for Technology and Gadget Geeks 

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for Technology and Gadget Geeks 

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A.I. a new era on the horizon

i-robot

Machines are getting smarter and smarter, so smart they get to that spot on the curve in the graph , the point in where they are smarter than we are, but more importantly come the conclusion they are smarter than us. They won’t need money to do what they need to do, just massive processing power, something that has been supplied to us in recent times courtesy of Moore’s Law and to the networked computers all over the world.ai-sep-moores-law-kurzweil

 

Here is a great diagram on Artificial Machine intelligence.               Image: Shivon Zilis/Bloomberg Betami landscape

We all carry phones around, but are they really phones or little A.I. machines.

These handheld devices have Voice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recording, Haptic vibration feedback, Internet data connections, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, HDMI, Muti-Colored LED’s and Super-hi megapixels cameras with image stabilization, slow motion and great lens optics. They track our activity, sleep, heart rate and oxygen levels. They can see and hear everything and respond to our commands. They keep us informed and assist us to our destinations.

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Yes, Hal 9000 is coming…  –  machines are taking a more active role in enhancing human endeavours but hopefully he wont get pissed off as he did in the movie at Dave and lock the pod doors.

hal

and eventually the T-800 will come.
t800

Until then, enjoy the technology.

 
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Modern day Exploiting & Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

The modern world of Hacking just got real and its not just for unpatched operating systems.  All sorts of devices are getting hacked into these days.

This is what happens when designers and engineers don’t have security as a high priority in their designs.

 

DDR Memory -“Rowhammer” attack goes where few exploits have gone before, into silicon itself.
ddr

Src: CUTTING-EDGE HACK GIVES SUPER USER STATUS BY EXPLOITING DRAM WEAKNESS

 

 

Hospital drug pumps produced by a leading medical supplier Hospira could be hacked because of security weaknesses, a cybersecurity experts have revealed.
pump

Exploiting cybersecurity vulnerabilities requires penetrating several layers of network security enforced by the hospital information system, including secure firewalls, however once inside you could really wreck someones day.

Src: http://www.hospira.com/en/products_and_services/infusion_pumps

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33759428

 

Cars these days are computers on wheels

GM | CHRYSLER | JEEP

This product image provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) shows the Uconnect 8.4 inch infotainment system on a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. FCA on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 said that it has a software fix that will prevent future hacking into the Jeep Cherokee and other vehicles. Owners of some 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles with 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment systems can download the software from FCA's UConnect Web site and install it on their vehicles. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles via AP) ORG XMIT: NYBZ127

This product image provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) shows the Uconnect 8.4 inch infotainment system on a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited. FCA on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 said that it has a software fix that will prevent future hacking into the Jeep Cherokee and other vehicles. Owners of some 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles with 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment systems can download the software from FCA’s UConnect Web site and install it on their vehicles. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles via AP) ORG XMIT: NYBZ127

GM says it’s now resolved the problem with a change to its server software and update to its OnStar RemoteLink iOS app.

Src: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/gadget-hacks-gm-cars-locate-unlock-start/

TESLA

Tesla Model S work and most importantly how they can be hacked,” read the Def Con keynote description.

Tesla-Model-S-dash-640x400

Tesla hackers explain how they did it at DEF CON 23
src: http://www.cnet.com/news/tesla-hackers-explain-how-they-did-it-at-def-con-23/

Its a dog eat dog world out there for cyberthieves and hackers, have fun and be safe!

 
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Lost In Computerization

Lost in computerizationAre we are becoming lost in the computerization we have built our lives around?

We are flying high and speading our wings with every new website we visit and every new app we install, but we are slowly growing apart from each other as people.  Technology can give us the grand illusion of a connection, but it often just enhances our ability to be alone together.

We are the Endangered Species

Without physically being in the same room with someone can we ever really be close friends or achieve any quality time?

Sure there may be a heated conversation or even the possible backlash of gas from the mix of beer and spicy tacos from your group gathering,  but it may just be well worth it.  In fact, I believe that it’s a necessity… (the physical part, not the gas).  As it brings us closer together, completes the bond of friendship and creates the beginning of deep meaningful long term relationships.

As a technologically advanced society, we need to seek out more meaningful and sensible connections as opposed to so many forced and unauthentic ‘digital’ connections.  The social networks have been an amazing tool to bring us together, yet they have pushed us a part in other ways.

I am starting to underestimate the value of family and friends.  Instead of calling to say “Hello how are you, whats new”, I just click to see their stream of posts or recent pictures.  Days, months and years past me by, all in a single page scroll.  No interaction needed.

Messaging and texting….yes sometimes it’s the only way when your far apart from one another, but we do we really even know how to talk to one another anymore? it’s becoming a lost art.
Almost anyone can ‘‘poke’  ‘+1’  ‘tweet’ or ‘like’  but where is the actual connection on a person to person level?

I lost track of how many times I have been at the park and looked over at a park bench and I see a group of people sitting all together, but they all have their heads down looking into their electronic worlds.

Let’s not get lost, if we can.

Vince.

 
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SmartPhone News for May 27, 2015

Hello everyone, here are some current news stories events involving smartphones today.
As always enjoy.

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iOS Bug Crashing iPhones Simply by Receiving a Text Message

Apple says today it has a fix in the works for an odd software bug that has been able to crash users’ iPhones when they receive a text message with a specific string of characters. The bug, which involves having users send a string of symbols and Arabic characters to a victim’s iPhone (show below).

 لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ

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Sending this text string to a user’s iPhone causes the device to crash and then quickly reboot. Afterwards, if the Messages app was opened in list view, it will continue to crash when you try to open it going forward. If it was opened to the conversation view, however, the app will open. But when you try to enter in another conversation, the Messages app will crash again.

Apple bug

Tracking Metro Riders Using Accelerometers on Smartphones

We know that we can be tracked using GPS data from mobile phones, which can triangulate location from nearby cell towers.

The reason that metros are so prone to this type of attack is that they run on fixed rails, for fixed distances, unlike the more complex combinations of multilane highways and roads across which cars or buses zigzag.

Given the fact that each metro system has a finite set of twists and turns and distances that culminate in a unique “fingerprint,” accelerometer data could be used to trace us, the researchers say.3-e7d1d45ce4

From the paper:

The cause is that metro trains run on tracks, making their motion patterns distinguishable from cars or buses running on ordinary roads. Moreover, due to the fact that there are no two pairs of neighboring stations whose connecting tracks are exactly the same in the real world, the motion patterns of the train within different intervals are distinguishable as well.

As far as surveillance goes, accelerometers beat GPS or cell service, which both drop out in tunnels.

The research paper, titled We Can Track You If You Take the Metro, comes from three researchers at Nanjing University’s Computer Science and Technology department.

They point out that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that accelerometers can be used for purposes other than their intended use.

 

Office Lens Android now available at Google Play Store

Office Lens turns your Android, iPhone or Windows Phone into a pocket scanner that works “flawlessly,” delivers “crystal clear images” and does an “excellent job of transcribing a printed page.  The handy scanner app recognizes the corners of a document, whiteboard, electronic screen or any rectangular media and automatically crops, straightens, enhances and cleans up the image, then enables saving to OneNote or OneDrive for easy retrieval from any device. Apple users can also get the full version of Office Lens in the App store for free.

Office-Lens-Android-now-available-at-Google-Play-Store-2

It offers the following capabilities and features across all three phone platforms:

  • Converts images of paper documents, electronic screens and whiteboard notes into Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and searchable PDF files for easy storage, editing and reformatting.
  • Enables images to be sent via email, making it easy to share whiteboard notes with work colleagues, submit scanned business expense receipts or ensure family and friends have copies of important paper documents.
  • Captures business cards and generates contacts, which can be sent to OneNote and added to your phone.
  • Recognizes the corners of a document and automatically crops, enhances and cleans up the image.
  • Identifies printed text with optical character recognition (OCR) so that you can search by keyword for the image in OneNote or OneDrive.
  • Inserts images to OneNote or as DOCX, PPTX or PDF files in OneDrive, providing options to save, export and share the image. (It’s easy to decide where to save images and keep them organized.)

Office-Lens-Android-now-available-at-Google-Play-Store-3For feedback or suggestions for Microsoft Office Lens go here. https://officelens.uservoice.com/

 
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2014 Year end review

We accomplished so many things in 2014 and made some great leaps forward in technology.
I am very happy to see the curve finally start to rise on the tech chart. Since I’ve bee thinking about it since 1980 in Mr. Sadler’s Basic programming class at Loara High School for the day to happen and its is here now and yes it’s happening.  The tech revolution is expanding at an ginormous rate. Competition is driving better quality products and a cheaper price.

Tech Gadgets are plentiful !  Let’s face it, the iPod was fun in its day, but with fast moving technology and online funding like Kickstarter and indiegogo we are making awesome tech products fall from the sky like rain.
The market is flooded with hundreds of choices of excellently designed products to make your life wonderful and there is certainly no reason to be forced into a some expensive locked down ecosystem with DRM, proprietary cables and connectors…..etc., so I won’t be listing any of those in this post.

  • Wireless Gadgets (speakers, keyboards, fitness bands, smart watches, smart phones, home automation, etc).
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    fb kwik
    gears moto360 

    sontz1 noteedge

  • Display tech (Gaming monitors, 4K TVs, Dongles, Tablets).
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     at st

But it’s been a tough road with some painful learning experience for some.

Security was high on the list.

  • Heartbleed – An OpenSSL flaw-that could be exploited to view secure data transmitted over HTTPS.
  • iCloud Hack – Apple’s private cloud storage platform was breached and hundreds of explicit nude photos of Hollywood celebs were leaked all over the web and eventually posted on sharing sites worldwide.
  • JPMorgan – With sophisticated tools, the intruders reached deep into the bank and extracted the data slowly, over days and months, evading security alarms designed to catch stolen data leaving the network.
  • POS malware breaches – Staples, Target, Home Depot, the list is larger these are just the bigger outlets.

Sony for example has had some bad luck in that arena. It’s PlayStation Network got hacked and hammered a year ago ansonyd now Sony Pictures Studios.

North Korea has been blamed by U.S. government officials for the cyberattack that took down much of Sony’s network. The film studio produced a movie, called “The Interview”.

the-interview-2014-movie-poster

Popular file sharing site Pirate Bay was taken offline by a raid by Swedish police. But for how long?  The movie industry claimed that in 2006 alone, piracy cost it some $6.1 billion. Naturally, it went after the biggest target to exact its revenge: the Sweden-based site known as The Pirate Bay. Given Sweden’s lax laws regarding copyrighted materials, Hollywood had to enlist the United States government for help cracking down on the site.

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The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard is a documentary chronicling the 2009 court case against The Pirate Bay’s founders

“We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react. Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang.”

Well that’s about a rap for 2014, it;s about time to for me to go home crack open a cold 550ML bottle of winter craft brew and bring in the New Year, a Happy 2015 to all and have a great ride down the information super highway.

– Vince.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Android L “Lollipop” will take Smartphones to Defense Level Security

Android_Lion_800The Android L is an upcoming release of the mobile operating system created by Google. Officially called Lollipop.  The key features of Android L will include faster app performance, improved power efficiency, better camera controls, and a new look for notifications and Fort Knox level security.

Every animation on screen will be allowed to connect to one another – so there’s no ‘teleportation between apps’. Check out the Google video below.

The home, back and multi-tasking window buttons on Android have been refined too, and overall, this is a massive step forward for a cleaner, more intuitive-looking version of Google’s mobile platform.

The lock screen is getting smarter too – if you’ve got a specific location set up, or are wearing a Bluetooth device, the phone will recognize you and unlock without a PIN. Move away or take your watch off and you’ll need to tap or swipe in a code when you unlock – or you can even use your voice

 

Android L builds on Samsung’s Knox fortifications

Knox is Samsung’s set of mobile security tools for businesses and governments. Not all of it is getting ported to the Android operating system, but enough, Google hopes, to reassure IT managers that Android-powered devices — whether employees’ own, or company-issued — will meet their tougher standards for what’s allowed on corporate networks.

samsungknow

Among other things, Android L will keep personal and corporate data and apps separate by building on the existing multiuser profile support in Android in a setup similar to the Knox Workspace.
“Personal and corporate applications will run as two separate Android users,” Android product manager director Srikanth Rajagopalan wrote  “Data is kept safe by using block-level disk encryption as well as verified boot technology.”

Also derived from Knox, new Android development kit APIs will let administrators create policies that include system setting configuration and authentication certificate management to restrict app usage. New back-end APIs will help with corporate app management and deployment.

However, Samsung detailed in a blog post of its own that it’s not giving Google access to all of its Knox gold. Many hardware-based Knox features will remain exclusive to Samsung.

These include TrustZone-based Integrity Measurement Architecture, trusted boot, biometric authentication, and Knox Smart Card Support. Knox components approved for governmental use such as Common Criteria, and the FIPS-certified cryptographic library and virtual private network that are part of Security Technical Implementation Guide standards, will remain under Samsung’s purview.

Lollipop arrives as Google tries to take more control of Android, the most widely used operating system in the world for smartphones and tablets, with 80 percent market share, according to IDC. By comparison, Apple’s iOS, which powers iPhones and iPads, has around 17 percent of the market.

 
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