Weekly poll: LG G6 is a clean break from the G5, what do you think?

LG tried something novel with the G5 but recent leaks show it’s changing course for the LG G6. Gone is the removable battery and gone are the bezels (the headphone jack is reportedly safe and sound). The LG G6 is rumored to have an usual 2:1 screen (well, extra wide screens are not that unusual for LG) that will cover more than 90% of the front.

LG officially confirmed that the G6 will be waterproof in addition to slimming down the bezels. Not officially confirmed yet, but reports suggest it will drop the modular design but will keep the dual cameras. Renders show the back will be quite similar to the G5. A Google’s digital assistant will be a highlight of the phone (poised to launch at MWC) but a Snapdragon 835 will not feature due to availability issues (chances are the Snapdragon 821 will be used).

That’s the LG G6 story so far and with MWC fast approaching (starting at the end of February), we wondered what you thought of the narrative so far. Many voiced concerns about the chipset, some were unhappy about the battery (the V20 has a removable battery), though others were delighted at the minimalist bezels. What is your say?

LG G6: a step forward or back?

Love the bezels and waterproofing

Let’s see the price

Sealed batteries suck


Microsoft tries to expel Chromebooks from schools with Intune app and low-cost PCs

intune for education set up pcs

For years, Apple Macs dominated the classroom. Then Chromebooks took over. Now, Microsoft is once again pushing for kids to learn via new, cheap Windows 10 PCs, managed by a new Intune application designed specifically for education.

Chromebooks aren’t much more than web browsers built on top of a bare-bones OS. That can be a drawback for businesses, who demand a rich platform for computing. In classrooms, though, the relative simplicity of the platform can be a positive, as they’re easier to manage.

intune for education dashboard


Microsoft’s Intune for Education dashboard allows classroom PCs to be quickly set up and managed, Microsoft says.

To counter that advantage, Microsoft is debuting Microsoft Intune for Education, a cloud-based version of the Intune application- and device-management service to make managing 30 or 40 laptops per classroom less of a chore. Schools can customize over 150 granular settings, assign them to a student, and apply them to hardware, apps, browsers, the start menu, Windows Defender, and more, Microsoft said in a blog post. For example, a particular student can be assigned to a specific group, and be automatically assigned the same apps as other members of the group.

Managing a few devices can be handled by just logging into the service with an Office 365 login. A separate “set up school PC” app can handle larger deployments, Microsoft said. Intune for Education will be available in preview in the coming weeks and more broadly available this spring for $30 per device, via volume licensing.

intune for education tests

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Microsoft-powered education PCs can be locked down to a single app during test time.

Why this matters: According to a September 2016 report by FutureSource, about half of the computing devices in U.S. classrooms are Chromebooks, the inexpensive Chrome OS-powered devices manufactured by Samsung and others. Microsoft hopes to regain dominance via its partners, who are marketing inexpensive PCs that can compete on price while offering capabilities like touch and electronic inking that Chromebooks lack. Still, at least in the classrooms we’ve seen, Chromebooks seem to have a solid foothold.

Acer, JP.IK, Lenovo launch new education PCs

At the BETT conference this week in London, Microsoft said it will show off existing PCs designed for education, such as the HP Stream 11 Pro G3, starting at $189. Three others were announced as well:

Acer’s Travelmate Spin B118 convertible notebook: With four usage modes, the 11.6-inch convertible notebook can be folded back via its 360-degree hinge to approximate a tablet. The $299 notebook includes a stylus and touchscreen supporting Windows Ink, a battery good for 13 hours of work, a shock-absorbent bumper and spillproof keyboard.

acer travelmate spin b118

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Acer’s Travelmate Spin B118

JP.IK’s TURN T201 PC: The TURN T201 is a PC designed for students aged 12 to 18, with a Microlens microscope and a thermal probe.

jp.ik turn t201

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Lenovo ThinkPad 11e, N24: Lenovo has also updated its education PCs with the addition of the ThinkPad 11e, either in a traditional clamshell or Yoga form factor. The 11e’s battery supports 11 hours of battery life and comes with a stylus. The N24 does as well, plus a 11.6-inch IPS display. Lenovo offered no other details, save for its expected release in mid-2017.

lenovo thinkpad 11e


Lenovo’s ThinkPad 11e

Microsoft also added some new features to its Minecraft: Education Edition: “Global Pause,”  text-to-speech for in-game chat, an updated user interface for managing in-game settings, 256 world heights for greater building capabilities, plus complete gameplay from the first night to The End dimension, and new “Minecraft mobs” and items including igloos and polar bears.


A pair of new smartphones from Huawei and Honor pass through TENAA

Every time we report on Huawei and its Honor sub-brand, we tend to pay close attention to a given device’s affiliation to one or the other, since the two parties have made the case that they are quite independent, on more than one occasion. Perfectly aware of that point, we still can’t help but get a little bit confused when we come across leaks, like the two TENAA certification pages currently at hand.

Honor DUK-TL30 Honor DUK-TL30 Honor DUK-TL30 Honor DUK-TL30
Honor DUK-TL30

One is for a Honor-branded device, bearing the model number – “DUK-TL30”. Just like the Honor 6X, which was also recently announced and is now part of an interesting beta test program for fans, it too has a dual-camera setup. Unlike it, however, is sticks a lot closer to the Honor 8’s original horizontal layout for the two lenses. The round fingerprint sensor on the back seems to be another similarity, but the rest of the aesthetics of the DUK-TL30 tend to differ quite a bit from the Honor 8.

But, genealogy aside, the DUK-TL30 is shaping up like a noticeably superior device. It offers a 5.7-inch QHD display and an undisclosed octa-core chipset. This will likely be the Kirin 960, which has already proven its worth in the Huawei Mate 9. Other specs, as detailed by TENAA, include 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage and a 12MP, plus 2MP camera setup. A 3,900 mAh battery is keeping the light on and the unit will likely boot Android 7 Nougat. LTE and Dual-SIM support are also part of the mix and the unit itself measures 157 x 77.5 x 6.97mm and weighs in at 184 grams.

Huawei WAS-AL00 Huawei WAS-AL00 Huawei WAS-AL00 Huawei WAS-AL00
Huawei WAS-AL00

Moving on to Huawei’s main brand, we find another TENAA filing. This time it is for the “WAS-AL00″. The confusion here stems from the fact that even though the WAS-AL00 appears to be a more modest offer, with only a single main camera, it does look suspiciously similar to the aforementioned Honor 8 in terms of aesthetics. Its 146.5 x 72 x 7.2 mm, 146 gram body seems to have pretty much identical curves and buttons, with only the square design of the fingerprint reader really sticking out as a stylistic difference.

As far as specs go, TENAA lists a 5.2-inch, 1080p display and an undisclosed octa-core chipset, yet again. Memory is set at 4GB and there is 64GB of expandable storage to go along with that. In the camera department there is a 12MP shooter on the back and 8MP one on the front. Power comes courtesy of a 2,900 mAh battery and the device boots Android Nougat, as well.


Is it time to take a break from social media?

Zeenia Baria| TNN | Jan 21, 2017, 01.00 AM IST

Don't let social media take over your life (Thinkstock)Don’t let social media take over your life (Thinkstock)
It’s hard to imagine life without social media, isn’t it? For a large number of the urban population, Facebook, Twitter, Instagrametc. have become de rigueur — such an integral and essential part of life that even the thought of not being able to access them seems incomprehensible. Whether you belong to the category that likes to document every tiny aspect of their life on social media or the one that simply likes to see what other people are up to, there is no escaping its claws. In recent times, several studies have revealed that while social media has its positive side, it can also lead to self-esteem issues, among others. The latest study reported that taking a break from social media just for a week could actually boost mental health.
Social media can be very addictive
Says consultant psychiatrist Dr Pavan Sonar, “Social media can have a negative impact on mental well-being because of its addictive potential. People often get addicted to social media and spend hours of their time there. This can cause reduced productivity as well as relationship issues in real life. As with any addictive substance, social media could also give you a false ‘high’. You may portray yourself better than the real you. The likes and good comments may work as positive reinforcements to do same again and again. Your awkwardness in the real world can be easily hidden in this virtual world. The constant need to get attention might be satisfied here. Your craving for gossip and checking what other people are up to also make you visit the site repeatedly.”
Adds psychiatrist Dr Ashish Gambre, “Social media today is a medium of instant communication where one gets all the news and recent updates from friends and around the world. Unfortunately, today’s youth also look for validation, approval and comparison, which, in turn, can have a negative impact on their mental well-being. There are so many social media sites on the Internet and the reason one gets addicted is simple — you can communicate with a lot of people at one time and share a part of your life with yourcomments, pictures and videos. When one starts getting likes and positive comments, he or she simply gets encouraged to do more.”

How to lower your use

The first thing that one needs to do is understand and accept that there is a problem of spending too much time on social media. Only once this acceptance is made, can one move forward for a positive change.

  • Firstly, track the time spent on these sites.
  • Remove unnecessary apps and notifications from your smartphone.
  • Prioritise your work. First focus on completing your real work; go online only once you’ve finished all your tasks.
  • Go out and meet friends instead of chatting with them in the virtual world.

“By reducing the use of too much social media, one can meet people face to face and make real friends, focus more on the work at hand, increase productivity and thereby, gain confidence. Social media is a great tool to use but it is up to you how you use it for your benefit,” explains Dr Gambre.

Ends Dr Sonar, “People need to acknowledge how social media is causing problems in their real life. Uninstall apps on your smartphone and stick to your decision of spending less time — say maximum 20 minutes — in 24 hours on social media. Curbing your use helps improve mental health more than you realise.

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Otherwise it going to break our life, family life. We will not be able to be with nature
Prakash Vadnere

  • It gives you plenty of time to spend on yourself and your near and dear ones in the real world.
  • Helps you to be more realistic about yourself and others.
  • Increases your productivity.
  • Keeps you away from negative emotions that one often encounters online.
  • You remain socially safe rather than isolated.

What the study said

A new study split nearly 2,000 people, aged 34 on average, into two groups. One group would keep on with their social media use as usual. The other group quit using it for a week. Before and after the study period, participants answered questions designed to capture their attitudes about the site and their styles of use. Some were active users, meaning they posted pictures and updates, and some were passive users, meaning that they typically just scrolled through the newsfeed or browsed profiles. They were also asked questions about their life satisfaction and about mental health, including happiness, loneliness, enthusiasm, depression, decisiveness and anger.

After a week, people who’d given up on this were better off in several regards. They had better well-being and life satisfaction. Study author Tromholt Morten said, “The present study provides causal evidence that quitting it leads to higher levels of both cognitive and affective well-being. The participants who took a one-week break reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life.”


EU antitrust regulators praise audiobooks deal from Apple, Amazon

screen shot 2017 01 19 at 11.07.38 am

Antitrust regulators from the European Union have welcomed an agreement between Apple and Amazon to end exclusivity deals for audiobooks.

The agreement between Apple and Amazon and its Audible service to remove the exclusivity obligations allows Audible to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third-party platforms beyond iTunes, the European Commission said Thursday. In addition, the agreement will allow Apple to source audiobooks from new suppliers and will allow publishers to enter into distributions agreements directly with Apple, the Commission said.

Audible and Apple’s iTunes store are two of the world’s largest distributors of downloadable audiobooks to consumers. Audible, owned by Amazon since 2008, is the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks.

Earlier this month, Audible and Apple agreed to remove all exclusivity obligations related to the supply and distribution of audiobooks. These exclusivity obligations, which predated Amazon’s acquisition of Audible, required Apple to source exclusively from Audible and prohibited Audible from supplying to other music digital platforms.

The removal of these exclusivity obligations “will allow for further competition in a fast-growing and innovative market and allow European consumers broader access to downloadable audiobooks,” the Commission said in a press release.

The European Commission had been looking into the exclusivity arrangement since it received a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. The German Federal Cartel Office opened an investigation into Audible and Apple in November 2015.

Separately, the Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Amazon’s audiobook contracts in June. The Commission investigated clauses included in Amazon’s contracts that required publishers to inform the company about more favorable terms offered to its competitors, the Commission said then.

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How to protect the elderly and children from the cold

The cold weather — coupled with pollutants hanging low in Delhi’s air — poses a serious health risk, especially to the elderly and children. Here’s how you can help ease their pain

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Every new game revealed at The Game Awards 2016, from Guardians of the Galaxy to Zelda

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We’re still a few weeks out from announcing our own Game(s) of the Year list, but 2016’s first Faux Video Game Oscars event happened last night: The Game Awards, the show that Geoff Keighley spun out of Spike’s old Video Game Awards.

And as with every year, the awards themselves took second stage to the non-stop hype train of trailers for next year’s games. What an honor! So inside, you’ll find all of the World Exclusive Reveals™ from last night’s 2016 Game Awards. That means Mass Effect: AndromedaGuardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series, and more.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip

The “World Exclusive Reveal” train started before The Game Awards even officially started, with Gearbox and People Can Fly revealing Bulletstorm: Full Clipa.k.a. Bulletstorm: Remastered Edition. Or, if we’re being hopeful here, Bulletstorm: Maybe They Fixed The Damn PC Port This Time Around.

Death Stranding

Next up: A lengthy speech from Keighley honoring Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima, whose award fell into some weird limbo last year in the aftermath of the Kojima/Konami fallout.

Oh, and once Kojima had his award well in-hand he showed off another weird trailer for his upcoming game Death Stranding. Not as weird as “Norman Reedus naked holding a baby,” but this time we got “Dismembered baby doll floating down a canal.” So yeah, still pretty weird.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

One lengthy music performance, a single award, and 20 minutes later, we got another reveal. This time? Telltale expands its staple of superhero-themed adventure games to include Guardians of the Galaxy. Not much to go on here. Just a brief teaser, but one that still garnered quite a bit of buzz nevertheless.


Another incredibly short teaser, this time for Dauntless, an upcoming action RPG from a who’s-who of developers that stem from BioWare, Riot, Capcom, and Blizzard. There’s not much to go on in the trailer, but the official press release says:

“Dauntless is an online co-op action role-playing game (RPG) set in an untamed science-fantasy world. Players take on the role of elite warriors known as Slayers who protect humanity by hunting ferocious Behemoths.

The world of Dauntless has been shattered by a cataclysmic event, creating a vast array of uncharted and majestic floating islands. Behemoths, as cunning as they are vicious, consume the land, and it’s up to the Slayers to hunt them down before they destroy what remains of the world.”

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Guardians Of The Galaxy
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Tired of boring ol’ video game trailers? Let’s take a break for some live Doommetal.


Five things AI does better than humans, from the mundane to the magnificent

AIs are giving us a kicking in board games and video games, but what else are they good for?

facebook ai research building blocks
An AI developed by Facebook researchers can rival humans when it comes to predicting whether wooden blocks will stay stacked — and where they will fall if they don’t.

Credit: Facebook AI Research

For millennia, we surpassed the other intelligent species with which we share our planetdolphins, porpoises, orangutans, and the likein almost all skills, bar swimming and tree-climbing.

In recent years, though, our species has created new forms of intelligence, able to outperform us in other ways. One of the most famous of these artificial intelligences (AIs) is AlphaGo, developed by Deepmind. In just a few years, it has learned to play the 4,000-year-old strategy game, Go, beating two of the worlds strongest players.

Other software developed by Deepmind has learned to play classic eight-bit video games, notably Breakout, in which players must use a bat to hit a ball at a wall, knocking bricks out of it. CEO Demis Hassabis is fond of saying that the software figured out how to beat the game purely from the pixels on the screen, often glossing over the fact that the company first taught it how to count and how to read the on-screen score, and gave it the explicit goal of maximizing that score. Even the smartest AIs need a few hints about our social mores.

But what else are AIs good for? Here are five tasks in which they can equal, or surpass, humans.

Building wooden block towers

AIs dont just play video games, they play with traditional toys, too. Like us, they get some of their earliest physics lessons from playing with wooden blocks, piling them up then watching them fall. Researchers at Facebook have built an AI using convolutional neural networks that can attain human-level performance at predicting how towers of blocks will fall, simply by watching films and animations of block towers standing or falling.


Lip-readingfiguring out what someone is saying from the movement of their lips alonecan be a useful skill if youre hard of hearing or working in a noisy environment, but its notoriously difficult. Much of the information contained in human speechthe position of the teeth and tongue, and whether sounds are voiced or notis invisible to a lip reader, whether human or AI. Nevertheless, researchers at the University of Oxford, England, have developed a system called LipNet that can lip-read short sentences with a word error rate of 6.6 percent. Three human lip-readers participating in the research had error rates between 35.5 percent and 57.3 percent.

Among the applications the researchers see for their work are silent dictation and speech recognition in noisy environments, where the visual component will add to accuracy. Since the AIs output is text, it could find work close-captioning TV shows for broadcast networksor transcribing surveillance video for security services.


AIs can be even more helpful when the audio quality is better, according to Microsoft, where researchers have been tweaking an AI-based automated speech recognition system so it performs as well as, or better than, people. Microsofts system now has an error rate of 5.9 percent on one test set from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the same as a service employing human transcribers that Microsoft hired, and 11.1 percent on another test, narrowly beating the humans, who scored 11.3 percent.

Thats one situation where being better than a human might not be sufficient: If you were thinking you could dictate your next memo, you might find it quicker to type and correct it yourself, even with just two fingers.

News reporting

This story was written by a human, but the next one you read might be written by an AI.

And that might not be a bad thing: MogIA, developed by the Indian company Genic, doesnt write stories, but when MogIA predicted Donald Trump would win the U.S. presidential election it did better than most political journalists.

When it comes to writing, AIs are particularly quick at turning structured data into words, as a Financial Times journalist found when pitted against an AI called Emma from Californian startup Stealth.

Emma filed a story on unemployment statistics just 12 minutes after the figures were released, three times faster than the FTs journalist. While the AIs copy was clear and accurate, it missed the news angle: the number of jobseekers had risen for the first time in a year. While readers want news fast, its not for nothing that journalists are exhorted to get it first, but first, get it right.

Putting those employment statistics in context would have required knowledge that Emma apparently didnt have, but thats not an insurmountable problem. By reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, novels, plays, and assorted reference materials, another AI, IBMs Watson, famously learned enough context to win the general knowledge quiz show Jeopardy.

Disease diagnosis

After that victory, Watson went to medical school, absorbing 15 million pages of medical textbooks and academic papers about oncology. According to some reports, that has allowed Watson to diagnose cancer cases that stumped human doctors, although IBM pitches the AI as an aid to human diagnosis, not a replacement for it.

More recently, IBM has put Watsons ability to absorb huge volumes of information to work helping diagnose rare illnesses, some of which most doctors might see only a few cases of in a lifetime.

Doctors in the Centre for Undiagnosed and Rare Diseases at University Hospital Marburg, in Germany, will use this instance of Watson to help them deal with the thousands of patients referred to them each year, some of them bringing thousands of pages of medical records to be analyzed.

Authors including Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have postulated that AI technology will develop to a point, still many years off, that they call the singularity, when the combined problem-solving capacity of the human race will be overtaken by that of artificial intelligences.

If the singularity arrives in our lifetimes, some of us might be able to thank AIs like Watson for helping keep us alive long enough to see it.


CBSE Class 10 board exams are compulsory again from 2018

CBSE Class 10 board exams are compulsory again from 2018

CBSE to reintroduce compulsory Class 10 board examination from 2018.

CBSE Class 10 board exams are compulsory again from 2018

CBSE Class 10 board exams are compulsory again from 2018

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The long awaited decision on return of Class 10 board examination has finally arrived.

During the informal conversation with media, the government finally gave nod to reintroduce compulsory Class 10 board examination from the academic session 2017-18.

Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar after meeting the Rajasthan Education Minister, informed about the decision to re-introduce board examination.

Why are Class 10 board exams important?

Scrapping the exam affected academic standards as it let off students with far less academic growth than before.

Announcement on Class 5 and Class 8 board examinations:

  • Meanwhile, Javadekar also said that the state governments will be given full freedom to reintroduce Class 5 and 8 board examinations
  • For this, a proposal will be tabled in the cabinet and then in Parliament
  • “The decision to conduct Class 5 and 8 board examinations will be left with the state,” Javadekar added

Furthermore, the HRD minister said the main focal point ofthe ministry is to improving the quality of school education, specifically in government schools, he said.

Education status in Rajasthan:

  • While admiring the education initiatives taken in school in Rajasthan, Prakash Javadekar said that there has been a visible improvement in the quality of education in government schools in the state
  • Now, the state has scrapped the remark which was 25 years ago called “Bimaru”
  • Till now, about 15 lakh candidates have enrolled in government schools with Utkarsh Adarsh schools being opened at panchayat level
  • Meanwhile, asking  the minister to comment on the suicide by several students preparing for IITJEE at coaching institutes of Kota, Javadekar said a website ‘IIT-PAL’ will be introduced for free of cost to give them study material and guidance by experts

While concluding the statement, Javedkar said, Narendra Modi-led government is working to improve academic standards and wants the curiosity among students to grow with education.


Unreturned Samsung Galaxy Note7 units in New Zealand will soon be disconnected from mobile networks

If you are a Samsung Galaxy Note7 owner in New Zealand who is yet to exchange/return their unit, you are strongly advised to do so withing the next couple of weeks. Reason being, starting November 18, your unit will not be able to access any cellular network in the country.

“As part of our commitment to ongoing safety, Samsung would like to make our customers aware of plans to discontinue network service for Note7 devices,” the company said in a statement.

“From the 18 November, customers still using the Note7 will no longer be able to connect to any New Zealand mobile network services to make calls, use data or send SMS messages.”

According to the country’s Telecommunications Forum chief executive Geoff Thorn, most of the Galaxy Note7 units sold in the country have been returned or exchanged, but “a few hundred” units are still in use.