Microsoft paints politically beautiful world for the holidays

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


Out in space, they’re going to love us.

Microsoft/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Let’s reach for the symbolism in Microsoft’s new ad for the holidays.

Earlier this year, there were worries that Microsoft Paint, a program beloved by so many, would disappear and die.

But then Microsoft said it would be replaced by Paint 3D and also be available in the Windows Store for free.

It’s just like the world, isn’t it? 

Every day we wake up, open Twitter and think it’s going to be the end. Somehow, though, we survive. Somehow, life even takes on an extra dimension.

Here, then, Microsoft offers us a young girl and some lovely Paint 3D monsters, including Gabe the Yeti.

Because when you’re a young girl, you really need to be transported into a magical outer space, away from the traumas of daily life.

Out there, everyone is a friend. 

It doesn’t matter if your face is purple and you have quite a few eyes that point in different directions. It doesn’t matter if you’re a downtrodden snowperson, or if you’re temporarily legless. 

There are actually people out there — sometimes far out there — who are prepared to help. 

As Microsoft itself says on YouTube: “When we are inclusive and celebrate our differences we can make the world a better place.”

Yes, this might be a delightful, festive, joyous, warm and moving little piece.

It’s also a message to all those who would isolate America, divide Americans and curb immigration, all issues against which Microsoft has fought

Still, the ad also offers an optimistic view of the future. 

If, as Stephen Hawking contends, we’ll have to leave Earth within 100 years, it’s good to know that there are beings out in space who will receive us with open arms.

Article source:

Stranger Things star: Show ‘probably’ won’t return till 2019


Eleven’s fans may have a long wait to see her and her pals again.


Stranger Things” had a nice little Halloween tie-in with season 2, which came out on Oct. 27, just days before the spooky holiday.

But if star David Harbour is right, fans of the Netflix hit will have to wait until 2019 to binge on the third season.

“I think we’re supposed to go into production around April,” Harbour told Variety at the Dubai International Film Festival. “I mean, one of the things that’s annoying for fans is that it takes us a long time to do (episodes). Like, you probably won’t get (season 3) until sometime in 2019.”

But that doesn’t mean show creators Matt and Ross Duffer are slacking off. 

“Those guys work so hard,” Harbour said. “I mean, they just sit in their apartment and write for 12, 14 hours a day … The more time they take, the better the scripts are, and so that, to me, is the most important thing.”

Earlier this month, Netflix announced “Stranger Things” had been picked up for a third season, and in September, the Duffer brothers hinted that they wanted five seasons.


Article source:

Apple AI chief reveals more progress on self-driving car tech

To start, Apple has crafted a system that uses onboard cameras to identify objects even in tricky situations, such as when raindrops cover the lens. It can estimate the position of a pedestrian even if they’re hidden by a parked car. Other additions included giving cars direction through simultaneous localization and mapping, creating detailed 3D maps using car sensors and decision-making in urgent situations (say, a wayward pedestrian).

It’s still not certain if or how Apple will commercialize its self-driving know-how. At the moment, its next goal is to produce driverless employee shuttles. The company isn’t currently expected to sell its own cars, but licensing its work to others would be unusual when Apple is well-known for preferring to develop everything in-house.

The talk in itself is notable. Apple has been slowly opening the kimono on its AI research, but it hasn’t been clear on just how much it was willing to discuss. Salakhutdinov’s chat shows that it’s willing to offer at least some kind of consistent openness rather than maintaining its legendary secrecy. Not that it has much of a choice. Apple has struggled to attract AI talent in part because its secretive approach has been unappealing for researchers used to receiving academic and industry recognition. Presentations like this could keep Apple’s AI team in the spotlight and reel in scientists who’d otherwise go to Facebook, Google or tech giants.

Article source:

2019 Volvo XC40 is a damn good compact luxury SUV

Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.

Article source:

Uber settles lawsuit over rape victim’s medical records

A fleet of self-driving Uber cars in San Francisco last December. The company has settled a lawsuit stemming from a rape in India in 2014.

A fleet of self-driving Uber cars in San Francisco last December. The company has settled a lawsuit stemming from a rape in India in 2014.

James Martin/CNET

Uber has settled a lawsuit involving a woman raped by one of its drivers in India and allegations that the company had obtained and mishandled her medical records.

Court documents filed Friday said the case would be dismissed in January. The terms of the settlement weren’t revealed.

The lawsuit (PDF), filed this past June in the Northern District of California, alleged intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts and defamation. It said executives at Uber believed the woman was “fraudulently claiming that she had been raped” in collusion with one of the company’s rivals.

The woman was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India, in December 2014. At the time, she sued the ride-hailing service over the sexual assault, alleging that company negligence and fraud had led to the attack. Uber settled that case in September 2015. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was found guilty in October 2015 and given a life sentence for kidnapping, rape and criminal intimidation.

The subsequent lawsuit, about the medical records, followed reports in Recode and The New York Times about the records and their handling.

Last month, Uber was hit with two separate lawsuits alleging rape by Uber drivers. The legal actions followed a number of scandals this year, including the revelation, in November, that Uber waited a whole year to reveal a data breach that exposed information on 57 million users and drivers.

The problems also included a #DeleteUber movement in January, workplace sexual harassment allegations and an internal investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. In June, Uber’s board of directors forced founder and CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says he’s trying to turn things around.

Neither Uber nor the attorney for the plaintiff in the medical records suit responded to a request for comment on the settlement.

CNET’s Roger Cheng and Dara Kerr contributed to this report.

Special Reports: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.

Article source:

‘Star Wars: Last Jedi’ gets early raves: ‘I’m still shaking’


Daisy Ridley returns as Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”


Those lucky enough to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” before its official opening next week shared impressions on social media Saturday night after the world premiere in Hollywood.

And Star Wars fans, you can breathe again. First reactions are crazy-good. 

Let’s start the roll call with CNET’s own Ashley Esqueda, who gets right to the point.

Those who saw the film praised it on multiple levels, with kudos for the action and “gorgeous” shots. But bring some Kleenex, as the excitement reportedly melds with the kind of emotional depth fans expect from such an epic franchise. This is all good news for fans who long to feel the disappointment of the prequels recede further and further into outer space. 

Star John Boyega, who plays Finn, almost didn’t make it to the LA premiere due to bad weather in Atlanta. He ended up making it in time (minus his luggage), but the events led to some fun tweets between Boyega and other Star Wars cast and crew.

“The Last Jedi” opens worldwide Dec. 14. Look for CNET’s full review on Dec. 12.


Article source:

%d bloggers like this: