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HTC Ups Game with U11

HTC makes really nice phones, but without the brand recognition that Samsung and Apple get, it's an uphill battle. The U11 is their 2017 flagship that offers everything you need and then some. It comes with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, an excellent sound chip and even Amazon Alexa. If you have come to love the Alexa service, it's pretty handy to have it packed into a phone. Also, you can give the phone a hug and it will do a couple of other things. It supports "squeeze" gestures. Just what we've been waiting for.

However, it's with audio that HTC shines. The bundled digital USB-C "USonic" headphones contain a built-in DAC, and also have active noise cancellation. They also have one additional feature, beaming ultrasound into your ear on first use, to tune an equaliser profile most suited to your age and earplugs. You can then manually tweak this if you like.

Source: TheRegister

343 Teasing New Halo - Not Halo 6

With E3 pretty much right around the corner, we are starting to get a few more details regarding announcements for the show. 343 Studios is dropping hints about a Microsoft E3 announcement for Halo that will definately NOT be Halo 6. Maybe it's a way to bring previous Halo titles to the PC? Maybe it's another Halo Wars. We'll find out in a few weeks. I'm not holding my breath though and I think this will be a mini Halo 5.5.

Obviously in a perfect world, Microsoft would have been able to launch this fall’s Xbox Scorpio with some sort of major Halo game, given that it’s still the console’s most beloved exclusive series by a mile, but the timing is just not in the cards for that, clearly. If anything, it seems like Crackdown 3 may end up being the “launch game” for Scorpio, as the dev is teasing a big presence at E3, but Halo? Doubtful.

Source: Forbes

No Netflix for Root

If you have a rooted Android device, you will no longer be able to update the App on install a new version. They've updated the DRM to ensure that you can't just download a bunch of movies and then keep or share them with everyone and this update detects if the device has been rooted to help prevent piracy. I'm sure there are a few people that are mad about the security update - as there are legitimate reasons for rooting your device. Still, you can't blame Netflix for keeping things secure for their content providers.

Some rooted users are currently still able to use the app, though. Widevine sorts out devices on the criteria of whether they are running in the Trusted Execution Environment whereas the Google Play Store listing goes on SafetyNet, what Android Pay uses. Perhaps that will change with time as users just won’t be able to work the app through the Play Store. Third-party sources will likely help you out in this case.

Source: PocketNow

Honeywell Fire Alarms Don't

It seems that Honeywell's new SWIFT wireless gateway that connects to their smoke detectors has a bit of a technical issue. When smoke or fire is detected, something appears to mis-fire and while the sensors themselves appear to work, it's not passing through the gateway and the alarm won't trigger. It's not a great thing when the product only has one job - and it fails. Remind me not to pick up Honeywell products to protect my family.

The recall isn't about to spark a mass panic when it covers just 900 units sold between October 2014 and December 2016. However, it underscores the challenges of building advanced safety systems. Simply put, there isn't much room for glitches. Fire alarms have to be extremely reliable, and that's not an easy feat when you bring networking into the equation.

Source: Engadget

iPhone 8 Will be Pretty & Expensive

The leaks have been trickling out regarding the upcoming iPhone 8 and it seems that Apple is stepping up their game to the level of Samsung with the new iPhone 8 design. The downside is that this device will cost about $1,000 USD. Keep in mind that is the starting price. It looks like the larger version will set you back at least another $100. It's not going to be cheap, but it looks almost as nice as the Galaxy S8.

The good news is, despite the price hikes, Goldman Sachs’ report also confirms all the biggest and best changes Apple is expected to make to the iPhone 8. These include a massive new 5.8-inch OLED display, a “no bezel, all screen” design, removal of the home button, “biometric authentication” (position unknown), an A11 chipset and no 64GB option.

Source: Forbes

HP EliteBook - Now with free Keyloggers!

HP has accidently added a new "feature" to their EliteBook laptops, your very own keylogger! Now while most people don't think this is a great feature to have and don't like software having the ability to spy on you, it's really just a matter of how you look at it. It doesn't look like HP was trying to pull a fast one, it just looks like one of their audio drivers was poorly built and chances are good this will be quickly remedied. If you have an EliteBook make sure to check out this link to see if you are affected over at TheNextWeb.

For what it’s worth, it doesn’t look like there’s malice here – just staggering incompetence.

According to ModZero’s blog post, an update to HP’s audio drivers released in 2015 introduced new diagnostic features. One of these is used to detect if a special key had been pressed or released. Except it seems this was poorly implemented, as the driver ultimately acted like a keylogger, capturing and procesing every single keypress.

Snapchat is losing more money

Good news for Snapchat, user numbers are up 36% over last year.

Bad news for Snapchat, they've lost $208 million in the first 3 months of 2017.

It shouldn't have been too surprising to most investors, however, the road to profitability isn't going to be a smooth one for Snapchat and some people are saying they might never get there. The Verge has more on this story.

The company’s losses ballooned to over $2.2 billion, but most of those were one time expenses related to stock bonuses paid out after a successful IPO. CEO Evan Spiegel got a sweet $750 million on his own. But even if you ignore that massive hit, Snap’s losses basically doubled. It burned through $104 million in cash in the first quarter of 2016, and lost $208 million during the first three months of 2017. This was despite the fact that the average revenue per user generated by Snap was 90 cents, up 14 percent from last quarter and up 181 percent from the same period last year.

Windows 10 hits 500 million users

Windows 10 has hit the 500 million user milestone, which is a good thing for Microsoft who has seen more and more users happy to stick with previous operating systems rather than take the plunge to something new (even though the plunge to Windows 10 was free). Also interesting to note is that Office 365 has now hit the 100 million monthly active users mark, Mashable has more on this story.

In short, the world appears to really like Windows 10, a not-inconsequential accomplishment considering how the Windows crowd felt about its predecessor, Windows 8 (later 8.1) — an upgrade many PC owners decided to skip.

Half a billion users are nearly double the number Microsoft announced at Build 2016. When asked to characterize Windows 10's growth as compared to previous versions of Windows, Microsoft executives said it's hard to compare. Even so, they're pleased with the adoption rate.

Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2017

Q1 is over and BackBlaze has been putting together all their numbers for hard drive failure rates from the first quarter of the year. Keep in mind that some of these drives are relatively new to their server farm, so there should be less failures on drives that are less than a year old. Still, the numbers do speak for themselves. and you really, REALLY want to stay away from Seagate 4TB drives.

You’ll notice that some of the drive models have a failure rate of “0” (zero). Here a failure rate of zero means there were no drive failures for that model during Q1 2017. Later, we will cover how these same drive models faired over their lifetime. Why is the quarterly data important? We use it to look for anything unusual. For example, in Q1 the 4 TB Seagate drive model: ST4000DX000, has a high failure rate of 35.88%, while the lifetime annualized failure rate for this model is much lower, 7.50%.

Source: BackBlaze

Samsung Galaxy S8 - Most Fragile Phone Ever Made?

According to one report, repair shops are pretty happy with the Galaxy S8 as it will help them stay in business due to the fragile nature of the device. Granted, it has a glass front - and a glass back - okay, and glass sides thanks to the wrap around screen, but it sure looks pretty... right? In terms of performance, it's a solid device, but durability if dropped is lacking. The good news is that the actual screen panel is much cheaper than previous generations so it won't cost as much to fix if you have an accident.

There's an obvious reason for this, of course. The S8 is made almost entirely of glass, and has barely any top or bottom bezel, which is why the phone is marketed as having an "infinity screen." The upshot here is that screen replacements on the Galaxy S8 are cheaper than the Galaxy S7 was at release, and the prices figure to come down even further quite quickly.

Source: Vice

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