Talking Tech - October 24:
Iran sends emails to intimidate voters; Checkouts at the Apple Store; Tracking McBroken ice-cream machines

Threatening emails have been sent to some voters telling them to vote for Trump

This is quite alarming and it’s thought to be the work of Iran to try and interfere in the election.What makes these more freaky is that the emails use the recipient’s real name when it tells them to “vote for Trump, or else”. And then reminds them at the end of the email that they know who they are and where they live, by including their registered address.

It’s not thought to be a hack, because a lot of voter registration data is publicly available. And even if it was a hack, getting into registration data doesn’t mean you can manipulate votes as voting machines are not connected to the internet — however, anything to undermine confidence in the result is really worrying.

Apple stores in the USA are temporarily going to have a checkout

Apple Stores are famous for not having a checkout. They’ve done everything they can to avoid it. They hide cash register drawers at the end of tables displaying their products. They hide receipt printers on the underside of these tables too. People’s whole jobs are to run phones and computers out to buyers as they make their purchase while at the display. There was even a virtual queue system for a while so an associate would come to you when they were free.

Now, in COVID times, and the launch of the new iPhone, they’re embracing it – and calling Apple Express. It’s literally a checkout or pickup counter. With accessories there at the counter ready for you to grab and pay for. You order your phone online, then pick it up at the counter at the specified time. 

Cue my eye roll.

Is the McDonald’s soft serve machine working?

It is an important question to know the answer to before you visit the golden arches because the level of disappointment you feel as the cashier looks behind them and says “sorry, it’s broken” is simply heartbreaking. 

Of course, technology can solve that — and it was done in a very enterprising way.. introducing McBroken.com.

Every McDonald’s in the United States has been mapped and every one of them has either a green or red dot indicating if you’re able to order soft-serve or not. How does this work? Well McDonald’s hasn’t built this.. a 24 year old guy named Rashiq did. He managed to reverse engineer the McDonald’s app’s ordering system. Basically, every 30 minutes he tries to order a sundae. If it’s unavailable, then the machine is out of order. If it can be added to the cart, then it’s available! It’s actually pretty simple! 

Did you know.. 8.2% of machines are currently broken in the USA!


Paul Stenhouse is the Technology Contributor on Newstalk ZB’s ‘Saturday Morning with Jack Tame’.

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Discussions — One Response

  • altyazili December 19, 2020 on 1:10 pm

    Really enjoyed this blog post!

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