Bad Guys and Bluetooth

These days, Bluetooth is used to connect our devices to one another. This technology has allowed our world to go wireless and mobile. It is extremely important in our society today, with large businesses and corporations using Bluetooth to connect with customers. Martin Woolley, a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, said, “through innovation in consumer applications, it continues to enhance the lives of millions of people around the world”. It is because of these innovations however that cyber security has become an issue.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has warned the public about cyber attacks on bluetooth devices. They advise that you monitor your connections and look for any third parties that could have latched on to your bluetooth devices. These hackers could interrupt phone calls, your internet connection, and in some cases control drones. One example of a breach in privacy came when people discovered that apps could track your location using bluetooth. The distance of which bluetooth connections can be made improves every year, with some devices spanning over a kilometer. “These connections are the foundation of a new generation that use cases like industrial asset tracking and large-scale sensor networks,” Woolley says, “But, in some ways, its success created a narrow perception of its capabilities”.

Developers and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group have created a Bluetooth Range Estimator. This self service tool can tell you how far your bluetooth connection can reach. This would allow you to decide whether or not you want to use bluetooth in a crowded area where hackers could be waiting to jump on your connections. Bluetooth is important in today’s society, and keeping it safe has to be a priority.

Article Link: https://www.techradar.com/news/bluetooth-devices-could-be-hacked-from-a-kilometre-away

Another AirPod

Apple recently introduced the newest version of their wireless headphones, the AirPods Pro. Apple’s line of AirPods has been wildly popular in recent years. There are a few new features on the headphones, including a silicon tip to fit ears of all shapes and sizes. An interactive pressure sensitive stem has been added as a way to change songs and answer calls without reaching for your phone. The feature that I am most interested about however is the brand new noise cancellation option.

Noise cancelling headphones have been an invention for a long time, but adding this technology into something as small as an AirPod is truly remarkable. Noise cancellation works by taking background noise and creating a sound that has the opposite waveform, therefore cancelling outside sounds. The headphones use two microphones, “with the external one analyzing outside sounds and trying to cancel them with anti-noise…the inside mic listens for anything that gets through and tries to hush that, too”. These work exceptionally well for your daily commute or city streets.

The goal for these headphones is to provide a better listening experience. By blocking out outside noises, you can have a better connection to your music. And if you want to have a better awareness on what is going on around you, there is a mode called transparency. This uses the external mic to amplify outside sounds, so you don’t have to turn down your music to hear train announcements or the cashier at Saxby’s. I have a pair of the original AirPods, and I may have to upgrade soon.

Article Link: https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20942472/apple-airpods-pro-review-design-price-specs-features-noise-cancellation

Playing the HARP

3D printers are becoming more and more accessible to the public. Pretty soon every homeowner will have one next to their computers on their desks. They can be used for home repairs, art, biomedical prosthetics, and many other things. Innovations in 3D Printing come out every year, and the latest one is very exciting. Researchers at Northwestern University have created a giant 3D printer.

This new printer is called HARP, and can build objects the size of an adult. It can accomplish this feat in only a couple of hours, which makes it the fastest 3D printer on the market today. It uses stereolithography, or SLA for short, to create the material. SLA converts solid plastic into a liquid using heat, and then it cools to form the desired shape. The new cooling system installed on HARP makes printing large objects possible. The production leader, Chad A. Mirkin, commented, “If we could print fast without limitations on materials and size, we could revolutionize manufacturing. HARP is poised to do that.”

A giant 3D printer can be helpful for many reasons. Larger prosthetic body parts, affordable housing in third world countries, and factory repairs are all obtainable with this mammoth of a 3D printer. Look out for the HARP, as it will be released to the public in about 18 months.

Article Link: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a29518345/giant-3d-printer-harp/

Large Format Camera are on the Rise

Over the last few years, directors have leaned towards large format cameras. Ever since ARRI decided to rent out their large format camera, more and more filmmakers have decided to ditch shooting on film. The effect of the large format is amazing, and a wide variety of genres are cashing in on the trend. From indie films like Roma to blockbuster films in the likes of Joker and Rogue One, these new cameras are making a huge impact in the way movies are made today.

Cameras like the Alexa 65 and the Panavision Millenium DXL capture more detail than typical cameras that use a 35mm format. Another reason why directors are favoring the large format is that you can shoot wider without physically being farther back. This is achieved by using a 60mm lens on a 65mm format. The larger format allows the filmmaker to capture more in the frame without losing quality in detail and depth. This is extremely helpful for indoor shoots, where the actors are confined in small rooms. The large format can help expand your location. It helps create an intimacy between you and the character. You feel as though you are right in front of them, and the 60mm lens rids the screen of any spacial disparity.

Shooting wider footage in extremely high quality with one lens and format would drive every filmmaker crazy. The race to obtain large format cameras is now on in today’s cinema. Those who can afford the expensive ARRI 65 are at an advantage with their films. Hopefully companies like Sony and ARRI will continue to make more cameras and perhaps lower the price so that a broke college student like me can shoot like the pros.

Article Link: https://www.indiewire.com/feature/large-format-cameras-arri-alexa-65-film-language-joker-roma-midsommar-1202179944/

FBI Warns Against Cyber Attacks

This week the FBI released a statement in which it warned the public of a new string of cyber attacks. Banks in particular got the warning, saying that multi-factor authentication can and will be bypassed by hackers. Multi-factor authentication is the process of logging in to your private accounts. The website or company verifies your identity by asking for a password, and then another form of identification. A popular method is the security question, which requires an answer to personal information only you know. For example, a bank might ask “what is the name of your first pet?”. Hackers had no way of getting past the second step, until now.

The statement read, “The primary methods are social engineering attacks, which attack the users, and technical attacks, which target web code”. Social engineering attacks come in the form of a fake email or website. They rely on the user to give them their information without them knowing it. The web code attacks are different, and the hackers have to gain access to the companies data itself to grab what’s necessary to bypass the second authentication. In one cyber attack, the FBI reports, “The attacker entered a manipulated string into the Web URL setting the computer as one recognized on the account”. They go on to say, “This allowed him to bypass the PIN and security question pages and initiate wire transfers from the victims’ accounts.” Because of this, companies need a better method of verification.

The FBI recommends using IP addresses or geolocation to better secure the websites. This is extremely important in today’s modern world. Everything we do is online, from managing money to communication. If these things are compromised, our society would have a huge problem on its hands.

Article Link: https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/fbi-cybercriminals-are-bypassing-multifactor-authentication-a-13226

Texas Lawsuit Drones On

Commercial drones have been gaining popularity over the years. Something that was only used for military strikes and violence has turned into a work of art, with photographers taking advantage of the skies. Weddings, vacations, sports events, and many other activities use drones to capture special moments. That is why journalists and photographers in Texas were outraged by the state’s new law. Reporters can now be penalized for taking and publishing pictures and videos from drones.

Texas law now criminalizes flying drones less than 400 feet above the ground in certain areas. These areas include prisons, sports arenas, drilling sites, and many other facilities found all over the state. The problem is that the Federal Aviation Administration requires that all drones stay below 400 feet. This basically means that in Texas, flying a drone can be impossible depending on the area you are in.

Many news and journalism outlets filled a lawsuit on September 26th against the Texas law. The Austin federal court will handle the case. I believe this case is very important, because in a way these reporters are being restricted freedom of speech. They want to be able to tell their stories in the best way possible, and the government is denying them of it. In terms of film, I want to be able to use drones to capture the best shot I can. I hope these laws get overturned, and the media can continue to do their job.

Article Link: https://www.courthousenews.com/journalists-sue-texas-over-ban-on-drone-photography/

11 out of 10

Apple recently unveiled their newest model, the iPhone 11. In the last few years, Apple’s releases have been lacking. Many feel as though the new phones are just like the last year’s model only more expensive. This year however should be different. The iPhone 11 comes with brand new software and hardware, both of which are huge improvements from the iPhone X. The feature that I am most excited for is the camera, which is one of the only parts of the iPhone that gets better every single year.

Apple has added more cameras onto the back of the phone. There are now two cameras on the iPhone 11 and three cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro. This allows amateur photographers to take professional quality pictures. This is in large part due to the new ultra-wide-angle lens found on the iPhone 11 Pro. This allows you to show more in cramped spaces. The lens has a 120 degree field of vision, and is 12 megapixels. The phone also supports a new Night Mode, which helps you shoot in dark areas using the wide angle lens. Another improvement is in the front facing camera. It is now 12 megapixels instead of 7. It can also shoot in slow motion, which was only possible on the rear cameras before.

I believe these new improvements are very important for the future of filmmaking. It has been increasingly easier to film on phones over the years. With apps like iMovie and Premiere Rush, you can make films entirely on a phone. For example, Shawn Baker’s critically acclaimed film ‘Tangerine’ was shot entirely on an iPhone. These new cameras make photography more accessible to amateurs and can help them learn the craft.

Article Link: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/09/iphone-11-review-the-sweet-spot-iphone/#h3

New Season, New Cameras

The NFL is already in it’s 3rd week, and you may have noticed a few changes. Other than the drama that is Antonio Brown, the changes come in the form of your TV screen. This year the NFL has rolled out many different cameras and techniques for its productions on game day. The newest edition is a brand new camera lens. The Canon 15×4.3 4K wide-angle lens is truly unique, with only a handful made and not yet in stores. Keith Kice, a technical manager for NBC Sports, loves the new lens. He raves, “It gives you a very wide angle, and we really like it so far”. Kice is also optimistic for the future, saying, “As those become public, we’d love to have them for the Steadicams because they make a very big difference”.

Another exciting change is a movement away from older camera models. NBC is switching out all of the old cameras with the new Sony HDC-4300’s. Normally 43 cameras are used per game, and the HDC-4300’s will account for over half of those. These cameras will also be employed as skycams. A second skycam will be used as well, something the NFL has not done before. This new angle would be from the sideline and could track the action downfield. A couple other new features are an outdoor set for pregame, a field set for analysts to demonstrate plays, and more cameras with virtual graphics.

It’s always good to see new camera models being used in sports, for it can make the fans feel as though they are really there. Sports are a good place to perfect new technology, and hopefully when I film projects these same cameras can be made available to the public.

Article Link: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2019/09/05/nfl-kickoff-2019-nbc-debuts-new-canon-lens-for-opener-plans-more-dual-skycams-for-snf/

Immerse Yourself Into Movies

This Summer saw the release of Disney’s live action remake, The Lion King. The movie was a huge success, mostly in part of its jaw dropping visual effects. Director Jon Favreau made it a priority from the beginning that the audience feels as though they are in the African wilderness. He did this with the use of VR, or virtual reality. The first film in Hollywood to do this, The Lion King employed VR technology during production. After the studio created a rough animation of the film, VR goggles could be used to drop yourself into the movie. This allowed Favreau and his team to film scenes as though they were actually there. They could see what angle looks best, fix the lighting, remove a tree or rock, etc. Designing the set pieces before they shot scenes became very easy through VR.

The lead VFX supervisor, Rob Legato, was skeptical at first. He wasn’t sure if certain scenes of the movie would look good in a live action retelling. The ability of VR changed his mind. He said “the process of using the real-life camera movements injected new, unexpected energy into certain scenes”. Legato goes on to say that, “It really does allow art to enter these scenes”. A big contributor of this newfound production process was a visual effects company called Magnopus. In a facility in Playa Vista, the company filmed and experimented with new softwares and cameras. The studio also included a 20-foot dolly track to aid with filming large action pieces. Magnopus helped Favreau, Legato, and thier crew jump into the sets themselves.

As a film major, I am very excited to see innovations like this. The use of VR could help in a variety of preproduction aspects, such as set designing and cinematography. VR could potentially become a staple in filmmaking, with studios all over the world having VR setups. Hopefully one day I can use this technology for myself and allow the audience to immerse themselves into movies.

Article Link: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2019-07-26/disneys-lion-king-remake-is-a-hit-its-virtual-reality-technology-could-change-how-movies-are-made

Amazon Comes In Handy

Amazon plans to roll out a new payment method in early 2020. According to an article on PYMNTS.com, the company’s grocery store chain, Whole Foods, will be installing new biometric scanners at select locations. These scanners would be able to read your handprint and match it to the bank account you have on file. This would eliminate the need for cards, although many are skeptical of having their prints online.

In an age where we use fingerprints and facial recognition to log on to just about everything, the handprint would just be yet another piece of personal information to circle the web. In order for customers to trust the biometric payment, Amazon would need to guarantee that our information isn’t being leaked. Amazon would also need to prove that biometric scans are highly accurate and faster than using a card. According to the company, credit cards take about 4 seconds to process while scanning your hand would take 300 milliseconds.

While this all sounds great, other companies have tried time and time again to use biometric payments. In recent years the role of the fingerprint and facial recognition has taken off, with technology steadily improving and being integrated to our daily lives. Consumers are now aware of the fact that our information is constantly being stolen and transferred, and so trusting a new payment method may be hard. Will Amazons ambitious project crash and burn like the failed company Pay by Touch, or succeed and become the credit card of the future?

Source Article: https://www.pymnts.com/amazon/2019/amazon-gives-biometric-payments-a-hand-in-the-store/