Technology

Wed
24
Jan
John Lister's picture

Facebook Creates New Unit of Time - And No, it's Not a Gimmick

Facebook has invented a new unit of time called "the flick." Perhaps surprisingly it actually serves a purpose rather than being a mere gimmick. A "flick" is a word that's a shortened version of a "frame tick". It refers to the length of time of 1 ... second divided by 705,600,000; in decimal format it would look like this: 1.417233560090703e-9. All mathematics aside, the "flick" could help make online videos smoother as well as improve virtual reality and similar technologies. The flick is now the next longest unit of time after the nanosecond, which isn't ... (view more)

Thu
11
Jan
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Intel and IBM Demo Quantum Computer at CES 2018

Intel and IBM are battling to show off some of the most advanced 'quantum computers' ever made. It's a big step towards incredibly powerful computers that could even replicate the workings of a human brain. A quantum computer takes advantage of one ... of the most curious aspects of physics: that tiny particles can exist in two different states at the same time. This essentially allows a complete rewrite of the mathematics behind computing. Ordinary computers work by turning data into binary code: a string of 0s and 1s. In traditional computers, that involves a series of electronic 'gates' that ... (view more)

Wed
10
Jan
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Samsung Unveils 'The Wall' - a Massive 146" MLED TV

Samsung has unveiled a massive 146" television, nicknamed " The Wall " (pic). While the size is clearly too large for most homes, it uses a new approach that could mean more choices about television set size in future. Most TV sets these days use ... liquid-crystal displays (LCD). In simple terms, these TV's shine light through tiny crystals that - depending on their electric charge - either pass through and color the light, or simply show a black background that's behind the screen. Samsung's new screen is currently a prototype only. It instead uses what calls a MicroLED ... (view more)

Thu
21
Dec
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Uber Ruling Could Affect Other Tech Companies

A European court has ruled that Uber is a transport company rather than a tech business. It may not make an immediate difference to its operations, but could be a big step in the way online companies are regulated. Uber, which describes itself as a ... ride-hailing firm, lets users hire a cab through a smartphone app, then pairs them with self-employed drivers in the area. The ruling by the European Court of Justice stemmed from attempts by city officials in Barcelona, Spain to hold Uber to the same local regulations as traditional taxi services. The legal principle determined by the case now ... (view more)

Wed
13
Dec
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Report: AI Trading May Hasten a Stock Market Crash

Artificial intelligence designed to make investing more reliable could backfire in the next stock market crash, according to a global business site. The article for website "Quartz" says AI systems might not react well if market conditions suddenly ... change. The problem is with the increasingly sophisticated way that computer programs can make investment decisions on behalf of human investments. Computers have been used for such processes for many years - but until recently, were simply set to follow basic preprogrammed rules. For example: the program might place a buy order if a ... (view more)

Wed
08
Nov
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Driverless Cab Service to Launch in Arizona

Google's sister company has revealed it has sent vehicles driving on Arizona roads with nobody at the wheel. It plans to start using the vehicles as a driverless cab service in the next few months, albeit only with invited test customers. Waymo ... chief John Krafcik announced today that the company has been testing the minivans on public roads in fully autonomous mode since October 19. During the tests, both the driver and passenger seats are empty. A Waymo employee sits in the back of the vehicle and can hit an emergency brake button, but otherwise has no control. It appears to be the first ... (view more)

Thu
02
Nov
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PC Beats Lawyers in Legal Prediction Contest

Computers can beat lawyers at predicting the outcome of cases according to a recent test. Organizers say an artificial intelligence program might even have uncovered insight into what influences case decisions. The test involved a computer program ... that has proven more sophisticated than intended. "Case Cruncher" was originally designed as a chatbot - a program that simulates a text conversation with a user - that would answer questions about the law. It was created and 'taught' by four law students in the UK. The team later developed it into a tool called Case Cruncher. Each variant ... (view more)

Thu
26
Oct
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Amazon Couriers Could Open Your Front Door for Delivery

Amazon wants customers to let couriers have an electronic key to get inside customer homes for deliveries. The Amazon Key program also appears to be a way to promote customers buying security cameras and smart locks. The Amazon Key feature is only ... available to customers in the Amazon Prime subscription program, which includes free home delivery and access to streaming video. They'll also need a compatible camera and smart lock, with Amazon bundling the two devices together for $250 including installation. The smart lock technology can be added to an existing standard deadbolt, meaning a ... (view more)

Thu
07
Sep
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Red Sox Accused of Cheating with Apple Watch

The Boston Red Sox are accused of cheating by using an Apple Watch as part of a scheme to relay signals to a batsman. It's a rule-breaking use of technology for an otherwise legitimate tactic. The Red Sox, like most teams, were trying to find a way ... to give batters an advantage by knowing what type of pitch is coming. Normally a catcher - sometimes with the advice of a coach - will signal a suggested pitch to the pitcher via hand gestures. The player placements mean the batter can't see this signal. In principle it's legitimate for the batting team to spot these signals and make the batter ... (view more)

Wed
26
Jul
John Lister's picture

Roomba to Sell Map of Your House

The makers of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner plan to sell data about people's homes to tech giants. It could bring personalized advertising to a whole new level. Colin Angle is chief executive of iRoboto Corp, which makes the Roomba. He told ... Reuters that the company could sell user data to Amazon, Apple or Google in the next couple of years. (Source: reuters.com ) The scope of the data involved is surprisingly detailed. Early models of robotic cleaners simply moved in a straight line until they hit an object. Modern versions build up and store maps of a home's floor space, including ... (view more)

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