Apple might finally be eliminating iPhone's biggest limitation

For anyone who has used a computing device other than iPhone or iPad at any time in the past few decades, there is one commonality - the ability to determine default apps for common tasks. The behavior is such an important piece of computing that, when Microsoft began to build their web browser, Internet Explorer, into Windows 98SE and beyond, Europe was afraid they were going to eliminate the ability to change the default browser option. That wasn't the plan, but it didn't stop worry, anger, and an anti-trust case.

Today, that anti-trust case has likely continued to have an effect on the industry. Almost all new platforms that have been created since have included the ability to set default web browser, email client, and more. The biggest exception to this rule is Apple's iOS and iPadOS. Owners of an iPhone or iPad are forced to use Safari as their web browser and Apple's email app as their default email. This is another example of Apple's attempt at owning a complete monopoly in its ecosystem. But that might finally be about to change.

According to Bloomberg News, iOS 14 will bring to an end that aspect of the company's monopoly. This move could possibly be the biggest change in Apple's policy of control since the inception of iOS, which issued in this new corporate philosophy. It might also be the most anticipated feature from Apple.

The ability to choose your own browser, email app, maps app, etc., are so commonly requested, that both Google and Microsoft have baked the ability into their own application ecosystems. If you use Outlook as your email client, which is very common, you can choose what apps will open from Outlook. Standard links can be opened in Safari or Edge, and location links can be opened in Apple Maps, Citymapper, Google Maps, or Waze. Google's applications offer similar settings, all for the same reason. But, it would be nice to know that, no matter where you open a link, it will open the way you want it to.

February 23, 2020 - Episode 551 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple's changing its defaults, GeForce Now's losing its content, and Google's following kids again.

Is It Worth Upgrading Your Video Card? - Episode 217 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch discusses whether or not it is worth upgrading your video card. Sure, your existing computer might have the ability to take the newest and most exciting video card, but is it worth the upgrade cost?

Tom's Hardware recently released a video card lookup to help you determine what video cards are compatible with your system. However, the most important question to ask yourself when considering a video card upgrade is, "What are your goals with the upgrade?" For example, if your goal is to play games in 4K, you video card might not be your limiting factor.

If your system is a few years old, your system processor might not be able to keep up with the requirements of 4K gaming. It's also possible that your motherboard might not support the latest and greatest cards. Or, your power supply might not have the 8-pin or 8+6-pin setup for the really powerful cards. These other limitations could possibly mean a bigger upgrade might be required to accomplish anything noticeable.

This is not to say that a video card upgrade is not a viable project. With a more modern setup, upgrading your video card could have a profound effect on your system's performance. This is especially true if you're going from an on-board card to a full graphics card. You might be upgrading from an older card that you kept from a previous system to something more modern.

However, it is important to remember that, in most system upgrades, the only part that is easily retained is the case. To get a lot out of your upgrade, it will usually require replacing the processor, motherboard, and RAM, on top of the video card. Plus, if it's a big upgrade, you'll possibly need a new power supply and, for speed, you might even consider an upgraded SSD.

The EcoFlow DELTA brings power to a dark situation @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

If you live in a place where the weather gets dangerous, like the Gulf Coast, you know just how important having a backup for power can be. Following a hurricane a few years ago, several of our team were without any power for over a week. In Florida, that means more than just food in the freezer spoiling - it can also mean health issues from the heat. Standard battery systems are too small, and generators require gasoline and maintenance. But, the EcoFlow DELTA is a product that finds the best of both worlds.

EcoFlow DELTA Basics

The EcoFlow DELTA is a large rechargeable battery designed specifically for those powerless situations. Unlike small packs, the DELTA is designed to be able to run your lights, refrigerator, CPAP machine, and more when the need arises. The DELTA is for more than just emergencies, however. You can use it to bring power along on a camping trip, without the need for the noisy generator, or running your car battery down.

EcoFlow DELTA Specs

The battery features a capacity of 1300Wh and an output of 1800W. The battery can charge from completely dead to 80 percent in only an hour. When combined with solar panels, through the universal solar input port, you can even keep the battery itself charging while it is also keeping your home running. On one side of the system is a panel of standard electrical outlets to power your appliances and necessities. On the other side is a panel of USB ports to keep your electronics, like phones and tablets, powered. You can even use it to give a small charge to an electric vehicle.

The EcoFlow DELTA is available now in several configurations. You can but it on its own for $1399, or in bundles with portable solar panels. To find out more about the products or to place an order, check out their website.

Interview by [tpntoddcochrane" class="UpStreamLink">.

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MONIT Adult Diaper Sensor reduces elder health risks @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

While baby care technology is a popular category, one area that seems to be missed is elder care. All elder care facilities have certain common issues, with one of the most common being incontinence. As we get older, it is fairly common to have problems controlling our body, but for a care facility, managing this for multiple patients can be a real challenge. Luckily, MONIT Adult Diaper Sensor is designed to help.

Smart Adult Diaper Sensor

The technology is designed to help care facilities manage and monitor the diaper status of their patients. Currently, facilities either expect the patients to report when their diaper is soiled, which is not always possible, or check during their rounds. This is time-consuming and takes the caregivers away from other tasks. It can also waste resources by unnecessarily changing a diaper. By using MONIT's system, they can get alerts, care of the sensing technology built into the device.

More important than any of the resource issues are the medical problems produced by improper diaper changes. Patients can suffer from any number of issues, ranging from skin rashes to urinary tract infections. These health issues pose both discomfort for the patient and cost for the family and caregivers. The Adult Diaper Sensor reduces these risks while giving everyone involved a new peace of mind.

Other sensing benefits

The sensor does more than just alert to a soiled diaper, however. It includes temperature, humidity, and accelerometer sensors as well. This can make staff aware of other issues, including a skin temperature spike or drop, or even a fall. It can also notify if the patient hasn't been moving at all, which can be an indication of a severe issue.

To find out about all of the Adult Diaper Sensor's features or to contact the company, check out their website.

Interview by [tpntoddcochrane" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Alpha-Stim wants to treat your pain without addictive drugs @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

While our medical industry tends to try and solve problems with drugs, there can be many other ways to solve the same problem. For example, many people are incapable of taking medication for insomnia because of work obligations. There is also the possibility of side effects, like more serious health conditions or even addiction. To help overcome these issues is Alpha-Stim.

How does Alpha-Stim work?

Rather than medication, the Alpha-Stim system works by using electrical impulses. The reasoning behind the method is that 98 percent of the human nervous system is electrical, not chemical. By using the cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device, people have the potential to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, and physical pain.

The device is in two pieces: the control pack and the ear clips. Together, they look like an MP3 player and earbuds. While the most common usage will be in the privacy of your home, if you were to use it in public, you'll look like you're just listening to music. A session takes 20 minutes and involves incredibly low power - so small that most people never consciously feel it.

Why choose Alpha-Stim?

While there are other entrants in the personal electrotherapy market, most are not backed by empirical evidence. Alpha-Stim, on the other hand, is. The company provides various studies of the technology showing how it can be effective for various pain management scenarios, as well as insomnia and depression.

It is important to note that our staff have not tested the device and cannot speak to personal experiences with it. However, published scientific and clinical studies certainly help alleviate some of the concerns generated by late-night infomercial products making unbelievable claims.

Alpha-Stim has two models available ranging from $795 to $1195. You can also get more detailed information about the products and read some of the studies on their website, as well.

Interview by [tpntoddcochrane" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Bebefit infant carrier - comfortable for baby and caregiver @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

Monit Bebefit is an ergonomic smart baby carrier designed to reduce stress on the back and joints of parents and caregivers. The infant carrier was developed by Monit CEO Tony Park after he suffered a back injury that required a 10-day hospital stay as a result of carrying his own infant daughter.

While he found a variety of infant carriers on the market, he didn't see any that were as uniquely adjustable with respect to weight distribution as the carrier he ultimately created. The Bebefit carrier can support up to 100 lbs., providing redundancy of safety for the average baby. The carrier can be adjusted in multiple ways, from one-handed opening and closing of the hip seat to one-button switching of weight-bearing from the shoulders to the back. The carrier also includes a Key Weight Shift Mechanism that equally distributes weight to the shoulders as the baby's center of gravity moves downward while being carried. Additionally, the carrier is made of non-abrasive and hypo-allergenic materials that are safe for babies and those who care for them.

The Bebefit infant carrier is made of water-resistant, quick-drying 100% polypropylene fabric with a low thermal conductivity that makes it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The fabric is 40% lighter than cotton, anti-microbial & odor resistant. The carrier comes in three colors, Navy, Pink and Gray, and is sleekly designed to complement everything from casual clothing to business suits, and has an expandable side pocket for storing personal items. It also folds compactly for storage between uses.

Bebefit is recognized as "hip-healthy" for babies by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. The carrier retails for $169 online and comes with a variety of accessories including warmers, teething pads, and extra inserts. For more information, visit the company's website.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Time-C is a beautiful Swiss watch with a lot of smarts @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

During CES, wearable technology is all the rage. Across the show, you'll find the standard fare, like smartwatches, fitness bands, sleep trackers and the like. However, every once in a while you encounter something truly unique - something that doesn't quite fit into another category. That is exactly what we found with the Time-C from IEVA.

The Time-C is, by its very nature, fashion-forward. At first glance, it is a beautiful watch that could easily go with casual and formal attire. It's a Swiss-made watch, meaning it is going to be a quality timepiece. However, this watch is far more than meets the eye. It is smart, but not in the way you might initially predict. It doesn't show notifications or allow you to interact with the apps on your phone. Instead, Time-C is designed to improve your health and lifestyle, as well as your fashion sense.

The watch features a myriad of sensors, ranging from temperature and humidity to pollution and noise. These sensors are specifically chosen and designed to detect environmental stressors around you. It also measures your physical activity, heart rate, etc., which can also be environmental stressors. Once the readings are collected, the platform translates all of that data into recommendations to improve your beauty, wellness, lifestyle, and nutrition.

Within the app, you will see a beauty regiment, programs for nutrition, etc. These rituals will adjust over time as the device gathers more information about your daily life - your activity, environment, and other factors. All of the recommendations that are made can be fulfilled entirely within the platform, making it a one-stop process.

The Time-C follows the Twin-C, which they refer to as a connected jewel. This product is similar in intention, without the watch face. It is designed to be worn in a variety of ways, such as a broach, bracelet, attached to a scarf, etc. From a fashion perspective, it is more versatile, while the Time-C is more day-to-day practical for many.

The Twin-C is available now and ranges from $150 to $270. The Time-C is expected to hit the market around the end of Quarter 2 (around June 2020) and will retail somewhere in the range of $1000. For more information about the company and its products, check out their website.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Hiber: IoT connectivity in the furthest corners of the globe @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

Hiber is a Dutch company that works to provide IoT - Internet of Things - connectivity in remote and rural areas. Only 10% of the world has connectivity right now, says Erik Wienk, Managing Director, which is about 90% of the people. But the remaining 90% of the world needs to use satellite communications technology. IoT is expensive and power-hungry, though, so Hiber has combined terrestrial and satellite communications into a satellite network with the power consumption and cost-saving levels of land-based communications. They have their own satellite network, with two satellites currently in orbit and two more planned.

Hiber systems are used in agricultural technology, logistics and supply chain systems, and mining environments. Industry sensors connect to Hiber modems and antennae to transmit data like soil moisture or temperature via satellite. The company hopes to be a solution to the big challenges we have today in situations like food waste, due to poor monitoring of production or transportation. Hiber technology can be used to monitor beehives, 70 million of which are in remote areas, with a mortality rate of 40% in unmonitored areas. With monitoring, mortality rates can be reduced by 10%, with a commensurate positive impact on crops.

The company currently has about 70 pilot projects underway, with a major focus on agricultural monitoring and transportation logistics, as well as smart energy. Hiber has been nominated as a National Icon by the Dutch Government and attended CES as part of the Dutch Innovation booth. The experience has provided them with new ways to look at things, like connected beehives, that they might not have fully considered previously. As they solve problems at the edge, and others learn how Hiber solves connectivity issues with 4G and with LoRa (Long Range low power wireless communications technology), and it hopes to become the standard globally. To learn more, visit the company's website.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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RoboSense: Autonomous Driving With LiDAR Technology @ CES 2020 (PLUGHITZ Live Presents)

CES was back this year with some amazing innovations, advanced technologies, and determination to make the world a better place through technology. Every year thousands of people make their way to this amazing event hosted by the Consumer Technology Association.

CES has always been one of the most prominent platforms where tech companies can showcase their new and innovative products. This year was no different. The trade show was held from 7th January to 10th January and saw tech companies from all over the world participate in the event.

We heard from many different companies at the event. One of the companies that got our attention was RoboSense. We sat with their representative, Dr. Leilei Shinohara, at CES 2020 to know more about their company and their innovative product.

Robosense's LiDAR technology

RoboSense was founded in 2014 and since then the company has been working on bringing high levels of innovation in autonomous driving. The company was promoting its new sensor with LiDAR technology at CES 2020.

For those of you who are not aware of LiDAR technology, the concept is all about reflecting light off an object and then using a sensor to measure the distance or range.

The project for RoboSense's latest sensor started three years and is still in the testing phase. Their LiDAR technology allows autonomous cars to detect other cars and objects from a long distance. Dr. Shinohara also shared that the technology is equally as effective in real-time.

Human organs, like the eyes and brain, are very complex. However, human errors can sometimes cause accidents. RoboSense sensors, once installed in an autonomous car, can help reduce the number of accidents on the road.

How does the RoboSense sensor work?

RoboSense sensors work on LiDAR technology combined with artificial intelligence. This means that if your vehicle has RoboSense sensors installed, then it will not only measure the distance from other vehicles, it will take into account the environment, weather, time of day, and many other similar factors. LiDAR technology helps in saving the vehicle from any type of collision by measuring the distance between the vehicle and the other body. The Artificial Intelligence aspect, on the other hand, helps in making the vehicle learn more about the surroundings. The artificial intelligence technology that RoboSense uses is very well trained and tends to learn more with the collection of more data.

How is RoboSense different from other companies out there?

There are many companies in the market that offer technology for autonomous vehicles, so we were inclined to ask about any competitive advantage that RoboSense has over its competitors. Dr. Shinohara told us that there are many companies that focus on LiDAR sensor hardware. RoboSense, on the other hand, offers a complete package. It is not just about the hardware but the AI program as well. RoboSense LiDAR technology is also paired with artificial intelligence which optimizes the functionality of the sensor.

RoboSense technology is still in its testing stage. They have partnered with different autonomous vehicle companies in China who are testing their product and continuously helping them improve their LiDAR sensor. It is speculated that autonomous vehicles will become very common in the coming years and innovative companies like RoboSense are going to enjoy a very prominent place in the market.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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