Weekly Digest - 2020.06


Faking trafic jam on Google Maps

Google Maps monitors traffic data using various sources, including phones with location services turned on.  Sam Wecker tricked Google Maps and created virtual traffic jam by walking through empty streets of Berlin with 99 second-hand phones loaded on a small wagon.

Google is aware of this flaw and, in response to 9to5Google, stated that they liked the idea, and hope that it will somehow improve the service.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip leaked

A video showing upcoming Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip has been shared on Twitter. Phone itself looks more like a traditional flip phone that folds up into a compact device. There is not much information about this phone, but here is what we know so far based on the leaks:

  • It will have 6.1- inch foldable main screen,
  • Smaller screen on the back for clock & notifications,
  • Front facing camera built into the main screen,
  • Double camera system on the back.

The Galaxy Z Flip is expected to be revealed at Samsung's Unpacked event on February 11.

GeForce Now finally released

Nvidia's game streaming service -  GeForce Now - left the beta and is finally available for everyone. At the moment, players can choose one of two tiers:

Free

  • Play session is limited to 1 hour,
  • Raytracing is disabled.

Founders

  • Costs $4.99 a month,
  • Unlimited play time,
  • Priority access to servers,
  • Raytracing is available.

GeForce Now allows to play already purchased games from Steam, Uplay, and Epic Store. The list of compatible games is impressive.

At the moment, the client is available for Windows, macOS i Android, but Nvidia also plans to release the PWA version.

Microsoft forgot to renew a certificate, again

Microsoft Teams went down for nearly three hours after Microsoft forgot to renew a critical security certificate. Teams users couldn't sign into the service because the app was failing to establish an HTTPS connection to Microsoft’s servers.

This is not Microsoft's first incident with expired certificate. In 2013,  Microsoft Azure was not available for couple of hours.

AMD Powered macs?

New beta of macOS 10.15.4 Catalina continues to reference the AMD processors. Those references could mean one of couple of things:

  • Apple is just playing with AMD's hardware and there is nothing more to the story,
  • AMD's CPU and GPU will power rumored gaming computer,
  • Apple is going to replace Intel's chips with AMD ones in future iMacs and MacBooks.

Image credits: Google Maps

Weekly Digest - 2020.05


One connector to rule them all

EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly (540-40) in favor for rules that would establish a common charger standard for mobile devices. It has not been decided which connector is the chosen one, but proposed charging ports include Micro-USB, USB-C and the Lightning connector. Looking at the already wide adoption of the USB-C, it's rather safe to say that it will be chosen. Fortunately, we won't have to wait long for the decision, the European Commission should adopt new rules by July.

Apple wants to make SMS one-time codes safer

Apple's WebKit team published a proposal to change the format of SMS one-time passcodes. The idea is to make the two-factor authentication process more secure. The proposal describes two ideas to achieve that:

  1. SMS one-time passcodes would be associated with a URL. It would be achieved by simply adding the website's URL to the SMS itself,
  2. Standardized format of two-factor authentication SMS code would allow applications to detect passcodes; automatically extract them, and complete the login process without further user interaction.

Here is an example of such SMS message:

011970 is your Brain Archives authentication code.
@brainarchives․com #011970

So far Apple and Google have backed the proposal.

iOS 14 to support the same iPhones as iOS 13

According to French website iPhonesoft, iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones supported by iOS 13,  including:

  • iPhone 11,  11 Pro & 11 Pro Max,
  • iPhone XS & XS Max,
  • iPhone XR,
  • iPhone X,
  • iPhone 8 & 8 Plus,
  • iPhone 7 & 7 Plus,
  • iPhone 6S & 6S Plus,
  • iPhone SE,
  • iPod touch (7th generation).

As for the iPads, iPhonesoft informs that iOS14 will drop support for the iPad mini 4, and will support following devices:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro,
  • 11-inch iPad Pro,
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro,
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro,
  • iPad 7th, 6th & 5th   generation,
  • iPad mini (5th generation),
  • iPad Air (3rd generation).

iPad turned 10

This week is the 10th anniversary of the original iPad announcement. iPad supposed to become the "post PC" device that would replace personal computers. 10 years later, we know it hasn't done that yet, but current generation of iPads and iPadOS is closer than ever. Although, tablets hasn't become as popular as smartphones, iPad helped Apple take over this market.

Google's new business communicator

According to report from The Information Google is working on a new communicator for workplaces, that will combine the part of GSuite functionality, like Gmail Google Drive & Hangouts.


Image credits: Lucian Alexe

Weekly Digest - 2020.04


Photos of the Xbox Series X leaked online

Photos of the next-gen console has were posted on NeoGAF and Twitter. It’s unclear how legitimate those photos are, but if this they are, it's the first time we can see the console with all the ports:

  • HDMI Out,
  • 1x front USB Type-A port,
  • 2x rear USB Type-A ports,
  • Ethernet port,
  • Optical port
  • Diagnostic port

Microsoft has not commented on the leak, so we will have to wait, probably till E3 2020, for official news.

iPhone 12 in new sizes?

According to report from Macotakara, this year iPhones will have new dimensions:

  • 5.4-inch model will have a height that is midway between the iPhone SE and iPhone 8,
  • 6.1-inch model will be midway between the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max,
  • 6.7-inch model will be slightly taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.  Also, it will be thinner, 7.4mm instead of 8.1mm.

Disney+ in Western Europe

Disney announced that its streaming service, Disney+, will launch in Europe on March 24th.  It will be available in selected countries:

  • Ireland,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Italy,
  • Spain,
  • Austria,
  • Switzerland,
  • United Kingdom.

Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland will get access this summer. Unfortunately, Eastern Europe will have to wait till the first half of 2021.

Google I/O 2020 announced

Google revealed that its annual developer conference will take place from May 12th to May 14th. The conference dates were reveled through a puzzle game.

It's still unclear what Google is going to announce during the conference, but the preview of a new Android is a safe bet.


Image credits: NeoGAF

Weekly digest - 2019.45


Photoshop for iPad

Almost a year after it was first announced, Photoshop for the iPad has been released. And it is not just a psd viewer. It is fully featured Photoshop optimized to touch interface. Of course it doesn't have all the futures that desktop brother has, nevertheless it is one of the most powerful image editing applications for the iPad.

One other fact worth pointing out is that Adobe now have the ARM engine for the Photoshop. This might be important in the future, when Apple decide to transition from Intel to ARM processors.

Office app for iOS & Android

Microsoft launched new Office app for mobile devices. It combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint into single download. Beside from the ability to read and edit Office files, it will allow to browse documents and create a new ones using ability to scan text and tables.  

At the moment Office app is still in Beta, but soon it should replace Word, Excel and PowerPoint in the AppStores.


Image credits: Adobe

Weekly digest - 2019.32


Apple rolls out Apple Card

On Tuesday Apple started rolling out its Apple Card to selected users.  The new credit card is available to limited group people who signed up on Apple's website to be notified about the card. The rest of the users will get access to their Apple Card  later this month. Alongside the card, Apple also released a series of videos explaining how to set up and use the Apple Card.

New details about Disney+

Finally we learned the price of the new service. The basic trier of Disney+ will cost  $6.99 per month. Disney also announced the bundle option with: Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month. This is quite compelling option fo US users because all those services bought separately would cost about $18.

The price seems to be reasonable. Hopefully when Disney+ comes to Europe, in 2021, the price will be on similar rate.