Alcatel crams flagship features into its affordable smartphones

When I first saw its 2018 phone lineup, Alcatel was clear: its plan for this year was to make premium smartphone features available for much less than typical flagship prices. In this case, Alcatel means giving 18:9 screens, fingerprint sensors, and…
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Pixel 2 battery drain issue being looked into, Google says

Last week, it came to light the Pixel 2 February update has caused some serious issues, with users reporting poor battery life and device overheating. What’s good is that Google has already started investigating the reports. Here’s what a company employee said on a Google forum thread discussing these problems: We want to look into this issue and I’m going to reach out privately for bug reports. Please keep an eye out for my email, thanks! No timeline for a fix yet. The best affected users can do at the moment is to share bug reports with the company. These are critical problems,…

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Net Neutrality Repeal Made Official With Entry Into Federal Register

It’s been two months since the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of repealing Net Neutrality rules that were put in place by the United States government in 2015. That decision has been made official today by being entered into the Federal Register, and will become law starting April 23, 2018.

Following the vote, lawsuits began to appear in efforts to block the rollback of Net Neutrality, with one multi-state lawsuit being led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 22 other Attorneys General. As pointed out by TechCrunch, now that the Restoring Internet Freedom order “legally exists,” every opponent in the U.S., “from citizens to attorney generals to governors and senators,” will be able to begin their own lawsuits over the decision.

Prior to today, many actions contemplated and indeed announced by opponents of the rule were technically not possible, since the rule was technically not yet in force. A state can’t, for example, argue that its own laws are infringed upon by a rule until that rule legally exists.

Today is the moment that the net neutrality repeal legally exists, and you’re going to see a lot — a lot — of actions taken against it, all over the country.

The decision was heavily debated leading up to the vote in December, with proponents arguing the internet will now go back to a “light-touch regulatory scheme” it faced prior to 2015 and the advent of Net Neutrality. Opponents of the repeal vocalized fear that internet service providers will now be able to slow down internet speeds — or block access completely — to certain websites they see as competitors, among other concerns.

Specifically, the FCC’s vote reclassifies ISPs as “information service” providers — as they were between February 1996 and February 2015 — instead of classifying them as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. According to the Federal Register document published today, the decision to do this was made to restore broadband internet services as a “lightly-regulated” market. This means that one of the only major stipulations placed on ISPs like AT&T and Comcast is that if they do throttle a user’s internet for any reason, they must disclose it. For its part, AT&T has said it is “committed to an open internet.”

A report by Recode in January examined how major technology companies responded to the Net Neutrality debate, with Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google spending about $50 million in 2017 lobbying the government on the issue. Apple alone was said to have spent $7 million on lobbying last year with a focus on encryption and immigration as well as Net Neutrality, growing from $4.5 million in 2016.

Apple’s push against the repeal of Net Neutrality included a letter from August 2017 urging the FCC not to roll back the rules. Apple’s letter discussed internet “fast lanes” and “slow lanes,” where paid fast lanes could result in an “internet with distorted competition.” Apple ultimately said this ruling could “fundamentally alter the internet as we know it,” and if it passed it would be put in place to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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New ARKit demo brings the scariest scene from “The Ring” into your living room

iOS developer Abhishek Singh is no stranger to ARKit and now he’s put together a new ARKit-powered demo which recreates the scariest scene from the horror flick “The Ring”, complete with Samara popping out of the telly and coming in to your living room…. Read the rest of this post here


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Smart Glasses Can Convert Text Into Sound for the Visually Impaired

A Japanese company is in the midst of developing a pair of smart glasses that can help those with visual impairments or comprehension problems to read written text more easily. Called the Oton Glass, the spectacles are meant to translate text into audio using two cameras and an earpiece, both fitted to its frame.

Half of the lens is a mirror that reflects the wearer’s eyes back to the first camera, which tracks eye movement. That camera can detect blinking, while the other captures text. Wearers use the glasses by staring at text they can’t read and blinking to trigger the glasses.

Using Raspberry Pi as the glasses’ computer, the captured words are send to a Raspberry Pi cloud system, which processes the text and converts it into audio played through the earpiece. If the computer system is unable to identify and convert words, the images are sent to a remote worker who can decipher them.

The Verge notes that the Oton Glass is a lot like Google Translate, except that the latter requires users to pull out their phone and swipe over text. By comparison, Oton Glass is much easier to use. Its creators hope to help those with sensory impairments, much like the Peri eyeglass accessory that converts sound into lights for those hard of hearing.

The Oton Glass lead designer, Keisuke Shimakage, started working on the glasses in 2012 to aid his father, who had recently developed dyslexia. While his father eventually recovered, Shimakage continued development in order to help others with the disorder.

Currently, the Oton Glass is seeking funding on Campfire, Japan’s version of Kickstarter. Backers can get a pair of the glasses for 5,000 yen (roughly $ 47).

Smart glasses aren’t a new concept, but it’s difficult to point to any single pair of smart glasses that people have reviewed favorably. It could, perhaps, be that previous products tried to do too much, or were too expensive; hence why Intel’s Vaunt smart glasses stripped out some features, like its camera, LCD screen, and speakers. In contrast, the Oton Glass is for a very specific audience, and its relatively low price could make more appealing to those who want an affordable way to understand the text around them.

The post Smart Glasses Can Convert Text Into Sound for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Futurism.

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