Category: Current and Future Trends

Advertising video: Panasonic’s ALL Series speakers and stereos

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Panasonic

Video Playlist

Previous Coverage

Panasonic launches network-capable stereo equipment with full multiroom streaming

My Comments

I had provided some previous coverage about Panasonic’s AllPlay multi-room audio setup which implements Qualcomm’s AllPlay network-based multi-room audio technology. Here, I called out two stereos, the SC-ALL5CD single-piece unit and the SC-PMX100 three-piece system, that can stream broadcast radio and regular CDs that you buy from Amazon or JB Hi-Fi from their own tuners or CD players through AllPlay-compatible multi-room speakers.

Now Panasonic have refreshed their control app for their ALL series speakers and offered a video which shows what the refreshed mobile-platform app can do. It is part of a video playlist that highlights what the Panasonic ALL series stereo equipment and speaker systems are about.

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Acer advances a Thunderbolt 3 graphics dock for their laptops

Article

Acer unveils its first external mobile GPU dock powered via Thunderbolt 3  | Neowin

My Comments

I had previously covered the issue of using Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology to facilitate the design and use of an external graphics module or dock for laptops. This idea was put forward by Sony with the VAIO Z-Series premium Ultrabook and by Alienware through the use of a “card-cage” dock that worked with some of their laptops.  Both these devices illustrated the possibility of allowing for improved graphics on portable or compact equipment, whether through a graphics module that has the graphics chipset integrated in its circuitry or a “card-cage” expansion module that allows you to install one or two desktop graphics cards in to that module.

But the Thunderbolt 3 technology which uses the USB Type-C connector as a physical connection has been known to have the same bandwidth as the PCI Express internal connection used to connect display cards to the motherboard in a regular computer. This appeals because there is no need to reinvent the wheel when designing an external-graphics-module solution for that portable-computing or low-profile computing product.

Now Acer have premiered a Thunderbolt 3 external graphics dock for their laptop products and had demonstrated it working with their Core-M-powered Switch 12.5 convertible laptop. This graphics module implements a NVIDIA GTX-960M graphics chipset in a small dedicated box and adds extra connectivity to the host laptop in the form of 3 extra USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port and the ability to connect to external displays via HDMI or 2 DisplayPort connections. It also exploits the USB 3.1 subsystem by providing the ability to power and charge the host laptop via the USB Type-C connection thanks to a DC power-supply connection on the graphics module itself.

This has been able to show real graphics performance benefits using the 3DMark II theoretical graphics benchmark where the Switch 12.5 came in at 940 on its own graphics chipset and on 4048 when used with this dock.  This device is the first of its kind to have a release price called for it with it costing around EUR€300, but there isn’t an estimated release date.

For Acer, it could be feasible for them to use the same external graphics docks across most, if not all, of their consumer and business laptop range that has the Thunderbolt 3 connection.

The question with the Thunderbolt 3 graphics-module application will arise is whether there will be the ability for one external graphics-module or card-cage module made by one manufacturer to work at their full potential with Thunderbolt-3-equipped laptops offered by other manufacturers.

If so, this could encourage computer manufacturers to use the Thunderbolt 3 technology on their portable, all-in-one or low-profile computers as a graphics-expansion option without needing to offer a graphics dock while computer-peripheral manufacturers can make external graphics solutions such as graphics expansion docks, desktop monitors with integrated graphics subsystems, and the like to work with other computers.

I see this concept appealing in a few ways:

  • An ultraportable computer being able to benefit from discrete graphics when used “at the desk” or “at home” thanks to an external graphics dock. This could open up the ability for a user to have one graphics dock at the office and another at home with these devices serving a “work-home-travel” computer.
  • The possibility of offering an affordable laptop or all-in-one desktop computer to most customers with the ability for these customers to expand their computer’s capabilities to suit their needs thanks to an external graphics module.
  • The ability for gaming-grade or workstation-grade computers that don’t offer much in the way of graphics-upgrade potential like laptops or all-in-ones to be upgraded to multiple-GPU performance and the latest graphics-processor technology thanks to an add-on graphics module or card-cage. In some ways, it could bring the separate-boxes “hi-fi approach” to the concept of improving personal computer equipment.

Once a level playing field is achieved regarding Thundberbolt 3 over USB Type C for graphics docks through the use of open standards, it can lead to the idea of allowing low-profile and portable computers to benefit from high-performance graphics.

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LG to introduce a smartphone that receives DAB digital radio

Articles

LG Stylus 2 DAB+ Android smartphone press photo courtesy of LG

LG Stylus 2 DAB+ Android smartphone

LG’s New Smartphone Can Pick Up Digital Radio | Gizmodo

LG Stylus 2 is the world’s first smartphone to feature DAB | What Hi-Fi

LG’s digital radio smartphone will come to Australia | The Australian

From the horse’s mouth

LG

Press Release

Digital Radio Plus (DAB+ campaign in Australia)

Press Release

My Comments

Most of you may want to listen to radio via your smartphone but the options typically are using one equipped with an FM radio tuner or using an Internet radio app like TuneIn Radio.

The latter option can eat in to your mobile data allowance very quickly and wouldn’t be worth it for those of us who have an entry-level mobile data plan. The former FM-based option denies you access to the AM stations which are still considered a goldmine of information in countries like Australia as well as not assuring you reliable radio reception when you are on the go, which could make it hard to enjoy classical music for example. This is because the headphone cable on personal “Walkman-type” radios including FM-equipped smartphones and Bluetooth adaptors serves as the radio’s FM aerial.

Previously, DAB digital radio in a personal-stereo context was offered in the form of a “Walkman-style” radio with FM and DAB digital radio reception and these radios typically had a small LCD display as their main user interface. They weren’t offered as a “combo” device with a media player of some sort or other functionality and the introduction of DAB-based digital radio was occurring at the same time that Apple effectively took over the personal-audio market with their iPod and iPhone devices.

But LG have raised the bar as smartphone radio is concerned by offering the Stylus 2 smartphone which integrates a DAB+ tuner capable of receiving DAB and DAB+ digital radio stations. These digital-radio standards, especially DAB+, which are being implemented in most of Europe and in Australia offer a highly-robust radio-listening experience. There is also the ability to tune stations by selecting from a list of the stations’ names rather than trying to remember frequencies which also makes the experience very much “part of” the smartphone.

The LG Stylus 2 smartphone will have the expected features of one of today’s Android smartphones and will use a variant of the LG Internet-radio app for station navigation. This phone will be made available in markets where there is an active DAB-based digital radio service like most of Europe, Australia and some of Asia.

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Microsoft makes a step to all-platform online gameplay

Article

Microsoft is stepping towards online gaming's holy grail - a federated cross-platform online gaming experience

Microsoft is stepping towards online gaming’s holy grail – a federated cross-platform online gaming experience

Microsoft will allow Xbox gamers to play against PS4 and PC players } The Verge

Microsoft wants PS4 and Xbox One to connect online | CNet

My Comments

Most core games which have any form of multi-machine multiplayer competition, whether online or across a local network, require all games machines involved in the competition to be on the same platform.

That means that a Windows-based regular-computer user couldn’t play against an XBox or a PS4 console. In a lot of cases, the online component of a game was managed via a platform-specific online-competition platform like PlayStation Network or Steam. In the case of consoles, you had to determine which console platform your friends were using and buy a console commensurate to that platform.

Now Microsoft has raised the question of platform-agnostic multi-machine competition by encouraging their game developers to enable this feature. This is because Microsoft effectively is associated with two platforms i.e. the Windows-based regular computer or PC as a games platform and the XBox family of games consoles. But they are inviting Sony, Nintendo, Apple and others to create the necessary cross-platform bridges to allow this kind of play. This includes allowing a player to discover other players to compete with as well as managing the state of play during a game or tournament.

If this worked, it could allow a person to choose whatever console they wanted to play especially if a title is released across multiple platforms. Similarly, this could allow for options like local-network play, whether peer-to-peer or server-based, including local-online hybrid play such as local tournaments or teams. For games developers, they don’t have to decide whether to set up their own online gaming network if they want cross-platform play.

Another issue that could be highlighted here is the ideal user interface for different game genres including the common user interfaces that the platforms use. The article cited the situation where a regular-computer with its keyboard (W-A-S-D keys) and mouse may have the advantage over a gamepad that typically comes with a console when it comes to playing certain games like first-person shooters or strategy games.

This could be used either to open up the idea of games written to be played across multiple platform types and user interfaces, including those that give players an advantage if they play a part of the game on different devices. On the other hand, there could be the feasibility for games consoles to work with mice and keyboards connected via (preferably) Bluetooth or USB.

What Microsoft is doing is to raise the issue of creating platform-agnostic core game play rather than requiring gamers to be tied to a particular platform.

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Microsoft researches a way to consolidate recordings from multiple recording devices

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Microsoft Research

Abstract

Detailed article – PDF

My Comments

Sports scoreboard app

Microsoft is working on a way to create better recordings from many smartphones and audio recorders recording the same event

Microsoft has completed some research on how to amalgamate audio recordings of a meeting that were captured by different recording devices to turn out a higher-grade recording that captures the whole of a meeting. It is seen as being the audio equivalent of experiments and projects that aggregate multiple camera views of the same object, or could be seen as a way to create a “Claytons microphone array” using multiple recording devices with their own microphones.

The technique involves the creation of audio fingerprints of each of the recordings in a similar vein to what Shazam and its allies do to “name that song”. But these fingerprints are used to match the timing of each of the recordings to identify what was commonly recorded, allowing for the fact that one could start or stop a recording device earlier or later than another person.

This can lead to TV-grade multi-camera video recordings from a combination of DSLRs, high-end cameras and camcorders used by different users

This can lead to TV-grade multi-camera video recordings from a combination of DSLRs, high-end cameras like this one…

The technology that is assumed to be used in this context are standalone file-based digital notetaker recorders or the audio-recording function incorporated in many a smartphone or tablet typically by virtue of an app. Typically these recorders are recording the same event with integrated microphones and implementing automatic gain control and, in some cases, picking up their “own” background noise.

But you could extend this concept to integrating audio recordings made on legacy media like audio tape using standalone devices, or the soundtracks of video recordings recorded during the same event but are subsequently “dubbed” to audio files to be used in the recording. A good example could be someone who uses a “shoebox” or handheld cassette recorder to make a reliable recording of the meeting using something they are familiar with; or someone videoing the meeting using that trusty old camcorder.

Sony FRD-AX33 4K HandyCam camcorder press picture courtesy of Sony America

… and camcorders like this one of special events.

There are plans to create further research in to this topic to cater for recording music such as when the same concert performance or religious service is recorded by two or more people with equipment of different capabilities.

A good question to raise from the research is how to “time-align” or synchronise a combination of audio and video recordings of the same event that were recorded at the same time with equipment that has different recording capabilities. This is without the need to record synchronisation data on each recording device during production, and allowing for the use of equipment commonly used by consumers, hobbyists / prosumers and small organisations.

The reality that can surface is someone records the event using top-shelf gear yielding excellent audio while others film from different angles using camcorders, digital cameras and smartphones that record not-so-good sound thanks to automatic gain control and average integrated mics, while the good digital cameras and camcorders still implement their excellent optics and sensors to capture good-quality vision.

Once this is worked out, it could then allow a small-time video producer or a business’s or church’s inhouse video team to move towards “big-time” quality by using top-shelf audio gear to catch sound and the use of one or two camcorders operated by different operators to create “TV-studio-grade” multi-camera video.

Who knows whether the idea of post-production audio-level synchronising and “blending” for both conference recordings and small-time video producers.

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Advanced wallpaper images–could this be real?

LG's 4K OLED curved TV press picture courtesy of LG America

These LG 4K OLED TVs could be showing a tasteful wallpaper image while music plays

Increasingly, there is an interest in creating subtle wallpaper-type images and displays that can work effectively in the background whether with or without music.

Most home AV systems, especially those kept in a lounge area include a television or similar display device but if you intend to play audio-only content like music, you end up with a device that becomes useless in these environments. You typically end up with a blank screen which could be put to better use.

But you may want something that is effectively serving as a visual wallpaper that can exist in the background without destroying the flow of the conversation. This is more so if you are intending to play background music and something like a karaoke-style lyrics display or a music video may simply look out of place and end up more as a distraction.

A small cafe

Cafes like this could benefit from advanced video wallpaper displays rather than ordinary television

Businesses will also see this appealing as a merchandising tool for promoting their products and services and community organisations may want to exploit these concepts as a way to “set the mood” prior to running an event or promoting their efforts. Even cafes and bars would value the idea of creating a dynamic visual wallpaper rather than showing ordinary television content to set the ambience.

It is infact something that theatres and cinemas have practiced, typically before the programme session starts or during an interval where they show still images, typically advertising while background music plays.

What is being achieved with existing technologies

The concept has been tackled in various different manners such as DVD / Blu-Ray players, network media players and the like showing a screensaver-style image while audio-only content is being played.

A good example that stays in my mind is a Sony DVD/VHS combo that was used to play music CDs through the TV’s speakers and this unit showed a screen which changed between different colours while the music played. Similarly, some hotel TV systems may show a photograph and a text description of the radio station, or the radio station’s logo if the TV is being used to play a radio station, with better implementations showing the current song’s title or other dynamic information that is obtained from tha station’s RDS or similar datastream. Most regular-computer platforms have the ability to run a screensaver which typically is a pattern or animation that comes in to play when the computer is not being used. Or you could set up some network media players to pick photos up from your DLNA media server and run them as a slideshow while you have music playing from that same media server or another media server.

Static image from Christian playlist video used at church gathering that I cited

Static image from Christian playlist video used at church gathering that I cited

Sometimes, when people put up music on YouTube, they set up a visual wallpaper that accompanies that music. This may typically be a static image that never changes, or an image that may change at some point. A good example of this that I saw during a church get-together hosted at someone’s house was this YouTube “static-screen” video with the top 50 of the newer Christian contemporary praise-and-worship songs as its audio content while a static slide having a picture of a flying dove and “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life” appearing as a text quote at the bottom that picture. This is similar to how some people have created “continuous-music” DVDs which show one or more static images but have music playing. These and similar examples were based on a practice that WPIX-TV in New York City undertook since the 1950s where they showed a Yule Log burning in a fireplace (YouTube) with some classic Christmas carols and songs playing through the TV’s speaker.

How could this be taken further?

Live Wallpaper

There can be better ways to go about this. One would be to take a leaf out of Android’s book and exploit the “Live Wallpapers” concept which can allow you to create customised wallpaper images that can show real-time information or update the display in a dynamic manner. For that matter, Google could extend this concept to the Android TV platform which Sony is supporting for their 4K Smart TVs and Free have based their latest Freebox on. This could be in the form of showing selected pictures from one or more sources such as your photo collection or a stock-photo library, which could apply well to pictures of a city or country or some general pictures.

Cinemagraphs and short video loops

Beach shot

A beach image could be animated with the waves splashing in

A trend that is starting to become real is the concept of “cinemagraphs” which are video loops that appear like an ordinary photo but have subtle movement taking place. An example of this is a picture of someone sitting by the fireplace with the fire’s flames flickering, a Christmas tree with the twinkling lights or a beachside image with the waves rushing in. Even a close-up of someone may have some accidental movements like twitching or lips puckering.

Apple placed a revision in to the iOS 9 camera app which implements “Live Photos” that allows you to grab a short moment of animation just by taking that photo. Facebook and Tumblr even has integrated support for these “Live Photos” to be contributed to a user’s Facebook or Tumblr presence using the latest versions of the social networks’ iOS native-client apps. Third parties have opened up some desktop software and Websites which turn Live Photos in to animated GIFs which can be uploaded to Websites.

Microsoft’s research division is taking a step in the right direction by completing final research on “cliplets” where a short video can be broken in to “layers” with the ability to create separately-programmable loops for different objects in the video.

Enabling programmatic control of advanced wallpaper

Once a particular file type is defined for these kind of photo-video hybrid images to permit the creation of separately addressed video loops, it could be feasible to have these images driven by external properties like the time of day. This can range from one or mroe different text messages appearing under programmatic control to a graphic that is altereted depending on certain conditions.

An example of this could be a hybrid picture of London’s Big Ben showing the current time of day or a beachside image showing a dusk view when it is dusk. This could also allow for one or more text layers to be created to show text like quotes from a “quote library”, current song metadata, current time or weather information and the like. A media player that supports this file type could then show these for a user-defined time period then show another regular image or hybrid image for that time period.

Conclusion

This will become a constant issue as people want to use visual wallpaper on their display screens especially as these screens become increasingly large thanks to 4K UHDTV technology. Here, people may want to look at ways to keep these screens showing something appropriate during social events but not distracting their guests or patrons; or a business wants to keep their clients aware of their special offers.

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Broadcast TV via the Internet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 tablet

Tablets and smartphones could end up as the place to watch TV and you don’t need a tuner module

I have noticed that every traditional TV broadcaster that is running a “catch-up TV” platform is now streaming their regular TV channels live over the Internet using this platform. It is primarily pitched at those of us who use smartphones, tablets or laptops to view TV content “on the road” without the need for a TV-tuner module or broadcast-LAN tuner box and, in some ways, is being seen as TV’s equivalent to Internet radio.

Local content and advertising

This has opened up a can of worms when it comes to the kind of content available for people to view on their mobile devices, including the issue of regional content. In Australia, for example, the live-TV-over-Internet service primarily offers what is being broadcast to the metropolitan areas for the state capitals and this is ruffling local feathers when it comes to broadcasting news and public-affairs content relevant to the regional areas or providing airtime for local businesses to advertise their wares.

One of the core issues concerning the “live-TV-over-Internet” will be the locality of the editorial and advertising content including where is the content “local to”. If you listen to a foreign radio station’s Internet-radio stream using your Internet radio, you will know what this is about because of the talk and advertising that is local to that station’s city and there are people who like this either as a foreign-language learning tool or to acquire the “fabric” of that city if they lived there or have a soft spot for that area.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

… as could laptops

This issue regarding TV could be rectified using streams that represent an area’s key markets and these streams have editorial and advertising content representative to those markets. The use of dynamic-ad-insertion technology would earn its keep with local campaigns being ran in the commercial breaks which could ameliorate the issues associated with local businesses not able to advertise their wares to their markets.

Area-specific rights issues

An issue that will impact “live-TV-over-Internet” will be area-specific rights for broadcast content. This is where a broadcaster buys exclusive rights to exhibit a particular sports fixture, movie or TV show in a geographic area, especially on a first-run basis. Typically these rights will be protected with

There will be the broadcast and customer-service issues being raised because a show normally available on a particular channel is not shown due to it conflicting with a local network’s existing rights.

Internet-only TV services

Another issue yet to come forward is the ability to gain access to “Internet-only” TV broadcasters which will come about as “live-TV-over-Internet” gains momentum. Such broadcasters are received primarily via your Internet service without having an over-the-air or cable/satellite presence.

These will manifest in the form of extra channels offered by a traditional broadcaster but not on the traditional broadcast platform, or an Internet-only broadcaster who would be able to run boutique content cheaply and easily due to low onboarding costs.

The issue that will show up with running an “Internet-only” TV service is how easy is it for potential viewers to discover these services especially if the goal is to run a scheduled-content service.

Content discovery

Another issue will be whether Internet TV will kill the traditional “channel-surfing” or “flicking” experience where viewers often flicked around the TV’s channel selector or jabbed the channel buttons on the remote control to look for something to watch. This is the main method where a lot of users discover newer radio and TV content. The current implementation would require you to run one catch-up TV / VOD app and browse the channels the broadcaster is offering, then run another app offered by another broadcaster and browse those channels to get the “lay of the land”.

This may be rectified through the use of a directory service similar to what has existed for Internet radio. Here, this could allow for a “channel-surf” experience along with the ability to browse for channels that offer content based on genres or other factors. Such a directory could be part of an electronic programme guide which encompasses all of the broadcasters and may work in conjunction with network or cloud PVR setups.

With Internet radio, multiple providers like vTuner and TuneIn Radio had set up to provide access to the Internet-radio streams, both those of AM/FM/digital broadcasters and of Internet-only stations. This means that an Internet radio or a mobile app would effectively have the same directory and different set manufacturers even had the ability to “brand” their own directories so as to be part of their user experience. This could then apply to Internet-based TV with different ISPs, smart-TV platform vendors, Websites and others running or licensing Internet-TV directories.

PVR recording

An issue that will also crop up is the concept of PVR recording of TV shows streamed via an Internet-based TV service. This will most likely be facilitated via an EPG so you can choose the shows from a programme grid or “what’s showing” list.

This could be achieved via a local-storage effort such as a traditional set-top device or a NAS that serves the home network; or a cloud-based effort based on the “software-as-a-service” model.

As what has happened with video recorders and traditional PVR devices, there will be the need to sort out copyright issues regarding the recording of shows. The new landscape in the context of “PVR as a service” will be highlighted in this context is the concept of “shared recordings” where one recording is made and many viewers view that single copy; or “private recordings” where each household has its own copies of the TV shows in a “digital locker” on the servers. Similarly, another issue that will show up is the portability of these recordings especially if the recordings are taken across national borders which would be a key issue in areas like North America or Europe.

The issue of portable recordings will come to the fore with us using mobile devices or a TV at another location like a friend’s home or a hotel to catch up on favourite TV shows.

Conclusion

What is becoming a reality is that television as we knew it is appearing via the Internet in addition to or in lieu of traditional broadcast-based pathways.

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The latest Apple TV becomes the first video peripheral to offer 360-degree videos

Article

You can now view interactive, 360-degree videos on the new Apple TV | Mashable

Video

From the horse’s mouth

Littlstar

Press Release

My Comments

Increasingly the 360-degree “virtual-tour” video is being seen as part of exhibiting a location or marketing a product. Even real-estate agents are using them as a tool to show off properties for sale, while TV serials are using them to give their fans a look-see in to the environments that the shows are set in.

But they are typically offered on Web pages that are best viewed in a browser with you moving your mouse up and down or dragging your finger up and down around a touchscreen or trackpad to pan around.  You may find that you zoom using your mouse’s thumbwheel or pinch in and out on a touchscreen or trackpad. Similarly navigating may require you to simply click or tap on where you want to go.

In some cases, they may also play properly with virtual-reality headsets of the Oculus Rift kind if you use an app for the device.

But what about viewing these 360-degree videos on that large-screeo TV or video projector. This may work if you throw that Web page on the large TV screen but you may not be lucky with some virtual-reality or 360-degree plugins working properly on the large screen.

Litlstar have tackled this issue through developing an app for the 4th-generation Apple TV set-top device that shows the 360-degree videos on the big screen. This exploits the Apple TV’s new remote control which has a trackpad by you using that trackpad to pan around.

This can be exploited on other smart-TV and video-peripheral platforms especially where some of these platforms are implementing gyroscopic remote controls or remote controls that implement multiple D-pads. Similarly, a games console of the XBox or PlayStation variety could be used as a tool to show the virtual-reality videos on a large screen.

It could also allow for one to watch some video content yet have an opportunity to “break off” in to a personal “walk-through” of that scene or building, yet be able to return to where they left off in the video content.

Who knows when Android TV or a subsequent Freebox décodeur will end up exploiting these abilities to enhance video content.

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Google makes further efforts against unwanted software

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Google

Year one: progress in the fight against Unwanted Software

My Comments

What has become familiar for me after some computer-support tasks was dealing with unwanted software that uses fraud and deception to have computer users install the programs on their systems. Such software like TubeDimmer typically takes over one’s online experience by serving up ads typically for dodgy businesses, slowing down the user’s computer or sending off the user’s private computer-usage data to questionable entities. In some cases, the software pesters users to download other worthless software or pay for worthless IT services.

There have been some efforts in the computing industry to tackle this problem, most notably MalwareBytes Anti-Malware providing the ability to remove this kind of software. But Google has approached this problem in a multi-faceted manner.

Firstly, they have revised the Safe Browsing API used in Chrome, Android and other browsers and endpoint-security programs that exploit this API to detect the unwanted nuisance software. They also provided an online “cleanup tool” for Chrome to remove ad injectors and similar unwanted extensions from that browser.

On the AdSense and DoubleClick advertising-network front, Google have tuned their Bid Manager which is used for buying advertising space on these networks to filter out chargeable impressions that are generated by the unwanted ad injectors. Similarly, they are disabling ads which appear on these networks but are leading to unwanted-software downloads. These include the ads that show the “Download this” or “Play this” kind of text or artwork without referring to what you intend to download and is augmented by an unwanted-software policy that applies to any advertising that is about software delivery.

If you are “Googling” for software, the Google Search Results screen will highlight links that lead to the delivery of unwanted software or advertised software links.

These efforts have paid off for Google in the form of reduced user complaints about Chrome and other Google client software. There has been increased Safe Browsing alerts regarding unwanted software which has placed a roadblock against this software being installed. Chrome users and personal-IT support personnel have been able to get rid of the unwanted software very quickly and easily.

Now Uncle Sam has joined in the fight against unwanted software downloads

Now Uncle Sam has joined in the fight against unwanted software downloads

But there needs to be further action taking place beyond what is happening in Google’s or Malwarebyte’s offices. Uncle Sam has lent his weight behind this effort with the US Federal Trade Commission classing this unwanted software as a form of malware.

Microsoft could help with this effort by extending their security and software-cleanup tools that work with Windows, Office and Internet Explorer to provide a “one-click remove” option. Similarly Web browsers and endpoint-security software can be part of the effort to slow down the deployment of unwanted software, reduce its effect on the system or simplify its removal.

As well, there needs to be efforts taking place within the online advertising industry to clean up its act.This may involve issues like:

  1. managing the availability of low-risk high-return advertising products like “cost-per-click-only” products that appeal to “fly-by-night” operators;
  2. management and supervision of advertisers, publishers and campaigns;
  3. advertising through client-side software rather than Webpages;
  4. advertising campaigns that lead to software downloads, amongst other issues.

Such issues may have to be dealt with via establishing an industry-wide code of practice and/or use of a “seal-of-approval”. Here, this is to make sure that online advertising has the same level of respect as traditional advertising has amongst advertisers; publishers, broadcasters and advertising-surface providers; and the general public.

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Could your computer’s main storage end up being solid-state?

Article

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

256Gb as a solid-state disk could be the baseline for laptops and 2-in-1s

SSD Prices Are Plummeting, Say Good-Bye To Hard Drives | Gizmodo

My Comments

A trend that is starting to surface is that the cost per gigabyte of a solid state drive is approaching that of a traditional “spinning-disk” hard drive. This has started to appear at the 256Gb capacity-per-unit level but what is also happening is that the traditional hard disk is increasing in capacity per physical unit. This situation is appearing in the form of hard disks having capacities in the order of eight or more terabytes.

Where I see this applying more are desktop computers that implement a dual-disk setup for their fixed storage needs along with modest-specification portable computers that have storage needs with 256Gb or less.

Thecus N5810PRO Small Business NAS press photo courtesy of Thecus

NAS units will still have the regular hard disks but these will increase in capacity per unit

The former application would have a solid-state drive containing the operating system and other software programs so as to permit quick loading while the hard disk ends up being used to store user-created data and other “long-term” data. The latter application would be in the form of a modestly-specified modestly-priced laptop computer or 2-in-1 that has the advantages of a solid-state battery like increased durability, no operating noise and the ability to run on its batteries for longer than normal.

As the research increases. this parity could hit the 512Gb mark thus appealing to most computer applications, especially portable computers. There also need to be other issues sorted out like improving disk bandwidth and supporting “scratch-pad” operations with random read-write needs without compromising disk reliability.

Who knows what this could mean for computer design especially with portable or aesthetically-significant applications?

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