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Category: Technology (Page 1 of 5)

Study finds a quarter of all tweets denying the existence of the climate crisis are produced by bots

Oliver Milman, The Guardian »

The stunning levels of Twitter bot activity on topics related to global heating and the climate crisis is distorting the online discourse to include far more climate science denialism than it would otherwise.

An analysis of millions of tweets from around the period when Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement found that bots tended to applaud the president for his actions and spread misinformation about the science.

The study of Twitter bots and climate was undertaken by Brown University and has yet to be published. Bots are a type of software that can be directed to autonomously tweet, retweet, like or direct message on Twitter, under the guise of a human-fronted account.

More » BBC

Vancouver’s Harbour Air becomes first to commercially fly an electric airplane

Vancouver’s Harbour Air, and CEO Greg McDougall made aviation history earlier this month, on December 10, 2019.

Paul A. Eisenstei, The Detroit Bureau »

With McDougall in the pilot’s seat, the Vancouver-based airline became the first to commercially fly an electric-powered aircraft – in this case, a 63-year-old De Vavilland Beaver seaplane.

“I was an early adopter of the Tesla car and so impressed by their innovation,” McDougall said. “When I got the car five years ago, I wondered if we could transfer similar electric engine technology to our planes. Someone was going to do it someday, so it may as well be us.”

[…]

The initial flight of the Harbour Air electric plane drew crowds of onlookers lining the waterfront. For now, the aircraft is in certification stage, a process that will take between two to three years, according to the New York Times.

If and when regulators give it a go, the aircraft will be able to handle a 30-minute flight – with a requisite 30-minute reserve – while being able to recharge in about an hour.

More » CBC, CNBC, Engadget, TechSpot, The Verge, Vox

Bloomberg » Trudeau has Canada’s economy humming

Matthew A. Winkler, writing in Bloomberg »

Unemployment fell faster than in any developed nation during the 40 months that ended in May, to its lowest level since 1976. Gross domestic product accelerated to a pace second only to the U.S. rate. The stock and bond markets proved world beaters with the best returns and most stability.

[…}

All of which helps make the economy stronger and technology the fastest-growing Canadian industry. While Canada’s GDP has grown 8% since 2015, its semiconductor business has expanded 11%; electronic products, 27%; computer systems 23%, and information technology, 36%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. During the decade preceding 2015, when Canadian GDP grew 16.3%, the semiconductor business declined 26%; electronic products fell 13%; computer systems increased 48%, and information technology declined 38%.

[…]

Trudeau became the first prime minister to bring gender parity to his cabinet, a policy that encouraged corporate Canada to follow suit by promoting women into management at the fastest rate in the G-7 during the past 40 months. The percentage of female executives among the 242 companies in the Toronto Stock Exchange Composite Index increased 13.5% to 15.4%, an advance that beat Germany (1.8%), the U.S. (1.7%) and Japan (0.3%), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read the whole article at Bloomberg »

Why we moved our Silicon Valley startup to Canada

Russ McMeekin, writing for Venture Beat »

CBRE, a U.S.-based commercial real estate and investment firm, recently ranked Toronto as the fastest-growing tech center in North America, with Vancouver and Montreal not far behind.

Long overlooked by the global tech community, Canada’s tech industry is coming into its own. In recent years, several U.S. tech giants have established offices here, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Last November, Fujitsu placed its global artificial intelligence (AI) center in Vancouver, British Columbia – not Silicon Valley.

and

Through its Superclusters initiative, Canada has invested more than a billion dollars in AI research and development in just the past three years. A first-of-its-kind initiative for the country, the initiative has seen cities from Toronto and Vancouver, B.C. to Montreal and Edmonton emerge as significant centers of AI innovation.

With federal funding and encouragement, top universities across Canada have incorporated AI into every part of their curricula. If you are a student taking a college accounting course, you will also learn about the latest AI tools in the field and where it’s heading. This means thousands of graduates from Canadian universities understand and appreciate the power of AI as they enter the workforce, in addition to the already abundant reservoir of talented data scientists.

Read the whole article at Venture Beat »

Here’s an interview Russ McMeekin did with Amanda Lang for Bloomberg on August 20, 2019 »

Considering the Google Pixel 4

I’m in the market for a new smartphone. My iPhone SE is fading quickly. Some pixels are dead and the screen has blotches across it. It’s also feeling a bit dated, but I don’t mind the dated look. I don’t have it to impress others. I love it mainly for it’s size. It fits nicely in my front pocket. It fits nicely in my hand.

It’s ridiculous that most smartphones last an average of 2 years or less. Isn’t it? That’s the industry average, and it’s mirrors my experience. I’m sure I’m not the only one to think that’s an absurdly short amount of time for the kind of money they are asking.

So I was looking forward to this week’s Apple event where they were expected to announce the new iPhone 11. But meh – I had a similar reaction last year. The 11 is not much more than an incremental freshened up XR. And most of the honest reviewers seem to agree. Forget the fan boys that love anything with an Apple logo stuck to it. Even with it’s $50 cheaper price tag over last year than last year’s entry model (iPhone sales numbers are dropping and Apple is shifting focus more towards services), it’s still outside the limits of what I think we should be paying for a phone. Those with short memories will have forgotten that last year Apple increased the base price of the base model iPhone by $150.

So I’ve started considering Android again. And I’ve reluctantly started looking at the Google Pixel phones again.

I’m reluctant to go with a another Google product. My previous phone was a Android One Motorola X4. It just stopped working one night, while I was asleep. I wasn’t plugged in. It was sitting on my nightstand. I had used it before going to sleep. It died a couple weeks after the warranted period ended. Before that I owned a couple of Nexus phones. They were all middle of the road phones. So I’m reluctant to buy another Google product.

But the Google Pixel 4 official “leaks” are looking interesting and come hot on the heals of the iPhone 11 announcement. There are a lot of photos and specs of the Google Pixel 4 available over at GenK. (You my need to decipher the Vietnamese with the help of Google Translate, as I did.) Most prior leaks of the Pixel 4 had blurry photos. These are nice shots that show a very interesting phone with very interesting features.

Way back in June, Google themselves tweeted out a photo of the Pixel 4 when the leaks started spilling out.

The leaks have only accelerated, seemingly never ending, and creating a lot of buzz, which is probably what Google was hoping for.

For me, it will come down to price. Right now, through Sept 28, the Pixel 3 is discounted by a whopping $400 in Canada, $300 in the US. That’s nothing to sneeze at, particularly if you are serious about your mobile phone photography and you want the pure Android experience. The Pixel 3 is still one of the best, and at the current discount, it has to be near the top of anyone looking for a mid-range priced phone. This was Google’s flagship smartphone less than a year ago.

But then there’s the Teracube to consider.

Updated » Apple iPhone Safari Hack that has existed for a couple of years is revealed

Aug 30

Video from SkyNews… The iPhone has been hacked!

Sept 8

This upends pretty much everything we know about iPhone hacking. We believed that it was hard,” respected security expert Bruce Schneier writes on his blog. “We believed that if an exploit was used too frequently, it would be quickly discovered and patched. None of that is true here. This operation used fourteen zero-days exploits. It used them indiscriminately. And it remained undetected for two years.” While I am unlikely to switch to Android, my trust in the privacy and security capability of their devices has eroded.

» If we can’t trust Apple, who can we trust? » Om

More at Michael Tsai, BuzzFeed, John Gruber, TechCrunch, MacRumors, The Verge, Zeynep Tufekci

Finally, Apple offers genuine iPhone parts and tools to independent repair shops

This is a surprising and welcome change. Although, lets not forget this came after a lot of media and public pressure over a long period.

The company has announced the Independent Repair Program, which will provide independent repair businesses, regardless of size, with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics for iPhone repairs as it gives to Apple Authorized Service Providers. After piloting the program with 20 repair business in North America, Europe, and Asia, Apple is launching the program in the United States with plans to expand it to other countries.

There’s no cost for repair shops to join the Independent Repair Program, although the application information notes that applicants must be established businesses in a commercially zoned area, and all repairs using genuine iPhone parts must be performed by an Apple-certified technician.

Read More by Adam Engst at TidBits…

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