Sunday, February 16, 2014

Things I learned lately - 16 February

  • Santa Fe Springs California has the highest concentration of Starbucks stores in the US with 560 stores in a 25 mile radius.
  • A Dutch court has lifted a ban on The Pirate Bay, allowing ISPs to permit access to the torrent site. The Dutch Court of Appeals determined that the ban was ineffective at stopping piracy. The block order reduced traffic to The Pirate Bay, but torrent levels did not decline. The anti-piracy group that brought the original case must now pay ISPs 400,000 euros in legal costs.
  • While learning how to use the full-body scanners at airport security, TSA members asked the vendor what they really thought of the machine (off the record). "They’re sh-t. You won’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and guns are practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket."
  • At least 15% of malls in the US will fail or be converted into non-retail space in the next 10 years, 50% in the next 15-20 years.
  • Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010.
  • The overall effect of the 3-strikes HADOPI law in France on illegal music downloads is....... negligible.
  • "That truth is that traditional brick and mortar retailing is at an inflection (turning) point. No longer are many retailers only required to compete with stores on the other side of the street. They are now required to compete with stores on the other side of the country." ~Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
  • In 2013 alone, the US spent $80 billion just getting the Navy to patrol oil shipping lanes in the Arabian Gulf.
  • New York City wants 1/3 of its taxis to be electric by 2020.
  • Christine McVie has rejoined Fleetwood Mac!
  • Target's massive data breach started with a single phishing email. Just in case you thought phishing is no big deal.
  • There is a new set of sophisticated malware tool called Careto that gets in via a phishing email and can collect network traffic, keystrokes, Skype conversations, analyze Wi-Fi traffic, PGP keys, fetch all information from Nokia devices, screen captures and monitor all file operations. It works on Windows, OSX and Linux and possibly all phones too.
  • Just because OpenTable says a restaurant is booked doesn't mean it is. The restaurant can rig the schedule to force online clients to book at less than prime-time slots.

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