2018 July

adminJuly 29, 2018
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6min

Fake products are steadily invading the market nowadays; from fake CDs to fake designer bags and fake smartphones. I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised if some of the accounts following you on your social media accounts are fake, too; in fact, it has totally gone mainstream.

For sure there are also others who do not realize that they are being followed by a number of bots and fake accounts. This is not anybody’s fault. Bot accounts, by nature, tend to follow popular accounts.

Facebook fake accounts and bots

In order to keep social media clean and authentic, people should take initiative in keeping an eye on their followers on social media, blocking or reporting anyone with a suspicious or spam account.

To do all that, you will need to know how to spot fake accounts. Since most of them are pretty authentic-looking, it is kind of hard for most internet users, especially those who are not tech-savvy, to distinguish the difference. To help you on your quest for a cleaner and safe social media experience, I’ll share some useful tips. Here they are;

Fake Accounts have Lots of Followers but Low Engagement

The easiest way to determine whether an account is fake is to see if it has a lot of followers, accompanied by a low level of engagement. It isn’t normal for an account that has over 1,000 followers to only have 2 or 5 likes per post. An authentic account usually has followers that are active and engaging; they regularly like or comment on each post.

Fake Social Accounts

Fake Accounts have an Engagement Rate that is too Fast

Most con artists today are getting wiser, and so they try to make an authentic account by having more followers and likes. They are able to do so by means of purchasing likes, which automatically likes anything that the account posts. What makes it more obvious is that these likes are accompanied by zero comments.

In addition, genuine accounts have an engagement that gradually takes place and usually has a decent balance between likes and comments.

Fake Accounts have an Engagement Rate that is too Fast

Fake Accounts Usually have Very Few Posts

A real account has many followers because they’ve done something to deserve it; just like how in Instagram you post pictures so that you can influence people to follow you. Now, isn’t it fishy to see an Instagram account that has over 1,000 followers to have only five to ten posts? Most likely those are fake accounts that are populated with fake followers.

Fake Accounts Usually Contain Shady Contents

Sometimes, you can just tell that an account is fake because it obviously looks shady. For instance, the account may have a photo of a handsome guy or a gorgeous girl as its profile picture, but when you look at the content, it is populated with blurry selfies or photos of beautiful landscapes. In short, the content of the account is populated with amateur content. The photos are probably stolen from accounts of other users in an effort to make their account look authentic.

Now that you are equipped with these pointers, you have a higher chance to avoid falling victim to bots and fake accounts. Always remember: “Stay safe on the Internet.”


adminJuly 27, 2018
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7min

Ways of committing crimes have drastically evolved throughout the years; from cavemen using sticks and stones to modern men using devious tactics to steal, kill, and dupe other people. As the world continued to advance, people also found ingenious ways and developed sophisticated technology to help them protect their properties and well-being in general.

At present, you will see that most gadgets employ artificial intelligence software and various technologies, like biometrics, for instance. Some devices use fingerprint scanners; others scan your entire face; other devices just scan your iris.

As people got smarter in setting up safeguards, most thieves adapted and learned how to circumvent these safety measures. Speaking about theories, it is believed that iris scanners can be duped by using an eyeball plucked from another person. For those of you who have read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, you will probably remember that the antimatter was stolen because the thief cuts out the physicist’s eyes and used it to fool the biometric scanners. That, indeed, is a pretty disturbing thought.

So, now, the most important question that should be asked is this: “Is there any way for iris scanners to confirm if a scanned eyeball belongs to a living person?” Recently, a group of researchers based in Poland have studied whether a machine learning system could tell between living eyeballs from dead ones.

Living Eyeballs

What Exactly is Iris Recognition

To inform you a little about iris scanners, it uses iris recognition in its processes. Now, iris recognition is an automated process of biometric identification that utilizes mathematical pattern-recognition techniques on video images of one or both of the irises; its complex patterns are distinctive and stable, and it can be seen from a distance.

Some people might confuse iris recognition with retinal scanning. In order to point out the difference between the two, retinal scanning is an ocular-based biometric technology that uses the distinct patterns on an individual’s retina blood vessels and is frequently confused with iris recognition. Iris recognition, on the other hand, uses video camera technology with subtle near-infrared illumination to obtain imagery of the intricate and detailed structures of the iris that are visible.

Iris Recognition

How Dead Eyeballs can be Distinguished from Living Ones

Thanks to Mateusz Trokielewicz at Warsaw University of Technology in Poland and a couple of his colleagues, we may have an answer to that glaring question. This group of researchers has created a database of irises that were scanned from both living people and dead bodies and then trained a machine-learning algorithm to recognize the difference.

Trokielewicz says that their algorithm can differentiate a living iris from a dead one with an accuracy of 99%. Even with this high accuracy percentage, is it still possible to beat the detection system?

Mateusz Trokielewicz

Efforts in Fool-proofing the System

The system was made fail-safe by means of an unusual database: the Warsaw BioBase PostMortem Iris dataset that contains 574 near-infrared iris images that were gathered from 17 people at different times of death; the dates of the images range from five hours to 34 days after death.

The group of researchers also gathered 256 images of live irises. In order to avoid future technical hitches, they were cautious enough to use the same iris camera that was used on the cadavers. They also cropped the images so that only the iris is shown in order to further fool-proof their results.

Efforts in Fool-proofing the System

Even though Trokielewicz and his colleagues were able to yield very good results, there is still one drawback: the system’s accuracy does not apply to fresh irises. It can only produce a valid result to irises that have been dead for 16 hours or more.

Certainly, this will give thieves and criminals a window of opportunity to perform their wicked deeds, but it will also undeniably give people some comfort in knowing that plucked eyeballs will eventually lose their ability to dupe the system in just a few hours.


adminJuly 25, 2018
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7min

Not too long ago, during Google I/O this year, Google showed Google Duplex to the public. Now, it has been a long-standing objective of computer technology with regard to human-computer interaction to make it possible for people to have a smooth and natural conversation with computers.

You could note that in recent years, there has been a tremendous development in the computer’s ability to understand and generate natural speech; however, even with today’s advanced technology, it can get quite frustrating when you converse with the computerized voices in your gadgets that simply don’t understand natural language.

Most systems and software are evidently struggling to comprehend simple words and instructions; they also don’t engage in a smooth conversation flow and compels people to adjust to the system rather than the other way around. There are also times when software, like a virtual assistant, for instance, hears something completely different from what was actually said, but all that is going to change because of Google Duplex.

Google showed Google Duplex to the public

Google Duplex: What it is Exactly

Google Duplex is a fully automated system that is capable of making calls on the user’s behalf, doing so with a natural-sounding human voice and using fillers, such as “um” and “uh”, rather than the typical robotic voice that we are much accustomed to. In addition, Google Duplex is also able to comprehend complex sentences, slangs, rapid speech, and long dialogues.

Because of all these characteristics, Google Duplex is the appropriate solution to the past struggles with human-computer interaction. By letting users have a natural conversation with computers, users don’t have to keep repeating their commands and will be assured that the computer understood everything that they have said.

Gone are the days where you adjust to the system; gone are the days where you shout at your phone just to get your message or command through; gone are the days where you keep repeating your command because the system keeps hearing differently. Now, users can speak like usual, just as they would if they were speaking to another human being, without fear of not being understood.

Google Duplex

Google Duplex: What It Can Do for You

At present, Google Duplex can be used to complete three separate tasks: making reservations at restaurants, scheduling hair appointments, and getting businesses’ holiday operating hours.

Additionally, if the business establishment you are trying to book with accepts online reservations, Google Duplex will make use of that. If not, Google Duplex will call the business establishment on your behalf. All you have to do is instruct Google Assistant; for instance, saying “Call ABC restaurant and make a reservation for two people on Tuesday night at 6”, or something to that effect.

As soon as an appointment or a reservation is made, Google Duplex will immediately notify the user that arrangements have already been made.

It is, of course, a bit creepy to carry a conversation not knowing whether you’re talking to a computer or a genuine human being. Perhaps as an answer to that growing concern, Google later made an additional announcement that a call from Google Duplex would identify itself as such before starting a conversation.

Google AI

Google Duplex: Potential and Practical Use

I think we’ve all experienced calling the telephone or cable company, for instance, and listening to an automated system telling us to “press 1 to talk to a customer service agent or press 2 for accounting”. Integrating Google Duplex into their systems would certainly cause serious improvement.

Another potential use of Google Duplex would be in government offices; people would no longer wait an hour or two just to get hold of a representative since they could ask the AI system directly about their concerns.

There is, without a doubt, still room for improvement left for Google Duplex, but it is clear that it is taking the right step in ensuring a significant improvement in man’s day-to-day interaction with computers.


adminJuly 23, 2018
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6min

A couple of years back, only a select few felt that information technology would blossom into what it is today. In fact, most companies believed that information technology was not very significant for their company, and so they didn’t invest enough time and money on it.

Well, today, that is no longer the case. Any company today ought to think about information technology and work out a way to use it to their advantage. From there, you can see how vital information technology has become, not only for businesses but also for us individuals.

In this article, you will get acquainted with some of the best technology franchise opportunities to invest in.

uBreakiFix

CEO: Justin Wetherhill

uBreakiFix, which was founded in 2009, is a professional electronics repair franchise. It grabbed the 18th spot on the Franchise 500 list, which is published by Entrepreneur magazine based on a submission and review method.

uBreakiFix is offering mail-in and walk-in repair services. At the beginning of 2017, the franchise has rapidly expanded, reaching over 300 locations because of the explosion of smartphones.

uBreakiFix started franchising in 2013, with an initial investment ranging from $60,400 to $220,850 and an initial franchising fee of $40,000. They will provide training, which will last for about 3 weeks on the site and 120 hours in the classroom. Their marketing support includes but is not limited to Ad Templates, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing, and a loyalty program.

uBreakiFix

CPR: Cell Phone Repair

CEO: Josh Sevick

CPR, or Cell Phone Repair, is the oldest electronics repair franchise in the country; it was founded in 2004. It was ranked 26th among the other franchise on the Franchise 500 list.

Like uBreakiFix, Cell Phone Repair provides fast and affordable electronics repair for tablets, laptops, mobile phones, and even gaming consoles. Aside from this service, Cell Phone Repair also sells game systems, smartphones, and many more. At the beginning of 2017, the franchise significantly expanded, having 365 franchises all over the world.

Cell Phone Repair started franchising in 2007, three years after it was founded, with an initial investment ranging from $58,150 to $176,000 and an initial franchising fee of $45,000. They will provide training, which will last approximately 400 hours on the site and 24 hours in the classroom. Their marketing support includes but is not limited to Co-op advertising, ad templates, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, and email marketing.

Cell Phone Repair

CMIT

CEO: Jeff Connally

CMIT, formerly known as Computer Moms, was founded in 1994. It initially focused on in-home computer services and training. By 2014, they shifted their concentration and served small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and also changed their name to CMIT Solutions (or Completely Managed IT Solutions).

Jeff Connally

Apparently, their business strategy worked because, at the beginning of 2017, CMIT already had 175 franchise and is currently ranked 186th on the Franchise 500 list.

CMIT started franchising in 1998, which is four years after it was founded, with an initial investment ranging from $127,200 to $173,200 and an initial franchising fee of $45,000. They will provide training, which will last approximately 400 hours on the site training and 24 hours for in-classroom training. Their marketing support includes, but are not limited to, Co-op advertising, ad templates, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, and email marketing.

People might shy away from investing in a tech franchise, probably because they think they’d have to be all tech-savvy in order to do so, but I think it’s a great opportunity to learn, to expand a business, and to shatter that age-old false myth.


adminJuly 21, 2018
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7min

During the last few decades, technology has been continually evolving in a rapid fashion. It started with the rise of the Internet and smartphones. Aside from that, other smart gadgets and technologies began to circulate the market as well.

At present, breakthrough technology is dramatically changing how things work in various industries in countless and unexpected ways. For instance, modern technology makes it easier for people to make accommodation and travel arrangements, and so technological advancement has boosted tourism and travel.

If you look at the manufacturing industry, technology has also played a key part in assisting production with the help of the computational power and data availability that it provides. Technology has also helped other industries such as farming, healthcare, automotive, music, and transportation.

In short, technology has been an indispensable factor in changing various industries and helping them to thrive and survive in better ways than they did before.

Below you will read about some of the hand-picked breakthrough technologies that are included in this year’s MIT Technology Review.

MIT Technology Review

3-D Metal Printing

3-D printing began as far back as 1981, but it was mostly used by hobbyist and also for designing purposes. Currently, however, 3D printing has been viewed as a sensible approach in manufacturing metal parts. 3-D printers can easily make metal objects quickly and, most importantly, in a cheaper way.

Looking at it as a whole, this technology is capable of making large and complex-looking metal objects and parts that are on demand. It could, in turn, potentially transform manufacturing as we know it and open up new doors of possibilities and opportunities.

The current key players of 3-D metal printing are Markforged, Desktop Metal, and GE.

Artificial Embryos

This technological breakthrough has given a completely different meaning to how life can be created. Experts working at the University of Cambridge have cultivated real-looking mouse embryos just by using stem cells. No egg or sperm was required; just stem cells that were harvested from another embryo.

This breakthrough of artificial embryos will certainly open up new doors for us to better understand how life develops. However, it also poses various concerns such as ethical and, surprisingly, even philosophical problems.

The current key players of artificial embryos are the University of Cambridge, University of Michigan, and Rockefeller University.

Artificial Embryos

 

Cloud-based AI Services

Artificial Intelligence has always been making huge splashes in various industries; however, it is dominated by only a select few. Now, by making it a cloud-based service, AI can easily be available to many others and offer the economy a significant boost.

The current key players of Cloud-based AI services are Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Together they are working to increase people’s access to machine learning and artificial intelligence and make it relatively affordable and easy to use.

Cloud-based AI Services

Babel Fish Earbuds

Ever since time immemorial, language has always been one of the greatest barriers to communication and it still is. With the help of near-real-time translation, people can have their conversation in different languages and in near real-time, which is not just effective but also efficient.

It has been reported that the earbuds are still in their early stages, but it cannot be denied that the underlying technology in this is truly promising.

Babel Fish Earbuds

These are truly exciting times as technology advances with blinding speed.  It is just as hard to imagine what the next 20 years will bring just as it is was hard for us to imagine what today would be like 20 years ago.  What is truly extraordinary about breakthroughs today is that they are spreading out into different industries rapidly, and are no longer mostly just limited to just a few industries, like the way they were 20 years ago.


adminJuly 21, 2018
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6min

By now, you’ve probably seen thousands of memes all over the Internet, thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram among others. Well, have you ever wondered where they came from?

Before we go deeper into that, let me give you a simple definition of what a meme and internet meme is, for the benefit of those who don’t know.

Internet Meme

A meme, according to Wikipedia, is an idea or style that spread from one person to another within a culture. A meme’s main goal is to express a particular theme or meaning that it represents.

On the other hand, an Internet meme is a concept or catchphrase or a piece of media that spreads, usually as a type of impersonation or for entertainment purposes, by means of the Internet.

piece of media

Where do They Come From?

If truth be told, a meme can be quite complicated to define since it could take on any form. It could be an idea, a photo, a video, a person, a quote, a word or group of words, or even a fictional character. It could even be said that a meme is something that is broadcasted for fun, which eventually becomes viral.

Now, there are a number of online communities that create and spread memes with the purpose of making an idea viral; this practice is known as attention hacking or weaponizing. Because of the global fame that memes have, these communities became especially influential.

Through it all, there is only a little information about how memes spread and how they make use of their influence.

spread memes with the purpose of making an idea viral

How do They Affect the Society?

Memes might look quite harmless, just something that people do to kill time and to entertain themselves, but they actually have a big impact on our culture. Memes can, believe it or not, change the way people live by influencing popular culture. And certain memes at times target particular demographics, such as teenagers and young working individuals.

Due to its economical and viral nature, memes are also being used by most advertising and marketing professionals. Not to mention that memes have also provided a significant means for many people to gain fame and fortune.

Memes affect the Society?

Why do They Matter?

All of that being said, there is still one more question that we all need to ponder upon: “Why do memes matter? Why do we need to care about how memes impact our culture and society as a whole?”

Many people believe that they become a different person online, but that is far from being true. Whatever we do online actually do reflect who we are as a person when we are offline, and so it is something that should be taken more seriously.

I agree that memes have become a natural way for many people to express themselves, but all of us should also remember that everything we do is bound to have some consequences and that we have to be responsible for whatever we do or post online.

Since so many memes are being shared in virtually all social media platform, and mostly done by teens and young adults, it is extremely crucial for them to understand a meme’s true meaning and how it impacts society.

Looking at different posts online, you can see various versions of the same meme, and you can see how some people showcase their ingenuity. However, it is also important to remember and keep in mind that what might seem funny to one person could, in fact, be offensive to another.



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