Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

IBM Releases Homomorphic Encryption Toolkit for iOS, macOS

· Andrew Orr · Link

Generic image of data

IBM has released a toolkit for iOS and macOS to help developers to easily add homomorphic encryption into their programs.

While the technology holds great potential, it does require a significant shift in the security paradigm. Typically, inside the business logic of an application, data remains decrypted, Bergamaschi explained. But with the implementation of FHE, that’s no longer the case — meaning some functions and operations will change.

In other words, “There will be a need to rewrite parts of the business logic,” Bergamaschi said. “But the security that you gain with that, where the data is encrypted all the time, is very high.”

If you haven’t added homomorphic encryption to your technology watch list, be sure to do so. As I wrote in the past, this type of encryption lets a company perform computations on data while still keeping that data encrypted.

UK Government Releases NHS COVID Contracts With Private Companies

· Andrew Orr · Link

United Kingdom flag

Faced with pressure, the UK government has released its contracts with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Faculty, Palantir, and others.

The contracts show that companies involved in the NHS datastore project, including Faculty and Palantir, were originally granted intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases), and were allowed to train their models and profit off their unprecedented access to NHS data.

The REAL reason why they wanted to avoid Apple and Google’s privacy solution.

Apple Streams ‘Just Mercy’ Film Starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx

· Andrew Orr · Link

Still from Just Mercy, a film starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

Apple is making “Just Mercy” available to stream free for customers. Based on a true story, it stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

The Warner Bros. film is based on a true-story of a young lawyer who decides to use his Harvard law degree in Alabama to fight against racial inequality in the context of those wrongly convicted of crimes (free streaming for “Just Mercy” may just be in the US).

A good film recommendation for the weekend.

‘CamTag’ is a set of Reusable Privacy Camera Stickers

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

CamTag is a set of reusable privacy camera stickers for your devices. These stickers are a way to make sure that you aren’t being spied upon by malicious third parties. These stickers are glue-free so you can reuse them on your iPhone, iPad, and Macs. They come in different designs and you can customize it with your own design or branding. It’s a Kickstarter campaign and it’s been fully funded. Estimated delivery is October 2020. Pledge US$9 or more to get the first reward tier, which gives you 25 privacy stickers in 5 sizes.

‘CamTag’ is a set of Reusable Privacy Camera Stickers

Apple Launches Open Source Password Project

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Apple key icon

Apple recently created an open source project to help developers of password managers collaborate with websites to create strong passwords for users.

‘Mirage’ Helps You Detect Edited Photos Using Machine Learning

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Mirage is a cool app I discovered today that uses machine learning to detect edited photos. Not only that, it can also undo the editing. However, it requires a face to be present in the photo, so it won’t work on any image. It’s based on this research paper [PDF]:

We present a method for detecting one very popular Photoshop manipulation – image warping applied to human faces – using a model trained entirely using fake images that were automatically generated by scripting Photoshop itself. We show that our model outperforms humans at the task of recognizing manipulated images, can pre- dict the specific location of edits, and in some cases can be used to “undo” a manipulation to reconstruct the original, unedited image.

App Store: Mirage – US$2.99

‘Mirage’ Helps You Detect Edited Photos Using Machine Learning

You Can Now Port Facebook Photos to Google

· Andrew Orr · News

Facebook logo

As part of the Data Transfer Project, customers can now port Facebook photos to Google Photos. Here’s where to find that option.

Private Messenger ‘Signal’ Now Automatically Blurs Faces

· Andrew Orr · Link

Signal app icon

Private messenger app Signal added a feature that lets it automatically blur faces in your images.

Thousands of people are protesting against police brutality and to support the Black Lives Matters cause. If you are a part of the protests, you might post photos of the demonstration around you on social media or send them to your friends — and that’s not entirely safe, because it could help identify people there and put them in danger.

A great feature. I’ve been trying to create a shortcut that can obfuscate faces.

Camera+ 2 Adds Machine Learning for Photo Editing

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

In its latest update, Camera+ 2 adds machine learning for photo editing. Dubbed “Magic ML” it’s a one-tap non-destructive editing option that analyzes aspects of your photos that can be improved. It also adds a Magic ML preset so your photos will be automatically enhanced as you take them. You can watch a YouTube video about it here, and read the company’s blog post here.

Some people, like myself, tend to like vivid colors so they are frequently the subject of some of the photos I take for fun. Others prefer a more subdued style, others emphasise texture or geometry. We wanted for Magic ML to “just” look at the optical qualities of the image and come up with reasonable suggestions regarding exposure and color balance, and then have the user apply their own style on top.

App Store: Camera+ 2 – US$4.99

Camera+ 2 Adds Machine Learning for Photo Editing

Calendars by Readdle Integrates With Zoom, Hangouts, GoToMeeting

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Calendars by Readdle was updated recently to add integration with Zoom, Hangouts, and GoToMeeting. When you create an event within the app you can generate a call link with one of these services right there. Another feature lets you see your teammates’ availability and add their schedules to your own calendar. This is limited to G Suite accounts. Users can also get notifications about new event invites, something that previously required you to open the app and check its Notification Center. App Store: Calendars 5 by Readdle – US$6.99

Calendars by Readdle Integrates With Zoom, Hangouts, GoToMeeting

That Time Steve Jobs Taught Bill Atkinson About Rounded Rectangles

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image showing examples of rectangles, ovals, and rounded rectangles.

Here’s a humorous little story from Andy Hertzfeld, a member of Apple’s original Macintosh team. Bill Atkinson did some clever programming to draw circles and ovals quickly on a Mac. But Steve Jobs had something else in mind.

Bill fired up his demo and it quickly filled the Lisa screen with randomly-sized ovals, faster than you thought was possible. But something was bothering Steve Jobs. “Well, circles and ovals are good, but how about drawing rectangles with rounded corners? Can we do that now, too?”