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Messages - Zeus

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1
At the latest Build conference, Micorosft spent quite a bit of time talking about it's move into the Android and iOS markets as they are pushing their applications to platforms that people are actually using. They didn't mention their own mobile OS much at all, and that made some people nervous. They questioned Microsoft about it to which they responded that they will continue to support their own platform. Historically, Microsoft apps have been available for iOS and Android first and eventually make it to Windows phone. This gap will continue to widen until they realize that nobody cares if it makes it to Windows Phone. That will take about a month. 

   With the significantly higher number of users on iOS and Android compared to Windows 10 Mobile, it’s understandable that Microsoft would want to offer their services and products to those using those ecosystems. This often frustrates Windows phone users though as it can appear that Microsoft favors offering support for other companies’ mobile devices over their own.Source: ONMSFT

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2
One of the reasons I liked Google Hangouts so much is that it has a desktop component that allows me to communicate with people via SMS whether I'm on my phone or PC. Google is killing this service as they think nobody really wants it anyhow. WhatsApp realized that people actually do, and they are making a move to put their service on the desktop via the Windows Store. It's not quite as convenient, but it's a nice touch. I guess I'll be moving to WhatsApp when Google finally kills the service.

   The app appears to be a straight conversion of the currently available WhatsApp Desktop app for Windows using the Desktop Bridge. According to Aggiornamenti Lumia, the app stipulates that your PC must be running at least the Anniversary Update, and you will need to connect it to your mobile phone to mirror messages.Source: WindowsCentral

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3
General Mayhem / HTC Ups Game with U11
« on: May 16, 2017, 04:33:35 am »
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

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4
LAN & General Gaming / 343 Teasing New Halo - Not Halo 6
« on: May 14, 2017, 09:04:38 pm »
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

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5
Operating Systems & Software / No Netflix for Root
« on: May 14, 2017, 09:00:54 pm »
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

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6
General Mayhem / Honeywell Fire Alarms Don't
« on: May 14, 2017, 08:57:01 pm »
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

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7
General Mayhem / iPhone 8 Will be Pretty & Expensive
« on: May 14, 2017, 08:52:49 pm »
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

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8
General Hardware / Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2017
« on: May 09, 2017, 11:35:55 pm »
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

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9
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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10
General Mayhem / Smartphone with 15 Day Battery Life
« on: May 09, 2017, 11:27:00 pm »
If you can't get enough battery life in your device to a few days - or even a single day, perhaps the Oukitel K10000 is the device you've been waiting for. This is a decent spec'd phone that packs in a better-than-average MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, a 1080p screen and then they top it all off with a giant 10,000 mAh battery. While the device is certainly not "thin and light", it's still not too bad at all and it will last up to 15 days on a single charge. Zing!

   Design-wise, going by the teaser image, there appears to be what looks like a fingerprint scanner underneath the rear camera and a leather-effect rear panel. There's also glimpse of what looks like a pen in the image, which could be a stylus, but that one is up for debate. Details concerning the camera have yet to be released, but the previous version had an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 3-megapixel sensor on the front.Source: Pocket-Lint

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11
General Mayhem / Facebook is Abusive
« on: May 08, 2017, 09:30:14 pm »
When it comes to products and services, it's safe to say that nothing is really free. When a company gives you software for "free", remember there is a cost somewhere. It is probably at the expense of your privacy. Facebook is not different, and is in fact much worse. They take and take without really giving you much in return. Oh, sure they give you moments of satisfaction and occasionally even a little levity, but in the end they take everything from you and can create a profile that is actually a little bit scary. Time to divorce - but really, that time came years ago. Get out of the abusive relationship and go explore. For more information, please check my Facebook page. Just kidding.

   Earlier this month, news emerged that executives from Facebook's Australian tentacle claimed the social has the ability to create emotional profiles of its users, even to detect and target vulnerable teenagers. Which suggests we’ve paid a lot more than we anticipated for this ‘free’ sharing service. We’ve handed over a bit of our autonomy, sold a corner of our souls.Source: TheRegister

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12
General Hardware / AMD to Show off Vega and Navi GPU Tech Mid-May
« on: May 08, 2017, 09:24:31 pm »
AMD has been on a roll lately and come the middle of the month they are planning on showing off some new GPU hardware, codenamed Vega and Navi. Also planned for the May 16 event is a product brief about the new Zen+ CPU core as well. The amazing thing here is that the new products will be built on a new 7nm FinFET process. In many ways, AMD is way beyond Intel as far as product technology - if they can just keep nailing the performance...

   AMD has teased out tantalising details about Vega over the past six months or so, although in April it indicated that graphics cards based on Vega would be coming in the current quarter to the end of June. AMD's anticipated roadmap for Polaris and Vega slipped by around six months last year. Polaris had been expected around March or April, with Vega out in the fourth quarter.Source: TheInquirer

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13
LAN & General Gaming / Prey Speedrun in less that 20 Minutes
« on: May 08, 2017, 09:20:04 pm »
Many of today's game focus so much on the multi-player aspect that the single-player game feels like an afterthought. With the Call of Duty series, the single player campaign can often be finished by a standard player in three to four hours. Prey is one of the latest FPS games to hit the digital shelf and a guy has just blasted through this game in under 20 minutes. Of course this is a speedrun, but still it doesn't take long.

   To be fair, DraQu does accomplish his feat by taking advantage of several environmental glitches to bypass entire sections of the game. The speedrunner also uses the GLOO Cannon to cleverly manufacture platforms to navigate the space outside the game’s environment.Source: TheVerge

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14
General Mayhem / $1,200 Pair of Bluetooth Earbuds
« on: May 08, 2017, 09:16:38 pm »
If you have nothing but money on your hands you might want to drop some extra cash on a good pair of Bluetooth earbuds. If you want some of the best - certainly the most expensive, you could check out the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless Bluetooth headphones. Much like other wireless earbuds, they have a cable between the two, but unlike other earbuds, they have a central receiver that houses all the electronic goodness. Are they worth a big mortgage payment? I'd think not, but then again, I've never listened to them.

   Audiophiles tend to prefer to listen to wired headphones, but they might make an exception for Beyerdynamic's upcoming Xelento Wireless, which will retail for $1,200 (£1,000) when it's released later this year. That converts into about AU$1,625.Source: CNET

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15
General Hardware / Transformer Mini Takes a Dive
« on: May 07, 2017, 10:36:15 pm »
If you are looking for an adequate 2-in-1 device that has just enough power to make you not hate it, check out the Transformer Mini. This is a Windows 10 device that boasts an affordable 10-inch screen, Intel Atom x5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. Extra storage is available via an microSD card slot. Other features include 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, and more. All in, this device will cost you $249 - and it comes with a keyboard, fingerprint sensor and a stylus. It's pretty tempting.

   Source: Microsoft Store via Neowin

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