YouTube Android app to get speed controls for videos

first_imgGoogle is working on to add speed controls for videos played on YouTube Android app. While the YouTube’s desktop site already had this feature, the YouTube app users on Android will also be able to play videos faster or slower soon.Similar to the desktop site, user can slow down the played video to 0.25x, 0.5x, or 0.75x its normal speed, or faster the video to 1.25x, 1.5x, or 2x. “Changing the speed won’t affect the labelled duration of the video you’re watching, but it will decrease or increase the playback at the rate you’ve selected,” says a 9To5Google report.To access the feature, user has to go the three dots given at the upper right corner of the app. It will show the menu to change the playback speed along with other options like viewing the app in Cardboard, playback quality and access to YouTube’s Help and Feedback.Google recently said that it would stricter measures to check on the terrorist content and videos that are uploaded on YouTube. The company has even added AI ability to YouTube which reportedly flags the extremist content 75 per cent more than a human can. ” We are also hiring more people to help review and enforce our policies, and will continue to invest in technical resources to keep pace with these issues and address them responsibly,” reads the YouTube Blog.  Also Read: Google takes on Facebook with YouTube live streaming service for mobilesYouTube  earlier this year also rolled out live streaming from mobile devices for its more than 10,000 subscribers. It also launched the Super Chat that allows users to highlight their message by paying a fee. “Super Chat is like paying for that front-row seat in the digital age,” says YouTube.advertisementLive video is becoming an important feature on social media. Not only for sports or shows, people also use Live videos to share their real time experiences while travelling or on holiday. Facebook also have a Live while Twitter started the live feature only last year. YouTube’s Live video aims to take on Facebook majorly which is currently ruling the segment.last_img read more

MacDonald says Soulpepper rejected her concerns over actress auction

first_imgTORONTO – Acclaimed writer Ann-Marie MacDonald says leaders at the Soulpepper Theatre Company “bullied and harassed” her after she raised concerns about a fundraiser that auctioned dinners with a cast of actresses.Without their knowledge, the women who starred in “Top Girls,” were “sold” to the highest bidder by Soulpepper organizers under the guise they were willing participants, MacDonald alleged in an interview Friday.It led the author of 1996 novel “Fall on Your Knees” and former host of CBC’s “Doc Zone” series to raise the issue first with the theatre company and then with her union.“I was outraged, personally, and on behalf of my colleagues,” she said while recounting the incident, which happened nearly a decade ago.“To my mind, not only was it an egregious infraction of (union) rules, it was unbelievably disrespectful, arrogant and presumptuous.”MacDonald said she decided to come forward after hearing about the sexual assault and harassment allegations levelled against Soulpepper founding artistic director Albert Schultz earlier this week. She was also motivated by Soulpepper’s recent decision to sever ties with longtime guest artist Laszlo Marton after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him in late 2015.MacDonald was among the women starring in Soulpepper’s 2008 version of “Top Girls,” a British play about a career woman who celebrates her work promotion with a dinner party of prominent women from throughout history.The all-female cast included an array of other Canadian actresses, including Megan Follows, Diana Donnelly and Robyn Stevan, a founding member of Soulpepper.MacDonald was the production’s equity deputy, responsible for raising workplace issues that arose among union members.She said the cast had “a strong wish” to skip the dinners, although the actresses were concerned about repercussions.Soulpepper leaders also discouraged her from contacting board members and supporters who purchased the dinners, she said, adding that she was “laughed off” by a board member when she raised her concerns.Soulpepper did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.MacDonald also filed a formal complaint with her union, the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.The union’s executive director, Arden Ryshpan, said she told her that perceived volunteering, without getting actual permission from the participant, is outside the terms of an artist’s contract.Soulpepper ultimately issued an apology to the cast, MacDonald said, although the dinners went ahead as planned without her attendance.Schultz resigned Thursday in the wake of four lawsuits filed by actresses against him and Soulpepper alleging sexually harassment.None of their allegations have been tested in court and neither Schultz nor Soulpepper have filed a statement of defence. Schultz said he will “vigorously defend” himself against the allegations.MacDonald said her pursuit of answers wasn’t tied to the most recent developments.“I had no idea these things were happening in terms of the sexual assault claims and lawsuits,” MacDonald said.“I was simply doggedly, in my own small way, trying to pursue something that I thought, ‘There’s a loose end there.’”MacDonald said she hopes adding her story to the voices of other women who have worked at Soulpepper will help in the long run.“If we are really talking about a healthier and new era, I think I have something to contribute about the importance of making links among different types of abuse,” she said.“If I can be brushed off, stonewalled, laughed at by a board member when I persisted in reporting what I knew I had to report … Just imagine how a 24 (or) 25-year-old woman feels fresh out theatre school.”—Follow @dfriend on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said a union spokeswoman spoke to MacDonald. In fact, it was Arden Ryshpan, the executive director of the union.last_img read more

House votes to ensure speedier care for US vets

first_imgWASHINGTON — United in response to a national uproar, Congress is suddenly moving quickly to address military veterans’ long waits for care at VA hospitals.The House unanimously approved legislation Tuesday to make it easier for patients enduring lengthy delays for initial visits to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead. The Senate was poised to vote on a similar bill within 48 hours, said Democratic leader Harry Reid.The legislation comes close on the heels of a Veterans Affairs Department audit showing that more than 57,000 new applicants for care have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments and an additional 64,000 newly enrolled vets who requested appointments never got them.“I cannot state it strongly enough — this is a national disgrace,” said Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chief author of the House legislation. Miller made his comments minutes before the House completed the first of two votes on its measure. Lawmakers approved the bill 421-0, then re-voted a little over an hour later, making sure no one was left out on the politically important vote, with five more in favor and no one against. Miller sheepishly admitted the reason for the second vote: He was in his office and missed the first tally.last_img read more

Bankers Drop Lawsuit Against Annie Leibovitz

first_imgRenowned photographer Annie Leibovitz has come to an agreement with New York City-based bankers Art Capital Group that extends the previous September 8 deadline for the $24 million loan the group provided Leibovitz late last year.As part of the agreement, Leibovitz—whose iconic work has appeared in magazines like Vogue and Rolling Stone over her four decade-long career—purchased from Art Capital the rights to act as the exclusive agent in any sale of her fine art, intellectual property and real estate assets. Art Capital filed a lawsuit against Leibovitz [pictured] in July claiming the photographer refused to cooperate in the sale of her assets in order to repay the loan.As a result, Art Capital has agreed to withdraw its lawsuit. When contacted by FOLIO:, an Art Capital spokesperson declined to say how much Leibovitz paid to reacquire the rights from the group to sell her assets. He also declined to say what the new deadline is for Leibovitz’s loan. In a statement, Leibovitz said: “In these challenging times I am appreciative to Art Capital for all they have done to resolve this matter and for their cooperation and continued support.” According to Art Capital, Leibovitz approached the firm in June 2008 seeking a loan to help restructure debts she acquired from mortgage obligations, tax liens and unpaid bills to service providers and other creditors. Initially, Art Capital supplied Leibovitz with a $22 million secured credit facility but, after “several months,” Leibovitz requested that the group increase the facility to $24 million and lower the interest rate. Art Capital agreed but, according to legal documents, entered into a sales agreement with Leibovitz that authorized the group to act as her “irrevocable exclusive agent for any sale of fine art and intellectual property owned and created by Ms. Leibovitz.”last_img read more

Alphabets Loon recruits highpowered mobile veterans to serve on board

first_imgLoon’s parent company, Alphabet, is planning a commercial launch of the service for later this year.  Alphabet Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has recruited some well-known and experienced industry veterans to help get its wireless broadband project Loon to market.On Tuesday Alphabet announced a new advisory board and said one of the founding members will be Craig McCaw, who started McCaw Cellular. McCaw Cellular was one of the first cellular companies in the US and was sold to AT&T in 1994. Also serving on the new board: Marni Walden, a former marketing executive with Verizon, and Ian Small, who worked as chief data officer for Telefonica and is now CEO of Evernote. Project Loon, started in 2016, uses solar-powered balloons as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from high above. In July, Alphabet spun out Loon from X, the division of Alphabet responsible for its most experimental projects, including self-driving cars, internet-connected contact lenses and delivery drones.The company said previously it was planning a commercial launch of Loon later this year. Thus far, the balloons have been used in testing, and deployed for emergency relief, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In preparation for the commercial launch, Loon CEO Alistair Westgarth said in a blog post, the company intends to partner with mobile network operators throughout the world. The idea is that Loon can help these wireless carriers expand internet coverage and attract new customers. To do that, he said, Loon needs to add “some serious expertise to our ranks with a new advisory board that brings together top wireless innovators with decades of experience in the industry.”Loon has already struck at least one partnership deal, with Telekom Kenya, to help the African carrier extend its coverage to hard to reach parts of the country where reliable communications connections are absent. CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter. Share your voice 0 Google Alphabet Inc. Tags Post a comment Mobilelast_img read more

India vs South Africa World Cup 2019 Chahal strikes twice after du

first_imgSouth Africa found themselves in a precarios situation after Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal picked up two wickets to remove the two set batsmen Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen and Kuldeep Yadav got the scalp of JP Duminy to reduce South Africa to 89/5. The Proteas decided to bat first and received two early blows from Jasprit Bumrah who removed both the South African openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. Du Plessis and van der Dussen started to rebuild their team’s innings and seemed without much trouble against Indian bowlers once Bumrah was taken out of the attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar didn’t trouble the batsmen much and Hardik Pandya, used as the third seamer, got the occassional delivery to bounce uncomfortably but otherwise proved innocuous. The two leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were brought into the attack by Virat Kohli. After initally not picking Chahal’s googlies, the two batsmen settled down to bat comfortably and started to get the scoreboard ticking. But then an attempted reverse sweep from van der Dussen proved fatal to him as he went far too wide of the off-stump, allowing Chahal to push the delivery towards the leg side. It missed the bat and spun back to hit the middle and leg stump. Soon, du Plessis’s vigil also ended with a straight going delivery that somehow sneaked through between bat and pad to rattle his stumps. JP Duminy came out and seemed to want to bat in a positive manner. But he too succumed to a non-spinning delivery that hit him on the pad while he was on the back foot. With half their wickets gone for 90 runs, South Africa are staring down the barrel.last_img read more

Job Fair Aims To Help Houston Veterans

first_img Share Brien Straw | Houston Public MediaStatistics show that in Houston Veterans tend to have higher earnings and lower unemployment rates than the general populationLike most of the nation, Greater Houston will honor those who served in the military on Veterans Day on Saturday. To show its support, the Texas Workforce Commission hosted its annual “Red, White and You” job fair at Minute Maid Park.The fair is for veterans and their families to connect with local businesses. Thursday’s fair marked the TWC’s sixth statewide fair. What happened at the home of the World Champion Astros was duplicated at 29 locations throughout the state. Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs said the event is very important to state leaders.Brien Straw | Houston Public MediaStatistics show that in Houston Veterans tend to have higher earnings and lower unemployment rates than the general population“This is an opportunity to make those connections between employers and veterans and give back to those who have served our country,” she said.Hughs said 150 employers showed up offering jobs, and she expects more than 4,000 veterans to attend.Statistics show that in Houston Veterans tend to have higher earnings and lower unemployment rates than the general population. That’s not the case nationwide. Michelle Ramirez from Workforce Solutions said the city’s strong economy and a good match between the skills that veterans offer, and the “living wage” jobs available here, is the reason.But David Britton, is like many of the more than 260,000 vets in Greater Houston. He finds it hard to transition from the structured environment of the military.“If I could go back I would definitely go back and redo it. Cause the civilian world is pretty difficult,” said Britton, who has been looking for work for six months.Brien Straw | Houston Public MediaVets visit with Exxon-Mobile reps at Red, White & You job fair.Regardless of which side of the table they were on, the goal for those at the fair seems the same, job placement.Brandi Lee is the wife of a veteran. Neither she or her husband couldn’t find work in California. She left Southern California for Houston three weeks ago and is hopeful a job awaits.“At this point I’ll take whatever allows me to support our family,” she said.And for Amanda Shirey from the city of Galveston who has more than 20 jobs to fill, her goal is simple…“To make any many hires as we can,” Amanda said.Since the program started the Texas Workforce Commission reports that the “Red, White and You” job fair has connected more than 84,000 veterans with over 5,800 employers.last_img read more

Texas Denied Thousands Of Students Special Ed Services Does The Policy Go

first_img Share Sandy Kress, one of the key creators of No Child Left Behind as Bush’s senior adviser, called this approach to accountability the “ugly Texas two-step.” He said he thought Texas districts were putting more students in special education to get them out of general education classes and to avoid testing them and counting them in school ratings.He said evidence showed most students with disabilities could take the regular tests, often with accommodations such as extra time or separate testing rooms.So the federal government cracked down. “It was not an absolute cap or a concrete cap, but it was pressure on Texas to reduce the percentage of kids exempted,” Kress said.U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who grew up in Houston, told reporters in 2005 that she was an “earth mother type of Republican” but that she would come down hard on Texas for defying federal law, even if that meant slashing federal funding for Texas schools.“Nine percent is nearly half a million kids. No Child Left Behind does not mean ‘No Fewer Than Half a Million Left Behind,’” she said.“How TEA internalized that, I can’t really speak to,” said David Dunn, Spellings’ former chief of staff who later headed the Texas Charter School Association.Texas educators argue they weren’t trying to game the system — they were protecting students with disabilities who should not have to be subject to the extreme pressure of a high-stakes test.“Many of us as special educators are frustrated because if students that receive special education services could pass the test as it is, even with accommodations, they probably wouldn’t need to be in special education,” said Cyndi Short, special education director at Clear Creek ISD, who was at a district in San Antonio in the early 2000s.Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneFormer Texas Education Agency Commissioner Shirley Neeley Richardson on April 28, 2005.Tensions came to a head in the spring of 2005, when Spellings fined Texas $444,282 for failing to meet a federal deadline to tell schools how they scored in federal evaluations. The delay was caused by the dispute over Texas’ process for counting students with disabilities.In June 2005, Spellings and Richardson, the former state education agency commissioner, reached a compromise allowing Texas to slowly reduce the percentage of students left out of school ratings over the following couple of years. Texas had to enter into a written agreement setting a timeline for complying with federal laws for accountability and special education. “This is very good news for Texas school districts,” Richardson said at the time.In the midst of this conflict, TEA created a new monitoring system that kept track of the percentage of students each district was placing in special education, among other data points — the start of a steep drop in Texas’ special education rate to a low of 8.5 percent, the lowest in the country. During last year’s legislative session, state lawmakers passed a law that prohibited TEA from tracking that percentage.The federal government first reviewed and signed off on the new state system in 2006.Richardson told the Houston Chronicle in 2016 that the system was TEA’s “first stab” at addressing the problem of over-identifying students. To this day, TEA says it did not tell schools to deny services to students.Response to interventionTexas education officials also responded to a major change in federal special education law in 2004, as popular thought changed on how to help students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, the largest group of students in special education. Research showed that many students labeled as having a learning disability actually never had proper reading and writing instruction.“We were mixing up students who had legitimate physical or emotional needs with students who had learning needs and instructional needs because of what I felt to be, in many cases, inadequate reading instruction,” former Houston ISD superintendent and U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige told the Tribune last year.The federal government authorized a new version of its special education law giving states more leeway to decide whether certain students belong in special education. The 2004 law let school districts use a process called “Response to Intervention,” or RtI, to provide aggressive targeted reading and math instruction and help struggling students catch up. Educators are expected to use data from those screenings to determine whether students have undiagnosed learning disabilities or whether they need other types of academic support.“A public agency may not identify any public or private school child as as a child with a disability if the determinant factor is lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math,” read the final regulations for the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.Over the past few years, TEA officials have repeatedly touted the state’s decrease in special education numbers as a positive sign that RtI was working and fewer students were being incorrectly identified as learning disabled. But federal investigators last month found many Texas educators were incorrectly using the screening process to delay or deny students federally funded special education services they needed.“We’re always worried about whether everyone has access to special education services that needs it,” former TEA special education director Gene Lenz told the Houston Chronicle in 2012. “But nothing seems more inappropriate to me than to place a child into special education when they don’t have a disability.” He declined to comment for this story.At the governor’s behest last month, TEA quickly drafted an $84.5 million plan to overhaul special education, promising to train school administrators on how to find and educate students with disabilities and promising to find the students who have been denied specialized services and tools over the last decade.For parents of students with special needs, the stakes are extremely high.“TEA did not ensure that all ISDs in the state properly identified, located, and evaluated all children with disabilities residing in the State who were in need of special education and related services,” U.S. Department of Education officials told Texas in last month’s report. “Consequently, TEA failed to make a free appropriate public education available to all eligible children with disabilities residing in the State.” They said the current narrative — that Texas leaders cut costs by capping the percentage of students who could receive the specialized tools and assistance they needed to learn — ignores the effect of changing federal policy on local actions. The federal government, they argue, had a big part in creating the problem it’s now hammering Texas to fix.The Texas Tribune recently spoke with more than a dozen people who were in federal, state or local education leadership positions in the early to mid-2000s. They described a fierce battle between federal and state education officials on how and whether to test students with disabilities, resulting in mixed messages for school administrators and ultimately leaving thousands of kids without the tools they needed to learn.The state and local leaders say the U.S. Department of Education pressured Texas to decrease the number of students in special education, especially during President George W. Bush’s tenure in the early 2000s.For decades, the federal government had been concerned states were labeling too many students as having learning disabilities and needing special education. And the Bush administration thought Texas was gaming the system by putting too many struggling learners in special education — resulting in most of those students’ standardized test scores being excluded from their schools’ overall results, which counted toward crucial federal school ratings.Then-Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley Richardson advocated for school administrators, who said they were exempting students who should not be subject to high-stakes testing.The disagreement culminated in a showdown between the state and federal education chiefs in spring and summer 2005. Eventually, they reached a compromise: Texas would slowly, over time, include more students with special needs in its school ratings. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneThen-U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at the Texas Capitol on Oct. 30, 2005.In the wake of a scathing federal report last month blasting Texas for excluding thousands of students from special education, a wave of accusations has rolled through the state’s education community.The federal government admonished the state for creating the exclusionary policy and charged state officials with cleaning up the mess. Gov. Greg Abbottthen blamed school districts for shirking their responsibility to teach kids with disabilities.In retaliation, school administrators and teachers pointed fingers at former Texas legislators for first suggesting a cap on special education to cut costs. Amid the political infighting, parents held both state leaders and school officials accountable for perpetuating a system that kept so many children from accessing special education for more than a decade.As the hunt continues for the ultimate culprit, some Texas educators and officials are now pointing back at the federal government. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact timeline between this Bush-era compromise and the precipitous decline in the percentage of students Texas receiving special education services. But Texas education officials and educators say the Texas Education Agency felt compelled to ensure the state did not identify too many students as eligible for services, and encouraged districts to decrease their numbers.“I don’t think it’s fair for TEA and particularly those who by all accounts have been trying to do good work … to have their reputations impugned when the [federal] department doing the impugning was basically putting the pressure on them to rein in special education,” said Todd Webster, who spent about six years in TEA leadership, including a few months as acting chief deputy commissioner in 2012.“Ugly Texas two-step”When Bush left the Texas governor’s mansion for the White House in 2001, he brought with him the state’s strict system for rating schools, and some of its main architects, using it as the basis for the controversial education law called No Child Left Behind.The law required states to adhere to strict testing and accountability standards, including administering annual standardized tests, reporting scores of specific student subgroups and showing proof of student progress. Schools received regular ratings or evaluations in part based on how their students performed on these tests.Federal law said states could only keep test scores of students with the most severe disabilities — 1 to 3 percent of each state’s students — from counting toward school ratings, to force schools to pay attention to the progress students with special needs were making each year. Unless states could show cause for exempting a higher percentage, students left out of school ratings above those limits would count as automatic failures.“You couldn’t have a disproportionate number of students identified for special education. I think it was that interpretation that has caused districts now not to provide services for kids,” said Cathy Davis, assistant reading director at TEA in the late 1980s through late ’90s, and later an administrator at Round Rock ISD. “The accountability rating, the accreditation rating would suffer if you had too many special education kids.”In 2003 and 2004, Texas far exceeded the federal limit, choosing not to count test scores of 9 percent of its students in its school ratings. That meant three-fourths of all Texas students in special education were not fully accounted for in federal evaluations of how schools were preparing students.Students in that 9 percent were instead taking alternate standardized tests that did not count toward ratings. As a result, more than 400 school districts were able to report higher standardized test scores — and meet federal achievement standards — when they would not have otherwise.last_img read more