ZTE has been banned from using any hardware products (and possibly software,) originating in the United States for the next seven years. This after paying $890 million in fines and penalties, firing four senior officials, but not following through with the terms of their punishment for violating trade embargoes with Iran back in 2016.
A five year investigation concluded last year that ZTE had been purchasing U.S. components, integrating them into their products, and selling them to Iran. They agreed to pay $890 million outright with a potential $300 million follow up, fire four senior officials, and reprimand or reduce bonuses to 35 others. They did the $890 million, firing, but didn’t reprimand anyone and now they’re in hot water.
Seriously, a reprimand… all they had to do was 35 employees be written up with “bad job, do better in the future, don’t sell to Iran due to this particular embargo.” Pat on the back, wink of the eye, issue would have been done. However…
ZTE “provided information back to us basically admitting that they had made these false statements,” said a senior department official. “That was in response to the U.S. asking for the information.”
Companies now banned from selling to ZTE include Qualcomm, Microsoft Corp, Intel. This means while they can probably offload the rest of their inventory, they will not be able to legally purchase the chips that they’re incorporating into their phones. Basically it means no Snapdragon or Intel devices can legally be made by ZTE.
It also might legally bar them from incorporating Android, or chunks of it. That may be moot as there’s nothing I can think it can run on without US chips.
Honestly sitting here looking at the article and thinking that I do not believe ZTE can do anything in the phone market without Intel, Qualcomm, Motorola, Google, etc. Unless there’s a chipset manufacturer I’m not thinking of, which might be the case.
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One thing that can be said of any video recorded on a smartphone is that the sound fails to impress. Our phones just aren’t built to record audio more than a few feet from them at most. To that end we have a rather impressive solution to look at today. The Mighty Mic S+ from Ampridge is intended to give your phone a leg up in the sound department while maintaining portability.
Mighty Mic S+ Packaging
The packaging for the Mighty Mic is something that wouldn’t be out of place at a retail location. We were also sent a dedicated windscreen the “Mighty Muff” to look at as well. Included with the mic itself is one of the two key differences between the S and S+. The iphone clip is designed to work with the provided apple lighting to 3.5mm adapter allowing it to be compatible with all iOS devices and any android with a headphone jack still. You’ll notice a 3.5mm out on the back of the mic this is for audio monitoring allowing you to hear what you’re recording in real time.
A note on patterns
The mighty mic S+ is a hypercardiod microphone. That indicates that it’s pickup pattern is non uniform and depending can be an advantage. Any time you want to record audio that’s only in front of you a directional microphone is beneficial.
The pattern above is a generic cardiod pattern and the this microphone should generate an even more focused one with it’s shotgun design. I do wish Ampridge had provided one on their website and will be suggesting that they published pickup patterns for their microphones in the future as some other vendors do.
Application and OS compatibility
The Mighty Mic S+ unfortunately doesn’t behave identically on every phone or OS. iOS devices actually get the better end of the deal where monitoring worked live on an iphone 6 and 7 without any issue. Ampridge Also suggests MoviePro on iOS. On android I found Cinema FV-5 to be the best option however when recording starts live monitoring stops. This isn’t the fault of Ampridge but a limitation of the software involved. Most testing was done on the HTC10 as that is my personal phone which I have the most access to and other than the monitoring catch-22 it exceeded expectations. I did get the opportunity to test this microphone on the 4 most recent releases of android (5-8) and saw similar behavior on all. As an aside it did work as well with a windows tablet I had on hand which the microphone also worked with although that presented other issues based on it’s inability do disable it’s built in microphone.
Testing was conducted in an ideal environment to highlight the variance between internal microphones and the Mighty Mic. Background noise was present in the form of a server stack roughly 50′ from the fixed location of the phone. At various angles and distances the same speaker played the same frequency shift from 1000-500hz using a tone generator application. Angles are measured in degrees off center from the phones camera clockwise. Distance is measured to the center of the tripod used. Cinema FV-5 was used for the test and auto gain control was disabled.
Built in microphone
Starting with the built in microphone we can hear quite a bit of background noise. This isn’t too troubling at close distances but at 108″(9 feet) and our 300″(25 feet) test points it nearly drowns out the test pattern. Something odd happens at 90° where we get a sudden increase in volume. Simply put that’s where the pinhole mic is located on the HTC10. With the speaker pointed directly at the microphone even the omnidirectional mic displays that it’s pattern isn’t truly circular.
Mighty Mic S+
Testing on the Mighty Mic S+ went about using the same methodology. Additional angles were added due to it’s directional nature at 135° and 180°. These were achieved by rotating the mic 180° to reduce the required testing area. Immediately visible in the waveform is a complete absence of the noise present in the omndirectional mic.
|Mighty Mic S+|
If the above clips are a bit confusing to compare(it’s a lot of data I know) it’s this video that very much highlights the difference between the two microphones. I ran an extended frequency test at a distance of 36″ and in cut between the two. In addition to hearing it you can see in the waveform where all the background noise just isn’t present in the external microphone.
Looking at the side by side for all tested angles at 36″ what we see is exactly what one would hope out of a microphone like this. Starting at 45° we see a drop of our audible volume increasing towards 135°. This combined with it’s increased clarity makes the Mighty Mic S+ an excellent choice if you want to record school concerts or an interview without the background.
Ampridge set out to build the best microphone for an on the go user and I think they’ve come close to it. The live monitoring limitation seems to be an issue inside android and could be fixed in a later update or may work on some phones. Performance wise I think physics has dictated that without massively increased cost or size there isn’t a ton of room for improvement in the design of the S+. I would like to see Ampridge develop and release USB-C and Lighting adapters of their own at some point in the future as more phones lose their headphone jacks. As it stands anyone regularly using their phone to record video would do well to look at a microphone such as this.
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Last week something came out that got me to try a free 7-day trial subscription to HBO, that being the Andre the Giant documentary.
Amazon offered an HBO trial through their Prime Video app, and not having my standard HBO hookup (friends who come over and cast to my Chromecast for a Game of Thrones viewing,) I decided to try the trial.
What followed I’m not sure is standard, Amazon specific, or something on my side. Perhaps I’ll get an answer in the comments.
TL;DR – Paul’s seeing issues that Googling isn’t helping, asking questions.
I signed up in the Prime Video app on the TCL tv (Roku)and the channel appeared in my Amazon Video channels and it was pretty decent but something felt off. I originally thought this might have something to do with them trying to match the framerate or feel of the old footage and didn’t think much about it.
The Andre the Giant documentary was worth it, I now had seven days left to hit everything on HBO I wanted. I started watching Barry (Bill Hader as a hitman who wants to quit,) something seemed off from the other videos I’d watched via Netflix, Hulu, even Amazon video. Barry was amusing, I watched the three episodes that were out.
I watched a couple of episodes of other series and noticed that same off feeling. Something didn’t look right.
I put on Flight of the Conchords and it was terrible, not the show mind you but the quality. Filmed in 2007 it looked like it was from the 90’s, audio was not matching the lips, scan lines/interlacing was visible, felt like I was watching with several dropped frames due to a low bandwidth connection.
Backed out, watched some Netflix, no issues, back to Amazon video to watch yet another of the same episode of Creative Galaxy on Amazon video my 5yo loves, no issues. Back to HBO to watch some gritty crime drama and nope, looked bad.
As I’m contemplating completely cutting the cord, or in my current case ditching the dish, the questions I run into are that several places, such as Amazon and Sling, serve up HBO, and as I can’t seem to get a straight answer out of anyone I’m wondering is Amazon serving HBO’s content (and therefor my HBO issues were Amazon’s,) or are they directing my Amazon video app to HBO’s servers, in which case the issues will persist across the board with whatever provider.
Not that I’m particularly hooked on HBO, only thing I watch was Game of Thrones, and that’s pretty much a gather around and someone with an account casts sort of thing.
So was it just me, did I pick the only off-encoded shows on HBO, is it Amazon Video (which I do recall seeing similar issues about two years ago when I rented Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon on Prime Video,) or am I rare and unique rainbow-tooting panda bear that has something wrong with his Roku Prime Video app?
Just feels like a codec or bandwidth issue when on the HBO feed.
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In this episode of the O’Reilly Podcast, I talk with Simon Moss, vice president of industry consulting and solutions, Americas, at Teradata. We discuss how machine learning and deep learning techniques are being used to fight financial crimes, such as credit card fraud, identity theft, health care fraud, and money laundering.
- Moss says AI techniques are “a new set of weapons” against perpetrators of financial crime. “If we use them right, we can finally at least slow down the constant tide of financial crime.”
- AI can be more effective than traditional methods of combatting identity fraud, health care fraud, and money laundering, because for those issues, he explains, “you’re not looking for a needle in a haystack. You’re looking for a needle in a stack of needles. You are trying to find individuals whose nefarious activity is disguised and hidden in pure normality, by completely innocuous activity.”
- Moss compares the use of machine learning techniques to a rules engine: “a rules engine looks for behaviors that have already happened, whereas machine learning is trying to connect different bread crumbs. It’s running multiple scenarios at the same time to try to look at the problem from multiple different angles.”
- Machine learning can add efficiency to the detection process: “It can take multiple data sources, map the data to a case, analyze it, and then in seconds, make a decision on whether it’s a false positive, whether it’s normal business activity, whether it’s something that needs further investigation, or whether it is outright criminality,” Moss says.
This post is a collaboration between Teradata and O’Reilly. See our statement of editorial independence.
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- Light-Powered Camera — prototype gets 15 frames/second, no external power. The light is used for both image sensing and solar power.
- Government Blogs and Government Bloggers (Public Strategist) — the blogging spectrum 2×2 is solid and explains why government blogs are often about prototypes, not operations.
- It’s Time for a New Old Programming Language (YouTube) — Guy L. Steele Jr.’s talk about the Computer Science Metanotation that CS papers use to indicate programs without having to use a specific programming language. This is one for your inner CS meta-nerd.
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