Apple Starts Store Renovation Campaign With San Francisco Outlet

Today's topics include Apple’s announcement that it is revamping its stores, Microsoft’s effort to create greener cloud data centers, an HP executive’s advice for disrupting hackers and the NTIA’s release of new guidelines for drone operations.

Apple is changing the look and feel of many of its more than 477 retail stores around the world, starting with a new flagship store that opened May 21 in San Francisco's trendy Union Square.

Among the new features being unveiled are an in-store "Genius Grove" with live, local trees under which customers can get personal support from Apple Geniuses as well as a gathering place called "The Forum" that is centered around a 6K video wall which that will present "Today at Apple" videos and other content.

Also featured will be displays called "The Avenue" that dynamically change with the seasons using interactive-themed "windows" where Apple products and services are displayed to show customers what they can do with music, apps, photography and more.

Andrzej Kawalec, CTO for Hewlett Packard Enterprise Security Services, has seen a significant shift in recent years in how hackers operate. While hacking was at one time just a disorganized, ad hoc activity, it has become a business and is structured that way.

In a new report, HPE details how the business of hacking and modern cyber-crime operate."Today, we're not just facing talented individuals or groups of hackers; we're facing a globally integrated, industrial-scale and highly profitable adversary," Kawalec said.

Once defenders understand the business organization and motivation of hackers, it is possible to disrupt the operation, Kawalec said.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released a set of what the agency calls voluntary best practices for unmanned aircraft system privacy, transparency and accountability.

The guidelines are the result of a White House memo that directed the agency to develop a set of privacy standards for drone use.

The NTIA's best practices document is divided into two parts, the actual document and an appendix that summarizes the jargon-filled best practices document.

The voluntary rules are filled with phrases like "where possible" while also pointing out that it does not give drone users any cover for violating existing laws and regulations.

Even though the NTIA stresses that these best practices are not intended to be a template for legislation, it's likely that they will eventually become just that.

Since 2014, Microsoft facilities have been completely powered by renewable sources, using a combination of direct clean power purchases and renewable energy certificates that offset carbon emissions.

This week, Microsoft said that it plans to increase the amount of renewable energy that flows directly into its cloud data centers.

"As we move forward, we will continue to purchase renewable energy certificates to ensure we reduce our carbon emissions to zero," said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft.

"But more important, we are setting goals to grow the percent of wind, solar, and hydropower energy we purchase directly and through the grid to 50 percent by 2018, 60 percent early in the next decade, and to an ongoing and higher percentage in future years beyond that.”

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