By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I,-Journalist department
Darren Sharp brings news about the arrival of robot journalists. The Guardian reports:
Robots will help a national news agency to create up to 30,000 local news stories a month, with the help of human journalists and funded by a Google grant. The Press Association has won a €706,000 ($800,779 or £621,000) grant to run a news service with computers writing localised news stories. The national news agency, which supplies copy to news outlets in the U.K. and Ireland, has teamed up with data-driven news start-up Urbs Media for the project, which aims to create "a stream of compelling local stories for hundreds of media outlets"... PA's editor-in-chief, Peter Clifton, said journalists will still be involved in spotting and creating stories and will use artificial intelligence to increase the amount of content. He said: "Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process, but Radar [the Reporters And Data And Robots project] allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually."
Journalists will create "detailed story templates" for articles about crime, health, and employment, for example, then use natural language software to create multiple versions to "scale up the mass localization."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's changing-keys department
An anonymous reader quotes Popular Mechanics: You may not know the Model F by name, but you know it by sound -- the musical thwacking of flippers slapping away. The sound of the '80s office. The IBM Model F greeting the world in 1981 with a good ten pounds of die-cast zinc and keys that crash down on buckling metal springs as they descend. It's a sensation today's clickiest keyboards chase, but will never catch. And now it's coming back. The second coming of the high-quality Model F (not to be confused with its more affordable plastic successor, the Model M) isn't a throwback attention grab from IBM, nor a nostalgia play from Big Keyboard. Instead, it's the longtime work of a historian in love with the retro keyboard's unparalleled sound and feel, but frustrated by the limitations of actual decades-old tech.
The Model F Keyboards project, now taking preorders for the new line of authentic retro-boards, was started by Joe Strandberg, a Cornell University grad who's taken up keyboard wizardry as a nights-and-weekends hobby. He started as a collector and restorer of genuine Model F keyboards -- originally produced from 1981 to 1994 -- a process that familiarized him with their virtues and their flaws... Working with a factory in China, Strandberg has carefully overseen the reproduction process one step at time, from the springs to the unique powder-coating on the keyboard's zinc case. Despite the expense (Strandberg estimates spending $100,000 to revive the tooling necessary for the production run), it was the only viable option given the kind of abuse your average keyboard takes on a daily basis. "With 3D printing," he says, "the keyboard wouldn't last a year."
The first prototypes have just left the assembly line, and he's already racked up over a quarter of a million dollars in pre-orders. Does anyone else fondly remember IBM's hefty and trusty old keyboards?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's neighbor-requests department
An anonymous reader writes:
"In a few years, families could be living at Facebook," quips CNET. The Bay Area Newsgroup reports that Facebook is proposing a new campus with facilities open to the public "to address long-neglected community needs and to accommodate its burgeoning workforce." But the San Francisco Chronicle sees more than just new buildings. "Implicit in the tech company's announcement is Facebook's belief that it can solve some of the area's most pressing issues, including traffic congestion, demand for affordable housing and a lack of transit options. By opening the campus and some of its facilities to the public, Facebook is also heading off a common criticism lobbed at wealthy tech firms: that they move into cities, drive up the cost of living, displace area residents and then do little to give back."
Facebook will offer 15% of the housing -- about 225 units -- at "below market rates." They're also promising to invest tens of millions of dollars in improvements to nearby Highway 101 and to "catalyze regional transit investment," according to Facebook's vice president of global facilities and real estate. The Chronicle notes that the campus's open-to-the-public pharmacy and grocery store "would also solve the issue of a lack of food retailers in that part of the city, where the nearest large store is a Safeway 4 miles away -- a trip that can take up to 40 minutes during rush hour, according to Google Maps."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's extending-with-extensions department
BrianFagioli quotes BetaNews:
Thursday, Microsoft released yet another open source tool on GitHub -- Visual Studio Code Extension for Arduino. This MIT-licensed code should greatly help developers that are leveraging Arduino hardware for Internet of Things-related projects and more. "Our team at Visual Studio IoT Tooling, researched the development tools developers are using today, interviewed many developers to learn about their pain points developing IoT applications, and found that of all layers of IoT, there are abundant dev tools for cloud, gateway, interactive devices, and industrial devices, but limited availability and capability for micro-controllers and sensors...
"Keeping open source and open platform in mind, we started the work to add an extension on Visual Studio Code, the cross-platform, open sourced advanced code editor, for Arduino application development," says Zhidi Shang, R&D and Product Development, Microsoft.
Microsoft's adds that its tool "is almost fully compatible and consistent with the official Arduino IDE," extending its capabilities with "the most sought-after features, such as IntelliSense, Auto code completion, and on-device debugging for supported boards."
Maybe this would be a good time to ask if anybody has a favorite IDE that they'd like to recommend?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's ride-hailing-space department
Reader joshtops writes: Indian ride-hailing company Ola, which operates in over 100 cities in the local country, is eyeing international expansion, according to a report, which cites multiple sources. The company, which leads rival Uber in India's ride-hailing market, has been looking at international markets for some time, and it has identified India's neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh as the first international countries where it will offer its services, the report added. Rival Uber already operates in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Ola is also eyeing other countries in Asia and North Africa to continue this expansion in the future, another person requesting anonymity told Gadgets 360. [...] Ola is exploring international markets at a time when Uber is increasingly expanding its reach in India. The global ride-hailing service, which operates in over 500 cities, is presently available in 29 cities in the country. India has become the fastest growing market for Uber, especially in the wake of its exit from China. The report adds that an alliance by US' Lyft, South Asia's Grab, China's Didi, and India's Ola, which they formed to utilize each other's resources to better fight Uber, ended this year. Now the companies could become direct competitors.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's good-moves department
From a report: Some 95 percent of lifetime smokers pick up the habit before their 21st birthday, so Oregon lawmakers yesterday passed a law making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase cigarettes in the hopes of nipping the bad habit in the bud. "By the age of 25, this addiction is cemented in the brain and it becomes very difficult -- almost impossible -- to quit," State Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, told KGW. Oregon is not the first state to do this, and it probably won't be the last. No one under 21 can (lawfully) buy cigarettes in Hawaii, California, Washington, D.C., and Guam to date. It also passed in New Jersey, but noted beachcomber Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill -- although it could still become law there. According to the American Cancer Society, at least 250 localities across the country have passed similar local ordinances.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's know-your-rights department
On Friday, a panel of judges for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the First Amendment protects individuals' right to film police officers performing their official duties. From a report: The 3rd Circuit now joins the 1st, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th Circuits in concluding that the Constitution guarantees a right to record. No federal appeals court has yet concluded that the First Amendment does not safeguard the right to film law enforcement officers conducting police activity in public. Friday's decision involved two instances in which the Philadelphia police retaliated against citizens attempting to film them. In the first incident, a legal observer named Amanda Geraci tried to film police arresting an anti-fracking protester when an officer pinned her against a pillar, preventing her from recording the arrest. In the second, a Temple University sophomore named Richard Fields tried to film police officers breaking up a house party when an officer asked him whether he "like[d] taking pictures of grown men" and demanded that he leave. When Fields refused, the officer arrested and detained him, confiscating his phone and looking through its photos and videos. The officer cited Fields for "Obstructing Highway and Other Public Passages," although the charges were dropped when the officer failed to appear at a court hearing. Geraci and Fields filed civil rights suits against the officers who interfered with their filming attempts.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's RIP department
Reader McGruber writes: The Hollywood Reporter has the sad news that Joan Lee, the wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 95. In an earlier story, Stan described meeting Joan: "When I was young, there was one girl I drew; one body and face and hair. It was my idea of what a girl should be. The perfect woman. And when I got out of the Army, somebody, a cousin of mine, knew a model, a hat model at a place called Laden Hats. He said, 'Stan, there's this really pretty girl named Betty. I think you'd like her. She might like you. Why don't you go over and ask her to lunch.' Blah, blah, blah. "So I went up to this place. Betty didn't answer the door. But Joan answered, and she was the head model. I took one look at her -- and she was the girl I had been drawing all my life. And then I heard the English accent. And I'm a nut for English accents! She said, 'May I help you?' And I took a look at her, and I think I said something crazy like, 'I love you.' I don't remember exactly. But anyway, I took her to lunch. I never met Betty, the other girl. I think I proposed to [Joan] at lunch." After marrying, the couple returned to New York, where Lee worked at Marvel Comics forerunner Timely/Atlas Comics, a job he initially landed because his cousin Martin Goodman owned the company. Comics were a middling enterprise until Lee and Jack Kirby co-created the Fantastic Four in 1961 (followed by the Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, X-Men and other characters) and turned the company, renamed Marvel Comics, into a pop culture powerhouse. In some versions of the origin of the Fantastic Four, Lee credits Joan with inspiring him. He was depressed about his career (Lee had dreams of becoming a serious novelist) and the state of comics (the industry in the 1950s was dominated by stories of war, science fiction and romance, genres he didn't like) and contemplated leaving the business. "Before you quit," Joan told him, "why don't you write one comic you are proud of?" And thus was born the Fantastic Four.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's duh department
An anonymous reader shares a report that makes a case of us living in an era where bailing has become just too common: It's clear we're living in a golden age of bailing. All across America people are deciding on Monday that it would be really fantastic to go grab a drink with X on Thursday. But then when Thursday actually rolls around they realize it would actually be more fantastic to go home, flop on the bed and watch Carpool Karaoke videos. So they send the bailing text or email: "So sorry! I'm gonna have to flake on drinks tonight. Overwhelmed. My grandmother just got bubonic plague..." Bailing is one of the defining acts of the current moment because it stands at the nexus of so many larger trends: the ambiguity of modern social relationships, the fraying of commitments (paywalled), what my friend Hayley Darden calls the ethic of flexibility ushered in by smartphone apps -- not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear. [...] Technology makes it all so easy. You just pull out your phone and bailing on a rendezvous is as easy as canceling an Uber driver. There are different categories of bailing. There is canceling on friends. This seems to follow a bail curve pattern. People feel free to bail on close friends, because they will understand, and on distant friends, because they don't matter so much, but they are less inclined to bail on medium-tier or fragile friends. Then there is professional bailing. This tends to have a hierarchical structure. A high-status person will frequently bail on a lower-status colleague, but if an intern bails on a senior executive, it is a sign of serious disrespect. What do you folks think?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's welcome-back department
An anonymous reader shares a WSJ article: Entrepreneur Jia Yueting likes to say that Apple is outdated, China's big technology companies are innovation-killing monopolies and his company, LeEco, is the real industry disrupter. That swagger served Mr. Jia in building an empire that sprawled across seven industries, from online video content to smartphones to electric cars. By having the ambition to take on Apple, Tesla and Netflix all at once, Mr. Jia seemed to embody the boundless promise of the huge China market. And investors responded favorably. Deal makers like HNA Capital and Legend Holdings bought in, as did the city government of tech hub Shenzhen, as well as movie director Zhang Yimou and other celebrities. British sports car maker Aston Martin joined up to develop electric vehicles. The U.S. state of Nevada promised $200 million in incentives for Mr. Jia's electric car venture, Faraday Futures, to build a $1 billion plant there. And LeEco unveiled a $2 billion deal to buy U.S. TV-maker Vizio. Now, most of those deals are dead or struggling and Mr. Jia's dreams are fading away due to a cash crunch and worried creditors (could be paywalled). On Thursday he resigned as chairman of a listed unit of LeEco, Leshi Internet Information & Technology, though he will remain the chairman of the holding company. That move comes after a Shanghai court last week -- at the behest of China Merchants Bank -- froze $181 million worth of his assets and $2 billion in shares over a missed interest payment.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's reality-check department
A year after "Pokemon Go" prompted throngs of people to scour parks and streets for monsters visible only through smartphones, hit games made with augmented reality are rarer than a Snorlax. From a report: In fact, analysts say, the monster-hunting blockbuster drove only a brief spike in games using the nascent technology, which blends digital images with a person's view of the real world. That is surprising, considering the ubiquity of screenshots showing Pokemon invading players' work desks, kitchen counters and other locations of everyday life. "Pokemon Go" reached $1 billion in revenue globally just seven months after its release last July -- faster than any other mobile game, including Activision Blizzard's "Candy Crush Saga," according to App Annie. There are thousands of augmented-reality games among the millions of apps in the Apple and Alphabet stores. None, though, has come close to the success of "Pokemon Go." There are several reasons why, industry observers say. One is that the allure of "Pokemon Go" wasn't primarily its augmented reality. While the game's digital monsters materialise as if in the real world, they don't interact with it. A Snorlax might appear next to a tree, but the catlike creature won't peek from behind it. Many players who took up hunting the monsters ended up turning off the augmented-reality feature.Read Replies (0)