The first quantum video call

The first quantum video call

From quantum cryptography to the quantum Internet. The fundamental research in the quantum world promises several new technical possibilities in the future. The future is approaching fast and becoming evident in the world. Chungli Bai, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as his colleague Anton Zeilinger, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Heinz W. Engle, Rector of the University of Vienna, talked face to face in a secure video conference mode. Quantum technology encrypted this call. This first cryptographically protected quantum video call took place on September 29, 2017. It was between Vienna and Beijing and covered two continents. The experiment was in the presence of representatives of the media and scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Also, it was their colleagues from China. Quantum cryptography made this conversation at least a million times safer than using conventional encryption methods.

The first test for orbital quantum encryption

International cooperation of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences made possible the world’s first intercontinental quantum challenge. Anton Zailinger and his graduate student Jian-Wei Pan initiated the research project called QUESS (Quantum Experiments at Space Scale) in 2013. To implement the project, a Chinese satellite was used, which was launched into space last year for experiments in quantum physics. The scientists demonstrated the extraordinary practical potential of this orbital quantum technology for the future development of global communication. The decisive advantage of quantum technology, in comparison with traditional communication technologies, is that it is impossible to hack hackers because of the various laws of quantum physics.

«The exchange of encrypted quantum information at intercontinental distances confirms the potential of quantum communication technologies discovered by fundamental research,» says Anton Zeilinger. He convinced: «This is a very important step towards a worldwide and safe quantum Internet.»

Quantum encryption between Vienna and Beijing

To create a quantum key used for a video call between two scientific institutions, researchers from the Austrian and Chinese academies of sciences first worked with the quantum Micius satellite. Named after the Chinese philosopher of antiquity, Mitius circles around the Earth at an altitude of about 500 km. From orbit, it sends light particles, so-called photons, to ground stations in China and Europe. It included a long-range satellite laser station used by the Space Research Institute in Graz.

On the eve of the video call, the satellite first generated light particles with a random direction of oscillations. It is the so-called polarization. Then, single photons with their various polarizations were transmitted as a sequence of ones and zeros to a ground station. There the polarization states measured and compared randomly with the sequence sent by satellite.

Inaccessible quantum key

Johannes Rudneiner explained that if someone tries to intercept photons exchanged between a satellite and a ground station and measure their polarization, the photon quantum state will instantaneously change, thereby exposing the hackers. Any deviation of the data measured at the transmitter and receiver allows immediate detection of any attempt at listening. If the measured data matches, then the sender and receiver have a single quantum key.

The combined key, both ground stations, generated into a standard code for unambiguous encryption and decryption of information. This key was then used to securely encrypt the world’s first quantum call between Vienna and Beijing. Practically, it is impossible to crack such a quantum video call.

It seems that soon such quantum video calls will become as familiar as conversations and video calls in Skype.

Head of IMF: Cryptocurrencies can compete with existing currencies

Head of IMF: Cryptocurrencies can compete with existing currencies

Last week, IMF chief Christine Lagarde spoke at the Bank of England conference. In her speech, she predicts that cryptocurrencies can seriously compete with the current financial system, led by central banks.

How will fintech change the system led by central banks during the next generation? Let’s start with virtual currencies. I will clarify that this is not about digital payments in existing currencies. For example, through PayPal and other providers of electronic money, like Alipay in China or M-Pesa in Kenya.

Virtual currencies are in a different category because they provide their unit of payment and payment systems. These systems allow you to conduct p2p transactions without central banks.

Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin have little or no threat to the current system of the existing currencies and central banks. Why? Because they are too volatile, risky, energy-intensive, and the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many of them are too opaque for regulators, and some were even hacked.

But many of these technological challenges can be resolved over time. Not so long ago, experts argued that personal computers will never be popular among population, and tablets will become only expensive trays for coffee. Therefore, I think it is not very wise to discard virtual currencies from accounts.

More value for the same money?

For example, think about countries with weak institutions and an unstable national currency. Instead of introducing currencies of another country like the US dollar, some of these economies can see the increasing use of cryptocurrencies. Call it dollarization 2.0.

The IMF experience shows that there is a turning point after which coordination around the new currency occurs exponentially. In the Seychelles, for example, the use of the dollar jumped from 20% in 2006 to 60% in 2008.

But still, why should citizens use virtual currency instead of physical dollars, euros or sterling? Because one day it can become simpler and cheaper than getting paper notes, especially in remote regions. And because virtual currencies can become more stable.

For example, they can be issued one-to-one to a dollar or a stable currency basket. The issue can be completely transparent, controlled by a reliable, predetermined rule, an algorithm that can be monitored. Or even a «smart rule» that can reflect changing macroeconomic circumstances.

Therefore, in many cases, virtual currencies can compete with existing currencies and monetary policy. The best answer for central banks is to continue to pursue an effective monetary policy, but be open to fresh ideas, new demand arising from the development of the economy.

The best payment services?

Look at the growing demand for new payment services in countries where the decentralized economy of sharing is growing. This is an economy in which p2p transactions are fixed, frequent payments for small amounts, especially cross-border transactions.

Four dollars for advice on garden care from a lady from New Zealand, three euros for an expert translation of a Japanese poem, 80 pence for a virtual render of Fleet Street. These payments can be through credit cards and other forms of electronic money. But the commission is large relative to their size, especially if the payment is cross-border.

Instead, citizens can sometimes prefer virtual currencies, because they potentially provide the same costs and amenities as cash. There are no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary for checking accounts and identification. If privately issued virtual currencies remain risky and unstable, citizens can even ask central banks to provide digital forms of legal tender.

New models of financial intermediation

This leads us to new models of financial intermediation. One of the possibilities is the division of banking services. In the future, we can keep the minimum balance for payment services on electronic wallets.

The remaining money can be stored in mutual funds or invested in p2p-credit platforms that use the benefits of large data and artificial intelligence for automatic credit scoring.

This is the world of six-month product development cycles and constant updates, primarily software, with a special focus on simple user interfaces and trusted security. A world where data reigns. The world of a lot of new players, not burdened by a lot of branches.

Some will argue that this puts into question the banking model of partial reservation, with which we are working today if the volume of deposits decreases and money flows through new channels.

Future of monetary policy

Today’s central banks usually affect asset prices through major dealers or large banks to which they provide liquidity at fixed prices, so-called open market operations. But if such banks become less relevant in the new financial world and the demand for balancing by the central bank falls, will the transition of monetary policy remain as effective?

In any case, central banks will need to increase the number of counterparties of their operations. This, of course, has regulatory consequences. More counterparties — more firms are falling under the regulatory umbrella of the Central Bank. This is the price to pay for liquidity on a rainy day. Whether there will be more rain or less in the future is an open question.

We will also see a shift in regulatory practices. Traditionally, regulators have focused on the supervision of clearly defined entities. But with the arrival of new service providers in new forms, putting them in a simple basket can be a daunting task. Think about social media companies that offer payment services without active balance management. What label should be on them?

Regulators, most likely, will have to expand their focus from financial institutions to financial activities further. Also, you will have to become experts in assessing the reliability and safety of algorithms. Easier said than done.

macOS High Sierra: what’s new

macOS High Sierra: what’s new

The new macOS High Sierra, which was released yesterday, is available on all computers that support the previous version. The complete list is as follows:

  • MacBook (end of 2009 and newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2010 and later)
  • Mac mini (mid-2010 and newer)
  • iMac (end of 2009 and newer)
  • MacBook Pro (mid-2010 and newer)
  • Mac Pro (mid-2010 and newer)

As the name implies, the update is an improved version of the previous macOS.

Nevertheless, it contains many changes and new functions. Many of them are invisible at first glance. However, this does not detract from their usefulness.

The APSF file system

The new file system is just one of those «invisible» improvements. Apple’s development is aimed at increasing the efficiency of disks and is designed to increase their speed, security, and reliability.

At the moment, APFS is only available on solid-state SSDs. Support for traditional hard drives and hybrid Fusion Drive will appear in the following updates. When you install macOS High Sierra automatically converts the drive from HFS + to APFS while saving all the files. It works for both a clean install and for upgrading from macOS Sierra or previous versions.

Photos

It seems that Apple listened to the criticism of users and made a standard application for viewing photos more functional. In macOS High Sierra «Photo» received advanced editing tools and several useful innovations that make it more similar to its predecessors.

It became possible to change many parameters of the images, including correction of saturation and contrast of the image, as well as curves. The sidebar contains more information, allowing you to find and organize collections quickly. Now you can simultaneously change several photos at once and apply effects to Live Photos. Also, there were new themes for the albums «Memories».

HEIF and EMU Codecs

New codecs for photos and video are now supported in iOS and macOS, allowing you to use device resources and disk space more efficiently. Using the HEIF compression format, images take up almost half the disk space. The HEVC codec is designed to compress 4K video more efficiently with minimal loss of quality.

At the same time, the company took care of backward compatibility, so when you transfer content to devices without HEIF and HEVC support, it will automatically be converted to JPG and H.264, respectively.

Metal 2

Since the new version of macOS, support for the graphics API Metal, previously available on mobile devices, now exists in Apple computers. In the future, this will give an increase in productivity in games and resource-intensive applications. Moreover, it will give new opportunities for developers. In the meantime, only the owners of iMac can feel the benefits of Metal 2. On computers with a large display the interface of the system began to work much smoother.

Also, Metal 2 will provide improved support for virtual reality on the Mac. And it concerns not only the work with VR-headsets but also software with the possibility of creating such kind of content.

Safari

With each new update of macOS, Safari is getting better. In addition to the overall performance increase, the browser has received several useful functions.

Apple turned off the automatic playback of media content on the pages of the sites, protecting users from annoying advertising and various promos. There is an Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature, which disables tracking scripts that store what you are looking for and offer contextual advertising.

Also, now Safari remembers the tinctures of displaying different sites and automatically opens the pages in Reader mode with appropriate support.

Mail

The standard email client in macOS High Sierra has received an even more intelligent search. It analyzes user actions and learns to produce the most relevant results. Mail remembers which contacts you write to more often and what documents you use in attachments to offer exactly what you need.

Users of the MacBook will appreciate another innovation with a small screen diagonal: now the application automatically opens the form of a reply to the letter in Split View mode when working in full-screen mode.

Notes

Following the iOS in the «Notes» on macOS, it’s also possible to pin the necessary entries at the top of the list for quick access to them, as well as the function of inserting tables, which will be very useful for creating small bulletins right in the notes without the need to use Numbers.

Siri and Spotlight

With each new version, Siri becomes smarter, and her voice is becoming more human. In macOS High Sierra, the voice assistant became a real DJ. Now he knows how to pick up music for you and knows a lot about the performers.

And Spotlight has learned to search for information about planes on the flight number. Enter the number, and the search will show you the departure time, terminals, delays and even a flight map.

FaceTime

Apple continues to implement support for Live Photos in its ecosystem. Now on the Mac, you can not only view animated photos but also create them. The corresponding function appeared in FaceTime, which allows you to save memorable moments right during the conversation. Of course, your interlocutor will be notified of the recording and, if desired, can disable this feature.

Google tested the web browsers for security

Google tested the web browsers for security

Google tested the web browsers for security: Safari has the most vulnerabilities in the DOM engine.

The Google Expert Team on Zero Day Vulnerabilities («Zero Project») analyzed the most popular browsers for vulnerabilities in DOM engines. The worst result Safari showed —17 vulnerabilities. The safest was the native Chrome — only two bugs.

The team used the utility Domato for testing, which Fratrich developed specifically for testing DOM engines. This is a fuzzing tool for security testing, which transmits to the application in question a random data set. Also, it analyzes the anomalies of the output data.

The team chose five browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Safari from Apple. The team conducted using Domato about 100 million tests. The results showed that the first three are the safest.
browsers-bugs

The results showed that Safari has the worst DOM engine with 17 security errors. On the second place from the end is the Edge with six problems.

Browsers results

Google reported the bugs found to the developers of each browser. Also, it provided them with copies of Domato so that everyone can independently perform more extensive tests of their products. The source code for Domato was also published on GitHub so that anyone can use it or adapt it to work with other applications, not just with DOM engines of web browsers.

Fratrich emphasized that this experiment focuses on the security of only one component (DOM engine). So you can not perceive its results as an indicator of the security of browsers in general. Although historically, vulnerabilities in the DOM have been the source of many security problems. «This experiment does not take into account other aspects such as the existence and security of the sandbox. Errors in other components such as script engines, etc. I also can not ignore the possibility that in DOM my fuzzer better finds certain types of problems, which can affect the overall statistics», — wrote the developer.

DOM (Document Object Model) engines are browser components that read HTML and organize it in the Document Object Model, which is then rendered and displayed in a browser window as an image that users see on their screens. According to Fratrich, developers rarely release updates that do not contain fixes for critical problems in DOM engines. So the problem is quite significant. In particular, given the fact that after the final abandonment of Flash technology in 2020, which bears the palm of priority for exploited vulnerabilities, DOM engines will become one of the main targets of attacks by intruders.

Uber and crisis. What is happening with the most expensive start-up?

Uber and crisis. What is happening with the most expensive start-up?

Uber problems have grown to the size of an iceberg. Will they stay the leader of the rider-sharing market?

Long vacation for Kalanick

June 11, the board of directors held an urgent meeting to discuss the problems that the company had created. On the agenda is the future of the company’s top managers. In particular, the founder of Uber Travis Kalanick and his first deputy, vice-president Emil Michael.

The board meeting was devoted to discussing the report of former US Attorney General Eric Holder about corporate culture and leadership. They voted fully for Holder’s recommendations. The board of directors did not demand the immediate dismissal of Kalanick, but the founder of Uber, apparently, will take a long vacation. People close to the leader say that he is going to spend time with his family, which recently faced a great grief: the parents of Kalanick crashed on the boat.

Scandals, scandals, scandals

Uber is experiencing a severe crisis. Recently numerous scandals break out around Uber. Management hired the law firm Perkins Coie that examined complaints about harassment and discrimination of Uber employees. According to the audit results, they dismiss more than 20 employees. Another scandal is with the history of access to medical records of a woman in India, who accused Uber of rape.

Unethical business practices and the company’s ambiguous corporate culture are only part of Uber’s problems. The company is growing and scaling. They received the latest investment in 2016 when Saudi Arabia invested $ 3.5 billion in Uber.

Drivers are unhappy because of the ever-changing rules of the game. Moreover, there is a lawsuit from the company Waymo, accusing Uber of stealing their technology. The judge forbade Uber to use the developments handed over to her former employee Waymo.

Indeed, at first glance, Uber has more than enough problems. However, is there something threatening or someone’s hegemony of Uber on the market? How real are these threats and are there serious business risks?

Сompetitors are coming

According to the latest financial statements of the company, the growth of Uber continues to outpace its losses. Nevertheless, these losses seem to be enormous. In 2016, the company’s loss amounted to $ 2.8 billion. This is more than any other start-up in history. This led to the fact that some industry analysts began to predict the death of Uber from its financial obligations. However, last year the company doubled the turnover and brought it up to $ 20 billion. The net profit was $ 6.8 billion. All figures are without taking into account the Chinese market. Thus, despite everything, the company continues to grow steadily.

Most of the negative news related to Uber – from the management’s connection with the Trump administration. It is obvious that it is too early to talk about the financial state of the company in 2017. But supporters of Uber predict that the company will continue to grow, despite numerous problems. And most importantly – the product remains popular with ordinary consumers. And this situation does not change even against the background of serious efforts made by competitors of the startup. In particular, the company Lyft.

The image of Lyft as a safe and friendly alternative to Uber helped to get the investment and reach an estimate of $ 7 billion. But it is still a pale copy of its main competitor: it still works only in the US, and Uber – in 600 cities around the world. Personnel of Lyft – 1.6 thousand employees, which is incomparably less than the army of drivers – 12 thousand people.

Still the best and unique

Harry Campbell, a former driver, and blogger from The Rideshare Guy agrees that while the company’s main product, its app for calling cars, will outperform competitors’ apps, the company will continue to dominate the market. “All bad rumors can damage the morale within the company. But its customers are still able to safely and cheaply travel from point A to point B. Few clients are aware of the company’s problems. Most of them interact with drivers, and global problems are of little interest to them.”

Real risks for company can concern the morale of employees, problems with recruiting and partnership relations. Investors and partners are those who suffer most from the long-term prospects of this company. At one time they believed in the company and invested money in it, but now the profitability of their investments seems to be moving in an incorrect direction.

Ordinary consumers read the news, but they usually make purchasing decisions based on their immediate needs and their preferences. Now, this startup remains the most affordable alternative to other services.

Despite the scandals, the ambiguous personality of the leader and the risks voiced by analysts, Uber still does not threaten anything. While people need to travel, and drivers are willing to earn extra money, and most importantly, – the application is not removed from the users’ smartphones, the company will live.

8 reasons why Geolance programmers use C# and .NET Core for big projects

8 reasons why Geolance programmers use C# and .NET Core for big projects

New technology platform can change the market. This happened before, for example, in the 1990s Microsoft Visual Basic or in the 2000s, there was .NET Framework and C# on Windows.

But the thing is that nowadays Microsoft is no longer in control of the OS. To deal with this, there is cross-platform that gives programmers an opportunity to break free from Windows and move to other operating systems for their development requirements.

Nowadays programmers use C# and .NET instead of AWS or Java because for the past decade C# has been one of the most popular programming languages. Also, it is the main language that enterprises pay programmers to use to build serious apps. Geolance C# and.NET Core developers have all necessary skills to create everything that you need for your website or application.

So, why Geolance programmers use C# and .NET Core for big projects?

Reasons are very clear:

  1. Because a Microsoft specialist created it

Anders Hejlsberg created C#.  He is a well-known programming language creator who has co-designed several languages, like Delphi and Turbo Pascal.

Hejlsberg used his knowledge and passion for languages to Microsoft as the head architect of C# and TypeScript. He has almost 30 years of experience in designing programming languages, so you can be sure that his creation is high quality and professionally made.

  1. Working with it is a real pleasure

C# is well-implemented and well-designed, so it does language features properly. From asynchronous support to generics, from tuples to LINQ, C# incorporates modern thinking in programming languages without overfilling its syntax with odd bits and awkward hacks.

  1. Totally open

The greatest way to provide a cross-platform programmer stack is to build in a combined manner by open sourcing it. So, the C# and .NET Core compiler are open resources. This allows engagement and transparency with clients in real time. It makes the C# and .NET Core some of the best tools available for an agile and reliable response.

  1. The best interactive development environments

Here at Geolance, we reckon that .NET Core and C# have the best IDEs. Visual Studio 2017 can make available every feature that you could want or need. Also, there are extensions like Visual Studio Code and ReSharper, which are super-fast, light-weight, and cross-platform.

  1. Everything is possible

Both .NET and C# are very productive and flexible for creating any app. From websites to mobile apps running on iOS and Android, to cloud services, .NET and C# are tools that are agile enough for a range of projects. Also, there are the base class libraries that have richer functionality spectrum.

  1. C# – means skills

The syntax of C# is very similar to other C-type languages, such as Objective-C, C++, C, Swift, Java, and JavaScript. We think that every expert programmer should be fluent in at least one C-type language. Besides when you learn one, and you already know others halfway.

  1. You get improved support

The larger a language’s community is, the better support you will get. C# and .NET have a good old power system. C#, NET and the IDEs have better support by third party class tools and libraries; the entire system will help you to create better.

  1. Catch the future

C# has bright future. Statistics demonstrate that C# continues to be one of the most popular languages with developers. We can expect that developers will add more complex features to C#. It is likely to stay as significant as ever thanks to its key role in Unity, as virtual reality continues to be in trend in the world of programming.

Nowadays C# and .NET remain some of the most fundamental tools a programmer needs to know today, even though they appeared almost 15 years ago.

They’ve been around long enough, so they have proven themselves on the market. That’s why our development company choose C# and .NET for Core for big projects.