Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thank you

I simply want to say thanks and I love you....
But please don't say you love me back, or that you love my page, or that I am great, or the best, or any of that, because then I will think that you think I am posting this just to get feedback and feel good about myself. Which isn't true. I just want to say I love you all very much and thank you for being a part of my life. And if you think: 'Well, how can she love me; she doesn't even know me?" Then you are likely Aspie, logical thinker, or don't read my blog. hehehe Anyhow, Thank you for being here.... 
I simply want to say thanks and I love you... 
(If you must post something, post a heart or smile)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Libavcodec bug threatens Windows XP VLC users

This just in from PCWorld.com:

"Watch out Windows XP diehards: if you run the open source media player VLC you may be vulnerable to malicious attacks. A bug discovered in November affecting VLC was recently made public on Full Disclosure, a security-focused mailing list.

The reported bug (dubbed CVE-2014-9597) allows a specially crafted video file with the FLV file extension opened in VLC 2.1.5 to corrupt memory. This could then allow the attacker to execute any code they want on the target machine. The vulnerability was tested on Windows XP SP3.

Why this matters: A bug that affects Windows XP may not be much of a worry for most users as XP’s user base has been slowly declining. But there are still some diehards holding on to the OS—around 18 percent of PC users worldwide run XP, according to Net Market Share.

While the bug apparently affects VLC users, it doesn’t appear to be an issue with VLC itself. Instead, the bug is caused by libavcodec, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, president of VideoLAN, the non-profit behind VLC, confirmed to PCWorld. Libavcodec is a third-party code library for encoding and decoding video and audio, maintained by FFmpeg. Kempf also said that he was unable to replicate the bug on Windows.

Whether or not the bug is a serious concern for users, the threat may not be long lived anyway. Kempf says the second release candidate for VLC version 2.2.0 fixes the issue. Concerned XP users can download and try out the release candidate from VideoLan."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Stop Believing TV’s Lies: The Real Truth About "Enhancing" Images

This just in from How-To-Geek: "You’ve seen it over and over. The FBI uses their advanced technology to “enhance” a blurry image, and find a villain’s face in the worst possible footage. Well, How-To Geek is calling their bluff. Read on to see why.

It’s one of the most common tropes in television and movies, but is there any possibility a government agency could really have the technology to find faces where there are only blurry pixels? We’ll make the argument that not only is it impossible with current technology, but it is very unlikely to ever be a technology we’ll ever see. Stick around to see us put this trope under the lenses of science and technology, and prove it wrong once and for all."

Click here to read the whole article.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The end of the CCTV era?

This just in from the BBC: "Twenty years ago the government backed a major expansion of the CCTV network - now funds are being cut and cameras shut off. Is the UK's CCTV boom over, asks Rachel Argyle.

In 1994, the Conservative government launched the Partners Against Crime initiative, with Home Secretary Michael Howard saying he was "absolutely convinced that CCTV has a major part to play in helping detect, and reduce crimes and to convict criminals".

The next year the CCTV Challenge Competition fund was started to encourage local authorities to set up surveillance schemes - the Home Office and local authorities invested £120m in CCTV systems within three years.

The UK has one of the largest CCTV networks in the world. But as cash-strapped councils look for cost-saving measures, the effectiveness of public CCTV is under scrutiny.

Dyfed-Powys police are set to cut funding to monitor CCTV following an independent report set up by Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon. The force covers over half of Wales and just under half a million people.

The report found that the removal of Powys Country Council CCTV did not result in a significant rise in crime or anti-social behaviour and there is little evidence that CCTV deters violent or alcohol-related crime. Salmon says the police will direct funds where the public want them, with "more bobbies on the beat".

These cuts are not an isolated case.

Cornwall was one of the first local authorities to cut their CCTV budget back in April 2011 - by £350,000. Denbighshire council will stop their funding and make a saving of £200,000 from 2016-17. Anglesey Council scrapped its CCTV altogether last year but following a successful charitable trust bid it will now be run by the island's five town councils. In Derby, 48 cameras in the city centre may be switched off.

Other areas are scaling back. Birmingham's 250 CCTV cameras will no longer be monitored around the clock and CCTV managers across the country face redundancy.

Police are under similar financial strain. Thames Valley Police could reduce its CCTV funding for the city from £225,000 annually, to as little as £50,000 by 2018.

A Freedom of Information request by Labour MP Gloria de Piero in March 2013, found that one in five councils had cut the number of CCTV cameras on the streets since the last election.

Supporters of CCTV point to the success of cameras in identifying suspects in high-profile cases, such as Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in the murder of toddler James Bulger, the Boston Marathon bombing, the London 7 July 2005 attacks and the 2011 UK riots. CCTV was crucial in the hunt for the Charlie Hebdo attackers.

But campaigners against CCTV believe it violates personal privacy and question its effectiveness.

"Britain's crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such vast surveillance," says Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch.

The pressure group welcomes that budgetary restraints may make authorities look more closely at whether CCTV is really working. Carr adds: "Councils that reduce the number of ineffective CCTV cameras, diverting resources to where they will keep the public safer, are to be praised."

Charles Farrier, spokesperson for No CCTV, is a little more apprehensive. "The alleged cost-cutting is leading to a restructuring rather than a real reduction of camera surveillance." He points out that budget cuts will see others jump to the rescue. "Often the solutions offered are merging control rooms or taking the cameras out of the hands of democratic local bodies and into management by private companies driven by a profit motive," he added. He calls for an urgent public debate.

For some people, there's a more human alternative to fighting crime with increased CCTV. Farrier believes the solution lies in the findings of a 2013 report entitled Fortress Britain, published by the New Economics Foundation, which found that residents on an estate in London felt that "knowing people" was the key to creating trust.

"We no longer have park keepers, bus conductors, toilet attendants - people there to help act as a glue to hold the community together. Now we abdicate that responsibility to a machine. Surely instead of spending money on surveillance cameras it should be spent on proven strategies or encourage more people to walk, talk, and problem solve in their own communities?"

There has been much research into the effectiveness of CCTV as a crimefighting tool during the boom years.

A study entitled the Effects of Closed Circuit Television Surveillance on Crime (2008) found that CCTV schemes had little effect on crime deterrence, other than car crime ..."

Click here to keep reading the article.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What's wrong with Photoshop?

Long time Photoshop users know that in order to get the most out of Photoshop, you'll need a pretty nice workstation with the "right" video card. Adobe explains why:

"The advantages of using a compatible video card (GPU) with Photoshop are better performance and access to more features. In this document, you will quickly find out everything you need to know about how Photoshop uses the Video Card (GPU) in your system including troubleshooting steps and features that have been recently updated to take advantage of the GPU.

This document provides a quick reference guide to video card usage in Photoshop. Some features require a compatible video card. If the video card or its driver is defective or unsupported, those features don’t work. Other features use the video card for acceleration; if the card or driver is defective, those features run slowly."

The GPU Sniffer

"To help guard against Photoshop crashes related to bad GPU hardware or drivers, Photoshop employs a small program called the GPU Sniffer. Every time Photoshop launches, Photoshop launches the sniffer. The sniffer runs rudimentary tests of the GPU and reports the results to Photoshop. If the sniffer crashes or reports a failure status to Photoshop, Photoshop doesn't use the GPU. The Use Graphics Hardware checkbox in the Performance panel of the Preferences is deselected and disabled.

The first time the sniffer fails, Photoshop displays a dialog indicating that it has detected a problem with the GPU. On subsequent launches, the dialog doesn't appear.

If you correct the problem, either by replacing the video card or by updating the driver, then the sniffer passes on the next launch. The Use Graphics Hardware checkbox is enabled and returned to its previous state (enabled or disabled)."