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Second Phase Of Odd-Even Scheme Starts In Delhi

Second Phase Of Odd-Even Scheme Starts In Delhi

Delhi government’s second phase of Odd-Even traffic scheme which aims at battling pollution in the national capital started on Friday.

“Odd even starts today. Lets all join hands and resolve to make it a success,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

As per the rule, cars with odd-number registration would be allowed to ply on Friday. Those not abiding the rule would be fined Rs 2,000.

The Odd-Even vehicle movement plan for four wheelers will continue till April 30 between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm except on Sundays.

The second phase guidelines are similar to that of the first phase except that vehicles with students in uniform will be exempt if it is being driven by women.

The scheme is also not applicable to vehicles being operated through compressed natural gas (CNG), two-wheelers, women motorists and several categories of VIPs.

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Facebook Is Betting Big on Live Video

Facebook Is Betting Big on Live Video

Facebook is supposed to be the global arbiter of what is new and cool with the kids. This month, it appears to be live-streaming video.

Facebook Live, a feature that allows users to live-broadcast video from their smartphones has been around for a few months. It started as a tool for celebrities, and then expanded to media companies, and any verified pages. Recently it expanded that functionality to all users, and now it’s making video even more prominent.

Starting today, there’s a dedicated Video tab within the Facebook app, a geolocation map that shows streams around the world, and Snapchat-esque doodles and black-and-white options.

Added all together, and it’s clear that Facebook is intending this to be a tool for the masses, rather than a broadcast option for public figures or brands who use Facebook Live right now. It’s also a smack in the face to services like Periscope, Twitch and YouTube, which have dominated the livestreaming market so far.

Is this actually going to change anything for the average Facebook user? It’s difficult to tell right now, but it’s clear that Facebook itself is sold on the idea. The company has been paying celebrities and media companies to use Facebook Live, in an attempt to make the platform popular. Bribing brands to use a service is obviously not a long-term strategy, so whether Facebook Live turns out to be a pivotal change or the next Poke remains to be seen.

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Your Aadhaar Can Now Reduce The Activation Cost of Mobile SIM Cards

Your Aadhaar Can Now Reduce The Activation Cost of Mobile SIM Cards

You must be aware that if you take a new mobile connection, you need to pay SIM card activation fee of Rs 150. You also have to fill a customer acquisition form (CAF), wherein you have to provide documents for activation purpose. But if electronic KYC of Aadhaar is implemented as digital authentication, this cost may soon come down to zero.

While addressing the annual growth Net summit in New Delhi, TRAI chairman RS Sharma told PTI that the transaction costs get reduced substantially when Aadhaar is used as an authentication tool.

According to Sharma, “If you use digital identity authentication, you can fill the customer form, digitally sign it and get your electronic KYC. So, essentially the cost is equal to zero.” He also made recommendations to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to this effect and the latter has “apparently” accepted it.

It is believed that the identity verification of Aadhaar card bio-metric data for a new mobile connection will come into use immediately after the government finalizes the norms. The move would also increase the pace at which verification takes place as all the process would be initiated online, said Sharma.

Let’s wait and watch how useful Aadhaar card will in bringing down the cost of SIM activation. Stay tuned!

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WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption: How to enable and what it means

WhatsApp is now end-to-end encrypted at all times. This will ensure that a user’s messages, videos, photos sent over WhatsApp, can’t be read by anyone else; not WhatsApp, not cyber-criminals, not law-enforcement agencies. Even calls and group chats will be encrypted.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced the update on his Facebook page, stating that the company has been working on the feature for the last two years.

Koum wrote, “We’ve been working for the past two years to give people better security over their conversations on WhatsApp… People deserve security. It makes it possible for us to connect with our loved ones. It gives us the confidence to speak our minds. It allows us to communicate sensitive information with colleagues, friends, and others. We’re glad to do our part in keeping people’s information out of the hands of hackers and cyber-criminals.”

So what is end-to-end encryption and how exactly does it work in WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is using “The Signal Protocol”, designed by Open Whisper Systems, for its encryption.

In its White Paper, explaining the technical details of the end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp says that “once the session is established, clients do not need to rebuild a new session with each other until the existing session state is lost through an external event such as an app reinstall or device change.”

The paper explains how messages are encrypted as well. It reads, “clients exchange messages that are protected with a Message Key using AES256 in CBC mode for encryption and HMAC-SHA256 for authentication. The Message Key changes for each message transmitted, and is ephemeral, such that the Message Key used to encrypt a message cannot be reconstructed from the session.” It also says that calls, large file attachments are end-to-end encrypted as well.

Note the ever-changing message key can mean a delay in some messages getting delivered, according to the paper.

It should be noted that feature is enabled by default in WhatsApp, which means that if you and your friends are on the latest version of the app, all chats will be end-to-end encrypted. Unlike say Telegram where users have to start a secret chat to enable the feature, WhatsApp has the feature on at all times. Users don’t have the option of switching off end-to-end encryption.

Users need to be on the same versions of WhatsApp to ensure that their chats get end-to-end encrypted. If you’ve recently updated the app, and you start a chat with someone else (also on the new version) you are likely to see a message saying, “Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption. Tap for more info.”

Once you tap on the message, WhatsApp has a pop-up menu explaining what end-to-end encryption means. Users can verify if the encryption is working as well. If a user taps on verify, they will taken to a page with a QR code, followed by a string of 60 numbers.

If your friend is nearby, take their phone scan the code from your phone (the option is there at the bottom of the same page) and if the QR code matches, then the chat is encrypted. When the codes match, a green tick appears; when it doesn’t there’s an exclamation mark in red alerting a user that the chat is not secure.

So does the end-to-end encryption work all the time?

We tried verifying some chats that had the message saying encryption was enabled. In some cases, the verification failed for us. In the first case, we tried to verify a chat between an Android and iPhone 6s device (running iOS 9.3.1), and the QR codes didn’t match. We also tried matching QR codes on an two Android phones, and once again we got the red alert indicating no end-to-end encryption. Both Android phones are on the latest version of the app from the Google Play Store.

However a verification between a chat on two iOS devices, (iPhone 6s, iPhone 5s) worked for us and showed the green tick.

We’re not sure why the verification failed, even though the chat says it is end-to-end encrypted. We might have to wait for another app update that could fix this issue.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve managed to get the end-to-end encryption verified on some of your chats.

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All the Big Drone Makers Have Formed a Coalition to Lobby for Drones

All the Big Drone Makers Have Formed a Coalition to Lobby for Drones

Between them, DJI, 3DR, Parrot and (soon) GoPro dominate the market for consumer photography drones. So when all those companies announce that they’re forming a group to lobby for sensible drone policies, it’s worth taking note.

The four companies have formed the Drone Manufacturers Alliance, a group that will specifically focus on “policies that promote innovation and safety, and create a practical and responsible regulatory framework” for consumers.

In order to form the new lobbying group, the four companies split from the Small UAV Coalition, which still includes the like of Google, Amazon, and Intel. It makes sense: DJI and Parrot focus on small, consumer drones that are mostly photography tools or expensive toys. Google and Amazon want to change the future of transportation, so naturally, their priorities are going to be a little different.

DJI already has a good history of working with the FAA, including helping set up the agency’s new registration program . The Drone Manufacturers Alliance’s initial statement is a masterpiece of corporate nothingness, but we can still read between the lines. At a guess, the Alliance will be working on loosening restrictions on hobbyists and pro photographe

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Japan’s Lost Black Hole Satellite Just Reappeared and Nobody Knows What Happened to It

Japan’s Lost Black Hole Satellite Just Reappeared and Nobody Knows What Happened to It

Earlier this week something happened to make Japan’s brand new black hole satellite suddenly, mysteriously lose all contact with Earth. Now, we have video of it spinning wildly in space-and JAXA has also received a few odd, new messages.

After a long, tense silence, Hitomi sent two very terse messages in response to JAXA’s continued attempts to contact it. But that doesn’t mean anything like full communications-much less control-has been re-established. The messages were so short that JAXA has no new information about either the state of the satellite, or what happened to knock it off kilter in the first place.

There might be some clues in this video of the Hitomi shot by astronomer Paul Maley in Arizona.

You can clearly see the Hitomi in a freefall spin. Maley first saw the satellite rotating like a top on March 28th. He confirmed to Gizmodo that he was still seeing it tumble at the same, consistent rate-one full rotation every 23.5 seconds-as of late last night.

Those spin moves could be the very reason we’re having so much trouble having a longer chat with Hitomi. “Normally the antenna would be roughly pointing at the Earth and it could hear what JAXA is trying to tell it to do. With the tumble it’s a lot harder,” Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told Gizmodo.

Still, the fact that it got some new messages through at all is cause for hope that the satellite can yet be recovered. It also may give us a clue to just what happened to throw the satellite’s course off in the first place.

The Department of Defense’s Joint Space Operations Center, who originally spotted the satellite’s shedding debris, said that they haven’t seen evidence that a collision was at fault. That suggests that whatever happened may have happened on the satellite itself. Its fast spin could support that even further, said McDowell:

“To get the satellite spinning so fast, I think it must have been shooting out gas of some kind – either one of its actual rocket thrusters got stuck on, or possibly the super-cold liquid helium boiled off and acted as if it was a rocket thruster. The cooling system’s been working fine for a few weeks (and apparently some of the data that’s been returned is scientifically exciting) so maybe the stuck thruster is the most likely guess. But it’s just a guess.”

Hitomi did manage to collect a little bit of data before it lost communication with JAXA. “It’s fabulous data, it’s transformational data,” said University of Maryland astronomy professor Chris Reynolds, noting that it would likely be the subject of an upcoming paper. “That’s why there is widespread shock about what’s happening. We all recognize how much fabulous science could come from [Hitomi].”

“It’s fabulous data, it’s transformational data.”
Before the launch, Japan described the satellite as “essential” to solving the key mysteries of the universe, such as the nature of black holes and the evolution of galaxies. That’s because the Hitomi mission represents a major leap forward in terms of x-ray spectroscopy-one of the many techniques astronomers use to study cosmic x-ray sources. Said Reynolds:

“You learn so much about the universe from taking spectra, that’s how we learn what stars are made of, that’s how we learn what there shift of galaxies are. It’s how we learn about how star formations occur over the history of the universe. In pretty much every waveband all the way from radio up to x rays, there’s so much information you can learn from the universe in [x-ray spectroscopy]”

Of course, gaining insight into those cosmic mysteries now hinges on a single question: Will JAXA be able to successfully recover Hitomi? The answer remains unclear. “We all still have hope,” said Reynolds. “We’re not prepared to declare it lost yet.”