Sunday 9 August 2015

Microsoft Releases Translator Apps for iOS, Android

Microsoft Translator app

There's a fight brewing in translation-ville. In one corner, Google, which has done a great job of beating many established players with its fairly useful Web-based translation tools (apps, too). In the other corner, Microsoft, which feels that the market of people needing apps that can translate one language to another is far from saturated just yet.
The solution? Microsoft has officially released its new Microsoft Translator app for iOS and Android. The app works with smartphones, tablets, and Android Wear smartwatches—as well as the Apple Watch. It's pretty easy to use, too. Pull up the app on the device of your choosing and either type or talk the word or phrase that you need a translation for. Wait a moment, and boom. Instant translation.
"Wearables are a fascinating place to understand user experiences for translation. No other type of device allows people to interact with so little physical intrusion from the device itself— PC's, tablets, and even phones can be occasionally awkward and unnatural in the middle of a conversation. With these smart devices, we want to learn how people use the apps and how effective the translation experiences can be. By integrating translation capabilities into devices that are instantly on hand (pun intended), we hope to continue to break down the last barrier in human communication— language," reads a blog post from Microsoft.
The app can do a little bit more than just raw translation, too. If there are certain translations that you find yourself always needing—"I don't speak [language]," for example—you can pin then within the app itself for easy access. You can also pull up a history of words or phrases you've previously translated, in case you want to go back and do a bit of learning while you're killing some time on the train / bus / wherever. The app supports 50 or so languages in total, which is nearly double the amount currently supported by Google's Translate app. (Google's app also doesn't work on Android Wear, oddly enough; Microsoft's does.)
However, Google's app does have one impressive feature Microsoft's lacks: The ability to point your smartphone's camera at something (like a street sign) and receive an instant translation of whatever it is you're looking at.
"Our researchers are continuously looking at the most effective ways to bring down linguistic barriers by solving significant technical and interaction design challenges. Today, we have a number of ways in which Microsoft Translator is accessible to our users— on the web, as part of your search experience, through many experiences built by our developer community, via Office and more. Most recently we worked closely with our friends in Skype to deliver an entirely new interaction model for translation by enabling long distance real-time speech translation. Like we did with Skype Translator, we have been thinking about how wearable technology might affect language and translation experiences. The new wearable apps we are releasing today are part of this exploration," reads Microsoft's blog post.

Microsoft blew US$7.6 billion on Nokia overcoming Apple-envy

Things got crazy towards the end of Steve Ballmer’s time as Microsoft CEO. One of his dumbest moves was buying Nokia.
Some say the decision cost him his job. That wasn’t all. Last month Microsoft wrote down US$7.6 billion it spent buying Nokia.
Until the acquisition, Google, Facebook, Amazon and, most of all, Apple dominated technology news reports and discussion.

Microsoft relevant

They still do. Yet Microsoft is relevant again. In a way the Nokia episode helped the company get back on track, in part by being the catalyst for a much-needed change of leadership. It also helped the company’s top brass focus on where the business is and where it can go.

From the sidelines Ballmer saw Apple win revenue, margin and respect while Microsoft appeared to drift towards irrelevance[1].
His last roll of the dice was an ill-judged attempt to remake Microsoft in Apple’s image. Hence the talk of “software and devices”.
In itself that was not a stupid strategy. But it ignored Microsoft’s strengths and weaknesses.

Great phones, late to market

Buying Nokia was meant to catapult Microsoft into the phone market. Microsoft phones are great. In many respects the Windows Phone operating system is better than Android[2]. I used one for a couple of years, but they were too late.

Microsoft then bet on phone and tablet-like touch screens being dominant. It went too far too fast.
Instead of a steady-as-she-goes update to Windows 7[3] Microsoft went in boots and all with tablet-like touch screen technology for Windows 8.

Microsoft disrupted

The move was meant to be disruptive. In the event Microsoft was disrupted.

Buying Nokia was a disaster. Many of the 25,000 employees at the phone maker have lost their jobs. There are empty factories and ghost towns in Nokia’s native Finland.
It didn’t go any better for Microsoft. Almost every dollar it spent has gone down the gurgler.
However, Microsoft was big enough to weather that storm. A new boss, a new direction and a new confidence mean any lasting damage is now safely behind the company.

Destroying value

Microsoft should have known better. Large scale technology company mergers seldom deliver the promised gains. Most destroy value. There are as much about ego or distracting attention with big gestures as about creating fresh opportunities. Savvy investors run a mile when they hear the termsynergy.

Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition is the latest in a long string of large-scale technology deals that failed to deliver on promised benefits. Think Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
This year Microsoft wrote down US$7.6 billion on the deal. In effect that means the Nokia mobile phone business is now worthless, a decade ago dominated the market. Blame the iPhone.

Mercedes, BMW and Audi Join Forces to Get Nokia HERE Mapping Technology

Mercedes-Benz S-Class with LIDAR
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been spied carrying a prototype LIDAR system.
Lately, there have been talks that the three giants in the luxury car market, namely Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, were racing to acquire the HERE digital mapping technology of Nokia. The system is seen by the luxury automakers as a crucial element in their development of self driving cars.
According to a report from Motor Authority, the premium car makers recently did the unthinkable. Instead of competing against each other in the acquisition of the tech, the three decided to pool up their resources, totaling 2.8 billion euros or $3.1 billion, in order to hold an equal share with HERE.
The deal is expected to be completed in the early part of 2016. The unprecedented cooperation of the three just to get a hold of the system just shows how Nokia really nailed it big-time this time.
The source noted that HERE will remain under independent management though. It will also be open to any interested customer. However, the new owners will certainly benefit from the licensing fees stemming from the use of the product by other parties.
Then again, the income from the said fees might prove to be minor for Mercedes, BMW and Audi compared to the major advantages that the tech will provide their future autonomous cars.
Basically, Nokia HERE uses LIDAR or Light Detection and Ranging. It uses pulsing lasers, cameras and other sensors to come up with a precise 3D mapping in real time. The tech will certainly offer a big leap in the navigations sytem of cars because it can detect objects and people, as well as provide real-time analysis of traffic patterns.
Below is a quick demo of how the Nokia HERE LIDAR tech sees the world:

NVIDIA Shield users can use GRID game streaming for free until September

nvidia shield tablet first impressions (4 of 9)
NVIDIA’s promise to cater console-quality game streaming to the masses is enticing, but it is taking the company quite a bit of time to deliver. The NVIDIA GRID service was announced in the beginning of 2013, but has been under beta since then, only available to those who decide to buy into the platform and grabbing a Shield device.
These users have been enjoying GRID streaming a couple years for free, which is a nice treat… one that is not ending soon. While we have been expecting a release, since May and July, those months have come and gone with no good news. Now NVIDIA has updated its site to let us know Shield users can continue using the GRID streaming service free of charge until September 2015.
nvidia shield tablet first impressions (4 of 9)
That is really a nicer way to say the launch has been delayed significantly (even if it may make some of you happy). When we finally see GRID officially being released, there will be a subscription-based model put into action (much like Netflix, Hulu, etc.), as well as full games you will be able to purchase individually.
Just in case you are not in the loop, we are talking about streaming high-end games with console-quality graphics here. And latency is said to be minimal, making it possible for gamers around the world to play state of the art titles without expensive hardware – they would just need a stable and fast internet connection.
Nvidia GRID game streaming
Pretty awesome, right? September is only a month away, so sit tight and be patient. I mean, we have already waited over 2 years; can’t hurt to hold on for a bit more! I just hope they don’t extend the delay again.

3440x1440 benchmarked on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan X, and more

For the course of 2015 so far I've been running an LG 34UC97 monitor as my workstation display, taking in its glorious 34-inch size and 3440x1440 resolution. Since my review of the LG 34UC97 back in December 2014, the 

We're seeing a new 21:9 display released each month, and we're getting closer to the one that will rule them all: a 34-inch monitor with a native resolution of 3440x1440, but with NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. We should see that released next month, and you can bet your old display we'll have one of those to review very soon.

Until then, I've noticed that no sites are really covering UltraWide resolutions in their benchmarks. Well, we are starting today. We will be running all of our future cards in four resolutions: 1920x1080, 2560x1440, 3440x1440 and 3840x2160. But before then, we're going to do a couple of articles to bring you up to speed on various video cards running 3440x1440, and how they perform in our benchmark suites.

We're starting off with NVIDIA's line up of cards, where we have tested the GeForce GTX 780, GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti and the Titan X. After this article, we'll look at SLI results with all of those cards, and then we'll move onto the AMD side of things (with single, and multi-GPU setups).

Gaming at 3440x1440 is just utterly beautiful, with the 21:9 aspect ratio really adding to the experience in some games. I'm mostly a Battlefield 4 player and the additional horizontal pixels are glorious, especially when you mix it with a 95-degree FOV with the in-game settings.

What We're Using

As for our system, we have worked with be quiet!, GIGABYTE and Kingston on our new system that we wrote a build guide for here. It's quite the system, with the breakdown in specifications below:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-5830K (stock clocks)
  • Cooling: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion
  • RAM: Kingston 32GB (4x8) HyperX Fury DDR4-2666 (HX426C15FBK4/3)
  • Storage: Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • Display: LG 34UC97 (34-inch UltraWide 3440x1440 21:9)
  • PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 1200W
  • Case: be quiet! Silent Base 800
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
  • Drivers: GeForce 353.30





Battlefield 4



Grand Theft Auto V


GRID Autosport



Metro: Last Light



Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor






Tomb Raider



BioShock Infinite



Final Thoughts

So there we have it, some of the latest cards from NVIDIA benched at 3440x1440 with some surprising results. Even the older GTX 780 holds its own, especially in something like Battlefield 4 where we have 59FPS average. This is absolutely acceptable for a 60Hz panel, which is what we were testing on, to hit 59FPS average. With a few tweaks to the in-game visual settings, you could hit 60FPS minimum on an older card in Battlefield 4.

On the reference GTX 980, we're seeing an average of around 60FPS (or so) on all of our games. With some adjustments to the in-game settings, you'll see 60FPS minimum, and that's on the reference GTX 980. If you were to pick up a custom GTX 980 from the likes of ZOTAC, MSI or ASUS, the performance is only going to be better.

Next up, we're going to test out these cards again in SLI and then once SLI results are finished, we'll swap out all of our NVIDIA hardware for the AMD side of things and run the benchmarks again. Then we'll have an article comparing the top two cards from both sides against each other, as well as a run down of all of the cards performance.

Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico posters splashed across buses and billboards in the USA

PHOTOS: Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico posters splashed across buses and billboards in the USA

PHOTOS: Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico posters splashed across buses and billboards in the USA

PHOTOS: Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico posters splashed across buses and billboards in the USA

PHOTOS: Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico posters splashed across buses and billboards in the USA

Priyanka Chopra’s most anticipated American TV show Quantico is set to go on air next month. Considering the time period, the production team has already begun the publicity of the show.
News sources suggest that for promotions, posters of Quantico featuring Priyanka Chopra are being splashed all across various cities of America, right from New York to Los Angeles. From buses to billboards the team is leaving no stone unturned to spread the word about their new show.
It’s said that the team has set a considerable amount for Priyanka’s publicity in particular. The actress is a known face for NRIs, however it is to be seen how the Americans receive the Indian actress on their TV series.
Created by Joshua Safran, the Priyanka Chopra starrer is a terrorism thriller and has the actress essaying the role of an FBI trainee.  

The First "Intel Inside" Desktop 3D Printer - the "mostfun Pro" - to Crowdfund on Kickstarter

CHENGDU, China, Aug. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The ”mostfun Pro”, the world’s first “Intel Inside” desktop 3D printer and the result of a joint collaboration between Chengdu mostfun S&T Co,. Ltd and Intel, will seek crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the world’s leading crowdfunding platform, starting from August 11. 
A few backers had a try at some high priced 3D printing technologies on Kickstarter in 2012 and 2013, and these initial efforts were followed by hundreds of thousands of backers who took home low-cost 3D printers via Kickstarter during the following two years. However, the backers were not satisfied with the user experience and their comments on Kickstarter demonstrated that they expected improvements especially in terms of ease of use, stability and after-sale service. 
After a comprehensive review of 3D printing projects featuring FDM, SLA and DLP printing technologies, three technologies which successfully completed crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and raised funds ranging from US$200,000 to US$3,000,000 based on units priced from US$2,500 to as low as $199, we came to the conclusion that 3D printers are evolving from being technology-driven to being product-driven. In addition to low price and originality in design, overall product quality became a priority for backers.
mostfun CEO Lvzhou Chen said: ”A good 3D printer should be reliable and easy to use. It should require no manual to go through to get it started and should always deliver steady performance over the long term. This is exactly what we want to bring to you with the ’mostfun Pro’.”
Ease of use as well as long term stability are the two features that have been specifically optimized in the mostfun Pro as a result of an analysis of the main drawbacks in a number of desktop 3D printers currently available on the market. On one hand, mostfun decided on the Intel Edison, which allows users to access the control panel by scanning a QR code on their mobile device as well as direct log-in via a browser, in addition to a number of convenient and intelligent functions such as power-off protection and built-in printer memory in a move to offer a “plug and print” experience. On the other hand, the unit features a brand new extruder, the BAU, which is compatible with a wide range of materials including PLA, ABS, TPU, WAX and HIPS. The extruder has built-in auto-calibration to offer stable and high-precision output. Last but not the least, ”mostfun Pro”, with Intel Inside’s reliability and technology guarantee, is priced very attractively on Kickstarter.
Each product is an exercise in the evolution from raw technology to product maturity and user friendliness. Backers will gain a new and rewarding experience from the maturity of ”mostfun Pro” 3D’s technology and the stability delivered by Intel Inside.

Intel bringing Xeon to laptops with E3-1500M v5 Skylake processor family


Intel's Xeon processors have powered servers and other enterprise PCs for years, but if you wanted their performance and security features for on-the-go computing, you were stuck having to buy notebooks by boutique builders like Eurocom that stuffed the desktop chips into massive laptops.
The chip giant has apparently seen a need in the mobile workstation market for a better solution, as the company hasjust announced that it will be delivering Xeon-based notebook processors for the first time this fall. The Xeon Processor E3-1500M v5 family will be based on the new Skylake 14nm architecture and will be shipping in high-powered laptops starting this fall.
While Intel has powerful CPUs for notebook computing -- like the Core i7-4940MX Extreme Edition -- the E3-1500M will offer buyers more enterprise-friendly features to go along with top-tier performance. These include error-correcting code memory, which can fix potential data corruption errors automatically, as well as the company's vPro technology for enhanced security and remote management. Workstations featuring the Xeon mobile processors will include Thunderbolt 3 interface technology, and Intel promises certifications for design and content-creation software that will be run on the notebooks.
What the company hasn't mentioned are the specs for the E3-1500M v5 processors, thoughwe know that Skylake should bring the usual faster performance (including integrated graphics, which workstation users won't be relying on anyway) and improved battery life that each new iteration of Intel's Core processors delivers. Considering the power-hungry apps that will be used with these Xeon chips, the increased battery life will be critical, though expecting hours and hours of juice might be expecting too much for this class of CPU. More details are expected on Skylake CPUs at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum, so stay tuned.

Intel plans first-ever mobile Xeon CPUs

Late yesterday, Intel announced that it would be releasing the first-ever workstation-grade Xeon CPUs for laptops. The company is "not quite ready to unveil all the details" including the exact specifications and TDPs of the chips and when they'll be available, but right now we know that they'll be based on the same Skylake architecture as the high-end desktop chips that Intel unveiled earlier this week. The Xeon E3-1500M v5 family also supports the same high-end features as its desktop counterparts, including error-correcting code (ECC) memory and the vPro business management features.
Perhaps most interestingly, Intel's press release says that every workstation that ships with one of these Xeons will include Thunderbolt 3 and, therefore, USB Type-C ports that support the full 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speed among the connector's other benefits. Thunderbolt 3 is available for consumer Skylake chips, but it requires an external controller—either Intel has baked Thunderbolt support into the mobile Xeon's chipset, or using the external controller is mandatory if you use the Xeon CPUs.
These Xeon chips are interesting, but don't expect to squeeze your octa-core desktop workstation into a laptop just yet.
Intel ships two basic types of Xeon processors—the E5 and E7 families are based on tweaked, supercharged versions of Intel's flagship processor architectures. Consider the various Haswell-E chips, which came out later than the standard consumer Haswell chips but added fancy features like DDR4 support and gobs of CPU cores (everything from six-core Core i7 chips to 18-core Xeons). The E3 family includes support for ECC RAM and management features but are based on the same architecture as current consumer chips (hence Skylake) and have historically topped out at four cores.
So while fans of those lower-key additions may be excited about the prospect of mobile Xeons, those hoping to go beyond four cores in a laptop should temper their expectations. It's possible that Intel plans six- or eight-core mobile Skylake chips, but those chips tend to have power and cooling requirements that are difficult to meet even in a bulky mobile workstation.

Dress up and celebrate Japanese pop culture this weekend at Animethon


Malissa is a semi-professional cosplayer who dresses as her favourite comic character and attends conventions like the 22nd annual Animethon, which is happening at MacEwan University this weekend. Video by Shaughn Butts, Edmonton Journal.

EDMONTON - Comic book characters come to life at the 22nd annual Animethon this weekend.
The Japanese Animation or anime themed convention runs August 7-9 at MacEwan University’s City Centre Campus.
The longest running anime convention in Canada features more than 80 live programs, panel discussions on a variety of topics, video game tournaments, special guest appearances by voice actors, improvisation groups, and a performance by the popular Japanese rock band Flow.
“Edmonton has a very passionate cosplay and anime community that keeps growing with each year,” said Vicky Lau, director of public relations for Animethon.
With more than 8,400 people attending last year’s event, organizers hope to see 9,000 guests come through the doors this year.
The average age of attendees is 14 to 25, Lau said.
Amanda Botelho, 16, and her two friends, Rowan Atchison, 16, and Kira Yany, 17 have been attending Animethon for the past two years.
“We just come for the love of anime,” Amanda said. “I grew up watching it because my grandma would go and buy me Sailor Moon, and I just really loved it, and still do.”
Over the weekend cosplayers will be seen walking through the halls of MacEwan and on the streets of downtown Edmonton.
“Those who come to the convention don’t have to dress up, but it’s a lot of fun to dress up as your favourite characters,” Lau said.
Attendees spend weeks if not months preparing for conventions like this. Spending hours upon hours perfecting their character’s look.
“I spent about three days and 60 hours making my costume,” Rowan said.
Organizers have noted changing trends in Japanese pop culture and try to keep up with it.
“You’re always meeting new people, and making new friends. You bond over the common interest,” Rowan said.

MANCHESTER United kicked off the new Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday

Walker prodded the ball into his own net in the 22nd minute as the Spurs defender tried to deny United captain Wayne Rooney an easy scoring opportunity at a sunlit Old Trafford.

It was one of very few chances in a scrappy match, with Spurs’ hopes of an equalizer coming mainly in the closing minutes with two shots from attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.
"It was a very difficult game because you have seen two teams that want to press, so every player at the ball had a very small (amount of) time to play,” Van Gaal told BT Sport. “We didn’t keep the ball too much ... but we created a few chances.”

As for his new signings, the Dutchman said: “It’s always difficult, it’s the first time they play at Old Trafford... but I Iiked the performance.”

Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino made no secret of his feelings about the game’s turning point after 22 minutes.

Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (2nd L) vies with Tottenham Hotspur's Da

“Very frustrated, disappointed, because until this moment we played much better, created some chances, we dominated the game,” he said. “And with one mistake, we give the opportunity to score.”

United started with four new players, with Sergio Romero in goal after Van Gaal decided that Real Madrid target David de Gea was not in the right frame of mind to play.

Fullback Matteo Darmain, along with midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay all made convincing debuts and Romero improved after some early signs of nerves.

Tottenham made by far the better start and could easily have been ahead after five minutes. Striker Harry Kane sent a clever chip over the United defense but Eriksen could only send his cushioned volley over the bar from close range with Romero at his mercy.

Spurs were repeatedly caught out by the offside rule as they tried to get behind United’s back four, but still looked the most likely team to score before gifting United its opener.

The visitors only had themselves to blame after a sloppy pass by Nabil Bentaleb gave the ball away in midfield. Ashley Young sped down the right flank before crossing for the unmarked Rooney, who had keeper Michel Vorm to beat. As the United striker hesitated, Walker arrived just in time to spear the ball away from Rooney’s feet, past a despairing Vorm and into the corner of the Spurs net.

The goal gave a United a lift and although there were no further scoring chances before the break, Van Gaal’s side began to move the ball around with more assurance.

Another of new United’s new signings, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, replaced Michael Carrick on the hour mark of what was turning into a fairly scrappy encounter.

Tottenham waited until the final 10 minutes before pushing with any real conviction for an equalizer.

Michael Carrick of Manchester United walks with Louis van Gaal.

United defender Chris Smalling made a superb tackle to snuff out the danger from Nacer Chadli and Eriksen tried his luck with an angled drive that drew a good save from Romero.

Eriksen followed up by rifling in a powerful shot from outside the area in the 89th minute, but Romero was quick to make a block.

The final whistle came as a relief for United fans, who saw their club lose 2-1 at home to Swansea on the opening day last season.

“The most important thing today was the victory,” Rooney said. “After what happened last season, getting off to a bad start at home - we had a bad run of results after that - today was all about the three points. And we’ve gone out there and done that.”