mikejuk writes "Evi, a new rival to Siri, Apple's voice-driven personal assistant, has made its debut on both the iPhone and Android. And people are so keen to that Evi's servers are overloaded — so be prepared for a wait for answers." The app costs 99 cents for iOS users, but it's free on Android.
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New submitter Cinnamon Whirl writes "As a chemist, I work in a both lab and office enviroments, and need access to data in both, without causing undue clutter in either. My company has recently purchased two Win7 tablets for trial usage with electronic lab notebooks, propietry software, SAP, email etc. These are also useful for sharing in meetings, etc. As part of this project, I have been wondering whether we can use these tablets to detect other devices by proximity. Examples could include finding the nearest printer or monitor or, perhaps trickier, could two roaming devices find each other? Although lab technology is rarely cutting edge, I can see a day when all our sensors and probes will broadcast data (wireless thermocouples are already available), and positioning information will become much more important. What technologies exist to do this? How accurate can the detection be?"
An anonymous reader writes "Taking notes during class? Topic-focused study? A consistent learning environment? According to Robert Bjork, director of the UCLA Learning and Forgetting Lab, distinguished professor of psychology, and massively renowned expert on packing things in your brain in a way that keeps them from leaking out, all are three are exactly opposite the best strategies for learning."
Hugh Pickens writes "Kate Murphy writes that as cellphones have gotten smarter, they have become less like phones and more like computers, and that with more than a million phones worldwide already hacked, technology experts expect breached, infiltrated or otherwise compromised cellphones to be the scourge of 2012. Cellphones are often loaded with even more personal information than PCs, so an undefended or carelessly operated phone can result in a breathtaking invasion of individual privacy as well as the potential for data corruption and outright theft. But there are a few common sense ways to protect yourself: Avoid free, unofficial versions of popular apps that often have malware hidden in the code, avoid using Wi-Fi in a Starbucks or airport which leaves you open to hackers, and be wary of apps that want permission to make phone calls, connect to the Internet or reveal your identity and location."
An anonymous reader writes "Mitt Romney's campaign is airing an ad that is basically 30 seconds lifted from an NBC News broadcast and NBC is trying to stop them from using the ad. I found it interesting that the Romney campaign is invoking fair use to defend the ad. Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said 'we believe it falls within fair use. We didn't take the entire broadcast; we just took the first 30 seconds.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continue to spread in cities across Europe. The protests began in Poland, where thousands have taken to the streets and opposition politicians have worn Guy Fawkes masks in protest against the country signing the agreement last week. The scenes from Poland and France are remarkable, demonstrating the widespread anger over the decision to join ACTA. A full rundown of protest plans can be found here."
coondoggie writes "The power required to increase computing performance, especially in embedded or sensor systems has become a serious constraint and is restricting the potential of future systems. Technologists from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are looking for an ambitious answer to the problem and will next month detail a new program it expects will develop power technologies that could bolster system power output from today's 1 GFLOPS/watt to 75 GFLOPS/watt."
An anonymous reader writes "Indian website Techgoss, which offered a reward of Rs. 10,000 to get photos of Facebook founder in India, did manage to get photos of Zuckerberg attired in Indian clothes at an Indian wedding. They have followed up the success of the reward for photos of the Facebook founder with a bounty of Rs. 15,000 for the identity / details of the Google India employee who vandalized open source OpenStreetMaps in Jan, 2012. (Rs. 15,000 is one week's wages for a programmer at a top IT company in India)."
Despite (and probably partly because of) its much-touted role as a communications link in the Arab Spring protest movements of the last year, Twitter announced a few days ago that it could be (which I take to mean "will be, and probably are") selectively blocking tweets based on local governments' requests. This AP story (as carried by stuff.co.nz) gives an overview of the negative reaction this move has drawn; unsurprisingly, there's talk of a boycott. The EFF has what seems to be a fair look at the reality of Twitter take-downs, noting that for various reasons they remove certain content already, but not as much as some parties would like; VentureBeat looks at the thousands of take-down notices the company received last year. If you use Twitter, does the recently announced region-specific blocking change what you'll use it for?
theodp writes "Discussing U.S. education in his 2012 Annual Letter, Bill Gates notes the importance of 'tools and services [that] have the added benefit of providing amazing visibility into how each individual student is progressing, and generating lots of useful data that teachers can use to improve their own effectiveness.' Well, Bill is certainly putting his millions where his mouth is. The Gates Foundation has ponied up $76.5 million for a controversial student data tracking initiative that's engaged Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation to 'build the open software that will allow states to access a shared, performance-driven marketplace of free and premium tools and content.' If you live in CO, IL, NC, NY, MA, LA, GA, or DE, it's coming soon to a public school near you."
mpol writes "KDE's Plasma Active introduced last Saturday its own 7" tablet. According to Aaron J. Seigo, 'It's the first tablet computer that comes with Plasma Active pre-installed.' The Spark, with its 7" screen, is built around a Cortex A9 with a Mali-400-gpu, 512MB RAM and an SD-card slot. It will have a 800x480 screen resolution and will cost around 200 Euro. It is actually a rebrand of the Zenithink ZT-180 C71, which comes with Android by default. On a personal note, Aaron J. Seigo will no longer be sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks to work on Qt and KDE. He will, however, stay involved with KDE and Free Software, he says."
First time accepted submitter foozie writes "Many credible sources, including Forbes and CBS, say that Facebook will finally IPO next week, raising about $10 billion and valuating at $75 billion, almost three times the valuation of Google at the point of their IPO in 2004. This shift raises questions about how the new ownership will affect the company's ability to innovate and remain on the forefront of social media."
The copyright battles going on right now are not all about SOPA, PIPA, or even the wider-reaching ACTA: suraj.sun snips thus from TorrentFreak: "At a behind-closed-doors meeting facilitated by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, copyright holders have handed out a list of demands to Google, Bing and Yahoo. To curb the growing piracy problem, Hollywood and the major music labels want the search engines to de-list popular filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, and give higher ranking to authorized sites. ... If the copyright industry had their way, Google and other search engines would no longer link to sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. In a detailed proposal handed out during a meeting with Google, Yahoo and Bing, various copyright holders made their demands clear. The document, which describes a government-overlooked 'Voluntary Code of Practice' for search engines, was not intended for public consumption but the Open Rights Group obtained it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request."
An anonymous reader writes "Now that all the large chain book stores have disappeared from the landscape, I visited my local independent book store. In the basement I found a dazzling array of amazing magazines from the UK and Germany. Not only were the magazines impressive, they included CDs and DVDs of material. Nearly every subject was there: Knitting, Photography, Music, Linux, and Fitness. I snapped up a magazine called 'Computer Music,' which had a whole issue dedicated to making house music, including a disc of extra content. I subscribe to U.S. magazines like Wired, 2600, & Make, but their quality seems to ebb and flow from issue to issue and I don't ever recall a bonus disc. Are the UK magazines really better? If yes, why and which of them do you subscribe to? The other interesting thing about them is they weren't filled with tons of those annoying subscription cards. What is the best way to subscribe?"
MarkWhittington writes "Mitt Romney has infamously suggested that the idea of lunar colonies is 'zany' and has ridiculed Newt Gingrich's idea of building a lunar base by 2020. However Romney has been endorsed by a group of aerospace heavyweights, including Apollo moonwalker Gene Cernan and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, many of whom have previously supported the idea of lunar bases."