Entertainment

The sky and ether

Want to fly a drone but don’t know what paperwork you need? Wondering if the public WiFi at your favourite café is safe? Your tech questions answered

- Bivek Khatiwada, Kathmandu

Flying a drone has always been my passion. Finally, I own one but sadly, I have not been able to fly it so far because of the different rules and regulations set by the government. Can you explain to me how I could go about gathering the permits I need to take to the skies here?
— Dhiraj Basnet

Dear Dhiraj,
It is true that it is illegal to operate a drone in Nepal without the right permits. However, once these official papers and permit are acquired, flying drones are largely hassle-free. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has set some rules regarding the use of drones. You, as the drone pilot, must ensure that you have followed the following rules/ laws issued by the Nepal Government before taking to the skies:

  • First of all, you must apply for and receive permission from the CAAN before flying a drone.
  • You cannot fly your drone over people or crowds of people.
  • Respect other people’s privacy when flying your drone. There have been reports of locals not appreciating drones flying near them.
  • You must fly during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions.
  • You must not fly your drone over military installations, power plants or other areas that could cause concern among local authorities.
  • You must not fly your drone near airports or in any area where aircrafts are in operation.

Those are the rules to observe while piloting a drone. But before that, you must possess a permit, which allows you to fly a drone, provided that the aforementioned rules are not broken. The procedure involved in obtaining a permit to fly a drone in Nepal is as follows:

  • First of all, you must obtain a permission letter from the municipality of the place that you want to fly a drone over.
  • Second, you need to obtain a recommendation letter from the CDO office. The CDO office will give you a recommendation letter only after you have secured the permission letter from the municipality.
  • Then the police headquarters of the places that you want to fly your drone over will give you a security clearance letter or even provide security in those areas, if necessary.
  • You can then apply for a permit with CAAN once you have gathered the documents listed above.
  • You do not need to pay money to get the permit to fly drones. The above-mentioned process will take about three days in total, give or take.

 

We can see numerous free Wi-Fi options in public places, and I sometimes can’t help trying to log onto them (mostly unsuccessfully). But is it really safe to use them?
—Anusha Lamichhane

Dear Anusha,
You can find free Wi-Fi in most of the public places these days. Cafes, restaurants, hospitals and even public buses let you use their Wi-Fi. Although this service is attractive for business, it can, in the wrong hands, be a double-edged sword. Were someone trying to hack you, these free and open networks would be the easiest to latch onto. If you and a hacker are connected to the same network, the hacker can act as a middleman and check the data and information you provide to a website when you are surfing it. That includes everything like comments on Facebook and Instagram, search strings in Google, passwords and even credit card numbers.
Furthermore, there is also the threat of Malware. If file sharing is allowed across a network, the hacker can easily plant a virus on your computer or mobile device. Once the malware is on your device, some pop-up window will appear offering an upgrade for a software. Once you click it, the malware will be installed. The malware can then track everything you do on your device, even after you disconnect from the Wi-Fi.
Another important trick is to use only SSL certified websites or websites with the URL starting as “https” rather than “http”. Such websites transmit only encrypted data.
So to sum it up, public Wi-Fi is not really as safe as you would think. But that does not mean you cannot use it all. But before using a public Wi-Fi, be aware of the data and information you are sharing. If the information is sensitive, do not use such websites and do not send the information via public Wi-Fi. You can also use a virtual private network (VPN) connection if you find it necessary to protect your privacy- from hackers.
While I don’t mean to alarm you—after all we use public WiFi all the time, everywhere—it is at least good to keep these things at the back of your mind so that you know what the potential dangers could be.

 

I have seen every laptop charger containing a small cylindrical module near the end of the charger cable. What really is it and what purpose does it serve?
—Amrit Panthi

Dear Amrit,
These modules are called ferrite beads/EMI filters/ferrite chokes. The beads contain a semi-magnetic substance made by fusing iron oxide (rust) with other metals.
Not just on the laptop charger cables, these beads can be found on power chords and other electronic devices such as printers and medical equipment as well.
And their main purpose is to prevent the cable from sending and receiving signals. It has a special property of eliminating broadcast signals.
As its name implies, it essentially chokes the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) transmission at that point in the cable. Since such beads exist near the end of the cable, it filters or blocks out the interfering signals before it penetrates the device being charged. After a long charging session, you might feel the beads getting warm as it turns the RFI signals into heat.

Published: 2018-05-29 08:25:51