OpenSource cloud and file-hosting service provider Nextcloud to power the French Ministry of the Interior - You can use it tooDate Published: Tue, 3 Sep 2019 22:14:18 +0200
Nextcloud, a German company, announced that the French Ministry of the Interior will be selecting its next private cloud solution. Nextcloud offers integration services for the Nextcloud open source project, itself a fork of the Owncloud software suite. The French Ministry of the Interior is not the only one to have taken steps in adopting this free solution: the Dutch Ministry of Education, the German government and several Swedish government agencies have also chosen to adopt this European solution.
As mentioned in Nextcloud’s press release, the migration started last year with a pilot test. NextCloud now intends to support the Ministry of the interior with the deployment of the solution to the 300,000 employees of the Ministry. Nextcloud ensures that security has been one of the main considerations retained by the Ministry: audits carried out by the French Ministry of the Interior have been implemented and will continue to ensure the code’s compliance as new updates are made.
Personally, I've been using Nextcloud on my own hosting server for the last two-plus years and have been very impressed with the rich array of add-ons provided for tons of extra functionality around contact and calendar sync, file sync and sharing, todo lists, notes, mind-mapping, password managers, newsreader, music and photo manager, and much more.
Nextcloud also means you host your own files that can be fully encrypted with your own encryption.
Nextcloud announced that its open source solution will now power the French Ministry of Interior, which favours a European open source alternative for its cloud needs instead of a large American, centralised solution. Nextcloud, a German company, announced that the French Ministry of the Interior will be selecting its next private cloud solution. N...
10 things to know about Android 10 - Available from today but only for Pixel owners until other phones roll it out slowlyDate Published: Tue, 3 Sep 2019 20:47:55 +0200
I've been testing the beta version of Android 10 for a few months and we've had quite a few teething issues around all the new security and privacy restrictions. Many were breaking functionality on apps that run in the background as well as doing screen overlays. I almost came to the point of abandoning it and reverting to LineageOS instead. But Google did backtrack on some critical issues and refined others like the gesture control.
Overall though we certainly have vastly improved control over permissions and notifications, and performance and battery life have improved too. It is certainly well worth going for the upgrade when it is available. And of course, there is Dark Theme, including the boot screen, which I've really been loving.
A summary of key improvements is at https://www.blog.google/products/android/android-10/
Android’s version 10 comes with hundreds of new features that help you get things done and be in control of you data and digital wellbeing.
Privacy International recently reported that South Africa and the UK have admitted to running mass surveillance programmes, intercepting communications in bulk from citizens and foreigners.
In the case of South Africa, details of our government’s bulk interception capabilities came from an answering affidavit to a High Court case between amaBhungane journalist Sam Sole and South Africa’s intelligence agencies. The answering affidavit was filed by attorneys on behalf of the Minister of State Security, the Office of the Interception Centres, the National Communications Centre, and the State Security Agency. They revealed that they tap or record “transnational signals”, including data sent over undersea fibre optic cables that connect South Africa to the rest of the world.
While the respondents argued that bulk interception is aimed at foreign signal intelligence, they also admit that they can’t distinguish between foreign and domestic communication.
So although there is great privacy laws in South Africa as well as an excellent Constitution there could be some challenges around execution. One can then only expect that citizens may want to take their own steps to protect their privacy. Blanket surveillance of private communications amounts to an unlawful breach of an individual's privacy. This is the reason why interception powers need to be regulated by a judicial system - it is a balance of powers that prevents abuse and ensures democracy. One can only be thankful that there are such organisations as journalists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy International, ProPublica, etc to ensure there is a balance. A citizen can no longer rely on their elected government or state to protect their rights to privacy.
South Africa is one of two countries which have recently admitted to running mass surveillance programmes.
Why can't Google Maps implement geofencing alerts for entering or exiting areas, or navigating around no-go zones?Date Published: Tue, 3 Sep 2019 20:15:31 +0200
With all the safety issues becoming more and more important in the world I'm wondering why Google Maps, which is generically available across iOS and Android devices, does not also start to implement safety features instead of just navigation features. Yes, there is location sharing but no alerting.
What about being able to define areas where a child (or adult) should stay within, and if they leave that area an alert is sent to defined contacts (even better if it can be set for a period of days/times). The same goes for no-go areas which not only could send the alerts, but also navigate around and away from these areas.
Imagine visiting a foreign city and being able to navigate around commonly accepted no-go or danger zones like we can opt to avoid ferries and toll roads.
Life360 Family Locator for iOS and Android - Create trusted circles to get safety alerts for loved ones or familyDate Published: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 22:25:17 +0200
Any time a loved one goes missing, the first hours and minutes are vital to tracking them down. It is something that has come to the fore in South Africa again recently with quite a few children and teens that have gone missing. "Creepy tracking apps" are being considered a necessaity for families, loved ones and taemmates to keep tabs on each other being safe.
Life360 is an app that has been around for a while and is free for basic use to keep tabs on friends and family arriving and departing at up to two locations, sending an alert, checking real-time location, low battery alerts. Most will get by with the free version but an annual subscription (covers everyone in that circle) will also include crash detection and driver behaviour reports, and unlimited location arrivals and departures.
Whilst Like360 depends a lot on your Circle for assistance, Namola is a South African app that gets emergency response at the touch of a button when you need it urgently - see https://www.namola.com.
Real life moves real fast. Life360 brings your family closer with smart features designed to protect and connect the people who matter most.
Namola is South Africa's leading response solution that allows all citizens to Get Help Fast
Welcome to the world of old people playing video games - one has more than 700,000 subscribers on YouTubeDate Published: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 18:51:21 +0200
"Old" people are some of the only video game streamers worth watching. Filled with the wisdom that comes from age, seniors are the necessary corrective to Twitch and YouTube channels currently dominated by excitable whippersnappers. Fortunately, as outlined in a piece NBC’s Kalhan Rosenblatt that explores this world, video games are gaining popularity among the elderly. The piece references a study (by the American Association of Retired Persons and the Entertainment Software Association) that found “38 percent of Americans age 50 and older said they play video games” and looks at those who belong to this demographic.
Rosenblatt mentions the social benefits of video games as well as studies that show how, “with their complex controls and fast pace” they provide “a mental workout for seniors” that could help “delay or slow the onset of degenerative neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.” This means that, aside from providing a subgenre of game streams that are far more entertaining than the usual, these seniors are potentially improving their health as well.
It's a sign of the times as many highly skilled developers and gamers pass through their 50's and 60's and now find themselves retiring and having heaps of time to do more of what they love doing. Like we have under 18-year-old sport, or men's vs women's sports teams, I see this segment growing strongly in future for eSports, after all, it does not require one to run across a soccer pitch kicking a ball.
As we’ve discussed in the past, old people are some of the only video game streamers worth watching. Filled with the wisdom that comes from age, seniors are the necessary corrective to Twitch and YouTube channels currently dominated by excitable whippersnappers. Fortunately, as outlined in a piece NBC’s Kalhan Rosenblatt that explores this world, video games are gaining popularity among the elderly. The piece references a study that found “38 percent of Americans age 50 and older said they play video games” and looks at those who belong to this demographic.
The shift toward open-source conversational AI - maybe for savvy companies to control their own AI destinies?Date Published: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 18:41:29 +0200
In July, Uber released a new open-source AI library called the Plato research dialogue system. A couple of months ago, Cisco open-sourced its MindMeld conversational AI platform, after acquiring the company of the same name in 2017 for $125 million.
Why are so many new libraries being announced? There seems to be a trend of developers adopting open source conversational AI and leaving behind closed-source alternatives. Most of the key tooling for building conversational AI that has been developed in the last three years is open source. And companies like Uber and Cisco want to be in the running to define the standard conversational AI stack.
Companies are increasingly deciding that many of the AI capabilities they need are strategically important and should be developed in-house. By using open-source tools, they can build up their own training data sets and other IP, such as custom integrations with their backend systems. By developing the talent, data, and software to ship AI themselves, these companies control their own AI destiny.
While interest in closed-source tools like Dialogflow and Microsoft Bot Framework has stalled, monthly installations of the most popular open-source natural language understanding (NLU) libraries increased six-fold between mid-2018 and mid-2019.
Developers are adopting open source conversational AI and leaving behind closed-source alternatives to build more solutions in-house.
German car manufacturer Opel has made what it claims is the world's first all-electric rally car, which is based on the carmaker's first electric vehicle.
Opel plans on making 15 of the rally cars, specifically for the 2020 to 2021 ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, according to Roadshow. The electric vehicle rally cup, which is the first of its kind, brings together around 100 young drivers from 18 countries to race with electric drives, according to President ADAC Sport Hermann Tomczyk in a prepared statement.
It is important for racing to embrace and research new technologies because it helps improve and refine designs that are used in productions vehicles we will use daily.
German automaker Opel has created what it claims to be the world's first fully-electric rally car, the Opel-e.
Ham operators stand ready in case of disaster - Amateur radio may be the only communication left after a major calamityDate Published: Sun, 1 Sep 2019 12:33:49 +0200
“We have six people in Sooke who form the Sooke Emergency Group. We get together every Wednesday evening at the communications room at the fire hall to practice our skills and make sure that we’re ready, if and when we’re needed,” said Gorse.
“The services provided by these ham operators have the potential for being a critical link to the outside world in the case that communications are cut with the rest of the world.”
“People don’t realize that we are not only able to talk to others, we can also communicate through emails, retrieve data… essentially do everything needed to communicate with the outside world,” said Gorse.
This actually happens in cities all around the world. Here in Cape Town, there is a weekly Hamnet radio bulletin on Wednesdays with regular exercises conducted with other disaster management services. Amateur radio operators are not only able to maintain communications using local repeaters, but can on the HF bands communicate directly to cities 100's or 1000's kilometres away. Part of the exercises often involves RaDAR (Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio) which is a concept for operating an amateur radio station anywhere, anytime and even in adverse environmental conditions.
Amateur radio may be the only communication left after major calamity
Neutralizer - an Android app that tests your hearing ability in key frequency ranges and adapts the system equalizer to take it into accountDate Published: Sun, 1 Sep 2019 12:07:54 +0200
This app tackles the problem by testing your own hearing using the devices as you would use them and compensates accordingly (so it takes into account how your own ears are hearing with a specific device). It is also useful to test your ears individually to see how they differ (pity the app does not do the ears individually to also compensate with differences between each ear.
In the attached image the app shows the difference for settings between my left and right ear (I use one earbud at a time to listen to podcasts).