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sincity

sincity

Member Since 10 Nov 2009
OFFLINE Last Active Apr 24 2012 09:08 AM
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Sony's Xperia Touch is here to turn your walls into touchscreens for a big price

12 October 2017 - 11:44 PM

Ever wanted your dining room table to become a big touchscreen tablet computer? That’s now possible, sort of, now that Sony’s Xperia Touch projector is finally available in the US. (It's been available in the UK since June.)

But, that said, at $1,700/£1,300 (around AU$2,185), it’s not exactly an everyman’s device. For that price you get a portable gadget that acts as both a projector and a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker in one nifty package that transforms any flat surface into what’s essentially a moderately functional Android touch tablet. 

Most of the time you’ll probably just use it as a 23-inch touch display on surfaces like counters and coffee tables, although you can expand that to 80 inches for viewing movies or games on the wall. Quality obviously suffers the larger you make the display, though, as it’s only capable of a 1366 x 768 resolution.

As we said in our hands-on from February, it’s also kind of dim, as it offers only 100 lumens of brightness and a 4,001:1 contrast ratio. Sony likely reined in the brightness in order to extend the battery life, which nevertheless only lasts a pitiful hour without access to a direct power source.

Not quite Holochess

Still, it’s about as responsive as a regular tablet, thanks in part to its impressive 13-megapixel camera that captures your movements and interprets them at 60fps in infrared light.

Remarkably, you don’t even have to touch the wall’s surface to interact with the projection, as holding up your finger in front of the camera usually suffices.

It’s a cool concept – and one that might have some cool implications for the future – but for now it’s probably better seen as a rough draft of the technology.

As we said in February, “Essentially, if Sony created an Android tablet at the size of the iPad Pro that you could use around the house, it would have all the benefits of the Xperia Touch without the lack of brightness you get with a projector."

Clearly someone doesn’t mind slinging around this kind of cash for such a futuristic toy, though, as it’s already sold out on Amazon. With any luck, you'll also be able to pick it up at Sony Square New York City and some T-Mobile outlets in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. 


Google Home just made it easier to buy products from Target

12 October 2017 - 10:24 PM

Target has been testing the Google Express service in California and New York City for a while now, and today it announced that everyone in the contiguous US can now order its products through the service. Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii.

Not only does this mean you can get Target products through the Google Express website on your smartphone, but you’ll also be able to ask your Google Home device for a product and it’ll provide some results from Target. For now, though, Target is limiting those products to dry goods rather than perishable produce.

Walmart already beat Target to the punch, as "more than 2 million" of its products became available through Google Express in August. Similar services are offered by retailers Petsmart, Kohl’s, and Costco.

The move is clearly an attempt to thwart Amazon in the realm of voice-activated shopping before it’s too late. Voice-command shopping through smart speakers like the Amazon Echo still hasn’t caught on in a big way, but that may change as the technology grows more precise.

Expect more

Naturally, Amazon is already at an advantage because it not only provides the speaker technology, but it also has the products and the warehouses to fulfill the orders itself. To compete both through its Google Express website and on Google Home, Google needs to partner with retailers like Target and Walmart for mutual benefit.

You currently can’t tie your Target account to Google Express, but Target says that will be an option in 2018. It’s worth looking forward to, as it means you’ll be able to take advantage of Target REDcard perks like 5% off all orders, free shipping, and, eventually, an option to pick up items you ordered through Google Assistant at a physical Target store within two hours of ordering.

Walmart already allows customers to merge their accounts with Google Express.

Currently you’ll only be able to use Google Assistant to order goods from Target if you own a Google Home device or an Android TV, but today Google also announced that it plans to extend the voice service to both iOS devices and Android phones "soon."

 Image credit: Google 


Cortana could soon show you how to use Windows 10

12 October 2017 - 02:10 PM

Windows 10 might have a major new help feature in the pipeline according to the rumor mill, with news that Cortana is set to give clear step-by-step instructions on how to do certain things within the operating system.

This comes courtesy of a video spotted by prolific Microsoft leaker WalkingCat, showing a new feature called ‘follow me’ in action, in which Cortana provides detailed guidance on connecting a Bluetooth device.

The digital assistant shows the user exactly what to do, from hitting the Settings menu, through to going into the correct Bluetooth section, ensuring Bluetooth is turned on, and then connecting a device.

As you’ll see in the video below, the procedure is clearly shown in slow and easy to understand steps, and the user can quit the guided navigation at any point by hitting the Escape key.

  • Some of the best laptops out there use Windows 10 and Cortana

Boon for beginners

This could be a really handy feature for the less tech-savvy, as of course visual instructions are easier to follow compared to reading a breakdown of steps in help text.

Sadly, there’s little information provided aside from the video itself, so it’s not clear how far along this feature is in terms of development, or when it might pitch up in Windows 10 (if ever – keep that salt shaker handy, as is always the case with anything that comes over the OS grapevine).

But this does seem like a good move for Microsoft to make, and it wouldn’t be a surprising step, considering that the software giant already enlisted Cortana to help users set up Windows 10 (including providing voice commands during installation of the OS).

Via: The Verge

  • Does this tempt you to get Windows 10? Maybe we’ll see some great Black Friday deals on the OS

Google disables the Mini speaker's top button to fix spying bug

12 October 2017 - 10:37 AM

Yesterday news broke that a Google Home Mini speaker had gone rogue and started recording everything that was being said around it - not the way Google's smart speakers are intended to work and not the best way to earn the trust of users.

It seems that the issue only affected a select number of devices, but now Google has turned off the ability to tap the top of any Google Home Mini to issue a voice command, which should be enough to stop the bug from reoccuring. The "OK Google" command can still be used to 'wake up' the speaker.

Google Home Minis aren't actually in the wild yet (the faulty device we reported on yesterday was being reviewed by a reporter from Android Police), and Google is hoping to finish rolling out the update by October 15, a few days before the speakers officially go on sale on October 19.

Listen up

What was supposed to happen is that you could tap the top of the tiny speaker (or say "OK Google"), and then issue your command. For some reason a limited number of Google Home Minis were detecting touches constantly, and always listening for and processing commands, sending snippets of recordings back to Google around the clock.

You can still tap the top of the speaker to control the volume and mute the Google Home Mini, Google says. Whether the tap-to-talk functionality will ever return with a future software update or hardware revision remains to be seen.

"The Google Home team is aware of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch control mechanism to behave incorrectly," explains Google. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue."

Via The Verge


Confusion reigns over Windows 10 update that causes blue screen of death

12 October 2017 - 10:06 AM

A freshly introduced update for Windows 10 has apparently been causing havoc with some users’ machines, invoking the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD), and in some cases triggering the even-more-dreaded boot loop (i.e. repeated rebooting).

The problem lies with update KB4041676 for Windows 10 (Creators Update), and is described in this post on Microsoft’s ‘answers’ community message board, where the original poster says: “My computer keeps restarting because windows update won't install KB4041676.”

A further post (from SCCMGuy74) describes the problem with multiple systems: “ALL of the systems running 1703 blue screen upon reboot AFTER applying this patch (KB4041676). The message that comes up is INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE. After that, it reboots automatically, attempts to boot again, and then displays the ‘Automatic Repair’ screen. None of these systems make it past this message.”

Now, this is where it gets thorny, because the Microsoft moderator on the post notes that this is caused by a ‘dual patching disaster’ in enterprise environments. In other words, it’s not the fault of the update itself, but the fact that users have been led to install “both the delta update and the cumulative update which shouldn't have been pushed to WSUS [Windows Server Update Services] last night”.

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Home free?

So, your average home user simply downloading updates from Windows Update shouldn’t be affected by this issue – and yet there are reports on that same thread from such users who claim they have been hit by the problem.

NicDG observes: “I had this issue on my home PC. After Automatic Repair failed, I rebooted and hit F8 to get the boot options menu and booted into safe mode. Windows started to load, then crashed. Rinse and repeat (once, maybe twice). Windows booted properly into safe mode, restarted, finished installing updates, restarted at least once and loaded Windows normally.”

To throw a little more confusion into the pot, Microsoft has highlighted the following known issue with the KB4041676 update: “Systems with support enabled for USB Type-C Connector System Software Interface (UCSI) may experience a blue screen or stop responding with a black screen when a system shutdown is initiated.”

Although user NicDG notes that his PC doesn’t have USB Type-C on board. At any rate, Microsoft has said it’s working on a fix for the USB-C issue, which will be provided in a future update. The workaround for now is to “disable UCSI in the computer system’s BIOS”, although that will fully disable UCSI features across Windows, of course.

While there may not be much of an issue here for the majority of home users, if indeed any, the more cautious out there might want to give this particular update a little breathing room.

These sort of potential problems, of course, are one reason why updates being piped directly and automatically to a Windows 10 PC can be a cause of frustration. Certainly, when it comes to the major updates, we’re never keen to be an early adopter, preferring the strategy of waiting to see what issues crop up (if any) before we take the plunge.

Via: PC Gamer