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10-18-2019 General
After three days of being lost, a woman is rescued thanks to her SOS message in the sand

(CNN)An Australian woman has a surveillance camera to thank for her rescue after she got lost while camping with friends. Deborah Pilgrim, 55, didn't return from a walk Sunday in Sedan, about 60 miles from Adelaide. Police searched for three days. They used a chopper, drones, volunteers and several other adjacent agencies -- without success. "We held great fears for her safety," the South Australia Police said in news conference. "That area is quite harsh...very easy to lose your footing. "Of course, with venomous reptiles around the place, if she had been snake struck, she would have been in all sorts of grief." Before the fourth day of search and rescue, the police received some information from a man who has property in the area. The man owns a block of the wilderness and has a surveillance camera on his property. Because he knew authorities were looking for Pilgrim, he had been checking the footage more frequently. On Wednesday, he noticed the letters S-O-S in a part of his property. He notified police who found Pilgrim safe and sound in a shack where she had access to water. She appeared in good health, but was taken to the hospital as a precaution, police said. She has since been released and is back home.

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
New Smart Speaker System Uses White Noise To Soothe Sleeping Babies And Monitor Their Breathing

Researchers have developed a new skill for smart speakers called BreathJunior that allows these devices to monitor infants' breathing and movement while they are sleeping. Many parents find themselves constantly anxious about their babies' well-being, even when the little ones are asleep. With these parents in mind, a team of researchers worked on BreathJunior, which lets a device not only soothe a sleeping baby, but also monitor their breathing and movement as they slumber. Using Smart Speakers And White Noise Smart speakers are already very common in many households, so the team chose to develop a system that runs on a smart speaker design based on Amazon Echo. Furthermore, as coauthor and University of Washington associate professor Shyam Gollakota pointed out in a news release from the university, these devices are already capable of producing white noise, which is a combination of various sound frequencies. White noise makes a seemingly random sound, which effectively conceals other noises that could wake an infant. For this new software-based skill, the team also used white noise to use a smart speaker as a breathing monitor. To do this, they needed to figure out how to detect the minute changes — caused by the baby's breathing — between the white noise the speaker transmits and the white noise that gets reflected back to its microphones. First author and UW doctoral student Anran Wang explained that the team began by generating a random white noise signal, which reflects off the baby. The smart speaker's microphone captures this signal, then compares it to the original random signal it sent out and isolate the information about the baby's motion. One challenge is that the baby's body and movements are so small that a device needs to know exactly where the infant is to detect their breathing. "Our algorithm takes advantage of the fact that smart speakers have an array of microphones that can be used to focus in the direction of the infant's chest," Wang said. "It starts listening for changes in a bunch of potential directions, and then continues the search toward the direction that gives the clearest signal." BreathJunior Aces Initial Tests The team tested BreathJunior using a prototype smart speaker and an infant simulator, which let them test different respiratory rates as well as see whether the system could detect abnormal breathing patterns, such as apnea. It performed well in both tests. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
Google’s Pixel 4 face unlock has one major privacy weakness

Google came up with its own face unlock system for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL using those advanced sensors in the phone’s top bezel. The technology behind it is similar to Apple’s Face ID, and aside from just letting you into your phone, Google believes face unlock is secure enough to serve as an authentication method across Android. (There’s no more fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4, remember.) And it’s very fast. But BBC News reporter Chris Fox has noticed an alarming privacy concern with Google’s face unlock: it works even if your eyes are fully closed. A support page about face unlock directly confirms as much. “Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed,” the page reads. “Keep your phone in a safe place, like your front pocket or handbag.” You’ll want to follow that advice at night since face unlock would also work if you’re sound asleep. This is a risk factor that iPhones don’t share. By default, Apple’s Face ID requires attention — meaning your eyes need to be open and actively looking at the iPhone or iPad Pro screen — to successfully unlock a device. This setting, which Apple says is an added security measure, can be disabled in settings if a customer so chooses. But Apple clearly states that “requiring attention makes Face ID more secure.” For the Pixel 4, there’s no such option — not yet, at least. There’s evidence that Google is working on it. Among the countless Pixel 4 leaks, you might’ve missed a photo of this screen with an option to “require eyes to be open” for face unlock to work. However, according to Fox, this toggle is not present on the Pixel 4’s software that will ship to consumers next week. When reached by The Verge, Google didn’t say one way or the other whether this added layer of security is definitely coming. “We don’t have anything specific to announce regarding future features or timing, but like most of our products, this feature is designed to get better over time with future software updates,” a spokesperson said by email. Maybe you’re wondering why this matters. Well, aside from snooping friends or partners, the Pixel 4’s face unlock (in its current state) could make it easier for authorities to unlock a seized device without the owner’s permission. If all it takes is pointing the phone at your face, that’s not great. But there is one way Pixel 4 buyers can prevent that possibility until Google rolls out a fix. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
Twitter Users Will Not Be Able To Retweet Rule-Breaking Tweets From World Leaders

World leaders are still allowed to break Twitter's rules, but the popular social media site will limit how users can interact with the offending tweet. Twitter To Limit Interaction With Rule-Breaking Tweet Twitter said that posts from elected and government officials that go against the website's policies will be placed behind a notice that users have to click through to see. Users will also not be able to like, reply, or retweet the tweet in question to limit its reach, but they can still join the conversation by adding a comment through quote tweet. "Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially," the company said in a tweet. "In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve the public conversation, and protect the public's right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account." The restriction has not been used on any accounts as of yet, but Twitter has been under increasing scrutiny for refusing to take action against world leaders who break the site's policies. World Leaders Not Above Twitter's Policies However, in a blog post published on Tuesday, Oct. 15, Twitter reiterated that world leaders are not completely exempted from following the rules. The site laid out the scenarios where its moderators will be forced to interfere and enforce its rules. This includes the promotion of terrorism, clear and direct threats of violence, posting private information or doxxing, posting intimate photos and videos, and engaging in child sexual exploitation. Twitter can still decide to leave an offending post up "if there is a clear public interest in doing so." "The actions we take and policies we develop will set precedent around online speech and we owe it to the people we serve to be deliberate and considered in what we do," the blog post reads. Earlier this month, Senator Kamala Harris penned a letter addressed to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to urge him to ban U.S. President Donald J. Trump from using the social media platform. Senator Harris said that President Trump has used the platform to "target, harass, and attempt to out the whistleblower" whose allegations resulted to an impeachment inquiry. Last year, Twitter asserted that it will not ban President Trump despite allegations that his tweets threatened a nuclear war against North Korea.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
Catalan separatists have tooled up with a decentralized app for civil disobedience

s our age of ubiquitous smartphones and social media turning into an era of mass civil unrest? Two years after holding an independence referendum and unilaterally declaring independence in defiance of the Spanish state — then failing to gain recognition for la república and being forced to watch political leaders jailed or exiled — Catalonia’s secessionist movement has resurfaced with a major splash. One of the first protest actions programmed by a new online activist group, calling itself Tsunami Democràtic, saw thousands of protestors coalescing on Barcelona airport Monday, in an attempt to shut it down. The protest didn’t quite do that but it did lead to major disruption, with roads blocked by human traffic as protestors walked down the highway and the cancelation of more than 100 flights, plus hours of delays for travellers arriving into El Prat. For months leading up to a major Supreme Court verdict on the fate of imprisoned Catalan political leaders a ‘technical elite‘ — as one local political science academic described them this week — has been preparing to reboot Catalonia’s independence movement by developing bespoke, decentralized high-tech protest tools. A source with knowledge of Tsunami Democràtic, speaking to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity, told us that “high level developers” located all around the world are involved in the effort, divvying up coding tasks as per any large scale IT project and leveraging open source resources (such as the RetroShare node-based networking platform) to channel grassroots support for independence into a resilient campaign network that can’t be stopped by the arrest of a few leaders. Demonstrators at the airport on Monday were responding directly to a call to blockade the main terminal posted to the group’s Telegram channel. Additional waves of protest are being planned and programmed via a bespoke Tsunami Democràtic app that was also released this week for Android smartphones — as a sideload, not yet a Google Play download. The app is intended to supplement mainstream social network platform broadcasts by mobilizing smaller, localized groups of supporters to carry out peaceful acts of civil disobedience all over Catalonia. Our source walked us through the app, which requires location permission to function in order that administrators can map available human resources to co-ordinate protests. We’re told a user’s precise location is not shared but rather that an obfuscated, more fuzzy location marker gets sent. However the app’s source code has not yet been open sourced so users have to take such claims on trust (open sourcing is said to be the plan — but only once the app has been scrubbed of any identifying traces, per the source). ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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10-18-2019 Health
Excessive brain activity linked to a shorter life

One key to a longer life could be a quieter brain without too much neural activity, according to a new study that examined postmortem brain tissue from extremely long-lived people for clues about what made them different from people who died in their 60s and 70s. "Use it or lose it" has dominated thinking on how to protect the aging brain, and extensive research shows there are many benefits to remaining physically and mentally active as people get older. But the study, published in the journal Nature, suggests more isn't always better. Excessive activity - at least at the level of brain cells - could be harmful. "The completely shocking and puzzling thing about this new paper is . . . [brain activity] is what you think of as keeping you cognitively normal. There's the idea that you want to keep your brain active in later life," said Michael McConnell, a neuroscientist at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, who was not involved in the study. "The thing that is super unexpected is . . . limiting neural activity is a good thing in healthy aging. It's very counterintuitive." Researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed brain tissue donated to human brain banks by people ranging in age from their 60s and 70s to centenarians who lived to be 100 or older. They found people who died before their mid-80s had lower levels in their brains of a protein called REST that tamps down genes involved in sparking brain activity, compared to the very oldest people. REST had already been shown to be protective against Alzheimer's disease. But they weren't sure whether REST somehow protected people from death or was just a sign of further aging. Since it is not currently possible to measure REST in the brains of living people, the scientists began experiments in roundworms and mice to test whether it plays a role in life span. When researchers increased the activity of a worm version of REST, the worms' brain activity decreased and they lived longer. The opposite happened when scientists disabled the REST-like gene in "Methuselah" roundworms that have very long life spans; the worms' neural activity increased - and their lives were dramatically shortened. Mice lacking REST were also more likely to have busier brains, including seizure-like bursts of activity. "I think this is overactivity, out-of-control excitation - it's not good for the brain. You want the neurons to be active, when and where you want them to be active, not to be just generally firing off," said Cynthia Kenyon, vice president of aging research at Calico Labs, who praised the study design but said she thinks the nervous system is just one of the many tissues that have an influence on life span. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Greenwich Time

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
Latest NVIDIA Shield TV Pro leak shows a bigger, better remote

After multiple leaks, including two trips through the FCC, we've known for a while now that NVIDIA plans to update its venerable Shield TV Android set-top box. Thanks to an Amazon listing that was first spotted by Android TV Rumors and has since been pulled, we now also know the "Shield TV Pro" will add Dolby Vision HDR. Internally, there's also an updated Tegra CPU. Like the previous model, the Pro model will come with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which you can expand by taking advantage of the two USB 3.0 ports located on the back of the device. According to Android Central, the listing claimed NVIDIA's new Tegra X1+ processor is 25 percent faster than its predecessor, the four-year-old Tegra X1. Besides support for Dolby Vision, the biggest update is the new remote pictured in the listing. NVIDIA has gone with an entirely new design, one that makes the new remote larger and more triangular in shape. Thanks to its new size, the update remote features additional keys, including a dedicated Netflix button. As a nice plus, the buttons feature a motion-activated backlight. The listing mentioned a lost remote feature, which will presumably help you find the peripheral if it ever disappears between some couch cushions. Another quality of life change is that the new remote makes use of more common AAA batteries, instead of the coin cells of the previous model. It also includes a built-in microphone for Google Assistant support and an IR blaster for TV control. All in all, the new remote sounds like a solid update, and hopefully NVIDIA sells it separately so that current Shield TV owners can take advantage. One last tidbit of information included in listing is that the Nvidia Shield TV Pro will launch on October 28th for $199. It's possible both the price and release date were placeholders. But given that the current model starts at $179, a $20 increase for an updated processor, Dolby Vision support and a new remote sounds like a reasonable ask. As for the release date, NVIDIA's online store is currently out of stock of all Shield TV models.

Read Original Article     ON:   Engadget

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10-18-2019 Science&Technology
Moto G8 Plus Leak Reveals 4,000 mAh Battery Under The Hood, Three Cameras On The Back

Motorola's upcoming Moto G8 Plus has just been leaked, just a couple of months after the Moto G7 series went official. If the report proves true, then the handset will boast a huge battery and three cameras to work with. Moto G8 Plus Specs Leak The leak comes from the German website WinFuture, and according to it, it got a hold of official images of the Moto G8 Plus along with the device's specs. Speaking of which, the smartphone is said to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 paired with 4 GB of RAM and come with either 64 GB or 128 GB of native storage that's expandable via a microSD card. It's going to run on Android 9 Pie out of the box as well. The Moto G8 Plus will sport a 6.3-inch IPS display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution and a teardrop notch at the top that accommodates a 25-megapixel snapper. On the back, it'll reportedly boast a triple camera setup that consists of a 48-megapixel primary camera, a 16-megapixel 117-degree wide "action camera," and a five-megapixel depth sensor coupled with laser autofocus. It's going to be powered by a huge 4,000 mAh battery to keep the lights on throughout the day. Other features include a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which is becoming somewhat of a rarity nowadays, and a fingerprint reader on the back. Moto G8 Plus Release Date Motorola is expected to take the wraps off the Moto G8 Plus — which is available in either red or blue, at the very least — on Oct. 24 in Brazil. Considering the purported launch date, that seems to be a bit early, since the Moto G7 family just rolled out back in February. Still, the Moto G7 Plus didn't land on U.S. shores, so it would be nice to see the Moto G8 Plus hit the shelves. As for the pricing, the report didn't mention anything, but just for reference, the Moto G7 is priced at $299.99.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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10-17-2019 Science&Technology
20 ancient wooden coffins discovered in Egyptian necropolis

Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered at least 20 wooden coffins in an ancient necropolis in the southern city of Luxor. In a statement, the Antiquities Ministry described the find as “one of the largest and most important discoveries that have been announced during the past few years.” Officials said that the “cache” of coffins was found on two levels of the Asasif Necropolis, a cemetery in the ancient town of West Thebes. The necropolis includes tombs dating back to the Middle, New Kingdom and the Late Periods (1994-332 B.C.). LONG-LOST 2,200-YEAR-OLD TEMPLE OF PHARAOH PTOLEMY IV DISCOVERED Photos from the ministry show colored coffins with inscriptions and paintings. Egypt continues to reveal new details of its rich history. In a separate project, archaeologists recently discovered a long-lost 2,200-year-old ancient temple linked to Pharaoh Ptolemy IV. Additionally, an ancient fortress built by Pharaoh Ramses II is revealing its secrets. Archaeologists also uncovered an ancient cemetery near the famous Giza pyramids just outside Cairo. In yet another project, experts unearthed the 2,500-year-old remains of a powerful high priest in dramatic fashion. The opening of the priest’s stone sarcophagus was broadcast by the Discovery Channel during “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live,” a two-hour live event. Archaeologists discovered what they describe as an “exquisitely preserved” mummy in the sealed sarcophagus, covered in gold banding. The incredible find was made at Al-Ghorifa, a remote site about 165 miles south of Cairo. Experts accessed the sarcophagus via a network of ancient tunnels. AMAZING RAM-HEADED SPHINX LINKED TO KING TUT’S GRANDFATHER DISCOVERED IN EGYPT Elsewhere, archaeologists found a large ram-headed sphinx that is linked to King Tutankhamun’s grandfather. And a teenage girl’s skeleton was discovered in a mysterious grave near the Meidum pyramid, south of Cairo. n April, experts announced the discovery of dozens of mummies in ancient desert burial chambers. Archaeologists also explained the strange brown spots on some of the paintings in King Tut's tomb. In January, archaeologists announced the discovery of ancient tombs in the Nile Delta north of Cairo. In a separate project, two ancient tombs dating back to the Roman period were uncovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. ...

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10-17-2019 Cars
Every angle of Volvo’s first electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge

Volvo Cars introduced Wednesday the XC40 Recharge, an all-electric vehicle that CTO Henrik Green described as “a car of firsts and a car of the future.” The XC40 Recharge is hardly the first electric vehicle on the market. But for Volvo, the XC40 is a “car of firsts.” This is the company’s first all-electric vehicle. It’s also the first Volvo to have an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system as well as have the ability to make over-the-air software updates. Before we move on to the photos, here are some of the specs. The XC40 Recharge is equipped with an all-wheel-drive powertrain and a 78 kilowatt-hour battery that can travel more than 400 kilometers (248 miles) on a single charge, in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions, and tends to be more generous than the U.S. EPA estimates. The EPA estimates are not yet available, but it’s likely the XC40 Recharge will hit around the 200-mile range. That would put the range of the Volvo XC40 Recharge below the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt EV, Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona. The vehicle’s electric motor produces the equivalent of 408 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque that allows the vehicle to go from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The battery charges to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes on a fast-charger system. The XC40 Recharge is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in late 2020. Here’s what this car of “many firsts” looks like.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Crunch

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10-17-2019 Science&Technology
Pixel 4 hands-on—Thumbs up for 90Hz, thumbs down for Project Soli

NEW YORK—Google's big hardware event wrapped up yesterday, and, after a brief session with the Pixel 4, I'm back to report my initial findings. It's a phone. The feel of the Pixel 4 varies greatly based on the color. The black version is the most boring, with a regular glossy, greasy, glass back. The orange and white versions are where things get interesting, though. These have the whole back covered in a soft-touch material (which is still glass) that looks and feels great. It's reminiscent of the soft-touch back that was on the Pixel 3 but with a number of improvements. First, you can't dent it with a fingernail. It feels a lot stronger and tougher than the Pixel 3 back, while still being soft and grippy to the touch. Second, it doesn't seem to absorb and show fingerprint grease at the rate of the Pixel 3 back. It's interesting that the orange and white versions get this soft-touch treatment, while the black version gets a glossy back. The black version is the one with so many problems with the soft-touch coating last year. The white version, in particular, looks great from the back. It has an alternating white-and-black color scheme: the sides have a grippy black soft-touch coating, the back is a brilliant white, and the square camera bump is black. It's a lovely color scheme. The Google "G" on the back is the only thing that doesn't get a soft-touch coating. There is actual depth to the G, making it seem like it was masked off when the soft-touch coating was applied, leaving it inset on the phone back, exposing the colored white glass. The front is... not as elegant as the back. The Pixel 4 has a lopsided front design with a big top bezel and a smaller (but still there) bottom bezel. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's still a bit awkward looking. Google's design still can't compete with the better-looking phones out there, like the OnePlus 7 Pro or Galaxy S10, which is a shame, since Google charges just as much, if not more, than the competition while also offering lower specs. Those awkward bezels surround a great-looking OLED display, and this year Google has upgraded to a 90Hz panel. The demo units were running early software and maybe needed a bit more tuning, but you could see the smoother animations start to kick in. Google mentioned that the display only hits 90Hz when it's actually being used, and for stationary pictures it drops to 60Hz to save battery. The top bezel is full of sensors, at least, allowing Google to do a full, iPhone X-style face unlock system with 3D sensing. This is something I'll have to wait for a review unit to try out, but it's a bit alarming not having a fingerprint reader of any kind. We have to unlock our devices dozens of times a day—why not have both fingerprint and Face ID? Also in the top bezel is the Project Soli sensor. About that...

Read Original Article     ON:   Ars Technica

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10-17-2019 Cars
Watch new Tesla Model S ‘Plaid’ prototypes go crazy on the track

Tesla brought back updated versions of its Model S ‘Plaid’ prototypes to the Nürburgring racetrack and you can see them pushing the vehicles hard in testing ahead of an expected record attempt. As we previously reported, following the recent launch of the Porsche Taycan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be on a mission to show that Tesla’s vehicles are still the highest-performing EVs available today. Last month, he said that Tesla would bring a Model S to the Nürburgring race track — right after Porsche established a new 4-door electric car record at the track. However, in the following days, Tesla announced a Model S with a 3-motor “Plaid powertrain” and new a “chassis prototype.” Musk also said that Tesla has a new 7-seater Model S prototype at the Nürburgring racetrack, and it seems like the track testing could simply be about testing new versions of Tesla’s Model S and the new 3-motor “Plaid Powertrain” instead of just going after the Taycan. Either way, they were still going after a record. A witness said yesterday that Tesla’s “Plaid” Model S already crushed the Porsche Taycan’s Nürburgring time, which Tesla confirmed in their own testing, but the time hasn’t been made official by the track. Tesla said that it would be making improvements and come back in October. Sure enough, the updated Model S Plaid prototypes have been spotted at the track. YouTuber and Nürburgring track spy Automotive Mike released a video showing the new cars going crazy on the track: The video shows Tesla attempting some very hot laps and also doing some crazy maneuvers seemingly to test the handling. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Electrek

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10-10-2019 Cars
New Tesla Truck Render Features RamBox, No Frunk, Tons Of Glass

Would Tesla actually do away with a frunk though? This new Tesla pickup truck render is quite radical in that it features a ton of glass, no noticeable front truck and what appears to be a take on the Ram box on the side of the truck bed. And this certainly isn't the first time we've seen some Ram truck elements appear on rendered Teslas. There has been no shortage of Tesla truck renders (check out our top five Tesla truck renders here), but few have incorporated the lone teaser image of the Tesla truck that was released by Elon Musk. Though this particular render, which comes to us via Erwin at Swerve Designs, isn't really what we expected the finished product to resemble, it does manage to fully incorporate Musk's teaser image (see below). What we don't approve of in this render from Swerve Designs is the lack of a noticeable front trunk. Maybe it's lurking somewhere under all that overwhelming amount of glass, but we can't see the frunk in the image. Tesla does seem to love a lot of glass, but there's a point when it's just too much and we think that threshold has been exceeded here. Out in the back of the rendered truck, however, is the appearance of what seems to be another Ram truck element. Known as the RamBox (pictured below), which is a really nifty storage compartment on the side of the bed of the pickup truck.

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10-02-2019 Cars
Nissan unveils new urban electric car

While we are waiting for Nissan to unveil its new electric SUV, the Japanese automaker surprised us today with a new urban electric car: The Nissan IMk. The company says that the new 100% electric concept car “hints at the new direction of Nissan’s design language.” Satoru Tai, executive design director at Nissan, describes the vehicle: “As a small EV for a new era, the Nissan IMk is designed to be at home in sophisticated cityscapes as much as in traditional Japanese towns. The IMk fuses a modern, clean look, driven by its Japanese heritage, with cutting-edge EV technology. Unconstrained by conventional concepts of the kei car segment, its design is interwoven with Japanese culture. It’s a luxury small EV that I hope a lot of customers are going to drive.” Here are a few images of the new Nissan IMk electric urban car released by the company today: Nissan didn’t reveal any detail about the powertrain of the concept other than saying that it will be based on their experience with the Leaf: “The Nissan IMk concept builds on this experience by offering a pure electric for alternative for customers who desire a compact vehicle suited for a sprawling metropolis.” They haven’t committed to bringing a version of the car to production. Instead, Asako Hoshino, Nissan’s executive vice president overseeing global marketing and sales and the brand’s global EV business, says that it gives a glimpse at Nissan’s plans for electrification: “The IMk concept provides a glimpse of the new direction of Nissan Intelligent Mobility as technology evolves toward electrification and connectivity. At Nissan, we intend to continue launching cars with the latest advanced systems to maintain our lead in automotive innovation.” The IMk concept will be one of 14 cars displayed at Nissan’s booth at the Tokyo Auto Show later this month.

Read Original Article     ON:   Electrek

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10-01-2019 Science&Technology
Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop service is now generally available

Microsoft today announced that Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), its Azure-based system for virtualizing the Windows and Office user experience it announced last September, is now generally available. Using WVD, enterprises can give their employees access to virtualized applications and remote desktops, including the ability to provide multi-session Windows 10 experiences, something that sets Microsoft’s own apart from that of other vendors that offer virtualized Windows desktops and applications. In addition to making the service generally available, Microsoft is also rolling it out globally, whereas the preview was U.S.-only and the original plan was to slowly roll it out globally. Scott Manchester, the principal engineering lead for WVD, also told me that more than 20,000 companies signed up for the preview. He also noted that Microsoft Teams is getting enhanced support in WVD with a significantly improved video conferencing experience. Shortly after announcing the preview of WVD, Microsoft acquired a company called FSLogix, which specialized in provisioning the same kind of virtualized Windows environments that Microsoft offers through WVD. As Microsoft’s corporate VP for Microsoft 365 told me ahead of today’s announcement, the company took a lot of the know-how from FSLogix to ensure that the user experience on WVD is as smooth as possible. Brad Anderson, CVP of Microsoft 365, noted that just as enterprises are getting more comfortable with moving some of their infrastructure to the cloud (and have others worry about managing it), there is now also growing demand from organizations that want this same experience for their desktop experiences. “They look at the cloud as a way of saying, ‘listen, let the experts manage the infrastructure. They can optimize it; they can fine-tune it; they can make sure that it’s all done right.’ And then I’ll just have a first-party service — in this case Microsoft — that I can leverage to simplify my life and enable me to spin up and down capacity on demand,” Anderson said. He also noted, though, that making sure that these services are always available is maybe even more critical than for other workloads that have moved to the cloud. If your desktop stops working, you can’t get much done, after all. ...

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09-30-2019 Science&Technology
Facebook Launches Virtual Social Network That Allows Users To Create Their Own World

Facebook is launching a new social media app where users can create virtual worlds to explore and hang out with friends. At the sixth annual Oculus Connect event held on Wednesday, Sept. 26, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Horizon, a social app that will be available to owners of Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift. The Future Of Social Media In Horizon, users can create and customize their own legless avatars they will use to explore and mingle with other people within the ever-expanding virtual universe. They can hang out at a town plaza setting and meet friends or jump into portals (they call telepods) to new places where they can play games and build communities. At first, users will only be able to access games and experiences developed by Facebook. However, as users create their own spaces, more telepods will appear to provide more virtual worlds to explore. "VR is already a great place to hang out with friends, play games, and watch movies. It's also a fantastic way to learn new skills and explore our world," reads a press release from Facebook. "Human curiosity and connection are central to each of these experiences, and they're also at the heart of Horizon." Anyone can create their own virtual spaces and customize them according to their interests and personalities. Facebook said that the app will have "intuitive building tools" that would be easy to use, even to those who do not know how to code. "Horizon will ensure a welcoming environment through new safety tools and human guides - Horizon Locals - to answer questions and provide assistance, if needed," added Facebook. Facebook's Horizon will launch by early next year. However, those who are interested can test out the virtual social network by signing up to the beta. Facebook Shutting Down Facebook Spaces, Oculus Room Horizon, of course, is not Facebook's first social app for virtual reality. In 2017, the company unveiled Facebook Spaces which allowed users to hang out with friends in a virtual park and other settings. However, before the arrival of Horizon, Facebook announced that it will shut down Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms by Oct. 25 to focus all efforts into the launch of the new app.

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