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Google previews videos to search results on phones

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Google is beginning to add what it calls “video previews” to search results. They’ll start out on Android, where they’ll appear for searches made in Chrome and the Google app. At first, they’ll only be in English and in the US, but Google plans to expand the feature globally and in all languages in the future. A spokesperson says Google also hopes to expand video previews to other platforms, so presumably iOS and perhaps the desktop are coming. You’ll now have an idea of what’s in a clip before you bother playing it. Now, if you do a Google search on your phone in either the app or Chrome, results in the video section will show not a static thumbnail image, but a snippet of the clip. The idea is to help you decide if you should click to the video or not. After all, more and more of the content we ingest online is taking the form of short film clips.

That video there on your screen, the one demanding to be watched — is it basically just gonna eat a few minutes of your life for no good reason? That’s the question Google wants to help you answer with a new search feature announced on Friday for its mobile app on Android and its Chrome browser on Android.

Google started rolling out the change on Friday and said the feature would be available more widely next week. The snippets play only if you’re on a Wi-Fi connection, so they shouldn’t affect data fees from your phone company. What’s that you say? Auto-play videos make you wanna scream? Relax; Google says you can simply turn off this feature by way of the settings menu in the Google app or in Chrome.

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Solar Eclipse and Mobile Technology!

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

If you are one of the millions of people that are planning on watching the Solar Eclipse which is scheduled to take place on Monday August 21st, 2017, then you may want to read much further in this article as you could be one of the many people that will experience loss in service or slow speeds when trying to access certain networks while the eclipse is taking place.

To give some history about the Solar Eclipse which is taking place, a solar eclipse takes place anywhere from 2-5 times per year. However, a solar eclipse being visible on mainland is very rare. It is rare to the point that the last time there was a Solar Eclipse visible in the United States was 38 years ago on March 1979.

 

 

After this solar eclipse taking place on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the next time that a full eclipse will be visible by mainland will be April 2024 and it will not be as visible to as many US locations as this one scheduled for 2017.  A Solar Eclipse takes on average, about 375 years to recur again in the same location.

Due to this eclipse being not only rare, but also getting lots of media attention, many are gathering in locations which are shown to have the most coverage for the Solar Eclipse. For a full view of the path of the Solar Eclipse and times, you can refer to the picture that was provided by NASA. Many are planning on travelling to these locations to get the full experience of the total Solar Eclipse in its entirety. These locations will be prime for data lagging, heavy cell phone tower usage, and the phone carrier systems getting overloaded by the massive amounts of people on the network in that area at the time.

Just like firefighters engaging into a fire, cell phone carriers have decided to use more conventional methods to deal with this heavy data and voice traffic which is anticipated for that period of time. Carriers such as At&t, Verizon, and Sprint are going to have mobile trucks designed to boost cell phone traffic in these specified locations.  One of the key locations which will experience the eclipse in its totality will be Hopkinsville, Kentucky. This location is to have the eclipse last an entire 2 minute and 40 second duration.

 

Fortunately the team here at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA has some tips for people which may have difficult accessing the network which can help to still capture the moment and communicate with people that are not in your immediate vicinity. Bare in mind that these are steps to be taken in sequence if one or more of the other steps do not work.

One of the first steps is to text instead of taking the call. Texting uses ups the least amount of cell phone traffic and can be sent in a manner of seconds as opposed to waiting for a voice call to connect on both ends to have a conversation.

Another nifty trick is to disable application updates which can come at any given point in time during the day from various application providers which can use up background data causing lag in not only your service but the service of anyone else in the area.

Taking a fully charged phone is always the best scenario. The last thing that could break the experience for anyone involved would be to have the one mode of communication go dead during the Solar Eclipse and no communication being done during this memorable occasion. Its always a good idea to have a backup battery if using Android or if using Apple, to have a mobile pack which does cell phone charging.

Depending on your budget, if you have access to another cell phone or hotspot on another network, then that may very well be the answer to lagging service on your current carrier during the event.

The most sustainable way to ensure that your moment is covered during the event is to record the video, take the picture, and save it on your device for upload at a later point in time. When streaming during events such as these, it is a sure way to clog up the network and assure that not only your experience is interrupted but also that of others in the vicinity as well. Streaming during the event by doing a Facebook Live or Instagram Live video while in the trajectory areas for the total Solar Eclipse will assure that if there wasn’t a possibility of network shutdown, that there is one now.

This total Solar Eclipse is geared to be a very momentous event as the last time there was a coast to coast event of this magnitude for this event was in 1918. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is geared up to provide tips, tricks, and advice on technology effects during this moment in history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IPhone 8 Facial Recognition

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Regardless of whether or not the iPhone 8 will feature Touch ID, it’s all but guaranteed that the device will feature facial recognition technology. Over the past few weeks and months, word that the iPhone 8 will incorporate facial recognition has been corroborated by a number of credible sources, not to mention an endless stream of iPhone 8 parts leaks featuring discernible cutouts for additional camera sensors on the front panel of the device. While Apple tends to keep upcoming technologies and features under lock and key, its upcoming facial recognition software will likely be based on technology it acquired when it purchased an Israeli machine learning company called Realface earlier this year. Consequently, a close examination of Realface’s cutting edge technology can provide us with a number of significant clues as to what we can expect out of the highly anticipated iPhone 8.

Now what happens when a person’s appearance changes over time? After all, individuals routinely alter their appearance in a myriad of ways. Impressively, this is where the machine learning aspect of the software comes into play. Another design consideration is the fact that face recognition in the authentication context, you only need to keep track of one individual; but you need to keep track of changes in his appearance over time. People shave, wear makeup, wear their hair differently. So, we designed a new learning method that’s called personalized recognition that enables the system to evolve over time and essentially get to know you. All that being said, Realface’s facial recognition technology is said to be so advanced that it can reliably be used for bio-metric authentication and even as a means to authorize secure financial transactions. Indeed, Littwin during the aforementioned lecture made a point of noting that the technology was designed with the intention of meeting the stringent security requirements of financial institutions.

All in all, this sounds like a great feature, but it’s still hard to envision facial recognition replacing Touch ID entirely given certain use-case scenarios where a user isn’t looking directly at the screen. Replacing Touch ID would also make using Apple Pay decidedly more awkward. The good news is that we won’t have to wait too much longer to see what the iPhone 8 has in store for us. If all goes according to plan, we can expect Apple to unveil the iPhone 8 at a special media event in just about two months.

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AIRLINES WILL SAVE BILLIONS WITH PILOTLESS PLANES

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

A move to pilot less planes would boost industry profitability. Alternatively, if the cost savings were entirely passed to consumers, tickets could cost much less (11% cheaper in the U.S.). That would be about $40 a ticket based on a average of round trips est cost of $370. A survey of 8,000 people found that 54% of respondents were unlikely to take a pilot less flight. Just 17% of respondents, who were from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Australia, said they would buy the ticket. Air traffic laws in most of the world require “four-eye-rule” in the cockpit. Two pilots should be present at all times, and if one of them needs to take a break, another member of the crew has to take his or her spot.

The technologies in development today will enable the aircraft to assist and back up the pilot in all the flight phases, removing the pilot from manual control and systems operations in all types of situations. Commercial flights already land with the assistance of on-board computers, and pilots manually fly the aircraft for only a few minutes on average. However, contrary to popular belief, airliners do not fly themselves, even when they’re on autopilot. Pilots are continually monitoring and adjusting aircraft navigation and systems, communicating with air traffic control and preparing for the next phase of the flight. Analysts said the transition to pilot less planes is likely to happen over many years. Cargo planes would likely be first to incorporate the new technology, with commercial flights being the last to go pilot less. The number of pilots needed for each flight could be reduced along the way.

The shift has the potential to save the aviation industry huge amounts of money. Airlines typically employ 10 pilots per aircraft, and reducing their number would result in less spending on training, salaries and other staffing costs. It could also help alleviate an expected pilot shortage over the coming decades. An annual forecast released by Boeing last month said passenger and cargo airlines around the world are expected to buy 41,000 new airliners between 2017 and 2036.

The aviation industry could save $35 billion a year by moving to pilot less planes, according to a new report. Just one problem: The same report warns that only 17% of travelers are willing to fly without a pilot. The technology required to operate remote-controlled planes could appear by 2025. Further advances beyond 2030 might result in automated business jets and helicopters, and finally commercial aircraft without pilots.

 

 

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Successful Teleportation done by Chinese Scientists – More to come! No longer Science Fiction!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Many people look at technology in movies as a window into the future through the imagination of the mind. The mind believes that whatever it can conceive, that it can achieve. This is true in many aspects. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA like to look at the world as not just one-sided or 4 dimensional, but in a realistic spectrum of changes and events that are triggered by the way how we think and the decisions we make to achieve our goals. One of the ways that companies and innovators change the world is coming up with new technology that not mystifies the mind, but also captures the imagination.

 

One technology commonly depicted was in Star Trek where many were shocked in early 70’s to see devices which could teleport individuals from one point in the ship to another part, other ships, and even down the surface of other planets. A far stretch from the imagination this thought was years ago when the first episode of Star Trek aired and even after movies depicting this same technology appeared repeatedly. Well, the time for imagination to reach reality has finally come.

Scientists of two teams conducted their first teleportation successfully from inside a laboratory to just outside the vicinity of the laboratory proving that this ability to teleport is feasible.  Since then teams of scientists have been trying to get this technology mastered, but have had much difficulty in achieving this goal. That is until a team of Chinese scientists completed their first successful teleportation of an object into a satellite orbiting Earth which was 311 miles away.

 

To be more specific, the Chinese team beamed a photon in the photo receiver of a highly sensitive satellite called Micius. A photon is a representation of what a fax does with a piece of paper and the other machine receives it on the other end. In order for the data to be replicated, it needs to read the data, translate it, and then it transfers the state of the object rather than the physical object. This is the same that is done with teleportation. The photon is that transmitted quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation. This photon is the first steps of transmission of data from one surface to another and it was received successfully.

Simply put, data can now be teleported instead of via wireless, radio, or other conventional frequencies. This completely makes cords and the limitations of data transmissions obsolete. The next phase in the process is sending physical beings. Sending physical beings is a bit more complicated as breaking down a beings physical chemistry, converting it into data, then the receiver having the ability to recompose the data and piecing the physical being back with all the data intact is a task within itself. However, the first phases of this technology are now underway and sending an object as a photon, then receiving it 311 miles away shows that we are on the right path. This not only changes the way how we transmit data today in the modern world, but also gives light into how could potentially travel in years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Walmart Futuristic Delivery Truck

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Walmart and Peterbilt have collaborated on aerodynamic, hybrid, electrification and alternative fuel projects in the past, each with incremental gains in fuel efficiency and emission reductions. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience tractor combines many of these projects in a single vehicle. “Peterbilt’s goals of producing the most fuel-efficient, aerodynamic, and lightweight trucks in the industry mirror those of Walmart,” said Landon Sproull, chief engineer at Peterbilt. “Our combined efforts help build a business case for these technologies in the future, as well as support one of our best customers.”

Designers used extensive computational fluid dynamics analysis to optimize the truck’s styling. The truck’s shape represents a 20 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag over Walmart’s current Peterbilt Model 386. By placing the cab over the engine, the truck’s wheelbase is greatly shortened, resulting in reduced weight and better maneuverability. Walmart relied on product development supplier to carry out the vehicle’s construction with these detailed design specifications.

 

The truck features a micro turbine Range Extender generator developed by Capstone Turbine Corporation. The company also engineered the truck’s integrated hybrid drivetrain solution. The use of a hybrid powertrain allows the turbine to remain at optimum operating revolutions per minute (RPM), while the electric motor/energy storage handles acceleration and deceleration. A longer-range version of this powertrain would feature a larger turbine and smaller energy storage system.

 

When keyed on, the truck automatically detects the state of charge of the batteries and starts charging them, if needed, using the turbine engine. Charge mode can be manually selected if an operator wishes to “top off” the batteries prior to shutting down. For use in urban areas, the truck will run on electric power alone until the battery state of charge hits 50 percent. At that time the turbine will automatically start and begin charging the batteries.

Innovation is key to improvement, and the project aims to demonstrate a wide range of cutting edge technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels. The prototype is the result of collaboration between Walmart and many vendors, including Peterbilt, Roush Engineering, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. Almost every component on this vehicle is cutting edge and showcases innovations of the future that will drive increased efficiency.

 

 

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Step Aside Amazon Alexa and Google Home, here is Microsoft’s “Invoke”!

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Amazon started the trend of voice assistants built into a speaker that has taken flight and given the market a new meaning to voice activated shopping, music, event planning, and more. Amazon originally put this technology in the Amazon Echo in 2015 and three years later, they have developed the technology into Alexa, which is a much larger speaker plus added a lot more features. Alexa has the ability to work with other apps including integrate with Smart home devices via some nifty integrated application features.

 

Since Amazon’s introduction of Echo and Alexa, the competition market has picked up by other large companies such as Google which has come out with Google Home to compete against the rise in Amazon’s Alexa and Echo. Since the launch of Google Home in 2016, it has managed to grab a large part of the market by enabling many of the same Amazon features, but with the Google app store integration and Google Assistant. These two large competitors have managed to dominate the voice assistant market since its launch by Amazon a few years ago.

 

There is a new competitor on the market that has taken notes from the defects and short comings of Amazon and Google, to come out with a more optimal device. Microsoft has stepped into the market and pledges to have more features, more integration, and less defects than the current line of Amazon Echo and Alexa. It promises to be more reliable than the current Google Home. Microsoft’s version of the voice assistant is dubbed “Invoke”. Invoke is built by Harmon Kardon and packs a huge plethora of Microsoft technology under the belt.

Invoke will be powered by Cortana as the voice assistant with a cylinder shape similar to that of Amazon’s Alexa. Microsoft services will be integrated such as Skype for business to make voice calls at a mere command or accept and announce them with stereo sound throughout the room.  Cortana will have the latest features such as keeping up with calendars, meetings, reading emails, and ordering from the Microsoft app store.  Bing will be utilized as the search agent of choice as this is a Microsoft flagship product, it will have the bells and whistles of Microsoft’s major product integrations making it easy to transition from voice to pc and more.

 

With this device being made available to the public in the Fall of 2017, Microsoft is said to have a “killer feature” that is said to change the game in the voice assistant industry. Google and Amazon are on edge to find out what this new feature is that Microsoft is to unveil with their new flag ship for technology. Microsoft is gearing up to push for this device to its 145 million Windows 10 Cortana base to in an attempt to offset the Amazon and Google market. However, with Invoke not scheduled to be revealed until Fall of 2017, Google and Amazon have time to instill many upgrades in anticipation of this new adversary on the market.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom opens doors for an electric future

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Rolls-Royce is in a peculiar position when it comes to imagining the future of luxury transportation. The 112-year-old motor company is the very definition of a luxury car, but much of its auspicious reputation is based on its embodiment of classical luxury, in the tradition of Beethoven, and delectable suicide doors. Rolls-Royce customers expect the best, and as the brand focuses on wooing a younger customer base, tasteful, top-of-the-line technology is becoming paramount to those expectations. The look, tactile feel, and the user experience of that technology fall on its design department to imagine. Giles Taylor is charged with striking that careful balance as design director of Rolls-Royce. His most contemporary response is the brand’s flagship model, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, officially unveiled today in the UK. It is the eighth Phantom model to be produced in the history of the company.

 

The new Phantom is anything but unemotional. Sweeping curves disguise a myriad of sensors, including a touch-sensitive one on the door for valets to use at great affect. A new feature the brand calls “The Gallery” toys with the screen art of the car, featuring the work of commissioned artists as a backdrop option that spans across the dash. The instrument panel is digitized against a 12.3-inch display. Rolls-Royce markets it as “the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.” The clock, however, is analogue. While the Phantom was revealed publicly today, It was first seen in its aluminum space frame flesh at a private viewing for select customers and media in New York City in June. Both Taylor and Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös were there to present the car and describe its nuances. Pageantry is essential to the presentation of a new Rolls-Royce. The brand, owned by parent company BMW, makes every effort to distinguish itself as a distinctly unforgettable British, super luxury car-maker.

 

How this translates into the modern-day eighth generation Phantom is alluded to in design elements such as the shape of the grille, which is presented flush to the car. “We wanted to start to get the grille as an expression of the car rather than a standalone piece, Taylor said. “Does it really need to be there to hide a combustion engine? Finally, the aesthetics can start to grapple with that new sense of freedom.” In a company that grapples with maintaining its classic identity, these structural changes are not made lightly. In a Rolls-Royce, each part of the hand-built interior feels like a jewel.

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOPPING ON eBAY JUST GOT EASIER

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

eBay is introducing two new features for its mobile apps that use image matching to help customers search for products they might not be able to describe. The Image Search feature lets users shop by uploading a photo onto the app’s search bar. The Find It On eBay feature allows shoppers on any social media platform or website to share an image they like with eBay, which will then spit out listings matching the product. Both features are due this fall. eBay says at the time of launch, Image Search will be supported on both Android and iOS, while Find It On eBay will only be for Android devices in the initial stages.

eBay is at a technological advantage due to the rich set of user-generated images and item data we’ve accumulated through the years. By applying machine learning technology, eBay can deliver a fast and reliable shopping experience backed by one of the world’s largest commerce data sets. eBay says it has a catalog of around 1.1 billion items listed at any given time, and will leverage the latest advances in AI, including computer vision and deep learning, to enable the new features. eBay uses a deep learning model to process the images, the output of the model gives eBay a representation of the image that they can use to compare to the images of the live listings on eBay. Then eBay ranks the items based on visual similarity and use a open-source platform to quickly bring these results to you.

The move makes a lot of sense for eBay as image-based searching becomes more and more prevalent in today’s world. Will eBay live up to expectations?

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FINGERPRINTS THE NEW BOARDING PASS..

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Delta is expanding its biometric check-in feature that allows some customers to use their fingerprints instead of a boarding pass. The service was first launched at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in May and let Delta SkyMiles members enter the Delta Sky Club with their fingerprints rather than a physical ID. Now, those members can use their fingerprints to board their plane.

The airline is partnering with Clear for this service and SkyMiles members just have to enroll with Clear in order to take advantage of the feature at DCA. “It’s a win-win program. Biometric verification has a higher level of accuracy than paper boarding passes and gives agents more time to assist customers with seat changes and other skilled tasks instead of having to scan individual tickets – and customers have less to keep track of as they travel through the airport,” said Delta COO Gil West in a statement.

Earlier this year, Delta began testing a facial recognition system for checking luggage at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. And it’s not the only group looking to use biometrics for airport identification. The US is looking at a widespread facial recognition-based security planand Australia is working on equipping all of its international airports with facial, iris and fingerprint recognition to remove the need for passport checks.

Delta says the next step for its DCA fingerprint rollout is to allow passengers to use their prints for baggage check. “Once we complete testing, customers throughout our domestic network could start seeing this capability in a matter of months – not years. Delta really is delivering the future now,”.

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