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Skype finally getting Signal protocol end-to-end encryption

Posted on: Fri, 2018-01-12 - 00:35 By: admin

Skype finally getting Signal protocol end-to-end encryption

Since its inception, Skype has been notable for its secretive, proprietary algorithm. It's also long had a complicated relationship with encryption: encryption is used by the Skype protocol, but the service has never been clear exactly how that encryption was implemented or exactly which privacy and security features it offers.

That changes today in a big way. The newest Skype preview now supports the Signal protocol: the end-to-end encrypted protocol already used by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Allo, and, of course, Signal. Skype Private Conversations will support text, audio calls, and file transfers, with end-to-end encryption that Microsoft, Signal, and, it's believed, law enforcement agencies cannot eavesdrop on.

See https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/skype-finally-getting-end-to-end-encryption/


Skype finally getting end-to-end encryption
It’ll use the Signal protocol, also used in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and others.

New Website for Google Assistant Shows Off All Available Actions and Services

Posted on: Thu, 2018-01-11 - 21:50 By: admin

New Website for Google Assistant Shows Off All Available Actions and Services

Just what the Google Assistant can and can’t do isn’t necessarily clear to folks who haven’t used it before — and even to folks who have. It’s great for basic tasks like checking the weather and setting alarms, of course, but did you know that it had a magic 8 ball minigame and that you can ask it what position you should play in Quidditch?

To make Google Assistant skills easier to find, the search giant on Tuesday launched a new website with every action, service, and integration available. They’re organized by categories such as “Games and fun”, “Music and audio”, and “Arts and lifestyle”, and the homepage shows a list of new and trending Assistant apps — each with users ratings, instructions on how to use it, and the list of devices that support it. There are hundreds of applications to choose from, and Google’s directory of them makes it easy to search through and find ones you might find useful.

See http://bit.ly/2mj81Bu and the site is at https://assistant.google.com/explore


Posted on: Thu, 2018-01-11 - 12:43 By: admin

Researchers show WhatsApp groups can be hacked - WhatsApp says only they or Governments can access Group Chats

Despite WhatsApp’s secure end-to-end encryption for messages, German researchers claim to have found a loophole that could allow hackers to worm their way into WhatsApp's group chats. But management at WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook insisted that there was no security threat.

The researchers found that anyone who controls the app’s servers could insert new people into private group chats without needing admin permission.

In a further response from Stamos he said there were multiple ways to check and verify the members of a group chat. He argued that since all members of a group chat can see who joins a chat, they’ll be notified of any eavesdroppers.

At the moment WhatsApp servers can only be accessed by its employees and governments who follow the legal route to gain access through court orders.

My note: We know though that whenever there is some backdoor access (eg. for WhatsApp or governments) there will be a security risk of that being exploited. I still like the approach that if you lose your password you've lost your data (if you want true security that is).

See https://www.fin24.com/Tech/News/researchers-show-whatsapp-groups-can-be-hacked-20180111


Researchers show WhatsApp groups can be hacked
Despite WhatsApp’s secure end-to-end encryption for messages, German researchers have found a loophole that could allow hackers to worm their way into WhatsApp's group chats.

Add a $25 camera to have an old Raspberry Pi working as a surveillance camera using free motionEyeOS...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-09 - 18:45 By: admin

Add a $25 camera to have an old Raspberry Pi working as a surveillance camera using free motionEyeOS

Although Zoneminder will run on a Raspberry Pi it really does not handle 6 or 8 higher res cameras very well. Sometimes though you just need a short-term solution for a business theft problem, or something, in particular, you need to watch over, and many of us have a Raspberry Pi 1 or 2 sitting around which we have replaced already with a newer mod

With just the addition of a camera (either the 8 megapixel Pi camera itself, or any other supported USB camera), you can install motionEyeOS on that Raspberry Pi and turn it into a pretty good surveillance camera which you can log into via a web browser.

The post at http://bit.ly/2CXZUV0 gives a good tutorial on exactly how to do this (including the fitting of the camera). MotionEyeOS will also upload media files to cloud storage services likeGoogle Drive and Dropbox, and some have also connected it successfully to Home Assistant home automation dashboards.


Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-09 - 10:28 By: admin

Created a new Webpage on how I'm setting up a Home Assist home automation dashboard at https://gadgeteer.co.za/homeassistant

The page will detail some of what I have learnt in setting up Home Assist as a newbie and you can follow my progress there as I add more to the dashboard. Attached to this post is a screenshot of what my dashboard looks like after the first day of tweaking. I have got my Fitbit account configured too but for some reason, the entities are not displaying and I need to go troubleshoot that.

The idea behind the "Battery Devices" will be to set an automation rule to alert me when they lose their presence ie. the battery has gone flat. I'm thinking of leaving the ViOP phone in its charging cradle, but with a Sonoff Wifi switch keeping it in the off state until the battery goes flat, and then the Sonoff can switch the charging cradle on for 60 minutes to charge the phone (the charge lasts about 3 weeks).

See the page at http://bit.ly/2m9ffrq


Home Assistant allows you to control and check the status of all your devices without storing any of...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-09 - 02:47 By: admin

Home Assistant allows you to control and check the status of all your devices without storing any of your data in the cloud

You can observe the status of your devices, control them, and even set up automated tasks like turning the lights on when the sun goes down, dim the lights when watching a movie, receive an alert for movements outside whilst not at home, etc.

It is an open source service that allows extra modules to be added for additional devices. The nice thing, apart from being open source and free, is that it will all run off a Raspberry Pi at home (so none of your data in an outside cloud or a cloud supplier going out of business and leaving you with a dead service). It has a mobile-friendly interface to run on a mobile phone, desktop or a tablet.

It already connects with Amazon Echo, Arduino, Belkin, Sonoff, EcoBee, Google Assistant, Kodi, Nest, Philips Hue, Plex, Sonos, Pushbullet, Z-Wave, weather services, Google Maps, London Underground, Zigbee, Beaglebone, IFTTT, Efergy, DoorBird, OpenGarage, Ring, Dyson, Wink, LIFX, QwikSwitch, and many more. See their list at https://home-assistant.io/components/.

They also have an interactive demo that can be tried out at https://home-assistant.io/demo/.

See their website at http://bit.ly/2m3pCwR


OpenGarage is an open-source, universal remote controlled garage door opener

Posted on: Mon, 2018-01-08 - 02:16 By: admin

OpenGarage is an open-source, universal remote controlled garage door opener

What I really like about this device it is universally usable. Unlike some remote garage door controllers which are only compatible with certain brands, OpenGarage is able to open or close the door remotely, determine whether the door is actually open or closed, and even whether your car is parked in the garage or not. It connects to your router by Wifi and their mobile app for iOS or Android (a Blynk app) will provide status and remote management functionality.

How it does this is quite simple but clever and it utilises two basic functionalities when the device is mounted on the ceiling pointing downwards):
1. Distance detector - from above it knows the distance to the floor (no car and garage is closed), to the car roof (car is in and door is closed), and door when opened.
2. Relay - to simulate a button press on your garage door remote. If your garage door motor unit has terminals for this it can connect there, but if not you can solder the wires to a spare remote's button and let the remote sit next to the unit (universal!).

Apart from the mobile app you can also control this device via IFTTT or even the Home Assistant service.

The main website is at http://bit.ly/2m2QQUD but there is also an excellent overview video that can be watched at https://youtu.be/HpwEa_48-Cw.

#homeautomation


More than half of Norway's new cars are electric

Posted on: Sun, 2018-01-07 - 21:01 By: admin

More than half of Norway's new cars are electric

Electric or hybrid vehicles accounted for more than half of all new cars sold in Norway last year, official data showed on Wednesday, confirming the country's pioneering role in carbon-free transport.

Unlike heavily taxed diesel or gasoline cars, electric cars benefit from a very generous tax system making their purchase prices relatively competitive. Their owners also enjoy many privileges such as free city tolls, ferries, parking and recharging in public car parks as well as having the right to drive in bus lanes.

Shows what is possible with regards to changing buying patterns. The point being that Norway is serious about change and is doing something concrete about it.

See http://bit.ly/2CFZwKG


HQ Trivia is Now Available For Android

Posted on: Sun, 2018-01-07 - 18:50 By: admin

HQ Trivia is Now Available For Android

If you’ve been jealous of all of your iPhone-wielding friend’s ability to play HQ Trivia you’re in luck: the game officially made its way onto Android devices this week (in Beta version).

A live host handles asking the questions, and everyone who gets all the answers right walks away with a real cash prize. The cash prize varies from game to game (if no one wins then it rolls over to the next game), and is split amongst all the winners. For instance, if the prize for a game was $1000 and 1000 people “won” then each person would get $1.

What I like about Trivia is the opportunity to learn something as well.

See http://bit.ly/2m3tMox


HQ Trivia is Now Available For Android
If you’ve been jealous of all of your iPhone-wielding friend’s ability to play HQ Trivia you’re in luck: the game officially made its way onto Android devices this week.

Coffee chains under growing pressure to reveal true extent of plastic pollution

Posted on: Sun, 2018-01-07 - 15:41 By: admin

Coffee chains under growing pressure to reveal true extent of plastic pollution

The UK throws away 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year, with just one in 400 estimated to be recycled. The majority of those are sold by high street coffee chains, yet taxpayers foot the bill for processing 90 per cent of packaging waste. Coffee cups are particularly hard to recycle because they contain a paper exterior with a plastic lining to keep the cup sealed. As a result, almost all of them are incinerated, exported or sent to landfill.

Some shops give money off the price of a hot drink for customers who use reusable cups, but the committee said uptake of these offers was low at only 1 per cent to 2 per cent of coffee purchases.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and environmental campaigner, said the UK was in the midst of a “coffee cup nightmare”. He said: “It’s time to send these hugely profitable companies a clear message: stop making badly designed products and expecting the taxpayer to clean up after you.”

See https://ind.pn/2COOOBU


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