Author archives: Jay Raol

On July 5, 2015 an anti-surveillance crusader blazoned a ginormous, 400 gigabyte chunk on Bit Torrent of internal documents from the mysterious Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team on the company’s official Twitter feed. Five days after suffering the massive attack, the security firm is still scrimmaging to cap the damage and figure out how exactly the perpetrators racked up the data breach. The anonymous hacker hijacked HT’s official Twitter account and continued to post screenshots of email communications, client lists – includ...
We spend a lot of time staring into an abyss, waiting for the person on the other end to IM. Don't we? Well, a group a researchers at MIT are tinkering away to make that inefficacious time more productive for us. A team of PhD students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has created an app, WaitChatter that basically teaches you a foreign language in that standby time when you wait for IMs from your friends. WaitChatter teaches you basic words in foreign languages like Spanish and French while you w...
In April 2015, a prototype known as FINDER, NASA’s long-range heartbeat detector was used to find and save four men under ten feet of rubble in Nepal. A month later, an improved version of the detector was tested by Virginia Task Force one. NASA is banking on hopes of using the technology in outer space and in hospital emergency rooms on the planet. The technology behind the detector has been around for quite some time. It relies on microwave radar signals to detect motion by analyzing the resulting patterns that arise when signals...
About a year ago, Facebook noticed a massive, one-of-a-kind botnet-powered malware slinging campaign that used various social networking services to push malicious software onto the machines of as many users as possible. The flagship social networking site couldn’t stop it then, without help from Pinterest, Tumblr and others. The botnet-powered malware used jagged web properties to host content or propagate or simply to obscure the nature of the attack. Fast forward a year, andFacebook has partnered with Bitly, Dropbox, Pinteres...
For years, technology companies have promised to revive mobile payments, persuading people to put away their credit cards and pay with mobile phones instead. But in the past few months, with the release of Apple’s Apple Pay app, Samsung’s LoopPay, Google Wallet, and more new entries jumping in, the mobile payment space has turned into a grid for a loomingaggressive war. Now, Google’s acquisition of a new technology and its new partnership with US cellular carriers could mean Apple Pay is finally going to face some fierce competitio...
The HTC Desire 820 is a mid-range, 4G LTE model that promises ultra-fast data connection. It disappoints a little on the NFC part, since it doesn’t have a selection of sensors, and hence lacks all the fun features – step tracking, motion gestures, and double-tap to wake - that are decked in the HTC One model. Handling everyday tasks with Desire 820 is easy. The model gives an overall good performance, with no glitches in cracking through emails, browsing and savoring the incredible screen space. Not a very powerful device, graphica...
Microsoft and Sony battled to counter a conspicuous cyber attack on their video games networks over Christmas, leaving millions of customers unable to access entertainments and play games. Microsoft’s Xbox Live network and Sony’s PlayStation store faced blackouts on Christmas, with serious interruption to the systems persisting on Boxing Day as well. Around 24 hours after the reports of an assault, Xbox said its core services had come back to normal. Similarly, Sony said it had resolved the issue. However, the attacks have yet again...
Popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter rolled out its 2014 breakdown on January 5, 2015 commemorating a total of $529 million pledged by 3.3 million supporters. Its technology category pulled in the biggest slice of support - $125 million pledged, putting a fractional value on individuals' craving for science fiction gadgetry. However, tech was a long way from being the most effectively financed class, with only 1,124 tech projects funded in 2014. Categories that tasted success for being funded on Kickstarter were music (4,009),...
The unfair jokes around women and their parking skills may cease to exist or at least we’re hoping they do, thanks to BMW. The German automotive company plans to showcase its sensor-filled BMW i3 v2 at the CEs 2015 in January and will demo its driverless parking system that can be operated through a smartwatch known as the Remote Valet Parking Assistant. According to a BMW spokesperson, the BMW i3 can navigate through multi-level parking garages using information from its laser scanners with the help of a digital site plan of the g...
As more and more coastal cities face growing challenges ranging from rising sea levels to population density problems, more and more urban planners are switching to building unconventional means as a solution. A Japanese company recently flashed in headlines for coming up with a very novel proposal – building underwater cities - cities of the future! A futuristic concept for a self-sufficient city, The Ocean Spiral, has been designed to float amidst the eeriness of the sea and uses the ocean to run infrastructure that could support...
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