Tech News : Musk’s Brain Chips Ready For Humans

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface device company has been given the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a clinical study with humans as subjects.

What Is Neuralink? 

Neuralink is a neurotechnology company co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016. The company aims to develop high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) with the goal of merging the human brain with artificial intelligence (AI) and thereby advance human capabilities.

The primary objective of Neuralink is to create a safe and effective means of connecting the human brain to computers or other external devices, e.g. enabling people who can’t use their hands to use their mobile-phone or other devices simply by thinking about it.

Device Implanted 

This involves developing a device described as a “a general-purpose, high-bandwidth interface to the brain” with tiny, flexible electrode threads that can be implanted into the brain to establish a high-resolution interface with neural circuits. These threads are thinner than a human hair and can potentially record and stimulate electrical activity in the brain.

Previous Test – Pigs 

Back in August 2020 there was news that neuralink was being tested in an experiment involving three pigs. One pig named Gertrude had the device implanted while another pig had previously been implanted with the device but had the device removed.  This pig was present to illustrate that the device could be removed safely and that this may be necessary as the hardware is updated over time and better versions become available.  The third pig had no implant fitted.

The demonstration showed how the neural activity of Gertrude the pig could be sent wirelessly to a screen, and a series of bleeps sounded when the pig touched anything with her snout. This indicated that the device could read brain activity related to the search for food.


At the time of the pig experiment, Neuralink received a Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration although some commentators have noted the potential dystopian possibilities of implants that could potentially be used for control, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reacted very angrily to Mr Musk’s use of pigs. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement saying, “PETA challenges Elon Musk to behave like a pioneer and implant the Neuralink chip in his own brain.” 

In December 2022, Mr Musk was reported as saying that he’d be happy for a Neuralink to be implanted into the brain of one of his own children!


Also in 2022, it was reported that Neuralink had killed about 1,500 animals in its experiments which prompted the USDA’s inspector general to begin investigation for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Now Ready For Human Test – FDA Approval 

In the latest Neuralink progress announcement, Elon Musk has said that Neuralink  has been given the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (following a previous rejection last year) to begin an in-human clinical study, something that’s been promised four times since 2019. In a statement on Twitter, Neuralink announced: “We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study! This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people. Recruitment is not yet open for our clinical trial. We’ll announce more information on this soon!”

Issues To Address First 

The FDA’s approval was, however, accompanied by the need to address issues beforehand such as issues around the lithium battery of the device, whether the implant’s wires could migrate within the brain, and how the device could be removed safely without damaging the brain.

What Are The Goals? 

The Neuralink project aims to achieve various goals, such as:

– Medical Applications. Neuralink’s technology could potentially help individuals with neurological disorders, spinal cord injuries, or other conditions by providing a direct interface to their brain, bypassing damaged or nonfunctional parts of the nervous system. It could enable communication between the brain and external devices, offering new possibilities for treatment and rehabilitation. For example, the neuralink device could be used help deal with serious conditions such as Parkinson’s by helping sufferers to control their movement instead of relying on strong medication. It is also envisioned that it could help with conditions like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

– Brain-Computer Interface. Neuralink seeks to develop a means for individuals to control computers or other devices using their thoughts. This could have transformative implications for individuals with motor impairments or disabilities, allowing them to interact with technology more seamlessly, e.g. web browsing. More far-fetched suggested applications of Neuralink include enabling a kind of telepathy.

– Augmented Human Capabilities. Neuralink envisions a future where humans can augment their cognitive abilities by directly integrating with AI systems. This could potentially enhance memory, learning, or problem-solving capabilities, leading to improved overall cognitive performance.

– Advancing AI. Neuralink aims to facilitate a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI. By connecting the human brain to AI systems, it is hoped that humans can leverage AI’s computational power and analytical capabilities while providing the AI with direct access to the human brain’s vast capabilities, such as intuition, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

Possibilities Highlighted By European Experiment

The possible benefits of devices like Neuralink were highlighted recently when a digital bridge as a brain–spine interface device, developed by Neuroscientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, allowed a previously paralysed man to stand, walk and even climb stairs.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The idea of Neuralink as a way to help with medical conditions is a positive and promising one offering hope to many people with the chance to achieve transformations that haven’t been possible before. Also, such devices could open up many other opportunities and whole new areas for development for companies and developers hoping to use the interface to link with a variety of products and services in a unique way.

The FDA approval is really just the next (albeit important) step in what is likely to be a long process in order to address the issues highlighted by the FDA but, although a dystopian idea to some, as demonstrated in a similar experiment in Switzerland, it has the potential to achieve incredibly positive results. There are also, however, many medical, legal, research and ethical challenges (the death of thousands of animals and potentially a human subject) to overcome before devices like this are used beyond research projects and further announcements will prove interesting.

Tech News : 11% Of Female Gamers Left Suicidal By Online Abuse

New Sky Broadband research has revealed that the level of abuse suffered by female online gamers from male gamers has been so strong that over one-in-ten (11 per cent) have been left feeling suicidal.

Shocking Levels of Harassment and Abuse 

The level of harassment and abuse revealed by the statistics in the study is shocking. For example, some of the main findings include:

– Almost half of UK women gamers have suffered abuse online, with 80 per cent of messages sexual in nature, leaving just over half (52 per cent) feeling worried about abuse when playing video games online.

– Over a third (35 per cent) of women gamers said they have received violent messages in the past and 31 per cent have ben been driven to lie about their gender to remain anonymous during online gameplay.

– Over a third (40 per cent) have said they felt personally threatened by the abuse they’ve experienced online, with 27 per cent feeling worried about being attacked in real life following threats made on gaming platforms.

Depression And Suicidal Thoughts 

As if these statistics aren’t shocking enough, the statistics that have hit the headlines about Sky Broadband’s research have been those associated with depression and suicide. For example, the research revealed that 25 per cent of women surveyed said they felt depressed over the online abuse with 11 per cent even saying they’d been left feeling suicidal. Also, 25 per cent said they wouldn’t tell anyone about negative comments they had received, meaning that family, loved ones, and friends would be unaware of how low they were feeling or the reasons for them feeling low, leading to longer secret suffering and a more dangerous situation for those affected.


The Sky Broadband research involved creating a new immersive experience in partnership with Guild Esports at the Sky Guild Gaming Centre in Shoreditch and this was able to shine a light on the behaviour of male gamers towards female gamers during gaming which, while it didn’t fully explain why, did illustrate elements of the problem and how it seems to play out.

Sky reports the high-level gaming simulator in their research started as a neutral experience but changed as male players as were slowly given increasingly aggressive messages while they tried to game. This led male gamers posting messages to female gamers such as “Stop playing a man’s game little girl” and “Someone kill this wh*re,” highlighting some of the “terrifying level of harassment” that women gamers face daily.


The issue of women online gamers receiving high levels of abuse and harassment from male gamers is a complex and multifaceted problem. While it is important to note that not all male gamers engage in such behaviour, there are several factors that may contribute to this. For example:

– Stereotypes and gender norms. Traditional gender roles and stereotypes can influence the behaviour and attitudes of some male gamers. There is a prevailing stereotype that gaming is a male-dominated hobby, and when women challenge this norm, they may face backlash and hostility.

– Anonymity and online disinhibition. The anonymity provided by online gaming platforms can contribute to a sense of detachment and disinhibition. Some individuals may feel emboldened to engage in abusive or harassing behaviour because they believe they can avoid consequences or repercussions.

– Misogyny and sexism. Deep-seated sexism and misogyny can manifest in online gaming environments. Women may be subjected to derogatory language, objectification, and offensive comments simply because of their gender. This behaviour reflects broader societal issues surrounding gender inequality.

– Competition and threat to identity. In highly competitive gaming environments, some male gamers may view women as a threat to their status or identity. This perception can lead to resentment and aggression, as some individuals may feel a need to assert their dominance or protect their perceived gaming ‘territory’.

– A lack of diversity and representation. The underrepresentation of women in the gaming industry and gaming culture exacerbates the issue. When women are seen as outsiders or intruders in a predominantly male space, they may face increased hostility and resistance.

– Poor moderation and enforcement. Something not particularly highlighted by Sky’s research was the subject of inadequate moderation and enforcement of rules and codes of conduct in gaming communities can contribute to an environment where harassment and abuse go unchecked. When perpetrators face little to no consequences for their actions, it perpetuates a culture of impunity.


Speaking about the research, Amber Pine, Managing Director, Broadband and Connectivity, Sky Broadband, said: “The results of this research are shocking and should alarm the gaming community. It is completely unacceptable for this type of sexist abuse to be so prevalent. We are determined to improve the experience for women in gaming. We’re calling on players to become allies, and stand with us to make clear there is no room for abuse in gaming”. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The findings of the Sky Broadband research highlight the alarming levels of abuse and harassment that women online gamers face, with significant impacts on their mental health and well-being. This issue should serve as a wake-up call for online gaming companies and other businesses operating in digital platforms. Addressing this problem requires a collective effort and a commitment to creating inclusive and safe environments for all users. Here are some key takeaways and actions that online gaming companies and other platforms can consider:

– Acknowledge and condemn the problem. It is crucial for businesses to publicly acknowledge the issue of abuse and harassment faced by women gamers. Taking a firm stance against such behaviour sends a message that it will not be tolerated within the community.

– Develop and enforce clear policies. Online gaming companies should establish robust policies and codes of conduct that explicitly prohibit harassment, abuse, and discriminatory behaviour. These policies should be communicated to all users and enforced consistently.

– Improve reporting and moderation systems. Implement effective reporting mechanisms that allow users to easily report abusive behaviour. Companies should prioritise the review and actioning of reports promptly, ensuring that perpetrators face appropriate consequences.

– Foster inclusive communities. Promote diversity and representation within gaming spaces by actively encouraging and supporting the participation of women gamers. Companies can organise events, sponsor female gamers, and create safe spaces where women can connect, collaborate, and thrive.

– Educate and raise awareness. Develop educational initiatives to raise awareness about the impacts of harassment and abuse in online gaming. Encourage empathy, respect, and responsible behaviour among the gaming community through campaigns, workshops, and online resources.

– Collaborate with industry partners. Online gaming companies can work together with industry associations, esports organisations, and other stakeholders to address the issue collectively. Sharing best practices, collaborating on initiatives, and pooling resources can have a greater impact on combating abuse and fostering positive gaming experiences.

By taking these steps, online gaming companies and other digital platforms can contribute to creating a more inclusive and respectful online environment. It is essential to prioritise the well-being and safety of all users, ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender, can enjoy gaming without fear of abuse or harassment.

Sky (Broadband), whose research it was, is trying to play its part to improve the situation by encouraging gamers to stand with women in gaming through sharing awareness on their pages with the tag #NoRoomForAbuse. For example, those experiencing abuse can visit to download helpful information about staying safe online. Also, Sky has partnered with Cybersmile to interactive educational modules to raise awareness of sexist abuse in gaming, promoting personal safety and empowering gamers to be better informed.

Featured Article : New Reports Reveal Two Key Cyber Security Insights

With phishing attacks being favoured for their effectiveness by attackers and most ransomware attacks now targeting backup storage, we look at what businesses can do to protect themselves.

Spear Phishing Accounted For Two-Thirds Of All Attacks Last Year 

A recent report from security provider Barracuda has revealed that although spear phishing attacks make up just 0.1 per cent of all email-based attacks in 2023, they were responsible for two-thirds of all breaches. The report showed that a massive 50 per cent of the 1,350 organisations surveyed had fallen victim to a spear-phishing attack in 2022, a quarter had had at least one email account compromised via an account takeover. The report also showed that of those who fell victim to a successful spear phishing attack, 55 per cent had machines infected with malware or viruses, and 49 per cent and 48 per cent respectively had sensitive data or login details stolen.

What Is Spear Phishing? 

Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing that aims to deceive individuals or organisations by sending bogus, fraudulent emails or messages. While traditional phishing attempts are more generic and widespread, spear phishing campaigns are highly tailored and personalised to trick specific targets, such as employees of a particular company or members of an organisation.

Targets Are Researched 

The attackers behind spear phishing typically research their targets extensively to gather information that will make their messages appear legitimate and increase the chances of success. They may gather details from social media profiles, online directories, or leaked data from previous breaches. This information is then used to create highly convincing email messages that appear to be from a trusted source, such as a colleague, a client, or a supervisor.

Personalised Content To Make Them More Convincing 

Spear phishing emails often contain personalised content, such as the recipient’s name, job title, or other relevant details, which makes them appear more authentic. They may also exploit psychological manipulation techniques to evoke a sense of urgency, curiosity, or fear to compel the target to click on a malicious link or download a malicious attachment. Once the recipient interacts with the malicious content, the attacker may gain unauthorised access to sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, or proprietary information.

The Consequences 

Spear phishing attacks can have severe consequences for individuals and organisations, including data breaches, financial loss, reputational damage, and further exploitation of compromised accounts.

How To Protect Your Business From Spear Phishing 

To protect against spear phishing, it is important to exercise caution when opening emails, verify the legitimacy of unexpected or suspicious requests, and regularly educate and train employees on identifying and reporting phishing attempts. Also, account takeover protection solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities can be effective.

It is difficult, however, to stop attackers from gathering the information about a business and specific personnel within that business to help them target their attacks. For example, some information may have been gathered from information stolen in previous cyberattacks or data breaches and may have been gathered from social media. Businesses should, where possible, be careful about how much information is shared online about the business and staff members, e.g., ‘meet the team’ or ‘about us’ pages, as this could also be used by attackers.

A Launching Point For More Advanced Attacks 

Spear Phishing is widely recognised as one of the most successful and commonly used techniques in cybercriminal campaigns and is favoured by attackers because it capitalises on human vulnerabilities/human error, exploits the trust placed in familiar or authoritative sources, and can be easier than trying hack complicated and well-defended systems – cyber criminals always look for the maximum payoff from minimum effort and risk.

By carefully crafting personalised messages, attackers can significantly increase the chances of success in compromising targets compared to generic phishing attempts. The level of sophistication and customisation in spear phishing attacks makes them harder to detect and raises the probability of successful infiltration.

Moreover, spear phishing serves as a launching point for more advanced attacks, such as targeted malware infections, social engineering exploits, or business email compromise (BEC) schemes. Once an attacker gains a foothold through spear phishing, they can proceed with their malicious activities, including data exfiltration, network infiltration, or financial fraud.

Reasons For The New Figures 

The reasons why spear phishing makes up only 0.1 per cent of all email-based attacks but are responsible for two-thirds of all breaches (i.e they have disproportionately higher success rate compared to other types of email-based attacks) are, therefore, that:

– Spear-phishing attacks are highly targeted and tailored to specific individuals or organisations, and this customisation makes the attacks more convincing, increases the likelihood of victims falling for them and, therefore, increases their effectiveness.

– These attacks take advantage of human psychology and behavioural traits, such as trust, curiosity, and urgency and, by leveraging these vulnerabilities, attackers can trick individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise security.

– Spear Phishing bypasses technical security measures, e.g. firewalls, antivirus software, and spam filters, enabling attackers to circumvent traditional security controls and directly target individuals.

– While spear-phishing attacks may target a specific individual initially, their success can lead to broader repercussions. For example, compromising one employee’s credentials through a spear-phishing attack could provide the attacker with access to sensitive systems or information, potentially leading to a significant breach affecting an entire organisation.

Most Ransomware Attacks Target Backups 

The 2023 Ransomware Trends Report from software company Veeam has revealed that 93 per cent of cyber-attacks target backup storage to force the ransom payment because it removes the option of recovery. The report found that these attacks are successful in debilitating their victims’ ability to recover in three-quarters of events and that more than one-third (39 per cent) of backup repositories are completely lost in these backup-targeted attacks.


As the name suggests, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to encrypt files on a victim’s computer or network, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker (usually to a crypto account like bitcoin to avoid detection). It is a form of cyber extortion that aims to extort money from individuals, businesses, or organisations by holding their valuable data hostage.

Paying The Ransom? 

It is widely known that paying the ransom often doesn’t work and even if the ransom is paid, data can still be destroyed and/or, the attackers don’t provide the decryption key and simply make off with the money.

That said, according to the Veeam report, for the second year in a row, most of the organisations surveyed (80 per cent) said they had paid the ransom to end an attack and recover data, despite 41 per cent of organisations actually having a “Do-Not-Pay” policy on ransomware. Still, while 59 per cent paid the ransom and were able to recover data, 21 per cent paid the ransom yet still didn’t get their data back from the cyber criminals. Additionally, only 16 per cent of organisations avoided paying ransom because they were able to recover from backups. Sadly, the global statistic of organisations able to recover data themselves without paying ransom is down from 19 per cent in last year’s survey.

Protecting Your Business Against Ransomware Attacks

Typically, preventing ransomware attacks involves a combination of proactive measures such as regularly updating software and systems, implementing robust security practices, training employees on recognising and avoiding suspicious emails or websites, maintaining secure backups of important data, and deploying reliable antivirus and anti-malware solutions.

Veeam notes in its comments about the report’s findings that while best practices like securing backup credentials, automating cyber detection scans of backups, and auto verifying that backups are restorable can help protect against attacks, “the key tactic is to ensure that the backup repositories cannot be deleted or corrupted. To do so, organisations must focus on immutability.”  


Veeam reports that those who have fallen victim to ransomware have learned lessons and 82 per cent use immutable clouds, i.e. a cloud computing environment where the data stored within the cloud infrastructure is maintained in an immutable or unchangeable state. Also, 64 per cent now use immutable disks, and only 2 per cent of organisations don’t have immutability in at least one tier of their backup solution.

Being Careful About Re-Infection During Recovery 

In Veeam’s study, respondents were asked how they ensure that data is ‘clean’ during restoration. 44 per cent of respondents said they complete some form of “isolated-staging” to re-scan data from backup repositories prior to reintroduction into the production environment. Whilst this is positive news, the flip side of this statistic is that more than half (56 per cent) organisations risk re-infecting the production environment by not having a means to ensure clean data during recovery. The point is, therefore, that it’s important to thoroughly scan data during the recovery process.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The obvious effectiveness of spear phishing attacks and the fact that most ransomware attacks are now targeting backups presents significant challenges for businesses, requiring proactive measures to protect themselves.

As highlighted by Barracuda’ report, spear phishing attacks have proven to be highly successful, accounting for two-thirds of all breaches despite constituting a small percentage of email-based attacks. The targeted and personalised nature of spear phishing makes it difficult to detect, as attackers extensively research their targets to create convincing messages. To protect against spear phishing, businesses should, therefore, exercise caution when opening emails, verify the legitimacy of requests, and provide regular training to employees on identifying and reporting phishing attempts. Account takeover protection solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities can also be effective.

As highlighted by Veeam’s report, ransomware attacks, on the other hand, have increasingly targeted backup storage, rendering organisations unable to recover their data even if they pay the ransom. While some organisations have paid the ransom and recovered their data, many have not been as fortunate. For businesses, the key to protecting against ransomware attacks lies in proactive measures such as regularly updating software, implementing robust security practices, training employees, maintaining secure backups, and deploying reliable antivirus and anti-malware solutions. Additionally, businesses should focus on immutability, ensuring that backup repositories cannot be deleted or corrupted.

To combat the risks associated with spear phishing and ransomware attacks, businesses should favour a multi-layered approach to security. This includes investing in employee education and training, implementing strong technical security measures, and regularly evaluating and updating security protocols. Businesses can also help protect themselves by staying informed about emerging threats and best practices in cybersecurity to enable them to adapt their defences accordingly.

Tech Insight: Viewing Deleted WhatsApp Messages

In this Insight, we look at how it is possible to uncover and read deleted messages on WhatsApp, and what a number of privacy features on the app mean for business users.


WhatsApp have made changes as regards message deletion that focus on giving users more control, such as:

– Delete messages for everyone. This allows users to delete messages they’ve sent to an individual or group chat. This can be helpful if a user has sent a message to the wrong chat or the message containing a mistake, and for group admins who need to remove problematic messages in a chat. To use the feature:

– Open WhatsApp, go to the chat with the message to be deleted and click ‘Menu,’ click ‘Delete message > DELETE FOR EVERYONE > DELETE FOR EVERYONE > OK’

– Delete messages for yourself. With this feature, users can delete their copy of messages they’ve sent or received from their phone. This has no impact on the recipients’ chats, recipients will still see the messages in their chat screen and, after clicking on delete, users have 5 seconds to undo the action by clicking Undo (before the message is permanently deleted). To use this feature:

– Open WhatsApp, go to the chat with the message to be deleted and click ‘Menu’ within the chat message. Click Delete message > DELETE FOR ME.

– Chat Lock is designed to protect users’ “most intimate conversations“ behind one more layer of security. Locking a chat takes the thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with the user’s device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also hides the contents of that chat in notifications.

– Most recently, the ability to edit a message within 15 minutes of sending, e.g. if they contain a mistake, if the sender has second thoughts, or if they’ve been sent to the wrong person. To edit messages, users can long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after. Edited messages will display ‘edited’ alongside them.

How To Read Deleted Messages 

There are, however, ways for users to uncover and read deleted messages in WhatsApp. For example iOS users can delete and re-download the WhatsApp app. After ensuring messages are backed up on iCloud:

– Delete WhatsApp from the phone, redownload the app from the App Store, and sign back into the account.

– A message will appear asking if you want previously backed up messages to be restored. If you select this option, all messages will be restored, including deleted ones.

For Android (11 and above) users, senders can view deleted messages by using the Notification History feature. This involves clicking on smartphone ‘settings,’ ‘apps and notifications,’ and selecting ‘use notification history.‘ This displays all notifications received by the device, including messages sent to the user via WhatsApp which were later deleted by the sender.

Android users can also try restoring WhatsApp messages through a database. This can be done by opening a file browser, going to the WhatsApp folder, clicking on ‘database,’ holding down the ‘msgstore.db.crypt12’ file and hitting ‘edit name’. From here, it’s a case of changing the name to ‘msgstore backup.db.crypt12’ (so it’s not overwritten), going to Google drive and tapping on the three lines (top right), clicking on ‘backups’ and erasing the WhatsApp backup. Finally, users can delete the WhatsApp app and install it again whereupon they will be prompted to recover WhatsApp through a local backup and can choose ‘msgstore.db.crypt12’, and click ‘Restore’ to restore all messages, including those deleted by the sender.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

WhatsApp is known to be a secure end-to-end encrypted app anyway, which is widely used by business (2 billion+ people use it) because it’s free, effective, instant, secure, and convenient. Security concerns could include the fact that it’s Meta-owned, it has shown malware vulnerabilities (patched last year) and, like other digital messaging services and email, is also vulnerable to phishing scams. That said, most business users trust it and are now invested in using it widely, and WhatsApp has introduced other features to keep business users on-board, e.g. multipole devices using one account.

However, governments (including the UK Government) have for many years been wanting ‘backdoors’ and some kind of access to WhatsApp that would essentially destroy end-to-end encryption and create wider privacy and security risks. Now, with increased competition from other encrypted apps like Telegram and Signal, and also with pressure now mounting as legislation is introduced to try and force a way in for governments (e.g., aspects of the Online Safety Bill, which prompted WhatsApp to threaten to bar UK users), it’s perhaps no surprise to see WhatsApp giving users more ways to personally manage the privacy and security of their messages. Some aspects, such as Chat Lock have even led critics to say that WhatsApp’s becoming a platform for ‘relationship cheaters’. It seems however, that there are still ways around certain aspects of privacy, and the above insight shows that it is possible for users to view deleted messages without too much difficulty.

Tech Trivia : Did You Know? This Week in History …

For a Few Bits More

On June 8th, 1978, a technological milestone was born, significantly shaping the future of computing because this was the day that marked the introduction of the Intel 8086, Intel’s inaugural 16-bit microprocessor.

In the world of computing and microprocessors, the term “bit” signifies the basic units of data a processor can process simultaneously. Transitioning from 8-bit to 16-bit didn’t just signify a capacity increase; it represented an astronomical leap in intricacy and performance. This increase in bit-capacity enabled the processor to manage larger numbers, increased memory, and execute faster computations. 8 Bit processors were dominant for around a decade in the 70’s. By comparison, modern computers are typically running 32 or 64 bit processors. Incredibly, a 16 bit processor was first introduced by MIT as early as 1951 however this used vacuum tubes!

Intel, the mastermind behind this ground-breaking technology, wasn’t alone in the competition. It faced significant challenges from emerging tech-titans, like Texas Instruments, Motorola and Zilog. Texas Instruments launched their 26 bit version 2 years earlier.

Intriguingly, it was software, rather than hardware, that provided Intel with a competitive edge. Morse and his team engineered the 8086 with backward compatibility, implying it could operate software developed for the preceding 8-bit processors. This ingenious strategy not only conserved developers’ precious time but also opened a galaxy of opportunities.

Initially, the commercial world overlooked the monumental significance of this invention. However, the processor soon silenced its doubters. The 8086 laid the foundations for the x86 architecture, which continues to be the backbone of a multitude of today’s computers, from the unpretentious personal computer to powerful servers powering the internet, the legacy of the 8086 is ever-present.

In the rapidly progressing tech ecosystem, chances for development and innovation frequently stem from collaboration and strategic alliances. To reiterate, a key step in Morse’s breakthrough was built upon the understanding of existing 8-bit software so that the 16-bit processor could be backwardly compatible. In light of this, an you think of how you can make your products/services more compatible with other providers’ offerings?

Sustainability : Artificial Leaf Makes Petrol Alternative

University of Cambridge researchers have developed an ‘artificial leaf’ that uses sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into ethanol and propanol that could be used as a low-emissions petrol alternative to power car engines.

Inspired By Photosynthesis 

The ‘leaf,’ made from thin-film metal oxides and materials known as perovskites and including multiple layers including copper, glass, silver, and graphite, was made as part of University of Cambridge researchers’ experiments designed to produce ultra-thin, flexible devices, which take their inspiration from photosynthesis.


Although renewable technologies (e.g. wind and solar) have become cheaper and more available in recent years, other industries such as global shipping using fossil fuel powered vessels have not made much progress in decarbonisation. For, example, global shipping produces three per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions. The Cambridge researcher group, led by Professor Erwin Reisner has therefore been working to tackle this challenge by developing sustainable solutions to petrol which are based on the principles of photosynthesis.

Floating Artificial Leaves 

The idea with the leaf design was to create a low-cost, autonomous device that’s light enough to float on water and which could be used to generate a sustainable alternative to petrol without taking up space on land.

The thin leaf is coated onto flexible plastic and metal foils and covered with micrometre thin, water-repellent carbon-based layers that prevent moisture degradation.


Tests of the artificial leaves have taken place in Cambridge on the River Cam, near the iconic the Bridge of Sighs, the Wren Library and King’s College Chapel. The latest leaf design, which can split water into hydrogen and oxygen (or reduce CO2 to syngas) has been shown to convert sunlight into fuels as efficiently as plant leaves.

Like Solar Farms But For Fuel Synthesis 

Cambridge researchers Dr Virgil Andrei says: “Solar farms have become popular for electricity production; we envision similar farms for fuel synthesis,” and “these could supply coastal settlements, remote islands, cover industrial ponds, or avoid water evaporation from irrigation canals.”

Professor Reisner also highlighted another beneficial aspect of the leaf design saying, “In theory, you could roll up these devices and put them almost anywhere, in almost any country, which would also help with energy security.” 

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation? 

The floating fuel synthesis leaf design is an early step towards the automation and up-scaling of solar fuel production and could help industries that have struggled to decarbonise (such as global shipping) to find a simple way to do so. The fact that the ‘leaves’ can simply be rolled-up to be moved to where they’re needed and floated on water (i.e. not taking up space on land) give the design real flexibility in where and how they could be used. For example, as highlighted by the researchers, the leaves could be used to supply coastal settlements, remote islands, cover industrial ponds, or even be used to avoid water evaporation from irrigation canals. The leaves could, therefore, benefit whole industries, businesses, and individuals wherever there’s an expanse of water (which accounts for most of the earth’s surface) and, if scaled up, offer a real a sustainable and low-carbon alternative to petrol.

Security Stop-Press : Mic-Snooping Malware Added To Legit Google Play App

ESET researchers have reported finding mic-snooping hidden malware in the legitimate Android iRecorder – Screen Recorder (screen-and-audio recorder) app while it was still available in the Google Play Store. The malware was added as an update, and it’s thought that tens of thousands of people may have downloaded the app before Google was alerted and the app was removed from its online store.

Tech Tip – Creating and Sharing WhatsApp Call Links

If you’d like a way to create and share a WhatsApp call link so that anyone with a WhatsApp account can join your call by opening the link, here’s how:

– Tap the ‘Calls’ tab and tap ‘Create Call Link’.

– Select your call type, video, or voice.

– Tap ‘Copy Link’, and send the ‘Link via WhatsApp’ to share in WhatsApp, or ‘Share Link’ to share it in another app.

Each time you create a call link the URL is different and secure, so no one can guess your call links.

Featured Article : Want A .Dad Domain For Father’s Day

Here we look at most of the modern top-level domains and their uses, along with the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a newer, lesser known, or more specific TLD for your website domain name.

What Are Top Level Domains? 

Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System (DNS) structure of the internet, i.e. they are the last segment of a domain name that follows the final dot (e.g., .com, .org, .net). In short, TLDs categorise and classify domain names based on their purpose or geographic location.

Two Main Types 

There are two main categories of TLDs:

  1. Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs): These are TLDs that are not specific to any country or geographic region. Some common examples of gTLDs include .com, .org, .net, and .info. Originally, gTLDs were limited to a few generic options, but with the expansion of the internet, many new gTLDs have been introduced to provide more specific categorisations for websites.
  2. Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): These are TLDs that are associated with a specific country or territory. Each country is assigned a two-letter code (e.g., .us for the United States, .uk for the United Kingdom, .ca for Canada) to create country-specific TLDs. These TLDs help indicate the geographic association or targeting of a website.

TLDs serve several purposes, including indicating the nature of a website (e.g., .com for commercial, .edu for educational institutions) or its association with a particular country or region. They provide a structured and organised system for domain names on the internet, allowing users to easily identify the purpose or location of a website based on its TLD.

Main Top Level Domains 

There are many TLDs that most of us would recognise e.g., .com, .org., .net, and many country specific TLDs such as However, new TLDs are introduced all the time, and the list below includes many of the newer ones and their intended purpose.

  1. .com: Originally intended for commercial websites, it has become a widely used TLD for various types of websites.
  2. .org: Primarily used by non-profit organisations and associations.
  3. .net: Initially designated for network infrastructure, it is now used for a variety of purposes.
  4. .gov: Restricted to U.S. government entities.
  5. .edu: Restricted to accredited educational institutions, such as universities and colleges.
  6. .mil: Restricted to U.S. military entities.
  7. .int: Reserved for international treaty-based organisations and institutions.
  8. .info: Intended for informative websites, although it’s open for general registration.
  9. .biz: Designed for business-oriented websites.
  10. .mobi: Intended for websites optimised for mobile devices.
  11. .name: Meant for personal websites and portfolios.
  12. .pro: Originally intended for professionals like doctors and lawyers, but it’s now open for general registration.
  13. .co: Originally the TLD for Colombia, it has gained popularity as a global alternative to .com.
  14. .io: Originally the TLD for British Indian Ocean Territory, it has become popular among tech companies and startups, and for downloadable games. They are treated as generic top-level domains by Google and there are no restrictions on who can use a .io domain.
  15. .me: Often used for personal websites, blogs, and online resumes.
  16. .tv: Originally the TLD for Tuvalu, it is frequently used by television and media-related websites.
  17. .dev: Geared towards developers, programmers, and technology-focused websites.
  18. .design: Targeted towards designers and creative professionals.
  19. .agency: Suitable for advertising agencies, marketing firms, and creative service providers.
  20. .store: Ideal for e-commerce platforms and online retail businesses.
  21. .blog: Geared towards bloggers and individuals sharing their thoughts and ideas.
  22. .travel: Restricted to entities in the travel and tourism industry.
  23. .photography: Suited for photographers and photography-related websites.
  24. .restaurant: Targeted towards restaurants, cafes, and food establishments.
  25. .esq : a secure domain for lawyers or ‘distinguished’ people.
  26. .foo: a domain from a word used in computer programming that can offer a distinctive and different position.
  27. .nexus: Another a top-level extension designed for entities in the technology industry.
  28. .prof: A domain designed to connect professors to students, colleagues, universities, and peers.
  29. .zip: A domain for storage services (think zip files).
  30. .mov: A domain for anything related to films and video.
  31. .phd: Designed to show the credentials of those with a PhD qualification.
  32. .giving: A domain to be used for fundraising efforts by non-profits, social enterprises, or companies involved in fundraising.
  33. .kids: Useful for websites aimed at entertaining and educational web content for children and youth.
  34. .rsvp: A secure domain for events and reservations, e.g. events, fundraisers, business bookings, and more.
  35. .boo: For fun marketing or special events, e.g. Halloween.
  36. .abbvie: Solely for websites affiliated with US pharmaceutical giant ‘Abbvie’.
  37. .pioneer: A domain solely for those affiliated with the Pioneer Corporation (Japanese company known for electronics).
  38. .channel: For uses by creators and publishers to host or redirect to storefronts featuring digital and physical products.

.Dad Domain For Father’s Day? 

Google’s. dad domains (which could make a good Father’s Day present) can be used for fatherhood-related content e.g.,,, Google says its .dad registry is for dads who want to start a blog or someone showing appreciation for the father figures in their life. Examples of some of the sites and communities on .dad include:

– – All about the Dad Life, such as puns, dad cooking, fixing just about anything with duct tape and more.

– and – a leading community of dads whose mission is to celebrate fatherhood by entertaining and supporting dads.

– – a Father’s Day page dedicated to a great dad, complete with photos and captions.

– / / – a site sharing resources to help dads become the fathers they want to be.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Having A Lesser Known Or More Specific Domain? 

Choosing a lesser-known, newer, or very specific Top-Level Domain (TLD) for your website domain name can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some considerations:


– Availability. Lesser-known or newer TLDs may have a wider range of available domain names compared to popular TLDs like .com, where many desirable names are already registered. This gives you a better chance of finding a domain name that matches your brand or business.

– Specificity. Certain TLDs are tailored to specific industries or interests. If the TLD aligns closely with your niche or target audience, it can help communicate your website’s purpose or specialisation right in the domain name, making it more memorable and relevant to visitors.

– Branding. A unique or specific TLD can enhance your brand identity and differentiate your website from competitors. It can give your website a distinctive and memorable web address, which can be advantageous for marketing and branding purposes.

– Availability of keyword-rich names: In some cases, newer or specific TLDs might have more keyword-rich domain names available. This can be valuable for search engine optimisation (SEO) as having relevant keywords in your domain name can potentially improve your website’s visibility in search results.


– Familiarity. Lesser-known or newer TLDs may not be as well-recognised or familiar to internet users compared to traditional and popular TLDs like .com or .org. This could lead to a perception of untrustworthiness or unfamiliarity, especially if visitors are accustomed to more established TLDs.

– User perception. Some users may associate specific TLDs with low-quality or spammy websites. If you choose a TLD that has a negative reputation or is commonly used for malicious purposes, it might impact user trust and deter potential visitors.

– SEO considerations. While having keyword-rich domain names can be beneficial for SEO, the impact of TLDs on search engine rankings is debatable. Search engines like Google claim that TLDs do not directly affect rankings. However, user perception and click-through rates can indirectly impact SEO performance, and a less recognisable TLD might affect user behaviour and therefore SEO.

– Limited availability of domain extensions: Depending on the specific TLD you choose, you might have fewer options when it comes to domain registrars or web hosting providers. Some TLDs have limited availability and/or higher registration costs due to exclusivity or being managed by specific entities.

– Ultimately, the decision to choose a lesser-known, newer, or very specific TLD for your website domain name should consider your brand identity, target audience, marketing strategy, and long-term goals. It’s essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and consider how the TLD choice aligns with your overall online presence and branding objectives.

Will Having A New Or Lesser-Known Domain Have A Negative Impact On Your Search Engine Rankings? 

According to Google, the choice of TLD does not directly impact a website’s search visibility or rankings.

Google says its primary focus is to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality search results, regardless of the TLD used by a website and that its search algorithms primarily assess factors such as content relevance, user experience, backlinks, and other SEO signals to determine search rankings.

However, it’s important to note that user behaviour and perception can indirectly influence search rankings. If users are less familiar with a specific TLD or have a perception that it is associated with low-quality websites, they may be less likely to click on search results with those TLDs. This lower click-through rate (CTR) can potentially impact the visibility of websites with new or specific TLDs in search engine results.

Additionally, the content and relevance of a website’s pages, its overall SEO optimisation, and the quality and quantity of backlinks it receives remain crucial ranking factors. These factors are not directly influenced by the TLD but rather by the website’s overall optimisation efforts.

It’s worth noting that search engine algorithms and practices may evolve over time (with the introduction of AI within searches), and new information or updates may be introduced. Therefore, it’s always advisable to stay informed about the latest SEO practices and guidelines from search engines like Google to ensure your website performs well in search results, regardless of the TLD chosen.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

Choosing the right Top-Level Domain (TLD) for your website domain name is a decision that can significantly impact your online presence and branding. While newer, lesser-known, or very specific TLDs offer certain advantages, they also come with potential drawbacks. It’s crucial to carefully consider these factors and evaluate how they align with your business goals.

The advantages of opting for a lesser-known or specific TLD include, for example, increased availability of domain names, better specificity and relevance to your niche, enhanced branding opportunities, and the potential for keyword-rich domain names. These factors can contribute to better visibility, differentiation from competitors, and improved memorability for your target audience.

However, there are also disadvantages to consider. Lesser-known TLDs may lack familiarity among internet users, potentially leading to a perception of untrustworthiness. User perception and trust are crucial for attracting visitors to your website. Additionally, the impact on search engine rankings remains uncertain, with search engines like Google stating that TLDs do not directly affect rankings. However, user behaviour and click-through rates can indirectly influence SEO performance.

Also, the limited availability of domain extensions and potential higher costs associated with specific TLDs can pose challenges when registering a domain or finding suitable web hosting providers.

Ultimately, the choice of TLD should be aligned with your brand identity, target audience, marketing strategy, and long-term goals. Consider the advantages and disadvantages outlined in this article and weigh them against your specific business needs. Stay informed about the latest SEO practices and guidelines to ensure your website performs well in search results, regardless of the TLD chosen.

Choosing the right TLD, therefore, is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your business objectives and helps create a strong online presence.

Tech Insight: New AI That Generates 3-D Models From Text

The Shap-E AI system from OpenAI (creators of ChatGPT) and available for open-source download, can create 3D models from text.

What Is It? 

According to the Cornell University researchers behind the system, Shap-E is “a conditional generative model for 3D assets” which, unlike other 3D generative models “generates the parameters of implicit functions that can be rendered as both textured meshes and neural radiance fields” rather than producing a single output representation. In short, Shap-E is a big step forward in simplifying the generation of 3D models that can generate “complex and diverse 3D assets” in seconds (when trained on a large dataset of paired 3D and text data).

Trained In Two Stages 

OpenAI says that Shap-E works so well (and better than the previous Point-E models) because it is trained in two stages: first, the encoder that deterministically maps 3D assets into the parameters of an implicit function is trained and second, we train a conditional diffusion model on outputs of the encoder.

Faster & Better 

When compared to Point-E, which is an explicit generative model over point clouds, the new Shap-E converges faster and reaches comparable or better sample quality despite modelling a higher-dimensional, multi-representation output space.


Examples of the text-conditional models created by Shap-E and the simple prompts used to create them can be seen at the foot of this page. For example, the first model was created simply by using the text prompt “a chair that looks like an avocado.”

Where & How? 

Shap-E can be downloaded free here and accessed on Microsoft Paint 3D.


Even though Shap-E simplifies 3D model making, some tech commentators have reported that getting the new model installed and running can be complicated and take some time, and that a lot of system resources are required to use it.

3D Printing 

There are also developments in the 3D printing world, e.g., with advanced models like the Chinese Artillery 3D Sidewinder. Today’s advanced, large 3D printers are moving more into the production technology stage from one-off manufacturing and prototyping, and additive manufacturing (constructing a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model) could soon be fed by models created by AI models that use text or even speech to create items.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The Shap-E represents a big step forward in speeding up and simplifying the making of 3D models and making it more accessible to all kinds of businesses. Being able to quickly visualise a concept or idea and chop and change it with just words, and to create a model that can be used to make a 3D printed item is used in many industries and fields for making prototypes, components, end products, reconstructed fossils, or artefacts (and much more) could deliver huge benefits to many businesses. Although Shap-E, as shown by the example models, is still at an early (but still impressive) stage, linking things like AI text (or speech) model generators to 3D printers could dramatically speed up, cut costs, and simplify areas of manufacturing that would have proved much more challenging before.

For the moment, having a free 3D model generator for general usage that works on simple text inputs makes 3D modelling more accessible to any business and will help with creativity and conceptualising, and we have yet to see its true value and range. Reports indicate that it may be a little challenging to install but as it’s from OpenAI it comes with a good pedigree and once up and working, it may prove a useful tool for many businesses, as well as being fun!