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ios16

Apple Releases iOS 16 Update, Twitter Celebrates

Apple released iOS 16 on Monday as a significant software update for iPhone users. Consumers are praising the company for implementing long-awaited requests. The new update comes with a host of new features.

New customization options for lock screens allow users to add widgets, use custom fonts and colors and apply themed filters. Users can assign lock screens to different “focus modes” or switch lock screens throughout the day by holding and swiping.

The lock screen can also now display a full-screen music player. Screens will show an album’s cover art set against a backdrop of hues pulled from the cover art’s palette.

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Apple released new collections of premade lock screens with the update. The astronomy collection allows users to see renditions of the “earth, moon or solar system” updated with live conditions.

Users have taken to Twitter to express their joy over the new music lock screen, media player, image depth filters and several other features.

“The iOS16 update lets you long press a picture and it automatically removes the background and you can drag the photo and post it on any app you want. This is so awesome.”

Apple’s iMessage app also got an overhaul. Users can now “unsend” iMessages for up to two minutes. The sender can edit a message for up to 15 minutes. While the recipient of a message will see that a message has been unsent, they will not be able to read it.

The company has also implemented a new privacy feature called “Safety Check” alongside other security features. This reset function stops sharing a user’s location, resets system privacy permissions for all apps and signs the user out of iCloud on all devices. Apple announced it created the feature to help people in domestic violence situations.

“This lets people in abusive situations quickly revoke abusers’ access to their data and location.”

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Other new features include visible battery percentages, passcode-locked hidden albums and multi-stop routing in Apple maps.

However, consumers seem unhappy with one feature—notifications are now at the bottom of the lock screen. One Twitter user wrote, “whoever was in charge of changing the notifications in iOS 16 to show at the bottom, I want you to know you are stupid and I hate you.”

The majority of people are excited about such a major update. In order to install iOS 16, users must have an iPhone 8 or later.

twitter

Judge Rules Elon Musk Can Use Whistleblower Claims in Twitter Lawsuit

Twitter paid $7 million to former security chief Peiter Zatko before he filed a whistleblower complaint against the company. A judge has ruled that Zatko’s allegations can be part of Elon Musk’s defense in his legal battle with Twitter.

Zatko alleges the social media giant covered up known security issues and used weak safeguarding measures to protect its users’ sensitive data.

The settlement between Zatko and Twitter occurred before Zatko filed his whistleblower complaint in July and concerned Zatko’s lost compensation after being fired from the company in January. It contained a nondisclosure agreement restricting him from speaking poorly about the company or releasing information about his time as cybersecurity head at Twitter.

The settlement contained a clause that allows him to speak at congressional hearings and governmental whistleblower complaints, as many NDAs do.

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On Tuesday, Zatko will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about his knowledge of the security flaws in Twitter’s infrastructure. Zatko claims that he “uncovered extreme, egregious deficiencies by Twitter in every area of his mandate.”

Employees had access to integral company software, which led to the “commandeering of accounts” held by high-profile figures. Several heads of state, government officials and well-known celebrities have long used the website to communicate with the public.

Since July, Musk has been trying to back out of his deal to buy the company for $44 billion. Twitter has begun a legal battle against him, citing Musk’s bad faith in breaching his contract with the company. In a 62-page legal document, Twitter documented Musk’s behavior throughout the ordeal with colorful language and photos of his many tweets regarding the acquisition.

“Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk apparently believes that he—unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law—is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value and walk away.”

Musk’s lawyers plan to use the information Zatko divulged about Twitter’s security vulnerabilities as a central part of their case. Twitter’s shareholders will also cast votes on Musk’s takeover of the company Tuesday.

Musk’s defense to back out of the acquisition is that the company did not disclose the number of bots its userbase contains, tweeting, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

The timeline of Musk’s tech deal with Twitter is erratic and turbulent. The lawsuit document cites many of Musk’s posted memes and tweets, which Twitter’s legal team will use to show how Musk treated the process as an “elaborate joke.” At one point, he responded to a Twitter thread by Twitter’s CEO Parag Agarwal, which explains Twitter’s handling of spam accounts, with a “poop emoji.”

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On April 4, Musk was revealed to be Twitter’s largest shareholder at 9% of the company’s shares.

On April 5, CEO Parag Agarwal announced that Musk would join Twitter’s board of directors with the agreement that Musk could not acquire more than 15% of shares before 2024. Musk had been purchasing shares since January.

On April 10, Agarwal revealed that Musk would no longer be joining the board.

On April 14, Musk offered to buy the remaining Twitter shares for $41.4 billion. In response to this, Twitter adopted a “poison-pill strategy,” which allows other shareholders to buy more shares at a discounted rate if a person or entity purchases more than a certain percentage of common stock without the board’s approval. It is used to prevent a company takeover by a hostile buyer.

On April 25, Twitter agreed to sell itself to Musk for $44 billion.

On May 13, Musk tweeted that the deal was temporarily on hold, citing his concerns about spam accounts. Shares of the company immediately plummeted.

On July 8, Musk tried to terminate the acquisition agreement.

On July 12, Twitter sued Musk for failing to meet contractual obligations.

Zatko’s complaint supports Musk’s allegations about the percentage of bots the website’s user base contains.

“There are many millions of active accounts that are not considered “mDAU,” either because they are spam bots or because Twitter does not believe it can monetize them. These millions of non-mDAU accounts are part of the median user’s experience on the platform. And for this vast set of non-mDAU active accounts, Musk is correct: Twitter executives have little or no personal incentive to accurately “detect” or measure the prevalence of spam bots.”

Twitter believes that Musk started to back out of the deal when Tesla stocks began to decline due to stock market trends. Most of Musk’s wealth is not liquid, and he was planning to finance most of the deal with Twitter using Tesla stock.

AI

Man Wins Art Fair With AI Generated Art

A video game designer in Pueblo, Colorado, won an art fair with artwork generated by artificial intelligence software. Jason M. Allen entered his work titled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” into a state fair and received first place, winning a prize of $300. He had spent 80 hours tinkering with an AI art generator named Midjourney to create his final piece.

The two competition judges, Cal Duran and Dagny McKinley told The Pueblo Chieftain that while they did not know an AI created the work, they still would have awarded Allen the prize. In Duran’s mind, the chief purpose of any artwork is to tell a story.

“Even as this controversy is coming out, it’s still invoking that. It’s still causing an uproar. That in itself is kind of remarkable.”

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In order to generate art using an AI like Midjourney, a user must input keywords that the AI uses to make associations between prompts and images on the internet. It recognizes shapes, colors, and patterns within existing art and photos. The resulting piece of art is an amalgamation of those elements.

The recent development of AI-generated art engines such as DALL-E has started a debate on the ethics of art and the implications of automating creativity. While automation is becoming increasingly more common in other sectors of society, people previously considered the automation of art, music and writing beyond technological capability.

Even iPhone users can download AI art generators from Apple’s app store, albeit much weaker ones. Nonetheless, these apps can craft a piece of art within 15 seconds based on as little as one keyword. Even an online poetry generator titled “Verse by Verse” exists. Google programmed the software to compose poetry in the voice of historically famous poets.

Allen told The Pueblo Chieftain that Midjourney had also aided his team in creating concept art for their game designs. While inputting keywords may seem easy, Allen claims it is difficult to put in a prompt that is just right to generate the desired image.

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Judge McKinley is optimistic about the replicability of the quote-on-quote “artist” if AI art becomes commonplace. “Yes, it will likely take away some jobs from artists, but the technology exists and we can’t go backwards,” McKinley said.

“For me, nothing can replicate human work because human work is flawed and it is those flaws that bring humanity to art. How does an artist create their own style and voice? That is what makes art interesting.”

Understandably, many artists are unhappy with the potential automation of the creative process.

RJ Palmer, a concept artist, wrote on Twitter, “what makes this AI different is that it’s explicitly trained on current working artists.” Artists are not paid for their work but instead used to generate digital art pulled from their original ideas. Palmer writes that it is “actively anti-artist.”

classroom

Los Angeles School District Hit by Ransomware Attack

A cyberattack targeting the Los Angeles Unified School District caused a significant system outage in the country’s second-largest school district over Labor Day weekend.

The attack disrupted technology used for lessons and attendance and barred students and staff from accessing their emails. Though the attackers used ransomware software for the breach, the school district has yet to receive any monetary demands.

The district confirmed in a statement Monday that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are assisting local law enforcement in investigating the incident.

“Los Angeles Unified detected unusual activity in its Information Technology systems over the weekend, which after initial review, can be confirmed as an external cyberattack on our Information Technology assets. Since the identification of the incident, which is likely criminal in nature, we continue to assess the situation with law enforcement agencies.”

Authorities believe the attack may have originated internationally and identified three possible countries they have not released to the public.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise in the educational sector. The Los Angeles breach was the 50th cyberattack on educational institutions this year. The migration of school systems to virtual classrooms during the pandemic led to increasingly vulnerable cyberinfrastructures.

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Many schools are underfunded and lack the resources to retain adequate IT staff. Attacks are often planned during holidays when IT security staff is likely to be even sparser. The ideal timeline is often at the beginning of the school year when students return to school, and schools are more likely to pay demands to avoid problems that a catastrophic shutdown could cause.

The hackers did not take any Social Security or medical information and instead targeted systems containing information about private-sector contractor payments. However, the widescale breach points to the continued penetrability of schools’ cyberinfrastructures.

In January, a ransomware extortion attack on the biggest school district in Albuquerque, New Mexico, caused schools to shut down for two days. In May, a data breach in the Chicago Public School system exposed four years’ worth of records of half a million students and 60,000 employees.

One attendance counselor told the LA Times how the shutdown impacted the school’s ability to check on students.

“We do have paper attendance we will be collecting, but I would usually call home or go on home visits to find out students’ whereabouts. Unfortunately, with not having access to their information, I will not be able to find out where those students are. As it is, after the pandemic, we have been working hard to find students.”

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The district implemented a response protocol to avoid immediate widescale impact and to prevent future attacks. The district plans to invest in new IT security technology, hire personnel skilled in technology management, and train employees in cybersecurity responsibility.

Because the attack was detected Saturday, Students could return to class Tuesday morning. Students and teachers had to reset their passwords but could resume their usual schedules.

 

alien

A Top Scientist Believes That Alien Tech May Be Located In The Pacific Ocean

Astrophysicist Avi Loeb is on a mission to try and find some alien technology that he believes is lying on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

asus

Asus Reveals New Foldable Tablet/Laptop Hybrid

Roughly seven months ago, Asus announced that they would be creating the first foldable 17 inch tablet that can also become a laptop. 

The new Zenbook 17 Fold OLED finally has a rough release date and should be expected sometime toward the end of the year, it has a shelf price of $3,999.

The product was always expected to be expensive, which the company fully aware of. However, they knew that those who love new technology are probably going to be the ones who go and buy the product right off the shelves.

The thing that differentiates this product from others is the 17-inch OLED touchscreen that contains a 3.5k resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. The tablet can fold evenly in the middle due to the 180-degree hinge. 

The computer also contains a kickstand on the display portion of the tablet which can be used in a variety of different ways including opening it like a book, propping it up for binge watching, attaching a keyboard on the bottom or separating the keyboard from the tablet to use as a desktop/monitor hybrid.

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“When fully open, this is a huge tablet with a 17.3 inch display – that’s bigger than most laptops. The screen is a 2.5K panel with touch support and (you guessed it) OLED, with only a subtle crease hinting at its foldable functionality,” according to Tech Advisor.

Asus has equipped the device with a 75Wh battery which will allow users up to 9-10 hours of usage. Included is a 65W charger that can be used with any USB-C ports so buyers will have to buy an adapter or hub as well. 

When the product is released, there also won’t be a customizable option, there will only be one version of the product.

“It’s the most versatile laptop I’ve ever used, and it’s a real head-turner in public,” said Alex Wawro in a product review for Tom’s Guide.

Folding this 17.3-inch OLED touchscreen up like a book and tossing it in your bag feels like a magic trick the first dozen times you do it. After that, you just feel like you’re living in the future a bit earlier than most.”

However, with all the cool gadgets and tricks that come with the new foldable tablet, there are also some weaknesses it faces within its design. 

With the tablet measuring at 14.9 x 11.3 x 0.3 inches and 3.3 pounds, it makes the product hard to hold in your hands for an extended period of time. After a while, it might be easier to prop it up on a pillow to use it. 

When the new product finally hits shelves during Q4, techie fans will be able to finally get their hands on one of the most powerful foldable computer/tablets on the market.

virtualrealty

The Newest VR Headset To Be Released In October From Meta

On Thursday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the latest addition to his line of virtual reality headsets will be making their debut in October.

The new product from Meta is expected to be fully revealed at the Meta’s annual Connect event which usually takes place sometime within the month of October.

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The codenamed “Project Cambria” is set to contain features that will help users experience the feeling of social presence and have them feel more connected with other users.

Some of the features that will be included with the new VR headset will be more eye- and facial- tracking features. These new features will allow digital avatars to smile and frown within the virtual reality. 

“For me, this stuff is all about, like, helping people connect… I just started thinking about… what would be the ultimate expression of, basically, people using technology to feel present with each other, right? It’s not phones, it’s not computers.”

The new VR headset is supposed to contain a high-resolution color screen, internal sensor for the eye tracking and sophisticated augmented reality. 

The name of the VR headset has yet to be revealed but the cost of the headset is projected to cost around $800. This is a significant price jump up from the popular Quest 2 headset which costed $399 to $499 depending on the model. 

“In the previous version eye contact was all just AI simulated, we didn’t actually know when you were making eye contact because we weren’t tracking the eyes. Now for this version, and hopefully a lot of the different ones we build going forward, you’ll be able to have realistic facial expressions and more transmitted directly to your avatar,” said Zuckerberg. 

In a recent interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Rogan was allowed to be one of the first people who got to try out the new VR headset. He stated that he was impressed with all the features and how well his avatar was able to match his facial expression and eyes. 

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“It’s getting to the point where it’s mimicking human patterns in kind of a creepy way,” said Rogan. 

Over the last few years, Meta has been putting a lot of their effort and money into VR and augmented reality to keep expanding and evolving the world of computers and how people interact with them. 

According to Digital Trends, VR players usually identify themselves and have a strong connection to their alternates in virtual reality where real connections can be formed. 

With the increase of the technology, it could become a huge stepping stone in the world of virtual reality.

google

More Than 600 Google Employees Demand Abortion Care Protections

More than 650 Google workers have signed a petition lobbying for the company to create policies that would protect and provide support for employees and consumers seeking abortion care.

moderna

UK Approves Updated Covid-19 Vaccine From Moderna, Targets Omicron And Original Strain 

The United Kingdom has become the first nation to approve an updated version of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine booster, meant to target the omicron strain as well as the original virus that first appeared in 2020. 

“An updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna that targets two coronavirus variants (known as a “bivalent” vaccine) has today been approved for adult booster doses by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness,” read an official government release.

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“Half of the booster, called Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron, targets the original coronavirus strain while the other half targets Omicron,” it said.

The MHRA, the UK government’s independent expert scientific advisory board, endorsed the decision to approve of the new vaccine after carefully reviewing the evidence. 

The clinical trial by Moderna reported that the booster targets Omicron and showed a stronger immune response against the variant in addition to the original strain. The company said the “updated booster showed a potent response against BA.4 and BA. 5 sub variants.” 

“The side effects are the same as for the original Moderna booster dose and found to be typically mild and self-resolving. No serious safety concerns were identified,” the UK government release said.

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MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine said that “the new Moderna booster will help keep communities protected.

“The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armory to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization will advise on the vaccine’s rollout, as it is not yet clear who will be offered the booster or when. 

Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said on Twitter he was “delighted the vaccine had been approved.”

“This represents the first authorization of an Omicron-containing bivalent vaccine, this bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK from Covid-19 as we enter the winter months.”

Besides Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech have been testing two Covid-19 vaccine boosters that will also target the Omicron variant.

phone

Anti-Vax Dating Site Could Expose Data From Over 3,500 Users Due To Bug 

“Unjected” is a dating site specifically made for individuals who are not vaccinated against Covid-19. According to reports from the Daily Dot, the site failed to take basic precautions when it came to keeping users’ data secure, which left sensitive personal information exposed and vulnerable to potentially anyone. 

The site’s dashboard was set up to be fully accessible to the websites administrator, however, the way it was configured allowed anyone to log into the back end of  the site if they knew how to look for it. 

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Through the dashboard, administrators can view user information for everyone on the site, including names, birthdays, email addresses, and home addresses. 

A security researcher known as GeopJr is credited for confirming the site’s vulnerability, explaining that “the site had been published live to the web with ‘debug mode’ switched on – a special set of features for software developers to use while working on the application, which should never be enabled by default in an application that has been deployed for the public.” 

The researcher known as GeopJr found that they were able to make almost any change to the site after easily being able to log into the dashboard. They could add or remove pages, offer free subscriptions for paid-tier services, or even delete the entire database of posts and their backups. 

The site is currently believed to have about 3,500 users, all of whose data was accessible through the administrator features. 

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Unjected seemingly has big ambitions to expand the site and build connections among those who are unvaccinated. Besides the dating aspect of the site, users can explore a “fertility” section where others can offer their semen, eggs, or breastmilk for donation. 

In another section of the site, users can sign up for a “blood bank” by listing their location and blood type. Both the blood and fertility =aspects of the site are advertised as helping individuals find “mRNA-free” donors; referring to the mRNA molecules found in the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. 

The Unjected website is the main way that users can use the application, as the phone app was banned from the Apple App Store in August 2021 for violating Apple’s Covid-19 content policies regarding the spread of misinformation. 

The app is still listed on the Google Play store for Android users, where it has more than 10,000 downloads and average review of 2.5 stars.