Daily Archives: June 6, 2021

Cardiff cyclist catches up with driver and gives him piece of her mind after cat call – Nation.Cymru

Posted: June 6, 2021 at 7:58 pm

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A Cardiff cyclist chased down a man who cat called her and gave him a piece of her mind of camera, before uploading the confrontation to Instagram.

Nanw Beard said she wanted to draw attention to the harassment she had to put up with every day in Wales capital, and called on men to do more to challenge the behaviour by others.

She told Nation.Cymru that she was cycling down Penarth Road in Cardiff when the man pulled alongside her to tell her she should have a health warning because your backside is going to cause an accident.

She then rode after him to confront him on camera. When I told him that was disgusting he drove away laughing. I later caught up with him and thats the interaction that you see in the video, she said.

This was the second occasion of harassment Id received that afternoon having had another man shout that he was going to f*ck me in the arse.

Ive got to the point where Im so angry and fed up with the constant barrage of street harassment I face as a woman, especially while Im alone.

Challenge it

Nanw Beard who is now 30 says that such harassment has been the norm for her since her early teens.

Its been a part of life Ive just had to accept. However, reading stories of women choosing not to accept this anymore has made me feel empowered, she said.

This man had what I presume to be his son in the car. By setting this example hes telling young men that this behaviour is ok.

I couldnt miss the opportunity to call the behaviour out. I was feeling vulnerable and intimidated following the previous encounter with the first man.

However, I felt that if he was on camera, it was unlikely that he would get out of the car or harass me further.

She says that when she accused the man of sexual harassment he tried to gaslight her and laughed.

This made me question myself, but I know that this is a common tactic when such men are called out for their behaviour, she said.

In terms of how we stop this happening, I think that the responsibility lies principally with men. Challenge the behaviour when you see it on the street, in bars, in conversations at work or anywhere.

By not speaking out, youre enabling it.

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After Making Example of Jon Rahm, PGA Tour Expects Vaccinations to Increase Significantly: Opinion – Pro Golf Weekly

Posted: at 7:58 pm

The PGA Tour wants to jab healthy young men with an experimental vaccine that has resulted in about *5,000 deaths, and all kinds of other **side effects such as heart-related issues.

All to fight a flu-like virus.

Wait. I thought COVID was a death sentence?

Nope. Not for the young and/or healthy. Ive had covid. Its exactly like the flu. I mean former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who weighs about 900 pounds, had COVID and beat it.

Now if youre old and/or have underlying conditions, it can be dangerous. But so is pneumonia and the flu. Thats why high risk patients should be vaccinated. Its a bet worth taking. But its stupid for young and healthy to become guinea pigs for an experimental vaccine that has no long term data.

But the PGA Tour really, really wants its players to be vaccinated so much so that we predicted youd start seeing more players suddenly testing positive for COVID which would act as a forcing function.

Today the PGA Tour went full-on mob and took out the top unvaccinated dog who was leading by six shots (romping the worlds best players while infected with a virus, mind you).

Jon Rahm lost so much more than money on Saturday night. He lost a win (which are not easy to come by), stats, legacy, world ranking points, FedExCup points, etc.

For having nothing more than a flu-like virus.

Yet, it was a warning shot to others who think theyll go unvaccinated.

Nice lead you have there. Be ashame if you lost it when holding an insurmountable lead after three rounds.

Afterwards, Andy Levinson, the PGA Tours VP, said he envisions a significant increase in vaccines.

You know, of course we would like to see the number higher, but full vaccination is two full weeks past the completion of a cycle, said Levinson.

So lets look at the Moderna vaccine, for example. Thats a six-week process. And youre looking at a population of a lot of young people who may not have even necessarily been eligible in their hometowns until mid-April.

So were really starting to see that percentage of people uploading their full vaccination record, thats really starting to increase significantly over the last two weeks and I expect it to continue.

Over 285 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 24, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 4,863 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. (VAERS is generally 6 weeks behind on reporting, so deaths are assumed to be well over 5,000 by now.)CDC.gov/coronavirus/adverse-events/deaths

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Why Developers Prefer Creating Apps That Begin As iOS-Exclusives? We Spoke To Two Developers Ahead Of WWDC 2021 – Mashable India

Posted: at 7:58 pm

As we gear up for the 2021 edition of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference or WWDC which is set to begin on 7th June, I wanted to revisit a question that's probably run through every young app developers mind - which mobile platform do I develop my app for - iOS or Android?

While the answer to that question is certainly not as straightforward as you'd assume, we do continue to see a lot of mainstream apps start off as iOS exclusives before trickling down to Android. Well, 2020 was the year for Clubhouse falling into that bracket, but there are a bunch of other apps too which may not have quite taken off like Clubhouse has but does show that there are a lot of developers who do prefer going the iOS-only route.

The debate as to why has been a battle that has egged on for a long time. While Android developers advocate for their platform with a claim that is more open an operating system in nature, developers who prefer iOS suggest that Apple's OS features users who are far more likely to spend on apps. While that's just one reason each to swing either way, there are a number of other factors too. But instead of drawing out a list for you to boringly scroll we spoke to the makers and providers of two iOS-only apps, in a bid to know why they chose iOS as their go-to option.

Meghna Saraogi and Akhil Tolani's real-time platform StyleDotMe founded their SaaS venture back in 2015 but mirrAR, their app on the App Store grew popular during the course of the pandemic.

In case you're wondering, mirrAR is a real-time virtual try-on application for the jewellery industry, bringing a wide range of jewellery options from across the country to consumers.

This app enables jewellers and designers to store their digitized inventory in the system with all necessary details and that can be shared directly with interested clients. Once the designs are shared, jewelers can keep track of the jewellery liked, opened and tried on by the customers and then coordinate with them accordingly over the chat functionality.

Speaking about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on jewellers and how that's greatly boosted the adoption of Augmented Reality, the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of StyleDotMe, Akhil Tolani said, "As a capital intensive industry that relied on physical retail for revenue, the move to digital mediums wasn't easy but it was inevitable in hindsight."

He states that jewellers were quick to realise that "adopting an omni-channel approach and finding immersive, engaging & safe way to connect with consumers was the only option to keep their businesses afloat."

"Virtual try-ons proved to be a win-win, bridging the gap between retail businesses & their customers," he added.

So how's the process like for a jeweller trying to create a virtual catalogue?

Tolani explains that simplicity was of the essence while creating mirrAR since they knew they were catering to an industry that is very traditional at its core.

"The process of integration is as easy as taking a photo of products, drag & drop uploading on our backend and integrating 1 line of SDK code on the website/app, or sharing a link of the inventory with shoppers that they can access on their devices to virtually try-on the designs.The platform supports virtual try-ons of 2D, 360 or 3D products."

SEE ALSO: I Attended A 'Today At Apple' Session And I've Never Been More Pleasantly Surprised

So mirrAR's creation was well thought through, but why create an app for iOS?

"We chose iOS based on a variety of parameters which includes performance abilities, hardware & camera quality, AR & ML capabilities, etc," Tolani explains.

Speaking more specifically, the 3D face tracking capabilities of ARKit, rendering quality of RealityKit and fine-tuning of CoreML all core Apple tech were influential in mirrARs creation. "The level of quality we're able to achieve in mirrAR would not have been possible without these core functionalities provided by Apple," he says.

"LiDAR could be a game-changer"

Since we were discussing AR tech, I couldn't help but ask Tolani about LiDAR and what he made of it.

Tolani claims that LiDAR will significantly improve what he called "SLAM technology" - where a person can flip to the back camera and see a realistic rendering of 3D objects placed on surfaces like tables, floor, etc.

"We're also working on an experimental solution where jewellers will be to take a 3D scan of their products using LiDAR and integrate it into mirrAR. This eliminates countless hours of man-power required to recreate 3D files from 2D product images," he adds.

To change the narrative from an AR app that has powered a brick-and-mortar industry during the pandemic, I then spoke to Kushagra Agarwal who single-handedly founded and developed an app named Cone in 2017.

Cone is an app that lets you take a photograph and enables you accurately identify up to ten Pantone colors closest to the colors captured in the photograph. The app does all its processing offline and is an official Pantone licensee and keeps getting updated with the new colors as they are released.

Why would anyone need an app like that? Well, designers, digital artists and illustrators do need an app like that almost all the time. But that's not exactly how Cone came into existence. You could read more about the journey behind Cone here, but the TL;DR version of it is that Cone was created primarily for the colorblind community as an accessibility tool.

"While developing Cone, there were advantages as well disadvantages of being colorblind. The main disadvantage, mostly during the initial phase of the development, was that it was difficult to verify if the app was correctly identifying certain colors (due to my colorblindness)."

"So, to overcome this, I used to pester my flatmates with test builds all the time. This was very useful because I had missed adding Brown color to the library and it was showing up as either Yellow or Red. I had no idea!" says Agarwal.

"On the other hand, the advantage was that I could see the benefits of the app right away, and it was very important to me. Also, rather than doing guesswork, I could tailor the app to make it work exactly how a colorblind person would want it to work."

Being someone who identifies himself as an artist, Agarwal was also able to do a very tasteful job of the apps UI and UX. "I love designs that are minimal (no extra fluff), easy to use (just works), and delightful (brings joy to the users). I always design and develop my apps keeping those 3 values in mind, and they are never an afterthought," he says.

But why pick iOS as the platform of choice for Cone?

"I think Apple definitely knows what the developers want, and year on year, they have been improving the dev tools for existing developers while also lowering the entry barrier for new developers. This is something that I haven't seen with other platforms."

"For example, Apple introduced Swift UI with iOS 13 and it's one of the best developer tools I've seen so far. It makes it super easy for new developers to get started with app development," claims Agarwal.

"Another example would be the unification of the platforms which was introduced last year which made it possible to develop multi-platform apps (include macOS) with a single codebase - reducing both the development time as well as the effort required to learn the specific APIs of a new platform."

But that just core tech. Agarwal specifically lauded Apple's AVFoundation framework stating how much easier it made it for him to get access to the data stream straight from the device's camera.

"This made the live color identification in Cone possible, which is one of the best and most useful features of Cone."

As we wait for Apple to talks us through new improvements and introductions, Kushagra had a tiny bit of advice for the team at Cupertino too, based on a bit of hearsay of course: "In the future, the technology that I would love to work on would be AR. If the rumors are true, then I would jump on the opportunity to bring Cone on Apple's AR glasses. That would make the world so much better for people with color deficiency."

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Doug Fishbone show at the Crawford couldnt be more timely – The Irish Times

Posted: at 7:58 pm

Sometimes delays do not mean all is lost. And sometimes art finds its moment. Just opened at Corks Crawford Art Gallery, Doug Fishbones exhibition, Please Gamble Responsibly, was first scheduled for May 2020. Exactly a year later, it couldnt be more timely. The installation features a monstrous grey wall. It is a reconstruction of a Carrigtwohill ghost estate, shielded by corrugated fencing, aglow with creepy looking street lighting. Inside, a video playfully but incisively skewers the ludicrous politics that have created our housing crisis.

Experiencing it now, when it appears some people find it reasonable for vulture funds to buy up entire housing estates and apartment blocks, I cant help feeling the exhibition ought to be required viewing for our politicians and policymakers. I also realised I had forgotten the joy of those thought-provoking moments of excitement and interest that art in a gallery can, on occasion, bring.

The idea of the occasional is something that particularly appeals to Crawford director Mary McCarthy. Her arrangements for the gallerys reopening reflect that. We dont do pre-booking, we feel we have enough capacity, she says. We understand why other institutions need to do it, but were in the centre of town, were open seven days a week, and that idea of dropping in has always been really important to us.

Like so many of her sister institutions, McCarthy and her team are becoming adept at reopenings. This is our third, or is it our fourth?, she casts her mind back over the past 14 months as we sit far apart in an otherwise empty room, sipping takeaway coffee. Crawfords very popular Gallery Cafe will reopen for outdoor seating on June 8th. A large marquee, put up on the grounds last year, will come into its own for the purpose.

For this reopening, a new system of contact tracing has joined the city centre venues arsenal of Covid-19 compliance which includes comprehensive safety information on the website, deep cleaning, visitor flow routes and sanitising stations. Now, you are welcomed at the door and invited to scan a QR code to log your details. A gallery attendant is also on hand in case QR codes and uploading details by phone arent your thing.

We were asked to introduce contract tracing this time round, McCarthy explains. Wed had a walk-in policy before and werent mandated to take peoples details. We have big airy spaces and we felt people werent being asked in retail spaces, so why do it in the gallery? We were also conscious that people are quite harried these days, and so we wanted to reduce that.

Consulting with colleagues, including at Dublins Hugh Lane gallery helped the team arrive at its chosen solution. A screen at the entrance shows a traffic light, letting you know its safe to enter and giving the numbers of visitors in the galleries at that time. Alongside the more acute losses that Covid has wrought, McCarthy is aware of some of the intangible things we have been also bereft of, including the ability to be spontaneous.

Time, she says, has lately taken on a different dimension. The ways we own time, the ways time owns us have all shifted. We want to get a looseness back, she says. Booking a time for takeaways, a slot at the pub; I get anxious thinking about that already. We want to make the coming in as easy as possible, so that you dont have to overthink it. You can come in and come back. It doesnt have to be a scheduled activity.

Looked at that way, art galleries are a great agent for the loosening up of time. With the exception of those blockbuster exhibitions, where your allotted spot allows you to shuffle at a pre-ordained rate past a prescribed variety of Significant Masterpieces, mostly galleries offer a calmer set of joys.

What I love most about going, says McCarthy, is that I can linger in front of something. If theres a crowd there, I can pop back. I can meet friends and say hey, lets.

The Crawford has reopened with three new exhibitions, but there are also some favourites on view. We wanted to give some touch points, so you can dive back to see old friends. People have those works that ground them.

The Canova casts are obvious stars but I was surprised how pleased I was to see John Laverys portrait of his wife Hazel, The Red Rose, languidly reclining at the top of the stairs.

McCarthy believes Covid will change how museums and galleries programme; that the constant turnover of touring works, and travelling to see shows will be dialled down. Shes also naturally keen to promote the gallerys own collections, given the 400,000 boost in collecting funds that came to the Cork gallery as part of a 1 million budget shared with the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Through the scheme, 422 works by 70 artists have been added to the collections.

As one of our National Cultural Institutions, the core team at Crawford are public sector employees. We offered to work on contact tracing, says McCarthy, but it seems they were oversubscribed. Instead, the team worked to fully inventory the collections, which I imagine to be a bit like the gallerys version of what the rest of us were doing, or vowing to do at home, ie, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and going through the sock drawer.

They also used the time to rehang some of the larger works, get the entire collection online, and create a stronger online presence which McCarthy believes is resulting in a younger audience profile who would initially have engaged through Instagram now visiting the gallery.

Digital has made us infinite, she says. Physical numbers are unsurprisingly down about 40 per cent on the same time in 2019. Thats expected as we have no real domestic and international travel yet. The gallery is averaging about 350 visitors a day; double that at weekends. I had a fear that the public may not come back, that they might not feel safe, that our older audiences may not feel comfortable leaving their homes, but it turns out that theres a high level of loyalty that we shouldnt take for granted.

The arts are also at last making their presence felt on the Government agendas. I was thrilled that the Taoiseach announced at the top of the news that museums and galleries were to open. The whole narrative up until then had been about sport. It took a lot of work to make that happen.

Amid the plans for reopening the Crawford is also looking towards another closure but not, McCarthy hopes, until the end of 2022. Then, a huge building project will extend, renovate and open new spaces to the public, in what she describes as the biggest reworking of the building in 200 years.

Wandering through the galleries there was the quiet enjoyment of the still unusual sense of being around people who arent to be experienced as toxic threats but as fellow beings, sharing an experience. I was also surprised to rediscover a new relationship to yellow. Once in this country, orange was a loaded colour, but now looking at the walls in the ground floor gallery, I began to wonder how long it may take for yellow to lose its Covid associations. Dara McGraths For Those That Tell No Tales shows a series of photographs uncannily documenting sites of killings during the War of Independence many of them tranquil or otherwise unremarkable spots today. Life, in the Crawford, goes on.


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Young Juno nominees on why theyre moving to the algorithm of TikTok – 660 News

Posted: at 7:58 pm

TORONTO Passing 10 million TikTok followers was a monumental accomplishment for Johnny Orlando, so he celebrated by plowing his face into a frosted cake.

In a goofy clip made for his account, the 18-year-old pop singer from Mississauga, Ont., drew from many ingredients of a successful TikTok moment. The soundtrack layered two of his catchiest songs and the video peaked with a grand finale that was instantly rewatchable: Orlandos face emerged from the sugary dessert with remnants of million stuck to his forehead in red icing.

Its a bit of a tradition, Orlando said of his faceplant, which has racked up 1.6 million views and counting on TikTok.

I did that for one million followers like four years ago.

Orlandos TikTok wizardry is the stuff of legend at his record label Universal Music Canada. Long before Shania Twain, Nickelback and the Tragically Hip planted their flag on the platform, he was making waves with cute pet videos, the occasional thirst trap and lots of singing.

But as the Juno Awards roll around this weekend, TikToks outsized influence on Canadian musicians is on full display.

No less than three Juno contenders for breakthrough artist rose from TikToks algorithms to global popularity over the past year.

Calgary native Tate McRaes You Broke Me First became a Generation Z anthem when TikTok users embraced it for their tearful breakup videos. So far, its turned up in more than 900,000 TikTok clips and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Vancouver-born musician Powfus sombre Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head) became an even bigger TikTok success as the theme of a trend where teens attempted to lay a kiss on their secret crush. Its been used in more than five million videos and hit No. 23 on Billboards main chart.

And Napali-Canadian artist Curtis Waters, who spent part of his youth in Alberta and British Columbia, saw TikTok fashionistas adopt the hook of Stunnin' for their bedroom runways. Its appeared in more than one million TikTok videos.

Orlando a Junos breakthrough artist nominee in 2019 heads to the awards on Sunday with a pop album of the year nomination for Its Never Really Over. And he understands that his next singles success could be determined by however it strikes audiences on TikTok.

Its a really good idea to have a TikTok strategy, he said.

If a song does well on (there), it does well everywhere else. And thats the reality these days.

Not everyone in Canadas music industry is so savvy with the platform. Even some musicians who found success there were downright unwilling to use it for the longest time.

Before the release of Stunnin,' Curtis Waters shunned TikTok as a gimmick for preteens, but when he saw how Lil Nas X used TikTok dance crazes to launch Old Town Road into the cultural zeitgeist, his opinion started to evolve.

Id ask my female friends, Hey can you make a TikTok with my song?' remembered the 21-year-old musician, born Abhinav Bastakoti.

TikToks popularity spiked around the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, which gave Bastakoti a few ideas. He said he began scouring the internet for dance tutorials in hopes of building Stunnin' around some irresistibly viral choreography. The problem was, he couldnt dance to save himself.

He did have one trick up his sleeve: an alter ego named Dancer Dan who he often brought out at drunken college parties. The character moves to his own sleepy stoner beat, complete with a few simple arm waves and handclaps.

In one of his earliest TikTok videos, he vibed to Stunnin' with Dancer Dans moves in full effect. Viewers swarmed the clip demanding he unleash the full song.

By summertime, Stunnin' was spreading all over TikTok and gaining prime real estate on popular streaming playlists. Bastakoti describes his success as mostly an effect of the pandemic.

It was just good timing for me cause everybody was already home on TikTok, he said.

I just happened to be caught in the middle of that.

Isaiah Faber, who records under the name Powfu, said he was completely surprised when the popularity of Death Bed made him one of TikToks biggest success stories. He said hed been uploading music to various platforms for two years steady before this song took off. He now ranks among Spotifys Top 500 most played artists in the world.

It was a giant leap forward, he said of his TikTok popularity.

I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that my songs after that (one) are going to do a lot better as well.

Having one TikTok hit makes it hard not to want another, he acknowledged, and sometimes his creativity has been influenced by the platform.

In the wake of Death Bed, Powfu issued Mindurmanners, a song he wrote with TikTok in mind. The lyrics include the line We be sipping Kool-Aid jammers, which he imagined might inspire some TikTok users to mimic the action with a dance.

It didnt really catch on, he said with a chuckle.

And yet he still feels pressure to keep feeding TikTok with new videos, which he admitted isnt always so easy.

I dont really know how to come up with ideas because Im not really a performer or actor, he said.

I write music, you know, so it is weird trying to make TikToks all the time.

Eric Reprid, a Vancouver indie rapper, said the power of the platform still overshadows whatever creative challenges it might present. He jumped on TikTok last year after friends suggested it would draw unparalleled attention to his music.

By September, he launched his single Cold World with a TikTok campaign that encouraged people to help him reach one million streams on Spotify.

The song crushed that goal, racking up 24 million plays and counting. Cold World is now among the contenders for rap recording of the year at the Junos.

No label could do what TikTok has helped us achieve, he said.

The exposure it gets us is unmatched.

While countless Canadian musicians are worshipping at the altar of TikTok this year, many acknowledge theyre beholden to the mysterious inner workings of the platform, which inexplicably elevate some clips and not others.

The views on Orlandos cake video, for instance, are dwarfed by the 14 million views he got on one posted a week earlier where he lip-synchs to a British rapper.

But numbers are only part of the puzzle, he suggested, as a successful TikTok strategy blends interaction, authenticity and gauges the state of the union with fans.

Beyond his verified account, he recently opened up a second TikTok that houses what he described as less polished clips. Hes attracted fewer than 200,000 followers so far, but he only opened it in January to offer a more personal side of his public face.

Its good to have both to give a more accurate picture, he added.

The 50th annual Juno Awards will air Sunday on CBC-TV and its digital platforms.


Listen to a playlist of 2021 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: https://bit.ly/CPJunos2021

Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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As EVM theories fade after Mamata Banerjees win, here is all you need to know about how EVMs cannot be hacked, no matter who wins – OpIndia

Posted: at 7:58 pm

Before every election, various political parties, specifically, the non-NDA parties, start raising questions on EVMs used by the Election Commission of India. Such doubts on EVMs go up if BJP or other NDA parties win the elections, as the non-NDA parties accuse them of winning the elections by manipulating the EVMs. But when non-NDA parties win the elections, the questions on EVMs disappear completely.

The latest example of the same is the recently concluded assembly elections. Other than Assam, where BJPs win was certain, and small union territory Puducherry, non-NDA parties have come to power in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. And as a result, no opposition leader is questioning the EVMs, until the next elections. Ahead of the assembly elections,. Mamata Banerjee and other leaders in TMC had raised EVM rigging allegations, but once the TMC govt returned to power, such allegations have disappeared.

The controversies relating to EVMS had started when they were first introduced. Since EVMS are electronic devices and since they include a processor like device inside them, there was a lot of hue and cry regarding the possibility of it being hacked.

But the contentions regarding hacking were based on an incorrect understanding of what is happening inside the EVM and what it is made up of. EVMS does not in any way work like desktop computers or even microprocessor based devices. Once they are programmed during manufacturing process, there is no means by which it can be reprogrammed to make it behave like we want to. It is more like a non-programmable calculator with a very basic set of electronics that do not in anyway resemble modern computers / programmable devices. Moreover, EVMS and Ballot units used along with are standalone units that are not connected to external devices to be manipulated (they cannot be manipulated in the first place), neither do they have hardware enabling wireless communications.Even many from the opposition parties accept this, ensuring us that EVMS are calculator like devices that cannot be hacked.

Its such misunderstandings created by flawed arguments we wish to dispel in this article.

Now, the main argument is against the VVPAT machine, which was added as a means for the voter to verify if the machine has indeed cast the vote for the candidate he had in his mind. VVPAT machine contains information about the candidate list in the constituency, their symbols and how theyve been arranged in the ballot unit. So, by checking the printout on the VVPAT machine one can verify if the ballot unit and the whole voting process was working the way it was intended to be. But there are a few things the critics bring to our notice which they think are major vulnerabilities of the VVPAT machine, when combined with the EVM-Ballot Unit duo allegedly compromises the whole election process, if such accusations are factually correct.

Lets sum up the main charges against the VVPAT and the EVM-VVPAT-Ballot Unit trio.

So, the main point against VVPAT is since it sits between the Control unit and the ballot unit, anyone somehow hacking the VVPAT tampering with its programmable memory can sabotage the whole election process and get the system to register votes for whomever the intruder wants. And it is alleged the tampering can be done when the data containing candidate list, symbols etc. are loaded into the VVPAT using laptops or other compatible devices.

Now the statement that VVPAT sits between CU and BU is correct as one can see from the diagrams provided by Election Commission of India. While without the VVPAT, the cable from BU connects the CU directlu, the cable from BU now goes to the VVPAT and a second cable from VVPAT, similar to the BU-CU cable in the old system, connects with the CU. Theres nothing doubtful regarding this. Now its the interpretative arguments about VVPAT and the connections involved that we wish to analyse.

To begin with, the purpose of VVPAT was to bring in more transparency to the voting process through electronic means. The voter, unlike before, now has a secondary means of visual verification, a paper trail that shows the candidate he had voted for. Now, since a certain percentage of VVPATs are verified at the end of the election process, matching them against the votes cast on EVMs, it is not possible by any means to tamper with the election process exactly for these two reasons:

1.VVPATs are verified by the voters at the time of elections

2.VVPATs are verified after the election is over too.

Is essence, VVPAT has brought in more transparency and trust factor in the election process.

Next, many from the opposition parties andanalysts make the claim that the VVPAT machine is a very complex system digital system that is prone to hacking. They also say it contains device drivers such as those which would be used to actuate individual components such as printers, photodiodes etc. In effect, they compare the whole VVPAT to a general purpose mini computer. This is where the whole argument is erroneous.

Simple machines such as standalone printers which are not normally connected to computers, and meant for very specific purposes such as a token machine or a billing machine, runs on something called Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC). What it means that the IC used has been pre-programmed, much like the one-time programmable EVM. ASICs are not reprogrammable in the sense that you cannot change the code it runs on.

Malware can affect only those systems which actually resemble general purpose computers, which runs on an Operating system and has features like RAM etc. The only thing it is designed to receive from an external device is the information about what it should be printing. Just like a token machine can be programmed to alter the content it is supposed to print by using a custom-made application, VVPAT too is most likely desgined around an Application Specific integrated circuit, and the only thing one can change is what it prints, which is done by ECIL engineers before the elections, using symbol loading Jigs or laptops as we have been told by ECI.

The code it runs cannot be changed since it should ideally run on an ASIC. We can simply disregard the allegation that VVPAT is hackable just by noting that it should ideally run on an application specific Integrated Circuit designed to carry out a specific task, here printing and acting as a bridge between the BU and CU, and that its code cannot be accessed or changed.

This method of loading external data is also used in setting the Real Time Clock inside the Control Unit using time setting Jigs. Here too, the OTP (One Time Programmable) chip inside the Control Unit has been preprogramed to receive information about time and date, just as VVPAT receives the information of candidates using symbol loading Jigs/Laptops with symbol loading application made by ECIL. So, just connecting the EVM to an *external device* cannot change the code it runs on. The same logic applies to VVPAT running on an application specific IC, much like that of the EVM control Unit.

ECI also mentions that newer models of EVMs are encrypted to the hardware level so that only ECIL/BEL components can be interconnected. This further weakens the argument that any type of tampering is possible. ECI also states these machines are not stand alone in the strictest sense, but needs to be occasionally interfaced with ECIL/BEL certified components for data upload, inspection etc.

Now since ECI hasnt yet released the internal schematics of both the EVM and VVPAT, our argument about VVPAT should hold just as good as that for EVM.

Just as EVM ideally runs on a One-time Programmable chip which isnt hackable, VVPAT too like other special purpose printers should run on Application based integrated circuits which arent reprogrammable in the strictest sense of the word, and hence not-hackable like a general-purpose computer which runs on an operating system and has accessories like RAM etc.

Critics make another accusation that the introduction of VVPAT into the system is a patchwork which has compromised the security of the election process, because a programmable device is sitting in between Control Unit and Ballot Unit.

But this philosophy of cascading multiple devices has always been there in election processes, right from its introduction. For instance, when the total number of candidates in a constituency exceeds 16, the maximum number of keys in a single Ballot Unit, additional units are cascaded, i.e., connected in series. The connection is shown below.

So, to cast vote for, say 20th candidate, the voter has to use the second Ballot Unit, and the signal passes through the first Ballot Unit to the EVM.

Now since ASIC based devices are themselves not reprogrammable/hackable, the new arrangement devised by designers, Ballot Unit-VVPAT-Control Unit, is nothing different from the old Ballot Unit-Ballot Unit-Control Unit philosophy, since we have argued that VVPAT is not hackable and the only variable inside it is the data for printing.

Based on this too, we can conceptually dispel the allegation that the signal given out by Ballot Unit is prone to manipulation by the processor inside VVPAT. For one thing, you cannot change the code of an ASIC based machine. Second, such a transfer of data, like that already employed in the cascading of Ballot Units, can be employed by a simple timed latch, another non programmable component.

Now, coming to the uploading of symbols. What the critics say is in concordance with what the Election Commission of India has to tell- symbols and other information are uploaded via laptops or other symbol loading machines. Now since the ASIC on which the VVPAT should ideally run, like any other ASIC, will treat this just as data and not as code, because they are non-reprogrammable in the first place.

Which means the worst one can do to an ASIC based VVPAT is to get it print something crazy. But this is an explicit error and can be noted by the voters. Now, such types of attacks on printers have occurred in the recent past, likewhen printers whose ports were open to the internet have been tricked into printing random stuff.

So, the only kind of printers that are hackable at least to this level are hobby based ones such as given below, which runs of programmable micro controller based platforms. But it would be naive to think any serious designer would go for it.

Above all of these, as said in the beginning, the Control Unit of an EVM attaches a time stamp for each and every vote cast using a Real Time Clock (RTC). The presiding officer registers the sequence of voting too. The voting process is monitored by CCTV surveillance as well. So, during VVPAT matching, any discrepancy that crept in due to a possible hacking can be found out. This verification of VVPAT itself debunks the argument that the election process can be rigged by employing a malware. In fact, VVPAT has provided more transparency in the voting process and has elevated the trust factor common people would ascribe to elections through electronic means.

So, the arguments by critics about VVPAT philosophy is both counter intuitive and wrong.

VVPAT has brought in more transparency to the election process, since votes cast are now verifiable. Use of VVPAT itself knocks off the argument that these machines can be hacked without anyone noticing, since the voting process uses time-stamping and video surveillance.

VVPAT machines, like printers, are not complex digital machines like programmable general purpose computers in the strictest sense of the word. They run on Application Specific Integrated Circuits the code of which is unalterable.

It neednt contain executables like device drivers you would see in Operating System based platforms, but the code has been pre-programmed into it.

Since ASIC based machines like VVPAT printers does not contain an operating system and RAM, you cannot manipulate it using any kind of malware.

The Ballot Unit VVPAT Control Unit philosophy is essentially the same as the Ballot Unit Ballot Unit Control Unit cascading philosophy used in elections.

Here we may prove the equivalency of CU-BU-BU cascading and CU-VVPAT-BU cascading since both VVPAT and EVM+BU are not reprogrammable/hackable.

Even the data uploading in VVPAT is in agreement with what is done in the Control unit, for example, setting of time using Jigs.

Printers can only be hacked to the extent of being tricked into printing something esle it was not intended to, which would become obvious to the eyes. Such cases have been reported worldwide, and happens mainly because their input ports were being continuously exposed to the Internet, or a hacked computer.

In essence, these arguments apply only to either general purpose desktop computers, or hobby designs such as described above. (Hobby designs use custom programmable microprocessor-based platforms, like an Arduino Uno or Raspberry pi).

That the statement VVPAT being a patchwork on the existing system is far from logically correct even by considering the basic intentions behind incorporating VVPAT machine into the existing system. VVPAT was meant to function as a verification process in the existing scheme of things, and not as a correction to the old system. So, even going by an elementary level of reasoning, it doesnt look like the designers would have compromised an otherwise perfect methodology just to incorporate a verification mechanism. If adding something like a printer into it might dislodge its safety features, would such eminent designers have even gone for it. Now this defence is by no means fool proof, for only a reasonable technical examination of the arguments like that given above would vindicate it.

Author: Sooraj R

(This article was originally published on authors website)

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As EVM theories fade after Mamata Banerjees win, here is all you need to know about how EVMs cannot be hacked, no matter who wins - OpIndia

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Watch out: These online casino emails never pay what they promise – BleepingComputer

Posted: at 7:57 pm

Spammers are abusing affiliate programs to promote online casinos, such as Raging Bull Casino, Sports and Casino, Ducky Luck, and Royal Ace Casino, with misleading emails.

Many of the larger online casinos utilize an affiliate program that allows other websites or influencers to promote their products and earn a commission for anyone who signs up for an account.

To refer users, the affiliates will create specially crafted URLs that contain an affiliates ID or drops a cookie that allows the casino to give them credit when a referral registers a new account.

This week, BleepingComputer was told about an online spam campaign conducted by affiliates of online casinos that are bombarding users with misleading emails stating they won the 'Grand Prize,' that a large cash payout is ready, or that the recipient needs to confirm their account.

After being told about the campaign, we took a look at the spam folder for one of our emails accounts and saw that we too are heavily targeted with this spam campaign, as shown below.

While Gmail has done an excellent job marking these types of emails as spam, other free email services may not do as good of a job, and the spam could make it into the general mailbox.

For example, below are two affiliate spam emails for Raging Bull Casino and Royal Ace Casino. You can see that they promise a payout of $3,500 or a betting strategy will be shared after confirming their online account.

When clicking on the links, the user is redirected through another site that drops an affiliate cookie and then redirects them to the casino.

As you can see below, the redirection to Raging Bull Casino includes the affiliate ID (affid) in the URL so that the affiliate can get credit for the signup.

As you can imagine, when you sign up for the account expecting a nice payout waiting for you, there is no payout waiting for you. Instead, the only one making money is the affiliate who sent you the email.

BleepingComputer has reached out to the online casinos listed in the article and their affiliate managers, if available, but did not receive a response.

If you receive these types of emails, simply mark them as spam so that your email provider's spam filters will be trained to recognize them in the future.

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Online Casinos: How to Be More Successful and Personalize the Experience – Boca Raton’s Most Reliable News Source | Boca Raton’s Most Reliable News…

Posted: at 7:57 pm

Online casinos provide a unique, high-class experience that is difficult to find in other gaming outlets. They epitomize everything that playing games should be about: fun, excitement, thrills, critical thinking, and memorable moments that last for a lifetime.

While some people only play online casinos casually for fun, others are concerned with successfully hitting the jackpot. Of course, its not always easy, but winning at different casino games is simpler than you would think.

To get started, follow some of these pro tips that will not only help to improve your success; they will assist in personalizing your online casino experience.

The strength of your internet or Wi-Fi connection is pivotal to your casino experience. When theres money involved, your connection needs to be reliable; this way, you wont encounter any potential losses. For example, some casino games will continue the game for you after a disconnection but will automatically make decisions for you which might not be the decisions you would have made yourself.

Before you play in an online casino, such as https://www.luckynuggetcasino.com/ca/, you need to test the speed of your Wi-Fi connection. You can do this through most search engines, with Google being the most suitable. However, if youre test results come back slow, its time to make changes to improve the connection. Here are some ways you can do this:

Generally, there are two types of games in the online casino universe:

When youre playing luck-based games, like slots, youre limited with what you can do strategically.

However, skill-based games open an amazing opportunity for you to introduce different strategies that will help you to win more frequently.

If youre playing a skill-based game, like poker, there are endless strategy YouTube channels that provide in-depth guides for you to follow. Jonathan Little Poker Coaching is an excellent example.

Similarly, there are books (and e-books) for various poker games that discuss strategies, too.

Online casinos are a goldmine when it comes to rewarding their consumers. New signups and regular players are frequently rewarded with bonuses and promotions a common one being free spins. For example, one provider might offer 50 free spins for new players, or 30 spins every Saturday for 1 year + members.

These bonuses and promotions are essentially free money for you to take advantage of. You never know, one free spin could end up hitting the jackpot for you so make sure to use them all.

A gamers setup is their pride and enjoy, and is often the key component behind winning and losing. As an online casino player, youre doing yourself a disservice if you havent designed your own setup. Head over to YouTube to check out what pro gamers use in their setups to get an idea of what you should buy. Primarily, you should be focusing on your desk chair, headphones (or earphones), and lighting.

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Online Casinos: How to Be More Successful and Personalize the Experience - Boca Raton's Most Reliable News Source | Boca Raton's Most Reliable News...

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Different regulations surround advertising online casinos in the Baltics – Baltic Times

Posted: at 7:57 pm

The online casino sector is one that has seen consistent growth across the Baltics over recent years, and this trend has accelerated under the strange circumstances of the past 15 months. In fact, it is among the minority of industries that is thriving in these difficult economic times, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of new entrants looking to build a brand and take market share from the more established names.

This sort of highly competitive environmenthasprovedgood news for consumersacross Europe, as it means the different platforms are constantly trying to outdo one another with bigger and better promotions. However, growing restrictions around advertising mean thatthis is no longer such asimple matterin the Baltic nations. The specific rules vary from one country to the next.

Lithuania a total ban

Last month, the Lithuanian governmentannounced a complete banon the promotion and advertising of gambling by any means. Clearly, this is as all-encompassing as it can get. Not only does it mean no TV or online ads,it evenprohibits the casinos from operating self-promotion in the form of giveaways, bonuses, free spins and the like.

Some might argue that the Lithuanian gambling sites have brought this on themselves. At the height of the pandemic, the nationsGaming Control Authority, advised operators to cease TV advertising due to concerns that citizens were getting a little too fond of the slots and the roulette wheel. This advice was generally disregarded, and so legislative steps were an inevitable consequence.

Latvia holding firm

There was a widespread belief among industry insiders that Latvia would also implement tighter legislative controls on gambling when Parliament met last month to debate the topic. Ultimately,the legislative draft calling to restrict gambling to only a handful of locations in the countrywas rejected.

However, as far as advertising is concerned, controls are already highly restrictive. In fact, advertising ofLatvian online casinosin the conventional sense, such as through TV ads,is already prohibited. Gambling advertising is only permitted within the casino itself, and even here, the operators are restricted to mentioning only the name of the venue, theorganizerand the registered trademark.

Estonia a different story

Estonia has arguably the most mature gambling market of all the Baltic states, and it is also the most liberal from a regulatoryperspective. Indeed, there have been no legal changes or restrictions added in recent years apart from the enforced closures during the pandemic that affected all non-essential businesses. Whats more, there are no indications that the Estonian parliament has any plans to debate new or tighter controls.

As such, Estonian gambling operators have a relatively free hand when it comes to advertising. Late night TV and ads on free streaming sites like YouTube are a particularly popular choice. The casinos can openly promote their special offers, free spins and the like.

Working together is key

Sowho is right? One of the big differences between Lithuanian operators and those in Estonia is one of mindset. The former showed no inclination to listen to the advice of regulators, and the result was inevitable. In Estonia, industry players have cooperated to bringabout controls such as exclusion programmes,to help combat problem gambling. In return, the industry has been given freedom to manage itsownadvertising activitieswithoutexternal intervention or tight control.

Perhaps there arelessonsto belearnedhere,both for the rest of the Baltics but also for other gambling markets across Central and Western Europe.

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Cryptocurrency and its Impact on Casino Industry – South Florida Reporter

Posted: at 7:57 pm

There are multiple trends that come up to give the gambling industry a refurbished look. Out of which, many are the outcomes of the ongoing progression of technology. Besides, the need to fulfill players of distinct types is another factor that has made the gambling industry develops further.

The majority of the online casino platforms use advanced technology and the latest trends to meet the requirements of the gambling market that keeps changing in no time.

While some companies are cautious when it comes to incorporating any quick changes as they are unsure of the impact it may have in the future. Also, people wait to see the impact on the industries that adapt to such changes quickly. In other words, they have the fear of risks which ultimately leads to losses. However, the scenario is not the same as far as online casinos like the BTC casino are concerned.

If you are one of those fascinated with the idea of gambling through cryptocurrency, well you are not alone. Many people prefer using this mode to do payments and transactions.

Not everyone is well versed with cryptocurrency and for all those, this article will give a fair idea of how these currencies work in the gambling industry. You can also refer to bitcoinbuster.com to understand the terms and conditions of the game and the different payment modes the site accepts along with cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency plays a significant role in the gambling industry. But, before learning about the role, you should first get clarity on what cryptocurrency is and how it functions. Some of the common payment methods include bank transfers, electronic wallets for fund deposits, credit or debit cards, and fiat currencies to name a few. These methods are used by players to claim their winnings. Now, lets find out the meaning of cryptocurrency.

A digital currency that is secure and guarded by cryptography is cryptocurrency. It is intangible which means it works virtually. It uses Blockchain technology and hence it is decentralized.

With the help of Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency offers unmatchable services in terms of banking in the digital world. Cryptocurrencies are of different types and some of the popular ones have been listed below.

These types of currencies are mostly found at online casinos and sports betting sites. The importance of cryptocurrency has increased over time due to its key features that make transactions secure, safe, and quick.

There is no denying that gambling is very commonly played in most countries today. Gamblers from all across the world use distinct types of cryptocurrencies at casinos and sports betting sites online. The process of withdrawals and deposits is quick and hassle-free.

The advantages of using cryptocurrencies are many. And the best part is it is not only advantageous to gamblers but also the ones operating casinos too. The casino site owners allow this method of payment as the scope to earn profits is higher. In addition to these benefits, some of the main benefits are as follows.

This is one of the prime features of cryptocurrency that attracts players. Safety is the topmost priority for gamblers as there are many risks involved. Hacking is most common nowadays and the technology used by the hackers is similar.

However, cryptocurrency helps to complete your transactions successfully. Your private data remains intact as there is no fear of data theft or leakage. Thus, Blockchain technology ensures the safest and secure transactions.

Besides players, gambling owners also enjoy the benefits of Blockchain technology. With the help of Blockchain technology, casino operators can offer the best user experience. There is no third party involved in this technology and hence it is a safer place to gamble and bet online.

Quick transactions, safe withdrawals and deposits, quick transactions, and the enhanced gaming experience are some of the other benefits. There is no denying that cryptocurrency is highly beneficial for gamblers and hence it has become an integral part of the gambling industry.

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Cryptocurrency and its Impact on Casino Industry - South Florida Reporter

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