Kick the Smartphone Habit – Go Grayscale

The average American clicks, taps or swipes on their smartphone screen more than 2,600 times a day – and the heaviest users touch their device more than 5,400 times.

The birth of the smartphone has sparked an addiction among many people, however, an ex-Google employee has revealed that going gray could help curb habit.

By setting the screen of your handset to grayscale, users might not be so compelled to check their device – this is because certain colors used by apps, like red and bright blue, subconsciously make us excited to reach for our phones.

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The birth of the smartphone has sparked an addiction among many people, however, an ex-Google employee has revealed that going gray could help curb habit

By setting the screen of your handset to grayscale, users might feel checking the device is less appealing - this is because some of the colors, like red and bright blue, subconsciously make us excited to reach for our phones

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New Google TV Streaming

Google has signed a deal with CBS Corp to carry the network on its web TV service and is in talks with 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc to distribute its channels, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The service, which will be part of Google’s YouTube Platform, is expected to launch early next year and will include all of CBS’ content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.

Google’s ‘skinny’ bundle will cost $25 to $40 a month, the source said.

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The service would bring all of CBS's content, including The Big Bang Theory, to the Google Unplugged service.
The service would bring all of CBS’s content, including The Big Bang Theory, to the Google Unplugged service.

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Podcast – Trump Anchor Baby Uproar – No More Repeal and Replace – Google Determines Election

In this episode I discuss The Donald’s latest “Outrageous” remark, which wasn’t. The nerve of him calling our country’s greatest gift, the children of illegal invaders, “Anchor babies.”

Pundits say the GOP’s greatest challenge is to repeal and replace Obamacare with something even better! Yeah! Replacing one government program with another – and can Google actually determine the outcome of our next presidential election? Maybe so. read more

Green Energy is Rubbish

from: Breitbart

Some people call it “renewable energy” but I prefer to call it “alternative energy” because that’s what it really is: an alternativeto energy that actually works (eg nuclear and anything made from wonderful, energy-rich fossil fuel.)

Now a pair of top boffins from uber-green Google’s research department have reached the same conclusion.

Ross Konigstein and David Fork, both Stanford PhDs (aerospace engineering; applied physics) were employed on a Google research project which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal. But after four years, the project was closed down. In this post at IEEE Spectrum they tell us why. read more

Another Crash Around the Corner?

The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the recent global economic recession believes the worst crash in decades will take place later in the next 12 months.

Dr Marc Faber, a Swiss investor and the author of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, said the cause of the crash would be overvaluing of companies within the internet and biotechnology sectors – thought to include the $400billion valuation of Google, and the $100billion valuation of Facebook.

He also said the market was also beginning to wake up to the idea that the U.S. Federal Reserve is a ‘clueless organization’ – something he says is starting to affect confidence levels in investors. read more

Google Meets Star Trek

Rumors have resurfaced about a device being  developed by Google that could act as an interpreter.

Google’s gadget would not be quite as  high-tech as those seen in science fiction shows such as Star Trek and The  Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but could convert spoken  words into another  language in real-time through a receiver.

Google’s vice president of Android, Hugo  Barra, told The  Times the device is an option and more recent  developments in its Google Translate software could make it a reality.

Google is rumoured to be working on a universal translator that would let you call anyone in the world and speak to them in any language.
Google’s universal translator could work in a similar  way to the devices used by Captain Kirk, pictured left played by William Shatner  and Bones, played by DeForest Kelley in Star Trek

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, universal translation devices were fitted to the communication pins of the crew, pictured, including Data and Captain Picard.
Alternatively, the device could be fitted to people’s  clothes as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, pictured. In the show, UT  devices were fitted to the communication pins of the crew including Data and  Captain Picard

 

STAR-TREK STYLE  TRANSLATORS

The universal translator (UT) was a device  used in Star Trek to translate alien languages. 

In the early series of Star Trek, the UTs  were shaped like tubes.

In Star Trek: Enterprise the UTs looked  similar to a flip phone.

In Star Trek: Next Generation, UTs are built  into the communication pins on Starfleet uniforms. 

Ferengis, including Quark from Deep Space  Nine, have implants in their ear from birth.  

One exception is the Klingon language, which  mostly can’t be translated.

Barra told The Times: ‘We’ve got tons of  protoypes of that sort of interaction and I’ve played it every other week to see  how much progress we’ve made.’

 

But he added that the software is still  several years away from being ready.

Barra also explained that some translations  are ‘near-perfect’, such as English to Portuguese, while others are not.

Universal translation devices were a common  feature across the different Star Trek series.

Ensign Hoshi Sato, a communications officer  on the Enterprise in Star Trek: Enterprise, uses the translator to invent the  linguacode matrix.

By the 24th century, universal translators  are built into the communicator pins worn by Starfleet personnel and the Ferengi  race wear their universal translators as implants in their ears.

In the Douglas Adam book, The Hitchhiker’s  Guide To The Galaxy, a small fish is inserted into the ear of a person.

It can then read mental frequencies and  translate conversations.

Google’s plans first emerged in 2010 when  Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services, hinted that  speech-to-speech  translation should be possible ‘in a few year’s time.’

Google’s Translate app, as well as other apps  on the market, can already translate text from one language to another.

They can also translate speech into text, yet  they are not capable of converting speech to speech at the moment and voice  translation has its limitations.

In the Douglas Adam book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a small fish that acts like an interpreter is inserted into the ear of a person.
In the Douglas Adam book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the  Galaxy, a small fish that acts like an interpreter is inserted into the ear of a  person. Dubbed Babel Fish, pictured, it can then read mental frequencies and  translate conversations
Ferenghis, such as Quark pictured from the TV series Deep Space Nine, are fitted with universal translation devices in their ears at birth
Ferengis, such as Quark pictured from the TV series Deep  Space Nine, are fitted with universal translation devices in their ears at birth 

Voice-recognition on the apps and software  also needs to be developed because background noise or poor microphones affects  the accuracy of the recognition.

Google Translate currently works with 71  languages, but there are around 6,000 languages worldwide leaving the service a  little short.

In February last year, Och admitted that any universal translation devices would  also need to adapt to its user by ‘learning’ their style of talking.

‘Everyone has a different voice, accent and  pitch,’ said Mr Och.

‘But recognition should be effective with  mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you.’

Recent developments in the Google Translate software, pictured, could make a universal translation device a reality.
Recent developments in the Google Translate software,  pictured, could make a universal translation device a reality. Google Translate  currently works with 71 languages, but there are around 6,000 languages  worldwide leaving the service a little short

Attribution: Victoria Woollaston, Mail Online

What Happens in an Internet Minute?

Astonishing figures that show the true scale  of our online activity have been revealed.

The new study, by chipmaker Intel, found that more than 204 million emails are sent every minute, while 47,000 apps are  downloaded and retail giant Amazon rings up around $83,000 in  sales.

Around 20 million photos and 6 million Facebook pages are viewed, while we also watch 1.3 million video clips on  YouTube.

Intel's internet minute infographic reveals exactly what we do online - with 639,800GB of data transferred
Intel’s internet minute infographic reveals exactly what  we do online – with 639,800GB of data transferred

 

ONLINE IN 60  SECONDS

More than 204 million emails are  sent

Amazon rings up about $83,000 in sales

Around 20 million photos  are viewed and  3,000 uploaded on Flickr

At least 6 million Facebook  pages are viewed  around the world 

More than 61,000 hours of music  are played  on Pandora

More than 1.3 million video clips are  watched on YouTube

 

Nearly 640,00 Gb of global IP data is  transferred in just one Internet minute, the researchers found.

‘Computing is transforming and touching more  people in a wider range of devices,’ said Intel’s Krystal Temple.

‘But while it’s hard to miss the  proliferation of portable devices, it’s what we don’t see that’s the bigger  issue.

‘What many don’t see is that the increase in  mobile devices has had a tremendous impact on the amount of data traffic  crossing the network.

‘It’s a little easier to comprehend once we  think about all that’s done on a connected device like a smartphone.

‘Listening to music, watching videos,  downloading photos, playing online games, refreshing Twitter feeds and status  updates – all of those activities generate network traffic.’

The study also looked at how the data could expand dramatically in the future.

It predicted that by 2015, the number of networked devices is expected to be double the world’s population.

It would take five years to view all the video content crossing IP networks each second by then.

One of Google's brightly coloured data centers in Douglas Country: New figures reveal exactly what happens on the internet every minute
One of Google’s brightly coloured data centers in  Douglas Country: New figures reveal exactly what happens on the internet every  minute

The chip giant also revealed it is developing new networking equipment to deal with the increase in traffic.

Codenamed ‘Crystal Forest,’ that will boost  performance and beef up network security to handle the increasing network traffic.

‘By enabling equipment manufacturers and  services providers to deliver platforms that grow along with the network, Intel is also enabling consumers to stay connected on intelligent devices every Internet minute of the day,’ Intel said.

Attribution: Daily Mail

I Can See You

Google wowed the world this week with its Project Glass computer glasses – but the U.S. Army is investing in a technology one step ahead.

The Pentagon has placed an order with Innovega for lenses which focus 3D battlefield information from drones and satellites directly into people’s eyeballs.

The tiny ‘screens’ sit directly on users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses with a built-in translucent screen.

The experience is equivalent to a 240-inch television viewed at a distance of 10 feet, says Innovega’s CEO Steve Willey.

‘Warfighters need to maintain their full vision while on the battlefield,’ says the company. ‘At the same time a tremendous amount of data, graphics and video are collected and are required by specific warfighters in the field.

‘Some is generated from remote cameras, drones, or satellites. Fully transparent video eyewear that is configured into standard issue field glasses would constitute an important step forward. Innovega is actively in partnership to develop this application.’

Crucially, the devices can be worn while moving about – previous bulky ‘VR headsets’ have blindfolded their users and can only be used sitting down.

The effect could be similar to the lenses worn by Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, thought of as the American military’s ‘mad scientist’ wing – has been funding research on ‘soldier mounted displays’ for some time, but previous versions have been bulky.

The lenses, made with nano-scale engineering processes,work as a hi-tech focusing device, which allows Innovega’s glasses to be considerably less bulky than previous devices.

The lenses themselves require no power, and thus can sit safely on the eyeball.

DARPA projects are often oddball technology, but it also has a history of far-sighted technological leaps.

DARPA invented the first virtual reality devices, and one of the precursors of the modern internet.

DARPA Says, ‘Innovega’s iOptiks are contact lenses that enhance normal vision by allowing a wearer to view virtual and augmented reality images without the need for bulky apparatus. ‘

 ‘Instead of oversized virtual reality helmets, digital images are projected onto tiny full-color displays that are very near the eye.’

These novel contact lenses allow users to focus simultaneously on objects that are close up and far away.’

Attribution: Daily Mail

Flip the Switch

 Where shall we file this article? Maybe we can put it in the ” Ain’t technology grand and it will never be abused or used against us” folder. Is there an App for that?

 

By: Jordan Robertson of Bloomberg

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple, and Amazon all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

The history of kill switches on smartphones and e-readers suggests they’re double-edged swords for the companies that wield them. In 2009, Amazon reached into users’ Kindles to delete e-book copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm that had been sold by a publisher without the necessary rights. The ensuing backlash caused Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to call the move “stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.”

The reluctance of tech companies to set explicit policies for when they will and will not use kill switches contributes to the fear they’ll be abused. Civil rights and free speech advocates worry that tech companies could be pressured by governments to delete software or data for political reasons. “You have someone who has absolute control over my hard drive in ways I may have never anticipated or consented to,” says Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University’s law school in California. “If they use that power wisely, they actually make my life better. We don’t know if they use the power wisely. In fact, we may never know when they use their power at all.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of Android engineering, says the search company reserves the use of the kill switch for “really egregious, really obvious cases” of harmful content. Microsoft’s Biggs says the company has used the functionality in its smartphones only for “technical issues and content issues.” Apple declined to comment. Amazon did not respond to several messages.

Like many in his profession, Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of the San Francisco startup Lookout, which makes security software for smartphones, expresses mixed emotions about the emergence of kill switches. “The remote removal tools are very much a response to the mistakes of the PC era,” he says. “Whether or not it’s an overcorrection, I think history will tell us. It can be done right, but we as an industry need to tread carefully. It’s easy to imagine several dystopian futures that can arise from this.”

One supporter is Janne Kytömäki, the Finn who discovered the Android malware outbreak. He says Google did the right thing by deleting the malware without users’ permission. “What was the alternative?” he says. “Leave those apps installed on 200,000 people’s mobiles? This is something that had to be done.”

End Article

Famous last words: We couldn’t just do nothing!

How about , “Buyer Beware”, or user beware. We’ve allowed the door of abuse to cracked open. Mark my words. This kill switch program will progress into other areas and it wiil eventually be abused.

Ben Franklin said: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”