How Data Science Has Changed Everyday Life for the Better

data science


Data science is the study of where information comes from, what it represents and how it can be turned into a valuable resource in the creation of business and IT strategies. Mining large amounts of structured and unstructured data to identify patterns can help an organization rein in costs, increase efficiencies, recognize new market opportunities and increase the organization’s competitive advantage. Some companies are hiring data scientists to help them turn raw data into information.
Data scientists must possess a combination of analytic, machine learning, data mining and statistical skills as well as experience with algorithms and coding.

Application of Data Science

Here’s how Data Science comes to our rescue in our everyday routine.

Recommender Systems

recommendation systems


Who can forget the suggestions about similar products on Amazon? They not only help you find relevant products from billions of products available with them, but also adds a lot to the user experience. The recommendations are made based on previous search results for a user.

Internet Search

internet search

Search engines make use of data science algorithms to provide the best search result for searched query in fraction of seconds. Considering the fact that, Google processes more than 20 petabytes of data everyday. Had there been no data science, Google wouldn’t have been the ‘Google’ we know today.

Healthcare

Today fitness trackers and apps already help people lead a life that is more active, eat healthier and control their weight – and this is only the beginning. Already such devices monitor heart rate, sleep patterns and other vital signs that can be interpreted to serve other healthcare purposes and provide a diagnosis. The best cure is prevention, and with big data science, everyone will be able to keep their health in check.

Logistics

Logistic companies like DHL, FedEx, UPS, Kuhne+Nagel have used data science to improve their operational efficiency. Using data science, these companies have discovered the best routes to ship, the best suited time to deliver, the best mode of transport to choose thus leading to cost efficiency, and many more to mention. Further more, the data that these companies generate using the GPS installed, provides them a lots of possibilities to explore using data science.
Airlines schedule flights, predict delays based on precise weather forecasts and estimate the number of seats they are going to need for each direction based on seasonal fluctuations, competitors’ actions, latest social trends or political events. There are also mechanisms that allow them to decide on the class of planes they will need to purchase in the future.

Image Recognition

Today face recognition is not that big a deal. It offers you to tag your friends on social media photos; it enables goofy masks in Snapchat, Instagram and webcam programs. Lots of fun and nothing substantially useful. However, this can be a powerful tool of law enforcement in the future. Already this feature is making its way into security systems – in flagship models of modern smartphone, you may choose face recognition to unlock your device. In future, it can be used to identify suspects and find missing persons.

Data science and Python

Why Python is usful for Data Science? Python is a powerful, flexible, open source language that is easy to learn, easy to use, and has powerful libraries for data manipulation and analysis. Its simple syntax is very accessible to programming novices, and will look familiar to anyone with experience in Matlab, C/C++, Java, or Visual Basic. Python has a unique combination of being both a capable general-purpose programming language as well as being easy to use for analytical and quantitative computing.
python and data science
Python is easy for analysts to learn and use, but powerful enough to tackle even the most difficult problems in virtually any domain. It integrates well with existing IT infrastructure, and is very platform independent. Among modern languages, its agility and the productivity of Python-based solutions is legendary. Companies of all sizes and in all areas — from the biggest investment banks to the smallest social/mobile web app startups — are using Python to run their business and manage their data.

Because of growing importance and scope of data science, many are opting for business analytics and data science certification courses. Data Science is changing the world, and if you are passionate about this fascinating discipline, then this is the time to enroll yourself in a data science course.

Want to learn Python Programming? 

Is Trump an ‘Aspiring Despot’ or a ‘Bumbling Showman’? Why Not Both?

Author Brian Klaas warns the damage of Trump’s presidency will last a generation.

The presidency of Donald Trump has forced the American people to confront questions most of us had never before considered possible. What happens when a president has no respect for the Constitution and the country’s democratic institutions and traditions? When a president and his allies consider themselves above the law, what is to be done? If a president creates his own version of reality by behaving like a political cult leader, what forms of resistance are effective — or even possible? Is the president of the United States a fascist and demagogue who may be under the influence of the country’s enemies?

Too many Americans believed their country to be exceptional and unique. This blinded them to the threat to democracy embodied by Donald Trump — as well as other members of the extreme right-wing — until it was too late to stop him from stealing control. Moreover, the rise of Trump’s authoritarian movement (dishonestly operating under the mask of “populism”) has both empowered and revealed the tens of millions of Americans who have authoritarian or fascist leanings. The threat to American democracy is deep; it will take a long time to purge this civic sickness and political disease from the body politic.

In an effort to understand the true dimensions of Trump’s rise to power as a direct threat to American democracy, I recently spoke with Brian Klaas. He is a fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. In addition to writing columns and essays that have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs and numerous other publications, Klaas is the author of several books. His latest, published in November, is “The Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy.”

In our conversation, Klass explained his view that Trump is an aspiring despot whose behavior mimics other authoritarians both past and present, the role of Fox News and other elements of the right-wing media in maintaining and expanding Trump’s malignant reality and power, and the decline of the country’s prestige and influence abroad because of Trump’s regime.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

How was Donald Trump able to win the White House?

I think that there are people who have been legitimately disaffected by stagnant wages for 30 years and growing income inequality. That is part of the story. But that is not the main story, given the backlash against immigration as well as Obama’s presidency and what that tells us about race relations. We also cannot overlook the fact that Trump’s voters have a median household income of about $72,000 a year.

We also have a third and often not-spoken-about trend where there simply are lots of authoritarian voters in every Western country. Effectively these are people who do not care about democratic processes or procedures; they don’t care about democratic values; they care about winning and they care about the government doing for them.

What previously existed was a sort of unspoken agreement that elites did not encourage these people. What Trump has done that will have lasting ramifications for the United States is that he has broken that dam and brought fringe elements into the mainstream — and there are now elites who will actually cater to them. But I fear it’s going to be many years, if not decades, before the proverbial Trump genie can be put in the back in the bottle and democracy can be restored to its full and proper functioning.

Why did the mainstream news media normalize Trump? What explains the allure of the narrative that Trump’s election was somehow about “economic anxiety” as opposed to white racism and racial backlash?

Because it is a nice story that many of us would like to believe. White racism is central to the story of the rise of Trumpism, and for the media to tell the story about America that basically says, “This president was elected because we have racial problems,” is much harder for people to square with the country’s mythology. I also think many journalists and other observers have very little experience with authoritarianism. I think minorities also saw this coming and were much more aware of it and much more prescient in seeing how damaging Trumpism could be than white people.

Is Trump a fascist? Why do you think so many in the mainstream media and America’s political class are afraid to describe him using that language, or at aminimumto label him an authoritarian?

He is an aspiring despot. That distinction is important because I have studied fully authoritarian societies where there are no checks and balances, no free media, no different branches of government, and it is far worse than the United States. But in terms of tactics, there is in immense amount of evidence to support the fact that Trump is behaving like an authoritarian and that he is mainstreaming fascism. Like other despots throughout history, Trump scapegoats minorities and demonizes politically unpopular groups. Trump is racist. He uses his own racism in the service of a divide-and-rule strategy, which is one way that unpopular leaders and dictators maintain power. If you aren’t delivering for the people and you’re not doing what you said you were going to do, then you need to blame somebody else. Trump has a lot of people to blame.

Others who want to deny that Trump is a fascist or authoritarian will object that he is too bumbling and incompetent for such strong labels to apply.

I completely disagree. You do not have to be effective to be destructive. Most despots are bumbling. Around the world we have seen examples of how they are often comical idiots and egotistical head cases. Despots are not necessarily the smartest people.

Trump is extremely destructive. The analogy I use is the idea that democracy is like a sand castle. It takes a long time to build and much longer to perfect. Trump is just washing it away. He is a wave and the castle is not going to be knocked down in one single tide. But the castle, and our democracy, gets eroded steadily over time. That is where we are now. How does a democracy function when a third of its people are cheering authoritarian tactics, embracing them, pushing for more candidates to mimic them, and fundamentally believe a huge number of things that are false? Because if you think about what democracy is, at its core it requires a shared reality to create consent of the governed.

The long-term corrosion of democracy that Trump is inviting is not going to end when he leaves office. It is going to be a persistent problem where he has opened up the possibility for a much more insidious and effective successor.

Moreover, I always thought that a Trump-like figure had the potential to break down the barriers between democracy and authoritarianism in America. The dazzling showmanship is essential. So if you imagine a genuinely scary authoritarian, a Mussolini in America type, we would actually stop that person very quickly. By comparison, Trump has this distracting quality because he’s a bumbling showman who seems harmless to some people because of those traits. This has created a creeping authoritarianism where the envelope is being pushed farther all the time.

Another important aspect of how Trumpism and his petit-fascist movement have taken hold is that the Republican Party is largely in agreement with his agenda. Political polarization and gerrymandering have made Republicans largely immune from accountability by the American people.

Polarization is absolutely essential as a precursor to authoritarianism because you need to have political tribalism. Republicans are afraid of their base. They are not afraid of a Democrat beating them. This is partly because of demographic clustering, but it’s also largely due to gerrymandering. And gerrymandering intensifies all of the incentives to be extreme. Consequently, if a Republican does not march in lockstep with Trump, he or she may face a primary challenger. The alternative is winning an easy election against a Democrat. On top of that you have Fox News and a broader right-wing echo chamber that are de facto outlets for Trump, akin to some type of state-sponsored media in an authoritarian or dictatorial regime.

Is there a magic number where a certain percentage of the population has to support an authoritarian for that democracy to fully fail?

I do not believe that there is necessarily a specific number. What is ultimately most important is the longevity of the person in power and how much of a rebuke they get from the public.

Therefore, one of the few positive scenarios I have for looking into the future is what I label as “Trump vaccine.” This is basically the idea that because Trump embodies bumbling recklessness and impulsivity, he is a weakened form of authoritarian populist. This means there is a plausible scenario where a sufficient backlash effectively neutralizes him, yet he also exposes all the weaknesses in our democratic system. Ultimately, Trump acts like a vaccine who strengthens the immune system of American democracy.

But I do not think that is going to happen because America is experiencing the slow decline of its democracy. You see this all the time in places like Turkey or Russia or Belarus, where a quasi-democratic system is getting hollowed out. This pattern of testing the waters is very familiar to me — it’s exactly what [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has done in Turkey.  He just pushes the envelope every day. And the less backlash there is, the more he does it.

How much of Trump’s strategy is intentional? Is he just a useful idiot for the Republican Party and other elements of the radical right-wing? 

Regarding consequences, the distinction is less important. But in terms of intentionality, it is important to understand why someone does what they do. Some of the worst authoritarians in history are not necessarily strategic thinkers.

I don’t know whether Trump has some sort of grand strategy. Frankly, I would be extremely surprised if he did because virtually nothing Trump does fits into a strategic framework. Many of his goals are being passed and advanced in spite of him, as opposed to because of him. Authoritarians don’t need to have a grand strategy. Because they are narcissists, they are often making it up as they go along.

What roledoesthe Russia collusion scandal and Trump’s response to Robert Mueller’s investigation play in your analysis of America’s descent into authoritarianism? 

Any democracy needs to have a functioning rule of law that is separate from politics. In authoritarian states the rule of law is a weapon that the leader uses against his enemies and to reward his friends. The people who are guilty are whoever the authoritarian leader says are guilty. We are sliding down that path before our eyes every day. Trump has threatened Hillary Clinton with jail. He has pardoned a political ally, [former Phoenix sheriff] Joe Arpaio. This is a clear signal from Trump to anybody who is involved in the Russia investigation that he will reward his allies with pardons, and if they turn, that avenue will get cut off. This is very common under authoritarian rule, where justice is dealt out based on alliances and there are investigations of opponents.

I think the other aspect is obviously related to the notion that the president is above the law. For example, the question is absolutely settled that Donald Trump’s campaign at least attempted to collude with Russia. If they didn’t succeed, then fine. But that does not make the intent any less insidious. It is the equivalent of trying to commit a crime and failing. This is where when Trump gets cornered, if it is between him and the system, there is no question he will try to tear down the system. If politicized rule of law becomes the new normal, how do you return to normal? Trump and his allies are opening up a Pandora’s box that may serve him in the short term politically but is a massive affront to the functioning of American democracy over the long term.

You are in London now. You have also traveled all over the world. How does America under Donald Trump look to our allies and also to our enemies?

It is an unprecedented disaster in terms of America’s reputation in the world. He has decimated longstanding alliances and the country’s gravitas across the globe in a matter of months. A survey in June 2017 looked at the change of confidence in United States leadership between Obama and Trump. It fell 75 percent in Germany, 71 percent in South Korea, 70 percent in France, 57 percent in the United Kingdom and 54 percent in Japan. These statistics obscure the fact that the rest of the world sees the United States as a tragic joke. It is immensely embarrassing to be an American abroad. They don’t understand how this person was not absolutely demolished in the election.

There are also long-term strategic problems that come from what Trump has done to America. People don’t understand that “America First” is actually code for America alone. The more Trump pushes for short-term transactional diplomacy that really does not advance our long-term national interests, the more U.S. power is going to decline and the 21st century is going to be dictated by China.

Even for the people who want to have a muscular strong America in the world, Trump is an unmitigated disaster.

What scares you about America under Donald Trump? Is there anything that gives you hope for the future?

The scariest thing about Trump is the lack of backlash against him. This is enabling the Republican Party’s complicity with him and perhaps causing irreparable damage to American democracy. Trump could have been contained much more effectively if Republicans had stood up to him and upheld the values they professed for a long time in terms of democratic principles.

I am hopeful because I have many friends who did not care about politics a year ago and do now. If the American people are to save democracy, they must use their voice to impact the system. We are in a critical moment where the way that citizens behave in response to Trump will dictate whether this is a break that can be repaired or the start of some very disturbing developments and the slow death of American democracy.

The hope lies in the possibility that people stand together, and the 66 percent of the country that does not like Trump sets aside the partisan bickering and says, “We can agree that this person is not fit to be president and that the way that he is behaving is a threat to our democracy.” If this happens, then American democracy can survive and actually improve. It is the only way that Trump and what he has unleashed can potentially have a positive ending.

 

 

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A question of consent and confusion

I would like to ask my American readers to leave now, as I am going to discuss some thoughts about sex which might offend the puritan.

I am very happy that I am over 50 and married, because if I was a young man I would be very much confused by now. According to polls a lot of young people in America these days believe that complimenting a woman or asking her for a date is sexual harassment. And you can’t read the news these days without reading some report on there being a “rape culture”, with an implied or even outspoken presumption that all men are rapists.

Fact is that the overwhelming majority of men are not rapists, by any reasonable definition of the term including all forms of non-consensual sex. While it is certainly true that rape is under-reported as a crime, even if you consider a 90% rate of under-reporting, that would raise the rape rate in the USA from 30 per 100,000 population to 300 per 100,000 population. Which still leaves over 99% of men being not rapists. In Germany some time ago there were some cases of sexual harassment committed by immigrants, which led to the far right claiming things like “all Muslim men are rapists”. The liberal left loudly protested against such a sweeping and obviously untrue statement. I’m still waiting for the same reasoning to be applied to the defense of white, non-immigrant men.

I totally applaud the movement of outing pigs like Harvey Weinstein up to and including the point where they should go to prison for any rapes they committed. However I do think there are important values enshrined in our justice system, like people being considered innocent until proven guilty, which I see somewhat in danger in some of the cases. There have been cases where the falsehood of a rape accusation could be proved in court, although of course that takes years and by the time the media career of the accused is long dead. Thus a presumption that all men are rapists is not only unfair, but actually a danger to the rule of law.

What must be confusing for young people is that at the same time harmless flirting is being criminalized, the access to sexual images and even sex has never been easier. Doubly confusing if you hear that the changes to laws about prostitution in many European countries are called “liberalization”, while the puritans in the media complaining about men’s sexual advances are also called “liberals”. You end up with a view of the world where there are “good girls” which you better even don’t look at, better not talk to other than professionally, and certainly never touch, and there are “bad girls” on porn sites, webcam broadcasts, Tinder, in strip clubs or brothels (NSFW). I’m sure some people concluded that the crime of the Presidents Club was to have invited the wrong kind of girl to their party.

There is a strong correlation of that with economic inequality. The “good girls” are generally richer than the “bad girls”. In other words, they are the same girls, they are just on different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and so they differ in the relative importance they place on money and on being treated like a lady. Instead of blaming all men and starting a gender war, maybe we could come a lot closer to universal respectful interactions between men and women by introducing universal basic income.

Elemental Evil: Session 10

In the previous session the group had attacked Feathergale Spire, the first stronghold of the elemental evil cult of air. There they had killed the lord of the tower, his guest Glasstaff (a mage they had been chasing since several sessions before) and three knights, before escaping from the top of the tower with magical para-glider suits. While having escaped unseen, the attack hadn’t gone unnoticed. So while they were at breakfast the next morning in the tavern in Red Larch, a local poultry merchant came in telling the news: “Bandits” had attacked Featherscale Spire, and the survivors of the Feathergale Society had decided to quit the tower, leaving only a single guardian behind. The merchant was quite distraught over the news, as he had had a nice business selling provisions to the tower, which now needed much less of them.

Feigning concern the group then went to the tower, this time ringing the bell at the front door. As chance would have it, the sole guardian of the tower was Savra, a young noble, who knew Theren from Waterdeep. Being a novice of the cult and a bit naive and trusting towards somebody she knew, Savra told the group that “the prophetess” aka Aerisi Kalinoth (the lady on the cover of the Princes of the Apocalypse book) had come and taken the rest of the Feathergale Society with her through the magical portal into the temple below. Asking about the door the group learned that the cults knew there were 4 keys to open the portal, but as nobody had all 4 keys that was not the usual way to open it; instead the prophetess opens the door with the help of her magical spear. Savra has no means to contact the prophetess or the rest of the Feathergale Society, and was told to wait in the tower. While Theren was chatting with Savra, other group members searched the tower, but of course everything of value or incriminating had been removed.

From there the group moved towards the Dessarin River, with the idea to move north from there and find Rivergard Keep, the suspected stronghold of the elemental evil cult of water. Near the river they came upon a scene where a group of water cultists was harassing a bear, with the bear curiously shouting for help in common. A fight ensued in which the group slew the cultists and rescued the druid/bear. The rescued druid, Varigo, was very grateful and gave them his most prized possession, the Talking Bear Statuette, a magical item allowing a druid in wild shape to talk and even cast 1 spell per transformation. [DM’s note: Our druid needed a boost due to the weird power curve of the moon druid compared to other classes, which results him being powerful at level 2, but not growing in power much until level 6, while everybody else surpasses him at level 5. It also solves the stupid problem that moon druids sometimes would like to remain in animal shape between fights, but would then be excluded from discussing plans with the rest of the group.] Varigo also told the group that he was on the way to Scarlet Moon Hall to witness the Rite of the Wicker Giant, a ritual that is supposed to restore nature’s balance in the troubled region.

The next day the group reached Rivergard Keep. The keep was well guarded, with patrols on the walls. So after some discussion on how to approach the group decided to climb the wall during the night under cover of a silence spell. They killed the wall guard, and then entered through a door into the second floor of the keep. There they managed to kill 6 crushing wave reavers (the elite soldiers of the keep) without raising an alarm. Having thus successfully infiltrated the keep, we stopped the session there, to continue in the new year.

On a personal note, the player of the paladin was absent, so my wife played her character. That was the first time my wife played a real role-playing game. I don’t think she will play frequently, but it is nice that she now knows a bit better what we are doing when we play.

This Visionary Sci-Fi Author Sees the Destruction of Human Civilization: Predatory Capitalism

Ted Chiang examines how Silicon Valley has become its own worst nightmare.

The political theorist Frederic Jameson once observed that “it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” But what if predatory capitalism finally destroys life on earth? That’s the question posed by science fiction writer Ted Chiang, who argues that in “superintelligent AI,” Silicon Valley capitalists have “unconsciously created a devil in their own image, a boogeyman whose excesses are precisely their own.”

In a new essay for Buzzfeed, part of a series about the forces shaping our lives in 2017, the acclaimed author of “Arrival” (Stories of Your Life and Others) deconstructs our fear of artificial intelligence; specifically, that of tech titans like Tesla founder Elon Musk. For Musk, the real threat is not a malevolent computer program rising up against its creator like Skynet in the Terminator films as much as AI destroying humanity by accident. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Musk imagines a mechanized strawberry picker wiping out the species simply as a means of maximizing its production.

“This scenario sounds absurd to most people, yet there are a surprising number of technologists who think it illustrates a real danger. Why?” Chiang wonders. “Perhaps it’s because they’re already accustomed to entities that operate this way: Silicon Valley tech companies.”

In Musk’s hypothetical, the destruction of human civilization follows the logic of the free market.

“Consider: Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share?” Chiang continues. “[The] strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do—grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly.”

Ultimately, the catastrophe Musk and others foretell has already arrived in the form of “no-holds-barred capitalism.”

“We are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations,” Chiang continues. “Corporations don’t operate autonomously, of course, and the humans in charge of them are presumably capable of insight, but capitalism doesn’t reward them for using it. On the contrary, capitalism actively erodes this capacity in people by demanding that they replace their own judgment of what ‘good’ means with ‘whatever the market decides.'”

For Chiang, the operative word is insight. Our capacity for self-reflection, or the “recognition of one’s own condition,” is what separates humans from the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons. And it is this deficiency that makes these monopolies so uniquely dangerous.

“We need for the machines to wake up, not in the sense of computers becoming self-aware, but in the sense of corporations recognizing the consequences of their behavior,” he concludes. “Just as a superintelligent AI ought to realize that covering the planet in strawberry fields isn’t actually in its or anyone else’s best interests, companies in Silicon Valley need to realize that increasing market share isn’t a good reason to ignore all other considerations.”

Read Chiang’s essay at Buzzfeed.

 

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7th Continent – Non-Spoiler Hints

As I mentioned before, some people consider the 7th Continent to be a very hard game. After playing some more and watching on Youtube how other people play, I think I know why. Basically the 7th Continent is Sid Meier’s definition of a good game: A series of interesting decisions. Which means that there is a very real possibility of making the wrong decisions. Now of course I can’t tell you which one is the good decision for each of the thousand cards in the game. But I can tell you how to avoid making systematically the wrong decisions in general gameplay.

1) The first easy systematic error is regarding your hand size. Every action in the game involves drawing cards (although sometimes you can draw zero of them); and whenever you draw cards, you can keep one of them. But at the end of the action you need to discard down to your hand size, which is just 5 in solo, 3 with two players, and even less with more players.

If you want to do well in the 7th Continent you need to first use the cards in your hand to get below your maximum hand size before you choose any action on a tile. That also means that when choosing cards to keep, the cards you can play quickly are better than those you might only need in certain situations. Think of it that way: Playing a card or discarding a card due to full hand size both end you with the card on the discard pile. But if you played it, you got some useful effect out of it, which is obviously better.

2) Look at the terrain tiles carefully. In the 7th Continent the artwork on the terrain tile is part of the gameplay and not just decoration. Most importantly look out for hidden numbers, which allow you to replace your current tile with one with more options. But other elements like plants can also become important, provided you found the information what that plant is good for. On some of the event cards the artwork is actually the clue to what is the right decision.

3) Hunt as much as possible. If a terrain card has animal tracks and a spot/observe action next to them, that frequently means a hunting ground. Unless your discard pile is empty, you’ll always want to hunt first, explore other stuff later. And of course you should cook the meat you find if at all possible.

These tips should get you started on a successful adventure full of exploration. If you still find the game too hard, you have two options: One is replaying from the start and using previous knowledge to concentrate on the essential stuff (my wife and me did much better on the starting isle the second time around). The other is to modify the rules. You can use the 777 card. Or you can create a save checkpoint, which is not foreseen in the rules: When you reach a card that feels like a major decision point in the game, e.g. a non-terrain card that asks you whether you want to go north, east, or west, you can simply take a notepad and write down the number of that card, as well as list the cards from your satchel/journal. Then if you die, you can restart from there instead of from the beginning, especially if you already did the beginning several times and don’t want to repeat it.

Google Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner slower following Android 8.1 update

  • Some Google Pixel 2 XL are experiencing slower fingerprint unlock times following the Android 8.1 Oreo update
  • The only solution so far seems to be using the Always On display
  • Google is now investigating the issue

We have been tracking all the Google Pixel 2 XL issues since launch. This handset has thus far been the more problematic of Google’s most recent flagship pair (the other device being the regular Google Pixel 2), and we’ve now got another issue for the list. Unlike some of the previous troubles, however — which were fixed by the Android 8.1 Oreo update — this appears to have occurred as a result of the update.

As noted in the Google Product Forums (via Android Central), some users are reporting that their Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner became less responsive after installing Android 8.1 Oreo.

Editor’s Pick

Rather than the nippy fingerprint unlock experienced before, it’s said that the Pixel XL 2 can now take a second or more to unlock. Apparently, using the Always On display can resolve the issue, but it’s not a feature everybody wishes to make use of. Google employees have since responded to the thread and are now reaching out to individuals for bug reports and more information, so a fix may not be far off.

While a second-long delay might not sound like a big deal, to a person unlocking their phone dozens of times per day, and having previously experienced almost instantaneous unlocking, I can understand the frustration. Let us know if you’ve experienced this in the comments.

10 JavaScript Methods For DOM Manipulation for Web Developers : JavaScript

JS logo
To Specify the logical structure of the web pages, we web developers need to manipulate the DOM of the web page. Using this structure we could render HTML elements on the web page. 
HTML defines the DOM structure. But in many cases we need to disturb this DOM structure to get the required output. We can JavaScript to manipulate this DOM structure.to add more functionalities to it.
HTML DOM structure
HTML DOM STRUCTURE
Here are some functions using which you can manipulate the HTML DOM structure.

< 1 > querySelectore()

The querySelecor() methods returns the first element that matches with the mentioned name. If no match found it returns null.
Although getElementById() is a useful method, querySelector() and querySelectorAll() methods are used to target element based on any CSS selector freely which makes it more flexible.

Syntax:

var ele = document.querySelector(selector);

  • ele – First matching element or null (if no element matches the selectors)
  • selector – one or more CSS selectors,  such as #fooid, .fooClassName, .Class1.Class2, or .class1, .class2

Code Example:

In this example, first < Div > gets selected with the querySelector() and its colour gets changed. Test the querySelector() method in the following interactive demo. Just type a selector matching the ones you can find inside the blue boxes (e.g. #three ) and click the select button. Note that if you type .block then only first element will get selected.

See the Pen &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar/pen/MobqMP/’&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;MobqMP&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; by kalpesh juvekar (&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar’&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;@kjuvekar&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;) on &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io’&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;CodePen&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

< 2 > querySelectorAll()

Unlike querySelector() that returns only the first instance of all matching elements, querySelectorAll() returns all elements that match. those elements are returned as NodeList object that will be an empty object is no matching elements are found.

Syntax:

var eles = document.querySelectorAll(selector);

  • eles  – A NodeList object with all matching elements as property values. 

Code Example:

HTML:

<p>paragraph one</p>
<p>paragraph two</p>
<div>div one</div>
<p>paragraph three</p>
<div>div two</div>

JavaScript:

var paragraphs = document.querySelectorAll(‘p‘);for(
for(var p of paragraphs)p.style.color = ‘
p.style.color = ‘blue‘;

 < 3 > addEventListener()

Events refer to what happens to an HTML element, such as clicking, focusing, or loading, to which we can react with JavaScript. We can assign JS functions to listen for these events in elements and do something when the event had occurred.
There are three ways you can assign a function to a certain event.
If foo() is a custom function, you can register it as a click event listener (call it when the button element is clicked) in three ways:

HTML

           <button onclick=foo>Alert</button>

JavaScript

           var btn = document.querySelector(‘button‘);
           btn.onclick=foo;

JavaScript

           var btn = document.querySelector(‘button‘);
           btn.addEventListener(‘click‘, foo);

Syntax:

ele.removeEventListener(evtlistener, [options]);
  • evt – The targeted event. 
  • listener – Typically, a JavaScript function.
  • option – (Optional) An object with a set of Boolean properties.

Code Example:

Assign the foo() custom function as an event listener to any of the following events: input, click or mouseover  & trigger the chosen event in the bottom input field by hovering, clicking or typing in it. 

See the Pen &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar/pen/jwVeoo/’&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;add event listner&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; by kalpesh juvekar (&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar’&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;@kjuvekar&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;) on &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io’&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;CodePen&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.&amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

< 4 > removeEventListener()

The removeEventListener() method detaches an event listener previously added with the addEventListener() method from the event it is listening for.

Syntax

ele.removeEventListener(evt, listener, [options]);

Code Example:

Following the Code Example we used at addEventListener(), here we remove the click event listener called foo from the <button&gt; element.

JavaScript

btn.removeEventListener(‘click‘,foo);

< 5 > createElement()

The createElement() method creates a new HTML element using the name of the HTML tag to be created, such as ‘p‘ or ‘div‘.
You can later add this element to the web page by using different methods for DOM insertion, such as AppendChild().

Syntax

document.createElement(tagName);

  • tagName – The name of the HTML tag you want to create.

Code Example:

To create a new paragraph element:
var pEle = document.createElement(‘p‘);

 < 6 > appendChild()

The appendChild() method adds an element as the last child to the HTML element that invokes this method.
The child to be inserted can be either a newly created element, or an already existing one. In the latter case, it will be moved from its previous position to the position of the last child.

Syntax:

ele.appendChild(childEle);

  • childEle – The HTML element added as the last child of ele.

Code Example:

Letters from #a to #r are the child elements of the #parent-one, #parent-two, and #parent-three id selectors.
Check out how the appendChild() method works by typing one parent and one child selector name into the input fields below. You can choose children belonging to another parent as well.

See the Pen &amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar/pen/BZQvpK/’&amp;gt;appendChild()&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; by kalpesh juvekar (&amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io/kjuvekar’&amp;gt;@kjuvekar&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;) on &amp;lt;a href=’https://codepen.io’&amp;gt;CodePen&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;.&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;

< 7 > removeChild() 

The removeChild() method removes a specified child element from the HTML element that calls this method.

Syntax:

ele.removeChild(childEle);

  • childEle – The child element of ele.

Code Example:

Here we remove the <strong> element we added as a child to the <div> tag at the Code Example for the previous appendChild() method.
div.removeChild(strong);

< 8 > replaceChild()

The replaceChild() method replaces a child element with another one belonging to the parent element that calls this method.

Syntax:

ele.replaceChild(newChildEle, oldChileEle)

  • newChildEle – Child element of ele that will replace oldChildEle.
  • oldChildEle – Child element of ele, that will be replaced by newChildEle.

Code Example:

Here the child element <strong> belonging to the <div> parent element is replaced with a newly created <em> tag.

HTML

<div>
<strong>hello</strong>
</div>

JavaScript

var em = document.createElement(‘em‘);
var strong = document.querySelector(‘strong‘);
var div = document.querySelector(‘div‘);
em.textContent = ‘hi‘;
div.replaceChild(em, strong);

< 9 > setAttribute()

The setAttribute() method either adds a new attribute to an HTML element, or updates the value of an attribute that already exists.

Syntax:

ele.setAttribute(name, value);

  • name – The name of the attribute.
  • value – The value of the attribute.

Code Example:

Here we add the contenteditable attribute to a <div> by making use of the setAttribute() method, which will turn its content editable.

HTML

<div>hello</div>

JavaScript

var div = document.querySelector(‘div‘);
div.setAttribute(‘
contenteditable‘, ”)

< 10 > getAttribute()

The getAttribute() method returns the value of a specified attribute belonging to a certain HTML element.

Syntax:

ele.getAttribute(name);

  • name – The name of the attribute.

Code Example:

Here we alert the value of the contenteditable attribute belonging to the <div> element with the help of the getAttribute() method.

HTML

<div contenteditable=true>hello</div>

JavaScript

var div = document.querySelector(‘div‘);

alert(div.getAttribute(‘contenteditable‘));

Learn Web Technology!

Uber Stole Trade Secrets, Bribed Foreign Officials and Spied on Rivals, Filing Says

Documents by former Uber security manager details company’s alleged ‘unethical, unlawful’ practices amid legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo.

Uber allegedly engaged in a range of “unethical and unlawful intelligence collections”, including the theft of competitive trade secrets, bribery of foreign officials and spying on competitors and politicians, according to an explosive legal document published on Friday.

It’s the latest chapter in the discovery process for the company’s messy legal squabble with Waymo, Google’s driverless car spin-off, which has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets.

The details were outlined in a 37-page demand letter filed by the ex-Uber security manager Richard Jacobs, who left the company earlier this year. The document paints a picture of a team of employees dedicated to spying on rivals and “impeding” legal investigations into the company.

Jacobs alleges that when he raised concerns over the techniques being used, he was given a poor performance review and demoted as “pure retaliation” for refusing to buy into the culture of “achieving business goals through illegal conduct even though equally aggressive legal means were available”.

He had sent the letter to Uber’s in-house counsel with his allegations about possible criminal activity carried out by the special group in May this year, threatening to sue the company. Uber did not provide the letter to Waymo as part of legal discovery before the trial started.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a statement: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter – and, importantly, any related to Waymo – our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology.”

Jacobs worked at the ride-hailing company from March 2016 until April 2017. After his attorney sent the demand letter to Uber outlining potentially criminal activities within Uber’s “strategic services group” and “marketplace analytics” teams, he and Uber reached a $4.5m settlement. This included a non-disparagement clause and a one-year consulting contract to help Uber “root out bad behaviour”, Jacobs said when he testified in federal court last month.

The letter alleges, among other things, that Uber planned to use certain hardware devices and software to conceal the creation and destruction of corporate records so they “would never be subject to legal discovery”. Such records would, the letter states, “implicate ongoing discovery disputes such as those in Uber’s litigation with Waymo”.

The letter also outlines a range of intrusive techniques that Uber allegedly used to extract intelligence from politicians, regulators, competitors, taxi organisations and activists.

Uber’s intelligence team allegedly infiltrated private event spaces at hotel and conference facilities that a group of competing executives used during their stay. Jacobs claimed that Uber recorded and observed private conversations among the executives including their real-time reactions to the news that Uber would receive $3.4bn from the Saudi government.

Live updates, photos and videos were then allegedly transmitted back to the “War Room” at Uber’s headquarters, where the company’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with other members of Uber’s executive team, could observe.

Uber operatives also impersonated taxi drivers, Jacobs said, to infiltrate private Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups of opponents.

Matthew Umhofer, an attorney representing four members of Uber’s security team mentioned in the letter, added: “The competitive information gathering that was done at the explicit request of management was unremarkable and no different than what’s done by law-abiding companies across the country and Uber’s own competitors.”

Umhofer also described the letter as “character assassination for cash” and said that Jacobs “is nothing more than a failed Uber employee who underperformed and got demoted, and then retaliated against his supervisors”.

During his testimony last month, Jacobs repudiated some of the allegations made in his demand letter, saying that he had only reviewed it for 20 minutes before his lawyer had sent it. Among those was the allegation that “Uber used the marketplace analytics team to steal trade secrets at least from Waymo in the United States”. Jacobs said that the team primarily worked overseas, but in the US had researched “protest and threat groups targeting Uber”.

Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging that the ride-hail company’s acquisition of the self-driving startup Otto, founded by the former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski, was actually a scheme to acquire secrets stolen from Waymo.

The federal judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the trade secrets case, was only alerted to the existence of the explosive demand letter by federal prosecutors on 22 November in a separate letter in which they confirmed that there was an open criminal investigation into Uber. “You should have come clean with this long ago,” he subsequently told Uber’s lawyers in court.

Because such a key piece of evidence had been withheld, Alsup delayed the start of the trial.

“If even half of what’s in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial” as scheduled, he said.

At the time, a spokeswoman for Waymo called the new evidence “significant and troubling” and welcomed the trial delay as an “opportunity to fully investigate this new, highly relevant information”.

But an Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, said in a statement then: “None of the testimony today changes the merits of the case. Jacobs himself said on the stand today that he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen.”

Uber maintained that it did not withhold information because the letter was outside of Waymo’s discovery demands. The special master, a court official helping out with the trial, did not agree, concluding in a report filed on Friday that “Uber should have produced” the Jacobs demand letter in response to Waymo’s discovery requests.

 

 

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Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus (2018) specs: Infinity Display and a dual selfie camera

There’s no denying that Samsung’s S-series has boasted some of the finest flagships ever made, but sometimes there’s no match for a bonafide bargain, and that’s what the South Korean giant seems to be delivering with its newly-announced A-series phones, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018).

As the new gold standard of Samsung’s mid-tier range, the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus look to balance premium design with a steady performance all while retaining a modest price tag. On paper, this year’s A8 phones – which technically replace the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, respectively – appear to deliver on all counts.

Editor’s Pick

This time around both the 5.6-inch A8 and the 6-inch A8 Plus sport an elongated Infinity Display with the same 18:5:9 aspect ratio found on the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8. Both panels are Super AMOLED displays with a 2220 x 1080 resolution.

Despite missing out on the curved edges of its premium counterparts, the A8 and A8 Plus both pack slimline bezels, while leaving enough room for the devices’ most unique feature – a front-facing 16 MP and 8 MP dual-camera. We’ll be putting the pair’s selfie-taking credentials and much more to the test at a later date for a full review, but for now, be sure to check out the table below for all of the key specs.

  Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (2018)
Display 5.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
441 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
412 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
GPU TBC TBC
RAM 4 GB 4/6 GB
Storage 32/64 GB 32/64 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 256 GB Yes, up to 256 GB
Cameras Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus, video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
Battery 3,000 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
3,500 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
Sensors Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
IP rating IP68 water and dust resistance IP68 water and dust resistance
Network TBC
LTE Cat. 11
TBC
LTE Cat. 11
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Software Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Colors Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue
Dimensions and weight 149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm
172 g
159.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm
191 g

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and A8 Plus (2018) specs in the comments below! Is its dual-camera for selfies and (near) bezel-less design won you over?