Learning ancient Japanese characters with your smartphone

Learning ancient Japanese characters with your smartphone

A research group at Osaka University has developed an application which is designed to allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet device to study ancient Japanese characters Kuzushi-ji. By using this application, those who are unfamiliar with pre-modern Japanese books or learning Japanese historical and classical literature outside Japan may obtain ability in reading hentaigana and cursive-style kanji, which will promote utilization of Japanese classical books and historical materials by a wider range of people.

KuLA – the Kuzushi-ji Learning Application has three sections: Learn, Read, and Connect. The Learn section allows users to study 278 different hentaigana and cursive-style kanji and features images taken from Japanese historical books. Study progress can be checked with the included kuzushi-ji test feature. The Read section lets users test their ability further by reading images of Japanese classical texts written in kuzushi-ji. The Connect section allows users studying kuzushi-ji to interact with one another. Users can take pictures of difficult characters and ask others for help, or share their study progress with other users.

Databases holding images of pre-modern Japanese books and other historical materials are currently in rapid development. The National Institute of Japanese Literature plans to make 300,000 images of historical materials available online over a 10 year period starting from 2014 as part of its Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-modern Japanese Texts. However, whilst researchers in Japan outside of the field of literary studies and researchers of Japanese studies outside of Japan are able to access pre-modern materials more easily, there is still a lack of knowledge as to how to utilize these materials. This application was developed as a tool to aid researchers in fields outside literature and researchers outside of Japan to use these image databases more effectively.
[Source:- Phys.org]

Office 365 is king of business web apps, but Slack is growing fastest

Office 365 is king of business web apps, but Slack is growing fastest

Which is the most popular business app used online? Unsurprisingly, it’s Office 365, the subscription version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, according to some new research which details the most-used web apps.

These figures were revealed by Okta, a firm which produces software to manage employee logins to online services. The company found that among its customers, Office 365 was king of the enterprise cloud apps, followed by Salesforce.com, Box, Google Apps for Work, and in fifth place was Amazon Web Services.

Okta also made an interesting observation regarding Office 365 and Google Apps both being used within the same organisation. Indeed, data showed that over 40% of companies use both of these services due to preferences for one or the other in different departments.

Not slacking

As for the fastest growing business app, that was Slack, which witnessed a growth rate of 77% in the second half of 2015. We can expect Slack to put in a very good showing this year, by all accounts, as it’s continuing to pick up the pace with “no sign of slowing down just yet” Okta says.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud also had a good year in 2015, growing its user numbers by 44% according to the report.

One final nugget on business security for you: Okta found that 30% of organisations are now using multi-factor authentication, a number that still needs to increase in an ideal world.

[Source:- Techrader]

 

Windows 10’s big Anniversary Update puts Ink to screen

Windows 10's big Anniversary Update puts Ink to screen

As part of the big Anniversary (formally known as Redstone) Update for Windows 10, Microsoft has branded a new Windows 10 feature called Ink, putting further emphasis into pen and stylus usage.

The new feature levels up the interaction of any hand writing users put to the screen. For example, users can make a reminder to call their mom tomorrow, and Windows 10 will intelligently recognize you’ve written a date and transform it into object you can tap and setup a reminder through Cortana.

Alternatively, users will be able to drop a dot on a map to mark it as a point of interest. In another new use case, users will be able to strike out a sentence by simply drawing a line through it. You’ll even be able hold a stencil against the screen and drawing along its edges.

Microsoft wants ink to be as intuitive and natural as using real paper. As such Ink is also being given its own work space built into the lock screen, so you don’t have to unlock the device to start sketching and taking notes.

Beyond Ink, Microsoft promised more Universal Windows apps including Starbucks, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger will come to the Windows 10 store soon.

Coratana also becomes more conversational though the Anniversary Update to the point of imitating the 1960s Batman theme. Beyond fun and games, Cortana is also more helpful with managing your work schedule by automatically adding your flight itinerary or automatically sending over a Powerpoint document to your coworker before a big meeting.

When setting up a lunch appointment, the Windows 10 digital assistant will also intelligently offering choices for booking a tablet, take out options and other things to do.

Of course the Anniversary Update isn’t just limited to the Windows 10 operating system.Xbox One will be getting Windows 10 apps and a developer mode as part of Redstone.

Microsoft also announced the enhancements will also come the Hololens, but the software company didn’t highlight what these would include.

While on stage, Executive VP of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson boasted are now more than 270 million Windows 10 devices worldwide. According to Microsoft, and the platform is being adopted 145 faster than Windows 7 and 4 times faster Windows 8.

The Anniversary Update should come to all Windows 10 users in late summer.

 

[Source:- Techrader]

Microsoft’s Bots could be its biggest contribution to computing since Windows

Microsoft's Bots could be its biggest contribution to computing since Windows

On stage at its annual Build conference keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella painted a picture of our lives being made easier with bots, intelligent agents that live within apps and services. But, would that life be much better, or less connected than it already is – or both?

Nadella and team’s vision for conversational computing comes just a week after their first public experiment in the field, Tay, came crashing down in a spectacular display of human depravity. Not exactly the best argument for a world run by bots.

The newly-appointed executive addressed the Twitter chat bot experiment head on during the March 30 Build 2016 keynote with a three-fold plan for bots that he believes are the new apps.

bots

To Nadella, so long as bots and the digital assistants that use them are built with the intention to augment human ability and experience, with trustworthiness (privacy, transparency, security) and with inclusion and respectfulness in mind, we’ll be OK.

Or, at the very least, we’ll avoid another Tay scenario.

And, on paper, that generally checks out. Of course, the bots that Microsoft envisions aren’t necessarily accessible by the masses all at once, but individuals through specific communication programs or through assistants, like Cortana.

Still, Tay was demonstrative of the sheer power that such intelligent, semi-autonomous software can possess. But I’m worried about another facet of these bots’ power.

bots

Do we need another crutch to connect?

That’s my simple question to everyone: are the lay people of the world ready for such power, just as we’re learning empathy on the internet? But, I’ll follow that up with another one.

What will that power do to a society that’s more connected than ever yet whose people struggle to meaningfully connect with one another more than ever?

Take Microsoft’s demonstration of Cortana using bots to facilitate uniting with an old friend in Dublin, Ireland on an upcoming trip. Looking at it one way: Cortana and its squad of bots just helped someone connect with her old friend.

But, try and look at it this way: wouldn’t that person have remembered that old friend without Cortana’s help? Americans don’t visit Ireland every day, after all. Or, would she not have, for the effects of “connected” tech have already created a crutch for her to lean on to facilitate human interaction?

I like to call this “The Facebook Effect.” How many of your friends and family members’ birthdays do you actually remember now that Facebook reminds you? (I won’t even bother counting myself.)

What happens when we apply similar use cases to far more powerful pieces of technology? My guess is that it won’t be long before we rely on bots to remind us to connect with one another much less order a pizza.

At that point, I don’t know how much bots are helping so much as hindering our ability to meaningfully or earnestly connect with one another. In the above Dublin scenario, the woman didn’t even reach out to her friend on her own – Cortana did it for her.

bots

Bots for tedium, brains for relationships

Now, don’t mistake: I couldn’t be more excited for for bots to intelligently update my calendar and remind me that I’m on deadline for that laptop review. But, I’d rather handle communicating with other humans on my own, thanks.

Technology by its very definition makes life easier, we’d be nothing without it, but just how much do we want to lean on technology to foster human relationships?

As we enter this new phase of automation, we could do with asking ourselves that question more often.

 

[Source:- Techrader]