Archive for the ‘Information technology’ Category

PrintWhile digital technology on the whole has improved people’s lives by making communication easier across the globe, throughout the years we’ve found that it also has the potential to separate and polarize people like no other technology before it.

People are more interconnected than ever with the help of social media accounts and employment profiles, and while this opens the door for friendships that would have otherwise never happened, it also creates an entirely new platform for bullying. This bullying also makes it possible for bullies to remain anonymous and thus free from the consequences of their actions, a set of circumstances which has allowed cyberbullying to grow into a full-fledged epidemic.

Why is this issue so pressing? Many see the conflict as one that deserves a healthy amount of skepticism, believing that bullying is somewhat inevitable and that children are responsible for their ability to learn how to cope with bullying. However, the connection between bullying and suicide has become more proven than ever before due to a recent report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

cyberbullying2Suicide and Suicide Attempts in Adolescents, a study published last month in Pediatrics, identified suicide as the number 2 cause of teen deaths. In a study carried out by the AAP almost a decade prior, teen suicide was found to be the third cause of teen death. The first cause of teen deaths in both reports remained unintentional injury.

The report also found that girls were twice as likely to attempt suicide as boys, though boys were three times more likely to succeed. Perhaps the most frightening statistic of all, four out of five teens who do commit suicide successfully don’t show any clear warning signs prior to the act. These warnings are so difficult to pick up on that the AAP has moved forward to ask pediatricians to be aware of heavy Internet usage and bullying when screening an adolescent for suicide risk.

Unfortunately, bullying remains an elusive problem to fix; there are time-tested mitigation tools that can be accessed and taught through education, professional insights, research studies and self-help books, but stamping out bullying all together is a tricky feat.

cyberbullying3Dorothy A. Miraglia, contributor to the upcoming book The Use of the Creative Therapies with Bullying and Aggression, has found that bullying can be combated by informing teens about the damage that it can do. She emphasizes especially that in our world of digital forums, teens need to remember to think before they post:

“Some teens may not understand words hurt, or exactly what cyberbullying is,” Miraglia told TechNewsWorld. “Teens should be taught what is appropriate to post and not post.”

In order to ameliorate the effects of bullying, it’s also important for victims to have access to guidance regarding how to deal with the abuse. Naomi Katz, author of Beautiful: Being an Empowered Young Woman, shared the following:

“Guide young people to cultivate a sense of confidence that can help support them when facing challenging situations. Encourage young people to remember that social media is only a small part of our social lives. Help them develop meaningful friendships that support positive growth.”

julian assangeJulian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, recently suggested his intention to release more sensitive data stolen from the server of the Democratic National Committee. During an interview with CNN, Assange stated that this website has “a lot more material” and may or may not release it, though he declined to identify the hacker who provided the huge amounts of hacked DNC emails published on his website last week.

“What we try and do as a source protection agency, we like to create maximum ambiguity as to who our sources are,” he said in the interview. “Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward, and it might be an interesting moment. Some people will have egg on their faces.”

“Obviously, to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are,” he added. “So we never do it.”

assangeWhile the US has revealed widely shared suspicions that Russians were behind the leak, the Kremlin has denied any Russian involvement in the hack that revealed a bias among DNC staff members, who openly mocked and plotted against Bernie Sanders. The revelations of the leaked emails have led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook as accused Russian of being responsible for the data breach in an attempt to better Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election. Trump denied any involvement outright and Russian officials scoffed at the allegation.

“What the experts said when this breach initially happened at the DNC was that they believed that it was Russian state actors who took these emails,” Mook had said. “Russian state actors were feeding the emails to hackers for the purpose of helping Donald Trump,” he concluded.

Assange may have actually teased the DNC leak a month before it happened during an interview with Britain’s ITV that occurred in mid-June. Assange brought up “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” but the comments were assumed to be a reference to additional emails potentially hacked off of her private server as opposed to DNC emails.

assange2In the same interview, Assange had more criticism to share regarding Clinton than Trump, saying she’s a “war hawk” and that her attempts to prosecute Wikileaks are “a bit of a problem for freedom of press more than generally.” Assange has shared personal objections to Clinton, saying she tried to indict him for releasing a huge trove of diplomatic cables that caused “personal embarrassment” for the Obama administration while she was the secretary of state.

Whether Assange is releasing these documents as retribution for Clinton’s hawkish actions or in support of Russian hackers or in support of Donald Trump remains unknown; we will have to see what additional leaks do occur and what those leaked documents reveal about the state of the United States Democratic National Committee. For now, Assange and the hacker who stole the data have definitely succeeded in causing chaos at the DNC, during which Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign and booed off-stage, an embarrassing event that was caught on video.

AnonymousDonaldTrumpMany witnesses of this year’s presidential election season may have noticed the direction that events seem to be moving; the Republican party seems likely to split based on its own candidate (which seems more than likely to be Trump), practically ensuring that the Democratic Party’s candidate surges to victory.

This all seems to occur despite the outstanding statistics suggesting that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s front-running presidential hopeful, is actually an extremely weak and scandal-ridden candidate.

Then yet another factor entered a race where the unprecedented nature of the ages seemed to ensure that unprecedented factors surface to create mahem: Anonymous, the group of computer hacker vigilantes, set its cross-hairs on Donald Trump.

The anti-Trump initiative, called the “White Rose Revolt” and carried out by the “White Rose Society,” was launched in response to what Anonymous describes as fascist leanings by Trump and his supporters. These descriptions are by no means unique to Anonymous; scholars and pundits alike have disputed the overt xenophobia, racism and sexism of Trump’s comments and that in general Trump seems to stand for. Thus, Anonymous launched #OpWhiteRose.

anonymous2Without delay, Anonymous announced its release of Trump’s personal information online, including his cell phone number and his Social Security number. The Trump front immediately responded with vehement words and the announcement from the NSA and FBI that an investigation had begun.

Of course, and as planned, it then became clear that Anonymous had found and posted Trump’s information after finding it posted online, where anyone could see it, where it had been already posted for year.

Anonymous RedCult then released as second video explaining its ruse. The narrator of the video explained that the information “was online since 2013,” and that “The government and law enforcement authorities are seeking the arrest of the people responsible for attempting to illegally hack Mr. Trump’s accounts and telephone information.”

Anonymous’ intention all along was allegedly to demonstrate the fascist tendencies of the government and the Trump campaign, which was eager and willing to seek out the “assailants” of a non-crime, but not nearly as interested in whether or not a crime had occurred.

anony trump“Trump want[s] to turn America into a fascist dictatorship where anyone can be arrested just for posting old information online,” continued the narrator, citing a snippet of ABC News coverage in which the non-hack was reported as a serious crime.

“Thank you Trump and Trump campaign. Thank you police, FBI, and the Secret Service for being a part of our little experiment on how we should expect the so-called New America will be,” continued the narrator.

That said, if major news stations and the currently standing government was so quick to react in defense of Trump and without any real consideration of whether a law was broken, that “New America” may be closer to us than we think. Perhaps it’s not turning into fascists that we as a country need to worry about, but how exactly we will turn into something else, that lies in our future and at stake during this year’s political debate.

This Thursday Amazon declared that two of their existing products: Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, would enable the Alexa voice recognition software to manage the day to day tasks of their platform. The leap can be understood in a similar vein being Amazons answer to the Suri platform for Apple. However, Amazons doing so in a bit of a more ambitious way through offering the means for Alexa to be a more omnipresent feature of the users life and interface between several products. From the home to the Office Alexa will be seen as a kind of personal assistant to help streamline our navigation of the mundane to the extraordinary, this is going to be an extraordinary step forward for voice recognition software and computing in general.echoooo

What this means for the Echo Dot, Amazon’s mini, hands-free device is that it will use the same far-field voice-recognition capabilities as as the Amazon Echo. Essentially, this will enable it to connect to one’s in home speaker system via their Bluetooth capabilities, or alternatively this can be achieved via their voice commands. If this wasn’t impressive enough in itself, this also has the potential use the device to sync with other smart home devices, including the lights, door locks, bedroom alarm clock, smart dog collars, pool filters and heaters, bidet, stove, coffee maker, salad spinner, jewelry box, hot plate, patio retractable shade structures, car ignition and heater, to name just a few of the almost endless potential this will have in the future tomorrow, today.

If you are a Amazon Prime member the deals are only going to get sweeter. This is due to their promise that members will be able to order the device for the rock bottom no holds barred price of $89.00 United States of America Dollars. Not only can they buy it for this price, buy they will be able to do so within the confides of the Alexa system if they already have a device which enables them to do so. This said their is expected to be an  extremely high demand for this product, given that nature of new tech products where its not so much that you get it, but that you get it first Amazon expects these beauties to sell out quickly at this price. However, one should not fret, Amazon will make more because people will give them money to do so, and if you don’t get your hands on this round of product you can rest assured that they will unveil something that is almost qualitatively identical to it in a few months with minor and even negligible performance increases for an increased price. 200001_504

Amazon hopes that this will help them leap into 21st century technology bounds in front of the competition and stays there. it can be said that Amazon is not ready considering this be so far from their existing business model, primarily online com-meres. But even if this idea totally flops the stakes don’t seem very high. At the end of the day they are Amazon and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

electromagnetismYou may have heard someone state that electricity is just a form of magnetism or vice versa. Indeed, the two forces are deeply interrelated. Here’s a little information about that interrelation from someone who has no idea what they’re talking about:

To really understand the difference between magnetism and electricity, we may have to delve deeply into special relativity. More broadly, special relativity is the generally accepted theory regarding the relationship between space and time created by Einstein. His postulates are the following:

  1. that the laws of physics are invariant (i.e. identical) in all inertial systems (non-accelerating frames of reference) and
  2. that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source.

This relates to classical electromagnetism in that it begets formulas for how electromagnet objects, in particular the electric and magnetic fields, are altered under a Lorentz transformation from one inertial frame of reference to another.

The Lorentz transformation (or transformations) are coordinate transformations between two coordinate frames that move at constant velocity relative to each other. Frames of reference can be divided into two groups, inertial (i.e. relative motion with constant velocity) and non-inertial (accelerating in cursed paths, rotational motion with constant angular velocity, etc.). When you hear the term “Lorentz transformation”, think of transformations between inertial frames. Basically, Einstein’s theory of special relativity makes it possible to understand that the frame of reference ultimately determine if an observation follows electrostatic or magnetic laws.

Basically, if you look at a classical stationary electric charge, it creates a purely electrical field i.e. the Coulomb field. The Coulomb field is responsible for generating the phenomena of static electricity. However, if you then look at that electric charge from the standpoint of a reference frame which is moving with respect to it, the electric charge may now seem like it’s moving, i.e. it’s an electric current which in turn creates a magnetic field.

electromagnetism2So let’s bring it back to eye level: permanent magnets generate their magnetic field through two main mechanisms:

  1. the orbital motion of electrons around the nucleus. Electrons are negatively charged, making this equivalent to an electric current that creates a magnetic field.
  2. the spin off the electrons themselves. this again creates a magnetic field, so that the atoms behave like tiny magnets.

So now it’s time to talk about ferromagnetic materials. Ferromagnetic materials have subatomic properties that allow for the atoms that make them up to behave like the tiny magnets that they are and align their magnet’s directions together in local units called magnetic domains. This then creates a larger magnetic field.

It’s not enough to work as a battery, however. This is because the motion of the electric charge in the atoms is cyclical and the spin of the electron doesn’t move the charge from one place to another. For a battery, you’d need a movement of charge that results in separation of positive and negative charge, which then would be made available at the terminals. Permanent magnets can’t function as batteries because this isn’t how they work.

 

gov surveillanceGovernments around the world have been reacting to recurring terrorist attacks with a push to up the ante on government surveillance; chiefly, they want tech companies to be forced to create a backdoor with their encryption services that allows for government security agencies to monitor messages of potential terrorists. The push to do this has been particularly centered the United States and the United Kingdom, where government officials and tech higher-ups have had the most notable clashes.

As another episode to this long-standing debate, campaigners from over 40 countries have joined forces to defend encryption by releasing an open letter signed by 195 experts.

“Users should have the option to use- and companies the option to provide- the strongest encryption available, including end-to-end encryption, without fear that governments will compel access to the content, metadata, or encryption keys without due process and respect for human rights,” the letter states.

The letter was part of an initiative made by the digital-rights group Access Now and posted to SecureTheInternet.org. It strongly denounces any government attempts to “ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption in any form or otherwise prohibit the implementation or use of encryption by grade or type.”

It further decries many government’s attempts to “mandate insecure encryption algorithms, standards, tools or technologies.”

Among the signories are the secure-messaging company Silent Circle, Human Rights Watch, former CIA official John Kiriakou, United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, and Guardian US columnist Trevor Timm.

Technology experts have pointed out that any security flaw built into their devices could be manipulated by hackers just as easily as the government. In fact, the weakening of consumer-available encryption will increase the already mounting risk of cybercrime and identity theft.

tim cook2“A backdoor is a backdoor for everyone,” argued Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The letter was released in a dozen countries where digital surveillance has hit an all-time high. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act passed through US Congress just last month after it was sandwiched into a must-pass spending bill. The manipulation of the bill’s passage and its general lack of press do not bode well for privacy rights for US citizens.

“Encryption and anonymity, and the security concepts behind them, provide the privacy and security necessary for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age,” claimed David Kaye in a statement accompanying the letter’s release.

Amie Stepanovich is Access Now’s policy manager. According to her, Chine and the United Kingdom have been united in threatening encryption, warranting a more global response.

“Conversations about security and surveillance have taken place in the shadows for too long,” Stepanovich asserted. “From the secret negotiations of the so-called cybersecurity bill in order to push it through last December, to meetings just last week between top officials in government and the private sector- we need to start singing light not he ways our human rights are being threatened. SecureTheInternet.org draws clear lines in the sane- we won’t stand for laws of policies that threaten our security.”

Hopefully there will be more public displays of anti-surveillance techniques of this nature; unfortunately, cybersecurity has the strange ability to stay out of the news, and certainly out of the US primary debates.

computersComputing power is basically just your computer’s ability to perform an operation quickly. Everything it does can be broken down into mathematical processes; your computer’s processor just interprets commands that you execute as a series of math problems. The faster the processor, the more calculations per second it can handle. Fast processors are also better at dealing with really difficult mathematical equations.

You’ve likely heard of a CPU or Central Processing Unit. Your computer and any other personal computer you’ve come into contact with likely has a CPU. Within the CPU is an electronic clock, which generates a series of electrical pulses at regular intervals. This allows the computer to synchronize all its components and it determines the speed at which the computer retrieve data from its stored memory and undergo the calculations necessary for your commands to be performed.

This means that when you’re talking about processing power, what you’re really referring to is the clock speed, which in turn refers to the number of electrical pulses your CPU sends out each second. The more pulses it sends out, the more equations can be performed and the faster memory can be retrieved. When you see a processor that is rated at 3.2 gigahertz, you’re looking at a processor that sends out around 3.2 billion pulses each second. It’s even possible to overclock processors, or push them past their advertised speed, but each clock has its limit.

So how super can a computer be? The Tianhe-2 supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology was the wold’s fastest computer in 2014 with a processing power of 33.86 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re likely to have a new contender.

You may be asking, what the heck is a petaflop? Flop signifies floating-point operations per second. Most desktop computers have processors that can handle billions of flops per second, i.e. gigaflops. Computers with multiple processors are faster than single-processor machines because each processor core can handle a certain number of calculations per second. Multi-core processors are able to increase computing power while using less electricity, giving them yet another advantage.

3d illustration of cpu chip over white background

3d illustration of cpu chip over white background

Even the fastest computers can take years to complete certain tasks, especially if they’re being put to the task of de-encrypting information. A lot of times these tasks involve finding prime factors of a very large number, which is difficult because the computer must first determine the factors of the large number and then determine if each individual number is prime. If a number is incredible large, this kind of task can keep a computer busy for a long time.

Encryption has decryption has become a major facet of computing technology, as anything from internet currency like the bitcoin to national secrets are stored and kept safe by creating situations in which only intense processing power can act as a key. However, with quantum computing on the horizon, even this newly developed world is bound to change soon and yield bigger and better things for the tech industry and all the industries that surround it.

 

defragIf you’ve heard of it but are not clear on exactly what it is, this is the article for you. “Disk defrag” is short for “disk defragmenter” which is a tool that helps to solve storage problems with hard disk drives.

A common issue with hard drives as they begin to fill up with information is new information cannot be stored sequentially. Instead, it needs to be stored wherever it can fit the open pockets throughout the drive. What ends up happening is that there’s a delayed loading the occurs whenever you try to upload any of the fragmented information because the arm of the hard drive has to take so many trips around the hard disk to get all the necessary information.

A disk defragmenter solves this issue by reorganizing all the files on your hard disk drive so that as many files can be stored sequentially as possible. A good defragmenter might even put all your applications near the operating system so that your apps load faster.

What does that even mean? Well keep in mind that storing information on your drive involves instructing read-write heads to travel all around the platters in your hard drive, magnetizing and demagnetizing microscopic pieces of metal depending on what binary code your personal files break down into. The read-write heads are also magnets and they are located on an arm that understands where to travel around the platters based on metadata that it stores regarding what’s where. The arm travels at a max speed across a very real physical space, so the more the metadata tells it to run all around the platters to find the necessary magnetic/binary information that makes up the picture of your grandma riding a horse that you’re trying to click on, the longer it’s going to take to process the entire picture. The defrag takes the information stored in our metadata, notes a better way of organizing all of it, and recopies everything onto the hard drive based on the optimum fit that will then allow for new things that you want to store to be written in a series, which is the fastest way for it to be read in the future.

defrag

You’re only going to notice the work of a disk defragmenter if you have a full hard drive; if you have one that’s never been filled up, its files are already stored sequentially. Defrag is more for the drives that have been constantly full and had info deleted off of them so the user can store new stuff there. In those cases, there’s generally a significant upload speed difference before and after the drive is defragmented.

Because so much data must be moved around in order to defrag a disk, you generally have to set aside a few hours for your computer to complete the process. You should also make sure that none of the applications on your hard disk drive are running during the process. You also need to disable any screen saver you have in use.

NSAThe NSA has a public relations problem, to put it lightly. The revelations released by Edward Snowden, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and several other government watchdogs have cast an eerie light on the one of the government’s most ill-understood agencies.

Not that the NSA has generally made an attempt to be well-understood. If anything the agency has earned its serpentine reputation by constantly dodging attempts to give up information about what it’s been doing.

Just last year the EFF filed suit to force the federal government to disclose the actual procedure behind the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, which is used by the FBI, NSA and other agencies to determine whether to disclose vulnerabilities to various software developers or other entities, or to use those very vulnerabilities to carry out its own operation.

The suit was brought on by the discovery of the Heartbleed bug in the OpenSSL software library. The malware made accessible the personal information of millions of computer users, including their personal communications. Edward Snowden and the EEF were suspicious that the NSA had known about the bug for two years and exploited it instead of alerting proper authorities.

Now the NSA has disclosed 91 percent of all security vulnerabilities that have passed through its internal review process. Despite this development in the direction of greater “transparency,” privacy advocates remain sufficiently worried by the remaining 9 percent.

The NSA claims that it has historically leaned in favor of disclosure, and withholds information only if the information may be necessary to collect crucial foreign intelligence used to stop a terrorist attack, prevent the theft of intellectual property, or uncover greater vulnerabilities.

Director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for the Internet and Society Jennifer Stisa Granick is not satisfied:

granick“By withholding information about the remaining 9 percent, the NSA has chosen not to notify the party best situated to fix the security flaw,” she objected. “They do this to enable intelligence agents to exploit these flaws for surveillance or to use them as weapons, as with Stuxnet. As for the remaining 91 percent, it is not clear whether the NSA uses a subset of those vulnerabilities before it discloses them.”

Stuxnet was a malicious software co-built by America and Israel. Neither state has confirmed its existence, but anonymous whistle-blowers have claimed that the worm was developed during the Obama administration to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with what would seem like a long series of unfortunate accidents.

Security advocates disagree with the sinister portrayal of a snooping NSA. GreatHorn CEO Kevin O’Brien claimed, “The NSA has in recent years struggled from a public relations perspective; one can imagine that they would prefer that the discussion be focused on the 90 percent of exploits that they do report, and the -perhaps unexpected- indication that they adhere to the principle of sunlight being the most efficient disinfectant.”

“Software exploits of this kind- unintentional issues that are researched and reported on- are a diffrent kind from the more sophisticated types of cyberattack that lead to large breaches,” he continuted. “As a security professional, having the NSA allocating resources to finding these kinds of issues is comforting. They’re a resource that, on many levels, has the best interests of the United States and its national security in mind. Bluntly put, someone will find these exploits; I’d rather it be an agency which is aligned with our national security.”

The use of information technology has replaced the telegraph and other slow communications with telephone and mobile phone. Any person can communicate the other within seconds. The radios which were used for news and other programs is replaced with the television which can not only provide audio but also video. Eventually, information systems have placed its role in electronic industry. In telecommunication also information technology placed its importance. The use of emails and mobiles has made communication really simple. Even huge date can be shared with people in any place in the world. The invention of floppy, CD, and other data storage system has helped people to store data very easily. Information Technology is used in educational instructions also. It made many things simple like preparation of timetable, question banks, and student details, salary preparations can be easily done in computer and can be stored. Records can be easily maintained. No large place is required to store. Files can be replaced with simple pen drives. In entertainment, we can simply use computer to watch any movie. We can even store pictures in computer.

It’s Wide Applications in Different Fields Made Life Simple, Easy and Comfortable

In medical industry also information technology has an important role. Many types of equipment like ECG, and few machines use micro chips in it. Certain special software’s are used in blood analysis and even in vision testing. To monitor a patient’s health’s condition for many hours the patient is connected with few devices which record the body behavior. Later the whole information is retrieved by doctor and then analyzed.

The Information technology is also used in the business. In business the use of Information technology is for automatic tasks. Suppose the room is set with automatic temperature system. Then the censor will increase and decrease accordingly. Many tools like phones, mail and database can be used. Information can be transferred to the team in seconds with mail or fax and mobiles. Cloud hosting services can be used to store the data. For backup of data also it is used.

With the help of information technology, the finance management has become simple. Different software’s like tally and other account software’s can be used for storing and maintaining the stock list or accounts easily. This helps to keep them safe. The business people can easily launch the product and advertise it with the help of technology. It helps in increasing the business and creates the brand awareness among the public. The use of information technology helps in creating a relation between the business and the customers. Customers can purchase the product online, sitting at home or any other place with the help of information technology. It also helps in creating competition with other business brands. The use of information technology made life easy. The use of credit and debit cards made people to take money directly in the shops. One need not go to bank to withdraw money. They can simply swipe the card and access their account with a simple pin and make payments online.