MCAST IICT to publish Blockchain research in Springer conference at Berlin


Next week, Axel Curmi, a 2nd year B.Sc. Software Development student, and myself shall be presenting our research in Blockchain at the BSCT 2018 conference in Berlin. All proceedings will be published as a volume in a Springer Verlag publication. Our research explores the use of blockchain for the verification of academic certificates, with the intention to extend it to medical certificates in the next year. Our focus will also extend to the communication across blockchain networks and the user access control aspect of it. We are scheduled for the 19th July at 16:30 and will be part of a packed schedule.

This is the second MCAST IICT paper that is being published, the first was by Darren Cilia and myself, the first paper to be presented abroad, the first to be published in a Springer publication and the first by a 2nd year students. I would like to take this opportunity to thanks the MCAST administration for their support.

MCAST EXPO


Currently MCAST is hosting its annual EXPO event, showcasing students projects and talents from all 3 colleges (Foundation, Technical and University). Really proud of my two dissertation students Luke Benjamin Cassar and Charleston Attard. Following is the schedule:

04, 05 and 06 July between 10:00am – 13:30pm and 16:00pm – 20:00pm 
07 July between 10:00am and 13:00pm

 

Late 2011 MBP Failing GPU


In late 2011 I had purchased a 15″ MacBook pro and in mid 2016 the GPU started failing until it was unusable. Apple had a replacement program of the logic board and GPU and had it replaced. Yet these started failing recently (less than 2 years after replacement). The symptoms are random restarts, green lines on display, distorted screen. This time there is no program that will replace it free of charge, and was not willing to spend anymore on this laptop. There are a number of solutions and this blog documents the one that worked for me, mostly from this article.

  1. Format and clean installation of Mac OS
    1. Restart/Power-On
    2. Press and hold Command + R until logo appears.
    3. Select Reinstall MacOS and follow installation steps.
  2. Boot to ArchLinux
    1. Download ArchLinux
    2. Create a Bootable USB, I used Rufus on Windows.
    3. Reboot with USB drive inserted and press Option
    4. Select EFI
    5. Press e when GRUB boot loader is displayed
    6. Type space then nomodeset at end of option then press enter
  3. Update EFI variables
    1. EFI Variables should be loaded already, if not:
      1. cd /
      2. umount /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/
      3. mount -t efivarfs rw /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/
    2. Remove immutability of GPU Power Preferences variable
      • chattr -i “/sys/firmware/efi/efivars/gpu-power-prefs-fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9”
    3. Delete GPU Power Preferences variable
      • rm /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/gpu-power-prefs-fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9
    4. Create new GPU Power Preferences variable
      • printf “\x07\x00\x00\x00\x01\x00\x00\x00” > /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/gpu-power-prefs-fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9
    5. Add immutability to GPU Power Preferences variable
      • chattr +i “/sys/firmware/efi/efivars/gpu-power-prefs-fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9”
  4. Save and reboot in Safe Mode
    1. cd /
    2. umount /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/
    3. reboot
    4. Press Shift during startup until logo appears.
  5. Remove AMD Drivers
    1. Login and turn FileVault Off from the Security & Privacy System Preferences.
    2. Reboot the system and press Command + R to boot to Recovery mode.
    3. Launch Terminal from the main menu
    4. Find UUID of your Machintosh HD drive
      1. diskutil cs list (find UUID for drive)
      2. diskutil coreStorage unlockVolume UUID
    5. Move the AMD drivers
      1. cd /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD
      2. mkdir AMD_Kexts
      3. mv System/Library/Extensions/AMD*.* AMD_Kexts/
      4. reboot
  6. Install steveschow branch of gfxCardStatus
  7. If you had FileVault on, remember to activate again.

At this point the MBP will always use the integrated graphics card, yet the dedicated/discrete graphic card would still be drawing power. You can take this a step further by removing 1 resistor and the card would have no power. I did not do this mod but here is the article. It is possible that the steps need to be repeated upon an OS upgrade/reinstall. I am hoping to be able to use this laptop for a few more years like this. The compromise is that now I cannot use the external display, other than that I am uneffected (not a gamer) since integrated graphic card can cope with my development requirements.

 

PingFin 9 Closure & Thanks


PingFin 9 was a resounding success across all European workshops. This year, which also marks the 10th Anniversary of SEPA, we experimented with a different layout here in Malta which worked really well.  The workshop required each team to design, implement and visualize part of the SEPA payment protocol then to consolidate all parts together.

 

I would like to thank our sponsors MITA, MITA Innovation Hub, eSkills Malta Foundation, RS2 and Central Bank of Malta for their support. Thanks go also to MCAST management and administrative staff for their support. A special thanks to my colleagues Alan Gatt, Luke Vella Critien and Robert Abela. Thanks to all the staff at Odisee namely Dr. Christophe Debruyne. My final thanks and congrats go to all students for their hard work, dedication, and professionalism.

 

More information is found on our facebook page.

PingFIN 9 @ Malta


Glad to announce that all is set for the PingFIN 9 workshop. This is an international e-payments workshop being organised from Monday 12th-Thursday 15th March concurrently in 5 Universities Colchester Institute, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, FH SalzburgOdisee, Westerdals, and obviously MCAST. The workshop in Malta shall be held at the MITA Innovation Hub, SmartCity and it will be attended by 16 local and 12 foreign students.

This activity is being sponsored by MITA, MITA Innovation Hub, eSkills Malta Foundation and RS2 Software plc. Assisting me are my colleagues Alan GattLuke Vella Critien and Robert Abela. Visit our facebook page for more information.

MCAST IICT Presents & Publishes Research


During the international conference ISMS 2018, hosted at the University of Malta, Darren Cilia has presented our research work in typing biometrics on behalf of MCAST IICT. As part of our research, the smartphone application used to gather the data and the dataset itself is being made public on GitHub and Kaggle respectively.

We hope that other researchers will find these contributions useful and look forward to hearing of other new research.

Ship ran aground at Qawra Point


The ship that ran aground at Qawra pointHephaestus, has made for a very spectacular and rare sighting. Here is my quick shot at it. Just hope that any leaks are stopped and the area cleaned as quickly as possible.