Archive for October, 2017



The next season of Netflix’s award-winning House of Cards will be the last, a spokesman said Monday, as the series reeled over sexual misconduct allegations against its star Kevin Spacey.

Speaking to The Guardian, a Netflix spokesperson said the decision to end the show was made months earlier, and not in response to the allegations about Spacey.

The 58-year-old double Oscar winner, who plays ruthless President Francis Underwood in the hit show, is facing claims from Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp that he “made a sexual advance” at a party 31 years ago while Rapp was underage.

“Season six is our last season,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

Starring alongside Robin Wright, Spacey is also executive producer of the platform’s flagship series, which is adapted from a BBC drama of the same name and has earned 46 Emmy nominations and Golden Globes for its lead couple.

Netflix doesn’t release viewing figures. But the show has marked out its place in television history as the company’s debut in original programming, which has grown to include other highly regarded shows such as Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black.

Filming for season six is under way in Maryland, with season six expected to drop next year. No premiere date has yet been set but House of Cards has never debuted later than May.

Rapp, 46, told Buzzfeed that in 1986, while both he and Spacey were performing on Broadway, Spacey invited the then 14-year-old to a party at his New York home. Spacey would have been 26 at the time.

Rapp said he was in Spacey’s bedroom watching TV when Spacey, apparently drunk, came in after all the other guests had left, and lay on top of him.

“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp told Buzzfeed. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Spacey apologised on Twitter, and went on to say that Rapp’s accusation “encouraged me to address other things about my life” before confirming that he was gay.

His comments prompted a backlash from critics who accused him of deflecting from his misdeed by finally coming out, while reports suggested that he may face other accusers.

Netflix and House of Cards production company Media Rights Capital issued a joint statement saying they were “deeply troubled” the allegations against Spacey, who is currently not scheduled to be on set.

“In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported,” it said.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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In a bid to take on Google Search, Microsoft said on Monday it is working with professors from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur towards developing a system that can form the basis for a deeper, more meaningful search engine.

The new search engine could assist users looking for subjective information and trusted opinions, the company said in a statement.

Bing is a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft.

While current search engine algorithms are great at working with fact-based queries and providing structured answers, they are surprisingly ineffective at answering subjective and personal questions.

Queries based on human experiences and personal opinions are difficult for a standard search engine to comprehend.

Therefore, they fail to answer questions such as “How to make small talk with new friends,” “People’s favourite memories from school,” “How does it feel to immigrate to a new country?” or “The songs that defined the 80s.”

Microsoft’s Senior Applied Researcher Manish Gupta partnered with professors from IIT Kharagpur to conduct a study on extracting meaningful information from social conversations to help search engines answer social list queries better by deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The team used multi-word hashtags, also called “idioms” from Twitter, to conduct an in-depth study to make search results much more personal and human.

“While traditional search engines may struggle with such deeply human queries there are online platforms specifically tailored for personal opinions and conversations – social media. Twitter, specifically, has become a forum for people to create sustained online conversations held together by a common hashtag,” Gupta said.

The researchers collected around four million hashtags that were trending between January 2015 and June 2015, and used a SVM (Support Vector Machine) classifier to conduct this research.

The classifier worked on deeply personal and human hashtags such as #foreveralone, #awkwardcompanynames, #childhoodfeels, and #africanproblems using factors such as duration of hashtag popularity, related hashtags and URLs to detect context and classify the social lists accurately.

The algorithm used to conduct this study forms the basis for a better search engine for social platforms which can assist users looking for subjective information and trusted opinions, Microsoft said.

The study eventually proved that, by analysing multi-word hashtags search engines can now scour social networks and detect valuable insights from public conversations, using a highly effective and precise algorithm to provide a deeper, more meaningful search experience.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Amazon.com Inc plans to expand its video production arm and move into a historic studio near Hollywood, the company said on Monday, signalling its entertainment ambitions remain high after a management shakeup earlier this month.

The world’s largest online retailer said in a news release that it would start moving into the Culver Studios, where “Gone with the Wind” was filmed, at the end of the year. The space will allow it to expand its headcount beyond the more than 700 employees working in its current Santa Monica, California, office.

Video streaming has been a major reason people subscribe to the Amazon Prime benefits club, whose members tend to buy more from the company.

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned this month, and other top executives left the unit afterward.

Some have criticised Amazon for making shows that do not appeal to a broad-enough audience.

The company is nonetheless committed to original content. Analysts estimate Amazon will have spent $4.5 billion on video in 2017, and the company said last week that it would budget more for next year.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment on how many people it would hire for the studio. It said in the news release that it would have space to add creative, technical, legal and marketing jobs.

The new studio in Culver City, California, is owned by an affiliate of Hackman Capital Partners.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Hundreds of drivers for the internet based ride-hailing firm Uber drove through Brazil’s largest cities on Monday to protest legislation that would turn them into regular taxi drivers subject to the same local licensing and taxation rules.

The chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc, Dara Khosrowshahi, arrived in Brazil to lobby against the bill that is due to be voted on by the Senate on Tuesday and which threatens the company’s business in a fast-growing foreign market.

Brazil is Uber’s third-largest market, with 17 million users, and the city of Sao Paulo sees more trips on the ride-hailing service than any other city in the world, ahead of New York and Mexico City, according to the company.

A spokesman for the company said the application as it exists could not operate under the new rules, including the use of a taxi license plate on cars owned by Uber drivers.

“The business model we have today would not longer be viable,” Uber’s executive spokesman in Brazil Fabio Sabba told Reuters.

Uber is already battling to keep operating in London after the city’s transport regulator deemed it unfit to run a taxi service and refused to renew its license.

Police said 800 Uber drivers drove through the centre of Brazil’s capital Brasilia to protest the bill that many say will put them out of business. Similar protests in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro snarled downtown traffic.

Uber did not organise the drivers’ protests but alerted authorities that they would happen.

“The bill will create so much bureaucracy that it prevents the 500,000 drivers in Brazil from earning income for their families,” Uber said in a statement.

Uber said it has paid BRL 495 million ($150 million) in federal and municipal taxes so far this year.

The bill, which has already been approved by the lower house of Congress, would define ride hailing applications as public transport instead of private services and require drivers to get a special permit from city authorities. It would also establish additional regulations and taxes.

If the Senate votes to approve the bill, it will be up to President Michel Temer to sign or veto the legislation or parts of it.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple Inc chief executive Tim Cook and Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday at an annual gathering of advisers to Beijing’s Tsinghua University business school.

Xi was speaking to business leaders and officials at the meeting, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported. Cook and Zuckerberg are on the advisory board of the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management.

The meeting comes at a particularly key time for Apple as it prepares to launch its much-anticipated iPhone X on Friday, amid hopes the anniversary smartphone can revive the firm’s sales in the world’s number two economy.

Tsinghua’s business school, founded in 1984, has seen scores of top Chinese and foreign industry leaders sit on its board, including Chinese central banker Zhou Xiaochuan and Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg has also been very active in China, eager to get his popular social network unblocked in the world’s most populous nation, where it has been banned since 2009 and held behind the country’s so-called Great Firewall.

An Apple spokeswoman said the firm couldn’t “comment on Tim’s schedule and or meetings”. Facebook confirmed Zuckerberg was in Beijng, but declined to comment on details of his visit.

In a post on his Facebook page on Saturday, Zuckerberg wrote he was in Beijing for the annual meeting. “Every year this trip is a great way to keep up with the pace of innovation and entrepreneurship in China,” he said.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Nokia 2, the highly rumoured budget Android smartphone from HMD Global, has been spotted in leaked AnTuTu benchmark listing ahead of its anticipated official launch in India on Tuesday. The benchmark listing reveals the key specifications of the ultra-affordable Nokia handset.

The leaked AnTuTu listing, as reported by Specs Price Nigeria, showcases the specifications of the model Nokia TA-1035, which is thought to a global Nokia 2 variant – matching the variant that recently received Bluetooth certification. The listing reveals that the smartphone has a HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution display that would come in 5-inch size. Further, it reveals the presence of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 212 SoC on the new Nokia handset. The SoC is the successor to the Snapdragon 210 and is designed as an entry-level offering with four cores of ARM Cortex-A7 CPU at a maximum clock speed of 1.3GHz. Moreover, all this is an upgrade to what was reported regarding the Nokia 2 until now.

Apart from the quad-core processor, the Snapdragon 212 SoC has Adreno 304 GPU and is accompanied by 1GB of RAM on the Nokia 2, as per the AnTuTu listing. The smartphone also appears to have 8GB of inbuilt storage and run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Besides, the upcoming Nokia smartphone is listed with 5-megapixel and 8-megapixel camera sensors that are likely to be available on its front and back, respectively.

HMD Global is hosting a press event in Gurugram on October 31, Tuesday, where it is expected to launch the Nokia 2 for the Indian market. The new smartphone would become the company’s most affordable offering in the country, surpassing the Nokia 3 that was launched at Rs. 8,800, if we believe a recent retailer listing. Furthermore, it would help the Nokia brand regain its charm in the mobile handset market.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Samsung and Xiaomi together contributed to 45 percent of the smartphone market in India in the third quarter of this year as the market grew 37 percent (quarter on quarter) and 18 percent (year on year), temporarily surpassing the US for the first time ever – echoing similar results from Canalys.

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s ‘Market Monitor service’, India handset shipments reached an all-time high of over 84 million for the first time ever, driven by strong sale of both feature phones and smartphones.

“This is the first time since 2012 that Samsung and Xiaomi have reached this level of combined share. Additionally, the quarter was marked with return to growth for local handset players such as Micromax and Lava in the smartphone segment,” said Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Chinese brands performance remained strong and contributed to more than half of the total smartphone shipments.

It is the third consecutive quarter when their market share is well over 50 percent after they took over local players in the second half of 2016.

However, local brands like Micromax and Lava grew 41 percent and 24 percent (QoQ), respectively, in the smartphone segment recovering from their all-time low during demonetisation last year.

Micromax Bharat 2 was the bestselling model in the sub-$75 (roughly Rs. 4,900) segment.

Xiaomi, iTel, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus were the fastest growing smartphone brands during the third quarter driven by festive sales.

Featurephone segment declined 4 percent (YoY) but grew 22 percent (QoQ) driven by sub-Rs. 1,000 devices as well as entry of Jio Phone and Nokia branded phones in the market during the quarter.

“It has been almost a year since Reliance Jio launched its 4G LTE network officially, which drove an inflection point for mobile data consumption as well as demand for 4G capable phones,” said Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst at Counterpoint.

Within a year, Jio attracted more than 100 million subscribers to its network and now is targeting the next 100 million subscribers by bringing the first ever LTE feature phone to the market.

Three out of four mobile handsets shipped were made in India during the third quarter.

Affordable mid-end segment (Rs. 10,000 – Rs. 15,000) was the fastest growing segment driven by strong performance of Xiaomi which contributed to almost half of the shipments.

“Three out of the top five bestselling smartphones in India were from Xiaomi alone. Xiaomi has been popular in the past for its value for money offerings,” said Counterpoint Associate Director Tarun Pathak.

Premium segment (above Rs. 30,000) grew record three times (YoY) during the third quarter owing to the strong performance of Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung.

Qualcomm was the leader among smartphone chipset suppliers.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In a burger, should the cheese slice be on top of the patty, or at the bottom?

It is a million dollar question that is boggling the internet including Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

So Pichai, 44, now wants to “drop everything else” and address the burger issue first.

The debate started yesterday when Thomas Baekdal, Founder of Baekdal Media, sought a Twitter discussion on how the placement of cheese in the “burger emoji” differed on Google and another IT giant Apple.

“We need to have a discussion about how Google’s burger emoji is placing the cheese underneath the burger, while Apple puts it on top,” Baekdal tweeted along with the pictures of the different emojis.

While several Twitter users engaged in the discussion to sort out the issue, the Indian-born Google CEO too chipped in albeit with a humorous take on the matter.

“Will drop everything else we are doing and address on Monday:) if folks can agree on the correct way to do this!,” a jocular Pichai said in a tweet, which was retweeted by over 10,000 users.

The market cap of Google on Sunday stood over $800 billion (roughly Rs. 51,94,926 crores), while that of Apple Inc. was close to $850 billion (roughly Rs. 55,19,609 crores).

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Apple has allegedly sacked an engineer after his daughter’s video of an unreleased iPhone X went viral on YouTube, the media reported.

In the video posted earlier this week, Brooke Amelia Peterson documented her trip to Apple’s campus, where her father is an employee. The girl recorded a hands-on session with the iPhone X inside Caffe Macs. The iPhone X footage included special employee-only QR codes.

A notes app was also shown on the iPhone X, which appeared to include codenames of unreleased Apple products, The Verge reported on Saturday. The report adds that filming is prohibited on the Apple Campus, and filming an iPhone X there falls under the same rules.

It also includes several minutes of hands-on time with the iPhone X as also a close-up of the device’s home screen and the cover sheet notification screen.

Peterson claimed her father has been fired as a result of her video, making the announcement in a video (seen below) published in the aftermath. According to the report, the fired engineer had worked with Apple for roughly four years, working in RF and wireless circuit design for the iPhone. Apple had reportedly requested Peterson to remove the video, but it was too late as the content had gone viral.

The iPhone X went up for pre-orders across the first wave of launch countries, including India, on Friday. The smartphone – Apple’s first with an all-screen front – will go on sale from Friday, November 3. The iPhone X – apart from featuring a bezel-less display – also sports a Face ID and a notch that houses those sensors.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Reliance Jio has finally announced a galore of offers on pre-orders of the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 in India. The company has revealed buyback offer for interested iPhone X buyers on the network where they can get up to 70 percent buyback after 12 months from the date of purchase. For the Google Pixel 2, Reliance Jio has announced benefits worth Rs. 35,000 for interested buyers.

For those unaware, Apple and Google kicked off India pre-orders for the iPhone X and new Pixel 2 devices respectively last week.

iPhone X Reliance Jio offers
Reliance Jio details that iPhone X users will have to recharge their prepaid or postpaid numbers with a minimum monthly amount of Rs. 799 for 12 months to be applicable for the buyback scheme. Jio users on prepaid will get unlimited local and STD roaming calls to any network in India, 3GB 4G data per day, unlimited SMS, and Jio apps subscriptions of worth Rs. 1,250 for 28 days. Postpaid customers on Jio with iPhone X purchase will get almost identical offer. The iPhone X is now available for pre-book on Jio network at Rs. 1,999.

The company clarifies that offer enrolment for the Jio iPhone Buyback offer is from September 29 to December 31, 2017. The offer is applicable for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X bought from RRL Store, Jio.com, MyJio, or Amazon.in (sold via Reliance Digital). iPhone X users on Jio will have to also maintain 12 monthly recharges, postpaid plans of Rs. 799 or above, or one-time yearly recharge of Rs. 9,999 from the date of enrolment. Users can register for buyback on this page. The iPhone X Jio pre-order plan is valid from October 27 to November 3.

Google Pixel 2 Reliance Jio offers
For Pixel 2, Reliance Jio is offering one-year unlimited voice and data at Rs. 9,999 coupled with cashback offer by HDFC credit card where users get Rs. 8,000 as cashback on purchasing the phones on EMI. Jio is also offering an additional exchange bonus of Rs. 5,000 and Sennheiser earphones worth Rs. 11,990 on pre-ordering the Pixel 2 devices.

The company also revealed its Jio Pixel plan which is complimentary with each pre-order and comes with 360 days of validity – giving them 750GB 4G data for a year worth Rs. 9,999 – apart from free calls, SMS, and access to Jio apps. The company says that the offer period for the Jio-Pixel 2 offer will start from October 27 2017 and shall remain valid till January 24 2018.

Google Pixel 2 price in India
Google Pixel 2 price in India starts at Rs. 61,000 for the 64GB model, which is slightly below the price of iPhone 8 base variant which comes at Rs. 64,000. The Pixel 2 XL starts at Rs. 73,000 for the 64GB storage option which is equivalent to the price tag of base variant of the iPhone 8 Plus. The 128GB variants of Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are priced at Rs. 70,000 and Rs. 82,000, respectively.

iPhone X price in India
iPhone X India price starts at Rs. 89,000 for the 64GB version while the 256GB version is priced at Rs. 1,02,000. The smartphone will be available in Silver and Space Grey colours. Apple has already revealed pricing of the Apple-designed accessories like leather and silicone cases which will be available starting at Rs. 3,500. An all-new iPhone X leather folio will be available at Rs. 8,600 while a Lightning Dock in colour-matching metallic finishes will be available at Rs. 4,700.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)