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While many people mourn the end of summer, there is one thing it always brings; the release of the next iPhone. Now that Apple has released the most recent incarnation, many people wonder if they should jump in and buy the latest version, especially since iOS 10 is available for the majority of iPhones still walking the planet.

Before you make a final decision, here are five reasons the iPhone 7 should be on your shopping list this year.

1. Storage in Spades

With the release of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has decided that they want to make storage a priority. All versions of the newest devices offer twice the hard drive space of previous versions. In fact, it appears the previous 16 GB options in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S lines are also a thing of the past.

If you are one of the many people who use their phones for photos and video, more memory is always welcomed. And speaking of photos…

2. Higher Quality Photos

The iPhone 7 camera has seen some notable improvements as well. You have the ability to shoot RAW images, making photos easier to edit in post, and video can be shot in stunning 4K. Image stabilization is included, helping you to take crisper pics in many conditions.

The f/1.8 aperture lens is also improved, and you get the quad-LED flash to brighten up darker, or low-light, conditions. The use of the camera remains simple, and the included editing options are what you would expect from a phone at this price point.

3. Water Resistant

Taking a cue from other smartphone producers, the iPhone 7 is the first version that is officially water resistant on its own. Individual connections are waterproofed, avoiding the need for physical plugs to be in place. This may be a relief to those among us who have had an iPhone ruined by accidentally dropping it into the small sources of liquid, like a cereal bowl or puddle.

 

While it isn’t completely waterproof, you shouldn’t have to worry about bringing your phone out in the rain, or answering a call when you’re still dripping from the shower. It can also be submerged for up to 30 minutes, as long as the depth is only a couple of feet.

4. Improved Home Button

The home button saw improvements with the addition of the Apple Taptic Engine. In fact, it isn’t even technically a button anymore.

When you press it, it does produce a sensation similar to the feel of an actual button-press. This allows it to feel more familiar without having to actually perform in a mechanical fashion. You can even customize the buttons “click” response to be more satisfying to you personally, which is an interesting addition.

5. Faster Performance

The iPhone 7 finally brings a quad-core processor to the iPhone line, and that is coupled with 2 GB of RAM (the same amount of RAM as found in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus). This lets the phone seem more responsive than previous iterations.

Apps can appear to open almost instantaneously, and games should run more smoothly. If you tend to have a lot of apps running in the background, the increased processing capabilities should help keep everything running more smoothly than previous versions of the iPhone allowed.

Should You Give the iPhone 7 a Try?

Just like every new edition of the iPhone, everyone wonders whether now is the time to upgrade, or if they should wait. If you are one of the many who found themselves running out of memory for photos, then switching to the iPhone 7 may be worth it just for the additional memory. It is also a great choice for people who have a lot of apps running in the background at all times, or those who see their iPhone 7 as a portable gaming device.

 

Otherwise, most iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus users will likely still be happy with their current phone. For every other loyal iPhone user, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do bring some notable improvements to the table that can make it worth the cost to upgrade.

Source:  lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

According to Flurry Analytics, 50% of all devices activated on Christmas Day 2014 were Apple products and the amount of apps downloaded increased by 150% in just 24 hours! With so many apps available to Mac users, it’s difficult to know which ones are really worth your time or money, especially since each of us has different needs. Below are 10 apps that any one and every one who owns a Mac should download right away, from financial software to photography apps!

1. Because You’re Usually A Bit Disorganised: Use Evernote

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Chances are you are already an Evernote user, but just in case you aren’t or are yet to install the app on your mac it’s crucial to include this versatile and simple brain-replacing app! Evernote allows you to store photos, website articles, and of course notes amongst numerous other facilities and enables you to sync anything you store amongst multiple devices.

 

The basic Evernote app is free for Mac users, however you can pay $5 a month (or %45 annually) for Evernote Premium. The Premium version allows users to annotate PDF files, store more notes and search for text in Office documents!

2. Because Your Hard Drive Is Always Full: Use Disk Doctor

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Awarded the title of Best Selling Programme 2014 on the Apple Store for Mac, Disk Doctor is every avid Mac users best companion. Disk Doctor will clean up your hard drive by scanning your Mac for old or useless files and data that are stopping your Mac functioning at it’s best.

 

For just $2.99, Disk Doctor will keep your Mac healthy and your hard drive free of clutter!

3. Because You’ve Upgraded To Yosemite: Use Command-C

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Without a doubt Yosemite is a success for Apple as far as iOS goes, however nothing is without it’s faults. Somehow, Apple users’ were left unable to copy text on a Mac and paste it onto their iPhones or vice versa. Command-C fixes this blunder with a simple, seamless patch and allows you to once again work smoothly between platforms that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

 

Although the app is free in the Mac App Store, it will cost you $3.99 on the iPhone. However, it is a huge time-saver and incredibly practical for anyone who requires the use of multiple devices!

4. Because It’s An Apple Staple: Use iWork

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For many years, Apple lagged behind Microsoft when it came to building software that would compete with Office. Of course, Apple did release iWork a decade ago but it is only just evolving into a substantial application. Currently, iWork includes three separate apps:

  • Pages – an application used for writing.
  • Numbers – a spreadsheet programme.
  • Keynote – fantastic for building professional presentation.

 

Each of these apps is easy to use and even easier on the eyes! In addition, anyone who purchased a Mac after September 24 2014 will receive works free of charge.

5. Because You Need Distraction Free Writing: Use iA Writer Pro

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For anyone who is required to write often, be they a professional, author or a student, iA Writer Pro will allow you write without any distractions. For $19.00 iA Writer Pro extends a blank page to fill your entire screen covering menus, apps or any other distractions that may hinder your writing flow.

 

Once you’ve started to write, iA Writer Pro will also kick it’s syntax feature into action and pick out adjectives, verbs and nouns that work to make sure your sentences are the best they can possibly be.

6. Because You Have A Lot Of Thoughts And Nowhere To Put Them : Use Notability

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Named App of the Year 2014 by Apple themselves, Notability allows you to capture any thought any time. For $9.99 you can record a thought, write it down, store a photo or even a sketch, as well annotate PDFs and other documents. By backing up your stored thoughts to Google Drive or Dropbox you can share them over various devices running touchscreen version of Notability via iCloud.

7. Because You Love Photography: Use Pixelmator

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Despite the fact Apple users have notoriously supported Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator is swiftly becoming a strong competitor. This $29.00 graphics software allows it’s user to retouch photographs with expert precision, paint, draw and apply 160 beautiful effects to their photos. If you use Pixelmator in conjunction with Apple’s new cross-platform application Handoff you will also be able to switch seamlessly between Mac and iPad.

 

8. Because Nothing Compares To Word: Use Microsoft Office

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Yes, yes. I know I said that iWork was good but nothing competes with Microsoft Word just yet, especially if you are familiar with Microsofts famous software. Starting at $139, Microsoft Office will supply you with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote. Or you can subscribe to Office 365 for $6.99 a month, which can be used across devices!

9. Because You Love Art: Use Topaz Impression

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At $99 you may think that Topaz Impression is a little bit over priced, but if you are an art lover and creative than this app may be your greatest investment. Topaz Impression will convert your photographs into pieces of art like no other on the planet at over 10,000 brush strokes a second. You control the stroke style, size, volume and strength and will have access to more than 100 effects, 72 textures and 17 different types of brushes, ensuring that no two pictures will ever be the same.

 

10. Because You Need To Keep On Top Of Your Accounts: Use Quicken 2015

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Like Topaz Impressions, Quicken 2015 is a pricey application at $72 but besides that these apps could not be more different. Quicken has been popular amongst PC users for quite a long time, however as it’s refreshed software moves to Mac many Apple-devotees will soon be using this incredible financial software. Quicken automatically categorises your accounts and transactions, ensuring you will always be on top of your bills and funds!

Source:  lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

Microsoft made a slew of announcements at its New York City event Wednesday, focusing on the idea of user as creator.

Among its new offerings:

  • The Surface Studio, an all-in-one desktop computer with a touchscreen that's 12.5mm thick;
  • The Surface Dial, a new input device that provides haptic feedback;
  • The Surface Book i7;
  • VR headsets for Windows 10 that use the same Windows Holographic platform as its HoloLens;
  • A revamped Paint app with 3D capability; and
  • Creator's Update, an upcoming Windows 10 refresh providing 3D creation tools, live streaming, and custom Xbox app tournaments

"Ultimately, technology is just a tool in the hands of humanity," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the event. It's "a tool that helps amplify our ingenuity and creativity. New computing medias do not take shape by technology alone."

The Surface Studio took center stage at the event.

"The Surface Studio is my favorite simply based on looks and the way it's aimed at graphical productivity," said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

"It would be ideal for desktop publishing integrating graphics," he told TechNewsWorld. "This makes productivity through graphical manipulation practical."

 

The Surface Studio's 4.5K ultra HD touchscreen stood out for Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

"All the OEMs buy screens based on price and yield," he told TechNewsWorld. "Microsoft specified a screen that was matched to what Windows can do, which means this one product will work better with Windows than anything currently in, or coming to, market."

The only other firm that has done that is Apple, Enderle noted.

Surface Studio Specs

The Surface Studio's screen delivers 63 percent more pixels than a state-of-the-art 4K TV, said Terry Myerson, EVP of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.

It works beautifully with a stylus pen, touch and the new Surface Dial, he noted.z

 

Surface Studio desktop

The Surface Studio comes in various configurations built around an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, starting at US$3,000.

"It replaces a high-end digitizer, lets users work vertically or horizontally, is appealing to the eye, and the screen is uniquely accurate," Enderle said.

The price tag "may be seen as a bargain," he pointed out, because the "very well-defined group of users and executives" who will want it "will generally buy the best tool, and often have stations costing over $5,000."

The Surface Studio will be available Dec. 15.

The New Surface Book

The new Surface Book has an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and comes in several configurations. Battery life is up to 16 hours, and it ranges in price from $1,500 to $2,800.

Surface Book detach

The new version is an incremental upgrade to the Surface 2-in-1 line that "gives OEMs breathing room to incorporate new tech like Intel's Kaby Lake processors into their models before Microsoft fully upgrades Surface Pro and Surface Book next year," said Eric Smith, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

VR for the Masses

HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer will ship the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality with the coming Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft's Myerson announced. They will start at $300 and "work with affordable laptops and PCs."

Windows 10 VR devices

Reaction from consumers to VR and AR technologies "is fairly positive," according to Frost's Jude, and this move "will provide [Microsoft] an entry point for the consumer market, especially for e-gaming."

Microsoft's offering "should be far more acceptable in both price and ease of use" than the Oculus and HTC VR systems, which are "expensive and difficult to set up with the needed two cameras," Enderle observed.

However, the VR dev kit "requires 8 GB or more of RAM," Strategy Analytics' Smith pointed out.

 

"If this remains the minimum requirement, it's going to be a very exclusive group of first adopters compared to other AR/VR headsets," he told TechNewsWorld. Still, "this was a very smart move by Microsoft in showing off deeper platform integration in consumer environments following its acquisition of Minecraft." 

Source : technewsworld

 

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.


 
 
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Categorized in Science & Tech

One on the most interesting meetings of the Standing Committee on Teaching, Learning and Student Supports took place this week.  The number one topic on the agenda was “To discuss the impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi and cellular towers on students and staff in schools, potentially including neurologic impairment and malignancy and to consider means of minimizing any such risk within the Worcester Public Schools by changes as to practice and policy.”  This item was filed by both Standing Committee Chair Brian O’Connell and me after attending a meeting with the “Worcester Info Team for Health.”   The third member of the standing committee at the meeting was Molly McCullough.

Since that meeting with the Worcester group I along with my colleague, Mr. O’Connell have continued to be open-minded on the topic and have continued to view the research.    Many would argue that the FCC standards are protecting us so why worry.  Not so, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.  It is essential that any new standards for cell phones and other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable population to ensure they are safeguarded throughout their lifetimes.”   Also, out-dated government guidelines do not reflect current science, so manufacturers are still allowed to sell products that emit toxic levels of microwave radiation. 

So what is radiation?  Leslie Saffer, a member of the Worcester Health team confirmed at the standing committee hearing that RF is radiation associated with cell phones and other wireless devices as well as the infrastructure that supports their function. She stated, “It’s everywhere, it’s accelerating.  Independent science shows it affects all forms of life… and it conflicts with our natural make up as electrical beings.”  In addition, as research shows non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) radiation, also known as microwave or wireless radiation, is one form of man-made electromagnetic radiation.

This issue is global, and most researchers fully support and promote access to the internet in all schools.  However, medical doctors, scientist, toxicologists do advise caution and the risk reduction around wireless radiation in places, especially, where pregnant women and children live, learn and play and strongly suggest hardwired internet connectivity.  In addition, a growing body of scientific evidence indicates Wi -Fi and cellular radiation can cause extensive biological harm.  Thus, it is important that there be an open dialogue about this topic and hope that everyone within the community, especially those that have the power to make changes are opened open-minded to this most important issue.  Please let’s not unduly minimize and say that the research is over exaggerated!

 

Another supporter of hard wiring is the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and they stated, “There is a consistent emerging science that shows people, especially children who are more vulnerable due to developing brains, and thinner skulls, are affected by the increasing exposure to wireless radiation… it is better to exercise caution and substitute with a safe alternate such as a wired connection, which is not classified as a possible carcinogen.  While more research is being conducted children must be protected.  Wired technology is not only safer, it also stronger and more secure.”

The main speaker at the standing committee was Ce Ce Doucette a Senior Communication Professional from Ashland, Massachusetts.  She is an individual who assisted the city of Ashland to become the first in the nation to put on loan a radiofrequency radiation detection meter in the public library so residents can identify and remediate wireless radiation where they live, work and play. Ashland is the first city in the nation to host a six-part documentary film and discussion series on Electromagnetic Radiation and Health to educate the public about potential harm from wireless technology. 

In her presentation she stated, as other researchers have, “the safest option is to aim for hard –wiring with all Wi-Fi turned off in the access points and the devices.”  Ms. Doucette also echoed that perhaps an interim solution would be to put kill switches on each of the router access points where teachers would have a remote control to turn Wi-Fi on when downloading apps and uploading data from the tablets then turn it right off.  Then the devices would be put in airplane mode to turn off the device-level radiation, and the students could use them as dummy terminals to use the apps.  Again, where active Internet access is needed, the devices should be hard-wired.

Her presentation was outstanding and I urge you to find out when the standing committee meeting will be aired again or go on line to the Worcester Public Schools site and bring up archived from the School Committee.  Ms. Doucette presentation was informative in her approach to the topic.  You can also see other presentations on this topic by typing in Ce Ce Doucette into your search engine.

More on this issue will be forthcoming for I want to be sure that the community is well informed about this most important topic.  In the meantime, the standing committee is asking administration to give us a price for hard wiring the schools and let us know if there is a way of shutting off Wi-Fi when it is not in use.  In addition, we have asked administration to share the following with our schools and with our students on best practices that come from the Director of Environmental program –Dr. Robert Knorr and from other research sources.  There will be a follow-up meeting in late November or early December.

 

BEST PRACTICES IN THE USE OF WIRELESS TECNOLOGY

Dr.Robert S. Knorr

Director, Environmental Epidemiology Program

Bureau of Environmental Health

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

250 Washington Street

Boston, MA  02108

Minimizing Exposure to RF

Given the lack of scientific consensus on the potential health risks from these sources, attention is often focused at minimizing exposure.  Below are common recommendations and include those for both cell phone and non-cell phone sources:

--Use wired communication devices instead of wireless devices

Consider a wired Local Area Network (LAN) instead of wireless, and wired connections to computers and other individual devices.
Use a wired landline instead of a cell phone for everyday calls

--Limit children’s use of cell phones except for emergencies

Don’t offer the phone as a toy.
If your children use a phone to play games, switch on airplane mode. A phone in airplane mode will stop RF (radio frequency) transmission but still have some magnetic field exposure.

--Keep cell phones and other sources at a distance

The strength of the RF emission or exposure is one fourth lower at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet. 
Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a plug-in headset rather than holding a phone to your ear. 
A wireless “Bluetooth” headset can have less exposure than a cell phone, though data seem inconsistent on how much less exposure.
While on a call, keep the phone away from your body (e.g., on a table in front of you instead of your pocket).
If using wireless devices like computers, laptops, tablets, and printers, place the wireless router away from where children and adults usually spend time.

--Store your cell phone and other devices like routers away from your body.

Don’t store your phone under your pillow or clipped on your belt, especially if you are pregnant. 
Switch the phone to “airplane” or “off-line” mode when not using for communication such as for some other function like as an alarm clock.  Power phones 100% off before you carry them near your body to avoid all exposure.
Turn off routers when wireless devices are not in use.

--Text when possible

Texting emits less radiation than voice calls.

--Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train.

These types of use automatically increase power to a maximum as the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.  Radiation levels are significantly higher when your signal is poor.

Additional information from a variety of sources on mobile devices…

  • Avoid telephoning with your cell phone next to your ear and try putting the phone on speaker.
  • Avoid carrying your cell phone directly on your body.
  • Always place the mobile device on a solid surface.
  • Don’t use your telephone in a parked car.. the radiation from your phone bounces round your car and is absorbed by your body at a higher level than would otherwise be.
  • Never sleep with a cell phone switched on at night beside your bed … studies show that cell phone radiation and other electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures at night can interrupt sleep cycles and contribute to a host of aliments.
  • Prefer text messaging to making a call with your cell phone.  Hold your cell phone away from your body when you press send.
  • Don’t use your telephone when in a moving vehicle.
  • Turn off the device when not in use.
  • Turn We- If on only when needed
  • Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen

 

LAPTOP CONSIDERATIONS…

Researchers are warning laptop companies that they need to change the name of the product to protect users’ health.  Holding a laptop so close to your body means the radiation flows directly into your body and into some of your most vital organs.

If you look at the computer manufacturers’ manual you’ll find … “Warning: Do not block the outlet of grill (bottom of your laptop).  This surface is hot.  Avoid body contact and do not place this notebook on your lap while it is operating.  In addition, the researchers also found that the radiation values become alarmingly high when the laptop was used close to the body.

I have also attached, thanks to Leslie Saffer of the Worcester Group, valuable research information for the reader to browse through…  More information on the topic will be forthcoming in another article on this topic.

EXPLORING WIRELESS SAFETY FOR OUR CHILDREN • REFERENCES

International Electromagnetic Field Scientist Appeal

On May 11, 2015

Understanding EMFs

The precautionary principle and EMF; Acknowledge health effects

Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Op ed followed by letter-to-editor, June 2

Health effects must be acknowledged

Minimize health risks from electronic devices

Captured Agency • How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates by Norman Alster, Director Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

 

Spin vs. Fact • National Toxicology Program report on cancer risk from cell phone radiation

Parents for Safe Technology

Are cell phones hurting your children?

Fox 5 News Reports on the Pediatric Academic Societies Conference

(Maryland, May 2016)

“I get terrible headaches at school”

Student testimony: Board of Education meeting

Onteora School District (New York, June 2016)

Final note - I encourage our readers to look through the material carefully for the questions on the dangers of wireless devices will continue.  School systems need to do the research and see if they are doing all that they can to protect our staff and our students. Any questions, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source : golocalworcester

Categorized in Science & Tech

There’s so much more to life than what we can see with the naked eye.We’re unable to see — or at least register — certain things that happen right before us, because they happen too fast. Sometimes, we miss out on subtle colour transitions and contrasts that could help us see more clearly and make a more informed split-second decision.

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Occasionally, our slightly narrow field of view prevents us from seeing something happening on our periphery.And that’s just to name a few.   

But in recent years, new technologies have been developed to help us see some things we might otherwise not. Here are five devices and apps that use these technologies. 

1.Oakley Prizm lenses   

The Prizm lenses use a unique technology — basically ultra-precise colour tuning — that enhances the detail of what you’re seeing. This in turn enhances your experience in a positive way, whatever that experience may be. The lenses see things in different ways than the naked eye. Landscapes that would generally be washed out, dull or flat while looking through other lenses (or no lenses at all) are enhanced to become more defined, vibrant and vivid.   

While the lenses are designed to enhance vision in any environment, they’re especially great when playing sport. The lenses sharpen your sight so you can see more clearly and react more quickly; they enhance detail recognition to help you spot what you need to see; and they improve your peripheral vision (especially when it comes to tracking moving objects).

 

2. Seek Thermal thermal imaging   

We can, of course, feel heat, but we obviously can’t see it with our naked eye. That’s where Seek Thermal’s thermal cameras that attach to your smart phone come in. The cameras work with an app to show you thermal activity, which is to say they enable you to see heat and where it’s coming from.    

You can use the imaging capabilities to help scout, track and recover wildlife, locate air leaks and all kinds of other uses when you want to detect the temperature of an object or find where heat is present. You can even use it to figure out the temperature of a food and drink, so you can make sure you get the coldest beverage available from the cooler or refrigerator.

3Dark Sky   

The naked eye can sometimes predict when a storm is coming. We can, of course, see cloudy skies, flashes of lighting and other signs of inclement weather.    We can’t, however, see enough to know for sure that it’s going to rain, snow or sleet, or whether a tornado is going to form above us.    

But Dark Sky can. It’s a hyperlocal weather forecasting app that uses new, innovative technology to give you down-to-the-minute weather forecasts — for precisely where you’re standing. If it’s going to start raining where you’re standing within 11 minutes, the app will tell you. It’ll also tell you forecasts for further along in your week, which you obviously can’t see with the naked eye.   

The app also shows you what storm patterns look like in meteorological radar form — so you can see what a storm looks like from satellites above.   

4. LifeScanner   

Imagine for a second the number of organisms surrounding you during any part of your day — especially if you’re exploring the great outdoors.   Now think about how few of them you can actually see during any given moment. Chances are, you don’t even know most of the species around you exist or are present.    

That’s where the LifeScanner app comes in. It enables you to use your smart phone to see what species scientists have found in different parts of the world — both visible to the naked eye and otherwise. It’s great for education and exploration.   

5. RF-Capture   

Our eyes can’t see through walls, but the RF-Capture can. Developed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, the device captures human figures through walls and occlusions by transmitting wireless signals.

 

According to the researchers’ website, the device "reconstructs a human figure by analyzing the [wireless] signals’ reflections.   The researchers say it can know who the person behind a wall is, trace a person’s handwriting in air from behind a wall and determine the movements a person behind a wall is making.   

According to Popular Science, the device works by relaying a radio signal through a wireless transmitter. The device’s receivers then pick up the signal reflected back by a hidden body, and the data collected from the signal helps determine the silhouette of the body on the other side. The device can even distinguish between different people, and can track motion and posture.   

Discover more about Oakley Prizm technology and see the full range of eyewear here  

Source : Mashable

Categorized in Science & Tech

Since the the revelations of Edward Snowden, we’ve all become a bit more paranoid about digital security and privacy. Snowden himself hasn’t owned a smartphone since he blew the whistle on the NSA’s illegal tracking actions in 2014 for fear of being tracked. Still, as Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”.

To that length, Snowden has now partnered with hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to build a case for your iPhone 6. Once installed, it will alert you if the phone is broadcasting when it shouldn’t. The primary purpose is to protect journalists who are reporting in dangerous parts of the world like Marie Colvin who, in 2012, was killed by artillery fire. The Syrian military has been accused by Colvin’s family of targeting her using her mobile device.

Snowden’s device is not yet on the market, but there are still ways out there that make it easier to protect yourself and your phone from snooping.

1. Hardware Level Encryption

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.31.14 AM.png

iOS has long supported hardware level encryption, and every new version seems to support more features. Android encrypts your storage by default ever since version 5.0 Marshmallow. In both cases they encrypt your data and can only be unlocked by the hardware in your phone.

However, it’s only as strong as your key. Setting up a lock code more complex than ‘1234’ or your birthday is one of the best security devices you can have.

2. Biometric scanning hardware

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Why have passwords and codes to unlock your phone when fingerprint readers are on the newest iPhones and flagship Android phones? Securely unlocking your device is as quick as pressing a button. Iris scanners are the new biometric scanner toy, and is currently a unique feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It’s far more secure than fingerprint scanning, but early reports indicate that it’s slower and more inconvenient. Even so, thieves will have a hard time replicating your iris in order to access your data so iris scanning might be your best option.

3. Smartphone technology

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.03.32 AM.png

You can put your phone in Airplane Mode or you can hold the power button and turn it off. However, Edward Snowden rightly believes that malware can be installed on your device to simulate those features while still reporting your location. The only way to be sure your phone isn’t talking to the wrong people is to yank the battery.

Phones like new LG G5 are doing some things to work around that. The flagship smartphone was redesigned to take advantage of LG Friends products, which are modular accessories that add special features to your phone. The accessories haven’t really taken off, but it gives the G5 the unique ability to pop the battery out with the push of a button. It also has a fingerprint reader and the newest Android with encrypted data protection built in.

When it’s turned off you can’t use the camera, microphone, or notepad features that make a smartphone so useful when acting covertly. You’ll have to check how safe you are, then with a quick pop the battery is back in and you can get recording.

4.Encrypted Instant Messenger

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.16.02 AM.png


There are dozens, maybe hundreds of Instant Messaging apps out there. We all have our favorite, and our friends have theirs (which we have too just to use just to stay in contact). If you want to be sure that only you and your recipient will be able to read your conversation, you need to use Signal (available for iOS and Android).

 

 

Once you install it, the app checks your contacts and immediately connects you to anyone else who has the app installed. There are no animated stickers here. The design is minimal and fits right in with Android or iOS’s design specs.

If your friends are unwilling to part with their IM app-of-choice, you have to do your research. WhatsApp supports encryption using the same algorithm used in Signal, but they were acquired by Facebook in 2014 and that makes some users uncomfortable. Google’s forthcoming Allo app will replace Hangouts, but only enables end-to-end encryption with Incognito Mode conversations and are deleted when the conversation ends. Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime both support end-to-end encryption as well. Just make sure to encrypt your backups because all your conversations will wind up there.

5. Anti-Virus Software

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No sooner than someone says an operating system is virus-proof than someone tries to write a virus for it. While not the plague it was for desktop computers in the 90s, viruses are still a very real possibility even if you only download from the official Apple or Google app stores.

 

To that end, there are several anti-virus apps that sit in the background and scan every app that comes through the doors. Lookout Security & Antivirus is one of the grandaddies on the mobile platform. It’s available on Android and iOS for free and remains one of the highest ranked antivirus apps. Additional features are unlocked for $2.99 a month or $29.99 annually.

6. Password Safes 

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Thinking up a new password for every email address, e-card site, and cat video portal is exhausting. Eventually, you start to recycle passwords. It then only takes one hacked Sony or LinkedIn to expose your accounts on every site where that password is used. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass securely store your passwords, and release them only when authorized by a master password or fingerprint reader.

While they can store your weakly generated and repeated passwords, password safes can also randomize unique passwords for each site. Securely storing ‘passw0rd123’ is good, but no hacker will guess a 16-digit random collection of letters and numbers. Since they will automatically populate username and password fields in your browser or apps, you’ll never need to type it in either. Both 1Password and LastPass can be installed on your desktop browsers so you have full access to those secure sites everywhere.

7. DTEK by Blackberry

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You’ve set a secure password on your lock screen, you’ve turned off Google’s tracking, you disable WiFi when outside the house, but there’s still lots of work to do. Just one year ago privacy experts found that simply having Uber installed on your phone could send buckets of your data to their servers, even if you weren’t using the app.

Enter DTEK by Blackberry. It will scan all potential security breaches on your phone. If an app decides to turn on your microphone, DTEK flashes you a warning. Most of the time it will probably be okay, but that one time it’s not you’ll appreciate the warning.

DTEK keeps a log of the access each app receives and reports back to you how many times it has, for example, read your contacts. It even has Factory Reset Protection, which stops thieves from wiping your device to prevent you from tracking it. All this security sounds like a lot of work, but that’s the beautiful thing about DTEK. The clean interface makes it all very simple for the casual user.

Sadly, the DTEK app requires deep access to the phone’s OS. That’s only possible for Blackberry on their own devices; the Blackberry PRIV and DTEK50. Both are Android phones with hardware features comparable to other high-end and mid-range Android flagships. If Blackberry decides at the end of the year to get out of the hardware game, the DTEK software may be opened to other devices.

8. Tracking software

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Sometimes, tracking your phone is a good thing. Your phone goes missing, and all your photos, notes and interview recordings are on there.

For at least a few years, both iOS and Android have had tracking software built into your phones in case they get lost or stolen. Using iCloud.com (link), iPhone users can locate their device, lock the screen, lock the activation (so it can’t be resold and reactivated), or remotely wipe the device clean.

When logged into your Google account, a simple search engine query of “Find my phone” will bring up a map for any of your registered devices. From the web-based interface you can force it to ring (even if the sound is off). Useful for when you just can’t find it around house, or when you know the thief is nearby and you want it to send up a flare. From here you can also reset the password, or completely lock out the device.

 

 

9. VPN

A Virtual Private Network sits between you and the Internet. It’s like a butler that goes out, gets the newspaper, and returns without anyone knowing you like reading supermarket tabloids. VPNs can be used to keep your information anonymous when visiting web sites, place you in different countries (so you can watch Netflix’s BBC lineup), and most importantly, encrypt your data transfer.

Avoid free VPNs. If you don’t know how they’re making money, then they might be making money on you. Spring the few bucks a month it takes to secure all your connections in and out of your smartphone with a service like NordVPN. Is one level of encryption not good enough? NordVPN offers Double VPN which runs AES-256-CBC encryption on your data transfers two times at the expense of some speed. The feature is optional and can be enabled for those times when you’re feeling as paranoid as Edward Snowden. The service is $8 per month, or $69 for the year.

Source : https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/08/9-ways-to-secure-your-smartphone.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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