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Why hackers may be stealing your credit card numbers for years

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 02 September 2014 | 16.01

While conducting a penetration test of a major Canadian retailer, Rob VandenBrink bought something from the store. He later found his own credit card number buried in its systems, a major worry.

The retailer, which has hundreds of stores across Canada, otherwise had rock-solid security and was compliant with the security guidelines known as the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), said VandenBrink, a consultant with the IT services company Metafore.

But a simple configuration error allowed him to gain remote access. From there, he found the retailer was vulnerable to the same problem that burned Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, UPS Store and others: card data stored in memory that is vulnerable to harvesting by malicious software.

The problem is growing worse. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service warned last month that upwards of 1,000 businesses may be infected by malware on their electronic cash registers, known in the industry as point-of-sale devices.

So why are the data thieves winning? Security analysts say point-of-sale malware is neither new nor particularly sophisticated. Programs such as Backoff, BlackPOS and JackPOS hunt down clear-text payment card details jammed in a jumble of data in a computer's memory, a process known as "RAM scraping."

Merchants who handle card data are required to be PCI-DSS compliant or face liability if cardholder data leaks. But the latest security specification, PCI-DSS version 3.0, doesn't mandate that merchants use technologies that encrypt card data from the moment a person's card is swiped, referred to as point-to-point encryption.

Using that kind of technology would eliminate the in-memory malware problem, security experts say.

The PCI Security Standards Council, which develops PCI-DSS, did recommend last Wednesday that merchants switch to using that kind of encryption technology.

But retailers often have long technology refresh cycles, so it could be five to seven years before most move to it. Fraud is expected to migrate from big retailers that resolve the weaknesses to smaller ones who have not, said Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst who consults with banks and card companies.

"In general, I think we are stuck with these point of sale breaches for many years," Litan said.

Retailers are also missing keys signs in their network logs that they're under attack. Subsequently, most breaches are discovered by third parties, such as when fraud shows up on cards, said Bryan Sartin, managing director for Verizon's Risk Team, which investigates data breaches.

Many merchants are using "1990s technology to react to modern-era cyberattacks," Sartin said.

Merchants can be fined by card companies for breaches and are on the hook to pay for forensic investigations, which for PCI-related breaches can cost upwards of US$100,000, said Nick Economidis, an underwriter with the Beazley Group, which has seen its data breach insurance business boom.

In recent years, merchants have occasionally struck back, suing suppliers and integrators of POS systems. Those lawsuits have generally argued the suppliers are liable for breaches due to setup and maintenance errors.

Interestingly, very few of the lawsuits are ever litigated, as POS suppliers often choose to settle, said Charles Hoff, an Atlanta-based lawyer who has been involved in many such actions.

POS suppliers "may feel that they have a strong defense but they don't like the scrutiny in terms of the media," Hoff said. "It certainly doesn't help them in the marketplace. They want to figure out a way to keep their [customers] and not lose them."

All merchants want to do is "sell what they're selling," said Pam Galligan, chief compliance officer for Mercury Payment Systems, whose payment processing technology is built into various POS systems.

"PCI asks these merchants to comply with an increasingly technical set of requirements," she said. "They don't want to spend a lot of time and energy trying to protect their card environments."

There's a broad effort under way to ensure that merchants are up to speed with PCI-DSS 3.0, which comes into force on Jan. 1. But it's complex: there are 12 main requirements and more than 250 sub-requirements.

Galligan said Mercury works to ensure its POS partners are up on PCI. Hoff is co-founder and CEO of PCI University, an organization that tries to explain PCI-DSS to people who aren't data security experts.

Merchants are under heavy pressure to handle card data right every time, all the time. The PCI Council advises that retailers can't just pass an annual audit and forget about it. A main concern is that networks are modified over time, which could inadvertently create weak points for hackers to capitalize on.

That is exactly what happened with the Canadian retailer VandenBrink tested. The company had recently finished a hardware refresh and in the process left two open Internet-facing telnet and SSH ports, he said.

The ports were password protected, but using various techniques, VandenBrink eventually discovered the right passwords. That allowed him to get access to where the payment card data was held in memory, including his own.

"I was surprised," he said. "There were thousands of cards in memory."


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Namecheap says accounts compromised in hacking incident

Hosting provider Namecheap said Monday hackers compromised some of its users' accounts, likely using a recently disclosed list of 1.2 billion usernames and passwords compiled by Russian hackers.

The "vast majority" of login attempts have failed, wrote Matt Russell, vice president of hosting, on a company blog.

The attackers are trying brute-force attempts to gain control of accounts, which involves repeatedly trying different usernames and passwords until the right combination grants access.

"As a precaution, we are aggressively blocking the IP addresses that appear to be logging in with the stolen password data... as well as making this data available to law enforcement," Russell wrote.

Namecheap suspects the attackers are using a list of credentials publicized last month by Hold Security, a Milwaukee-based security company that tracks stolen data on underground cybercriminal forums.

It wasn't immediately clear why Namecheap suspects that list is being used. Company officials did not have an immediate comment.

Hold Security founder Alex Holden said via email that he did "not see any data supporting Namecheap's claim." Brute-force attacks are commonly used to compromise accounts, he added.

Russell wrote the attackers are using software that emulates the Chrome, Firefox and Safari Web browsers to simulate a real login attempt. Such a method might help avoid security defenses that could detect, for example, repeated fast guesses.

Namecheap will issue new login credentials to accounts that have been frozen. People who used the same password for their Namecheap account and others may be vulnerable, Russell wrote.

All Namecheap customers are advised to change their passwords or enable two-factor authentication, a strong defense that involves entering a one-time passcode in order to log in.

Data breaches at websites are often a source for usernames and passwords, and hackers have long been collecting lists of credentials that they hope will unlock other Web services. Security experts advise people to not reuse passwords for this reason.

The findings from Hold Security, which also uncovered the data breaches at Adobe Systems and the retailer Target, was notable because the 1.2 billion list of unique credentials was so large. All told, the gang possesses 4.5 billion records, but may of those are duplicates.

The company spent seven months researching the gang that collected the list, which it nicknamed "CyberVor." "Vor" means thief in Russian.

It wasn't clear what the hackers who collected the credentials cache plan to do with it, although the list would have value in underground circles.


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At IFA, spotlight will shine on smartwatches with better looks and connectivity

Smartwatches will be in the spotlight at the IFA trade show in Berlin, with LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony all keen to demonstrate their new products are what consumers want.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics announced their upcoming smartwatches, the Gear S and G Watch R, last week in advance of the show.

Samsung's Gear S is a 3G smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone to function. It's powered by an unspecified dual-core 1GHz processor and has a curved 2-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 480 by 360 pixel resolution.

samsung gear s

Samsung's Gear S smartwatch

After using Android Wear on the Gear Live, Samsung is back to using the Tizen operating system on its latest model. Getting developers to customize apps for smartwatches will be a challenge for any company, particularly Samsung since Tizen doesn't have the fan base that Android and iOS have.

To help make up for the lack of apps, Samsung has teamed up with Nike on a running app and Nokia for maps.

The Gear S also has 4GB of integrated storage, 512MB of RAM and a 300mAh lithium-ion battery that lasts two days with typical use, according to Samsung. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the Gear S will start shipping worldwide in October.

Samsung has now announced five smartwatches in 12 months—the first model, the Galaxy Gear, was launched at IFA last year. The company's aim is clearly to consolidate its leading market position in smartwatches, particularly given relentless rumors about Apple's possible entry into the wearables market, research company CCS Insight wrote in its IFA preview.

The tactic is similar to what Samsung has done in the past—try out a number of different ideas and see what sticks. Given this approach, it's somewhat surprising the company hasn't put out a smartwatch with a round face, which LG and Motorola Mobility are expected to do soon.

moto360

The Moto 360 looks sharp, but there are some challenges to making a device with a circular form factor.

Motorola's round Moto 360 has been a long time coming. It was announced along with Android Wear in March and will finally be introduced this week. Motorola has promised the smartwatch would ship in the summer and since it's already September the company has to deliver in the next few weeks to fulfill that pledge.

The Moto 360 is also a good looking device and is expected to have a 1.5-inch screen, be water and dust resistant, and have an integrated heart-rate monitor.

It will compete with LG's Android Wear-based G Watch R, which has a 1.3-inch screen and is powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor. It has 4GB of integrated storage, 512MB of RAM and a 410mAh battery. It too has a heart-rate monitor and is water and dust resistant.

LG has provided a handful of images of the device, which looks more like a traditional watch, as opposed to the G Watch's rather bland design. The company seems intent on showing that the R is just that: an attractive wristwatch, because none of the images show the Android Wear interface.

LG and Motorola still haven't provided any details on what their smartwatches will cost. But the Moto 360 is rumored to have a $250 price tag. The G Watch R will become available in the beginning of the fourth quarter. There is no official ship date for the Moto 360.

Sony is also expected to launch a new smartwatch at IFA. The company is a veteran in the field, so far using its own version of Android. But given Android Wear's strong momentum, it's likely that Sony will use the Google platform on the new device, according to CCS Insight.

The smartwatch sector is still in its infancy, with products that have a lot of room for improvement. For example, tremendous advances across the entire component ecosystem are needed to achieve multiple days of battery life, according to Daniel Matte, an analyst at Canalys.

Wearable sales are still dominated by armbands from vendors such as Fitbit and Jawbone, which have more than a two-thirds market share.

Overall sales grew by 684 percent during the first half of the year to 6.2 million units, according to Canalys. To put that number in some perspective, about 6.3 million smartphones were sold every two days during the first six months of 2014.


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Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell preview: This game has an armchair that fires rockets

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 01 September 2014 | 16.01

A thing I think happened: One day the People In Charge Of Ideas were sitting around at Volition racking their brains trying to come up with a new Saints Row game. "What can we possibly do to top the last game?" said one developer. "We literally gave players superpowers last time and put them in an entirely virtual world! There was a dubstep gun. It's impossible!"

Then a letter showed up at Volition HQ. "Dear Volition, Your games are obscene and you're all going to hell."

"Eureka!" shouted a developer who was, for some reason, dressed like a California prospector. And thus was Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell birthed from the depths of Satan's womb.

saints row gat goes to hell

Johnny Gat living up to his name.

First off: If Meat Loaf isn't in this game, I'm going to riot. Or send a strongly worded email to Volition.

That said, Gat Out of Hell is a hell of a lot of fun. Your character from the previous Saints Row games, "The Boss/Mr. President," gets sucked into the underworld by a rogue Ouija board, so Johnny Gat and Kinzie go after him. You play as Gat himself, with a giant pair of demon wings affixed to his back. Your job? To piss off Satan and get The Boss back.

Gat Out of Hell isn't a full Saints Row game, but a standalone expansion for Saints Row IV. The game does not take place in Steelport, though, unlike previous Saints Row IV expansions. Volition and co-developer High Voltage Software have designed an entirely new Hell map, approximately half the size of Steelport, and it's full of all sorts of strange things. Creepy floating islands? Check. Gothic-style castle? Check. Pirate shipwreck? Check.

It's weird.

Gat's wings aren't just decorative, either. The flight system from Saints Row IV has been overhauled, allowing you to soar around Hell in style. I was told by a Volition rep that the new map was designed specifically with verticality in mind—he said Saints Row IV never quite accomplished what the team wanted with flight, due to the reuse of a map designed for Saints Row III's car- and foot-oriented travel.

Due to the lack of any story objectives in the demo I played, I mostly just flew around. It felt great—highly responsive. Flying Top Gun-style near the ground also earns you experience for "barnstorming," so I spent a lot of time buzzing the streets and acting like an idiot. I enjoyed Saints Row IV, but the reuse of Steelport's map felt like it constrained some of the superpowers and made them less interesting than they might've been if included from the start. The new map really feels like it's let Volition loose, and that's appreciated.

There aren't any people in Hell, as far as I can tell. Instead, tortured souls and other demons roam the streets, and they all seem to hate you. You've got an array of weapons to deal with said demons—everything from a hammer that throws enemies into the air on contact to a gun that shoots (I kid you not) locusts.

And wait—did I mention that there's a La-Z-Boy recliner that shoots rockets every time you recline? You can just sit down in it, ride around, and shoot rockets. This isn't some sort of special weapon, or a vehicle you get into. It's part of your standard weapon wheel. If you didn't think the dubstep gun was crazy enough, wait until you see this.

saints row gat out of hell gatling chair

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell lets you sling lead and rockets while you take a load off.

All I did was play ten minutes and I'm already pretty sold on Gat Out of Hell. It seems to combine the best aspects of Saints Row IV (flight and insane weapons) with a map that's more tailor-made to take advantage of those aspects. Plus if it's actually half the size of Saints Row IV, it's a steal at the $20 Deep Silver is asking.

Unfortunately we won't see Gat Out of Hell this year—the game's scheduled to release January 27, 2015. Unless you make a deal with the devil, I guess.


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IBM Watson cooks up some new dishes

When not busy helping to find new treatments for cancer, IBM Watson is helping to cook up a few new dishes as well.

To show off Watson's powers, IBM is training its cognitive computing system to suggest new combinations of ingredients that could help cooks to create new, and sometimes quite delicious, recipes. It does so by analyzing the chemical compounds in each ingredient.

IBM joined Bon Appétit magazine to create a Web application called Chef Watson, now in beta, that offers lists of ingredients that can be used to create recipes. Bon Appétit is also working up a cookbook of the best Watson-based creations submitted by users.

IBM focused Watson on the culinary world to "help the public understand what these new types of technologies are capable of doing," said Mike Rhodin, IBM senior vice president in the Watson Group, at an event Thursday to promote a new cloud service, called Watson Discovery Advisor. That service can help researchers in any field find fresh connections within vast realms of data.

"Much the same way Jeopardy helped people understand that cognitive systems could understand questions using natural language, Chef Watson helps us understand how these new systems can be used in our everyday lives," Rhodin said.

Tuning Watson to the culinary arts has proved to be a success story for IBM.

Watson "starts building an understanding of what ingredients and compounds work well together, and it then extrapolates and looks for new patterns," Steve Gold, IBM vice president for the Watson platform, said in an interview. "Turns out, Watson is really good at coming up with combinations of ingredients that have never been tried before."

In February, IBM set up a food truck at the SXSW interactive arts conference to show off some Watson-inspired recipes. It drew long lines of hungry attendees.

IBM Research first developed Watson to compete with human contestants on the Jeopardy game show in 2011, using natural language processing and analytics, as well as many sources of structured and unstructured data, to answer the shows questions.

In the years since, the company has been working to commercialize the Watson technology, identifying industries that could benefit from cognitive computing, such as health care, law enforcement and finance.

To help its researchers better understand the culinary arts, IBM paired with the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

"Working with the system has augmented our creativity as chefs. It changes the whole way we approach our craft in the kitchen," said James Briscione, director of culinary development at the Institute of Culinary Education, speaking at Thursday's event.

Tasteful combinations of ingredients are at the core of good cooking. Some combinations have long been known: A nice piece of fish can be accentuated with some lemon, butter and herbs.

In the culinary arts, chefs often deploy "known combinations" of ingredients and foods, Briscione said. But they're are always looking for new combinations, too, scanning cookbooks and magazines and travelling to exotic locations to taste local foods.

"The challenge in our world is to move to the next step," Briscione said. "We want to push forward and try to find new ways of putting things together."

In the past few years, a trend has been to combine ingredients with complementary aromatic properties, the chemical compounds that produce the flavors people experience.

For example, caviar and white chocolate go really well together, even though one is salty and the other is sweet, because those two ingredients share a lot of aromatic compounds. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese share common compounds, making pizza a naturally delicious dish.

Watson puts this new wave of experimentation in overdrive, offering cooks lists of ingredients that may go well together by way of their aromatic properties. The chef can then look for ways to combine the ingredients in novel ways.

Because Watson is a learning machine, it's producing better recipes now than it was at the start of the project 18 months ago, Rhodin said.

"It was a little challenging to work with at first, and now it is making really innovative, incredible and exciting food," Briscione agreed.

For example, working with Watson, the Institute of Culinary Education came up with a Portuguese-inspired lobster roll with saffron, green olives, basil, and shreds of crispy pork. "I never would have set out to put [these ingredients] in a lobster roll," Briscione said. Yet the combination proved to be quite tasty.

Mixed drinks are also game for Watson. For SXSW, the chefs came up with a bourbon cocktail with vanilla, bananas and turmeric. Again, these are not ingredients that have historically been combined, but the Watson matching proved to be "an amazing combination," Briscione said.

Watson-inspired dishes can span different cultures and regions. Another dish the culinary school created was the Vietnamese Apple Kabob, consisting of pineapple, pork, chicken, mushrooms, and strawberries, which all share similar flavor compounds.

"We try to put together combinations of regions and ingredients that make no sense, and we try to make sense out of them," Briscione said.

In much the same way it is helping in cancer research, Watson is proving to be quite the time-saver, suggesting approaches that would take humans too much work to arrive at otherwise.

"Coming upon this information on your own, you'd be locked away for months at a time, digging through chemical analyses and trying to line up all the ingredients, and you still may never get there," Briscione said.


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Facebook says not to believe the rumors, wants you to trust its Messenger app

You've probably read the rumors by now: Facebook's Messenger app records your movements! Spies on your conversations! Kills baby unicorns! Facebook wants you to know that it's doing nothing of the sort.

In a statement from Peter Martinazzi, a member of the Facebook Messenger development team, the social media company explains that Messenger doesn't actively listen in or watch you through your phone's on-board camera and microphone. Instead, it asks to use your camera and microphone so you can make audio chats, or send photos and videos to your friends.

From the statement:

"Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages. If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone's camera and capture that photo. We don't turn on your camera or microphone when you aren't using the app."

Martinazzi goes on to explain that the company created the standalone Messenger app to "[provide] a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use and that "People usually respond about 20% faster when they have Messenger" compared to messages received through the standard Facebook mobile app.

It probably isn't a bad idea to look upon the company's offerings with a skeptical eye.

Although the specific concerns surrounding Facebook Messenger may have been a little misguided, the fear is completely understandable. After all, Facebook doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to respecting users' privacy, and early last year it secretly tinkered with its newsfeed algorithm in the name of science. With that in mind, it probably isn't a bad idea to look upon the company's offerings with a skeptical eye. 

You can, of course, disable or delete your account, and be done with Facebook entirely. 

As for the part about the unicorns, well, I made that up. Just kidding.


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Nike gets into smartwatch software with Samsung Gear S app

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 31 Agustus 2014 | 16.01

Nike is moving from fitness bands to smartwatches with an app for Samsung's upcoming Gear S.

The Nike+ Running app will come pre-loaded on the Gear S, and will put the watch's built-in GPS and cellular connections to good use. While out on a run, users can record their route and check their speed even if they've left their phones at home. The app also has a built-in music player and Facebook connectivity for "real-time cheers" from friends.

Samsung's Gear S is hardly the only wearable with GPS built-in, but that feature is notably absent from other smartwatches, and from some popular fitness bands such as Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex. Without GPS, fitness bands essentially become step counters, unable to determine speed, pacing or route on their own.

And so far, the Gear S is the only major brand smartwatch with cellular connectivity. The ability to stay connected is useful for fitness applications, where your phone may not be on hand. (It's unclear, however, whether wireless carriers will support standalone smartwatches without charging a fortune for service.)

For Nike, the partnership is part of a bigger focus on software and services, and comes after reports in April claimed that the company would abandon its own fitness band business. Although Nike downplayed the rumors that it's getting out of hardware entirely—and it continues to sell its current line of FuelBand activity trackers—it hasn't denied the change in focus. The Gear S app is the first instance of Nike tapping into third-party wearables, though it may not be the last, with Apple expected to announce its own wearable device in a couple weeks.

Samsung's Gear S, meanwhile, will start a phased rollout in October, though the company hasn't announced specific release dates or pricing.


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IBM Watson cooks up some new dishes

When not busy helping to find new treatments for cancer, IBM Watson is helping to cook up a few new dishes as well.

To show off Watson's powers, IBM is training its cognitive computing system to suggest new combinations of ingredients that could help cooks to create new, and sometimes quite delicious, recipes. It does so by analyzing the chemical compounds in each ingredient.

IBM joined Bon Appétit magazine to create a Web application called Chef Watson, now in beta, that offers lists of ingredients that can be used to create recipes. Bon Appétit is also working up a cookbook of the best Watson-based creations submitted by users.

IBM focused Watson on the culinary world to "help the public understand what these new types of technologies are capable of doing," said Mike Rhodin, IBM senior vice president in the Watson Group, at an event Thursday to promote a new cloud service, called Watson Discovery Advisor. That service can help researchers in any field find fresh connections within vast realms of data.

"Much the same way Jeopardy helped people understand that cognitive systems could understand questions using natural language, Chef Watson helps us understand how these new systems can be used in our everyday lives," Rhodin said.

Tuning Watson to the culinary arts has proved to be a success story for IBM.

Watson "starts building an understanding of what ingredients and compounds work well together, and it then extrapolates and looks for new patterns," Steve Gold, IBM vice president for the Watson platform, said in an interview. "Turns out, Watson is really good at coming up with combinations of ingredients that have never been tried before."

In February, IBM set up a food truck at the SXSW interactive arts conference to show off some Watson-inspired recipes. It drew long lines of hungry attendees.

IBM Research first developed Watson to compete with human contestants on the Jeopardy game show in 2011, using natural language processing and analytics, as well as many sources of structured and unstructured data, to answer the shows questions.

In the years since, the company has been working to commercialize the Watson technology, identifying industries that could benefit from cognitive computing, such as health care, law enforcement and finance.

To help its researchers better understand the culinary arts, IBM paired with the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

"Working with the system has augmented our creativity as chefs. It changes the whole way we approach our craft in the kitchen," said James Briscione, director of culinary development at the Institute of Culinary Education, speaking at Thursday's event.

Tasteful combinations of ingredients are at the core of good cooking. Some combinations have long been known: A nice piece of fish can be accentuated with some lemon, butter and herbs.

In the culinary arts, chefs often deploy "known combinations" of ingredients and foods, Briscione said. But they're are always looking for new combinations, too, scanning cookbooks and magazines and travelling to exotic locations to taste local foods.

"The challenge in our world is to move to the next step," Briscione said. "We want to push forward and try to find new ways of putting things together."

In the past few years, a trend has been to combine ingredients with complementary aromatic properties, the chemical compounds that produce the flavors people experience.

For example, caviar and white chocolate go really well together, even though one is salty and the other is sweet, because those two ingredients share a lot of aromatic compounds. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese share common compounds, making pizza a naturally delicious dish.

Watson puts this new wave of experimentation in overdrive, offering cooks lists of ingredients that may go well together by way of their aromatic properties. The chef can then look for ways to combine the ingredients in novel ways.

Because Watson is a learning machine, it's producing better recipes now than it was at the start of the project 18 months ago, Rhodin said.

"It was a little challenging to work with at first, and now it is making really innovative, incredible and exciting food," Briscione agreed.

For example, working with Watson, the Institute of Culinary Education came up with a Portuguese-inspired lobster roll with saffron, green olives, basil, and shreds of crispy pork. "I never would have set out to put [these ingredients] in a lobster roll," Briscione said. Yet the combination proved to be quite tasty.

Mixed drinks are also game for Watson. For SXSW, the chefs came up with a bourbon cocktail with vanilla, bananas and turmeric. Again, these are not ingredients that have historically been combined, but the Watson matching proved to be "an amazing combination," Briscione said.

Watson-inspired dishes can span different cultures and regions. Another dish the culinary school created was the Vietnamese Apple Kabob, consisting of pineapple, pork, chicken, mushrooms, and strawberries, which all share similar flavor compounds.

"We try to put together combinations of regions and ingredients that make no sense, and we try to make sense out of them," Briscione said.

In much the same way it is helping in cancer research, Watson is proving to be quite the time-saver, suggesting approaches that would take humans too much work to arrive at otherwise.

"Coming upon this information on your own, you'd be locked away for months at a time, digging through chemical analyses and trying to line up all the ingredients, and you still may never get there," Briscione said.


16.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Facebook says not to believe the rumors, wants you to trust its Messenger app

You've probably read the rumors by now: Facebook's Messenger app records your movements! Spies on your conversations! Kills baby unicorns! Facebook wants you to know that it's doing nothing of the sort.

In a statement from Peter Martinazzi, a member of the Facebook Messenger development team, the social media company explains that Messenger doesn't actively listen in or watch you through your phone's on-board camera and microphone. Instead, it asks to use your camera and microphone so you can make audio chats, or send photos and videos to your friends.

From the statement:

"Like most other apps, we request permission to run certain features, such as making calls and sending photos, videos or voice messages. If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone's camera and capture that photo. We don't turn on your camera or microphone when you aren't using the app."

Martinazzi goes on to explain that the company created the standalone Messenger app to "[provide] a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use and that "People usually respond about 20% faster when they have Messenger" compared to messages received through the standard Facebook mobile app.

It probably isn't a bad idea to look upon the company's offerings with a skeptical eye.

Although the specific concerns surrounding Facebook Messenger may have been a little misguided, the fear is completely understandable. After all, Facebook doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to respecting users' privacy, and early last year it secretly tinkered with its newsfeed algorithm in the name of science. With that in mind, it probably isn't a bad idea to look upon the company's offerings with a skeptical eye. 

You can, of course, disable or delete your account, and be done with Facebook entirely. 

As for the part about the unicorns, well, I made that up. Just kidding.


16.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Facebook testing mobile searches for old posts

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 30 Agustus 2014 | 16.01

Facebook is testing a way to let users of its mobile app search for posts shared with them in the past.

The tool is designed to let people find posts that otherwise might get lost in the mix. With the update, users can search for posts they've previously seen on Facebook from friends and the Pages to which they're connected.

People who have access to the update can search for, say, "kayak trip John Smith," and a previous post that the user saw in his or her feed about the trip might pop up.

"We're testing an improvement to search on mobile," a Facebook spokeswoman said. "In this test you can use keywords to search for posts you're in the audience for on Facebook."

Facebook didn't say how many of its billion-plus users have access to the feature.

Search is a mixed bag right now on Facebook's mobile app. You can search for content such as people, companies, places, and interests, but finding specific posts is a difficult, if not fruitless, pursuit.

The test represents a form of search that Facebook has been scaling out already on desktops. Early last year it launched a beta-test version of Graph Search, designed to let people search for many types of content based on their connections.

Facebook has been scaling Graph Search slowly on the desktop. Last September, it was expanded beyond profile content to include posts and status updates.

The usefulness of its search tools depends on Facebook's ability to index the vast amount of content people post. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called search a multi-year voyage for the company.

News of the test was first reported on Thursday by Bloomberg.


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