During the minutes and hours after shots rang out at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, many people used Twitter just as they have after other high-profile events: to spread fake information and hoaxes. In response to reports about how bad its "fak… Engadget RSS Feed
“Machine learning” and “neural network” are familiar terms to anyone who follows what Google is up to these days, but they may not be the most accessible or comprehensible concepts for the masses. And that’s fine — you don’t need to have a firm grasp of machine learning to enjoy better photos or keyboards, for instance. Still, Google has been quietly showcasing ways for users to get more hands-on with these concepts, and the latest such experiment is a game called Emoji Scavenger Hunt.
Location has been a mainstay of the mobile internet for more than decade. Using GPS in phones has enabled all kinds of innovative applications, from Waze to Uber. But GPS isn’t a match for the internet of things. It hogs battery power, doesn’t work well indoors, and GPS modules are expensive to put into products.
Which is why a crop of startups and big companies are trying to find other options for locating devices that won’t cost a lot or drain batteries. And it would be awesome if they worked well indoors — or better yet, in three dimensions, so you could see if an object was on the fourth floor or the fifth. Hoopo is one of the startups that thinks it has mastered this challenge.
Hoopo uses existing low-power wide-area networks to track goods and services in a set area. It uses triangulation to find tiny tags placed on pallets, vehicles, or whatever other equipment a client wants monitored. Currently, Hoopo’s technology can work on LoRa networks, although it isn’t confined to that radio standard.
The Israeli company has raised $ 1.5 million to build out its tags and the necessary gateways. Its CEO, Ittay Hayut, says he sees a market for tracking things as diverse as cattle on farms to managing medical equipment in hospitals. Hayut’s contention that the IoT needs low-power location tracking technologies is a common one.
Other companies are trying to get granular location without GPS as well. For example, PoLTE uses triangulation of cellular signals to determine the placement of a device. It recently raised an undisclosed Series A round, although the company has existed for at least the last nine years. PoLTE doesn’t use tags, but instead uses a device’s SIM card. It sells its software and an appliance to run its software to carriers that then implement it into their networks.
The operators then sell the location services as part of their IoT solutions. PoLTE has signed deals to get its software into a variety of modems and can deliver location data between 2 meters and 6 meters. It’s not able to offer location in three dimensions yet, but is working on it.
Locating things without sucking up a lot of power will go beyond letting companies track people and assets. It could also lead to new ownership models for expensive gear and expand our understanding of the world. For example, loaning out a ladder to a neighbor is easier when you can see exactly where that ladder is. Or in the case of the environment, low-power tracking lets us monitor small creatures that a GPS module might overwhelm.
So while initial use cases will be around asset tracking and fleet management, low-power geolocation will enable a new wave of startups and innovation in the years to come.
More intimate than text but easier to record than video, Facebook hopes voice could get people sharing more on its aging social network. And internationally where users may have to deal with non-native language keyboards, voice lets them speak their mind without a typing barrier. Facebook is now testing Voice Clips as a status update option in India with a small percentage of users. First… Read More Mobile – TechCrunch
With so many Android devices out there to choose from, it’s not always easy to find one that’s enterprise-friendly. To help alleviate that problem, Google announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program today. As the name implies, it’s designed to point enterprise IT departments at devices that Google has deemed to be enterprise-ready. Read More Mobile – TechCrunch
Back in 2016, Facebook reportedly chose to roll out Reactions instead of a dislike button, because the latter would've sown too much negativity. According to The Daily Beast, though, the social network is now testing a "downvote" button, which has it… Engadget RSS Feed
20,000 people recently spent $ 500 a piece on a whimsical indulgence: flamethrowers from Elon Musk. In December 2017, Musk Tweeted about selling flamethrowers from the Boring Company, his business venture (ostensibly) created to dig tunnels for future modes of transportation.
And then, to the incredulity of many, the flamethrowers actually went on sale. And sold out in four days. And if you didn’t think 20,000 people could find uses for a $ 500 flamethrower, you either wildly underestimated the distribution of wealth, fiscal responsibility, or the amount of people who have ever tried to emulate anything anyone’s ever done on an episode of Jackass.
But there are at least preliminary indications that the flamethrower won’t be allowed everywhere its purchasers may live. In a statement Tweeted by L.A. Times reporter Liam Dillon on January 29, California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) plans to introduce legislation that would ban Musk’s flamethrower from being sold in California.
The statement is light on specifics about how exactly the state will ban the flamethrowers. But Santiago has pretty decent reasons for opposing widespread ownership of the devices. For one thing, they would be a huge threat to public safety. Do you want to imagine even a single person running around wherever you live with a device that’s literally no longer used in war due to its sheer destructiveness? Santiago’s wording is a bit more diplomatic.
The statement reads:
There are many times in which technology and inventions benefit society, but are not made available to the public. We don’t allow people to walk in off the street and purchase military-grade tanks or armor-piercing ammunition… I cannot even begin to imagine the problems a flamethrower would cause firefighters and police officers alike.
The point about the effect on firefighters is especially poignant, since Santiago’s home district was recently ravaged by wildfires, causing $ 1 billion in damage. And that’s far from the first time California, in the midst of a deep drought, has been ravaged by wildfires over the past few years. Throwing even just a few more flamethrowers into the mix hardly seems like a salve to those burns.
All in all, Santiago says the product “feels like a complete slap in the face.”
For his part, Musk has made it clear that he intends to do what it takes to dodge prohibitions on the flamethrowers. Take, for example, the fact that various countries ban the shipment or import of anything even called a flamethrower.
For this hurdle, Musk has a ready retort:
Apparently, some customs agencies are saying they won’t allow shipment of anything called a “Flamethrower”. To solve this, we are renaming it “Not a Flamethrower”.
Take that, fun-hating federal bureaucrats! Customs agencies are no match for Musk’s clever use of the English language. And editing.
Admittedly, the flamethrowers still might not exist. We’ve only gotten glimpses of the “working” flamethrowers in seconds-long videos. And though Musk has a few reasons why he might dedicate his time and resources to making an insane flame gun, well, then again, he might just choose not to.
But since Musk has already sold $ 10 million worth of flamethrowers, he’s gonna have to figure something out. Shipment of the (possibly-nonexistent) flamethrowers is slated for the spring. No word yet on when the proposed legislation might kick in, but we can most assuredly promise you this: Rep. Santiago has lost the pyromaniac vote. We’re not in the politics business here, but we also think he’ll live without it.
Medumo co-founder Adeel Yang has plenty of first-hand experience dealing with cancellations for procedures and appointments as a physician — but it’s been a problem that’s a deceptively hard to solve. So Yang and his co-founders decided to start Medumo to address the problem they’ve seen so often themselves. The company’s main goal is to reduce procedure… Read More Mobile – TechCrunch
Dig into the personalities of chat bots and you'll find that they're about as shallow as they were in the days of Eliza or Dr. Sbaitso. They respond with canned phrases and tend to be blithely unaware of what you've said. Facebook wants to fix that…. Engadget RSS Feed
Usually when you tap the now-playing bar while listening to Spotify on your phone, it brings up a static image related to the song you're playing. But today, Music Ally noticed that one song on the New Music Friday playlist, Superorganism's "Everybod… Engadget RSS Feed