SpaceX successfully launches astronauts in the space for the first time

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By Ivan Mehta

SpaceX created history today as it successfully launched astronauts in the space for the first time. The space agency became the first commercial agency to carry out a crewed space flight. NASA Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are making a trip to the International Space Station (ISS), and will stay there from 6 to 16 weeks. The liftoff was successful in the second attempt after the first attempt on May 27 had to be called off due to the bad weather.  Earlier today, NASA said that there was a 50% chance the launch would be canceled again because of bad weather.…

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How accurate is your commercial fitness tracker?

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By The Markup

In a 2019 study, 18 senior citizens took a stroll on some treadmills while armed to the hilt with fitness trackers. They had devices strapped to their wrists and ankles, fastened to their belts, and wrapped around their chests. But even with all these trackers, the seniors couldn’t get an accurate step count because their movements were too slow to trigger the sensors in the devices. Commercial fitness trackers are being used for all kinds of things other than tracking steps. They measure heart rate, track sleep patterns, and calculate basal metabolic rate and calories burned. They’re used in clinical…

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Source:: The Next Web

      

How To Record Screen On Mac With Audio & Without Audio?

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By Charanjeet Singh

Want to record videos on Mac? Whether it is a gaming clip, a movie clip or a how-to video to assist your friend — screen recording on Mac can come out pretty handy in several ways. You may also be planning to record a YouTube video or probably a Netflix video on Mac, although, the […]

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Call Of Duty Mobile Season 7: Battle Royale & Multiplayer Leaks Roundup

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By Shivam Gulati

After the latest update of Call of Duty Mobile test servers, it’s pretty clear that Activision is cooking something big for Season 7. The massive update for Call of Duty Mobile beta brought in so much new content that players are going crazy over the upcoming season. Now, anyone can download Call of Duty Mobile […]

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Moto 360 review: Classic smartwatch, stunning new design

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By Andy Boxall

No, this isn’t the Moto 360 from 2015. The new model looks like the original, but improves on its execution.

Source:: Digital Trends

      

Xbox Series X will make old games look prettier

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By Rachel Kaser

Microsoft continues its campaign of putting out details on the Xbox Series X, and today revealed that, in addition to having backwards compatibility, the XSX will employ some techno wizardry to make the older games much better looking than they originally were. Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management for the new console, revealed in an Xbox Wire update that Microsoft’s augmenting the launch line-up of the XSX with older games. We already knew the console would be backwards compatible with games from every previous Xbox generation, but Ronald adds that, through some process that sounds pretty complicated, the company will make…

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Source:: The Next Web

      

Shuf: A Linux Command To Shuffle Text; Try It On 78 Billion Line Text File

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By Sarvottam Kumar

Nowadays, a meme about Shuf, a Linux and Unix command, is getting good hype on Reddit, especially in a subreddit group /r/ProgrammerHumor; credit goes to Redditor Nexuist who first noticed and shared a picture mentioning ’78 billion line text file.’ So, before I tell you about Shuf, let’s demystify why this command-line utility is getting […]

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Twitter Adds Disclaimer To Trump’s Tweet For Glorifying Violence

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By Anmol Sachdeva

In a bold move, Twitter has flagged a tweet from US President Donald Trump for glorifying violence. The social media company has affixed a warning on one of his two tweets in which he bashed the demonstrators in Minneapolis, who looted general stores during a protest. In the tweet flagged by Twitter, Trump called demonstrators […]

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Google’s Android Studio 4.0 is a major upgrade for the app development tool

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By Thomas Macaulay

Google has launched Android Studio 4.0, adding a host of new features to the app development environment. The most eye-catching of the upgrades is a souped-up Motion Editor, Android’s interface for creating MotionLayout animations in apps. In previous versions of Android Studio, developers had to manually create and modify complex XML files to design their animations. The new Motion Editor generates the XML files for you, allowing you to create complex animations through a simply click-and-drag interface. [Read: Building mobile apps isn’t a mystery when you have these dev courses] Android has also added new ways to look at your app’s design. They include…

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TinyML is giving hardware new life

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By Walter Thompson

Aluminum and iconography are no longer enough for a product to get noticed in the marketplace. Today, great products need to be useful and deliver an almost magical experience, something that becomes an extension of life. Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML) is the latest embedded software technology that moves hardware into that almost magical realm, where machines can automatically learn and grow through use, like a primitive human brain.

Until now building machine learning (ML) algorithms for hardware meant complex mathematical modes based on sample data, known as “training data,” in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so. And if this sounds complex and expensive to build, it is. On top of that, traditionally ML-related tasks were translated to the cloud, creating latency, consuming scarce power and putting machines at the mercy of connection speeds. Combined, these constraints made computing at the edge slower, more expensive and less predictable.

But thanks to recent advances, companies are turning to TinyML as the latest trend in building product intelligence. Arduino, the company best known for open-source hardware is making TinyML available for millions of developers. Together with Edge Impulse, they are turning the ubiquitous Arduino board into a powerful embedded ML platform, like the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense and other 32-bit boards. With this partnership you can run powerful learning models based on artificial neural networks (ANN) reaching and sampling tiny sensors along with low-powered microcontrollers.

Over the past year great strides were made in making deep learning models smaller, faster and runnable on embedded hardware through projects like TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers, uTensor and Arm’s CMSIS-NN. But building a quality dataset, extracting the right features, training and deploying these models is still complicated. TinyML was the missing link between edge hardware and device intelligence now coming to fruition.

Tiny devices with not-so-tiny brains

Source:: Crunch Gear

      

How to upgrade your at-home videoconference setup: Lighting edition

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By Darrell Etherington

In this installment of our ongoing series around making the most of your at-home video setup, we’re going to focus on one of the most important, but least well-understood or implemented parts of the equation: Lighting. While it isn’t actually something that requires a lot of training, expertise or even equipment to get right, it’s probably the number-one culprit for subpar video quality on most conference calls — and it can mean the difference between looking like someone who knows what they talk about, and someone who might not inspire too much confidence on seminars, speaking gigs and remote broadcast appearances.

Basics

You can make a very big improvement in your lighting with just a little work, and without spending any money. The secret is all in being aware of your surroundings and optimizing your camera placement relative to any light sources that might be present. Consider not only any ceiling lights or lamps in your room, but also natural light sources like windows.

Ideally, you should position yourself so that the source of brightest light is positioned behind your camera (and above it, if possible). You should also make sure that there aren’t any strong competing light sources behind you that might blow out the image. If you have a large window and it’s daytime, face the window with your back to a wall, for instance. And if you have a movable light or an overhead lamp, either move it so it’s behind and above your computer facing you, or move yourself if possible to achieve the same effect with a fixed-position light fixture, like a ceiling pendant.

Ideally, any bright light source should be positioned behind and slightly above your camera for best results

Even if the light seems aggressively bright to you, it should make for an even, clear image on your webcam. Even though most webcams have auto-balancing software features that attempt to produce the best results regardless of lighting, they can only do so much, and especially lower-end camera hardware, like the webcam built into MacBooks, will benefit greatly from some physical lighting position optimization.

This is an example of what not to do: Having a bright light source behind you will make your face hard to see, and the background blown out

Simple ways to level-up

The best way to step up beyond the basics is to learn some of the fundamentals of good video lighting. Again, this doesn’t necessarily require any purchases — it could be as simple as taking what you already have and using it in creative ways.

Beyond just the above advice about putting your strongest light source behind your camera pointed toward your face, you can get a little more sophisticated by adopting the principles of two- and three-point lighting. You don’t need special lights to make this work — you just need to use what you have available and place them for optimal effect.

  • Two-point lighting

A very basic, but effective video lighting setup involves positioning not just one, but two lights pointed toward your face behind, or parallel with your camera. Instead of putting them directly in line with your face; however, for maximum effect you can place them to either side, and angle them in toward you.

A simple representation of how to position lights for a proper two-point video lighting setup

Note that if you can, it’s best to make one of these two lights brighter than the other. This will provide a subtle bit of shadow and depth to the lighting on your face, resulting in a more pleasing and professional look. As mentioned, it doesn’t really matter what kind of light you use, but it’s best to try to make sure that both are the same temperature (for ordinary household bulbs, how “soft,” “bright” or “warm” they are), and if your lights are less powerful, try to position them closer in.

  • Three-point lighting

Similar to two-point lighting, but with a third light added positioned somewhere behind you. This extra light is used in broadcast interview lighting setups to provide a slight halo effect on the subject, which further helps separate you from the background, and provides a bit more depth and professional look. Ideally, you’d place this out of frame of your camera (you don’t want a big, bright light shining right into the lens) and off to the side, as indicated in the diagram below.

In a three-point lighting setup, you add a third light behind you to provide a bit more subject separation and pop

If you’re looking to improve the flexibility of this kind of setup, a simple way to do that is by using light sources with Philips Hue bulbs. They can let you tune the temperature and brightness of your lights, together or individually, to get the most out of this kind of arrangement. Modern Hue bulbs might produce some weird flickering effects on your video depending on what framerate you’re using, but if you output your video at 30fps, that should address any problems there.

Go pro

All lights can be used to improve your video lighting setup, but dedicated video lights will provide the best results. If you really plan on doing a bunch of video calls, virtual talks and streaming, you should consider investing in some purpose-built hardware to get even better results.

At the entry level, there are plenty of offerings on Amazon that work well and offer good value, including full lighting kits like this one from Neewer that offers everything you need for a two-point lighting setup in one package. These might seem intimidating if you’re new to lighting, but they’re extremely easy to set up, and really only require that you learn a bit about light temperature (as measured in kelvins) and how that affects the image output on your video capture device.

If you’re willing to invest a bit more money, you can get some better quality lights that include additional features, including Wi-Fi connectivity and remote control. The best all-around video lights for home studio use that I’ve found are Elgato’s Key Lights. These come in two variants, Key Light and Key Light Air, which retail for $199.99 and $129.99, respectively. The Key Light is larger, offers brighter maximum output, and comes with a sturdier, heavy-duty clamp mount for attaching to tables and desks. The Key Light Air is smaller, more portable, puts out less light at max settings and comes with a tabletop stand with a weighted base.

Both versions of the Key Light offer light that you can tune form very warm white (2900K) to bright white (7000K) and connect to your Wi-Fi network for remote control, either from your computer or your mobile device. They easily work together with Elgato’s Stream Deck for hardware controls, too, and have highly adjustable brightness and plenty of mounting options — especially with extra accessories like the Multi-Mount extension kit.

With plenty of standard tripod mounts on each Key Light, high-quality durable construction and connected control features, these lights are the easiest to make work in whatever space you have available. The quality of the light they put out is also excellent, and they’re great for lighting pros and newbies alike as it’s very easy to tune them as needed to produce the effect you want.

Accent your space

Beyond subject lighting, you can look at different kinds of accent lighting to make your overall home studio more visually interesting or appealing. Again, there are a number of options here, but if you’re looking for something that also complements your home furnishings and won’t make your house look too much like a studio set, check out some of the more advanced versions of Hue’s connected lighting system.

The Hue Play light bar is a great accent light, for instance. You can pick up a two-pack, which includes two of the full-color connected RGB lights. You’ll need a Hue hub for these to work, but you can also get a starter pack that includes two lights and the hub if you don’t have one yet. I like these because you can easily hide them behind cushions, chairs or other furniture. They provide awesome uplight effects on light-colored walls, especially if you get rid of other ambient light (beyond your main video lights).

To really amplify the effect, consider pairing these with something one the Philips Hue Signe floor or table lamps. The Signe series is a long LED light mounted to a weighted base that provides strong, even accent light with any color you choose. You can sync these with other Hue lights for a consistent look, or mix and max colors for different dynamic effects.

On video, this helps with subject/background separation, and just looks a lot more polished than a standard background, especially when paired with defocused effects when you’re using better-quality cameras. As a side benefit, these lights can be synced to movie and video playback for when you’re consuming video, instead of producing it, for really cool home theater effects.

If you’re satisfied with your lighting setup but are still looking for other pointers, check out our original guide, as well as our deep dive on microphones for better audio quality.

Source:: Crunch Gear

      

How to start a Google Meet session from Gmail

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By Rachel Kaser

Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff. Google has added a feature to Gmail that went missing with the death of Hangouts: namely, the ability for anyone to start a Meet video call right from your inbox. Here’s how it works. Google recently made Meet available free for everyone in the wake of the coronavirus — it’d previously only been available to its business and education G Suite users. The move is just as much an attempt to keep Zoom from capturing their…

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Donald Trump is threatening to punish Twitter. Here’s why everyone should take this seriously

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By Tristan Greene

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday afternoon declaring social media companies to be broadcasters (as opposed to carriers). While the exact language of the EO has yet to be revealed, an alleged draft has circulated on social media throughout the day. If what we’re seeing is close to the final order, it’s safe to say there will be huge ramifications for the tech community and the billions of us who use social media regularly. For your reading pleasure, here’s the draft of Trump’s upcoming EO regarding social media. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/RNDUzZWyxQ — Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff)…

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BeeHero smartens up hives to provide ‘pollination as a service’ with $4M seed round

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By Devin Coldewey

Vast monoculture farms outstripped the ability of bee populations to pollinate them naturally long ago, but the techniques that have arisen to fill that gap are neither precise nor modern. Israeli startup BeeHero aims to change that by treating hives both as living things and IoT devices, tracking health and pollination progress practically in real time. It just raised a $4 million seed round that should help expand its operations into U.S. agriculture.

Honeybees are used around the world to pollinate crops, and there has been growing demand for beekeepers who can provide lots of hives on short notice and move them wherever they need to be. But the process has been hamstrung by the threat of colony collapse, an increasingly common end to hives, often as the result of mite infestation.

Hives must be deployed and checked manually and regularly, entailing a great deal of labor by the beekeepers — it’s not something just anyone can do. They can only cover so much land over a given period, meaning a hive may go weeks between inspections — during which time it could have succumbed to colony collapse, perhaps dooming the acres it was intended to pollinate to a poor yield. It’s costly, time-consuming, and decidedly last-century.

So what’s the solution? As in so many other industries, it’s the so-called Internet of Things. But the way CEO and founder Omer Davidi explains it, it makes a lot of sense.

“This is a math game, a probabilistic game,” he said. “We’ve modeled the problem, and the main factors that affect it are, one, how do you get more efficient bees into the field, and two, what is the most efficient way to deploy them? ”

Normally this would be determined ahead of time and monitored with the aforementioned manual checks. But off-the-shelf sensors can provide a window into the behavior and condition of a hive, monitoring both health and efficiency. You might say it puts the API in apiculture.

“We collect temperature, humidity, sound, there’s an accelerometer. For pollination, we use pollen traps and computer vision to check the amount of pollen brought to the colony,” he said. “We combine this with microclimate stuff and other info, and the behaviors and patterns we see inside the hives correlate with other things. The stress level of the queen, for instance. We’ve tested this on thousands of hives; it’s almost like the bees are telling us, ‘we have a queen problem.’ ”

All this information goes straight to an online dashboard where trends can be assessed, dangerous conditions identified early, and plans made for things like replacing or shifting less or more efficient hives.

The company claims that its readings are within a few percentage points of ground truth measurements made by beekeepers, but of course it can be done instantly and from home, saving everyone a lot of time, hassle, and cost.

The results of better hive deployment and monitoring can be quite remarkable, though Davidi was quick to add that his company is building on a growing foundation of work in this increasingly important domain.

“We didn’t invent this process, it’s been researched for years by people much smarter than us. But we’ve seen increases in yield of 30-35 percent in soybeans, 70-100 percent in apples and cashews in South America,” he said. It may boggle the mind that such immense improvements can come from just better bee management, but the case studies they’ve run have borne it out. Even “self-pollinating” (i.e. by the wind or other measures) crops that don’t need pollinators show serious improvements.

The platform is more than a growth aid and labor saver. Colony collapse is killing honeybees at enormous rates, but if it can be detected early, it can be mitigated and the hive potentially saved. That’s hard to do when time from infection to collapse is a matter of days and you’re inspecting biweekly. BeeHero’s metrics can give early warning of mite infestations, giving beekeepers a head start on keeping their hives alive.

“We’ve seen cases where you can lower mortality by 20-25 percent,” said Davidi. “It’s good for the farmer to improve pollination, and it’s good for the beekeeper to lose less hives.”

That’s part of the company’s aim to provide value up and down the chain, not just a tool for beekeepers to check the temperatures of their hives. “Helping the bees is good, but it doesn’t solve the whole problem. You want to help whole operations,” Davidi said. The aim is “to provide insights rather than raw data: whether the queen is in danger, if the quality of the pollination is different.”

Other startups have similar ideas, but Davidi noted that they’re generally working on a smaller scale, some focused on hobbyists who want to monitor honey production, or small businesses looking to monitor a few dozen hives versus his company’s nearly twenty thousand. BeeHero aims for scale both with robust but off-the-shelf hardware to keep costs low, and by focusing on an increasingly tech-savvy agriculture sector here in the States.

“The reason we’re focused on the U.S. is the adoption of precision agriculture is very high in this market, and I must say it’s a huge market,” Davidi said. “80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, so you have a small area where you can have a big impact.”

The $4M seed round’s investors include Rabo Food and Agri Innovation Fund, UpWest, iAngels, Plug and Play, and J-Ventures.

BeeHero is still very much also working on R&D, exploring other crops, improved metrics, and partnerships with universities to use the hive data in academic studies. Expect to hear more as the market grows and the need for smart bee management starts sounding a little less weird and a lot more like a necessity for modern agriculture.

Source:: Crunch Gear

      

New G-Shock Frogman has high-tech Bluetooth link and a classic analog face

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By Andy Boxall

This stylish redesign of the popular watch is a great blend of new and old

Source:: Digital Trends

      

Apple Watch Series 5 and iPad 10.2 discounted (again) at Amazon

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By Timothy Taylor

As of now, Amazon has knocked off up to $50 off the standard iPad 10.2 and Apple Watch Series 5.

Source:: Digital Trends

      

Researchers use biometrics, including data from the Oura Ring, to predict COVID-19 symptoms in advance

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By Darrell Etherington

A team of researchers from the West Virginia University (WVU) Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI), along with WVU’s Medicine department and staff from Oura Health have developed a platform they say can be used to anticipate the onset of COVID-19 symptoms in otherwise healthy people up to three days in advance. This can help with screening of pre-symptomatic individuals, the researchers suggest, enabling earlier testing and potentially reducing the exposure risk among front-line healthcare and essential workers.

The study involved using biometric data gathered by the Oura Ring, a consumer wearable that looks like a normal metallic ring, but that includes sensors to monitor a number of physiological metrics, including body temperature, sleep patterns, activity, heart rate and more. RNI and WVU Medical researchers combined this data with physiological, cognitive and behavioral biometric info from around 600 healthcare workers and first responders.

Participants in the study wore the Oura Ring, and provided additional data that was then used to develop AI-based models to anticipate the onset of symptoms before they physically manifested. While these are early results from a phase-one study, and yet to be peer-reviewed, the researchers say that their results showed a 90% accuracy rate on predicting the occurrence of symptoms, including fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue and more, all of which could indicate that someone has contracted COVID-19. While that doesn’t mean that individuals have the disease, a flag from the platform could mean they seek testing up to three days before symptoms appear, which in turn would mean three fewer days potentially exposing others around them to infection.

Next up, the study hopes to expand to cover as many as 10,000 participants across a number of different institutions in multiple states, with other academic partners on board to support the expansion. The study was fully funded by the RNI and their supporters, with Oura joining strictly in a facilitating capacity and to assist with hardware for deployment.

Many projects have been undertaken to see whether predictive models could help anticipate COVID-19 onset prior to the expression of symptoms, or in individuals who present as mostly or entirely asymptomatic based on general observation. This early result from RNI suggests that it is indeed possible, and that hardware already available to the general public could play an important role in making it possible.

Source:: Crunch Gear

      

New OxygenOS Update For OnePlus 7/7T Brings Epic Games Store In India

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By Anmol Sachdeva

OnePlus is on a spree of releasing new software updates these days. The latest in the line is updates for OnePlus 7 and 7T series smartphones. OnePlus has released OxygenOS 10.3.3 for OnePlus 7, 7 Pro, and 7T devices in India and OxygenOS 10.0.11 for the OnePlus 7T global variant. The latest OxygenOS updates for […]

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‘Secret Bunker’ In Call Of Duty Mobile Season 7 Hints At Mysterious Storyline

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By Shivam Gulati

Recently, Call of Duty Mobile released the Season 7 update for its test servers. The amount of content that came with the update left Call of Duty Mobile fans excited for the next season. So far, it looks Season 7 is going to be the most crucial season for COD Mobile; not just because of the […]

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HBO Max has launched — here’s what you need to get started

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By Rachel Kaser

Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff. The time has come: HBO Max, the latest competitor in the streaming wars, has launched. You can sign up for the 7-day free trial now and get started watching some classic films or some excellent TV shows. Here’s how you can get started on the new platform. The wait is finally over. #HBOMax is officially here. If you need me, I’ll be streaming. https://t.co/uOL8RByhNp — HBO Max (@hbomax) May 27, 2020 HBO Max is $15/month for…

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Source:: The Next Web