Last updated: December 2, 2020
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Microsoft to Synchronize Edge release Schedule to Google’s Chrome
Microsoft is going to change its release time table for Edge to Chrome’s four-week interval between releases that Google announced recently.
Google announced that it would start following a four-week pace just recently and Microsoft had no choice but to follow suit.
“As contributors to the Chromium project, we look forward to the new 4-week major release cycle cadence that Google announced, to help deliver that innovation to our customers even faster,” Edge announced on their company blog on March 12th.
Just a week earlier, Google had announced its intention to release Chrome at a faster pace to keep up with Mozilla’s Firefox which was following a four-week release schedule instead of a four-week schedule.
Chrome 94 is coming out on September 21st. Chrome 95 will launch on October 19th. Microsoft will follow the same cycle. Microsoft announced that the new release cycle will begin with the Edge 94.
It has been customary for Microsoft to come out with a corresponding Edge every two days after a Chrome upgrade.
Google’s updates come out on Tuesdays, and this means that Microsoft’s comes out each Thursday. Edge 94 will therefore come out on 23rd and Edge 95 on October 21st.
Microsoft Edge is an open-source venture that builds and maintains Chrome’s core technologies. From January 2020, Edge has timed its releases to coincide with Chrome’s. It is a better alternative to delaying the release of Edge.
Chrome runs on multiple browsers, but Google has more control over it than Opera, Brave, Edge, or any of the other browsers. Google created Chromium and Google Engineers do most of the work. It is not yet clear what role Microsoft played in accelerating the release of Chrome.
If things go as Google has planned, Microsoft will offer a different version of Edge for commercial users that will last longer in between upgrades.
This release will come out at eight-week intervals instead of four weeks. Security upgrades every two weeks will provide service.
Only those organizations that have the capacity to manage their own machines will access the Extended Stable.
But even Chrome and Edge’s new eight-week release time table seems brief when compared with Firefox’ Extended Support Release that lasts at least a year with only security updates in between.
Microsoft observed yet another milestone on March 9th when it stopped supporting the original Microsoft Edge browser.
The legacy Microsoft Edge was launched with Windows 10 in 2015 but it did not gain traction. Microsoft preferred to dump its own technology for Chromium’s instead of wasting their hard work. The first new Edge for Chromium came out a year and two months ago.
Now that there is no more support for Microsoft Edge, users will run the software at their own risk, without Microsoft to fix hitches. Microsoft is preparing users to take up Edge on Chromium instead of moving to Firefox or Chrome.
This is why the Windows 10 update coming up next month will automatically remove the original Edge and install a new version.
Neural network and digital camera used to detect soil moisture
Researchers have created a new way to check soil moisture with a normal digital camera and a synthetic neural network.
The United Nations predicts that by 2050 some parts of the world will not have the fresh water they need to sustain agriculture. This means that we urgently need to adopt more efficient methods of soil irrigation to alleviate the coming crisis.
According to the researchers from the University of South Australia, the techniques currently in use for detecting soil moisture are contributing to the problem.
The sensors they bury in the soil are affected by salts and this calls for specially designed hardware to facilitate the connections.
At the same time, the thermal imaging cameras necessary for the operations cost too much and are sensitive to too much clouds, sunlight, and fog.
“The system we trialed is simple, robust and affordable, making it promising technology to support precision agriculture,” explained researcher Dr Ali Al-Naji referring to his newly innovated solution based on machine learning. “It is based on a standard video camera which analyses the differences in soil color to determine moisture content. We tested it at different distances, times and illumination levels, and the system was very accurate.”
They connect the camera to an artificial neural network that is already trained to identify a range of moisture levels under a variety of sky conditions.
They can train the monitoring system on the network to precisely identify soil conditions regardless of the location. This makes it a customizable solution that each user can adapt to their climatic conditions and make it as accurate as possible.
“Once the network has been trained it should be possible to achieve controlled irrigation by maintaining the appearance of the soil at the desired state,” Professor Javaan Chahl added. “Now that we know the monitoring method is accurate, we are planning to design a cost-effective smart-irrigation system based on our algorithm using a microcontroller, USB camera and water pump that can work with different types of soils.
“This system holds promise as a tool for improved irrigation technologies in agriculture in terms of cost, availability and accuracy under changing climatic conditions.”
Researchers Explore the Future Workplace in an Online Game
What do video games have in common with the work place? A lot, it turns out.
In a new online game called The Automated Life gamers will get a virtual experience of a futuristic, increasingly automated work place.
Now that algorithms are trading stocks, robots are building cars, and computers are carrying out translations, many professions are being transformed by technology.
Thanks to artificial intelligence and robotics, we are seeing some careers disappear while some new careers emerge.
The Max Plank Institute for Human Development’s Center for Humans and Machines is behind the development of the online game.
How will robots and artificial intelligence shape the work place of the future? How many of our roles will be taken over by automation? What skills and knowledge will people need to find a place the future work force?
What jobs will become obsolete? What new jobs will emerge? These are some of the issues addressed by participants in The Automated Life game.
Alex Rutherford spearheaded the design of the game at the Center for Humans and Machines with these questions in mind.
At the start of the game, every player finds themselves in a career that it at risk of going obsolete thanks to technology.
They face the challenge of saving up to train for new skills in order to secure new jobs. These new jobs come with opportunities to further up skill and improve their career trajectory.
As they progress, automation and new technology continues to eliminate more jobs and players have to constantly make shrewd decisions bearing in mind technological advancements, their own financial situation, and how long they have before they reach retirement.
“We’re seeing time and again how the accelerating pace of automation is causing people a lot of stress and generating a sense of fear about the future. Our aim was to capture this in a game and show how people in low-paid jobs experience automation,” explains Max Planck Institute for Human Development Senior Researcher Alex Rutherford.
Rutherford spearheads a working group that probes the relationship between labor economics, network science, and artificial intelligence as far as the future of the work place is concerned. Rutherford came up with the idea and took charge of the creative process.
Francis Tseng, the game developer draws a parallel between working life and video games. “In computer games, the developers set the rules—players can only make limited decisions. So in fact it’s rather similar to automation in working life,” Tseng quips.
This is not the first time that researchers from the Center for Humans and Machines have come up with an exciting gaming project.
They also created MyGoodness to rate users based on how generously they are willing to donate. The creation of MyGoodness was led by Edmond Awad.
Besides altruism, the team has also experimented with a multiple people controlling one person with the game Social Game. This game was demonstrated at a larger scale during a Halloween party in 2018 when one human being was jointly controlled by a group. The group sent the person on an adventure.
The Automated Life is a game that is meant to gather data from each player anonymously and this data will fuel research in future.
“Automation in the world of work is an issue that affects us all in some way and confronts society with significant challenges. That’s why research is needed that explores the problems and identifies potential solutions,” continued Alex Rutherford, a Senior Research Scientist with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.
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