How does Shetty accomplish such low prices across the 21 medical centers around India? He cuts down on air conditioning, the cost of medical scrubs and also foregoes Pre-Op testing.

 “The current price of everything that you see in health care is predominantly opportunistic pricing and the outcome of inefficiency.” - Devi Shetty


4. New Invention Wards Off Date-Rape Drug


A Boston MassChallenge startup has invented new cups and straws, designed to change color in the event someone slips a date-rape drug into your drink.


startups from boston mass challenge


The creator, Michael Abramson, was drugged himself one night in a Boston nightclub – which inspired the new concept. He raised $52,000 on IndieGoGo, citing support and outreach from other date rape drug victims.

“Your straw would actually change color. Any part that is touching the drink would actually then change color. And it would be designed, too, so it would be clear that there was a color change happening, there would be no question about it,” Abramson told WGBH news

5. The Ultimate Electric Driving Machine … Isn’t Tesla


BMW has just entered the EV market with an announcement today of the new BMW i3. The new vehicle in the i-Line is priced at $41,350 and expected to reach the United States in early 2014.


Current stats include a 22-kilowatt, 450-pound lithium-ion power and the ability to reach 80-100 miles with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.


On that note, the Nissan Leaf is still a better value in the EV market, but BMW at least has a carved out a starting point.



6. Busy Month For Bitcoin: Ruled to be Illegal in Thailand


Earlier this month, we reported the first website in Iran “Coin Ava” is now open to buying and selling Bitcoin. Yet, in a recent meeting between Bitcoin, LLC. and The Bank of Thailand, bitcoin was ruled to illegal in Thailand. The following reasons were stated: “lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets.”


7. Fun Project with Arduino: Monitoring Toilets

Using a wireless Arduino, a team in Tokyo has designed a monitoring device for bathrooms. Similar to airplane occupancy lights, the team designed a way to know if the bathroom is occupied across three floors.





Chevron is Worse than The NSA & 7 Other Things You Missed Today


  1. 1 Day Before BlackHat Conference, Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies

Barnaby Jack, who is best known for “jackpotting” an ATM machine at the 2010 Black Hat Conference, has suddenly passed away.

Jack was a security professional (and quasi-entertainer) who received standing ovations at conferences for his ability to hack tiny computers embedded in medical devices and banking machines.

Although his demonstration with ATMs, as in – he forced them to spit out cash, is what he is most known for, his hack on medical devices may have the most widespread impact. Jack was due to present a techniques for imploding heart implants, claiming an ability to kill a man 30 feet away.


 2. 500Startups Later: Here is what Dave McClure has learned

Lesson 1: “It often takes six to 18 months to figure it out” – also stating your first impressions are rarely correct

Lesson 2: On Investing Overseas: ““If you invest in one company in a country, the whole country feels like they won the lottery.””

Lesson 3: Remember the Happy Hour saying ‘It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere?’ Here’s Dave’s version startup version: “The sun never sets on 500 Startups these days. We have tough times during our own team meetings, because it’s always 3 A.M. somewhere.

Lesson 4: On Silicon Valley: “Founders always want to come to Silicon Valley, because they’ve heard it’s a magical place. But once they arrive, their perception sometimes changes.”

Lesson 5: On VCs: ““A lot of VCs like to think they know exactly what’s going to work, like, ‘Oh, I remember when they were so awesome and I was so awesome picking them.’ But the more we do it, the more we realize that we’re wrong a lot.”


3. The Biggest Smartphone News Isn’t Apple or Samsung

Despite Apple blowing past analyst predictions with 31.2 million iPhone sales in Q2, they aren’t the biggest smartphone news. Neither is Samsung, who sold more than double what Apple did, with 72.4 million.

So, who is the biggest news? LG and Lenovo, according to research firm IDC.

Both manufacturers’ shipments grew by over 100% over the last 12 months, leaving each with roughly 5% of the market.

 4. Chevron is Worse than the NSA:

In a “Chilling” hearing, Chevron has been granted access to activists’ emails and private data. A federal judge ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

The “sweeping” subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Here’s a full report from the Ecuadorian Amazon Watch:

In their statement about the ruling, ERI notes that the argument given by presiding US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan – who was previously accused of prejudice against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers – was as “breathtaking as the subpoena itself.” They continue:

According to Judge Kaplan, none of the account holders could benefit from First Amendment protections since the account holders had “not shown that they were U.S. citizens.”

Now, let’s break this down. The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders’ residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not US citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?

 5. Amazon Meets Kickstarter – A New Method for Indie Authors and Musicians:

A hot new startup is allowing indie artists to sell their files directly from Dropbox or Google Drive using PayPal. This will, of course, require your own fan base. But, it’s a move in the right direction for those who want a more private method than Kickstarter.

Although, on a side note, 5% seems prohibitively high for what they offer.

Here’s the cool new startup: https://sellboxhq.com/

 6. What Happens in Vegas ….


Zynga has made a lackluster announcement – they’ve folded their hand at getting a license for real-money gambling in the U.S. With plummeting shares, Zynga has decided to stick with it’s core strengths … Vegas can now breathe a sigh of relief


7. FunFact: UK Prepares to Censor Porn … And, TorrentFreak, too?!

Despite Prime Minister, David Cameron’s commendable concern to protect UK’s children by restricting access to porn, it appears he is also taking TorrentFreak down with these XXX sites.

Here’s a list of what users will have to manually unblock to require access: