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Updated: 12 min 49 sec ago

Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 11:25am
An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."

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Breathalyzer Bike Lock Stops Drunken Cyclists In Their Tracks

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 9:29am
Zothecula writes: Driving while drunk is a bad idea even on a bike. Slowed reflexes and decreased awareness of the world around them can make a drunk cyclist a danger on the road. Working in much the same way as breath-test locks for your car, the Alcoho-Lock aims to prevent cyclists from hopping in the seat when they've had one too many. The device even comes with a smartphone app that connects with the lock over Bluetooth and lets a loved one know that you are trying to bike drunk.

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Why the Freemium Business Model Isn't What It Used To Be

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 7:05am
mattydread23 writes: A few years ago, every enterprise software company was trying freemium — the idea of giving a product away to build users, then charging for additional features. Now, that model seems to be losing favor, except with open source software. Business Insider talks to enterprise founders and VCs to figure out why 'freemium' wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

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Scientists Develop Electronic Skin Sensors For Controlling Mobile Devices

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 4:32am
MojoKid writes: Wearables seem to be the "Next big thing" when it comes to consumer electronics devices. But while most current devices put a new tech-infused spin on an old idea like a wristwatch, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Saarland University and Carnegie Mellon University are developing a different type of wearable that actually sticks to your skin. Dubbed iSkin, the silicone rubber-based product is loaded with pressure-sensitive sensors, can made into limitless sizes/shapes and safely adheres to your body. For example, iSkin can be stuck to your forearm, wrapped around your finger, or even attached to your ear. What makes iSkin interesting is that it can be used for "fast and direct control of mobile devices using touch input even when the hands are busy." The researchers see iSkin being used to control smartphone and smartwatch functions like a stopwatch during sports activities, adjusting music playback and volume, and answering phone calls.

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Pixar's Universal Scene Description To Be Open-Sourced

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 2:07am
An anonymous reader writes: Today Pixar announced their second major open source project, Universal Scene Description. USD is the technology that enables 'hundreds of artists to operate simultaneously on the same collections of assets in different contexts', says Pixar VP of software R&D, Guido Quaroni. Pixar has been working with industry to vet the new technology, gaining backing from VFX power-houses MPC and Double Negative as well as high-end digital content creation tool creator, The Foundry. Official source release is slated for summer 2016. Pixar released its RenderMan animation and rendering suite, free back in March.

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Ask Slashdot: Switching To a GNU/Linux Distribution For a Webdesign School

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 12:22am
spadadot writes: I manage a rapidly growing webdesign school in France with 90 computers for our students, dispatched across several locations. By the end on the year it will amount to 200. Currently, they all run Windows 8 but we would love to switch to a GNU/Linux distribution (free software, easier to deploy/maintain and less licensing costs). The only thing preventing us is Adobe Photoshop which is only needed for a small amount of work. The curriculum is highly focused on coding skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP/MySQL) but we still need to teach our students how to extract images from a PSD template. The industry format for graphic designs is PSD so The Gimp (XCF) is not really an option. Running a Windows VM on every workstation would be hard to setup (we redeploy all our PCs every 3 months) and just as costly as the current setup. Every classroom has at least 20Mbit/s — 1Mbit/s ADSL connection so maybe setting up a centralized virtualization server would work? How many Windows/Photoshop licenses would we need then? Anything else Slashdot would recommend?

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