FBI braces for ISIS – Founder of app used by ISIS: ‘We shouldn’t feel guilty.’ – Key Issue to 2016 Elections: Paris Attacks – Ep841: Unleash Your Computer’s Potential – and more stories

FBI braces for ISIS holiday terror attacks

In the wee hours of July 4, FBI counterterrorism agents in the Boston area scrambled to thwart the last of a string of Islamic State terror plots they feared could be conducted during the patriotic holiday or soon after.

Just weeks earlier, an agent and Boston officers had shot and killed an ISIS sympathizer on the same streets, right before he boarded a bus armed with a military-style knife and plans to attack cops and behead a woman.

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Founder of app used by ISIS once said ‘We shouldn’t feel guilty.’ On Wednesday he banned their accounts

Pavel Durov knew that terrorists might be using his app to communicate. And he decided it was something he could live with.

“I think that privacy, ultimately, and our right for privacy is more important than our fear of bad things happening, like terrorism,” the founder of Telegram, a highly secure messaging app, said at a TechCrunch panel in September when asked if he “slept well at night” knowing his technology was used for violence.

“If you look at ISIS, yes, there’s a war going on in the Middle East,” he continued. “Ultimately, ISIS will find a way to communicate with its cells, and if any means doesn’t feel secure to them, they’ll [find something else]. We shouldn’t feel guilty about it. We’re still doing the right thing, protecting our users’ privacy.”

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Paris Attacks Raise Encryption as Key Issue to 2016 Elections

Presidential candidates who travel to Silicon Valley for fundraising may find themselves walking a precarious line between the privacy position of potential donors and calls for greater surveillance in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The weekend’s mass shootings and suicide bombings in France — together with the downing of a Russian airliner and a pair of suicide bombings in Beirut — have renewed calls for technology companies to provide government officials back-door access to encrypted communications on smartphones and messaging apps.

As Re/code noted yesterday, technology giants like Apple, Google and Facebook have pushed back against such measures, arguing that leaving holes in customers’ data encryption, no matter how well intentioned, would make them more vulnerable to hacking and cybercrime without necessarily making them safer.

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Optimizing Lifestyle and Work-Life by Speeding up Your Machines

As Vice President of Marketing at iolo technologies, Mr. Schoch was responsible for refocusing the company around its best-in-class computer performance product, System Mechanic, which he grew into the #1 product in its category, more than doubling the company's revenue.

Catch more of JJ Schoch on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 21, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Give Extra Life and Power to Your Machines

Larry O’Connor is Founder and CEO of Other World Computing, Inc. (OWC), a manufacturer and e-Tailer of Solid State Drives, data storage solutions, memory and accessories for Mac and PC computers. Started in 1988, the company has become an innovative leader in developing/delivering non-Apple/non-PC manufacturer storage solutions and upgrades to extend the performance, use-life of the SMB’s and individual’s computing device investment. In addition to guiding the technology and solutions activities for OWC, Larry also serves at the President of Newer Technology, Inc. and Price.com

Catch more of Larry O'Connor on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 21, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Cops Undercover – MIT’s Free Online Classes For A Degree – Verizon Will Share Your Browsing Habits – Improving Lives with Amazing Technology

Cops Use Undercover 'Repent' Signholder to Catch Drivers Using Their Cellphones

Crime rates have been going down for decades, and while many Americans may be unaware, the decline has inevitably shifted some policing priorities around the country. If crime were out of control and the "war on cops" some apologists insist is happening—despite all data suggesting otherwise—was actually happening, these kinds of police actions would be not only ridiculous but dangerous too.

WMUR in New Hampshire reports:

Michelle Tetreault's daughter didn't know what "repent" meant when she spotted a man with a sign around his neck warning "Repent! The end is near!" But she's plenty sorry now that her mom is facing a $124 traffic ticket for using her cellphone to snap a picture of the man. 

The two were stopped at a red light in Somersworth last week when they saw the sign. Moments after Tetreault gave in to her 14-year-old daughter's pleas to take a picture, she was pulled over and told the man with the sign was actually an undercover officer. She was ticketed for violating the state's new law against using cellphones or other electronic devices while driving.

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For 1st time, MIT's free online classes can lead to degree

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has offered free online courses for the last four years with one major downside: They didn't count toward a degree. That's about to change.

In a pilot project announced Wednesday, students will be able to take a semester of free online courses in one of MIT's graduate programs and then, if they pay a "modest fee" of about $1,500 and pass an exam, they will earn a MicroMaster's credential, the school said.

The new credential represents half of the university's one-year master's degree program in supply chain management. As part of the pilot project, students who perform well in the online half can take an exam to apply for the second semester on campus. Those who get in would pay $33,000, about half the cost of the yearlong program.

"Anyone who wants to be here now has a shot to be here," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. "They have a chance to prove in advance that they can do the work."

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Verizon will share your browsing habits with AOL's massive ad network

When Verizon bought AOL earlier this year, the two companies said they were teaming up to "pursue the joint vision of building the most significant media platform in the world." But they're also sharing something else — your personal data. Starting in November, Verizon will start sharing the information gathered by its controversial "supercookie" — an identifier inserted into mobile internet browsing activity as standard for customers of the network — with AOL's vast ad network. AOL's network, which is represented on 40 percent of websites, will be able to match internet users to their Verizon details, building profiles of their browsing habits and targeting them with specific ads based on their cellphone use.

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Can Entertainment Adapt with Ever Growing Needs of Consumers?

Mr. Scott Olechowski serves as the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder at Plex, Inc. He served as Vice President for Product Strategy of PostX Corporation. Mr. Olechowski served as Chief Technology Officer of nCognito Interactive Services, Inc. He co-founded Atlas Systems, Inc. He served as Vice President, Product Development of Actzero, Inc. Previous experience includes the founding and growth of several private software companies, including Legal Video Sync. Mr. Olechowski has held positions in senior management focused on product planning, marketing and development. He received his B.S. from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois with degrees in both Marketing and Management. 

Catch more of Bob Summers on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 14, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Getting Smarter with Organizing What Matters Most

Chris has over 22 years of experience with roles in product management, technology, accounting, and consulting. This experience and expertise gives Chris a unique perspective enabling him to help organizations build solutions to improve their processes and performance.

Catch more of Scott Lorenz on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 14, Saturday, 11am, EST)


When Technology Finally Understands People

Brett Beranek is responsible for solution marketing for Nuance’s voice biometric solutions. Prior to joining Nuance, he has held over the past decade various business development & marketing positions within the enterprise B2B security software space. Beranek has extensive experience with biometric technologies, in particular in his role as a founding partner of Viion Systems, a startup focused on developing facial recognition software solutions for the enterprise market. Beranek also has in-depth experience with a wide range of other security technologies, including fingerprint biometrics, video analytics for the physical security space and license plate recognition technology. He has earned a Bachelor of Commerce, information Systems Major, from McGill University as well as an Executive Marketing certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

Catch more of Mikael Petersson on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 14, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Online Attacks on Infrastructure – USB Killer 2.0: Harmless and Destroys – Even If You Don’t “Live” On the Internet – Small Drones Up For Registration – NSA can break trillions of encrypted Web and VPN connections – iPhone Trick Can Extend the Life of Your Battery – Must-Have Mobile Apps and Docking Stations

Online Attacks on Infrastructure Are Increasing at a Worrying Pace

Over the last four years, foreign hackers have stolen source code and blueprints to the oil and water pipelines and power grid of the United States and have infiltrated the Department of Energy’s networks 150 times.

“They could, for example, derail passenger trains or, even more dangerous, derail trains loaded with lethal chemicals,” former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned in 2012. “They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”

It is getting harder to write off such predictions as fearmongering. The number of attacks against industrial control systems more than doubled to 675,186 in January 2014 from 163,228 in January 2013, according to Dell Security — most of those in the United States, Britain and Finland.


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USB Killer 2.0: A Harmless-Looking USB Stick That Destroys Computers

Plugging in random USB sticks in your computer has never been more dangerous. USB Killer 2.0.

When plugged into a computer, the deadly USB draws power from the device itself. With the help of a voltage converter the device's capacitors are charged to 220V, and it releases a negative electric surge into the USB port.

This surge "fries" the USB port and, in the researcher's demonstration, the motherboard - perhaps not always after the first surge, but the malicious USB device repeats the process until no more power can be drawn.

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Even If You Don't "Live" On the Internet

It took the hackers less than two hours to take over Patsy Walsh’s life. Mrs. Walsh did not consider herself a digital person. As far as she knew, her home was not equipped with any “smart devices,” physical objects like refrigerators and thermometers that transmit information to the Internet. Sure, she has a Facebook account, which she uses to keep up on friends’ lives, but rarely does she post about her own.

Within minutes, they had not only broken into Mrs. Walsh’s email account, but also that of her daughter — who at some point had allowed the computer’s browser to auto-fill her password.  Over an hour and a half, they discovered a way to open the Walshes’ garage door. They also found a way to intercept Mrs. Walsh’s television. A service worker had not installed her DirecTV securely, with a password, which meant anyone with knowledge of the device’s I.P. address could control the television remotely.

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More Stories

Take Your Trainer With You

Bob Summers has developed and marketed consumer Internet applications since 1994. He is currently Chief Geek @ Fitnet, his fifth startup. Bob is passionate about creating compelling online video experiences having grown iSpQ VideoChat, desktop video conferencing software, to over 3.0 million users from 196 countries/territories.

Catch more of Bob Summers on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 7, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Your App, Your Own PR

Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. Lorenz works with doctors, lawyers, inventors, authors, start-ups, iPhone app developers and entrepreneurs. As a seasoned publicist he is often called upon in the early stages of a company’s existence to get them “on the radar.” His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, ESPN, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, NPR, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Catch more of Scott Lorenz on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 7, Saturday, 11am, EST)


How to Get Home Safely and Efficiently

With more than 14 years of sales and marketing experience in cell phone accessory solutions, Mikael Petersson is passionate about launching innovative consumer goods. He brings a dynamic and results-oriented approach to his position at iBOLT and values the longstanding relationships he has built in the years of working in the industry. Currently, Petersson heads up all sales and marketing efforts for the company.

Catch more of Mikael Petersson on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 7, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Performance Solutions for Apple Products

Matt founded Henge Docks over four years ago to solve a simple need - his computer cables were everywhere and he was tired of plugging them back in every single time he sat down at his desk. He now oversees all design and production. He's a perfectionist who likes to have fun and cares most deeply about whether his perfectionist designs are also usable.

Catch more of Matthew Vroom on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Nov. 7, Saturday, 11am, EST)


Enter TV hacking – Apple TV: Future of TV – Russian ships to attack global internet – WI-FI: Device captures & identifies people behind concrete – Police seize BBC Newsnight journalist’s laptop – Google Launching 20k Helium Balloons to Improve Internet Access – Agency for give GOP internal docs on climate research – No, There’s No ‘Breaking Bad’ Season 6 – PayPal: 29% Jump in Earnings – Cutting Edge Devices

Enter TV hacking -- courtesy of our government!

You have heard about Jailbreaking your phones to access new apps and features -- well the government has now said its OK to do the same to your "Smart TV."

Once done you can install third party software which is not a problem. However, there are those who will use this technology to accomplish their nefarious purposes such as watching and listen to you through your TV.  Now that will be a problem.

Read more here

Reviewers Say Apple TV Is Promising Start to ‘the Future of TV’

Apple’s new set-top box is finally here, and it’s a big improvement over older models. The new Apple TV, which retails for $149, is playing catch-up to streaming devices like Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV and Google’s Nexus Player. Apple has billed the device as “the future of TV,” and while it’s not quite that—the company’s actual cable-killer is still under wraps—reviewers are saying that the user experience on the new Apple TV is second-to-none.

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Russian ships may be preparing to attack the global internet

US government sources have revealed to the New York Times growing concerns that Russian naval vessels may be threatening the global internet infrastructure. Russian ships have been seen tracing out the routes of the trans-oceanic cables that carry the vast majority of the world’s internet traffic around the world. Russian ships seem to be deliberately staying close enough to these cables to use their attached submersibles, which the US says could descend and sever the lines — or perhaps tap them. The sheer number of ships involved has been described by senior diplomats as comparable to the Cold War.

Read more here


Robotics for Humanity

In 2005 Bruno Maisonnier decided to leave the banking sector to take part into an uncommon adventure: the creation of a humanoid robot. That was the beginning of Aldebaran Robotics, a start up that brought together a few engineers and PhDs. In 8 years, Bruno Maisonnier’s incredible enterprise became a solid society, in which more than 300 people are currently employed. His robot, NAO, is commercialised all over the world, in the most prestigious universities as a research platform (Carnegie Mellon, Berlin University, Stanford, Tokyo University, Harvard…).

Catch more of Bruno Maisonnier on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Oct.31, Saturday, 11am, EST)

Autonomous Drone Built for Man

Torquing Group Ltd was established in 2011, bringing together resources and skills from Torquing Robotics Ltd and Torquing Technology Ltd. The company specialises in Research and Development and rapid prototyping focusing on solving problems by providing platforms for new technology to be developed from.

Catch more of Reece Crowther on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Oct.31, Saturday, 11am, EST)

Phenomenal Camera with a Story to Tell

Giovanni Tomaselli is founder and CEO of iON America and its sister company, World Wide Licenses Ltd. (WWL), which he formed in 1993. For more than 20 years, WWL has been involved in the design, development and manufacturing of digital imaging products for leading brands worldwide, including Kodak, Disney and Polaroid.

Catch more of Giovanni Tomaselli on Tech Talk with Craig Peterson (Oct.31, Saturday, 11am, EST)


4K TV Setting the Stage for Tomorrow’s Video

By    Aaron Taylor
        Executive Vice President
NanoTech Entertainment

People can see a difference in 4K resolution compared to 1080i, 1080p and 720p HD images.

In very non-technical terms it is deeper, richer, more satisfying.

That’s why CES (Consumer Electronics Show) visitors saw a dizzying array of 4K UHD smart TVs this year.

Cable companies and a few industry analysts are quick to point out that:

–        there is no 4K content available

–       The cable service isn’t able to handle the higher data rate throughput

That’s why they project that 4K UHD will either be slow to take off or worse will suffer the same fate as stereoscopic 3D.

But if you sat through something as exciting and breathtaking as Alfonso Cuarón’s and his son Jason’s Gravity, it is apparent that it’s the next stage of film and video production.

Stereoscopic 3D suffered because of its widespread misuse/overuse as well as poor marketing and sales activities —  poor demonstrations,  poorly trained people to explain, install and educate the consumer in its use.

Difference is Obvious

4K UHD production and viewing won’t suffer from these shortcomings because the difference between 4K and HD content is apparent by even the most untrained eyes.

4K content production, delivery, enjoyment will increase more rapidly than many expect not just because people will buy UHD TV sets more quickly than anticipated but because 4K content production – new and old – is more economic than in the past.

More importantly, there are alternative distribution solutions available to content owners and channels.

Low-cost 4K ($400 – $4,000) cameras such as those introduced by GoPro, Black Magic and SONY as well as very economic production and post-production systems are putting the technology into more professional hands – studios, independents and even businesses that focus on education, training, service/support.

And because production costs are lower today, viewer demand for high quality content will accelerate the shift more quickly than we saw when the industry moved from SD to HD.

Still the most vocal opponents, cable companies, are claiming that that they simply cannot push more pixels through their fiber.  The reality is, they are rapidly losing customers to OTT services and bandwidth is their last solid foothold with their customers.   For cable and SAT to support 4k, they would need a major infrastructure overhaul, not to mentioned the tens of millions of HD STBs, which will not support 4k, will need to be replaced as well.

But rather than simply putting more pixels of data on  the screen technologists are developing new approaches that focus  on delivering higher frame rates, better bit rates and a broader color gamut more effectively with lower bandwidth requirements

Better Standards

Standards organizations like SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) are already developing more efficient solutions for delivering (streaming) content rather than forcing native 4K content delivery.

The real entertainment and informational value to people is a combination of resolution and contrast. Higher camera resolution and a narrower dynamic image range of images simply decreases the image contrast which cable firms say is necessary to attract and retain viewers.

To support the SMPTE approach EBU (European Broadcast Union) studies have shown that more pixels don’t necessarily deliver sharper images which are a perceived value to people.

This combination of resolution and contrast can be produced by backing off camera resolution so a wider dynamic range of video content can be captured.

SMPTE fellow Mark Schubin calculates that increasing the data rate from 8-bit to 10-bit and 10-bit to 12-bit doesn’t produce better results when compared to a higher dynamic range.

It calls for the use of a color gamut that is significantly larger than the current HDTV standard, Rec. 709. This will require increased bit depth beyond 8-bits too, otherwise contouring will be evident. But, as noted above, increasing bit depth does not add a lot of date rate increase.

The bottom line is that for UHD native content with higher dynamic range, 10 to 12-bits of color sampling and the Rec. 2020 color gamut will require much higher data rates.

Instead of focusing on delivering more pixels (data rate) at the expense of bit depth, frame rate and expanded color gamut doesn’t produce and deliver what the viewing public wants…cleaner, crisper, sharper and more enjoyable images.

As a result it is better to capture  pristine imagery at the outset then efficiently deliver the content to today’s 4K UHD TV sets rather than to do what the cable companies want to do, move all of the heavy processing down to the TV set.

Beyond the Gate Keepers

Fortunately there are options to the cable gate keepers.

With high-speed Internet to the home and people taking advantage of the smart capabilities of Smart TVs, cable companies are losing their grip on home video entertainment.

Even Nielsen recently announced they will be tracking/counting content/video streams to the TV set and home/personal devices.

To “stimulate” consumers to replace their HD sets with 4K screens, UHD TV set manufacturers are working directly with content owners to deliver material now rather than waiting for the cable gatekeepers to negotiate distribution

Streaming media was initially targeted at PCs but with compact, easy-to-install/-use streaming media players, over-the-top video is increasingly being used/enjoyed.

Content owners are increasingly using streaming services like Amazon and Netflix to deliver their pay-per-view content.

In addition Internet-capable TVs, game systems and compact, inexpensive streaming media players like Roku and Nuvola have reduced the consumers cost and simplified the installation and use of streaming media.

In addition, the devices have broadened the consumer’s entertainment options by giving access to free/paid general entertainment and highly specialized (narrowcast) educational/informational video from sources such as YouTube and UltraFlix.

Majors Moving

The new distribution solution has become so important that CBS is making more and more of its content available to people who stream their entertainment at a time convenient to them rather than the program schedule.

CBS officials recently said that the streaming option enables the company to reach the more elusive younger audience that the traditional network approach typical network broadcast viewer.

More importantly, streaming media devices and services have opened the way for studios, indies and businesses/institutions to reach larger new and specialty audiences.

Free/paid OTT streaming enables more content owners and producers to directly monetize their film/video content, making legacy TV services less relevant.

Despite the new and improved equipment, producing new 4K content is still an expensive/time consuming process.

Studios, content owners are also taking another route to improving their cash flow by mining their libraries of content, refreshing that content and have it streamed beautifully to the new online audience.

Film and production studios have repeatedly repurposed/represented old movies and shows using the latest format and resolution and offered the “new” content to an eager – and profitable – market.

In fact, talking with one of ABC’s content curators a few months ago she said she had more than 150PB of content she was saving for “tomorrow.”

While some organizations simply upscale their content to 4K most industry experts agree the results are far from satisfactory and look as bad as when the industry moved from SD to HD because the finished product is muddy and full of artifacts.

Thus organizations that maintain a tight control on their quality image reputation go to a more extensive repurposing approach internally or externally with such services as 4K Studios.

This entails using Ultra HD scanners for 35mm or 16mm film and digitizing each frame at different red, green and blue light levels; creating an HDR 4K image of each frame and repairing most of the film defects and scratches.

By repurposing rather than upscaling, studios and content owners can quickly and economically breathe new life into their film and video content that is clean, crisp, noise free and ready for streaming delivery.

All without having to wait for cable services to “up their services.”

 With cable companies losing their grip on the TV set viewing public and the growing use of streaming media solutions for 4K UHD TV sets and content owners the blowback has all but disappeared.

TV and online used to be two separate worlds.

Today there are no longer any borders between the two and in the near future linear TV over the cable will be a distant memory.

The sooner film and video production operations move to delivering 4K content the sooner the transition will take place.