Orkla says people wary of green claims renews its own targets

first_imgOrkla says that young Norwegians, in particular, are more likely to disbelieve sustainability claims.Orkla says people wary of green claims, renews its own targetsPosted By: News Deskon: May 02, 2018In: Business, Environment, Food, IndustriesPrintEmailNorwegian food company Orkla has warned that consumers are increasingly sceptical towards sustainability claims, as it renews its own objectives for 2025.A majority of Norwegian consumers do not think that food manufacturers care about the environment or about reducing the use of packaging, according to the results of a survey commissioned by Orkla and conducted by TNS Kantar. According to the poll, consumers aged under 30 are the most doubtful.The research coincides with Orkla’s commitment to gradually transition to renewable energy, reduce its food waste by 50%, increase its resource recovery and ensure that the packaging used for its products is 100% recyclable by 2025. The objectives renew Orkla’s commitment to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – a challenge extended to Norwegian companies two years ago by the country’s prime minister, Erna Solberg.Orkla CEO Peter A Ruzicka said: “For us at Orkla, it’s a question of making sure that our branded consumer goods are produced with the interests of people, animals and the environment in mind, and that we are helping to promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.”Half of Norwegians doubt environmental claimsAccording to the survey commissioned by Orkla, 52% of respondents doubted that food and grocery product manufacturers were concerned with reducing use of packaging, while more than one third (34%) agree with the claim “manufacturers of food and other grocery products do not care about the environment”.As many as 50% think that consumers themselves do most for the environment, with just 2% saying that grocery suppliers do the most.Peter Ruzicka (left) renewed Orkla’s own objectives in conversation with prime minister Erna Solberg (right).“This survey clearly shows that we have a way to go,” Ruzicka said. “We will continue our efforts to promote sustainability and will show that we are assuming our share of responsibility for the environment. As the leading branded consumer goods company in the Nordic region, we want to be a front runner in developing sustainable products.Ruzicka now wants to team up with other sectors of Norwegian business and industry in a collective mobilisation to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He has invited ten other companies – as yet unnamed by Orkla – to form a sustainability team to launch during the Norway Cup youth soccer tournament later this summer.The Oslo-based food company, which has been involved in a flurry of acquisitions and sell-offs in recent months, delivered first-quarter revenue of NOK 9.5 billion ($1.18 billion) last week, with profit before tax amounting to NOK 886 million ($109.6 million).Share with your network: Tags: NorwayOrklaOrkla Foodsresearchsustainabilitylast_img read more

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Interview Young consumers drive sparkling water growth in Asia

first_imgShare with your network: Tags: ChinaNestlé WatersPerriersparkling waterwater Jenny Bond spoke at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF2018) in Shanghai, China, hosted by Simba Events Interview: Young consumers drive sparkling water growth in AsiaPosted By: Martin Whiteon: May 22, 2018In: Beverage, Business, Industries, Interviews, WaterPrintEmailAs global consumers move away from high-sugar beverages in search of healthier options, flavoured and sparkling waters have experienced growth all over the world as brands market their products as more nutritious alternatives to sugar-sweetened drinks.This growth has been pronounced in markets such as North America and Europe, but the trend has also attracted consumers in major Asian markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and China, as upwardly mobile young consumers seek new experiences.Jenny Bond, Nestlé Waters’ regional director Asia Pacific spoke at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF2018) in Shanghai, China about the challenges of marketing premium waters to consumers who are primarily accustomed to drinking hot water beverages, and she spoke in further detail to FoodBev’s Martin White.Is the growing demand for drinks such as sparkling water due mainly to changing consumer attitudes?Yes, mainly their attitudes towards their health and well-being.Sugar-free, all natural and no, or low, calories offers guilt-free refreshment and something a bit more exciting than plain water, which is of course still the cornerstone of healthy hydration.Does Nestlé Waters view the Asia-Pacific market as a key area for future growth?For Perrier, China, Japan and Korea are the largest markets.There is a lot of potential across this region as the middle class expands with urbanisation, increasing affluence and more awareness of healthy living.For Perrier, the growth will come from expanding beyond the expatriate community to young locals who enjoy trying new tastes and experiences, as it has done in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and is currently happening in China, notably in Shanghai but also beyond.How essential is the Chinese market for Nestlé Waters compared with other markets?The Chinese market is, of course, attractive for all CPG companies!For Perrier specifically, our business in China doubled in 2017 and the brand has a great image amongst the young, upwardly mobile, urban consumer.What trends in the beverage industry will beverage brands need to embrace the future?The healthy living trend is here to stay. Consumers are becoming increasingly fickle and always looking for something new to try. “For me, the biggest thing is how we address packaging waste in the future, both through recyclable and bio-degradable solutions. What does the future hold for Nestlé Waters in terms of product development? That would depend on which part of Nestlé Waters, since the international brand’s innovation will be quite different from the local brands or Nestlé Pure Life.There has been a lot of recent innovation in sparkling flavours across the business, Perrier has just launched Perrier and Juice in the USA and France for example.last_img read more

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Rice brand Tilda launches £15m Tildalicious advertising campaign

first_imgShare with your network: Tags: Hain CelestialTildaUK Rice brand Tilda launches £1.5m Tildalicious advertising campaignPosted By: Contributoron: October 23, 2018In: Food, Industries, MarketingPrintEmail Hain Celestial’s British rice brand Tilda has launched its biggest advertising campaign since it was launched over 45 years ago as part of a £1.5 million investment. Inspired by the unique ability for food to allow people to explore other cultures, Tilda aims to encourage everyone to seek out, celebrate and discover the endless culinary possibilities that start with rice.Called Tildalicious, the new TV creative, first aired on 20 October, seeks to bring to life the culinary journey of different Tilda rice grains through the hands of real-life cooks from all over the world, via their UK kitchens.Along with the succession of close-ups of dishes from around the world, the word ‘delicious’ is displayed in various languages.Anna Beheshti, brand lead at Tilda, said: “This autumn sees our biggest brand campaign yet with a £1.5 million investment to reach new consumers and drive brand growth. We have developed a creative direction which illustrates Tilda’s natural positioning at the heart of multiple cultures and communities and brings to life the feeling of immense pleasure when food meets culture. “Tildalicious delivers this with a journey of discovery of culinary opportunities. Fourteen different dishes from around the world are featured, from jollof to Middle Eastern rice salad, with a wide range of languages and nationalities represented.”The commercial has been created by advertising agency Havas London, its first work since being named Tilda’s UK strategic and creative agency.Elliot Harris, deputy executive creative director at Havas London, said: “What a brilliant brief. Does any other food span as many cultures, nationalities, communities and generations as naturally as rice?“The result is a properly authentic, joyous, modern brand celebrating its position right at the intersection of British food culture. I love the idea that the many diverse communities that make up the UK will see themselves represented in such an honest, relatable way.”The advert will run until the end of November 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEhP_1eoHkk&feature=youtu.belast_img read more

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Foster Farms unveils fivestrong Bold Bites chicken snack range

first_imgFoster Farms unveils five-strong Bold Bites chicken snack rangePosted By: Contributoron: October 25, 2018In: Food, Industries, Innovation, New products, SnacksPrintEmailUS food producer Foster Farms has released a new on-the-go chicken snack range featuring globally inspired seasonings.Called Bold Bites, five flavours are available: cajun, Chile verde, Korean BBQ, Caribbean jerk, and parmesan garlic.California-based Foster Farms said the chicken breast pieces, which deliver 15 grams of protein per serving, aim to provide a stand-alone boost of energy or can be added to salads, wraps, tacos and soups to give a flavour boost.Tiphanie Maronta, Foster Farms director of marketing, said: “Bold Bites feature the same farm-fresh chicken Foster Farms is known for, with globally inspired and crave-worthy seasonings conveniently packaged to meet the needs of today’s mobile consumer.“Busy parents, young professionals, fitness enthusiasts and even kids tired of the same old sandwich told us that this product fits the bill; it’s a portable, better-for-you protein option that actually tastes good.”Foster Farms’ debut of Bold Bites marks the company’s entry into the refrigerated, single-serve snack space.Bold Bites are now available in the refrigerated snacks section at retailers across California, Washington and Oregon, including Target, Safeway, Albertson’s, Walmart and Savemart.Share with your network: Tags: Foster FarmsUSlast_img read more

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Why Californias bullet train remains a distant dream

first_imgThe state has trying to build a route from Los Angeles to San Francisco for decades. Why does it keep getting derailed? Rail industry Last modified on Sat 16 Feb 2019 09.38 EST Share via Email Sat 16 Feb 2019 06.00 EST Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian California’s $77bn high-speed rail project promised “to transform how Californians travel”.Talk around what was conceived as America’s first bullet train dates back as far as 1981, with the plan centering around connecting eight of the state’s largest cities, from San Francisco to San Diego. In offering an alternative source of transportation, high-speed rail advocates hoped they would finally solve the state’s notorious traffic issue and lessen the subsequent air pollution created by stalled vehicles. Shares7272 Reuse this content Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Read more Pinterest Share on Facebook Why California’s bullet train remains a distant dream An artist’s rendition of the California high-speed rail. The project remains stalled.Photograph: Reuters Topics California Infrastructure California governor Gavin Newsom has said the current plan is too expensive. Photograph: Rich Pedroncelli/AP Commuting Twitter Share on Twitter Vivian Ho in San Francisco Share on Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Now, 13 years behind schedule, the high speed rail project is also currently about $44bn over budget.Meanwhile, opponents and supporters have dug in.Some Californians have been against the high-speed rail because it would cut through their beautiful landscapes. Others have questioned the high price tag of the project. “It’s an unambiguous money-waster at a time when we have many demands on public resources,” said James Moore, the director of the University of Southern California’s Transportation Engineering Program.“It’s economically clear that it’s not going to turn a profit, even if we take construction out of the project, even if we just focus on operating costs,” Moore said. “By law, the system has to operate without a subsidy. The fares that would be necessary to begin to recover cost will be so high that there will be insufficient demand for that mode of transportation.”Supporters believe that a state as large and widespread as California requires another form of transportation. Because of the housing crisis in the Bay Area, for example, 200,000 people drive in from the Central Valley each day to work, said Matt Regan, the senior vice-president of housing policy for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.High-speed rail would not only ease the commute for those 200,000 people, but it would lessen the air pollution created by their cars while they sit in traffic, Regan said – 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas is caused by idling cars.On Tuesday, when Governor Gavin Newsom made his cryptic remarks about the project during his state of the state address this week, the full breadth of the plan seemed all but done for.“Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA,” Newsom said. “I wish there were. However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.”The governor’s opponents quickly seized on the moment. The House minority leader and California congressman Kevin McCarthy tweeted in misguided triumph: “The train to nowhere is finally stopped.” Trump called the project a “‘green’ disaster,” and demanded that California return the $3.5bn in federal money allocated to the plan.Newsom’s office later clarified that the governor only meant “we have to be realistic about the project”. The statement about San Francisco and Los Angeles was more about how there isn’t funding, the spokesman Nathan Click told Curbed SF, and Newsom later told ABC 7 that he is “fully committed to building high-speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles”.“I think the governor made it very clear that high-speed rail is still part of the long term plans,” Regan said. “I’m fully confident that in my lifetime, I will ride a very, very fast train out of San Francisco down to the Central Valley.” features Rail travel California scales back plan for high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco Share via Email Since you’re here… Facebook California But decades later, the dream of traversing the state in just a fraction of the time it currently takes by car remains a distant – and costly – one.And on Tuesday, California governor Gavin Newsom declared in his state of the state address that “the project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long”.The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the state-run organization tasked with overseeing the project, came into fruition in 1996. It spent years developing a plan of construction and operation in preparation for a ballot measure approving the project.In 2008, voters approved almost $10bn in funding for a plan to to lay down hundreds of miles of new track, built upon elevated viaducts, to support a fully dedicated high-speed rail system.But years of protest, lawsuits, politicking and replanning forced the authority to rework its plans. Instead of a dedicated high speed line, it now proposed a “blending” approach; a practice of sharing existing transit infrastructure where it’s feasible.The project was divvied into two phases: the first phase was set to connect downtown San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Anaheim with cities in the Central Valley, an estimated 520-mile long endeavor building on some existing infrastructure. Phase two extended the route north to Sacramento, east to Riverside and San Bernardino, and south to San Diego, bringing the total length to 800 miles.Phase one was expected to be completed in 2029, but that has since been pushed to 2033.Work on the first leg began in the Central Valley in October 2013, and trouble began from the start. The High-Speed Rail Authority broke ground before acquiring the land needed for construction or working with the local communities, failures that eventually forced them to build around several swaths of land.“These unmitigated risks have contributed to $600m in costs overruns thus far for the three active Central Valley construction projects, with another $1.6bn in additional costs needed to complete the projects,” the state auditor Elaine Howle wrote in a scathing report released in November.The report put the fault on “the authority’s flawed decision making regarding the start of high-speed rail system construction in the Central Valley and its ongoing poor contract management.” US politicslast_img read more

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ATFAQ077 – Q1 Apps for K8 students with learning difficulties Q2 Apps

first_img***[11:20] Feedback – Crypto currency wallets for the blind or visually impaired*** BRIAN NORTON:  So for new listeners, I just want to make sure that you understand our show and how it works.  Throughout the week, we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions, and we provide a few ways for folks to be able to provide those to us.  We do have a listener line set up.  It’s 317-721-7124.  Or we also have an email address at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.  Or we have a hashtag set up on Twitter, hashtag ATFAQ.  If you guys have questions, please let us know.  We do get lots of different questions throughout the week.  We kind of go through those, that them as little bit, find one we want to put in the show and try to load those up over the next several weeks to be up to fill our shows.  If you have questions or even feedback, feedback is always great.  We love to have even more complete answers to the questions that we have.  We would love to be able to have that from you.Without further ado, we’re going to jump in this week and go to our first piece of feedback that we received last week.  In fact, it’s not really feedback.  It’s really a question I had no answer for.  We can talk about it here and didn’t really have a good answer for it.  We are going to open it up to you guys and would love to hear back from you guys about this.  It was about crypto currency.  This was something I hadn’t even heard of other than I’m assuming is it similar to bit coin or something like that?WADE WINGLER:  Bit coin is a kind of crypto currency.  It’s all a part of this block chain revolution that’s happening.  It’s used to trade money just like the stock market, it goes up and down, the values increase and decrease based on trade values and all that stuff.  Crypto currency is kind of an umbrella term for things like that bit coin.BRIAN NORTON:  Cool.  It’s a voicemail message that came across, so we’re going to go ahead and play that.  Take a listen, and as you listen, if you guys have some experience or have used — I believe it’s a screen reader he’s looking for or a screen reader friendly crypto wallet, if you will, for him to be able to manage crypto currency, let us know.  We love to hear from you.SPEAKER:  Hello, this is for ATFAQ.  My name is Mark from Los Angeles, California.  I have been dipping my toes into the crypto currency arena, and I have noticed that with many of the software wallets, voiceover and such will of read everything beautifully with a few minor exceptions.  My question is, do you guys know of any crypto hardware wallets that might be used by the blind or visually impaired communities? Thank you very much.  I look forward to hear from you.  Have a great day.BRIAN NORTON:  First of all, thank you, Mark, for the question.  Again, I don’t have any experience with hardware wallets for crypto currency, hardly any experience with crypto currency myself.  Again, I want to open up to our listeners and see if anybody has had some experience with that.  You can give us a call at the listener line.  The number is 317-721-7124.  Or send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.  If you have any information that we can pass on to Mark.  Thank you for that.Belva is waving her hand widely in the corner.  What’s up?BELVA SMITH:  I want to suggest that Mark might try to look at the cool blind tech podcast.  Back in November, they did an interview with a cinnamon who was making the first a bit coin wallet for the blind.  Go to cool blind check and do a search for bit coin wallet, and you might find some information.BRIAN NORTON:  Perfect.  Thank you Belva.  You are our first caller.  Excellent. ***[15:58]  Question 1 – Apps for K-8 students with learning difficulties*** BRIAN NORTON: our next question is, I have been unable to bend for three months and need a recommendation for a good, sturdy reacher/grabber. Looking for one about three feet long and has a magnetic tip.  Any recommendations?JOSH ANDERSON:  I did find one.  I’ve never used before.  On Amazon, there is a Unger Professional Nifty Nabber. Unger is the name of the brand.  I’m sure if you just look up Nifty Nabber, that’s what you’ll get.  That’s exactly 3 feet long.  It has a very easy to use handle.  It’s as they can pick up medium to heavy items, and the clock is magnetic.  It can pick up keys, anything metal by getting close to it.WADE WINGLER:  Did that question come from Joe at NiftyNabber.com?JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s the least expensive one that I found.  It was only $20 with free Prime shipping.BRIAN NORTON:  Reachers and grabbers are about a dime a dozen.  There are lots of different options out there.  Depending on what your need is, there are some specific ones for specific folks.  Quad tools if you are a quadriplegic and need something.  If you have lost some of that dexterity, fine motor control in your fingers to be able to use the clips or triggers that are in typical reachers and grabbers, quad tools has some interesting ones that don’t require the same kind of dexterity and fine motor control to operate.  You might want to check those out.  I had a really hard time finding something that was three feet long.  I think most of them come in 32 inch sizes.  It was difficult to find one for three feet, so I’m glad you found one, Josh.BELVA SMITH:  Is it three feet, or does it expand?JOSH ANDERSON:  It’s just three feet, 36 inches long.  They actually have one is over that.  I think it’s 42 or 48 inches.  So if you need is something to get off the top shelf, or if my wife wanted to reach things in the cabinet because she’s kind of shorter.BELVA SMITH:  It’s no fun being short.JOSH ANDERSON:  She tells me all the time.WADE WINGLER:  I’m looking at a website for the nifty nabber. There’s is in centimeters, but you can get a 52 centimeter, 97 centimeter, 130 centimeter, or 250 centimeter long nifty nabber.JOSH ANDERSON:  Everyone listening to us from outside the United States knows what that means.WADE WINGLER:  They know that means and we don’t, because we are so American centric here.  It’s interesting.  I would suggest this one is a heavy-duty one as well because it’s made for the trash pickup industry more so than the rehab industry.  It’s about taking some up on the ditch or golf course.  A maybe heavier than the ones we see in rehab, but it looks like it’s probably durable.JOSH ANDERSON:  If they are asking for something sturdy, that may be close to what they need.BRIAN NORTON:  I did find one.  It’s not a grabber.  It is a reacher.  There is one called the Tele-stick Reacher. It just has a magnetic disk on the end of it, so it telescopes out, and then you can move it around to catch something that is metal.  It’s not really a grabber, but it does do the magnetic stuff.JOSH ANDERSON:  I have one of those in my garage.  Screws and things that fall behind the cabinet, or if you are working outside and drop one, you just put it down in the fire bit and it will pick up the screws.BRIAN NORTON:  That’s great.WADE WINGLER:  That longest nifty nabber translated into feet is 8.1.  It’s eight feet long.BELVA SMITH:  How could you control that thing?WADE WINGLER:  I don’t know.  But if you want to pick up something that is really nasty and far away from you, that’s the one you want.  8.16 feet.BRIAN NORTON:  Excellent.  If folks have used a reacher or grabber before or maybe have some experience and needed something similar to what was being asked for, something that was three feet and has a magnetic tip, let us know.  We would love to hear but any of the ones.  That he never seems like an interesting one.  Some of these other ones from quad tools for specific situations might be helpful.  Definitely let us know.  Maybe it’s a situational piece, or you have a product you want to throw out there as an option, we would love to hear from you guys on that. ***[45:51] Wildcard Question*** ***[29:27] Question 2 – Apps for emotional regulation*** BRIAN NORTON:  So our next question is, do you have any figures for apps that help with emotional regulation? I’m going to go ahead and toss that over to the other folks in the room.JOSH ANDERSON:  What are you trying to say?BRIAN NORTON:  I think each and every one of you uses apps for emotional regulation.WADE WINGLER:  I think he’s just tired of answering his own questions.JOSH ANDERSON:  That could definitely be.BRIAN NORTON:  I’m all talked out today.  Any suggestions on that?BELVA SMITH:  I found a website that has the top eight recommended apps for this.  It’s called TheTechAdvocate.org.BRIAN NORTON:  That’s correct.BELVA SMITH:  Okay.  I went to that website and found the first two I was reading about to be pretty interesting.  I would recommend going there and taking a look at what they have.  Like Brian was saying earlier about BridgingApps, they’ve actually tested these and found them to be quite successful.  Then I’m also going to say BridgingApps would be — anytime I’m looking for a nap, I always suggest starting with BridgingApps and see what they a recommending, because as you said, they are apps that people have actually tried and tested.JOSH ANDERSON:  One that I know a lot of folks that use it is called the Calm App.  I know a lot of times problems with emotional regulation, we call anxiety, depression, different things like that.  Even attention deficit disorder can cause problems with regulating your emotions.  I know a lot of folks really like the Calm app.  It’s very simple.  I believe it’s free.  It’s all kinds of meditation things.BELVA SMITH:  I actually use that app myself.  It is a whole lot of meditation.  It’ll remind you, if you think you’re going to skip it, it will remind you that you haven’t checked in today.JOSH ANDERSON:  I know for some folks, if I get anxious, I just open it up.  I think it has a timer, the Pomodoro technique.  It’s like 15 minutes, and that has some soothing sounds and things like that, just tell you to breathe and thinking about something else.  They said it really helps them calm down.  Belva, you’ve used it, and I know a lot of other folks have used it and found it pretty helpful.WADE WINGLER:  It’s listed on a blog post I found that long ago.  This is interesting.  It’s from the AT3 Center, which is sort of the technical assistance Center for projects like the INDATA Project.  There are 56 of those around the world, and they have a place to go to to get information.  If you go to AT3Centerblog.com, and go to the May 23 blog entry, there is a great thing written by Eliza Anderson called AT for managing anxiety.  A lot of this fit to do that.  They talk about some physical devices.  They call it the soothe your space devices like sound therapy machines and fans and bubble tubes and pressure positioning aids, things like that.  They have a whole section on wearables for winding down.  They talk about everything from to beads to compression clothing, weighted blankets, weighted compression vests.  They also talk about fidgety stuff, putty and fidget spinners and chew noodles, all kinds of things where you can use these physical devices.  But then getting to the point, there is a section on apps.  They have probably 25 or 30 apps listed. Calm is among them.  Buddhify is in there as well. The stop, breathe, and think app is in there.  There is even a Zen Coy game which is all about fishes and trying to get the fishes to do different things.  I like it because the blog post talks about whether each app is iOS, Android, or both, and it gives you a link directly to their listing and iTunes or the App Store, to the manufacturer’s website, so you can check them all out.  It’s a pretty good comprehensive list that Eliza has put together.  I would encourage you to check it out.  It’s AT3Centerblog.com, and it’s the May 23 entry called AT for managing anxiety.BRIAN NORTON:  I was looking over that list.  It’s got quite a few things on there.  I was going to mention one other one.  I just had a recent meeting with someone about an app called My Emotional Compass.  Have you heard of that one?JOSH ANDERSON:  No.WADE WINGLER:  SureBRIAN NORTON:  My emotional Compass allows folks — again, I hope I can do it justice.  It’s all about labeling, making people aware that if I am feeling a certain way, putting a label on its.  You can label your emotions.  It puts you in a better position to be able to control or communicate them to others.  What happens is if you are feeling a certain way, you start answering a series of questions where it will help you get down to actually really labeling how you feel.  The more times you label it and start calling those things out, and set it as you are feeling something, I’m not sure what I’m feeling, it’ll help you figure out exactly how you’re feeling through a series of questions.  And by labeling it, you will be able to better control those and understand the triggers and the things that are around you to be able to really help you better control and communicate those things as you are working with them and being around other folks.  Really interesting app.  It’s available on iTunes.  I don’t know if it’s available on Android.  It’s an interesting app.If you guys have tools that you use for emotional regulation, let us know.  We would love to be able to hear from you on that as well. BRIAN NORTON:  So we are going to come down to our next question.  This question is, hello all, I don’t work with iPads much and am currently looking for apps for students who are in K through 8 and have learning disabilities or attention concerns.  Looking for apps for students who have learning disabilities and/or attention concerns.I did a little digging in on some of these things.  Obviously there are lots of apps out there these days, millions upon millions, and there are a lot of really good apps for folks who have learning difficulties.  A couple of places I would start in general research, I think it’s really important to figure out exactly what you’re looking for.  It obviously depends when you think about the app what you’re trying to achieve with the students.  A couple of places I would start your search because they have really good search tools is BridgingApps.org.  They have a dashboard where you can actually break things down into different areas of learning, different age groups, whether you are looking for an app for an Apple device or an Android device.  You can really break it down and hone your search and it will bring back some apps that match up with what you’re looking for.  When I really love about that site is all of the apps that you find on that site have actually been looked at by either a professional or a parent.  You go to a lot of — just the iTunes or Google play store, you get a lot of reviews, but they are from the manufacturer, and of course they think their stuff is great.JOSH ANDERSON:  Bias.BRIAN NORTON:  A little bit of bias.  But this place, they have folks who have nonbiased opinions.  Fill rate things all over the map based on what they think and the benefits it might be able to bring for folks.  You get some real life feedback from folks when you look at that.  BridgingApps.org is a great place.There is AppleVis.  AppleVis is more for vision related stuff, but they do have more information about other disabilities, if you will, many for vision related stuff.  Maybe not the best place to go.  I would really use BridgingApps as your home base for that stuff.WADE WINGLER:  One of the services I use specifically for learning disabilities and these things as tools for life at Georgia Tech.  Were you going to say that one?BRIAN NORTON:  Yeah.WADE WINGLER:  Their website is kind of tricky. It’s gatfl.gatech.edu/search.php.  But if you search for tools for life — nobody’s going to get that.  If you search for tools for life and apps, then you’ll find the website.  They tend to focus heavily on learning disabilities.  That’s got my go to for that.BRIAN NORTON:  If you search for tools for life Georgia Tech, you’re going to find it.  It’s easy.  But they also do a really good job of breaking it down by app, by platform, and other kinds of things for you as well.A couple of specific apps I think could be helpful for students with attention concerns, there is an app called cowriter.  Cowriter is a word prediction app.  It is context-sensitive help, so based on the topic he maybe navigating with the student, it is going to bring up word prediction that fit within the context that you are talking.  That’s a really good at.  Snap Type is great for being able to complete homework.  Essentially what you end up doing is you snap a picture with your mobile device of the document you need to fill out, whether it is a worksheet you’ve handed them in class or something out of a book that they need to be able to fill out, they can step a picture of it.  Then you simply tap around the screen into the blanks and can type into that, or speaking to it as well using the microphone button on the on board keyboard on whatever device you are using.  It will allow students to be able to complete homework really quickly.  You can simply email it back to your teacher and it makes that a really simple process.BELVA SMITH:  I think it’s worth mentioning that the iPad — just over the weekend, I was working with my grandson, and he came to me and said, I don’t know how to spell something.  It was ninja or something.  I showed him the microphone and said, if you don’t know how to spell it, then you can touch here and speak it and can see how it is spelled.  So I think it’s important to point out that you might just use the features that are part of the iPad for some of the students in some situations like Speak It, where you highlight it and it reads it to you, or the fact that you can dictate what it is you’re trying to say.  And if you’re trying to figure out how to spell a specific word – I use that myself if I don’t know how to spell something.  I’ll say it, and that’s how it’s spelled.JOSH ANDERSON:  Especially with the attention concerns, you are probably going to want to turn on guided access.  If you have kids who are going to have a hard time and want to click on every app and get to everything, with a guided access, you can really control what folks can get to.  It can help them stay on task and be able to do things.  I’ve used that with a lot of folks just because it simplifies it.  It takes a lot of the big things out.  You don’t have to worry about getting into settings and missing a lot things up if you just turn off access to those things.BRIAN NORTON:  One of the challenges I run across, personally and with clients, when you think about attention in the classroom and stuff like that, is reading assignments.  Things like Learning Ally.  Scan and read types of apps like Claro PDF, there are many out there that’ll help you be able to have text read aloud.  If you have any E text on those devices, you simply can upload it into the programs and have those things read.  Learning Ally is a website where you can download books, and it has a book player that will then play those books for you.  With Learning Ally, you do have to have a document a learning disability.  You don’t simply download it and use it.  you have to have documentation that you submit to them, and they give you access to their software.BELVA SMITH:  I believe there is a membership fee, a yearly membership fee if I’m not mistaken.BRIAN NORTON:  There is.BELVA SMITH:  Like $119 or something like that.BRIAN NORTON:  I would also encourage folks, every state — here in Indiana, if you are in Indiana, there is a program called PATINS. They run the ICAM, which is the Indiana Center on Accessible Materials.  If you are a student and K-12, anywhere in Indiana, you can call and talk to them about getting access to that.  That’s where they provide you with access to learning ally and many other tools that can help people get access to the books and other things.  There should be organizations or similar parties like that in other states as well.  Every state, I believe, has a center on accessible materials.WADE WINGLER:  They do.  That’s all part of NIMAC, which is the National International Materials Access Center.  There are federal laws that say those things shall exist.  If you are an educator, what you want to do is go into your school system, and it’s either going to be in the IT department or in the special ed program most of the time.  Ask this question.  Who is our digital rights manager? Every school either has or knows what a digital rights manager is, and they are your local point of contact to then get access to your state’s instructional materials access Center and can help you do that.  That’s the keyword you want, who is my digital rights manager? Each school will be able to point you to a person who has that role and will walk you through your local step to do that here in the US.BRIAN NORTON:  Excellent.JOSH ANDERSON:  I feel like we focused a lot on reading and stuff like that, but it depends on what you’re looking for.  There are a lot of math apps that can help quite a bit, photo math, Y homework.  A lot of these are free or low-cost or have a free version.  It’s really important, because if you have a classroom of 20 get that can all benefit from it, what works for one isn’t going to work for the next one.  If they don’t like it, they won’t use it at all.  Really, the best thing to do would be to try out as many as you can.  The kid will end up picking up on one and really liking it and using it.  There are ones out there like you said, for reading, for writing, for math.  They don’t just give you the answer either.  They’ll actually walk you through the steps of the problem and can be really helpful.BRIAN NORTON:  I know you’ve been talking a little bit about this in some other areas, but Microsoft products now, is it immersive reader? How does that all go?JOSH ANDERSON:  The only thing is right now I don’t know if it works on the app, on the actual iPad.  But on the computer, you can download.  I think it’s immersive reader under learning tools.  You can download it for free to one note, which is a free program.  Kids can keep all of their information in there. You can use an app called office lens on your phone or tablet, take a picture, upload it to one note, and had the immersive reader read it all to you.  It’ll put spaces between the words, highlight text if you need.  I think it can separate your syllables.  All those different things.  It will help you find part of speech.  So if you’re trying to figure out what the verbs are and focus on that, it’ll highlight just the verbs or just the nouns or just the adjectives.  It’s pretty neat.  Like you said, it’s completely free.  I know that One Note works on the iPad, but I’m not positive it works with Immersive Reader.  I believe it works in Word as well.  You can import pretty much anything and one note, and they can read it all back to you.BRIAN NORTON:  Two other ones I want to throw out, they are not apps but our websites.  Josh, you mentioned photo math and Y homework.  Another great website for math is Math Way. The purpose behind all of them is it allows you to put a math equation — that encompasses all of math.  It can go up from very K-8 math which we are talking about now, all the way up to college-level math as well.  It helps folks saw the questions.  But for folks who really struggle with math, it breaks it down step by step.  Once it solves it, it does show you the answer but breaks it down step by step in helps folks better understand how to work and equation.  I think that can be really helpful for folks as they learn the principles behind math.  Instead of just getting thrown to the wolves and trying to figure those things out, this can really help folks grab onto the principles about step-by-step, this is how you get through a complicated math equation.JOSH ANDERSON:  It especially helps, if you think about you might understand everything the teacher is telling you, but then you get home to do your homework and can’t remember what the first step is on the problem.  It cannot only make you sad and bring it down but makes it really hard to do your homework.  If you can see how one is done, a lot of times that will help jog your memory of what you were taught earlier in the day.BRIAN NORTON:  Kahn Academy is another great place to go.  They have some really interesting videos.  Sometimes videos can be more engaging than maybe in class and those kinds of things.The other website that I love is an interesting one.  It’s called Rewardify. I don’t know if you guys have heard of that. Rewardify let you take language — you take a paragraph from any book.  It may have some complicated words and words folks to understand or have a good comprehension of what it really means.  It’ll plug that into a box, and you can say Rewardify it for me.  It takes out all those difficult words and simplifies the language so someone can better understand what that was.  The classic examples are you take Shakespeare and throw it in there, it’ll break down Shakespeare and give you more of a layman’s terms version of what that really meant.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s Rewardify.com, a great website.JOSH ANDERSON:  That’s a free one?BRIAN NORTON:  That’s a free one.JOSH ANDERSON:  Nice.BRIAN NORTON:  Check those things out.  That’s a lot of different apps.  BridgingApps.org, tools for life would be great place to look.  Definitely check in with your public school system through the NIMAC and centers on accessible materials in your state.  What was the name of those folks?WADE WINGLER:  Ask for your digital rights manager.  Or if you go to NIMAC.us, I get you what you need as well.BRIAN NORTON:  I hope those are helpful in jumping through some different apps.  Maybe you guys, listeners, if you have an app that you use with students with attention concerns, let us know.  We would love to be up to hear about those as well and provide information to folks.  You can do that through our email system, tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.  We would love to hear from you. ***[35:43] Question 3 – Sturdy reachers and grabbers*** ***[40:08] Question 4 – accessible game controllers*** Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadPanel – Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith (she’s back!), and Wade Wingler  | Q1 Apps for K-8 students with learning difficulties Q2 Apps for emotional regulation Q3 Sturdy reachers and grabbers Q4 zero-force keyboards Q5 accessible game controllers Q6 Is an iPhone worth $900?——-transcript follows ——WADE WINGLER:  Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show?  Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.BRIAN NORTON:  Hello and welcome to ATFAQ episode 77.  My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show today.  We are happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week.  Before we get ready to jump into the questions that you sent in, I want to take a moment and go around the room and introduce the folks here.  Today we are extremely excited to welcome back Belva Smith.WADE WINGLER:  Belva is back.JOSH ANDERSON:  Yay!BELVA SMITH:  I’m back.BRIAN NORTON:  We’ve missed her tremendously over the last couple of weeks.  We are going to give her a chance to update everyone on what they go on and where she is at now.  I also want to make sure that I will come Josh Anderson, the manager of our clinical program.  You want to say hey?JOSH ANDERSON:  Hi everybody.  Welcome back Belva.BELVA SMITH:  I was going to say, do I get to say hey?BRIAN NORTON:  Yeah, I’m coming back to you.WADE WINGLER:  You’re going to get special treatment.BRIAN NORTON:  I figured if we let you start out, we might be halfway to the show.BELVA SMITH:  Are you saying I talk a lot?WADE WINGLER:  He doesn’t have any answers today.BRIAN NORTON:  I need you to vamp a little bit.  We are light on questions today.  Also in the room we have Wade, the host of the assistive technology update.  You want to say hey?WADE WINGLER:  Hey everybody.  Belva is back!BRIAN NORTON:  And Belva.  Belva is back with us after being gone for —WADE WINGLER:  A long time.JOSH ANDERSON:  Too long.BELVA SMITH:  A long time.BRIAN NORTON:  Give folks a rundown on what’s going on.BELVA SMITH:  In late March, I fell and broke my hip and my left arm.  I went a really long time in my life without breaking a bone, and I guess I couldn’t just break one, I might as well break two.  I spent some time in in-patient rehab which was quite the experience.  I’m still actively taking physical therapy twice a week.  I had to learn to do a lot of things all over again and started out having to use a lot of different tools.  It was interesting because I started out having to do a wheelchair manually with one arm, so that was quite a challenge.  But the most important thing was putting the lock on, because the lock happen to be on the left side of the chair, and my left arm is the arm that was broken.  I had to be able to reach across myself and the chair to get to that brake handle.  I just couldn’t quite make it.  Once I got there, I also didn’t have enough strength to get it to actually lock into place.  So we ended up, the first thing we did was we tried using a pencil with a little rubber band, and that didn’t work because the pencil broke.  Then we tried to — they had kind of a 3-D like what we have, a printer, but it was just a molded plastic.  They tried to mold something, and we never could get that quite right.  We ended up using — what do you call those things? A cone, a plastic cone that we slid over the top of it.  Needless to say, that was totally broken by the time I was done.  But that worked.  Actually, they use those cones to set up different tracks for folks like myself that are doing physical therapy to begin walking.I started out with using a side cane, which was quite the challenge.  But as I got better with that, I realized that the thing weighed a ton, and I was constantly banging it into doors and my toes.  So then I graduated to my single cane which is where I am at now.  Hopefully I’ll be done with it and just maybe another month or two.  I can walk without it now, but I’m just a little wobbly.  But I had to use this big, long shoehorn to get my shoes on.  I had to use a pincher, those pincher grabber things to get my socks on and to reach things around the room.  They sent me home with those things, but I found that once I got home, I wasn’t using them too much.  But in the hospital they were a necessity.  And they actually put a bed alarm on the bed because they caught me getting up on a wasn’t supposed to be.JOSH ANDERSON:  Trying to escape.BRIAN NORTON: You’re one of those patients, huh?BELVA SMITH:  Yeah.  But it was cool.  They had a half car in the rooms where I had to practice getting in and out of the car, always on the passenger side.  I kept asking where we were going to move over to the drivers side.  It was interesting and quite the experience.BRIAN NORTON:  That’s different getting in on the drivers side, right? You have a steering wheel to get around.BELVA SMITH:  Absolutely.  And it would’ve been easy for me, because then I would’ve been getting in with my right side first rather than my left side.BRIAN NORTON:  I can see that.BELVA SMITH:  Because I couldn’t strive, I think the important thing was I could get in and out of the passenger side okay.WADE WINGLER:  Are you driving now?BELVA SMITH:  Yeah.  I’ve been driving since May 9.  On May 10, I think I hit every store on the south side. I was telling the folks this morning, one of the things I started doing since this happened is using the Kroger click and pick.  It’s amazing.  You can sit down at your computer and pick out all of your groceries.  Unfortunately, I live in an area where they don’t deliver, but it’s so simple to get it all picked out and paid for.  Then anyone can go and pick them up for you, providing that they have the code that you need.  You just pull up, call them, tell them who you are, and they come out in three minutes and load your groceries.BRIAN NORTON:  Those are amazing services.BELVA SMITH:  It absolutely is.  I’ve pushed those delivery services, PeaPod and stuff like that, to my consumers before, but never really sat down and try them myself.  It’s amazing.  Even Amazon, you can order your groceries through Amazon and get them that day.  I think Amazon and I are on a first name basis now because I did a lot of Amazon shopping.BRIAN NORTON:  Where do they go get their groceries?BELVA SMITH:  Wherever they go.WADE WINGLER:  They have a grocery store.  I’ve been in one of our local stores like a fresh market or something like that, and even have a place for Amazon drivers to come in and park.BRIAN NORTON:  Are you serious?WADE WINGLER:  They go in and do your shopping for you.BRIAN NORTON:  I would consider ordering my food from Amazon, but I would think it’s been sitting on a shelf in the warehouse.BELVA SMITH:  It’s kind of like your own personal shopper.JOSH ANDERSON:  They bought whole foods.WADE WINGLER:  My wife has used that service a time or two.BRIAN NORTON:  And it’s inexpensive?BELVA SMITH:  I paid Kroger no more than what I would’ve paid if I had picked up the groceries.  Somebody mentioned this morning that they do have a small fee, but so far I haven’t paid a fee.  I’ve click and picked probably seven or eight times.  So far I haven’t paid anything.JOSH ANDERSON:  I think it’s free for a certain amount of time, and then maybe a flat fee.  But I don’t think it’s anything bad.WADE WINGLER:  With Amazon, I don’t think there was a fee, and there wasn’t an up charge, but they were shopping at a store that was a little bit more expensive.  You are just paying higher prices because they’re going to a swankier store.BELVA SMITH:  The good thing is I’m not doing all those — what do you call them? Oh, I have to buy that.JOSH ANDERSON:  Impulse buys.BELVA SMITH:  Yeah, the impulse buys, because you are looking for the things that you know you need, and they don’t have the other stuff popping out.BRIAN NORTON:  But a king-size stickers at a checkout is awesome.BELVA SMITH:  I heard that target is not supposed to be doing grocery delivery as well as Walmart, Meijer. I think pretty much everybody.BRIAN NORTON:  It’s kind of the new thing.BELVA SMITH:  So if you can’t get into your shopping, if you have yourself a computer or smart phone, I would definitely recommend looking to see who is in your area and can do some delivery for you.  That was very helpful.BRIAN NORTON:  I would wonder, with Peapod — because they actually do the delivery, right? Do they bring the groceries into the house or do they bring it to the door?BELVA SMITH:  Peapod will bring it to the door.  Kroger and Walmart — not Kroger.  Walmart will actually bring them in and put them in the refrigerator or the cabin if you want them to.JOSH ANDERSON:  Really?BELVA SMITH:  Absolutely.  They have a smart key.  Amazon is doing that as well.  They have a smart key so they can come into your home and put freezer stuff into the freezer if you want.  I don’t want to go that far, but —BRIAN NORTON:  I think people with disabilities who can’t get out into that themselves.  Put it in the refrigerator.BELVA SMITH:  If I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t get to the grocery store, maybe I can’t put those things into their freezer either.BRIAN NORTON:  That’s amazing.BELVA SMITH:  So that’s my experience.  I’m just glad to be back here in the chair.  I know you all might not seem like it’s been that long, but for me —BRIAN NORTON:  It’s been forever.BELVA SMITH:  It felt like forever.BRIAN NORTON:  We actually thought several times he might just stop the show because we didn’t have Belva.  You bring a lot to the show.BELVA SMITH:  I do want to make sure that I think everyone, all the listeners in my clients, that prayed for me and sent me well wishes.  Those were all very much appreciated.BRIAN NORTON:  I will have to say we will have to keep on building a little bit.  Although she’s back to work, she does have a weight lifting restriction of five pounds.  We weight-tested her purse today. With the gallon’s worth of water she had in her purse, it was definitely over five pounds.  Don’t injure yourself please.  We enjoyed having you around here. BRIAN NORTON:  So our next question is, I recently saw that Microsoft will be coming out with an accessible game controller for the Xbox later this year.  Are there other accessible game controller companies? I’m looking for an accessible controller for my PlayStation.This is an area where we’ve seen an explosion over the years, probably the last 8 to 10 years as videogames have become more prevalent and the use of video games has become more prevalent, lots of folks who have disabilities — maybe they became injured and are trying to play the same games that they used to play are having a more difficult time doing that.  As was mentioned in the question, Microsoft came out with an accessible game controller.  It’s not available yet.  I don’t think it’s going to be available until later this year.  Just to give folks an idea of what that is, it’s a rectangular controller.  It has a couple of really large buttons, and those are your A and B buttons.  It’s also got some embossed symbols so that folks with vision impairments or need any kind of tactile feel to be able to know what they are hitting can feel those.  But it also has 19 inputs on the backside of the controller that mimic the number of inputs on a standard controller.  Imagine having a physical disability, and you are not able to do the fine motor movements to press all the buttons are hold the controller that comes with the Xbox, this allows you to mount 19 different switches so that everybody and every directional on a typical or standard Xbox controller becomes readily available to you through a switch that you can activate with anything.There are thousands of different types of switches.  Eye blink switches. If you can move your head side to side, wiggle your big toe, all those different things, you can mount switches all over the place to be able to do those inputs to control the game you’re playing.  Xbox is really great.I want to steer people to a resource.  AbleGamers.org — is that correct?BELVA SMITH:  Yep.BRIAN NORTON: AbleGamers.org has been around for a wild, and they’ve pioneered this industry about making accessible games for folks.  My understanding of the way they work as they have an online assessment tool, and in the online assessment tool, you can tell them and that they what you are looking for.  Then they offered grants so that folks can have these particular controllers made for them. AbleGamers.org, you can check them out there.  That’s a great place to look.But I also look for a resource where you can find lots of listings about different things.  Craig Hospital is well known for spinal cord injuries.  They have an adaptive gaming resource area.  You can check them out as well.  They actually have a huge listing of different companies and other kinds of places, different types of controllers that give folks the ability to be able to control those games more accessibly.  Belva, I think you had a resource as well, right?BELVA SMITH:  I found a website called LP Accessible Technology.  It was founded by a man who became a quadriplegic in 2007.  He was involved in a ruler of accident, and I guess he was quite the gamer beforehand, so it became a goal of his to make the different controllers accessible for people with different injuries and disabilities.  That website is LPaccessibletechnologies.com.  There they have some samples of the things they have.  They have an FAQ section and their contact information.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then you you can contact them, and hopefully they’ll help you with what they can do.BRIAN NORTON:  Thank you for that.  I mentioned Craig Hospital in the information to have.  I’ll run through some of those.  They have a whole section on gaming controllers.  They also have information on organizations that actually review games and talk about that.  Then they also have different games that they use to be able to provide treatment and therapy.  They have things like plants versus zombies.  They actually give you game suggestions.  I’m going to have Wade plug in the web address for that into our show notes so you’ll be able to see those, as they give you a good rundown on a lot of things.If any of our listeners have any information regarding accessible game controllers, we would love to hear from you as well.  You can give us a call at 317-721-7124.  Or email us at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.  Please let us know if you do. WADE WINGLER:  And now it’s time for the wildcard question.BRIAN NORTON:  So our next question is the wildcard question.  This is where Wade sends us a question that we haven’t prepared for.  What have you got today?WADE WINGLER:  As we are recording — we record this show before it goes out — Apple is in the process of doing their annual keynote address at WWDC, Worldwide Developer’s Conference.  This is where traditionally they announced the new products they are coming out in a little while another stuff.  I’ve been watching the live blog, and looks like we are looking at some new Apple watch stuff, a new version of iOS Perhaps a new version of the Mac operating systems.  Here’s my question.  The rumor said before the announcement — I haven’t seen it yet — that there are going to be three new tiers of iPhone prices.  One is going to be priced in the $900-$1000 range.  One is going to be priced in the $700-$800 range.  And what is going to be priced in the $600-$700 range to buy an iPhone.The reason this comes up as a wildcard is Brian and I had a few tense text messages last week because I was on vacation in the woods on my iPhone.BRIAN NORTON:  And he wanted a new one.WADE WINGLER:  I was on a camping trip, and my iPhone died.  It did this weird thing where I plugged it in to charge it, and it kept flipping back and forth between saying charging, not charging, charging, not charging, superfast.  It got too hot to handle.  When I unplugged it, the connectors were brown.  That iPhone was literally melting down, and then it wouldn’t hold a charge.  It’s just going all weird and funky.I went to the closest store and paid way too much money for a replacement iPhone to make that happen.  It was a moment in my life when I said, why am I a person who can’t get through a camping trip without having my smart phone? For me, there is some medical stuff that I have to keep an eye on so I can to be out of touch.  You are keeping track of some things here happening at work that were important and time sensitive.  I left my camping trip to go by technology to get back into the woods so that I could maintain this digital lifestyle.First of all, you guys can tease me about that.JOSH ANDERSON:  Shame.WADE WINGLER:  And why we are in a world like that.  Why is $1000 for a phone a reasonable price? And the lowest model in terms of cost is looking at 6 or $700? Is it worth it for us to have the smart phones that cost between $600-$1000 we people don’t blink an eye at paying that much for this technology.  In fact, they do.  They roll it into the cost of monthly fees and stuff like that.  $1000 phones is our reality.  Is it worth it?BRIAN NORTON:  Let me start answering the question by saying yes, but.  Yes they are worth it because I believe everybody in this room would say that the number one tool they use day in and day out is their phone.  But they [expletive] well better last more than six years.  Why do they have to go out after a little period of time? Then you feel like, oh, they just came up with a new upgrading.  Why do they keep upgrading them every six months? It’s because we are in a consumer society.  That makes me crazy.  I think they are totally worth $1000, but I wish they would last a whole lot longer than the last.  I think everybody runs into those issues.  I know people on our staff still have iPhone 5’s, and they are making do.JOSH ANDERSON:  Todd is still using an iPhone 4s.BRIAN NORTON:  I would say that’s money well spent, the $600 that was spent.  Now if you have an iPhone 7 that goes out after a year, it’s like really? Really? That’s the problem in my opinion.  I think they are totally worth the money because I would say everybody that uses one, that’s their number one tool to be able to keep in touch with folks.  If only they lasted a while.BELVA SMITH:  I think there was a lot of money, but $1000? I can’t imagine a day — the entire time I was in the hospital, everyone kept saying, do you want an iPad? Do you want your computer? I was like, no, I have my phone.  My phone let me do everything I could’ve wanted to do from where I was.  But $1000?JOSH ANDERSON:  I have a really nice computer for $1000.BELVA SMITH:  But you can’t make a phone call.JOSH ANDERSON:  But I can find a way.BELVA SMITH:  But you can’t carry it in your pocket.BRIAN NORTON:  Let’s just call it out.  $1000.  You are not paying $1000 for an Android phone or those kinds of things.  Those are subsidized within the AT&T stores and other places you go.  It’s an Apple.  It’s the Apple phenomenon where people pay for having Apple.BELVA SMITH:  That’s what it is.  That’s what we are paying $1000 for, the apple on the back.  You can go get an Android phone that will do virtually the same stuff for way less.JOSH ANDERSON:  I wonder where that price point is that they hit.  A lot of androids have a better camera.  They take better movies.  They have almost all the same apps.  They are starting to get up there with the accessibility built in.  When there is a $700 difference in the price of a phone, when is that Apple on the back not worth $700.  I didn’t realize those were their three-tier price points.  That’s not really three tiers. Three tiers would be a $200 phone, $500 phone, a $1,000 phone. I have a lot of friends that said they were just tired of having to upgrade of the time, so they switched over to Android and never looked back.  I know people who have iPhones will work, and they turn it off when they leave work and use their Android.BELVA SMITH:  I agree with you, Brian.  I think at that point, it’s kind of like our cars.  It needs to last us.  We need to feel like, okay, five years, six years, I’m done.  I’m ready to get a new phone.  But in a year or two years? No.  Come on.  Even if you are paying for it over time, in your plan, you probably don’t have it paid for.  In fact, it doesn’t one of the carriers offer —BRIAN NORTON:  It’s AT&T Next.JOSH ANDERSON:  You just continually paid.BELVA SMITH:  Yes.  You continually pay, and you can get a new phone when they come out.BRIAN NORTON:  It’s a challenge.  I think people are just willing to pay for the Apple.  I wish they would last a lot longer, but then you have people who aren’t content.  One the new things that comes out and has the latest bobble, they have to have it.BELVA SMITH:  I think it’s interesting how seven years ago, eight years ago, not everybody carried a cell phone.  Nowadays, pretty much everybody has some sort of a smart phone in her hand.BRIAN NORTON:  I look at it from the disability perspective.  I’m wondering, if you think about $1000 for a phone, as far as an iPhone is concerned, accessibility is not an issue.BELVA SMITH:  And it replaces thousands of dollars of devices you would’ve had before.BRIAN NORTON:  Which definitely speaks towards is it worth it? Yeah.  Longevity and durability and making sure it is going to last a while, I think, is questionable to me.  I’ve seen a lot of them go out after a little bit.  Okay.WADE WINGLER:  It’s interesting.  There is planned obsolescence.  I’m glancing over to the live blog post right now, and the event is not quite over so we don’t know what else they are going to say.  They always do a one more thing.  But they are announcing the iOS 12 is going to be coming out and all the great things it does.  It will support the iPhone 5s and up.BELVA SMITH:  So Todd’s phone is going to be done anyway.WADE WINGLER:  It’s not going to work anymore.  That’s required obsolescence at that point.  If you are going to use the new security features and bells and whistles, you can’t do it on an older phone.BRIAN NORTON:  That’s the other thing.  Moving from an iPhone 4 or 5 to an iPhone 8? Worth the $1000 to me.  Moving from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 8? No way.BELVA SMITH:  That’s why I’m still on my 6s. I don’t have any desire to move out.  I like this phone and want to use this phone tell it doesn’t work anymore.BRIAN NORTON:  How fast can you blink an eye? I’ve tried it, and I don’t think I get any faster.  If you are in the studio with me, I’m blinking my eyes.JOSH ANDERSON:  He’s actually winking.WADE WINGLER:  He has this weird twitch thing going on.  I usually like to upgrade every three years.  Every three versions is when I see a decrease in the functionality of the old one because of the battery, or it breaks, or some new thing.  I think upgrade more often than that because I do.BELVA SMITH:  Talking about the watch, I haven’t upgraded my watch.  I want to but I haven’t, because why do I want to? I don’t really know.  Like you were just saying about the blinking, I don’t know how much faster I need my watch to be for me.BRIAN NORTON:  Years under the thing out there out there.  Wade, I know you.  You are a power user of your phone.  Everything goes through your phone.  You are on your phone all the time.WADE WINGLER:  All day long.BRIAN NORTON:  You’re going to have carpal tunnel when you are older because you are on your phone so much.JOSH ANDERSON:  Just in the thumbs.BRIAN NORTON:  I know other people in my team, they make phone calls.  That’s it.BELVA SMITH:  Right.BRIAN NORTON:  They use a computer for everything else.  I would say in Wade’s case as a power user, and he’s using it all the time, maybe it is worth the $1000 to get it done because it is his tool.BELVA SMITH:  That’s maybe why it was smoking.  He uses it all the time.WADE WINGLER:  It missed me, and I was camping.  I was in on it very much.JOSH ANDERSON:  You were camping.  Did you have your try to plug into the fire? I think that may have been where the problem came from.WADE WINGLER:  Nope. I caught some squirrels, put them on a flywheel and had squirrels running around, charging my iPhone.JOSH ANDERSON:  You got too fast of squirrels.  That’s what it was.WADE WINGLER:  That’s exactly right.BRIAN NORTON:  That was a good question.  Thank you.WADE WINGLER:  First time ever.BRIAN NORTON:  I want to wrap the show up for today.  I want to ask you if you guys have been listening and have any answers or feedback that you want to throw out there regarding the question that we talked about today, we would love to hear from you.  If you have questions that you’ve been thinking about throughout the show, give us a call as well.  We would love to hear from you.  Our listener line is 317-721-7124.  Or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ.  Or email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org.  We would love to hear from you.  In fact, without your questions, we don’t have a show.  Be a part of it.I want to thank the folks in the studio.  Belva, it is so good to have you back.BELVA SMITH:  It’s so good to be back.BRIAN NORTON:  Thank you for today.  Josh, I want to say thank you to you.  Have anything you want to share? Or say goodbye?JOSH ANDERSON:  Welcome back Belva.BELVA SMITH:  Think everybody.  And Wade? Thank you.WADE WINGLER:  I’m still looking at the live blog.  They are doing a thing called Siri shortcuts which look to be macros for Siri, which might have some assistive technology implications.  We’ll have to spend more time on in the future.  Belva, it is so good to see you back.BELVA SMITH:  It is so amazing to be back.BRIAN NORTON:  Excellent.  Thank you guys.  Have a great one and we will talk to you guys in a couple weeks.WADE WINGLER:  Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement.  Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature.  Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Josh Anderson and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA Project.  ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel.  Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For requests and inquiries, contact tjcortopassi@gmail.com***Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint Relatedlast_img read more

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ATU365 – Microsofts Seeing AI in depth

first_imgWADE WINGLER: So back in episode number 352 of Assistive Technology Update — was released in February 2018 — our vision team lead here, Belva Smith, spent some time with us talking about an app that everybody here was super excited about called the seeing AI from Microsoft.  In the interview, she spent some time talking with us about the future the way it does and those kinds of things.  And not long after that, I was doing a tweet chat with an assistive technology University class I teach, and I had a bunch of students who were also tweeting at talking about seeing AI and how useful it is for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  You might imagine my surprise when one of the founders and developers of the seeing AI app who is Anirudh Koul, was tweeting one right there with us and saying, hey guys, glad you like our app and those kinds of things.  I was so excited when we were able to reach out to Microsoft and Anirudh Koul and Saqib Shaikh decided that they would come on the show and talk with us a little bit about seeing AI to expand and what we talked about with Belva and also give us some additional insight to what’s going on with this exciting project from Microsoft.  Enough of my rambling, Anirudh, Saqib, thank you so much and welcome to the show.SAQIB SHAIKH:  Thanks for having us.  It’s a pleasure to be here.WADE WINGLER:  We appreciate you guys taking some time out of your busy days.  I would love to hear — I kind of want to start a little bit with what is seeing AI and what it does.  Not everybody is heard the previous episode, not everybody has had a chance to try it yet.  Can one of you tell me just a little bit about what it is?SAQIB SHAIKH:  It’s a talking camera app for people who are blind or have low vision.  You just hold of your camera, and it tells you what’s in front of you.  It has different channels so that you can select what you want to hear about.  So you might want to read the writing around you will recognize people or find out what products are.WADE WINGLER:  So it does a whole lot of things, and that’s pretty excellent.  Talk to me about who it is for.  What kinds of individuals? Who is it for?ANIRUDH KOUL:  We designed the product primarily for the blind and low vision community.  That is our primary target we designed it for.  Interestingly, after release, we found a big used by a much larger group of individuals with disabilities.  People with learning disabilities are using it.  People in Asia are using it to learn English by taking a picture of something and hearing what that is in English.  Many people are using it for reading.  In fact, the app is a hit in the system administrator community because when they are in those server rooms, there are hard to get places behind servers.  They just put the phone behind instead of their head and hear the serial number.  It’s amazing.WADE WINGLER:  I do some of that work in our IT program, and I hadn’t thought about using it for that.  I definitely will be doing that.  That’s excellent.  A quick practical question before we talk about the history and genesis of this.  What does it cost, and where can you get it, and what platform does seeing AI work on?SAQIB SHAIKH:  It’s absolutely free and available on the iPhone app store.ANIRUDH KOUL:  In fact, we just launched it today and 21 more countries, bring total availability to almost 56 countries around the world.  Globally, there is a good chance it is available in a country you are in.WADE WINGLER:  We almost always record the show before it goes out and are actually recording on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.  This launch is part of your initiative in the area, right?ANIRUDH KOUL:  Exactly.WADE WINGLER:  I want to hear the story about how this came to be.  I happen to know that it is an interesting story, but what is the history of seeing AI?ANIRUDH KOUL:  It’s a really exciting one.  Every year, we have something called a hack-a-thon.  It’s about a week long time that the CEO gives to all Microsoft employees around the world to basically go and chase our dreams for an entire week.  Many of us had an inclination to make something and seeing the limits of what AI could be used for accessibility.  So we founded a team of 16 people around the world in engineering, design, accessibility, and research and started building some prototypes.  One of our first prototypes was a cell phone that we had duct taped to the head that we could talk to.  It would give you answers based on what the camera was looking at.  Since then, we kept working in our passion time, evening, weekends, to see how we could bring this into real life.  Along the way, we were joined by many more supportive people in anyways around the company.  One final day, we got our funding to basically go from a hacker team to a real team to bring this product out.  We experimented on many different ways of getting this technology out.  We even had a prototype pair of smart glasses that you could use to take a photograph and here it.  But in the real question came, which is how do we get this technology into the hands of as many people as possible? The answer was a free app.  That should do it, so that’s what we did.  Today you know that as seeing AI, the talking camera app.WADE WINGLER:  That’s remarkable.  I have a million questions.  I’m really fascinated with the idea of what’s happening behind the scenes with the technology.  It’s called seeing AI because AI represents artificial intelligence, right?SAQIB SHAIKH:  Mhmm.WADE WINGLER:  So what’s going on? How does the AI work? How does it learning? How do you treat it? Talk to me about that stuff.  I don’t even have a good question for that.  I just know that I want to know about how it works.ANIRUDH KOUL:  AI is this amazing thing that has picked up a lot of heat in the last few years.  The key idea is if you show something in of data, you can design it to learn patterns and do things at a level which we were not taught to be possible just five or six years ago.  As you start looking at many things in the app, they use computer vision, but they also start to predict things.  The quick example is that when you take a photograph, it tries to tell you your age, gender, and emotion.  Another example is that when you take a photograph, it tries to describe a general seem to you.SAQIB SHAIKH:  This is possible because we are showing the AI hundreds of thousands of images and teaching it that this is this object or this person or this emotion.  You are really teaching the AI based on the photos, and then that’s how it’s learning to predict those things in the future.  Right, Anirudh?ANIRUDH KOUL:  Exactly.  To give you a fun example, you see those emotions that the app tells you? The app has seen over 10,000 Hollywood scenes when the actor like Leonardo DiCaprio uses that you motion, it has learned it by watching these Hollywood scenes.  Similarly for the scene understanding mode, it has seen over 300,000 images that we collected and taught the system.  Now it is able to construct sentences, so going beyond just saying the object, but how would you see it as a free-flowing sentence.  With the great folks at Microsoft research, which we are a part of, we have been working together on how we can keep improving the AI year-over-year.  In many cases, this is like a three year old.  He knows much about the world but is still learning, but maybe over a couple of years ago is from three-year-old to five-year-old and start become even better than what you see today.WADE WINGLER:  I’m glad you mentioned the metaphor of a child, because as I hear you describing how AI works, that’s kind of how people learn stuff.  It’s constant exposure and reinforcement sparked with curiosity and intellect and mental horsepower.  You guys are providing the intellect and mental horsepower.  Where does the curiosity come from?ANIRUDH KOUL:  As long as the users tell us what is the real need to solve, we try to design the AI and overtime teach that enough to start making some sense.SAQIB SHAIKH:  The users provide the curiosity, and we make sure that we teach the things the users are curious about.ANIRUDH KOUL:  Exactly.WADE WINGLER:  That’s great.  We talked about users a lot.  Frankly, on our show here, people listen and come on to the show to talk about what they’re doing, usually not because of the technology but more about the impact of the technology.  Generally, people who are interested in assistive technology and accessibility kind of interpersonal reason behind that.  They are interested in how they we are impacting people’s lives and how we are increasing independence.  I bet you guys have a story or two about users and how they might be using this technology?SAQIB SHAIKH:  We have so many from the deeply touching to the right hard to believe.  Maybe starting with the touching.  Last Christmas, we launched the handwriting feature and got a flood of emails from people who were excited to read greeting’s cards, Christmas cards, for the first time in a long time.  Or able to read their children’s homework.  Were able to read letters that they received years ago before they lost their sight.On the other side of the exciting or creative uses, we had a teacher who mounts the phone in his classroom so he can tell which students are walking to the classroom and of course which students haven’t yet turned up.ANIRUDH KOUL:  So you can sneak in anymore.SAQIB SHAIKH:  Right.  Or one funny story is we have this short text that, when you hold the phone up, it reads whatever text you can see.  One very creative user put his phone in front of the TV on a tripod and watched a foreign language movie in French.  So as the subtitles in English come up, seeing AI reads them straight away.  That’s how he enjoyed the movie.WADE WINGLER:  He had it narrating for him.  That’s great.ANIRUDH KOUL:  Interestingly, by hearing his story, other users start following and replicating this thing.  Just to add a few more that motivate all of us, we didn’t have a currency channel for a long time to recognize currency, and that was a user need.  In the time that we built it, what users did is we have a face recognition mode the app where you take three photographs and you can teach the name of something.  What they did is they took the US dollar note.  There is a present space in the middle, and they talk the app what that president looks like and said a brown Lincoln is five dollars. That was a creative way of solving a problem.Some other really interesting stories that we found, was when we launched, we heard there was a salesman who changes his sales pitch based on the customer in front, because he is hearing the audio of the after a discrete headset, and basically taking periodic photographs to understand to make small talk as well is to see if the customer is still interested by facial expressions.The hard to believe side story that Saqib was talking about, a couple of them include a professor and Puerto Rico who was there during the hurricane.  Because of the high winds, tons of things had moved.  He used the app to avoid falling trees and power lines.  That was an incredible story to be here.WADE WINGLER:  That’s really touching.  I had no idea that it was being used for so many different things.  That all helps the learning process.  You guys mentioned that you are a user centered team and doing user centered development.  I assume that you take feedback from your users, suggestions, or maybe frustrations?SAQIB SHAIKH:  Absolutely.  We have a feedback option inside the app which every day we get a flood of the most through.  People email us directly at seeingAI@Microsoft.com. It’s always great to hear from a user and ways that the app could be improved and also these fun stories.WADE WINGLER:  I’ll pop that email address in the show notes that people can reach out to you. seeingAI@Microsoft.com.ANIRUDH KOUL:  When we launched the app, we had a silent launch.  We didn’t know how many people would be interested in it or find it useful.  Now we basically have a daily duty to go through between 80 to 100 the most everyday.  Every piece of them of that we get, we try to answer it so that someone speaks of a future, we try to put it in a priority queue, and that helps our development go to what is the most talk about feature that people are requesting, would be the first thing that we would build.WADE WINGLER:  I love it when user feedback fees the design process.  Tell me a little bit more about the design process.  How does that work?ANIRUDH KOUL:  When we were designing the app, we had — being engineers and researchers, we tried to protect technology.  We find the technology and say, wait, this would be helpful.  But what we learned is you need to put the user before the technology.  You don’t have to create a cool demo.  You have to think of the user, try to reduce the friction in using the system for them, and try to get them to achieve a task in as little number of second as possible.  That was our main aim.SAQIB SHAIKH:  Just to add what you were saying, it’s been this interesting blending of finding new AI and new experiences that can help the users in the challenges that they tell us they have.  There is some new type of thing that someone wants to recognize, or they are having difficulty with a certain aspect of the app.  Then we can look at our research lab to see how can AI help solve this problem.  But than the other side of this is how can we take that technology and create this interesting user experience that we have within the app.  So that we have people who do the user studies and use testing with to fine tune that.ANIRUDH KOUL:  As one of the simplest example of AI that we can give is the barcode reading example of the app.  Users asked us to recognize products, but recognizing products on a cell phone is often a frustrating experience because if you don’t know where the barcode is to begin with, the barcode readers need the barcode to be right in front.  So on day one, we thought this was a simple problem.  You put in a barcode reading library and you are done with it.  Then while users were testing, we had a slap on our face.  To fix that, we started to train the AI by showing it thousands of barcodes at different angles, different lighting, different orientation.  Then to indicate that to the user, we built a guidance system that gives you beeps.  Now by combining these two parts of AI, plus sound, to make the user interaction easier, we are now finding that the frustration on using a cell phone-based barcode reading experience as much, much lower.  Many people who used to have hardware barcode scanners, they find that this is a much easier and obviously free alternative than buying some other devices which previously cost a lot of money, thousands of dollars.  That is one example of where we create a prototype, ship it to users, hear are the bad things that they had to say and how that experience is, then work through the week and come back in this new uses next week.  Basically by going from two users every week, prototyping and fixing, two users a week, prototyping and fixing, over a few months we started to get to where maybe we have something that is useful.WADE WINGLER:  That’s a fascinating process.  We’ve been talking a lot about taking pictures of barcodes and faces and people and those kinds of things.  I am our agency’s security officer here when it comes to HIPAA. All of a sudden, I’m thinking that a lot of pictures.  Talk to me a little bit about privacy.  If you are using this app in your world to take pictures of things in your home — and I know you need to take privacy seriously.  How do you handle that?ANIRUDH KOUL:  You just said it.  Microsoft takes a privacy seriously.  All of the images, for privacy, we try to get as much of the processing done on the device as possible, so those images are never sent to our servers.  Our servers are primarily for giving the functionality.  We do not store any images.  We do not store these results.  All we do is keep these server-based APIs primarily to get the users the answer.  Imagine that we scan a bank document.  It’s secure, safe, because it is deciphered and related from an image to the results.  We don’t have it on our servers anymore after you have gone the results.  Your data is safe with you, not with us.I should add one point that, for training of this AI, we collect our own data.  We go at links to collect a diverse set of data to train it so that we don’t have to use user data for this.WADE WINGLER:  That makes a whole lot of sense.  I know that there are people in our audience who are exited about this interview, and it’s probably because they are using the app all the time for important things in their life.  I know that you have some tips and tricks and ways that people can be most successful using the app.  Give me some of those.SAQIB SHAIKH:  As we talked to many different users, we’ve been building up these ideas as to what tricks people are using.  For example, sometimes it’s just a case of remembering that your phone’s camera is, in fact, in the top right corner of the phone.  So whatever you are pointing it at something, you want to keep that in the center.  Then you should be careful about how far away you keep your phone from an object.  When recognizing currency, we tend to find six inches is pretty good.  Or when you are recognizing a barcode, holding the phone a few inches away and then moving the object around is a nice technique.  Sometimes you can always move it a bit away because that’s going to enable the camera to see even more.One lasting which was a tip that a user came up with that I had never thought of.  It was the first week of launch.  When you are recognizing a white document, putting it on a white table me that it might not find the edges so well.  There was a lady who carried around a black scarf in her purse.  Whenever she wanted to read a document, she would lay out the black scarf, put the document on it, and then scan the document.  I’m not saying everyone should do that, but again, a creative idea.ANIRUDH KOUL:  To add to that, one of the key things that makes people more successful using the app is enough lighting.  Using the app in an environment where there is enough light is generally a recipe for success.  The app obviously has built-in lighting if it is very dark.  It has guidance inside the app to guide you in many of these modes.  That guidance can also help in positioning the phone to help you be more successful.  Especially when people try things for the first time like the barcode reader, we tell them to try it on for five different objects to get the hang of the guidance mechanism and to get used to it over time.  People start to get faster and faster.The last trick that is most successful is we have a sharp textmode.  Show it a piece of text, and it will start reading it really fast.  Often when people point two things, in the first instance they don’t know if the entire piece of text is visible, but by moving the phone around a little bit, you will probably get the entire piece of text interview.  Often when people show it a piece of text, they keep pointing the phone towards its, and the phone was a little bit.  Because of that, it starts to interrupt.  The tip is when you start hearing some text that you like, maybe point the phone down on the ground quickly so that it doesn’t see anymore text and the phone will not interrupt.  It will keep speaking the text.  This is especially useful if you have a long document.  Point at the piece of text, and then point the phone towards the ground quickly, or put your finger on the camera, and it will not interrupt.WADE WINGLER:  Those are some great pieces of advice.  We are about out of time for the interview today.  Before we go, one more time, where can people get seeing AI? And if they have feedback or want to learn more reach out to you, where should they go to do those things?SAQIB SHAIKH:  You can search for seeing AI in the Apple App Store or go to seeingAI.com.  To get in touch with us, you can able seeingAI@Microsoft.com.WADE WINGLER:  Anirudh Koul and Saqib Shaikh are on the seeing AI team for Microsoft and have been delightful and insightful guests today.  Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.SAQIB SHAIKH:  Thank you.ANIRUDH KOUL:  It was a pleasure, thank you. WADE WINGLER:  Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to www.EasterSealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find other shows like this, plus much more, at AccessibilityChannel.com. The opinions expressed by our guests are their own and may or may not reflect those of the INDATA Project, Easter Seals Crossroads, or any of our supporting partners.  That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For requests and inquiries, contact tjcortopassi@gmail.com***Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU352 – Seeing AI with Belva SmithFebruary 23, 2018In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU178 – Dan Hubbell from Microsoft, Boy with Autism develops relationship with SIRI, Tablet Computer for Braille Users, Exoskeleton allows groom to walk down aisleOctober 24, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU138 – GW Micro announces that WindowEyes is now FREE for Microsoft Office users. Press conference, interviews with Dan Hubbell, Dan Weirich, and Jeremy CurryJanuary 17, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.365-05-25-18 – Microsoft’s Seeing AI – In depth | Anirudh Koul & Saqib Shaikh | seeingai@microsoft.com——————————If you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email tech@eastersealscrossroads.orgCheck out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——SAQIB SHAIKH:  Hi, I’m Saqib Shaikh, Senior software engineer at Microsoft.ANIRUDH KOUL:  This is Anirudh Koul, and I am the senior data scientist for Microsoft, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER:  Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Welcome to episode number 365 of Assistive Technology Update.  It’s scheduled to be released on May 25, 2018.Today we have a fun show an exciting interview.  I’m spending some time talking with Anirudh Koul and Saqib Shaikh, who are two of the developers, I really the inventors of seeing AI, which is an app that has sort of taken the assistive technology world by storm.  It allows you to have a free app on your Apple device that can read a text, handwriting, objects, faces, all kinds of amazing things.  Designed for folks who are blind or visually impaired but really applying to a lot of other situations.  We have an extended interview today with those developers.  They are delightful gentleman, and we kind of get into the behind-the-scenes about how was it developed and what’s the origin story of the app and some of the myths about what it is and isn’t and some of the tips and tricks to make sure that it works well with you. We are super excited to have these guys on the show today.We hope you check out our website at EasterSealsTech.com, sent us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project, or call our listener line.  We love to hear your feedback, questions, comments.  You might even end up on this or one of our other shows.  That number is 317-721-7124.center_img ***[1:55] Interview***last_img read more

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ET Deals Dell Core i7 156Inch 1080p Laptop 849 Seagate 8TB External

first_img Maisie Williams’ Transformation is Turning Heads Don’t Watch These Movies With Your Parents If you are in the market for a new laptop for your family to use, the first system on this list is well suited for you to browse the web and for your kids to play games on. Or if you are looking to run games with excellent graphics detail, check the high-end CLX SET gaming desktop further down the page.Dell Inspiron 15 7580 Intel Core i7-8565U 15.6-Inch 1080p Laptop w/ Nvidia GeForce MX250, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD ($849.99)This Inspiron notebook is targeted as a family-friendly solution that is capable of quickly browsing the web and running games at low settings. Dell is offering this system marked down from its regular retail price fo $1,209.99 to $849.99.Seagate Desktop 8TB External USB 3.0 HDD ($119.99)This external drive can hold an enormous amount of data that far exceeds the average persons needs. Amazon is offering this drive marked down from $139.99 to $119.99.Kano Computer Kit 2018 Edition w/ Raspberry Pi 3 Model B ($60.99)This kit aims to make it easy to teach kids how to program. It comes with a Raspberry Pi 3, a protective case, a wireless keyboard with built-in touchpad and a book of code to help you get started. Right now it’s marked down from $149.99 to $60.99.CLX SET Gaming Intel Core i7-8700K Gaming Desktop w/ Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 240 SSD and 1TB HDD ($1,099.00)This rather powerful desktop comes with an Intel Core i7-8700K processor and an Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card that permits it to run modern games with maxed out graphics settings. Right now you can get it from Walmart marked down from $1,599.99 to $1,099.00.Insignia 50-inch 4K UHD HDR Fire TV Edition Smart LED TV ($269.99)Insignia’s 50-inch 4K TV features HDR support and Amazon’s Fire TV software. This allows the TV to stream content from various sources, and it enables you to control your TV with voice commands using an included voice remote with Alexa support. If you missed out on getting one of these TVs for $249.99 on Amazon’s Prime Day, you may be in luck. Normally this model would cost $350.00, but right now you can get it for $269.99 from Amazon, which makes it just $20 more than what it cost on Prime Day.Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscriptions (20-40 Percent Off)An Amazon Kindle subscription gives you access to over a million titles for you to peruse and read at your leisure. Amazon is currently offering this service discounted between 20 and 40 percent off the regular retail price.6-Month Subscription w/ 20 Percent Discount: $47.861-Year Subscription w/ 33 Percent Discount: $80.302-Year Subscription w/ 40 Percent Discount: $143.80Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com. The Real Reason Emma Watson Refuses to Do a Nude Scene The Most Inappropriate Comic Book Characters Ever Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Google Plus Reddit Hacker News Flipboard Email Copy 0shares This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. Exclusive Interview with Legendary ‘Hellboy’ Creator 0 Comments ET Deals: Dell Core i7 15.6-Inch 1080p Laptop $849, Seagate 8TB External HDD $119, Kano Computer Kit 2018 Edition $60 Edward Furlong is Returning in ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Popular Memes That Completely Destroyed Innocent Lives Proof Henry Cavill Isn’t a Very Good Dude at All By Michael Sexton on July 19, 2019 at 1:18 pm Extremetech may earn affiliate commissions from the shopping links included on this page. To find out more, read our complete terms of use. You Might Also LikePowered By ZergNet Tagged In et deals Post a Comment 0 Commentslast_img read more

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Tesla Reports Record Sales Last Quarter

first_imgTesla Reports Record Sales Last Quarter Tesla has had its share of ups and downs over the years with exploding cars, autopilot mishaps, and CEO Elon Musk saying and doing foolish things on the internet. But this week was a big “up” for the electric car maker. Tesla’s latest quarterly report includes a record number of vehicle deliveries at 95,200. Tesla’s stock rose as expected following the news, gaining 7 percent after falling 35 percent since early 2019 when it reported slower than expected sales. Tesla has benefited from a full quarter selling the Model 3, its most affordable vehicle, in Europe and China. The Model 3 previously launched for US buyers in 2018, after taking reservations for years. The Model 3 makes up the vast majority of Tesla’s record-breaking sales at 77,550. That’s a 50 percent increase over the first quarter of the year. Sales of the more profitable Model S and Model X increased as well from 12,100 to 17,650. However, that number is lower than the 27,550 S and X vehicles delivered in the last quarter of 2018. That suggests the Model 3 is pulling some buyers away from the more profitable cars. Still, the increased sales are making up for it. Tesla also says that its production capacity has increased by 13 percent in the second quarter of 2019. Only 7,400 cars were still listed as in transit to buyers, down from 10,600 at the end of the first quarter. The Tesla Model 3 has proven very successful, making up most of the company’s 95,200 Q2 sales.The increased sales may be harder to sustain going forward. Tesla has cut prices several times in pursuit of its goal of selling 400,000 cars this year. The automaker is also facing the end of government tax breaks for selling electric vehicles. The $7,500 tax credit fell to $3,750 early this year, and now it’s down to $1,875. It will go away completely at the end of this year.  The company is also still operating at a loss. One bright spot on the horizon may be Tesla’s upcoming launch of the Model Y. This vehicle splits the difference between the Model 3 and the high-end Model X. It’s a smaller crossover/hatchback offering more space than a Model 3 and a lower price than the Model X. The Model Y will launch in late 2020 for US customers.Now read:Elon Musk: Tesla Broke in 10 Months Without ‘Hardcore’ Cost ReductionTesla Model 3 in Fatal Accident Had Autopilot EngagedSurprise: The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 That’s Finally Shipping? Not Any More Proof Henry Cavill Isn’t a Very Good Dude at All By Ryan Whitwam on July 5, 2019 at 7:36 am Helen From ‘Waterworld’ Is 56 Now and Incredibly Gorgeous Dani From ‘Girl Next Door’ is Absolutely Gorgeous Now at 36 Movies That Are Hard To Believe Actually Exist We Now Understand Why Sean Connery Has Disappeared The Outrage Over Robert Pattinson As Batman Continues Willow Smith’s Transformation is Turning Heads 21 Comments You Might Also LikePowered By ZergNet Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Google Plus Reddit Hacker News Flipboard Email Copy 0shares This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. Tagged In carsteslaelectric vehiclesmodel 3 Post a Comment 21 Comments Ginny From ‘Harry Potter’ Is 28 Now and Absolutely Gorgeouslast_img read more

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Whetstone Technologies Announces SoniBridge – Enabling Mobile Marketing for Voice Assistants

first_imgWhetstone Technologies announces the general availability of the SoniBridge platform, spanning the gap between voice assistants and mobile marketing via text messaging.  The company will be demonstrating their patent-pending, voice-first technology at the 2019 VOICE Summit in Newark, NJ from July 22-25.“We developed the SoniBridge platform to close the customer engagement loop while delivering a frictionless, beneficial user experience.  Our technology enables clients to increase offer redemption and lead generation rates with immediate digital fulfillment to a customer’s mobile device after interacting with a brand’s Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice app,” said Sanjeev Surati, CEO of Whetstone Technologies.Examples – Whetstone Technologies clients may have voice apps using SoniBridge on both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant that include an optional text message sent immediately to the customer for:An offer or couponInstructions, white papers or videosInformation on how to contribute or volunteer for a charity or political campaign.Marketing Technology News: Gartner Survey Shows Inside Sales Organizations Risk Losing 24% of Employees This YearCustomers could be in the store, driving to the restaurant, attending a candidate’s rally or at home seeking instructions for product use or assembly.  During the voice app interaction, they have the option to request digital items be delivered to their mobile device.“The SoniBridge platform provides return on investment (ROI) by complementing a brand’s marketing strategy, utilizing their existing content in a new way.  Our clients can offer mobile marketing voice apps without learning and managing rapidly evolving voice technology,” commented John Iwasz, CTO of Whetstone Technologies.  “Multimodal, voice-first apps are highly engaging to end users.”SoniBridge works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant today and can accommodate other voice assistants.  The enterprise-grade platform is designed to protect customer data and expand and extend with emerging technology.Marketing Technology News: Adobe Survey Says That Voice and Screen Combined Are the FutureExperience the SoniBridge platform now.  Ask Alexa to “open Whetstone Technologies” or tell Google to “talk to Whetstone Technologies.”  Follow the interaction all the way to the end for the complete experience — and get a free white paper from our voice technology experts.The founders of Whetstone Technologies, Sanjeev Surati and John Iwasz, will be conducting two technical sessions at the VOICE Summit 2019.  Visit them at the SoniBridge by Whetstone Technologies table in Startup Alley during the conference.Marketing Technology News: Thunderhead and Proximity London Announce Partnership to Deliver Best-in-class Customer Engagement Whetstone Technologies Announces SoniBridge – Enabling Mobile Marketing for Voice Assistants PRNewswire11 hours agoJuly 23, 2019 mobile marketingSanjeev SuratiVOICE SummitWhetstone Technologies Previous ArticleInforma Engage and 180byTwo Collaborate to Make Intent-based B2B Data Available to MarketersNext ArticleSprint’s Best-in-Class BYOD Communication and Administration Solution Acknowledged by Frost & Sullivanlast_img read more

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TTEC to Debut AIEnabled Associate Assist Solution at Customer Contact Week CCW

first_img CCWcustomer experience technologyIntelligent Virtual AssistantsMarketing TechnologyNewsTTEC Holdings Previous ArticleThe Benefits of Empowering Agents to Go Omni-DigitalNext ArticlePoor Data Mastery Impacting Ability to Drive Value From Data, Oracle Report Shows Company to Showcase AI Solutions Within the TTEC Experience – Booth #724 at CCW, June 24-27, in Las VegasTTEC Holdings, Inc., a leading digital global customer experience technology and services company focused on the design, implementation and delivery of transformative customer experience for many of the world’s most iconic and disruptive brands, will be showcasing Associate Assist and other innovative technology solutions for AI-enhanced training, omnichannel interactions and journey orchestration during Customer Contact Week, June 24-27, in Las Vegas.TTEC creates employee experiences that increase engagement and designs, builds and operates customer experiences that deliver results. The company’s approach to AI and automation balances human intuition and creativity with the computational power and efficiency of technology. TTEC uses Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) to empower employees and deliver seamless service experiences that enable hyper personalization, increase response time and improve accuracy.Associate Assist augments associates by monitoring conversations between associates and customers and scanning through data to deliver the suggested next best action or response to the associate, in real-time. In addition, the solution establishes a closed loop, AI-enhanced, self-training knowledge base that is used not only to train new associates but also improve associate accuracy, efficiency and consistency.Marketing Technology News: Insite Software Announces Major New Enhancements for InsiteCommerceThis approach results in:Reduction in Average Handle Time (AHT) by 20%Improvement in First Contact Resolution (FCR) by up to 10%Increased Net Promoter Score (NPS) by nearly 15%Throughout the show, TTEC will be demonstrating Associate Assist in Booth #724 featuring the TTEC Experience. The company is also offering site tours of the company’s CX Innovation Lab in Las Vegas to a select few from the CCW audience on Monday, June 24. Booth visitors and site visit participants will learn more about the company’s technology solutions, such as:AI BotsAI-Enhanced TrainingOmnichannelJourney OrchestrationTTEC has been named a finalist for this year’s CCW Excellence Awards for Best Training and Development Solution. The CCW Excellence Awards honor, recognize and promote individuals and teams who have made a commitment to driving superior contact center and CX performance. TTEC won the CCW Excellence Award for Best Training and Development Program in 2017 and was named a finalist for the same award in 2018.Marketing Technology News: Leading Associations Turn to ON24 for Member Engagement and Revenue GrowthLearn more about the company’s award-winning programs during CCW’s Interactive Discussion Group #15 on Wednesday, June 26 from 10:50am – 12:30pm. TTEC will also be sharing perspectives on Omnichannel during Interactive Discussion Group #22, from 3:55pm – 5:40pm.“TTEC brings together people, process and technology to deliver seamless customer experiences and drive digital transformation for our clients. Digital transformation is not only about how technology facilitates customer self-servicing but also enabling customer service professionals to deliver seamless support,” said Judi Hand, Chief Revenue Officer, TTEC. “During CCW, we look forward to demonstrating how AI, bots, RPA and knowledge management enhance human connections and optimize business results for our clients.”Marketing Technology News: Adaptive Ad Systems Completes Installation of New Ad-Insertion Equipment on National Cable TV Systems Adds 40,000 Additional Subscribers TTEC to Debut AI-Enabled Associate Assist Solution at Customer Contact Week (CCW) 2019 PRNewswireJune 24, 2019, 3:15 pmJune 24, 2019 last_img read more

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EC Failing People of The Country Reluctant to Act Against PM Says

first_imgMumbai: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday accused the Election Commission (EC) of “failing” the people of the country, alleging that it was partisan and reluctant to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for poll code violations.Addressing a press conference here, he also said that as much as Rs 10 crore is spent on every rally of the prime minister. “Unprecedented expenses for the PM’s rallies. About Rs 10 crore is spent on each rally. The EC is failing the people of the country,” Chidambaram alleged.Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan, who was also present at the press conference, demanded that the EC probe Friday’s incident in Dhule where a box was brought out of an aircraft ferrying Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.”The box surely didn’t contain mangoes. It was something more. The EC should take cognisance of the matter and should investigate it,” Chavan said.Earlier on Friday, while speaking to reporters in Shirdi, Prabhu had dismissed a video clip, which claimed that a mysterious box was taken out of a plane carrying him when it landed at Dhule in Maharashtra.Responding to a question about the clip and the accompanying message which alleged that the box contained “Rs 15 crore”, Prabhu had said, “I don’t have fifteen rupees in my pocket, where is the question of Rs 15 crore!” 2019 lok sabha electionsBJPcongresselection commission First Published: April 27, 2019, 11:06 PM ISTlast_img read more

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Heavy Downpour Raises Water Stock of 7 Reservoirs in Mumbai

first_img Delayed rains had forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to draw on the reserve stock in the lakes from June 27.Mumbai’s water supply comes from seven reservoirs: Modak Sagar, Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa and Middle Vaitarna.The BMC supplies 3,750 million litres of water every day to the residents of Mumbai which still falls short of the actual demand of 4,200 million litres.Another civic official said that another good spell of rain is expected in coming days, though people should use water sparingly.”Even when we had only five per cent water left and were supplying the water from reserve stock, we had enough water to last till July end. Now our total water stock has gone upto 12 per cent which indicates we have enough water for another few months and we are hoping some really good spells of rainfall, at least in catchment areas,” the official said.”Using water judiciously is always welcomed….Even today we are appealing people to use water sparingly,” he said.The civic body has imposed a 10 per cent water cut for residential and 15 per cent cut for commercial and industrial premises since November last year after it found that the water stock may not suffice till July. Mumbai: After the late onset of monsoon, the heavy downpour of the last fews days has led to considerable increase in water stock in seven reservoirs, which supply water to Mumbai, an official said Thursday.As of Thursday morning, the total water stock in the lakes had risen to 12 per cent, said Ashok Tewadiya, chief engineer of the Hydraulic Engineering Department. The water stock stood at 5 per cent on June 27.”Heavy downpour in the last couple of days in Mumbaas well as in catchment areas has resulted in decent water storage in the lakes. It was 11 per cent till Wednesdaymorning and rose upto 12 per cent today,” he told reporters. lakesmumbairainfallreservoirs First Published: July 4, 2019, 9:23 PM ISTlast_img read more

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Chinese Soldiers Came to See Celebrations Near Border but Theres Been No

first_imgNew Delhi: Army chief General Bipin Rawat Saturday said there has been no intrusion by the Chinese in Ladakh’s Demchok sector. “There is no intrusion,” Rawat said on the sidelines of an event.His statement comes amidst reports of Chinese soldiers crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last week after some Tibetans hoisted Tibetan flags on the occasion of Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6. “Chinese come and patrol to their perceived Line of Actual Control…we try and prevent them. But at times there are celebrations that take place at the local levels. Celebrations were going on our side by our Tibetans in the Demchok sector. Based on that, some Chinese also came to see what was happening. But there has been no intrusions. Everything is normal,” the Army chief said.India and China share a disputed border and the armies of the two countries were engaged in a stand-off for 73 days in 2017 in Doklam. bipin rawatChinachinese armyLine of Actual Control First Published: July 13, 2019, 1:04 PM ISTlast_img read more

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10 iPad Pro apps to help you ditch the laptop

first_imgApple has been harping on and on about how the iPad Pro is not a PC and more than a PC but it hasn’t exactly said much about how. Aside from, of course, having a keyboard accessory and running Microsoft Office’s mobile suite. There is a grain of truth in that, of course. Thanks to the iPad Pro’s beefy specs and the almighty Pencil, it definitely comes close to replacing your PC. Here are 10 classes of apps that can help you leave the bulky laptop at home while you go about your merry way. Channeling da Vincie: Procreate and MedibangSince the dawn of the iPad, people have desperately tried to create works of art on the slate with their stubby fingers or equally stubby rubber styluses. It wasn’t until the arrival of the Apple Pencil that things took a more serious turn. You aren’t going to find any complete Photoshop replacement, and for good reason, but there are a few apps that come close to replacing it in your workflow. Heck, some have even created (not to mention sold) professional artwork on iPad Pros alone.At the top of the list is Procreate, which rivals Photoshop and many of its iOS counterparts in its brush engine and fluidity of performance, paired with the precision and tilt recognition of the Apple Pencil. But for those whose work goes beyond digital painting, especially comics artists, Procreate isn’t enough. That’s where Medibang Paint comes in, with its tools that make creating panels and typing in text a breeze. One benefit of Medibang Paint is that it is also available on desktops. Together with cloud syncing, this makes switching back and forth mobile and desktop near seamless.Inspiration anywhere: Adobe appWhile Adobe is mostly hailed in the desktop world as the king of digital content creation, on mobile it takes on a secondary yet interesting role. Its mediocre Photoshop and Illustrator equivalents hold no candle the likes of Procreate, but it offers a number of tools for iOS that still help tremendously in the creation process.To be less vague, Adobe has a set of tools that help kickstart inspiration and creativity, allowing users to capture ideas or photos and turn them into references or moodboards. Most of these apps you won’t find in Adobe’s desktop software but, since they’re connected to Adobe’s Cloud, you can easily share content easily between them.Mixing up music: GarageBandWhile we’re mostly steering away from Apple’s and Microsoft’s software in this list, because the’re pretty much a given, we’ll throw Apple a bone on this one. When you need to whip up professional-sounding music, especially in a pinch, you need not look further than GarageBand. Indies and even some pros swear by it, despite the connotation that comes with vendor-made apps.If, on the other hand, you need something with a bit of a DJ spirit, edjing Pro is your digital turntable and deck on the go.Creating videos: Pinnacle Studio Pro/Vizzywig 4KCreating and editing videos, in contrast, usually require a bit more bells and whistles. Some will, of course, be satisfied with what Apple’s iMovie iOS app has to offer, but the pros have something more worth their while.Pinnacle Studio Pro is billed as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut for iOS. And if you will judge that by its interface, it definitely fits the image. Despite the seemingly cluttered workspace, everything is still touch friendly, though you can always use your Pencil for more precise controls.If, for some reason, you need to create or edit 4K videos right on your iPad, then Vizzywig 4K is the way to go. It is as much a testament to the power of the iPad Pro as it is to the crazy apps you can think up for it. However, be warned that Vizzywig 4K is easily the most expensive app on the App Store, at $99.99 down from its previous $999.99.Watching videos: VLCThe iPad Pro’s huge and advanced screens make it a natural for watching videos. And while many consume their videos from online sources, there will always be times when you need or want to watch something offline.Despite being late to iOS, VLC is still considered the universal video player, both in terms of the platforms its supports as well as the media codecs it can play. It has a few special features that make it stand out on iOS, aside from being able to play almost anything, especially those that have subtitles. For one, it supports Picture-in-Picture mode, letting you “be productive” while watching a video. Another is that you don’t need iTunes to transfer videos for it to play. In addition to streaming from a network or discovering networked computers, you can also directly send files to VLC from your web browser, provided the two are on the same local network.Office productivity: Readdle appsNo, we aren’t going to give in and name Office or iWorks. Productivity, whether it be in work or in life in general, is so much more than just creating or editing word documents, spreadsheets, and slides. A lot of it revolves around organization of documents, files, and digital content, some of the low points of iOS as an operating system.Readdle suite of apps goes beyond mere creation and editing. Readlle is the creator of one of the more popular third-party calendar apps on iOS, Calendars 5, as well as an e-mail client named Spark. Perhaps one of its most popular apps is Documents, which is a misleading name for what is basically a file manager. One of the interesting to happen lately is that Readdle implemented something iPad users have been dying to have: dragging and dropping files between apps. Of course, it’s limited to Readdle’s own apps, but it could get the trend started. Productive laziness: WorkflowOne of the tenets of productivity is to automate rote, repetitive, and menial tasks. And just because your on an iPad Pro doesn’t meant you escape from the drudgery of such tasks. Thankfully, there is Workflow for iOS. Though not as fully featured and flexible as Automator for macOS, Workflow is amazing for what it is able to accomplish given the limitations of iOS. Want to immediately prep a social post for a photo you just took, with fields immediately filled up? You can automate that with Workflow? How about crop and watermark screenshots with minimum fuss? You can do that too.Workflow’s limitations are mostly due to the restrictions that iOS imposes. Now that Apple has acquired Workflow, however, we might see a bit less limitations there. Or Apple might completely integrate it into iOS even. Now wouldn’t that be grand!Crafting apps: Codea/Pythonista/Mobile C/etcGiven those same limitations, you might be surprised that you can actually write programs directly on your iPad Pro. No, not just toy or quiz programs, but nontrivial ones. You can even make games, within limits of course.There are a couple of programming environments available on iOS that can tickle your development bones. Codea, for example, leverages the easy-to-learn and lightweight Lua language to create rather involved games directly on the iPad. Pythonista, on the other hand, harnesses almost all the “batteries included” of Python for more complex scripts and programs, which can also neatly tie in with Workflow for an even grander application. If you’re bent is more on the close to the metal C and C++, there’s Mobile C, which even lets you use OpenGL ES and SDL 2 libraries for graphics. Of course, don’t expect to publish your apps the the Store. You’ll still need a Mac (or a Hackintosh) for that.Going the distance: Screens/Splashtop/TeamViewerIt is inevitable that you will eventually need to access a PC or Mac, perhaps for work. Maybe you’re out in the field and you need to access of home or office computer. Or maybe you just want to not have to bring your laptop or MacBook with you wherever you go, but still have the option to use it wherever you are.All those scenarios are possible with the magic of remote desktops. Some initial setup might be required, by your work’s system administrator or by yourself, or some cloud sign up, but once that’s done, you really won’t be tethered by your work or home computer anymore. There are quite a number of options out there and the competition is rather tight. Splashtop and TeamViewer are some of the biggest names in this market, but each one has their own subscription scheme that may or may not appeal to you. Almost all of them, however, are free to try, and it definitely won’t hurt if you do.Double vision: Duet Display Pro and AstroPadAdmittedly, this is less of an “iPad Pro replaces your PC/Mac”. This is instead an “iPad Pro makes your PC/Mac awesome”. Both Duet Display, specifically Duet Display Pro, and Astropad share a few features in common, but each attacks the problem for a different vantage point.Astropad is designed and optimized for turning your iPad Pro into a Wacom Cintiq, allowing you to use the Pencil to draw on the iPad Pro’s screen and have that carried over to the PC or Mac, as if you were drawing on them directly. Of course, it also carries over pressure sensitivity and tilt, giving you a more portable and multi-purpose art tablet. Astropad, however, is limited to only mirroring what’s on the computer’s screen.Duet Display, in contrast, started out as a way to extend your PC or Mac screen like you would a second monitor. You can also use it as simply a mirror or even a the primary screen (with some caveats). In the Pro subscription-version, however, it gained the ability to also use the Apple Pencil for pressure-sensitive drawing. It even gained the ability to display the Touchbar for Mac apps that support it. Its limitation over Astropad is that it only works via a cable, while Astropad supports both wired and wireless connections.Wrap-upAs much as fans and Apple itself might want it to, the iPad Pro still won’t be able to replace laptops. Much of that as to do with the sometimes arbitrary limitations imposed by iOS. Limitations that app developers, creative bunch as they are, have been able to work around, producing apps like Workflow, Codea, and Pythonista. But it’s getting there, and it might even be the destination Apple is eying. For now though, yes, you can just bring you iPad Pro with you and leave your laptop or MacBook at home. Just don’t get rid of it yet.last_img read more

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns under investor pressure

first_imgThe writing has been on the wall for months now, so it should really surprise no one that Uber’s controversial CEO is stepping down. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s completely out of picture, as he still serves on the company’s board. It, however, also doesn’t translate to an immediate recovery for the embattled ride hailing service, whose woes, not to mention lawsuits, will proceed even without Kalanick at the helm. Uber is a shining example of a company that grew too big too fast. And that growth may have been caused by a toxic working culture and a propensity for active above or around the law. It was really only a matter of time before the cards come falling down, something that the company’s investors are desperately trying to prevent.Kalanick was on his way out anyway, but definitely like this. The initial plan was to take an indefinite leave of absence, citing the loss of his mother as the reason for the departure. It was, of course, also tied to the fact that he was already under immense pressure to leave. And five of Uber’s biggest investors decided that enough is enough and a simple leave of absence, indefinite as it may be, isn’t enough. Kalanick has to leave.Those five investors, Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, and Fidelity investments together hold more than a fourth of Uber’s stocks. That translates to having 40% of voting power in the company. So when these five sent a letter demanding Kalanick’s resignation, it was not something the bullish CEO could ignore anymore. After consultation, he decided to step down.The investors want Uber to be able to move forward under new leadership, but while they did get Kalanick to vacate the position, it doesn’t equate to success. Aside from finding someone suitable, not to mention willing, to risk career suicide, the company’s growth and culture has been inextricably tied to Kalanick’s own personality. Turning such a large ship will take a lot more work than just removing its captain, especially when there is no captain to guide it.SOURCE: New York Timeslast_img read more

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Google Clips camera launch nears drops by FCC

first_imgThe Clips is one of Google’s strangest products yet. Obviously not a smartphone or a speaker (it has totally no audio capabilities), it is more like smart security camera except it isn’t. It does get triggered by movement and records clips, but that’s pretty much where their similarities end.At the same time, Clips makes absolute sense to people who make it a habit to capture memories on their phones. People who always feel left out, figuratively and literally, from the picture. It’s meant to record short video clips, triggered by motion and some artificial intelligence. And that’s pretty much it. There have been a lot of Google and Android related product announcements and launches in the past months, it’s almost too easy to forget that at least one new, and odd, device hasn’t yet. The Google Clips “wireless smart camera” has yet to hit the market, but that day might be approaching really soon. Spotted at the FCC as the G015A, Google’s somewhat controversial camera might be due any day now. Presuming people will be willing to invest $250 in this simple yet strange box. As such, Clips is practically Google’s most single-purpose product yet. A product that will cost you $249 when it launches. When that date is, Google hasn’t yet said, but it should be near, since the device already passed the FCC. Well, allegedly passed. The filing doesn’t specifically name Google Clips, but it does talks about a battery-operated, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled camera with model number G015A. Which is pretty much what the Google Clips is.VIA: Varietylast_img read more

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Japan IT Week Spring 2018 Heres what to expect

first_imgAlmost all of the major annual tech shows, like CES, MWC, and IFA, happen in the West, though, of course, their audience and exhibitors come from all over the world. There are, however, other equally big IT gatherings on the other side of the globe that also give important insight on the trends and developments in those regions. In two months’ time, Japan will be holding the country’s and one of the region’s largest trade show, Japan IT Week Spring, and its lineup shows just how much AI and IoT have spread throughout the world. The 27th annual edition of the show is opening its doors to IT professionals and companies around the world. Among the 1,700 exhibitors gathered, 350 will come from 21 countries to talk about and showcase the latest news, trends, and products that will help push the IT industry forward, not just in Japan but also the world at large. Japan IT Week Spring isn’t exactly one single show – It is, in fact, made of a number of independent exhibitions. This year, that number has climbed up to 13. The latest addition, unsurprisingly, is AI.While most consumers will hear AI and think of names like Siri, Alexa, or Skynet, AI is an even bigger and more serious topic in business. Artificial intelligence, especially in the service of business automation, is reshaping work and employment even in Japan. The even organizers are expecting this expo to draw one of the largest crowds that week.The AI and Business Automation Expo will actually be happening along with the other big item for the week, the IoT and M2M (Machine-to-Machine) expo. IoT isn’t just for smart homes, of course. Connected computers and devices are just as or even more important in businesses. Powering that industry on the hardware side are Embedded Systems, which get their own expo at Japan IT Week. Here, companies like AMD, Mitsubishi, and Toyota will explain advancements in putting those small computers into anything, from smart appliances to self-driving cars.The one thing that binds all of these rapidly growing technologies together is the Internet. Their rise in popularity also fuels the growth of cybercrime. Information Security is no longer just a matter of installing anti-virus software or setting up firewalls. Trend Micro, ESET, Proof Point, and other cybersecurity companies will explain best practices and solutions to combat the latest trends in digital crime.The Japan IT Week Spring will be held on May 9 to 11 at the Tokyo Big Sight center. Exhibits include:– AI & Business Automation Expo Spring– Software & Apps Development Expo (SODEC)– Big Data Management Expo (BIG DATA Spring)– Embedded Systems Expo (ESEC)– Data Storage Expo (DSE)– Data Center Expo (DATA CENTER Spring)– Information Security Expo (IST Spring)– Web & Digital Marketing Expo (Web-Mo Spring)– Cloud Computing Expo Japan (CLOUD JAPAN Spring)– Mobile Solutions Expo (MOBIX Spring)– IoT/M2M Expo (IoT/M2M Spring)– Direct Commerce Solutions Expo (DIREX Spring)– Store & Retail IT Solutions Expo (STOREX Spring)last_img read more

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Apples next set of iOS emoji is all about hair and lettuce

first_imgIf you’re an iOS user who happens to love emoji, here’s the best news you’ll hear all day: in celebration of World Emoji Day, Apple has announced more than 70 new emoji for iOS. They won’t be here until later this year, but we’re getting an early glimpse at some them today. Most of these new emoji center around different hair styles and colors, giving users a variety of new options. These new emoji were created with Unicode 11.0 guidelines in mind, and feature new options for people with curly hair or no hair at all. In addition to the new curly-haired and bald emoji, Apple will roll out emoji featuring red and gray hair colors. With all the different skin and hair types taken into account, those two new colors alone add a bunch of new emoji to iOS.Apple isn’t stopping with just hair, though. The company has a few new smiley faces on deck, including a blue, frozen smiley and one with pleading eyes. We’ll also see a pair of superhero emoji, a nazar amulet, and even a ball of yarn for all of you knitting fanatics out there.AdChoices广告As always, there will be a selection of animal and food emoji included in this eventual update. New animals include a parrot, lobster, peacock, and kangaroo. New food emoji we’ll see include moon cake, mango, cupcakes, and everyone’s favorite: Lettuce. Apple doesn’t get into specifics when it comes to when these emoji will launch, simply saying that they’ll arrive later on this year. Perhaps we’ll see them launch alongside iOS 12? We’ll keep an ear to the ground for more, but for now, head down to the comments section and let us know what you think of these new emoji.center_img Story TimelineApple’s new emojis are accessibility-centricThe next big batch of new emoji just got a release dateMemoji are iOS 12’s answer to Galaxy S9’s AR emojilast_img read more

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Windows 10 Pro activation error downgrades users to Home

first_imgHi there! Thank you for alerting us about this. There are no known issues regarding license deactivation. Have you made any recent changes on your computer prior to the issue? Were you able to activate Windows 10 Pro again?— Microsoft Support (@MicrosoftHelps) November 8, 2018 Some Windows 10 users are reporting license issues resulting in warnings that their system is not activated. The issue surfaced in a Reddit post published yesterday, where other Windows 10 Pro users chimed in to confirm similar problems. Microsoft has since reporetdly acknowledged the problem, explaining that the issue is with its activation server. “All of a sudden after years of having this key which was from windows 8 pro then migrated to windows 10 for free,” a Reddit post reads, “I got a notification saying my key is Windows 10 home version and that I need to install it.. [sic]”Hours later, confirmation from Microsoft rolled in and impacted users were told that the license problem is the result of a server issue. The company issued an Emerging Issue notice, and a copy of a technical support chat states that the activation error is known to impact Windows 10 Pro users in the US, Japan, Korea, and other unnamed countries.The message reads:Microsoft has just released an Emerging issue announcement about current activation issue related to Pro edition recently. This happens in Japan, Korea, American and many other countries.I am very sorry to inform you that there is a temporary issue with Microsoft’s activation server at the moment and some customers might experience this issue where Windows is displayed as not activated.Our engineers are working tirelessly to resolve this issue and it is expected to be corrected within one to two business days. The issue appears to be ongoing at this time, but some users report success fixing the problem by using the Windows activation troubleshooter. Unfortunately, some users report that the activation troubleshooter tells the user they’re running Windows 10 Home instead of Windows 10 Pro. In this case, the user has no option but to ignore the message and wait for the fix.Impacted users will see a small watermark in the bottom corner of the screen that instructs the owner to activate Windows. Current support statements indicate Microsoft is expecting to release the fix in a day or two. A tweet from the Microsoft Helps Twitter account has confused the matter, though, stating that there’s no known license deactivation issue:last_img read more

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