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Coronavirus Concerns Lead to the Cancellation of One of Tech's Biggest Developer Conferences – Gizmodo

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The spread of coronavirus is prompting companies to cancel nonessential travel. That includes trade shows like the smartphone-centric Mobile World Congress, which was scheduled to be held in Barcelona this week but was called off. Now Facebook has canceled its own annual event, the F8 developer’s conference, citing “growing concerns around COVID-19.”

The move is clearly out of an abundance of caution: F8 was scheduled to take place in San Jose, California, May 5 and 6. Now all eyes are on Facebook’s rival companies, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, who also have developer conferences in the works for early summer. Google I/O is slated for May 12 through 14 in Mountain View, Microsoft’s Build is scheduled for the following week in Seattle, and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is typically held in the first half of June in San Jose.

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Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms, wrote in a Thursday blog post that the company is still planning local events and live-streamed sessions for developers to learn about changes and new features.

“This was a tough call to make—F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world—but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Papamiltiadis wrote. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”

Microsoft also announced Thursday that it will no longer attend the annual Game Developers Conference, slated for March 16 through 20 in San Francisco. The company joins Epic, Unity, and Sony in withdrawing from the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft plans to host an online event that will coincide with GDC for developer sessions and announcements March 16 through 18. It’s unclear if GDC will be canceled or proceed without some of gaming’s biggest players.

It makes sense that voluntary conferences and trade shows be called off to stem the spread of COVID-19. Facebook and Microsoft don’t want to be the reason for a severe outbreak, nor do they want to be in the news for encouraging people to travel when they don’t need to. Developers will miss out on networking opportunities, but they’ll still be able to learn about the latest developments despite the lack of in-person sessions. At this point, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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PimEyes: An alarmingly accurate face search engine that anyone can use – Business Standard

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For $29.99 a month, a website called PimEyes offers a potentially dangerous superpower from the world of science fiction: The ability to search for a face, finding obscure photos that would otherwise have been as safe as the proverbial needle in the vast digital haystack of the internet.

A search takes mere seconds. You upload a photo of a face, check a box agreeing to the terms of service and then get a grid of photos of faces deemed similar, with links to where they appear on the internet. The New York Times used PimEyes on the faces of a dozen Times journalists, with their consent, to test its powers.

PimEyes found photos of every person, some that the journalists had never seen before, even when they were wearing sunglasses or a mask, or their face was turned away from the camera, in the image used to conduct the search.

PimEyes found one reporter dancing at an art museum event a decade ago, and crying after being proposed to, a photo that she didn’t particularly like but that the photographer had decided to use to advertise his business on Yelp. A tech reporter’s younger self was spotted in an awkward crush of fans at the Coachella music festival in 2011. A foreign correspondent appeared in countless wedding photos, evidently the life of every party, and in the blurry background of a photo taken of someone else at a Greek airport in 2019. A journalist’s past life in a rock band was unearthed, as was another’s preferred summer camp getaway.

Unlike Clearview AI, a similar facial recognition tool available only to law enforcement, PimEyes does not include results from social media sites. The sometimes surprising images that PimEyes surfaced came instead from news articles, wedding photography pages, review sites, blogs and pornography sites. Most of the matches for the dozen journalists’ faces were correct.

For the women, the incorrect photos often came from pornography sites, which was unsettling in the suggestion that it could be them. (To be clear, it was not them.)

A tech executive who asked not to be identified said he used PimEyes fairly regularly, primarily to identify people who harass him on Twitter and use their real photos on their accounts but not their real names. Another PimEyes user who asked to stay anonymous said he used the tool to find the real identities of actresses from pornographic films, and to search for explicit photos of his Facebook friends.

The new owner of PimEyes is Giorgi Gobronidze, a 34-year-old academic who says his interest in advanced technology was sparked by Russian cyberattacks on his home country, Georgia.

Gobronidze said he believed that PimEyes could be a tool for good, helping people keep tabs on their online reputation.

“It’s stalkerware by design no matter what they say,” said Ella Jakubowska, a policy adviser at European Digital Rights, a privacy advocacy group.

‘Essentially extortion’

A few months back, Cher Scarlett, a computer engineer, tried out PimEyes for the first time and was confronted with a chapter of her life that she had tried hard to forget.

In 2005, when Scarlett was 19 and broke, she considered working in pornography. She traveled to New York City for an audition that was so abusive that she abandoned the idea.

PimEyes unearthed the trauma, with links to where exactly the explicit photos could be found on the web. “I had no idea up until that point that those images were on the internet,” she said.

When she clicked on one of the explicit photos on PimEyes, a menu popped up offering a link to the image, a link to the website where it appeared and an option to “exclude from public results” on PimEyes.

But exclusion, Ms. Scarlett quickly discovered, was available only to subscribers who paid for “PROtect plans,” which cost from $89.99 to $299.99 per month. “It’s essentially extortion,” said Scarlett, who eventually signed up for the most expensive plan.

But when The Times ran a PimEyes search of Scarlett’s face with her permission a month later, there were more than 100 results, including the explicit ones.

Gobronidze said that this was a “sad story”. Instead, it blocks from PimEyes’s search results any photos of faces “with a high similarity level” at the time of the opt-out, meaning people need to regularly opt out, with multiple photos of themselves. Gobronidze said he wanted “ethical usage” of PimEyes. But PimEyes does little to enforce this, beyond a box that a searcher must click asserting that the face being uploaded is their own.

There are users Gobronidze doesn’t want. He recently blocked people in Russia from the site, in solidarity with Ukraine. He mentioned that PimEyes was willingto offer its service for free to organisations, if it could help in the search for missing persons.

A German data protection agency announced an investigation into PimEyes.

Gobronidze said he had not heard from any German authorities. “I am eager to answer all of the questions they might have,” he said. He is not concerned about privacy regulators, he said, because PimEyes operates differently.

He described it as almost being like a digital card catalog, saying the company does not store photos or individual face templates but rather URLs for individual images associated with the facial features they contain.

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I bought an ultrawide monitor for productivity, and here's what I learned – Android Authority

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Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

More screen space, more productivity. Is it really that simple? After using an ultrawide monitor for over a year, there are a few things I wish I’d known before investing in a big, expensive ultrawide screen for my daily work.

Here’s my take on what it’s like to use an ultrawide monitor for productivity.

More options: Check out our best ultrawide monitors roundup

The user

First, a little bit about myself. My primary role here at Android Authority is hard to describe, but one thing’s clear — it involves spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets, with thousands of rows, dozens of columns, formulas, flashing buttons, you name it.

Last year, I convinced myself I needed some extra screen real estate to accommodate my overgrown spreadsheets. I was working on a bog-standard 20-incher I bought back in the Middle Ages of Android, but to be honest, the real reason was I wanted to spoil myself with something nice.

After some rather perfunctory research (that would come back to bite me), I picked up an ultrawide monitor from Dell, the 34-inch Dell P3421W, for approximately $650.

The monitor

Dell P3421W ultrawide monitor on a desk with laptop, keyboard, lamp, and other accessories.

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

Overall, the Dell P3421W is a solid, if not flashy purchase. It looks sleek on my desk, and the aluminum stand is sturdy enough not to wobble even at the tallest setting. It’s the kind of classy, understated design that works in just about any setting.

It has plenty of ports, including USB-C, which makes it possible to connect a laptop and charge it simultaneously with one cable. Just not my laptop, as I quickly found out (remember that perfunctory research I mentioned?). I also realized my aging laptop simply cannot output 3,440 x 1,440 pixels at 60Hz, forcing me to use the monitor at 30Hz, like a barbarian. Woe is me.

You’ll need to show some discipline…

The Dell P3421W lacks bells and whistles, including some I would’ve genuinely found useful. My big missing features are the integrated webcam and speakers. Like most office workers in 2022, my day is just an endless series of video calls, so I’ve come to regret the lack of a built-in webcam. You can at least buy a modular soundbar from Dell for $50 that you can snap magnetically to the bottom of the screen.

Also read: The best webcams you can buy

And, of course, there’s the 34-inch 3,440 x 1,440 21:9 panel. Technically, it’s a curved panel with a bend radius of 3800R. In plain English, the curvature exists, but only barely. You can see it if you look for it, but you probably won’t notice it in day-to-day use.

The curvature on an ultrawide monitor is supposed to have a practical purpose: to decrease the distance to the edges of the screen, making it easier to see UI elements. That doesn’t happen with the Dell P3421W, and I often found myself moving windows to the middle of the screen so that I didn’t have to squint to the sides. On the flip side, there’s no distortion like on some curvier gaming-oriented models.

Dell P3421W

Dell P3421W

A solid, reliable ultrawide monitor

While you don’t get lots of bells and whistles, the Dell P3421W is definitely a reliable purchase. With a large, high-quality 34-inch display, USB-C connectivity, and a classy design, this ultrawide monitor will get the job done.

The display quality is solid. I don’t have high demands, and the Dell P3421W is not the right choice for serious gamers. But all the basics are delivered just fine, including the resolution, brightness, refresh rates, contrast levels, and panel uniformity.

Finally, it also turns out my desk is just a little too narrow to ergonomically accommodate a 34-inch screen, so keep that in mind when you buy yours.

The productivity factor

Dell P3421W ultrawide monitor and keyboard.

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

The Dell P3421W was my first time using an ultrawide monitor, so I was ready for a brave new world of pixels and productivity. A year later, I’m no productivity master, but switching to ultrawide has improved many aspects of my work.

If you spend your day in apps or websites featuring complex interfaces, lots of information, and big workspaces, an ultrawide screen will make your life easier. You can just fit more stuff on the screen, especially if the UI is designed with wide screens in mind, or if you can customize it to take advantage of the horizontal space.

Would you recommend buying an ultrawide monitor?

1101 votes

Spreadsheets, tables, and databases are my primary “killer app.” In Airtable, Excel, or Google Data Studio, having more space for columns means less scrolling and an easier time wrangling the data. It’s hard to quantify, but the productivity gain is real.

Developers, videographers, graphic designers, 3D modelers, and other creators will benefit from switching to an ultrawide format. The 5:9 space you get beside the classic 16:9 makes it possible to fit more UI elements while maintaining a generous space for your main work. Developers can, for instance, code in one window and see the results render beside it without having to switch windows.

Also read: The best monitor deals right now

Multitasking is the other big benefit. Having a 21:9 screen is not equivalent to using two monitors side by side, but it’s almost there. You can place a Word window on the left side, fire up the browser on the right, and seamlessly switch. You can do that on a 16:9 monitor too, but the ultrawide format gives you way more breathing space.

You can go beyond that and comfortably switch between three columns. Or, if you really want to go crazy, you can turn your screen into a full dashboard with five or six windows displayed simultaneously. Liveblogging major events like Google I/O is a bit less frantic when you can watch the livestream, coordinate with colleagues over Slack, work in WordPress, and monitor the traffic, from one screen and without feeling cramped.

Working on an ultrawide is awesome if you have a specific layout that you rarely stray from.

The ability to fire up multiple windows and arrange them to suit your work style is the biggest strength of the ultrawide experience, but it can also be the biggest weakness.

Working on an ultrawide is awesome if you have a specific layout that you rarely stray from. If like me, you constantly switch between a variety of apps, window sizes, and window positions, you better get good at it. Otherwise, all the switching, moving, and resizing may quickly become tedious. Or worse, you’ll end up using one app at a time in full screen, which is a waste of perfectly good pixels.

Perhaps you like to focus on one window at a time to avoid succumbing to endless distractions. That’s where an ultrawide becomes less valuable because all the screen space on the sides goes unused. If you tend to work in just one app, especially one that doesn’t take full advantage of the horizontal space, you’ll be better off investing in a high-quality 16:9 monitor instead.

Also read: How to use Snap Layouts on Windows 11

To become an expert window wrangler, you will need a window management tool. My go-to app is FancyZones, part of Microsoft’s PowerToys suite of utilities, but Dell has a similar one, and there are others out there. These apps let you define areas of your screens and quickly snap windows into position, making it a breeze to arrange them around the screen. You can have windows automatically snap into place whenever you hit a keyboard shortcut. The catch is you’ll need to show some discipline and actually make use of these tools. Otherwise, it’s easy to devolve to using the ultrawide as a normal monitor, which will make you slower and less productive.

Gaming and watching video are beyond the scope of the article, so I’ll just say one thing: I hope you don’t mind seeing black bars.

After a year of living the ultrawide life, my advice is to ignore the hype.

Ultrawide monitors for productivity: Worth it?

After a year of living the ultrawide life, my advice is to ignore the hype. It’s easy to watch your favorite YouTuber tour their awesome desk and think, “I need that monitor in my life.” But that YouTuber probably has a specific use case for that monitor: video editing. If your use case doesn’t involve video editing or programming or lots of research, or other tasks that would actually benefit from the ability to define expansive window layouts, an ultrawide monitor should not be your default choice. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy one — just that it won’t be the amazingly superior experience you may expect. Definitely don’t buy it just because it looks cool, and know that you will need a little discipline to make the most out of it.

In my case, given how much time I spend up to my knees in spreadsheets, I am happy with my purchase. For everything else, I could’ve managed just as fine with a 16:9 screen and maybe saved some bucks in the process.

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Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch 7 just crashed to epic low price – Tom's Guide

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Memorial Day sales are in full swing and we’ve come across a killer deal for the Apple Watch 7 that you don’t want to miss.

Right now, Amazon has the Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm/GPS) on sale for $329 (opens in new tab). That’s $70 off and one of the best Apple Watch deals we’ve seen. It’s also just $20 shy of it’s all-time price low. 

The Apple Watch Series 7 is Cupertino’s latest addition to its smartwatch library and is one of the wearable highlights of 2021, rivaling some of the best smartwatches on the market. Compared to its predecessors, it boasts a noticeably larger display, a brighter always-on mode and a rounder design.

In our Apple Watch Series 7 review, we were impressed with the improved features, as well as the inclusion of the full-sized QWERTY keyboard and magnetic USB-C charging. Overall, the Series 7 makes a perfect choice for both newbies and pros alike. 

It also has a few features that could come in handy for fitness enthusiasts, such as the ECG and blood oxygen monitors that can help track your health more closely.  

And although its 18-hour battery life could use some improvement, you can still take advantage of sleep tracking by fully charging it in just 90 minutes during the day. 

We don’t often see such big savings on Apple’s latest smartwatch model, so be sure to hurry, as we don’t expect stock to last very long at this price. And in case you wanted to browse through more Apple savings, check out our best Apple deals coverage for this month’s best deals. 

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.

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