Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 29, 2015 - 03:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Android, google, google io, google io 2015
I'll be honest with you: I did not see a whole lot that interested me out of the Google I/O keynote. The company released a developer preview of their upcoming Android OS “M”, which refers to the thirteenth alphabetical release (although only eleven were formally lettered because they started with “C”upcake). Version nomenclature aside, this release is supposed to tune the experience. While the platform could benefit from a tune-up, it is also synonymous with not introducing major features.
But some things are being added, including “Google Now on Tap”. The idea is that Google will understand what is happening on screen and allow the user to access more information about it. In a demo on Engadget, the user was looking at scores for the Golden State Warriors. She asked “When are they playing next”, actually using the pronoun “they”, and the phone brought up their next game (it was against the Cavaliers).
Fingerprint reading and Android Pay are also being added to this release.
Other than that, it is mostly performance and usability. One example is “Doze State”, which allows the OS to update less frequently when the device is inactive. It is supposed to play nice with alarms and notifications though, which is good. Normally, I would wait to see if it actually works before commenting on it, but this seems like something that would only be a problem if no-one thought of it. Someone clearly did, because they apparently mentioned it at the event.
Android M, whatever it will actually be called, is expected to ship to consumers in the Fall.
Announced just this past June at last year’s Google I/O event, Android TV is a platform developed by Google, running Android 5.0 and higher, that aims to create an interactive experience for the TV. This platform can be built into a TV directly as well as into set-top style boxes, like the NVIDIA SHIELD we are looking at today. The idea is to bring the breadth of apps and content to the TV through the Android operating system in a way that is both convenient and intuitive.
NVIDIA announced SHIELD back in March at GDC as the first product to use the company’s latest Tegra processor, the X1. This SoC combines an 8-core big.LITTLE ARM processor design with a 256-core implementation of the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU architecture, providing GPU performance previously unseen in an Android device. I have already spent some time with the NVIDIA SHIELD at various events and the promise was clearly there to make it a leading option for Android TV adoption, but obviously there were questions to be answered.
Today’s article will focus on my early impressions with the NVIDIA SHIELD, having used it both in the office and at home for a handful of days. As you’ll see during the discussion there are still some things to be ironed out, some functionality that needs to be added before SHIELD and Android TV can really be called a must-buy product. But I do think it will get there.
And though this review will focus on the NVIDIA SHIELD, it’s impossible not to marry the success of SHIELD with the success of Google’s Android TV. The dominant use case for SHIELD is as a media playback device, with the gaming functionality as a really cool side project for enthusiasts and gamers looking for another outlet. For SHIELD to succeed, Google needs to prove that Android TV can improve over other integrated smart TV platforms as well as other set-top box platforms like Boxee, Roku and even the upcoming Apple TV refresh.
But first, let’s get an overview of the NVIDIA SHIELD device, pricing and specifications, before diving into my experiences with the platform as a whole.
Subject: General Tech | May 20, 2015 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: twitter, google
Several years back Google thought it would be fun to include Tweets in Google searches and while they were smart to discontinue that, the reasoning behind ending it, Google+, may not have been as sound. According to Slashdot, once again your searches for information on Google will be accompanied by 140 character posts of scintillating wisdom which will obviously impart far more knowledge than the citation you were looking for. This should also do wonders for those looking to limit the perspectives and opinions they are exposed to as dissenting views can easily be drowned out by tweets that reinforce your beliefs just by minor alterations the text in your search.
On the plus side, one comment on Slashdot shows how to add operators back into your searches, just paste &tbs=li:1 at the end of the URL once you have searched.
Add "&tbs=li:1" to your keyword search string. For example: https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&tbs=li:1
"Google will now begin showing tweets alongside search results. Mobile users searching via the Android/iOS apps or through the browser will start seeing the tweets immediately, while the desktop version is "coming shortly." The tweets will only be available for the searches in English to start, but Twitter says they'll be adding more languages soon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tearing Down The Apple Watch @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft launches Office for Android preview with a touch more touch @ The Inquirer
- Ricoh rolls out electrifyingly exciting RUBBER! @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 12:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: remote access, gps., google, Android
Looking for your phone? Well, Google will now let you literally search for it. A recent update to its Android Device Manager service, the search giant now allows users to type "find my phone" into Google search. So long as you have Android Device Manager turned on (and some sort of network connection) and you have the latest version of Google's Search application installed on your Android phone, you will be presented with the phone's location on Google Maps along with options to ring the device at the loudest volume, remotely lock the device with a new password, or remotely wipe it altogether. Note that you will need to be signed into your Google account on the PC to access these options, and you may need to re-enter your password. Hopefully you have a trusted PC (or backup codes) available that you will not have to authenticate with your, well, (lost) phone if you have two factor authentication turned on.
If your smartphone is nearby you can have Google ring the device at its loudest volume for up to five minutes (once you find it you can stop the ringing by pressing the power button).
The remote lock is handy if it appears the phone has simply been left behind somewhere relatively secure while the erase option is handy if the phone is on the move and appears to be stolen. If you don't have a backup of your data, you might try calling it first to see if you can get it back, otherwise it is best to erase it, report it stolen to the authorities and chalk it up to a lesson learned (backup, backup, and backup again! Bittorrent Sync makes this easy, btw).
On the phone side of things, you will get a notification card along with a timestamp of when the device was located by ADM. This locate, ring, lock, and erase functionality has been around for a couple of years now, but it is now even easier to use and all you have to do to get to it is run an intuitive Google search of "find my phone". It works well and is definitely a welcome update. More information can be found here.
This has been a public service announcement from PC Perspective. Stay vigilant out there folks!
Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft, google, EoL, chrome
It has been a year since Microsoft cut off extended support for Windows XP including Internet Explorer security updates for the platform. Yeah, I know, it doesn't feel like it. Other browser vendors announced that they would continue to target the retired OS after Microsoft washed their hands of it. At the time, Google said they would give at least 12 months support, which brings us to yesterday.
Now Google is extending their commitment to the end of the year. They did not say that it was a hard deadline for their customers, but they also did not add an “at least” qualifier this time. The browser vendor wants people to upgrade and admits that they cannot genuinely provide a secure experience if a known issue bites everyone at the OS level. You can keep training the guard at the door, but if your window falls out, mind the pun, then it is still dangerous to be inside.
Granted, we have not seen a major attack on XP over the last year. You would have to think that, even if the attacks are sophisticated, some of the victims would have noticed and reported it to someone. Still, I wonder how it keeps surviving, especially since I would have thought that at least one vulnerability in the last twelve Patch Tuesdays could be ported back to it.
Maybe it is too small of a target?
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: youtube, subscription, google, adblock
YouTube sent out an announcement to official YouTube Partners informing them of a new program they will be rolling out on June 15th of this year. While they failed to specify two key points, the gist of the announcement is that a new advertisement free subscription service will be offered to YouTube users. Unfortunately we do not know if this will be offered to a small group initially or to all YouTube users and more importantly there was no mention of what the monthly fee will be. What was revealed was the benefit to content creators, YouTube will pay them 55 percent of the total net revenues from these new ad free subscription fees.
This being the internet the initial reaction will of course be to similar to the comments on Slashdot; to consider this a stupid move since ad blocking plugins are free and for the most part effectively remove any ads on YouTube. The use of those plugins means that for all the hard work that goes into the content on our page, we receive absolutely no revenue from your views. Using this service would give you the same experience but at the same time increase our revenue stream to allow us to continue to produce our reviews, news and videos.
If you do not wish to see ads and for whatever reason do not want to participate in the program perhaps you could consider reaching out to Ryan to discuss other ways of contributing directly to PC Perspective's continued existence or maybe even subject yourself to ads once and a while to provide us with the associated micropayments?
"YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- LG screen software left Windows PCs open to malware @ Engadget
- Strapping an Apple II to Your Body @ Hack a Day
- Using Office 365 at work? It's dangerous to go alone! Take this... @ The Register
- Microsoft goes cloud KERR-AZY, chops Windows Server to bits @ The Register
- HP admits it can't compete with Amazon and Google in public cloud @ The Inquirer
- AKRacing Rush Gaming Chair @ Benchmark Reviews
- TP-Link Archer D7 1750AC Router @ Kitguru
- Netgear Arlo Security System @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | February 18, 2015 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: irony, Privacy, google, gigabit broadband, AT&T
Kansas City got Google Fiber back in 2012 and not surprisingly a lot of users jumped to this ~$70 service from their current ISPs the moment they could. Two of the incumbent ISPs suddenly came to the realization that there was demand for broadband at this speed and turned on some of their already laid and configured fiber connection so they could start to offer actual broadband and now several years later AT&T discovered that they would need to do the same to be able to attract customers in that market. The fiber has lain dormant for quite some time as most ISPs have argued that there was no demand for that level of connectivity; at least until Google offered it and customers left them in droves proving that the demand had always been there.
From The Register we hear that AT&T now offers $70 for a1Gbps connection, an additional $50 will get you TV and you can even bundle home service into the deal if you wish. For an additional $29 per month AT&T also offers not to log everything you do on the web over their connection, something which Google does not offer. This makes for an interesting discussion as most surfers no longer blink at Google the search engine tracking what they do online, but what about Google the ISP; does that create a different gut reaction? Then again considering AT&T's loose definition of unlimited, what do they mean by privacy or even gigabit for that matter?
"We've moved quickly to bring more competition to the Kansas City area for blazing-fast Internet speeds and best-in-class television service," said John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, without apparent irony."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 170: What the kids put in their PCIe slots these days
- Collaboration Summit Keynotes Will Stream Live on Wednesday, Feb. 18 @ Linux.com
- Qualcomm, ARM: We thought we had such HOT MODELS... @ The Register
- Lenovo is building ARM-based servers to improve energy efficiency @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | February 11, 2015 - 08:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google io 2015, google io, google
Or is that Left Shark Eggs? Yup, pay attention near the end of the post for an Easter Egg.
Every year, Google hosts their I/O developer conference, which often involves the launching of new hardware and services. This year, it will take place on May 28th and May 29th. Registration to register will open on March 17th at noon ET and it will end on the 19th. If you do not get in, many keynotes and sessions will be broadcast over the internet... because it's Google.
Note how I said “Registration to register”? That was not a typo. You are putting your name into a randomizer that will select candidates to actually register and purchase their tickets. Last year, tickets sold out in less than an hour. Apparently Google believes that it is better for the tickets to go to the luckiest individuals, rather than the best F5ers.
I hope this made your day as bright as mine. Basically, I HOPE I RUINED YOUR DAY TOO!
Subject: General Tech | January 28, 2015 - 01:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: youtube, google, flash, html5
Youtube has finally ditched Flash as the default player for video in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11 and Safari 8. If you use the beta builds of Firefox you will also be provided HTML5 video by default but as of yet the official release will still be playing Flash videos. The adaptive bitrate which HTML5 can handle, without the use of plugins, could reduce buffering by 50% in a normal situation and up to 80% on congested networks according to the information which was given to The Inquirer. As well the VP9 Codec can provide a stream at 35% less bandwidth than Flash which makes 4K and 60fps videos start much faster. Flash is not yet dead and you can revert back to it, if you want to play Snake while your video is loading.
"GOOGLE'S YOUTUBE video portal has made the switch to HTML5 as a default renderer, marking yet another milestone in the downfall of the Adobe Flash format."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Another day, yet another emergency Adobe Flash patch. Because that's how we live now @ The Register
- Ghost in the Linux machine hits Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu @ The Inquirer
- Horrifying iPhone sales bring Apple $18bn net profit A QUARTER @ The Register
- IBM details PowerPC microserver aimed at square kilometre array @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 29, 2014 - 01:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: laptop, google, dell, ChromeOS, Chromebook, chrome, acer
According to DigiTimes via The Tech Report, because of course DigiTimes, we should receive 15.4-inch Chromebooks in the near future. Their sources claim that both Acer and Dell have products planned with that operating system, in that size, and will cost less then $300. The Acer system is expected in March 2015 with Dell scheduled for some time in the first half of 2015.
One part that stands out for me is the maximum price of $300. The claim is that this is a Google mandated ceiling for Chromebooks with up-to Core i3 performance. This is troubling for two reasons. First, depending on the details, it might dance around inside the minefield of price-fixing laws, although I am sure that Google is doing this in a legally. I mean, Apple has been getting away with enforcing maximum retail prices of iPods and iOS devices for around a decade and I believe console manufacturers do about the same.
Second, and more importantly, it limits the ability for manufacturers to be creative and innovative, which is the major advantage of an open ecosystem. Being a web browser-based platform, there is already constraints on what manufacturers can implement. Sure, Google is probably open to communication with their partnered hardware vendors, but it is uncomfortable none-the-less. I could use the Nexus Q as an example of an experiment but unfortunately it was neither a hit nor did it cost over $300. Sure, they could add a more powerful processor to escape that clause but it is still
These Chromebooks are expected to launch in the early half of 2015.