Microsoft now offers paid AI courses as a skill for your CV

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Here’s something every tech company agrees on: the world needs more AI engineers. Microsoft is the latest firm to try to answer this demand, and this week, it launched a new course on its tech accreditation scheme (known as the Microsoft Professional Program) dedicated to artificial intelligence.

The paid course has 10 modules, each taking between eight and 16 hours to complete online. They cover a range of sub-disciplines, including computer vision, data analysis, speech recognition, and natural language processing. Interestingly, there’s also an ethics course (a topic Microsoft is paying close attention as it pivots to focus on AI) as well as a module on machine learning in Azure, the company’s cloud platform.

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New indie project could lead to a bunch of Wear OS smartwatch competitors

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Soon, there could be a number of indie operating systems for your smartwatch, sprouting from an open-source code project launched last week. Indie developers making budget smartwatches can now use starting code from Project OpenWatch to craft their Android-based operating systems. The OpenWatch project is live as of last week. It was released by Blocks, the same company behind the forthcoming Blocks modular smartwatch.

Blocks’ head of engineering, Karl Taylor, said that the project is meant to “open up the smartwatch OS space to the open source community in a bid to loosen the stranglehold on the industry by other, essentially proprietary operating system.” He named Google’s Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) and Apple’s watchOS as the two…

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Spotify stock reference price set at $132 a share, placing company valuation at $23.5 billion

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Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, went public this morning, trading under ticker name SPOT, with the New York Stock Market setting its reference price at $ 132 a share. That puts the company value at $ 23.5 billion, and is on target with what CNBC reported last month when shares were traded on private markets were for as high as $ 132.50 a share. Spotify’s last valuation was at $ 8.4 billion when it raised a financing round of $ 400 million back in 2015.

Sweden-based Spotify is available in 61 countries with an overall user base that includes ad-supported free listeners of 159 million, and 70 million paying users as of January 2018. The company was founded in 2006 by Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek, who remains its current…

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Apple is moving on from Intel because Intel isn’t moving anywhere

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A report from Bloomberg this week has made public something that should already have been apparent to tech industry observers: Apple is planning to replace Intel processors in Mac computers with its own chips starting sometime around 2020. The two California companies have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership ever since Apple made the switch to Intel CPUs with the 2006 MacBook Pro and iMac, but recent trends have made the break-up between them inevitable. Intel’s chip improvements have stagnated at the same time as Apple’s have accelerated, and now iPhone systems-on-chip are outperforming laptop-class silicon from Intel’s Core line. Even if Intel never cedes its performance crown, the future that Apple is building will invariably be…

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Oppo is ending its line of high-end headphones and Blu-ray players

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Oppo Digital, the 14-year-old US brand known for its high-end audio equipment and disc players, says it has begun winding down its business. From April 2nd, Oppo Digital says it will “gradually” stop making products like the PM3 headphones, and DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD disc players. Oppo Digital is a separate company from Oppo the phone maker which is unaffected by today’s announcement.

Customers who own existing equipment will still be able to get technical support though, including for items both in and out of warranty. Those who have bought an Oppo Digital product in the past 30 days are eligible for a refund. Oppo said it would continue selling products on its website and through authorized resellers until stock runs out.

In an FAQ…

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Dragon Quest VR is coming to Japan this month

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Dragon Quest, arguably the most popular video game series of all time in Japan, is getting its first VR entry. Dragon Quest VR is coming to Bandai Namco’s VR Zone in Shinjuku, Tokyo, later this month — the same location that plays host to the stunning VR version of Mario Kart.

“It’s honestly like a dream,” series creator Yuji Horii says in the announcement trailer. “I really felt like I was holding a sword and shield and walking through the world — I thought it was incredibly fun.” The trailer doesn’t show off any gameplay footage, but you can see people playing the game on Vive headsets with tracked sword and shield controllers in a free-roaming environment.

VR Zone will start taking reservations to play Dragon Quest VR from April…

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John Harrison’s super-accurate clock helped solve the longitude puzzle

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Today’s Google Doodle celebrates clockmaker John Harrison, whose efforts to calculate longitude helped people figure out their place in the world — literally.

Harrison was born 325 years ago in Yorkshire, England and grew up to become a clockmaker. Before he died in 1776, he developed a series of increasingly accurate clocks that could be used to determine a ship’s position on the globe’s east-west axis, also known as its longitude.

Seamen had long used the position of the sun or North Star in the sky to figure out latitude — that is, distance from the equator in the north-south direction, according to The Conversation. But calculating longitude was much trickier, leading to deadly navigational errors: in 1707, for example, a five-ship…

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Instagram abandons its Apple Watch app

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Instagram no longer has an Apple Watch app. The Verge can confirm that the version 39.0 update to the iPhone client, which comes with a changelog simply stating “general bug fixes and performance improvements,” removes the Watch app altogether.

As 9to5Mac notes, this is likely because of a new restriction that Apple is enforcing. As of April 1st, updates to Apple Watch apps must use the watchOS 2 SDK or later, while new Watch apps have to be built with the watchOS 4 SDK. Instagram’s app dates back to the days of WatchKit 1.0, when third-party software wasn’t able to run natively on the watch itself; it never got features like video support or the ability to work over an LTE connection.

In ending support for its Apple Watch app, Instagram…

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Snapchat is making a bid for your parents, missing the entire point of Snapchat

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Snapchat aired its first-ever TV ad this past weekend during the NCAA’s Final Four, and it appears to have set its sights on a new audience: your parents. The ad bills Snapchat as “a camera, where how you feel matters more than how you look,” while painting it as an easy way to take photos of messy babies and put dog ears on grandma.

But by framing itself as another milquetoast social app designed for flaunting idyllic vacations and family reunions, the ad completely ignores what makes Snapchat appealing in the first place. Those highly curated shots are already going up on Instagram Stories. Snapchat is the place where you trade dumb jokes with your friends, non-essential thoughts, or show off the trashy nights you don’t want preserved…

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Reddit begins rolling out first redesign in a decade

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Reddit has redesigned its website and the changes begin rolling out today, marking the first time in a decade that the social media network has altered its interface. One percent of users will see the new design today, and over the course of the next few months, the design will come to all Reddit users and lurkers, as Wired reports. As of now, those who see the change can still switch back to the old Reddit.

The new Reddit design replaces the navigation bar with a menu on the left corner, which resembles a lot of trendy website templates available on Squarespace, Wix, or Tumblr. The menu opens up to display links to feeds, subreddits you follow, and user profiles. Users will be able to choose to view Reddit in three modes: “classic view”…

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