News

Apple’s Siri can help you diagnose Coronavirus symptoms

Using technology to fight the greatest crisis of all times

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Engineers across the globe are brainstorming and finding new ways to unleash technology against Coronavirus. Now, Apple’s Siri is helping users understand the symptoms of the fatal disease as well as advising precautions.

Apple has updated its virtual assistant in the last few days to offer more in-depth help for anyone worried they may have contracted the virus. Siri will also answer the one question we have all been most tensed about “Do I have the coronavirus?”

It’ll lead the user through a series of questions to help them determine what they need to do. Siri will ask users questions based on information available from the U.S. Public Health Service. The assistant will ask users if they are showing symptoms of the disease.

These symptoms include dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Those who show signs of the life-threatening symptoms will be recommended to contact 911 for emergency help.

If your answers indicate no signs of contracting Coronavirus, Siri will recommend you to remain indoors, avoid social gatherings, and take basic precautions like wearing a mask in public and sanitizing your hands frequently.

CEO Tim Cook has pledged to donate millions of masks to healthcare workers in the U.S. and Europe. Earlier this month, the company also donated $15 million to help affected victims and communities. For now, the feature is limited to the U.S only.

Technology is being extensively used to mitigate the effects of Coronavirus. The WHO and Indian government have launched chatbots in association with WhatsApp to counter spread of misinformation and directly educate people.

SEE ALSO: How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

Coronavirus: Where to donate

Gaming

FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

Featuring a new mission with Yuffie

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Today, PlayStation held a State of Play showcase for its upcoming games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Though the showcase was filled with new sneak peeks from all sorts of games, the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII took center stage and blew everyone away. Not content with last year’s remake, Square Enix will once again improve the original FF7 game for the PlayStation 5 and add a new DLC to go with it.

It’s a remake’s remake

Saving the best for last, 2021’s first State of Play unveiled a (literally) new look at the PlayStation 5’s version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake — titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

Most importantly, the version will add in massive technical and graphical upgrades for the remade game. Intergrade will have better lighting, for example, to take advantage of the new console’s new hardware. While the remake is already graphically stunning, the new version will make the game practically cinematic in feel.

Besides the graphics upgrade, Intergrade will also add new difficulty settings. Players can now access the classic turn-based controls even on normal mode. The version will also add in a photo mode, which will naturally flex the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities along with it.

Finally, Intergrade will launch a new story featuring the oft-overlooked character Yuffie Kisaragi. Her story will take her on her own adventure with a new male character Sonon Kusakabe. Yuffie and Sonon are on a plan to infiltrate Shinra.

For current PlayStation 4 owners of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a free upgrade will bring the update’s technical improvements to the PlayStation 5. However, Intergrade itself (meaning, the additional content) will come with a separate price. Intergrade will cost US$ 70 as a whole.

A prequel battle royale

If Intergrade isn’t enough to satiate your FF7 needs, Square Enix is also launching a mobile battle royale game set thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. More than a simple mobile shooter, Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier will feature the series’ popular tray of magic spells and summons (including Chocobos). According to the teaser video, players will participate in the Shinra Electric Company’s Soldier program, explaining the need for a battle royale.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is coming to Android and iOS sometime this year.

A FF7 compilation

Finally, Square Enix also announced a massive mobile compilation — Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis — featuring all the smaller games and stories set in the game’s timeline including Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerebrus.

Though the developer describes it as a “chapter-structured single player game,” the teaser trailer doesn’t reveal how the compilation will weave through the entire series seamlessly. The game will reportedly feature all the stories from the series, while introducing new, unexplored elements.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is coming to Android and iOS sometime in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

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Enterprise

Sophos and Qualcomm are teaming up to secure 5G PCs

AI-enabled protection against cyberattacks

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Sophos, a British cybersecurity company, has announced that it will provide its Intercept X software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon compute platforms. Called the Intercept X, it’s an endpoint protection suite that helps prevent malicious code deployment such as ransomware.

“The combination of Sophos Intercept X with Snapdragon compute platforms will provide users next-generation security through an always-on, always-connected PC environment,” the companies said in a statement.

The sophisticated software is capable of protecting advanced systems and endpoints via deep learning AI capabilities. The system can inspect and scrutinize files from hundreds of millions of samples to identify and neutralize threats that haven’t been seen before.

In case of a ransomware attack, Intercept X can detect and block foreign encryption processes to protect the device and data. It’ll also use Connected Standby technology to constantly communicate with other Snapdragon-powered devices so that unknown processes are limited and data won’t be compromised when the PC goes offline.

Since Qualcomm’s platform is designed for portable computing, Intercept X shall use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to optimize the device’s performance and ensure minimal battery loss.

Lastly, it’ll be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. According to the firm, the Snapdragon processor series — used to power light, 5G PCs — will come in useful in combating security blackspots as the software will leverage connected standby functions.

“Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities,” said Miguel Nunes, senior director Product Management, Qualcomm.

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News

Xiaomi Mi 11: Price and availability in the Philippines

The flagship for everyone?

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One of the first smartphones to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset officially arrives in the Philippines as Xiaomi launches the Mi 11.

Teased and leaked almost incessantly, the device was first launched in China in late December and released globally early in February 2021.

What are you getting with the Mi 11? First off, it has a sizable 6.81-inch AMOLED screen, outputting images in 1440p and 120Hz. The screen is reportedly a new 10-bit panel with up to 8192 brightness levels and 480Hz touch input rate.

Much like most flagships released so far, this phone has support for 5G — a feature that will likely be norm this year and beyond.

It comes with a triple rear camera setup: 108-megapixel main + 13-megapixel ultra-wide + 5-megapixel telemacro. Xiaomi put a bunch of AI video features for you to play with like Parallel World, Freeze Frame video, and more. The front panel has a top-left punch-hole camera, Xiaomi did not explicitly showcase the front-facing selfie camera’s specs.

It will come with MiUI12 out of the box —  possibly the least bloatware-infested version of the said Android skin.

Xiaomi isn’t including an 18W charger. Instead, it comes with a 55W charger which can juice up the 4,600mAh battery from 0 to 100 percent in 45 minutes.

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Mi 11 comes in 8GB+256GB variant with enhanced LPDDR5 3200MHz RAM + UFS 3.1 storage. It will retail at PhP 36,990 starting from March 13, and will be available at Xiaomi official stores on Lazada and Shopee, and offline at Authorized Mi Stores and other official retailers in Philippines.

Mi 11 will come in two color options: Midnight Gray and Horizon Blue. Mi Fans who order during the pre-order period starting March 5 will get additional Xiaomi freebies.

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