Major YouTube Changes

There are many websites online that are dedicated to nothing more than pure entertainment, but no website is more supreme than YouTube. Created in 2007, YouTube was a website meant to be a social media outlet, allowing the user to upload videos of themselves for others to view, like, comment, and share with one another. It exploded in a huge way. Continue reading “Major YouTube Changes”

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New MIT-developed System Can Make Websites on any Browser Load Faster

Image result for mit polaris

“Computer scientists at the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a system that can reliably make websites load 34 per cent faster.”

Over the years websites have gotten more complex, leaving certain websites sluggish and even unresponsive becoming a problem for companies such as Amazon, who say that “for every one-second delay in loading time, their profits are cut by one per cent.”

However, a team of researchers working at the university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, may have found the solution.

The system, named Polaris, cuts loading times by determining the best way to ‘overlap’ the downloading of different parts of a webpage. Polaris works by tracking the relationships and dependencies between objects like pictures, videos, and HTML files, on the page and turning the information into a ‘dependency graph’ that can be interpreted by your browser.

When tested, Polaris was found to have loaded some of the world’s most popular websites on an average of 34 per cent faster when compared to a normal browser.

“Polaris could be used on any website and with unmodified browsers, and when tech companies like Google and Amazon are working hard to improve load-times, a similar system might appear on your device soon.”

Robotics taking over the classroom

Have you noticed yet how much technology has lately been geared toward education? Well if you haven’t, the digital classroom may soon become a reality as smart boards actually become smart and interactive, robots are being used in the classroom, and many classes are taught online or use online material to teach the course.

Continue reading “Robotics taking over the classroom”

How different is Apple’s newest Macbook Pro from previous models?

New Macbook from AppleInsider.com

This year, 2017, Apple came out with a new Macbook Pro, with many new features added to its model. They have added a touch bar and touch ID to log in, which is similar to the feature that is included in iPhones, used to log in. The touch bar replaces the function keys at the top of the keyboard, and things such as volume and brightness. In terms of storage and speed, the computer has up to 130% faster graphics, up to ten hours of battery life and 100% faster flash storage. The speakers have also been updated, as they now have up to 58% more volume, and two in a half times louder bass in the speakers.

The new computer is said to be thinner, lighter as well as being smaller, making it more convenient to carry around. Another added feature to the Macbook Pro, is that it has a larger trackpad, and they keyboard itself has also been redesigned to be thinner as well. The display of the computer itself has also been improved, as it brighter, has more contrast, and has more colors that give the display a  more realistic look to it.

How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It

This article discusses how people of the future may look back upon today’s society as a time of ‘renaissance’.  The article states that “for people of the future, our time may be remembered as a period not of death, but of rejuvenation and rebirth”.  Digital technology is allowing for many different art forms to take center stage and allow for anyone to be exposed.  Because of this, ads and revenue have too become a vital part of the internet and all it encapsulates.  However, a recent shift in subscriptions shows the growing potential behind the sustainability of the internet.

YouTube, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Apple music are just some examples of how subscriptions are taking over.  With a growing dependence on these services, the internet is becoming a reliable hub for all content creators across the globe.  Additionally, with the constant use of social media, content creators are ever so close to their audience and possess a new opportunity to directly communicate with millions at a moment’s notice.

As these trends continue to grow, the lives of content creators continue to do the same.  Hopefully, our time will indeed be considered a sort of modern-day renaissance.  I think that right now is a special time in the realm of technology and for it to merely be glossed over in the future would be a shame.  There are a lot of exciting and important changes taking place every day, and I hope that my kids one day learn about the pivotal times I lived in.

Massive Instant Direct Communication: How dangerous is it?

Ever since the dawn of time, humans have evolved technology to increase the efficiency of communication, from runners to telegraphs to computers. It is so easy now to message someone from across the world with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Now, we have developed fiber optic cables, which are able to transmit information faster than the electrons running through telephone polls. We have become so used to instant communication that, unfortunately, we have become addicted to it instead of using it when needed. Is this massive direct instant communication actually hurting us socially?

There are two sides to this argument. One is that because we have massive instant direct communication (which I will now be referring to as MIDC for the sake of word count and easy reading) has made our lives better because we can keep in touch with other people whenever we feel like it, which boosts efficiency and decreases loneliness. The other is that we have become so attached to our virtual lives that we have unfortunately put our constant connection first before experiencing the world around us.

As for my opinion? I would say that there are some benefits and downsides, but that’s not really that matters. What matters is getting people to understand both sides and to evenly balance it out. If you are spending too much time on your phone, computer, or other device that gets you connected, spend some time disconnected by exercising, meeting up with friends, or other such activity. If you are not spending enough time connected, make sure you do because, like it or not, the world is transitioning online.

Can Malware Turn Your Technology into an Eavesdropping Device?

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According to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), there are many malicious programs just waiting to turn computers into personal eavesdropping devices. Researchers explained as well as demonstrated just how easily most PCs and laptops are susceptible to this form of attack.

Programs such as “SPEAKE(a)R: Turn Speakers to Microphones for fun and profit” are able to transform headphones into a pair of microphones, without setting of unease. “‘The fact that headphones, earphones and speakers are physically built like microphones and that an audio port’s role in the PC can be reprogrammed from output to input creates a vulnerability that can be abused by hackers,’ says Prof. Yuval Elovici, director of the BGU Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC) and member of BGU’s Department of Information Systems Engineering.”

“‘This is the reason people like Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg tape up their mic and webcam,’ says Mordechai Guri, lead researcher and head of Research and Development at the CSRC. ‘You might tape the mic, but would be unlikely to tape the headphones or speakers.'”

Malware is able to covertly reconfigure a headphone jack from a line-out jack to a microphone jack, converting the headphones into a hackable recording device that is predicted to have a range of several meters. Even worse, this process is able to continue even while the computer doesn’t have a connected microphone–and was demonstrated by the researchers in the SPEAKE(a)R video.  

Countermeasures, however, are possible, such as completely disabling audio hardware or using an HD audio driver to send an alert when microphones are being accessed. Extra precautions can be taken with anti-malware systems, which can monitor and detect unauthorized speaker-to-mic retasking operations and block them.