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1 MSI Net, Inc. - 2019 December

Latest Article

Microsoft’s software plan for the Duo Android phone is surprisingly realistic January 23, 2020

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Welcome back to Processor, a mostly daily newsletter mostly about computers, by which I mostly mean the consumer electronics industry at large. I’m Dieter and if you already know all of the above, thanks for sticking around. If you’re new, welcome! I’m going to leave the analysis […]

Flip Phones Are Making a Comeback

If you’re the kind of person who hates this new generation of smartphone users and longs for a nostalgic past, you’re not far from the new target demographic for many commercial phone manufacturers. Major phone companies like Motorola and Huawei have been developing foldable versions of conventional smartphone designs, intended to be more versatile while maintaining the same functionality as their less flexible counterparts.

It’s certainly gimmicky, but phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Motorola Razr, and the Huawei MateX are elegant from an engineering perspective. Developing a seamless interface experience, maximizing surface area for functionality, and maintaining the same nostalgic flip phone aesthetic while making use of familiar smartphone features isn’t an easy design process.

Motorola RAZR hinge shown by CNET’s Patrick Holland during a tour of their labs.

For the Razr, a hinge system that takes up about a third of the phone’s internal space allows the OLED display to have no noticeable binder line. Rather than curving like a piece of paper, it forms a teardrop shape that prevents the screen from creasing and being damaged. Springs and pistons below the surface move small places underneath where the user will be tapping – folded in, the plates slide away. It’s an interesting effect, although as you can see in the banner image, it doesn’t quite achieve optically flat perfection.

In order to ensure that the screen doesn’t overheat as it bends, it is made up of microlayers sandwiched together. To balance weight, the circuits and battery is split into two, operating on each half of the device, an unusual design choice for smartphones. Placement of the array of radios and antennas is also a challenge since they can’t be too close to each other or the processor, which can interfere with signal transmission.

Other devices like the Royale Flexpai are more so proof-of-concepts making use of flexible screens and batteries, rather than capturing the aesthetics of a flip phone generation — but who doesn’t want their smartphone to unfold into a tablet when needed? The future of smartphone technology is looking interesting, and we’ll be sure to see even more iterations of flexible displays in the near future.

Flip Phones Are Making a Comeback
Source: HackADay

2020 Genesis GV80 officially drops on New Year's Eve – Roadshow

The GV80 will go on sale in 2020. 2020 Genesis GV80 officially drops on New Year's Eve – Roadshow
Source: CNet

How to stop AI from perpetuating harmful biases


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already re-configuring the world in conspicuous ways. Data drives our global digital ecosystem, and AI technologies reveal patterns in data. Smartphones, smart homes, and smart cities influence how we live and interact, and AI systems are increasingly involved in recruitment decisions, medical diagnoses, and judicial verdicts. Whether this scenario is utopian or dystopian depends on your perspective. The potential risks of AI are enumerated repeatedly. Killer robots and mass unemployment are common concerns, while some people even fear human extinction. More optimistic predictions claim that AI will add US$15 trillion to the world economy by 2030,…

This story continues at The Next Web

How to stop AI from perpetuating harmful biases
Source: The Next Web

How to stop AI from perpetuating harmful biases

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already re-configuring the world in conspicuous ways. Data drives our global digital ecosystem, and AI technologies reveal patterns in data. Smartphones, smart homes, and smart cities influence how we live and interact, and AI systems are increasingly involved in recruitment decisions, medical diagnoses, and judicial verdicts. Whether this scenario is utopian or dystopian depends on your perspective. The potential risks of AI are enumerated repeatedly. Killer robots and mass unemployment are common concerns, while some people even fear human extinction. More optimistic predictions claim that AI will add US$15 trillion to the world economy by 2030,…

This story continues at The Next Web

How to stop AI from perpetuating harmful biases
Source: The Next Web

A look at the increasing prevalence of facial recognition and AI tech across the globe, as the US and EU governments' efforts to limit their use have stalled (Politico)


Politico:

A look at the increasing prevalence of facial recognition and AI tech across the globe, as the US and EU governments’ efforts to limit their use have stalled  —  The result is an impasse that has left tech companies largely in control of where and how to deploy facial recognition.

A look at the increasing prevalence of facial recognition and AI tech across the globe, as the US and EU governments' efforts to limit their use have stalled (Politico)
Source: Tech Meme

Macro Photography With Industrial Lenses

Line scan cameras are advanced devices used for process inspection tasks in industrial applications. Used to monitor the quality of silicon wafers and other high-accuracy tasks, they’re often outfitted with top-quality optics that are highly specialised. [Peter] was able to get his hands on a lens for a line-scan camera, and decided to put it to work on some macro photography instead.

Macro image taken with the hacked lens.

Judging by the specs found online, this is a fairly serious piece of kit. It easily competes with top-shelf commercial optics, which is what piqued [Peter]’s interest in the part. Being such a specialised piece of hardware, you can’t just cruise over to eBay for an off-the-shelf adapter. Instead, a long chain of parts were used to affix this lens to a Sony AIII DSLR, converting from threaded fittings to a Nikon mount and then finally to Sony NEX mount.

Further work involved fitting an aperture into the chain to get the lens as close as possible to telecentric. This improves the lens’s performance for certain tasks, and makes focus stacking macro shots more readily achievable – something we’ve seen [Peter] tinker with before.

You never know what you might find when sorting through surplus industrial gear, could could score some high-performance hardware if you know where to look. It’s always great to see a cheap find become a useful instrument in the hacker toolbox!

Macro Photography With Industrial Lenses
Source: HackADay

ProtonMail launches E2E encrypted calendar app ProtonCalendar in public beta, tied to users' paid ProtonMail accounts, encrypting event info and participants (Paul Sawers/VentureBeat)


Paul Sawers / VentureBeat:

ProtonMail launches E2E encrypted calendar app ProtonCalendar in public beta, tied to users’ paid ProtonMail accounts, encrypting event info and participants  —  Encrypted email provider ProtonMail has officially launched its new calendar in public beta.  The move is part of the Swiss …

ProtonMail launches E2E encrypted calendar app ProtonCalendar in public beta, tied to users' paid ProtonMail accounts, encrypting event info and participants (Paul Sawers/VentureBeat)
Source: Tech Meme

Could this be Samsung’s bezel-less 8K TV?

Image: Samsung / 4KFilme

Samsung may have a new, groundbreaking type of television to show off at CES in Las Vegas next week: a completely bezel-less, 8K QLED model. Dubbed by some reports as the Samsung “Zero Bezel” TV and reportedly carrying model numbers of Q900T and Q950T, this TV is believed to have bezels so tiny that the screen edge effectively disappears when viewed from a distance. On Tuesday, German website 4KFilme says it has its hands on a pair of leaked renders showing the screen in all its bezel-less glory.

We don’t have very much else to go on, and of course this being an unannounced product, there’s no word yet on pricing, release date, or what size options a set like this would come in. But that said, it does sound perfectly in Samsung’s…

Continue reading…

Could this be Samsung’s bezel-less 8K TV?
Source: New feed

Toss A Coin to Your Witcher: Here's where to hear the song from Netflix's hit series – CNET

Now pour him some ale. Toss A Coin to Your Witcher: Here's where to hear the song from Netflix's hit series – CNET
Source: CNet

TikTok claims zero takedown requests from China in first transparency report

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok released its first transparency report yesterday, showing which countries have submitted requests for content removal as well as access to user data. China is notably absent from the report—the video sharing app, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, claims it did not receive a single takedown request from Communist Party of China in the first half of 2019.

The news comes after a difficult year for the social media startup, which faced growing scrutiny over its relationship with China. In September, a report from The Washington Post suggested TikTok was censoring content related to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, likely to appease the Chinese government. TikTok denied the allegations, but it wasn’t enough to stop…

Continue reading…

TikTok claims zero takedown requests from China in first transparency report
Source: New feed

IRS stops firms like TurboTax from hiding free tax-filing products in searches – CNET

Also: The IRS is no longer banned from creating its own online filing system. IRS stops firms like TurboTax from hiding free tax-filing products in searches – CNET
Source: CNet

Uber's last-minute effort to stop gig worker law is latest of many tries – CNET

The ride-hailing company takes a new approach with an 11th hour lawsuit aimed at California’s AB 5. The law reclassifies some gig workers as employees. Uber's last-minute effort to stop gig worker law is latest of many tries – CNET
Source: CNet

Track Your Alcohol Consumption Tonight and in 2020 With This App

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means a lot of us will be drinking. Depending on how 2019 went for you, you might be potentially drinking a lot. My Limit is a free app that can help you monitor that consumption so you keep it within safe limits.

Read more…

Track Your Alcohol Consumption Tonight and in 2020 With This App
Source: Life Hacker

Trump signs TRACED Act into law to increase robocall fines, extend statute of limitations from 1 to 4 years, and require carriers to deploy STIR/SHAKEN protocol (Devin Coldewey/TechCrunch)


Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:

Trump signs TRACED Act into law to increase robocall fines, extend statute of limitations from 1 to 4 years, and require carriers to deploy STIR/SHAKEN protocol  —  The Pallone-Thrune TRACED Act, a bipartisan bit of legislation that should make life harder for the villains behind robocalls, was signed into law today by the president.

Trump signs TRACED Act into law to increase robocall fines, extend statute of limitations from 1 to 4 years, and require carriers to deploy STIR/SHAKEN protocol (Devin Coldewey/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Foam Board, Old Electronics, and Imagination Make Movie Magic

When it comes to building sets and props for movies and TV, it’s so easy to get science fiction wrong – particularly with low-budget productions. It must be tempting for the set department to fall back on the “get a bunch of stuff and paint it silver” model, which can make for a tedious experience for the technically savvy in the audience.

But low-budget does not necessarily mean low production values if the right people are involved. Take [Joel Hartlaub]’s recent work building sets for a crowdfunded sci-fi film called Infinitus. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that needed an underground bunker with a Fallout vibe to it, and [Joel] jumped at the chance to hack the sets together. Using mainly vintage electronic gear and foam insulation boards CNC-routed into convincing panels, he built nicely detailed control consoles for the bunker. A voice communicator was built from an old tube-type table radio case with some seven-segment displays, and the chassis of an old LCD projector made a convincing portable computer terminal. The nicest hack was for the control panel of the airlock door. That used an old TDD, or telecommunications device for the deaf. With a keyboard and a VFD display, it fit right into the feel of the set. But [Joel] went the extra mile to make it a practical piece, by recording the modulated tones from the acoustic coupler and playing them back, to make it look as if a message was coming in. The airlock door looks great too.

Like many hacks, it’s pretty impressive what you can accomplish with a deep junk pile and a little imagination. But if you’ve got a bigger budget and you need some computer displays created, we know just the person for the job.

[Matt] tipped us off to this one. Thanks!

Foam Board, Old Electronics, and Imagination Make Movie Magic
Source: HackADay

Best noise-canceling headphones of 2020 – CNET

Looking for an active noise-canceling headphone? These are CNET’s current top picks. Best noise-canceling headphones of 2020 – CNET
Source: CNet

US Army bans TikTok app from government phones – CNET

The move follows Pentagon guidance and a similar ban from the US Navy. US Army bans TikTok app from government phones – CNET
Source: CNet

Keep your fitness resolution with today's New Year's Eve-only Bowflex deals – CNET

Save up to $250 and get accessories like a free kettlebell when you buy a Bowflex Max cardio workout machine. Keep your fitness resolution with today's New Year's Eve-only Bowflex deals – CNET
Source: CNet

Google will finally stop using controversial Irish and Dutch tax loopholes

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The era of Google using a pair of controversial loopholes to save billions of dollars in taxes on overseas ad revenue is coming to a close, according to a new report from Reuters. In 2020, the company will no longer take advantage of the so-called “Double Irish” and “Dutch sandwich” loopholes, which allowed it and countless other corporations to shift money from Ireland to the Netherlands and Bermuda, sheltering billions from taxes in the process.

The move comes as regulations aimed at changing how companies skirt taxes take effect in both the US and Ireland. Previously, multinational organizations like Google were able to use a network of affiliate organizations located in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Bermuda to collect and hold money…

Continue reading…

Google will finally stop using controversial Irish and Dutch tax loopholes
Source: New feed

U.S. Army bans TikTok on military devices, signaling growing concern about app’s Chinese roots

The U.S. Army has banned military personnel from using the popular video app TikTok on government phones, following guidance from the Pentagon and highlighting growing tensions over the app’s Beijing-based parent firm. U.S. Army bans TikTok on military devices, signaling growing concern about app’s Chinese roots
Source: Washington Post Tech

Book a One-Way Southwest Flight For As Little As $39 Today

If travel is in your plans for the first half of 2020, then you may want to check out Southwest’s final sale of 2020. The airline is offering deep discounts on some one-way flights today, with flights from the continental U.S. and Hawaii running as low as $39 and flights within the continental U.S. coming in as low as…

Read more…

Book a One-Way Southwest Flight For As Little As Today
Source: Life Hacker

IRS amends its deal with tax prep software firms, now barred from hiding free products from search, and ends its ban on making its own online filing system (ProPublica)


ProPublica:

IRS amends its deal with tax prep software firms, now barred from hiding free products from search, and ends its ban on making its own online filing system  —  ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.  Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

IRS amends its deal with tax prep software firms, now barred from hiding free products from search, and ends its ban on making its own online filing system (ProPublica)
Source: Tech Meme

New Apple patent imagines virtual speakers that can simulate sound from anywhere in the room

Image: USPTO

Apple has just been granted a patent — concerning virtual positioning of audio — that could eventually lay the groundwork for new, more immersive audio applications. It builds on a previous patent Apple filed last month that enabled users to hear where people are physically located in a room through special headphone tech. Today’s patent does exactly the same thing, but with built-in MacBook speakers.

According to 9to5Mac, it’s a virtual acoustic system that works by using crosstalk canceling, which makes users feel like sound is coming from a different place than loudspeakers. (Crosstalk, here, refers to the overlapping sound waves that the ears receive from the left and right channels of a speaker.) The effect, as reported by Patently…

Continue reading…

New Apple patent imagines virtual speakers that can simulate sound from anywhere in the room
Source: New feed

Smoke app brings parts of Valve’s Steam to the Apple Watch

For people who want to check in on their gaming achievements in Steam or stay up to date with the latest sales, this Apple Watch app has you covered.

Smoke gives Apple Watch users access to their Steam account, but that doesn’t mean people have the ability to play games from their wrist. The app exists to let you stay up to date on gaming news and to see what friends are playing while you might be away from your PC. There’s an ability to save news articles that come up in the Apple Watch and read them in Smoke’s companion app for iOS, according to 9to5Mac.

The full list of features Smoke brings to Apple Watch users includes:

  • View the games you own as well as your achievement statuses and total play time
  • View the store information for…

Continue reading…

Smoke app brings parts of Valve’s Steam to the Apple Watch
Source: New feed

Big trends and takeaways from the 2010s: the "capital as a moat" model has failed, machine learning has become table stakes for tech companies, and more (Fred Wilson/AVC)

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Fred Wilson / AVC:

Big trends and takeaways from the 2010s: the “capital as a moat” model has failed, machine learning has become table stakes for tech companies, and more  —  My friend Steve Kane suggested I take a longer view in my pair of year end posts this year: … And so I will.

Big trends and takeaways from the 2010s: the "capital as a moat" model has failed, machine learning has become table stakes for tech companies, and more (Fred Wilson/AVC)
Source: Tech Meme