It's A Long Overdue Tech Tuesday

It's Tuesday, and I have not one, but two tech items to cover today, therefore it must be Tech Tuesday!

First, let's delve into photography.

Have you ever taken a picture and you think it's going to be a good one only to find out that it isn't focused on what you thought it was? Then maybe it's time to use a camera that can focus the image after it's been taken.

...a startup company named Lytro (Mountain View, CA) is launching a new digital camera technology later this year that could change this reality forever: a camera that lets you adjust the focus after you’ve taken the picture.

Lytro founder and CEO Ren Ng is also the inventor of what he calls the Light-Field Camera. Ng’s 2006 PhD thesis dissertation from Stanford University—which won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) 2007 Doctoral Dissertation Award—explains how a microlens transforms an ordinary 2D imaging sensor into a 3D world of “living” digital data.1 The user can view a light-field image on a computer screen, click on an object of interest, and watch the image change as that object moves into sharp focus—all without compromising image quality by reducing the aperture size to increase depth of field.

Here's an example of what one might see with this technology. Both images are from the same picture. The only difference is the computer used to view the images changed the focus from the cat in front to the cat in back with a click of a mouse (no pun intended).

If this technology plays out, fuzzy out-of-focus pictures will be a thing of the past.

Second, we must always remember there can be a dark side to technology as well. In this case, technology that gives an owner all kinds of neat function for controlling their car can also allow hackers to take control of your car's electronic systems...by texting.

Computer hackers can force some cars to unlock their doors and start their engines without a key by sending specially crafted messages to a car's anti-theft system. They can also snoop at where you've been by tapping the car's GPS system.

That is possible because car alarms, GPS systems and other devices are increasingly connected to cellular telephone networks and thus can receive commands through text messaging. That capability allows owners to change settings on devices remotely, but it also gives hackers a way in.

Researchers from iSEC Partners recently demonstrated such an attack on a Subaru Outback equipped with a vulnerable alarm system, which wasn't identified. With a laptop perched on the hood, they sent the Subaru's alarm system commands to unlock the doors and start the engine.

Not good. I would think OnStar equipped vehicles would also be vulnerable to such hacking as well. One must think of the downsides to some of this technology before employing it, otherwise they may find their neato wizbang new toy has gone missing because someone with an iPad or smart phone hijacked your car's electronic systems and made off with your ride.