Showing posts from: Telecommunications

yahoo email hack
September 26, 2016

Yahoo email hack: the sign of a never-ending crisis

Yahoo has officially confirmed that at least 500 million e-mail accounts were violated in 2014 by a cyber attack: it is  one of the greatest email hacks in the history of Internet. The news was anticipated by Recode website on September 22 and later confirmed by a Yahoo press release. The “once big” search engine says the theft involved personal account information such as phone numbers, dates of birth and did not involve data such as bank details or credit card numbers.

Yahoo is warning users whose account has been hacked and has disabled the security questions to access the accounts: users who have not changed passwords in the last two years have been suggested to do it as soon as possible. The company run by Marissa Mayer is claiming that the author of the security breach was a “state-sponsored” hacking group but has not given further details or evidence supporting this hypothesis.

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apple innovation
September 19, 2016

Has Apple run out of innovation?

With the recent launch of the iPhone 7 and the controversial decision to eliminate the audio jack from it, Apple once again has given rise to much debate among experts. In particular, many wonder if Cupertino has already begun its decline, since they have not launched truly innovative products for a long time.

Unlike its competitors, Apple has always launched on the market “complete” and finished products: the approach of Steve Jobs was “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. Jobs was convinced he knew better than his customers what they needed. With the arrival of Tim Cook the approach has remained the same, except for the lack of new products: the first iPhone was released almost ten years ago, in 2007, and the latest novelty from Apple, the Apple watch, can be considered nothing more than a simple extension of the iPhone.

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Facebook trending topics
September 1, 2016

Facebook and its struggle to replace the Internet

Many analysts say that behind the continuous launch of new services and features by Facebook there is a long time ambition to defeat Google in the battle for “replacing” the Internet. Because Facebook – like Google – is a major source of information for many people, its plan is to offer users the possibility to do on its site most of the things they do on the Internet: from reading the news to talking with friends to broadcasting videos.

In fact the social network of Palo Alto in recent years has added to its services a lot of the typical Internet features: instant messaging, chatbots and live videos are just the newcomers. Some services – such as the email with the domain – have not worked, but not because of Facebook but for their intrinsic unattractiveness. The point is that the huge Facebook’s userbase allows to easily copy others’ services and still make them a success: think of Periscope – the live video service launched by Twitter – how many users have now switched to Facebook live? Many, for one simple reason: their friends are all already on Facebook.

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August 25, 2016

Some facts about Instant Messaging…

We all daily use Instant Messaging softwares or websites, including our indoona. We do it to communicate quickly and easily with friends and family and share files and documents. We are so used to using the chat – via PCs and smartphones – that probably we don’t remember anymore when we started to chat and what was “our” first chat service.

Where did it all start? Here are some interesting facts about the history of instant messaging, many years before the rise of Whatsapp, indoona and their “brothers”:

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facebook internet access
July 26, 2016

Facebook and the clash between Internet access & Internet freedom

A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Aquila” (Eagle), the drone he has been working on for more than a year, has successfully completed its maiden flight, staying aloft for 92 minutes, about three times the time programmed by the test designers. This is a first success in the Facebook project to bring Internet access in rural areas of the planet through a fleet of drones that radiate the signal to ground.

The idea of ​​the social network from Palo Alto is to use the technology of UAVs to bring the Internet to people in hard to reach areas (mountains, remote regions etc.) through movable flying “radio links“. The drone used for the test has a wingspan of 40 meters, weighs 400 kg and is powered by solar panels installed on the wings: the goal is to make “Aquila” fly non-stop for three months, accumulating daytime the solar energy it takes to fly even at night. Each “drones squadron” will consist of a lead drone who receives the Internet signal from the ground and retransmits it to others drones. Each drone can cover an area of ​​50 kilometers in diameter and provide “tens of gigabits per second”.

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online streaming service
July 20, 2016

The Netflix effect: how Online Streaming Services are changing TV

Netflix, the popular online streaming service, announced that it added slightly less than 1.7 million new subscribers during the second quarter of 2016, despite a forecast of 2.5 million new users. The growth in last year’s same period was about 3.30 million. This slowdown is due in part to its recent price increase that caused a lot of subscribers to sign off. Netflix, which literally has changed the way we watch TV, is – in fact – facing growing competition on the SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) front from tech firms like Amazon (Prime Video) & YouTube (Red) and traditional TV networks such as Time Warner, HBO, CBS and NBC, which have added internet streaming services to their cable and broadcast offers.

Streaming video currently represents over 60% of all Internet (mobile and fixed) traffic and some analysts predict that it will grow to 85% before 2020. In the US, 70% of families watch TV shows and movies online, with 64% paying for the content. In a few years the way we watch “TV” has changed radically and it is interesting to note that the same video streaming universe is already heading for some changes of no small importance.

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Google Data Center
July 14, 2016

20 Beautiful Photos of Data Centers across the World

Every day hundreds of millions of people use social networks and messaging, mail & cloud services to send files, share links, photos and to store data. Social media and internet companies have to handle every second a huge amount of data to make webpages load faster, messages arrive instantly and make files available. Petabytes of data move across hundreds of thousands of servers gathered in different data centers in the world. Many server farms are built in cold regions where free cooling is available via access to naturally cold water and cold air. For example, Facebook has recently built a data center in Luleå, Sweden.

This gallery features stunning photos from data centers across the world. Enjoy! / continue reading

July 6, 2016

Driver assistance systems & Self-driving cars: technical issues and ethical dilemmas

The car accident which  May 7 caused the death of ex Navy Seal Joshua Brown is the first incident in the world involving a Tesla Model S car with with the semi-automatic guidance system “Autopilot” activated. The NHTSA, the US authorities for road safety, has opened an investigation to verify the software functioning system, which did not “see” a truck that crossed the road and, consequently, didn’t activate the car’s brake. Despite the general bewilderment and some journalistic simplifications we should do some clarity by explaining the differences between driver assistance systems (such as the Tesla Autopilot) and real self-driving cars.

Tesla and the Autopilot

The driver assist systems are not automatic pilots: they are computer softwares that simply allow drivers to drive better and more safely. The NHTSA classifies them in five levels of complexity. Most of them merely recognize road markings and sudden obstacles. Other, through dedicated sensors and the control of accelerator, brakes and steering, are able to maintain or change the car lane autonomously, to make it brake, to make it vary the speed and to make it enter and exit from a parking lot (“summon”). The Tesla Autopilot system includes all these features and is ranked at level 2. In addition to Tesla currently only Mercedes-Benz offers advanced semi-autonomous driving systems.

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artificial intelligence R2d2
June 28, 2016

The era of Artificial Intelligence: Part 2 – Issues and Concerns

The evolution of the AI programs is reaching many fields: for example, to allow the AI to communicate in an ever more human way, Google’s DeepMind developers have started to make it read hundreds of romance novels to help it improve its dialectical skills and develop a minimum of personality. The choice fell on the romantic novels because they have very linear plots and simple narrative schemes but also they are very similar to each other, an element that AI can learn to manage and rework to interact with a human being. The next step is to draft long and elaborate sentences, or even writing entire novels. Not surprisingly, a recent book written by a computer has passed a literary prize screening. The Japanese literary prize Hoshi Shinichi is also open to works produced by artificial intelligences and the jury – without knowing its origin – admitted the book “The day a computer writes a novel”, written by the program of a professor of the Hakodate Future University.

All right, then? Not exactly. Not all AI are evolved and capable in the same way: recently an AI experiment on Twitter run by Microsoft went horribly wrong: Tay, a bot programmed to respond automatically to other users and learn from their sentences began writing racist things, insulting and denying the Holocaust. This because its internal mechanisms of imitation and emulation have not been able to correctly filter the information received. Apart from these drawbacks, the current debate on Artificial Intelligence focuses on a bigger and more important question: is there a danger that the AI will become capable of harm – deliberately or by emulation – the man?

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artificial intelligence
June 24, 2016

The era of Artificial Intelligence: Part 1 – Neural networks & Deep learning

Artificial Intelligence has been discussed for a long time and often inappropriately: some say that it represents a great opportunity, while others say it could be the biggest threat to humanity. But many do not even know what it is exactly. Perhaps because it is a discipline by poorly defined contours, debated among scientists and philosophers, which presents theoretical and practical aspects as well as ethical.

We can generally define the AI as a computer’s ability to perform typical functions and reasoning of the human mind: according to this definition it is clear that today we already are surrounded by examples of AI, for example Google. The search engine of Mountain View, in fact, no longer shows just lists of links, but also direct answers to various questions (try typing “obama birth date” or “David Beckham’s wife” and see the results). To do so, DeepMind, the AI division of Google, uses sophisticated algorithms that help to understand the context of the questions.

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