Samsung, Others using Roku TV platform are at a security risk

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Most of the modern software is waiting to be exploited.

The problems affect Samsung televisions, along with models made by TCL and other brands that use the Roku TV smart-TV platform, as well as streaming devices such as the Roku Ultra. We found that a relatively unsophisticated hacker could change channels, play offensive content, or crank up the volume, which might be deeply unsettling to someone who didn’t understand what was happening. This could be done over the web, from thousands of miles away. (These vulnerabilities would not allow a hacker to spy on the user or steal information.) The findings were part of a broad privacy and security evaluation, led by Consumer Reports, of smart TVs from top brands that also included LG, Sony, and Vizio.

Wired Founding Editor & Author Kevin Kelly on John Perry Barlow

Last night upon hearing the passing of John Perry Barlow, I emailed a few friends in the industry and wanted to get their thoughts on Barlow. Founding editor of Wired (and author, thinker, and futurist), Kevin Kelly, knew him well and sent an email sharing his impressions of Barlow. Here is a tiny snippet that is relevant to me and should be to others.

It may be truer to say the most of what he wrote and said was less an attempt to nail reality as it was to reshape reality. He was unashamed aspirationalist. In that regard, Barlow had much in common with many prophets, gurus, visionaries, magicians, innovators, charlatans, and politicians in that he placed greater emphasis on what could be rather than what is. And he believed, as those just mentioned do and most journalists and scientists don’t, that you can create reality with your words.

I always thought of Barlow as the Mayor of the Internet. He saw very early that the internet was a political artifact that would require the same kind of idealism, compromise, and civics that prosperous and free societies needed. Nobody elected him, but if we did vote for a Mayor of the Internet, he would have won because everyone –no matter their stripe or color — thought of him as a good friend (and he was a good friend to thousands). I think he would have done a decent job as Mayor, rallying our better natures to make a better internet city on the hill.

If there had been no Barlow, I believe the internet would still be hunting for its own identity, it would have far fewer heroes guarding fragile rights and responsibilities in this new realm, it would lack some of the most poetic descriptions of technology written, and we would not have had the rawhide character of Barlow, the free-spirit no one could domesticate, always ready with a satisfying turn of phrase to illuminate the horror and glories of our new world.

Internet Pioneer John Perry Barlow, RIP

EFF founder and the Internet philosopher, John Perry Barlow has died at the age of 70. An influential thinker, he helped shape the early identity and morality of the Internet. His idealistic vision of the Internet is what has inspired so many of us. I had a chance to meet him once, and it was one of the more influential and life-changing conversations of my life.

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You Can’t Unhear Apple’s HomePod

To the question of is HomePod worth the premium over a product like the Sonos One that is $199 and has Amazon’s Alexa, I’d say absolutely if you truly care and are picky about sound quality and/or you are deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem. For the time being, if you want a great sounding speaker, with multi-room capability, a bit more full-featured assistant in Amazon’s Alexa (with Google Assistant support coming) then the Sonos Play One is a great option and great value for the money. In fact, the more I compared the Sonos Play One to the HomePod, while HomePod did sound better, I was still impressed with the sound quality of the Sonos comparatively for the price.

Ben and I have come to the same conclusion, though I am going to upgrade in the near future. I think HomePod is a big step up.