After rolling out its Password Checkup extension, Google found that hundreds of thousands of people were using already hacked passwords.
'How often do you change your passwords and how worried are you about them getting hacked?Given how flimsy some of the world’s most common passwords are, it would appear that some users aren’t wholly concerned with the possible threat posed by hackers.Yet new research from Google may give you pause if you’re using a years-long password.The company debuted its Password Checkup extension for Chrome, which displays a warning whenever users sign in with one of the 4bn usernames and passwords known to be unsafe as a result of third-party breaches . Around 650,000 people have used the service since it was first rolled out and Google has been tracking the usage.In a study released yesterday (15 August), the internet giant said that after scanning 21m usernames and passwords it flagged more than 316,000 unsafe sign-ins in the first month alone, which accounts for 1.5pc of all sign-ins scanned by the extension. “Based on anonymous telemetry reported by the Password Checkup extension, we found that users reused breached, unsafe credentials for some of their most sensitive financial, government and email accounts,” the report stated. “This risk was even more prevalent in shopping sites where users may save credit card details, [as well as] news and entertainment sites.” The company’s study, available here , will be presented in full as part of the USENIX Security Symposium in Santa Clara, California.In the past few weeks, a number of high-profile data breaches exposed customer data the world over.Users of custom retail website CafePress may have had their passwords exposed after it suffered a data breach in February 2019.Financial corporation Capital One also suffered a hack that targeted the personal information of customers and people who had submitted credit card applications.It is said that as many as 100m customer applications were affected.Websites such as Have I Been Pwned are a resource for users to check whether or not their information has been compromised and, if so, what information. . The post Google research says thousands are using passwords that have been hacked appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
After rolling out its Password Checkup extension, Google found that hundreds of thousands of people were using already hacked passwords.
Leaving cert offers bring good news for cybersecurity companies as demand for third-level computer science increases.
'According to Aoife Stokes, head of HR at BSI Ireland , the need for computer science professionals is more urgent now than ever before.Continuous advances in technologies that we increasingly rely on in the workplace mean that we need talented protectors to keep our data out of harm’s way.The good news for companies in the industry is that this year’s third-level applications saw a rise in demand for computer science.Applications to STEM courses saw strong growth in general, which Stokes attributed to expanding interest for careers in the field.With computer science set to become an official Leaving Cert subject next year, there’s a good chance that the future of our cybersecurity is in good hands.Stokes said: “The rise in points for computer science is a positive one for our industry and will go towards meeting the supply shortage for qualified professionals.As a course, computer science is a very rewarding one for students and it brings many excellent job opportunities with it. “There is a clear demand for talent in the sector at present and for the future and we need the talent to fill positions.The global cybersecurity sector is experiencing 0pc unemployment at present and by 2021 it is predicted that there will be 3.5m roles unfilled.We seek qualified candidates across a wide range of positions from ethical hackers, to cybersecurity senior consultants, security testing professionals and eDiscovery and forensic consultants in the global markets that we operate in. “Those in education, industry and Government need to maintain and increase their level of commitment in providing as much information as possible to students around STEM subjects and what they offer as a career.Next year will see the first group of students taking the newly introduced computer science subject for the Leaving Certificate and I look forward to seeing how the students engage with it.” . The post Rise in demand for computer science could futureproof our cybersecurity appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
The UK's first female surgeon, Dr Louisa Aldrich-Blake, would have been 154 years old on a pivotal day for students in Ireland.
'Almost 60,000 students will have received their first-round offers today following the announcement of their leaving cert results earlier this week.This year’s state exams saw strong growth in STEM-related subjects, with their uptake increasing by 5pc to more than 88,000 papers, according to a report from Engineers Ireland.With these subjects gaining popularity, STEM courses in colleges around the country are sure to be high on many CAO lists.Fittingly, today would have been the 154th birthday of a figure who inspired women to step into the world of STEM and pursue science-related careers.Louisa Aldrich-Blake , an extraordinary British doctor and the UK’s first female surgeon, is well-known for her creation of revolutionary surgical techniques that spared lives of warriors during World War I.Having enrolled in the London School of Medicine for Women aged 22, Aldrich-Blake has since been commended for helping to break down barriers for women pursuing medical careers.Her achievements include earning a gold medal for surgery in 1893 and an M.D. in 1894, at which point she officially made history by becoming the first woman certified as Master of Surgery a year later.Some of Aldrich-Blake’s most notable work can be seen in her paper discussing a creative treatment for rectal cancer in the British Medical Journal and her time as the first female surgical registrar and anesthetist at the Royal Free Hospital.Defying critics who questioned whether women had a place in military hospitals, she personally wrote to every female doctor she knew, urging them to volunteer and inspiring numerous young women to enroll in medical school.In 1925, she was named a Dame of the British Empire, and a statue was raised in her honor near the headquarters of the British Medical Association.Today, Google has devoted its main page doodle to Aldrich-Blake with art from Lydia Nichols.For the women across Ireland who as of today will be accepting offers and going on to study medicine and medicine-related subjects at third level, Aldrich-Blake can be looked to as a pioneering symbol of encouragement in what was once a male-saturated profession. . The post Student college offers marked by birthday of a medical trailblazer appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Keeping your data safe in the online world doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or arduous.
'Amid a constant barrage of news of breaches and increasingly complex malware , it’s easy to feel like a sitting duck in the digital sphere.As the world becomes more digital, threat actors are becoming even more sophisticated in their modes of attack.That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t take extremely straightforward steps to better guard your data and your accounts.Being cyber secure doesn’t need to be costly or labour-intensive.In fact, these personal cybersecurity tips are almost painfully easy.Keep your software up to date Software isn’t perfect and often needs to evolve; that’s why software developers will frequently create updates and then roll them out to users.These patches will do anything from resolving vulnerabilities to ironing out annoying bugs.Yet you may not always patch software for a few different reasons.It could be that you are prompted to update but then forget.You may not want to deal with the inconvenience of having to shut down your app or device, which is often required when an update comes through.You may worry that a patch will bring with it its own host of new bugs or that it may cause your device to lag.While these concerns are understandable, rest assured that the repercussions of getting hacked will far outweigh any annoyance that comes from having to update.Cybercriminals are aware that users are occasionally sluggish to patch, and they will exploit this.You should make sure all your apps, devices and important browser plug-ins such as Flash and Java always have the latest patch.Most devices and apps have a setting which automatically loads updates as they are released, which you should consider turning on if you find yourself forgetting to update.Use stronger passwords Passwords as rudimentary as ‘password1’ are still among the most commonly used passwords.You wouldn’t tie a piece of twine to the handle to lock your front door, so why would you guard your data with an extremely hackable password?Considering the amount of highly sensitive data you store on your online accounts, such as banking information and health data, leaving your accounts vulnerable can be detrimental.A quick tutorial on creating more secure passwords; take four random terms such as ‘Kafka’ ‘cauliflower’, ‘hand’ and ‘paracetamol’. Dream up a little story to link the terms – such as ‘Kafka put down the cauliflower in his hand and picked up some paracetamol’. Put the four terms together (KafkaCauliflowerHandParacetamol) and then replace some of the consonants and vowels with numbers and special characters, such as replacing ‘L’ with a ‘1’ and ‘a’ with an ‘@’ sign.Now, you have a far more difficult-to-crack password complete with a handy technique for remembering it.Better yet, get a password management service such as LastPass , 1Password and Dashlane . These services will generate and store secure passwords for you and often will automatically log you in whenever you land on relevant web pages.Read your emails carefully Some cybersecurity experts say that malware is actually not as popular a method of infection as it once was.If anything, cybercriminals these days are more likely to rely on ‘social engineering’ – in other words, they’ll simply trick users into granting them access.One of the most common ways to do this is with phishing scams via email, so you must be really careful whenever you are prompted to share personal details or download pdfs, voice recordings, images or files.If you receive an email that purports to be from your bank, one of your utility carriers or your employer, ask yourself if the request they’re making is something they’d likely petition over email.Look at the email address – is it the bank’s official email, or is it a string of numbers?The text of an email can be indicative too.If the tone is unnatural or otherwise strikes you as ‘off’, delete the message.When in doubt, look up the official contact details for these organisations and ask them whether they’re genuinely trying to reach you.Ask if you’ve been ‘pwned’ Have I Been Pwned is an excellent tool which allows you to input your email and analyse available information about data breaches to see whether your accounts have been affected and, if so, what was accessed.It’s an extremely simple way to ascertain how exposed your data has been so far.If you have been caught up in a breach, changing your password and not using the password from that account again for any of your profiles can remedy the situation.The website even sometimes sends email alerts to let users know when breaches have occurred, meaning that you can stay informed and act quickly when leaks happen.Re-think what data you give away Look closely at the kind of information companies want you to give them.When signing up a service, the entry forms may cast the net widely, but that doesn’t mean you should provide everything they’re asking for.When in doubt, only provide information that is absolutely necessary.People may have this heightened awareness about their financial information, for example, but they won’t necessarily be as protective with their phone number.Yet if a threat actor has your phone number, they can use a technique called ‘ SIM hacking ’ to steal your mobile number and their either hold that number at ransom or even use it to gain access to your bank account, Paypal and more.This is just one example of ways that data you may think is pretty innocuous can be used against you in very sinister ways if it falls into the wrong hands, so don’t just give it away without weighing up the pros and cons first.Get the right tools There are a few tools you can get to further beef up your personal cybersecurity practices.Having a good firewall and anti-virus software is a great first step that, fortunately, most users already have.Have you considered getting a two-factor authentication (2FA) key, however? 2FA keys prompt an extra layer of authentication when logging into devices or accounts, such as asking you to give a personal PIN number as well as your password to access your bank account.They are available in both software and hardware form, though some would argue that hardware is more user-friendly . You could also consider getting a privacy screen protector which makes it that people can’t see your screen from certain angles. . The post 6 easy cybersecurity tips you can implement right now appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Amazon’s Rekognition software is now able to see fear, but some groups fear that it could wrongly used in the years to come.
'Amazon is the latest company to face the ire of civil rights groups over technology that is finding its way into the hands of governments.It recently announced that an update to its Rekognition software – designed for face detection and analysis – has added a new emotion to its repertoire. “With this release, we have further improved the accuracy of gender identification,” it said in a statement. “In addition, we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all seven emotions: ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’, ‘surprised’, ‘disgusted’, ‘calm’ and ‘confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘fear’.” The software is currently used for analysing large databases of images and videos, with customers ranging from media production companies to police forces.Now however, with the addition of fear as a detectable emotion, organisations have raised alarm bells over its use by law enforcement and have gone as far as to call for a stop to its use by them.The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently claimed that Rekognition falsely identified 26 Californian lawmakers as being matches to criminal mugshots on its public database of 25,000 photos.The experiment run by the union was attempting to highlight errors in the facial recognition software and encourage the passing of a bill in the US state that would ban its use on cameras worn by police officers. ‘Amazon is going to get someone killed’ Another organisation has also derided the technology, with the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future claiming Amazon was building “the dystopian surveillance state of our nightmares”. In a statement , the group’s deputy director Evan Greer did not hold back in her criticisms of the new update. “Amazon is going to get someone killed by recklessly marketing this dangerous and invasive surveillance technology to governments,” she said. “Facial recognition already automates and exacerbates police abuse, profiling, and discrimination.Now Amazon is setting us on a path where armed government agents could make split second judgements based on a flawed algorithm’s cold testimony.” However, as reported by GeekWire , an Amazon spokesperson responded to claims made by the ACLU saying it is “once again knowingly misusing and misrepresenting Amazon Rekognition to make headlines”. “As we’ve said many times in the past, when used with the recommended 99pc confidence threshold and as one part of a human driven decision, facial recognition technology can be used for a long list of beneficial purposes, from assisting in the identification of criminals to helping find missing children to inhibiting human trafficking,” they added. . The post Civil rights groups ring alarm bells over Amazon AI that can now see fear appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Upwork has revealed what the most sought-after skills currently are in the US freelance labour market and tech industry.
'Freelancing website Upwork has released its newest quarterly index of the most popular skills in the US freelance job market.The Upwork Skills Index ranks the site’s 20 fastest-growing skills in a quarterly series, shedding light on new and emerging skills and providing real-time validation of current trends in the labour market and tech industry.According to a new report published by the platform, nearly half (48pc) of hiring managers in the US agree that the increased specialization of skills is disrupting their business. “In booming cities like Boston, Denver, San Francisco and San Jose, the unemployment rate has fallen below three pc, which makes finding qualified and highly-specialized talent more challenging than ever before,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Social Contract. “As a result, for more and more skills, businesses are relying on non-traditional talent sources to effectively engage the best workers, no matter where they live.” The top five freelance skills listed on the index are ServiceNow, DaVinci Resolve, Social video marketing, Highcharts and PyTorch.Key insights for the freelance market Topping the list is ServiceNow, a digital workflow platform.Its growth reinforces that digital transformation is a real and strategic imperative for businesses as developers who can build integrations for the platform are in high-demand.Big data The ever-expanding field of data science is causing more US companies to invest in solutions that allow them to harness information and reliably inform business decisions.This is reflected by a r ecent survey by Harvey Nash , reporting 44pc of CIOs having cited big data and analytics as the scarcest tech skill.Video content To satisfy the 87pc of online marketers reportedly using video content to engage their customers, demand has grown for experts who can develop social media marketing strategies that leverage video to increase customer engagement with a brand.AI solutions A growing number of organizations have strong feelings that AI will be essential for our future, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights.As businesses invest more in AI, they’re increasingly relying on independent talent to explore its applications and use cases.Mobile app development Mobile apps are projected to have the most impact on business success by 2020, according to a new report by Gartner . Enterprises looking to build apps that allow them to connect with customers in meaningful ways are hiring specialists familiar with low-code software solution skills.Recruitment tech Hiring has become harder, and access to skills and talent scarcity are the biggest hiring challenges, not just in the US but here in Ireland too.As a result, businesses are seeking professionals adept in technical recruiting to source talent and develop stronger learning and development programmes for their employees.The full index can be found here. . The post What are the most popular freelance tech skills among US employers? appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
A limited number of British Airways passengers will soon get a chance to watch their in-flight movie through a VR headset.
'Virtual reality (VR) is taking to the skies as part of a trial on select British Airways flights.Customers will be able to enjoy a selection of films, documentaries and travel programmes available in 2D, 3D or 360-degree formats through VR headsets, which the airline says is a UK first.This includes therapeutic programmes, with guided meditation and sound therapy designed to help travellers who suffer with a fear of flying.It will work whether the passenger is sitting upright or lying flat during their flight, British Airways explained.The technology will be available to first-class flyers on select flights from London Heathrow to New York JFK until the end of 2019. “We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air,” said Sajida Ismail, head of in-flight product at British Airways. “VR has the power to revolutionise in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our [first-class] customers.” British Airways has enlisted VR eyewear firm SkyLights to carry out the test using its AlloSky headsets.The airline has committed to investing £6.5bn for its customers over five years, which will go towards improvements such as installing more Wi-Fi services and power to aircraft seats.Bringing technologies such as VR to the skies is becoming big business for a number of start-ups.Coinciding with the British Airways announcement, it was revealed that Inflight VR – a start-up with offices in Barcelona and Munich –had secured €4m in funding.In February, it began offering its VR and 3D entertainment services on board select flights of the Spanish airline, Iberia.It is also working with other airlines such as Jin Air and Singapore Airlines to roll out the technology on board. – PA Media, with additional reporting by Colm Gorey . The post British Airways to trial VR headsets on aircraft, but only for first class appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Monika Gostomska, talent acquisition manager at Verizon, discusses what makes candidates stand out during the company’s interview process.
From AI and computer vision to IoT and robotics, these five start-ups are developing deep tech for the factory production line.
'The fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0, has been a hot topic for the World Economic Forum for some time, so no surprise that some of its selected Technology Pioneers of 2019 are operating in this area.A grand total of 56 emerging tech firms from around the world made this year’s list for the bold new ways they’re tackling challenges and creating solutions.Among them are five stand-out start-ups transforming production and manufacturing with technological solutions.From artificial intelligence and computer vision to the internet of things and robotics, this is deep tech for the factory production line.Bright Machines Founded just last year, fast-growing Bright Machines is ushering in an era of software-defined manufacturing.Headquartered in San Francisco, the company takes a software-first approach to bring intelligence and automation to the factory floor.The future of manufacturing just got a lot brighter.Today, we're bringing our vision of Software-Defined Manufacturing to life with the introduction of Bright Machines Microfactories. https://t.co/CjiWdOGeMb pic.twitter.com/Vo949C7Bsg — Bright Machines (@bright_machines) June 26, 2019 This US company has been around since 2012 and is led by CEO and co-founder Jon Hirschtick.With users in more than 170 countries logging more than 8m hours on the platform, Onshape’s growth has attracted $169m in investment Andreessen Horowitz, North Bridge and other leading investors.Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox?Sign up for Tech Trends , Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news. . The post 5 pioneering start-ups creating the factory of the future appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Slack has added a host of new features designed to help admins manage Slack at scale and streamline company announcements.
'Productivity workplace platform Slack has today (14 August) announced a number of new features it is rolling out in order to make it easier for larger organisations to configure the app to best suit their needs. “As Slack adoption at large enterprise organisations expands, administrative tasks such as granting guest access or setting up new workspaces becomes repetitive and time-consuming when scaled to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of employees,” the company said.For example, teams on Slack’s Plus or Enterprise Grid plans can now adjust posting permissions for channels in the app.This can allow admins to create specific announcement channels populated with thousands of users without risking that salient company information will be drowned out in a din of posts from users. “Granular controls over who can post in a channel keep surrounding chatter to a minimum, leaving the space clear for the most important updates,” an update from the company explains.New APIs to automate boring admin Slack will also soon roll out new APIs to help enterprise admins streamline and automate some of the common workflows for slack.The APIs will allow admins to create new workspaces and assign them a name, domain and description; assign members to workspaces without each individual needing to join themselves; invite guest accounts to specific channels; delegate admin responsibilities to particular members and automatically trigger all the aforementioned features based on information collected via web forms.The APIs can also manage app approvals across all workspaces in a Grid organisation and can automatically approve or reject apps based on information.For example, if an organisation only uses a specific application to open its files, the new service will allow admins to automatically whitelist that application across all workspaces.Users who want to figure out how to best leverage the new features are advised to visit Slack’s Help Centre to find instructions on how to create announcement channels and to visit Slack API to find out more about building bots personalised to suit your team’s needs. . The post Here are the newest features coming to Slack appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Cray have been tasked with building a supercomputer, more powerful than any other, to make nuclear weapons better.
'The US government – through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) – has tasked the supercomputer manufacturer Cray with building its first exascale computer dubbed ‘El Capitan’ at a cost of $600m.In a statement, the company said that the supercomputer will have a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops – equivalent to 1.5 quintillion calculations per second – and is expected to enter service in late 2022.Given that the powerful machine will be in the hands of the NNSA, its purpose is to run some of the most complex situations imaginable to replicate nuclear weapons tests without having to detonate one.The US last tested a nuclear weapon in 1992, with many of the world’s nuclear powers having also stopped their detonation due to the considerable harm they bring to the planet.However, with more than 4,600 nuclear weapons still possessed by the US military, the government is keen to make sure the security and performance of its stockpile is completely understood.In essence, El Capitan aims to do to supercomputers in a similar way to what the Manhattan Project did for the atomic bomb.We have selected @Cray_Inc to build El Capitan, our first exascale supercomputer. #ExploreElCapitan and what it will do for national security → https://t.co/qukIQzNwJ7 pic.twitter.com/29UKXIopvS — LLNL (@Livermore_Lab) August 13, 2019 Arriving just in time Featuring advanced capabilities for modelling, simulation and AI based on Cray’s new Shasta architecture, El Capitan is projected to run national nuclear security applications at more than 50 times the speed of its predecessor, Sequoia.El Capitan will also run approximately 10 times faster than Sequoia’s Sierra system and be four times more efficient.As reported by TechCrunch , the LLNL’s director Bill Goldstein discussed the need for new supercomputers such as El Capitan as “while the stockpile was designed in two dimensions, it’s actually aging in three”. “We’re currently redesigning both warhead and delivery system,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve been doing this for about 30 years now.This requires us to be able to simulate the interaction between the physics of the nuclear system and the engineering features of the delivery system. “These are real engineering interactions and are truly 3D.This is an example of a new requirement that we have to meet, a new problem that we have to solve, and we simply can’t rely on two dimensional simulations to get at.And El Capitan is being delivered just in time to address this problem.” Cray confirmed that prior to its use by NNSA, it will enter a “shake out period” where it will be made available for other uses, such as climate modelling and other scientific endeavours. . The post ‘Manhattan Project’ of supercomputers will use AI to simulate nuclear tests appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Security researchers discovered that fingerprints, unencrypted usernames and passwords, and personal information of employees were discovered on a publicly accessible database.
'This morning (14 August), the Guardian reported a major breach of a biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defence firms.Facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, personal information of employees, and fingerprints belonging to more than 1m people were discovered on a publicly accessible database.UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors and banks were clients of Suprema, the security company responsible for the web-based BioStar 2 biometrics lock system.This system uses fingerprints and facial recognition to identify people attempting to gain access to buildings.Suprema, which is one of the world’s top 50 security manufacturers , recently partnered with Nedap to integrate BioStar 2 into Nedap’s AEOS access control system.AEOS is used by over 5,7000 organisations in 83 countries, including the UK Metropolitan police, governments, banks and small local businesses.Vulnerabilities Last week, Israeli security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar discovered that this database was unprotected and mostly unencrypted.The security researchers were able to search the database and gain access to data, discovering at least 27.8m records and 23 gigabytes-worth of data.Rotem told the Guardian: “We were able to find plain-text passwords of administrator accounts.” This meant that the researchers could change data and add new users.On top of this, Rotem and Locar could see which buildings users had entered, and in some cases, which rooms.Rotem and Locar published a paper on the discovery on vpnMentor, which lays out a more detailed timeline of events.Response The researchers made multiple attempts to contact Suprema before reaching out to the Guardian.Early Wednesday (14 August), the vulnerability was closed, but Suprema still had not contacted Rotem and Locar.Suprema’s head of marketing, Andy Ahn, told the Guardian: “If there has been any definite threat on our products and/or services, we will take immediate actions and make appropriate announcements to protect our customers’ valuable businesses and assets.” Rotem said that this isn’t an issue that’s unique to Suprema, and that he contacts three or four companies each week to notify them of similar flaws.The researchers who discovered this massive vulnerability advised BioStar 2 and Suprema to “Secure [their] servers with better protection measures; don’t save the actual fingerprints of users [but rather, a hash version that can’t be reverse-engineered]; implement proper access rules on your data bases; and never leave a system that doesn’t require authentication open to the internet.” Clients who used BioStar 2 were also advised to change their passwords on the BioStar 2 dashboard immediately, and notify their employees that personal passwords should also be changed.The Verge noted that the breach could have implications for employees enrolled in the system, as the personal information exposed could be used to commit identity fraud. . The post Biometric security firm used by UK police leaks 1 million fingerprints appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Advice from RECRUITERS explains how we can manage working overtime and learn to keep time away from our job sacred.
'How do you achieve balance between work and your personal life?Rapidly evolving technology and fast innovation can make that difficult to do in modern careers, but managing overtime is still just as important.Director of nationwide recruitment at RECRUITERS , Jane Gormley, spoke about establishing that crucial line between work and other areas of life.With Morgan McKinley’s recent research demonstrating enormous pressure felt by workers in their day to day responsibilities, her advice can help in learning how to take a step back. “With enormous and very recent changes in working arrangements, it’s of high importance to get some control and boundaries around when you are in and out of work,” she said.Gormley described this time of year as particularly important for knowing how to switch off and escape overtime because many people go on holidays.A report published earlier this year reflects the prevalence of this problem, revealing that more than 40pc of employees feel compelled to reply to managers’ requests while on annual leave.Gormley’s tips on how to stop working ovetime and keep your time off sacred 1.Make sure you turn your out of office on.Loads of people don’t bother and this leads to confusion.Make sure you include an alternative contact in your out of office to ensure that no one expects a response from you. 2.Leave a handover document for those who may need to deal with any queries that are normally directed at you. 3.If, for some reason you need to keep the lines of communication open, designate set times and stick to it. 4.If you have a work phone, switch it off and put it away – you’ll be surprised what people can manage to get done without you. 5.If you’re a manager, have a proactive, prearranged check in where certain issues/questions can be run by you.Don’t encourage over reliability of people being allowed to constantly interrupt your non-work environment. 6.On your return, book yourself an hour in your diary on your first morning back and try an include your ‘referred buddy’ who can fill you in.This will get you back up to speed in a manageable way.Outside of holiday times, Gormley said flexibility is an important part of the working world.However, she said clearer boundary lines need to be drawn when it comes to working overtime. “With all this flexibility, there remains the question of where the professional boundaries are when we have all come to accept work activity at all times,” she said. “Deciding what’s reasonable and manageable in your mind is something that all employees need to think about.” Gormley added that all businesses have peaks and troughs and so understands that sometimes, extra hours at certain times are necessary, but should be taken back. “If you’re willing and happy to overperform when needed, that’s great (and should be valued). A common exchange is unofficial time off in lieu, and this is what a reasonable employer will happily arrange.If they aren’t volunteering, then make it clear that this is what you expect,” she said. . The post 6 tips to help you avoid working overtime appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
New research from Indeed shows that technology companies based in Ireland are struggling to hire from within the country’s talent pool.
'Given the increasing popularity of careers in data, technology and ICT, it may come as a surprise that tech employers are struggling to hire talent.But as companies continue to expand and prepare for the future of work, the need for candidates with the right skills is accelerating at a pace the talent pipeline can’t seem to keep up with.This is the subject of new research from Indeed , the world’s largest job site, which shows that in 2018, 12pc of posts seeking applications came from tech companies.Such roles as software engineers, software architects and technical support specialists were among the most advertised, but which saw the least interest.Particularly impacted by the shortage of skilled candidates was the growing area of cybersecurity.Indeed also reported that last year, 25pc of clicks on tech jobs in Ireland came from abroad, increasing from 17pc five years ago.Greatest interest came from the UK, US, India, Spain and Brazil.In the face of unprecedented and sustained demand for tech talent, most of the growth in foreign jobseeker interest has come from outside of the EU, jumping from 7pc five years ago to 13pc in 2018.Pawel Adrjan, economist with Indeed, commented on the company’s research findings:”Migration flows have always been a feature of the Irish labour market and clicks from abroad can be a good indicator of future migration intentions.With unemployment falling below 5pc in today’s competitive labour market, employers in many sectors depend increasingly on inward migration to increase their workforce. “It’s clear from the data that Ireland is attracting jobseekers from far and wide, from Brazil to India.Considering only 11pc of the clicks on a typical job posting on Indeed’s Ireland site come from outside the country, to see 25pc of clicks on tech roles coming from abroad reflects the shortage of labour-facing tech employers in Ireland.” . The post Irish tech employers are facing challenges in recruiting domestic talent appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
How algae that produce a lot of Earth’s oxygen harness solar energy could help us produce next generation biofuels.
'Renewable biofuels are seen as the inevitable replacement for polluting fossil fuels, but we’re still trying to perfect its production and make it substantially more efficient.Now, a research team led by Rutgers University has made a discovery that could lead to substantially more efficient and affordable algae-based biofuels.Publishing its findings to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the team discovered how diatoms – a type of alga that produces 20pc of Earth’s oxygen – harness solar energy for photosynthesis.It now hopes to apply this knowledge to the biofuel production process.Diatoms are ubiquitous in oceans and waterways and play a crucial role in the removal of carbon from our atmosphere.Also their fossil oils are considered the source of the highest quality petroleum used today.Phaeodactylum tricornutum diatoms.Image: Ananya Agarwal/Rutgers Biophysics Molecular Ecology Laboratory Using a 3D bioimaging tool, the team were able to reveal the proteins known as Photosystem II that diatoms use to absorb sunlight and power their photosynthesis.This showed that each cell includes two sets of proteins, with only one set active.The active set was found to have a structure associated with pigment proteins – such as green chlorophyll that absorbs sunlight – in an antenna to harvest light for photosynthesis.The research team is now attempting to understand the limits of the power of photosynthesis in algae and to harnessing that power to produce biofuels.Under the right conditions, algae can produce huge quantities of biofuels for vehicles, aircraft and trains. “The next steps are to try to understand the mechanisms that control the dynamics between the proteins and support robust biochemical energy production,” said senior author Wei Dai.However, a warning was issued last month by researchers who warned of the rise of a ‘vampire’ algae killer that sucks out the contents of algae cells.In doing so, it turns a productive, thriving, green algae pond into a large vat of useless, rotting sludge. . The post Algae crucial to planet’s survival could help revolutionise biofuels appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Facebook has admitted that it allowed audio contractors to listen to user audio files and transcribe them to improve Messenger's AI.
'Facebook has admitted to having its contractors listen to and analyse some audio recordings from users.The social network said it had reviewed some small segments of audio to help improve the artificial intelligence of the transcription feature within its Messenger app.The feature enables users to dictate a message with their voice before Facebook’s software transcribes it into text.According to a report by Bloomberg , Facebook used contractors to carry out human reviews of some clips from the process.However, the social networking firm said it has now ended the practice. “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.In recent months Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft have come under scrutiny after admitting they had listened to audio requests made to their respective virtual assistants.The companies each said they used the practice to grade and analyse the quality of their voice and language recognition services, with the aim of improving their performance.Some of the firms say they have since ended the practice, while Amazon said it will let users opt-out of having their audio reviewed by humans.Facebook maintains that the audio used in its programme was de-identified and masked to protect user privacy.It has also claimed that it never listened to people’s microphones without device permission and explicit activation from someone.The social network has previously been the subject of claims that it listens in to user audio in order to target them with advertising.Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg labelled this idea a “ conspiracy theory ” when he appeared in front of the US Congress last year, adding “we don’t do that”. Last month, the social media company also agreed a £4 billion fine with the US Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations linked to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. — PA Media View of Facebook app loading on white smartphone. . Image: MacTrunk /Depositphotos. . The post Facebook is latest to admit to letting contractors listen to your audio files appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
Are you just starting your first job?If so, Hays’ Jane McNeill has some essential advice for navigating the transition.
'So, you’ve been offered your first office role, congratulations!Of course, you’ve had other jobs before, but this is very different to your previous part-time gigs undertaken while you were at school or university.This job marks the first chapter of your professional career, and you’re hoping to learn all you can from it.The only thing is, this is new territory, and you aren’t quite sure what to expect.Perhaps you have images in your mind of smartly dressed people running to and from meetings, talking on headsets or saying things like “let’s touch base later.” While there’s every chance you will encounter some of these office clichés at some point, there are more important day-to-day things you should be aware of, which can help ensure a smooth transition into office life.Use meetings to build your professional brand Meetings are a prime opportunity to get to know your colleagues.What’s more, meetings can help you establish and build your professional brand and reputation, showcasing your great work as well as your engagement with the organisation.Therefore, it is important that you follow the below advice: Manage your diary and prepare adequately for each meeting If you are required to speak in a meeting or add input in some way, your line manager may want to review your thoughts in advance, so account for this when setting yourself deadlines Be mindful of your body language.Sit up straight, make eye contact with the person speaking and nod/smile to show you are engaged Don’t take your personal phone into meetings and avoid checking your professional phone – even if other people do so Take notes and ask relevant questions where you can 2.You need friends at work Workplace friendships are important and in many organisations, encouraged . As life expectancies increase , we are likely to spend more of our adult lives at work, and this time needs to be as enjoyable as possible.According to a study by LinkedIn , 46pc of professionals feel that having friends at work is conducive to their overall happiness levels.So how can you make friends in your new role?Remember people’s names – this is trickier than it sounds when you work in an office with lots of employees.When you are introduced to people, repeat their name back to them as you say hello.Once you get back to your desk, sketch out a seating map and write down who sits where Keep an open-mind and talk to everyone in your office, not just those in your department Take advantage of opportunities to socialise, be it at work events, in the kitchen whilst making your lunch, or in the elevator up to the office.Just a simple “hi, how’s your day going?” is enough to get the ball rolling. 3.You will need to work harder to keep active Globally, it’s estimated that the average working person sits down for around 12 hours a day . This statistic may not have been applicable to you up until now – perhaps you had a part-time job in retail or hospitality that kept you on your feet.Even at college or university you would have walked across campus to get to different classes.In an office environment however, you can end up sitting in the same seat for 8 hours or more if you’re not careful.Sitting down too much is widely proven to have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.Therefore, from the commencement of your first office job try to make a conscious effort to keep active at work . Standing up every half hour, using your lunch breaks to go for a walk, joining a nearby gym and using the stairs rather than a lift can help prevent you from slipping into a sedentary office lifestyle. 4.There are unspoken email rules It’s estimated that each day, the average office worker receives 121 emails and sends out 40.And yet, nobody really teaches you the basic dos and don’ts of sending and receiving professional emails, for instance: Do: Set your email up with the company’s email signature format and preferred email font Organise folders and rules for each project so you can access information quickly and easily and don’t miss important emails When you reply to emails in a thread, make sure you reply to the most recent message Check for errors in the email such as spelling and grammar, and ensure that you address the right person Check the message for tone and see how it reads out loud.Could a “please” or “hope you’re well” soften up an abrupt sounding message?Add a professional sign-off such as “Many thanks”, “Kind regards” or “Best wishes.” Emails with a polite sign-off are thought to have a 36pc better response rate Copy your boss into emails until they say you don’t need to any more.Don’t: Take too long to reply to people . According to one survey , around 70pc of people expected a response from their colleagues within four hours.However, if the email is marked urgent, or is from someone very senior, or both – reply as soon as you can “Reply all” to an email with lots of recipients who don’t need to see your reply.For instance, an email from reception asking if you are attending a work event Copy and paste the same email without changing variable details such as names, job titles, company names and dates Forget to introduce yourself if you’ve not spoken to the recipient before Mark emails as ‘high importance’ when, in reality, they won’t be perceived so by the recipient Forget to attach attachments which you’ve referenced in your email Forward or loop someone into a confidential email trail that they aren’t supposed to see 5.Verbal communication remains essential Our CEO Alistair Cox discusses the importance of verbal communication in his recent blog, and outlines how: “After one person has spoken, the other replies in an average of just 200 milliseconds , compared to an email or WhatsApp message that can get swallowed into a black hole, never to be read, let alone replied to.” While email or instant messaging tools such as Skype are convenient forms of communication, if you need a quick answer or solution or you find yourself going back and forth in an endless email trail, it’s time to pick up the phone or have a face-to-face conversation.If you do decide to pick up the phone, remember: When making a phone call, say who it is calling, even if the phone has caller ID – this is just common courtesy When receiving an internal call, answer professionally.Usually it will be a simple “Hello, *your name* speaking”. If receiving an external call, you will need to state the company name, i.e. – “Hello you’re through to * company name*, this is *your name* speaking, how can I help?” Starting your first office job can be daunting, and no doubt there will be other curve balls thrown at you which I’ve not mentioned.But remember, your boss won’t expect you to know everything, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions.And I’m sure, if you remain open-minded, positive and willing to learn as you go, then you will find yourself flourishing in your new role and on the path to ongoing success.By Jane McNeill Jane McNeill is the director at Hays Australia.A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog . . The post 5 things no one tells you about working in an office appeared first on Silicon Republic .'
A robot that can create its own tools to complete simple tasks is being celebrated as a pioneer of a new era in robotics.
'If robots are going to be sent to the most hazardous environments to potentially save lives or explore new worlds, they’re going to have to be creative.To that end, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have revealed new technology that enables robots to build simple tools.In doing so, it suggests robots might be on the verge of their own ‘Stone Age’, according to the scientists from the university’s Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning research lab.This ‘MacGyvering’ technique – named after the famous TV show detective who could make escape tools out of seemingly anything – has been replicated using machine learning.In a study presented at the 2019 Robotics: Science and Systems conference, the researchers gave a robot a set of optional parts and told it to make a specific tool.Trained with the right skills, the robot examines the shapes of each part and how they might be attached to one another.For example, by learning that the concavity of bowls enables them to hold liquids, it makes use of this knowledge when constructing a spoon.In this study, the researchers were able to get the robot to successfully create hammers, spatulas, scoops, squeegees and screwdrivers.In the example of the screwdriver, the researchers were interested to see the robot using the combination of a plyers and a coin. “It reasoned that the pliers were able to grasp something and said that the coin sort of matched the head of a screwdriver,” said Lakshmi Nair, a PhD student working on the project. “Put them together, and it creates an effective tool.” So far, the robot is limited to the shape and the attachment, meaning it doesn’t have the knowledge of material properties to take the next, crucial step to applying them to real-world scenarios. “People reason that hammers are sturdy and strong, so you wouldn’t make a hammer out of foam blocks,” Nair added. “We want to reach that level of reasoning in our work, which is something we’re working on now.” . The post MacGyver robot that forges own tools hints at dawn of new ‘Stone Age’ appeared first on Silicon Republic .'