Category Archives: Information technology
A few weeks ago, Google announced that they will eventually be migrating your Google Drive subscription to the Google Play Store billing system, but didn’t exactly give a timetable as to when this will happen. But now it looks like it has already started as some users are reporting that they’re seeing the change in the system. While this change isn’t really a big deal, it does help to streamline all your subscriptions into just one place, if you’ve always wanted that to happen.
It actually makes perfect sense for Google to do this since the Google Storage page is only for the shared storage subscription. But all your other subscriptions to any games or apps are billed through your Google Play Store account. You will continue to be able to get customer support through the help center and the subscription prices and tiers remain the same. It also won’t change any access to files or basically anything, except for where you will be billed and where you can manage this subscription.
Google sent the email a couple of weeks ago to those who have a Google Drive subscription. In it they also state that the management of the subscription will be governed by the Google Play Terms of Service. But the Google Drive Terms of Service will remain the same and you don’t need to do anything or accept anything while this change happens.
So if you’re excited to have all your billings under just one digital roof, you can check your Google Play account page and see if that change has already rolled out to you.
“Less than 0.1% of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam, and the amount of wanted mail landing in the spam folder is even lower, at under 0.05%,” Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, said in a Google blog post.
“Even still, Gmail spam detection isn’t perfect. So we’re sharing some of the new ways we are supporting the senders of wanted mail, and using the latest Google smarts to filter out spam,” Somanchi further stated.
Google is launching Gmail Postmaster Tools that help qualified high-volume senders analyse their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation. This way they can diagnose any hiccups, study best practices, and help Gmail route their messages to the right place.
The company said the spam filter now uses an artificial neural network to detect and block the especially sneaky spam—the kind that could actually pass for wanted mail.
“We also recognise that not all inboxes are alike. So while your neighbor may love weekly email newsletters, you may loathe them. With advances in machine learning, the spam filter can now reflect these individual preferences,” the blog post reads.
“Finally, the spam filter is better than ever at rooting out email impersonation—that nasty source of most phishing scams. Thanks to new machine learning signals, Gmail can now figure out whether a message actually came from its sender, and keep bogus email at bay.”
BI Intelligence estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 23 billion IoT devices connected to the internet. One of the biggest challenges in connecting so many devices will be in securing them to prevent hackers from controlling them or using them to infiltrate networks and databases. Many low-power IoT devices don’t have the computing power to run antivirus software like a computer.
A recent blog post on EETimes discussed six measures that can be used to protect IoT devices from hackers:
Use a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for authentication. A TPM is a dedicated microprocessor that integrates cryptographic keys into devices to uniquely identify and authenticate them. Each device then has its own identifier that is encrypted by the keys. This will prevent hackers from hacking and impersonating a device to gain access to home, enterprise, or government networks.
Use the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) standards to check for malicious software or firmware. The TNC standards offer a way to check devices for malicious software or firmware whenever they try to access networks or other devices. This would help prevent hackers from using hacked devices to upload spyware or other malicious software to networks or other devices.
Isolate and remediate infected devices with security software and protocols. If a device is infected with malware or other malicious programs, it needs to be quarantined. The IF-PEP protocol can isolate an infected machine from other devices and networks. There are numerous solutions from security software vendors for clearing the device of the infection once its isolated.
Layered security can limit the damage a hacker can do once device is hacked. A Mandatory Access Control system limits access to certain functions or files on a device for a given user. This acts as a choke point that can prevent hackers from gaining sensitive information through the hacked device.
Data encryption is a must. This should go without saying, but data needs to be encrypted when stored on a device or in transit. The post recommended using a read-only mechanism to obstruct hackers’ efforts to tamper with data on a device.
Secure legacy systems through industrial control systems. To reach their full potential, IoT devices and systems have to be integrated with legacy machines or appliances that were never built to be connected or secured against hacking. Industrial Control Systems can segment that legacy hardware from other systems and secure communications between them with encryption. This, for instance, could prevent a hacker who has infiltrated the network of a connected factory from then taking control of the machinery on the assembly line.
BI Intelligence estimates that spending on security for IoT devices and systems will increase five-fold from 2015 to 2019.
The first time I got lost in San Francisco I stood on a street corner for 30 minutes throwing my hands up and talking wildly as bus after bus passed me by, heading the wrong direction. The next day I was still loudly fuming over the woes of public transportation when my roommate said those five little words: “There’s an app for that.” The second time I got lost in San Francisco I was ready. I whipped out my navigation app and found the closest line. It took me a record four minutes to figure out which side of the street to stand on, then I was on it, flying over the slopes of Nob Hill.
Fast-forward 6 months and I had mastered some routes, could navigate a few neighborhoods without relying on Google Maps, and no longer noticed the stench of MUNI, which had become like the familiar scent of a good friend. Everything was easier. “Thank you, app,” I said to myself on my way to the office, the park, the store. I couldn’t comprehend how San Franciscans lived before smartphones. “Are they wizards?” I wondered. (Spoiler: they’re probably not.)
Like many other daily routines, once transportation went mobile, most of us forgot how we did it before. This can be as troubling as it is exciting. Troubling because we wonder where technology is taking us and how it’s affecting our minds as it steadily becomes an extension of us. Exciting because you can do things faster, better, and while juggling several other things in a way that wasn’t possible just 10 years ago. It’s no mystery that big cities welcome new technology before the rest. Chaos begs creative solutions, and with “Internet of Things” becoming our new reality, we’re on the brink of technological advances unlike any in history.
Regardless of your opinions on the tech-ification of society, it’s already inescapable. Giants like Amazon and newer players like Withings are pioneering inventions that help you live smarter. By 2016, 19 billion “things” will be connected to the internet. You can buy in like me and the many other San Franciscans expressing gratitude to their apps each day, or you can take to the backstreets where there are no sensors (yet) detecting road weather conditions or monitoring traffic. Either way, here are some of the “things” that are already among us, and a few you can expect to see soon enough.
- Wearables that track and analyze your movement, heartbeat, and more.
- Smart home technology that learns your behavior and adjusts to your preferences.
- Automated lunchrooms at Fortune 500 companies that stock and serve without human help.
- Bluetooth health meters that monitor patients’ vitals remotely.
- Scales that analyze your BMI and the air quality in your home.
- 3D printers that can print in chocolate, magnetic material, and who knows what else.
On The Horizon
- Smart fridges & dishes that track expiration dates, build your shopping list, and monitor your diet.
- Smart cars that will drive to you and park themselves (already here, just not yet legal).
- Smart cities where everything connects to everything, basically.
Now and tomorrow, we prioritize connections. Connecting with your home, with your body, with your city in new ways. The Internet of Things isn’t just about the next invention you probably don’t need—it allows our environment to adapt to us so we can better engage, learn, and live within it. Apps are units of this progress, putting connections in our pockets and paving the way to a tomorrow where you never worry about the bus. There’s an app for that.