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Citrix XenDesktop now offers better support for Continuum for Windows 10

by Surur

 

Are short-term health care plans better than none at all?

National General’s package, for example, guarantees “eligibility for three more consecutive plans.” However, on those packages and similar ones offered by other insurers, the deductible resets every 90 days, so the patient would be on the hook for that amount every three months. That means a $5,000 deductible could grow to $20,000 if the policy were kept for the full year.

Galaxy S9 might not copy the iPhone X’s Face ID, but it’ll have a better iris scanner

The Galaxy S9 may not be unveiled in early January, as some reports had suggested, but that doesn’t mean the Galaxy S9 rumors have stopped coming in.

New reports reveal major details about the upcoming Galaxy S9 smartphones, including faster iris scanning, and dual-SIM support.

It doesn’t look like Samsung will be able to replicate the iPhone X’s Face ID feature in time for the Galaxy S9 launch, but the company has been working on making the iris scanner faster.

That’s according to The Korea Herald , which heard it from a source that that the iris scanner is getting a few significant upgrades.

“Galaxy S9’s iris scanner will have an improved camera lens and functions to make it better to recognize the eyes of users,” the source said.

“The iris camera lens will be improved to 3 megapixels from 2 megapixels of Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 to capture clearer images. The scanner will better recognize users’ irises even when they wear eyeglasses, move their eyeballs or are in a too dark or too light environment.”

The source said the scanner will have an even shorter response time than the current one second.

Meanwhile, Dutch-language site Mobile Kopen found a listing at the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) that reveals the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will each come in dual-SIM versions. That’s hardly surprising, considering that previous Samsung flagships had dual-SIM support, and good news to anyone looking to use two SIM cars simultaneously on Samsung’s upcoming flagship.

The $500 OnePlus 5T is my favorite Android phone of the year, and it’s even better after comparing its camera …

ade42_oneplus-5t The $500 OnePlus 5T is my favorite Android phone of the year, and it's even better after comparing its camera ...Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

I’m a big fan of the OnePlus 5T. 

It offers incredible performance, unbelievable value, an understated modern design, and now I truly know that it takes great photos after comparing its camera with the best camera on any smartphone, the Pixel 2 XL.

It’s true that the Pixel 2 XL takes slightly better shots than the OnePlus 5T, but the 5T isn’t far behind, which is an amazing feat when you consider its $500 price tag. 

You may notice that I compared it to the $850 Pixel 2 XL rather than the regular $650 Pixel 2, but both phones have exactly the same camera, and the XL model is more comparable in size to the OnePlus 5T. 

Check out the photos I took with the OnePlus 5T and the Pixel 2 XL to see for yourself:

A Small Change That Could Make Our Phones So Much Better

I’m sure that it’s easier for me to expound on than it would be to technically achieve. Our phones, primarily through apps or assistants like Google Assistant, are only just beginning to learn and customize themselves to our behaviors and preferences. And there’s a lot to consider: your location, your behavior, the weather, the typical brightness in your home and office, and what to do if you go somewhere atypical. To date, the A.I. and machine learning that’s built into our phones is only used for a handful of things. It helps organize and categorize the photos on our camera rolls and learns from our texting habits to fuel autosuggestions and autocorrect. As facial recognition and augmented reality gain popularity, A.I. will fuel those applications too. Phones like the iPhone X even include a “neural engine” specifically designed for accelerating A.I. software. Adding some learning algorithms to our phones’ auto-brightness shouldn’t be that big of a stretch. And perhaps, in learning your auto-brightness preferences based on time of day, location, and what applications you have open, your phone could also fix other issues too—whether your camera should default to the rear-facing or selfie camera, for example, or what volume notifications and sounds should play.

A Small Change That Could Make Our Phones So Much Better

I’m sure that it’s easier for me to expound on than it would be to technically achieve. Our phones, primarily through apps or assistants like Google Assistant, are only just beginning to learn and customize themselves to our behaviors and preferences. And there’s a lot to consider: your location, your behavior, the weather, the typical brightness in your home and office, and what to do if you go somewhere atypical. To date, the A.I. and machine learning that’s built into our phones is only used for a handful of things. It helps organize and categorize the photos on our camera rolls and learns from our texting habits to fuel autosuggestions and autocorrect. As facial recognition and augmented reality gain popularity, A.I. will fuel those applications too. Phones like the iPhone X even include a “neural engine” specifically designed for accelerating A.I. software. Adding some learning algorithms to our phones’ auto-brightness shouldn’t be that big of a stretch. And perhaps, in learning your auto-brightness preferences based on time of day, location, and what applications you have open, your phone could also fix other issues too—whether your camera should default to the rear-facing or selfie camera, for example, or what volume notifications and sounds should play.

Qualcomm wants to make headphone dongles sound better by giving them Hi-Fi DACs

Headphone jacks are on the way out, and Qualcomm is looking to cash in on the situation – while also possibly making your headphones sound less bad over USB-C.

As you know, most smartphones shipping without 3.5mm jacks do come with USB-C dongles to act as adapters for the traditional analog port. Most of those phones don’t even contain a headphone amplifier at all, though (to save space and money), so those pieces actually go inside the dongle instead of the phone. The problem, unfortunately, is that some of these dongles just don’t sound very good. Qualcomm wants to change that, and it’s created a part called the AQT1000 to address it.

Essentially, the AQT1000 is a highly stripped-out version of Qualcomm’s WCD9341 Aqstic audio codec (think DAC+amp). But it’s not really all that stripped-out: it supports playback of formats at up to 384KHz and 32 bits, including the fairly obscure DSD format, which is favored by some purists.

Qualcomm claims the AQT1000 will have a theoretical dynamic range of 123dB and a THD+N of -105dB, both of which are pretty respectable figures.

de918_nexus2cee_DSC09219-668x445 Qualcomm wants to make headphone dongles sound better by giving them Hi-Fi DACs

Qualcomm also has developed another part based on the Aqstic codec that will go in USB-C headphones themselves (what few seem to be coming out), promising extremely low power consumption, everything you see above, plus support for active noise cancellation and advanced recording features. You can see information about that part above.

You can compare the feature sets of the smartphone audio codec, the headphone codec, and the DAC codec below – it helps you get a sense of what’s being taken out in these standalone applications.

de918_nexus2cee_DSC09219-668x445 Qualcomm wants to make headphone dongles sound better by giving them Hi-Fi DACs

Whether manufacturers will bite on the idea of a “Hi-Fi” headphone dongle remains to be seen, though I’m sure there’s some kind of market out there for a more capable set of USB-C headphones. With the arcane world of digital audio coming more to light as the headphone jack fades off into the sunset, it does seem likely that some consumers will seek out audio accessories that offer the best possible wired performance. Qualcomm certainly seems to think so, or rather, think that the companies making these things do. I guess we’ll have to see how it pans out in the market.

Or, you know, we’ll all just switch to Bluetooth.

Better internet on the way: Let the Interior’s free market beef-up broadband services – Fairbanks Daily News

News-Miner opinion: Rep. David Guttenberg has proposed both a co-op similar to Golden Valley Electric Association or a municipal-operated utility to provide and extend internet service in the Interior. But are these proposals the best approach to improving internet availability? 

Reliable broadband internet, or high speed internet delivered by coaxial or fiber-optic cable, can be found in and around Fairbanks and North Pole, but residents in outlying communities such as Goldstream and Pleasant Valley are frustrated with the quality, price or lack of internet service. The old adage “so close, yet so far” comes to mind.

In perfect timing to highlight many Interior residents’ frustrations, Quintillion turned on its fiber-optic cable network Friday, bringing broadband to Nome, Wainwright, Point Hope, Kotzebue, Prudhoe Bay, and Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow. Communities far more remote than Pleasant Valley now have state of the art broadband technology available. Quintillion’s terrestrial cable runs right through Fairbanks but does not connect to outlying communities in the Interior. 

So what about a borough-operated internet utility? The Fairbanks North Star Borough has been hit by the statewide recession. Just last month, Mayor Karl Kassel said the borough cannot even afford to maintain the buildings it owns. The borough is in no position to add more government. Adding an internet utility is not feasible in the foreseeable future. 

Guttenberg hosted a broadband internet forum Saturday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to addres this issue. GVEA Vice President John Burns was in attendance. He expressed interest in a co-op partnership. But he also listed associated challenges such as high construction costs, legal complications and the absence of a federal grant that made a similar co-op in Missouri successful. 

How long would it take for a co-op to begin operating? Or would it be best to rely on the established industry and the free market to develop better products and offer better prices? 

Next year, Alaska Communications will begin building infrastructure to bring broadband to more people in the region’s outlying areas using a Connect America grant from the Federal Communications Commission. Two Rivers, Pleasant Valley, Salcha, Moose Creek, Steele Creek, Fox, Chena Ridge, Ester, Goldstream and beyond are expected to have broadband availability by 2025.  

Heather Cavanaugh, an Alaska Communications spokeswoman, said this project would add about 12,000 potential broadband customers, including those with no internet capability and current internet customers without broadband capabilities.

GCI spokeswoman Heather Handyside said the company’s broadband internet is available to 37,000 of the 41,557 homes in the borough. 

Ms. Cavanaugh agreed the internet in Alaska is expensive compared with Outside. Alaska’s vast geography and sparse populations make the cost of delivery higher. Alaska Communications offers broadband internet with unlimited data for $79.99 per month. 

GCI offers plans ranging from $64.99 for 50GB of data per month to $174.99 for unlimited data every month.

By comparison, Frontier Communications, which offers broadband in many states Outside, offers high speed internet for $19.99 per month for first-year customers, who then are given a static rate of $34.99 per month in the second year. 

Additional supply, increased competition and new technology are likely to lower prices.  

A municipal utility is not the best use of resources in this cash-strapped fiscal climate. The possibility of an internet co-op is likely years away, and success may be elusive. Let the free market do its job. It may take a couple years for internet options to improve, but bringing new technology that requires new infrastructure to the nation’s farthest-north metropolitan area cannot be accomplished overnight. 

Internet Nazis May Be ‘Better Funded in the Future,’ New Report Warns

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have money. Precisely how much money they have and, more urgently, who gives it to them are questions that many Americans want to see answered—particularly after a series of high-profile rallies that culminated in violence this year.

A new report written by Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow in the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, deepens our understanding of where and how organized racists get their funding. His expansive study paints a portrait of a movement that is “poorly funded” heading into 2018, but has potential opportunities for growth—largely through the help of the internet.

“As American political and social movements go, the white supremacist movement is particularly poorly funded,” Pitcavage notes in the report, adding that the fundraisers in this community have “a weak base for raising money compared to many other causes.” 

Pitcavage goes on to warn that crowdfunding and other trends enabled by the internet have given organized racists advantages that they may not have enjoyed in the era when such people were mostly synonymous with wearing white pointy hoods. These advantages raise, in Pitcavage’s words, “the disturbing possibility that some white supremacists may become better funded in the future than they have been in the past.”

For those who monitor the so-called alt-right movement, GoyFundMe, Hatreon and WeSearchr are familiar names, but they may be unknown to many Americans. These websites are essentially crowdfunding sites—like GoFundMe or Patreon—but ones that focus on causes that benefit neo-Nazi, white supremacist or far-right movements. An example is The Daily Stormer, a sophomoric, Nazi propaganda website that glorifies terrorism and the abuse of women. It pulls in thousands of dollars per month in donations on Hatreon.

When Tony Hovater, a neo-Nazi who was profiled in The New York Times, lost his job working in a pub, organized racists helped to secure between $5,000 and $10,000 for him on GoyFundMe, a site that builds its name from a paranoid, anti-Semitic conspiracy.

WeSearchr has an entire series of crowdfunding pages labeled “WANTED,” asking for the identities of antifa protesters accused of either injuring or embarrassing alt-right protesters at rallies that took place in 2017.

Expanding on the study, Pitcavage told Newsweek that even if crowdfunding benefits these groups, they still face “big hurdles” to raising significant amounts of money, including a shortage of “tech expertise, labor and money.” He said that they also have problems in dealing with internet service providers (ISPs) and credit card processors. (One example of that is Daily Stormer, which has lost more than a dozen domain hosts since the violence that transpired at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this August.) He added that despite these obstacles, crowdfunding benefits “celebrity” white supremacists, like Andrew Anglin and Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, two men associated with Daily Stormer.

“And those are people you don’t want to have more money,” Pitcavage told Newsweek.

Aurenheimer, a neo-Nazi from Arkansas who rights groups believe is currently hiding in Ukraine, is a bitcoin millionaire, by some estimates. Aurenheimer is extremely influential in the “alt-right” both because of his reputation for trolling and his extreme rhetoric—which frequently creates challenges for advocates of internet free speech. Aurenheimer explicitly glorifies terrorists and mass murderers, like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Dylann Roof, the white supremacist convicted of murdering nine people in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Most recently, Aurenheimer—a cruel and bitter misogynist—took to his podcast to voice support for rape: a prime example of the type of thing most Americans don’t want to see rewarded with crowdfunding money. 

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Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows …

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible for 20% to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, 33% of the ice-free land on our planet is being used to grow our food, researchers say.

Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows …

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible for 20% to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, 33% of the ice-free land on our planet is being used to grow our food, researchers say.

The Galaxy S9 wants to be an even better desktop computer than its …

When the Galaxy S8 was unveiled earlier this year, Samsung announced a clever accessory that lets you turn the smartphone into an Android desktop. All you need is the DeX Station to make it happen — and a computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse, of course.

The DeX dock is hardly the perfect solution, but Samsung isn’t giving up, and it’ll introduce a different DeX accessory for the Galaxy S9 come next year, according to a new rumor.

Samsung’s new device will be called the DeX Pad, GalaxyClub has learned, and as the name indicates, we’ll be looking at a different kind of dock for Samsung’s flagship handset.

With the help of the DeX Pad, you’ll be able to place your Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ flat on the desk and use the display as a mouse pad or a keyboard. That means you no longer have to carry around keyboards and mice.

That said, it’s unclear how the Galaxy S9 will connect to the DeX Pad. A wired connection via USB-C is probably what Samsung will go with, considering that there’s a lot of data to be moved between the phone and the display. Not to mention the fact that it’d be great if the dock would power the Galaxy S9 while the phone is used.

The report says the DeX Pad will launch simultaneously with the Galaxy S9, although it’s unclear when that will happen. Opinions regarding Samsung’s Galaxy S9 launch event are divided. Some say the phone will be unveiled at CES in January, while others claim the phone is on track for its standard MWC launch in February.

As for backward compatibility, it’s unclear at this time whether the DeX Pad is compatible with this year’s flagships, including the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The Galaxy S9 wants to be an even better desktop computer than its predecessor

When the Galaxy S8 was unveiled earlier this year, Samsung announced a clever accessory that lets you turn the smartphone into an Android desktop. All you need is the DeX Station to make it happen — and a computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse, of course.

The DeX dock is hardly the perfect solution, but Samsung isn’t giving up, and it’ll introduce a different DeX accessory for the Galaxy S9 come next year, according to a new rumor.

Samsung’s new device will be called the DeX Pad, GalaxyClub has learned, and as the name indicates, we’ll be looking at a different kind of dock for Samsung’s flagship handset.

With the help of the DeX Pad, you’ll be able to place your Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ flat on the desk and use the display as a mouse pad or a keyboard. That means you no longer have to carry around keyboards and mice.

That said, it’s unclear how the Galaxy S9 will connect to the DeX Pad. A wired connection via USB-C is probably what Samsung will go with, considering that there’s a lot of data to be moved between the phone and the display. Not to mention the fact that it’d be great if the dock would power the Galaxy S9 while the phone is used.

The report says the DeX Pad will launch simultaneously with the Galaxy S9, although it’s unclear when that will happen. Opinions regarding Samsung’s Galaxy S9 launch event are divided. Some say the phone will be unveiled at CES in January, while others claim the phone is on track for its standard MWC launch in February.

As for backward compatibility, it’s unclear at this time whether the DeX Pad is compatible with this year’s flagships, including the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8. We’ll just have to wait and see.

This was meant to be the year of the Apple “supercycle,” but Samsung’s phones were better

Since the underwhelming launch of the iPhone 7 in 2016, the world has been waiting for what analysts called a “supercycle” in 2017, where Apple was set to launch a litany of new products, including a new, redesigned flagship iPhone.

That more or less came to pass, with Apple releasing the iPhone X (as well as the iPhone 8, for some reason), new MacBooks, iPads, Macs, watches, and TVs to great media fanfare. And while there were legitimate complaints to be made about many of the devices (the computers are missing ports, the iPads definitely aren’t computers, the watches are niche products), Apple had an excellent year, returning to revenue growth, and selling some 216 million iPhones in the process.

But the iPhone X, which Apple has referred to as “the future” of the iPhone, didn’t feel particularly futuristic when I tested it. It was expensive, featured a very buggy operating system, and forced me to change the way I’ve used smartphones for years for no particularly good reason. It has some positives—the large, sharp display and the truly excellent camera chief among them—but for all the hullabaloo around the phone, it didn’t feel like a device that was head-and-shoulders above the competition, as Apple’s phones have been so clearly in the past. In fact, I found the two flagship devices Samsung released this year—the Galaxy S8 and Note 8—much more compelling.

Here’s a quick rundown of what made the Note 8 stand out where the iPhone X didn’t:

It still has a “home button” (even though there’s no physical button). The Note 8 has a massive screen that takes up most of the front of the phone, like the iPhone X, but Samsung still kept an on-screen home button that’s in the same place the home button has been on all its devices. This is likely partially due to the Android design, but Apple’s replacement of its home button with awkward swiping continues to frustrate me nearly a month into owning the iPhone X. Samsung’s device still has a massive display, and doesn’t force its users to change their behavior.

It still has a headphone jack, even though it’s water-resistant. One of Apple’s arguments for removing the headphone jack when it launched the iPhone 7 was that it made it easier to make the phone water resistant, as there were fewer holes that needed to be sealed. That may be true, but Samsung, and other manufacturers, figured out how to do it without removing one of the oldest electronics standards still in use.

It has a similar display as the iPhone X, but bigger. The OLED display for the iPhone is made by Samsung, and is quite similar to the one for the Note 8, although it is arguably sharper. But the Note 8’s screen is no slouch, and it’s absolutely massive: The 6.3-inch screen (compared to the X’s 5.8-inch screen) feels like holding a widescreen TV in your hands. If you can hold this thing with ease, it’s simply the largest, best screen you can carry around with you.

USB-C is the new standard. Apple has sort of agreed as much by replacing all the ports on its MacBooks with USB-C ports. USB-C cables can throughput more data than standard USB cables (and can be inserted in any direction). But then, the iPhone X still uses its own proprietary Lightning cable to charge. I can charge my Mac and a Note 8 with the same cable—it would be nice if I could do the same with my iPhone.

Excellent camera, similar features. The iPhone X has my favorite cameras of any smartphone I’ve used this year, but the Note 8, along with the Google Pixel 2 XL, were close seconds. Like the X, the Note 8 features two rear-facing cameras, which allow it to create impressive portrait shots with shallow depth of field that look like they were taken on a professional camera. Other than the bizarre stage-lighting camera modes Apple recently introduced, Samsung’s newest phone cameras can do just about everything an iPhone’s can.

The S Pen is occasionally very useful. It might seem pretty gimmicky, but there are definitely times where the Note 8’s included stylus actually comes in handy. Writing quick notes on the lock screen, adding captions to photos to post on Twitter, or even signing documents are all much easier to do with the giant screen of the Note 8 and the stylus.

The always-on screen for time and notifications is great. Apple and Samsung use similar displays on their devices, but only Samsung chooses to display information when the screen is locked. The Note 8 has a white clock and notification badges that requires almost no power to display, as the vast majority of the pixels on the screen are still off in this mode. It’s the same way it handles taking notes on the lock screen, and it’s just downright useful.

Google Assistant works much better than Siri. Even though Siri was the first voice assistant to be included in a smartphone’s operating system, she’s still pretty terrible at understanding what we ask her, or giving us useful information. Google Assistant, on the other hand, is about as useful as Google itself. (But let’s not mention Samsung’s Bixby, which is also on the phone, and also pretty useless.)

Many of these features also apply to the Galaxy S8. It’s a list of a lot of little things, many of which Apple will likely emulate in the future, but to me, it was off-putting enough to find Apple playing catch-up to Samsung this year. Apple continues to hint that the X is just the start of a reinvention of the iPhone, so perhaps we’re in store for a device in the near future that feels as revolutionary as the original iPhone did 10 years ago. But if you’re considering which phone to get right now, the answer should probably be a Samsung.


Read next:

The Quartz review of the Samsung Note 8

The Quartz review of the iPhone X

The Computer Scientist Dreaming Of a Better Sex Robot …

Kate Devlin says she does, occasionally, get a little weary of being pigeonholed as “that sex robot woman.”

Devlin, who was born in Northern Ireland, is a senior lecturer in the department of computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her days are spent raising a seven-year-old girl, training for a marathon by running to work, writing her next book, and teaching interaction design for undergrad, master’s level, and PhD students.

And yes, thinking seriously about sex robots.

“There’s something so intrinsically human about sex, and it’s something that maps quite nicely onto AI,” Devlin told me in a recent Skype conversation from her London office. “In artificial intelligence, there’s this drive toward some kind of goal or behavior. That’s sort of like humans with their biological need to reproduce and spread our DNA.”

It isn’t a topic many people in academia were researching even three years ago, when she began studying the convergence of sexuality, AI, and robotics. Now, society and technology seem to be ripe and ready for sexbots. A new show on Britain’s Channel 4 explores the coming of the our mechanical sexual future. Interest in sex robots has spiked in recent years, while creations like the rape-fantasy robot “Frigid Farrah” and hypersexualized dolls continue to draw criticism from ethicists.

Devlin visited a RealDoll factory in California in July. She was apprehensive at first, she said, about what to expect on the tour.

“Actually I was quite surprised,” she said. “After some time there, I was looking at them as objects of art, instead of representations of women.” When she got close, she could appreciate the skill and craft of creating them.

But they’re still deeply problematic, Devlin said, and representative of how much farther we have to go. “We’ve gotten to the stage now in AI, where we can do machine learning, deep learning, and things like that,” Devlin said. “There are flaws in that, and the flaws include things like biased data sets that are very much geared toward a white male culture. We lack diversity, we lack a critical exploration of that.”

Objectified, heterosexual, male-centered robots are just one piece of the problem. Devlin’s not interested in a future brimming with artificially intelligent, synthetic TA. “I am a strong advocate for moving away from realistic human forms for sex robots,” she said. “I think there’s going to be two lines of development: One is sex technology and sex toys, and the other is sex dolls.”

In their current, curvaceous form, sex robots evolved from traditional humanoid sex dolls. The result is an abundance of hypersexual humanoids, or ones that are just plain painful to imagine putting your genitals anywhere near. We need to bring it back toward the tech, Devlin said, where there’s more abstraction, personalization, and accessibility for all. In the same way vibrators come in a hundred cartoonish colors and shapes, so could sexual AI “robots.”

The technology is already out there: We quantify ourselves with wearable trackers and exchange our preferences about our daily lives—in the form of scads of metadata—every time we hit “I Agree” on a new app. Teledildonics aren’t as futuristic as they used to be (in fact, many are totally hackable now). Smart textiles exist. It wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine hacking together a personalized, life-sized pleasure bot from consumer-grade tech.

A glimmer of that abstract, artful world of sexbots could be seen at the hackathon Devlin started in 2016, which was the first public sex tech hackathon in the UK. Around 50 people showed up for each of the first two years’ events. At this year’s hackathon, held in late November, teams experimented with creating virtual reality lovers, immersive tactile experiences like a sleeping bag full of huggable air or a sensor-loaded cape, and of course, plenty of dildos.

Read More: Eagerly We Await the Coming of the Sex Robots

Sure, we could bone our personalized sexborgs of the future, but could we ever truly love them? Depends on how far into the future you’re willing to look, Devlin told me. “It might not be the same as the way we feel about other humans, but I certainly don’t think that love is something that has to be reciprocated,” she said. “People love people all the time and don’t necessarily have it returned to them.” If we’re able to feel affection for inanimate objects or even friends we met over the internet, why not a bot that hits the right spot?

These questions are all tangled up in a future where Devlin’s students will have to use what she’s teaching them about the ethics of AI, gender bias, technology, and interaction design to navigate a burgeoning new world of sex bots becoming reality.

Along with all of these complicated, sometimes squirm-inducing subjects, she’s also honest with them about mental illness. Around 2004, just as she was finishing her PhD, Devlin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a psychotic episode triggered by antidepressants. She’s outspoken about her diagnosis, especially with the students she mentors. Being open about mental health is deeply important to Devlin, even more so than being “that sex robot woman.”

It’s really not all about the sex, she said, laughing. “But I do really enjoy the sex aspects as well.”

Humans of the Year is a series about the people building a better future for everyone. Follow along here .

The Computer Scientist Dreaming Of a Better Sex Robot

Kate Devlin says she does, occasionally, get a little weary of being pigeonholed as “that sex robot woman.”

Devlin, who was born in Northern Ireland, is a senior lecturer in the department of computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her days are spent raising a seven-year-old girl, training for a marathon by running to work, writing her next book, and teaching interaction design for undergrad, master’s level, and PhD students.

And yes, thinking seriously about sex robots.

“There’s something so intrinsically human about sex, and it’s something that maps quite nicely onto AI,” Devlin told me in a recent Skype conversation from her London office. “In artificial intelligence, there’s this drive toward some kind of goal or behavior. That’s sort of like humans with their biological need to reproduce and spread our DNA.”

It isn’t a topic many people in academia were researching even three years ago, when she began studying the convergence of sexuality, AI, and robotics. Now, society and technology seem to be ripe and ready for sexbots. A new show on Britain’s Channel 4 explores the coming of the our mechanical sexual future. Interest in sex robots has spiked in recent years, while creations like the rape-fantasy robot “Frigid Farrah” and hypersexualized dolls continue to draw criticism from ethicists.

Devlin visited a RealDoll factory in California in July. She was apprehensive at first, she said, about what to expect on the tour.

“Actually I was quite surprised,” she said. “After some time there, I was looking at them as objects of art, instead of representations of women.” When she got close, she could appreciate the skill and craft of creating them.

But they’re still deeply problematic, Devlin said, and representative of how much farther we have to go. “We’ve gotten to the stage now in AI, where we can do machine learning, deep learning, and things like that,” Devlin said. “There are flaws in that, and the flaws include things like biased data sets that are very much geared toward a white male culture. We lack diversity, we lack a critical exploration of that.”

Objectified, heterosexual, male-centered robots are just one piece of the problem. Devlin’s not interested in a future brimming with artificially intelligent, synthetic TA. “I am a strong advocate for moving away from realistic human forms for sex robots,” she said. “I think there’s going to be two lines of development: One is sex technology and sex toys, and the other is sex dolls.”

In their current, curvaceous form, sex robots evolved from traditional humanoid sex dolls. The result is an abundance of hypersexual humanoids, or ones that are just plain painful to imagine putting your genitals anywhere near. We need to bring it back toward the tech, Devlin said, where there’s more abstraction, personalization, and accessibility for all. In the same way vibrators come in a hundred cartoonish colors and shapes, so could sexual AI “robots.”

The technology is already out there: We quantify ourselves with wearable trackers and exchange our preferences about our daily lives—in the form of scads of metadata—every time we hit “I Agree” on a new app. Teledildonics aren’t as futuristic as they used to be (in fact, many are totally hackable now). Smart textiles exist. It wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine hacking together a personalized, life-sized pleasure bot from consumer-grade tech.

A glimmer of that abstract, artful world of sexbots could be seen at the hackathon Devlin started in 2016, which was the first public sex tech hackathon in the UK. Around 50 people showed up for each of the first two years’ events. At this year’s hackathon, held in late November, teams experimented with creating virtual reality lovers, immersive tactile experiences like a sleeping bag full of huggable air or a sensor-loaded cape, and of course, plenty of dildos.

Read More: Eagerly We Await the Coming of the Sex Robots

Sure, we could bone our personalized sexborgs of the future, but could we ever truly love them? Depends on how far into the future you’re willing to look, Devlin told me. “It might not be the same as the way we feel about other humans, but I certainly don’t think that love is something that has to be reciprocated,” she said. “People love people all the time and don’t necessarily have it returned to them.” If we’re able to feel affection for inanimate objects or even friends we met over the internet, why not a bot that hits the right spot?

These questions are all tangled up in a future where Devlin’s students will have to use what she’s teaching them about the ethics of AI, gender bias, technology, and interaction design to navigate a burgeoning new world of sex bots becoming reality.

Along with all of these complicated, sometimes squirm-inducing subjects, she’s also honest with them about mental illness. Around 2004, just as she was finishing her PhD, Devlin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a psychotic episode triggered by antidepressants. She’s outspoken about her diagnosis, especially with the students she mentors. Being open about mental health is deeply important to Devlin, even more so than being “that sex robot woman.”

It’s really not all about the sex, she said, laughing. “But I do really enjoy the sex aspects as well.”

Humans of the Year is a series about the people building a better future for everyone. Follow along here .

Are iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 at $1000 really 10 times better than $100 Nokia 2?

e120e_59ade468e4b09e7071c9a610-1280x7201sep05201753225poster Are iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 at $1000 really 10 times better than $100 Nokia 2?

If you think it’s mad to spend nearly $1,000 on a Galaxy, Pixel, or iPhone, the Nokia 2 could be your answer for a good-looking smartphone. The best part is it can get the job done at a tenth of the price.

At just $100, the Nokia 2 gives you the basics with a few factors that make it stand out. It features a five-inch LCD display and quad-core Snapdragon 212 processor. That’s far off high-end specs, but the phone has a stylish finish and qualities that do count.

According to HMD Global, the custodian of the Nokia phone brand, the Nokia 2 should last two days on a single charge and comes with pure Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

Additionally, the company has established a solid track record for promptly delivering security updates to end-users — something that’s rare at this price.

e120e_59ade468e4b09e7071c9a610-1280x7201sep05201753225poster Are iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 at $1000 really 10 times better than $100 Nokia 2?

The Nokia 2 should last two days on a single charge, says HMD Global, and comes with pure Android 7.1.1 Nougat.


Image: Nokia

Other core specs include an eight-megapixel rear camera and five-megapixel selfie shooter, 1GB RAM, 8GB in-built storage, and a MicroSD slot that supports up to 128GB.

It features a Gorilla Glass display and polycarbonate back. The phone is available black with gray edges, white with gray edges, and black with orange edges.

Basically, the Nokia 2 is effectively a high-end phone from a few years back and for the price could serve as a solid second phone. And yes, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The phone arrives in the US as HMD Global celebrates its first birthday since taking over the Nokia brand after Microsoft’s mobile misadventure with Windows Phone and Nokia’s Lumia phones.

The company has so far released six smartphones and five basic phones, including the Nokia 3310, in 80 markets. The company also boasts strategic partnerships with Nokia, Google, Foxconn and Zeiss, which supplies the cameras for the top-end Nokia 8.

HMD also announced today that it will begin rolling out Android Oreo to its portfolio, starting with the Nokia 8.

The Nokia 2 is available at Best Buy, Amazon, and BH.

Previous and related coverage

Android Nokia 8 flagship goes high-end with dual camera and Zeiss optics

Leaked images offer a clear shot of the new Nokia 8 with Zeiss optics.

Nokia 5 review: A solid mid-range pure-Android contender

The Nokia 5 is a well-designed mid-range handset with excellent build quality, although several compromises have been made to achieve its attractive price point.

Nokia 3, First Take: Affordable Android, but beware the trade-offs

Nokia’s entry-level Android 7 phone looks good and includes NFC, but falls short on processing power and screen resolution.

Read more on smartphones

10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 – CNET

Does your laptop have you singing the short-battery-life blues? If you’ve updated to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, then you’ve got a new tool to help extend your laptop’s running time. I’ll cover this new tool along with some tried-and-true battery-saving tips.

Turn down display brightness

Powering all of those pixels in the display is the single greatest drain on battery resources. The first item to check when you are experiencing troublingly short battery life is your display brightness. If you’ve got it turned up all the way or near the max, then lower the brightness; you might also find it a more comfortable computing experience to your eyes.

Your laptop likely has two Function keys mapped to display brightness. If not, you can find a brightness slider by going to Settings System Display. You’ll also find a slider for display brightness in the Windows Mobility Center, which is buried in the Control Panel; the easiest way to find it is just to search for it.

Paint it black

A bright desktop background requires your display’s pixels to light up more, when requires more juice. Choose a dark picture or color by going to Settings Personalization Background.

Turn off keyboard backlights

Like the display, keyboard backlighting also drains your laptop’s battery. Turn them off when they aren’t needed. Your laptop likely has a Function key that lets you toggle the keyboard backlights on and off. If not, you’ll find a control for it in the Windows Mobility Center.

be1c9_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 - CNET


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Introducing the new battery slider

OK, now here’s the new battery tool. Fall Creators Update has made it easier to switch between power modes. Instead of digging into the battery page in settings to switch from high performance to battery saver mode or vice versa, you now can just click or tap the battery icon in the taskbar. You’ll be able to move a slider from Best battery life to best performance or a balanced mode in between.

be1c9_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 - CNET


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Check power and sleep settings

Dig into Power sleep settings by clicking its link in the battery menu from the taskbar (or by going to Settings System Power sleep), and you can shorten the time before the display turns off or your laptop goes into sleep mode when it’s running on battery power. The shorter you set these times, the longer your battery will last.

be1c9_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 - CNET


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Use Battery Saver

Windows 10’s built-in Battery Saver mode activates when your remaining battery dips below 20 percent. It disables email and calendar syncing, push notifications, and apps from running in the background. It should be enabled by default, but check to make sure it is by going to Settings System Battery. If you find that Battery Saver doesn’t disrupt your regular Windows habits, then you can raise the threshold for when it activates above 20 percent.

Check Battery usage by app

You can see which apps are using the most battery resources by Settings System Battery and click Battery usage by app. The list will show you the percentage of battery your apps have used in the past 6 or 24 hours or the past week. If you find an app that you think it using more than its fair share, click on it and toggle off the switch for Managed by Windows and then make sure the box remains unchecked for Allow app to run background tasks.

be1c9_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 - CNET


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not needed

These wireless networking technologies consume battery power. You can disable both by using Airplane mode. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and then click the Airplane mode button. You can also disable only Wi-Fi by clicking the Wi-Fi button on the taskbar Wi-Fi menu. To disable Bluetooth, go to Settings Devices Bluetooth other devices and toggle off the switch for Bluetooth.

Sync email less

Constantly checking for new email messages can drain your battery. So, tell Windows to check less frequently to extend the life of your battery. Go to Settings Accounts Email app accounts. Click on your account, click the Manage button and then for Download new content, switch it from as items arrive to every 30 minutes, hourly or manually and then click Done.

be1c9_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10 - CNET


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Try Edge

Microsoft claims its Edge browser lets your battery run 36 to 53 percent longer than Chrome, Firefox or Opera. CNET hasn’t put these claims to the test, but give Edge a whirl to see if you get better battery performance with it. Here are 10 tips to get started with Edge.

10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10

Does your laptop have you singing the short-battery-life blues? If you’ve updated to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, then you’ve got a new tool to help extend your laptop’s running time. I’ll cover this new tool along with some tried-and-true battery-saving tips.

Turn down display brightness

Powering all of those pixels in the display is the single greatest drain on battery resources. The first item to check when you are experiencing troublingly short battery life is your display brightness. If you’ve got it turned up all the way or near the max, then lower the brightness; you might also find it a more comfortable computing experience to your eyes.

Your laptop likely has two Function keys mapped to display brightness. If not, you can find a brightness slider by going to Settings System Display. You’ll also find a slider for display brightness in the Windows Mobility Center, which is buried in the Control Panel; the easiest way to find it is just to search for it.

Paint it black

A bright desktop background requires your display’s pixels to light up more, when requires more juice. Choose a dark picture or color by going to Settings Personalization Background.

Turn off keyboard backlights

Like the display, keyboard backlighting also drains your laptop’s battery. Turn them off when they aren’t needed. Your laptop likely has a Function key that lets you toggle the keyboard backlights on and off. If not, you’ll find a control for it in the Windows Mobility Center.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Introducing the new battery slider

OK, now here’s the new battery tool. Fall Creators Update has made it easier to switch between power modes. Instead of digging into the battery page in settings to switch from high performance to battery saver mode or vice versa, you now can just click or tap the battery icon in the taskbar. You’ll be able to move a slider from Best battery life to best performance or a balanced mode in between.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Check power and sleep settings

Dig into Power sleep settings by clicking its link in the battery menu from the taskbar (or by going to Settings System Power sleep), and you can shorten the time before the display turns off or your laptop goes into sleep mode when it’s running on battery power. The shorter you set these times, the longer your battery will last.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Use Battery Saver

Windows 10’s built-in Battery Saver mode activates when your remaining battery dips below 20 percent. It disables email and calendar syncing, push notifications, and apps from running in the background. It should be enabled by default, but check to make sure it is by going to Settings System Battery. If you find that Battery Saver doesn’t disrupt your regular Windows habits, then you can raise the threshold for when it activates above 20 percent.

Check Battery usage by app

You can see which apps are using the most battery resources by Settings System Battery and click Battery usage by app. The list will show you the percentage of battery your apps have used in the past 6 or 24 hours or the past week. If you find an app that you think it using more than its fair share, click on it and toggle off the switch for Managed by Windows and then make sure the box remains unchecked for Allow app to run background tasks.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not needed

These wireless networking technologies consume battery power. You can disable both by using Airplane mode. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and then click the Airplane mode button. You can also disable only Wi-Fi by clicking the Wi-Fi button on the taskbar Wi-Fi menu. To disable Bluetooth, go to Settings Devices Bluetooth other devices and toggle off the switch for Bluetooth.

Sync email less

Constantly checking for new email messages can drain your battery. So, tell Windows to check less frequently to extend the life of your battery. Go to Settings Accounts Email app accounts. Click on your account, click the Manage button and then for Download new content, switch it from as items arrive to every 30 minutes, hourly or manually and then click Done.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Try Edge

Microsoft claims its Edge browser lets your battery run 36 to 53 percent longer than Chrome, Firefox or Opera. CNET hasn’t put these claims to the test, but give Edge a whirl to see if you get better battery performance with it. Here are 10 tips to get started with Edge.

10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10

Does your laptop have you singing the short-battery-life blues? If you’ve updated to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, then you’ve got a new tool to help extend your laptop’s running time. I’ll cover this new tool along with some tried-and-true battery-saving tips.

Turn down display brightness

Powering all of those pixels in the display is the single greatest drain on battery resources. The first item to check when you are experiencing troublingly short battery life is your display brightness. If you’ve got it turned up all the way or near the max, then lower the brightness; you might also find it a more comfortable computing experience to your eyes.

Your laptop likely has two Function keys mapped to display brightness. If not, you can find a brightness slider by going to Settings System Display. You’ll also find a slider for display brightness in the Windows Mobility Center, which is buried in the Control Panel; the easiest way to find it is just to search for it.

Paint it black

A bright desktop background requires your display’s pixels to light up more, when requires more juice. Choose a dark picture or color by going to Settings Personalization Background.

Turn off keyboard backlights

Like the display, keyboard backlighting also drains your laptop’s battery. Turn them off when they aren’t needed. Your laptop likely has a Function key that lets you toggle the keyboard backlights on and off. If not, you’ll find a control for it in the Windows Mobility Center.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Introducing the new battery slider

OK, now here’s the new battery tool. Fall Creators Update has made it easier to switch between power modes. Instead of digging into the battery page in settings to switch from high performance to battery saver mode or vice versa, you now can just click or tap the battery icon in the taskbar. You’ll be able to move a slider from Best battery life to best performance or a balanced mode in between.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Check power and sleep settings

Dig into Power sleep settings by clicking its link in the battery menu from the taskbar (or by going to Settings System Power sleep), and you can shorten the time before the display turns off or your laptop goes into sleep mode when it’s running on battery power. The shorter you set these times, the longer your battery will last.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Use Battery Saver

Windows 10’s built-in Battery Saver mode activates when your remaining battery dips below 20 percent. It disables email and calendar syncing, push notifications, and apps from running in the background. It should be enabled by default, but check to make sure it is by going to Settings System Battery. If you find that Battery Saver doesn’t disrupt your regular Windows habits, then you can raise the threshold for when it activates above 20 percent.

Check Battery usage by app

You can see which apps are using the most battery resources by Settings System Battery and click Battery usage by app. The list will show you the percentage of battery your apps have used in the past 6 or 24 hours or the past week. If you find an app that you think it using more than its fair share, click on it and toggle off the switch for Managed by Windows and then make sure the box remains unchecked for Allow app to run background tasks.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not needed

These wireless networking technologies consume battery power. You can disable both by using Airplane mode. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and then click the Airplane mode button. You can also disable only Wi-Fi by clicking the Wi-Fi button on the taskbar Wi-Fi menu. To disable Bluetooth, go to Settings Devices Bluetooth other devices and toggle off the switch for Bluetooth.

Sync email less

Constantly checking for new email messages can drain your battery. So, tell Windows to check less frequently to extend the life of your battery. Go to Settings Accounts Email app accounts. Click on your account, click the Manage button and then for Download new content, switch it from as items arrive to every 30 minutes, hourly or manually and then click Done.

b6ff3_windows-mobility-center 10 tips for better laptop battery life with Windows 10


Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Try Edge

Microsoft claims its Edge browser lets your battery run 36 to 53 percent longer than Chrome, Firefox or Opera. CNET hasn’t put these claims to the test, but give Edge a whirl to see if you get better battery performance with it. Here are 10 tips to get started with Edge.




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