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October 7, 2018

Department of Homeland Security Denies Bloomberg Chinese Spying Chips Report

Bloomberg reported that China manufacturing facilities had implanted spying chips in Supermicro computers. DHS disagrees:

The Department of Homeland Security said Saturday that it is aware of reports that Amazon and Apple network servers may have been compromised by Chinese spy microchips, and that it currently has “no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story.”

This story gets stranger by the day. 

(h/t Axios)

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October 3, 2018

Tim Cook on China, Privacy, and Alex Jones in New VICE Interview

The topics included China, the reasoning behind blocking Alex Jones–world renowned conspiracy theorist and hate monger–and more. You can watch the full interview below.

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Wi-Fi Now Has Version Numbers, and Wi-Fi 6 Comes Out Next Year

From Jacob Kastrenakes at The Verge:

In the past, Wi-Fi versions were identified by a letter or a pair of letters that referred to a wireless standard. The current version is 802.11ac, but before that, we had 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11a, and 802.11b. It was not comprehensible, so the Wi-Fi Alliance — the group that stewards the implementation of Wi-Fi — is changing it.

All of those convoluted codenames are being changed. So instead of the current Wi-Fi being called 802.11ac, it’ll be called Wi-Fi 5 (because it’s the fifth version). It’ll probably make more sense this way, starting with the first version of Wi-Fi, 802.11b:

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)

The next version, efficiently dubbed Wi-Fi 6, represents the new 802.11ax standard. For the average consumer, this means very little. I imagine some were able to glean improvement just by the increasing letters (and quantity of letters) but most didn’t care. Now, it’s obvious, version 6 is better than version 5 which is better than version 4, etc. 

This new descriptive system is likely to make its way to just about everything that has Wi-Fi capability with the caveat that not all companies will adopt it at the same time. It is a no-brainer and definitely a welcome improvement. 

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October 2, 2018

Amazon is Raising Their Minimum Wage to $15/hour

From Amazon:

Amazon today announced it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies), and seasonal employees across the U.S.—effective November 1. The new Amazon $15 minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Amazon’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

The last sentence gave me a chuckle. The only way they’ll be able to do that is state-by-state, and they’ll for sure have a hard time in the reddest of states. The current administration isn’t likely to ever raise the minimum wage. If they had their way, they’d eliminate it altogether.

Overall, this is great news from a company that was paying on average just $7.25/hour. For those who are already making $15/hour, they are set to see an increase, as well. Many folks are set to see a doubling of their paychecks and I can imagine that’ll be a welcome sight.

If only they made it easier for part-time workers to receive benefits. 

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October 1, 2018

Elon Musk Settles with the SEC

Felix Salmon at Axios:

Hours before signing a settlement to pay the SEC $10 million and step down as chairman of Tesla for two years, Musk changed his mind, precipitating an SEC lawsuit and the destruction of more than $7 billion in wealth as Tesla stock promptly plunged on Friday. So then Musk unchanged his mind, agreeing to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman for three years.

So he was going to play the ego card and “stand up” to the SEC, saw how dumb it would be, and promptly caved. If he had settled on Thursday, he would have paid less and been back as chairman sooner, but I’m sure no one explained that to him.

As Salmon so aptly puts it, Musk didn’t have much of a choice from the perspective of wanting to raise new money in the future. No one would be interested in giving Tesla cash while they’re tied up in an SEC lawsuit. Such a set of circumstances would ring the death knell for the car maker. 

While my prediction wasn’t entirely accurate, I was correct on two points: he settled with the SEC and nothing largely happened to him. He’s still CEO. Whether we’ll forget this ever happened… I can imagine the regular consume will. Only time will tell if the debt markets and future investors do. (We know Tesla diehards will absolutely forget… hell, it’s already fake news to them, I’d imagine). 

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
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