Jennifer Levin

Jennifer Levin

Apple has just released iOS 10.3.2 to the public, following around a month and a half of beta testing that began shortly after iOS 10.3 came out. It's available as an over-the-air update or through iTunes for any devices that run iOS 10: the iPhone 5 and newer, the fourth-generation iPad and newer, the iPad Mini 2 and newer, both iPad Pros, and the sixth-generation iPod Touch.

Like the intervening iOS 10.3.1 update, the release notes for 10.3.2 only say that it "includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad," which suggests that the release is primarily focused on security updates.

According to Apple's security update page, it fixes quite a wide range of bugs that affect everything from the iPhone 5 on up: one in the AVEVideoEncoder, one in CoreAudio, two in iBooks, one in IOSurface, two in the kernel, one Notifications bug, one in Safari, four SQLite bugs, one TextInput problem, a whopping eight WebKit-related fixes that address an even larger number of vulnerabilities, and an update to the certificate trust policy. As with any update that fixes a large number of bugs, you should patch as soon as you can to prevent exploits of the now-public vulnerabilities.

Source: This article was published arstechnica.com By ANDREW CUNNINGHAM

The internet is one of the most important inventions of the modern era. However, current estimates say that only 40 percent of people around the globe have access. As internet connectivity becomes ever more important, new technologies are emerging to connect the entire globe with better, faster service. On several continents, research and development projects are underway to provide internet connectivity via high-altitude balloons -- not unlike those used to capture weather data, unmanned solar-powered drones and next-generation wireless routers. Each offers higher speeds and more reliability than current modes, plus the obvious benefit: getting the world online, all at the same time.

Facebook aims for solar-powered internet-beaming drone

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is famous for expressing a desire to connect the entire globe to the internet, and the company wants to launch giant soaring drones to beam out internet access around the world. Facebook's own Connectivity Lab has developed a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as large as that of a Boeing 747. Dubbed Aquila, the drone took its first test flight in June 2016 and, while not equipped with internet technology at the time, the flight was a huge success. The actual flight lasted a whopping 96 minutes (66 minutes longer than planned), and helped the research team tackle the next phase of innovation. Someday, Facebook hopes the highly energy-efficient drones will fly in a 60-mile radius while simultaneously beaming out internet access wherever needed.

MIT's 330 percent faster WiFi

Just a few months ago, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) announced a breakthrough in new wireless internet that is 330 percent faster and twice the bandwidth of existing technology. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the technology uses multiple transmitters and receivers to relay data simultaneously, increasing the amount of data in a given bandwidth. This development could someday lead to better, faster internet in public spaces and large gatherings like concerts and sporting events. The new technology could also address the issue of spectrum crunch by distributing data differently so that backups and congestion on the network simply don't occur.

Li-Fi leaves WiFi in the dark?

Last year a French startup developed a wireless internet technology based on LEDs that they claim is 100 times faster than existing WiFi. The so-called "Li-Fi" exploits the flicker rate of LED lamps, which is typically imperceptible to the naked eye. That frequency is much higher than the radio waves conventional wireless internet employs. Li-Fi requires light to work, so it can't pass through walls like WiFi, but it can be used to specifically target a specific user. What's more, its secure nature makes it a potential fit in places like hospitals or schools where speed and privacy are high priorities.

Project Loon floats balloon-based internet access

Long before Facebook launched its own drone to beam internet through the sky, Google began Project Loon, a similar initiative that relies on balloons. The high-altitude internet-equipped balloons are designed to spread connectivity in rural parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, plus anywhere else that access is spotty. The project gained traction in 2013 when Google tapped residents of California's Central Valley to volunteer to let the team install an antenna on their home in order to test the beaming balloons. Three years and many tests later on several continents, Project Loon (now operating under X, formerly Google X) continues to perfect its internet-beaming technology in the hopes of someday filling in the empty spots in the data coverage map.

NASA gears up to beam internet into deep space

During his 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station, American astronaut Scott Kelly became somewhat of an Instagram star, posting jaw-dropping views of the Earth (and beyond) from his outpost in the stars. So, people probably take for granted the notion that astronauts have internet access. In reality, sending data through space is nearly as complicated as space travel itself, but NASA deployed new tech to the ISSin 2016 that could eventually be used to relay internet service even farther into deep space. If Elon Musk and Richard Branson ever find themselves living on Mars, they'll surely be grateful to the good folks at NASA for making sure they can still tweet from their new homes on the Red Planet.

Samsung's satellite idea

Consumer electronics company Samsung has a big idea for stretching the interwebs around the globe -- using satellites. In 2015, the company proposed a global network of 4,600 satellites floating in low-Earth orbit that could beam up to 1 zettabyte (1 trillion gigabytes) a month. The plan would fly satellites closer to Earth than previous schemes to provide access at speeds internet users are already accustomed to at home. Will Samsung's satellite web ever actually happen? It's not likely, but wild ideas like this keep the conversation going.
Source: This article was published engadget.com By Cat DiStasio

As newsroom jobs decline, we analyze the main problems facing modern journalists, and how new technology is lightening the load.

The news industry has changed dramatically since it was hit by a ‘media downturn’ at the end of the 2000s. Leading publications were forced to cut newsroom jobs and pursue more hi-tech methods of gaining income such as digital subscriptions, paid advertising, and sponsored video content.

Between March 2006 and September 2014, “the number of newsroom jobs fell by 33 percent,” according to the Pew Research Center and “daily and weekly newspapers shuttered their doors with increasing frequency”.

The trouble goes right to the top, with even the most well-known, well-funded publications slicing staff. In early 2016, the New York Times announced it would be laying off hundreds of journalists by the end of the year.

Catastrophic newsroom cuts across the globe have pushed many journalists to follow careers in more stable industries like PR, or to try and support themselves by ‘freelancing’ for multiple publications as a means of making ends meet. But for those who are still in the industry, there are some new tools which are softening the blow, and making aspects of the day-to-day lives of modern journalists and editors easier.

So what are the main problems facing modern journalists, and how is new technology lightening the load?

Getting scoops

One of the main problems facing journalists now, is surviving in the face of competition from millions of ‘citizen journalists’ around the world. Advances in smartphone technology, and the ever growing popularity of social network giants like Instagram and Facebook means that people can ‘break’ news at a seconds notice. As a result, smartphones have become journalist’s most important tool, and greatest enemy.

Oliver Griffin, British freelance journalist and contributor for The I and The Raconteur states: “Technology has facilitated the rise of citizen reporting and made life more difficult for foreign correspondents. Papers can now source stories from local reporters, who know more, but on the flipside face greater danger in their home countries and have less protection from the paper.”

Due to the added competition, keeping up with trends and writing stories which will engage readers is extremely important. Tools like BuzzsumoFeedly and Newswhip Spike allow busy journalists to check which topics are trending where and what time, and use analytics to assess the strength of a potential story in real time.  

Vikas Shukla, former journalist and co-founder of Education publication Quantov writes: “As a busy journalist you need to stay one step ahead of trends. There is no point spending hours each day reading the leading papers to see what the top stories are. You need to use technology to push you in the right direction, so it’s your story on the front page. I use Buzzsumo to find the trending topics, analyse content, and find influencers in my niche.”

Working in difficult environments

An age old problem for journalists has been taking notes, and ‘first hand’ documentation of what is going on, while in stressful or life threatening situations. In the aftermath of a disaster, or when in a dangerous environment, it is not always feasible –or safe– to start jotting down notes or do interviews.

Oliver Griffin continues: “Smartphones have killed shorthand as instead of frantically scribbling notes journalists can now just record voice messages. They can also shoot films and take photos from the scene, and then post them ‘live’ on leading social media sites.”

New technology is also offering journalists a means of using real people on the ground to shoot videos and photos and offer comments which can be used in the media. Apps such as Periscope and WhatUSee allow journalists who cannot make it in person, to search for users in a particular geographical zone, and request that they send photos and videos live from the scene.

Communication

With ever diminishing static newsrooms, editors are forced to work with a number of freelance or remote writers at any one time, which poses an organizational challenge. Writers and editors are often spread amongst different time zones and geographical regions which further complicates matters.

It is important for writers to be able to communicate with each other for tips and suggestions, and also with editors about trends, deadlines and edits. As a result, many remote teams are turning to tools such as Slack and Google chat to take up the strain.

Elizabeth Tenety, a former Washington Post editor and co-founder of Motherly writes: “We have a story ideas channel on Slack where editors and writers are encouraged to write down random ideas as they come to them, and help one another to brainstorm. We also have a “Flare” box—a channel for any crazy ideas that come to our writers about how we can best grow and engage our users. We encourage our team to use technology not just to stay organized, but to get inspired and feel free to bring really out-of-the-box ideas to the table.”

Organization

When running an efficient publication, organization and meeting deadlines is extremely important. Timing is everything in the news, and missing a deadline by even one day could make your story redundant. As a result, editors and journalists use a range of new tools to organize their workflow, assign tasks and manage deadlines.

Sergio Ramos, editor of Social Geek, writes: “I have writers working all over Latin America and the States in a range of different time zones. Trying to tie them down via phone or email is a nightmare, so I use tools like Trello to assign tasks and manage workflow.”

CRM tools like Trello, Kanban Flow, Contently and Basecamp add a visual element which allows editors and writers to keep up to date with the progress of different tasks, monitor deadlines, and save notes and drafts on a central database, so that other colleagues can access them if need be.

Elizabeth Tenety writes: “We are currently leveraging Slack, Trello, Google calendar and our CMS scheduling tool, but we’re always open to new options that more seamlessly integrate our team into planning processes. These tools are lifesavers for the modern editorial team.”

Saving time  

Just because there are fewer journalists employed in newsrooms does not mean that there are fewer stories to be covered. Journalist’s often find themselves up against a wall with deadlines, and need to turn to technology to help them cut corners and meet their editor’s demands.

Oliver Griffin said that he turned to popular messaging app Whatsapp to submit a story from central America when under tight time restrictions. Instead of spending time listening to long video or audio excerpts to gather quotes, journalists and editors can turn to tools such as Cogi to cut the exact information they need from large files. Others turn to online transcription services to get the information they need on paper when in a bind.

Elizabeth Tenety writes: “I’ve had a lot of success using Rev.com—it’s not an inexpensive solution for transcriptions, but in a time crunch they do a great job at turning around copy quickly.”

Advances in technology and changes in the way that the public consumes the media have totally changed the media landscape, but with every cloud comes a silver lining. As a perfect example, smartphones have brought extra competition from ‘citizen journalists’ but they have also become an all-in-one swiss army knife for journalists in the field.

More so than ever, journalists and editors need to keep their ear to the ground for new technology or risk becoming redundant.

Source : This article was published sociable.co by Amit Rathore

To Chinese search engine operator Baidu, the future is set in stone. The company, dubbed the Google of China, has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence, betting that smart machines will disrupt industry after industry.

Of the 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) Baidu spent in research and development over the past two and a half years, the majority goes to AI, the company’s vice president and head of artificial intelligence group Wang Haifeng told FORBES in a recent interview. In the past quarter alone, R&D expenses went up by another 35% to $412 million from a year ago, according to its latest financial results. Like Google, Baidu wants to use the technology to refine its search algorithms, develop voice assistants, produce self-driving cars and build augmented reality tools that may soon have broader applications in marketing, tourism and healthcare.

To Baidu, however, AI means more than frontier research. The company needs AI-enabled services to be new money spinners, as its core online advertising revenues face mounting pressure from government restrictions in healthcare ads. What’s more, advertisers are flocking to e-commerce and social media platforms such as Tencent’s messaging app WeChat and Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace. According to consultancy eMarketer, Alibaba accounted for 29% of China’s $42 billion digital advertising market in 2016, with Baidu’s share falling to 21% from 28% in 2015.

 
Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are collectively known as China's technology trinity BAT. But the company has been slipping in market capitalization after a series of unsuccessful investments in mobile services.Chart by Yue Wang
Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are collectively known as China's technology trinity BAT. But the company has been slipping in market capitalization after a series of unsuccessful investments in mobile services.

In the past quarter, Baidu’s operating profit declined by 9% to $291 million, after going down 14% last year. Its other diversification efforts have produced mixed results. The company invested billions of dollars in online-to-offline services a few years ago, betting that it would earn healthy commission fees from cinemas, restaurants and other local services using its products to connect to nearby customers. But that plan failed to gain much traction, as the Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping  now holds 80% of this $100 billion market, according to Beijing-based consultancy Analysys International. iQiyi, its online video unit that just inked a streaming partnership with Netflix, remains popular but rising content cost means it is loss-making.

Baidu's profit has been declining since last year.Chart by Yue Wang
Baidu's profit has been declining since last year.

Baidu is banking on AI to make a strong comeback. It has amassed a 1,700-member team comprised of top talents from the world’s best universities and built four research labs in China and Silicon Valley, with the second Silicon Valley lab ready to accommodate 150 scientists, the company announced in March. In January, it hired Lu Qi, a Microsoft veteran who was the architect of the software giant’s AI effort, as its president and chief operating officer. Now Lu oversees Baidu’s AI research.

“Baidu's strategic focus, organization, and resources have shifted increasingly towards AI,” Wang the vice president said.

The company has its advantages. Its online search app boasts 665 million monthly active users, whose search data and behavioral patterns can be harnessed for deep learning, a branch of AI specializing in teaching machines to learn by themselves. And because search encompasses so many different topics, Baidu has more diversified data tranches than other Chinese tech giants, which may allow it to train computers better, said Wang Shengjin, a professor at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

And there has been real progress in this area. The company, which claims a 97% accuracy rate in voice recognition and 99.7% rate in facial recognition, has won many international competitions in speech-text interaction with its DuerOS platform, including one where its software was found to type three times faster than humans.

It has also been appointed by China’s National Development and Reform Commission to lead a national AI lab, as Beijing seeks to transform from a manufacturing economy to a growth trajectory driven by advanced technologies.

In perhaps the clearest articulation of Baidu’s ambition, its billionaire founder Robin Li said at last year’s World Internet Conference in Wuzhen that, “The age of the mobile internet is over,” and “Future opportunities lie in artificial intelligence.” In a May 4 internal letter obtained by FORBES, Li went on further to say that he wants Baidu to transform to an AI company from the world’s largest Chinese language search engine operator.

But not everyone is convinced of that prospect. In voice assistants, which is the most commercialized aspect of AI, other tech giants are catching up. Earlier this month, Tencent launched Dingdang, a voice interaction platform that is a direct competitor of Baidu’s DuerOS. DuerOS now counts speaker manufacturer Harman as well as smartphone companies Lenovo, Xiaomi and Vivo among its customers, according to Baidu.

When it comes to autonomous cars, commercialization is still decades away, partly because all relevant players need to collect far more data to perfect their systems, said Yang Qiang, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

“Current data collected for autonomous driving isn’t reliable enough,” Yang said. “And we have to figure out how to use those cars. Is it in car-sharing, or logistics, or something else? We have no idea yet.”

That means Baidu’s biggest advantage is still in online search, as it has plenty of related data to write better algorithms , he said. In addition to adding voice and image search functions, Baidu is also using AI to develop personalized news feeds in its mobile search app, which Nomura Securities analyst Shi Jialong estimates will bring 6 billion yuan ($868 million) in revenues in fiscal year 2017.

What’s more, Baidu faces fierce competition for AI talents. After the company’s chief scientist Andrew Ng resigned in March, its director of big data lab Zhang Tong was poached by Tencent. In the same month, Baidu’s senior Vice President Wang Jing resigned to build his own autonomous driving startup.

Baidu’s Wang points to the competition for talent as one of the biggest challenges in the company’s AI push. “AI represents an enormous opportunity – but to seize this opportunity, we need access to the best R&D talents in China and globally,” he said. “There is fierce competition throughout the industry, worldwide, to both find and retain these talents.”

But the commercialization of AI is still at very early stages, and Baidu may still stand out in the end, said HSBC analyst Chi Tsang. At least AI is heading the right direction for them to focus on, and the company has the talent and technology expertise to tap into multi-billion dollar markets such as human-machine interaction and autonomous driving

“Any market where there is tremendous amounts of data and the inability to process data is applicable to AI,” Tsang said. “The building blocks of AI Baidu has can enable them to enter a lot more markets other than advertising.”

Source : This article was published in forbes.com By Yue Wang

The next major version of Android is nearly here, as Google shuts down theAndroid Nougat beta for good.

There will be no more beta-tested versions of Android Nougat software, as Google has finally killed off the beta program. Instead, we’re now hanging around for the full launch of Google’s Android O, following the release of the Developer Preview on March 21.

Developers subscribed to the new Developer Preview are currently in ‘Preview 1’, which is basically an alpha phase. We’re not expecting to see a beta until the official Android O launch, which is likely to take place on May 17 during Google’s annual I/O developer conference.

At the show, it’s likely Google will announce full details of major changes incoming with Android O. We’ll also probably learn the official name for the software; Google has a tradition of naming Android versions after delicious treats. A clear frontrunner for Android O’s name is ‘Oreo’, but we could see a surprise winner – oatmeal cookie, perhaps?

Android Nougat is the seventh major version of Google’s Android OS, and was first released in alpha back on March 9, 2016. The full consumer release came much later, in August that year, rolling out first to Google’s own Nexus devices.

As of May 2017, estimates put 7.1% of all Android devices as running on Nougat, based on Google Play traffic data. Just 0.5% of those are on the latest Android 7.1 version however, with the remaining 6.6% still using Android 7.0

Source : This article was published in trustedreviews.com

I always hear a lot of talk about whether or not following your passion is the way to choose your career path. Well, several recent studies take a different approach by suggesting that understanding your personality traits and characteristics, rather than your passion, are what is key to career fulfillment and success.

An article posted by the UK firm Adecco reports that more employers are actively seeking personalities that fit their company environment in addition to skills and qualifications–that’s not that surprising. But, recent “research has [also] shown that choosing a job to which you are inherently suited –rather than just able to convince the interviewer you are interested in – will make you a happier, more productive employee.”

Understanding what roles you are best suited to based on your personality is what will make you the most happy at work. To further back up this premise, another study conducted at the University of Zurich found that people “who can apply [their] personal character strengths in [their] careers, experience more enjoyment, flow and meaning at work.”

The Zurich study calls these personal character strengths “signature strengths” that are “particularly distinctive for a person and which he or she likes to use frequently.” Signature strengths can be regarded as friendliness, self-control, kindness–characteristics that you exhibit and practice daily. According to the study, people generally have three to seven signature strengths and the more strengths an employee can actually use the workplace, the more satisfied and productive he or she is.

In comparison, the Adecco report recommends using a Myers Briggs or Holland Code test to discover your strongest personality traits. These tests tend to define you as for example, a ‘realistic’ type or an ‘artistic’ type. Based on your tendency to lean to towards a certain type the tests then provide a list of careers that might suit you best.

The Myers Briggs personality types are made up of combinations of the following traits:

  • Extraversion (E)
  • Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S)
  • Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T)
  • Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J)
  • Perception (P)

What the Adecco article and Zurich study points to is that self-assessment and an understanding of your inherent characteristics are key to career satisfaction; good activities to undertake when assessing which direction to take your career, regardless of whether you’re making a mid-career move, or just starting out.

Taking stock of yourself and your traits will not only be helpful on a personal level, but doing so may also give you an advantage when applying to job postings and interviewing. Knowing what works for you, and also knowing that employers are increasingly assessing personality types, will allow you to showcase your best attributes and also ask appropriate questions concerning workplace environments.

Plus, personality tests are just fun. You can take the Myers Briggs Personality test here (leaving Workopolis) and see suggested career options for your personality type.

What do you think? Does personality trump passion on the road to career success?

Source : This article was published in careers.workopolis.com By Jenna Charlton

The centralized nature of torrent sites means that they're always vulnerable to being shut down. However, a new project called Magnetico aims to solve that problem by crawling BitTorrent's Distributed Hash Table and generating an index on a machine controlled by the user. This week, TF caught up with its creator.

With BitTorrent more than a decade and a half old, it’s one of the most enduring P2P protocols around. It hasn’t been developed much in recent years but there are people out there hoping to take it to the next level.

Much effort has been expended trying to completely decentralize the system. DHT and PEX, for example, were great contributions but the reliance on centralized websites (such as The Pirate Bay) persists.

That particular problem intrigues Bora, a programmer from Istanbul, Turkey, who informs TF that having a less centralized system would be beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole.

“All the legal action taken against the community has always targeted the points of centralization, as they were the weakest points in the whole mesh,” Bora says.

“In the beginning, trackers were required to facilitate the traffic between peers, but then we ditched them once more and more clients supported the distributed hash table (DHT). We eventually got rid of .torrent files as well [in favor of magnet links], which in turn allowed people to download the whole sum of The Pirate Bay in a hundred megabytes.”

In an effort to try and edge closer to the goal of complete decentralization, Bora has been working on a project called magnetico (small ‘m’), which aims to “unplug” conventional torrent sites altogether. Like the recently defunct torrent site BTDigg and the more recent AlphaReign, Bora’s software uses BitTorrent’s DHT to find content and those all-important peers.

However, where magnetico differs from the two examples above is that the indexes it creates can be completely private. It effectively acts as a personal torrent search engine that a user can install on a machine under his or her control.

“magnetico is a collection of programs called magneticod (magnetico daemon) and magneticow (magnetico web),” Bora explains.

“magneticod runs in the background and ‘trawls’ the DHT network to discover info hashes and then fetches torrent metadata from the peers (most importantly, the title and the file list). magneticow is a lightweight web interface for users to search and view the discovered torrents.”

For those interested in some brief technical details, here’s how it works.

“The magneticod module [accesses the DHT] and creates a dummy BitTorrent peer to fetch the metadata from the announced peer, and saves it in a database which you can later search and view,” Bora says.

“As info hashes are the SHA-1 hashes of the torrent metadata, we can be sure of the validity of the metadata we got.”

While operation is simple (Bora says that both modules work without user intervention), the software is in its early stages of development so could be affected by bugs. One known issue is that at times, magneticod can be a bit of a resource hog so may need be restarted.

“I am hoping to address all these issues in the next releases, after collecting useful feedback from the community,” Bora says.

In the meantime, Bora hopes that BEP 51 (a BitTorrent Enhancement Proposal concerning DHT) will come to fruition.

“I would consider myself as having succeeded if major client developers decided to push for BEP 51 and if we together make BitTorrent truly decentralised right in the protocol, rather than resorting back to the brute force solutions,” he concludes.

While magnetico is not for the absolute novice, Bora believes that since its strictly written in Python 3, it’s relatively easy to get going with his detailed instructions.

The magnetico project page can be found here (Github)

This article was published in torrentfreak.com By ANDY

The unique cloud follows you wherever you go—and could ID you in a crowd
Like Pigpen's dusty haze or Olaf's personal flurry, each of us is surrounded by our own personal cloud—of invisible microbes. Now, it appears that this unique bacterial signature can be used to identify individuals even after they've left the room.

In recent years scientists have built up all kinds of data about the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies and help govern our health, often dubbed the microbiome. They've also known that the human microbiome emits millions of airborne bacteria. But University of Oregon researchers decided to explore the extent to which such microbial clouds are detectable and whether they might carry important information about someone's unique microbial ecosystem.

“From this experiment we've learned that based on the air sampling in a room, you can tell when it's been occupied by a person because of the microbial signature of the air,” explains co-author Adam Altrichter. “And more importantly, we can tell that individuals are unique when they've been in a room, unique in the amount of bacteria they produce and the distinct organisms that they shed.

” We create such clouds in various ways. Microbes like Streptococcus are emitted in our breath, Altrichter notes, while others like Propionibacterium come off our skin. “There's even some indication that members of your gut microbiome could actually make it into the air surrounding you,” he adds. “We're talking about very small organisms, and clothing is not an impermeable barrier.” 

Each of 11 volunteers spent up to four hours alone in a room during two sets of experiments. The unique combination of bacteria eight of them produced could be readily distinguished from the microbes of others, enabling the scientists to identify them as individuals based on just their microbial clouds. Other volunteers left clouds that made it clear a person had been present, but not which individual.

The microbial clouds we create have some intriguing potential for future applications. In forensics, for example, investigators might be able to use a cloud like fingerprints to identify where a person has been. “If a person walks into a room, and you're sampling that air afterwards, can you understand who was there based on the bacteria that they are shedding?” Altrichter asks. 

Understanding more about how we release our individual microbiomes could also have implications for learning how some diseases spread from person to person—or even helping to fight them. “Thinking about how the microbiome occupies an environment and how that might lead to competition for resources that might make pathogenic strains have a harder time colonizing an area is one way this might prove helpful,” Altrichter says. 

However, there's a long way to go before people's clouds can be identified in a real-world environment. The tests, published in the September 22 issue of PeerJ, were done in a very controlled, artificial environment—a small room where the temperature and air were controlled. Surfaces inside the room were wiped down to reduce background bacteria that could confuse the cloud signatures.

Volunteers were surrounded with air filters to collect the particles emitted into the space around them. Petri dishes were also deployed to collect surface biological particles that settled out of the air. Identifying human-made clouds in more complicated environments will be difficult.

“Translating this to someone sitting in an office or a patient in a hospital, where there's going to be a lot of background, will take a lot more,” Altrichter says. “But hopefully as technology progresses and we are able to reduce the lowest detection limits, we can maybe push the envelope a little bit and start to capture a personalize signature in a more realistic environment.”

Another avenue for further research is figuring out why some people's clouds were more distinguishable than others. The team doesn't have definite answers as yet.

 “Some individuals may just have a microbial cloud that's very unique to them, where a more generalized microbiome might be harder to distinguish from those of other individuals,” he notes. The rate at which people shed microbes is another factor, and that may vary even in the same person depending on health, diet or simply the time elapsed since their last shower. 
This article was published in smithsonianmag.com by Brian Handwerk

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 18:11

How Do You Replace Google Site Search?

I’ve gotten a flurry of phone calls recently because Google has announced that they are withdrawing their popular Google Site Search product, which many companies—even large ones—have been using as their website search engine.

The calls are coming because:

  • Google Site Search worked pretty well: There are lots of better search engines out there, but it worked well enough for most people.
  • Google Site Search was no work at all: Those “better” search engines do provide better search results, but they take a lot more work to get there—work that I help companies do every day. If you want better results for your business, do the work with a better search engine. If you want “set it and forget it” and you don’t care that you are losing sales and paying higher call center costs, get Google Site Search. At least that is what I used to say.
  • Google Site Search was dead cheap: I know huge companies paying less than $1000 a year (yeah, not a month—a year) for Google Site Search. Even if you replace it with a free open-source search engine, you’ll probably pay more than that just for the hosting.

So, it’s the end of an era. If you were happy getting decent results that cost nothing and required no work, you were the ideal Google Site Search customer. But now, you have to change.

The path of least resistance is to do nothing, because Google will happily replace Google Site Search with Google Custom Search Experience (CSE). When that happens, if you made some custom changes to your experience, they might go away, but the “good enough” search results will still be there. And it’s free! Such a deal!

Except for one thing. Google will be showing paid search ads on your website search page. The great majority of the companies that I have spoken to basically say, “Over my dead body will ads be shown on my website.”

But in case you are thinking, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe we could live with that,” let me tell you about the other calls I am getting.

Companies want to know, “How can I get my ad shown on my competitor’s site search results page?” And the answer is that if they let their Google Site Search simply revert to CSE at the witching hour, it will be very easy. Just buy the right keywords and you will start to show up. That should be a fun conversation to explain to the boss why our search results page is showing our archenemy’s ads.

So what else can you do?

You can go out and get one of those better search engines, pay more, and work harder (or pay me to work harder for you). If you do, you’ll undoubtedly raise your sales and lower your service costs because people will find what they are looking for more often.

And you will HAVE to. Because there was nothing in the budget for replacing the search engine this year and paying higher operational costs. So you need to carefully work out your search improvement program so that you can justify why we have to spend more, because we are going to make more.

If you don’t, even if you get the boss to fork over to bring in a “better” search engine, if you don’t have a program that constantly monitors your search results and ensures that searchers are finding what they are looking for, you will get a drop in sales from Google Site Search and a rise in call center costs. So I am getting those calls because they know that they can pay now or they can pay later.

If you are using Google Site Search, what are you going to do?

This article was published in business2community By Mike Moran

A former Russian defence ministry spokesman has made an extraordinary claim that Russia is burying nuclear weapons off the coast of America.

‘mole nukes’ would be used to set off a tsunami which could swamp the American coast.Colonel Viktor Baranetz claims that the ‘mole nukes’ would be used to set off a tsunami which could swamp the American coast.

Baranetz made the claims in an interview with the Russian news outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda – claiming that the measures are a response to America’s vast military budget.

Baranetz said that the weapons were a tactic for ‘asymetrical’ warfare – where one side is significantly less powerful than the other.

He said: ‘Our asymmetrical response is nuclear warheads that can modify their course and height so that no computer can calculate their trajectory.

‘Or, for example, the Americans are deploying their tanks, airplanes and special forces battalions along the Russian border.

‘We are quietly “seeding” the U.S. shoreline with nuclear “mole” missiles. They dig themselves in and “sleep” until they are given the command…

‘Oh, it seems I’ve said too much, I should hold my tongue.’

A Russian government spokesman described the claims as ‘strange’.

This article was published in yahoo.com By Rob Waugh

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