Canada’s PM Shows Reporter He Knows Quantum Computing

When you go to a press talk at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, you expect there to be some smart remarks about what people may or may not know. Be warned, if you try to do this to Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau he will show you just how much he knows.

The clip starts with the reporter asking that he “was going to ask you [Trudeo] to explain quantum computing” before going to ask a question regarding Canadas ISIL mission. Trudeau wasn’t going to let this slide though and began by fully explaining how quantum computing works. He explains everything from how regular computers currently work and how quantum computing could allow us to “encode more information into a much smaller computer”.

https://youtu.be/rRmv4uD2RQ4

Throughout the entire response, Trudeau is backed by cheers and laughter from the crowd, with many probably as surprised as the reporter that asked the question in the first place that he was able to accurately responds with a range of details regarding not only quantum theory but also how it would help computers.

With steps being made in quantum computing including the diamonds being used to maintain stable quantum superpositions and quantum entanglement working at room temperature, it is nice to know that some people in power understand how technology may change in the near future.

Computer Paints ‘New Rembrandt’ From Data Analysis

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is regarded as one of the most imaginative and talented European artists during the baroque era. As with any iconic artist, it’s always important to showcase their finest work in art galleries to inspire people to take up a creative hobby. The incredible advancements in modern technology allow us to take this one step further and employ data analysis to create new pieces. Recently, a team of engineers working alongside Microsoft managed to create a 3D printed painting in the style of Rembrandt. The end result is absolutely breathtaking and uses the same texture as an authentic oil painting. Emmanuel Flores, director of technology on the project told the BBC:

“We really wanted to understand what makes a face look like a Rembrandt,”

Information about Rembrandt’s previous works were compiled and computers discovered key patterns to gauge his artistic style. For example, it recognized how he would shape a subject’s eyes or other facial features. Machine learning algorithms were developed to create a new piece which accurately mimicked Rembrandt’s signature brush strokes. Flores also added:

“We found that with certain variations in the algorithm, for example, the hair might be distributed in different ways,”

“Our goal was to make a machine that works like Rembrandt,”

“We will understand better what makes a masterpiece a masterpiece.”

To limit the number of possibilities, the computational equations revolved around a portrait of a Caucasian male between the ages of 30 and 40 sporting a fashionable beard. Furthermore, details about the individual’s clothing ensured that the final result could be narrowed down using strict parameters. After being verified with digital tagging, humans selected algorithms based on their efficiency and allowed the computer to create the final piece. Once this was complete, a 3D texture was applied to correspond with the height and depth of paint used on typical Rembrandt works.

For more information about this intriguing project, please visit “The Next Rembrandt” website.

Microsoft Patents A Smart Ring

Microsoft is known for working on cutting edge technology, with the technology used in the Kinect becoming a dream piece that was quickly built and mirrored in other gadgets and systems. The next piece of technology they want you using? How about something to go with your smart phone, a smart ring.

Back in November and December, Microsoft patented the designs for a smart ring, a device that would look and feel like a ring but would give you control of your devices as if it was a mouse. The smart ring would detect your fingers movements, acting almost as if you were using a touchscreen in thin air, and thought the use of a small laser, could even detect the position and movement of the finger. Felt like clicking a table and opening your family photos? Look no further!

With both the fingers movement and pose being tracked the input device could be used for anything from a smartphone to a desktop PC, with the complete control of your system (and sorry for saying this) at your fingertips.

The device is patented as working with several other components, from tablets, TV’s, Kinect’s and even smart glasses and smart watches. You’ve got the display in your glasses so why not touch it in thin air?

Are you excited by this concept? I am, imagine being able to control your computer at work like Iron Man with a flick of the wrist, this would also avoid the large motion and input detecting systems that many AR (augmented reality) headsets are having to mount to give you the full Iron Man experience.

Raspberry Pi 3 May Suffer Overheating Problems

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently released the latest iteration of its credit card-sized mini computer, the Raspberry Pi 3, to glowing reviews, praising its improved speeds and onboard WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1, but on reddit user has noticed that, under certain circumstances, the board might be prone to serious overheating problems, with temperatures approaching 100oC.

Reddit user ghalfacree posted a photo of his Raspberry Pi 3 (above), taken with a calibrated Flir thermal camera, which showed that the computer’s BCM2837 SoC hit temperatures of 97.3oC.

“The new BCM2837 system-on-chip gets far, far hotter than its predecessors,” ghalfacree wrote on reddit. “This image was taken using a calibrated Flir thermal camera while the Pi 3 had been at 100% CPU load – but no GPU load – for five minutes, and registered nearly 100°C (212°F). I confirmed the temperature with a K-type contact probe, and also by poking the chip.”

“Don’t poke the chip. It hurts,” ghalfacree added.

“I’d recommend picking up a small heatsink for the Pi 3, the first Pi that I’d actually say is worth doing so, and if you’re reusing an existing case keep an eye on the temperature – you may need to make a cut-out to increase the ventilation, especially if you’re using an enclosed slice-style case like the original-design Pimoroni PiBow (which has been modified with a heatsink cut-out specifically for the Pi 3.)”

“Oh, and don’t trust the built-in thermal sensor: when that picture was taken, the internal sensor was happily reporting sub-80°C (176°F) temperatures,” ghalfacree warned.

In response to the post, Raspberry Pi 3 co-creator Eben Upton assured customers that they should not experience overheating issues under normal operating conditions, and the reddit post in question was regarding stress testing.

“[C]o-creator of the board Eben Upton has said that – outside of synthetic tests that place the board’s processor under prolonged strain – the Pi 3 is highly unlikely to behave in this way,” ZDNet reports.

Meta 2 Development Kit Revealed

The Meta is known for being the forefront of augmented reality. Much like virtual reality, Augmented reality is based on the user seeing virtual objects but instead of it being on an isolated screen, augmented reality lets you bring virtual objects to life. That dream of an Iron Man experience is one step closer thanks to the Meta 2 Development Kit.

The new development kit contains all you need to start programming your augmented reality programs. Included with the Meta 2 headset you will get the source development kit (SDK) and the Meta operating environment while the Meta headset itself contains some impressive specs.

The resolution the “screens” displayed at is 2560×1440, being captured through a 720p camera that will give you a whole new level of detail in your interactions and visual manifestations of your dreams.

Four speakers and a 6-axis measurement unit mean that your whole experience will respond with the sensors to track your hands, giving you everything you need to see, hear and interact with your minority report like Minority Report like wall of screens.

At $949 the Meta 2 Kit is not for those who are looking for a quick thrill, but for those who are interested in the experience and developing for augmented reality, the product ships in the third quarter of this year.

BBC Micro Bit Shipping Date Revealed

BBC’s Micro Bit pocket-sized and programmable computer is an amazing little piece of technology, but the best of all is that one million of them will be given free to any year 7 pupils across the UK. Originally the BBC Micro Bit should have started shipping out October last year, but there were issues with the power and the project release got pushed back. At first, it was said that teachers should have the new units in December last year with students receiving them early this year. But that didn’t happen and it got pushed once again. Last month we got another minor delay as teachers already should have had their units ahead of the February half term, but that didn’t happen either.

Enough with the old bad news, time for the good news. The Micro Bit is ready and broadcaster has confirmed a countrywide roll-out of the one million devices for pupils will begin before easter. Naturally they won’t send out all at once, but they will start to ship officially on March the 22nd. So mark your calendars if you got children of that age, you might have new toys to play with soon.

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC learning, said: “It has been a joy to see these micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like this adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”

The Micro bit (micro:bit) is a handheld and fully-programmable computer that encourages children to get creative with technology. The 4cm by 5cm device is the successor to the popular 1980s home computer, BBC Micro, and includes a Bluetooth antenna, USB plug and a processor, linked to a printed circuit board with 25 red LED lights which flash messages.

The BBC is yet to announce when the Micro Bit will be available for the public to buy and how much it will cost us ordinary mortals.

Meta 2 AR Headset Impresses Crowd at Ted

Augmented reality is one step beyond virtual reality, with popular VR hardware like the Oculus Rift or even Google Cardboard looking to put you into the action, there is something missing from that Iron-Man experience. This is where Meta wants to surpass everyone else by not only letting you see images in 3D but also by letting you manipulate them.

We’ve seen augmented reality in a million movies and TV shows, the ability to create a 3D image and then using your physical body manipulate the digital image, from dancing with your favourite stars on a holodeck to crafting a vase on your table ready for printing.

We’ve commented on the Meta Spaceglasses before but they’ve come a long way since then. At a demo in Vancouver, Canada, Meron Gribetz, the founder and CEO of Meta, demoed just a few of the features that could soon see it become a must buy. On stage he was able to pick apart an object and manipulate it, work with a colleague somewhere else in the world by telepresence and then creating virtual computer monitors.

Being able to create something with your own hands is always rewarding, and can be easier than attempting to draw the object using a pen of some kind for your computer to interpret. The ability to create virtual screens will be a live saver for anyone who works on the go and needs access to private screens to get the most out of their work.

I personally can’t wait to see what Meta have accomplished with the Meta 2, but I guess we will only find out when the countdown reaches zero.

Computer Completes a Rubik’s Cube In A Spellbinding Time

There are many things in life that are quite annoying and include inventions such as Predictive Text; however, the Rubik’s Cube certainly adds a new dimension to the word “Frustrating”. But, what happens if you mix a homemade computer with arguably the world’s most difficult game?

Well, two software engineers from Kansas, US, decided to find out and it becomes apparent this computer was able to successfully complete the iconic puzzle in a mind-bending 1.047 seconds, this means that it successfully found the correct permutations quicker than it would have taken for you or me to say the word Rubik’s Cube.

The current Guinness World Record is a rather poor 2.3 seconds while humans are currently well behind on a snail-like pace of 4.9 seconds, although, that is still pretty fast. If you’re wondering, this record is held by a 14-year-old who goes by the name Lucas Etter in November 2015.

Below is the video, as you can see, the cube is being held within a 3D printed frame via “drilled holes with four USB cameras pointing at the puzzle. The robot is then hooked up to a Linux-based computer running a Kociemba Rubik’s cube-solving algorithm that takes the information delivered from the cameras and then works out in milliseconds which moves to make”.

The creators, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose uploaded the video and are currently applying for it to be officially recognized as a new world record, one would assume this would be a time which stands for a long while, although, you know what assumptions are.

Excessive Computer Use Causes Burst Blood Vessels in Mans Eyes

We as humans are increasingly living in a dependent digital age whereby we are immersed in gadgets. Laptops, tablets and even that latest 60-inch television you thought would fit into your living room, it’s impossible to have a break. You may want to take note of this story of an unfortunate man who burst blood vessels in his eyes after working for long periods at a time while using a computer.

Wuhan Evening News are reporting that 30-year-old Lee Chong noticed that his vision had become blurry, he went to the hospital where doctors informed him that he had in fact burst blood vessels in his eyes. The unlucky gentleman had what is known and is written as -8.00-dioptres high myopia, now, after researching this it seems to be extremely severe considering high myopia is usually described on glasses and contact lenses at around -6.00D (dioptres). If you’re wondering, Myopia is often known as “being short-sighted” and it causes your vision to be blurry in the distance but clearer when looking at things up close.

The cause, in this case, seems to be a combination of staying up for long periods of time coupled with exposure from gadgets. It just goes to show your eyes would benefit from periods of rest instead of being bombarded by the glare of the screen.

Remember to take breaks folks, last thing you want is this!

A Look At The Steam Survey Results For November 2015

I will only pick out the most noteworthy Steam Survey Hardware and Software results for November 2015; otherwise, I might be here until New Years day 2017.  So, what do we have? Below are the Steam monthly survey stats, starting with the most common type of OS (Operating System) that is being used amongst Steam gamers.

As you can see below, Windows is the most dominant Operating system with 95.26% usage, Windows 7 64 bit is the most popular with 35.63% usage, this is down slightly (-1.04%). Windows 10 64 bit has risen slightly by 2.39% with current usage at 28.81%.  These stats hide an interesting point, with many reports noting that back in August 2015, only 17% of users were running Windows 10, therefore, this is around a 59% increase in the last three months. Of course, there are many factors including the persistent attempts by Microsoft to push at all costs their latest OS onto consumers.

Unsurprisingly, Steam users are not in favour of Mac or Linux’s operating systems considering only 3.64% and 0.98% of users respectively implement these operating systems when utilizing steam to play games.

When it comes to preferred CPUs for all formats, Intel is unsurprisingly the big winner, 76.31% Windows Steam users own an Intel CPU for November 2015, while Windows users of an AMD CPU is at 23.69%, this is down ever so slightly (- 0.28%) compared to October 2015.

Other noteworthy stats for the CPU section include 47.93% of Steam users owning a dual-core CPU, while 45.12% own a quad-core CPU.

Ram stats are quite interesting, and yes I am a geek, the most popular configuration of Ram is 8GB and is being used by 32.06%, this has risen slightly by 0.36%, although 12GB and higher is at a healthy 16.04%.

By all means check out the full in-depth list of stats, it’s certainly revealing and conveys Steam users preferences and also how well manufacturers are placing their products within the market.

GCHQ Could Be Fined For Latest Series Of Job Adverts

GCHQ are known for their presence within the UK as the cyber spies, the first and last defence against digital threats within the UK. In recent years though they have not had the best image, with incidents like being given permission to spy on politicians, recommending users store their passwords in software and do away with remembering them and breaching human rights with their internet surveillance. Their latest issue may be something a little more low-tech, with their latest job adverts possibly resulting in them being fined.

Hackney council has stated that they will fine and ask that GCHQ clean up their advertisements as they didn’t have permission to create the advert in Shoreditch.

https://twitter.com/JamesLiamCook/status/664064611642163200/photo/1

Featuring a pun on their name, combined with a web address, the adverts were created by using a technique called reverse graffiti. This means that instead of applying paint or another material atop the surface, you use a stencil and a power washer to remove and clean off the top layer of dirt, resulting in a white depiction of your stencil.

The adverts have also been spotted in Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Leeds.  GCHQ claim that they were led to believe that Hackney Borough Council had an issue with clean graffiti on street furniture, not pavements.

If only they had a copy of the email that people sent with this information…

Facebook’s AI Seeks to Conquer Humans at Go

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a concept almost everyone has heard of, from the movies and stories where an AI seeks to overthrows humanity. From Terminator to I Robot we’ve seen humans and artificial intelligence battle it out while in the real world we’ve faced our own battles with board games being set as the battlefield for the fight to end all fights. Now it seems that Facebook wants to challenge their AI program with a different game, Go.

First a computer won at Checkers, then several years later IBM’s Deep Blue won a chess match against Gary Kasparov, the world champion. In 2011, IBM’s Watson won the trivia game Jeopardy. AI work by analyzing possible moves, thousands of combinations and options are analyzed with the most logical choice often giving them advantages.

Go features a grid of 19×19, with pieces placed at the points where they join, offering more than the traditional game in regards to the number of choices and possible moves to make per turn. By using Neural Networks, the same technology that Facebook use to auto-detect your face and your friends in your pictures, they hope to create something that could soon unsettle the champions of Go.

What do you think? Could you see yourself playing against a champion level AI in all your favorite games, both on the computer and off?

Should We Replace Doctors With Computers?

A new announcement from Jeremy Hunt is yet another cost cutting attempt at trimming down front line services with the aim of saving cash. The health secretary wants to remove more medical decisions from the hands of doctors and therefore let computers and protocols decide aspects of care instead” I like tech, but I would prefer a qualified human doctor and not Microsoft XP handling all aspects of my care if I were to be in hospital. Mr Hunt also states that this implementation has been successful within the US health system and therefore we in the UK should be adopting similar processes.

It would not be an elected politician without a bizarre example, and Mr Hunt gave just that with the notion of production techniques that have been copied from a, (you may think originally from a hospital) no, a “Japanese car company had been copied and applied to healthcare” within a hospital in the US. Not sure human organs and brake pads can be particularly compared when devising healthcare policy. If you’re wondering, it was a hospital in Seattle that copied the production techniques from Toyota and by doing so is ranked among the safest hospitals in the world, read that in a Clarkson voice if you will.

This idea depends on the agenda of execution. Yes we all want safer hospitals and any PROVEN protocol is to be welcomed, but, is this with the aim of cutting both doctors and also staff from wards. The Tory government is aiming to cut billions from spending and is also looking to force through a new working contract for junior doctors that will see penalties for over working doctor’s scrapped and longer working hours implemented. There has been a track record in many sectors of reducing staff in favour of computer IT systems, hopefully staffing levels can be maintained and increased to meet demand, after all, a virtual paperclip cannot treat you in real life.

Thank you independent for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of twitter.

Oculus Rift Outlines Cost For Release Model

The oculus rift has taken the world by storm, offering virtual reality to a wide range of people for a whole series of uses. With the CEO, Brendan Iribe, stating that the headset and a computer powerful enough to drive it would cost roughly £1000, people are now looking forward to a release date that could soon be announced. In another released statement the company founder, Palmer Luckey went into discussing the price of the headset itself.

At the Oculus Connect Conference Luckey was asked about if the release price for the oculus rift would come in at around the same as the developer kits that are currently being sold. Priced at 350$ (around £230) it is not a small price, but not a huge one. This was however before this little gem,

“You know, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. We’re roughly in that ballpark…” said Luckey, “but it’s going to cost more than that. And the reason for that is that we’ve added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days.”

Meaning that the rough ballpark of £230 could go out the window very quickly, with it later being stressed that a lower price point wasn’t of concern to the development team and they were instead more focused on making sure the quality wasn’t compromised.

Are you interested in the Oculus Rift? Do you own one or have you got a development kit? What are your thoughts on it?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

 

Tax Credit Refund Scam Is affecting UK Based Individuals

Tax credits are a hot topic at the moment, this is in part to the Conservative death by a thousand cuts, I said cuts, plans which are set to reduce the income of many of the poorest in society by an average of £800 a year. Unfortunately, the adverse media coverage has been picked up by scammers who have devised a fraud which promises tax credit refunds.

Individuals have received messages within the last few days to a week which utilizes the Goo.gl shortening URL to redirect victims to what appears to be a compromised website: The message reads “Dear valued customer, we are happy to inform you that you have a new tax credit refund from HMRC. Click on the following link [URL] to claim your HMRC refund”

These messages have been sent via texts although you may want to keep a look out for other forms including emails in case the scammers diversify. The stats are below concerning this fraud, as you can see, it’s shocking to note that there have been 731 clicks so far considering the scam is pretty new.

  • 731 clicks so far, with the majority of them coming from the UK.
  • 440 of those were on iPhone, and 252 were using Android. Just 31 people were browsing via Windows.
  • The shortened link is around 1 week old, so the scam is pretty fresh.

The phishing page is located at – savingshuffle(dot)com/hmrc/Tax-Refund(dot)php:

The scam page appears to be from HMRC, but to be clear it is certainly NOT from the official government-backed site. The page would like many personal details which includes the following

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Email
  • telephone number
  • card details,
  • Sort code and account number.

Scroll further down the page and the scammers would also quite like a piece of “Identity Verification” in the form of a driving license number, national insurance number and mother’s maiden name. There’s also a pre-filled refund amount of £265.48 next to the submit button.

This is fake; this is a scam and please DO NOT under any circumstances click on any link which purports to offer any kind of refund. The official HMRC do not send any messages which purport to offer any kind of refunds in the first place. An official bank or government-backed service wouldn’t start a message with the words “Dear Valued Customer” Also, be aware just in case you receive a message with your name offering a refund, this would also be a scam with absolute certainty.

There will be inevitably more variants of this scam which prey on people’s financial circumstances; always be suspicious.

Thank you malwarebytes for providing us with the information.

Tech Furniture With a Twist

If it sounds as if we have turned into popular but dull television show QVC, we haven’t, you won’t find any of the following sublime pieces of furniture on that or any other mass-produced channel. As tech is produced in greater volumes, there is one question which remains constant, what do you do with the eventual waste within a perpetual upgrading cycle? Well, according to the below items, you can achieve quite an array of dazzling re-imaginings of classic products.

So, what do we have first? Below is a table, but not just a standard run of the mill Ikea flat-packed piece, but a coffee table which has been constructed out of circuit boards.  This amazing item was the brain child of David Maloney of Glendale, Wisconsin. In 2009 he saved a series of circuit boards for a potential craft project which turned into a table. He achieved the design by building an internal structure to mount the boards before crafting the frame from Black Walnut wood; wow is my impression, I would love to own this.

Next up is a chair/stool, Chilean Designer Rodrigo Alonso created the N+EW (No More Electronic Waste) art product in 2007. He collected components which had been blended into bits before placing them into a mould. He then filled the gaps between them with an epoxy resin which permanently encased the waste in a translucent form that can be used as a stool. The top of the stool looks to be the earth at an angle, again, an amazing design which re-imagines the whole concept of electronic waste.

Next up is a round table with a difference, a clever individual by the name of Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio in Portland, Oregon, created a table from a 26-inch diameter hard drive platter from a 1960s mainframe computer. Today an average standard consumer based hard drive can hold around 3TB of data with Laptops holding around 1TB as standard, this disk could hold a huge 9MB of storage, which is tiny compared to today. Hopefully, the round edge is not sharp.

Last piece of tech furniture porn arrives courtesy of a 1987 Apple Mac II in the form of a sofa, or 25 to be precise, each mac was worth a staggering $5,500 dollars each, so that’s 25 x 5,500 = $137500. Of course, this price doesn’t account for inflation or the dirt cheap a price which these computers can now be found for. It’s an eye-catching piece of furniture, but maybe not the most comfortable.

Thank you bradlands, thenewsisbroken, grandideastudio and ralonso for providing us with this information.

Analysing Your Brain Could Be 30 Times Faster Than A Supercomputer

The human brain, fascinating, exciting and full of possibilities, the notion to create, form an opinion and challenge the environment which we live in, is truly exceptional. We now might be able to find answers as to how powerful the human brain is after a project which is designed to compare a supercomputer with that of a brain.

An Artificial Intelligence project which has been devised by two PhD students from the University of California Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University, will be the first of its kind to compare the human brain with the world’s best supercomputer. The AI Impacts project aims to determine how fast the human brain sends signals in its internal network compared to that of a supercomputer.

The scholars compared the power of our brains with that of IBM’s Sequola supercomputer which is in the top 3 of the most powerful supercomputers. “Sequola has a TEPS (Traversed Edges per Second) benchmark of 2.3 x 1013 TEPS”. The estimates suggest the “AI Impacts are that the human brain should be at least as powerful as Sequoia in the lower limits and for the upper estimates, therefore the human brain could surpass the IBM Sequoia speed by 30 times at 6.4 x 1014 TEPS”.

Which is both a lot to take in but also equally and potentially incredible, evolution has formed an instrument which is quite amazing, and it begs the question, what else will we find as research and tech advances with the aim of exploring us. It is also interesting to note if the wiring of for example a genius brain, think Stephen Hawking, is different to that of an average mind or the best sportsman evolved differently with more advanced genes, or if are we all capable. If we spent enough time learning a skill to be able to adapt to anything? Its compelling none the less.

Thank you aiimpacts for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of fossbytes

Spectacular Real Life Control Panel For a Computer

When you think you have seen it all, some genius arrives with an innovative implementation which completely re-imagines a function. This is the case for a Redditor by the name of “Smashcuts” sounds like a cross between Mario Bros and a hairdressers, who has built a fully operational, DIY overhead IRL control panel that has a hundred knobs, switches and buttons that can activate all kinds of actions.

Below is a selection of screenshots from Imgur, it is stunning and also could be defined as a work of art, the details which have been devised are exceptional.  As you can see, the control panel is divided into square sections which includes a green ‘Main Systems’ section and controls for functions for example OS shortcuts like Open, Save and Close.

Below is a close up of the controls which connects to OS shortcuts, the lighting scheme is reminiscent of a Sci Fi film.

Below is a close up of the Green “Main Section”, which activates different programs which are used most often, the top row opens Chrome, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and iTunes.

Below is a close up of another control panel, The top four switches control the control panel (brightness, backlight etc.) Bottom controls the panel’s AI mastermind override which is currently broken.

Not all switches and artwork are functional but rather for more aesthetic purposes, for example, there is a blue illuminated battleship; this unfortunately does not destroy the empire. This is quite simply spectacular, the thought which has gone into the design process must have been painstaking. By all means check his Imgur page, it conveys the building process which is fascinating and as you would expect, very complicated.

Surf’s Up At a Giant Artificial Wave Park In Wales

Well this is something, ever wanted to Surf within a park which produces enormous artificial waves? you’re in luck as a new adventure attraction has opened within the Conwy Valley in North Wales. Surf Snowdonia is a one-of-a-kind in-land surf facility that claims to produce the “longest man-made surfable waves on the planet.”

It has been a good 10 years in the making and holds the title of being the first Wavegarden surfing lagoon to be opened to the public. The facility has arrived with an estimated £12 million price tag and measures 300 x 120 m (984 x 394 ft) to put this into perspective; it’s roughly the same size of six full length football pitches.

So how does this gigantic park operate? In order to create the waves, the owners have implemented a snow plow-like machine, or “wavefoil,” which moves back and forth along an underwater track which is running the length of the lagoon. As the wavefoil moves, it generates a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider. The speed and size of waves which are able to be produced are controlled by a computer and can reach heights of 0.7 m (28 in), 1.2 m (47 in) and 2 m (79 in)

It certainly looks impressive if you’re into this form of sporting activity, the tech behind such a feat has allowed the park to offer visitors a unique experience which is different to many other theme parks. Surf Snowdonia is also built on the site of a former aluminium factory, its construction saw the removal over 100 years-worth of heavy industrial waste.

If you would like to see it in action, then by all means watch the adrenalin fuelled video below.

Thank You surfsnowdonia and Gizmag for providing us with this information.

Bartesian Is the New Kitchen Aid for Alcoholics

Technology is here to make our life easier, at least that’s the intent and that becoming alcoholics also want to benefit from new inventions. Okay, that might be a bit harsh to say, but it’s honestly not a good start for you when you buy a machine to mix cocktails at home. That said, it was only a matter of time until this became mainstream and I’m also sure that there is a big market for the Bartesian.

Bartesian recent successfully funded its Kickstarter campaign and raised a total of over $115,00 earlier this month and that alone shows the potential in the market. People have become lazy and want everything at a press of a button, and that includes the favourite cocktail.

With a simple tree-button step-by-step interface, the Bartesian can only make six drinks right now, but that can easily be expanded later on. It uses a capsule principle in the same way as you might know it from coffee makers that now come with everything from pads over pods to capsules. Plop in a capsule, select your fluid, and press a button. The drink is ready.

When you insert a capsule into the Bartesian, it will read a barcode off it in order to add the corresponding liquor and water. The capsules in themselves only contain concentrated mixes for flavour and colour. Then the machine will prompt you for the appropriate glass and your drink is ready.

Bartesian requires four basic liquors: gin, vodka, rum and tequila. Fedorak says they’re experimenting with new recipes, but will launch with the three classics Cosmopolitan, Margarita, and Sex on the Beach and the three originals Uptown Rocks, Bartesian Breeze, and Zest Martini.

This will most likely never be the tool for the aspiring drunk, but it might be a great tool for the weekend warrior that wants to serve fancier drinks than beer at their next party. The Bartesian will set you back $299.00 and a 12-pack of capsules will cost $20.00.

Thank You Engadget for providing us with this information

Remix Mini – The World’s First True Android PC

Remix Mini is a tiny PC that gives you a PC experience unlike anything on android and Android experience unlike anything on a PC, the device is powered by the Remix OS the device allows users to work and play with the entire Android app ecosystem while taking full advantage of intuitive PC features that allows windows multi-tasking and mouse and keyboard support.

A very unique feature is the devices capacitive power button unlike any kind PC rather than an awkwardly feeling around the back panel for the elusive power button you just gently tap the head of the device and within seconds the device will begin to start working and surfing the internet as you would with any other computer.

The device is powered by the latest 64-bit chipset and can deliver up to 20-30% better performance than it’s 32-bit counterparts, and at the core of what makes this device so special is actually what Remix Mini doesn’t need you to do and that is installing the right bit version ever again.

The typical desktop computer clocks in at anywhere between 65 to 250 watts. Remix Mini gives you the same power of desktop computing at a mere 10 watts. By simply leveraging already existing power efficiencies found in mobile CPU architectures, Remix Mini is able to save you so much more in power without sacrificing anything in performance.

The device looks very promising in what it offers for the small size! check out the kick starter page Remix Mini

Siege of Dragonspear Announced for Baldur’s Gate!

There is a new expansion for the original Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition by the name of Siege of Dragonspear, which has left avid fans of the game waiting in anticipation. Now I am a fan of computer games and keep abreast, read that how you want, of different genres of which developer’s release, but this game has never really caught my eye and researching this is new to me.

The newly announced edition which according to the site which is launched by Beamdog, will be an expansion of the original game that covers the events immediately following the conclusion of the first Baldur’s Gate This means that Dragonspear will follow the player character as they investigate the Shining Lady, who is a mysterious warrior assailing the Sword Coast with an army under her private command.

The full list of new features according to the official website of Beamdog is as follows,

  • Expand Your Story: Explore new areas, fight new monsters, and win new rewards in the Siege of Dragonspear expansion to Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. Continue the adventure by exporting your game to Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition
  • The Crusade Rises: A sharp and subtle adventure that pits you against an enigmatic new foe
  • Explore the Sword Coast: Venture through vibrant new hand-painted areas in the classic style of the original Baldur’s Gate
  • Gather You’re Party: The original cast returns to kick butt for goodness – along with Neera, Rasaad, Dorn, and four new additions!
  • To Infinity and Beyond: Updated UI and improved Infinity Engine features
  • Extra Class: New items, quests, and a new class: the spirit-calling shaman!
  • Venture Forth With A Friend: Functional, extensively tested cross-platform multiplayer on all supported platforms
  • Story Mode: A difficulty setting to allow players to experience all of the story with none of the Game Over screens

The expansion will be developed on the Infinity Engine and will include nearly 25 hours of new content with the platforms being PC, Mac, Linux, IOS and Android. I must admit, I do like and always have liked the notion of expansions for games, instead of quickly discarding the series; it leaves the opportunity for fans to update themselves with the franchise and to carry on playing.

Thank You Siege of Dragonspear/Beamdog for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of gamersftw

 

 

Baby Formula? There’s a Cyber attack For that!


Hackers are portrayed as technical marvels who apparently, according to various media outlets sit in a dark room and infiltrate top-secret government networks in order to steal information or plunder vast financial institutions before running off, ok flying off, ok clicking a mouse button and pressing shut down, but still making off with their ill-gotten gains.

Well according to the Albuquerque Journal, no I haven’t made this name up, have reported that three teenage boys who attend V. Sue Cleveland High have allegedly orchestrated a Cyber Attack into the Enfamil baby formula website using a school computer and their own device. The synopsis of the story centres on the three boys who had a little bit of free time while attending their school’s robotics class, while looking at various websites they allegedly came across the Enfamil live chat site and in their wisdom, or lack of, decided to harass the forum members with various questions which started benignly but became more aggressive.

This continued from May 13 – 18 until Enfamil informed them they would be blocked, well that did not go down well as allegedly the three boys posted the website of Enfamil on a hacker website which in turn allegedly took the site down.

With the information presented so far, I do feel the three teenagers were only partly culpable for the alleged Cyber Attack; yes they posted the website on a Hacker forum but they did not undertake the Cyber Attack themselves but rather asked others to carry out the attack which does sound like a DDoS technique.

I also feel a comment by the district that Enfamil was not blocked by the Internet Filter because it did not fall into a banned category to be laughable. Many websites which are hacked are not prohibited or inappropriate i.e. Sony, although The Interview could have been blocked for being utter drivel. It also demonstrates the Internet can place people or in this case teenagers in an artificially powerful position where actions can result in real world consequences.

Thank You Albuquerque Journal for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of ElectroKami

Engineers Create Computer That Operates Through Water Droplets

US researchers have developed a novel new computer that uses water to transmit information. Unlike normal computers that use electrons, this synchronous computer uses magnetised water droplets to do everything a conventional computer can do, thanks to its universal logic gates. The only downside is that it is much slower than your average home computer, but it is a remarkable first step in using conventional, natural compounds to create computing devices.

“We already have digital computers to process information … Our goal is to build a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter,” said Manu Prakash, lead researcher and bioengineer at Stanford University, in a press release. “Imagine if when you run a set of computations that not only information is processed but physical matter is algorithmically manipulated as well. We have just made this possible at the mesoscale [10 microns to 1 millimetre]. In this work, we finally demonstrate a synchronous, universal droplet logic and control.”

The water-based computer stems from an idea Prakash had around a decade ago, using the clockwork-like properties of magnetised water particles, but the challenge came when attempting to synchronise their movement. Prakash cracked the problem by implementing a rotating magnetic field to harmonise the droplets. The computer operates like a clock, pulling each water droplet in time with each other.

“Every time the field flips, the polarity of the bars reverses, drawing the magnetised droplets in a new, predetermined direction, like slot cars on a track,” Prakash explains. “Every rotation of the field counts as one clock cycle, like a second hand making a full circle on a clock face, and every drop marches exactly one step forward with each cycle.”

The computer can transit binary information in the form of the presence or absence of water, and Prakash and his team envision the system being expanded to carry water particles encoded with more complex information, like chemical compounds. The team is also working on a design tool for others to use in the creation of their own water-based computers. “We are trying to bring the same kind of exponential scale up because of computation we saw in the digital world into the physical world,” Prakash said.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information.

Wood Might Be the Next Resource Needed to Make Computer Chips

All this technology might be great to some extent, allowing you to tweet, text, chat or even order your pizza on your mobile device. But what happens when you want to upgrade your tech? Well, you generate e-waste. This is why there have been a lot of researchers thinking of ways to use new resources to produce something that might be fully recyclable.

Their results may come faster than expected and it comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory. They teamed up to find something more revolutionary and ecological when it comes to producing chips. But who would have thought that they would use wood as a prime resource? It really is a shocker, but their semiconductor is indeed made almost entirely out of wood.

However, don’t think that they just cut a piece of wood and stuck some circuits on it. That would be mad. Instead, they found out that chips are made almost entirely out of a support layer, which they have replaced with something called cellulose nanofibril, a material made out of wood. They also had to use an epoxy coating on the surface to make it smoother and water resistant, so getting it done wasn’t all that easy.

In the end, the researchers say that the chip is so environmentally friendly that it could be left in a forest and eventually become fertilizer. Now how about that? Is it the start of an era where we use our tech and then help nature grow by throwing the old one in the wilderness after we upgrade? Who knows.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Your IT Works Ltd

‘Nerd Power’ Could Soon Be Heating Your Home!

Most things generate waste energy, be it your fridge or even you as a human being. Very few things convert energy to something you want with minimal waste, this is true of computers as well. Computers generate a lot of heat, the more advanced and larger the computer the more heat it generates. This is why Server Farms are housed in giant buildings with cooling systems and air condition pushing the temperature down as to avoid any damage to the servers. Nerdalize, a dutch start-up, however, has a different solution, instead of cooling computers, use computers to warm your house.

Computers are used every day for everything from controlling the traffic lights down your road to checking out the latest tech news at eTeknix. Jerry Van Waardhuizen has a new about how to use these everyday machines to replace another, his aim is to use a small white box containing a computer to replace the large white radiators that typically warm your home.

The small white boxes contain a computer and only requires a fibre optic connection within the home to be installed, once installed the silent running computer inside can do everything from help calculate which genes are related to what illnesses to helping someone find their family member on Facebook.

While Nerdalize admit that the system takes a little longer to heat up on average (taking roughly an hour) and that you may require two in larger rooms the offside is that after the initial set up free the heating it provides is completely free. When the radiator function is turned off the server inside the box continues to operate, but the heat it provides is simply pushed outside.

With the cost being about £290-360 per setup, and requiring a fibre optic connection, the project may not be for everyone. With unlimited heating, no additional carbon footprint from heating water and pushing it through pipes, a lot of people are being attracted to it.

Would you be interested in getting free heating from life by helping someone solve some calculations on the other side of the world? If so check out Nerdalize’s video below,

Thank you BBC for the information.

Image courtesy of Nerdalize.

UK Government Changes Law Covering Digital Surveillance

Edward Snowden exposed a world which some speculated, but few publically acknowledged. A world where every piece of information we send, be it through phone or computer, is monitored and recorded among thousands of others all searching for that one thing. The public has since been in an up cry about it, asking if it was even legal due to the severe invasion of privacy it entailed in order to do the most basic monitoring without legally requesting permission from a judge. From the use of the stingrays to intercept mobile communication, to the ruling stating that the mass collection of phone data in America was illegal, the law and digital monitoring has been at heads for a while now. The UK government has a simple answer, change the law.

GCHQ is the UK government’s digital branch in charge of monitoring electronic communications. It would seem that the Computer Misuse Act, one of the biggest pieces of legislation regarding hacking and the legality of using computers to access networks, was quietly rewritten on the 3rd of March 2015. The change in the legislation would essentially make the intelligence services exempt from legal action regarding hacking because they would be exempt from the legal areas outlining what is legal hacking.

Several large companies, including internet and communication services, filed complaints back in 2014 stating that the GCHQ’s activities would be considered unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act and that there was no legal authority that could be used to make their practices in line with the law.  This is a problem, especially given that hacking is an invasion of privacy, something considered a fundamental human right.

The legislation involved is called the Serious Crime Bill 2015, and came into effect on the 3rd May 2015, only two months after it was quietly passed amongst government groups without any public consultation. So not only does GCHQ now have the ability to hack people, they are practically immune to legal action regarding this (even though they have been found to be in breach of several sections of Law), this also means however that all current cases against GCHQ would be rendered null given that they now covered under a separate law. Also given that the code has not be subject to parliamentary process such as debates or discussions the changes have effectively rendered their illegal practises legal and their control over hacking (even those who have not been found as a threat to national security or suspected in a crime) exempt from legal process in what is turning out to be the biggest threat to the rights and laws of the 21st Century.

What do you think of this? I will refrain from commenting for fear that this post will be intercepted and my communications monitored. Personally, I really dislike that they have done this.

Thank you Privacy International for providing us with this information.

Image Courtesy of Reuters.