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Windows 11 gets an update for the better experience of Android users

Microsoft window 11

Your Phone software by Microsoft, which serves as a bridge between Android devices and Windows 10, is all set to get a makeover for Windows 11.

While things do not seem to have changed dramatically like new functionality is on the cards in the short term, we know a bit into the app at Microsoft’s recent Surface event as it still reminds us of its existence.

Your Phone app, too, gets a new look as do the other apps updated for Windows 11, with softer set of colors and rounded corners. However, it’s in the interface where the real improvement lies.

If you go into the app right now, you’ll see separate sections for Notifications, Messages, Calls. Also, Apps if you own a supported Samsung device or a Surface Duo. With the new version, XDA Developers spotted that notifications now feature along the left-hand side of the app, with can respond directly from your desktop or laptop.

Other items to have been relocated are Messages, Photos, Apps and Calls that now appear at the top of the screen. The now little less cluttered look should make the app a bit more accessible to newcomers. Although, it can be a bit confusing to those who have got used to the current layout.

From this brief glimpse it’s encouraging to see that the app hasn’t been forgotten about even if it doesn’t get so many changes, and while it’s understandably not as impressive as the synergy between iPhones and Macs (where things like iMessage and Photos are always in perfect sync), it’s still useful for those that spread their working life across form factors.

And with Microsoft fully on board with Android, having waved the white flag on Windows Phone some time ago, a lot more people can benefit.

Is it necessary?

Many have reportedly said they installed the Your Phone software for Windows 10 upon release, but haven’t booted it up again since. Why? Because the stuff they thought they needed it for already has perfectly good systems in place.

But for some it will prove invaluable, and that — combined with the upcoming Android app support for Windows 11 — makes Microsoft’s OS a natural home for Android users.

Microsoft Windows 11 will be released on October 5 as a free upgrade to Windows 10, but the rollout is going to be staggered, so don’t expect to see it on your screen immediately unless you buy a new device — such as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X, Surface Go 3 or the innovative new Surface Laptop Studio.

Posted on 27 September 2021 | 6:50 am

WhatsApp will stop working on some Android phones


Another year is about to end in the next three months, which means there is another cycle of WhatsApp’s end of support for some Android smartphones and iPhones. After November 1, 2021, the messaging app will not work on some of the Android versions. 

WhatsApp is used to removing the support for specific Android versions. This is a common technique because developers always prefer to support the newest OS updates, and it’s hard to always support old versions. It’s the case of Android OS 4.0.4 and older versions: WhatsApp has announced that they will no longer support Android phones running those versions after a new WhatsApp beta for Android update.

What can you do to continue using WhatsApp on those versions? Unfortunately, you won’t be able to update WhatsApp after November 1, 2021, and your current WhatsApp update is going to expire after a certain date.

You need to switch to a new Android device on a supported Android version if your device is old, so be sure to back up your chat history. Note that WhatsApp is also going to support chat history migration from Android to iOS in a future update if you’re interested to switch to iPhone.

Posted on 27 September 2021 | 6:44 am

How a plant virus could help stop cancers from reaching the lungs

plant'virus, cancer, corona, Covid


Using a virus that grows in black-eyed pea plants, nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego developed a new treatment that could keep metastatic cancers at bay from the lungs.

The treatment not only slowed tumor growth in the lungs of mice with either metastatic breast cancer or melanoma, it also prevented or drastically minimized the spread of these cancers to the lungs of healthy mice that were challenged with the disease.

The research was published Sept. 14 in the journal Advanced Science.

Cancer spread to the lungs is one of the most common forms of metastasis in various cancers. Once there, it is extremely deadly and difficult to treat.

Researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering developed an experimental treatment that combats this spread. It involves a bodily injection of a plant virus called the cowpea mosaic virus. The virus is harmless to animals and humans, but it still registers as a foreign invader, thus triggering an immune response that could make the body more effective at fighting cancer.

The idea is to use the plant virus to help the body’s immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells in the lungs. The virus itself is not infectious in our bodies, but it has all these danger signals that alarm immune cells to go into attack mode and search for a pathogen, said Nicole Steinmetz, professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego and director of the university’s Center for Nano-ImmunoEngineering.

To draw this immune response to lung tumors, Steinmetz’s lab engineered nanoparticles made from the cowpea mosaic virus to target a protein in the lungs. The protein, called S100A9, is expressed and secreted by immune cells that help fight infection in the lungs. And there is another reason that motivated Steinmetz’s team to target this protein: overexpression of S100A9 has been observed to play a role in tumor growth and spread.

“For our immunotherapy to work in the setting of lung metastasis, we need to target our nanoparticles to the lung,” said Steinmetz. “Therefore, we created these plant virus nanoparticles to home in on the lungs by making use of S100A9 as the target protein. Within the lung, the nanoparticles recruit immune cells so that the tumors don’t take.”

“Because these nanoparticles tend to localize in the lungs, they can change the tumor microenvironment there to become more adept at fighting off cancer — not just established tumors, but future tumors as well,” said Eric Chung, a bioengineering Ph.D. student in Steinmetz’s lab who is one of the co-first authors on the paper.

To make the nanoparticles, the researchers grew black-eyed pea plants in the lab, infected them with cowpea mosaic virus, and harvested the virus in the form of ball-shaped nanoparticles. They then attached S100A9-targeting molecules to the surfaces of the particles.

The researchers performed both prevention and treatment studies. In the prevention studies, they first injected the plant virus nanoparticles into the bloodstreams of healthy mice, and then later injected either triple negative breast cancer or melanoma cells in these mice. Treated mice showed a dramatic reduction in the cancers spreading to their lungs compared to untreated mice.

In the treatment studies, the researchers administered the nanoparticles to mice with metastatic tumor in their lungs. These mice exhibited smaller lung tumors and survived longer than untreated mice.

What’s remarkable about these results, the researchers point out, is that they show efficacy against extremely aggressive cancer cell lines. “So any change in survival or lung metastasis is pretty striking,” said Chung. “And the fact that we get the level of prevention that we do is really, really amazing.”

Steinmetz envisions that such a treatment could be especially helpful to patients after they have had a cancerous tumor removed. “It wouldn’t be meant as an injection that’s given to everyone to prevent lung tumors. Rather, it would be given to patients who are at high risk of their tumors growing back as a metastatic disease, which often manifests in the lung. This would offer their lungs protection against cancer metastasis,” she said.

Before the new treatment can reach that stage, the researchers need to do more detailed immunotoxicity and pharmacology studies. Future studies will also explore combining this with other treatments such as chemotherapy, checkpoint drugs or radiation.

Paper: “S100A9-Targeted Cowpea Mosaic Virus as a Prophylactic and Therapeutic Immunotherapy Against Metastatic Breast Cancer and Melanoma.” In addition to Young Hun (Eric) Chung, co-first authors of the study include Jooneon Park and Hui Cai. Nicole Steinmetz serves as the corresponding author of this work.

Posted on 26 September 2021 | 8:22 am

New tech to prevent Li-ion battery fires

Materials scientists from Nanyang Technological University Singapore have found a way to prevent internal short-circuits, the main cause of fires in Li-ion batteries.

Billions of Li-ion batteries are produced annually for use in mobile phones, laptops, personal mobile devices, and the huge battery packs of electric vehicles and aircraft.

This global battery demand is set to grow, with electric vehicles alone requiring up to 2,700 GWh worth of Li-ion batteries a year by 2030, equivalent to some 225 billion mobile phone batteries.

Even with an estimated failure rate of less than one-in-a-million, in 2020 there were 26 power-assisted bicycle (PAB) fires and 42 cases of personal mobility device fires in Singapore.

In most Li-ion battery fires, the cause is due to a build-up of lithium deposits known as dendrites (tiny wire-like tendrils) that cross the separator between the positive (cathode) and negative (anode) electrodes of the battery when it is being charged, causing a short-circuit leading to an uncontrolled chemical fire.

To prevent such battery fires, NTU scientists invented a patent-pending “anti-short layer” that can be easily added inside a Li-ion battery, preventing any future short-circuits from occurring during the charging process.

This concept is akin to adding a slice of cheese to a hamburger’s meat patty in between the buns, thus the new “anti-short layer” can be rapidly adopted in current battery manufacturing.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 4:14 pm

iOS 15 includes features to improve Google applications use

ios15, google, apple


Apple recently rolled out its latest operating system, iOS 15, and it will have new and improved features for improving the use of Google applications.

The announcement was made by the technology company was made in a statement.

A Focus mode is announced in which the feature will help in getting tasks finished within a given timeframe. They will be able to receive timely notifications.

Not only the feature will be handy in getting work done, but it will also be helpful in a different manner. For example, the tool will inform drivers if the road ahead is closed or quick turns have to be made.

The latest feature named Google Home will let the users know if strangers are standing outside their homes. This will help take precautions and inform the police or authorities of any suspicious person.

The tool will serve as a reminder regarding any work or house chore that needs to get done promptly.

But the less important notifications will get transferred to the Notifications Centre. They can get accessed later.

The statement mentioned that Google Photos and YouTube Music will release even larger versions of their widgets in the future for providing easy access to music and memories on iPads.

Earlier, Spotlight was making it easy to find content from Google Drive. With the latest version, songs – which are searched – will start playing on YouTube Music.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 8:43 am

The best new features of Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7, the latest addition to Apple’s wearable tech family. The Series 7‘s new features have the potential to add more convenience to a lot of everyday tasks, from checking the time to responding to texts and tracking your sleep. 

Apple unveiled the $399 Apple Watch Series 7 during its product launch event on Sept. 14 alongside the iPhone 13 family, a refreshed iPad Mini, and a new entry-level iPad. The company hasn’t specifically said when the Series 7 will launch, beyond later this fall.

Here are the best exciting new features of the Apple Watch Series 7.

Apple Watch Series 7 will have a QWERTY keyboard for real typing 

The Apple Watch is getting a new, QWERTY keyboard that takes advantage of its larger screen, which is about 20% bigger than the Series 6’s, allowing you to type similarly to the way you would on your phone.

What’s new: A full-size keyboard means that you won’t be limited to sending a canned response to a text, scribbling a quick note or dictating a message, as is the case with the Apple Watch Series 6.

How you’ll use it: The Apple Watch Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard will let you tap each key to type, or use Apple’s QuickPath feature to swipe between letters without lifting your finger.

The bottom line: The Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard should make it easier to send longer and more complex messages that are uncomfortable to scribble or too private to dictate. It’s another example of how the Apple Watch has evolved to become better at working independently of your phone in the years since its launch.

Larger screen 

The Apple Watch Series 7 is getting its first major redesign since the Series 4 launched in 2018. The new watch will come in 41-millimeter and 45mm sizes for the first time, representing a shift away from the 40mm and 44mm sizes that were available on the Series 4 through Series 6.

The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is about 20% larger than the Series 6’s and more than 50% bigger than the Series 3’s. The borders that frame the screen are also 40% smaller than those of the Series 6, allowing Apple to expand the screen size without making the device much larger. Apple says older watch bands will still be compatible with the Series 7.

A brighter screen in always-on mode

Apple is also updating the Apple Watch’s display in a different way by making the screen more visible in always-on mode. It’s another addition that should make it even faster to get quick bits of information from your watch.

What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is up to 70% brighter in always-on mode when your wrist is down, according to Apple. However, Apple specifically says this applies to indoor usage, so it’s unclear whether you’ll see meaningful gains outdoors in direct sunlight.

How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s improved brightness means it should be even easier to see information like the time, your activity rings and your next meeting without having to wake the watch’s screen.

Fast charging as compared to Series 6 

The battery of the Apple Watch Series 7 is expected to last as long as the Series 6, but Apple says it’s slashing the amount of time it takes to charge your watch. The Apple Watch Series 7 can charge up to 33% faster than the Apple Watch Series 6. It should take 45 minutes to charge from zero to 80%, and 8 minutes of charging should enable 8 hours of sleep tracking.

We’ve been asking for more battery life out of the Apple Watch for years, but that’s especially relevant now that Apple has added native sleep tracking to its smartwatches. Rather than extending the watch’s battery life, Apple is making it easier to quickly charge the watch during short windows throughout the day, presumably so that you don’t have to charge it overnight.

The Apple Watch Series 7 has a brawnier build

Apple is largely focusing on exercise tracking for the Apple Watch. The Series 7 should be more suitable for outdoor activity since Apple claims it has a more durable build.

What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7 is rated for IP6X dust resistance (a first) and is coated in a crystal cover that Apple says is 50% thicker than that of the Apple Watch Series 6. That means you should feel at ease wearing it to the beach or during a hike.

How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s increased durability could pair nicely with the new cycling features in WatchOS 8. The new software brings an updated version of fall detection that Apple says can tell the difference between falling off a bicycle and a different type of accident. Apple also says WatchOS 8 should be able to automatically detect outdoor cycling workouts.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 8:42 am

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game is all about teamwork


Guardian's of the galaxy, Guardian of the galaxy game, Avengers

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game is all about teamwork and how the player’s relationship with gang members affects the mission.

The game is all set to release on October 26 for platforms namely PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

We play as Star-Lord, also known as Peter Quill, who leads the group of Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket. He has to make them get their act together and onboard for the mission.

The intriguing part of the game is that other character’s decisions can play an important role throughout the story. They all have different styles of combat, approaches and strategies towards the mission and fighting the enemies.

Read More: Upcoming PUBG game is being developed on Unreal Engine 5: report

The game is made in such a way that the players feel as if they are part of the Avengers. It also focuses on the decisions that are being made and how their relations can play the role in the outcome.

There is a Guardian Request System as well. It is influenced by the relations with the team members. The players can ask each other for help but they may not always be coming to your aid.

Guardians of the Galaxy has a signature equipment feature as well with Quill having guns and use his boots to fly around. The players can use their special skills to their advantage.

A combination meter is effective in order to unlock different skills. The newly acquired abilities will make the player figure out the level of damage they can cause against the enemies and how many of them can be targeted.

The Stagger meters will be helpful in knocking the opponents down and make them at risk of further attacks.

The players can be able to acquire new materials by collecting supplies as the game progresses. The acquired equipment can be used for upgrading Quill’s weapons layout.

This allows Star-Lord to power his weapons or coming with an improved version of the scanner, which gives information about the enemies, which leads to better decision making and improve fighting skills.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 8:32 am

US sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ties to ‘ransomware attacks’

suex, cryptocurrency exchange, ransomeware, bitcoin, ethereum,


The United States imposed sanctions Tuesday on cryptocurrency exchange SUEX for its ties to ransomware attackers, as Washington seeks to crack down on digital crime.

The move comes after hacks and data breaches that have targeted a major US oil pipeline, a meatpacking company and the Microsoft Exchange email system, as well as ransomware attacks hitting various sectors.

The US Treasury Department did not say if SUEX was implicated in any of those incidents, but noted that 40 percent of the exchange’s known transaction history was linked to “illicit actors.”

“Some virtual currency exchanges are exploited by malicious actors, but others, as is the case with SUEX, facilitate illicit activities for their own illicit gains,” the Treasury Department’s statement said.

As a result of the sanctions, any assets of the platform under US jurisdiction are now blocked and Americans are barred from using SUEX.

The United States in July offered $10 million rewards for information on online extortionists abroad as it stepped up efforts to halt a sharp rise in ransomware attacks.

This year has seen a slew of prominent ransomware attacks which have disrupted a US pipeline, a meat processor and the software firm Kaseya — affecting 1,500 businesses, many of them far from the limelight.

Some $350 million was paid to malicious cyber actors last year, a spike of 300 percent from 2019, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

US officials say that many of the attacks originate in Russia although they have debated to what extent there is state involvement. Russia denies responsibility.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:38 am

Cyberpunk 2077 team hiring developer for upcoming project

cyberpunk 2077


The development team of Cyberpunk 2077 are hiring a developer to work on their upcoming untitled Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG).

CD PROJEKT RED had posted the advertisement for the position of Open World Designer was posted on Game Jobs website.

“CD PROJEKT RED is looking for an Open World Designer (Junior/Specialist) to join our Cracow team,” the advertisement read. “We are looking for candidates with boundless creativity to fill our game world with believable and exciting content consisting of communities and events that player will encounter.”

Read More: CD Projekt reveals plans about Cyberpunk 2077 game

The candidates will be required come up with design and organize events by availing a toolset. Moreover, they will also be asked to fixed glitches and maintain the open world content quality of the company.

The employee will be responsible for handling the paperwork and coordinate with different teams.

Read More: Cyberpunk 2077 maker says was hit by cyber attack

The candidates need to have passion for gaming and have a knack to mod the games. They should have communication skills and creativity with an idea of visual effects. Strong critical and analytical thinking are a must and must be fluent in speaking English.

CD PROJECT RED’s project Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person shooter that was released on platforms namely Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S.

The game was met with positive reviews from fans and critics despite having delays to get its glitches resolved.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:18 am

Microsoft Office 2021 will be available without subscription, launch date unveiled



Microsoft has announced that Office 2021 will be launching alongside Windows 11 with the company already set the new operating system’s launch date for October 5.

Office 2021 will be available in the following versions:

Office 2021 is practically identical to Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), a software suite that the company already distributes to business customers, according to a report.

Microsoft will continue to offer 32-bit versions as well and you do not need to purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription for the next version of Office as Microsoft’s MSRP remains as it was for the 2019 edition.

ALSO READ: ANDROID APPS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON WINDOWS 11

The company has not yet released much information about features the new version of Office will have. But, it has confirmed that Office 2021 will have a new standard font, XLOOKUP, Dynamic arrays and Instant Search, among other changes.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:16 am

Here’s how you can upgrade to Windows 11 early

Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows 11 on October 5.  However, the company has finalised the new version and released it to its Release Preview channel.

You can switch to the Release Preview in Windows 10 and get the free Windows 11 upgrade early.

Here’s how you can get the free Windows 11 upgrade:

After upgrading to Windows 11, you can then go to Settings > Windows Update and select “Stop getting preview builds” to unenroll from the preview updates for Windows 11 and remain on the final version.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:14 am

Robinhood testing crypto wallet, cryptocurrency transfer features



Robinhood Markets is testing new crypto wallet and cryptocurrency transfer features for its app which would allow customers to send and receive digital currencies such as bitcoin, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

A beta version of its iPhone app showed the company’s work on such features, the report said.

There was also a hidden image showing a waitlist page for users signing up for a crypto wallet feature, the report added.

A spokesperson for Robinhood declined to comment.

The company’s retail shareholders have long waited for a crypto wallet. A day before the brokerage announced its first quarterly results last month, the top question on Say, a platform that lets companies crowdsource questions from retail investors, was whether the brokerage was getting such a wallet.

The trading app operator has bet big on the retail investor interest in the digital currency space. Earlier this month, the company said it would roll out crypto recurring investments, allowing users to buy digital coins commission-free and with as little as $1 on a schedule of their choice.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:03 am

How do you help someone with their leg bitten off by a shark?

shark


How do you help someone with their leg bitten off by a shark? Groundbreaking research by an Australian medic-surfer has uncovered a simple way to stop bleeding and save lives.

Find the middle point between the hip and the genitals, make a fist and push as hard as you can.

Shark attacks are rare but on the increase Down Under, due in large part to more people being in the water.

So surfer and Australian National University medical school dean Nicholas Taylor set out to discover how to reduce fatalities in the event of an attack.

Many fatal shark bites occur around the legs, leaving the victim to bleed to death despite making it back to shore.

In a study published by Emergency Medicine Australasia, Taylor found that a simple technique to compress the femoral artery was much more effective in stopping bleeding than traditionally-used tourniquets.

His study showed that by making a fist and pressing down on the artery around 89.7% of blood flow was stopped, versus 43.8% using a surfboard leash as a make-shift tourniquet.

The technique worked equally well with the patient wearing a wetsuit and without.

“I knew from my background in emergency medicine if people have massive bleeding from their leg, you can push very hard on the femoral artery and you can pretty much cut the entire blood flow of the leg that way,” he said in a statement released by the university on Friday.

“It is easy to do and easy to remember — push hard between the hip and the bits and you could save a life.”

Taylor hopes the technique will become widely known among Australia’s roughly half a million surfers, for whom shark encounters are less uncommon.

“I want posters at beaches. I want to get it out in the surf community. I want people to know that if someone gets bitten you can pull out the patient, push as hard as you can in this midpoint spot and it can stop almost all of the blood flow,” he said.

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Posted on 25 September 2021 | 7:00 am

Upcoming PUBG game is being developed on Unreal Engine 5: report



The developers of the PUBG mobile survival gaming franchise are reportedly availing Unreal Engine 5 for its upcoming instalment.

It is no secret that the sequel of the acclaimed is in development. The project rumoured to be titled PUBG 2, is expected to be released next year provided there are no obstacles in the team’s way.

The company, as of this moment, has not announced the release date and title for the project.

A Twitter user by the name of PlayerIGN has come up with rumours about the upcoming PlayerUnknown’s Battleground sequel.

He shared a picture of the job opening advertisement in which PUBG Corporation is hiring a technical animator and a technical art director for an “announced project”.

NEW UE5 PUBG game:

PUBG Amsterdam's hiring to build a new AAA Unreal Engine 5 "UNANNOUNCED PROJECT" game.

A PUBG2 project upgrading to UE5 was discussed a few months ago via internal sources.

Also from diff recent leak at Nvidia, we know there's a WIP Krafton game called "X1." pic.twitter.com/oQKuyN3NQ1

— PlayerIGN (@PlayerIGN) September 22, 2021

Art Director, Game Director and Producers to execute a AAA realisation of the project with Unreal Engine 5,” the advertisement read.

Read More: PUBG Mobile reports 1 billion accumulated downloads since launch

The job advertisement is pretty much summing up that the PUBG Corporation will now be using Unreal Engine 5 instead of its predecessor. Krafton is yet to make it official.

Unreal Engine will be allowing the developers to include better graphics, high-tech performances and allows the company to provide content that will make the player’s money and value worthwhile.

Posted on 25 September 2021 | 6:53 am

Twitter will allow people to tip their favorite content creators with bitcoin

Twitter will now allow people to tip their favorite content creators with bitcoin and will also launch a fund to pay some users who host audio chat rooms on its Spaces feature, the company said on Thursday.

The company also said it will test new ways to help users have a safer experience on Twitter, such as warning when people are entering a “heated” conversation, or letting them leave tweet threads they no longer want to be part of.

The product announcements are the latest in Twitter’s effort to compete with rival platforms like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube for popular content creators with large followings, and turn around its image as a site where polarized discussions can fester online.

Twitter users globally on iOS devices can now send and receive digital payments, which was previously limited to a small group of testers.

“We believe we can continue to incentivize the types of conversations that people want to see,” said Esther Crawford, product lead for creator monetization at Twitter, in a briefing with reporters.

The San Francisco-based company added it is exploring how to allow users to filter out certain words they do not want to see in the replies to their tweets, which could be used to stop name-calling or abusive speech.

About Bitcoin

Created following the 2008 global financial crisis, bitcoin initially promoted a libertarian ideal and aspired to overthrow traditional monetary and financial institutions such as central banks.

The founding white paper, published on October 31, 2008, was penned by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym whose identity remains unknown.

The eight-page document included the key goal of processing online payments between two parties without passing via a financial institution.

A first block of 50 bitcoins was created in January 2009, which has risen to 18.8 million units currently in circulation.

No more than 21 million can be created, helping bitcoin’s price to trade way above its rivals.

Thousands of other cryptocurrencies have meanwhile since been created, led by the likes of ethereum, ripple and tether.

There are two ways to get hold of bitcoin. Historically, individuals have “mined” for it by using computers to solve complex mathematical puzzles.

But as bitcoin’s price soared, so did the number of miners, reducing the chances of accessing units this way.

Mining also requires huge amounts of energy, meaning the cost of accessing a bitcoin can exceed the gain, not withstanding the environmental impact amid global efforts to tackle climate change.

The alternative way is to buy a whole or fractions of bitcoin on an exchange platform using traditional currencies.

Purchased funds are held in protected virtual wallets, but with hacks still possible, some investors have decided to hold portfolios offline.

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Posted on 24 September 2021 | 12:14 pm

Battlefield 2042 beta version codes get leaked

The beta version of Battlefield 2042 is slated to be released next month and players reported receiving code right after pre-ordering it.

According to a report, multiple Reddit users had claimed that they got the codes after they registered for the beta on Amazon. A series of posts regarding the code leaks were seen on the micro-blogging platform named Twitter as well.

The leaks made the players believe as if the video gaming giant have already rolled out the codes ahead of the beta version’s release on October 8.

An official gave a clarification on the issue.

This was a simple store front error that incorrectly listed the pre-order offer for PS4. It's being updated now and you'll see the correct details shortly.

To confirm: there have been no changes to the pre-order incentives for Battlefield 2042. https://t.co/2BYSV35d9i

— Freeman 🇸🇪 (@PartWelsh) September 22, 2021

Thanks to those who helped alert it to myself and the gang – it’ll take a short while to update things but it’ll be sorted in good time 👍

— Freeman 🇸🇪 (@PartWelsh) September 22, 2021

Just had a quick check before I hit the hay – balance in the universe is indeed restored! pic.twitter.com/sxmQuY0xpm

— Freeman 🇸🇪 (@PartWelsh) September 22, 2021

He stated that the company has not offered incentives for increasing the sales of beta version.

Read More: Battlefield Mobile to make an entry in action-packed game series

Earlier, Electronic Arts had announced that the game’s release has been pushed back from October 22 to November 19 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the development team.

“With the ongoing conditions not allowing that to happen safely, and with all the hard work the teams are doing from home, we feel it is important to take the extra time to deliver on the vision of Battlefield 2042 for our players,” the company added.

The game will be releasing on platforms namely PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X along with Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

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Posted on 23 September 2021 | 3:14 pm

ProGrade Versus Sony CFexpress Type A Cards: Is There a Difference?

ProGrade Digital just released the first CFexpress Type A cards that aren’t made by Sony and while they aren’t “cheap” by any stretch of the imagination, they are more affordable than Sony’s offering. But does that discount come at a performance cost?

At the time of publication, CFexpress Type-A memory cards were only used by Sony in a few of its newer cameras like the Alpha 1. The format is much smaller than a CFexpress Type B card and while Type A cards will never be as fast, Sony chose them for its line of cameras because they have a secondary benefit: the small size lets them share a card slot that can also be used with legacy SD cards.

SD cards are actually bigger than CFexpress cards, which let Sony build a slot in both its cameras and its CFexpress card reader that lets the one slot pull double duty. For photographers, this means that Sony could support faster read and write speeds to get the most out of its new cameras while also not forcing photographers to pick up all-new media.

That choice is great because Sony’s CFexpress Type A cards are — at the time of publication — $400 for 160GB of capacity, a considerable investment.

As you can see above, ProGrade elected to keep its two memory card reader slots separate.

While the format isn’t widespread yet, ProGrade Digital believes it will become more popular in the future and as such has decided to join the party and just released its version of the media.

What’s the Difference?

Performance-wise, both Sony and ProGrade promise the same read and write speeds and physically both devices look almost identical — in fact, both cards note the country of origin as the same as well: Taiwan. The only real differences between them appear to be minor design choices on the back of the cards and a $70 price margin.

The only real way to repeatedly test and determine if there is a difference between these two cards is to run them each through speed tests. Theoretically, I could fire a burst of photos on camera with each card and time how long it takes to clear the buffer, but there is no reason to believe that the speed tests here would provide a different result especially since — as I’ll explain below — I used two different card readers. Additionally, this method is much more repeatable and controlled.

For this test, I have both the Sony and ProGrade CFexpress cards as well as the official card readers from both companies: the Sony MRW-G2 and the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type A and SD Reader. I ran both cards through both of the readers in order to both see if there was any benefit to using a card reader and card from the same manufacturer, but also to assure that there was no unfair advantage that would appear by using a Sony card on a Sony reader, for example. I did not think one would exist, but it’s safer to be sure.

I ran speed tests using the BlackMagic Speed Test application on an Apple MacBook Pro multiple times. Both card readers were connected via USB-C cables into the reader and into the laptop — I did not use the cable that converts the USB-C design to USB-A. Testing speeds on cards varies with each run that the card goes through and performance will vary slightly depending on individual cards and over time, but the screenshots below are good overall averages of what you can expect from the cards.

Sony Versus ProGrade via ProGrade Card Reader

First I want to show the results from running both cards through the ProGrade Digital combination CFexpress Type A and SD card reader:

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type A Card
Sony CFexpress Type A Card

As you can see, both cards fell short of the promised “up to” 800 MB/s read spends and 700 MB/s write speeds. The ProGrade Digital card averaged around 679 MB/s write speeds and around 785 MB/s read speeds with the ProGrade reader. The Sony card performed pretty similarly, averaging around 683 MB/s write speeds and around 780 MB/s read speeds through the ProGrade reader.

While it appears the ProGrade Digital card read data a bit faster than the Sony and the Sony wrote data a bit faster than the ProGrade, the difference here is within a tolerable margin of error of around 5 MB/s, which means that there is effectively no difference in performance between these cards with the ProGrade reader.

Sony Versus ProGrade via Sony Card Reader

Next, I ran both cards through the Sony combination CFexpress and SD card reader:

ProGrade CFexpress Type A Card
Sony CFexpress Type A Card

The Prograde CFexpress card averaged around 654 MB/s write speeds and 730 MB/s read speeds when tested through the Sony reader. The Sony card averaged around 651 MB/s write speeds and 731 MB/s read speeds through the Sony reader. The results here are much closer than when the cards were compared through the ProGrade card reader and are absolutely within the expected margin of error.

As far as I am concerned, this confirms that the cards should effectively perform identically across mediums and cameras.

Curiously, both the ProGrade card and the Sony card performed worse through Sony’s reader than through ProGrade’s reader by a factor of nearly 20 MB/s in both read and write, which is more than I feel comfortable attributing to just a margin of error. I am not familiar with the inner workings of card readers and what might make one perform better than the other, but in my testing, ProGrade does take the win here as far as media readers.

Hunt the Best Price, Not the Brand

If you were afraid that the $70 discount in price between the Sony and the ProGrade cards would result in worse performance for ProGrade, I have good news: both cards should perform pretty much exactly the same.

One thing worth noting though is that as far as card readers go, ProGrade Digital’s CFexpress Type A and SD card combo reader appears to be a bit better than the Sony MRW-G2 Cfexpress Type A reader. Sony’s reader is also $120, while ProGrade’s is $80. So while I can comfortably recommend you can buy either the Sony or ProGrade card (whichever is on sale) and get the same performance, it appears the ProGrade card reader will give you better performance, albeit just a little.

That said, ProGrade’s reader is made of mostly plastic while Sony’s is an all-metal housing. I haven’t ever encountered a situation where I needed my card reader to be tough as nails, but if that’s important to you, Sony is likely the better choice even if it’s just a hair slower.



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Posted on 23 September 2021 | 2:41 pm

This WhatsApp feature lets users quickly access important messages

The popular instant messaging app WhatsApp offers a feature that allows users to save important messages so they can access them later without any hassle.

The feature called “Starred messages” lets users to bookmark messages they want to quickly refer back to later.

Here’s how this feature works:

Step 1: You first need to open any chat on WhatsApp and long press a message in order to save it.

Step 2: There is a star icon on the top of the screen. You need to tap on it to save it as an important message on the app.

You can also unstar a message in a similar manner. There is a section on WhatsApp that shows “Starred messages”. It is visible when you tap on the three-dotted button, present near the search bar icon.

READ: WHATSAPP TO ALLOW USERS TO CONVERT IMAGES INTO STICKERS

The drop-down menu will show a “Starred messages” option. If you want to unstar a message, you need to long-press on the message and then unstar that message by tapping on the star icon.

Users can also remove all the saved messages in one go. A three-dotted icon on the top lets you do that.

READ: YOUR WHATSAPP TO SOON LOSE SHORTCUT TO MESSENGER ROOMS

There is also an alternate method that allows users to find a specific message if you don’t want to use the Starred message feature.

The app has a “Search” option in individual chats and in the main window that allows you to type the message you want to search and WhatsApp will quickly show the messages related to your search.

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Posted on 23 September 2021 | 8:14 am

Bats with Covid-like viruses found in Laos: study

Scientists have discovered another clue to the origins of the virus that causes Covid-19, with bats living in caves in Laos found to be carrying a similar pathogen that experts suggest could potentially infect humans directly.

The virus has killed millions since it emerged in China in late 2019, and controversy continues to swirl around where it came from.

Some experts say it is animal-driven but others have pointed to the possibility the pathogen leaked from a lab.

Researchers from France’s Pasteur Institute and the National University of Laos said their findings showed that viruses genetically close to the SARS-CoV-2 virus “exist in nature” among bat species in the limestone caves of northern Laos, which neighbours China.

Of the viruses they identified among the hundreds of bats tested in Vientiane Province, three were found to closely resemble the virus that causes Covid-19, particularly in the mechanism for latching on to human cells.

“The idea was to try to identify the origin of this pandemic,” Marc Eloit, who leads the Pasteur Institute’s pathogen discovery laboratory, told AFP.

Eloit, whose team analysed the samples collected, said there were still key differences between the viruses found and SARS-CoV-2.

But he said the work was “a major step forward” in identifying the pandemic’s origin, confirming the theory that the coronavirus that has spread across the world could have started with living bats.

The authors of the study, which has been submitted to Nature for peer review, warned that their findings suggest the new viruses “seem to have the same potential for infecting humans as early strains of SARS-CoV-2”.

“People working in caves, such as guano collectors, or certain ascetic religious communities who spend time in or very close to caves, as well as tourists who visit the caves, are particularly at risk of being exposed,” the authors said.

‘Natural spillover’

International experts sent to China by the World Health Organization (WHO) in January concluded that it was most likely that the SARS-CoV-2 virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal.

A competing hypothesis that the virus leaked from a lab like the specialised virology laboratory in Wuhan was deemed “extremely unlikely”, although it has yet to be ruled out.

Martin Hibbert, Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine — who was not involved in the Laos research — said the most closely related virus was found to be able to infect human cells “as easily” as SARS-CoV-2 and therefore might be capable of infecting humans.

But he stressed that the virus is “not an ancestor of the pandemic strain”.

“This work confirms the expected diverse nature of bat infecting coronaviruses and increases the evidence that natural spill-over events from bats to humans can occur,” said Hibbert.

The authors of the Laos study, which has been posted on the site Research Square, said their results suggest the pandemic coronavirus potentially evolved through mixing between different viruses and species of bats.

James Wood, Head of Department of Veterinary Medicine at University of Cambridge — who was also not involved in the research — said it suggests “recombination between different viruses was likely involved, rather than there being a simple evolution of a single lineage over a long period”.

In a comment to the Science Media Centre he said this not only underscores the likely role played by bats and perhaps other animals living closely together, but also shows the “risks inherent in living wildlife trade”, where markets can help drive cross-species zoonotic transmission.

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Posted on 22 September 2021 | 1:14 pm

Bill Gates’ green tech fund bets on farming robots

As California struggles with another crippling drought, a Silicon Valley startup that believes robots can grow produce more sustainably said Wednesday it raised $50 million in a funding round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Iron Ox uses robots that are integrated with a hydroponic system consuming 90% less water than traditional farms, said CEO Brandon Alexander.

The company is putting that system to work at a 10,000-square foot (930 square meter) greenhouse in Gilroy, California, where a self-driving robot named Grover moves pallets of Genovese Basil and a robotic arm system lifts the pallets for inspection. Sensors check the water for nitrogen and acidity levels for healthy growth.

“Then they say, ‘What is missing? What does that plant need that we’re not giving it’,” Alexander said. Any water not used can be pumped back into the system to be reused later.

Agriculture plays an important role in California’s economy, but water usage is increasingly in the spotlight. The last major drought in 2012-2017 cut irrigation for farmers, forced strict household conservation measures and stoked deadly wildfires.

Iron Ox grows Thai basil and strawberries and is working on cilantro, parsley, and tomatoes. The company is also building a new 535,000-square-foot greenhouse in Lockhart, Texas, 30 miles (48 km) south of Austin.

Alexander said hydroponics – saving water by growing plants without soil – is just one piece of the puzzle for future farming.

“To really eliminate waste, to really get to that next level of sustainability and impact, we have to rethink the entire grow process,” he said.

The funding round included investors from Crosslink Capital, R7 Partners, and Pathbreaker Ventures, among others. Iron Ox declined to comment on its valuation.

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Posted on 22 September 2021 | 11:14 am

Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro

The Nikon 50mm f/2.8 Macro Prime lens is part of a pair announced in June. While the lens is designated as a macro, the 50mm focal length makes it more of a walkabout lens with macro capabilities.

While Nikon’s legacy macro lenses would still work using the FTZ adapter on the Z-System, the new lenses note another step of Nikon’s promise to deliver a wider range of native functionality lenses on its mirrorless systems. Nikon designed this new lens to be a small, lightweight, and compact everyday lens that can be used with both full-frame or APS-C Nikon Z mirrorless systems.

While it is a macro lens, the $650 Nikon 50mm f/2.8 offers a focal length that makes it a lens that can work double duty, both as a standard lens as well as one for close-up shots.

50mm is a lot wider than the standard 100mm or longer typically seen in macro lenses and thus frees this lens from the niche of only macro work. The 50mm f/2.8 is therefore quite diverse in its functionality and is suitable for both portrait and street photography, for example. But on the other side of the coin, users will notice it does lack a few key features when compared to the 105mm sibling, most notably the lack of Vibration Reduction (VR) and no special ARNEO coating.

The question is, does that matter?

Build Quality and Design

The Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is the smaller and more affordable lens of the duo of macro optics released this summer. While the 50mm “wide” focal length does give users more flexibility as a walk-about lens, it also means that users will have to get much closer to their subjects to get the true macro shots. The upside of the focal range is it will be much easier to get handheld shots without having to worry about camera shake and blurriness, at least in well-lit situations.

The 50mm lens is about half the size and weighs less than half than its 105mm sibling, which makes it truly compact and travel-friendly. Something keen eyes may notice out of the box is that the 50mm lacks the S-line designation the higher-end lenses from Nikon’s mirrorless lenses have. This lighter plastic body does make the lens feel “lesser” as well.

Despite the lens being rated as dust and weather resistant, because it is so small and has a mostly plastic exterior, it feels almost like a toy lens rather than something intended for capturing incredibly sharp and detailed professional images. This may perhaps mean that it makes for a better “everyday” lens since it will be less likely to stand out while traveling.

Like most new Z-Mount lenses, the focus ring can be programmed to control additional settings like ISO and exposure compensation when using AF mode.

The last feature worth noting here is unlike most modern macro lenses with internal focus mechanisms, the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro uses a more traditional extending inner barrel system. The plus side to this design element is it allows the lens to be smaller when not using the feature, making it more compact for storage and travel. The downside is, of course, that it has a physically extending piece that can change its weight distribution.

Focus and Aperture

I found myself dealing with a shorter “working” distance than other macro lenses in order to get the true 1:1 macro shots, and when shooting at the 1:1 focus distance, the maximum aperture was f/5.6 instead of the f/2.8. While the aperture was a bit of a headscratcher, the big frustration point for me with this lens was the fact you had to get incredibly close to the subjects for the 1:1 shots. So much so that it was very hard to frame a photo without blocking the light and casting a shadow or getting too close to the small insects I was trying to capture that I would unintentionally scare it away.

The autofocus works pretty accurately, especially when shooting video. However, when shooting up close for the 1:1 shots, it is important to flip the switch on the focus limiter on the side of the lens otherwise there will be a very noticeable lag and focus breathing present as it makes autofocus adjustments.

After a lot of testing, I found the peak sharpness to be between the f/4 to f/5.6 range with my images. I was surprised to find that the lens was getting slightly softer starting as early as f/8.

Image Quality

The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 may not have the extra nanocrystal or ARNEO coatings like its 105mm sibling, but that does not mean the images produced by it are bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Shooting at 1:1, the depth of field is very thin, which was something I personally had to get used to, but I have found it visually interesting and a lot of fun to play with. That thin plane of focus aside, once focus is dialed in, pretty much edge to edge is sharp.

What was nice about this lens is how it is also a very nice walkabout lens. I found that while shooting it as a “normal” lens that it was quite easy to get incredibly sharp images at f/2.8 with only minor vignetting in the far corners. In that sense, I can see a lot to like about using this lens as you would with any 50mm lens and being happy with the results.

Below are some sample images captured with the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro:

An Introduction to Macro Photography

For photographers that are interested in macro images but aren’t quite ready to invest heavily into the niche lenses, this is a great first step into the field. The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is capable of being an everyday generalist lens for landscape, street, and portrait work, on top of capturing fantastic macro images which means it can adapt to a variety of situations should you find that macro isn’t your favorite subject matter.

For the macro purist, however, there are likely better options out there for you and while the 50mm f/2.8 is nice, it has limitations.

Are There Alternatives?

There are plenty of DSLR macro lenses available to choose from including the $419 Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Lens which is arguably a better macro lens. That being said, there are only a handful of macro lenses specifically designed for the Nikon Z series currently available including the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Lens some manual Venus Optic (Laowa) Macro lenses, and the IRIX cine 150mm T3.0 Macro lens for $1,195 that jumps significantly in price.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, if macro photography is new and a path of interest for your work, then the Nikkor Z MC 50mm F/2.8 Macro is definitely worth the investment to get you started shooting macro images on the Nikon mirrorless system and you will be very happy with the results you can capture.

However, if you have been shooting macro images for a while and already have a variety of macro lenses available in your kit, I would recommend skipping the 50mm f/2.8 macro and jumping right to the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro instead.



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Posted on 21 September 2021 | 11:40 pm

Greece tests drone drug delivery for remote regions

TRIKALA, Greece: Greece on Tuesday tested a drone to deliver medicines to isolated places in an environmentally friendly way, sending the unmanned vehicle to a 200-person village.

The red drone with four rotor blades took off from the northwestern Greek city of Trikala and flew 3 kilometers (0.5 miles) to Leptokarya. It made two stops, landing outside a pharmacy and in a farmer’s field.

A pharmacy staff member unloaded the medicine from a storage compartment on the drone, and it took off again.

greece drone drug delivery medicines
A medicines delivery drone flies outside a drugstore in Trikala, Greece September 21, 2021. REUTERS

“Technology can give real solutions to real problems that we have today. Today we transported medicines to a pharmacy nearby, tomorrow it could be to transport medicines to some emergency,” said Trikala Mayor Dimitris Papastergiou.

The EU-funded program called Harmony aims to use low carbon and less resource intensive solutions for transport.

The drone program is intended to serve people with mobility issues, isolated villages and homes and sites of emergencies. Officials said the project is particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

greece drone drug delivery medicines
A medicines delivery drone flies outside a drugstore in Trikala, Greece September 21, 2021. REUTERS

“It concerns situations where immediate help will be needed, or people and places that are isolated,” said Dimitris Anastasiou, president of the Trikala pharmacists’ association.

The Harmony program, which also has autonomous vehicles, will be tested in six cities in Europe and Britain.

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Posted on 21 September 2021 | 9:14 pm

FIA cyber crime cell restores ‘hacked’ Facebook page of Sindh minister

KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Cell has restored the ‘hacked’ Facebook page of the Sindh Minister for Prisons Aijaz Jakhrani, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Following the complaint of the Sindh Prisons Minister Aijaz Jakhrani, the FIA cyber crime cell regained access to the social page having around 60,000 followers.

According to the FIA spokesperson, the hackers had gained access to the social media page after sending a link. The hackers had shared obscene pictures on the Facebook page and retained access to the social media page for 12 days.

FIA Additional Director Cyber Crime Cell Imran Riaz said in a statement that the intelligence agency was taking steps to arrest the hackers at the earliest.

After getting back access to his social media page, Aijaz Jakhrani in a video message praised the FIA team for retrieving his Facebook page.

fia sindh minister aijaz jakhrani facebook page hack

He thanked FIA Director-General (DG) Sanaullah Abbasi, FIA Additional Director Imran Riaz and Deputy Director Kaleemullah Memon for taking immediate action to recover his social media page.

Aijaz Jakhrani criticised his political opponents for playing dirty tricks to defame him by posting obscene pictures and stories after hacking his Facebook page. He added that the hackers will be arrested soon and their motives will be exposed.

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Posted on 21 September 2021 | 9:14 pm

Here are beta version details of Call of Duty: Vanguard

The much-anticipated World War II game, Call of Duty: Vanguard, is slated to be released on November 5. The details of its beta version have been announced.

According to reports, the version was supposed to be brought down on September 20, but the date was extended by two days.

The available maps in the beta version are Hotel Royal, Gavutu, Red Star and Eagle’s Nest.

The modes include Champion Hill, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed
Patrol along with Search and Destroy.

Earlier, the developers at Sledgehammer have made changes to resolve the visual complaints.

As far as the sound tunings are concerned, the weapons and walking noise have seen changes. This results in players being able to listen to the footsteps of the enemies clearly.

Read More: Call of Duty: Vanguard captures horrors of Second World War

A new feature introduced in the game is Combat Pacing. It allows the players to choose the intensity of their matches. It has three types.

  1. Tactical: It caters to franchise fans that are familiar with the timing. It is always played between teams of six players each.
  2. Assault: Players will get enough breathing space along with many targets to kill. The number of players is between 20 to 28.
  3. Blitz: It is the most intense level of the feature.

The game will capture the horrors of World War II.

The game will be published by Activision. It is a production of Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, Raven Software, Beenox, High Moon Studios.

It will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S and Microsoft Windows.

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Posted on 21 September 2021 | 7:15 pm

French company announces first implant of its artificial heart in a woman

French artificial heartmaker Carmat announced on Tuesday that it had carried out the first implant of its Aeson artificial heart in a woman.

The company said the procedure had been performed at the UofL Health – Jewish Hospital by University of Louisville physicians in the United States.

“This third implant in the U.S. was a landmark event not only because it allowed us to finalize the enrollment of the first cohort of patients of the EFS (early feasibility study), but very importantly because it is the first time ever that our device has helped a woman suffering from heart failure,” Carmat CEO Stephane Piat said in a statement.

The artificial heart-Aeson- is composed of 3 parts:

One motor pump group composed of 2 micro pumps that push the actuator fluid to the membranes and generate the systole and diastole.

2 ventricles chambers, separated into two parts by a membrane, one for the blood and one for the actuator fluid. The blood-contacting layer of this membrane is made of biocompatible materials.

Embedded electronics, microprocessors and integrated sensors allowing autoregulated responses to the patient physiological needs.

One flexible external bag contained the actuator fluid.

4 biological valves at the inlet and outlet providing unidirectional pulsatile blood flow.

2 outlet conduits allowing to connect the prosthesis to the pulmonary artery and aorta.

One percutaneous driveline connecting the prosthesis to external components.

External equipment: It provides the mobility and autonomy needed to lead a near-normal life. It weighs 4 kg and includes a controller and two battery pockets providing an autonomy of approximately 4 hours.

The hospital care console: The medical team uses the hospital care console (HCC) to operate the prosthesis during implantation and track/monitor how the device is functioning.

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Posted on 21 September 2021 | 12:14 pm