Samsung unveils Notebook 5 and 3 series: trio of light, practical laptops

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Samsung unveiled three new Windows laptops with solid performance and a practical build. The Samsung Notebook 5 comes with a 15.6″ 1080p screen and a metal body. The other two are Notebook 3 models – one with a 14″ screen and one with 15.6″. The specs are mostly identical from here on out. The laptops come with a choice between an 8th or 7th generation Intel processors, the higher-end models also come with discrete Nvidia graphics. Full specs are available at the bottom. Samsung Notebook 5 These are practical laptops. They have full keyboards with numpads,…

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Ecobee Switch+ smart light switch with built-in Alexa action is finally up for sale

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When you’re putting together a smart home, it’s easy to get a little carried away. Maybe you start with a speaker connected to a voice assistant. Then you’re ordering pack after pack of smart light bulb, wiring in a doorbell cam, and before you know it your curtains and blinds are opening all by themselves. Well, homeowners aren’t the only ones going down this path, and we’ve also seen the companies behind these devices start out making just one kind of smart-home accessory, before finding themselves building a whole home’s worth of connected tech.

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Ecobee Switch+ smart light switch with built-in Alexa action is finally up for sale was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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‘SKALAR’ explores how light and sound affect our emotions

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Photons have no mass, but in an exhibition at the CTM electronic music festival in Berlin, artist Christopher Bauder treated light as a moldable, solid substance. The installation was married to a complex soundscape by musician and composer Kangding…
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Tim Cook calls for ‘well-crafted regulation’ in light of Facebook data mining controversy

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At the China Development Forum today, Tim Cook was asked about the leak of Facebook user data that saw Cambridge Analytica amass information on 50 million users. As reported by Bloomberg, Cook stated that the Facebook controversy is another sign that “well-crafted” regulations are necessary to protect user data…

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Baidu gets the green light to test self-driving cars in China

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Chinese search giant Baidu has received approval to begin testing its self-driving cars in Beijing, Reuters reports. It is a sign of China’s strong support for the industry in the wake of the first pedestrian death from an autonomous Uber vehicle in the US.

Baidu, which is known as China’s version of Google, received a permit to test its vehicles on 33 roads spanning around 65 miles (105 kilometers) in the city’s less-populated suburbs, the firm said in a statement. Baidu is seen as the nation’s leader in autonomous driving, having launched a new platform last year aimed at helping car manufacturers produce self-driving vehicles faster.

Earlier this month China issued licenses to Shanghai-based SAIC Motor Corp and electric vehicle…

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Mark Zuckerberg releases statement in light of ongoing data scandal

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In case you missed what’s going on with Facebook, here’s the low down. A data mining and analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica took Facebook user data and misused it in violation of Facebook’s terms and guidelines. This misuse of data played a large role in the influencing of voters in the US 2016 presidential elections. Today, founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has broken his silence and released a lengthy statement on Facebook surrounding the ongoing data scandal between Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and the influencing of users during the 2016 US electrions. We have…

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Google reportedly acquiring Lytro, the maker of light field cameras

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The talk around town is that Google is in the process of acquiring Lytro, maker of light field cameras. Neither company has officially confirmed the deal, but the rumored price is $ 40 million or even as low as $ 25 million – a precipitous fall from the once $ 360 million valuation. The employee headcount might take a hit too, though presumably all 59 light field patents will go over to Google. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Google launched a Welcome to Light Fields app just days ago, which shows what can be done in VR. Light field cameras capture much more than regular 2D cameras,…

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‘Hyper Light Drifter’ is another indie game coming to Switch

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Nintendo wasn't done with the indie game announcements after its #Nindies live stream earlier today. At an event and on social media it revealed three more ports coming to the Switch soon: Hyper Light Drifter, Nidhogg 2 and Crashlands. All three are…
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New report sheds light on why Siri has failed to live up to expectations

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Siri

To say that Siri was introduced with a lot of fanfare would be a gross understatement. Siri of course made its debut on the iPhone 4s, and far from being one of many new and exciting feature, Siri was positioned as the iPhone 4s’ flagship feature. Accompanied by a massive marketing campaign, Siri, or so Apple told us, was going to forever change the way we interact with our smartphones.

More than six years since its release, Siri hasn’t exactly lived up to the potential many in the tech industry thought it had. Now that’s not to say that Siri is completely useless. Far from it, Apple’s intelligent assistant has become incredibly useful and more reliable over the past few years. Still, Siri’s shortcomings become impossible to ignore when measured against rival personal assistants from the likes of Google and Amazon.

Highlighting how Siri squandered a significant lead in the realm of intelligent personal assistants, a fascinating new report from The Information provides us with an in-depth look at some of the in-fighting and challenges that apparently plagued Siri since the very beginning.

One of the more interesting aspects of the story centers on how engineers within the Siri team were at odds at what an idealized version of Siri should be.

Siri’s various teams morphed into an unwieldy apparatus that engaged in petty turf battles and heated arguments over what an ideal version of Siri should be—a quick and accurate information fetcher or a conversant and intuitive assistant capable of complex tasks.

One interesting blurb attributed to a former Apple employee reads: “When Steve died the day after Siri launched, they lost the vision. They didn’t have a big picture.”

Truthfully, Siri’s challenges seem to be more deep-rooted than what can simply be ascribed to Jobs’ passing. If anything, Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography on Jobs relayed that Jobs was so sick in the weeks leading up to the iPhone 4s unveiling that he was not nearly as involved in the “vision” of the feature as he might have ordinarily been.

That brief quibble aside, The Information’s full rundown of why Siri hasn’t yet taken the world by storm is downright engrossing and well worth reading. Note, though, that a subscription to the publication is required for full access.

Incidentally, Apple earlier this year disclosed that Siri is now used on more than half a billion devices.

Apple – BGR

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Homekit-compatible ecobee Switch+ smart light switch shipping in end of March

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The long-awaited ecobee Switch+, a smart light switch that offers Siri HomeKit voice control via far-field voice technology, is coming at the end of March.
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