Archive for April 4, 2017

Welle Hits Kickstarter Goal In One Day

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

Welle (pronounced vell-uh), a smart device that instantly turns any surface into a smart interface using Sonar Technology through hand gestures, announced today that it surpassed its Kickstarter goal in the first day.

Welle gives you the ability to use unlimited simple gestures to control your favorite devices, appliances, and apps – so powerful it even tracks your finger movements and recognizes handwriting. With Welle, the entire surface becomes connected to Sonar, allowing you to use hand gestures to control all your smart devices, such as lights, TVs, speakers, doors, thermostats, cameras, curtain/blinds, fans; and even PowerPoint presentations, apps, and IFTTT (If this, then that) conditional task applets, and more.

Here’s a video if Welle in action:

Welle is tiny, smaller than a smartphone at less than 3 inches long, weighing just 3.5 ounces, lightweight and small enough to bring on the road to meetings, hotels, coffee shops, and anywhere else you go. Easy to install in just a few minutes with Welle’s app for Android and iOS users, users can setup Bluetooth connections between Welle and the target devices quickly by following the steps on the Welle app.

Available October 2017, Welle will be priced at $99, with early-bird Kickstarter pricing of $59 for a limited time. For more information, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1781885077/1423513448?token=74255447  or http://getwelle.com/.

Advertisements

Rentus.com Becomes First Rental Marketplace to Offer Damage Waivers

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

Starting Thursday April 6, users of Rentus.com, the Airbnb or Uber for your ‘stuff,’ will have the opportunity to purchase comprehensive Damage Waiver coverage on the items they rent. Rentus.com is an online marketplace where users can list items to be rented, or rent items to use. It is the first rental marketplace to offer coverage for items that are rented through its platform.

When listing an item on Rentus.com, owners set the fair market value of an item. A credit card authorization is placed on the renters’ credit for the stated market value and serves as a protection in case of theft or damage. Renters can now purchase damage waiver to cover repairs and incidentals. The Damage Waiver covers accidental damage to the items rented from Rentus.com.

Rentus.com is the only online and mobile marketplace where people can list items for rent to others. They have partnered with several rental businesses providing them with an inventory of thousands of items ready to be rented out. It is available online at Rentus.com and the Rentus.com mobile app is available for iOS on the iTunes store.

CaptoGlove Secures Kickstarter Funding In 13 Days

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

The world’s first wireless wearable controller, CaptoGlove, has reached another milestone by securing its Kickstarter funding in 13 days.  The incredibly versatile CaptoGlove allows users to control video games, VR/AR, mobile & smart devices through simple hand gestures.  The first units are in production and are expected to ship to early Kickstarter backers in May.

To celebrate their funding success, CaptoGlove has announced a Stretch Goal to add a pressure sensor to the thumb of the glove for expanded functionality.  This sensor will leverage the touch sensitivity of the finger and be able to perceive various levels of pressure (<100g to >10kg).  This will enable future customization, as well as more precise measurements of what the finger is doing.

The first CaptoGlove prototype was created five years ago as a way to help a father regain coordination and mobility after a stroke.  Its success was incredible and its precision allowed the glove to next be modified to help train military pilots.  Again demonstrating unparalleled accuracy in replicating flight simulation hand movements, CaptoGlove finally teamed up with world-renowned sports glove company, Reusch to create a truly next-generation wearable wireless controller for video games, virtual reality platforms, mobile devices, professional training, drones, smart home products and more.

The first CaptoGlove prototype was created five years ago as a way to help a father regain coordination and mobility after a stroke.  Its success was incredible and its precision allowed the glove to next be modified to help train military pilots.  Again demonstrating unparalleled accuracy in replicating flight simulation hand movements, CaptoGlove finally teamed up with world-renowned sports glove company, Reusch to create a truly next-generation wearable wireless controller for video games, virtual reality platforms, mobile devices, professional training, drones, smart home products and more.

Key features include:

  • Intuitive Control – CaptoGlove interprets natural hand movement as control gestures, which allows for a quick and easy learning curve.  Create up to 20 control gestures per glove (or 40 with a pair). All gestures are completely customizable through the free iOS/Android/PC app.
  • Gaming Ready – CaptoGlove can be used to play any past, present or future PC game, delivering a uniquely immersive experience on a variety of platforms including VR, AR, XR, first person shooters, flight/racing sims, and more;
  • Plug & Play – Connects via Bluetooth Low Energy to virtually any device.  No need for a specially prepared area or additional equipment such as trackers or cameras. CaptoGlove delivers up to 10 hours of continuous use on a single battery charge.
  • Endless Application Potential – Its smart design and upcoming SDK release will offer tech enthusiasts a wealth of potential uses.  From health rehabilitation and smart home device control, to piloting drones and professional training for police, first responders, pilots, doctors, etc.;
  • Quality – Textile developed in Italy with world-renowned sports glove maker Reusch.  Comfortable, breathable and made from high quality textiles that can be washed by removing a single sensor.

Here’s a video for your viewing pleasure:

 

CaptoGlove Kickstarter reward tiers are still available at significant price discounts to expected retail prices until April 24.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses 3 Ways How ISPs Can Impact Americans’ Online Security

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

President Trump has just signed the executive order on April 3rd, finalizing the repeal of FCC’s Internet privacy rules that would have stopped intrusive practices of ISPs. Internet Service Providers are now free to collect and share their subscribers’ private data that includes precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history. While ISPs are claiming they won’t sell customer data, now that they are legally allowed to do it, there’s lots of skepticism surrounding this claim.

According to the rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, “privacy and security are two sides of the same coin: privacy is about controlling who has access to information about you, and security is how you maintain that control.”

Here, we review the main ways how ISPs can potentially impact online security, given the new rights:

  1. Storing large amounts of data could attract hackers. The storage securityargument always reappears when discussing the mandatory ISP data retention programs. Security experts and human rights groups usually agree that collecting citizens’ data must be balanced with increased data protection.  To make matters worse, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has recently halted the enforcement of another ISP regulation. It would have required providers to take measures to protect user private data from security breaches. As a result, even if users’ data gets hacked because of lax security, broadband providers will bear no responsibility.
  1. ISPs could use enhanced tracking techniques. According to a 2015 study, at least nine ISPs, including AT&T, Verizon and Vodafone, were found to have been using a “supercookies.” When supercookies are installed, every website a user visits, and every third party embedded in these websites can track them. Even if a user deletes their browser’s cookies or use the Incognito mode, supercookies persist. Also, the effectiveness  of some privacy tools may be weakened because the tracking could be added after the data leaves a device. To prevent trackers from being added on a network level, users would have to use a combination of tools to fully secure their Internet traffic, such as a tracker blocker and a VPN for encryption. Thanks to FCC investigation, ISPs (such as Verizon) were fined and have since agreed to notify users about cookies and give an option to opt in before they can track their data. However, if FCC regulations keep getting struck down, ISPs might revert to using, or invent other enhanced tracking methods.
  1. ISP tactics might weaken web encryption. At the moment, ISPs can only track the portion of user traffic that is not encrypted. Although VPN service encryption is recommended, some people choose to rely on web page encryption offered by HTTPS protocol. Tracking is limited on HTTPS websites secured with SSL (Secure Socket Layer). In such websites, any data that is being sent between a user’s browser and the server is encrypted. As such SSL certificates pose a major problem for ISPs since their goal is to build advertising profiles based on their subscriber data. There have been talks of ISPs implementing  a standard called Explicit Trusted Proxy, which would potentially  allow ISPs to intercept encrypted HTTPS web-page data, decode it, process it, re-encrypt it, and then finally pass the re-encrypted data along to its original destination. Recent studies have shown that many tools used for inspecting HTTPS traffic end up weakening the encryptionand potentially exposing it to various security breaches. If Internet providers get their way and obtain access to HTTPS data, they will reduce the security of the entire web.

NordVPN remains an outspoken supporter of Internet privacy and security. The company has noticed a 200% spike in user inquiries from the U.S. since Congress approved new ISP rights. “We will continue safeguarding Internet user privacy, and providing assistance and consultations on Internet privacy to all our clients. During the times of increasing attacks on Internet privacy, VPNs are starting to play a major part in user protection,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) secures and encrypts Internet traffic, helping protect users’ identity and data by hiding their IP address. It scrambles a user’s online data, so an ISP cannot decode and use it for building an advertising profile. It also reroutes Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, preventing any third parties (including the ISPs) from monitoring your Internet traffic.

Alison Celebrates 10 Million Learners Worldwide

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

Alison has announced that it has passed the 10-million registered learner milestone.

Alison pioneered free online education ten years ago when it launched the world’s first massive open online course (MOOC) provider. The site serves more than two million users each in the United States and the United Kingdom, and one million users in India. The site has two million users across Africa, making it the largest single provider of free online education on the continent.

Based in the West of Ireland, Alison was founded by serial entrepreneur Mike Feerick. The site offers learners free access to more than 800 courses, spanning subject areas including languages, IT and digital skills, project management, personal development and many others. Recently launched subjects include a course on how to Build Your Own Drone and Software Testing.

The organization will launch a new website on 10 April designed to improve user experience with a more interactive platform that is mobile-friendly.

Darktrace Antigena Launched To Combat Cyberthreats

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

Darktrace has announced the general availability of Darktrace Antigena, the first solution to react autonomously against in-progress cyber-threats. Top Darktrace customers have proven that Darktrace Antigena augments their human security teams, taking automatic action against the evolving cyber-threats targeting their networks. The machine fights back.

The Enterprise Immune System is the only proven application of machine learning that automates the process of both detecting and responding to cyber-threats inside a network. Modeled after the most powerful biological system, the human immune system, the disruptive technology leverages advances in machine learning and probabilistic mathematics to learn the normal ‘pattern of life’ for every user and device in a network.

Darktrace Antigena then uses that understanding to automatically respond to serious threats by taking proportionate, remedial action that neutralizes threats and allows the security team precious time to catch up. As a part of the Enterprise Immune System, Darktrace Antigena acts like a digital antibody, taking only very targeted action – for example, it can slow down or stop a compromised connection or device, but does not impact normal business operations.

To date, the Enterprise Immune System has detected over 30,000 previously unknown in-progress attacks. Some real-world examples of threat scenarios that Darktrace Antigena has mitigated include:

  • Capital management firm: Darktrace Antigena stopped sensitive customer information from being stolen by an external attacker. It created an automatic response when an attacker was detected making suspicious connections to a device inside the network while conducting reconnaissance.
  • Financial software company: Darktrace Antigena swiftly mitigated a malware attack when a device was infected by a malicious Trojan which was scanning hundreds of devices for open channels of communication in a suspected attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. Darktrace Antigena blocked outgoing connections from the device, allowing it to be isolated and cleaned before the infection could develop further.
  • Healthcare organization: Darktrace Antigena autonomously took action to stop a ransomware attack in its tracks. An employee inadvertently downloaded a malicious file received in an email – the malware immediately started to encrypt data on the employee’s computer. Within thirty seconds, Antigena had isolated the device and stopped the attack before it spread across the network.

For more information, please visit www.darktrace.com/antigena or request the data sheet here.

Apple FINALLY Spec Bumps The Mac Pro To Stop Negative Press

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 4, 2017 by itnerd

This morning Apple did something that a lot of people thought that they would never do which is put out a new revision of the Mac Pro that has updated specs:

  • The base model Mac Pro comes with a 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs, and 16GB of RAM. The previous version came with a 4-core processor, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs and 12GB of RAM.
  • The higher-end model comes with a 3.0GHz 8-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs, and 16GB of RAM. An 8-core Mac Pro was previously only available as custom order.

On top of that there are no other hardware changes as they still come with USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2 which is a bit of a fail. The fact that this spec bump took place might have something to do with the fact that Apple has been taking a lot of heat for not upgrading the Mac Pro in over three years and leading to the perception that Apple doesn’t care about pro customers anymore. Something that the company is trying to dispel by sitting down with selected media outlets to outline that it still cares about pro users. Take this interview with Daring Fireball for example:

We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.

And:

We’ll talk about what’s going on and frankly be a little more transparent with some of the things we’re doing, some of the places we’re going, because our pro users desire that and we care deeply about them and we’re dedicated to communicating well with them and helping them understand what we’re doing and what we’re up to. We want to be as transparent as we can, for our pro users, and help them as they make their buying decisions. They invest so much in the Mac, we want to support them, and we care deeply about them. So that’s why we’re here.

I’d read this article in detail as it also spells out that new iMacs are coming “this year” and Apple is going to come out with a new display along with the new Mac Pro which reverses the fact that Apple exited the display business. We’ll see if Apple actually follows through on any of this. The fact that they actually said the above which is so unlike them suggests that they will. But as always the proof is when the products actually get announced and shipped to customers.