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Windows 10 Icons Get a New Look

Feb 21, 2020 - 9:43 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft introduced redesigned Office icons back in 2018, now it's time for Windows 10's built-in apps to get the same treatment.

Posting on Windows Blogs, Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Program Manager for the Windows Insider Program, confirmed that the Windows 10 icons are being updated. Windows Insiders on the Fast ring will see them before everyone else, with the Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Mail, and Calendar icons being the first to change.

The new icons are part of a multi-year project Microsoft started in 2018 to redesign over 100 icons using new colors, materials, and finishes. The main goal was to create new icons that demonstrated innovation and change while maintaining familiarity with end users. Microsoft is relying on its Fluent Design System to create these icons, and it worked well for Office.

Christina Koehn, Design Leader for Windows and Devices at Microsoft, explains that there's now an estimated four connected devices used per person, meaning the design focus needs to be on "simplicity at the systems level." In other words, the icon is a wayfinder across multiple devices and operating systems, making its design that much more important.

Windows 10 users will soon find out how successful Koehn and her team have been at achieving that mix of simplicity and instant recognition.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 71 Views

Facebook will now pay you for your voice recordings

Feb 21, 2020 - 9:38 PM - by Reverend
Facebook will offer to pay some users for voice recordings that will be used to help improve its speech recognition technology, the company announced Thursday. The move comes after Facebook — as well as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft — was caught listening to and transcribing voice recordings to improve speech recognition systems without informing customers it was doing so.

Facebook will let you make voice recordings as part of a new program called “Pronunciations” in its Viewpoints market research app. If you qualify to be part of the program, Facebook says you’ll be able to record the phrase “Hey Portal” followed by the first name of a friend from your friends list. You’ll be able to do this with the names of up to 10 friends, and you have to record each statement twice.

Facebook won’t be paying much for your recordings, though. If you complete one set of recordings, you get 200 points in the Viewpoints app — and you can’t cash out in the Viewpoints app until you earn at least 1,000 points. That only translates to a $5 reward via PayPal. However, Facebook says users may be offered the opportunity to make up to five sets of recordings, so there is the potential to meet that 1,000-point goal and get paid.

Facebook says the voice recordings users provide will not be connected to their Facebook profile and that the company doesn’t share Viewpoints activity on Facebook or other Facebook-owned services without permission.

The Pronunciations program will be available to US users over the age of 18 that have more than 75 Facebook friends. Facebook says it will be rolling the program out slowly, so it won’t be available to all users right away. If it’s made available to you, you won’t need to update the Viewpoints app to see it pop up, the company says.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 75 Views

Ring doorbell makes two-factor verification mandatory

Feb 19, 2020 - 9:43 PM - by Reverend
Ring, Amazon's video doorbell system, has introduced additional steps to the way users log in to their accounts.

Users will need to enter a password and unique six-digit code when they first log in to view their security footage or access the Neighbors app.

On Tuesday, Ring also said it would pause its data-sharing with third-party firms.

The change comes as Ring and Amazon face increasing scrutiny about privacy protection and data sharing. A BBC report on Amazon - which owns Ring - showed the company's extensive level of data collection.

In a blog post Ring's president Leila Rouhi said the company takes "digital security and privacy seriously" and would look at additional ways to improve security.

Ring's new log-in system will be similar to other two-factor authentication processes. After signing in with a username and password the app will ask to send a text message or email with a one-time six-digit code. Once the code is entered the user will have access to the app and be able to view footage from outdoor and indoor cameras. Owners will then be able to use their mobile apps for 30 day before they are required to go through the two-step process again, unless they log out of their account in the meantime.

Last week, Nest - Google's home security device - began requiring two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication was an option for Ring users before, but it was not the default setting.

Critics pointed to the fact that even when users logged in from a new device they were not asked for a second verification. That meant that to get access to someone's Ring footage all a hacker would need was a login ID and password. Because many people use the same login credentials for multiple accounts experts stress using a password alone is not a very secure... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 268 Views

WhatsApp hits 2 billion users

Feb 13, 2020 - 7:43 PM - by Reverend
WhatsApp has amassed two billion users, up from 1.5 billion by the end of 2017, the company announced on Wednesday.

The mobile messaging app was founded in 2009 and acquired by Facebook in 2014. The deal was valued at $19 billion, the largest acquisition by the social media giant to date.

Despite its size, WhatsApp's growth remains robust: It has gained 500 million new customers over the past two years.

WhatsApp touts its end-to-end encryption technology, which ensures that all contents in chats are secured by default. Not even WhatsApp can read messages or listen to calls that take place among the participants of conversations, according to WhatsApp's blog posts.

But the encryption technology has drawn backlash across the world for security reasons. In India, where WhatsApp has more users than any domestic messaging apps, the government has called for regulations that give it access to encrypted data. In Australia and the United Kingdom, similar laws are also in discussion.

In October, US Attorney General William Barr asked Facebook to delay its plans to encrypt messages on its platform, citing that information relating to terrorism and sex trafficking can be spread across encrypted messaging apps.

WhatsApp strongly defends its encryption technology. "We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe," according to WhatsApp's announcement on Wednesday. "For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy."

  0 Replies | 324 Views

New Coronavirus Strain? Nope, Just Hackers Trying to Spread Malware

Jan 31, 2020 - 9:28 PM - by Reverend
Received a random file about the coronavirus? It's best to avoid opening it. Hackers are starting to exploit fears around the ongoing outbreak to infect computers with malware, according to security researchers.

The attacks have been occurring through files and emails that pretend to know something about the coronavirus, but have actually been designed to take over the victim's computer.

On Wednesday, the hackers were spotted sending out spam emails to users in Japan, warning about a new strain of coronavirus reaching the island country, according to IBM Security. The emails, which are written in Japanese, urge the recipient to open up the attached Word document to learn more.

If macros are enabled, the opened document will be able to execute a series of commands to secretly download the Emotet malware, which can steal sensitive information from your machine or deliver other dangerous payloads, such as ransomware.

"This new approach to delivering Emotet may be significantly more successful, due to the wide impact of the coronavirus and the fear of infection surrounding it," IBM Security said in the report. "We expect to see more malicious email traffic based on the coronavirus in the future, as the infection spreads. This will probably include other languages too."

On Thursday, the security firm Kaspersky Lab also reported uncovering malicious files disguised as documents about a new strain of coronavirus. To deliver the payload, the hackers were using PDFs, MP4 files and Word documents.

"The file names imply that they contain video instructions on how to protect yourself from the virus, updates on the threat and even virus detection procedures, which is not actually the case," Kaspersky Lab said. In reality, the discovered files... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 829 Views

Google Translate App to Transcribe and Translate in Real-Time

Jan 29, 2020 - 9:16 PM - by Reverend
Google Translate is already an extremely useful service, but it's going to get even better later this year thanks to artificial intelligence.

As CNET reports, Google was showing off a number of its AI projects earlier this week in San Francisco. One of them is a new feature heading to the Google Translate app a few months from now which allows a conversation to be transcribed in real-time while simultaneously being translated into another language.

From a practical point of view it would allow two individuals who speak different languages to hold a conversation simply by reading what the other person says from the app on their phone. As it happens in real-time, the conversation should be able to flow normally without much of a pause. Other uses include attending a lecture in a language you don't understand, or watching a movie and generating your own subtitles through the app.

Testing is currently ongoing for multiple languages including French, German, and Spanish. When the feature does roll out to the Translate app, it will require an internet connection to work. The workload for performing real-time transcription and translation happens on Google's servers, which I'm sure your phone battery will be very happy to hear.

If it works flawlessly, then Google Translate is going to become an even more essential tool to have installed on your phone, especially when traveling.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 616 Views

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