Google Chromebook for Schools

Google made a major revelation about its Chromebook program during the Bett education technology conference in London recently. Apart from revealing that there is over 20 million teachers as well as the student who are currently using Chromebooks a minimum four times a month and that there is more than 70 million G Suite for the education users. The tech giant also illustrated the use of new convertible Chromebooks due with USB-C charging, stylus support as well as the world facing cameras. They are the Asus Chromebook C213 and Acer Chromebook Spin 11.

 

 

During this announcement, Google made it known that it would enable the admin to have full control over the Android apps that are functional on the Chromebooks that they give the students. Another good news for the Chromebook users is that it will come with the Adobe community suits for the Android that have now been optimized for the Chromebooks.

 

 

It can be clearly seen that Google the Chromebooks and the G-Suit for the Education are a major success for the tech giant, at the same time the company is working with hardware partners to make the devices even more attractive for the learning institutions. Rajen Sheth one of the Googles’ executive noted that the company had focused on the feedback that it was receiving from teachers. The topmost request that the company received was that teachers wanted devices that merges the advantages of the tablets and laptops with a full keyboard.

 

 

It was until the introduction of the Android apps on Chrome OS that it became more possible to have Chromebook with the touch screen because the Chrome OS was never optimized for touch. With the hybrid devices such as Asus Flip as well as the upcoming new devices from Asus and Acer, the Chrome OS makes so much sense.

 

 

One feature that was particularly noted is the Chromebook’s world facing camera. Once the user flips the keyboard on the more conventional convertible so that they can use it as a laptop, the user will get a user-facing camera. However, the devices comes with a second camera that is situated on top of the keyboard. This camera opens up a wide range of new user case of the Chromebook in schools.

 

Five States to Legalize Electronic Devices Repair

Legislators in five states have indicated their interest to introduce a law that would enable the right to repair electronic which will make manufacturers sell the parts of their products to the independent electronic repair experts shops if the law is passed it will also make their diagnostic and service manual accessible to the public. Another purpose of the bill is to control the authorized repair shop that is also used by the manufacturers to establish an after-market monopoly. For instance, Apple has never given any licenses to the independent companies to repair iPhones though several companies did repair its products on regular basis.

 

 

These independent repair shops do so under the radar of the law. They go for the product that is the counterfeit from the Chinese market or finding parts from the recycled devices. Previously the Homeland Security department raided the premises without their knowledge of the sold counterfeit parts. Considering that many parts of the commodity have been communized this is a confusing distinction. Though the main concern is as a result of the iPhone there other electronic gadgets that have been targeted by the new legislation such as the servers, cameras the Internet of Things devices as well as other devices that make use of the software, they have all had their issues with the right to repair. This has been made possible by the companies making their products parts difficult to buy as well as imposing the artificial software lockdown on the diagnostic system of the devices.

 

 

The states that begun this process are Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Kansas, and Minnesota. One of the reasons for passing the bill is the fact that few licensed channel results to overpriced repair prices and a large number of overturn of the electronic items. Another reason that validates this bill is a large number of the electronic waste that is brought about by the lack of the capability by the owners of the devices to afford the repair the broken parts of the electronics.

 

 

This bill not only affect the independent repair firms; the repair parts and diagnostic manual will also be accessible to the consumers thus making it easier to repair their own electronic devices. The bill is being sponsored by the Repair.org a small lobby group made up repair companies.

 

New Way For iOS App Developers to Respond to Their Users

When the iOS 10.3 is finally released it will become with the capability for the developers to respond to the customer feedback. This was announced in the release notes came out with the firmware’s beta build. Apple anticipates that their new improvement for the feedback infrastructure is in high demand and it is what the developer community has been looking for. Android platform has had this feature for quite some time now.

 

 

This new feature on the Apple iOS is a new way for the platform to monitor the App Store reviews and rating. It can also be viewed as an as the expansion of the iOS developer community that includes those who have been dissatisfied with the way that the stores handle the instances such as how the Dev Dash app got so disorganized as a result of the discrepancies of the customer rating.

 

 

The ability for the developer to respond to the rating and reviews of the customer is important since they can explain the issues or clarify what led to the customer’s dissatisfaction not for those customers who are being responded to but for the customer who might have experienced the same problem. This is particularly important for instances where the customer may have misunderstood some of the app’s features or they may be reporting a bug that has already been fixed by the current version.

 

 

This update is going to benefit the users as well. This would translate to the fact that the users are no longer going to need to email the developers for an issue that require a quick update, for instance, paid items not showing up in the app. Apple revealed that the new feedback will be implemented for the Mac App Store probably in the anticipated release of the 10.13 upgrade that is expected released in June. The current MacOS update is 10.12.3 that released this month.

 

 

In addition, the iOS trial version is releasing with a relating feature that goes a long way to enhance user experience. A developer has the ability to do this with the current system. The can request the user to rate the app however upon the user accepting to rate the app they will be directed to the App Store to rate the app. iOS will do away with this process enabling them to do all this without leaving the app.

 

 

 

Here Comes the Android Instant Apps

Google the tech giant has started rolling out the instants apps. During the developer conference known as the Google’s I/O developer that was held last year, Instant Apps for Android was tagged as a feature that would forever alter the way users use their mobile apps on their mobile devices.

 

 

According to the Android Developer blog, it was made known that the feature would be made accessible using a few apps as part of beta testing, through this users can participate in.

 

 

What do the phrase Android Instant Apps mean? Through the use of the Instant App feature, users will have an opportunity to download and run apps on their android gadgets such as tablets as well as smartphones. The users can do all this without having to install the apps.

 

 

While the users are visiting particular websites, the may come across an invitation to download a mobile app instead of using the website. The app will enable the streamlined mobile device experience to get to access the website content, however, the user can forego the installation process of the app and instead access the browser version of the website.

 

 

Through the use of the Instant Apps technology, the Android apps will load immediately on the android devices. While it may not be as fast as accessing the website the whole process will take just a few seconds. This will be much faster compared to downloading the app and installing it first. In order to benefit from this technology the developers will need to update their apps to include this functionality, this is because the Instant Apps utilizes the same technology found in the Android apps.

 

 

The feature is opened for limited testing just about 8 months after it was revealed, however, it is opened for the limited testing only. The initial apps to use this feature will be those Periscope, BuzzFeed, Viki as well as Wish. During this testing period, the android team will be collecting feedback from the user who will be taking part in the testing this amazing feature with the aim of expanding to more apps in the near future. There is also the room for the users who are interested in testing the Instant App, all they have to do id access the website of the initial apps offering this feature.

 

Tesla Committed To Bring Fully Self-Driving Capability to Its Vehicle In The Near Future.

Tesla world leading manufacturer of electric cars has always released groundbreaking technologies in the past. One of the most prominent technologies is the Tesla’s software timeline is autonomous driving. In the technology, there is enhanced autopilot that gives unique features and the full self-driving capability that regardless of its name it will not have a self-driving capability for a while, however, it could be beneficial to the royal Tesla drivers very soon.

 

 

In the past, Tesla had stated that it would be introducing the enhanced autopilot in December 2016 that was late because Tesla begun introducing is just recently, followed by updates every few months or weeks in the anticipation of the fully self-driving capability in the end of 2017.

 

 

This feature would be accessible to certain Tesla owners in the relation to the validation and regulatory permissions in various jurisdictions. For instance, the Michigan passed a law that would make it possible for the self-driving vehicles to be permitted in the public after passing the test.

 

 

Currently, Tesla sells the Enhanced Autopilot as well as Full Self-Driving ability. The Full Self-Driving will only be useful at least towards the end of 2017, a potential Tesla driver can save few dollars while buying the car this is because Tesla charges premium for activating this feature after delivery, apart from this there are other added advantages of but this feature, prior to Tesla is fully capable of delivering self-driving system.

 

 

The Tesla vehicles have 8 cameras, 1 radar, and 360-degress ultrasonic hardware suites, during the Enhanced Autopilot only have the cameras are enabled while the customers get the rest once they buy the Full Self-Driving functionality. Tesla believes that their Full Self-Driving that utilizes all the eight camera of the car is twice as good as the day to day average driver. Thus drivers should be a position to experience the difference between the technologies prior to Tesla introducing the level five autopilot in a vehicle.

 

 

Though there no available fully autonomous vehicle among the Tesla fleet. Tesla has begun introducing the initial stage of the Enhance Autopilot that is not as similar to the first generation of the autonomous system. However, the company makes continuous improvements with the help of the information that is sourced from the owners who has chosen the Full Self-Driving functionality above of the Enhanced Autopilot, these drivers will begin experiencing some improvement thus making full use of the hardware.

 

 

 

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Tested by Uber ATC Director Raffi Krikoviana

Uber ATC Director, Raffi Kirkoviana tested Uber’s self-driving cars on September 13th, 2016 to collect data involving its advanced technologies and riding experience. It took the Robotic Center at Carneige Mellon University 18 months to research and develop Uber’s latest autonomous technology. A small group of spectators were invited to observe the test drive of 14 Ford Fusions cars stimulated by cameras and radar equipment. The test started at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Campus near Downtown Pittsburgh and extended throughout the city and the Strip District. Kirkoviana shared his experience as a passenger and driver to TechCrunch.

The demostration began by an employee giving Kirkoviana a phone to use to request a ride on the Uber app. When Kirkoviana was positioned in the back seat of the Ford Fusion, he was instructed to select the ready-to-go button on a tablet that displayed a live view surrounding the automobile. He road with an engineer driver and front engineer passenger through Lawrence neighborhood, downtown, Strip District, and over 9th Street Bridge. The drive had good responses and encountered a few struggles when other automobiles were backing up or parked in a lane. The self-driving Ford Fusion also experienced a struggle while positioning on the bridge and approaching a truck.

The engineer driver had to change lanes manually when a big truck was parked in the same lane of the self-driving car and a city worker unexpectedly darted from in front of the truck. The self-driving cars received positive reviews involving its surroundings of stopped transportation, traffic lights and traffic laws. If there was a bus turning or picking up passengers, the Ford Fusion would automatically stop. The Uber’s advanced technology and intelligent software reads the red, blue and yellow traffic lights.

Kirkorian shared his experience driving autonomously back to the Uber Advanced Technologies Campus. He pressed a silver button on the console when a blue light turned-on on the dashboard. The front seat driver is able to return the self-driving back to the control of the driver by pressing a red button, the brake pedal, or accelerator pedal. He had to use the function to avoid a stopped van parked on a lane. After the test drive was over, Kirkorian described the ride as gentle with occasional stops.

Twitter Helps Fight Online Abuse With New Filters and Algorithms

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it has made some significant improvements to their algorithm that is designed to help prevent harassment.

 

A new series of filters and muting options is designed to combat harassment by allowing users to set up filters based on words or phrases that they would like to block out.

 

The company also stated that it was making some well needed improvements in their algorithm which is designed to automatically detect what they consider abusive accounts.

 

 

Potential Uses

 

Abuse – The most powerful feature of the new filter and algorithm system that Twitter has deployed is aimed to stop internet abuse on the site. Users who engage in any type of abusive behavior can now be muted from your timeline.

 

Twitter also announced that users without a profile image, verified phone number verified email addresses can be filtered out.

 

Spoilers – Another common complaint among Twitter users is related to spoilers. Being on Twitter while your favorite TV show is on can lead to finding out what happens before you have the chance to watch for yourself.

 

With the new mute feature, words or phrases can now be muted so that any mention of your favorite TV show, movie, or anything else you desire will not show up on your timeline.

 

 

Unknown users – Some Twitter users have found that accounts with default profile images can, in some cases, be linked to individuals who may use the social site to harass others or otherwise cause problems on the platform.

 

With the new updates these anonymous users can now be screened and muted.

 

While some of the newer features are meant to be implemented by the user, such as the ability to block out certain phrases, other improvements will happen on an algorithmic basis, independent of your user settings.

 

Snapchat Creator Values its IPO at $24 Billion

In the largest tech IPO since Alibaba went public in 2014, Snap, the parent company of the immensely popular Snapchat app, will price its offering at $17 per share with a $24 billion valuation.

 

The company looks to make a tidy profit, announcing that it would sell around 200 million shares, for a total take of about $3.4 billion. Co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will cash out a combined 32 million shares, netting them each a sum of $272 million. They will retain just under 211 million shares, giving them 88% voting power between them. The remainder of the $3.4 billion that’s being offloaded will be divided among other executives and early investors.

 

Similarly to Twitter, Snap wasn’t able to turn a profit on its Snapchat app before going public. Moreover, the company’s leadership has stated that it projects its losses to continue to grow going forward. However, in terms of popularity, Snapchat has already surpassed Twitter with 450 million daily users. The company is also beginning to move forward with other products, such as Spectacles — a pair of sunglasses with a built-in camera that streams 10-second video clips to the Snapchat account on your phone.

 

Stranger still, is that the company is asking a lot of faith from potential investors: the IPO will only be offering non-voting shares, meaning Spiegel and his leadership will be in complete control of the company’s future and direction. Even so, as indicated by the size of the valuation, the company is expecting a lot of investor enthusiasm.

 

Snap shares will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, March 2nd, under the ticker SNAP.

 

 

Microsoft’s DeepCoder Makes Code by Stealing Code

Software programmers have long dreamed of software that can program new software autonomously using artificial intelligence. Microsoft is getting close to achieving that goal, with the help of some university programmers.

Cambridge University teamed up with Microsoft to create an AI program called DeepCoder. According to Business Insider, the software uses pieces of code from real software to fashion new code in response to problems. The software studies the functionality of pieces of code, and then pieces them together in unique ways.

As in other areas of AI development, this new software will probably be implemented gradually. At first, DeepCoder might simply solve existing problems faster or easier than humans can solve them. It could be a tool to save programmer’s time and reduce the number of programmers required for a given project. Eventually, though, DeepCoder might solve programming problems that a human could never solve alone.

If DeepCoder develops to that point, it is difficult to imagine what it might create. Ray Kurzweil and others have dreamed of a future with unlimited artificial intelligence. Software that creates software seems like a step in the right direction.

To be fair, though, DeepCoder is not the first software program to write code. Any high-level programming language is essentially writing code based on user inputs. What is unique here is the way in which DeepCoder creates the software (i.e., be selecting from existing software the pieces of code necessary to achieve a desired outcome).

Because of DeepCoder’s approach, it might face some absolute limits to what it can create. Although an extensive amount of software is available today, the number of functions software can perform is finite. Accordingly, DeepCoder’s ability to solve problems must also be finite.

Still, DeepCoder represents an exciting development. Microsoft and its competitors will likely continue to produce AI tools to aid and eventually replace software programmers in the years to come. The software these tools create could be revolutionary.

 

Will YouTube TV See an End to Traditional Television?

Will you finally be able to ditch your cable television provider? That may become increasingly possible in the coming months than ever before, considering YouTube’s latest announcement. An article on TechCrunch explains this new announcement in detail: the unveiling of YouTube’s new live internet television streaming service, YouTube TV.

 

“Cord-cutting,” the term used to describe canceling traditional television subscriptions in favor of internet streaming services, is a growing trend. Why is it becoming so popular? The price of cable television is rising, reaching up to an average of $103.10 a month in 2016. This is what makes internet streaming services so appealing. YouTube announced that YouTube TV will cost $35 a month for a family of six accounts.

 

With a price point like that, could YouTube TV bring the end of traditional television services? That depends on its availability and offerings. While the announcement is still new, here is what we know will be offered with YouTube TV:

 

  • Live TV broadcasts from networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.
  • Other networks such as USA, FreeForm, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and Fox Business.
  • Sports channels such as ESPN, FoxSports and NBC SportsNet, as well as some regional sports networks.
  • The 28 original series found on YouTube Red.
  • Cloud-based DVR that will never run out of space. Each account will have a personal DVR with tailored recommendations.
  • Visual TV guide.
  • The ability to “cast” content to your television.
  • Use of voice controls.
  • ShowTime and Fox Soccer Plus can be added for an additional fee.

 

YouTube TV is expected to launch in the United States sometime in the coming months. While switching to YouTube TV will save you money, fewer channels will be offered on the internet streaming service than on traditional television. With this in mind, will YouTube TV see an increase in “cord-cutting”? That is still yet to be seen. However, with other non-traditional television services on the rise, such as Sling TV and Hulu’s own plans for an internet television streaming service, cord-cutting continues to become a more viable option year after year.