Ricky Nesbitt

Ricky Nesbitt

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US
Thinking of buying a new pre-built desktop gaming PC?Dell has a pair you might want to peek: the new Alienware Aurora R9 and Dell G5 Desktop, starting at $970 and $630 this week.At its heart, a desktop computer will always be a box — and Dell’s gaming brand had built a mighty fine box for the Alienware Aurora and XPS Tower a few years back, one where you could press a button to swing the entire chassis open, power supply and all, for practically painless tool-free upgrades.That’s why I’m going to say words that I can’t believe are coming out of my mouth: I’m glad that the new Aurora R9 is basically just a re-shell.It’s got the exact same toolless internal chassis and configuration options — up to a water-cooled Intel Core i9-9900K, 64GB of HyperX RAM and 4TB of solid-state and magnetic storage, with up to dual Nvidia RTX 2080 GPUs or a single 2080 Ti — only now with Alienware’s snazzy new “Legend” design language it pioneered with the behemoth Area-51m gaming laptop.I like to think it looks like one of Alienware’s new notebooks slid right into a space station, 2001: A Space Odyssey-style.
UK
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday said the US government would extend a reprieve that allows US companies to trade with China’s Huawei.Huawei was added to a national security blacklist in May, but the implementation of the ban was delayed for 90 days, until Monday, 19 August.Ross said the reprieve was intended to give US companies time to find other suppliers.He also added an additional 46 Huawei subsidiaries to the national security “entity list”.Over the weekend president Donald Trump had made comments indicating he did not want to do business with Huawei “at all” for security reasons.“At this moment it looks much more like we’re not going to do business,” Trump said.
US
Uncork Capital, the now 15-year-old, early-stage venture firm formerly known as SoftTech VC, has closed up two new pools of committed capital totaling $200 million: $100 million for its sixth early-stage fund, and $100 million for an “opportunity” fund so it can stuff a little more capital into those of its portfolio companies that start to break away from the pack.The firm had closed its first opportunity fund with $50 million in mid 2016.It closed its fifth early-stage fund at the same time with $100 million.We talked on Friday with Uncork founder Jeff Clavier about the firm, which is currently writing first checks that range from $750,000 to $2 million.He told us that as with Uncork’s most recent set of funds, the idea is to invest in roughly 35 companies across three years, taking 10 percent ownership on average, and up to 12 percent of a portfolio company when it is the lead investor.Clavier also said that while fully half of the fund will go into startups that sell cloud software to businesses, Uncork plans to invest roughly 10 percent of the fund in consumer marketplaces; roughly 10 percent in hardware; roughly 20 percent in so-called frontier tech — whether it be augmented reality or virtual reality or space of robotics or blockchain-related deals; and roughly 10 percent in bioinformatics and synthetic biology.
US
The problem of access to safe drinking water in most parts of Bangladesh is a persistent challenge.Now, a team of scientists from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Dhaka University, Bangladesh, shows that a locally growing and previously unexploited green macroalgae species could be used to extract cellulose nanofibers, which can then be formed into paper sheets with tailored pore size that are utilized for point-of-use water treatment.The paper filter has demonstrated excellent virus and bacteria removal capacity both in the lab and in real-life tests.The scientists believe that with further development, the paper filter produced from Pithophora algae (or "Shewla"), could be an affordable and efficient remedy to prevent numerous potentially deadly water-borne infections."Pithophora algae have been largely overlooked in the past as a valuable raw material.It can purify even the smallest virus particles of 27-28 nanometers", says Albert Mihranyan, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University, who heads the study.
China
Huawei’s foldable phone, Huawei Mate X has long been listed on the Telecommunication Equipment’s Network Access Managements (TENAA).Today, this smartphone re-appeared on TENAA and it comes with a few changes and tweaks.This suggests that the official release of this device in China is imminent.Looking at the images, there are some changes to the power button.It is now flat, wide and with an indication mark.Furthermore, there is also an improvement to the hinge of this device.
US
The number of shares and price range for the offering have yet to be determined.Prior to this, SmileDirectClub reached a $3.2 billion valuation following a $380 million funding round last October.The company ships invisible aligners directly to customers, and licensed dental professionals (either orthodontists or general dentists) remotely monitor the progress of the patient.SmileDirectClub says it costs 60% less than other types of teeth-straightening treatments, with the length of treatments ranging from four to 14 months.Though, members of the American Association of Orthodontists have taken issue with SmileDirectClub, previously asserting that SmileDirectClub violates the law because its methods of allowing people to skip in-person visits and X-rays is “illegal and creates medical risks.” The organization has also filed complaints against SmileDirectClub in 36 states, alleging violations of statutes and regulations governing the practice of dentistry.Those complaints were filed with the regulatory boards that oversee dentistry practices and with the attorneys general of each state.
UK
We may have just had our first look at the Huawei Mate 30 Pro in the flesh, as two photos seemingly show the phone from the front and back.The images were shared to Weibo (a Chinese social network) and show a phone that looks a lot like the rumored Huawei Mate 30 Pro.A case obscures many of the details, but we can see that the screen is steeply curved, as has been rumored, and there’s also a large notch.Another notable detail is the presence of what looks to be a large flash unit, which the source claims is a xenon flash.This is likely to be more powerful than a typical smartphone flash unit.The iPhone 11 is probably landing first
US
Consumers in the United States spent less on hardware once again in July, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.Here are the full results for July 2019:“July 2019 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $762 million, slightly higher than a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said.“Gains in software spending due to the shift of Madden NFL into the July tracking month offset declines across hardware, accessories, and game cards.”And when you look at the year as a whole, sales are down slightly, and that’s due primarily to the slowing hardware segment.For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.
UK
After a series of mishap and delays, it looks like foldable phones are finally making its way to consumers.Last month Samsung said the Galaxy Fold will launch in September.Now, TechRadar reports Huawei’s Mate X will hit the shelves in November.During a briefing in China, the company said it had pushed the release date from September to November.Huawei also said it’s already working on the next version of the phone and it might have more screens.The report notes Huawei has made refinements to the ‘falcon hinge’ that’s responsible for the phone’s folding mechanism, but it won’t be made of carbon fiber as previously predicted.
US
If you have ever worked at any sizable company, the word “IT” probably doesn’t conjure up many warm feelings.“If you think about Facebook 10 years ago, we were very much a traditional IT shop at that point,” he told me.“We also made the decision at that point that we will hold the same bar and we will hold the same standards so that the products we create internally will be as world-class as the products we’re rolling out externally.”One of the tools that wasn’t up to Facebook’s scaling challenges was video conferencing.It’s one thing to adapt existing third-party tools, after all, and another to build custom tools to support a company’s business processes.“When young kids who come straight from college and they come into Facebook, they don’t know any better.
US
If you’ve got a fascination for history, then the Library of Congress has a job for you — well, it’s a non-paying job, but it’s worth a few minutes (or hours) of your time.According to the site, the purpose of the project is to “improve search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for those who are not fully sighted or cannot read the handwriting of the original documents.”Online-based crowdsourcing is not new; there have been academic projects such as [email protected] (a radio telescope experiment that has been ongoing since 1999), government projects such as the National Archives’ Citizen Archivist, and crowdsourced traffic reporting via apps like Waze.By the People invites interested volunteers to transcribe digitized images of personal letters, diaries, receipts, speeches, and other documents from famous and not-so-famous people who were involved in a variety of historical movements, mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries.Launched in the fall of 2018, By the People has organized its documents into various “campaigns” — such as the Civil War, the abolitionist movement, and the suffragist movement — in order to let you choose the subject matter you’re most interested in.You can do a transcription yourself, check someone else’s work, or just read.
US
Pandora and a pair of WarnerMedia companies (WarnerMedia Podcast Network and The Roost) will make their debuts at Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual Podcast Upfront, which will be held Oct. 16 in New York.The IAB unveiled its initial lineup for this year’s event, which is scheduled to take place at Meredith’s headquarters in The Henry Luce Auditorium.The Podcast Upfront, now its fifth year, will feature 12 presentations overall, including from returning brands like ESPN, iHeartRadio, Market Enginuity, Meredith Corporation, Midroll/Stitcher, NPR, Authentic, Slate, Westwood One and WNYC.The daylong event serves as a chance for the brands to showcase original programming to advertisers in a bid for their dollars.Those in the room will hear more about podcasts that range from Adulting to Serial to The Ben Shapiro Show to NPR’s Hidden Brain With Shankar Vedantam.Last year, IAB’s Podcast Upfront also saw presentations from HowStuffWorks, Panoply Media, Univision and Wondery, but none of those companies are currently scheduled to return to 2019’s event.
US
Snap Inc. announced new Spectacles sunglasses on Tuesday, August 13, that let you capture your world in a 3D view.Snap also said that there are new “augmented reality creative tools” to add to your snaps.“It’s easy to reimagine your favorite moments with a suite of new 3D Effects.Create your own magic moment, or add new lighting, landscapes, and other magical effects to an entire scene with a swipe,” Snap said in the announcement.Aside from two cameras, the new Spectacles also come with four built-in microphones and are made out of stainless steel rather than plastic.The Verge reports that photo resolution is 1642 x 1642 pixels and video resolution is 1216 x 1216 pixels.
UK
Practically everything we do online these days requires a password and, to ensure the security of our digital lives, we're all advised to use a different password for each service.But unless you use a password manager (something we'd strongly recommend) or have a superb memory, remembering those passwords can get a tad difficult.One of those passwords will likely be for your Google account – something you use to log into services like Gmail and YouTube, or just browser syncing on Google Chrome.However, the tech giant is keen on simplifying online logins by making it easier, and quicker, to securely access some of its own web services on Android devices without the need for a password.Google has announced that it's rolling out a new feature that will allow Android device owners to use the fingerprint scanners on their phones, or their PIN unlock code, to authenticate Google accounts.While individual apps have long been able to access and use Android's fingerprint authentication technology, this is the first time the company has allowed biometrics to be used to verify user identities on the web.
China
Everybody knows that Apple will take the wraps off the new iPhone generation in September.But the most important tidbits are details like the actual date when this is projected to happen.And while Apple typically keeps everything secret until early September.It looks like the president of Softbank might have accidentally revealed the day when the iPhone 11 could go on sale.Speaking at an investor meeting earlier this week.SoftBank President Ken Miyauchi dropped a hint that the next-generation iPhone could hit the shelves on September 20.
UK
Top tips to defend against nation-state network intrusionMicrosoft's Security Response Center has issued a bunch of recommendations for orgs to protect against nation-state network intrusion via insecure IoT devices.A report by the Windows giant's security unit describes three incidents earlier this year, where a VoIP phone, an office printer and a video decoder were compromised.In two cases the manufacturer's default password was unchanged and the third was not patched with the latest security update.Once access was gained, scripts were used to sniff network traffic, enumerate administrative groups, and look for other insecure devices, under the direction of an external command-and-control server.Microsoft attributed the attacks to a nation-state group it calls STRONTIUM, which largely targets governments, IT, military, defence and engineering organisations – as well as anti-doping agencies, political groups, and the hospitality industry.
UK
All of the dangling mysteries on Netflix’s The OA will, unfortunately, remain that way.Netflix has cancelled the show after two seasons.“We are incredibly proud of the 16 mesmerising chapters of The OA,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of Original Content.“And are grateful to Brit [Marling] and Zal [Batmanglij] for sharing their audacious vision and for realising it through their incredible artistry.We look forward to working with them again in the future, in this and perhaps many other dimensions.”The show, which followed a woman (Marling) who disappeared for seven years and then reemerged as an almost totally new person, gained lots of fans over its two seasons, mainly from hardcore sci-fi nerds.
US
In its race to catch up with Google Assistant and Alexa, Facebook is attempting to make its in-call experiences a major distinction.Doing things together, Facebook says, can bring you closer to loved ones and help you feel like you’re hanging out in the same room — but it doesn’t always work out that way.Strike up a video call with family on Portal or Facebook Messenger, and an AI-powered Smart Camera will frame the scene, while Smart Volume can amplify or reduce volume so your voice is clearly heard.It can be fantastic when the kids turn into fire-breathing dragons or pigeon astronauts, but in a short time children can devolve a Portal video call from a chance to reconnect into AR-fueled chaos.New stories include Pete the Cat, Llama Llama, and Otto.But Portal’s AR experience is a fitting demonstration of a feature companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are still refining.
UK
If you’ve noticed a recent uptick in cyberattacks targeting infrastructure and government facilities, you’re not alone.Aside from utilizing more sophisticated capabilities, the attacks are coming at us with an alarming frequency.Now, according to a new study by IBM’s X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS) team, destructive attacks devised with an intent to wipe data and shut down critical systems have increased by a whopping 200 percent over the past six months.The use of destructive malware and ransomware can cost affected organizations $239 million on average, the researchers said.The malicious code deployed in these cases can result in data loss, render enterprise devices inoperable, cripple device functions, and lock down systems in return for a ransom payment.Some examples of destructive malware include NotPetya, Stuxnet, Shamoon, and Dark Seoul.
UK
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington have announced that a new study they have performed has found a new structure of gold.The team has discovered a new structure for the precious metal when it is compressed very rapidly.According to the scientists, when gold is compressed over nanoseconds, the increase in pressure and temperature changes the crystalline structure to a new phase of gold.The well-known body-centered cubic (bcc) structure is changed into a more open crystalline structure than the fcc (face-centered cubic) structure.Gold prefers to be in an fcc structure according to the team.Lead study author Richard Briggs from the LLNL said that the team has discovered a new structure in gold that exists at extreme states.
US
Waiting for AirPlay 2 to come to your new TV?Announced at CES in January, Apple's streaming system is now rolling out to compatible LG and Vizio TVs.Previously limited to the Apple TV streaming box, AIrPlay is similar to Google's Cast, allowing iOS and Mac users to stream content directly from their devices onto a compatible TV.The TVs also work with Apple's HomeKit, allowing for Siri to control the TVs from your Mac, iPhone or iPad.LG, which began the deployment of the new software last week, will be updating its latest 2019 OLED TVs, NanoCell TVs (except the SM8100 series) and UHD TVs that have the company's ThinQ AI capability.The OLED and NanoCell TVs will get the new software first, with the company's other 4K UHD TVs set to "receive this update later in 2019."
US
Many women can relate to the feeling of relief that comes with taking off your bra at the end of a long day; it’s a small but significant act that marks the shift from day to night, a subtle nod to the fact that an evening of Netflix—and maybe a few glasses of wine—lie ahead.But Coors Light wants to be the alcoholic beverage of choice for moments like these, at least according to its latest campaign, the first out of the gate from its new creative agency Leo Burnett.Called “Made to Chill,” the effort showcases various scenarios in which people put down their phones for a bit and take a minute to relax by cracking open a Coors Light.The campaign, which targets millennials and Gen Z, is somewhat of a departure from traditional beer advertising, as it’s devoid of beach scenes, celebrity spokespeople and the like.Instead, it aims to give viewers a more realistic picture of how Coors Light is enjoyed on a day-to-day basis.For instance, one spot, which is aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences, shows two roommates waking up on a Saturday morning to cook some breakfast sandwiches and watch soccer.
US
Thanks to modern machine learning techniques, text-to-speech engines have made massive strides over the last few years.It used to be incredibly easy to know that it was a computer that was reading a text and not a human being.Amazon’s AWS cloud computing arm today launched a number of new neural text-to-speech models, as well as a new newscaster style that is meant to mimic the way… you guessed it… newscasters sound.“Speech quality is certainly important, but more can be done to make a synthetic voice sound even more realistic and engaging,” the company notes in today’s announcement.For sure, human ears can tell the difference between a newscast, a sportscast, a university class and so on; indeed, most humans adopt the right style of speech for the right context, and this certainly helps in getting their message across.”The new newscaster style is now available in two U.S. voices (Joanna and Matthew) and Amazon is already working with USA Today and Canada’s The Globe and Mail, among a number of other companies, to help them voice their texts.
US
“Something seemed so off.” Then, another call from her sister, who had searched her mom’s house with neighbors: They had found a receipt for a gun in the kitchen.They say it takes about four months, with suicide, for it to fully set in.”Within a few hours, Levy was on a plane to Michigan, where she and her family quickly planned the funeral.The suddenness of it all left them with an all-too-common problem: Tracking down the people whose lives her mother had touched, and giving them a chance to mourn with fellow loved ones.There were friends who couldn’t travel and family members who lived too far away to make it in time for the service, which, by Jewish tradition, had to happen as soon as possible.But their chapel had a solution: It livestreamed the funeral, and uploaded a recording of the service to its website shortly after, with a hyperlink prominently displayed in the obituary.
UK
Biomedical researchers and engineers have for years wanted to create the sort of prosthetic arm that Luke Skywalker used in the “Star Wars” film “The Empire Strikes Back.” The prosthetic arm in the film worked just like a human hand and looked like one as well.While that arm was science fiction, a team of researchers has created a prosthetic arm that is inspired by Star Wars and dubbed the “Luke Arm.”Researchers at the University of Utah created the Luke Arm and say that it can mimic the way a human hand feels objects by sending the appropriate signals to the brain.Researcher Jacob George says the team changed the way information is sent to the brain, so it matches the human body.The matching led to improved benefits for the prosthetic device.The researchers say that their system allows an amputee wearing the prosthetic arm to sense the touch of something soft or hard and understand how to pick it up and perform delicate tasks.
US
Since acquiring Scripps last year, Discovery Inc. has been leveraging its entire expanded network portfolio to cross-promote its biggest programs, but the company is taking that strategy to the next level for Shark Week.To market this week’s annual shark-themed event, which company execs call its “Super Bowl,” Discovery Channel worked with sister networks HGTV, ID, Food Network and MotorTrend to create spots that initially seem to be promos for a series like Chopped or Homicide Hunter before revealing themselves to be a surprise Shark Week spot.“It’s a rug pull” and “reinventing that cross-channel spot,” said Josh Kovolenko, svp marketing strategy and operations, Discovery Channel and Science Channel.“It’s not just Discovery Channel that celebrates Shark Week every year.The entire organization rallies behind it,” said Kovolenko.“Now we have this expansive portfolio, and we can run our message in front of all these additional viewers that might not be spending time on Discovery.”
US
We’ve seen several rumors related to a new Nvidia Shield TV, and now the refreshed machine has passed through the FCC website.The filing doesn’t say much about the device though, save for the P3430 model number and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity.Previous rumors note the existence of a tweaked Tegra X1 chipset, and this is a likely candidate for the new device.In fact, several websites report that the new FCC filing lists an updated processor, although we haven’t been able to find these references.A smaller chipset should result in less heat and better sustained performance in a new Nvidia Shield TV.Evidence for the tweaked chipset also comes via an updated Nintendo Switch FCC filing earlier this month.
US
Virgin Media COO Jeff Dodds has voiced his enthusiasm for UK PM Boris Johnson’s pledge to speed up the rollout of gigabit broadband.Johnson, who took office on Wednesday, pledged on the steps of Downing Street in his first speech to make full-fibre broadband across the country.Johnson called the existing target “laughably unambitious” and promised to deliver gigabit broadband by 2025, eight years earlier.Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Johnson’s promise of increased funding to help meet the full-fibre goal, Dodds has welcomed the pledge.The current system, Mr Dodds says, is “quite cumbersome” and “not particularly flexible”.Gigabit broadband will open up new opportunities across the country and is expected to significantly boost the economy.
US
HMD Global, the company that makes Nokia phones, on Wednesday launched Nokia 220 4G and the new Nokia 105.The entry-level phones provide 4G and 2G connectivity to users in global markets.Nokia 220 4G offers HD voice calls over 4G LTE, and allows users to go online via a web browser.Both phones come in durable, polycarbonate bodies."The fourth generation Nokia 105 builds on the winning formula of its predecessors offering great value for fans who are adopting mobility for the first time," said Juho Sarvikas, HMD Global chief product officer, in a release."As for Nokia 220 4G – this is our answer to for those who want readiness for HD 4G calls in a familiar Nokia feature phone package."
US
Microsoft is once again tweaking its Xbox One dashboard design and removing the Cortana digital assistant.The software maker has started experimenting with what it describes as a more “streamlined user interface” for the home section of the Xbox One dashboard.This is the area you immediately see when you power on an Xbox One console.The new design includes quicker access to Xbox Game Pass titles, Microsoft’s Mixer service, Xbox Community feature, and the Microsoft Store.“We’ve heard your feedback and have continued to iterate on Home to get you into your gaming experiences faster and keeping more of your content front and center,” explains Bradley Rossetti, Microsoft’s Xbox Insider chief.“With this new experimental Home design, the first thing you’ll notice is we’ve removed the Twists from the top of Home in favor of separate buttons that launch your gaming experiences.”
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