Will Anti-Drone Technology Work to Circumvent Drones?

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Everybody is talking about civilian drones and laws, that they must also be aware of anti-drone technology being developed to handle careless or untrained pilots. These unmanned aerial vehicles (uavs) have caught the attention of lawmakers, but what about implements beyond laws? Such as an actual small drone technology to police the skies when a pilot is not policing themselves?
The Price of Drone Technology
Headlines have long shown the possibilities of this with the crashing of UAVs into high security areas like the White House, this happened twice and the Japanese Prime Minister’s office. How do we counteract an entire industry of developers and users who either mean to use malcontent or are just sloppy in their abilities? It would be easy to see where this is going and how much hysteria the media will create as a result.
We want drones to thrive, the application possibilities are endless. It is inevitable civilians are going to immerse themselves into drones for fun and profit. There will be those pilots who will be the sole reasons counter-drone technology must be deployed at vital government buildings, and corporate headquarters. This is going to require a serious balancing act by all involved. As they must mitigate the freedom of drone technology in the hands of consumers, regulators, drone companies and privacy advocates. The two most important factors to consider are: Privacy and Safety.
As far as Counter-drone technology is concerned, here are the latest considerations for fending off unwanted drone intrusions.
DroneShield
In Washington, D.C. they use an acoustic technology referred to as “DroneShield”. This detects incoming drones from up to 150 yards. It will then send emails or text messages to the monitoring service if even the smallest drone breaches the perimeter. This technology is being used in prisons to stop drones from delivering contraband like drugs or cell phones to prisoners.
Droneshield was also deployed during the most recent Boston Marathon, proving it could operate in a noisier, less stable environment. The entire marathon route was declared a ‘no-drone zone’ by city officials.
Other employers of the Droneshield is said to be that of the producers of the latest Star War Movies, who wish to keep sneak-peaking geek drones from their closed sets.
Maldrone
This counter-drone approach is not as nice as the DroneShield. The DroneShield informs when other drones are nearby, however Maldrone is the world’s first drone virus. It simply infects approaching drones with malware, letting them plunder to the ground. The Python-language script was successfully tested by inserting the malware code into a Parrot AR Drone via Wi-Fi. The software runs on standard Linux commands on the drone’s onboard computer. It could just as easily report data from the drone’s sensors back to the attacker. The malware shuts off the drone’s autopilot system, causing it to drop out of the sky.
Maldrone was originally created to demonstrate security vulnerabilities in consumer drones rather than earn the title of a malicious drone death-ray. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to see how this drone zapper could easily reach the hands of the hacker community as a malicious method to stopping drones.
Pwnie Express
While on the subject of malicious code for combating undesirable drones, there is a Vermont based company which offer anti-hacking solutions that will stop a drone in its flight with a solution named “Pwnie Express”. Along with this product comes the mission statement which declares to “mitigate the growing attach surface created by the emerging threat vector from the Internet of Everything”. This includes vulnerable loT devices, high-risk BYOx, and purpose-built malicious hardware. Their bragging rights include the ability to self-test device security and sweeper for outside risks, including drones. So if this technology is able to combat malware, then how effective is it for another counter technology such as Maldrone?
DeTect
The DJI Phantom which landed on the White House Lawn and flew undetected under the radar was defined as to small to be notice. A specialty radar company called DeTect argues this notion with their own brand of counter-drone technology. This Florida based company developed a technology that automates with fine-tuning radar to find the smallest of drones flying amongst birds and other objects. This product is already being used with a company in Spain to help detect airborne objects around a drone-testing facility.HL
Perhaps the truth behind launching civil drones lies in the all the resources being spent to allocate safe drone flying. Between governmental legislation being at odds, counter-drone technology development being hurried along, and civilians chomping at the bit to hit the skies with drones, there is no way to tell what stage of the game we are in. If we wish to command the skies with drones, we must learn to police ourselves in order to avoid the crippling legislation, bad public relations, and of course, the anti-drone technology.

Why Are PC Sales Declining?

 

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If anyone has been following the news, then you would know PC sales are declining. Recent decisions by Sony and Samsung to stop selling laptops in Europe have everyone wondering why. Samsung has made the choice to pull the Ativ Windows and Chromebook devices in Europe. Sony sold its Vaio sector in February of this year. A Samsung spokesperson has stated “We quickly adapt to market needs and demands. In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops including Chromebooks for now. This is specific to the region and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets.” Yet, one has to wonder if this is region specific or if there is something in the economic undertones no one is talking about.

What about the 5,000 people laid off from Sony when the firm restructured its TV division and how many of the staff will experience job cuts from the corporate Samsung ripple? Technology is one of the fastest growing industries, so to say PC’s are in decline in Europe leads to other questions. The spokesman for Samsung also added “We will continue to thoroughly evaluate market conditions and will make further adjustments to maintain our competitiveness in emerging PC categories.”
Things have been quiet from Samsung this year on the laptop side of things with now new devices at IFA 201 in Berlin. The firm’s main recent releases have included the Ativ Book 9 Plus and Ativ Book 9 Lite.
In the case of Sony, the move resulted in significant job cuts. The firm also restructured its TV division and although a handful of staff were moved to the new company, the forecasted total loss of employees amounted to 5,000.
In Samsung’s case, we haven’t been given any information on any job losses but we’re requesting more information so we’ll update this article.
“We will continue to thoroughly evaluate market conditions and will make further adjustments to maintain our competitiveness in emerging PC categories” added the spokesperson.
The decline in PC sales is a result of lost sales to tablets among consumers. The high price of tablets sometimes makes it an ‘either/or’ situation, leaving the consumers to invest in the tablet instead. Recently, Gartner analyst, Mikako Kitagawa said “That as tablet and laptop prices decline, PC sales might improve, because more people can own both.” Meanwhile, tablet sales are rising quickly globally.
Many consumers agree on one thing: it is a convenience factor. The concept of accomplishing tasks on the move, at home, or at work is a very big deal. Consumer sales previously made up half of the PC business, now making it an intense competition across the board for PC makers due to less profitability. Are PC’s heading for the technology graveyard? Unless the price warrants affordability to indulge in both, this could be the scenario. Consumers always have the last word.

Can Anyone Listen To Your Cell Phone Calls?

 

 

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You bet they can. German researchers recently discovered hackers, and criminals can easily intercept your private messages and calls. Cellular networks may even use the most cutting edge encryption there is, but the security flaws are widespread and on devastating on a massive scale. In a Hamburg, Germany at a hacker conference it was disclosed that the SS7, the actual global network which allows carriers to route all services is so flawed it is crazy vulnerable. Hackers familiar with SS7 capabilities can easily forward calls to another number, redirect, and record any phone call in the world. This has frightening implications. They can manipulate the weaknesses of the SS7 for whatever purpose deemed. Our cell phones communications systems vulnerabilities are such that at some point this can be marketed to governing agencies in any country.
Which brings to mind the current controversy on NSA and Snowden; our eyes rolled and our heads shook in fearful discontent at something we already knew was happening, right? Unless you live under a rock, then you ought to know the power of government is in their unapologetic means of acquiring information. It is a given. Even as people shrieked and argued over the Snowden disclosures, even as technology gets more and more complex, even with this new hacker cell phone revelation, you have to at some point acknowledge truths. We are vulnerable. Every intersection of our life is transparent and subject to forcing us naked in the public eye. Now with the hackers rolling around in the SS7 cell phone communications we have to wonder what else is at risk? If recording your calls or decrypting them isn’t enough…how about tracking you? Or how about defrauding any entity you depend on to function in your life? It is very unnerving to know that the government can track you through your cell phone, but even more disturbing to think a criminal can.
We live in the era of Facebook photos of our kids subject to just a couple taps on the computer to reveal whereabouts, the sweet era of over governing and gray laws of questionable behavior, and now the technology tool everyone is dependent on isn’t so private either. Do you ever wonder what is next? Is there a little voice in the head which makes you wonder if you could fall victim or a family member could? Perhaps this era will be known as the ‘intrusion era’, as if gossip and secrets are just exploding into one big mess of victim chaos. Technology doesn’t seem so grand when it cannot provide us a sense of security and privacy. pulling-sms-from-used-phones
Try to dissect all of this and you will discover, every bit is a double edge sword. A big hypocrisy. We want GPS, but we don’t want others to GPS us. Our government can listen in on conversations which may avert a terrorist attack, but don’t stomp on our personal freedoms. Facebook is a social sharing place so our personal drama belongs on it lest we forget the creepy consequences of doing so. This is the world we live in today.
So, are we really so surprised about anything hackers can do? That is why they are called hackers. The big question you should be asking yourself is “why would anyone want to listen in on my conversations anyways?” unless of course you are up to no good. But, we won’t go into the hypocrisy of moral ambiguity. Save for another day.

Build -An- App

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These days doesn’t it seem like everyone can build an App, with the exception of you? I am sure you know somebody who knows somebody who created an App. Somewhere in the simplicity and complexity of this great undertaking is the thought “how is it done?” In the great Google machine is a plethora of websites which will either a) create an App for you (for a wee cost), or b) step by step instructions from the best of developers. Some offer tutorials, such as Codelearn, for step by step coding and others brag you don’t need to even learn how to code if you download a program which does it for you. With blogs and websites so user-friendly now, is it possible creating phone Apps are just as easy to build?
The App market is way different now than when there were 25,000 Apps total. The competition is over 1.2 million and growing. Even if you built an exciting, fresh new concept how will people discover it? Before you venture off into App creation, recognize the magical marketing skills you will have to have just to promote the App. This is basic business. Compare it to the self publishing market with books; same principle applies. In business, there is money management, planning, product support, promotion, etc., and every little task will consume even the most brilliant lone wolf independent developer. Consumers may buy Apps like crazy, but only luck of the dice will ‘show you the money’. Sustainability is another factor. With so many Apps being created, say consumers find yours, how long could your App maintain a constant customer purchase. The most delicious App will be duplicated; clones will try to steal your thunder. Let’s say you develop a revolutionary App, one of the approaches would be to present it to companies who have millions of App users. Unless you wait a gazillion years for a patent, your intellectual property could be at risk by deception from the big boys. Think about how you will approach the touchy gray matter of business undertakings.
David Gewirtz, an author and computer scientist offers this advice for App dreamers:
Here’s a simple piece of advice: if you can’t write your app yourself, typing it on your own computer, doing the work yourself, with your own brains and skills, don’t do it.
You will lose. You will lose friends. You will lose money. It will be bad.
• If you’re a serial entrepreneur and know how to plan and put together a team: go for it.
• If you’re already an app programmer: go for it.
• If you have no tech experience: learn to program apps and do it yourself.
• If you have no tech experience and don’t want to learn to program: run, run away.
• If you have no tech experience and want to hire someone else to build it: you are going to be throwing your money away.
• If you have no tech experience and think you can talk someone into doing it for you “as a deal”: good luck, but it will backfire on you both.
If you are hard set to create an App, then remember, software programming is a good life skill and an asset in a highly desirable market today. This is what it all boils down too. There is nothing wrong with another notch of experience and learning on your belt; be sure somewhere in the next technology wave, you may be able to ride that gravy train.

What Exactly Is “Project Ara”?

Oho-idea_Motorola’s Project Ara

Lego’s grew up. Get ready for the complete flip in cell phone technology. The project prototype of Ara, an innovative modular system, is about to blow people’s minds. Think of this like small building blocks in which you pick out personally to customize around your needs. These removable modules make up the phone’s entire components as a whole. Begin with an endoskeleton (a main shell) and insert your modules for functionality and purpose.
Ara, named after the lead mechanical designer, is a crazy concept which will revolutionize the mobile technology market just as smart phones did awhile ago. There are so many directions this project could take and the futures possibilities of a module- initiated, Lego-type are endless. If you want a great camera, you pick the camera module for the phone and not the phone for a good camera. Even customizable health sensors, like a pulse ox meter to test the oxygen in your blood with hardware designed light. Other encouraging aspects of Ara include being able to share modules with your friends and family and certainly, Ara will be a huge bonus in the business arena. Everything about this concept is centered on personal configuration and expression. Wrap your mind around this customizable ability in your own hands.
If Ara still doesn’t sound all so appealing to you, then go a little deeper with this amazing prototype…how about budget costs? Ara has this covered too. Since modules are sold separately, you will be able to replace a broken module instead of the whole phone. The costs of owning an Ara are estimated to come into the marketplace as an entry level device between 50-100 dollars for the endoskeleton. Another curious option to consider is how this will affect the contract phone networks, if Ara will ultimately shake up this system with modularity-customization with users in sharp, personal control.
Many people are familiar with Phoneblocks created by Dave Haskins last year. He is a brilliant designer originating from the Netherlands who now works along side with Project Ara such as focusing on reduction of electronic waste and documenting the Ara progress through videos. Reducing electronic waste is an ultimate plus to this powerful prototype, as technology progresses this will be a top priority in societal and environmental concerns.
Yet hold on, Project Ara is still in testing stage and probably won’t be popped out into the marketplace until the prototype is a sure thing. Because it is in the developmental stage, the limited pilot market won’t be until next year. Project Ara is in Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP) but is not solely a Google product, more of a developmental effort.
If you are not familiar with Project Ara, do yourself a favor and glide into some research regarding the mobile prototype. It is coming, and unless at some juncture the technology seems amiss, it will be a solvable problem. Project Ara is a stinging sign of a new generation of brilliance getting ready to conquer the mobile technology frontier. Lego’s grew up.

Google Chrome Opens Up

Google is moving forward by bringing Android apps to Chrome OS, in hopes to bring the two platforms closer together. Later on, then Google can completely merge the two as to have on OS for both the desktop and the mobile. The Android has an incredible amount of apps especially for it, so now this opens the desktop side of Chrome OS to this abundance of apps. What will be interesting to see, if Google can incorporate the Chrome extensions, the smaller apps which operate within the Chrome browser? These extensions are a function of Chrome inside the browser which allows the user to jump to something else never leaving the browser environment.richd-android-chromeos-merge

On the desktop, this would mean they work in OS X, Chrome OS and Windows right away. If Chrome is the default browser for Android now, then with Google’s mobile OS users would be able to enjoy this desktop like feature. The Android is already a solid app system and with Google’s aspirations, the Android would become even more capable. This Google development is significant for a couple reasons.
Having extensions in Chrome Android would offer a second platform for apps to developers. There target market would extend dramatically without much effort. Soon there will be many Android apps on Chrome OS. Not to mention, the users of Chrome OS will discover that with the Android done Google’s way will definitively open up Google’s OS. Consumers will grow with the Chrome-Android idea, and Google will use the two platforms to make them even more appealing in the future.

Google had launched Chrome apps for mobiles back in January, with a tool chain based on Apache Cordova which operates as development framework for creating apps using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. This is pushing towards their ultimate goal of getting developers on board to build Chrome apps to run on desktops and of course, on the Android. They achieve this with Cordova plugins and a basic shell application which gives access to a multiple of APis, and even Chrome’s core APis. Distribution for developers through Google Play and Apple’s Store become promising and affluent.

Google showed this new functionality off in the Topeka Polymer Web App at their release conference. This is now available on Google play and packaged as a Chrome App for Android. They also created a new live deploy feature for its developers to preview and change codes they make to the Chrome App. Without a doubt, with the introduction of Google’s Chrome-Android plans, developers are chomping at the bit to see where it takes them; just as users will become curious to capabilities suited for their benefits. Google is moving fast with ideas which may not be understood now, however, a two platform merge reeks of future possibilities.

The Surprise of Wi-Fi

In the latest round of features for smartphones is a quiet one Apple should be shouting about. It is also a feature available now on some of the newest Androids. Imagine for a moment you are out of signal for your mobile network, now you can use Wi-Fi instead of your network to make a call, text, or receive a call. If you are out of range and need to use your phone, using this feature will automatically switch from network to Wi-Fi and back again when a signal appears.wifiguy
There are many benefits to this idea. The fore most mentioned is of course being out of your mobile’s network area. If you are traveling in remote areas, or if a signal is hard to get even in your own home, you won’t have to worry about missing an important call. Another plus to this feature is saving money on your data plan. You won’t be using up those valuable minutes. With the bountifulness of hotspots popping up everywhere, there might even be a good chance you will be connected more often to these Wi-Fi gems than to your own network.
You may be thinking right now that this is nothing new; phones have Skype and VoIP (Voice over internet protocol). Yet there is a difference between these technologies in a rather big way. Skype is forever cool but remember, you do have to initiate a Skype account, install the Skype app on your device and of course, buy the Skype credits to make those calls. Skype also will drop a call if you are out of range on your Wi-Fi network. With VoIP, this service cannot switch automatically from Wi-Fi to your mobile network. The greatest benefit of Wi-Fi calling is no costs to bear, no subscriptions, and no apps to install. This somehow resembles the idea of making a normal call, like from landlines.
This technology has been around for a long time; however mobile device users are becoming more aware of mobile Wi-Fi ability thanks to Apple’s subtle endorsement. Typically, this technology is known as the GAN, or Generic Access Network. Traditionally transmitted using mobile data to Wi-Fi networks instead of cell towers, your call goes on to the GAN controller. This is referred to as a ‘carrier grade’ voice service. Calls are managed inside a core network referred to as an IP Multimedia Subsystem.
The older mobile devices won’t have this automatic feature, but if you are sporting a new Apple iphone or even a later model Android, chances are your phone will have this technology. So, when you are lost inside the masses of mountains, or traversing a long mile free range, this is a comfort worth acknowledging. The benefits to the Apple Wi-Fi capabilities may even save you some money in your pocketbook.