source: cbsnews.com

What is an NFT? The Trendy Blockchain Technology Explained

n early March, a tech company bought a piece of art worth $95,000. Then the executives lit it on fire. At the end of the spectacle, which was shared live on the internet, the group unveiled a copy of the art, this time in digital form. The creation, by elusive British artist Banksy, was called “Morons (White).”

As for the digital format, it’s getting more hype than the painting and the burning put together. It’s a rising type of technology called a non-fungible token, or NFT. Think of an NFT as a unique proof of ownership over something you can’t usually hold in your hand — a piece of digital art, a digital coupon, maybe a video clip. Like the digital art itself, you can’t really hold an NFT in your hand, either — it’s a one-of-a-kind piece of code, stored and protected on a shared public exchange. 

Continue reading “What is an NFT? The Trendy Blockchain Technology Explained”

Roughly 200 million people using Microsoft services already have made the jump past passwords

Microsoft Promises to Ease the Pains of Going Passwordless

source: cnet.com

Microsoft is updating its widely used cloud computing technology to make it easier for millions of us to dump our passwords.

The tech giant is making passwordless login a standard feature for Azure Active Directory, a cloud-based service customers can use to handle their employees’ login chores, the company said at its Ignite conference on Tuesday. The three-day conference, held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is geared for IT and other tech staff who use Microsoft’s products. Continue reading “Microsoft Promises to Ease the Pains of Going Passwordless”

No More Needles for Diagnostic Tests? Engineers Develop Nearly Pain-Free Microneedle Patch

source: scitechdaily.com

Nearly pain-free microneedle patch can test for antibodies and more in the fluid between cells.

Blood draws are no fun.

They hurt. Veins can burst, or even roll — like they’re trying to avoid the needle, too.

Oftentimes, doctors use blood samples to check for biomarkers of disease: antibodies that signal a viral or bacterial infection, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, or cytokines indicative of inflammation seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis.

These biomarkers aren’t just in blood, though. They can also be found in the dense liquid medium that surrounds our cells, but in a low abundance that makes it difficult to be detected.

Until now.

Engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a microneedle patch that can be applied to the skin, capture a biomarker of interest and, thanks to its unprecedented sensitivity, allow clinicians to detect its presence.

The technology is low cost, easy for clinicians or patients themselves to use, and could eliminate the need for a trip to the hospital just for a blood draw.

Continue reading “No More Needles for Diagnostic Tests?”

SpaceX Will Launch Billionaire Jared Isaacman on a Private Spaceflight This Year

Isaacman chartered a Crew Dragon flight and is donating the other three seats.

 source:  space.com

SpaceX continues to blaze new paths to the final frontier.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman has chartered a trip to Earth orbit with Elon Musk’s company, which last year became the first private outfit to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

The 37-year-old Isaacman, who’s also an accomplished pilot, will command the four-person “Inspiration4” mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, he and SpaceX announced today (Feb. 1). There will be no professional astronauts aboard; Isaacman is donating the other three seats.

“It will be the first-ever all-private crewed orbital mission in history,” Musk said during a teleconference with reporters today (Feb. 1).

SpaceX will use the Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” for Inspiration4, Musk added. Resilience is currently docked at the International Space Station on the Crew-1 mission, SpaceX’s first contracted crewed flight to the orbiting lab for NASA.

 

How to ‘Disappear’ on Happiness Avenue in Beijing

On a busy Monday afternoon in late October, a line of people in reflective vests stood on Happiness Avenue, in downtown Beijing.


Moving slowly and carefully along the pavement, some crouched, others tilted their heads towards the ground, as curious onlookers snapped photos.

It was a performance staged by the artist Deng Yufeng, who was trying to demonstrate how difficult it was to dodge CCTV cameras in the Chinese capital.

As governments and companies around the world boost their investments in security networks, hundreds of millions more surveillance cameras are expected to be installed in 2021 – and most of them will be in China, according to industry analysts IHS Markit.

By 2018, there were already about 200 million surveillance cameras in China.

And by 2021 this number is expected to reach 560 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, roughly one for every 2.4 citizens.

China says the cameras prevent crime.

And in 2018, the number of victims of intentional homicide per head of population in China was 10 times lower than in the US, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

But a growing number of Chinese citizens are questioning the effect on their privacy.

They also wonder what would happen if their personal data was compromised.

‘Recruited volunteers’

It is rare for Chinese citizens to stage protests against government surveillance.

And it is not without risk.

But creative types such as Deng are coming up with innovative ways to bring the issue out into the open.

Before the performance, he measured the length and width of Happiness Avenue with a ruler.

He then recorded the brands of the 89 CCTV cameras alongside it and mapped out their distributions and ranges.

Don’t give your information to marketers who might pelt you with spam or even expose you to a potential hack. Use Abine Blur instead.

source: fastcompany.com

Over the summer, I came across an online store that was promising big discounts on All-Clad cookware, but with a catch: You had to hand over an email address just to see what the deals were.

This would have given me pause if not for a secret weapon: I loaded up a service called Abine Blur and generated a free “masked email” address to use instead of my real one. While the masked email would still forward messages to my actual Gmail inbox, the store would never learn my real address, and I could cut off any future emails with one click.

I started using Abine Blur about five months ago, after hearing about it from one of my newsletter readers, and it’s since become one of my most cherished privacy services. With masked email addresses, I don’t have to worry about getting spammed just because I signed up for an app, made a donation, or subscribed to some retailer’s newsletter in exchange for a coupon. I just tell Abine Blur to stop forwarding their emails, and our link is severed.

Continue reading “This Free Service Is a Genius Way to Foil Spam…”

Harvesting Energy as you Move: The Future of Wearable Technology

source:  azonano.com

contributed by Artemus FAN, Steve Jones

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow, Dr Ishara Dharmasena, speaks to AZoNano about their groundbreaking triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) technology that has the potential to convert our movements into electricity.

 

How did you begin your research into energy harvesting technology?

I was interested in renewable energy technologies and their impact on our lifestyle and the environment since my undergraduate years back in Sri Lanka. However, it was during my PhD project at the University of Surrey that I started researching energy harvesting technologies, specifically those that have the potential to convert human motion into electricity such as the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) technology.

Following the completion of my PhD project, I started TENG energy harvesting activities at Loughborough University, focusing on the design and application aspects of TENGs toward powering the next generation of portable and smart electronics.

What are triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) and how are they revolutionary in the energy industry?

Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) are small-scale energy generators that can convert the energy from movements in our surroundings (e.g. human motion, machine vibrations, vehicle movements, wind, and wave energy) into electricity.

These generators work based on the combination of two common effects – “triboelectric charging” and “electrostatic induction”. Triboelectric charging or static charging is typically an undesired effect we experience in everyday life. Static charging is the reason why a balloon rubbed on our hair can stick to a wall or attract small pieces of paper, while it also causes lightening, and, clothing to stick to our skin on a dry day.

Continue reading “Harvesting Energy as you Move: The Future of Wearable Technology”

Find out if you can meet all your needs within a 15-minute walk from your house.

source:  fastcompany.com

In a “15-minute city,” it’s possible to meet your basic needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Instead of sitting in traffic during a rush-hour commute, you can work at home or walk to an office nearby. You can walk to get groceries, go to the doctor, take your kids to school, or run any other everyday errand. Housing is affordable, so a barista could live in a walkable neighborhood as easily as a lawyer. It’s a concept championed by the mayor of Paris and, more recently, pitched by a global network of cities as a tool for helping urban areas recover from the pandemic—and improve sustainability and health as people start to get more exercise while conducting their day-to-day activities.

In the U.S., car-dependent sprawl is more common. But a new tool lets you map out local services to see how close your neighborhood comes to the ideal.

 

Click here to try out the tool:

https://app.developer.here.com/15-min-city-map/

“The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of location and proximity,” says Jordan Stark, a spokesperson for Here Technologies, the location data platform that created the map. The company typically creates maps for businesses, such as delivery companies that need to route vehicles, and built the new tool to demonstrate how developers could work with its data. While the current version maps out amenities like grocery stores, transit stops, and medical care—along the lines of Walkscore, another tool—the company says it might later create an iteration that considers how far residents might have to travel to get to an office.

The map also shows how many services can be accessed by car from an address. “We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,” Stark says. “And as you can imagine, there are a number of communities where you have all of your essential items within a 15-minute drive, but potentially less than one essential location in a walk. So it was a way to show that contrast in spatial makeup.”

While pockets of American cities are walkable now—the map tells me that my own neighborhood in Oakland qualifies as a “15-minute city”—it’s possible that more neighborhoods will move in this direction as cities begin to use it as a framework for urban planning. Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development is one of the latest to say that it is exploring the concept of 15-minute neighborhoods.

“We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,”

IT Predictions from the Past: How Accurate Were They?

predictions

source: eweek.com

eWEEK looks back at three years ago on the conversation around automation: As the internet gets increasingly more fragile, automation–as it is in most other IT categories–becomes a big factor in making it run more efficiently. How accurate were the predictions from thought leaders?

[Editor’s note: Each December, eWEEK asks IT professionals to look ahead to the next year and let us know what important trends they see coming. We’ll be publishing these predictions again this year, so get them ready to send us! Meanwhile, periodically we look back at previous years’ predictions to see how how accurate–or inaccurate–they were. In this case, the thoughts around automation were particularly on target. Enjoy!]

Networking in 2017 encompassed far, far more technology than simply the pipes used to hold data as it moves from one location to another. It always has. In 2018, networking will evolve even more into software-controlled, artificial intelligence-fortified systems that will be thinking far ahead of humans as data moves through its veins.

 

Continue reading “IT Predictions From The Past: How Accurate Were They?”

too much tech

‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’:  How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains


source: fastcompany.com

 

If you’re worried that our brains are being permanently and irrevocably altered by the constant use of technology during the coronavirus pandemic, Jaron Lanier has bad news and worse news.

“I’m not sure we’ll survive it,” the VR pioneer and noted technology skeptic said this week during a virtual panel discussion at the 2020 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

 

Granted, he followed that up with a more optimistic afterthought: “I do think the capacity of people to become more self-directed [with their use of technology] during the pandemic is actually a good sign—and it gives me some hope,” he added.

Continue reading “‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’: How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains”