Category Archives: Smart Phones

Orwell rolling in his grave: Australian penal colony gets even stricter

Intrastate travel within Australia is also severely restricted. And the government of South Australia, one of the country’s six states, developed and is now testing an app as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules. People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”

Source: Is Pandemic Australia Still a Liberal Democracy? – The Atlantic

Meanwhile, Australia’s NSW has proven beyond any doubt that lock downs served no useful purpose. Even NSW’s premier is giving up on containing Covid without vaccines. Given time, everywhere ends up at the same destination.

Vaccines work. Masks work when proper masks are used, in proper fashion, in limited circumstances, but do not work to contain the spread at a societal level. Most mitigations do not work and eventually succumb to the virus.

Probably not: iPhone 13 video calls while at sea?

If the latest speculation from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is true, it means you could make calls from the mountain or do video chats while at sea.

Source: Analyst: iPhone 13 may be a satellite phone | Computerworld

Current service plans range up to $200/month for sat phone service, and offer voice capabilities. And currently, GlobalStar does not really service ocean coverage.

Perhaps a limited text message service, via iPhone 13, similar to how Garmin InReach communicators work over the Iridium network. But “video chats while at sea” from a handheld iPhone 13? Doubt it.

Yes: “Will we need vaccine passports to do fun things?”

Suspect that by October, “Vaccine passports” will be required for all events, most businesses, and air travel, including domestic air travel.

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Ready to go out on the town before summer ends? In parts of the U.S., you might have to carry your COVID-19 vaccine card or a digital copy to get into restaurants, bars, nightclubs and outdoor music festivals.

Source: EXPLAINER: Will we need vaccine passports to do fun things? – NewsNation Now

There are hints the U.S. government will offer a national vaccination passport system based on smart phones or QR codes, with an announcement as soon as September. While its usage will not be mandated for use in the U.S., nor run by the government, it will be required for international air travel in bound and out bound. Many private sector organizations may also choose to use this system as well. In effect, a digital vaccine passport seems likely to be operational perhaps by October.

Are vaccine passports really enforceable? Retail businesses will now to have to put staff at all entry points to verify status. If you are not vaccinated, retail businesses can ask you to leave but if you do not, there is little they can do.

Told ‘ya: “Vaccine passports gain traction as delta variant threatens travel boom”

The idea of vaccine passports is gaining traction in public opinion and private enterprise as the delta variant threatens the travel rebound, a survey finds.

Source: Vaccine passports gain traction as delta variant threatens travel boom

See post below – coming in mid-September.

3 out of 4 airlines say they want proof of vaccination for all travelers.

This Federal ID will then be adopted by other businesses as a way of (their thinking) reducing their liability.

Starting this fall, expect to see vaccine passports required for airline and other travel, access to restaurants and other businesses. The app will likely double as a contact tracing app (with high unreliablity for that function) and from time to time during the year, will may forced into two week quarantines.

Welcome to 1984.

Australia’s smart phone contact tracing app found 17 potential “cases”

The Australian government says its COVIDSafe app identified 2,827 potential close contacts from 37,668 encounters in NSW and Victoria. Only 17 cases in NSW were identified separately to manual contact tracing efforts, however.

Source: COVIDSafe uploaded 1.65m ‘handshakes’ and was only used by NSW and Victoria | ZDNet

I have been pointing out for 15 months that the technology for smart phone contact tracing is inadequate and prone to significant errors, with a high false positive rate, and missing many actual contacts. Ultimately, the teach has found very few unique cases – but it has managed to shut down whole industries in the UK after flagging 600,000 people in one week, and forced a fully vaccinated Prime Minister who also had natural acquired immunity since he had the disease – in to a 10 day quarantine.

GM’s EV1 Invented Many Technologies back in the mid-1990s that are now standard on EVs

On the EV1 were many industry firsts and many widely used today in both ICE and EV vehicles. Among the most significant were: power electronics design, packaging, and cooling directly related to today’s EVs; electrohydraulic power steering (EHPS), which soon led to electric power steering; heat pump HVAC (the “grandfather” of today’s systems); low-rolling-resistance tires; inductive charging (now widely used for phones, electric toothbrushes, and other things); an electric-defrost windshield (virtually invisible embedded wiring to defog the glass); keyless ignition (the EV1 used a console keypad); electric brakes and parking brake; by-wire acceleration, braking, and gear selection; cabin temperature preconditioning; tire-pressure sensing; regenerative braking (including variable coast regen—which was on our early development cars but just two set levels selected by a shift lever button on production EV1 cars, due to legal issues with brake-light activation), and regen/friction brake blending; IGBT (replacing MOSFET) power inverter technology, and low-friction bearings, seals, and lubricants.

Source: GM’s EV1 Invented Many Technologies that are on Today’s EVs

Barely related: Microsoft has a ton of patents on cellular phone technology and smart phones. They just didn’t deliver products using those technologies. I understand, at least a few years ago, Microsoft made more on the sale of an Android phone than did Google – as Microsoft licensed its intellectual property to smart phone manufacturers. I believe that then came to about $2 billion per year!

Strava fitness tracking app grew during pandemic

Strava, a fitness tracking app created by two former Harvard University rowers, has more than 86 million users and saw massive growth amid the pandemic as more people have started to work out at home.

Source: In Peloton competition with gyms, fitness app Strava can win

I used it for a bit but for me, I did not have much use for tracking my own fitness activities. But it did work well.

(A extended family member has worked for Strava for several years.)

A year ago, I said smart phone tracing apps had numerous problems and were not suited for contact detection … then this happened

Last week, the UK contact dection phone system “pinged” one half million residents who were then forced into isolation for ten days.

Even the Prime Minister, who was hospitalized for Covid, and is also fully vaccinated, was forced in to 10 day quarantine because of a smart phone ping. Utterly pointless.

The system grew so out of control, that supermarkets are running out of food, and petrol stations are running out of gasoline, because so many workers were forced to isolate at home.

This fiasco has been a major screw up. Smart phone tracing apps sound wonderful, in theory, but in practice they find few cases that were not found with other methods, and in here in the UK, the system has proved a disaster. They have a high false negative and high false positive rate as well.

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) – Daily contact testing will be rolled out to workplaces in Britain’s food sector so staff who have been ‘pinged’ by the COVID-19 app can keep working if they test negative rather than isolating, the government said on Thursday.

Supermarkets have said some products are in short supply and petrol stations have been forced to close after the official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate following contact with someone with the virus. read more

Source: UK to launch daily COVID tests in food sector to tackle ‘pingdemic’ | Reuters

The proper description of this begins with “cluster” and ends with a word rhyming with “duck”.

Smart phone contact detection and tracing is as useful as most of the NPIs, which is to say – basically useless.

How will the UK fix this? By doing Covid-tests daily for all food sector workers. Thanks to Bayes Theorem, it is likely the majority of “positive” results will be false positive.

The experts have learned nothing.

Chinese app publisher limits children’s use of games at night via facial recognition

Bad feeling about this – we seem to be gradually adopting all of these methods in the West, over time.

Tencent, the world’s largest Chinese video game publisher, has taken an extreme step to comply with its nation’s rules about limiting minors’ access to video games. As of this week, the publisher has added a facial recognition system, dubbed “Midnight Patrol,” to over 60 of its China-specific smartphone games, and it will disable gameplay in popular titles like Honor of Kings if users either decline the facial check or fail it.

In all affected games, once a gameplay session during the nation’s official gaming curfew hours (10 pm to 8 am) exceeds an unspecified amount of time, the game in question will be interrupted by a prompt to scan the player’s face.

Source: Dozens of Chinese phone games now require facial scans to play at night | Ars Technica