According to a blog post from Bibo Xu, the Google Assistant PM, continued conversation is rolling out to all smart displays including the Google Home Hub, Lenovo, JBL Link View, and the LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 (linked because I’d managed to never heard of it).
Continued conversation allows for more than just not having to say “OK Google,” every time. It allows for more context-driven questions relating to the previous answer although if you have kids you might want to turn it off because I can guarantee they’re going to walk in singing a poop song and confuse Google.
You’ll need to enable it in the Google Home app, and after that it will listen for a little bit after you’ve ended your first question to see if you have any follow ups.
Continued conversation also allows for a greater Cartman attack vector. This may or may not be a bad thing depending on your usage cases, but with more and more people having smart thermostats and improvised boobytraps set with Google Home this might be a concern.[google blog]
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On this International Women’s Day, I want to call out the simple truth that actions speak louder than words. That respect and doing the right thing always matter regardless of gender, and that treating people with respect and equality are the constant responsibility of everyone. I’m proud to say at O’Reilly our actions do speak for themselves and we have a record of taking action to promote equality.
O’Reilly in a nutshell
- 50% of the executive team are women.
- 47% of our current workforce are women.
- Of the 86 management positions in the company, 50% are held by women.
- 45% of our promotions last year went to 31 women who assumed new positions of responsibility within the company.
- We have a firm commitment to job and salary parity across all divisions, departments, and roles, evidenced by the fact that O’Reilly joined many other companies in signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge in 2016 (and we ensure we are always in compliance).
- We’ve created event scholarship and diversity programs to provide opportunities for women and recognize people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, sexual orientation, and military service.
- We developed clear and specific anti-harassment and code of conduct policies, which are in force at all of our events (and widely used as a model by other tech events.)
- We are actively committed to increasing the diversity of our conference speakers, which helps highlight women and members of other under-represented groups as visible leaders in the tech industry. 37% of our keynote speakers in 2018 were women, up from 32% in 2017. We also donated $36,710 to organizations that support women in tech throughout 2018.
I’m incredibly proud of these statistics, but they cannot stand in isolation. We must continue to push the envelope and strive for diversity and inclusion, not just for women, but for everyone. And, while our internal efforts are solid, we still have a ways to go regarding diversity and inclusion in our own hiring practices.
What we truly seek to accomplish at O’Reilly is to make sure we foster a culture that creates opportunity for everyone, rewards and recognizes accomplishments, and treats everyone with respect regardless of their gender. Now that’s something to celebrate.
Happy International Women’s Day!
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A race is on to build a fleet of solar-powered drones that beam internet down to the Earth beneath them, and the tech titans are dominating this chase—or so we thought. But now that Google and Facebook both have dashed their plans for roaming unmanned internet planes, a lesser known company is partnering with NASA to bring the project closer to reality, according to an IEEE Spectrum report.
It is the Hawk 30, a massive 10-engine drone in the vein of previous UAVs made by Airbus and the solar-powered Odysseus plane that can fly for months on end. The product of Japanese tech giant SoftBank and U.S. drone manufacturer AeroEnvironment, the Hawk could soon embark on test flights, with a launch from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center potentially slated for this week.
The Hawk, though part of a new $65 million partnership between the two companies, is part of the same family as previous UAVs AeroEnvironment built for NASA. One of those was the Helios prototype, which crashed in 2003 during a high-altitude test. The Hawk mirrors its ill-fated predecessor in both ambition and design. In 2001, the Helios reached the highest altitude of any winged horizontal aircraft when it ascended to 93,000 feet. The milestone set a new precedent for high-altitude, solar aircraft.
Photos of the Hawk 30 are scant, but per images dug up by IEEE Spectrum, it looks like the wide-bodied cousin of the Helios.
While it may be years from commercial readiness, the Hawk 30 has big implications for the broadening of wireless connectivity in remote regions, if indeed it can succeed where others have failed: Facebook made a splashy foray into the internet-beaming drone race by announcing Aquila, a solar-powered UAV the size of a Boeing 737’s wingspan that used propellers to ply air. (The project was abandoned in 2017 after the drones were damaged in landings). Google too began vetting its sky-born internet capabilities in 2015, but later scrapped drones in favor of Project Loon, which uses high-altitude balloons to beam down internet.
The Hawk will still have to fend off competition from the likes of Airbus, but its prospects are lifted by AeroEnvironments connections with NASA. IEEE Spectrum reports the company is contracted with the space agency for three flight tests that will take the drone up to 10,000 feet, with the intention go much higher if initial tests are successful:
AeroVironment is paying NASA nearly $800,000 to supervise and provide ground support for the upcoming low altitude tests, which are scheduled to continue until the end of June. If those are successful, the company will go higher in its next round.
There’s currently no word on the Hawk’s communications payload capacity, but its creators certainly hope that it helps expand wireless internet access across the globe. First, though, it will have to make it out of testing unscathed.
Source: IEEE Spectrum
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The U.S. Air Force has released the first images of its latest combat drone, the XQ-58A Valkyrie. The new aircraft, which went from concept to first test flight in 2.5 years, “behaved as expected” on its first test flight this week, according to the Air Force.
The 76-minute inaugural flight occurred on March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. The Air Force released a short 15-second video of the first flight to show it off, something that the military doesn’t do with all of its aircraft.
The drone was developed for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) program which seeks to develop new planes for the military both quickly and inexpensively.
“XQ-58A is the first example of a class of UAV that is defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability,” Doug Szczublewski, AFRL’s XQ-58A Program Manager, said in a statement.
The XQ-58A drone reportedly has a range of “well over” 2,000 miles and can carry both precision-guided bombs and surveillance equipment.
As Tyler Rogoway at The Drive notes, the new drone is specially suited to operate at the direction of manned planes nearby under a concept the Air Force calls its “loyal wingman” program. Theoretically, a piloted fighter jet could travel alongside a number of these unpiloted Valkyries, which would assist by doing everything from jamming enemy radar to firing on a target.
Rogoway also notes that the finished drone looks remarkably like the earliest concept renderings that were released by its developer, the San Diego-based military contractor Kratos Defense. Kratos is on the forefront of the latest weapons technologies, having recently developed the AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System system for the U.S. Navy. Laser weapons, which fall into the category of “directed-energy weapons,” are being shown off by America’s New Cold War adversary Russia with increased frequency.
The cost of the XQ-58A Valkyrie program wasn’t released publicly, but the best estimates put the budget at roughly $2-3 million per plane.
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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are advancing legislation that would make it a crime to fly a drone near a prison or mental hospital because of concerns drones could be used to deliver drugs or weapons.
A bill passed Thursday by the Senate would make it a felony offense, with punishments getting increasingly tougher if the drone was delivering drugs, aiding an escape or bringing guns, knives or other weapons to inmates.
A version passed by the House last month carried similar felony penalties while also making it a misdemeanor to purposely fly a drone within 300 feet of a prison, jail or mental hospital — even if it’s not delivering contraband.
For a bill to go to the governor, both chambers must pass identical versions.
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