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IBM introduces Watson to Africa and the Middle East

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With the help from the city of Abu Dhabi, IBM will offer its Watson-based data analysis services to the Middle East and North Africa.Under the partnership, the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company Mubadala will introduce Watson to its …

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Here’s what to takes to lay Google’s 9,000km undersea cable

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It takes a plow the size of a small house, a robot the size of a truck and a purpose-built ship to install Google’s latest oceanic infrastructure project—a super-fast submarine Internet cable linking the U.S. and Japan.

The US$300 million FASTER cable system, backed by Google and East Asian telecom firms, will have a peak capacity of 60 Tbps (terabits per second) when it’s ready next year.

About 6,000 kilometers of the cable has been loaded onto the cable ship René Descartes, which is docked at a submarine cable factory in Kitakyushu, southern Japan, operated by NEC group firm OCC. It will be the first time for the vessel, owned by French telecom firm Orange, and her crew to lay some 9,000 km of cable in one go.

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Google to reopen Maps editing tool after closing it due to abuse

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After halting the service due to an influx of spam, Google is ready to open Map Maker again, with changes that hand much of the control back to users.Map Maker lets people update the information in Google Maps to make it more accurate. The service w…

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Here’s how to follow NASA’s Pluto flyby

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As NASA’S New Horizons spacecraft closes in on its Pluto flyby early Tuesday morning, stargazers interested in the historic mission can use a number apps to track it and even print out a 3D model of the spacecraft.
New Horizons , which launched on…

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To Hillary Clinton, Uber is a double-edged sword

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When voters go to the polls in next year’s presidential election, could a candidate’s stance on the sharing economy factor into their decision?

In a speech Monday focused on economic policy, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spoke out on what she saw as the double-edged sword that characterizes startups like Uber, Airbnb or Instacart. Companies operating in this “gig” economy, she said, are innovative because they make it easy for people to make money by driving their own car, or renting out a spare room in their home.

But the companies’ services are raising hard questions about how to compensate the people who drive those cars, and what the next generation of “good jobs” will look like, Clinton said. She didn’t mention Uber or AirBnB by name but was discussing their general business model.

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Comcast’s 2-gigabit service will cost $300 plus $1,000 for installation and activation

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A premium Xbox 360 costs about $250. An Xbox One, about $350. And with Comcast’s new 2-gigabit Internet services, you’ll be paying right in the middle. Every month.

Comcast will charge $299.95 per month for its 2Gb symmetrical service (2 Gb/s down, 2 Gb/s up) on its Web page, following a rollout earlier this year that neglected to note what Comcast would charge you for the service. As of today, the service is available in the San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of California, plus Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami and nearby areas. 

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Pebble Time Steel to start shipping at the end of July

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Smartwatch maker Pebble will start manufacturing its new Pebble Time Steel this week and begin shipping the device at the end of this month.

People who backed the smartwatch’s crowdfunding campaign early on will have theirs shipped out the last week of July, the company said. People who contributed later will receive shipping information by the end of August.

“The delivery timeframe for Pebble Time Steel rewards is a little off from the original estimate we shared during the campaign, but well get everything shipped as fast as possible,” the company said.

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IBM, Nvidia rev HPC engines in next-gen supercomputer push

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Hard on the heels of the publication of the latest Top 500 ranking of the world’s fastest supercomputers, IBM and Nvidia on Monday announced they have teamed up to launch two new supercomputer centers of excellence to develop the next generation of contenders.

Created as part of IBM’s supercomputing contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, the new centers will be located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and will focus on development of the forthcoming Summit and Sierra supercomputer systems, which are expected to be delivered in 2017. The Summit supercomputer will be housed at Oak Ridge, while the Sierra will be situated at Lawrence Livermore; both are due to become operational in 2018.

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US to begin talks on drone privacy standards

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A U.S. government agency will start its third attempt to develop voluntary privacy standards for an emerging area of technology, this time with a series of meetings on drone privacy scheduled to begin Aug. 3.

The U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration has already hosted similar discussions on mobile app privacy and facial recognition privacy but with mixed results. Privacy groups pulled out of the facial recognition discussions in June, saying the process wouldn’t lead to enough protections for consumers.

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Windows 10 to run rings around customers

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Microsoft’s top operating system executive today confirmed that the two main Windows 10 update and upgrade “branches” will offer customers multiple “rings,” or tempos, that they can select to receive changes quickly or after they’ve been tested by …

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