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 - 2019.17


Avengers Engame

This week, Marvel released the final chapter of the Avengers. This is a culmination of the story that was 11 years in a making and took 22 movies to tell. During that time those movies evolved from small experiment into pop-culture phenomenon. That being said, the directors, Russo brothers, had almost impossible task to finish all the stories,  meet fans' expectations and lay the foundation for the Phase 4.  I have to admit, I was worried whether they would be able to do it, but they did it. After watching it, I can say with certainty that this is the perfect culmination of the Marvel's Phase 1-3 movies. After leaving the cinema I was fulfilled. Russo brothers not only close the storyline, but they also incorporated so many references to previous movies and comics, that is was overwhelming.  Every nerd will have something to talk about for weeks.

This is not the perfect movie, but  it  gives us closure, and that was what I wanted from this movie.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Last week I was writing about broken review units. This week we got first reviews and even a teardown. As I said last week, this phone is still a prototype with many small issues. They are not anything major, but it looks like they might be irritating in long run. I hope Samsung is taking notes and the next model will be true folded phone.

Another AirPods in 2019?

There are rumors that Apple will release a brand new AirPods later this year. New model is supposed to have a noise-canceling feature as well as new form-factor. Those rumors are really interesting especially after Apple's AirPods update in last March. Although, in March we go merely a hardware refresh, when all previous rumors hinted new colors, materials and features including noise-cancellation, so maybe we will get a brand new AirPods after all.

Weekly digest - 2019.16


As I mentioned last week, we had Star Wars Celebration. I've already covered Rise of Skywalker and  Jedi Fallen Order. Now, it's time to catch up with other news.

The Mandalorian

This is the first, beside Star Wars TV Special, live action Star Wars TV series, so I've been really excited for this panel. Unfortunately we have not learnt many details, but what have been leaked looks promising. It looks like we will get dark, greedy world that I love in Rogue One. And if Dave Filoni created the story on level of Rebels, we will get Netflix's quality show. Can't wait to 15th of November, when series will debut on Diney+.

Star Wars The Clone Wars

This panel haven't brought any surprises as most of the story have been already told one way or another, but at least we've got official trailer. Unfortunately we still don't know when it will be released.

Notre Dame

On Monday the Notre Dame cathedral burned down. Normally I would not cover such tragedy, but Ubisoft released Assassins Creed Unity, which featured the detailed recreation of the cathedral, for free. I thought it was cheap and low marketing action, but later on Ubisoft announced that they will give $500K for restoration process. Maybe it was a PR stunt, but at least those money will be used to something good.

Playstation 5

This week we got couple of details about next generation of Sony's console. Here is what we learnt, so far:

  • It will not be released in 2019,
  • 8-core CPU  based on AMD’s 3rd gen Ryzen (7nm Zen 2),
  • GPU based on AMD’s Radeon Navi with support for  8K resolution and ray-tracing,
  • Custom AMD chip for 3D audio,
  • SSD storage,
  • Backward compatibility with PS4 games,
  • Physical drive, probably Blue-ray, but the type of the drive has not been confirmed.

So far it looks promising. The only thing that is a mystery now is pricing, but I think we will find it out next year.

Broken Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung has started shipping review units and multiple phones already broke after couple days of usage. I knew this device will be a prototype to see how this technology behaves and how people use foldable phones, but I didn't expect to see such problems before the premiere. Hopefully Samsung finds out the root of the problem and the next generation will not have such issues.

Crew Dragon anomaly

On Sunday SpaceX was doing static fire test of the Crew Dragon capsule, but something went wrong and vehicle exploded. At the moment we don't know why it happened and how is it going to affect the manned mission, originally planned for this July.