Weekly News Roundup 24/8/2015

I took a break last week but it seems as though the world of tech kept on marching forward.
The Ashley Madison saga continues, a free to play game is pulling down US$20 Million dollars a month and rumors surrounding an Apple car are stronger than ever!

We could see it heading this way couldn’t we?

Image from the Gizmodo story.

As data on the Ashley Madison breach is dumped on the dark web, grubby extortionists are sending demands to exposed subscribers to pay up or they will be contacting their significant others.
Payments are 1 bitcoin plus an arbitrary fraction to act as a serial number of the payment so the extortionists know who has paid out of the reams of targeted individuals.
The dollar amount comes to around AUD$307.00 and there is a deadline in most cases. Problem is: Ashley Madison did not verify email addresses (obviously) so it is possible that email addresses are not real or emails taken from other people that don’t even know what Ashley Madison is. This could lead to some innocents getting accused wrongly of wrong doing which of course is bad. Really bad.
For the full story at Gizmodo, go here.
Oh yeah, and there is also this story about the class action being launched against ALM/Ashley Madison.

It is free to buy, there is no advertising but it makes US$20M a month!

hearthstoneGames publishing goliath Blizzard Entertainment is continuing to dig up gold. The flagship game World of Warcraft may be “dying” as subscriber levels have slumped 44% to 5.6 million active accounts in 6 months (which is still pretty good), they have other solid games including the Diablo franchise and Starcraft the most recent fully fleshed out game is the studios first push into mobile gaming and it is making a killing.
Hearthstone is a battle/trading card game based online multiplayer title that can be played on mobile phones, tablets and computers targeting the largest audience possible and by using micro-transactions to sell extra packs of cards and access to single player adventures Blizzard has managed to turn a game that cost anywhere between US$5M and US$20M to develop and market into one of it’s most profitable properties.
For the full story on Polygon.com, go here.

Rumors of Apple getting into the car game strengthen.

applecarThere is always chatter in the industry swirling about what Apple will do next including TV displays, smart homes and of course the idea of Apple making a car has got some people pretty excited.
If Google can make a self-driving car, why not Apple?
Apple like Google has a pretty strong R&D arm but the difference is that the Apple think-tank is pretty much kept under wraps so all we have to go on is leaks, guesses and speculation. The latest information though has lent some pretty strong evidence that Apple is making some kind of tilt at the automotive industry with a recent hire of a Tesla Motors engineer by the name of Jamie Carlson, a former autopilot firmware engineer for the all-electric car maker. This makes it almost certain that the code named Project Titan at Apple is indeed research going into an autonomous vehicle.
If it turns out however that we will do not get to see an iCar on the streets I think that we can at the very least expect to see Apple partner with established manufacturers to provide tightly integrated in-car entertainment, navigation and maybe even automation.
Here is the Bizjournals.com story.

Exciting times ahead my friends.