Firefox 64 offers better tab management and personalized extension recommendations


Firefox introduced its latest variant – Firefox 64 – last night with features like improved tab management and smart suggestions.

The update should make tab junkies happy: Firefox now lets you select multiple tabs and move, bookmark, mute, or pin them all at once. To do that, hold Control/Cmd, and then click on tabs to select as many of them as you need to wrangle together.

We’re organizing a decentralized event in London

It’s all about cryptocurrency and blockchain

 

That’s cool, but you should know that rival browser Vivaldi supports grouping tabs along with the aforementioned functions. I really hope Mozilla brings that to Firefox soon.

Firefox 64’s second biggest highlight is called Contextual Feature Recommender (CFR); it suggests features and extensions that you might find useful, based on your browsing habits. For instance, if you visit certain sites often, Firefox will recommend pinning those tabs for easy access.

Some default extensions suggestions are Facebook container (for stop the social network from tracking you), Enhancer for YouTube (for blocking ads and controlling playback), and Google Translate (for handy translation). The CFR feature is available for only US customers at the moment, and it won’t work in the private mode.

The company assured its users that it processes the data for recommendation locally, and doesn’t upload any of it to its servers.

Additionally, it has improved scrolling speed on the Android version of the browser.

Mozilla introduced a bunch of developer-facing features in Firefox 64, including improved JavaScript and CSS support. You can check out the list of enhancements for developers here.

Firefox 64 doesn’t bring too many changes, but the new tab management and suggestion features sound like they’re worth updating your browser. The update is available for both desktop and Android.

The latest version is available on both desktop and Android; try out the new version and let us know in the comments if you’re enjoying Firefox enough to ditch Chrome entirely.

Sex robot inventor says having baby with his android lover will be ‘extremely simple’


Sergi Santos in relationship with android as well as human wife of 16 years

Sergi Santos with his sex robot creation 'Samantha'

Sergi Santos with his sex robot creation ‘Samantha’

robot creator has claimed that he will soon be able to have a baby with his own robot lover.

Sergi Santos, an electronic engineer and expert in AI, also believes it is just a matter of time before machines are doing human jobs and marrying into human families.

The Spaniard told The Sun he would “love” to have a child with his robotic partner, and that it would be “extremely simple”.

“Using the brain I have already created, I would program it with a genome so he or she could have moral values, plus concepts of beauty, justice and the values that humans have,” he said.

“Then to create a child with this robot it would be extremely simple. I would make an algorithm of what I personally believe about these concepts and then shuffle it with what she thinks and then 3D print it.

The designer says that having regular intercourse with his robot, called “Samantha”, has improved his sex life with Ms Kissamitaky.

It is also claimed his android has the ability to create emotional ties, can progress through different emotional modes, and has the ability to makes “realistic” orgasm sounds.

Edward Snowden Introduces a New Spy-Catching App, and Here’s How It Works


From whistleblower to app developer, Edward Snowden is now a tech founder.

 

In a YouTube video posted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s account, Snowden introduced his new app Haven. The open-source project is a collaboration between the FPF and The Guardian Project. Snowden said he led the FPF side of the joint effort.

The former National Security Agency contractor, who has taken refuge in Russia since exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance programs by disclosing classified material back in 2013, has made it his mission to fight for cyber privacy. He serves as the board president of the FPF. The group was founded by fellow whistleblower Daniel Ellsburg, who in 1971 leaked key secrets about the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam with the Pentagon Papers.

This week’s launch represents one of Snowden’s most concrete efforts yet to accomplish his goal of helping those who need it most become more secure, as the app is designed to protect the data of investigative journalists and humanitarian workers who may find themselves in the crosshairs of government spies.

According to the announcement, “Haven is for people who need a way to protect their personal spaces and possessions without compromising their own privacy.” Haven is aimed to catch intruders spying on personal data.

The Android-specific app uses “on-device sensors” to monitor and protect physical spaces like homes or offices. For example, if someone breaks into a room with an Android running the Haven app, a photo will be taken of the intruder and sent to alert the app’s user.

The way it works is by combining the smartphone’s sensors with secure communication apps like Signal and Tor. This is how Haven “prevents the worst kind of people from silencing citizens without getting caught in the act.”

“We designed Haven for investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and people at risk of forced disappearance to create a new kind of herd immunity,” the Freedom of the Press Foundation says in the post.

In the video announcement, the Russia-based Snowden explains Haven is a tool aimed at activists and others at security risk.

So far, Haven has received mixed reactions on social media reactions, with some questioning its security or potential ulterior motives given Snowden’s past. Others find the idea of Haven to be useful, but aren’t sure of the logistics regarding physical privacy.

The app is currently available on Android, with plans to expand to other platforms depending on volunteer contributions to its open source.

If You Chose An iPhone Over An Android, Science Says You’re Probably Obnoxious


So, I have an iPhone — because I’m a civilized human being and I like feeling and looking like I’m in the future — but apparently, people who buy Androids are, on average, allegedly more honest and humble than their iPhone-owning counterparts.

Pretty Little Liars Texting

A study conducted by Heather Shaw from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology took a look at hundreds of smartphone users to see if they shared any traits.

Not only did they find that the Android users surveyed were generally more honest and humble, but that iPhone users were also more extroverted and more likely to be concerned with status.

Now it isn’t all that surprising that iPhone users would be more concerned with status than Android users. After all, iPhone’s are 1) more expensive and 2) were, for a long time, generally considered the middle-class norm in the smartphone market, so to decide to choose an Android meant that you had to be at least moderately less concerned with this weird technological signifier of middle-class status.

Of course, Android phones are also expensive, so the differences here are slight, but, intuitively, the status distinction noticed in this study makes sense, at least to me.

As Shaw explains,

It is becoming more and more apparent that smartphones are becoming a mini digital version of the user, and many of us don’t like it when other people use our phones because it can reveal so much about us.

Shaw and her researchers hope, as our technology integrates itself even deeper into our lives (is that even possible), to further study the ways in which the choices we make on our phones reflect what we want and who we want to be.

5 useful apps for college freshers


The data charges will be paid by the application providers (Representational Image)

The data charges will be paid by the application providers (Representational Image)

So you’ve done it! You’ve successfully graduated from the routine of school life to the excitement and independence of college life. No wonder, you must already be finalizing your check-lists before D-day at your new college. The right clothes have been chosen, the accessories have been finalized and even the new gadgets have been bought. But you might be missing out on one of the very important must-haves and that happens to be the apps on your phone. College life isn’t easy and you could use some help from the bunch of apps available today that will help to make it more convenient.

We’ve put together a list of apps that can help you hit the ground running and save you time, money and tears, as you start your life at college –

SwiftKey (Android, iOS)

As you make the transition from school to college, there a are number of tasks you’ll have to do faster and better. Typing on your device has to be one of them and your default keyboard may not be the best bet for it. SwiftKey is the app of choice for the productive smartphone typer, creating a uniquely accurate predictive and auto-correct typing experience. It covers 15 Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi, and users can type in up to three languages at any one time. Chatting with friends during those lectures or taking notes on your mobile in class will be a walk in the park with this one!

Zomato (Android, iOS, Windows)

You are new to the college life and always on the lookout for new exciting places to try around you with your new friends. But you’ll never have enough time and that’s when you make use of Zomato. It is the platform that will cater to all your hunger and party cravings. The app provides you with information on home delivery, dining-out, cafés and nightlife in no time at all and also gives you access to a number of reviews, making decisions a whole lot easier. Zomato can be your one stop shop to finding the perfect yummy destination!

Dictionary.com (Android, iOS)

You’re going to be around new people and your vocabulary can certainly help you make an impression. This is the perfect application for words enthusiasts and everyone who has to read a lot of books with a lot of new and tricky vocabulary. Dictionary.com makes it easy to find the definition of every word you aren’t sure about. You can take advantage of more than two million definitions, as well as synonyms and antonyms at any time, wherever you are. All you need to do is install the app on your phone to decode the confusing notes from your last lecture.

Evernote (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)

Our lives at schools and colleges are often busy and disorganized, resulting in a lot of stress and angst when exam time nears. With an Evernote account, things change for the better. All your notes are tagged and saved into one of your notebooks, making you super-organised. With the audio recording feature available on Evernote, there’s no need to worry about missing notes if you don’t feel up-to-speed with your note-taking skills. Just sit-back, pay attention and hit record during those long and seemingly never-ending lectures

Saavn

When everything else is gone, music endures. Saavn offers over 2 million songs across multiple languages, ensuring your daily dose of music and entertainment through your mobile phone. It also lets you snoop out the best trending chart toppers so that you’re always updated with the latest tracks. You can even create your own playlist, tag your favourite music and share them across social media. We think Saavn will be your companion throughout those difficult all-nighters before an exam to keep you entertained.

Will your next phone have no screen?


Google ramps up plan to make robots


 

Meka M1 robot
Meka’s M1 robot is one of the systems that has been acquired by Google

Google has revealed it has taken over seven robotics companies in the past half a year and has begun hiring staff to develop its own product.

A spokesman confirmed the effort was being headed up by Andy Rubin, who was previously in charge of the Android operating system.

The spokesman was unwilling to discuss what kind of robot was being developed.

But the New York Times reports that at this stage Google does not plan to sell the resulting product to consumers.

SchaftGoogle has hired a team of Japanese engineers who make humanoid robots

Instead, the newspaper suggests, Google’s robots could be paired with its self-driving car research to help automate the delivery of goods to people’s doors.

It notes the company has recently begun a same-day grocery delivery service in San Francisco and San Jose, called Google Shopping Express.

That would pitch the initiative against Amazon’s Prime Air Project, which envisages using drones to transport goods to its customers by air.

“Any description of what Andy and his team might actually create are speculations of the author and the people he interviewed,” said Google of the NYT article.

One UK-based expert welcomed the news.

“This is a clear sign that days of personalised robotic technology entering the mainstream market is imminent,” said Prof Sethu Vijayakumar, director of the Robotics Lab at the University of Edinburgh.

“Movement and sensing systems for robotics technology have made great strides. Now, with mainstream companies like Google taking up the challenge, other elements such as robust software integration, standardisation and modular design will pick up pace.”

Industrial Perception robot
Google now owns a company that makes a robot arm designed to handle packaged goods

The search giant’s robotics project is based in Palo Alto, California, and will have an office in Japan – one of the world’s leading nations in the field.

Speaking to the NYT, Mr Rubin said Google had a “10-year vision” for bringing the effort to fruition.

“I feel with robotics it’s a green field,” he said.

“We’re building hardware, we’re building software. We’re building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack.”

Meka S2 robot head
Meka’s parts have been developed with human-robot interactions in mind

The companies acquired by Google to jumpstart its effort are:

  • Autofuss – a San Francisco company that employed robotics to create adverts. It has worked on several campaigns for Google’s Nexus-branded products.
  • Bot & Dolly – a sister company to Autofuss that specialised in precise-motion robotics and film-making. Its systems were used to make the film Gravity.
  • Holomni – a Mountain View, California-based company that specialised in caster wheel modules that could accelerate a vehicle’s motion in any direction.
  • Industrial Perception – a Palo Alto-headquartered business that focused on the use of 3D vision-guided robotic technologies to automate the loading and unloading of trucks, and handle packages.
  • Meka Robotics – A spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that built robot parts that appeared friendly and safe to humans. Its products included heads with big eye sensors, arms and a “humanoid torso”.
  • Redwood Robotics – a San Francisco-based company that focused on creating next-generation robot arms for use in manufacturing, distribution and service industries such as healthcare.
  • Schaft – a spin-off from the University of Tokyo that focused on the creation and operation of humanoid robots.

Candy Crush Saga: The Science Behind Our Addiction.


A year after the game’s mobile launch, we still can’t stop playing. The app’s designer and psychology experts weigh in on exactly what makes it so irresistible

If you haven’t heard of Candy Crush, it’s the mobile game that’s so addictive, players say they have left their children stranded at school, abandoned housework and even injured themselves as they try to reach new levels of the game.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush has been played 151 billion times since it launched as an app on mobile devices exactly year ago. And it’s the first game to ever be No. 1 on iOS, Android and Facebook at the same time. Candy Crush’s creator, King, a Stockholm-based company, says 1 in every 23 Facebook users plays it. And while Candy Crush is free, the in-game purchases that some players choose to make add up. Think Gaming, which releases gaming analytics, estimates that it takes in $875,382 per day. (By comparison, another insanely popular mobile game, Angry Birds, takes in an estimated $6,381 daily.)

All that adds up to some seriously distracted users. A survey by Ask Your Target Market polled 1,000 players and found that 32% of them ignored friends or family to play the game, 28% played during work, 10% got into arguments with significant others over how long they played, and 30% said they were “addicted.”

But there are lots of amusing games out there, so what’s so addictive about this one?

We asked Tommy Palm, one of the game’s designers, what the King team did to get us hooked. We also called a few psychology experts and players to understand the backstory on why their tactics worked so well. Here are the nine reasons they say Candy Crush is so irresistible:

1. It Makes You Wait

Perhaps the most genius element of Candy Crush is its ability to make you long for it. You get five chances (lives) to line up the requisite number of candy icons. Once you run out of lives, you have to wait in 30-minute increments to continue play. Or, if you’re impatient, you can pay to get back in the game — which is why it’s bringing in so much revenue. “You can’t just play all the time. You run out of lives,” says Andy Jarc, 22, one of the few players to reach level 440 in the game. “So the fact that they kind of constrain you — the whole mantra, ‘You always want what you can’t have.’ I can’t have more lives and I want them.”

“I think it makes the game more fun long term,” says designer Palm. “If you have a game that consumes a lot of mental bandwidth, you will continue playing it without noticing that you’re hungry or need to go to the bathroom. But then you binge and eventually you stop playing. It’s much better from an entertainment point of view to create a more balanced experience where you have natural breaks.”

2. We’re All Suckers for Sweet Talk

You flick four candies in a row, and they zap away. Candies above begin to cascade down, making even more matches. At the end words pop up on your screen, accompanied by a voice that says “Sweet” or “Delicious.” This feedback is essential for player immersion. “Positive rewards are the main reason people become addicted to things,” says Dr. Kimberly Young, a pioneering expert on Internet and gaming addiction who treats those addicted to the cyberworld. “When you play the game, you feel better about yourself.”

3. You Can Play With One Hand 

According to Palm, the icons and setup were created so players could multitask. You can play Candy Crush while carrying a drink, toting a purse or bag, clinging to a subway pole, or hiding your phone under the table. That’s a huge advantage and makes this game perfect for a train ride, a distraction while you’re waiting to see a doctor, or something to get you through boring meetings. Plus, you can play offline as well — so even if you’re stuck in a tunnel, you can be “crushing.”

4. There’s Always More

According to Palm, the Candy Crush team updates the game constantly and creates new levels every two weeks. Right now there are 544 levels. “Just three years ago, a game with 30 levels would be astonishing,” King says. “And now with this game, it has raised the bar with how much content a mobile game should and will have.”

Plus, on any single level, there’s no way to fail. If you run out of options on a board — and that happens once in a blue moon — the board immediately resets. You never get stuck. You can’t lose. “I believe this is part of the reinforcing pattern which keeps you playing,” says Dr. Dinah Miller, a psychiatrist who has written about the addicting elements of another popular game, Angry Birds. The game only ends when you’ve run out of your allotted number of moves “and you can end that frustration by buying your way out.”

5. You Don’t Have to Pay – but if You Want to, It’s Easy

King reports that of all the players on its last level — 544 — more than 60% of them didn’t pay a cent to buy extra lives or chances to get there. But if you want to pay, it’s easy. Connected to Facebook or the app store? Just click to pay.

6. It Taps Into Our Inner Child

“Many people have had a very positive feeling about candy since they were kids,” says Palm. “And it makes for a really nice visual game board with a lot of color and interesting shapes.” In fact, when you play you feel as if you’re transported into an entire Candy Land experience. The game pieces are candy, and the homepage for the game looks like the traditional Candy Land board, with your Facebook friends’ pictures displayed as pieces on that board, sitting at whatever level they’re stuck on.

7. It’s Social

Social games — any game that allows you to connect with your friends through a social-media platform like Facebook — have taken off. Whether it’s Words With Friends, Kingdoms of Camelot or Candy Crush, the ability to play with, or compete against, friends is irresistible. “Look, nobody’s coming to me because they have a clinical addiction to Candy Crush,” says Young. “It’s more of a social addiction, if you will.”

8. It’s an Escape

“When you read the research about gaming,” Young says, “you’re often looking at people who are distracting themselves from something in their lives.” The relaxing exercise of lining up candies to the tune of upbeat music is a perfect stress reliever.

9.  It Grows on You

This isn’t your average “line up three” game. “I started playing, and at first I was like whatever, it’s just bejeweled,” says Jarc. “But as I played more and more, it became addicting.”

King’s high-level of attentiveness toward updating gameplay has made it better quality than most casual games that are out there. When players took to Facebook to express their frustration with level 65 — notoriously one of the hardest levels in the game — King went into the game and altered the level to make it easier (though not too easy) multiple times.

 

 

A Smartphone App That Detects Radiation In A Disaster.


GammaPix just got a test run at the catastrophe simulation site Disaster City.

Disaster City is your one-stop for about every catastrophe you can think of. Train derailments, hurricanes, and other unfortunate happenings all get simulated at the Texas A&M site. As part of a test Wednesday, first responders test piloted something new: a smartphone app that detects radiation.

GammaPix, which sounds like one of those weird apps you accidentally find in the App Store and assume doesn’t work, is apparently a real thing for iPhone and Android that “can be used for the detection of radioactivity in everyday life such as exposure on airplanes, from medical patients or from contaminated products.” It works through a smartphone’s camera, so doesn’t require any external attachments. Chips inside of a smartphone’s built-in camera are sensitive to gamma rays; GammaPix uses its software to measure the impact of those rays, and give a picture of radioactivity in the area. The company says it works from up to 100 meters away.

Wednesday, at the Disaster City exercise, first responders measured radiation levels with the app, then practiced sending the data to officials through a wireless network. The idea’s that those officials will be able to make better-informed decisions more quickly with the data. Maybe one day civilians could download the app and be prepared to monitor radioactivity in an emergency, although they probably (hopefully) wouldn’t get much of a chance to use it.

Modular Robotics.


Fifteen years ago, Lego released the Mindstorms Robotics Invention System, and amateur roboticists went wild. With it, they could snap together motorized creations that they could program with an intelligent brick. Since then, the Mindstorms online community has shared more than 17,000 designs—as varied as automatic toilet flushers and bumper cars—and started robotics leagues and engineering curriculums. This summer, Lego will release the EV3, the first Mindstorms update in seven years. The kit will allow builders to create tens of thousands of new robots, all of which will be smarter, faster, and more responsive than before.

1) INTELLIGENCE UPGRADE

The heart of the EV3 is an upgraded processing brick. A 300-megahertz processor runs up to 10 times faster than its predecessor, so the brick can control more appendages and monitor more sensors at once. The system also has 64 megabytes of RAM to boost response time and 16 megabytes of storage.

2) SENSOR SUITE

EV3 robots can navigate autonomously. Designers embedded an infrared proximity sensor in the eyes, so robots can follow, attack, or run from what they encounter. Users will be able to buy additional bricks with gyroscopes, which will enable the robot to balance itself.

3) FASTER MOTORS

Each kit comes with three motors. Two large ones transfer their 170 rpms to double-sided output drives; each motor can move pairs of legs, arms, or tentacles independently of one another. The third, smaller motor spins at 250 rpm and handles minute actions, such as firing ammo or flicking fingers.

4) WIRELESS CONTROL

A Bluetooth radio on the processing brick’s circuit board lets builders control and program their robots through an iOS or Android app. They can also connect a Wi-Fi radio via a USB port on the processing brick; with a robot linked to a router, it’s accessible from anywhere.

5) EXPANSION-READY

For massive, complicated creations, builders can daisy-chain up to four processing bricks together. A “master” brick sends commands to the other three bricks that rely on it and relays instructions to extremities, such as a command to pinch together a thumb and forefinger.

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