Sunday, 31 May 2015

Security warning over Android phone reset systems

Using the "factory reset" option to wipe Android phones may leave behind valuable data, warn security experts.

The reset function may also fall short when used to remotely wipe a phone that has been lost or stolen, report Cambridge University researchers.

For their analysis the researchers bought used Android phones to see what sort of data remained on the handsets.

In some cases they retrieved key files that let them access a former owner's Gmail account.

The study of 21 phones, running Android versions 2.3 to 4.3, was carried out by Prof Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon from the University of Cambridge computer science department.

The flaws they found could mean that up to 500 million Android devices might be at risk of leaving data available to attackers after being reset, the researchers warned in a blogpost.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Supermarket LED lights talk to smartphone app

French shoppers have become the first to experience a new LED lighting system that sends special offers and location data to their smartphones.

The technology was designed by Philips and has been installed at a Carrefour supermarket in Lille.

It transmits codes via light waves, which are undetectable to the eye but can be picked up by a phone camera.

The innovation offers an alternative to Bluetooth-based "beacons", which are being installed by many retailers.



Monday, 25 May 2015

Landlords 'earn £5.6bn a year from unsafe homes'

Landlords are earning £5.6bn a year by renting out unsafe homes which fail to meet legal standards, a report says.

The Citizens Advice study says 740,000 households in England live in privately rented homes which present a severe threat to tenants' health from problems like damp and rat infestations.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Rogue landlords are putting profits before safety."

The government said it had given councils new powers to tackle them.

The report, A Nation of Renters, says that among these 740,000 households are 510,000 children while 180,000 of them have a disabled resident.

And it says landlords are receiving £5.6bn a year on rent for homes with category 1 hazards - the most severe - which includes £1.3bn in housing benefit.

The report also says:
◾16% of privately rented homes are physically unsafe - compared with 6% in the social rented market
◾8% of privately rented homes have serious damp
◾10% pose a risk of a dangerous fall
◾6% are excessively cold
◾Private renters living in homes with a category 1 hazard pay an average of £157 per week on rent
Ms Guy added: "The government has rightly said it wants to tackle the country's housing crisis - it must make targeting dodgy landlords, giving tenants better rights and driving up standards a major part of that effort."

Citizens Advice says there are now more than a million families raising children in privately rented homes in England - three times higher than a decade ago.

It also says private renters are under-protected and that taking court action against a landlord can be a lengthy, complicated and expensive process.

The charity recommends that:
◾Tenants should be entitled to rent refunds where properties are dangerous or not fit to live in
◾A national landlord register should be set up to help ensure landlords operating illegally cannot move to different areas to avoid legal action
◾Councils should also set up local licensing to tackle specific issues in their private rental markets
The report is part of Citizen Advice's Settled and Safe campaign.

In the last year more than 80,000 people asked the charity for advice regarding a problem with a privately rented home.

The campaign called for an end to retaliatory evictions - where landlords unfairly evict tenants who have raised problems - which will be made illegal later this year.

found on the BBC

Are you a landlord in Bedford needing an electrical safety check?

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Council staff electric car 'anxiety'

A Scottish local authority has admitted that its staff are reluctant to use its pool of electric cars for fear of being stranded with a flat battery.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said some workers were wary of the cars' 100 mile range in the sprawling rural area.

The local authority spent £57,600 on four electric Nissan Leafs since 2011. Yet, in total, the cars have covered fewer than 26,000 miles in that time.

They may say "relatively successful" but admitted levels of usage were "considerably lower" than for conventional cars in its pool.

They added: "Staff have been asked to comment on use of the vehicles, and 'range anxiety' is certainly a consideration.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday Fact

The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up Frank Baum (the author of the book) looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z.

Brilliant film...

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

One selfie Too far...

A teenager burst into flames when she accidentally touched an electrical field while trying to take the ‘ultimate selfie’ on top of a train.

Anna Ursu, 18, went to the train station in the northern Romanian town of Iasi in the hope of taking a ‘special’ selfie to post on Facebook.

But she accidentally touched the electrical field of a live wire with her leg while lying on top of the train, sending 27,000 volts through her body and causing her to burst into flames while her friend was sent flying through the air.

A passer-by attempted to save Anna and extinguish her flaming clothes, but the 18-year-old died in hospital with more than 50 per cent burns. Her friend, 17, is recovering in hospital.

The passer-by who attempted to save Anna said he knew the dangers and called for the girls to get down when he saw them on top of the train.

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/05/13/teen-killed-while-trying-to-take-the-ultimate-selfie-5196087/#ixzz3aCUkF73f

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Tiny Electric Car Can Drive Sideways and Shrink to Fit into Parking Spaces

Anyone who’s reads this blog knows that I love a bit of Sci-Fi so this caught my eye.

A team of German engineers has a concept car designed to make driving and living with an automobile easier in the densely-populated urban areas increasing numbers of people are expected to call home.

Created by DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 adapts to the urban environment like a rat squeezing through cracks in a boarded-up building. It can shrink to take up less space, and even drive sideways into parking spaces.

The pod-like design features seating for two and four electric motors, one mounted to each wheel hub. This design allowed engineers to give the car some serious turning ability. Each wheel can rotate 90 degrees.

By turning the wheels perpendicular to the curb, the car can crab sideways into a space, much easier alternative to parallel parking.

And if the space isn’t quite big enough, the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 can suck in its gut by lifting the body over the rear axle. This allows it to contract from a full length of around 7.5 feet to around 5.2 feet.

Yet while the EO car excels at parking, its not exactly practical as performance is quite limited. with a top speed is just 40 mph means you wont be using any city dual carriageways and a range  estimated at between 30 and 44 miles means its only going to be very local trips you venture out on.

Granted, city driving usually involves shorter trips in dense traffic, and there are more places to put charging stations in built-up areas. This definitely isn’t a car for the country. I don't think we will see many in Bedfordshire.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Fact

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday Fact

The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" movie was actually a William Shatner 'Captain Kirk' mask painted white.

Friday, 1 May 2015