Friday 30 October 2015

Google allows you to explore Street View in virtual reality


Street View Mapping Service – Virtual Reality App

An announcement has been made by Google that its famous Street View mapping service is made available as virtual reality app, enabling individuals to discover real world scenes in 3D with the use of Cardboard headset. Google has informed that its virtual reality experience – Google Cardboard is made available in 39 languages to more than 100 countries for Android and iOS.

The developers’ docs is said to be in 10 languages now, to make the experience of virtual reality more worldwide. Google Cardboard which was first released in 2014 is considered to be a virtual reality headset which can be made from scratch with the use of a Smartphone, a pair of clear lenses together with a rubber band and some Velcro and comes at a price of about £10.

Earlier available only for Android phones, Google had launched a software development kit – SDK in May for iOS together with new educational programme known as Expeditions, enabling kids to go on immersive virtual journeys to the bottom of the sea or the surface of Mars with the use of the Cardboard.

Partnered with Toy Maker Mattel - Incorporate Virtual Reality Cardboard Technology

In February, Google has also partnered with toy maker Mattel to incorporate its virtual reality Cardboard technology in the company’s iconic View Master stereoscope, This permitted users to take virtual `field trips’ and discover popular areas, landmarks, planets, nature and much more in a 360° `photospheres’.

The app – New Street virtual reality app that is made available on iOS as well as Android is anticipated to bring the world a bit closer to everyone as per Brandon Wuest, Google software engineer, enabling individuals to locate areas closer to home.

Mr Wuest had mentioned in a blog post that Street View as an introduction is a part of a larger update to the Cardboard SDK, projected to overcome of the issues described by the developers. He said that the update contains major overhaul of the sensor fusion algorithms which tends to integrate the signals from the gyroscope as well as the accelerometer.

These improvements considerably tend to decrease drift, particularly on phones with lower quality sensors. For the past year, virtual reality has been enjoying a recovery, after Oculus VR in 2014 bought by Facebook and Sony, Samsung and HTC had all launched their own headsets.

Virtual Reality – A Mind Blowing Experience

At CCS Insight, analysts envisage that 2.5m virtual as well as augmented reality devices would be sold this year which would rise over 24m in 2018. The company had stated that though gaming is available for virtual reality devices, entertainment, video and user generated content would also be driving adoption.

 Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight had stated the most of the consumer tend to find virtual reality a mind blowing experience, for the first time they make attempt to try it. They are of the belief that it has tremendous potential and is not just about expensive high end devices like the Oculus Rift. For only some few dollars, consumers could dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a well-matched Smartphone.

They expect this democratisation of the technology to provide growth not only in affluent, mature markets but in emerging markets as well, where the Smartphone penetration seems stronger than ever.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

This Algorithm Monitors Twitter for Fraud in Real Time


Program to Search Twitter in Real Time- Doubtful Links in Tweets

Social media sites have now become prone to fraudsters in alluring unwary users having links to financial fraud websites. In order to avoid this, an undergraduate at Harvard University, Daniel Rothchild had created a program which tends to search Twitter in real time, automatically for doubtful links appearing in tweets.

 As per results circulated in the Journal of Technology and Science, his program discovered over 70,000 suspicious tweets within 24 hours with about 56% of the tested links considered to be deceitful. The most tweeted deceitful link to a purported weight loss program had been tweeted over 12,000 times where all of the top 10 most tweeted links were said to be fake.

A 2014 survey, a joint project by the UK government, a Get Safe Online initiative, the National Crime Agency and the telecoms regulator Ofcom and others, observed that about 51% of Britons who had been surveyed were the victims of identity theft, hacking or abuse on social media and the losses from online fraud amounted to £670m a year.

In several cases, fraudsters tend to entice the users to websites they may have set up for the purpose of collecting their personal or financial information to present them with advertisement which tend to make deceptive offers.

Social Media – Tool to Connect with Victims

Considering the massive growth in popularity of social media, fraudsters tend to use social media as new tool to connect with the victims. There are various advantages to proactively find and monitor fraudulent websites.

At first, data, collected in this manner is unbiased by whether the user of various kind of fraud intend to report or not. There are some frauds which are under reported with many targeting specific demographics and those which are reported do not necessarily represent those who seem to be heavily targeted. Secondly, fraudsters often put up, take down or move their fraudulent websites on short timescales, probably to dodge detection.

Monitoring social media data constantly could enable consumer protection groups to be conscious of fraudulent websites quicker than otherwise. Lastly having a complete record of deceitful activity on social media could show evidence to the law enforcement while pursuing fraudster trying to conceal the extent of their fraud.

However, Rothchild’s procedure tends to turn cyber-criminals’ tools against them to proactively find areas of criminal activity before they get started.

Create Browser Extension to Alert Users

In order to help user in protecting themselves, Rothchild recommend that it would be possible in creating a browser extension which would alert users when they click on a link through Twitter which tends to be automatically identified by the tool as being suspicious.

He wrote a Python script to locate for keywords in Twitter’s real time stream and the keywords were termed loosely connected with common forms of fraud. These included muscle, diet, acai, cambogia, weight, lost fast and miracle pill that were taken from a report on online fraud that was published by the US regulatory body Federal Trade Commission.

They identified many terms that could have be associated with fraudulent offer. They included diet, exercise, weight, weight-loss, prize, lottery, sweepstakes and winner.

The precise option of keywords did not matter since it could be swapped to utilise any keywords and would be suspected of being connected with fraud. The procedure searched for precise links tweeted strangely large number of times, which indicated that a bot rather than a human was behind it.

Tesla's Cars Can Drive Themselves Starting Tomorrow


Tesla – Car’s Self Driving Features

Tesla recently announced at a press event, the release of version 7.0 of the Model S software, which is a broadly expected new build that permits the car’s self-driving features. The capabilities had first been announced last year while the essential sensors had been added to all Model S cars which had rolled off the assembly line since last September.

However, Tesla wanted more time to amplify the systems which it has been testing this year. The 7.0 release would start soon in the US on a rolling basis and would be proceeding to Europe and Asia soon pending regulatory approval.

This does not seem to be a completely autonomous vehicle like that of Google car, but the main feature is what Tesla calls Autosteer that tends to keep the car in its present lane once they are already on the road, managing speed as well as distance from the car ahead.

Elon Must, on the call, was cautious to call Autosteer as a `beta’ feature wherein drivers were instructed to keep their hands on the wheel even though the function was engaged. He commented that they want people to be quite careful, while admitting that some people tend to take their hands off the wheel regardless and that they do not advise that.

Features - Auto Lane Change

A forthcoming version 7.1 would add the capability of sending the car off to a garage on its own and come back to pick you up which is another feature informed, when Musk had announced autopilot potentials last year. The Tesla in fact instructs drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while the car is steering for them and helps to keep liability squarely out of their court.

He comments that if there is an accident, the driver of the car is responsible, while also observing that there would ultimately be a time where self-driving vehicles would be safe and reliable adequately to abandon drivers of that liability completely.

The other 7.0 features Auto Lane Change which would automatically move to the nearby lane by tapping the turn signal together with the Autopark which tends to scan constantly for available parking around the car.

System Comprises of Four Sensor Categories

When it locates a space for park, the cartends to park it on its own. Besides this, there is also the Automatic Emergency Steering and Side Collision Warning, which utilises the ultrasonic sensors to move the car away from risk while cautioning the driver whenever it is essential.

The system comprises of four sensor categories on the car namely forward radar, forward-facing camera, 360 degree ultrasonic sensors and the GPS accompanied with Tesla’s high resolution navigation maps which trail the individual lanes and features of the roadways.

These types of sensors are found on several modern vehicles that are equipped with semi-autonomous features such as lane keep and dynamic cruise control. Tesla is constantly uploading real world sensor data from 7.0 equipped vehicles to home base which Musk calls it `fleet learning technology’.

This means that the autopilot potentials need to be theoretically more reliable over a period of time and the functions will improve with passage of time, even without a firmware update since the car is accessing Tesla’s high-res maps.

How to Resize Partition under Windows 10?

If you are on the lookout for a software that can help you to convert dynamic disk to basic and you are on Windows 10, then you are in luck. Come and meet EaseUS Partition Master Free, a partition windows 10 application that you can use for free. In fact, this partition magic download app is even worth more than its paid competitors.

This hugely popular disk management software is currently being used by more than 30 million users out there. It is even highly recommended by the software experts such as CNET and PCWorld as one of the best all-in-one solution for all of your disk management, partition recovery, cloning and convert dynamic disk to basic stuffs.

This partition windows 10 actually comes with a whole lot of other features such as being able to easily create, delete, resize, move, merge, split, wipe or format partitions in order to make better use of your hard drive or solid state drive. So go on ahead and get yourself a bigger capacity hard drive as this partition magic download is ready to serve you.

Next, it allows you extend your existing NTFS system partition without having to reboot your PC and saves you all the hassle. This is indeed a good thing to have, as it minimizes downtime and maximizes your performance. Or if you are running on the older FAT file system, perhaps it is about time to convert it to the newer NTFS file system using this application.

If you are running out of space on one partition, instead of to convert dynamic disk to basic - you can now safely merge two adjacent partitions into a bigger one without having to deal with any data loss.
As mentioned earlier, it also allows you to convert dynamic disk to basic with ease. And not forgetting that it can also convert your primary partition to a logical partition and vice versa.

If you going to be using a hard drive that is larger than 2 Terabyte, then it is good to know that it can convert from MBR to GPT and you are set to go.

Two other features which you don’t normally expect from a partition windows 10 software is that, you can use it to create WinPE rescue disk so that you can boot up a computer which is sick. Finally, this partition magic download application can speed up your computer with its disk defragmenter.

You don’t have to worry much about compatibility as it supports all kinds of hardware RAID, removable storage device, hard disk, GPT disk and FAT/NTFS/EXT2/EXT3 file system. It even works on both BIOS-based and the latest UEFI-based hardware without any issues.

The thing with EaseUS Partition Master Free is, not only is it free - but you are getting just about everything that you are going to need from a decent disk management software. It makes it very easy to convert dynamic disk to basic, and the good thing is that it is also Windows 10-ready. You know that you will be getting a good deal with these partition windows 10 applications, so go on ahead and proceed with this partition magic download and start using all of its features.

Monday 26 October 2015

Honda's 'Wander' concepts preview the future of urban mobility

Honda comes up with ‘wander’ concepts for its upcoming personal micro vehicles range


Honda has embraced the ‘wander’ concepts for its new range of mobile vehicles which will offer free movement to the consumers. The ‘wander’ concept aims at bringing minimal number of controls along with the presence of augmented reality system which will be broadcasted on the dashboard and windscreen to offer more freedom to the consumers. This design is revolutionary in itself as it will allow an opportunity to the consumers to maneuver their vehicles vehicle among the pedestrians.

Honda is bringing a ‘wander walker’ at the Tokyo motor show which happens to be a cutting edge scooter possessing leather wrapped handles, small display and a wooden trim all around and a Wander Stand which is futuristic car with joystick at the dashboard instead of steering wheel.

These micro concept vehicles offer excellent maneuverability and at the part of Honda it wouldn’t require the extreme kind of modification which normal car series does.

Wander concept vehicle to provide more flexibility in terms of design and movement

The wander concept first car is named as Wander Stand which will easily allow two people to sit in it. It just possesses two set of wheels, swing door at both the sides and design happens to offer an ultra compact look. Honda had cleverly placed a joystick in the car instead of steering for more effective driving and maneuvering ability. Dashboard is touch enables and offers to display a wide number of information which aids in driving and it can easily sync with the Smartphone.

This car windshield has been equipped with the layer of augmented reality which not just offers information about the location but also renders 3D images of it. Console offers a great way to view the speed, distance and other information which will aid in the commuting from one place to another.

This particular scooter is designed to provide a great way to commute through the crowded streets and therefore it is equipped with a Virtual Reality screen which offers quick warning to evade any kind of danger.

Much better alternative than bikes

A bike is designed with two wheels and requires a balance creation by the rider to keep it afloat and to enjoy the ride at remarkable pace. But Honda concept scooter named as Wander Walker will possess four wheels of which the front pair will have the ability to turn at extreme angles. People will easily be able to perform a perfect 90 degrees maneuvering which will making it easier to park it in extremely tiny space available at various places. Furthermore Honda has even provided the option of turning this scooter sideways with the presence of Seat Turn buttons at the console.

This scooter offers augmented reality system which brings detailed navigation information to the driver in 3D format on the dashboard. The console present in the scooter can easily be synced with the Smartphone. Honda has used a honeycomb structure in the wheel along with a thin outer-layer of rubber which makes this vehicle very suitable for pathways.

How Robots Can Learn New Tasks by Observing


Robot Training Academies – Aid Industrial Robots to Perform Difficult Chores

Robot `training academies’ could aid industrial robots to learn performing difficult chores by first, observing how humans tend to do it. It could probably take weeks in reprogramming an industrial robot to accomplish a complicated new job which would make retooling modern manufacturing route expensive and slow.

The development could speed up if robots were capable of learning how to perform a new task by observing others first. This is the idea behind the project which is in process at the University of Maryland, wherein researchers are training robots to be attentive students.

Yezhou Yang, a graduate student in the Autonomy, Robotics and Cognition Lab at the University of Maryland states that it is a robot training academy. They have asked an expert to show the robot a task and let the robot figure out most parts of sequences of things which need to be done and then fine tune things to make it work. The researchers at a recent conference in St. Louis had demonstrated a cocktail making robot which tends to use the approaches they work on.

Two Armed Industrial Machine Robot – Rethink Robotics

A two armed industrial machine robot, made by a Boston based company known as Rethink robotics, had watched a person mix drink by pouring liquid from many bottles into a jug and then copied these actions, clutching bottles in the proper order prior to pouring the precise quantities into a jug.

Yang performed the task with Yiannis Aloimonos and Cornelia Fermuller, who were the two professors of computer science at the University of Maryland. The approach is said to comprise of training a computer system to link specific actions of the robot with video footage portraying the performance of people with various tasks.

 For instance, a recent paper from the group portrayed that a robot can learn how to pick various objects by utilising two differentsystems on observing thousands of instructional YouTube videos wherein one system studies to recognize various object while the other identifies various types of grip.

System of Learning Adopted – Advanced Artificial Neural Network

Observing many YouTube video could be time consuming, however the learning technique seems to be much more efficient than programing a robot in managing various different matters and enabling the robot to handle new object.

The system of learning adopted in gripping work tends to include advanced artificial neural network which has envisaged great progress recently and are now being utilised in several areas of robotics. Researchers are coordinating with many manufacturing companies comprising of electronics business as well as car makers in adapting the technology to be used in factories.

 The companies are looking out for ways to quicken the process wherein engineers reprogram the machines. Yang is of the opinion that at several companies it tends to make a month and a half or more to reprogram a robot. So what would be the current AI potentials that can be used in shortening this span to half?

The project tends to reflect two styles in robotics, while one is to find new approaches in learning and the other is robots working in closeness with people. The Maryland researchers like the other group wishes to connect actions to language in improving the ability of robots to analyse spoken or written instructions.

Friday 23 October 2015

Toyota Unveils the FCV Plus, a Multifunctional Hydrogen Electricity Concept Car


Toyota is all set to boost its environment friendly range of vehicles by bringing in dedicated hydrogen electricity based concept car. Toyota is utilizing the concept of ‘FCV plus’ wherein it will be using compressed hydrogen for its upcoming concept car. This ‘FCV Plus’ concept will allow it to use highly efficient and energy rich compressed hydrogen which can easily be generated from a much wider range if raw materials. It is extremely easier to store the compressed hydrogen within the car which will in turn provide the electricity for running the environmentally sustainable technological vehicle.

Understand the hydrogen car first

Hydrogen cars are nothing different from the electric car and the only difference between the two is the use of battery. Electric cars usually runs on the conventional lithium ion or nickel metal hydride while hydrogen car explicitly stores their electricity in the form o hydrogen which later gets converted in into electricity and utilized in the motors for running the car. Hydrogen cars offers a great way to use a completely environment friendly fuel i.e. hydrogen which offers no harmful exhaust emissions.

Consumers will easily be able to refuel their car with the hydrogen just like filling their present cars with the petrol or diesel. Furthermore hydrogen car doesn’t require users to charge their batteries and they can drive for as long as their hydrogen may last.


The futuristic Toyota concept car

Toyota concept car possess an ultra slim futuristic design which can easily four passengers with great comfort. The FCV Plus will possess a hydrogen tank which will help in generating the electricity from the hydrogen for driving the motors. It also possess the ability to harness the electricity directly from the hydrogen placed outside the car and it can help in providing a stable for the electric even at home and at other places. Toyota new concept car fuel cell stack can easily be used by the users as a electricity generating device which has been never heard of before. IN simple words this fuel stack not just help in running the car but it can provide electricity to the users for different purposes.


Features of the hydrogen powered car

Toyota had gone with an extremely compact design but it has sacrificed on the consumers comfort at all. The fuel stack has been carefully mounted between the front wheels while the hydrogen tank has been placed right behind the rear seat. This has made it easier to offers more space within the car even the ultra compact design.

Toyota has used an independent in wheel motors in the entire four wheel which helps in providing better control of the vehicle. This car creates an optimal weight balance by carefully placing the fuel stack and motors at different places and it also helps in offering a wide field of vision to the user. Lightweight shells are used throughout the exterior design to lend a futuristic look. Driver gets straightforward controls which is extremely easier to use and handle without much inconvenience at all.

Cash to Digital Payment Network


For Cash to Digital Payment Network, one could use the facility of Pay1 that strives to come up with solutions to key problems with remote payment for cash users as well as digital merchants. In the last four years, it has processed more than 917 Cr. payments via small retail, modern retail chains transforming the payment services for the unbanked individuals. Annually it processes 336 Cr. transactions and has established a healthy network nationally in offering comprehensible service to its consumers.

This has been possible due to its amazing transaction platform which is developed and handled internally by their team of skilled enthusiastic. They have brought about an immense change on this platform with their presence providing an improvement in recharge experience. Some of the benefits offered comprise of Mobile top-up, data recharge, DTH recharge, bill payment utilities, post-paid mobiles, bank to wallet, merchant to wallet and online merchant payment.

Established in 2010, this retail network is constantly on the move towards financial upliftment of the people in India supporting the lower class and the unbanked section of individuals. They have made it possible to access a technology which tends to deliver payments and transfer in real time.

Control Business in the Palm of Your Hand 

Moreover it also has Pan India presence covering more than 50 plus cities including tier 2 & 3 cities with network of 50,000 retail stores by making their services available through their channel partners. Partner with Pay1 and join them with the fastest growing recharge channel and multiple your income sources from a single business. Besides this one could also control the business from the palm of your hand with this mobile app.

With their excellent retail base, Pay1 tends to support entrepreneurs together with small business owners to become Channel partners or distributors. For retailers, it is a user friendly application with the provision of various language options, with app and web based recharge, immediate redressal of issues through app and updates via notification or SMS.

The option of digital payment mode for the different brand partners, online limit is made available through net banking, instant limit offered within 20 minutes with immediate transaction report and much more. The entire process of recharge takes place within 10 to 60 seconds.

Future Vision of Creating Deep Impression – Mobile World – POS/ATM

Users could locate a store in their area through the app. With the Pay1 wallet, members too can avail the opportunity of a recharge with a missed call and the need of utilising a debit or a credit card for the purpose of recharge could also be utilised by the user. This Online Recharge app supports all the Indian telecom operators such as Aircel, Airtel, Loop Mobile, MTS, Idea, BSNL, Reliance, Tata Docomo, Uninor, Vodafone and Videocon.

DTH operators namely Tata Sky, Dish TV, Videocon D2H, Aircel, Reliance Big TV and others, could also recharge with this possibility. Pay1 has a future vision in creating deep impression in the mobile world of POS or ATM areas which could alter their stores into mini ATMs, digitizing cash with the provision of access to banking and financial services to unbanked sectors in India.

They intend filling up the space of online payment via cash payment network for the non-digital fragment. They are keen in creating a huge rural network which would permit a powerful rural ecosystem for cash to digital payment and is the fastest and most secure recharge app available.

Microsoft Unveils its First Ever Laptop


Microsoft’s First Laptop Launch – The Microsoft Surface Book

Microsoft surprised the world recently with its first laptop launch– the Microsoft Surface Book. Microsoft, for the past few years had informed that its Surface tablets would replace the traditional laptops but the company now has a backup product.

 Ed Giaimo, senior lead on the Surface Book team informed CNNMoney at an event in New York that some people preferred this form factor. The Microsoft Surface Book can be utilised as a full powered laptop or a tablet and the display screen can also be snapped to the back of the keyboard to act like a clipboard, credits goes to the unique mechanical hinge. However, the Surface Book is not just another Surface table with a better keyboard.

The monitor comprises of the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 processor while the keyboard base has a graphic processing unit – GPU which tends to boost the performance of the laptop. Besides this, about three fourths of the battery life of the device is stored in the keyboard. Microsoft states that a fully charged battery could last for 12 hours. The Surface Book is said to be sturdy and the tablet portion of the laptop tends to weigh 1.6 pounds while the whole unit weighs around 3.5 pounds.

Sleek Detachable Device

The new laptop tends to target busy professions comprising of features which do not have the need of setting it up for utilisation. The Surface Book is a sleek detachable device which seeks to redefine the laptop. The 13.5 inch Surface Book would be going on sale on 26th October with pre-orders beginning soon and the base model would be priced at $1,499.

The Surface Book is said to be just one of the several Windows 10 products that was announced.Running on the latest Windows 10 with the combination of the latest processor technology, it gives a powerful engine for great workforce.

It also has a powerful memory with expandable internal storage which could be advantageous in file storage as well as speed browsing. Besides this, Microsoft also launched a new Surface Pro together with two Lumia smartphones.

The new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 seems to have a bigger display of 12.3 inches though it is the same size as the Surface Pro 3. The accompanying keyboard has been updated by Microsoft to include a fingerprint reader, bigger touchpad and an improved keyboard.

Stylus Upgraded/ Digital Eraser on the Other End

The stylus has also been upgraded. It has one year battery life, magnetically attaches to the Pro 4 and Surface Book and works with various pen tips. It also has a digital eraser on the other end. Lumia 950 and 950XL now are essentially like pocket sized Windows 10 computers.

Users can connect to a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Though Microsoft has made it clear that it seems to be serious in venturing into the hardware business, the PC market seems to be facing shipment failure. As per the International Data Corporation, worldwide PC, shipments amounted to around 71.0 million units in the third quarter of 2015.

The said volume signified a year on year failure of -10.8%, a little worse than predictions for a decline of -9.2%. Microsoft’s focus lies in `reinventing’ products and move people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows according to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

Composite Cement used to Frame Vonschloo Home Speakers


Loudspeakers of Composite Cement for Vonschloo

Estragon, Zurich based studio, had developed loudspeaker made of composite cement for vonschloo. The choice of using composite cement was initiated due to the material being one of the best available for acoustic cabinets. The team spend a lot of their time in exploring the possibility of this material before embarking on the precise design for the material involved.

The company had been influenced by the `folle’ an archaic sound object that has been utilised in the Swiss Alps for centuries to call the `alpsegen’. When compared to the several electronic products, the team desired a 360 degree design to be appealing from all side thus permitting these speakers to be placed in a variety of surroundings. With the combination of composite cement, wood, metal and fabric it created a sophisticated and minimal look.

Due to the warm, rough and irregular material of the casing when compared to the smooth and delicate stand provides the product with a unique visual character. There are two different configurations for the loudspeaker where the only difference between the two configurations seems to be the stands. These can be altered at any period of time. Floor standing loudspeaker along with its stand is motivated by the designs of the 50’s and 60’s and is precise for free placement in a living area.

Eternit – Amazing Acoustic Properties

The material Eternit, cement composite was decided for artistic reasons. Besides having amazing acoustic properties, it tends to combine form and operates in a harmonic way. Since Eternit does not seem to be the most common material, it was only on working on that it had enabled the team to actually design the speaker casing which was due to the support and patient of Eternit – Schweiz, AG. On successful development of the speaker, the team were offered the opportunity of designing the complete identity of Vonschloo.

 The look and feel of the brand should imitate the characteristic of the product. Moreover, the logo as well as the website estragon also directed the photography. The second version is a shelf loudspeaker which has a compact stand. Its simple design tends to adapt to its surrounding.

The L242 Loudspeaker for vonschloo enables a clear visual statement with its reduced and focused utilisation of material together with the finish. It comes with a price of 2880 CHF, around $2,995 USD.

Idyllic Speaker – High Quality Sound/Fashionable Design

The L242is the idyllic speaker for users with high quality of sound and fashionable design. The characteristic of the design of the loudspeakers is simple having all the essentials, the inspiration being the Folle, a traditional wooden funnel utilised for ages for the Alpsegen.

Its clear and unique design language gives the loudspeakers an iconic appearance and due to its 360° design, the speakers tend to speak to the viewers from all angles. Owing to this, it has the possibility of being placed as an object in a free living atmosphere.

With regards to the case, this high-quality component and the experienced technicians tend to guarantee a sound which is exclusive, together with its exterior appearance. Its point source enables a tranquil sound with high detailed sound image. The housing on the other hand are cut and fashioned manually in the Eternit Switzerland AG.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Engineer Builds 'Working' Thor's Hammer only He can lift


Thor’s Legendary Hammer - Imitated by Engineer Allen Pan

Thor’s legendary hammer Mjolnir, in marvel comics is popular for being used only by the worthy. Mjolnir cannot be lifted off the ground and it is this property which electrical engineer Allen Pan, decided to imitate on a `working’ Mjolnir.

To make the hammer immoveable he thought that strong magnets seemed to be the best option and inside the Mjolnir he filled a microwave oven transformer electromagnet that utilised electricity to produce a magnetic field. This produced a strong magnetic pull which was strong enough for the hammer that when placed on a metal surfacecannot be lifted like the locked manhole cover and felt too heavy to be lifted.

The handle is linked to a capacitive touch sensor which is in turn attached to an Arduino Pro Mini and a solid state relay that acts as a switching device. When someone tends to grasp the handle, the electromagnets get switched on attaching the hammer to the metal surface. But the hammer could be turned off through a fingerprint sensor keyed to Pan’s thumbprint and when he grasps the hammer, the magnets switches on. When he tends to move his thumb across the sensor, it switches off again enabling Pan to lift the hammer.

Challenged Unsuspecting Passer-By

Taking his invention to the streets of Venice Beach California, Pan challenged unsuspecting passer-by to lift it and it seems to be a brilliant prank like the ones in comics and in films. A video of Pan urging people to try and lift the hammer, in California, has been shared millions of times.

Pan seemed to come up with this idea after observing a trailer for the latest Avengers movie, the series which promoted the Norse god of thunder. In a certain scene there are all superheroes who seem to be hanging out and are trying to lift Thor’s hammer which traditionally can be lifted only by someone who is worthy – that being Thor.
Pan tells that `Tony Stark, who is sort of the engineer genius of the group, throws a theory that it’s printed and you need your thumbprint’. Hence he decided that there could be a technological solution to this magical object.

The Hoax - Thumbprint Sensor

Pan purchased a Halloween costume version of Thor’s hammer online and filled it with the electronic guts. Towards the bottom of the hammer, was a large electromagnet which gets activated when anyone tries a hand on the handle. For the hammer to operate, it needs to be on a metal surface.

The hoax is the thumbprint sensor which only recognizes Pan’s prints and when he puts his hand on the handle, the electromagnet tends to get deactivated. After developing it, he took the hammer to Venice Beach in order to test it and his innovative plan was to locate monstrous, gigantic mutant men at Muscle Beach, which was the infamous public workout space.

However being the middle of a weekday, he was unable to find anyone. He finally ended in employing people on the boardwalk to test it. Initially, there seemed to be some hesitation since people were apprehensive that the hammer would shock them.

He mentioned that when they were capable of getting few people to try the same, they were able to gather a small crowd with lot of great attempts. Ultimately, some people reckoned out how the hammer worked.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Trick That Doubles Wireless Data Capacity Stands Up in Cell Network Tests


Doubling Capacity of Wireless Data Connection

Start-up Kumu Networks, in 2012, rolled out of Stanford University to profit from a clever trick with the capabilities of doubling the capacity of any type of wireless data connection. Tests have been carried out recently by one of America’s biggest wireless carriers as well as by Deutsche Telekom, the German telecom colossal owning a major stake in U.S. carrier T-Mobile.

 It has been indicated that doubling is achievable in real cellular networks. The effects showed the products of Kumu Networks, for cellular operators could aid in expanding the capacity of mobile data networks. The company in the longer term anticipates in delivering further capacity boosts by developing its technology adequately compact to accommodate in mobile devices.

Kumu had invented in research which had disapproved the long held supposition that radios could not transmit and receive at the same time and that belief was established on the fact that if radios made attempts to do both at the same time, its outgoing signal tends to drown out incoming one. This is due to it being billions of times stronger and for this reason, the radios in our phone and computers tend to use separate channels to send as well as to received or switch in the midst of sending and receiving on a single channel.

Full Duplex Connection

The founders of Kumu had designed hardware and software which permits the receiver of a radio to filter out interference from outgoing signals. The device is said to then transmit and receive simultaneously what according to Kumu is known as `full duplex’ connection.

This tends to double the effective capacity of an individual radio channel. It could also make it possible to use one where two were needed initially. Kumu had worked with main wireless carriers this summer, on the first test of its technology in real cellular network situations.

An associate professor at Columbia University, Harish Krishnaswamy states that Kumu’s trialsrecommend the idea of full duplex wireless connection could bepractical though the company may have not made public, the detailed results. He mentioned that the work coming out of Kumu seems to be the first clue of realistic demonstration of the technology and there are still more challenges though they are seeing the possibility.

Wireless Carriers – Small Mobile Base Station

The first products of Kumu would be focused on wireless carriers which would be a version of the small mobile base station called small cells utilised to improve coverage in busy areas like stadium. Small cells tend to link back to carrier’s network utilising cable.

 Its version would be cable-free and would utilise the full duplex technology and at the same time serve the nearby devices making a high powered LTE link back to the central network.Creating small cells totally wireless could be helpful for carriers in deploying them in wider range of locations, improving on data coverage and capacity, according to Steven Hong, director of product and cofounder of Kumu.

He anticipates that next year, the carriers would test that product in the field attending live traffic. Kumu also seems to be working on a chip making it possible to reduce the package containing the company’s technology from the size of a hardback book to something similar to a credit card. Earlier in the year, Krishnaswamy’s group had demonstrated a full duplex chip smaller than a fingertip at Columbia and was confident that the technology would ultimately land in phones.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

This Car Knows Your Next Misstep before You Make It

Experimental New Dashboard Computer – Keep Track of Behaviour Behind Wheel

With the increase in road accidents that are often occurring on the roads due to the driver’s negligence or failure on control of the vehicle, a new development has come up. This is in the form of experimental new dashboard computer which can keep track of the behaviour behind the wheel as well as predict what one is about to do next. Volvo, GM together with the others is on their way of testing systems which would be monitoring head and the eye position in order to identify signs of distraction.

Study by researchers at Cornell University and Stanford portray a more advanced method which could be educated in recognizing body language as well as behaviour which precedes a certain movement. This could activate early alerts like a blind spot vigilant, in advance thereby helping in avoiding serious accidents as per the academics involved.

Saxena Ashutosh, director of a project known as Robo Brain, at Cornell University and Stanford who oversaw the driving project, comments saying that `one could imagine yourself driving on a highway and you look to the right for a second since you intend making a right turn and as you are starting to make a right turn, some other driver pulls into the space which you probably thought was empty’.

Cutting Edge Machine Learning Algorithms

A car could in this instance issue an alert or prevent the driver form pulling into the lane. This method has been trained utilising cutting edge machine learning algorithms which predicts with over 90% precision whenever a driver is about to change lanes in the next few seconds. This lane change is generally signalled with a glance over the shoulder together with indicative head movement and changes in the steering, braking as well as acceleration.

 Ashutosh states that the accuracy achieved is quite excellent to be utilised in a production system. The researchers are exploring various ways for a vehicle to monitor and expect the driver’s behaviour through the project – Brain4Cars. The process involves utilising a machine learning approach known as deep learning in order to distinguish the actions that led the effort of lane changing.

 The systems were trained using data gathered as 10 different individuals drove around 1,180 miles around various locations of California. The researchers propose to make the ensuing data set easily available in order that the other academics and auto researchers could utilise the same.

Luxury Cars Equipped with Sensors

In recent years deep learning is said to be particularly beneficial in recognizing complex or elusive patterns like video and audio. The same has already been used allowing vehicle computers to identify various kinds of obstacles on the road. The team in their recent work had combined data from a video camera with GPS data and information from a computer system of a car.

Several luxury cars are now equipped with sensors which enable safety warnings and automatic breaking and steering. A student of Saxena’s and project lead on Brain4Cars, Ashesh Jain has commented that monitoring activity within a car and outside tends to make such safety systems intelligent.

He says that if the driver is distracted for a moment, if there is nothing in front, the car could be smart enough and not alert the drive. It is about how one utilises the info from all these sensors.

Monday 19 October 2015

iPhone 6S Plus Review

iPhone 6S Plus offers better screen, robust performance, longer battery life and an awesome camera but it does have its own shortcomings.

No new improvements in looks and designs

It is very difficult for the users to spot the difference between the two models i.e. 2014 iPhone 6 Plus and latest iPhone 6S Plus. Apple has introduced a new color scheme for the iPhones this year which is ‘Rose Gold’ and it is not available for the last year’s model. If any user possesses this color then he will be able to make the difference otherwise both the phones are undistinguishable from each other. However latest iPhone 6S has a small ‘S’ stamped right at the back cover, happens to be just 0.2 mm thicker and 20 g heavier than last year’s variant.

iPhone 6S Plus is a phablet device which comes with 5.5 inch display at a resolution 1080p along with pressure sensitive touch feature. It has a pixel density of 401 pixels but seems almost similar to the last year’s model.

iPhone 6S Plus offers a splendid performance

iPhone 6S Plus is christened with new Apple’s dual core A9 processor which offers splendid performance. It is loaded with a GB RAM which makes it faster than other iPhone models as they run on A8 processor. Moving from one app to another, multitasking and playing or running system intensive apps is quite great but not as smooth as found on the Android devices with similar specifications.

One thing worth mentioning is that this iPhone remains throughout the software and hardware intensive usage which is a delight for the iPhone users. Battery life as expected is pathetic on this device which fails to offer a full day usage without the need of pluging in the charger. Phone’s battery happens to drain quite steeply when browsing the web but the stand by time has been improved considerably.

Apple’s new iOS 9

Apple has unveiled its new iOS 9 along with bundling with iPhone 6S Plus and updates has been released to bring it on the all the iPhones. This OS is more responsive on the iPhone 6S Plus and comes loaded with a number of iOS 9 features like ever on Siri and minor changes in the user interface. It is quite tricky to make Siri understand your voice pattern and it will require a really quite place to do so.

More features makes iPhone 6S Plus more adorable

3D touch will take a little time to get accustomed to and this feature offers an opportunity to perform various tasks without really opening a number of apps. Touch ID sensor will allow you to add another layer of security to the phone wherein you can lock and unlock your device by simply pressing your thumb on the home button.

Apple has just provided users with a 12 megapixel but it is as good as any other camera even better in some instance. iPhone 6S Plus boasts of the 4k video recording capability but it is extremely memory consuming as a one minute video can take up-to 300 mb of space.

Watch a Floating Green Ball of Water Effervesce in Space in Glorious 4K


NASA Astronauts aboard ISS Assessing 4 K Cameras

The astronauts of NASA, aboard the International Space Station- ISS, have been presently assessing a 4K camera for filming science experiments which means that the recording would be at higher frame rate, higher resolution than the usual HD camera and would be offering more information to researcher studying the recordings. Moreover, it would also add more fun together with interesting videos.

Most recent is the video starring astronaut Scott Kelly and the ball of changing colours is unique because of the first space videos which NASA shot in 4K ultra-high definitions HD. Kelly who is part of NASA’s crew, had spent a year in space instead of the standard six months, in order to scale the effects on the body of long term Mars mission, toying with water.

 Subsequent to the 8K UHD, 4K UHD is said to provide the highest resolution viewing experience one can get and is four times the definition which the standard 1080p HD television could offer. NASA has explained in a description of the video that astronaut Scott Kelly had taken on board the ISS, that the higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos seems to disclose more information when utilised on science investigations providing the researchers with valuable new tool aboard the space station.

Video Beautiful Highlighting Various Colours/Texture/Movements

His video is just not beautiful but tends to highlight various colours, textures as well as movements which show the high resolution camera’s tremendous potentials. Kelly has a globule of water in which is added things and is filming the effects.

Water floats in the air as quivering blobs, in microgravity, which tends to make for some experiments which the astronauts finds it fun, like the popping water balloons, or injecting air bubbles and watching how the water tends to move.

In July, Terry Virts, NASA astronaut had inserted an effervescent tablet in a ball of water to observe it dissolve and release gases in the water and in the air. In Kelly’s experiment, he tends to switch it a little wherein he creates the water globule first and then adds what seems like blue and yellow edible dye to colour the water into an algae green.

Camera – Huge Sensors/Potential of High Resolution Imaging

Thereafter he adds effervescent tablets that cause the green globule to bubble and distort as tablet tends to quickly break down producing carbon dioxide. One can observe individual pockets of water explode off the surface after the effervescent tablet has dissolved which is because as the tablet liquefies it generates bubbles of carbon dioxide gas in the water which would generally rise to the surface of a glass on Earth.

However in space it moves to the outer edge of the sphere increasing in size till the bubbles pop flinging bits of water everywhere.The camera – the Red Epic Dragon 4K has also been utilised in the production of films like Peter Jackson’s – the Hobbit, series. Rodney Grubbs, program manager for NASA’s Imagery Experts Program of the camera in July, informs that this is a big leap in camera technology for spaceflight.

These cameras tend to have huge sensors with the potential of very high resolution imaging at high frame rates. It seems like having a high speed 35MM motion picture film camera though it is compact and can use lenses which are already up there besides being digital.

How a 3 D Printer Changed a 4-Year Old's Heart and Life

3D printed heart

Mia’s Malformation Treated With 3-D Printer

Mia Gonzalez who had been suffering from malformation in her aorta, the vessel that pumps blood from the heart, had to spend the first three and a half years of her life missing on most of the activities in life. She had to miss out on day care as well as dance classes due to the condition of colds and pneumonia.

When she was unable to go out and play, she was easily breathless and had to take multiple asthma medication to aid in the breathing. After around 10 hospital stay she had been diagnosed of this ailment. This four year old was in need of an operation to block off the part of her aorta which was putting pressure on her windpipe, making it hard to breathe, swallow and get rid of phlegm whenever she got a cold.

Mia’s mother, Katherine Gonzalez informed that they got out, thinking that she had asthma only to be told that she needed to undergo open heart surgery. However, her malformations seemed to be complicating. The surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, treating Mia would have been apprehensive regarding the process if it was not for the new technology, the 3-D printer

Printer Use Images From MRI/CT Scan Images as Templates

The hospital had obtained a 3-D printer, earlier in the year, which makes the exact models of organs which the doctors could use to plan surgery as well as practice operations. The printer then to use images from patients’ MRI or CT scan images as template and lays down layers of rubber or plastic.

The director of paediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Dr Redmond Burke, considered the model of Mia’s heart for couple of weeks and showed it to his colleagues for their contribution regarding the same. He even carried it in his gym bag for quick reference.

He finally had the right insight and instead of making an incision on the left side of this kind of heart defect, known as double aortic arch, he cut into Mia’s chest from the right. Burke informed that without the model he would have been less certain about Mia’s operation and that would have led him in making a larger incision which would cause more pain with longer recovery time. He added that using the model there was no room for doubt and surgeons dislike doubts.

Model Saved Team/Patient – 2 Hours in Operation Theatre

He points that the model saved the team as well as the patient about two hours in the operation theatre since he was capable of having a clearer plan in performing the surgery. Though 3-D printers had been clinically utilised for the last 20 or 25 years in making prototypes for surgical tools as well as other usages, it only began with simulated organs in the last few years, according to Rader.

 Surgeons had utilised the simulated organs for preparing all types of complicated surgeries like the surgery to remove a brain tumour or to correct a severe cleft palate, informs Rader. He further adds that, doctors could operate on them with regular surgical tools again and again till they found the optimal way of doing the surgery.

 For Mia, four months thereafter, her mother informed that the surgery seemed like ancient history to her and she had forgotten all about the surgical scar and had little pain. Though she had some minor colds, none had given her reason to be in the hospital and a month later she was also in a position to participate in her dance performance

Friday 16 October 2015

Light Introduces Multi-Aperture Computational Camera


L16 Launch by Light – Interesting Camera to Test & Shoot

Light was established to make attractive photography more accessible than before and presently the first step towards this goal has been brought about, by the launch of the Light 16 Camera. This being the first product launch for Light and as start-up founder will tell that the experience is similar to that of a first born, a nerve wrecking experience.

 The latest version in camera, L16 is a small camera which permits professional quality photos. Lori Grunin who covers digital imaging for sources has revealed on Light. According to her, it seems to be one of the most interesting cameras to test and shoot.

 It is the first multi-aperture computational camera which takes quality images and is small as well as light to be carried around. The company has advertised that the camera delivers the highest quality from the smallest possible device. It is considered like having a camera body, zoom and three fast prime lenses inside your pocket. Dave Grannan, Light CEO had mentioned in MIT Technology Review that he does not think that on day one consumers would drop their DSLR to buy one of these, though they think that here is a huge population of users who would appreciate the size, cost as well as the weight reduction.

First Multi Aperture Computational Camera

Light, the company behind the L16, is the first multi aperture computational camera which has a technology using a blend of folded optics with computational imaging algorithms. Light has informed that `with 16 individual cameras, ten have been firing simultaneously; the L16 tends to capture details of the shot at multiple fixed focal lengths.

The images are computationally fused to create a final image with about 52 megapixel resolution. The term `folded optics’ has been explained by Rachel Metz in MIT Technology Review that each camera module is placed on its side and light tends to come in through an aperture, hitting a mirror and then travelling down the barrel of the lens to an image sensor.

Since the camera modules have different focal lengths, various ones will fire at once based on how close one would want to zoom in, on a subject and how the mirrors within the modules move to grab light’. The focus and depth of field can be adjusted even after the shot is taken.

The L16 would be having three different focal lengths, five 35 millimeter ones, five 70 millimeter ones and six 150 millimetre ones and each of the modules of the camera would have a 13 megapixel image sensor.

Comes with Wi-Fi Built-in

Pre-orders are being taken by the company which is $1299 till November 6. Thereafter it would be going up to $1699. The camera is said to be shipped by late summer of 2016.

The L16 is also said to be dust and water resistant. It has been mentioned by Rob Triggs in Android Authority about some other features regarding the L16 which tends to be appealing both to nonprofessional as well as professional photographers.

The L16 comes with Wi-Fi built-in where photographers could share their images straight from the camera or instantly transfer them over the air to a PC. As per MIT Technology Review, Light is said to be working on the L16 since 2013 and since then has had a deal with Foxconn in bringing the device to smartphones, which is expected somewhere next year.

Electronics that Better Mimic Natural Light Promise More Vivid, Healthy Illumination


Devices for Lighting – Similar to Natural Light

Inspite of technological leaps in up-to-date electronics, the excellence of lighting which they provide still tends to leave much scope for improvement. A joint team led by an associate professor Jian Li, of material sciences and engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, intends to change that.

According to Li, the team is expecting to produce devices for lighting which would be similar to natural light than the earlier technology, allowing user to view things in a healthier, brightly lighted atmosphere. One section of the research with possibility of solutions is aimed on creating advanced organic light emitting diodes known as OLEDs.

The updated OLEDS will not be emitting ultraviolet – UV which will not enable clearer vision but also help in preventing eyestrain which is often the outcome of constant exposure to the UV light that is emitted by the present devices according to Li.

These types of OLEDs would mainly be advantageous to museum, art galleries and other places since the UV lights hinders the human eye in discerning colour variations clearly as well as the texture of objects. Over a period of time, UV light also tends to dull colours of painting, causing gradual decomposition of the paints together with the other materials.

Provision of Grant of $875,000 – 2 Years

Li who is on the faculty of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy has informed that the most important developments in the technology would extent to `a big milestone’ in the potential of effectively lighting our world. Operation on OLEDS headed by Li in the past decade had drawn continuous interest from government as well as industry and the most recent aid is a grant with provision of $875,000 over two years from the U.S.Department of Energy.

This would make provision for Li’s lab to enlarge its research with further development in collaboration with Universal Display Corporation, which is a leading developer of electronic display and lighting technologies on organic materials.

Li had informed that the Department of Energy contemplates the progress in OLEDs as a great priority which is the main part of its attempt in helping the world to become more energy efficient, expand into renewable energy resources as well as discover ways of offering more affordable energy.

More Control on Brightness of Lighting …

Next generation of OLED technology can be anticipated in improving the lighting presentation in the various solid state electronics from lighting for streets, parks, sports facilities to cell phones, digital watches, computer screen, television and flexible electronic displays together with home, industrial and commercial lighting.

The advanced OLEDs would permit more control on the brightness of lighting together with provision of more choices in moulding the shapes of the lighting devices, to determine the direction as well as the intensity of light and to regulate the colour of light.

Li’s research team have been working in the development of OLEDs which tend to utilise single emissive material in the creation of a white emission instead of the more difficult structures that depend on the utilisation of a mixture of blue, green and red emissive material which are designed to produce a working stable as well as pure white light than the other lighting technologies.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT to Other Companies

The ability to outsource to other companies and freelancers is a great gift to small businesses, who can’t always keep everything in-house. Even large businesses like to do this, as it just makes financial sense. IT, in particular, is a great one to consider outsourcing – so what are the benefits of doing this? Let’s take a look…

Full Control of Costs

IT bills can explode out of control. With a monthly, reliable expenditure, you can take back control of your IT costs, and limit the money flying out of your bank account. Knowing how much you need to spend per month (or year) is another worry off your shoulders. You will probably need to keep some form of IT personnel around to fix minor problems, but this means that your IT representative is less stretched, and that you hopefully won’t have to hire an entire team to take care of the many IT concerns (especially if your company is very internet dependent).

Your Staff Can Focus On Other Things

Your employees are one of your greatest assets and resources, but they are also one of your most troubling expenditures. So that everyone can do their job without interference, ensuring that your workers are focused on delivering great service to customers and clients, outsourcing your IT is a fantastic way to let your employees do what they do best, without being spread too thin. It should also save time in trying to figure out the problem in-house – make it someone else’s issue!

You Won’t Have To Provide Extra IT Training

Training and improvements will all be down to the outsourced company? New software or legal changes? They will have to adjust their skills and educate their employees - nothing extra will come out of your pocket. You also don’t have to keep abreast of all of the new developments either, which will save your teams a lot of time in trying to stay cutting edge – someone else can make sure that the software is up-to-date and competitive.

Staying Competitive

Often – especially for small businesses – it just makes sense to outsource your work. You can’t keep absolutely everything in-house and remain competitive. However, if you DO outsource a few parts of your business, you are remaining agile and fighting fit. Yes, the bigger companies have more flout, but you are versatile, new, exciting, and you can roll with the punches.

Risk Reduction

If ever there is an issue, it doesn’t have to drastically impact your business’ productivity. An outsourced company will have the responsibility to rectify the problem. There are plenty of companies out there that offer a wide variety of packages for IT departments – Exponential E is one of the more obvious choices for this kind of service – but look for something that will get you the most service for your payments. In order to make outsourcing feasible, you should ideally entrust the majority of the responsibilities to a separate set of professionals.

Thursday 15 October 2015

These 7 Apps are among the Worst at Protecting Privacy


Free/Paid Apps Accompanied with Hidden Cost

While browsing through the various apps which are made available from Apple and Android app stores, one will observe that around 98% of them tend to be free for download. However, several of the various free apps together with the paid ones tend to be accompanied with hidden cost which is your privacy. When apps are installed on the gadget the user is prompted with permission to access certain information or phone features. At time they need this information and at other times it does not seem to be essential.

Messaging app for instance requires permission for accessing contacts and Wi-Fi connection to do its task. But a Flashlight app does not need to know the location or have total internet access. Often users tend to hit `accept’ to install apps without checking what they do.

Apple devices enables apps to approve or deny permission individually wherein one can go to Settings – Privacy and open a feature such as Camera to view and control which apps have permission to access it. Another option is to go to Settings and scroll towards the bottom and tap on a particular app to see and control its permission.

PrivacyGrade – Popular Android Apps

Carnegie Mellon University had a few years back, set up a site known as PrivacyGrade which analyses popular Android apps to check what permissions they ask and how they utilised the information with a grade from A to D for each of them. With the scoring system, the score of PrivacyGrade tends to change over a period of time. At times the app which used to be on the `D’ list would get a `B’ or even an `A’. That is because; at times the app pulled its permission though at other times it decided to be more open on what it tends to do with the information.

The following are the seven popular apps which PrivacyGrade a low score -

1. Draw Something Free – D

This app enables the user to play a version of remote Pictionary with their friends which is enjoyable. However, it comprises of several advertisers libraries and utilises the `Read phone status and identity status’ permission to allow advertisers your call log, phone number, signal information, carrier and much more.

2. Words with Friends - D

This well-known app is similar to a fast game of Scrabble and is good for brushing up on vocabulary. But it is from the same developer as `Draw Something’ and is not surprising that it has the same privacy, though it goes a little further with the `Precise location’ permission. Since it does not use the location for the game, it does tend to use it to indicate to you location based ads.

3. GO Locker – D

The app tends to act as a screen lock for the phone, promising to be more secure and smarter than the built-in screen lock on the device. It means that it needs to know a lot about the phone and needs all permission available right from location to reading the text messages. Though it does not have advertising libraries installed, it could send data to advertisers utilising its own first party codes. It does not link up to send information to app stores other than Google Play which could be dangerous since app stores besides Google have malicious app. These could get hold of information from your phone.

4. GO Weather Forecast & Widgets - D

This app from the same company which brought GO Locker, provides the weather and forecast, but like GO Locker, it tends to utilise plenty of its permission to direct data to app markets besides Google Play. After some bit of checking, it seems that each GO app inclusive of GO Battery as well as GO SMS Pro, seem to have the same design and should be avoided.

5. Camera360 Ultimate – D

The default camera app of Android is serviceable, but not fanciful. The Camera360 Ultimate has the potentials to add more camera modes, with filters, free cloud storage, real-time `touch-ups’ facial recognition and much more without ads.

6. Angry Birds - C

Angry Birds was the first modern `virus-related’ mobile game with over 2 billion downloads since 2009 and most of its sequels as well as by-products do not fare well with privacy. Several of them include targeted ad libraries which tend to grab the identify information of the phone including call logs, carrier, device ID and number, etc. Beyond the score of PrivacyGrade, Angry Birds also has the difference of being one of the apps which NSA and British GCHQ had targeted to get hold of user information from smartphones. The improved version of Angry Birds is not vulnerable and they have scored a higher `B’.

7. My Talking Tom - D

This app is a little game where one can adopt and take care of a kitten but its privacy settings are not so lovable. It comprises of an eight targeted ad libraries besides the phone’s identifying information which is sent to the advertisers audio from the microphone.

Can Making Seawater Drinkable Quench the World's Thirst?


Seawater Desalination Plants For Filtered Water

Generating fresh drinking water from sea through desalination has always been the best option to the water shortage faced during the year. Oceans tend to cover over 70% of the surface of the earth which contains 97% of its water. However the efforts essential in the achievement of this simple procedure seems to be costly. But now with enhancement in technologies, the cost has been reduced to half with huge desalination plants coming up all around the globe.

The biggest seawater desalination plant ever has just ramped up to full production in Israel’s Sorek plant near Tel Aviv which will make about 624 million litres of filtered water daily, selling around 1,000 litres equal to weekly consumption of Brit for 45p. The Ras al-Khair plant in Saudi Arabia tends to reach full production in December.

Created in the peninsula’s Eastern Province, it would be much bigger, speeding a billion litres a day to Riyadh where the population seems to be on the rise. A connected power plant would be yielding 2.4 million watts of electricity. The desalination plant in the US, San Diego’s Carlsbad, which is the country’s largest, would be in operation from November.

Reverse Osmosis – Utilises Less Energy – New Lease of Life

The old style of extracting drinking water from sea or saline water was to boil it then collect the evaporated water as a pure distillate which tends to utilise lot of energy but works well when combined with industrial plants which can produce heat as a by-product.

The new desalination plant at Saudi Arabia tends to pair with a power plant for this purpose. But in recent years, reverse osmosis, a technology which has been since 1960s utilises less energy has been given a new lease of life. It involves pushing salt water at high pressure via a polymer membrane comprising of holes around a fifth of a nanometre in size.

A nanometre is said to be a billionth of a metre, and the holes which are small enough to block the salt molecule are big enough to enable the water molecule through. Profession Nidal Hilal at Swansea University, editor-in-chief of the journal explains that this membrane tends to strip all the salts and minerals totally from the water and get clean water coming down as infiltrate and the distillation on the other side is saline with high content of salt.

However, these membranes may get clogged easily and lose its performance but with improved technology and pre-treatment techniques, there is a possibility of keeping them working efficiently for a longer period. Sorek’s designers in Israel tend to save energy by utilising double sized pressure vessels.

Dr Jack Gilron, head of Desalination and Water Treatment at Ben Gurion comments that one would need less pressure vessels to generate water which means fewer pipes and less connection. The researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT in US had experimented with semi-permeable membranes which were made from atom thick graphene that need less pressure to function and thus saves energy even though the technology is not yet prepared for mass production.

With regards to forward osmosis, Professor Nick Hankins, chemical engineer at the University of Oxford is of the opinion that it is an alternative option of removing the salt from seawater. A highly concentrated solution is utilised to draw it through instead of pushing the fresh water through the membrane, which efficiently sucks it from the sea water. Thereafter the diluted solutes are removed producing pure water.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Crippling Linux Botnet Strikes Gaming, Education Sites

Botnet Plundering Linux Computers – Attack Powerful

The IT world has recently revealed that a botnet has been plundering the Linux computers and the attacks seem to be quite powerful. Several of the targets seem to be in Asia and the security experts are making efforts in tracking them and the botnet appears to be of Asian origin.

A network of Linux computers seems to be flooding gaming as well as education sites with about 150 gigabits per second of malicious traffic, according to Dan Goodin of Ars Technica, which in some cases is adequate to knock the targets offline.

This is a DDoS – distributed denial-of-service network and the discoveries are from Akamai Technologies. The Security Intelligence Response Team – SIRT, at Akamai reflected the botnet XOR DDoS as `High Risk’ in an advisory posted recently.

 It is said that the XOR DDoS botnet had developed and now has the potential of mega DDoS attacks at 150 plus Gbps and are utilising a Trojan malware in hijacking the Linus system. The first access was obtained by brute force attacks in order to discover the password to Secure Shell services on a Linux machine. When the Login has been attained, the attackers used root privileges in order to run a Bash shell script, thereby downloading and executing the nasty binary

SIRT Tracking XOR DDoS – Trojan Malware

Akamai’s Security Intelligence Response Team has been tracking XOR DDoS, which is a Trojan malware that DDoS attackers seemed to have used in hijacking Linux machines in building a botnet for distributed denial of service attack campaigns with DNS and SYN floods.

Some of the key points observed by Akamai were that the gaming sector had been the main target, which was followed by educational institutions. The botnet seemed to attack around 20 targets each day, 90% of which were from Asia.

The malware tends to spread through Secure Shell – SSH services vulnerable to brute force attacks owing to weak passwords. This could turn from bad to worse. The team at Akamai expect the XOR DDoS activity would continue since attackers refine and improve their methods, inclusive of a more diverse selection of DDoS types of attack.

Advisory Describing DDoS Mitigation/Malware Removal Information Available

As per the Akamai team, the IP address of the bot seems at times hoaxed though not always. The botnet attacks noticed that in the DDoS campaigns against Akamai consumers were a mixture of hoaxed and non-hoaxed attack traffic. According to Lucian Constantin of IDC News Service recently stated that this power to generate crippling attacks at more than 150 Gbps represent several time greater than a usual company’s organization could endure.

 In the meanwhile an advisory describing this threat inclusive of DDoS mitigation payload analysis as well as malware removal information is made available for download from Akamai. Eliminating the XOR DDoS malware seems to have a four step procedure wherein most of the scripts are provided in the advisory.

Senior vice president and general manager of Akamai, Stuart Scholly has said that XOR DDoS is an example of attackers switching focus and developing botnets utilising compromised Linux systems to launch DDoS outbreaks. This occurs more frequently now than earlier, when Windows machines were the main targets for DDoS malware.