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March, 2019

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Alexa Scientists Claim Audio Watermarking Technique Nearing 100% Accuracy

georgecarlyle76 brought our attention to Amazon’s claim of an algorithm that “solves the ‘second-screen problem’ in real-time.”
“Ever hear (no pun intended) of audio watermarking?” asks VentureBeat.
It’s the process of adding distinctive sound patterns identifiable to PCs, and it’s a major way web video hosts, set-top boxes, and media players spot copyrighted tracks. But watermarking schemes aren’t particularly reliable in noisy environments, like when the audio in question is broadcasted over a loudspeaker. The resulting noise and interference — referred to in academic literature as the “second-screen” problem — severely distorts watermarks, and introduces delays that detectors often struggle to reconcile. Researchers at Amazon, though, believe they’ve pioneered a novel workaround, which they describe in a paper newly published on the preprint server Arxiv (“Audio Watermarking over the Air with Modulated Self-Correlation”) and an accompanying blog post. The team claims their method — which they’ll detail at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in May — can detect watermarks added to about two seconds of audio with “almost perfect accuracy,” even when the distance between the speaker and detector is greater than 20 feet…
So how’s it work? As Tai explains, the model employs a “spread-spectrum” technique in which watermark energy is spread across time and frequency, rendering it inaudible to human ears while robustifying it against postprocessing (like compression). And it generates watermarks from noise blocks of a fixed duration, each of which introduces its own distinct pattern to selected frequency components in the host audio signal. Conventional detectors would compare the resulting sequence of noise blocks — the decoding key — with a reference copy. But Tai and colleagues take a different approach: Their algorithm embeds the noise pattern in the audio signal multiple times and compares it to itself. Because said signal passes through the same acoustic environment, Tai explains, instances of the pattern are distorted in similar ways, enabling them to be compared directly. “The detector takes advantage of the distortion due to the acoustic channel, rather than combatting it,” he added.

“Audio content that Alexa plays — music, audiobooks, podcasts, radio broadcasts, movies — could be watermarked on the fly,” explains Amazon’s blog post. It argues that this could be useful “so that Alexa-enabled devices can better gauge room reverberation and filter out echoes.”

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Source:: Slashdot

Silca Viaggio travel pump review: High end smartphone-connected bike floor pump keeps commuters safe

Proper tire inflation is important for safe cycling and with the Silca Viaggio pump you can make sure you are accurate to within one percent thanks to Bluetooth technology and your smartphone. …read more

Source:: ZDNet

The death of Apple’s AirPower’ may be the best thing for you and your iPhone – CNET

Commentary: I was crushed when Apple cancelled its smart wireless charging pad. Now it’s time to move on. …read more

Source:: CNet

Squeezebox Comes To The ESP

Streaming music may now come from somewhere in the cloud to an app on your phone and be sent to the client built in to almost every entertainment device you own, but there was a time when the bleeding edge lay in dedicated streaming device that connected to your existing set-up. One of the players in this market was Logitech with their Squeezebox line of products, and while the original hardware may have been discontinued it remains very much alive among its dedicated userbase due to the free nature of the Logitech Media Server software and implementations of the slimproto streaming protocol in players. Now you can create a network player on about as cheap hardware as it is possible to find, because [Bgiraut] has produced a client for the ESP32 and ESP8266.

The software can be found on GitHub, and comes with the warning that it’s an early proof-of-concept rather than a polished release. It has two options for playback that both require a little bit of extra hardware, an I2S DAC for uncompressed streams or a VS1053 codec module for compressed ones, but neither of those need be expensive.

You can find Logitech Media Server from its download page, and give this device a try. Meanwhile we’ve covered many Squeezebox implementations, including ones on the Raspberry Pi, and the PogoPlug.

Thanks [joyofdivisions] for the tip.

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Source:: Hackaday

Revisiting the Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Create

Long-time Slashdot reader occidental shares a link to the audio of a new interview with the authors of the 2017 article “The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create” Authors Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson show that four soft skills are becoming much more valuable as human-machine collaboration advances. These skills include complex reasoning, creativity, social and emotional intelligence, and sensory perception.

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Source:: Slashdot

Gmail gave Google the confidence to take over the world – CNET

Fifteen years ago, the new email service showed everyone Google was more than just a search company. …read more

Source:: CNet

Coming to an Apple store near you: the harder sell

Now that Apple has fully and openly declared how important services are for its business, can you expect those services to be pushed at your Apple store? …read more

Source:: ZDNet

Worst geek movies of the decade – CNET

These are the lowest-rated geek films since 2010. …read more

Source:: CNet

Best seat in the house: Exploring the incredible Walt Disney Concert Hall – CNET

One of the most beautiful modern concert halls in the world, the home of the LA Philharmonic, is a sight to behold. Take the full tour. …read more

Source:: CNet

Pixel 3 vs. OnePlus 6T: Which Android should you buy? – CNET

It’s a battle between an exceptional camera and a great budget price. …read more

Source:: CNet

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