What we can learn from the hitchBOT social experiment

the hitchhiking robot
Philadelphia ,PA

Those that say that Canadians are too nice and trusting were proven correct over the weekend when a social experiment conducted by a Canadian group came to an end in the United States.  This group of Canadian researchers developed HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, that was designed to travel from one destination to the next with the help of strangers.  Along the way it would carry on limited conversations, take pictures, and keep fans informed of its journey on a Twitter page.  This experiment had been successfully completed in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany.  Unfortunately hitchBOT never made it across the United States as planned.

Over the weekend, hitchBOT arrived in Philadelphia and was transferred to a pair of vloggers for a YouTube channel called BFvsGF.  These vloggers took hitchBOT to see the Liberty Bell but soon grew tired of the “freaky” robot and left it on a park bench.  The next day someone discovered that hitchBOT had been destroyed, its technology (albeit probably inexpensive) stolen.  The Twitter-verse immediately exploded in condemnation of the unfriendly people of the United States.  After all, how could someone harm poor little hitchBOT.

Brendan Spaar feels that there is a bigger message here than a vandalized robot.  The real story here is that two people were entrusted to be the guardian of a vulnerable individual (ok, robot) and failed in that duty.  This would be no different than if they discovered a lost child in the street.  Would they only help a boy or girl until they grew tired of them?  Brendan Spaar believes that the only reason that this did not happen in Canada or Europe is because people there took their duty seriously and made sure that the robot was in capable hands.  These vloggers abandoned the robot and the rest is history.  Instead of pointing the finger at the criminal behavior that ended the journey, maybe we should look at the lack of responsibility that allowed it to happen.

Source:  http://www.gizmoids.com/2015/08/hitchbot-the-hitchhiking-robot-that-relied-on-human-kindness-to-travel-meets-its-demise-in-the-us

Supernatural tech support is actually a high paying job

Have you ever felt like your computer was possessed?  Many computer users, including Brendan Spaar, sometimes get the feeling that glitches in their gadgets are outside of their control.  Some users go to great lengths to protect their data from corruption or theft including placing bible verses on their computer screens, saying a prayer before starting work, and even shaking a gris-gris bag when working on important documents.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and feel that your technology is possessed, you should look up Reverend Joey Talley.  Reverend Joey is a self proclaimed Wiccan witch with a specialty in supernatural tech support.  Brendan Spaar knows that you may be thinking that this is just a fairy tale but major tech companies like Facebook, Salesforce, and Apple have used the Reverend to ward off evil spirits living in their technology.

For those of you who have solved the unsolvable tech problems where the only explanation is divine intervention, your skills command a high salary.  Reverend Joey charges clients $200 an hour for removing evil spirits from technology.  There is no word if she needs to come back monthly for “update patches” to keep the spirits at bay.

Source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-techies-hiring-wiccan-witch-to-protect-computers-from-viruses-2015-7

Albertsons hacked. Credit card info stolen.

These days, we know you are also concerned about the security of your payment card data, and we work hard to protect it. Unfortunately, like many other retailers over the past few years, Albertsons has recently learned of an unauthorized access to credit and debit card payment information in some of our stores. The appropriate federal law enforcement authorities have been notified, and BANNER has been working closely with data forensics experts and its third party IT services provider, SUPERVALU, to determine if customer credit or debit card payment information was actually taken. Based on our current investigation, it appears that the unauthorized access may have started as early as June 24, 2014 in our stores, and on July 17, 2014, action was taken to contain the incident. From information we have at this time, there is no evidence that any customer data was taken. The investigation is ongoing.

As if the widely known hack involving Target stores last year wasn’t bad enough.  Now Albertsons and SuperValu grocery stores are reporting that they have been hacked and about 228 stores were impacted.  The security breach occurred between June 22nd and July 17th and only impacted stores in in Southern California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Southern Utah.  The grocer says that the security hole has been plugged but if you live in one of the impacted states and shopped at Albertsons during those dates, Brendan Spaar recommends that you watch your credit and bank accounts very carefully over the next few months.

Should we go back to using cash only at stores?  It would seem that even with compliance standards like PCI, retail stores are not immune to attack.  Hackers are centering their attention on the payment terminals at these stores more than ever.  So far no one has been arrested or charged with the Albertsons break in and it is doubtful that anyone ever will be.  Brendan Spaar advises everyone that he knows not to use a debit card except for at an ATM.


Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/15/technology/security/albertsons-supervalu-hack/