computing

Facebook’s AI helps the blind see photos in feeds

Facebook’s AI helps the blind see photos in feeds

Last week at BUILD 2016, Microsoft revealed a Seeing AI project that combines decades of research in computer vision, neural networks, and artificial intelligence to help the blind identify anything using only one single app. Not to be outdone, Facebook is also announcing a similar thrust aimed at people with severe visual impairments. Dubbed Automatic Alternate Text, the feature uses those same computing technologies and theories to identify contents of a photo in a Facebook post, allowing screen readers to describe them as if they were text, and giving visually impaired people a better idea of the picture in their head.

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Acer Chromebase 24 all-in-one gets relaunched for Meetings

Acer Chromebase 24 all-in-one gets relaunched for Meetings

In early 2014, Google announced its new Chromebox for Meetings initiative that put Chrome OS almost literally at the heart of the enterprise, providing both computing power and software for making easy and secure video conferences. At that time, Chromeboxes themselves, even with the Meetings part, were fresh off the grill. Along with ASUS and HP, Acer was one of the earliest to adopt Google's business-friendly solutions. Now it's at it again, not with a Chromebox, but with its Chromebase 24, delivering what is the first ever Chromebase for Meetings.

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Chinese AI engineers want to challenge Google’s AlphaGo bot

Chinese AI engineers want to challenge Google’s AlphaGo bot

Earlier this month, headlines were made around the world when Google's artificial intelligence, dubbed AlphaGo, was able to beat the current world champion in four out of five matches of the ancient board game Go. Now the bot may have to face an opponent of its own type: a group of Chinese computer engineers have announced that they plan to challenge Google, pitting AlphaGo against their own AI program.

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Microsoft Seeing AI is a swiss army knife app for the blind

Microsoft Seeing AI is a swiss army knife app for the blind

We might all marvel at the advancements in computer vision and artificial intelligence, but most of the applications we applaud involve us seeing their results or even their targets. A group of researchers inside Microsoft are working on an implementation of these technologies not just to let computers see but to also let humans see, specifically those that have lost their normal vision. Called Seeing AI, the research project is an attempt to combine years, even decades, of computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence research into an all-in-one app for the visually impaired.

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A cold day indeed: BASH runs on Ubuntu running on Windows 10

A cold day indeed: BASH runs on Ubuntu running on Windows 10

We already saw the telltale signs, but you might still do a double take when you hear the official word. Microsoft and Ubuntu creator and owner Canonical have indeed made it possible to run Linux user space commands on an image of Ubuntu running on Windows 10 natively. No virtual machines, no containers, no dockers. While that might mean little to anyone except for developers, power users, and Linux users, it does open the door to possibilities but also raises some questions on Microsoft's real goal.

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Windows 10 might soon run Ubuntu, Linux utilities natively

Windows 10 might soon run Ubuntu, Linux utilities natively

2015 and 2016 might be remembered as the years when hell froze over repeatedly, in no small part thanks to Microsoft. The company whose CEO once described Linux as a cancer is seemingly now going through hoops to proclaim its love for the open source OS, and not without some amount of suspicion from the other side. Adding to its Visual Studio Code IDE for Linux and SQL Server for Linux, Microsoft might soon be revealing how it partnered with Canonical to let Ubuntu run on Windows 10 natively, without the use of a virtual machine.

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In the 21st century, computers still trip over human names

In the 21st century, computers still trip over human names

You'd think that in this day and age of the Internet, self-driving cars, and wayward chatbot AI's, computers would no longer have problems dealing with human names, whatever their form. But as some people from around the world have discovered, to their amusement and exasperation, that is plainly not the case. Today's software, especially database software, are still ill-equipped to handle corner cases when it comes to names of real, not made up, people, causing no small amount of inconvenience to those and practically stalling the evolution of information systems.

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Researchers show off first ever quantum Fredkin gate

Researchers show off first ever quantum Fredkin gate

Researchers working together from the University of Queensland and Griffith University have demonstrated a key quantum logic operation that is required for quantum computing to move forward. The team demonstrated for the first time a quantum Fredkin gate powered by entanglement that operates on photonic qubits. One of the key challenges to creating a quantum computer has been in the need to minimize the resources needed to implement processing circuits.

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Petya ransomware targets entire drives, not just files

Petya ransomware targets entire drives, not just files

Ransomware is quickly becoming the new darling among hackers looking to make a quick buck. Although it doesn't exactly jump from one infected computer to another, given how it works, it is actually more destructive and possibly more profitable than a common trojan or virus. We've seen recently what is probably the worst ransomware out in the wild. Now we're being told there's a potentially more destructive one as well. Called Petya, the ransomware tries to encrypt your entire hard drive for maximum damage and maximum profit.

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Microsoft apologizes, explains Tay chat AI’s deviant behavior

Microsoft apologizes, explains Tay chat AI’s deviant behavior

Tay isn't the first chatbot in history but it became the most prominent because of its ties with Microsoft. Then it became one of the most notorious chatbot in less than 24 hours after it switched from well-meaning teen to offensive, pro-Nazi, anti-feminist rebel. Naturally, Microsoft shut it down, "putting it to sleep", so to speak. Now the company has come out with a statement clarifying that Tay's words do not reflect the company's principles and values at all. They do own up to the "slight" oversight in protecting Tay from attacks.

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Microsoft’s huge, expensive Surface Hub finally starts shipping

Microsoft’s huge, expensive Surface Hub finally starts shipping

After several delays last year, Microsoft says it has now begun shipping its Surface Hub to business customers. Essentially a wall-mounted tablet, the huge display comes in two versions, a 55-inch HD model and the impressive 84-inch 4K version. They're priced at $9,000 and $22,000, respectively, so it's unlikely they will ever be offered to anyone but business and enterprise customers.

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LG 34UC98 Curved UltraWide and 27UD88 4K monitors launch

LG 34UC98 Curved UltraWide and 27UD88 4K monitors launch

LG has unveiled a pair of new monitors that are aimed at folks wanting high resolution and all the space they can get for apps and programs. The new monitors include the 34UC98 Curved UltraWide monitor and the 27UD88 4K monitor. Both of these displays were first spied during CES earlier this year and both are now available in stores for fans to purchase.

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