Signal makes it possible to easily verify the confidentiality of your conversations

 

Signal’s confidentiality benefits not only include the encryption of your conversations but also giving you easy evidence that those chats are really classified by comparing a number of digits or you can skim a QR code. Those secure digits are sometimes hard to use, still, and that has gotten some people risking themselves particularly when they swap gadgets. Open Whisper Systems, Signal’s Developer, is repairing that by changing the way the security numbers work, both in its clarity and soundness.

 

At the outset, it is consolidating its approach regarding the QR code. You only need to one scan for the chat and the secure digits only are included in the code instead of the full phone digits. That way, people won’t be carelessly disclosing mobile digits and possibly revealing the chat. Potential “spies” who already has knowledge on someone else’s computerized fingerprint will know who you are having conversations with, but they won’t be able to read the conversation.

 

In addition, different gadgets and apps installed in it again won’t always ask for your approval for someone to continue the conversation. The newest version of Signal has an alternate counseling mode that will tell the user when secure digits have been modified but that does not cease the user from chatting with the other person. It is, by default, turned off but the Open Whisper Systems may turn it on for recent installations on the condition that it works.

 

The modifications’s timing may just be perfect. Open Whisper Systems shared to American Public Radio’s Marketplace that request for the application increased a humongous 400% after the US presidential election commenced, with Donald Trump winning it.

The interest, according to co-founder Moxie Marlinspike, comes from people who are not particularly keen to the idea of Trump having authority of the US’ security device.

In short, these people are anxious that the newly elected president might exploit the power that comes with the position to snoop on pundits. Is that logical? Not so but that will not cease anxious web users.

 

And the James Dyson Design Award goes to… The £4 EcoHelmet.

 

the foldable Eco Helmet
the foldable Eco Helmet

 

Isis Shiffer designed the foldable bike helmet called the EcoHelmet to be used by the millions who use the public bicycle system worldwide.

The Eco Helmet works in ways similar to that of a conventional helmet made of polystyrene does, with the core structure dispersing any collision the same level around the head. This means the structure will shield the biker from impact heading from any direction, thanks in part to the unique full of cavities arrangement to shield the head from the blow.

Shiffer recounted how fortunate she was to be attending Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of London for one semester and was given entrée to Imperial College’s crash laboratory. She shared how the college had a traditional helmet crash setup that permitted her to collect information on the EcoHelmet’s arrangement’s behavior to conclude that it was feasible and deserves to be explored.

The helmet is ideal for people using city public sharing systems as it can be simply folded flat and placed in a knapsack when not in use. Even though the bike accessory is made from paper, to make it durable even when it rains for up to 3 hours, a biodegradable coating is added to it.

The helmet, which is disposable, is available in vending machines at bike hire locations and will have an indicant to display the time for it to be recycled and exchanged for a new one.

This award is given to designers and engineers alike that can invent a product that can solve a problem and this foldable bicycle accessory solves a no-brainer rider problem in a refined way, according to Dyson.

Shiffer will receive £30,000 as a result of her winning the award, and this will be used to evolve her foldable bicycle accessory commercially and plans to debut the product in New York early next year.

You think your computer is safe from hackers when it’s locked? Think again.

 

Poison Tap plugged into a laptop
Poison Tap plugged into a laptop

 

You may feel like locking your device is enough to keep a hacker from getting to it, but even if you have a password to protect your PC, it is still vulnerable to being hacked especially now that there’s  a $5 device capable of stealing your  log-in information to your favorite websites in about sixty seconds tops.

 

This device is called the PoisonTap.

 

It is made of Raspberry Pi Zero microchip and a USB cable. It copies a web connection to illegally seize all of a PC’s web traffic, taking the information used to login to Facebook or Gmail and other similar sites.

 

The Poison Tap works on PC’s that have been locked by a password but still have a browser left running, as is the case with so many computers that are locked when the user is out for a lunch or meeting.

 

It takes roughly sixty seconds for the Poison Tap to deceive the PC into forwarding requests from the open browser to top million sites worldwide, steal the web scripts used by the user to access the websites when browsers go back to them instead of having to keep entering a password each time. The cookies, as what these are called, are then forwarded to the servers of the hacker through PoisonTap and are used to get remote access to an electronic mail or social media account.

 

Because this process works while the computer is locked, there’s no need for the hacker to use a password or use the PC another way other than plugging the Poison Tap into the computer for at least thirty seconds. The web browser does not need to be opened on the computer, it can just be kept running in the background.

 

This device fools the PC into sending all web traffic by granting it an IP address that includes the whole IP scope, rather than just one unit.

 

Apart from stealing cookies, the device is capable of installing a backdoor on a browser which, in turn, can be used to remotely control it.

 

According to the “ethical” hacker who invented the Poison Tap, Samy Kamkar, the best defense against the device is to exit all web browsers each time users lock their PC’s or simply put the computers in sleep or hibernate mode so the processes running in the background is temporarily stopped.

Samy Kamkar, creator of Poison Tap
Samy Kamkar, creator of Poison Tap

Users don’t need to worry much this early though. Kamkar said he created Poison Tap to prove that such a hack is feasible and was not made for malicious use or to sell it to cyber criminals.

 

Mini Xeon-powered PC from HP puts the Mac Mini to the test

 

HP's Z2 Mini
HP’s Z2 Mini

 

PC manufacturer HP, has launched a mini personal computer that boasts workstation-class elements, such as an Intel Xeon processor, graphics chipset of NVIDIA Quadro mobile M620 and M.2 SSD tech, the Z2 Mini. By utilizing robust notebook-sized elements, it packed that capability into a 2.3’ high case that HP wrote as ninety percent smaller compared to a standard business-class case. In its top design, the machine is two times as robust as any miniature computer on the market.

 

The new device is sixty three percent softer in sound compared to the HP’s more expensive mini devices which is due to its cooling system that is customized to fit users’ needs. HP describes the design and build of the octagon shaped mini pc as the most distinct created by HP in its 35-year workstation history. The PC maker targets 3D users, CAD, graphics and design although it could produce adequate gaming rig in some of its configurations.

 

Specifications of the Z2 Mini are as follows:

  • RAM of 32GB DDR4
  • HP Z Turbo Drive
  • 2 SSD read speeds over 1GB with a 1.5TB capacity – you can get one with a CPU of Intel Core i3, i5, i7
  • You can go higher with Intel Xeon E3-1200v5 which is the standard CPU used in servers and workstations but you have to pay more
  • Another choice is the mobile M620 Quadro GPU 2GB VRAM from NVIDIA – this is approved officially for apps like Autocad and 3DS max. Nevertheless, it does not meet the requirement for virtual reality gaming so it is not certified with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. If ever, it can only produce mediocre gaming performance at best.
  • Available USB – C type

 

Cons of the Z2 Mini:

  • No Thunderbolt 3 Port – thus it has limited drive choices for video editing tasks
  • No HDMI Port

 

This solid pc comes with a starting price of $699 which can give you a Core i3 CPU without chary graphics. Users who are tired of waiting for the new Mac Mini and are looking for a small but solid pc will find the Z2 as the next best option.  The company has said that this will be available to the public in December.

Facebook bans Fake News Websites from its Ad Network

On Monday, the social network giant included bogus news pages to the sites banned from the Facebook Audience Network, Facebook’s advertising network.

 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

 

Prior to that, the company’s rules and regulations stated that the Facebook will not show ads in apps/sites that contain unlawful, false or fraudulent information. Facebook presented updates last Monday to its Audience Network Policy as an explanation of language and not a real modification in its practices. The Audience Network gives adverts to 3rd-party apps and websites, assisting partners produce ad profit while sharing a piece of the total revenue to the social network company. The update was made at the same time Google made its similar decision to ban bogus news websites from utilizing its ad-selling program to make money out of their webpages.

The social media giant has been the focus of argument and investigation following the presidential election in the US, for having lenient rules and regulations in controlling the spread of bogus and deceptive news info circling around Facebook. People have also questioned the significance of its newsfeed feature, which is created to display content to users that they most likely will “like” and deal with.

The company cited that the policy update on Monday does not modify how bogus news websites are handled on the Audience Newtwork. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, said that the notion of bogus news influenced the election was ridiculous. Nevertheless, Facebook’s decision indicates that it is taking its policy regarding bogus news earnestly.

 

Google found itself in a similar situation as Facebook when on Sunday, a story trended so high on Google’s ranking that wrongfully said that president-elect Trump won the popular vote when it was actually Clinton who did. On Monday, the company told the Wall Street Journal that it will not permit adverts to be displayed on pages that mislead, misinterpret or hide content about the author, the author’s content or the main goal of the site. By restricting bogus news websites’ profit-producing probability, both Google and Facebook could assist in preventing bogus or irresponsible websites from forcing bogus information on their respective programs.

How to extend your gadgets’ battery life

 

Restricted battery life curses almost all of our portable gadgets including smartphones, laptop computers, and sometimes, tablets. The more we use all devices for either work or play, the more demand it places on its battery. But don’t fret. There are still things you can do to help get more from your gadgets while you’re active or busy.

A few small tricks and tips to help extend battery life that could make a huge difference and a few suggested accessories too:

  • Dim the screen of your devices to at least half to help preserve battery life. You’ll get used to a reduced the brightness in your screen in no time. Also, setting your screen to turn off after a minute or so of inactivity will help give your battery longer life.
  • Lessen or disable push announcements. On smartphones these notifications include incoming electronic mail, updates on games, or live sports scores. This can drain your gadget’s battery life, not to mention your data.
  • Use the power-saving mode. When this is enabled in your device’s settings, this can often turn the screen to black and white, dims the screen, and turns off unimportant wireless features.
  • Turning off a few wireless features on your devices (GPS, Bluetooth, wifi) unless you need them because these can also eat up your gadget’s battery life. Or, you can also turn off all radios and vibrations when you don’t have to use them yet.

FITTING MOBILE ACCESSORIES

Here are a few selected portable accessories for the always active and busy user. Each product retails for $99.00.

  • Kingston’s MobileLite Wireless Pro – a handy 3-in-1 accessory, this handy 6700mAh battery can charge a smartphone up to 2 or 3 times depending on the model
  • Mophie Powerstation XXL – ideal for the heavy users, this is a 20,000mAh compact charger, which could charge up an iPhone 7 roughly 10 times more or almost 7 times on a Samsung Galaxy S7. As a matter of fact, it is possible to charge up to three mobile devices, smart watches, Kindles/Nooks, tablets or wireless headphones all at the same time with up to 2.1-amp output per gadget

Get Windows 10 or go obsolete.

It’s now Windows 10 or nothing as software giant Microsoft cease retail of its Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 products to PC manufacturers.

Windows 10 home screen
Windows 10 home screen

After giving a two-year extension on its deadline, the software company puts an end to the most widely popular favored operating system.

 

 

Sales of OS 7 licenses were stopped by Microsoft to PC manufacturers, signifying a large highlight for the 7-year old operating system.

As stated by the software company’s regulations, sales of Windows 7 Pro or any Windows 8.1 version to Original Equipment Manufacturers were stopped starting October 31.

Windows 8 default start screen
Windows 8 default start screen

 

The demise of both Windows 7 and 8.1 made room for Windows 10 to be the only option for OEM’s being the pre-installed OS on their products for a long time.

The first deadline for the end sales of Windows 7 Pro was October 31st of 2014, that’s two years following Windows 8 came out but on the same year, Microsoft called for an end to user systems instead, breaking its practice.

This left for the opening of Windows 7 Pro cut-off, with Microsoft giving a one year warning prior to its demand to OEM’s to cease retail of computers with that version.

That warning was issued by Microsoft last year.

Some institutions with software assurance and business licensing arrangements may keep buying new computers then change the pre-installed OS on the machine into the older Windows 7 version if they want to continue utilizing then older version.

OEM’s on the other hand are permitted to utilize whatever licenses they already have making it possible for machines with recent Windows 7 Pro to not disappear quickly.

Take Dell’s digital store, it still has seventeen various notebook devices with preinstalled Windows 7 Pro. Same with the smaller PC retailers like the Auburn, Wash. Custom computer manufacturer Puget Systems. Shops like this can keep building new computers equipped with Windows 7 Pro until their stock is all purchased.

The software company halted sales on Windows 7 even when it was widely favored by almost all users worldwide.

Users have until January 202o to have Windows 7 support and after that, they have to upgrade or use another OS.

Fermata: A new accessory you will want to have for your wireless headphones

Fermata Charging Stand
Fermata Charging Stand

The first Charging Stand designed for wireless headphones, Fermata is as sleek as they come. With a sophisticated aluminum stand that supports and shows off your beloved headphones, it is also an integrated charging station to keep your gadget powered. It has an in-base USB port so you can power up your iPhone or iPad. The saddle that supports the headphones is made of delicate, curved pad made of leather instead of the usual metal hook design.

 

Additional functionality includes a micro USB which is reversible to make it easier to connect headphones with charging ports that are hard to reach, an AC plug with a 2 meter power cable, and an extra USB port under the base to permit users to charge your phone or game controllers. You can plug in an adapter if your headphones are not micro USB compatible. And when you’re done charging or not using it, you can just wrap the extra cable underneath the base of the Fermata. That way, everything looks tidy.

cord feature located underneath the base of the stand
cord feature located underneath the base of the stand

 

This charging station device is not cheap though. It retails for $79.99 but if you can afford to get the high-end headphones, then this shouldn’t be a problem. You can get the Fermata at Twelve South’s website.

 

Specs

Stand Width (base): 5.43 inches (138 mm)
Depth (base): 5.43 inches (138 mm)
Height: 9.84 inches (250mm)

Width (post cushion): 1.37 inches (35 mm)
Depth (post cushion): 3.5 inches (89 mm)

Weight: 0.8 pounds (0.37 kg)
Power Cable Length: 2 meters

Charger Output USB 5V at 2 A
Compatible with plugs from North America and Japan
International Charger Output USB 5V at 2 A

Compatible with plugs from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and China

Inventions and Modern Technology

Back in 2010, Sony invented the perfect combination of technology and, wait, what? furniture?

 

the Sony Fusion Computer Coffee Table in red, blue and white
the Sony Fusion Computer Coffee Table in red, blue and white

 

Yup, you read that right – furniture. The end result? The sleek Sony Fusion Computer Coffee Table. It combines work and relaxation. Sounds pretty good to me.

Sony has been doing these excellent inventions since it started back in 1950 and at present, the company has been put in the frontline with contemporary revolution idea of blending furniture with technology by creating the Sony Fusion Coffee Table.

Responsible for this innovative modern-day design is Zyane Tan, a designer based in Singapore. He came up with this multifunctional object which can be used as your normal coffee table and with just a press of a button, it transforms into a sleek desktop workstation.

This single unit is basically a desktop computer combined with a straightforward coffee table with structured lines and a matte black aluminum chrome lining.  The table is reinforced by chrome legs that are arched and pushing the power button will make the table divide in two and slips apart to show a keyboard (touch sensitive outlined with LED lighting). The screen is adjustable and can be turned into different angles to permit the perfect work position for the user. The DVD ROM and audio jack is located on the sides. This awesome unit is available in three colors namely blue, red and white and it can be yours for a whopping $3000.

keyboard with LED lights
keyboard with LED lights

 

If the pricetag is too hefty for your liking, you can get the LED Video Coffee Tables as an alternative for this coffee table desktop workstation.

 

Welcome to Sunny California: Sony moves home-base to the West coast

From Asia to America, Sony calls California its new home.

 

the San Mateo headquarters
the new headquarters in San Mateo, California 

 

The geographical move also brings together the two companies, PlayStation and the PlayStation Network.

 

It was reported that the company plans to move its PlayStation international HQ to California from its old headquarters in Tokyo, Japan this year.

 

Sony headquarters in Tokyo
Sony headquarters in Tokyo

Users who are not located in Japan have become essential for the company’s PlayStation, gaming network and overall entertainment enterprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new company will be called Sony Interactive Entertainment and it comprises of two firms: the company that carries and expands hardware for the PlayStation which is Sony Computer Entertainment, and the company that runs the PlayStation Network which is Sony Network Entertainment International.

 

The new headquarters will be located in San Mateo and will be ready to do business on April 1st which is the first day of the financial year in Japan. Andrew House, PlayStation’s current CEO, will retain his post and keep core business operations both in Tokyo and in London.

 

After the PlayStation console debut back in December 1994, Sony put the product on sale in Japan, making it the first country to have access to the console. The PlayStation was a success both in Japan and in markets worldwide.

 

the PS4 console
the PS4 console

The PlayStation’s popularity abroad has increased considerably following its debut in 1994, and in late 2013 when the PlayStation 4 hit the market, it became the first console to launch in the U.S and Europe before its home, Japan. Overall profit for the PlayStation console hit 36 million earlier this year.