Eric Grunau

Eric Grunau

Followers 9
Following 23
UK
There is literally nothing decent in this storyAnalysis The US Senate reauthorized a controversial NSA spying program on Thursday – and then, because it's 2018 and nothing matters any more, embarked on a partisan battle over a confidential memo that outlines abuse of said program.The so-called section 702 snooping system has been the focus of a multi-year campaign by a minority of lawmakers who are concerned over how it has been turned from a foreign intelligence-gathering tool into a domestic spying program.Despite numerous appeals, press conferences, competing legislation and speeches outlining abuse of the program, on Thursday a majority of senators ignored pleas for a proper warrant requirement to be added to the program – that would require the Feds to always go to a judge before searching the communications of a US citizen – and voted for to continue the program for a further six years.Just hours after the program was given the final green light before the president signs on the dotted line, the Senate's intelligence committee approved the release of a confidential four-page memo outlining previous abuse of the section 702 program to the rest of Congress.A number of lawmakers who subsequently read the memo said that had they been aware of the misconduct detailed in the memo, they would not having voted for the reauthorization of section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
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The Apple App Store has gotten some serious design overhauls in the last few years — if you’re on an iOS device.The web interface of the App Store, however, has largely remained the same.Apple has finally rolled out a major redesign to the web interface of the App Store, making it look a lot more like the iOS app.The redesign includes larger images, a bigger focus on curating apps and reviews of those apps, and so on.On web pages for apps, you’ll also see a notice that says “This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.”Also included in the redesign are new screenshots, which show how the app will look on the iPhone X — Apple’s flagship phone, and its only phone without a standard rectangular design.
US
Diversity is good for business — not just from the ethical standpoint, but from the perspective of a company’s bottom-line, according to McKinsey & Company.As a follow-up to its “Why Diversity Matters” study in 2015, McKinsey analyzed over 1,000 companies across 12 countries, looking at their respective profits and value creation.Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s report, “Delivering through Diversity.” And essentially the same goes for gender diversity, with companies in the top quartile for gender diversity being 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.In the top quartile, financial services are overrepresented for gender diversity while telecom, media and technology companies are disproportionately represented in the lowest quartile.TMT companies in this sample, which are mostly tech firms, have also seen the biggest decline in diversity since McKinsey’s 2015 report.Diversity at the leadership level — across different types of diversity — also matters.
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Although the U.S and other countries have banned or restricted the use of bisphenol A (BPA) because of environmental and health concerns, it is still used in thermally printed receipts and labels.Now researchers report in a study in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research that they have developed potentially safer polymers that could replace BPA for printed papers.Thermal papers are used for cash register receipts, tickets and labels because they are cheap, easy to use and reliable.For thermal paper to work in printing, it is impregnated with two molecules, a dye and a color developer.The color developer, BPA, causes the paper to react with the dye and change colors when heated.While BPA has many advantages, it can potentially cause various health effects by moving through biological membranes, interfering with hormones and harming the nervous and reproductive systems.
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Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program lets enterprises develop and distribute proprietary iOS apps across the company outside of the App Store, using a private portal or URL.You need three things to join the scheme:The right to sign a legal agreement on behalf of your company, which itself must be a legal entity.A D-U-N-S Number (Data Universal Numbering System), is provided by Dun & Bradstreet.The system has been around since 1962 and is used to identify business entities on a location-specific basis.Apple Developer Enterprise Program can develop and privately distribute proprietary apps for all Apple’s platforms, including:
US
There’s a new smart water meter in town that just about pays for itself.Meet the H2Know, a new water (and money) saving solution from Conservation Labs that will set you back $65, but claims to save you about $250 every year thereafter in water-related expenses.Easy to install and non-invasive, the H2Know has already collected a slew of industry accolades, including a CES 2018 Eureka Park Climate Change Innovator award.The goal of the smart water meter is to help homeowners discover problem areas and leaks before they become real headaches, helping to prevent mold and related health issues.To install the system, simply attach the palm-sized device to your main water line by literally placing it atop your pipes, and then begin monitoring using the companion app.H2Know takes measurements from your water line constantly, and using its machine learning technology, turns that steady stream of data into water flow estimates and insights.
US
VR has finally advanced enough that it can be so immersive and so convincing that we want to reach out and touch it with our hands, but conventional wisdom says that just isn’t possible yet.CES 2018 is a massive event that overtakes virtually all of Las Vegas and its surrounding cities with multiple convention center show floors, thousands of booths, and hundreds of thousands of people descending on the desert to learn about and talk about the latest and most cutting-edge technologies on the planet.And amidst it all I’ve gotta say that this little glove, the Maestro, may be the most impressive thing I saw all week.See all of those wires and tendrils on the glove?So when I’m wearing the glove and I reach out to press a button in VR, instead of my digital hand passing through the interface entirely as if I’m some sort of spectral being or like the surface is translucent, I’d feel resistance.Once my digital finger collides with that virtual button, the motors and electric tendons in my glove pull back on my finger in the real world, telling it that it’s just collided with something that has mass, which causes me to subconsciously stop pushing forward.
US
As more products and companies go digital we've seen support quality diverge: either customers can rely on good service in a timely manner, or they are left out in the cold.In the world of apps, it seems the latter situation is increasingly common.So my team at Agent.ai decided to run a survey in which we sent a support inquiry to the top 100 Android apps on the Google Play store, asking if their app would support the latest Samsung Galaxy phone.Our survey found only 29 of top 100 Android apps were able to respond to even the most basic question.One interesting statistic we found was that companies using in-app chat had a 65 percent higher response rate, compared to companies using email to answer the question.Although overall support was less than stellar, one company in particular stood out as having a particularly ineffective system.
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Locked away beneath the surface of Mars are vast quantities of water ice.Those things matter to mission planners, too: Future visitors to Mars, be they short-term sojourners or long-term settlers, will need to understand the planet's subsurface ice reserves if they want to mine it for drinking, growing crops, or converting into hydrogen for fuel.Trouble is, dirt, rocks, and other surface-level contaminants make it hard to study the stuff.Mars landers can dig or drill into the first few centimeters of the planet's surface, and radar can give researchers a sense of what lies tens-of-meters below the surface.But the ice content of the geology in between—the first 20 meters or so—is largely uncharacterized.Forget radar and drilling robots: Locate a spot of land laid bare by time, and you have a direct line of sight on Mars' subterranean layers—and any ice deposited there.
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Austria’s Supreme Court is referring a legal challenge over the extent of Facebook’s responsibility to remove hate speech postings to Europe’s top court for an opinion (via derStandard.at).The case has clear implications for freedom of speech online.The original lawsuit against Facebook was filed by the former leader of the Austrian Green Party, Eva Glawischnig, in 2016, after she had sought to have what she claimed were defamatory postings removed from the site (and Facebook had refused to take them down).Last May an Austrian appeals court found in her favor, ruling that Facebook must remove the hate speech postings — both the original posts and any verbatim repostings of the same comments — and also must do so worldwide, not merely geoblocking access to them in Austria.Austria’s Supreme Court has now referred the latter question to Europe’s top court, the ECJ, for a legal opinion.It’s also seeking a verdict on whether Facebook has a duty to seek out and remove similar (but not exactly verbatim) hate speech postings against a person who has been targeted with such comments — which would significantly widen the responsibility being placed on the social network to police the speech of its users.
UK
Some might say that Apple is getting sloppy with its software updates.It hasn’t even been two months since a severe security-related bug was discovered on macOS High Sierra, another one comes along.Fortunately, it’s not as severe but still worrying.It turns out, you can get access to the App Store’s preferences just by using any password.Fortunately, there is one caveat to this process and Apple already has a fix ready for later this month.Click the padlock icon to unlock it
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Building a car from scratch is complicated, to say the least.When Tesla first started it worked off a Lotus chassis to develop the Roadster and now Maryland-based Genovation is taking the same route.At CES the company showed off the GXE, a Corvette Grand Sport with twin electric motors stuffed under the hood.An all-electric Corvette is pretty cool in its own right, but Genovation is going one step further, offering a seven-speed manual transmission in the GXE.The Tesla uses a single-speed reduction gearbox, which offers incredible acceleration but doesn't do much for top speed.Keeping the manual gearbox, or the available eight-speed automatic, allows for both quick acceleration and fast speed.
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The 130-year-old Eastman Kodak company announced an ICO yesterday because it’s 2018 and nothing matters.Since the announcement, the stock price is trading up 89 percent, currently at $11.90.The stock price has not been this high since March 2017.Kodak isn’t the first company to see explosive stock gains after announcing a cryptocurrency product.Others like Veltyco, LongFin and even Long Island Iced Tea Corp all saw triple-digit gains thanks to a cryptocurrency move.Kodak’s ICO is designed to develop a blockchain system to secure digital photography rights and ensure photographers receive royalties.
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Data democratization has been promoted as a competitive advantage in the global economy and a desirable, egalitarian end-state where all decisions are data-driven.Most articles on data democratization quickly move from statements about accessibility to a narrower focus on organizational initiatives making data available to employees.That implies a restricted scope for data democratization, specifically not within the public domain, but limited to private sector organizations.Today, we’re seeing broadening data democratization through the rise of user-friendly public data (such as Data.gov); organizations providing content through programs like OpenNASA, which makes all of NASA’s open data, code, and APIs publicly available, or OpenData500, tracking the use of public data; and citizen data scientists.The evolution of data accessWhen I began my career, data was handwritten onto paper, entered onto punch cards, and read into a computer.
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Journo who bought data has been named in police complaintThe Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has refuted claims the country's Aadhaar identification system was hacked as “clearly a case of misreporting being incorrect and misleading”, but has also filed a police complaint against the journalist who reported a breach.Last week, Indian Tribune journalist Rachna Khaira wrote that she was able to pay for access to the Aadhaar data trove, which stores data - including biometrics - on over a billion Indian citizens.Khaira uncovered what appears to be an abuse of insider access to the Aadhaar admin systems.For 500 rupees (US8.00), Khaira wrote she was able to get a source to create an Aadhaar gateway for her, and for another 300 rupees the contact provided software to print Aadhaar cards.The complaint by the Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was confirmed to The Indian Express by joint commissioner of police Alok Kumar.
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If your home theater setup is so advanced and pricey that you scoff at the thought of buying a high-end OLED TV, Sony has the perfect thing for you.Tonight at CES, the company announced the 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector (LSPX-A1).It ships this spring for $30,000.That’s a $5,000 increase from the fanciest projector that Sony launched at last year’s show.The LSPX-A1 is meant to sit 9.6 inches from the wall onto which you’ll be projecting a 4K image that can stretch up to 120 inches.The laser projector reaches a peak brightness of 2500 lumens.
US
The noise-reduction challenge usually comes down to this: “at what effort and cost?”Even the ubiquitous switched-mode power supply (SMPS) has noise issues.Due to its efficiency and small size, this architecture is widely used in applications including LED drivers and electronic ballasts.Understand the Noise Mechanisms and SolutionsDifferential mode and common mode noise have different causes and thus different solutions.The basic DM filter uses a single-winding choke (inductor) inserted into the line path, along with a capacitor from line to neutral, thus blocking noise from propagating through the system (Figure 1).
US
James Damore, a former Google engineer who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company in Santa Clara Superior Court in Northern California.Damore is joined in the suit by another former Google engineer named David Gudeman, who spent three years with Google working on a query engine.The lawsuit, filed by Dhillon Law Group, says it aims to represent all employees of Google who’ve been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views by Google,” due to “their male gender by Google” and “due to their Caucasian race by Google.”More specifically, it accuses Google of singling out, mistreating and systematically punishing and terminating employees who “expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity’ or ‘social justice’…”Damore isn’t holding back any punches here.According to his filing, Google employs “illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas—in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others.”
China
According to sources quoted by Pingwest (in Chinese), negotiations between the two mobility firms have been completed but Didi will only take over a part of Bluegogo’s business.Didi plans to buy up Bluegogo’s bicycles as a part of its quest to enter the bike rental market.The ride-hailing firm will inject Bluegogo with cash to pay out late wages for staff.However, when it comes to users’ deposits, Didi will not pay them out directly.Instead, it plans to settle the matter by exchanging them into coupons for rides with Didi.As for supplier arrears, the payments will be left to Bluegogo’s team.
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Nearly eight months after it was first announced, Belkin's WeMo HomeKit Bridge is finally up for sale as of today, the company announced at CES 2018.For your money, you'll get a smallish plug-in hub that connects directly to your router and to power.Once you've got it plugged in, it'll connect your existing WeMo devices with Apple HomeKit, the set of iOS-based smart home protocols that let you control compatible gadgets together in Apple's Home app, or by using spoken Siri commands.WeMo devices supported by the HomeKit bridge include:That list leaves out offshoot gadgets like WeMo's coffee maker and humidifier, but it's still nice to see a majority of the product line in the mix, including WeMo's first-gen switches and motion detectors, which Belkin isn't even selling anymore."We've had an overwhelming positive response from customers when we announced last spring that we would make the Wemo Bridge compatible with HomeKit support," said Kara Alexander, Wemo's senior product manager.
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