Tech News

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

Dave Parrack 03-03-2016

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 Full or Responsible Disclosure: How Security Vulnerabilities Are Disclosed Security vulnerabilities in popular software packages are discovered all the time, but how are they reported to developers, and how do hackers learn about vulnerabilities that they can exploit? Read More , 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 The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More ) 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 Windows 10 Upgrade - Free Doesn't Mean It Won't Cost Anything There's a catch to the free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft understands its audience all too well; they are more likely to pay for the freedom of control, rather than for extra features. Read More , 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 Goodbye, Apple Fanboys: Is The Internet Falling Out Of Love With Cupertino? Recent headlines make us wonder: is Apple finally losing its sheen? Are the fanboys disappearing? Read More and Linux advocates The History Of Linux [INFOGRAPHIC ] If there's one thing which must really piss off Bill Gates to no end, it must be the enduring popularity of Linux and other free software, as it undercuts his "if you want good software,... Read More . 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 Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Spotify has recently released several new ways of generating unique playlists that will help you discover awesome new music. We're here to guide you through these automagic playlist makers. Read More , 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 Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon’s Echo offers a unique integration between voice recognition, personal assistant, home automation controls, and audio playback features for $179.99. Does the Echo break into new ground or can you do better elsewhere? Read More or Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV And Fire TV Game Controller Review & Giveaway Amazon launched the Fire TV, a media center device not unlike the Apple TV, but with gaming as perk. Read More 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 8 Things You Probably Don't Know About GoPro Cameras GoPro action cameras have enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity in the last few years, but despite their prevalence, there is a lot you probably don't know about the devices. Read More , 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

Related topics: Amazon, Hacking, Online Video, Spotify, Windows 10, YouTube.

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  1. DoktorThomas™
    March 5, 2016 at 2:35 am

    re: The DoD Wants You to Hack the Pentagon

    Loathe to those who work on the Darkside. If that person is in your group or your family, reject him/her totally. There is no excuse to work for big brother. No bigger sin. No greater danger to freedom and liberty.

    re: Windows 10 Overtakes Windows 8

    Microsoft is like a "two holer!" Shit overtakes crap. ©2016

    • Dave Parrack
      March 5, 2016 at 10:12 am

      There's no bigger sin than working for the DoD? What, not ISIS or other terrorist groups?

  2. Anonomoose
    March 4, 2016 at 9:16 am

    The DOD gets enough of our tax dollars, they can pay for their own advertising.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

      This isn't advertising, it's a news story.