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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AI, , technology   

    Could Deep Fakes ruin our world? 

    Could Deep Fakes ruin our world?

    Recently, a video was distributed on social media od Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that made it look and sound like she was slurring her speech. While the video was determined to be fake it was put out by someone who supposedly did not support Pelosi’s politics. However, with politics being what it is in this country today there were people who believed it to be real. While this particular video was made using simple editing tricks of an actual video it does bring up the matter of what will happen when ‘Deep Fakes’ become more prevalent in our society and media.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the term Deep Fake, it refers to a process where someone can take a single image or video and by using an AI Assisted program it can turn the original video into just about anything the fabricator wanted. For example, if you wanted to make it look like a beloved celebrity say that they enjoyed stealing candy from babies you probably could. Now take that same process and imagine it being used against candidates running for President. Potentially deep fakes could be used to make it look like any candidate look like they were saying or doing something completely detrimental to their campaign.

    The deep fakes could become so commonplace that we wouldn’t be able to tell what was real and what wasn’t. If someone were to commit a heinous act caught on video’ all they would need to say is that the video was a deep fake and scores of people would believe them. Thankfully, the technology is not there yet where a deep fake is indistinguishable from the real thing but it could only be a matter of time before it is. When technologies are used by bad actors, it usually takes law enforcement and government some time to catch up before designing the tools needed to fight them.

  • Geebo 11:27 am on December 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , technology,   

    Is there even any point to keep using Yahoo? 

    Is there even any point to keep using Yahoo?

    Here we are again, discussing the Rasputin of the internet. No matter how many times someone tries to kill Yahoo, it’s still here. Once again the former king of the internet has announced that it’s discovered a new hack. Along with the 2014 hack that disclosed over 500 million user accounts, there has been an additional hack that took place in 2013, and exposed more than one billion accounts. That’s right, billion with a b.

    So why are we still using the services of a long dying brand? From most reports, the only services that Yahoo still excels at are stock reports and fantasy football. Yet hundreds of millions of people continue to use Yahoo mail even though they’ve been hacked multiple times. Both Google and Microsoft offer superior products in GMail and Outlook.com and neither service has fallen victim to major hacks like this.

    The reality is that while we see many people talk about privacy on the internet, but for the most part we don’t really care about security and privacy. What we really want is ease of use, which is why so many of us have passwords like ‘password’ and ‘123456’. Not only that, but one could imagine that the majority of Yahoo users are legacy users since Yahoo has been such a huge player on the internet even before Google.

    However Yahoo’s problems are really their own fault. They’ve failed to evolve in an ever-changing tech world with new threats emerging everyday. With security not being a priority for Yahoo they continue to be the butt of many jokes in tech circles. However, user complacency and apathy continues to keep this tech Titanic afloat.

  • Geebo 1:07 pm on December 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car theft, , grand theft auto, , technology   

    New device could make anyone a car thief 

    New device could make anyone a car thief

    Before cars became mostly electronic and computerized it took a skilled thief to steal or break into a locked car. Only a select few had the talent to be able to pick the lock or use a slim jim to gain access to the inside of a car without breaking the window. Then if they wanted to steal the car, in most case they had a tool that would pull off the ignition and they’d be able to start the car with a screwdriver. Now, the more electronic a car becomes the more points of failure it has when it comes to auto theft.

    If you have a car that either opens the car or can be started remotely there’s a pretty big chance that it could be stolen by just about anybody. Investigative reports have determined that there is a device used among thieves that relies heavily on your cars wireless remote features. For example if you lock your car using the wireless key fob that came with it, this new device can clone the wireless frequency your car uses then replicate it to gain access to your car’s doors and ignition.

    So outside of buying a car that predates these electronics what can you do to protect your car from being stolen this way? While many of these cars use sophisticated electronics many of them still use old-fashioned keys. Rely more on the physical keys themselves when locking or unlocking the car and the criminals have a less of a chance of cloning your signal.

    The odds that this device will be used around your car are slim but it’s better to be prepared than to have to deal with an insurance company over stolen car.

  • Geebo 11:11 am on November 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cycling, Dyson Award, EcoHelmet, Isis Shiffer, technology   

    Paper bike helmet: way of the future? 

    Paper bike helmet: way of the future

    A woman by the name of Isis Shiffer just won the James Dyson Award for her invention of a paper bike helmet called the EcoHelmet. Ms. Shiffer came up with the idea for the helmet after visiting cities that have bike share programs but she didn’t want to keep buying a helmet at each city. She also noted that helmets are bulky and inconvenient to carry around. The collapsible form factor of the helmet make it more portable and more convenient to carry around.

    This isn’t just a paper hat, when the EcoHelmet unfolds, its honeycomb design helps protects the users’ heads from impact. However, they’re not designed to be a permanent helmet though. Wear and tear and weather conditions will cause the helmet to need to be replaced. Ms Shiffer manufactured the helmet relatively cheaply with recycled materials so the price shouldn’t take too much of a bite out of bikers’ wallets.

    A lot of cyclists don’t even wear helmets due to them being so cumbersome when not wearing them. Ms. Shiffer herself admits that getting people to use a disposable helmet made out of paper, but hopefully the convenience of it will cause more people to protect their heads.

  • Geebo 12:32 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: child labor, electronics, , technology   

    The form of slavery we’re all complicit in 

    The form of slavery we're all complicit in

    Here at Greg’s Corner we often talk about the human trafficking and slavery that is facilitated by less than scrupulous sites like Backpage. Unfortunately there is another form of slavery that most of us are supporting whether we realize it or not. Most gadgets that we are dependent on today like our phones, computers and tablets, have roots in overseas child labor. While a number of us are aware of the child labor in many assembling plants overseas did you know that there are around one million children who are working in dangerous mines for our gadgets? Many of the materials in our electronics such as gold and cobalt are mined by children across the globe. Even with the safety precautions that miners here in the US have it’s still one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Now imagine being a child down in some mine without such safety protections.

    The conundrum is that as a society we can’t function anymore without these electronics. From basic communication to international business we’ve all become reliant on these devices. It’s almost impossible to function properly in our country without them. So what can be done about the abuses these children have to endure? For starters, Mashable has a great post about how you can help but I think the most important point they bring up is that we need to hold the electronics manufacturers to task for allowing their partners to engage in these practices. However, this would cut into the profits of many of these companies and too many of them would probably not be willing to do that but there is hope. According to the Mashable post…

    “If even half the people who own smartphones spoke up and said, ‘You know, I’m really worried about these kids mining these minerals in my cellphone,’ I really think that would get companies’ attention,” Reid Maki, director of child labor advocacy and coordinator for the Child Labor Coalition says. “If there were enough evidence of consumer concern, the company would then be forced to take the lead on that.”

    Think about dropping an e-mail to your tech’s manufacturers asking them about their child labor practices. These children deserve the same opportunities that the children in our country do. It’s the least we can do.

  • Geebo 9:57 am on July 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , technology, ,   

    Time running out for free Windows 10 upgrade 

    Time running out for free Windows 10 upgrade

    If you’re currently running Windows 7 or 8 on your laptop or pc, and you’ve been on the fence about upgrading to Windows 10, you may want to make your mind up pretty soon. This Friday, July 29th, 2016, will be the last day you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If you want to upgrade after the 29th, it will cost you roughly $120. Conversely, if you don’t plan on upgrading maybe Microsoft will finally stop with their constant ‘encouragement’ to upgrade.

    I personally Like Windows 10. I was a Windows 7 holdout for the longest time, then I bought a low powered Cloudbook, the Windows version of a Chromebook, that came with Windows 10 and I was hooked. I think that Windows 10 runs better on lower powered hardware than Windows 7 did and it corrects all the problems that Windows 8 had.

    The upgrade has not been without its problems though. There have been stories of the upgrade going wrong for some people. Because of that I can’t stress enough to make backups of all your important data before upgrading. As a matter of fact I would make two backups of your data before upgrading.

    Lastly, if you upgrade and then you decide Windows 10 isn’t for you, you can quickly revert back to your previous versions of Windows.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on July 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: technology, TV, VCR   

    Off Topic Friday: The last VCR to be made this month 

    Off Topic Friday: The last VCR to be made this month

    For those of us who grew up in a bygone era no machine held such wonder and awe in us than the VCR. It promised what no other device could before it, being able to record your favorite TV programs while you weren’t home…in theory. In practice the overly complicated controls would often fail to record the correct program. Then when cable company set-top boxes were added to the mix it became an even more herculean task to set it up right. Then there was the often told joke about how the digital clock on the VCR would only blink 12:00. That’s because even setting the clock to the correct time was a hassle.

    VCRs were not without their benefits though. With the addition of video cameras, home movies could now be watched on a TV rather than having to set a movie projector and a screen. However the biggest boon of the VCR was the fact that you could now watch full length movies at home. Almost overnight, video rental stores popped up all over the country, Many people even started entire VHS libraries in their homes. Sadly, with all media formats, something better always comes along to replace it, In the late 1990s DVD’s came into their own and rang the death knell for the VCR.

    Surprisingly VCRs are still being made to this day, but not for much longer. Japanese manufacturer Funai Electronics is the last company to make VCRs and they are ceasing the manufacturing of the device at the end of this month.

    So while you’re watching Netflix or something from your DVR, remember the humble VCR and how it paved the way for modern television viewing.

    Be kind and rewind.

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