Spotify disputes earlier report that it lost to Apple Music in streams of The Weeknd’s new single

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It was reported earlier this week that more Apple Music subscribers streamed The Weeknd’s new album, My Dear Melancholy, than Spotify members. This seemed like something of a coup for Apple given that it has around a quarter of Spotify’s subscriber base – all the more so when Spotify had two exclusive music videos from the EP.

But Spotify now apparently disputes this, bizarrely claiming that it initially provided the wrong numbers …

more…

9to5Mac

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Shadowgun Legends Android and iOS guide – Every style of single player mission in the game

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Shadowgun Legends single player missions screenshot 1

There are loads of single player mission in Shadowgun Legends, so we thought it’d be a good idea to break them down so you know what you’re going to be getting into well before you jump into the action. We’re going to look at the multiplayer options in a later guide as well, so make sure you check back to find out what’s what with the PvP and PvE modes that the game has to offer as well.

[Read more]
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Uber says a single metric isn’t a clear indication of an autonomous car’s safety

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Drivers still had to take over once every 13 miles in Arizona, according to new documents The New York Times obtained.

In the days since a self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., local police and federal agencies have yet determine whether Uber’s technology was at fault.

But new documents obtained by The New York Times show Uber’s technology had made little progress in the last year. The story details the series of setbacks the company faced in trying to get self-driving cars to market, including careless safety drivers who are supposed to take over test cars in case of emergencies.

The key stat underpinning the report is what’s known as “miles per intervention,” or the number of miles the car can drive on its own before the safety driver has to take over the car. The Times story cites internal documents showing Uber was unable to meet its goal of driving an average of 13 miles without a driver having to take back control as of March.

That’s not much better than its rate of intervention this time last year. In March 2017, documents Recode obtained showed Uber’s safety operators had to take back control of the cars an average of once per every 0.8 miles.

Uber wanted to spell out what this metric means and doesn’t mean in the wake of the fatality and sent this statement:

MPI is not a measure of the overall safety of our testing operations, and shouldn’t be interpreted as such. Miles per intervention is one of many metrics that we use to track our system’s improvement, but without context it can be one of the least useful. For example, depending on where and how it’s tested, the same software could result in significantly different MPI. Additionally, companies may define interventions differently from each other.

In other words, miles per intervention is a broad metric that includes most of the times drivers have had to take back control from the system over the course of a week.

The reasons for these interventions can include navigating unclear lane markings, the system overshooting a turn or driving in inclement weather. The stat excludes accidental disengagements, end-of-route disengagements and early takeovers.

Other metrics include the average number of miles between “critical” interventions — when a driver has to avoid causing harm, such as hitting pedestrians or causing material property damage and the average number of autonomous miles between “bad experiences” — things like jerky motions or hard braking, which are more likely to cause discomfort than damage.

Then there’s the total number of miles driven autonomously. The documents the Times obtained indicated Uber had driven 3 million miles as of March.

While other companies may define interventions differently, Uber’s rate of intervention in Arizona is far more frequent than that of its competitors’. For example, Alphabet’s self-driving company, Waymo, had a rate of 5,600 miles per intervention in California.

Still, this is by no means an indication that the technology was at fault in the fatal crash. It is, however, an indication of Uber’s slow technological progress with its self-driving cars.

Recode – All

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Bitcoin Will Become World’s Single Currency Within 10 Years, Says Twitter CEO

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Speaking of the current cryptocurrency king, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey said that he believes Bitcoin will become the world’s single currency within the next ten years.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Amazon now lets you talk to Alexa without saying ‘Hey Alexa’ EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

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Amazon is today giving Alexa perhaps its most useful update since its inception: You can now speak to the assistant without saying “Hey Alexa” for every single command. The feature, called Follow-Up Mode, simply allows Alexa to listen for another command for five seconds after your last request. That should make asking Alexa to perform several actions a lot less repetitive, although you still can’t use multiple commands in one sentence like you can with Google Assistant. You can also end the conversation by saying ‘thank you,’ adding a dose of friendliness. Or you can just say ‘stop’ if you’re…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Amazon
The Next Web

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By Tweaking a Single Gene, Scientists Trick Plants Into Being More Water-Efficient

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Scientists have discovered a way to make plants more water-efficient, thereby enabling them to grow faster and produce more crops. The research, published to the journal Nature Communications, is part of an international project known as Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, or RIPE.

Katarzyna Glowacka, a postdoctoral researcher at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the project. Together, she and the research team modified the expression of a single gene to increase the levels of a photosynthetic protein known as PsbS in tobacco plants.

Increasing PsbS essentially tricks the plant into partially closing its stomata — tiny pores on the leaves that allow carbon dioxide to enter for photosynthesis, but simultaneously let water escape. With the stomata only partially open, the tobacco plant doesn’t lose as much water.

The amount of carbon dioxide the plant has, surrounding humidity, as well as the quality and quantity of light can impact whether the stomata are open or closed. The PsbS proteins signal to the plant how much light is nearby, so an artificially increased level of PsbS indicating that there isn’t enough light for photosynthesis, prompting the stomata to close.

Ultimately, tweaking the amount of PsbS increased the tobacco plant’s water-efficiency, or the ratio of how much carbon dioxide enters the plant to how much water is lost, by 25 percent without sacrificing the plant’s yield.

“These plants had more water than they needed, but that won’t always be the case,” Glowacka explained in a press release. “When water is limited, these modified plants will grow faster and yield more — they will pay less of a penalty than their non-modified counterparts.”

PsbS is found in all plants, meaning the experiment done with tobacco could work for other plants too. To prove this, the team will now attempt to improve the water-efficiency of food crops, and test the crops’ efficiency when water is limited.

RIPE isn’t the first project that has tried to try to improve crop efficiency. Last year, researchers from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York used CRISPR gene-editing to increase the yield of tomatoes; in 2015, the DuPont company used CRISPR to modify corn and wheat. RIPE’s work is yet another example of genetically modifying plants technically speaking, yet it only changes the plant’s behavior, rather than its shape or size.

Another postdoctoral researcher at the IGB, Johannes Kromdijk, said in the same press release: “Making crop plants more water-use efficient is arguably the greatest challenge for current and future plant scientists.” Undoubtedly, despite the continuous public debate surrounding whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe sources of food, these modifications will continue to improve crop quality and resiliency.

The post By Tweaking a Single Gene, Scientists Trick Plants Into Being More Water-Efficient appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

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Apple says it’ll fix the Telugu bug that crashes iPhones with a single character

iPhone iMessage Crash Bug

News emerged on Thursday that a single message containing an Indian character can crash your iPhone. That’s not something unheard of, as such bugs are discovered on a constant basis. Apple always fixes them using iOS updates, and the company confirmed that a fix for the Telugu bug, as it’s referred to, will be available to iPhone owners even before iOS 11.3 rolls out.

The character comes from the Telugu language, which is spoken by some 70 million people in India. When sent over chat apps including iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or email apps, the bug can crash that particular app. To fix the problem yourself, you somehow have to get into the app that crashed and remove the message with the character. You can only do so from another device though, and only if that device doesn’t run iOS.

The character above can also crash the entire iPhone if the symbol appears in a notification card or banner, forcing you to restart the phone.

Apple told The Verge that iOS 11.3 fixes the problems. However, that’s a major release intended to bring over several new features, including a new battery health menu that lets you stop iPhone throttling. As such, the update won’t be released until this spring — though you can install developer and public beta versions to try it out early.

But Apple says it will release an intermediary update, a minor release that could take form as iOS 11.2.6 or something similar, to patch this particular bug. The Verge says that betas for other Apple operating systems, including macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, all fix the problem.

Apple – BGR

This new text bomb crashes most Mac and iOS apps with a single Unicode symbol

The Best Guide To Selling Your Old Phones With High Profit

 TechCrunch has learned of a potentially serious new bug affecting a wide range of Apple devices. During their development work on an international news feed, software engineers at Aloha Browser discovered two Unicode symbols in a non-English language that can crash any Apple device that uses Apple’s default San Francisco font. Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

Graphene film makes dirty water drinkable in a single step

Every year, millions of people around the world die from drinking unclean water. Now, researchers have developed a process that can purify water, no matter how dirty it is, in a single step. Scientists from Australian research organization CSIRO have…
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With a single focus, Intel’s Vaunt has more potential than Google Glass

Back in October of 2013, I got my own pair of Google Glass in order to cover the technology. The site where I worked at the time paid the $ 1,500 cost, and I later spent my own $ 225 to add custom frames that could handle my eyeglass prescription. Given the fate of Glass, we clearly didn’t get a good return on those investments.

Still, there were some things to like about the experience. Glass brought contextual information “closer” to me a relatively non-intrusive way. And that’s exactly what Intel’s smart glasses prototype, known as Vaunt, can do.

When I first read about Vaunt over at The Verge earlier this week, I thought less about the hardware and more about that vision of context and personally important data. That’s because all of our technological advances in mobile computing have impacted this theme.

I look at it this way:

  • In the desktop age, the web brought us closer to data on other computers.
  • Connected laptops brought us closer to data when away from the desktop.
  • Phones put that data in our hand and pocket almost wherever we were.
  • Smartwatches let us wear that data, bringing it even closer
  • Smart glasses can beam that data — at least in the case of Vaunt — directly on our retinas.

Every step of that progression gets us physically closer to contextual information. I suppose the next, or maybe final, step is a Matrix-like jack that simply ports that data directly into our brains, but who knows? Regardless, this is an important theme as more devices around us create gobs of data. The fewer barriers there are between us and the information we want, the faster we can use or act upon it.

And that’s why I’m excited about Vaunt’s potential, perhaps more so than I was about that of Google Glass.

To contrast the two at a high level, Vaunt isn’t trying to take smartphone functions — such as taking photos and videos, a key reason Glass never had a chance of mainstream success — and move them to your eyes. Instead, the product is singularly focused on very specific information that you will want at a specific time and/or place.

That approach has benefits from a hardware perspective too. t’s why you essentially can’t tell the difference between Vaunt and a traditional pair of glasses. They appear to be standard eyeglass frames to both you and the people around you.

Without the need to include a camera sensor, microphone or speaker, the small chips and display components fit inside the frames. Eliminating the camera also allows for a smaller battery since powering an image sensor typically uses a lot of energy. Using a low-powered, single color laser for the retina projection helps with battery life too when compared to the color display used in Google Glass.

By distilling potential product features into essentially one — simple but very useful information — Vaunt actually solves a problem; something Glass sort of did but other extra features came along for the distracting ride. In fact, I don’t see much of a distraction factor with Vaunt because they don’t look like some technological device nor will people even realize that your retina is receiving information.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean Vaunt will be successful. In fact, Intel isn’t even sure of how Vaunt will be used. That’s why the company will be launching an early access program for developers at some point this year. Intel is just providing the technology while developers will provide the functions that they think people will want.

Think of Vaunt then as a new hardware platform with a very limited feature set. That feature is very powerful though: It takes us one step even closer to the information that personally matters most to us..

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis