Showing 1-10 of 48 results

  • TECH

    Surprisingly, your personal data isn't safe with Facebook

    Life, James Hein, Published on 10/10/2018

    » Facebook has been in the news recently having large numbers of public profiles harvested by marketing conglomerates. Estimates from this incident alone range from 50 to 90 million users and there may be a lot more. The "more" part comes from the user search and account recovery features that may have been abused to scrape up to 2 billion or more accounts. In other words, if you are on Facebook and have any kind of public profile someone has more info on you than you might like. The feature has since been turned off but not before a lot of information went to the marketers.

  • TECH

    A quantum leap for computers

    Life, James Hein, Published on 22/02/2017

    » According to Prof Winfried Hensinger of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, he and his team have the first practical design for a quantum computer. Like millions of others, I have struggled to come to an understanding of quantum mechanics and how a quantum computer might work.

  • TECH

    Facebook stalking; hijacked smartphones

    Life, James Hein, Published on 24/06/2015

    » I am not a big social media user. I keep my profiles trim and any pictures to a minimum. I don't like Twitter at all for various reasons and I find most of the users of Tumblr focused on social engineering directions I don't agree with. All of that aside then, there is Facebook. Like many others I use Facebook to connect to people I have lost touch with, such as old high school friends whom I have no way of tracking down. In my case my Goodreads account is linked to Facebook to let people know what I am reading or have read. If you like reading and haven't tried it then take a look at For me it also a great way to track what I have read and haven't in, say, a series I like.

  • TECH

    Apple sours as rivals rise

    Life, James Hein, Published on 04/12/2019

    » Apple can't seem to win a trick these days. Overall phone sales in Europe picked up during the last quarter but iPhone sales did not follow the upswing and ended up 4% down on the same quarter last year. The problem is that the latest models are not giving many users a reason to upgrade. Their battery replacement programme and bad sales in China have not helped either. Overall market share worldwide has dropped from 20.8% to 18.6%. By comparison, Samsung has increased their share to over 35% in the same market. Huawei, in second place, sits about the same on 22.2%. Xiaomi is still in fourth place but well behind the others at 10.5%. The biggest impacts predicted going forward are 5G and Brexit though in reality I don't think the latter will have any real impact other than short term. The most popular Samsung models were the Galaxy A10, A20e, A40 and A50.

  • TECH

    In 2020, China heads into 1984

    Life, James Hein, Published on 23/10/2019

    » China will have 626 million CCTVs installed by 2020. That's close to one for every two people in the country. By the end of 2019, any application for Internet access will require first having your face scanned. In 2020, if you want to surf the web you will first have to pass a facial recognition process. If you are recognised and your social score is high enough you will be able to connect. This directive comes from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Technology.

  • TECH

    The borders of security

    Life, James Hein, Published on 22/05/2019

    » It's becoming more common for agents at some borders to demand your device passwords so they can check what you have on them. Given the power of the modern smartphone, partially indicated by the cost of the top-end models, this makes sense, as they are basically mini notebook computers. If you really want to protect your data, keep it elsewhere.

  • TECH

    The internet grows darker

    Life, James Hein, Published on 08/05/2019

    » Social media has reached danger levels of influence and like anything powerful it can be used for positive or negative purposes. In countries like China you can say as many good things about the government on social media as you like but anything negative typically triggers a rapid response. The US and UK has its own sets of problems, with a tug-of-war between liberals and conservatives over the truth, with each side seeking to banish the other from social media. Self-defined open, inclusive and balanced social media platforms like Twitter are removing accounts on one side of politics in countries before elections, effectively meddling in elections.

  • TECH

    Human override here to stay

    Life, James Hein, Published on 10/04/2019

    » Computers are useful tools and they will emotionlessly churn through thousands of operations in the blink of an eye to produce whatever results they were programmed to do. Most of the time the results are welcomed. When it comes to malware the results generate a different reaction, and then there are those spaces in the middle. The situation surrounding the Boeing 737 Max MCAS aircraft and the recent crash is an excellent example. The latest analysis would seem to indicate that the computer engineers made some choices that have had unintended consequences. In this case overriding the wishes of the pilots by assuming the plane was crashing, when it wasn't, and not allowing the human pilots to correct the computer's decisions.

  • TECH

    AI-aided hope on the horizon

    Life, James Hein, Published on 13/02/2019

    » Despite some of my criticisms in the past there are some excellent examples of emerging artificial intelligence technologies. I've mentioned some of these from the medical world in earlier articles but a new one caught my eye this week, figuring out in which hotel a picture was taken. No, not to help people remember where holiday snaps were taken but to track down human trafficking where pics of women are taken to sell them for sex. The three groups behind this identification technology are from George Washington University, Temple University and Adobe, all in the US. Like many AI systems a large amount of source data is used and to help with this more than a million images have been collected from 50,000 hotels worldwide. Using all the room elements in backgrounds a neural network is being trained to identify a hotel chain and then a location.

  • TECH

    An English-always app workaround

    Life, James Hein, Published on 30/01/2019

    » On a recent overseas trip I noticed that some of my Android phone Google-related apps would change language settings and feeds based on the country I was in. Unless you can read in multiple languages this is really annoying. Even more so is that this behaviour is the default one and apparently unchangeable. If you are using Google as a browser you can at least stop this when browsing by using the URL where the "ncr" stands for No Country Redirect. The result is an English always result regardless of where you may be in the world at the time.

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