The growth has been bolstered by what Considine calls a “soft rollout.”American Googlers were coming to the U.K. version in droves, she says, but the format wasn’t ideal for them There was opportunity to improve.Studying the patterns and conducting audience research, the U.S. site has changed obvious elements-pricing items in U.S. Dollars instead of British Pounds, for example-along with some more obscure features-“The word ‘flavor’ has a ‘u’ in the U.K., so we had to make sure we took that out,” Considine says.To this point, expansion plans have, of course, been based on market considerations, but location has been a factor as well. With an October launch in Australia-the third TechRadar site-the site’s network is now staffed 24 hours a day.Breaking stories originating in the U.K. will be passed off to TechRadar staff in San Francisco at around 7 p.m. GMT. In turn, the Australian staff will pick up where the San Francisco team left off when they go home at 7 p.m. PT, and so on.South America has been posited as the next market, although Considine could not confirm whether plans had advanced past the testing stage.PlayStation: The Official Magazine Shutting DownDespite the success of TechRadar, another Future property, Playstation: The Official Magazine, will shut down after the holiday issue is released this winter.An official statement will not be released.The shuttering of PTOM comes months after Future announced that it would also cease publication of Nintendo Power at the end of the year.”It’s not the space, I think that the space is amazing,” Considine says. “We’re just going through a console life-cycle change, so you’re really just seeing the space in general is evolving, and I actually think it’s only going to get better.”PTOM and Nintendo Power have been in publication since 1997 and 1988, respectively. PTOM has a circulation of 139,000, according to Future.To stay updated on the latest FOLIO: news, become a Facebook fan and follow us on Twitter! It was a mixed week for Future plc who announced record growth for TechRadar’s U.S. website, while also revealing that it would close long-time gamer title, PlayStation: The Official Magazine.Just six months after its launch, Future’s U.S. incarnation of TechRadar.com reached 5.4 million unique visitors in September, surpassing the established U.K. site audience by more than 1 million. Although the size of the markets varies greatly, Rachelle Considine, Future U.S. COO, is happy with the results.”I don’t think we expected to grow this quickly,” she says.
Share your voice The Apple Core The iPhone X makes a comeback, catch it while you can $999 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it $999 Mobile Phones Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Best Buy CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 6:16 Sprint See It $999 • See All See It Apple iPhone XS See It Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Apple’s Group FaceTime bug gets flagged by US lawmakersApple can’t seem to shake off the ongoing negative criticism surrounding its FaceTime bug. Since the news broke last week, Apple has issued a patch with the release of iOS 12.1.4 that fixes the security flaw that allowed callers to eavesdrop on other people. The company has also issued an official statement apologizing to “customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue…” and said its “committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”Apple further tried to make amends by paying a visit to Grant Thompson, the Arizona teen who first spotted the flaw, at his home. In an interview with CNBC, the teen’s mom mentioned a “high-level Apple exec” had thanked her son and mentioned he could be eligible for Apple’s bug bounty program, which offers a cash reward of up to $200,000 to researchers who find and report vulnerabilities in specific Apple software. Apple has since confirmed the company’s plans to compensate the teen, but didn’t disclosed the exact sum. But the mea culpa may not be enough to quell critics. Last week, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced she would open a formal investigation to find out why Apple didn’t give users a heads-up about the security flaw, and why it took the company so long to address the issue. Congressional lawmakers also penned a letter to Tim Cook requesting more information about the flaw to understand the extent to which it compromised users security. The letter, signed by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-New Jersey), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), chairwoman of the Digital Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, said they believe Apple has not been as transparent as this serious issue requires.iOS 13 could bring Dark Mode and more emojisThe Bloomberg report also mentions a new dark mode in the works for the iPhone, similar to what Apple rolled out for its computers with MacOS, which uses a dark color scheme instead of the traditional white. Dark mode on the iPhone would make late-night screentime a lot less jarring and would look especially good on the OLED screens of the iPhone X, XS and XS Max, which are able to produce true blacks. This feature would likely come with the update to iOS 13 in September, with an announcement coming at Apple’s Developers Conference (WWDC) in June of 2019. Emojipedia’s take on the 230 new emojis coming to the iPhone. Emojipedia Also rumored to be coming in iOS 13: 230 new emojis. Some notable additions, according to the Unicode Consortium which approves these new emojis, include: people with disabilities (with a wheelchair and probing cane), interracial and gender inclusive couples, and a some pretty essential members of the animal kingdom, like the sloth, flamingo and a skunk. And finally, iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR users may not have to wait until September to get new characters on their keyboards. The Public beta of iOS 12.2 gave us a preview of the adorable giraffe, shark, owl and warthog Animojis that could be coming to these devices in the next few weeks. As if you needed another excuse to make weird faces at your phone. First published Feb. 7, 5:01 p.m. PTUpdate, Feb. 9 at 3:30am PT: Adds confirmation that Apple will compensate the teen who discovered the FaceTime flaw. More Apple news from the weekApple retail chief Angela Ahrendts is leaving the company in AprilApple Watch fall detector credited for saving Norwegian man after a serious fallApple iPhones are now showing AT&T’s fake ‘5G E’ network tooIn Qualcomm-Apple fight, judge limits scope of damagesApple reportedly agrees to pay France nearly $600M in back taxes Comments Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors The 2019 iPhones are rumored to have three camera lenses on their backs, but what could they be used for? The iPhone X has been spotted again on the Apple Store at a discounted price. Meanwhile, the FaceTime bug refuses to go away. Here’s a roundup of the top iPhone and Apple headlines from this week’s episode of Apple Core.What that third camera could mean for the 2019 iPhone It’s only February and we’re already starting to get a pretty good sense of what the 2019 iPhones (or iPhone 11s) will look like. Multiple rumors point to a very similar design to last year’s lineup, with a smaller notch on the screen, and a possible switch to USB-C as its port of choice rather than Lightning. We’ve also heard the pricier iPhone 11 Max would have three cameras on the back. But until now, we weren’t exactly sure what that third camera was going to be used for.A recent Bloomberg report shed some light, however. According to the report, Apple originally was said to be working on a 3D camera system for the 2019 iPhone, but then had to push it out to 2020. The new camera could scan at a range of up to 15 feet, much farther than the current True Depth camera system used on the front of the phone for FaceID, which only scans out to a range of up to 50 cm according to the report. The longer range could open up the phone to more augmented-reality features and improve portrait mode on stills and perhaps video. The third lens on this year’s iPhone, at least according to Bloomberg, would likely be used to capture a wider field of view and would only be coming to the higher-end Max model.The iPhone X makes a sneaky comebackAfter disappearing from the Apple Store without a trace in September 2018, Apple has begun selling its 10th anniversary iPhone X online again. The caveat: you’ll have to search for a refurbished model while supplies lasts. Apple began selling refurbished iPhone X’s online. Screenshot Apple.com Apple stopped selling the iPhone X shortly after releasing last year’s iPhone lineup: the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR, presumably to prevent the X from cannibalizing sales of its new phones. The refurbished iPhone X phones were first spotted this week by MacRumors and appear to be selling out fast.And though they are discounted from the original $999 price, the discounts aren’t that great when you compare them to the iPhone XR. An unlocked iPhone X with 64GB of storage goes for $769. That’s only $230 less than the iPhone XS with the same storage capacity, but $20 more that the 64GB iPhone XR. And even though it’s an entire year older, the 256GB model is the exact same price as the equivalent iPhone XR. The iPhone X is smaller than the XR — if that’s what you’re into — and has a dual rear camera and an OLED screen, compared to the XR’s single rear camera and LCD screen. Apple Boost Mobile reading • What the 2019 iPhone’s rumored three rear cameras could be used for Now playing: Watch this: 6 $999 See it Tags Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? iOS 12 Apple
Propelling the spread of facial recognition systems are huge leaps in artificial intelligence, the technology that seeks to give computers some of the ability, versatility and even creativity of human thinking. The biggest improvements have come through a specific area of AI called neural networks, inspired by the actual workings of human brain cells. Hardware and software improvements enabled an approach called deep learning — multiple layers of digital neurons that provide increasingly refined image analysis. Overall, it’s a profound change. Recognizing and interpreting human faces is so important to us that whole sections of our brains are devoted to it. As we teach computers those skills, our interactions with them become more convenient — less like submitting database commands and more like dealing with the natural world in which we evolved. On the flip side, facial recognition can undercut privacy as our anonymity evaporates. How neural networks work In a training phase, neural networks scrutinize vast numbers of images of faces, learning on their own what’s important in the recognition process. It’s more accurate than the old way, with programmers describing what eyes, noses and mouths look like. “Some layers capture color and texture and gradients,” said Amit Roy-Chowdhury, chair of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Riverside. “As you go deeper, they capture the shape of different parts of the object and ultimately the shape of the object itself.” This is part of a CNET special report exploring the benefits and pitfalls of facial recognition.After training, neural networks create a stripped-down mathematical representation for each face. That representation can be compared rapidly with those of other faces, letting a facial recognition system decide if a person entering an office is on an authorized employee list or raise an alert when a potential shoplifter also appears on police arrest records. To work well, facial recognition systems need images with well-illuminated, clear faces that give a neural network detailed, accurate data. That’s why passport photos require even lighting, plain backgrounds, neutral expressions and subjects facing straight toward the camera. “You try to make your input as consistent as possible so your analysis can be easier,” said Raj Minhas, leader of Xerox’s PARC Interaction and Analytics Lab. Errors in the system Facial recognition systems are getting better, but can still return errors. False positives match a face when no match should exist, such as when a person’s image isn’t in the database. A false negative occurs when the system misses a match it should have made. Top-notch facial recognition systems today are 99.7 percent accurate with good lighting conditions, a 2018 study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology found. One way to reduce errors is to tune the system by pushing some of the data apart to make it clearer for the neural net, reducing the likelihood of a false positive, said Marios Savvides, director of the CyLab Biometrics Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Savvides’ team is also blending modern AI with an older approach called correlation filters that allows neural networks to improve facial recognition accuracy when faces are obscured, poorly lit or facing away from the camera. Overall, Savvides’ team is able to reconstruct faces even when they’re looking away or obscured by breathing masks, he said. “We live in a time where AI can surpass the human brain’s capability,” he said. Another way to improve facial recognition is to pair it with other attributes, such as fingerprints, voice prints and other biometric data, or factors such as passwords. That might not work well when a system is just scanning people walking into a store, but it’s pretty common for controlled situations where people are logging into a network. Artificial intelligence (AI) Laptops Tech Industry Security 16 Share your voice Facial recognition: Get to know the tech that gets to… Comments Now playing: Watch this: Royal Caribbean Cruises has begun using facial recognition systems to speed passengers on their way through security and ID checks. Royal Caribbean Cruises You and your family are at the pier, giddy to board the massive cruise ship docked nearby. Ahead lies a week of sunny beaches, indulgent buffet feasts and lounging around doing absolutely nothing. And then you see the long lines for security, baggage and ID checks. It often takes 75 minutes for passengers to check in, but the Pool Deck looks a lifetime away. Royal Caribbean Cruises thinks it has the answer to getting passengers aboard faster: AI-powered facial recognition. In December, passengers started taking part in a pilot program at a company embarkation point in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Passengers take selfies with the company’s app, then at the port, an AI-powered database matches their faces. After a quick double-check, Royal Caribbean’s staff members direct guests to their cabins. The result: all-time high customer satisfaction. “We wanted to turn what was a cold transaction into a really welcoming moment,” said Jay Schneider, who runs the Miami company’s digital operations. The goal is to get passengers “from car to bar in 10 minutes.” Royal Caribbean Cruises is hardly alone. Facial recognition technology is used to spot friends on Facebook and unlock your iPhone. It’s been rolled out in airports, at cash registers and on home security systems. It may soon be inescapable. We live in a time where AI can surpass the human brain’s capability. Marios Savvides, director of the CyLab Biometrics Center at Carnegie Mellon University 5:11 Tags “We call it irrefutable identity,” said Vishal Gupta, chief technology officer at Unisys, which sells biometric authentication technology to the US Customs and Border Protection agency, among other customers. Unisys’ facial recognition system alone is 99 percent accurate, but with an approach it calls fusion that blends in other biometric factors, the company reaches 99.9 percent or 99.99 percent accuracy. Facial recognition promises convenience, but it isn’t without concerns. Privacy advocates worry it will usher in an era of Big Brother monitoring or companies secretly tracking you. It also raises questions about AI bias; if you train a system using images of mostly white people, a common practice, the system might have difficulty recognizing people of color. Bias can creep into data sets in other ways, too, based on the data sets that are used to train the AI. If the photos used to train an AI show women cooking, the system might automatically conclude that women are likely to be in the kitchen. “There’s no good way to know your data set is biased until you notice it failing,” said Broad Daylight security consultant Nick Merrill. “And by the time a biased algorithm wreaks real-world havoc, it’s too late.” Still, many companies are thinking about how to use facial recognition to enhance the experience of their customers, visitors, patients and guests. They want facial recognition to make interactions easier, not creepy. Hello, hospital Northwell Health, which serves 3.5 million patients and is the largest health care provider in New York, is using a facial recognition program to streamline patient visits, reduce clerical errors and ultimately improve health. Its system, whose hardware and software are made by RightPatient, uses sophisticated cameras that photograph faces and irises of patients. When a patient arrives for a checkup, the receptionist’s computer confirms the patient’s identity and pulls up his or her chart for the doctor. If there’s no record, the patient is enrolled with an ID check. We’re literally putting a face with a name. Laura Semlies, vice president, Northwell Health The system offers a number of advantages besides a smoother arrival in an office with less fumbling for ID. It’s less susceptible to problems of duplicate records for the same patient. If you’re already in the system, it’ll recognize you even if you got married and changed your name. Identity theft — think people trying to snatch prescriptions — is reduced because you can’t fake a face. In emergencies like car accidents, the system would be able to identify an unconscious patient so that nurses and doctors could find medical histories and family contacts. “We’re literally putting a face with a name,” said Laura Semlies, vice president of digital patient experience. “It just makes for a better clinical relationship.” Biometric data is protected with encryption and is subject to the same strict privacy limits as other health data, she said. Only about 12,000 of Northwell’s 3.5 million patients are enrolled so far, but now the network is spreading it more broadly around its facilities. Facial recognition ahoy Royal Caribbean Cruises has twice as many passengers as Northwell has patients, and more of them, too, will see facial recognition as the program expands, project leader Schneider said. After finishing selfie and passport-scanning homework, passengers using the optional system can head to the port. As they arrive, passengers see a live view of themselves captured by cameras arrayed across the entrance. They’re arranged to avoid airport-style bottlenecks. Behind the scenes, a computer matches their faces to the ones on record. Once there’s a match, passengers see a green box around their faces on the screens. A human agent verifies the matches, greets the passengers by name and checks their passports. Royal Caribbean is required to have passenger photos, so the facial recognition system doesn’t significantly add to the data the company has. The company deletes passenger photos when the cruise ends, said Schneider, the cruise company’s digital chief. The result is a system that whisks passengers aboard and gets the holiday started more quickly than before. “Guests didn’t feel like they were on vacation until day 2,” Schneider said. “We wanted to give you that day back.” Originally published at 5:00 a.m. PT.
This angle clearly shows the bails being broken before Dhoni makes his creaseiplt20.comThe Indian Premier League (IPL) Final turned out as just the type of classic it was expected to be. Mumbai Indians led by Rohit Sharma found a way to defend just nine runs in the last over of the innings and secured their fourth title.But the biggest talking point that emerged from the match was not the individual brilliance of any one player but the decision of the third umpire to give Mahendra Singh Dhoni run out at a crucial stage of the game.There is an intense debate on social media about whether Dhoni’s bat was behind the line when the bails were dislodged or not. The problem with making the decision was the fact that one angle showed the former India captain clearly not having his bat behind the line when the bails get dislodged while the other was blocked by a fielder. After deliberating for a long time, the TV umpire eventually decided that Dhoni was out. This wicket, arguably, turned the match in MI’s favour. Many CSK fans have argued that the bails need to be completely dislodged before the batsman makes the crease for him to be run out, and since the bails were only partially removed from the stumps at the when MSD was short of his ground, the umpire should have adjudged him not out. Mumbai Indians with the trophyTwitter/Mumbai IndiansWas the decision right?So, was Dhoni really out? Or, was he wrongly adjudged dismissed? Let’s look at the rules first. The MCC Law on run out (38.1) says, “Either batsman is out Run out, except as in 38.2, if, at any time while the ball is in play, he/she is out of his/her ground and his/her wicket is fairly put down by the action of a fielder even though No ball has been called, except in the circumstances of 220.127.116.11, and whether or not a run is being attempted.”So, the key words there are “wicket is fairly put down.” However, this seemed too vague, so the ICC which can frame the rules of the game, decided to make things clearer. The rules state that the bails have to be ‘broken’ before the batsman grounds his bat behind the crease to achieve a run out.So, bails being broken is important. Some people have a misconception that the bails need to be completely removed from the stumps. But if one has been watching cricket over the years, he would realise that umpires mainly look at when the bails are disturbed and not necessarily when they are completely detached.One of the angles of Dhoni’s run out clearly shows that his bat was short of the crease when the bails were lifted. This, by the standards of cricket, is sufficient for them to be considered broken. So, it is clear, Dhoni was out and CSK fans cannot crib about it. Let’s give credit to both teams for putting up a great show and hope that similar excitement awaits us in the World Cup as well.
Ex-diplomat Salome Zurabishvili hailed her election as Georgia’s first woman president on Thursday but opposition leaders denounced the result as fraud and called for protests.With all votes counted, the country’s election commission said the French-born Zurabishvili, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had taken 59.52 per cent of the second-round vote.Her rival Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), took 40.48 per cent.Zurabishvili said her election was a step forward for women and a move closer to Europe for the ex-Soviet republic.”It is now important to show that this country has chosen Europe,” she told journalists after her win. “For that purpose, Georgians have elected a European woman president.””It feels great,” she said, pointing out that she was one of a small number of women presidents in the world.But opposition leaders — who have accused authorities of vote-buying and ballot stuffing — refused to accept the result.”We do not recognise the election results, we demand the holding of snap parliamentary polls,” Vashadze said in televised remarks, calling for “a mass peaceful demonstration” in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday.The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as it seeks European Union and NATO membership.It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020, when Georgian Dream is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.The party is the creation of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, who many see as the small country’s de facto ruler.Flamboyant ex-president Saakashvili, who lives in exile in the Netherlands, claimed “mass electoral fraud” even before official results were released.”The oligarch has stamped out Georgian democracy and the institutions of elections,” he said on the pro-opposition Rustavi-2 television channel, referring to Ivanishvili.”I urge Georgians to defend our freedom, democracy and the law. I call on you to start mass peaceful rallies and demand snap parliamentary polls.”International observers said there were problems with the election but that overall it had been “competitive”.- Increasing tensions -“(The) election was competitive and candidates were able to campaign freely, however one side enjoyed an undue advantage,” monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a report after the vote.The elections were “well administered”, they said, but raised concerns about misuse of administrative resources that “blurred the line between party and state”.Tensions increased ahead of the second round, as the opposition accused the government of voter intimidation and claimed that ruling party activists had attacked Vashadze campaign staff.Zurabishvili in turn said she and her children had received death threats through text and voice messages from people affiliated with the UNM.Vashadze, a 60-year-old career diplomat, had criticised Ivanishvili’s “informal oligarch rule” amid growing discontent over the government’s failure to tackle poverty.The vote was Georgia’s last direct leadership poll as it transitions to a parliamentary form of governance. The first round of the presidential election on 28 October saw Zurabishvili take 39 per cent of the vote, against 38 per cent for Vashadze.Street protests against the results could spark concern for the country, which has seen civil wars, mass demonstrations and unrest since gaining its independence in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union.A smooth presidential transition, however, would be welcomed by many as a sign of stability in Georgia, which is emerging as a tourism hotspot and hopes for more foreign investment.- Daughter of refugees -Zurabishvili, a 66-year-old independent lawmaker, is the daughter of refugees who fled Georgia in 1921 for Paris after the country’s annexation by the Red Army.Her career in France’s foreign service culminated in a posting to Tbilisi, where then-president Saakashvili appointed her foreign minister.But Zurabishvili quickly made enemies among the parliamentary majority, with MPs and some senior diplomats accusing her of arrogance and impulsiveness.When she was sacked after a year in the job, thousands took to the streets of the capital to protest her dismissal.On Thursday morning she received blessings from the influential head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, and was later seen by passersby sipping coffee with her children on a sunny terrace in central Tbilisi.The French foreign ministry said in a statement that Paris was looking forward to working with Zurabishvili “to further strengthen” relations.