Would Have Been Better for BJP Had CongressAAP Alliance Happened Says Harsh

first_img aaparvind kejriwalBJPcongress First Published: May 4, 2019, 9:33 AM IST New Delhi: The alliance talks between the Congress and the AAP may have failed, but for Union minister Harsh Vardhan, the tie-up would have been better for the BJP not just in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, but for next year’s Delhi Assembly election too.”For us, it is not a question of whether the alliance has taken place or not. Personally, I feel if they had allied with each other and if we defeated them with that understanding, it would have been better for the BJP, because then we would have taken care of the next election also,” the Chandni Chowk candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha polls and the sitting MP from the seat said. Vardhan told PTI in an interview that he was sure of the BJP’s victory in all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital and believed that the saffron party was much ahead of the Congress and the AAP.”As far as the BJP is concerned, I will be the happiest person in Delhi if this alliance happens between both the parties (Congress, AAP). Whether they fight together or alone, we are going to have a hands-down victory.”The BJP is far ahead of both the parties, whether alone or together. People are giving an overwhelming response to the BJP. So, no other question arises from this whole situation,” the Union minister of science and technology, earth sciences and environment, forests and climate change said.Talks between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for an alliance ended on April 18 following a prolonged drama after senior leaders from both parties confirmed that there was no further scope for it.In the Lok Sabha polls, Vardhan is pitted against the Congress’s Jai Prakash Agarwal and the AAP’s Pankaj Gupta in the Chandni Chowk constituency. Polling for all the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi will be held on May 12 and the results will be announced on May 23. last_img read more

Day Before Polling An Eerie Silence Casts Over Pulwama Officials Fear EVMs

first_imgPulwama (J&K): An eerie silence descends on the streets of militancy-infested Pulwama district. People mill around but are guarded in their response. They want to talk about anything but elections.Pulwama, known as the “Anand (delight) of Kashmir” for its congenial climate, innumerable springs and waterfalls, hogged the headlines when a suicide bomber rammed his car into a CRPF convoy on February 14, killing 40 paramilitary forces. Since then the campaign for 2019 Lok Sabha polls has revolved around Pulwama and terrorism with parties making nationalism a key poll issue.On Monday, Pulwama — a part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat — will go to polls and all eyes will be on how the ground zero responds.Gulzar Wani, a grocery store owner, who virtually turned agitated when asked about the prospects of Monday’s voting, says “I don’t think that there will be any voting in this area. The machines may return untouched,” he said.Senior police officials believe that the voting may not cross the double-digit mark.The district has hardly seen any election campaigning by political parties.The National Conference and the Congress confined their political activities to party offices.The PDP, which has a strong base in south Kashmir, is almost missing. Party candidate Mehbooba Mufti has preferred to stay away from canvassing.No wall, street or building is festooned with colourful flags and banners of the parties.The former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, while advocating for party candidate Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi, has linked the necessity of voting to prevent attempts to abrogate Article 370 which guarantees special status to the state.G A Mir of the Congress attempted to woo the voters by pointing out the failures of the National Conference and the PDP.However, a thin attendance of people can be seen in their election meetings.Reasoning out the difficulties, Waheed Para of the PDP in an article explained that ahead of the elections, the anti-militancy operations needed to be halted as political parties cannot go and ask the people to vote when they are mourning the deaths of their loved ones.Security forces working to ensure smooth conduct of the polls have cracked the whip on trouble-mongers.While there are no official figures, a rough estimate is that 400 youths have been picked up and lodged in jails as a precautionary measure, say political activists from the area.”Ever since February 14, the people here live in fear. A midnight knock from security forces is quite possible,” says Nazir Ahmed, a tea stall owner in Pulwama town.A senior police official said all arrangements have been put in place for Monday’s voting in Shopian and Pulwama.”Everything has been put in place and adequate number of security personnel along with their mobile bunkers have been placed in the two districts,” he said.Pulwama district has 3,51,314 electors, including 1,81,259 males, 1,69,508 females, 541 service electors (533 male and 08 female) and 6 transgenders.For smooth polling, the Election Commission has set up 450 polling stations across the district.Shopian district has 1,71,216 electors, including 89,868 males, 81,227 females, 116 service electors (113 male and 03 female) and five transgender voters and for them 245 polling stations have been set up across the district.The elections to Anantnag Parliamentary seat was divided into three phases.Earlier Anantnag voted on April 23 in which 12.8 per cent votes were cast. This was followed by the second phase in Kulgam on April 29 which recorded around 10 per cent voting anantnag-s09p03jammu-and-kashmir-lok-sabha-elections-2019Lok Sabha elections 2019mehbooba mufti First Published: May 5, 2019, 9:48 PM ISTlast_img read more

NYAY is Just a Dole RJDs Raghuvansh Singh Who Steered MGNREGA Has

first_img biharbihar-lok-sabha-elections-2019Rashtriya Janata DalRJD First Published: May 8, 2019, 8:06 AM IST Vaishali: A CPI(ML) flag flutters alongside Rashtriya Janata Dal’s laltein (election symbol) as a carefully chosen array of speakers take podium one after the other. The line-up is representative of the caste alliance which the mahagathbandhan has sought to stitch against the NDA in Bihar — Kushwaha, Mallah, Nonia et al. However, the RJD candidate in Vaishali— former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh — is an upper caste Rajput. The man was Rural Development Minister and is credited with the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Raghuvansh Babu, as he is popularly known, was one of the four MPs who won in 2009. The Congress wanted to make him a minister but his party vetoed. “The list sent to Rashtrapti Bhawan had a blank against the Rural Development Minister. Despite efforts till the last moment, the RJD did not relent,” says a party leader close to Singh.“It would have been highly opportunistic on my part had I taken up the ministership against my party’s wishes,” he says, waiting for actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha’s arrival for a public meeting at Kanti on Patna-Motihari road. So what does he think about Congress’s NYAY scheme which promises a stipulated sum every year to the poor?“MGNREGA is better. It is not a dole. It creates jobs and assets,” he declares categorically. “If we come to power, our effort will be to expand the scheme to provide for MGNREGA support for work on not only public but private land,” Singh says. Shortage of labour for agriculture was an issue which emanated out of the implementation of MGNREGA and there was a proposal during UPA1 to make statuary changes to the act.It is another matter that joint secretary Aparajita Sarangi, who drafted the proposal in the Rural Development Ministry, is a BJP candidate from Bhuvaneshwar Lok Sabha seat. The amendment was turned down by the Planning Commission.Raghuvansh Singh won the 2009 election but lost the one after that during the Modi wave. This time, he’s pitted against the wife of a local strongman, Dinesh Singh. Veena Singh is contesting here on Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party as part of the NDA alliance.At a local roadside eatery, a motley group is discussing how the elections will pan out before the voting. Will the Rajputs split between two caste candidates? How will the Bhumihars vote considering they are traditionally on the other side of the upper caste divide? And most importantly, is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his image overwhelming just about everything else in this election?“Dinesh Singh has won elections in the past with excellent management. He used to do the same for Raghuvansh Babu once. His wife lost the last assembly poll due to some local issue. But Dinesh Singh and his family have never lost the polls,” says a very senior BJP leader from the region.Candidate selection seems to be an issue weighing on the minds of the voters here. A comparison between the booming voice of Raghuvansh Singh in the LS vis a vis Veena Devi is something which the electorate here will mull over in the next few days. This constituency has a history and a reputation.After all, this is the place where the seeds of the first republic in the subcontinent were sown more than two millennia back when Mahajanpadas came together to form a confederation. It is the land of Lord Mahavira. Where Buddha is said to have given his last sermon. The choice for the electorate this time is between Veena Singh and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.last_img read more

PM Modi to Launch BJPs Membership Drive from Varanasi on July 6

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the BJP’s membership drive from Varanasi on July 6 during which, he told party workers, at least five trees should be planted in every booth across the country. He also told party MPs that if anybody brings a bad name to the organisation with their conduct, then it is “unacceptable”, party sources said.Modi’s comments assume significance as they come in the wake of the arrest of senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya’s MLA son Akash Vijayvargiya for allegedly attacking a government official with a cricket bat. Modi was felicitated by senior party leaders in the first BJP parliamentary party meeting after the recent Lok Sabha polls during which he had led the BJP to a big win. Party chief Amit Shah and its working president J P Nadda were also felicitated, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters.In his address, Modi asked party MPs to ensure their presence in Parliament during the ongoing session and added that they should also dedicate themselves to people’s service so that they are known for what they have done for the masses, Joshi said.Modi will launch the membership drive on July 6, the birth anniversary of BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Shah will kick it off in Telangana and other party leaders in different parts of the country. Akash VijayvargiyaAmit ShahBharatiya Janata PartyBJP First Published: July 2, 2019, 1:25 PM ISTlast_img read more

SC Order on Karnataka Crisis Seems to Protect Defectors Says State Cong

first_img BJPChief Minister HD KumaraswamycongressDinesh Gundu Rao First Published: July 17, 2019, 5:06 PM IST Bengaluru: The Congress in Karnataka has termed the Supreme Court order on the political crisis in the state as “bad judgment”, which seemed to protect the defectors and encourage horse-trading.In a series of tweets, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao termed it an “extraordinary order”. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed that the 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs “ought not” to be compelled to take part in the proceedings of the state Assembly, where Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is slated to face the floor test on July 18.”Supreme Court order seems perfectly coordinated to help the rebel MLAs to violate the whip. It has set a wrong precedent as the value of the Whip as per 10th schedule of the Constitution is now redundant. An extraordinary order indeed!!!,” Rao tweeted.The #SupremeCourt verdict is now encroaching upon the rights of the Legislature.This is a bad judgement which seems to protect the defectors and encourages horse trading and also violating the doctrine of separation of powers.#KarnatakaPoliticalCrisis— Dinesh Gundu Rao / ದಿನೇಶ್ ಗುಂಡೂರಾವ್ (@dineshgrao) July 17, 2019″The #SupremeCourt verdict is now encroaching upon the rights of the Legislature. This is a bad judgement which seems to protect the defectors and encourages horse-trading and also violating the doctrine of separation of powers,” he said in another tweet.A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also said the speaker was free to decide on the resignations of the rebel MLAs within the time-frame decided by him.The apex court was hearing the plea of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs seeking direction for the speaker to accept their resignations from the assembly.Noting that Congress’ disqualification petition with the speaker against party MLAs is as per section 2-1a of the anti-defection law, Rao tweeted, “It’s not for violating the whip but for indulging in anti-party activities, to join hands with BJP to topple our govt and voluntarily giving up membership.”The Congress has moved disqualification petition against 13 MLAs, including independent R Shankar, who had merged his Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) with it.The other Congress MLAs include Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Shivram Hebbar, S T Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, Munirathna, K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj.Disqualification petition had been moved against Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumatalli earlier itself.The JD(S) too on its part had moved disqualification petition against its 3 MLAs Gopalaiah, A H Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda, but the speaker had said it was not in proper format and those who submitted were not party MLAs or senior leaders.As many as 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) — have resigned while two independent MLAs S Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, keeping it on the edge. last_img read more

iPhone X handson Apples OLED flagship up close

first_imgFamiliar, and yet so very different. That’s my first impression of the iPhone X, Apple’s brand new flagship iOS smartphone, revealed today at the Steve Jobs Theater in California. First things first, arguably the most important thing if you don’t want to look stupid when you walk into your nearest Apple Store: it’s pronounced “iPhone Ten”, not “iPhone X”. It’s a fitting name for what Apple is describing as the device it sees it building the next decade of mobile technology on. To achieve that, they’ve left few stones unturned, and while this certainly feels like an iPhone, it also feels like something very new. There are hints of the aluminum-bodied original iPhone from a decade ago in the polished outer rim, but everything else is thoroughly new. Most striking, of course, is the display. Apple has not only pushed the 5.8-inch OLED panel to the very edges of the bezel, it has hugged the corners too. The much-discussed “notch” in the top – housing not only the new TrueDepth Camera, but various other sensors used for the new Face ID system – looks intrusive in photos but, in my brief use of the iPhone X, didn’t feel like it would get in the way. You’re too busy marveling at Apple’s OLED screen, really. We’re used to bright, color-rich panels from OLED technology but the iPhone X takes it to another level, text and graphics looking like they’re embedded into the toughened glass that protects the phone front and back. It’s pleasingly smear and lag-free, even in fast-paced augmented reality games, too. Flip it over, and behind the glass back there’s now wireless charging – finally. Apple didn’t go Samsung’s route and include both of the common standards, opting to include Qi but leave out PowerMat’s AirFuel support. That’s not going to bode well for the latter standard, frankly, but should help clear up the market of wireless charging accessories. [Update: to clarify, PowerMat tells me its Charging Spots – the wireless charging points embedded in tables, devices, and other furniture in stores like Starbucks and elsewhere – will be compatible with the iPhone X as they have Qi support. However, the AirFuel chargers alone will not be compatible.] Most interesting, of course, is Apple’s own AirPower Charger which can handle a phone, an Apple Watch Series 3, and a set of AirPods in the new wireless charging case, but that won’t be on sale until 2018. Overall, though, Apple has crafted a stunning new flagship. In a time when existing iPhones were starting to look a little – dare I say – pedestrian in comparison to what Samsung, LG, and others were doing in hardware, the iPhone X has accelerated through and can spar with the best of them. It’s legitimately useful having a big screen in a more hand-friendly package. The iPhone camera is already tried and tested, and the new Portrait Mode lighting effects will only make it more appealing. The biggest drawback is the price. $999 for the entry-level model with 64GB is a whole chunk of change to spend on a smartphone, even if it happens to be the device you spend most of your waking moments clutching, tapping at, swiping across, and generally fondling. It’s bound to be out of stock almost as soon as it goes on sale, but time will tell how many buyers choose to cough up for the iPhone X premium. center_img The cameras are a pair of 12-megapixel sensors on the back, one telephoto and one regular, just as on the new iPhone 8 Plus. However, Apple has addressed one regular complaint with the iPhone X that the iPhone 8 Plus still does not: you get optical image stabilization on both lenses, now. It should make a big difference to both photos and 4K/60p video. Face ID seems to work swiftly, and it’ll function even if the iPhone X is flat on a table and you’re just glancing down on it. I’ll need to live with the phone to see whether it’s quite as convenient as Touch ID has proved to be on previous iPhones. I’m still torn as to whether Animojis are going to be The Next Big Thing or just a keynote gimmick. There’s definitely something borderline-creepy about talking poop speaking along to your voice, though maybe it’s the good sort of creepy. Story TimelineiPhone X: This is Apple’s next visioniPhone X Super Retina Display: What you need to knowiPhone X Face ID taps machine learning to learn who you areiPhone X release date and pricing detailsiPhone X battery makes big promisesAnimoji is Apple’s animated emoji for iPhone X onlylast_img read more

Samsung Black Friday 2017 sale slashes TV and IoT prices

first_imgIf you’re in the market for a new 4K television or robotic vacuum, you’re in luck: Samsung has shaved hundreds of dollars from its TV and IoT products, not to mention the tablet discounts. The company’s POWERbot Turbo Robot vacuum, for example, has been decreased by $300 from $1199 to $899. Some TVs have seen even bigger price cuts. As far as Samsung’s Black Friday deals are concerned, you’re not going to get any big discounts on its flagship phones (at least not from the company directly), but you can get huge discounts on some 4K TVs and other products. For example, the Korean company has cut the price of its 55″ Q7F QLED 4K TV by $1200, taking it down from $2799 to $1599.It’s 55″ MU800 4K TV got a lesser but still huge discount of $600, bringing it from $1499 to $899; the same is true for the 49″ Q6F SE QLED 4K model with its $300 discount, dropping from $1299 to $999. Meanwhile, Samsung is offering its Notebook 9 Pro 13″ 128GB Windows 10 laptop for $749, a $200 discount over its usual price. The Galaxy Tab A 16GB is discounted by $100, bringing it to $179. The 8-inch version of the Tab A is discounted by $70, priced at $129.Joining the computing gear is the HW-MS650 Sound+ premium sound bar, a $200 price cut bringing it down to $299. If you’re looking to set up a smart home, Samsung’s Connect Home AC1300 three-pack kit has been reduced by $120 to $249. Finally, the Gear Sport in Blue has dropped from $299 to $249, the charging pad from $99 to $39, and the 32″ CH711 curved monitor from $519 to $399. You can access the Black Friday deals here.last_img read more

Essential camera update Portrait Mode and image quality boost

first_imgPortrait Mode was apparently one of Essential’s most-requested features for the Essential App. As such, they’ve added said feature to said camera app. This update to the camera app is one of many tweaks and fixes for the camera experience on the PH-1 phone this week.Users will now also be able to experience added exposure compensation for all standard camera modes. All standard modes also have reduced JPEG compression as of this update as well. For portrait mode specifically, Essential have reduced overall compression, no matter the size.Essential isn’t the only big-name phone that’s run a feature-mention-worthy Portrait Mode in-cam this year. The newest iPhone line has a new portrait mode with a black background they put in automatically. Google’s “fiendishly clever” portrait mode is one to see, too, on the Pixel 2.The update to the Essential PH-1 camera app was pushed to all versions of the Essential phone this morning. Users with devices that’ve not gotten the update automatically, the process for checking on said update is simple. Open Settings, pull down to About Phone, tap that, and find System Update – and tap that. And there you go, update time.Once you have the newest version of the camera app, snap a few portrait mode photos. Post them to your local Social Network with the hashtag keyword #EssentialPotMo so we can all see how its working for you! Our experience with Essential’s first phone has been discounted in a big way over the past few weeks, too. Have a peek at the timeline below for more information about what Essential is doing now and in the near future. This morning the Essential PH-1 phone got an update for its Essential-built standard Essential Camera app. With this update, users were given an array of image quality enhancements as well as a brand new feature. This new feature enables Portrait Mode for the app for the first time. Story TimelineEssential phone gets a very hefty price cutEssential PH-1 time-limited offer cuts original price in halfEssential Phone price cut to $650 (in Canada)Essential phone price is at its lowest, without Family offerEssential Phone Oreo update released in betaEssential Phone gets a big discount in Amazon’s Cyber Monday saleEssential CEO Andy Rubin takes leave of absencelast_img read more

Alcatel 3V and 1X Android Go budget phones will launch in US

first_imgBoth phones are notable, at least as far as Alcatel’s own product line is concerned. As mentioned, the 1X is the maker’s first model to offer Android Oreo Go Edition, which is specifically designed for entry-level smartphones. This model is also Alcatel’s first handset to feature an 18:9 aspect ratio display, the same long screen found on the Galaxy S9 and select other phones.Alcatel has worked to give the 1X a premium feel despite its entry-level status. The device as a 5.3″ FullView display, a clean design that includes both satin and suede finish options, and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is of interest due to its Social Mode and its flash. Other features include a One-Handed Mode for using the phone with a single hand, plus, of course, Oreo Go Edition and a fingerprint sensor that is exclusive to the US variant. This model will be available for less than $100 in the US.AdChoices广告Joining that entry-level model is the Alcatel 3V, which is the maker’s first US smartphone to feature a dual-camera system on the back, as well as its first device in the US with a 2K-resolution display from TCL. This model sports a larger 6-inch display (likewise with an 18:9 aspect ratio), a 3D curved back, support for re-time bokeh and re-focus, split-screen for multi-tasking, plus Face Key for scanning the user’s face to unlock the phone. The 3V also has a fingerprint sensor. The US price isn’t clear, though Alcatel says both models will launch “in the coming months.” During Mobile World Congress, Alcatel introduced a pair of phones called the Alcatel 1X and the Alcatel 3V. The company has confirmed that both of these models will be available to purchase in the United States, each as an unlocked GSM device for use with compatible carriers. The Alcatel 1X in particular will be the maker’s first phone to offer Android Oreo, pairing it with an 18:9 display and other “premium” features.last_img read more

This Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube deal shouldnt be

first_imgThey also take advantage of Amazon’s voice recognition technology, based on the idea that asking for a movie or show can be easier than tapping out a search term. In the case of the Fire TV Stick, it’s compact enough – and sufficiently straightforward to set up – so as to be portable. Dropping one into your bag and plugging it into a TV in a hotel room is a good way of avoiding expensive pay-per-view channels.Usually, the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote would set you back $39.99. However, in Amazon’s limited time offer, you can save $10 and get the Fire TV Stick for $29.99. As the entry-level model in Amazon’s media streaming line-up, the Fire TV Stick covers the basics. You of course get access to the company’s own Prime Video service of streaming content – with much of it free, if you’re a Prime subscriber – but there are also apps for third-party services like Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu, and Showtime. Alternatively, you can get live content through providers like CBS and ESPN.AdChoices广告If you’re looking for hands-free Alexa access, meanwhile, and 4K support, Amazon has a second promotion running at the moment. The Fire TV Cube was launched earlier this year, a squared-off box that combines the talents of both a Fire TV media streamer and an Amazon Echo smart speaker. With it, you can control your TV experience from across the room, without having to press any buttons first. Usually, the Fire TV Cube is priced at $119.99, however in Amazon’s current promotion it’s discounted to $89.99. That’s a saving of $30. You can also get a Fire TV Cube and Amazon Cloud Cam bundle, usually $239.98, but currently down to under $200. Back when we reviewed the Fire TV Cube, we were particularly impressed by how well Amazon had updated its interface to handle a complete hands-off experience. It also supports Dolby Atmos, and can be used like a regular Echo speaker to answer questions and control smart home devices such as connected lights. As always with Amazon’s promotions, it’s not clear when exactly the three deals showing today will run until. [Updated to reflect the correct usual price for the Fire TV Stick, which is $39.99]SlashGear uses affiliate links, and sometimes if you buy something we might get a small commission on the sale Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is getting a rare sale, with the streaming set-top box also bringing the Alexa-powered Fire TV Cube in on the action. The two devices promise an easy upgrade for an existing TV to access both on-demand and live content, including TV shows and movies, and music. last_img read more

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5 wireless speaker packs Dual Sound support

first_imgThe new Onyx Studio 5 wireless speaker can be connected to two different Bluetooth devices at the same time, making it possible for users to share the stream. An integrated battery offers a fully wire-free experience, at least for 8 or so hours until it needs recharged.Harman Kardon is offering the circular speaker in three colors, as shown in the image above: grey, blue, and black. Users can pair two of these speakers together via the maker’s Dual Sound feature, this providing the audio from both speaker sources instead of just one for a multi-room or richer experience.Also notable is the built-in handle design, which blends well with the speaker’s overall appearance while offering convenient portability. Users can take the speaker with them, whether it’s to a different room or out onto the porch; it can be placed on a flat surface and left plugged in, as well.AdChoices广告Brightstar will be exclusively offering the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5 for buyers outside of the US, while those in the nation will be able to get it from Sprint. Price sits at a substantial $479.99 USD.SOURCE: BusinessWire Harman Kardon has expanded its Onyx Studio series with the newly unveiled Onyx Studio 5. This new speaker has a classy circular design with a built-in handle for portability, as well as the maker’s Dual Sound, which enables two speakers to be paired together for a more immersive experience. The new model is being exclusively sold by Brightstar and Sprint.last_img read more

iPhone XS XS Max battery tests show unimpressive results

first_imgReviews, tests, and impressions about the iPhone XS and XS Max are piling up and things aren’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows. While DisplayMate did just crown the iPhone XS Max as the best smartphone display ever and iFixit gave it a passing grade, there are also reports of poor cellular reception and other “papercuts” making early iPhone XS buyers less than amused. The latest benchmark touches on the new iPhones’ battery life and, suffice it to say, Apple’s estimates might have been way too generous. It was almost comical that Apple even boasted that the iPhone XS would last 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X. When companies make claims about battery life improvements, they often count it in hours, not minutes. But even then, Apple might have been counting in very ideal situations because real-life use might fall way short of that.Tom’s Guide put the iPhone XS and XS Max through a rather simple battery test. That involves “continuous web surfing” at 150 nits of brightness, with auto brightness and true tone display turned off. The iPhone XS lasted 9 hours 41 minutes while the iPhone XS Max got up to 10 hours 38 minutes.That would have been impressive if the phones lived in a bubble. They don’t. Last year’s iPhone X lasted 10 hours 49 minutes under those same conditions. Apple’s 2018 iPhones also fell short of other Android flagship, which outlasted the two by at least an hour, sometimes even four. Of course, it’s apples and oranges at times, but it’s still disappointing to see two of the most expensive smartphones fall short of last year’s most expensive smartphone.Then again, it might not have been that surprising. A teardown has revealed that the iPhone XS does have a smaller battery than the iPhone X. With more powerful hardware and more demanding software and features, 30 minutes longer life would be close to being a miracle. Then again, Apple is often very good at optimizing its system, so perhaps a battery extending iOS 12 update will address these complaints.last_img read more

Alexas lowkey Whisper Mode is going live today

Whisper Mode does pretty much what it says on the tin. With it, Alexa can discern the volume of your voice and, when you whisper a command to her, whisper back. If you’re asking it to play music, it’ll play the tune you requested at a low volume as well, so Whisper Mode’s capabilities extend beyond only your interactions with Alexa.So, if you’ve got a sleeping partner next to you and you need to ask Alexa a question, you can whisper your queries and not have to worry about Alexa waking them up. This seems like it’ll be particularly useful in households with a newborn baby, as you no longer have to choose between using the IoT capabilities of your smart home and waking a sleeping child.TechCrunch reports that Whisper Mode is going live today, but this isn’t a worldwide roll out. Instead, Whisper Mode is only available in the United States and it’s only compatible with US English for now. There’s no word on when it’ll launch in other regions, but hopefully it’s something Amazon is working on.Before you can use Whisper Mode, you’ll need to enable it either through the Alexa App or through voice commands. To enable it in the app, open your settings menu, tap “Alexa Account,” then head into “Alexa Voice Responses” and toggle “Whispered Responses.” TechCrunch also notes that you can turn on Whisper Mode by saying – what else? – “Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode.” I’m not seeing the option to turn on Whisper Mode in my own Alexa app just yet, so it seems to be rolling out in phases. If you don’t see the option either, just keep checking back, as it should be live soon. Story TimelineAmazon Alexa is learning how to whisper – and moreFacebook Portal puts AR Messenger video calls in Alexa smart displaysXbox One October update: Alexa, Dolby Vision, new Avatars Back toward the end of September, Amazon held an event where it announced a boat load of new products. Some of these seem more useful than others – I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the Echo Wall Clock – but new products weren’t the only topic of the day. Amazon also announced a handful of new features for Alexa, and one of the most interesting was undoubtedly Whisper Mode, which is rolling out today. read more

Google Maps lets you keep tabs on stores instead of them tracking

Almost all businesses these days keep track of customers and even just visitors, especially online. Of course, not everyone agrees to this now common practice and disable online tracking, like what Mozilla just provided in the latest Firefox release. Now Google is turning the tables a bit on those businesses. With the new feature in Google Maps’ “For You” tab, users will be able to track stores, locations, and businesses, too. Of course, they’ll only see what store owners want to show them. We all have our favorite stores and places we go to. Sometimes those have offers and deals we won’t know about until we get there or if we have surrendered our phone numbers and email addresses to them. Wouldn’t it be nice to get updates on those locations just like we get updates for news and weather and celebrity gossip?That’s exactly what the new “Follow” button in Google Maps lets you do. Once followed, you can see the latest events and offers from those businesses on the Android app’s “For You” tab. Not seeing that tab? Don’t panic because it’s not actually available for all markets yet, though Google promises they’re coming soon.Meanwhile, Google Maps does have a new feature for all Android and mobile Search users but not for all locations. If a store is just about to open, you can check exactly when that will happen by looking at the date in orange.It doesn’t happen automatically for all places, though. Owners will have to create a free Business Profile and set an opening date there. The feature will still be rolling out in the coming weeks so be sure to keep checking on Maps and Search for that info. read more

2017 Porsche Macan GTS takes on two peaks in one day

first_imgKeeping in mind that Porsche named the subcompact SUV after a tiger in Indonesia, I felt confident pushing the GTS to the best of my driving abilities to follow Pikes Peak Legend, Jeff Zwart. It’s a course he’s raced multiple times and won in several different classifications, and proved more than capable of leading a pack of speeding tigers through the valley and ridges.The GTS isn’t screaming fast like the Turbo but it’s the most driver-centric of the Macan trio. Most importantly for something like Pikes Peak, having an engine with a midrange between 3000 and 5500 rpm is ideal for the task at hand. Heading into a hard turn, I’d paddle shift down to the lowest possible gear which was often second, slamming on the brake moments prior and then immediately back on the gas after the apex. Hitting third gear propels the Macan past 60+ mph, and that’s two or three times the 20-mph speed limit. Whether I paddle-shifted or let the PDK do all the work, it was near-instantaneous. That’s more than any driver can ask for on such a demanding road course. Having driven the S and Turbo variants, I knew coming in that I had to commit to treating the Mecan as a sports car in SUV’s clothing – Porsche maintains it has the ‘heart and soul’ of a sports car – and I wasn’t disappointed. At this high of an altitude both the Macan GTS’s horsepower as well as the human body starts to feel the affects. Luckily our convoy of SUVs blazed through the drive with flying colors – no mid-trip shortcuts off the edge of the mountain – and the mighty middle-child Macan’s performance proved stellar. Back when I tried the new Macan for the first time, I solicited three different driving instructors as to whether they’d pick the cheaper Macan S over its Turbo sibling, and unanimously they opted for the S (albeit with the caveat that the air suspension, PASM and PTV Plus and Sport Chrono Package ($1,800) options were all ticked, too). Comparing the standard-fit tech on the Macan GTS with their “perfect spec”, I see plenty of familiar features. The 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is there, as is the air suspension with Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM). You might think rowing your own gears on a challenging course like the Hill Climb would be preferable, but I tried to manually paddle-shift to see if I could best the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission but, on such challenging terrain, my reactions proved no match for the near-telepathic shifter.Porsche has re-tuned the air suspension so that the Macan GTS can reduce its ride height by up to approximately 10-millimeters, which improved the center of gravity for our spirited drive up the mountain. While the SUV doesn’t get the Turbo’s 3.6-liter with 400-hp and 406 lb-ft, it does however get a 20 hp bump from the S’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine yielding 360-hp and 369 lb-ft. At $372-per-hp, that’s $7,440 in savings. Sport Chrono Package Pricing starts at $68,250 though most owners, according to Porsche, will an an average of $20,000 in options. That being said, expect to pay in the mid $80k range for a Macan GTS. Putting it into perspective, that’s still well below the $100k+ price tag for the Macan turbo.The Porsche Macan is my benchmark for every and all subcompact SUV. While it’s much more expensive than most of the cars in the segment, you see where your money goes: it’s one of the best in every respect. In new GTS form it both looks and drives like a proper Porsche, and thanks to that the price tag matches. VR 360! It’s track time and Pikes Peak Hill Climb is no ordinary race track. Taking a corner too wide pretty much anywhere within the 14,114 climb along what’s a 12.42 mile course packed with 156 twists and turns has consequences beyond a couple of dents. Luckily, Porsche’s confidence in the new 2017 Macan GTS is off the chart. This is a super rare opportunity where automotive journalists were given the opportunity to drive up Pikes Peaks and then, on the very same day, keep on going right up Mount Evans.center_img About a third of the way up, I found myself regretting my decision to give up the slot right behind his lead car, but I could still do my best to ignore the Macan ahead and focus on Jeff’s racing lines. Still plenty of visibility for the epic moment when Jeff took an ultra-wide left before slicing immediately into a sharp right – and leaving one whole rear rear wheel completely off the edge of the cliff in the process. Did I mention that the majority of the hill climb lacks any sort of guardrail and, when combined with unexpected corners, things can quickly go south (no pun intended)?At the time I thought something along the lines of “holy crap, did that just happen?” It was only later that a colleague following behind me told me half of my own rear tire was also off the cliff. That’s 10-inches of the 20-inch Michelin Latitude all-season tires.To the car’s credit, the handling’s better than stellar. Although it’s an all-wheel-drive system, most of the power is transferred to the rear so it turns in and straightens out as a proper Porsche should, elegantly gliding from turn to turn gracefully. It’s courtesy of the excellent stability control, the optional torque vectoring system, and large 14.2-inch front disc brakes with six-piston fixed red calipers and 13-inch single-piston rear red calipers. On a drive such as this one, it probably won’t surprise you when I say that great brakes are pretty critical. Happily, they did a fine job keeping me from running off the cliff. While the Macan doesn’t drive like a 911 – and nor, frankly, would I expect it to – the new power steering has an improved electric assist motor. Unlike the previous Macan S and turbo I drove at launch, there’s more feedback and that’s a must-have.The weather was unpredictable so Porsche erred on the safe side with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires on 20-inch wheels, the standard-fit. If you’re not of a mind to tackle a legendary hill-climb, though, 19s and 21-inch wheels, along with summer/stickier tires are available. It had all been going so well; then, at roughly 12,400-feet up, luck ran out. The high altitude had lowered the boiling point of the car’s coolant, spewing off a crazy cloud of steam. Pair that with a snapped belt and I was forced to pull over. Hindsight being 20/20, I should’ve just said “what the hell, I’m making it to the peak no matter what!” Unfortunately, at the time I wasn’t sure if it were the brakes that were failing so I didn’t want to risk mine and my co-driver’s life. Porsche later confirmed my suspicions that there was no actual damage to the engine: the belt was swapped out, the fluid – which has hosed out the engine compartment – topped up, and the car was back in action a few hours later. It’s important to note that these were pre-production vehicles; any frustration at a prematurely curtailed trip is a small price to pay for being Porsche’s product development test drivers.Looking at the liveries on the GTS we drove, you can’t really see the standard Macan GTS treatment. Each of our GTS were wrapped like Porsche’s past Pikes Peak race cars – I’d be happy to sport any of them if I’d bought a GTS or any of the Porsche line up for that matter. As standard, the exterior gets black wheels, matte and gloss accents throughout – such as the lower door panels – and a long list of ways for you to make it your own courtesy of the options list. After a couple of crackles over the walkie-talkie, Jeff announced “we’re off” and, with immediate urgency, the five Macan convoy ascended Pikes Peak. There’s little room for error navigating the 4,200-pound beast; let your focus drift for just a few seconds and, at best, you can lose time by slipping off Zwart’s racing line. At worst, you could slip right off the mountain. Driver Dashboard Story TimelineFirst Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo2017 Porsche 718 Cayman gets sportier with 4-cylinder engine2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet and 4S first drive2017 Porsche Panamera 4S and turbo: Every techie’s dream car2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Review – Turbo all the thingslast_img read more

Inside Qualcomms big CV2X plans for tomorrows smart cars

first_imgEnter Qualcomm Technologies’ Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) solution based on 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 14 specifications for direct communications, utilizing the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset. Release 14 focuses on LTE Mission Critical enhancements, LTE support for V2x services, eLAA, 4 band Carrier Aggregation, inter-band Carrier Aggregation and more.C-V2X works in two transmission modes, direct and network-based. Both promise critical safety data for autonomous driving, either directly between cars or via an overarching cloud network. It’s not designed to replace, but will instead complement existing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems sensors, such as cameras, radar, and LIDAR, to provide information about the car’s surroundings, including non-line-of-sight scenarios to other vehicles on the road. Creating a safety network of millions of vehicles working together to make driving saferWhen communicating directly between vehicles, Qualcomm’s C-V2X uses direct low-latency 5.9 GHz transmissions which transmit data in real time at a very high rate of speed. This removes the dependency on the cellular network and the added latency with having to send and receive data via the cellular network.AdChoices广告However, there’s also cellular support which allows for the transmission of data to the other out of sight vehicles on the road. That means it would be possible to alert other autonomous vehicles within miles of your current position of your intentions, such as your speed and current destination. In addition to the communications C-V2X opens the door for 5G unified connectivity, 3D mapping with precise positioning (down to the exact travel lane) and onboard intelligence. Although Qualcomm has been talking about technology like this for some time, C-V2X is not just a concept. The company has partnered with many of the world’s top automakers and Tier-1 providers to start introducing this system into cars within the next two years. At IAA, I sat down with Patrick Little, SVP & GM of Qualcomm Automotive to get an update on the future of communications, compute, and autonomy. While Qualcomm may be best known for its smartphone chips, the company has been quietly working in the background on processors and connectivity for the automotive industry. Qualcomm has had a relationship with Audi around connectivity for many years now, for instance, starting with the 3G MMI systems and providing in-car cellular and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.The company sees C-V2X as building on top of that, and those early partnerships.Though it’s not the only chipmaker looking at the space, Qualcomm is confident it will quickly outpace the current market leaders. Little doesn’t see the current technology being leap frogged and that we will see more of a progression into Level 3 and Level 4 autonomy. When asked about Nvidia’s current role in the marketplace he acknowledged that “Nvidia has attacked the hearts and minds of the industry early.” Still, he argues that their rival’s current compute systems are more of a proof of concept still, and are not elegant enough to be fully commercialized. Part of that elegance comes down to cooling: the current chipsets are simply not designed to dissipate the sort of heat byproduct that comes with more intensive automotive processing. With water cooling solutions, there is a performance and power tradeoff. When it comes to electric vehicles and preserving range, having to divert some of the electricity to power and cool the compute systems is a problem.“If you burn too much power on autonomy then you will reduce the range,” Little points out. “We need to be very discerning about our workloads.” Little sees the Qualcomm’s entry point into the market starting at refining Level 3 autonomous driving. There’s a lot of work to do still around silicon design and extracting the most performance, not least delivering on the argument that shouldn’t need complex cooling systems. Qualcomm is counting on Snapdragon being up for the task, with machine learning on DSPs combined with NPU (Neural Processing Unit) substantially reducing the power consumption. As will being smart about how you distribute your available energy. Just like at home, phantom power draw is a problem for EVs. Switching off the power to a motor or device drawing current that is not necessary will help extend driving range. The ability to completely switch these components off is something that has already been developed, and is in use in other Qualcomm systems. The Cellular-V2X non-line-of-sight solution will be part of an “electronic envelope that will save a tremendous about of lives with car to car, car to infrastructure, and car to pedestrian leading the way.” Little explained. Starting with the drive data platform and sensor fusion platform inputs from GNSS, inertial sensors, and cameras present an accurate picture with 3D HD maps. This data is then shared with the network of cars and infrastructure. It’s the missing piece in full autonomy. The data sharing will help realize the full potential of the current autonomous driving platforms. Cars that are 2 miles or 20 miles away will know you are sitting in traffic, along with all the other data that you have collected.The challenge is finding what C-V2X building blocks will scale commercially and efficiently. Who will build the new infrastructure? Cities and towns often struggle with maintaining their existing roads, highways, and bridges. The current thought is to work within the current ecosystem of mobile network operators. “Can we create a network that will help get the infrastructure established quickly?” That’s the billion-dollar question right now. Little sees an opportunity for whoever installs the infrastructure, but the providers need to see a business case to justify the spend. The hope is that the evolving the mobile network will open up new business models, with the biggest markets expected to be in North America and China. In rural areas without an advanced mobile network and V2X infrastructure, the fallback will be direct car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian communication. The standard bodies around 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) will evolve up to release 16. Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) has significant advantages over 801.11p / dedicated short range communication (DSRC). Unlike the 802.11p technology on which DSRC is based, C-V2X will take advantage of 5G wireless technology. This builds upon the investment being made by global mobile network operators that can expand to include a V2I network, in partnership with roadway operators, as a part of existing IoT investments in industrial, smart cities, and smart transportation infrastructure.Little and I also discussed the future of autonomy. There are lots of ways to cooperate and build proper standards with the governing bodies and regulatory committees, he suggested, and it will take a significant combined effort to move the industry forward. Everyone needs to come to the table to establish these standards, Little says, not only to recognize why machines could be better drivers than humans, but also to settle the not-insignificant moral questions around self-driving vehicles. Typically, when driving all six senses are necessary, however, at the most, you can dedicate 2.5. “Machines will always win in the sense category” Little argues. “The sensors will always be better than the human eyes and ears.” Sensors are dedicated to their job and are not very easily distracted; there’s no hesitation, and the car will be able to deploy the brakes automatically once the AI makes the decision. There’s no second-guessing. The future also involves human-style thinking, though: can we train a machine to think us out, and do we really want to do that? While the technology may be advanced, we’re still unclear on how you train an autonomous car to make a moral judgement. “What if the car needs to make a decision to hit a pedestrian or crash into a cafe full of people,” Little asks. Right now there’s no consensus, and the current sense from the industry is that we’re potentially 20-25 years away from solving this part of the equation. “[In] the transition from Level 3 to Level 4 and 5, as the car starts to make decisions … there will be a temporal chasm,” Little argues, “and we as humans need to become comfortable enough with the algorithms and their outcomes to make the transition possible.” For the moment, the more immediate direction is a focus on refining Level 3. After that comes a whole new conversation, and not just one between cars. Story TimelineUS to mandate V2V car-to-car communications for safer roadsTalking cars: How the US government wants to make V2V the lawHow long do you expect your car’s tech features to work? I’ve always felt nervous when using adaptive cruise control (ACC) on a busy highway. ACC has always left too much of a gap between my car and the lead car: even setting ACC for one car length, the minimum most automakers allow, I felt the gap would allow someone to sneak in and I was always unsure of how the system would react. But what if your car already knew that someone was thinking about sneaking into that gap before you even realized it? last_img read more

Huawei phones can no longer ship with Facebooks apps

first_imgFacebook has reportedly stopped allowing Huawei phones to ship with its apps pre-installed on them. That means no Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram pre-installed on these phones out of the box, and while that may not be quite as severe as the actions taken by other companies, it’s still another setback on a list that’s only getting longer.Reuters reported today that this ban applies to all Huawei phones that haven’t left the factory yet, so for the time being at least, no new Huawei device will have Facebook’s apps pre-installed. Of course, users can still download those apps and use them as much as they want, assuming their Huawei-made phones have access to the Google Play Store.Facebook tells Reuters that customers who already have Huawei phones can continue using its apps and will keep receiving updates for them, but it declined to say when this ban was put into place. Huawei declined to comment on the matter altogether, but when you’re dealing with being blacklisted by the US government, there probably isn’t very much to say.AdChoices广告What’s an annoyance now could turn into a major problem down the road. Google currently has a 90-day grace period in place with Huawei, during which it will still deliver app updates and honor licensing agreements for Android and its first-party apps. Once that grace period expires in August, though, new Huawei phones will ship without major Google services and apps – including the Play Store – unless Huawei can reverse the US government’s decision to blacklist it. We’ll see what happens from here, but for now at least, Huawei’s woes on the international stage keep getting worse. Story TimelineHuawei ban list and timeline: Google, Microsoft, Android falloutThe reality of Trump’s Huawei ban keeps unfoldingWhere does Huawei go from here? It seems the punches just keep on coming for Huawei. After Google cut ties with Huawei and announced that it would soon begin withholding access to some key Android OS and software updates, other companies began following suit. That very same day, companies like Intel and Qualcomm stopped supplying Huawei with hardware, while Microsoft removed Huawei laptops from its retail stores a few days later. Now, it looks like its Facebook’s turn to sever ties with the Chinese company.last_img read more

Amazing smart glass can recognize numbers no added tech required

first_img Editors’ Recommendations Motion-sensing shrubs and robo-Venus flytraps: Inside the world of Cyborg Botany Like a lens for audio, these metamaterial bricks bend, focus, and amplify sound U.S. Navy is working on making its fleet invisible to computerized surveillance June Oven Review Google I/O 2019: Here’s everything we saw, from Android Q to midrange Pixels Amazing smart glass can recognize numbers, no added tech requiredCloseThanks to Apple’s impressive array of depth-sensing 3D sensors, the newer model iPhones let you unlock them using facial recognition. But what if it didn’t take on-board processing to carry out identification tasks, but it could instead be done by the glass of the smartphone display itself? It sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have been working to bring to life. They have developed a type of smart glass that’s able to recognize images (and maybe one day other things) without needing any sensors, circuits, or even power sources to do so.The process relies on the way that light bends as it passes through the smart glass. This varies depending on the image facing the glass. The glass features tiny strategically placed bubbles and impurities, which bend and guide the light in very specific ways. If the light matches an expected pattern, the glass then “recognizes” the image that it sees. In a proof-of-concept demonstration, the researchers were able to use their glass to identify handwritten numbers. The light was bent to hit one of nine specific spots on the other side, each one corresponding to individual digits. The glass was even dynamic enough to detect when a handwritten “3” was altered to become an “8.”“In this work the input information [is] encoded on an input wave front,” Erfan Khoram, one of the researchers on the project, told Digital Trends. “This light wave is then projected on the nanophotonic device that is optimized for a specific task. Once the wave enters the device, the light wave reflects, scatters, and mixes inside the medium. These wave phenomena that happen inside the device effectively cause the necessary processing on the signal to create the desired output wave profile.”While this is a neat alternative approach to conventional A.I. image recognition systems, Khoram said that the work could be used to augment existing processes. “One other application in the same context would be for the smart glass to receive the coming waves containing the full information of the scene, and give out only certain features of the scenery,” Khoram said. “[This would have the effect of] simplifying the representation of the input to the neural network and consequently making the digital aspect of the process lighter.”A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Photonics Research.last_img read more

Roundup Planned Parenthood Asks For Extended Ban On Texas Funding Cut Elections

first_imgRoundup: Planned Parenthood Asks For Extended Ban On Texas Funding Cut; Election’s Effect On Massachusetts Health Businesses Bloomberg: Planned Parenthood Seeks To Extend Ban On Texas Funding CutsPlanned Parenthood is asking a Texas judge to extend an order blocking the state from cutting funding to its clinics because the organization provides abortion services. Texas officials were blocked by an Oct. 26 temporary restraining order issued by Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Austin from eliminating public funds for the 49 Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that don’t provide abortions. The state ban will cost Planned Parenthood about $13 million a year in government reimbursements, force it to close some health centers, and interfere with health care for low-income women, the group said in court filings (Shannon, 11/8).The Boston Globe: The Election’s Effect On Massachusetts Business SectorsThe election results proved a mixed blessing for the state’s high-profile life sciences sector. While the state’s congressional delegation will continue to back the industry’s legislative agenda, biotechnology companies expect a fight over low-cost generics, and medical device makers face a tax on their products that will help fund President Obama’s health care overhaul. Combined, the two sectors have more than 800 companies in Massachusetts that employ nearly 70,000 people (Weisman, 11/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more