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Get Your Hands Off My Laptop

Get Your Hands Off My Laptop

Can you steal data from a computer by touching it?

Normally, breaking a PC’s security involves either finding security exploits or launching brute force attacks, neither of which is necessarily quick or easy. However, a team at Tel Aviv University has come up with a potentially much simpler way to swipe data from a computer: touch it. If you make contact with a PC while you’re wearing a digitizer wristband, you can measure tiny changes in electrical potential that reveal even stronger encryption keys (such as a 4,096-bit RSA key). You don’t even have to touch the system directly in some cases — researchers also intercepted keys from attached network and video cables.

Don’t worry about overly grabby strangers stealing your data just yet. The technique primarily focuses on GnuPG’s encryption software, which already has a patch to limit the effects. Thieves also have to monitor the electricity while decryption is taking place, so they can’t just grab info on demand. However, the very nature of the technique makes it difficult to stop completely — unless you’re a fan of insulation and Faraday cages, someone with physical access to your system may always have an opportunity to peek into your most sensitive content.

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/23/electrical-potential-data-theft/

Google’s self-driving cars will need steering wheels, at least for now

Google’s self-driving cars will need steering wheels, at least for now

Google has been hard at work developing self-driving cars, but it looks like the company will need to wait before software is truly in the driver’s seat.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued rules that say a driver must be capable of “immediate physical control” of a vehicle. So, the search giant’s prototype cars for now will include steering wheels and a brake-pedal system.

Google in May unveiled its own built-from-scratch car model — a tiny two-seater with a front exterior that resembles a cartoon smiley face. The vehicle was notably missing the physical controls for the driver, in favor of buttons that controlled the software.

The company said it would comply with the state’s regulations, which will go into effect in mid-September. “During our testing we are equipping the vehicles with manual controls such as a steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator pedal,” said a Google spokesperson. “With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary.”

Testing on private roads will begin next month, in prototypes that will include a steering wheel and pedals. The California DMV is expected to issue another regulation later this year that will let manufacturers apply for permits to operate driverless cars — without steering wheels, brakes or accelerators — on public roads.

Google’s self-driving car initiative is just one of the company’s more out-there projects, which Google likes to call “moon shots.” Other projects coming from the company’s experimental division, called Google X, include the head-mounted device Google Glass, and a project called Loon, which aims to bring Wi-Fi to unconnected regions via high-altitude balloons. The company has publicly been working on its self-driving cars since 2010.

When Google co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled the prototypes in May, he said the goal of the project is for self-driving cars to be “significantly” safer than human-driven cars in a few years. The cars operate only at speeds of 25 miles per hour. Brin said at the time that the vehicle hadn’t crashed at all during testing.

According to the Journal, the California DMV also set other rules for driverless vehicles. Ron Medford, director of safety for Google’s car project, asked the department about testing other types of vehicles, like motorcycles and trucks. The department declined, saying it wanted to first take “baby steps” with the technology.

The 46 Most Brilliant Life Hacks

The 46 Most Brilliant Life Hacks

1. Use retail hangers as chip clips

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2. For the always-falling zipper

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3.

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4. Fit two bowls into a small microwave

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5.

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6. Use a leaf blower and PVC pipes to clean gutters without a ladder

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7. The easiest way to make an ice cream sandwich

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8. Unclog drains without expensive chemicals

Pour a half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into a clogged drain. Once it stops foaming rinse down the sink and your drains will be clear. A cheap and environmentally friendly way to unclog a sink!

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9.

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10.

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11. Stop people from stealing your pens at work

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12. Putting your phone into airplane mode will charge it twice as fast

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13.

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14.

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15. Fix a blurry phone camera

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16. Wrap a wet paper towel around beer, and put it in the freezer to cool in just 2 minutes

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17.

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18. Use a can opener on obnoxious plastic packaging

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19.

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20.

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21.

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22. Create a bright light in a pinch

When camping or just in a pinch, a standard headlamp strapped to a 1 gallon jug of water can illuminate an entire room or tent.

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23.

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24. Tell which side an exit ramp will be on

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25.

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26. Chinese containers are designed to fold out into plates

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27. Run the razor across old jeans to resharpen and extend its life.

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28.

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29.

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30. Un-wrinkle a shirt in a flash

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31. Perfectly cut cherry tomatoes all at once

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32. Keep a pot from bubbling over

Placing a wooden spoon over the top of boiling water will stop it from boiling over by bursting the bubbles

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33. Soft-drink lids can double as coasters

Avoid getting a tongue lashing from your mom for putting your cold drink on her new coffee table.

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34. Pinching the end of a banana is a far easier way to open it.

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35. Adding a teaspoon of of baking soda when you boil eggs and the shell will come off easily.

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36. If you don’t have baking soda, then peel away a small hole at the top of the boiled egg and a large one on the bottom. Finally, put the small hole close to your mouth and blow.

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37. Stack clothes vertically side by side in the dresser to save a lot of room

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38. Charge your phone while traveling

Many hotel TVs have handy USB slots in the back that will charge most smartphones.

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39. Folding shirts doesn’t have to be a tedious chore.

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40. Pulling the bones out of a chicken wing makes it easier to eat. Just twist the bone and pull.

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41. Place a plastic bottle on top of a yoke and gently squeeze to separate egg yolks from egg whites

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42. Save space when packing a spare change of clothes.

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43.

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44. Use AAA batteries in devices that require AA

Use AAA batteries in gadgets that need AA batteries by filling the gaps with scrunched up tin foil. It won’t last as long as AAs but it’ll help you out when you’re in a pinch!

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45. Avoid Elevator Pranksters

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46. Play games without ads.

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source: http://www.epicdash.com/the-46-most-brilliant-life-hacks-every-human-being-needs-to-make-life-easier/

Tickle Makes Learning To Code Fun With Scratch

Tickle Makes Learning To Code Fun With Scratch

There are a lot of games and puzzles now that promise to teach kids how to code, but Tickle stands out. Now on Kickstarter, the iPad app was created in part by Mike Chen, a professor of computer science at U.C. Berkeley.

Its name is a reference to Scratch, the programming language it uses, which educates people about the fundamentals of coding. In the app, kids first learn how to animate Tickle’s characters by putting together building blocks of code.

From there, they can build versions of popular games, before creating original games that can be sold in the App Store, or learning how to program real-life objects like the Philips Hue smart lightbulb or a AR.Drone.

With twenty days to go in its Kickstarter campaign, Tickle has already raised a third of its $30,000 goal. Chen says that the app is already close to its beta release (scheduled for September, which Kickstarter supporters who pledge $125 or more will have access to) and is raising funds so it can be released as a free app on the App Store.

As a professor, Chen says he wanted to create a program like Tickle because he wasn’t satisfied with existing methods of teaching students how to code.

“I teach introduction to computer science and current methods we teach programming with are just not interesting,” he told TechCrunch. “So what I want to do is make programming fun. We want to create lessons based on successful App Store games. We support games like ‘Flappy Bird’ and ‘Angry Bird.’ By having these as an angle for learning programming, we find kids are more interested.”

Tickle differentiates from other programs with its colorful interface and characters. It also keeps kids motivated by showing them what they can produce once they finish a lesson on a programming concept.

“What we wanted to do was start by showing the end product of what you can create and then get kids interested. Then we show them, this is how you build it. We have lessons that break down steps you need to learn in order to build such a game. We enable kids to publish on the App Store, so we have some things that are not supported by a lot of these ‘learn to code’ platforms,” Chen says.

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Tickle also uses Scratch to teach kids advanced programming concepts.

“Scratch is a fairly complicated language, and so a lot of the computer science concepts that we teach at university level are covered, like object oriented programming, publish-subscribe patterns, concurrency. The language has fairly high ceilings, so once you learn it, you can produce sophisticated games.”

The app integrates with AirPlay and shows touchpoints (or where kids are touching the screen on their iPads) on the projected image, so parents and teachers can follow along.

 

 

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/705926089/tickle-learn-to-code-using-scratch-to-make-iphone

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/19/now-on-kickstarter-tickle-makes-learning-to-code-fun-with-scratch/?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000595

Fat Thumb: A One-Handed Alternative To Pinch-To-Zoom

Fat Thumb: A One-Handed Alternative To Pinch-To-Zoom

Apple may be fighting tooth and nail to patent “pinch-to-zoom,” but sometimes I wonder if I’d even miss it if it were gone. The two-handed interaction is great on a tablet but damn annoying on my iPhone, which I almost always hold with one hand and operate with one thumb. “Tap to zoom” is much more elegant and useful, but it only goes one way. If I want to zoom back out and reorient on, say, a Google Map, I’ve got to stop what I’m doing, grip the phone with one hand, and start making little crab motions with the fingers of my other hand.

So I was excited to try Fat Thumb, an experimental iPhone interaction that lets me do everything that pinch-to-zoom does, but with one digit. Fat Thumb senses touch pressure–technically, how much area the pad of your thumb is taking up on the capacitive screen during a press. Using the tip of your thumb (i.e., normal pressure) allows you to pan around an image, just like you normally do. But pressing and “dragging” your thumb invokes a zooming function: up to zoom in, down to zoom out.

“I was getting frustrated with always making sure that I have two hands available to zoom in and out,” says Sebastian Boring, lead author of a research paper about Fat Thumb from the Department of Computer Science at University of Calgary. “One [solution] is, of course, to use physical or visual buttons. However, that always forces people to break out of the interaction. We figured out how to detect the [thumb’s] contact size [on the screen], designed a simple mode switch between panning and zooming a map.”

Fat Thumb’s gesture takes some getting used to, but once I calibrated the app and gave it some practice, I didn’t even have to take my thumb off the screen while fluently maneuvering between pan and zoom modes. The interaction also cannily respects Fitts’s Law: Pressing your thumb into the screen and pushing it back and forth is a much cruder motion than lightly moving the tip around, so it makes sense that the zooming function (which requires a “ballpark” level of accuracy) is mapped to the hard-press gesture. Fat Thumb’s zooming function quickly gets you to the right “altitude level,” at which point you can go back to the more precise, traditional thumb movement to pan and orient the map.

So is it a pinch-to-zoom killer? Not quite. “Fat Thumb was never designed to replace two-handed gestures. In fact, I believe that two-handed gestures are more precise than single-handed ones–at least in our context,” Boring says. Instead, it’s “a fallback solution, with the neat side effect that it does not interfere with existing techniques like the pinch-to-zoom gesture. Crucial interactions such as the simple pan-and-zoom interaction should–in our opinion–at least have such an alternative, as the interaction context could be that we only have one finger available.”

Fat Thumb is only a demo app for research purposes at the moment. Apple took ages just to implement copy-and-paste, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for Fat Thumb-like functionality to make its appearance anytime soon. But the researchers say that they would be “quite happy” “if phone manufacturers add a map application that makes use of the presented technique”–so maybe we’ll see something like it in the next flagship Android device, or even the open-source Ubuntu smartphone.

Why Google loves responsive design?

Why Google loves responsive design?

In early June the official Google blog came out with a definitive stance on recommendations for smartphone optimized websites. This blog post explains how you can abide by these recommendations to keep Google and your visitors happy. Most important of all, Google identified one type of website as the preferred solution:
“Sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.”

This means that to ensure your website is optimised in the best way for mobiles and for search engine spiders, responsive design is the best way to go. The above also provides a very good description of what a responsive site is, but it doesn’t go in to the reasons as to why it makes Google so happy. Below I’ve detailed not only the reasons Google loves responsive design, but also reasons why the visitors to your website will enjoy it. After all, a new website design that pleases search engines but which turns people away from your site is of no use.

Responsive sites attract more links to key pages

If your website only has one URL for each page then the links attracted to those pages will be higher than if the same page was at multiple URLs. Likewise if your mobile website sits at a different subdomain then the power of those links would be weakened.

Responsive sites can be shared more easily

Every time I click a link on Twitter to be taken to a mobile version of a website it’s incredibly frustrating. The page will either resize to fill my browser (but with none of the graphics or design of the live site) or remain fixed in a thin column. Neither of these experiences make me want to explore the site, or to read more. So when I view a site on my mobile, that has a specific mobile URL, I’m less likely to share it as I’m aware that people who see it may not see a device friendly version. On the flip side if I read a site on my mobile and it doesn’t resize to fit the screen I’ll enjoy reading the article less, and also be less likely to share it.

Responsive sites can be indexed

An alternate to building a mobile website is to build an app that offers the same information. The problem in this case is that Google can’t index apps and therefore won’t find the content or be able to explore it. In addition, any user generated content that people add exclusively to the app won’t be indexed or offer any benefit to the main website. A responsive website still shrinks down nicely to a mobile screen like an app, and all of the content you see is also available to search engines. I’m not suggesting an app is never a good idea – Amazon, for example, has a mobile site and an app which share the same data and that works well. In addition to easier indexing, a responsive website has to be crawled less as a set of URLs need only be accessed once for the content. It’s the same as if you have duplicate content or canonical issues on a normal website.

Responsive sites work on multiple devices

A lot of sites that claim to be mobile friendly are simply set to resize based on a number of pre-set devices. So if Apple make their iPhone 5 a larger size, then the developer has to go in and create a new variation. It’s messy and not a future proof strategy. Truly responsive design will scale based on the size of the window. So with the Koozai website we made it so you can drag the web window down and it scales step by step. Alongside that we also resize images, video content and more accordingly to fit the window. Any developer could release a new device tomorrow and the site would scale. It gives a great deal of freedom and makes a site far more future proof than set rules.

Responsive sites (usually) look better

An alternate to building a mobile website is to build an app that offers the same information. The problem in this case is that Google can’t index apps and therefore won’t find the content or be able to explore it. In addition, any user generated content that people add exclusively to the app won’t be indexed or offer any benefit to the main website. A responsive website still shrinks down nicely to a mobile screen like an app, and all of the content you see is also available to search engines. I’m not suggesting an app is never a good idea – Amazon, for example, has a mobile site and an app which share the same data and that works well. In addition to easier indexing, a responsive website has to be crawled less as a set of URLs need only be accessed once for the content. It’s the same as if you have duplicate content or canonical issues on a normal website.

Responsive sites can be indexed

In the last year it seems like a lot of websites have made their core images and selection option larger, so they are easier to select on a tablet. For example Game and Play used to be nicely designed sites. Now they are so obsessed with large ‘shouty’ buttons and blocks of text that the original clean design has been lost. A responsive design does away with these issues, by allowing you to set different designs that best suit the screen size people are using. You can build a site that looks amazing on each browser rather than one that looks great on only one device.