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Those responsible for the death of three Queen’s College students must be prosecuted- Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has vowed to ensure those responsible for the deaths of three students of Queen’s College, Lagos, to be prosecuted. The school suffered an outbreak of Diarrhoea in February. Three students of the school died of the disease while many others were hospitalized.

Some of the students claim that a cat died in their water tanker and they were forced to still use the water to bath despite complains that the water was seriously smelling.
Lagos state government ordered the closure of the school but has now given a nod for it to be reopened tomorrow Saturday April 29th.
In a statement released by his special assistant on print media, Chuks Okocha, Saraki said an investigation would be conducted and those found guilty would be prosecuted.

“I will direct that when this matter comes to the floor as a motion. We will debate and make resolutions. Definitely, there must be an investigation. In every civilised society, it is very shameful that young girls could lose their lives in this kind of situation. The best we can do is to make sure that this kind of incident never happens again. Management must explain how the situation got to this level and anybody who is found responsible, necessarily, they must be prosecuted. I think this would have been easily avoided and we can’t continue to live in a society like this, I want to assure you that we will look into this. The ministry of education, must tell us what they have been doing. We are sure that there has been release of funds, what have they done with it? We need to sit down and ask ourselves what we really need to do to fix education in this country. We cannot continue to watch things get this bad. Any laws we need to amend or any law we need to introduce, we need to address that,” he said

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Tech

Google automatically translates local reviews when you travel

We all use user-generated reviews to figure out what points of interest are worth checking out. If you’re traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language, however, the reviews you rely on are usually in the local tongue. Google has a new feature to help you out. The company will now automatically translate reviews into your native language without any effort on your part.

When you use Google Maps or Search to find a place you’re interested in, the reviews will be translated on the fly into the language you have set on your phone. You’ll see a parenthetical note that the review has been translated, but that’s it. No more pasting unfamiliar language into a translation app or — heaven forbid — using a pocket phrasebook to find that sweet photo spot in Italy or the best shawarma place in Istanbul.

This is just another in a line of features Google’s added lately, including a location-sharing feature that you might actually use and tappable shortcuts for its various apps.

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Tech

Legendary car designer Fisker unveils his new luxury EV in August

Henrik Fisker has already dropped a few hints about his EMotion luxury electric car, but you now know when you’ll get to hear the rest. The automotive design legend has revealed that his namesake company will formally unveil the EMotion on August 17th. Not that you’ll have to wait too long to know what the fuss is about, as Fisker is already spilling the beans on key details.

Fisker’s company has already said that it’s aiming for a 400-mile range (using graphene supercapacitors instead of lithium-ion batteries, Fisker explains to Business Insider) while mustering a 161MPH top speed. It’ll have the camera and sensor hardware needed for eventual self-driving capability, too. The EMotion will be priced like a top-end Tesla Model S, Fisker says, so that superior range will carry a premium.

Not that the automaker is ignoring the mainstream. The EMotion is considered the precursor to an eventual “entry” car that theoretically undercuts the roughly $35,000 pre-credit prices of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. Whether or not it arrives as promised will depend heavily on the EMotion’s performance, of course, but there’s a real chance that this vehicle avoids the pitfalls that sank both the Karma and Fisker’s original incarnation.

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How Gorillaz brought a global listening party to your phone

Gorillaz are having a house party at 500 locations around the globe. The animated band — brainchild of musician Damon Albarn (Blur) and artist Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl) — is hosting the unusual audio soirée for its upcoming album launch for Humanz. Just streaming the new music to its recently launched app isn’t Gorillaz’s style, so instead it’s created a sort of musical scavenger hunt that’s part Pokemon Go, part concert.

The technical team that helped bring Hewlett and Albarn’s vision to life is known more for working with the likes of Nike and Google than cartoon rockers. While located around the globe, it was B-Reel’s London office and executive creative director Davor Krvavac’s team that took on the slightly insane but definitely impressive app and its worldwide dance-party ambitions. “It was a sort of a sense of awe really, because all of us here, we really respect what Jamie, Sheila and Damon Albarn have been doing over all these years in so many different manifestations,” Krvavac said.

Gorillaz are more than just a band. Each album mixes music, art and technology into interactive sites, games, movies, DVDs, live chats with cartoon characters, an upcoming show at an amusement park and concerts that fuse the live band with their animated avatars. The lead up to Humanz is no different and if anything has raised the bar. The band has released a 3D music video, Twitter-moment “books” for each member of the band and of course the mixed-reality Gorillaz app.

“It was a very different sort of creative process than we might follow as an agency with one of our branded clients,” Krvavac told Engadget. “It’s all about building trust, because the Gorillaz and the creative products of the Gorillaz, that’s the crown jewels.”

The two teams worked closely together on the app, which, like the upcoming album, places the Spirit House at the center of the story. The band handled the story and art, and B-Reel handled the tech. “Of course they’re super switched on and well aware of all the kind of developments that have happened in the six years since the last album. You know AR, VR all of that stuff,” Krvavac said.

The result is an app that launches right into mixed reality with a vision of the real world overlaid with objects from each band member appearing as you spin around. It’s a reminder that you’re leaving your world and entering the band’s domain. The dilapidated Spirit House has been overtaken by Murdoc Niccals, 2-D, Russel Hobbs, and Noodle, and users can explore the band members’ rooms either with or without a VR headset.

“It’s all about discovery. It’s all about immersing yourself into the story,” Krvavac said. “Really early on we were talking about when you buy the bonus pack that comes with your vinyl or CD and you go over sleeve notes and all the little things to discover. Well it’s kind of like that. It’s a mixed-reality kind of extension of their world that sort of spills over into our world, and I think the listening part is the ultimate sort of reward. Everything in the house essentially builds up to the actual location of the house and discovering it for yourself.”

The global listening party is live for the next three days. During that time, the app will guide fans with directions and distances toward the nearest geolocation of the Spirit House. It’s bit like Pokemon Go, but instead of finding a tiny monster, you’re rewarded with a stream of the entire album. With 500 locations all over the globe, most major metropolitan areas will be covered.

Of course, the developers and band added a challenge to finding the final digital jukebox. The directions lead you in the general location of the nearest Spirit House, but you’ll still have to do a bit of sleuthing to discover the exact spot. Fortunately, Gorillaz’s Facebook page has been dropping the longitudes and latitudes of various Spirit Houses to help you along.

It’s an ambitious endeavor for something that’ll shut down on Sunday night. But the tech is there, and in the future it could be used for something else. “What I can tell you for sure is that the stream will cease with the actual launch of the album, but there are some ideas and thoughts about what happens with the house after that. So, you know, watch this space, essentially,” Krvavac said.

With all that’s been invested into the prelaunch of the album, it’ll be interesting to see what Gorillaz finally comes up with summer when it launches for real. “They’ve always had to push the technology so hard and kind of invent new things in order to manifest themselves as a band,” Krvavac said.

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Facebook’s latest drone delivers internet during a disaster

Internet connectivity is kind of like air: something we take for granted until we can’t get it. To help make communications easier during disaster scenarios, Facebook has come up with the “Tether-antenna.” At its simplest, it’s a small, unmanned helicopter that can hook onto undamaged fiber-and-power lines (when cellular connectivity has been damaged or is otherwise unavailable) and then hover “a few hundred feet from the ground,” according to a Facebook Developers blog post. “When completed, this technology will be able to be deployed immediately and operate for months at a time to bring back connectivity in case of an emergency — ensuring the local community can stay connected while the in ground connectivity is under repair.”

Facebook admits that the tech is still early in terms of development and that lots more work is needed before it will see use. But, like the company’s plans for blanketing the developing world with a limited form of internet connectivity, it’s a signal that Zuckerberg and Co. have serious plans for more than just shoving augmented reality into your News Feed.

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Do You want to live inside Facebook’s vision for social VR

Over the last few decades, there have been several attempts to merge the mundane aspects of the real world with the digital. All of these, while catering to a niche, have failed to conquer the world in the way that Mark Zuckerberg hopes that Facebook’s social VR efforts will.

Facebook Spaces was announced at the social network’s F8 conference as a way of blending social media and virtual reality. If you own an Oculus Rift (and Touch controllers), you and four friends can enter a virtual world and hang out together.

Unfortunately, hanging out mostly constitutes of chatting, taking “selfies*” and enjoying the virtual world around you. Oh, and it’s not you, per se, but a cartoon caricature that you control; a dead-eyed digital mannequin that smiles blankly at everyone in the desperate hope that you won’t find it creepy.

Unfortunately, Spaces falls into the same trap that so many other platforms have over the years, assuming that people want the digital world to be a surrogate for the real. And that people have the time and energy to sit around talking to a cartoon with their friend’s voice through thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

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Whenever a high-minded tech company makes proclamations about the future of social interaction, I’m reminded of Second Life. Founded more than a decade ago, the title was an open world platform that enabled strangers across the world to come together. It was touted as a digital utopia, a place where you were free to create whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, however you wanted. Your digital avatar could even fly around the Second Life universe, interacting with people from across the globe.

But in reality, this utopianism was misplaced, and the environment, even during its boom years, was stale and empty. People weren’t all that into into communicating with each other, and the platform gradually became a space for people to develop weird forms of architecture. It became little more than a proto-Minecraft, a gallery space or weird and wonderful designs that few would ever notice. Second Life itself still exists, of course, with around 600,000 monthly active users.

A big part of the internet’s job is to bring people together in ways that we wouldn’t — couldn’t — have conceived a few generations ago. We can now learn so much from people all across the globe and share their experiences, dreams and knowledge. Real-time chat platforms, from IRC to FaceTime, have enabled us to gradually bridge the physical distances that separate us. Still, none are a substitute for real human interaction, face to face, in the real world.

Facebook Spaces, on the other hand, places two more barriers between us and our friends: the bulky VR headset and the digital avatar. Then there are the constraints that Facebook places upon its users. At the moment, Spaces users can’t express sadness or anger. The likelihood of this becoming the new normal for social interactions is about as likely as Disney’s recently shuttered Club Penguin becoming the new Facebook.

Facebook is asking us to take a chunk of our most precious commodity — our attention — and give it entirely to its virtual world. But that world is one step removed from that of the internet, full of (literally) fake people in a fake place. In the demo video, friends gather together a surprise birthday party to take a selfie of themselves on an imaginary boardwalk.

But where is the reality and authenticity in you, and three other people, taking an image of some cartoon avatars in a virtual world? Will you expect that future historians will unearth these images and marvel at the experiences that you pretended to have?

I wonder if I’m wrong, and that people will embrace this in the same way that they have taking pictures from inside video games. But then that, at least, shows a journey that you’re going on — and an appreciation of a particularly engaging sight that’s been created within the game. Imagine the reaction of your friends and family when you show them your vacation shots from the Grand Canyon that you didn’t visit.

Even Mark Zuckerberg knows that Facebook’s Social VR demo, as it is, not the future of how we’re going to interact with one another. Both this year and last, the CEO showed off a rough idea for an augmented reality platform that could work in a pair of glasses. There, you’d never need to buy a TV, just use the AR overlay in the lenses on conjure one up on the wall of your otherwise sparse living room.

Unfortunately, that idea is nowhere near ready for the real world, and Facebook VP Deb Liu told the AP that the journey to that hardware was “just one percent finished.” Imagine, rather than exchanging time-sucking pleasantries with a cartoon avatar while standing on a fake mountaintop, having someone sitting on your couch next to you.

You’d be able to speak to them as if they were in the room, despite being on the other side of the world. But with this (almost) real interaction, you would have real eye contact, real body language and all of the other things that we, as humans, need in order to feel comfortable interacting with one another.

The software and hardware just isn’t there for this sort of platform, and probably won’t be for a very long time. But that, not Facebook Spaces, is the vision of social VR that I can get behind.

 

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Tech

Early Galaxy S8 owners complain of red-tinted screens

Samsung started shipping the Galaxy S8 to customers in South Korea who pre-ordered the flagship phone almost a full week ago. They were probably thinking of how lucky they were to get the phone early until some of them noticed something off about their screen. According to multiple reports posted on Korean forums like PPOMPPU and social networks like Instagram, some S8 units’ displays have a very noticeable reddish tint. It’s unclear how widespread the issue is, but it seems to be serious enough for “Galaxy S8 Red Screen” to be a trending search term on Korean search engine Naver.

Samsung didn’t deny the issue and told ZDNet that it can easily be fixed in the settings:

“All Samsung phones undergo thorough testing to meet our high level of quality standards. The Infinity Display on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ has applied Super AMOLED and provides rich and expressive colors, enabling users to enjoy a clearer and more vivid viewing experience.

The Galaxy S8 was built with an adaptive display that optimizes the color range, saturation, and sharpness depending on the environment. If needed, users can manually adjust the color range of the display to change the appearance of white tones, through ‘Settings > Display > Screen Mode > Color balance’.”

An unnamed mobile industry official told Business Korea that a few Note 7 launch units also had a reddish tint brought about by the Super AMOLED display. If fixing color balance doesn’t work, his advice is to go in for a replacement — indeed, some affected users said making color adjustments did nothing for them.

Another insider pointed out to The Korea Herald that it could be caused by the company’s new deep red AMOLED tech. The S8, which is the first phone to use the technology, has two types of joint pixels: red-green and blue-green. Those two greens could cause a color imbalance, so Samsung made the red pixels look stronger and deeper. Whatever the cause is, it seems buyers’ best bet to check their phone against other devices when it arrives and adjust the color balance before panicking and asking for a replacement.

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News

Facebook’s new 360 cameras bring multiple perspectives to live videos

Last year, Facebook announced the Surround 360, a 360-degree camera that can capture footage in 3D and then render it online via specially designed software. But it wasn’t for sale. Instead, the company used it as a reference design for others to create 3D 360 content, even going so far as to open source it on Github later that summer. As good as the camera was, though, it still didn’t deliver the full VR experience. That’s why Facebook is introducing two more 360-degree cameras at this year’s F8: the x24 and x6. The difference: These cameras can shoot in six degrees of freedom, which promises to make the 360 footage more immersive than before.

The x24 is so named because it has 24 cameras; the x6, meanwhile, has — you guessed it — six cameras. While the x24 looks like a giant beach ball with many eyes, the x6 is shaped more like a tennis ball, which makes for a less intimidating look. Both are designed for professional content creators, but the x6 is obviously meant to be a smaller, lighter and cheaper version.

Both the x24 and the x6 are part of the Surround 360 family. And, as with version one (which is now called the Surround 360 Open Edition), Facebook doesn’t plan on selling the cameras themselves. Instead, Facebook plans to license the x24 and x6 designs to a “select group of commercial partners.” Still, the versions you see in the images here were prototyped in Facebook’s on-site hardware lab (cunningly called Area 404) using off-the-shelf components. The x24 was made in partnership with FLIR, a company mostly known for its thermal imaging cameras, while the x6 prototype was made entirely in-house.

But before we get into all of that, let’s talk a little bit about what sets these cameras apart from normal 360 ones. With a traditional fixed camera, you see the world through its fixed lens. So if you’re viewing this content (also known as stereoscopic 360) in a VR headset and you decide to move around, the world stays still as you move, which is not what it would look like in the real world. This makes the experience pretty uncomfortable and takes you out of the scene. It becomes less immersive.

With content that’s shot with six degrees of freedom, however, this is no longer an issue. You can move your head to a position where the camera never was, and still view the world as if you were actually there. Move your head from side to side, forwards and backwards, and the camera is smart enough to reconstruct what the view looks like from different angles. All of this is due to some special software that Facebook has created, along with the carefully designed pattern of the cameras. According to Brian Cabral, Facebook’s Engineering Director, it’s an “optimal pattern” to get as much information as possible.

I had the opportunity to have a look at a couple of different videos shot with the x24 at Facebook’s headquarters (Using the Oculus Rift, of course). One was of a scene shot in the California Academy of Sciences, specifically at the underwater tunnel in the Steinhart Aquarium. I was surprised to see that the view of the camera would follow my own as I tilted my head from left to right and even when I crouched down on the floor. I could even step to the side and look “through” where the camera was, as if it wasn’t there at all. If the video was shot through a traditional 360 camera, it’s likely that I would see the camera tripod if I looked down. But with the x24, I just saw the floor, as if I was a disembodied ghost floating around.

Another wonderful thing about videos shot with six degrees of freedom is that each pixel has depth. Each pixel is literally in 3D. This a breakthrough for VR content creators, and opens up a world of possibilities in visual effects editing. This means that you can add 3D effects to live action footage, a feat that usually would have required a green screen.

I saw this demonstrated in the other video, which was of a scene shot on the roof of one of Facebook’s buildings. Facebook along with Otoy, a Los Angeles-based cloud rendering company, were able to actually add effects to the scene. Examples include floating butterflies, which wafted around when I swiped at them with a Touch controller. They also did a visual trick where I could step “outside” of the scene and encapsulate the entire video in a snow globe. All of this is possible because of the layers of depth that the footage provides.

That’s not to say there weren’t bugs. The video footage I saw had shimmering around the edges, which Cabral said is basically a flaw in the software that they’re working to fix. Plus, the camera is unable to see what’s behind people, so there’s a tiny bit of streaking along the edges.

Still, there’s lots of potential with this kind of content. “This is a new kind of media in video and immersive experiences,” said Eric Cheng, Facebook’s head of Immersive Media, who was previously the Director of Photography at Lytro. “Six degrees of freedom has traditionally been done in gaming and VR, but not in live action.” Cheng says that many content creators have told him that they’ve been waiting for a way to bridge live action into these “volumetric editing experiences.”

Indeed, that’s partly why Facebook is partnering with a lot of post-production companies like Adobe, Foundry and Otoy in order to develop an editing workflow with these cameras. “Think of these cameras as content acquisition tools for content creators,” said Cheng.

But what about other cameras, like Lytro’s Immerge for example? “There’s a large continuum of these things,” said Cabral. “Lytro sits at the very very high-end.” It’s also not nearly as portable as both the x24 and x6, which are both designed for a much more flexible and nimble approach to VR capture.

As for when cameras like these will make their way down to the consumer level, well, Facebook says that will come in future generations. “That’s the long arc of where we’re going with this,” said CTO Mike Schroepfer.

“Our goal is simple: We want more people producing awesome, immersive 360 and 3D content,” said Schroepfer. “We want to bring people up the immersion curve. We want to be developing the gold standard and say this is where we’re shooting for.”

av, cameras, f8, f82017, facebook, personal computing, personalcomputing, CTO, Mike Schroepfer, gadgetry, gear,3D content,Lytro’s Immerge, Los Angeles, social media, social media app,media, entertainment, Adobe, Foundry, Otoy, camera, Brian Cabral, Facebook’s Engineering Director, optimal pattern

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