Tag: artificial intelligence

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Democracy Under Fire

Somebody sure seems set on changing up the Democrat and Republican candidates running for President. I am not one to peddle conspiracy theories, but, gosh, there are suspicious activities at work that shouldn’t be ignored when evaluated one against the other.

Early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt by a whisker, as the saying goes, during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa. Watching local news coverage from a TV station in Pittsburgh, I listened to an expert explain that three inches left would have been Trump’s nose, rather than his ear. The gentleman explained that, from the shooting distance, the difference was the slightest shift in the wind.

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Microsoft Copilot Crash Lands, Survivors Uncertain

When Microsoft and its Windows OEM partners unveiled so-called Copilot+ PCs on May 20, 2024, I was intrigued—even excited. Suddenly, the adoption of Snapdragon X chips, with widespread hardware and software partner support, and promised capabilities catapulted the platform to heights not seen since the launch of Windows XP in October 2001—and some people might say Win 95.

Same day, I ordered Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge to review and use. While the notebook is a huge performance and longevity leap over my Surface Laptop Studio—and my overall satisfaction is high—disappointment is somewhat unavoidable. Microsoft touted four main Copilot+ PC benefits: Longer battery life (yep); uncompromised perceived performance (yep); standard, minimum hardware configurations (yep); and immersive informational interaction and responsiveness via artificial intelligence features running locally on the Neural Processing Unit (nope). The last is the biggest reason to buy into the concept, as presented, and it’s a letdown at launch.

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Goodbye Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, Hello Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge

Neither I nor my wife looked back with much regret when we escaped the Apple socialist computing lifestyle and adopted Android smartphones and Windows PCs. Can you say freedom?

In December 2022, I bought Surface Laptop Studio for me. Config: 14.4-inch touchscreen (2400 x 1600 resolution); quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core H35 i7-11370H processor; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics; 32GB RAM; 2TB SSD. She got Surface Laptop 5. Config: 13.5-inch touchscreen (2256 x 1504 resolution); 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1255U processor; 16GB RAM; 512GB SSD.

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Welcome to the Cutting (Galaxy Book4) Edge

I haven’t been on the bleeding edge of technology for a while, but here we are on the precipice ready to fall off. This afternoon, UPS delivered Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge, which I ordered on May 20, 2024, when Microsoft and its OEM partners announced ARM-based Windows laptops packing Qualcomm chips.

Oh, I will review this beastie, and for a couple reasons: I am heavily invested in the Samsung ecosystem, and Qualcomm is a local company (here in San Diego). Out-of-box experience: Outstanding. Display: Superb. Keyboard: Tactile and responsive (contrary to reports from some professional reviewers). Performance: Sportscar, compared to my Surface Laptop Studio. Battery: Too soon to say. Trackpad (okay, so far, but needs more use). Applications: I will let you know about native vs non-native.

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Microsoft, Copilot This!

Yesterday, I dropped by Best Buy for a quick looksee. My local store, in San Diego’s Mission Valley district, is undergoing changes that started with remodeling last year—or, gasp, was it 2022? Oh, how we lose track of time. Regardless, a dramatic change greeted me.

What can best be described as an Apple mini-store occupies some of the space once dominated by Microsoft, Surface devices, and OEM laptops. The newer setup is all about digital lifestyle, with all-Apple devices gathered together in one area. If there was space being made for Windows Copilot+ PCs packing Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite and Plus processors, I couldn’t find it. But nobody could miss all that fruit-logo fare.

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Daughter and Mother

Why wait for Mother’s Day (May 12, 2024) to celebrate mom? While rummaging through Google Photos, I happened upon a portrait of my sister Nan with our most beloved parent. Date and locale is unknown to me, but presumably sis could identify both.

I had some fun with the Featured Image. One of Google Photo’s mischievous editing options is something called “Color Pop”. You can see how everything around the women becomes monochrome. But not without imperfections. Look at mom’s left hand and some fingers on her right hand. Color is gone.

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I Want to, But…

The Mac faithful boast about the Apple lifestyle and devices working well together. Samsung sells a compelling ecosystem, too, that is much broader than personal computing devices—everything from TVs to washing machines, and all in-between.

As an owner of smartphone, smartwatch, and tablet from the South Korean manufacturer, I have longed to add a laptop to the mix. Last year’s Galaxy Book3 Ultra checked off most benefits on my list, but no touchscreen and a then recent purchase of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio stopped any irrational purchase. Two months ago, Samsung started selling the Galaxy Book4 Ultra, with touchscreen, and I was intrigued.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jot

This isn’t the way to clear up the beastie backlog—sharing a feline find from yesterday. My wife spotted the grey as we walked along the Cleveland Ave. overlook towards Campus. The shorthair is neither Blue nor Blue Too, both of which lived nearby and who joined the series in November 2016.

The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 64, 1/120 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 10:16 a.m. PDT. Composed as shot.

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Circle to Search THIS

I ignored today’s solar eclipse, which was nowhere near totality here in San Diego. Had we moved home to Maine as planned last year, well my interest would be—sincerely, ignore the pun—astronomical. While local and national news honed on Houlton, my hometown Caribou was in the path of totality.

That topic dispatched, let’s move on to the Featured Image. Late afternoon, I discovered a bug behind the bathroom door. Black color and white striations suggested spider; any eight-legger gets a free pass in this household; spiders aren’t pests, they’re pest control.

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Whom Do You…

The answer related to the Featured Image is easy: No one. I am a fact-oriented journalist, who trusts nobody—nor should you in this era of mass misinformation. With perhaps the exception of Matt Taibbi, there isn’t a soul among my profession whose news reporting I would accept as factual—that is without some independent verification of my own.

We live at a time when commentary and editorialization—narratives, if you prefer—supplant real reporting. Everyone is an armchair analyst with an opinion, and not enough emphasis is placed on gathering facts and assembling them into a meaningful story that unfolds some current event or reveals something legitimately in the public interest.

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Look What Happened to Odi and Friends

Perhaps we should save Samsung’s AI-driven colorization capability for older black and white photos, for which more can be forgiven. In the Gallery app on Galaxy S24 Ultra, I converted a more modern shot to color and the result, while not bad, isn’t good.

Look at the Featured Image and observe the green nose of the woman next to Odi, for example.

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A Chilling Color Conversion

Yesterday, I used Samsung Photo Assist on Galaxy S24 Ultra to colorize a blurry black-and-white portrait from the 1950s. Today, we transform a sharp shot taken using an exceptional camera: Leica Q2 Monochrom. To see the original, click through to “Ghosts Light Up the Dark“, Sept. 30, 2023.

I kind of like what the auto-AI enhancement tool has done to the Featured Image. Do you? Remember: All done on the smartphone, with little effort on my part. Neither clarity nor detail was compromised during the conversion, something I wondered about.