Daily Report: A Net Neutrality Setback for Facebook in India
In the United States, the social media giant has been an advocate of equal treatment of all Internet content. In India, regulators who share that belief have effectively blocked a free Facebook service.
Smart speakers are pretty common these days. Smart displays are picking up steam, too. Google has a nice range of options with Google Assistant on board, and if you're feeling particularly brave (or just don't care about Facebook's antics) you can put a Facebook Portal video calling device in your home. Options! And prices range to match.
Not every smart speaker is priced or outfitted with the same specs. It all comes down to what you're looking for, and even which room of your home that a speaker or display might be going in. Not every room needs an Apple HomePod, for instance. But a Google Home Mini or an Amazon Echo Dot might not be great for a main room.
The only bad part is if you're a diehard Apple fan and don't want to mix-and-match your smart speakers.
There's nothing wrong with that. But hey, if you're an Apple Music subscriber you could use an Amazon Echo smart speaker for voice controls. But if you prefer to stick with Apple, and only Apple, when it comes to hardware, then you're looking at a pretty expensive option to fill your house and its rooms.
I only ever need or want one smart speaker, a nice addition to the living room. As such, I've stuck with the HomePod after trying out the original Google Home. The HomePod has served me well, mostly because I primarily use it for listening to music and anything else is just a bonus add-on. But I know that some, if not most, of smart speaker owners are looking for the smarts, too.
I do ask Siri questions, usually dealing with random number problems here and there. Or I ask Siri when a particular sports team is playing next. But the primary use case for the HomePod in my home is playing music, and for that I am very happy with it. Audio quality from this speaker is fantastic, even when I do get the opportunity to turn it up quite a bit.
Being happy with a device is important, no matter how much it costs. But especially when a device is expensive. The HomePod is certainly not cheap, and other smart speaker options follow that line, too. There are some other choices out there, though, and sales happen from time-to-time.
This is kind of inspired by Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference and the rumors that Siri is getting an upgrade or two. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will translate to HomePod (yet). But that's okay in my book because I'm happy with the HomePod as it is. Sure, more features, and better Siri use cases would be welcomed, but this is a good place to start.
What about you, though? How many different smart speakers/displays do you own, and do you mix-and-match your brands? Are you happy with your smart speaker purchase(s) so far? How would you change them if you could? Let me know!
BLU G9 review: Style doesn't have to cost a fortune
The latest value smartphone from BLU is the G9. Coming in at under $200, the BLU G9 features a large 6.3-inch HD+ display, 2.0GHz octa-core processor with 4GB RAM, dual rear cameras, and a massive 4,000mAh battery. It even runs the latest version of Android out of the box.
Where should the fingerprint reader be on a phone?
One of the more exciting elements of current generation smartphones is the in-display fingerprint reader. When it works, anyway. Some phones have had less-than-great rollouts of the feature, while others have shown it's a viable option. And for some customers being able to keep the fingerprint reader on the front of the phone, while also showing off a cool feature at the same time, is more than enough to buy a new phone with that particular bullet point on the specs/features list.
Technology will continue to improve and if the in-display fingerprint trend doesn't die out sooner rather than later, it will probably be the go-to option for most smartphone manufacturers. Others might rely on what they know, keeping the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone.
But what about the side?
It's not completely unheard of. And in fact you can look at one of the biggest companies in the world when it comes to this particular feature placement. Samsung launched the Galaxy S10 lineup earlier this year, and while the majority of the attention was paid to the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+, the Galaxy S10e is a fine phone on its own.
The two, more expensive smartphones boast in-display fingerprint readers. But the Galaxy S10e has a fingerprint reader on the side of the device. I've never used a device that has the fingerprint reader in this spot, but it does sound like it would be pretty comfortable to use.
And then we've got the brand new Honor 20 Pro, which was announced earlier today. This device has the fingerprint reader on the side as well, and Honor says you can unlock the handset in 0.3 seconds. Pretty quick and easy!
I've grown accustomed to Face ID and face unlock features in general, but, in all honesty, I think Apple should include Touch ID as even just a backup option. There have been rumors it could reintroduce an in-display fingerprint option at some point in the future, but I just don't see that happening.
But, that's not really what I'm interested in. Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering where you think the fingerprint reader should be. The front with an in-display option? What about on the back, out of the way but (hopefully) easy to reach when needed? Or how about on the side of the phone, either in its own button or integrated into the power button? Let me know!
What would it take for you to buy an LG flagship phone?
What's it going to take? That's the question I saw asked to me at the end of an LG G8 ThinQ commercial I saw recently. Or something similar to that effect. The commercial itself was showing off the camera features, portrait mode and lighting, and it's a fine ad by itself.
But the question took me by surprise.
It seems aggressive! And yet, after a few moments, I actually approved of the forwardness. It feels like an honest question from the Life's Good crew. Because for all intents and purposes, the G8 ThinQ is a powerful flagship smartphone and it probably should be on more people's radars.
I have never touched the LG G8 ThinQ, and I almost completely forgot about it after its April launch. However, aside from Apple commercials, this is the phone I see advertised more often than anything else lately. That's good on LG's part, and hopefully that means some more foot traffic in wireless carriers stores asking for "that LG phone". But obviously the question of whether or not LG's latest flagship can really go up against Samsung's remains.
It's the question that really has me wondering, though. I've taken a quick look over the reviews and previews of the handset, and, generally speaking, they speak to a handset that despite its high-end aspirations and specs still hovers there in middle-of-the-road execution. More gimmicks than strong elements, and while I saw a few people recommend the handset, most gave a wink and a nudge in Samsung's direction if you're looking for a new high-end Android phone.
(I imagine most would suggest the OnePlus 7 Pro now.)
So I'm going to take a play out of LG's playbook and ask you directly: What would it take for you to buy a new LG flagship smartphone? What would the Life's Good crew have to do to make their newest high-end beast of a smartphone be an actual option up against the likes of Samsung and/or OnePlus? Let me know!
Germany-based Bosch generated revenues of NT$16.3 billion (US$529 million) in the Taiwan market in 2018, the highest-ever annual level with 24% growth on year, according to managing director Jan Hollmann for Robert Bosch Taiwan.
Samsung tablet business to benefit from US-China trade tensions, says Digitimes Research
Samsung Electronics is expected to benefit from the US placing a 25% tariff on tablets imported from China as almost all of the Korea-based vendor's tablet manufacturing is done at its plants in Vietnam and only around 1% is supplied by its plants in China. Its largest competitor Apple is expected to see its tablet business deeply affected by the extra tariffs.
Antitrust ruling against Qualcomm seen beneficial to rival chipmakers
A recent US court verdict ordering Qualcomm to renegotiate patent licensing deals with customers in accordance with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Act may cripple its dominance of the global 5G mobile chipset market, providing an opening for rivals such as MediaTek, Unisoc, and HiSilicon to better tap into the market, according to industry sources.
JDI seeks bailout deal to secure funds for OLED production, says Digitimes Research
With the prospects of the financially-battered Japan Display (JUI) to secure new sources of funds in the Japanese market becoming dim after the company reported its fifth consecutive yearly net loss for fiscal 2018 recently, Suwa Investment Holdings, a consortium formed by Taiwan- and China-based companies, is likely to become a major shareholder of JDI through a conditional bailout deal, Digitimes Research believes.
Taiwan CCL firms on track to expand production capacities in China
Taiwan-based copper-clad laminate (CCL) firms including Asia Electronic Materials (AEM), Elite Materials (EMC), Iteq and Taiflex Scientific, are on track to build additional new production capacities in China to satisfy growing demand from their local customers, according to company sources.
Taiwan telecom operators to stop selling new phones from Huawei
Taiwan's five leading telecom operators have said that they will stop selling new smartphones made by Huawei due to concerns of after-sale services after Google stopped providing the Chinese smartphone vendor with vital software updates for its Android phones, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report.
EOSRL breaks through bottleneck in micro LED mass transfer
Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories (EOSRL) under government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute has made a breakthrough in technology of mass transferring micro LED chips from sapphire-based epitaxial wafers onto substrates, according EOSRL general director Wu Chih-i.
Pegatron reportedly to start assembling MacBooks, iPads in Indonesia in June
Pegatron reportedly will start assembling Apple's MacBook and iPad devices via PT Sat Nusapersada, a local manufacturer in Batam, Indonesia in June, according to an Indonesian-language report from Detiklnet.
Google Duo group video calling is now live on Android
Video calls are a fun way to stay in touch with friends or family members when you or they are overseas. It is also a useful way to communicate with colleagues since sometimes a video call might be more effective than an email or text. Google Duo’s focus has always been about video calls, but ...
DEAL: Trianium Protanium Case for Samsung Galaxy S10 now 66% off
When you’re spending over $1000 on a smartphone, you may want to protect it from scrapes and falls. Cases are a very personal preference with some preferring maximum protection with others opting for a more aesthetically pleasing minimalistic look. Protecting your device doesn’t have to break the bank, especially with this latest deal on a ...
OnePlus 7 Pro camera expected to get even better with next update
The OnePlus 7 Pro has a very good camera, good enough, in fact, to claim a podium spot in the DxOMark rankings, but there is definitely room for improvement. It would appear OnePlus would agree and has taken to its forums to advise an update is on its way that will make photos look even ...
OnePlus 3 and 3T receiving official Android 9 updates
The Android 9 updates for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T are now available, delivering a slew of new features. Besides the original Pixel, these are the only other phones from 2016 which are being updated to Android 9.
Theresa May, Undone by Brexit, To Resign as UK Prime Minister
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain surrendered to mounting pressure from her lawmakers on Friday and said she would step aside as leader, after almost three years of trying and failing to lead Britain out of the European Union. From a report: Mrs. May said she would stand aside as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, but remain as prime minister until a successor was chosen. Though she still has a little more time in Downing Street, the announcement puts an end to one of the most turbulent -- and at times shambolic -- premierships in recent British history. Her departure is likely to set off a vicious contest to succeed her within the governing Conservative Party. In truth, Mrs. May's rivals have been jockeying for position for months as her authority ebbed and lawmakers, and ultimately cabinet ministers, mutinied. Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May acknowledged that she had been unable to persuade lawmakers to support her plan to pull Britain out of the European Union, despite her best efforts. "I believe I was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high," she said. "But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort." Her failure to reach a deal, she said, would remain a matter of "deep regret." Voice cracking, she noted at the end that she was "the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last."
A Rocket Built By Students Reached Space For the First Time
In the early morning of April 21, 10 students from the University of Southern California's Rocket Propulsion Lab successfully launched a rocket above the Karman Line, the imaginary boundary that separates earth's atmosphere and space. As Wired reports, this is the first time a collegiate rocket has made it to space. The team may have successfully accomplished this feat last September with their Traveler III rocket, but the team "failed to activate the avionics payload, so none of its flight data got recorded." From the report: Like the Civilian Space Exploration Team, the USC lab focused on solid fuel rockets, which require far less complicated -- and dangerous -- motors than the liquid fuel rockets launched by SpaceX or Blue Origin. Some of the rockets being developed by the leaders of the collegiate space race have two stages, but the USC team opted for a single-stage rocket. If you're trying to get to orbit, which requires reaching speeds of more than 17,000 mph, a two-stage rocket is a must, so as to jettison the dead weight of empty propellant tanks. But for lower altitudes and speeds, a single-stage rocket can do the trick.
In 2013, the USC rocket team attempted its first space shot with the Traveler I, which exploded just seconds after launch. A similar fate befell Traveler II, which was launched the following year. Clearly, it was time to make some changes. Following the failure of the first two Traveler rockets, the USC team began to develop the Fathom rocket and Graveler motor as testbeds for flight systems that would be used on subsequent space shots. The Fathom rocket was effectively a scaled-down version of the Traveler rocket that allowed the USC team to build multiple rockets in quick succession to see how the subsystems worked together. After extensive ground tests, the team's Fathom II rocket set a record when it reached an altitude of 144,000 feet in 2017. Other collegiate rocket teams had reached only about 100,000 feet. The time seemed ripe to attempt another spaceshot.
SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites On Thrice-Flown Rocket, Sticks Landing
SpaceX's fifth Falcon 9 rocket of the year successfully launched from Cape Canaveral this evening, sending 60 internet-beaming satellites into space. Space.com reports: Following the successful launch, the rocket's first stage gently touched down on a floating platform at sea, marking the company's 40th booster recovery. It was the third flight for this particular booster, marking just the second time SpaceX has flown a Falcon 9 first stage more than twice. The third time was a charm for SpaceX as the Falcon 9 lifted off at 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT on May 24) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here, following several delays: first a 24-hour delay due to high upper-level winds on May 15, and then a weeklong delay so SpaceX could give the onboard satellites a software software upgrade. Tucked inside the rocket's nose cone were 60 satellites -- the first batch of SpaceX's Starlink megaconstellation, which the company hopes will help provide affordable internet coverage to the world. Each of the Starlink satellites weighs 500 lbs. (227 kg). The 60-spacecraft haul is the heaviest payload that a Falcon 9 has yet hoisted to orbit, SpaceX representatives have said. The aerospace company plans to launch nearly 12,000 of these satellites in total, "which will park themselves in low-Earth orbit and beam internet coverage to the world below," the report says. "There will be two Starlink flocks: one constellation of 4,409 satellites and a second constellation of 7,518 satellites, according to an agreement with the FCC."
The one caveat is that the FCC approvals require SpaceX to launch half of the planned satellites within the next six years.
Synthesizer Pioneer Bob Moog Gets His Own 'Moogseum'
harrymcc writes: In the 1960s, Bob Moog helped invent electronic music as we know it by popularizing the synthesizer. He died in 2005, but Moog synthesizers are still widely used by top musical acts. And now his life, work, and legacy are the subject of a new museum in Asheville, NC, his hometown. Over at Fast Company, Sean Captain took a look at the museum, Moog's accomplishments, and the history of music produced with his instruments -- from the classical blockbuster "Switched-On Bach" onwards.
Significantly Large New Emissions From Banned CFCs Traced To China, Say Scientists
Solandri writes: In 2014, scientists began detecting plumes of CFC-11 in the atmosphere. The compound had been banned in the 1987 Montreal Protocol after it was discovered that it was contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer that protects life on Earth from ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, the releases were detected using global monitoring equipment, so the origin could not be determined. Using data from measuring stations in Korea and Japan, and computer modeling of atmospheric patterns, researchers have now pinned down the source of the emissions to eastern China. They also determined that the emissions were too large to be releases from foam which had been produced before the ban (CFCs were a common aerosol and foaming agent). And that the amounts most likely indicate new illegal production. The paper is published in the latest issue of Nature.
dryriver shares an excerpt from the BBC: CFC-11 was primarily used for home insulation but global production was due to be phased out in 2010 [to allow the Ozone layer to heal]. CFC-11 was the second most abundant CFCs and was initially seen to be declining as expected. However in 2018 a team of researchers monitoring the atmosphere found that the rate of decline had slowed by about 50% after 2012. That team reasoned that they were seeing new production of the gas, coming from East Asia. The authors of that paper argued that if the sources of new production weren't shut down, it could delay the healing of the ozone layer by a decade.
Further detective work in China by the Environmental Investigation Agency in 2018 seemed to indicate that the country was indeed the source. They found that the illegal chemical was used in the majority of the polyurethane insulation produced by firms they contacted. One seller of CFC-11 estimated that 70% of China's domestic sales used the illegal gas. The reason was quite simple -- CFC-11 is better quality and much cheaper than the alternatives. This new paper seems to confirm beyond any reasonable doubt that some 40-60% of the increase in emissions is coming from provinces in north eastern China. The authors also say that these CFCs are also very potent greenhouse gases. One ton of CFC-11 is equivalent to around 5,000 tons of CO2. "If we look at these extra emissions that we've identified from eastern China, it equates to about 35 million tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere every year, that's equivalent to about 10% of UK emissions, or similar to the whole of London."
Last week, the last episode of the final season of "The Big Bang Theory" was broadcasted on CBS. Say what you will about the show, but one thing is clear: it was popular. While the average episode in Season 11 received over 18.6 million views, the season finale ended its run with an audience of 23.44 million viewers. The New Yorker's Neima Jahromi reflects on the show and how it "normalized nerd culture": On Thursday night, "The Big Bang Theory" closed out its run with an audience of eighteen million viewers. Despite all the cast changes, Sheldon remained emphatically misanthropic, self-centered, and alienated. In the end, the reason he became a kind of dweeby Fonz has to do with the structural tendencies of the oft-dismissed multi-camera sitcom. Such shows extract empathy in real time. With a live audience, silence is not an option: if a joke or a scene doesn't land, if real people aren't feeling it, then the writers storm the soundstage and change it. Alienated characters, who are the least likely to garner empathy, require extra attention from writers, and therefore often gravitate toward the center of a show. As a result, viewers come halfway, too. It's unlikely that a curmudgeonly Archie Bunker on "All in the Family" or an uptight Alex P. Keaton on "Family Ties" will remain detestable for long, even if their creators did set them up to be antagonists. Eventually, audiences saw that Sheldon was as befuddled by the world as they were uncomprehending of his intellectual pursuits. They also learned that he hated change as much as they did. In this way, an outmoded form of television cushioned the anxiety of the brave new tech culture for a generation. How do you feel about the ending of The Big Bang Theory?
New Paper Confirms Near-Room-Temperature Superconductivity In Wild, Hydrogen-Rich Material
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: A team of physicists has published peer-reviewed results documenting near-room-temperature superconductivity in the hydrogen-rich compound lanthanum hydride. The team, led by physicist Mikhail Eremets from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, kicked off the most recent race for a high-temperature superconducting hydride in 2015, when they published a paper announcing the discovery of superconductivity at -70 Celsius (-94 Fahrenheit). In this most recent paper, the researchers placed a piece of lanthanum into an insulating ring, then placed it into a box full of pressurized hydrogen gas. They clamped the gasket between a pair of diamonds, and continued squeezing the diamonds until they hit the desired pressures, nearly 2 million times the pressure on the surface of Earth. Then, they hit the sample with a laser to form the lanthanum hydride. Finally, they take measurements to confirm they really created the material and that it's really a superconductor. The researchers detail two measurements in the paper: In one, they measure the resistance drop to zero at the -23 Celsius or -9.67 Fahrenheit temperature. In another, they notice that this temperature decreases in the presence of a magnetic field -- a clue that they were actually measuring the sample rather than something being wrong with their experimental setup.
Huawei Executive Accused of Helping Steal Trade Secrets
CNEX Labs, a Silicon Valley startup backed by Microsoft and Dell, is accusing high-level Huawei executive Eric Xu of participating in a conspiracy to steal its trade secrets (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), reports The Wall Street Journal. From a report: The Journal quotes a newly released hearing transcript that offers some details in a largely locked-down trial. According to its write-up, CNEX claims that Xu -- one of Huawei's rotating chairmen -- "directed a Huawei engineer to analyze Cnex's technical information." The engineer then allegedly posed as a potential CNEX customer to obtain details about its operations. CNEX also says that Xu was briefed on a plot to surreptitiously gather information from Xiamen University, which had obtained a computer memory board from CNEX. According to the Journal, Huawei lawyers admitted that Xu had been "in the chain of command that had requested" information about CNEX, but they denied that any trade secrets had been stolen.
Huawei originally filed a lawsuit against CNEX co-founder Yiren "Ronnie" Huang in 2017, claiming Huang -- who left Huawei in 2013 -- had poached employees and used its patents to build CNEX's solid-state drive technology. CNEX counter-sued, claiming that Huawei had misappropriated its tech and was trying to gather even more information through the lawsuit.
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…