Geek

20191212

Baker-Watts - 11 min 14 sec ago
Categories: Geek

Roku Built the Dominant Streaming Box. Now It's Under Siege

Slashdot - 46 min 16 sec ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: More than 30 million people use a Roku device to navigate the constellation of streaming TV services. The company's portfolio includes the "stick" ($49.99), which resembles a USB drive; the "puck" ($79.99), a black square with smooth edges and minimal detailing; and a $400 smart TV with Roku's operating system. The more expensive options offer better image quality and such features as extra digital storage space. As the era of cable and satellite TV dims, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood says Roku is poised to keep capitalizing on the boom in streaming video. It's an independent player that can work well with all the entrants, he says, including new services from Disney and Apple and forthcoming ones from AT&T and Comcast. "It's satisfying to see the world be all in on streaming," says Wood. "That's nothing but excellent for Roku." Many investors on Wall Street agree: The company's stock is up more than 300% this year, and Roku is valued at over $17 billion. Having built the dominant box, Roku is under siege from companies that recognize the value of its business model. Google sells a competing smart TV operating system. Samsung sells more than a dozen smart TVs that don't use Roku's operating system. Comcast is giving its internet subscribers a free streaming box. AT&T is offering a box for its customers. Apple is investing billions in streaming shows designed in part to strengthen the appeal of its hardware. But Roku's biggest challenger is Amazon.com, which is vying for tie-in deals for its Fire TV with smart TV manufacturers and battling for supremacy in international markets. In September it announced a major expansion in Europe, where Roku is less dominant.

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iTunes Remote update adds Dark Mode, support for Apple Music and TV macOS Catalina apps

iDownloadBlog - 1 hour 25 min ago

Apple has updated the iTunes Remote app for iOS to support Dark Mode and the macOS Catalina Apple Music and TV apps.
Categories: Geek

Google AI Chief Jeff Dean on Machine Learning Trends To Watch in 2020

Slashdot - 1 hour 26 min ago
In a wide-ranging interview with VentureBeat, Google AI chief Jeff Dean has discussed the company's early work on the use of ML to create semiconductors for machine learning, the impact of Google's BERT on conversational AI, and machine learning trends to watch in 2020. An excerpt from the interview where Dean talks about some of the trends one could expect to emerge, or milestones he thinks might be surpassed in 2020 in AI: I think we'll see much more multitask learning and multimodal learning, of sort of larger scales than has been previously tackled. I think that'll be pretty interesting. And I think there's going to be a continued trend to getting more interesting on-device models -- or sort of consumer devices, like phones or whatever -- to work more effectively. I think obviously AI-related principles-related work is going to be important. We're a big enough research organization that we actually have lots of different thrusts we're doing, so it's hard to call out just one. But I think in general [we'll be] progressing the state of the art, doing basic fundamental research to advance our capabilities in lots of important areas we're looking at, like NLP or language models or vision or multimodal things. But also then collaborating with our colleagues and product teams to get some of the research that is ready for product application to allow them to build interesting features and products. And [we'll be] doing kind of new things that Google doesn't currently have products in but are sort of interesting applications of ML, like the chip design work we've been doing. Further reading: AI R&D is Booming, But General Intelligence is Still Out of Reach.

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Categories: Geek

How to upgrade the SSD in a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro

iDownloadBlog - 1 hour 53 min ago

Retina MacBook Pro SSD

Instead of replacing your 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro model from 2012 to 2015, upgrade it with a bigger SSD and keep it going. We'll show you how.
Categories: Geek

Turkey is Getting Military Drones Armed With Machine Guns

Slashdot - 2 hours 6 min ago
A drone with a machine gun attached can hit targets with high precision, according to its makers. Turkey is set to become the first country to have the drone, when it gets a delivery this month. From a report: The 25-kilogram drone has eight rotating blades to get it in the air. Its machine gun carries 200 rounds of ammunition and can fire single shots or 15-round bursts. Many countries and groups already use small military drones that can drop grenades or fly into a target to detonate an explosive. The new drone, called Songar and made by Ankara-based electronics firm Asisguard, is the first drone to be equipped with a firearm and be ready for service. Turkey expects the drones to be delivered before the end of the year. It is hard for a drone to shoot accurately, partly because of the difficulty of judging range and angle, and partly because the recoil from each shot significantly moves the drone, affecting the aim for the next round. Songar has two systems to overcome these challenges. One uses sensors, including cameras and a laser rangefinder, to calculate distance, angle and wind speed, and work out where to aim. The second is a set of robot arms that move the machine gun to compensate for the effects of recoil.

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Categories: Geek

Slashdot Asks: Your Favorite Movies, TV Shows, and Documentaries of 2019?

Slashdot - 2 hours 46 min ago
As we approach the weekend -- but more importantly, the end of the year -- it's good time as any to ask about the movies, TV shows, and documentaries from this year that you enjoyed the most or found incredibly insightful. Please list them below in the comments.

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Google Maps Has Now Photographed 10 Million Miles in Street View

Slashdot - 3 hours 26 min ago
If Google were to have a mascot, it might be the Street View car, with its towering camera rig and corporate logo exterior. From a report: There's good reason for that. In the 12 years since the search giant debuted Street View, which photographs the world at street level, the cars have been the company's ambassadors around the globe, prowling urban metropolises and rural countrysides. On Friday, Google revealed how much work those cars and other devices have done to map the world: the company has captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery. The distance, Google said, would amount to circling the Earth more than 400 times. The company also said Google Earth, the search giant's aerial mapping service, has a total of 36 million square miles of satellite imagery for people to browse. With that collection, Google has mapped out the parts of the world where 98% of people live. The numbers mark the first time Google has released figures on how much of the world its services have charted, providing insight into the scope of Google Maps. With more than 1 billion monthly users, Maps is one of the company's most popular products. It's also a potent way for the search giant to deliver local advertising.

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Categories: Geek

iFixit uncases the new Mac Pro and offers first impressions

iDownloadBlog - 3 hours 46 min ago

The crew at iFixit have given the new, modular Mac Pro a proper uncasing.
Categories: Geek

A Space Probe Has Mapped the Winds Above Mars for the First Time

Slashdot - 4 hours 6 min ago
Scientists have mapped out Mars's upper atmosphere wind patterns for the first time. The findings, published Thursday in Science, reinforce our understanding of the Martian climate as equal parts stable and unpredictable. From a report: The investigation uses data collected by NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, which has been orbiting Mars since 2013. MAVEN has helped teach us how Mars lost its thick atmosphere billions of years ago, but it was never designed to investigate winds. Instead, the team behind the new study had a clever idea: have MAVEN rapidly swing its normally stationary Natural Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) back and forth like a windshield wiper. This swinging effect meant that NGIMS, usually used to study atmospheric chemistry, was able to offset the orbiter's own movements and measure the winds as if it were standing still. What did they find? Overall circulation patterns in Mars's upper atmosphere proved predictably stable season-to-season. But the team also found extreme variability within local pockets of the atmosphere, and so far there's no good explanation for what's causing this.

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9to5Mac Happy Hour 255: Apple TV remotes, Mac Pro released, and the latest OS updates

9to5Mac - 4 hours 20 min ago

Benjamin and Zac reflect on the Apple TV Siri remote, the first round of award nominations for TV+, what’s new in iOS 13.3 and other software updates, the launch of the 2019 Mac Pro, and much more.

9to5Mac Happy Hour is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneInGoogle Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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The post 9to5Mac Happy Hour 255: Apple TV remotes, Mac Pro released, and the latest OS updates appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

City Planners Zero in on Cyclists Through Exercise App

Slashdot - 4 hours 46 min ago
With 47m global users Strava has the potential to generate big data for public development [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: When the UK capital built a "cycle superhighway" in 2016, Strava indicated where people had changed their route and showed that the number of cyclists increased by 60 per cent when a bike-only lane was built along the Victoria Embankment on the Thames. Planners can observe changes, such as many cyclists avoiding a direct route, to see where roads may be dangerous. Granular data from Strava also show where cyclists have to stop and wait, information Ms Hall used to review traffic light patterns so more cyclists could get a clear run on their commute. While recognising its potential, however, researchers warned that Strava and other crowdsourced data sets should be treated with caution. Giulio Ferrini, from cycling charity Sustrans, said the average Strava user was probably "not representative" of the average cyclist. Strava says it has 5.5m users in the UK. But researchers fear they are a self-selecting group, filtered by an affinity for exercise apps that may make them more competitive than others. According to Ms Hall at TfL, they "tend to be more gung-ho." Relying on crowdsourced data, Mr Ferrini said, could lead to cities being designed for "white men in Lycra" who usually travel speedily from A to B and neglecting groups such as parents who cycle with their children to school. Tom Knights, who oversees partnerships at Strava Metro, acknowledged the tool was not "trying to do everything." But he pointed to several academic studies that found similar travel patterns on Strava data and other sources.

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When China and Other Big Countries Launch Cryptocurrencies, It Will Kick Off a Global Revolution

Slashdot - 5 hours 26 min ago
There has been a massive rise in the number of bilateral agreements between central banks that allow two countries to swap currencies directly, a large number involving China. Meanwhile, a number of countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, have been repatriating their gold reserves from vaults in the US where they had long been stored. From a report: Yet by comparison, major sovereign digital currencies based on blockchain technology would be revolutionary. Blockchains are encrypted ledgers for storing information that are decentralized rather than being under any country's or company's control. When applied to international payments, this offers the prospect of much more transparent and cheaper transactions than SWIFT. It could cut the payments time lag from a couple of days to one second, and the cost from 0.01% to almost nothing. It will have the capacity to handle far higher volumes of payments, partly since they won't require bank accounts or even internet access. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and XRP have been a good experiment in using blockchains for international payments. Yet when countries issue equivalents of their own, these will have even more advantages. They will be backed by states, and completely decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will not be able to compete with this. While technological change has been incredibly fast in the information era, the system of international payments has lagged behind. But once sovereign digital currencies start taking off, this will suddenly change. Just like smartphones quickly eliminated most old cell phones, no countries will be able to reject blockchain payments for long. So while, for example, the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently said that his country does not see itself launching a digital dollar in the next five years, there will be a moment when the political centre of gravity will shift and everyone will join the revolution. After the 5G network and the Internet of Things really mushroom in the next couple of years, it will be possible to replace the existing system even faster. This will be the beginning of a new international monetary era.

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9to5Mac Daily: December 13, 2019 – Apple News debate, Apple acquires camera startup

9to5Mac - 5 hours 31 min ago

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by Nanoleaf: Nanoleaf is ushering in a new era of beautifully personalized lighting experiences. Visit nanoleaf.me/9to5Mac for more info on exclusive deals for Nanoleaf’s Design Kits, Twin Packs and Starter Kits.


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The post 9to5Mac Daily: December 13, 2019 – Apple News debate, Apple acquires camera startup appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple TV+ series ‘Ghostwriter’ featurette shows the importance of ‘Literature’

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 32 min ago

Apple TV+ has shared a new featurette entitled "Literature" for the series "Ghostwriter".
Categories: Geek

iMac Pro can drive Apple’s new Pro Display XDR monitor, but at a lower 5K resolution

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 35 min ago

Only a few Mac computers models have the bandwidth required to drive Apple's new 32-inch display at its native 6K resolution, but the iMac Pro all-in-one isn't one of them.
Categories: Geek

iDB’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 59 min ago

Welcome to our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide, where you'll find gifts for everyone on your list—including yourself.
Categories: Geek

Windows 10 Mobile Reaches End of Support

Slashdot - 6 hours 6 min ago
We've known Windows 10 Mobile has been a dead platform for years now. Even Microsoft themselves have been telling people they need to switch to Android or iOS. But yesterday, we saw the final blow to Microsoft's mobile OS -- it officially reached its end of life and is no longer supported. From a report: There is some good news for the two of you still running Windows 10 Mobile though. The platform's office apps will receive updates and security patches until January 12, 2021. This includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. That means you still have a little more time before you absolutely need to migrate to another mobile platform if you just can')t break your Windows 10 Mobile addiction. Though we still recommend you take the leap as soon as possible.

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Categories: Geek

You can now ask Alexa to play Apple Podcasts on your Echo-enabled speaker

iDownloadBlog - 6 hours 11 min ago

Amazon and Apple today expanded their existing partnership that enables Echo owners to use Apple Music by introducing support for Apple Podcasts.... Read the rest of this post here "You can now ask Alexa to play Apple Podcasts on your...
Categories: Geek

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