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Showing posts from August, 2017

China puts strict controls on use of anonymous browsers

The Chinese government has issued a warning to websites that are selling virtual private networks (VPNs). The country outlawed the sale of VPN except those approved by the government in July.


While many articles speak of China having outlawed all VPN's in July that is not technically correct. What it did was require all VPN services to be certified and licensed by the government. This would require them to agree to censor those websites the government blocks. Businesses and individuals would still find VPN services significant for security purposes.

However China has issued a warning to websites that are selling VPNs. The Cyberspace Administration of China demanded that five different website remove vendors who sell VPNs that are not government approved. The VPNs are used to evade what is called the Great Firewall of China. Even such common websites as Twitter and Facebook are blocked by the Great Firewall. VPN's also keep ones Internet activity private from the government or …

President Trump finds a new use for his Tweets

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Donald Trump found a new use for Twitter as he announced the dissolution of two advisory committees: The Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing and the Presidential Strategical and Policy Forum.
Trump took some time before he explicitly condemned the Klu Klux Klan and neo-Nazis involved in the Charlottesville Virginia incident in which a protester was killed when run over along with others by a right-wing extremist. There was a large demonstration of white supremacists, and Klu Klux Klan members protesting the removal of a confederate statue. The protester killed was part of a counter protest. A video of the protest from You Tube is appended. When Trump did finally come out with a statement it was to cast blame on both sides. He later explicitly condemned the neo-Nazis, and KKK but then later on appeared to take this back by blaming both sides again as discussed on the appended You Tube video.
In reaction to Trump's delay in making a statement and then to his first state…

Enhancing customer experience with augmented reality

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Augmented reality is a view of reality modified by computer-generated input such as sound, video, graphics or even GPS data. The augmented reality enhances ones perception of reality.

Augmented reality is often used to enhance a customer experience in a store as is evident in the appended video. Using AR technology the customer in the video is able to see how she looks in many different outfits without having to go to the change room every time she changes. This is a huge improvement over the old-fashioned mirror. The use of augmented reality (AR) is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years. By 2024 AR products are expected to have a market value of $165 billion up 80 percent from what it is now. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon wanting to use AR to give their customers a better experience and sell more products.
While stores are using AR, the technology can be used as part of on-line selling such as aircraft tickets. As it is now when you choose a seat you…

Why some high paid tech workers are paid for doing nothing

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The big tech companies in Silicon Valley in the southern San Francisco Bay area in California employ some high-tech workers who collect both full pay and stock without doing much or any work. They are nicknamed "resters and vesters".

At first, the practice of keeping employees on the payroll while they do little or any work seems preposterous. One might even think perhaps big corporations lose track of what their employees are doing and these employees survive through administrative error. But there are often good reasons why these employees are not let go. A prime reason why some tech companies keep some employees in these "rest and vest " positions is to keep them from going to work for another company according to Manny Medina a former Microsoft executive. Of course, only top talent will be treated this way who have shown themselves to be superior at their work. He said that Microsoft often "locked up" talent in areas such as AI, robotics, and quantum …

Chicago introducing new smart technology into the city

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Chicago faces a huge problem when any new construction involves digging within the city. Chicago was incorporated in 1837 and many records of the network of underground pipes is hopelessly outdated.

Construction crews often find something unexpected and have to phone the city which then sends out a specialist who ascertains if the pipe is still being used. This can often cause significant delays in construction. The problems are so prevalent that the city even has an Office of Underground Coordination to pour over old maps in an attempt to find out what is underground before a crew digs. The city is now using new technology to create a digital blueprint of Chicago's underground network of sewer, water, electricity, gas, and other services delivered by about 30 different companies. The construction manager will be able to access the data through his or her phone. This effort along with others is being done through a public-private partnership UI Labs (University industry). Accordin…

Sudan invited to take part in joint US-Egyptian military exercise

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Somewhat surprisingly, Sudan has received an invitation to take part in a joint U.S.-Egyptian military training exercise this October in Egypt, a first for the country in almost thirty years according to the Sudanese Defense Ministry.
General Emad al-Din Adawi announced the invitation to join the Bright Star exercises that will take place in Egypt after he met this week with a U.S. State Department official according to the Ministry.Operation Bright Star takes place every two years and is described by Wikipedia as follows: Operation Bright Star is held every two years. It is a series of combined and joint training exercises led by United States and Egyptian forces in Egypt. These exercises began in 1980, rooted in the Camp David Accords. It is designed to strengthen ties between the Egyptian Armed Forces and the United States Central Command and demonstrate and enhance the ability of the Americans to reinforce their allies in the Middle East in the event of war. Other allied nations jo…

Fewer tech workers now see the UK as first choice for relocation after Bresit

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A new report shows that many international tech workers no longer see the U.K. as a top choice. Only six percent of those surveyed listed the U.K. as a top choice for relocation due to concerns over Brexit the report claims.
The report was carried out by theinternational recruiter Hired, focussing on tech workers within the U.S. tech industry. A majority of the respondents claimed that Brexit had dissuaded them from considering the U.K. as a prime place to relocate. They saw Brexit as making the U.K. a less desirable place to live. Canada was the top choice for relocation outside the U.S. The most favorable EU destination was Germany, which was preferred to France or the Netherlands. However, globally workers are tempted to relocate to China as it offers advantages to other countries and is spending large sums to become the leader in AI as discussed in a recent Digital Journal article. Technode also claims in a recent article that China could dominate in AI in 2017. The report suggest…

RCA launches new Roku TV's adding to the competition

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Roku TVs are smart TVs in that they have built into them the functions of the Roku streaming player which makes available many channels, some free but others paid.

 1 of 2 The Roku is a streaming media player. It takes content from the Internet and displays it on your TV. There are several different Roku models that differ in performance features and price. All models are able to access the 3500 Roku channels it streams. The Roku service will work with any existing cable system or you can use it as an alternative to cable. There are a wide selection of free services but also subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, etc. If you already have subscriptions you can view them without further charge through Roku. You have access to other sources such as Amazon Video, and Google Play but there will be charges for that. Roku TV is a type of smart TV which incorporates the functions of the Roku media player within the TV itself so no independent Roku player is needed. The Roku TV will provide you to acc…

Eric Prince presents plan to privatize much of Afghan war

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(August 6) The Trump administration is considering a plan to turn over much of the Afghan US war effort to private contractors supposedly as a means of breaking the stalemate in the war against the Taliban.
The plan is being pushed byErik Princethe founder of the firm Blackwater that was active during the Iraq war earlier and also in Afghanistan. Prince sold the company in 2010. ThePrince proposal would see 5,500 private contractors used to advise Afghan combat forces. Many of those hired would be former US Special Operations troops. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support for Afghan forces. President Trump has grown more and more frustrated with the lack of progress in defeating the Taliban insurgency. The US already has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. They are supposed not to have any combat role but are present to train, advise, and guide local forces. Presumably, under Prince's plan these troops would gradually be replaced by those hired…

Tor browser used to browse anonymously on line and access the deep net

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Many Internet users want to remain anonymous. Tor is free software that helps defend you on line against surveillance that threatens your personal freedom and privacy.
+ Add Image Tor is a product of the Tor Project. On the website you will notice that there is an Onion logo. Originally the Tor Project was called "The Onion Router"(TOR) and this gave rise to the acronym Tor. Tor also hosts websites that are anonymous. They all have the domain name .onion. The software not only protects the privacy of communications of individual users but of business and government users as well.
As Wikipedia describes Tor:Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes "visits to Web sites, online post…

Augmented Reality (AR) technology may help in store retailers compete with those on line

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As retailers face tough competition, augmented reality (AR) technology may help save them and revive their profits. Ecommerce was still only responsible for 8.1 percent of retail sales last year but was fully 41.6 percent of sales growth.

Shoppers still spend about 90 percent of their dollars in regular stores even as their dominance is shrinking year by year. New technology may help save the regular stores from the fierce competition as they also take advantage of new technology. Recent estimates indicate AR and related technology will be worth $30 billion by 2020 as competition between online stores and older style brick-and-mortar retailers heats up. Using AR will enable retailers to augment their customers' interactions with physical items. Wikipedia describes Augmented Reality(AR) as follows:Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are "augmented" by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, v…

New Firefox 57 due in November to challenge Chrome for top browser

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Mozilla Firefox or just Firefox was at one time the first choice of browser users back in December of 2009, challenging the dominance of Microsoft's venerable Internet Explorer.
Firefox's usage peaked at the end of 2009 with 32 percent of the browser market. It has now declined as its competitor Chrome kept rising and now dominates the market. Depending on who is doing the measuring, Firefox now has between 5.65 percent and 14 percent of worldwide usage as a desktop browser. Firefox runs not only on Windows but on Mac OS and Linux distributions as well. Although Firefox was created as "Phoenix" by the Mozilla community it was first released as "Firefox" in November of 2004. Firefox is thought of as the spiritual successor of Netscape Navigator as the Mozilla community was created by Netscape in 1998 before they were taken over by AOL. In certain areas Firefox is still dominant. In Cuba it has 85.93 percent of the market. In Eritrea it has 7…

Dissident Chinese chatbots silenced

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Somehow two chatbots managed to offend Chinese authorities to such an extent that they were pulled from a Chinese messaging app. The two questioned the rule of the Communist Party and also made unpatriotic comments.
The two offending bots were on a Chinese messaging app run by the giant Internet company Tencent which boasts more than 800 million users.Tencent is a very large Chinese investment holding company with subsidiaries that provide media, payment systems, internet and mobile phone services and operate online ad services. It is the largest gaming company in the world. It also includes social networking, such as instant messenger Tencent QQ, and mobile chat service WeChat. On Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, one robot with the innocent name BabyQ when asked "Do you love the Communist Party" answered abruptly "No". While this may show the chatbot lacks some fervour in support for the governing party its response to another web user was even more off…

Chrome leads by far in global browser usage

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The Chrome browser dominates over all others in terms of its usage on the Internet. However, the measurement of usage is complicated and there can be some measures that overestimate the usage of a browser and others that underestimate usage.
The problems involved in measurement are discussed inthis Wikipedia article.The figures given bythis siteare for desktops only this year so far: Chrome, 58.91 percent; Internet Explorer, 18.19 percent; Firefox, 11.91 percent; Microsoft's new Edge, 5.6 percent; Apple's Safari, 3.52 percent; Opera 1.22 percent. There are a few others under one percent. Microsoft is having trouble pushing its new browser Edge as many users prefer to stay with the older Internet Explorer even though its usage is going down over time. Edge can be used only on Windows whereas other browsers such as Chrome, Opera, and Firefox can be used on other operating systems. Statcounter share figures for July this year for browsers in all devices shows: Chrome, 54.3 percent…