Category: Tech

A few weeks after Apple announced it would start developing its own silicon chip for Mac computers, we have a solid lead on what the first computer to use it might be.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note on Friday that a new 13.3-inch Macbook Pro will debut Apple’s original silicon chips. According to Kuo’s note, spotted by MacRumors, it will enter production in a matter of months, presumably in time for a late 2020 or early 2021 launch. Aside from new chips, it’ll closely resemble the most recent Macbook Pro model.

Beyond that, Kuo predicts a new Macbook Air with the same chip in either late 2020 or early 2021. He also predicted new 16-inch and 14.1-inch Macbook Pros with mini-LED displays for late 2021 releases.

None of this is horribly surprising, obviously, as Apple releases new laptops on a regular basis. This is potentially fascinating because we could have two otherwise identical Macbook Pro models on the market later in 2020, one with an older Intel chip, and one with a new Apple chip. Apple claims its new custom silicon chips will enable better battery life due to more efficient power consumption, among other performance enhancements.

Given how expensive new Macbook Pros tend to be, get excited to either break the bank or just wait until a few years from now until you can get one refurbished.

-mashable

FACEBOOK antara laman media sosial yang popular dalam kalangan pengguna selain Instagram dan juga Twitter.

Kira Facebook ni abang sulunglah sebelum lahirnya Instagram, Twitter dan paling hangat kini TikTok.

Terbaharu, pengguna laman sosial Facebook kini berpeluang untuk menikmati kemas kini terbaru menerusi aplikasi berkenaan.

Dilaporkan, pihak Facebook telah mengemas kini reka bentuk antaramuka laman Facebook.com dengan menjadikannya lebih mudah dan pantas diakses penggunanya.

Antara penambahbaikan yang dibuat termasuklah akses tetapan pilihan dark mode, tiga akses mudah kepada Event, Feed dan Group serta iklan Facebook.

Facebook juga memaklumkan bahawa reka bentuk baru antaramuka Facebook.com kini sudah ditawarkan untuk semua pengguna di seluruh dunia. Jadi, korang boleh aktifkan sahaja mode tersebut sama ada menggunakan smart phone atau desktop. Dua-dua kini dah boleh.

Paparannya pun not bad. Menarik dan cantik kena dengan era terkini la. Nampak muda sikit walaupun Facebook kini dah berusia.

Selain itu, Facebook juga mengalu-alukan maklum balas daripada korang sebagai pengguna yang boleh dibuat menerusi ciri Give Feedback.

Namun jika korang lebih suka dengan interface yang lama, korang boleh sahaja klik pada tetapan pilihan Switch to Classic Facebook pada bila-bila masa. Paparan Classic seperti sebelum ini akan berubah dengan serta merta.

Jika korang mengubah kepada paparan lama jangan lupa tinggalkan maklum balas, mungkin pihak Facebook akan memperbaiki kelemahan yang dimiliki melalui maklum balas korang.

Selamat mencuba!

-sinarplus

Samsung is skipping IFA this year.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, IFA 2020 is scheduled to be the first major tech event this year to actually host a large number of people in a physical venue.

IFA 2020, which is scheduled for Sept. 4-9, won’t be as big as it normally is, given Berlin’s ban of all events with more than 5,000 participants. But the event’s organizers do plan to bring industry participants and the media together in a smaller setting, with attendance limited to 1,000 people per day.

Samsung, however, won’t be a part of that setting. In a statement to TechCrunch, the company confirmed it will not be a part of IFA 2020 (though it does want to partner with IFA in the future).

“We have taken the exciting decision to share our latest news and announcements at our own digital event in early September,” Samsung told the outlet.

There’s no word on what that event will be about, though Samsung is widely expected to launch new foldable phones around that time.

Samsung typically has a massive presence at IFA, but it also rarely launches major products at the show, instead opting for an event of its own anyways, so this isn’t a radical change from the norm. Still, Samsung skipping IFA 2020 is a fairly big blow to the show.

There’s still two full months until September, but the overall situation regarding the pandemic isn’t great; many European countries, including Germany, have seen an uptick in new cases in the past month. Now that Samsung has said no to IFA, it’s quite possible that other tech companies will follow.

-mashable

On Friday, Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing all of its physical retail stores. The software giant says that it will focus its efforts on its online storefront at Microsoft.com.

Microsoft has operated physical retail stores for about a decade. At its peak, the company had 116 locations around the world, including 106 in the United States. Microsoft says that there will be no layoffs as a result of the decision.

The company says it will continue to operate its Microsoft Experience Centers in New York City, London, Sydney, and at its Redmond, Washington, campus. These locations, however, will not sell products.

“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” said Microsoft Corporate VP David Porter in a statement. Porter detailed the shift in strategy in a post published on LinkedIn.

All Microsoft Stores have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 16. Microsoft noted in its statement that its retail employees have been working with customers from the company’s corporate locations or remotely since the pandemic began.

Even as some other electronics retailers like Best Buy and Apple started to reopen their retail locations over the past month, Microsoft’s retail locations remained shuttered. This did not go unnoticed. The Verge reached out to Microsoft to inquire about its stores reopening just 10 days ago. The company provided a statement at the time that said it was “prioritizing the health and safety of its employees and customers.”

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has shifted strategy on its physical retail locations. About a year ago, the company closed down its specialty kiosks, which were typically found in malls. The decision to close these small spots was made, according to the company, to focus on its full-scale Microsoft Stores.

-mashable

Samsung Galaxy A51 pilihan pengguna

June 23, 2020 | Tech | No Comments

TELEFON pintar kelas pertengahan keluaran syarikat gergasi elektronik, Samsung iaitu siri Galaxy A51 menjadi peranti paling laris di pasaran dan pilian utama pengguna yang tidak mempunyai bajet ‘keras’.

Ia berdasarkan daripada laporan sebuah firma pemantauan antarabangsa dalam suku pertama tahun ini apabila peranti keluaran syarikat berkenaan menjadi pilihan pengguna untuk kelas pertengahan.

Laporan berkenaan menyatakan bahawa sebanyak enam juta unit untuk siri berkenaan sudah diedarkan di semua negara terutamanya membabitkan benua Eropah dan Asia.

Selain itu, Samsung Galaxy A10s berada di kedudukan keempat dengan pegangan pasaran 1.6 peratus, diikuti Samsung Galaxy A20s berada di tangga keenam dengan pegangan pasaran 1.4 peratus pada suku pertama tahun ini.

Galaxy A series membawa inovasi kepada keperluan consumer dengan tiga faktor penting iaitu keupayaan kamera, skin paparan dan ketahanan bateri.

Kebanyakan pengguna pada hari ini cenderung untuk memilih peranti pintar yang mampu bertahan sepanjang hari selain prestasi kamera yang sangat baik.

Berdasarkan spesifikasi, peranti berkenaan dikuasakan mengguna pemproses Exynos 9611 yang dipadankan bersama kapasiti memori (RAM) 8GB.

Samsung juga menggunakan tetapan kamera utama 48 megapixel (MP), lensa sudut lebar 12MP, 5MP lensa makro dan 5MP lensa ‘depth’.

Kapasiti bateri 4,000mAh dan berkeupayaan untuk sistem pengecasan pantas 15W bagi memudahkan pengguna tanpa perlu menunggu lama untuk bateri penuh.

Spesifikasi

Pemproses : Exynos 9611

RAM : 8GB

Kamera utama : 48MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP

Bateri : 4,000mAh

hmetro

Over on Honor’s official Weibo account, the Huawei sub-brand teased the coming of the Honor Play4 series smartphone by showing off its temperature-taking features in a video.

You can see the feature at play in the first 30 seconds of the video.

The brand has been consistently dropping a series of leaks and hints about its specs, but none are as eye-catching or timely as this temperature-taking feature.

Based on the video, it seems like the Honor Play4 utilises infrared sensors for its temperature-taking capabilities, and it doesn’t require precise physical contact to function.

Other teased specs of the Honor Play4 series include 40W fast-charging capabilities, a Kirin 990 5G chipset, alongside tons of features and functionalities for content creation and gaming.

This article was first published in Hardware Zone.

AsiaOne

The corona virus, also known as COVID-19, has put a halt on many important events across the globe. This ranges from major sporting events like Formula One, to film and music festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW).

But perhaps nothing stings more than the unlikelihood of a proper graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.

After spending years in university, we all look forward to stepping up on that stage and collecting our well-deserved scrolls. Unfortunately, the coronavirus doesn’t care about what you want.

But one university in Malaysia is proposing the use of robots as real-life student avatars in a pandemic-stricken world.

Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) is a public university located in the state of Terengganu, along the North-East coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Like many educational institutions across the country, UniSZA has been forced to cancel all convocation ceremonies in order to abide by the government-imposed Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), which prohibits large gatherings.

Of course, it’s always important to remember that these measures are put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. But the pain still rings true for those who worked hard to finish their diplomas and degrees in 2020.

In an effort to lift spirits and inspire hope, the university posted a video on YouTube showcasing the use of robots as physical placeholders for graduating students who may never get to experience a graduation ceremony in real life.

In a corresponding post on their Facebook page, UniSZA lamented the fact that the corona virus has caused a wide disruption with important activities like convocation ceremonies. The majority of them have been postponed to 2021.

But they also demonstrated a sense of optimism for what the future of education may look like, in the face of the coronavirus and the ‘new normal’.

“Where UniSZA would like to say that, we are ready to implement a virtual convocation if necessary,” reads the Facebook post, adding that it can be used as a viable alternative to the traditional convocation ceremony, especially for students who live far away and don’t have easy access to transport.

“It’s no longer a fantasy, but it can be made a reality,” affirms the university.

How does it work exactly?

In their YouTube video, the robots, “Naseem” and “Seeba”, were draped in graduation gowns, complete with their own mortarboards.

Using the power of live-streaming, the graduates’ faces were displayed on screens located on the robots’ heads. Of course, this is just a cute way of emulating a “real” face. But because of the remote-controlled nature of the robots, students will still able to interact with their surroundings, vicariously of course.

Thanks to deployable arms, the robots can even collect the students’ hard-earned academic scrolls.

Reactions to the robots were mixed.

A lot of Facebook users who commented on the post placed heavy emphasis on the opportunity to physically collect their academic scrolls in person, seeing that the use of robots took the vital human element out of the picture.

A few users even stated that they’d be more than willing to wait for a delayed convocation, just so they can rejoice in the achievement in-person.

Others expressed excitement for what the future really holds, especially in the name of technological advancement.

UniSZA has also stressed that the video they posted was only a proof-of-concept, to be tabled for further discussions in the future, should more interest arise.

-mashable

We’ve been primed to believe that technology will save us.

Every year, new gadgets, apps, and digital tchotchkes promise to ease the burdens of modern life. Now, with the corona virus having killed over a quarter of a million and counting, the latest hero riding in to save the day comes in the form of contact-tracing apps.

Unfortunately for all who’ve pinned their hopes on this particular technological fix, even if the scores of different apps released into the wild or in the development pipeline work as promised — and that’s a big if — it’s unclear if contact-tracing apps will ever be anything more than a supplement to a national, human-run, contact-tracing program. A program we do not currently have.

Contact-tracing apps, unlike tried and true human-driven contact tracing, are a new and untested idea. And many of the real-world cases we have seen, unfortunately, failed to live up to the hype. What’s more, early examples present troubling questions about privacy, security, and potential abuse — questions that remain unanswered.

It’s no wonder, then, that actual experts in the field aren’t exactly singing the tech’s praises.

That doesn’t mean that, as we become increasingly desperate in our collective effort to turn the tide against the coronavirus, we as a society won’t grasp at any proffered hand. When it comes to contact-tracing apps, however, that hand may turn out to be anything but a helping one.

How it works, or doesn’t

The idea behind contact tracing, which gained prominence during the 1980’s HIV/AIDS crisis, is simple enough.

When a person is confirmed to be infected, in this case with the coronavirus, trained public health workers interview that person to determine where she was, and with whom she might have interacted, during the period of time in which she was infectious. Then, those same public health workers track down and speak with her contacts, inform them of their possible exposure, and ask them to self-quarantine and seek tests.

In this way, officials can track — and hopefully slow or stop — the spread of a virus. There are currently numerous statewide pushes to hire human contact tracers around the country. California, for example, is attempting to hire and train 20,000 contact tracers.

Contract-tracing apps, on the other hand, are an attempt at a shortcut. Instead of painstakingly tracking down individuals, speaking with them, and making health recommendations, technologists have placed their hope in scalable smartphone apps.

While there are two main types of contact-tracing apps — location dependent and proximity dependent — the general idea is intuitive enough; if an app tracks where everyone is at all times, then, later, when a person finds out she is sick, the app can notify people who where in the same area at the same time. With the proximity-based version, hyped by the likes of Apple and Google, apps record when your phone is near other phones but not the actual location of the devices themselves.

Both versions have serious problems. Let’s start with the former.

In late April, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced the release of Care19. The contact-tracing app, downloaded by over 60,000 people, uses a combination of GPS and WiFi to log a user’s location (the developer writes that later versions of the app will incorporate Bluetooth proximity tracking). However, according to users, the app logs garbage data. That is to say, with a range of 20 to 65 meters, the app is not precise enough to actually be of any use to medical professionals.

After all, there is essentially zero chance you’ve come into contact with or infected a stranger in a car stopped at a red light 60 meters away while you are sheltering in place in your apartment.

That contact-tracing apps may not actually be of any actual use to public health workers is not a problem limited to Care19. Rakning C-19 is an Icelandic contract-tracing app released in April. According to the MIT Technology Review, the app — which relies on GPS in lieu of Bluetooth as the latter “was too unreliable” — has been downloaded by 38 percent of Iceland’s population.

Even with such significant penetration into Icelandic society, Rakning C-19 hasn’t really done that much to move the needle.

“The technology is more or less … I wouldn’t say useless,” Gestur Pálmason, an Icelandic Police Service detective overseeing contact-tracing, told MIT Technology Review. “But it’s the integration of [human-led contact tracing and contract-tracing apps] that gives you results. I would say [Rakning C-19] has proven useful in a few cases, but it wasn’t a game changer for us.”

In other words, neither Care19 nor Rakning C-19 have swooped in to save the day.

Proximity-focused contact-tracing apps, which rely on Bluetooth as opposed to GPS-based location data, don’t magically change that reality. Australia’s COVIDSafe app, which was released in late April and was downloaded a million time within five hours of its launch, is one such app. With Google and Apple’s forthcoming API update that allows for Bluetooth integration between iOS and Android devices, we can expect many more.

Relying on Bluetooth to log nearby devices, COVIDsafe and apps like it don’t cast the same 65-meter net as Care19. That doesn’t mean they’re without their own issues, however.

Simply keeping Bluetooth enabled at all times sets you up to be tracked and hacked, and that’s before any contact-tracing apps come into play. Bluetooth, it turns out, isn’t exactly a foolproof method of determining proximity in the way that matters when it comes to the corona virus.

“Without testing an app in the real world — which entails privacy and security risks — we can’t be sure that an app won’t also log connections between people separated by walls or in two adjacent cars stopped at a light,” explains the newly released Electronic Frontier Foundation’s pandemic guide. “Apps also don’t take into account whether their users are wearing protective equipment, and may serially over-report exposure to users like hospital staff or grocery store workers, despite their extra precautions against infection.”

In other words, the data generated by Bluetooth-based contact-tracing apps, like GPS ones, might be so cluttered with false positives as to be essentially worse than worthless. That is to say, by creating and flagging false positives, these apps could actually make the work of human contact tracers more difficult.

As a former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Wired, real-world examples of successful large-scale contact tracing have not relied exclusively on this shiny new technology.

“You’ll read a lot of misguided stuff on Twitter and elsewhere about ‘This is what Asia did,'” Tom Frieden told the publication. “It’s not true. China has done traditional contact tracing on 730,000 people.”

But wait, it gets worse

When technology fails to deliver on its cheerleaders’ bold promises, proponents often dismiss any shortcomings as ones of implementation. Essentially, the argument goes, if a specific GPS or Bluetooth contact-tracing app doesn’t work, the fault must lie somewhere in the code or hardware. And sure, technological improvements may one day address and resolve questions of accuracy, but what if the true problem with contact-tracing apps isn’t one of design, but something more fundamental?

Could it be that the very notion of contact-tracing apps is rotten to the core?

Contact-tracing apps, which by their nature keep some form or record either of your location or your personal contacts, are inherently invasive. The question of who has access to this data, and how it is secured against abuse, is no small one.

India’s contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu, on the Google Play store.

“It is all too easy for governments to redeploy the infrastructure of surveillance from pandemic containment to political spying,” observes the EFF.

In addition to the obvious privacy concerns, if people are worried about who has access to the data gathered by health-surveillance apps, they may be less likely to download them. In April, the BBC reported that experts advising the NHS cautioned that 56 percent of the UK population — or 80 percent of smartphone users — would need to download and run a contact-tracing app for it to “halt the outbreak.”

Writing for the nonprofit Brookings Institution, Ashkan Soltani, a former senior advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, along with Ryan Calo and Carl Bergstrom — a law professor at the University of Washington and a professor of biology at the University of Washington, respectively — argue that in addition to privacy concerns, contact-tracing apps lend themselves to varying forms of abuse.

“Imagine an unscrupulous political operative who wanted to dampen voting participation in a given district, or a desperate business owner who wanted to stifle competition,” they write. “Either could falsely report incidences of coronavirus without much fear of repercussion. Trolls could sow chaos for the malicious pleasure of it.”

The apps, designed to make contact tracing scalable, might instead enable large-scale abuses while simultaneously failing at their intended purpose.

Moving forward

The coronavirus, and the corresponding death and destruction it has wrought, is sadly not going away in the near future.

Many of the technologists behind contact-tracing apps are, with the best of intentions, understandably searching for any conceivable edge over the virus. As things currently stand, however, it would be a mistake to think that the particular avenue of contact-tracing apps — riddled with technical, ethical, and implementation challenges — is going to make any substantial differences in the near-to-medium term.

In fact, as evidenced by the error-prone Care19, inaccurate contact-tracing apps can actually introduce scores of garbage data into an already overloaded system — thus potentially slowing down the work of human contact tracers.

In other words, when it comes to the coronavirus, no app is coming to save you. The sooner we recognize this and act accordingly, the better we’ll all be.

-mashable

Facebook to ban coronavirus ‘cure’ ads

February 27, 2020 | Tech | No Comments

Facebook will no longer permit ads that promise a cure for the Covid-19 coronavirus, Business Insider reported Wednesday. 

“We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior,” a Facebook spokesperson told the outlet. 

Facebook said in late January that it will work to “limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus and [connect] people to helpful information.” This included using Facebook’s network of third-party fact-checkers to identify misinformation about the virus, and removing content with “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities.” 

Finally, Facebook said at the time it would remove “claims related to false cures or prevention methods — like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.” The new ad removal policy seems to be just a continuation of these efforts. 

Facebook’s action follows Amazon’s recent efforts to remove fake products that are promising to treat or cure coronavirus. 

There’s also been an increase in malware and spam campaigns related to the coronavirus outbreak, including (likely phishing) sites that promise “detection tests” for the virus, as well as malware that promises to report the spread of coronavirus in Japan, but instead points people to download a malicious email attachment. 

The coronavirus outbreak has so far killed 2,700 people and infected 80,239, with the majority of cases being registered in China. 

-mashable

Samsung is shutting down a smartphone plant in Gumi City, South Korea after an employee was confirmed to be infected with the Covid-19 virus.

According to a local news report, the infected employee is reportedly from the wireless division that is in charge of smartphone production. To prevent the virus from spreading to other employees, Samsung closed the factory over the weekend and sterilised the work spaces.

Other employees who had been in contact with the infected staff have been quarantined. Employees are told to wear masks when they return to work and are refrained from domestic travel. Shuttle bus services between the Gumi plant and the headquarter office have also been suspended.

The Gumi factory is known to be manufacturing some of Samsung’s most premium devices which include the recently announced Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Fold. Samsung claims the impact on smartphone production is minimal.

AsiaOne

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