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14
Oct

Police Told to Avoid Looking at iPhone Screens Locked With Face ID


Police in the United States are being advised not to look at iPhone screens secured with Face ID, because doing so could disable facial authentication and leave investigators needing a potentially harder-to-obtain passcode to gain access.

Face ID on iPhone X and iPhone XS attempts to authenticate a face up to five times before the feature is disabled and the user’s passcode is required to unlock the smartphone.

Elcomsoft presentation slide talking about Face ID (image via Motherboard)
Given the way the security system works, Motherboard reports that forensics company Elcomsoft is advising law enforcement, “don’t look at the sceen, or else… the same thing will occur as happened [at] Apple’s event.”

The note appears on a slide belonging to an Elcomsoft presentation on iOS forensics, and refers to Apple’s 2017 presentation of Face ID, in which Apple VP Craig Federighi tried and failed to unlock an iPhone X with his own face, before the device asked for a passcode instead.

Apple later explained that the iPhone locked after several people backstage interacted with it ahead of Federighi, causing it to require a passcode to unlock.

The advice follows a recent report of the first known case of law enforcement forcing a suspect to unlock an iPhone using Face ID. The action subsequently helped police uncover evidence that was later used to charge the suspect with receiving and possessing child pornography.

In the United States, forcing someone to give up a password is interpreted as self-incrimination, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment, but courts have ruled that there’s a difference between a biometric recognition system like Touch ID and a passcode that you type into your phone.

In some cases, police have gained access to digital data by forcing people to unlock mobile devices using their fingers. Indeed, before Face ID was in use, law enforcement was advised how it could avoid locking Touch ID fingerprint-based authentication on Apple’s iPhones.

  • How to Quickly Disable Touch ID and Face ID on an iPhone

“With Touch ID, you have to press the button (or at least touch it),” Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, told Motherboard. “That’s why we always recommend (on our trainings) to use the power button instead, e.g to see whether the phone is locked. But with Face ID, it is easier to use ‘accidentally’ by simply looking at the phone.”

Related Roundup: iPhone XSTags: Face ID, lawBuyer’s Guide: iPhone XS (Buy Now)
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14
Oct

Here’s how to set up an alternate appearance for Face ID


Thanks to iOS 12, we received a number of welcome improvements to Face ID, the facial recognition sign-in option available on the iPhone X and newer models. However, one of the best improvements was the addition of an “alternate appearance” or the ability to program in a second face for your iPhone to recognize.

This is an incredibly useful new option, whether you want to make sure that a loved one can open and use your phone, or just want your iPhone to recognize you with goggles or work equipment on (something Face ID is getting better at, but it can still prove challenging). We’ll show you how to set up an alternate appearance for Face ID right here with just a couple minutes of work.

Step 1: Navigate to Face ID & Passcode

Pick a spot with good lighting and no potential glare, and unlock your iPhone. Head to Settings (the gear icon), and look through the Settings menu until you come to Face ID & Passcode. Select it.

Step 2: Start the alternative appearance process

At this point, you will probably have to enter your passcode to continue. Once logged into Face ID & Passcode, you should see options for enabling Face ID App Store purchases, Apple Pay, password autofill, and other options. It’s worthwhile scanning through these options to make sure they are enabled or disabled as you prefer, especially if you are adding a second person to Face ID.

When you are ready, look below the option to enable and you will see the option to Set Up an Alternative Appearance. Select this to begin.

Note: This is assuming that you have already set up your first Face ID face and passcode. If you haven’t set up Face ID yet, then you will see an option to “Set Up Face ID.” You will want to select this first. If you haven’t set up a passcode yet, then you will be prompted to create a passcode when opening Face ID & Passcode. We recommend creating a passcode, since having a reliable second method to unlock your phone is useful, especially if the camera ever malfunctions.

Step 3: Scan the face

Now you will need to scan in the alternative face. Whether this is a loved one or just you with some obscuring clothing, get ready. A face portrait will appear and your iPhone will instruct you to move your face around in a circle to properly calibrate the sensor. Do this until the iPhone is satisfied and reports that the face scan is complete.

If you have trouble with this process, remember that your face needs to be centered and that your iPhone shouldn’t be angled away. You may need to find better lighting or readjust your position to improve the scan. It usually takes a couple of circles around to fully complete the scan.

When finished, you’re done. The iPhone Face ID will now scan for both face data sets, and will unlock for either of them. You can test the function out immediately to make sure it works.

Step 4: When necessary, replace your alternate appearance

Now, when you go into Face ID & Passcode, you will only see an option to “Reset Face ID” that has replaced the alternate appearance option. Be careful when choosing this option: It will erase all your Face ID data, then ask you to scan in two new faces consecutively. However, it’s also the only way to get rid of an alternate appearance and replace it. Make sure both faces you want to scan in are ready if you hit reset.

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14
Oct

Adobe MAX 2018 Preview: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect


Comedian Jordan Peele, right, co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, and Adobe’s Kim Chambers open Sneaks at Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in San Diego. (Denis Poroy/AP Images for Adobe)

Next week, October 15 through 17, creatives from around the world will flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center in California for the annual Adobe MAX conference. For anyone working in a creative industry, it’s kind of a big deal — this year’s speakers include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard; musician and 5-time Grammy winner Questlove; actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish; photographer Albert Watson; designer John Maeda; and designer and illustrator Jessica Hische. (You can also sign up to watch it live online.)

Billed as “the creativity conference,” Adobe MAX hosts more than 300 educational sessions across various creative disciplines — but it also provides a stage for Adobe to announce and demonstrate the latest updates for its ever-growing suite of applications.

If you’re at all invested in the Adobe ecosystem, MAX is where you’ll get a glimpse into the future technologies the company has been working on. It provides a first look at the changes coming to the software that drives your creative workflow, whether that’s new features or entirely new apps.

Like a micro CES, the Adobe MAX show floor invites creative tech companies to showcase their latest products. Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Adobe oversees a huge portfolio of software, with updates rolling out all throughout the year, but the best reveals are always kept for MAX. In 2017, over 12,000 people were in attendance when Adobe made one of its biggest announcements in recent history, launching a cloud-based version of Lightroom.

We don’t know what’s coming, but Adobe has left some clues. In September, it shared a sneak peek of its new and improved Content-Aware Fill feature said to be coming to Photoshop CC. Based on what Adobe shared so far, the tool is about to get a whole lot smarter and capable thanks to Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence that resides in the Creative Cloud.

Sensei took center stage at MAX 2017, and we expect to hear a lot more about it this year beyond Content-Aware Fill.

Adobe

Likely all the major apps, from Photoshop to After Effects, will be addressed, but we’re particularly hopeful to learn more about Project Rush, an all-new mobile video editor with an emphasis on cloud storage, social integration, and cross-device compatibility. Rush shares some similarities with Premiere Pro, but slices down the complexity to focus on editing for social media. One of the key features is an exporting option that automatically formats everything for sharing across multiple social networks. Adobe first teased the program at VidCon, and while the company hasn’t shared a launch date yet, they did say it would be coming sometime this year. With the calendar running out of months, further details during MAX wouldn’t be too surprising.

Beyond that, it’s a mystery, but we don’t have to wait much longer.

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14
Oct

Adobe MAX 2018 Preview: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect


Comedian Jordan Peele, right, co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, and Adobe’s Kim Chambers open Sneaks at Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 in San Diego. (Denis Poroy/AP Images for Adobe)

Next week, October 15 through 17, creatives from around the world will flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center in California for the annual Adobe MAX conference. For anyone working in a creative industry, it’s kind of a big deal — this year’s speakers include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard; musician and 5-time Grammy winner Questlove; actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish; photographer Albert Watson; designer John Maeda; and designer and illustrator Jessica Hische. (You can also sign up to watch it live online.)

Billed as “the creativity conference,” Adobe MAX hosts more than 300 educational sessions across various creative disciplines — but it also provides a stage for Adobe to announce and demonstrate the latest updates for its ever-growing suite of applications.

If you’re at all invested in the Adobe ecosystem, MAX is where you’ll get a glimpse into the future technologies the company has been working on. It provides a first look at the changes coming to the software that drives your creative workflow, whether that’s new features or entirely new apps.

Like a micro CES, the Adobe MAX show floor invites creative tech companies to showcase their latest products. Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Adobe oversees a huge portfolio of software, with updates rolling out all throughout the year, but the best reveals are always kept for MAX. In 2017, over 12,000 people were in attendance when Adobe made one of its biggest announcements in recent history, launching a cloud-based version of Lightroom.

We don’t know what’s coming, but Adobe has left some clues. In September, it shared a sneak peek of its new and improved Content-Aware Fill feature said to be coming to Photoshop CC. Based on what Adobe shared so far, the tool is about to get a whole lot smarter and capable thanks to Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence that resides in the Creative Cloud.

Sensei took center stage at MAX 2017, and we expect to hear a lot more about it this year beyond Content-Aware Fill.

Adobe

Likely all the major apps, from Photoshop to After Effects, will be addressed, but we’re particularly hopeful to learn more about Project Rush, an all-new mobile video editor with an emphasis on cloud storage, social integration, and cross-device compatibility. Rush shares some similarities with Premiere Pro, but slices down the complexity to focus on editing for social media. One of the key features is an exporting option that automatically formats everything for sharing across multiple social networks. Adobe first teased the program at VidCon, and while the company hasn’t shared a launch date yet, they did say it would be coming sometime this year. With the calendar running out of months, further details during MAX wouldn’t be too surprising.

Beyond that, it’s a mystery, but we don’t have to wait much longer.

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14
Oct

Silicon Valley just got a new automated farm where leafy greens are grown by machines


Did you hear the one about the Google software engineer who packed it all in to start a farm? No, it’s not the setup for a joke. Nor is it the premise for some quirky Sundance comedy, probably telling the story of a stressed-out programmer who rediscovers their happiness by moving to the country. It’s a real, honest-to-goodness farm, which just opened in San Carlos, around 20 miles outside San Francisco. Called Iron Ox, the farm aims to produce leafy greens — romaine, butterhead, and kale, alongside various herbs — at a rate of roughly 26,000 heads per year. Oh yes, and it’s staffed almost exclusively by robots.

“This is a fundamentally different way of approaching farming,” CEO and co-founder Brandon Alexander, 33, told Digital Trends. “Traditionally, the farming process means that you seed, you wait a few months, you come back, you harvest, and you distribute. That hasn’t changed a whole lot in hundreds, if not thousands, of years.” Until now, at least.

“This is a fundamentally different way of approaching farming”

Iron Ox’s indoor farm measures around 8,000-square-feet. That makes it paltry compared to the thousands of acres occupied by many traditional farms, but, through the use of some smart technology, it promises a production output that’s more in line with an outdoor farm five times its size. To achieve this, it has a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, Iron Ox is a hydroponics farm, a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Unlike a regular farm, hydroponic farms grow their produce in vertical and horizontal stacks; every element minutely controlled through the use of glowing LED lights and jets of water to affect the crops’ size, texture, and other characteristics.

In place of a farmer, Iron Ox employs a giant, 1,000 pound robot called Angus. It’s Angus’ job to move the heavy 800 pound, water-filled tubs of fresh produce without spilling them. A robot arm is used to tend the crops, making this the agricultural equivalent of Elon Musk’s automated Tesla factory in Fremont, CA.

“We’ve taken a robotics-first approach to the growing,” Alexander continued, in what can only be described as an understatement. “Everything is designed with that in mind.”

Disrupting the family business

When he was a kid, Alexander was shipped off each summer to his grandfather’s family farm in the Texas and Oklahoma area. Looking back at it today, it’s a cherished memory. At the time, not so much.

“I’ll be honest: I hated it,” he said. “All my friends were going on vacation and I was the one who was stuck on a farm.” When his buddies were sleeping in, he was getting up at the crack of dawn. When they were on the beach, he was on a tractor. Years later, when he and his co-founder and CTO Jonathan Binney, 34, were busy planning out Iron Ox, he called his grandfather. Now 83 and still running a farm, Alexander told him about his plans for roboticizing the work that his family had done by hand for generations.

Iron Ox

But this isn’t a story about a guy who decided to take revenge for summers of hard labor by disrupting the industry. Far from it. Alexander has a deep respect for farming, evident from the reverent way that he speaks about a profession that has looked after his family for years.

“[My grandad is] technophobic; he doesn’t know how to use an iPhone [or about machine learning or computer vision],” Alexander said. “But when I explained what I was doing, he said, ‘This is inevitable.’ That kind of surprised me, but it shouldn’t. When he was a kid, and his dad was farming, they managed 40 acres. Now him and his crew are managing 6,000 acres. He’s seen the progression.”

Just-in-time farming

Farming isn’t an industry that’s at the forefront of many people’s minds in Silicon Valley. It probably should be, though, because the emphasis on farm-to-table produce is only growing. When Alexander and Binney speak to chefs, they regularly hear stories about customers wanting to know exactly where a particular bit of produce has been sourced from, or how old it is.

That typically gets an unsatisfactory answer in the U.S., where the average distance travelled by fresh fruit and vegetables is around 2,000 miles. “There are relatively few places that have the right conditions for growing,” Alexander explained. “Everyone else gets week-old produce.”

Iron Ox

Iron Ox aims to change that by building farms within easy reach of cities. Using its autonomous technology, customers can get fresh greens grown in their neighborhood. Better yet, they can get it year round, since an indoor farm isn’t subject to the same seasonal conditions as traditional farms are.

“We call this just-in-time farming,” Alexander said. He is using terminology that is usually applied to manufacturing, pioneered by automaker Toyota in Japan during the 1960s and 70s. What makes just-in-time manufacturing special is that it focuses on making items to meet demand, rather than creating surplus in advance of need. It means less waste with overproduction, less waiting, and less excess inventory. That works well for cars, computers, or smartphones. The Iron Ox team hope it will work great for crops, too.

A.I. which constantly monitors information relating to nitrogen levels, temperature, and the location of robots.

“In a traditional greenhouse, you’re committed to growing a thousand or tens of thousands of a particular varietal,” Alexander said. “Our systems gives us the ability to fine-tune the nutrients for each crop. We’re only committed to growing a hundred of something at a time. That’s important. Previously you would committed to, for example, kale. ‘Kale’s going great,’ you say. ‘Let’s go all-in on kale.’ But trends change. If we suddenly notice a big demand for purple bok choy or Italian basil, our system can adapt to that consumer demand very quickly.”

Overseeing the farm, like a green-fingered HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, is what Alexander calls “The Brain.” This is a cloud-based, A.I. which constantly monitors information relating to nitrogen levels, temperature, and the location of robots. Over time, it will expand this to take into account data pertaining to food orders, or more general information about food-based trends.

Weighing up all this data, it can then make decisions about exactly what should be growing — and in what quantities — in each of the modular tanks.

The road from here

Right now, Iron Ox is starting to take chef’s orders for the two dozen-plus varieties of leafy greens that it is growing from the start. It aims to be in full production by the end of the year. This is still the beginning of the journey, but it’s one that Alexander and his co-founder are happy to be on.

“We had some pretty good, cushy jobs at Google and whatnot,” Alexander said. “We wanted to make sure that, when we took the next step, it was something we were passionate about. It’s not about staying passionate for one year; it’s about whether or not this was something we could put decades of our life into? That’s a different metric, for sure.”

How does he feel about the impact of automation on jobs in the farming community as a whole?

“I think farming is a fairly unique space in this regard,” he said. “Agriculture is one of the few industries right now where they can’t get enough help. That was something that surprised Jon and myself when we first started. When we quit our jobs, we spent four months roadtripping California, talking to farmers. We talked to dozens of outdoor and indoor farmers. One of the questions we asked was ‘what’s your biggest pain point?’ 100 percent of them said that it was labor scarcity. They could not get enough help for their farms.”

Added to this is the fact that, in the United States, the average age of a farmer is 58. “It’s a bell curve distribution, and it keeps shifting over to older and older,” he said.

“There simply aren’t enough people wanting to do this”

Those jobs are not being replaced in equal numbers by the younger generation. “There simply aren’t enough people wanting to do this,” he continued. “And I don’t blame them. It’s hard, back-breaking work. It’s just where it’s going.”

Iron Ox isn’t the only startup applying the latest technology to farming. Other companies and researchers are building self-driving tractors for farms, using CRISPR gene editing to improve the efficacy of crops, and building robots that are capable of picking a variety of fresh produce without damaging it. But Iron Ox’s business model nevertheless represents an enormous step potential forward in U.S. agriculture and the way that it works.

In 1820, more than half of the United States population lived and worked on farms. Today, this is fewer than 2 percent of the population, with the overwhelming majority having moved to the city. Thanks to companies such Iron Ox, people may no longer have to choose between farm and city. If people won’t leave the city for farms, then the farms will just have to come to them.

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