Nesting Buddy

New Windows 10 version
The next major Windows 10 update ("Creators Update") is expected in spring 2017, but nobody really mind it if Microsoft decided to released a new and improved version of its operating system (Build 15002) for testers signed up to the Windows Insider program.

The latest update featured a host of improvements and new features, notably for the Cortana intelligent personal assistant and the Edge internet browser.

Microsoft just can't leave the "Start" menu alone, it seems. This latest update lets users create custom folders filled with the tiles of their choice. The Cortana intelligent personal assistant gets a host of new functions in the update. It can, for example, start playing a radio station or a movie, search for recipes, and handle recurring time-based reminders ("every month" or "every year"), which can be handy for paying bills or remembering birthdays.

The update also brings Touchpad improvements, adding audio volume controls and greater flexibility in touch settings and controls.

Finally, this update brings its share of corrections, fixing brightness settings issues, improving Coraina pop-ups in Edge, and fixing crashes when browsing folders on the OneDrive cloud storage facility.

Note that this version doesn't bring any major changes to interface design and doesn't yet integrate any elements of "Projet Neon," a fresh and streamlined redesign that uses transparency and blurring.

Installation media (ISO) for Build 15002 should be made available in the week beginning January 16 to members of the Windows Insider program, allowing interested users to try out the update before it rolls out to consumers.


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Google Search Promotes Fake News

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Google Fake News
After the United States Presidential election, Facebook and Google started to fix the promotion of fake news. Both companies have made efforts to bury bad links from their algorithms, but some stories are still slipping through.

For instance, if somebody type in "can a president run a third term" in the Google search box, the top result shown is fake.

An answer from the site NewsExaminer.net pops up in Google's featured snippet section and claims that President Obama "shocked the country this morning" by announcing he'd be running for office again.

Which of course, a president of the United States cannot do.

Google says articles for its featured snippets and summaries section are chosen programmatically (by algorithms, not humans). "When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user's question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results," the company writes in its description of featured snippets.

When asked "Can a president run for a third term?" Google Home did say the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, enacted after President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times, now imposes a two term limit, citing InfoPlease.

The fake news article isn't just showing up in the featured snippet, either. The NewsExaminer.net article also appears as the third Google search result on the page.

This isn't the first programmatic fake news problem Google has had. Google recently decided to sunset its "In the News" feature after it was scrutinized for showing a false article about the US election results. In November, the top Google result for a "final election count" search declared that Donald Trump had won the popular vote (he didn't). It was written by a Wordpress blog and had been picked up by Google's "In The News" algorithm.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told BBC's Kamal Ahmed that fake news could have influenced the election, and that it needs to be stopped. "From our perspective," Pichai said, "there should just be no situation where fake news gets distributed, so we are all for doing better here."


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Ikea Pan Hidden Inside Leggings

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Frying Pan Thief
Since it was posted last 30 December, a live Facebook video of a woman apparently trying to shoplift a frying pan from the Ikea store here by jamming it down the seat of her pants has gone viral with more than 1.4 million views.

It was just an ordinary video showing a woman arguing and struggling with two Ikea loss-prevention officers outside the store, near Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues. The funny thing that caught everyone's attention is the outline of the pan, which is clearly visible through her leggings, with its handle sticking out the waistband.

Sierra M. Coleman, 28, of the 6000 block of Washington Boulevard, is accused of biting one of the Ikea guards who stopped her. Charges of misdemeanor theft and assault allege that about 6:50 P.M. last 30 December, Coleman hid "bed sheets in her bag and then proceeded beyond all points of sale without paying for the item."

The charges do not detail Coleman's method of allegedly concealing the pan.

The video shows the Ikea workers detaining Coleman in the parking lot before the pan finally falls from her pants to the pavement. While a male worker holds Coleman's arms behind her back, a female employee tells Coleman several times to let go of her shirt.

Several times during the video, Coleman claims she is pregnant. The guards led her back to the store before police arrived.

Coleman was released last 31 December after posting 10 percent of her US$ 15,000 bail. She could not be reached for comment. Her pre-trial release form says she has no previous criminal history.


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The Mate 9
Chinese tech giant Huawei is adding Amazon's artificial intelligence application Alexa to its flagship smartphone for its US launch.

The number three global smartphone brand, Huawei announced during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a few days ago that its Mate 9 handset would include the personal digital assistant developed by Amazon.

The Mate 9, a large-screen "phablet" marketed as a rival to the big handsets from Apple and Samsung, will be available to US buyers in "early 2017," the Chinese firm said at the Las Vegas tech show.

Huawei said this is the first smartphone to pre-install Amazon Alexa, a cloud-based, voice-activated digital assistant that can control smart home devices or respond to questions.

Amazon is making Alexa available to third parties as it seeks to boost its presence in the consumer electronics field with artificial intelligence and home automation.

Alexa is battling similar services developed by Google, Microsoft and Apple that can be used on a smartphone or home speaker hub.

Huawei, whose US presence is limited mostly through direct-to-consumer sales of unlocked devices, launched the Mate 9 late last year in Europe and other markets, but without Alexa.

Buyers in those markets will be able to install the Amazon application through an over-the-air update.

The Mate 9, which could get a boost from the woes of Samsung's recalled Note 7 handset, is touted by the company as a high-performance device with fast charging and extended battery life, and upgraded photography with a dual-lens system developed in cooperation with Leica.

Huawei claims its fast computing performance will remain for at least 18 months, and that its chipset is designed with machine learning capabilities to make the phone smarter as it is used.
"Response to Huawei Mate 9 has been extremely positive, resulting in numerous industry awards and accolades," said Zhendong Zhu, president of Huawei Device USA.


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Expect More Smart Attacks in 2017

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Internet Attacks
The question going through everyone's mind after 2016 is, "Will 2017 be the year a home becomes more vulnerable to cyber criminals?"

Experts expect the number of attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) will likely increase in 2017. IoT includes devices like webcams, DVRs and connected thermostats that make life easier for homeowners, but are susceptible to cyber-intrusions.

These gadgets add conveniences like locking doors or shutting off the lights all from a smartphone app, but they come with certain risks, experts warn.

"The sharks have smelled the blood in the water and they're now circling to use your IoT device for further attacks," said James Lyne, global head of security research for Sophos, a U.K.-based cybersecurity company.

The concerns about technological vulnerabilities come as experts say smart home devices are hot gifts this holiday season. The growing reach of smart devices makes the dangers more acute, some say.

"I think we're going to see real strength in the Internet of Things and it's not just your thermostat, it's going to be everything in your house, your refrigerator, your washing machine, your dishwasher," Jan Kniffen, a consultant specializing in retail and CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide, said on CNBC's On The Money recently.

Despite the proliferation of smart gadgets, Kniffen suggested consumers were either unaware or unconcerned about hacking risks—and not taking appropriate measures to prevent them.


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