Microsoft Translator Can Now Translate Text From Images

Isn’t it just annoying when you go away on Holiday or spot something and sit there for five minutes wondering what the text even says? Microsoft is looking to make it a little easier on us with a Translator that won’t just do text but can also translate text from images.

While it was available on the Windows Phone since 2010 and managed to provide quick and accurate translations from just looking at a menu. Now the feature is coming to Android (with iOS getting the feature back in February), giving you the ability to quickly load and understand any of the 21 languages the app supports.

The Android app is getting a few other boosters alongside the new feature, with inline translations giving you the ability to hover over text and translate to any of the 50+ online libraries while an additional 30 libraries bring the offline language count to 43 in total.

While Google’s translate app has had the feature since 2012, the fact that even more apps are getting translators built it, for both text and Skype getting to translate calls via its universal translator, it could be only a matter of time before languages online mean nothing but a setting on your PC.

The BBC Implements HTML5 to iPlayer

I think we can all say that Adobe Flash Player is very much being knocked to its knees in recent months, from endless, and I do mean endless, vulnerabilities which put countless users at risk to the annoying aspect of running a plug-in which enjoys crashing and breaking functionality on a regular basis. Well, now the BBC has also seen the light and are implementing the HTML 5 web standard language within its BBC iPlayer service.

The move is seen as progress and an update which modernizes the service and security aspect of the site. The BBC state that it is “now confident [it could] achieve the playback quality you’d expect from the BBC without using a third-party plug-in such as Flash player”. Users have also been invited to visit a BBC site where they can set a cookie in their browsers that will allow them to access the HTML5 player when they visit iPlayer in future. However, the Flash version will remain available.

Security analysts have responded positivity to the news but have also confirmed that Adobe Flash still has a role; this has been echoed by security expert Chris Green, who says “The industry has moved on from trying to shoehorn one thing in, whether that is Flash or Microsoft’s Silverlight. It continues to be very effective in delivering rich content into web pages.”  

The BBC is testing the new more improved player on a range of browsers, these include Firefox 41, Safari on iOS 5 and above, Opera 32, Internet Explorer 11 (Good luck with that piece of, let’s say junk, as this is a family site) and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 (Good luck with that piece of, to be fair I have not as yet tried edge but anything with the words browser and Microsoft in the title concerns me) and Blackberry OS 10.3.1 The BBC added that it was also going to “move away from the BBC Media Player app on Android devices” with users invited to join a limited beta test

HTML 5 is considered the standard in content delivery and the BBC are implementing this with the aim of modernizing the service, it will be interesting to see how it works and also how rapid the decline of Flash will be in the coming months and years. It is worth noting that Flash is used by Amazon and Hulu among others, which is positive for them, it’s just frustrating for consumers who have to put up with a range of exploits which make services insecure.

Thank you bbc for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of plus.google

Windows 10 Cortana Only Works If You’re American?

The launch of the much-anticipated operating system from Microsoft occurred at midnight two days ago. I installed it onto my laptop yesterday and so far, I have to be honest, I’m not overly keen. The OS seems much slower to boot and load applications than previous editions including Windows 8.1 but does admittedly look quite sleek with some nice new, major features.

One of these major features is Cortana which made its debut on Windows Phone devices a year or so ago. The personal assistant is a contender in the battle against Google Now and Siri – two very good voice recognition pieces of software for both Android and iOS respectively.

This time Microsoft have released Cortana as part of their full operating system for desktop and laptop devices, and you are able to start it by simply saying “Hey Cortana” or by typing in the search bar on the left-hand side of the taskbar.

The pop up is again, black and sleek-looking with very simple icons along the left-hand side:

When it works, Cortana asks a few set-up questions and then you’re good to ask her pretty much anything. However there is a catch. On our own Windows devices we cannot seem to enable the virtual assistant. Whenever we attempt to enable Cortana we get the following error:

When we checked out our regional and language settings, they were all set to English (UK), you would think this is fine but from our own experience and after reading several Reddit comments we have found out that Cortana will only function if your device is configured in American language format.

To prove changing language to American works, here is our Time and Language screen in Windows 10 after we make some changes to English (United States):

See how it is set to English (Unites States)? Well, let’s try a command to Cortana:

Ok, so now it works – well, it does but all of the units are in Fahrenheit – not much good for us UK residents and others around the world! However you can ask “Whats the weather in celsius?” to combat this issue.

Amusingly, Microsoft made the same blunder with their release of Windows Phone a year or so ago. To use Cortana you would have to change your language and settings to United States to get her to function. This restriction was lifted a few months after the launch though, so there is hope for Cortana yet.

Microsoft have said that they are aware of the issue and it is affecting a lot of people that are now using the brand new OS. They are currently working on a patch that will be released via a system update. So make sure that you keep installing any windows updates that become available for your device, as it may fix Cortana!

However for those who are eager, you can manually change your country and region settings so you can use Cortana. To do this use the following:

  • Open the Start Menu by pressing the icon or the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type “Settings” into the search bar
  • Click the icon that says “PC Settings”
  • This will the load up another window, here click “Time & Language”
  • On the left-hand side of this window, select “Region & Language”
  • Change the setting from United Kingdom to United States
  • Then change to the Speech tab on the left hand side
  • Change this to English (United States) 
  • Go back to the Region and Language menu on the left-hand side
  • Where it says “Will be displayed language after next sign in” Click here
  • Then select options
  • At the bottom change the keyboard back to United Kingdom
  • Done! You may need to reboot for the change to take effect

We’re currently getting mixed reports on this, with some stating that it’s working fine from the UK and other countries, so please let us know where you are from and if it’s working fine for you.

Of course, we accept no responsibility by you altering your regional settings, but we can’t see any disadvantages of doing this, but for us it is simply an annoyance that should just work, but at least Microsoft are aware and this should be rectified soon, we hope.

4Chan Anon Developing Emoji Programming Language

Emojis, a collection of ideagrams born out a unique brand of shorthand born out of the electronic communications, has fast become the universal language of the internet, so was only a matter of time before the character set was implemented as one of tech’s sub-languages, programming code.

A resourceful member (as much as one can be a member) of 4Chan has developed a coding language using emojis. Dubbed FourMan (or ), the language is still in embryonic form, but it currently exists as a token list, sample code, a C++-based lexer, and an emoji reader. It is described on its GitHub page as:

FourMan is an easy-to-use programming language made entirely of emojis.

FourMan aims to create a clear, understandable, and powerful programming language.

FourMan is for both beginner and expert programmers.

FourMan makes use of emojis to create a universally understandable syntax.

Beginner programmer, ready for a first language? Novice programmer, want another language under your belt? Expert programmer, looking for something a little more powerful? Give FourMan a shot!

Later iterations of the code will add a compiler and what is described as “awesome libraries”, while adding an IDE app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and IDE, keymapping software, custom keycaps, and custom keyboards for desktops.

FourMan is currently available for download from GitHub.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

WebAssembly Hopes To Increase Browser Speed Up To 20X

Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Safari. These are the five big names when it comes to web browsing, and each of these comes with both their own strengths and their weaknesses. Engineers at Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla however are putting their arms down and working together to create WebAssembly, a piece of code that looks to speed up web browsing up to 20 times.

The concept behind WebAssembly is that is will be closer to machine level code (a series of numeric codes) than it is to higher level languages (such as Java, C#, Python, ext..). With a lower level language the aim is that both desktop and mobile browsers will be able to read it quicker than your average web page.

While most pages currently use Javascript to create functionality and dynamic code, bytecode based systems are made to be faster. With the hope that once developed the language could be used as an industry standard, the results could see your web browsing being more similar to loading up and running apps than waiting for that page to load.

Currently, the plan is to use a filler to convert WebAssembly to Javascript to support browsers that don’t have WebAssembly compatibility.

Being able to browse the internet at 20 times its current speed would greatly reduce how much time people have to wait in your average day and with companies like Mozilla, Apple, Google and Microsoft taking the helm you know that they are serious about trying to get this technology developed. Personally………PLEASE WAIT WHILE LOADING

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

You Can Now Learn Klingon Online

Have you ever been asked “Dargh DaneH’a’?” and not known how to respond? Well, help is here, as free language-learning resource Duolingo is now offering online courses teaching Klingon.

For those who thought that Star Trek’s warrior race only expelled guttural disemboguements, Klingon is a genuine language, developed by linguist Marc Okrand during the making of 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Duolingo is offering courses in the language as part of its crowdsourced Language Incubator program, rather than its core Duolingo framework, and is available on all platforms, from online to apps on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The Language Incubator invites the community to teach and learn languages, so if you jIyaj, Duolingo could use your help.

By the way, is someone asks you “Dargh DaneH’a’?”, my answer is always “yes, please!”

Source: Engadget

Indiegogo Toy Aims to Help Teach Children How to Code

A lot of companies have been struggling to release something that will help children how to code. The use of apps and toys have been the most obvious choice for them in order to make coding a lot more fun.

The latest initiative comes from an Indiegogo startup and its Codie toy, which is a wheeled gadget that comes with an app to let the user control and program it at the same time.

Codie appears to be using a visual drag and drop blocks approach rather than having kids program by typing a bunch of lines of code. While the concept is not new, Codie’s developers state that it will stand out with the help of its programming language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj5GKCavdeM

Codie’s programming language will not require any compiling time and will react in real-time, which means that any changes made by kids will make Codie react instantly, granting a more interactive experience.

The company looks like it is trying to raise $70,000 on Indiegogo, having it already raised half the sum. If you are interested about the project and want to learn more, or even contribute to its creation, you can visit its Indiegogo page here.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Google Translate Bringing Real-Time Speech-to-Text Soon

Google is developing an updated version of Translate to offer real-time detection and translation of spoken word, according to the New York Times. The update is planned for the Google Translate Android app, but there is no indication as to when the new feature will be introduced.

Google Translate has 500 million monthly users, offering written translation for 90 languages and audio translations for the most popular of those. The update, expected for most Android devices, will allow the user to say a phrase into the Translate app, and hear it repeated back to them in their chosen language.

A further update to capture images of words for translation is also anticipated, expected to be powered by Wordlens, an app bought by Google recently that sported similar features.

Source: Techspot

Harvard Academics Build Robot That Teaches Kids How to Write Code

Harvard researchers have built a $10 robot that has been designed to teach children how to write code.

The small AERobot can be connected to a computer via USB and programmed in a specially modified language called minibloqs. The language is similar to Scratch, which allows kids to learn programming by dragging and dropping pictures into a sequence. The robot has been designed with school’s tight budgets in mind, as it uses simple manufacturing techniques and materials to keep costs down. Using its vibration motors, LEDs, sensors and actuators, the bot can be programmed to move along a particular course, switch lights on and off or avoid objects and obstacles.

The robot won the top prize in the software category at the 2014 AFRON Challenge – a competition held to help researchers develop low-cost robots to be used in education.

Source: Wired

Northern Ireland Government Website Displayed Users’ Information in Public Searches

In an example of truly terrible website design, a site set up by the government of Northern Ireland to encourage people to learn the Irish language, has been temporarily shut down after it was revealed that users’ private and personal data was indexed in public searches.

If you visited the Líofa website and conducted a regular search in the site’s search field, you or anyone else for that matter could have easily searched through the private and personal details of users stored on the site’s server.

According to the BBC, names, home addresses and email addresses could be searched for on the site, among other private details.

In a statement, the Culture Minister of Northern Ireland Carál Nί Chuilίn said:

“I am very sorry that some participants’ names and other information which they had provided could have been found using the website’s search facility.

“While it is disturbing that this should have been the case, at this stage there is no evidence that this information has been accessed or misused in any way.”

The authorities are now looking into how the problem occurred, drafting in IT security experts to figure out exactly how such private information was so publicly accessible.

Source: BBC News

Oxford Dictionary Adds Douchbaggery, Adorbs & Many More to Its Collection

The Oxford English Dictionary has done well to avoid many of the new words that litter our vocabulary these days, but as our language is ever evolving and changing, so as the terms that need to be recorded for future generations. Of course even I will admit that some of these words would do well to be left out of the history books, but people were likely saying the same thing a hundred years ago about words we commonly use today.

Oxford Dictionaries has announced that you will now be able to find words like audible sigh, side boob, baller, hate-watch, adorbs, amazeballs, mansplain, humblebrag, douchbaggery, clickbait and more in their online records. Not only that but a few acronyms have been added, handy for all those times you can’t recall what YOLO, ICYMI and WDYT stand for, right?

Lets be honest though, even if it is only ironically, most of you have likely used one or more of these words in conversation at some point in the last couple of years, am I right? Or should that be ammarite?! I can’t keep up with the evolving language sometimes.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

13 New Languages Added to Gmail Covering 94% of the World’s Internet Population

Google has announced it has added 13 new language support for its Gmail service, which previously had support for 58 languages, summing up the service’s language support to a total of 71 languages now. The company has stated that, along with the new languages addition, it also now covers 94 percent of the world’s internet population.

The additional languages added include Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

Email is a universal way to communicate. No matter where you are, you can reach anyone else in the world with the press of a button. We take it for granted now, but it’s so much easier to keep in touch with people than it was in the old days of pens, paper, and stamps. But there’s still an important barrier we need to overcome to make email truly universal: language. Gmail is already available in 58 languages, and today we’re bringing that total to 71—covering 94 percent of the world’s Internet population and bringing us closer to our goal of making sure that, no matter what language you write in, you can use it in Gmail.

The company stated that the email service is a universal way to communicate and support for as many languages as possible make the whole experience as natural and smooth as possible. The additional languages are currently available on both web and mobile browsers.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information

Modified Version Of “Google Now” Available In Any Android Supported Language

Up until now, Google Now app could be used only when the device is set to English US and would not allow non-English users to use the application in their native language. However, Sletmo from XDA has found a way to modify the source code in order to use Google Now in any Android supported language format.

For example if you want to search for restaurants in German, or a place in French, now you can. And the results are also displayed accurately in the language set to the device. This is quite a remark for the guys at XDA, but nothing new since they are not new in this business. We just have to wait and see if an official version of Google Now will be released however.

To install the modified version of Google Now, all you have to do is replace the existing system app, either Velvet.apk or GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk,a with the modified version. Naturally, you will need root access to do this. We also recommend making a backup of the original file, in case anything goes wrong.

Thank you Endgadget and XDA for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Endgadget.