The full effects of the Great Home Depot Hack have yet to be known, but some of the company’s workers didn’t sound too surprised that it happened. The New York Times reports that Home Depot employees said their IT managers relied on “outdated antivirus software from 2007 and did not continuously monitor the network for unusual behavior, such as a strange server talking to its checkout registers.” Both the Times and the Ars Technica site have details about one of Home Depot’s former security engineers currently serving time in prison for sabotaging the network of the company that fired him before he got the Home Depot gig. (Here’s hoping Lowe’s has better employee screening and security practices.)
Facebook’s initial public stock offering may have gotten more press, but the massive Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba set records last week with its own IPO valued at $25 billion. Shares of the company popped up 38 percent on the first day of trading. While this is all good for people who bought Alibaba stock, it’s not been good for Yahoo, which owns 22 percent of the company.
The UPS Store is expanding its offerings to more than just packing, mailing, photocopies and computer-rental. The chain is now adding custom 3D printing services to more than 100 of its stores around the country.
About 2,000 workers in four of Amazon’s German distribution centers refused to show up for their shifts early this week to protest management’s refusal to hold wage talks. Amazon’s war with the Bonnier publishing group still rages on over ebook pricing, but the company did find the time to release nthe Kindle Voyage e-ink reader, two Kids editions of the Kindle Fire tablet, a new 6-inch Kindle Fire HD and an revamped 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX. The models will also sport the upgraded Fire OS 4 operating system that’s based on Android KitKat.
AT&T just launched a new broadband package that includes its U-verse basic TV channels, Amazon Prime Instant Video and HBO for a monthly price of $39. And for those looking for even more streaming options, Sony is finally delivering its PlayStation TV service here in the States on October 14th. The basic PlayStation TV box starts at $100 and you can get a bundled version with a DualShock controller and the Lego Movie videogame for $140. I
Apple continues to bust its buttons over the demand for its new iPhone 6 models (while hopefully looking into reports that some iPhone 6 models are bending in their owners’ pocket and trying to fix the disastrous iOS 8.0.1 update that broke a bunch of stuff before it got yanked out of circulation). A week after the company put out a press release announcing that it’d gotten four million pre-orders for the new models in the first 24 hours, Apple announced this week that it’d sold 10 million new iPhones worldwide over the launch weekend. An Apple spokesperson also took the rare turn in the media this week to flatly deny a TechCrunch post that claimed the company was shutting down the Beats Music service.
As one may expect, however, Samsung is not just sitting around waiting for Apple to suck the reaming three oxygen molecules out of the press room. The Korean electronics giant is heavily promoting its new Samsung Galaxy Alpha model, which arrives here in the States this Friday on AT&T. And there are more Android tablets on the way from HTC. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Taiwanese company is teaming up with Google to be the official hardware partner for a planned 9-inch Nexus tablet.
Turning to robot news, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University are giving robots and their little gripper hands new dexterity with tactile sensors. (Once the robots conquer plugging in USB cables, opening tight jam jars should be the next test of their new powers.)
And finally, up in space, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered the orbit of the planet Mars this past weekend and has begun its research into the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere. MAVEN arrived after blasting off from Cape Canaveral last November. The Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft also dropped into the Martian orbit this week, after launching from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center last year. The craft is on a weather-watching expedition, just like all those other MOMs who regularly keep an eye on the weather.