Gadget Ogling: Amazon Gives Fashion Advice, Snacks Get Musical, and Coffee Tables Get Smart

Amazon’s Echo system, which brought Alexa to tables and countertops as a hub for your home, now has evolved into something a little more visually minded. I don’t mean the brand new Echo Show — it’s the Echo Look that has caught my eye. The Echo Look has a built-in camera that captures both audio and video. That might prove incredibly valuable for parents who can’t grab their phone and open its camera in time to record whatever a young ‘un is doing. Amazon has different ambitions for its Echo Look, though — to help you choose your outfits.
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Microsoft Debuts Smarter Cloud at Build

Microsoft executives, led by CEO Satya Nadella, introduced a series of enhancements to the company’s critical data and cloud services at the kickoff of its annual Build conference on Wednesday, demonstrating new ways to expand adoption of artificial intelligence, personal digital assistants and other innovations. Nadella told conference attendees that there will be more than 25 billion intelligent devices in the world by 2020, and the role of developers will be to extend new technologies to meet that challenge.
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Nvidia Embraces Deep Neural Nets With Volta

At this year’s GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia’s premier conference for technical computing with graphic processors, the company reserved the top keynote for its CEO Jensen Huang. Over the years, the GTC conference went from a segment in a larger, mostly gaming-oriented and somewhat scattershot conference called “nVision” to become one of the key conferences that mixes academic and commercial high-performance computing. Jensen’s message was that GPU-accelerated machine learning is growing to touch every aspect of computing.
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New GitHub Marketplace Showcases Integrators, Speeds Development

GitHub earlier this week launched GitHub Marketplace, featuring apps from more than a dozen integrators, at the GitHub Satellite conference. The platform allows developers to review and purchase new tools that do everything from helping to manage projects, to automating code building, testing code quality, or monitoring the impact of code changes. The marketplace allows developers to start using the tools collected there without setting up multiple accounts or multiple payment methods. Launch partners include Waffle.io, CircleCi and others.
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Microsoft’s Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game

Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as “Beam.” In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers. The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft. New co-streaming functionality will allow four PC streamers to combine their respective broadcasts into a single split-screen stream.
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Dell’s ‘Alice’ Will Guide Women Through VC Wonderland

One of the interesting things at Dell EMC World last week came from Karen Quintos, the most powerful woman at Dell. Karen is responsible for its Entrepreneur in Residence program, which, among other things, focuses on equipping and helping woman entrepreneurs. Dell Technologies apparently has created “Alice,” a female-focused artificial intelligence focused on helping support and drive innovative firms backed by women. This is important, because it appears that only 3 percent of venture capitalist-funded new firms are founded by women.
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Main Surface Pro Improvements Are Beneath the Surface

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a refresh of its Surface Pro tablet-laptop computer. Although Microsoft said the fifth generation of the unit has been redesigned from the inside out with more than 800 new custom parts, the Surface Pro looks similar to its predecessor. “If you were looking for a major redesign of Surface, this isn’t it,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research. Nevertheless, Microsoft has made some significant improvements in the tablet cum laptop. Battery life has been boosted to 13.5 hours.
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Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction

Parents don’t need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories for kids of all ages these days. Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction — and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt. The fact that 59 percent of parents said their teens were addicted to mobile devices was not surprising. However, the fact that 50 percent of teens admitted they were addicted was shocking.
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Google’s New Mobile OS Will Have a Distinctly Non-Linux Hue

Google has been developing a new open source OS called “Fuchsia” for smartphones, tablets and other devices, which could be unveiled as early as this summer. Little has been revealed about the new OS since it first came to light last year. However, new details that surfaced last week have been making the rounds. Fuchsia apparently will move Google away from its long association with Linux, as it is based on a new microkernel called “Magenta.” Google plans to dump not only the Linux kernel, but also the General Public License, it appears.
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Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content

The public this weekend got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism. More than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts were leaked. Facebook has defended its moderation efforts, saying that its primary goal is keeping people on Facebook safe.
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