Monthly Archives: December 2017

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Hackers Can Rickroll Thousands of Sonos and Bose Speakers Over the Internet Sonos, Inc. Perhaps you’ve been hearing strange sounds in your home—ghostly creaks and moans, random Rick Astley tunes, Alexa commands issued in someone else’s voice. If so, you haven’t necessarily lost your mind. Instead, if you own one of a few models of internet-connected speaker and you’ve been careless with your network settings, you might be one of thousands of people whose Sonos or Bose devices have been left wide open to audio hijacking by hackers around the world. Researchers at Trend Micro have found that some models of Sonos and Bose speakers—including the Sonos Play:1, the newer Sonos One, and Bose SoundTouch systems—can be pinpointed online with simple internet scans, accessed remotely, and then commandeered with straightforward tricks to play any audio file that a hacker chooses. Only a small fraction of the total number of Bose […]

The Million-Dollar Minimalism of McLaren’s Senna Supercar 1/6McLaren’s latest million-dollar supercar, the Senna, is ruthlessly dedicated to performance over pampering.McLaren Usually, when you spend more than a million dollars on something, you get a whole lot of it. A whole lot of diamond necklace, a whole lot of beluga caviar, a whole lot of Instagram followers. But if you’re buying the McLaren Senna, you don’t get much supercar at all. Named for legendary Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna, McLaren’s latest car is an exercise in million-dollar minimalism. No fancy features. No air conditioning system. No cargo area—just enough room to store two helmets and racing suits, so you’re ready when you arrive at the track. Barely enough leather to cover the seats, dashboard, and side airbags. Such luxuries are banished from the Senna because they all share a terrible trait: They have mass. And when you’re making what you call […]

When Your Activity Tracker Becomes a Personal Medical Device Fitbit Fitbit spent its first decade selling activity trackers. With its latest moves, the company is starting to look less like a gear maker selling pricey accessories to fitness buffs and more like a medical-device company, catering to hospitals, patients, and health insurers. The company’s business-to-business arm, called Health Solutions, is now addressing four health conditions—sleep disorders including sleep apnea, diabetes, cardiovascular health and mental health—for employers, health insurers, healthcare providers, and researchers. Fitbit has deals with insurers like UnitedHealthcare, which pays its clients up to $1,500 a year for hitting step-count goals. United has done years of research to calculate its return on these payouts, says Fitbit CEO James Park. “The business models are finally catching up to the data we have been collecting.” The next stage is to add in heart rate data, he says. Fitbit’s newest product, the […]

Converse Finally Goes Waterproof, With Some Help From Gore-Tex Darryl “Curtains” Jackson in the rain tower at Gore’s Maryland campus. The rain is drenching Darryl “Curtains” Jackson. It’s coming down in sheets from a machine overhead that’s been programmed to dump water droplets at the rate of 3.25 inches an hour. “This is a nice, steady rain,” he says, as drops fall from the ceiling and drain into the grated floor below. Curtains, Converse’s apparel director, is standing in the middle of the rain tower, a silvery box inside the biophysics lab at the Maryland campus of Gore, the company that makes waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex fabrics. The tower is designed to simulate nasty weather of all kinds—slanted downpours, harsh winds, insistent drizzle—so Gore can test the efficacy of the materials it manufactures. Even in this fabricated deluge, Curtains doesn’t need an umbrella. Today, he’s wearing a hooded black zip-up […]