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Tech News

AI can read your emotions. Should it?
Posted on Saturday August 17, 2019

Advertisers, tech giants and border forces are using face tracking software to monitor our moods – whether we like it or not

It is early July, almost 30C outside, but Mihkel Jäätma is thinking about Christmas. In a co-working space in Soho, the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Realeyes, an “emotion AI” startup which uses eye-tracking and facial expression to analyse mood, scrolls through a list of 20 festive ads from 2018. He settles on The Boy and the Piano, the offering from John Lewis that tells the life story of Elton John backwards, from megastardom to the gift of a piano from his parents as a child, accompanied by his timeless heartstring-puller Your Song. The ad was well received, but Jäätma is clearly unconvinced.

He hits play, and the ad starts, but this time two lines – one grey (negative reactions), the other red (positive) – are traced across the action. These follow the second-by-second responses of a 200-person sample audience who watched the ad and allowed Realeyes to record them through the camera of their computer or smartphone. Realeyes then used its AI technology to analyse each individual’s facial expression and body language. The company did this with all of Jäätma’s list of 20 Christmas ads from 2018, watching 4,000 people, before rating each commercial for attention, emotion, sentiment and finally giving it a mark out of 10.

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Honor 20 Pro review: it’s all about the camera
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

The best camera in the mid-range market, backed by good performance and long battery life

The Honor 20 Pro is the new flagship phone for Huawei’s cheaper offshoot, offering some of what made the Chinese firm the camera master but at £550 it is a little overpriced.

The Honor 20 Pro is essentially the same phone as the £400 Honor 20 with a better camera on the back, a slightly larger battery and more storage. It was meant to be released alongside its cheaper sibling, but Donald Trump’s Huawei blockade caused it to be delayed.

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Privacy campaigners warn of UK facial recognition 'epidemic'
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Investigation uncovers widespread use in museums and shopping centres

Privacy campaigners have warned of an “epidemic” of facial recognition use in shopping centres, museums, conference centres and other private spaces around the UK.

An investigation by Big Brother Watch (BBW), which tracks the use of surveillance, has found that private companies are spearheading a rollout of the controversial technology.

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Hundreds of Google employees urge company to resist support for Ice
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Petition demands that the company not provide any technical services to US immigration agencies, citing ‘system of abuse’

Tech giant Google is facing a demand from hundreds of employees for an assurance that it will not bid on a government cloud computing contract that could be used to enforce US immigration policies on the southern border.

A group of employees called Googlers for Human Rights posted a public petition overnight Thursday urging the company to resist tendering for a US Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract.

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What’s the best laptop for a student for under £500?
Posted on Thursday August 15, 2019

Ruqayyah needs a laptop costing up to £500 for her teacher training course. What are her best options?

I’m due to start my teacher training in September. Which laptop should I buy on a £500 budget? Ruqayyah

This question comes up every year. Obviously, the answers change as technology moves on. What doesn’t change much, if at all, is the general advice. You can get most of it from last year’s answer, though a brief summary might be useful.

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Instagram to let US users report false content
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Facebook-owned company seeking to stem spread of misinformation by removing dubious posts from searches

Instagram is adding an option for users to report posts they think are false, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site has announced, as tries to stem misinformation and other abuses.

Results rated as false are removed from places where users seek out new content, such as Instagram’s “explore” tab and hashtag search results.

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'We can't reach the women who need us': the LGBT YouTubers suing the tech giant for discrimination
Posted on Wednesday August 14, 2019

The platform made stars of Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers. But now the duo, along with other gay content creators, say they are losing their voice and their living because of the unfair way an algorithm works

‘It happened again today,” Bria Kam tells me, throwing her arms up in frustration. I am speaking to Kam and her wife, Chrissy Chambers, over FaceTime from their home in Vancouver, Washington. They are sitting in their workout gear, on the familiar grey couch where they record the YouTube videos that have turned them into stars. But there are no signature dazzling smiles today.

This morning, the couple uploaded a video called Ten Ways to Know You’re in Love (Do You Want a Baby?), a benign collection of comedy sketches (including one in which Chambers falls asleep while Kam is talking, and another in which Chambers is going through her rock collection) followed by an interview with a lesbian couple who had conceived a child with donor sperm.

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Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices
Posted on Thursday August 08, 2019

Leaked documents show children as young as 16 recruited by Amazon supplier Foxconn work gruelling and illegal hours

Hundreds of schoolchildren have been drafted in to make Amazon’s Alexa devices in China as part of a controversial and often illegal attempt to meet production targets, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

Interviews with workers and leaked documents from Amazon’s supplier Foxconn show that many of the children have been required to work nights and overtime to produce the smart-speaker devices, in breach of Chinese labour laws.

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How to make Windows 10 recognise an external hard drive
Posted on Thursday August 08, 2019

Jaki has 11,000 photos on a USB drive but Windows 10 won’t recognise it. What can she do?

My external USB hard drive, with 11,000 photos from Windows 7, isn’t recognised by Windows 10. How do I transfer them to Windows 10 for future safekeeping? Jaki

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) connects billions of keyboards, mice, joysticks, printers, external hard drives and other peripherals to roughly 1.5bn personal computers, and more than 3bn mobile phones use the smaller Micro USB and newer USB-C versions. It generally works pretty well but most people have probably suffered from a USB device failing or not being recognised.

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Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review: the most paper-like reader yet
Posted on Thursday August 08, 2019

Luxury model has colour-changing frontlight that gets warmer as the sun sets

Amazon’s most expensive, luxury e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, has taken a leaf out of the modern smartphone’s book for 2019 with a colour adjustable light that gets warmer as the sun sets.

It’s a small thing that makes quite a difference to the reading experience, which is just as well as the rest of the £230 Oasis is basically the same as it was two years ago.

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Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei compared and ranked
Posted on Tuesday July 23, 2019

Our updated list of the top iOS and Android mobile phones – at the best prices right now

Need a new smartphone but don’t know which one is the very best? Here’s a guide comparing the current top-end smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and others to help you pick the best handset for you.

There has never been a better time to buy a new flagship smartphone with many quality handsets available at a wider range of prices than ever before. Whether your priority is two-day battery life, fantastic camera performance or a spectacular screen, there’s plenty to choose from.

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OnePlus 7 review: competition-beating performance for less
Posted on Wednesday July 17, 2019

A little less ‘Pro’ means the regular OnePlus 7 is smaller and lighter, offering a top experience for £500

The OnePlus 7 is basically the OnePlus 6T with the guts of the OnePlus 7 Pro, which sounds like a bad thing, but for £500 it is arguably the best bang for your buck going.

There was nothing wrong with the design of the 6T, so there isn’t with the 7. The 6.41in AMOLED display is bright and crisp, filling most of the front of the phone with a small chin at the bottom and a teardrop notch in the top for the selfie camera.

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Honor 20 review: Huawei's first new phone during Trump dispute
Posted on Wednesday July 10, 2019

Top performance and a good camera make the £400 Honor 20 tempting. But will the US-China trade war hit software updates?

The Honor 20 is the first smartphone launched and put on sale by Huawei since Trump’s blacklisting of the company in May.

In effect this is one of the phones Trump tried to ban, but as it happened the Honor 20 had already passed through the Android certification process before Google was forced to stop working with Huawei.

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Samsung Galaxy S10e review: the cheaper one
Posted on Tuesday June 18, 2019

Smallest, cheapest Samsung flagship has most of what makes the S10 line good, but with a flat screen and one camera fewer

The Galaxy S10e is Samsung’s attempt to offer a flagship smartphone experience in a smaller body and at a lower cost, which mostly works.

The formula is simple: take the same processor, reduce the memory a little and squeeze it into a smaller, less complicated body.

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iPhone XR review: Apple's cheaper battery king
Posted on Wednesday October 31, 2018

With Face ID and a decent screen, this phone attempts a happy medium between quality and price – but £750 still isn’t a bargain

The iPhone XR looks to offer most of what made the iPhone XS a knockout for £250 less – but with a colourful body and a slightly larger screen is this the iPhone to buy?

With the iPhone XS and XS Max starting at £999 and £1,099 respectively, Apple has room to shoehorn a slightly lower cost, but still expensive, model in underneath.

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Sony WF-1000XM3 review: updated noise-cancelling earbuds sound great
Posted on Wednesday August 14, 2019

True wireless buds are Sony’s best yet, but where is the volume control?

Sony’s latest true wireless WF-1000XM3 earbuds offer both noise cancelling and top-end sound quality while undercutting premium rivals on price.

The replacement for the WF-1000X, which were some of the first noise cancelling true wireless earbuds available, the new “M3” portion of the model number denotes the company’s third generation of active noise cancelling technology and the QN1e chip, which is rivalled only by Bose.

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Ikea Symfonisk speaker review: Sonos on the cheap
Posted on Monday August 12, 2019

At £99, Ikea’s wifi speaker provides a cheaper way to experience Sonos and sounds good too

There’s a new, cheaper way to buy a Sonos wifi speaker and it’s from Ikea.

The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is the second of two new products born of a partnership between the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea and the American premium multiroom audio specialists Sonos.

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Ikea Symfonisk review: table lamp is also a great-sounding Sonos wifi speaker
Posted on Wednesday August 07, 2019

Brilliant Sonos sound paired with attractive Ikea lamp makes for a surprisingly great wifi speaker

What if your simple Ikea lamp was actually a Sonos wifi speaker that could play music from any number of music sources and link up with others around your house? That’s exactly what the Ikea Symfonisk table lamp is.

The new musical lamp, priced at £150, is one of a pair of new products in an interesting partnership between the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea and multi-room audio specialists Sonos.

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Five of the best kids’ gadgets for summer holidays
Posted on Friday August 02, 2019

From tablets to robot toys, here’s some tech ideas to keep the little ones occupied in the long break

With the summer holidays in full swing you might need a bit of a hand keeping the kids entertained. From tablets and cameras to robot toys and updated old-school favourites, here is a collection of kid-aimed tech to keep the little ones occupied.

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How do I set up an ergonomic home office?
Posted on Thursday August 01, 2019

Polly wants to dump her laptop for a more ergonomic computer due to neck and shoulder pain

I’m an academic with neck and shoulder problems and fear turning into a hunchback through too much peering at the screen. I’m now moving house and setting up a home office. I want to dispense with my laptop – the source of my problems – and buy a desktop and an ergonomic keyboard.

I’m confused about whether to get an all-in-one or a PC with a separate monitor. I am only really going to use it for internet and typing articles. I realise that this means I can look to the cheaper end of the market, but is there much slowdown in speed at that end? Should I be spending the money to get a good processor? Polly

Laptops can be considered harmful if used for prolonged serious work rather than casual use. If you have neck and shoulder problems, you should seek medical help. I’ve been saved twice by an excellent physiotherapist, at my own expense. I’ve also spent time and money mitigating problems, but there is no panacea. Buying an ergonomic keyboard is only one part of a solution that could also include the mouse, desk, chair, lighting, work habits and, perhaps, glasses.

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The Fortnite coach who helped create teenage millionaires
Posted on Saturday August 17, 2019

Hugh Gilmour failed to qualify for the Fortnite World Cup, so has turned to coaching instead.

'Fake' Amazon ambassadors baited on Twitter
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Amazon says its warehouse ambassadors are authentic, but critics accuse them of being "paid to lie".

Google Play app store accused of anti-gay bias
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Social app Hornet says Google moderators in Malaysia targeted its app several times.

Home Office role in 'Woke' Muslim social network revealed
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

The network on Facebook and Instagram helps combat online radicalisation, says Home Office.

Eurofins Scientific: Cyber-attack leads to backlog of 20,000 forensic samples
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Police warn of delays to investigations and court cases after the attack led to a backlog of 20,000 samples.

Meadowhall shoppers scanned in facial recognition trial
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

The owner of Sheffield's Meadowhall centre says data was "immediately deleted" after the trial.

Uganda and Zambia rejects Huawei spying allegations
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

Uganda and Zambia reject a report that they used Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to spy on the opposition.

Jimmy Kimmel show fined $395,000 over alert joke
Posted on Friday August 16, 2019

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! mocked an emergency presidential alert issued to warn of major threats.

Data regulator probes King's Cross facial recognition tech
Posted on Thursday August 15, 2019

The UK's data protection watchdog probes how facial recognition is being used at King's Cross.

YouTube: LGBT video-makers sue claiming discrimination
Posted on Thursday August 15, 2019

YouTube denies it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


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