Drone registration coming to the UK



UK government plans to require drones weighing 250g or more be registered; drone owners will need to take a drone safety awareness test 


Drones will have to be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests under new rules to better regulate their growing use, the government announced today (22 July 2017).

Owners of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to register details of their drones to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly.

Users may be able to register online or through apps, under plans being explored by the government. The move follows safety research that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters.

In addition, a new drone safety awareness test means owners will have to prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations.

Drones represent an exciting opportunity for the UK, are already of substantial benefit to business and the public and are central to the government’s Industrial strategy.

They can help boost productivity and safety, aid the emergency services and bring pleasure to those who use them for fun. We want Britain to be the first choice for businesses, scientists, innovators and investors in technology.

The government also plans to bring forward and expand the use of ‘geo-fencing’ in the UK that acts like an invisible shield around buildings or sensitive areas. The technology, which works on GPS coordinates, is built into the drone and stops it from entering zones such as prison or airport space.



Image credit: flyertalk.com


YouTube Video Editor and Photo slideshows to close September 20



YouTube to shutter Video Editor and photo slideshow tools Sep. 20; Enhancements feature, which lets users trim, blur, and filter uploaded videos, will live on



Youtube: We wanted to let you know that the Video Editor (youtube.com/editor) and Photo slideshows will go away on September 20th, 2017. We’ve seen limited usage of these features, so we’re retiring them to focus our efforts on building new tools and improving on other existing features. You’ll have two months to finalize any video projects before we turn off the features completely. After that you will no longer have access to projects in the Video Editor, but any videos already published with the Video Editor will not be affected.

We are keeping the Enhancements feature in Video Manager. With Enhancements, you can continue to enhance your uploaded videos with edits such as trimming, blurring and filters. Other things that are NOT going away:
- Trimming
- Blurring
- Audio Library
- Filters
- End Screens
- Cards
- Subtitles
- Sound effects
- Quick fixes (stabilize, contrast, slow motion, saturation, etc)

What IS going away on September 20, 2017:
- The tool specifically at the destination youtube.com/editor (raw video clip editing)
- The Photo slideshow tool

You can download your own videos from YouTube in 720p or use Google Takeout to retrieve your original files, in case you are looking to remix your uploaded videos into a new video.





Bixby voice support is rolling out to US Samsung Galaxy S8 users today



Samsung's Bixby voice assistant is rolling out to all Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus users in the US today



Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced that the voice-based feature of Bixby will be available starting today, for Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners in the U.S. Bixby is a smarter way to use a Samsung phone, enabling people to get more done with their smartphone. With this Bixby update, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ owners will be able to navigate through select phone apps, services and settings with a combination of voice commands and touch.

“There are over 10,000 functions on our smartphones, but each day, people may use less than five percent of them. The features on your phone are only useful if you know how to find them. Our goal with Bixby is to make it easier to use our phones, creating the best possible user experience for our customers. That’s why we created Bixby – an intuitive new way to do more things with your phone,” says Injong Rhee, Executive Vice President, Head of R&D, Software and Services of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics.




Google brings algorithm-powered feed to its iOS and Android apps



Google's search app on Android and iOS gets an algorithmic news feed of articles, videos, and other links; feed allows topic follows and other customizations 



As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.” At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways—social media, news apps, talking to friends—it’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that’s changing.


People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind.




Google launches Hire, a new service for helping businesses recruit



Google publicly launches Hire, a tool to help small and medium-sized businesses manage the job application process, for G Suite users in the US



It’s no secret that attracting top talent is a key driver of business success. But whether you’re looking to recruit a business analyst, bring on an assistant or hire an experienced auto mechanic, building the right teams with the right talent takes time and money.

According to a study by Bersin by Deloitte, it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position and costs about $4,000 to interview, schedule and assess each candidate. At the end of the day, that adds up. Now, Hire–an app designed to help small and medium businesses recruit more effectively–can help.




Google Glass Enterprise Edition officially announced



Google announces Glass Enterprise Edition, which can be used with prescription lenses, has a faster processor and WiFi, an 8MP camera, and better security



Jay Kothari, Project Lead, Glass: Back in 2014, my team was at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio, watching how mechanics assemble and repair airplane engines. Airplane maintenance is a complex and specialized task, and any errors can lead to expensive delays or having to conduct the entire maintenance process all over again. The mechanics moved carefully, putting down tools and climbing up and down ladders to consult paper instructions in between steps.
Fast forward to today, and GE’s mechanics now use Glass running software from our partner Upskill, which shows them instructions with videos, animations and images right in their line of sight so they don’t have to stop work to check their binders or computer to know what to do next. Since using Glass with Upskill, they estimate that they have not only reduced errors at key points in the assembly and overhaul of engines, but that they have improved their mechanics’ efficiency by between 8–12%.




Microsoft Releases LinkedIn App for Windows 10




Microsoft is bringing one of its LinkedIn goals to life today with the launch of a dedicated LinkedIn app for Windows 10


Today, LinkedIn announced we are bringing the LinkedIn experience that millions of professionals around the world use on the web to the Windows Store with an all new Windows 10 app. With the app, we are giving Windows 10 customers a better way to keep up with what’s happening in their professional world that is accessible and tailored for Windows 10. The app is beginning to roll out to the Windows Store. If you’d like to download the app, launch the Windows Store and search for the “LinkedIn”. If you don’t see the app in the Store or you’re not able to download the app yet, you will soon as we will be rolling out the app globally by the end of July.


The LinkedIn app for Windows 10 provides a more engaging and fully integrated LinkedIn experience that is quickly accessible from your Start menu and taskbar. In the Action Center and Live Tile, the app delivers real-time notifications, including new messages, insights on who you’re meeting with next, trending news in your industry, and timely updates on your network.







UK plans age verification for porn websites from 2018



UK government announces that porn websites will have to verify UK users are aged 18+ by April 2018; users may be asked to verify with credit card details


Mandatory age verification to view online pornography, a crackdown on ticket bots, and new subtitling requirements for video on demand services are are among the measures being taken forward today as work begins on implementing the new Digital Economy Act

Digital Minister Matt Hancock has today signed the commencement order for the Digital Economy Act 2017 which achieved Royal Assent in April. The Act places the consumer at its heart and will be a vital piece of legislation in making sure the rights and interests of the individual are protected and strengthened in an increasingly digital society.




Skype updated on Windows 10 for all, brings new emoji reaction features, more



Microsoft promises improvements after backlash over Skype's Snapchat-esque redesign on Android and iOS, to restore native sharing and the status icon

Skype: Experiencing life together with the people that you care about is what drives us to look for new ways to connect. And in June, the introduction of the next generation of Skype brought more ways to stay in touch. It was a big change, and we’ve received a lot of great feedback from the Skype community. We want you to know we’ve been listening, updating, and responding to your feedback. We’re committed to providing you with an amazing experience we know only this newest generation of Skype can deliver.





Sunday, July 16, 2017

Prime Day delivers a 60% increase in profits for Amazon sellers



Amazon Prime Day drove record levels of Prime sign-ups and sales, with sales growing 60% YoY; the Echo Dot was the most popular purchase among Prime members 


On a day with incredible deals reserved exclusively for Prime members, sales on July 11 surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making it the biggest day ever in Amazon history. With hundreds of thousands of deals, this year’s Prime Day was too big for 24 hours – so Prime members had 30 hours to shop. The Prime Day 2017 event grew by more than 60 percent compared to the same 30 hours last year, and sales growth by small businesses and entrepreneurs was even higher. More new members joined Prime on July 11 than on any single day in Amazon history. Tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017, more than 50 percent higher than the prior year.

Prime members’ most popular purchase was the Echo Dot, which was not only the best-selling Amazon device this Prime Day, but also the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon globally. Prime Day 2017 was also the biggest sales event ever forAmazon devices in the U.S. and around the world, including record sales for Echo, Fire tablets and Kindle devices. The all new Element 55-inch 4K Ultra HD smart LED TV – Amazon Fire TV Edition was the best-selling TV deal in Amazon history – selling through record units in less than four hours.





Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Microsoft launches new lab to explore multi-purpose AI



Microsoft launches Microsoft Research AI lab in Redmond, involving 100+ AI scientists, focused on developing general purpose AI, challenging Google's DeepMind 



When the field of artificial intelligence was founded more than five decades ago, computer scientists could only dream of the type of capabilities that an average consumer might now take for granted.

We are living in a golden age of AI advances. Every day, it seems like computer scientists are making more progress in areas such as computer vision, deep learning, speech and natural language processing — areas of AI research that have challenged the field’s foremost experts for decades.

Those breakthroughs are bringing to life tools including Microsoft Translator that were, only recently, the stuff of fantasy and science fiction. And these tools are, in turn, helping people in so many ways, by breaking down language barriers and facilitating communication.

The intersection of AI with people and society presents us with incredible opportunity and demanding challenges.

As AI breakthroughs abound, we as a technology company have the chance to channel all those innovations into tools that help people do their jobs better and more efficiently, and that solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Using AI, we are already finding better ways to do things as seemingly narrow as determining what email warrants your attention and as astonishingly complex as discovering a personalized cancer treatment.

We are responsible for building AI advances that amplify human ingenuity, and also that reflect our shared societal values and expectations. The AI tools and services we create must assist humanity and augment our capabilities.

The people who use those tools should be able to understand how they work and what data they rely on. AI can be more useful if the people who created and use the tools can explain how they work and why decisions are made.

These AI advances should be as inclusive and unbiased as possible.






Facebook brings Live broadcasting to its Spaces virtual reality app



Facebook adds Facebook Live support to its social VR app Spaces, allowing Oculus Rift users to broadcast their VR hangouts on the social network


Thanks to the immersive power of virtual reality, Facebook Spaces lets you feel like you’re spending time with your friends in person — no matter where they are. Starting today, you can share live video on Facebook from Facebook Spaces to give the people you care about a window into your VR world. Bring more friends along for the ride!


Facebook Live is already one of the most immediate and interactive ways to share moments with friends. By going live from Facebook Spaces, you can share a whole new kind of moment with friends and family directly from VR. Whether you’re touring exotic locations across the globe in 360, collaborating on a virtual marker masterpiece, or riffing on a viral video, the people who matter most to you can now follow along in real time on Facebook.




Microsoft unveils new Outlook for iOS and Android



Microsoft unveils new Outlook for iOS and Android with quick reply, improved sidebar, and improves search to include attachments, travel plans, deliveries, more


Today, we’re launching exciting new changes to Outlook on iOS and Android. It’s the Outlook you know and love, with a redesigned conversation experience and the ability to quickly switch between accounts and browse folders. In addition, new intelligent search capabilities, powered by Microsoft Graph, are coming soon.

People come to Outlook every day to stay on top of what’s important—whether they need to read and reply to a crucial conversation, navigate through their folders or find a critical email. We’re humbled and driven by the stories and feedback we hear from people using the apps. These insights from across the globe, different industries and people from all walks of life drive us every day to make Outlook effortless for all these needs—so it’s even easier for you to communicate, collaborate and manage your time while on the go.





Logitech Announces $85 Million Deal To Acquire Gaming Headset Maker Astro



Logitech acquires headset maker Astro Gaming for $85M in all-cash deal to expand into game console market


Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced that it has agreed to acquire ASTRO Gaming, a leading console gaming brand with a history of producing award-winning headsets for professional gamers and enthusiasts. Logitech and ASTRO, together, is the number one maker of headsets, mice, keyboards and streaming webcams for PC and console gamers.

"ASTRO is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console esports athletes," said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. "It's a perfect complement to Logitech G's focus on PC gaming and we couldn't be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere."

Jordan Reiss, co-founder and president of ASTRO, added, “The whole team at ASTRO has always held Logitech and Logitech G products in the highest regard, so I’m ecstatic we are joining forces. ASTRO’s brand strength combined with Logitech G's unrivaled technology and global distribution network is going to bring our products to even more gamers around the world.”












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