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First AI-generated rom-com is due this summer — and the trailer puts Hallmark Channel to shame

Many actors, artists and writers are rightly worried about generative AI taking their jobs, but so far we haven’t seen a major entertainment company release a feature-length film that is all or even mostly AI-generated. That’s about to change. Today TCL, a company known for its connected TV sets, dropped the trailer for its first original feature: an AI-generated romantic comedy called “Next Stop Paris” and it’s . . . quite something to look at.The film is due out this summer and will air on the company’s TCLtv+ free streaming app, which is available on TCL televisions with Google TV OS (the company’s Roku-based TVs have a similar app called “TCL TV”). Right now, TCLtv+ offers a number of FAST (Free Add-Supported TV) channels like those you can find on other apps such as Roku TV, as well as some free, on-demand movies. Next Stop Paris will be its first piece of original content.The 60-second trailer previews the story of two young and attractive Americans who meet on a train to Paris and fall in love. Her name is Claire; his name is never mentioned, except that he’s called “the dark mysterious kind of man who never shows his vulnerability.” Let’s just name him DMKOM for the purposes of this article. The two are shown enjoying the sites in a city that’s supposed to be Paris: an amusement park, a boat ride, walks through the park and a romantic dance inside a clock tower. There’s some conflict as DMKOM runs away from Claire on a motorcycle, but then later in the trailer is back again to say he’s never giving up on her. (Image credit: TCLtv+)There’s some kind of possible flashback scene where Claire is shown with a diamond ring getting married. Is she a runaway bride, a widow or a divorcee who is starting over in Paris? There’s also some advice from an older woman who tells Claire that “in life’s journey, sometimes the heart moves too fast, sometimes too slow, but if you time it just right, that’s when love arrives.” This sounds a lot like the plot of a Hallmark Channel movie, but without human actors and with the dial turned up to 11. If you are the kind of person who could sit in front of the tube watching Meg Ryan films all day, you can get all the same tropes and more here in just the 60-second trailer! While many convention movie studios have gotten criticism for using AI, TCL has decided to lean into the technology and highlight its use. The trailer boasts that this is “An AI Powered Love Story,” and TCL Chief Content Officer Chris Regina touted the use of AI as a point of differentiation. Regina has an extensive background in original TV production, having served in senior roles at NBCUniversal and Netflix. Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.”It is a first for a trailer and for an entertainment company,” Regina told Tom’s Hardware. “There is tremendous curiosity around AI. It’s a marketing differentiator.”If you watch the trailer, it’s hard not to notice the hallmarks of early text-to-video generation technology. Each cut is just a few seconds long, there’s not a ton of movement and the looks of the main characters vary widely from scene to scene, as if dozens of different actors were used to play the same two parts. Claire is always a young, thin, white woman but the shape of her face and even her hair and eye color are different at different times. The gallery below shows some of the many faces of Claire.Image […]

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Microsoft’s Copilot image tool generates ugly Jewish stereotypes

The Verge’s Mia Sato reported last week about the Meta Image generator’s inability to produce an image of an Asian man with a white woman, a story that was picked up by many outlets. But what Sato experienced – the image generator repeatedly ignoring her prompt and generating an Asian man with an Asian partner – is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bias in image generators. For months, I’ve been testing to see what kind of imagery the major AI bots offer when you ask them to generate images of Jewish people. While most aren’t great – often only presenting Jews as old white men in black hats – Copilot Designer is unique in the amount of times it gives life to the worst stereotypes of Jews as greedy or mean. A seemingly neutral prompt such as “jewish boss” or “jewish banker” can give horrifyingly offensive outputs. Every LLM (large language model) is subject to picking up biases from its training data, and in most cases, the training data is taken from the entire Internet (usually without consent), which is obviously filled with negative images. AI vendors are embarrassed when their software outputs stereotypes or hate speech so they implement guard rails. Google’s Gemini generated controversy when, in an attempt to improve representation, it went too far: creating images that were racially and gender diverse, but historically inaccurate (a female pope, non-White Nazi soldiers). What I’ve found makes clear that Copilot’s guardrails might not go far enough.Warning: The images in this article are AI-generated; many people, myself included, will find them offensive. But when documenting AI bias, we need to show evidence. Copilot outputs Jewish stereotypesMicrosoft Copilot Designer, formerly known as Bing Chat, is the text-to-image tool that the company offers for free to anyone with a Microsoft account. If you want to generate more than 15 images a day without getting hit with congestion delays, you can subscribe to Copilot Pro, a plan the company is hawking for $20 a month. Copilot on Windows brings this functionality to Windows desktop, rather than the browser, and the company wants people to use it so badly that they’ve gotten OEMs to add dedicated Copilot keys to some new laptops.Copilot Designer has long courted controversy for the content of its outputs. In March, Microsoft Engineer Shane Jones sent an open letter to the FTC asking it to investigate the tool’s propensity to output offensive images. He noted that, in his tests, it had created sexualized images of women in lingerie when asked for “car crash” and demons with sharp teeth eating infants when prompted with the term “pro choice.”When I use the prompt “jewish boss” in Copilot Designer, I almost always get cartoonish stereotypes of religious Jews surrounded by Jewish symbols such as Magen Davids and Menorahs, and sometimes stereotypical objects such as bagels or piles of money. At one point, I even got an image of some kind of demon with pointy ears wearing a black hat and holding bananas.Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.Image […]

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Taiwan hit with 7.4 earthquake, endangering tech supply chain

On Wednesday at around 7:58 local time, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off of Taiwan’s east coast, with the epicenter 18km from Hualien City. The country issued Tsunami warnings while Japan and the Philippines also braced for possible flooding. According the U.S. Geological survey, this is the most powerful quake Taiwan has experienced since a 7.7 event that occurred in 1999. The USGS also says that a 6.5 aftershock occurred 13 minutes later. According to CNN, as of 11 am Taiwan time, there were at least 26 building collapses with at least 15 of the buildings in Hualien County. More than 91,000 households were without power. Videos posted on Reddit show significant shaking in Taipei with Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, shaking.Aside from the human cost, this quake could also have a significant effect on chip production, potentially causing shortages or raising the prices of key components. These would in turn lead to higher costs for everything from laptops to TV sets.  At around 9 am local time, Bloomberg reported that TSMC, one of the world’s largest chipmakers, had evacuated some plants as a precautionary measure. Wen-Yee Lee a semiconductor reporter in Taiwan tweeted an update from TSMC stating that some facilities had been evacuated out as part of “internal company protocols.”The good news is that TSMC’s foundries are located on the west side of Taiwan, while the quake occurred off of the east coast. The Financial Times has a great map showing the location of TSMC’s 12 Taiwan fabs, which are spread out between Tainan, Taichung, Hsinchu City and Taoyuan City. According to Asia Tech Wire, the chip giant stated that it estimates a 6-hour disruption in production. However, TSMC is not the only company that manufactures major components in Taiwan.  According to Bloomberg, UMC (United Microelectronics Corporation)  has also evacuated its fabs. These are also located on the west side of the island, which means that they were likely not hit by the quake.It’s important to note that even short disruptions in production can lead to big price hikes and Taiwanese earth quakes have a long history of disrupting the global electronics supply chain. After the 1999 quake, prices for DRAM modules jumped by more than 25 percent and shortages continued for months. Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.We’ll have to see what the effect is on the prices of key PC components such as CPUs and DRAM after this latest disruption.  […]

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Windows Copilot key is secretly from the IBM era — but you can remap it with the right tools

Microsoft’s new Copilot key might launch a recently added feature, but behind the scenes, the way the key works is quite old. In fact, it registers itself as a key that was most prevalent on IBM keyboards from the Reagan era. While some folks, including me, don’t find Copilot on Windows helpful, Microsoft is going all-in on its new AI-powered assistant, going so far as to create a dedicated Copilot key which some new laptops have next to the right Alt key on their keyboards. In fact, in order to meet the official definition of an “AI PC,” a laptop certification that Microsoft created, the computer must have a CPU with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU), Copilot installed in Windows and the Copilot key on its keyboard.We recently got a couple of the first laptops with Copilot keys, a Dell XPS 14 and XPS 16, in for testing and I decided to find out exactly how this new button works. I wondered if it could do anything more than just open the Copilot panel and, more importantly, how the key reports itself to the OS. Is it a brand new key with a new scan code, the menu key with a different sticker, or something else? If you know how Windows sees the key, you can remap it or program macros for it.So I used AutoHotkey, a keyboard macro scripting program that can also be used to log key strokes, to find out how the Copilot key registers. To my shock and surprise, I discovered that, under the surface, the Copilot key is a combination of three keys pressed at once: Left Ctrl + Windows key + F23. (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Yes, that’s F23, the twenty-third function key. If you’re looking down at your PC keyboard today, you almost certainly have just 12 function keys and compact, 65-percent keyboards don’t have a function row at all. However, in the days when many business users worked on terminals that were connected to mainframes, there were some 122-key keyboards that had an additional function row that ran from F12 to F24. The most popular of these was the IBM Model M 122, which launched in 1985. (Image credit: Themavery, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)IBM stopped making these keyboards in the 1990’s and sold its entire PC business to Lenovo in 2005. However, a company called Unicomp has a license from IBM and continues to manufacture 122-key, IBM-style keyboards for those who want them. Because there are keyboards in the world that have F13 – F24, Windows and other operating systems recognize those as valid keys. If you have a macro keypad, you can program those keys (or any other keys you wish) to identify themselves as F13 – F24. And since so few people have the extra function row, most applications don’t already have shortcut assignments for those keys.Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.So, rather than creating a brand new key with a brand new scan code (every key has a scan code it sends to the OS), Microsoft simply made the Copilot key return a combination of Left Ctrl + Windows key + F23, a combo that almost no one on earth is going to already have assigned.  We asked and Dell confirmed that this key assignment is standard for the Copilot key and done at Microsoft’s direction; it’s not unique to Dell’s laptops.Unfortunately, the Copilot doesn’t do much. It just launches the Copilot panel on the right side of the desktop, which is the same exact thing you get if you click the Copilot icon or hit Windows key + C. Since it is already a combination of two modifiers and a function key, it cannot serve as a modifier. Hitting Copilot + A or Copilot + any other key does the same thing as hitting Copilot by itself.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)How to Remap Your Copilot KeyThe good news is that, now that we know how the OS sees the Copilot key, we can easily use a program like AutoHotkey to remap it to do almost anything we want. We can turn it into another key, we can have it launch a favorite app or website, and we can even program a complicated macro for it to perform. We can have it output a key combination such as Ctrl + C, but we can’t have it serve as a bare modifier key (Ctrl, Alt, Shift or Win), because holding it down along with another key will register as Ctrl + Windows + F23 + [the other key you pressed].  Here’s how to get started.1. Download and install AutoHotKey. Go with version 2, the latest, over version 12. Set up or download a text editor for writing AutoHotKey V2 scripts. I like using Notepad++ with the AutoHotKey add-ons.3. Create a new file called copilot-remap.ahk (or anything you want with a .ahk extension) and save it in your Windows Startup folder, which is located at C:Users[YOUR USERNAME]AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup.4. Place the following lines at the top of your AHK file. They aren’t absolutely necessary but help make sure you only have one version of the file running at a time. #Requires AutoHotkey >=2.0
#SingleInstance force5. Enter the following code to trigger something to happen when the program sees someone hit Shift + Windows key + F23. After the two colons is where you’ll put the action you want.+#f23::The + represents the shift key and the # represents the Windows key. Now you need to decide what you want Windows to do. After the ::, you must put your action. Do not add a line break.Here are some ideas:Launch a website by using Run “https://webaddress” after the key code. You can turn the Copilot key into a ChatGPT key by having it navigate to chat.openai.com or turn it into a Gemini key by having it launch gemini.google.comOpen an app by using Run “pathto exe file” so, for example, Run “notepad.exe” would open notepad.Send a keyboard combo by entering that key set after the ::. For example, ^c would be Ctrl + C. You can see a complete list of keys and modifiers on AutoHotKey’s site. ^ is Ctrl, ! is Alt, # is Win and + is Shift.Enter common text such as your email address or a Linux command by using Send “mytext” with the copy you want.Here’s what these would look like in your code. Only choose one of these, as entering more than one would cause them to conflict.; Launch ChatGPT Website in your default browser
+#f23:: Run “https://chat.openai.com/”

; Launch Tom’s Hardware
+#f23:: Run “https://www.tomshardware.com”

; Open Windows Explorer
+#f23:: Run “explorer.exe”

; Make it hit Ctrl + Z (which is undo)
+#f23:: ^c

; Enter the “sudo” command (or other text)
+#f23:: Send “sudo”6. Run your script, either by double clicking on it or, if you have installed the Runme plugin in Notepad++, by hitting Shift + F5.The action should work instead of launching Copilot. In all of our tests, AutoHotKey managed to intercept the keystroke before Windows used it to open the Copilot pane. However, if for some reason, Windows 11 changes in an update and manages to fire the Copilot instruction before AutoHotKey intercepts the keystroke, you’d have it both open Copilot and perform your desired task. That seems unlikely, but if it were to happen in the future, you could use Sharpkeys, a program which remaps keys in the registry, to map F23 to F13 and then change your Autohotkey script to fire on +#f13:: instead of +#f23::. We tested and this works.  […]

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The next Cortana: Copilot on Windows is no reason to buy a new PC

AI is everywhere. It’s being used to develop new medical treatments, to track climate change, to address world hunger and to fight against malware. However, we also have AI-powered toothbrushes, pillows, mirrors and “mood lighting.” And on your PC, Microsoft wants everyone to use Copilot and even upgrade to a new PC so you can run it locally. But like Cortana, and Microsoft Bob before it, the Copilot on Windows is more spectacle than solution: an answer without a question. In the past week, Microsoft showed us more than ever that it is super-eager — some would say desperate — to get you to use Copilot and build your computing experience around it. At an Intel press event, the chip-giant announced that Microsoft would be building local Copilot processing into a future version of Windows. To take advantage of this upgraded Copilot, you’ll need to buy a new genre of computer, the “AI PC,” which will need to have a new CPU with a neural processing unit (NPU) and a Copilot key on the keyboard. For consumers holding onto 5-year old laptops that still run modern software well, this could be an incentive to finally upgrade.If you’re not yet one of the Copilot faithful, Microsoft is now willing to bend some of its strictest doctrines in order to convert you. Though the company considers it a venial sin to run Windows 11 with a local account – and tries to block you from installing the OS without a Microsoft login – the company just rolled out an Insider build that allows local users to access Copilot (with a limitation on the number of prompts). The local Copilot news comes a few months after the company added Copilot support to Windows 10, a near-end-of-lifed OS that Microsoft wishes you wouldn’t use, but that still accounts for 67 percent of all desktop Windows installations. A few months before that the company added Copilot support to non-Microsoft Browsers such as Chrome and Safari after requiring Edge when Copilot, then called Bing chat, launched in early 2023. Despite Microsoft’s religious fervor for its new Windows chatbot, investors – not users – are the ones getting saved. Since the beginning of 2023, around the time of Bing Chat’s launch, the company’s shares are up 87 percent. Who can blame Microsoft for getting on the AI hype train when other companies are using it as a license to print money.The company is hoping that once you see Copilot on Windows, you’ll either A.) upgrade to a new PC so you can eventually run Copilot locally or B.) pay $20 a month in subscription fees for Copilot Pro, which allows you to generate more images and adds some functionality to Microsoft Office 365, provided that you’re already paying for that. At the very least, the team in Redmond would love for you to use a Microsoft Account for logins so that they can collect more data from you.Join the experts who read Tom’s Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We’ll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox. What Copilot on Windows Does and Doesn’t Do The only problem here is that Copilot on Windows doesn’t do anything mainstream consumers or business users actually need. And it’s not clear what problems it solves, now or anytime soon. I want to make clear here that I’m talking about “Copilot on Windows,” the version that is part of Windows 11 and (optionally) Windows 10. Microsoft also uses the name Copilot for its web tools and for AI tools that are built into Office. I’ve been testing Copilot on Windows since it first appeared in a Windows 11 Insider Build last year and I can’t find a way in which it helps me work faster or play better. In either Windows 11 or Windows 10, the Copilot icon sits in the lower right corner of the taskbar where you can click it or invoke it by hitting Windows + C or, on some new PCs, a completely unnecessary Copilot key. It then opens a big chat panel on the right side of your desktop and there you can . . . use it the same way you use Bing Chat in your web browser, ChatGPT or Google Gemini.So you can ask Copilot for Windows factual questions, replicating the same AI results you get in a search engine, which have their own set of flaws (incorrect information, plagiarism, bad advice). And you can ask it to generate text or images for you. All of these tasks work exactly the same way if you visit a chatbot in your browser and performing them on the desktop raises the question: “Why not just go directly to Bing?”Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the built-in Copilot can perform a handful of tasks related to your local OS settings and apps, but these are so limited as to be useless. You can ask it to launch an application or change a Windows setting, but doing so is much slower and less precise than performing that same task without Copilot. For example, when I asked Copilot to “open File Explorer,” it hit me with a confirmation box asking if I really wanted it to open the app. So, instead of clicking the Explorer icon in my taskbar or using the Windows Key + E keyboard shortcut, I had to type 19 keystrokes and click one dialog button. It’s also worth noting that typing “file explorer” into the Windows search box effectively does the same thing — finding the app shortcut for you. (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Copilot can change a few very basic settings for you, but each one requires you to click a confirmation dialog box. So what we’ve got here is a natural language interface for Windows settings, but not a very good one.Copilot can adjust your volume if you type “mute my volume,” and then click Yes. It can also enable or disable dark mode, set a focus session (limited notifications to help you concentrate) or snap your windows, all of these with confirmation. The confirmation is undoubtedly a security measure to protect against prompt injection and other hacks, but it’s annoying.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)If you ask Copilot to take a screenshot, it will launch the Snipping tool without asking for confirmation, but you still need to take the screenshot yourself. Copilot will sometimes send you to various parts of the Settings menu without confirmation, but it won’t actually change a setting for you. For example, telling it to “change my background image,” just opens the Personalization section of settings and leaves you there to interact with the menus yourself.(Image credit: Future)More often than not, Copilot will just give you, in slowly-written text, a tutorial on how to change settings. For example, when I asked it to “change my screen resolution to 1920 x 1080,” it wrote out a series of instructions. And when I asked it more vaguely to “change my display settings,” it popped up a YouTube video from 2020 that was made, not by Microsoft but by someone named “Simon Sez IT.”When I asked it to “uninstall Spotify,” it gave me a YouTube video from someone named SIJ Gamer. All it would have needed to do is open the settings menu to the Apps section, but apparently that was too much to ask.Image […]

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How to search your favorite site directly from Chrome’s address bar in two keystrokes

Whether you work on a website like I do or you just have a favorite site you rely on for information, you probably find yourself wanting to search that domain. Many sites have their own search engines, but they generally aren’t as good as just using Google to query that site, and they can’t be triggered from your browser’s address bar.If you want to search a site from your browser’s address bar, you can simply add “site:[SITENAME]” to the end of your query, but that’s a fair amount of typing. For example, if I want to find the best CPUs page on Tom’s Hardware from my address bar, I have to type “best cpus site:tomshardware.com” and hit Enter. The site:tomshardware.com is an extra 21 keystrokes I must make for every single query. And, if I want to tell Google not to include results from our forums subdomain, I have to tack on “-site:forums.tomshardware.com” to the query. That’s a total of 51 keystrokes added to my query!Every keystroke is sacred; unnecessary keystrokes waste your time and wear out your fingers. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to assign a site search to a single shortcut letter. Below, I’ll show you two ways to set up site-searching shortcuts, one using a Chrome extension and another by modifying Chrome’s settings.How to Search Your Favorite Site Using My Extension Because I like to save myself as many keystrokes (and mouse movements) as possible every day, I built a simple extension called “Search My Site,” which I have published to the Chrome Web Store, where it is free. It does not share any data with me, nor does it promote Tom’s Hardware. It works on both Chrome and Edge.  Here’s how to use it.1. Install Search My Site from the Chrome web store. After visiting the URL, you must click “Add to Chrome” (on Chrome) or “Get” (on Edge).(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Upon installation, the options menu should appear in a new tab.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)2. Navigate to the extension’s options menu if it didn’t already appear. To get there, right click on the extension’s icon and select Options.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)If the Search My Site icon doesn’t appear to the right of your address bar, use the extensions menu to find it and click the three dots to get to Options.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Enter the domain name of the site you wish to search in the “Domain(s) to search” field. Make sure to include the top-level domain (ex: .com). You can enter multiple domains separated by commas.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Enter optional parameters (or skip them). The extension supports a few additional options for your query.Exclude Domain(s): Domains not to search (will add “-site:” to the search query). In my case, I add “forums.tomshardware.com” to the list so I don’t get forum results in my search.URL path must include: The text string must be in the URL. So, if your site always marks news articles with “/news/” in the URL, you could put that here and only get those articles in your results. This adds “inurl:” to your query.URL path must exclude: The text string must NOT be in the URL. Adds “-inurl:” to your query.Page updated: Show only pages that Google knows have been updated within a particular timeframe: 24 hours, a week, a month or a year.5. Click Save.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)6. Type s + spacebar in the address bar. You should see the text “Search My Site” appear and then you can enter your query and press Enter. (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)You can repeat the s + spacebar shortcut any time.If you prefer not to install my extension or you wish to set up multiple keyboard shortcuts for multiple site searches, you can use Chrome’s search settings menu. 1. Navigate to chrome://settings/searchEngines in Chrome. In Edge, go to edge://settings/searchEngines.2. Click the Add button next to Site Search. In Edge, it’s next to “Address bar search engines.”(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Enter content in the Search Engine, Shortcut and URL fields and click Save.(Image credit: Future)Search Engine: This can be any name you want and is just for identifying the entry. I put “Tom’s Hardware” because, in my example, I’m making an entry that just searches Tom’s Hardware.Shortcut: The letter you will use to invoke the search in the address bar. I put “t” here, which means I would hit t + space and then my query. This can be more than one letter or even a whole word.URL: This is the actual Google URL for a search with %s representing the query. For URL field, a simple, single-site Google query would look like this:https://www.google.com/search?query=%s+site%3Atomshardware.comYou would change tomshardware.com in the above text to the domain name of your choice. The %s in the URL is a variable that will include whatever query the user types into the address bar. The %3A represents the : symbol, which has been URL encoded.You can make the URL more complex by adding +-site%3A to exclude a domain, +inurl%3A to make sure text is included in the URL, or +-inurl%3A to make sure text is excluded from the URL. To restrict results to only those pages that have been updated within a time frame, add &as_qdr= to the URL and then one of the following letters:d: past 24 hoursw: past weekm: past monthy: past yearYou should now be able to search your site from the address box by hitting space + the letter you designated as a shortcut. […]

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Microsoft engineer begs FTC to stop Copilot’s offensive image generator – Our tests confirm it’s a serious problem

The government and mainstream media might finally be catching up to what we reported in January: AI image generators output pictures that are both offensive and contain copyrighted characters. Today, Microsoft Engineer Shane Jones sent an open letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking the agency to warn the public about the risks of Copilot Designer, the company’s image generation tool. Jones also sent a note to Microsoft’s Board of Directors, asking it to investigate the software giant’s decision to continue marketing a product with “significant public safety risks.”In his note to the board, Jones details how, in his testing, Copilot Designer (formerly known as Bing Image Generator), outputted offensive content, which ranged from sexualized pictures of women to images of “teenagers playing assassins with assault rifles.” He also notes that Microsoft failed to take his concerns seriously, asking him to email the company’s Office of Responsible AI, which apparently doesn’t track the complaints it receives, or pass them along to the developers in charge of the product. Jones does not work on the AI team at Microsoft, so he wasn’t involved in Copilot’s creation. However, when he complained, he was asked to write to a letter to OpenAI about his concerns, because OpenAI makes the DALL-E engine which powers Copilot Designer. In his letter to OpenAI, Jones asked the company to “immediately suspend the availability of DALL-E both in OpenAI’s products and through your API,” but he did not receive a response. After posting his letter to OpenAI on LinkedIn in December, Microsoft ordered him to take the post down, presumably to avoid negative publicity. As someone who has been covering AI tools and testing them for adverse outputs for around a year now, I am not remotely surprised by either what Jones discovered or how unseriously his complaints were taken. In early January, I published a story about how many image generators, including Copilot Designer (referred to as Bing Image Generator) and DALL-E, are more than willing to output offensive pictures that also violate copyright.In my tests, I found that Microsoft’s tool had fewer guard rails than some of its competitors as it eagerly outputted images of copyrighted characters such as Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader smoking or taking drugs. It also would provide copyrighted characters in response to neutral prompts such as “video game plumber” or “animated toys.”Image […]

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Microsoft is killing Windows 11’s Android emulator — no one will miss it

Normally, when Microsoft kills a major Windows feature, it’s a cause for consternation. Remember the brief moment when Paint 3D was supposed to replace Windows Paint? However, we just learned that Microsoft is dumping Windows Subsystem for Android, Windows 11’s optional Android emulator and no one is going to miss it. Without any fanfare, the company updated the Windows Subsystem for Android documentation page on its website and included a message stating that WSA won’t be supported as of March 5, 2025. The Amazon App Store app, which is required to use and install WSA, is set to disappear from the Microsoft Store as soon as March 6, 2024. However, according to Amazon, users will still be able to download it from a dedicated link. And anyone who has WSA installed may be able to continue using it even after the end of support.When Microsoft first announced Windows 11 in 2021, I was excited to hear that it would run Android apps. The Android emulation didn’t arrive at launch—it was rolled out very gradually to Windows Insiders and then eventually to production—but it was a major selling point for the new OS. I imagined running Android games and mobile-only software alongside my favorite Windows programs.However, the reality of WSA has been far different from its promise. Instead of running any Android app, it is designed only to run the limited selection of apps available on Amazon’s app store. There are ways to sideload apps, but they aren’t officially supported, and you can expect problems if you want to use something that requires Google Play services. I would really have liked to run the official Gmail app in a window, but that would only work — maybe — with a hack.Perhaps even worse than the app selection is the sluggish performance. Running WSA on my laptop was an exercise in frustration. It would take seemingly forever to open and fire up an app. Even when it wasn’t actively running, I’d occasionally get error messages saying that it had crashed. Eventually, I uninstalled it and gave up. Even if you could install any app from the Google Play Store and it ran perfectly, WSA just isn’t that useful in 2024. Four or five years ago, you needed a phone if you wanted the TikTok app or the Facebook app. Today, you can get just about any productivity or entertainment app you might want from the Microsoft Store, where it has been coded for Windows, or you can find a web-based alternative. Most Android apps are designed for touch, and though they work with keyboards and mice, the experience isn’t optimal. I installed my favorite Android game, Bubble Shooter Viking Pop, in WSA, and it was sluggish and annoying to use on the desktop. (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Some folks have 2-in-1 laptops with touch screens, so WSA might be a little better for them. Even so, the apps are usually made to run in portrait mode on a small screen, not full screen on a 13, 14, or 15-inch landscape display. Back in 2021, when Windows 11 launched, maybe there was still some hope of standalone Windows tablets catching on. However, apart from the Surface (which is more of a full-service laptop than a casual tablet), that dream is dead and buried.If your reason for wanting to emulate Android is to play games, you might want to think again. The selection and quality of Android games pale in comparison to what you can get for Windows. Also, Amazon’s Android app store omits popular games, and many games depend on Google Play services.The good news is that there’s an alternative to running WS for almost every reasonable use case. If you want to send / receive SMS messages from your computer, you can use Phone Link, which connects to your phone via Bluetooth. If you have a Samsung Android phone, you can use Samsung Flow to remote control your phone, showing its screen (and all its apps) on your desktop. If you don’t have a Samsung phone, third-party apps such as AirDroid do the same.What if you’re a developer who wants to program Android apps and you need to test them on your P ? That’s no problem because Google’s own Android Studio lets you do that.So, while WSA seemed like a good idea a few years ago, it’s just not necessary today. I have more tears for Clippy and Microsoft Bob.Note: As with all of our op-eds, the opinions expressed here belong to the writer alone, not Tom’s Hardware as a team.  […]

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A Spammer Added a Fake Event to My Google Calendar — Here’s How to Stop Calendar Spam

What the hack! This week, I learned that spammers can add events to your Google calendar without your permission. Then you’ll get a notification about an upcoming “meeting” that’s actually an unsolicited marketing message. Let me tell you how it happened to me and what you can do to prevent it.I was working on a recent Friday afternoon when I heard my phone make the chime it uses to remind me that I have a meeting starting in 10 minutes. However, it was 2:50 pm and I didn’t recall having a meeting scheduled for 3 pm.So I went to check my Google Calendar, only to see a listing for a meeting with “Reign Supreme ??” coming up. “Could this be a meeting I agreed to but forgot about,” I asked myself. The location was listed as “Austin, TX” which is thousands of miles away, but maybe I was supposed to talk to a company based out of there. The event was listed on my work calendar, which is part of Google’s Workspace.(Image credit: Future)Then I opened up the calendar entry to see who it was from and saw that the text said “Hi Do you want more clients and customers? We will help you by putting you on the 1st page of Google.” I get unsolicited emails with this kind of offer several times a week and I always ignore / delete them.  There’s no way I would have agreed to meet with the person offering this.I then checked my Gmail inbox, but I couldn’t find any email invitation from the person named in the calendar invite. I searched for the sender’s name, email address and even snippets of text from the event description, but I didn’t get any results. Eventually, I located the email invite in my Spam folder, where it obviously belongs (and messages marked as spam don’t appear in searches).(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)So it seems that the spammer discovered a nasty vulnerability. They sent an email with an invitation to a fake event (or perhaps their own marketing call; I didn’t attend) and included their marketing message in the event description. This is possible because, by default, Google adds events it sees in Gmail messages to your calendar, whether you RSVP to them or not.Because the spammer’s message was sent to my Spam folder, I didn’t see it and have the opportunity to decline the invite. The message arrived just a few minutes before the meeting was scheduled so I didn’t spot it in my calendar, until I got a notification that the event was upcoming.Clearly, Google has left a gaping security hole in its calendar / Gmail app. But there are benefits to the default behavior. Countless times, I’ve missed an email invitation for a required meeting, but still saw it on my calendar and remembered to attend. Unfortunately, Google seems to be unable to distinguish spam invitations from legitimate ones and puts them all on your calendar, even if the email was spammy enough to end up in the spam folder. The spam event appeared on my work calendar, which is part of a corporate Google Workspace account. However, since the default settings are the same, I am sure that the same problem could occur on my personal Google account. This vulnerability has been around for many years, but I only learned about it a few days ago. So this is the only time I have been a victim of the exploit and the consequences were pretty minimal: a distracting notification and a couple of minutes of my time wasted.How to Prevent Google Calendar SpamIf you want to prevent spammers from adding events to your Google Calendar, you can change a couple of settings. Depending on how you configure the calendar, you may have to be proactive about actually clicking “yes” on meetings you want to attend. But you won’t get spam entries.To disable automatic calendar additions:1. Navigate to Google Calendar.2. Click the gear  icon and select Settings in the upper right part of the screen.(Image credit: Future)3. Under Event settings, change “Add invitations to my calendar” to either “Only if the sender is known” or “When I respond to the invitation email.”  The default setting is “From everyone,” which will add any invite to your calendar. If you choose to allow only known senders, the system will only automatically add events from senders in your contacts list / people you have interacted with before. If you choose “when I respond,” it will only add invites you’ve clicked “yes” on. I’m changing mine to “sender is known” so it still auto adds invites from people in my company.(Image credit: Future)4. Uncheck “Show events automatically created by Gmail” if you want to prevent Gmail from adding to your calendar on its own. Keep in mind that Gmail not only adds invitations to your calendar but also other events, such as flight departures, which it sees when you receive a travel itinerary. Having your flight departures automatically added to your calendar could be a huge convenience, but it could also be an annoyance. For example, my mother went on vacation and forwarded me her travel itinerary, so Google Calendar alerted me that I had a flight leaving soon, even when it wasn’t me who was traveling.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)If you change one or both of these settings, you should eliminate the possibility of Google calendar spam. However, it’s lame that you should even have to do this.Google should change the default setting so that its calendar doesn’t add events from unknown senders. And the company’s tools should be smart enough to know that, if an event invite belongs in the spam folder, that event shouldn’t be added to your calendar without your explicit consent. […]

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11 ways to increase free disk space in Windows 11 or Windows 10

While some folks have 4TB SSDs with plenty of space left on them, many more are wondering how they can squeeze another 50GB of capacity out of their aging 500GB boot drives. The other day, I faced just such an issue. My laptop is now five years old, still has a 500GB boot drive in it and, though I could buy one of the best SSDs and upgrade it, I don’t want to spend more money on it right now. I’m a Windows Insider and the other day, I was about to install a Windows 11 update that would take me to the latest Dev Channel build. However, I got an error message telling me that I didn’t have enough room to do the upgrade because I only had a paltry 30GB of free space! Having that little free disk space can also hurt performance as the drive scrambles to fill partially filled blocks, a process that involves reading the whole block into memory, erasing it, and then rewriting it again.Fortunately, if you’re running low on free disk space in Windows 11 or Windows 10, there are many ways to free up more GBs. Here are eleven methods I used together to recover more than 100GB on my drive. Some of these methods have trade-offs, so proceed accordingly.Use Disk Cleanup to Free Disk SpaceWindows 11 and Windows 10 have a built-in tool called Disk Cleanup, that allows you to get rid of temporary files, including Windows update files you no longer need, logs and error reports. It’s easy to use and has few trade-offs, so it was the first thing I tried.1. Launch Disk Cleanup. You can find it by using Windows search.2. Toggle on all the file categories (unless there’s one you really need to keep) and then click Ok and Delete Files to confirm. In my case, this was just 27MB worth of file savings.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Relaunch Disk Cleanup and click the “Clean up system files button.”(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Check all the file types here (unless there’s something you want to save) and click OK, then the Delete Files button when prompted to confirm. I saved 1.05GB this way.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)If you’re using Windows 11, there’s a Storage Settings Menu that shows exactly how much space you’re using for different types of data: applications, documents, pictures and even downloads in your Downloads folder. Granted, just because you have a lot of pictures, that doesn’t mean that you would want to delete them. But Storage Settings does have some recommendations you can follow.1. Navigate to Settings- >Storage.2. Make sure Storage Sense is toggled to On. This feature automatically helps you save disk space on a day-to-day basis by deleting some temporary files for you. However, enabling it is more of a benefit for the future than the present.3. Click Cleanup recommendations.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Look at the recommendations under both Temporary Files and Large or Unused files and see which you want to delete. In my case, under Temporary Files there were 38.2GB of files in my download folder that I didn’t need. So I toggled on the checkbox next to Downloads and the button to erase them.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)However, in my case, the system didn’t find much savings in the Large and Unused files section, with the largest being a 38MB audio clip I wanted to keep. It also didn’t identify any Unused apps or Files synced to the cloud.Find Gigantic or Huge Files in File ExplorerEven the Storage Settings menu can’t help you hunt down every large file you have hanging around somewhere on your drive. However, File Explorer can help you find all the files you have that are above a certain size, and you may see one or more that you don’t need anymore. By using this method, I identified 23GB of files I could safely delete.1. Launch FIle Explorer. You can get there by hitting Windows key + E.2. Navigate to This PC.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Enter size:Gigantic into the Search box. The g in Gigantic has to be capitalized or it won’t work. This searches for files that are larger than 4GB.The software may take several minutes to complete its search of the entire drive, but it will fill in files as it finds them. In my case, I found three files, each of which represented the disks of virtual machines I have used to do some testing. I decided to keep the disk for the Linux Subsystem for Windows, which I still use, and get rid of those for two VMs I probably won’t need again.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)I saved 22GB of space this way.4. Enter size:Huge into the search box and repeat the process. Huge shows files that are 1 to 4GB. Doing this, I found a few files, but only one I wanted to get rid of: a 1.4GB MP4 video.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Find Large Directories with WinDirStatWhat if the problem is not a large single file, but instead a folder full of smaller files that add up to a huge amount of space? That’s where WinDirStat, a free utility, comes in. It helps you see the size of each folder on your drive so you can identify the ones that are eating up your free space. 1. Download, install and run WinDirStat. You can find links to download it at the official site.Have some patience. It took mine about five and a half minutes to complete its task of scanning all the directories on my 500GB SSD.2. Look over the list of directories and see if you find anything you don’t need. I noticed a folder called C:pibkup on mine that was an old backup of a Raspberry Pi disk I used a long time ago. Deleting the folder and its contents saved me 18GB.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Compress Your OS to Add Free Disk SpaceWindows 11 and 10 both have a free, built-in utility called “compact” that will compress some of the operating system’s core files so they take up less space. I tried it on my laptop and it did not seem to affect performance. The amount of saved space was pretty small in my case, but when you’re desperate, every gigabyte counts.1. Open an elevated command prompt. You can do this by searching for “cmd,” right clicking the top result and selecting “run as administrator.”2. Enter compact /compactos:query at the command prompt to find out whether Compact OS has already been enabled.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)In my case, Windows responded saying that Windows had “determined” that Compact OS was not beneficial for this system. However, I tried enabling it anyway.3. Enter compact /compactos: always to enable Compact OS. The system will take a couple of minutes to do its compressing.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)This saved me 3GB, which is not a lot.Compress Folders or the Whole Drive to Save SpaceWindows 11 and 10 also have a featurethat allows you to compress any drive or folder that uses the NTFS file system. This will save some disk space, but will also hurt overall performance, as the system has to uncompress every single app and data file as you open them.  It also takes a really long time to do or undo. Nevertheless, if you’re desperate for space, this could buy you some more.1. Right-click on the folder or the Drive itself and select Properties.2. Click the Advanced button.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Toggle “Compress contents to save disk space.”(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Click Apply.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)5. Select Apply changes to this folder, subfolders … and click Ok.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)6. Click Continue if prompted for Admin permissions.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)This will now take a long time to compress, the length of time depending on the amount of files and folders. It could take hours and the results can be mixed. Compressing a 2.36GB Documents folder took just 2 and a half minutes and saved 0.36GB of space. However, when I tried to compress my whole drive, the system warned me that it would take more than 16 hours to complete!Disable System ProtectionIf you have the space, Windows System Protection is a good setting to have enabled. System Protection creates a restore point, a snapshot in time of your system that you can return to if the OS becomes unstable or won’t boot. However, even a small restore point can take up a lot of space. So if you either keep system backups on one of the best portable hard drives or SSDs or you want to live dangerously, you can disable System Protection.1. Search for “restore point” and click the top result.2. Select your boot drive (likely the C drive) and click Configure.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Toggle Disable System protection to on and click Ok(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Click Yes if prompted for permission.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)At minimum, this would have saved me 9.5GB.Uninstall Windows Features1. Navigate to the “Turn Windows features on or off” menu. You can get there by searching for “Turn Windows features.”2. Uncheck features you don’t want and click OK.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)However, most of these are really small and you might need them. I didn’t see many that I wanted to remove.Delete Recovery PartitionMost prebuilt desktops and all laptops come with a recovery partition, a small space on the boot drive that’s reserved for files Windows can use to bring the OS back to factory settings. In some cases, this is less than 1GB, but in others, it can be several gigabytes. If you keep a backup of your system, you don’t need a recovery partition. And, even if you don’t have a backup, you can always do a clean Windows 11 install. If you delete the recovery partition, you can then add it to your main partition and reclaim that space. However, you need to be careful and make sure you don’t delete a different partition by accident as doing so could cause major problems. If you accidentally delete the boot partition or the main Windows partition, you’ll lose all data on the drive and need to reinstall the OS from scratch.1. Launch an elevated command prompt.2. Enter diskpart.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Enter list disk, after which you’ll see a list of all your drives. If you have only one drive, it will be Disk 0.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)4. Enter select disk [num] where [num] is the drive number (ex: 0). So, for the C drive, it’s likely select disk 0.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)5. Enter list partition. A list of partitions will appear.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)6. Enter select partition [num] where [num] is the partition number for the recovery partition. In my case, it was 4. Make sure this is the right one.7. Enter delete partition override.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)The partition should now be gone but you need to reclaim that space for your main partition.8. Launch disk management. You can get there by searching for disk management.9. Right click on the main partition and select Extend Volume.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)10. Click Next twice to select the free space and then click Finish.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)You’ll now have those extra MBs or GBs added to your main partition.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)Disable Hibernation to Free Disk SpaceWhen you want to save power, you can put your computer to sleep or make it enter hibernation. While sleep keeps the memory powered up and the CPU in a low-power, but on state, hibernation saves the contents of your RAM to disk so that the computer uses much less power. Even if you never choose to use hibernation, your laptop is probably taking advantage of it without you knowing. If you put your computer to sleep and the battery drains to a certain point, modern laptops will automatically switch themselves to hibernation.So, in general, we think that leaving hibernation enabled is a good thing. However, if you want to save space and are willing to sacrifice this ability, you can disable hibernation, which will free up the amount of disk space your RAM would take up.1. Launch an elevated command prompt.2. Enter powercfg /h offYou will now save the amount of space that hibernation takes up, which is roughly the amount of RAM you have, though in my case it was 6GB instead of the 16GB of RAM I have. However, you will lose the ability to put your PC into hibernation mode. I decided not to take this trade-off, but you might think differently.Delete Apps You Are No Longer UsingI saved this space-saving method for last, because it almost goes without saying. When you’re short on space, it’s wise to look at what applications you have installed and see if there are one or two that you don’t need anymore.1. Navigate to Settings- >Apps- >Installed apps in Windows 11 or Settings- >Apps in WIndows 10.2. Sort by app size Large to Small.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)3. Click the … next to an app you want to uninstall and select uninstall.(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)I saved 2.27GB by getting rid of Windows Subsystem for Android, which I never ever use. If you have games on your PC that you’re not currently playing, you could save a lot more space as some of today’s hottest titles use more than 100GB.Not all of the methods above are worth the trade-offs. I did not want to keep hibernation disabled on my laptop and I found that compressing the whole disk was too time-consuming and probably would harm performance, so I only compressed one folder. Also, I found that after conducting some of these steps, such as Disk Cleanup, I had more free space than I expected, which could mean that more temporary files were erased than I thought. However, after a concerted effort, I was left with 188GB free, more than enough to be comfortable.  […]