The Weekly Hash - August 31, 2012

A review of some of the top tech stories for the past week, with tongue planted firmly somewhere near cheek.

082912_authentication-small.jpgITworld/Phil Johnson

It was a big week for conventions, what with the Republican National Convention, VMworld and LinuxCon, only one of which involved Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. Here’s your weekly summary of the top tech stories, at least as I see them; don’t blame ITworld or IDG for the following shenanigans:

On Wednesday, President Obama took part in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, which generated over 22,000 comments and briefly crashed the site. President Obama had a busy week online; he also finally accepted Joe Biden’s Facebook friend request.

Oracle issued an emergency Java patch on Thursday to fix two rcently uncovered “zero-day” vulnerabilities. People had become so scared of Java that Starbucks’ stock hit a new low.

LinuxCon was held his week In San Diego. The most awkward moment of the conference came when a confused Clint Eastwood came on stage and endorsed Linus Torvalds for president.

Earlier this week at VMworld in San Francisco, incoming VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger anounced the elimination of vRAM pricing, to great applause. Afterwards, Gelsinger said that eliminating vRAM was so popular, VMware has reinstated it so they can announce its elimination again next year.

The Japanese government is considering allowing emergency calls to be placed via Twitter and social media during natural disasters. Under the proposal, social media would become the primary method of communication in the case of earthquake, tsunami or a Brangelina breakup.

The U.S. is considering easing up on allowing the use of personal electronics in-flight. That’s the good news; the bad news is there are no plans to ease up on the use of snooty flight attendants.

Earlier this week the manual Apple uses to train its in-store Geniuses was leaked. In a total coincidence, today Samsung released the manual they use to train their in-store Smart People.

The city of Oakland, California says that AT&T cell towers are interfering with police radio communications. In response, AT&T has partially disabled service at 16 cell towers around Oakland Dunkin’ Donuts.

File-sharing utility Dropbox began offering two-factor authentication this week. I don’t want to say that two-factor authentication is getting out of hand, but now my mom won’t take my calls until a return a four-digit security code that she texts me.

The platform officially adopted by the Republican party this week calls for a more aggressive cybersecurity policy in order to prevent “the cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor". It’s the first time that either party has had a platform plank focusing on the prevention of future Ben Affleck WWII movies.

Everybody have a great holiday weekend and remember: no using your white smartphone after Labor Day.

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