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Why Printers Add Secret Tracking Dots

Why Printers Add Secret Tracking Dots

Early June, agents from FBI were investigating about a top secret document that was supposedly leaked to the press. While carefully examining the document, they noticed there were creases that proved the pages were printed and manually transferred. After this incident, experts began to study the document carefully, which is now made available to the public on the web. Something else of interest was discovered: there were yellow dots (secret tracking dots) in a rough rectangular pattern present repeatedly throughout the page. It formed a coded design or pattern and was hardly noticeable to the naked eye.

All About Secret Tracking  Dots of a Printer

After analysing it quickly, they were able to reveal the exact date and time the particular document was printed or at the most, the time according to the printer’s internal clock at the moment that document was printed. A serial number of the printer was also encoded through those dots. These dots, also known as “microdots” are known very well by security researchers. Most of the colour printers make an addition to the documents printed by them without the knowledge of the person using it. The person never knows of the existence of these secret tracking dots on their document that they have just printed.

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In the case that the FBI was investigating, they did not reveal to the public that they were able to identify their suspect with the help of these secret tracking dots. But the fact that these microdots were present on a highly confidential document has generated much interest and curiosity. Ted Han from the cataloguing platform Document Cloud said that these secret tracking dots were quite obvious after zooming in on the document. Han was one of the first to notice them and found it interesting and outstanding that there exists such technology in our world today.

Rob Graham, a blogger who has published a blog on how to identify these microdots and decode them, made another observation. He said that their positions when compared with a grid, give specific details like hours, minutes and numbers. These secret tracking dots have been in existence since a number of years. A list of colour printers that are known to use them has been maintained the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Microdots are not only an area of interest to spies, but also have other potential uses, as stated by Tim Benett. Benett is a data analyst at Vector 5, a software consultancy, and was of the persons who examined the leaked document. He also stated that these secret tracking dots could be used to determine forgeries. He explained further that if someone says a document is from 2005, with the help of the microdots on the document one could determine if the document is really of that time. The EFF has an online tool available which will help decode the information the pattern holds if one comes across a document that contains these microdots.

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Secret Tracking Dots Concealed Messages

Similar types of secret messages hidden right under our noses, also known as steganography, have been around for quite some time now. A bit more famous than the microdot, the Eurion constellation, which is a unique five-point design, is featured in many banknotes from across the world. In order to refrain from counterfeiting, when this pattern is recognised by the printer or scanner, they are programmed to refrain from producing copies of the banknotes. The National Security Agency or the NSA gives us an interesting example of secret tracking dots with a hidden message and that is from the World War Two. German Spies from that era had an envelope which had tiny dots taped inside and concealed a memo, which were meant for their contacts in Lisbon.

 

During that time, these spies worked undercover in acquiring materials from Germany such as radio equipment and secret ink. However, these messages were intercepted by the Allies and their mission was disrupted. The Germans used these tiny dots usually in the form of mere bits of unencrypted text which was squeezed down to the smallest size of a full-stop. This form of communication was largely used during the WWII and later during the Cold War. There are also reports of Soviet Union agents operating undercover from their base in West Germany, using letter drops to convey their messages in this manner.

In today’s age, microtext can be used by anyone who wants to safeguard their property. Companies such as Alpha Dot in the UK, sell small bottles of adhesive that is permanent, filled with dots that are the size of a pin-head. These dots are covered in microscopic text holding a unique serial number. If a stolen item is retrieved by the police, the owner can be verified by matching this serial number. There are many examples of these tiny messages that do not necessarily have an output in the form of a coded design developed from a printer but they are a very good example of how a small message applied physically to any document or object can be traceable and identified.

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Some forms of steganography that are based on text, are completely devoid of alphanumeric characters or symbols. A security expert at the University of Surrey, Alan Woodward, gives us the example of Steganographic Nature Of Whitespace or SNOW. He explains that this technique puts spaces and tabs where lines end in a piece of text. With the help of the exact number and order of these blank white spaces, a hidden message can be encoded.

Few organisations, such as the NSA, have maintained records of every document that has printed along with having methods to track down their document once its printed. They are aware that people have the knowledge of these secret tracking dots and so don’t fully depend on this method for tracing their documents.  Whether it is ethical for printers to be adding these secret tracking dots to documents without the knowledge of the user is a long ongoing debate. There has also been a suggestion that is a kind of a human rights violation. However, it is believed by many that this use is ideal for maintaining secrecy for confidential and classified documents as it is mandatory for some cases.

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Technology

Microwave Amplifier: Highly-Sensitive Tracking Nose in Space

Microwave Amplifier: Highly-Sensitive Tracking Nose in Space

ESA Introducing Updated Weather Satellites with Microwave Amplifier

European Space Agency – ESA,  in the forthcoming years would be introducing a sequences of updated weather satellites which would be capable of measuring significant atmospheric data like precipitation, temperature or water vapour much better than done earlier. The core of these evaluating devices comprise of very sensitive Microwave Amplifier which have been invented for Applied Solid State Physics IAF at the Fraunhofer Institute  that can see even the most weak signals from the atmosphere  which are essential for a precise weather forecast.

There seems to be a joke among meteorologists that the weather of the next day can be forecasted safely, while presuming that it would be the same as the current day.  The mutual belief is that in several cases it could be true. Evidently, presently meteorologists no longer depend on this.  In the case of weather predictions, they tend to depend on computer simulations that are fed with thousands of fragments of measurement data.

For some years these types of data had been supplied by satellites which tend to utilise sensitive sensors for evaluating the temperature or the precipitation on the earth.  If the sensors are better the measured values tends to be precise and so the weather predictions.

Meteorological Operational Satellites

Hence, European Space Agency in the next two years will be introducing the second generation of its MetOp weather satellite, Meteorological Operational Satellites, which are six in all and are equipped with state-of-the-art measurement machinery.  A sum of 1.4 billion EUR has been assigned for the erection of the second generation MetOp satellites, excluding the launch and operation.

 

Together with the satellites, small though very fine technological modules of highly precise amplifiers which tend to absorb microwave radiation from the Frauhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF in Freiburg would also be introduced. This radiation is released from each object, each surface identical to how a body tends to radiate heat that can be viewed in the infrared image.

 

Moreover the microwave amplifiers are adjusted to microwave frequencies since they seem to provide significant meteorological statistics, they capture microwaves released by water vapour, fog, rain or ice crystals especially also from the ice crystals high up in the atmosphere  in the cirrus clouds, which are presumed to have a major effect on the climate as well as the weather.

Microwave Amplifier Proved Perfect

Due to the microwave radiation, there is a possibility of reaching accurate conclusions regarding the ground temperature. Signals received by the microwave antennas of the satellites seem to be very weak but they are only a few nanowatts strong.  To be capable of measuring these microwave signals with some reliability it is essential of amplifiers.

Microwave Amplifiers from Fraunhofer IAF have been proved to be perfect. Dr Michael Schlechtweg heading the High Frequency Electronic business unit at the Fraunhofer IAF has commented that `the core of these amplifiers is a transistor from the semiconductor material indium gallium arsenide.  A characteristic of this material is that it is traversed very easily by electrons even if the electric field that drives the electrons is very small. Consequently the electrons in the transistor are set in motion already by the weak microwave signals making the transistor very sensitive.

Due to the microwave circuits established by the Fraunhofer, the satellite MetOp is capable of determining the temperature, type of precipitation, water vapour more accurately in the future. According to ESA Project Manager Ville Kangas, microwave amplifiers tends to enhance the reliability of the weather prediction.  But transistors of the conventional semiconductor silicon material could be quite insensitive. Indium gallium arsenide only is not what makes the amplifier so sensitive.  Their small sizes have made their contribution to this.  The electrodes of the transistors are only 50 to 35 nanometers long. They are measurable only with tiny electron currents or signals.

Five Frequency Bands of Microwave Amplifier

Michael Schlechtweg has explained that `this extreme sensitivity and small size of microwave amplifiers are due to 25 years of research.  During that time, they had developed a highly precise manufacturing process wherein the microwave amplifiers circuits were built in 150 production stages.

 

The electrodes were formed with an electron beam and only a few companies all over the world were able to do this with some amount of accuracy. The amplifiers on the MetOp satellite are utilised in three diverse microwave instruments that are said to measure various things lie precipitation, ice crystals, water vapour or the temperature.  Experts working for this purpose with Schlechtweg had to produce various sensors, wherein each had to be regulated to the equivalent microwave frequency.

In actual terms, it is said that there are five frequency bands between 54 and 243 gigahertz.  As explained by Schlechtweg a value of 243 gigahertz is a substantial value as, higher the frequency, more powerful the amplifier needs to be.  The components of the Fraunhofer IAF are said to be powerful and they have impressed the ESA and recently a US company have made enquiries regarding them.  Hence there is a possibility that the microwave amplifiers from the IAF would be introduced on board US satellites.

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Gadgets

Arduino Controlling The Glowing Led Eyelashes

Arduino Controlling The Glowing Led Eyelashes

The world is in a state of innovation and with each passing we are getting amused with the things coming up to make our lives more comfortable. These help in shaping our lives in a great deal. Science has contributed in a massive way to make the world more advanced and this has helped us in living our dreams easily. Well, with the evolution and inception of the internet we have seen some of the greatest discoveries in and around the world. The world loves fashion and style. We do adore that and when technology is mixed with fashion it gets a new dimension. Recently, in an event it was showcased glowing eyelashes with LED Eyelashes. Well, we know what the eyelashes can do in terms of the beauty and style segment. The normal eyelashes adds to the beauty of both the face and the eyes. It changes the appearance and gives a completely new look. It certainly is a beauty in the make-up process for the women. The latest LED Eyelashes are totally new and have created a buzz among the new generation.

The Mechanism of Glowing Led Eyelashes

Well, it is a matter of real wonder and surprise the concept of glowing eye lashes. And it certainly is. Well you can use glitter to make the eye lashes glow and get them in various colours like red, blue and many other shades of pink. These eyelashes are made up of LED. These LED Eyelashes have been designed by a great Arduino designer of Arduino Tien Pham. These LED eye lashes are light weight and comes in various variations of modes, colours and many more. These LED Eyelashes can be changed with a light scroll and you can do many more wonders with the new kind of eyelashes. These beauty products are a great invention in the field of both beauty and electronics.

The Specifications –

Well, these LED Eyelashes run on a 3.3-volt battery which are normally found on watches. They can last for long hours and provide service, once they are charged. Normally they can provide service for 4 hours after one full charge. The best part is that they do radiate any kind of heat. This is something phenomenal. They can also withstand sweat once you put them on our beautiful eyes. You can stick them on your eyes using normal glue that is used for the eyelash. There are some wires which are invisible to the naked eyes. They are connected to a PCB with each eyelash. The battery is placed on the rear part of the head with normal hair clips.

We all know what the Arduino is capable of. It is mainly used for robotics purpose. But now it is used in improvising the beauty of the world and eyes. The Arduino controller is normally placed behind the head. This is the main thing which keeps control of everything. The proper mechanism of the LED Eyelashes has not been disclosed yet. So, you need to have some patience before the thing gets rolled out in the market.

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Technology

Omnicopter Plays Catch with a Human with Pinpoint Accuracy

Omnicopter plays catch with a human with pinpoint accuracy

Human beings are omnipresent, so why not a helping hand too? Presenting the mighty omnicopter! Imagine playing catch with a drone? Difficult? Not anymore! This device is not only user friendly, it has huge potential in the developing industries over the world.

The omnicopter is a device that works on similar principles of a drone except that it does not go up or down. Hence it can fly over a wider radius in any direction. It follows airborne objects with accuracy like never seen before.

The construction of Omnicopter:

The device is built with eight motors, pointing in eight different directions, as a result widening the radius of its action. Perhaps one of its most relevant feature is the precision with which it functions. It can measure distances rapidly and follow its function. With its capacity to calculate 500,000 trajectories each second, the precision becomes clearer. At a particular time, the trajectories help the device to guide from a starting state to its final destination. It is like a mathematical competition in itself, reactions and algorithms measure the distance and the trajectory to reach the goal. The algorithms become the basis of selection of the trajectories and its path.

The omnicopter has an external camera, which helps in finding the position of an object. The camera helps in tracing the distance covered by the object and find the correct trajectory with extreme precision. Hence, the trajectories are important.

Comparison:

Drones like Quadrocopters consist of motors in only one plain, restricting its path of travel. This is the advantage of omnicopters over them, they travel in multiple directions. A quadrocopter will be unsuccessful in finding a random object thrown out of its path of trajectory, but the omnicopter can.

After obtaining the object, the Omnicopter device drops it in a direction, where the human can easily catch it. Simplifying jobs yet again!

The application of this Omnicopter is vast. According to researchers, the Omnicopter can travel to areas which cannot be commuted to, hence help in delivering important objects of relevance. That would mean , delivery into areas which require help from another individual, remote lands as well as hi-tech labs. Imagine a situation where you are eagerly waiting for your friend to play catch wit, but your friend cancels on you because of prior appointments. Would you go to bed disappointed, or would you want another companion to play with? There comes this legendary device, the drone will measure the trajectories of the catch ball with way more precision than your friend, something he could never beat.

The Omnicopter will develop more with time, probably one day becoming a device of security in national and international projects. Right now, it is a device of interest in various fields of research studies.

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Blogging Tips

Options for Hosting Your Blog Free or Paid

Options for Hosting Your Blog Free or Paid

To create a blog, one needs blogging software. They are mostly free for hosting.

Examples:

WordPress

Blogger

Different blogging software programs provide different features to users although all provide the basic elements needed by casual bloggers. The composing window that is in-built in all the blogging platforms is more or less same.

Additionally, some blogging software programs can be hosted for free through the software provider while others require you to host the software through a third party blog host, which will require payment to that blog host.

The term ‘blogging software’ can also be referred to as ‘blogging platform’.

Different Blogging Platforms:

WordPress.com is free blogging software that provides a limited amount of customization by way of free templates that you can download for your blog. WordPress.com does not allow you to monetize with ads of any kind on blogs, so monetizing your free WordPress blog through advertising is not an option.

If you are using wordpress platform, your blog URL will be: acnecreamsreviewed.wordpress.com

That is only a sample URL friend.

Third party hosted blog

WordPress.org (WP) also offers free blogging software, but you must have your own domain and hosting account. The diverse customization options make WP very powerful and business bloggers with good experience prefer WP blogging platform. You need to buy your own domain and hosting account from hosting companies that include, Go Daddy, Blue Host and Host Gator etc.

 

Blogger is undoubtedly the easiest blogging software available. All new bloggers should start their first blogs with Blogger. It’s free and also easy to use. Blogger allows you to publish ads. It is totally free. It is owned by Google.

Free Hosting of your custom domain

With blogger, you can also have them host you’re your blog with your own custom domain for free. This means, instead of a blog address that ends with blogsoit.com, your blog address (URL) will be yourdomainname.com

Example:

acnecreamsreviewed.blogspot.com

http://www.mono-live.com/

Here, the hosting is completely free, but you will have to pay for your own domain which is at present $10 per year. Yes, you will have to renew your domain every year at the prevailing rates.

You can buy the domain through Google itself though you can also buy elsewhere and point your DNS servers to Google. Since this involves a bit of technical work, but Google has published an easy to implement tutorial.

Moveable Type is great blogging software, but it requires users to obtain pricey licenses. The installation process is cumbersome and the features are not as rich as other blogging software programs provide. Many people like Moveable Type because it supports multiple blogs without having to install the software again and again.

LiveJournal requires users to pay a monthly hosting fee, and it provides a limited amount of features and customization.

Summary:

So, if you are looking for free blogging software that allows monetization, then Blogger hosting is the best choice.  No downloading, no fees whatsoever.

If monetization is not important to you, then WordPress.com hosting is the choice. No downloading, no fees whatsoever.

For bloggers who want full customization and advanced features and aren’t afraid of technical challenges and out-of-pocket expenses, WordPress.org hosting is the best choice.

You must download the wordpress blogging software and upload it in your hosting server and point to your domain.

The cost of having your blog in wordpress will be:

$10 per year towards domain registration

$6.00 per month towards hosting.

There, I have given you the facts about various blogging platforms and the cost involved! Choose one that suits your wallet’s thickness.

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