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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Gadget Lab Podcast: What Happens to Uber After Its IPO?

WIRED Transportation reporter Aarian Marshall joins the Gadget Lab podcast to talk about what Uber’s IPO means for the future of ride-sharing … and everything else Uber does.
Source: Wired

At Texas border, tech can't keep pace with immigrant influx – CNET

Drones, cameras and sensors are being used to monitor what many call a desperate situation at the southern border. More tech may not help.
Source: CNET

You can finally change that PlayStation account name the 12-year-old you thought was coo – CNET

Changing your online ID takes just a few steps… just make sure your new name isn’t obscene.
Source: CNET

Matt Cutts on solving big problems with lean solutions at the US Digital Service

Updating the federal government’s digital infrastructure seems like a Herculean task akin to cleaning out the Augean stables. Where do you even start shoveling? Former Googler and current head of the U.S. Digital Service Matt Cutts says it’s not quite that hard — but he’s had to leave his Silicon Valley startup outlook at the door.

“In the Valley and San Francisco, they’re geared to move fast and break things. And that’s fantastic to explore a space,” Cutts told me in an interview. “But the government has to move purposefully and fix things. It’s more about finding the right decision, achieving consensus, creating good communication.”

The USDS is a small (and actively recruiting) department that takes on creaking interfaces and tangled databases of services for, say, veteran benefit management or immigration documentation, buffing them to a shiny finish that may save their users months of literal paperwork.

Some notes from the USDS’s work on modernizing the Medicare payment system.

Recently, for instance, the USDS overhauled VA.gov, which is how many veterans access things like benefits, make medical appointments, and so on. But until recently it was kind of a mess of interconnected sub-sites and instructional PDFs. USDS interviewed a couple thousand vets and remade the site with a single login, putting the most-used services right on the front page. Seems obvious, but the inertia of these systems is considerable.

“Oftentimes we build a front end and it still talks to an abysmal, or maybe antiquarian, system in the back end,” Cutts said. “VA.gov required a special version of Internet Explorer!”

There are always paper alternatives, but those can be so slow and clunky that they might take three or four months to complete, and can be so complex that people will hire a lawyer to do them rather than risk further delay. These are ostensibly free and open services available to all vets — but they weren’t in practice. And there were accessibility problems all over the place, Cutts noted, which is especially troubling with a disability-heavy population like veterans.

These projects are often short-term, putting modern web and backend standards to work and handing the results off to the agency or department that requested it. The USDS isn’t built for long-term support but acts as a strike team putting smart solutions in place that may seem obvious in startup culture but haven’t yet become standard operating procedure in the capitol.

The work they do is guided by impact, not politics, which is likely part of the reason they’ve managed to avoid interference by the Trump administration, which has treated many other Obama-era initiatives like pests to be exterminated. Yet the nature of the work is in a way fundamentally progressive, in that it is about bottom-up accessibility and helping under-represented or unprivileged groups.

For instance, they’ve been hard at work on immigration issues that would expedite both asylum seekers and seasonal farm workers at the Mexican border. That’s a political live wire right now, even if the decision to do it was strictly based on helping a large population frustrated by outdated digital tools.

The new farmers.gov, built for the Department of Agriculture, vastly streamlines the H-2A visa application process, centralizing documentation and services that were previously spread across several other major departments and websites. That’s unarguably a good thing, but like anything relating to immigration and foreign labor it is possible it could get swept up in the partisan twister. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to have happened.

The new, improved and simplified farmers.gov provides app integration and straightforward design.

“The fact is we get good support,” Cutts said when I asked him about the current political environment. It may not be loud in that support, but quiet actions like appointing former USDS officials and engineers to important roles within administration are common, he said.

There are plenty of other programs looking to modernize federal as well as state systems, he pointed out; it’s a rising tide and it’s lifting a lot of boats.

“I signed up for a three month tour, and that was three years ago,” he said. “It’s really a whole civic tech movement here, there are a ton of people sort of holding hands and working together. There’s also stuff happening at the state and local level, at the international level, from the UK to Estonia and Singapore — everyone’s starting to realize this matters.”

Recruitment, however, is more difficult than he’d like, perhaps partly because of self-imposed hiring practices made to reflect the diversity of the country.

“We get the best results when we represent all of America,” said Cutts. “So I go to Microsoft and Ann Arbor, regular events, but also like, Lesbians Who Tech or Grace Hopper Fest.”

Still, startups and big tech companies regularly poach talent or otherwise lure them away. “They’re just better at recruiting,” he said. And there’s some kind of fundamental disconnect at work, too, perhaps the comfortable contempt many young people have for the government — but he suggested that those seeking to do good might want to do a more serious evaluation of the tech landscape.

“I joined Google because I wanted to make the world a better place,” he said. “But if you look at the #metoo movement, how the tech industry has been acting lately… everyone at those companies has to ask that question, am I really having that impact?”

If you’re not sure, you might consider doing a tour at the USDS. They’re launching products and helping people just like startups aim to do, but they’re beholden to ordinary citizens in need, not investors. That sounds like a step up to me.


Source: TechCrunch

Ray tracing on GTX GPUs might sound stupid, but there’s a method to the madness

Ray tracing in a handful of games is now supported by more than Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards. If you have a GTX 10-series card you can enjoy it too, but we don’t think you’ll enjoy it very much.

The post Ray tracing on GTX GPUs might sound stupid, but there’s a method to the madness appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

AT&T deal offers double the data on prepaid plan – CNET

The offer’s available until July 11.
Source: CNET

AirPods 2 vs. Powerbeats Pro: All specs and features, compared – CNET

Apple’s new Powerbeats Pro earbuds cost almost $100 more than the new AirPods, but they may be worth the splurge. Here’s what sets them apart.
Source: CNET

Trump, FCC unveil plan to accelerate 5G rollout

In a press conference today in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, the president laid out a number of initiatives focused on helping accelerate the U.S. role in the 5G race.

“This is, to me, the future,” Trump said, opening the press conference flanked by Ajit Pai, Ivanka Trump and a room full of communications representatives in cowboy and hard hats.

“It’s all about 5G now,” Trump told the audience. “We were 4G and everyone was saying we had to get 4G, and then they said before that, ‘we have to get 3G,’ and now we have to get 5G. And 5G’s a big deal and that’s going to be there for a while. And at some point we’ll be talking about number six.”

The apparently off-script moment echoed Trump’s recent call on Twitter for the U.S. to get 6G technology “as soon as possible.” There’s something to be said for the spirit, perhaps, but it’s probably a little soon to be jumping the gun on a technology that doesn’t really exist just yet.

Trump used the opportunity to downplay earlier rumors that the government might be building its own 5G network, instead promoting a free-market method, while taking a shot at the government’s capabilities. “In the United States, our approach is private sector-driven and private sector-led,” he added. “The government doesn’t have to spend lots of money.”

In recent months, however, both the administration and the FCC have been discussing ways to make America more competitive in the race to the soon-to-be-ubiquitous cellular technology. Earlier today, the FCC announced plans to hold the largest spectrum auction in U.S. history, offering up the bands to wireless carriers. The planned auction is set to kick off on December 10.

“To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed,” Trump added, echoing Pai’s plans.

Earlier today Pai and the FCC also proposed a $20.4 billion fund design to help connect rural areas. The chairman said the commission believes the fund could connect as many as four million small businesses and residences over the course of the next decade.

The focus is understandable, of course. 5G’s value will go far beyond faster smartphones, providing connections for a wide range of IoT and smart technologies and potentially helping power things like robotics and autonomous vehicles. The technology will undeniably be a key economic driver, touching as of yet unseen portions of the U.S. workforce.


Source: TechCrunch

Learn Game of Thrones language High Valyrian in 5 easy steps – CNET

Master everyday phrases, such as: “Where’s the bathroom?”; “I can’t come to work”; and “What’s your HBO password?”
Source: CNET

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.

The post Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

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