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TweakTown News Posts - Page 25

Microsoft Cortana will be available on iOS, Google Android devices

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 14, 2015 12:20 am

Benefiting from its "Einstein" artificial intelligence project, Microsoft plans to roll out the Cortana personal assistant offering to Apple iOS and Google Android devices. Cortana has been available on Windows phones for about one year, and a desktop version will be introduced with Windows 10 later this year.

 

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Microsoft has altered its strategy in recent years, providing its services on non-Windows PCs, laptops and mobile devices - trying to integrate products to the more popular Android and iOS mobile platforms. However, Microsoft wants Cortana to go beyond Siri's capability, using AI to help with enhanced speech recognition, along with better machine learning to adapt to a user's behavior.

 

"This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame," said Eric Horvitz, managing director of the Microsoft Research team, in a statement to Reuters. "We're defining the competitive landscape... of who can provide the most supportive services that make life easier, keep track of things, that complement human memory in a way that helps us get things done."

United States steps up to send more drones to Ukraine

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 11:15 pm

The Ukrainian government will receive Humvees and small aerial drones from the United States, as part of a $75 million non-lethal aid package. It is unknown how many drones will be sent, but 30 heavily armored Humvees and 200 standard vehicles will be provided.

 

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Specifically, Ukrainian forces will receive the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven drone, a small hand-launched unit capable of flying at 500 feet altitude and up to 6.2 miles. The drones will be used for surveillance, defense of ground troops, and to improve radio communications for soldiers fighting suspected Russian-backed separatists.

 

"This new assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine's defense and internal security operations and resist further aggression," a senior Obama administration said, in a statement published by the Washington Post.

Continue reading 'United States steps up to send more drones to Ukraine' (full post)

YouTube adds support for 360-degree videos

By: Chris Smith | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 11:14 pm

Ready to have your mind blown? YouTube has now added videos that allow you to spin the camera around in any direction whilst they are in full swing - full 360-degree support.

 

 

If you're using Google's Chrome browser, you can click and drag on these specialty videos in order to look where you please - the YouTube Android App also has this support but unfortunately nothing is said for iOS, Firefox or any other method you may use.

 

According to Anjali Wheeler, the project lead, these type of videos eat up as much as 5 times the amount of bandwidth as seen with normal YouTube videos, meaning that the quality is limited at this stage in order to save us all some headaches. However, there are options to bump up the quality a bit yourself, as long as your internet can handle it.

 

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Continue reading 'YouTube adds support for 360-degree videos' (full post)

1 in 5 drivers unable to avoid using their smartphones while driving

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 10:35 pm

Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents believe it's dangerous to read and write text messages while driving, but 18 percent admit they are unable to "resist the urge" to use their mobile devices, according to a survey conducted by Bovitz and the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for the Digital Future.

 

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Not surprisingly, millennials tend to use their smartphones more often while driving, with 17 percent admitting they do so, while seven percent of 35-54-year-olds text while driving.

 

"People are admitting that it's dangerous to text and drive, but it's still a behavior that people cannot shake," said Jeff Cole, founder and director of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, in a public statement. "Large majorities recognize the dangers of texting while driving, but we found disturbing differences in actual behavior based on age."

Continue reading '1 in 5 drivers unable to avoid using their smartphones while driving' (full post)

Ransomware threats evolving, targeting admins and gamers alike

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 9:15 pm

Ransomware attacks, using customized malware, are victimizing a wider number of PC users across the world, cybersecurity experts warn.

 

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There have been a number of new ransomware strains discovered in recent weeks, including the CryptoFortress malware which successfully encrypts files over network shares.

 

"These new capabilities of Cryptoware change the threat landscape for all server and network administrators and it is even more important than ever to properly secure your shared folders with strong permissions," said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. "Between increasingly sophisticated phishing emails and exploit kits on compromised websites, users need to be trained to recognize threats with effective security awareness training."

Continue reading 'Ransomware threats evolving, targeting admins and gamers alike' (full post)

NPD: PlayStation 4 regaining control, outselling Xbox One in February

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 8:35 pm

The Sony PlayStation 4 outsold the Microsoft Xbox One in the United States throughout February, according to numbers compiled by The NPD Group. In addition, hardware sales enjoyed "high double-digit increases" month-over-month, showing "increasing momentum for this new console generation."

 

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Even though Microsoft reportedly had "record February sales in the US for Xbox One and 84 percent more consoles cold compared to January 2015," it wasn't enough to keep pace with the PS4.

 

Neither Sony or Microsoft provided public sales figures, so it's unknown how big of a margin Sony had over its US competitor. Earlier in March, Sony boasted that it has sold 20.2 million PS4 units since the console's launch two years ago - becoming its fastest-selling console of all time.

Swatch CEO says company adding tech functionality to its watches

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 7:10 pm

Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch plans to include smart functionality into a select line of products, but doesn't want to necessarily compete with Apple and other smartwatch makers. Instead, the company wants to pick select features to include in its "Swatch Touch" products - and leave other manufacturers to develop full lines of smart devices.

 

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The company already accounts for 18 percent of total watch sales, according to industry studies, and doesn't want to be left behind as consumers look at smartwatches. Swatch wants to utilize near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth connectivity with its devices, hoping that wireless payments could be introduced later down the road.

 

"We are the world champions of integrating smart functions into a watch," said Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch, in a statement published by Reuters. "We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist. Others can do that."

Robotic space explorers getting smarter, more autonomous

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 5:00 pm

Researchers are looking for new methods to make robots more autonomous, as NASA launches missions on distant planets and moons. Communication between ground operators and robots would take hours even at the speed of light, so robots need to be fairly autonomous. Researchers want robots to be able to identify and avoid danger, while figuring out where to travel on their own.

 

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The Red planet of Mars pushes the boundaries of how humans are able to control robots, and anything further presents more logistical problems. It would be ideal for robots to be able to accurately detect the physical environment and analyze unique points that could be further studied by researchers.

 

"The amount of data is a problem. You can't be streaming HD video from Mars all the time, live, down to Earth," said Yogesh Girdhar, postdoctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in a statement published by Space.com. "The same thing happens underwater. There are no radio waves. Because of salt water, you can only use an acoustic modem."

Brain Sentry wearable sensors will continue to be used by AFL football

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Health Technology | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 4:20 pm

The Arena Football League (AFL) will continue to use Brain Sentry wearable sensors located inside of player helmets, able to collect vital information about physical impacts. As part of a subscription package, sports teams and leagues are able to receive new sensors each season, with Brain Sentry engineers improving injury prediction technologies.

 

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The sensor is able to estimate direction, peak acceleration and duration of impacts, while also being able to track head acceleration from any point. The integrated sensor battery doesn't need to be recharged and can last an entire season, able to turn on and off after motion is detected.

 

"The health and safety of our players is our highest priority," said Scott Butera, AFL Commissioner. "Our partnership with Brain Sentry allows the League to be on the cutting edge of concussion research, protocol, and management."

Continue reading 'Brain Sentry wearable sensors will continue to be used by AFL football' (full post)

Attending SXSW? Don't bother trying to bring your drone with you

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 3:35 pm

People heading to Austin for South by Southwest are urged to have fun, but drone flights have been banned over the festival. The decision was made after event organizers spoke with drone experts, user groups, municipal authorities and aviation safety experts, according to a press release by SXSW.

 

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The event kicks off today and runs through March 22, with an interactive festival, film and music venues planned for the popular event.

 

"While SXSW may make exceptions to this policy if the drones are used within certain trade show areas where safety measures, such as tethering to the ground are implemented, the airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the SXSW event to ensure operation safe from interference," according to the SXSW press release.

Continue reading 'Attending SXSW? Don't bother trying to bring your drone with you' (full post)

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