Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

Knock, knock! Google Duo video call is here

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Now, all you need is a phone number to start a video call with any contact who uses an Android- or iOS-based smartphone.

Google on Tuesday launched Google Duo, pitting it directly against Apple Inc’s FaceTime, which allows video calls only between Apple devices.

Duo will also compete with Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) video-calling app Skype, Facebook Inc’s Messenger and even its own Hangout app.

Duo comes with a unique feature called “knock knock”, which lets a person to see live video of a caller before answering.

Google said video calls would work even on slower networks by “gracefully” reducing the resolution to keep the call going smoothly.

“For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call,” Justin Uberti, principal software engineer, wrote in a blog post.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, said the app would be live worldwide in the next few days. — REUTERS

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Apple apologizes after outcry over slowed iPhones

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 29th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying the IPhone 6 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

(Reuters) – Facing lawsuits and consumer outrage after it said it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries, Apple Inc is slashing prices for battery replacements and will change its software to show users whether their phone battery is good.

“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down,” Apple said in its posting. “We apologize.”

On Dec. 20, Apple acknowledged that iPhone software has the effect of slowing down some phones with battery problems. Apple said the problem was that aging lithium batteries delivered power unevenly, which could cause iPhones to shutdown unexpectedly to protect the delicate circuits inside.

That disclosure played on a common belief among consumers that Apple purposely slows down older phones to encourage customers to buy newer iPhone models. While no credible evidence has ever emerged that Apple engaged in such conduct, the battery disclosure struck a nerve on social media and elsewhere.

Apple on Thursday denied that it has ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a product.

At least eight lawsuits have been filed in California, New York and Illinois alleging that the company defrauded users by slowing devices down without warning them. The company also faces a legal complaint in France, where so-called “planned obsolesce” is against the law.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Andrew Hay

Tags: , , , , ,

Apple faces lawsuits after saying it slows down aging iPhones

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

FILE PHOTO – A salesman checks a customer’s iPhone at a mobile phone store in New Delhi, India, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change.

The tweak may have led iPhone owners to misguided attempts to resolve issues over the last year, the lawsuits contend.

All the lawsuits – filed in U.S. District Courts in California, New York and Illinois – seek class-action to represent potentially millions of iPhone owners nationwide.

A similar case was lodged in an Israeli court on Monday, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

Apple did not respond to an email seeking comment on the filings.

The company acknowledged last week for the first time in detail that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

The disclosure followed a Dec. 18 analysis by Primate Labs, which develops an iPhone performance measuring app, that identified blips in processing speed and concluded that a software change had to be behind them.

One of the lawsuits, filed Thursday in San Francisco, said that “the batteries’ inability to handle the demand created by processor speeds” without the software patch was a defect.

“Rather than curing the battery defect by providing a free battery replacement for all affected iPhones, Apple sought to mask the battery defect,” according to the complaint.

The plaintiff in that case is represented by attorney Jeffrey Fazio, who represented plaintiffs in a $53-million settlement with Apple in 2013 over its handling of iPhone warranty claims.

The problem now seen is that users over the last year could have blamed an aging computer processor for app crashes and sluggish performance – and chose to buy a new phone – when the true cause may have been a weak battery that could have been replaced for a fraction of the cost, some of the lawsuits state.

“If it turns out that consumers would have replaced their battery instead of buying new iPhones had they known the true nature of Apple’s upgrades, you might start to have a better case for some sort of misrepresentation or fraud,” said Rory Van Loo, a Boston University professor specializing in consumer technology law.

But Chris Hoofnagle, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said in an email that Apple may not have done wrong.

“We still haven’t come to consumer protection norms” around aging products, Hoofnagle said. Pointing to a device with a security flaw as an example, he said, “the ethical approach could include degrading or even disabling functionality.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages in addition to, in some cases, reimbursement. A couple of the complaints seek court orders barring Apple from throttling iPhone computer speeds or requiring notification in future instances.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler

Tags: , ,

Why a walk in the park beats a stroll on the street

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017

People walk under cherry blossoms inside a public park on a spring day in Lausanne April 6, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters Health) — Older adults who take a daily constitutional may want to avoid traffic-jammed city streets and head to a park instead because polluted air diminishes the benefits of exercise, a UK study suggests.

Researchers in London randomly assigned 119 men and women age 60 or older to take two-hour walks along one of two distinct routes: through a tranquil traffic-free expanse of Hyde Park, or along Oxford Street, the city’s bustling shopping district that’s clogged with diesel-powered buses and cabs.

The study team tested the air for contaminants during each walk, and also assessed participants for lung capacity, or how easily people could breathe, and arterial stiffness, which influences how hard the heart works to pump blood through the body.

After walking in Hyde Park, healthy participants had better lung capacity and decreased arterial stiffness, the study found. But when these people walked along Oxford Street, they experienced only a slight improvement in lung capacity and their arteries got stiffer.

“Just walking at a normal pace for a couple of hours benefits the respiratory and cardiovascular system for up to 24 hours after the walk,” said senior study author Kian Fan Chung of Imperial College London.

“This in itself is a new finding, but the most interesting finding is that being exposed during that time to environmental pollution that one encounters on a busy roadside with a lot of traffic virtually negates these benefits,” Chung said by email.

Exercise has long been linked to better cardiovascular health, and the connection between air pollution exposure and a wide range of health problems including asthma and other breathing issues is also well established.

Black soot and fine particulate matter, as well as contaminants in traffic fumes, can increase the risk of getting a variety of heart and lung diseases and of dying from them.

Air pollution is responsible for around 5.5 million premature deaths worldwide every year, researchers note in The Lancet. In the UK, polluted air contributes to 40,000 deaths each year, nearly a quarter of them in London.

The current study offers fresh evidence that short-term exposure to pollution is associated with stiffening of the arteries and impaired lung function, strengthening the case for reduced vehicle emissions and more green space for exercise in cities, the researchers argue.

All of the participants in the study were non-smokers or had quit at least one year earlier. While 40 of them were healthy, 39 participants had heart disease and 40 had a breathing disorder known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Participants were randomly assigned first to do a walk in Hyde Park or on Oxford Street, then three to eight weeks later they were asked to do the other walk.

The detrimental effects of walking near traffic were most pronounced in people with COPD. These participants reported more symptoms like cough, shortness of breath and breathing after the walk on Oxford Street than in Hyde Park, and they also experienced increased arterial stiffness.

For people with heart disease, however, medication mattered. Among these participants, people only experienced increased stiffening of the arteries on Oxford Street if they weren’t taking medication to control their disease.

Based on air quality tests during each walk, it appeared that the harmful effects of walking on Oxford Street were associated with higher exposure to two byproducts of traffic exhaust: black carbon soot and ultrafine particles in the air known as PM 2.5.

One limitation of the study is that it lacked a control group of people who spent time on Oxford Street or in Hyde Park without exercising, which makes it impossible to prove how much the physical activity contributed to any changes in lung capacity or arterial stiffness, the authors note.

Even so, the study adds to the evidence that the location of exercise matter, said Dr. Dr. George Thurston, author of an accompanying editorial and director of the Program in Human Exposures and Health Effects at New York University School of Medicine.

“Given that the elimination of fossil fuel burning will not happen immediately, the public, and especially people who are most susceptible should avoid exercising near roadways with heavy traffic of diesel vehicles,” Thurston said by email.

SOURCES: bit.ly/2pcgYRR and bit.ly/2kAal6V The Lancet, online December 5, 2017.

Tags: , , , ,