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Psst, after washing your hands, clean your smartphone

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The novel outbreak of the corona virus was an opportunity to think about how dirty our surfaces are. The handrails in local public transport, the buttons in the elevators, the light switches and the handles of the shopping cart – everything may be teeming with nasty things. Even if you avoid direct contact with these surfaces by putting your hand in your sleeve as a provisional glove or sticking out an elbow instead, you should wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does recommend. If you take the time to do this, it makes sense to regularly clean another surface that you are constantly touching and take it with you wherever you go: your phone.

While people typically transmit COVID-19 by spitting out breath droplets with a cough or sneeze, a recent study in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that coronaviruses can survive on the types of smooth glass and plastic after wiping the mobile devices of 250 hospital staff Smartphones found for up to nine days. Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Singapore Department of Health, told reporters in February that cleaning phones is an even more important measure against coronaviruses than wearing face masks.

Your phone, as Professor Peter Hall for Public Health said recently, is a “portable petri dish”. By touching an infected surface or your face and then touching a phone, the virus can easily find a home on your screen. The mucus that carries the coronavirus can then dry on your phone, causing the disease to last longer. A 2019 survey found that people touch their phones on average 2,617 times a day. Experts estimate that the devices generally contain ten times more bacteria than toilet seats, mainly because they are usually not cleaned as often. Wash your hands! Then wash your phone.

“As a rule of thumb, you have to clean it when it is at risk,” says Michael Schmidt, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina. “If you were in public and returning home, I would clean the phone to make sure the phone in your apartment is safe so that you don’t have to wash your hands after using it. “”

Apple instructs users to clean iPhones by first unplugging all cables and then rubbing them with a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. Google also recommends cleaning the back and sides of pixels with cleaning cloths or household soap, and hand washing the case fabric with mild soap or detergent. You can also purchase a UV device that is specifically designed to disinfect phones, although they usually cost at least $ 60. You also need to bring a cloth to the crevices in your phone as the UV light can only disinfect smooth surfaces. Schmidt warns, however, that although this method has proven to be effective against many types of viruses and bacteria, it has not yet been tested with COVID-19.

It is possible to go overboard when cleaning your device. Most modern touchscreen phones have an oleophobic (oil-repellent) coating that protects against fingerprints, keeps the screen in good condition and makes the surfaces smoother. This coating wears off over time as users swipe their fingers over it, and rubbing a phone with harsh chemicals like alcohol, window cleaners, and vinegar only speeds up the breakdown. However, the CDC recommends using cleaning spray for phones. So if you are more concerned about disease prevention than keeping your phone oleophobic, a compromise may be worthwhile. Popular science also notes that using very small amounts of these chemicals should have minimal impact on the device. And although iPhones 7 and higher, Pixel 2 and higher, the LG G6 and higher and the Galaxy S7 and higher are all waterproof, it is risky to put the devices under a running tap because you have to make sure that the connections are there completely moisture-free before charging.

Aside from cleaning your phone, you can also take steps to prevent it from getting dirty, e.g. B. washing hands before use. While killing time on your phone while sitting in the bathroom may be tempting – 88 percent of people admitted it in a 2019 poll – you want it off

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Pixel 4a photo leaks indicate a simple budget phone

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These first rumors about Pixel 4a could only have some weight. Photo leaks on Twitter and Reddit seem to show Google’s next economic phone in nature, and seem to confirm the previous claims. The worn out prototype 4a in the images apparently has no facial recognition and the dual cameras of the normal Pixel 4 in favor of a more conventional fingerprint reader and a single rear camera. There is a pinhole camera for selfies in the front, and Google keeps the headphone jack for those who can’t justify Bluetooth headphones.

Snapshots do not show much more about what is in the phone, although an available memory log suggests that you should still be satisfied with 64 GB of non-expandable memory. A 5.7 or 5.8-inch screen is expected to be equipped with a medium-sized Snapdragon processor (probably 600 or 700 series) to keep costs low and extend battery life.

It is not certain when Pixel 4a could arrive, especially given the outbreak of the corona virus, which affects the production of many companies. Now that I / O is canceled, Google is certainly not linked to a specific start window. However, it is hard to imagine that Google will wait a long time. The Pixel 3a served not only as an entry point for the Google smartphone line, but also as a way to keep the series fresh and in the spotlight while the main pixel was still in the middle of the cycle.

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Jonathan Kraft makes an unpleasant compliment to Bill Belichick: “Machine Learning”

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BOSTON, Mass. – Soccer is not exactly known for being a leader in the world of sports analytics, but Patriot President Jonathan Kraft says that Bill Belichick’s own melancholic looks and short answers are behind the version of “machine learning” of the coach.

“I think if you want to use a soccer coach like Bill Belichick, who has been a soccer coach for 40 years, you may not call him data, but he has a steel trap in his head,” Kraft told Sloan Sports conference Friday analytics. “Every instance of everything you’ve seen: it won’t call it data and it won’t call it machine learning, but its brain is a machine and it’s machine learning. So you can call it old-school training – Bill probably wouldn’t call it machine learning, but that is exactly. “

Last season, Belichick, 67, told reporters that the analysis was not his “thing”, and that he puts “less than zero” emphasis on decision making.

“You can use these advanced websites wherever you want,” Belichick said in 2016. “I don’t know. I have no idea that I’ve never seen one. I don’t even want to look at one. I don’t care what they say … All metric pages and all that, I mean, I have no idea. You should ask a coach smarter than me. “

The annual Sloan conference, organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses advances and problems in the sports analysis industry. Kraft spoke with Commissioner Don Garber in a panel discussion about the success story of Major League Soccer.

Regardless of whether Belichick actively uses advanced analysis or not, Kraft emphasized that it would be silly to completely ignore the progress of the industry.

“I think the data should be part of the decision-making aids in everything you do,” Kraft said. “If you’re not ready to understand what’s out there, put your team at a competitive disadvantage.”

Jonathan Kraft is co-owner of the New England Revolution of MLS with his father Robert Kraft, who also attended the annual sports technology summit here. The younger force talked about the differences in the way the two sports use and use the data.


“On the football side of the house, the data is not used as often [as in football] to capture the content game by game.” I know that people talk about it all the time, they still don’t, ”said Jonathan Kraft. “You could look at certain trends and other things and probabilities related to certain decision-making tools, but I would say that in football it is one of several ingredients that come into a game plan, while in football I am now for coaches who they believe in him. ” , I think it could even be the main one, one of the two or three main controllers. “

Kraft says that, unlike the patriots, the revolution was always up to date with the analyzes.

“On the football side of the house, we hired our first data analyst more than a decade ago. I think maybe we were the first team in the league to have one, ”he said. “We monitor the movement of each player on the field, how passes are made, how teams perform in different thirds, and so on.”

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The new Intel chip failure threatens encryption, but Macs are safe

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The vulnerabilities inherent in Intel chips have been a common problem in recent years, with fatal errors such as Meltdown, Specter and ZombieLoad that affect virtually all Intel-equipped devices.

In 2019, Positive Technologies security researchers discovered another problem with Intel chips. In particular, it is a vulnerability that affects the Intel converged security management engine, an important security feature in Intel technology and firmware that runs on Intel hardware.

In addition to loading and varying the BIOS and power management firmware, CSME also offers the “cryptographic base” for functions such as DRM (Digital Rights Management), TPM (Firmware-based Trusted Platform Module) technologies or the ID itself Intel enhanced privacy.

Intel released a patch in 2019 to fix the problem. However, Positive Technologies researchers have discovered that it is much worse than originally thought. New research published Thursday shows that the vulnerability could be exploited to recover a cryptographic root key, which could allow an attacker to access all the data on a device.

This could be a big problem for DRM protected media. If used aggressively, the error can be used to decrypt incoming or outgoing data traffic from the affected device. On a larger scale, it could be used on Intel-based servers.

Although Intel’s previous vulnerabilities affected Apple devices, this error does not affect newer Macs equipped with an Apple T1 or T2 chip. Because these chips are based on proprietary technology and are released before Intel chips, a user’s encryption keys are secure.

Of course, older Macs without a T-Series chip, or the current iMac family without the iMac Pro, may be vulnerable to exploitation, which may compromise FileVault encryption. The error is undetectable and Intel advises users to maintain the “physical possession” of their devices, since there is no way to use the attack vector remotely, for example, by clicking on an incorrect ad.

However, Intel notes that the tenth generation chips are safe from this. The vulnerability and others that they like are also one of the many possible reasons why Apple may soon switch its Macs to ARM-based processors.

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