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IFA 2015: LG expands audio

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At last week’s IFA conference in Berlin, LG unveiled its Music Flow P5 and SoundPop 360 portable music systems, designed to give users a good music experience at an affordable price.

LG Electronics is expanding its wireless audio collection with two new Bluetooth speakers which where unveiled at IFA 2015 in Berlin. LG Music Flow P5 and SoundPop 360 were both developed “for consumers who want the convenience of portability but are uncompromising in their expectations for high sound quality”.

LG provided the following information on the products:

The LG Music Flow P5 is an extremely portable speaker that belies its powerful sound. As part of LG’s smart Music Flow series, the P5 supports LG’s Auto Music Play feature which automatically begins playing music when the audio source comes within range. Its rechargeable battery allows for 15 hours of continuous playback, more than enough for a full day of use on a single charge. The P5 and its previously announced sibling, the P7, represent LG’s commitment to expanding its wireless audio category to offer the most advanced products with compelling design and versatility.

LG-Music-Flow-P5

Meant to appeal to today’s active listeners, LG designed the SoundPop 360 to be extremely portable. The speaker’s unconventional design was inspired by a coffee tumbler, helping it fit naturally into listeners’ daily lives. The easy to use LG SoundPop 360 is a perfect fit for any interior decorating scheme, blending in seamlessly with the user’s other furniture and appliances.

The strong sound quality and small body of the SoundPop 360 are the result of close collaboration between LG’s Home Entertainment and Mobile Communications Companies. The cylindrical speaker has a 360 degree range so music sounds great regardless of the listener’s relative position. It’s perfect for listening in large groups and the party can go well into the night with 20 hours of battery life. With LG SoundPop 360, you can add music to any setting at any time.

Both new devices offer advanced features only found in LG advanced wireless audio products. With Multi Point, the speakers can be connected to multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously allowing two users to simultaneously control the devices and share music. Conversely, Dual Play allows listeners to connect two LG Bluetooth speakers to one mobile device, offering even more customization options such as stereo mode. Additionally, the TV Sound Sync feature allows either speaker to be connected to a Bluetooth-compatible TV so that users can have a private viewing experience or go the other way and create a personal home theatre.

“As a leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), we want to help kick off the Internet of Audio (IoATM) era by launching an innovative audio ecosystem. In order to achieve this, we incorporate the highest quality audio technology as well as advanced networking systems that connect our full range of wireless audio products,” said Min Byung-hoon, senior vice president of the LG Home Entertainment Company’s audio-video division. “Innovative new technologies that change how listeners experience music are found in LG’s Wi-Fi connected Music Flow speakers too.

LG’s expanded Bluetooth speaker line-up and a special edition of Music Flow P5 will be on display at IFA 2015 from September 4-9 at LG’s booth in Hall 18. Additionally, the company’s new wireless range-expanding capabilities will be demoed on Music Flow networks without a router.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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