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How Netflix hooks you into ‘Stranger Things’ (The 3:59, Ep. 303)


“Stranger Things” is almost back. The second season of the cultural phenomenon arrives on Netflix on Friday. We discuss the tricks Netflix plays to get us hooked on that show[1] and others, including choosing that perfect splash photo to tease the show.

Not that we need another photo to get us excited. We also discuss T-Mobile’s third-quarter earnings results[2] and how we all really just want to know what’s going on with its pending rumored merger with Sprint. Lastly, we talk about Boxed, a retailer that managed to add automation while keeping its staff employed.

It runs counter to the idea that robots have to take our jobs[3]. The 3:59 gives you bite-size news and analysis about the top stories of the day, brought to you by the CNET News team in New York and producer Bryan VanGelder. Check out the extended shows[4] on YouTube.

How Netflix hooks you into Stranger Things (The 3:59, Ep.


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Subscribe: iTunes | RSS | Google Play | FeedBurner | SoundCloud |TuneIn | Stitcher[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]


  1. ^ Netflix plays to get us hooked on that show (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ T-Mobile’s third-quarter earnings results (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ runs counter to the idea that robots have to take our jobs (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ extended shows (www.youtube.com)
  5. ^ iTunes (itunes.apple.com)
  6. ^ RSS (feed.cnet.com)
  7. ^ Google Play (goo.gl)
  8. ^ FeedBurner (feeds.feedburner.com)
  9. ^ SoundCloud (soundcloud.com)
  10. ^ TuneIn (tunein.com)
  11. ^ Stitcher (www.stitcher.com)

When protecting medical devices from hacks, is the cure worse than the disease?

Why it matters to you

Whether you use a pacemaker or other medical device, the convenience of connectivity with your doctor carries some new risks. Medical technology, like other tech, has become increasingly connected in recent years. Even devices such as pacemakers are now connected to the internet.

This allows doctors to monitor problems such as irregular heartbeats or failing battery life. However, internet connectivity brings with it new risks[1] for pacemakers and other medical devices[2]. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Abbott Laboratories has rolled out an update[3] intended to protect pacemakers from being hacked, but some medical professionals are concerned that the risks outweigh the rewards.

Abbott warned that its newest update has the potential to cause malfunctions within the pacemakers. Since Abbott Laboratories released the update, the Food and Drug Administration received at least 12 reports of pacemakers malfunctioning during the update process. In some cases, the devices failed to update properly.

Even when the devices did update correctly, there were reports that some of the pacemakers went into backup mode during the updates. In backup mode, the pacemakers are reset to default settings rather than those customized for a particular patient. Despite the glitches, none of the reports contained any mention of serious harm being caused to the patients.

While there have been multiple reports of malfunctions during the updating process, the FDA has received no reports of any of the hacks which the updates were meant to prevent. Mike Kijewski, chief executive of MedCrypt, said that the risk was fairly low due to the fact that a hacker would have to be within close proximity of the patient in order to get to his or her pacemaker. The low risk of hacking combined with the higher risk of malfunction has led some doctors to simply refuse the updates.

“It’s not really a risk we’re willing to take at this point,” said Bruce Lerman, chief of cardiology at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “We don’t feel the benefit at this point necessarily outweighs the potential risk of uploading this software.”

Abbott Laboratories pacemakers are currently in use by about 465,000 patients in the United States, and they aren’t the only medical devices at risk of being hacked.

In December of the last year, the FDA released new guidelines for protecting medical devices from hackers[4].

Editor’s Recommendations


  1. ^ internet connectivity brings with it new risks (www.wsj.com)
  2. ^ other medical devices (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ rolled out an update (www.wsj.com)
  4. ^ FDA released new guidelines for protecting medical devices from hackers (www.digitaltrends.com)

Silliness aside, Amazon now has to pick a new second home

At Amazon’s Day 1 corporate headquaters in Seattle. Hey Philadelphia, this could someday be you!

James Martin/CNET

The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, sent out a press release earlier this month to declare he’d bought 1,000 items on Amazon.com and then offered a stat, fact or story about his city on each product’s review page. “The idea was easy — make Kansas City the most well-reviewed city on Amazon,” Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James Jr. said in a statement.

It was one of many wacky and over-the-top responses from cities that are hoping to lure Amazon as the e-commerce giant conducts a public search for a second home, dubbed Amazon HQ2. Tucson, Arizona, sent a 21-foot saguaro cactus[1] to the tech giant. New York City lit several landmark buildings[2] in “Amazon orange.” And the city of Stonecrest, Georgia, offered to rename a part of itself[3] Amazon, Georgia.

Now, with the next leg of the Amazon lottery starting Friday, many of those attention-seeking stunts will probably come to an end and the hard numbers will take over. The deadline for cities’ submissions to snag Amazon HQ2 ends Thursday. Amazon plans to announce the winning city next year.

Whichever city gets picked will likely see huge changes, with Amazon planning to pour a total of £5 billion into the new HQ over the next 15 to 17 years and hire 50,000 employees. This second headquarters is expected to match the scale of its current Seattle location, which includes 33 buildings, 40,000 employees and £3.7 billion in building and infrastructure investments. Amazon tallied the indirect investments in the Seattle economy from its first headquarters in the tens of billions of dollars.

Seattle officials have struggled with the Amazon search, worried that the company won’t grow or invest as much in its home city. But at the same time, candidate cities will have to weigh some of the negative aspects of Amazon’s expected expansion, including heavier traffic, higher costs and rising rents. Also, whichever city does win its bid for Amazon will likely pay up in tax breaks and other incentives to outpace the competition.

Among the biggest tax packages offered, Newark, New Jersey, proposed £7 billion in incentives[4]. Amazon subsidiary Audible is headquartered there already. Though Amazon has stressed that it would consider a broad range of bidders across North America, the ratings agency Moody’s offered its best guesses[5] for the top contenders.

It said Austin, Texas, home of Amazon-owned Whole Foods, was the most likely option when considering businesses environment, human capital and other factors. Following Austin were Atlanta; Philadelphia; Rochester, New York; and Pittsburgh. We should find out next year whether Amazon does indeed decide to land in any of those locations.

In the meantime, perhaps we’ll see a few more wacky stunts thrown in along the way.

‘Alexa, be more human’[6]: Inside Amazon’s effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

Amazon[7]: All things Amazon, from Echo to Prime deals.


  1. ^ sent a 21-foot saguaro cactus (www.usnews.com)
  2. ^ lit several landmark buildings (www.geekwire.com)
  3. ^ offered to rename a part of itself (www.usatoday.com)
  4. ^ £7 billion in incentives (www.marketwatch.com)
  5. ^ Moody’s offered its best guesses (www.economy.com)
  6. ^ ‘Alexa, be more human’ (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ Amazon (www.cnet.com)

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