Wednesday 31 May 2017

This Artist Has a Classroom of Robots That Chat, Count and Draw Portraits

20 robot students are busy working hard in a uniquely designed classroom near Southwark station in London. To talk to each other, they use a language inspired by the Morse code. While they are talking, their robot teacher asks them to settle down and begins to take the register. Once all the robots’ presence has been recorded, the class for the day begins, where the robots devotedly learn to count through tally, i.e. by drawing lines in their notebooks.

Patrick Tresset, an artist, in his latest exhibition, Machine Studies, included this robot classroom. His robots comprise of a camera and a pen held by a robot arm, which is controlled by a laptop concealed in a traditional school desk that is actually the robot’s body. Inspired by Tresset’s personal experience during his schooldays in France, the robot class finish an entire range of activities in Human Study #4.

Robots Displaying Human Traits and Performing Human Functions

All the robot students’ have synchronised actions but each robot has unique movements. Tresset programmed the robots to portray various behavioural qualities, such as uneasiness or timidity. Some robots appear to actively take part in the task allotted to them whereas others work a little slower, with a level of nervousness as compared to the others. Tresset says his study is about observing human nature than technology and is focused on how we can make robots more human.

In his other work, Human Study #1 3RNP, three robots wait with pens, ready to draw portraits of humans sitting in front of them. In a span of 30 minutes, the camera or “heads” are raised to view the subject and they start sketching frantically , stopping every once in awhile to have a look at their composition. Tresset has programmed each robot in such way that it can roughly imitate his own style of drawing but not fully and has left some room for the robot to use its own style. Therefore, Tresset says he cannot foresee what their final portraits will look like.

Robots Being Involved In Artistic Exhibitions

The exhibition is part of MERGE Festival held in London’s Bankside district. Donald Hyslop, head of community partnerships at the Tate Modern and chair of Better Bankside, says that the whole point of this festival is to not limit art to just museums but to extend it into new contexts within a community. He states that one doesn’t need to visit Berlin or Lisbon for experiencing interesting industrial spaces and instead this can be experienced in this part of London in Bankside where there are many hidden spaces. Tresset’s work is put up on display at Platform Southwark.

Angie Dixon who is project and production manager at Illuminate Productions, curates this festival and says that visitors are always interested to have their portrait drawn by Tresset’s robots. She herself had her portrait drawn earlier in 2012 by an earlier version of the robots. That time they were not able to differentiate between dark and light skin and so her portrait was like scratching on paper.

Nevertheless, she says she was not disappointed and it was an interesting experience for her. Tresset stated that robots cannot be counted as a threat to human artists as of now. His robots sign their creations and yet he counts himself as the author. He is currently involved in machine learning and says eventually he would want his robots to improvise and create their own style.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Researchers Engineer Concocted Shape Shifting Noodles

I can say even your grannie can play with the noodles or spaghetti the one that MIT researchers has invented. Yes, these spaghetti/ noodles caters a lot more fun than the normal noodles can't. What so fun about these edible films? This MIT team has made the dining experience more synergistic and lot of fun. Just add water in it and you find these can transform their shapes.

The MIT's Tangible Media Group, have commix something similar to the eatable origami, that is in the shape of flat sheets of starch and gelatin. If you immersed in water, immediately they shoot into 3D formations, that comprises of regular shapes of pasta such as macaroni, noodles and rotini. These edible three-dimensional formations can also be skillfully arranged to crimp into the form of a flower and other irregular designs. To play with these culinary prospective, the MIT researchers formulated flat discs that wrap up around caviar, akin to cannoli, and spaghetti that impromptu divides into littler noodles while soused in hot stock. They have presented their work to the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2017

This MIT's team describes that these edible 3D formations are not only the art of culinary performance, but it is a functional way to cut down food-shipping costings.

The edible films could be piled together and shipped to the customers, so alter into their ultimate shape later, while plunged in water. If you make a perfect pack of it, you will gain 67 percent of package will retain empty says the co author of the paper.

Programmable pasta

MITs researchers, Wang and Yao had been working the effects of respective materials to moisture. They were working generally with a definite bacterium that can metamorphose its form, shrinking and enlarging in effect to humidness. Coincidentally, that particular bacterium is used to ferment soybeans to prepare a regular Japanese dish called as natto. They worked with gelatin, which of course spread out while it takes up water.

This material can spread out to respective degrees that depends on the density. Then the team researched to control the bending structures of the pasta, so that they create various 3D shape-changing gelatin sheets. These gelatin sheets were covered with cellulose strips that controls the amount of water the gelatin sheet can absorb. This cellulose strip act as a water barrier! The print the cellulose onto the gelatin sheets, that can predictably control the shapes response to water and the shapes that it finally expected.

Designing for a noodle democracy

Wang and Yao formulated various different structures from the gelatin sheets, from macaroni like designs, to structures that matches flowers and horse saddles. The team showed their newly invented edibles to the head chef of a high-class Boston bistro. These two professionals designed some culinary creations.

They transcribed the cellulose shapes and the attribute of entire structures they were able to make, and as well tested properties such as strength, make all this into a database. This team used a lab 3-D printer to shape cellulose onto the gelatin films, merely they have defined ways in which we can produce akin effects with more common method, such as screen printing. With this online tool can render design instructions, and a startup establishment can transport the materials to you. They want to change the design of noodles.

Next Generation Mapping Drone

New mapping drone records areas ten times faster than before

Drones are called as remote-controlled aerial vehicles (UAVs - unmanned arial vehicles) can be both independent / machine-controlled flying craft, and also human-controlled aircraft.

The application areas are diverse with these wonderful machines enhanced with technology. Either as a pure hobby object for pure flying or even filming / photography or for professional occasion. On the other hand, they can be also used as military drones / combat drones.

Aerial photography = photography and video technical controls on, for example, high voltage masts and buildings various surveying techniques in the forestry different exploration areas and research in animal protection at the police and fire brigade. Hence the area of application of these drones are increasing day by day in various fields. And also there are a lot of new researches have been conducted to technology enhance these unmanned vehicles. Recently the technical team has formulated a mapping drone that records the ground ten times faster.

The Drone named “Marlyn”

Up to 60 kilometers per hour fast is a mapping drone that has developed the start-up Atmos UAV, a spin-off from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. This technology makes it much faster than almost all conventional airplanes of this type. The reason: "Marlyn" has wings like an airplane, but can still start vertically. The rotors can be rotated by 90 degrees. In the horizontal flight they can use all their strength to move Marlyn forward. The rotors of normal drones have to provide additional buoyancy.

One square kilometer in 30 minutes

The engineers at Atmos has enhanced this mapping drone with wonderful technology that developed Marlyn specifically for taking pictures of the earth's surface. The hybrid mapping drone creates a certain area ten times faster than a conventional aircraft. The first user is the Dutch company, which sees itself as a leader in the use of drones for industrial and agricultural purposes. Marlyn – the mapping drone creates an area of one square kilometer in just 30 minutes. The resolution is three centimeters in this driving mode. The maximum is 1.5 centimeters. This means that a pixel of the recorded image actually has an extension of 1.5 centimeters. In other words, a ten-cent coin can be easily identified.

Rain does not matter to Marlyn

To start and land, this mapping drone needs an area of two by two meters. It can fly in almost any weather. Rain does not matter to her. It must remain on the ground only in strong winds. "With the special features of this mapping drone, we create even the most demanding tasks," says Pieter Franken, one of the founders of Skeye.

Marlyn is wearing a high-resolution camera. Her job makes her autonomous, but after careful preparation. In the first step, by this wonderful technology a flight plan is drawn up that takes into account the required accuracy of the images and the terrain to be mapped. Then start the mapping drone and the data recorder on board at the push of a button. When this mapping drone has landed after the work has been done, the stored image data are read out and edited with any evaluation software.

Monday 29 May 2017

What you need to know about Bitcoin after the WannaCry Ransomware attack?

After the recent worldwide attack of ransomware, Bitcoin was highlighted in the news again. The harmful software locks the victim’s access to all their files and data and refuses to grant them access unless a ransom is paid in the form of at least $300 in bitcoin. This leaves one wondering what exactly is bitcoin and why do hackers want their payments in this form?

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a type of a digital currency. One can buy dollars or euros with it and also one can trade any other currency. It is stored in an online wallet and through this wallet, one can use bitcoin online and also in the physical world for purchasing services and goods. Bitcoin is also supported by PayPal. Bitcoin also has valuation and it’s price keeps fluctuating up and down, just like any other currency.

What's different about bitcoin?

Usually, while purchasing something online, one uses a credit card or a debit card. This card connects to information about the user, such as the name and the billing address. One can use bitcoin the very same way one uses debit or credit cards and the transactions made are completely anonymous. This can’t be used to personally identify you. Whenever one trades in bitcoin, a private key is used which is associated with the user’s wallet and a code is generated, called an address. This address is then publicly linked with the transaction but no personal details and information are identified. In this way, every bitcoin transaction is recorded and is signed securely in an open ledger that can be viewed and checked by anyone. Thus, bitcoin can be used to protect one’s privacy.

Is this why the WannaCry hackers chose Bitcoin as a form of payment?

Most possibly, yes. Bitcoin has gained its reputation as a technology that can facilitate crime in the news media. Although the identities of users making bitcoin transactions are not revealed, law enforcement can trace these transactions and the movement of bitcoin with the help of the public ledger. Online criminal operations that have used bitcoin, have been successfully prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Law Enforcement and WannaCry

The government is already investigating these attacks. White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert stated that the process of finding out who is behind the crime, also called as attribution, is a generally tough process in computer attacks. Most of the times, the attackers are not easy to catch hold of as they are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Their activities are hidden behind multiple layers of security.

Money Collected by the Attackers

According to Quartz, the news site tracking the amount of money in the hackers’ wallet, so far the amount looks to be about $55,000. It’s not a lot of money considering that the European Union Law enforcement agency, Europol, has said that more than 200,000 computer systems have been affected. Still, in recent years, the value of a single bitcoin has seen a steady rise. An all-time high price of $1,830 per bitcoin was seen just hours before the WannaCry attack began to spread. However, after the attack was revealed, the price fell by $200. Looking at how easily hackers can attack with ransomware, acquiring even a handful of bitcoin and keeping a hold of it for sometime can help the cyber-criminals gain a large sum of money.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Construction Begins on Google’s Massive Seattle campus in Amazon’s Backyard

Google’s New Campus – Established by Paul Allen - Vulcan Read Estate

Works has begun on the new campus of Google in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighbourhood, on the outskirts of global headquarters of Amazon. The project is being established by Vulcan Real Estate of Paul Allen and tends to span two whole blocks and would comprise of office space of around 600,000 square feet, together with residential tower on every block with a combined 149 units according to Lori Mason Curran investment strategy director of Vulcan Real Estate.

Commencement of the work had started earlier in the month on the project that had been announced last year which will be reaching completion in early 2019. Vulcan also tends to have an adjacent block which is not a portion of the project of Google. According to Mason Curran, the site is intended for 216 residential units and 161,000 square feet of office space. It is said that Vulcan would not begin this block till it lands a tenant.

The main player for long has been Amazon in South Lake Union. However, the entry of Google in the neighbourhood down the road together with the rapidly growing presence for Facebook should provide plenty of competition for top talent.

Structure – Begin in Phases 2017 - 2019

Presently, Seattle area footprint of Google comprises of offices in the Fremont neighbourhood and the Eastside suburb of Kirkland, Wash. It is uncertain what Google intends to do with its Fremont space when the new Seattle campus seems to be ready. However at the moment, investing in the neighbourhood, Google had signed a deal, earlier this year to sublease the former sound Mind & Body Gym space in 2014 that Tableau had altered into around 50,000 square feet of tech office space, for its engineering team.

The structure would begin in phases from 2017 and would complete in 2019. According to an official from Vulcan, Google has agreed to leases which would be lasting 14 to 16 years, a new sign of its long-term commitment to the Seattle region. Joined with the recently expanded offices in Kirkland, Wash of Google, the technology giant would be approaching 1 million square feet in the area with this latest space. Presently Google tends to have over 1,900 employees in Washington State, in offices in Seattle and Kirkland.

South Lake Union – Thriving Hub

Google would be moving from its present location in Seattle’s Fremont neighbourhood, wherein the space had been constrained in recent years considering the rapid expansion of Tableau Software together with the other technology companies. Clyde McQueen, site Lead for Google Seattle had mentioned in a news release that South Lake Union is a thriving hub and they were excited for the new space. They loved being in the Fremont neighbourhood though would need more breathing space.

They are yet to catch a view of Lake Union, from the new location. Besides providing a bigger footprint for Google in the city, the news is prominent since Amazon is not the one taking the building and Vulcan had established the online retailer’s prevailing campus in the South Lake Union neighbourhood. More focus has been done by Amazon on its expansion in the neighbourhood towards the south where it is rolling its own three block campus on the northern outskirts of downtown Seattle.

Saturday 27 May 2017

A Google Engineer Recreated a DSLR Photo Using a Nexus 6P with Absolute Perfection

Create Image Utilising Nexus 6P

Smartphone cameras have been enhanced beyond our imaginations and from the rough VGA cameras which the earlier phones featured, to the updated Dual Cameras lots that tend to replicate DSLR type portrait shots with perfections, smartphone photography had progressed to great extent.

However there seems to be one segment wherein smartphones are unable to compare up to the DSLRs low light photography and Google has plans of changing it. OEMs tend to advertise low-light photography as a feature in their phone cameras though usually it is more of a trick. An engineer Florian Kainz working on Gcam team of Google, the team behind the legendary camera of the Google Pixel had been challenged by his colleague to develop a night shot of the Golden Gate Bridge which had originally been shot by a DSLR utilising a smartphone camera.

He had accepted the challenge and had managed in creating the image utilising the Nexus 6P together with some post-processing and created an image using smartphone providing us a glimpse of what Google could do in making night-time outdoor photography a real thing with the support of smartphones.

Technique for Shooting Milky Way – Google Pixel

Using a technique he was capable of shooting the Milky Way utilising the Google Pixel from the Californian coast where the nights tend to get very dark and the stars are said to be the only source of light on nights when the moon is not in sight.

But at 9 to 10 megapixels, the subsequent photos did not seem to be as high quality as a DSLR, though the details seemed to be there. With the results of the Pixel together with the Nexus 6P, it is clear that the final frontier of smartphone photography is on the threshold of being penetrated.

Software has been developed by OEM in order to process the images internally, with all the additions together with the subtractions as well as the averaging of the multiple photos to make night point and shoot photography utilising a smartphone, a reality. But one can’t take photos yet the same way with your smartphone and the Google Pixel tends to come the nearest in taking such images though not close enough.

HDR+ Feature

Google is said to utilise the HDR+ feature that swiftly takes 10 short exposure shots and averages them to form an individual image to eliminate blur and noise at the time of collecting adequate light for good photos at practically low-levels though it will still tend to be impractical in very low-light, moonlight landscapes for example, or starlight photos.

To achieve the image, Kainz had installed a custom Android app which enabled him to set the ISO, shutter speed and focus manually. He also utilised a tripod to keep the phone steady. The custom app was to eliminate the maximum 4-second exposure time for taking longer exposure shots in order to lessen the ISO setting and thus reduce the noise.

When the shutter button is pressed, the app tends to wait a few seconds and then takes up to 64 frames with the selected exposure and ISO settings. Thereafter it saves the frames as DNG file wherein these are later exported to a PC to post-process into one.

What is Spectrum Why is It a Big Deal for Cell Phone Companies?

Spectrum Best Opportunities for Wireless Companies

The most recent government action regarding radio airwaves would be affecting the prospect of the wireless industry and services. We need to be aware on the updates. Recently was the start of the Federal Communication Commissions’ Incentive Auction that had taken valuable spectrum away from TV broadcasters to sell it to companies who would offer wireless service.

This specific band of spectrum is said to be priced extremely and industry insiders have named it `beachfront property’, since it tends to operate at lower frequency. This means that it has the potential of running across greater distances going through walls for greater coverage. This is the reason why this auction needs the attention of the viewer. It represents one of the best opportunities for wireless companies in getting more spectrums which is how things get conveyed to the phone from videos to work emails.

 Moreover it could also remodel the wireless industry, providing smaller carriers with an opportunity of offering the similar, robust nationwide coverage which Verizon Wireless and AT&T tend to provide. Overall, they seem to control over 70% of the wireless market of US. Further than the two big, T-Mobile, satellite TV provider Dish Network and cable giant Comcast are other large players who intend joining in the auction.

Spectrum – Range of Radio Frequencies

Spectrum is said to be the range of radio frequencies which are utilised in transmitting sound, data as well as video to TVs or smartphones. These are the airwaves which had ignited Beatlemania in December 1963 when radio stations had started playing `I Want to Hold your Hand’.

Presently it tends to deliver `Games of Thrones’ to your phone through the HBO Co app. Extra spectrum would mean quicker and more-reliable wireless service. Spectrum is said to be a restricted resource which is controlled for the greater part by the US government. Companies could have it if they are inclined in participating in auctions, acquire a company with spectrum holding or purchase licenses from one another in a secondary market.

To manage the ever-increasing volume of data traffic that is created over phones, tablets, cars together with the other gadget as well as machines, additional spectrum is essential. The 600 MHz band, the spectrum which has taken hold in the auction, has traditionally been utilised in transmitting TV signals and is probably the last time the government would be capable of auctioning off such spectrum.

Lack Significant Volume of Low-Bank Spectrum

Low-band spectrum tends to function consistently indoor and over great distances and could be helpful to carriers in keeping up with the increasing demands for coverage on the part of the customer.

The two big winners in the last auction of low-band spectrum in 2008- AT&T and Verizon have erected the foundation of their 4G LTE networks on low-band 700 MHz spectrum which was another sliver of spectrum that had once been utilised in broadcasting TV. The third largest wireless provider of the nation, T-Mobile has been making attempts in assembling an identical set as assets for its own network though for the most part, T-Mobile is said to lack significant volume of low-band spectrum.

Incentive Auction is actually two auctions in one and there is a reverse auction which would permit TV broadcaster in selling their airwaves back to the government. A forward auction would be following in the next few months by which the government would be selling these same airwaves to wireless companies. Broadcasters would be getting a cut of the proceeds in exchange for giving up their spectrum.

Largest & Complex Auction

This auction is said to be the largest and the most complex auction ever run by the FCC. Dish Network, the Satellite TV provider is anticipated to bid in the modern FCC spectrum auction though it is not certain if the company would be as aggressive as it had been in the AWS-3 auction, last year when it had paid $10 billion.

Estimates had recommended that the auction could generate around $60 billion though several in the industry were of the opinion that the price is not accurate considering the constrained budgets of the carriers. Eight years back, the 700MHz had raised $19.6 billion and last year AWS-3 auction had collected in a record setting of $45 billion. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile would probably purchase the bulk of available spectrum in this auction since the FCC is aware how critical low-bank spectrum is in forming a company which could oppose AT&T and Verizon.

 The agency has fixed out a sliver particularly for smaller players such as T-Mobile together with some rural operators in bidding on without facing the deep pockets of AT&T together with Verizon. Dish is said to be another wild card in this auction that had been steadily progressing up a conflict chest of spectrum. It is not certain what Dish intends to do with the spectrum which is own already and the licenses it would probably pick in this auction.

T-Mobile Tougher Substitute to AT&T

There is a possibility that the company would be looking for a partner or would be developing a fixed wireless service which would serve as a substitute broadband connection to DSL or cable. Comcast also tends to bid in the auction as long as a competitor in the auction to T-Mobile for spectrum reserve for smaller operators. The provider has developed an extensive wireless network utilising Wi-Fi technology and would ultimately partner along with a cellular operator in building a network to rival with traditional wireless carrier.

 Comcast has given no indication on how it intends to utilise the spectrum. It could utilise the licenses in building its own network though there is a possibility that Comcast would be using the licenses as a bargaining chip while dealing with traditional carriers. Particularly absent from the auction is Sprint, the fourth ranked carrier. Based on how the auction tends to turn out, T-Mobile would probably end as a big winner.

That means that for the average consumer, T-Mobile can be a tougher substitute to AT&T and Verizon. Usually, T-Mobile tends to have frail signals beyond major cities though the spectrum from this auction would be helpful in covering additionalregions of US particularly those in the suburbs as well as rural regions.

Google's AI Chips Will Have A Tough Time Competing With Nvidia

Nvidia's chief played down the challenge from the Google AI chip

Nvidia has shared many of its forthcoming on the bringing of omnipotent graphics chips used for the wonderful Technology of AI, thus it was not a outstanding day for the organization as Google had famed couple of weeks ago that it had well-stacked its own Artificial Intelligence chip for use in data fractional monetary unit.

The profound Google's TPU Technology, has been premeditated generally for deep learning, a division of the AI software Technology train themselves to decode them to make the world finer thus that it can acknowledge things or read the spoken language.

TPUs Technology have been distributed on Google for over a year, for lookup comprehensive and navigation on Google maps. They bring out "a ratio finer carrying into action per watt machine learning" compared to different derivatives, according to Google.

The awful tidings for Nvidia's Technology might be that its spick-and-span Pascal micro architecture is planned with machine learning in mind. Subsequently dropping out of the smartphone industry, the organization with magnificent Technology is sensing for AI development, gaming as well as Vitual Reality.

For the initiative, he said, the Technology of profound learning has two prospects to it - upbringing and illation – as well as GPUs are still overmuch finer on the upbringing, reported by Huang. Grooming Technology affects an algorithmic program with immense magnitude of information to present, devising it finer to acknowledge something while logical thinking is when the rule employs what it has enlightened to an unbeknown input.

"Upbringing is billions more complex that logical thinking," he said, as well as grooming is where Nvidia's GPUs stand out. TPU Technology of Google, but then, is "just for logical thinking," Huang said. A formula upbringing can take months, he said, while ofttimes illation come about in seconds fragmental parts.

In addition to this distinction, he noted that of the many companies who do inference need not have their own processor Technology.

"For organizations that manufacture their own logical thinking chips, that's not a difficulty for us, we re pleased by that," Huang said. "Merely there are millions of knobs in the Hyper-scale data fractional monetary units of organizations that do not manufacture their own TPUs. The best solution we can suggest for them is Pascal."

The Google improved its own chip should not be a ample surprisal. The engineering can be a combative vantage for big online service providers, as well as giants like Google, FB and Microsoft already plan their own servers. Scheming a processor is the succeeding coherent measure, albeit a challenge.

Whether development of the Google's TPU has affected its other chip purchases.

"We're still literally buying tons of CPUs and GPUs," said a Google engineer The Wall Street Journal.
Interim, Nvidias Huang, as some other in the industriousness hoped-for deep learning and AI to get along omnipresent. The last decade were the period of time of the mobile cloud, he said, as well as we are at present in the epoch of artificial intelligence. Companies need to healthier interpret the multitude of data they roll up, and that come about through AI.

Friday 26 May 2017

Is My Data Safe in Online Drives, or Should I Back It Up as Well?

Google data

Backing up Data on Online Drives – is it really safe?

Having files synchronised with online data storage services such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox,Flickr, Apple iCloud, etc. is very handy as it helps in retrieving some or almost all of the photos if the smartphone or laptop of the user crashes or is stolen.

However, one should never assume that the data is absolutely safe whether its network servers, cloud services, USB drives or external hard drives, smartphones, SD cards or CDs. Schofield’s Law of Computing states that a data doesn’t really exists unless there are at least two copies of it. But in today’s world, it is advisable to keep three backups in different places in such a way that even if one of them gets deleted it should not affect any of the others.

Syncing files with Online Drivers

A few years back, OviDemetrian, a Google Drive user, started a discussion on his website saying, that because of poor user interface he lost many years’ work and his personal memories which he had saved as Google Docs. When he moved all his files out from the Google Drive folder on his PC, he did not realise that those were just links.

When he went online and found out that his Google Drive space was running out, he emptied the trash folder which immediately deleted all his files. The reverse also used to happen often. A user would install Google Drive on their PC, put some files in its folder, upload them and then delete the data. However, on checking online, their files were not there. Users have a problem in even local synchronisation. Take for example, a user who has set up an external hard drive to sync with his data present on the PC’s hard drive.

All the files get backed up but if he accidentally deletes a file or a folder on his PC, the same file or folder is also deleted from the external hard drive due to the sync program. In this case, the external hard drive can be used to back up data the second time, that is, for backing up the back up. Another problem users face is the threat they face from ransomware where all the files on the PC are encrypted and are held hostage. This affects even external hard drives and cloud drives.

Triaging files

Some files are really important, such as family photos, which are irreplaceable and some really disheartening to lose such as an incomplete PhD thesis or a novel or any important data. In order to prevent such loss of data, an easy way would be to keep all the important files in a single folder and back up just that one folder instead of the whole PC, thereby avoiding backing up unnecessary data.

You can also choose the storage format depending on the size of the data to be stored. If the total size of the data is 700MB, a CD-Rom can be used, if the files’s size is 4.7GB, then it can be stored on a DVD. There are external hard drives that can hold a maximum of 8TB of data.

However, external hard drives of smaller capacities are more affordable. Optical discs can also be used since they are cheap and multiple copies of them can be easily made. At the same time, they are very useful as they are not affected by ransomware.

Option of Storing on Cloud

A few specialised cloud-based services are available for back up, namely Mozy, Carbonite and SugarSync but they are costlier than an external hard drive and can take a relatively long time to back up all the data.

Cloud drives used for general purposes such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox are ideal for sharing small files with others or for sending from one device to another but are not suitable for backing up data. You can have one to two copies of your data that is really important but if the storage size goes beyond 2GB then the additional storage space needs to be purchased.Google Drive charges $19.99 per year to provide 100GB or 1TB at $99.99.

Likewise, Dropbox also charges a certain amount which is £79 per year for a storage of 1TB.Microsoft Office 365 Personal offersOneDrive storage of 1TB for a price of £59.99 for a year. However, the best deal available is Office 365 Home with Premium OneDrive wherein the users get 1TB each for a charge of £79.99 a year along with Microsoft Office software for their PCs and Macs with an addition of applications for their smartphones and tablets.

Nevertheless, there are certain threats with cloud storage, such as the either or both the mailbox and cloud drive being inaccessible because of the provider or a hacker. Also, these online files can only be accessed using internet connection.

Therefore, it is advisable to not rely on just one cloud service for backing up your data and even two is not sufficient. Although, it can be a part of a more cautious and fool proof back up strategy where other media can also be included.

10 Smart Gadgets That Make Apartment Living Easier

Smart Home Products Devices

The modern smartphone is still in the learning process. In the rush of the technology world in making everything internet connected, the home tends to be a space with the greatest potentials for changes and lasting effect. We tend to be dependent on the internet in making our routine life much better and effective. There are various types of smart home products devices which are inclined in controlling the functions remotely from your smartphone and this trend is on the rise.

Several renters are of the belief that they are unable to revel in the perks of smart home devices since they are incapable of altering their living spaces. However there seems to be abundant of amazing products which could be utilised in one’s rented apartment. Probably one would be on the look-out for plug-and-play devices which would need minimum or no installation that could be packed up and taken along when they tend to move out. The following devices could be impeccable for renters.

1. Smart battery which upgrades normal smoke detectors

Rather than replacing the prevailing smoke detectors with a smart equivalent, you could just update the prevailing alarms. The Roost smart battery could turn normal smoke detectors into smart devices by just installing the battery. This would not need any tools and you could just pop it up and one would be capable of getting smartphone notification whenever the alarm tends to go off or if the battery seems to be low.

2. Install free smart plug which saves energy

It could be very annoying when one is faced with a high electric bill beside the rent. However Wemo smart plugs could be helpful. You could just plug them in your prevailing outlets and then plug in your appliances. This can be remotely controlled, whatever has been plugged in the Wemo, enabling the user to turn devices off when not at home.

3. Smart controller for air-conditioner

If an air conditioner has been provided by the landlord, you could upgrade the same into a smart AC unit with the support of the Tado Smart AC Controller. By installing the controller you would be capable of controlling the appliance remotely and save around 40% on energy cost. The Tado is also said to function with heat pumps.

4. Removable smart air conditioner

If the renter is not in possession of an air conditioner, he could treat himself to a smart, affordable AC unit. Frigidaire Smart Window AC tends to provide the renter with remote control over the device and offers maintenance reminders to save the user of not forgetting of changing the filter.

5. Standalone security System

The need of mounting cameras or pay a monthly fee for monitoring your home is not essential. The Piper All-in-One Security System together with Video Monitoring is said to be appropriate for rentals. This could be placed on a shelf or table and one will be capable of monitoring your place with HD video streams with real-time notification should something go wrong.

6. Kit to turn regular blinds to smart blinds

Another product which could turn your normal apartment fixings to smart gadgets is the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit. When it is installed, you will be capable of controlling your window coverings from your smartphone and set up schedules for them to open as well as put them in energy-saving mode.

7. Easy Installation of smart light bulbs

Smart bulbs are much preferred to smart lights. There are no hubs or bridge needed for these light bulbs besides a Wi-Fi connection. These could be even synced with Alexa of Amazon and hence can be controlled with voice commands.

8. Showerhead which enables you to take phone calls

Smart showers are said to be fantastic though there are chances that the landlord may not compromise on the installation costs. This should not stop you from enjoying a tech-savvy shower. The H2oVibe Rain Showerhead could be installed on the prevailing shower enabling you to answer calls or rock out on some of your favourite hits while you shower.

9. Sleep system to block out loud neighbours

Having noisy neighbours in the neighbourhood could be very disturbing especially at night. The gadget Sense Sleep system not only produces ambient noise in blocking out disruptive sounds but it also monitors your sleep patterns providing personalized recommendations on how one could have a good sleep and wake up in the morning.

10. Pet camera to keep your dog from barking

Should the barking of your pet tend to bother your neighbours, you could try quieting down Fido with the support of the Furbo Dog Camera. This amazing device is said to send you notifications if your pet is found to be barking and enable you to talk to your dog as well as feed him a treat or two

Thursday 25 May 2017

Mind Boggling Optical Illusion Reignites the Debate Over Whether the Outfit is Blue and Black or White and Gold

Strange Optical Illusion

A clip shared on Korean site Ruliweb portrayed two outfits, one black and blue while the other yellow and white which seemed to alter right before your eyes. After an ill-famed debate had divided millions all over the web, it had been reignited by a short clip portraying a strange optical illusion.

 When a small section is relocated from one dress to the other in the animation, though it tends not to alter colour, it seems to match the shade of both the dresses. As the section tends to slip from the black and blue striped outfit to the yellow and white stripe dress it seems to abruptly slot into place without any problem. This delusion is said to work by adding what seems to be a shaded blue box above the yellow dress and a yellow tinted box above the blue dress.

However the delusion on the shifting of shade is on how the colour is viewed which is one of the reasons why several debated on the original colour of the #TheDress way back in 2015. Professor of Ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton, Andrew Lotery had informed the MailOnline that the variance in observation was owing to lighting conditions, the device from where the image is seen as well as the age and gender of a person.

Visual system Throws Away Information

People all over the social media have been debating about an image depicting a perfectly nice bodycon dress as blue with black lace fringe or white with gold lace fringe. The debate is more than just social media and is about primal biology as well as the way human eyes together with brain have progressed in seeing colour in a sunny world.

 Light is said to enter the eye through the lens with various wavelengths matching to various colours. The light tends to hit the retina towards the back of the eye wherein pigments initiate neural connections to the visual cortex, the area of the brain which develops these signal into an image. Though the first surge of light is the result of whatever wavelengths tend to illuminate the world, reflecting off whatever one views at.

The brain on its own tends to figure out what colour light is bouncing off the image your eyes are observing and basically detracts that colour from the real colour of the object. Neuroscientist at the University of Washington commented that our visual system tends to throw away information regarding the illuminant and extract information related to the actual reflectance.

Various Combinations of Genes

Lotery had clarified that all tend to have various combinations of the genes which tend to develop the sense of colour for red, green and blue and since these genes are on the X chromosome, women seems to have added variations. As a consequence, women tend to have a more vibrant range of colour and could be more prone as well as subtle to particular colours.

 This could explain why women are casual between seeing the different colours while men typically do not tend to do so. He further went on to add that some people seem to have more than a single dose of a blue colour genes for instance and hence they will see higher or lesser stages of this colour also.

McLaren 720S Review: Mono-Live

McLaren 720S

720S - Unmatched By Rival Ferrari 488 GTB

You can settle back for some automotive theatre by pushing the start button in the McLaren 720S where the carbon fibre pod before your eyes seems to swivel through 90 degrees illuminating a mass of digital instruments.

Towards the entre a portrait-style infotainment system comes to life as your shoulders tend to pulsate to the launch cycle of 4.0-litre, twin turbo V8. This is followed by a heated growl from two exhausts, which has been mounted waist-high towards the rear, signalling the start. It is said to be a performance which is unmatched by the rival Ferrari 488 GTB. While coordinating with insiders of McLaren it was learnt that they had underestimated the importance of this kind of theatrics when they had launched their initial production car, in 2011.

The strangely named MP5-12C.McLaren had been considered to be the best Ferrari’s heritage and passion with production competence. Need for affected behaviour for the 720S had further been complex by an issue of McLaren’s own making. The company’s 200 mph mid-engined supercar known as the 570S already disapprovingly acclaimed is priced at £143,250. The 720S begins at a price of £208,600.

Apparent Difference – Styling

Director Haydn Baker, vehicle line director had informed  that when a customer tends to walk in a showroom and views both the cars; they had to give them a reason to gravitate to the 720S. Considering how fast the 570 tends to be, that appeal had to be about more than pure performance’.

 The most apparent difference had been the styling. Though several of the manufacturers tend to create a family of appealingly similar cars such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes, the 720 as well as 570 seem to be radically different. Out of the two, the 720S is said to be more `Marmite’, where one expecting to discover conventional headlights, will find two gaping `eye sockets’ designed to assist channel air to the radiators.

Baker had mentioned that they wanted to make a statement with the headlights and also wanted the sides of the car to be very clean. The 570’s side air scoops utilised in cooling the engine had also been replaced by a channel running along the top of the bodywork – where it tends to meet the window glass and an added unobtrusive intake low down behind the door.

New Track Telemetry System

The signature airbrake of McLaren that tends to be fully deployed in about 0.5 seconds is also said to be present and accurate. It has been claimed by the engineers that the 720S is twofold as smoothly competent, has been defined by the ratio between adverse drag and appropriate downforce as the 650 model it tends to replace.

The 720S tends to debut McLaren’s new Track Telemetry system utilising GPS, three cameras together with a series of sensors comprising of throttle angle and lateral/longitudinal G-force in order to record circuit lap data.

 The driver can review the data, comparing various laps utilising the central infotainment screen or download it for later study. It is superb considering it as a tool for improving driver performance

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Checking for the Latest Windows 10 Update

Windows 10

Microsoft’s Creators Update for Windows 10

Recently released Creators Update for Windows 10 by Microsoft is also called Version 1703. The user can view what version number tends to be running on the PC on pressing the Windows and I keys to open the Settings app or choosing the Settings app from the Start menu and selecting the System icon. You can opt for `About’ towards the bottom of the list on the left side of the System Settings box.

 Here you can view the edition of Windows 10 connected on the computer (like Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro) together with the version number as well as the other technical details. If 1703 tends to be listed as the version number, your computer has been updated to the Creators Update.

 The upgrade to Windows 10 last month was the most recent revision of Microsoft of its Windows 10 operating system, which came in less than a year after the Anniversary Update (Version 1607) in August 2016. The Creators Update comprises of many new features such as a 3-D renovation of the paint program. Another option of viewing if one has the latest variety of Windows 10 is to check your Apps list for the new Paint 3D program.

Enhancement to Microsoft Edge Browser

The Creators Update also seems to bring about enhancement to the Microsoft Edge browser as well as improved designs for video game lovers. But as in the case with any main system update, there are bugs which tend to come up. On the online forums of Microsoft, some of the users had reported issues with Bluetooth and internet connectivity, computer-memory problems, Dolby sound disaster, crashing apps besides other anguishes.

Hopefully these problems can be fixed in the near future with system patches and workarounds. If one’s computer has already upgraded itself to the latest version, then the user would prefer to need to explore the Settings app a little more to ensure that you have the new operating system organized the way one would desire. For instance on opening the Privacy icon on the main Settings screen in order to settle the quantity of personal data one would prefer to share with Microsoft.

Automatically Install App Updates

Windows 10 tend to automatically install the app updates whenever they seem to be available. However the user could also check for updates manually. Some users are inclined to check manually so that they can see if there are any variations stated in the update. To enable automatic app updates you could –

  • Open the Store 
  • Tap or click the user icon towards the top near the search form 
  • Tap or click Settings 
  • Toggle on Update apps automatically 

To manually check for app updates

  • Open the Store 
  • Tap or click the user icon towards the top near the search form 
  • Tap or click Downloads 
  • Tap or click Check for updates 

The user could also check particular app for update by going to the Store page where you can utilise the search forms in locating the app. Another option is to check My Library for a list of all your apps.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Are Wi-Fi signals letting hackers see into your home?

Wi-Fi Signals – Windows to Home

It has been discovered that Wi-Fi signals can be a window to your home. Researchers have observed that cyber thieves could utilise the microwave radiation of the signal in creating three-dimensional image so a location together with the objects as well as the individuals within it.

 It has been suggested by the team that this hack has the potential of generating scans of buildings and also track the individuals indoors, though it could also be utilised in locating people buried by an avalanche or earthquake. The scientist at Technical University of Munich – TUM, had made this discovery, which had developed a holographic imaging process depicting the radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter to generate three-dimensional images of the surrounding environment.

The system of the team enabled them in creating holograms that tends to develop a three-dimensional image alike to that of peering through a window of a home. According to Dr Friedenmann Reinhard and Philipp Holl ‘s report in the study published in the scientific journal Physical Review letters, though the optical holograms tend to need an elaborate laser technology, generating hologram together with microwave radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter would need one fixed as well as one movable antenna.

Holographic Processing of Wi-Fi

Friedemann Reinhard, director of the Emmy Noether Research Group for Quantum Sensors at the Walter Schottky Institute of the TU Munich had stated that `utilising this technology we can generate a three-dimensional image of the space around the Wi-Fi transmitter, as if our eyes could see microwave radiation.

The researchers visualized arenas of positioning particularly in the domain of industry 4.0-automated industrial amenities wherein localizing parts and devices tends to be difficult. Earlier work has portrayed that there is a possibility of utilising microwave radiation to view through walls though the team at TUM have developed a new system which enables them in creating an image of the total space through holographic processing of Wi-Fi or cell phone indicators.

Creation of images through microwave radiation tends to require special purpose transmitter having large bandwidths. The very small bandwidths of distinctive household Wi-Fi transmitters operating in the 2.4 as well as 5 gigahertz bands had been adequate for the researchers with the utilisation of holographic data processing.

Bluetooth/Cell Phone Signals 

Besides this Bluetooth as well as cell phone signals can be utilised. It is said that the wavelengths of these devices tend to match to spatial resolution of a little centimetres. Philipp Holl executing the experiment commented that instead of using a movable antenna, that measures the image point by point, one could utilise a larger number of antennas in obtaining a video-like image frequency.

Future Wi-Fi frequencies like the proposed 60 gigahertz IEEE 802.11 standard would enable resolutions down to the millimetre range. The notion of treating microwave hologram such as optical images permits the microwave image to be joined with the camera images.

 The extra information removed from the microwave images could be implanted in the camera image of a smart phone for instance in tracing a radio code which may be attached to a lost item. However the scientists are only at the commencement of the technological improvement

The Invoke Smart Speaker Brings Microsoft’s Cortana AI to Your Living Room

Invoke Smart Speaker 

Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant has already integrated seamlessly in Windows 10 and functions on iOS and Android. It is said that it will soon be showing up in cars too. In spite of it being good at work, good for play as well as has a good name, it tends to be left out of the voice assistant clique due to a smart speaker such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo.

These in-home devices have been the first area where most people tend to be using these assistant and Microsoft have been lagging behind till now. The latest Invoke speaker created by Harman Kardon seems to be similar like the Amazon Echo which is a tall cylindrical speaker having a blue light towards the top which tends to glow when the speaker listens to you.

It has the potential of controlling some of the smart-home devices such as name the members of One Direction – RIP, set reminders besides many other things Echo or Home could do. The Invoke, so far seems to have precisely the distinctive features like it can make as well as receive calls with Skype. Harman has made the Invoke’s sound quality – three tweeters, 360 degree sound with a Dalek-like design since it’s the best way of convincing users to purchase this device instead of an Echo.

Strategy of Microsoft 

For Microsoft, an in-home speaker seems to be particularly important since it had lost the race of smartphone and had not made any progress in the handsets for users other than the Cortana app which some would download and still less would use. However on the desktops, Windows seemed to have huge market share which millions of users by default utilised Cortana.

 In fact as per the latest numbers of Microsoft it had reached around 145 million. To make a lasting impression in the latest market, Microsoft required its virtual assistant to be all over inclusive on the devices which have not just been obtained from their IT department. Microsoft had reportedly intended to open up its Cortana Skills Kit with the Build conference enabling developers to build for its assistant. The entire strategy of Microsoft was to cover the earth with its software and users can look forward for more speakers in the near future.

Smart Speaker Market New

The market of the smart speaker tends to be new and the voice assistant powering them does not seem to be impeccable still. However Microsoft could be a bit late in this game. In a latest study Alexa has been projected as having 70.6% of the market for voice-assistant devices, putting up Microsoft in the small `other’ category.

 It is said that the Invoke would not be coming till this fall which could be some time where the users would have to wait with adequate time for Google, Amazon and others to make tremendous progress in this area. If Microsoft does not make haste and is unable to make Cortana worth the wait, then speakers such as the Invoke would be covering up the coveted area in your living room and filling up the space.

Top 12 Inspiring and Well-Designed Wordpress Blogs 

With a vast number of WordPress hosting providers, beginners can get the extra help they need to build their blogs. And these people are discovering that WordPress is capable of so much when it comes to the visual design. There are already tons of free beautiful themes to choose from. What's more, there are many WordPress site builders that either are given out by WordPress hosting providers or can be found on the official WordPress site. Here's a list of 12 inspiring and well-designed WordPress blogs to help you make your design choices.

1. Mashable

At first glance, Mashable looks like a very content heavy blog that's hard to navigate. But when you continue looking at it, it's incredibly well designed. Mashable uses three columns to categorize their content. The newest posts are on the left, rising posts are on the middle and the hottest posts are on the right. The hottest posts are of course the biggest posts in the layout. A good amount of space is used between each post and the navigation is very clean and simple design.

2. Greenwich Live

Public service websites are known for having a reputation for ugly design. But Greenwich Library's site is outstandingly well done. The navigation icons and menu are very modern. The layout is very clean and well organized. The tutorial is taken from the pages of many popular app products. The focus of this site is largely on the user experience. Every part of the site feels intuitive and easy to use.

3. Travel Portland

Travel Portland is a tourism-based site designed to get people to visit the beautiful state. The big theme for this site is fun and interactivity. The site is visually driven and asks the users to click around the various photos to see what's going on in Portland and discover all the activities they can partake in. More importantly, it's fun. You can browse listings of seasonal events, top Instagram pictures and blog posts which are all accompanies by beautiful photos. The site does an amazing job in convincing the user to come visit.

4. Jess Mark's Photography

Jess Mark's Photography site uses a whimsical animated header done in the sketch style. It features a unique fun font, large navigation menus and neutral palettes to put the focus on the content and photos. Users are invited to browse photos on weddings, photo boots and portraits with big bold icons following the introduction. Sometimes a simple and well-executed blog style site is all you need.

5. Yoke

Yoke is a creative studio that runs a fun blog. The site uses a cool sketch animation as their hero image. From there, you are presented with a very minimalist three column post blog with great leading images. What really surprises you is the load out graphics when you go into a post. The blog succeeds with this minimalist approach due to small elements that make it stand out and engage the user.

6. Tinkering Monkey

Tinkering Monkey is a signage company that uses WordPress and a blog style design format to market their products. The first thing that you notice when you land on the site is the animated image that shows how they make the signs. This is followed by big and bold photos of completed projects. This simple layout shows that sometimes the design can be lead by the quality of your images.

7. Fubiz

Fubiz is a site that covers photography, art and design. As a result, their blog is very visually driven. They break down their blog into multiple sections. Each section is designed with a different photo in the background with accompanying posts. What Fubiz does well is using multiple layouts on one page. They arrange their photos and posts in a way that allows you to really appreciate them and makes you want to click on them.

8. Tesco

Tesco is a lifestyle blog that uses a four column card based design as a layout. The blog is very simple and features high-quality photography to drive clicks. The posts are organized by different categories which you can click on the top of the page. This creates a very organized and simple way to browse the blog.

9. Innocent Drinks

The Innocent Drinks blog uses a simple design and layout which makes the site very accessible and easy to use. The design is simple at first glance but then you start to notice all the little things that give this blog a big personality. Everything from the icons, brand images, typography, borders and graphical accents prove that the small things make a big difference in web design.

10. 500 PX Iso

500 PIX Iso is a photography blog that uses a fairly simple layout that anyone can model their site after. It features a hero image for the main post and transitions into a one column, one row blog post format. It then transitions into a four column card based design followed by widgets being placed at the footer. This blog is a great example of how to use multiple layouts on a site successfully.

11. Andy Hau

This beautiful portfolio site combines beautiful images with a simple design to wow the visitors. The images are cut on a fish eye shape (without the distortion) which is a very unique way of presenting the visuals. The graphical cues on mouse over are very user friendly as there is a pointing arrow icon that pops up. The website makes a great use of space and typography. Everything feels comfortable and relaxed to the eyes despite the site being visually driven.

12. Bark Post

Bark Post is a pet friendly blog that makes a great use of visual tags to categorize their content. What really impresses you is their navigation menu. They created a visual based navigation menu which displays a photo of the posts followed by the title on a small horizontal tile set layout. The photos are cute, fun and clickable which only makes the navigation menu more attractive to use.

This is just a small collection of inspiring WordPress blogs. There are many more examples to learn from. Make sure you get out there and see how other blogs are being designed to inspire your own vision. 

Monday 22 May 2017

Researchers Design Moisture Responsive Workout Suit

How about an athlete's workout suit that breathe? Yes, a team of researchers belong to MIT has fabricated a workout No sweat suit that breathe. Its the great news for athlete's, ain't it?

This remarkable breathable workout bio technology suit having the flaps that ventilate by open and close in effects to the body of the athlete's body temperature and sweat.

If you closely go through this breathable work No sweat suit you may see the flaps that sizes from thumbnail to the finger sized. These precised flaps are lined with microbial cells in No sweat suit that may shrivel and enlarge in response to athlete's body temperature. These tiny microbial cells respond as smaller sensors/ actuators, that forces these flaps to open while a sportsman workouts that increases the body temperature and release of sweat. The flaps found in No sweat suit closes automatically when the body temperature becomes normal.

This team of MIT researchers have also made the athlete's shoes that are having the inner layer of the same microbial cells to ventilate the moisture.

OK! Why they use live microbial cells in inventing their No sweat suit? These scientific researchers says that these sensitive microbial cells need no other components to sense and react to wetness.

These microbial cells found in No sweat suit are also evidenced to be innocuous to touching and even ingest. These new tools of bio technology which are accessible nowadays could be fitted out quickly and also in large quantities, to explicit various utilities and especially to the moisture-sensitive.

The team has conducted a test with the microbial moisture-sensitive cells that responds not only open the flaps in No sweat suit but in addition also responds to wet conditions.

Wen wang, MIT's former research scientist says that they can reap the microbial cells with various genetic tools to produce new functionalities into the living cells. In the near future, they are planning to reap the odor releasing functionalities, thus perhaps going to gym the shirt can release good smell.

The biologists have found that the humidity plays the vital role in altering the structures and volumes of the microbial cells to certain proteins. The most interesting thing to declare here is that the MIT researchers use bacteria, yeast and other microbial cells to build this moisture-sensitive fabrics.

The initial research with the most common strain of E. Coli that was found to be swell and shrink that responds to changing humidity. They print the E.coli strains in a latex fabric begun to shrink while placing in a hot plate. The same was flatten out while exposed to steam. Thus, the researchers made this biofabric into the wearable no sweat suit specially designed for athletes.

After making the trial tests they have found this sweat responsive no sweat workout suit worked very well. This scientific MIT research team has also invented the shoes that breathe. They are also having the future plans to join hands with some sportswear companies to market their No sweat suit. They are also doing a lot of researches to make moisture-responsive bedsheets, curtains and lampshades.

Parasitic Robot Controls Turtle it’s Riding by Giving it Snacks

Developments in the Field of Robotics

Although in recent years,great development has taken place in the field of robotics; the usage of robots still tends to have some limitations. These comprises of their reduced capability of surviving rough routine functions together with the need of providing continuous energy source which does not seem to need recharging.

 Instead nature has shown increased flexibility and progress to the fluctuating situations over millions of years and this has motivated a team of researchers who have now utilised the concept of the flexibility and progress of nature together with robots. Latest experiments carried out by the team of researchers have portrayed that robots could be utilised for controlling turtles through strange parasitic relationship made between the two.

The provision of becoming overlords of the people, robots have now begun controlling turtles. Initially by getting the reptiles to associate a red light with food, the robots with shell-attached tend to dictate where the turtle seems to move in a tank, developing a somewhat strange parasitic relationship.Building their motion adequately strong for surviving the rigours of daily life is aconstantfightas the enigma of providing them with adequate energy to prevent long hours of recharging. This can be done with ease by nature.

Evolution Resulted in Unbelievable Variety of Effective Methods

Millions of years of evolution have resulted in an unbelievable variety of effective methods for animals to move and hence researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – KAIST, in Daejeon have set about connecting this factor. At first robots had been glued to the backs of five red-eared slider turtles wherein they comprised of a processor, a frame which tends to get stuck out in front of the head of the turtle holding five red LEDs spaced apart together with a food ejecting tube.

Then they had to ride their turtle across five checkpoints in a tank that had been filled with water.The turtles had first been conditioned to associate a lit-up LED with food. The turtles thereafter just guided it utilising the LEDs, feeding it with snacks as a reward for going in the correct direction.

With the use of this procedure, the five robot-turtle pairs had completed the course satisfactorily and each hurried up with training. Dae-Gun Kim at KAIST commented that there were plenty of other animals which could later on also be utilised in giving robots a ride and it would be possible to apply it to several animals like fish and birds as per the purpose of the task.

Harnessing Some of the Motion of Host of Animals

In the near future, Kim along with his colleagues also wanted to be capable of harnessing some of the motion of the host of animal in providing the robot with power. Nathan Lepora at the University of Bristol, UK had informed that these robots could be utilised for surveillance, exploration or any place where there could be a problem for humans or robot to reach on their own.

Earlier insects had been controlled utilising electrodes and radio antennas linked to their nervous systems and this identical approach could present methods for parasitic robots to control their hosts directly. Lepora had commented that there could be definite ethical consideration though if robots and animals were capable of teaming up to explore a disaster are, it could be really useful.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Our Next Volvo or Audi May Have an Android infotainment system

Till now we had support for multiple Android devices via Bluetooth or direct plug-ins to the dashboard to enjoy the music or to do some navigation tricks from our smartphone. But things are changing at an alarming pace for the Android in the automobile which will help in unleashing a new era of Android support for better. Google has announced that upcoming range of automobiles from the Volvo and Audi will feature the Android in its full glory in the next generation infotainment systems. This is just one of small announcement made by the Goggle and more enthralling bit will appear at the upcoming Google I/O conference.

It is better than the Android Auto 

Google has launched the Android Auto in the past which made it easier for the automobile owners to access some of the vital phone functions from the behind the wheel. This system helped in bringing a simplified interface for the users to connect with their car without the need of physically attaching the phone to the console. The best thing about the Android Auto was that it helped in accessing a number of apps right on the interface which made driving a pleasant experience with the Android device.

Both the automobile manufactures namely Audi and Volvo are taking the Android experience to the next level by basing it into their infotainment system. It is worth noting that Audi has found some success with its MMI infotainment system in the recent past while Volvo’s Sensus Connect system is very much new. The decision of bringing the Android operating system into their infotainment shouldn’t mean that the manufacturers will pull the plug of their own homegrown infotainment systems. Instead they are aiming at making the buyers comfortable by offering an easy to use Android based interface in their vehicles.

Advantages of Android as the foundation

The greatest advantage of having the Android as the foundation of the infotainment in the Volvo and Audi is that it will help in accessing the vast library of Android applications. Google Play Store boasts of millions of apps in varied categories which is expanding at every given minute. Secondly it is tough to get developers to develop apps for any third party platform but having the Android foundation will ensure that developers populate the infotainment system with compatible apps quickly without much trouble. We are expecting to get more details on this foundation in the upcoming Google I/O.

One of the Volvo official has stated that having an Android foundation will mean that the company will be able to integrate the rich ecosystem of Android into their iconic Volvo user interface with ease and simplicity. There will be huge abundance of the popular apps which will help in bringing an integrated experience to the users which has never been seen before in an automobile. At the Google I/O both the automobile manufacturer will be giving demonstrations to give a wider perspective to the prospective consumers of its next generation infotainment.

Creators of the MP3 Declare it Dead


Rest in Peace MP3 as creators pulls the plug

We have enjoyed the music on our mobile and other portable music players with the help of widely used mp3 format. But the creators of the MP3 has declared its demise as the penultimate music format which means music will no longer be made in the mp3 format. This format was developed about two decades ago by a German research institute and they dropped the ownership of it. The institute named the Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Circuits has stated that they had put forward a strong licensing program for the mp3 related patents but it has been terminated.

New advanced music format

Currently there are number of highly effective audio codecs boasting advanced features when compared to the old mp3 format. The current generation of the modern devices makes use of the advanced audio coding (AAC) and there is a definite move among the consumer electronics giants to place the MPEG-H as a new audio standard for some-time to come. This new audio format will offer an efficient storage option along with the immersive 3D audio experience to the users. Both of these formats are able to deliver more features along with the much needed higher audio quality at quite lower bitrates when it is compared to the mp3. It would come as surprise that the iTunes and Youtube are making use of the AAC as its main audio format for its service.

A number of tests has shown that AAC music format files does sound better than the old age format even at the same bitrate. Secondly AAC tends to be smaller in size even at the higher bitrate which means users will be able to get better quality music without wasting too much space on their file storage. The compatibility issue might be high for the AAC at the moment as it is only supported on very few mobile phones.

Age-format will still reign supreme

It should be noted that the developers had bid their farewell to the mp3 format but it will still be in wide usage on global scale as a number of people are still using the iPods and Mp3 based music players. It was developed during the 1980’s and gained huge popularity and support during the 90’s by emerging as the standard file type for the audio players, systems as well as the online music downloads. This format was developed accidently when developers were actually trying to find a smarter way of delivering music signal right over the telephone lines.

Later on this format was adopted for the distribution of the music using the compact discs and finally with the arrival of the Apple’s iPods it reached the heights of its popularity. The reason behind the wide popularity of this format was that it used to take just 10 percent of the storage space of the files. This format was also loved by the peer-to-peer sharing sites like Napster and the rise of the illegal downloads as well as digital piracy is also attributed to it.

Thursday 18 May 2017

SS7 Vulnerabilities

SS7 – Network of Telephony Signalling Procedures

Signalling System No. 7 – SS7 network is a set of telephony signalling procedures which had been invented in 1975. It has been utilised to set up and slash down several of the public switched telephone network PSTN telephone calls of the world.

Besides this it also tends to perform number translation, local number portability, prepaid billing, Short Message Service – SMS together with other mass market services. The SS7 networks is said to form one of the supports of the prevailing effective telecommunication industry.

In spite of all its importance of enabling telecommunication services, SS7 tends to integrates only nominal safety features. However since SS7 had been introduced in the past 35 years the telecommunication marketplace had altered radically and SS7 susceptibilities have now become more unprotected.

 Over the past few months, invaders have been utilising a flaw in Signalling System 7 in order to intercept two factor authentication codes which have been sent to online banking customer in an attempt to transfer funds. Suddeutsche Seitung, a German newspaper had reported that the invaders first tend to compromise the bank account of the customer utilising traditional bank fraud Trojans to steal passwords and log into accounts.

Mobile Transaction Authentication Numbers 

They learned that the offenders carried out an attack from a network of foreign mobile network operator in mid-January wherein the attack redirected incoming SMS messages for selected German customers to the attackers Thereafter they utilised the SS7 susceptibility in order to redirect text messages comprising of one-time passwords to the device of the attacker instead of the customers.

Then they utilise mobile transaction authentication numbers - mTANs for the purpose of transferring money from the targeted accounts. The SS7 susceptibility is not new but had been discovered in 2014 by German researchers and reported by The Washington Post. The detection of the abuse of the SS7 vulnerability followed an open letter two U.S. congressmen had written to U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly requesting for an update on the progress in dealing with SS7 security errors and why the agency had not been doing more regarding the same. Rep. Ted Lieu – D-Caliphs, one of the authors of the letter had a personal experience with the SS7 susceptibility.

Congressional Action 

The security researchers with the permission of Lieu were capable of stalking the congressman using only his cell phone number and an SS7 network. The researchers were capable of recording his phone calls as well as monitor his precise location in real time. The exploit of the cell phone of Lieu was featured on the television show 60 Minutes.

 In April 2016, following its airing, the FCC had stated an investigation in the SS7 vulnerability and a report from FCC was anticipated in March 2016 which is yet to appear. Lieu had issued a statement calling for congressional action on the matter in reply to the draining of bank accounts utilising the same SS7 weakness.

Lieu had mentioned that everyone’s account protected by text-based two factor authentication like bank accounts, were possibly in danger till the FCC together with the telecom industry tend to fix the SS7 security flaw.

The FCC together with the telecom industry is aware that hackers can acquire our text messages and phone conversations just by knowing our cell phone number. It is improper that the FCC and the telecom industry have not taken immediate action in the protection of our privacy and financial security.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

rpcbomb: remote rpcbind denial-of-service + patches

It is imperative to block the post immediately after being used. Sources have claimed that a payload of 60 bytes which is sent to a UDP socket via a rpcbind service which is capable of leading to a crash to its host by blocking the memory of the target user.

This rpcbind vulnerability is enough to crash your entire system, which will lead to further consequences like blocking your entire system, loss of all the primary data and files. The vulnerability can be avoided only by taking proper measures and being cautious enough in terms of blocking all the ports.

The rpcbomb exploit was manufactured by Guido Vranken, he is the person behind the discovery of vuln. He is a very tactful person and rumors are he wrote the matches for the system himself since he was unable to contact the maintainers to get the required actions for putting up the managing packages. This complaint against him is viral everywhere which has made him famous both positively and negatively by setting an example that if you are determined enough to get something, none can stop you from achieving it.

He with regard to this complaint has written Shodan which is responsible for converting rpcbind’s Port up for almost 1.8 million hosts. This port related to rpcbind vulnerability is also known as Port 111 subjected to the Internet. Some or even many are hosting mass like AWS, where a user generally configures a default Linux distribution and if you really intend to run rpcbind which binds all the RPC calls to their address by putting all the limitations of firewall Port 111 behind the world outside. The experts have suggested that the best way in which you can avoid this situation is by turning off the daemon, they say it is the easiest way of avoiding rpcbind vulnerability to block your port.

The patches present in the GitHub are said to be small enough through which the developers get a way to figure out whether they are nice and accurate or not. This also helps them to ensure that whether they aren’t malicious. Sources have even suggested that a rpcbind vulnerability requires only two lines for getting it fixed, while libtirpc requires 256 lines to get the thing patched and rectified. In this way, we can understand that how serious is the damage that has taken place.

Vranken has suggested that rpcbind vulnerability enables an attacker to attach itself to ample number of bytes i.e. almost up to 4 gigabytes per attack that too for the host of a remote bind and the memory is never released from the attack unless the entire system gets crashed or the administrator waits for a while or restarts the service again.

It is certain that an attacker can possibly go beyond the limits of only hosting the target. Vranken writes as per this situation since some software is always subjected to unpredictable downfalls when the system tends to run out of the memory.