Shared posts

24 Apr 22:59

The Amazing Evolution of Vancouver Cycling Infrastructure

by Average Joe Cyclist

cycling vacation in VancouverLocated on the west coast of Canada, 200 miles north of Seattle, Vancouver, BC, is a beautiful city with a mild climate well suited for cycling. But until recently, it lacked sufficient user-friendly cycling. Fortunately, since Vision Vancouver took over Vancouver City Council in 2008, there has been a simply amazing evolution of Vancouver cycling infrastructure. This post uses photos and videos to document key developments in this amazing evolution.

The post The Amazing Evolution of Vancouver Cycling Infrastructure appeared first on Average Joe Cyclist.

24 Apr 22:59

The lesson of Juicero: corporate writing should not sound like a superhero movie

by Josh Bernoff

It’s been a tough week for Juicero, a startup company that makes an internet-connected juicing machine. Some Bloomberg reporters figured out you could make juice from the juice packs without using the Juicero machine at all. The CEO’s response on Medium is completely ineffective, because he can only see the world from within his limited, Silicon-Valley … Continued

The post The lesson of Juicero: corporate writing should not sound like a superhero movie appeared first on without bullshit.

24 Apr 22:59

EpiPen Maker Mylan Sued State That Gave Preferred Status To Cheaper Alternative

by Chris Morran
mkalus shared this story from Consumerist:
That company just keeps on giving.

As the price for the EpiPen emergency allergy treatment soared by some 600%, Medicaid regulators in one state tried to de-prioritize the drug in favor of a less-expensive alternative. EpiPen’s parent company Mylan could have lowered the price on its signature product, but instead it chose to sue the state.

The folks at STAT News unearthed documents involved in a recent legal battle between Mylan and West Virginia, where in 2015 state officials sought to remove EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. from the state’s Medicaid Preferred Drug List.

When there are multiple therapeutically equivalent drugs, a state can choose to designate some as Preferred for Medicaid members, meaning the program will cover the cost of this prescription without issue. Similar drugs not on this list would require separate approval.

In Jan. 2015, a West Virginia Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee held an open hearing on which epinephrine injectors should be included on the Preferred Drug List, and then voted [PDF] to move EpiPen off that list and replace it with lower-cost Auvi-Q.

That change would have meant EpiPen was no longer the default epinephrine injector for Medicaid recipients in West Virginia. But before that change could happen, Mylan asked a court to grant an injunction [PDF] blocking this revision of the Preferred Drug List.

Mylan argued that, in spite of the apparent public nature of the process, the Committee’s decision to strip EpiPen of its favored status was made long before the Committee meeting “outside of public view.”

Additionally, the drugmaker contended that the switch from EpiPen to Auvi-Q would put patients at risk, requiring them to either familiarize themselves with a new auto-injector or risk using a device they haven’t been taught to use.

However, the judge in the case denied the injunction request [PDF], noting that Mylan had “failed to identify any violation” of state laws regarding the open meeting process. The judge also pointed out that, EpiPen’s removal from the Preferred list doesn’t mean the drug is no longer available; it just requires prior authorization.

As for Mylan’s claim that it would suffer irreparable harm if removed from the Preferred list, the judge countered that, “based on this argument, no drug could ever be removed from preferred status.”

The court concluded that the state “is in a better position to make decisions regarding the [Preferred Drug List] than a pharmaceutical company with a direct financial interest in having its drug included in a preferred status on the PDL.” Allowing drug companies to block changes to the list could result in significant financial losses to the Medicaid program, noted the order.

Mylan appealed that decision, but serendipity intervened: In the fall of 2015, Auvi-Q was pulled from U.S. pharmacies following a recall of nearly 500,000 units. With no real competition on the market, EpiPen was returned to the West Virginia PDL.

However, notes STAT, the Mylan drug has since lost its preferred status in favor of the generic form of competitor Adrenaclick. Even the generic EpiPen, released in late 2016, is considered a non-preferred drug in the state. Auvi-Q, now being made by Kaleo, is expected to return to U.S. pharmacies this year. It’s not known if it will regain its spot on the PDL.

Mylan has additional history with West Virginia. Last year, the state’s Attorney General investigated the drug company for allegedly miscategorizing EpiPen in the Medicaid program, resulting in the state significantly overpaying for the injector.

The federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services subsequently confirmed that Mylan had been incorrectly categorizing EpiPen for years. But before the exact amount could be sorted out, the Justice Department and Mylan reached a $465 million settlement over this issue — the details of which have still not been made public.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is not only from West Virginia, but her father is Joe Manchin, former governor of the state and one of its current U.S. senators.





24 Apr 22:59

BitTorrent Inventor Bram Cohen Will Start His Own Cryptocurrency

by Ernesto
mkalus shared this story from TorrentFreak.

credit: Ijon CC BY-SA 4.0BitTorrent’s inventor is known for his passion for puzzles, and more generally speaking, offering elegant solutions to complex problems through lines of code.

When Bram Cohen first launched BitTorrent he offered a solution to the bandwidth scarcity problem, by allowing anyone to distribute large files without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.

In recent years Cohen has closely followed the cryptocurrency boom. Not as a money hungry investor with dollar signs in his eyes, but as a programmer who sees problems that need solving.

In doing so, Cohen hasn’t shied away from offering his opinions and suggestions. Most recently, he presented a paper and a talk at the Stanford blockchain conference, discussing proofs of space and proofs of time.

Without going into technical details, Cohen believes that Bitcoin is wasteful. He suggests that a cryptocurrency that pins the mining value on storage space rather than processor time will be superior.

In an interview with TorrentFreak’s Steal This Show, Cohen revealed that his interest in cryptocurrencies is not merely abstract. It will be his core focus in the near future.

“My proposal isn’t really to do something to BitCoin. It really has to be a new currency,” Cohen says. “I’m going to make a cryptocurrency company. That’s my plan.”

By focusing on a storage based solution, BitTorrent’s inventor also hopes to address other Bitcoin flaws, such as the 51% attack.

“Another benefit of storage based things is actually that there’s a lot less centralization in mining. So there’s a lot less concern about having a 51% attack,” Cohen says.

“Sometimes people have this misapprehension that Bitcoin is a democracy. No Bitcoin is not a democracy; it’s called a 51% attack for a reason. That’s not a majority of the vote, that’s not how Bitcoin works.”

While the idea of a storage based cryptocurrency isn’t new, Burstcoin uses a similar concept, there is little doubt that Cohen believes he can do better. And with his status and contacts in the Bitcoin developer community, his project is likely to gain some eyeballs.

Before diving into it completely, Cohen will first finish up some other work at BitTorrent Inc. But after that, his full dedication will go into creating a superior cryptocurrency.

“In the next few months I’m going to devote myself full-time to the cryptocurrency stuff,” Cohen concludes.

The full interview with Bran Cohen is available here, or on the Steal This Show website.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

24 Apr 22:59

#Vancouver Police are searching near 12 Kings Pub for a male who robbed someone of a handful of change, felt bad, and then gave it back.

by scanbc
mkalus shared this story from scanbc on Twitter.

#Vancouver Police are searching near 12 Kings Pub for a male who robbed someone of a handful of change, felt bad, and then gave it back.


Posted by scanbc on Mon Apr 24 05:51:15 2017.


1448 likes, 949 retweets
24 Apr 22:59

Apple’s iPhone 8 might not ship in September, says analyst

by Bradly Shankar
Apple Event Logo

Apple’s iPhone 8 may not ship in September, according to a well-connected industry analyst.

According to analyst KGI Securities‘ Ming-Chi Kuo, mass production of the phone will likely be pushed to October or November. Traditionally, mass production of an iPhone begins in August/September, with Apple unveiling and subsequently launching the smartphone in September.

This follows Bloomberg‘s report last week that the phone could be pushed “one or two months.”

Kuo cites the new model’s “significant hardware upgrades” as reasons for the delay, such as the reported OLED screen and depth-sensing front camera. The phone is also rumoured to included wireless charging and do away with the traditional home button.

As a result of the pushback, it’s expected that there will be supply constraints going into early 2018.

In addition to the iPhone 8, Apple will reportedly release an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus this year, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the iPhone brand.

Via: The Verge 

The post Apple’s iPhone 8 might not ship in September, says analyst appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 22:58

Death of a Virgin

24 Apr 22:58

Massey Bridge, Billion dollar Boondoggle?

by Sandy James Planner

georgemasseytunnel

Imagine in fifty years what people will say about the decision-making occurring in Metro Vancouver. For some reason the Province has decided that the Metro region, the largest in the province is not an equitable partner and needs to be told what to do, despite the fact that there is a Mayor’s Council, a regional government, and TransLink, all committed to making the region accessible and affordable.

Those two elements are fundamental in the sustainable stewardship of the region. But not to the current government-it is all about those two second soundbites-Build a Bridge. Create jobs building a Bridge. Maybe build another bridge at Oak Street. Don’t consult with what is really needed. Don’t analyze why twinning the tunnel might be effective. And don’t tell citizens that the tunnel is being removed to provide deeper draft access for boats carrying hazardous items like LNG (liquid natural gas) to Asian ports.

The Premier continues to wear a blue hard hat when talking about her bridge. The blue hard hat is the colour of hard hat traditionally given to probationary workers that don’t know the job site, and require active supervision. Not listening to the Mayors’ Council, ignoring the regional plan for growth and spot building bridges in the wrong place serves no one.

As reported in the Delta Optimist a faction of local residents are continuing to speak out about this billion dollar blunder.  “Saying there’s a crises situation when it comes to the Fraser estuary and its sensitive habitat, biologist Otto Langer warned the new industrial era on the river, as well as the bridge, will completely wipe it the estuary in a few decades. He also said the federal government has also let the citizens of B.C. down. Richmond Councillor Harold Steves said the government’s “lies go on and on” and that he’s never heard so many untruths about a project before the bridge plan. He noted the structure will open up Delta and Richmond farmland for industrialization.”

Critics also “disputed a number of government conclusions including the claim the tunnel is at the end of its design life, noting that back in 2009 former Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon had declared the current tunnel was good for another 50 years.” 

So why is this bridge in the wrong place being built?

11072959


24 Apr 22:58

Is Driving a Privilege or a Right?

by Sandy James Planner

privilege

The National Post‘s Chris Selley tells the story of a woman in Toronto who by mistake drove a Mercedes SUV into a booth at Toronto’s City Place Urban Market, killing  one of two sisters in the booth. For this crime, the driver was given a $1,000 fine and a six month driving ban, but could still use the car for work and medical appointments.In another example, a driver who hit and killed a six-year-old child legally walking in a marked crosswalk. The penalty?  A two-year driving prohibition and a $2,000 fine.

A driver talking on a cellphone received only 20 days in jail and a two-year driving ban for killing a senior crossing a street on a green light. Why? Because under the Criminal Code “generally speaking, we shouldn’t be throwing people in jail for making careless mistakes, as opposed to for gross negligence or genuine intent to cause harm.”

The consequences resulting from killing by careless driving are still early twentieth century. You were inattentive, you didn’t really mean to kill the person. But in ” Ontario, the Burlington MPP and cabinet minister Eleanor McMahon tabled a private member’s bill last year that would create a new offence: “careless driving causing death or bodily harm.”McMahon’s late husband, OPP officer Greg Stobbart, died in 2006 after a driver struck him while he was cycling. The driver, Michael Duggan, had five convictions for driving with a suspended licence, four for driving uninsured, and a criminal record to boot. He had only just gotten his licence back — and only lost it again for a year.”

“People rarely feel gratified by someone who kills their loved one and walks away with a $500 fine,” says McMahon. “I want to recognize and honour that feeling of egregious resentment that people feel, that the law really … isn’t reflecting their sentiments.”

Is it time for the updating of Provincial highway and traffic acts to reflect the true  impacts of killing pedestrians and cyclists on the street? How did it happen that the maiming and murdering of innocent street users are still not reflected in the consequences? How did driving become a right?


24 Apr 22:58

Spotify is rumoured to be looking into making its own hardware device

by Dean Daley
Spotify app on S8

Rumours are currently circulating that music streaming giant Spotify, is making a new hardware device akin to Amazon’s Echo, Pebble’s smartwatch and the Snap’s Spectacles, according to a recent Spotify job posting uncovered by ZatzNotFunny.

Spotify has a variety of career opportunities listed, but what stands out is the position of senior product manager of hardware. The job posting states that Spotify is searching for a product manager to work with its platform and partner experience team to create a new a “fully connected device.”

The senior product manager of hardware is set to be in charge of the device’s internet connectivity, software and will “affect the way the world experiences music and talk content.”

Spotify listed another job posting that appears to connect with the senior product manager of hardware job title, product manager of voice. The posting is unclear and could signify more than one thing. Firstly, it appears the post is about using voice recognition software such as Google Assistant, Siri or Cortana to work with Spotify’s app. Spotify’s app being compatible with voice commands on devices like wearables, smartphones, tablets, desktops and more would be useful for many users.

This position could also signify that the music streaming giant is looking to make their own voice recognition system that will work on some form of new hardware. This, however, is all based on speculation as the job posting is vague.

It is unknown whether or not Spotify will actually manufacture a hardware device, but if it does it’s likely it will not be released this year.

Source: ZatzNotFunny

The post Spotify is rumoured to be looking into making its own hardware device appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 22:57

Buffering...

by Rui Carmo

Nothing much to report, other than I’ve managed to get caught up in entirely too many threads, with the rather fascinating result that I’m booked pretty much solid halfway through May. So much so that in order to be able to actually get stuff done, I’ve had to refuse a number of otherwise vastly more interesting engagements and put all my personal projects on hold.

Work-life balance, a much ballyhooed topic at the office, is pretty much a mirage at this point – I’m currently powering through my second mini-break reviewing documentation and tinkering with PoCs instead of resting or spending time with the kids (they’re still completely opposite activities), and I haven’t written a single line of (useful) code in a fortnight.

Also, as a direct result of all this running about and stretching myself too thin, I’ve been feeling the initial twinges of RSI and the kind of aching fatigue (including some new minor ailments) that come from spending far too much time at a computer and/or stressed out. Part of it comes from sleeping 5-6 hours a night simply because I need to fill my brain with something genuinely interesting in the evenings after I log off from work, but the real causes boil down to lack of actual challenges.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, things are going well professionally. I just don’t feel I’m learning anything new (well, other than a few tech tidbits now and then that I can’t pursue due to my current role), and am most definitely not building anything of consequence.

So as summertime approaches I’m placing a hard limit on office hours and mulling things in the large. Contact me if you have any interesting ideas.

24 Apr 22:57

35 Years of the ZX Spectrum

by Rui Carmo

It’s amazing how far we’ve come - and how much more there is to improve still.

(My first computer was a ZX81, but the Spectrum was the one that made things interesting.)

24 Apr 22:57

Shen Language Port for Wasp Lisp

This post intersects two of my favourite lispy languages. Shen is a functional programming language with a number of interesting features. These include:

  • Optional static type checking
  • Pattern matching
  • Integrated Prolog system
  • Parsing libraries

I've written about Shen Prolog before which gives a bit of a feel for the language.

Wasp Lisp is a small Scheme-like lisp with lightweight concurrency and the ability to send bytecode across the network. It's used in the MOSREF secure remote injection framework. I've written a number of posts about it.

A feature of Shen is that it is designed to run on top of a lighter weight lisp called KLambda. KLambda has only about 46 primitives, many of which already exist in lisp systems, making it possible to write compilers to other languages without too much work. There exist a few Shen ports already. I wanted to port Shen to Wasp Lisp so I can experiment with using the pattern matching, Prolog and types in some of the distributed Wasp code I use.

Wasp Lisp is not actively developed but the author Scott Dunlop monitors the github repository and processes pull requests. Shen requires features that Wasp Lisp doesn't currently support, like real numbers. I maintain a fork on github that implements the features that Shen needs and any features that apply back to core Wasp Lisp I'll upstream.

This port is heavily based on the Shen Scheme implementation. Much of the code is ported from Scheme to Wasp Lisp and the structure is kept the same. The license for code I wrote is the same as the Shen Scheme License, BSD3-Clause.

The Shen Source is written in the Shen language. Using an existing Shen implementation this source is compiled to Klambda:

$ shen-chibi
(0-) (load "make.shen")
(1-) (make)
compiling ...

To port to another language then becomes writing a KLambda interpreter or compiler. In this case it's a compiler from KLambda to Wasp Lisp. Implementing the primitives is also required but there aren't many of them. Some of the characters that KLambda uses in symbols aren't compatible with the Wasp reader so I used an S-expression parser to read the KLambda code and then walked the tree converting expressions as it went. This is written in Wasp code, converted from the original Scheme. In hindsight it probably would have been easier to write this part in Shen and bootstrap it in another Shen instance to make use of Shen's parsing and pattern matching libraries.

Shen makes heavy use of tail calls in code meaning some form of tail call optimisation is needed to be efficient. In a previous post I mentioned some places where Wasp doesn't identify tail calls. These are cases Shen hit a lot, causing performance issues. I made some changes to the optimizer to identify these cases and it improved the Shen on Wasp runtime performance quite a bit.

Current Port State

This is a very early version. I've only just got it working. The Shen tests pass with the exception of the Proof Assistant test which hangs when loading.

The port is slower than I'd like - about half the speed of the Shen C interpreter and significantly slower than Shen Scheme and Shen on SBCL. I've done some work on optimizing tail calls in the fork of the Wasp VM for Shen but there's much more work on the entire port that could improve things.

Binaries

The following compiled binaries are available:

shen_static.bz2. This is a static 64-bit linux binary with no dependancies. It should run on any 64-bit Linux system. Decompress with:

$ bunzip2 shen_static.bz2
$ chmod +x shen_static
$ ./shen_static

shen.zip. The zip file contains a Windows 64-bit binary, shen.exe. It should run on any modern 64-bit Windows system.

Building

First step, build the fork of Wasp Lisp needed to run:

$ git clone --branch shen https://github.com/doublec/WaspVM wasp-shen
$ cd wasp-shen
$ make install

Follow the prompts for the location to install the wasp lisp binaries and add that bin directory of that location to your path:

$ export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/install/bin

Shen is provided in source code format from the Shen Sources github repository. The code is written in Shen. It needs a working Shen system to compile that code to KLambda, a small Lisp subset that Shen uses as a virtual machine.

This KLamda code can be found in the kl directory in the shen-wasp repository. These KLambda files are compiled to Wasp Lisp and stored as compiled code in the compiled directory. The shen wasp repository includes a recent version of these files. To generate, or re-generate, run the following commands:

$ git clone https://github.com/doublec/shen-wasp
$ cd shen-wasp
$ rlwrap wasp
>> (import "driver")
>> (compile-all)
Compiling toplevel.kl
Compiling core.kl
Compiling sys.kl
Compiling sequent.kl
Compiling yacc.kl
Compiling reader.kl
Compiling prolog.kl
Compiling track.kl
Compiling load.kl
Compiling writer.kl
Compiling macros.kl
Compiling declarations.kl
Compiling types.kl
Compiling t-star.kl

This will create files with the Wasp Lisp code in the compiled/*.ms files, and the compiled bytecode in compiled/*.mo files.

Creating a Shen executable can be done with:

$ waspc -exe shen shen.ms
$ chmod +x shen
$ rlwrap ./shen
Shen, copyright (C) 2010-2015 Mark Tarver
www.shenlanguage.org, Shen 20.0
running under Wasp Lisp, implementation: WaspVM
port 0.3 ported by Chris Double


(0-) 

Note that it takes a while to startup as it runs through the Shen and KLambda initialization.

Running from the Wasp REPL

Shen can be run and debugged from the Wasp REPL. To load the compiled code and run Shen:

$ rlwrap wasp
>> (import "driver")
>> (load-all)
>> (kl:shen.shen)
Shen, copyright (C) 2010-2015 Mark Tarver
www.shenlanguage.org, Shen 20.0
running under Wasp Lisp, implementation: WaspVM
port 0.3 ported by Chris Double


(0-)

When developing on the compiler it's useful to use eval-all instead of load-all. This will load the KLambda files, compile them to Scheme and eval them:

>> (eval-all)
>> (kl:shen.shen)
...

A single input line of Shen can be entered and run, returning to the Wasp REPL with:

>> (kl:shen.read-evaluate-print) 
(+ 1 2)
3:: 3

KLambda functions can be called from Wasp by prefixing them with kl:. For example:

>> (kl:shen.read-evaluate-print)
(define factorial
  1 -> 1
  X -> (* X (factorial (- X 1))))
factorial:: factorial
>> (kl:factorial 10)
:: 3628800

Shen allows introspecting compiled Shen functions and examining the KLambda code. From the Wasp REPL this is useful for viewing the KLambda and comparing with the generated Wasp Lisp:

>> (kl:ps 'factorial)
:: (defun factorial (V1172) (cond (...) (...)))
>> (pretty (kl:ps 'factorial))
(defun factorial (V1172 ) (cond ((= 1 V1172 ) 1 ) (#t (* V1172 (factorial (- V1172 1 ) ) ) ) ) ) :: null
>> (pretty (kl->wasp (kl:ps 'factorial)))
(begin (register-function-arity (quote factorial ) 1 )
       (define (kl:factorial V1172)
         (cond
           ((kl:= 1 V1172) 1)
           (#t (* V1172 (kl:factorial (- V1172 1))))))
       (quote factorial ) ) :: null

Cross Compilation

Wasp binaries are a small Wasp VM stub plus the compiled Lisp code appended to it. This makes building for other platforms easy as long as you have the stub for that platform. Wasp can be built for Android and static binaries via musl are possible.

I've made the following stubs available for building binaries for other systems:

Decompress them and copy into the lib/waspvm-stubs directory where Wasp Lisp was installed. Shen can then be built on any host platform for 64 bit linux, 64 bit Linux static binaries or 64 bit Windows with:

$ waspc -exe shen -platform linux-x86_64 shen.ms
$ waspc -exe shen_static -platform static-linux-x86_64 shen.ms
$ waspc -exe shen.exe -platform win-x86_64 shen.ms

Learning Shen

Some places to go to learn Shen:

Other Ports

24 Apr 22:57

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ DeX PC-like desktop dock could be the real deal

by Patrick O'Rourke
S8 DeX dock hooked up to monitor

Over the course of the last decade, many companies have tried to make the smartphone-to-desktop dream a reality with varying degrees of success.

Microsoft, for example, launched Continuum alongside the Lumia 950 to considerable fanfare a few years ago, though most users felt limited by its less feature-rich version of Windows. Looking even further back, Motorola also attempted a similar Android-based solution with the ill-fated Motoblur. Even Samsung has dabbled in the space before with Galaxy S4 and Note 2 mobile docks, though these devices just mirrored Android’s standard user interface on a larger screen.

Dex dock top view

Now Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+, coupled with Qualcomm’s ultra-powerful Snapdragon 835 processor, are taking a stab at joining desktop and mobile into one universal platform.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are already great smartphones, but Samsung’s DeX dock, a somewhat lesser-known accessory that allows the smartphone into a desktop-like device, has the potential to eventually evolve into one of its most compelling features.

DeX dock rear view

The dock itself can be plugged into any HDMI compatible monitor and connects to USB or Bluetooth-enabled (as long as it includes a Bluetooth dongle) or standard USB mouse or keyboard. Strangely, DeX does not include an HDMI cable or power cord, instead relying on the Galaxy S8’s USB-C cable and the owner to provide the HDMI cable. In total, DeX features two USB 2.0 ports, an ethernet port and a USB-C port for power.

Samsung also says that while the S8 is connected to DeX, the device is protected by the company’s Knox security platform, which means that no data is transferred between the smartphone and the company’s new desktop-friendly version of Android.

Supported DeX apps

In some ways, using DeX reminds me of the Nintendo Switch, mostly due to its plug-and-play nature. Similar to Nintendo’s console, as soon as you drop the S8 on the dock, DeX instantly activates, switching to a Windows or macOS-like desktop user interface. Unlike the Switch, however, some apps close when DeX is removed from the dock. While a minor issue, this is something I hope Samsung fixes in the future.

On a basic level, those that are familiar with desktop browser staples such as re-sizable windows and contextual menus, will feel right at home with DeX. Samsung has completely redesigned Android’s UI to be optimized for use with a keyboard and mouse, a task that likely wasn’t easy given the operating system’s inherent focus on touchscreen devices.

DeX Microsoft Word

The dock effectively turns your mobile phone into a Chromebook-like PC that’s capable of running productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. While I’ve only dabbled with Microsoft’s suite of apps running through DeX for a short period of time, all were surprisingly responsive and also optimized for a desktop display. In fact, I even wrote part of this feature with the S8 docked in DeX, coupled with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Adobe’s suite of apps, including Adobe Acrobat Reader Mobile and Lightroom Mobile, are also set to be eventually compatible with DeX and feature a user interface that’s been expanded to work with a larger display. Unfortunately these apps have not launched yet and it’s unclear when they will be released.

DeX allows access to remote virtual desktops via apps like VMware and Amazon Web Services, though I didn’t test out this feature during my time with DeX. Those familiar with this software, particularly VMware, could find this feature very useful. Also, similar to most visual desktop environments, DeX users are able to create and move around shortcuts to specific apps.

DeX rear USB

App support is one of DeX’s most significant issues currently, though given that the underlying code of every app likely remains similar to its stock Android counterpart, in theory a simple user interface shift shouldn’t be that difficult for developeers. Still, it remains to be seen how many developers are willing to put in this extra work, especially with DeX only supporting the S8 and the S8+.

While DeX may support more Samsung devices in the future, it’s likely that it only currently works with the S8 and S8+ because of its powerful Snapdragon 835 processor.

It’s worth noting that any Android app can be opened with DeX, even it hasn’t been optimized for desktop. These apps appear in a smaller window and moving the mouse around mimics the functionality of the S8’s touchscreen. Compatibility with this form of interacting with an app is hit or miss, with some app user interfaces being more suited to a mouse and keyboard than others. Further more, it’s strange that pressing enter on an external keyboard doesn’t send a message with apps that don’t support the DeX’s full desktop mode.

Galaxy S8 DeX top view

Looking at specific apps that don’t currently support DeX, Google Chrome actually crashed on me quite frequently. If you’re able to navigate its cumbersome interface, Samsung’s internet browser features a relatively solid full-screen DeX mode. As someone who uses Chrome to sync their personal and work life across multiple devices however, it’s disappointing that the web browser isn’t compatible with DeX at launch, though it’s possible that could change in the future.

The main question surrounding DeX is whether or not the S8’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 processor has the power to push apps to a full-sized desktop. While I’ve only spent a few hours with DeX, the device seems capable of consistently running a light-weight desktop OS, though I’ve only dabbled with Word documents and browsed the internet via Samsung’s proprietary browser app for a few hours.

The only moments of slowdown I encountered were when I was opening more resource intensive websites that feature large images or high-resolution video.

Galaxy S8 DeX with S8 in dock

The most compelling thing about DeX is that it’s capable of handling almost 80 to 90 percent of what the average person uses a PC for. So while I may not be able to do my day-to-day job at MobileSyrup with an S8 and DeX, if I worked in another industry, or was simply just interested in owning a very basic PC, the dock effectively turns Samsung’s latest flagship into a handy 2-in-1 device.

In short, while DeX may not work for me, it could be the ideal device for a lot of other people, though ultimately the future of DeX depends on Samsung and whether or not app developers opt to support the platform.

It’s currently still unclear when DeX is set to be available in Canada, though the dock can currently be purchased in the U.S. DeX sells for $150 USD which comes to approximately $202 CAD. Official Canadian pricing isn’t known right now. Below is a quote sent to MobileSyrup from Samsung regarding Canadian availability of DeX.

“Samsung Canada is excited to confirm that the Gear 360 and DeX will be available to Canadian consumers in 2017. We do not have confirmed pricing or date of availability at this time but will follow up with more information as it becomes available.”

The post Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ DeX PC-like desktop dock could be the real deal appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 21:13

Besides its name, Windows 10 Creators Update is a fine, free update

I don’t even understand the concept of Windows 10 Creators Update, which you can download starting today.

In 2015, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be the last named version of Windows ever. That thereafter, the company wouldn’t release huge megalithic new versions, as it always had before—it would, instead, trickle out improvements and new features as they were ready, piece by piece. “Windows will be delivered as a service, bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner,” the company said.

Well, so much for that. Apparently, we’re back on the annual schedule.

The other baffling element is the name: Creators Update. As it turns out, most of the features that would have justified that title never saw the light of day. Evidently Microsoft figured it couldn’t have them ready in time for its big 2017 update, and abandoned them.

For example, there was supposed to be a cool app that would let you wave your phone around an object and automatically generate a 3-D model of it on the screen. There was supposed to be an app called Groove Music, something along the lines of Apple’s GarageBand. The promised People bar on the taskbar never materialized, either.

Start menu, power, Action Center

  • A new column in the Start menu. Microsoft has moved the icons for Power (containing the Restart, Shut Down, and Sleep commands), Settings, File Explorer (new desktop window) icon, and Personal (containing “Change account settings,” “Lock,” and “sign out”). Instead of clogging up the main Start menu, they now appear in a special, skinny vertical stack of buttons at its far left. As a result, the main (middle) Start menu column lists only apps.
  • Hide the apps. On the other hand, you can hide that list of apps, so that the entire Start menu is made of tiles. (You do that in Settings -> Personalize -> Start.)
  • The Start menu itself
  • Folders in the tiled area of your Start menu. Just drag one tile atop another to create a new folder. You’ve just created a tile that, when clicked, sprouts tiles showing its contents.
  • Control Panel is gone from the Start menu contextual menu. (That’s an unenhancement for most people.)
  • Action Center updates. Volume and brightness sliders now appear in the Action Center, saving you a click or two every time you tweak them.

Security

  • Dynamic lock. If you pair your smartphone (even an iPhone) with your PC using Bluetooth and turn this feature on, then the PC locks automatically when you walk away with your phone. It takes about 30 seconds for the computer to notice that you’re gone, so it’s not what you’d call Fort Knox security, but it’s better than no safety net at all.
  • Privacy settings for your apps’ access to your location, calendar, typing, and so on are now listed individually.

Design

  • More control over accent colors (title bars, Start menu, taskbar, action center); for example, you can specify any color you like. You’re no longer limited to a handful of shades.
  • Downloadable themes (desktop wallpaper photos with associated color schemes) in the Microsoft Store.
  • Night Light changes the screen tones from blue to warmer ones, on the theory that blue light messes up your sleep juice before bed.
  • In Settings -> Apps and features, you can now restrict Windows 10 to running apps that came from the Windows Store—and, in theory, have been proven to be safe by Microsoft. (See also: Gatekeeper on the Mac.)

Cortana

  • Understands your requests for recurring reminders. So you can say, for example, “Remind me every Friday at 5 PM to buy the party pizza,” or “Remind me about my anniversary once a year.”
  • More commands. You can now turn off, lock, restart, or sleep your PC computer with a voice command to Cortana. You can also adjust your computer’s playback volume by voice, and play/pause/skip tracks from the iHeartRadio and TuneIn apps. You can even ask Cortana, “What song is this?”
  • More apps can respond to Cortana commands, including Netflix, Hulu, Twitter, Pandora, and so on. (Here’s the complete list.) To learn what commands an app can understand, type its name into Cortana.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/collections/appsforcortana/pc

  • Full-screen Cortana. Once you’ve left your PC unused for at least ten seconds, you can say, “Hey, Cortana” to see Cortana’s full-screen mode, where text is big enough to read from across the room.
  • You can also navigate the Windows 10 setup process by voice.

Apps

  • Paint 3D is one of the few pieces left of the grand 3-D vision that Microsoft originally defined for the Creators Update. It’s a simple app that lets you create 3-D shapes by combining, turning, and resizing basic spheres, cones, rectangles, and so on.
  • If your PC has a touchscreen, and you have a stylus, you can draw a path in the Maps app; the app tells you its real-world distance.
  • The new Traffic Check icon in Maps produces an estimate of the driving time to your work address, if you’ve recorded it.
  • Draw or write on photos and videos in the Photos app, using your finger or a stylus. (If you write on a video, your writing will appear during playback at that spot.)
  • New filters in the Photos app.
  • More “Insights” in Sticky Notes. The Sticky Notes app spot data types like fight numbers, email and Web addresses, phone numbers, and stock abbreviations. Once those items turn blue, you can click them to produce a related command button. For example, click a phone number to see a Call button, or a date to see an Add Reminder button.
  • An evolving Settings app. There’s now a page called Apps, where you’ll find all of your programs’ settings. The redesigned System -> Display page has been reorganized. On the Devices -> Bluetooth & Other Devices page, you now get a single screen to manage all of your peripherals.

Maintenance

  • The Storage Space feature, if you turn it on, monitors your PC and automatically deletes temporary files and empties the Recycle Bin after 30 days.
  • Centralized troubleshooter. In Settings -> Update & security -> Troubleshoot, Microsoft has assembled icons for all of Windows’s troubleshooting wizards in one place.
  • A revamped security center, with a one-click Fresh Start button that reinstalls Windows when things are really messed up. (Unfortunately, this new app is called Windows Defender Security Center, which is not the same thing as the regular Windows Defender anti-malware app. Confusing.)
  • Specify longer work days, of up to 18 hours (“Active hours”), during which Windows will never restart to install an update.

Edge browser

  • Save sets of tabs for later re-use.
  • Tab previews! Point to a tab without clicking to see a miniature of the window it represents. Or click the little down-arrow button to see thumbnails of all of them at once.
  • No Flash on unknown websites.
  • You can read ebooks from Microsoft’s new ebooks store (or other ePub-format documents) right in the browser. You can adjust the font, type size, or page color, and even have it read aloud to you.

Gaming

  • Game Mode is supposed to give you better frame rates (smoother game animation) by dedicating more PC resources to your game, but most people report that the difference isn’t noticeable.
  • Beam: you can now broadcast the games you’re playing live to the Internet, and interact with your admirers.

Productivity

  • A new Share menu. Now, if you want to send a page (or other material) to someone else, you have to look for Windows’s special Share icon. There’s no longer a Share panel on the side of the screen, and the Windows+H keystroke is dead.
  • Copy screenshot. Press Windows key+Shift+S to copy a rectangular area of your screen to your clipboard. (The existing screenshot shortcuts are still around.)
  • Accessibility upgrades include compatibility with Braille devices; availability of the Narrator during installation (and during the Windows Recovery Environment); and the keyboard shortcut for Narrator is now  Ctrl+Windows key+Enter (rather than Windows key+Enter), in hopes of making it less likely that you’ll hit it accidentally.
  • Better ink. If you have a touchscreen and stylus, you can do more when you write on the screen. For example, you can add more to a drawing you’ve made earlier, you can erase only part of a line, and you get improved onscreen tools like protractor and ruler.

Microsoft says that it has also made zillions of under-the-hood changes: better stability and security, greater options for software companies to exploit Windows’s power.

Download away

So no, Creators Update isn’t nearly as big a deal as Microsoft originally intended—actually, not an especially big deal at all. But even though most of the changes are small, they build on Windows 10, which was already coherent, attractive, and stable.

If you already have Windows 10, Creators Update is free. So download away—even if you wonder why it’s called what it’s called.

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below. On the Web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/david-pogue/), or you can sign up to get his columns by email (http://j.mp/2mCizxV).

24 Apr 21:13

Foster + Partners plans redundancies after Brexit uncertainty

by Julia Kollewe
mkalus shared this story from EU referendum and Brexit | The Guardian.

UK’s largest architectural firm says nearly 100 staff will go, mainly from its London headquarters

Britain’s largest architectural firm, Foster + Partners, plans to lay off nearly 100 people, and blamed the uncertainty around construction projects caused by last summer’s Brexit vote.

The company, whose London projects have included the Millennium Bridge, the Great Hall redevelopment at the British Museum and the Gherkin tower, said the cuts would mainly affect staff at its headquarters in Battersea, south-west London. It said “a cross-section of the team” would be affected, from administrators to architects. The move was first reported by Construction News and its sister title the Architects’ Journal.

Continue reading...
24 Apr 21:13

Issie Lapowsky, Anger Isn’t Enough, So the #Resistance Is Weaponizing Data

Issie Lapowsky, Anger Isn’t Enough, So the #Resistance Is Weaponizing Data:

The ‘#Resistance’ is moving beyond  improvised demonstrations and shouting down politicians at town halls, and developing 21st century tools to deepen and broaden opposition to Trump and his movement:

For the past several election cycles, the major parties have sought to hedge against the fickle feelings of the electorate with cold, hard statistics. Data has become at least as prized as a powerful stump speech for turning out voters. Now the #resistance is getting its own number-crunchers.

Flippable has emerged as one of the darlings of the movement, founded on the conviction that progressives need to pick their battles wisely—that is, where the data tells them they have the best chance of winning. Founded by three former Hillary Clinton campaign staffers devastated by the election results, Flippable crowdsources funding to help turn red districts blue.

Right now, the nonprofit is targeting special elections for state legislative seats, such as a recent state senate race in Delaware for which Flippable raised $130,000. (Their candidate won.) Because such elections tend to pop up in isolation, Flippable can focus on them closely. Choosing which races to target becomes much tougher when, say, 100 races happen at once, as will be the case with Virginia’s House of Delegates election this November. It will become tougher still in 2018 when thousands of state legislative seats will be up for grabs across the country.

To prepare for the onslaught, Flippable has just released its own predictive model to pinpoint which districts it believes are the most competitive for Democrats (the most “flippable”). Now, it’s testing the model out by choosing five Virginia state house races for its community of 50,000 donors to target via a political action committee set up by Flippable. The approach sounds wonky in theory. In practice, it means Flippable is giving grassroots donors access to the kind of sophisticated data science typically only deployed by establishment institutions like the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Until now, contributing to these races through the Democratic party has been a kind of “black box,” says Catherine Vaughan, co-founder of Flippable. “They might say, ‘Give to this umbrella organization, and we’ll allocate the funds,‘” Vaughan says. Donors have no way of knowing whether it’s polls, personality, or backdoor politicking leading the party to back one candidate over another. At a time when American trust in institutions is at an all-time low, Flippable’s founders want to bring transparency to the process.

[…]

In the end Bandera-Duplantier found the metric that most accurately predicts how a district will vote in a state legislative race is, well, how that district has voted in every race for the last 30 years. It sounds obvious, but Bandera-Duplantier says often large institutions are putting too much weight in a candidate’s backstory or the changing demographics of a place. At the state legislative level at least, districts that have gone red in the past almost always go red in the future. “Partisanship has increased in recent years, especially in Virginia,” Bandera-Duplantier says. Flippable’s challenge: identify the factors that suggest a particular red district’s electorate has softened enough that targeted pressure could flip the result.

Flippable is focusing on state elections, in part because state legislatures control redistricting, which can lead to gerrymandering so that GOP candidates can benefit in state and national elections. Likewsie, they control voter ID laws, and voter registration.

All politics is local, in the final analysis. So they are focusing there, first. Because anger isn’t enough, as Lapowsky said.

24 Apr 21:12

Tesla to double its charging network by the end of 2017

by Bradly Shankar
Tesla charging network

Tesla will be doubling its charging network across the world this year, the automaker has announced.

Currently, there are over 5,000 Supercharger connectors across the world that recharge Tesla vehicles within minutes. There are also 9,000 Destination Charging connectors around the world, which provide hotels, resorts and restaurants with Tesla Wall Connectors. By the end of 2017, Tesla says it will double bring the global number of Superchargers to over 10,000 and the amount of Destination Charging connectors to over 15,000.

In North America, the number of Superchargers will increase 150 percent. Many new sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season.

Going forward, Tesla says it will build larger sites along busy travel routes that can accommodate several dozen Teslas Supercharging simultaneously. The company is also looking to build more sites off of main highways to benefit people who drive locally.

In Canada, there are currently 22 Superchargers installed across Ontario, Vancouver and Quebec, among other provinces. Canadian fees for using these stations were revealed in January. Earlier this year, the company also opened up its eighth Canadian dealership in Oakville, Ontario.

An interactive Supercharger map that also shows expansion plans can be found here.

Source: Tesla

The post Tesla to double its charging network by the end of 2017 appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 21:12

Science really is non-partisan: facts and skepticism annoy everybody

This is a short open letter to those that believe scientists have a “liberal bias” and question their objectivity. I suspect that for many conservatives, this Saturday’s March for Science served as confirmation of this fact. In this post I will try to convince you that this is not the case specifically by pointing out how scientists often annoy the left as much as the right.

First, let me emphasize that scientists are highly appreciative of members of Congress and past administrations that have supported Science funding though the DoD, NIH and NSF. Although the current administration did propose a 20% cut to NIH, we are aware that, generally speaking, support for scientific research has traditionally been bipartisan.

It is true that the typical data-driven scientists will disagree, sometimes strongly, with many stances that are considered conservative. For example, most scientists will argue that:

  1. Climate change is real and is driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
  2. Evolution needs to be part of children’s education and creationism has no place in Science class.
  3. Homosexuality is not a choice.
  4. Science must be publically funded because the free market is not enough to make science thrive.

But scientists will also hold positions that are often criticized heavily by some of those who identify as politically left wing:

  1. Current vaccination programs are safe and need to be enforced: without heard immunity thousands of children would die.
  2. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe and are indispensable to fight world hunger. There is no need for warning labels.
  3. Using nuclear energy to power our electrical grid is much less harmful than using natural gas, oil and coal and, currently, more viable than renewable energy.
  4. Alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, naturopathy, faith healing, reiki, and acupuncture, is pseudo-scientific quackery.

The timing of the announcement of the March for Science, along with the organizers’ focus on environmental issues and diversity, may have made it seem like a partisan or left-leaning event, but please also note that many scientists criticized the organizers for this very reason and there was much debate in general. Most scientists I know that went to the march did so not necessarily because they are against Republican administrations, but because they are legitimately concerned about some of the choices of this particular administration and the future of our country if we stop funding and trusting science.

If you haven’t already seen this Neil Degrasse Tyson video on the importance of Science to everyone, I highly recommend it.

24 Apr 21:12

Apple Cuts Affiliate Commissions on Apps and In-App Purchases

by John Voorhees

Today, Apple announced that it is reducing the commissions it pays on apps and In-App Purchases from 7% to 2.5% effective May 1st. The iTunes Affiliate Program pays a commission from Apple's portion of the sale of apps and other media when a purchase is made with a link that contains the affiliate credentials of a member of the program. Anyone can join, but the Affiliate Program is used heavily by websites that cover media sold by Apple and app developers. The announcement, which was made in the May Affiliate News email that Apple sends to participants in the program says:

Starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) will remain at the current 7% commission rate in all markets. We will also continue to pay affiliate commissions on Apple Music memberships so there are many ways to earn commissions with the program.

With ad revenue in decline, affiliate commissions are one way that many websites that write about apps generate revenue, MacStories included. Many developers also use affiliate links in their apps and on their websites to supplement their app income. This change will put additional financial pressure on both groups, which is why it’s especially unfortunate that the changes are being made on just one week’s notice.


Support MacStories Directly

Club MacStories offers exclusive access to extra MacStories content, delivered every week; it’s also a way to support us directly.

Club MacStories will help you discover the best apps for your devices and get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Plus, it’s made in Italy.

Join Now
24 Apr 21:11

Release Notes for Nightly

by Pascal Chevrel

release notes for NightlyEvery day, multiple changesets are merged or backed out on mozilla-central and every day we compile a new version of Firefox Nightly based on these changes so as to provide builds that our core community can use, test and report feedback on.

This is why we historically don’t issue release notes for Nightly, it is hard to maintain release notes for software to gets a new release every day. However, knowing what happens, what’s new, what should be tested, has always been a recurring request from our community over the years.

So as to help with this legitimate request, we set up a twitter account that regularly informs about significant new features, and we also have the great “These weeks in Firefox” posts by Mike Conley every two weeks. These new communication channels certainly did improve things for our community over the last year.

We are now going a step further and we just started maintaining real release notes for Nightly at this address: Release Notes for Firefox Nightly

But what does it mean to have release notes for a product released every day?

It means that in the context of Project Dawn, we have started monitoring all the commits landing on mozilla-central so as to make sure changes that would merit a mention in Firefox final release notes are properly documented. This is something that we used to do with the Aurora channel, we are just doing it for Nightly instead and we do that several times a week.

Having release notes for Nightly of course means that those are updated continuously and that we only document features that have not been merged yet to Beta. We also do not intend to document unstable features or features currently hidden behind a preference flag in about:config.

The focus today is Firefox Desktop, but we will  also  produce release notes for Firefox Nightly for Android at a later stage, once we have polished the process for Desktop.

24 Apr 21:11

CC & Me

by Bryan Mathers
CC and me

I love the idea of the Creative Commons, and the more I create the more of a Commoner I become. Over the last while, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the CC team on a few different projects.

One aspect of CC licensing that’s always bothered me is the icons themselves. I’d like to mark my creation as being part of the Commons, but am acutely aware of the addition of a heavy visual on the illustration itself.

Following a conversation with Maha Bali and Sue Beckingham, I thought – why not create an icon relating to the context of the creation itself?

The post CC & Me appeared first on Visual Thinkery.

24 Apr 21:11

Garmin inReach: Pair with your Apple Phone

by garminblog
mkalus shared this story from garminblog's YouTube Videos.

From: garminblog
Duration: 02:40

Earthmate is a mobile, full-featured GPS navigation app that’s as unlimited as your adventures. Learn how to pair Earthmate with inReach using your Apple phone.

24 Apr 21:11

NFL draft performance vs. expectations

by Nathan Yau

Reuben Fischer-Baum for The Washington Post looks at professional football expectations given their draft picks versus performance.

By comparing how much value teams should get given their set of picks with how much value they actually get, we can calculate which franchises make the most of their draft selections. Approximate Value (AV), a stat created by Pro Football Reference that measures how well a player performed overall in a season, is useful here. Based on this metric, we find that the Browns draftees have underperformed in the NFL given their draft position, especially when compared to the draftees of a team like, say, the Seahawks.

My main takeaway is that teams seem to know what they’re gonna get. Overall at least. Save a few teams who outdid expectations and a few who failed pretty badly, everyone else sticks towards the baseline. But it’s also really random year-to-year, which is essentially what makes sports interesting.

See also the player-level comparison for professional basketball from last year.

And, just a random observation, it felt weird reading this sports piece with “Democracy Dies in Darkness” at the header of The Washington Post site. But maybe that’s just me.

Tags: draft, football, Washington Post

24 Apr 21:10

How disinformation spreads in a network

by Nathan Yau

Disinformation is kind of a problem these days, yeah? Fatih Erikli uses a simulation that works like a disaster spread model applied to social networks to give an idea of how disinformation spreads.

I tried to visualize how a disinformation becomes a post-truth by the people who subscribed in a network. We can think this network as a social media such as Facebook or Twitter. The nodes (points) in the map represent individuals and the edges (lines) shows the relationships between them in the community. The disinformation will be forwarded to their audience by the unconscious internet (community) members.

Set the “consciousness” parameter and select a node to run.

Tags: disinformation, simulation

24 Apr 21:10

Look.Listen.Live aims to educate people about train safety with new VR experience

by Dean Daley
Operation Life Saver

Operation Lifesaver (OL), a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, has unveiled its new rail-safety public awareness campaign, called Look.Listen.Live, that uses virtual reality (VR) technology.

OL intends to give viewers the shocking near-miss experience of being hit by a train with a VR headset. OL unveiled Look.Listen.Live at a press conference at Montreal’s Central Station with the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, to mark the first day of Rail Safety Week, running from April 24th to the 30th.

“I applaud Operation Lifesaver for stepping outside the box with this new innovative tool to teach Canadians how to make the right decisions around train tracks. Trespassing on tracks or trying to beat a lowering gate can be an extremely dangerous decision. I encourage all Canadians to look, listen and live,” said Minister Garneau.

Look.Listen.Live features two videos that show someone being hit my an oncoming train. The first video has a person walking over the train tracks that doesn’t hear the train coming while listening to music. In the second video a person decides to drive around the gate at a railroad stop and gets hits by a train. The public can watch both videos with or without a VR headset.

OL viewers can also view the touching story of Scott Sackaney who nearly lost his life when he was ran over by a train five years ago. Viewers can watch the three videos in either French or English on look.listen.live.ca or on their YouTube page. The YouTube videos however, do not offer a 360-degree experience.

OL asks visitors of their website to share #LookListenLive and to get the word out about railroad-safety and to pledge obey railroad signs and to never trespass.

The post Look.Listen.Live aims to educate people about train safety with new VR experience appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 21:10

Copyless Pasting coming to Chrome 60 in the near future

by Dean Daley
Google Chrome app

Google is adding a new feature to its Google Assistant software called copyless pasting.

Copyless pasting allows users to look at text on Chrome without selecting it, and then switch to another app where Assistant will suggest terms from the Chrome you were looking at to paste. The code documentation for the new function provides a deeper understanding of the new feature.

“Provide suggestions for text input, based on your recent context. For example, if you looked at a restaurant website and switched to the Maps app, the keyboard would offer the name of that restaurant as a suggestion to enter into the search bar. The data is indexed locally and never sent to the server. It’s disabled in incognito mode.”

This function should be available within the next few months on Chrome 60 for Android. The current coding for Copyless Pasting shows the feature will not work while in Incognito Mode, nor will it be available on low-end devices, according to VentureBeat.

Copyless Pasting is just one of the features coming to Android in the near future. With Google I/O on the horizons — May 17th to May 19th — we’re expecting to see a variety of other new features come to Android devices.

Source: VentureBeat

The post Copyless Pasting coming to Chrome 60 in the near future appeared first on MobileSyrup.

24 Apr 21:10

Worms That Eat Through Plastic Bags Could Help Cut Down On Pollution

by Mary Beth Quirk
mkalus shared this story from Consumerist.

Plastic bags clog up our gutters, landfills, and waterways, but researchers hope that plastic-munching worms may hold a secret to making these messes more manageable.

Wax moth larvae are bred as fish bait, but left to their own devices in the wild, they love to chomp on beeswax — bedeviling beekeepers everywhere. One amateur apiarist and scientist happened to notice one day that a bunch of waxworms she’d put in a plastic bag — to keep them from re-infesting one of her hives — had chewed through the thin walls of their plastic prison.

“I went back to the room where I had left the worms and I found that they were everywhere,” Federica Bertocchini, a researcher at the Spanish National Researcher Council, told The Guardian. “The bag was full of holes.”

Could these worms be put to work breaking down plastic bags? She and a team of scientists at Cambridge University wanted to find out, putting worms to the test in the lab: A subsequent study published in Current Biology found that 100 worms were capable of consuming 92 milligrams of polyethylene in 12 hours.

Researchers believe the grubs use the same enzymes to break down polyethylene that they do to eat beeswax, and are now hoping to identify those enzymes. They could then possibly put those genes into bacteria or phytoplankton to break down plastic in the wild. Or, scientists could breed a whole lot of waxworms and just turn them loose, a plan that would only work if the critters want to keep eating plastic shopping bags.

“We want to know if they’re munching the plastic to use as a food, or just because they want to escape,” Cambridge biochemist Paolo Bombelli told The Guardian. “If they just want to escape, they are going to get fed up very soon. But if they’re munching it to use as an energy source it’s a completely different ball game. We are not yet able to answer this, but we’re working on it.”





24 Apr 21:10

Stop Using Unroll.me, Right Now. It Sold Your Data to Uber.

mkalus shared this story .

Tucked away in a rollicking New York Times profile of amoral Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a tidbit about Unroll.me, a popular service that aims to rescue your email inbox from unwanted newsletters and promotional messages with an easy automated unsubscribe service. The problem is, it’s been selling you out to advertisers, and you should stop using it immediately.

The Kalanick profile says that Uber previously used Unroll.me data to gauge the health of archrival Lyft:

Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft’s business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)

Slice confirmed that it sells anonymized data (meaning that customers’ names are not attached) based on ride receipts from Uber and Lyft, but declined to disclose who buys the information.

This is a capability it’s safe to wager virtually none of Unroll.me’s users are aware of, let alone comfortable with. Indeed, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Jojo Hedaya, immediately penned a pro forma apology blog for the ages, in which he says he and his staff “weren’t explicit enough” about terms that allow, as Unroll.me’s privacy policy puts it, the company to “collect, use, transfer, sell, and disclose … transactional or relationship messages.” Hedaya joins a historic chorus of Silicon Valley executives who say what they always do when they’ve been found out: “We Can Do Better,” as the title of the CEO’s blog post declares:

I can’t stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only. To get a sense of what this data looks like and how it is used, check out the Slice Intelligence blog.

This is by all evidence false: If your privacy were important to Jojo Hedaya, the contents of your email, even if anonymized, would not be for sale. Were he ever serious about keeping your inbox private, an apology blog wouldn’t have been needed to begin with. (Hedaya and his co-founder could not be reached for comment.)

At Hacker News, a sort of virtual startup water cooler, a former web developer named Karl Katzke has further alleged in a series of comments that Unroll.me also secured customer emails poorly and that a company for which Katzke worked declined to acquire Unroll.me due in part to concerns over executives’ honesty. In an email to The Intercept, however, Katzke said that while he stands by those comments, “my information is, at best, third person hearsay based on a rumor that was based on hearsay.”

Still, even just based on the facts Hedaya has openly acknowledged, you shouldn’t trust him or his company and should remove Unroll.me’s unfettered access to your Google account immediately, because that’s just what you gave them when you signed up:

Here’s how to remove Unroll.me (you can also delete your account following the company’s instructions here):

From your Gmail inbox (or any Google page), click the button with your face on it in the top-right corner, then “My Account.”

Under “Sign-in & security,” click “Connected apps & sites,” then “manage apps.”

Find Unroll.me, click it, and then click remove. You might also want to take a very, very close look at any other apps that have been granted the ability to “Read, send, delete, and manage your email.” Do you have a clear assurance that they won’t leverage their access to make money from the likes of Uber? Probably not.

Update: April 24, 2017, 12:48 p.m.

This post has been updated with a link to instructions for those who wish to permanently delete their Unroll.me account.

24 Apr 21:10

Ontario to roll out basic income in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay

mkalus shared this story from The Globe and Mail - National RSS feed.

Ontario will provide 4,000 residents in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay with free income, part of the government’s plan to test whether the extra funds will help improve their job prospects and quality of life.

The idea is to give the province’s working poor, unemployed and homeless residents a so-called basic income to pay for their basic needs of food and housing.

The recipients will be randomly chosen from the three regions and will start receiving the cash as soon as this summer. A single person could receive up to $16,989 per year. A couple could get up to $24,027 annually.

Opinion: Ontario’s Liberals take a big step to the left

“One income used to be enough for most families,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in Hamilton to announce the three-year pilot.

“Now even with two people working, it is tough to feel as though you are getting ahead, and it is tough to feel confident that your job will still be yours or even still be around in 10 years, in five years or even less,” she said.

Ontario has emerged as one of the country’s stronger economies amid the energy downturn, which has wiped out thousands of high-paying jobs in oil-producing Alberta. However, certain parts of Ontario have struggled for years to recover from the loss of major industries.

The provincial government did not provide details on why or how the three regions were selected. Thunder Bay has suffered from the elimination of forestry jobs and Hamilton has undergone years of economic woes with the decline of the steel industry.

Meanwhile, other cities such as Waterloo have experienced strong job growth from the tech sector.

“Technological progress and automation are creating new industries. But they are also creating new pressures, and they are putting existing jobs at risk,” said Ms. Wynne.

The project will cost the province $150-million, or $50-million a year.

About 1,000 recipients will be selected from the Thunder Bay region and 1,000 residents will be chosen from Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County. The remaining 2,000 will be picked from Lindsay.

It’s not just people who are receiving social assistance who will be eligible for basic income. The government is also targeting people earning minimum wage and workers living in poverty.

However, if an individual is receiving income from a job, the government will deduct half of his or her earned income.

For example, if a single person earned $10,000 from a job, the government would provide $11,989 in basic income – the maximum $16,989 minus $5,000 from his or her wages. That recipient would then have a total income of $21,989 for the year.

The Wynne government did not say how it came up with the basic income amount and said it was “something we want to test.”

Chris Ballard, the province’s minister in charge of housing and poverty reduction, said other basic-income projects have shown that it improves people’s lives.

“People get a chance to go back to school. They don’t have to work low-paying dead-end jobs. They get a chance to go finish college or go on to university,” he told reporters.

Providing people with a basic income has gained popularity in Silicon Valley and among some tech executives in Canada, who believe that their creations are helping put people out of work.

The provincial government, which will soon hire researchers to conduct the pilot, plans to mail out requests to those who wish to participate in the program and will include homeless shelters.

The government said it would be examining the impact on health, education and employment over the course of the pilot project.

Ontarians who are already receiving social assistance and other aid, such as free dental and prescription drugs, would not have to give up those benefits.

It will be at least three years until a decision will be made to roll out basic income across the province.

Recipients in the Thunder Bay and Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County areas will be examined to see what kind of impact the extra funds will have on their lives. Lindsay will be analyzed for the impact on the entire community.

A separate program for First Nations people living on reserves will be rolled out later this year; however, First Nations people living in the selected areas are eligible to participate in the pilot.

***

What is basic income?

A guaranteed annual income designed to pay for basic necessities such as food and housing. In Ontario, the provincial government will provide income to certain residents who are living in poverty, unemployed, underemployed or working minimum-wage jobs.

Who qualifies?

Only residents from the following regions: Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Brantford, Brant County and Lindsay. A separate basic income plan for First Nations communities will be rolled out later this year.

Where else in the world do basic income pilots exist?

Finland, Kenya, The Netherlands, and Oakland, California.

Are other provinces looking at Ontario’s pilot project?

PEI lawmakers are supportive of a basic income, but the province would need Ottawa to provide the funding.

At this time, the Trudeau government will not support a basic income plan for the country and has highlighted its child tax benefit as a form of guaranteed income for families with children.

Report Typo/Error

Follow Rachelle Younglai on Twitter: @rachyounglai