Tag Archives: blogging

Friday Squid Blogging: The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Bobtail Squid and a Particular Microbe

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/02/the_symbiotic_r.html

This is the story of the Hawaiian bobtail squid and Vibrio fischeri.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Give Your WordPress Blog a Voice With Our New Amazon Polly Plugin

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/give-your-wordpress-blog-a-voice-with-our-new-amazon-polly-plugin/

I first told you about Polly in late 2016 in my post Amazon Polly – Text to Speech in 47 Voices and 24 Languages. After that AWS re:Invent launch, we added support for Korean, five new voices, and made Polly available in all Regions in the aws partition. We also added whispering, speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression.

New WordPress Plugin
Today we are launching a WordPress plugin that uses Polly to create high-quality audio versions of your blog posts. You can access the audio from within the post or in podcast form using a feature that we call Amazon Pollycast! Both options make your content more accessible and can help you to reach a wider audience. This plugin was a joint effort between the AWS team our friends at AWS Advanced Technology Partner WP Engine.

As you will see, the plugin is easy to install and configure. You can use it with installations of WordPress that you run on your own infrastructure or on AWS. Either way, you have access to all of Polly’s voices along with a wide variety of configuration options. The generated audio (an MP3 file for each post) can be stored alongside your WordPress content, or in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), with optional support for content distribution via Amazon CloudFront.

Installing the Plugin
I did not have an existing WordPress-powered blog, so I begin by launching a Lightsail instance using the WordPress 4.8.1 blueprint:

Then I follow these directions to access my login credentials:

Credentials in hand, I log in to the WordPress Dashboard:

The plugin makes calls to AWS, and needs to have credentials in order to do so. I hop over to the IAM Console and created a new policy. The policy allows the plugin to access a carefully selected set of S3 and Polly functions (find the full policy in the README):

Then I create an IAM user (wp-polly-user). I enter the name and indicate that it will be used for Programmatic Access:

Then I attach the policy that I just created, and click on Review:

I review my settings (not shown) and then click on Create User. Then I copy the two values (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) into a secure location. Possession of these keys allows the bearer to make calls to AWS so I take care not to leave them lying around.

Now I am ready to install the plugin! I go back to the WordPress Dashboard and click on Add New in the Plugins menu:

Then I click on Upload Plugin and locate the ZIP file that I downloaded from the WordPress Plugins site. After I find it I click on Install Now to proceed:

WordPress uploads and installs the plugin. Now I click on Activate Plugin to move ahead:

With the plugin installed, I click on Settings to set it up:

I enter my keys and click on Save Changes:

The General settings let me control the sample rate, voice, player position, the default setting for new posts, and the autoplay option. I can leave all of the settings as-is to get started:

The Cloud Storage settings let me store audio in S3 and to use CloudFront to distribute the audio:

The Amazon Pollycast settings give me control over the iTunes parameters that are included in the generated RSS feed:

Finally, the Bulk Update button lets me regenerate all of the audio files after I change any of the other settings:

With the plugin installed and configured, I can create a new post. As you can see, the plugin can be enabled and customized for each post:

I can see how much it will cost to convert to audio with a click:

When I click on Publish, the plugin breaks the text into multiple blocks on sentence boundaries, calls the Polly SynthesizeSpeech API for each block, and accumulates the resulting audio in a single MP3 file. The published blog post references the file using the <audio> tag. Here’s the post:

I can’t seem to use an <audio> tag in this post, but you can download and play the MP3 file yourself if you’d like.

The Pollycast feature generates an RSS file with links to an MP3 file for each post:

Pricing
The plugin will make calls to Amazon Polly each time the post is saved or updated. Pricing is based on the number of characters in the speech requests, as described on the Polly Pricing page. Also, the AWS Free Tier lets you process up to 5 million characters per month at no charge, for a period of one year that starts when you make your first call to Polly.

Going Further
The plugin is available on GitHub in source code form and we are looking forward to your pull requests! Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Voice Per Author – Allow selection of a distinct Polly voice for each author.

Quoted Text – For blogs that make frequent use of embedded quotes, use a distinct voice for the quotes.

Translation – Use Amazon Translate to translate the texts into another language, and then use Polly to generate audio in that language.

Other Blogging Engines – Build a similar plugin for your favorite blogging engine.

SSML Support – Figure out an interesting way to use Polly’s SSML tags to add additional character to the audio.

Let me know what you come up with!

Jeff;

 

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid that Mate, Die, and Then Sink

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/01/friday_squid_bl_611.html

The mating and death characteristics of some squid are fascinating.

Research paper.

EDITED TO ADD (2/5): Additional info and photos.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Te Papa Colossal Squid Exhibition Is Being Renovated

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/01/friday_squid_bl_610.html

The New Zealand home of the colossal squid exhibit is behind renovated.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: How the Optic Lobe Controls Squid Camouflage

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/01/friday_squid_bl_608.html

Experiments on the oval squid.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Populations Are Exploding

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/12/friday_squid_bl_607.html

New research:

“Global proliferation of cephalopods”

Summary: Human activities have substantially changed the world’s oceans in recent decades, altering marine food webs, habitats and biogeochemical processes. Cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish and octopuses) have a unique set of biological traits, including rapid growth, short lifespans and strong life-history plasticity, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions. There has been growing speculation that cephalopod populations are proliferating in response to a changing environment, a perception fuelled by increasing trends in cephalopod fisheries catch. To investigate long-term trends in cephalopod abundance, we assembled global time-series of cephalopod catch rates (catch per unit of fishing or sampling effort). We show that cephalopod populations have increased over the last six decades, a result that was remarkably consistent across a highly diverse set of cephalopod taxa. Positive trends were also evident for both fisheries-dependent and fisheries-independent time-series, suggesting that trends are not solely due to factors associated with developing fisheries. Our results suggest that large-scale, directional processes, common to a range of coastal and oceanic environments, are responsible. This study presents the first evidence that cephalopod populations have increased globally, indicating that these ecologically and commercially important invertebrates may have benefited from a changing ocean environment.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Gonatus Squid Eating a Dragonfish

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/12/friday_squid_bl_606.html

There’s a video:

Last July, Choy was on a ship off the shore of Monterey Bay, looking at the video footage transmitted by an ROV many feet below. A Gonatus squid was spotted sucking off the face of a “really huge dragonfish,” she says. “It took a little while to figure out what’s going on here, who’s eating whom, how is this going to end?” (The squid won.)

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Amazon EC2 Price Reduction in the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-ec2-price-reduction-in-the-asia-pacific-mumbai-region/

Whew – I am just getting back in to blogging after a quick recovery from AWS re:Invent!

I’m happy to start things off with yet another AWS price reduction, this one for four instance families in the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region. Effective December 1, 2017 we are reducing prices for On-Demand and Reserved Instances as follows:

  • M4 – Up to 15%.
  • T2 – Up to 15%.
  • R4 – Up to 15%.
  • C4 – Up to 10%.

The pricing pages have been updated. Enjoy!

Jeff;

 

[$] Federation in social networks

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/741218/rss

Social networking is often approached by the free-software community with a
certain amount of suspicion—rightly so, since commercial social networks
almost always generate revenue by exploiting user data in one way or
another. While
attempts at a free-software approach to social networking have so far not met
widespread success, the new ActivityPub federation protocol and its
implementation in the free-software microblogging system Mastodon are gaining
popularity and already show some of the advantages of a community-driven
approach.

Friday Squid Blogging: Research into Squid-Eating Beaked Whales

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/12/friday_squid_bl_603.html

Beaked whales, living off the coasts of Ireland, feed on squid.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Fake Squid Seized in Cambodia

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/11/friday_squid_bl_602.html

Falsely labeled squid snacks were seized in Cambodia. I don’t know what food product it really was.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Season May Start Earlier Next Year

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/11/friday_squid_bl_600.html

Squid fisherman in Argentina have asked regulators to start the squid season earlier in 2018.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Product Recall

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/11/friday_squid_bl_599.html

Lidl is recalling two of its packaged squid products because of the presence of struvite salt crystals.

The danger is unclear. The article says that struvite crystals “may be mistaken as glass fragments,” which isn’t actually dangerous. It also says: “As these salt crystals may cause injury, the product should not be consumed.” Maybe it’s the intestinal tract that mistakes the crystals for glass.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Friday Squid Blogging: Steel Mesh Giant Squid Used as Artificial Reef

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/10/friday_squid_bl_598.html

Researchers in the British Virgin Islands have sunk a giant squid made out of steel mesh to serve as an artificial reef.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.