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5 Emerging Construction Technologies

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5 Emerging Construction Technologies

Construction was always the cutting-edge industry. It used the advance of science and technology to improve its products and make them more affordable to consumers. The same trends continue to this day and we will soon live in futuristic homes made from the latest materials.

There’s also an ecological aspect to this process. All the new materials and technologies are made with a special concern for the way their use in construction impacts the environment. This means that homes of the future will be better integrated into the ecosystem in which they are made, and they’ll be far less wasteful.

Self-healing concreteSelf-healing concrete

Concrete is the most used material in the world. Almost all modern structures from roads and bridges to homes and churches are made out of it. It lasts for a long time but it needs to be repaired every now and then because it’s very prone to cracking. This was usually done by patching over the cracks, but now there’s a better way.

Now, concrete that’s mixed with a substance called sodium silicate has the ability to fix itself by releasing a gel-like agent that connects the concrete separated by the crack.

Transparent aluminum

There was a time when “clear metal” was something out of a science-fiction story. There was no material that was firm and durable as metal, but still clear and useable for decorative purposes like glass. This material would be best suited for making skyscrapers, that would need far less construction support and thus be taller and more spacious.

A new type of ceramic made from Aluminum, Oxygen, and Nitrogen possesses these qualities. It’s placed under great pressure and heated for days before it becomes transparent. After it’s polished it can be used as any other aluminum beam would be.

Off-site constructionOff-site construction

The biggest change for the construction process itself will be about the speed and ease with which the homes are going to be built. Most of the buildings could be prefabricated on brought on the construction site ready to be installed. This will make home building feel more like home assembling.

This approach will also cut the need for large equipment and complicated construction projects. Instead of large cranes, scissor lift for hire could be the only piece of equipment we’ll need to lift heavier objects and complete the tall structures.

Energy efficiency

One of the biggest concerns when making an eco-friendly home is how to make the construction energy efficient. This isn’t just important in terms of care for the environment it’s also a way for the homeowners to save on the utility bill, at least in the long run. It’s best to approach the issue early on, while the house is getting built.

So-called green walls are among the most popular ways to make the home more energy efficiency and add value to the property. Plants planted on the roof of the home or on its walls could significantly lower the energy needed to cool the place in summer and they create a unique aesthetic too.

Automation

Automation is changing all he businesses and construction is no exception. It cuts down costs in the long-term because machines cost less than human labor and the risk of accidents is greatly reduced. The process will start with the large construction companies but it will get to smaller ones as well in due time.

Automation

The first thing to be automated is transportation, self-driving trucks and drones that are due to hit the roads on a large scale any day now. But soon, the construction itself will be done by robots in some form.

New construction technologies will affect the industry in numerous ways. Some will lead to reduced cost, while other will have to result in new labor practices.

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Mobile Security

Security specialists discovered Over a dozen iPhone apps linked to Golduck malware

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Security specialists state they’ve discovered more than a dozen iPhone apps covertly communicating with a server associated with Golduck, a historically Android-focused malware that infects popular classic game apps, according to a report by Techcrunch.

The malware, which was first discovered by Appthority over a year, for infecting classic and retro games on Google Play, by embedding backdoor code that allowed malicious payloads to be silently pushed to the device. At the time, more than 10 million users were affected by the malware, allowing hackers to run malicious commands at the highest privileges, like sending premium SMS messages from a victim’s phone to make money.

Now, the researchers say iPhone apps linked to the malware could also present a risk.

Wandera, an enterprise security firm, said it found 14 apps — all retro-style games — that were communicating with the same command and control server used by the Golduck malware.

“The [Golduck] domain was on a watchlist we established due to its use in distributing a specific strain of Android malware in the past,” said Michael Covington, Wandera’s vice-president of product. “When we started seeing communication between iOS devices and the known malware domain, we investigated further.”

The affected apps include: Commando Metal: Classic ContraSuper Pentron Adventure: Super HardClassic Tank vs Super BomberSuper Adventure of MaritronRoy Adventure Troll GameTrap Dungeons: Super AdventureBounce Classic LegendBlock GameClassic Bomber: Super LegendBrain It On: Stickman PhysicsBomber Game: Classic BombermanClassic Brick – Retro BlockThe Climber Brick, and Chicken Shoot Galaxy Invaders.

It was further discovered that the command and control server simply pushes a list of icons in a pocket of ad space in the upper-right corner of the app, When the user opens the game, the server tells the app which icons and links it should serve to the user, according to the enterprise security firm research(Wandera). They did, however, see the apps sending IP address data — and, in some cases, location data — back to the Golduck command and control server.
However, TechCrunch verified their claims, running the apps on a clean iPhone through a proxy, allowing us to see where the data goes. Based on what we saw, the app tells the malicious Golduck server what app, version, device type, and the IP address of the device — including how many ads were displayed on the phone.

As of now, the researchers say that the apps are packed with ads — likely as a way to make a quick buck. But they expressed concern that the communication between the app and the known-to-be-malicious server could open up the app — and the device — to malicious commands down the line.

“The apps themselves are technically not compromised; while they do not contain any malicious code, the backdoor they open presents a risk for exposure that our customers do not want to take.

“A hacker could easily use the secondary advertisement space to display a link that redirects the user and dupes them into installing a provisioning profile or a new certificate that ultimately allows for a more malicious app to be installed,” said the researchers.

 Security Specialist find over a dozen iPhone apps linked to Golduck malware

One of the iPhone apps, “Classic Bomber,” which was spotted communicating with a malicious command and control server. It’s since been pulled from the U.S. store. (Screenshot: TechCrunch)

That could be said for any game or app, regardless of device maker or software. But the connection to a known malicious server isn’t a good look. Covington said that the company has “observed malicious content being shared from the server,” but that it wasn’t related to the games.

The implication is that if the server is sending malicious payloads to Android users, iPhone users could be next.

TechCrunch sent the list of apps to data insights firm Sensor Tower, which estimated that the 14 apps had been installed close to one million times since they were released — excluding repeated downloads or install across different devices.

When we tried contacting the app makers, many of the App Store links pointed to dead links or to pages with boilerplate privacy policies but no contact information. The registrant on the Golduck domain appears to be fake, along with other domains associated with Golduck, which often have different names and email addresses.

Apple did not comment when reached prior to publication. The apps are appear to still be downloadable from the App Store, but all now say they are “not currently available in the U.S. store.”

Apple’s app stores may have a better rap than Google’s, which every once in a while lets malicious apps slip through the net. In reality, neither store is perfect. Earlier this year, security researchers found a top-tier app in the Mac App Store that was collecting users’ browsing history without permission, and dozens of iPhone apps that were sending user location data to advertisers without explicitly asking first.

For the average user, malicious apps remain the largest and most common threat to mobile users — even with locked down device software and the extensive vetting of apps.

If there’s one lesson, now and always: don’t download what you don’t need, or can’t trust.

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Press Release

Retail Pro International Adds Reseller in Mexico, Increasing Specialty Retail Access to Unified Retail Pro POS

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Retail Pro International deepens investment in Mexico specialty retail with addition of another reseller partnership, POS Latinoamericana.

Folsom, CA, Jan. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Retail Pro International, developer of global, flexible Retail Pro POS platform, announces deeper investment in Mexico retail by expanding their existing local reseller channel in partnership with Naucalpan-based IT company, POS Latinoamericana.

Specialty retailers will benefit most from this partnership, gaining greater access to software that top retailers like Samsonite, Puma, Oakley, Adidas, Diesel and Under Armour use to centrally manage in-store and ecommerce retail – Retail Pro.

Current efforts for Retail Pro International include a focus on helping retailers unify data and operations in Retail Pro, a platform store-management software. Unified data gives end-to-end visibility, helping retailers accomplish the following:

Uncover areas for performance improvement
Improve replenishment across channels
Increase efficiency in store operations

Retail Pro International CEO, Kerry Lemos, comments, “Mexico has sophisticated retailers, with high demand for modern POS technology that helps maximize ROI with better data-driven store management. We are pleased to meet that need with the introduction of more Retail Pro resellers to serve this market.”

Retail Pro International VP of Channel Sales for Latin America, Shaff Kassam, adds, “Retailers are equipped to make the most of their Retail Pro software through our Retail Pro Business Partners. Our partners offer local IT support and training for retailers’ IT teams and provide technical expertise and consulting for tailoring Retail Pro software to a retailers’ needs and regional requirements.”

The developer currently supports 54,000+ retailers in 130+ countries via Business Partner services. The availability of this local support in regions worldwide gives retailers advantage when expanding to new markets in the global economy.

POS Latinoamericana CEO Hector Jaramillo comments, “We look forward to helping Mexico retailers improve productivity and competitiveness with Retail Pro software. Because the technology is localized for Mexico and is easily customized for a retailer’s specific business operations, we believe retailers will be better positioned to respond quickly to industry change and increase profitability.”

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Press Release

ESS Technology Introduces Suite of USB CODECs featuring Audiophile SABRE DACs

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MILPITAS, Calif., Jan. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ESS Technology, the industry leader in audio and analog design, announced today a series of USB Low-Power Audiophile CODECs that feature QUAD DAC™ Technology. Intended for use in headsets and audio adaptors that demand high-quality sound, the new line of CODECs can support end-to-end audiophile quality.  The family is built around a low-power USB controller that supports USB 1.1 & 2.0, and can handle audio data rates up to 32-bit 384kHz PCM.  At its heart is the legendary SABRE® DAC audio converter with HyperStream® II modulation that provides the ultimate in sound quality and stable sound field. The integrated headphone amp delivers that performance all the way to the headsets with up to 2.0Vrms output voltage, ensuring plenty of headroom for demanding headsets.

The highly-integrated parts also include all the needed blocks to make designing a USB audio system simple, including jack detect, button detection and GPIO inputs/outputs for custom buttons or switches.  Reference designs are available for USB-C audio adaptors and USB-C headsets, and the parts can be easily customized using external EEPROM.

The ES9281PRO is the flagship of the new line and can provide best-in-class audio performance at 124 dB DNR and -112 Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N).

The ES9281PRO is the first USB product to offer an integrated hardware MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) renderer that makes MQA playback easy and cost-efficient.  MQA technology is becoming widely accepted as the standard for distributing ultra-high-quality music across a variety of platforms.  The encoding process folds extra information into the signal that can be recovered later.  The subsequent “unfolding” process takes place in two steps: the first unfold, called Core Decoding, can be done on most DSP systems, including software included in smartphone applications.  The final step in the unfolding, called rendering, needs to be done in tight cooperation with the DAC.  The ES9281PRO will automatically detect the MQA stream and engage the rendering; the entire process requires no additional design work.

An integrated Audio Signal Processor (ASP) allows for creating real-time audio filters for use as Active Noise Cancelation (ANC), customized Parametric Equalizer (PEQ), Sidetone, or other filter-based audio effects.

The ES9280PRO offers the same impressive audiophile features as the ES9281PRO but without the MQA rendering. Both products feature a wide range of additional input formats beyond USB.  In addition to the standard microphone support, they feature stereo line input and 8-channel I2S, allowing it to act as USB audio bridge for desktop audio player applications.

The third product in the line, The ES9270, offers a streamlined solution focused on creating high-quality headsets and dongles.  The ES9270 can provide 117 dB DNR and -110 Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N) and features the same low-power audio controller as the flagship, without the ASP or I2S bridge.  These parts are ideal for mainstream USB-C headsets and adaptors that still want great sound.

Samples, evaluation boards, and reference designs are available now for all three parts; in addition, the ES9281PRO will be featured for listening in the ESS demo suite at the 2019 CES show in Las Vegas, January 8th – 11th.  For more information, contact your local sales representative.

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