Tech Talks & News – 21st December 2017

Tech Talks & News - 21st December 2017

NASA develops new tool to search for alien life :-

NASA has developed a new tool, designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity, to help the search for alien life.

Looking for evidence of present or past life on other planets continues to be an important part of the NASA Planetary Exploration Programme.

Micro Raman spectroscopy technique :-

  • This technique uses the interaction between laser light and a sample to provide chemical composition information on a microscopic scale.
  • It can detect organic compounds such as the amino acids found in living things and identify minerals formed by biochemical processes on Earth that might indicate life on other planets.
  • It overcomes some of the key limitations of traditional micro Raman instruments and is designed to serve as an ideal instrument for future missions that use rovers or landers to explore the surface of Mars or Jupiter’s icy Europa Moon.

Micro Raman Spectroscopy Instrument :- 

  • The new system – called the standoff ultra-compact micro Raman (SUCR) instrument – is the first to perform micro-Raman analysis of samples 10 centimetres away from the instrument with 17.3-micron resolution.
  • The new spectrometer is significantly faster than other micro Raman instruments and extremely compact. These features are important for space applications and could also make the instrument useful for real-time biomedical and food analyses.
About Micro Raman Spectroscopy :-

Micro Raman spectroscopy is being explored for detecting skin cancer without a biopsy and can be used to for food analysis applications such as measuring caffeine in drinks. The new instrument offers several important improvements to previous micro Raman spectroscopy instruments, which require samples to be collected prior to analysis and measurements to take place in the dark.

Amazon Fire TV gets Firefox and Silk web browsers support :-

Now you can use Mozilla’s Firefox, and its own Silk web browser on Amazon Fire TV. The e-commerce giant says both browsers are available immediately on all devices, including the regular Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick.

What does it mean for customers ?

  • Adding web browser support means you can access a variety of content like browsing the web, streaming music and more importantly, accessing your Facebook account.
  • Both browsers let you use a Fire TV remote’s media control buttons to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind videos on supported websites.
  • The browser support for the Fire TV will allow users to catch a YouTube video after YouTube pulled the official app from Amazon’s streaming devices. The move comes as part of a constant war between Google and Amazon.

Supreme Court launches QR code facility :-

Tracking your lawsuits will now become easier, thanks to this innovative initiative by the Supreme Court. Now, you can keep yourself updated even on the go!

What does this New Initiative will do ? 

  • Under this initiative, a QR Code will be assigned to every case.
  • A unique code will be assigned to a litigant or a lawyer so that they can access case details through a smartphone.
  • The litigant will have to do one thing though, he will have to download specific software on the phone to enable the reading of the details.
  • The move comes almost a month after the e-committee launched an online service to alert the plaintiffs about their upcoming cases. It is expected that the step is set to bring transparency and efficiency to the lower judiciary.
  • A mail is sent to the respective party the day the case is to be heard which informs them about the day’s proceedings and also tells about the next date of the hearing.
  • The QR code facility will reduce the dependency of litigants on the lawyers since they will receive the updates of the proceedings through the software.

NIC-CERT centre to prevent and predict cyber attacks on government utilities :-

Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of law & justice and electronics & IT has inaugurated the “NIC-CERT”, a set-up of National Informatics Centre in New Delhi as a part of its Digital India initiatives to prevent and protect cyber attacks against govt utilities.

NIC-CERT Objectives :- 
  • Creating a comprehensive framework that integrates world-class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response.
  • Using the tools, the team will correlate events that would help in generating a canvas of the attack surface and identify the vulnerabilities and possible exploits.
  • The gathered intelligence assimilated with the knowledge of the open web would give CERT the ability to prevent and predict attacks.
  • NIC’s pan-India connectivity and reach is one of its key strengths, and this, coupled with its enhanced ability to detect and prevent attacks would collectively upscale the government’s ability to protect its data.
  • Security posture of NIC and the government, which will in turn lead to enhanced trust of the citizens as the services offered to them would be configured in a framework that is secure by design.

NIC-CERT will operate in close coordination and collaboration with sectoral CERT’s and more so with Cert-in, the nodal agency with MeitY to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing.

Google Play Store adds new app requirements, 64-bit support compulsory from 2019 :-

  • Google Play Store is adding some new rules and guidelines for app developers, which includes making 64-bit support mandatory from 2019 onward.
  • Google says the new guidelines are to ensure improved security and performance for all users.

Overall the Play Store app guidelines will see three major changes in order to support Google’s goals :-

  • According to Google’s blogpost for developers in the second half of 2018, the Play Store will require that new apps and app updates target a recent Android API level.” New apps in August 2018 and updates to existing apps in November 2018 will need to be on this API level. Google says this in order to ensure they are optimised for security and performance. It adds the API behaviour changes will advance security and privacy on the Android platform as a whole, and help ensure that users are secure from malware.
  • From early 2018, Google will also add a small amount of security metadata on top of each APK to further verify app authenticity,” reads the blogpost. Google calls it a ‘badge of authenticity’ and says it is being added to verify that Android app is not malicious. The metadata also signifies that it was distributed by the Google Play Store. Developers will not have to take any action for this to be implemented to their apps.
  • Coming to the 64-bit support, Google says Play Store will require that “new apps and app updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their 32-bit versions.”

Apple’s iOS has already pulled the plug on 32-bit apps, and developers need to upgrade to 64-bit on that platform.


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