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Top Stories for the Week of January 9, 2019

  • Episode 590
  • January 9, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday January 9, 2019


Apple has been ordered to remove some iPhone models from its stores in Germany over a patent dispute with chip giant Qualcomm.

Apple has been ordered to remove some iPhone models from its stores in Germany over a patent dispute with chip giant Qualcomm.

A court ruling in Munich on December 20 found Apple had infringed patents on power-saving technology.

On Thursday Qualcomm paid a €1.3bn bond, allowing the ban on iPhone 7 and 8 models to go ahead.

The bond will fund damages awarded to Apple if the iPhone maker wins its appeal against the injunction.

The German case is Qualcomm's third attempt at blocking the sale of iPhones. The California-based chip maker has made patent infringement claims against Apple in the US and China already.

The court ruling in Munich included the sale of iPhones by third party sellers, such as mobile phone operator shops and other retailers, as well as those sold in Apple's 15 branded outlets.

However, Apple and some observers, believe third party sellers will be able to continue selling the iPhone models in question.

The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models will still be available at Apple stores and from other retailers.

When the initial judgement was announced in December, Apple said that it would appeal the decision.

An Apple spokesman at the time, "Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn't do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behaviour."

Under German law, judgements become enforceable once the winner of the patent dispute posts bonds covering potential damages incurred by the losing party, in case the judgment is overturned or amended on appeal.

In early December, Qualcomm won an injunction against Apple that also banned the sale of some iPhone models in China, ranging from the iPhone 6S to the iPhone X. That ban was the result of a different dispute concerning software patents.

However, Apple said all of its iPhone models remained on sale in China, following a software update from Apple and pending a further legal ruling there.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Windows 10 Home edition will finally let you turn off automatic updates.

Windows 10 Home edition will finally let you turn off automatic updates.

Since the initial release of Windows 10 back in 2015, users have continued to ask Microsoft to give them controls over when and if they should install the latest Windows updates. Trying to avoid the disastrous Android-like fragmentation issues, Microsoft pushes monthly security and feature updates to every machine running Windows 10. But they have more than often resulted in compatibility issues and other minor bugs and problems, if not major issues.

While the reasoning behind aggressively pushing updates may be legit, it isn’t a user-friendly system when the consumer is scared of the latest updates breaking their machines.

Windows 10 Pro users already have controls to pause Windows updates, but the settings have remained different for Windows 10 Home users. Up until now…

The upcoming Windows 10 April 2019 Update is slated to finally bring this control to Windows 10 Home users. Currently being tested by Windows Insiders, the next version of Windows, codenamed 19H1, shows this change in its Windows Update settings.

When paused, Windows 10 won’t install any new updates for seven days. You can then either resume the updates when you are ready to install the update, or Windows will resume installing them itself once the seven day period expires.

If everything goes as planned, this setting should arrive to all Windows 10 Home users when the update arrives in April.

While 7 days may not sound enough time to some Windows 10 users, the fact is Microsoft wants to keep as many Windows 10 machines on the latest version as possible. That said, it would be nice if Microsoft would trust its users to have their own reasons for delaying or deferring a certain update specifically since the company has quite a history of delivering broken updates.

Source: wccftech.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


AI could reduce the tech in your smartphone

AI could reduce the tech in your smartphone

The Snapdragon 855 and 8cx chipsthat Qualcomm announced at its Snapdragon Summit last month include big leaps in virtually every significant benchmark such as CPU and GPU performance.

The demonstrations made some of the strongest cases to date about how AI-based computations can enhance the smartphone experience beyond the photo enhancement that has been one of the leading manifestations to date. It begins with the most primal use for your smartphone: making voice calls. By using AI to identify the voice of the speaker, a phone would be able to virtually eliminate any background noise from a call, be it some reserved office chatter or loud city street noise. This capability extended far beyond that of even today's best noise cancelling technology, and into the realm of noise elimination.

Another demonstration showed the ability to improve the focus and blur of a photo that had already been taken, or to change it after the fact. A third showed the ability to change the hair color on the fly of a woman swaying against a colorful background in a 60fps video or to replace that background on the fly in a way that would typically require a skilled video editor using sophisticated software.

But what may be even more impressive than how effective these techniques are is how efficient they are when it comes to hardware. Today's noise-cancelling techniques, for example, use multiple microphones in order to capture and muffle distractions such as jet engine noise that has seeped into the cabin. In contrast, the AI-driven noise reduction demonstrated by Qualcomm needed only one microphone. Similarly, while the kind of depth-sensing that enables tasks such as background blurring typically uses multiple cameras, the demonstrations that Qualcomm gave used just one. Google, of course, is already creating some of these effects with the Pixel 3's sole rear camera. Apple is as well on the iPhone XR, although they claim the two-camera approach on its iPhone XS phones produces better results.

All these applications highlight the ability of AI to recognize and isolate different kinds of media objects and then act on them to improve an experience. While the photo and video capabilities are far more visually compelling, the conversation noise elimination represents the kind of utility that stands to dramatically improve smartphone usage scenarios for a broad base of users in a transformative way.

Of course, taking best advantage of them will only be possible with the latest, premium smartphone chips, which will easily counteract the cost savings resulting by the reduced components.

Source: www.zdnet.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


A hidden world in the NES ‘Legend of Zelda’ was just uncovered ... 30 years later

A hidden world in the NES ‘Legend of Zelda’ was just uncovered ... 30 years later

One of the more remarkable things about the original Nintendo is that many of the console’s more popular games — from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Tecmo Bowl — are still playable and thoroughly enjoyable in 2019. Sure, the 8-bit graphics can’t hold a candle to what you’ll find on more modern-day consoles, but the wild success Nintendo saw with the NES Classic underscores just how much fun many of those older games are.

Of course, if we’re talking about some of the greatest NES games of all time, there’s no denying that the Legend of Zelda needs to be part of the discussion. The original Legend of Zelda, which was released all the way back in 1986 was such an iconic hit that it would go on to spawn well more than a dozen offshoots across a number of different consoles.

Now seeing as how the original Zelda game is more than 30 years old at this point, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every single part of the game has already been discovered and conquered. Alas, you’d be mistaken.

In something of a fascinating story, a developer recently managed to access the game’s “minus world,” essentially another part of the game where developers could try out different gameplay dynamics. Naturally, developers implemented code to prevent players from accessing the game’s “minus world”, but a YouTuber with the handle SKELUX managed to figure out a way around it.

The gameplay on Zelda’s “minus world” is a bit buggy — though still playable — which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that it wasn’t intended to be playable in the first place. That notwithstanding, the video SKELUX posted should be quite entertaining for fans of the original classic.

You can watch the video at cat5.tv/zelda

Source: bgr.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


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