Val Strefeler

Val Strefeler

Followers 11
Following 19
US
Snap has officially responded to a hugely popular Change.org petition calling for the company to walk back the recent redesign of Snapchat.In a message signed by the Snapchat team and posted as a reply to the petition, the company says it’s heard the feedback loud and clear and that it acknowledges how the “new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.” The petition was signed by more than 1.2 million people, a milestone that perhaps prompted Snap leadership to draft a response.However, Snap essentially goes on in its reply to say tough luck, echoing comments made by CEO Evan Spiegel last week.The company tries to reassure users that the new Snapchat will adapt to them over time, and it also teased a new feature coming soon for iOS and Android that will make it easier to customize your own personal Snapchat with tabs for the Friends and Discover sections of the app.But ultimately it sounds like Snap is saying that its leadership thought long and hard about the redesign and has no intention of reversing the shift.The reply is basically a more congenial repetition of what Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference on Thursday last week, in which he defended the redesign.
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Dish has announced separate numbers for its Sling TV over-the-top subscription service for the first time, and things seem to be looking good, with the company revealing it had over 2 million subscribers by the end of 2017.That number — 2.212 million, to be exact — represents a 47 percent growth year over year for the streaming service, which Dish claims is the “ 1 live and on-demand internet streaming service” available.That works out to a gain of around 700,000 new users in 2017, which isn’t bad, but also means that it’s growing at a slower rate than newer services like DirecTV Now, which picked up over 1 million users last year.In the past, Dish has combined its Sling TV numbers with its regular Dish TV satellite customers when reporting subscribers, making it difficult to get an idea of how many Sling TV users were actually out there.But the internet streaming service will still have some work to do before it beats out the satellite side of the company, which Dish reported has just over 11 million subscribers.
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In addition to issuing an indictment for several alleged Russian trolls today, special counsel Robert Mueller also released plea deal documents outlining a strange plan by Ricky Pinedo, a California man who sold bank accounts in order to bypass e-commerce companies’ identification systems.The scheme’s ties to the Russia investigation are still unclear, although the Russian indictment did indicate that the Russian agents acquired fake identities and bank accounts.That said, Pinedo’s plea deal does not mention Russia or make any other obvious reference to the investigation.According to the documents, Pinedo ran a service called “Auction Essistance.” Through the company, Pinedo offered to help people evade e-commerce security features.Follow our tips to getting back on!.In addition, a search for Ricky Pinedo leads to a Santa Paula-based company called “SEO Distortion.” SEO Distortion’s site lists Pinedo as its CEO, and bills itself as a marketing agency that has Auction Essistance as a client.
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Nuts have grown more popular than ever due to their relative health halo, the increase in snacking and the desire for tasty and convenient protein sources, according to Candy Industry.Healthier snacking became a $21.1-billion global business in 2016, Grand View Research reported, and it is projected to experience a 5.1% CAGR through 2025.In the U.S., nuts and seeds made up a $5.4-billion market in 2016, which is an increase of about 1% from 2015, according to a report from U.K.-based research firm GlobalData cited by Candy Industry.Nuts seem to have it all — vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, taste, crunch and flavor — plus they're convenient, portable, adaptable and versatile.Their major liabilities are being high in calories and containing saturated fat.The monounsaturated type of fat also found in many tree nuts is the "good fat" which, when consumed in moderation and to replace additional saturated fats and trans fats, is believed to help reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
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December saw Magic Leap finally unveil its first consumer product, after years of not actually producing anything we the public can get our hands on.If you're excited to get your hands on the augmented reality setup when it launches you might want to start saving your pennies now.From the sounds of things it won't be cheap.When asked about the price of the Magic Leap by Recode, CEO Rony Abovitz said the cheapest version of the tech will be a similar price to a “higher-end mobile phone to higher-end tablet.”While the price of a high-end phone can vary drastically, depending on whose you buy, the current trend has seen their price shoot up over the past couple of years.The iPhone X's cheapest model is £1,000, and rumour is that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be £789.
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China
Many Samsung Galaxy S8 users were overjoyed when Samsung finally rolled out the stable Android Oreo update last week.The update first appeared in Germany as an OTA.It was to make its way to other regions in the coming weeks.However, if you’re in the European region and still haven’t received the OTA, we know the reason.Unfortunately, it seems Samsung has halted the OTA Oreo update for the Galaxy S8.Not only that, the Korean firm has also removed the firmware altogether from its servers.
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China
A week ago, at its 5G Day event, Qualcomm demonstrated new technologies such as spectrum sharing and URLLC (ultra-reliable low latency communication).They should boost the speeds with the recently approved 5G NR standards.That’s not a secret 5G will become the new main connectivity option in the future.But as you know, this requires some time and complete transformation will last up to 10 years.Today, the company announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 latest gigabit LTE modem that reaches up to 2Gbps.This is a great jump from the 1.2Gbps promised by its predecessor, the X20 found on the Snapdragon 835.
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Engineers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Oregon State University are developing a new method of processing nanomaterials that could lead to faster and cheaper manufacturing of flexible thin film devices - from touch screens to window coatings, according to a new study.The "intense pulsed light sintering" method uses high-energy light over an area nearly 7,000 times larger than a laser to fuse nanomaterials in seconds.Nanomaterials are materials characterized by their tiny size, measured in nanometers.A nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter, or about 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.The existing method of pulsed light fusion uses temperatures of around 250 degrees Celsius (482 degrees Fahrenheit) to fuse silver nanospheres into structures that conduct electricity.But the new study, published in RSC Advances and led by Rutgers School of Engineering doctoral student Michael Dexter, showed that fusion at 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) works well while retaining the conductivity of the fused silver nanomaterials.
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But most of those reviewers weren’t really audio nerds, and considering the lackluster price-to-quality ratio on AirPods and Beats, my expectations were low.Pretty darn well, it seems.Redditor WinterCharm published an extremely thorough review of the Homepod in the r/audiophile subreddit, largely comparing it to the KEF X300A – one of the top speakers recommended under $1,000 for a pair.Because Apple hasn’t activated stereo on the HomePods yet, it was compared again an individual X300A.Long story short: The HomePod sounded better.The review goes through all the numbers, and it’s worth a read of your into that kind of thing, but there are a few things to note:
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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The VergeGoogle’s Pixel Buds were only available in the US and Canada when they first launched last fall, and now they’re making their way to Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, via Android Police.As noted in our review, they’re not the best wireless headphones out there, although the Google Assistant integration is still top notch, even if the open-air design and poor fit options aren’t for everyone.The Pixel Buds are available now from the online Google Store in the three new countries.They’ll set you back $249 AUD in Australia, €179 in Germany, or £159 in the UK, all of which work out to be between $195 to $220 after exchange rates, which is far more expensive than the $159 price tag that Google charges in the US.
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Last month we learned that Apple is reportedly focusing on reliability and performance in iOS 12 over new features, and now we’re starting to hear about more of those features that will arrive in iOS at some point in the future.Bloomberg reports that Apple will bring its Animoji characters to the iPad, thanks to a new model of the tablet that has a Face ID camera.Apple is also planning to bring Animoji to FaceTime, so iOS users can put virtual emoji over their faces like the filters found in Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.The new software features are part of a new iOS release codenamed “Peace,” says Bloomberg.The release will also reportedly include universal apps that work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs.These apps sound similar to Microsoft’s own work with Windows Universal Apps that run across pcs, tablets, phones, and even devices like the HoloLens headset.
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UK
The second meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Brexit is due to start at 11am.David Cameron used to patronisingly refer to Eurosceptic hardliners as ‘the Bills [Cash] and Bernards [Jenkin]’.Yet that puts a hell of a lot of weight on such modelling when it is finally done later this year.Then again, Liz Truss revealed last night that young voters have told her they are ‘bored of Brexit’.On the vexed issue of sanctions, the report is vague but does list among the options the existing powers to trigger a by-election or suspend and MP.Not a single Conservative voted against the local government settlement.
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China
Google Pixel smartphones have been a pain in the heart of users since they were released.The Pixel 2 and 2XL have struggled with one issue or another which include a burn-in on the OLED panel, screen flash when the phone is unlocked, faulty USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter, unresponsive screen edges and a faint buzzing sound during calls.Some of these issues have been fixed with an OTA update while others were hardware problems that required replacement.Last year, it came to light that the mic of some units of Google Pixel phones only worked after switching to the loudspeaker during calls.The company subsequently offered replacements or free repairs for those units.However, this issue is now dragging Google to court.
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When it comes to biometric sensors, human skin isn't an ally.The University of Cincinnati is developing cutting-edge methods to overcome this barrier without compromising the skin and its ability to prevent infection and dehydration."You think of the skin as an opportunity because you can measure things through it optically, chemically, electrically and mechanically," said Jason Heikenfeld, assistant vice president in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science.So the skin actually isn't very good at giving them up."Heikenfeld, director of UC's Novel Devices Lab, co-authored a critical review of sensor research this month with his students and colleagues for the nanotechnology journal Lab on a Chip, outlining both scientific accomplishments to date and challenges ahead."We wanted to have all of the current progress and future directions and needs consolidated in one article," said Andrew Jajack, co-author and a UC engineering student.
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Financial services is an industry commonly considered the number one target of hackers, meaning that its approach to cybersecurity must be robust.Cybersecurity has been made the number one priority in a Fintech Action Plan presented by the European Union, aiming to improve collaboration between participants and regulators.The increasingly dangerous threat landscape poses perhaps the greatest threat to the financial services of all industries, facing an unparalleled density of attacks.In light of this, the European Parliament has promoted the need for cybersecurity to be put first and foremost in a new Action Plan centred on Fintech.A draft plan has been presented by the European Commission that presents a three-pronged strategy for approaching the task at hand.Firstly the draft puts forward the concept of a public-private workshop geared towards analysing limitations to sharing information on various threats and how they can be tackled, aiming to arm organisations with the vital know-how.
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China
US-based streaming services Netflix and Amazon are doubling down on original content to square off against the powerful Disney empire, which wrote the playbook for being a content creator and distributor.In China – a market that Netflix and Amazon have missed out on because of protectionism and media regulation – a similar trend has emerged.A unit of China’s largest search engine Baidu, iQIYI is reportedly mulling a US IPO in the first half of 2018.“iQIYI wants to become an online Hollywood, a great business that lasts for hundreds of years, like Disney,” iQIYI founder and CEO Gong Yu said in 2016.But China’s tech titans Tencent and Alibaba are also marching toward their own Disney Wonderlands, jostling to gain a foothold in a market valued at an estimated US$14.3 billion.A bespectacled, soft-spoken yet incisive engineer, Gong founded iQIYI in 2010, when China had begun to step up its crackdown on online piracy.
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Changes are coming to the stripped-down, lightweight operating system Microsoft produces and which has up until now been known as Windows 10 S: it's getting a new name for a start, and will become Windows 10 S Mode in the not-too-distant future.That's according to the Microsoft watchers at Thurrott and Neowin, who say the company wants to rebrand the software so it fits better into its portfolio of products.The new S Mode OS will soon be available on most versions of Windows, limiting users to apps downloaded through the Windows Store, with an unlock option available for the full version of the software.Apparently if you're running Windows 10 Home in S Mode you'll be able to upgrade to the full desktop experience for free, while those with Windows 10 Pro in S Mode are going to have to stump up $49 for the privilege of unlocking, though all this is yet to be confirmed by Microsoft itself.To switch or not to switchWe don't have a timetable for when this rejigged Windows approach is going to arrive, but it seems that Microsoft is planning to refresh its prices sometime in April, so it makes sense for the company to make an announcement on this switch at the same time.
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They announced the Honor 7X followed by the 9i, View 10 and 9 Lite.All of these smartphones have one thing in common: 18:9 aspect ratio display.According to a recent piece of information, Honor has made this a permanent feature of their smartphone lineup.Roland Quandt, a tipster recently tweeted that according to his sources at Honor Germany - "There will be no new Honor phones that do not have a FullView display".In the past few months, Honor has been over-indexing on two features when it comes to smartphones.Dual/Quad camera setup and 18:9 aspect ratio displays with minimal bezels.
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Apple’s first quarterly earnings reports for 2018 are in, and the company has reported that it sold 77.3 million iPhones in Q1 2018 (which includes the holiday season).That number is down 1.24 percent year over year from last year (78.3 million).But despite the slump in sales, iPhone revenue increased overall year over year, up 11.69 percent from $54.38 billion to $61.58 billion.While predictions for the average sale price of iPhone units sold during the quarter ranged from $710 to $755, the actual ASP was $796 (compared to $694 in Q1 2017), which directly explains the increase of revenue despite the decrease in sales.That said, despite the record revenue, analysts were still expecting a slight increase of approximately 1.5 percent year over year for units shipped, not a decrease.My estimate for iPhone units was expecting a lot more iPhone 8 with an average pricing of $710.
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China
If you’re looking for a phone that screams quality and you don’t care too much about having the best performing processor, then the Nubia Z17 Lite is probably one of the best mid-range phones currently on the market.Online store Geekbuying is now discounting the phone with a special coupon which will drop its price to $249.99.Keep reading to learn more about it!The ZTE Nubia Z17 Lite is – as we previously stated – a great mid-ranger powered by a good performing and efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 octa-core CPU clocked at 1.95GHz (and Adreno 510 GPU), along with a whopping 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.Nubia’s handset also features a 5.5-inch display with FHD resolution with a Corning Gorilla Glass on top and a 13.0MP + 13.0MP (SONY IMX258 Color + B/W sensor) dual rear camera setup with f/2.2 aperture, meanwhile on the front we find a 16.0MP (SAMSUNG sensor) sporting a large f/2.0 lens.Under the hood, the Z17 Lite packs a 3200mAh capacity battery with QC3.0 fast charging support.
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