How often should you turn off your phone? Here’s what the NSA says

Many people need to learn how to use a smartphone properly. After all, these all-rounder devices require regular maintenance and important updates in order to be optimally protected against wear and tear and attacks.

Switching you phone off completely protects it

Surprisingly, this includes a very simple function: switching off the smartphone completely. According to security experts at the NSA, this alone helps to protect the device from hacking attacks. It is now not only common to gain access to smartphones via malicious links, but also via so-called zero-click exploits.

This involves bypassing the smartphone’s security functions step-by-step. Starting with a missed call, then the first installed files that gradually allow access to the system and tap into information. This usually goes unnoticed, but can fortunately be prevented by completely rebooting the device.

So how often should I turn off my phone?

The simple answer from security experts as to how often a mobile phone should be switched off completely is: at least once a week. In the best case scenario, however, you should remember to reset our phone even more often. This is because, in addition to eliminating the security risk, it also allows the smartphone’s operating system to run all functions smoothly.

By the way: To see how long your device has had to go without switching off, you can easily check the system settings. On Android devices, this can usually be found under “Device” and then “Status.” The uptime is displayed there in hours.

Further reading: The ultimate free digital security guide: Stay safe without spending a dime

via PCWorld

May 17, 2024 at 05:38AM

India makes breakthrough by test-firing new 3D-printed rocket engine (photo)

India has announced a breakthrough that could boost its efforts to grow as a space-faring nation.

On May 9, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) performed a successful hot-fire test of a liquid-fueled rocket engine that was built using additive manufacturing (colloquially known as 3D printing) technology. 

The engine, which burns a hypergolic mix of nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine, fired for a duration of 665 seconds, marking a major milestone. The engine is used in the upper stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). 

Related: Latest news about India’s space program

ISRO said the new laser powder bed fusion technique used to make the engine has brought down the number of engine parts from 14 to a single piece. This has eliminated 19 weld joints and saved significantly on the raw material usage per engine: The new process uses 30.2 pounds (13.7 kilograms) of metal powder, for example, compared to the 1,245 pounds (565 kg) of forgings and sheets needed with the conventional technique. The new process also reduces the overall production time by 60%, according to ISRO.

The 145-foot-tall (44 meters) PSLV is one of India’s workhorse launchers, along with the LVM-3. The rocket can deliver up to 3,860 pounds (1,750 kg) of payload to sun-synchronous polar orbits 370 miles (600 km) high.

The milestone will help the country boost its launch rate. India also has grand plans in human spaceflight including landing an astronaut on the moon and establishing a lunar base by 2047

Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!

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via Space

May 16, 2024 at 09:05AM

Gemini AI Will Now Help You With Your Physics Homework

As if using ChatGPT for college essays wasn’t enough, students are now getting a Gemini tool to help with their Math and Physics homework, too. Google is utilizing its Circle to Search gesture, which was received quite well, to introduce a new feature.

No Google AI Search, I Don’t Need to Learn About the “Benefits of Slavery”

With this update, you’ll be able to simply circle the part you’re stuck on and then use a long-press shortcut to find a step-by-step solution to your homework questions. Google sounds proud about the fact that they’re not just giving you the answer, but also all the working for it. All you have to do to use the feature is opt-in for help with word problems from the Search Labs menu.

According to Google’s blog, it’s using its LearnLM tech to make this happen, which is apparently its “new family of models fine-tuned for learning.” The new feature is Android only for now and is available on 100 million devices today. Google says that number will double by the end of this year. The Alphabet company also adds that it will soon extend its feature to include reading and analyzing graphs, symbolic formulas, and diagrams as well.

Google Keynote (Google I/O ‘24)

If you ask me, I don’t have a good feeling about this feature. I’m well aware of how much I’m sounding like a Boomer now, but I’m worried that students are going to stop using their brains if advancements like these continue to happen. I was in college when ChatGPT came out and witnessed how students frequently turned to it for plagiarism. Thankfully, we now have tools to detect ChatGPT-generated content, and I’m guessing something like that will eventually come out for Gemini content, too.

We will be covering all of Google’s big announcements during I/O this week. However, it seems one thing that won’t be announced at this year’s I/O is any new hardware.

via Gizmodo

May 14, 2024 at 02:09PM

Google’s Project Gameface hands-free ‘mouse’ launches on Android

At last year’s Google I/O developer conference, the company introduced Project Gameface, a hands-free gaming "mouse" that allows users to control a computer’s cursor with movements of their head and facial gestures. This year, Google has announced that it has open-sourced more code for Project Gameface, allowing developers to build Android applications that can use the technology. 

The tool relies on the phone’s front camera to track facial expressions and head movements, which can be used to control a virtual cursor. A user could smile to "select" items onscreen, for instance, or raise their left eyebrow to go back to the home screen on an Android phone. In addition, users can set thresholds or gesture sizes for each expression, so that they can control how prominent their expressions should be to trigger a specific mouse action. 

The company developed Project Gameface with gaming streamer Lance Carr, who has muscular dystrophy that weakens his muscles. Carr used a head-tracking mouse to game before a fire destroyed his home, along with his expensive equipment. The early version of Project Gameface was focused on gaming and uses a webcam to detect facial expressions, though Google had known from the start that it had a lot of other potential uses. 

For the tool’s Android launch, Google teamed up with an Indian organization called Incluzza that supports people with disabilities. The partnership gave the company the chance to learn how Project Gameface can help people with disabilities further their studies, communicate with friends and family more easily and find jobs online. Google has released the project’s open source code on GitHub and is hoping that more developers decide to "leverage it to build new experiences."

Catch up on all the news from Google I/O 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

via Engadget

May 15, 2024 at 07:33AM

NASA’s Plasma Rocket Could Reach Mars in 2 Months

A downtown gateway sign showing Vehicle City in Flint, Michigan.
Image: Atomazul (Shutterstock)

A constant feeling of strange tingling and numbness along a person’s legs might be much more common than assumed in some parts of the U.S., new research out Wednesday suggests. Researchers have found evidence that a substantial majority of older adults in Flint, Michigan are experiencing neuropathy, an uncomfortable ailment caused by nerve damage that can raise the risk of other serious health problems such as infections and falls. Often, these patients were even unaware that they had it. – Ed Cara Read More

via Gizmodo

May 11, 2024 at 05:06AM

Wisconsin Becomes the First State to Buy Bitcoin

Wisconsin has officially become the first state to buy bitcoin, according to a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. And while $98 million isn’t considered a lot of money for a state pension fund, it’s still a notable move given how notoriously volatile cryptocurrency investing can be.

He Tossed His Bitcoin, Now He Wants It Back

The SEC filing, available online, was first reported by Coindesk, which notes the State of Wisconsin Investment Board bought 94,562 shares of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) worth about $98 million and $63 million of Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF (GBTC).

Bitcoin ETFs were only approved by the SEC this past January and allow institutional investors to invest in bitcoin without actually holding the crypto directly. Crypto boosters were excited by the news on Tuesday, with many suggesting this could be just the start of other state pension funds investing in crypto.

“Normally you don’t get these big fish institutions in the 13Fs for a year or so (when the ETF gets more liquidity) but as we’ve seen these are no ordinary launches,” Eric Balchunas, an ETF analyst at Bloomberg tweeted. “Good sign, expect more, as institutions tend to move in herds.”

The most famous large institutional investment in bitcoin started in El Salvador in 2021 when President Nayib Bukele purchased the crypto for his country and declared the cryptocurrency to be legal tender. El Salvador currently holds about 5,748 BTC, according to Coin Telegraph, worth roughly $360 million. But bitcoin is an incredibly volatile asset. Those same holdings would have been worth about $155 million a year ago and there’s no guarantee bitcoin’s price will continue to climb steadily.

Bitcoin is currently trading at $61,774, down roughly 2% over the past 24 hours, though the crypto is up about 128% over the past year, recovering significantly since the market went into a tailspin following the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX. Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed Tuesday morning. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

via Gizmodo

May 14, 2024 at 11:00AM

Google builds Gemini right into Android, adding contextual awareness within apps

Google just announced some nifty improvements to its Gemini AI chatbot for Android devices as part of the company’s I/O 2024 event. The AI is now part of the Android operating system, allowing it to integrate in a more comprehensive way.

The coolest new feature wouldn’t be possible without that integration with the underlying OS. Gemini is now much better at understanding context as you control apps on the smartphone. What does this mean exactly? Once the tool officially launches as part of Android 15, you’ll be able to bring up a Gemini overlay that rests on top of the app you’re using. This will allow for context-specific actions and queries.

Google gives the example of quickly dropping generated images into Gmail and Google Messages, though you may want to steer clear of historical images for now. The company also teased a feature called “Ask This Video” that lets users pose questions about a particular YouTube video, which the chatbot should be able to answer. Google says this should work with "billions" of videos. There’s a similar tool coming for PDFs. 

Using YouTube.

It’s easy to see where this tech is going. Once Gemini has access to the lion’s share of your app library, it should be able to actually deliver on some of those lofty promises made by rival AI companies like Humane and Rabbit. Google says it’s “just getting started with how on-device AI can change what your phone can do” so we imagine future integration with apps like Uber and Doordash, at the very least.

Circle to Search is also getting a boost thanks to on-board AI. Users will be able to circle just about anything on their phone and receive relevant information. Google says people will be able to do this without having to switch apps. This even extends to math and physics problems, just circle for the answer, which is likely to please students and frustrate teachers.

Catch up on all the news from Google I/O 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

via Engadget

May 14, 2024 at 01:09PM