SpaceX teams with Microsoft for Space Development Agency
A digital environment will allow the user to visualize an entire satellite architecture, test satellite designs and artificial intelligence algorithms. It was announced earlier this month that SpaceX won a $149 million contract from the Defense Department’s Space Development Agency to build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles. SpaceX teams with Microsoft Azure’s as they were interested in the orbital emulator.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief of operating officer, revealed in a pre-recorded interview released Oct. 20 that Microsoft is a subcontractor working on the SDA program with SpaceX.
Shotwell in the video spoke with Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure Global, about a new agreement to use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband to connect Azure cloud computing data centres deployed around the world. Keane also asked Shotwell to discuss the companies’ other partnership for the SDA contract.
This photo provided by NASA, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches at Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)
The new space race
“We were pleased that Microsoft was on our team,” said Shotwell. “We will be delivering to the government a number of satellites that host a capability to protect against ballistic weapons. Microsoft will be doing quite a bit of work as a subcontractor which I think was kind of a funny twist to the relationship here.” Shotwell did not discuss what specific role Microsoft will play in the SDA program. SpaceX is vertically integrated and does not work with many subcontractors.
The SDA satellites will be delivered by September 2022. They will have a “wide field of view” overhead persistent infrared sensor capable of detecting and tracking advanced missile threats from low Earth orbit. The spacecraft will have optical crosslinks to pass data to relay satellites.
SpaceX teams with Microsoft forming the dream team
The orbital emulator “conducts massive satellite constellation simulations with software and hardware in the loop,” according to a Microsoft blog post. “This allows satellite developers to evaluate and train AI algorithms and satellite networking before ever launching a single satellite.”
The SDA satellites are being designed to process data on board and re-task themselves autonomously. The Azure emulator tool allows the user to see what the satellite sees, which helps model scenarios and simulate the architecture.
To infinity… and beyond!
Like Buzz Lightyear, we are huge fans of space adventures and new technology. We love helping our existing and new clients achieve their goals and stay ahead of the competition. Managed IT services do not have to cost as much as a space mission. Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT Audit. We will make sure you avoid viruses and steroids. Stay on the correct flight path and make sure you have a safe landing.
Lodge Information Services are pleased to announce we have just finished our new building frontage. We commissioned Plan B Garden Design to design and build our new building frontage.
A well-designed and well-maintained landscape strengthens the image of our business and helps our business attract new clients and retain existing clients. The final result guarantees a better and beautiful working environment for our employees and clients. Experienced and skilled landscape professionals understood the importance of landscaping for our business and knew how to improve the building’s aesthetic appeal.
Benefits of a new building frontage
If you have the benefit of an external area that you can control. Then we would highly recommend our clients and suppliers to investigate their outdoor areas and investgate a new building frontage.
Many studies have shown that office workers are more productive around natural elements. A tranquil outdoor space will help your employees stay healthy and happy. Similarly, if employees are healthy and productive, they will focus on their work and finish it on time.
When you give attention to commercial landscaping and maintenance, it is a sign to your clients and competitors that your company cares for the environment. Commercial landscaping companies will help you improve the natural environment around your company by using native plants and other eco-friendly elements to beautify your office. The completed new building frontage will benefit your employees, clients and make your work a more appealing place.
Increase property values with improved landscaping
Investing in commercial landscaping services can help to improve the market value of your property. Therefore, it will help your business to stand out from competitors that do not see the value in making their outdoor space more attractive. You can experience an increase in revenue if your clients are attracted to your beautiful yard.
Safety and security
A well-maintained new building frontage by a landscape professional is considered to be safe, as well-placed plants and proper lighting help to keep the area safe. If your office’s surrounding has a secure environment, your employees can feel safe and stay comfortable. This will increase productivity and revenue.
Improved business prospects
Good and attractive landscaping design will help bring in new customers. People will be more interested in purchasing your products or services. People will walk by your business and see well-kept pathways, green grass and other aesthetic features. This will make your building more attractive and approachable to them.
With so many benefits achievable through commercial landscapes, it’s essential to work with the best landscape professional who will help your property gain all of these advantages.
Our happy and friendly team
Our team love our new building frontage. The next time you go past our office give us wave and a smile. Watch out for our spot the Santa competition. It’s the Thursday throwback (a blast from the past) take a look at build in 2014 of our office.
Facebook donates £1 million to help save a museum losing millions
Facebook is donating £1 million to Bletchley Park. The UK centre for Allied code breaking during World War II that now operates as a museum. This museum is losing millions of pounds during the pandemic. Rory Cellen-Jones the BBC’s Technology Correspondent takes closer look into this generous donation.
Leaders of the UK’s cultural sector warned the industry is facing possible devastation. A potential loss of more than 400,000 jobs and up to £74 billion in revenue to the end of 2020. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new research from Oxford Economics commissioned by Creative Industries Federation. The research suggested museums are losing millions of revenue. As well as, theatres, galleries, will experience twice as much economic fallout from the pandemic as the overall economy. This also includes the industries of music, film, TV, Architecture and publishing.
Donation helps museum losing millions
The Bletchley Park Trust, a registered charity, announced in August that the site was facing a revenue shortfall of £2 million because of falling visitor numbers caused by the coronavirus. Because of the drop-in revenue (95% of annual income), the park announced it was considering 35 redundancies, constituting a third of its workforce. Facebook’s donation will save some of these jobs, but it’s not clear how many.
National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, UK
An ongoing legacy
Facebook said it made the donation in recognition of Bletchley Park’s “ongoing legacy as a birthplace of modern computing.” The park’s code breakers and mathematicians cracked the Enigma codes used by the Nazis. An achievement that some historians say shortened the length of the war by two to four years. They also made key theoretical and engineering breakthroughs. These include the creation of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer. With the help of Alan Turing’s work, the English mathematician who is seen as the father of modern computer science and artificial intelligence. At its height, the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park included some 10,000 employees, with women constituting roughly 75% of the workforce.
“The historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook. We are thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing,” said Steve Hatch, Facebook’s vice president of Northern Europe, in a press statement. The UK is Facebook’s biggest engineering hub outside the US, home to more than 3,000 employees, with more than half working in engineering roles.
In a press statement, Bletchley Park CEO Iain Standen said the site was “very grateful to Facebook” for its donation. “With this significant support, the Bletchley Park Trust will be better positioned to operate in the ‘new world’. It will keep its doors open for future generations,” said Standen.
Helping businesses in these troubled times
Museums are losing millions and all of the creative industries are experiencing difficult times. If ignored, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.
LIS client benefit from support for workers from home. Our team provide remote IT support and make sure your team have the correct access and security to enable them to work as if they were in the office. Contact the LIS Help Desk to find out how we can support your company.
Google Assistant is a capable helper but adjusting these options will protect your privacy and put you in control. We have put together a short guide of five Google Assistant features you should turn off right now.
Business Insider take a look how to turn off or limit Google Assistant Features, if you don’t want it listening to you all of the time.
Make life easier with Google Assistant Features
You can use Google Assistant Features to set timers, call friends or restaurants for takeout and so much more. It’s certainly convenient to have Google around to answer quick questions. It will even report on the day’s weather or control your smart home. Still, there are some things you might want to disable on your Google smart speaker or smart display. After all, every feature of Google Assistant won’t be a good fit for everyone.
Whether you’re worried about privacy or just want a more natural conversation experience, here are five things to toggle off to get a simpler and safer Google Assistant experience.
One of Google Assistant’s most powerful features is its ability to act as the hub for your connected smart home of office.
Voice recording settings
Google recently announced changes to its voice recording privacy settings. Unless you opt in, Google won’t save your audio recordings or share them with its human analyzers to improve Google’s algorithms. However, if you opted in or have previously saved audio recordings, you can choose how long Google keeps them or manually delete them.
To adjust these settings, visit your Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. There, you’ll land on the You tab. Select Your Data in the Assistant and scroll down to Audio Recordings. Tap to see options for saving, reviewing and deleting recordings.
Continued Conversation helps Google listen for follow up questions without you having to say “Hey, Google” a second time. While this is handy, the extra listening can sometimes be less than seamless, especially when you don’t have a follow up question or you’re just asking a question of someone else in the room. Luckily, you can turn off this feature.
To turn off Continued Conversation in the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. In the next screen, navigate to the Assistant tab. There you’ll see several options including Continued Conversation. You’ll be able to toggle off Continued Conversation and see which speakers it will affect.
“Hey Google” sensitivity
If you feel like you’re always waking up your smart speakers accidentally, the “Hey Google” sensitivity may be too high. You can adjust how well your Google Assistant responds to its wake word if it isn’t hearing you well enough or if it mistakes other words for its wake word.
To adjust the sensitivity in the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. In the next screen, navigate to the Assistant tab and you’ll see several options including “Hey Google” sensitivity. There you’ll be able to adjust the sensitivity for each individual speaker in your home. Select the speaker you’d like to adjust and choose from five settings from “least sensitive” to “most sensitive.”
You can ask your Google Assistant for info and help with everyday tasks. Ask it questions and tell it to do things. It’s always ready to help you get things done.
If you use a Google-enabled smart display like the Nest Hub Max, Lenovo Smart Display or JBL Link View, you may want to keep your camera disabled when you’re not making video calls. Each display does this a little differently. While JBL and Lenovo offer physical shutter options, you don’t get a built-in shutter with Google’s in-house display, the Nest Hub Max.
Instead, there’s a toggle button on the back of the display to disable the camera and microphone. An indicator light beside the camera lens shows the current status. This is a tough one, because you’ll need to remember to switch it on and off each time you use a camera feature. Still, having the option to make sure your camera is off when it needs to be is important.
Like voice recordings, Google saves information on the sites and apps you use with your Google account. If you’re concerned about privacy, adjusting these settings offers some peace of mind.
In the Home app, tap on your profile picture in the top right, followed by Assistant Settings. Tap the three dots on the top right of your screen and select Google activity controls. There, you’ll see a page with options for controlling which information Google gathers from your online and mobile app activity. You also can turn on auto-delete and choose how often your data is removed.
Whether you adjust one or all of these settings, personalizing your voice assistant can make the entire experience much more pleasant. If you live in a large household, features like Voice Match and Household Contacts can help everyone live in harmony with the same devices.
“Hey LIS”. How can you help me?
Technology is always changing; upgrades need to be managed and don’t forget about security issues. LIS customers benefit from our years if IT knowledge. We managed their IT systems to allow them to concentrate on their business. Consider us like you PC doctor or Virtual IT PA.
Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options and found out how easy it is to keep your systems up to scratch.
How Excel may have caused loss of 16,000 Covid tests in England? Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software may have led to Public Health England misplacing nearly 16,000 Covid test results. Due to the fact that the software has a million-row limit.
The story published yesterday by the BBC written by Leo Kelion (Technology Desk Editor) investigates what went wrong. This highlights that if you upgrade your software and talk to your IT provider, you will avoid nasty surpises. Are you using out of date operating system and software? Upgrade your software to make sure your business operates more efficiently and stays secure.
The data error led to 15,841 positive tests being left off the official daily figures. In addition, 50,000 potentially infectious people may have been missed by contact tracers and were not told to self-isolate. PHE was responsible for collating the test results from public and private labs.
Rapid development of the testing programme has meant that much of the work is still done manually. Individual labs send PHE spreadsheets containing their results. However, the system has improved from the early days of the pandemic and it is still far from automated.
More than 50,000 potentially infectious people may have been missed by contact tracers after 15,841 positive tests were left off the daily figures. Photograph: Simon Leigh/Alamy
Excel spreadsheet error caused a huge spike in Covid cases
The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases has soared in dozens of areas of England. Nearly 16,000 cases were left unreported because of a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet.
Manchester now has the highest rate in England, with 2,740 cases recorded in the seven days to 1st October. The equivalent of 495.6 cases per 100,000 people, up from 223.2 in the previous week.
The problem has led to a delay in efforts by NHS Test and Trace to find the contacts of those who tested positive for the virus, in some cases by around a week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to say on Monday morning how many contacts of positive coronavirus cases had been missed.
IT experts ‘surprised’ at PHE use of Excel for Covid-19 data
IT experts have questioned why Public Health England used Excel for a scheme as large as NHS Test and Trace. Once the technical error led to nearly 16,000 cases going unreported. Computing experts and academics said it is “very surprising” that Excel was used for something of this scale and not adequately tested” they said.
“It is very surprising to hear that an enterprise scale system, presumably developed by professional technologists, is expected to run on Excel,” said Adam Leon Smith, fellow of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and chair of BCS’s special interest group in software testing.
“Many large organisations refer disparagingly to Excel-based applications as ‘end-user driven architectures’. They spend lots of time trying to decommission them for reasons relating to security, control and stability”.
“This is mostly because Excel is designed for end-users not complex systems. It has well-known scalability limits. Excel can’t handle unexpected situations in a way that interacting systems will be able to recognise”.
“It sounds like these limitations have manifested in real problems in this case. This is exactly why databases are normally used in enterprise applications”.
“Even if presented with a system that did rely on Excel, one of the first things that should have been identified through a testing process was a limit to the data volume it could process.”
A sign in Bolton, UK reminds people of the need for testing Credit: Adam Vaughan/Shutterstock
Excel has limitations
Dr Peter Bannister, executive chair for the Institution of Engineering and Technology Healthcare Sector, said limitations of commercial off-the-shelf products such as Excel for medical uses are well-known.
“It’s disappointing to read that a lack of awareness around the limitations of a consumer software product has led to such a negative impact for all those who are relying on the Covid testing programme,” he said.
“It’s widely known within medical device development that the use of commercial off-the-shelf products, such as Excel, requires additional testing to ensure that they are able to meet the stringent requirements of use in a healthcare setting.”
The Excel spreadsheet reached its maximum file size. New names could not be added in an automated process, he advised. The files have now been split into smaller multiple files to prevent the issue happening again.
Consider file size
Jon Crowcroft, Marconi Professor of communications systems from the University of Cambridge, said file size is a “basic consideration”.
“One would think that a software engineer would have considered a worst-case test scenario for any system design – on paper before you even get to writing code – just to make sure it wouldn’t blow up in any way like this,” he explained.
“The limitations of Excel in terms of big data, which is generally a very decent piece of software, are well-known – if you look at how many people are expressing astonishment at this online, you can see that.”
He continued: “There are many big systems in Government (e.g. DVLA’s or HMRC’s) that work at this scale so there’s no excuse.
“Also, a simple sanity check on the data or error checks in the system might have told them when they hit this limit instead of discovering it after the event.
“This sort of thing is standard in sixth form or undergraduate computer science training too.”
Upgrade your software for efficient business
Has your organization been considering an upgrade to Microsoft Office 365 from on premises Office/Exchange? Perhaps you’re holding back because the word, “upgrade” is enough to scare anyone away. Most companies upgrade software when they are forced to. But in the case of Office 365, the benefits you’ll get from upgrading are delightfully easy and without doubt worth the commitment.
Contact the LIS Help Desk about how we can upgrade your software to Office 365. Take advantage of tools like Intelligent Edge, PowerApps and Flow. These tools ensure your data is tied to the same cloud system. This enables you to access your email addresses without additional setup and configuration, as well as other benefits.
Office 365 Security Package
Our Office 365 Security Package is a bundle of software tools. The package works continuously on Microsoft Office 365 accounts. They provide genuine protection benefits that EVERY business ought to have. We manage EVERYTHING for you. It’s all in our hands, which is exactly how it should be. However, once we upgrade your software, you will have peace of mind to allow you to focus on your business.