Microsoft announces new PCs with AI chips from Qualcomm

May 20, 2024 - 7:05 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is touting new computers with advanced chips designed to run artificial intelligence features of software for Windows, without quickly using up battery life.

The company on Monday announced Surface Laptop and a Surface Pro tablet with a Qualcomm chip that can run some AI tasks without an internet connection. Other computer makers like Lenovo, Dell, HP, Asus, Acer and Samsung are also launching AI-ready PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus processors, which promise longer battery life and will run Microsoft’s Copilot AI chatbot.

The computers adhere to Microsoft’s new Copilot+ standard and feature a minimum amount of performance, storage and memory. Copilot+ PCs with AMD and Intel chips will follow, Microsoft said during a press keynote address on its campus in Redmond, Washington. The PCs will be able to translate audio, recommend responses to incoming messages and suggest changes in the Settings app, and even talk with people about what’s on screen.

Copilot+ PCs will start at $999. Microsoft is accepting pre-orders as of Monday, and the devices will become available in June.

A Recall feature will be able to search through a log of previous actions on PCs. Recall relies on AI models that run directly on the device, so it can run offline, and an index of the data never goes to remote servers. AI models will be able to generate images based on written descriptions as well as drawings.

Microsoft is banking on Qualcomm’s energy-efficient Arm-based chips that can handle AI models to defend its Windows franchise. Apple has gained market share in PC shipments with MacBooks containing its Arm-based chips, having moved away from Intel, the top provider of computer processors.

Microsoft is expanding its effort to surround consumers and business users with ChatGPT-like capabilities. OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, released the ChatGPT chatbot in late 2022, and it took off as a tool for quickly obtaining computer-generated poems, email drafts and summaries of historical events.

Other large technology companies, including Microsoft, soon started augmenting their products with generative AI. A Copilot chatbot drawing on ChatGPT’s underlying AI models came to the Bing search engine, along with the Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. Those with Office productivity software subscriptions could pay extra to have a Copilot refer to their documents for written responses.

CNBC
  0 Replies | 267 Views


OpenAI launches new AI model and desktop version of ChatGPT

May 13, 2024 - 6:39 PM - by Reverend
OpenAI on Monday launched a new AI model and desktop version of ChatGPT, along with an updated user interface, the company’s latest effort to expand use of its popular chatbot.

The update brings GPT-4 to everyone, including OpenAI’s free users, technology chief Mira Murati said in a livestreamed event. She added that the new model, GPT-4o, is “much faster,” with improved capabilities in text, video and audio. OpenAI said it eventually plans to allow users to video chat with ChatGPT.

“This is the first time that we are really making a huge step forward when it comes to the ease of use,” Murati said.

OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, has been valued by more than $80 billion by investors. The company, founded in 2015, is under pressure to stay on top of the generative AI market while finding ways to make money as it spends massive sums on processors and infrastructure to build and train its models.

The o in GPT-4o stands for omni. The new model allows ChatGPT to handle 50 different languages with improved speed and quality, and it will also be available via OpenAI’s API so that developers can begin building applications using the new model today, Murati said.

She added that GPT-4o is twice as fast as, and half the cost of, GPT-4 Turbo.

OpenAI team members demonstrated the new model’s audio capabilities, asking for help calming down ahead of a public speech. OpenAI researcher Mark Chen said the model has the capability to “perceive your emotion,” adding that the model can also handle users interrupting it. The team also asked it to analyze a user’s facial expression to comment on the emotions the person may be experiencing.

“Hey there, what’s up? How can I brighten your day today?” ChatGPT’s audio mode said when a user greeted it.

The company plans to test Voice Mode in the coming weeks, with early access for paid subscribers to ChatGPT Plus, according to a blog post. OpenAI also said the new model can respond to users’ audio prompts “in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation.”

CNBC
  0 Replies | 947 Views


Windows 11’s screenshot tool is getting QR code scanning and emoji support

May 09, 2024 - 7:01 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is finally adding an easy way to use QR codes inside Windows 11’s built-in Snipping Tool. A new update has started rolling out to Windows Insider testers today that will automatically detect QR codes in screenshots so you can open links from your PC. The Snipping Tool update also includes support for emoji.

The automatic QR code detection will appear if you enter the text actions part of the canvas in the Snipping Tool and will highlight the QR code and its clickable link. If you’re an emoji fan, then you’ll be able to add Microsoft’s 3D emoji to your screenshots. This new option is part of the shapes toolbar, and any inserted emoji can easily be resized and moved around on top of your screenshot.

Speaking of the shapes toolbar, Microsoft is adding the ability to change the opacity of shape fill and the outline colors. The ruler tool is also being reintroduced, and you can toggle this on or off with the CTRL + R keyboard shortcut.

Alongside this Snipping Tool update, Microsoft is also updating the name of the AI-powered Pain Cocreator feature. It’s now becoming Image Creator, but it’ll work exactly as it does right now to let you create images from a text prompt.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 1,098 Views


Amazon Prime Video ads are about to get more intrusive

May 08, 2024 - 6:37 PM - by Reverend
It’s barely been four months since Amazon placed ads in its Prime Video streaming service, but the retail giant is already introducing more annoying promotional tactics — such as displaying ads whenever someone hits the pause button.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced it will roll out three new ad formats for Prime Video later this year to tempt subscribers to purchase promoted items while watching content. Shoppable carousels will soon appear during ad breaks in shows and movies that present viewers with a “sliding lineup” of products they can buy on Amazon. That essentially makes this an ad within another ad, and it even “automatically pauses” if interacted with to give viewers time to browse.

TV shows, movies, and live sports will also show interactive brand trivia ads that can provide rewards “like Amazon shopping credits” and pause ads that bring up a translucent overlay, allowing viewers to directly add the promoted product to their Amazon carts. Amazon says this overlay will only appear while the video is paused but does note that pause ads “extend the engagement opportunity beyond a traditional ad break.”

Hulu introduced a similar pause-activated advertising feature back in 2019, which is now catching on with other streamers like YouTube. Amazon hasn’t specified when it will roll out these new ad formats, only that they’ll be available “in the upcoming broadcast year” — which typically ends on August 31st.

Prime Video users who want an ad-free experience have to pay Amazon an additional $2.99 per month on top of their existing subscription for the privilege, but plenty of people apparently aren’t doing that. Amazon says its cheaper ad-supported tier has an average monthly reach of over 200 million global customers. The company hasn’t disclosed how many Prime Video subscribers it has, but Amazon said it had 200 million global subscribers across its entire Prime membership program in 2021.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 726 Views


FrostWire 6.13.2

May 08, 2024 - 6:32 PM - by Reverend
FrostWire is a free, open source BitTorrent client, first released as a fork of LimeWire. In version 5, Gnutella support was dropped entirely, and now FrostWire only uses the BitTorrent network.

FrostWire 6.13.2

FrostWire homepage
  0 Replies | 255 Views


Threads is testing cross-posting from Instagram globally

May 08, 2024 - 6:30 PM - by Reverend
Meta is encouraging more users to post to its X rival Threads. In its latest experiment, the company is providing an easy toggle for users to cross-post from Instagram to Threads, the company told TechCrunch.

Earlier today, users shared that they saw control for cross-posting on their Instagram accounts. Users could cross-post an individual post to turn on the feature for all of them.

Meta confirmed to TechCrunch that it is running a global test to let users cross-post images from Instagram to Threads. That means you can’t post Reels to Threads automatically. However, given Instagram’s shift to promoting video, Threads might be a good place to promote your photography.

The company said that this is an opt-in experience, and you can turn it off at any point in time. When users cross-post their Instagram posts, the caption will become text for the Thread post, and hashtags will be converted into plain text.

Meta has used its other properties, including Facebook and Instagram, to promote Threads regularly. Last year, it started showing a carousel of suggested posts from Threads on both Instagram and Facebook. Earlier this year, the social media company also started testing cross-posting from Facebook to Threads.

In addition to the cross-posting test, Meta is also running an active creator bonus program on Threads to incentivize accounts with high follower counts to post on social networks. Last month, Threads passed the 150 million monthly active users mark, Mark Zuckerberg noted on the Q1 2024 earnings call.

TechCrunch
  0 Replies | 622 Views


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