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About Me

  1. https://www.lbtechreviews.com/news/hi-fi/onkyo-has-gone-bankrupt
  2. Apple's October Event is happening now. They announced some new Airpods, but the interesting part is almost certainly going to be the new Macbook Pros. Historically, the Pros have had discrete GPUs, but today we get to see what Apple is going to do to compete with nVidia and AMD. From the first look, it seems Apple is continuing with the integrated CPU/GPU design. There are two new chips: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. The Pro is a 10 core CPU with 70% better CPU performance and twice the GPU performance of the M1, while supporting up to 32GB of unified memory. The M1 Max supports 64GB of memory, uses the same CPU as the Pro, but doubles the GPU to 32 cores. They're promising performance equal or better than even high end discrete GPU laptops. One of my questions going in to this was how big the chip would be if they just throw in a bunch of GPU cores. It seems that wasn't a problem, because that's exactly what they did.
  3. The super-long HDMI cable I use to connect my PC to my TV appears to no longer be working and even though I have no near-term plans to upgrade my GTX 970 () or 2013 Panasonic plasma, I figure I may as well future proof this replacement cable if I have to spend the money anyhow. I can't find my tape measure right now but I think 30 feet is about right to give me plenty of slack on both ends (the damage to the current cable probably came from not enough slack at the PC end causing the connector to get bent around as I moved the PC around). My current cable came from Blue Jeans Cable, which would be my preferred choice for where to buy the replacement, except their site says they're still only shipping HDMI 2.0 cables. The last time I bought an HDMI cable on Amazon that was this long I had bad experiences with crap where the AWG was way too thin for the length of the cable and it either wouldn't carry a signal or the picture would be total mess. This Monoprice one says it supports HDR but that apparently doesn't guarantee that it's HDMI 2.1??? Basically is 2.0 still okay, or is it so much more money to get 2.1 instead of 2.0 that I should just stick with another 2.0 cable if I have no near term plans to upgrade my TV to something that supports HDMI 2.1 and then replace the cable again once I eventually get a new TV? In either of which cases I'd probably just get another cable from Blue Jeans. Or if I should avoid 2.0, is that Monoprice one okay? @Mr.Vic20 @Spork3245 @Ghost_MH @Ominous
  4. Some Roku smart TVs are now showing banner ads over live TV ARSTECHNICA.COM It's still unclear which TVs are affected.
  5. Samsung no-showed on its major Exynos 2200 launch and won’t say why ARSTECHNICA.COM The Exynos 2200 was supposed to launch on January 11. It didn't. Nobody knows why.
  6. on something that Apple just admitted was a complete failure. Dell’s XPS 13 Plus brings a MacBook Touch Bar-like experience ARSTECHNICA.COM And a likely larger price tag.
  7. I am replacing the side door on my house with a new door and would like to buy a smart lock for it. Does anyone use a smart lock? If so, which one and do you like it? Reviews for these locks are all over the place which is making it hard to pick. My wife likes the Kwikset Kevo but reviews go from 5 stars to 1 star.
  8. We've been seeing it for months in preview, but Android 12 is finally rolling out to Pixel devices, with others coming soon (presumably). It's coming with the biggest redesign Android has seen since Material Design launched in 2014. The new design language is called "Material You" and the idea Google is selling is that the phone will adapt to you. In practice, this means that when you change your wallpaper your widgets, menus, and (optionally) app icons will all adjust to the new colors of your background. Widgets will even change color based on where you put them on your screen and the background colors behind them. I updated my Pixel 4XL to Android 12, and so far I have to say I'm not impressed, and at least part of that is based on how I use my phone. I basically never change my wallpaper, either on the lock screen or home screen. I use a black and white image that isn't particularly exciting, for precisely that reason. I find a busy background image distracting. So my phone won't be constantly adapting to my changes, but it still should adapt to my bland color scheme, right? Well, it seems that while Google is happy to let buttons and widgets choose their own colors, they don't seem to trust you with that same power. The system will let you choose between color pallets pulled from your wallpaper, or from 4 "basic colors" (that I believe the phone also chooses for you) but you can't select your own. Here are the options it gives me: Not a compelling amount of customization. Aside from that, much of the UI has been overhauled, and there are some new privacy features that are worth looking into. But the look of the OS feels disjointed and not particularly exciting to me. It's a lot of large, colored, rounded buttons. Material Design felt like an exciting new look for phones, and it quickly took over on the web and in apps. Material You doesn't seem to have the same reach, and boils down to a more bubbly top layer of the device. Color me unimpressed.
  9. As has been heavily rumored and leaked for a while now, Google is finally going all in on their Pixel phones and creating their own chips. Today we got our first official confirmation that this will be the case, and while tech reporters were allowed to handle the devices and see some demos, they couldn't take any of their own footage or test anything themselves. The devices generally seem comparable to other high end (~$1000) smartphones, which has not always been the case with the Pixel line. The camera system is notable, given that Google has finally ditched the old 12MP Sony sensor they've been using since the Pixel 2. No direct specs were given, but leaks suggest it's a new 50MP sensor that is also larger than the old one. There's also an ultra wide and a periscope telephoto lens. The big deal though is the new Tensor chip. Tensor is the name Google has used for their AI chips used in their data center products, so it's notable they're using it again here. Unfortunately, Google was again light on the details. They wouldn't share what parts were custom designed, who is building it, or any benchmarks. The only real info is that the Tensor SoC will include mobile versions of the "Tensor Processing Unit" that Google has been putting in their server farms. This shouldn't be a surprise, given that Apple, nVidia, and basically everyone else already puts dedicated AI hardware in their SoCs, and Googles TPUs have been well regarded for years. In the past we've seen different kinds of jumps when companies move to their own hardware. Samsung has been selling versions of it's phones for years with their own Exynos chips, but they've never really been clearly better than their Qualcomm counterparts. When Apple first moved to their own A series chips, they were more or less a continuation of what had come before, taking a bit before they became the market leading chips we see today. When they moved to the M series with their laptops, it was a huge leap we're unlikely to see here. If I were to guess I'd say we won't be seeing much performance differences between this first gen and existing Qualcomm phones, but over time it could become quite a competitive advantage for Google. Google is also promising that this time they're going to spend money and actually attempt to capture some market share. They've said that before, but there's some reason to believe they actually might do it this time. As someone who's been using Pixel phones for years now, I'd be happy if they can make these really standout products.
  10. Well worth the watch, even if a lot of this is stuff you already knew... Getting 100 customized headsets for a giveaway is a wildly tempting offer from a company. Even if you don't think they're all that great, subscribers to the channel would probably love the freebie, and it increases engagement on the videos themselves. I can easily see how a marketing department would consider that a win win.
  11. I have a pair of Logitech G35s that I scored for $40 a few years ago which are still fine except for the fact that I have to take them off to step away from my desk. But I'm looking at new options and don't really know what to pick. I see the G933 and the G935 and as far as I can tell the G935 is basically the G933, but from the reviews maybe built a bit more shoddily, and $60 cheaper because they're the current model whereas the available supply of G933 is clearing out old inventory? Then there's the G533, which are only $80 if you can find one new, and support Dolby in addition to DTS while the G933/G935 only support DTS? I'm not sure how much Dolby support actually matters and I'm also clueless about what's actually reasonable quality without breaking the bank beyond Logitech. I did get a pair of Anker Q30s for $60 a couple of weeks ago (I know, not 7.1, but wanted the noise cancelling) and those are pretty good except for the fact that the way the multipoint works is kind of a pain in the ass. The only way to set the priority connection is by what it connects to first. So to connect them to my PC as the priority device I have to turn off Bluetooth on my phone, manually connect them via the Windows Bluetooth control panel, then turn Bluetooth on my phone back on, then connect to them from my phone's Bluetooth menu. It would be easier to just have a PC-only headset, the lack of multipoint doesn't really matter if I can move around my apartment while wearing the headset and I don't see myself using the Q30s outside my apartment anyhow. I'd probably return them in favor of whatever 7.1 headset I order if I can find one that makes sense that isn't obscenely expensive.
  12. Microsoft announces Windows 365, a cloud OS you can stream WWW.WINDOWSCENTRAL.COM Microsoft has today announced its new Cloud PC service, officially called Windows 365, allowing users to create installs of Windows 10 or 11 in the cloud and stream the OS to any device. The service will go live August 2nd, and is designed to bring the best of Windows to any device, including Mac, iPad, or Android devices. This is the future of computing.
  13. The 'right to repair' bill gains backing from President Biden and Apple co-founder Wozniak | PC Gamer WWW.PCGAMER.COM Perhaps another step toward a more open-source future for the technology industry.
  14. WWDC 2021 will be starting soon, at 10am PDT. It could be quite an interesting show. Lots of rumors of what we might see, and lots of weird pressure on Apple in the wake of the Epic trial. I've heard rumors (or perhaps simply hopes) that we'll see new 16" MacBook Pros, probably with a new M1x or M2 SoC, which would give us our first insights into how Apple plans to scale up towards high performance chips. There are rumors that we'll get better multitasking on the iPad, but I wouldn't be surprised if all we get are widgets. I'd love for some crazy iPad action, like true windowing or anything else to justify putting an M1 in the iPad Pro, but I won't hold my breath. The twitter hashtag emoji and the splash screen indicates something with iMessage. It's a hugely outside shot, but it's plausible they open up iMessage to Android to lessen some anti-trust concerns, but odd are it's likely just some new junk they've thrown in there. I doubt they'll even acknowledge it, but whatever they say it'll be hard for Apple to escape the cloud of the Epic trial and Tim Cook essentially saying that Apple owns and deserves to profit on every piece of software sold in their store. They could try playing up how great they are to devs and how many opportunities Apple provides to them, but they might just try and sidestep the issue entirely and talk about privacy or how fast the new chips are the whole time. We'll find out soon enough.
  15. https://www.cseed.tv/en/indoor-tv/unfolding-tv.html Weighing in at over 1300 lbs, 81" tall & over 140" wide ...
  16. So we just got ATSC here in the Detroit market, so now the major networks are broadcasting in HEVC rather than just MPEG2. I was excited hoping for less compression in sports and that sort of thing, not expecting them to broadcast anything in 4K....but for now at least it just means they can cut their bandwidth from 12 or so Mbps down to around 3 to 4 Mbps. Maybe now they can fit even more sub channels with movies from the 70s and 80s that nobody will watch! Anyone else in a market with ATSC 3 that has the equipment to view it experienced anything different?
  17. This is the phone I had before. The S7 Active. This is what I have now. The black Note 20 ultra. The note 20 is literally the third phone I have ever owned and it is a really nice upgrade. Now this is something I would have never bought myself, but my aunt wanted to upgrade my phone for my birthday/xmas. I wasn't that excited about the idea at first, but after looking up some of the phones that I had the option to choose from I got excited about the note 20. The Note 20 is a really nice phone. While I don't see myself using it often, the pen/stylus is actually nice. What I mean is that this is the most responsive digital writing device I have ever used. It legit is almost just like writing with a normal, but really thin, pen. Tho, the only other stylus' I have used were with the various Nintendo DS systems. When I first got a smartphone in 2016 there were other Samsung phones that had this type of full top to bottom and side to side screen, and I thought it was stupid. But wow is it nice having no bezel. Now, I may not feel this way if I didn't have a case as, in a way, the case I got is now providing the bezel. Before I got the case, my fat pillowy banana hands did occasionally cause some "miss clicks" so to speak. But man there is just so much screen now, it is awesome. Without the case the phone feels so thin, weak, and pathetic. I was totally babying the device because of how thin it was and I didn't want to break it. But damn is the design sleek as hell. Like, this phone feels like my first futuristic device. After wielding the Note 20 I understand a lot of complaints about the S7 Active. At the time, the S7 Active had the best battery life of all the phones, and when my previous phone was a sliding full keyboard phone I really didn't want to go full touch controls. I really liked that the S7 Active had physical home and back buttons. But wow do those buttons really get in the way of the aesthetics. I can't ever see myself going back to physical buttons. Of course the phone feels way faster than my previous phone. It is a similar feeling to when I upgraded to my M.2 SSD but a bit lesser. Another thing that makes it feels faster is the 120Hz display. it is like getting my 144hz monitor all over again but, well, 120 instead of 144. I can't say much about the cameras except that the selfie cam is so much better. I always thought I looked distorted as hell with the S7 active's cam, but with the note 20 it feels much more like actually looking into a mirror. Honestly, this is the first time in a long while I have really enjoyed playing with new tech. Like not even Nintendo Switch was this much fun to just mess around with as I just plopped that sucker into the dock and it just became another console. I didn't even feel this way about the S7 active. I don't know, it just feels good to have this new piece of tech. Like, I wish there were actually good mobile games cuz I just want to play with my phone. Like, I have legit thought about downloading Final Fantasy IV just so I have a game to play on my phone. I had it on the DS but never beat it. Oh, also, this is the case I got after watching this video.
  18. Last year we heard reporting that Apple's electric car ambitions had been scaled back dramatically from building their own car from scratch to simply providing driverless car software. Large parts of the so-called project Titan team were let go, and many assumed Apple was out of the race. Now we have a new report from Reuters that says Apple is indeed still moving ahead with their electric car ambitions. They're unsure if Apple will contract with partners to build a whole car, or if they'll be partnering with existing automakers, but besides self-driving car software, the key item in this new report is that Apple has some "breakthrough" battery tech that will both dramatically decrease cost and increase the range. The report also says Apple is targeting a 2024 date for this new car. At this point, I think it's fair to take these kinds of speculation with a pretty hearty dose of skepticism, but it's still fun to speculate as to what Apple could mean to electric and self-driving cars, should they enter the market in any real capacity. One element that comes to my mind that may have been in the background before is that Apple is now much more capable of a chip builder than they were in 2014. Yes, they were a few generations deep into the A-series when Titan started up, but now they've expanded their capabilities immensely, with a heavy focus on compute, vision, and AI, all things you'd need in a self-driving car. I'm not sure how aware people are, but many (most?) car software platforms are built on QNX, a blackberry subsidiary that works, but I wouldn't call them a gold standard of innovation. Even if Apple's ambitions get scaled back, it's not hard to imagine Apple's hardware and software taking significant market share from both QNX and self driving providers at the same time. As far as breakthrough battery tech, that's my ultimate "I'll believe it when I see it." If they do have something cheap and good, then I'll be first in line to praise them for it, but I feel like it's a line we've heard before, and as far as I know Apple hasn't been a leader in battery tech. We've seen a lot of scaled back ambitions from the self-driving car sector. Uber basically gave up, Waymo has been moving very slowly, established car makers have been much more quiet about their ambitions in the last year or so. If Apple does get into the mix, it could spice things back up.
  19. Apple's new AirPods Max are premium, over the ear, noise cancelling headphones that seem perfectly nice, but for some reason Apple is asking for a ridiculous $550 in a market where the top alternatives are closer to $300. They've only just been announced so full reviews aren't in yet, but the impressions I've read indicate that they're good headphones. They're made of metal, have good sound, and of course have all the nice connection features you get with current AirPods. Of course, they also have the typical Apple exclusions. There's no headphone jack, only a lightning port. You can buy a lightning to 3.5mm cable for $35. There are no touch controls and there aren't many buttons, just a digital crown for volume and a single action button to control things. There isn't even a power button, they go to sleep when not in use for a while, or when put into their case. And what a case it is: It's both a braw and a purse, but it's not particularly good at being a case. The headphones don't fold up, and the case doesn't protect the headband or completely cover the bottom of the headphones. There seems to be a pretty universal dislike for this thing, with the Verge calling it one of the cheapest things Apple's ever made. I really like my Bose QC 35s, and I also really like the new Sonys, and there's nothing here that indicates to me that these would be worth $200+ more than either. If these things folded up into a normal case and cost the same as other high end headphones, I think they'd be a great choice for a lot of people. I'm personally puzzled as to why they priced them so high. The AirPods are pretty competitive in their segment, and this is a pretty competitive market. Still, I'm sure they'll sell plenty of them, just not to me.
  20. We finally have a price and date for the Surface Duo, and it's sooner than I thought, for a very high price. On September 10th for $1400 you'll be able to have your very own dual screen android phone, and in my opinion, it looks great. The hardware is sleek as hell, and from the (overly brief) initial hands-on accounts, it seems the software is pretty good. The dual screen setup means that all android apps will work without modification, thereby side-stepping issues around folding phone apps. Still, for a super premium phone, this is clearly a case of paying extra to have the cool new thing. The battery is considerably smaller than the Note 20 Ultra's or Galaxy Fold's. The processor is an old 855, not the current 865. It lacks any 5G support. Something I expect reviewers to rake this over the coals for is the camera. It's sporting a single 11MP f/2.0 camera on the inside of the right hand screen. A single half of the duo is thinner than most phones, so I don't have much hope that somehow they've put in a great lens. MS hasn't released as phone in a long time, so I also doubt that they're anywhere near par with Samsung/Apple/Google. Also, even if the camera is passable, this will be a terrible device to whip out and take a photo with, since you have to fold it all the way around to have a camera pointing away from you and have a view. Yeah, this is a productivity device first and foremost, but even if the CEO uses it primarily for email, she probably still takes pictures with her phone, and I think it's reasonable for a $1400 device to take decent photos. This is a phone that I really want to want. I want to it to be great and to lust over it, but I also expect it to be a real novelty rather than a particularly worthwhile device. MS is investing a lot in this whole dual screen setup, with the Surface Neo also in the pipeline. Hopefully they'll keep with it long enough to build devices really worth buying into.
  21. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/08/samsung-makes-the-1300-galaxy-note-20-ultra-official/ https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/08/the-bean-shaped-galaxy-buds-live-are-samsungs-counter-to-the-airpods-pro/ https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/08/samsungs-galaxy-watch-3-is-a-stylish-redesign-without-much-new-to-say/ https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/08/samsungs-galaxy-z-fold-2-is-official-comes-with-a-ton-of-improvements/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-3-years-android-os-updates-galaxy-note-20/ The extra year of OS updates, and it backdating to the S10/Note 10, is the thing I'm most excited about from today.
  22. It's been speculated for years, but according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, on June 22 at WWDC Apple will finally announce it is moving Mac OS from Intel to ARM CPUs. The early takes are coming fast and furiously. Jon Gruber is pretty optimistic, and seems to think that Apple will try to move all Macs over to ARM. Dieter Bohn looks at what Apple can learn from Windows recent ARM iteration. Steven Sinofsky wrote an interesting twitter thread on the technical aspects and speculates that an ARM Mac shouldn't be a simple port, but should force a huge shift towards a new API model. If the report is right, we only have a couple weeks before we find out, but it's still fun to speculate. I feel like an incremental approach that has Intel and ARM living side by side for years is the most likely outcome. If Sinofsky is right and Apple really wants to push a significant software transition along with the hardware, it wouldn't take too much for a mass market ARM based Macbook Air to be viable for many people. MS Office already has an ARM version (for windows), Apple's' own apps have already been moving to Catalyst and Swift UI, and the prevalence of Electron means that Apps like Slack could quickly be ported. Yeah, emulated photoshop would probably still suck, but power users can continue buying Intel machines until the software library for ARM matures, which will likely take years. I just look at photoshop on the iPad, or how poorly other Adobe apps use GPU acceleration on any platform, and imagine them having to port it all to a Mac OS ARM architecture and API framework that are meaningfully different, and it's hard to see how it could possibly happen anytime soon. If Apple does its best to make the transition painless, and builds it's ARM chips to more closely mimic x86, and essentially does a 1:1 port of the existing frameworks, that transition time would be very reduced, but at the cost of any real transformative gains. So many of the things we associate with ARM devices are actually the result of the software that has been built for them. If you take a generalized OS and throw it on there, the theoretical benefits of ARM quickly dissapear. We've seen this with both Windows and Chrome based devices. Especially as someone who doesn't use a Mac and won't experience any pain from this transition, I really hope to see Apple do something radical. I want them to use the ARM transition to build devices that they couldn't have built with Intel. If it all just ends up being the same computers with the same OS and the same apps, just with a different piece of silicon in the center, that would be boring.
  23. https://www.cultofmac.com/713978/apple-expands-0-apple-card-financing-to-mac-ipad-airpods-and-more/ For anyone who has an Apple Card, this is fantastic. If only I had waited one more week before upgrading my iPad Pro to the 12.9” version. I’m definitely going to use this once the AirPods Studios go on sale (next week).
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