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Geek

Google Is in Advanced Talks To Invest $4 Billion in Jio Platforms

Slashdot - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 10:01
Google is in advanced talks to buy a $4 billion stake in Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's technology venture, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter, seeking to join rival Facebook in chasing growth in a promising internet and e-commerce market. From the report: The Mountain View, California-based company has been discussing the investment in Jio Platforms, the digital arm of Ambani's Reliance Industries, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. An announcement could come as soon as the next few weeks, according to the people. Jio is at the center of the Indian tycoon's ambition to transform his energy conglomerate into a homegrown technology behemoth akin to China's Alibaba Group Holding. The venture has turned into a magnet for Silicon Valley investors, attracting almost $16 billion from Facebook to KKR in the past three months. Should the talks with Google result in a deal, that would further burnish Jio's credentials in its push to upend online retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and health care in a market of more than a billion people. Google said on Monday that it plans to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years.

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Porsche Found a Way To 3D-Print Lightweight Pistons That Add More Horsepower

Slashdot - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Drive: With select bucket seats from the 911 and 718 as well as various classic car parts -- including clutch release levers for the 959 -- already being produced using 3D printing, Porsche is more familiar with the technology than most. Now, the automaker is taking things even further, 3D printing entire pistons for its most powerful 991-gen 911, the GT2 RS. Although it doesn't sound like these 3D-printed pistons will actually be found in many production Porsches anytime soon, they represent a bit more than just an engineering flex. There are some very real mechanical benefits here. For starters, they weigh 10 percent less than their forged equivalents and feature an integrated and closed cooling duct in the piston crown that's apparently unable to be reproduced using traditional manufacturing methods. The decrease in weight and temperature results in an extra 30 horsepower on top of the GT2 RS's already mighty 700. Produced in partnership with German auto part maker Mahle and industrial machine manufacturer Trumpf, the pistons are made out of a high-purity metal powder developed in-house by the former using the laser metal fusion process, essentially a laser beam that heats and melts the metal powder into the desired shape. The end result is then validated using measurement technology from Zeiss, the German optics company best known for camera lenses.

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Let’s Talk iOS 352: We’re way off track

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 08:30

An episode about being a manly man, road trip adventures, iOS 14 betas, future iPhones packaging, and somehow, throwing steaks down your pants.
Categories: Geek

Apple paid Samsung circa $1 billion for missing OLED panel purchase goals in March quarter

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 08:30

Samsung levied a hefty penalty on Apple for not buying enough OLEDs to meet a contracted minimum amount. Apple missed purchase targets as the coronavirus affected sales.
Categories: Geek

This tweak adds a screen recording length indicator to the Status Bar

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 08:00

It can sometimes be difficult to discern how long your iPhone’s screen recording will be before ending it. This new jailbreak tweak solves that problem.
Categories: Geek

Apple may release new Windows app soon

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 07:49

Some of the possibilities include a version of iTunes for PCs built on Microsoft's modern Universal Windows Platform, as well as dedicated TV, Music and Podcasts apps.
Categories: Geek

Keyboard shortcuts for Pages on Mac

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 07:30

MacBook Pro keyboard -Pages keyboard shortcuts

Control the window, open documents, navigate within a document, and move through the sidebar with this list of common keyboard shortcuts for Pages.
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Aperio is a lightweight, yet functional app launcher for iOS 13

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 07:00

Aperio is yet another take on what a modern app launcher should be on jailbroken devices.
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Desert Quakes May Have Boosted Chances of 'Big One' Striking California

Slashdot - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 06:00
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: A pair of earthquakes that struck the remote California desert 1 year ago have raised the risk of 'the big one' hitting Southern California, according to a new study. The research finds that the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, quakes shifted underground stresses, making the San Andreas fault -- the state's longest and most dangerous fault -- three times more likely to rupture. U.S. Geological Survey estimates for the annual probability of an earthquake on this part of the San Andreas are about one-third of a percent -- equivalent to expecting a magnitude 7.8 every 300 years, on average. The new modeling triples that hazard to 1% per year -- or a big one every century. And if the Garlock actually does rupture, then the hazard really rises on the San Andreas, by a factor of 150: The probability of a big one rises to 50% in the following year. In principle, a Garlock earthquake could lead to rupture on the San Andreas in a matter of hours or days, much as the two Ridgecrest events came within a day or two. USGS regional scenarios anticipate 1,800 deaths and 50,000 injuries in the event of a major San Andreas earthquake. More than 3 million homes could be damaged, at a reconstruction cost of $289 billion. The study has been published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

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Enigma Code-Breaking Machine Rebuilt At Cambridge

Slashdot - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 03:00
Cambridge Engineering alumnus Hal Evans has built a fully-functioning replica of a 1930s Polish cyclometer -- an electromechanical cryptologic device that was designed to assist in the decryption of German Enigma ciphertext. The replica currently resides in King's College, Cambridge. TechXplore reports: Work on the hardware-based replica began in 2018, as part of Hal's fourth year Master's project under the supervision of King's College Fellow and Senior Tutor Dr. Tim Flack. The aim was to investigate further into cryptologist Marian Rejewski's cyclometer -- an early forerunner to Cambridge University mathematician Alan Turing's machine, known as the Bombe, which was used to crack the German Enigma code during the Second World War. Hal said he chose to work on the cyclometer as it was the very first machine used to assist the decryption effort. To his knowledge, the replica is the first fully-functioning hardware-based electromechanical cyclometer to exist since the years preceding the Second World War. The original machines would have been destroyed in 1939 to prevent them from falling into the hands of German invaders. Rejewski's cyclometer exploited the German's procedure at the time of double encipherment of the Enigma message key, and semi-automated the process for calculating what were known as 'characteristics' for every possible Enigma rotor starting position. There were more than 100,000 of these rotor starting positions, and they each needed their characteristic to be calculated and catalogued in a card index system. The cyclometer therefore eliminated the arduous task of calculating these characteristics by hand. The machine consisted of, in effect, two interlinked Enigma systems side-by-side -- one offset by three positions relative to the other -- and 26 lamps and switches to cover the alphabet. On operation, a certain number of bulbs illuminated, indicating the lengths of the characteristics. These were recorded for every single possible rotor starting position to create an immense look-up catalogue. Once this was completed, obtaining the daily Enigma rotor starting settings to decode messages was a simple matter of intercepting enough messages and referencing the catalogue, taking only a matter of minutes.

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Grant Imahara, Host of 'MythBusters' and 'White Rabbit Project,' Dies At 49

Slashdot - Tue, 07/14/2020 - 01:17
Grant Imahara, an electrical engineer and roboticist who hosted the popular science show MythBusters and Netflix's White Rabbit Project, has died suddenly following a brain aneurysm. He was 49. From The Hollywood Reporter: An electrical engineer and roboticist by training, he joined Discovery's MythBusters in its third season, replacing Scottie Chapman and was with the show until 2014 when he left with with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The trio would reunite in 2016 for Netflix's White Rabbit Project which lasted for one season. On MythBusters, Imahara used his technical expertise to design and build robots for the show and also operated the computers and electronics needed to test myths. Born in Los Angeles, Imahara studied electrical engineering at the University of Southern California (though he briefly had doubts and wanted to become a screenwriter) before combining the two passions and landing a post-graduation gig at Lucasfilm-associated THX labs. In his nine years at Lucasfilm, he worked for the company's THX and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) divisions. In his years at ILM he became chief model maker specializing in animatronics and worked on George Lucas' Star Wars prequels, as well as The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Galaxy Quest, XXX: State of the Union, Van Helsing, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. [...] Imahara also starred in several episodes of the fan-made web series Star Trek Continues. He played Hikaru Sulu, a lieutenant, helmsman and third officer on the USS Enterprise, in the show that was an unofficial continuation of Star Trek: The Original Series. "We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," a representative for Discovery said in a statement on Monday.

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Self-Driving Startup Built a 'Car Without Wheels' For Remote Driving

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 19:20
Self-driving startup Voyage built a physical "Telessist Pod" with software that allows a remote operator to give instructions to a self-driving car. Iwastheone shares a report from Ars Technica "For all of this to work safely, it had to basically be a car without wheels," Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron told me in a Thursday phone interview. "It had to have a real steering wheel, real pedals, real automotive-grade connectors, and real automotive-grade ECUs." Voyage's engineers built a "car without wheels" because they wanted to mirror the experience of driving a real car as closely as possible. "If you try to do it with a gaming steering wheel, you don't get the force feedback" you get with a real car, Cameron said. "It's impossible to drive reliably like that. It's so unsafe." Remote Voyage drivers sit in a metal cage the size of a golf cart. There's a steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal where you'd expect them in a real car. A wraparound array of computer monitors shows the car's surroundings. An encrypted wireless data connection keeps the components in the Telessist pod synchronized with their counterparts in the real car. Voyage says the network latency is under 100 milliseconds -- short enough that the driver won't notice a significant lag. In case something goes wrong, the company bonded together five separate cellular connections, each with its own SIM card on a different wireless carrier, to achieve maximum redundancy and hence reliability," reports Ars. "If one of the five networks fails, software automatically switches over to the other four." There's a system called Remote Drive Assist that will take over if the car loses its wireless connection. Voyage even added an emergency braking system, which consists of a small, self-contained lidar unit in front of Voyage's cars. "If it detects an imminent collision, it has the power to activate the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop," adds Ars. "This means that, even if the human driver -- or Voyage's main self-driving system, for that matter -- makes a mistake, the car is unlikely to run into anything."

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Ubisoft Is Giving Everyone 'Watch Dogs 2' After a Giveaway Glitch

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 18:40
Ubisoft announced on Monday that it will give away Watch Dogs 2 for free after a giveaway glitch made it harder for fans to get copies than they initially intended. Uproxx reports: Sunday's Ubisoft Forward event was a chance for the video game company to show off what's in the pipeline this fall, highlighted by a first (official) look at Far Cry 6. The event also gave us a look at Watch Dogs Legion and its combat system, featuring gameplay where any NPC is playable. To celebrate the new release, Ubisoft had teased free copies of Watch Dogs 2 if fans tuned into the event and logged into their Ubisoft accounts to claim the game. But according to a number of fans online, they struggled to get logged in and had password troubles. On Monday, Ubisoft's support account updated fans to say the game will be available for fans -- whether they tuned in or not -- until July 15. They included a link to register and log in to snag the code, and hopefully not encounter any problems along the way. It's a nice gesture from a company hoping fans are ready for a lot more Watch Dogs this fall, and getting back into the ecosystem for free is as good a way as any to start.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US Utilities Are Cleaning Up Their Act With Emissions Down 8%

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 18:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: U.S. utilities are producing less greenhouse gases as they continue to shift away from coal. Carbon dioxide emissions from the 100 biggest U.S. electricity producers fell 8% last year, according to a report (PDF) Wednesday from the environmental group Ceres. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, two other key pollutants produced by burning coal, declined by 23% and 14%, respectively. The results reflect the increasing impact of the green transition as power producers shutter coal plants in favor of cheaper and cleaner natural gas and renewables. More than 9 gigawatts of coal capacity is expected to be permanently retired this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Utilities' carbon emissions have declined 28% since 2000 even as U.S. gross domestic product climbed, a sign that cutting pollution need not constrain economic development. The declines may be even larger this year as the coronavirus pandemic slows power consumption. Emissions will continue to come down in future years as power companies use more wind and solar, coupled with increasing installation of energy storage systems.

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Google Announces 100,000 Scholarships for Online Certificates in Data Analytics, Project Management and UX

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 17:25
Google today announced three new online certificate programs in data analytics, project management and user experience design. From a report: The certificates are created and taught by Google employees, do not require a college degree, can be completed in three to six months and are offered through the online learning platform Coursera. Google says it will consider all of its certificates as the equivalent of a four-year college degree for related roles at the company. "This is not revenue-generating for Google," says Google vice president, Lisa Gevelber, who leads Grow with Google and Google for Startups and serves as the company's Americas chief marketing officer. "There's a small cost from the Coursera platform itself -- the current pricing is $49 a month -- but we want to ensure that anyone who wants to have this opportunity, can have it." The tech giant has committed to funding 100,000 need-based scholarships for individuals enrolled in any of these career certificate programs and will be awarding over $10 million in grants to YWCA, NPower and JFF -- three nonprofits that partner with Google to provide workforce development to women, veterans and underrepresented Americans. Gevelber says Google chose the specific fields of data analytics, project management and user experience because they can lead to "high-growth, high-paying careers."

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Microsoft's AI Generates Voices That Sing in Chinese and English

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:44
Researchers at Zhejiang University and Microsoft claim they've developed an AI system -- DeepSinger -- that can generate singing voices in multiple languages by training on data from music websites. From a report: In a paper published on the preprint Arxiv.org, they describe the novel approach, which leverages a specially-designed component to capture the timbre of singers from noisy singing data. The work -- like OpenAI's music-generating Jukebox AI -- has obvious commercial implications. Music artists are often pulled in for pick-up sessions to address mistakes, changes, or additions after a recording finishes. AI-assisted voice synthesis could eliminate the need for these, saving time and money on the part of the singers' employers. But there's a darker side: It could also be used to create deepfakes that stand in for musicians, making it seem as though they sang lyrics they never did (or put them out of work). In what could be a sign of legal battles to come, Jay-Z's Roc Nation label recently filed copyright notices against videos that used AI to make him rap Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." As the researchers explain, singing voices have more complicated patterns and rhythms than normal speaking voices. Synthesizing them requires information to control the duration and the pitch, which makes the task challenging. Plus, there aren't many publicly available singing training data sets, and songs used in training must be manually analyzed at the lyrics and audio level.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Daily Deals: $400 off MacBook Pro, $35 off AirPods Pro, $5 Apple Watch bands, and more

iDownloadBlog - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:35

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you’ll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and much more. But you better hurry, these prices won’t be around forever!
Categories: Geek

Apple continues to encourage retail employees to work remotely; not confident U.S. offices will return to normal in 2020

iDownloadBlog - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:32

Apple does not expect to see the U.S. corporate offices return to normal workforce numbers before the end of 2020, while it's still encouraging retail employees to find work-from-home opportunities as retail stores are closed.
Categories: Geek

Microsoft Flight Simulator Landing on Windows 10 Next Month

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 16:05
Fans of Microsoft's famous Flight Sim won't have long to wait until the latest incarnation arrives. From a report: This promises to be the most detailed and authentic version to date, with incredibly accurate landscapes that are ever-changing, coupled with highly detailed aircraft, covering everything from light planes to commercial jets. Microsoft Flight Simulator has been around since 1982 -- feeling old yet? -- and the new version will be available in three editions -- Standard ($59.99), Deluxe ($89.99) and Premium Deluxe ($119.99). The Deluxe edition comes with five extra planes and five extra international airports. The Premium Deluxe adds a further five planes and airports on top of that. Microsoft Flight Simulator launches on August 18, and you can pre-order on Windows 10 or pre-install with Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta) today.

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The Math of Social Distancing Is a Lesson in Geometry

Slashdot - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 15:28
Sphere packing might seem like a topic only a mathematician could love. Who else could get excited about finding the most efficient way to arrange circles in the plane, or spheres in space? But right now, millions of people all over the world are thinking about this very problem. From a report: Determining how to safely reopen buildings and public spaces under social distancing is in part an exercise in geometry: If each person must keep six feet away from everyone else, then figuring out how many people can sit in a classroom or a dining room is a question about packing non-overlapping circles into floor plans. Of course there's a lot more to confronting COVID than just this geometry problem. But circle and sphere packing plays a part, just as it does in modeling crystal structures in chemistry and abstract message spaces in information theory. It's a simple-sounding problem that's occupied some of history's greatest mathematicians, and exciting research is still happening today, particularly in higher dimensions. For example, mathematicians recently proved the best way to pack spheres into 8- and 24-dimensional space -- a technique essential for optimizing the error-correcting codes used in cell phones or for communication with space probes. So let's take a look at some of the surprising complications that arise when we try to pack space with our simplest shape. If your job involves packing oranges in a box or safely seating students under social distancing, the size and shape of your container is a crucial component of the problem. But for most mathematicians, the theory of sphere packing is about filling all of space. In two dimensions, this means covering the plane with same-size circles that don't overlap.

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