Friday Tech News Roundup #24

Below are 10 tech news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Google hired professional photographers to help train its AI cameraHow – did Google get Clips, its AI-powered camera, to learn to automatically take the best shots of users and their families? Well, as the company explains in a new blog post, its engineers went to the professionals — hiring “a documentary filmmaker, a photojournalist, and a fine arts photographer” to produce visual data to train the neural network powering the camera. The Verge

Lyft employees may have improperly looked at customer data – As Uber goes, so does Lyft, apparently. The ride-hailing company says it’s investigating whether some of its employees abused access clearances and looked into customers’ information, with one saying it went on for “too long.” The Verge

Singtel to offer Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in cellular service from Feb 9 – Singtel will be the first telco in Singapore to offer a new model of the Apple Watch Series 3 which has a built-in cellular service, from Feb 9, according to a statement on Friday (Jan 26). Business Insider

Spotify user? You may as well forget about Apple HomePod – Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker is finally launching on Feb. 9. There are a dozen reasons why you shouldn’t buy one — it’s kind of big, it’s expensive, it doesn’t support the ballyhooed multi-room audio at launch, Siri (lol) — but my biggest concern hinges on its key selling point: music. Mashable

Apple raises privacy concerns by putting medical records on iPhones – Apple wants to put your medical history in the palm of your hand. The tech giant confirmed Wednesday that it intends to allow customers access to their medical records via iPhones on iOS 11.3 beta. But like with so many things in the world of highly personal data, putting medical information on a digitally connected device is not without risk — and how it all shakes out could have a huge impact on the lives of millions. Mashable

Firefox’s Quantum update will block websites from tracking you 24/7 – Mozilla’s speedy Firefox Quantum browser hit the ground running when it rolled out in November. On Tuesday, Mozilla released an update to the browser, called Firefox 58. Its most significant feature: 24/7 tracking protection. Mashable

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem – “The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved,” proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and received a patent for a “processor design, which allows representation of real numbers accurate to the last digit.” The patent (No. 9,817,662, “Apparatus for Calculating and Retaining a Bound on Error During Floating Point Operations and Methods Thereof”) was issued on November 14, 2017. HPCWire

Apple could be redesigning the iBooks app – As AppleInsider first spotted, the first beta of iOS 11.3 includes a subtle change. iBooks is now called Books. And Mark Gurman thinks it could be a sign that there will be bigger changes with Apple’s ebook reading app. Techcrunch

You can now buy a Surface Laptop with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed – Microsoft’s productivity-focused Surface Laptops were met with a fairly positive reception when they launched back in May. However, not everybody was a fan of the devices’ stripped-down Windows 10 S operating systems. The OS, created to compete with Google’s lightweight Chrome OS, only allows customers to download and use apps from the Microsoft Store. Techspot

Fitbit to end support for Pebble smartwatches in June – Fitbit on Wednesday said it would be extending its support of the Pebble smartwatch ecosystem for an additional six months, until June 30, 2018. Techspot


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

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


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


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


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.