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Friday, May 30, 2014

Finally, fitness trackers measure up by The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review

There's a lot to love about the latest round of lifestyle tracking bands. The Jawbone UP24 is super simple and massively motivational. The newWithings Pulse O2 gives other bands serious screen-envy. And Shine, by Misfit Wearables, is a whole lot more than a pretty face. If you could put all three of these gadgets together with the Moves andMap My Run Apps, I would love it so much I would want to marry it.

I'm only half joking.

As standalones, each new fitness tracker has a few points to brag about, as well as a few weaknesses. Together, they've totally stepped up their game toward getting you more healthy. They are (finally!) so much more than glorified pedometers. If you've been eyeing these little lifestyle trackers, it could very well be time to buy. So now, let's figure out which one might be the right fit for you.


The Jawbone UP24 is the right band for the mainstream masses. It's the easiest of these three to just slap on and go. You wear the thin little band around your wrist, and it records roughly how many steps you take each day, how much and how well you sleep at night, and — if you log your meals into the companion app on your smartphone — your calories and nutrition information as well.

Gathering all that information is one thing, but the real value here is in how well Jawbone's smartphone app presents the important details back to you. The app layout is super simple, intuitive, and gives all the information you need with one glance.

You open it up and see three main bars which tell you how much you slept last night, how many steps you've taken today, and potentially (if you log) how many calories you've eaten. There are also motivational notes tailored for you, as well as your past data and overall trends.

You can connect with friends via social media and see how your progress stacks up against theirs, which is a great boost for accountability. You can also set reminders and goals within the app, so that the band vibrates if you've been sitting still too long or need a reminder to make an exercise class.

The biggest weakness with Jawbone's UP24 is that there's no display on the actual wristband itself, which keeps you tethered to your smartphone to check your progress throughout the day. There's a little flower that lights up if you've set a reminder, and a little moon to denote that you're in sleep mode, but that's it. If I'm wearing this thing around my wrist all the time, I at least want to be able to see what time it is.

Who it's great for: Casual fitness fans, desk jockeys, and anyone getting started with a slightly more structured health routine. You do not need to be tech-savvy to use it. With 7-day battery life and the flexible app, the Jawbone UP24 lets you tweak your own personal approach to fitness, and it's not as demanding as many of the alternatives. You can pick one up for $149.99.


The Shine disc-tracker is about the size of a quarter and pretty enough to wear as a piece of jewelry. Like the Jawbone, the tiny Shine sensor keeps track of movement, including steps, sleep and food, and automatically syncs up with a smartphone app. But unlike the alternatives, Shine is waterproof, has an internal battery that lasts up to a year (vs. having to charge it up once a week) and can virtually disappear within your daily wardrobe.

Simply snap the tiny gadget onto a lapel or sleeve, or wear it as a piece of jewelry with one of the dozens of flashy fashion accessories available. With the built-in LEDs that show the current time, you can even wear it as an ultra-modern, eye-catching watch. When it's time to tally your daily accomplishments, simply sync the sensor on your smartphone screen and watch the Shine app record it all.

Shine's app also does an excellent job of translating your goals into real actions. For instance, if you want to lose a pound a week, the app crunches numbers with your height, weight, and age, and tells you what actions will get you there — like walking for 2.5 hours per day or running for one hour. As your day goes on, you earn points on your progress, and LED lights on the tracker also light up as you closer to your goal.

Who it's great for: Fitness fashionistas, workaholics, early-adopters, the moderately tech-savvy, and anyone who wants a low-key activity tracker without the world knowing you're wearing it. The Shine sensor costs $119.95, with optional accessories that range from $19.95 to $79.95. Continue reading…

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Features and Launch Date Tipped

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 successor is in the news again, with two different reports tipping its features and launch date.

Sammobile claims that Samsung is testing features like 'Swipe to launch Motion Launcher', 'Aqua Capture', 'Multi Network for Booster', and 'Smart Fingerprint' for the Galaxy Note 4.

Aqua Capture resembles the Aqua Mode seen in Galaxy S4 Active handset that would enable users to click images underwater. This hints the Galaxy Note 4 will be more water-resistant than the Galaxy S5(Review | Pictures).

Swipe to Launch Motion Launcher is another feature under testing that is said to be similar to Motion Launch seen on the HTC One (M8) (Review | Pictures). HTC's Motion Launcher lets users activate camera, wake up the device and do other tasks just by swiping in different directions on the screen.

Smart Fingerprint, as the name suggests, is said to be the modified version of the fingerprint sensor included in the Galaxy S5 smartphone, with additional capabilities. Multi Network for Booster is likely the same as the Download Booster feature on the Galaxy S5, which combines a Wi-Fi and cellular data connection, the report notes.

Android GS, via an insider from Samsung, adds that the alleged Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablet could be announced on September 3. The date isn't surprising given that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3was launched on September 4.The report adds that the Korean smartphone maker will start sending invites for the event around mid-August.

Some of the rumoured specifications of the Galaxy Note 4 that surfaced earlier include 2K display (1440x2560); 64-bit processor; 4GB RAM; 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera; 4G and dual-band Wi-Fi support, and 3600 or 3800mAh battery. Additionally, the Galaxy Note 4 is  expected to come with Android 4.5, as well as a 128GB internal storage variant.

The device is also rumoured to sport the much-awaited flexible display technology by Samsung, tipped the Youm flexible OLED display.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review on the Best Antivirus for 2014

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the Heartbleed and NSA-spying stories in the news. But there's still a lot you can do to keep your computer safe. The first thing? Install antivirus software.

With all the NSA, Edward Snowden, and Heartbleed stories in the news, security is arguably the tech story of the year. But while these big glitzy stories are grabbing most of the attention, the most important thing you, the consumer, can do, is to perform the decidedly unglamorous but vital task of securing your own machines. And that means antivirus. All the big players have got 2014 edition products out, and some are even starting to ship 2015 editions! Many of the latest versions have morphed their appearance to match the Windows 8 style, tile-based and touch-friendly. Others remain unchanged, perhaps hoping to attract users by keeping the same familiar face.

Whether they look the same or not, most of the same products retain their positions at the top of the heap. Here are the best from the current crop of antivirus products.

With all the NSA, Edward Snowden, and Heartbleed stories in the news, security is arguably the tech story of the year. But while these big glitzy stories are grabbing most of the attention, the most important thing you, the consumer, can do, is to perform the decidedly unglamorous but vital task of securing your own machines. And that means antivirus. All the big players have got 2014 edition products out, and some are even starting to ship 2015 editions! Many of the latest versions have morphed their appearance to match the Windows 8 style, tile-based and touch-friendly. Others remain unchanged, perhaps hoping to attract users by keeping the same familiar face.

Whether they look the same or not, most of the same products retain their positions at the top of the heap. Here are the best from the current crop of antivirus products. See here…

Independent Lab Tests

I spend hours or days with every product performing hands-on testing, but the independent antivirus labs have whole squads of researchers for even more in-depth testing. I follow a half-dozen labs that perform ongoing tests and that make their results public: AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, Dennis Technology Labs, ICSA Labs, Virus Bulletin, and West Coast Labs.

I take independent testing quite seriously, and I recently worked up a new systemto evaluate each product in light of its lab results. I've identified five important categories: detection, cleaning, protection, false positives, and performance. When there's enough data from the labs, I use it to calculate a star rating in each category, and an overall rating.

As you can see in the chart below, Kaspersky and Bitdefender get really excellent scores across the board. That's certainly a good sign. Note that while Microsoft Security Essentials appears in the chart, most of the labs treat it as a baseline, not as a serious contender. Microsoft agrees; they're not trying to compete with the third-party vendors. They just want to make sure everyone has some degree of protection.

Even the independent labs don't have unlimited resources, so there's a dearth of results for some products. I'll be talking with some of the more flexible labs about the possibility of expanding the collection of products they test.

The cloud-based behavioral monitoring of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (2014)$19.99 at Webroot is wildly different from almost any other product, and it's just not compatible with many test setups. As a result, it hardly gets tested at all. That's a shame, because it's amazingly tiny and scans amazingly fast.

For a detailed description of the lab tests that I follow and of the way I summarize them into a chart like the one below, please see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests. Continue reading…

Monday, May 26, 2014

Your MasterCard Suspended for Fraud? It's a Scam by The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review

Scammers are calling unsuspecting consumers on the telephone to steal credit card numbers. If you get such a call, just hang up and do not engage.

Cyber-criminals employ various tools and techniques to launch their scams, including malware, hacked websites, and bots. They also like social engineering, because it is so effective. When you get an email from a friend stranded in a foreign country needing some money to get home, your first instinct is to help. When you are surfing the Web and you suddenly see a pop-up window telling you your computer has been infected, you get nervous at the prospect of losing all your important files. And when someone calls your phone claiming you—or your loved ones—are about to be arrested because of overdue taxes, it's hard not to panic.

Let's face it, fear sells.

"Probably the best way to react is to relax first.  High pressure situations are exactly how social engineers get you to react too quickly," Robert Hansen, head of WhiteHat Labs at WhiteHat Security, told SecurityWatch in an earlier conversation about phishing scams.

Give Me Your Card Number

In this scam, I received a call over the weekend on my cell phone informing me my prepaid MasterCard had been suspended due to fraud. I pressed "1 to unlock the card," and was told to enter my 16-digit card number. Sadly, I didn't have a spare prepaid MasterCard (I keep a few on hand for testing purposes) handy, so I couldn't continue. It was pretty clear by this point that this was a scam, since I don't have a prepaid MasterCard.

A less paranoid—and more trusting consumer—may have thought, oh, maybe the caller means my regular MasterCard. Here is a tip: If an automated system calls asking for your card information, it's probably a scam. Don't disclose card numbers or other account information during these types of calls.

I got another call this morning, at way-too-early 6 AM, where a computerized voice said, "This is an official notification from NetSpend.  Your prepaid MasterCard has been locked due to suspicious activity.  Press one to unlock it." I still didn't have a test card, so when I got to the point where it needed my card number, I pressed 0 and a few other keys to see if I could get a human on the line. The call didn't sound like a recorded message, but rather that the caller was using text-to-speech software.

Another tip: if you don't have a prepaid card, don't put in your debit card info. If you never use your debit card and get a call about a problem with the card, be skeptical. Even if you do use the card, hang up and just call the financial institution directly.

No human operator ever answered, so I hung up. I went out and got a card this afternoon, to be ready for the next call. I am actually looking forward to this.

How the Scam Works

A quick search on ripoff.com, bbb.org, and other consumer advocacy sites show a handful of complaints from earlier this month from users who received similar calls. The format of the call differs slightly, and the bank name changes, but in general the recipient is directed to "press 1" to fix the issues with their card, and then to hand over information such as the card number and PIN, and sometimes even the expiration date and security code.

Scammers are calling to get your card information and PIN so they can withdraw money from the account. The proper response is to hang up, call the bank or financial institution directly, and verify their information is secure.

My caller ID showed the call from 10000000000, which would indicate the caller was spoofing a call over VoIP. According to forum postings on 800notes.com, the scam uses a variety of numbers, with area codes such as 223 and 323. It's not clear how the caller got my number. It could have been random, or it could have been bought off mailing lists or hacked from a database.

Protect your information. If you get a call asking you to enter your card number—no matter what the reason is—just hang up and call your bank directly. Don't finance the criminal's shopping spree.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review: The Internet Is Burning

Online security is a horrifying nightmare. Heartbleed. Target. Apple. Linux. Microsoft. Yahoo.eBay. X.509.  Whatever security cataclysm erupts next, probably in weeks or even days. We seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of cascading security disasters that just keep getting worse.

Why? Well — “Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood … Because of all this, security is terrible … People, as well, are broken … Everyone fails to use software correctly,” writes the great Quinn Norton in a bleak piece in Medium. “We are building the most important technologies for the global economy on shockingly underfunded infrastructure. We are truly living through Code in the Age of Cholera,” concurs security legend Dan Kaminsky.

Most of which is objectively true. And it’s probably also true, as Norton states and Kaminsky implies, that a certain amount of insecurity is the natural state of affairs in any system so complex.

But I contend that things are much worse than they actually need to be, and, further, that the entire industry has developed learned helplessness towards software security. We have been conditioned to just accept that security is a complete debacle and always will be, so the risk of being hacked and/or a 0-day popping up in your critical code is just a random, uncontrollable cost of doing business, like the risk of setting up shop in the Bay Area knowing that the Big One could hit any day.

What’s more, while this is not actually true, most of the time it is no bad thing.

I’m pleased that I was a Heartbleed hipster, dissing OpenSSL before it was cool (i.e. ten days before Heartbleed emerged into the light) but I don’t pretend to be a security expert. I do write software for a living, though … and recent events remind me vividly of the time I attended DefCon just after Cisco tried to censor/gag-order Michael Lynn. Continue reading…

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Corliss Group Review on Samsung Galaxy S5 review: Top-notch specs, less software bloat

Samsung has done a good job with the Galaxy S5. Software bloat has been pared down and a few useful new features added, while the technical specifications are superb and battery life is good. Design purists may bemoan the plastic chassis, but the Galaxy S5 is still a worthy successor to last year's model.


Good battery life

Software bloat has been reduced

Nice usability features


Plastic chassis

Fingerprint scanner is tricky to use

Average-quality sound from speaker

Samsung is the global leader in the smartphone market, with 31.2 percent in Q1 2014 according to analyst firm Strategy Analytics (down from 32.4% in Q1 2013). Although Samsung's 2013 flagship Galaxy S4 won multiple awards, it also received criticism for having too much software on-board, too many user interface tweaks and too much plastic in its construction. So how, if at all, has this year's model, the Galaxy S5, addressed these criticisms?


If Samsung is concerned about criticism of the Galaxy S4's build materials, there's no evidence in the S5: it's plastic all the way again — even down to the silvered fake-metal banding around the handset's edges, which has a shaped rather than a flat finish. A plastic body clearly doesn't harm sales, and does help to keep the weight down, but it doesn't win Samsung many design plaudits.

The back of the handset has a pricked, indented design and a soft-touch finish. It ties in with the faux leather look-and-feel that's used on recent Samsung tablets such as the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2. It makes for a nicer feel in the hand than the slippery back of the Galaxy S4.

Beneath the screen is the familiar physical home button, which helps to identify this as a Samsung handset. For the first time, this button incorporates a fingerprint scanner, although this is not evident at first glance.

On its own, the Galaxy S5 looks fine. But sat next to its two main rivals, the HTC One (M8) and theSony Xperia Z2, the choice of premium-grade materials in the competing devices gives them a far more upmarket feel.

The button arrangement is sensible, with the power button on the right side and volume on the left. The headset slot is on the top, along with an IR zapper, while the bottom edge houses a long Micro USB 3.0 port (which also supports standard USB 2.0 cables).

Like Sony's Xperia Z2, the Galaxy S5 has waterproofing and dust resistance to IP67 standard ('6' signifies complete dust protection; '7' signifies the ability to withstand immersion in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes). Pop-up reminders to check the back plate and close the USB cover can be an irritation, but we found that securing the back plate all around after inserting a Micro-SIM or swapping a Micro SD card was fiddly, so the reminder is actually useful. Rather a mildly annoying reminder than a dead handset that's been dropped in the bath.

The screen measures 5.1 inches across the diagonal and delivers a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, giving an excellent pixel density of 432ppi. The Super AMOLED panel is superbly sharp and bright, with good viewing angles and rich colors. You can alter the color saturation manually or allow the handset to select the best setting depending on what you're doing — reading books or watching video, for example.

Because it can be difficult to reach right across the 5.1-inch screen with one hand, Samsung has implemented a One-Handed Operation mode. This is easily invoked by sweeping a thumb from the screen's edge to its centre and back again (you revert to the full-sized screen using the same gesture).

In one-handed mode, you get a smaller virtual display moved to one side of the physical screen (you choose which side, depending on whether you're right- or left-handed). It's a clever solution that provides quick access to a system that functions in every application. We used it a lot while standing on public transport, quickly flicking back to full-screen mode as required.

You can register up to three fingers to work with the fingerprint scanner on the home button. You use it by sweeping a finger downwards across it, starting at the bottom of the touchscreen, which also has a role to play here. After three failures you're left with the traditional option of entering a password — and, of course, you can ignore the scanner and just take the password route as your first choice.

Samsung has an eye on the wellness market, as we saw with the S Health app on the Samsung Galaxy S4. S Health is here again, and includes a pedometer and food logger. It also keeps a record of your heart rate via a sensor on the back of the handset, beneath the camera lens. Rest a finger on this sensor and it will provide an accurate measure in just a few seconds. It's no substitute for the kind of heart rate monitoring that's available during exercise, but could be useful. No other smartphone currently incorporates this feature natively.

Sound quality through the Galaxy S5's single speaker is not great — in fact, compared to the superb audio quality from the HTC One (M8), it's verging on the embarrassing for Samsung.


Samsung's flagship handset naturally has a top-notch set of internal specifications. It runs a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC supported by 2GB of RAM and is blisteringly fast. There is 16GB of internal storage, of which we found 11.2GB available to the user out of the box.

The Galaxy S5 is GSM/3G (UMTS)/4G (LTE) handset with dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. As noted above, the handset has a MicroUSB 3.0 port, which supports USB on the Go (OTG) and Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). Infrared and NFC are also supported, while there are sensors for gestures, fingerprints, heart rate, hall effect, accelerometer, geomagnetism, gyroscope, light intensity, barometer and proximity.

A 16-megapixel rear camera with flash complements a 2-megapixel front camera. The main rear camera supports 4K video capture (3,840-by-2,160 pixels) at 30 frames per second, while the secondary front camera will do full-HD video (1080p) at 30fps.

To help with downloading there's a feature called Download Booster that combines the LTE and Wi-Fi connections to accelerate large file downloads. How much this will benefit people in practice is debatable — we tend to stick to Wi-Fi for large file downloads, for example, to avoid racking up data charges on the mobile broadband network.

We've already mentioned some of Samsung's many software additions to the Galaxy S5. Both the Touch Wiz skin sitting on top of Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and the extra apps are a key part of the Samsung brand. Criticized in the past for too much software bloat, we're pleased to note that Samsung does seem to have reined in its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tendency.

S Translator, for example, is gone. You can easily download Samsung apps from its own app store, and the absence of clutter out of the box is a welcome relief. Samsung has included some of its own-branded apps, though: S Health is joined by S Planner, S Voice and a good note-taking app called Memo.

The gesture- and motion-based features that many Samsung handset users like are still here. Smart Stay keeps the screen on while you're looking at it, for example, while Air View lets you preview content by hovering your finger over it; you can also call a contact displayed on-screen simply by bringing the phone to your ear, and there's plenty more gesture-based functionality. Multi Window — the facility to view two apps on-screen at once — is also retained, and works quite well on the relatively large 5.1-inch screen.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Corliss Group Review on Research and Markets: Global Anti-money Laundering (AML) Software Market 2014-2018 with Fiserv

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/gzs68x/global_antimoney ) has announced the addition of the "Global Anti-money Laundering (AML) Software Market 2014-2018 with Fiserv, NICE Actimize, Norkom Technologies, SAS Institute Dominating" report to their offering.

The Global AML Software market will grow at a CAGR of 11% over the period 2013-2018.

The service providers are applying an analytical approach to meet AML compliance and there are different methodologies applied by service providers to identify suspicious activity reports. However, some traditional approaches such as linear regression analysis generate false alerts along with suspicious activity reports, which are not worth investigating. On the other hand, predictive analytics enables enterprises to reduce the false alerts by 60 to 70 percent and reduces the compliance cost of adopting AML software. Predictive analytics is also a better methodology because it can encode more information about an account or customer's activity.

According to the report, most people are increasingly shifting toward debit cards as a preferred mode of payment because of the ease of use. This leads to data breach by criminals to access huge amounts and acquire debit card information. Large-scale data breaches of major retail chains are currently common. If there are a number of debit frauds against an enterprise customer satisfaction is not met and thus they stop availing the service. To save customers loss and prevent customers from becoming the victim of such activities, many enterprises are deploying AML software.

Further, the report states that one of the major challenges is the inconsistency in the data because of the data in enterprises are collected by the different departments and proper functioning of AML software requires consistency in data.

The Global AML Software market can be divided into four segments:

•     Internal Spending
•     Software
•     Services
•     Hardware.

Key Vendors

•     Fiserv Inc.
•     NICE Actimize Inc.
•     Norkom Technologies Ltd.
•     SAS Institute Inc.

Other Prominent Vendors

•     3i Infotech Ltd.
•     Accuity Birst Inc.
•     ACI Worldwide Inc.
•     Acquilan Technologies Inc.
•     Ficrosoft
•     Cellent Finance Solutions AG
•     EastNets Ltd.
     Ficrosoft Infor Global Solutions
•     FIS.
•     Infrasoft Technologies Ltd.
•     Oracle Corp.
•     Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

•     Thomson Reuters Corp. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Corliss Group Review on Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Critical Wind Tunnel Tests

Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Critical Wind Tunnel Tests for its Dream Chaser® Spacecraft - Passes NASA CCiCap Program Milestone - Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of the latest milestone in its NASA Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. NASA awarded SNC full value of $20 million for the passage of CCiCap Milestone 8, Wind Tunnel Testing. To date, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value under the CCiCap agreement and is on track to complete the program later this year.

The purpose of Milestone 8 was to continue to advance the overall design of the Dream Chaser orbital spacecraft by analyzing the forces and flight dynamic characteristics that the vehicle will experience during orbital ascent and re-entry. The completion of this milestone significantly advances the path to orbital flight of the Dream Chaser spacecraft and the Dream Chaser Atlas V integrated launch system. Several Dream Chaser scale model spacecraft were subjected to multiple different wind tunnel tests in various configurations, including the integrated Dream Chaser attached to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. In addition to the baseline milestone criteria, SNC fully self-funded an additional wind tunnel test that will accelerate the Dream Chaser development schedule and path to completion of the Critical Design Review.

"The aerodynamic data collected during these tests has further proven and validated Dream Chaser's integrated spacecraft and launch vehicle system design. It also has shown that Dream Chaser expected performance is greater than initially predicted," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "Our program continues to fully complete each of our CCiCap agreement milestones assisted through our strong collaboration efforts with our integrated 'Dream Team' of industry, university and government strategic partners. We are on schedule to launch our first orbital flight in November of 2016, which will mark the beginning of the restoration of U.S. crew capability to low-Earth orbit."

The wind tunnel tests for this milestone were completed at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, CALSPAN Transonic Wind Tunnel in New York, and at NASA's Langley Research Center Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel in Hampton, Virginia. SNC has a long standing relationship with Langley dating to 2004, the beginning of its development for the Dream Chaser, a derivative of NASA's HL-20 lifting body vehicle. Langley also houses the full motion-based flight simulator, which operates using Dream Chaser flight software and has been used to train future Dream Chaser pilots and NASA astronauts. In addition to these locations, previous wind tunnel testing also occurred at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and at Texas A&M University.

SNC is working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program to develop a safe, innovative, modern, flexible and highly-capable crew transportation system for the 21st Century. Dream Chaser provides the only reusable, human-rated lifting-body spacecraft with a commercial runway landing capability, anywhere in the world, and is on the forefront of the commercial human spaceflight industry, offering safe, reliable and cost-effective crew and critical cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit. Dream Chaser is a multi-mission capable spacecraft that has the ability to work as an independent science platform, or as a logistics vehicle to retrieve, repair, replace, assemble or deploy items in space.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems 

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems business area based in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, rocket motors and spacecraft subsystems and components for the U.S. Government, commercial customers as well as for the international market. SNC's Space Systems has more than 25 years of space heritage and has participated in over 400 successful space missions through the delivery of over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components. During its history, SNC's Space Systems has concluded over 70 programs for NASA and over 50 other clients. For more information about SNC's Space Systems visit http://www.sncspace.com and follow us at Facebook.com/SNCSpaceSystems.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation 

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, is one of America's fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and President Eren Ozmen, SNC has a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 30 locations in 16 states. SNC's six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC's dynamic customer base.

SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen's leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth also on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit http://www.sncorp.com and follow us at Facebook.com/SierraNevadaCorporation.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Corliss Group Review: What Consumer Electronics Show has in Store for the Future

Here is a short Q&A that provides an overview of Consumer Electronics Show:

Q: What is the Consumer Electronics Show all about?

A: The Consumer Electronics Show aims to serve as a launching pad for a new must-have gadget as spending on such new tools drops as the whole globe reaches a saturation point on the use of tablets and smartphones. Beginning on January 14, 2014, CES promises to showcase an “Internet of Things” with users at its heart. Once a venue for showcasing TV technology yearly in Las Vegas, CES now promotes once-dumb devices which are turbo-charged with interconnective capabilities for the modern IT user.

Q: Are these devices for everyone or only for specialized users?

A: There are basically two types of devices showcased: those which are feasible and those which are commercially viable. Like the concept cars shows we see around, CES has devices that are within the realm of possibilities (if some cars are dreamed of to fly eventually, IT devices might just have the same ability, as drones can show) and others in the realm of actually becoming a source for business ventures (innovative things which can be done can be sold).

Q: So, these are all devices that will not be available in the market in the near future?

A: If bendable screens and 3D printers, which are catching so much attention worldwide and being sold at a subdued level, are any indication, other gadgets similarly interesting and intriguing can eventually build their own market that will grow and make headway.

Q: Please give an example of a ‘once-dumb” device that can become interconnected?

A: Cars. Refrigerators. These things can be accessed or controlled through your smartphone – to turn on/off or open/shut a door at will. Even a bracelet which can track your bodily vital signs and help maintain a healthful life. Hence, anything for that matter, which can be made to provide information to the user as well as others who have access to the device?

This is just one specific case where Corliss Tech Review Group provides online information on the latest IT developments. And there are many more articles and materials that the group makes available online.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Corliss Tech Review Group: Robocoin ATMs will send bitcoins to phone numbers

Leading Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Robocoin is upgrading its network of machines with bank-style features, including the ability to send funds to phone numbers.

The Las Vegas-based company, which launched the world's first Bitcoin ATM in Canada last October, said its ATMs in 13 countries will allow users to buy bitcoin or get cash in 12 currencies easily.

It's billing the new Robocoin Bank as "the fastest way to send cash worldwide."

The ATM services, which will launch this summer, will include the ability to store, access and send bitcoins from any ATM, or "branch," as the company is now calling them. They can also transfer bitcoin instantly without users having to wait for confirmation on the blockchain, the public ledger of transactions in the cryptocurrency.

The machines will also let customers withdraw cash from their bitcoin holdings.

In a move the company believes will disrupt the remittance industry, users will be able to send money to people by addressing it to a phone number instead of a Bitcoin address. If recipients don't have Bitcoin accounts yet, the funds will wait for them at their local machine.

For security against fraud, the ATMs will use three ways to authenticate users: a phone number that acts as a username, a PIN and palm-vein scans.

The manufacturer is hoping its revamped approach, as well as use of banking terms like "deposits" and "withdrawals," will broaden the appeal of Bitcoin beyond early adapters.

"The new Robocoin Bank removes the pain and the barrier to entry," Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley wrote in an email.

"No longer do customers have to worry about private keys and public addresses. With the Robocoin Bank, customers deposit into their Robocoin Account and send money between phone numbers, not public keys, which will yield incredible network effects."

Bitcoin transfers have relied on public-key cryptography, which uses secret codes to verify a user's ownership of bitcoins. Private keys are matched to Bitcoin addresses, unique identifiers that allow users to receive the digital currency.

The Robocoin Bank will enable faster and easier transactions than before, Kelley added.

Robocoin did not immediately respond to a request for information about the bank's fee structure.

Japan become one of the latest countries to receive a Robocoin ATM when importing company Raimu unveiled in April the first of three it ordered from the U.S.

The machine is expected to be set up in the busy Shibuya district of Tokyo this month, according to Raimu.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Corliss Tech Review Group: 3G to reduce fraud, leakage in financial sector

LAHORE-The 3G technology, besides helping increase the GDP of Pakistan, encouraging infrastructure investments, will also help reducing fraud and economic leakage in financial sector and improve farm production in the agriculture sector. The evolution of technology has made life easier for customer base. The launch of 3G services is great news as it will not only improve the general standard of life and the quality of the way business is done but will also help boost the economy.

These views were expressed by the Ufone CCO Asher Yaqub Khan in an interview with The Nation. Following are details of the extracts of the talks with him.

Q: How 3G  could be utilized for information?

AYK: Users can use 3G for watching TV on their handsets, downloading and streaming videos at high speed, sharing clips as well as enriched social media experience.

Q: How do you see loadshedding will affect the quality of 3G service on networks of telcos?

AYK: Loadshedding will not affect the quality of 3G service, in fact it will provide relief to our customers by facilitating them to use internet and watch their favorite programs or chat with their friends. The beauty of having 3G technology is that you can enjoy services on your phone even when there is no electricity provided you have your phone fully charged of course!

Q: Will a large section of customers’ base, out of 132m, be able to afford the rates of 3G?

AYK: At Ufone, customers are our top priority and we will ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible to provide the best packages. Even if you look at our history, we have been known to provide world class service at affordable rates and this will be the case with 3G too.

Q: Do we see price hikes across the band or the model will continue to be price-centric?

AYK: we will keep the tariffs as simple and customer friendly as possible. At Ufone, as we have always stressed, it is always about you. We do not believe in exploiting our customers. The approach will remain the same in future as well and we will continue delivering affordable services to our customer base that by the way, has been great to us in return as well.

Q: What are the challenges that are expected to create impediments in the fastest deployment of 3G networks?

AYK: One major hold up point is that the technology is only supported on handsets that are 3G compatible. So only users who have a 3G handset will be able to experience the technology.
Customer awareness of how to use services is another issue. We are working on building awareness for the technology. Setting up the technology is one thing but making customers aware about it and then selling it is another.

Q: What are your demands from the government related tax rationalization on mobile phone services as the telecom sector in Pakistan is made to suffer from discriminate and highest tax regime?

AYK: This needs to be rationalized. Telecoms tax burden in Pakistan is amongst highest in the world and that effects all efforts of increasing teledensity. If we understand and acknowledge the sea change that access to telecoms can bring in our economy, I am sure we will appreciate the need for reduction of taxes here.

Q: What are some of the challenges in minimizing costs?

AYK: Increased taxes being levied by the government, indirect taxes, cost of infrastructure, power crisis, security issues, network shutdown, license cost, regulatory barrier on commercial activity as well as right of way the main challenge in minimizing costs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Corliss Tech Review Group: Our privacy is on the line in age of big data

Give the White House credit. It is trying to keep an important issue before the eyes of the public. OK, this one does not deal with Benghazi or Obamacare. But in the long term, it will probably be even more important. The topic is big data.

The White House issued two well-thought out reports last week, one on the ethical ramifications and another on the technical aspects of big data in our lives. The topic did not gather a lot of press coverage, probably because it is not as sexy as other issues. In addition, it did not draw a lot of attention. It is one of those issues that simmers, rather than boils.

Big data is the gathering of massive amounts of information from all kinds of sources, from bridge crossings to online purchases to Internet searches to tweets and phone calls to bank records. You name it. With the new power of computers, all of those data points can be quickly analyzed and directed to detect patterns. The problem is that some of these patterns tell too much about our personal lives and leave us open to exploitation.

The analysts may be the National Security Agency or your friendly broadband company. It can even be that ice cream store down the street. The records of how many raspberry ice cream cones you bought or which movies you watched on cable are being recorded and analyzed. The NSA wants to predict the likelihood of terrorists living next store. The grocery store wants to predict what soda you will buy and what it will take to make you buy more.

The White House reports were based on a series of conferences with experts from various fields. The experts lauded the potential for good that big data can bring us, but they also warned of dangers.

Among the positives that big data can bring us: Medicare and Medicaid searching records and decoding fraud. That has the potential of saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Locally, the New Castle County police department uses big data analysis to track reported crimes, from the most dangerous to the trivial. The patterns that emerge can help direct the location of officers and thus lead to a decrease in crime. Many cities around the country use big data analysis to track and predict locations of violent crime. Wilmington should take note.

On the other hand, government agencies like the NSA know our comings and goings, who we talked to on the phone and what messages we sent online. Delaware police agencies, like those across the nation, have large libraries of digital photos of car license plates as the cars moved intersections. Storage of those images can be harnessed to powerful computer programs to detect and track the movement of cars. We would be foolish if we believe that there will never be a breach of trust in guarding that information.

The White House's experts echoed that warning.

Big data will be both a blessing and a curse in the years to come. How we respond to warnings, like those from the White House, will determine which comes out on top.