24-Year Old Michigan Man Sent Home From Hospital Without a Human Heart

Detroit, MI — Stan Larkin, a 24-year-old man from the Detroit area, was recently sent home from a local hospital with a completely artificial heart, and doctors say he is in great condition. Larkin is the first person in the state of Michigan to walk out of a hospital with such a medical device.

It’s called the Total Artificial Heart (TAH) made by SynCardia, and it is connected to two tubes in his chest that snake out from under his ribs. Those two tubes are connected to a compressor that he carries his backpack. It weighs about 13 pounds. According to USA Today, the technology is extremely revolutionary as it provides him an “ever-present, rhythmic gallop as pulses of precisely calibrated, compressed oxygen are forced into the pneumatic ticker.”

But why does he need it?

At the young age of just 16, Larkin blacked out while playing basketball and was later diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD), a dangerous heart condition that causes irregular heart rhythm. ARVD is one of several causes of sudden cardiac death among young adults.

Because of his diagnosis, he had to have a defibrillator implanted into his chest that delivered electrical impulses when ever necessary to keep his heart going. But this only lasted a few years, and soon Larkin’s heart was working at just a 15% capacity.

After being admitted to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, doctors had to resort to one of the only options left; They implanted the Total Artificial Heart.

How’s it going so far?

So far, doctors say all is great. Larkin has been going to the mall, going to church, and even visiting his brother in this hospital, who also has a Total Artificial Heart. He too will soon be able to walk out of the hospital with the portable machine.

The only disadvantage, Larkin says, is that the compressor he carries around in his backpack is kind of noisy and it draws attention to him. But its a small price to pay, he says. “I’m happy to explain it to curious passersby.”

For more details about the Total Artificial Heart, visit www.syncardia.com/total-facts/total-artificial-heart-facts.html


What You Should Know About Facebook’s Nearby Friends Feature

“Location, location, location” has long been the motto of real estate agents, but it seems to also be one ofFacebook’s favorite mantras as well. They seem to be constantly rolling out new features that take advantage of your phone’s location-awareness capabilities.

Location tagging in status updates, location-based advertising, geotaggedpictures, etc. There always seems to be some new feature that takes advantage of Facebook knowing where you are.  These new whiz bang features can both delights users but also creates privacy concerns for them as well.

Recently, Facebook rolled out its “Nearby Friends” feature which lets you locate friends who might be close by, in case you want to meet them for lunch or something. Facebook rolled this new feature out without a lot of fanfare, and didn’t really explain it or the privacy implications very well in my opinion. Let’s look at the Nearby Friends feature and some of the potential security issues associated with it.

The Nearby Friend Feature Comes With a Catch

It seems like, as with a lot of features on Facebook, there is always some kind of catch or privacy-related caveat that you have to consider. Take hiding your likes for instance, it’s kind of an all or nothing deal. You can either hide all of your “likes” or none of them. You can’t currently (at least at the time this article was written) hide individual likes. You have to either share all your likes (including the weird ones) or not share any of them at all.

USA network users
USA network users

The “Nearby Friends” feature has a similar catch. When you turn “Nearby Friends” on,  Facebook warns you that you are also turning on “location history” at the same time. It also tells you that by turning on location history, you are creating a history of your precise location. Yes, that’s right, by enabling this feature you are creating a digital record of your travels. It’s just like that song “Every step your take, every move you make, Facebook’s watching you”.

The question you have to ask yourself: “Is the Nearby Friends feature worth me providing Facebook with a digital history of my whereabouts?”

There is no way currently to enable Nearby Friends while disabling location history. I’m not sure why these features are tied together in such a way, but they are.

You can, according to Facebook, delete things from your location history, and you can also delete your entire history, but you have to remember to do this periodically if you want to continue to cover your tracks.

Use At Your Own Risk

Obviously, the “Nearby Friends” feature has a host of implications, especially for cheating spouses, overbearing parents, and people who say they’re in one place but their location information tells a different story. If you enable this feature, even though you can restrict your precise location, your general location is available to your friends (or whomever you choose to share it with). Thankfully it doesn’t appear to allow you to choose “public” as a sharing option.

Enabling / Disabling The Nearby Friends Feature

If you want to check the status of the “Nearby Friends” feature (in order to enable or disable it), open the Facebook app on your Android or iOS mobile device. Choose the “More” icon from the bar at the bottom of the screen and select the “Nearby Friends” icon. Once the “Nearby Friends” list appears, tap the settings gear icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Use the toggle at the top of the screen to enable or disable the “Nearby Friends” feature.

Exact Location Sharing

If you want to share your exact location with a friend (so that they can meet you somewhere for instance) then you can do so by tapping the compass icon next to them in the “Nearby Friends” listing. Once you tap this icon, you’ll be able to set how long you want the duration of precise location sharing to last. This value can be anywhere from 2 hours all the way to pretty much forever or “until you choose to stop”.


4 Secrets Wireless Hackers Don’t Want You to Know

You’re using a wireless access point that has encryption so you’re safe, right? Wrong! Hackers want you to believe that you are protected so you will remain vulnerable to their attacks. Here are 4 things that wireless hackers hope you won’t find out, otherwise they might not be able to break into your network and/or computer:

1. WEP encryption is useless for protecting your wireless network. WEP is easily cracked within minutes and only provides users with a false sense of security.

Even a mediocre hacker can defeat Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)-based security in a matter of minutes, making it essentially useless as a protection mechanism. Many people set their wireless routers up years ago and have never bothered to change their wireless encryption from WEP to the newer and stronger WPA2 security. Updating your router to WPA2 is a fairly simple process. Visit your wireless router manufacturer’s website for instructions.

2. Using your wireless router’s MAC filter to prevent unauthorized devices from joining your network is ineffective and easily defeated.

Every piece of IP-based hardware, whether it’s a computer, game system, printer, etc, has a unique hard-coded MAC address in its network interface. Many routers will allow you to permit or deny network access based on a device’s MAC address. The wireless router inspects the MAC address of the network device requesting access and compares it your list of permitted or denied MACs. This sounds like a great security mechanism but the problem is that hackers can “spoof” or forge a fake MAC address that matches an approved one. All they need to do is use a wireless packet capture program to sniff (eavesdrop) on the wireless traffic and see which MAC addresses are traversing the network. They can then set their MAC address to match one of that is allowed and join the network.

3. Disabling your wireless router’s remote administration feature can be a very effective measure to prevent a hacker from taking over your wireless network.

Many wireless routers have a setting that allows you to administer the router via a wireless connection. This means that you can access all of the routers security settings and other features without having to be on a computer that is plugged into the router using an Ethernet cable. While this is convenient for being able to administer the router remotely, it also provides another point of entry for the hacker to get to your security settings and change them to something a little more hacker friendly. Many people never change the factory default admin passwords to their wireless router which makes things even easier for the hacker. I recommend turning the “allow admin via wireless” feature off so only someone with a physical connection to the network can attempt to administer the wireless router settings.

4. If you use public hotspots you are an easy target for man-in-the-middle and session hijacking attacks.

Hackers can use tools like Firesheep and AirJack to perform “man-in-the-middle” attacks where they insert themselves into the wireless conversation between sender and receiver. Once they have successfully inserted themselves into the line of communications, they can harvest your account passwords, read your e-mail, view your IMs, etc. They can even use tools such as SSL Strip to obtain passwords for secure websites that you visit. I recommend using a commercial VPN service provider to protect all of your traffic when you are using wi-fi networks. Costs range from $7 and up per month. A secure VPN provides an additional layer of security that is extremely difficult to defeat. Unless the hacker is extremely determined they will most likely move on and try an easier target.


Facebook: Showing Ads Based on Users’ Browsing Habits

Facebook has long shown users advertisements targeted to them based on the interests they’ve listed and the “Like” buttons they click around the Web. In the coming weeks, Facebook will begin showing ads based on the other websites a user visits, even if a user doesn’t click a “Like” button.

The change means that a user browsing websites for a new TV may lead to TV ads being displayed within Facebook. It’s an interest-based form of advertising that’s used widely on the Web, but Facebook has previously only ever used the tracking data for security reasons. The changes, which roll out to U.S. Facebook users in a few weeks and to other users in a few months, mean consumers will need to opt-out with the Digital Advertising Alliance to prevent their browsing habits outside of the site from being used to help deliver custom Facebook ads.

While the move may raise privacy concerns, Facebook is also giving users more control over the targeted ads that it shows them by adding a new drop-down menu to each ad. If you’re not interested in a particular subject, then you can remove that from your ad interests to make sure you never see a similar ad again. Clearly, Facebook is trying to walk a fine line that satisfies both its bottom line and users concerned about privacy, but whether it succeeds at either remains to be seen.

source: theverge.com