Tech News Feed

Google Photos now has the ability to search for text in images

Engadget - Fri, 2019-08-23 06:01
Google is making it much easier to look for specific images with text through its Photos app. Over the years, the tech giant released various object recognition features powered by Google Lens for its backup application, so it doesn't end up a photo...

Amazon Will No Longer Use Tips To Pay Delivery Drivers' Base Salaries

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-08-23 06:00
Amazon is ending its practice of using customer tips to pay its Flex drivers' wages, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times and confirmed by The Verge. From the report: The practice came under fire when it was revealed back in February that Amazon (along with other delivery services like Instacart and DoorDash) were using customer tips to pay delivery drivers their base pay, letting the corporations in question save money at the expense of compensating their workers. Now, Amazon confirms that the initial minimum payment for each delivery will come entirely from Amazon, with driver's tips going directly to the driver on top of that -- i.e., the almost universally understood intent of how tips should work in the first place, where they're a bonus for a specific person on top of their base pay from the company for which they work. "Amazon will always contribute at least $15 per scheduled hour to driver pay, and often more, based on location and demand," says Amazon spokesperson Rena Lunak. "As always, for deliveries with tipping opportunities, drivers will receive 100% of the tips." The difference now is that the tips will be in addition to that base pay, instead of being part of it. The new payment policy is set to start today, the company confirmed. In an email to The Verge, Amazon clarified that it would be contributing a minimum of "at least $15-$19 per scheduled hour, depending on location," -- seemingly down from the original promise of $18 to $25 that Amazon Flex's site used to offer, although it's unclear how much of that old number came from Amazon and how much was from worker's tips. For its part, Amazon does say that it's "raising" its minimum contribution to those new numbers, which would imply that it previously contributed less than $15 an hour before -- again, depending on the location. Amazon declined to say what its minimum contribution was previously. The news comes after DoorDash is still pocketing workers' tips almost a month after it promised to stop.

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Disney+ docu-series will focus on the people behind its movies and parks

Engadget - Fri, 2019-08-23 05:02
Disney+ will have access to Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Fox's impressive film library, but it needs a wide variety of other content to compete with Netflix's endless scroll. The entertainment giant has dropped a clue at what we can expect to see with t...

Amazon will no longer use drivers' tips to cover their base pay

Engadget - Fri, 2019-08-23 03:22
Amazon has pledged to be more transparent and to tell its its Flex delivery drivers how much they actually earn, according to an email sent to contractors as seen by the LA Times. Perhaps more importantly, the e-commerce giant will no longer dip into...

Enter for your chance to win* a Fluance audio system - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-08-23 03:01
The grand prize includes a turntable, powered speakers and a Bluetooth speaker.

Vaping Is Suspected In Severe Lung Illnesses

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-08-23 03:00
U.S. health authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the cases of 153 people, mostly teenagers and young adults, who developed several lung illnesses after using electronic cigarettes (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source). The Wall Street Journal reports: The cases have occurred in 16 states over the past two months, with many of the injured rushing to emergency rooms with difficulty breathing and other symptoms. No deaths have been reported, but some patients were so ill they spent days in intensive-care units on mechanical ventilators, the health authorities said. What exactly is causing the acute illnesses is unknown, though health experts suspect vaping plays a role. Vaping refers to the use of an electronic cigarette to inhale. Many of the injured have told doctors or health authorities they were vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a key ingredient in marijuana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is working with state health departments to identify the cause. At least some of the products were purchased from unlicensed sellers. "Investigators have not identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all cases," the CDC said in a statement. The Food and Drug Administration said it is testing e-cigarette products that the patients used. The health effects of vaping any product, even a well-known brand name, are under research and not yet fully known, tobacco researchers said.

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Disneyland's 'Avengers Campus' theme park unveiled at D23 - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-08-23 02:18
The Marvel-themed area will be launching in 2020.

50 cool iPhone cases for geeks and nerds - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-08-23 01:16
This may be the geekiest way to keep your new Apple iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XR protected.

YouTube pulls hundreds of channels tied to Hong Kong influence campaign

Engadget - Fri, 2019-08-23 00:59
On Monday, both Twitter and Facebook announced they'd blocked accounts from China that were involved in disinformation attempts around protests in Hong Kong. Now YouTube revealed it has disabled 210 channels this week that "behaved in a coordinated m...

NASA, Rolling Stones, Robert Downey Jr. secret is out: They named a rock - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-08-23 00:54
"Rolling Stones Rock" is a rock NASA's InSight lander inadvertently sent rolling on Mars.

Streaming Video Will Soon Look Like the Bad Old Days of TV

SlashDot - Thu, 2019-08-22 23:30
An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an opinion piece from The New York Times, written by Matthew Ball, former head of strategic planning for Amazon Studios. Here's an excerpt: The next 12 months will see several video services come to market, including Disney+, AT&T/WarnerMedia's HBO Max, Comcast/NBCUniversal's unnamed service, Apple TV+ and Quibi from the Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. This increased competition will offer audiences even more high-quality series, the sorts of films that can no longer be found in theaters, interactive storytelling they've never seen before, and further improvements in navigation and advertising. Yet in this new multiplatform world, viewers will find they have to pay for a fistful of streaming subscriptions to watch all of their favorite programs -- and in the process, they'll again end up paying for lots of shows and movies they'll never care to watch. AT&T's WarnerMedia, for example, is bundling its TV channels, like TBS, HBO and TruTV, and film studios, including Warner Bros., DC Films and New Line, into its HBO Max service. Disney+ will have Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm, but also National Geographic, "The Simpsons" and Disney's offerings for children. And to navigate these many subscriptions, most households will want companies like Amazon or Apple to further bundle these services together into a single app -- just as they do with Dish or Xfinity. All of this bundling will eventually mean the return of a high monthly bill. Behind this bill is the cost of making high-quality programming. Although much has been said about how Netflix and Amazon have disrupted the video business, no media company has figured out how to make premium movies or TV shows significantly more cheaply. In fact, competition has driven production budgets even higher. Ultimately, these costs are paid by viewers (especially if they choose to watch without ads). But the rise of digital video is bringing back more than just bloated bundles and bills. Many companies are returning to TV's original business model: selling you anything and everything but the television show in front of you. For decades, all TV content was "free." Networks like ABC and CBS distributed their shows free of charge because they weren't really in the business of selling audiences 30 minutes of entertainment. Instead, they were selling advertisers eight or so minutes of the audience's attention. While most digital video services do charge their viewers, their real objective is to lock audiences into their ever-expanding ecosystem. Their TV network is the ad. Amazon, Apple and Roku, for example, use their networks to drive sales of their devices, software, services and other products. For YouTube and Facebook, original movies and shows are about increasing the number of ads they serve and the prices they charge for these ads. "Even as the video industry reconstitutes with new players -- under old business models and familiar problems -- most people agree that TV has never been better," Ball writes in closing. "Consumers have more options, better shows and more diversity than ever before." "But at the same time, weâ(TM)re entering a world in which our culture is programmed by vertically integrated trillion-dollar corporations," he adds. "This may help us escape high prices and ads in the short term, but eventually the bill will come due."

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'Fortnite' finally nerfs the hated B.R.U.T.E. mechs

Engadget - Thu, 2019-08-22 22:16
With the debut of Fortnite season X a few weeks ago, Epic Games added some superpowered B.R.U.T.E. mech suits to its battle royale game. According to the company, its mechs were intended to help level the playing field, but many high-level and even m...

Maglev Heart Could Keep Cardiac Patients Alive

SlashDot - Thu, 2019-08-22 22:10
Bivacor is working toward human trials of their artificial heart after the implant successfully kept a calf alive for 90-days, helping it stay healthy, energetic, and gain weight at a normal rate. It even jogged on a treadmill for 30-minute stretches. Artificial hearts have been discussed among cardiac surgeons and biomedical engineers for more than 50 years, but what makes Bivacor's artificial heart so unique is its use of a levitating disk, suspended in a magnetic field, that spins 2,000 times per minute to keep blood flowing. IEEE Spectrum reports: We had to overcome many technical challenges to make an artificial heart that's small, biocompatible, energy efficient, and durable. Consider that the human heart beats about 112,000 times a day, which adds up to 42 million times a year, and you'll understand the magnitude of the challenge. We've tested the Bivacor heart in 15 cows so far. While the need for animal testing is unfortunate, it's the only way to prove the device's safety and move forward to clinical trials in humans. These Corriente calves, which are relatively small, are the right size to serve as analogues for adult patients. We've also implanted the Bivacor heart in several sheep, which are more representative of patients with smaller bodies, including children. Our tests have shown that the heart holds up well: With its one moving part levitating in a magnetic field, there's no worry that friction and mechanical wear will cause the machine to give out. Our tests have also shown that the device can adapt to the user's cardiovascular requirements. The Bivacor heart would fit in the palm of your hand -- it's about 650 grams, slightly heavier than an adult human heart. Its shell is made of titanium, a noncorroding material that almost never triggers an immune response. Patients will wear a 4-kg external controller pack that contains two rechargeable batteries (providing about 5 hours of operation each), although they can also plug in directly to a power outlet. Throughout our design process, we used 3D printers to make both titanium and plastic parts for our prototypes, allowing us to rapidly experiment with different geometries. For testing, we built a hardware simulation of the human circulatory system in our engineering office in Los Angeles; this mock-up allows us to validate a device's function thoroughly and repeatedly in a controlled environment, and reduces the need for animal testing.

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FDA to trial innovative computer-assisted heart surgeries this fall

Engadget - Thu, 2019-08-22 21:34
Starting this fall, the FDA plans to trial an innovative new computational medicine approach to heart surgery with 160 patients in the US. The procedure, called Optimal Target Identification via Modelling of Arrhythmogenesis (OPTIMA, for short), invo...

HP Names Head of Printer Division As New CEO

SlashDot - Thu, 2019-08-22 21:30
Longtime HP veteran Enrique Lores, who runs the $20 billion printer business, is succeeding Dion Weisler effective November 1. Weisler, who was named CEO in late 2014 after the computing behemoth was split into two companies, is returning to Australia for a "family health matter." He will remain on the company's board. MarketWatch reports: Lores, a native of Spain who started his 30-year career as an intern, vowed to "simplify" and "evolve" the company's business model during a conference call with analysts following the earnings release. The executive change comes amid wrenching changes -- and turmoil -- in the PC market, raising the question of where the market is headed for the rest of the year.

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Monopoly Socialism has sent Twitter into a tailspin, even Ted Cruz weighed in - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2019-08-22 21:29
Is it a clumsy, harmless satire or a misrepresentation of everything Monopoly is supposed to stand for?

Electric Dump Truck Produces More Energy Than It Uses

SlashDot - Thu, 2019-08-22 20:50
The Elektro eDumper dump truck is being put to work at a mine in Switzerland where it's able to produce more power than it consumes. "The dump truck drives up a mountain with no load, and carries double the weight back down the mountain after getting loaded up with lime and marl to deliver to a cement plant," reports Hackaday. "Since electric vehicles can recover energy through regenerative braking, rather than wasting that energy as heat in a traditional braking system, the extra weight on the way down actually delivers more energy to the batteries than the truck used on the way up the mountain." From the report: The article claims that this is the largest electric vehicle in the world at 110 tons, and although we were not able to find anything larger except the occasional electric train, this is still an impressive feat of engineering that shows that electric vehicles have a lot more utility than novelties or simple passenger vehicles.

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VW is changing its logo for the first time since 2000, but it's not alone - Roadshow

CNET News - Thu, 2019-08-22 20:36
Are we starting to see a trend toward flat design in the world of cars like we saw with iOS and Android?

Security Researchers Find Several Bugs In Nest Security Cameras

SlashDot - Thu, 2019-08-22 20:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Hackers could have logged into your Nest Cam IQ Indoor and watch whatever was happening in your home by taking advantage of a vulnerability found by security researchers. The hackers could have also prevented you from using the camera, or use access to it to break into your home network. Researchers Lilith Wyatt and Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos discovered the vulnerabilities and disclosed them publicly on August 19. The two found eight vulnerabilities that are based in the Nest implementation of the Weave protocol. The Weave protocol is designed specifically for communications among Internet of Things or IoT devices. Nest has provided a firmware update that the company says will fix the vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities apply to version 4620002 of the Nest Cam IQ indoor device. You can check the version of your camera on the Nest app. Nest says that the updates will happen automatically if your camera is connected to the internet. "We've fixed the disclosed bugs and started rolling them out to all Nest Camera IQs," Google said in a statement to ZDNet. "The devices will update automatically so there's no action required from users."

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After a year of Epic Games exclusivity, ‘Hades’ heads to Steam Early Access

Engadget - Thu, 2019-08-22 20:02
Hades, the next game from Bastion and Pyre developer Supergiant Games, is coming to Steam Early Access on December 10. The game has been available in early access on the Epic Games Store since December of last year.