According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Clayton County Police Department used Facebook to contact Anna Lamb-Creasey to inform her of her son's death. The department says that they tried more conventional methods first, but resorted to Facebook after those failed.
The Chief of Police stated, "Society has accepted social media as a major form of communication, and so have I."
Lamb-Creasey doesn't think the department should have used Facebook to contact her. She says, "They told me that they did the best that they can do. But I'm not sure about that. [Because] if they can track a criminal down, they couldn't track me down? They could have done better. I've been on my job 13 years. They could have found me."
She makes a good point. The police are pretty well trained at tracking people down, so it's a wonder that they weren't able to locate her. Of course, we'll never really know for sure what other methods the department tried first. They have made one change to their Facebook policy. Instead of sending the message from an individual officer's account, as was the case here, the department has created their own page that can be used for things like this.
I'll leave the debate about whether this is an acceptable way to deliver news such as this up to you.
German security firm, Hensel European Security Services (HESS), has lost its Amazon.com contract amidst accusations of Neo-Nazi ties and mistreating foreign workers.
The whistle was blown last week when German TV channel ARD broadcast a documentary about the firm's bad behavior. The documentary used hidden cameras to showcase how the firm harassed and intimidated foreign workers. It also blew the cover off some of its "military style" employees who seemed to have ties with Neo-Nazi organizations.
HESS firmly denies the allegations, noting that it employees a number of foreign workers and immigrants. The documentary caught Amazon's eye, which lead to the decision to sever all ties between Amazon and HESS. I have included the video below, but you will need to understand German to get the full details.
Yesterday we reported on the very talented Jeri Ellsworth being let go from her position on Valve's Steam Box development team, and today it appears that even more layoffs have taken place.
While the extent of the layoffs is unknown at the moment, sources are reporting that Valve may have terminated the employment of as many as 25 people. In addition to Ellsworth, Jason Holtman was also let go. Jason was head of Steam's business network, and was the person publishers negotiated with before their games appeared on Steam.
With rumors and accusations mounting, Valve CEO Gabe Newell released the following statement:
"We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I'd take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren't cancelling any projects. No, we aren't changing any priorities or projects we've been discussing. No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here."
Owners of Jawbone headsets, and Jambox owners, who use the MyTALK service, could have had their passwords leaked in a recent "security compromise", says the company. A limited number of accounts were affected during a recent hack into the company's systems.
Jawbone said that it took action to halt the attack, but the intrusion lasted several hours. It appears that only names, email addresses, and passwords were stolen from user accounts to the MyTALK service. Jawbone is advising all users change their passwords on the service, as well as any sites that you might use the same password on.
Affected users have had their accounts reset, and should have received an email alerting them to the intrusion, along with instructions on how to change your password. No word was released on who might have hacked into the system, and no one is claiming the breech at this time.
President Obama is getting a bit of attention today thanks to his State of the Union speech, where he introduced a new executive order to address cybersecurity problems across the United States.
The now second term President said that the US and allied nations must take action to stop the constant attacks, as "we cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy." The new executive order continues on a voluntary initiative that started in May 2012, supervised by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
The already in-place measure has been criticized over its lack of definition and scope, as well as its failure to find what actually makes up a cyber attack that requires a response. The original proposal has a lack of civil rights protections, which is, of course, a huge problem. In a draft of the document released during the State of the Union speech, the White House notes that the new measure must include "strong privacy and civil liberties protections", where it addresses the criticisms of the program currently enacted by 12 companies, as well as the federal government.
During his State of the Union speech, President Obama talks about Apple bringing Mac production to the US
If you didn't watch it live, President Obama had his State of the Union speech a few hours ago, and mentioned Apple during his speech to Congress. Obama took a few minutes to talk about Apple bringing Mac production back to the US this year.
President Obama didn't specifically name which Macs would be manufactured in the US, but we should see the Mac mini manufactured in the US - creating nearly 200 jobs in the US. Obama said:
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was right there, sitting in the First Lady's box (take that as you will) which is the usual spot for guests who are mentioned during the President's speech.
Yesterday, an emergency alert broadcast interrupted Montana television viewers with a message that was both horrifying and hilarious at the same time. The obviously bogus message reported that "Dead bodies are rising from their graves".
The fraudulent alert was quickly pulled off the airwaves by Great Falls based KRTV and an apology was quickly issued. The alert was the result of a hack into the EAS system and authorities have yet to find the culprit.
While the motivation is still unclear as to why the hack was issued, some speculate that it could have been a viral marketing campaign for the popular TV show The Walking Dead. One thing is certain though; I think we all can admit to this being the funniest thing we have seen all week.
According to Bloomberg's latest report, the White House could slap down an executive order on cybersecurity sometime next week, just after the State of the Union address.
This new order has been slowly building up over the last few months, and arrives in perfect timing to address some of the high-profile attacks that we've seen lately, including the hack on the Federal Reserve. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have both been attacked, where they're accusing the hackers are coming from China. We've seen Twitter hacked, too.
The new executive order signed by President Obama would set up a bunch of voluntary cybersecurity standards that companies operating important US infrastructure will be able to participate in. This will push for a more open government, which would share information about potential threats to companies in the private sector.
In what can only be described as a culture increasingly turning towards technology, eight firefighters in Atlantic City were sworn into their new positions using an iPad's Bible app. That's right, instead of using a physical Bible, these eight firefighters put their hand on an iPad and took their oath.
The strange event transpired after everyone realized that no one had brought a Bible to the ceremony. Luckily, someone had an iPad and the bright idea to pull up a Bible app on it to use as a stand-in. Could we see something similar happen at the next presidential inauguration? I doubt it, though this goes to show that times are changing.
I'm sure most of you have seen the "Ain't nobody got time for that" YouTube video that got turned into a meme.
Now that you're back, take a look at this local TV commercial for Shortline Dental in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
You're not mistaking. The stars in both of those videos are the same person. The TV commercial produced by Shortline Dental plays off of the original video's catch phrase and uses the star's notoriety much like other ads feature celebrities. What do you think of the ad?
What I find really interesting about this is the fact that more and more memes are seeping into the non-digital world. It goes to show just how pervasive the internet culture has become.
Every couple of months we hear another plan to put the old analog TV spectrum back to good use. The discussion bounces from idea to idea, but always seems to come back to Wi-Fi as the perfect use in most cases.
If FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has his way, a "super" Wi-Fi network will be built using the currently silent analog TV spectrum. It would span from coast to coast, border-to-border and would provide free internet and VoIP calling to all US residents.
Naturally ISP's and cable companies have begun lobbying against the proposed network, while tech giants like Google and Microsoft are supporting the idea of a free nationwide Wi-Fi network, as naturally it suits their business models perfectly. What do you think? Does a free nationwide internet connection sound appealing to you? Let us know in the comments.
Yesterday Redbox announced that it has begun selling tickets to sporting events, comedy shows, theme parks, nightclubs, concerts and more at its kiosks around Los Angeles. That effectively puts Redbox into the event ticketing game with 1,300 retail locations from day one. Tickets are also available on the company's website.
Buyers are able to print them off at home or pick them up at the event's box office. Some of you may remember that Redbox did a trial run of this service in Philadelphia last year and we are guessing that it was a success. The only setback to buying tickets through the new service is that premium seats will not be available.
So what does Redbox get out of this, one might ask. The answer is simply $1 per transaction in the form of a processing fee. This is a much lower price than what other ticketing services charge and could set Redbox up for a nice 2013 earnings report.
In the past people have landed in hot water after their video went "viral" on YouTube. This is certainly the case for pilot Jason Newburg who was recently seen making a 200+ MPH low altitude pass that came with in mere feet of the person holding the camera.
FAA regulations clearly state that "no person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another." In the video above, you can see that the pilot's plane came within feet of a pedestrian on an ATV and within a few feet of the person shooting the video.
Newberg was granted a waiver for practicing daring maneuvers by the FFA, which most likely was valid at the time of the incident. "Even with a waiver, there a requirement that people on the ground not be endangered," said FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford. Newberg in defense said, "this was a structured shoot, and some people don't understand that."
Over 1.2 million of the US Army's Advanced Combat Helmets have been handed out to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, where one of them has stopped an AK-47 round from killing an Iowa National Guard member.
Command Sergeant Major Emmett Maunakea said "it was able to stop and not allow the bullet to go ahead and penetrate his head at all". Tom Albers, from Alton, Iowa, was on patrol in Afghanistan 19 months ago when something hit his helmet and knocked him to the ground. His fellow guardsman, Adam Riediger, when speaking to the Le Mars Daily Sentinel, said "I asked him what had happened because he was coherent. He said 'I think I got shot'".
The Army then analyzed the damaged Advanced Combat Helmet, and returned the helmet to Albers earlier this month. Albers told the newspaper:
The last time I remember seeing the helmet. I was sitting in a helicopter looking at the inside and seeing the pads (inside the helmet) all tore up.
Drones have taken center stage on most news outlets and discussions. But much remains unknown about drones, so PBS would like to dispel some of the myths and get the truth out about drones. PBS' NOVA is working on premiering a documentary called "Rise of the Drones."
"We've entered an era where we're conducting an array of operations using unmanned systems that in a previous generation we would have called war, and we would have treated like war," Peter W. Singer, an expert in the future of warfare, says in the documentary. "When you're conducting more than 300 air strikes in a country, you're conducting an equivalent of at least an 'Air War' campaign. But we don't call it that now."
If you're interested in learning more about drones, including seeing an interview with the "father" of the Predator drone, you can tune into PBS Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
University student kicked out for finding security flaw offered scholarship by the company behind flawed software
A college student who thought he was doing a good deed by reporting a security flaw in the software used by his college was expelled. The college has stood behind their decision to expel the obviously talented college student. The company behind the software has come out to offer the student a scholarship and part-time job in IT security.
"We will offer him a scholarship so he can finish his diploma in the private sector," said Edouard Taza, the president of Skytech.
The student union has also asked the school to reinstate him as a student: "Hamed is a brilliant computer science student who simply wanted to help his school," said Morgan Crockett, the union's director of internal affairs and advocacy. "Dawson College should be thankful for his talent and foresight. They must immediately reinstate Hamed, refund the debt he has incurred as a result of his unjust expulsion and offer him a public apology."
It's not looking like he will be able to return to college at Dawson, though that is what he would really like to do: "I really want to go back to school. I really love the teachers in computer science at Dawson College," he said.
At least now he should be able to afford going to a college of his choosing, thanks to Skytech. He will also be able to gain industry experience through the part-time job offered to him by Skytech.
We all know about the gun debate right now, the Aurora shooting, the Newtown shooting and now Obama issuing multiple orders to change gun laws across the United States. Groupon have now stepped out and cancelled all of their scheduled and ongoing gun-related promotions. A Groupon spokesperson talked to Daily Finance, where they said:
All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature. The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback.
It looks like Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is behind the move, as an owner of a gun shop based in Texas, Michael Cargill, has said that his Groupon deal - which was for a concealed handgun training course - was cancelled, with his representative telling him Mason was behind the decision. Cargill talked to FOX 7, where he said:
The Groupon representative calls me up and he says that 'Well, because of the CEO, he's decided to suspend all Groupon deals related to handguns, concealed handguns or anything dealing with guns period.
I, along with most guys, have a thing for cars. However, not all of us have the money to do what Rick Hendrick did. Rick Hendrick, the owner of a NASCAR team, ponied up a $1.05 million bid for the first 2014 Corvette Stingray to come off of the production lines. The auction took place at the Barrett-Jackson car collector event.
The money will be donated to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. That aside, the price is about 20 times higher than what the sticker price is expected to be. The new Corvette is expected to be priced about the same as the current Corvette, roughly $50,000, so why someone would pay this much is unknown.
Apparently this isn't the first time he has laid out big amounts of cash for Chevrolet vehicles fresh off of the production line. He paid out $350,000 for the first 2010 Camero SS as well as winning the first 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition. Was a $1.05 million bid worth it to get model 0001? You be the judge.
Ahmed Al-Khabaz, a 20 year old computer science student at Montreal's Dawson College, recently identified a major security flaw in the universities computer system. Instead of being thanked, or given a pat on the back, the student was expelled from the school.
Al-Khabaz was working on a mobile app that would gain students easier access to their college account, when he discovered what he described as "sloppy coding". The coding flaw allowed easy access to anyone wishing to find student's personal information stored in the system.
When brought to the attention of university officials, Al-Khabaz was promised that he would work with Skytech, the creators of the software in which the flaw was found, to resolve the issue. That call never came however. Two days later, Al-Khabaz ran another security check to see if the flaw had been fixed. It hadn't. A few minutes later he got a call from Edouard Teza, the president of Skytech. It was then that Al-Khabaz was accused of a cyber-attack and threatened with legal action.
World renowned physicists Stephen Hawking turned 71 on January 8th, with little fanfare in the media, something we expect Mr. Hawking appreciated. As it turns out, Intel decided that they wanted to present Hawking with a gift of their own.
Intel custom manufactured a one-off 300mm silicon wafer using the company's 32nm manufacturing process. Each die in the wafer has Hawking's name written thousands of times at the nano-scale level, making each letter more than 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Hawking, who is handicapped by a motor neuron disease, is recognized as one of the greatest minds of our time. Intel is working with him on improving his speech, and described him as "extraordinary". From all of us here at TweakTown, Happy Birthday Mr. Hawking, and thanks for your contributions to science.
Magazine publishing powerhouse Hearst has started publishing its magazines on Apple's iOS newsstand days earlier than it releases the print editions to physical newsstands. This could be a pivotal moment in how magazines are published industry wide.
Hearst has started publishing 22 of its major magazines early to the iPad's newsstand. This bucks the trend seen in recent years where publishers paid little attention to early publishing for digital devices.
Apple has said that it welcomes other publishers to follow and notes that other online stores do not offer the same privilege of early publishing.