Apple's new solar-powered campus, and more in the week that was

... | Dec 18 @ 10:00

Apple's new solar-powered campus, and more in the week that was In other news, Donald Trump tapped Elon Musk to serve as a strategic advisor.

Rasa NLU: Open-source bot tool for natural language understanding

... | Dec 18 @ 04:25

Understanding what your users want is hard, steering conversations is hard, handling edge cases is hard, designing conversations is hard, finding compelling use cases is hard. The pace of innovation in ML is phenomenal and that’s largely due to open access, open source code, and open data. Building a bot MVP is easy , but good conversational software is hard. We believe the bot builder community should embrace that spirit. That's what rasa is all about.

Facebook test lets you hide upsetting ads

... | Dec 17 @ 19:55

The company has been willing to let you skew the type of ads you see, but it hasn't given you the option of completely wiping out certain ads. They're both more visual and remain consistent whether you view them from your settings or the ad itself. It's part of a larger change to ad preferences that should make them easier to use than before. It's an admission that short-term ad money isn't everything -- there's not much point to showing you an ad if it's so insensitive that it leads you to quit Facebook. This is just a test, and a broader rollout will likely depend on its success.

Chrome OS alone will not perfect Lenovo’s Yoga Book

... | Dec 18 @ 08:13

The strangest device I’ve used this year is Lenovo’s Yoga Book, specifically the Android variant, which costs $499. For now, that is — should Lenovo improve the typing experience on the Yoga Book, it may turn out to be a more viable option for computing, on Chrome OS as well as on Windows or Android. This is why I was not particularly excited to hear that Lenovo will come out with a Chrome OS version of the device in 2017, as Laptop Mag is reporting. That said, the Yoga Book is an imperfect laptop alternative, primarily because its keyboard isn’t easy to use, and a real Chromebook will probably be a better choice for those who are interested in Chrome OS. )To be fair, the device’s impressive thinness is at least partly attributable to the lack of a real keyboard.

Show HN: I made an NLP based essay grader

... | Dec 17 @ 20:46

Scanadu to shut down support for its Scout device and customers are mad

... | Dec 18 @ 02:43

Medical startup Scanadu informed customers today it will no longer support its Scout device starting May 15, 2017. “Thank you for your dedication to Scanadu Scout over the past years,” read the most recent Scout customer letter. The FDA has declined to comment on why Scanadu is shutting down support for Scout, but according to Scanadu, Scout was simply an investigational device under the Scripps Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved protocol. As a result, we will deactivate the Scanadu Scout® devices by May 15, 2017. Scanadu used Scout, which could detect vitals such as temperature and upload that information to a smartphone, as a preliminary device for medical research.

Bill Gates delivers tidings of comfort and joy as one lucky Redditor’s Secret Santa

... | Dec 17 @ 20:36

Reddit’s annual Secret Santa is a joyous event for all involved. The bow on top had to be the personal note Gates left on top of the presents. I can’t believe your Secret Santa left you hanging last year. Gates is the stalwart on the list, as he’s been doling out presents to lucky Redditors since 2013. I won Secret Santa...Bill Gates was my Santa!

The fourth industrial revolution: a primer on Artificial Intelligence

... | Dec 18 @ 10:21

All deep learning is machine learning, but not all machine learning is deep learning (Figure 4, below). All machine learning is AI, but not all AI is machine learning (Figure 1, above). Enter deep learning (DL), which has revolutionised the world of artificial intelligence. We’ll illustrate how one of the most productive areas of AI, called ‘deep learning’, works. Deep learning is a sub-set of machine learning — one of the more than 15 approaches to it.

Play Pong on the MacBook Pro Touch Bar with this app

... | Dec 18 @ 05:01

Loesch built it to make use of the Touch Bar and become familiar with Apple’s Touch Bar application programming interfaces (APIs), he told VentureBeat in an email. If you have a new MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, then there’s a great new game for you to play. Image Credit: ScreenshotThe app lets you move your paddle with your mouse if you don’t want to use the Touch Bar. He also built a tiny app that brings Santa and his sleigh to the Touch Bar. Which means that if your Mac doesn’t have a Touch Bar, you can still play TouchBarPong.

Code Inflation (2015) [pdf]

... | Dec 17 @ 22:51

Programming Is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic

... | Dec 18 @ 00:18

In fact the past few years have been replete with cri­tiques of hack­er cul­ture, espe­cial­ly as hack­er cul­ture has sort of evolved into the tech indus­try. And in this book Steven Levy iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing as the com­po­nents of the hack­er ethic. If the hack­er ethic is good, how could it have pro­duced this clear­ly unfair and hor­ri­ble and angry-making sit­u­a­tion? So I just want to show some exam­ples to dri­ve this point home of com­put­er pro­gram­ming being a kind of for­get­ting. But first I think I found the philo­soph­i­cal ker­nel of the hack­er ethic that makes me uncom­fort­able.

The state(s) of texting and driving in the US

... | Dec 18 @ 09:00

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any data on distracted driving, though impaired driving (alcohol/drugs) accounted for 10 of those fatalities. Now, what I’ve been rambling about: 46 states and DC have bans on texting while driving. In 2014, distracted driving was responsible for 3,179 deaths and 431,000 motor vehicle injuries according to the federal government. Even with this many legal measures in place, there's still more than a few distracted driving deaths and injuries every year. In 2009, President Obama issued an order that prohibits federal employees from texting while driving on government business.

After Math: Come undone

... | Dec 18 @ 11:00

Numbers, because how else are you going to know how many fingers are feeding you magic? American intelligence confirmed that Russia conspired to hack of our election, Uber unleashed a pack of poorly trained autonomous automobiles upon the streets of San Francisco, Snapchat's Spectacles went all medicinal and Super Mario Run debuted on iOS. It's been a hell of a week, folks.

Saving App Showdown: Qapital Vs. Digit

... | Dec 18 @ 11:00

Qapital is strictly a smartphone app, but Digit allows you to log in from your desktop with their web app. Digit: Digit is a bit simpler. Your goals might be:AdvertisementSponsoredYou have a single Qapital account, but the app lets you create multiple savings goals within that account. However, if you’re more of a hands-on budgeter and you actually like creating and tracking your money goals, Qapital might be a better option. This way, you ensure you meet your savings goals but you keep Digit around to find extra savings.

Swift: Challenges and Opportunity for Language and Compiler Research [pdf]

... | Dec 17 @ 22:04

Drive!Drive!Drive! is a trippy game where you race three tracks at once

... | Dec 18 @ 11:00

Now imagine a game with tracks that all have that same feeling, but where you had to manage three different cars on three different tracks at the same time. You know how the infamous “Rainbow Road” tracks from Mario Kart are just, like, impossible? There are three different races going on simultaneously, on three different tracks, and on each one there is a car for you to control. If you’re one of those folks who actually enjoys “Rainbow Road,” Drive takes that feeling and essentially triples it. At the end of a race Drive combines your pole position on each track for an overall score.

Venezuela Extends Use of 100-Bolivar Bill Following Protests

... | Dec 18 @ 01:15

Venezuela is plagued by the world's highest inflation, and Maduro made the surprise announcement that the 100-bolivar bill would be replaced a week ago. Young men waved their 100-bolivar bills in the air and chanted "they're useless," then turned and ran as police fired tear gas canisters. CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's government on Saturday extended the use of its 100-bolivar bill until Jan. 2, after its decision to pull the banknote out of circulation left the country largely without cash, and sparked protests and looting. In addition to putting the old currency back in circulation, Maduro said he would extend the closure of the border with Colombia and Brazil until Jan. 2. All week, Venezuelans waited in long lines to deposit their soon-to-be-worthless 100-bolivar notes in banks.

Tor blocked in Turkey as government cracks down on VPN use

... | Dec 18 @ 10:21

Annex A: Anomalous Rise in Tor Metrics UsageWe first sought to evaluate Tor restrictions using freely available statistical data provided by the Tor project. In the meantime we recommend that figures published by the Tor project aren’t taken to indicate increased Tor usage. The Turkey Blocks internet censorship watchdog has identified and verified that restrictions on the Tor anonymity network and Tor Browser are now in effect throughout Turkey. Tor metrics tracks the number of active Tor users in Turkey. Government-issued VPN Blocking Order now in effectIn late 2016 reports surfaced that Turkey had ordered ISPs to block access to Tor and several commercial VPN services.

Nintendo Switch patent shows off a VR-style headset

... | Dec 18 @ 11:35

The company has yet to outright state if its upcoming console, Switch, will support VR, but patents uncovered today suggest that it’s certainly possible in the future. Still, this isn’t in any way confirmation that Switch will support VR, it could simply be one of many ideas Nintendo has for its upcoming device, due to launch in early 2017. No direct mention of VR is made in the entire patent, but it’s hard to see what use a headset like this would have outside of VR. Rumors about the possibility of VR support have persisted for several months, despite Nintendo’s stance on the tech, which seems to change with every new answer from a company executive. Among the images, surprisingly, is what looks an awful lot like a VR headset, referred to as a head-mounted display (HMD) in the documentation.

Master web building with this complete JavaScript coding instruction — only $29

... | Dec 18 @ 05:03

So if you’re looking to have a career in web development, understand the programming language that drives the web with this Essential JavaScript Coding Bundle. You’ll even understand how to organize your tools like today’s top web development pros using a versatile task manager like Grunt. Acquire all the skills to make you both hirable and sought after with this Essential JavaScript Coding Bundle — valued at $1,080 but now just $29 with this limited time offer from TNW Deals. You’ll work your way through 15 different courses, outlining the framework and organization of the front-end programming language at the heart of every web browser. Just try and code a modern web page without JavaScript… you won’t get very far.

Review: Yi M1 Mirrorless Camera

... | Dec 18 @ 06:17

Priced as low as it is, however, the M1 is definitely not a Leica T.Yi’s camera sports an almost entirely touchscreen UI. Yi M1 Mirrorless Camera 6/10 Wired Easy to use; clean design combined with familiar, phone-style touchscreen interface. The mode dial also manages to find the sweet spot between “easy to turn” and “doesn’t accidentally turn in your bag”. There’s a dedicated video button in the center of the mode dial that’s somewhat less easy to find by feel. There’s a hot shoe, but there’s no flash of any kind in the box or on the camera.

Facebook is testing group voice calls on desktop

... | Dec 17 @ 23:01

Facebook officially launched the feature for its Messenger apps back in April, but making it available on computers will make it less likely to leave out some friends in your group convos. While there's Skype and other apps with the feature, it will be easier to coordinate large calls with family and friends on a platform a lot of people already use. [Image credit: TechCrunch] Since this is just an experimental feature, we can't say if you'll be able to organize 50-person call parties like you can on Messenger, or if it'll ever make its way to your account.

Improving Supercharger Availability

... | Dec 17 @ 22:15

To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability. Until then, we ask that vehicles be moved from the Supercharger once fully charged. We envision a future where cars move themselves once fully charged, enhancing network efficiency and the customer experience even further. Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee.

The story behind The New York Times’ largest and most ambitious crossword puzzle

... | Dec 18 @ 09:35

We chatted with Silverstein about Puzzle Mania and the story behind the largest ever crossword puzzle to make it into the NYT. I will say pièce de résistance is this crossword we’re calling the Super Mega, the largest ever in The New York Times. Sharpen your pencils, people: Our special puzzle section is in the paper this Sunday, 12/18, featuring the BIGGEST NYT CROSSWORD ever! Among the neat collection of puzzle maker interviews and number and word games is a particularly unprecedented challenge, a puzzle larger than any The New York Times has ever constructed. So this is going to be print-only, even those who subscribe to the Times’ crossword app?

Comcast teams with Hollywood to make movies 'more immersive'

... | Dec 17 @ 21:32

The Enhanced Extras feature will be available for Comcast X1 customers. Comcast plans to expand it to more titles and studios throughout 2017. The added content will include "games, maps, 360-degree maps and set tours" as well as photo galleries and video clips that will automatically update throughout the film. That way, rather than simply sit still for two hours and watch the film like you're supposed to, you'll be able to pause it every couple of minutes and dig through all these extraneous distractions instead. It'll be like watching Resevoir Dogs with the director's commentary turn on except that Quentin Tarantino is in charge of the remote and desperately needs to show you this one cool video on his phone real quick.

3 roadblocks chatbots face

... | Dec 17 @ 20:00

For some tasks, chatbots may never be the answer, as they necessarily can’t be simplified enough to work through this sort of interface. While we don’t have all the answers, we can make some educated guesses as to what problems chatbots may face based on what we know about the history of chatbots and how people have historically interacted with technology. Also, text-based chatbots, or messaging platforms such as Slack and Facebook Messenger, have seen a huge spike in utilization. While these companies have seen success with their platforms, they are also going to run into inevitable roadblocks. Roadblock #2: Trust and understandingWe have seen a number of effective chatbots on the service side, such as those for banking.

Maya – Python Datetimes for Humans

... | Dec 18 @ 02:41

Datetimes are a headache to deal with in Python, especially when dealing with timezones, especially when dealing with different machines with different locales. Maya exists to do all the hard work for you, so you can focus on what you're trying to do — import or export simple datetime data in known human and machine-readable formats. Example Usage of Maya (v0.1.0)

VW to pour $200 million more into an anti-pollution fund

... | Dec 18 @ 07:03

They "only" exceed the limits by up to nine times versus 40 times on the 2-liter machines. These vehicles (which include Audi and Porsche models) don't violate American emissions laws quite so egregiously as the 2-liter models. VW may end up buying back 20,000 of the 3-liter cars and fixing the emissions of the remaining 60,000. It's not certain what will happen to the cars themselves, although a judge has given a December 19th deadline. However, it's clear that regulators want to account for every instance of emissions abuse, not just the most obvious examples.

Underwater Science Drones Can’t Help Sparking International Incidents

... | Dec 18 @ 07:00

“These kinds of acts will likely continue as long as there are territorial disputes over the South China Sea.” Season with an ongoing struggle for who controls the shipping lanes through the South China Sea. The USNS Bowditch was surveying the South China Sea, a region that has seen conflicts between China and its neighbors for years. On Thursday, Chinese sailors grabbed a submersible drone that was recording data for a US naval research ship operating in the volatile South China Sea. The US Navy uses this data to help develop meteorological forecasts for ships crossing the world’s oceans.

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