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Your next adventure in robotics: Getting ready for your best build yet

Whether you’re entering into a competition, or building robots and the like is for personal gain and satisfaction, you’ll understand the time, dedication and hard work that’s involved in making your ideas a reality. Therefore, the ideas, planning and preparation stage are crucial to the success of your whole project, and you’ll need to prioritize your schedule wisely.

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If you’re a novice or even a seasoned hobbyist; you’ll always be looking out for your next challenge. Whether you’re entering into a competition, or building robots and the like is for personal gain and satisfaction, you’ll understand the time, dedication and hard work that’s involved in making your ideas a reality. Therefore, the ideas, planning and preparation stage are crucial to the success of your whole project, and you’ll need to prioritize your schedule wisely. From designing what you want to build to gathering your components together, to finally putting the finishing touches on your creation; it’s important to embrace and enjoy each step of the process. So, it’s worth writing some thorough lists now, and getting your head around the time, work, and money you may need to invest.

Ensure that you give yourself plenty of contingency; the beauty of building robotics is that sometimes things improve and evolve along the way so that changes can mean more investment in various areas.

Once you’ve moved past the planning, designing, and list writing stage; the real fun can start. You can begin collating together what you’ll need, and organize your space so that it’s a productive and efficient environment. It’s worth clearing out the clutter so that you’re not reaching for anything you don’t need, and making sure that everything has its place, and is within easy reach of your workbench. Now it’s time to schedule in some time for yourself, and let your loved ones know that when your phone’s turned off; you’re busy creating your vision.

A schedule will be crucial if you’re planning to enter a competition or exhibition of any sort, so make sure that your diary is planned out thoroughly, and you have a clear idea of how long each step may take. The following are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those ready to embark on their next robot build, and want it to be a successful and enjoyable experience (with great results).

Equipment and Components Are Key

You’ll probably already understand that your equipment and the components you use to build your robot are essential to its success and function. Therefore, you’ll need to consider each part, and invest in the items needed. Bear in mind that you may have to shop around for various items so that you get the best price and quality for your project.

If you’re not planning to head to a hobby shop and buy everything in one kit (where’s the fun in that?); you’ll need to research into where you can get the best BLDC motors, switches, and distance sensors from, and stock up accordingly. Beginners can find a great (and thorough) list here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/how-to/g1561/the-10-things-youll-need-to-build-your-very-first-robot/ so that you can get to grips with all the essentials to put on your shopping list.

You’ll also need the right equipment, or tools for each part of your build. So it’s vital that you have a working glue gun and screwdrivers that are small enough for the most intricate of jobs. You want your robot to remain sturdy and strong, as well as functioning; therefore, it’s important to affix everything firmly at each stage. This is where your decision-making skills need to be confident so that you don’t end up regretting anything you’ve glued.

Define Your Bot

When you’re fully stocked up and ready to roll; it’s important that you’ve got all the extra elements that will help to define your bot. You need to decide what it is it will do, and if you’re entering it into competition; how will it stand up against other robots? Think about more than just movement; you might want your robot to have sound when it hits something before it moves on in a new direction. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you’re DIY roving bot doesn’t fall short on its beeps, chimes, and tunes.

Look into the software available to you; Arduino microcontroller boards are a popular option for hobbyists, because it gives you the freedom to upload sketches from your computer to your bot’s memory in real time. The hardware and software designs in the Arduino are open to change and plenty of modification; this chimes back to the fact your robot may evolve naturally throughout the process. The fun is discovering what works best, and building something even more capable than you first imagined. However you go about building your bot; do as much in the planning stages as possible, so that making changes becomes a breeze, and you’ll be onto your next project before you know it.  

Technology

The future of mobile phones – What comes next?

Mobile phones have evolved from bulky bricks capable only of calls to tiny pocket-sized computers capable of practically everything. It’s hard to imagine what could come next considering how advanced modern phones already are, but manufacturers and phone carriers are already busy planning new advancements.

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In the last three decades, mobile phones have evolved from bulky bricks capable only of calls to tiny pocket-sized computers capable of practically everything. It’s hard to imagine what could come next considering how advanced modern phones already are, but manufacturers and phone carriers are already busy planning new advancements.

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Here are just some of the improvements that are thought to shape the future.

LIMITLESS CONNECTION

When it comes to wireless plans, people are now getting much more for their money including free texts and even free calls. Plans such as this Verizon wireless plan offer incredibly strong signal and even mobile hotspot data. It’s thought that in the future, ‘unlimited data’ will become the norm and phone/wi-fi signal will be available practically everywhere allowing people to stay constantly connected.

FACIAL RECOGNITION

Facial recognition is already here with the iPhone X being the first to pass the tests. Other phones are thought to adopt this technology soon making it a standard feature in the future. Facial recognition can be used a secure alternative to a password preventing anyone else from being able to unlock your phone. It could also become the main form of payment – already you can use your phone to make payments and payment apps are now allowing you to use facial recognition technology. Cards may eventually become defunct given that they pose a greater security risk and facial recognition could take over.  

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COLLAPSIBLE PHONES

This year, Samsung unveiled the prototype for the world’s first foldable phone. Once this technology has been perfected, we could see phones on the market that are able to fold up and fit neatly into the smallest pockets, whilst being able to then fold out to the size of tablets when we need a bigger screen. This could make them both more portable and more practical when doing activities such as reading and watching videos. On top of having foldable screens, phones of the future may even have self-healing screens to counteract damage (such technology is already in development, although it could still be a while until it is perfected).

SELF-CHARGING BATTERIES

This technology may be a fair way off yet, but researchers are already looking into it. By using a combination of solar power, hydrogen fuel cells, nanobatteries and perhaps even kinetic energy, it could be possible to keep our phones charged up on the go without ever needing to plug them into a wall. This remains the one big inconvenience with mobile phones – whilst portable chargers already exist, these chargers themselves need to be charged up beforehand. Having a phone that charges itself could make it easier to travel and get by in remote places without having to search for somewhere with a plug point.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Blued pokes fun on awkward sexting encounters to encourage safer sex & promote HIV awareness

Blued wants to remind its users to get tested for HIV and practice safer sex.

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From unsolicited dick pics to inappropriately direct sexual invitations, together with exposure to extreme kinks and aggressive flirting from total strangers, the online gay world can sometimes feel like the sexual equivalent of rush hour on a Friday night.  

But while hooking up in the digital age can be messy and confusing, one rule should be clear: when your partner refuses to practice safer sex, it’s time to stop and make a U-turn.

In celebration of World AIDS Day this December 1, the world’s largest gay social app Blued–a platform that’s facilitated millions of awkward sexting encounters–wants to remind its users to get tested for HIV and practice safer sex, through a series of videos where a user aggressively sexts multiple people, and hooks up with a guy who’s only willing to have sex, as long as it’s safe.

Currently, Blued has close to one million users in the Philippines, where as many as 32 people test positive for HIV every day, mostly among men having sex with men.

This stems from a lack of education on how HIV is transmitted, as well as the stigma of sex and the continuing discrimination of the LGBT community.

No longer just for gay trysts…

“We at Blued believe in sex-positivity, and that the abstinence-only solution to stopping HIV is not exactly the most realistic solution for a lot of people,” says Evan Tan, country marketing manager of Blued in the Philippines. “By making fun of awkward sexual encounters, we want people to lighten up their attitudes towards sex–but also remember that using condoms, getting tested for HIV regularly, adhering to your PrEP regimen, and establishing to your partners that safer sex is a non-negotiable rule, will allow you to enjoy your sex life even further.”

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Health & Wellness

Healthcare providers – not hackers – leak more of your medical data

After reviewing detailed reports, assessing notes and reclassifying cases with specific benchmarks, researchers found that 53% were the result of internal factors in healthcare entities.

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Photo by @rawpixel from Unsplash.com

Yes, your personal identity may be at the mercy of sophisticated hackers on many websites; but surprisingly, when it comes to health data breaches, hackers aren’t the ones to blame. Instead, hospitals, doctors’ offices and even insurance companies are oftentimes the culprits.

This is according to a research from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University, which found that more than half of the recent personal health information (or PHI) data breaches were because of internal issues with medical providers – not because of hackers or external parties.

“There’s no perfect way to store information, but more than half of the cases we reviewed were not triggered by external factors – but rather by internal negligence,” said John (Xuefeng) Jiang, lead author and associate professor of accounting and information systems at MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business.

The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, follows the joint 2017 study that showed the magnitude of hospital data breaches in the US. The research revealed nearly 1,800 occurrences of large data breaches in patient information over a seven years, with 33 hospitals experiencing more than one substantial breach.

For this research, Jiang and co-author Ge Bai, associate professor at the John’s Hopkins Carey Business School, dove deeper to identify triggers of the PHI data breaches. They reviewed nearly 1,150 cases between October 2009 and December 2017 that affected more than 164 million patients.

“Every time a hospital has some sort of a data breach, they need to report it to the Department of Health and Human Services and classify what they believe is the cause,” Jiang said. “These causes fell into six categories: theft, unauthorized access, hacking or an IT incident, loss, improper disposal or ‘other.'”

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After reviewing detailed reports, assessing notes and reclassifying cases with specific benchmarks, Jiang and Bai found that 53% were the result of internal factors in healthcare entities.

“One quarter of all the cases were caused by unauthorized access or disclosure – more than twice the amount that were caused by external hackers,” Jiang said. “This could be an employee taking PHI home or forwarding to a personal account or device, accessing data without authorization, or even through email mistakes, like sending to the wrong recipients, copying instead of blind copying or sharing unencrypted content.”

While some of the errors seem to be common sense, Jiang said that the big mistakes can lead to even bigger accidents and that seemingly innocuous errors can compromise patients’ personal data.

“Hospitals, doctors offices, insurance companies, small physician offices and even pharmacies are making these kinds of errors and putting patients at risk,” Jiang said.

Of the external breaches, theft accounted for 33% with hacking credited for just 12%.

While some data breaches might result in minor consequences, such as obtaining the phone numbers of patients, others can have much more invasive effects. For example, when Anthem Inc. suffered a data breach in 2015, 37.5 million records were compromised. Many of the victims were not notified immediately, so weren’t aware of the situation until they went to file their taxes only to discover that a third-party fraudulently filed them with the data they obtained from Anthem.

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While tight software and hardware security can protect from theft and hackers, Jiang and Bai suggest health care providers adopt internal policies and procedures that can tighten processes and prevent internal parties from leaking PHI by following a set of simple protocols. The procedures to mitigate PHI breaches related to storage include transitioning from paper to digital medical records, safe storage, moving to non-mobile policies for patient-protected information and implementing encryption. Procedures related to PHI communication include mandatory verification of mailing recipients, following a “copy vs. blind copy” protocol (bcc vs cc) as well as encryption of content.

“Not putting on the whole armor opened health care entities to enemy’s attacks,” Bai said. “The good news is that the armor is not hard to put on if simple protocols are followed.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Technological advancements up to present day

Back in the day things would be developed over a certain period of time. But they have since changed. Here we explore the various things that have been developed over the past few years.

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Technology has really shocked everyone. Back in the day things would be developed over a certain period of time. But they have since changed. Things are being developed every day from cars, cell phones, top Australian online casinos, applications, modes of energy and many others.

In this article, we will explore the various things that have been developed over the past few years.

Electric Cars

Cars are known to use gasoline. For cars, gasoline is like the nutrient that they require for them to function. But then again at the same time, the exhaust gases are bad for the environment. But great minds are always thinking ahead. So what was simply done was to make cars use electric energy for them to function. That way nothing on earth will be threatened. With car technology, we could go on about it forever. Everything on cars has been developed. They now have cars that don’t require keys to start the car as you can use your phone or a car button.  And as for unlocking you only need your fingerprint.

3D Printers

Printers have been known to print papers from when there were introduced. And they were slowly developing to printing plastics. Jaws dropped when they started printing metal, we thought that probably that is where they are going to end. But clearly they did not stop; now they have what is known as the 3-D metal printing. This one prints the exact thing that you want to be printed, for instance, you want to print a car part now that is possible.

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Robot Technology

Asians have always been known for their fondness for robots. And they managed to advance them from the normal robots that we are used to. Asians have developed robots that can help people in restaurants and are now the actual waiters. They do away with human labour.

Clearly one can note that technology is definitely advancing and for the better. Even in the world of online casinos, first, they were just yebo casino games. But now we have Live Dealer online casino games, technology truly is amazing.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Apple blocks its LGBTQI Pride watch face in Russia

While Apple regularly brandishes its “unwavering commitment to equality and diversity” in highly-produced LGBTQI Pride videos, the company – apparently – has its limits, with its Pride Apple Watch face hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.

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In case anyone forgets: Pride support has its limits for businesses.

While Apple regularly brandishes its “unwavering commitment to equality and diversity” in highly-produced LGBTQI Pride videos, the company – apparently – has its limits, with its Pride Apple Watch face hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.

As its is, Apple support forum users have been questioning the lack of a Pride watch face in Russia. The company – helmed by an openly gay man himself, CEO Tim Cook – first introduced its Pride Apple Watch face during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, drawing inspiration from the rainbow flag to celebrate LGBTQI Pride and stand against discrimination of LGBTQI people.

But tested on an iPhone running the latest iOS 12 beta, the Pride watch face simply disappears once a user switches to a Russian location.

In 2013, Russia implemented a “gay propaganda” law that – according to the European Court of Human Rights – reinforces prejudice and encourages homophobia. The law comes with the threat of jail time and fines for what Russia deems to be offensive speech.

With the non-appearance of the Pride-related product, Apple seems to be avoiding this particular legal quandary.

Apple sells a special Pride edition Apple Watch strap, donating a portion of the proceeds toward LGBTQI advocacy organizations. But the same product is also not available in Russia, one of the countries with worsening LGBTQI-related situations and where the support is most needed.

READ:  Apple blocks its LGBTQI Pride watch face in Russia

With this, the company worth about $945 billion in June highlights many companies’ “we support you… but only to an extent” approach to LGBTQI Pride. Just this August, for instance, Unilever in the Philippines started to offer a 20-day paid leave for fathers, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners and paid absences for adoptive parents. But the company has also been accused of putting profit before the human rights of LGBTQIA people – e.g. Unilever North Africa Middle East has production facilities in countries such as Tunisia and Algeria, where – according to a 2015 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association – homosexual activity continues to be illegal.

Unilever starts offering 20-day paternity leave, same-sex partner benefits in Phl

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Technology

Is technology becoming too dangerous?

More to the point, have all the constant advancements in technology now made it too dangerous?

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Who doesn’t like getting their hands on some cool new tech? We all love it when a new and advanced smartphone comes out, or a cool app that lets you do things you’ve never been able to do before – even stuff like drones are super fun and exciting.

Technology has advanced to the point where regular people can easily hack into your computer or phone and steal loads of personal information.
IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

The technology whirlwind has taken the world by storm, and we’re seeing more and more developments each day. It’s come to the point where almost every aspect of your life is helped in some way by technology. Typically, we see this as a good thing, but, what if we threw a spanner in the works and looked at it as a negative? More to the point, have all the constant advancements in technology now made it too dangerous?

There are three main arguments afoot here; the dangers of trusting technology, the growing cyber threats, and this idea of artificial intelligence knowing a bit too much.

Humans are putting too much trust in technology

This first argument is all about lazy humans relying on technology to do things for them. The best example of this is in a car. Nowadays, people are trusting their cars to park for them, stop for them, or even full-on drive for them. Needless to say, this is potentially dangerous, and we already see car accidents as a result of technology. As the Dolman Law Group states, car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injuries, and there are thousands of them every year. We’ve seen people in Tesla cars end up in fatal crashes because they were using autopilot and not focusing on the road. Even a more small-scale problem is people bumping into other cars when parking because they were too dependent on the parking sensors. Are we putting too much trust in technology, and is this dangerous? There is indeed an argument to say that this is the case.

The increased risk of cyber threats

Technology has advanced to the point where regular people can easily hack into your computer or phone and steal loads of personal information. You could be chatting to someone on Grindr, and they could easily be trying to get a little bit of personal info to gain access to all your sensitive online information. Many people have had money stolen thanks to cybercriminals, and the superfast technological advancements are making the online world a more dangerous place by the second.

Artificial Intelligence keeps on learning

Lastly, there’s the worry of AI learning too much information and getting to the point where it develops its own sentience and is no longer under human control. This isn’t something we need to worry about right now, but it’s a possibility many people – including Elon Musk – worry is on the horizon. Will technology get to the point where it can literally take over the world? Who knows…

So, is technology becoming too dangerous? There are definitely arguments here that will make you rethink how you look at technology. The biggest way to prevent tech from being a serious problem is to make sure it’s continuously being monitored, and we don’t depend on it too much.

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