Facebook Debuts GitHub Incubator for Open-Source Projects

Last week, when Facebook launched a project — Create React App — to help React developers begin new projects, it became the first to live in the Facebook Incubator on GitHub, the company’s new process for releasing open-source projects. Facebook has already open-sourced almost 400 projects, and, with the Incubator, the company wants to make sure it could manage new programs efficiently and create the best chance for their success. Facebook has hundreds of thousands of followers on GitHub. Continue reading Facebook Debuts GitHub Incubator for Open-Source Projects

Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook just put the blueprint and software for its 17-lens Surround 360 stereoscopic 3D camera on GitHub, fulfilling a promise the company made earlier to make the camera design, assembly instructions, control software and stitching software available for free. Facebook’s move is seen as an effort to enable more people to create 360-degree immersive videos. By open-sourcing the camera’s construction and operation, developers will be able to create products and speed up the development of the marketplace. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook Aims to Connect the World and Attract More Users

Facebook has debuted a simple, less expensive way to bring wireless networks to rural areas, especially in developing nations. OpenCellular is a platter-sized device that can be attached to a telephone pole, tree or street lamp, to drive a variety of wireless networks, from 2G to LTE and Wi-Fi. Rather than get into the hardware business, however, Facebook will open-source the design for OpenCellular, with the hope that others will develop it to connect the 10 percent of the world that lacks cellular networks. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Connect the World and Attract More Users

Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0, a software development platform for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, marking the first time that the company has officially supported the two primary competitors to its own operating system. The source code was originally released in 2014, for testing. Linux vendor Red Hat will support it on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS. Because .NET Core is open source, developers will be able to configure it to their needs as well as use it for free to develop their own applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Chips From Barefoot to Offer Blazing Speed, Programmability

A new series of high performance chips, dubbed Tofino, run at a rate of 6.5 terabits per second, twice as fast as any other on the market, and can be programmed to change functionality. Developed by Palo Alto-based computer networking company Barefoot Networks, they are designed so that it won’t take a hardware specialist to code the chips. Due out later this year, the chips will reside inside networking switches, which direct traffic across the Internet. For companies such as Google and Facebook, the ability to program a chip opens up tremendous opportunities.

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Google, Facebook Develop Chatbots via Deep Neural Networks

Microsoft, Google and Facebook are all pursuing chatbots, which will function as virtual assistants, answering questions, responding to requests, and anticipating needs. But building functioning chatbots, which are based on artificial intelligence, is harder than it sounds. To further progress, Google open-sourced one of its natural language tools. Although Facebook hasn’t yet open-sourced it, the company introduced DeepText, a natural language engine that it is just beginning to use with its own services. Continue reading Google, Facebook Develop Chatbots via Deep Neural Networks

Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

Today’s open-source software startups are trying a new tack to gain adoption, after the first generation mainly failed to successfully launch. That first generation sold services to support technology widely available on the Internet, but very few of them — Red Hat, with its $2 billion in annual revenue is one exception — were able to scale up. The new approach involves providing free software to users, followed by proprietary products that work with that software; VC firm Accel Partners is now funding some of these companies. Continue reading Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

Jury Sides with Google in Oracle Copyright Case Over Software

Yesterday, a jury ruled in favor of Google in its dispute with Oracle over software used to power smartphones. Oracle was seeking $9 billion in its claim that Google used copyrighted material in its software code for the company’s Android mobile operating system. Android uses open-source Java, which Oracle acquired when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010. Google argued that it made fair use of the code. According to The New York Times, “The victory for Google cheered other software developers, who operate much the way Google did when it comes to so-called open-source software… The courtroom fight was something of a watershed for technology and could offer clarity on legal rules surrounding open-source technology.” Continue reading Jury Sides with Google in Oracle Copyright Case Over Software

Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

During the Moogfest music and technology fest in North Carolina, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new artificial intelligence research project at Google called Magenta. The group, expected to publicly launch next month, plans to use the company’s machine learning engine TensorFlow to explore new ways that computers and AI systems could be trained to create original art and media such as music or video. The initiative should prove challenging; so far, the most advanced AI systems have struggled to replicate styles of existing artists. Continue reading Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

VRidge Streams VR from PC to Google Cardboard, Gear VR

For those looking for an affordable VR alternative, RiftCat has been busy developing an app called VRidge that streams virtual reality games from a PC to a smartphone over Wi-Fi. The beta is currently available for Android, but the company is also working on an iOS version. The most recent update added support for SteamVR and Razer’s open source OSVR project. The implications could be significant, especially when considering the cost of investing in a high-end VR headset, such as the $600 Oculus Rift or $800 HTC Vive, both of which still require a powerful PC starting in the $1,500 range. Continue reading VRidge Streams VR from PC to Google Cardboard, Gear VR

Google Open Sources Language Tools for Virtual Assistants

Google is open-sourcing SyntaxNet, a neural network framework that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Parsey McParseface, a computer program that helps machines understand written English. Offering the code for free lets anyone develop, modify and distribute it, furthering natural language and potentially making Google’s code the standard. Earlier, Google open-sourced its machine-learning code TensorFlow (which SyntaxNet runs on top of); other companies that have similarly open-sourced code include Amazon and Facebook.

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Adblock Plus Reaches One Billion Downloads, Spars with IAB

Adblock Plus, from German firm Eyeo, is now on 100 million active devices and close to a billion downloads, says Eyeo co-founder/chief executive Till Faida. That’s significant growth from the beginning of the year, when the company reported 500 million downloads and 50 million active users. Adblock Plus also launched its “Acceptable Ads” program targeting larger websites; by whitelisting ads, Adblock Plus receives 30 percent of the additional revenue. Faida reports that 40 out of the top 100 U.S. websites are participating. Continue reading Adblock Plus Reaches One Billion Downloads, Spars with IAB

Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

In a private meeting with no media in attendance, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions met at NASDAQ’s New York City office. They gathered to delve deeper into the promise of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, which became active in 2009. These financial institutions have been wary of Bitcoin, because users are anonymous and can engage in money-laundering and other banking violations. What they looked at was digital U.S. dollars, a “fiat currency” that avoids those risks. Continue reading Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

Image Recognition Tech Paving the Way for Future Advances

Image recognition, or computer vision, is the foundation of new opportunities in everything from automotive to advertising. Its growing importance is such that the upcoming LDV Vision Summit, an annual conference on visual technology, is now in its third year. Computer vision has expanded through trends that have benefited other forms of AI, including open source, deep learning technology, easier programming tools and faster, cheaper computing, opening up opportunities for a wide range of businesses. Continue reading Image Recognition Tech Paving the Way for Future Advances

Expanding Internet Access May Be Key to Facebook’s Growth

In its attempts to triple the size of Facebook, now at 1.6 billion members, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has embraced technology based on open source (freely shared code) and is building wireless antennas. The goal is to make the Internet accessible and affordable to those who don’t yet have it, mainly rural and developing nations. In doing so, Facebook is treading into territory so far dominated by companies such as Cisco Systems and Ericsson, potentially impacting their bottom line. Continue reading Expanding Internet Access May Be Key to Facebook’s Growth

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