31 stories
·
1 follower

Google Disables Button on Home Mini in Response to Privacy Bug

2 Comments

Matt Weinberger, writing for Business Insider:

Google is permanently disabling a feature on the forthcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after a reviewer discovered that it was surreptitiously recording his conversations without his knowledge or consent.

The issue, Google says, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own. In response, Google acknowledged the bug and issued a software update that would disable that button for all users while it explored a long-term fix.

I try not to play the “What if this were Apple?” card often, but come on. This is ludicrous.

Read the whole story
wmorrell
36 days ago
reply
“Oh, so advancing speech recognition technology by decades with a massive training corpus of candid speech is considered evil now?” — some Google engineer, probably. Yes I know they officially quit using the “don’t be evil” motto years ago.
joelowrance
36 days ago
reply
I'm probably naive,but if it was Apple? I'd believe it actually was an accident.
Share this story
Delete

Steven Levy: ‘How Apple Is Putting Voices in Users’ Heads — Literally’

2 Comments and 3 Shares

Steven Levy:

My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes — he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant — an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism. Around a million patients have undergone this increasingly mainstream form of treatment, and that’s just a fraction of those who could benefit from it. (Of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss, about 10 percent would qualify for the surgery.) “For those who reach a point where hearing aids no longer help, this is the only solution,” says Allison Biever, an audiologist in Englewood, CO who works with implant patients. “It’s like restoring a signal in a radio station.”

With this new integration, the iPhone transmits directly to the cochlear implant. It’s like a bionic ear:

Merging medical technology like Apple’s is a clear benefit to those needing hearing help. But I’m intrigued by some observations that Dr. Biever, the audiologist who’s worked with hearing loss patients for two decades, shared with me. She says that with this system, patients have the ability to control their sound environment in a way that those with good hearing do not — so much so that she is sometimes envious. How cool would it be to listen to a song without anyone in the room hearing it? “When I’m in the noisiest of rooms and take a call on my iPhone, I can’t hold my phone to ear and do a call,” she says. “But my recipient can do this.”

I’m a sucker for a good accessibility story.

Read the whole story
joelowrance
109 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
internetionals
108 days ago
reply
Apple really is one of the most accessibility oriented device and software makers around.
Netherlands

Group Led by Laurene Powell Jobs Acquires Majority Stake in The Atlantic

1 Comment

Gillian B. White, reporting for The Atlantic:

David G. Bradley, the chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, is announcing this morning that he is selling a majority stake in The Atlantic to Emerson Collective, an organization led by philanthropist and investor Laurene Powell Jobs. Bradley will retain a minority stake in The Atlantic and will continue as chairman and operating partner for at least three to five years. In a letter to his staff, Bradley wrote that Emerson Collective will most likely assume full ownership of The Atlantic within five years.

Reminds me of Jeff Bezos’s acquisition of The Washington Post — a wealthy steward who can bankroll essential and good journalism.

Read the whole story
joelowrance
113 days ago
reply
...or Chris Hughes' acquisition of The New Republic
Share this story
Delete

Jon Bois: ‘What Football Will Look Like in the Future’

6 Comments and 7 Shares

I implore you to drop everything and read this now, regardless if you care about or even understand the rules of the game.

Trust me.

Read the whole story
joelowrance
134 days ago
reply
So. F'ing. Good.
glenn
135 days ago
reply
Ok this is seriously definitely worth "reading"
Waterloo, Canada
wmorrell
135 days ago
reply
WTF 45* stays president until 2025 then Tom Cotton becomes 46? And another fucking George Bush in 2045?
peelman
135 days ago
I about lost it when it was Bernie Sanders in 2057 or whatever it was.
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
gazuga
123 days ago
reply
It took multiple other sites linking this for me to cave in and click through. So glad I caved.
Edmonton
quandary
133 days ago
reply
Awesome
Pgh, PA, USA
MotherHydra
135 days ago
reply
I had no idea what I was in for, this is what the internet is for.
Space City, USA

Ming-Chi Kuo Says No Touch ID on New OLED iPhone

3 Comments

Ming-Chi Kuo this morning:

We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: (1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and (2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including: (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module. As the new OLED iPhone won’t support under-display fingerprint recognition, we now do not expect production ramp-up will be delayed again (we previously projected the ramp-up would be postponed to late October or later).

Mark Gurman, hours later:

For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people, who asked not to be identified discussing technology that’s still in development. The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.

A few thoughts:

  • No Touch ID would be weird. If it’s true the 3D facial recognition has to be as good or better than Touch ID in every way, in all lighting conditions, or else it will be a severe regression.

  • Gurman is late again. Everything in his report was first reported by Kuo.

  • I don’t believe anything related to the new iPhones is still “in testing”. I’m sure they’re still finalizing the software, but the ship has sailed on which sensors the devices are going to have.

  • If it’s true that Apple is going to release three new iPhones, my bet is that they’re named the iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and iPhone Pro. And I hope the iPhone Pro starts at $1500 or higher. I’d like to see what Apple can do in a phone with a higher price.

Read the whole story
joelowrance
138 days ago
reply
$1500? Says the guy who gets free phones from Apple.
arnabocean
138 days ago
Actually, says the guys who earns >$400k per year. It doesn't matter if he gets free iPhones from Apple. (BTW, he only gets review units for a short period.) However, it's a fun experiment, right? How expensive can Apple make something and still get decent sales? They tried the gold Edition Apple Watches at $10k and it didn't work. $1500-$2000 for a phone with serious next-generation technology would be cool. Most of us wouldn't buy them, but we'd know what to drool for for the next few years. :-)
martinbaum
137 days ago
Also, there's a good chance that the new Mac Pros next year will top out well above $10K. Good point about the $10K Watch, but why not skim that cream off of the top? Those buyers are there.
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
jhamill
138 days ago
reply
Who really cares if Gurman isn't first?
California

Man Who Owns Car Company Thinks We Should Build Public Transit System for Cars

2 Comments

Darrell Etherington, writing for TechCrunch on Elon Musk’s (admittedly cleverly named) Boring Company:

Just what does Elon Musk’s Boring Company want to accomplish? This might be our clearest picture yet — a video shown during Musk’s TEDTalk from Friday morning, which includes a rendering of a future underground transit network where cars travel on crisscrossing layers of tunnels that include sleds shuttling vehicles around on rails at around 130 mph.

This is a stupid idea, and I can’t believe anyone is taking it seriously. Why in the world would any city in the world invest in a public transit system for cars? I’m all for major investments in public transit infrastructure, but public transit is and should be for people, not for fucking cars.

Read the whole story
joelowrance
203 days ago
reply
You know the great thing about "fucking cars"? They don't smell like piss and you don't have to be on guard and vigilant for your entire journey.
steingart
203 days ago
Honest question: what's the normalized injury/ death toll for passenger cars vs. public transit per person-mile?
wmf
203 days ago
I think "not being injured" is a pretty low bar.
adrianlafond
203 days ago
"have to be on guard and vigilant for your entire journey" ... Haha, not anymore than anywhere else. You need to go outside more often.
paulnewmanseyes
203 days ago
…you realise if you aren't vigilant for your entire journey in a car your car will crash into something when you skip a red light and you will kill someone, yes? When I travel on the London Underground, I'm usually playing Zelda. Currently, no-one has died as a result of that decision. I don't think many drivers can say the same
tewha
203 days ago
I don't really want to step into the cars vs. public transit debate, but I would consider "being vigilant" a minimum for driving a car.
samuel
202 days ago
I take public transit everywhere and your argument about staying vigilant is fear-mongering crap. You are more likely to die in a car than on the bus or train. And frankly, you have to stay much more on guard when driving a car than you do on public transit.
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories