Google Drive now lets you pick which subfolders to sync on your PC or Mac

Google Drive's new sync preferences.

Google today announced that its Google Drive application for Mac and Windows in the next few days will let users start to make more granular choices about which folders should be kept in sync locally.

“Drive can store terabytes (upon terabytes), but there’s a good chance your computer’s hard drive will run out of space if you sync everything. Fortunately, you can now select which folders or subfolders you want to sync — and deselect the ones you don’t,” Google Drive product manager Aakash Sahney wrote in a blog post. “When you deselect a folder, it’ll be removed from your computer but still kept safely in Drive. And Drive shows you the size of each folder, so you’ll know how much space you’re freeing up.”

Deleting a file off of your PC could mean that people who you’ve shared the file with could lose access. So Google has created a new warning to make sure you know when that will happen.

Google Drive had more than 240 million users as of September 2014. Competitors include Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Today’s change is a bit reminiscent of how the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app works — you can specifically select which folders on a given mobile device get backed up in the service, and when you’re getting close to filling up the storage on the device, the app tells you that and can delete those files locally.

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Google Drive now lets you pick which subfolders to sync on your PC or Mac

Google Drive's new sync preferences.

Google today announced that its Google Drive application for Mac and Windows in the next few days will let users start to make more granular choices about which folders should be kept in sync locally.

“Drive can store terabytes (upon terabytes), but there’s a good chance your computer’s hard drive will run out of space if you sync everything. Fortunately, you can now select which folders or subfolders you want to sync — and deselect the ones you don’t,” Google Drive product manager Aakash Sahney wrote in a blog post. “When you deselect a folder, it’ll be removed from your computer but still kept safely in Drive. And Drive shows you the size of each folder, so you’ll know how much space you’re freeing up.”

Deleting a file off of your PC could mean that people who you’ve shared the file with could lose access. So Google has created a new warning to make sure you know when that will happen.

Google Drive had more than 240 million users as of September 2014. Competitors include Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Today’s change is a bit reminiscent of how the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app works — you can specifically select which folders on a given mobile device get backed up in the service, and when you’re getting close to filling up the storage on the device, the app tells you that and can delete those files locally.

More information:

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Google Drive now lets you pick which subfolders to sync on your PC or Mac

Google Drive's new sync preferences.

Google today announced that its Google Drive application for Mac and Windows in the next few days will let users start to make more granular choices about which folders should be kept in sync locally.

“Drive can store terabytes (upon terabytes), but there’s a good chance your computer’s hard drive will run out of space if you sync everything. Fortunately, you can now select which folders or subfolders you want to sync — and deselect the ones you don’t,” Google Drive product manager Aakash Sahney wrote in a blog post. “When you deselect a folder, it’ll be removed from your computer but still kept safely in Drive. And Drive shows you the size of each folder, so you’ll know how much space you’re freeing up.”

Deleting a file off of your PC could mean that people who you’ve shared the file with could lose access. So Google has created a new warning to make sure you know when that will happen.

Google Drive had more than 240 million users as of September 2014. Competitors include Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Today’s change is a bit reminiscent of how the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app works — you can specifically select which folders on a given mobile device get backed up in the service, and when you’re getting close to filling up the storage on the device, the app tells you that and can delete those files locally.

More information:

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Google Drive now lets you pick which subfolders to sync on your PC or Mac

Google Drive's new sync preferences.

Google today announced that its Google Drive application for Mac and Windows in the next few days will let users start to make more granular choices about which folders should be kept in sync locally.

“Drive can store terabytes (upon terabytes), but there’s a good chance your computer’s hard drive will run out of space if you sync everything. Fortunately, you can now select which folders or subfolders you want to sync — and deselect the ones you don’t,” Google Drive product manager Aakash Sahney wrote in a blog post. “When you deselect a folder, it’ll be removed from your computer but still kept safely in Drive. And Drive shows you the size of each folder, so you’ll know how much space you’re freeing up.”

Deleting a file off of your PC could mean that people who you’ve shared the file with could lose access. So Google has created a new warning to make sure you know when that will happen.

Google Drive had more than 240 million users as of September 2014. Competitors include Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Today’s change is a bit reminiscent of how the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app works — you can specifically select which folders on a given mobile device get backed up in the service, and when you’re getting close to filling up the storage on the device, the app tells you that and can delete those files locally.

More information:

Get more stories like this on TwitterFacebook









Google Drive now lets you pick which subfolders to sync on your PC or Mac

Google Drive's new sync preferences.

Google today announced that its Google Drive application for Mac and Windows in the next few days will let users start to make more granular choices about which folders should be kept in sync locally.

“Drive can store terabytes (upon terabytes), but there’s a good chance your computer’s hard drive will run out of space if you sync everything. Fortunately, you can now select which folders or subfolders you want to sync — and deselect the ones you don’t,” Google Drive product manager Aakash Sahney wrote in a blog post. “When you deselect a folder, it’ll be removed from your computer but still kept safely in Drive. And Drive shows you the size of each folder, so you’ll know how much space you’re freeing up.”

Deleting a file off of your PC could mean that people who you’ve shared the file with could lose access. So Google has created a new warning to make sure you know when that will happen.

Google Drive had more than 240 million users as of September 2014. Competitors include Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Today’s change is a bit reminiscent of how the Google Photos cloud-based photo storage app works — you can specifically select which folders on a given mobile device get backed up in the service, and when you’re getting close to filling up the storage on the device, the app tells you that and can delete those files locally.

More information:

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I bought an Apple keyboard from 1990 just for my iPad Pro

Apple Extended Keyboard II and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a very nice tablet. With features like Split View and the optional $99 Apple Pencil, you can actually get a lot done with it. But if you like to stretch out when you type, you might not be a big fan of the optional $149 Smart Keyboard that Apple designed to pair with the tablet. It’s a little cramped.

Fortunately, you can use the tablet with other keyboards. For instance, Logitech’s K380 Bluetooth keyboard works fine. But if you want to have a truly impressive typing experience, you really ought to consider a real keyboard. Something like, say, the Apple Extended Keyboard II. From 1990.

I’m typing on it now. It’s amazing. The loud “pop-pip” sound of the keys. The very impressive travel of the keys — around 2.5 mm. The satisfying feeling of the keys being actuated, which has to do with the switch underneath each and every key. The full numerical keypad on the right. The durability. The full-sized tab, return, delete, shift, and command keys. A backspace key! An escape key! Page up and down keys! A caps lock key that really locks! On and on and on. This is no makeshift keyboard. This is the genuine article.

Sure, there are drawbacks. Unlike the Smart Keyboard, this mechanical keyboard doesn’t prop up the iPad Pro at a comfortable angle, and it doesn’t protect the tablet’s screen from scratches. And it’s heavier. And it doesn’t plug right in to the iPad. But I don’t care about those things. For a superior typing experience, I’m willing to make these sacrifices. The style points you’ll get for rocking this setup will make it worth the hassle.

The difference between these two keyboards is sort of like the difference between listening to an album on Spotify and playing it on vinyl. There’s definitely a nostalgic element. And some people will really like that.

If this setup sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to replicate it, here’s what you’ll need to know.

Keyboard matters

You’ll probably want a mechanical keyboard built specifically for Apple devices — you know, one that has command and option keys instead of a Start key. Apple no longer sells these in stores — after all, they came out more than 20 years ago — but you can still find them.

There are third-party Mac keyboards to be had. But the gold standard is the Apple Extended Keyboard (M0115), which debuted in 1987 in conjunction with the Macintosh II and Macintosh SE, and its replacement, the Apple Extended Keyboard II (M0312 and M3501), which came along in 1990 alongside the Macintosh LC, Classic, and IIsi. There aren’t huge differences between the two, but the newer one lets you adjust the height of the keyboard.

I paid $75 for my Apple Extended Keyboard II (M3501) on eBay. But right now someone is selling that same keyboard and an Apple Desktop Bus Mouse together on eBay for $49.99.

The keys on these mechanical keyboards are considerably higher up than the ones on Apple’s modern-day Smart Keyboard. To make sure I have good posture, I bought myself a nice and tall wrist rest from Glorious PC Gaming Race ($19.99). This, of course, is an optional accessory.

Adapters

To hook up an old Apple mechanical keyboard to a gadget like the iPad Pro, you’re going to need not one but two adapters.

The first one will step down from the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) protocol to standard USB. The most widely known adapter of this type is the Griffin iMate, which has an LED that flashes every time you strike a key on the keyboard. Griffin has discontinued the product, but you can still find a few online (mine cost $69 on Amazon), and other USB-ADB adapters are available, too.

The second adapter you’ll need will take you from USB to Lightning. You can buy one of these directly from Apple for $29.

Interoperability

While this kit works very well as an alternative to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard, in fact you can use it with other Apple devices that have a Lightning port, like an iPhone, or even those with a regular USB port, like a MacBook Air.

You can even use this type of keyboard with Windows. But now I’m really getting carried away.

The important thing is that if you don’t love the Smart Keyboard that goes with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, that’s okay. You can go retro instead.

All I want to do is type.

Above: All I want to do is type.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat
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Microsoft researchers are teaching AI to write stories about groups of photos

The bottom row shows an example of stories for images in sequence.

Microsoft researchers have come up with a novel way to have computers tell stories about what’s happening in multiple photographs using artificial intelligence (AI). Today the company is publishing an academic paper describing the technology, which could one day power services that are especially useful to the visually impaired, as well as the photos, captions, and “stories” developed in the research.

The work is significant because it goes well beyond just identifying objects in images, or even videos, in order to generate captions.

“It’s still hard to evaluate, but minimally you want to get the most important things in a dimension. With storytelling, a lot more that comes in is about what the background is and what sort of stuff might have been happening around the event,” Microsoft researcher Margaret Mitchell told VentureBeat in an interview.

To advance the state of the art in this area, Microsoft relied on people to write captions for individual images, as well as captions for images in a specific order. Engineers then used the information to teach machines how to come up with entire stories to tell about those sequences of images.

The method involves deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence that Microsoft has previously used for tasks like speech recognition and machine translation. Facebook, Google, and other companies are actively engaged in this research area as well.

In this case, a recurrent neural network was employed to train on the images and words. Mitchell and her colleagues in the research borrowed an approach from the domain of machine translation called sequence-to-sequence learning. “Here, what we’re doing is we’re saying that every image is fed through a convolutional network to provide one part of the sequence, and you can go over the sequence to create a general encoding of a sequence of images, and then from that general encoding, we can decode out to the story,” said Mitchell, the principal investigator in the paper.

She and her collaborators — some of whom work at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab — sought to improve what was originally being produced with the system by putting certain rules in place. For instance, “the same content word cannot be produced more than once within a given story,” as they write in the paper.

An example of stories for images in sequence at bottom.

Above: An example of stories for images in sequence at bottom.

Image Credit: Screenshot

The final result is language that’s less literal but more abstract and fascinating. And over time, this sort of language could have great potential. People who ordinarily aren’t able to see photos can get an understanding of what they convey together as a set.

This would be a good next step to follow the recent wave of research into identifying objects and people in images and videos for the blind. In fact, that’s an area Mitchell has recently been exploring in association with blind Microsoft software developer Saqib Shaikh.

But even people who are learning a second language could be helped a lot by visual storytelling, and it could also inspire kids to think more creatively about what they’re seeing in the world, too, Mitchell said.

People are increasingly capturing multi-image files with the cameras on their phones, whether they be animated GIF-like Live Photos from iPhones or even entire videos. So it will become more important for machines to understand what’s going on across those larger sets of frames, and not just recognize what’s appearing in each individual frame. Mitchell sees the research going in that direction — they’re not there yet.

“It’s just some simple heuristics, really, but it shows the wealth of information we’re able to pull out from these models,” Mitchell said. “It’s really positive and quite hopeful moving forward.”

See the academic paper for more detail. Microsoft also has an official blog post about the research.

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Apple releases first Safari Technology Preview update with Web Inspector, ES6 enhancements

Safari Technology Preview release 9.1.1.

Apple today released the first update to its Safari Technology Preview version of Safari designed for software developers.

This second release (version 9.1.1) comes with several changes that have to do with JavaScript, CSS, accessibility, the browser’s Web Inspector feature, and most generally, the latest from the WebKit open source browser engine.

With respect to JavaScript in particular, the browser now ships with enhanced support for ECMAScript 6, as that has previously come to other modern browsers, like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. You can find a full list of changes in the Release Notes.

The new version is becoming available two weeks after the initial release.

You can get the new version directly from Apple’s website, or alternatively you can grab it from the Updates section in the Mac App Store (Mac only).

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Facebook’s latest AI experiments: generating captions and recognizing faces in videos

Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook's director of applied machine learning, talks about Facebook's latest AI research efforts around video at the company's F8 developer conference in San Francisco on April 13, 2016.

At its F8 developer conference in San Francisco today, Facebook demonstrated its latest artificial intelligence (AI) research efforts. Not surprisingly, they are about video.

Video implies a whole bunch of individual images put together. So it logically flows from Facebook’s progress around object recognition and image caption generation using AI.

“You can imagine us building image search on steroids,” Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook’s director of Applied Machine Learning, said onstage today. Think of what Google Photos lets you do, but think of what Facebook’s implementation would look like — being able to search through all the pictures your Facebook friends have shared. But video is where scalability makes things more challenging and more interesting.

Quiñonero Candela showed off two specific efforts:

1) Generating captions for the things people say in videos.

2) Identifying the people who appear in videos so that they can be tagged, and even associated with specific times in the video, so that users can get right to the moment when a person first appears in the frame.

The company has been quite busy with artificial intelligence research in the two and a half years since tapping Yann LeCun to head up the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) division.

Facebook is one of several Web companies engaged in the advancement of deep learning, a type of AI that generally involves training artificial neural networks on large sets of data and then getting them to make inferences about new data.

Facebook AI researchers have published many academic papers documenting their discoveries, and the company has open-sourced AI software and even shared designs for its specialty AI hardware. Earlier this year Facebook said it would send AI-oriented servers to academic labs around the world.

In the specific domain of video, Snapchat, among others, is already engaged in AI research. But Facebook’s AI research operation is more mature than Snapchat’s, and that company’s user base is not as large as Facebook’s.

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Microsoft adds Universal Windows Platform support to Facebook’s React Native

Microsoft is bringing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) support to React Native.

Microsoft and Facebook are announcing today that the Facebook-led React Native open source software for native mobile app development is getting Universal Windows Platform (UWP) support.

The new UWP development software is available now. But Microsoft will be sharing the code as part of the React Native project, said Christine Abernathy, developer advocate for Facebook’s open source team, at Facebook’s F8 developer conference.

“The new UWP support extends the reach of these native apps to a new market of 270 million active Windows 10 devices, and the opportunity to reach beyond mobile devices, to PCs, and even the Xbox One and HoloLens,” Microsoft Developer Experience software engineer Eric Rozell wrote in a blog post. “For Windows app developers, it also means an opportunity to embed React Native components into their existing UWP apps and to leverage the developer tools and programming paradigms that React Native offers.”

Also today Facebook said that Samsung would bring support for its Tizen operating system to React Native. And Facebook itself is open-sourcing a Facebook software development kit (SDK) for React Native, with iOS and Android support on board.

Like other Web companies, Facebook regularly contributes software to the open source community. This isn’t just out of goodwill; it can also get individual developers and development teams actively using and improving the technology and even help the company find new talent to hire. Now React Native will become essentially a more powerful development platform, even as Microsoft is doing a lot with cross-platform development — with the recent acquisition of mobile app development company Xamarin.

In January, Facebook open-sourced Transform, a technology for reducing the file size of videos. At F8 last year Facebook open-sourced the Nuclide integrated development environment for React and React Native. Also last year Facebook open-sourced tools for a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning.

As for React Native, it all started with the open source release of React in 2013, with React Native for iOS and Android becoming available in 2015.

Facebook has an elaborate blog post on the state of React Native here.

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