“I”? I think you mean “A [?]”

Recently, there has been a glitch on Apple phones where if you type the letter “I”, it turns into “A [?]”. Many people were very angry about this, and took to Twitter to complain.

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Others thought that Apple made the glitch in order to further their own agenda and make it obvious that people used the word “I” too much and talked about themselves too often.

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It took about a week before Apple fixed the glitch. They fixed it by releasing another update (iOS11.1.1) that fixes the bug. Apple previously recommended that users should just use Text Replacement in General settings, but users weren’t very happy with that. With all of the money that people put into Apple products, consumers do not like when there are glitches. The week that the “I” letter stopped being able to be typed, was referred to in a NYmag.com article as, “The Week Apple Broke the Alphabet”. iOS 11.1 had many changes and innovations. Some of these are:

  • Changing the control center from three panels to one
  • “Type to Siri” function
  • Screen recording
  • The keyboard can be positioned differently if user is typing with one hand
  • The notification center has the same background as your lock screen

Apple regularly issues updates that change the aesthetic of the iPhone interfaces These updates can come with new emojis, upgraded Apple Music, and other changes. Apple is supposed to be the top technology company in the world, so I’m not sure why it took them so long to fix a glitch that affected almost every user. Maybe next time they will work faster and regain consumer trust.  Continue reading

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Self-Driving Cars Are Here

Waymo, a spin-off company of Google, has announced today that they will be offering rides to the public in unmanned, self-driving cars. They’ve been testing this taxi service privately since mid-October, and are ready to take the project to the next level.

Whoa. Let that sink in.

Self-driving cars are, to a lot of people, in the “way-far future” of transportation, along  the lines of flying cars and a Siri that works well. But today, if you’re a part of Waymo’s Early Riders Program and live within 100 miles of Chandler, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix), then you can call a Waymo car instead of an Uber or Lyft, and your ride might not have a driver.

But what is a self-driving car, really? Well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and SAE (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers), the two largest authorities of classifications on American roads, have nearly identical systems that break a self-driving car down into levels. Here’s their six-level scheme:

  1. Yes, zero first. This means absolutely no autonomy. A human must do all of the work. You might be thinking that this is what most cars have now, but most cars are actually beyond this.

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    The original Ford Model T; an iconic example of a car with zero autonomy.

  2. Level one is the most basic autonomy; a car can maintain its speed if you tell it to. Basically, a car with level one autonomy had cruise control. Your car is almost certainly equipped with this level-one autonomy. It’s industry standard at this point.

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    This Honda Civic, like most cars on the road today, has level one autonomy.

  3. Level two autonomy is where things start to get interesting, because it’s the lowest level where the car must act without instruction from a human. This can be thought of as “advanced cruise control,” in that a car at level two isn’t really driving itself. It can, however, generally maintain speed while also being able to stay in a lane, slow down for traffic, and brake to avoid obstacles. The most popular brand of cars to have this is Tesla, which has all of its cars equipped with a system called Autopilot. Autopilot is a level two autonomy, and can drive itself on a highway or a road. But if you need to make a turn or change roads or lanes, then it’s on the driver to do so.

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    The Tesla Model S, along with all Tesla cars, has built-in level two autonomy.

  4. Level three autonomy is the next logical step up from level two; cars can generally follow a set of rules on a single road. It can do all of level two, but can also change lanes and pass cars, as well as give alerts for when its own sensors for tracking the world are questionable or failing. As of right now, there aren’t very many companies building or developing cars for level three. They’re all headed up to the next rung on the ladder.

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    This prototype Audi A7 is one of the few cars with level three autonomy.

  5. Level four autonomy is what you’re probably imagining when you think of a “self-driving car” right now. This is a car that you can drop on the roads now, and will basically do everything. If you give it a destination, it will take you there. It can follow paths, track traffic, make turns and deal with complex intersections, and can basically do all of the other things that a human driver would normally do as it relates to driving. All of this has a caveat, though; it really only works in a restricted area, a “safe zone” for the car. It should be a reasonably flat area that’s seen a lot of data in information so that the computers in these cars can know what the area looks like and how to deal with obstacles. The Waymo cars that are being released in Arizona are of this level.

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    Waymo will be using minivans equipped with sensors, like the one pictured above, Chandler, Arizona. This car has level four autonomy.

  6. This is the dream of the self-driving car. Waymo has a few of these in development, and various automotive makers have concept cars that fit the level five autonomy standard, but these kinds of cars on the road are still a hot minute away from invading our roads. These cars are distinct in one key way; no human backup. Every other level of autonomy still has the familiar controls of every car so that a human could, at any moment, take over the driving. Not level five cars (if you can even call them “cars” at that point). These vehicles have no input method other than entering your desired destination. There are no restrictions, no caveats. They just take you there.

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    This Waymo car has no controls, and scarcely resembles a car. It has level five autonomy.

This all sounds great—and it is. Human error is the cause of almost every single accident that’s ever happened on the roads, and that would be gone. Studies show that if autonomous cars became the only cars on the road, that accidents could almost disappear, speed limits could increase or be lifted entirely, and traffic throughput could be improved by as much as 300%. This is a massive improvement for roads. While there are still lots of regulations and ethical debates to be had about whether or not self-driving cars are ready to replace cars, autonomous driving isn’t on the horizon  of the future anymore; it’s here to stay.

 

Read up on Google Waymo, and all autonomous driving news here:

WAYMO main site

WAYMO Early Rider FAQ

Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver

Everyone Wants a Level 5 Self-Driving Car—Here’s What That Means

Wikipedia: Autonomous Car

 

 

Giant Magellan Telescope is the World’s Largest Telescope

In the year 2023, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be able to finally see light and deliver images that are 10 times clearer than those that the Hubble has produced. According to an article by Andrew Tarantola on Engadget, this telescope is a collaboration effort between Brazil, Korea, and the United States.

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The Las Campanas Observatory in Chile is where all seven mirror faces, outfitted with massive mirrors and adaptive optics, will be assembled to create the largest telescope ever. Adaptive optics use lasers to sense the distortion and counter it like noise-canceling headphones do. With Astronomy being a different kind of science the only objective of the telescope is to discover and learn new things about the universe.

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The GMT, once online, will allow researchers to search for things that so far we can’t see, like the nature of planets that orbit other stars. GMT even hopes to develop an answer to the age-old question, “Are we alone in the universe”? They hope to see a shift from theory to science.

GMT is planning for the telescope to be relevant in new discoveries for the next 50 years, but making sure to incorporate the new upgrades and instrumentation as they advance. They are also hoping to collaborate with other observatories and telescopes around the world, ones that are in space and on the ground, in order to boost the amount of information they can receive.

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People always want to ask the question about whether or not we are alone as a way of getting to know someone and what they believe in. I’m no expert, but I always say it’s highly likely that we are not alone. If we think about just how big space is and how relatively new we are to it, I can only imagine what else may be out there. Plus, I think it’d be awesome to meet someone from a different planet.

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The telescope may be the biggest of for the time being, but GMT expects humans to eventually create an even larger and possibly even more technologically advanced telescope.

As a pretty big fan of sci-fi movies and shows, I’m very excited to learn about the new discoveries that this telescope could provide us with. I always wished I could learn more about or doing something with space as a child, but I’m thinking it’s best to live vicariously through the geniuses that come up with this technology and learn to write about it instead.

Did You Stay Up Until 3 A.M. To Pre-Order iPhone X?

iPhone X preorders are live! Did you preorder one? Probably not, actually. They went live at midnight at the Apple HQ, which means 3 A.M. for us in New York. But that didn’t stop most people.

What stopped most people was that the preorders sold out in 10 minutes. That’s right; at 3:10 A.M., there were millions of people in pajamas, sitting at computers and were now disappointed because they’re on the waitlist for a phone they won’t get until December or later, maybe even into 2018. And these are people who woke up at 3 A.M. to preorder this phone. If you haven’t ordered it yet, well, good luck. There isn’t a single model (read: specific carrier, color, and storage capacity) that ships before “5-6 weeks” from now. That’s about mid-way through December.

Maybe you’d rather camp out in front of an Apple Store? I mean, they’ll all have some stock for the actual launch date. To you, dedicated Appolyte, I wish you luck, because people are already camped out there. Apple’s even encouraging camping out for iPhone X.

But let’s chat for a second; don’t camp out in front of an Apple Store for an entire week. It’s just not worth it. Besides the fact that there will be extremely limited availability in-store, no one knows yet how iPhone X will actually perform in-use. Maybe it will explode like last year’s ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note7. Maybe the new FaceID won’t work very well, or maybe the screen will have problems. iPhone X is not a phone you should be camping out front of an Apple Store for. You should wait for reviews.

Plus, if I see you out the front of an Apple store with a lawn chair or tent, I’ll laugh hysterically at you. If that’s not deterrent enough, then I don’t know what is.

 

Read up on all the news for iPhone X:

How to preorder the iPhone X

iPhone X Pre-Orders Sell Out as Shipping Estimates Slip to 5-6 Weeks 

iPhone X release date, specs and price: Shipping times slip to ‘five to six’ weeks as pre-orders sell out

Even if you preorder the iPhone X today, it probably won’t ship until December

Apple says iPhone X buyers ‘encouraged to line up early’

Facebook is a Key Factor in Helping Stay-at-Home Moms Make Money

LuLaRoe is a clothing company that is giving the ability to stay-at-home moms to make money through online sales. The company, founded in 2012, sells comfortable, practical and affordable clothes mainly for women, but children and men too. LuLaRoe is similar to companies like Mary Kay or 31 Gifts where people can become consultants and sell product. The company is not cheap to start up a shop, with starter consultant packages priced around $6,000. 


When someone becomes a consultant, they typically start up a Facebook page almost immediately. Many women are effectively utilizing Facebook to sell their product and connect with people throughout the country. Through the Facebook pages people host LuLaRoe parties, live streams and other events where the inventory is sold. A vast majority of the products are sold online through these Facebook groups. 


LuLaRoe groups have become vastly popular over the past few years, and the groups are becoming increasingly popular. Some Facebook groups have upwards of 50,000 members from all over the country while others have only a few hundred. Inside the Facebook groups are where photos of inventory are posted for potential buyers to browse through. 


People have had different perspectives about if LuLaRoe is actually helping people gain income or just putting them into a financial hole. With the large startup fee, LuLaRoe claims that consultants make an average of anywhere from a $2,250-$3,000 profit off their startup boxes. LuLaRoe also offers perks to its consultants including opportunities for bonuses and they match gifts that their consultants make. 


Learn more about becoming a LuLaRoe consultant on the LuLaRoe website

Snapchat’s New Context Cards

Snapchat has introduced a new feature called ‘Context Cards’ that will dramatically change the Snapchat experience. According to a Tech Crunch article on Oct. 10, 2017, users will be able to swipe up from company’s venue-specific Geofilters to find information about things like restaurant reviews, reservations, Uber and Lyft ride hailing, contact information and more.

Context Card

Snapchat has partnered with TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Michelin, Goop, OpenTable, Uber, Lyft and more to provide its users with an immersive experience. Snapchat users will have no reason to leave the app in order to look up a place. They can get all the information they need in one spot. Context Cards will provide the most important and basic information first, then provide more detailed descriptions about things like user reviews, directions, and ride-hailing operations.

This new feature is extremely important to Snapchat’s growth. It shows that Snapchat is taking things to the next level. The app is about more than just sharing pictures, it can now be used to connect with people all over the world. I expect Context Cards to be very successful. I can see myself using them if I see a place on a friend’s story and I want to learn more about it. Snapchat has proved over and over that it is an ever changing social media app that is constantly adding new features.

Made By Google

Google announced new products today at a press conference in San Francisco.  New phones, computers, cameras, and VR headsets are some of the hot items Google will be releasing.

Here are the products that were announced.

Google Home Mini and Google Home Max

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The tiny, and jumbo version of the Google Home speaker.  The mini is about the size of a donut, and will can easily blend in with its surroundings.  It does everything the same as the average size speaker.  Just smaller!  The Max is much bigger then the original Google Home.  It can stand vertical or horizontal!  Price for the mini is $49.  Price for the max is starting at $399.

Google Pixelbook

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Google’s latest laptop/tablet.  You can use it as a traditional laptop, or fold it into a tablet.  Also you can flip it over, and use it as a kickstand or base.   It has a thin sleek look, and the price will start of at $999.  For an extra $99 you can add the Pixelbook pen.  Who even uses styluses anymore?

Pixel 2

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Who ready for the new Google phone?  Here it is, the Pixel 2.  It comes in two sizes, is water resistant, has a fingerprint sensor, is the first phone to have Google Lens, but there is still no headphone jack!  Google had a hard time selling the original pixel phone, and will be interesting to see if Pixel 2 can make a turn around.

Daydream VR headset

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A follow up to the 2016 Daydream headset, this new set will have a wider view, and a few new colors.

Google Pixel Buds

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For your phone with no headphone jack, you can buy these bad boys for $159.  Cool idea, but way to expensive for my taste.  Just give us our headphone jack back!

Google Clips

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Google Clips is a tiny camera that clips on to almost anything.  Your clothes, a bike, a table, anything!  It takes pictures automatically.  This small little gadget will cost you $249.  Is this little camera really worth it for that kind of price?  I need to be more convinced.

Check out this video Google posted of all the highlights of the event today.

https://techcrunch.com/gallery/heres-everything-google-announced-today/