Archive for September, 2012

Google has taken the plunge with its Street View technology and begun capturing 360-degree panoramas of coral reefs around the world, in partnership with a scientific survey.

Above, a turtle is captured off Heron Island in Australia.

Google Maps has shown off its latest enhancement — a series of underwater panoramas in select places around the globe.

Announced on Tuesday, the underwater vistas comprise six sites of marine interest: Wilson Island, Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef; Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay and Molokini crater; and the volcanic reserve of Apo Island in the Philippines.

“With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver — or even know how to swim — to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs,” Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Earth, said in a blog post.

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Social media insurance to protect your online profile and data

Posted September 27, 2012 By David Kolle

An UK based company has launched social media insurance to protect people’s online reputations and data.

‘iAllow’ will help bury search engine results of your embarrassing social media incident to make it harder for people to find.

If your account has been hacked, your identity stolen, iallow will take legal steps to try and discover the perpetrator’s identity.

Head of communications at iAllow, Joe Wiggins said that the company wanted to help people realise how easy it was to be careless with social media.

“(It) could result in them losing their job or being the victim of crime, for example,” he said.

iAllow conducts a risk report to find out exactly where your personal information is stored online and analyses where your data and privacy is at risk. Then a team of people will work to fix the problem to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Mr Wiggins said that the company – which used to provide educational tools to prevent against data or privacy breaches – was getting inundated with news of account hacking and hijacking almost every day.

“We felt there was a niche for this,” he said.

Mr Wiggins said the company couldn’t insure against trolling or bullying, but if your online behaviour had earned you a parody site, or if a fake account had been set up in your name, it would work to have the accounts shut down.

The service costs between 3.20 pounds ($AU4.95) and 3.99 pounds ($AU6.18) a month.

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Private Facebook messages appearing publicly say some users

Posted September 26, 2012 By David Kolle

Rumours of  a Facebook bug that allows private messages to show publicly on Timeline pages. 

But the social network site is dismissing claims, saying that these messages are actually just older wall posts.

A series of reports coming out of France – including ones from Metro France and Le Nouvel Observateur - claim that Facebook members who sent private messages over the past few years have been popping up on public posts.

Some members in the US have said their private messages from 2007 and 2008 are showing up on their Timeline, but Facebook said that the company hasn’t found a bug and believes the discrepancy comes from a wider roll out of the newer Timeline layout on a global scale.

Facebook says that if you can comment or Like that activity, then it is a wall post and not a private message. In the past, users weren’t able to comment and Like posts, so Facebook believes members new to Timeline are confusing old posts for private messages.

“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline,” Fred Wolens of Facebook Policy Communications said in a statement. “Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users’ profile pages. Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy.”

When asked if such a bug were possible, Wolens responded: “While not quite a technical impossibility, these systems are run on two separate backends which would require a non-trivial amount of work for this bug to be real.”

We have been unable to confirm any case where private information has been leaked.

For those worried that they may be subject to a bug, users can set all wall posts to only friends or just to themselves, and also hide the activity.

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Smart camera that films your daily story

Posted September 26, 2012 By David Kolle

 

A groundbreaking new wearable camera automatically decides when to take photos as users go about their daily lives.

The device, called the ‘Autographer’, uses five in-built sensors – a magnetometer, accelerometer, thermometer, infrared detector, and a color/light sensor - to gather data, which is then read by software developed by Microsoft that chooses the best moment to capture an image without any intervention from the user.

The high-resolution pictures, which can number 2,000 in a day, can then be combined to create a visual record of an event like a party, a music festival or a typical day in the life of the owner.

The camera contains a five megapixel sensor, which is covered with a 136-degree lens. It can connect to smartphones via Bluetooth or computer via USB cable. There is also a shutter button on the side of the device, with which users can manually take photos.

The device, which can be worn around the neck, clipped to clothing or placed in a particular vantage point, is the first consumer device from British company OMG, whose stop-motion technology is used in fields ranging from computer game development to surveying roads.

The company originally developed a version of the Autographer as a memory aid for people with dementia, but said it decided to launch it to the broader market after finding users and their families were also using the devices to record and remember special occasions.

OMG chief executive Nick Bolton said the camera occupied a space between stills photography and video.

“It can capture really meaningful single images, but there’s actually something about watching the day back in sequence,” Bolton said. “It tells a story about the day you’ve just experienced.”

The camera will be sold directly to the public for £399 ($621) from November, Bolton said. He added that potential launches in the United States and Japan could follow.

 

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