WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers must tighten farm subsidy rules to make sure the money goes only to active farmers and landowners, a congressional report said on Tuesday, warning that millions of dollars are at stake.
A robot that can mimic human handwriting has been put to work creating notes you can send from your iPhone. The cards are generated by Bond, an iOS app from a new luxury gift-giving company of the same name, and are mostly meant for corporate relations purposes. But for us, the main attraction is that Bond employs a handwriting robot.
Imitating human cursive is not as simple as printing a font. Back-of-the-envelope math suggests there’s a few hundred thousand ways that a four-letter word’s letters can connect to each other with ligatures—or not, as the case may be. The fluidity of movement required to apply human-like amounts of pressure at the right points and not create inkblots is still a relatively recent area of research in robotics.
A handwriting bot still occupies about the same usefulness territory as the current generation of 3D-printers; that is, the process is sufficiently finicky and cumbersome that the average person may have an easier time just writing out a note themselves. But for those too rushed to calligraph individual cards (and affluent enough to pay someone else to do it), the Bond handwriting bot is waiting.
“Sources familiar with the matter” are telling AllThingsD that Apple’s next product announcement will be taking place on October 22 and that the event will likely focus on new iPads, the Mac Pro, and OS X 10.9 Mavericks. AllThingsD has a strong track record when it comes to Apple news (the publication correctly predicted the company’s September 10 iPhone event), and the date would make sense given the iPad-focused announcements Apple made in October of 2012. If Apple’s scheduling is the same as it normally is, look for official invitations to go out at some point next Tuesday.
Apple refreshed a good-sized chunk of its product line in September—its event on September 10 gave us iOS 7 and a pair of new iPhones. The iMac was quietly refreshed with new Haswell CPUs a couple of weeks later. That said, much of Apple’s lineup is still due for some sprucing up. The larger iPad is expected to get a physical redesign to bring it more in line with the iPad mini, and the mini may (or may not) be getting a Retina display to go with the expected internal upgrades. Both Retina MacBook Pros and the new Mac Pro that Apple first teased back in June are also due for a release date, and all of these product lines are sufficiently high-profile that we could see them sharing stage time with the iPads at the event (the Mac mini is also due for a Haswell refresh, but don’t expect Apple to dwell much on its smallest, cheapest Mac). Both the redesigned 2012 iMac and the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro were unveiled at last year’s October event, and the recent Golden Master build of OSX 10.9 gives Apple even more reason to talk up its Macs.
Analysts are also looking for an all-new (perhaps watch-shaped) product line, but if it’s coming, Apple’s notoriously sieve-like supply chain has yet to give us any indication. We would expect an event that focuses primarily on the iPads and on Apple’s professional Macs at this point. Whatever is announced, we’ll be covering the events as they happen, and we’ll be giving the review treatment to any new hardware and software that Apple sees fit to release.