10 Tech News Roundup #8

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share – TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Techcrunch

Apple is looking into reports of iPhone 8 batteries swelling – Reports from a few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus buyers have suggested there could be an issue with the battery inside some of the devices swelling, causing the case of Apple’s new iPhone to split open and expose the smartphone’s internals. Techcrunch

Apple gave Uber the keys to your iPhone screen, and it was all super shady – Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Uber is a shady company. Mashable

The Pixel’s missing headphone jack proves Apple was right – When it launched the iPhone 7 a year ago, Apple confidently declared the headphone jack obsolete technology that we could learn to live without. The Verge

HP is ditching the last serious Windows phone – HP has canceled plans to build out a line of Windows phones due to Microsoft’s general disinterest in continuing to battle Google and Apple on mobile. The Verge

Analyst and execs say Microsoft might kill off the Surface line by 2019 – With its new Pixelbook 2-in-1, it appears as if Google is trying to take on Microsoft and its laptop-tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro. But several big names within the industry think the Windows maker will drop its Surface lineup by 2019, if not sooner. Techspot

Microsoft has an Edge on iOS and Android handsets – Do you use Microsoft Edge? While I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with Microsoft’s newest browser, I have to admit it’s fast and slick. Techreport

The rise of female e-gamers in Singapore – SINGAPORE: A marketing executive by day, female gamer Calyn Koh heads straight for her home computer after work. Channel Newsasia

Outside criticism forced YouTube to change its search results after Las Vegas shooting conspiracy theories spread – YouTube is revamping the way its search algorithm picks videos to display on the site, after a spate of clips promoting false conspiracy theories about Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting were prominently featured on its site. Business Insider

Google Compute Engine goes a little crazy with up to 96 CPU cores and 624 GB of memory – If you’ve got a resource-hungry app, Google Compute Engine’s latest offering has you covered. Techcrunch

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10 Tech News Roundup #7

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Apple would like to remind the FCC that it can’t activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones don’t have – Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that “urged” Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. Techcrunch

Amazon still has no idea why Google pulled Youtube from the Echo Show – Even as Amazon unveiled a whole new collection of Echo devices, it was still smarting from one major partner’s decision to block video content from its big-screen Echo Show. Mashable

Apple could bring the iPhone X’s best feature to future models — without the OLED screen – Apple’s newest iPhones force customers to make a difficult choice: Should they upgrade immediately to the iPhone 8, or spend $1,000 and wait for the iPhone X and leave bezels behind with its glorious edge-to-edge OLED display? Mashable

NASA delays launch of the world’s most powerful space telescope, again – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has experienced another delay. The Verge

US Exascale Program – Some Additional Clarity – The last time we left the Department of Energy’s exascale computing program in July, things were looking very positive. HPCWire

BlackBerry, yes BlackBerry, is making a comeback as a software company – When you think about dead companies walking, BlackBerry was clearly one that came to mind, but under the leadership of CEO John Chen, the company is actually making a comeback as a software company focused on security, and it’s latest quarterly earnings report suggests the pivot is working splendidly. Techcrunch

Oracle’s board will unanimously reject a shareholder request for a gender pay gap audit – Et tu, Safra? When Oracle meets for its annual shareholder meeting on November 15, the board of directors will vote to reject a shareholder proposal requesting that the company do a payroll audit to check for a gender pay gap. Business Insider

Nvidia boss: Moore’s Law is dead, GPUs will soon replace CPUs – Nvidia boss Jensen Huang has become the latest expert to declare that Moore’s Law is dead. Speaking at the GPU Technology conference in Beijing, China, the CEO also said that advancements in graphics processors mean GPUs will soon replace CPUs, DigiTimes reports. Techspot

GovTech signs deal with Tableau to equip public officers with visual analytics skills – SINGAPORE: At least 1,500 public officers in Singapore will be equipped with skills in visual analytics over the next three years, after the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) signed a memorandum of intent with Tableau Software on Friday (Sep 29). Channel Newsasia

The list grows: Whole Foods hit by hackers – Whole Foods Market — which was recently acquired by tech giant Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) — said Thursday that hackers were able to gain access to credit card information for customers who made purchases at some of its in-store taprooms and restaurants. CNN

10 Tech News Roundup #6

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Google Cloud adds support for more powerful Nvidia GPUs – Google Cloud Platform announced support for some powerful Nvidia GPUs on Google Compute Engine today. Techcrunch

Why video games cost so much to make – Video game publishers are notoriously secretive about the budgets behind their games, but when a number does slip out, it can be shocking. Techspot

Apple Watch Series 3 reviews are in, see what the experts think – Apple’s smartwatch took a big step forward last week with the introduction of LTE connectivity on the new Apple Watch Series 3. Techspot

Apple will bring back iPhone’s 3D Touch multitasking gesture in future iOS 11 update – Apple executive Craig Federighi has apparently confirmed that a popular 3D Touch gesture for the iPhone that was removed in iOS 11.0 will be returning in an upcoming software update. The Verge

Netflix adds HDR support for iPhone X and iPad Pro – Netflix already streams HDR video on the new Apple TV 4K, so it only makes sense for the company to add support for Apple’s HDR-ready iOS devices as well. The Verge

Intel shows off 10-nm Cannon Lake wafer and talks process tech – Intel does fine work as a silicon designer, but its manufacturing technology is probably what truly sets the company apart from its competitors. TechReport

Google acquires part of HTC’s smartphone business for $1.1 billion – Google and HTC have officialized a deal under which a portion of HTC employees, many of whom were already working with Google developing Pixel phones, will join Google. Techspot

13 hidden features in iOS 11 – You don’t need to buy an iPhone 8 (or an iPhone X for that matter) to get that shiny, new-iPhone feeling.Mashable

Apple’s iOS 11 gives the iPad the boost it desperately needed – Every new version of iOS in the last decade has always put the iPhone first. Mashable

The Ionic is a smartwatch only diehard Fitbit fans would love – If the Ionic smartwatch is the best Fitbit can do, the company might be doomed, and the Apple Watch has nothing to worry about. Mashable

Journal #167 – Updated to iOS 11 and Out of iCloud Storage

Normally, I will wait at least a week before updating my software, especially if it is the operating system. This time around, I updated my Apple devices as soon as the iOS 11 update is out.

The first device that I updated was my iPad Pro because it was not really a critical device. Yes, I use it to do my writing, browse the web, watch YouTube video but I could do those on my other devices too. That’s why I classify it as non-critical. After a slight hesitation, I went to update my iPhone 6S, which is my work phone.

While the update went on, I went to eat my breakfast and use my other iPhone. Since yesterday, my iCloud storage was full and I didn’t know why. I tried to clean up my backups and remove apps data but it didn’t help. So I went to sign up for 50GB of iCloud storage.

I used iCloud primarily for syncing my writing across my Apple devices. And I have since stopped using OneDrive for such purpose. One primarily reason for that was because of Microsoft’s lack of per-file encryption unless we use the business plan. Their stance on privacy hasn’t been very clear and during the iPhone 5 unlocking fiasco, Microsoft’s stance made me think twice about using their services. So I only store non-sensitive information on OneDrive.

By the time I was done eating, and the storage space upgraded, the update on all both devices were done. I went and finished configuring the devices before going for a shower.

After that, I went to update the remaining iPhone. It took quite a while before it was done. I left house for work and reached office much later than usual. I mean I tend to reach 10 minutes after the official start time these days but today was 15 minutes later.

I will proceed to update my Apple Watch tonight to WatchOS 4.

Anyway, I also went to verify the findings of this article by Ryan Lau about how Apple is no longer attentive to details. I found them all.

Dear Apple, where that 5% extra effort?

iOS 11 came with a whole bunch of new features and I’m sure you can Google for them. But there is something that caught my eye in iOS 11. It is a shutdown function hidden away in the Settings > General. But why is it here?

I shall go and play with the new features in iOS 11.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

10 Tech News Roundup #5

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

The wireless chargers at Starbucks will get updated to support iPhone X and 8 – Yes, you should be able to charge your new iPhone X or iPhone 8 at Starbucks. Techcrunch

DARPA Pledges Another $300 Million for Post-Moore’s Readiness – Yesterday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a giant funding effort to ensure the United States can sustain the pace of electronic innovation vital to both a flourishing economy and a secure military. HPCWire

The iPhone X’s Face ID could be a troubling harbinger of what’s to come – The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your face is almost certainly the door to your wallet. Oh, and also the last vestiges of your privacy. Mashable

An Apple executive just revealed tasty new details about Face ID we didn’t know – Apple’s iPhone X is here, and with it comes a new controversial features: Face ID. Mashable

WhatsApp’s unsend feature will soon let users delete shameful messages – Thanks to the numerous messaging apps available today, communicating with each other has never been easier. Techspot

Facebook Messenger Day hits 70M daily users as the app reaches 1.3B monthlies – Facebook has finally revealed how its Snapchat Stories clone is doing, though it’s not seeing the same explosive growth as Instagram or WhatApp’s version Techcrunch

Apple is turning a design quirk into the iPhone X’s defining feature – Draw me an iPhone. The lines may be squiggly, the rounded corners imperfect, but almost everyone you pose this challenge to will present you with the shape of a rectangle containing another rectangle sat atop a circle. The Verge

Ad industry attacks Safari’s effort to protect your privacy – When Safari 11 arrives on iPhones and Macs later this month, Apple’s browser will come with a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention that makes it harder for advertisers and publishers to track what you do online. CNET

Singapore public organisation faced state-sponsored cyberattack last year: CSA – SINGAPORE: An unidentified public organisation in Singapore faced a foreign “state-sponsored” cyberattack late last year, according to a report released by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) on Thursday (Sep 15).
Channel NewsAsia

Singtel launches unlimited data mobile plans – SINGAPORE: Singtel on Friday (Sep 15) launched mobile plans offering unlimited data, two weeks after rivals StarHub and M1 unveiled similar plans catering to data-hungry consumers.
Channel NewsAsia

Journal #160 – New Apple Products

On 12 September 2017 (13 September @ 0100hrs, Singapore time), Apple hosted a keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple Park Campus.

I actually stayed up from 0100hrs to 0330hrs Singapore to watch the whole event live on my MacBook Pro.

At that event, they announced new products spanning four product categories: Apple Retail Store, Apple TV, iPhone and Apple Watch.

For Apple retail store, SVP for retail, Angela, announced that many stores will be upgraded to become lifestyle centers or town plazas in various part of the world for people to gather. New concept designs will also be introduced and implemented at the stores with around 100 planned by the end of the year. She also promoted the Today at Apple events, and the stores will be increasing number of seats, improving the audio, and 50,000 beacons will be installed at 400 stores across 30 countries. If you are wondering about what I mean by beacons, you can read more here.

WatchOS 4 was next to be announced and it features new watch faces, and existing functionalities are expanded. One such functionality is the heart rate monitor. It will be better at detecting issues such as atrial filtration, a potential deadly condition. Activity tracking is also improved to allow better switching of workouts, can download gym equipment data. Apple Music on the watch is also getting an upgrade, featuring automatic recommendations, multiple playlists, and a better UI.

Remember the rumor about LTE-enabled Watch? Turns out it’s true. Apple announced Watch series 3. The LTE-enabled watch is now able to handle phone calls, and stream music without the need for the iPhone. Other upgrades include ability to connect to the AirPods to listen to music. Instead of using an actual SIM card, the Watch uses e-SIM.

I am personally very excited about the LTE-version because it will allow me to go for workouts and listen to music without bringing my iPhone 7 plus out.

Apple TV now finally supports both HDR and 4K with its A10X processor. As part of the announcement, Apple also announced the expansion of the TV app for countries like Canada and Australia to include local television programs. Last but not least, 4K Contents from Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix will be included.

The biggest announcement was actually about the iPhones. Apple first announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus that use glass for phones’ bodies with color-matched, aerospace-grade aluminum band, featured True Tone display, and HDR. The cameras are also specially calibrated for augmented reality. The portrait mode is also upgraded with new lighting capabilities. The phones also come with better stereo speakers, and wireless charging. To power these phones, they use the new A11 Bionic processor with Apple designed 3-core GPU, Neural Engine for machine learning purpose and the M11 motion co-processor. These phones will be available for pre-order on 15 September at 1501pm GMT8 with iPhone 8 starting at SG$1148 and iPhone 8 Plus starting at SG$1308.

After that, Apple also announced the more “advanced”, more expensive iPhone X to mark the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone. As the rumors indicated, home button has been removed, uses Face ID instead of Touch ID, and rely more on 3D touch and gestures for most of the interaction with the phone. iPhone X also featured Super Retina display with HDR using OLED screen. The iPhone X also featured a wider display at 5.8 inches. SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, demoed how easy it is to use the iPhone X with iOS 11. Face ID is also demonstrated to be very fast. The phone will be available for pre-order from 1501hrs GMT8 with the phone starting at SG$1648.

Personally, I don’t see the need for me to buy the new iPhones because my current ones can serve me rather well for a foreseeable future. That’s the minimalist me talking and a part of me however desire to own the iPhone x.

Tech News Roundup #4

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Equifax data leak could involve 143 million consumers – Data leaks have become so commonplace that it’s incredibly easy to become numb to them, but credit reporting service Equifax announced a doozy today that when all is said and done could involve 143 million consumers. Techcrunch

Why everyone in Silicon Valley is using an app called Droplr – Staying organized and efficient is hard. And no one knows better than the fine people of Silicon Valley (no, not the show). Mashable

Smartwatches leave fitness trackers in the dust in the growing wearable market – Smartwatches finally reign supreme in the wearable world. Mashable

Facebook will spend as much as $1 billion on original TV in the next year – The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is going into the next year “willing to spend as much as $1 billion” on original video content, building out the roster of exclusive TV on its revamped video tab Watch. The Verge

My computer can’t work without talking to 21 different countries – Last week I finally installed Little Snitch, a long-running Mac utility that lets you track every connection in and out of your computer. The Verge

Teralytics wants to tap telcos’ big data to help cities get smarter about Uber and Lyft – Big data is an expansive umbrella with startups of all stripes squatting under it. Techcrunch

Razer follows through with a 36-page proposal for PM Lee – here’s what it says – A Twitter exchange between Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last month led to talks of Razer delivering a proposal for a unified e-payment system in Singapore. Business Insider

First Volta-based Nvidia DGX Systems Ship to Boston-based Healthcare Providers – The Center for Clinical Data Science (CCDS), Boston, is at the confluence of major technology trends driving the healthcare industry: AI-based diagnostics of large volumes of medical images, shared among multiple medical institutions, utilizing GPU-based neural networks. HPCWire

Google Drive to be shut down, replaced by Backup and Sync – Google’s own cloud storage platforms — Google Drive and Google Photos — are on their way out. In a blog post today, Google announced that starting December 11 both popular file sync applications will lose official support. Techspot

Apple to abandon Touch ID on iPhone 8, will instead use passcode or facial recognition – Apple originally intended to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the display on its upcoming iPhone 8. Techspot

Journal #145 – Taking Minimalism To Next Level

Earlier this year I started my journey on minimalism. Then it got more and more extreme where I am reviewing all the things that I have kept because of sentimentality and “just in case”. So I toss those sentimental and “just in case” stuff.

At the same time I decided to choose to go with a personal uniform so that I don’t need to spend so much time thinking what I want to wear for that day.

So I went to get three new olive-green colored flannels from Uniqlo.

For that three new flannels, I tossed out 12 items from my wardrobe, ranging from old shorts, t-shirts, polo shirt, and flannels.

IMG_9760

Now my wardrobe is full of unused clothes hangers but it’s ok. It just show how far I have come.

I still got more stuffs to get rid and I will spend the next month to do that.

Another thing that I will be doing is to uninstall social media apps from one of my iPhones.

I know you are probably wondering why I have two phones when I am on a minimalism journey. Well, one of them serves as a work phone and all notifications are turned off. I personally need physical objects to help me compartmentalize different aspect of my life and so the phone is one of that.

I have also decided that I don’t need the new MacBook Pro anymore or the new iPhone 8. Don’t get me wrong. I love Apple products but then I realize if something that I have now works just fine, especially electronics, there is no need to get new one. Besides, there is no 100% guarantee that the manufacturing of Apple product is 100% environmental friendly.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

10 Tech News Roundup #2

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting this week.

‘iPhone 8’ Could Start at $999 for 64GB Capacity – Multiple rumors have suggested the upcoming “iPhone 8” could be the most expensive that Apple has ever released, with several analysts calling it a “premium” device costing upwards of $1,000. MacRumors

Facebook faces another moderation scandal over migrant torture videos – Facebook is faced with yet another content-related scandal, after The Times newspaper reported that people traffickers and slave traders are using its platform to broadcast videos of migrants being tortured to try to extort money from their families. Techcrunch

Intel kicks off eighth-gen Core with four cores and eight threads in 15W – Intel is kicking off its eighth generation of Core processors this morning. Techreport

Apple to build Iowa data centre, get US$207.8m in incentives – Apple Inc is building a US$1.375 billion data center project in Waukee near Des Moines, Apple and Iowa officials said on Thursday, with US$207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Channel Newsasia

AccuWeather deflects blame after selling users’ data, even if they opt out – AccuWeather doesn’t know how to issue a reassuring statement. The Verge

The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid, Vega 64 & Vega 56 Test: 32 Games Benchmarked – The initial performance of AMD’s new Radeon RX Vega 56 may have looked a little lackluster at launch if you were expecting it to exceed the strides made by Nvidia’s year-old GTX 10 series. Techspot

Apple to Debut Apple TV With 4K HDR Support at September Event – Apple will introduce a fifth-generation Apple TV with 4K video support at an event planned for September, reports Bloomberg. MacRumors

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power – The glory of having the world’s fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China’s for four years running, first with the 33-petaflops Tianhe-2 and currently with the 93-petaflops TaihuLight. HPCWire

Google is offering a test for depression – Users in the United States who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” will now be offered a questionnaire to test their depression levels and help determine whether they should seek professional help, Google said in a blog post. CNN

Google Pixel 2 phone to launch on October 5 with Snapdragon 836, leaker claims – Google’s upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones might launch on Oct. 5. The date comes via often-accurate leaker Evan Blass, who also tweeted that the devices will run on Qualcomm’s yet-unannounced Snapdragon 836 chip. Mashable

Latest Technology Tidbits 2

LaterPay enters the US market with its media payment technology

Dated: 11 August 2017

Read More: LaterPay brings its media payment technology to the US

Summary:

Media companies will now gain access through LaterPay to a new form of business model that will allow them to monetize various pieces of content or getting users to buy a pass to their sites for a limited period of time.

It does sounds a lot like micropayment. When it comes to the internet, micropayment as a model tends to fall flat. Cosmin Ene, LaterPay’s founder and CEO, said that their technology is suppose to make the payment process as frictionless as possible. No payment information is needed when readers buy their first piece of content. It’s only when the bill reaches $5 that the users would need to pay up.

LaterPay raised an additional 5 million euros, bringing the total funds to 20 million euros, in as part of their United States expansion.

Author’s Take:

I personally never quite liked ads because they ruin the experience of a site and it’s can be full of malware. Thus I use a ad-blocker. I also don’t subscribe to news sites because there are free sources. I know that authors and journalists need to make money too. Hmm…I think this might change my stance.

Microsoft Surface products no longer recommended by Consumer Report due to reliability issues

Dated: 10 August 2017

Read More: Don’t buy these 4 Windows laptops if you care about reliability, says Consumer Reports

Additional Reference (if any): Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports

Summary:

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that tests and rates products across multiple categories has officially removed the “recommended” designation from four Microsoft laptops. They are also not recommending other products in the Surface lineup because of the poor predicted reliability.

Reliability of a given product was determined by survey of Consumer Reports subscribers and other recent studies, according to the press release. From the data collection, the organization estimated that 25% of Microsoft laptops and tablets will encounter some problem within two years of ownership.

The press release stated, this is not to say that other brands do not have issues but the difference in how unreliable Microsoft devices were was “statistically significant”.

Microsoft offered their counter statement in an email to COnsumer Reports, “Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

Author’s Take:

I did own a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 once and I didn’t use it long enough to experience any significant problem. I personally like the experience provided by the product but I do see people commenting on forums about how their devices were not working properly.

Now is a good time to upgrade that iPad of yours

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Finally, there’s a good reason to upgrade your iPad

Summary:

It’s challenging for Apple to convince users who already own an iPad to buy a newer version. The existing iPads can already do many things users wanted to do such as watching videos, surfing the web, reading news, etc.

The new iPads are just not compelling enough for these kind of users. However, with iOS 11, that situation may just change.

For photographers, they will now be able to edit photos much easier on iOS 11 for iPad with the new updated Photos app. They will now be able to edit a photo with just a few sliders. The app now also allows trimming of Live Photos so that you get to keep parts that you want, and allow you to special effects to the Live Photos.

Advanced photographers who wants more power can look into using the recently updated Adobe Lightroom for iOS, which comes with support for Apple Pencil, 3D Touch Support, and nearly all the features from the desktop version.

Author’s Take:

So with iOS 11, the “Pro” moniker of the iPad finally starts to make some sense. I personally own a iPad Pro 9.7 and I find that I use it from time to time to do creative work like drawing, or writing. With the Logitech Create keyboard for iPad, the overall footprint is small enough for me to bring it with me anywhere to do my journals and various writing projects. All the apps that I need are there and I didn’t need to bringing my MacBook out. The Apple Pencil is intuitive to use and I take notes with it.