By: Cara Wallace
When Apple released its iPhone 4S, an unrivaled software was introduced to the world, Siri. Siri is one of the first fully functional voice control systems capable of answering questions, providing links, and having conversations with iPhone users. Until now, Apple was the leader in voice control capabilities, however, last week at Google’s I/O developer conference, Apple was given a run for its money.
Google Chrome introduced its new update to voice search. You can now search Google by voice command, and be read back the results. This new conversationalist search allows the user to use a more natural speech, and understands follow-up questions such as “Where is he from” or “What year was he elected.”
Siri is the first voice control system integrated into a web browser that allows the user to speak directly into a mobile device or desktop computer. Just like its competitor, Siri, Google Chrome Voice Control interprets the questions you ask as search queries. Google’s new voice control may sound seamless, but there are some blemishes in the system.
Apple vs. Google, again…
In comparison to Siri, the testers found that Chrome’s conversation skills were on the lousy side. Even if it hears your follow up questions correctly, it will sometimes not reply or spit back a long list of links.
Chrome seems to only correctly reply to simple, straightforward questions such as “Who is Barack Obama?” Following question chains must also be simple and directly related to the original question such as, “How tall is he?”
As for a conversationalist, Chrome may be living in Siri’s shadow, but as for a search tool, Chrome works great. When asked for single-question searches with a single answer, it replies with a clear answer. For example, when asked, “What’s the atomic mass of plutonium?” Chrome replies “44u”
The new Chrome update will be available for users sometime in the next few days, and is only available in English for now. Will you use the new Chrome voice controls? Is Siri still on top? Let us know!
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When you’re a novice, opening up Adobe Photoshop for the first time can be overwhelming. All of the buttons, tools, and options can be confusing and it’s easy to get frustrated. So, to make things easier for you, we have compiled a list on some of the most basic and important tools that Photoshop has to offer.
Layers are a fundamental and important part of the Photoshop experience. The idea of layers when editing a photo is like sheets of stacked acetate. You can see through transparent parts of layers to the layers below. You can change the opacity of certain layers to make them transparent, and also edit specific layers one at a time to create a full image of stacked layers as a final image.
Selection Tools include the lasso, quick selection, magic wand, and marquee tools for quick selection of image parts. These selection tools are the basic features to focus on a certain part of the image you are editing. These tools allow for easy selection and are the basic building blocks for more advanced editing.
This tool helps you move thing around, whether it be an object or a layer. Use this tool to, well, move things. Usually you use it to move a Layer around after it has been placed. Hold the [Shift] key to limit the movements to vertical/horizontal.
Magic Wand Tool (W)*
Use this tool to select a color range. It will select the block of color or transparency, based on wherever you click.
By: Kate Funk
You might think a laptop is a perfectly safe electronic device. It’s not. There’s a hidden danger. There are harmful rays which radiate from the laptop whilst it’s switched on. They won’t harm you after only a few uses, but office workers and other professions which use them regularly can do themselves some serious damage over time. Here’s a guide to what these harmful rays are, how you can protect yourself against them, and what they mean for the future of laptop usage.
What are these Rays?
The rays we absorb each time we use a laptop are called EMFs. EMFs are electromagnetic fields, which are made up of both electric and magnetic forces. They’re invisible to the human eye and penetrate our body. EMFs move around in waves and are a type of minor radiation.
Now before you grab your tinfoil hat and lock yourself in an oxygen tent, it’s important to mention we’re surrounded by EMFs on a daily basis. Not every type of EMF is dangerous. Natural elements in the earth produce them, as well as the human body itself. What makes them safe is the frequency, which is only about 10 hertz. These natural EMFs empower us because they’re what our cells use to function correctly.
Natural EMFs are perfectly safe, and there’s very little we can do about them either way. The dangerous types of EMF come from electronics, such as fridges, mobile phones, kettles, televisions, and laptops. These EMFs, or artificial EMFs as they’re known, come in the form of an electric field. This field appears whenever you turn the device on. A television which has been turned off at the mains emits nothing.
As already mentioned, there are two types of wave which makes up the EMF. The electric field and the magnetic field. The electric field isn’t particularly harmful as metals can block it. Magnetic fields can penetrate practically anything, including whole buildings.
The strength of the artificial EMF is dictated by the strength of the current. It’s why industrial workers and those who work with heavy electrical machinery are a high risk group for artificial EMF exposure.
Are we at Risk?
We have always been at risk since electricity was invented. Our grandparents had to deal with EMFs from early electronic devices like radios and heaters. The difference now is we’re exposed to EMFs a thousand times stronger than those our grandparents were exposed to.
The 21st century is a world which runs off of electronic devices. It means smartphones, laptops, and electronic cars all emit artificial EMFs.
The Dangers of EMFs
Whilst natural EMFs help energise our body, artificial EMFs come from the outside and start to influence these processes. It’s altering our natural functions and inadvertently putting the human body at risk. Most people will never notice if they’ve been overexposed to EMFs. Subtle chances can include trouble sleeping and stress. At the other end of the spectrum, exposure to EMFs can even change our DNA.
Changes to the DNA can lead us to serious diseases and conditions, which we can also pass on to our children.
Laptops already have standard protections in place. The World Health Organization (WHO) has specifications in place for how much radiation a laptop can legally emit. And manufacturers try to reduce this amount even further to protect its customers from harm. In most cases, only prolonged usage over an extended period of time can cause you any harm.
Control Your Usage
If you must use your laptop, don’t spend additional time surfing the web for pictures of cats and performing other pointless functions. Figure out what you want to do, do it, and then turn it off. Another good way of protecting yourself is to take a break every hour. A 15-minute break per hour of usage can go a long way to stopping the onset of EMF damage.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t place a laptop on your lap. The closer you are the more EMFs you’re going to take in. It makes sense. When you place the laptop on your lap, most of the major components are only shielded from your bare skin by the thin plastic casing.
Put it on a table and sit at a comfortable distance of about 30cm. This way many of the EMFs are released into the air, rather than directly into your body.
Along with not putting the laptop on your lap, you should also minimise the amount of time you spend touching the laptop. This includes with typing. Experts suggest investing in a wireless mouse and keyboard. Again, each time you touch the laptop you’re exposing yourself to radiation because the major components only have a thin plastic casing around them.
Connected and Unconnected
There’s considerable debate over whether it’s safer to have a laptop connected to a cable and a modem or unconnected with WiFi and 3G connectivity. This depends entirely on your preference and who you believe. Scientists have yet to come to a definitive conclusion on the matter. It’s still important to become aware of the arguments for each side, though.
Connecting via 3G or WiFi is harmful because of the additional microwave radiation emanating from these sources. Switching off wireless capabilities reduces the number of tools which are producing radiation.
Others claim it’s best to connect wirelessly because of the increased power of radiation with the laptop plugged in. They claim the amount of radiation is a hundred times more powerful than the radiation produced by a battery which isn’t plugged in.
Should You Stop Using Your Laptop?
Absolutely not! The amount of radiation is troubling, but my monitoring the amount of time you use it for you can stave off most of the risks associated with laptop radiation. And the risks are likely to grow smaller as our level of technology increases. Manufacturers are always looking to reduce the amount of radiation their devices produce.
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Techzilla Contributor, Kate Funk coaches individuals in SEO and business networking skills at Rush Tutors.