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Canon software turns your EOS camera into an overpowered webcam

If you’ve been video chatting more often during the pandemic, you’ve probably noticed that most PC webcams are... not great. Canon might have a solution if you have one of its cameras hanging around, at least. Its newly released (via DPReview) EOS Webcam Utility Beta turns supporting DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and point-and-shoots into USB webcams for Windows 10 users. Yes, if you have an EOS-1D X Mark III hanging around, you can have one of the most professional-looking Zoom chats on the planet.

The beta currently only supports 25 cameras, although they include some of Canon’s more popular interchangeable-lens cameras. These include more affordable cameras like the EOS Rebel series (such as the T100 and T6), the EOS M200. The PowerShot G5X Mark II, G7X Mark III and SX70 HS will also work. As we hinted earlier, though, you can also use higher-end cameras like the full-frame EOS R mirrorless.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/canon-eos-webcam-utility-beta-194808663.html

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Apple makes it easier to skip Face ID if you’re wearing a mask

Being able to unlock your iPhone with Face ID is great, until you’re wearing a mask. Apple recognizes this, and in beta software released today, it makes it a little easier to skip the Face ID display and enter your passcode, CNBC reports.

At the moment, there is a slight delay between your phone realizing that it can’t see your face and offering the screen to enter a passcode. To avoid that, you either have to remove your mask or turn off Face ID. But in the most recent iOS 13.5 beta, Apple lets users swipe up to enter a passcode and skip the delay. Some Twitter users report that if your phone detects you’re wearing a mask, it will automatically jump to the passcode screen.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-face-id-mask-coronavirus-195553262.html

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‘Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’ is set in the Viking Age

The Viking Age setting was rumored ahead of today’s stream, but the way in which Abdo built out the scene left some doubt about as to game’s timeframe for a good part of the day. For instance, the ruin you see in the foreground started the day as a castle, leading some gaming chair historians to speculate the title would take place closer to the time of the Norman conquest of England.

The two most recent Assassin’s Creed games, Odyessy and Origins, saw players visit Ptolemaic Egypt and Peloponnesian War-era Greece. The last time the franchise visited the British Isles was in 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which was set at the tail end of the industrial revolution. We’ll learn more about Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla tomorrow when Ubisoft premiers the first trailer for the game at 8AM PDT.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/assassin-creed-valhalla-annoucement-200442094.html

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Microsoft says COVID-19 had ‘minimal’ impact on its business

Microsoft seems to be faring the coronavirus pandemic just fine. In its Q3 2020 earnings report, Microsoft assured investors that COVID-19 had a “minimal net impact” on the company’s revenues. The numbers don’t lie: it’s reporting revenue of $35 billion for the quarter, 15 percent more than last year, and net income of $10.8 billion (up 22 percent). And, not surprisingly, Microsoft noted that it’s seeing more cloud interest among consumers and businesses alike.

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security – we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-q32020-earnings-covid-19-203514769.html

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Facebook usage soars during coronavirus pandemic

At the same time, the company warned of “a significant reduction in the demand for advertising” in a statement that echoed similar remarks from Google a day earlier. Facebook had previously advised that ad revenue would take a hit, despite a surge in usage around the world. 

"Our business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, like all companies, we are facing a period of unprecedented uncertainty in our business outlook,” the company wrote in a statement. “We expect our business performance will be impacted by issues beyond our control, including the duration and efficacy of shelter-in-place orders, the effectiveness of economic stimuli around the world, and the fluctuations of currencies relative to the U.S. dollar."

But even with the negative impact of COVID-19, Facebook’s revenue was still up 18 percent from the same quarter last year, with revenue growing to $17.7 billion.

During a call with investors, Mark Zuckerberg made clear Facebook has no intention of pulling back on the amount it’s investing in its platform despite slowing revenue growth. “Rather than slamming on the brakes now, as a lot of companies may, it’s important to keep on building and keep on investing,” he said.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-q1-2020-earnings-204041879.html

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Serato DJ makes its computer-only mixing tools free for a limited time

Even the full Serato DJ Pro software pack is usually limited without an add-on controller plugged in, but with the Play expansion pack you get the full DJ experience, as long as you’re fine using a mouse or keyboard to perform. The layout includes multiple decks, filter controls and waveform views. That means you can prep sets and make mixes when you move away from your DJ setup to take some time on the couch, or soon enough even somewhere outside of your home entirely.

Serato’s free Play expansion pack offer is only available during the month of May for DJ Pro or DJ Lite users. After that, it returns to its normal price of $29. You can also visit the company’s “keeping busy” landing page for how-to guides, giveaways and other special offers.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/serato-dj-play-expansion-free-limited-time-standalone-mixing-tools-210003088.html

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AI can’t be legally credited as an inventor, says USPTO

Artificial intelligence has myriad use cases, but it turns out inventing devices isn't one of them -- at least in the eyes of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The agency issued a decision on two patent applications for devices created by an AI system, determining that only humans can legally be credited as inventors.

The items in question -- an emergency flashlight and a shape-shifting drink container -- were the brainchildren of a system called DABUS. The Artificial Inventor Project filed the applications last year on behalf of the AI’s creator, Stephen Thaler. AIP lawyers argued that, since Thaler didn't have any expertise in either of those types of products and couldn't have come up with them by himself, DABUS should be the credited inventor.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/us-patent-office-artificial-intelligence-inventor-patent-221309654.html

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Tesla delays Semi electric truck to 2021

Whatever the causes, the Semi delay was a setback in a first quarter that was otherwise upbeat for Tesla. It continued a streak of year-over-year surges in revenue ($5.98 billion) and profit ($1.23 billion). Deliveries didn’t reach the record high from the fall, but the 88,496 cars that reached customers were a distinct improvement over the 63,019 that reached buyers a year earlier. Most of those, 76,266 of them, were either the Model 3 or the surprisingly early Model Y.

Not that Tesla is about to cheer too loudly. Apart from some setbacks in China, the full weight of COVID-19 hadn’t hit the company’s business in the first quarter. The automaker’s Fremont factory will have been closed for several weeks or more during the second quarter, and it’s unclear how sales have been hurt by customers who have to stay at home and might be facing economic hardship. Tesla might not be in dire straits after the second quarter, but it could easily be facing a rough patch.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/tesla-semi-delayed-to-2021-222022916.html

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Tesla’s ‘full self-driving’ feature is coming in subscription form

By that July, Tesla had tacked another $1,000 onto the FSD’s price tag — $7,000 all told if you install it after the fact. The company then promised another price hike in August which ended up being furloughed until version 10 of the vehicle software package, which included an enhanced summon capability, was available in September.

But for people that are buying the Tesla second hand or didn’t spring for the FSD package to start with, dropping seven grand can seem a steep sum for such an investment, which is why Musk announced on Wednesday, “I think we will also be having it as a subscription service, but it will be towards the end of this year.”

“It was to make available FSD as an option. In our view, buying FSD is an investment in the future and we're confident that his investment that will pay off to the consumer,” Musk continued. “My guess is the FSD option is something people will not regret doing.”

A company rep then reiterated that rolling the upfront cost of the FSD system into the overall vehicle loan “will be the least expensive to pay on a monthly basis.”

The earnings call was not without verbal fireworks, however, as a clearly frustrated Musk ranted about the COVID-19 quarantine and government-issued stay at home orders.

“Is it right to infringe upon people's rights,” asked Musk. “As what is happening right now, I think people are going to be very angry about this.”

“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that's great. They should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave,” he continued. “But to say that they cannot leave their house, as they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist.”

“This is not democratic, not freedom, give people back their goddamn freedom,” Musk insisted, as a tense silence fell upon the conference call.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/tesla-earnings-q1-2020-235416562.html

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Uber AI plays any Atari 2600 game with ‘superhuman’ skill

DeepMind isn’t the only one with an Atari-savvy AI. A team of Uber AI researchers has developed a set of algorithms, Go-Explore, that reportedly beats any Atari 2600 game with “superhuman” scores, including ones where AI previously had trouble besting its organic rivals. The key is a system that takes care to remember promising states and returns to those states before it sets out exploring.

Go-Explore saw improvement by “orders of magnitude” in some games. It was the first to beat every level in Montezuma’s Revenge, and got a “near-perfect” Pitfall score — both of these are particularly challenging for reinforcement learning systems like this. DeepMind’s Agent57 reached a similar benchmark, according to the team’s Jeff Clune, but through “entirely different methods.” That gives developers a “diversity” of approaches to the same tasks.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/uber-ai-masters-atari-games-012832222.html

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