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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox April 2nd, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox
April 2nd, 2021

Deepfakes, Pigs, and Extortion

I realized earlier this week that I’ve now been publishing this weekly update for a full year.  It started as a way to remind people that Ashton was still in business, and to share some helpful technology hints for getting through a pandemic.  Since then, its focus has remained on technology solutions (since that’s what Ashton provides) but has included random topics like sports, real estate, and an occasional recipe.  I figure that a year is a good length of time, so this will be the last edition of Thoughts From My Inbox.  It’s been fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

 

Something About…

 

NFTs

A couple of weeks back, I shared a piece about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) when a digital “work of art” sold for $69.3M. The NBA claims to have sold $200M worth of highlights (why?). Just the other day, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames released the NHL’s first piece of “digital memorabilia”. When it comes to sports memorabilia, I’ll take a baseball card that I can trade (or put in a box in the closet) or hockey stick that I can hang on the wall, any day.  But a digital image?  Whatever.  Anyhow, a recent Seth Godin post regarding NFTs and the amount of electricity they use just came through my inbox.  I’m so confused as to why these are a ‘thing’ that I never even would’ve considered this perspective.

 

 

Deepfakes

Too much technology can definitely be a bad thing.  Deepfakes (using artificial intelligence to altering existing images/videos to make a person appear to do or say something they didn’t really do or say).  We’ve seen it with politicians and actors/ actresses, and now it’s made its way to the general public. In this case, a mom harassing her daughter’s peers (mugshot above- I wouldn’t want to tick her off) by using technology to put them into seemingly compromising positions.  It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to believe anything you see unless there’s proof to back it up.

 

 

Extortion

It seems I have something about ‘ransomware’ just about every week.  So we’ll call this one ‘extortion’.  Ransomware began with hackers encrypting data and requiring a ‘ransom’ payment to get the file decryptors. That morphed into stealing data before encrypting it.  Hackers then threatened to release the data on the dark web unless a ransom was paid.  Now, hackers are stealing data and targeting the end users in hopes of getting them (Joe and Jane Consumer) to convince the effected business to pay a ransom to protect their personal data.  What’s next?

 

 

Apple Security
It was just after I sent last week’s edition that I received news of an update to Apple operating systems. This applies to iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, and sounds rather urgent.  Evidently, hackers are able to take over control of your devices through a backdoor, if you’re hit with this issue. If you have one of these devices, confirm which version of the OS you’re using, and download as need be.

 

 

Free Skating

Ever wonder what happens when somebody breaks their skateboard in half?   Neither did I.  But I think we’ve found the answer for those of you who have lost sleep over it.  It’s called Free Skating.

 

 

Pig Racing

Last week it was walnut smashing (in case you missed it), which generated some great responses.  This week, it’s pig racing. I think a few of these guys should head back to the minor leagues, as they definitely don’t look ready for primetime.

 

Real Estate

Looking for a new place in NYC for you and or some of your closest friends? Maybe you’ve always wanted to open your own restaurant or become a landlord?  This week’s listing offers both opportunities– buy the building and rent the five units, convert it into a single unit, and open a restaurant in the street level space!

 

 

With last week’s edition, a few of you asked me why I was so terrified of streetsweepers. I honestly have no idea.  I do, however, recall loving April Fool’s Day ever since I was little.  Since nobody here at the office had to deal with cellophaned toilet seats, greased door knobs, or butterscotch Lifesavers in the shower head (some of my favorite pranks) you get to, instead.  This publication is only a year old.  Did you really think I was pulling the plug on it?!?!

Have a great weekend and be nice to the Easter Bunny!

 

 

Best,
Jim

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