Sony Follows Glass

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When Google backed away from Glass last year I was one of many welcoming the move. At the time I argued that my complaint with Glass wasn’t that it wasn’t an interesting technology initiative, rather its implications for privacy and the elitist way it was marketed pigeon holed the tech into a “Glasshole” place which did nobody any good.

This week Sony has announced the sale of the “developer” edition of its version of Glass…..imaginatively called EyeGlasses.  It still has the privacy issue to get around (although the red light indicating camera activity helps address that) but it’s a step in the right direction. Aesthetically the Sony offering is a mess.  The frames are ugly and tethered to a hockey puck sized control unit. That will be a big issue for consumers but not as important to industrial users who already often have to put up with clunky protective eye wear. That’s clearly where Sony is positioning this equipment. although the cute commercials feature end users it makes more sense in an industrial or medical context.

Perhaps more important is the price point. Sony has pitched it at $850 which puts in the the high end of the consumer space and quite affordable in an industrial context. It has some clever augmented reality features like directions and facial recognition so if you meet someone you know who is in your contacts (and you have a picture of them) it will let you have their name. This release is significant because it brings a major another player into the game and in the case of Sony a player in dire need of a big win. They are pitching it at practical use rather than tech snobbery and it’s another step towards the end game.

It’s clear, in my mind, that the big win will be believable augmented then virtual reality. This will be led by gamers and the adult content industry with industrial applications running third place. Sony is well entrenched in the gaming world and it’s likely that a subsequent version of this equipment will have integration with PS4. That would give gamers a heads up display fully integrated with their game experience. Sony is talking about eye movement control for things like scrolling and opening in future editions. If they make that part of their game system navigation we would have  a serious contender. at this price point…or close to this could become a viable mass market game controller which happens to be useful for other applications if you can stand the embarrassment of being seen out in them.

Is North Korea Really Behind the Sony Hacks?

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There’s plenty of rumors and speculation, but one thing is certain: something has gone awfully wrong with the computer systems at Sony Pictures Entertainment – the television and movie subsidiary of the huge Sony Corporation.

The company has shut down its servers, after a ghoulish skull appeared on computer screens alongside a claim that internal data had been stolen and would be released if undisclosed “demands” were not met.

In parallel, Twitter accounts used by Sony to promote movies were hacked to display messages attacking Sony Entertainment’s CEO from a group calling itself GOP (the Guardians of Peace) who claimed responsibility for the hack.

11 terabytes of information had been stolen by hackers from Sony Pictures, and even tweeted a photograph of a sign placed in the lift of Sony Pictures’ London office asking staff not to use their computers or log into the Wi-Fi. If hackers have indeed hijacked Sony Pictures’ network, and stolen a large amount of data, it all sounds very dramatic, but the most the company has said publicly is that it is investigating an “IT matter.” The absence of hard facts about the hack has inevitably led to reporters filling in the vacuum with some guesswork and, in some cases, speculation that may be have shaky foundations.

For instance, one report claimed that Sony Pictures was exploring the possibility that North Korean hackers could be behind the attack – because of anger over an upcoming comedy film featuring Seth Rogan and James Franco working with the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

It does appear that North Korea is genuinely unhappy about the movie, but does it really seem likely that that would motivate what appears to be a widespread attack against the Sony Pictures computer network?

That hasn’t stopped other media outlets from repeating the original claim of a North Korean link without much in the way of questioning, churning out the same “news” without considering just how tricky it might be to attribute the attack to any particular country – especially when the victim itself appears to still be mid-recovery and mopping up the mess.

Does North Korea use the internet to spy on other countries? Is it possible that hackers sympathetic to North Korea (or simply people who aren’t fans of Seth Rogan) might want to disrupt Sony Pictures’ activities? Hopefully until we know the answer, Sony will do its duty to inform the public of what information has been compromised.