Top Stories for the Week of May 3, 2017

  • Episode 502
  • May 3, 2017
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday May 3, 2017

A real-life Iron Man suit took flight on Thursday.

British inventor Richard Browning lifted off from the shore of Vancouver Harbor on Thursday in a personal flight suit that inspired references to Iron Man.

Using thrusters attached to his arms and back, Browning flew in a circle and hovered a short distance from the ground, captivating attendees at a prestigious TED Conference.

The personal flight suit is capable of propeling wearers much higher and faster, according to its creators.

The extreme athlete and engineer said, "The hypothesis was that the human mind and body, if properly augmented, could achieve some pretty cool stuff."

Browning told of experimenting with various numbers and arrays of essentially miniature jet engines on his limbs.

Along the way, he said, there were more than a few crashes to the ground.

Browning said, "The whole journey was about trying and failing, and learning from that."

The first reasonably stable, six-second flight with the gear inspired his team to press on.

His startup, Gravity, formally debuted about a month ago.

Browning said he is already getting interest from investors and some in the British military who told him they had given up on the flight feature of an 'Iron Man' suit until seeing his human-propulsion gear.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

Facebook to add 3,000 employees to watch for inappropriate content

Mark Zuckerberg announced today that his company, Facebook Inc will hire 3,000 additional employees over the next year in an effort to respond to reports of inappropriate material on the social media network and speed up the removal of videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts.

The hiring spree is an acknowledgment by Facebook that, at least for now, it needs more than automated software to improve monitoring of posts. Facebook Live, a service that allows any user to broadcast live, has been marred since its launch last year by instances of people streaming violence.

Zuckerberg, the company’s co-founder, said in a Facebook post the workers will be in addition to the 4,500 people who already review posts that may violate its terms of service.

Zuckerberg said: “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

The 3,000 workers will be new positions and will monitor all Facebook content, not just live videos. We've yet to learn where the jobs will be located.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson

Microsoft has announced their latest OS to compete against Google's Chrome OS.

Microsoft launched its latest version of Windows 10 yesterday, Windows 10 S. It’s designed for education and to take on Chromebooks and Chrome OS.

The biggest change to Windows 10 S is that it’s locked to only work with Windows Store apps. That means you’ll need to find apps in the Store to download and install them, and many desktop apps like Photoshop and Chrome simply aren’t in the Store yet.

Microsoft claims that security and performance will both be improved with Windows 10 S. Since apps won’t be able to run unless they’re packaged and available in the Windows Store, that should help prevent malware and unnecessary apps from running at boot up.

While you will be able to install a different browser on Windows 10 S, users won’t be able to alter their default browser. That means if you click on a link from within an app you’ll be forced into Microsoft’s Edge browser.

Microsoft is also locking down Microsoft Edge to only work with its Bing search engine. You'll be able to use the Google web site, of course, but if you type your query in the address bar, it's Bing all the way.

This new OS will likely lead to some confusion for users who pick up a cheap laptop and want to start running desktop apps and can’t find them in the Store, though. That was a major hurdle for Windows RT, and Microsoft will have to manage the inevitable consumer confusion better this time around.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson

Amazon wants you to have meaningful conversations with Alexa

It would seem Amazon wants you to have meaningful conversations with Alexa...

Amazon recently released new tools to app developers that allow Alexa to whisper, show emotion and pause naturally, like we humans do. And that’s just the start, says Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s head scientist for Alexa, who is playing a key role in the retailer's efforts in artificial intelligence for Alexa—using computers to converse with us.

Prasad says, "I truly believe that for AI to be useful in our daily lives, it has to be something you can connect with. Conversation is the next step, to be more human-like."

Alexa competes with other personal digital assistants like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and the Google Assistant and has emerged as one of the leaders in voice computing. The Echo product is one of Amazon's most popular, and many head-to-head reviews cite Alexa as the most effective.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson

Ubisoft is giving you a free weekend to play The Division.

Ubisoft REALLY wants you to like 'The Division,' so go play it for free.

Whether you're on a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Windows PC, you'll be able to download and install an unlimited copy of the game from tomorrow until Sunday -- that's May 4th to 7th, 2017 for those of you catching this in 2028.

Any progress you make during the free weekend will of course carry over should you decide to buy the game.

The Division is Ubisoft's answer to the increasingly popular brand of "live" games like Destiny, which draw inspiration from the social emphasis and event-driven gameplay of MMORPGs.

In this one, players are deposited into a post-apocalyptic version of midtown Manhattan. Widespread illness led many to flee the city before it was quarantined, and those who are left have kinda lost it. You step into the role of a government operative in the Division, a network of trained sleeper agents that don't activate until things get really bad.

Along with the free weekend, Ubisoft will also be running a sale on The Division. You'll be able to pick the standard version of the game on PS4 and Xbox One for $19.99 until May 15. The PC version is also on sale, for $5 more, until May 7.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


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