Day: September 10, 2018

Popular Mac apps caught harvesting users’ browsing data without consent

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A number of applications on Apple’s Mac App Store are secretly gathering user data and uploading it to analytics servers.

Popular applications including Dr. Unarchiver, Dr. Cleaner, and others distributed by developer “Trend Micro, Inc.” collect and upload the user’s browser history from Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox onto their servers via access to the macOS home directory.

These rogue apps will also collect data from other apps installed on the system, all of which is gathered the moment you launch them, according to 9to5Mac. The issue was originally spotted by a user on the Malwarebytes forum. Read more…

More about Cybersecurity, Mac Apps, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Not hog dog? PixFood lets you shoot and identify food

What happens when you add AI to food? Surprisingly, you don’t get a hungry robot. Instead you get something like PixFood. PixFood lets you take pictures of food, identify available ingredients, and, at this stage, find out recipes you can make from your larder.

It is privately funded.

“There are tons of recipe apps out there, but all they give you is, well, recipes,” said Tonnesson. “On the other hand, PixFood has the ability to help users get the right recipe for them at that particular moment. There are apps that cover some of the mentioned, but it’s still an exhausting process – since you have to fill in a 50-question quiz so it can understand what you like.”

They launched in August and currently have 3,000 monthly active users from 10,000 downloads. They’re working on perfecting the system for their first users.

“PixFood is AI-driven food app with advanced photo recognition. The user experience is quite simple: it all starts with users taking a photo of any ingredient they would like to cook with, in the kitchen or in the supermarket,” said Tonnesson. “Why did we do it like this? Because it’s personalized. After you take a photo, the app instantly sends you tailored recipe suggestions! At first, they are more or le

ss the same for everyone, but as you continue using it, it starts to learn what you precisely like, by connecting patterns and taking into consideration different behaviors.”

In my rudimentary tests the AI worked acceptably well and did not encourage me to eat a monkey. While the app begs the obvious question – why not just type in “corn?” – it’s an interesting use of vision technology that is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Tonnesson expects the AI to start connecting you with other players in the food space, allowing you to order corn (but not a monkey) from a number of providers.

“Users should also expect partnerships with restaurants, grocery, meal-kit, and other food delivery services will be part of the future experiences,” he said.

The Boring Company proves life can be a video game

The Boring Company just posted a video on Twitter showing its latest digging machine can be controlled by an Xbox One controller. Because, if you’re going to dig holes, why not make it a bit of fun?

Software makes it easy to map PC controls to an Xbox pad. Instead of developing and fabricating a custom controller, using an Xbox gamepad is a cost-effective alternative for a lot of organizations. The military services agree. In its latest subs the US Navy tapped the Xbox 360 controller to maneuver submarine periscopes and the Army’s anti-drone laser uses an Xbox controller. They’re used to control robots and drones, too.

The reasoning is simple: A lot of research goes into game controllers. Microsoft reportedly spent over $100 million on the Xbox One controller, which, is just an updated version of the Xbox 360 controller. More than that, these controllers, whether of the Microsoft or Sony variant, are already familiar to most users. Operators do not have to learn a new set of controls. They can pick up a controller and be familiar within seconds.

And if the Xbox or Playstation controller doesn’t offer enough buttons, companies could always look to repurposing Steel Battalion controllers.

Best video game ever pic.twitter.com/DlGFsji76l

— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) September 8, 2018

Lost keys could be a thing of the past thanks to this nifty tracker

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The ‘Tile Mate‘ easily slips onto key rings or in wallets, allowing you to track your items when needed. The device also has a special feature that forces your phone to ring, even when silent, in case you lose it

All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Bluetooth, Tracker, Mashable Shopping, and Bluetooth Tracker

How To Take The Perfect Selfie (With Or Without AR)

For millennia, people have sought after the perfect method of capturing one’s likeness. From cave drawings to royal commissioned portraits to tintype photography, our perceptions of self are constantly changing. And now, a lot of people are focused on how to perfect selfie.

The Evolution of Selfies

As photography quality grew over the 19th and 20th century, so did people’s fascination with human faces. Photography quality improved so much in fact, that artistic trends began shifting in the opposite direction. Surrealism and expressionism boomed in popularity and inspired some of the most famous pieces of artwork known today.

The imaginative likeness of humanity through artwork, juxtaposed against the solemn nature of black and white photography captured the imagination of people everywhere. It ushered in a new era of not only how we see the world around us, but how we see ourselves. The idea that a self-portrait could be anything we wanted it to be. It was not just an expression of physicality, but of our very essence.

Today, we are expected to take over 25,000 selfies during our lifetime. By 2015, 95% of millennial had taken at least one selfie. With an average posting rate of 9 selfies a week, it’s not a surprise we see them as often as we do. Social media is the hub of selfies, but not all platforms are equal.

The Start of AR Selfies

Snapchat pioneered the world of AR selfies when the quintessential Rainbow Barfing filter rolled out in 2015. Users were blown away by the detail, tech, and the sheer absurdity of these augmented reality gems.

Using facial tracking technology, users were able to filter over their own features in real time. Adapting to movements and even more than one face in the frame, this feature boomed. It made Snapchat the selfie hub. More than one in three people who use Snapchat do so primarily to take, send, and save selfies. In comparison, only 4% of posts are solo selfies in Instagram.

In a way, these creative filters harken back to the days of when the extremes of human imagination were made real through art and early photography. Long gone are the days when selfies were considered a vain and attention-seeking practice.

Today, they are vital pieces of self-expressionism, especially among social media users. No matter how far we edit our selfies, we know it still remains an image of ourselves.

While there is no formula to the “perfect” selfie, there are general guidelines, tips, and tricks that many veteran selfie-takers can agree on.

Popular opinion consensus has decided that selfies are a good thing now, and the more creative and personality-filled, the better. After all, what’s more unique than a photo of one’s own face?

It’s only fair to take advantage of the seemingly endless online resources for selfie augmenting, whether it be in real-time like Snapchat or in post-production, so to speak.

How to Perfect Selfie

perfect selfie

When starting your selfie session:

  • Be aware of lighting, shade, and shadows. Many selfie “experts” may suggest avoiding shadows if possible. The good news is that there are many techniques that make shadow work to your strengths.
  • Don’t be afraid of the flash. In darker environments, getting your front-facing phone camera to focus can feel like an endless uphill battle. The flash may be scary at first, but at the right angles it can light up the high points of the face.
  • Everyone has a “good side”. Just because you play to your angles doesn’t make a selfie disingenuous. Often times front-facing cameras on phones are compressed in order to fit as much in the frame as possible. On some users this can make the nose appear larger, the forehead appear longer, and other distorting results.

Don’t forget that there is very rarely a “bad” picture. We are our own worst critics, and for photos that come out not quite right, we can be quick to judge ourselves negatively. When a selfie isn’t working out the way we hoped it would, remember back to the last time you saw a bad photo of someone else; we bet you can’t really recall.

Even a photo that seems to highlight your “flaws” is still a photo of you. To friends and family, that is exactly what they see. They see a loved one, not a bad picture.

There’s a time and place for everything and while part of the appeal of selfies is that you can literally snap one anywhere, it should not be taken:

  • in a place of worship during services
  • whilst behind the wheel
  • during a movie, lecture, or live performance
  • in museums, or memorials, and of course funerals

How do you use augmented reality to up your selfie game? Take a look at this infographic for more on the art of selfies, the future of AR development, and the influence of self-expression on technology itself.

The post How To Take The Perfect Selfie (With Or Without AR) appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

John Legend is the youngest ever to achieve EGOT status

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John Legend has made history as the youngest person ever to achieve that sweet, sweet coveted EGOT status.

That’s someone who has received the big four, the holy grail of performance accolades: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. 

Legend, 39, completed the acronym at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, as did Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, all for producing best variety special winner Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.

He’s also the first black man to land EGOT status, making history in more ways than one.  Read more…

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Alibaba announces CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman next year

Following speculation about Jack Ma’s imminent retirement, Alibaba Group announced today that its CEO, Daniel Zhang, will succeed Ma as chairman next year. After stepping down as chairman on September 10, 2019 (exactly a year from now), Ma will continue serving as a board member until its annual general shareholders’ meeting in 2020.

After that, Ma will remain a lifetime partner of the Alibaba Partnership, or a group of 36 partners drawn from the senior management ranks of Alibaba Group companies and affiliates. They hold a considerable amount of sway over the company because they have the right to nominate, or in certain situations, appoint up to a simple majority of its board of directors.

Alibaba’s announcement follows reports that Ma’s retirement from the company he co-founded in 1999 as an online marketplace was imminent, with Ma, a former English teacher, planning to dedicate his time to philanthropy in education. Ma downplayed those reports, however, telling the South China Morning Post (which is owned by Alibaba) that instead he will gradually reduce his role in the company through a succession plan.

Ma stepped down as CEO in 2013, handing the position over to Jonathan Lu. Lu was replaced in 2015 by Zhang, Alibaba’s former COO, after Ma reportedly told employees that it’s time for the company to be run by people born in the 1970s and after (Zhang was born in 1972, three years after Lu).

In a letter sent to media outlets today, Ma wrote that Zhang has “demonstrated his superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership” since taking over as CEO. Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters. His analytical mind is unparalleled, he holds dear our mission and vision, he embraces responsibility with passion, and he has the guts to innovate and test creative business models.”

Ma added that “this transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development.”

Ma also re-emphasized his narrative that his departure from Alibaba Group will be very gradual. “I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for 10 years. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors,” he wrote. “I also want to offer special thanks to all Alibaba colleagues and your families, because your trust, support and our joint enterprise over the past 19 years have prepared us for this day with confidence and strength.”

Of his plans after Zhang takes over as chairman next year, Ma said he will continue contributing to the Alibaba Partnership, before adding “I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things – because what if new dreams can be realized?! The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.”