Chinese Scientists Claim Breakthrough in Quantum Computing Race

Chinese scientists claim to have built a quantum computer that is able to perform certain computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most advanced supercomputer, representing the first milestone in the country’s efforts to develop the technology.

The researchers have built a quantum computer prototype that is able to detect up to 76 photons through Gaussian boson sampling, a standard simulation algorithm, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing research published in Science magazine. That’s exponentially faster than existing supercomputers.

The breakthrough represents a quantum computational advantage, also known as quantum supremacy, in which no traditional computer can perform the same task in a reasonable amount of time and is unlikely to be overturned by algorithmic or hardware improvements, according to the research.

While still in its infancy, quantum computing is seen as the key to radically improving the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Chinese researchers are competing against major U.S. corporations from Alphabet Inc.’s Google to Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. for a lead in the technology, which has become yet another front in the U.S.-China tech race.

Read more: Why Quantum Computers Will Be Super Awesome, Someday: QuickTake

Google said last year it has built a computer that could perform a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years, reaching quantum supremacy. The Chinese researchers claim their new prototype is able to process 10 billion times faster than Google’s prototype, according to the Xinhua report.

Xi Jinping’s government is building a $10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences as part of a big push in the field. In the U.S., the Trump administration provided $1 billion in funding to research into artificial intelligence and quantum information earlier this year and has sought to take credit for Google’s 2019 breakthrough.

By Shiyin Chen

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Global Tech News

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DW News

Chinese scientists have announced their development of the most powerful quantum computer in the world. It works 100 trillion times faster than the fastest supercomputers out there and comes little more than a year after Google unveiled Sycamore, their own quantum computer. Chinese scientists have announced their development of the most President Xi Jinping has said research and development in quantum science is an urgent matter of national concern. And the country has invested heavily in this technology, spending billions in recent years. It has become a world leader in the field. Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/deutsche… For more news go to: http://www.dw.com/en/ Follow DW on social media: ►Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deutschewell… ►Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwnews ►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dwnews Für Videos in deutscher Sprache besuchen Sie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/deuts…#QuantumComputer#Cybersecurity#China

How the Pandemic Finally Ushered in the Golden Age of the QR Code

Last month, Denso Wave Inc., an obscure Japanese conglomerate that sounds vaguely made up, received a prestigious award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the largest association of technical professionals in the world. 

Ordinarily, this would be one of those tossed-off bits of corporate news that appears in press releases before sinking to the bottom of the internet archives like a high school lacrosse score. But the timing was noteworthy. After all, Denso Wave, the venerable honoree, was being celebrated in 2020 for something its workers had invented all the way back in 1994: the QR Code. 

Given the rapid adoption and even more rapid obsolescence of technology, having a 25-year-old invention showered with laurels seems weird — like if the Recording Academy decided to award the Smashing Pumpkins a Grammy for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness next January. But that’s 2020 for you. Fanny packs and wide-leg jeans are back, Russia is a menace again, Boomers run the show, and everyone is kinda pissed off at Smash Mouth. It’s like the 1990s all over again.


And despite all our rage, the QR code is suddenly very relevant again. After many polarizing years — in which Quick Response codes became a cultural punchline, started to appear on tattoos and gravestones, earned the scorn of Tumblrs and were declared dead — the pandemic has put two-dimensional black-and-white pixel patterns back in our life again, perhaps permanently.

Recently, the payment platform Venmo introduced its very first credit card, which features a huge QR code right on the front. “When you’re out for dinner and everyone throws their card into the folio, the waiter has to split the check between four or five cards,” explained Venmo Senior Vice President Darrell Esch. “Whereas here, I can throw my card into the center, and everybody else can quickly scan my code, link to my Venmo and push the funds to settle.”

The irritating specter of split-check dinners may seem quaint in the era of social distancing, but what the QR code also offers for this surreal time is a way to limit the amount of physical touching strangers and consumers have to do, which is a huge reason why we’re hearing so much about QR codes again. They’re easy enough to use and they help us keep space. Over the summer, the British government released a contact-tracing app using the technology to keep track of attendees at potential super-spreader events, and later this year, CVS will roll out touchless payment using QR codes at 8,000 of its stores. (God willing, the foot-long receipts will remain.) 

Another feature of the QR renaissance revolves around the reality that, in spite of American and European dismissals, QR codes have been insanely popular across much of Asia this whole time. In China, consumers buy everything, from street-cart jianbing to Swarovski crystals, using quick response-enabled payments. In recent years, QR codes have accounted for a full third of mobile transactions there to the tune of a trillion dollars in overall sales.

It’s wild to think that after many clumsy debuts (especially in guerilla marketing campaigns), QR codes are finally having their moment — in fancy restaurants, in social justice protests, in doctors’ offices — but the truth is that we had to grow into our QR codes on this side of the world. And sometimes, that takes many years to do. 

When Americans first started seeing square-patterned panels, we weren’t initially well-equipped to deal with them. The weak cellular data of the “Can you hear me now?” era often made processing a QR code an infuriating experience that belied the whole point of the technology. And then, of course, there were Apple-induced inefficiencies at the head of the trend. “If you wanted to actually scan one of these things, you [needed] to download a separate bespoke app to be able to do it,” Nicolás Rivero recently vented about the early days of consumer QR codes. 

Despite being technologically more prepared, we still have a ways to go before the QR wave means we’ll all be buying street meat or tipping buskers with the whip of a phone. After all, tens of millions of Americans still don’t carry smartphones and tens of millions more are cranky about their tech. And so, like cash, vinyl, or paper books, the old analog ways have a funny tendency to stick around. 

By Adam Chandler @AllMyChandler

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ABC News (Australia)

The coronavirus pandemic has opened up a new frontier for collecting your personal details. Across much of the country customers are having to use their mobile phones to register before they can sit down in a café or restaurant. Some of these online check-ins are run by marketing companies and there are concerns the information could be snatched up by data merchants. Subscribe: http://ab.co/1svxLVE

Read more here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-3…#QRCodes#QRCodeCovidCheckIns ABC News provides around the clock coverage of news events as they break in Australia and abroad, including the latest coronavirus pandemic updates. It’s news when you want it, from Australia’s most trusted news organisation. For more from ABC News, click here: https://ab.co/2kxYCZY Watch more ABC News content ad-free on iview: https://ab.co/2OB7Mk1 Go deeper on our ABC News In-depth channel: https://ab.co/2lNeBn2 Like ABC News on Facebook: http://facebook.com/abcnews.au Follow ABC News on Instagram: http://instagram.com/abcnews_au Follow ABC News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/abcnews#ABCNews#ABCNewsAustralia#breakingnews

Microsoft Asks 400 Million People To Buy A New PC…And Other Small Business Tech News

Computer Stores Prepare For Release Of Microsoft Windows 7

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Microsoft is recommending that 400 million users buy new PCs by next month.

After recently announcing that they will be ending support for the Windows 7 Operating System, Microsoft released a statement this week suggesting that its nearly 400 million users still on Windows 7 switch entirely to Surface rather than upgrade their devices. The company detailed that—for most users who are using Windows 7—navigating over to a brand new PC that has Windows 10 Pro will be the most efficient move since—according to Microsoft—those devices are more secure, powerful, lightweight, and operate faster than the previous models. (Source: MS Power User)

Why this is important for your business:

OK, no one’s saying that you HAVE to buy a Surface. There are plenty of other great devices you can get for your business that also run Windows 10. But please…if your company still has computers running Windows 7 you have to do something. Upgrade. Switch to new devices. Turn them off. Computers running older operating systems like Windows 7 are very vulnerable to malware attacks which means that the cost of not upgrading could very well exceed the cost of replacing those older computers.

2 — Google is planning to kill support for third-party cookies that track you all over the internet. 

Google announced this past week that—within the next two years—it is planning to cease support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. Ad networks and advertisers are typically the ones who add third-party cookies in an effort to track users through various sites in order to help target advertisements and monitor performance. Before Google begins to dial back support for third-party cookies within Chrome, they first plan to navigate meeting the needs of advertisers, publishers, and users who will be impacted by the change. (Source: CNBC)

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Why this is important for your business:

This is a potentially big deal. Cookies from third parties are at the core of many brands’ efforts to track visitors and drive ads to their attention. If your business does online ad campaigns or use re-targeting services to drive traffic to your website, then Google’s potential change could impact your marketing plans. Stay tuned.

3 — Apple’s new privacy features have further rattled the location based ad market. 

The deliberate steps that Apple took this past September to help users stay more informed regarding their data and what they share seems to be working. With their new privacy protection approach, background location data that was available for advertisers to target in the past, is now data that those advertisers need to do without. With the new privacy feature, users are able to decide whether or not they want the apps they are using to share their data with companies who—in the past—would have had access to it. Currently, typically less than 50% of users opt-in to allow their data to be shared with apps when they are not being used. (Source: DigiDay)

Why this is important for your business:

Man, between Apple and Google this is a bad week for advertisers. Does your business use location based advertising to attract customers? If so, then Apple’s new privacy features may have an impact on your marketing spend. The best thing to do is to play close attention to what apps are generating business and make sure that these trends continue over the upcoming months. If you see a drop off, it could be because of Apple’s new privacy protections and may make you change some of your marketing investments.

4 — After years of decline, the PC market saw rare growth in 2019.

Research released this past week indicated that the PC market had seen growth for the first time in 8 years. According to Gartner and IDC—the firms conducting the research—annual PC shipments over the last year went up. Although the numbers released by both firms differed—with IDC estimating the increase at 2.7% year over year and Gartner finding the figure to be only 0.6%— any growth is a move in the right direction for the industry, with smartphones having taken precedence over desktop and laptop purchases. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

Maybe this is understated. If Microsoft had their way, the company (per above) would say another 400 million PCs to buyers too! Two thoughts on this: because PC sales have dropped so dramatically over the past decade, growth was inevitable because things can only drop so far. Secondly, it’s good news. As things have shaken out in the hardware market, it’s clear from what I see at most clients that businesses do need PCs and laptops and that tablets and phones can’t do it all. So go ahead: get that new PC.

5— TurboTax, H&R block, TaxSlayer, and more were described as the best tax software for 2020. 

Editors at CNET—a tech news website—revealed their picks this past week for the best tax software companies for 2020. TurboTax was highlighted as being the best tax software for live personal support, offering several options regardless of how complicated one’s tax scenario is. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Looking for tax software? CNET’s piece above is a great resource for you. According to the editors there, for the best multiplatform option, H&R Block was highlighted for their features helping with taxes such as unlimited technical support, as well as chat and phone support for customers who are on a higher tier. TaxSlayer was deemed as having the best overall pricing for the services it provides, while Credit Karma Tax, Tax Act, and FreeTax USA were also highlighted for their features and offerings.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I was a former senior manager at KPMG and since 1994 the owner of the Marks Group PC, a 10-person customer relationship management consulting firm based outside Philadelphia. I’ve written six small-business management books, most recently “The Manufacturer’s Book of Lists” and “In God We Trust, Everyone Else Pays Cash: Simple Lessons From Smart Business People.” Besides Forbes, I formerly wrote for The Washington Post and the New York Times and now write regularly for The Guardian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Inc., Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and Fox Business. I make no compensation from the number of people who read what I write.

Source: Microsoft Asks 400 Million People To Buy A New PC…And Other Small Business Tech News

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Amazon Alexa application is authoritatively accessible in the Windows 10 Store. Amazon Alexa can enable you to complete numerous things on Windows 10 with s

Got An Apple Watch 5? How To Secure It In Three Simple Steps

Apple Watch Series 5 security tips

Following the publication of a U.S. patent that mentioned a fingerprint sensor for the Apple Watch, rumors have been rife that Touch ID will be coming to the wearable soon. If you’ve just received a gift of an Apple Watch 5, then rumors won’t help you secure it (or an Apple Watch 3 or 4 for that matter) from those who would use it to unlock other devices, perform Apple Pay transactions or access data. These tips, however, will.

Do you need to secure your Apple Watch?

Although one recent study has suggested that Apple is less trustworthy than Google when it comes to data encryption, that is something of an outlier. Apple has a pretty decent security record when it comes to the iPhone and its iOS operating system when compared to relatively insecure Android devices. Not that the iPhone is immune from device-specific malware as the iPhone only Krampus campaign demonstrates. The Apple Watch, however, doesn’t run on iOS; it uses the iOS-derived WatchOS instead.

So, is WatchOS free from any security issues? Well, if you check the security vulnerability database at CVE Details, you will see plenty of problems that could specifically impact WatchOS. There are 473 vulnerabilities listed in total, ranging from the low severity to the critical. But don’t panic; if you sort the results by “number of exploits,” you’ll notice there have been precisely zero for any of them. And Apple regularly updates WatchOS as it does iOS and operates a bug bounty program to reward those security researchers who uncover vulnerabilities, with a top bounty of $1.5 million (£1.15 million) on offer. So you don’t need to worry about securing it, right?

Wrong.

The security issues you do need to be concerned about now you are the owner of a shiny new Apple Watch Series 5 are, frankly, much the same as you face with any other mobile device. The wearable is, in practical terms, an extension of your iPhone. This means that you need to be aware of how it interacts with your iPhone and the access it provides to the smartphone itself, the data upon it and the services it facilitates.

Apple Watch security tip number one: Set a long passcode

The default four-digit PIN, what Apple refers to as a “Simple Passcode,” is not secure enough. Especially as most people will likely use the same PIN for their Apple Watch as they do for their credit cards, debit cards, smartphone, SIM card, and anything else that requires a four-digit code. Password reuse is a terrible thing, and the same applies to PIN codes which are just pretty bad passwords after all.

To strengthen your Apple Watch PIN, go to the Watch app on your iPhone and click on “Passcode” then disable the “Simple Passcode” option. After confirming your existing PIN, you will be able to set a new 10-digit code. The longer the PIN the more secure, in theory. However, the usability factor kicks in if you are using a random 10-digit code that you can’t easily remember. It’s not recommended to use memorable dates either; a threat actor will likely be able to guess these from social media information.

That said, a six-digit PIN is far more secure than the default and just as easy to remember. Or how about keeping the four-digit PIN you know off by heart and repeating it, in reverse, to create an eight-digit code? So 1234 (please don’t use that) would become 12344321. If you enable the “Erase Data” option, then another security feature kicks in: self-destruct. OK, it’s not quite that extreme, but not far off. After six incorrect PIN code attempts, the Apple Watch will initiate a 60-second delay between further attempts. Get it wrong ten times and all data will be erased from the device.

Apple Watch security tip number two: Get smart with more locking options

Either on your Apple Watch or iPhone, it’s less fiddly for those of us with fat finger syndrome to use the iPhone, make sure that the “Wrist Detection” option is toggled on. This has the effect of automatically locking your Apple Watch when you take it off, necessitating entry of that now longer PIN before unlocking.

There’s also an option to “Unlock with iPhone,” which works in combination with the wrist detection to automatically unlock your Apple Watch without needing the PIN code. As long, that is, the iPhone is close enough to the watch, which you must be wearing. It’s another good usability option with no substantial negative impact on security for 99.9% of people 99.9% of the time. As I said before, good security must be easy to use or people find ways to get around it. Which usually means they disable it altogether.

Apple Watch security tip number three: Lost Mode and Activation Lock

Every iPhone owner is familiar, I’m guessing, with the Find My iPhone iCloud feature or app, or “Find My” for iOS 13 users. If not, then get acquainted as it’s an essential part of your iPhone security posture. And that of your Apple Watch.

As well as being useful in finding your watch if you can’t remember where you left it last, Find My has some additional security-related functionality up its virtual sleeve. Things like being able to remotely wipe your data from your Apple Watch if it is permanently lost or stolen and activating “Lost Mode.” The latter will display a short custom message and number to call if someone finds your Apple Watch. More importantly, it will also disable Apple Pay which ticks a significant security concern box for most people who have lost their wearable.

You should also check that the Activation Lock function is enabled in Find My, and if it can see your watch, then it is. What does this do? How does making your Apple Watch worthless to any thief sound to you? Unless that thief knows your Apple ID and password, Activation Lock prevents them or anyone else from being able to wipe your data from the device. The result, an unsaleable Apple Watch.

For more Apple security advice, read How To Secure Your iPhone: 12 Experts Reveal 26 Essential Security Tips.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: Got An Apple Watch 5? How To Secure It In Three Simple Steps

How Virtual Travel Could Help With Overtourism

The idea of travel without consequence, restriction or even leaving the confines of one’s own home has been both the defining arc for many a sci-fi tale, and also the basis for the burgeoning field of live virtual travel (one estimate by research firm MarketandMarkets puts the virtual reality market at $44.7 billion USD by 2024).

Although simulations have previously appeared in hotel and airline walk throughs, increasing sophistication in gaming and other related areas have brought us ever more realistic versions of actual tourist destinations, such as Everest, Alcatraz and even outer space. Now, the ability to livestream travel experiences in real time via drone, satellite and other technology is coming, and it could have unexpected effects on a travel industry that is currently experiencing its own disruption.

These advances may usher in the rise of a new form of travel — one that separates the physical element from the experience, much like the trend already occurring in the food sphere. As the “eyes eat first” ethos pervades the virtual world of instagrammable plates and aspirational (or otherwise) food television and youtube influencers, the disconnect between the dining room and the diner is simultaneously shrunk and widened immeasurably.

In some cases, this separation may be a good thing — especially when it comes to illustrious destinations such as Venice that are literally sinking under the weight of unsustainable levels of tourism and the resulting environmental impact. Although these cities — ill equipped to deal with the hoards of tourists depleting resources and not always spending at local businesses— are trying to limit the effects by restricting visitors to certain areas, only time will tell as to whether it will be successful. In these situations, would a virtual tour (especially to those merely interested in checking a box off of a travel to do list) be a complete loss?

Another element to consider is that a virtual experience would allow those (fool)hardy souls viewing a world heritage site as a backdrop for an elaborate (and in some cases, downright lethal) selfie to do so without risking themselves or others.

One could argue that this fake it until you make it mindset when it comes to travel self portraits is already pervasive, whether using DIY materials such as toilet seats and coffee mugs to approximate airplane windows, or professional backdrops emulating luxury plane seats and other situations.

At the heart of the matter of virtual travel lies the question of how these technologies are redefining our ideas of travel: i.e. how much of our enjoyment and understanding of a place derives from the tactility of being in the location itself. After all, aspirational media extolling the virtues of unique destinations has been a part of culture since humans could record what they saw in a transmittable form, whether by cave painting, parchment or cellphone.

There’s certainly a debate to be had about whether it is a trifle elitist to restrict the experience of travel to those who have the means to do so. And although the terroir and soul of a place that may be hard to convey via pixels, we’re seeing the travel industry seek to reduce its carbon footprint and question sustainability in tourism practices.

Perhaps, as technology develops and destinations seek to contain the impact of the madding crowds, the clearest thing that virtual travel will show us is that travel can leave a mark on the destination as well as the visitor.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a Toronto-based freelance writer who has spent the last 18 years traveling the globe as a magazine editor, and a lifetime consuming and exploring the world’s most interesting plates. A former editorial director of several national trade magazines on food, restaurants and fashion, I’ve covered luxury global trends and local flavors — and the chefs, artisans and tastemakers that drive them — across Asia, the Americas and Europe. Whether foraging with herb witches in Germany or hunting for the perfect small batch bourbon, I’m always seeking out new experiences in restaurants, wines and spirits and travel. I’ve also put my Masters degree in Communications to use by teaching magazine journalism and creative writing to the next generation of explorers. I tweet at @leslie_wu

Source: How Virtual Travel Could Help With Overtourism

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Virtual Reality apps for Travel are becoming more realistic, as VR hardware and software gets more advanced. If you like the idea of travel and exploration, but would rather do it from the comfort of your own home these five apps might offer you the perfect weekend getaway. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews NBC News is a leading source of global news and information. Here you will find clips from NBC Nightly News, Meet The Press, and original digital videos. Subscribe to our channel for news stories, technology, politics, health, entertainment, science, business, and exclusive NBC investigations. Connect with NBC News Online! Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC Follow NBC News on Google+: http://nbcnews.to/PlusNBC Follow NBC News on Instagram: http://nbcnews.to/InstaNBC Follow NBC News on Pinterest: http://nbcnews.to/PinNBC These Virtual Reality Apps Let You Travel The World Without Ever Leaving Home | Mach | NBC News
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