Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Business Almost Doubled In The Past Year

from recode Double-digit growth in Microsoft’s cloud services and a modestly improving PC business allowed the company to beat Wall Street expectations for the December quarter. Excluding three weeks of LinkedIn results and adjusting for Windows 10 deferrals and other items, Microsoft posted per-share earnings of 84 cents on revenue of $25.8 billion. On that basis, analysts were expecting earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $25.2 billion, according to Zacks. “We had a really good quarter from our perspective,” investor relations chief Chris Suh told Recode, noting the company posted results ahead of its guidance in each of […]

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The Internet of Things Is Coming for Us

from NYTs The Moche people lived on Peru’s north coast long before the Spanish conquest of the Americas. They grew corn and squash, built monumental adobe temples and were master craftsmen in gold and ceramics. They never had the chance to sell their wares on Etsy, and yet they anticipated some of our most modern anxieties. Like us, they saw themselves living in a vulnerable world where the technology created to make their lives better was just as likely to turn against them. While we worry about our baby monitors and home routers being hijacked by malicious hackers, they perceived […]

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How Computers Are Learning To Be Creative

from TED We’re on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity — and it’s not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them. The results: spectacular, hallucinatory collages (and poems!) that defy categorization. “Perception and creativity are very intimately connected,” Agüera y Arcas says. “Any creature, any being that is able to do perceptual acts is also able to create.” More here.

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Think Your Email’s Private? Think Again

from TED Sending an email message is like sending a postcard, says scientist Andy Yen in this thought-provoking talk: Anyone can read it. Yet encryption, the technology that protects the privacy of email communication, does exist. It’s just that until now it has been difficult to install and a hassle to use. Showing a demo of an email program he designed with colleagues at CERN, Yen argues that encryption can be made simple to the point of becoming the default option, providing true email privacy to all. More here.

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Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Predict the iPhone Decade

from Wired When Apple set out to build a smartphone, the team tasked with doing so didn’t plan on changing the world. It didn’t foresee the App Store becoming a billion-dollar business full of billion-dollar businesses like Uber, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. It wasn’t trying to reinvent how people communicate, shop, and even hook up. It was trying to build an iPod that made phone calls. “The grand vision wasn’t really articulated, because there wasn’t one,” says Andy Grignon, a senior manager on the project and now a partner at design firm Siberia. Even the name, iPhone, started as an homage to Apple’s hit music player. Most early prototypes featured a screen and a click […]

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Teaching a Neural Network to Encrypt

from Schneier on Security Researchers have trained a neural network to encrypt its communications. In their experiment, computers were able to make their own form of encryption using machine learning, without being taught specific cryptographic algorithms. The encryption was very basic, especially compared to our current human-designed systems. Even so, it is still an interesting step for neural nets, which the authors state “are generally not meant to be great at cryptography: This story is more about AI and neural networks than it is about cryptography. The algorithm isn’t any good, but is a perfect example of what I’ve heard called “Schneier’s Law“: […]

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Poll: What is your view of the all-USB-C ports on the new MacBook Pro?

from 9to5Mac We’ve run three opinion pieces recently addressing Apple’s decision to remove all but USB-C ports from the new MacBook Pro – and each has attracted literally hundreds of comments. I started the ball rolling by arguing that while I do fully appreciate the pain involved in the transition, it’s a trade-off. Buying a few new cables or adapters today versus ending up with too few USB-C ports when the new standard has taken over a year or so down the line. That one generated more than 700 comments, many of them arguing that I was wrong and that Apple should have offered a […]

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Don’t Connect to a Public Wi-Fi Network Anywhere You Wouldn’t Go Barefoot

from New America Weekly We’ve all done it. Maybe because of work pressures—you need to catch a plane but are also pushing toward a deadline. Maybe out of sheer boredom—your flight is delayed yet another hour and there is really only so much time you can spend at the airport bar before noon. Whatever the reason, we’ve all been there—stuck in the airport, looking at a list of little Wi-Fi signals, some without the lock next to them, wondering … it couldn’t hurt, could it? Just this once? Of course, airports aren’t the only place with skeezy Wi-Fi. Coffee shops, […]

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We Built A Fake Toaster, And It Was Hacked In An Hour

from Business Insider Last week, a massive chain of hacked computers simultaneously dropped what they were doing and blasted terabytes of junk data to a set of key servers, temporarily shutting down access to popular sites in the eastern U.S. and beyond. Unlike previous attacks, many of these compromised computers weren’t sitting on someone’s desk, or tucked away in a laptop case—they were instead the cheap processors soldered into web-connected devices, from security cameras to video recorders. A DVR could have helped bring down Twitter. Great, I thought as I read the coverage last week. My DVR helped bring down Twitter. (Probably not, […]

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Telecoms’ Ambitions on Targeted Ads Seen Curbed by F.C.C.’s New Privacy Rules

from NYTimes In recent years, companies like Verizon and AT&T have made no secret of their ambitions to build online advertising businesses that can take on the behemoths of Silicon Valley. But those plans, and the billions of dollars that have been invested in them, are in peril after federal officials approved broad new privacy rules that will limit the extent to which companies can collect and use digital information about individuals. The Federal Communications Commission’s ruling on Thursday that internet service providers must get permission to gather and share consumers’ private data, including web browsing, app use and location, threw a wrench in the plans of several telecommunications […]

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Maybe We’re Not So Afraid Of The Robot Apocalypse After All

from co.Create Sooo . . . about that impending robot apocalypse . . . Despite the best efforts of movies like Ex Machina, Morgan and Avengers: Age of Ultron, a new survey found that people from around the world largely see artificial intelligence having a more positive than negative impact on their lives and society in general. Communications firm Weber Shandwick has just published its “AI-Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence Here We Come!” report, conducted with KRC Research, for marketers, surveying 2,100 consumers across five global markets on AI, its many uses, how they see it evolving, and how comfortable they are with that […]

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New Data Caps Provide Another Reason to Hate Comcast

from Wired THE DAYS OF unlimited Internet end November 1. That’s when Comcast, the nation’s largest broadband Internet provider, starts imposing a monthly data limit of 1 terabyte on subscribers nationwide. The company started testing this plan in a few cities earlier this year, and decided to roll it out in 28 states. Anyone exceeding the limit more than two months in a row can pony up $10 for blocks of 50 gigabytes, according to the company’s website. That said, you’ll never be charged an overage fee greater than $200, and Comcast is more than happy to let you pay an extra 50 bucks […]

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Security News This Week: FBI Finds Hackers Poking Around More Voter Registry Sites

from Wired Concern about potential election tampering continued this week. As noted in the roundup below, the FBI found evidence that hackers have been assessing the defenses of voter registries around the country and the cell phones of some Democratic party officials. But election officials aren’t the only ones on high alert. A bombing in New York City led the FCC to reassess its emergency text alert guidelines this week, and Tesla turned a hack of its Tesla S into an opportunity to launch code signing, a fundamentally more secure way to verify code. As fallout from last week’s Yahoo hack news continued, experts questioned the […]

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Tesla Model S Hack

from Schneier on Security Impressive remote hack of the Tesla Model S.  Details. Video. The vulnerability has been fixed. Remember, a modern car isn’t an automobile with a computer in it. It’s a computer with four wheels and an engine. Actually, it’s a distributed 20-400-computer system with four wheels and an engine. More here.

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How Star Trek Artists Imagined The iPad… Nearly 30 Years Ago

from ars technica One interesting characteristic of Star Trek: The Next Generation—one that separated it from the original series and most of the early films—was its widespread use of smooth, flat, touch-based control panels throughout the Enterprise-D. This touch interface was also used for numerous portable devices known as PADDs, or Personal Access Display Devices. These mobile computing terminals bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPad—a mobile computing device largely defined by its smooth, flat touchscreen interface. To understand the thinking that led to the design of the Star Trek PADD, we spoke to some of the people involved in production of ST:TNG (as well as other Star […]

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The US Is No Longer The Dominant Engine Of Global Innovation, And Europe Will Overtake It? – Here’s Why

from Medium This is a guest article, my first for Tech.eu, which provides a brief introduction to my new book, which was published on May 31st and explores a controversial topic I raise in the last chapter: I believe the EU is on the verge of overtaking the U.S. as the better place for entrepreneurs to reside. Let me start with a quick personal background and the basic framework that guides the book and leads me to this conclusion. I have had the great fortune to live in some amazing cities in the Western world in the past two decades. Prior […]

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As Emoji Grow More Popular, The “Language” Also Risks Fragmentation

from ars technica Emoji have become important. They’ve permeated our conversations and our messaging apps and our popular culture to a degree that no one could have anticipated just a few years ago, and when your phone or computer gets an update, new emoji are often featured prominently in the release notes or even announced in their own press releases. That the “language” is so universal and recognizable is due in large part to the Unicode Consortium, the group of major tech companies in charge of defining and approving new emoji (and dozens of other character sets, besides). Every year, it proposes, discusses, […]

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How “Mr. Robot” Is Going To Reveal The Storytelling Possibilities Of Virtual Reality

from co.create “You can look away,” the narrator of the Mr. Robot VR Experience tells you, the viewer, just before things get awkward. And of course, you can look away. You can look anywhere you choose in the entire drab apartment, which should be familiar to viewers of the bracing hit USA show. Up until now, the main feature of virtual reality experiences has always been that you can look away, anywhere you want in 360 miraculously accounted for degrees. What’s revolutionary about this experience, though, is that the story in front of you is so compelling, you don’t want to look away. Besides, there will […]

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Will Wearables Replace Gym Memberships For Corporate Wellness?

from readwrite Market intelligence firm Tractica says wearables might be the next craze for the enterprise and industry sectors, as more businesses start to launch corporate wellness programs and integrate wearables into everyday work. Sales in the sector are expected to skyrocket from 2.3 million in 2015 to 66.4 million in 2021, according to Tractica. It sees corporate wellness as the main driver for wearable sales in the enterprise sector, at least up to 2021. Corporate wellness programs are already starting to integrate wearables. Fitbit has over 1,000 companies added to its program and health platform Jiff has seen an increase in its […]

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Mass Government Surveillance Is Chilling To Online Dissent

from co.exist We act differently when we know we’re being watched, and that includes adapting our online behavior because we know that the government is tracking our every move. If you’ve ever changed what you were about to write in a forum post, or censored a tweet because you thought it might get picked up by the NSA, you already know that this is true. Self-censorship is particularly dangerous, because it can silence minority opinions, says a new research paper by Wayne State University journalism professor Elizabeth Stoycheff. It can lead, she says, to a “spiral of silence,” wherein “individuals, motivated by […]

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