3-D Gun Printing: Here’s the Software That Stops It

New software has been developed that aims to restrict the manufacture of firearms that have been created using new 3-D technology.

The world’s first gun made using 3-D printing – called “The Liberator” – was successfully fired on May 6 in Austin, Texas. In just three days the blueprint created by startup Defense Distributed to produce the plastic gun had been downloaded around 100,000 times, according to Forbes Magazine.

Anti-gun campaigners have criticized the project, whilst lawmakers in different U.S. states have moved to pass new legislation to prohibit the manufacture, sale and use of the digitally made firearms. And now Danish startup Create It REAL has produced software that it says blocks users from printing guns in the first place.

“The likely buyers are 3-D printer manufacturers who want to minimize their liability risk and offer a firearm parental control feature to their customers,” Create It REAL’s CEO Jeremie Pierre Gay told CNBC.

“The feature creates a unique digital fingerprint of the firearm…the manufacturer could decide to block the print or to simply give a warning to the user of the potential danger.”

The software has taken a year to develop. The firm realized there was a gap in the market after surveying end users and 3D printer manufacturers. Gay told CNBC that his previous job working with Digital Rights Management (DRM) for technology firm Motorola served him well.

“[We realized] people are interested in the ability to put a lock on their firearms at home, the same should be possible on a 3D printer as a parental control feature. I would say that this feature is customer driven even if they did not know they wanted the feature when we asked,” he said.

“The possibility to make a firearm at home is not new, there are many plans on how to do it on Internet, the problem with 3-D printing is that it could become simply too easy, this feature makes it more complicated again.”

Cody Wilson, the man behind nonprofit Defense Distributed was skeptical that the product would actually be able to prohibit the printing of guns, which are produced as separate parts and then assembled. “The Liberator” is printed with hard plastic and fires a standard .380 caliber bullet. The only non-printed piece is a common hardware store nail which is used as its firing pin.

“Such software must walk a very fine line, of which I’ve no doubt it is incapable…It’s interesting PR to the uninitiated only,” the 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas told CNBC.

“‘The Liberator’ pistol is an assembly of over 17 parts, most of which individually would not set off a detection software unless the exact model was blacklisted. Think about it, springs, hammer, even the grip. These are not ‘guns’.”

‘Wild West’ Regulation

Both New York City and New York State have introduced legislation to curb the making of 3-D printed firearms or ban their use altogether and similar bills have been introduced in California. Linda Rosenthal, a New York State assembly member told CNBC that New York’s bill is currently sitting with the Codes Committee after the legislative session ended on June 21.

“I have all intentions of pursuing this legislation next session,” she told CNBC. “The controversy surrounding the passage of the SAFE ACT (the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) will make passing any piece of gun-related legislation that much more difficult, but I think this is a very important issue that must be addressed before the technology becomes widely available.”

New York State should act as a leader to provide a national model for other states to follow, Rosenthal said, and welcomes the new software that she says is effectively the industry regulating its own behavior.

“It is important that industry and government partner with each other to address this issue. Neither acting alone will be able to accomplish enough to deter dangerous behavior….Given that no technology is foolproof, it is critical that the states have strong tools available to discourage wrongdoing and criminalize bad behavior,” she told CNBC.

“3D printing is a very new technology, and in terms of regulation, it is the Wild West out there.”

Despite the issues surrounding the manufacture of firearms, 3-D printing – creating three-dimensional solid objects from digital models – is gathering momentum and is transforming everything from medicine to home goods. Printers that once cost $30,000 now are priced closer to $1,000 and have the potential to rewrite the rules of global manufacturing.

The market for 3-D printing was estimated at about $1.7 billion in 2011 and could hit $6.5 billion by 2019, according to research firm Wohlers Associates.

Accela Releases Civic Hero App for Windows 8

Accela, Inc., the leading provider of civic engagement solutions for government agencies, announced today that its Civic Hero app is now available for Windows 8. With Civic Hero for Windows 8, Accela is providing entire communities with an innovative app that empowers citizens to report non-emergency community issues such as graffiti, potholes, or damaged public property to local government.

“We’re very excited that Civic Hero is now available on Windows 8,” said Maury Blackman, Accela President and CEO. “This opportunity provides an amazing user experiences and offers features that will delight our user base. Now more government agencies and citizens will be able to access our expanding platform of applications and will realize the true value of citizen engagement. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Microsoft to bring additional apps to market.”

By using their Windows 8 devices, citizens can simply select the type of issue they are reporting, take or add a quick photo or comment and they are done. Citizens can also review and comment on issues reported by others. Government agencies will benefit from utilizing Civic Hero in the following ways:

  • Automatic report routing to only receive service requests within your jurisdiction and areas of responsibility.
  • Tight integration with Accela Automation, allowing agencies to leverage the workflow engine to assign and track reports.
  • Prioritization of reported issues through community feedback.
  • Elimination of duplicate requests.
  • Good will from citizens when they utilize a convenient and useful app that makes communicating with government easy and efficient.

“Civic Hero for Windows 8 offers significant benefits to government agencies and citizens by enabling a fast and transparent method for reporting non-emergency issues,” said Steve Jenkins, senior director of government partners, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector. “Accela’s easy-to-use app helps cities, citizens and government employees stay engaged with their communities on their Windows 8 devices with convenient access virtually anywhere.”

The Windows 8 version of Civic Hero joins existing versions deployed on leading mobile platforms including iOS and Android. For more information on Accela’s mobile applications, including Civic Hero, visit www.accela.com/civic-apps.

About Accela

Accela, Inc. provides the leading civic engagement platform, powering thousands of services and millions of transactions daily for large and small public agencies worldwide. We connect government to people and accelerate and streamline land management, licensing, asset management and public health and safety processes. Accela’s Civic Cloud includes a complete platform, both packaged and tailored solutions and cloud-based, office, mobile and social applications to support government agency, business and citizen needs. Accela is headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., with international offices in Australia and the United Arab Emirates. For more information, visit www.accela.com.

Amcom Software Supports HIPAA-Compliant Smartphone Texting at Emory University and Emory Healthcare

Amcom Software, Inc. today announced that Emory University is leading a large strategic effort to expand the use of its HIPAA-compliant smartphone texting app, Mobile Connect, Powered by Amcom™. The organization plans to have thousands of Emory staff in both the academic and hospital settings using the solution to facilitate their secure critical messaging. Emory wants to ensure that sensitive information such as identifiable patient data remains protected, that staff can easily locate the people they need to contact, and that messages requiring immediate attention are acknowledged and responded to quickly.

Emory uses Mobile Connect because it integrates easily with their Amcom hospital call center solutions, including their staff directory, on-call scheduling and emergency notification systems. “Currently we are focused on educating our staff about the benefits of Mobile Connect, including the security and ease of communicating,” said Jay Flanagan, Senior Manager, UTS Messaging at Emory University. “This is particularly important for those who send or receive critical communications, including physicians and nurses, administrators, IT staff, and Infection Control. The healthcare staff is our primary focus, but faculty and staff in the university sectors are also included.”

“When staff see how Mobile Connect simplifies their work and makes them more productive, they get excited,” said Jason Stanaland, Mobile Messaging Applications Engineer at Emory University. “Our early adopters enticed their coworkers to use it. They all recognize its many benefits and are helping to spread the word.”

“Mobile Connect is transforming how Emory’s staff is able to communicate, particularly in its fast-paced clinical setting,” said Colin Balmforth, President, Amcom Software. “It’s exciting to see customers like Emory making full use of their Amcom solutions to improve their communication workflows and patient care.”

About Emory’s Office of Information Technology
Emory University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is responsible for maintaining and coordinating centralized computing services on campus and supporting academic, administrative, research, and healthcare departments in the effective and efficient use of these technologies. The Office of Information Technology coordinates its efforts and initiatives with other central and local information technology units. Some of the larger systems and service provided by OIT include electronic medical records, voice and data services, enterprise-wide human resources, student administration, financial systems, high-performance computing, and academic course-management software.

About Amcom Software
Amcom Software, a subsidiary of USA Mobility, Inc. (USMO), connects people to each other and to the data they need. This helps organizations save lives with communications that are faster, more accurate, and more efficient. Thousands of organizations worldwide rely on Amcom solutions for critical smartphone communications, contact center optimization, emergency management, and clinical workflow improvement. The company’s products are used by leading organizations in healthcare, hospitality, education, business, and government.

Review: First 8-inch Windows tablet is a device that shouldn’t exist

My dissatisfaction with PC OEMs is something I have documented in the past. They offer a confusing array of products and tend to cut corners in the worst ways imaginable. The OEM response to Windows 8 has been to produce a wide range of machines sporting novel form factors to fit all sorts of niches, both real and imagined.

One niche that the OEMs haven’t tried to fill, however, has been sub-10-inch tablets. That’s not altogether surprising. Microsoft designed Windows 8 for screens of 10 inches or more, and initially the operating system’s hardware requirements had a similar constraint.

That decision looked a little short-sighted after the success of tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and the iPad mini. Accordingly, Microsoft changed the rules in March, opening the door to a range of smaller Windows tablets.

The Acer Iconia W3 is the first—and currently the only—8-inch Windows tablet. That attribute alone makes it in some sense noteworthy. Sadly, it’s about the only thing that does.

Spec-wise, this is another Intel Clover Trail tablet, and its internals are basically the same as the devices that launched last year (such as its bigger brother, the Acer Iconia W510). This means 1.8 GHz, dual core, four thread Intel Atom Z2760 CPU, 2 GB RAM, 64 GB flash storage (which with Acer’s default partitioning leaves a little over 29 GB usable), front and rear cameras, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11b/g/n (no 5 GHz support). There’s a micro-HDMI and micro-USB port for external connectivity (a separate cable converts the micro USB port into a full-size one), along with an SD card slot. The tablet has a speaker adequate for notification sounds but little more.

As a result, performance and battery life are similar to what we’ve seen before. The Iconia W3 comes equipped with full-blown Windows 8, unlike ARM tablets, so it can run any 32-bit Windows application—should you really want to. Clover Trail’s GPU performance is such that games and other graphics-intensive programs won’t run well, however.

Eight inches of horror

The new bits on this tablet are really the screen and the size.

Screens are important. We spend essentially all our time interacting with devices looking at screens. Cost-cutting on screens is unforgivable, as a bad screen will damage every single interaction you have with the device. This goes doubly so for tablets, where the screen works not only as an output device but also as the primary input device.

The Acer Iconia W3’s screen is a standout—because it is worst-in-class. I hated every moment I used the Iconia W3, and I hated it because I hated the screen. Its color accuracy and viewing angles are both miserable (whites aren’t white—they’re weirdly colorful and speckled). The screen has a peculiar grainy appearance that makes it look permanently greasy. You can polish as much as you like; it will never go away. The whole effect is reminiscent in some ways of old resistive screens.

It’s hard to overstate just how poor this screen is. At any reasonable tablet viewing distance, the color of the screen is uneven. The viewing angle is so narrow that at typical hand-held distances, the colors change across the width of the screen. At full arm’s length the screen does finally look even, but the device is obviously unusable that way.

Acer has clearly skimped on the screen. I’m sure the panel in the W3 was quite cheap, and that may be somewhat reflected in the unit’s retail price ($379 for a 32GB unit, $429 for this 64GB one—putting it at the same price as the 32GB iPad mini, which has a comparable amount of available disk space), but who cares? It doesn’t matter how cheap something is if you don’t want to use it at all.

This poor screen quality isn’t a question of resolution, either. 1280×800 is not a tremendously high resolution, but text looks crisp enough. At 186 pixels per inch, 1280×800 feels more or less OK for this size of device.

The low resolution does, however, have one significant drawback: it disables Windows 8’s side-by-side Metro multitasking, which requires a resolution of at least 1366×768. The W3’s screen is 86 pixels too narrow, so the Metro environment is strictly one application at a time.

This is an unfortunate decision. The side-by-side multitasking is one of the Metro environment’s most compelling features. Keeping Twitter or Messenger snapped to the side makes a lot of sense and works well. I’ve never used Windows 8 on a device that didn’t support side-by-side Metro multitasking before, and I don’t ever want to again.

Size-wise, the W3 may be small for a Windows tablet, but it’s not exactly small. It’s fat. The W3 is 11.4 mm thick. The iPad mini, in comparison, is 7.2 mm thick. The Iconia W3 is also heavy at 500 g; the iPad mini, in comparison, is 308 g. That makes the W3 more than 50 percent thicker and more than 50 percent heavier.

The thickness makes the lack of a full-sized USB port on the device more than a little confusing. There’s certainly room for a full USB port, and a full port would be more convenient than the dongle. But for whatever reason, Acer didn’t give us one.

The device itself feels solid enough, albeit plasticky. It doesn’t exude quality, but it’s a step or two up from the bargain basement.

Keyboard non-dock

The W3 also has a keyboard accessory. As is common for this kind of thing, the keyboard has no electrical connection to the tablet. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard powered by a pair of AAA batteries. It has a groove along the top that can hold the tablet in both landscape and portrait orientations and a clip on the back that lets you use the keyboard as a kind of screen protector.

The keyboard has to be manually paired to the tablet. It’s more or less full-size, with a reasonable key layout. It’s a typical mediocre keyboard. The feel is a little on the squishy side, lacking the crispness of, for example Microsoft’s Type Cover for its Surface tablets. It’s better than any on-screen keyboard, and to that extent it does its job. But it’s a long way from being an actually good keyboard.

The groove does hold the tablet up, and on a level surface the unit doesn’t topple over, but it’s not as satisfactory as some of the hinged keyboard/docks we’ve seen on other devices. Tilt the base while carrying it or using it on your lap and the tablet is liable to fall out.

Laser App Software Announces Core Initiatives for 2013 Broker-Dealer Conference

Laser App Software, the leading provider of forms automation and management software for the securities and insurance industries, today announced the key initiatives planned for the 2013 Broker-Dealer Conference. The conference will take place from August 21 through August 23 and will be held at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina. The conference brings 300 broker-dealer executives and software providers into a collaborative environment to focus on technology trends and integrations.

Laser App has geared the 2013 conference around the optimization of working in a mobile practice. This is in response to the overwhelming industry push toward mobility. Everything from the “Advisor adoption of technology” presentation by author and industry expert Joel Bruckenstein, to demonstrations on integrations with the major custodians, to the e-sign acceptance presentation, and the recently produced software integrations with our partners are all geared toward broker-dealers supporting their reps in a mobile environment.

At last year’s event, Laser App released the Anywhere Platform its pure HTML mobile solution. This year, Laser App is unveiling a myriad of enhancements and integrations to the platform designed to meet the needs of both broker-dealers and advisors.

As always, there will be a blend of work and play. The evening event will be a casino cruise around the San Diego harbor where attendees will be treated to dinner, drinks, and their favorite table games. The Thursday lunchtime keynote speaker is Reggie Brown, a comedian and impressionist, known for his impersonation of President Barack Obama.

“Over the last 7 years, the Laser App conference has evolved from a user group meeting to a place where hundreds of broker-dealers come to learn and interact with each other and solution providers. I want every broker-dealer to leave the conference knowing where they’re headed and which solution providers can solve their problems, and I want them to enjoy themselves,” said Robert Powell, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Laser App Software.

“The Laser App Conference has been incredibly useful for broker-dealers to learn more about technology advancements in the financial services industry. The conference is consistently high-energy and covers important topics such as straight-through-processing, integration, and mobile business processing. We look forward to the conference every year as a way to learn more about where we can improve our operations, and how technology can benefit our practice,” said Chris Shaw of ProEquities.

About Laser App Software
Laser App Software is the premier e-forms provider in the financial services industry. Laser app creates highly integrated solutions that combine state‐of‐the‐art forms-filling technology with its massive library of industry related forms.

Cbeyond Chooses Crafter Software to Create A Higher Quality Customer Web Experience, Boosting Engagement

Crafter Software Corp., a leading provider of software solutions for the creation of rich and engaging websites, mobile applications and multi-channel digital experiences, today announced thatCbeyond (CBEY) has chosen Crafter’s Web content and experience management solutions. Cbeyond replaced its existingWeb content management system with Crafter as part of a website rebranding effort to provide a far more dynamic, engaging Web experience flexible enough to integrate with various internal content systems. Since re-launching the Cbeyond site using Crafter, the website has generated 18 percent more leads and website traffic has increased nine percent.

“Crafter’s modular components and architecture integrated easily with our user login platform and customer management system. We now have the flexibility to create an engaging Web presence, are no longer boxed in to one type of look and can quickly tailor the site to our ongoing needs,” said Tom Ouellette, senior director, Marketing Communications at Cbeyond. “Best of all, Crafter’s user-friendly content authoring tools provide our website visitors with fresh content that best describes our cloud computing solutions.”

Cbeyond deployed Crafter Engine, a high-performance content delivery system, as a foundation for its new website. Crafter Engine is built from the ground up to easily tap into various data sources from social media, ERPs, CRMs, marketing campaign systems and others to create a dynamic Web experience that is specifically targeted to an individual user.

Cbeyond also rolled out Crafter Studio, a Web content authoring and publishing solution, to its marketing team. The product offers user-friendly features for marketers and content editors to enable easier and faster publishing across all channels, without any involvement from development or IT.

“We see accelerating demand for our software as today’s Web continues to evolve from a static publishing environment to a business-critical productivity and engagement platform,” said Mike Vertal, CEO of Crafter Software. “Cbeyond can now turn on a dime and quickly adapt to results from A/B split testing and other analytics data. We are thrilled to see their significant early return in terms of website traffic and Web-based leads.”

About Crafter Software

Crafter Software (Reston, Va.) enables the creation of rich and engaging websites, mobile applications, and multi-channel digital experiences. The company’s software solutions are based on the award-winning Crafter CMS open source project, which was built from the ground up as a modern platform for creating more relevant web experiences through targeted delivery of personalized content. Serving as the lynchpin between enterprise systems and end users, Crafter’s solutions enable marketing, sales and support teams to author and manage content while harvesting analytics and data-driven insights to deliver engaging experiences across all digital channels—the web, mobile, social, and more. For more information, visit craftersoftware.com and craftercms.org.

SkyDrive Windows 8.1, Download File Without Internet

Washington – After releasing a preview version of Windows 8.1 recently, Microsoft said that the final version will be released in August 2013. Windows 8.1 users will soon be able to access files on a Windows cloud-based storage service, SkyDrive, without having to connect to the Internet.
Microsoft announced that SkyDrive will be accompanied by support for offline access. Through SkyDrive service, users will be able to determine which files can be accessed without connecting to the Internet and then downloaded to the user’s device automatically.
Files that can be accessed offline will be easily identified when the user opens SkyDrive. In addition, Windows 8.1 users can also store files on SkyDrive in offline mode, which then can be directly uploaded when connected to the Internet network.
Tami Reller, Chief Financial Officer said the company’s Windows Windows 8.1 will be completed in August 2013. Reller did not say when the user can install updates to Windows 8.1. But, Reller showed several new features and functionality in Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 users will be looking for music that is integrated with Xbox Music and can share web pages into Xbox Music application to create playlists. Another breakthrough designed in Windows 8.1, namely, Miracast. This displays renewal HD video and audio from Wi-Fi to the other views, such as TV. And many more other renewal in Windows 8.1.

Infinite Skills’ “Adobe Acrobat XI Security Tutorial” Targets Advanced Capabilities for Encryption and Authentication In Adobe’s PDF Creation Tool

Software training firm Infinite Skills Inc. last week introduced its “Adobe Acrobat XI Security Tutorial,” a condensed course targeted specifically toward using Acrobat XI to create and exchange information-sensitive digital documents.

Advanced security features have long been a feature that sets Acrobat apart from other digital document applications. Acrobat XI has capabilities for password protection and certificate encryption, digital signatures, and many other advanced security features that make it a one-stop solution for document management.

Infinite Skills’ “Adobe Acrobat XI Security,” covers all these features in a quick, easy-to-understand guide that will allow users to begin creating and transferring secure documents in just a few short hours.

Adobe Acrobat XI Security Video Training – DVD

Course author Michael Hoffman is a career photographer, artist, and trainer, with Adobe certifications in Acrobat and Photoshop. After beginning his career creating technical illustrations and photographs for electronic equipment manufacturers, he has continued to combine technology, photography and education in a productive career.

This brief, highly focused course, covers password and certificate encryption, creating a digital ID, how to sign a .pdf file, how to certify a .pdf file, and using Adobe’s EchoSign feature.

Other chapters include working with actions and creating custom actions, using security features in print situations, problem correction, and compatibility issues, along with several other specialized security features including options for automating repetitive tasks.

“Acrobat XI Professional is far more than just a tool for viewing .pdf files,” Hoffman explains. “It is an incredibly complex program, and its security features are part of a complete package that provides a seamless automated collaborative solution for almost any document management need.”

Free demo videos and a full list of course contents can be found on the Adobe Acrobat XI Security Tutorial training page of the InfiniteSkills website:

http://www.infiniteskills.com/training/advanced-adobe-acrobat-xi-training.html

InfiniteSkills offers its Adobe Acrobat XI Security Tutorial either as a DVD or a direct download from the company website at a retail price of $24.95. All InfiniteSkills titles and formats are compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, and shipping is available around the globe. InfiniteSkills tutorials are supported by project files which correspond to examples in the videos.

About InfiniteSkills Inc.
A leader in the field of software training, InfiniteSkills strives to offer the highest quality training available at an affordable cost. InfiniteSkills tutorials are task-oriented instructional videos, teaching complex skills by providing hands-on examples, guiding users as they carry out critical objectives. InfiniteSkills offers a comprehensive range of software titles available as DVDs, digital downloads, and iPad editions, keeping with company aim of delivering professional training to customers anywhere they want to learn.

Microsoft Will Release Various Xbox & PC Game For iOS & Android Mobile Platform

Undeniably kepopularan iOS and Android mobile platforms on the market today has made Microsoft reportedly plans to bring even more variety of games specifically designed for both platforms.

Meanwhile, according to a report compiled by the Nikkei recently, Microsoft will most likely be a third party to bring even more variety Xbox and PC games that can be run through iOS and Android mobile platforms. And even one Japanese company named clubs reportedly have obtained permission from Microsoft to release a variety of Xbox games and PC specifically intended for both the mobile platform in the near future.

Related to that, a game called “Age of Empires” is said to be the first game to be released exclusively for both the popular mobile platforms.

4 Tips to Maximize Functionality OS X App Switcher

App Switcher is a feature of OS X that allows users to switch between applications that are running. This feature is a common feature that is often found in other OS. App Switcher can be activated by holding down Command + Tab simultaneously.

However, if you’ve mastered this feature? Here are some tips to help you maximize the App Switcher function which has been used only for switching applications.

Switching between two applications quickly. If you frequently switch between the two applications continuously, for example when copying text from one application to another, then these tips can save you time. Press Command + Tab quickly (without resistance) to switch between the two applications directly.
Switching between applications is a major feature App Switcher. By holding down Command + Tab you can display all the active application. Continue to hold Command and press Tab repeatedly to move to the next application. Press Shift + Tab or ~ to move to the previous application. You can use the arrow keys or the mouse is also in selecting the application you want to set.
Lethal applications quickly. App Switcher when the selection is above the current application, the state retained the Command key, you can press the Q button to turn off the selected application.
Hide applications quickly. These tips similar to the previous tips. The difference lies only in the button is pressed. To hide the application, you need to press H.
Mastering the App Switcher adds one more tool for you who like to use keyboard shortcuts in. App Switcher is capable of doing some things that you can not do with a gesture like turning off the application. Thus, you do not need to switch applications just to turn off unneeded applications anymore. It is also able to save on RAM usage.