Codebreaking Bombe moves to computer museum

Dials on the Bombe  Codebreaking Bombe moves to computer museum beae9ac2e2Image copyrightScience Photo Library
Image caption The Bombe was used to work out Enigma machine settings to help read German communications

The UK’s National Museum of Computing has expanded its exhibits celebrating the UK’s wartime code-breakers and the machines used to crack German ciphers.

On Saturday it will open a gallery dedicated to the Bombe, which helped speed up the cracking of messages scrambled with the Enigma machine.

The Bombe was formerly on display at Bletchley Park next door to the museum.

A crowd-funding campaign raised £60,000 in four weeks to move the machine and create its new home.

Modern machines

The replica Bombe is a copy of the electro-mechanical machines used in World War II at Bletchley. It was designed to discover the settings used by German Enigma machines to scramble messages, and make them unreadable.

Code-breakers at Bletchley turned to machines to crank through the millions of settings made possible using the Enigma machine so they could quickly discover which were being used.

Image copyrightJon Cape
Image caption The Bombe will sit in Block H – where the originals were located in wartime

The initial design of the Bombe was drawn up by Alan Turing and later refined by Gordon Welchman. The gallery is being opened on the 106th anniversary of Turing’s birth.

The Bombe is a replica painstakingly constructed by a team recruited by retired engineer John Harper. The team was gathered in the 1990s and the replica was completed in 2007.

The gallery housing the machine will be opened by two of the original Bombe operators. A demonstration will be given of how it was used to crack German codes.

The Bombe will sit alongside other key machines used by code-breakers at Bletchley, including Colossus – a forerunner to modern computers – which was developed to tackle messages passing to and from Hitler and his high command.

The work done by the thousands of workers at Bletchley during the war, cracking the secret messages, is believed to have shortened the conflict by several years and saved many lives.

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YouTube fans to fund favourite film-makers

YouTube  YouTube fans to fund favourite film-makers 93978600e4Image copyrightGetty Images

YouTube is adding more ways for video-makers to make money, following criticism from bloggers and increased competition from rival platforms.

Many video-makers have complained that changes to YouTube’s advertising policies have made it difficult for their videos to earn ad revenue.

YouTube will now roll out “channel memberships” that let viewers pay $4.99 (£3.80) a month for exclusive content.

Rival sites such as Twitch and Patreon already offer similar features.

YouTube’s updated advertising policies were introduced after ads from popular brands appeared alongside extremist and sexual content.

The changes stopped videos “unsuitable for all advertisers” from earning ad revenue, and were dubbed the “adpocalypse” by video-makers who saw their income fall.

The new features let video-makers:

  • charge fans $4.99 a month for access to exclusive badges, emoji and members-only videos
  • sell merchandise such as “phone cases with a creator’s face on” underneath their videos
  • host live-streamed “premieres” in which they debut their latest work while chatting to fans in real-time
Image copyrightYouTube
Image caption Merchandise will be printed by a third party without creators having to do anything

Creators in the US with more than 10,000 followers will be able to sell merchandise and host premieres, while those with 100,000 followers will be able to offer paid memberships.

The paid subscription mirrors the offering on games-streaming site Twitch.

YouTube also faces increased competition from Facebook, which launched Instagram TV (IGTV) on Wednesday. Facebook has encouraged popular video-makers to upload vertical videos on its new platform, but it does not currently share advertising revenue with creators.

“Platforms such as Twitch developed opportunities for creators to receive money directly from their viewers,” said Alex Brinnand, editor of the YouTube magazine TenEighty.

“YouTube is now playing catch up and offering alternative monetisation options but the new threat of IGTV could change the game even further.

“Creators are largely in favour of the direct-to-creator monetisation options, as it offers them higher revenue from people who are passionate about watching their content. This is something we’ve seen on crowd-funding platforms for a long time now, so it is really interesting to see the online video industry adopt this revenue model.”

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Arizona Uber crash driver was ‘watching TV’

NTSB diagram  Arizona Uber crash driver was 'watching TV' 9d937cce5bImage copyrightNTSB
Image caption The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) mapped the incident – yellow rings show metres ahead of the vehicle, orange lines centre of mapped travel and purple area the car’s path

The “safety operator” of a self-driving Uber car was watching TV just before the vehicle was involved in a fatal collision, a police report reveals.

The Uber car struck and killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, 49, of Tempe, Arizona in March.

The police report suggests the car’s driver was streaming an episode of talent show The Voice rather than monitoring the car’s progress.

It suggests she could face charges of vehicle manslaughter.

No action

The Tempe police report said the crash was “entirely avoidable” if the Uber operator, Rafaela Vasquez, had been watching the road while the car was operating autonomously.

County prosecutors have received a copy of the police report, which was released on 21 June following a freedom of information request.

In its experiments with driverless cars, Uber has mandated that a human operator pays attention at all times so they can take over in difficult situations or when the vehicle encounters a situation it does not know how to handle.

Ms Vasquez looked up from her phone screen about 0.5 seconds before the crash, said the report, but had been concentrating on her phone for about 5.3 seconds previously. At the time, the driverless Volvo car was travelling at 44mph (70km/h).

Uber declined to comment on the report and its findings.

The police report comes less than a month after a preliminary investigation into the crash was released by the US National Transportation Safety Board.

This revealed the Uber car had about six seconds to react after spotting Ms Herzberg crossing the road in the dark ahead of it.

The car “failed” to identify Ms Herzberg as a pedestrian, it found, and took no action to avoid hitting her nor did it perform an emergency stop.

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Cyan colour hidden ingredient in sleep

Sleeping Cyan colour hidden ingredient in sleep Cyan colour hidden ingredient in sleep ecec76f4a5Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption The researchers say cyan could be added or taken away to prevent or encourage sleep

The colour cyan – between green and blue – is a hidden factor in encouraging or preventing sleep, according to biologists.

University of Manchester researchers say higher levels of cyan keep people awake, while reducing cyan is associated with helping sleep.

The impact was felt even if colour changes were not visible to the eye.

The researchers want to produce devices for computer screens and phones that could increase or decrease cyan levels.

Sleep researchers have already established links between colours and sleep – with blue light having been identified as more likely to delay sleep.

‘Night mode’

There have been “night mode” settings for phones and laptops which have reduced blue light in an attempt to lessen the damage to sleep.

But the research by biologists at the University of Manchester and in Basel in Switzerland, published in the journal Sleep, has shown the particular impact of the colour cyan.

Image caption Is cyan going to keep you awake?

When people were exposed to more or less cyan, researchers were able to measure different levels of the sleep hormone melatonin in people’s saliva.

Prof Rob Lucas said that it was not necessary for someone to be able to see the difference in colours, as the body reacted to the change even if it was not visible to the naked eye.

He said this could also affect other colours which were made using cyan.

For instance, there are shades of green that can include cyan – which also can be achieved using other colour combinations.

Screening colours

The researchers suggest that versions of the colour using cyan could be used on computer screens if the aim was to keep people awake – such as people working and required to stay alert at night.

Or there could be another version, the same colour but without cyan, which could be used if the aim was reduce disruption to sleep.

Image caption Researchers say the same colours can be created with or without cyan

The research used this with a movie – with the colours being adapted to include or exclude cyan – and found changes in viewers’ sleepiness and levels of melatonin in saliva.

The research team, headed by Prof Lucas and Dr Annette Allen, says there could be applications for this discovery on computer screens, televisions and smartphones.

“This outcome is exciting because it that tells us that regulating exposure to cyan light alone, without changing colour, can influence how sleepy we feel,” said Prof Lucas.

He said it might help families with teenagers who were using mobile phones at night-time.

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Over the influence?

Olivia Rink Over the influence? Over the influence? c6ea047f60Image copyrightOlivia Rink/@aesthetiica
Image caption Olivia Rink says she works “at least 70 hours a week” on her fashion and lifestyle blog

Consumer goods giant Unilever has taken a stand against “influencer marketers” who exaggerate their social media clout to earn more money promoting products. Is this the start of a brand backlash? Are genuine influencers under threat?

We’ve all heard about vloggers and bloggers earning big bucks promoting brands’ products on their social media pages.

Some of these “millennial influencers” with a million or more followers can earn $20,000 per post, says social insights firm Captiv8. A few have become minor celebrities in their own right.

But it seems a number of them have been gaming the system, buying armies of “followers” from firms that use automated bots to create fake accounts and simulate interactions, known as engagement – a key metric to evaluate influencers.

Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the biggest advertisers in the world, has said it’s calling time on influencers who try to cheat.

It wants to see “greater transparency” in the influencer marketing industry, fearing that consumers may no longer trust influencers or the brands that work with them.

Image copyrightOlivia Rink/@aesthetiica
Image caption Is the social media influencer market boom about to end?

Instagram says it blocks millions of fake accounts every day and works hard to build stronger relationships between brands and influencers.

But some genuine influencers fear they may get caught in the crossfire.

“I am so against bots,” says New York-based Olivia Rink, 27, a fashion and lifestyle blogger who used to be a cheerleader.

“It’s very discouraging to compete with influencers that make the decision to use bots for fake engagement.”

Ms Rink, who has worked with more than 600 brands, says she spent four years building her blog audience.

“I work extremely hard to create unique and authentic content that I know my readers will enjoy.”

But Unilever isn’t the only brand getting fed up – several hotel brands recently told The Atlantic that they no longer want to work with influencers, after being flooded with requests for free all-expenses-paid stays, but failing to see a tangible return on their investment.

Other resorts have now implemented an extensive vetting process to ensure that influencers actually have good organic engagement with their audiences and aren’t using bots.

Image copyrightNatascha Glock
Image caption Natascha Glock’s audience consists mostly of German young adults aged 18-25

In a further sign of disenchantment, it seems marketers are now ditching influencers from their marketing strategies, according to UK-based digital content marketing agency, Zazzle Media.

The firm, which has 10,000 influencers on its books, found, amazingly, that not a single one of the 10,000 British marketers it surveyed planned to focus on influencers over the next 12 months.

“We think there are two key reasons for this,” Zazzle’s founder and managing director says Simon Penson.

“One, it’s difficult to measure how influencers affect sales, and two, there’s this underlying issue about bots behind it that’s prevalent and growing.”

Natascha Glock, 25, a beauty and lifestyle Instagram influencer living in Frankfurt, Germany, says: “It is unfair for some influencers to use bots, but it is not easy to stop.

“I think it is important that a brand likes my content and my work. It is more effective and you feel better when your followers are real, because you get real attention and real feedback.”

She has more than 51,000 followers – men and women, mostly aged 18-25, in Germany – and has worked with more 200 brands, including Unilever’s brand, Dove.

The influencer work provides a handy secondary income, she says, but it took about two years to build an audience big enough to appeal to brands.

Image copyrightToula Rose
Image caption Toula Rose thinks using bots to create fake followers is “obviously not right and… unfair”

Toula Rose, a London-based fashion and lifestyle blogger, says: “I can see why some bloggers would do this, because there’s so much pressure. And some brands only look at the number of followers and don’t care about the engagement.

“But it’s obviously not right and it is unfair, more so to the brand if they work with someone and don’t get anything back.”

All three women we spoke to stress that Instagram isn’t just about snapping pretty pictures – it takes hours to produce and style the photoshoots, plan and create content, engage with readers, and pitch ideas to brands.

“I work at least 70 hours every week on my blog,” says Ms Rink.

Despite its concerns, Unilever is not ditching influencers completely. In fact, it says this type of marketing is “an increasingly important part” of its overall marketing strategy.

“The idea of endorsements is nothing new – you can trace it back to the days when Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner would appear in our soap adverts,” says Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Movie stars like Rita Hayworth used to endorse products in the 1940s

“But social influencers add a new and complex dynamic. We want to develop meaningful relationships with influencers who are as passionate about their audiences as we are about the people who use our products every day.”

Yet the firm admits that assessing the exact impact of influencers compared with other advertising media is tricky.

Some brands believe quality not quantity is the key when it comes to social media.

For example, Brazilian designer shoe brand Melissa, which has 270 stores worldwide, says it prefers to work with influencers who have smaller audiences but better interaction with their followers.

“We prefer to deal with micro influencers who have 2,000 or 10,000 followers, but they are very strong in their own communities,” says Raquel Scherer, Melissa’s global marketing director.

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Image copyrightMagnum Photos

“It doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 followers but people are not engaging with your content.”

Although there is a lot more competition, Ms Rose feels there is still a place for people who want to create original content.

“I don’t feel threatened, it just motivates me to keep working while Instagram is still going,” she says.

“We don’t know what the future holds for blogging – it’s changed so much in the last few years.”

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The slow-motion video made after filming plus other tech news

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‘Dangerous’ carbon monoxide alarms removed from Amazon and eBay

Image copyrightWhich
Image caption Which? tested four alarms and says dozens more are equally dangerous

Dozens of carbon monoxide alarms sold via Amazon and eBay have been taken offline after failing safety tests.

Consumer watchdog Which? said some of the alarms seemed identical to ones that had failed tests in 2016.

Three of the unbranded devices, made in China, repeatedly failed to sound when carbon monoxide was present.

Which? said there were flaws in the UK’s current product testing system. It advised anyone owning one of the alarms to replace it immediately.

Consumers should contact the company they had bought it from and request a refund, it said.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “It’s extremely concerning that these unsafe alarms were being sold by major retailers,

“When household names such as Amazon and eBay are selling products that could put consumers at risk, it is clear more must be done by businesses and the government to proactively identify potentially dangerous products and stop them from entering people’s homes.”

Which? said that the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) needed to take a more “active role” in identifying products on sale that posed a safety risk.

Amazon and eBay have delisted the alarms tested by Which? and another 50 lookalike alarms likely to have been manufactured in the same place.

An eBay spokeswoman said: “The safety of customers is our number one priority and we work closely with bodies such as Trading Standards to ensure listings sold on our marketplace comply with the law.

“The items flagged by Which? did not comply with the required UK regulations and were removed.

“We are working with the sellers of these products to ensure their customers are aware they have been removed from the site.”

Amazon told the BBC: “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”

Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” as it is invisible and odourless.

According to official figures, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning resulted in more than 50 recorded deaths in England and Wales in 2015 and 200 hospitalisations.

Since 2015, private landlords have been required to have alarms in any room “used as living accommodation” in which a solid fuel appliance, such as a boiler or wood-burning stove, is in use.

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Intel chief Brian Krzanich resigns over relationship

Brian Krzanich Intel chief Brian Krzanich resigns over relationship Intel chief Brian Krzanich resigns over relationship e4805b7436Image copyrightGetty Images

Chipmaker Intel has announced that its chief executive, Brian Krzanich, is stepping down with immediate effect because of “a violation of Intel’s non-fraternisation policy”.

He had been in the post since May 2013.

Intel said an inquiry had revealed that Mr Krzanich had had a consensual relationship with an Intel employee, which was against company rules.

His successor has been named as Robert Swan, currently the company’s chief financial officer.

The company said the relevant policy applied to all managers.

“Given the expectation that all employees will respect Intel’s values and adhere to the company’s code of conduct, the board has accepted Mr Krzanich’s resignation.”

Mr Krzanich’s departure is the latest high-profile exit amid pressure on companies to address issues around gender relations and office conduct.

‘Robust search’

Intel’s shares fell 2% in morning trade as investors reacted to the news.

The company said it would conduct a search to find a permanent successor to Mr Krzanich, who first joined Intel in 1982.

During his tenure, Intel worked to move beyond its reliance on personal computers and expand into areas such as data.

Intel board chairman Andy Bryant said the firm appreciated Mr Krzanich’s “many contributions”.

“The board believes strongly in Intel’s strategy and we are confident in Bob Swan’s ability to lead the company as we conduct a robust search for our next CEO,” he said.

Intel also told investors it expected a record performance in 2018. In the first three months of the year, the company reported $4.5bn in profit on more than $16bn in revenue.

However, Intel also faced questions this year after it revealed security flaws in its chips months after researchers identified the problem.

Investors and lawmakers also questioned stock sales by Mr Krzanich during months when the firm was aware of the problem but had not disclosed it.

Intel said at the time that the sales were tied to a pre-arranged plan.

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The man who was fired by a machine

Ibrahim Diallo The man who was fired by a machine The man who was fired by a machine 545fe77356Image copyrightIbrahim Diallo
Image caption Ibrahim Diallo found himself jobless for three weeks with no idea why

“It wasn’t the first time my key card failed, I assumed it was time to replace it.”

So began a sequence of events that saw Ibrahim Diallo fired from his job, not by his manager but by a machine.

He has detailed his story in a blogpost which he hopes will serve as a warning to firms about relying too much on automation.

“Automation can be an asset to a company, but there needs to be a way for humans to take over if the machine makes a mistake,” he writes.

The story of Mr Diallo’s sacking by machine began when his entry pass to the Los Angeles skyscraper where his office was based failed to work, forcing him to rely on the security guard to allow him entry.

“As soon as I got to my floor, I went to see my manager to let her know. She promised to order me a new one right away.”

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Not being able to get into his office was frustrating but set off no alarm bells for Mr Diallo

Then he noticed that he was logged out of his work system and a colleague told Mr Diallo that the word “Inactive” was listed alongside his name.

His day got worse. After lunch – and a 10-minute wait for a co-worker to let him back into his office – he was told by his recruiter that she had received an email saying his contract was terminated. She promised to sort out the problem.

The next day he had been locked out of every single system “except my Linux machine” and then, after lunch, two people appeared at his desk. Mr Diallo was told that an email had been received telling them to escort him from the building.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption The moment he was escorted from the building, he knew things had taken a new turn

His boss was confused but helpless as Mr Diallo recalls: “I was fired. There was nothing my manager could do about it. There was nothing the director could do about it. They stood powerless as I packed my stuff and left the building.”

At the time, he was eight months into a three-year contract and over the next three weeks he was copied into emails about his case.

“I watched it be escalated to bigger and more powerful titles over and over, yet no-one could do anything about it. From time-to-time, they would attach a system email.

“It was soulless and written in red as it gave orders that dictated my fate. Disable this, disable that, revoke access here, revoke access there, escort out of premises, etc.

“The system was out for blood and I was its very first victim.”

It took Mr Diallo’s bosses three weeks to find out why he had been sacked. His firm was going through changes, both in terms of the systems it used and the people it employed.

His original manager had been recently laid off and sent to work from home for the rest of his time at the firm and in that period he had not renewed Mr Diallo’s contract in the new system.

Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Once one box was not ticked, the whole system kicked in to kick Mr Diallo out

After that, machines took over – flagging him as an ex-employee.

“All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled.

“Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my Jira account. And on and on.”

Although Mr Diallo was allowed back to work, he had missed out on three weeks’ worth of pay and been escorted from the building “like a thief”. He had to explain his disappearance to others and found his co-workers became distant.

He decided to move to another job.

His story should serve as a cautionary tale about the human-machine relationship, thinks AI expert Dave Coplin.

“It’s another example of a failure of human thinking where they allow it to be humans versus machines rather than humans plus machines,” he said.

“One of the fundamental skills for all humans in an AI world is accountability – just because the algorithm says it’s the answer, it doesn’t mean it actually is.”

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Instagram star Daryl Aiden Yow used stock image photos

Daryl Aiden Yow Instagram page Instagram star Daryl Aiden Yow used stock image photos Instagram star Daryl Aiden Yow used stock image photos 0ffc848e30Image copyrightInstagram
Image caption Mr Yow has posted an apology to his Instagram account

A popular Instagram photographer has apologised after being caught posting stock image library content and indicating it was his own work.

Singapore-based Daryl Aiden Yow has more than 104,000 followers on the Facebook-owned service.

His fame on the platform had led Sony, Oppo and Uniqlo – among other big brands – to work with him.

Mr Yow admitted to the deception after the news site Mothership identified a dozen examples.

Several had been edited to alter their colour and composition.

Original versions of the images were traced to Shutterstock, CanStockPhoto and among other sites.

“The outrage regarding how I have conducted myself is justified and I accept full responsibility for my actions and all consequences that arise from those actions,” Mr Yow posted in a message on his Instagram account.

“I was wrong to have claimed that stock images and other people’s work were my own.

“I was also wrong to have used false captions that misled my followers and those who viewed my images.

“Having marketed myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed – or wanted to believe – in me.”

Sony had promoted the Instagrammer’s work on its own website as part of a marketing campaign for its mirrorless cameras, and Mr Yow in turn had described himself as being a #SonyCreativeAlly in several of his posts.

Image copyrightSony
Image caption Sony had promoted several of Mr Yow’s images on its own website

“We are surprised and disappointed with what has been reported and are currently looking into this matter,” the Japanese firm told Mothership.

“Sony strongly encourages the art of creativity, however we do not condone any action such as plagiarism and take a serious stance on it.”

Mr Yow appears to have removed several of his Instagram posts since the deceit was exposed.

But users have cast doubt over some of those that remain.

“Wow nice photo taken by someone else,” read one comment.

“Love your excellent Photoshop skills!” said another.

Earlier this week, the consumer goods giant Unilever said it intended to carry out more rigorous checks of social media influencers it worked with after the New York Times reported on the widespread use of “fake followers”.

But one expert said that whatever steps were taken, there would always be a risk involved in working with such celebrities.

“The truth is no brand is completely safe when working with an influencer, just as no brand ambassador can be guaranteed to never embarrass the brand,” Emily Tan, global technology editor for Campaign UK magazine, told the BBC.

“What might be worth considering is to really follow and understand an influencer’s personality and integrity before working with them.

“The danger is engaging one purely for their reach and not their authenticity.”

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