It's not surprising that the super plugged-in among us are starting to worry about what all that connectivity is really costing us. Elke Meitzel/Getty Images The labels "digital vegan" and "digital vegetarian" are buzz-worthy, meme-ready terms that mean different things to different people. The idea behind the tags, though, is simple enough: to try to give a name to those who want to limit the role of digital media in their lives. These are the serious unpluggers — the so-called digital detoxifiers — the ones who want to, in the words of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, take the ever-connected "complexifiers" out of their lives. Those who not only want to rid themselves of Facebook, but Apple and/or Microsoft and/or Google and/or other digital boogeymen, too. That's a radical and scary idea for millions. No email. No Twitter. No online calendars. No cat videos. No memes, even. But those who make the leap — even for a short time and maybe not even as radically as the … [Read more...] about Unplugging From Big Tech Is Harder Than You Think
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Amazon has filed to patent a method for Alexa to start recording before anyone uses the wake word.The patent filing, first spotted by BuzzFeed News, would capture and process incoming audio, detect long pauses, and send the data to a remote server while Alexa waits for the wake word."When the system detects a wake word within a particular utterance, the system determines the most recent utterance change location prior to the wake word and sends the audio from that location to the end of the command utterance to a server for further speech processing," Amazon explains in the patent filing.Amazon filed to patent the method that receives audio of speech, buffers this data, determines whether the audio includes "a number of consecutive audio frames with an energy level below a threshold," and decides via tone and speed whether a new utterance has occurred.The system then discovers and stores the "location" in the sentence where a new utterance occurred, detects the wake … [Read more...] about Amazon files patent to record before you say ‘Alexa’
Year In Review We look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year. The past year saw tremendous advancements in humanity’s capacity to explore space, and 2019 promises to be no different. From mysterious Kuiper Belt objects and Martian probes to historic rocket launches and daring efforts to touch the Sun, here’s what the next 12 months have in store. New Horizons will encounter Ultima Thule The year 2019 will start with a bang as NASA’s New Horizons visits Ultima Thule, a mysterious Kuiper Belt object located 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from the Sun. At 12:33 a.m. EST on January 1, the spacecraft will zoom past Ultima Thule at speeds reaching 31,500 miles per hour (50,700 kilometers per hour), snapping as many pics as possible at resolutions between 98 to 230 feet (30 to 70 meters) per pixel. The historic close approach to Ultima Thule, also known as 2014 MU69, will be the first ever flyby of a … [Read more...] about All the Incredible Stuff Happening in Space in 2019
At a Taylor Swift concert earlier this year, fans were reportedly treated to something they might not expect: a kiosk displaying clips of the pop star that served as a covert surveillance system. It’s a tale of creeping 21st-century surveillance as unnerving as it is predictable. But the whole ordeal has left us wondering what the hell is going on. As Rolling Stone first reported, the kiosk was allegedly taking photos of concertgoers and running them through a facial recognition database in an effort to identify any of Swift’s stalkers. But the dragnet effort reportedly involved snapping photos of anyone who stared into the kiosk’s watchful abyss. “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” Mike Downing, chief security officer at live entertainment company Oak View Group and its subsidiary Prevent Advisors, told Rolling Stone. Downing was at Swift’s concert, which took place at the Rose Bowl in Los … [Read more...] about What’s Up With That Story About Secret Face-Scanning Tech at a Taylor Swift Show?
Sure, you consider yourself the king of the Interwebs, but we bet you aren’t familiar with all of the sites that made our gallery. Or are you? Guess there's only one way to find out. HowStuffWorks.com Screenshot Almost everyone who has been on the Internet has heard of Google. It's the most popular site and search engine in the world. But do you know the other most popular Web sites? Take a look at the next page to get started. HowStuffWorks.com Screenshot Similar to Google, Baidu is a Chinese Web services site that includes a search engine and collaborative encyclopedia. In 2012, Baidu ranked fifth in the Alexa Internet rankings. HowStuffWorks.com Screenshot Another popular site in China and a top 10 site worldwide is QQ.com, a free instant messaging service. Users also have access to games, virtual pets and ringtones. The next popular site also provides free services. HowStuffWorks.com Screenshot Wikipedia is a collection … [Read more...] about Popular Web Site Pictures