Daily Archives: July 2, 2015
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has said he will donate his entire $32bn (£20bn; €29bn) fortune to charity.
The 60-year-old nephew of King Salman is one of the world’s richest people.
He said he had been inspired by the Gates Foundation, set up by Bill and Melinda Gates in 1997.
The money would be used to “foster cultural understanding”, “empower women”, and “provide vital disaster relief”, among other things, he said.
Mr Gates praised the decision, calling it an “inspiration to all of us working in philanthropy around the world”.
Prince Alwaleed is at number 34 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
The money will go to the prince’s charitable organisation, Alwaleed Philanthropies, to which he has already donated $3.5bn.
‘Intrinsic part of my faith’
The prince, who does not hold an official government position, is chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company.
The company owns stakes in hotels The Four Seasons, Fairmont and Raffles, as well as News Corp, Citigroup, Twitter and Apple.
The prince will be donating his personal wealth. “This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding,” he said at the announcement.
“Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith,” he added in a statement.
He said he hoped the gift would “help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world”.
Prince Alwaleed’s announcement comes during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are encouraged to give charity and help the needy.
He said the donation would take place over several years and would be overseen by a board of trustees, which he will head.
Microsoft has announced a new Skype for Business technical preview available for Office 365 enterprise users. The preview ushers in a trio of new features, two of which are limited to customers located in the United States. The new Skype Meeting Broadcast is perhaps the most notable change for enterprise users, allowing customers worldwide to broadcast a meeting taking place over Skype for Business to up to 10,000 users across multiple devices.
This feature is targeted at companies that need users located in different regions to tune into some sort of company-wide meeting, and enables them to do so from almost any Skype-compatible device they have, such as a PC or iPhone. Bing Pulse has been integrated in with it for live polling and similar features, as well as Yammer for “dialogue” between users.
Joining this are two features only for customers in the United States. First among them is PSTN Conferencing, which allows invited individuals to join in on a Skype for Business Meeting from their mobile phone or landline. This is beneficial for those who need to dial into a meeting because Internet access is limited.
There’s also Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling for US customers for both receiving and placing traditional calls from in the Skype for Business client, as well as managing the calls with common phone system features like transferring and holding.
Microsoft anticipates making the features available to the general public before this year’s end.
We’ve seen 3D printed home concepts and low-cost housing printed using giant 3D printers. Functional 3D printed buildings and homes are still a thing of the future, though, a future that is now upon us: Dubai has announced a project that will result in the first ever 3D printed office building — a building that will be functional and will include printed furniture. It will be a 2,000 square foot building, and will be made from a 20ft-tall printer.
The project was announced by the United Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee recently, with the emir of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum detailing the effort. The project will involve 3D printing the office building shown above, and this includes both the structure itself and its internal workings.
The UAE National Innovation Committee’s Chairman Al Gergawi said, “This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors. We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come.”
The printer that will make the office will be build on the building’s site, and it will be 20ft tall. Various materials will be used to make the office, including Fiber Reinforced Plastic, Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum, and Special Reinforced Concrete.
The most important part, though, is that the construction time is estimated to only take a few weeks, and the costs of the labor will be as much as 80-percent lower. The waste produced by the construction will be up to 60-percent reduced, as well.
Next month during the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas, security researcher Ben Caudill will unveil a potentially game changing device called a ProxyHam. Without question, the promise of ProxyHam should leave proponents of Internet privacy and anonymity beyond excited.
By relying upon a 900 MHz radio connection, Caudill’s device effectively serves as a long-distance Wi-Fi router. Specifically, the ProxyHam can transmit a Wi-Fi connection up to a distance of 2.5 miles in ideal conditions. As a result, even in scenarios where authorities manage to track down a target’s Internet connection, they might arrive on the scene (presumably a location with public w-fi access) only to find a ProxyHam device transmitting a low level signal perhaps thousands of feet away in any direction.
While a range of technologies (such as ToR) can provide some level of anonymity, a fundamental flaw still exists: a direct relationship between IP address and physical location. If your true IP is ever uncovered, it’s game over – a significant threat when your adversary owns the infrastructure.
To resolve this issue, I present ProxyHam, a hardware device which utilizes both WiFi and the 900Mhz band to act as a hardware proxy, routing local traffic through a far-off wireless network – and significantly increasing the difficulty in identifying the true source of the traffic. In addition to a demonstration of the device itself, full hardware schematics and code will be made freely available.
Speaking to Motherboard, Caudill explained that his device is ideally intended to be used as a complement to other privacy-oriented tools like Tor.
“We consider this the last or worst case scenario,” Caudill said, “the absolute fallback plan if everything else fails.”
As for the device itself, it’s comprised of a Wi-Fi enabled Raspberry Pi computer along with a setup consisting of three antennas. One antenna, naturally, is tasked with connecting to a source Wi-Fi network. The other two antennas work to transmit the Wi-Fi signal at a 900 MHz frequency.
In order to pick up the long-range signal, users will need to plug a 900 MHz antenna into their computer, which will leave your setup looking a little something like this. Not exactly the epitome of mobility, but hey, it seems like a reasonable trade-off to us.
To avoid radio detection on the user’s end, ProxyHam’s wireless signals are designed to look indistinguishable from the many cordless telephones that use the same frequency. And Caudill says the rise of more internet-connected wireless gadgets will provide further cover for ProxyHam users over time. “There are a ton of devices jumping into that space and communicating there,” he says. “It’s not feasible to say ‘we’ll chase down everyone who has this device communicating on this frequency.’ It’s a needle in a haystack.”
For instance, some common items that communicate via 900 MHz frequencies include baby monitors and walkie talkies.
As for how ProxyHam might evolve in the future, Caudill tells Motherboard that he and his team are working to make the ProxyHam contraption less conspicuous. Future iterations, for instance, might be small enough as to mimic the outward appearance of a book.
“If you throw this in a library it would take you years to be able to identify it,” Caudill said.
It’ll undoubtedly be interesting to hear more about ProxyHam once Caudill officially introduces the device at Def Con 2015, an event slated to kick off on August 6.