Weekend Roundup: Switches, Strikes, SkyNet, Spyware, and… Stewart?

Hey, it’s your weekend. You pretended to work hard all week, and now you get to pretend to relax while work gnaws at your mind. Why not read about SkyNet to ease your troubles, friend?

Enough chit-chat. Let’s go!

Video Conferencing As Spyware (VCaS)

Yeah, I registered that as a trademark. Gonna sell it to Zoom and make a bunch of cash, too. Take that!

Zoom, the video chatting service your company may be forcing you to use, has a bug that allowed a third party to open your webcam without you knowing. All they had to do was trick you into visiting a website, and they could view your cam on macOS. Deleting the app didn’t remove the vulnerability, which persisted in the operating system as a cookie. Awesome.

The worst part? Zoom was informed of the bug, given 90 days to fix it… but did nothing. In fact, it positioned the bug as a feature, only cutting off access to the server handling macOS clients once news spread about the problem. Apple released a surreptitious update for macOS that cut off Zoom’s legs, at least as a background process, so you’re safe for now.

But the real takeaway is that Zoom’s attitude is garbage, and it’s a trash company for doing this purposefully, then acting like it was all part of some grand design we just didn’t understand (all while ignoring a security researcher’s report).

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch is a sensational console that is outselling the Xbox and PlayStation, so developers should take notice. But if there’s anything more enticing than a console, it’s a handheld, and the new Switch Lite may prove a massive boost for the Nintendo ecosystem.

Switch Lite is more a successor to the 3DS than the Switch. It’s handheld-only; you can’t detach the JoyCons and play in tabletop mode, and you can’t hook the Switch Lite to a TV. It’s smaller and lacks a ton of features compared to the Switch.

But it’s also $100 cheaper ($199; the Switch is $299), and can play any Switch game that doesn’t require TV or tabletop mode. It’s also the truest mobile experience Nintendo will offer. For example, “Dr. Mario World” came out this week, but it’s more like “Candy Crush” than a proper Nintendo title.

Patent Sale

After losing Apple as a customer for its 5G modems, Intel decided to leave the mobile arena to other players. It has entered into exclusive talks with a buyer for its library of mobile patents.

So who’s buying? Many speculate it’s Apple! While the Cupertino company tries to design its own chipsets for desktop and mobile (yes, the Mac is going all-ARM; get used to it), it’s apparently snapping up patents. No word on what intellectual property these patents will provide Apple, but when you purchase patents instead of licensing them, it’s a long-term bet. Viva ARM!

“Hey Siri, Was That a Strike?”

The umpire calling the Atlantic League All-Star game, Brian deBrauwere, was part of a trial run that used AirPods and an iPhone to help him call balls and strikes.

The iPhone in deBrauwere’s back pocket was linked to a TrackMan radar system, which was used as a fail-safe for calling balls and strikes. Yes, deBrauwere was still in charge; the whole system was simply a digital check on his perception of the game.

It also failed. The fourth inning left deBrauwere calling the game on his own, like it was 2018. Maybe he drove his Edsel to the game and fans were doing the Charleston when players hit home runs, too. We don’t know much about the olden times before Siri, okay?!

Joking aside, this is pretty great. Games can get tense, and there’s nothing worse than a bad call in the heat of the moment. At least with AirPods in, an ump can wait to see what TrackMan says before we accuse them of early-onset blindness and kick dirt in their direction.

Siri SkyNet

“Hey Siri, Have You Seen This Boy?”

Do you think maybe Siri is the Terminator? It could be!

Amazon and Microsoft are the final two companies vying for a $10 billion Department of Defense contract to build what is essentially SkyNet. The JEDI project (yes, that’s what the Pentagon calls its cloud migration, how-do-you-do-fellow-kids) will see it move into the cloud, hopefully going paperless in the process!

The government wants to use a single cloud provider, which we all know is a great idea. Putting all of your eggs into one basket with no backup is the best possible project management. In fact, the Dice Salary Calculator says you can earn roughly 100 percent less with that skill because any rational employer would fire you for that.

But Amazon and Microsoft both have A.I. assistants, so at least Alexa or Cortana will help decide when we go to SkyNet-assisted Future War. I’m much more comfortable with Siri calling balls and strikes, thank you very much!

Smartglasses Sunk?

So, DigiTimes is dead wrong half the time. That’s why we’re taking this with a giant block of salt lick we stole from a goat farm: It’s reporting Apple has canceled its smartglasses project.

We doubt this heavily, since most (actually, all) of Apple’s improvements to ARKit suggest glasses are coming. But it’s possible there’s an outside company willing to take the gamble on AR glasses hardware, leaving Apple to focus on cheese graters. Glasses are coming, but maybe not from Apple, which is probably bad news.

Pay Up, Stewart

I don’t know Stewart Zimmel, but he apparently threatened to punch Ian, and now he has to pay $6,000.

Confused? Everyone is. The American Hockey League’s app was sending push notifications to its users claiming Stewart owed six large for threatening to hit Ian. Deadspin reports Zimmel is the COO of HockeyTech, and used to work with Ian at a company called Buzzer Apps before it was acquired by HockeyTech.

Still confused? Who cares, it’s minor league hockey. Just know this is not how push notifications work. If you want Stewart’s money, you have to infect his machine with malware and make him pay a ransom. That’s how tech works. You don’t air your dirty laundry via push notifications!

Have a great weekend! Don’t Worry About SkyNet!