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U.S. bans Samsung Galaxy Note7 from all flights

U.S. bans Samsung Galaxy Note7 from all flights

Samsung's Galaxy Note7.

Credit: Agam Shah

Passengers who evade the ban face criminal prosecution

The U.S. government has issued an emergency ban of Samsung's exploding Galaxy Note7 devices from all airline flights, urging users to take advantage of the company's exchange and refund offers.

Owners of Galaxy Note7s may not transport the devices on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked luggage, Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration said. The smartphones also cannot be shipped as air cargo under the ban, which went into effect Saturday at noon Eastern Time.

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Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are "increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident," the agencies said in a press release. Anyone violating the ban could face criminal prosecution and fines.

Samsung said it is cooperating with the ban. The company is working with airlines to communicate the ban, a spokeswoman said by email. "Any Galaxy Note7 owner should visit their carrier and retail store to participate in the U.S. Note7 refund and exchange program now," she added by email. "We realize this is an inconvenience, but your safety has to remain our top priority."

Samsung started selling the phone in the United States in August, and users almost immediately reported exploding devices. In early September, the FAA advised owners not to turn on or charge their devices on flights.

Samsung has twice recalled the devices, but some replaced phones have caught fire as well. The company stopped selling the phone earlier last week. Some owners have hung onto their devices, however.

"The fire hazard with the original Note7 and with the replacement Note7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall," Elliot Kaye, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a press release. "I would like to remind consumers once again to take advantage of the remedies offered, including a full refund. It’s the right thing to do and the safest thing to do."

Verizon Pixel phones will get Android updates at the same time as those sold by Google

google pixel xl
Credit: Derek Walter

Verizon also reaffirmed you'll be able to uninstall the three Verizon apps that will come preloaded on the Pixel sold in the company's stores

Derek Walter

Contrary to what we first thought, it's looking like you needn't worry about buying a Google Pixel smartphone directly from Verizon.

The carrier says its deal with Google means that Android updates will function just like on iOS: when Google pushes them out, they'll be ready to download. Verizon issued a statement to Ars Technica clarifying the matter after original reportingindicated there'd be a delay in updates in order to verify and test updates on Verizon's network.

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First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google. In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google.

Google chimed in as well, telling Ars there won't be any delay. "OS updates and monthly security patches will be updated on all Pixel devices (Verizon and non-Verizon versions) simultaneously," said a company spokesperson.

Verizon also reaffirmed you'll be able to fully uninstall (not just disable) the three pre-loaded Verizon apps. It's a big leap forward for a carrier-branded phone. Such devices are usually loaded down with bloatware and lag far behind Google's previous Nexus phones when it comes to Android updates.

Finally, the Verizon version will also be carrier-unlocked. This will let you take it to another carrier should you decide to switch networks later on. It technically has a locked bootloader, but that is only really of concern to hackers who like to root their phones (a small but vocal population).

This story, "Verizon Pixel phones will get Android updates at the same time as those sold by Google" was originally published by Greenbot.

4 Google data sets to kickstart machine learning

4 Google data sets to kickstart machine learning
Credit: flickr/bluesbby

Want to get started in machine learning? Google has you covered with high-quality data sets, both big and small

InfoWorld | Oct 17, 2016

You can always count on Google to have data -- tons of it, generated by the users who interact with and upload content to its services.

Google uses that data to build intelligence for the company, but it's offered data for others to experiment with as well. These three data sets are abundantly large, have plenty of practical applications, and are guaranteed to be well-assembled, thanks to Google's imprimatur.

The InfoWorld review roundup: AWS, Microsoft, Databricks, Google, HPE, and IBM machine learning in the cloud. | Get a digest of the day's top tech stories in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ]

The Open Images Dataset

The Open Images Dataset, unveiled at the end of last month, is a collection of 9 million URLs to images "that have been annotated with labels spanning over 6,000 categories," according to Google. All have a Creative Common Attributation license, so they can be reused readily, and the label assignments to the images have been verified by human eyes to ensure validity. Plus, plans are underway to "improve the quality of the annotations in Open Images the coming months."

YouTube-8M Dataset

Named for the fact that it's been compiled from 8 million YouTube videos, theYouTube-8M Dataset aims for diversity and quality. Each video has had at least 1,000 views, runs at least two minutes, and has been preclassified via YouTube's built-in categories. You can explore the data set online or download it for offline use, but note that the data set is only available in the TensorFlow Record file format. You'll need to manually massage the data if you want to experiment with it in another form.