The Virtual Assistant Could Be The Next Interpreter Of Enterprise Data, Starting With Google Now

See the original posting on TechCrunch

googlenow1 You can ask Siri, Google Now and Cortana about movies, weather and sports, but you can’t yet ask them about your company’s budget for the fiscal year, or your department’s sales performance last quarter. That may be about to change, however, as Google is said by The Information to be in talks with HP about giving Google Now access to enterprise data, effectively creating a… Read More

Sketching in Hardware

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Image: Vlad Trifa. See the rest of the pictures on Vlad's Flickr Page.Since 2006 I’ve organized* Sketching in Hardware, an annual summit on physical computing tools. Forty of the smartest designers, developers, researchers, artists and educators I know get together for three days to talk about tools that make it easier to develop hardware products, responsive environments and digital art. Hardware is […]

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How Shark Week screws scientists

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Discovery’s Shark Week reached an important milestone this week: it hit an all-time ratings high, which the network partially attributes to an increase in female viewership. But instead of receiving acclaim, Discovery is getting pummeled by the media. A sample of recent headlines include “Shark Week is once again making things up,” “Shark Week isn’t just misguided, it’s downright dangerous,” and “More Sharknado than Science.” Of course, this isn’t the first time Shark Week has experienced backlash for its negative portrayal of sharks and its tendency to rely on fiction rather than fact, as last year’s Megalodon documentary was widely trashed for suggesting that extinct sharks still roam Earth’s waters.

But this year feels different,…

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The best Chromebook you can buy

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For some things, you need an expensive computer. But most people don’t do those things. If you’re not trying to play games or run Photoshop, if all you want is a computer that’s great for watching Netflix and keeping tabs on your email, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good-looking, fast computer with all-day battery life. Just buy a Chromebook.

Google’s Chrome OS picks its compromises cleverly. Chromebooks aren’t the most capable of laptops; they’re not able to run Photoshop at…

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Remember your loved ones with a gravestone QR code

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One day, perhaps, we’ll have holograms that appear when we go to the pay our respects at the graves of departed loved ones. They’ll show up like a message from Princess Leia, say hello, and disappear after comforting the visitors. Until then, we have a stopgap technology: QR codes.

Easily one of the most maligned inventions in recent years, you can still find the humble black-and-white squares everywhere. That includes cemeteries, as the Anchorage city council has voted to let families place the codes on the local columbarium wall.

For $150, families can see off their loved ones with an interactive obituary hosted online by Quiring Monuments, which explains the process in a promotional video called “Living Headstones® – QR Codes Turn…

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Swarm Lands On Windows Phone

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swarm As Foursquare powers through its summer of change, the company is today launching Swarm on the Windows Phone platform. Swarm is the breakaway app from Foursquare that now houses the beloved check-in. Rather than pairing the use cases of sharing your location with friends and searching for things to do, the company split those experiences into two apps. That said, Swarm is a very different app… Read More

Share Your Ideas About Immigration

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138556236_e95a080235_o (1) High-skilled immigration reform matters to the tech community. Yet in the nationwide debate that often spirals into partisan bickering over border patrol, we’re often drowned out. In both 2013 and earlier this year, we saw chances of high-skilled immigration reform die in congress. In 2013 the senate passed a bill that never gained any traction in the House. This year, House… Read More

You can stream Michael Cera’s folk album now

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If there’s one actor who would make a lo-fi indie folk album, that actor would surely be Michael Cera, who’s not only acted in lo-fi indie films like Juno and Paper Heart, but also helped out on projects for bands like Weezer. What’s more surprising is that the album, True That, is pretty good: the mostly acoustic, instrumental tunes are definitely folk, but you can detect some jazzy influences. Strangely, the album was announced by Jonah Hill on Twitter; Cera hasn’t said anything about the project yet. Hopefully he’ll do a Scott Pilgrim-themed punk album next.

You can stream the album below, or download it for $7 here.

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Microsoft turns Bing search results into conversations

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Microsoft is rolling out a new feature to its Bing search engine today: conversations. It’s not quite the Cortana digital assistant just yet, but if you search for queries like “who is the president of the United States?” you can follow up that search result with “how old is he?” to quickly get Barack Obama’s age. Bing will maintain the context through search queries to provide a conversation-like feature.

Cortana has similar follow-on search features, as does Google Now, but these are largely contained to mobile platforms. Bing’s update for its desktop search version is part of Microsoft’s continued efforts to leverage the company’s search work as a platform across all of its services and apps. The conversation feature might be a good…

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Can you own a language?

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In its first-ever transparency report, the Wikimedia Foundation revealed a handful of odd stories about takedown requests sent to Wikipedia. Among the claims on public-domain books and monkey selfies was a curious request from 2012: that Wikipedia remove a page on the Tasmanian language palawa kani, because an aboriginal resources center owned the rights to the language itself.

Wikipedia rejected the request, warning that shutting down discussion and use of a language “would have chilled…

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Microsoft’s Bing Will Now Keep Track Of Context For Conversational Searching On Desktop

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Bing Microsoft is introducing some of its Cortana personal assistant smarts to its desktop search engine, with a new feature rolling out today that will use your previous query to inform your next, providing it with key contextual information so that you can search more conversationally, in the same way you’d ask follow-up questions of a friend during a regular chat. So, if you’re… Read More

CoreOS Acquires Quay.io To Launch Its Private Docker Repository

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Sydney's Circular Quay CoreOS, the company behind the increasingly popular open-source CoreOS operating system for warehouse scale computing, today announced that it has acquired Quay.io, a service that specializes in hosting private Docker repositories. Many developers who use Docker either use Docker’s own public repository or create their own private repositories. Quay.io takes the work out of hosting… Read More

NSA was responsible for 2012 Syrian internet blackout, Snowden says

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When Syria’s access to the internet was cut for two days back in 2012, it apparently wasn’t the fault of dissenting “terrorists,” as the Syrian government claimed: according to Wired, it was the fault of the US government. In a long profile of Edward Snowden published today, Wired writes what Snowden says is the truth about the internet outage. An elite hacking unit in the National Security Agency had reportedly been attempting to install malware on a central router within Syria — a feat that would have allowed the agency to access a good amount of the country’s internet traffic. Instead, it ended up accidentally rendered the router unusable, causing Syria’s internet connection to go dark.

The NSA reportedly attempted to repair the…

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