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Silent Speech Communications: Facebook aims to let people type directly from their brain at 100 wpm speed

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Facebook revealed on Wednesday that it is working on technology to let people type straight from their brains at 100 words per minute.

A team of over 60 scientists, engineers and others at its secretive Building 8 research lab are working in the area Facebook describes as silent speech communications. Another project is directed at allowing people to hear with their skin, for which the company is building the necessary hardware and software.

“So what if you could type directly from your brain?” Regina Dugan, vice president of engineering and Building 8, asked Wednesday at F8, Facebook’s annual two-day developer conference.

For Facebook, the question seems to be far from speculative. “Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech,” Dugan wrote in a Facebook post. The executive has previously headed an advanced technology and projects group at Google and was earlier director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). “It sounds impossible but it is closer than you may realize,” she said.

The concept isn’t exactly new. Researchers at Stanford University, for example, have shown that a brain-to-computer interface can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control, using electrode arrays placed in the brain to record signals from the motor cortex that controls muscle movement.

Facebook’s approach will be focused on developing a non-invasive system that could one day become a speech prosthetic for people with communication disorders or a new means for input to augmented reality, Dugan wrote. She said in her keynote that the planting of electrodes in the brain was not scalable and Facebook was looking instead at non-invasive sensors. Optical imaging techniques hold the most potential for providing the spatial and temporal resolution required for mapping brain signals, she added.

In a bid to placate privacy concerns, Dugan said that the technology was not interested in decoding a person’s random thoughts. The aim is to decode those words that the person decides to share and sends to the speech center of the brain.

“Our brains produce enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second,” wrote Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post. “The problem is that the best way we have to get information out into the world — speech — can only transmit about the same amount of data as a 1980s modem.” The human brain streams 1 terabits per second although speech is transmitted at 40-60 bits per second, said Dugan who described speech as essentially a lossy compression algorithm.

The company’s aim is to develop a system that will let people type straight from their brain about five times faster than they can type on their phone today, which will be eventually turned into wearable technology that can be manufactured at scale. “Even a simple yes/no ‘brain click’ would help make things like augmented reality feel much more natural,” Zuckerberg wrote.

On hearing through the skin, Dugan said that we have two square meters of skin on our body that are filled with sensors, and wired to our brain. Braille took advantage of that by helping people interpret small bumps on a surface as language in the 19th century, but since then techniques have emerged that show the brain’s ability to reconstruct language from components. “Today we demonstrated an artificial cochlea of sorts and the beginnings of a new a ‘haptic vocabulary,’” she wrote on her Facebook page.

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Microsoft ends support for Windows Vista

windows vista desktop

Microsoft’s support for Windows Vista ended yesterday. This is by design: Microsoft provides at least 10 years of support for its operating systems, split into two distinct types. Mainstream Support ended on April 10, 2012, and now Extended Support is ended on April 11, 2017. Windows Vista hit general availability on January 30, 2007. Microsoft thus supported arguably its most hated product for just over its minimum 10 years.

About Windows Vista

The release of Windows Vista came more than five years after the introduction of its predecessor, Windows XP, the longest time span between successive releases of Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It was succeeded by Windows 7, which was released worldwide for retail on 22 October 2009.

Mainstream Support includes free incident support, warranty claims, fixes for non-security as well as security bugs, plus design changes and feature requests. Extended Support consists solely of security updates. In other words, Windows Vista is dead in Microsoft’s eyes.

If you continue to use Vista, your computer will still work but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and malware. Software and hardware manufacturers will be even less likely to make products that work with the operating system, opting to focus on more recent versions of Windows.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows Vista. If you already have it installed, you’ll continue to receive antimalware signature updates for “a limited time” but again, your computer is already compromised regardless of what security suite you use since the operating system is no longer being updated.

In short, you better not be using Windows Vista anymore. You have multiple successors to choose from, including Windows 7 and Windows 8, but Microsoft naturally recommends moving to Windows 10.

 

Be prepared for the demise of Windows 7

Microsoft has also announced that the extended support of the Windows 7 operating system would be terminated in 4 years. Although the mainstream support ended in January 2015, an extension of 5 years, which provides security and technical supports to users was given. Unfortunately, that will also end soon.

 

Windows made it clear that the extension support protects users of Windows 7 OS from malicious attacks, hackers, viruses or any form of internet spyware, that could corrupt their systems. However, when the extension support is terminated, users of Windows 7 risk exposure to harmful malware , which could wreak damage on the OS and sabotage its performance. Therefore, it is advisable that Windows 7 users upgrade their OS before its death  on January 14, 2020.

Window Operating Systems graveyard
Window Operating Systems graveyard

 

If you’re still using Windows Vista — and thankfully less than 1 percent of the world is — it’s really time to move on.

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Wow! I have Secured my Website with HTTPS!

Mukalele.net now secure with HTTPS

Glory to God, my website can now be safely reached at https://www.mukalele.net! I have also added an e-shop on my website where I will be selling some of my products and services. I have already setup the PayPal payment gateway and now everything is set for me to start expecting e-cash to drop on my bank account!

 

Background

It’s long been recognised that all eCommerce web sites should have an SSL certificate; the thing that makes your site secure with HTTPS and gives you the little green or yellow padlock.

However, what few web site owners know is that SSL is advantageous for all web sites. As well as user confidence, search engines and browsers have for some time now favoured web sites with SSL. This is now changing again to the extent of almost making SSL mandatory.

Major web browsers and search engines have now started to effectively penalise web sites for not having encryption. Websites without HTTPS are given negative security indicators and actively labeled “not secure” in the browser address bar.

 

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
In simple terms, SSL establishes a way for a client (your browser) and a server to know that each party is who it says it is. They establish this trust using an SSL (or, more recently, TLS) protocol, a cryptographic key that enables a digital “handshake” between them. The server coughs up a certificate that confirms its identity, and the encrypted data exchange can begin.

 

How can you secure your website with SSL?

That might seem complicated, but it’s not nearly as tricky as it once was. “Several years ago there was a certain cost and effort to go through in order to get a site set up for HTTPS. The good news is that these days the process is really simplified, and in fact many companies are providing free SSL certificates.” Those companies range from CloudFlare, a global CDN which offers “one-click SSL,” and Let’s Encrypt, a project led by the Internet Security Research Group that offers SSL certificates to anyone who owns a domain.

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The importance of forgiving and getting over offences against us

Emotional Mukalele Rogers

If you are carrying around a lot of resentment, anger, or hurt over something that happened in the past, you may find that you are unhappy and unable to find peace. Perhaps the best thing that you can do for your own emotional health is to practice forgiveness, even if the person who wronged you does not appear to feel sorry.

 

Offense is a stumbling block that Satan uses to keep many Christians from experiencing life to the fullest. You probably will not progress in your relationship with God if, every time someone hurts your feelings, you get offended. The word for offense that is used in the New Testament means “the part of the trap on which the bait lies to lure in its victim,” and offense is part of Satan’s trap to keep us from going forward in our walk with God.

Apostle Paul’s Example

The apostle Paul was offended by other brothers in Christ, but in each instance he decided to leave the person with God. For example, there was a man named Alexander, who did Paul a great deal of harm. What’s Paul’s response? The Lord will pay him back (2 Timothy 4:14). In that same passage, Paul writes about how various people have left him: At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. However, he asks God, May it not be held against them (2 Timothy 4:16).

 

Paul may not have had power in his ministry had he been bitter towards others. Decide to forgive others through the power of God’s grace. If you’re offended about something others did to you, ask God, May it not be held against them. Forgiveness is the solution.

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Job Application Tips

Useful Tips

Think of unique experiences that have had an impact on your life and don’t be afraid to talk about your achievements or areas where there is room for improvement.

Companies don’t expect you to know everything about them however they do expect you to know enough to show you are interested in the role. Avoid criticizing previous employers or colleagues, focusing on bad feelings or giving excuses about negative experiences – try to focus on the positives you have taken away from these experiences.

Be poised. A firm handshake, good eye contact, sitting up straight and avoiding nervous habits such as finger tapping and giggling all help to ensure you come across professionally. Stick to the facts. If you’re asked a question and stuck for thoughts, it will become obvious if you don’t tell the truth. If you need to, refer back to your resume or some notes you have prepared.

An interview is an opportunity to confirm whether this is an organization you can see yourself working with. Think about all those questions that you haven’t had answered during your preparation, and come armed with one or two which will allow you to leave the interview in a better position to make an informed career decision.

Remember – most people who are interviewing you have been in your position at some stage recently and understand your nerves. Relax, speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills and let your personality shine.

Drafting your CV      

What to Include:

Objective Statement: While you see objective statements on many sample resumes, they are not required. Objective statements should be clear, precise and succinct. They should make use of specific job titles and specific phrases describing the applicants preferred working environment.

Profile: Many people replace the objective statement with a profile or qualification highlights section that highlights the “soft skills” that do not always make it into resume databases. The profile is a sort of summary of the resume itself, highlighting the applicant’s most impressive skills, abilities and accomplishments.

Education: Name and location of institution, dates of attendance, type of degree, area of study, and special awards. You may include CGPA information if important to the specific position.

Work Experience: Name and location of company, dates of employment, major accomplishments on the job, major responsibilities, name and contact information of direct supervisor, skills acquired. Include paid and volunteer positions (if necessary).

Additional Training or Workshops: if you’ve attended specialized training courses, seminars or workshops, be sure to list these as well (depending upon relevancy).

Skills: Things you can actually do (as opposed to generalized skills – better to let an employer know you have leadership skills from reading your work or training history rather than telling them you have “leadership skills”). For example, software you may know well, systems you may understand, etc.

Referees: You will be required to provide 3 referees one of which should be an academic referee. The other 2 could be a work referee if you have had a chance to gain some work experience, a mentor or someone who knows you well.

Ensure that you get permission from the individuals first before including them as your referees on your CV.

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Details about my book, COMPUTER STUDIES for Uganda – Fourth Edition 2016 by Mukalele Rogers etal

Computer Studies for Uganda cover page.

Book Title:

COMPUTER STUDIES for Uganda – Fourth Edition 2016

Authors:

Mukalele Rogers, Nakayinda Hanifah
Revised by Tumusiime Silbert

 

Description:

‘Computer Studies for Uganda’ is a textbook primarily based on Uganda Secondary School O’ Level Computer Studies Syllabus 840 by NCDC, supplemented with S850 Subsidiary ICT topics so that it caters for that level as well. It covers both Theory and Practical topics for both levels.

In this book, we have arranged all content in an easy to read mode to enable students read ahead, there are a number of activity based exercises, Multiple Choice Questions, essay questions, and practical exercises to enable our students be possessed with enough activity to do. Teachers will find this book very helpful, especially those with big classes in terms of dividing theory and practical lesson time appropriately.

 

The key features of this book include:

• A writing style, language level and page design that are truly accessible for all students.
• An Activity—centered approach to learning that helps students apply theory to real life situations and reinforces knowledge and that facilitates flexibility in teaching and learning.
• A list of computer studies acronyms at the beginning of the book.
• A Glossary of ICT Terminologies at the end of the book.
• An Index feature, referencing key jargons, designed to help students to easily find and understand ICT Terminology.
• Multiple Choice (Objective Questions) and Answers to provide exam practice and help students assess their progress.

• Examination-type questions at the end of every chapter to guide the learners during revision and preparation for Theory and Practical (840/1 and 840/2) continuous and summative assessment.

• The materials are arranged systematically (Unit by Unit according to the NCDC syllabus) and offer some new insights into teaching and learning Computer Studies.
• Any learner who is stranded for want of a teacher can still learn the necessary skills. This book is therefore designed to prepare learners to excel.

 

About the Authors

THE AUTHORS of this book are experienced teachers of Computer Studies, who have dealt with students during hands-on class room and practical laboratory sessions for many years. They have therefore designed this book to specifically address the challenges that hinder teaching and learning computer studies.

 

ISBN: 9789970916504

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Mukalele’s First Radio Talk Show

I was privileged to be a talk show guest on KFM today during the VPN LIVE 9-11am program.

 

The subject of the discussion as quoted from the KFM Facebook timeline was:

With this increasing unemployment especially amongst the youth, what should students know about life after campus, how can one start up his/her own business & what does it take to keep it running? Ben Mwine is joined by Guests: Sarah Namboozo [overall best student -Makerere University], Rogers Mukalele [second best student] , Amis Mugarura [third best], Hannington Ssemwanga [founded Ssonko metal crafts after looking for jobs to no avail] and Jones Kitagaana [Self employed]. Your questions and views will be read-on-air.

It was a great experience, which helped me share inspirational stories and also get new connections!

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2017 Korean Government Scholarship Program for Masters and PHDs

Korea University Students

Applications are being received for  undertaking graduate programs (Masters and PHDs) in Korean Universities on full NIIED scholarship.

Scholarship Purpose

• To provide international students with an opportunity to conduct advanced studies at higher educational institutions in Korea
• To develop global leaders and strengthen Korea friendly networks worldwide.

Scholarship Period

Master’s course 1 year of Korean language + 2 years of Master’s course requirements
Doctoral course 1 year of Korean language + 3 years of Doctoral course requirements

Qualifications

• The applicant and his/her parents must hold foreign citizenships. i.e Applicants who hold Korean citizenship are not permitted to apply for this program.
• Applicants must be under 40 years of age as of Sep. 1st, 2017 (born after Sep. 1st, 1977).
• Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as of September 1st of the selection year.
* Applicants who have graduated from a university in Korea are not eligible for the KGSP.
Specifically, applicants who have graduated from an undergraduate program, a master’s
program, or a doctoral program in Korea cannot apply for this program.
• Applicants must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.64 on a 4.0 scale, 2.80 on a 4.3
scale, 2.91 on a 4.5 scale, or grades/marks/score of 80% or higher from the previously attended
institution. If the applicant does not satisfy the above GPA requirements, he/she will be ineligible
to apply to this program.

Scholarship

Airfare Round-trip economy class ticket
Monthly Allowance 900,000 KRW (about UGX 2.6 million) per month
Research Allowance Per Semester 210,000 KRW for scholars in the field of humanities and social sciences;
240,000 KRW for scholars in natural sciences and engineering
Relocation (Settlement) Allowance 200,000 KRW upon arrival
Language Training Fee Full coverage
Tuitions All admission fees are waived by the host institution (university).
The tuition will be provided for by NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION (NIIED).
Dissertation Printing Costs 500,000 ~ 800,000 KRW , depending on actual costs.
Medical Insurance 20,000 KRW per month will be provided (limited coverage).

Detailed Documents

Download the documents below for details pertaining the application procedures.

  1.    1-2017 KGSP Application Forms.docx
  2.    1-2017 KGSP Application Guidelines(K-en).pdf
  3.    1-2017 Guide for KGSP at KNU (En).pdf
  4.   1-2017 Guide for KGSP at KNU(brochure).pdf
  5.   2017 KGSP Application FAQs(EN-KO).pdf
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3 Ds for Academic Excellence

Mukalele Rogers Chairing an academic discussion at Makerere University Jinja Campus, 2016

3 Ds for Academic Excellence

By Mukalele Rogers

During the 67th Graduation Ceremony at Makerere I graduated from Makerere University with an outstanding CGPA of 4.91 in Bachelor of Information Technology – emerging as the best science student of the 67th congregation. I would like to share the factors which have led to my outstanding Excellence.

In my opinion, the factors to Excellence in academics can be defined in three Dimensions ‘3D’. In this case, 3D stands for Determination, Discussions and Divine Blessing.

Determination

From the first semester, I started the course with a strong determination to excel. My target was to get above 90% in every test or exam. To achieve this, I had to actively attend all lectures without fail, ask and answer questions in class – there by cultivating a positive impression with the lecturers. I kept focused by reading ahead to ensure I can answer questions in class.  I had to go an extra mile and sacrifice time and money in order to ensure all assignments are done in time right. I desisted from copying other students work or hiring others to do work for me. I believed in myself that I could do it – including writing code for all my programming projects. This Do-It-Yourself attitude even during group work helped me to gain practical skills which many students usually miss out due to negligence. Determination is the key.

 

Discussions

I realized that reading alone without discussing what you read with classmates does no good. I therefore took it upon myself to teach others what I have read, and this helped me to master the concepts better. During discussions, different views are brought forward and new ways of solving challenges are discovered. I chose the company of focused students who gave their academics priority over other things, and avoided things like betting, unhealthy relationships, movies and businesses which could have limited the time I allocated to academic programs like discussions. Many of the students who could dodge discussions ended up getting lower grades but all group mates who were consistent realized improved results in the end.

 

Divine Blessings

I couldn’t have succeeded without God’s blessing /Approval.  There are many other factors which were beyond my control as a human, which I had to entrust with God. There is a semester I almost missed doing the final exams because I had failed to clear tuition. I prayed and God used a number of people to bless me, even during those times I was almost giving up at campus. Usually at campus, many students go astray by involving themselves into ungodly behavior such as alcoholism, drug abuse, promiscuity and theft, which puts their life in danger. We started as a big class but a number of students dropped out due to one reason or another. I didn’t reach this far on my own strength, but by God’s will. As it is written in the Holy Bible, If the LORD had not been on our side, …the enemies would have overpowered us. (Psalm 124:2).

To all students seeking to excel, Work hard, Keep in good company and Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).