Robocoin Demos Bitcoin ATM for Congress and Other Tech Headlines for 3/31-4/4

by Modis on April 4, 2014

Congress Invited to Bitcoin ATM Demo

Next week, members of Congress will get an opportunity to use a Bitcoin ATM. Robocoin invited them to see a demonstration of the world’s first Bitcoin ATM–a kiosk for buying and selling the digital currency. The demonstration is scheduled for April 8 at the Rayburn House office building. As of right now, Bitcoin ATMs are rare in the United States. Robocoin has installed two machines in the United States: one located in Mountain View, California and the other located in Austin, Texas. Bitcoin is the subject of much scrutiny right now, as the IRS recently issued guidelines to designate that Bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes rather than currency. Democratic Congressman Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado is slated to speak at the demonstration.

New Algorithm Can Classify Everything from Gene Data to State of the Union Addresses

Researchers are now combining techniques for machine learning and statistics in order to develop algorithms capable of mining large datasets without human supervision. One of these algorithms uses a procedure that cross validates the initial results to find features in large noisy data. The algorithm, Knowledge Discovery by Accuracy Maximization, or KODAMA for short, uses a hybrid of both semi-supervised and unsupervised learning tactics to reveal features within large datasets such as gene expression and presidential speeches.  The algorithm uses five steps to maximize the accuracy of its predicted results. Researchers who tested it on State of the Union speeches discovered the algorithm was able to classify the speech based on whether it occurred before or after Reagan’s presidency.

Meet Microsoft’s ‘Siri,’ Cortana

Microsoft unveiled the Windows phone 8.1 update this week, and with it comes the long-awaited personal assistant feature, Cortana, which functions much like iPhone’s Siri. Powered by Bing, this feature is launching in the United States as beta and was originally inspired by personal assistants in the real world. Cortana can: schedule appointments, find nearby restaurants, set alarms, send contextual reminders, search for stored content on your device, and work in conjunction with some third-party apps such as Facebook and Hulu. Other changes in the 8.1 update include new integration of Skype, and a new action center.

Need for Speed: Few Towns with Fiber to the Home Internet Connections

In the United States, only 7.7% of broadband subscribers have optical fiber connections, the fastest in high quality Internet connections available at this point in time. There are a few fiber to the home locations across the country, but they are not exactly metropolitan areas. The service is in such high demand that tech savvy individuals and entrepreneurs are running to them. Cities like Lafayette, Louisiana, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, are seeing an influx of citizens perhaps just for the fiber optic Internet connections. With speeds about 100 times faster than what is typically offered in the United States, websites load almost instantly, and videos sound more realistic. Large amounts of data can be transferred at the speed of light.

Yes, You Can Hack Tesla Car Doors

Though it’s not good news for Tesla owners, hackers can use the same techniques they used to hack computers to unlock a Tesla car door. All a hacker needs a six character password. If it can happen to Tesla, other cars may also be susceptible. Many modern cars, such as the ones made by Ford and Toyota, can also be controlled with computers and mobile phone apps that come equipped with wireless connections; tapping into Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell phone networks. Modern technology allows us to access our vehicles in ways we never have before and consumers aren’t necessarily aware of this. Hackers will try to take advantage of the lack of awareness.


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