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Exam Code: S90.19A Advanced SOA Security tricks January 2024 by team

S90.19A Advanced SOA Security

Exam: S90.19A Advanced SOA Security

Exam Details:
- Number of Questions: The exam consists of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions.
- Time: Candidates are given 90 minutes to complete the exam.

Course Outline:
The S90.19A Advanced SOA Security exam focuses on assessing professionals' advanced knowledge and skills in securing Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) environments. The course covers the following topics:

1. Advanced Concepts in SOA Security
- Threat modeling and risk assessment in SOA
- Security architecture and design patterns
- Advanced authentication and authorization mechanisms
- Data protection and privacy in SOA

2. Securing Service Interactions
- Secure service composition and orchestration
- Message-level security and encryption
- Handling security policies and assertions
- Secure service discovery and registry

3. Securing Service Infrastructure
- Securing SOA gateways and intermediaries
- Implementing identity and access management
- Secure deployment and configuration management
- Securing service virtualization and cloud-based environments

4. Advanced Security Governance and Compliance
- SOA security governance frameworks
- Security testing and vulnerability management
- Compliance with industry regulations and standards
- Incident response and security incident management

Exam Objectives:
The exam aims to assess candidates' proficiency and expertise in the following areas:

1. Advanced concepts and principles of SOA security.
2. In-depth understanding of securing service interactions.
3. Proficiency in securing service infrastructure.
4. Knowledge of advanced security governance and compliance in SOA.

Exam Syllabus:
The exam syllabus covers the following topics:

- Advanced Concepts in SOA Security
- Threat modeling and risk assessment in SOA
- Security architecture and design patterns
- Advanced authentication and authorization mechanisms
- Data protection and privacy in SOA

- Securing Service Interactions
- Secure service composition and orchestration
- Message-level security and encryption
- Handling security policies and assertions
- Secure service discovery and registry

- Securing Service Infrastructure
- Securing SOA gateways and intermediaries
- Implementing identity and access management
- Secure deployment and configuration management
- Securing service virtualization and cloud-based environments

- Advanced Security Governance and Compliance
- SOA security governance frameworks
- Security testing and vulnerability management
- Compliance with industry regulations and standards
- Incident response and security incident management
Advanced SOA Security
SOA Advanced tricks

Other SOA exams

S90.01A Fundamental SOA & Service-Oriented Computing
S90.02A SOA Technology Concepts
S90.03A SOA Design & Architecture
S90.04A SOA Project Delivery & Methodology
S90.05A SOA Technology Lab
S90.08A Advanced SOA Design & Architecture
S90.09A SOA Design & Architecture Lab
S90.18A Fundamental SOA Security
S90.19A Advanced SOA Security
S90.20A SOA Security Lab
C90-06A Cloud Architecture Lab

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Advanced SOA Security
Question: 72
Service A is a Web service with an implementation that uses managed code. To perform
a graphics-related operation, this managed code needs to access a graphics function that
exist as unmanaged code. A malicious service consumer sends a message to Service A
containing a very large numeric value. This value is forwarded by Service A' s logic to
the graphics function. As a result, the service crashes and becomes unavailable. The
service consumer successfully executed which attack?
A. Buffer overrun attack
B. Exception generation attack
C. XML parser attack
D. None of the above
Answer: A
Question: 73
Service A retrieves data from third-party services that reside outside the organizational
boundary. The quality of the data provided by these third-party services is not
guaranteed. Service A contains exception shielding logic that checks all outgoing
messages. It is discovered that service consumers are still sometimes receiving malicious
content from Service A. Because digital signatures are being used, it is confirmed that
Service A is, in fact, the sender of these messages and that the messages are not being
altered by any intermediaries. Why do messages from Service A continue to contain
malicious content?
A. Messages received from third-party services are the likely source of the malicious
B. Digital signatures alone are not sufficient. They need to be used in conjunction with
asymmetric encryption in order to ensure that no intermediary can alter messages.
C. Exception shielding logic needs to be used in conjunction with asymmetric encryption
in order to guarantee that malicious content is not spread to service consumers.
D. None of the above.
Answer: A
Question: 74 24
When applying the Exception Shielding pattern, which of the following are valid options
for implementing exception shielding logic?
A. as part of the core service logic
B. within a service agent
C. within a utility service
D. All of the above.
Answer: D
Question: 75
A malicious passive intermediary intercepts messages sent between two services. Which
of the following is the primary security concern raised by this situation?
A. The integrity of the message can be affected.
B. The confidentiality of the message can be affected.
C. The reliability of the message can be affected.
D. The availability of the message can be affected.
Answer: B
Question: 76
Designing security policies with ____________ is an extension of the ___________SOA
characteristic that supports interoperability and avoids_____________.
A. industry standards, business-driven, vendor lock-out
B. industry standards, vendor-neutral, vendor lock-in
C. design standards, composition-centric, vendor lock-in
D. design standards, enterprise-centric, vendor lock-in
Answer: B
Question: 77
The application of the Trusted Subsystem pattern can help centralize access to services.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 78
A service protected from an XML bomb attack will automatically also be protected from
a schema poisoning attack.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 79
A service receives a message containing an XML document that expands to a very large
size as it is processed by the parser. As a result, the service becomes unavailable to
service consumers. The service was subjected to which type of attack?
A. XML parser attack
B. Exception generationattack
C. XPath injection attack
D. None of the above.
Answer: A
Question: 80
An attacker is able to gain access to a service and invokes the service. Upon executing
the service logic, the attacker is able to gain access to underlying service resources,
including a private database. The attacker proceeds to delete data from the database. The
attacker has successfully executed which type of attack?
A. exception generation attack
B. insufficient authorization attack
C. denial of service attack
D. None of the above.
Answer: B
Question: 81
The application of the Trusted Subsystem pattern directly supports the goals of the
Service Loose Coupling principle.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 82
Service A is only authorized to access one service capability of Service B. Service B acts
as a trusted subsystem for several underlying resources which it accesses using its own
set of credentials. Service B can therefore not become a victim of an insufficient
authorization attack initiated by Service A.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 83
The use of derived keys is based on symmetric encryption. This is similar to asymmetric
encryption because different keys can be derived from a session key and used separately
for encryption and decryption.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
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SOA Advanced tricks - BingNews Search results SOA Advanced tricks - BingNews 15 little-known Google Assistant tricks for Android
Google Assistant Android memory

Android Intelligence

Google Assistant's forgotten memory magic

Your Android device has a powerful system for helping you recall almost anything imaginable, but — oh, yes — it's up to you to remember to use it.

Tue, 12 Dec 2023 21:01:00 -0600 en text/html
How To Build Anything With Delrin And A Laser Cutter — Advanced Tricks

Everyone wants their prototypes to look polished, as opposed to looking like 3D-squirted weekend afterthoughts. The combination of Delrin and a Laser Cutter make this easy, especially if you learn a few tricks-of-the-trade that will make your assemply pop, both functionally and aesthetically.

Last time, we took a deep dive into fabbing parts with Delrin and a typical 40-watt laser cutter, and we discussed some of the constraints of the material. More recently, [Gerrit] gave us a close look at the material itself. It’s been about a year since our first post, but the list of tricks is far from complete.

If you’re just getting started in this domain, let me introduce you to two classic techniques for laser-cut prototypes: puzzle-piecing and the T-nut-slotting. While these techniques are tried-and-true, I hope, fearless reader, that they’ll leave you hungry for something cleaner, something more refined. If that’s the case, read on!


the Delrin Rivet Lamp

Rivets offer us a similar feature to screws: they’re great for fastening down two plates together. An added benefit to rivets is that their shaft offers a smoother surface for parts that need to rotate relative to each other. In quantity, rivets are comparable in price to screws, and they offer a different aesthetic appeal, possibly because we don’t see them as often in hobbyist projects. Rivets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I prefer the standard, semi-tubular variant since their top and bottom protrude only slightly from the installed material. With semi-tubular rivets, the exposed bottom mushrooms into a characteristic button feature that we’ve seen on clothing and many-a-hinge in consumer goods. As a heads-up, specifying the rivet length takes a bit of prior foresight into the dimensions of the part. For a back-of-the-envelope calculation, rivets should stick out of the part by about 55% of the rivet diameter [PDF] before they’re crushed.

A word from the wise: rivets are permanent! Unlike screws, rivets are (barring fancy removal equipment) a one-time operation. When working with rivets, we must clearly keep the order-of-operations in mind when assembling our parts together. True story: I have scrapped many parts after riveting two pieces together in the wrong order.


Countersinking offers us two immediate benefits. First, it enables us to put screws into our designs that are flush with the plate. Second, it dramatically cleans up the part’s look and feel. No longer must our screws poke grotesquely from our parts, a pragmatic pimple of necessity.

28653022116_a2c3fd6130_zOn the practical side, flush screws invite us to squeeze together the clearances between parts, saving us space that those otherwise protruding screwheads so eagerly want to take away from us.  In the example on the right, this robot wheel’s tight clearance to the body mandated a flathead screw solution. On the aesthetic side, countersinks are not commonly seen in laser cut prototypes. They make our audience think harder about the how in “how did they do that..” rather than jump the gun and cry “laser cutter!” on our project.

So how does one create such a cavity? Fortunately, Delrin takes to standard metal tooling like butter. For the tentacle mechanism vertebrae shown above, I created the feature with a miniature countersink cage. These tools were designed specifically for the aerospace industry for efficiently riveting planes together on the factory floor. Pro-tip: you can achieve the same effect with a traditional countersink cutter by setting your drill press’ hard-stop nut appropriately.

Heat-Set Inserts

applying heat-set inserts in Delrin at 4x speed

Do you need a thread feature capable of withstanding both heavy loads and repeated screwing and unscrewing? Then heat-set inserts may be for you! Like many other self-respecting thermoplastics, Delrin is a prime candidate for these brass nuggets.

Heat-set inserts do exactly what they sound like: take any thermoplastic with a hole cut to a predefined dimension and stake a hot metal insert into that hole. Let the result cool off and — poof — a resilient thread feature is now permanently embedded in your part! Vendors sell specific insertion tools, but we’ve found that our soldering irons (cranked up to 250ºC) and a pair of steady hands works just as well.

Arm yourself with 3 new techniques

Sometimes, finding new tricks is a matter of opening our eyes to the world around us. Just have a look around. Nearly every consumer product that surrounds us was fabricated in quantities that mandate techniques for mass production. To make these products, designers need repeatable, reliable techniques with predictable outcomes. Rivets, countersinks, and heated inserts aren’t anything new. They’re borrowed from this world. With some careful attention to detail, perhaps you’ll find a few more techniques that lend themselves to laser-cut Delrin. Let us know in the comments! Until then, keep rolling out those prototypes!

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 22:28:00 -0500 Joshua Vasquez en-US text/html
fishing reel

Fishing is generally thought of as a relaxing and laid-back activity, but it still requires a certain amount of physical strength and dexterity. This can be a problem for older anglers or those with physical disabilities. To bring back the simple joy of fishing to those who may no longer be able to hold a rod on their own, [Ozz] has been working on the FISHBOT.

The FISHBOT looks like a miniature crane, complete with an electric motor and winch to pull in the line. But there’s a bit more going on here than meets the eye. Anyone who’s tried to land a large fish knows you have to be cautious of snapping the line, so [Ozz] has added a load cell to the system that can tell when its being pulled too tightly. In the future he hopes to make this feature a bit smarter by taking into account additional variables, but for now it should at least keep the more energetic of your quarry from getting away.

[Ozz] is controlling the beefy 400 watt motor with an IBT-2 H-bridge module connected to an Arduino Mega. The electronics can communicate with the user’s smartphone over a HM-10 Bluetooth module, which allows for more advanced features such as gesture controls that utilize the accelerometer in the phone. Long term, it sounds like he hopes to use the microcontroller in conjunction with the load cell to pull off more advanced tricks like weighing the fish and sending the data off to the user’s fishing buddies to show off.

In the past we’ve seen a drone used to get a lure out where the fish are, but catching one and reeling it back in is a very different challenge. It looks like [Ozz] still has some work to do on this project, but so far it seems things are going well. Being able to return a simple pleasure like this to those who thought their fishing days were behind them will surely prove worthy of the effort.

Continue reading “FISHBOT Reels Them In So You Don’t Have To”

Thu, 07 Jan 2021 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
22 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Try

Google Maps has changed how we navigate the world. Its desktop and mobile apps have become more than just a way to get from point A to B via car, public transportation, or on foot: The ubiquitous Google service is also a geospatial search engine for the world around us.

Google continues to revamp and improve its map product, but there are a ton of customizable tools and hidden functions already baked into Google Maps that you may not know about, such as Incognito Mode. Check out our tips for how to maximize your Google Maps power.

1. We're Doing It Live

screenshots of Search with Live View in Paris

Search with Live View (Credit: Google)

You can get an AR view of the street you're on, if that street is in Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, or Venice. Open Maps, click the camera icon at the top, and hold your phone up to scan your location. You'll get an overlay of all the places you'd see on Maps, so you can easily find restaurants, shops, and more.

Meanwhile, Immersive View for routes, which rolled out in October, gives you a bird's-eye view of your route complete with 3D imagery along the way, whether you're walking, cycling, or driving. Look for it in select cities, including Amsterdam, London, New York, and Tokyo.

2. Inside Access

Google Maps zoomed in to Directory tab on JFK

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Google Maps isn't just for the great outdoors. You can navigate through malls, airports, and other big buildings by finding the location in Maps, clicking on it, then scrolling to Directory. You'll never get lost looking for a Cinnabon again. This feature is available in over 10,000 locations worldwide.

three screens showing how to use Live view

Navigating with indoor Live View (Credit: Google)

Some places even support Live View inside, where animated arrows will guide you around airports, train stations, and malls. It launched in 2021 in the US, Zurich, and Tokyo, and in early 2023, it announced plans to expand to more than 1,000 new locations in Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Paris, Prague, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, and Taipei. Just lift your phone up in a supported region to jump into Live View.

3. Plot Multiple Locations on Google Maps

file path for plotting Multiple Locations on Google Maps

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Rarely do car trips consist of going from point A to B; more often, they are something like A-to-café-to-library-to-Joe's-house-to-B. Thankfully, Google makes it possible to anticipate real trips. To add multiple destinations in the Google Maps mobile app, enter your starting point and your ultimate destination, and then click the three-dot menu in the top-right corner. This prompts a pop-over menu with the option to "Add stop." Click that, and you can create a route with multiple stops. You can even drag and drop stops within your itinerary. (Note that this doesn't work when you're using the mass-transit option.)

4. Customize Your Vehicle Icon

screenshots of changing the car icon that shows up in the google maps app

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

When you're driving, Google lets you choose what kind of car shows up on your navigation in the iOS and Android apps. In the app, plug in your destination and start up driving directions. Tap the icon that shows your current location, and a pop-up menu appears with several car-icon options: a sedan, a pickup truck, or an SUV.

5. 'Hey Google, Where Am I Going?'

google assistant prompts in the google maps app

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

You might want to interact with Maps while you're driving, but you don't want to take your eyes off the road. With "OK Google" voice commands in the Google Maps Android app, you don't have to. For example, if you notice you're running low on gas, say "OK Google, find gas stations," and it will show gas stations on the map (which you can look at when you've come to a red light or pulled over). You can also ask questions like "What's my next turn?", "What's my ETA?", and "How's traffic ahead?" On Android, set up Google Assistant, and you're good to go. (You'll need a phone running Android Version 9.0 or higher with 4GB RAM or more.) On iOS (pictured above), tap the microphone icon at the top-right, then ask your questions via voice.

6. Access Google Maps Offline

screenshot of the download option in the Google Maps mobile app

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Today, Maps is most useful on mobile, which brings up a problem: When you're in need of Maps, you may find yourself somewhere with limited (or—gasp—nonexistent) coverage. To help, Google Maps supports offline access. Type in an address or area, swipe up on the menu at the bottom of the screen, tap the ellipsis icon on the top right, and select Download offline map. If you have enough storage on your device, the map in question will be saved. To access it later, tap your avatar > Offline maps, and you can then get information about businesses in the region and turn-by-turn directions within the downloaded section.

7. Get Your Groceries

Get Your Groceries

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Google has incorporated grocery ordering and pickup functionality into Maps for select brands. Things kicked off a few years ago amid the boom in curbside pickup during the pandemic. That's still an option; in early 2023, Google touted the improvements it's made to the ETA function inside Google Maps for Kroger pickups. But grocery stores can also add a Place an order option to their Maps business profiles. In addition to Kroger stores (which also includes Fry's, Ralphs, and Marianos), it's also available for Albertson's and Fred Meyer locations.

8. Let Other People Drive

screenshot of Lyft options within the Google Maps app and then in the Lyft app

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Ride-sharing services are a big part of the modern transportation mix, so Google added ride options from companies such as Lyft (sorry, no more Uber) to its mobile app. Once you enter your destination, tap the little figure attempting to hail a taxi or the mass-transit option. You'll then be presented with nearby rideshare options, along with the estimated time of arrival and fare. Tap Open App to book your ride.

9. Find Accessible Transit Routes and Locations

screenshot of accessibility file paths in google maps

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Those with mobility issues can search for wheelchair-accessible transit routes by tapping Options > Wheelchair Accessible when looking for train or bus directions. When you get to your destination, meanwhile, the Accessible Places setting offers up wheelchair-accessibility information about that location.

Turn it on via Settings > Accessibility > Accessible Places. "When Accessible Places is switched on, a wheelchair icon will indicate an accessible entrance, and you’ll be able to see if a place has accessible seating, restrooms, or parking," Google says. "If it’s confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we’ll show that information on Maps as well."

10. Change The Font Size

Change The Font Size screenshots

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

If the words on Google Maps are too small to read, make them bigger.

On an iPhone, make sure you have iOS 15 or higher via Settings > General > About. Then go to Settings > Control Center. Under More Controls, you'll see Text Size. Tap the green plus icon on the left, which moves it to the top under Included Controls. Now, open Google Maps and swipe down from the upper right where you see the battery icon. Tap on the Text Size button (an icon of a small A next to a large A). On the bottom, select whether you want to increase the font size on just Google Maps or across all apps. You can then increase the font size with the white bars. Close out of Control Center and your font adjustments should update automatically.

On an Android, you can change the size of the font or display but this is going to be a universal change across all of the device's apps. Open Settings, then select Accessibility. You can make words larger by tapping Font Size and then setting your preferred letter size or change the display size by tapping Display Size and then setting your preferred icon size.

11. Remember Where You Parked

dropping an 'i parked here' pin in google maps

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Remember when the Seinfeld gang spent the whole half hour wandering around a parking garage looking for their parked car? That episode (along with many others) would not work in 2024, thanks to Google Maps.

At your destination, tap the blue location dot, and select Save parking, which adds a label to the Maps app identifying where you parked. On Android, tap that to add details such as the parking garage level and spot or the amount of time left before a meter expires. You can also set meter reminders, add a photo of where you parked, and send your parking location to friends.

To find it later, tap the search bar at the top, and select Parking location (Android) or Saved parking (iOS). Or tap the Driving arrow below, and look for Saved parking on iOS. Google will automatically delete the parking reminder after 8 hours, though you can manually get rid of it by tapping You parked here on the map and selecting Clear (iOS) or More info > Clear (Android).

12. What's the Parking Sitch?

google maps labels about whether parking is busy or not

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Google Maps can provide turn-by-turn directions based on live-ish traffic data, but it can also provide you with a glimpse of the parking situation. When you search for driving directions to a location on iOS or Android, you might see a P logo at the bottom of the screen along with one of three designations: limited, medium, and easy (plus On-site for retailers with large parking lots). This can help you decide how much time you'll need to allocate for parking or even whether another form of transportation would be a better option.

13. Share Your Location

Share Your Location on ios

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Google Maps lets you share your current location with people for specified periods of time. When you share your location with a certain contact, they'll see your icon moving in real time on their map. On mobile, tap your profile icon on the top right, and select Location sharing. Then choose with whom you want to share and for how long. (You may need to first allow notifications from Google Maps in your phone's settings menu.)

14. View (and Delete) Your Google Maps History

screenshot of the settings in the ios mobile app for deleting google maps history

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Google maintains a very detailed record of your digital activities. If you'd rather it lose your Maps data, you can erase it on desktop or mobile. On a desktop, go to Click the hamburger menu, and select Your data in Maps. You'll end up on a page titled Google-wide Controls, where you can go to Location History > See & delete activity. You'll see a map with a timeline of your activity. On the bottom-right of the map, click the trashcan icon to delete all your location history permanently.

As of December 2023, the first time you turn on location history, Google will default you to auto-delete your history every three months. To adjust that, navigate to Click Location History > Choose an auto-delete option, and choose how often Google will delete your data (every 3, 18, or 36 months) or turn auto-delete off completely.

Recommended by Our Editors

On mobile, go to Settings > Maps History, which will bring you to a Maps Activity page. Look for the Delete drop-down menu, where you can opt to delete your history from today, all time, or a custom range. Tap Auto-delete to select a timeframe for when Google will automatically delete Maps data

15. Go Incognito

incognito mode inside the google maps ios app

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

For a quick way to poke around Google Maps without leaving any obvious footprints, go Incognito. Google Maps won't save your browser or search history in your account or send notifications. Your searches and movements won't be added to location history or shared location. And Google won't use your activity while you're in Incognito Mode to personalize Maps. This mode has advantages when you want to peep a location without having it tangled up with your search history, but just as on web browsers, it doesn't make you invisible. To turn the mode on, tap your avatar and select Turn on Incognito mode; the Incognito icon appears in the search bar. Tap it and select Turn off Incognito mode to switch it off.

16. Time Travel With Google Maps

screenshot of the time travel feature in google maps on ios

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Street View has amassed a huge collection of street imagery over the years. In 2014, Google introduced Time Travel, a way for users to see how Street View has changed over time. And in 2022, it expanded from the desktop to mobile. To look back at a particular address, enter Street View and tap anywhere on the screen. At the bottom, tap See more dates. Where available, this should produce a series of photos. Scroll through and select the date you want to see.

17. Add Some Music

screenshot of music settings in google maps

If you've always got Google Maps navigation open while you're driving (or walking), you can add music to your trip without leaving the app. Sync music apps such as Spotify or Apple Music by opening the menu and navigating to Settings. On iOS, tap Navigation > Music playback controls to connect Apple Music or Spotify. On Android, tap Navigation settings > Assistant default media provider, where you can link a number of music-streaming services, including YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Deezer. Once you do, a pop-up to your app of choice should appear as you're driving for a quick tap to get your music started. Be sure to create your playlists beforehand so you can keep your eyes on the road!

18. Find Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations

screenshot showing how to search for EV charging stations on Google Maps

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

More and more electric vehicles (EVs) are taking to the road, and Google Maps is adapting. You can search "EV charging" or "EV charging station" in Google Maps, and it suggests the best station for you based on traffic conditions, your charge level, and the expected energy consumption. You can filter by types of plugs, and if you're in a rush, you can select Fast Charge to find the charging stations with the most voltage. If you use Android Auto in an EV, meanwhile, it will no longer show gas stations.

19. Request Fuel-Efficient Routes

fuel efficiency settings in google maps

(Credit: Google/PCMag)

Want to make sure that next road trip is fuel-efficient? Turn on this setting in Google Maps and the app will prioritize fuel- or energy-efficiency over other factors like real-time traffic and road conditions. "So besides showing you the fastest route, it will also show you the most efficient one, even if they aren't the same," Google says.

Go to Settings > Navigation / Navigation settings and toggle Prefer fuel-efficient routes to on. Here, you can also tell Google Maps your engine type: gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid. Google will then serve up routes based on that engine type to help you save fuel.

20. Find Safe Drug-Disposal Locations

Find Safe Drug Disposal Locations

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Google Maps is doing its part to fight the opioid crisis with a search tool to help users find safe drug-disposal locations. Type "drug disposal" into the search bar to pull up pharmacies, medical centers, and local authority locations where you can safely dispose of excess pills.

21. Share Your Favorite Places

screenshots of creating a list and sharing that list within the google maps ios app

(Credit: PCMag/Google)

Google Maps lets you share some of your favorite places with a friend. Just tap the share icon on the location's Google Maps card to send it to them via text, email, or your app of choice. Save favorite places by tapping the Save icon; they then show up in the Saved option in the menu bar.

If you want to share more than one favorite location, you can create a Pinterest-like list within Google Maps. When you save a favorite place, tap New List to create a collection (like "Thai restaurants in Brooklyn") or add it to an existing collection. You'll find them in the Saved tab under Your lists; tap the three-dot menu and then Share List to send a link to friends.

22. Become (or Consult) a Local Guide

Think you know your neighborhood better than Google's algorithm? Then consider becoming a Local Guide. Although anyone can leave reviews and tips in Google Maps, being a Local Guides allows you to earn points for leaving more insights and data, which—as you go up the ladder—can result in "rewards and early access to new features," Google says.

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Sat, 30 Dec 2023 10:01:00 -0600 en text/html
Strategy Tips and Tricks Blackjack_odds

These can be tricky for a new blackjack player, as they have their own special rules (when it comes to doubling down, hitting, and standing). Soft hands are any hand with an ace with which the player can choose between 2 totals (for instance, A-4 could be either 5 or 15).

The player should hit a soft 13 through 17 if the dealer is showing 7 or higher. If the player has a soft 13 through 17, only double down when the dealer shows a 5 or 6.

Most of the time, the player should stand on a soft 18, although if the dealer is showing 9, 10, or A, the Player should take a hit. With the soft 18, always stand versus a 2, 7, or 8, and double down against a 3, 4, 5, or 6.

No matter what the dealer is showing, the player always should stand on a soft 19 or higher.

Finally, if the dealer holds a 2 and the player has a soft hand, do not double down.

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 00:21:00 -0600 text/html
Tips and Tricks for Fully Leveraging Advanced Flow Cytometry

Scientists use complex cell-based assays to predict clinical success in drug discovery research. However, these techniques require the assessment of numerous parameters, such as cell viability, immunophenotype, and cytokine secretion, by employing multiple analytical instruments. Advanced flow cytometry simplifies the drug discovery workflow by measuring these parameters simultaneously within a microplate’s well, which reduces sample volume requirements, processing time, and cost.

Download this article from Sartorius to learn about 

  • The advantages of using advanced flow cytometry for drug discovery research
  • How the advanced flow cytometry workflow differs from the traditional workflow
  • How new data analysis tools and automation further improve advanced flow cytometry-based drug screening
Wed, 12 Jul 2023 13:22:00 -0500 en text/html
Puppr Review: Teach Your Dog New Tricks

I came across Puppr during its recent feature as Apple’s App of the Day and decided to give it a try. The app is a simple and fun instructional tool for teaching your dog new behaviors and tricks. Since I’ve been staying with my parents for the last couple of months, I decided to take it for a spin doing some training with the family dog.

Puppr’s Home view consists of a scrolling list of categories for dog lessons. You can start simple with the ‘New Dog’ or ‘Basics’ categories, but it quickly ramps up from there. Each category consists of a series of behaviors or tricks, and tapping one opens its details view. Within this view you can see a brief video of the trick in action with a real dog. There’s also a difficultly rating, a description, and a badge for whether it’s safe to teach this trick to puppies. Each trick includes a status dropdown which you can use to note that you’re in progress of teaching it to your dog, or that your dog has mastered it.

Below the details you’ll get into the steps to teach the trick. Tricks are broken down into a series of steps that ramp your dog up to the full trick. Each step includes a brief, informative instruction on what its goal is and how exactly to perform it. Instructions break down when you should add in verbal cues to the tricks, and when you should click your clicker.

A clicker, if you haven’t used one before, is a tool for training dogs which literally just makes a loud click sound when you press it. You can use your own clicker if you have one, but Puppr actually comes with one built into the app that you can use as well. The clicker is a large button in the center of the bottom tab bar which causes your device to emit a clicker-like sound. Make sure to turn your volume up so that your dog can clearly hear it.

Rather than human user profiles, in Puppr you can create profiles for dogs. Each profile lets you enter a name, age, breed, and picture. The app then keeps track of which tricks you’ve taught, or are in the process of teaching, to each of your pets. The profile tab also features a list of badges which you can earn over time. I haven’t paid much attention to this, but if you’re getting serious about dog training then the badges can be a fun way to keep the habit up (badges accrue for things like training multiple days in a row or teaching certain numbers of tricks).

My family dog — Gracie the Australian Shepherd — already has her basics down from previous training, so I wanted to try out something more difficult. I found a category of tricks called “Circus” and started teaching her “Hooped Arms.” This is a trick where you form a hoop with your arms and have your dog leap through it.

I took some videos of the process to show Gracie’s progress, which was surprisingly rapid following Puppr’s excellently laid out steps. First I placed my hand against the wall close to the floor and had her jump over that:

Once Gracie was consistenyly jumping over my straight arm, I moved onto step 2. This time I made a hoop against the wall and had her jump through it:

Finally, I moved away from the wall entirely and had her jump through a midair hoop:

Gracie’s still not quite as fluid as the dog in the Puppr video, and she doesn’t appreciate when I try to raise the hoop to my waist level, but we’re getting there. She knows the trick now, and just needs some more practice to smooth it out and start jumping higher. Overall, I was very impressed by how easy and straightforward it was to teach something that looked quite complex using Puppr’s instructions.

Not every trick will go as easily as this one, which was only rated at 2 out of 4 bones (the app adorably rates with bones instead of stars) in difficulty. That said, many of the more advanced tricks build on skills taught in easier ones, and Puppr calls this out. For example, in Puppr’s tips section for Hooped Arms (tips can be found at the bottom of each trick) it mentions that your dog might struggle to get its back legs through the hoop. If this is the case then you should try teaching the simpler “Orbit” or “Back Up” tricks in order to improve their rear end awareness. Tips like these are extremely valuable to me as a complete amateur in dog training. Gracie didn’t have that particular problem, but if she had then I wouldn’t have known how to approach resolving it without the app’s advice.

Puppr is a free app on the App Store. There are quite a few tricks available (including the Circus pack that I used) entirely for free. If you want to try some of the paid ones, you can unlock all current and future lesson packs via a $13.99 in-app purchase, or you can buy packs individually for a smaller price. The app offers a service called Puppr Premium as well, which is a $12.99/month or $99.99/year subscription (with a 7-day free trial). Puppr Premium unlocks all current and future lesson packs, and also gives you access to a live chat service with Puppr’s trainers where you can ask them questions about any issues you might be having while training your dog.

The app also features a ‘Puppr Shop’ tab which includes Amazon Affiliate links to various training treats and equipment, as well as other dog-related products. This provides another nice way to support the app if you like it, and links to some good options if you aren’t sure what to purchase for your pet.

Mon, 11 Jan 2021 07:53:00 -0600 en-US text/html
26 Hidden Roku Tips and Tricks for Streaming Success

You probably want a streaming device for your TV, whether you're a cord cutter or not. Roku is a popular choice, particularly as it ramps up its own original content.

Roku devices offer plenty of variety and portability, from the budget Roku Express to the feature-packed Roku Ultra. Whichever one you have, there's more to know beyond the basics. Here's how to get more out of your streaming device.

Our Top-Rated Roku Devices

1. One List to Rule Them All

TV with detail page for House of the Dragon showing Add to Save List feature

(Credit: Roku)

You have watchlists for all of your streaming apps, which means you have to scroll and scroll when you want to find something to watch. Instead, you can save everything to one universal list with a Roku. Use the Roku OS to search for the shows and movies you want to watch, and on the details page of each, select Add to Save List. Find the list by going to the Roku home screen and selecting What to Watch.

2. Pick Up Where You Left Off

Have you ever wanted to resume watching a movie or show where you left off, but you've forgotten which streaming service it was on? Just go to the Roku Home Screen, click What to Watch, scroll to Continue Watching, and it'll be listed there.

3. Watch Free Movies and Shows on The Roku Channel

Video-streaming services are great, but the majority aren't free. With The Roku Channel, you can sign in and access those premium channels (including Max and Netflix)—but the channel also offers free access to thousands of movies and TV episodes, if you can handle a few commercials. Roku has been adding more original content as well. Go to The Roku Channel, and scroll down to the Live TV Channel Guide for hundreds of choices. You can also watch in the Roku app, whether you have a Roku device or not: Just download it, sign in or create an account, and start streaming.

4. Search Thousands of Channels at Once

Roku search screen

(Credit: Roku)

Instead of searching every Roku channel individually to find what you want, search across them with Roku Search. Enter your search term via the Roku remote, Roku mobile app, or via voice search, and you'll see results from over 4,000 channels. Search by title, actor, or director, and you'll get a comprehensive list. Similarly, use Roku Search to compare the costs of streaming content: Type in a movie, show, or star for a list of available titles and the prices for each across channels and services.

5. Get in the Zone

roku zone screenshot

(Credit: Roku)

Roku Zones are collections of movies and shows from across channels that are organized by genre or topic. Go to search, type in a search term such as "comedy," and scroll through the zone that pops up. Roku added a Live TV Zone for quick access to live TV streaming services like Hulu, fuboTV, Philo, Sling, and YouTube TV, to name a few. 

6. Photos as Big as Life

TV displaying photo of people hanging out at night under a string of lights

(Credit: Roku)

If you want to get a closer look at your photos or share them with a group, you can add Google Photos to your Roku. Go to, sign in (you may have to verify your email), and you'll see a link to connect to Google Photos.

7. Turn Your Phone Into a Roku Remote

Roku app on remote function

As great a device as the Roku is, navigating via the remote could be a better experience. To get around that, download the Roku Official Remote Control app (iOSAndroid), and get the benefit of a keyboard, easy searching, and streaming from your phone or tablet.

8. Talk to Your Roku Remote

That said, you could always talk to your Roku directly with a Roku Voice Remote Pro, Voice Remote, or the Roku mobile app. On the remotes, press either the microphone icon and hold down as you speak your request. On the app, select the magnifying glass to get to the search page, then tap the microphone, let it go, speak your request, and tap the middle of the screen.

9. Ask Alexa or the Google Assistant

adding roku to alexa screenshots

Connecting Roku to Amazon's Alexa (Credit: PCMag/Amazon)

If you have an Amazon Echo and a Roku, ask Alexa to control your Roku. First, you'll have to link both accounts by opening the Alexa mobile app, selecting Skills & Games, and searching for Roku. When you find it, tap Enable to Use, sign in to your Roku account, and select the Roku device you want to link (or Select All if you have more than one).

Close your Roku account, and Alexa will search for the device on the Device Discovery screen. Once it's found, tap Manage, Link Devices, and select the Roku you want to connect to Alexa. Then add the Roku to a group by selecting the Devices icon. Either add it to an existing group or create a new one by tapping the plus button. In the Alexa app, tap on the Roku device, and make sure it is enabled. Then you'll be able to use commands such as, "Alexa, open Netflix on living room Roku."

You can also use Google Assistant to make voice requests. First, check that your Roku player is running Roku OS 9.0 or higher or that your Roku TV has Roku OS 8.2 or higher. Set up your Google Assistant on your Google device or app. Open the Google Assistant mobile app, tap Explore > Settings > Home Control > Add Device > Find > Roku. Sign in to your Roku account and then choose which device you want to control with Google Assistant.

10. Find That Lost Remote

speaker grille on the back of the roku remote pro

Speaker grille on the Roku Remote Pro (Credit: Will Greenwald/PCMag)

The Roku remote is easily lost in couch cushions and under coffee tables. If you've spent far too much time hunting for it, we have some solutions.

  • If you have a remote with a speaker grille, open the Roku app, tap the microphone, and say, "Hey, Roku, find my remote." The remote will emit a beeping noise.

  • If you have a Roku Ultra, long-press the button on the right side of the device, and the remote will emit a beep.

  • If the remote you've lost is the Voice Remote Pro, say, "Hey, Roku, find my remote," and it will start beeping.

  • To stop the beeping noise once you've located your remote, press any button on the remote.

To change the noise your Roku remote emits when it's lost, open the Roku app on your TV and go to Settings > Remote > Change Remote Finder Sound. To hear what it sounds like, click Preview Remote Finder Sound.

11. Make Your Roku at Home(Kit)

For iPhone and iPad owners, Roku devices support AirPlay and HomeKit, so you can send videos, photos, and music from your device to the TV and supported speakers. Set it up in the Roku menu by navigating to Settings > Apple AirPlay & HomeKit > Launch Apple AirPlay & HomeKit setup. A QR code will pop up. Scan it with your iPhone or iPad's camera and follow the instructions on your Apple device to finish setup. HomeKit, meanwhile, lets you control your Roku using Siri and the Apple Home app ("Hey Siri, play jazz on the living room TV").

12. Let Siri and Roku Chat

Three screens with Siri Shortcuts process described below

Your Roku and iPhone can work together, with Siri acting as the interpreter. The Roku iOS app has Siri Shortcuts that let you control your Roku with your voice. Open the app on your phone, tap the account icon at the top right, and select Siri Shortcuts. You can turn on the ability to open the Roku remote, play or pause Roku, search Roku, and turn a Roku on and off for certain models. Click on each option to keep the suggested phrasing or come up with your own commands.

13. Roku Screen Mirroring

With AirPlay enabled, you can mirror your iPhone or iPad screen via the Control Center to Roku, though most Roku devices support screen mirroring from Android and Windows devices too. To hook it up, press the Home button on your Roku remote, then go to Settings > System > Screen Mirroring. You’ll have the option to choose between Prompt or Always Allow.

14. Practice Casting

If you prefer Google's Cast technology, you can send music, videos, and photos from mobile devices to most Roku-connected devices easily as long as both are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Open the content you want to share on the device, and look for the cast icon. Click it, and you should see all available Roku devices pop up in a menu.

15. Automatic Volume Leveling

How many times have you been lulled into somnolence by a show only to be jolted awake by a commercial? On most Roku models, you can turn on Leveling, so a commercial or a channel change doesn't result in a spike in volume. You can also choose to have soft sounds increased and loud sounds decreased with Night mode.

Turn on the feature either from Settings, if you have a Streambar or Smart Soundbar, or while streaming with other Roku devices. For Streambars and Soundbars, press the Home button on the remote and go to Settings > Audio > Volume Modes. For other devices, press the star button on the remote and navigate to Sound Settings > Volume Mode.

16. Use Roku Private Listening

Roku Voice Remote Pro with wired earbuds plugged in

Roku Voice Remote Pro (Credit: Roku)

When you want to watch something on your Roku without disturbing those around you, use Private Listening. The Roku Voice Remote Pro, Enhanced Voice Remote, and Gaming Remote include built-in headphone jacks; just plug in and keep watching. Or download the Roku mobile app, connect your headphones to your device, and tap the headphones icon.

17. Save That Screen

roku screensaver options

(Credit: Roku)

Maybe you paused whatever you're watching and walked out of the room. Or you fell asleep, and now the Roku logo is bouncing around your screen like the flying toasters of yore. Give yourself something nicer to look at with Roku's screensavers. Click the Home button on your remote, then go to Settings > Theme > Screensavers.

Recommended by Our Editors

18. Get Your Game On

Roku games

(Credit: Roku)

It's not a Nintendo Switch, but your Roku is still in the game. Hit the Home button, go to Streaming Channels > Games, and you can go retro with Snake or go on a sugar-fueled rampage in Candy Bear. The Roku Enhanced Gaming Remote with Voice Search supports motion-control gaming.

19. Move the Apps on Your Roku Home Screen

Roku displays channels in the order in which you add them, but you can move them around. Find the app you want to move, press the star button on your Roku remote, and select "Move channel" from the pop-up menu. Use the directional pad to move it to the desired location.

20. Say What?

Roku remote with replay button circled

(Credit: Roku)

If you missed those last few lines in a show or movie, there's a quick way to catch up. Set up instant replay by going to Settings > Accessibility > Captions Mode and selecting On Replay. Then, when you hit the Instant Replay button on the remote, you'll also get the text on the screen.

21. Stream Your Own Stuff Via Plex

family sitting on a couch navigating the plex interface on a TV

(Credit: Plex)

Though Roku offers a ton of different channels and things to watch, you'll probably still want to access your locally stored content on your TV. Sign up for Plex Pass ($4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, $119.99 for a lifetime), and you can. Plex organizes your scattered content and lets you watch it from tablets, TVs, phones, and more; you can record and watch live broadcast TV, too.

Download the Plex app. Then install the Plex channel on your Roku, launch it, then go to Log in and enter the code from the Roku Plex channel on the website.

22. Tap Into Live TV Streaming Services

Cable Alternative or Streaming Channels > Watch With Cable

(Credit: Roku)

New live TV services are popping up regularly to meet your sports and Hallmark movie needs. To see what's on offer, click the Home button on your remote, and go to Streaming Channels > Cable Alternative to log into services including Sling and Hulu, or go to Streaming Channels > Watch With Cable to log in with a pay TV provider, such as Comcast or Spectrum. You can also go to the Roku Channel, scroll down to the Live TV Channel Guide, and flip through hundreds of channels without paying for any of them. That includes NewsOn, which streams local news broadcasts from outlets nationwide.

23. Show Your Team Spirit

screen for a Maryland Terrapins vs. Ohio State Buckeyes game

(Credit: Roku)

You can follow your favorite sports teams on Roku by going to the Home screen on your device, scrolling down to Sports, doing a search for an upcoming game, going to that page, and then selecting the heart icon next to your team's name. That will create a My Favorites row under Sports with all upcoming games.

24. Cloud DVRs

A number of live TV streaming services offer cloud DVR, meaning you can record live TV and access your shows later via the service's Roku app.

  • If you have an antenna to watch live TV, you can record it with a device like the Tablo TV. Set it up, download the app to your Roku, and you can watch, pause, and record.

  • YouTube TV subscriptions come with a cloud DVR that holds an unlimited number of hours of programming for nine months.

  • Sling TV customers get 50 hours of free DVR storage. Upgrade to DVR Plus for 200 hours of storage starting at $5 per month.

  • DirecTV Stream comes with a cloud DVR that holds 20 hours of content for nine months.

  • Included with Hulu with Live TV is the ability to record unlimited live news, sports, shows, movies and events, which are saved for up to nine months.

  • Philo subscribers can save anything that streams to the service's included DVR for a year.

  • fuboTV provides subscribers with a DVR function that can be set even partway through a show's airing to capture the entire thing. How much is stored depends on your plan.

25. Be Our Guest

roku guest mode

(Credit: Roku)

Your guests can make themselves at home by accessing their Roku settings without disturbing yours. All you have to do is enable Guest Mode (previously Auto Sign Out Mode). Go to, set up a PIN, and then press the Home button on the Roku remote. Go to Settings > System > Guest Mode > Enter Guest Mode. Then enter your PIN and select OK. When guests come to stay, direct them to the Roku guide on using Guest Mode

26. Stay Up to Date

To get the most out of your Roku, you should install the latest software version. The device generally handles this on its own, but if you've recently added a channel, or your Roku has been disconnected for a while, you might have missed an update. In that case, you can update manually by going to Settings > System > System Update.

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Wed, 27 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Tips and Tricks in the Dermoscopy of Pigmented Lesions

Results and Discussion

Examination Techniques

Types of Dermoscopic Devices The majority of doctors who perform dermoscopy begin their evaluation of melanocytic nevi with manual dermoscopes, which allows for the direct visual inspection of the lesion and helps in avoiding possible distortions of colour, structures and edges of the lesion in question – all while transmitting this data to a computer. Research conducted by Seidenari et al.[2] confirmed that the type of equipment used does not influence the identification of specific dermoscopic features. However, smaller magnifications used for archiving the lesions may decrease the quality of images.[2]

Immersion in Non-polarized Light or Evaluation in Polarized Light? Immersion is routinely used for the dermoscopic evaluation of melanocytic nevi in order to increase the translucency of stratum corneum and the visualization of dermoscopic structures (Figure 1a and b). It reduces the reflection of light from the skin's surface and enhances the transparency of the stratum corneum. The result is that the visibility of pigment-containing structures in the epidermis is largely enhanced. This is also true for the clarity of the image of the dermo-epidermal junction and the upper dermis.[3] The most common immersion fluids in dermoscopy are synthetic oil, ultrasonographic gel, alcoholic disinfectants or, simply - water. Ultrasonographic gel seems to be the best immersion fluid - it is inexpensive, efficient, and ensures a good adhesion of the dermoscope to the lesion - making it possible to analyse not only flat melanocytic nevi but also those of verrucous type, possessing crypt-like depressions. When using USG gel, less pressure is required to obtain a better visibility of the vascular structures within the lesion. Furthermore, the gel facilitates dermoscopic revision in difficult-to-access regions such as the flexures of extremities and interdigital spaces. Ultrasonographic gel assures appropriate immersion while avoiding any staining on the dermoscope's optical systems (as well as patients' garments) while being rather inexpensive.[4] ECG gel should be avoided, as it may leave permanent stains on the dermoscope's optical system, especially on its rubber elements.

Figure 1.

ab. Dermoscopic image of melanocytic nevus in non-polarized light source without immersion (Figure 1a) compared to non-polarized light source with immersion (Figure 1b).

Nowadays, polarized light dermoscopes in which immersion is not required are becoming more and more popular. Dermoscopic structures such as milia-like pseudocysts, comedo-like openings, bluish-grey homogenous areas, peppering-like, white-bluish structures with regression and brightly-coloured areas - all these can now be better visualized as compared to detection and revision with the use of non-polarized dermoscopes. The latter ones, it must however be said, are effectively better in assessing vascular structures and red areas. Non-polarized dermatoscopes are also more effective in showing pigmented lesions (increased melanin deposition), and blue nevi.[4,5] In order to combine the benefits of both types, dermoscopes with dual light-sources (non-polarized and polarized) have now been designed. In some cases, the dermoscope is used without immersion (so-called dry dermoscopy), for example in assessing the skin of the scalp, vellus or terminal hair, or in the case of examining dermatoglyphs or sweat glands in the palms and feet.[6]

Inspection of all Lesions or Only Those "Ugly Ducklings"? A common mistake is to limit dermoscopic assessment only to lesions clinically suspicious or pointed out by a patient as an "ugly duckling". Although the "ugly duckling" is usually a sign typical of melanoma,[7] all existing melanocytic lesions must undergo dermoscopic evaluation, regardless of their location and size. According to Bono et al. melanomas are more frequently diagnosed among minor melanocytic lesions (less than 3 mm in size) than among those of greater diameter, which usually spark more concern among patients.[8,9] So-called "micromelanomas" in the form of foci measuring less than 3 mm in diameter constituted 2.4% of all examined melanomas (22 of 924 cases of primary foci of melanoma).[8] In a further study using the same test group,[9] melanoma was diagnosed in as many as 23 of 206 pigmented lesions of a diameter less than 3 mm. Compared to a clinical examination of pigmented lesions smaller than 3 mm in diameter (sensitivity for the detection of melanoma 43%, specificity 91%), dermoscopy shows a much higher sensitivity for the diagnosis of melanoma (83%) and lower specificity (69%) than clinical examination.

The classification of atypical nevi proposed in 2009 by Marghoob et al.[10] includes patterns of melanocytic nevi of the "Beauty and the Beast" type, emphasizing the assessment of overall symmetry of colour and form as a means of distinguishing benign (also dysplastic) nevi from melanoma.[10] Melanomas can display one of the "Beast" structures such as anatypical network, globules and dots, streaks (radial streaming or pseudopods), eccentric blotches, a blue-white veil, a negative pigmented-network, regression structures and abnormal vascular formations. Among atypical nevi of the "Beauty" type, cases of the so-called "wolf in sheep's clothing" have been observed, where a seemingly benign nevus in fact proves to be a melanoma.[10]

The "4 × 4 × 6 rule" postulated by Zalaudek et al.[11] is meant to support the clinicians' memorisation of basic dermoscopic patterns of nevi, along with all other factors influencing specific dermoscopic patterns. Four dermoscopic criteria affect the evaluation of melanocytic nevi. These are: colour (black, brown, blue, grey), pattern (globular, reticular, starburst and homogeneous blue), distribution of pigment (multifocal, central, excentric and uniform) and specific location (face, acral volar skin, nail plate, mucous membrane) and 6 factors affecting the dermoscopic pattern (age, skin phototype, medical history of melanoma, UV exposure, pregnancy and dynamics of growth). It is not only the dermoscopic pattern, but also the circumstances and factors influencing its formation and evolution that determine proper therapeutic management. These factors have been discussed in detail in a recent paper by Zalaudek et al..[11] In the dermoscopic assessment of melanocytic nevi, the dermoscopic pattern is often related to the patient's age, as well as the location and duration of the nevus. Among children younger than 11 years of age, the globular pattern is most common, especially on the trunk, while the reticular pattern can more often than not be found on the extremities.[2] In the case of patients above 15 years of age, reticular and homogeneous patterns prevail.[12] Thus, the reticular pattern, typical for junctional nevi usually induced by exogenous factors such as exposure to UV radiation,[13] is more often observed on sun-exposed areas.

In the assessment of patients with melanocytic nevi, consideration of the patient's "nevus type" may be helpful.[14] This "nevus type" refers to the typical (prevailing) pattern of the patient's nevi. More suspicion should be directed against nevi not consistent with the prevailing pattern of nevi ("nevus type" of the patient). Only the evaluation of all nevi allows us to define the "nevus type" of the patient examined.[14] A nevus may often look more suspicious among people with a very fair phototype, when a light-rose colouring is observed with a central hypopigmentation and numerous vessels, frequently resembling dots. However, after finding more nevi following the same initially suspicious dermoscopic patterns, the examiner becomes reassured, because in fact it reflects the patient's typical "nevus type" (Figure 2a, b and c). As Zalaudek et al.[15] have demonstrated, while the above described pattern is more frequently observed among people with fair skin phototype (Fitzpatrick phototype I), central hyperpigmentation and nevi of dark-brown colouring are more prevalent in people with darker skin (phototype IV). And while the reticular pattern is more common among people with darker skin complexion, it is also dominant in adults with all skin phototypes.[15]

Figure 2.

abc. A profile of melanocytic nevi: right thigh, woman, age 30, skin phototype I, red hair. Dermoscopy reveals light-brown colour with shades of pink, central hypopigmentation and numerous dotted-type vessels.

Additional Dermoscopic Tests

The Adhesive Tape Test the "Ugly Duckling Sign" and Black Lamella Doctors are frequently concerned about the presence of dark (brown or black) homogeneous areas involving the central part of a nevus called "black lamella", characteristic of the so-called dark nevi (Figure 3a). This lamella corresponds histopathologically to a cornified layer containing large amounts of melanin granules and, after careful removal, a reticular area typical of the acquired nevi becomes more visible. The adhesive tape test facilitated in the diagnostic process is to confirm that the "ugly duckling sign" is only temporary. The test involves the repeated sticking of adhesive tape to the lesion, and then tearing it gently off, which results in the removal of the central hyperkeratotic black lamella[15] (Figure 3b). We suggest that, in case of verrucous nevi with crypt-like depressions filled with yellowish hyperkeratotic masses, a 5% urea cream be applied to the lesions for several days before dermoscopy – this in order to dissolve the keratin mass.

Figure 3.

a. Dermoscopic image of melanocytic nevus prior to adhesive tape test. b. Dermoscopic image of melanocytic nevus following adhesive tape test (pigment network is more visible, black lamella has been torn off).

The Ink Furrow Test Diagnosis of Acrally Located Pigmented Lesions Melanocytic lesions of the hands and soles may be divided into four major patterns, which are associated with the characteristic distribution of melanocytes, reflecting the anatomical structure of the skin in these body parts:[16–18]

  • The parallel furrow pattern: a darker colour runs along the sulci; this is the most common pattern of acrally located benign melanocytic lesions (Figure 4),

  • The fibrillar pattern: the pigment is distributed along numerous fine lines which cross the sulci

  • The lattice-like pattern: this is characterized by the presence of bands of pigment, distributed parallel and transverse to the sulci

  • The non-typical pattern: one in which no characteristic features can be defined; this type however, is not equivalent to the so-called multicomponent pattern

Figure 4.

Dermoscopic image of acral melanocytic nevus with typical parallel furrow pattern.

Melanocytic nevi showing the parallel furrow or fibrillar pattern are predominantly located on the foot, in which case a regular parallel distribution of skin markings is observed. However, as a rule, these nevi rarely affect the arch of the foot.[19] Additionally, the fibrillar pattern of melanocytic nevi indicates a predilection for the load bearing areas of the foot.[19] The lattice-like pattern is mainly found on the arch area of the foot.[19]

Other patterns have also been recognized, among them the parallel ridge pattern – in which the pigment is arranged along the crista, as opposed to the parallel furrow pattern. The parallel ridge pattern is mainly to be found in melanoma in situ or in the early stages of invasive acral volar skin melanoma. The parallel ridge pattern shows a high specificity (99%) in the detection of melanoma of acral volar skin, especially in its early stages.[16] Among less common patterns, there is also the globular pattern – in which pigmented globules present a regular distribution inside the nevus. Apart from this, there is also the homogeneous pattern in which a homogeneous area of light-brown to dark-brown colour is predominant with blue pigmentation, and the reticular pattern, which is similar to a basic reticular pattern typical of melanocytic nevi and ranging from light-brown to dark-brown colour. The transitional pattern combines a brown to dark-brown pigment network with a parallel orientation of pigment bands. In clinical trials, the most common pattern of acral melanocytic nevi was the parallel pattern (42–50%), lattice-like pattern (12–15%), the reticular pattern (15–20%) and atypical pattern (ranging from 10–13% up to 65% of all investigated melanocytic nevi).[17,18] Other patterns of melanocytic nevi observed included the fibrillar (10–38%), homogeneous (9–13%), globular (5–20%) and reticular pattern (2–40%).[17,18] The transitional pattern had been noted in 1.8% of cases.[17]

The pigment of the acral nevi is mainly located within the furrows of skin markings (the parallel furrow pattern), whereas melanoma shows pigmentation on the ridges (the parallel ridge pattern).[16,20] Sometimes, it is not easy to distinguish the location of the pigment, whether it concerns either furrows or ridges, and this makes the diagnosis of a pigmented lesion much more difficult. In doubtful cases, Braun et al.[21] recommend a simple ink furrow test. This in turn will make it easy to evaluate whether the melanin pigmentation follows the ink lines (the benign pattern) (Figure 5) or if the pigmentation is located between these ink lines (the malignant pattern). The ink furrow test is both simple to apply and readily available. Liquid ink (e.g. from a fountain pen) should be applied onto the skin and left for a few seconds to allow the ink to penetrate the furrows. The excess ink should be wiped off using a cotton swab. The subsequent cotton swab wiping will only remove the ink from the skin overlying the ridges. The furrows will retain the stain and become clearly visible for dermoscopic examination in the form of thin, ink-stained lines.[20] According to Uhara et al.,[22] staining with liquid ink from a fountain pen sometimes shows a fuzzy image because the ink can be easily removed from the furrows by wiping. Therefore, the authors propose using whiteboard marker pens containing alcohol-based ink.[22]

Figure 5.

Ink furrow test: the ink settles in the sulcus, which correlates with the dispersion of the dye in a mild case of melanoma.

The Scraping Test in Diagnosing Lesions of Parallel Ridge Pattern

Hematoma or Melanoma? The dermoscopic pattern of subcorneal hematomas bears a stark similarity to melanoma. The parallel ridge pattern is to be observed in up to 40% of hematomas[23] (Figure 6). Ishihara et al.[24] suggests that this parallel ridge pattern - a band-like pigmentation on the ridges of the skin markings, is highly specific to melanoma in situ on acral volar skin (on the palms and soles). In this study, the authors examined 22 acral melanocytic lesions which showed the parallel ridge pattern in dermoscopy - 20 of these were diagnosed as early melanoma in situ.[24] A dermoscopic examination of hematomas usually reveals reddish-black homogeneous areas, often accompanied by satellite globules.[24] In doubtful cases, a scraping test is pivotal for the confirmation of hematoma. The test is easy to perform and involves the gentle scraping off of the stratum corneum of the epidermis with a sterile scalpel or needle, which results in a complete or partial removal of the pigmentation in the parallel ridge pattern – a feature characteristic for vascular lesions, which is not observed in pigmented ones.[24] Figure 7 presents a typical subcorneal hematoma, which partially disappeared after the scraping test.

Figure 6.

Dermoscopic image of subcorneal hematoma of the feet shows typical parallel ridge pattern.

Figure 7.

a. Macroscopic image of subcorneal hematoma. b. Dermoscopic image of hematoma after scraping test- homogenous brownish masses are visible.

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