Saturday, September 18, 2021

MSI Modern 14 Review (B11MO). Hits the Spot

 MSI was a company that was associated with gaming laptops and PC gaming components. However, the brand now offers a wide range of laptops for creators, small businesses, and enterprises. We will be testing the latest update from the Modern series which MSI calls its "business and productivity" line of laptops.

MSI Modern 14 is a great choice for students and young professionals looking for an affordable, stylish laptop that they can carry with them everywhere. There are multiple models in the Modern 14 series. Each model has a different RAM, storage and CPU specification. B11MO is the model I am testing today. It comes with an 11th-Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and is priced at around Rs. It is available online for purchase at 54,990. Now is the time to find out how it works and whether it's worth your consideration.

MSI Modern 14 (B11MO) design

MSI Modern 14 comes in pleasing pastel colors like Carbon Gray, Beige Mousse and Bluestone. MSI sent me the second color, which could also be called rose gold. It's very attractive and will certainly grab attention whenever you use it. It is also very lightweight. The aluminum chassis is just 1.3kg in weight and measures 16.9mm at its thinnest point. The lid and base have very little body flexibility.

This 14-inch laptop has a wide range of ports. Two full-sized USB Type A ports (USB 3.0 Gen1) are included, as well as a headphone socket. On the left side, you will find the charging port, HDMI port, USB Type-C port and a microSD slot. Thunderbolt is supported by the Type-C connector on higher-end models.

The MSI Modern 14 has a 14 inch IPS display and narrow borders on three sides. MSI also managed to fit a webcam above the screen in the right position. The layout of the chiclet keyboard is good, with the exception of the Ctrl button to the right which feels small and cramped. There are three levels of white illumination, and a shortcut that allows you to change the primary function for the Fn row buttons. This is something I appreciate. The trackpad is fairly large and does not get in the way of typing.

The MSI Modern 14's lid opens up to double as the laptop's rear feet. This allows for more comfortable typing positions and raises the base at an angle. While the hinge hides the exhaust vents, the bottom has numerous tiny holes that allow for air intake. You will also find the speakers on the bottom. There are one speaker per side. This laptop is also certified MIL-STD-810G for greater durability.

MSI Modern 14 (B11MO), specifications

Although the MSI modern 14 (B11MO), can be configured with an Intel Core i7 processor, my variant has a Core i5-1135G7 which has four cores and a total eight threads. The 8GB DDR4 RAM stick is included, along with a second slot for upgrades. This variant does not have a dedicated GPU. It uses the Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU. You can also choose an optional Nvidia GeForce X450 GPU. The Core i5 or Core i7 versions of the B11MO model come with a 512GB M.2PCIe SSD.

MSI Modern 14 supports Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6. The MSI Modern 14 comes with a compact 65W wall charging adapter and a 52WHr 3-cell battery.

If you purchase this laptop now, Windows 10 Home will be included. MSI also advertises that the Modern 14 will receive a free upgrade to Windows 11 when it is available. It's minimalist in design, and even has a shortcut button on the keyboard. It allows you to set power and battery profiles and run system checks, as well as many other useful functions.

Performance and battery life of MSI Modern 14 (B11MO).

The MSI Modern 14 was my companion for a few weeks. I used it to watch streaming videos and occasionally for work. It performed very well during this time. The SSD made it very easy to boot the system and wake it up from hibernation. Although the base of my laptop is warm, I didn't find it uncomfortable sitting on my lap. The keyboard provides good tactile feedback and is quiet when typing. The trackpad was equally responsive.

It is also a strong performer, the Intel 11th Gen Core i5 processor. It scored decent benchmark scores, scoring 4,455 in PCMark 10, 515 points and 2,208 points respectively in Cinebench R20’s single- and multi-core tests. There were also 2,078 points in 3DMark FireStrike. This is a low score but it is expected considering this variant relies upon an onboard Intel GPU.

The MSI Modern 14 wasn't made for gaming. You'll get a slightly better gaming experience with variants that include the Nvidia GPU. The B11MO's Intel integrated GPU can still handle basic titles like Asphalt 9: Legends. I tried heavier titles like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, but it was not a pleasant experience even with a lower resolution and better visual quality.

The display is bright and vibrant, but the colours aren’t as lively. This can make it less enjoyable to watch media. The horizontal and vertical viewing angles are not great, but they aren't terrible. The matte finish makes reflections less of a problem. Stereo speakers don't sound great, even at maximum volume.

In terms of battery life, the MSI Modern 14 is excellent. I was able get nearly eight hours of battery life with light usage, such as Web browsing, productivity in Chrome, and watching videos through Netflix. This is a remarkable feat for a laptop this small and heavy. The laptop ran for approximately one and a quarter hours using the Battery Eater Pro benchmark.

SpaceX capsule and first all-civilian crew orbiting in space splashes down in Atlantic


Four space tourists successfully ended their trailblazing journey to orbit Sunday with a splashdown at the Atlantic off the Florida Coast.

The crew of the SpaceX capsule parachuted in the ocean just before sunset. This was not far from their chartered flight three days earlier. This all-amateur crew was first to orbit the globe without a professional astronaut.

The billionaire, who paid undisclosed million for the trip, and his three guests wanted the opportunity to prove that ordinary people can launch into orbit without assistance. SpaceX founder Elon Musk invited them aboard as its first rocket-riding tourists.

SpaceX Mission Control radioed, "Your mission has shown that space is available for all of us."

Jared Isaacman, trip sponsor, said that it was an amazing ride and that there were more private flights in the future.

SpaceX's fully-automated Dragon capsule reached an extraordinary altitude of 585 km after Wednesday night's liftoff. The capsule surpassed the International Space Station by 160 km, and the passengers enjoyed views of Earth through a large bubble-shaped window at the capsule's top.

They returned through the atmosphere Saturday evening and were the first space travelers to complete their flight in the Atlantic since Apollo 9 back in 1969. SpaceX's previous crew splashdowns, carrying astronauts for NASA, were in the Gulf of Mexico.

A pair of SpaceX boats pulled up beside the bobbing capsule within a matter of minutes. The capsule was then hoisted onto the recovery ship, where the hatch was opened. They were to undergo medical checks before being flown to Kennedy Space Center via helicopter to reunite with their families.

NASA was a mere encouraging observer during this time. Its only tie is the Kennedy launch pad, which SpaceX leased, and which was once used by the Apollo moonshots crews.

Isaacman, 38, is an entrepreneur and accomplished pilot who aimed to raise USD200 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He donated USD 100 million and held a lottery to win one of four seats. A competition was also held for Shift4 Payments, his payment-processing company in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Hayley Arceneaux (29), a St. Jude physician assistant, was on board the flight. Hayley was also treated at the Memphis, Tennessee hospital almost two decades ago for bone tumors. Contest winners Chris Sembroski (42), a data engineer from Everett Washington, and SianProctor (51), a community college teacher, scientist, and artist from Tempe.

They were strangers from March until March. They spent six months training for the flight and preparing to handle any emergencies. They were able to talk to St. Jude patients, perform medical tests, ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange and enjoy some drawing and ukulele playing.

Arceneaux was the youngest American astronaut and first to use a prosthesis. They received calls from Tom Cruise who was interested in his SpaceX flight to the station for filming and Bono of U2 as well.

Even the space menu was not typical: Not only did they serve cold pizzas and sandwiches but also pasta Bolognese, Mediterranean lamb and other dishes.

Sembroski calmed down before descending. He was able to be seen in the capsule, watching the 1987 Mel Brooks film 'Spaceballs' from his tablet.

Nearly 600 people have been to space, a record that started 60 years ago. It is likely to rise as space tourism heats-up.

Benji Reed, director of SpaceX, expects six private flights per year. This is in addition to the astronaut launches for NASA. Four SpaceX flights have already been booked to carry paying customers to space station. They are accompanied by ex-NASA astronauts.

Three businessmen will pay USD 55 million each for the first, which is expected to be completed by early next year. Russia plans to hire an actor and film director in Russia next month, and a Japanese tycoon for December.

Customers looking for quick space trips should look to Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos. To encourage ticket sales, the two piloted their own rockets into space. Their flights lasted between 10 and 15 minutes.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Two of Australia's largest states test facial recognition software in order to enforce pandemic rules


Two of Australia's most populous states are testing facial recognition software to allow police to check if someone is home during COVID-19. This expands on trials that have caused controversy among the majority of the country's citizens.

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Genvis Pty Ltd, a little-known tech company, stated on a website for their software that New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Victoria were testing its facial recognition products. Genvis stated that the trials were voluntary.

The software was developed in 2020 by the Perth-based startup with WA state police. It is intended to enforce restrictions on pandemic movements.

South Australia started testing a non-Genvis technology last month. This prompted concerns from privacy advocates all over the world about possible surveillance overreach. These concerns may be amplified by the involvement of Victoria and New South Wales, who have not made public their intention to test facial recognition technology.

Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Premier, stated in an email that the state was "close" to piloting home quarantine options for returning Australians. She did not directly respond to questions about Genvis facial recognition software. The premier of the state was referred by police in NSW.

Victoria Police asked questions of the Victorian Health department. They did not respond.

The system is being tested allows people to respond to random check in requests by taking a "selfie" at their home quarantine address. The software also records location data. If the software does not match the image with a "facial Signature", police might follow up by visiting the address to verify the person's whereabouts.

Although the technology is in use in WA since November last year, it was pitched to the country as a tool for reopening its borders. This would end a system that has been in place since the outbreak of the pandemic and requires international visitors to spend at least two weeks in quarantine in hotels under police guard.

Apart from the pandemic itself, police officers have expressed an interest in facial recognition software. This has prompted a backlash by rights groups regarding the potential targeting of minorities.

Although the technology has been used in China, it has not been reported in any other democracy that it has been considered for use in coronavirus containment procedures.
"Keep communities safe"

Kirstin Butcher, Chief Executive of Genvis, declined to comment beyond what was disclosed on the product's website.

She stated that home quarantine cannot be implemented without compliance checks if it is to protect communities.

"Physical compliance checks cannot be performed at the scale required to support (social-economic) reopening plans, so technology must be used."

Rights advocates cautioned that the technology could be inaccurate and open the door for law enforcement agencies without specific laws to access people's data.

Toby Walsh, an assistant professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of NSW, stated that "I am troubled not only by the use here, but also by the fact that this is an instance of the creeping usage of this type of technology in our lives."

Walsh raised concerns about the reliability of facial recognition technology, and said that it could be hacked to provide false location reports.

He said, "Even though it works here... it validates that facial recognition can be a good thing." "Where does it end?"

The government of Western Australia stated that it has banned police from using COVID-related data for non-COVID purposes. According to the WA police, 97,000 people have been placed in home quarantine using facial recognition without incident.

Edward Santow, an ex-Australian Human Rights Commissioner, said that the law should prohibit a system of monitoring quarantine from being used for any other purposes. He is now leading an artificial intelligence ethics project at University of Technology in Sydney.

Although facial recognition technology may seem like a convenient way of monitoring people in quarantine,... the risk of harm with this technology is high.

Facebook cracks down on real-user networks over harmful activities


Facebook told Reuters that it is using the same strategy as its security teams to stop fake accounts and coordinated accounts from real users engaging in harmful activities on its platform.

This is the first time that the new method has been reported. It uses the same tactics used by Facebook security teams to shut down networks involved in influence operations. These include fake accounts that manipulate public opinion, like Russian troll farm.

This could have significant implications for the way that Facebook handles coordinated political and other movements that violate its rules. It comes at a time where Facebook's handling of abuses on its platforms has been under intense scrutiny by global lawmakers and civil rights groups.

Facebook stated that it will now use the same network-level approach to groups of real accounts that systemically violate its rules. This could be done through mass reporting where many users falsely reported a target's account or content to get it shut down. Or brigading. This is an online harassment technique where users may coordinate to target an individual via mass comments or posts.

Facebook announced on Thursday that it would adopt the same approach to real user campaigns that cause "coordinated harm" on its platforms. It also announced that it had taken down the Querdenken anti- COVID restrictions movement.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said that these expansions were still in the early stages. This means that Facebook's security team could identify core movements behind such behavior and take more drastic actions than the company taking down individual accounts or removing posts.

The Facebook security experts are independent from its content moderators. They handle threats from adversaries and crack down on influence operations using fake account in 2017. This was after the 2016 US election, in which US intelligence officers concluded that Russia had used Facebook as part of a cyber campaign. Moscow has denied this claim.

Facebook called this prohibited activity by groups of fake accounts "coordinated authentic behaviour" (CIB), while its security teams began announcing sweeping takesdowns in monthly reports. Some specific threats are not handled by security teams, including fraud or cyber-espionage networks and overt influence operations such as state media campaigns.

Sources claimed that the company's teams had been debating how to intervene at the network level in large user account movements that were violating its rules.

Reuters published a July report on the Vietnam army's internet information warfare unit. They engaged in mass reporting accounts to Facebook, but often used their real names. These mass reporting attempts led to Facebook removing some accounts.

Global regulators, lawmakers and employees are putting increasing pressure on Facebook to stop wide-ranging abuses of its services. Others have criticized the company for censorship, anticonservative bias and inconsistent enforcement.

The expansion of Facebook's network disruption model to target authentic accounts raises more questions about the impact of changes on types of public discourse, online movements, and campaign tactics across all political spectrums.

Evelyn Douek, a Harvard Law lecturer and researcher on platform governance, said that problematic behavior often looks very similar to social movements. It will hinge on the definition of harm... however, people can have very subjective and ambiguous definitions of harm.

There have been many high-profile examples of coordinated activity in the US election last year. These include teens and K-pop fans using TikTok for sabotage a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma for former President Donald Trump, and political campaigns paying online me-makers.