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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Hidden Smart Phone Codes

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Android codes

Function Code
Info/Test menu (opens a menu where you can get detailed information about your phone, data usage statistics, and more) *#*#4636#*#*
Analog and backlight test *#*#0842#*#*
Display IMEI number (The IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, is a unique identification number for every phone, which can be useful in case your phone goes missing) *#06#
LCD Display test *#*#0*#*#*
Display camera info *#*#34971539#*#*
Completely wipe phone and reinstall firmware *2767*3855#
Display MAC address *#*#232338#*#*
Display Bluetooth address *#*#232337#*#
Field test (allows you to precisely gauge the strength of signals your phone is receiving, in case you are curious or want to install a signal boosting system) *#*#7262626#*#*
Quick GPS Test *#*#1472365#*#*

iPhone codes

Function Code
Field test mode (provides info about cell signal, including more precise reception reading) *3001#12345#
Check call forwarding number (you can designate another number to redirect calls to when your phone is busy) *#67#
IMEI number *#06#
Enable call waiting *43#
Disable call waiting #43#
Enhanced full rate (EFR) mode — This mode improves reception at the cost of battery life *3370#
Anonymous call (Your number won’t show up on the receiver’s caller ID) Input *67 before you enter a phone number

 

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Senators Say “Smart TV’s Are Invading Privacy

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Two Democratic US senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy problems related to Internet-connected televisions.

“Many Internet-connected smart TVs are equipped with sophisticated technologies that can track the content users are watching and then use that information to tailor and deliver targeted advertisements to consumers,” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a letter yesterday to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.

It would be up to Congress to pass new laws for smart TVs. But the FTC can punish companies for unfair and deceptive business practices. Action was taken against smart TV manufacturer Vizio last year.

 

Chinese Bust Online Cryptocurrency Betting Ring

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Chinese police have broken up an illegal World Cup gambling ring hosting more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) worth of cryptocurrency bets, in the first major sports betting crime involving digital money in the country. The gambling platform ran on the dark web, which isn’t indexed by traditional search engines. During the eight months of the gambling platform’s operation, the site attracted 330,000 registered users from numerous countries, and built an army of over 8,000 agents who earned commissions for recruiting new members through a pyramid scheme.

Google Products

1. Google Keep

Google Keep is a free note-taking service included with your Google account that lets you save a variety of content like text, images, audio and videos for quick access.

2. Google Timer

Google will set a timer for you if you type your desired duration followed by the word “timer” on your search bar. 

3. Google Sky

Explore the remote reaches of the universe from the comforts of your own browser. With Google Sky Maps, you can.

With hi-res images culled straight from NASA satellites, the Hubble Telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Google Sky is a space map that shows you detailed images of objects like stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, or the Earth’s moon.

 Spell out numbers

If you ever want to see a number completely spelled out, just type its digits on your search bar then add “=english” at the end.

. Translate symbols

If you want to translate written symbols or your freehand cursive writing, you can turn on Google Translate‘s manual “handwriting” feature by clicking that little pencil icon.

Free Fonts

Did you know that Google has its very own site for free fonts?

Google Fonts is a collection of free fonts that you can download and use for free. From exotic to edgy fonts, Google has you covered!

Use Explore to discover art and culture

To examine the world’s famous artworks in great detail, use Google Art & Culture’s Explore tool. With Explore, you can zoom in on high-definition paintings, tour famous sites and landmarks via Street View and even view 360-degree videos of famous museums.

Google Express

Google Express is Google’s online shopping service that lets you get same-day or overnight delivery for several categories like groceries, electronics, books, and a lot more.

 Identify songs instantly

Are you familiar with Shazam, the service that can identify any song it hears?

Well, Google has its own equivalent service called Sound Search. With the help of Google Assistant, you can have it name any song it hears via your gadget’s mic.

Listen to animal sounds

Have you ever wondered what an anteater or a humpback whale sounds like?

Just search for “animal sounds” or the name of a specific animal and Google’s results will include a quick sound clip.

17. Gboard keyboard

To quickly launch a Google search straight from your iPhone’s keyboard, try the GBoard app.

GBoard lets you glide through your keys (ala Swype), pull GIFs, emojis and Google search all from within the keyboard.

18. Google One Today

Are you looking for a worthwhile cause? Google’s One Today app for iOS and Android makes it easy to find nonprofit charities you can support.

Google One Today has photos, articles and explanations of how your donations actually help.

 

The DeepFake Video Problem

 

Buzzfeed has created a video that shows a more troubling side of this technology. The video shows former President Barack Obama saying things he never said, and it looks surprisingly believable.

In the video above, Obama is voiced by Jordan Peele, who does a passable impersonation. Having Peele do the voice gets the video more attention, but there are probably voice actors who could do an even better job. Buzzfeed started by pasting Peele’s mouth over top of Obama’s, and then replaced Obama’s jawline to match the mouth movements. Rendering took 56 hours for a minute-long video.

The tool is known as FakeApp, but the videos are usually called “Deepfakes” because that’s the handle used by the original developer on Reddit. You can download the code freely all over the internet, but it’s not easy to set up — you need to configure Nvidia’s CUDA framework to run the FakeApp TensorFlow code, so the app requires a GeForce GPU. The video you want to alter has to be split into individual frames, and you need a large number of high-resolution photos of the face you want to insert. In the case of Obama, there are plenty of photos online that can be used to generate a model.

Currently, new technology on the internet lets anyone make videos of real people appearing to say things they’ve never said. Republicans and Democrats say this deceitful technology  will become the latest weapon in disinformation wars against the United States and other Western democracies. This technology uses facial mapping and artificial intelligence to produce videos that appear so genuine it’s hard to spot the phonies. Lawmakers and intelligence officials worry that the bogus videos — called deepfakes that could be used to threaten national security or interfere in elections.

When an average person can create a realistic fake video of the president saying anything they want, and the reverse is a concern, too. People may dismiss as fake genuine footage, say of a real atrocity, to score political points.

Realizing the implications of the technology, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is already two years into a four-year program to develop technologies that can detect fake images and videos. Right now, it takes extensive analysis to identify phony videos. It’s unclear if new ways to authenticate images or detect fakes will keep pace with deepfake technology.

Deepfakes are so named because they utilize deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence. They are made by feeding a computer an algorithm, or set of instructions, lots of images and audio of a certain person. The computer program learns how to mimic the person’s facial expressions, mannerisms, voice and inflections. If you have enough video and audio of someone, you can combine a fake video of the person with a fake audio and get them to say anything you want.

Deepfake technology still has a few flaws. For instance, people’s blinking in fake videos may appear unnatural. But the technology is improving.

1. Don’t jump to conclusions

2. Consider the source

3. Check where else it is (and isn’t) online

4. Inspect the mouth

5. Slow it down

 

 

 

 

L’Oreal’ UV Sensor

 

UV Sense

The UV Sense is simple to use. Stick it on your nail, swipe it over your iPhone or Android phone, and it will wirelessly transfer UV exposure data to the companion app using near-field communication (NFC). It’s the NFC chip that also charges the device through the data transfer process.

Placing it on your thumbnail exposes the UV Sense to optimal sunlight, and the sensor is activated by UVA and UVB rays. Along with your UV report, you’ll also get some advice on on avoiding the sun, and recommendations on L’Oreal products to purchase.

The data the sensor collects is accurate, or at least that’s what L’Oreal claims.

UV Sense
L’Oreal

It’s important to note the UV Sense itself strictly measures UV exposure. The app is where you can find additional information such as allergens, pollution, and other factors in the environment that can effect your skin

Pilot program and launch

The UV Sense will launch in the U.S. this summer as a pilot program. The company will continue to do testing with dermatologists and consumers, which allows L’Oreal to get even more feedback to improve the experience even better.

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New Witness Protection Scheme For Whistle Blowers

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Whistleblowers are being offered a “witness protection scheme” to  expose “wrongdoing” in the technology industry. An American non-for-profit organization founded by a French entrepreneur and philanthropist has said it will provide individuals working within “big data” financial and legal support if they are able provide information  that shows how the public is being “harm[ed], exploited or misled”.

The Signals Network, was set up last year, and is currently working with a consortium of journalists around the world and aims to provide assistance to potential whistle-blowers to ensure that powerful corporations can be investigated.

Newspapers and websites in America and Europe, including The Telegraph, have issued a “call for information” to people working in “big data” who are able to show how the public are being misled or that the information they have provided is being misused.

Other organizations involved in the project include Mediapart, which was set up by the former editor of Le Monde, Die Viet in Germany, the Intercept and WikiTribune.

The reporters will work together to examine information that is provided and a committee will  decide  whether potential sources have provided sufficiently strong information to warrant support from the organization.

In recent years, concerns have arisen about the role of technology companies and how “big data” may be being misused by firms.

Earlier this year, it emerged that a Cambridge professor used a personality quiz on Facebook to obtain data from 50 million users without their knowledge.

Founder Gilles Raymond Credit: The Signals Network

The academic then allegedly passed the data to a company called Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook’s rules and without the company knowing.

It also emerged that Cambridge Analytica harvested data on 50 million Americans without their permission and failed to ensure the data was deleted – it was allegedly used to develop an algorithm used in the US presidential election to target voters for the Trump campaign. 

The controversy led to more than $36 billion (£26 billion) being wiped off the value of Facebook, as investors reacted to the revelations.  The firm have denied that the data available to Cambridge Analytica constituted a data breach and any wrongdoing.

Earlier this month, experts said that social media and online gaming firms should have a “duty of care” to protect children from mental ill health, abuse and addictive behaviour, amid concerns that social media firms are cynically targeting children using addictive “hooks”.

The Signals was set up by French businessman Giles Raymond and has an operating budget of several hundred of thousands of dollars to provide financial, legal, psychological and public relations assistance to individuals who are able to provide information that exposes wrongdoing.

Mr Raymond found a company News Republic that was bought by Cheetah Mobile in 2016 for $57 million.  In 2017, he founded the Signals Network.

 

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