X 00:00 /01:32 Ed MayberryLars Gert Lose is the Ambassador of Denmark to the United StatesLars Lose was appointed to his post just over a year ago, after having served as foreign policy adviser for the Danish prime minister. A typical day for the ambassador revolves around promoting trade opportunities with Denmark, as well as working with Washington on fighting terrorism and dealing with conflicts around the world.“I think the idea of an ambassador making, you know, secret deals in dark corners, smoke-filled dark corners of the room — those days are gone,” Lose said. “What we do today is we do a lot of commercial work. I think about 60 percent of my time is helping Danish businesses getting established in the, in the U.S.”But the job also centers on diplomatic work on security and foreign policy, “talking to people in the State Department and the White House — coordinating,” Lose said. “Denmark is a very transatlantic country, together with the UK, probably the most transatlantic country in Europe. We are firmly anchored in NATO and cooperate with the U.S. whenever we can.” Lose was in Houston to talk to the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas about trade opportunities between Texas and Denmark. There’s a significant presence of Danish businesses here.“We actually have 655 Danish companies in the U.S., creating more than 62,000 jobs in the U.S.I think it’s pretty for a small country like Denmark, and Houston is the cornerstone in all that. Ten percent of the Danish companies have a presence here, so it’s really important to Denmark. We create jobs for more than 5,000 people in Texas.”Denmark is one of 92 countries with consulates here in Houston. Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share
February 5, 2018 This story originally appeared on PCMag Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global If you haven’t seen it by now, Amazon’s Super Bowl LII commercial is fairly clever. Kudos to the company for coming up with a fun way to mash together celebrities and Alexa without it feeling overly cheesy or trying-too-hard. More importantly, a big thanks to Amazon’s engineers who came up with an ingenious way to broadcast the “A word” without it triggering everyone’s Echos — whatever version of the device you own.The most annoying thing about watching any YouTube video or televised commercial that mentions Alexa is that it typically triggers your Echo device to get ready to respond to a query. Or worse, the person you’re watching who says “Alexa” just keeps on babbling, which then makes your Echo do something you didn’t want it to do — or just apologize for being unable to do whatever commands it tried to interpret.And since Amazon definitely wanted its Super Bowl LII to mention she-who-shall-not-be-named, and refer to her frequently, the company had to come up with a different way to do so in order to avoid hacking off everyone who already owns an Echo device.The solution? Acoustic fingerprinting.”The trick is to suppress the unintentional waking of a device while not incorrectly rejecting the millions of people engaging with Alexa every day,” said Shiv Vitaladevuni, a senior manager on the Alexa Machine Learning team, in an Amazon blog post.Though Amazon isn’t detailing the specific techniques its using to keep your Echo from triggering from its Super Bowl advertising, Bloomberg notes that a Reddit user, Asphyhackr, might have figured out Amazon’s secret.”I did a little research tonight and found that the Echo, while it’s processing the wake word, searches the Audio Spectrum and if is significantly quieter in the area of 4000hz to 5000hz, she will not wake for the word,” Asphyhackr writes.”I found that when I analyzed the spectrum of them saying her name, the spectrums were significantly quieter in the range of 3000hz to 6000hz. In some of those recordings, those frequencies appeared to be non-existent. In others it appeared like the boosted the surrounding frequencies to make the Echo see a gap in the spectrum.”In other words, if your Echo (Best Price at Amazon) notices something strange happening in the audio spectrum, it realizes that it should ignore whatever is being said — like “Alexa.” And while this works well when Amazon has a planned announcement to make, like an advertisement, the company has to get a bit more creative when it can’t anticipate the large-scale broadcast of its digital helper’s name.”When multiple devices start waking up simultaneously from a broadcast event, similar audio is streaming to Alexa’s cloud services. An algorithm within Amazon’s cloud detects matching audio from distinct devices and prevents additional devices from responding. The dynamic fingerprinting isn’t perfect, but as many as 80 to 90 percent of devices won’t respond to these broadcasts thanks to the dynamic creation of the fingerprints,” reads Amazon’s blog. 3 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.