Most of us know smoking is not good for our health, increasing our risk of multiple cancers, heart disease and stroke.But now, a new large scale study has revealed it may also have a negative impact on our hearing.According to the study of more than 50,000 participants over eight years, smoking is associated with increased risk of hearing loss as we age.Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, the researchers found smokers are 1.2 to 1.6 times more likely to develop hearing loss compared with people who have never smoked.This is the equivalent of smokers having around a 20% increased risk of hearing loss.To establish whether there is a link between smoking and hearing loss, researchers analysed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician, and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant.
Previously, Mozilla's browser would fetch website data from a cache stored on a PC's hard drive or SSD.The new version of Firefox, released Tuesday, gets a bit of a speed boost by seeing if it can get that information faster from the network.The feature is part of project called Quantum to speed up Firefox -- a project whose name Mozilla embraced for the time being with the Firefox Quantum product name."Now we can do better resource-loading decisions," said Mark Mayo, Mozilla's newly promoted chief product officer.For example, to ease the transition from today's IPv4 version of internet technology to the modernized IPv6, browsers and operating systems added a system called Happy Eyeballs that delivered network data from whichever network technology could deliver it fastest.Firefox helped restore competition in the browser market, but it's waned in popularity from a decade ago.
Here’s another tidbit from Eddy Cue’s content-packed SXSW appearance yesterday.Along with a dive into Apple’s video content strategy, the company’s SVP offered up some insight into the health of its music streaming service.Cue noted that Apple Music has hit 38 million paid subscribers — an increase of two million since the company reported last month.It’s a steady increase, though Spotify’s still the undisputed leader — boasting nearly twice that number.Late last year, the Swedish streaming service reported that, of its 159 million users, 71 million are paid.Of course, Spotify got a serious head start, launching nine years ago (launching in 2011 in the States) to Apple Music’s 2015.
Enhancing customer experiences continues to be a major priority for businesses, as only 36% of contact centers are currently able to track a customer journey that spans multiple channels.Yet of the 270 billion service calls made annually, 50% of first calls go unresolved.Autodesk employs a staff of 350 internal and external customer support agents who manage more than 1 million customer and partner interactions every year.Roughly half of those questions are simple customer queries that can easily be identified and answered — such as code requests, changes of address, contract problems, technical issues, activation code requests, and so on.Unfortunately, every time a customer service agent spends time helping one customer with a simple task, another customer must wait for them to finish that task in order to receive service.With the AI capabilities of IBM Watson conversational technologies, Autodesk is automating the resolution of simpler tasks, freeing up customer service staff to focus on more complex questions.
When Honda unveiled the redone 2017 CR-V, one of its largest competitors -- the Toyota RAV4 -- was still rocking a body from the 2013 model year.But now, it's Toyota's turn to be the freshest crossover on the market.Toyota will debut the 2019 RAV4 SUV at the 2018 New York Auto Show at the end of March.The automaker offered no additional information, but it included a teaser image that shows off the new ute's shape, which doesn't appear too radically different than before.Simple formulae tend to work best in this segment anyway.Even though the current RAV4 is pretty old in Car Years, it's still performing great in terms of sales.
As we replaced one of our test home wall switches with the new Ecobee Switch+, we found ourselves wondering the same thing.And does the $99 Switch+, now available for pre-order and in stores on March 26, satisfy the smart home junkie and Amazon Alexa fan?When it does go live, though, you’ll be able to see temperature information on the room where it’s installed.In other words, you could consider buying this device instead of an Echo Dot.We thought we’d feel funny talking to the wall, but we got over it.Third, using the videos or diagram provided, you connect the new switch.
How have students responded to the news that members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) - including many lecturers on campus - are striking to resist changes to their pensions?You would be forgiven if you mistook them for dissatisfied customers on the high street.“We pay a large amount for our tuition fees,” Conrad Whitcroft White, a student at my university, told the Guardian not long ago,and we expect the university in return to provide us with the appropriate education and to pay the staff effectively enough to give us an education.Reported in the same Guardian article are the words of Robert Liow, a student at King’s College London, describing his bluntly-titled campaign, Refund Our Fees:This campaign stands in solidarity with striking lecturers and academics.
The right to be forgiven will soon be more important than the right to be forgottenA colleague recently excused himself from a meeting because he had to go and judge a robotics contest.We're observed and recorded everywhere we go online thanks to cookies, certificates and loyalty codes.All of that goes into databases - "vast and cool and unsympathetic" - waiting for data scientists to algorithmically augur the entrails of our comings and goings, the better to render judgement on our potential for future acts of commerce.We want to believe these judgements have been constructed along purely capitalist lines.To make that judgement, robots use techniques developed in the early years of the century, as security agencies worldwide worked out how to winnow the chaff from an increasing torrent of communications traffic.
St Ives Group has merged three of the agencies under its umbrella, mirroring the current trend of consolidation at big agencies.Response One, Amaze One and Occam will, from 19 March, be known as Edit in an effort to unite the group's data science and marketing technology to power through-the-line CRM and media for its clients, such as Cosmos Travel, Azzurri Group, Pizza Hut as well as auto firms like Citroen, Fiat and JLR.In bringing the three businesses together and combining 200 staff across Bath and Manchester, Edit's chief executive Damian Coverdale claimed the company will be able to "deliver results across the entire consumer journey, from awareness and acquisition to retention, repurchase and advocacy".He went on to explain: "Disruptive technologies, complex consumer journeys and the speed of change make engagement today extremely challenging.Brands address this by coordinating marketing across internal teams, specialist agencies and numerous channels often resulting in inefficiencies and a lack of effectiveness."The consolidation comes days after the group announced that it is curtailing its marketing activation division with the £6m sale of numerous assets to SelmerBridge.
Good news if you’re worried about a robot taking your job: it turns out even mechanical laborers need a break.Only a single shift into its career at the CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena, California, this week, Flippy the robot burger-flipper is going on hiatus, reports USA Today.The bot, created by startup Miso Robotics, made its debut earlier this week assisting in CaliBurger’s kitchen by flipping patties on the grill.According to reports, the robot did its job well but was such a hit with customers that Miso Robotics is giving Flippy time off over the weekend for some upgrades.According to Miso spokeswoman Stephanie Cirigliano, the company needs to perform tests on the robot “to make sure the location can fulfill a large number of orders.” Cirigliano told USA Today that it will put Flippy back on burger duty next week, but it’ll only be for a limited time each day (between 11AM and 2PM to help cover the lunchtime shift).Flippy is more of an automaton than a human replacement.
Nintendo confirmed that Mario is a plumber again, and that means the squat blue-collar worker will need to relax with some leisure activities.That’s where Mario Tennis Aces comes in.The publisher revealed today that the new Switch sports game launches June 22.Aces is the latest entry in the Mario Tennis series.It’s an arcade-style take on Tennis where Waluigi and other characters from the Mushroom Kingdom use drop shots and super powers to defeat their opponents.For the first time since the Mario Tennis for Game Boy Advance, Aces has a single-player campaign with role-playing elements.
French startup Qarnot unveiled a new computing heater specifically made for cryptocurrency mining.While most people use laptops, back in the golden days of computer towers, you could heat a room with a couple of desktop computers.And heat is still one of the biggest challenges when you’re building a data center.You have to cool thousands of computers that run 24/7.Qarnot started thinking about edge computing for data centers back in 2010.At the other end of the equation, companies such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Air Liquide and Blender rent those servers for their own needs.
The onus for creating budget phones within the Huawei family has generally fallen to Honor, Huawei’s sister company that shares resources with its larger sibling.But with rumblings of a Huawei Y9 now on the horizon, it seems that Huawei is moving away from some of the fun midrange and flagship phones it’s known for, and dipping its toes back into the budget waters.Here’s everything we know about the Huawei Y9.Huawei has shown off bezel-less full screen displays for a few phones now, so it’s not remarkable that it would be looking to continue this trend with the Huawei Y9.Our first look at a potential design for the Y9 comes from tech leaker Bang Gogo, and shows a sizeble handset with dimensions that are somewhat similar to the older Huawei Y7 in size.The matching size, along with the shrunken bezels and larger screen indicates that the Y9 will have a screen size larger than the 5.5 inches seen on the Y7, and will likely be around the 5.8-inch size.
According to the new campaign by Public Health England, Britain, especially children, need to go on a diet.As a mum of two young children and as someone whose business it is to encourage healthy lifestyle choices it made my ears prick up.Yes, there is an obesity epidemic and yes, I am keenly concerned for the future health of our children and whilst I’m completely in agreement with the need to reduce the amounts of processed foods in diets in general, promoting a calorie counting message largely focused on children is, in my opinion, failing to address the heart of the obesity problem:That we are failing to promote adequate incentive or opportunity for our children to be active;That we are placing the responsibility of calorie reduction with food producers rather than individuals (or if we’re targeting children here, parents and teachers); andThat quick fixes, ready meals and processed foods have become the norm rather than a treat, replacing good old fashioned cooking from scratch, at home.
The ‘Bristlecone’ quantum chip may become the first to demonstrate quantum systems’ theoretical performance edge over conventional supercomputersGoogle has said its new quantum processor, ‘Bristlecone’, could help it become the first company to demonstrate the use of quantum computing to solve problems faster than a conventional supercomputer.In theory, quantum computers – built of ‘qubits’ that are able to hold more than one state at a time – offer performance so much greater than that of today’s supercomputers that they can make new applications practical for the first time.At the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in Los Angeles, where it presented the chip, Google said Bristlecone aims to build on a key achievement of its predecessor – low error rates.Current qubits are highly unstable and as such must run at ultra-low temperatures to prevent errors from creeping in.A previous nine-qubit linear array demonstrated low error rates for readout, single-qubit gates and two-qubit gates.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Google is celebrating inspirational women in tech — particularly those that have contributed to the Google Play ecosystem.This week, on Google Play, you will see a collection of apps and games developed by women, along with movies and TV shows with strong female leads.While Google will highlight movies and TV shows, what it really seems to want to show off is apps and games developed by women.The company launched its “Change the Game” initiative last fall in an attempt to help highlight and empower female developers.It makes sense — Google conducted a study into mobile gamers and found that roughly half were female — and that 43 percent of female gamers played more than five days a week, compared to only 38 percent of their male counterparts.Despite that, only 24.8 percent of women working in the industry, according to Google, identify as female or transgender, and the result is that only 30 percent of female gamers feel that games were made for them.
Google has revealed it’s working on video-editing technology that eliminates the need for one of the most common tools: the green screen background.Dubbed Mobile Real-time Video Segmentation, the tech uses AI and machine learning to let users replace the background on their video in real-time.The tool is already in testing for YouTube, and it’s as easy to use as applying filters to a still photo.Google goes into the lengthy technical details of this feature on its Research blog, but sums it up nicely with this comment: “Our new segmentation technology allows creators to replace and modify the background, effortlessly increasing videos’ production value without specialized equipment.” The feature is debuting as a beta in the YouTube app, but only for a limited set of content creators.For now, the background replacement tool is tied to YouTube’s new “stories” video format, which itself is just another take on the Snapchat and Instagram features of the same name.The effect isn’t perfect, but it’s more than impressive for a simple beta, and it’s easily on par with the common AR photo tools that create masks and other facial overlays.
Text messaging is among the most popular ways to communicate in the whole world.We do understand that many people still prefer the human touch of talking on the phone and we respect that.Let’s take a look at the best texting apps and SMS apps for Android to see if we can’t help you make your texting experience better.That means it looks good and it's easy to use.Google also has big plans for this app, including RCS support along with other neat features.However, chances are that you have it on your device.
Asian telcos emerge as the leaders of innovation in the telecommunication field leaving behind their European and US counterparts, says ABI Research’s “Telco Innovation Benchmark: Winners and Losers in the Race to Future Revenues” report.Asian telcos are followed by the US Tier Ones - AT and Verizon, while the Europeans - DT, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone - are far behind China Mobile, NTT Docomo, Softbank and KDDI.It is to be noted that the highest score in the leaderboard goes to China Mobile and NTT Docomo.The study which highlighted the winners and laggards in telco innovation, evaluated several factors including R expenditure, patent portfolios, standards contributions and acquisitions to meticulously gauge innovation efforts for the leading-20 global operators list.Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research, said: “Asian telcos – namely NTT Docomo and China Mobile – have the highest scores across the board, indicating they are investing for the long-term and understand that 5G will require expertise outside their traditional connectivity domain.”A critical aspect of NTT Docomo and China Mobile, as pointed out by ABI Research, is that they are expanding their efforts to develop, acquire and invest in UnTelco areas.
If you've been oo-ing and ah-ing at the new Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus since its launch last Sunday, we've got an exclusive deal on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that might just turn your head.Buy your new Note 8 from retailer Fonehouse, and get the colossal smartphone with 16GB of data on Vodafone for £43 per month and only £19 upfront.It works out as one of the very cheapest ways you can own the Note 8 over the two year contract and it's EXCLUSIVELY available to TechRadar readers.It's probably the best value deal around at the moment when you consider the sheer amount of data you get.When you directly compare the Galaxy S9 Plus with the Note 8, the equivalent deal on the smaller new handset is over £200 more expensive over the two years - you have to spend more than £50 per month and £60-odd upfront for the S9+.You'll have to be quick, though - the exclusive offer will only be available until the end of Sunday March 4.