Keys in hands of highly borkable ID gatewayThe UK government is cracking on with plans for a digital mortgage service to be launched this year, which will allow borrowers to sign mortgage deeds online via the Government Digital Service's deeply flawed Verify identity programme.Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: "[The Land Registry's] new digital mortgage service will enable borrowers to sign mortgage deeds digitally, speed up the remortgage process and improve the customer experience."In a written statement to Parliament yesterday, he noted that a new liability risk arises with the service because the Land Registry will certify the identity of a borrower when that person provides a digital signature in advance of registration."To date GOV.UK Verify has not identified a single example of fraud despite in excess of 1.25 million citizens' accounts having been created using the GOV.UK Verify service," he said.However, given the woeful performance of Verify, it seems fewer than half of users will be able to access the service based on the identity programme's performance rates to date.
Lots of overheated headlines in tabloids and other publications this week have been screaming about a large, "potentially hazardous" asteroid set to pass close by Earth.Meanwhile, a newly discovered car-size asteroid passed over 100 times closer to us on Thursday -- coming near the altitude where many man-made satellites orbit -- and hardly anyone noticed.Asteroid 2018 BD flew by our planet at a distance of about 22,000 miles (35,406 km) at 7:43 a.m. PT, just seven hours after being discovered via the Catalina Sky Survey.Notably, satellites in geosynchronous orbit are typically at an altitude of around 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers).So while much smaller, 2018 BD was arguably much more potentially hazardous than the other space rock making headlines: skyscraper-size 2002 AJ129, which will pass by us on Feb. 4 at a distance of over 2 million miles, or more than 10 times the distance between the Earth and our moon.But the idea of a building-size rock labeled "potentially hazardous" making its way through our cosmic neighborhood makes for good headlines.
Amazon Web Services aims to bring greater access to users to run their applications on by introducing a third availability zone in London.The third AWS Availability Zone (AZ) has launched in London, bringing the cloud giant up to an impressive 50 such Zones across the globe.The 50th Availability Zone will give customers more choice and flexibility to architect highly scalable, fault-tolerant applications that run across multiple AZs in the UK.In addition, each availability zone has multiple internet connections and power connections to multiple grids, bringing better accessibility to customers.Since launching its first London availability zone in December 2016, the cloud giant has seen an “ever-growing set of customers” that wish to use AWS for new, innovative applications.Customer demand has also been increasing across the public sector and regulated industries.
Bitcoin fell below the psychologically significant level of $10,000 on Wednesday morning, marking a second day of double-digit declines for the virtual currency.One bitcoin is now worth $9,700, less than half its peak value of $19,500 achieved just last month.Bitcoin's fall is part of a broader cryptocurrency sell-off.For the second day in a row, every major cryptocurrency has suffered double-digit declines over the previous 24 hours.Ethereum is now worth $810, down 42 percent from its peak above $1,400 just four days ago.Litecoin has fallen to $150—down 58 percent from its peak of $360 on December 19.
Looking for a good reason to justify spending thousands on a gigantic 8K TV?Look no further than storm chaser Mike Olbinski’s latest timelapse, Breathe.It’s not only the first to be edited in full eye-slapping 8K resolution, it’s also been edited in black and white, making the brewing storms Olbinski captured feel especially unsettling.There’s always been something haunting to me about old black and white movies, which is why I refuse to watch the start and end of The Wizard of Oz, or really anything made before Technicolour became a fad.While Olbinski’s full-colour storm timelapses often look like beautiful paintings come to life, Breathe feels more like the apocalypse is nigh, which is maybe more appropriate for 2018?
Among the glitzy tech unveilings and virtual reality press conferences of this year's Consumer Electronics Show, there was an altogether more mundane reveal from Kodak but one that could be more important than any flying car or AI-powered toaster.Kodak, alongside WENN Digital, announced that it is to launch its very own cryptocurrency that aims to protect photographer's image rights and ensure they get paid for usage.Dubbed KODAKCoin, the digital currency will be backed up by a blockchain ledger and image rights platform called KODAKOne, which will allow photographers to securely register new and old work.Like BitCoin and other newsworthy digital monetary systems, KODAKOne aims to build a global ledger of image rights ownership, which will be constantly crawled and verified by the firm's software."For many in the tech industry, 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency' are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who've long struggled to assert control over their work and how it's used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem," explains Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke."Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists.
Authorities across the world have warned parents about the dangers posed by smart toys from dolls to watchesDigital technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and opened up our homes to hacking and other forms of criminal activity – and that means toys are no longer just a choking hazard for children.As smart toys have grown in popularity, authorities around the world have warned parents against giving their children technology that is poorly secured.Any device that can connect to the internet is vulnerable to hacking, but experts have found that some toys are particularly insecure.The FBI issued a similar warning about smart toys to parents last year, while a recent report by consumer group Which?highlighted that the Furby Connect, I-Que Intelligent Robot, Toy-fi Teddy and CloudPets featured unsecured Bluetooth connections, as its testers were able to access the devices without a password or pin.
In a new editorial for Time Magazine, tech billionaire Bill Gates says data shows the world is getting better not worse.Gates says the widespread feeling to the contrary is due in part to the news media, which focuses on negative stories.The world, he says, is actually getting better.In an editorial in Time, Bill Gates notes many trends — ranging from the rates of child mortality to the number of countries now offering protections for gays and lesbians — are heading in a positive direction."These events — as awful as they are — have happened in the context of a bigger, positive trend," Gates writes.Among the developments he points to are:
That's according to trade data seen by The Wall Street Journal.The trade data reflects that importers hope to take advantage of good market conditions before any tariffs are imposed.And a new report from the International Trade Commission (ITC) released last week suggests their efforts won't be wasted.The new supplemental report offers (PDF) some additional support to the Trump administration if it tries to bring a tariff decision before the World Trade Organization (WTO).Specifically, the report suggests that China "took advantage of the existence of programs implemented by the US government to encourage renewable energy consumption" and that the US couldn't have foreseen that market shift.The president is permitted to make any tariff decision he pleases if the International Trade Commission (ITC) finds that trade conditions harmed a certain US industry.
With its focus on OLED display technology, LG's TVs have consistently been some of the most impressive looking at CES, but this year they'll also have some fancy audio tricks up their sleeve thanks to the addition of Google Assistant support.The TVs join the Google Assistant-equipped ThinQ speaker that the company announced at the end of 2017.At a recent preview event, LG confirmed that you'll be able to use your voice to switch between inputs, channels, and of course ask all the same basic queries as usual from Google's smart assistant.Voice control has been a staple of high-end TVs for several years now.LG itself has included voice search functionality in its TVs in previous years, although this has been based on its own voice recognition technology rather than Google's.Thanks to its Android TV integration, both Sony and Philips' TVs have included Google Assistant functionality in past years, but late last year Sony integrated Alexa functionality to allow you to use an external smart speaker to control its TVs.
Does it count as paranoia if someone really is spying on you?Data is the currency of the internet age, and advertisers are always looking for new ways to gather as much of it as they possibly can.According to a report by the New York Times, more than 250 games on the Google Play Store could be monitoring your Android phone for your viewing habits.Using software from startup Alphonso, each of these Android games requests user permission for access to the device’s microphone, which is then used to monitor for various TV programs — sometimes even while the game isn’t actively being played.That data is returned to Alphonso, who sells it to TV advertisers, who can use it to further refine their marketing.Alphonso claims in its privacy section that users are always asked before any data gathering takes place, and most of the apps that contain Alphonso software also include a disclaimer in their product descriptions explaining the reasons for the permissions and allowing the users the chance to opt-out.
Apple has a new iPhone on the way that looks incredible, is faster than ever, and ... is outrageously expensive.This is the very pretty, very expensive iPhone X.Justin Sullivan/GettyBut there's good news, friends: There's a far better iPhone out there right now, and it costs less than half the price of the absurdly priced iPhone X.The iPhone SE is remarkably affordable, at just $350 to start.At $350 to start, with 32 GB of storage and the internals of an iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE is the perfect Honda Civic of smartphones.Most importantly, though, you can snap crisp, beautifully detailed photos using the iPhone SE's 12-megapixel rear camera — its aperture is slightly different from the newer phones, but the camera's the same as the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 lines, and the iPhone X.
iPhone X sales are a bit softer than expected, and there’s been little letup in the backlash over news that Cupertino has been using a bit of code that slows down some older iPhones if the battery is starting to wear out.Apple recently copped to the accusation, but said they do it to keep the phones running rather than suddenly switching off like they had been.While some people were fine with that explanation, others clearly aren’t as Reuters claims that at least eight lawsuits have been filed against the company in relation to the slowdowns, and one is asking for the tidy sum of $999 billion in damages.And while that may be a bit on the comical side, Apple will have to defend itself in court just the same.So, did they do it to sell more new iPhones as the plaintiffs’ claim?A while back, Apple teamed up with Energous, a wireless charging outfit, and the company says they have received FCC certification for long-distance wireless charging system known as a “power at a distance” setup.
As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rise in value, a number of websites have been caught hijacking visitors’ browsers and using their devices to mine digital currency without permission.This is a problem for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this causes the user’s computer to slow down and grow very hot.Opera is offering a convenient solution to the problem: an anti-cryptocurrency mining protection feature built into its browser.The bitcoin mining protection feature is called NoCoin, and it is found in Opera 50, the release candidate of which is now available.NoCoin is something the user has control of — if you don’t want it on, you can just leave it disabled.If you want that protection, however, you can simply turn it on by checking the NoCoin feature found under Settings (Windows) or Preferences (macOS).
After closing its money-losing Xchange Leasing business in September, on-demand car service Uber appears to have found a buyer.According to The Wall Street Journal, startup Fair.com, which offers open-ended leases for used cars -- excuse me, make that "pre-owned" -- through dealer partners, will buy the business for an undisclosed amount.Uber will also take an equity stake in Fair, as well as offer access to Fair via its app, according to the report.The reported sale comes amid big changes at Uber, which experienced a tumultuous 2017.Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted in June and eventually replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, formerly CEO of travel site Expedia, in August.Khosrowshahi has been working to make nice with regulators, drivers and passengers, while dealing with a major court battle over Uber allegedly stealing self-driving car technology.
Between the ages of 21 and 25, I rode my bike around Atlanta's semi-urban sprawl to get to college, work, an internship, the grocery store, and whatever social life I managed.My active lifestyle kept me in good shape, but I also had a problem: I was always hungry.No matter how much I ate at lunch or dinner, the hunger returned, derailing my mood and focus.When I finally got an office job, my life became sedentary, but my eating habits remained the same.And b y the time I got home from work, I was still starving.That included all fruit and vegetables that grow below ground.
Last month, at the Xiaomi Internet of Things (IoT) Developer Conference, Xiaomi CEO – Lei Jun, revealed that Xiaomi IoT platform has over 85 million units of IoT devices, 800 smart devices, and 400 partners.This made the company the “world’s largest” IoT platform for smart hardware.Now, Xiaomi mobile announced today that its IoT Home devices just crossed 10 million units.The global Internet of Things has gradually entered a stage of rapid development.It is estimated that by 2020, the globally interconnected devices will reach 21 billion.From this value, 5 billion will be the cellular connection and domestic cellular network connection will reach 1.7 billion.
When it comes to gaming, one usually thinks of “artificial intelligence” as somewhat less exalted than elsewhere; after all, for years we’ve been raging at cheating AI players, bemoaning their bad pathfinding, and laughing at their buggy antics.But AI can be and is being applied creatively, and those creative applications can lead to genuine scientific advances.Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest game publishers, aims to promote these mutually reinforcing goals with a new internal AI research unit it calls “La Forge.”“Games drive innovation, and innovation drives games,” said Yves Jacquier, head of the La Forge project at Ubisoft Montreal (which turns 20 this year).And lest you think this is just a forum or something (as I suspected at first), he then clarified: “It’s an actual space where Ubisoft employees and academic people, students, they come together and work on prototypes.They have all the resources any Ubisoft employee would have.”
If it weren’t already vomit-inducing to see your social feeds taken over by newly married friends’ smug selfies and declarations of love, a pair of new studies released this week will only add to the resentment: Married couples who stay together ultimately end up happier and healthier than everyone else.One study, published in the aptly named Journal of Happiness Studies, used data from two existing surveys of couples living in the UK, and found that married couples as well as those who lived together were generally more satisfied with life.“These benefits are on average about twice as large for people whose spouse is also their best friend,” said study author John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics in Canada in a statement.Meanwhile, another study looked at the health outcomes of some 6,000 patients for around three years after they were first suspected of having heart disease or being at high risk for it.They found that married patients were noticeably less likely to die from any cause, especially cardiovascular disease, and less likely to have a heart attack.The apparent disadvantage of being formally unattached was roughly the same no matter whether someone had never married, was divorced, or became widowed.
Eric Schmidt, who is Executive Chairman of Google’s umbrella-slash-parent-company Alphabet, says he’s resigning from that position to be a “technical advisor” to the company that he helped grow from a rebel search engine in 2001 to one of the biggest and most influential tech firms in the world.Schmidt was hired by Google guys Larry Page and Sergey Brin back when the company had just a few hundred employees and was battling it out with then-online heavyweights like AOL, GeoCities and Microsoft.Anyway, Page and Brin said Schmidt helped them see the broader path forward for Google, and thanked him for his service.Schmidt says his lesser role at the company – he’ll still be on the board, by the way – will allow him to focus more on “the latest in science, technology and philanthropy.” Good luck, Eric.Talk about a hard act to follow…Speaking of things ending and new things sort of beginning, it’s been quite a run for Nintendo’s mega-hit Switch gaming console and its equally mega-popular game: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.