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Thoughts From My Inbox

July 15th, 2022

Peanut Pushing, Cricket Punting, and Van Gogh

Jim Millican and I are just back from two days in Dallas, where we attended the  Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors summer conference.  We’re doing a lot more in the way of technology due diligence for private equity firms looking to make acquisitions, but many still don’t consider the technology risks and liabilities they’re accepting when they acquire a new portfolio company.  Hopefully we educated a few along the way.

 

Anyhow, Dallas is now at something like 25 days in a row over 100 degrees and the few times we stepped outside, it was like walking into a 500 degree pizza oven.  We did get to enjoy some local barbeque and a Texas Rangers game (72 degrees in their ballpark) during our free time, and the locals couldn’t have been nicer.  

 

More importantly, even after having been out of the office for a couple of days, I was still able to compile quite a collection of random info this week!

 

Something About…

 

Sentient AI
I mentioned a couple of weeks back that the artificial intelligence that a Google employee is working on seems (to some) to have become sentient.  And now that AI bot has hired an attorney.  (Maybe the Dallas heat went to somebody’s head?)

 

The Chinese Threat

The heads of MI5 and the FBI held a joint press conference earlier in the week, hoping to get people to realize how big a threat China is when it comes to stealing data and technology. One more reason to make sure that you have every possible cybersecurity protection in place (without impinging upon your ability to do business).

 

Dehydrated Tomato Sauce
Two weeks back, I had a piece about ketchup popsicles in Canada. This week, it’s dehydrated tomato sauce for camping. Makes me wonder what else you could turn into a fruit rollup…
Peanut Pushing
Don’t even know what to say about this one. I don’t know whether to question why this has been done before, or question why it’s being done again.
Remote Keyless Entry
Locked your Honda and forgot the keys? No worries. There’s a new hack that allows remote access to your car (or somebody else’s car) without the key fob.
Discord and Twitter Phishing
If you’re a big user of Twitter or Discord, you might be on the lookout for new phishing attempts that work to get your login credentials.  Keep in mind that social media presents great opportunities to use social engineering as a hack.  And when you’re presented with a sense of urgency, you should take extra care.
Loud TV Ads
I’m sure you’ve noticed that tv ads (whether on-air, streaming, or in any other fashion) are often times A LOT louder than the tv shows themselves (my wife complained about this just the other night).  Did you know that there’s actually a law against advertisers increasing their volume to stand out?   Too bad it’s rarely enforced.
Callback Scams
Hackers have now decided to impersonate cybersecurity companies.  I wonder what took them so long?  The scheme uses a phishing email requesting (make that desperately urging) the recipient to call a “cyber security company” since they’ve been hacked.  The recipient calls the well known cyber security provider, and things spiraling down from there.

Ordained Wedding Officiants

Ever wanted to become an ordained wedding officiant, a la Joey Tribbiani on Friends?   If so, you might want to avoid American Marriage Ministries, which has just had another data breach.  This one lead to the leak of information on 185,000 ordained officiants as well as 15,000 married couples.

Art

I was just about ready to hit the ‘send’ button on this week’s edition, when an article about a hidden Van Gogh found it’s way to my inbox.  In preparation for an upcoming exhibit, the  National Galleries of Scotland x-rayed one of its Van Goghs, only to find a hidden self portrait painted on the backside of the canvas.

 

A sidebar link from that article took me to another piece about Greek statues, which actually weren’t white as they all are when we see them in museums.  We were at an estate sale a month or two back when one of the sales people mentioned that to us. I had no clue.  But sure enough, all those white marble statues we see at the Cleveland Museum of Art (and elsewhere) were originally painted in bright colors.  Who knew?

That was a lot to consume, and I hope you’ve made it this far.  I’m pretty confident that if you have any dinner or cocktail parties this weekend, you’ll have three good topics of conversation based on the above items!  If not, you can always talk about the ongoing Tour De France, the 13th stage of which was completed earlier today.   A loyal reader (thanks Paul) suggested I share this video of a descent from what I believe to be Alp D’Huez, Jim Millican’s favorite stage of the Tour, and once which (until yesterday) hadn’t been raced since 2018.

 

Hope you have a great weekend!

 

Abbey

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