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Please stop helping Russia create deep fake photos and videos

Every week, there is a trend on the internet. Whether it be memes of moths or eating Tide pods, almost everyone is exposed to these short-lived trends. Normally they are harmless, including the Tide pod thing, as long as you didn't swallow the detergent. Sometimes the trends are beneficial, such as the fundraising campaign that was the Ice Bucket Challenge.

But, what if the trend is specifically designed to be harmful? The trend of the week involves an app called FaceApp, which allows you to upload a photo and have it age your face, theoretically showing you what you might look like in 50 years. However, this process was not designed to be just a fun viral trend but is designed to be a data collection and AI training method. The app was designed by a Russian company called Wireless Lab, and the photos that you are uploading are being sent to servers in the country. From the company's privacy policy, uploading a photo grants,

a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, creative derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content, and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.

These images and the permission you give the company provide everything that is needed to train artificial intelligence to create better and more believable fake images and videos. The more you use the app, the more help you could potentially be giving Russian organizations to create these photos and videos.

Just like with the personality quizzes on Facebook that became the basis for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the problem comes down to users carelessly and willfully giving away their data. Before you use these types of gimmicks, think about the information involved and how it can and will be used by others.

July 7, 2019 - Episode 531 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Samsung might have misled customers, Amazon might be liable for others' products, and MoviePass might be just about done.

AMD's 7nm Sunday - Episode 198 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch brings us the latest news on AMD's product launches. The company and its partners released new products based on the 7nm architecture. These products include the 3rd generation Ryzen processors, supporting motherboards, and new videocards.

The biggest release is the Ryzen 3000 series, the latest refresh in the company's processor lineup. The new processors are the first products on the market to use the 7nm architecture, with AMD beating Intel by quite a margin. They also outpace Intel's core count for the price, with the Ryzen 9 3900X offering 12 cores for $499, while the closest comparable Intel processor, Intel Core i9-9920X, offers 12 cores for $1199. That's more than double the price for the same core count. The base frequency is higher, with 3.8GHz versus 3.4GHz. Read more specs.

These new processors have moved to the X570 chipset, allowing for big improvements in overall performance. While the processors will work with the previous generation chipset, the X470, the new structure brings PCIe 4.0, which brings with it faster SSDs and higher peripheral throughput. Additional throughput could also make for better videocards in the future, as more motherboards begin to support the chipset.

The last product category is videocards, with the Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700. These new cards compete with the GeForce RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2060 and actually get higher framerates than their comparable GeForce cards. You get 10% and 11% higher framerates, respectively. The RX 5700 runs $350, while the RTX 2060 averages just over $350. While you won't get raytracing with the new card, you will get really good 2K gaming. This isn't a big loss, as there are still very few raytracing compatible titles in the wild. Read more.

Australia claims Samsung misled consumers about water resistance

Starting with the release of the Galaxy S7 in 2016, Samsung has produced all of its flagship phones with an IP68 water-resistance rating. This rating means that the device can survive for 30 minutes or less underwater at depths no more than 1.5 meters. As part of this addition, the company has featured the capability in its advertising, both online and on television. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims that the advertising has misled consumers on the reality of the phone's water response. According to ACCC Chair Rod Sims,

The ACCC alleges Samsung's advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case.

According to the claim, in many of the advertisements, Samsung featured people using their phones at the beach and in swimming pools, suggesting that the phone would be safe in these environments. Unfortunately, IP68 only applies to freshwater, not saltwater or chlorinated water, such as in pools. The commission claims that Samsung has rejected warranty claims because of water damage, and notes on its website that the phone is only rated for freshwater.

Samsung recognizes the complaint and plans to fight it in court. According to a statement,

Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones. We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung's obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for Samsung and we are committed to acting in the best interest of our customers.

There is no timeline for the case, but it would appear that Samsung is not going to let the accusation stand. The company has had enough negative publicity in the past year, especially with the Galaxy Fold failures, and cannot afford additional controversy.

June 30, 2019 - Episode 530 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple's got a new design direction, Switch Online might have an expanded game collection, and privacy has a new antagonist in the government.

Raspberry Pi 4 - Episode 197 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch shows off the newest entry in the Raspberry Pi family: the Raspberry Pi 4. While this new model was not supposed to come out until this year, improved processor sourcing made it possible to bring it to market significantly earlier than expected. The newest model is a welcomed update to the Raspberry Pi 3, with the ability for more RAM, faster processing, and updated ports.

The most notable update is the changing of the video ports. Rather than a single HDMI port, the newest model has dual micro HDMI ports. This change allows for the use of two monitors rather than one on the previous model. In addition, both monitors can be run at 4K, albeit with performance degradation. In dual 4K, the monitors refresh at 30Hz. In single 4K or dual 1080p, the monitors can run in 60Hz, a marked improvement. The dual 4K monitors can also cause a lot of lag on the system itself.

In addition to the updated video ports, the USB ports also saw an upgrade. The center USB ports are now blue, indicating that they are now USB 3, rather than the USB 2 on the previous model. With the addition of USB 3 comes the ability to gain some huge performance improvements on external devices, such as SSDs. It also allows for important peripherals like the Google Coral Accelerator, which makes the Raspberry Pi better at image processing.

The new hardware comes along with a new version of the Raspbian operating system, Raspbian Buster. The new OS was not released ahead of the hardware, meaning that a lot of software does not work with it just yet. Of course, this is not unusual for Linux distributions, so users shouldn't be worried. Updated software will be released over the coming weeks, bringing back potentially lost features.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is available now online and from some local retailers.

The Jobs Era is over: Jony Ive is leaving Apple to form design firm

In 1996, two people joined the team at Apple: Steve Jobs returned from his excommunication to head the company and Jony Ive came in to help design some of the company's new products. While Jobs left the company before passing away many years ago, the era of his leadership has remained in Ive's designs. Nearly 23 years later, the Steve Jobs Era is officially coming to an end, as Apple announced Jony Ive's departure. CEO Tim Cook said,

Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple's revival cannot be overstated, from 1998's groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care.

Jony Ive will be founding his own design firm, where he will get the opportunity to work on projects that are not Apple-based, and likely not tech-based. After nearly a quarter century working on just Apple products and projects, it will be good for him to flex his design muscle again. That's not to say that Ive will be excluded from Apple projects going forward. Cook said that Apple will engage Ive's firm on future projects, though did not go into detail.

There is no doubt that Apple would not be where it is today if it weren't for the combined efforts of Jobs and Ive. In fact, there is a good chance the company would not have survived the 90s without the products that these two brought to market. Some did not stand the test of time, while others are still considered top-notch designs. The iMac series, for example, is viewed as some of the silliest products the company has ever released. From the fruit-colored bubbles to the swivel desk lamp looking computer, the iMac has always been the joke of the industry. On the other hand, the early iPhones, especially the iPhone 4, the iPod, and the iPad, have all led the industry in their designs, for better or worse.

The problem is that the company's designs have stalled in the last few years. While the iPhone X might have introduced the notch design that many others have emulated, the phone's overall design was not a significant departure from the past decade. The iPad and iPad Pro have essentially remained unchanged for nearly a decade. The likelihood is that Jony Ive has been in a design rut because he has not been able to explore additional projects. Outside of the iterative product projects, his only real design flex has been Apple Park, the company's spaceship campus.

Hopefully, the introduction of new design ideas will energize Apple's product development teams. With someone else heading up the design efforts, perhaps Apple will be able to join the rest of the mobile industry in implementing standards, such as developer-enabled NFC, USB-C, and more. The phones might return to their origins of being ergonomic. We might even see a computer that doesn't look like a giant cheese grater. Only time will tell, however.

The Pink Team (FTC 6326) @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018 (FIRST Looks)

The [FTC" class="UpStreamLink"> had their game released two weeks prior to ROBOTICON Tampa Bay and, for some people, this event is the first time they get to see the field with robots running. The team interviewed Anaya from The Pink Team [FTC" class="UpStreamLink"> 6326. This is her first year as a member and as a driver. The [FIRST" class="UpStreamLink"> experience for Anaya hasn't just started, as she explained that her brother was a member of The Pink Team before her and that she is used to being surrounded by robots. Anaya became attached to [FIRST" class="UpStreamLink"> through her familiarity with it and because of the influence of her father's creativity. Though she is in her first year, Anaya has already expressed interest in learning to program.

The Pink Team has been around for over 20 years and is still running strong! This team has come all the way from the Space Coast league and is different from others because of their cooperation between three different high schools on one team. It's common for a team to be based in a school, or for a team to be based in a garage, but it's less common for a group of schools to come together to build a single team. They include students from Rockledge, Cocoa Beach, and Port St. John.

The Pink Team has both a [FTC" class="UpStreamLink"> and [FRC" class="UpStreamLink"> team and allows team members to be a part of both, with 45 students this team is large when compared to others. Anaya talked to us about the team and how the [FTC" class="UpStreamLink"> team has been dedicated to going to meetings twice a week and are working hard on their design for the new robot. Which she states should be done within the next week.

To learn more about The Pink Team go to The Pink Team website, or find them on Facebook.

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USF Bio-Medical Engineering Department @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018 (FIRST Looks)

The field of engineering has many different branches and the University of South Florida does its best to have degree programs for all engineering disciplines. At ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, the team was joined by Abby, a sophomore biomedical engineering student. The biomedical engineering department was created only a year ago at USF and Abby is excited to be a part of the first class to go through the whole program. Even though the department is new, Abby talked about how she enjoys the coursework, and she looks forward to the more specialized classes such as the biomechanics labs.

Also, Abby is glad that the university is working hard to help the student succeed in the program. She found out about the program during her freshman year and has been involved in it since. The department lets students go down various paths towards their career in the biomedical field. USF lets students choose whether they want to go towards graduate school, medical school, or straight into the technology industry.

Abby started the program with no engineering background and she now she is enjoying it. Her plans are to get into biomechanics industry and gain more experience in the research field. Abby's dream is to work for NASA doing biomechanical research on how space affects the body and how to apply biomechanics to keep astronauts healthy in space. She is currently working in the research lab "CARRT" which specializes in rehabilitation research. She talks about how the bio-medical department can be feed into any engineering branch such as electrical, computer, mechanical or software engineering.

To learn more about the Department of Medical Engineering go to their website.

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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018 (FIRST Looks)

ROBOTICON Tampa Bay is the event to show student's involvement in engineering. That includes the college students at the University of South Florida, especially those studying to be engineers. USF has many different engineering clubs that specialized in certain branches, including one of IEEE student chapters. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to electrical engineering.

IEEE is the trusted "voice" for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.

At ROBOTICON showcasing their Electrathon race car, our team was able to speak with the Vice President of IEEE USF, Cooper. He talked about his place and accomplishment with IEEE USF, and how being involved in a technical professional organization has helped him personally. Cooper was impressed by the students in [FIRST" class="UpStreamLink">, he commented that these kids have a head start and he was in awe by how involved they were in robotics.

Cooper has been in IEEE USF for three years and truly believes IEEE helps foster growth in USF students. He enjoys his responsibility in organizing workshops and presentations for IEEE USF students. Cooper talks about his projects involving an RC car and planning a hackathon at USF. He goes on to explain how being involved in projects have helped him and others outside the classroom. Even job interviews have changed for him since adding his IEEE accomplishment to his resume. IEEE is over hundred years old and continues to be a resource for professionals and students alike. It keeps the professional's informed about the newest technology and helps students socially be apart of a network of engineers.

To learn more about IEEE USF go to their IEEE USF website, or find them on Facebook.

To find an IEEE student chapter near you go to the IEEE website.

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