Jason Hill

Jason Hill

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UK
Using a technique called reinforcement learning, a researcher at Google Brain has shown that virtual robots can redesign their body parts to help them navigate challenging obstacle courses—even if the solutions they come up with are completely bizarre.Each animal has to navigate its world in its own special way using the body it’s been given, which naturally leads to different ways of thinking and learning.“Evolution plays a vital role in shaping an organism’s body to adapt to its environment,” David Ha, a computer scientist and AI expert at Google Brain, explained in his new study.This framework looks a lot like an old-school, 2D video game, but it uses sophisticated virtual physics to simulate natural conditions, and it’s capable of randomly generating terrain and other in-game elements.Researchers at DeepMind conducted a similar experiment last year, in which virtual bots had to learn how to walk from scratch and navigate through complex parkour courses.The difference here is that Ha’s walkers had the added benefit of being able to redesign their body plan—or at least parts of it.
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US
Google’s Home Hub is running on the cast platform instead of Android Things like other Smart Displays.It’s unclear if the differences in operating systems will bring exclusive features to the Home Hub.When the Lenovo Smart Display first hit the market, I noticed several differences between it and Google Homes and Google Assistant speakers.The search giant stated that the reason for some of these differences was because Smart Displays don’t have Chromecast built-in and because they aren’t classified as audio devices or speakers.So when the Home Hub was announced yesterday, it seemed weird that Google would give it the “Home” branding, but the display wasn’t expected to be too different than the Smart Displays built by third-parties.First announced back at CES 2018, Google’s new product category was seen as a way to bring visual responses to the Assistant.
China
China’s first blockchain pilot zone officially opened in Haikou, Hainan on Monday, Xinhua reports.Its site is the Hainan Resort Software Community, which has launched a blockchain research institute in cooperation with Oxford University’s blockchain research center.The software community is also setting up an innovation center in partnership with China’s Renmin University.According to the head of Hainan Province’s department of industry and internet technology, Wang Jing, “[the] pilot zone will commit to attracting blockchain talent around the world and exploring the application of blockchain in areas such as cross-border trade, inclusive finance, and credit rating.”Several China’s tech players have already moved to Hainan and set up blockchain-related divisions.AI and search engine giant Baidu registered subsidiary Dulian Internet Technology in the island province back in August.
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US
Google’s new smartphones are finally here.The successor to the Pixel 2 brings along new artificial intelligence features, updated camera software, wireless charging capabilities, and more.As opposed to last year, the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL come with the ability to be charged wirelessly.Google says you can get seven hours of use after only 15 minutes of charging.It’ll also work similar to your Google Home — every morning, your Pixel 3 display will slowly brighten to gently wake you up and will then provide you with your morning routine.This time around, the speakers are 40 percent louder than those included on its predecessors — which should provide a bigger and richer sound.
Sweden
Ingenjörsfirman KFS Anläggningskonstruktörer har under de senaste åren vunnit flera prestigeprojekt.KFS Anläggningskonstruktörer specialitet är att projektera tunga anläggningar som kajer och hamnar, vattenkraftverk eller broar.Bolaget har varit inblandade i flera prestigeprojekt såsom Norra Djurgårdsstaden och Hammarby Sjöstad.Olivier Dymén har studerat samhällsbyggnadsprogrammet på KTH och jobbar sedan 2 år på KFS:- Att komma hit var både likt mina studier och samtidigt väldigt olikt.Jag har bland annat arbetat med det så kallade Å-rummet i Gävle, ett stråk utmed Gavleån som ska få en promenadkaj.
US
For a while there, it looked like unicorns were endangered.The creation of new unicorns, the cheeky name for companies valued at $1 billion or more, has been on the downswing for the past few years.But they showed signs of making a comeback in the third quarter, according to a report out Tuesday from PwC and industry watcher CB Insights.In the third quarter of 2018, 16 companies achieved unicorn status, more than three times the five companies that reached the level in the same quarter a year earlier, according to the report.Still, the growth is shy of the heady days of 2015, when the third quarter saw a whopping 25 new unicorns.Some of these newly-minted companies include legal services company LegalZoom, bicycle-sharing service Lime, and Git repository manager GitLab.
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Sweden
E-handelsveteranen Pär Svärdsons online pharmacies Apotea strengthens up its board of directors.During an extraordinary general meeting in september was chosen tidningsentreprenören Amelia Adamo in as a new member."I am convinced that her experience from the world of media and tidningsentreprenör will contribute positively to both the work of the board and Apotea,” says Apoteas ceo Pär Svärdson, in a statement.Amelia Adamo is the founder and former editor-in-chief of the magazines Amelia and M-magasin.currently, she sits, inter alia, in the board of directors for Bonnier Magazines & Brands (whose majority owner, Bonnier AB also owns Dagens industri).She has previously served on the board of directors for Amazon, which is also founded by Pär Svärdson, and in the clothing chain Kappahl.
US
Toys R Us might be resurrected, after its mass store closure earlier this year.The toy retailer's lenders have canceled its bankruptcy auction and intend to revive the business behind the iconic toy seller's brands, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.The lenders are the same group of hedge funds that canceled the Toys R Us reorganization earlier this year.The lenders envision "a new, operating Toys R Us and Babies R Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest in and create new, domestic, retail operating businesses" under the brand name, according to court papers filed Monday and cited by the Journal.The hedge fund group said it received qualified bids for the toy retailer's assets, which include the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands its registry lists, website domains and even the Toys R Us mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.But the lenders determined that the bids didn't "yield a superior alternative to the plan," and that stakeholders would see a greater benefit in maintaining the brands "under a newly established, independent US business," the Journal reported.
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US
Facebook says its investigation into a hack revealed last week has found "no evidence" that hackers accessed third-party apps.The breach, which Facebook said Friday affected 50 million people on the social network, stemmed from a vulnerability in Facebook's "view as" feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other people.Attackers exploited code associated with the feature that allowed them to steal "access tokens" that could be used to take over people's accounts.Facebook revoked those tokens but also said the breach could also affect third-party apps and services, such as Instagram, Tinder and Spotify."We have now analyzed our logs for all third-party apps installed or logged during the attack we discovered last week," Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said in a blog post Tuesday."That investigation has so far found no evidence that the attackers accessed any apps using Facebook Login.
US
Spotify has ended a test that required its family plan subscribers to verify their location, or risk losing accessing to its music streaming service.According to recent reports, the company had sent out emails to its “Premium for Family” customers which asked them to confirm their locations using GPS.The idea here is that some customers may have been sharing Family Plans, even though they’re not related, as a means of paying less for Spotify by splitting the plan’s support for multiple users.Spiegel Online and Quartz first reported this news on Thursday.Of course, as these reports pointed out, asking users to confirm a GPS location is a poor means of verification.Families often have members who live or work outside the home – they may live abroad, have divorced or separated parents, have kids in college, they may travel for work, or any other number of reasons.
US
Following in the footsteps of the SLS AMG and Mercedes-AMG GT, the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe is the third AMG vehicle designed and engineered entirely in-house.With this level of creative control, Mercedes-AMG says it’s endowed the GT 53, 63, and 63 S 4-Door Coupe with true sports car driving dynamics — at no cost to daily driving comfort.Pricing information has not yet been disclosed, but the GT 4-Door will compete directly with Porsche’s Panamera, which ranges from $85,000 to $185,000.Our first drive of the low-slung four-seater takes us to the twisty back roads around Austin, Texas, and to the Circuit of the Americas which welcomes the annual American Grand Prix.The driver’s display is viewed in one of three orientations: classic, sport, or supersport (which centers the tachometer).Atop the range, the GT 63 S churns out a staggering 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, rocketing the four-seater to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 195 mph.
US
In nearly a decade and a half covering the tech industry, I've had the privilege of witnessing companies go all out when showing off their new products.One of the more awkward is the image of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin on Rollerblades gliding up to the stage to talk about the T-Mobile G1, the original Android phone.From the over-the-top Samsung Galaxy Note 4 presentation at Radio City Music Hall in New York to David Blaine performing at the launch of the dual-screen Kyocera Echo (the magician's tricks were far more memorable than the phone), companies have pulled stunts to nab your attention.Given its success today, it's easy to forget that Android faced a heavy dose of skepticism at the start."It certainly seemed like there was an uphill battle," said Ross Rubin, an analyst at Reticle Research, who was also at the event."It was clear we were on the cusp of something major," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data who attended the event.
US
While Evernote is the undisputed king of the computer note-taking world, there is another player in the market that deserves some attention, and that’s Microsoft OneNote.Although it’s not well known, OneNote has been around since 2003 and a member of the Office suite since 2007.Now in its fifth edition and with a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) “companion” app available from the Windows Store, OneNote has become a mature, full-featured tool for taking notes, transcribing ideas, organizing thoughts, and in general acting as a place to store the results of a “brain dump.”In what scenarios would using OneNote make more sense than using Evernote?We have published a comparison of the two tools here on Computerworld.com, and as you will see checking out that piece, there are many points in favor of both tools.However, right off the bat I can think of three reasons OneNote might make sense for you:
US
For every control freak web developer artiste, demanding the ability to micromanage every font style, color scheme and menu option of a new site, there are 100 of us regular folks.We just want to make sure a new site works great, runs fast, and doesn’t look like something you’d find on AltaVista circa 1997.You can score the best of both worlds — easily deployed, yet entirely customizable website templates — with this lifetime subscription to Visualmodo WordPress Themes.It’s on sale now at 84 percent off, just $39, from TNW Deals.Visualmodo is built to service WordPress users like a racing glove.Just get signed up to Visualmodo, pick the site design theme that best fits your content from the more than two dozen options and select.
Sweden
the hacker attack in Japan – kryptovalutahandlaren Tech Bureau was hit by serverintrång.Bitcoin and other kryptovaluta worth the equivalent of over a half billion dollars has been stolen in a hacker attack in Japan, after kryptovalutahandlaren Tech Bureau affected by a serverintrång.Japan's financial regulator has launched an inspection of the company, according to local media.The kryptovalutor stolen is bitcoin, bitcoin is cash, and the japanese variant monacoin.Earlier in the year were the merchant Coincheck for a hacker attack where the kryptovaluta for large values were stolen.the Authorities allowed the shut down the two traders, after having done a review of the industry by reason of the infringement.
US
In newly published research, security firm Tenable reveals how popular video surveillance camera software could be manipulated, allowing would-be attackers the ability to view, disable or otherwise manipulate video footage.The vulnerability, which researchers fittingly dubbed “Peekaboo,” affects software created by NUUO, a surveillance system software maker with clients including hospitals, banks, and schools around the globe.The vulnerability works via a stack buffer overflow, overwhelming the targeted software and opening the door for remote code execution.That loophole means that an attacker could remotely access and take over accounts with no authorization, even taking over networked cameras connected to the target device.“This is particularly devastating because not only is an attacker able to control the NVR [camera] but the credentials for all the cameras connected to the NVR are stored in plaintext on disk,” Tenable writes.Tenable provides more details on potential exploits tested with one of NUUO’s NVRMini2 devices on its Github page.
Sweden
Amazon utreder anklagelser om att anställda inom företaget ska ha sålt konfidentiella kunduppgifter till tredjepartsföretag, rapporterar The Wall Street Journal.Enligt tidningen säljer Amazon-anställda, vanligtvis genom mellanhänder, informationen till aktörer som saluför varor på Amazon.Det ska bland annat röra sig om läckta mejladresser och den misstänkta verksamheten bryter mot nätjättens företagspolicy.Tidningen skriver att den otillåtna informationshandeln är särskilt vanlig i Kina, men att den också inträffat i USA.Mellanhänder säljer information om till exempel försäljningssiffror till ett pris på mellan 80 och 2 000 dollar, motsvarande 700 till 18 000 svenska kronor.Transaktionerna ska i många fall ha skett på den Tencent-ägda kommunikationsappen Wechat.
US
WASHINGTON—In a call with journalists today, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats outlined an executive order just signed by President Donald Trump that would result in automatic sanctions against any foreign entities found to have attempted to interfere in US elections.The order, not yet released, is meant as a deterrent against interference in the 2018 midterm elections.But these sanctions have apparently not deterred the Russian government and other countries with an adversarial relationship with the US from maneuvering to affect the outcome of some 2018 congressional races, according to Coats.While Coats said that "we have not seen the intensity of activity from 2016," the intelligence community has seen signs that there are efforts underway by a number of actors to manipulate the political process this year."These are sensitive, sometimes very dangerous operations, and we have to operate with respect to sources and methods," he said.The order declares a national emergency, Bolton said, and requires DNI to make regular assessments of activities targeting the US electoral process, reporting findings to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
US
New details about the upcoming iPhones appear to have leaked on Apple's own website.Several websites and coders dug into the Apple website's product sitemap and discovered the names, storage options, and colors of the upcoming devices.The higher-end iPhone XS and XS Max are expected to come in space gray, silver, and gold, while the lower-cost iPhone XR is expected to come in six colors: black, white, red, yellow, coral, and blue.Thanks to a leak from Apple's own website, we may now the colors of the upcoming iPhones.Sites like The Verge and ATH, along with coder Steve Troughton-Smith, have dug into the Apple website's product sitemap XML file — the code powering the website — and found several direct references to the upcoming phones, including the colors.The new phones — which the sitemap reveals are called the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR — will come in more colors than last year's iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus:
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US
And the Cupertino company unveiled a metric ton of new products, including (but not limited to) a new smartwatch (the Apple Watch Series 4) and three new phones (the iPhone Xr, iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max).If you’d been following the rumors leading up to today’s festivities, though, today’s announcements might have seemed a bit … underwhelmingWhere were the new AirPods?Satisfying answers elude both questions, unfortunately.Way back in December 2017, reputable KGI supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a note about “new AirPods” featuring a smaller quartz component, which he anticipated would be released “by the end of 2018.”A few months later, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that the upcoming AirPods would allow wearers to activate Siri hands-free instead of, as with the current-gen AirPods, awkwardly double-tapping the sides of the earbuds.
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