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How Google's Pixel 2 'Now Playing' Song Identification Works

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 20:00
An anonymous reader shares a report from VentureBeat, written by Emil Protalinski: The most interesting Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL feature, to me, is Now Playing. If you've ever used Shazam or SoundHound, you probably understand the basics: The app uses your device's microphone to capture an audio sample and creates an acoustic fingerprint to compare against a central song database. If a match is found, information such as the song title and artist are sent back to the user. Now Playing achieves this with two important differentiators. First, Now Playing detects songs automatically without you explicitly asking -- the feature works when your phone is locked and the information is displayed on the Pixel 2's lock screen (you'll eventually be able to ask Google Assistant what's currently playing, but not yet). Secondly, it's an on-device and local feature: Now Playing functions completely offline (we tested this, and indeed it works with mobile data and Wi-Fi turned off). No audio is ever sent to Google.

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Google Play lets you test drive Android apps before installing them

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:51
Google's Instant Apps are available in a few places for curious Android users, but they've been conspicuously absent in one place: the Play Store. Wouldn't you want to check out an app before committing to it? You can now. Google is now building I...
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Amazon Spends $350K On Seattle Mayor's Race

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:20
reifman writes: Until this summer, Amazon had never contributed more than $15,000 to a city political campaign in Seattle, but this year's different. The company is a lead funder in the Seattle Chamber of Commerce's PAC which dropped $525,000 Monday on Jenny Durkan's PAC, the centrist business candidate. Her opponent Cary Moon is an advocate for affordable housing, which complicates Amazon's growth, and city-owned community broadband. Comcast and Century Link joined Amazon contributing $25,000 and $82,500 respectively to the Chamber's PAC. Amazon's $350,000 contribution represents .00014 of its CY 2016 net profit.

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‘Pokemon Go’ hopes new monsters will get you outside this fall

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:06
While Pokémon Go may have lost some of its shine due to a number of problems like poorly run public events and a divisive invitation-only special battle system, the mobile game still has a decent fanbase. The developers have been adding new li...
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Apple Watch's LTE Suspended In China Possibly Due To Government Security Concerns

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:40
The Apple Watch Series 3's best new feature has been mysteriously blocked in China. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, China has cut off the Apple Watch's LTE connectivity on Sept. 28 after brief availability from China Unicom. Industry analysts claim that the suspension is probably from governmental concerns about not being able to track and confirm users of the device. AppleInsider reports: Apple issued a brief statement confirming the situation, and referring customers to China Unicom. Neither China Unicom, nor Chinese regulators have made any statement on the matter. The issue may stem from the eSIM in the Apple Watch. Devices like the iPhone have state-owned telecom company-issued SIM cards -- and the eSIM is embedded in the device by Apple. "The eSIM (system) isn't mature enough yet in China," one analyst said. "The government still needs to figure out how they can control the eSIM." The LTE version of the Apple Watch had only a trial certificate to operate on the Chinese LTE network. An analyst who asked not to be identified expects that Ministry of Industry and Information Technology may take months to figure out how the government will deal with the eSIM, and issue a formal certificate for operation.

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Now Twitter's quest to become a 'safer' place has a schedule

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:30
You no longer have to wonder when you'll see Twitter implement the new rules promised by its CEO and outlined in that leaked email. The social network has released a "Safety Calendar," which details when it will roll out a series of new rules to make...
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Almost Half of Tech Workers Worry About Losing Their Jobs Because of Ageism, Says Survey

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from SiliconBeat: More than 40 percent of tech workers worry about losing their jobs because of age, a new survey shows. Jobs site Indeed also found that 18 percent of those who work in the tech industry worry "all the time" about losing their jobs because of ageism. The release of the survey Thursday comes amid other news about diversity -- or lack thereof -- in tech workplaces. Often when we report about diversity issues, readers wonder about older workers. The Indeed survey offers insight into the age of the tech workforce: It's young. Indeed concluded from surveying more than 1,000 respondents in September that the tech workforce is composed of about 46 percent millennials, with 36 percent of respondents saying the average employee age at their company is 31 to 35, and 17 percent saying that the average worker age at their company is 20 to 30. What about Generation X and baby boomers? Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the average age of employees at their company is 36 to 40, while 26 percent of respondents said the workers at their companies are 40 and older.

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Google will 'fix' the Pixel 2's hidden menu button

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:50
Looks like the Pixel 2's "secret" menu button was just leftover code, after all. Google has confirmed to CNET that this was a bug, not a feature, and that it'll be patched out in the future. If you're still enjoying that new phone smell, open up the...
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Alphabet Invests $1 Billion In Lyft

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:40
Lyft announced Thursday that Google-parent Alphabet is leading a $1 billion financing round into the ride-hailing company. This ups Lyft's valuation from $7.5 billion to $11 billion. The funding is coming from CapitalG, one of Alphabet's investment firms. CNET reports: "CapitalG is honored to work with Lyft's compelling founders and strong leadership team," David Lawee, CapitalG partner, said in a statement. "Ridesharing is still in its early days and we look forward to seeing Lyft continue its impressive growth." Compared with Uber, Lyft has long been the small dog in the ride-hailing world. Before now, it's received $2.6 billion in venture funding, whereas Uber has received $12.9 billion and is valued at $68 billion. Alphabet's investment in Lyft could be a sore spot for rival Uber. Uber is currently locked in a legal battle with Waymo.

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Impressive!: Man's Beer Can Crushing Stomp Dance

GeekOlogy - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:30
"Alright, it is recording now." This is a video of total stud Jim 'The Can Man' Anderson quickly crushing a long line of aluminum cans in front of the Pure Ice Company in Yankton, South Dakota (which looks like a great place to have a few cold one outside with your buddies) with what appears to be some sort of can-stomping dance he's developed. He's as graceful as a ballerina. *laying tux out on bed* Call me if you need a dancing partner, we could make a small fortune in recycling. Keep going for the video while I go practice outside.
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Consumer Reports Expects Tesla's Model 3 To Have 'Average Reliability'

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:20
There may be only a few hundred Tesla Model 3s on the street, but Consumer Reports already has an opinion on the new car's dependability. From a report: "We are predicting that the Model 3 should have about average reliability," said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. Average may irritate Tesla fans and the nearly 500,000 people who have reserved a Model 3, but Fisher believes people should understand what Consumer Reports expects from the new car. "We don't go around recommending that people buy cars that are below average, so if it is average or better, that is not a bad thing at all," said Fisher. "But let's be very clear, we are not giving it super high marks. We are saying it is basically par for the course." Consumer Reports has yet to buy a Model 3 and put it through a battery of tests, as the magazine does for dozens of vehicles. In addition, so few Model 3 cars have been delivered that Fisher and his team have yet to get a sense of how owners feel about their new Tesla.

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New Tesla lawsuit accuses company of LGBT discrimination

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:07
Tesla has just been hit with its second discrimination lawsuit in as many days. Just yesterday, the company was sued for racial harassment in its factories. A few months back, its diversity panel uncovered a slew of sexism. Now The Guardian reports t...
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Canada's 'Super Secret Spy Agency' Is Releasing a Malware-Fighting Tool To the Public

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 16:40
Matthew Braga, reporting for CBC News: Canada's electronic spy agency says it is taking the "unprecedented step" of releasing one of its own cyber defence tools to the public, in a bid to help companies and organizations better defend their computers and networks against malicious threats. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) rarely goes into detail about its activities -- both offensive and defensive -- and much of what is known about the agency's activities have come from leaked documents obtained by U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in recent years. But as of late, CSE has acknowledged it needs to do a better job of explaining to Canadians exactly what it does. Today, it is pulling back the curtain on an open-source malware analysis tool called Assemblyline that CSE says is used to protect the Canadian government's sprawling infrastructure each day. "It's a tool that helps our analysts know what to look at, because it's overwhelming for the number of people we have to be able to protect things," Scott Jones, who heads the agency's IT security efforts, said in an interview with CBC News. On the one hand, open sourcing Assemblyline's code is a savvy act of public relations, and Jones readily admits the agency is trying to shed its "super secret spy agency" reputation in the interest of greater transparency.

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Baby Gets Emotional After Hearing Mother's Voice For The First Time

GeekOlogy - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 16:30
This is a short and sweet video of a baby hearing her mother's voice for the first time after receiving hearing aids to help combat her bilateral profound congenital hearing loss. It looks and sounds like they both get a little emotional. And, judging from all the sobbing I hear around me, I'm guessing so did everyone in the office I sent this to. You know, I still remember the first time I heard my mothers's voice. She was yelling at me from the bottom of the stairs to clean my room. "That was this morning." I have a bad memory. Keep going for the video.
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Wirecutter's best deals: Bose SoundLink Mini II speaker drops to $150

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 16:01
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list...
Categories: Nerd News

Profile of William H. Alsup, a Judge Who Codes and Decides Tech's Biggest Cases

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 16:00
Sarah Jeong at The Verge has an interesting profile of William H. Alsup, the judge in Oracle v. Google case, who to many's surprise was able to comment on the technical issues that Oracle and Google were fighting about. Alsup admits that he learned the Java programming language only so that he could better understand the substance of the case. Here's an excerpt from the interview: On May 18th, 2012, attorneys for Oracle and Google were battling over nine lines of code in a hearing before Judge William H. Alsup of the northern district of California. The first jury trial in Oracle v. Google, the fight over whether Google had hijacked code from Oracle for its Android system, was wrapping up. The argument centered on a function called rangeCheck. Of all the lines of code that Oracle had tested -- 15 million in total -- these were the only ones that were "literally" copied. Every keystroke, a perfect duplicate. It was in Oracle's interest to play up the significance of rangeCheck as much as possible, and David Boies, Oracle's lawyer, began to argue that Google had copied rangeCheck so that it could take Android to market more quickly. Judge Alsup was not buying it. "I couldn't have told you the first thing about Java before this trial," said the judge. "But, I have done and still do a lot of programming myself in other languages. I have written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times or more. I could do it. You could do it. It is so simple." It was an offhand comment that would snowball out of control, much to Alsup's chagrin. It was first repeated among lawyers and legal wonks, then by tech publications. With every repetition, Alsup's skill grew, until eventually he became "the judge who learned Java" -- Alsup the programmer, the black-robed nerd hero, the 10x judge, the "master of the court and of Java."

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Volkswagon is building an electric supercar to tackle Pike’s Peak

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:40
Last month, Volkswagen laid out a roadmap for its EV rollout, promising 300 zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. While it's certainly good PR to move the company beyond its lingering diesel scandal, it also follows other automakers that recently committe...
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Vault Boy Approved: Fallout Inspired Tiki Mugs

GeekOlogy - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:30
These are the Fallout inspired tiki mugs created by Geeki Tiki and available as a four-piece set from ThinkGeek for $60. The set includes a deathclaw, suit of power armor, Vault Boy and Dogmeat (who looks a lot like Scooby-Doo). Still, I'm more than a little disappointed there isn't a Yes Man from Fallout: New Vegas or a super mutant, but what are you gonna do? "Write an angry email." Exactly. So far I've got 'Now listen here you jerks!' Keep going for a couple more shots.
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'The Daily Show' library of Trump’s tweets opens in Chicago tomorrow

Engadget - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:20
Back in June, we covered The Daily Show's presidential Twitter library in New York. After all, the frequency at which our Commander in Chief takes to Twitter is surely to become a part of his legacy. The library is now moving to Chicago, and you can...
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Doctors To Breathalyse Smokers Before Allowing Them NHS Surgery

Slashdot - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:20
Smokers in Hertfordshire, a county in southern England, are to be breathalysed to ensure they have kicked the habit before they are referred for non-urgent surgery. From a report, shared by several readers: Smokers will be breath-tested before they are considered for non-urgent surgery, two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have decided. Patients in Hertfordshire must stop smoking at least eight weeks before surgery or it may be delayed. Obese patients have also been told they must lose weight in order to have non-urgent surgery. The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said the plan seemed to be "against the principles of the NHS (the publicly funded national healthcare system for England)." A joint committee of the Hertfordshire Valleys and the East and North Hertfordshire CCGs, which made the decisions, said they had to "make best use of the money and resources available." Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40 must lose 15% of their weight and those with a BMI of over 30 must lose 10%, or reduce it to under a 40 BMI or a 30 BMI - whichever is the greater amount. The lifestyle changes to reduce weight must take place over nine months.

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