Alexa routers are a thing now

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Some things are inevitable — stock market fluctuations, thunderstorms, your favorite band reuniting to offset poor financial planning. And then there’s Alexa. Amazon’s smart assistant is slowly making its way onto every aspect of of the smart home, and Google’s own offering isn’t too far behind. As far as these things go, routers make a […]

How to boost your job prospects with this Excel and Office training

See the original posting on Boing Boing

There’s more to Microsoft Office than meets the eye. From automating tedious tasks in Excel to visualizing data in Access, the Microsoft Office suite gives you the ability to perform some truly impressive feats that are sure to grab the attention of potential employers. The eLearnExcel & eLearnOffice School bundle will show you the ropes and even help certify your skills, all for $49.

This collection is divided into two parts. True to its name, eLearnExcel covers all things Excel, like automating spreadsheets with macros and presenting your data through easy-to-read charts and PivotTables. Complete all 29 modules, and you’ll earn a CPD-certified diploma to validate your knowledge.

Meanwhile, eLearnOffice covers the whole Microsoft Office suite, providing you with bite-sized videos and quizzes to assess and increase your skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, Outlook, Access, and Calendar. Plus, eLearnOffice features a Microsoft Skills Score Dashboard, which you can use to track your progress, show off your knowledge, and even link to your resume.

A lifetime subscription to the eLearnExcel & eLearnOffice School bundle would normally run you $1,198, but you can sign up today for $49.

When Elon Musk tweets, no one can ignore it

See the original posting on The Verge

Welcome to This Week in Elon, a limited-edition weekly newsletter you can get in your inbox by subscribing here.

With apologies to Janet Malcolm, every investor who is not too stupid or full of themselves to notice what is going on knows that what they do isn’t exactly rational. That’s why stories matter so much to investors.

Money doesn’t behave in the same predictable way that, say, a rocket behaves. It doesn’t matter much whether you think the rocket will go up. The rocket goes if the physics is right, and it doesn’t if the physics is wrong. Money, being a human construct, functions in a much weirder way: it only works if we all agree it works. And when it comes to investment, that…

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Wireless headphones are improving faster than anything else in tech

See the original posting on The Verge

<em>Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC.</em>

If you’re in the market for new wireless headphones, IFA 2018 has been an absolute treat for you. If, on the other hand, you just bought a pair, well… this is going to be an upsetting read. At this year’s IFA in Berlin, headphones manufacturers brought out a litany of meaningful, tangible, delightful improvements that have made the wireless audio market much more exciting than it was just a few days ago. Let’s take each new change in turn.

USB-C is the new charging standard

Anyone who’s been following my writing will know that I think this change is overdue. For months, I’ve been imploring headphone makers to get with the times — a majority of smartphones and laptops now charge via USB-C — but most of them kept updating their flagship…

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Huawei’s AI Cube is a 4G router and Alexa speaker, not a cube

See the original posting on The Verge

The Huawei AI Cube is not a cube. I just really want us to get that fact agreed upon before we proceed any further. It is, however, a rather unique device, combining a 4G modem, a home Wi-Fi router, a high-end 360-degree wireless speaker, and a Huawei-Amazon collaboration that promises Alexa integration and some not-yet-articulated AI capabilities.

Shaped like an elongated Google Home with a flat top, the Huawei AI Cube is an effort to get Huawei in on the flourishing smart speaker business. As of today, there are probably more consumer electronics brands with a smart speaker in their portfolio — Apple’s HomePod, the Google Home family of devices, Amazon’s Echo speakers, Lenovo’s Smart Display, and most recently, Samsung’s Bixby speaker…

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HiSilicon Announces The Kirin 980: First A76, G76 on 7nm

See the original posting on Anandtech

This year at IFA, instead of suddenly finding the new silicon on the show floor, Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu announced this year’s new Kirin 980 during the company’s keynote speech. For readers who’ve been attentively following our articles over the last few months, today’s news should hopefully not come at too big of a surprise, as I’ve been heavily hinting at the timing of the first new 7nm Cortex A76 silicon designs coming later this year in commercial devices, with HiSilicon being the prime candidate for being the first vendor on the market with the their new generation SoC.

Huawei’s silicon design division HiSilicon has been a key strategic component for the company’s products, as it enables it to differentiate itself in a more drastic way than what we usually see from other vendors who simply rely on established open-market SoC vendors such as Qualcomm. This kind of strategy of course is a double-edged sword, as if you’re all-in with your in-house silicon, it also means that these designs must be executed properly, as otherwise you find yourself in an unfavourable competitive position.

The Kirin 950 was an impressive chip as it boasted the first Cortex A72 design on a then new TSMC 16FF manufacturing process – this paid off plenty for Huawei as the combination of new IP as a new manufacturing node resulted in a very competitive silicon which directly translated into favourable characteristics of the handsets in that it was used in.

The Kirin 960 and Kirin 970 on the other hand showcased the risky side of this strategy, and where things can go off-track – the Kirin 960 was a 16nm SoC released in a device generation where 10nm competitors such as the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 dominated. The Kirin 970 fared better when switching to a 10nm manufacturing node, but this time around HiSilicon wasn’t able to include the newest Arm CPU IP, relying on an A73 CPU while the Snapdragon 845 embraced the new A75. Furthermore the last two Kirin generations had showcased extremely uncompetitive GPU performance and efficiency figures – here HiSilicon is stuck and is at the whim of IP vendors’ ability to produce competitive designs against market leaders such as Qualcomm.

The reason as to why I reiterated what happened to the last few generations, is that this time around HiSilicon finds itself in a very favourable position where IP and manufacturing is aligned into what is essentially a best-case scenario for the new design. Arm’s new Cortex A76 and Mali G76 both promise great leaps in terms of performance and power efficiency, and TSMC is in mass production of its new 7nm manufacturing node.

Today we present the new Kirin 980, the first announced TSMC 7nm SoC as well as the first Cortex A76 and Mali G76 design:

HiSilicon High-End Kirin SoC Lineup
SoC Kirin 980 Kirin 970 Kirin 960
CPU 2x A76 @ 2.60 GHz
2x A76 @ 1.92 GHz
@ 512KB L2’s

4x A55 @ 1.80 GHz
@ 128KB L2’s


4MB DSU L3

4x A73 @ 2.36 GHz
4x A53 @ 1.84 GHz

2MB L2

4x A73 @ 2.36GHz
4x A53 @ 1.84GHz

2MB L2

GPU ARM Mali-G76MP10
@ 720 MHz
ARM Mali-G72MP12
@ 746 MHz
ARM Mali-G71MP8
@ 1037MHz
LPDDR4
Memory
4x 16-bit CH
LPDDR4X @ 2133MHz 34.1GB/s
4x 16-bit CH
LPDDR4X @ 1833 MHz
29.9GB/s
4x 16-bit CH
LPDDR4 @ 1866MHz
29.9GB/s
Storage I/F UFS 2.1 UFS 2.1 UFS 2.1
ISP/Camera New Dual ISP
+46% speed
Dual 14-bit ISP Dual 14-bit ISP
(Improved)
Encode/Decode 2160p60 Decode

2160p?? Encode
2160p60 Decode
2160p30 Encode
1080p H.264
Decode & Encode

2160p30 HEVC
Decode

Integrated Modem Kirin 980 Integrated LTE
(Category 21/18)

DL = 1400 Mbps
4×4 MIMO
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
(5CA no MIMO)

UL = 200 Mbps
2×2 MIMO
1x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

Kirin 970 Integrated LTE
(Category 18/13)

DL = 1200 Mbps
5x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

UL = 150 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

Kirin 960 Integrated LTE
(Category 12/13)

DL = 600Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

Sensor Hub i8 i7 i6
NPU Dual @ >2x perf Yes No
Mfc. Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 10nm TSMC 16nm FFC

The new Kirin 980 checks off all of the newest available IPs from Arm, finally employing a new DynamIQ CPU cluster configuration comprised of 4 Cortex A76’s and 4 Cortex A55s.

The biggest surprise to today’s announcem

Single-Rotor Drone: a Thrust-Vectoring Monocopter

See the original posting on Hackaday

We’re not entirely sure what to call this one. It’s got the usual trappings of a drone, but with only a single rotor it clearly can’t be called by any of the standard multicopter names. Helicopter? Close, but not quite, since the rotor blades are fixed-pitch. We’ll just go with “monocopter” for now and sort out the details later for this ducted-fan, thrust-vectored UAV.

Whatever we choose to call it — builder [tesla500] dubbed it the simultaneously optimistic and fatalistic “Ikarus” — it’s really unique. The monocopter is built around a 90-mm electric ducted fan mounted vertically on a 3D-printed …read more

Review: Blendy Black Lemon Coffee from Japan

See the original posting on Boing Boing

In Japan when I see the name Blendy, I imagine coffee. Usually I think instant coffee, or some kind of stick thats contents can be stirred into hot water to make a cup of joe in various flavors. Normal flavors like latte, espresso, or farm latte (there really is a farm latte.)

Farm latte aside, when I think Blendy, I usually don’t think about anything too outside the box.

That changed when the other day a new product caught my eye. Black Lemon Coffee. The catch copy reads: “Ice coffee with a new sensation”. Indeed.
Before trying it, I read around the hashtags on Twitter, and it looks like the new bottled beverage has a lot of converts, with some fans saying it’s a cross between coffee and herbal tea, others exclaiming it’s their new summer obsession.

Then I tried it. Me? I’m afraid I’m a nope. The taste of Blendy’s Black Limone coffee was exactly how I’d imagined a cup of cold sweet coffee would taste if someone snuck up and squirted lemon in it. Give me coffee or give me tea. Please, don’t give me lemon in my coffee.

Photo: Rich Pav

Beyerdynamic’s new wireless headphones put the LED lights where they belong: on the inside

See the original posting on The Verge

<em>Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC.</em>

The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC headphones come with a neat lighting trick: instead of having exterior LEDs spoiling their aesthetic, they have internal lights to inform the user of their status. It’s such a simple switch in thinking, executed with a smidgen of flair, yet its effect is profound. When you think about it, the only time you want to see a status light on your headphones is when they’re off your head, and you probably want to see that light without ambiguity. So Beyerdynamic has done what’s obvious in hindsight by illuminating the inner periphery of the cups with informative colors.

When you first pick up a Lagoon pair that’s already on, the left ear cup will glow blue and the right one will glow red — because that’s when you’ll…

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Scientists make a prototype touch tablet that rolls and scrolls

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Research scientists at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab have built a prototype touchscreen device that’s neither smartphone nor tablet but kind of both — and more besides. The device, which they’ve christened the MagicScroll, is inspired by ancient (papyrus/paper/parchment) scrolls so it takes a rolled-up, cylindrical form factor — enabled by a flexible 7.5inch touchscreen […]

Science Shows Green Lasers Might Be More Than You Bargained For

See the original posting on Hackaday

This may come as a shock, but some of those hot screaming deals on China-sourced gadgets and goodies are not all they appear. After you plunk down your pittance and wait a few weeks for the package to arrive, you just might find that you didn’t get exactly what you thought you ordered. Or worse, you may get a product with unwanted bugs features, like some green lasers that also emit strongly in the infrared wavelengths.

Sure, getting a free death ray in addition to your green laser sounds like a bargain, but as [Brainiac75] points out, it actually represents …read more

AptX Adaptive is Qualcomm’s latest solution to bad Bluetooth audio

See the original posting on The Verge

Headphones

If you stream music from an Android phone to a pair of wireless headphones, there’s a very good chance your devices are relying on a compression algorithm known as AptX, which is supposed to squeeze high-quality sound into the limited bandwidth provided by a Bluetooth connection. But existing AptX options have their limits, so Qualcomm — the company behind AptX since 2015 — is introducing a new version that’s supposed to grow and contract the size of audio data to meet the demands of whatever and wherever you’re actually streaming.

The new version of AptX is called AptX Adaptive, and its key feature is the ability to compress audio at a variable bitrate. That means if you’re in an environment with a lot of competing wireless signals,…

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Laser Arm Cannon Scares More than Metroids

See the original posting on Hackaday

There’s an interesting side effect of creating a popular piece of science fiction: if you wait long enough, say 30 or 40 years, there’s a good chance that somebody will manage to knock that pesky “fiction” bit off the end. That’s how we got flip phones that looked like the communicators from Star Trek, and rockets that come in for a landing on a tail of flame. Admittedly it’s a trick that doesn’t always work, but we’re not in the business of betting against sufficiently obsessed nerds either.

Coming in right on schedule 32 years after the release of  …read more

Huawei To Announce Kirin 980 Today at IFA

See the original posting on Anandtech

In the smartphone wars, the chip inside powering the devices is becoming ever more important. Raw performance plus accelerators are pushing the boundaries of what we used to think was possible. Huawei’s unique selling point is that it designs its own chips for its smartphones, based a lot on Arm’s reference cores. Today, Huawei will be announcing its next generation SoC to the world.

As proudly declared on stage at the Honor launch event yesterday, with Honor’s own upcoming Magic 2 smartphone having it inside, Honor’s CEO George Zhao proudly declared that Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, will be announcing the Kirin 980 today.

Huawei’s current flagship SoC is the Kirin 970, which sits inside the Mate 10, P20, P20 Pro, and Honor’s Play, Honor 10, and Honor View 10. All of Huawei’s chips are made by their internal design house, HiSilicon, and the Kirin 970 was announced last year at IFA, so it makes sense that this year we would see the next generation, the Kirin 980, around this time.

Huawei has a long tradition of being a primary Arm partner, often using its latest design options where possible to get the edge of the competition. The Kirin 980, as with the silicon before it, aims for the highest echelons of performance in order to set it apart from the competition. You can also expect the Kirin 980 to be promoted alongside Huawei’s other ‘features’, such as GPU Turbo.

As for the internals of the Kirin 980, we’ve had a pre-briefing and can’t tell you much until the actual presentation at the event due to NDAs. We went into a lot of detail with Huawei’s Benjamin Wang about the new chip design, and suffice to say that it follows in Huawei’s tradition to be a large number of ‘firsts’.

HiSilicon High-End Kirin SoC Lineup
SoC Kirin 980 Kirin 970 Kirin 960
CPU POWER* 4x A73 @ 2.36 GHz
4x A53 @ 1.84 GHz
4x A73 @ 2.36GHz
4x A53 @ 1.84GHz
GPU TURBO* ARM Mali-G72MP12
746 MHz
ARM Mali-G71MP8
1037MHz
LPDDR4
Memory
SOME* 4x 16-bit CH
LPDDR4 @ 1833 MHz
29.9GB/s
4x 16-bit CH
LPDDR4 @ 1866MHz
29.9GB/s
Interconnect YES ARM CCI ARM CCI-550
Storage I/F  NO DOUBT* UFS 2.1 UFS 2.1
ISP/Camera SMILE* Dual 14-bit ISP Dual 14-bit ISP
(Improved)
Encode/Decode FAST* 2160p60 Decode
2160p30 Encode
2160p30 HEVC & H.264
Decode & Encode

2160p60 HEVC
Decode

Integrated Modem IF YOU INSIST* Kirin 970 Integrated LTE
(Category 18/13)

DL = 1200 Mbps
5x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

UL = 150 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

Kirin 960 Integrated LTE
(Category 12/13)

DL = 600Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

Sensor Hub AFFIRMATIVE* i7 i6
NPU 8-BALL SAYS YES* Yes No
Mfc. Process ??? TSMC 10nm TSMC 16nm FFC
*May be subject to change

Huawei’s keynote is today at 2pm CEST (8am ET), which will be live blogged if the data allows. Our embargo for the Kirin 980 information is half-an-hour later, at 2:30pm CEST. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned.

Related Reading

Angular on PCF and Other Production Servers

See the original posting on DZone Python

Background

Angular has become the primary choice for developers to build a web and SPA application. However, most of the tutorials available talk about running the Angular app using "ng serve." "ng serve" is a command provided by the AngularJS CLI. It will  serve a project that is ‘Angular CLI aware,’ i.e. a project that has been created using the Angular CLI,  particularly using:  ng new app-name 

This is useful when you are developing the app on your system and want to see the changes reflected in browser while coding. However, once the application is ready to deploy, you’ll need to host it on a web server like Node.js or NGINX. PCF also supports buildback for nodejs and nginx.

The Boldport Cordwood And Cuttlefish, Together As A Guitar Tuner

See the original posting on Hackaday

As regular readers will know, here at Hackaday we are great enthusiasts for the PCB as an art form. On a special level of their own in that arena are the Boldport kits from [Saar Drimer], superlative objets d’art that are beautifully presented and a joy to build.

The trouble some people find with some of their Boldport kits though is that they are just too good. What can you do with them, when getting too busy with hacking them would despoil their beauty? [Paul Gallagher] has the answer in one case, he’s used not one kit but two of …read more

The Next iPhones, Apple Watch Leak Ahead of Apple’s Event

See the original posting on Slashdot

Moments after Apple sent out invitations to its latest media event on September 12, 9to5Mac published a first look at Apple’s 2018 iPhones and new Apple Watch Series 4. Apple is expected to unveil new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones that will both be called iPhone XS. From the report: We also believe iPhone XS will come in a new gold color option not previously offered on the new design. Apple leaked its own gold version of the iPhone X through the FCC, but it has not been available to purchase. Other details are still to be determined, but we can report with certainty that iPhone XS will be the name, the OLED model will come in two sizes including a larger version, and each will be offered in gold for the first time. As for the Apple Watch, the biggest change is the all-new edge-to-edge display. From the report: Apple has been rumored to be working on ~15% bigger displays for both sizes of Apple Watch — that rumor has been confirmed in the images we’ve discovered. As expected, Apple has achieved this by dramatically reducing the bezel size around the watch display. In addition to taking the display edge-to-edge, we’re also looking at a brand new watch face capable of showing way more information than the current faces offered. The analog watch face shows a total of eight complications around the time and within the clock hands. Also seen in the image is a new hole between the side button and Digital Crown, likely an additional microphone, and compatibility with what appears to be current watch bands. Both the Digital Crown and side button appear modified from the current Apple Watch models as well.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

BladeRF 2.0 Micro is Smaller, More Powerful

See the original posting on Hackaday

When it was launched in 2013, the BladeRF was one of the most powerful of the new generation of Software Defined Radios. Now, Nuand, the producers of the BladeRF are looking to up the ante again with the BladeRF 2.0 Micro. This new version has a huge list of changes and improvements, including a more bad-ass FPGA processor and support for receiving and transmitting from 47 MHz all the way up to 6 GHz, with 2x MIMO support and an impressive 56 Mhz of bandwidth. It also retains backwards compatibility with the original BladeRF, meaning that any software written to …read more

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