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Why This 2018 Apple iPhone Rumor Makes Perfect Sense

Ahead of the launch of Apple‘s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone X, there was some expectation that the iPhone maker would introduce a version of its iPhone X with 512GB of storage. 

This rumor wasn’t too hard to believe — larger storage configurations have always been a way for Apple to get customers to buy higher-priced iPhones, boosting Apple’s revenue and profits. Moreover, as smartphone cameras have evolved to take sharper pictures and images, image sizes have gotten larger, driving the need for more storage space. 

However, this year, Apple didn’t launch any iPhone models with 512GB of storage. Its new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X all came in 64GB or 256GB storage configurations. 

However, according to a new report from Nomura Securities, by way of Business Insider, Apple might finally introduce iPhones with 512GB storage configurations with its 2018 lineup. 

Here’s why that makes perfect sense this time around. 

Image source: Apple.

A good selling point for the iPhone X series

Next year, Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones: a standard-priced iPhone with a liquid crystal display; a direct successor to this year’s iPhone X that features a more advanced organic-light emitting diode (OLED) display and a higher price; and a larger version of the iPhone X successor for a still higher price.

I think it highly unlikely that Apple will bring a 512GB storage configuration to the lowest-cost model of the trio. Apple probably wants to reserve such a premium configuration for its ultra-premium smartphones. However, it’d make perfect sense for Apple to add such a configuration to the higher-end iPhone X lineup, especially as those phones are targeted at the power users who would value such a large amount of on-device storage.

The rationale doesn’t end there, though. 

A way to lower the barrier to entry to iPhone X

Today, Apple offers the iPhone X with 64GB of storage at $999 and the 256GB version for $1,149. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the interest of helping to juice demand for its iPhone X-class devices, Apple were to lower the starting price of the next-generation iPhone X to something along the lines of $899. 

Image source: Apple.

Such a price reduction could help spur demand, but it would also pose a risk to Apple’s iPhone average selling prices year over year, and to revenue growth. So if Apple wants to have its cake and eat it, too, it could add a 512GB variant at the top of the iPhone X product stack to increase the price.

Instead of offering the iPhone X 64GB at $999 and the 256GB model at $1,149, Apple could instead offer the next iPhone X 64GB at $899, the 256GB model at $1,049, and then a 512GB model for $1,199. 

Such a product stack, coupled with the introduction of the rumored iPhone X with a 6.46-inch display for, perhaps, $100 more, may allow Apple to enjoy average selling price growth while stimulating iPhone unit growth as well. 

More From The Motley Fool

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Why This 2018 Apple iPhone Rumor Makes Perfect Sense …

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Elf Smart Plug makes your home intelligent for cheap

8b55b_Elf-Smart-Plug-1 Elf Smart Plug makes your home intelligent for cheap

Looking to turn your living space into a smart home? We know it can be a huge pain trying to figure out how to do it. Do you get smart bulbs? Which platform do you go for? Phillips or LIFX? Wemo? Then you look at some of those prices and realize maybe you are just fine getting out of bed to flip that switch! 

Other featured projects:

Smart homes should be easy and flexible, as well as accessible. This is why today we wanted to share the Elf Smart Plug with you. It’s a simple on/off switch that connects to your WiFi network, allowing for remote control from any smartphone. Use it with a lamp and you will be able to turn on the lights from afar. Or maybe hook it to your stove for those days when you forget whether you turned the fire off or not. Simple. 

There will be no fancy color changes, dimming and the like, but the Elf Smart Plug does have some cool tricks to show. Smart charging protection is one of them. This means the device can recognize when a phone is fully charged and stops sending it juice. Elf also joins the digital assistant hype by fully supporting the Amazon Echo. 

The best part is that the unit costs only $25 per piece. These are sold in 3 different packages: 1 for $25, 2 for $50 and 4 for $100. IF that wasn’t cool enough, this product is ready to ship! You won’t be waiting for goals and shipping is done in 3-5 days. 

Interested? Hit Indiegogo for all the details. We say it is a nice investment. The most similar mainstream products we can find are the Belkin Wemo smart plugs, which start at about $35. 

“Internet +” makes an appearance in court

“Internet +” is the latest technological concept taking China by storm. “Internet +” combines the internet and information technology with traditional business models. Started in 2015, the “Internet +” trend shows no signs of slowing down. “Internet +” has been widely adopted by conventional enterprises dealing with consumer businesses and services. Recently, it caught the attention and imagination of the Chinese government. In a move to reap the benefits of “Internet +” for Chinese citizens, the Chinese judicial system took the initiative to launch its version of “Internet +”.

The adoption of internet technologies by Chinese courts is not unprecedented. In early 2009, the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court established its online litigation service platform that provides online case filing and document delivery services. In 2015, the Zhengzhou Intermediate People’s Court attempted to hold a trial on Wechat (which is China’s equivalent to of Whatsapp, the instant messaging platform). Recently, in a hearing by the Guangzhou Yuexiu People’s Court, a witness was allowed to present via the video function of Wechat. 

The most significant tech-related development within judicial practice, is the establishment of the first internet court in China which specialises in handling internet-related cases. The court opened on 18 August 2017 in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. The city is currently the central hub of internet ecommerce in China and is where Alibaba Group is based.

The Hangzhou Internet Court (the “Court”) will adjudicate internet related disputes on its Online Dispute Platform (www.netcourt.gov.cn, the “Platform”). The Court follows the same rules as normal trials but implements all procedures via the internet on the Platform. The detailed regime has been clarified in the Trial Rules of the Hangzhou Internet Court Dispute Platform (the “Rules”). The establishment is recognised to be a meaningful reform in judicial practice, an area long considered as traditional and conservative. According to the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies are expected to be applied in the future. With further development, AI can learn applicable laws and regulations and collect data or evidence from the litigating parties’ accessible databases. AI can also nudge judges towards any defects in evidence and predict potential judgments based on precedents for the judge’s reference. Using big data to analyse the nuances of disputes can help the government understand any underlying societal issues or economic trends.

The Court will mainly handle cases which fall within the jurisdiction of the people’s courts of first instance in Hangzhou, including disputes regarding online business activities (such as shopping services and microfinancing of loans), ownership and infringement of online copyright, online personal rights infringement, domain names and any other internet-related civil or administrative cases designated by the higher courts.

Important milestone

The establishment of the Court is considered to be an important milestone in the informatisation reform of China’s judicial system. The Court, with its successful launch, will serve as an important example for other courts looking to embrace technology. It is believed that more Chinese courts will follow suit and catch up with the many “Internet +” applications proliferating across China and worldwide.

All prosecution procedures in the court will be conducted via the Platform, including filing for litigation, accepting the case, paying litigation fees, delivering documents, mediating the case, submitting evidence, cross-examining the evidence, pre-trial hearing, the hearing itself, delivering the verdict and executing judgements. Moving procedures online is expected to improve the efficiency of hearing cases, reduce litigation costs and provide convenience to the parties involved. The Platform manifested how judicial rules and procedures can be perfected to fit an internet environment. 

In normal judicial practice, the preparation of supporting documents (such as identity certificates and evidence etc.) could be very time consuming and sometimes difficult, in particular, when a document needs to be obtained from administrative authorities. But, with the Platform, the registered parties can be verified via the online real name verification process, face recognition or the off-line verification system. If the dispute is related to online businesses, based on the information provided by the parties, the Platform can automatically import data from the corresponding online business platform to be used as evidence. The parties can also submit e-evidence to the Platform, which provides detailed guidance on how to do so.  

Similarly, with normal hearings, the hearing will often be recorded by clerks manually. This archaic process of writing and typing is time consuming and has the risk of being inaccurate, which means the process of reviewing and revising often takes a long time. With the Platform, the hearing can be videoed and the video itself can serve as the trial record. If written records are required, a Speech Recognition System can generate the trial records automatically, which can be reviewed and confirmed by the parties online. With further advancement, judges can even use artificial intelligence to draft judgements.

The Court is proving to be a success. As of 30 October 2017, which is around two-and-a-half months after its establishment, the Court has accepted 3515 cases and completed 1752 cases. The hearing usually takes around 28 minutes and the average litigation period is 52 days.

It is anticipated that the Court will continue to further its technological reach. On 30 October 2017, ten experts with legal and computer science background have been employed by the Court to form the Expert Advisory Committee. The experts will assist the Court in exploring the rules on internet litigation, defining standards for internet judicial practice and advising on the development of the Court.

Nick Beckett, Managing Partner of the Beijing Office, CMS
Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock

New Linux Mint installation guide makes switching from Windows 10 even easier

ef44a_Woman_Laptop_Orange_Happy New Linux Mint installation guide makes switching from Windows 10 even easier

There is a notion that installing a Linux-based operating system can be hard. In 2017, this is absolutely false (with the exception of Arch, that is). Many years ago, installing a distribution could be difficult, but nowadays, it can be downright easy. Quite frankly, installing Linux can sometimes be easier than Windows these days, since you don’t have to go hunting for drivers and software all over the web. If you have been fearful of replacing Windows 10 with an operating system like Linux Mint — don’t be.

But OK, understandably, some people have anxiety about changing their computer’s operating system. If that is you, I am happy to say Linux Mint has a brand new installation guide that should quell any fears. Not only does it help with technical aspects, but it can guide you to the best edition for your needs. Mint in particular is a great alternative to Windows 10.

The Linux Mint Team says the following.

The Linux Mint Installation Guide is ready. This guide is currently available in English and in French and it is currently being translated in many more languages. Three other guides are planned: An overview of Linux Mint, a developer guide and a troubleshooting/bug_reporting guide. This new collection will eventually replace the old ‘Linux Mint User Guide’

ef44a_Woman_Laptop_Orange_Happy New Linux Mint installation guide makes switching from Windows 10 even easier

If you are ready to install Linux Mint and want to use this new installation guide, you can access it here. If you’d prefer, you an also scan the cool QR code above using your smartphone. This is quite useful, as you can easily follow the guide on your phone while doing the installation on your PC.

Photo Credit: JanVlcek / Shutterstock

Even Beyoncé makes a Target run — but then the Internet goes crazy – TwinCities.com

Stars. They are just like us: When they need to shop they go to their friendly neighborhood Target – which is exactly what superstar Beyoncé Knowles was reportedly spotted doing Thursday, Dec. 7 at a Target in San Clemente.

Shoppers who got to witness the singer in all her glory – along with her daughter Blue Ivy – wasted no time in alerting their internet fan base they were in the presence of Beyoncé.

So, if you’ve always wanted to see what it looks like when Beyoncé goes shopping at Target, here is your shot. It probably looks like anyone else shopping at Target – but, you know, with a bit more glamour.

Beyoncé Blue in Target today. 🎯

A post shared by Beylite (@beylite) on Dec 7, 2017 at 1:17pm PST

After proof that Queen B was in fact at a Target, the internet went nuts.

https://twitter.com/MommaKarma/status/938914937841377286

Even Beyoncé makes a Target run — but then the Internet goes crazy – TwinCities.com

Stars. They are just like us: When they need to shop they go to their friendly neighborhood Target – which is exactly what superstar Beyoncé Knowles was reportedly spotted doing Thursday, Dec. 7 at a Target in San Clemente.

Shoppers who got to witness the singer in all her glory – along with her daughter Blue Ivy – wasted no time in alerting their internet fan base they were in the presence of Beyoncé.

So, if you’ve always wanted to see what it looks like when Beyoncé goes shopping at Target, here is your shot. It probably looks like anyone else shopping at Target – but, you know, with a bit more glamour.

Beyoncé Blue in Target today. 🎯

A post shared by Beylite (@beylite) on Dec 7, 2017 at 1:17pm PST

After proof that Queen B was in fact at a Target, the internet went nuts.

https://twitter.com/MommaKarma/status/938914937841377286

The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here’s what it means for Android …

Qualcomm announced details of its new Snapdragon 845 mobile chip on Wednesday during its event in Hawaii, and it offers a good idea of what improvements and features we can expect from phones that will run on the new chips.

Timing-wise, Qualcomm expects the chip’s release as soon as 2018, so we could potentially see the next generation of top Android devices from Samsung, Google, LG, HTC, and others running on the new Snapdragon 845 next year.

As expected, the chip should bring general improvements to performance and battery life. It’ll also allow Android phone makers to improve photo and video capture quality, as well as improving the functionality of AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications. Smart AI assistants, like Google’s Assistant, will also get an intelligence boost.

Check out what we can expect from Snapdragon 845-powered Android phones:


Android phones will be more power efficient for even better battery life.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Battery life on many of the top Android phones is very good, especially on the Pixel 2 phones. That’s partly due to the current power-efficient Snapdragon 835 processor running many top Android phones today.

We can expect even better battery life, with 2018-2019 Android phones as Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 845 will be 30% more power efficient than the 835.


Photos will be even sharper and clearer, especially in low light.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

The Snapdragon 845 chip will let Android phones take advantage of a photography technology called “multi-frame noise reduction” for images up to 16 megapixels. It’ll allow 2018-2019 Android phones to take up to 60 photos per second and combine them into one photo to reduce “noise,” which is that grainy look you most often see in low-light photos.


It’ll add a feature to video recording that will make videos look amazing.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 chip will allow Android phones to record 4K video in HDR (high dynamic range) at a smooth 60 frames per second (fps). Videos recorded in 4K HDR from smartphones will look fantastic on 4K HDR TVs.

HDR is a feature that enhances contrast ratio. That’s to say it enhances colors, especially those the brighter and darker ends of the spectrum. As my former colleague Jeff Dunn put it: “The result is a picture that is more vivid, and more importantly, noticeably more life-like. Colors are less muted, and objects appear to have more depth. It’s not a gimmick so much as a straight improvement.”

It’ll also allow 2018-2019 Android phone cameras to take videos with a wider color gamut, which could bring even more fine color shades to videos.

So far, no smartphone can record video in HDR, despite the fact that several phones from 2017 have HDR-capable displays.

The Snapdragon 845 will also let Android phones record 720p video at a whopping 480 fps, which is twice as many frames per second as current smartphones that can record in 240 fps for slow-motion. It should make for ultra-smooth slow-motion that can slow down extremely fast movement.


It’ll be faster and more powerful than current 2017 Android phones.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Qualcomm claims the new Snapdragon 845 will be 25% more powerful than the current Snapdragon 835, and 30% more powerful for games.


It’ll bring great improvements to AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

The Snapdragon 845 will allow you to physically move in AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications, much like you can with HTC/Valve’s Vive VR headset. When you physically move forward, you’ll move forwards in a VR game, for example. The feature is called “6DoF,” which stands for 6 degrees of freedom.

Qualcomm’s new chip will also come with features that help VR, AR, and mixed-reality apps prevent you from colliding into walls and objects while you move around.

We’ll also see an overall improvement in AR, VR, and mixed reality visual quality, performance, and power consumption.


2018-2019 smartphones will be even smarter.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

AI performance on 2018-2019 Android phones running on the Snapdragon 845 will be tripled, which will help voice assistants better understand more natural ways of speaking.

Better AI will also make it easier to take good photos and videos, according to Qualcomm. Camera features like Portrait Mode, which use AI to identify the subject in the frame, will also get performance boosts.

Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app


eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app

Caspar Health, a startup launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, wants to make access to rehabilitative care easier and more accessible. The digital platform allows doctors to assign customizable therapy treatment plans to patients following an injury, surgery or other medical event, like a stroke, which patients can then access using an app on their mobile device.

The company was founded two years ago by longtime friends Maximilian Michels, and serial entrepreneurs Benjamin Pochhammer and Maximilian von Waldenfels, who sold their last company Food Express to Takeaway.com.

Michels, who has a background in healthcare, came up with the idea for Caspar Health because he saw a need to make first-class healthcare something that’s available to anyone – even if limited by geography or a lack of therapy providers in the patient’s area.

“He realized, via a research study [the hospital he managed] did with a large reimbursement stakeholder, that the way rehabilitation has been conducted is still very ineffective, and there’s no digital component integrated into the patient treatment procedure,” von Waldenfels explains.

eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app

To use the system, a doctor or therapist would log on to the platform after seeing the patient and confirming their diagnosis. For example, they may want to assign specific treatments or therapies for someone recovering from knee surgery, back pain or a heart attack. After entering the patient’s information and medical condition, Caspar Health automatically generates a treatment plan for the patient, which the doctor can then optionally customize to meet the patient’s needs.

These treatment plans are created in-house and offer everything from instructional videos (e.g. physical therapy/exercises, tutorials on how to use crutches, etc.), to information on the illness or injury itself. Patients can read the information and watch videos from a mobile application that runs on their phone or tablet, and give feedback about how the exercise or other therapy went to allow doctors to adjust the plans accordingly.

eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an appAt launch, there are some 1,000 videos available and the system is in use in 64 hospitals across Germany, including a couple of the largest hospital groups. This makes Caspar Health accessible by over 100,000 potential patients. So far, 6,500 have signed up.

Caspar Health is sold as an enterprise software-as-a-service subscription, where facilities pay a monthly subscription fee as well as a fee per patient. Notably, Caspar Health’s treatments are reimbursed by the largest reimbursement stakeholders, meaning the medical facilities are receiving the same amount of money per session as a face-to-face treatment.

The larger goal is to make Caspar Health available to other markets outside Germany, especially those where there’s a large population that doesn’t have access to therapists and doctors for their condition, or who can’t afford in-office visits.

Today, Caspar Health is also launching internationally, and is available in four languages: English, German, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

The startup is backed by 3 million euro in seed funding from Atlantic Labs (Christophe Maire), Think.Health, and other family offices.

Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app


eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app

Caspar Health, a startup launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, wants to make access to rehabilitative care easier and more accessible. The digital platform allows doctors to assign customizable therapy treatment plans to patients following an injury, surgery or other medical event, like a stroke, which patients can then access using an app on their mobile device.

The company was founded two years ago by longtime friends Maximilian Michels, and serial entrepreneurs Benjamin Pochhammer and Maximilian von Waldenfels, who sold their last company Food Express to Takeaway.com.

Michels, who has a background in healthcare, came up with the idea for Caspar Health because he saw a need to make first-class healthcare something that’s available to anyone – even if limited by geography or a lack of therapy providers in the patient’s area.

“He realized, via a research study [the hospital he managed] did with a large reimbursement stakeholder, that the way rehabilitation has been conducted is still very ineffective, and there’s no digital component integrated into the patient treatment procedure,” von Waldenfels explains.

eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an app

To use the system, a doctor or therapist would log on to the platform after seeing the patient and confirming their diagnosis. For example, they may want to assign specific treatments or therapies for someone recovering from knee surgery, back pain or a heart attack. After entering the patient’s information and medical condition, Caspar Health automatically generates a treatment plan for the patient, which the doctor can then optionally customize to meet the patient’s needs.

These treatment plans are created in-house and offer everything from instructional videos (e.g. physical therapy/exercises, tutorials on how to use crutches, etc.), to information on the illness or injury itself. Patients can read the information and watch videos from a mobile application that runs on their phone or tablet, and give feedback about how the exercise or other therapy went to allow doctors to adjust the plans accordingly.

eb3b7_tc_disrupt_berlin-caspar-3078 Caspar Health makes rehabilitative care more accessible by putting treatment plans in an appAt launch, there are some 1,000 videos available and the system is in use in 64 hospitals across Germany, including a couple of the largest hospital groups. This makes Caspar Health accessible by over 100,000 potential patients. So far, 6,500 have signed up.

Caspar Health is sold as an enterprise software-as-a-service subscription, where facilities pay a monthly subscription fee as well as a fee per patient. Notably, Caspar Health’s treatments are reimbursed by the largest reimbursement stakeholders, meaning the medical facilities are receiving the same amount of money per session as a face-to-face treatment.

The larger goal is to make Caspar Health available to other markets outside Germany, especially those where there’s a large population that doesn’t have access to therapists and doctors for their condition, or who can’t afford in-office visits.

Today, Caspar Health is also launching internationally, and is available in four languages: English, German, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

The startup is backed by 3 million euro in seed funding from Atlantic Labs (Christophe Maire), Think.Health, and other family offices.

Help from city hall: Hamilton phone/computer app makes requests easy

A new computer- and mobile-phone computer application called “311 Hamilton” will go live today, allowing people to quickly and easily tap out in a few words, or more, a problem they have, such as a burned-out street light, flooding, a pothole, even drug sales or prostitution they see happening.

LA Sheriff’s antiquated computer system makes data collection a nightmare

It’s hard to ignore the security that surrounds the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s communications center. It sits atop a hill in Monterey Park behind a tall fence and inside a building with thick concrete walls and no windows.

Inside, dispatchers don headsets and deploy deputies from the 10,000-strong force across the nearly 5,000 square miles that comprise L.A. County. It’s impressive until someone shows you the technological guts of the operation. 

The room is mostly silent expect for the humming of the fans that keep it cool – and a nearly constant clicking sound.

“Those are mechanical switches that are activated with each one of those radio calls,” said Dean Gialamas, director of the sheriff’s technology and support division.

The analog dispatch system is the most glaring example of the technological problems facing the largest sheriff’s agency in the country. Spare parts for the dispatch system aren’t even manufactured anymore – the department has to make them. 

Not only are the department’s thousands of computers antiquated, but they’re not interconnected, said Gialamas.

“When you look at our IT systems across our department, we have so many different systems,” he said.

“All of our staff has become very creative … they come up with their own systems,” added Gialamas.

Some records on use of force aren’t even in electronic form – they’re on paper, he said.

95a29_180094-full LA Sheriff's antiquated computer system makes data collection a nightmare
One of the sheriff’s department’s antiquated computers.

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

When he became the department’s top official three years ago, Sheriff Jim McDonnell had a to-do list of reforms that included reducing violence in the jails and providing more humane treatment for mentally ill people who end up in jail.  But to achieve measurable results, he needs good data. And McDonnell acknowledges that he’s not getting it.

“You potentially have 100 different systems capturing crime data information, risk management information and other information,” he said.

Serious flaws in the sheriff’s data systems first came to light this summer, when county Inspector General Max Huntsman found the department was tracking jail violence using incompatible types of software.

In some cases, multiple incidents were counted as one – a serious problem for a department with a history of deputy-on-inmate violence.

McDonnell concedes that for a long time department leaders spent money on what they saw as more important things: more deputies, more patrol cars and new station houses.

“To be very candid, [modernizing the computer systems] has not been a priority for many years,” McDonnell said.

Gialamas said the department is making progress.

Its office of technology planning is adding 22 people and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for two big projects: $25 million to computerize the ancient dispatch system and $35 million to modernize the digital jail management system.

But Gialamas acknowledges there’s a lot more to do – the department needs to set up systems to store and manage crime and personnel data – and it needs to get all of the sheriff’s various computer networks talking to each other.

Far behind the LAPD

The region’s other large law enforcement agency, the LAPD, was forced to embrace big data in 2000 when it reached a settlement with the federal Department of Justice.

As part of reforms aimed at reducing racialized policing and excessive use of force, the LAPD had to start documenting all car stops, including the race of the driver. It also created a computerized system to track performance evaluations, complaints and other data on officers, said attorney Gerry Chaleff, a former police commissioner who oversaw the reforms at the LAPD.

“It gave us a better sense of … which employees might have risk management issues,” he said. “It allowed us to see trends with … officer-involved shootings and other uses of force.”

The tracking system is now a model for the country.

“It put the department on the road to the fact that we had to collect data, we had to analyze data and we had to be transparent about it,” said Chaleff, who now advises police departments around the country on consent decrees.  

The sheriff’s department was never really put on that road – although it’s now collecting new data under a similar reform agreement with the federal justice department designed to improve mental health care inside jails.

Watchdog groups are frustrated that when it comes to big data, the sheriff’s department is so far behind the LAPD.

“If McDonnell is serious about changing the department, he’d invest in technology,” said Michelle Infante of the Coalition to End Sheriff’s Violence.

“They put out the statistics they want people to know and what they don’t want you to know they don’t put out,” she said. “The department is not being clear, it’s not being honest.”

McDonnell says while the department struggles with technology, it never lies about the data it has.

Kim McGill of the Youth Justice coalition says the department’s computer troubles can lead to bad policies.

“If we have no data or bad data, then we’re really legislating and policing by emotion,” McGill said. “And emotion unfortunately is often driven by race, class, gender and age.”

The sheriff’s civilian oversight commission also has expressed concerns about data, saying to increase public trust, the sheriff should release more data, and in a timely fashion.

J.P. Harris, a former sheriff’s lieutenant who sits on the civilian panel, agrees that the department needs to upgrade its information technology so it can get a better handle on its data.

“If you don’t measure it, you’re not going to know what’s going on,” he said at a recent meeting.

Why deregulating internet service makes sense

Everyone enjoys watching cat videos on Facebook, but hardly anyone understands Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. That’s the challenge in assessing the Trump administration’s pending decision to deregulate internet service. It’s a very important step involving complex technology questions, arcane rules and a jargony phrase that’s tossed around a lot but isn’t easy to interpret: net neutrality.

Yes, animal videos are more fun to think about. But like all major government efforts to deregulate industries, from telephones to airlines, the Federal Communications Commission’s move to do away with net neutrality is destined to have a major impact. We think consumers will benefit because increased competition is a greater spur to technological innovation than government fiat. In other words, you’re not still using an avocado-colored 1970s telephone, right?

This is not to minimize the uncertainty of cutting the cord on net neutrality. There’s a lot of concern, especially among Democrats, that deregulating internet communications is going to hurt consumers. The fear: Internet providers (cable companies and wireless carriers) will usurp control of bandwidth for their own benefit. They’ll speed up and improve the transmission quality of websites they control and charge more to guarantee high speeds, while slowing down everything else. So pay up or enjoy the buffering. To conclude the argument in favor of net neutrality, what’s vital to citizens and key to innovation is the digital services everyone accesses via computers, phones and other networks. By this thinking, the actual piping is akin to a regulated water or electric company. It should be maintained as neutral territory.

We guess that would make sense if we believed we’ve reached a point of maximum progress and our main concern, as with an electric utility, is keeping the lights on. But that doesn’t strike us as anything near the reality. Digital technology is still a new, evolving industry, more like robotics or bitcoins than water service. Think about driverless vehicles, wearable health monitors and other internet-abled innovations coming to fruition. The emphasis needs to be on encouraging scientific discovery and commercial discovery, while incorporating safeguards against exploitation.

Hulu, and offer different price and speed packages to consumers. Competition will spur investment and innovation while offering more choice, just as in airlines and other industries. “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Pai said.

Two important points to keep in mind: First, deregulation will not usher in a digital chaos. The FCC and Federal Trade Commission will still have oversight responsibilities. Second, net neutrality is a new concept promulgated by the Obama administration. The internet operated without these restrictions previously without adverse effects. If deregulation doesn’t work, it can be modified or reversed. Congress also can weigh in.

FCC Makes Tone Deaf Appeal To Destroy Net Neutrality And Possibly The Internet

2261f_960x0 FCC Makes Tone Deaf Appeal To Destroy Net Neutrality And Possibly The Internet

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The FCC and its chairman, Ajit Pai, are taking some intense heat these days—and for good reason. Pai has put forth a proposal to roll back the hugely popular net neutrality framework and return to the halcyon days of letting internet providers do as they please under some misguided faith that the market will police itself.

Misguided FCC “Logic”

The FCC has embarked on a public relations campaign to try and sway public opinion on the matter, including a propaganda piece sent to the media that claims to lay out the “myths” and “facts” of net neutrality.

The bias of the document is immediately apparent from the adjectives used to describe net neutrality. The first “fact” states, “The Internet was free and open before the Obama Administration’s 2015 heavy-handed Title II Internet regulations, and it will be free and open after they are repealed.”

Another “fact” in the FCC document claims, “Repealing the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed Internet regulations will promote consumers’ online privacy. Those regulations stripped the Federal Trade Commission of authority to protect Americans’ broadband privacy. The plan to restore Internet freedom, by contrast, will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop back on the beat.”

Most of the arguments laid out in the FCC propaganda document rely on the flawed logic that everything was fine for two decades up until 2015, so returning to the rules in place at that time will be fine. That ignores the fact that, even though it was true for years that things worked fine under that framework, ISPs like Comcast and Verizon had begun to rock the boat and start to explore how to extort tolls from content providers, or throttle or block access to specific content, or offer tiered services with internet fastlanes or bundled packages of websites the way cable TV is sold.

Here is an analogy that illustrates that argument. Let’s say you’ve lived in your house for 20 years. One day, the pipe to your kitchen sink springs a leak so you replace it. Putting the broken pipe back is a horrible idea. Arguing that everything was fine for 20 years up until the new pipe was installed is a silly argument, because the preceding decades are irrelevant to the fact that it was broken at the time it was fixed.

Why Repeal Net Neutrality?

The FCC isn’t alone in its anti-net neutrality media campaign. Comcast has also been marketing heavily in favor of repealing net neutrality. Oddly, the Comcast plea seems to center around the idea that destroying net neutrality will be fine, because Comcast totally pinky-swears that it will play nice and put customers first and it won’t do anything to undermine or harm the internet. Comcast—and the current FCC—seem to have forgotten that it was shady behavior by Comcast—throttling traffic and extorting tolls from content providers like Netflix—that sparked the net neutrality debate in the first place.

There was a tweet making the rounds recently that sums things up fairly well. Comcast tweeted, “We do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content. We will continue to make sure that our policies are clear and transparent for consumers, and we will not change our commitment to these principles.”

In response, @loresjoberg tweeted, “We never will, but it’s very important that we be able to. But we won’t. So let us do it. Because we won’t do it. Which is why we’re spending so much money to make sure we can. But we won’t. But let us.”

Precisely. Follow the money and try to understand the motivation. If ISPs like Comcast had continued to behave the way Comcast promises to behave, we never would have had net neutrality in the first place. If ISPs like Comcast are committing to not doing anything shady if net neutrality is repealed, why do they need to repeal it?

I reached out to Comcast in response to an email promoting blogs Comcast executives wrote promising to protect the open internet and asked if they acknowledge in any way that they were already guilty of doing the thing they claim they will never do. I did not receive a response.

There is nothing good for consumers and average users of the internet, or for the nation as a whole in repealing net neutrality. Returning to the way things were means that ISPs can act the way they did before net neutrality—which is why we needed net neutrality to begin with.

If the FCC continues to ignore the demands of the public it is supposed to represent and proceeds with handing the internet over to corporate interests, hopefully companies like Netflix, Google, Facebook and others—or even just smaller, regional startups—will just band together and offer us a net neutrality-friendly alternative and we can just cut ties with the anti-net neutrality ISPs.

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Google makes taking screenshots on Chrome OS easier by copying …

Google has done a lot to make Chrome OS better suited for the arrival of Android apps, from the design of the app drawer to other things like notifications. Now, Google is changing how to take a screenshot on Chrome OS by pulling from Android.


7b120_giftguide_schoon_13 Google makes taking screenshots on Chrome OS easier by copying ...

The best gifts for Android users

Revealed by Googler François Beaufort on Google+ today, Google has added a new gesture for taking screenshots on Chrome OS in the dev channel. Just like on most Android devices, you can now take a screenshot on Chromebooks by holding down the volume down and power keys at the same time.

Now, to be clear, this only works when your Chromebook is in tablet mode, meaning it only works on devices with a 2-in-1 hinge. That includes the likes of the Samsung Chromebook Plus, ASUS Chromebook Flip, and even Google’s own Pixelbook.

Currently in Chrome OS, when you toss these devices into tablet mode, there is no way to take a screenshot. That’s because Chrome OS’ method of taking screenshots relies on a set of keyboard shortcuts.

For now, this is limited to the dev channel of Chrome OS, but it should extend to the beta and stable channels over the coming weeks.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

Jony Ive talks his start in design, how iPhone X makes earlier iPhones feel ‘disconnected’ & more

Apple’s design chief Jony Ive sat down with Smithsonian Magazine recently to talk how he got his start as a designer and much more. The interview comes as Ive will be featured in the 2017 issue of the magazine and today spoke at the Hirshorn Museum in Washington, D.C.


79d0c_spigen-teka-on-airpods Jony Ive talks his start in design, how iPhone X makes earlier iPhones feel 'disconnected' & more

Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover

In the interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Ive talks about how he got his start in design working alongside his father:

When Jony Ive was a boy, his father, a college professor of design and technology and a silversmith, presented him with an unusual Christmas present—an agreement. “If I spent time determining what I wanted to make and developing the idea with drawings,” Ive recalls, “he would give me some of his time, and together we would go into the university workshops and complete it.”

Over the years they built furniture, a go-cart and parts for a treehouse, working in wood and a variety of metals. “From the earliest days I can remember, I loved drawing and making things.

While Ive has always been known for his sparse and minimalistic designs, he says that over the years his “drawings have become more and more sparse” and that it remains a very fluid process:

It’s often only partly an object. Then the idea sort of bashes backward and forward between a thought, a conversation, another drawing, this time to share the idea. It remains very fluid for quite a while.”

Ive also touched on the iPhone X and how the all-screen dsign is something Apple has “aspired to for years.” He picked up the iPhone 7 Plus used by the Smithsonian interviewer and remarked that “It now seems to me a rather disconnected component housed in an enclosure.”

He was sure to point out, however, that designers don’t always get things right the first time – himself included. For instance, the Apple Watch, while staying relatively the same hardware-wise, has adapted its features over time based on early criticism:

“We don’t get it right all the time,” Ive says of the long process of perfecting any Apple product. “As designers, you’re having to constantly learn.”

Ive discussed many of the same topics today in his hour-long sit down at the Hirshorn Museum in Washington, D.C. The Apple design chief talked about the new iPhone X, how important of a role software plays in the user experience, and more.

For instance, Ive had some choice words for Apple rumor stories, calling them “a load of rhetoric that has little basis in fact… cynical clickbait stuff.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Google makes taking screenshots on Chrome OS easier by copying Android

Google has done a lot to make Chrome OS better suited for the arrival of Android apps, from the design of the app drawer to other things like notifications. Now, Google is changing how to take a screenshot on Chrome OS by pulling from Android.


4b1d8_giftguide_schoon_13 Google makes taking screenshots on Chrome OS easier by copying Android

The best gifts for Android users

Revealed by Googler François Beaufort on Google+ today, Google has added a new gesture for taking screenshots on Chrome OS in the dev channel. Just like on most Android devices, you can now take a screenshot on Chromebooks by holding down the volume down and power keys at the same time.

Now, to be clear, this only works when your Chromebook is in tablet mode, meaning it only works on devices with a 2-in-1 hinge. That includes the likes of the Samsung Chromebook Plus, ASUS Chromebook Flip, and even Google’s own Pixelbook.

Currently in Chrome OS, when you toss these devices into tablet mode, there is no way to take a screenshot. That’s because Chrome OS’ method of taking screenshots relies on a set of keyboard shortcuts.

For now, this is limited to the dev channel of Chrome OS, but it should extend to the beta and stable channels over the coming weeks.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

Conventional computer vision coupled with deep learning makes AI better

Computer vision is fundamental for a broad set of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Household monitoring systems use cameras to provide family members with a view of what’s going on at home. Robots and drones use vision processing to map their environment and avoid obstacles in flight. Augmented reality glasses use computer vision to overlay important information on the user’s view, and cars stitch images from multiple cameras mounted in the vehicle to provide drivers with a surround or “bird’s eye” view which helps prevent collisions. The list goes on.

Over the years, exponential improvements in device capabilities including computing power, memory capacity, power consumption, image sensor resolution, and optics have improved the performance and cost-effectiveness of computer vision in IoT applications. This has been accompanied by the development and refinement of sophisticated software algorithms for tasks such as face detection and recognition, object detection and classification, and simultaneous localization and mapping.

The rise and challenges of machine learning

More recently, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) – particularly in deep learning – have further accelerated the proliferation of vision-based applications in the IoT. Compared to traditional computer vision techniques, deep learning provides IoT developers with greater accuracy in tasks such as object classification. Since neural networks used in deep learning are “trained” rather than “programmed,” applications using this approach are often easier to develop and take better advantage of the enormous amount of imaging and video data available in today’s systems. Deep learning also provides superior versatility because neural network research and frameworks can be re-utilized across a larger variety of use cases compared to computer vision algorithms, which tend to be more purpose-specific.

But the benefits delivered by deep learning don’t come without trade-offs and challenges. Deep learning requires an enormous amount of computing resources, for both training and inferencing stages. Recent research shows a tight relationship between the compute power required for different deep learning models and their accuracy in deep learning techniques. Going from 75% to 80% accuracy in a vision-based application could require nothing less than billions of additional math operations.

TT Capital makes $17 million investment in Revel Health

Revel Health, a software firm that works with insurers to help patients take better care of themselves, has received a $17 million investment from TT Capital Partners, the company said.

The $17 million also is one of the larger venture-capital or private-equity investments in a privately held Minnesota firm this year.

CEO Jeff Fritz, 48, a veteran emerging-technology executive, said Revel will use the funds to increase marketing efforts, further develop its technology and grow the North Loop-based company from 40 to 100 or so employees over the next two to three years.

“This company has had a 35 percent year-over-year sales growth without a robust sales and marketing team and effort,” said Fritz, who joined the company in January and is a minority shareholder. “We see a lot of opportunity to innovate this ‘engagement engine.’ ”

Fritz declined to mention customers, but one is believed to be UnitedHealth Group, one of the world’s largest health insurers. He also declined to discuss Revel’s revenue or other financials. He said the investment makes TT Capital a “significant” investor.

Insurers hire Revel to use technology to prompt people to get their checkups, cancer screenings or take at-home steps to maintain or improve an acute condition or general health.

“Even elder loneliness,” Fritz said. “It’s a large contributor to morbidity and mortality. We [connect] by iPhone, laptop or even have a live person call.”

The interactions are driven by the customer — by requests, medical history, data analytics of his or her case and artificial intelligence.

“The shift is toward how do we help people to do things that are good for them. Listening and learning,” he said. “In the past if we had a flu prevention campaign we’d do a single campaign and push that to 1 million members to get a flu shot. Now we’re nuanced.”

Revel said in a statement one of the goals also is to reduce long-term costs through the customer interactions.

The U.S. health care system and insurers have been moving in recent years to reimbursement based more on patient health improvement than the traditional fee-for-service model.

“That’s the trend, regardless of federal policy shifts,” Fritz said. “That horse has left the barn.”

Edina-based TT Capital Partners is a firm created to invest in promising companies by Triple Tree, a 20-year-old health care merchant bank and investment banker.

“We are excited to collaborate with the management team as Revel serves existing customers, expands to new markets and accelerates further development of its modern technology platform,” said Conor Green, a partner at TT Capital.

Fritz earlier was an executive with growth companies Storyworks 1 (acquired by Insite Software) and Evolution 1 (now part of WEX Health). Both were software companies in consumer-driven health care.




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