PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS
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THE INTERNET REMEMBER US


Illustration by Hotaru Niitsu
I did not grow up in the golden age of Internet. I can still recall a time when chat boxes aren’t the primary form of communication, when e-mail is a thing for adults, when my friends and I only talk to each other through three-way phone calls or after-school get-togethers. I remember how my very first email address is made for me by a friend, combining my first name with the name of my crush at the time. I didn’t know how to make my own yet. I used that email address to create accounts during my first forays into social media. I’ve grown up a bit since and have created an email address I won’t be ashamed to put on a resume, but that very first one is still the same address I use for my current Facebook profile. That’s close to a decade ago. Breaking up was different then. We did it through letters handwritten on colorful stationery, through common friends passing the word during break time and in-between classes, through text messages peppered with basic emoticons, always with a short shelf life based on the memory capacity of one’s phone. READ MORE...

ALSO: Easy ways to protect yourself against phone scam


If you get a call from a government agency asking for a payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will ask for money over the phone. 
AS children, we were taught not to open the door to strangers or let an unidentified caller know our parents weren’t home. Today, as adults, we’ve been warned not to believe an email claiming a loved one is stranded in London without money, and not to sign the back of our credit cards with anything other than “See Photo ID.” We can take precautions, but it still won’t stop technically savvy criminals from trying to take advantage of consumers. Scams have become so advanced that even the most prepared could easily fall victim, with new methods surfacing too frequently. Two recent phone scams that have hit unsuspecting people with fraudulent charges are the IRS phone scam and the one-ring scam. Here’s how they work: IRS phone scam In this particular scam, a criminal will call pretending to be an IRS agent, requesting personal information like date of birth and Social Security and bank routing numbers. Scammers prey on consumers’ fear, so many people wanting to show compliance with a government agency relinquish their information to the fraudster. READ MORE...

ALSO: Internet will 'disappear', Google boss tells at Davos World forum


WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND, LAST JANUARY 2015
Google boss Eric Schmidt predicted on Thursday that the Internet will soon be so pervasive in every facet of our lives that it will effectively "disappear" into the background. Speaking to the business and political elite at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Schmidt said: "There will be so many sensors, so many devices, that you won't even sense it, it will be all around you." "It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room and... you are interacting with all the things going on in that room."  "A highly personalised, highly interactive and very interesting world emerges." 

On the sort of high-level panel only found among the ski slopes of Davos, a panel bringing together the heads of Google, Facebook and Microsoft and Vodafone sought to allay fears that the rapid pace of technological advance was killing jobs. "Everyone's worried about jobs," admitted Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. With so many changes in the technology world, "the transformation is happening faster than ever before," she acknowledged.  "But tech creates jobs not only in the tech space but outside," she insisted.  Schmidt quoted statistics he said showed that every tech job created between five and seven jobs in a different area of the economy. "If there were a single digital market in Europe, 400 million new and important new jobs would be created in Europe," which is suffering from stubbornly high levels of unemployment. READ MORE,,,

ALSO from Abu Dhabi:  Solar-powered plane takes off in first round-the-world attempt


A live video feed of the Solar Impulse 2 solar powered aircraft is pictured on a screen at the mission control centre in Monaco early on March 9, 2015, during the plane’s take-off from Abu Dhabi in the first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using solar energy. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE 
The first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using only solar power launched Monday in Abu Dhabi in a landmark journey aimed at promoting green energy that will test its pilots' endurance to the limits. The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am (0412 GMT) from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, the capital of Oman, where it is expected to land later Monday after the first leg of the journey. The takeoff, which was originally scheduled for Saturday but delayed due to high winds, capped 13 years of research and testing by Borschberg and fellow Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard. Two hours and 15 minutes into the flight, Borschberg was 13 percent of the way to Muscat and attempting to give media interviews before calling his wife, according to a website monitoring his progress. Shortly before take-off, the 63-year-old pilot tweeted that the "challenge to come is real for me & the airplane". "This project is a human project, it is a human challenge," Borschberg, co-founder and chief executive of the Solar Impulse project, told reporters on Sunday. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

The Internet remembers us


Illustration by Hotaru Niitsu

MANILA, APRIL 13, 2015 (INQUIRER) Jamie delos Reyes @inquirerdotnet -  I did not grow up in the golden age of Internet. I can still recall a time when chat boxes aren’t the primary form of communication, when e-mail is a thing for adults, when my friends and I only talk to each other through three-way phone calls or after-school get-togethers.

I remember how my very first email address is made for me by a friend, combining my first name with the name of my crush at the time. I didn’t know how to make my own yet. I used that email address to create accounts during my first forays into social media.

I’ve grown up a bit since and have created an email address I won’t be ashamed to put on a resume, but that very first one is still the same address I use for my current Facebook profile. That’s close to a decade ago.

Breaking up was different then. We did it through letters handwritten on colorful stationery, through common friends passing the word during break time and in-between classes, through text messages peppered with basic emoticons, always with a short shelf life based on the memory capacity of one’s phone.

READ MORE...

Easy to forget. Easier to delete, easier to throw in the garbage.

That was before the Internet became exponentially more popular and accessible than radio and TV. Today, distance is not distance anymore, at least not in the way it used to be.

I was 15 when I fell in love for the very first time. The fall was meteoric; the story was a cliché. He was my best friend, as many first loves go. I remember writing a long letter pouring out my feelings for him, teenage hormones raging on three pages of pink stationery with white rabbits in various cute poses:

A rabbit eating a piece of cake, bunnies smiling buckteeth smiles, anthropomorphic furry images softening the passion in my confession. I remember asking my computer science teacher to look it over and to please send it to him. She did. He turned out to be gay. Years later, I can’t remember what I wrote. I assume that letter does not exist anymore.

Before, it was easier to forget.

She was the longest relationship I’ve ever had. Three years’ worth of growing together, of finding out who we were in relation to another person. She was with me during Christmas, the darkest time of the year, and also New Year, the best one. Birthdays. My mother’s cancer. Our first dog, family reunions, graduation, the occasional out-of-town vacations. We were together during the good, the bad, and the in between.

Naturally, that relationship also yielded three years’ worth of photos, status messages, tweets, text messages and emails. At the time, we had no idea we were just tangents in each other’s stories.

Other people have come before and after. There was the boy who broke up with his girlfriend of seven years to take a chance on me. There was the girl who had a girlfriend and for whom I eventually wrote an essay about how we could never be friends as a way of saying goodbye.

There were the “flashes,” people, who, at the moment, felt full of possibilities but turned out to be impossible eventually. Most of these combined online and real-time interactions, the Internet making up for the empty side of the bed, the Web bridging time spent apart. It was the new normal.

Call me immature, but I never felt any need to keep mementos of the past. It was never hard for me to throw away letters detailing how love happened at this particular point in time. I had this mindset that if something is over, it didn’t count anymore. I don’t have to keep anything to remember it by.

Today, however, my e-mail account is heavy with almost 2,000 unread messages.

As 9-5 employees are wont to do, I have dedicated myself to the task of cleaning up the mess to distract me from my endless to-do list.

I deleted promotions from various businesses, sent social media updates to the trash, and hit “Delete All” on hundreds of useless entries in my inbox.

Then I made the mistake of clicking on the “Chat” tab.

In an instant, a list of our previous conversations came up on my screen. There you were on February, teasing me about my dislike of the soppy rituals during the 14th. There I was, describing how bored I was at work.

There were countless exchanges where we told each other about the little things we were doing: What we ate for lunch, our plans once the clock hit 6 p.m., how we couldn’t decide what to wear. Sometimes it was steamy, but mostly mundane.

As I scrolled through it all, I noticed how the updates turned into lengthy verbal fights as our relationship neared the end. Arguments fueled by jealousy and insecurity. Sometimes the issues were heavy, but still, mostly mundane. We were holding on by a thread.

Prior to this, I wasn’t even aware that this archive even existed. I wasn’t ready for the tidal wave of remembrance that hit me, the technicolor memories refreshed in every line that unfolded on my screen. It was as if our relationship had come back to life, a Frankenstein powered by an Internet connection, a ghost made up of bytes.

It’s a curious thing, how technology has transformed the way we say goodbye. I wonder if it’s still possible to truly forget and let go when it only takes an instant to access the online scrapbooks of everything that has gone before.

You and I have parted ways, but the Internet remembers us still.

There are digital corners in which we’re still holding hands, where the end hasn’t reached us yet. That one comment you left on my blog years ago, verbatim chat logs preserved in my GMail, the photos of us others have posted: They live on. Overlooked and forgotten until an accidental tap or click lets them breathe again.

I have thrown your letters away. Deleted every message you’ve ever sent me. Erased all the physical and digital records of affection that I could find. I have no need for them, and neither do you, I assume. The sleeping memories of the past in my mind are enough for me.

But there are faded, dusty corners of the Internet that root for us still.

They exist frozen in time, untouched, unaware of the fact that some loves do not survive and never will.

Jamie delos Reyes has worked in various capacities as a writer. A few of her pieces are up at intensityfour.wordpress.com, among other places on the Internet, and she’s also the cofounder of White Wall Poetry, a group of spoken word artists. She’s still trying to figure out what those things even mean.


MANILA TIMES

Easy ways to protect yourself against phone scam September 10, 2014 5:10 pm


If you get a call from a government agency asking for a payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will ask for money over the phone. 

AS children, we were taught not to open the door to strangers or let an unidentified caller know our parents weren’t home. Today, as adults, we’ve been warned not to believe an email claiming a loved one is stranded in London without money, and not to sign the back of our credit cards with anything other than “See Photo ID.”

We can take precautions, but it still won’t stop technically savvy criminals from trying to take advantage of consumers. Scams have become so advanced that even the most prepared could easily fall victim, with new methods surfacing too frequently. Two recent phone scams that have hit unsuspecting people with fraudulent charges are the IRS phone scam and the one-ring scam. Here’s how they work:

IRS phone scam

In this particular scam, a criminal will call pretending to be an IRS agent, requesting personal information like date of birth and Social Security and bank routing numbers. Scammers prey on consumers’ fear, so many people wanting to show compliance with a government agency relinquish their information to the fraudster.

READ MORE...
One-ring scam

Another recent innovative scam is called one-ring, which involves scammers dialing American mobile phones from robo-calling facilities outside the United States, typically in the Caribbean, from 10-digit numbers that appear to have U.S.-based area codes. Their trick is to hang up after one ring in the hope that the recipient will be curious and call back, thinking that he or she has missed an important call. Since the number is actually international, callers are charged exorbitant connection and long-distance fees, as scammers attempt to keep victims on the line.

So how can you protect yourself?

Hang up immediately. If you get a call from a government agency or other business asking for a payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will ask for money over the phone, even the IRS.

Don’t call a suspicious number back

In the case of the one-ring scam, the number appears like it’s from the United States when it’s not and, therefore, is not legitimate. Scammers are able to set up systems to ensure all incoming calls are charged-most of the time consumers are unaware of the charges.

Use mobile apps

There are many apps that can identify callers to help ensure verification. WhitePages Current Caller ID takes call identification a step further, warning you of potential scams and providing alerts for both incoming and outgoing calls to signal users if a number is one of thousands identified as a scam.

Never provide personal information

Avoid giving out credit card information, Social Security number or other personal details to an incoming caller whom you do not know, even if you are familiar with the business they claim to represent. Some scams spoof well-known entities like Microsoft or Verizon tech support.

Do not pay money up front

If you have been contacted that you’ve won a contest or have been accepted for a new insurance policy, do not provide any payment. For any legitimate offer, an upfront payment is not required.

In addition to hanging up the moment a call seems suspicious, the most important rule of thumb is to never return a call to a number you do not recognize. If it is a legitimate caller, they will leave a voice mail or call back. And if you feel that you have become a victim of a scam, report the phone number to local authorities, the FTC and your mobile carrier.

If you shared personal information, make sure to monitor your credit report and immediately contact your credit card company and other financial institutions. North American Precis Syndicate


MANILA STANDARD

Internet will 'disappear', Google boss tells Davos By AFP | Jan. 23, 2015 at 12:32pm Davos, Switzerland | Friday 1/23/2015 by Richard CARTER

 
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 2015 IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND LAST JANURAY.

Google boss Eric Schmidt predicted on Thursday that the Internet will soon be so pervasive in every facet of our lives that it will effectively "disappear" into the background.

Speaking to the business and political elite at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Schmidt said: "There will be so many sensors, so many devices, that you won't even sense it, it will be all around you."

"It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room and... you are interacting with all the things going on in that room."

"A highly personalised, highly interactive and very interesting world emerges."

On the sort of high-level panel only found among the ski slopes of Davos, a panel bringing together the heads of Google, Facebook and Microsoft and Vodafone sought to allay fears that the rapid pace of technological advance was killing jobs.

"Everyone's worried about jobs," admitted Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

With so many changes in the technology world, "the transformation is happening faster than ever before," she acknowledged.

"But tech creates jobs not only in the tech space but outside," she insisted.

Schmidt quoted statistics he said showed that every tech job created between five and seven jobs in a different area of the economy.

"If there were a single digital market in Europe, 400 million new and important new jobs would be created in Europe," which is suffering from stubbornly high levels of unemployment.

READ MORE...
The debate about whether technology is destroying jobs "has been around for hundreds of years," said the Google boss. What is different is the speed of change.

"It's the same that happened to the people who lost their farming jobs when the tractor came... but ultimately a globalised solution means more equality for everyone."

- Everyone has a voice -

With one of the main topics at this year's World Economic Forum being how to share out the fruits of global growth, the tech barons stressed that the greater connectivity offered by their companies ultimately helps reduce inequalities.

"Are the spoils of tech being evenly spread? That is an issue that we have to tackle head on," said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft.

"I'm optimistic, there's no question. If you are in the tech business, you have to be optimistic. Ultimately to me, it's about human capital. Tech empowers humans to do great things."

Facebook boss Sandberg said the Internet in its early forms was "all about anonymity" but now everyone was sharing everything and everyone was visible.

"Now everyone has a voice... now everyone can post, everyone can share and that gives a voice to people who have historically not had it," she said.

Schmidt, who said he had recently come back from the reclusive state of North Korea, said he believed that technology forced potentially despotic and hermetic governments to open up as their citizens acquired more knowledge about the outside world.

"It is no longer possible for a country to step out of basic assumptions in banking, communications, morals and the way people communicate," the Google boss said.

"You cannot isolate yourself any more. It simply doesn't work."

Nevertheless, Sandberg told the assembled elites that even the current pace of change was only the tip of the iceberg.

"Today, only 40 percent of people have Internet access," she said, adding: "If we can do all this with 40 percent, imagine what we can do with 50, 60, 70 percent."

Even two decades into the global spread of the Internet, the potential for opening up and growth was tremendous, she stressed.

"Sixty percent of the Internet is in English. If that doesn't tell you how uninclusive the Internet is, then nothing will," said the tycoon.

The World Economic Forum brings together some 2,500 of the top movers and shakers in the worlds of politics, business and finance for a four-day meeting that ends on Saturday.


MANILA STANDARD

Solar-powered plane takes off in first round-the-world attempt launched in Abu Dhabi  By AFP | Mar. 09, 2015 at 02:38pmAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates by Wissam KEYROUZ


A live video feed of the Solar Impulse 2 solar powered aircraft is pictured on a screen at the mission control centre in Monaco early on March 9, 2015, during the plane’s take-off from Abu Dhabi in the first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using solar energy. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE

The first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using only solar power launched Monday in Abu Dhabi in a landmark journey aimed at promoting green energy that will test its pilots' endurance to the limits.

The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am (0412 GMT) from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, the capital of Oman, where it is expected to land later Monday after the first leg of the journey.

The takeoff, which was originally scheduled for Saturday but delayed due to high winds, capped 13 years of research and testing by Borschberg and fellow Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard.

Two hours and 15 minutes into the flight, Borschberg was 13 percent of the way to Muscat and attempting to give media interviews before calling his wife, according to a website monitoring his progress.

Shortly before take-off, the 63-year-old pilot tweeted that the "challenge to come is real for me & the airplane".

"This project is a human project, it is a human challenge," Borschberg, co-founder and chief executive of the Solar Impulse project, told reporters on Sunday.

READ MORE...
The wingspan of the one-seater plane, known as the Si2, is slightly bigger than that of a jumbo jet, but its weight is around that of a family car.

From Muscat, it will make 12 stops on an epic journey spread over five months, with a total flight time of around 25 days.

It will cross the Arabian Sea to India before heading on to Myanmar, China, Hawaii and New York.

Landings are also earmarked for the midwestern United States and either southern Europe or North Africa, depending on weather conditions.

The longest single leg will see a lone pilot fly non-stop for five days across the Pacific Ocean between Nanjing, China and Hawaii, a distance of 8,500 kilometres (5,270 miles).

Borschberg and Piccard will alternate stints flying the plane, which can hold only one person, with the aircraft able to fly on autopilot during rest breaks.

The pilots have undergone intensive training in preparation for the trip, including in yoga and self-hypnosis, allowing them to sleep for periods as short as 20 minutes but awaken feeling refreshed.

All this will happen without burning a drop of fuel.

The pilots will be linked to a control centre in Monaco where 65 weathermen, air traffic controllers and engineers will be stationed. A team of 65 support staff will travel with the two pilots.

Should a problem occur while sleeping, the ground staff can wake up the pilot.

"We want to share our vision of a clean future," said Piccard, chairman of Solar Impulse, said of the mission.

"Climate change is a fantastic opportunity to bring in the market new green technologies that save energy, save natural resources of our planet, make profit, create jobs, and sustain growth."

The pilots' idea was ridiculed by the aviation industry when it was first unveiled.

But Piccard, a 57-year-old who hails from a family of scientist-adventurers and who in 1999 became the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon, clung to his belief that clean technology and renewable energy "can achieve the impossible".

- Clean energy petition -

The plane is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that, at 72 metres (236 feet), are longer than a jumbo and approaching that of an Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Thanks to an innovative design, the lightweight carbon fibre aircraft weighs only 2.3 tonnes, about the same as a family 4X4 and less than one percent of the weight of the A380.

The Si2 is the first solar-powered aircraft able to stay aloft for several days and nights.

The propeller craft has four 17.5 horsepower electric motors with rechargeable lithium batteries.

It will travel at 50-100 kilometres per hour, with the slower speeds at night to prevent the batteries from draining too quickly.

The Si2 is the successor to Solar Impulse, a smaller aircraft that notched up a 26-hour flight in 2010, proving its ability to store enough power in the batteries during the day to keep flying at night.

It made its last successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on March 2, and mission chiefs reported no problems.

It is scheduled to arrive back in Abu Dhabi in July, flown by Piccard.

For him, "the project should not finish in July, it should start in July." A petition was launched at futureisclean.org to campaign in favour of clean energy.

Its progress can be monitored via live video streaming at www.solarimpulse.com .


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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