Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday, 22 July 2016

A New Gorilla Glass that helps prevent phone smashes

New Gorilla Glass helps prevent phone smashes

Dropping your smartphone when taking a selfie could soon be less risky, says specialist glass maker Corning.
It has launched its next generation of Gorilla Glass - the material used in more than 70% of smartphone screens, including on Samsung and Apple devices.
Corning said Gorilla Glass 5 could survive more than 80% of drops from as high as 1.6 metres.
Shattered or cracked screens are the number one cause of smartphone repairs and customer complaints globally.
The new glass was tested on rough surfaces - a demo for journalists showed dummy phones being dropped from a height of 1.6 meters onto a sheet of sandpaper.
Some of the phones tested survived over 20 hard drops in the lab. Typically, most phone drops are from between waist and shoulder height.
Corning's work in specialist glass dates back to 1879, when it produced the glass used in the iconic Edison lightbulb.
By 2016, more than 4.5 billion devices use Gorilla Glass, which is created using a technique known as fusion forming. It involves placing the raw materials - sand and "other inorganic material" - into a melting pot.
It is then transferred to an isopipe, essentially a small trough, which is intentionally overfilled. The melted material spills out over both sides and combines underneath to form the sheet of glass.
This technique means there is no human contact needed in creating the glass, eliminating defects and removing the need to treat the glass afterwards.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Google hit by fresh European Union anti-trust charges

Google hit by fresh European Union anti-trust charges

The European Commission has stepped up pressure on Google, alleging that it abused its dominance in internet shopping and restricted competition.
It also accused Google of stopping websites from showing adverts from the search engine's competitors.
And it strengthened an existing charge that Google favours its own comparison shopping services in search results.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google had no right to limit its rivals.
She said: "Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn't give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate."
Google is already facing formal anti-trust charges over claims that it abused the dominant position of its Android operating system.
The US company is accused of placing onerous requirements on firms using Android and stifling competition.
A spokesperson for Google said on Thursday: "We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition.
"We'll examine the Commission's renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks."

My thoughts: Power and dominance is intoxicating. Microsoft was sued for antitrust some years ago and where are they now. Competition is life and life is competition. Just thrive for uniqueness that's all.

Major win for Microsoft in 'free for all' data case

Major win for Microsoft in 'free for all' data case

Cloud Storage, Safe haven for Criminals

But there is continued concern in the law enforcement community that cloud storage, together with encryption, is providing something of a safe haven for criminals.
The US government cannot force Microsoft to give authorities access to the firm's servers located in other countries, a court has ruled.
The decision is being seen as a precedent for protecting the privacy of cloud computing services.
The US Department of Justice had wanted to access a server in Ireland, as part of an investigation into a drugs case.
The ruling, made by an appeals court, overturns an order granted by a court in Manhattan in 2014.
The DoJ said it was disappointed by the decision and was considering what it would do next. If it appeals, the case could then move to the US Supreme Court.
Microsoft said it welcomed the ruling.
"It makes clear that the US government can no longer seek to use its search warrants on a unilateral basis to reach into other countries and obtain the emails that belong to people of other nationalities," Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, of Microsoft told the BBC.
"It tells people they can indeed trust technology as they move their information to the cloud," he said.
Microsoft thanked the companies that had backed its appeal, which included the likes of Amazon, Apple and Cisco.
My thoughts: Privacy is a war being fought against the US government by tech companies in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelation. I use cloud services a lot, but can it really be used to hoad data that can wipe out the human race in the future?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Security Robot runs over toddler at shopping centre in Silicon Valley

A Security Robot runs over toddler at shopping centre in Silicon Valley

16-month-old, Harwin Cheng, was left with swelling to his right foot.

A Security Robot (From Knightscopein a Silicon Valley shopping center, accidentally knocked down and ran over the leg of a toddler.

His mother told ABC News the robot had hit her son's head, "he fell down on the floor, and the robot did not stop".

The robots creators Knightscope, apologized for the incident and invited the family to it's Mountain view headquarters.

The robot which caused the incident however, was taken off duty for forensic analysis as the matter was being investigated.

According to the analysis, it reported:  "A child... began running towards the machine.
"The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground.
"The machine's sensors registered no vibration alert, and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle."

Knightscope said the 5ft (1.5m), 300lb (136kg) K5 Autonomous Data Machines, which patrols pre-programmed routes recording video in both normal and infrared vision, had, until now, been in operation for more than 35,000 hours and covered more than 25,000 miles "without any reported incidents".
Chief executive William Santana Li said: "Our first thoughts are for the family, and we are thankful there were no serious injuries.
"Our primary mission is to serve the public's overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously."

My thoughts: Robots are not perfect. They can miscalculate and malfunction at anytime so be careful. I love robots though.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Facebook tests 'secret message' service

Private messages that can disappear are being trialled by Facebook as it experiments with a new option for those using its Messenger app.

These messages become hidden after a certain period of time chosen by the author, the firm said.
It is part of a new "secret message" service having a limited trial, Facebook announced.
Senders must choose one device to use it on, as messages sent this way are stored on the device itself.
Those flagged to "disappear" will be deleted from the device as well.
"Starting a secret conversation with someone is optional," it said.
"Secret conversations can only be read on one device and we recognise that experience may not be right for everyone."
Facebook listed health and financial issues as examples of messages that people may wish to keep more private - while others have mentioned love affairs.
The idea is being tested on a "limited basis", Facebook said, but added that it would be more widely available over the summer.
Video and GIFs cannot be shared secretly at the moment.
The service will also have extra features for reporting abuse - and once this is introduced, there will be a delay in the deletion of messages to enable flagging.
"Facebook will never have access to plain text messages unless one participant in a secret conversation voluntarily reports the conversation," it explained in a technical document.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Porn app took secret photos of users

Porn app took secret photos of users

The app tempted downloaders with alluring images

A malicious Android app that held people to ransom has been found by US security firm Zscaler.
Adult Player appeared to offer pornography, but secretly took pictures of users with the phone's front-facing camera.
It then locked the user's device and displayed a demand for $500 (£330) which was difficult to bypass.
One security expert told the BBC that ransomware was a lucrative and growing area of cybercrime.


The Adult Player app demanded a payment of $500 (£330)

Apps which demand money from people with a threat to release private information, or wipe a device, are known as ransomware.
In August, Intel Security said examples of ransomware had increased 127% since 2014 - primarily affecting desktop computers and laptops.
"One of the reasons for the increase is that it's very easy to make," said Raj Samani, chief technology officer for Intel Security in Europe.
"There are people you can pay to do the work for you, and it pays really well. One group we tracked made more than $75,000 in 10 weeks.
"Apps like this rely on the embarrassment factor. If you don't pay, your reputation is on the line."
Adult Player was the second example of pornography-focused ransomwarediscovered by Zscaler.
The app was not available from vetted storefronts such as Google Play, but could be installed directly from a webpage.
Zscaler said the app's ransom message kept the phone's screen switched on at all times, and reappeared if the handset was restarted.

'Common sense'

Some ransomware threatens to delete personal data

"Ransomware is more prevalent on computers than phones, but this could be the start of a trend," said Mr Samani.
"You can stay safe with some basic common sense. Some ransomware threatens to delete your photos, videos and documents so back up your data. Then if you are targeted you can wipe your system and start over.
"Only download apps from the proper Google Play store. And if you receive an app download link in an email, don't click it."
Zscaler said anybody that had downloaded Adult Player should reboot their handset into "safe mode". The exact method varies between handset manufacturers.
Safe mode loads the operating system without running any third-party apps, allowing people to delete malicious software.