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August 14 2017

anwenwilson

Facebook expands its video offering in a bid to complete with TV

Facebook has made its biggest move to date to compete in the television market by expanding its video offerings with programming ranging from professional women's basketball to a safari show and a parenting program.The redesigned product, called "Watch," will be available initially to a limited group in the US on Facebook's mobile app, website and television apps, the company said. The world's largest social network added a video tab last year, and it has been dropping hints for months that it wanted to become a source of original and well-produced videos, rather than just shows made by users. Reuters reported in May that Facebook had signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to produce shows, both scripted and unscripted. "We've learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos," Daniel Danker, Facebook's product director, said in a statement on Wednesday.Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that Watch would allow users to "chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community." Facebook said the shows would include videos of the Women's National Basketball Association, a parenting show from Time Inc and a safari show from National Geographic. Facebook is already broadcasting some Major League Baseball games and that would continue, the company said.

ATTN said on Wednesday it had two original series coming to Facebook Watch: a health program with actress Jessica Alba and a relationship advice show. Eventually, the platform would be open to any show creator as a place to distribute video, Facebook said.

The company, based in Menlo Park, California, faces a crowded market with not only traditional television networks but newer producers such as Netflix and YouTube as well as Twitter and Snap.

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August 10 2017

anwenwilson

What to know about Guam, the US territory targeted by North Korea

North Korea's state-run media reported the country is "carefully examining" plans to attack the U.S. territory of Guam on Wednesday. The plans include using medium- to long-range ballistic missiles.

The threat is unsurprising for the more than 160,000 people who live on the small island, roughly the size of Chicago, in the western Pacific Ocean. Guam is the largest and most southern island in the Mariana island chain. Part of Micronesia, Guam lies about 3,800 miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii. Dededo is the most populous village on the island. Dell Contact Number The indigenous people are referred to as Chamorros and are considered U.S. citizens by birth. However, residents of the colony do not pay U.S. income taxes or vote for president. In addition to having their own popularly elected governor and a small legislature, Guam sends a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 1980s, the residents of Guam wanted to become a commonwealth on par with Puerto Rico, but their efforts failed.

The island was claimed by the Spanish in 1565 and became a U.S. territory in 1898, after the Spanish-American war. Japanese forces briefly occupied the island from 1941 to 1944, but the United States recovered it in 1944. In 1950, the island became Dell Helpline an unincorporated territory of the United States.

Guam is home to several bases for U.S. armed forces, including the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. A defense system is already in place, -- the U.S. Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD -- which protects the island by shooting down ballistic missiles. It is the closest U.S. territory to North Korea.

August 09 2017

anwenwilson

Why is Google spending record sums on lobbying Washington?

Figures released last week show that Google spent a record amount of almost $6m lobbying in Washington DC in the past three months, putting the Silicon Valley behemoth on track to be the top corporate lobbying spender in the US. Last year it ranked No 2, behind Comcast. Given the increased antitrust scrutiny that is coming from the Democrats’ new “Better Deal” policy platform, Donald Trump’s random tweets attacking Google’s fellow tech giant Amazon for its connection to the Washington Post, and his adviser Steve Bannon’s recent comments that Google and Facebook should be regulated as utilities, it is likely Google will only increase its lobbying expenditure in the next few months. The largest monopoly in America, Google controls five of the top six billion-user, universal web platforms – search, video, mobile, maps and browser – and leads in 13 of the top 14 commercial web functions, according to Scott Cleland at Precursor Consulting.As the controversial Trump-supporting PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel points out, companies like Google don’t like to advertise this fact. They “lie to protect themselves”, Thiel says. “They know that bragging about their great monopoly invites being audited, scrutinized and attacked. Since they very much want their monopoly profits to continue unmolested, they tend to do whatever they can to conceal their monopoly – usually by exaggerating the power of their (nonexistent) competition.”

For years, banks, oil companies and defense contractors dominated the Washington lobbying business. Because controlling government regulation and government contracts was key to their business success, shareholders saw the expenditure Norton Customer Service UK of millions a year on lobbyists and political contributions as an unavoidable cost of doing business.When the federal government began pursuing Microsoft for antitrust violations in 1992, the Seattle software giant was caught off guard. It had almost no presence in Washington and spent almost no money on lobbyists.

That soon changed. For its part, Google, as it began to assert its domination of the search advertising business, started to take steps to ensure it had a strong presence in Washington. In 2002, Google spent less than $50,000 on lobbyists; 10 years later it was spending more than $18m a year.

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August 08 2017

anwenwilson

WannaCry hero heads into Tuesday hearing as the security community crowdfunds his defense

Over the weekend, the security community raised legal funds for Marcus Hutchins, the researcher famed for stopping the spread of the malware known as WannaCry. Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, was arrested by the FBI last week for his alleged role in disseminating Kronos, a banking trojan that first wrought havoc in 2014. With a hearing set for Tuesday in Wisconsin, Hutchins’ many supporters have rallied to donate toward covering his legal costs. The fund was set up by Symantec Cybersecurity Czar Tarah Wheeler and the tech law firm of Tor Ekeland. “While we as a community do not know all the details about the charges against [Marcus Hutchins] (since few details have been published at this time), we acknowledge that all people have a right to legal defense and counsel in the United States when accused of a crime,” Wheeler wrote in a message that accompanies the donation page.

TechCrunch has reached out to GoFundMe for comment on its refusal to host Hutchins’ defense fund.

Hutchins faces an array of charges that include creating the Kronos code — sure to be legally murky territory — and offering it for sale on AlphaBay, the illicit online market shut down in a major bust last month. The young researcher pled not guilty to the charges in a Las Vegas court on Friday and is set to appear tomorrow in Wisconsin, the state where the charges were filed.

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anwenwilson

Deception tech helps to thwart hackers' attacks

The camouflage techniques of one unit active in North Africa, which on one occasion consulted a stage magician about the way he fooled audiences, proved decisive in several key battles. And the biggest deception of all was Operation Fortitude which fooled the Nazis about where the D-Day landings would actually take place.The same principles of deception and misdirection, albeit on a much smaller scale, are now starting to be used by some organisations to thwart malicious hackers keen to establish a bridgehead on internal networks. "It's a classic idea of warfare to prevent the adversary from having a real understanding of your reality," said Ori Bach from deception technology firm Trapx. "It's just like the Allies in WWII. They made fake tanks, fake air bases, fake everything."

And just like those ersatz weapons of war, the fakes implanted on a network look just like the real thing.

A honey pot is a computer that resembles a typical corporate server to the automated tools that many hackers use to scour the net for targets. Many large security firms set up lots of individual honey pots, he said, to gather intelligence about those tools and the malware being used to subvert them.

But, said Mr Stewart, the problem with honey pots is that they are passive and only involve a few separate servers. By contrast, deception technology is generally used on quite a grand scale so any attacker that turns up has little clue about what is real and what is fake.Typically, said Mr Stewart, the spoofed network will be made to look more attractive to hackers by seeding the real network with "breadcrumbs" of information that lead to the fake network.

These tantalising chunks of data hint at all kinds of goodies that hackers are keen to steal, such as payment data, customer details, login credentials or intellectual property. But, instead of leading attackers to data they can sell, it leads them down a deep confusing hole that gets them no closer to that elusive, valuable data they crave.

He added that as soon as they start following the crumbs and interacting with that fake network, everything they do is recorded. That intelligence can be hugely useful, said Mr Stewart, because it involves what attackers do after their automated tools have got them a toehold on a network.

"The initial intrusion was probably done with something that was just spammed out," he said and, as such, would be spotted and logged by many different defence systems.

"What's much more interesting is the second stage persistence tools."

Organisations rarely get a look at these, he said, because once an attacker has compromised a network they usually take steps to erase any evidence of what they did, where they went and what software helped them do that.

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August 03 2017

anwenwilson

Tesla posts steep loss but beats expectations

Tesla posted another big loss for the second quarter as it stepped up spending for the launch of its first mass-market long-range electric car.But as massive as the loss of $336 million, or $2.04 a share, reported Wednesday might appear, it came in lower than analysts had expected. S&P Global Market Intelligence said analysts had projected the loss would come in at $437 million, or $2.38 a share. The loss was up 1.8% from $330 million in the same quarter a year ago.Investors are encouraged that Tesla appears to be on track to eventually cash in on its $35,000 Model 3 electric car, which joins two luxury models costing at least twice as much. Despite the high rate of spending, investors drove Tesla shares up 7.6% in after-hours trading to $356.52. The company recorded revenue of $2.8 billion, also outpacing S&P projections of $2.5 billion. "I really think this is probably the best I’ve ever felt about the company," CEO Elon Musk said on a conference call, calling it "an incredible milestone" and saying he was thrilled with early positive reviews and orders for the Model 3.Musk and Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja warned in a letter to investors that Model 3 production "will be tiny" in the third quarter, underscoring the gradual start in manufacturing capacity for the mass-market vehicle.But the company said it's receiving 1,800 net new reservations per day for the car. Musk said the company had accumulated 455,000 net reservations over the last year and a half, below the 500,000 he had estimated off-hand during a media event Friday. The company handed the first 30 units of the Model 3 to employee buyers at Friday's gathering. After Tesla acknowledged poor production quality on early versions of the ultra-luxury Model X crossover, investors are watching closely to see how quickly the company can begin making the Model 3 at scale.

Tesla expects to make 1,500 Model 3 units in total during the third quarter and end the year at a pace of 5,000 per week. Production will reach 10,000 per week by the end of 2018, Musk said. "People should have absolutely zero concern about" that objective, Musk said. Still, the car won't be available to non-employee buyers who ordered it in early 2016 until the last three months of this year. And anyone who places a refundable deposit for the Model 3 today won't get it for 12 to 18 months, the company has said. "We wish we could do all of this faster and get everyone’s Model 3 to them right away," Musk and Ahuja said in their letter, but they emphasized the need for quality as the company's Fremont, Calif. factory slowly gears up.

To speed up manufacturing, the company said it "significantly" reduced complexity on the Model 3, which is available in only 100 different configurations, compared to more than 1,500 for the Model S sedan. "We aspire to learn from the mistakes of the past and I think we largely have," Musk said.

In the second quarter, Tesla delivered 22,026 vehicles, up nearly 53% from a year earlier despite a shortfall in certain battery packs during the period. The company projected growth in sales in the second half of the year. Musk also said the company would triple the number of charging stations meant for intercity travel, called "superchargers," by the end of 2018 and claimed the company's sales per square foot in its stores are the highest in the retail industry.

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anwenwilson

Black holes lurking at the centre of galaxies could kill stars

The Universe looks very different today compared to how it looked 12 billion years ago. Galaxies once ‘hotspots’ where billions of stars were created are now cosmic graveyards, and exactly what killed these stars has been a mystery until now. Research published today says these galaxies stopped making stars because of black holes lurking at their centres.Astronomers at the University of Iowa studied a few of these galaxies that are still star-making factories, known as dusty starburst galaxies, and found quasars at the centre of four of them.Quasars are extremely bright sources of radio waves, which are powered by disks of matter rotating around supermassive black holes.Stars survive by burning hydrogen gas as fuel, and when this runs out they start to die. The team’s paper argues these quasars are the reason these dusty starburst galaxies became extinct, by ejecting gas far away from the galaxies and starving the stars of their fuel. “The surprising part of the finding is that, although the new ALMA observations located these quasars right at the centres of dusty starburst galaxies, these quasars look the same as other quasars living in normal galaxies,” Hai Fu, assistant professor at the University of Iowa and the paper's first author, told WIRED.Quasars should not be detectable in dusty starburst galaxies because the light would be absorbed, or blocked, by the dust and gas churned up by the process of star formation.

Fu added: “The starburst galaxies hosting these quasars look the same as other starbursts that don't appear to host quasars.” This means, Fu says, there may be a quasar at the centre of every dusty starburst galaxy, it just cannot be seen. In these particular galaxies where they have been spotted, the researchers think the quasars are peeking out from deep holes, a vacuum free of debris that allows light to escape its cloudy surroundings.

"It's a rare case of geometry lining up," says Jacob Isbell, the paper's second author. "And that hole happens to be aligned with our line of sight."

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August 01 2017

anwenwilson

How the first global university venture fund hopes to change the world

The world's first global university venture fund was founded in 2015 to connect major investors, startups and academics to develop commercially viable technology that addresses challenges around climate change, health, sustainability, education, or security.These areas often overlap, as is the case with growing urbanisation, which the United Nations estimates could result in a worldwide slum population of 3 billion people by the year 2050. Sustainable growth in cities links to many other challenges, so solutions will be sought that bring them all together. Future Planet Capital's recent investment in PragmatIC is an example of this convergence. The Cambridge-based company produces tiny, sticky microchips that can make anything a smart object. It can be used to document the entire food sourcing chain in the developing world, where 30-40 percent of agricultural produce is wasted before it gets to market. This increases sustainability, but can also impact health, security and climate change by ensuring food safety, ethical labour practices and production efficiency. The company began life as a Manchester University spin-out and later relocated to Cambridge Science Park. It's attracted customers including consumer goods giant Unilever, and investment from Fortune 500 packaging company Avery Dennison and Japanese telecoms corporation SoftBank, which acquired chip designer ARM Holdings for more than US$32 billion in 2016."We think that's got a revolutionary impact," says Future Planet Capital founder Douglas Hansen-Luke. "You've got one of the world's biggest chip designers as an investor, you've got one of the world's biggest packaging [companies] as a customer and you've got the brains of Cambridge University and Manchester to combine. Then it's putting itself in the right place." Future Planet Capital introduced them to a major facilities management company in Britain, who are looking to expand their tech platform and start connecting products to the people in their network. They can act as an early customer and provide them with pilots and resources to develop their product. Other companies in their portfolio include clinical genome diagnoses Congenica, and Alphabet Energy, a Berkeley University spin-out technology that converts waste heat into electricity. Congenica has attracted interest from Beijing Genomics, China's largest DNA tester. Alphabet Energy has had conversations with General Motors as its technology can be attached to a car exhaust to reduce fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent.

Future Planet Capital is helping bring both to the Middle East, because the region is particularly impacted by both rare diseases and emissions reductions.

How Future Planet Capital works

Hansen-Luke has worked with large institutional investors for the last 20 years, most recently for Dutch asset management firm Robeco. He founded Future Planet Capital after analysing why institutional investors were consistently missing out on investing in lucrative startups.

“More than half the value on the American Stock Exchange over the last 20 years has come from tech companies or knowledge companies, but sovereigns have failed to really get in there early," says Hansen-Luke, who was a Conservative Party parliamentary candidate at the 2015 general election.

"We worked with them on designing the best way to invest in innovation."

The innovation fund does this by connecting sovereign funds such as the Oman Investment Fund and recently-launched British Innovation Fund with startups at leading universities, with whom it has developed investment partnerships. They include Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tsinghua University in Beijing, the alma mater of the last two presidents of the People's Republic of China.The university system adds a support network to the ingenuity that strengthens the chances of successes.

"Universities are pretty much the source of inventiveness," Hansen-Luke explains. "Depending on which university it is, they can also be quite good at commercialising it. To us, it seems silly to take lots of risk on startups which don't have a university connection."

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July 31 2017

anwenwilson

Is the tech boom at an end? London VCs aren't worried

The tech startup bubble may be over — though mega-deals suggest there's life in VC funding yet.A report from KPMG has revealed the number of venture capital deals has continued its "gentle" slide, down seven per cent from the first quarter of this year to the second and down by a quarter from last year.Investment is up 55 per cent this quarter to $40 billion from $29.5 billion the previous quarter, but that's been boosted by a handful of "mega deals" over $500 million including a record $5.5 billion raised by Didi Chuxing. The quarter saw the largest number of unicorns created in two years, with 16 firms valued over $1 billion. But even with such cash splashing around, funding is still down 14 per cent versus the same quarter last year, sparking  Asus Customer Service Uk  suggestions the tech startup boom has busted. Don't panic, says Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures. "First, it's worth stressing that according to these figures, Q2 2017 was the fourth biggest quarter for UK venture funding in the last decade," he told WIRED. "So rumours of decline are greatly exaggerated, and arguably there's been a massive 40 per cent rebound since Q4 of last year." Instead, it may be getting tougher for early-stage startups. "What does appear to be happening is a 'flight to later-stage' - the number of deals has roughly halved since 2014, whilst the amount of capital has remained about the same," Briggs said. There's still plenty of cash to go around, for those with proven ideas, at least.Why the flight to later-stage funding? Briggs suggests two explanations. "There is still a massive glut of capital managed from London — but unfortunately much of that capital is looking for high yield at low risk, which means piling into the companies that already seem like winners, in the B rounds, C rounds and later rounds," he said, which is why so much money is pouring into the likes of proven startups such as Deliveroo and Transferwise.Beyond that, the apparent slide in deals and funding is merely the cyclical nature of technology. At the beginning of a cycle, funders favour smaller, earlier-stage firms, and as a given technology matures and potential "winners" emerge, larger piles of cash collect around a few companies.

"Arguably we are now in the late stage of the cloud computing, mobile, [and] social cycles, which generated vast numbers of startups, because of the low barriers to entry — there will still be more winners, but the big battles have mostly been won by the likes of Tencent, Facebook, Didi, Uber, Spotify, Salesforce, etc." As new companies emerge with fresh technologies — Briggs names AI, blockchain and synthetic biology — the funding focus will again shift to early-stage startups.Rob Kniaz, ‎founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, argues there never really was a bubble, particularly in Europe. "I think the later stage pre-IPO valuations in the US were bubbly, but that's slowly deflating as the Blue Aprons and Snaps go public and valuations creep down to more sane levels," he said. "Europe hasn't really had that inflation ever so we don't see downwards trends anywhere like what you'd see in the US." The KPMG figures suggest the number of deals slid to a six-quarter low, down 40 per cent from its peak in 2015.

Kniaz was particularly positive about London, which saw the number of deals fall but posted record investment helped by Improbable's leap into unicorn status. He said the capital "remains resilient", while Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, says his firm still saw plenty of opportunity. "Total amount invested in the UK is holding steady year over year," he added.

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July 27 2017

anwenwilson

Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch: a fishy remix, but still great fun

Splatoon 2 is something of a conundrum. While ostensibly a full sequel to the surprise hit team shooter released for Wii U back in 2015, at times it feels more similar in approach to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.Like Deluxe, released for Nintendo Switch in March 2017, Splatoon 2 can seem like a glorified spit and polish, taking an already great game that many missed due to its Wii U exclusivity and repackaging it for the far more popular Switch. To be fair to Nintendo, the approach works – Deluxe is now seen by many as arguably the definitive Mario Kart, and it's racked up 2.1 million sales in just three months. Hoping for a similar response to Splatoon's successor is understandable.

The difference is that Deluxe, with its improved battle mode and all original DLC included as standard, was framed as a refresh. Splatoon 2 pitches itself as a continuation of the ink-spraying Dell Customer Service original but at times doesn't quite feel like there's enough content to justify that generational leap.For instance, step into the hub area of Inktropolis for the first time and, aside from a few new stores where you'll eventually upgrade weapons and customise your shapeshifting squid avatar, you'll find effectively the same layout as the Wii U version. Similarly, controls are almost exactly the same, though this in itself is no bad thing. Shifting between humanoid Inkling and fully squidified forms remains as simple and intuitive as ever, and aiming and moving using the Joy-Con's motion sensing – while mechanically the same as waving the the Wii U's gamepad around – feels more precise than in the first game, allowing more accurate shots.

In multiplayer – which we've only tested in controlled beta tests, and will be updating this review to reflect performance under real world conditions – Splatoon 2 offers the same four modes as the previous entry. Turf War continues to be the main event, where teams battle to cover the most territory in their respective colour ink, while Splat Zones (fight to control specific areas), Tower Control (seize a moving, automated tower and fend off enemies until you reach their goal) and Rainmaker (escort a totem to a goal point at the enemy team's base) all return. There are some tweaks that high level players will notice, and the latter three modes are now ranked individually, but there are few real surprises.That's not to say there are no improvements or fresh additions to the game. In particular, the single player Hero Mode gets a massive and much-needed overhaul. While still essentially a training mode to prepare players for the rigours of online competitive play, it refines and improves on its predecessor with larger maps, inventive and uniquely challenging bosses, and hidden background material to unlock.

anwenwilson

Munich's startup scene: Our pick of the city's new and innovative companies

It is hard to be Berlin's rival: only 11 per cent of German startups are based in Munich, whereas the capital has 31 per cent. Yet Bavaria's largest city remains a major economic hub for European business. Many corporations, including BMW, Siemens and insurance firm Allianz, are headquartered in the city. These firms foster startups with investment and programmes."We usually think that these corporations are old-fashioned, but in Munich they seem really interested in inventive ideas," says Franz Glatz, managing director of co-working space and incubator WERK1. Mobility, insurance tech, biotechnology and the internet of things are startups' sectors of choice.Munich-based companies benefit from good infrastructure, Norton Support Number UK proximity to an international airport and access to graduates from top universities such as the Technical University of Munich and Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. On the flip side, living costs are expensive by German standards. It costs about €1,000 (£846) a month to rent a one-bedroom, city-centre flat. This means that labour is expensive, too. "It's partly why Munich finds it hard to attract investment," Glatz says. "Even Munich-born investors often go elsewhere."The top five startups in Munich

Tado°

Tado is Europe's Nest. It specialises in smart thermostats and cooling products and has partnerships with UK-based energy companies.

Founded: 2011

Investment raised: €50m

Founders: Christian Deilmann, Leopold von Bismarck and Johannes Schwarz

Riskmethods

Riskmethods offers a cloud-based system to monitor risk in a business's supply chain and act as an early warning system for managers.

Founded: 2013

Investment raised: £18m

Founders: Heiko Schwarz and Rolf Zimmer

ProGlove

Supported by Intel, GETTYLAB and Bayern Kapital, ProGove has developed smart gloves designed for use in industrial settings. The gloves have a built-in scanner which sends data wirelessly to a software solution, allowing easy tracking of goods through packing facilities and factories.

Founded: 2013

Investment raised: £1.1 million

Founder: David Levine

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anwenwilson

Spark Kids By the Clever Toys

Gone are the days when Lego was enough to cure childhood curiosity. From toys that teach kids about the principles of robot construction and coding, to paper planes you can pilot, WIRED selects the smartest educational toys in the box.At last: a paper plane you can pilot - just download the PowerUp app, reach for your Google Cardboard and enjoy a different view of the world. PowerUp has engineered an 80g paper-aeroplane motor with  Asus Customer Service  a built-in wide-angle camera, microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity with a range of 92 metres. Tilt your head to control its movements, and - depending on the design - your sheet of 120gsm can reach speeds of up to 32kph. £199 YouTuber Daniel Perdomo has taken the classic 70s video game and turned it into a real-world proposition. With no previous technical knowledge - the paddle controllers are made from old hard drives and engineering principles picked up online - Perdomo and his team have made the virtual tangible, without diminishing the game's appeal. $tbc

Maglev Model Train

The concept for the magnetic levitating train dates back to 1902; the first commercially usable track opened in Birmingham in 1984. While we're all waiting for the hyperloop to take the idea to the next level, here's a small-scale version for your kids to play with. Build your own smooth-running, high-speed maglev track (above), albeit one that fits in your living room. $tbc

July 26 2017

anwenwilson

I busted ghosts at hyperrealistic VR arcade The Void

I'm standing on an unstable scaffolding platform in downtown New York, wind blowing on my face and a proton gun firmly clutched in my hand. Two colleagues in identical uniforms with identical guns pace nearby inspecting the building’s cornice and the pavement some twenty metres below. Suddenly, it happens: carved stone gargoyles start shuddering and thrashing. They spring up with a screech and a flutter of wings. A frenzied proton-gun-versus-flying-monster battle ensues. Over the next ten minutes, my teammates (which included an Uber driver called Rocky) and I bolt from the scaffolding to a cosy apartment before landing on top of a skyscraper, squaring off with a swarm Windows Support Number of purple poltergeists, a villainous Victorian ghost and a demonic marshmallow giant.Nothing of this really happened, of course. New York City, the ghosts, and the gargoyles all existed within the Ghostbusters Dimension experience at The Void, the “hyperrealistic” virtual reality centre in Lindon, Utah. Still, when I walk out of the VR arena, and, with visions of burning marshmallow still etched on my retinas, remove my headset, I can barely shake off the feeling of being through a real Ghostbusting training day.Co-founded in 2015 by entrepreneur and developer Ken Bretschneider with former stage magician Curtis Hickman and creative developer James Jensen, The Void company has pioneered the introduction of a multitude of technological innovations, rapidly establishing itself as an unicum in today’s VR landscape.


 The firm advises "players" come in pairs, which for a non-local like myself proved tricky. While taking an Uber over to Lindon, some 35 minutes from Salt Lake City, I persuaded my friendly, 50-something driver Rocky to be my wingman.What's immediately noticeable about The Void's VR experiences is that they're full-body affairs: you don’t have to stay static in the way you do with the majority of VR headsets (HTC Vive partly excluded). Rather, you walk around the space wearing a head-mounted device while a haptic harness provides real-time tactile feedback. The Void’s “hyperreality” effect is boosted by the way every element in the virtual universe is matched by a concrete counterpart in the real-world game arena.“Everything you see is paired with something on the physical side,” Hickman explains. “Everything is carefully matched to the virtual environment, while fans and other devices contribute things like sounds, smell, and tactile sensations.” As I was walking around Ghostbusters’ world, every wall, armchair, or doorknob I saw were there to be physically touched and interacted with.Like a thin fabric, the virtual world had been programmed to overlap almost perfectly with the material environment, and the two planes were working together to maintain the make-believe. Such overlapping processes includes the players' own bodies, which are constantly tracked and transformed to credible avatars in the VR world. (In Ghostbusters Dimension, both myself and Rocky were rendered as beefy, khaki-clothed white males.)

July 24 2017

anwenwilson

Drones and phones are the next frontier for AI breakthroughs

The artificial intelligence revolution is being underwritten by the cloud. Every decision made by an AI involves sending information to vast data centres, where it's processed before being returned. But our data-hungry world is posing a problem: while we can process data at rapid rates, sending it back and forth is a logistical nightmare. And that's why AI is heading to your pocket. In essence, this means adding brains to the phones and other technologies we use on a daily basis. "Machine learning and artificial intelligence not only makes devices more autonomous and valuable but also allows them to be more personal depending on what a customer likes or needs," says Vadim Budaev, software development team leader at Scorch AI. Much of the work in the area is being led by tech's biggest companies, which are adding basic AI and machine learning applications to products as they develop them. Facebook has introduced deep learning that can "capture, analyse, and process pixels" in videos in real-time within its apps. Google's latest framework lets developers build Storify AI into their apps.Apps are the likely first step for introducing AI to devices, but it's predicted this will quickly move to other products. "An expanding variety of mobile devices will be able to run machine learning," says David Schatsky, a managing director at Deloitte. "Virtual and augmented reality headsets; smart glasses; a new generation of medical devices that will be able to do diagnostics in the field; drones and vehicles; and internet of things devices will combine sensing with local analysis." His company predicts that during 2017, 300 million smartphones will have a built-in neural network machine-learning capability.The first products using on-device AI and machine learning are starting to appear. Australian startup Lingmo International's in-ear language translator claims to work without Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, DJI's Phantom 4 drone, released in 2016, uses on-board machine vision to stop it from crashing.Technology developed by Xnor AI is using CPUs (rather than GPUs) to put AI on devices. It claims to be able to detect objects, in real-time on a cellphone. A promotional video and a report from TechCrunch claims its systems can also be run on a lower-powered device. A Raspberry Pi, for example, could be used to detect knives and guns."Where the data sets are smaller or involving more individualised data sets (such as personal information), it will be significantly more practical to process on-device," explains Nadav Tal-Israel, from Pixoneye, a firm using on-device machine learning to scan photos. When successful, there are multiple benefits of running machine learning on a device. To start with, the processing and decision making can be quicker as data doesn't need to be beamed to a remote location. Keeping data local means it doesn't have to be transmitted to the company providing the service – giving users greater privacy levels. Apple is testing the model through a system it calls differential privacy. "Protecting customer information is a major priority for businesses, and we’ve seen in many instances the damage that can be done to a brand where customer data is hacked," Tal-Israel adds. "Processing data on-device alleviates this issue by ensuring that the data is retained on the user’s mobile rather than being transferred to the server".At present, the difficulty in bringing AI to devices at scale lies in computing power. If phones can't process data quickly enough, AI systems will run down their batteries. Electrical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way for neural networks – one of the key underlying systems behind machine learning – to reduce power consumption and be more portable.

There's also a new range of chips being developed that can specifically handle machine learning applications. Google's Tensor Processing Units powers its translate and search systems, while UK startup Graphcore has developed its own machine learning chips. Elsewhere, the field of neuromorphic computing is growing considerably. On-device artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but for the wider AI industry to continue to make big breakthroughs it's going to need all the computing power it can get.

Asus Customer Service

July 19 2017

anwenwilson

Atari reveals first pictures of its new games console

Atari has revealed images of its new Ataribox, the company's first video games console in more than 20 years.The Ataribox will come in black with ribbed lines and wood paneling, a throwback to the original console released in 1977.The Ataribox will feature four USB slots, an HDMI connector and an SD card reader. Atari said the front panel could either come in wood or glass and that the company planned to launch two versions of the console: a wood edition and a black/red edition. Atari did not release any details of the internal features of the new device, but said that while it would be re-releasing classic games the console would also feature modern gaming content. Last month the company released a teaser video of the new console. The device is expected to be based on PC technology, Atari chief executive Fred Chesnais told the Gamesbeat website. Atari said there would be further updates on the new console in the coming months.Classic Atari games that could be making a return on the new console include Pac-Man, Pong, Space Invaders and Asteroids. Hotmail Customer Service UK The company's last full release was the Atari Jaguar in 1993 before it was overtaken in the console market by rivals such as Sony, Nintendo and Sega. Atari's return to gaming devices comes after the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2013, returning a year later with a focus on mobile and casino games. 
Atari said it will be sharing details such as specs, games and pricing of the new device "step by step", asking for feedback from current fans on what they want from the console.

The Ataribox is the latest device to join the revival in retro gaming in recent years following the success of Nintendo's re-launched NES Mini in 2016. Nintendo is now planning to release an SNES Mini gaming console in September, a new version of its classic 1990s device. Atari released its first console in 1977, the Atari 2600, originally called the Atari VCS. The device was controlled by a joystick and one button and is considered one of the first devices to popularise playing games using different cartridges that could be switched in and out.

anwenwilson

Cyberbullying among teens is not the problem you think it is

The largest ever study into bullying among teenagers in England suggests that concerns about cyberbullying may be overblown, with traditional real-world bullying still hugely outstripping it. The study, carried out by two professors from the University of Oxford, provides an evidence-based look at a sensitive area that has, in the past, been sensationalised. The coauthors, who call for “interventions that holistically target both forms bullying in adolescence”, highlight that their findings are “in stark contrast to media reports”. They point specifically to a January report in the Mirror that claimed nearly half of parents believed their children were more likely to be bullied online than in the playground. But the new study, published in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, finds this is not the case.

The survey reported in the Mirror was problematic, firstly because it was based on parents' perceptions of their children’s safety, not necessarily the reality, and secondly because it was conducted by Symantec, a firm that sells Leapzip Norton security software for families. A blog post penned by one of Symantec’s own staff on the topic begins with the individual sharing his own fatherly experiences, emphatically flagging up the most serious concerns (“cyberbullying is a growing problem on the internet and one that as a parent you may underestimate”) before listing the best defence strategies - and corresponding Norton software.

Andrew Przybylski, a co-author on the new paper, calls the Mirror article’s claims “pretty disturbing” and points to the “implausibly high numbers” quoted in the press when it comes to online bullying.

“People are rightly taking cyberbullying quite seriously, but we must hold cyberbullying to the same standards as traditional [bullying],” he tells WIRED. “We wanted to get an accurate measure of what was going on.”

Norton Customer Service

anwenwilson

Here's an idea: quit your job and start your own microbrewery

Whether you prefer a pale ale, porter, ruby, IPA, DIPA or stout, the choice of beer at pubs across the UK has changed beyond recognition mostly thanks to the rise of craft breweries. Here's how you can turn making your own tipple into a brewing business. Emyspot It all started with a tax change. In 2002 then chancellor Gordon Brown introduced the 'small breweries' relief' scheme. Also known as Progressive Beer Duty (PBD), the incentive gave huge tax breaks to small breweries.It might sound like a lot, but breweries producing less than 600,000 hectolitres each year – or about ten million pints – qualifies for a discount on the amount of duty they pay. Extra small breweries, producing only 5,000 hectolitres each Dailystregth year, pay 50 per cent of the duty compared to large companies.In 2000 there were around 500 breweries in the UK. In October last year, there were 1,700 – and this trend is only going one way. In the US, the number of craft microbreweries jumped by 21 per cent to 3,132 from 2015 to 2017, according to the Brewers Association.

There are two main routes people can go to start their own brewery, says Seb Brink, head brewer at North Brewing Co, based in Leeds. Either start out as an enthusiastic home-brewer, like he did, or get an apprenticeship at a brewery and learn the trade from there. Leapzip After graduating from a music degree, Brink was brewing at home for a while. One day he asked a local brewery if he could rent some of their equipment. A few years after using that to start his own brewery, called Golden Owl, he was approached by a local bar, North Bar, which wanted to start its own brewery.

With a few bars dotted around Leeds, North Brewing Co. already had somewhere to sell its beer. Now, just over a year and a half years late, North Brewing Co. is receiving orders from across the world and finding it difficult to keep up with demand.

Asus Support Number

July 17 2017

anwenwilson

Shield Your Hotmail Email Account From Spam

The buyout of Hotmail by Microsoft in the year 1997 hosts been productive for both the gatherings. While Hotmail developed its client base, because of the extra administrations that were packages alongside it, Microsoft got the chance to be a pleased proprietor of a standout amongst the most well known email administrations of the present circumstances. Hotmail Support and Hotmail Customer Support administrations given by Microsoft are one-of-their-kind and could be utilized by every one of its clients as self improvement modules. When you enlist for a Hotmail account, you get the chance to pick your area name as either @hotmail.com, or as @live.com. In the wake of making it, you would get the chance to have an email account with 1GB of capacity, skydrive access (for a great deal more storage room over the web), schedule, notice standard and that's only the tip of the iceberg. You could likewise access Support for Hotmail by getting to Hotmail Help. that can be found at Hotmail's legitimate landing page. Microsoft would be relocating Hotmail to Look, thus you can anticipate a few more changes in its administration format also.  Hotmail Contact Number UK  is accessible to you free of cost from its official site! You can access it and look at the plain as day modules that are accessible on its landing page, or you could think of them an email, refering to your issue and how you might want to have it settled. You would then be reached with delegates from Hotmail after they have concluded a determination for you. Hotmail Support page has various most normal issues recorded. In the event that you are short on time, have a meeting to go to, thus can't sit back on your PC to illuminate any sort of mistake with your email account (notwithstanding when you have some thought regarding it), you can likewise benefit the administrations of some outsider organization. There is an ostensible expense that these organizations charge and their costs likewise shift from each other, however the arrangements that they give as a rule have some extra appended to them that let you have the vibe of your cash being admirably spent, for example, a free PC wellbeing checkup. 

Being a Microsoft-fueled administration, Outlook Support UK Windows Live Hotmail (as it is famously called) email account additionally makes utilization of your PC's firewall framework to keep it and in addition your email account protected. It is constantly prescribed to keep your firewall on for other security purposes also. In addition, getting to your Hotmail account from some open PC is likewise disheartened, in light of the fact that treats and reserve spared through that session could end up being helpful data for a programmer. You can utilize a solitary utilize code as a safety effort rather than your email secret word to get to your record from one such PC. 

It's your record and you are capable to keep it secured well. Remain safe!

anwenwilson

From privacy to AI, the new trends set to change the world

Every now and then, WIRED brings together a small group of people from multiple sectors and disciplines to talk. The aim is simple: to share ideas, discuss new trends and debate the value and impact of emerging technologies. On Monday 13 March 2017, one of these evenings was held at Condé Nast's UK HQ with partner Accenture. This time, the topic brought to the table for discussion by WIRED editor Greg Williams was the biggest trends and technologies announced and unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC). “For me, it was the quieter things that were making the most noise,” said James Temperton, WIRED senior editor and reporter from MWC. “Things like the unanswered questions around 5G and also the fact that in the coming years we won't be tapping our interfaces, we'll be talking to them.” Attendees ranged from Caroline Drucker of Instagram's strategic partnerships and Christina Nesheva from Hive Innovation Unit, to Paul Coby, CIO of John Lewis and Brooke Stevens, head of international research at Shazam.Topics touched upon included the shift in the ownership model of cars, with the mass introduction of driverless transportation, and the potential for data-driven product design and personalisation.

“Using qualitative ways of customising experiences. So businesses making decision based on numbers – not old white men making decisions on gut feelings,” said one attendee. From here, a short debate took hold. Surely, said some, these customisations could only come from gathering people's data – something many users are still queasy about with respect to their browsing, messaging and location information, even if it's in their interest. Terence Eden, open standards lead at Government Digital Service, drew on the general stasis seen in mobile hardware to highlight a need for refinement. “We’ve reached an inflection point where things are good enough,” he said. “If we look at the big sellers at the moment, it’s stuff that’s plateau-level. People have reached a level where they are happy – apart from with their battery life, of course.”

For such big sellers to thrive, however, it’s key that they open up, said Accenture managing director and go-to-market lead George Marcotte: “Businesses have a choice between continuing with the internal, closed-shop practices of the past, or opening their innovation capabilities to an entire ecosystem of innovative partners.”

Asus Support Number


July 13 2017

anwenwilson

Microsoft 365 puts Windows and Office in one package for businesses

Microsoft has bundled up its core products for businesses for a monthly fee, to encourage companies to upgrade to Windows 10.Its new offering, Microsoft 365, includes Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, for a monthly, per-user fee.By wrapping its products into one package, Microsoft is making it easier for businesses big and small to manage and pay for the software. It also pushes customers to the latest versions of Office and Windows and, as it's subscription-based, ensures they'll always have the latest version of software - something Microsoft is keen to encourage among its user base. Asus Customer Service There are two main versions of the new package: Microsoft 365 Business, which is for small and medium-sized businesses, and Microsoft 365 Enterprise for larger businesses.The first caters for businesses with up to 300 users. Alongside Windows, Office and the security tools, the bundle will also include Microsoft's mileage tracking app, called Mile IQ, and previews of three new SMB-focused apps: Listings, for email marketing; Connections, to help publish your business information online; and Invoicing. It will hit public preview on 2 August and be available in the autumn, at $20 per user each month.
For larger companies, Microsoft 365 Enterprise comes in two versions, E3 and E5, with both available on 1 August. The former comes with Office, Outlook and Exchange, Teams, Skype for Business, SharePoint, Yammer and Microsoft's threat protection system, as well as analytics and management software. E5 adds further analytics and compliance tools, and Microsoft's advanced security tools, as well as PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX.

There's no pricing for Microsoft 365 Enterprise as it will be sold via partners, so costs will vary. Windows 10 Enterprise E3, which doesn't come with Office, currently costs $7 a month.

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