Juan Kyser

Juan Kyser

This month Google revealed a major new approach to A.I. development that seems to call out to the most sensational and apocalyptic predictions in all of science fiction.

Called “AutoML” for “auto-machine learning,” it allows one A.I. to become the architect of another, and direct its development without the need for input from a human engineer.

On the surface, that sounds like the sort of thing that could lead to the runaway evolution of the singularity, but it’s actually Google’s bid to put the incredible power of machine learning in the hands of ordinary humans.

In essence, AutoML’s strategy of using neural networks to design other neural networks is familiar; making programs to edit the code of other programs is the definition of machine learning. What makes AutoML new is how early into the process of designing a neural net it begins to intervene; AutoML doesn’t just refine simple models that already exist, but selects those models in the first place, and then refines them on its own. In this way, AutoML is a more full-featured version of what normal “ML” was always supposed to be.

Our GoogleNet architecture. Design of this network required many years of careful experimentation and refinement from initial versions of convolutional architectures.

Our GoogleNet architecture. Design of this network required many years of careful experimentation and refinement from initial versions of convolutional architectures.

In a blog post about the project, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that, “We hope AutoML will take an ability that a few Ph.D.s have today and will make it possible in three to five years for hundreds of thousands of developers to design new neural nets for their particular needs.”

A neural net is a computer system modeled after the human brain, commonly illustrated as such:

A neural network example.

A neural network example.

It’s not that crazy of an ambition. Usually, if we want to solve a problem with machine learning, a human expert has to provide a starting neural network that is already structured to do the basic type of computation the problem requires. AutoML, on the other hand, tries a number of possibly suitable algorithms, essentially testing totally different neural network architectures, and then scores each against the goal. Without the need for human oversight, over time the process should zero in on both the best mathematical approach to the problem and the best implementation of that approach. The final neural net doesn’t have to use just one of these algorithms either, and can include individual elements of multiple, if that’s more useful.

In theory, the AutoML approach should be able to design more efficient neural nets, if only for simple problems right now, but in being more efficient those A.I.creations could also be more inscrutable to humans.

That’s the crux of Google’s main example of AutoML’s abilities. Given a large database of images to categorize, it designed a neural net that was similar but slightly superior to the one designed by Google’s human engineers. What was so fascinating about this sort of design by proxy is that the engineers looking at AutoML’s neural network didn’t actually know that the differences between it and their own were really improvements; since they hadn’t come up with the neural network themselves, they weren’t totally sure at first.

On the left, the human attempt at the best, most efficient neural network to tackle a particular database of images. On the right, AutoML's neural network, featuring extra nodes that Google says resemble improvements recently proposed by human researchers.

On the left, the human attempt at the best, most efficient neural network to tackle a particular database of images. On the right, AutoML's neural network, featuring extra nodes that Google says resemble improvements recently proposed by human researchers.

Still, the big goal with AutoML isn’t to automate humans out of the development process, or even to make all-new styles of A.I., but to let A.I. continue to revolutionize the world at the same pace we’ve been enjoying for years now. The sheer difficulty of coding neural networks is becoming a problem for an industry that runs on abundant talent; AutoML is a bid to lower the bar to entry for the coming generation of prospective machine learning students, at least for the simplest and most common applications.

Taken far beyond its current level of sophistication, AutoML is the start of the same process of extreme democratization that we’ve seen in normal coding several times, already. HTML has Dreamweaver, and machine learning could soon achieve a similar level of drag-and-drop ease by running a whole suite of A.I.-building A.I. in the mold of AutoML.

So, at the end of the day, it’s not so much that AutoML could design better A.I., though it certainly could, but that it could help open up an industry that is becoming desperate for talent. AutoML doesn’t have the overall level of theoretical and mathematical brilliance of Google’s top engineers — but regular people can’t put Google’s top engineers to work on their own problems.

With AutoML, Google is building an A.I. engineer that regular people actually could.

Photos via Google's research blogFlickr / twm1340

Source: This article was published on inverse.com Written by Graham Templeton

Most of the time, NASA spends its days searching for and studying things in space that resulted from natural phenomena — like creepy valleys on Mars and vast oceans on Europa — but its newest discovery is quite different. In a new paper published in Space Science Reviews, researchers reveal the existence of a man-made “bubble” created by a specific type of radio communication technology. However, unlike most of the things humans have accidentally created on Earth, this peculiar shield could actually prove to be beneficial, as long as we know how to control it.

The bubble, which humanity has created without even realizing it, was VLF (very low frequency) radio communications. These types of signals have a long history, and were once used for long-range radio communication. Today, it is used largely in communicating with submarines, but the signals find their way into space as well. When they do so, researchers realized that they have the power to affect the radiation bombarding Earth from space by creating a shield of sorts that repels it.

“A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth,” Phil Erickson, assistant director at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, said.

What’s particularly interesting is that, now that NASA knows that VLF signals have this power, they could be used to shield astronauts and satellites from spikes in radiation arriving to Earth from the sun. Hooray for happy accidents!

Source: This article was published on bgr.com

WannaCrypt/WannaCry ransomware has affected Windows XP systems across the globe.Image: Cisco Talos

Factories, businesses and governments around the world are coming to terms with the largest ransomware attack observed in history.

Organisations across the globe are coming to terms with the massive ransomware attack which crippled IT infrastructure on an unprecedented scale.More than 200,000 victims in 150 countries have so far been confirmed as falling victim to the WannaCry ransomware, also known as WannaCrypt and WCry, in what Europol has dubbed "the largest ransomware attack observed in history"
 
 
The ransomware is so effective because once one PC is infected, it will scan the entire internal network and infect other vulnerable devices, with those running unsupported Microsoft operating systems such as Windows XP bearing the brunt of the attacks.

The UK's National Health Service became one of the first high-profile victims of the outbreak, but many other organisations around the world have suffered due to the ransomware.

Russia has been one of the worst affected countries by the attack, with WannaCry crashing systems at Russian banks, phone networks and IT systems supporting transport infrastructure.

China was also hit hard by the attack, with 29,000 organisations in total falling victim to the ransomware. Chinese government bodies for transport, industry, social security and immigration are among those which became infected with WannaCry, while schools colleges and an energy firm have been hit according to reports.

Car manufacturer Renault was another high-profile victim of the cyberattack which affected factories at sites in France, Romania and the UK. As of Monday morning, Renault said 90 percent of its sites were back up and running as normal as businesses attempt to move on from the incident.

World leaders have been reacting to the attack, with White House officials confirming that US President Donald Trump ordered an emergency meetings to address the issue.

While the UK's NHS found itself a victim of the ransomware, Prime Minister Theresa May has said the NHS was not specifically targeted. The UK government held a 'Cobra' crisis-committee meeting to coordinate a government response to the incident over the weekend and is set to hold a second meeting in response to the Wannacry outbreak this afternoon. Home Secretary Amber Rudd is due to chair the meeting, with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also to attend.

"It is much as it was at the moment but we've also said this is a very complex issue and we need to keep abreast of what's happening," a spokesperson for Number 10 told reporters.

As leader of one of the countries most affected by WannaCry, Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken out about the attacks -- insisting the country isn't responsible for the spread of the ransomware.

"Russia has absolutely nothing to do with it. I find it strange that in these circumstances too I am hearing something to the contrary," he said.

Putin also took a swipe at US intelligence agencies. "I think the leadership of Microsoft have said directly that the United States' special services were the original source of this virus".

Researchers have suggested the ransomware attacks are so potent because they exploit a known software flaw dubbed EternalBlue.

This Windows flaw is one of a number of zero-days vulnerabilities which apparently was known about the NSA -- before being leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacking collective.

Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability earlier this year - but only for the most recent operating systems. The company took the unprecedented step of releasing an emergency patch for Windows XP and other unsupported operating systems over the weekend.

While there's currently yet to be the feared second spike in WannaCry incidents as a result of people returning to work on Monday, the UK's National Crime Agency warned that it "doesn't mean there won't be one".

Organisations have been warned to stay vigilant in order to protect against additional damage being caused by the WannaCry outbreak.

New samples of WannaCrypt variants have been discovered in the wild but they've yet to pose the same threat as the first ransomware attack wave.

Source: This article was published on zdnet.com

Are you thinking of ways to repurpose your Android tablet or phone into an ebook reader? Here’s your guide to it and some of the best ebook apps to get free ebooks online right now.

Since the dawn of time, mankind has thrived to communicate with one another, which put forward the concept of spoken and written language. As we have ushered into the modern age of communication where language is rather spoken and heard than written, there are plenty of bibliophiles around to keep writers in business around the world.

With the advent of computers and smartphones, the traditional ink and paper are slowly being evolved into ebooks. Being an economical and massively environment-friendly, an ebook reader is the ideal companion for the modern book lover. Services like Amazon Kindle books and ebook readers enable you to enjoy a distraction-free reading experience and carrying an entire library around.

But why spend hundreds of dollars on a device that can only be used for one purpose, when you can turn your Android tablet or phone into a proper ebook reader?

Why choose Android over any ebook reader?

If you have researched enough about Amazon Kindle books online, you’ll find out how desperately Kindle Fire users try to get the Google Play Store on their devices. This is because most ebook readers are designed to be only just that, whereas as Android device can essentially become anything and everything you want it to be.

Admittedly, the e-ink technology used by certain Amazon Kindle readers enables its battery life to last for days at a stretch. But the cheaper models do not come with backlight illumination, which makes them unreadable in the dark so an Android device that you probably have lying around the house isn’t an unfair trade.

How to turn Android into ebook reader

It’s no secret that the Google Play Store is packed with resources to get free ebooks online and some of the best ebook reader apps. But before we jump into the free apps and sources for ebooks, let’s discuss some of the ways that you can turn your good old Android phone or tablet into an ideal ebook reader device.

Tweak the display for comfortable reading

One significant issue that many readers complain about is the fact that how the screen of smartphones and tablets are too harsh for night reading. It has been scientifically proven that blue light exposure to the eyes in the later hours of the evening does not only harm the eyes but also affects the brain chemistry. While lowering the brightness helps reduce the strain, you need the Twilight app to help you configure your Android display for night reading.

Download Twilight from the Google Play Store

By reducing the flux of the blue light from being emitted by your device screen, Twilight helps the photoreceptors adjust the soothing tone of red and yellow. While you can adjust the frequency of the blue light filter manually, the app is built with the ability to sync to your location and manage the light filter according to the time of the day. This app will not only help you read to your heart’s desire at night but ensure that you sleep like a baby after that as well.

Get extra hours of reading time with power saving

The only reason you’d find the avid readers flocking to an e-ink ebook reader is their battery life, which Android cannot compete with. However, you might be able to get a whole lot more screen-on time from your Android device or tablet if you plan to use it exclusively for reading. By bidding farewell to the power-hungry and data-hungry apps and services, you can directly reduce the workload on the processor.

Disabling the connectivity of Mobile Data, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi (Airplane Mode) when not in use can help you curb additional battery usage and get you hours of screen-on time. Regardless of whether you plan to turn a spare Android into an ebook reader or use your daily driver for reading, there are plenty of ways to get more battery life out of your Android.

Reading on Google Chrome made simpler

If most of the reading you do online does not include an ebook, then Android is probably the only ebook reader that you can make use of. Whether you’re going through your favorite news media website or browsing through some online stories, their readability can be godawful with all the pestering ads and unnecessary graphics.

How to enable reader mode in Chrome for Android

For every news reader who uses the Google Chrome browser for their daily reading, you don’t have to switch your browser for better readability. Thanks to a golden nugget hidden within the secretive Chrome Flags menu, you can enable the reader mode. Once enabled, reader mode will get rid of the useless junk from the web page and give you nothing but context-based viewing.

Best Android ebook apps to get free ebooks online

Since ebook readers are built for a singular purpose, they are packed with features that an everyday reader would need. From a formulated library of content and features for annotations to bookmarking and easy readability, all of these and more make up a good ebook reader. Moreover, the ability to get free ebooks online is always a welcome addition to any ebook app.

Fortunately, you need nothing more than a decent ebook reader app from the Google Play Store to bring all these features to Android. From college books and biographies to comic books and short stories, these ebook apps for Android will enable you to read anything and everything to your heart’s desires.

Best ebook reader apps

Aldiko Book Reader

For those of you who are looking for a virtual library that can manage their downloaded EPUB(iBooks) and PDF ebooks the best way possible, Aldiko Book Reader is a great choice to start with. More than just an ebook organizer, Aldiko Book Reader allows you to personalize your reading experience with a slew of amazing features and a user-friendly interface for navigation through the texts.

Download Aldiko Book Reader

From changing the font size and type of the text to controlling the brightness of the screen for comfortable viewing, Aldiko is the whole package. While the free version is more than enough to keep you happy, Aldiko Book Reader Premium comes with features like book cover editing, annotations import/export, intuitive home widget and a completely add-free experience.

Moon+ Reader

A relatively new entry into the scene of ebook reader for Android, Moon+ Reader has quickly become a user favorite. Built with a simplified navigation menu and the ability to support more than a dozen different textual file formats, Moon+ Reader has more than what meets the eye. With a suite of text customization options and built-in day and night viewing mode, this ebook reader helps you set a personalized tone to your digital library.

Download Moon+ Reader

With multiple auto-scroll modes to make navigation simpler than ever, more than a dozen gestures to control your reading tools and beautiful effects and animations that are aesthetically pleasing, there is no nothing that the Moon+ Reader app cannot do to give you a tailored reading experience on Android.

eReader Prestigio: Book Reader

Statistically speaking, an avid bibliophile is able to write and speak more than just one language, which makes a multilingual ebook reader an absolute necessity for many. eReader Prestigio fills in this role with its material design that compliments your Android device perfectly, along with a far-reaching support for several ebook file formats.

Download eReader Prestigio: Book Reader

The app comes with multiple shelf themes to stock up your virtual library with, a built-in dictionary to help you learn while you read, and text-to-speech that makes any ebook an audiobook right away. Moreover, eReader Prestigio comes with multi-platform syncing support which makes it infinitely easier to import and export content from the internal storage as well as any of the popular cloud storage services.

Best ebook apps to get free ebooks online

Amazon Kindle

Jeff Bezos started off selling books on Amazon and the e-commerce website has come a long way, all while keeping its roots intact. There’s YouTube for videos, Spotify for music, and Amazon Kindle for ebooks, with millions of ebooks available for you at your fingertips. While you get a massive number of famous publishers free with the paid Amazon Prime membership, there is no shortage of free ebooks either.

Download Amazon Kindle

Apart from the super store for both paid and free ebooks of all genres, Amazon Kindle app for Android is a comprehensive ebook reader in itself. From trying out a sample of the ebook before you pay for it, or syncing your entire ebook library across different platforms, Amazon Kindle is, and will continue to be the best premium ebook app with thousands of free offerings as well.

Google Play Books

Since most Android devices come with this app preinstalled, most book lovers are going to naturally find Google Play Books to be their favorite app. A strong competitor to Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books has the gameplan of making ebooks easily accessible on Android devices while offering seamless connectivity across all platforms. With a catalog that comprises of sci-fi stories, biographies, comics, mystery novels, and so much more, there’s a serious social element to it as well.

Download Google Play Books

A library with millions of ebooks to choose from, there is a plentiful resource of free ebooks online on Google Play Books. With the Read Discover feature that offers news and stories, personalized recommendations, and a comprehensive ebook reader with Night Mode, personalization, annotations, and more, you’re sure to get more than your money’s worth from this gem by Google.

OverDrive

Remember the good old days when you could lend your favorite copy of Stephen King books and return them, just to set off on a new adventure. Overdrive brings back the concept of lending books rather than selling them, based on a virtual platform with the collection of books from more than 30,000 libraries all across the world (millions and millions of books!).

Download OverDrive

Unlike your city library, OverDrive is open 24/7 right on your Android device with a built-in ebook reader for syncing libraries, adding bookmarks, and creating wish lists as well. With a massive collection of audiobooks as well, you can even contact the listed libraries and suggest some of the authors you’d like them to stock up on.

Comics

Not all of us are serious readers who like their written artwork to be intellectual and full of wordplay. If you are a die-hard comic book fan who needs a handheld ebook app that opens the world of millions of sci-fi comics packed with your favorite superheroes, Comics is the one to go for. With the ability to sync your Google and Amazon account, you can even add comic books to this app that you have already paid for.

Download Comics

Filled with hundreds and thousands of comics from publishers like DC Comics, Marvel, Archie Comics, Zenescope Entertainment and tons more, this app is a virtual paradise for comic nerds. Admittedly most of the premium series at available only at a subscription or purchase, they are fairly cheaper being electronic copies, which is perfect for collectors and hardcore enthusiasts.

Kobo Books – Reading App

Another excellent choice to get free ebooks online, Kobo books possesses a massive library of written literature from all genres and authors. You can get most of the popular names on Kobo at a reasonable price, and as you make your private library, the app learns your likes and taste and recommends you the same.

Download Kobo Books – Reading App

The first time you sign up with Kobo Books, you get a $5 credit coupon to use on the store to purchase one or multiple books of your liking. With interactive features that show you how much time you have spent reading and all the pages you have read though, it’s the little things that make reading even more rewarding with Kobo Books.

Concluding it

There’s no doubt about the fact that there’s a special charm that comes with a physical book printed on actual paper. While a book may never need recharging and won’t break when it has a tumble, ebook readers are the future and you can only back onto the past so much.

By the time that future becomes a necessity, you can implement the technology you already have at hand to pleasure your reading senses. From creating your ebook library from scratch and collecting the best comic books available, to tweaking the device to your reading comfort and getting free ebooks online by dozens, there is an entire universe of possibilities that you can look into with an Android phone or tablet as an ebook reader.

Source: This article was published on updato.com

HIGHLIGHTS

  • It's really simple to enable and get started with WhatsApp video calling
  • WhatsApp video calling works similar to voice calls within WhatsApp
  • Both parties need to have app version supporting WhatsApp video calling

WhatsApp video calling has been officially launched and the feature is now rolling out to users on Android, iPhone,and WhatsApp. The WhatsApp video calling feature was recently introduced in the beta builds of WhatsApp for Android and Windows Mobile. If you can't wait for the video calling feature to show up on your Android phone, here's how you can get started with it right away.

If you are already running the latest WhatsApp beta - or if the video calling feature is available to you after launch - it's pretty simply to start a video call with another WhatsApp user. Here's how to make a video call within WhatsApp:

  • Open WhatsApp (of course!)
  • Go to the Contacts tab
  • Find and tap the contact you want to initiate a WhatsApp video call with
  • Tap on the phone icon towards the top of the screen
  • From the popup choose Video call

That's it - you've just made your first WhatsApp video call!

Note that for WhatsApp video calling to work, both parties should be running a WhatsApp build that supports the feature. WhatsApp may also prompt you for feedback once the video call is over.

If you are already running the latest WhatsApp version, and you still don't see the video calling feature, there's a way to get it faster. To enable video calling feature in your WhatsApp instance, you will have to sign up for the WhatsApp beta program. Follow these steps to sign up for the WhatsApp beta program and enable WhatsApp video calling on Android:
  • Open Google Play and search for WhatsApp
  • Open WhatsApp's Google Play listing
  • Scroll dow towards the bottom of the page
  • In the section that says Become a beta tester tap on I'M IN
  • Confirm on the next screen and wait for a few minutes
  • Come back to WhatsApp listing page on Google Play
  • You should see an option to Update WhatsApp to beta version
  • Update the app

Congratulations, you are now running the latest WhatsApp beta for Android. This comes with support for WhatsApp video calls and other new features - to make your first WhatsApp video call, follow the steps mentioned earlier.

What do you think of WhatsApp's video calling feature? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

Source : gadgets.ndtv.com

What is the best smartphone? Does it even matter?

These are the questions I wanted to answer as I peeled back the plastic film on my new iPhone 7 — a device meant to replace my potentially explosive Galaxy Note7 after I'd spent years as a devoted Android user. I thought this would be straightforward, but Apple's world is odder than I expected. This review is a journey of betrayal, laser-enriched cat poop and smartphone butts.  

So, yeah: I went places I didn't expect to go with the iPhone 7 and found little in terms of easy answers. Let's dive in.

Apple does not approve this message

First things first: This assessment was not written using a review unit provided by Apple. I bought this iPhone 7 using an upgrade available on my family's Verizon account (newly freed up after I returned my Note7), and I've been using it as my primary handset for about 16 days.

I wasn't an Apple virgin. My first smartphone was an iPhone 4. I got it in February 2011, and I treated it like an Apple-stamped Fabergé egg on the icy walk from the store to my apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Few people I knew had smartphones then, and I was convinced someone would snatch it. My gloveless hand covered the Apple logo to keep anyone from noticing.

Nearly six years later, that device is worth about 40 bucks on eBay and most Americans own a smartphone. In the time between then and now, I've used several different Android devices as my everyday phones and never looked back at iOS, even if my friends nagged me about how annoying my "green" bubbles were in iMessage.

 
My old Android homescreen cleverly inserted via screenshot onto the iPhone 7.

My old Android homescreen cleverly inserted via screenshot onto the iPhone 7.

IMAGE: DAMON BERES/MASHABLE

It wasn't my plan to betray Google's mobile platform for iOS. I've always enjoyed Android — it's customizable and "open," encouraging competition between handset makers and app developers that leads to better products for consumers. If you're happy sacrificing camera quality for a workable, budget-friendly Android phone, there's a device for you. If you want to pour hundreds of dollars into a curved phone that'll run a Nintendo 64 emulator on a high-def screen, you can make that happen. 

Meanwhile, I chafe at Apple's closed system and aggressive pricing models for the iPhone, which have always seemed to limit options for consumers in service of the tech giant's bottom line. 

But there was a perfect storm in September. I bought a Note7 the week it released, loved it, and then came to fear it after reports circulated that it could, you know, combust while charging on my bedside table, immolating my fiancée and me at 3:07 a.m. Then Apple announced the iPhone 7. Fed up with Samsung's approach to the Note7 crisis — which is still unfolding — I decided now was the time to try iOS again.

A strong first impression

There's one thing I can say for sure: The iPhone 7 is a beautiful piece of technology that, especially in its black variants, will make you feel as if you're using a device that was promised decades ago in a science-fiction zine. 

Forgive me, but its butt looks fantastic

People have said these things about the iPhone for years, but the praise is earned this time around. The iPhone 7 is a thin, cohesive device that — especially without a headphone jack — looks and feels like a little miracle. 

 

There's nothing I hate more than the dongle (the annoying plastic bit you need to hook into the iPhone 7 if you want to use traditional headphones), but an absent headphone jack brings a cool sense of symmetry to the device. 

Forgive me, but its butt looks fantastic, especially compared to the gap-filled mess in my Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which I'd been using between returning my Note7 and the iPhone's delivery.

 
The tasty rear-end of the iPhone 7.

The tasty rear-end of the iPhone 7.

IMAGE: DAMON BERES/MASHABLE

 
The asymmetrical, hole-filled monstrosity that is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I lost my S Pen long ago, otherwise the rightmost void would be plugged.

The asymmetrical, hole-filled monstrosity that is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I lost my S Pen long ago, otherwise the rightmost void would be plugged.

IMAGE: DAMON BERES/MASHABLE

I've used many Android phones over the years (several iterations of Samsung's Galaxy line, recent HTC and Moto phones, the OnePlus 3) and none of them have felt perfect. 

The iPhone 7 feels perfect

Yeah, the iPhone 7 feels perfect. But it's also not a substantial step forward for anything apart from design and aesthetics — perhaps the least meaningful criteria for anyone looking to upgrade their handset. It's worth wiping away the drool and recognizing that the compact design makes these devices difficult to recycle and repair, as is also the case with other smartphones, so if you care much about the planet or the afterlife of your pricy electronics, you might sit this one out.

Still, there are plenty of valid reasons you might be looking to upgrade. And if you're an Android user, you might find that stepping into Apple's walled garden is easier (and more desirable) than you'd think.

What I love about the iPhone 7

There are a few things, actually! But, apart from the look and feel of the device, none of them are exclusive to the iPhone 7.

First and foremost: I'm obsessed with iMessage, the vomiting hot mess of texting apps. It has legitimately transformed how I communicate with my friends. Your mileage may vary, of course: Most people I speak with on a daily basis are iPhone users, and a number of them have updated to iOS 10. 

Thus, I get to handwrite messages like "I ate all the feta," which I send with the "balloon" screen effect. (Because why wouldn't you?)

 
I sure did.

I sure did.

IMAGE: DAMON BERES/MASHABLE

I suppose it's telling that iMessage is my favorite thing about the iPhone 7 (apart from its tush). This is a software feature, not a hardware upgrade, and you can get it on any recent iPhone. It just happens to be the case that, in daily use, this is what I've experienced as the most substantial upgrade from the Android phones I've been using all these years. 

I'm obsessed with iMessage, the vomiting hot mess of texting apps

Talking to my iPhone-owning friends and family feels quicker, more natural and more fun than it ever did on Android — a platform that, frankly, has never offered enviable texting options. iMessage got a lot of new features in iOS 10 — which comes loaded onto the iPhone 7 — so you can send handwritten messages, GIFs and other special effects to your friends. 

It's juvenile, kind of feels like a holdover from the "Buddy Information" window in AOL Instant Messenger and, ugh, it's delicious. With the handwriting feature, I've probably spent more time writing in cursive in the past two weeks than in the entire previous 15 years combined, and there's nothing better than delivering dreadful news with an ironic "laser" screen effect.

 
 

I'm also really into Apple Pay. Again, this is by no means a feature that's exclusive to the iPhone 7, but it's an area where the device notably improves my life — to whatever extent shaving a few seconds off of shameless consumerism can improve one's life, anyway. The uneven rollout of new chip credit cards has transformed many checkouts into a time-consuming mess — you insert the chip, something goes wrong, you swipe the card, the cashier hits a button and tells you to insert the chip again, repeat ad nauseum. 

The iPhone 7 has basically made me better at irritating my friends and wasting my money

Apple Pay — a slightly quicker and, in my experience, more common alternative to Android Pay — cuts all of that garbage out. You just double tap your home button, hold your phone near the reader, and you're done. The iPhone buzzes, a nice notification pops up, and it's great. As with anything on so personal a device, your mileage will vary, but Apple Pay feels like it's everywhere in New York City, so it works for me.

 

So, the iPhone 7 has basically made me better at irritating my friends and wasting my money. Those are good things from Apple's perspective: "Ecosystems" are important. Enjoying Apple Pay and iMessage means I'm more likely to stick with this device and upgrade to another iPhone in the future. 

But these aren't really reasons for anyone to buy the iPhone 7, which, from a hardware standpoint, doesn't feel so different than any other phone I've used. It has a nice camera, an incredibly sharp display, it runs apps quickly and it has all the storage space I need. These exact things could be said of any high-end phone in 2016.

The only meaningful hardware difference that any normal person would notice, apart from the headphone jack thing, is the transformation of the home button. It's actually not a button, per se: It's a panel that vibrates to give you feedback. (Try "pressing" it when the power's off and you'll find it doesn't budge.) After thinking about this for too long — and forcing my very unimpressed fiancée and her mom to "guess the difference" — I have decided that I like how it feels and that no one should ever speak about it again.

Though, speaking of buttons, I do want to point out that I absolutely do not miss Android's "back" function. What it offered in convenience it totally made up for in complete and utter frustration. I would constantly tap the back button accidentally — especially on Samsung devices, where it was a touch-sensitive area of the bottom bezel. Good riddance to that.

I kind of hate the iPhone 7, too

There's a lot I like about this device. I'll probably keep it until it coincidentally poops out three days before the iPhone 8 comes out. But, especially compared to Android, there are a number of things that drive me crazy.

First and most obvious: The headphone dongle is a sinister, greedy proposition from Apple that will make your life worse — no matter how much nicer the iPhone 7's rear-end is as a result. It looks stupid, you will worry about losing it and it exists entirely to give Apple more control over how you use the device.

It is dangly white hubris, a wasteful piece of plastic that will fall out of our pockets, into sewers and down the throats of fish. I hate it, and you should too.

 

IMAGE: DAMON BERES/MASHABLE

Speaking of being locked into Apple's world, I dearly miss the customization offered on Android devices. My preference was to keep most my apps tucked away in the "app drawer," allowing for a clean, functional home screen with minimal widgets. The idea was to provide at-a-glance access to my favorite apps and avoid digital clutter.

It looked like this:

 
 

Pretty nice, right? The second screen had the same layout but different apps, with the weather widget replaced by a Google search bar. Some of these icons were customized using a theme from the Samsung store. The bottom line is that this screen looked exactly how I wanted it to.

Apple doesn't let you shove anything into a "drawer" on iPhone, nor can you customize icons. You could arrange everything such that you only ever had two rows of apps on a given screen, but it would take a lot of frustrating dragging and dropping. Everything would also be pinned to the top of the screen, not the bottom. It's more effort than it's worth.

So, my iPhone screen looks like this. It's not really organized, and there's nothing for my eyes to land on. The world keeps spinning, but I'm irritated whenever I spend more than a few seconds tracking down my calendar app.

 
 

What else? Many recent Android devices have an LED light above the screen that will help you understand what notifications await you at a glance — you might see a yellow light if you've received a new message on Snapchat, for example. I miss that on the iPhone 7, which is just a stylish, useless void when the screen is off.

I'm bothered a bit by the ring/silent switch on the side of the iPhone — a staple that's been there from the beginning. Most Android phones I've used don't really have anything like this: You just hold the volume button down until the thing vibrates if you want to set the phone to, you know, vibrate, and you press it once more if you want to silence the thing completely. I always expect that flipping the switch will also silence game or YouTube audio, which is not the case, and then I startle my cats with an outburst of sound from some random video someone sends me. 

Annoying.

Conclusion: This, like many others, is a good phone

I've discovered that the iPhone 7 is probably the right device for me, because it fits into my life better than the Android devices I've used. It does occasionally drive me crazy.

So many people have asked me whether they should upgrade to an iPhone 7 based on a variety of factors like "my current iPhone is slow" or "I've had this phone for two years." I'm in an odd position as a tech journalist in that I obsess about the devices that corporations heap onto consumers. That's why I've had so many phones over the years, but it's not a path I'd recommend to most.

For one, smartphones are expensive, and getting on an upgrade treadmill only encourages companies to push out incremental updates every year. The iPhone 7 is astonishingly similar to last year's iPhone 6S — a device I used for a short period of time as my work phone at a previous job — and functionally it's not so different from Apple's other recent handsets. 

These phones don't evaporate when we're done with them. You can sell or donate them, but recycling them is difficult — I'm a bad consumer who justifies upgrades based partially on my job and my own particular interests, but I don't know that everyone should get in the habit of draining their bank accounts for a new device every year, if only because that's not so nice for the Earth in general.

What I can say is that my transition from Android to iOS was surprisingly easy, which gives me hope that these two forces can continue to compete with one another in meaningful ways. If you are an Android user interested in jumping ship to Apple, I say go for it: All of these high-end phones essentially do the same thing, but you might find that the iPhone is a better fit for your life.

That's worth considering. As much as I'd caution against the urge to change devices all the time, there's absolutely no denying that your smartphone is likely the most important piece of technology you can buy today. You should have one that feels right. 

And if that's an iPhone — filled with laser message effects and irritating dongles — more power to you.

BONUS: A PSA from Samsung

Source : mashable

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised 'significant' disclosures on subjects including the U.S. election and Google in the coming weeks as the secret-spilling group marked its 10th anniversary on Tuesday.

  • Assange said WikiLeaks plans to start publishing new material starting this week, but wouldn't specify the timing and subject and warned that the so called 'October Surprise' may expose Google.

  •  
  • The war between Assange and the tech giant started in 2014 when he wrote about the company in his book titled, 'When Google Met Wikileaks', according to Recode.

  • 'Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad,' Assange wrote in the book. 

  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in 2016) promised 'significant' disclosures on subjects including the U.S. election and Google in the coming weeks as the secret-spilling group marked its 10th anniversary on Tuesda

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in 2016) promised 'significant' disclosures on subjects including the U.S. election and Google in the coming weeks as the secret-spilling group marked its 10th anniversary on Tuesda

     

    Assange (pictured above on Tuesday) said WikiLeaks plans to start publishing new material starting this week

     

    Assange (pictured above on Tuesday) said WikiLeaks plans to start publishing new material starting this week

    'But it has. Schmidt's tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation.' 

    Assange became concerned about former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's ties with the State Department in 2009 when Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state.

    He has claimed that Schmidt, who is a chairman at the company, has worked with the Clintons for years, as Donald Trump accused Google of political bias saying that it suppresses negative news about Clinton.  

    Speaking by video link to an anniversary news conference in Berlin earlier this week, he said the leaks include 'significant material' on war, arms, oil, internet giant Google, the U.S. election and mass surveillance.

    WikiLeaks hopes 'to be publishing every week for the next 10 weeks,' Assange said.

    Assange wrote in his 2014 book that 'Schmidt's (file above) tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation'

     

    Assange wrote in his 2014 book that 'Schmidt's (file above) tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation'

    The group, which released Democratic National Committee emails days before the party's national convention earlier this year, wouldn't say who or what campaign would be affected by the upcoming U.S. election leaks. 

    Assange said speculation that he or WikiLeaks intend to harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is 'false.'

    Asked whether he feels any personal affinity with Clinton's Republican rival, Donald Trump, Assange replied: 'I feel personal affinity really, I think, with all human beings.'

    'I certainly feel sorry for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,' he added. 'These are two people that are tormented by their ambitions in different ways.'

    Assange claimed that Schmidt has worked with the Clintons for years, as Donald Trump accused Google (file) of political bias saying that it suppresses negative news about Clinton 

    Assange claimed that Schmidt has worked with the Clintons for years, as Donald Trump accused Google (file) of political bias saying that it suppresses negative news about Clinton

    Wikileaks came to prominence a decade ago by publishing classified documents that related to prisoners in the United States' Guantanamo Bay, NSA surveillance of world leaders and military operations in Afghanistan.

    In addition, millions of diplomatic and military files were made public by Wikileaks from US soldier Chelsea Manning who is currently serving a 35-year prison term for leaking the information.

    Sweden is seeking Assange's extradition in a rape investigation.

    He hasn't left the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

    Assange denies the rape allegation and says he fears being extradited to the U.S. to face espionage charges if he leaves.

    Source : dailymail.co.uk

    We all know what is search engines. What are people search engines? People search engines are used to  find a lost relative, an old flame, a classmate etc.

    It’s used to find a person directly from search. Today we have to list 8 best deep web people search engines that could help you to reconnect with your favorite one.

    1. PeekYou

    PeekYou is the best people search engine I ever find. PeekYou is really easy to use. You just need to put the first and last name of the people you want to find or username.
    PeekYou collects and combines scattered content from social sites, news sources, homepages, and blog platforms to present comprehensive online identities.

    2. Zaba Search

    Zaba Search is not a worldwide people search engine, but it’s best within 50 states from the USA. You will get Telephone Numbers and Addresses for free Zaba searches. Top access Zaba premium services you just need to logging in with your Facebook account.

    3. Pipl

    Pipl comes next on our list. Millions of users have used Pipl’s free people search engine to find old friends. You just need to put the name, email address, and location if available to find a person.

    4. Spokeo

    Spokeo is a people search engine that organizes White Pages listings, Public Records and Social Network Information to help you safely find & learn about people. With Spokeo, you can easily reconnect with your classmates, teammates, etc.

    5. AnyWho

    AnyWho will help you if you are searching for an old friend or try to verify an address. If you maybe saw an unfamiliar phone number in your records, you can find that person name easily. Personal identifying information available on AnyWho is not provided by AT&T and is provided solely by an unaffiliated third party, Intelius, Inc.

    6. Intelius

    Intelius helps you to do people Search reports can include phone numbers, address history, age & date of birth, relatives, and more.

    7. People Smart

    PeopleSmart is a people search engine designed to help you find and connect with others. People Smart provide search access to contact information and public records.

    8. SkipEase

    SkipeaseSkipEase comes next into our list. SkipEase is not a popular site like PeekYou or Pipl, but it’s really worth to try. SkipEase can be used to search people inside the United States. SkipEase provides different people search options like Instant Checkmate, Social Search, Facebook people search, LinkedIn profile search, etc.

    These are our best people search engines. Did we miss your favorite one? Let us know through comments.

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