You Can Touch This | Tech Talk Today 118

You Can Touch This | Tech Talk Today 118

Chris reviews his Dell touch screen, and how it’s performed under Linux. Then the Mumble room shares their touch screen experience under multiple workloads.

Plus the secret US cybersecurity report that recommends strong encryption, a strong contrast to David Cameron’s platform to build in backdoors. He’s meeting with Obama to push that agenda forward, and we’ll bring you up to date and debate the impact.

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Show Notes:

Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data

A secret US cybersecurity report warned that government and private computers were being left vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough.

The advice, in a newly uncovered five-year forecast written in 2009, contrasts with the pledge made by David Cameron this week to crack down on encryption use by technology companies.

Part of the cache given to the Guardian by Snowden was published in 2009 and gives a five-year forecast on the “global cyber threat to the US information infrastructure”. It covers communications, commercial and financial networks, and government and critical infrastructure systems. It was shared with GCHQ and made available to the agency’s staff through its intranet.

One of the biggest issues in protecting businesses and citizens from espionage, sabotage and crime – hacking attacks are estimated to cost the global economy up to $400bn a year – was a clear imbalance between the development of offensive versus defensive capabilities, “due to the slower than expected adoption … of encryption and other technologies”, it said.

An unclassified table accompanying the report states that encryption is the “[b]est defense to protect data”, especially if made particularly strong through “multi-factor authentication” – similar to two-step verification used by Google and others for email – or biometrics. These measures remain all but impossible to crack, even for GCHQ and the NSA.

I wanted to address kinda a question you posed on the Tech Talk Today Episode 117

But there is the problem of more open platforms, like GNU/Linux variants, BSD and other unixes, Mac OS X, and all the non-mobile versions of Windows. All of these operating systems are already designed to allow users to execute any code they want to run. The commercial operators — Apple and Microsoft — might conceivably be compelled by Parliament to change their operating systems to block secure software in the future, but that doesn’t do anything to stop people from using all the PCs now in existence to run code that the PM wants to ban.

More difficult is the world of free/open operating systems like GNU/Linux and BSD. These operating systems are the gold standard for servers, and widely used on desktop computers (especially by the engineers and administrators who run the nation’s IT). There is no legal or technical mechanism by which code that is designed to be modified by its users can co-exist with a rule that says that code must treat its users as adversaries and seek to prevent them from running prohibited code.

Google Glass sales halted but firm says kit is not dead

Google is ending sales of its Google Glass eyewear.

The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form.

Instead it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before.

The Explorer programme, which gave software developers the chance to buy Glass for $1,500 (£990) will close.

The programme was launched in the United States in 2013.

Dell S2240T Touch Panel H6V56 21.5-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor

  • Sleek and stylish – Edge-to-edge glass gives the Dell 21.5″ touch monitor a clean finish that boasts of fine craftsmanship.
  • Natural, direct and intuitive, the Dell 21.5″ touch monitor offers you a fast and easy way to use your applications. Tap, slide, swipe, turn, pinch and stretch with your fingers -it?s that simple and intuitive when used with Windows 8.1
  • Enabling touch is easy! Simply connect a USB cable from your PC to the monitor’s USB upstream port, and use either an HDMI, DVI or VGA cable to project images onscreen

Dell S2240T 21.5″ monitor

  • Diagonal Viewable Size: 21.5″ (18.77″ horiz., 10.56″ vert.)
  • Display Type: Multi-touch full HD LED
  • Resolution: Full HD 1920 x 1080 (60Hz)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen)
  • Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1 (typical), 8 million:1 (dynamic, max)
  • Max Viewing Angle: 178° vertical (typical), 178° horizontal (typical)
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2 (typical)
  • Color Gamut: CIE1931 (72%)
  • Response Time: 25 ms (typical), 12 ms (typical) with Overdrive
  • Pixel Pitch: 0.248 x 0.248 mm
  • Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA

The Bad:

  • Dat gap. There is a noticeable gap between display and glass.
  • At least on Linux: If you unplug the USB while the computer is running, the desktop session gets all kinds of confused.
  • 1080p is perhaps a bit small for a lot of people looking for a display in 2015.

The Good:

  • Responsive touch
  • Good picture, not amazing. But good.
  • Super easy to setup, just plug in the USB cable for touch
  • The stand is perfect. It stays firm, but is easy to move. It feels a bit like magic.

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