Adobe wants to let you draw data visualizations by letting you draw data visualizations

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 Every year at its MAX conference, Adobe shows off a couple of interesting prototypes that may or may net end up in one of its products. This year is no exception as the company highlighted 11 projects from its labs today. These included Project Lincoln, a tool that everybody who has ever tried to visualize data would surely welcome with open arms. Read More

Google’s AVA dataset raises the bar for identifying human actions in videos

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 Today Google announced a new labeled dataset of human actions taking place in videos. That may sound obscure, but it’s a big deal for anyone working to solve problems in computer vision. If you’ve been following along, you’ve noticed the significant uptick in companies building products and services that act as a second pair of human eyes. Video detectors like Matroid,… Read More

Arianna Huffington’s new app lets you humblebrag about turning your phone off

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Arianna Huffington has partnered with Samsung to create an app that helps you disconnect from the internet while also humblebragging to your friends that you can’t be reached. The app, called Thrive, will be available in December exclusively for Samsung devices only through the Samsung Galaxy Store.

To be fair, a lot of what Thrive does is already available by toggling the Do Not Disturb button on Samsung devices. Like Do Not Disturb, Thrive can schedule times to be disconnected as well as whitelist people / notifications that can reach you even when the app is enabled. Unlike Do Not Disturb, if someone not on your “VIP” list tries to contact you while your phone is in “Thrive Mode,” a text will be sent to them that you’re “thriving.”

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Facebook attacks Pinterest with ‘Sets’ of posts

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 Identity is prismatic. You show different sides of yourself to different friends in your life. Now Facebook wants to let you share the niches of your interests while stealing thunder from Pinterest’s boards. Facebook is now testing a feature called Sets that lets you select several status updates, photos or videos and share them as a themed collection to everyone or specific friends. Read More

Here’s everything Adobe announced at its MAX conference this week

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 Adobe is hosting its MAX conference this week in Las Vegas, and even though the company has long moved to a subscription model with regular updates, it still uses the event to launch its most important updates and new products. Here is our rundown of the biggest announcements which range from new tools for designers, a completely new version of Lightroom and a few crazy experiments. Read More

Looking back on the anti-authoritarian themes of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

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For more than a decade and a half, Philip Pullman has talked about a companion novel to his acclaimed fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. Earlier this year, he revealed that fans of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass would not only finally get to read The Book of Dust, but that it was a trilogy, with the first installment, La Belle Sauvage, hitting bookstores today.

With the arrival of The Book of Dust, it’s worth looking back on Pullman’s dazzling trilogy. While readers have enjoyed a glut of great YA fantasy novels in the last two decades, His Dark Materials particularly stands out because of Pullman’s unwillingness to compromise a complex ethical and moral story for his younger audience, and his…

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Stitch Fix has filed for an IPO, and the numbers look good

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 Stitch Fix has filed to go public, finally revealing the financial guts of the startup which will be a test of modern e-commerce businesses that are looking to hit the market — and the numbers look pretty great! Let’s start off really quick with profits: aside from the last two quarters, Stitch Fix posted a six-quarter streak of positive net income. We talk a lot about companies… Read More

Amazon’s original Echo gets a much-needed upgrade

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 It’s been nearly two full years since the first Echo was made available to Amazon Prime subscribers. In that time, the company added six new members to the Echo family (seven if you count the Tap, which Amazon kind of, sort of does) — and in the case of the Echo Dot, did one full product refresh. Google entered the space in a big way with Home, and both Apple and Microsoft have… Read More

AMC is launching its own VR app with a 360-degree scene from The Walking Dead

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Television networks and movie studios have been regularly leaning on virtual reality as a marketing tool, and today AMC announced that it has launched its own app dedicated to VR tie-in material. Simply named AMC VR, the app is available now for iOS devices, Android, the Gear VR, and Google Daydream featuring a collection of material tied to shows like The Walking Dead and Into the Badlands.

AMC will also be capitalizing on this weekend’s season premiere of The Walking Dead with an extended version of a scene from the episode that will be presented as 360-degree video. The scene in question will be an encounter between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), and was directed by the show’s Greg Nicotero, with VR…

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Verizon’s streaming TV service reportedly delayed until spring 2018 at the earliest

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Verizon has supposedly had its own over-the-top TV service in the works for a while now. Bloomberg first reported that it was supposed to launch in the summer back in March, and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed in a Variety report that the company was working on the service in May. But those plans are apparently getting delayed even more: a new report from Bloomberg says that Verizon is now looking at a spring 2018 release date, at the earliest.

The most recent delay means that whenever Verizon’s service does launch, it’ll be considerably behind competitors like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Google’s YouTube TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, and Dish’s Sling TV, all of which will have months, if not years of a head start. Plus, Bloomberg’s sources…

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Apple’s enterprise strategy begins to take shape

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 When Apple announced its partnership with GE this week, it would have been easy to dismiss it as another random collaboration from a company people don’t generally associate with the enterprise. After all, Apple killed off their enterprise server product years ago. You might rightly ask, what exactly do they have to do with the enterprise these days? But if you consider the notion of… Read More

Apple makes the case that even its most banal features require a proficiency in machine learning

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 A detailed blog posting in the company’s machine learning journal makes public the technical effort that went into its “Hey Siri” feature — a capability so banal that I’d almost believe Apple was trying to make a point with highbrow mockery. Even so, it’s worth taking the opportunity to explore exactly how much effort goes into the features that do, for… Read More

Hackaday Prize Entry: Pyrotechnics Sequencer with Wireless Control

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[visualkev]’s friend was putting on his own fireworks show by lighting each one in turn, then running away. It occurred to [visualkev] that his friend wasn’t really enjoying the show himself because he was ducking for cover instead of watching the fun. Plus, it was kind of dangerous. Accordingly, he applied his hacker skills to the challenge by creating a custom fireworks sequencer.

He used a custom PCB from OSH Park with an ATMega328P controlling eight TPIC6C595 8-bit shift registers, which in turn trip the 64 relays connecting to the fireworks. A 5V regulator supplies the project from 5 5AA …read more

A brief guide to mobile AI chips

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Mobile AI chips. What are they actually good for?

In the recent months we’ve heard a lot about specialized silicon being used for machine learning in mobile devices. Apple’s new iPhones have their “neural engine”; Huawei’s Mate 10 comes with a “neural processing unit”; and companies that manufacture and design chips (like Qualcomm and ARM) are gearing up to supply AI-optimized hardware to the rest of the industry.

What’s not clear, is how much all this benefits the consumer. When you’re buying your phone, should an “AI chip” be on your wish list? If you want to use the latest AI-powered app that (just picking an example at random here) automatically identifies and hides your nude selfies, do you really need an AI chip? Short answer,…

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Google adds ‘try now’ button on Play Store listings to highlight Android Instant Apps

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Google is adding a new “try now” button to Android apps in the Play Store that support the company’s Android Instant Apps feature. Instant Apps, first announced last year and opened to all developers back in May, let users immediately try out an app without having to download it. This is generally achieved by relying on deep linking between different areas of the app, similar to how one would navigate to specific parts of a website. The goal is to give users a quick, purposeful experience that falls somewhere between a full-fledged app and the clunkiness of the mobile web.

With “try now” prompts, Google says it will be clearer than ever which apps support the Instant Apps feature. And because of the tools released during the Google I/O…

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Pixel 2 XL teardown shows how its squeezable sides work

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The Pixel 2 comes out today, and so of course iFixit has torn open the first unit it could find to let us see what’s going on inside. The site published its inside look at the Pixel 2 XL this morning, and while there aren’t a ton of surprises to be found (the camera module is pretty large; Google is hiding a secret chip), cracking open the phone does reveal one thing we didn’t know a ton about: how the Pixel’s Active Edge feature actually works.

Active Edge is Google’s name for the feature that lets you squeeze the Pixel 2’s sides to open up the Google Assistant. It turns out, it works using a pair of “strain gauges” on either side of the phone. The setup looks like this:

Photo: iFixit

What you’re looking at is a…

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George Hotz’s newest product is like a punk rock version of CarPlay

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Almost a year to the day after George Hotz canceled plans for selling a $999 after-market product that would gift certain cars semi-autonomous capabilities, the famed iPhone hacker is back with a similar piece of hardware from his company Comma.ai. But this time around, the open source product — called Eon — costs $699 and is more DIY dashcam than a shortcut to self-driving.

“You need three things on your dashboard: a dashcam, navigation, and music,” reads the order site for Eon. “Eon is all three. Eon is your new dashboard.”

The general idea with Eon, which is built out of “phone parts, a PCB, a case, a cooling solution, and a solid mount,” Hotz says via email, is that you’ll stick…

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Google Play adds Android Instant Apps via a ‘Try it Now’ button, among other changes

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 Google today is announcing a number of changes to its Google Play app store, the most notable being a new way to try apps immediately without having to first install them on your mobile device. The new feature takes advantage of “Android Instant Apps” technology – Google’s attempt at bridging the mobile web world with that of native applications. Instant Apps were… Read More

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