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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

IBM Canada’s employees jump head first into the Call For Code initiative

Sun, 07/22/2018 - 17:00

Stephanie Hazlewood knew it was going to be an exciting day when she walked into work on July 12th. It was time for her team to start its Call For Code project.

Call For Code is an initiative created by David Clark Cause (DDC), a purpose driven consulting firm led by entrepreneur David Clark, and IBM. The initiative aims to create a space where software developers can create apps and services that do social good.

The DCC is an organization that positions itself alongside brands and governments to help create purpose driven initiatives and intellectual property.

Hazlewood is a senior technical staff member at IBM Canada. Her team at Call For Code consists of four other IBM employees.

In 2018, CFC is asking developers to create a software tool that will help prevent natural disasters or provide aid during and after them. This could range from software that identifies people stranded on the roofs of flooded houses, or an app that links together a network of outdoor cameras to scan for the first signs of wildfire.

There are two sides to the Call For Code initiative: an external outreach that IBM and its partners are supporting with $30 million USD over the next five years, and an internal effort comprised of IBM employees that’s separate from the initial investment.

The IBM Canada lab held an event to kick off its CFC day on July 12th. Seventy-five staff members buckled down and entered the internal Call For code for their shot at making their software idea into a reality.

The program has been ongoing since June 18th, 2018, but July 12th was the first day IBM Canada employees got time during their work day to start their projects.

Stephanie Hazlewood and her team brainstorming ideas at IBM Canada’s Call For Code day.

Around 70 employees from IBM Canada are part of the initiative. With the time they have to work on their ideas, the groups brainstormed a goal, as well as a plan to achieve it.

“It’s super cool. I mean, I have to say, I’ve been part of many hackathons, but this one is special because it’s not every day you get to pick a cause and say we have the skills to do something here to make the world a better place,” said Hazlewood.

“Things like how we can use visual recognition and machine learning algorithms to understand damage, as an example,” she added.

“We could reach for other technologies around tone analysis, and those kinds of things so that we can understand the state of crisis that someone might be in based on the way or methods in which they’re communicating.”

Each team at IBM Canada has until August 31st, 2018 to build and present their demo.

IBM is supporting the developers taking part in the initiative by letting them use some of its internal code base. The company is also including all of the historical and forecast data that’s been gathered by its Weather Company subsidiary.

Hazlewood decided to keep her team’s idea close to her chest, but says that her team has already started writing code for the project.

There’s a good reason for her secrecy.

The competition’s winners will get the opportunity to implement their idea with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) in the area where it’s most needed.

The CSC is an arm of IBM that launched in 2008. The program aims to do good in the world by partnering with local governments and other community leaders to help them address high-priority issues like natural disasters and economic development.

While this prize isn’t as exciting as the external competition’s grand prize, it’s still worth winning.

The winner of the external Call For Code competition will receive a $200,000 USD cash prize, long-term open source project support from the Linux Foundation, the chance to pitch the software to venture capitalists for a chance to turn the idea into a real company and an opportunity to deploy with the CSC.

To participate in the external Call for Code, developers have until August 31st, 2018 to submit a project.

From there, 30 semi-finalists will be chosen and the jury will narrow that group down to three teams. The winner will be selected in October 2018.

The post IBM Canada’s employees jump head first into the Call For Code initiative appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Go on a dark, atmospheric puzzle-filled journey with Fracter [Game of the Week]

Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:00

4L Games’ Fracter features atmospheric gameplay that has a lot in common with Playdead’s dark platformers Limbo and Inside, with the title also borrowing elements from Monument Valley — especially when it comes to shifting perspectives and inventive puzzles.

Fracter has players taking on the role of a “veiled young hero” that’s set out on a quest to “dispel the darkness within.” While Fracter’s narrative is typical of a video game plot in most respects, it’s also open to interpretation, with each player likely walking away with a slightly different perspective on it.

That said, it’s Fracter‘s gameplay that makes the game stand out in the crowded mobile space.

In Fracter you’ll explore the game’s dark, shadow-filled world, while outsmarting a shadowy version of yourself and solving unique puzzles. Puzzles typically involve flipping switches or rotating different platforms to make your way to a previously unreachable area.

As you may have expected, puzzles in the game start off simple to give players a handle of Fracter‘s mechanics, with later stages becoming increasingly more difficult and complicated.

While Fracter is a puzzle game in the traditional sense, it also features action. Enemies lurk in the shadows and attack the player if you don’t make an effort avoid them. You don’t have access to weapons in the traditional sense, but it is possible to destroy foes using light found in the game’s environment, causing enemies to disintegrate as they pass through its beams.

In Fracter your character is controlled via an on-screen joystick. While this is typically a chore with most mobile titles, 4L Games gives players the option to select either a floating joystick, or a hold-to-move joystick.

I preferred the floating joystick because it allows you to use your left or right thumb to walk, with your other hand handling actions such as uncovering a light source of rotating a platform. It’s also easier to not have to move your thumb back to a specific part of the phone’s display every time you remove it from the screen.

Visually Fracter consists of dramatic landscapes featuring various shades of grey and Black. Fracter‘s minimalistic visuals work well on mobile and also have a lot in common with Square Enix Montreal’s popular Go series. In fact, even the game’s puzzles sometimes reminded of of Lara Croft Go, arguably the best mobile title the studio has released.

At times I found myself wishing there are a little more light featured in Fracter given it’s difficult to make out the world’s intricacies.

Make no mistakes: Fracter is dark, both in terms of story and gameplay. Still, it’s rare a game that feels this well-rounded and feature rich — and also isn’t a port from another platform — is actually developed from the ground up for iOS and Android.

For this reason alone, Fracter is a must-play for anyone interested in mobile games.

Fracter is available on iOS for $5.49 CAD and Android for $5.49.

The post Go on a dark, atmospheric puzzle-filled journey with Fracter [Game of the Week] appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Top Canadian mobile stories from the past week

Sun, 07/22/2018 - 06:52

Every week we bring you the latest in Canadian mobile news. Listed below is a quick overview of the top stories from the past seven days.

  • Read here]
  • Freedom Mobile launches $15/250MB and $25/1GB low-cost data plans [Read here]
  • Freedom Mobile revamps roaming services and adds new international pricing add-on [Read here]
  • Rogers adds 122,000 net postpaid subscribers in Q2 2018 [Read here]
  • The Samsung Galaxy X to feature a 7-inch foldable display [Read here]
  • Freedom Mobile’s new plans [Read here]
  • OnePlus Bullets Wireless Review: Value for days [Read here]
  • Amazon sold over 100 million products during Prime Day [Read here]
  • 9 out of 10 drivers are driving distracted, and modern cars aren’t helping [Read here]
  • Rogers adds 215 call centre jobs in Moncton, New Brunswick [Read here]
  • Google has brought back its beautiful blob emoji as an animated sticker pack [Read here]
  • CRTC accepting public comments regarding telecom sales tactics [Read here]
  • Some Canadian wireless customers are still paying a ‘system access fee’ [Read here]
  • Wattpad’s Seema Lakhani on merging creativity and tech to create your dream job [Read here]
  • How to block specific area and country codes on Android and iOS [Read here]
  • Shopify to power Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis’ digital retail platform [Read here]

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Categories: Science

Rolls-Royce is working on snake and insect-like robots for engine repair [Sticky or Not]

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 17:04

Imagine, if you will, a plane engine, writhing and swarming with robotic snakes and insects.

No, you aren’t conceiving of a scene from some post-apocalyptic steampunk horror film — you’re just bringing to mind Rolls-Royce’s recently announced vision for engine maintenance.

The vehicle manufacturing company outlined its ideas at the Farnborough Airshow, stating it is teamed up with academics from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University to work on a range of concepts.

Most evocative are the snake and insect robots mentioned above — projects named ‘FLARE’ and ‘SWARM’ respectively.

The FLARE robots are a pair of snakes flexible enough to travel through an engine and carry out patch repairs to damaged thermal barrier coatings. The first snake would enter through a combustion chamber, inspect damage and remove debris, while the second would deposit a temporary patch repair.

The SWARM robots, meanwhile, are collaborative, cockroach-like robots about 10mm in diameter that would ride into the engine on a snake robot and perform visual inspections by crawling through hard-to-reach places with small cameras that provide live video feedback to an operator.

Rolls-Royce talked about two other robots as well — ‘INSPECT’ robots, which are really just a network of periscopes permanently embedded in the engine for surveillance of maintenance issues and remote ‘boreblending’ robots, which would be bolted on to an engine and then controlled remotely by a skilled worked.

The boreblending robot is already in development, according to CNBC, though there’s no schedule for when the other robots will be released into the world.

Verdict: Sticky and not.

Are these robots terrifying? Of course.

Are they also very cool? Of course.

Thus the conundrum I experience every time I write about robots. They’re scary and cool. They have potential for great utility and could have a positive effect on society, industry and health — but they’re innately dangerous, too.

Any tech has it’s danger, but it’s hard not to consider the potential danger of rogue robotic snakes and cockroaches. Beyond that, though, there’s the more down-to-earth concern of job loss.

Depending on how we deal with that issue as a society, the impact of robotics could be profoundly felt by manufacturing workers.

So ultimately, these robots are sticky and not — one thing is for sure, though. Fending off a bunch of mechanical creatures in the depths of a machine would make for a great action movie scene.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which News and Telecom Editor Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).

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Categories: Science

Here are the Samsung Galaxy X, BlackBerry KEY2 Lite and LG V40 ThinQ leaks from last week

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 14:02

From Apple to Samsung, a variety of smartphone leaks surfaced this past week.

Here’s a breakdown of almost every smartphone leak from the last few of days. The leaks below encompass news from July 14th to July 20th.


Samsung’s Galaxy X foldable smartphone will reportedly sport a 7-inch diagnonal display. Further it’ll fold in half like a wallet and when folded, the exterior will reveal a small display on the front and cameras on the rear.

For more on the foldable Samsung smartphone, click here. 

Samsung is set to launch the S10 in three sizes. According to recent reports the phone will release with 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.44-inch screen sizes.

For more on the S10, S10+ and the more affordable variant, click here.

Recent news indicates that Samsung will launch the S10, Note 10 and even a Galaxy A series smartphone with Qualcomm’s in-display fingerprint sensor technology.

For more on Samsung’s 2019 smartphones with in-display fingerprint sensors, click here.

The Galaxy Note 9’s front and rear were leaked this past week, showing off a design that looks similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

For a peek at the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, click here. 

Render-wise, often-reliable leaker Evan Blass leaked a render of the smartphone with its gold, perhaps Bluetooth-enabeld, stylus.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 render, click here. 


TCL might launch a new phone called BlackBerry KEY2 Lite. The Lite version comes in red, blue and copper variants and will feature a plastic body. Further the phone is rumoured to come out in August or September.

For more on the BlackBerry KEY2 Lite, click here. 

Optiemus’ upcoming BlackBerry Ghost and Ghost Pro will come to market as the BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X, according to a tweet from a prolific leaker.

For more on the BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X, click here.


The LG V40 ThinQ will reportedly feature a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. The phone might launch in October, instead of at IFA like with the LG V30.

For more on the LG V40 ThinQ, click here.

The post Here are the Samsung Galaxy X, BlackBerry KEY2 Lite and LG V40 ThinQ leaks from last week appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

WikiCompass makes learning about the world immediately around you effortless [App of the Week]

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 10:03

There’s a ton of tourism apps, but using them can lead to a lack of spontaneity when traveling.

A new app called  WikiCompass aims to make up for this with its map of notable locations and landmarks.

The app plots Wikipedia articles onto a map so users can see what kinds of interesting things might be around them.

While not every pin on the map is useful, the app really excels at giving the user context as to what’s directly around them.

One of the most interesting features that the app presents is the ability to look around you in augmented reality and see things near you that are famous enough to have a Wikipedia post.

The app is really simple to use. Once it’s opened for the first time the user will be presented with a map that’s covered in hotspots. Each spot can be tapped to reveal a picture of the place or thing, and its name. From there, users can dive deeper into the location’s Wikipedia entry or enter the app’s augmented reality view.

Users can use the app to explore around their current location or they can search around the world to learn about other places. The app only shows a handful of pins at a given time and in my testing it maxed out at 40.

The app is able to use all of this data because anything that’s on Wikipedia is free to use under the Creative Commons Attributions-ShareALike License.

There isn’t much in the way of settings in this app either, Users can clear their search history and lower their search distance. The search distance starts at the maximum of 10 km but users can shrink it all the way down to half a kilometre of they want to dial into a specific area. This could be good for visiting places that are full of Wikipedia articles, like a museum.

Users can download WikiCompass for $0.99 CAD on iOS here.

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Categories: Science

Link rides into ‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ on his Master Cycle Zero

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 19:00

A new driver is joining the Mario Kart race starting Friday.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe players can now play as Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Furthermore, Nintendo added Link’s Master Cycle Zero to the game.

Now players can cruise along as Link — in his Champion’s Tunic — on the Master Cycle.

Both additions comes as part of a free update to the game, version 1.6.0. When you launch the game on the Switch, the game will update automatically.

Along with Link, the new update brings Link’s paraglider and a new set of tires dubbed ‘Ancient Tires.’

Finally, the update brings game-play improvements and some mysterious unlisted content.

It’s good to see Nintendo continuing to support its games with free content and updates. Adding Link to Mario Kart is a neat addition, especially because of the Master Cycle.

Personally, I’d like to see Nintendo add other characters to the Mario Kart games. While it wouldn’t be very ‘Mario’ anymore, imagine being able to race alongside Kirby or Diddy Kong.

Considering Nintendo will bring every character back for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it would be fitting to do something similar with Mario Kart. Whether through free updates to Deluxe or a new game, it could be a great way to expand the game universe.

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Categories: Science

Multiplayer is coming to ‘Stardew Valley’ on PC, Mac and Linux

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 17:00

While multiplayer was promised to arrive for Stardew Valley a number of months ago, the feature finally has a solid release date.

According to a tweet from Eric Barone (@ConcernedApe), the sole developer behind Stardew Valley, the feature is coming to the lighthearted farming game on August 1st. Along with the release date, the game’s developer also released a new trailer for the feature (see it above).

The Stardew Valley Multiplayer Update will be out for PC, Mac & Linux on August 1st!

— ConcernedApe (@ConcernedApe) July 20, 2018

Unfortunately there’s no release date for when the multiplayer feature is coming to the Nintendo Switch, as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Stardew Valley multiplayer has been available in beta for a few months now. The full version of the feature reportedly isn’t very different from the beta, with most of the tweaks being bug fixes.

The switch port is underway, but I don’t have a set release date for it yet. I’ll let you know as soon as I do!

— ConcernedApe (@ConcernedApe) July 20, 2018

Fishing, farming, mining, earning money and world/farm updates are all communal with Stardew Valley’s multiplayer mode. Players will also be able to marry NPCs as well as each other in a shared game. Those hoping for splitscreen local co-op will be disappointed to learn that the the feature isn’t part of Stardew Valley’s upcoming multiplayer update.

If you’re interested in finding out more specifics about Stardrew Valley’s multiplayer feature, Barone went into more detail about the game’s upcoming multiplayer mode via his Twitter account.

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Categories: Science

Iristel will soon be able to compete with Sogetel in southern Quebec

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:52

Canada’s telecom watchdog has approved of a local competition plan implemented by Quebec regional telecom Sogetel.

According to a July 20th, 2018 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) media release, Sogetel now has 160 days to implement its competition framework, which would pave the way for competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) Iristel to launch telecom services in Lac-Etchemin, Nicolet and St. Liboire, Quebec.

Existing Sogetel subscribers looking to switch carrier will also be able to port over their existing Sogetel phone numbers.

“The Commission’s decision enables customers in these exchanges to have a greater choice of telecommunications services,” reads an excerpt from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) July 20th, 2018 decision.

Today’s CRTC decision is the result of Iristel formally expressing interest in competing in the region.

Following Iristel’s submission, Sogetel submitted its implementation plan on January 8th, 2018.

The CRTC added that it “expects the two parties to negotiate the proposed terms and technologies, and to interconnect using the most efficient configuration possible, while minimizing the costs to be incurred.”

This is the second CRTC ruling favouring competition between Iristel and a local carrier.

The CRTC determined in March 2018 that Iristel can compete with regional carrier Eastlink in Aylmer, Ontario.

It’s worth noting that while Eastlink argued against Iristel moving into the Aylmer region, it seems that Sogetel had no issue competing with Iristel.

Additionally, the CRTC recently announced that it would phase out its local voice subsidy by 2021, in favour of an internet-first approach.

“Accordingly, the reduction in the rate component used to calculate the subsidy amount for the recovery of ongoing costs approved in this decision will be included in the 2018 subsidy amount that will be used as the starting point for the phase-out,” concluded the CRTC, in its decision document.

The local voice subsidy was originally designed to reduce the costs of residential local telephone services in high-cost areas.

As a result of the CRTC’s decision to establish a $750 million fund for basic broadband internet service across the country, the Commission deemed the local voice subsidy superfluous.

Source: CRTC

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Categories: Science

Wi-Fi now available in select courthouses across British Columbia

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:37

The Government of British Columbia has announced that 27 courthouse locations around the province now offer free public Wi-Fi.

All courthouse visitors, including those involved in ongoing trials, will be able to use the Wi-Fi on any of their devices. A full list of courthouses offering Wi-Fi can be found here.

The Wi-Fi is provided by Shaw Communications in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Judge, the Office of the Chief Information Officer and facilities manager Brookfield GIS Workplace Solutions.

Current Shaw customers can access the ‘Shaw Open’ network, while non-Shaw clients can connect to ‘Shaw Guest’ by creating a free user account.

The provincial government says it will “work on expanding [Wi-Fi] services to other courthouse locations as infrastructure improvements are made.”

Source: Government of British Columbia

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Categories: Science

Waymo’s fleet of self-driving cars drive over 40,000 km a day

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:26

Alphabet-owned autonomous car company Waymo has announced that its vehicles are driving around 25,000 miles (40,200 km) every day.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik shared the milestone at the National Governors Association conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This is a major achievement for the company. Last November, it had only 6.4 million km under its belt. Since its cars are travelling over 40,000 km per day, Waymo has doubled its total distance in eight short months.

Waymo has self-driven 8 million miles on public roads, now at a rate of 25K miles per day. This real-world experience, plus over 5 billion miles in simulation, is how we’re building the world’s most experienced driver.

— John Krafcik (@johnkrafcik) July 20, 2018

To add perspective, it took the company from 2009 to November 2017 to reach its first 6.4 million km.

Waymo owns 600 self-driving hybrid Chrysler Pacifica vans driving in 25 cities across the U.S.

In addition to the 12.8 million km driven on public roads, Wyamo has also been testing its software in a self-driving simulation. The company has virtually driven over 8 billion km in the simulation.

Since all of the cars are connected, they share all of the knowledge that every car learns during its testing. Meaning that all of these cars are constantly learning and being updated, even if they’re not experiencing new driving conditions every day.

Waymo has been testing a self-driving taxi service in Phoenix Arizona. According to TechCrunch, the service may launch later in 2018.

Source: TechCrunch

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Categories: Science

Google Earth’s Measure Tool is now available on iOS

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:20

Google Earth on iOS has received an interesting new update that lets iOS users measure distances in the app.

Announced in a blog post by iOS engineer, Nate Schmitz, this new feature comes a month after the same update on Chrome and Android.

To use the measuring feature on iOS, make sure the Google Earth app on your device is up-to-date via the App store. Then, long-press the map or open the overflow menu to access the tool. The app allows users to measure distances anywhere on the planet.

There are many ways of using the measuring app. Google suggests it’s a useful tool for teachers or people looking to move, however, it can also just be used for fun.

To download Google Earth on iOS, click here.


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Categories: Science

YouTube update breaks seek bar, adds new recommended section

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:57

In the newest YouTube Android app update, Google has broken some things and is testing out new recommendations.

YouTube version 13.27 is rolling out to Android users with two main changes.

The first you may not notice right away — I certainly didn’t — but once you notice, it’s hard to forget. It removes the ability to tap anywhere on the seek bar to move through a video.

Now, users have to drag the little red dot to where they want to be in the video. Some may not mind the change, but for others it may be catastrophic. For myself, I primarily tapped where I wanted to go in the video. Dragging feels much slower.

A number of Reddit users are expressing their distaste for the change as well. Some even thought it was an issue with their device or their custom ROM.

However, the change is likely an intentional one from Google. It brings seek bar functionality in line with the iOS app.

The other main change is the addition of a new two by two grid of recommended videos. Labelled ‘More recommended for you,’ the section appears beneath the ‘Up next’ section.

The four recommended videos in the box aren’t related to the video you’re currently watching. Instead, they pull from search and watch history, similar to videos on the home page.

However, this new section feels redundant — not only is there a long list of recommended videos above it, if you want to get to the comments there’s way more scrolling.

As Android Police pointed out, there should be a ‘Jump to comments’ button for users who want to skip all the recommendations.

Source: Android Police Via: 9to5 Google

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Categories: Science

WhatsApp limits message forwarding, hopes to stop spread of fake news

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:42

WhatsApp will begin limiting how many messages users can forward to people.

The feature is coming as a test, and will limit forwarded messages to 20 people. While this limit will apply globally, India will have a stricter limit of five people.

Alongside the new limits, WhatsApp will no longer have a ‘quick forward button.’

In its current state, the app shows a small grey circle with an arrow in it beside multimedia messages. Tapping the icon opens the forward screen, allowing users to quickly share information. However, this button will disappear as part of the test.

Despite that, users can still forward messages. Instead of tapping the icon, users can long-press on a message and select the forward icon.

The WhatsApp blog says the change is to keep the app true to its purpose — a private messaging app. However, this may not be the full story.

Limiting virality

Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, as well as WhatsApp itself are at the centre of criticism right now. Both platforms have contributed to the spread of misinformation and fake news around the world.

For instance, misinformation propagated through social media platforms has recently been linked to certain acts of violence in countries like India, where the stricter forward limit will be implemented, as well as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Limiting the ability to forward messages won’t solve the problem of fake news. However, the limit may help reduce the virality of fake news.

Much of this points back CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s interview with Recode on Wednesday. Zuckerberg discussed, among other things, the distinction Facebook makes when deciding to remove misinformation.

Critically, Zuckerberg said that the network removes information if it will incite violence or harm. However, in the case of someone simply being ‘wrong,’ Facebook will instead limit the spread of that content.

He later clarified his remarks in an email to interviewer Kara Swisher. In the email, he wrote “these issues are very challenging but I believe that often the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech.”

The problem with that sentiment is that misinformation can do and has done harm. Limiting the spread of misinformation may not be enough.

Source: WhatsApp Via: Recode

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Categories: Science

Samsung might get rid of its plus-size S series handsets

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:17

Samsung might be getting tired of its plus-size S-series models.

According to South Korean publication The Bell, Samsung will retire its plus-size flagships after the Galaxy S10+. Instead, the company will merge the plus models with its Galaxy Note lineup.

The Bell says this move is to adjust its flagship model lineup to overcome losses in profitability caused by over-saturation in the smartphone market. Further, merging the two devices would lower the cost of research and development.

This is likely a smart move for Samsung, as the Galaxy Note and Plus-size S series smartphones are both quite similar. In fact, the Galaxy S10+ is rumoured to have a 6.44-inch display, which is larger than any other Note devices. Meanwhile, leaks indicate the Note 9 will feature a 6.4-inch panel.

Within the last few years the only main difference between the Note series and the Plus-size S series has been the S Pen.

Source: The Bell

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Categories: Science

Microsoft reports strong Q4 2018 earnings, record-breaking Xbox revenue

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:11

Microsoft generated over $30 billion USD in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2018, the company announced in its most recent earnings report.

This marks a 17 percent year-over-year increase in revenue. Microsoft cited strong performance in its cloud and Xbox gaming divisions as major contributors to the increased revenue.

The Xbox brand in particular experienced significant growth, surpassing $10 billion (up 14 percent year-over-year) in revenue throughout the year for the first time.

Microsoft doesn’t reveal console sales figures, so it’s currently unclear how many Xbox One S and Xbox One X systems were sold during this quarter.  However, the earnings report states that the number of active Xbox Live users rose to 57 million, up 4 million year-over-year but below the 59 million posted in the second and third quarters of 2018.

Xbox revenues as a whole rose 36 percent during this quarter, although Microsoft attributed the increase primarily to major third-party gaming releases. Microsoft has often been criticized for lacking first-party exclusive Xbox games, areas where competitors PlayStation and Nintendo have had great success in. Xbox head Phil Spencer noted this is an area of focus for the company in an interview with Gamesbeat earlier this year.

As part of this effort, Spencer took to the stage at E3 2018 to reveal the creation of a new Santa Monica, California-based Microsoft first-party studio called The Initiative. Further, the company announced the acquisition of four additional gaming studios, including Montreal-based Compulsion Games.

“In gaming, we are pursuing our expansive opportunity — from the way games are created and distributed to how they are played and viewed, surpassing $10 billion in revenue this year for the first time,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an investors call.

“We are investing aggressively in content, community and cloud services across every endpoint to expand usage and deepen engagement with gamers. The combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer are driving record levels of growth and engagement.”

Microsoft’s financial report also notes that its intelligent cloud revenue was $9.6 billion USD for the quarter, marking a year-over-year increase of 23 percent. Its Azure service in particular saw growth of 89 percent in the fourth quarter.

Source: Microsoft

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Categories: Science

Samsung takes aim at iPhone’s dongle problems and more in latest ad campaign

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 15:10

Samsung loves taking shots at Apple products in its commercials, and the company’s latest ad campaign is no exception.

The company released three new ads as part of its ‘Ingenius’ series. Each ad focuses on an aspect of the iPhone and how Samsung’s Galaxy S9 overcomes that shortcoming.

All of the ads portray an iPhone customer talking to an Apple Store Genius in a sort of awkward and confused manner. They’re all pretty funny, and the short and simple format makes them easy to remember.

The first ad highlights the lack of a bundled fast charger with the iPhone X and the fact that users will need to buy a lighting-to-USB-C cord and an 18W power adapter to quickly charge an iPhone. Of course, Samsung points this out since it bundles a fast charger with the S9 series.

The next ad is all about the cameras. The Genius and the customer are chatting about DxOMark scores and how the S9 is rated higher by the mobile camera review site.

The customer asks if the Genius believes in the scores. The Genius just replies by saying “I believe in this,” and points to the Apple logo/his heart.

The final ad highlights the iPhone’s lack of a headphone port and its reliance on dongles.

A customer is looking for a phone that will let him use his favourite headphones, but then he learns how many dongles a user needs to charge and listen to music with 3.5mm headphones.

The one thing all of these ads have in common is they portray the customers as confused, almost like they don’t really know what any of these things mean, and they just want their device to work. None of the ads show the S9, so they come off just as Apple bashing.

It seems like Samsung’s main goal is to simply showcase the iPhone’s missing features rather than explain that there are phones, made by Samsung, that have more features.

Source: Samsung

The post Samsung takes aim at iPhone’s dongle problems and more in latest ad campaign appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Ontario man uses axe to destroy modem in front of Bell store

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 13:52

A Burlington, Ontario man recently took an axe to a Bell modem in front of one of the telecom’s shops and posted the video to the internet.

The man, Jeremy Parsons, subsequently spoke with Global News about the incident, telling the news organization that he had been trying for months to receive service improvements for his internet but was met with poor service and dropped calls.

“Bell Canada, for a communications company you are a failure. I can’t get you on the phone, you don’t respond on social media,” he said in a video posted to Instagram, before chopping up the modem.

Parsons told Global that he relies on his internet service for his livelihood.

#fedup #bellcanada Bell Canada for a communications company you fail at communicating. I can’t even walk into one of your hundred stores and speak to someone ! 8 months of no Call backs, service calls that don’t actually fix any problems, customer care reps who do not care and provide inaccurate information with supervisors who do not accept calls or have a direct number. I have filled out surveys with explanatory essays and still no one gets back to me because they never read them! Today after 4 hours on the phone getting hung up on and transferred over 8 times. We waited for a tech install and the guy just leaves the package at the door, no knock, no call no service! Wasted day and time! How would an older person be able to deal with these issues of phone trees, poor connections and no follow up? Please comment, repost and forward if you have had the same experience with bell #bellsucks #badservice #badservices #careless #communication #Internet #noconnection #callback #fedup #Canada #customercare #customer @rogers #customerisalwaysright #fixthis #bellfixthis #complaints #video @Bell_Support

A post shared by Jeremy J Parsons ~ On BOOK 2!! (@culinarydrinks) on Jul 16, 2018 at 1:25pm PDT

Meanwhile, a Bell spokesperson told the news outlet that its tech support team assisted Parsons “on numerous occasions” and that they had found he was receiving the best service currently available in his area.

While poor internet is enough to make anyone furious, it’s important to remember not to vent frustrations on front-line staff, who field undue harassment and are not individually responsible for a given problem.

Parsons told Global the employees appeared ambivalent when the modem was smashed, but it’s never a good day when an angry customer with an axe is outside your place of work — prospective copycats would do well to consider using their own backyards for kindling practice.

Customers can also turn to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) — which, in its mid-year report published in April 2018, revealed that 2,275 complaints over its half-year measurement period were lodged against Bell, representing 33.2 percent of all complaints.

Source: Global News

The post Ontario man uses axe to destroy modem in front of Bell store appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Koodo doubles data, talk and text on U.S. roaming boosters

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 13:15

Telus-owned Koodo Mobile has brought back an offer that doubles up data, voice and text for prepaid U.S. roaming boosters.

What’s more, forum users on Red Flag Deals report that the offer is stackable or repeatable — that is, you can purchase multiple boosters, though you have to add and checkout the boosters one at a time.

This diverges from the winter 2017 version of the deal, which limited the boosters one customer could purchase.

Below, see the currently doubled-up U.S. boosters:

U.S. Roaming Data Booster add-ons
$20 500 MB + 500 MB BONUS
$5 50 MB + 50 MB BONUS

U.S. Roaming Talk Booster add-ons
$20 250 min. + 250 min. BONUS
$5 25 min. + 25 min. BONUS

U.S. Roaming Text Booster add-ons
$20 1000 texts + 1000 texts BONUS
$5 250 texts + 250 texts BONUS

Any Koodo prepaid company predicting a trip to the U.S. in the near future would be wise to stock up — booster add-ons don’t expire and any unused minutes, text or data carry over when a customer renews their base plan.

The Canada-wide booster add-ons are not currently doubled up, though some of the base plans feature 2GB of bonus data.

Source: Koodo Via: RFD

The post Koodo doubles data, talk and text on U.S. roaming boosters appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

SyrupCast Podcast Ep. 175: Manitoba’s unlimited data bytes the dust

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 13:06

This week on the SyrupCast MobileSyrup features editor Igor Bonifacic, telecom editor Rose Behar and PHD student at Carlton University Ben Klass, talk about all the telecom and mobile news from the past two weeks.

Justin Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet, replacing Melanie Jolie, Canadian Heritage Minister, with Pablo Rodriguez. The team discusses what they think the change will mean for Canadians.

Also in the last two weeks mobile overage rates have gone up again. Ben Klass joins the podcast to discuss the impact of these increases.

Tune in to hear the SyrupCast team’s thoughts.

Subscribe on iTunesDirect download link

Do you have questions, comments, thoughts, or anything you would like addressed on the podcast? Send us an email to If you’re feeling extra adventurous, send us a voice recording of your question or comment and you may end up featured in a future episode!

Total runtime: 34:01
New minister: 2:00
Increased rates: 6:00
5G: 21:00
Shoutouts: 30:20

Ben gives his shoutout to his sister Rebecca, who just ran an olympic-length triathlon. Rose gives her shoutout to all of the reader’s of MobileSyrup. Igor shouts out Rose and her work at MobileSyrup.

The post SyrupCast Podcast Ep. 175: Manitoba’s unlimited data bytes the dust appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science