Hyundai Now Offers an Android Car, Even For Current Owners

An anonymous reader writes: Looking more like a computer company than a car company, Hyundai ships Android Auto on 2015 Sonatas and unlocks it for owners of the 2015 Sonata with a software update. Says the article: To enable Android Auto, existing 2015 Hyundai Sonata owners outfitted with the Navigation feature can download an update to a USB drive, plug it into the car’s USB port, and rewrite the software installed in the factory on the head-unit. When the smartphone is plugged into the head-unit with a USB cable, the user is prompted to download Android Auto along with mobile apps. Android Auto requires Android 5.0 or above.

That sounds like a good description of how I’d like my car’s head unit to work — and for that matter, I’d like access to all of the software.

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Roboto: Google’s signature font is now open source

The Roboto family of fonts, and the toolchain used in creating it, are now an open source project. Roboto is Google’s signature font, created by Google designer Christian Robertson. It is the default font used in Android and Chrome OS, and is the recommended font for Google’s visual language, Material Design.

The font files for the Roboto family of fonts were first released under the Apache license as part of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in 2011. With this launch, we are making Roboto a true open source project, with a revamped font production toolchain that is completely based on open source software.

Another key improvement in the Roboto font family has been the vast expansion of its character coverage to include all Latin, Cyrillic and Greek characters in Unicode 7.0, as well as the currency symbol for the Georgian lari, to be published in Unicode 8.0. For the expansion, the number of glyphs provided in the fonts more than tripled in number, going from around 13,000 (1071 per font) to more than 40,000 (3350 per font). An earlier version of the expanded font family is included in Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and later.

This project involved close collaboration between various teams at Google: Material Design, Internationalization Engineering, Google Fonts and Android.

The Roboto open source project lives at Bug reports and other contributions are welcome.

By Roozbeh Pournader, Android Text team

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Easily Add a Shutdown Switch to a Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a power switch, which means you have to remember to actually properly shut it down every time you want to turn it off. If you don’t feel like running those extra commands, Instructables user AndrewH7 shows you how to easily add a shutdown switch.

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C|M|LAW and Lake Erie College to Offer Joint Bachelor’s/Law Degree

C|M|LAW and Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio have teamed up to offer a 3+3 Joint Bachelors/Law Accelerated Degree Program. Students will have the opportunity to complete both a bachelor’s and law degree in six years, instead of the normal seven. In this accelerated program, students will receive their undergraduate degree from Lake Erie College […]

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How Lawyers Can Survive the AI-pocalypse

[Ed. Note: Please welcome Guest-Blogger, Matt Coatney as he gives us some insight on how to deal with the smart machines and AI technologies coming our way.]

Much has been said about how technology will disrupt the legal profession and spell the end of lawyers. From Richard Susskind’s End of Lawyers? to IBM Watson, the future does not look bright for those that practice law. Even experts originally optimistic about the technology boom are now more cautious based on new data. With all the doom and gloom, is there anything lawyers can do to at least postpone the inevitable?

A recent HBR article titled Beyond Automation argues that instead of bemoaning automation, we should focus on augmentation: people and smart machines working together. The authors lay out five strategies people can use to not only stay relevant but thrive in areas where advanced technology threatens to replace them. Here are the strategies and how they apply to lawyers.

1. Step Up

Stepping up in the context of smart machines means to stay ahead of them in terms of quality and sophistication. If technology will one day handle all of our mundane legal work – research, document drafting, and the like – then lawyers can focus more of their attention on business development, running their practice, and handling increasingly complex issues. In other words, lawyers should continue to push down work, but technology will handle more of the associate-level tasks.

What to do: Lawyers need to broaden their skills beyond a firm grasp of the law. They should pursue classes and continuing education in areas like business, marketing and technology. Law schools need to offer and require a more diverse program of classes, and law firms need to make this type of professional development a priority.

2. Step Aside

Smart machines are getting smarter, but for now they do not possess a nuanced understanding of human emotion and creativity (hold the lawyer jokes, please). Stepping aside means leveraging more of our creative, non-analytical thinking. Some areas will remain the purview of people for awhile at least. Take jury trials. Advanced technology will soon take over the role of jury selection by combining big data and predictive analytics. But lawyers will still be needed during the trial, as the complex interplay of judge, witnesses, and jurors requires someone who can relate with people, pick up subtle emotional cues, and control the situation.

What to do: Lawyers should focus on the human aspect of the law, where smart machines cannot compete. Lawyers, schools and firms need to focus education and growth in areas like emotional intelligence to stay competitive.

3. Step In

I have seen people accomplish amazing things working with smart machines. R&D chemists now find new drug leads in hours instead of months, and NGOs enact new policies based on big data findings, without the need for extensive field studies. Lawyers can do the same, and in some cases like legal research already have. Think of what lawyers can accomplish working with systems like the IBM Watson-powered Ross at their side.

Some lawyers, like tech-savvy IP attorneys, will have a leg up on those less familiar with new technology. Lawyers and firms can mitigate this by hiring, training, and leaning on a sophisticated administrative team of technologists and business analysts. But lawyers will need to treat these professionals as equal partners, not subordinates to handle their busy work.

What to do: Lawyers will need to hone their technology knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. Law schools and firms need to make advanced technology a part of their curriculum and continuing education efforts.

4. Step Narrowly

Thanks to capitalism, there will remain nooks and crannies of the law where smart machines do not go. These niches are too specific for companies to make serious money on their technology investments, and they will move on to bigger opportunities. Lawyers, however, will still be able to carve out a healthy business, especially if they are solo or small firms with little overhead.

What to do: If you are already a lawyer in a high-value niche, congratulations! Stay there and defend your turf. For those in a more general practice, think about what specific areas you are most passionate about and begin to build expertise and a professional brand in that space.

5. Step Forward

As the saying goes, if you cannot beat them, join them. This strategy has lawyers stepping right into the thick of the smart machine revolution. They don’t just use the technology, they help build the next generation of tools. Whether working for a software company or remaining a practicing lawyer who partners with vendors, good work will be had for some time training these machines to be smarter and more human. Lawyers that are able to innovate and create new smart applications can also make significantly more money than the traditional billable hour.

What to do: Lawyers that are tech-savvy can explore opportunities with software companies and other corporations that need people with blended skill sets. Others can look to partner with tech-savvy colleagues or technology vendors. Law schools need to teach more courses on technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. And law firms need to be open to new business models and ways of doing business.

Final Thoughts

Lawyers that embrace change and continually look for ways to add more value can stay ahead of the curve. Which strategy is best will depend on the relative strengths and interests of individual lawyers and the firm as a whole. Many of these strategies mix and match well and can be experimented with to see if they are a right fit for your personality and corporate culture.

One thing is certain though: it is a matter of when, not if, lawyers will be forced to compete for business against those using smart machines. Some say we are already at that point. If you watch what IBM, Google, Microsoft, Baidu and others have accomplished in the last few years, especially in the field of deep learning, you may start thinking the same.

Matt Coatney is an AI expert, data scientist, software developer, technology executive, author, and speaker. His mission is to improve how we interact with smart machines by making software smarter and teaching people how to work (and cope) with advanced technology. Great things happen when smart people and smart machines work together toward a common goal.
Follow Matt on LinkedIn and on Twitter @mattdcoatney. Follow the conversation at #BridgingTheAIGap.

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How to install Wine applications easily with Winetricks

Working with Linux may bring various incompatibility issues sooner or later, no matter the case of use. You’ll either need to run commercial software that offers no Linux version, or just keep using games and applications that you preferred to use when you were back at Windows. Whatever the need, Wine is your only chance.

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Show HN: Tock, a Time Tracking Tool by 18F

May 21, 2015

Tagged /


how we work

by Sean Herron

One of the most important questions we ask ourselves when starting a
project is if we should “build” or “buy.” Do we develop a custom piece
of software that meets our needs exactly or use an existing solution
(open source software or a paid service)? At 18F, we have that
conversation nearly every day, both for projects with our partner
agencies and for internal ones, which help our team work faster and more

I recently spent time helping with one of our internal frustrations —
how members of 18F track how we spend our time. 18F operates many of our
projects under the Economy Act. For the uninitiated, this means that all
project costs must be billed to the partner agency. 18F walks a fine
line. We cannot make a profit on our work, nor can we take a loss.
Thus, it is critical that we manage time and money responsibly, both for
our own accounting and for the taxpayers who support our work.

For a long time, our internal time tracking looked something like this:

Old time tracking screenshot

Every week, our operations team dutifully created a giant Google Sheets
spreadsheet and shared it with the entire team. As we grew, the number
of rows multiplied, and the number of columns increased, making it more
and more difficult to manage. Our last spreadsheet time tracker had 55
line items and over 60 employees, and it was clear this process would
not scale. Our operations team and product leads had the unenviable task
of ensuring people didn’t accidently type in the wrong cell. Once the
timesheet was completed, they then had to spend even more time
converting the spreadsheet into account statements that we could send to
our partners. While this approach worked well when we were a small group
of twenty, as we grew to over a hundred, we realized the time spent
maintaining the spreadsheets was unsustainable.

We needed something new.

Evaluating options

Many people would say tracking time is a solved problem — endless tools
and services exist to help organizations like ours do it well. Before we
started looking at what was available, we conducted some minor usability
research among both reporters of time (everyone at 18F) and backend time
processors (the operations team). Out of those conversations, a few
things became clear:

  • We wanted the flexibility to record time in either hours per week or a percentage of a given allotment of hours.

  • No one wanted another login. Luckily, another 18F project (MyUSA) does a great job at authentication. Thank you!

  • We needed to customize the periods in which we record time (such as by fiscal year, weeks with federal holidays, etc.)

  • Ideally, we wanted to record enough information that later developments could allow the system to provide real-time information on project costs to our partners.

  • Ideally, we wanted the system to help others inside 18F better understand not only how much our employees are working but also how they are spending their time.

  • To minimize our footprint, we want to deploy something on 18F’s new platform as a service, which would take care of many of our operational and security concerns.

We looked at the available products, weighing options that met our
criteria, and estimating how much time we would spend if we built a
custom solution. Ultimately, we opted to try rolling our own simple
solution using Django, a Python framework both I and Dave Zvenyach (a
fellow 18Fer who volunteered to help) have experience in. Although
building our own solution meant we would need to spend time developing
and maintaining a system into the future, we felt that something so
critical the entire team touches it every week was important enough that
we really wanted to make the user experience as simple and easy as
possible. We also felt this was a great opportunity to try out our
internal platform as a service and flex our Python muscles.

Building things out

The first prototype took about day to build and deploy. We built it
entirely in the open (see our GitHub repository) and immediately put it online for the team to test.

Prototype screenshotThe first iteration of Tock

At the core, this is a very simple Django site. We have four main
models, or types of information:


A person who is reporting time. We integrated with MyUSA so 18F
employees are automatically logged into Tock based on their email
address. No passwords here!

Reporting periods

The timespan we are recording, for example, the week of May 11 to May


The individual line items we record time against. Every 18F project gets
a line item, and we also have general line items for things like “out of
office” or time spent on 18F-focused activities, such as our weekly
all-hands meeting.


The glue that holds everything together. Each user gets one timecard for
every reporting period, on which they report each project and how much
time they’ve spent on it.

Although this initial effort didn’t do everything one could ever want in
a time tracking system, the core functionality worked, and we had a
viable prototype.

Sharing with the team

We asked everyone at 18F to try Tock for a week and report back. Initial
feedback was very positive:

“Tock has made accurate reporting of how we spend our time at work much

“Before Tock, I used to hate Mondays.”

As with any project at 18F, people were also quick to provide a lot of
constructive feedback as to how to make the experience even better. For
example, now that time tracking was much easier, our list of projects
grew rapidly as people tried to strike the right balance between
capturing work accurately and forcing users to browse a long list of
random things:

List screenshotSo many items!

We fixed this, in part, by providing an auto-select based on
Chosen, an open source tool
designed specifically for this purpose. Now, Tock users can search by
either the project or partner agency name when selecting a line item:

Line screenshot

The future of time

We’ve had Tock in operation for a little over one month. So far our time
investment has proven well worth the results. Our operations team spends
less time tracking hours spent on projects, members of 18F are relieved
to leave the monster spreadsheet behind, and the Tock team had a great
opportunity to build a small, fun app. We now have a solution that works
they way we do. Hopefully, it can be the useful solution for other
organizations as well.

Think Tock may be a good solution for you? Check out the code on
GitHub. Would you like to be recording
your time spent helping make the government awesome in Tock?
Well…we’re hiring!

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