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Aura home security sees through walls to avoid privacy squeamishness

Connected cameras might be the current darlings of the smart home, but what if a 24/7 stream from inside your house gives you the privacy shivers? A smarter motion sensor might be the answer, with Aura promising a new way to track activity in the home – as well as automate it – based on wireless activity.

Traditional movement sensors rely on factors like heat or light, which tend to be fairly blunt in their ability to differentiate what’s going on in the room. More recently, we’ve seen cameras with machine learning – like Amazon’s recent Cloud Cam, or Nest’s Cam IQ – doing something similar but with more refinement, promising the ability to spot people but ignore the motion of, say, a breeze blowing the curtains.

The downside there is that you have a camera pointing into your home, and generally all your video data being hosted on a remote server somewhere in the cloud. The Aura sensors tackle things differently. Plugged into an outlet, they use “WiFi Motion”: effectively, they monitor the disruption of wireless signals that are caused when people move around through them.

With a single Aura plugged in, the system can spot if someone has moved within the home. With three or more, the beacons can use triangulation to actually pinpoint where that movement took place. For instance, they can track when someone comes in through the entranceway, or spot if someone is trying to leave. Makers Cognitive Systems suggests they’ll be useful for elderly care, where tracking movement without video has clear privacy benefits.

Alternatively, they suggest, if you have an AirBnB property you could use Aura to discreetly monitor when guests arrive and when they leave. Since the system can tell the difference between a single person, a small group, or a large gathering, the beacons could flag whether your rental guests are having a party, too.

IFTTT integration means Aura activity can be used as a trigger: you could, for instance, use it to turn on lights, or even turn on a WiFi camera if a certain set of criteria are met. While you might not want a camera streaming 24/7, you may still prefer to have some remote insight into what’s going on if an elderly relative hasn’t moved for some hours, or if there’s suddenly a large group in the home.

Aura uses scenes for that, with core home and away settings, a night mode which only activates monitoring on specific beacons, and a Guardian mode for remote monitoring. A pet mode is in beta, as the system works to differentiate between the movement of your cat or dog, and that of a potential intruder.

Aura is available now, priced at $199 for a starter kit containing a single beacon and a hub; the company says it’s good for spaces of roughly 700 square feet. Individual beacons are $99 apiece, and up to three can be added to a single starter kit.

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Privacy Officers: Security Types Need Convincing

Last week in Washington, DC., (good news never starts out like this) a panel of security executives and technologists sat down to explore the challenges awaiting a new crop of chief privacy officers who will be appointed to federal agencies in response to new law.

Unfortunately, from the tone of some of the discussion, the first challenge for these CPOs will be to explain why they are relevant in the first place.

The reason for the sudden interest? A new federal appropriations law requires all government agencies to hire privacy officers, as well as engaging third-party auditors to watch over the shoulders of these new CPOs.

According to a recent report, the NIST committee’s task is to summarize current ”best practices” for federal CPOs. But, reportedly, the committee is considering recommending against the implementation of mandatory outside audits. Why? Due to the odd wording of the law, the auditors would be evaluating the work of the CPO, not the practices of the department.

Rebecca Leng, deputy assistant inspector general for information technology and computer security at the U.S. Transportation Department, was quoted as saying the appropriations language does not outline the criteria for such audits. The law simply says inspectors general must hire auditors to check the CPOs’ activities.

”At this point in time, nobody knows what good practices are in the [privacy] field,” she reportedly said.

Perhaps nobody she knows in the security field knows what good privacy practices are these days, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate that security audits might have an analog over in the privacy side of an organization.

First, let me state for the record that I am not opposed to clarifying badly written laws. If the committee’s point was to question the wording of the appropriations bill, then they have raised a valid point. But if they are questioning the more fundamental need for privacy audits — or even the need for privacy officers in general — then they are barking up the wrong tree.

I’ve spent much of the last six or seven years promoting the importance of privacy officers. Much to my dismay, over the course of the years, some of the greatest skepticism I’ve met has come from security professionals.

Much of the skepticism boils down to some basic misconceptions about the relationship between privacy and security, and fears that privacy officers are just going to be competing for the same organizational ”turf”. But as I have sat with security professionals to explain why the role of the privacy officer is complimentary, but fundamentally different, the concerns and misconceptions are easily dispelled.

Indeed, many security executives quickly realize that privacy officers get to deal with many of the murkier, subjective, and often politically-charged issues that many security officers try to avoid being drawn into — such as marketing strategies or legal and regulatory compliance.

But let’s not miss the bigger point here.

Assuming Congress could fix the law so it would require the auditing of privacy practices, instead of the day-to-day work of the privacy officer, this is something that should be encouraged. A critical element of the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement actions in the realm of privacy has been the requirement that companies bring in outside auditors to oversee their privacy fixes and ongoing practices.

If this panel believes you should only audit after a problem is discovered, then they don’t appear to have a good grasp on the reality of today’s privacy methodology in use at the most enlightened organizations the world over.

The four elements of a coherent privacy program are:

Know your current privacy-related practices;

Articulate those practices in a privacy policy;

Implement those practices through training and oversight, and

How To Repair Walls Before Painting

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Learn how to repair walls before painting. Get your walls ready for a fresh coat of paint with these simple tips.

If you’re new to DIY, you might enjoy this beginner’s guide to painting walls.

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Like all things, the prep work for painting is really important. You can’t get a flawless paint job unless you fill all the holes and patch all of the blemishes.

It sounds easy but even after years of painting, I continue to learn new tricks. Here are some of my favorite tips.

How to Repair Walls Before Painting

Tools Needed:

A note about plaster walls

These instructions are for repairing drywall but work on plaster walls as well. Spray the plaster walls with water before applying the joint compound. This helps it stick to the wall better

I’m adding this disclaimer because some would argue that it’s not the authentic way to fix plaster walls. Done is better than perfect is my motto.

Removing Nails, Screws, and Wall Anchors

The first step is to remove all of the nails, screws, and wall anchors.

If you’re going to put art back in the same place, you can skip this step. I always like to start with fresh clean walls though in case I change my mind about where art goes.

Remove all nails and screws from the walls. Pliers remove nails without damaging the walls.

Wall anchors can be removed with adjustable pliers. Just grab the anchor with the pliers and pull it out.

If the wall anchor is brittle and breaks, you can cut the protruding part off with a utility knife. Then use the pliers to shove it into the wall. It doesn’t need to disappear into the wall, but you shouldn’t feel the plastic when you run your finger across it.

Nail and screw holes can be made smooth in a couple of ways. Use a putty knife to scrape against the hole. This removes any loose debris and makes the edges smoother.

The 2nd way is by poking something inside the hole. You can use a screwdriver tip, but I like to use the tip of the pliers. Make sure the excess drywall paper pokes into the hole.

Peeling paint is pretty easy to fix. Remove as much of the peeling paint as possible. I typically use a putty knife to scrape it away. Then patch it with joint compound as explained below.

How to Fill Holes in Walls

Once everything is removed from the walls, it’s time to fill the holes.

This stage is messy so remove anything from the room that is sensitive to dust. You might want to cover the floors as well. It’s actually a good idea to cover the furniture as well. It’s a pretty dusty step.

Spackle VS Joint Compound

When repairing walls, you can fill holes with spackle or joint compound. But which should you choose?

Spackle is great for small repairs, like holes from nails and tacks. I like the kind that goes on pink (or purple) and dries white. Spackle dries really quickly and it’s available in tiny containers.

Just spread it on the hole. You can even use a finger to get it smooth. No tools are required! It needs to be sanded before painting.

However, spackle is not great for larger holes because it shrinks a bit when it dries. You will never notice a tiny hole, but larger holes will need more than one application.

I typically fill nail, tack, and screw holes with spackle. If there’s an anchor or anything larger, I use drywall compound. It’s also great for repairing cracks.

I also use it if I have a lot of repairs. Really large repairs will need more than one application.

Joint compound comes pre-mixed or in a bag that you mix yourself. For convenience’s sake, I use the pre-mixed kind. Since I have a ton of repairs to do in my home, I buy a larger container but it’s available in s 3 lb size.

Joint compound takes a longer time to dry than spackle. Large repairs may need to dry overnight or longer.

Apply it with a putty knife. The knife should be wider than the entire repair spot if possible. This makes it easy to feather it out with the wall.

Using Drywall Mesh Tape

Large repairs may need drywall tape. Really big repairs will need to be patched with pieces of drywall, which is a whole other tutorial.

I wouldn’t use tape for anything larger than about 3″ in diameter.

Drywall mesh tape will stick to the wall. Cut a piece that’s larger than the hole and apply it to the wall. If you need more than one piece, cut more.

Then cover the hole with joint compound. It will need 2-3 coats of joint compound to cover the mesh texture.

When the spackle or joint compound is dry, sand the spot smooth. I like using sanding blocks for this. Use your hands and feel for ridges. Your repairs should be smooth.

The joint compound is still wet if there is a dark spot.

Finishing the Repairs

Now it’s time to finish the repairs so that you can get painting.

Clean the Drywall Dust

After sanding, the walls need to be cleaned. Depending on the level of dirt, you may need to wash your walls. Small repairs can be wiped clean with a microfiber or damp cloth.

Drywall dust on the floor can be swept and mopped away.

Textured Walls

If you have textured walls, the repairs might look a bit flat now. Small repairs aren’t very noticeable, but large ones are.

Texture spray can be used to disguise those spots. There are many texture types to choose from. You can also choose to add more or less texture by twisting the dial on the spray can.

When you spray it on, it looks bad. It will evaporate a bit and look more subtle as it dries. And it looks gross when it starts to dry (like someone sneezed on the wall). But when it’s painted, it looks a lot better than a flat patch.

Priming the Spots

Always prime the repaired spots before painting. This seals the very porous surface.

If you skip priming, the paint will absorb differently in those spots and your paint job will look patchy. It’s really noticeable with darker colors, so don’t skip this step.

Now it’s time to get painting!

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Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…

What Is Your Aura Color?

Ever wondered what an Aura is and how its colour reflects your personality traits? You must have seen some videos on social media where people are describing their Aura and how its colour expresses their viewpoint of life. Aura is the layers of unseen energy surrounding us and each of the layers has a centre in our body.

Our personality is not just what we say or do. It’s an energy that flows from us and is not visible to the human eyes. So, is it like a fictional superpower? No. Metaphysical practitioners and believers claim that aura colours are caused by vibrations and have scientific evidence. Every atom and molecule in the universe follows a certain pattern which emanates from the body as vibrations.

Aura is very much similar to sound waves. Just as we cannot hear sound waves but they are present around us, aura colours are not visible to a majority of people.

Seven Layers of Aura

An Aura is made of seven auric layers and the middle of it is our physical body. These seven layers are as follows −

Physical plane − It’s closest to the body and skin which ensures our physical health.

Emotional plane − It can appear in different colours as per our moods as this layer is all about emotions.

Mental layer − It’s the third layer of energy outside our body and is generally linked with reason and logic.

Astral body − It’s connected to our spirit and is usually referred to as the layer of love.

Etheric body − It helps you to communicate mentally with others and can be considered a place for our psyche.

Celestial plane − This layer is related to our dreams and creativity.

Causal plane −This layer is responsible for coordinating and balancing the other layers.

Seven Chakras

Every Auric layer has a primary energy centre in the body which is called ‘Chakras’. There is a total of seven chakras in the body and when they are open, energy is released from them which defines our Aura’s colour. These seven chakras are as follows −

Root Chakra − It’s located at the spine’s base and controls confidence, strength and digestive health.

Sacral Chakra − It’s located in the lower abdomen and controls our creativity, energy and sexual desire.

Solar Chakra − It’s located in the abdomen and controls our emotions.

Heart Chakra − It’s above our heart and reflects our love for others

Throat Chakra − It’s located in the throat area and controls our communication with others

Third-eye Chakra − It’s located in the forehead between the eyes and is connected with our mind and psyche.

Crown Chakra − It’s located at the top of the head and is connected with spirituality.

Now that we have understood how our Aura is related to the chakras and layers, let us understand the different colours of Aura and their meanings.

Aura Colours

There are seven main aura colours which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Every colour has its significance and reflects personality traits accordingly.

Red

This colour represents the root chakra and is associated with an energetic type of personality who can be a good leader. People with red aura are fearless and can have the right place in life and work. These people emanate passion from the people around them and are ambitious and always moving. Health issues may arise due to anxiety.

Orange

This colour is associated with the sacral chakra. Such people are typically creative, energetic and emotional. They value social relationships and friendship. They like to work in a team and being alone could be bothersome for them. Health problems may arise from the kidney or reproductive organs.

Yellow

This colour represents the solar chakra. These people are warm and radiant like the sun and emanate positive energy. They value self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem and support their friends. Such people can also attract people naturally to them. Health issues may be associated with the spleen.

Green

This colour controls love, joy and inner peace as it represents the heart chakra. These people are attracted to nature and animals and love all living things. They can have a proper balance in their lives as they can give equal attention to their interests as well as the interests of those they love. Health problems related to the lungs may arise.

Blue

This colour governs how we communicate with others and express ourselves as it is connected to the throat chakra. These people are helpful, caring, spiritual and intuitive. They are usually at peace and are a freethinker. People with blue aura may experience health issues with the throat or thyroid.

Indigo

This colour is connected to the third-eye chakra and deals with awareness, understanding and being deeply connected to you. These people are imaginative, curious, daydreamers and have deep inner feelings. Sometimes, they may lack self-esteem and are introverted, unassuming, calm and modest. People may experience eye-related problems

Violet

This colour is about our being authoritative, independent, idealistic and intellectual as it is connected to the crown chakra. This is the most sensitive and wisest of the aura colours and sometimes people with this aura colour have psychic power. This aura colour relates to the pineal gland and nervous system.

How Can I Find Out My Aura Color?

One of the most accurate ways to access an aura is to photograph your aura. But, if you can’t do that, you can take a personality test. These quizzes are straightforward and have mostly multiple-choice questions wherein you have to choose one answer.

These tests aim to push you to choose an option that is relatable to you. You may get the most accurate results if you don’t overthink your response and go with the options that you feel are the best suitable for you. These questions are designed to gain insight into your personality.

Some of the sample questions are as follows −

Which of the following best describes your personality?

Fearless

Creative

Joyful

Honest

Charismatic

Sociable

Spiritual

You would describe yourself as

A loner

A risk-taker

Spontaneous

A nature lover

A good listener

A visionary

Sensitive

What is your priority in life?

Food

Money

Having fun

Accomplishing my financial goals

Love

Music

What could be the most common ailment?

Anxiety

Body ache

Stomach problems

Short of breath

Sore throat

Eye infections

Headache

At your workplace, you

Work as a team player

Prefer a challenge

Like to work without anyone’s help

Strive to complete your tasks at any cost

Feel guilty if you have to say no to your co-workers or managers

Feel your appearance is the most important

Frequently end up in a leadership position

Conclusion

The aura colours wouldn’t change for those who are consistent with their choices. However, for some people who are dynamic and have different life experiences, the aura colour may change as their energy would be a bit more all over the place.

Structured Data Google Penalties – 5 Mistakes To Avoid

Adding structured data is always a good idea. However, an incorrect implementation can lead to a manual action. A loss of rankings is a high price to pay for not paying attention to details.

Structured Data Spam is real. Google even has a support page devoted specifically to it.

The sad thing about structured data penalties is that they can happen by a simple misunderstanding or by charging into it without stopping to read Google’s guidelines. Spam penalties (also known as manual actions) can happen when there is no intent to spam. A mistake will still be seen as spam.

This is why it’s important to know how things can go wrong in order to not repeat the mistakes others have made.

A review of the webmaster help forums turned up a number of common mistakes that lead publishers to ask for help.

Here are five common structured data mistakes:

Using inappropriate structured data

Structured data doesn’t match on-page content

Violates Google’s Guidelines for a specific data type

Violates Google’s Structured Data General Guidelines

Shortcuts and taking liberties (aka manipulative behavior)

1. Using inappropriate structured data

This is the kind of thing that can happen when not making the right choice for structured data. For example, using structured data designed for a Product when the company is offering a service. Something as seemingly trivial as this can result in a manual penalty from Google.

2. Structured data must match what’s on page

Whatever information is used, like prices, it must be reflected exactly the same in the on page content that’s visible to users. In the example below, a job posting site listed a salary range to site visitors but a different salary in the structured data.

3. Failure to Read Developer Pages for Specific Data Types

It’s very important to double check the examples on Google’s developer pages for what is and what is not appropriate. Five minutes of your time reading the guidelines can save you weeks of being penalized.

There are currently 20 Developer Pages for the following content types:

4. Failure to Review Structured Data General Guidelines

In addition to the guidelines related to specific data types, Google has also published guidelines that cover all use of structured data. It’s important to have a good understanding of these general policies in order to avoid penalization.

An important note: Just because the structured data validates in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, it doesn’t mean it’s correct.

Familiarize yourself with Google’s General Structured Data Guidelines. The importance of understanding those guidelines cannot be overstated.

5. Taking Shortcuts aka Manipulative Behavior

The example below is of a website that did not have a job offer but still used the Job Posting structured data. This is manipulative behavior designed to attract users from Google’s search results to a page that does not offer what’s in the structured data.

I asked Structured Data expert Casey Markee of MediaWyse about common mistakes he has seen.

Casey offered the following valuable insights:

The biggest mistake I see is hiding schema off the page. For example hiding aggregate reviews or stars but showing them as marked up.

That’s a no-no.

And it’s important to note as well that QUALITY plays a huge role in the loss of rich snippets but you don’t always trigger a manual notice.

The most common example of this I see is when you have a popular page with lots of structured data that suddenly loses all their visible rich snippets in the SERPs.

So in those cases it feels like a penalty and you lose traffic but Google doesn’t send out a notice“

More Resources

Solana Blockchain Sees Power Outage For Over Four Hours

Solana is down 12% in price today after suffering yet another power outage on June 1

The outage latest for four and a half hours, according to the Twitter account Solana Status. According to this same account, the outage started at 1 pm Eastern Time.

It’s not the first time the Solana blockchain has suddenly halted – making many investors question whether Solana is the best network to diversify funds into.

Solana blockchain was down for four and a half hours

Validators in the Solana network were not processing new blocks for at least four and a half hours yesterday. This occurred as validators were unable to find consensus, therefore halting the blockchain and being incapable of recording new transactions.

Applications built on Solana’s blockchain – one of Solana’s core use cases – were taken offline as a result.

Validators were later able to restart the network. Solana’s blockchain is core to its USP as it claims to process 50,000 transactions a second, with an average cost per transaction of $0.00025. This is much faster than Ethereum which can process around 13 transactions per second at a cost oftentimes above $30.

Many Ethereum holders diversified into Solana last year, largely as it became dubbed the ‘Ethereum killer’ for its fast and low-cost blockchain with the smart contract and dApp functionality.

However, Solana also became locked up for several hours only on May 1 – unsurprisingly during this last outage, Solana has fallen in price while rival Cardano has jumped to 6th place in the crypto market cap rankings.

Three cryptocurrencies to buy on the BNB Chain

Earlier this year Binance merged its former Beacon Chain and Binance Smart Chain into one BNB Chain.

The native token BNB has remained as the 5th largest cryptocurrency by market cap all year and Binance has remained the largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume. All of this makes BNB and the Binance ecosystem one of the strongest competitors to Ethereum. The security of the BUSD stablecoin in the wake of the Terra Luna collapse (BUSD is the only stablecoin backed by US banks and with regular public audits) also points toward Binance as a safer haven for crypto investments than Solana currently.

Here are three cryptos to buy in 2023 in the Binance ecosystem.

EverGrow Coin

EverGrow Coin launched in September last year and has quickly become the top reflection token in the Binance ecosystem.

The project has paid more than $37 million in BUSD to investors since launch, while also burning close to 53% of its supply according to BSC scan. These utilities are financed by the 14% EverGrow Coin transaction tax with 8% distributed as BUSD and 2% kept back for buyback and burn.

EverGrow Coin will drop an NFT marketplace on the BNB chain in the next few works, while also building EverGrow Coin, BUSD, and BNB into its new content subscription platform Crator. Each of these applications is designed to draw newcomers to crypto and make use of the secure and fast-growing Binance ecosystem.

BNB

The native BNB token is currently trading at a price of $303. This is far below the all-time high of $690 reached in November last year, and below the price of $400 at the beginning of May.

BNB has strong potential as both driving the Binance ecosystem and granting lower trading fees to users who hold BNB. The roadmap for BNB also will see 50% of its initial supply burned via monthly coin burns.

While Ethereum aims to switch to a new proof of stake consensus mechanism, and Solana is in disarray, BNB could also soon rise in the NFT market as a low-cost alternative.

PancakeSwap

PancakeSwap is the leading automated market maker (AMM) and decentralised crypto exchange (DEX) on the BNB Chain. It allows users to exchange tokens, while providing liquidity via farming and earning fees in return.

The native token CAKE is the 66th largest crypto token by market cap, with a total valuation of $714 million. CAKE is currently trading at $4.30. The CAKE token can also be earned as a reward for staking and otherwise participating in the PancakeSwap ecosystem.

With the growth of the wider BNB Chain, Pancake Swap is likely to be brought along as one of its leading decentralised exchanges.

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