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Tech Fix: The Google Pixel 3 Review: Phone’s Smarts Shine Through Its A.I.-Driven Camera

Apple and Samsung typically show off glitzy hardware innovations — dual-lens cameras; bigger screens — to mesmerize millions into buying their new smartphones. Google has taken a different approach: It wants to sell people on better software.That was abundantly clear with the Pixel 3, the search giant’s latest smartphone, with software features powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. When you take a blurry photo, for example, the Pixel’s camera software can capture a series of alternate images and look for a clearer shot. When you get a call from an unknown number, you can use a screening tool to determine if it is a robocall. (I…

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Facebook’s New Gadget Is a Video-Chat Screen With a Camera That Follows You

SAN FRANCISCO — Since 2004, Facebook has said it wants to bring the world closer together. To accomplish that goal, the company has relied mostly on the web and smartphone apps.But software is no longer enough. On Monday, Facebook introduced a pair of video-calling devices — Portal and Portal Plus — to help expand its reach into people’s living rooms.Portal and Portal Plus, which have a 12-megapixel camera with high-definition video and artificial intelligence software, can be used to do video chats. The A.I.-powered camera follows users as they move, letting them converse without sitting stiffly. The devices also include Amazon’s Alexa, which people can command to…

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Stealing From a Cashierless Store (Without You, or the Cameras, Knowing It)

SAN FRANCISCO — One recent afternoon, the city’s newest grocery market was trying to figure out whether I would buy, steal or leave behind a bag of white Cheddar popcorn — and so was I.On its side: 27 cameras along the ceiling and a wealth of behavioral data.On my side: crippling indecision. Last week, San Francisco got its first completely automated cashierless store, Standard Market. Shoppers who have downloaded the store’s app can go into the 1,900-square-foot space, grab items and simply leave. There is no check-in gate, and there is no checkout swipe. Ceiling cameras identify the shopper and the items, and determine when said items…

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Tech Fix: Samsung’s Galaxy Note9: Too Much Phone for Most of Us

AdvertisementTech fixThe new $1,000 device is aimed at power users who work, play, consume and create on their phone. For others, there are plenty of cheaper options.Aug. 22, 2018ImageThe Samsung Galaxy Note9 has new features like the ability to convert the phone into a personal computer. It also has a bold new starting price: $999.99.CreditSamsungApple’s iPhone X broke the pricing barrier for smartphones with a $1,000 price tag. Now Samsung’s new Galaxy Note device, which will be released this week, is joining the $1,000 Phone Club.That raises the inevitable question: Is this new phone worth spending that much money?After a week of testing, my conclusion is you…

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Tech Tip: Why That Digital Photo Print Is Fuzzy

AdvertisementTECH TIPIf your pictures look blotchy and out of focus, you likely need to print them at a smaller size or find a version of the photo at a higher resolution.June 12, 2018Q. How can I find out how big I can print a digital photo before it gets blurry? How do I find out the file’s pixels and resolution? A. The “pixel” (short for picture element) is a tiny segment of visual data and the basic unit of measurement when talking about digital-photo resolution. Rows of pixels create the image. In general, the more pixels per inch (p.p.i), the sharper that image tends to be, thanks…

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Amazon Pushes Facial Recognition to Police. Critics See Surveillance Risk.

Early last year, the company began courting the Washington County Sheriff’s Office outside of Portland, Ore., eager to promote how it was using Amazon’s service for recognizing faces, emails obtained by the A.C.L.U. show. Chris Adzima, a systems analyst in the office, told Amazon officials that he fed about 300,000 images from the county’s mug shot database into Amazon’s system.Within a week of going live, the system was used to identify and arrest a suspect who stole more than $5,000 from local stores, he said, adding there were no leads before the system identified him. The technology was also cheap, costing just a few dollars a month…

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Tech We’re Using: Taking Visual Journalism Into the Sky With Drones

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Josh Haner, a photographer for The Times, discussed the tech he’s using.What are some of the new and interesting tools you are experimenting with for visual storytelling?I’m constantly experimenting with the latest drones and 360/virtual reality camera systems. Every year, drones get smaller and their cameras get more advanced. In addition to improvements in image quality, I’m particularly interested in using drones for actual reporting — from counting houses that were damaged in a fire, to tracking plant health over time to help identify the impact of drought, to analyzing migration…

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A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Great Video on Your Phone

Composition: To create compelling video, compose the elements in a scene or sequence deliberately. Use your phone’s LCD the way a fine-art painter might arrange forms, colors, lines and textures on canvas. (For more on composition, visit Kyle Cassidy’s article on Videomaker.com, which offers a wonderful introduction to composition and compositional devices, like the rule of thirds, as well as valuable tips, such as focusing on people’s eyes in your video.)Photo Credit Brittany Greeson for The New York Times Lighting: Light not only defines your subjects but also sets the mood or evokes emotion. Experiment with light and be aware of where your main light source is.…

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Trilobites: How Do You Count Endangered Species? Look to the Stars

But cameras made for daylight can miss animals or poachers moving through vegetation, and the devices don’t work at night. Infrared cameras can help: Dr. Wich had been using them for decades to study orangutans.These cameras yield large amounts of footage that can’t be analyzed fast enough. So what do animals and stars have in common? They both emit heat. And much like stars, every species has a recognizable thermal footprint.“They look like really bright, shining objects in the infrared footage,” said Dr. Burke. So the software used to find stars and galaxies in space can be used to seek out thermal footprints and the animals that…

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