Cortana for all: Microsoft's plan to put voice recognition behind anything When Microsoft introduced the Cortana digital personal assistant last year at the company's Build developer conference, the company already left hints of its future ambitions for the technology. Cortana was built largely on Microsoft's Bing service, and the Cortana team indicated those services would eventually be accessible to Web and application developers. Ars Technica

Feds say that banned researcher commandeered a plane A security researcher kicked off a United Airlines flight last month after tweeting about security vulnerabilities in its system had previously taken control of an airplane and caused it to briefly fly sideways, according to an application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent. Chris Roberts, a security researcher with One World Labs, told the FBI agent during an interview in February that he had hacked the in-flight entertainment system... Wired

Microsoft Edge: Building a safer browser With Microsoft Edge, we want to fundamentally improve security over existing browsers and enable users to confidently experience the web from Windows. We have designed Microsoft Edge to defend users from increasingly sophisticated and prevalent attacks. This post covers some of the advanced technologies used to protect Microsoft Edge, including industry leading sandboxing, compiler, and memory management techniques developed in close partnership with Windows. Microsoft

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- is your system ready? The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's May 18th release is tantalizingly close. On PC, the experience will be enhanced with higher-resolution textures, higher-quality effects, higher levels of detail, uncapped framerates, and many other enhancements. And like the latest and greatest PC games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is further enhanced with Nvidia technologies and GameWorks effects that increase immersion and image quality throughout the 100-hour action RPG. GeForce (Our CPU/GPU performance review is in the works)

First brain database now online Three years ago, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen doubled down on brain research, luring some of the nation’s top experts to Seattle and pledging an additional $300 million to study the world’s most complex organ at a level of detail never before possible. Now, the Allen Institute for Brain Science is releasing initial results from that effort: The first online database that profiles individual neurons based on shape, activity and other factors... Govtech (also, Electronic memory may bring bionic brain one step closer)

Sega Saturn: How one decision destroyed PlayStation's greatest rival Twenty years ago this week, at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles, the head of Sega of America accidentally killed the company’s Saturn video game console. Tom Kalinske was in a bind. He knew that Sony was readying its new PlayStation machine for an autumn launch in the US (both the Saturn and the PlayStation had already been released in Japan at this point), and the hype was building. The Guardian

The rise and fall of Silk Road The descent was stunning. Chris Tarbell, a special agent from the New York FBI office, was in a window seat, watching a green anomaly in a sea of blue as it resolved into Iceland’s severe, beautiful landscape. On approach to Keflavík International Airport, he could now see the city of Reykjavik coming into view. And just beyond that, perched on the edge of a moss-covered lava field: the massive matte-white box that housed the Thor Data Center. Wired

IBM's silicon photonics technology ready to speed up cloud and big data applications For the first time, IBM engineers have designed and tested a fully integrated wavelength multiplexed silicon photonics chip, which will soon enable manufacturing of 100 Gb/s optical transceivers. This will allow datacenters to offer greater data rates and bandwidth for cloud computing and Big Data applications. IBM

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How to turn an Arduino based proof of concept into a final prototype A few weeks ago I published a post explaining how to make what I called an "Anti-procrastination box". Fortunately I wasn't the first amateur maker who wanted to go pro, thus a month or so later I ended up with a working prototype, and 4 pages of notes summing-up informations gleaned around the web. What I'd like to do here is to centralize this information... Digital Junky

The making of Damagebox 2015 We spend a ton of our time around here looking at individual PC components, but at heart, that work is meant to serve a larger goal: putting together the best possible PC. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like I don't get to spend enough time actually building complete systems. Yeah, I'm constantly working with test rigs, but that's not the same as hand-building a PC for your own personal use. The Tech Report

Killing freemium is the worst thing for artists Last week, reports started to surface that Apple was trying to convince labels to "kill" Spotify's free tier, presumably by renegotiating when their current contracts expire. From a business perspective, this makes sense  -- when Apple launches its streaming service, it will offer a free trial but not a free tier, and will charge the same as Spotify and other streaming players in the market. Medium

Russia unveils homegrown PC microprocessor chips Ever since Edward Snowden lifted the lid on the full extent of the NSA's mass surveillance programs, foreign nations have been looking for alternatives to U.S. manufactured equipment. In the wake of Snowden's revelations, one Russian firm announced its intention to build its own homegrown microprocessors, and today these have finally gone on sale. Russia Insider

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Inside a $34 smartphone (Part I) This Huami H3 smartphone cost me $34US (210RMB) in January. It's sold with a 5 inch screen, Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G cell connectivity, Android 4.4 and an 8 core processor. I picked it up in the electronics capital of the world -- Shenzhen, China. My hotel was a few doors down from the Mingtong Digital Communications Market, aka "the dodgy cell phone market". Project Gus

How I do my computing I use a Thinkpad X60 computer, in which the FSF installed a free initialization program (libreboot) and a free operating system (Trisquel GNU/Linux.) This is the first computer model ever to be sold commercially with a free initialization program and a free operating system, and thus the first computer product the FSF could endorse. (It was not sold that way by Lenovo, however.) Richard Stallman