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You can now remotely update the firmware on VEDirect devices such as MPPTs and BMVs when they’re connected...

Posted on: Wed, 2018-12-05 - 22:10 By: admin

You can now remotely update the firmware on VEDirect devices such as MPPTs and BMVs when they’re connected to a Victron Venus-device

I did not know about this remote firmware update function until now. I have replaced all my solar management devices with Victron equipment about two years ago and the Venus was really worth buying. Not only has it acted as the monitor and display for all that is going on and it reports alarms and status to the cloud-based portal, but I now see it can even update the firmware of some of the devices and I can be anywhere in the world to do this. Up to now, I thought I'd have to still fiddle with cumbersome ways of doing it, and this new way could not be easier.

The multiplus inverter, unfortunately, cannot be updated remotely (ever they say) probably due to the fact it handles high voltage input/output as well as potentially back into the grid.

A short video shows how the update works at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKvUXLUK1aM and my site itself can be viewed at https://vrm.victronenergy.com/installation/5379/share/6350d18b.

#victron


Apple has been reduced to (gasp!) salesmanship

Posted on: Wed, 2018-12-05 - 21:25 By: admin

Apple has been reduced to (gasp!) salesmanship

Clutch your pearls. Prepare the fainting couches. Are you ready for this bombshell? Apple actually has to try to sell its phones. How embarrassing.

Bloomberg News had a look inside the Apple empire, which has shifted some staff members to work on marketing the latest iPhone models released this fall, and the company or its partners are deploying incentives to move the merchandise. One person described the situation as a “fire drill” to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Apple actually makes a good phone but it is overpriced (based on the fat profits they rake in - way more margin than other competing brands). They could actually make their phones more affordable but I know their ego is a bit strong for that. Point is that maybe consumers are being more savvy now and that is actually the best approach. I had an iPhone years ago and have been happy for the last few years with Google's Nexus and Pixzel phones. My daughter is ditching her iPhone this month for a Huawei Mate 20 Lite Android phone. She also ditched her Macbook for an HP laptop. I'm still using my Macbook Air but doubt I'll be replacing it soon. I've been seeing some movements away from Macbooks by others actually. So there is certainly some shifting going on.

"Like humans in middle age, Apple is forced to confront the reality of working harder to maintain a level of health and vitality it took for granted before. That’s life, and that’s reality for Apple’s business, too."

See https://techcentral.co.za/apple-has-been-reduced-to-gasp-salesmanship/85737/

#apple


Apple has been reduced to (gasp!) salesmanship - TechCentral

No it's not April 1st: Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser to replace Edge

Posted on: Tue, 2018-12-04 - 23:02 By: admin

No it's not April 1st: Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser to replace Edge

Microsoft Edge was released as part of Windows 10 way back in 2015 and was the spiritual successor to the ever-infamous Internet Explorer. Without the likes of ActiveX or Browser Helper Objects, it aimed to be a much more lightweight internet browsing solution. It certainly was universally more liked than Internet Explorer, with Microsoft Edge even making its way to Android and iOS. Now, according to a report from WindowsCentral, it’s possible that Microsoft may be dropping support for Edge entirely, replacing it with a Chromium-based browser instead.

It is unknown if the company’s branding will change, or if they will keep the name “Edge” or not. There’s only one thing that’s for certain, according to the report, and that is that Edge as we know it is dead. It will utilize the Blink rendering engine which powers Google Chrome. The new browser id codenamed “Anaheim,” and it is also unknown if it will share the same UI or not.

To be honest, Google has not pushed the UI forward much on Chromium and this is why Vivaldi and some others have found a real niche in making Chromium much better. So it is possible that Microsoft could carve their own space with Chromium and possibly capitalise on the compatibility of extensions too. It's no big shocker really as Microsoft is no longer really in the market of selling OSs and browsers - their big focus is to get you to rather subscribe to annual cloud-based services (no matter what computer or OS you use) as this guarantees a good annual income which can be increased with less and less chance of you exiting as the years go by. I've not yet seen any cloud company touting the risks or disadvantages of cloud services but we have seen them sweetening the cloud pricing whilst increasing desktop software versions by 20+ percent. There is a race to the cloud is on, and us consumers are rthe chickens being herded along ;-)

See https://www.xda-developers.com/microsoft-chromium-based-browser-replace-edge/

#microsoft #edge #chromium


Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser to replace Edge
Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based web browser to replace Edge. It's likely that we'll start to see it in the coming weeks from Insider builds.

NVIDIA System uses "AI" to Convert Real Life Into A Virtual World

Posted on: Tue, 2018-12-04 - 22:45 By: admin

NVIDIA System uses "AI" to Convert Real Life Into A Virtual World

The network operates on high-level descriptions of a scene, for example: segmentation maps or edge maps, that describe where objects are and their general characteristics, such as whether a particular part of the image contains a car or a building, or where the edges of an object are. The network then fills in the details based on what it learned from real life videos. The demo allows attendees to navigate a virtual urban environment that is being rendered by this neural network. The network was trained on videos of real-life urban environments. The conditional generative neural network learned to approximate the visual dynamics of the world such as lighting, and materials. Since the output is synthetically generated, a scene can be easily edited to remove, modify, or add objects.

This has interesting possibilities for creating realistic simulations of the real world on demand for not just driving simulation but also many other scenarios. A sense of familiarity allows users to feel as if they are in the simulation and not just operating in the 3rd person.

There is a short video at https://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2018/12/nvidia-real-world-virtual-world.html

#nvidia #virtualworld #simulation


Watch: NVIDIA System Converts Real Life Into a Virtual World -- But Probably Won't Replace Actual Virtual Worlds
Using a complex system of algorithms which marketers insist on calling "AI" (making my teeth grind in the process), engineers at NVIDIA have made it possible to convert real world video into a 3D virtual world: The network operates on...

10 Charts: Top Electric Car Benefits & Top Misconceptions

Posted on: Tue, 2018-12-04 - 22:26 By: admin

10 Charts: Top Electric Car Benefits & Top Misconceptions

There’s nothing like experience. You can read and write about something all day, but until you experience it, it’s just a concept, and you don’t really understand it.

So, with that in mind, it is often interesting and useful to collect feedback from actual EV drivers about what they appreciate about their cars. It’s also often interesting and useful to find out the top misconceptions they discover other people have about electric cars.

CleanTechnica took this exploration a step further as well by asking respondents what most inspired them to go electric and what their three favorite things are about driving electric.

What is quite interesting is that between North America (I'm wondering if USA only or inc Canada?) as well as Europe the emergent top reason for purchase was for the environment and not because an EV will out accelerate an ICE vehicle. Financial savings (TCO over a period) and low maintenance also feature.

Even more interesting is the top misperception by both North America and Europe is taking too long to charge. So in real-world scenarios for the type of driving these owners are doing, this is seen as a misperception.

Also clear from my personal experiences is that many dealers are perpetuating the misconceptions seemingly to protect either higher margins from ICE sales or possibly from fear of losing the high-cost annual maintenance on ICE vehicles. I've been discouraged by both Toyota and VW salespeople from considering an EV but that said they had no ECVs for sale at all.

See https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/02/10-charts-top-electric-car-benefits-top-misconceptions/

#EV


10 Charts: Top Electric Car Benefits & Top Misconceptions | CleanTechnica
There's nothing like experience. You can read and write about something all day, but until you experience it, it's just a concept, and you don't really understand it.

So, with that in mind, it is often interesting and useful to collect feedback from actual EV drivers about what they appreciate about their cars. It's also often interesting and useful to find out the top misconceptions they discover other people have about electric cars

Pay your respects at the Google Cemetery, a home for all of Google's dead products and services

Posted on: Tue, 2018-12-04 - 07:51 By: admin

Pay your respects at the Google Cemetery, a home for all of Google's dead products and services

Google isn't known for restraint when it comes to creating new products and services (especially ones with features that overlap existing properties), but it's equally notorious for killing off products — sometimes even those with devoted user bases (e.g. Inbox by Gmail). So notorious, in fact, that not one but two different online resources have popped up to highlight all of Google's many dead products. Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Services that migrate into something better/new or where it is a lookup type service have little impact on users, but where a user has grown a repository of their data within a service that shuts down completely it is a very painful experience and often where a measure of bitterness is experienced by users.

"Bigcos make decisions based on the same things startups do: 1) Is this what people want? 2) Is there a better product for this need? 3) Does this help the company survive and grow?" Lieb said. Lieb doesn't really address Tan's underlying point, though, which is that by the very nature of Google's size, the company often cares less about a given product than its users — a frustrating dynamic.

And with Google+ it had some of Google's most loyal followers in the service where they had found a niche that offered some uniqueness away from other services. This shutdown has probably been the most impactful for them and contributed to some future distrust of going the whole in future with new Google offerings. Other companies (apart from Yahoo!) live or die by their one major offering, and with Google, this is not the case hence they have less interest vested in any particular product apart from Search.

See https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/12/03/pay-your-respects-at-the-google-cemetery-a-home-for-all-of-googles-dead-products-and-services/

#google


Pay your respects at the Google Cemetery, a home for all of Google's dead products and services
Google isn't known for restraint when it comes to creating new products and services (especially ones with features that overlap existing properties), but it's equally notorious for killing off products — sometimes even those with devoted user bases (e.g. Inbox by Gmail). So notorious, in fact, that not one

When Tech Support Calls You About a PC Problem, it’s Probably a Scam

Posted on: Tue, 2018-12-04 - 07:31 By: admin

When Tech Support Calls You About a PC Problem, it’s Probably a Scam

“Relax. This is a scam. Nothing is wrong with my computer. Customer Support never calls unless you call them first.”

Think about it. Microsoft, Apple—any company who might offer you technical support for your laptop or desktop—has tens of millions of customers. No tech support team has time to search for and review and every potential problem on every individual machine. If you want their help, you have to jump through their hoops: Call tech support, wait on hold for a while, explain that you already restarted your computer. I wish we lived in a world where hardware-makers would just show up whenever you have a problem, but sadly it just isn’t so.

And if a scammer can’t even be bothered to imitate a company who might offer you tech support? That’s a red flag in itself.

Which is why in many cases users get better support from open source community forums where suggestions can be acted upon by making the fix yourself.

See https://lifehacker.com/when-tech-support-calls-you-about-a-pc-problem-it-s-pr-1830798500


When Tech Support Calls You About a PC Problem, it’s Probably a Scam

How Google has brought Morse code to the GBoard keyboard to assist persons with disabilities

Posted on: Mon, 2018-12-03 - 22:56 By: admin

How Google has brought Morse code to the GBoard keyboard to assist persons with disabilities

Good to see how a really old "technology" like Morse code is being re-imagined in modern scenarios not only through the keyboard but also for games and learning.

It's well worth watching the short video at https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/accessibility/imagining-new-ways-learn-morse-codes-dots-and-dashes/ or see the list of some of the experiments at https://experiments.withgoogle.com/collection/morse.

#disability #gboard #assistivedevices


Make Sure to Get Your $29 iPhone Battery Replacements Soon as Apple's Discount Program is Set to End...

Posted on: Mon, 2018-12-03 - 22:33 By: admin

Make Sure to Get Your $29 iPhone Battery Replacements Soon as Apple's Discount Program is Set to End on December 31

If you have an iPhone that needs a battery replacement, it's a good idea to get it fixed soon as Apple's $29 battery replacement program is set to end on December 31, 2018.

Apple is still offering $29 battery replacements for the iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X. All of these devices are eligible for a discounted $29 battery following the processor slowdown scandal that Apple faced earlier this year.

After December 31, 2018, replacement iPhone batteries will return to regular price. For most iPhones, replacement batteries will be priced at $49, with the exception of the iPhone X. Apple will charge $69 for an iPhone X battery replacement.

See https://www.macrumors.com/2018/11/30/apple-battery-replacement-program-ending/

#apple


Make Sure to Get Your $29 iPhone Battery Replacements Soon as Apple's Discount Program is Set to End on December 31 - MacRumors
If you have an iPhone that needs a battery replacement, it's a good idea to get it fixed soon as Apple's $29 battery replacement program...

Dineplan app for Android and iOS for online restaurant bookings in South Africa

Posted on: Mon, 2018-12-03 - 22:28 By: admin

Dineplan app for Android and iOS for online restaurant bookings in South Africa

Search South African restaurants by availability, name, area or show available restaurants based on your current location.

To help you decide where to make your reservation, browse and explore restaurants by their customer rating, cuisines on offer, location, opening hours and various other booking options.

* Real-time bookings.
* Quick restaurant availability search.
* Confirmation and reminders of your reservations.
* Manage your reservations on the go.
* Share your reservation and the restaurant's Google Map directions with your party.
* Create a list of your favourite restaurants for easy booking.

It has a pretty good selection of restaurants (for Cape Town anyway) but will obviously exclude the many resr=taurants which don't take books such as many Spurs, Wimpies, McDonalds, etc. The concept of instant/live bookings is a newish one for South Africans so will be interesting to see how this works.

See https://www.dineplan.com

#dineplan


Dineplan
Dineplan - Instant Restaurant Bookings
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