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The EU Copyright Directive has made a lot of waves lately given that many fear that some of its provisions will lead to increased censorship, with almost 4.5 million Europeans signing a petition to stop Article 13. This article was the one that attracted almost everyone's attention seeing that it will require large online platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to always keep an eye out on what their users are uploading and block all copyrighted items such as videos, images, and text. The other controversial article part of the EU Copyright Directive is Article 11, a provision which will force news aggregators to pay the copyright holders a fee for every news item they link to. Google, one of the most heated critics of the two provisions, is now testing a new search engine results page (SERP) template where the EU Copyright Directive is applied to the listed search results "to understand what the impact of the proposed EU Copyright Directive would be to our users and publisher partners," according to Search Engine Land. EU Copyright Directive will turn SERPs into a ghost town according to Google. As the SERP screenshots show, Google's search results will look like a deserted town, with no article titles, no images, and no news summaries, or "like pages that have failed to completely load" as Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling very appropriately describes them. Learn more on OUR FORUM.

During this year’s recent CES conference in Las Vegas, attendees got a preview of the evolution of high-speed internet. It's called LiFiMAX and offers an internet connection based on invisible light. It gives a 100Mbps downlink data rate and 40Mpbs uplink rate, making it ideal for use in a professional setting. Also, since LiFiMAX offers internet without radio waves, it's a good fit for industrial environments that are sensitive to them, or for people who believe they feel negative health consequences due to radio wave exposure. At CES, there was a LiFiMAX presentation during one of the conference days, as well as on-demand demos throughout the event. As such, people could learn about technology and how it works. But, even if people weren't at CES, the LiFiMAX concept is pioneering enough to make people curious. This innovation is the latest offering from Oledcomm, a company that is not new to the idea of using light to help people connect. Oledcomm also rolled out the My LiFi lamp before this invention came on the market. It's a light for households, and as well as providing internet access, users can change the intensity of the output depending on the time of day, such as if they want bright light in the mornings to help them wake up, or dimmer illumination at night to help them wind down. As for the LiFiMAX, the most suitable use seems to be in a conference room or a coworking space. That's because the gadget offers an internet connection to 16 people at once. Follow this thread and more on OUR FORUM.

Ever since Microsoft discontinued its efforts on its Windows 10 Mobile platform, many former users have moved to other platforms, namely iPhone and Android. Because of this, Microsoft has refocused its efforts to these systems, building new apps to bring their ecosystem to those platforms. Over time, Microsoft pushed out what used to be Windows 10 Mobile exclusives, including Edge and Cortana, over to the iOS and Android platforms. While the company isn’t leaving the many proud iPhone users out of the equation given its releases of Edge and Cortana for that platform, it’s clear Android users will be able to make themselves feel even more at home to Microsoft’s services. This is because the company can virtually bake its services into those phones by installing a simple app: Microsoft Launcher. Originally known as Arrow Launcher, the home screen app started as a Microsoft Garage project and has since been rebranded to become the central hub for users to use Bing, Cortana, and Microsoft News. Microsoft has taken features in Windows 10, such as Cortana, Timeline, more recently Sticky Notes, and brought them to Android thanks to this one app. Below are some of likely the most useful features you get with Microsoft Launcher over the stock version that likely comes with your phone. Timeline first came to Windows 10 in the April 2018 Update as a way for users to easily jump from one PC to the next by syncing recently viewed activities. More can be found on OUR FORUM.

I don’t know if many of you know this, but Microsoft was ahead of its time with the Surface Phone/Andromeda. When the first patents came out it was supposed to be more than a phone and further patents talked about a foldable phone.  That was before ZTE Axon M, the Samsung, LG, Huawei and Oppo patents. But the device is still not out, which doesn’t stop designers from envisioning it. Concept Creator rendered the Surface Phone anew, with some novelty associated with the latest Andromeda patents. The project was in limbo last summer and we haven’t heard about it since. The new renders depict a rather bulky and thick device, with a reinforced hinge. The unified screen portion is seamless and we also get two external displays. There’s a bit of Lumia and Surface Pro DNA here and I’m guessing some magnesium alloy too. The hinge area now seems coated with a sort of rubbery material, perhaps to decrease friction. That adds to the thickness, though. The inner screen bezels are rather larger, but the outer screens have very narrow bezels, so that checks out. My only beef with the concept is that the two screens don’t overlap perfectly when closed. But then again, it may be intentional, leaving room for you to open the gizmo. I also can’t seem to spot any camera. If the device comes this year, it’ll arrive either at BUILD in April or May or November, like the last Lumias and Surface units. For more visit OUR FORUM.

Following a partial U.S. government shutdown caused by a deadlock on the issue of the Mexican border wall between the Democratic Party and Donald Trump, tens of government websites can no longer be accessed or have become insecure because their TLS certificates have not been renewed. The websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, NASA, and the Court of Appeals are some of the ones hit by the government's failure to extend around 80 TLS certificates used on .gov domains. .gov websites with expired certificates on the HSTS preload list now inaccessible One of the websites affected by this mishap is Department of Justice's, which displays an error message warning visitors that the connection is not private or secure, depending on the used web browsers. To make things worse, because is also on Chromium's HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) preload list, the website will not be accessible given that both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will automatically hide the button allowing users to temporarily ignore the warning and open the website. Furthermore, seeing that most other web browsers also use their own HSTS preload lists based on the Chrome one, there is nothing users can do to load the .gov websites temporarily broken by the expired TLS certificates. The government sites not on the HSTS preload list will open after users click on the 'Advanced" button at the end of the warning and choose to proceed, but there are risks involved in doing that. Check out OUR FORUM for more.

A modern smartphone needs more than a front-facing camera in facing the user.  In fact, the most common front-facing sensor is the light and proximity sensor, and now a major Apple iPhone supplier has created the technology which allows this sensor to be buried behind the screen. ams, a leading worldwide Austrian supplier of high-performance sensor solutions announced the release of the TCS3701, an RGB light and IR proximity sensor IC which can accurately measure the intensity of ambient light from behind an OLED screen. This capability supports today’s industrial design trend to maximize smartphone display area by eliminating front-facing bezels, where an ambient light/proximity sensor is typically located. By developing this ‘Behind OLED’ ambient light/proximity sensor, ams enables smartphone manufacturers to achieve the highest possible ratio of the display area to body size while retaining crucial touchscreen disablement and automatic display brightness/color adjustment functions, which require an RGB/infrared light sensor. Despite the constraint of operating behind an emissive OLED display screen, the TCS3701 senses the addition of the ambient light passing through the display to light emitted by the display’s pixels located just above the sensor. ams has developed unique algorithms which enable accurate detection of ambient light levels without knowledge of the display pixel brightness above the sensor. Light transmission through an OLED screen is limited by its opacity, but the TCS3701’s ultra-high sensitivity to light means that it can still produce accurate light measurements in all lighting conditions. Read more on OUR FORUM.