The Pentagon Needs Hackers, Windows 10 Beats Windows 8… [Tech News Digest]

The Pentagon needs white-hat hackers, Windows 10 grows in popularity, Spotify finds new music for you, Amazon’s Alexa is the new Sherlock Holmes, and Where’s Waldo? goes full circle.

The DoD Wants You to Hack the Pentagon

The Department of Defense (DoD) is looking for hackers to “Hack the Pentagon,” as part of the first ever federal government bug bounty program. As announced on Facebook by the United States Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, this is a pilot program designed to “identify vulnerabilities on the Department’s public web pages”.

Before you all scuttle off to try and break into the DoD’s website, potential participants first need to apply and then undergo a background check before they’re given free rein to Hack the Pentagon. Anyone else doing so should expect a visit from some men in black, and they likely won’t come bearing gifts.

Bug bounties are pretty much standard practice amongst big tech companies, as they help improve security for a fraction of the cost of hiring a dedicated team of hackers. And with the DoD openly admitting it has to “fight off sophisticated cyber attacks everyday,” this is a good way to ensure the DoD remains safe and secure.

The effort will be led by the Defense Digital Service (DDS), a small team overseeing the U.S. Government’s “technological agility”. More details of the rules of application and possible monetary rewards for finding bugs will follow in the coming weeks, with the program officially set to commence in April.

Windows 10 Overtakes Windows 8

Windows 10 is now more popular than Windows 8.1, with Net Applications’ latest figures showing that Microsoft’s latest (and probably last) operating system is installed on more computers than its immediate predecessor. This means that Windows 10 is now second in the Windows hierarchy to Windows 7, having already surpassed XP in market share in January.

While this is extremely impressive, there are a couple of obvious caveats that need bearing in mind. 1. Windows 10 is a free upgrade, so it was always going to gain market share quickly. 2. Windows 7 is still a long way ahead of Windows 10, with market shares of 52.34 percent and 12.82 percent, respectively. So, it’s popular, but it’s not that popular.

The Net Applications stats for February also turn up some other interesting things. Namely, how wholly dominant Windows still is, despite years of being tackled by Apple fanboys and Linux advocates. The most used version of the Mac operating system, OS X 10.11, has a market share of just 3.72 percent, and Linux as a whole has a market share of just 1.78 percent.

Spotify Offers Up Fresh Finds

If there’s one thing Spotify does better than the competition, it’s helping users discover new music. The music streaming service already offers users a myriad of different ways of discovering new music, and it has now added another called Fresh Finds.

Fresh Finds will update every Wednesday with new songs from undiscovered artists. The picks will be curated by both humans and machines, with songs spread over five distinct genres, including electronic and experimental. Fresh Finds can be found within Browse.

Dr. Brian Whitman, Principal Scientist at Spotify, said:

“Spotify has always focused on artists and listeners, and with Fresh Finds we’re specifically looking at new creators, digging deeper to understand how undiscovered artists can attract a huge fan base. By analyzing the listening behavior of our top tastemaker users, we’re able to predict new breakout artists and filter their hits-to-be into playlists with the most promising new music out there.”

Alexa Investigates Batman’s Origin Story

If you have access to Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa then you can now play an audio-only game called The Wayne Investigation. According to Variety, this adventure, which explores Batman’s origin story, sees you finding clues, interviewing characters, and making decisions that influence the outcome of the game.

This is, of course, just a promotional effort for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Which means that solving the mystery only wins you a list of showtimes for the movie in your area. However, if promotional efforts are valuable in their own right then we’re not opposed to them. Now, I just need an Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV in order to play it.

Where’s Waldo in 360 Degrees

And finally, Where’s Waldo? has been entertaining adults and children alike for almost 30 years, and all without ever moving with the times. However, a company called Corridor Digital has brought Where’s Waldo? (known as Wally elsewhere in the world) kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

The video above is one of the fancy 360-degree efforts YouTube started supporting last year. Shot entirely with GoPro cameras, it forces you to look all around you to find the iconic character wearing the stripy top. There are also other characters to find for those who get bored looking for Waldo.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be applying to Hack the Pentagon? Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? Have you found a new artist you love using Spotify? Will you be playing The Wayne Investigation? How well did you do playing Where’s Waldo? in 360 degrees?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Rudi Riet via Flickr

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