Xiaomi Mi 6 Rumours Point to 3 Variants; MWC 2017 Launch Likely

Xiaomi Mi 6 Rumours Point to 3 Variants; MWC 2017 Launch Likely

Xiaomi Mi 6, the Chinese company’s highly anticipated 2017 flagship, has featured in tech grapevine quite a lot of late. Now, fresh Xiaomi Mi 6 leaks indicate that the device could be unveiled in three variants. The cheapest variant of the three will be MediaTek powered, while the other two will sport Snapdragon’s latest processor. The Xiaomi smartphone is also now tipped to be unveiled at MWC 2017, and the shipping could begin in April.

GizChina reports that Xiaomi Mi 6 is expected to come in three variants – one which will sport a MediaTek Helio X30 processor, while the other two will sport Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chipset. The variant with MediaTek processor will be priced at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 19,800), while the other variant with the Snapdragon 835 SoC will be priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 24,800). The third variant is expected to sport a dual-edged curved display just like the Samsung Galaxy S7, and this will be the most premium variant priced at CNY 2,999 (roughly Rs. 29,800). Previous reports state that the curved screen variant is tipped to be called the Mi 6 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi 6 is expected to launch with 4GB of RAM with 128GB of built-in storage option, while the Mi 6 Pro is said to come in 6GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The other big highlight of the Mi 6 series is said to be the dual-rear camera setup though details about the cameras are unavailable so far.
At the Geek Park Innovation conference in Beijing, VP Li Wanqiang mentioned that Xiaomi will release a ‘surprise product’ in March, hinting further at its MWC 2017 launch. 2017 was the first time Xiaomi was present at CES, and it looks like the company plans to take the spotlight at MWC as well. Previously, the device was expected to launch in February.

As for other rumoured specifications, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is tipped to sport Android 7.0 or 7.1 Nougat out of the box with MIUI 9 skin running on top. The handset is also tipped to pack a large 4000mAh battery with Quick Charge 4.0 support. It will sport a Home Button with a built-in fingerprint reader. The smartphone is expected to be made available in Black, White, and Blue colour options.

[Source:-Gadget 360]

Vine Turns Into Basic ‘Vine Camera’ App, Twitter Now Loops All Videos Under 6.5 Seconds

Vine Turns Into Basic 'Vine Camera' App, Twitter Now Loops All Videos Under 6.5 Seconds

In a move that seems to be directly inspired by company’s Vine video-sharing app, Twitter has reportedly started looping all videos that have duration shorter than 6.5 seconds. In line with its earlier announcement, the social media company on Wednesday also turned its Vine app into a pared-down camera app, which can now be downloaded from both App Store and Google Play.

Interestingly, Twitter is now converting all videos under 6.5 seconds, irrespective of the platform that they are shared from, into looping clips, as spotted by TechCrunch. This means that the social media platform won’t be limiting the functionality to clips shared from Vine Camera app and will work for other platforms such as Snapchat.

Coming to the company’s Vine Camera app, it allows users to make six-second looping videos that can be shared on Twitter or saved in camera roll. The camera app comes with several tools that were part of the original Vine app including multi-clip trimming, grid overlay, AF focus, ghost tool, and draft support.

Notably, even though users will be able to create the looping videos just like before, they won’t be able to share these videos on Vine community, which has now been discontinued by the company.

In order to get Vine Camera app, users can either download the app directly from their respective app store or can update their Vine app to version 6.0. Post the update, the Vine app will be renamed to Vine Camera and the old features will be replaced with new functionality.

To recall, Twitter announced in October last year that it would be discontinuing it video-sharing mobile app Vine as a cost-cutting measure. There were reports that the company was considering a sale of the service instead of discontinuation but Twitter went ahead to announce earlier this month that it will be converting the app into Vine Camera on January 17.

[Source:-Gadget 360]

How to get rid of your old gadgets safely

Users should discard their old gadgets through authorized electronic waste recyclers who are registered and authorised by state pollution control boards.

The amount of e-waste generated by Asian countries has gone up by 63% in the last five years, according to a United Nations University report, which attributes this to growing income levels and the availability of low-cost electronics, especially smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs. The study points that the situation is worse in countries which lack an environment-friendly infrastructure for disposing old electronics.

In a country like India, a local electronic repair store or a scrap dealer is always ready to buy them. How they dump or store these gadgets afterwards is still a grey area and a source of concern. Users can help minimize the risk this poses to the environment by getting rid of their old gadgets with people who have the infrastructure to store and dismantle these in an eco-friendly manner. Here are some tips which may come in handy.

Sell to right authorities

According to Electronic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, users should discard their old gadgets through authorized electronic waste recyclers who are registered and authorised by state pollution control boards. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), there are 138 such authorised recyclers in the country right now. You can check the names and location of these on CPCB’s website.

Delhi-based Attero is one of the biggest e-waste management companies with a pan-India presence and the license and the facilities to dismantle old electronics. It uses a cost-efficient metal extraction technology that allows extraction of metals from old gadgets so they can be re-used for manufacturing electronics.

Why selling at scrap shops is a bad idea

Electronics sold at local scrap shops end up at the many informal open air e-waste dump yards which lack the technology and infrastructure to process e-waste safely. A harmless looking electronic gadget carries hazardous metals and chemicals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and beryllium. Improper dismantling releases these chemicals in the ecosystem and can pollute water or contaminate the soil. People working or living around these dump yards face an even greater risk of developing respiratory problems, heart diseases and even cancer, due to regular exposure.

Pass it on to someone else

Many of the old gadgets are not necessarily useless. One can always get rid of them by selling them to stores that deal in second and refurbished products. Companies such as ReGlobe and Cashify buy and sell old gadgets. They send their representatives to determine the condition of a device and then pay sellers in cash.

The other way to discard an old smartphone or a laptop is putting them out for exchange for a new gadget. Exchange offers are limited to fewer gadget categories but are available with some of the leading e-commerce stores such as Amazon.in and Flipkart.com from time to time. These old devices are then sanitised and resold at lower prices.

Delete data properly

Selling of your old gadgets such as smartphone, old hard drive, smart TV or computer to a local dealer can be dangerous. The risk of your personal data falling into wrong hands is a bit higher in such devices as anyone with the technical skills and malicious intention can always recover the deleted data. Removing data selectively, running multiple formats and giving away devices only to authorised e-waste management companies can minimize this risk.


Why every company needs to modernize its software factory

 yellow gearsSoftware has played an integral role in business for decades by optimizing the silos of sales, marketing, product development, HR, finance and so on. But in the digital economy, software isn’t just a mechanism for increasing the efficiency of your business; it has become the primary tool for engaging your customers. Today, delivering a seamless, high quality digital experience to your customers is the foundation of your brand, and ultimately, your business success.

The problem today is that far too many companies can’t meet customer demands with the way they currently manage technology. The old-style process-centric waterfall approach — with its emphasis on stability rather than rapid evolution, and project horizons that span months if not years — simply cannot deliver the innovations that customers want. Nor can it create the scale of software output required to satisfy the needs of a truly digital business. The process of software development and delivery must be transformed to achieve the key attributes of any modern production operation: high throughput, consistent quality, extensive automation and resource efficiency. What you need to attain those goals is a modern software factory.

Today, pretty much anyone who plans on being in business in three to five years — if not next year — has either a fledgling software factory under construction, or more likely, a legacy operation in dire need of modernization. Recent research CA conducted with Coleman Parkes showed that the more aggressively companies adopted new approaches such as agile and DevOps, the greater the business impact they saw. For example, expanding agile practices beyond development to embrace the entire enterprise boosts digital transformation business performance by 33 percent. And, building DevOps practices into the culture of the organization increase performance on the index developed in the study by 35 percent. Why? Because it’s these modern approaches that allow you to deliver the trust, value, speed and reliability that your customers demand.

Wherever you are in your software factory journey, you will need to make sure you have the right talent, tools and processes required for success. A good starting point is to streamline the sequencing and orchestration of building, testing and deploying software. This change will enable the systematic and repeatable delivery of ever-improving software experiences. At some point you’ll encounter vestiges of old-school software development, such as defects discovered late in the life cycle, chronically overloaded dev and test environments, and, at times, a lack of transparency that challenges even the most efficient problem-solvers. The trick is to not let these potholes derail your journey and to recognize instead that digital transformation is a bumpy ride. Even agile itself will look messy compared to the neatly laid out — but seldom delivered — timelines of old-style projects.

In other words, forget about perfection. There is no such thing in a world where bi-directional feedback through your apps and services requires constant evolution to meet customer needs. You also need to recognize that every software factory will be different in composition. Standardization is achievable in places, but not everywhere or all the time. The hard truth is that some legacy pieces are best left in place to allow focus on areas where the greatest value can be derived from digital change.

The next step is to undertake an honest assessment of your current factory.  Do you understand — to the deepest detail — how software gets created and delivered in your organization? Do you have the right skill sets to build and deploy modern code? Do you have the processes and tools in place to support high-velocity software development? To get a real view, step back and seek a wide range of opinions, including from resident skeptics. All the constraints in the system need to be made visible — from ideation to funding to design and delivery — for you to clearly understand your gaps and determine where your precious time and resources are best spent.

The final step is to build your map to the future. Like anything else in software development, this is part art and part science. Grasping the impact of new technologies as early as possible and developing and sharing points of view across your development teams will help drive coordinated action while avoiding the “lone developer” trap of heading down a dead end. At CA, for example, we have a robust and rigorous “POV” program that gives us a structured way to evaluate the implications of technologies on our doorstep today and ones that will have major impact years down the road. The program isn’t designed to make decisions but rather to make them easier and more informed — to ensure that there is an ongoing, productive conversation about innovation and emerging technologies that can be leveraged when critical investment decisions do need to be made. These are not elaborate publishing programs — but more like wikis where the risk of engaging in the discussion is minimal.

Getting started on building — or renovating — your software factory has to be job one in a digital world. The hard part is that there is no silver bullet. Constant iteration and improvement are the new way — in fact the only way — the best work gets done in a digital world.

The key to digital transformation begins with understanding that your primary focus is now outside the company and on your customers. The software you build and deliver is not an adjustment to your business; it’s at the core of how you create value and differentiate your brand.


AI Software Learns to Make AI Software

Progress in artificial intelligence causes some people to worry that software will take jobs such as driving trucks away from humans. Now leading researchers are finding that they can make software that can learn to do one of the trickiest parts of their own jobs—the task of designing machine-learning software.

In one experiment, researchers at the Google Brain artificial intelligence research group had software design a machine-learning system to take a test used to benchmark software that processes language. What it came up with surpassed previously published results from software designed by humans.

In recent months several other groups have also reported progress on getting learning software to make learning software. They include researchers at the nonprofit research institute OpenAI (which was cofounded by Elon Musk), MIT, the University of California, Berkeley, and Google’s other artificial intelligence research group, DeepMind.

If self-starting AI techniques become practical, they could increase the pace at which machine-learning software is implemented across the economy. Companies must currently pay a premium for machine-learning experts, who are in short supply.

Jeff Dean, who leads the Google Brain research group, mused last week that some of the work of such workers could be supplanted by software. He described what he termed “automated machine learning” as one of the most promising research avenues his team was exploring.

“Currently the way you solve problems is you have expertise and data and computation,” said Dean, at the AI Frontiers conference in Santa Clara, California. “Can we eliminate the need for a lot of machine-learning expertise?”

One set of experiments from Google’s DeepMind group suggests that what researchers are terming “learning to learn” could also help lessen the problem of machine-learning software needing to consume vast amounts of data on a specific task in order to perform it well.

The researchers challenged their software to create learning systems for collections of multiple different, but related, problems, such as navigating mazes. It came up with designs that showed an ability to generalize, and pick up new tasks with less additional training than would be usual.

The idea of creating software that learns to learn has been around for a while, but previous experiments didn’t produce results that rivaled what humans could come up with. “It’s exciting,” says Yoshua Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal, who previously explored the idea in the 1990s.

Bengio says the more potent computing power now available, and the advent of a technique called deep learning, which has sparked recent excitement about AI, are what’s making the approach work. But he notes that so far it requires such extreme computing power that it’s not yet practical to think about lightening the load, or partially replacing, machine-learning experts.

Google Brain’s researchers describe using 800 high-powered graphics processors to power software that came up with designs for image recognition systems that rivaled the best designed by humans.

Otkrist Gupta, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, believes that will change. He and MIT colleagues plan to open-source the software behind their own experiments, in which learning software designed deep-learning systems that matched human-crafted ones on standard tests for object recognition.

Gupta was inspired to work on the project by frustrating hours spent designing and testing machine-learning models. He thinks companies and researchers are well motivated to find ways to make automated machine learning practical.

“Easing the burden on the data scientist is a big payoff,” he says. “It could make you more productive, make you better models, and make you free to explore higher-level ideas.”

[Source:-MIt Technology]

Revolutionize the FDA using Software Methods

Drug discovery is like the worst imaginable, old-style software development process, guaranteed to take forever, cost endless amounts of money, and far under-achieve its potential. There are methods that the most advanced software people use to build effective software that works in the real world, quickly and inexpensively. These small groups invent all the new things in software, and then get bought by the big companies.

Can these fast, agile, effective methods be applied to invent and test new, life-saving drugs and get them to the patients who are dying without them? Yes. The obstacles are the usual ones: the giant regulatory bureaucracies and the incumbents who would be disrupted. Yes, the very people who claim to keep you healthy and cure your ills are the very ones standing between us and speedy drug discovery.

Drug Discovery and Software

While I’m not an expert in drug discovery, I’ve learned more than I wish to know about the regulations through the software providers to the industry. And like many other people, I’ve learned from being a patient with a disease that could be addressed by drugs that I am not allowed to take, because they are deep in the labyrinth of the years-long approval process.

I’ve explained elsewhere how a revolution in medical device innovation could be enabled by transforming the applicable regulations from complex, old-style software prescriptions to simple, goal-oriented ones.

A similar concept can be applied to the process of drug discovery itself.

Old-style Software is Like the FDA’s New Drug Regulations

The classic software development process is a long, expensive agony. It’s an agony that sometimes ends in failure, and sometimes ends in disaster. It most resembles carefully constructing Frankenstein’s monster. It starts with requirements and goes on to various levels of design, planning and estimation. Finally the build takes place. But wait — we can’t “release” the software until we know that its quality is top-notch. And that it meets all the requirements. It’s gotta work! So let’s make absolutely sure that it’s up to snuffbefore inflicting it on the innocent users. Here are details.

Yes, those innocent users — who are, by the way, chomping at the bit to get at the long-awaited new software whose requirements they signed off on years ago, and that they actually need to get their jobs done.

So is software development like drug discovery? Let’s see.

  • Development that’s a long, expensive agony. Check.
  • Don’t release it until its adequacy is PROVEN. Check.
  • People who are just dying to use it. Check.

But here’s the difference: for software, usually one company both builds it and decides whether and when to release it. That means the business leaders of the company can balance the tension between adequacy and getting it out there. In the case of drugs, it is adversarial: the FDA declares how each step of drug discovery and testing has to be done, and has armies of people to impose its will on the companies that do the work.

The FDA Nightmare

The FDA nightmare has two main parts.

The first nightmare assures that development and testing is performed in what is claimed to be the “safest” way possible — it’s all about protecting patient health! In fact, this means incredibly slow and incredibly expensive. The overhead is far more burdensome than the work itself, which really tells you something. There is a multi-billion company, Documentum, that got started with and still is the leading provider of software to the pharmaceutical industry for handling the documents required by the FDA. Right away, this expense and overhead burden assures that no group of brilliant people will create a start-up and create a new cure for a disease.

The second nightmare is that the process is incredibly high risk. The FDA can kill your new drug at any time, including near the end, after all the time and money is gone. This again reduces the number of groups performing new drug development to a tiny number of rich, giant, risk-averse corporations.

This is like big-corporate software development — only far worse.

Wartime Methods for Drug Discovery

I’ve written a lot about wartime software development. A good way to understand it is to look at bridges in peace and war. In wartime, we build effective bridges while under fire in a tiny fraction of the time needed in peace. And the bridges work.

The methods translate well to software. They are practical. They work. They are in regular use by groups that are driven to innovate and get stuff done. There are details in my book on the subject, with lots of examples and supporting material in my other books.

It’s very clear that the methods also apply to the FDA’s regulation of software. Here is an example. There is no reason other than the usual obstacles to innovation that the principles couldn’t be applied to drug discovery in general.

Wartime Drug Development

What we should try is Wartime Software Development morphed into Wartime Drug Development. Here are the principles:

  • Grow the baby.

Instead of going through a whole long process and supposedly coming out with perfection at the end, you start with something that sort of works, try it (on volunteers), see how it goes, make changes and iterate.

  • Principles of e-commerce and social media

When you think of buying a product, do you just walk into a store and trust the salesperson? If so, you’re probably in your 100’s and hope to get a computer someday. Everyone else goes on-line, checks reviews, and above all checks comments from real users. The sheer number of comments tells you how popular something is. Of course, you don’t blindly believe everyone, and of course you translate what people say to your own situation. There could be awful risks and side effects, but if it sometimes works and your alternative is misery shortly followed by death, you might decide it’s worth the risk.

It’s a decision that should be in your hands, informed by full sharing and disclosure, not decided on your behalf by a bunch of bureaucrats sitting in offices.

  • Open source and full disclosure.

Of the top million servers on the internet, over 95% run linux, an open source operating system. Linux was created by an interesting nerd, and developed by an evolving band of distributed volunteers. It is superior to any commercial operating system. And operating systems are complex; linux contains more than 12 million lines of code! Why shouldn’t we make drug discovery open to a similar process? With open source, everything about a drug and its results so far would be open and available for anyone, including patients, to see. Patients and researchers would all be active participants in the open discussions.

  • Continuous release

The most advanced sites first bring up their software in extremely limited, volunteer-only releases. Everything is tracked. If things go well, more people can be invited in. Incredible tracking, lots of feedback, explicit and implicit. As software goes into wider release, a new version of it may be made available to a combination of new and existing users. Its use may be expanded, or it may be withdrawn. The process is continuous and iterative. It’s called continuous improvement. We use it in lots of domains, ever since its use was formalized by W Edwards Deming in car manufacturing. It’s not exactly weird or marginal. We simply refuse to apply its proven principles to drug discovery.


The FDA says its mission is to keep us safe. The gigantic bureaucratic monolith in practice assures that new drug development is performed by a tiny number of elite corporations at great expense, and rarely. Let’s at least try a better way of doing things!

Are Social Media Hurting Your Relationship?

Clothed couple lying in bed facing away from each other.  One is using a smartphone and the other appears upset or annoyed.

Social media have taken the world by storm. Many people spend a large portion of their days tweeting, texting, and checking their Facebook accounts. Adolescents tend to spend even more time online than adults, with a recent study suggesting that many engage in social networking for over two hours per day. Does that seem low or high to you? What about your partner?

Given how accessible and widely used social media are—Facebook alone has 1.8 billion active users—many people check in to find out what’s new, update others, and try to feel more connected with their world. Sharing a blow-by-blow of one’s day on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat has become routine. Whether you are at work, school, shopping, traveling, or just walking down the street, people can be seen everywhere hunched over their phones, getting updates about people they may or may not even be close to.

Unfortunately, this can lead to unrealistic ideas of what others’ lives are like, as well as unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our relationships. Many people tend to post only pictures and messages when they are among friends, doing something compelling or exceptional, or otherwise having fun. Because people tend to avoid posting about the negative things that may be going on in their lives, the photos and events they do post may embellish or inaccurately reflect their true status or emotional state. Looking in from the outside, “friends” who are coupled may think such people have ideal lives or relationships, when the opposite may be closer to the truth.

Many couples I work with in counseling talk about the ways social media have become problematic in their lives. It is not uncommon, for example, for one individual to be upset that a partner spends so much time online, which may interfere with time spent together. Another may become jealous if a partner befriends or follows a certain individual online. Others may feel as though their lives are depressing or “less than” compared with the online accounts and posts of friends or couples who appear to have it all.

If you feel as if social media have been causing problems in your relationship, the following are steps you can take to try to reconnect with your partner:

  1. Set limits on the time you spend on social media. Try to cut back on the amount of time you spend online in general, especially when you have an opportunity to connect in person with your significant other. Make an agreement to spend more quality time together in the evening. This could mean leaving your phone in another room while you’re having dinner or watching a movie together, or you might decide to disconnect as of a certain time each evening.
  2. Put your phone away when out on a date. Too often, couples will set aside valuable “us” time to go out on a date, then spend part of it on their phones rather than talking to one another. When you go out, keep your phone in your pocket or purse, and only answer calls that are important (from the babysitter, for example).
  3. Close your Facebook account. This might sound blasphemous, but hear me out. For some couples, arguing about who befriends whom can become a serious problem and lead to jealousy and trust issues. If this is the case for you and/or your partner, you might want to consider closing or suspending your account, at least for a while, to avoid ongoing issues and drama. Spending time online communicating with other people—especially former romantic interests or others who may inspire difficult feelings in your partner—may not be the best solution to deepen your bond with your significant other. Saying your partner comes first is one thing, but showing it is even more important.
  4. Keep things in perspective, and avoid comparisons. Keep in mind what you read about online may not accurately portray what is going on in the lives of others. Relationships are always more complex than a few pictures or posts can possibly convey. What’s going on out of public view tends to be very different from the impression you may get from reading someone’s social media feed.

If social media have been causing problems in your relationship, try implementing some of the suggestions above. By setting and honoring some boundaries and making more of an effort to connect in person, you can work on reestablishing a healthier dynamic and deepening your bond. If, despite your efforts, you are still struggling, you may want to contact a couples counselor to help you to resolve your issues and get back on track.

[Source:-Good Therapy]

Bill Belichick Repeats Social Media Joke When Asked About Antonio Brown Video

FOXBORO, Mass. — For a guy who doesn’t care about social media, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sure likes making jokes about it. Belichick was asked in a conference call about the infamous Facebook Live video that Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown posted after Pittsburgh’s divisional-round playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, in which head coach Mike Tomlin was caught calling the Patriots “a–holes.” “I’m not really concerned about social media,” Belichick told the Pittsburgh media. “I’m trying to get our team ready to play against the Steelers on Sunday.” Belichick was asked a follow-up question, and he made his typical long-running joke of mashing two social media networks together. “Yeah, again, we’re really focused on the Steelers,” Belichick said. “I’m not going to get into a big social media discussion. I don’t know anything about that stuff anyway, InstaFace and all of that. I don’t care about that.” So, don’t expect to see any pictures surfacing of Belichick with a dog filter implanted on his face anytime soon. That feature isn’t available on “InstaFace.” Brown actually broke NFL rules by posting his Facebook video before the media entered the Steelers’ locker room. The Patriots are aware of the NFL’s rules and the guidelines expected by their own organization.


The new ‘Jane Bond’: Social-media savvy teenage girls targeted for recruitment by security services

Social-media savvy teenage girls are being targeted by security services in a bid to broaden their appeal 

Social-media savvy teenage girls are being targeted by security services in a bid to broaden their appeal and tackle their image as “male, pale and stale”.

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) will launch a nationwide competition next month for schoolgirls aged 13 to 15, as part of a plan to recruit more female spies, dubbed Jane Bonds, to its ranks.

The initiative, which is part of CyberFirst, is the first of its kind to be set up by the eavesdropping agency. Spy chiefs hope that it will attract thousands of teenage girls, as the competition is remotely accessible at schools across the country.GCHQ in Cheltenham

“The CyberFirst Girls Competition allows teams of young women a glimpse of this exciting world and provides a great opportunity to use new skills,” said GCHQ director Robert Hannigan.

“I work alongside some truly brilliant women who help protect the UK from all manner of online threats.  My advice to all potential applicants would be enjoy the experience.”

Teenage girls can sign up in groups of four, and will be sent online tests and challenges in cyber security which they can take on their school computers.

These will include questions on logic, coding and cryptography, and each round will become more and more complex.

The 10 teams with the highest scores will be invited to a national final in London, where they will be given a complex cyber security threat to investigate.

The Government announced their five year National Cyber Security Strategy in November 2016 
The Government announced its five-year National Cyber Security Strategy in November 2016 CREDIT:  DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA WIRE

They will present their findings to a panel of spy chiefs, and the winning team will be awarded £1,000-worth of IT equipment for their school.

A spokesman for GCHQ said: “Teenage girls from across the UK are being invited to pit their tech skills against one another in a GCHQ competition to find the best and brightest candidates to protect the nation from future cyber attacks.

“Only 10 per cent of the global cyber workforce are female, meaning millions of British women may be missing out on a career they could excel in.”

The Government announced its five-year National Cyber Security Strategy in November 2016, which has £1.9 billion in funding. Part of the budget will be spent on outreach and recruitment.

The CyberFirst Girls Competition has been set up by GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which was set up in October as the UK’s leading authority on cyber security.

GCHQ hopes to attract more teenage girls to its ranks
GCHQ hopes to attract more teenage girls to its ranks CREDIT: CULTURA CREATIVE (RF) / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

It aims to promote the agency as a possible career choice among secondary school students, as well as educating children about the perils of leaving too many personal details online.

As well as the competition aimed at teenage girls, CyberFirst will also run a programme of free activity days and residential courses for secondary school pupils.

Alan Smithers, head of the centre for education and employment at Buckingham University, said: “Females played an important part in the work of Bletchley Park during the war. They are very systematic and careful and you would expect them to be able to do very well in this field.

Roger Moore, known for playing James Bond, downs a drink 
Shaken, not stirred: GCHQ hopes to attract ‘Jane Bonds’ CREDIT: PETER RUCK

“Teenagers use sophisticated technology as an everyday part of their social life and so it is odd that girls shouldn’t think of using these skills in their future careers. Girls will see that it isn’t something mysterious but a natural extension of what they do every day through social media.”

Last year, British intelligence agencies said they no longer insist new recruits have a university degree and that they favour “emotional intelligence” instead as part of a plan to recruit more middle-aged mums.

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have all used Mumsnet to find new female spies while some agencies have targeted older women working in social care who may be bored with their careers.

For more information about the CyberFirst Girls Competition and to register your details visit the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Can you solve these teasers found in the GCHQ puzzle book?

General hint: Many of the puzzles may look more intractable than they really are. In a lot of cases the trick is to approach the puzzle with the right mindset – in other words to think like a GCHQ puzzle setter. So for example when looking at a set of words, don’t think of them as words, think of them as a set of letters. And when looking at a set of letters, think whether they could be converted into numbers. And when looking at a set of numbers, think whether they could be converted into letters.


A poem

Whilst driving recently my car felt weird.

The steering failed and off the road I ______.

A gentle stop was not on the agenda.

I bruised my leg, and gosh did that feel ______.

I ______ right by the vehicle till the AA came along.

They spotted that the brake alignment had been set up wrong.

The mechanic in the garage said he would have to _____

and then replace the brakepipes, back into their groove.

He tested them and it turned out that the test results were poor.

So I asked for a ______ just to be quite sure.

You’ll see I’ve left 5 words out of my little doggerel rhyme.

They all have 6 letters – which should save you lots of time.

These words all fit together in a sort of square array.

Use this to solve the question: This all happened on what day?


Strictly Come Dancing is a television dancing competition. Professional dancers are paired with celebrities (of different sex), and each week they are marked by a set of judges, and then by an audience phone vote. The lowest scoring couple overall is eliminated from the competition. At one stage in a recent run there were just five couples left, and it was at the stage in the programme that only the judges had marked them. Each couple had got a different score.

Anna was pleased with second place as it made her the highest placed female professional dancer. However, Greg was disappointed with his position, particularly as Nigel and his professional partner had beaten him. The model burst into tears because the reporter finished higher up the table.

Teresa was delighted to have done so well, as was her professional partner, especially as he finished ahead of his wife Lilia (interestingly the five professional dancers included two married couples).

I noticed a couple of other things too – the winning celebrity had the same name as the fourth placed professional dancer, who partnered the businessman; and that if you read in order from highest to lowest score, the initial letters of the names of the professional dancers, the initial letters of the names of the celebrities, and the initial letters of the celebrities’ real professions, all spelled words.

Suggest a name for the last placed professional dancer (his name does not appear above).


Reorganize these shapes to make an appropriate picture. Some may need to be rotated, but none needs to be reflected or scaled in size.


The answers 1.

The missing words are VEERED, TENDER, STAYED, REMOVE, RETEST and the 6 words form a 3×3 box:





Zoltan (or any male name beginning with Z). The initial letters spell WALTZ, TANGO, RUMBA. (Italicised/highlighted names are not mentioned in the question.)


Jordan cracks down on activists over social media posts

Lawyers for arrested activists told Al Jazeera they were unable to meet their clients  [Reuters]

A Jordanian military court has charged eight activists with “insulting the King” and “incitement to spread chaos to undermine the political regime of Jordan using social media”, lawyers said.

The General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the “Mukhabarat” in Arabic, last week arrested civilian opposition activists, including retired army and intelligence generals, a former MP, a former high-ranking government official and several teachers

Lawyers for the arrested men told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that they were unable to meet their clients despite being given an appointment by the prosecutor of the State Security Court two days earlier.

The lawyers said they were told their clients had been charged and ordered to be held for a further 14 days. They said they were informed that the detainees had been transferred to al-Hashemiya prison, 100km north of the capital, Amman.

Faisal al-Kuzae al-Frehat, who represents former GID General Mohamad al-Otoom and other military retirees, called the charges “nonsense” and said they were unconstitutional.

“The government made these trumped-up charges in order to try the activists in the State Security Court, which is an illegal military tribunal used by the State to settle scores against activists who dared criticise the government and demand reform,” he said.

Government and intelligence officers contacted by Al Jazeera refused to comment.

Hani Mulki, the prime minister, was quoted by the state news agency, Petra, on Sunday as saying: “The security agencies detained individuals based on arrest warrants issued by the prosecutor of the State Security Court for committing incitement that would arouse the public opinion.”

The wife of al-Otoom, Um Moath, told al Jazeera that she has been unable to speak to her husband since his arrest.

“I am confused as to why my husband is being treated this way after he spent all of his adult life defending this country and serving the King,” she said

READ MORE: Pro-reform group criticises arrests in Amman

Another lawyer, Musa al Abdallat, who represents ex-government official Hussam al-Abdallat, demanded the immediate release of the group.

“All of the activists were exercising their right to free speech and nothing more,” he said.

Hussam al-Abdallat’s brother, Wesam, rejected the charges and said his brother was not an opponent of the King or the government, and was solely interested in fighting corruption.

Release demanded

The activists want to see a corruption investigation re-opened, and are also demanding an official investigation into what they say are “security and intelligence failures” that led to a spate of attacks last year. They are also calling for the head of the GID,  Faisal al-Shoubaki, and other security chiefs to be fired for what they say was a failure to prevent “terrorist incidents”.

Among the detained men are: General Mohamad al-Otoom (retired); Hussam al-Abdallat,  former chief of staff at the prime minister’s office; Falah al-Khalayleh ;  Omar al-Osoofi, brigadier general (rtrd); Lieutenant Colonel Wasfi Rawashdeh (rtrd); Colonel Khaled al-Fuqara (rtrd); Qaisar al Muahisan; and Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Rahman al-Doueri.

It is unclear how many people were arrested in total but, according to local reports, the number ranges from 18 and 20.

The teachers’ syndicate issued a statement on Monday saying 10 teachers were among those arrested and that they had been held for criticising the government on social media.

Ahmad al-Hajaya, a spokesman for the syndicate, told Al Jazeera from Amman that the 10 were detained by various security agencies, with the arrests beginning in December. He said security agencies initially refused to acknowledge the arrests.

READ MORE: Hundreds mourn Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar

Al-Hajaya said the teachers were arrested for expressing their opinions on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, criticising government handling of an attack in the town of Karak in which 13 people were killed, and criticising corruption in government institutions.

Referring to recently enacted vague “anti-terrorism” law provisions that enable the government to arrest and try individuals if they criticise the government or intelligence agencies, al-Hajaya said: “The government uses the law as an instrument of repression, to stifle free speech as guaranteed by Jordan’s constitution.”

“We demand the immediate release of the teachers,” he added.

Saleh al-Armouti, an MP from the National Reform bloc, told Al Jazeera the arrests were illegal and unconstitutional.