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.

Latest News in Brain Science

New Substance improves brain function of Alzheimer’s disease

Dated: 28 July 2017

Read More: Dementia: new substance improves brain function

Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease is at this moment an incurable disease and affects 50 million people worldwide. Amyloid beta, which are chunks of organic compounds, that is responsible for Alzheimers. These organic compounds, simply put, are leftovers from when the Amyloid precursor protein is broken down by two enzymes known as Beta-secretase 1 (BACE) and Gamma Secretase.

Recently, scientists from the Technical University of Munich discovered that a substance which inhibit the enzyme, BACE, improves the memory performance and restore normal function of nerve cells in animal models, and that the substance must be given as early as possible. A clinical trial is being planned with 1000 participant and the scientists are hoping that the discoveries found in animal models is also applicable in humans.

New drug found to provide longer relief for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson’s disease

Summary:

Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is also an incurable disease. The only difference is that it comes on slowly over time and is manageable through drugs and surgery until the patients develop dementia. As of 2015, it affects 6.2 million people and caused 117,400 deaths globally 1.

Currently, the drugs given to Parkinson’s sufferers are intended to help manage the condition rather than cure. Sufferers need to take multiple medication, multiple times a day.

Researchers at Binghamton University developed a new drug called D-512, which is currently in pre-clinical phase. The new drug has fewer side effects than current drugs such as ropinirole, and last longer when providing relief. The drug itself is also an antioxidant which is important since oxidative stress is a major cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Autistic people are less likely to be surprised by the unexpected

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Summary:

Normal people tends to get surprised by the unexpected due to their expectations. However, researchers found that autistic people, especially those with more pronounced symptoms, were less surprised when dealing with sudden changes.

Paraphrasing Dr. Lawson, “When we are uncertain about our own beliefs, we are driven more by our senses rather than prior expectations. People with autism may be expecting more volatility and thus it may be the reason why they tend to suffer from sensory overload, and their enhanced perceptual functioning and context insensitivity.”

The study also found that the ability to form expectations was related to the severity of communication problem in autistic people.