lunes, 25 de julio de 2016

Facebook! Aquila’s First Flight: A Big Milestone Toward Connecting Billions of People

Facebook's solar powered plane Aquila.
By Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure 7/21/2016 Via: Facebook Newsroom

Internet access can offer life-changing opportunities and experiences to all of us, but there are still 4 billion people without it. That’s 60% of the global population. As many as 1.6 billion of those unconnected people live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, where implementing existing network technologies is so challenging and costly that it will take years to bring everyone affordable access. As part of our commitment to Internet.org, we formed the Facebook Connectivity Lab to build new technologies — including aircraft, satellites, and wireless communications systems — to help solve this problem more quickly.

Today Connectivity Lab announced a big milestone in this work: the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, our high-altitude unmanned aircraft. Aquila is a solar-powered airplane that can be used to bring affordable internet to hundreds of millions of people in the hardest-to-reach places. When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems. Aquila is designed to be hyper efficient, so it can fly for up to three months at a time. The aircraft has the wingspan of an airliner, but at cruising speed it will consume only 5,000 watts — the same amount as three hair dryers, or a high-end microwave.

We’ve been flying a one-fifth scale version of Aquila for several months, but this was the first time we’ve flown the full-scale aircraft. This test flight was designed to verify our operational models and overall aircraft design. To prove out the full capacity of the design, we will push Aquila to the limits in a lengthy series of tests in the coming months and years. Failures are expected and sometimes even planned; we learn more when we push the plane to the brink.

This first functional check was a low-altitude flight, and it was so successful that we ended up flying Aquila for more than 90 minutes — three times longer than originally planned. We were able to verify several performance models and components, including aerodynamics, batteries, control systems, and crew training. In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet. Each test will help us learn and move faster toward our goal.

We’re encouraged by this first successful flight, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. In fact, to reach our goal of being able to fly over a remote region and deliver connectivity for up to three months at time, we will need to break the world record for solar-powered unmanned flight, which currently stands at two weeks. This will require significant advancements in science and engineering to achieve. It will also require us to work closely with operators, governments and other partners to deploy these aircraft in the regions where they’ll be most effective.

But we believe this work has never been more important. New technologies like Aquila have the potential to bring access, voice and opportunity to billions of people around the world, and do so faster and more cost-effectively than has ever been possible before.

jueves, 23 de junio de 2016

Where Rumors Can Kill

For refugees, access to information is a matter of life and death. Here’s what one organization is doing to help.

By Jeanne Bourgault     May 31, 2016  Via FOREIGN POLICY

Frustrations have been boiling over into violence on the Greek border with Macedonia. Along the razor wire fence, refugees in the Greek town of Idomeni have been stranded with no information about when — or if — the border would ever open. In April, some made a desperate dash for the other side. They were met with Macedonian stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. Three hundred were injured, including women and children. Earlier this month, refugees pushed an abandoned train car toward the border, only to be confronted this time by Greek police firing stun grenades and tear gas.

These were only some of the indignations inflicted on some of the 54,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries, who are now trapped in a bureaucratic purgatory in Greece. Many survived bombs, gunfire and mass killings at home. Desperate to flee the violence, they risked their lives in perilous sea crossings arranged by smugglers. Greece, which is mired in economic crisis, is not their goal — they want only to be allowed to continue on to further European destinations. But on March 20, the door to the rest of Europe slammed shut as part of an EU agreement with Turkey.

Now the refugees must wait for asylum law experts from other European countries to rule on who can stay in Greece or who might be granted asylum elsewhere — but when that will happen is anybody’s guess. In the interim, just last week, the refugees from Idomeni have been moved to other camps near Thessaloniki, about an hour away. Non-Greek media were not given access to report on the camp clearing and, once again, the refugees had no idea what was happening, or why.

When most people think of a humanitarian crisis, they imagine a population that has nowhere to live and nothing to eat. But in Greece, food and shelter, while basic, are available. The two things that are in short supply are patience and information.The two things that are in short supply are patience and information.

The situation exposes one of the greatest challenges of humanitarian crises today — ensuring access to relevant, accurate information that might help calm tense situations. Our organization, Internews, has been working together with myriad other groups around the world to try to fill this critical and under-appreciated gap. With all that refugees have had to navigate — smugglers, dangerous sea crossings, foreign cultures, domestic laws, international agreements — information they can trust is as vital as food, medicine and shelter.

Over the past decade, the notion of “information as a form of aid in its own right” has gained traction. The humanitarian community has come to understand the importance of listening to, talking to, and exchanging information with the people they serve. In addition to radio broadcasts, bullhorns and billboards, a mix of new information technologies from texting to apps are increasingly deployed in crisis scenarios, enabling the affected people not only to receive information, but to engage in dialogue with humanitarian responders.

These strategies are relatively easy to design and implement in “typical” crisis situations, where the affected populations share a common language and culture with each other and with the surrounding community. In such cases, local media can be mobilized to serve their information needs through radio, print, and television. Temporary radio stations can be set up in camps for the displaced, and radio receivers distributed to the population

Simple megaphones in public gathering places, clinics, and food distribution sites can help.

The case of the current refugee crisis in Europe, however, is much more challenging. This population speaks multiple languages and varies wildly in its demographic make-up, literacy rate, and access to smartphones and the Internet.

lunes, 6 de junio de 2016

This radio station is trying to heal one of the most war-torn parts of Africa

A sign outside a radio station in the capital city of Bangui encourages peace between Christians and Muslims
Muslim and Christian journalists are trying to bridge the Central African Republic’s sectarian divide.

By Charlotte Alfred   05/31/2016   Via THE HUFFINGTON POST

Muslim and Christian journalists are trying to bridge the Central African Republic’s sectarian divide.
There is a river that runs through Bambari, one of the largest cities in the Central African Republic. The city’s Muslim community lives on one side of the river. The Christians reside on the other. 

The river is called Ouaka, and it has morphed from the life source of the fishing and farming community to a bitter dividing line.

Christians and Muslims lived together for decades in Bambari, and throughout the Central African Republic. But the sectarian bloodshed that erupted three years ago has wrenched the country apart.
The River Ouaka now demarcates a tense truce. Few venture over the river these days, for fear of sparking more of the reprisal killings that have repeatedly flared in this city since 2013.

Yet one group of Muslims and Christians in Bambari are trying to reclaim the river’s name as symbol of unity.

They set up the city’s only functioning radio station last year. After a public vote, they named it Lego Ti la Ouaka — which means “Voice of Ouaka” in Sango, the local language.

“The radio hopes to be like a kind of bridge over the river that could help people to be reconciled,” said Mathias Manirakiza, the Central African Republic director for Internews, the international media development nonprofit that helped the community establish the radio station.

The D.C.-based Internews has helped Voice of Ouaka secure about $340,000 in funding from a United Nations-managed pool of donor funds since November 2014, when the organization began laying the groundwork for launching the station. 

But those funds came to an end on Tuesday. Now the station’s ambitious journalists, who have fended off hostile militias and showcased ways to heal their country, face an uncertain future.

A Lifeline For Residents

Radio is the most accessible form of media in the Central African Republic, due to conflict, poverty and a lack of infrastructure. But all of Bambari’s radio stations had shut down by late 2014, following a year of horrific sectarian violence. A local militia had burned one station’s building to the ground, killing several civilians.

Since then, people in Bambari have sometimes been able to pick up national radio signals broadcasting from the capital. But most of the time, they had no media left to turn to.

“In places like the Central African Republic, there are large portions of the country that have no information at all,” Marjorie Rouse, Internews’ senior vice president for programs, told The WorldPost. “Community radio stations can provide highly local information... and an important platform for discussion and debate.”

Without any functioning media in Bambari, rumors ran wild and stoked tensions in the city, said Adja Khaltouma Boulama, the president of Voice of Ouaka’s managing committee.

Bambari residents wanted a fresh start, and feared that reopening one of the old stations would only draw further attacks. So they approached Internews about opening a community radio station. 

“The community told us that they wanted to hear the voices of Bambari better represented,” said Boulama, who was elected by a group of community representatives to head the committee that oversees the station. “I wanted to do this for my country… so we could put rumors to rest and cultivate social cohesion between us, between Christians and Muslims, so that peace could return.”

Read more about this article in THE HUFFINGTON POST

sábado, 4 de junio de 2016

U.S. Subpoenas Huawei Over Its Dealings in Iran and North Korea (Cuba, Sudan and Syria)

Huawei, a major supplier of telecommunications equipment, reported revenue of about $60 billion in 2014. Credit Aly Song/Reuters

HONG KONG — Huawei Technologies has become China’s most successful international technology company, in part by tapping markets as varied as Britain, India and Kenya.

But it also moved into markets like Syria, where American officials have imposed limits on sales of technology that could be used to commit human rights abuses, and into Iran, where sanctions have only recently been eased. And its presence in such countries is now coming under greater scrutiny.

The United States Commerce Department is demanding that the company, based in the south China city of Shenzhen, turn over all information regarding the export or re-export of American technology to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, according to a subpoena sent to Huawei and viewed by The New York Times. The subpoena is part of an investigation into whether Huawei broke United States export controls.

Sent to Huawei’s American headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Plano, the subpoena called for Huawei to turn over information related to shipments to those countries over the past five years. It also sought evidence of shipments to the countries indirectly through front or shell companies. The subpoena directed company officials to testify last month in Irving, Tex., or to provide information before then; it was not clear whether the meeting took place.

Huawei has not been accused of wrongdoing. In a statement, the company said it was committed to complying with laws and regulations where it operated. The document, which was issued by the Commerce Department office that investigates export violations, is an administrative subpoena, meaning it does not indicate a criminal investigation.

Still, the scrutiny over Huawei’s dealings with those countries is emblematic of growing discord between the United States and China over control of global communications technology. It also illustrates how technology companies from both countries have been pulled into the high-stakes geopolitical contest over cybersecurity and the global management of the internet.

If the investigation finds that Huawei was acting counter to United States national security or foreign policy interests, it could limit the company’s access to crucial American-made components and other tech products. Given Huawei’s size and reach, that could affect the development of cellular networks and other large-scale technology infrastructure projects across the world.

“We do not comment with regard to ongoing investigations,” a Commerce Department spokesman said.

domingo, 29 de mayo de 2016

State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access by Facebook via Internet.org

By INTERNET.ORG    Via Facebook    February 22, 2016 

State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access, the second annual study by Facebook, takes a close look at the current state of global internet connectivity, how it has changed since 2014, and how we can use the data identified to generate new insights.

At the end of 2015, estimates showed that 3.2 billion people were online. This increase (up from 3 billion in 2014) is partly attributed to more affordable data and rising global incomes in 2014. Over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year.

While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015.

  • The four key barriers to internet access include:
  • Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
  • Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
  • Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
  • Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.

In order to address the barriers to connectivity, corporations, governments, NGOs and non-profits need to work together to continue gathering more accurate data on the state of global connectivity, and develop global standards for collecting, reporting, and distributing this data.

As one example, Facebook is collaborating with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University to produce detailed maps showing the population distribution of 20 countries. These maps were created using new machine learning techniques and show the most accurate estimates of population distribution and settlements available to date.

Read more about Data-Assisted Population Distribution Mapping here and here.

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Bringing information to the masses via solar-powered Internet access via TV White Space by MICROSOFT


“Without the Internet, it’s like living in darkness,” says Benson Maina, who runs the town of Nanyuki’s Internet café out of a 20-foot shipping container.

“My main duty is to communicate to the community, in terms of the Internet, the advantages they can get from it,” he says.

Affable and outgoing, Maina, 35, is the perfect ambassador.
To say the container, sunshine yellow, with an electric blue roof, stands out along this quiet road in rural Kenya is understatement. If cheap access to the Internet wasn’t enough of a draw, its alien appearance in this African landscape would be.

The container is powered by local company Mawingu, which provides Internet access via underutilized broadcast bandwidth, called TV white spaces. It’s part of a broader effort, by Microsoft and partners, to connect rural communities in Kenya and beyond.

For the people who come to Maina’s café, having Internet access that’s reliable and affordable is opening doors and creating opportunities.

“Bringing the Internet connection to the community… People never knew the possibilities, but now they have the whole world in their hands,” Maina says. “The people who use the solar cyber are working-class people who need a place to work. They’re also village people who don’t have much Internet competence. We help them learn.”

Many of his patrons come every day. They’re students, studying or applying to universities; farmers checking forecasts and crop prices; and budding entrepreneurs, earning a living transcribing or posting to social sites on behalf of others. They stay anywhere from two to eight hours.

“We also have job seekers,” Maina says. “People around here believe they’re so behind. They think the people who live in cities will always be on top. Power comes from having information.”

domingo, 1 de mayo de 2016

A hacker told me how to make a super strong password I can actually remember

Kurt Muhl (right), an ethical hacker with RedTeam Security
By Paul Szoldra   Via  TECHINSIDER

"One of the easiest ways to give yourself a strong password would be using a full sentence," said Kurt Muhl of RedTeam Security. 

Based in St. Paul, Minn, the cybersecurity firm of ethical "white hat" hackers helps companies find security flaws before the bad guys do.

The full-sentence technique works like this: Think of an everyday phrase that you can remember, like "My #1 favorite thing in the world is my family," or as Muhl gives as an example, "I bought my house for $1."

Then you take that sentence and convert it to a password by grabbing the first letter of each word. "I bought my house for $1" then becomes Ibmhf$1.

"That's going to give your uppercase, lowercase, a number, and special characters in there," Muhl said. "It's something that's easy to remember. All you gotta do is remember that sentence."

It seems simple, yet many people still resort to weak passwords, which hackers can easily guess using free software tools like John the Ripper. A password that has a word found in a dictionary with a number thrown on the end is something that a tool like "John" could break in about an hour, Muhl explained.

Passwords like "123456" or "password" — consistently found on worst password lists — would only take seconds to crack.

"That is the first thing that we try to go after," Muhl said.

As Muhl explained, John works off dictionary lists — massive text files you can find on any number of hacker forums — that contain words, phrases, numbers, and other password possibilities. It basically keeps trying combinations of words and numbers until it gets it right, which wouldn't take long if the password is particularly weak.

But Muhl's technique makes a dictionary attack fairly impossible, since it's not a word at all. The password becomes even stronger if you have more characters, since the added length ups the number of possibilities.

"The longer your passwords could possibly be," Muhl said. "The more guesses it's gonna take for me to get it right."

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

¿Cómo sabe el GPS qué ruta recomendarnos?

¿Qué carretera es mejor para ir de Madrid a Ciudad Real?
Para viajar de Ciudad Real a Madrid, ¿es mejor la carretera de Toledo o la de Andalucía? Así toma la decisión tu GPS

By: Macario Polo Usaola  Via: EL PAÍS, TECNOLOGÍA

Vivo en Ciudad Real, pero tengo mucha familia en Madrid. Un tema recurrente, desde hace más de treinta y cinco años, cuando llegan o llegamos de viaje, es si hemos ido o venido por la carretera de Toledo o por la de Andalucía. A diferencia del GPS al que podríamos consultar para ver qué camino es mejor, nosotros tenemos mucha experiencia en este recorrido (y en la conversación consiguiente).

El inexperto aparato, sin embargo, recomienda uno u otro camino en función de la distancia, de las características de cada carretera, e incluso de las horas en que preveamos viajar: así, el sistema informático de enrutamiento puede mostrarnos una alternativa u otra. Lo que no hará, seguro, es recomendarnos pasar por Badajoz, o por Valencia, o por Cádiz, para llegar desde nuestro origen, en mitad de La Mancha, hasta la capital, en el centro de la Península Ibérica.

La determinación del camino mínimo desde un lugar de origen a uno de destino es un problema clásico en Informática, que cualquier estudiante universitario de esta disciplina debe saber resolver.

El problema responde a lo que se llama un recorrido en un grafo que, en Informática, es un colección de puntos (ciudades o edificios o direcciones postales, por ejemplo) con líneas que los conectan (carreteras, calles, caminos). A cada línea se le asigna lo que se llama un "peso", que normalmente es la distancia, pero que puede ser otro factor (como el número de carriles o la velocidad máxima permitida) o una conjunción de factores (la distancia y el número de carriles y la velocidad máxima y la existencia de obras en algún trecho).

¿Cómo determina un sistema informático la ruta óptima de manera automática? El cálculo del camino óptimo es lo que se llama un problema de orden n2, es decir, que su tiempo de cálculo depende del número de puntos en el mapa elevado al cuadrado. Pero son tantos los puntos en el mapa (sólo España tiene más de 8.000 municipios, cada uno con sus calles, cruces, monumentos, edificios públicos…) que la aplicación del llamado algoritmo de Dijkstra se torna imposible.

sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

1 Million people use Facebook over Tor

People who choose to communicate over Tor do so for a variety of reasons related to privacy, security and safety. As we've written previously it's important to us to provide methods for people to use our services securely – particularly if they lack reliable methods to do so. 

This is why in the last two years we built the Facebook onion site and onion-mobile site, helped standardise the “.onion” domain name, and implemented Tor connectivity for our Android mobile app by enabling connections through Orbot.

Over this period the number of people who access Facebook over Tor has increased. In June 2015, over a typical 30 day period, about 525,000 people would access Facebook over Tor e.g.: by using Tor Browser to access www.facebook.com or the Facebook Onion site, or by using Orbot on Android. This number has grown – roughly linearly – and this month, for the first time, we saw this “30 day” figure exceed 1 million people. 

This growth is a reflection of the choices that people make to use Facebook over Tor, and the value that it provides them. We hope they will continue to provide feedback and help us keep improving.

Alec Muffett is a Software Engineer for Security Infrastructure at Facebook in London

viernes, 22 de abril de 2016

How much money you need to live comfortably in the 50 biggest cities?

By Elyssa Kirkham Via GO BANKING RATES

Unless you're tracking expenses carefully, it can be hard to tell whether your city's cost of living or your own spending habits are the cause of your financial troubles. Using the 50-30-20 budgeting rule, for example ― in which 50 percent of income covers necessities, 30 percent is for discretionary items and 20 percent is saved ― you can quickly determine whether your income is sufficient to cover expenses for living in your city. If it isn't, you might have to cut costs or maybe even move.

GOBankingRates conducted a cost-of-living comparison of the 75 most populous U.S. cities, surveying dollar amounts of living expenses including rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare. This total, which accounts for necessities, was then doubled to find how much money a single person needs to earn in that city to follow a 50-30-20 budget. This study also compares the total amount of income needed to the actual median household income in each city to see if differences in cost of living are matched by differences in pay.

Click through to see how much money you'd need to earn to live comfortably in the biggest cities across the U.S. The cities are listed in order of population from smallest to largest.

Read more about this article in GO BANKING RATES

jueves, 21 de abril de 2016

The Silicon Valley Hustle

Photographs and text by Laura Morton

Tales of enormous fortunes created by the technology industry brought a gold rush in recent years that has gripped San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Many young dreamers – entrepreneurs, geniuses, idealists – flocked to the area with the hope of starting a successful start-up or striking it rich by joining the right company at the right time.

The tech boom has contributed to growing income inequality in the area. And many of the young transplants profiled below are not among the area’s elite, at least not yet. They often live on the cheap while working on their companies, a process known as bootstrapping.

They work long hours with hopes to build empires. And their lives are intertwined: They live with each other, network with one another in co-working spaces, compete with everyone and party together.

Over the last few months, the headlines have changed, amid gyrating tech stocks and questions over the broader economy. For every success story, there will be many more failures. Yet most of these dreamers believe that the industry remains a true meritocracy: that those who deserve to succeed will do so.

RSF: CLASIFICACIÓN MUNDIAL 2016 de la Libertad de Prensa | La paranoia de los dirigentes frente a los periodistas

Reporteros Sin Fronteras (RSF) publica la edición 2016 de la Clasificación Mundial de la Libertad de Prensa. La evolución global muestra un clima de miedo generalizado y de tensiones, que se suma a una creciente influencia de los Estados y de los intereses privados en las redacciones.
La edición 2016 de la Clasificación Mundial de la Libertad de Prensa revela la intensidad de las acometidas de los Estados, de ciertas ideologías y de intereses privados contra la libertad y la independencia del periodismo.

Esta lista –una referencia en todo el mundo– muestra las posiciones que ocupan 180 países  según el margen de acción de sus periodistas. Al observar los índices regionales, encontramos que Europa (19,8 puntos) sigue siendo la zona en la que los medios de comunicación cuentan con mayor libertad, seguida –a gran distancia– por África (36,9)- con excepción del Norte- que, hecho inédito, pasa por delante de América (37,1), debido a que América Latina se encuentra sumergida  en una creciente violencia contra los periodistas. Siguen las zonas de Asia (43,8), Europa del Este y Asia Central (48,4). Al final se encuentra Oriente Medio y el Norte de África (50,8), que sigue siendo la región del mundo donde los periodistas enfrentan más vicisitudes y de todo tipo.

Tres países del Norte de Europa se sitúan a la cabeza de la Clasificación: Finlandia (en primer lugar desde 2010), los Países Bajos (2º, que gana 2 posiciones) y Noruega (3º, que baja un puesto).
España baja una posición respecto de 2015 y ocupa en 2016 el puesto 34, un descenso leve si se tiene en cuenta que durante el año pasado se dieron cambios legislativos ampliamente denunciados por la Sección Española de RSF, que los consideró un revés para las libertades: la Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana o “Ley Mordaza”, la modificación de la Ley de Enjuiciamiento  Criminal, y la reforma de la Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial, que amparaba la justicia universal.

Que la posición de España sólo haya bajado un escalón en la tabla se explica, entre otras causas, por el deterioro general de la libertad de prensa en todo el mundo, que afecta también a los países que ocupan las primeras posiciones. Francia (44º, -7) o Reino Unido (38, -4), que ocupaban posiciones aledañas en ediciones precedentes, han sufrido caídas más pronunciadas. La ferocidad de la lucha antiterrorista golpea directamente al corazón de la libertad.

En lo que respecta a las evoluciones más notables, encontramos el caso de Túnez (96º, +30), cuya situación mejora porque disminuyeron las agresiones y los procesos legales contra periodistas, así como el de Ucrania (107º, +22), que asciende en la Clasificación gracias a una relativa calma en el conflicto.

Leer más en sobre este artículo en REPORTEROS SIN FRONTERAS (RSF) 

Check out these clever kits for teaching your kids to hack electronics

By  April Glaser    Via  WIRED 

Parents, listen up: put your kids in engineering and computer science classes. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report says “software development skills continue to be the most in-demand” STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related jobs in the United States, and the White House projects that there will be over one million unfilled jobs in STEM related fields by 2020.

And perhaps one of the easiest ways to encourage this interest is with toys. Toys and kits that are designed to teach kids hacking and basic programming skills abound, and they cater to a range of ages and skill levels. “It’s important that we create learning experiences for kids that help to see what’s possible for them, what they can do, who they can be, and the changes that they can make to what’s around them,” said Eric Rosenbaum, who is an electronics kit designer and has a PhD from MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten group.

What to Look for in a Teaching Tool
Experts suggest options with a good balance between open play and structure. “Given the right kinds of tools and toys that embed within them the appropriate scaffolding for a child, a good kit will help the child to inquire about their playspace and learn a tremendous amount on their own,” says Noah Finkelstein professor of Physics and Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

First contact with the kit, like through packaging and instructions, is extremely important. Not all kids are inclined to read manuals, so a good kit should be intuitive enough to piece together somewhat out of the box. Another thing that’s crucial: immediate feedback. You should be able to try something and get a visible result from it quickly, says kit designer Rosenbaum.

He continues: “Open-endedness is about seeing a wide-range of possibility. So while the kit should include recipes to follow, it should also be clear that there are an infinite variety of things that you can do beyond that. When I design these creative toolkits, I try to show that space of possibility to people to help them imagine what they might make that goes even beyond what pictures we put on the box.”

But pictures on the box matter too. Is the kit inclusive to all types of children? A good learning kit should speak to the diversity of a child’s interests.

“A robotics kit that makes a vehicle that drives around on the floor is one thing, but if it also drives around allows the kid to make music or help you tell a story, like by playing back an animation or with colored lights, or a networked system that communicates with other robots,” said Rosenbaum, “it’s going to be more appealing to more kids.”

Here are some of our favorite kits to get your kids started. Happy hacking!

Read more about this article in WIRED 

miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Why even Google can't connect Cuba?

The most unique element of this photo is not fast Chromebooks in Cuba, but the Google logo. Marketing is illegal on the island, but Google has managed to pull it off. Credit: Mike Elgan
By Mike Elgan  via COMPUTER WORLD

When President Obama said in Havana last month that Google would be working to improve Internet access in Cuba, I wondered what Google might do in Cuba that other companies could not.
Today, Cuba is an Internet desert where only 5% of trusted elites are allowed to have (slow dial-up) Internet connections at home, and a paltry 400,000 people access the Internet through sidewalk Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots have existed for only a year or so. Also, some 2.5 million Cubans have government-created email accounts, but no Web access.

I spent a month in Cuba until last week, and I was there when the president spoke. I'm here to report that those government Wi-Fi hotspots are rare, slow and expensive. While in Cuba, my wife, son and I spent about $300 on Wi-Fi. In a country where the average wage ranges from $15 to $30 per month, connecting is a massive financial burden available only to a lucky minority with private businesses or generous relatives in Miami.

And this is why I think the possibilities of what Google might accomplish in Cuba are misunderstood.
It's not as if Cuba would have ubiquitous, affordable and fast Internet access if it just had the money or expertise to make it happen. The problem is that Cuba is a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.
The outrageous price charged for Wi-Fi in Cuba can't possibly reflect the cost of providing the service. The price is really a way to restrict greater freedom of information to those who benefit from the Cuban system.

The strange Wi-Fi card system is also a tool of political control. In order to buy a card, you have to show your ID, and your information is entered into the system. Everything done online using a specific Wi-Fi card is associated with a specific person.

The Cuban government allows people to run privately owned small hotels, called casas particulares, and small home restaurants, called paladares. The owners of these small businesses would love to provide their guests with Wi-Fi, but the Cuban government doesn't allow it. Nor does it allow state-owned restaurants, bars and cafes to provide Wi-Fi.

Drone users, beware: Chinese maker says it may share data with state

DJI Drone users, beware: Chinese maker says it may share data with state
SHENZHEN, China — DJI is the Chinese company that took drone technology — long the purview of major military forces — and made it cheap and accessible enough for ordinary people.
But as the technology is put into the hands of consumers, it raises new questions for DJI and others in the industry: What should be done with the information those drones gather? The little pilotless flying machines typically carry cameras, GPS sensors and other devices that can tell interested parties where they have been and what they have seen. How much of that information should be shared with local governments?

That question is especially important in China, where regulators have looked askance at drones while tightening their hold over civil society.

In a briefing for Chinese and foreign journalists at DJI’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Wednesday, Zhang Fanxi, a spokesman for the company, said that it was still working out how to deal with the data it collects. But for now, he said, DJI is complying with requests from the Chinese government to hand over data.

DJI could also give the government data from flights in Hong Kong, Mr. Zhang said. That could raise eyebrows among drone users in the city, a semiautonomous Chinese territory with its own laws that guarantee freedom of expression and its own independent judicial system. Protests in Hong Kong that shut down parts of the city in late 2014 were prompted in part by concerns that Beijing was interfering in local affairs.

For the moment, Mr. Zhang said, DJI was uncertain what the industry would decide to do with the data. “This data, exactly how we use it, when we use it and which government departments we give it to” is a continuing discussion, he said.

A Field Guide to Civilian Drones
DJI is not alone in cooperating with the authorities in China when they request data, which is required of all companies doing business there. In its most recent report on government requests for information, Apple said it received about 1,000 requests for data in the second half of last year from the Chinese authorities and supplied data about two-thirds of the time. Apple said this week that it had never handed encryption keys over to the Chinese authorities, which would give Beijing direct and broad access to communications on Apple’s products.

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Palacio del Segundo Cabo in Old Havana,Havana, Cuba
The User Group of Free Technologies (GUTL)[1] from Cuba and Best Of Open Technologies (BOOT e.V.) [2] from Germany, are glad to invite you to join the International Free Software Conference in Cuba in April 2016.

Why in Cuba?
Unfortunately the majority of large Free Software Conferences take place in rich countries.
People from poor countries like Cuba normally are prevented to participate not only by financial reasons but also by denying the entry visa to countries like USA, Canada or most European countries.

So we decided to turn it upside down and have an International Free Software Conference in Havana, Cuba. We invite free software enthusiasts from all over the world to participate, show what they are working on and educate each other.

The idea is not only to exchange experiences how to apply the newest and “smartest” Free and Open-Source Software, but also to consider old hardware and very low bandwidth. Furthermore we want to talk about how Free Software can help developing countries in general.

For example:
- Experiences on using Free Software in social projects.
- Experiences of small companies using Free Software to compete on the world market.
- How the use of Free Software in educational institutions is economically favorable.
- It will be perfect if all continents are represented and we want to have a high representation of women. We do not want to exclude anyone for economical reasons, so we will try to raise money to support travel expenses for those who need it.

The conference will take three days:
- On the first day there will be a fixed program and keynotes.
- The second day will be held in an unconference* style.
- On the third day there will also be workshops and sprints.
- The event will be bilingual (English and Spanish).

How your group can help with the organisation of the event:
- Spreading and promoting the conference.
- Prepare a presentation which describes the role of Free Software in your country.
- Prepare a presentation about new technology.
- With the participation of volunteers.

martes, 19 de abril de 2016

Cuba sede de reunión de Internet más importante de América Latina y el Caribe

La Habana, 13 abr (RHC-ACN) Cuba se prepara para recibir cerca de 450 profesionales y especialistas en Tecnologías de la Información (TICs) en la reunión de Internet más importante de América Latina y el Caribe, LACNIC 25, del 2 al 6 de mayo próximo.

El Registro de Direcciones de Internet de América Latina y el Caribe (LACNIC) y la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) organizan el evento que coincide con los impulsos y esfuerzos por dar mayor conectividad a los países de la región, en especial los ubicados en la zona del Caribe.

Se espera la participación de destacados líderes  mundiales de Internet para trabajar una agenda que incluye la disertación de dos de los expertos más prestigiosos en temas de IPv6, Tom Coffeen y Latif Ladid; un panel sobre casos exitosos de despliegue de este protocolo de Internet en la región; información sobre los ataques informáticos más frecuentes en América Latina y el Caribe y propuestas de creación de sinergias para el desarrollo de Internet, entre otros aspectos.

El encuentro anual, uno de los más destacados de la comunidad de Internet, pretende generar un espacio de intercambio de experiencias y analizar los aspectos clave para el fututo de la Internet en la región y a nivel global.

En el marco de esta actividad, se realizará el Peering Forum, un espacio que pretende ofrecer la oportunidad de conversar y negociar acuerdos de peering y tránsito con los Proveedores de Internet, Proveedores de Contenido y Puntos de Intercambio de Tráfico más relevantes de la región.

Oscar Robles, CEO de LACNIC, destacó el regreso a Cuba de la reunión anual de la comunidad de Internet, en tanto Jorge Legrá, director de Programas Estratégicos de ETECSA, espera que el encuentro sirva para acelerar el proceso de incorporación de IPv6 en la agenda de trabajo de los gobiernos y los operadores de la región.

En momentos en que la isla caribeña vive procesos de transformaciones. “Es un gran honor para LACNIC organizar este encuentro en La Habana junto a la comunidad cubana. Tenemos interesantes debates por delante”, afirmó Robles.

LACNIC, el Registro de Direcciones de Internet para América Latina y Caribe, es una organización no gubernamental internacional establecida en Uruguay en el año 2002. Es responsable de la asignación y administración de los recursos de numeración de Internet (IPv4, IPv6), Números Autónomos y Resolución Inversa, entre otros recursos para la región de América Latina y el Caribe.
ETECSA es una empresa de capital mixto ciento por ciento cubana, fundada en 1994. Brinda servicios de telecomunicaciones, basado en los estándares mundiales, soportados en tecnologías de avanzada. Su estructura organizativa parte de los Centros de Telecomunicaciones como célula principal de la gestión empresarial, lo que propicia la atención personalizada e integral a sus clientes y al pueblo.

What if the FBI tried to crack an Android phone? We attacked one to find out

Our test MDM successfully resets the password. Then, the scrypt key derivation function (KDF) is used to generate the new key encryption key (KEK). William Enck and Adwait Nadkarni, CC BY-ND
The Justice Department has managed to unlock an iPhone 5c used by the gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, who with his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last December. The high-profile case has pitted federal law enforcement agencies against Apple, which fought a legal order to work around its passcode security feature to give law enforcement access to the phone’s data. The FBI said it relied on a third party to crack the phone’s encrypted data, raising questions about iPhone security and whether federal agencies should disclose their method.

But what if the device had been running Android? Would the same technical and legal drama have played out?

We are Android users and researchers, and the first thing we did when the FBI-Apple dispute hit popular media was read Android’s Full Disk Encryption documentation.

We attempted to replicate what the FBI had wanted to do on an Android phone and found some useful results. Beyond the fact the Android ecosystem involves more companies, we discovered some technical differences, including a way to remotely update and therefore unlock encryption keys, something the FBI was not able to do for the iPhone 5c on its own.

The easy ways in

Data encryption on smartphones involves a key that the phone creates by combining 1) a user’s unlock code, if any (often a four- to six-digit passcode), and 2) a long, complicated number specific to the individual device being used. Attackers can try to crack either the key directly – which is very hard – or combinations of the passcode and device-specific number, which is hidden and roughly equally difficult to guess.

With TESLA 3, German automakers are now seeing TESLA a threat

Tesla sold more electric cars in Germany last year than any other brand. Above, the company’s Model S. (ODD ANDERSEN / AFP/Getty Images) NYT

Its wasn't long ago when the German car industry was still laughing out loud about Elon Musk and his Tesla Motors electric car company.

The proud makers of the world's top-selling luxury brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche could not fathom how a small-time, loss-making upstart from California could ever compete with the giants of the industry that had a century and a half of experience and expertise. In November, a former Daimler chairman, Edzard Reuter, even called Tesla "a joke that can't be taken seriously compared to the great car companies of Germany" and dismissed Musk as a "pretender."

But the patronizing laughter came to a screeching halt after more than 325,000 buyers from around the world lined up to put down $1,000 reservations to order Tesla's Model 3 in the first week — even though the company's electric car for the masses, priced from $35,000, won't go into production for another 18 months.

Some in Germany are now, rather belatedly, seeing Tesla as a long-term threat to the pride and joy of the country's economy: the car industry that employs 750,000 workers and indirectly accounts for 1 in 8 jobs.

domingo, 17 de abril de 2016

Building a drone business: Commercial operators share pro tips & expert advice in SKYWARD

The first step to building a commercial drone operation is getting regulatory approval. At that point, many businesses are faced with another reality: What do I do now?

Join Skyward customers, Andrew Dennison COO of LIFT Technologies, Dallas Vanzanten, Owner of CloudD8ta + more to hear advice on launching and managing a successful drone business. 

In this live webinar, you'll learn:

- Advice for navigating the regulatory process 
- Tips for running an efficient operation - from choosing the right tools and equipment to finding insurance and managing client requests
- Pitfalls to avoid when planning your operation

jueves, 14 de abril de 2016

Stream to FACEBOOK LIVE, even a DJI drone. Post to your wall, but from the air

At the annual F8 developer conference today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be releasing an API for its live-streaming video feature. This will allow developers to build live Facebook video right into their apps. To demonstrate, Facebook showed off a DJI drone, live-streaming an aerial shot of Zuckerberg directly to the social network. It briefly hovered onstage next to the social network's founder and chief, who waved nervously before wishing the aerial robot goodbye.
DJI introduced live-streaming to its drones in the summer of 2015 with the release of the Phantom 3. But that capability only worked with YouTube and and its Chinese equivalent, Youku. Pilots will now have a third option, and it will be a platform with a massive and rapacious audience. Facebook has been pushing live video into people's news feeds, and streams from publishers and celebrities have been getting hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers and tens of millions of total views.

La increíble historia de SpaceX

Durante largos años, el debate de la innovación en el transporte ha estado limitado a los automóviles: hacerlos más rápidos, más aerodinámicos, ecológicos... Los trenes han visto con Hyperloop su mayor ejemplo vinculado a la innovación y los aviones vuelven a ver el concepto de supersónico como una realidad factible. Sin embargo, algunos han mirado aún más allá. El espacio, que tan lejos ha quedado para el ciudadano común, cada día está más cerca de convertirse en una realidad. Wernher von Braun, ingeniero espacial en los años setenta, ya dijo que "el dominio del espacio por el hombre es la mayor aventura y la más inspiradora empresa". Y efectivamente lo está siendo; con Elon Musk a la cabeza.

El inspirador de Hyperloop, creador de Tesla y fundador de PayPal, también tiene en su haber a una de las empresas más fascinantes de los últimos años. Haciendo de la conquista del espacio su propia aventura, Musk es el feliz dueño de SpaceX. Muy citada en los últimos días por el gran éxito que ha supuesto uno de sus últimos lanzamientos, consiguiendo por primera vez que el cohete enviado al espacio pueda volver a aterrizar y así reutilizar el aparato en cuestión.

Sea como fuere, el hecho es que SpaceX es todo un éxito. Pero para llegar al punto en el que se encuentran ahora ha tenido que pasar mucho tiempo.

miércoles, 13 de abril de 2016

Internet (en Cuba), mucho más que una llamada por IMO

Martes, abril 12, 2016 |  Orlando González y Pablo González Fuente: CUBANET

LA HABANA, Cuba. Desde el 2 de julio del 2015, ETECSA comenzó la creación de parques y zonas con cobertura Wifi para navegar en internet. Los cubanos desde entonces acuden en masa a estos sitios y pagan entre dos y tres dólares por una hora en internet.

La conexión es mayormente usada para comunicarse con familiares y amigos fuera de Cuba, usando el protocolo Voz sobre IP (VOIP). Aplicaciones móviles como IMO se han vuelto virales en la Isla.

“Los parques y zonas Wifi son grandes locutorios usados para llamadas internacionales más baratas. Las personas acuden en masa pero no a navegar ni a buscar información, simplemente a llamar porque teniendo en cuenta las tarifas de llamadas internacionales de ETECSA, pagar solamente dos dólares por una hora es significativamente más barato”, comenta Augusto Ramírez, profesor de informática y telecomunicaciones en la UCI (Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas).