Friday, 29 July 2016

Google Rolls Out the Final Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview


Google Rolling out Last preview of Android 7.0 Nougat

Before its overall release scheduled this summer, Google has begun rolling out the last preview of Android 7.0 Nougat. This release is said to be the fifth and the final preview release providing developers as well as beta testers with the `near final system images’ for supported devices of Nexus, the Pixel C as well as the General Mobile 4G Android One. No mention on support had been made by Google for the Sony Xperia Z3 in this preview since it had done in past releases.

With the updates the developers are provided with the final user interface and APIs for testing their apps as well as making sure that they are ready for Android changes in behaviour like the battery and memory optimisations with Doze on the Go, Project Svelte of Google’s background optimisations together with security linked with permission changes.

Some of the features that end-users would probably experience, while utilising Android apps are, running apps side-by-side, the ability to reply directly to messages within the notification interface and new Unicode 9.0 emojis. The preview still has various stability problems and bugs in Android Nougat features though Google is presently one stage away from the public release.

Supported Devices Enrolled in Android Beta Program

These comprise of MapView probably being blank or out of attention when resized in multi-window mode and the `Do Not Disturb’ mode could activate a reboot. Google has been fixing a screen zoom problem which tends to affect multi-APK apps through a upcoming update to the services of Google Play and lending support for the Vulkan graphics API, which is a low-overhead API for high-performance, 3D graphics.

Lastly Google records crashing issues when the Google Maps are used and Android Auto would be fixed in an update to Maps in the forthcoming weeks. Devices that are supported are enrolled in Android Beta program of Google and would be receiving the latest preview as over-the-air update and when you have installed the new software, you would be on the latest Developer Preview.

You could also join in the bandwagon by going to or you could grab and flash the update manually. The new build is NPD90G on all devices. Lastly any fans or developers who have been conducting tests on the Android 7.0 Nougat preview and tend to have technical queries regarding the platform of Google, the Android engineering team would be available to answer all queries at Reddit AMA.

Near Final System Updates

The last Nougat preview brought with it bug fixes across the board as anticipated. Developers were informed that this release would give them `the near-final system updates for the entire supported preview devices’. Hence investigating apps against this restatement could be helpful in getting their software ready for the consumers.

The concluding N APIs are being shipped in this Developer Preview and one will also find the latest system behaviours together with the UI packed in. Google has mentioned that the official release of Android 7.0 Nougat would be later this summer which means that it is likely when we will see the nexus device launch since Google usually launches new Android types with new hardware.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Better Views with Smaller Satellites


Crew of Minor Satellites Soaring around Earth – Assess Reflected Energy

According to an MIT-led research published online in Acta Astronautica, a crew of minor, shoe box-sized satellites, soaring in formation around the Earth might assess the reflected energy of the planet with double the accuracy of traditional megalith satellites. If completed accurately, such satellite swarms may also be inexpensive to build, launch as well as maintain. Led by Sreeja Nag, a former graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics – Aero-Astro, the researchers replicated the performance of an individual large orbiting satellite with nine sensors and compared with a bunch of three to eight small, single sensor satellites hovering together around the Earth.

 The team in particular viewed how each satellite development trials albedo or the amount of light that tends to get reflected from the Earth, which is a sign of how much heat the planet seems to reflect. The team also found that the clusters of four or additional small satellites could look at individual location on Earth from multiple angles and trail the total reflectance of that location with an error which is half of single satellites in operation, currently. Nag is of the opinion that such a correction in estimation error would considerably progress the climate projections of the scientists.

Outgoing Radiation – Biggest Worries in Change in Climate

Nag states that the total outgoing radiation is in fact one of the biggest worries in the change in climate, since it tends to be a complex function of where you could be on Earth, what season it is, what time of the day it could be and it seems to be very difficult to determine how much heat tends to leave the Earth.

 He further added that if they can evaluate the reflectance of various surface types, globally, frequently and more precisely, that a cluster of satellites would enable you to do, then at least you have solved one part of the climate problem. Nag who is presently a research engineer at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, NASA Ames Research Centre and NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, has co-authored the paper with Oli de Weck, an AeroAstro professor at MIT, Charles Gatebe of NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre and David Miller, NASA Chief Technologist together with Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor in AeroAstro.

Nag states that to estimate precisely the reflectance of any ground spot on Earth, it needs measurements that are taken of the spot from various angles simultaneously. He states that the Earth does not reflect equally in all the directions.

Multi-Angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer - MISR

If one does not get these various angles you could under or overestimate how much it has been reflecting, if you have to generalize from only one direction. Presently, satellites which tend to measure the albedo of the Earth normally tend to do so with various cameras, placed on an individual satellite.

For instance, Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer – MISR instrument of NASA on the Terra satellite stocks nine cameras which take pictures of the Earth from a fan-like procedure of angles.Nag informed that the disadvantage of this design is that the cameras tend to have a restricted view since they are not intended to change angles and could only perceive within a single plane.

The team instead suggested a cluster of small satellite which tends to travel around the Earth in a loose formation, adequately close enough to each other to enable an image of the same sport on the ground from their different vantage points. Each satellite could move in the formation taking images of the same spot simultaneously from various angles.

When Will F-35 Be Ready for Battle?


F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – Most Expensive Weapon in History

The fifth generation fighter plane, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is said to be the most expensive weapon in history and in spite of costing $400 billion for 2,457 planes, it has been afflicted with problems. A new report has stated that the craft could eventually be ready for battle later this year.

According to Defence One, Gen. Herbert `Hawk’ Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, at the Royal International Air Tattoo, in England, had stated that they are getting very close to initial operational capability. He added that he will make the call and coordinate with the Secretary, (Deborah Lee) James and Gen (David) Goldfein – the Air Force chief of staff and make the decision on when they intend declaring IOC.

To be ready for battle, around a dozen single F-35 need to demonstrate their capability to drop bombs and shoot down other planes. Each jet should be progressed to an explicit software package and persevered in the intricate logistic cloud which tends to accomplish maintenance.

The target date had been set for August 1 by the F-35 project office and it is believed a squadron at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, north of Salt Lake City would now be the declared battle ready somewhere between August and December.

Project Weighed down with Delays

The project has been weighed down with delays. Senator John McCain had informed senior Pentagon officials earlier in the year that the record on cost, schedule as well as performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter had been a scandal and a tragedy.

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee had stated that the development schedule of the aircraft had extended to 15 years, deliveries of the F-35 has been delayed while the cost had hit the roof. Recently the problems with its logistics software system had grounded the complete fleet.

 The problem lies with what the Department of Defense officials call the `brain’ of plane, also called the Autonomic Logistics Information System – ALIS. A report from a Government Accountability Office states that a failure `could take the complete fleet offline’, since there seems to be no backup system.

Runs on Ground Computers

Moreover, the report has also stated that a lack of testing done of the software would mean it is not ready for its disposition by the Air Force in August and the Navy in 2018. The brains of the F-35 are said to be one of three main components, with the other two being the engine and airframe.

 It has been pointed out by CNN that the software tends to run on ground computers instead of operating the same on the plane. It has been designed to assist operations, mission planning as well as to spot any issues of maintenance with the vehicle.

 The report also stated that the program officials had informed that if ALIS is not fully functional, the F-35 would not be operated as often as planned.However, a DoD specially made plan observed that schedule slippage and functionality issues with ALIS could result in $20-100 billion as extra costs’.

The software till now has been so defective that the maintenance crews had to resort to labour intensive substitutes. In one instance, according to National Interest, maintainers had to physically burn data onto the CDs and send the huge files across a national Wi-Fi network.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Boeing is Using Google Glass to Build Airplanes


Google Glass in Constructing Aircraft Wire Harnesses

Google’s enhanced reality eye wear, Google Glass may have been a big consumer failure but it still has been making its way in the workflows of professionals. In a report of, some members of research and technology division of Boeing have stated that they had utilised the original Google Glass in constructing aircraft wire harnesses.

According to CIO, since planes tend to contain enormously messy and complex webs of wires in connecting electrical system, and technicians would have to manually build them out, a painstaking process created on PDF assembly guide seen on a laptop screen. Replacing the computer display with glass, Boeing has stated that it tends to decrease production time for the harnesses by around 25% cutting error rates in half.

The history of Boeing with AR glass dates back to 1995 when it had tested with early head mounted displays and elementary software. Because of the battery, network and size constraints, it was not a practical scheme but due to reduction in cost and exponential jumps in computing power, Boeing can utilise wire-free device such as Google Glass in accomplishing tasks. Jason DeStories, a R&D engineer with Boeing Research and Technology had a demo designed for harness assembly utilising the first openly available Glass units.

Project Juggernaut

The software was named Project Juggernaut by the team though it was not capable of obtaining information from Boeing’s records in real time. In order to attain an enterprise-grade app for Google Glass, Boeing had put out a proposal and had drawn the attention of APX Labs, who was the manufacturer of smart glasses software platform known as Skylight.

They along with the teams produced a higher quality Glass app which Boeing could hand out to their technicians on the assembly floor. The Skylight app seems to function by enabling a Glass wearer to scan a QR code, which tends to pull the wireless harness software and then scan another code in loading the assembly instructions.
Moreover the app also supports Glass voice commands, enabling users to stream what they are viewing to another technician in the case of something unforeseen. The software was said to be in use only with a small number of Boeing technicians as part of a pilot program which had just came to a close.

New Glass – Focused Exclusively on Enterprise Work

However, the interest of Boeing lies in making Glass and similar AR glasses, a feature on assembly floors and probably even on the International Space Station, though one issue it needs to fix is security. DeStories had informed CIO that `for IT to say, “Hey we’re going to let everything work on the network”, we have to ensure we have information security vetted, we have to make sure we know what kind of IT support we are going to need behind it.

These are the question we are answering right now and we feel like we are very close to being on a truly connected solution’. As Google seems to build out an official successor to its original Glass platform, there could be some expectation for Boeing in this regard.

The new Google Glass that is yet to be declared to the public is said to be focused exclusively on enterprise work. Last year images of the device went up in FCC filings and it has been rumoured that the new Glass will be having a larger prism display, together with a faster processor, better battery life along with 5 GHz Wi-Fi provision.

How to Stay Anonymous Online

Anonymous Online
Credit:MIT News

New Privacy Pattern – Strong Security Guarantees

Privacy networks tend to guard individuals living under exploitive regimes from scrutiny of the Internet usage. However from recent discovery of susceptibilities in most of the well-known networks, Tor has urged computer scientists in endeavouring to come up with more secured privacy patterns. In July, at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne will be presenting a new privacy pattern which would offer strong security guarantees though will use bandwidth more efficiently than its ancestors.

In tests, the systems of the researchers needed only one-tenth as much time just like secure experimental systems in transferring a large file between unidentified users. Albert Kwon, a graduate scholar in electrical engineering and computer science and first author on the new paper, said that the initial use case that they thought of was to do anonymous file-sharing where the receiving end and sending end do not know each other.

The reason was that things like honeypotting, where spies tend to offer services through an anonymity network in order to entrap its users, are a real issue. However they have also studied applications in microblogging, something like Twitter, where one would want to secretly broadcast your messages to everyone.

Heart of System – Sequence of Servers - Mixnet

The system invented by Kwon and his co-authors, his advisor, Srini Devadas, the Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, David Lazar, a graduate student too in electrical engineering and computer science together with Bryan Ford SM `02 PhD’08, an associate professor of computer and communication sciences at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanneworks on many prevailing cryptographic techniques though connects them in a novel way.

The heart of the system is a sequence of servers called a mixnet wherein each server tends permutes the order where it receives messages before it is passed on to the next. If messages from Sender Alice, Bob and Carol tend to reach the first server in the order A, B, C that server would send them to the second server in an altered order like C, B, A. The second server would permute them before sending them to the third and so on. The message that had been tracked from the point of origin, by an opponent would not know which was which by the time they had exited from the latest server

The New System – Riffle

It is this reshuffling of the messages which is said to be named – Riffle, for the new system. Similar to several privacy systems, Riffle tends to also use a technique known as onion encryption – Tor, in which case is an abbreviation for `the onion router’.

In the case of onion encryption, the sending computer tends to wrap each message in many films of encryption utilising a public key encryption system such as those that tend to protect most of the online financial transactions. Each of the servers in the mixnet seems to remove only one layer of encryption so that last server only knows the final destination of the message.

To prevent message tampering, Riffle tends to use a system known as verifiable shuffle. Due to the onion encryption, the messages which each server seems to forwards do not look like the one it received, it has peeled off a layer of encryption. However the encryption could be done in a way which the server would generate a mathematical proof which the messages it sends seems valid operations of the ones receiving it.