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.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), the moments are seared into my brain.Those two guys: Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.Given its success today, it's easy to forget that Android faced a heavy dose of skepticism at the start.When Google finally took the wraps off Android, it partnered with HTC, a little-known company that made smartphones carrying the brand names of other companies."It certainly seemed like there was an uphill battle," said Ross Rubin, an analyst at Reticle Research, who was also at the event.
They bunked in a double-wide trailer, cramming inside on cots and sleeping bags, as many as a dozen at a time.They worked desperately—tinkering, testing, and fixing—hoping that nothing would go wrong this time.United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, the Russians, and the Chinese likely would still dominate the launch industry, with their prices a closely guarded secret.Following in SpaceX’s wake, more than 100 private companies around the world are trying to accomplish the same feat with rockets of various sizes.A few days before the fourth and possibly final attempt to launch the Falcon 1 rocket, Dunn left Omelek by boat, making the trip to “the Kwaj,” or Kwajalein Island.Then came an agonizing six minutes when the Falcon’s upper stage engine, named Kestrel, would have to burn, necessary to show potential customers the rocket could put their satellites into a proper orbit.
Mae Jemison, the first black woman to go into space, stood in the center of the room and prepared to become digital.In the exhibit, visitors will wear HoloLens headsets and watch Jemison materialize before their eyes, taking them on a tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise—and through space history.They’re invited to explore artifacts both physical (like the Enterprise) and digital (like a galaxy of AR stars) while Jemison introduces women throughout history who have made important contributions to space exploration.Now, as the technology becomes easier to use and the experiences easier to create, museums are increasingly turning to them as a way to engage visitors—whether that's fleshing out the skeletons on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History, or taking a tour of Mars with astronaut Buzz Aldrin (as a hologram, naturally).Museums have long relied on technology to give context to their exhibits—whether through informational videos, audio guides, or smartphone apps.It gives curators a chance to layer more information on top of existing exhibits, and to get visitors more involved with what's on view.
A Ping An Group offshoot has launched an online platform aimed squarely at attracting wealthy Singaporean clients, as China’s largest companies continue to make headway into Southeast Asian and other international markets using cutting-edge technology.The fintech unit of China’s top insurer is now in business in Singapore.Its Lu Global wealth management app is seeking crazy rich Asians with money to invest.Its minimum entry of US$1,000 doesn’t sound too steep, but it’s only open to accredited investors in Singapore.The new service was spun off from PingAn’s Lufax, which is prepping a much-delayed IPO that could value it as high as US$60 billion.Lu Global is aiming to pull in 10,000 Singapore customers in its first year.
For instance, anyone who purchased Bitcoin a few years ago at a few dollars has a success story to tell.And the fact that the value of Bitcoin continues to rise, investors are still making more and more each day.We have seen how Bitcoin has drastically changed the lives of many.That’s why traders, investors, and analysts are looking out for the next big thing in the cryptocurrency sector.Financial experts are predicting that Ripple could be the next Bitcoin.At one time, it had dethroned Ethereum from its position, all thanks to its stability and solidity.
At an event on Thursday, Amazon unveiled 11 new and updated Alexa-powered gadgets for your home and your car, as well as a bunch of new features for the AI voice assistant.In case you missed the show, here’s a quick rundown of all the new products the company has in store.You can pre-order all these items today in the US, and they’ll begin shipping next month.Amazon has revamped its diminutive Echo Dot with a larger speaker for better and louder audio, as well as a new fabric cover.The revamped Echo Show smart display has a 10-inch screen (significantly larger than the original’s 7-incher), dual side-firing speakers, a 5-megapixel front camera, support for Hulu and NBC, and web browsers (which means you can tune into YouTube).It costs $229.99, and you can also order an extra stand to adjust the viewing angle and camera angle for $30.
Apple isn't known for its iPhone's battery capacities -- and Huawei wants to help.The Chinese phone maker took to the streets outside Singapore's Apple Store to give out power banks to buyers queuing to be one of the first to get Apple's newest iPhones.The event was carried out at 11 p.m. Singapore time the night before Apple opened its doors, Huawei confirmed to CNET in an email.The reason for the friendly handout was to "offer respite from the weather and gruelling wait," according to a representative, who added that more than 200 of the company's 10,000 mAh Huawei Supercharge power banks were distributed.On the cover of the power bank's packaging is a tagline that reads, "Here's a power bank.The move comes after a Facebook post from the day before suggesting the P20 Pro has a "looong-lasting battery."
Gaming-focused live streaming platform Twitch has been blocked in China, the company confirmed.A report by Abacus suggests that Twitch’s iOS app has vanished from the App Store and its website is inaccessible across the country.The company didn’t give any details about the service ban.The Amazon-owned service was gaining rapid popularity in the country and reached the 3 spot in the App Store last month.The surge was largely due to the inclusion of e-sports in Asian Games, which was not telecast by the state-run broadcaster CCTV.Analytics company Sensor Tower told that the app downloads for Twitch were up 23 times for the week of August 27 as compared to the previous week.
Before Thursday night, the Cleveland Browns hadn't won a football game since Christmas Eve 2016, 635 days ago.Back then, Barack Obama was president and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the new hot movie.When starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion before halftime, the team was down 14-0.1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, brought fans to their feet.And it happened: the Browns beat the New York Jets 21-17, collecting their first win in 19 games.BROWNS WIN BROWNS WIN BROWNS WIN," tweeted CBS Sports.
I mean, not all the time (hence ad blocking and skipping) but once in a while, something appears that ticks the joy box.A new ad for Absolut, a brand that has a pretty good handle on how to market well (understatement), leverages the comedic and musical gifts of Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson to promote the fact that it doesn’t use added sugar to flavor its grapefruit vodka and it’s a hoot.The 30-second ad is the anchor of the series as Ferguson crashes a yet-to-start dinner party.As the couple gets ready to welcome guests, the “chef” emerges from the kitchen asking his partner whether or not she wants to try the chicken (which he boiled).Awkwardness and the social code kicks into gear as the woman tries to deflect saying, “I’m full.Right on cue, Ferguson arrives with a tray of Absolut and beings to sing a catchy tune, the lyrics of which are worth printing in full:
A Microsoft Skype video call, made from an Amazon Echo Show smart speaker device.MicrosoftMicrosoft on Thursday announced that Skype is now available for devices powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.The deepening integration of Microsoft and Amazon's services puts Cortana, Microsoft's own personal assistant, in an awkward spot.If you have both assistants at your disposal, there are fewer reasons to talk to Cortana as Alexa becomes increasingly useful.Microsoft's Skype has waned in popularity over the years, as newfangled video chat tools like Apple's FaceTime and Facebook Messenger have stolen the spotlight.But Skype still has many fans — after all, it's the only video chat tool built into Windows 10 PCs and the Microsoft Xbox One console.
Gmail's Smart Reply feature, which uses machine learning to automatically compose responses to emails, can be helpful or creepy, depending on whom you ask.The feature suggests responses at the bottom of emails, such as "OK, sounds good" or "Thanks" to spare users a few seconds of typing.It turns out Smart Reply is catching on.It's responsible for 10 percent of all responses on Gmail, according to a Thursday report by The Wall Street Journal.Gmail has more than 1 billion monthly active users.Smart Reply first became available on the Inbox app in 2015 before rolling out to Gmail for Android and iOS in 2017.
Chinese social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo has injected an undisclosed amount of funding into high-end groceries platform Chongma Linli Group (虫妈邻里团), local media Ebrun reports (in Chinese).The lesser-known Chongma Linli Group was established in 2012 by three community neighbors in Shanghai.The founders who are from affluent families set up their social commerce model in 2014 after selling fruit alongside their newly-purchased top-gear Tesla.The move increased community members’ trust in their products and attracted around 30 members per day to join their enterprise WeChat group.Pinduoduo’s investment in Chongma Linli might be a signal of Pinduoduo’s next moves will be in premium products even though the company is commonly known for lower-end and even knock-off goods.Slowly growing into a community grocery leader, Chongma Linli remains local but has expanded its businesses to over 100 high-end residential and corporate communities in Pudong District, the finance and economic zone of Shanghai.
Instagram is testing a geofencing feature for stories and posts.This will allow the creators to post their content to selected countries, instead of being universally available.App researcher Jane Manchun Wong pointed out on Twitter that while creating posts, users will be able to choose specific countries where they want to show their content.It seems that this feature will also be available for stories.Instagram is testing geofencing posts and stories.It allows creators to limit the specific countries where their content will be visible.
Archaeologists have discovered several ancient Egyptian mummies — including the remains of a remarkably well-preserved individual — in a tomb along the west bank of the Nile River, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement released today (Sept. 18).The 2,500-year-old tomb — located in Aswan, in southern Egypt — was likely used as a communal burial, Abdel Moneim Saeed, director of Aswan and Nubia antiquities at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said in the statement.Among the mummies discovered in this communal burial is one remarkably well-preserved individual, wrapped in linen bandages, that archaeologists found in a sandstone sarcophagus.There is no writing on the sarcophagus, and the identity of the well-preserved mummy is not yet certain, the ministry said.Research is underway to learn more about it.[Peaceful Funerary Garden Honored Egypt's Dead (Photos)]
China to invest $15 billion in big data, cloud computing over next five years – ReutersWhat happened: China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has reached an agreement with the China Development Bank to invest RMB 100 billion in big data and cloud computing over the next five years, aiming to support China’s “digital economy.”Why it’s important: China is looking to become a world leader in technological development.Its leaders also have ambitions for the country to become an innovator in the field of artificial intelligence by 2030.Investments in big data and cloud computing could be crucial to achieving this goal.In addition to financing, the country is filing a massive number of patents, especially those related to blockchain, with the People’s Bank of China and Alibaba leading the charge.
China is trying to become an innovation hub in the autonomous vehicle sector—it is currently working on a draft bill mandating that 50% of all vehicles sold by 2020 should be autonomous or semi-autonomous.Cities across China have opened up their roads for testing autonomous vehicles (AVs), with localities including Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing, and Shenzhen setting up designated pilot areas.China’s big three tech giants—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—are all competing for dominance in the self-driving space.Additionally, startups looking to develop their own self-driving platforms have sprung up.While all of the nascent frameworks are highly disparate, they all require on-vehicle sensors.However, Wang Gang, chief scientist at Alibaba AI Labs, believes the future lies not in cars being equipped with sensors, but the roads themselves becoming active participants in the sensing process.
Alibaba’s not the only Chinese tech giant with plans to reshape itself and get younger.Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently unveiled a dramatic restructuring plan that promises to rework the company’s headquarters and bring a lot of young, talented staffers into the management pipeline.So what’s in store for the Chinese smartphone and smart-tech giant?Who better to ask than Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun:Interviewer: When did you start thinking about this restructuring plan?When I was personally overseeing the smartphone business in 2016, I did some testing with promoting younger employees into management, and later our sales and services departments tried similar things.
That’s why some ambitious AI developers are turning to an already established prediction engine for inspiration: The human brain.But none of them are ready to be released, unsupervised, into the wild where they’re free to move about and occupy the same spaces as human members of the public.He’s been working on making smarter robots for years.Not internal models in the classical control-theory sense, but simulation based models; robots with a simulation of themselves and their environment inside themselves, where that environment could contain other robots or, more generally, dynamic actors.The robot would have, inside itself, a simulation of itself and the other things, including robots, in its environment.This might seem like old news four years later (which may as well be 50 in the field of AI) but his continuing work in the field shows some pretty amazing results.
Amazon's testing a new tool called Scout that recommends products based on your "likes" and "dislikes."The tool is available now, though it's not clear when it launched.CNBC reported about the tool earlier on Wednesday.Shoppers can scroll through images of furniture, kitchen and dining items, home decor, indoor and outdoor furniture, bedding, lighting and women's shoes.After they hit the thumbs up or thumbs down button below an image, they'll get real-time recommendations on products.Amazon's site says more categories of items will be added in the future.