If you’re not sure where you want your career to head next year, then you should highly consider IT. With the right training, you can pass IT certification exams and pursue high-paying jobs in the ever-expanding IT field. Luckily, you don’t have to wait until New Years to make your career resolution. This Black Friday, we’ve lined up four deals on IT certification training bundles that you can get for 60% off using BFSAVE60 at checkout.
Newcomers to the IT field will need to learn the basics first, and this bundle is a great introduction. Here, you will learn the foundational skills necessary to implement, manage, and troubleshoot local and wide-area network solutions.
This massive bundle features 11 courses on IT certifications for both Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. These courses will teach you how to use relational database management systems (RDBMS) to implement databases, write queries, manipulate data, and more.
Few cloud computing vendors offer as many services like Amazon. In this bundle, you’ll learn about the solutions AWS offers. The first course covers training essentials such as how to navigate the AWS Management Console, but subsequent courses focus on individual solutions like Amazon S3 and AWS Database Migration Solution.
An IT department can’t be successful unless it values efficiency. This bundle will introduce you to Lean and Six Sigma, two methodologies used to systematically eliminate areas of waste such as time and over-production. A skilled project manager can implement these skills in any industry, whether it’s IT or app development.
Black Friday comes but once a year. This time around, the annual celebration of commerce falls on November 29, 2019. However, many retailers now produce their Black Friday offers throughout November and early December.
So, you don’t have to wait until the day itself to grab some bargains. We’ve rounded up the best Black Friday deals that you can get right now.
Note: We will be updating this page as more deals become available. Some deals have already been announced but won’t go live until specific dates, too. We have listed the go-live date where this is the case. Check back regularly for the best Black Friday deals of 2019.
Along with Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday is one of the best times to pick up an Amazon device. The company regularly offers discounts on their smart home collections, and this year is no exception.
Black Friday is cemented as an annual tradition, and some of the most commonly sought-after items are computers, laptops, and smartphones. If you’re ready to upgrade, check out some of these best Black Friday deals for large savings.
Maybe you’re thinking ahead to the new year and your ambition of becoming a keen photographer. Perhaps you know that a camera would make the perfect gift for the shutterbug in your life. Either way, this is a great time to pick up a bargain-priced camera.
Headphones & Speakers
Been considering investing in a new set of headphones or speakers? Black Friday is the best time to get yourself a new set. Once you’ve chosen a set—and saved some money—it’s time to kick back and relax with high-quality audio.
Monitors, TVs, & Home Theater
Black Friday is one of the best times of year to invest in a new television or monitor. In the run-up to the holidays, there are considerable savings to be had, even in home theater devices.
If you’ve been after a wearable for yourself or as a gift, there are plenty of deals to be had. This year, smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearables are available at substantial discounts.
Although not commonly thought of as Black Friday purchases, home appliances are often available with massive reductions. Given the high cost of these items, you can save yourself a lot of money over the Thanksgiving season.
The Best Black Friday Deals
While we’ve rounded up some of the best Black Friday deals available right now, there are plenty of retailers getting in on the action. The volume of discounts over just a few days can be overwhelming and makes it hard to decide which are the best deals.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday promise to give you the biggest discounts across the entire shopping year. There are, without doubt, attractive discounts. But at times, you might feel like the discounts aren’t quite what they could be. Black Friday deals can feel overwhelming.
Here are several tips you need to make sure you bag a great Black Friday deal.
1. Check the Price History
The first thing you need to check is your Black Friday deal price history. One of the accusations leveled at stores and online retailers is that they ramp up prices before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Once the higher price is established, the retailer drops the price and advertises the large discount.
It is an easy win-win strategy for retailers.
You can beat manipulated prices using a price history tracking website. Price history sites track the price of a product across a long period. You head to the price checker site and search for your product, then figure out if the Black Friday deal is as good as it seems.
With so many Black Friday deals popping up, figuring out who has the best price is difficult. Websites and other retailers will tell you that their deal is best. Understandably, they want a sale. However, it doesn’t take long to complete a quick internet search to figure out if the deal on offer is what it seems.
You don’t need any special tools to check Black Friday prices. The easiest option is to search for the product online and compare the prices between websites.
As part of this, do not consider any Black Friday discount or deal before you check. It only takes a moment but could stop you from paying over the odds for a discounted product.
3. What Is the RRP?
One of the first things you should check on any deal is the RRP. That’s the Recommended Retail Price. It can also be mentioned as List Price by sites like Amazon.
The RRP of any product is the sale price that the manufacturer recommends. The RRP gives retailers the opportunity to twist the appearance of a sale price in their favor.
In some cases, the Black Friday RRP is drastically out of date. The website might display a higher RRP than the regular price to give any discount a higher percentage.
For example, if a product RRP is $100 and the site advertises $90, that’s a 10% saving. However, if the site regularly sells the product at $90 regardless of the sale, you are not receiving a discount. The site is manipulating the price to make it appear as a discount.
What Is the MSRP?
The MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. An MSRP is analogous to an RRP.
4. Check for Black Friday Qualifying Offers
Another key price point differentiator is a Qualifying Offer. Some advertisers will display a fantastic price that you just cannot say no too. However, on closer inspection, you realize that the price is only available if you also purchase another product, deal, subscription, or otherwise.
A qualifying offer can quickly strip back any potential discount. Some websites are notorious for displaying an amazing discount price, only to reveal that massive discounts are only available for long term members. Or that the discount miraculously reduces after you sign up for the service.
Qualifying offers are open to abuse. Depending on your country, advertisers may manipulate figures to make the qualifying deal an intriguing proposition.
Black Friday Small Print
The other thing to check as part of qualifying offers is the small print. Retailers and manufacturers rely on you not checking the small print on Black Friday.
If you don’t read the small print, you could sign up for something or service (or stop yourself from using one!) without realizing it.
It is easily done. The length and depth of the fine print for many sites, services, and products means that many people skip through the details. As consumers believe most sites and services won’t cause them harm or otherwise, they breeze through the small print without considering the implications.
5. Set Black Friday Budgets and Product Targets
One common Black Friday tip is to set targets. Don’t head into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales without taking a moment to figure out what you’re looking for.
If you head into Black Friday without a purpose, you will come home without the hardware and the deals you want.
You don’t have to know exactly what you want—but it does help. However, if you want to buy a specific product on Black Friday, make sure you understand the current price for your product so you can understand if your Black Friday deal is really a deal.
Tying into your Black Friday price and product targets are price alarms or deal alerts. Even if you don’t use a price alarm for the rest of the year, it is a great idea to use a Black Friday price alarm.
The price of a product can change so rapidly on Black Friday or Cyber Monday that you can miss a quick deal. If you’re tracking the price, you’ll understand if the Black Friday discount is a real bargain.
Use a product price alarm or a deal alert to keep your eyes on the Black Friday prize. Most price alert websites or services will drop you an alert straight to your inbox. If you set alerts for the products you want most, you’ll pick up a Black Friday Bargain.
Some Black Friday deal alert tools to consider include:
You’re a Black Friday Deal Finding Expert
Everyone is out for a Black Friday deal. The allure of massive discounts on a huge range of products before the holiday period is enticing. Make sure that you don’t fall for a Black Friday pricing trick ahead of the big day using these tips.
GoPro has announced its Hero 8 Black action camera with a host of new improvements including next-level image stabilization, an integrated frame mounting system, and new accessories such as a directional mic for enhanced capture quality.
Starting from the outside, GoPro has gotten rid of the previous frame mounting system that was required to mount the camera, instead opting for built-in “folding fingers” on the bottom of the camera. The fingers can be collapsed into the camera when not being used, and when opened they provide a bracket that lets the device be attached to a mount. Now users won’t have to remember to grab the mounting accessory required by previous models, while the built-in fingers make it possible to access the battery and microSD card slot, which used to be blocked by the frame housing.
GoPro has also scrapped the removable lens cover—the Hero 8’s lens is made with Gorilla Glass that is twice as impact-resistant as the glass on past Hero models (2mm thick versus 1.3mm thick). Eliminating the removable lens cover has resulted in a slightly smaller footprint and the slimmer design makes the camera easier to fit in a pocket. This also means the camera loses the ability to ad filters to the lens, which is a huge bummer. If you’re worried about the durability, GoPro is selling a $20 kit that includes protective covers for both the lens and display.
The Hero 8 has even more improvements on the inside, not least of which being HyperSmooth 2.0, the latest version of GoPro’s electronic stabilization tech. Preliminary reports claim that the stabilization is so smooth that it can noticeably reduce the realism of your video. Fortunately, the feature can be enabled at varying levels, so you can let a little shake into the shot if it somehow improves the quality.
Folks who purchase the GoPro Hero 8 can also look forward to:
LiveBurst: Shoot three seconds of video—1.5 seconds before and after you hit the shutter–with 90 individual frames that you can check through to find single frames for photos. Similarly, raw photos can be captured in single images, bursts and time-lapses.
Time Warp 2.0: Adjust the capture speed settings from real-time to time-lapse. Now includes automatic speed selection instead of asking you what speed to capture at, as well as the ability to tap on the GoPro’s screen to speed it up or slow it down.
Improved SuperPhoto and HDR: SuperPhoto is essentially the GoPro’s intelligent auto mode and it can now take photos with greatly reduced motion blur. It also results in shots with better contrast and overall quality in varying light conditions.
Full HD livestreaming: Previously supported in 720p, the Hero 8 can livestream at 1080p.
New setting presets and digital lenses: Presets include Standard, Action, Cinematic, and Slo-Mo (as well as the ability to define your own), while the lenses include Narrow, Distortion-Free Linear, Wide, and SuperView. Narrow is described as your typical smartphone lens while SuperView stretches the shot from 4:3 to 16:9 through digital processing.
Other improvements include the ability to shoot video at up to 100 megabits per second, up from 78 megabits per second on the previous model; the ability to process night-lapse videos from within the camera; and a new horizon-leveling feature in the GoPro Quik app that lets you correct instances where you mistakenly shoot video that isn’t straight.
While the built-in mic is said to be improved when it comes to wind-noise reduction, GoPro will be offering an $80 Media Mod with a directional mic for noisy environments. The company has also announced a 200-lumen LED light Light Mod for $50, and an $80 Display Mod that provides a flip-up screen, each of which has its own power source so they don’t drain the main battery in your camera.
GoPro Hero 8 Black is available for pre-order today at $399.99 which includes a free 32GB SanDisk Extreme SD card. Units will ship on October 15, while worldwide retail availability will begin October 20. The Media Mod, Light Mod, and Display Mod will be available for pre-order in December.
Along with the GoPro Hero 8, the company has announced its GoPro Max, 360-degree camera comprised of dual 180-degree lenses, one on the front and one on the back. The Max features many of the features mentioned on the Hero 8 along with a Power Panorama mode that captures super-wide-angle shots and processes them into a flat wide-screen image. Pricing is set at $499.99 and units will ship on October 24, with retailers receiving their stock on the 25th.
The GoPro Hero8 Black ($399) is the latest flagship action camera from the company that created the category. The small, go-anywhere camcorder has been redesigned, without changing the aesthetics established over the past few generations. It records 4K video at up 60fps—with excellent stabilization—and is waterproof. It’s the best action cam you can buy today, and earns our Editors’ Choice recommendation.
Same Looks, New Design
The Hero8 Black looks a lot like last year’s Hero7 at a glance, but closer examination shows that GoPro has done some work on the body design. It’s just a little taller and wider (1.9 by 2.6 by 1.1 inches, HWD), but just by a matter of millimeters. The lens cover is larger, and doesn’t extend quite as far out from the body.
The exterior frame is metal, with rubber around the edges and face plate. The camera itself is built tough to survive drops—its light 4.4-ounce body helps in that regard as well. It’s also waterproof to 33 feet, without the need for an additional housing.
You don’t need to use a mounting frame anymore. Mounting clips are built into the body—they fold into the bottom, and are secured magnetically, so you can still set the camera down on a flat surface for recording. You get a mounting foot and screw, as well as a couple of adhesive stickie mounts, along with the camera.
You’ll probably want to add some others. I tried the camera with the El Grande extension pole and enjoyed the versatility it provides in grabbing footage from more interesting angles. If you’re just getting started, the Shorty, a combination mini-tripod and extension pole, is a good first accessory, especially if you’re interested in vlogging.
And GoPro is definitely targeting vloggers with some of the Hero8’s features. Video stabilization has been upgraded all around, and is even more effective if you slightly narrow the angle of view of the lens. Plus there are features like TimeWarp, a motion time-lapse, which is pitch-perfect for social media.
It also records in 9:16 orientation for Instagram stories and Snapchat videos. There’s an orientation lock included in the settings, so you won’t accidentally record in the wrong aspect ratio. I had a couple clips record in an unintended vertical format, but I was able to rotate them to the right orientation using the GoPro iOS app and my everyday video editing app, Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
There’s also a front-facing microphone now, which picked up my voice clearly when shooting a selfie video with the El Grande. If you have a YouTube channel (and who doesn’t these days?), you’ll want something better to capture audio, though.
GoPro has long supported external microphones via USB, but mounting solutions haven’t been entirely elegant. With the Hero8 Black, it’s introducing a new Mod system. Mods attach directly to the camera. The basic Media Mod ($79.99) adds a directional microphone, a 3.5mm mic port, HDMI video output, and two cold shoes.
There’s also a Display Mod ($79.99), which adds a front-facing color LCD. It’s an add-on for the Media Mod—GoPro figures if you’re serious enough to ensure your selfie video is framed perfectly, you’ll also want better audio.
GoPro’s suggested vlogging setup includes all three of its new Mods
The third add-on, the Light Mod ($49.99), is a battery-powered LED light. It slides into one of the cold shoe mounts on the Media Mod.
I haven’t had a chance to try the Mods myself, but have asked GoPro to send them over for review once they’re available. The company is going to start taking preorders for the Mods in December, but there’s no firm shipping date at press time.
Controls and Interface
The Hero8 Black is very minimalist in design. The Power/Mode button is on its left side, and Record is on top. Those are the only buttons. The camera does support voice commands as well—you can say “GoPro, start recording,” and it will. There’s a monochrome LCD on the front to show recording status and other settings.
You’ll adjust settings and the like using the touch-screen interface. The rear screen is small, about 2 inches diagonally, with a 461k-dot design. It’s enough resolution to show the view from the lens with good detail, and to render menu text crisply. It’s also very bright, a plus for a camera that will get a lot of use outdoors, and viewable from askew angles.
The side button switches between the three main shooting modes—Photo, Time Lapse, and Video. You’ll need to use the touch screen to dive down and change additional settings, like resolution, frame rate, and angle of view. The screen is pretty small, but GoPro has worked to improve the interface.
GoPro has abandoned the idea of universal video settings, replacing them with Capture Presets. This lets you switch between the best settings for vlogging, fast action, slow-motion, and others with single taps. You can set up any number of your own presets.
The Hero8 includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to your phone, and also has a GPS to log capture location. It works with the GoPro app, a free download for Android and iOS. The app is used to copy videos and photos over to your phone, and includes its own video editor.
The editor, QuikStories, can make automatic cuts from whatever videos you feed it. I put together a short, sociable clip from just a couple of minutes shot at the local zoo to try it out. There are a number of templates and title styles to choose from, as well as music tracks.
It’s a good tool for content creators who may want to share out a quick video without delving into serious editing. If you’re going with a phone-based workflow, I encourage you to keep clips short, as they transfer over in just about real time when shot at the highest quality.
The battery, USB-C charging port, and microSD slot are housed in the same compartment. The door is a little cramped, and I had some trouble getting the microSD card out at times, but it’s something you live with when the camera is this small.
The battery is good for about 70 minutes of recording time with the highest-quality settings. The 4K footage is saved at 100Mbps, so you’ll fill up memory cards quickly. You can expect to get about 35 minutes on a 32GB memory card.
Loads of Video Options
GoPro cameras are built around an ultra-wide lens. It’s appealing for mounting on your person to get up-close point-of-view shots. Of course, to capture such an immersive view, there’s some fish-eye distortion. If you don’t need to shoot as wide, you can remove the distortion by narrowing the angle of view—you’ll still be able to shoot in 4K, and the lens is still wide enough for selfie-style vlogs.
At 4K you can shoot at up to 60fps, with stabilization, which is good enough for half-speed playback at 30fps. The 24fps frame rate, popular for cinema use, is also an option at all resolutions.
For slower slow-motion, you can drop to 2.7K and shoot at up to 120fps, and you can drop down to 1080p and push the frame rate to 240fps. HyperSmooth stabilization is available in all modes, and it remains the best digital stabilization system we’ve seen in an action camera. In some modes there’s now a Boost option, which narrows the angle of view a bit, but nets even stronger stabilization.
Video quality itself is top-notch. Video is captured using HEVC compression at a high bit-rate, and you have access to both standard and flat color profiles. You can also shoot stills, at 12MP resolution, in Raw or JPG format. For scenes with tough lighting, HDR capture is an option—you can see its effect in the strongly backlit image below.
GoPro’s Best Hero Yet
The Hero8 Black takes everything we liked about last year’s Hero7 Black and either maintains or betters it. The video quality remains excellent, with stabilized 4K footage at 60fps, and it’s built tough, with a waterproof design that lets you take it anywhere.
There are ergonomic improvements. The built-in mounting clips mean you can ditch an external cage, and the addition of Capture Presets makes it a lot easier to swap between different recording options. The Mod system is intriguing as well. I’m looking forward to giving it a try, but it’s not shipping yet. It adds to the cost, but if you’re serious about your YouTube channel, you may find it worth it.
If you’re looking for a (slightly) less expensive option, consider the DJI Osmo Action, priced at $379 with a $39 microphone adapter available. Its battery life isn’t as good, but it includes a built-in front LCD so you can monitor your shot without the need for an add-on screen. That said, the Osmo didn’t wow us quite enough to replace the GoPro Hero7 Black as our top action camera. The Hero8 Black does, and is easy to recommend to anyone shopping for the best action cam on the market.
You’ve heard of the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), a common Windows error screen displayed when a system fault occurs. But the B in BSOD doesn’t always stand for blue.
A Black Screen of Death can prove to be more difficult to resolve as it doesn’t display an error message. It’s simply a black screen, often with a movable mouse pointer, but no other Windows features.
Here are a few common causes and solutions for the Black Screen of Death.
What Causes the Black Screen on a Computer?
Various issues can cause the black screen of death. In this guide, we’ll give you solutions for the most common causes:
Incomplete Windows 10 installation
Software and driver errors
Power supply problems
All the above can lead to a black screen in Windows. Fortunately, almost all Black Screen of Death cases can be resolved.
Installing Windows 10: Beware the Black Screen!
If you’re installing Windows 10, whether updating from a previous version or onto a formatted hard drive, errors can occur.
Among them is the Windows 10 Black Screen of Death, which can occur in this instance if:
Setup is still in progress: In this case, check if the hard drive LED is blinking. Setup is probably still running, but slow, which might be due to the age of the computer. Windows 10 should install within a couple of hours in most cases.
Setup is stuck: If this has happened and there is no HDD activity, power off the computer by holding the power button for five seconds. Disconnect any non-vital peripherals, then power up again. Setup should restart; if not, and you’re updating from an old Windows version, try installing with the media creation tool.
A device driver has failed: In this case, reboot the computer into Safe Mode. See the section “Repair a Black Screen of Death in Safe Mode” below for more information on this.
On Windows 10 systems, a Black Screen of Death can be caused by an unfinished Windows Update.
What typically happens is that the system reboots as part of the update process and you’re presented with a login screen. However, after entering your password, Windows 10 hangs with a black screen after login.
The mouse is responsive; you might see some desktop icons; there is no taskbar. In short, Windows 10 is stuck with a black screen.
A black screen error is often caused by a software glitch. This most frequently occurs when dealing with a program that takes over your entire screen. Typical culprits are PC games, or media players running in full-screen mode.
In these instances, the computer should otherwise appear to run well. Diagnosis should be easy to reproduce. Simply launch the program for a game or media player, and view in full screen mode.
Solving the problem, however, can be difficult; if the bug lies in the software, there may be no solution. You can try fixing it by running the program at a different resolution.
Video errors are another very common cause of the Black Screen of Death. No video output means a black screen, no matter what the specific problem might be. Windows may even be presenting a Blue Screen of Death—but you’d never see it!
Check your video connection before you get too worried. Make sure that both ends of your DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort cable is firmly seated and that the cord is undamaged.
Did you just upgrade your monitor? If so, make sure your connection can handle the resolution. Some versions of DVI and HDMI can’t handle resolutions above 1080p.
If these easy solutions don’t work, you’re likely dealing with video adapter issues. If you have a discrete video card, try removing your card and connecting to your motherboard’s integrated video (if it has such capability).
Does your monitor work? Then the video card is the problem. Try updating to the latest driver version available or, if you just recently did that, revert to an old driver. Also check the video card for obvious signs of defect, like a broken cooling fan or charred electronics.
Should the monitor not work when connected to integrated graphics, however, you may have a monitor issue. Check it by connecting to another computer. If the monitor does work with another PC, but not with yours, then you’re probably looking at a hardware fault elsewhere that impacts the video card’s ability to work. Likely candidates include the motherboard, the power supply, and the hard drive.
Overheating Can Cause Windows Black Screen Errors
All computers generate heat. This heat must be removed to keep the system running; high temperatures can cause components to lock-up and become damaged. Fortunately, computers are built to shut down before that occurs.
This will usually result in a featureless black screen, which may or may not be followed by a restart.
In many cases, overheating is caused by the video card or the processor. As noted, you should suspect the video card if you receive a black screen when the computer otherwise appears to be working (the fans are on, the hard drive light active, etc).
If the processor has overheated, the black screen will usually prompt a reboot or automatic shutdown of the PC.
Overheating can often be solved by opening your PC and cleaning out the cobwebs. Use a vacuum to suck up obvious dust (avoiding internal cables, of course) and use a can of compressed air to dislodge stubborn dirt. Also, check that all fans are still working and replace any that aren’t. If the problem persists after these steps, you may have a faulty cooler or flawed video card and/or processor.
Repair a Black Screen of Death in Safe Mode
Hardware and driver issues resulting in a Black Screen of Death can be repaired via Safe Mode.
If your computer is hanging with a black screen, restart the computer and hold F8 or Shift and F8. This should boot the computer into Safe Mode.
Unable to reach Safe Mode in this way? Try turning the computer off then back on again during the Windows splash screen. On the third attempt, the system will automatically boot into Safe Mode.
With Safe Mode running, click the Advanced options button then Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. In the subsequent screen, select option 4, Enable Safe Mode then wait for Windows Safe Mode to start.
Once booted, press Windows + X to open the Quick Link menu, then select Device Manager.
Here, expand Display adapters then right-click the device and select Disable.
Restart the computer to recommence installation of Windows 10. If successful, run a Windows Update to download the latest device drivers and solve the Black Screen of Death issue.
Computer Stuck on a Black Screen? Check the PSU
A faulty power supply unit (PSU) may cause your PC to hang with a black screen.
PSU issues can be difficult to diagnose, and you’ll often come to it simply through the process of elimination. If you’ve checked other hardware and no components are overheating, then the power supply is a likely culprit.
In some cases, the PSU may not even be at fault. Upgrades to power-hungry new video cards or processors can impact the power supply. In short, your computer is not receiving enough power.
You can only know for sure by replacing the PSU. As this is a last resort, work through the other solutions first.
Fix the Black Screen of Death With These Tricks
The black screen of death is usually caused by a software glitch (or Windows Update) but can usually be reproduced and repaired.
Black screens that occur seemingly at random are usually the result of a more serious hardware problem. This will require component repair or replacement. Whatever the case, there is almost always a solution.
Hoping to raise awareness about blockchain vulnerabilities, cybersecurity firm Kudelski Security next week plans to launch the industry’s first “purposefully vulnerable” blockchain – and will demo it at next month’s Black Hat conference.
Kudelski Security’s FumbleChain project is aimed at highlighting vulnerabilities in blockchain ecosystems, according to Nathan Hamiel, head of cybersecurity research at Kudelski.
The flawed blockchain ledger is written in Python 3.0, making it easy for anyone to read and modify its source code, and it’s modular – allowing users to hack and add new challenges to promote continuous learning.
The Kudelski blockchain will be available as both a code download on GitHub and as a demo on the company’s website, allowing testers to play with its features and learn how it works without having to download code.
“For the most part, blockchains aren’t inherently secure,” Hamiel said. “There’s an entire ecosystem around blockchain, just like there is around traditional applications. Quite often you’ll have vulnerabilities that crop up in places that are rather unexpected. What we wanted to do was create this pre-made blockchain, create this educational framework around it so you can learn more about it and more about blockchain security.”
The concept is similar to other open-source projects, such as creating web applications so developers can test their skills attacking them to expose vulnerabilities.
As a write-once, append-many technology, blockchain itself is highly secure, but experts point out the distributed ledger technology does not live in a vacuum. In order to be of use, applications such as cryptocurrencies are embedded into the blockchain – making it vulnerable to certain attack vectors.
At its most basic, the technology is a peer-to-peer-based distributed ledger, or database, organized by a set of protocols combined with a blockchain; in essence, it’s a series of encrypted sets of data that record immutable changes over time. While that may be relatively straightforward, how the technology is implemented can lead to a variety of permutations.
“Like most things, the devil is in the details,” said Jack Gold, principal research analyst at J. Gold Associates. “Blockchain is a specification more than a technology, and a relatively loose spec at that. …There are various ways to implement it…, so if you implement in a insecure fashion, it can be broken.”
James Wester, research director for IDC Worldwide Blockchain Strategies, said he’s often tasked with defining blockchain along with a “basket of technologies” that fall under the general heading of “blockchain,” including tokenized assets, cryptocurrencies, crypto wallets, smart contracts, and self-sovereign identity; all of the latter group are applications or architectures that can run on top of a blockchain network, but are not a native part of the technology.
“It’s possible to have relatively smart discussions about the technology without actually knowing some of those differences, so many semi-informed people don’t even bother to learn the terms and technology,” Wester said.
Both public and private blockchains – ones that require pre-approval to join – are natively secure because they’re immutable (i.e., each record or block is unchangeable and tied to all others), and adding new blocks requires a consensus among users. (How large that consensus must be depends on the blockchain in use; for some, it’s 50%, for others, it’s more.)
The immutability and consensus requirements of blockchains make them natively more secure than most other networking technologies. But, depending on the architecture and who’s running the nodes and where, blockchains are vulnerable to attack, as has been seen time and time again.
While blockchain provides security for the integrity of the data recorded on it, the blockchain alone, without additional technologies or systems, cannot protect against unauthorized access such as a data breach, according to the report from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
For example, a recent “51% attack” on the Ethereum Classic token exchange showed why even blockchain is not impermeable to gaming. A 51% attack refers to a bad actor who gains control of the majority of CPUs in a cryptocurrency mining pool. Such attacks are generally limited to smaller blockchains with fewer nodes, because they’re more susceptible to a single person seizing control based on a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
Cryptocurrency wallets, which store private keys enabling access to bitcoin and other digital currencies, have also been vulnerable to attacks.
“If you’re a company looking to use blockchain – and not just for crypto currency – the amount of time and effort you put into securing the various components of the ledger and process are key,” Gold said.
Data transparency, or the ability for all parties on a blockchain to view transactions, is part of its appeal because bad actors can quickly be identified if they attempt to add unverified data. That transparency, however, can also be a threat. For example, in a settlement or clearing system for financial institutions where confidentiality may be a key component of security, system data transparency is a security risk, the Federal Reserve report noted.
Blockchain, Hamiel said, is a technology steeped in hype that often leads to contradictory claims: advocates praise it and claim it will change the world while “haters” – no matter what problem blockchain does actually solve – refuse to ever adopt it.
“The truth is somewhere in the middle,” Hamiel said. “There are certainly problems blockchain solves, and I think it’s an interesting area that people have a lot of questions about. People are curious about the technology, but they don’t have a way to easily gain access to information about it without spending a lot of time to learn about it. I’m hoping this solves that.”
Have an invitation to a black-tie event in hand and want to be sure you’re properly attired? We’re here to help.
Black tie may be the second-most formal of evening dress codes, but for many people, it’s the most formal they’ll ever need to dress. White-tie invitations are rare unless you’re wealthy, famous, or in politics. But the chances are high that you’ll be invited to a black-tie event at some point in your life.
Never fear! Formal dress codes are often easier to navigate than casual ones, although the clothes are usually more expensive. While terms like “dressy casual” leave room for interpretation, black tie gives you straightforward limitations regarding what you can wear. Keep this guide as a reference, so you can impress everyone the next time you attend a black-tie function.
Black Tie: A Definition
Black tie is sometimes called the “tux” or “tuxedo” dress code because that is what men are expected to wear.
Tuxedos appeared in the mid-19th century, offering a casual alternative to tailcoats. (At the time, even casual wear was much fancier than it is today.) But post-World War I, the Autumn Ball in New York’s Tuxedo Park gave the garment both its name and its fame. The ball had historically been a formal white-tie affair, but the dress code changed to the less-formal tuxedo after the war.
Tuxedos were initially designed to strike a balance between informal lounge suits and highly formal tailcoats. They were first called “dinner jackets,” as they were perfect for informal evening events (the term is still used today).
These days, tuxedos and other black-tie attire are reserved for very formal events, as dress codes overall have shifted toward the casual. You may not need this knowledge often, but it’s valuable to know how to dress to impress at a black-tie function.
When to Wear Black Tie
You’ll never need to wear black-tie attire unless it’s expressly requested. Black-tie events can include:
Black-tie events are sometimes labeled “black tie required” to distinguish them from the less formal “black tie optional.” Other invitations may indicate “black tie preferred” or “black tie requested.” At those events, men should wear a tuxedo (if they can afford one) or a dark suit (if they can’t). However, if you see only “black tie” as the dress code, you should assume that it’s required.
“Creative black tie” is a similar dress code option. This means that you should still follow the rules of black-tie attire, but you can get creative with interesting colors, fabrics, and trends.
At many black-tie events, some guests wrongly interpret the dress code to mean “formal.” Although the hosts will hopefully be understanding when people accidentally underdress, it’s best not to be one of those people—and since you have this guide, you won’t!
Black Tie for Women
The black-tie dress code obviously emphasizes the tuxedo. Women have it a little easier because the same dresses and gowns often work for formal, black-tie, and white-tie events. You should wear a long dress or gown, or a formal cocktail dress.
While floor-length silhouettes are most common, a short-but-fancy cocktail dress will often work for a black-tie event. You might even be able to put together a black-tie look using formal separates, like a long skirt with a nice blouse. However, this is difficult to do without looking overly casual, so it’s best avoided.
Any color will work, although if you opt for white, take care that it doesn’t look too much like a wedding dress (and of course, never wear white to a wedding). Black, other dark colors, and jewel tones are always safe choices.
Even though the dress code is formal, black-tie events can lean toward the more formal or more laid-back. For traditional events, you’ll want to opt for classic designs, but for other occasions—like creative black-tie events—you can have fun with interesting trends in your dress or accessories. No matter what, make sure your dress is well fitted and made with high-quality fabric.
Heels are traditional, but if you can’t or don’t want to wear them for the health of your feet, fancy flats can work. Add jewels, long gloves, clutches, and other formal accessories to elevate your look. Hair can be up or down, and makeup can be anything you want as long as it’s polished.
If it’s cold out, make sure to invest in a formal overcoat, or a nice wrap or shawl. Leave your practical puffer coat at home!
Black Tie for Men
Men don’t have quite as many options as women do here. If the dress code says black tie, you have to wear a tuxedo. But even in a tuxedo, you can express your personal style.
First, there’s the color of your tux. While black is traditional, dark blue makes a great alternative if you want something a little different. White dinner jackets stand out in a crowd and work well in the summer. Different colors and fabrics, and even some patterns, can work for a creative black-tie occasion.
Then there’s the material: a velvet jacket instead of a traditional fabric looks vintage and interesting. You can also choose between different lapel styles, like the structured “peak” or the minimalist “shawl.”
Your trousers should match your jacket with some exceptions. For instance, you should wear regular trousers with a velvet jacket, or black trousers with a white jacket. Make sure to get your tux tailored, including the trousers, so the length and fit are just right. A slim cut strikes the perfect balance between modern and classic.
You’ll typically wear a simple white dress shirt and a black bow tie. Make sure to pick a formal dress shirt with holes for cufflinks—this isn’t your everyday button-down. If the dress code says “creative black tie,” you can wear a black dress shirt, a red bow tie, or some other trendy variation. For a more formal event, you can show a bit of personality with a unique bow tie. However, avoid wearing a white bow tie unless it’s a white-tie event.
Waistcoats (vests) are optional and should match your tux (plain black is traditional, but textured fabrics or other dark colors can add variety). If you don’t wear a waistcoat, you might wear a cummerbund that matches your bow tie, but both are slowly becoming optional for black-tie events. Make sure to wear one or the other for the most formal black-tie occasions, though.
Polished patent leather dress shoes, like oxfords, are a safe choice, but you can also choose more creative options, like formal velvet slippers. Wear dress socks that match your trousers. You should definitely wear cufflinks, but other accessories, like a dress watch or pocket square, are optional. Keep accessories simple and classic.
In the winter, you can also add a formal overcoat to your look. In all seasons, impeccably groomed hair and facial hair is crucial.
For most people, black-tie invitations are relatively uncommon. If you’re lucky enough to get one, take the opportunity to go all out and look your best. By expressing yourself within black-tie rules, you might find that dressing for formal events can be fun.
Some Windows 10 PCs have been rebooting to a black screen after installing the June 2019 cumulative update from Windows Update. This seems scary at first, but luckily there’s a quick fix that will solve your problem.
If your Windows 10 PC reboots to a black screen, just press Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard. Windows 10’s normal Ctrl+Alt+Del screen will appear. Click the power button at the bottom-right corner of your screen and select “Restart” to restart your PC.
It’s unclear what caused this problem—just another issue with a Windows 10 update. But it’s a good reminder that Ctrl+Alt+Del can get your PC out of all sorts of strange states. Ctrl+Alt+Del is good for more than just opening a Task Manager.
If this solution doesn’t help fix a PC with a black screen, here are some other potential solutions:
Forcibly shut down your PC—you’ll lose all work if you do this, but sometimes it’s your only option. To do this, press and hold your PC’s physical power button until it shuts down. Wait a few seconds and then press the power button to turn it back in.
Make sure your keyboard and mouse are connected to your PC and have battery power—seriously! Your PC may just show a black screen if it turns down the display for power-saving mode. There’s a chance your keyboard is unplugged or your mouse lost battery power and your PC can’t receive the input.
In the world of dress codes, the term “formal” has gone through a series of changes over the decades. Here’s what the term entails.
Formal once implied “as fancy as it gets,” suggesting white tie or black tie. But today, if someone expects white or black tie attire, they’ll usually specify that. When the dress code just says formal, it usually means something more like black tie optional.
“Black tie optional” and “formal” are two common, nearly interchangeable dress codes for fancy events. Although they’re a little more relaxed than white and black tie, you’ll want to make sure you don’t accidentally show up underdressed.
Black Tie Optional: A Definition
The word “optional” here means yes, you can wear black tie attire—but you don’t have to if you don’t want to or don’t have any.
Since people today typically don’t own many truly formal clothes, this dress code gives guests some welcome flexibility. The hosts expect you to look your best, but they don’t expect you to run out and buy or rent a tuxedo.
Black tie optional can also overlap with cocktail and lounge attire, but when in doubt, it’s always best to go a little dressier.
When to Dress Black Tie Optional
Your black tie optional clothes will work best for these occasions:
If a dress code for an event isn’t specified, you’re usually safe showing up in nothing fancier than cocktail attire. But if it seems like a classy event, you can play it safe with a black tie optional look.
Black Tie Optional Ideas for Women
Women’s black tie optional clothes include these:
Fancy cocktail dresses
You can make your black tie optional look more or less formal, depending on what you choose to wear. A short dress will look less formal, so if you wear one, make sure it’s fancy. For a safe dose of glamour, choose a floor-length gown instead. A luxe suit also works well for women who prefer to wear pants.
Wear your heels or dressy flats, and don’t be shy with accessories. These are typically evening events, so you can go big with statement jewelry and makeup. This is also an appropriate time for low necklines and glitzy fabrics, as long as the look remains classy.
Fancy touches, like clutches and long gloves, suit a black tie optional look too—but as the name suggests, this level of fanciness is optional.
Black Tie Optional Ideas for Men
Men should wear these to formal or black tie optional events:
White dress shirts
Leave the light linen suits at home, and opt for a color like charcoal or black instead. Similarly, swap out your colored dress shirt for a more formal white one (French cuffs with cufflinks are ideal, but not required). You can also wear a tuxedo if you want.
Keep your tie conservative, in a solid color. Bow ties are also appropriate. Wear shined leather dress shoes and a matching belt, with dress socks to match your suit. Consider accessorizing with a pocket square.
Black tie optional dress codes are meant to save you from the hassle of running out to buy a new, event-specific outfit for a formal occasion. A tuxedo or evening gown is great, but your business suit or cocktail dress will work, too. Show your hosts you appreciate the flexibility by putting together your classiest look with whatever you have on hand.