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On Thursday morning, from 6AM to 7:39AM, viewers weren't able to learn any useful weather information from The Weather Channel. The TV network had to show a taped program instead of airing its morning show AMHQ, because it suffered a security breach…
All good things must come to an end, and that includes multiplayer support for the original Burnout Paradise. Emails sent to players and a tweet from Criterion confirm that the game's servers — which have been in operation since it launched in 2008…
Last year at our TC Sessions: Robotics conference, Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini will be its first commercially available product. A revamped version of the product would use the company’s decades of quadrupedal robotics learnings as a basis for a robot designed to patrol office spaces.
At today’s event, founder and CEO Marc Raibert took to the stage to debut the production version of the electric robot. As noted last year, the company plans to produce around 100 models this year. Raibert said the company is aiming to start production in July or August. There are robots coming off the assembly line now, but they are betas being used for testing, and the company is still doing redesigns. Pricing details will be announced this summer.
New things about the SpotMini as it moves closer to production include redesigned components to make it more reliable, skins that work better to protect the robot if it falls and two sets of cameras on the front and one on each side and the back, so it can see in all directions.
The SpotMini also has an arm (with a hand that’s often mistaken for its head) that is stabilized in space, so it stays in the same place even when the rest of the robot moves, making it more flexible for different applications.
Raibert says he hopes the SpotMini becomes the “Android of robots” (or Android of androids), with navigation software and developers eventually writing apps that can run in and interact with the controls on the robot.
SpotMini is the first commercial robot Boston Dynamics is set to release, but as we learned earlier, it certainly won’t be the last. The company is looking to its wheeled Handle robot in an effort to push into the logistics space. It’s a super-hot category for robotics right now. Notably, Amazon recently acquired Colorado-based start up Canvas to add to its own arm of fulfillment center robots.
Boston Dynamics made its own acquisition earlier this month — a first for the company. The addition of Kinema will bring advanced vision systems to the company’s robots — a key part in implementing these sorts of systems in the field.
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Start spreading the news. Netflix is coming to New York City in a big way.
The streaming media service has committed to invest up to $100 million to build a production hub and hire hundreds of new staffers in the Big Apple, according to a statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Netflix’s new production hub will include an expanded Manhattan office and six sound stages in Brooklyn that could bring hundreds of executive positions and thousands of production crew jobs to New York within the next five years, according to a statement from the Empire State Development Corp.
“New York has created a film-friendly environment that’s home to some of the best creative and executive talent in the world, and we’re excited to provide a place for them at Netflix with our production hub,” said Jason Hariton, director of Worldwide Studio Operations & Real Estate at Netflix, in a statement.
The new corporate offices Netflix has planned will occupy 100,000 square feet in Manhattan at 888 Broadway, housing 127 new executive content acquisition, development, production, legal, publicity and marketing positions. They’ll join the 32 employees Netflix currently has in New York.
Netflix already produces Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, She’s Gotta Have It, The Irishman, Someone Great, Private Life and Russian Doll in New York and has leased 161,000 square feet to build sound stages and support spaces in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighborhood.
To sweeten the pot for Netflix, the Empire State Development Corp. has offered $4 million in performance-based Excelsior Tax Credits over 10 years, which the corporation says are tied to real job creation. To receive the incentive, Netflix must create 127 jobs by 2024 at its executive production office and retain those jobs for another five years.
Russian operatives successfully targeted and hacked “at least one” Florida county government in the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to new findings by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The report, published Thursday by the Justice Department, said the county was targeted by the Russian intelligence service, known as the GRU. The hackers sent spearphishing emails to more than 120 email accounts used by county officials responsible for administering the election, the report said.
According to the findings:
In August 2016, GRU officers targeted employees of [REDACTED], a voting technology company that developed software used by numerous U.S. counties to manage voter rolls, and installed malware on the company network… the spearphishing emails contained an attached Word document coded with malicious software (commonly referred to as a Trojan) that permitted the GRU to access the infected computer.
The findings are a significant development from previous reporting that said Florida’s election systems were merely targets of the Russian operatives.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) was derided after he claimed just days before his eventual re-election that hackers had gained access to the state’s election systems. According to NBC News, some of Nelson’s assertions were based off classified information that was not yet public.
Nelson’s remarks came almost a year after The Intercept published a classified document — later discovered to have been sent by since-jailed NSA whistleblower and Reality Winner — showing that intelligence pointed to a concerted effort by the GRU to target election infrastructure. The NSA said the hackers sent emails impersonating voting technology company VR Systems to state government officials.
The Orlando Sentinel confirmed Thursday following the release of Mueller’s report’s that Volusia County was sent infected emails containing malware, suggesting Volusia County — north of Orlando — may have been the target.
Mueller’s report confirmed that the FBI investigated the incident.
The office of Florida’s secretary of state said that Florida’s voter registration system “was and remains secure,” and “official results or vote tallies were not changed.”
Two years later following the 2018 midterm elections, the Justice Department and Homeland Security said there was “no evidence” of vote hacking or tampering.
Poupyrev was showing off Jacquard, a device that allowed him to use the sleeve of his jacket as a controller for his presentation slides. Google has talked about this work before, and there’s even a $350 Levi’s jacket available for purchase.
But today, Poupyrev actually used Jacquard to control his presentation, and laid out the vision behind the project. Although it didn’t quite work at first, once Poupyrev fixed things backstage and restarted his presentation, he could swipe forward on his sleeve to advance the presentation, or swipe back and revisit the previous slide.
Poupyrev didn’t offer many details about the Jacquard device itself, but he said it can be connected to clothing and other objects with just “a few electrodes,” and that it can recognize the object and then “reconfigure itself” to offer the right kinds of interaction.
The device he held up onstage was small and grey — I could have mistaken it for the key fob that I used to swipe into my old apartment. According to Poupyrev’s website, Jacquard also involves a conductive thread that can be woven on a standard loom.
Ivan Poupyrev speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 – 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED
Why would you want to control a presentation from your jacket sleeve? Poupyrev (who’s also worked as a researcher for Walt Disney Imagineering and Sony) described our current options for computer interaction as “disappointing,” so he’s been looking to “hack into the things you use every day and make them interactive.”
“We need to make technology that changes makers of things into makers of smart things,” he said.
As these everyday objects become more interactive and connected, Poupyrev said it’s important to avoid fragmentation: “We have to create a single computing platform, which powers all those things.” In his view, the cloud is that platform, with Jacquard serving as the connection between everyday objects and the cloud.
Poupyrev suggested that Google could give Jacquard tags to manufacturers to incorporate into their products. It’s rolling out first through the aforementioned partnership with Levi’s, and Poupyrev was wearing a Jacquard-powered Levi’s jean jacket onstage.
“This jacket I’m wearing can control my mobile phone and presentation, but it remains a jacket,” he said. In other words, you can add new interactivity to clothing or furniture without interfering with their core function — just as a smartphone can now browse the internet, take photos, install apps and more, while still allowing you to make phone calls.
Ivan Poupyrev speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 – 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
“We would like to let people who make those things — artists and engineers, brands and craftsmen — to imagine and create this new world where things are connected, where you don’t need keyboards and screens and mouses to interact with a computer,” he said.
After the presentation, TED’s Chris Anderson joined Poupyrev onstage. Anderson sounded impressed by the demo, but he also pointed out that it could “terrify some people,” since it potentially creates “the biggest ever surveillance network” for Google or another company.
When asked why Google would bring such a device to market, Poupyrev said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a researcher.” Anderson pressed him on whether there needs to be “some kind of contract” ensuring that this data isn’t abused, to which Poupyrev replied, “I completely agree.” He said that in Google’s initial partnerships, “the data is completely locked in.”
“We’re trying to figure out what exactly are we going to do with this data,” he said. “We’re sensitive to this particular concern.”