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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Best Computers 2017: Apple Laptops And Desktops Top Performance List


"Consumer Reports released a survey ranking the performance of the best laptop computers in recent years. The survey asked 83,000 respondents about their customer satisfaction when it came to laptop performance.





"Apple took home the top spot, with the most reliable computers and the best tech support. Apple’s computers had the lowest ‘broken or not working as well’ percentage, at 17 percent. Samsung ranked at 27 percent, Dell at 29 percent, HP at 30 percent, Lenovo at 31 percent and Asus in dead last at 33 percent.

‘I can tell you that Apple regularly performs at the top of Consumer Reports’ reliability surveys,’ Consumer Reports spokesperson Doug Love told CNBC Friday.

The survey also ranked Apple’s desktop as the best performers, with a 15 percent ‘broken or not working as well’ rate. Lenovo came in second at 24 percent, Samsung with 25 percent, Dell and HP at 27 percent and Asus, again in last, at 29 percent.

Apple was also rated the best in customer service and tech support, with an average score of 82 or ‘very satisfied.’ Microsoft came in second with a rating of 68 or ‘fairly-well satisfied.’

Though Consumer Reports’ survey gave Apple top marks across the board, a survey released by J.D. Power in April revealed that customers were not as satisfied with the company’s tablets. Customers said Microsoft’s Surface outranked Apple’s iPad in terms of internet connectivity, availability of official accessories, variety of pre-installed applications, attractiveness, quality of materials and size.

‘The Microsoft Surface platform has expanded what tablets can do and it sets the bar for customer satisfaction,’ J.D. Power’s vice president of service industry, Jeff Conklin, said in an April press release. ‘These tablet devices are just as capable as many laptops, yet they can still function as standard tablets. This versatility is central to their appeal and success.’

Despite the results of that survey, Apple still dominated the market in tablet sales. The company has continued to report strong sales, particularly when it comes to iPhones.

‘We are proud to report a strong March quarter, with revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued robust demand for the iPhone 7 Plus,’ CEO Tim Cook said in a May press release. ‘We’ve seen great customer response to both models of the new iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition and we’re thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for a 13-week quarter.’"

(Via.).  Best Computers 2017: Apple Laptops And Desktops Top Performance List:

Friday, May 26, 2017

Accused of underpaying women, Google says it's too expensive to get wage data | Technology | The Guardian

"Google argued that it was too financially burdensome and logistically challenging to compile and hand over salary records that the government has requested, sparking a strong rebuke from the US Department of Labor (DoL), which has accused the Silicon Valley firm of underpaying women.

Google officials testified in federal court on Friday that it would have to spend up to 500 hours of work and $100,000 to comply with investigators’ ongoing demands for wage data that the DoL believes will help explain why the technology corporation appears to be systematically discriminating against women.

Noting Google’s nearly $28bn annual income as one of the most profitable companies in the US, DoL attorney Ian Eliasoph scoffed at the company’s defense, saying, “Google would be able to absorb the cost as easy as a dry kitchen sponge could absorb a single drop of water.”

The tense exchanges in a small San Francisco courtroom emerged in the final day of testimony in the most high-profile government trial to date surrounding the intensifying debate about the wage gap and gender discrimination in the tech industry."

Accused of underpaying women, Google says it's too expensive to get wage data | Technology | The Guardian

Dear Twitter!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Best Father's Day Tech Gift Guide!

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) First Look

The Android app beta on Chrome OS will last at least through the summer - The Verge

"The Chromebook Pro was meant to be a grand coming-out party for Android apps running on Chrome OS. The Samsung device would show Google’s ability to not just dominate the education space with web apps, but remove the “native app” issue for anybody that was holding out. But the feature has been stuck in a buggy beta for months and the device itself was delayed. Not great.

We fully expected an update this year at Google I/O, and now we have one. Although Google chose not to say anything up on a big stage, there is good news, bad news, and potentially very exciting news to share. "I don't want to overpromise,” says Kan Liu, senior director of product management for Chrome OS. But he says soon Google will be ready to kick off the splashy product launch we were supposed to have earlier this year.

First, the good news: Google expects the Chromebook Pro to be released on May 28th, complete with support for Android apps running on the Nougat platform. “It will be the first time that we're shipping this new version,” says Liu.

Now, the exciting news: Someday, Liu plans to begin releasing some Android features on Chrome OS before they arrive on phones. “Dessert releases tend to have a yearly release cycle,” says Liu. And that’s not fast enough for what he wants to do on Chrome OS. “We actually want to decouple ourselves from that. Because Chromebooks have a six-week release cycle."

That will mean that in the future some Android features from O could start working on apps running on Chrome OS well before they arrive on phones. "For things that makes sense on this form-factor — APIs and features that we think are important for our users — we're going to be pulling stuff in whenever it's ready," says Liu. Update: Google has clarified that features from Android O won’t arrive on Chromebooks before its release on phones this year...."

The Android app beta on Chrome OS will last at least through the summer - The Verge

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trying the New Surface Pro

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo -- Six months later

New Surface Pro is a small upgrade to Microsoft's tablet - CNET

New Surface Pro is a small upgrade to Microsoft's tablet - CNET

Microsoft’s Surface Pro Laptop Returns With Bigger Brains | WIRED

"AFTER THREE YEARS, four models, and endless debate over whether to call it a tablet or a laptop, Microsoft’s lineup of hybrid Surface devices finally nailed it with The Surface Pro 4, which hit store shelves in October of 2015. It was beautifully designed, impressively powerful, and in tune with the changing ways people worked. The product that once cost Microsoft nearly $1 billion in write-offs became a bright spot in Microsoft’s earnings reports.

And then it just… disappeared. For 19 months, even as Microsoft debuted the Surface Book and Surface Studio and Surface Laptop, it let the most important device in the lineup rust on the shelf. Sales fell, and users and critics alike started to wonder if Microsoft was actually interested in doing more than make pretty prototypes for Dell and HP to copy.

At long last, Microsoft’s launching a new Surface Pro today. There’s no numeral at the end this time: It’s just Surface Pro, now and probably forever. Subtle updates bring the device into 2017, but only the most discerning eyes would notice the differences. The Pro doesn’t depart from the kickstand, 12.3-inch screen, and detachable keyboard combo that defines Surface. The 1.69-pound hardware’s a little more rounded and refined; Microsoft shrunk the slice around the edges where the fan vents hot air. The new model’s biggest upgrade is Intel’s newest Kaby Lake processors, which come with better video performance and integrated graphics and a bunch of stuff most users will never notice. Most users will notice the improved battery life, which was one of the weakest points of the Pro 4. Microsoft says the new Surface Pro gets up to 13.5 hours on a single charge, compared to nine on the previous model, and a lot of that is due to the more efficient processor."

Microsoft’s Surface Pro Laptop Returns With Bigger Brains | WIRED

Microsoft's slightly evolved Surface Pro

Monday, May 22, 2017

TOP 5: Best Point and Shoot Camera 2017

Has Facebook become a forum for misogyny and racism? | News | The Guardian


"Part of Facebook’s problem is wrapped up in its corporate personality.

Facebook insists it is committed to being open.

But in their report about online hate crime, British MPs noted that ‘social media companies are highly secretive about the number of staff and the level of resources that they devote to monitoring and removing inappropriate content’. The MPs decried this lack of transparency.

That is why these documents, published in an abridged form, are so important. For the first time, millions of Facebook users will have a chance to assess the rules. The Facebook Files are an insight into the company’s thinking – and the challenges faced by moderators.

Their concerns are significant. They say keeping the site free of extremist content is a ‘mission impossible’ – and that Facebook cannot stop terrorists using it.

The pressure experienced by moderators has been reported before, but according to our sources little has changed. Staff come and go, burned out by regularly reviewing deeply upsetting material – from beheadings to animal abuse and cannibalism.

The British MPs noted that Facebook often deleted certain types of content when reacting to a media outcry. Videos of beheadings, a sexual assault on a child, and a man being stabbed were only removed when journalists asked about them – even though users had flagged the posts.

Facebook is reacting. It said it was using software to stop certain types of material – for example images of child sexual abuse and terrorism – hitting the site. It has said it is developing artificial intelligence to try to remove content more swiftly.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Mark Zuckerberg has conceded there is room for improvement. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters On top of this, it is hiring 3,000 more moderators. However, one of its executives, the head of policy Simon Milner, has conceded this may not be the solution. ‘There is not necessarily a linear relationship between the number of people you employ and the effectiveness of the work you do,’ he said.

So it would appear Facebook is attempting to service the car on the move, as it gathers speed and without the necessary tools."

(Via.).  Has Facebook become a forum for misogyny and racism? | News | The Guardian:

Revealed: Google tried to block media coverage of gender discrimination case | Technology | The Guardian


"The DoL has accused Google of systematically underpaying women, and the court battle centers on the company’s refusal to hand over salary data the government has requested.

The motion for a dismissal – which a judge rejected, in part citing the first amendment – sheds light on Google’s aggressive efforts to end the case at a time when the tech industry is facing increasing criticisms over sexist workplace cultures, gender discrimination and widespread pay disparities. Critics said it appeared that Google was attempting to limit media scrutiny with unusual tactics that raise free press concerns and seem to contradict the corporation’s public claims that it is committed to transparency and accountability in its efforts to promote equal pay.

Google also attempted to restrict press access during a hearing last month. Following a private meeting with the judge about the Guardian’s reporting, Google’s attorney requested that the proceeding be closed to the media before continuing, but a DoL attorney objected and the judge sided with the government.


The DoL sued Google in January, alleging that the company had violated federal laws when it declined to provide salary history and contact information of employees as part of an audit. Google is a federal contractor, which means it must comply with equal opportunity laws and allow the DoL to inspect records.

Google – one of three Silicon Valley firms to face DoL lawsuits related to discrimination claims – has argued that the data request was overly broad and violates its workers’ privacy."

(Via.).  Revealed: Google tried to block media coverage of gender discrimination case | Technology | The Guardian:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

CRISPR kills HIV and eats Zika 'like Pac-man'. Its next target? Cancer | WIRED UK

"Last week, a group of biologists published research detailing how they hid an anti-HIV CRISPR system inside another type of virus capable of sneaking past a host’s immune system. What’s more, the virus replicated and snipped HIV from infected cells along the way. At this stage, it works in mice and rats, not people. But as a proof of concept, it means similar systems could be developed to fight a huge range of diseases—herpes, cystic fibrosis, and all sorts of cancers.


Those diseases are all treatable, to varying degrees. But the problem with treatments is you have to keep doing them in order for them to work. “The current anti-retroviral therapy for HIV is very successful in suppressing replication of the virus,” says Kamel Khalili, a neurovirologist at Temple University in Philadelphia and lead author of the recent research, published in Molecular Therapy. “But that does not eliminate the copies of the virus that have been integrated into the gene, so any time the patient doesn’t take their medication the virus can rebound.” Plus treatments can — and often do — fail.

Gene therapy has promised to revolutionize medicine since the 1970s, when a pair of researchers introduced the concept of using viruses to replace bad DNA with good DNA. The first working model was tested on mice in the 1980s, and by the 1990s researchers were using gene therapies — with limited success — to treat immune and nutrition deficiencies. Then, in 1999, a patient in a University of Pennsylvania gene therapy trial named Jesse Gelsinger died from complications. The tragedy temporarily skid-stopped the whole field. Gene therapy had been steadily getting its groove back, but the 2012 discovery that CRISPR could make easy, and accurate, cuts on human genes, added more vigor."

CRISPR kills HIV and eats Zika 'like Pac-man'. Its next target? Cancer | WIRED UK