Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My World Cup Runneth Over

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If you’re a soccer fan (even if the U.S. men’s team didn’t make it into this year’s World Cup, which it most certainly did not), then you had plenty of drama over the weekend and into Monday.I don’t even know where to start.

Over the weekend in the knockout round, France beats Argentina, Uruguay beats Portugal, Russia beats Spain, Croatia beats Denmark (both those last two games went to penalty kicks).

Today, Brazil beat Mexico, and Belgium comes back from a 2-0 deficit to somehow win 3-2.

Obviously, seeing Argentina and Portugal go gentle into that good knockout round is hard for world soccer fans to see, especially considering they have some of the world’s best players.

On the other hand, it IS a team sport, a very collaborative one at that (meaning, you can’t just depend on Ronaldo and Messi), and those who have made it this far are playing a long, and increasingly careful, game to get into the quarterfinals.

I have not seen every team play yet, so I’m holding off on my predictions for the moment.

Up next: Sweden vs. Switzerland and Columbia vs. England tomorrow. We’ll see if they’re as nail biting as several of these knockout round games have been!

Written by turbotodd

July 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Oh Snap!

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Oh Snap!

Watch out when Kylie Jenner starts talking smack about your brand, because bad things can and will happen.

Yesterday, in fact, Snap stock slid 6+ percent after analysts warned of the negative reaction to Kylie’s Tweet suggesting she uses Snapchat less than she used to prior to the app’s latest update.

Here’s the Tweet she sent: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad”

Cost Snap about $1.3 billion in market value, according to Bloomberg.

Day-amn.

And getting back to the topic of better, smarter, faster AI-driven voice assistants, Google Assistant is going multilingual, with 9to5Google reporting it will soon have support for English, French, German, and 30 additional languages by the end of the year (that’s up from a current total of 8).

Additional languages include Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, and Thai, a rollout Google claims will reach 95 percent of all eligible Android phones.

And if you’re tired of telling your Google Assistant what to do over and over, The Verge is reporting Google is announching a number of new updates, including its “routine” feature that allows Assistant to perform multiple actions at once from a single command that you set up in advance.

Kind of like this: Hey Google, sell all my Snap stock, buy me a new Mercedes, go do my grocery shopping, plan my vacation to Tahiti, and, oh yeah, turn out the lights and turn up the heat.

Okay, maybe not like that, but you get the picture.

Written by turbotodd

February 23, 2018 at 9:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Chrome’s New Ad Blocking

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TechCrunch is reporting that Chrome’s built-in ad blocker will go live tomorrow, the first time Google will automatically block some ads in Chrome.

They note that this is not an alternative to AdBlock Plus or uBlock Origin, but rather Google’s effort “to ban the most annoying ads from your browser.”

Uh, that would be all of them, wouldn’t it?

The user experience will go a little something like this: If you end up on a site where Chrome’s blocking ads, you’ll see a small pop-up in Chrome that allows you to sidestepFull page ads, ads with autoplaying sound and video, and flashing ads will be targeted by Chrome’s ad filtering, which will hopefully result in less of these annoying ads on the web. the ad blocker and allow ads for that site.

The Verge reports Google will be selecting for specific types of ads:

Full page ads, ads with autoplaying sound and video, and flashing ads will be targeted by Chrome’s ad filtering, which will hopefully result in less of these annoying ads on the web.

This should be fun.

Written by turbotodd

February 14, 2018 at 11:39 am

Bronze, Silver and Gold

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Happy Monday.

Congrats to our U.S. Olympic medalists in Pyeonchang (thus far), with Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson leading the way in men’s and women’s slopestyle snowboarding events, respectively, with each garnering the first U.S. gold medals of these Winter Olympics.

In men’s luge, U.S. team member Chris Mazdzer grabbed a silver medal Sunday night (apparently unexpectedly), while Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu won bronze medals in the team figure skating competition.

Well done all around!

If hacking’s more your sport, though, you may want to check out Sam Kim’s feature about North Korean hackers on Bloomberg. According to Kim’s report, their mission is to use their hacking skills to make money by any means necessary, and they, too, seem to be going for the gold…admittedly that of a different variety.

Meanwhile, Apple has intimated some changes in its software development lifecycle, according to AppleInsider. According to the story, Apple will move away from annual “zero day” releases” as the company works to minimize software bugs while giving its engineers more flexibility in scheduling.

As an example, the company will focus on the next two years of iPhone and iPad software updates, rather than “cramming features into a single update,” reports Apple Insider.

New improvements to iOS could still come later this year, including Animoji characters in Facement, enhancements to Do Not Disturb, deeper integration of Siri into Spotlight, and a revamped Stocks app (yawn).

But a big update in 2018 could see the ability to run several windows in one app on the iPad, one that would allow users to switch between apps just like tabs in a web browser.

AppleInsider also suggests the company is still on track with project “Marzipan,” which will help developers port iOS apps to the Mac more easily and run a single, unified code base.

If you’re looking for a shorter term fix, AppleInsider also reports the company is working on an iOS 11.3 update that will give users the ability to check the health of their device’s battery (especially important after the Apple battery scandal), and choose to enable or disable automatic throttling of older devices to prevent random shutdowns.

That update is also expected to include four new Animoji, support for Messages in iCloud, ARKit 1.5, and tweaks to Apple Music and Apple News.

Written by turbotodd

February 12, 2018 at 9:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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That’s a Big Deal!

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Happy Monday.

A big deal could hardly wait for Monday morning.  In fact, the biggest tech deal ever.

Broadcom Ltd. has offered roughly $105 billion for Qualcomm Inc., reports Bloomberg, “kicking off an ambitious attempt at the largest technology takeover ever in a deal that would rock the electronics industry.”

According to the report, Broadcom has made an offer of $70 a share in cash and stock for Qualcomm, a 28% premium for the world’s largest maker of mobile phone chips.

If the deal were to go through and be approved, this would make Broadcom the third largest chipmaker, behind Intel and Samsung. And as Bloomberg estimates, the deal would dwarf Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2015.

VentureBeat writes that “the deal would give Broadcom a foothold in the mobile communications market” but comes at a time Qualcomm is still trying to close its own $38 billion bid for NXP Semiconductors, which Qualcomm wants to use to help it get into self-driving technology.

And as VentureBeat points out, Intel is certainly not sitting still as competitive pressure emanates from the likes of Nvidia who are moving into the growing field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of which are demanding higher performance semiconductors.

No word at press time as to whether billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and one of the world’s wealthiest men, will be making an investment in this new venture.

The Prince was detained by Saudi authorities on Saturday night, according to the Wall Street Journal, along with at least 10 other princes and more than two dozen current ministers in the Saudi royal family. Mr. al-Waleed is a top investor in tech companies, including Apple and Twitter, and faces charges of money laundering.

 

Written by turbotodd

November 6, 2017 at 9:02 am

IBM Expands Watson Data Platform to Help Unleash AI

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 IBM today announced new offerings to its Watson Data Platform, including data cataloging and data refining, which is designed to make it easier for developers and data scientists to analyze and prepare enterprise data for AI applications, regardless of its structure or where it resides. By improving data visibility and helping to better enforce data security policies, users can now connect and share data across public and private cloud environments.

By 2018, nearly 75 percent of developers will build AI functionality into their apps, according to IDC. However, they also face the obstacle of making sense of increasingly complex data that lives in different places, and that must be securely and continually ingested to power these apps.

Addressing these challenges, IBM has expanded the functionality of its Watson Data Platform, an integrated set of tools, services and data on the IBM Cloud designed to enable data scientists, developers and business teams to gain intelligence from the data most important to their roles, as well as easily access services like machine learning, AI and analytics.

“We are always looking for new ways to gain a more holistic view of our clients’ campaign data, and design tailored approaches for each ad and marketing tactic,” said Michael Kaushansky, Chief Data Officer at Havas, a global advertising and marketing consultancy. “The Watson Data Platform is helping us do just that by quickly connecting offline and online marketing data. For example, we recently kicked off a test for one of our automotive clients, aiming to connect customer data, advertising information in existing systems, and online engagement metrics to better target the right audiences at the right time.”

Specifically, this expansion includes:

  • New Data Catalog and Data Refinery offerings, which bring together datasets that live in different formats on the cloud, in existing systems and in third party sources; as well as apply machine learning to process and cleanse this data so it can be ingested for AI applications;
  • The ability to use metadata, pulled from Data Catalog and Data Refinery, to tag and help enforce a client’s data governance policies. This gives teams a foundation to more easily identify risks when sharing sensitive data.
  • The general availability of Analytics Engine to separate the storage of data from the information it holds, allowing it to be analyzed and fed into apps at much greater speeds. As a result, developers and data scientists can more easily share and build with large datasets.

More details on the new offerings of the IBM Watson Data Platform may be found here.

To further help companies grasp control of all of their data no matter where it resides, IBM is also announcing a series of new features to its Unified Governance Platform. These bring greater visibility and management of clients’ global data, including new capabilities that help clients as they better prepare for impending data protection regulations such as GDPR.

Built on open source technologies and fueled by IBM Cloud, the Watson Data Platform brings together IBM’s cloud infrastructure, powerful data services and decades of experience helping clients across industries solve their data challenges. Linked closely with the most popular communities among data scientists and developers, including Python and Spark, the Watson Data Platform continues to evolve to build the most open and complete data operating system on the cloud.

For more information on the Watson Data Platform, visit: https://www.ibm.com/analytics/us/en/watson-data-platform/.

To try and explore the Watson Data Platform, visit the tutorial: www.ibm.biz/wdptutorial.

Written by turbotodd

November 2, 2017 at 9:52 am

The iPhone X Files

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Some notable funding rounds…TechCrunch reports that Seattle-based international remittance provider Remitly is raising a Series D round of $115 million led by PayU. The company lets people in the U.S., U.K., and Canada send money electronically to friends and family in developing countries across Africa, South America, and Asia.

And Berlin-based Ada Health, which is an AI-driven app that “works a little like an ‘Alexa for health,'” has raised a $47M round led by Access Industries. Also according to TechCrunch, the the funds will be used to improve the product, hire staff and open a new office in the U.S.

Ada has become one of the world’s fastest-growing medical apps in 2017. In a chat interface, it helps people decipher their ailments, but then also connects them with real doctors.

In the meantime, reviews of the iPhone X are starting roll off the presses…

Mashable: “Holding the iPhone X in my hand triggers a distinct memory of the the moment I first cradled the original iPhone…There is no home button, just a stunning 5.8-inch screen that hugs the edge, reaching for the silver band that’s just millimeters away. All of it is so beautiful, save for that peninsula of darkness at the top.”

BuzzFeed: “The iPhone X might be a huge step forward in terms of hardware, but it runs iOS 11 just the same as other recent iPhones, and you won’t really be missing out on anything except Animoji. Face ID seems like it’s off to a good start, but it’s definitely inconsistent in certain lighting conditions. And until your favorite apps are updated, you won’t be able to make use of that entire beautiful display.”

Engadget: “Once my face was enrolled in Face ID — a process that took less than 20 seconds — unlocking the phone worked damn near perfectly every time. You still have to swipe up to view your home screen after you’ve unlocked the X with your mug, but the whole process is very nearly as fast as using a Touch ID sensor in a recent iPhone.”

Last I checked, my iPhone SE — despite being oh-so-2016 — still works fine and does pretty much everything the X does (except for FaceID), so I’m good. But nice to hear the (mostly) positive X reviews after all that buildup!

Written by turbotodd

October 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Posted in 2017, apple, iphone x, Uncategorized

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