The latest firmware update for Apple’s AirPods Pro and second—generation AirPods has arrived, and it brings at least a couple of much-awaited features with it. For the AirPods Pro, build number 3A283 debuts spatial audio, which enables a surround sound effect for a movie theater-like experience. The tech giant didn’t release a feature log for the firmware, but AppleInsider was able to confirm it adds a spatial audio setting within the AirPods Pro bluetooth menu.
When switched on, the earbuds’ accelerometer will track your head movement so the audio stays fixed even when you turn your head. Apple first revealed that it’s releasing spatial audio for the Pro earbuds back in June during its virtual WWDC keynote, where it also announced that it’s rolling out an AirPods feature that gives you the ability to automatically switch between Apple devices. That’s the other capability that comes with firmware 3A283.
Samuel L. Jackson to star as Nick Fury in Disney Plus Marvel TV series
Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his Marvel Cinematic Universe role as Nick Fury in a mysterious new Disney Plus TV series, reports Variety.
Details on the new show are very much scarce, but Variety’s sources say that Jackson is “attached to star,” which may indicate that it’s a Nick Fury solo series, or at the very least Fury-centric. Kyle Bradstreet (Mr. Robot) will produce, according to Variety. Sports Grind Entertainment has reached out to Disney for confirmation.
Jackson has played Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from its very inception in Iron Man (2008) — but the last time we saw the former Avengers coordinator and director of SHIELD, he was in space. In an end-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home, he was seen vacationing on a Skrull “holodeck” in deep space, in the company of loads and loads of friendly Skrulls.
As to what he was doing out there, that’s anybody’s guess. Keeping an eye out for any more big purple extraterrestrials? Starting a new SHIELD, but in space? Marvel fans naturally assumed that we’d find out in a later Marvel movie, but perhaps the answers are coming from a smaller screen.
Readers compare and contrast the Galaxy S20 lineup
Henry also mentioned the S20’s build quality, saying it “didn’t feel as premium as past phones” and that it “would have been nice to get a proper black color” for the handset. Jun Jie was likewise disappointed with the colors on the Ultra: “You went from Aura-ish colors on the Note10+ to Cosmic Grey on the S20 Ultra that’s more dull than my future. Why?” And both Henry and Steve wanted a headphone jack on the S20 and S20 Ultra, respectively.
The screens on all three handsets hit big with users. Sneak said the S20’s display is amazing, Ryan found the screen on the S20+ beautiful, adding that he can use the 120Hz with no noticeable difference in resolution. However, he did say that the “screen glass is easily susceptible to scratching,” and that “after a month of careful use, there are three or four small scratches noticeable when the screen is off. The notion that Gorilla Glass is somehow impervious to scratching is clearly a myth.”
When it came to the 120Hz refresh rate on her S20+, Brianna was enthusiastic, saying she “loves the buttery smooth refresh rate” and that she “never knew I needed 120Hz in my life until I saw it in person! Never going back!” Charlie called the screen on the S20 Ultra beautiful, Jun Jie found it glorious and Steve admitted the large screen was one of his “killer apps” on the Ultra, but he skips using the 120Hz mode because it drains the battery.
There was very little negative feedback about the camera features of the S20 lineup. The S20 and S20+ both have a 3x optical zoom system, while the S20 Ultra boasts a 100x Space Zoom with a 4x optical zoom. Sneak liked the camera on their S20, but Nick was disappointed that his S20+ didn’t feature a real telephoto camera and will instead crop a 64MP frame.
S20 Ultra users were more detailed about their experiences. Derek called the camera cool, despite having to return his initial handset because of an issue with it. Steve said he “uses the Pro mode all the time and I love the level of control. I have used the 100x zoom, and while it’s not perfect, it’s better than not having the option at all.” And Charlie found the camera to be amazing, adding that “it has focus issues sometimes but I expect that to be fixed with software updates in the near future. The zoom capability is incredible and very helpful in my job.”
The battery life of the phones was only briefly mentioned by the reviewers. David and Nick felt let down by the battery life of their respective S20 and a S20+. David said he was “disappointed with my phone’s battery life compared to my previous phones, and the phones of others in my family.”
Meanwhile, Ryan and Jun Jie had the opposite experience. Jun Jie listed battery life as one of the many advantages of going with an S20 Ultra, and Ryan said the battery on his S20+ lasts “considerably longer than my S7, and I can use the phone all day without worrying about recharging.”
Our users were fairly critical with regards to comparing their handsets to other phone models. David said “one of my biggest frustrations with the S20 is the tediously slow on-screen fingerprint unlock, to the point that I am considering switching back to an LG V series.” He felt that “overall, the S20 is a satisfactory phone but … my previous flagship, the LG V30+, gave a better ownership experience.” Ryan, who upgraded to the S20+ from an S7, said it took him a few weeks to adjust to the size of the newer phone. Nick, who also owns an S20+, felt it was a bad thing that the handset “is so similar to all other A-series Samsungs that you cannot easily tell the difference. It’s not a very shiny flagship, as previous models were. I was twice as excited when I bought my S7 Edge, which it replaced.” Steve was pragmatic about his S20 Ultra, saying “this phone is good for a while but next time I’ll probably look at the ‘A’ series. Better bang for the buck.” Derek was less matter-of-fact about his S20 Ultra: “I’ve learned my lesson and this is the last S series phone I will buy. I’m going back to the Note phones I was buying. This phone was not worth the price.”
However, a few users of each handset were more pleased with their purchases. Sneak was “extremely glad that the Bixby button is gone, and I’m also glad that Samsung didn’t put the power and volume buttons on the ‘wrong’ side like they did with the Note 10 and 10+.” And Jun Jie and Charlie were both happy with their S20 Ultras, with Jun Jie stating there are “many praises to be sung about this phone,” and Charlie finding it an “incredible phone in many ways.”
Algorithms used in medicine are trained on data from only a few states
Most medical algorithms were developed using information from people treated in Massachusetts, California, or New York, according to a new study. Those three states dominate patient data — and 34 other states were simply not represented at all, according to the research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The narrow geographic distribution of the data used for these algorithms may be an unrecognized bias, the study authors argue.
The algorithms that the researchers were looking at are designed to make medical decisions based on patient data. When researchers build an algorithm that they want to guide patient diagnosis — like to examine a chest X-ray and decide if it has signs of pneumonia — they feed it real-world examples of patients with and without the condition they want it to look for. It’s well-recognized that gender and racial diversity is important in those training sets: if an algorithm only gets men’s X-rays during training, it may not work as well when it’s given an X-ray from a woman who is hospitalized with difficulty breathing. But while researchers have learned to watch for some forms of bias, geography hasn’t been highlighted.
“There are all these things that end up getting baked into the dataset and become implicit assumptions in the data, which may not be valid assumptions nationwide,” study author and Stanford University researcher Amit Kaushal told Stat News.
Kaushal and his team examined the data used to train 56 published algorithms, which were designed to be used in fields like dermatology, radiology, and cardiology. It’s not clear how many are actually in use at clinics and hospitals. Of the 56 algorithms, 40 used patient data from either Massachusetts, California, or New York. No other state contributed data to more than five algorithms.
It’s not clear if or exactly how geography might skew an algorithm’s performance. Coastal hubs like New York, though, have different demographics and underlying health issues than states in the South or Midwest. Still, researchers do know, in general, that algorithms that work under one set of circumstances sometimes don’t work as well with others. Some studies show that algorithms can work better at the institutions where they’re created than they do at other hospitals.
Many academic research centers that do artificial intelligence and machine learning research are in health care hubs like Massachusetts, California, and New York. Data from California, home to Silicon Valley, was included in about 40 percent of the algorithms. It’s difficult for researchers to get access to data from institutions other than the ones where they work. That may be why the data clusters in this way. Broadening the datasets may be challenging, but identifying the disparity shows that geography is another factor worth tracking in medical algorithms.
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