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Google
France just fined Google 150 million euros (approx. $167 million) for having unclear advertising on the Google Ads page, as well as for anti-competitive behavior. This is a trend in the EU. If you remember, the French government settled a fraud probe with Google for about a billion euros. The EU doesn't like the fact that Google hoovers up over 90 percent of online advertising. Continue Reading →
Smart Speakers
Amazon, Google, Apple, and the Zigbee Alliance announced a new partnership called Project Connected Home over IP. It will create a new smart home standard so their products can work together. Sadly, we won’t see a draft specification until late next year. But the good news is that the partnership is announced and there will be a spec and open source materials, too. Continue Reading →

Alexa Is Getting Emotional

C-3P0
A few weeks ago, Amazon announced new developer tools to enable Alexa to speak with emotion, either excited or disappointed across a range of intensities. Amazon said, "Use new Alexa Emotions and speaking styles to create a more natural and intuitive voice experience." Continue Reading →

Beware Holiday Robocall Scams

Unknown Caller
Robocalls are so universally hated that the United States House of Representatives (a group not known for their bipartisan approach to legislating) passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED) 417-3. I am wondering what the three representatives who did not vote in favor of the bill like about robocalls... Continue Reading →
While I was out at a meeting, my meticulously neat wife armed herself with a feather duster, donned protective pink rubber gloves, and viciously, mercilessly straightened, organized, and dusted the desk in my home office. My desk was clean, but the results were suboptimal. Continue Reading →
Star Trek Universal Translator
Fans of Star Trek (The Original Series) will fondly remember the "Universal Translator." While Gene Roddenberry's epic saga was both inspirational and aspirational for some, it set goals for others. How much wireless bandwidth would you need on the Starship Enterprise? How would a medical tricorder work? What kind of storage would you need on Memory Alpha? How did the noise-cancelling for communicators work? Every engineer I know can tell you a story about how he or she was inspired by this amazing 1960s television show. Continue Reading →

My New Mac Pro

Mac Pro
Apple finally added a "Buy Now" button to its Mac Pro page, and no one was more excited to go Mac Pro shopping than me. I have been waiting for this computer for quite some time. It will be a replacement for the four-year old Mac that is the center of my home studio. Continue Reading →
ARCore Depth API
If you've ever played Pokémon Go, you know that Pikachu was just pasted on top of whatever you pointed your camera at. About a year ago, Pokémon Go creator Niantic announced that they had worked out how to let Pikachu hide behind real-world objects. The technique, called occlusion, was demonstrated in a video, not on an actual device. Yesterday, Google announced the tools to solve the problem. Continue Reading →

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