I'm very curious on how good the voice performance will be on #GoogleHome especially for barge-in commands with only 2 microphones compared to the Amazon Echo with its array of 7

(barge-in is voice commands while something the speaker plays something: the assistant's voice or music)

Google chose to angle the top area, which also means acoustic echo cancelation will be substantially better if you're in front than sort of behind.

It might make sense since it's we're talking about a directional, mono speaker; however it doesn't match with how they show it will be used in their own ad: a 360 radiating unit would be better suited for that.

Will their trained AI used as acoustic echo and noise cancelation work better as they say than the proven algorithms built for audio DSPs instead with a large array of microphones?
Will it be good enough to get your voice commands from a distance when you're listening to music or video content also?

We'll see! I hope the press will pay attention to evaluate that type of stuff 😉
The voice recognition performance in non-optimal condition is a primary element which will decide if this device will stay a proof of concept gadget that people stop trying to use quickly or a convincing platform for the assistant Google wants to build.


Made by Google
Hands-free help from the Google Assistant. Enjoy music, get answers, manage your everyday tasks, and control smart devices.

Source post on Google+

(Not) sharing your home network with guests

Could I ask what your solution is to this concern illustrated by +Troy Hunt​​​​​​​​​​​?

So far I've been running some insecure protocols in my home network, typically: NFS without authentication, I don't like this very much as a starting point, as a result I've shared this network over Wi-Fi with almost no-one.

For my next place, a larger apartment with very thick walls where I'll hopefully have more guests, I plan to use two Wi-Fi hot-spot with roaming to cover every room well.
For guests Wi-Fi, I'm thinking about a few approaches, like:

Option 1:
Using a (3rd) dedicated Wi-Fi router for guests: good thing is that I can plug it directly to my ISP Ethernet who generously assign another public IP address to every new MAC making a DHCP request.

Pros: complete isolation, ability to disable very easily.
Cons: no Wi-Fi roaming for guests, no access to Android TV Chromecast for casting.

Option 2:
Using a (3rd) dedicated Wi-Fi hot-spot, not acting as a router and connected to another Ethernet card to a Linux machine acting as NAT router for both the home and guests network.
Via ebtables (Linux Ethernet bridge management tool), allow each Android TV and Chromecast connected to the home network to appear on the guest network as well.

Pros: good isolation, ability to cast media from the guest network and connect to desired devices on the home network as well.
Cons: no Wi-Fi roaming for guests

Option 3:
Attributing an internal IP in to any unknown MAC address (guests) and for known (home network) MAC addresses. Wi-Fi is roaming between the two access points, sharing Wi-Fi password with guests.
Using a Linux machine as router, allow IPs to communicate with selected devices (Android TV and Chromecast) and not others using iptables filtering.

Pros: great Wi-Fi coverage via roaming, ability to cast media and connect devices between guests and home networks (needs verification if the cast protocol is happy with the routing situation)
Cons: no real network isolation, low security (can be overridden by setting the IP address manually), could break some broadcast/multicast discovery protocol and introduce weird behaviors, the Wi-Fi password is still being stolen and shared by Windows 10 Wi-Fi sense.

Option 4:
Same as previous, with Wi-Fi roaming over two access points, however sharing only a guest SSID terminated with _optout for Wi-Fi sense, and using a different password than the one I use myself.
Since even WPA2 sniffed Wi-Fi can be decrypted, provided you already have the password, it's not a good idea to share it with anyone.

Pros: same but solves Windows 10 Wi-Fi sense as well as captured Wi-Fi decryption issues.
Cons: same, and still no real network isolation or security.

What do you think?

#supercurioBlog #network #security #wifi

Troy Hunt: No, you can’t join my wifi network

Source post on Google+

Phonearena on Sony's 4K smartphone

I'm not sure what to think about this article from +PhoneArena

On one hand, they tried to illustrate their point with pictures which is great.

However, showing what you see on screen in photos is very difficult.

Video would be a better medium, since the viewer can build a better visual representation thanks to the multi-frame interpolation operating in our brain.
Also, high resolution photographs is not the best medium to highlight the usefulness of high resolution displays, since depending on the content and capture, fake details coming from sharpening can appear better than higher actual resolution.
Small text or diagrams with a lot of details benefit from high resolution displays more.

With the current state of technology, I will take a Quad HD smartphone over a sometimes(rarely)-4K one any day anyway.
And please, don't kill it with sharpening: halos and artifacts mask and destroy the resolution advantage over 1080p most of the time.

#supercurioBlog #press #critic #display

Kill it before it lays eggs: On the Z5 Premium’s 4K UHD display and why it’s useless
When it comes to display resolution, the law of diminishing returns pretty much renders any discussion moot. In essence, it states that, in most things, at some point further increases in X will results in smaller and smaller gains of Y. Put otherwise, the more you increase pixel count given an identical panel size, the less and less every other pixel will count, as you’ll be reaching a fundamental limit—that of your eyes’ finite resolving power…

Source post on Google+

ChromeCast Audio multi-speaker/multiroom first impressions

I just tried two Chromecast audio for the multiroom feature.
It's easy to setup and works well!

When plugging a pair of analog headphones on each Chromecast, CCAudio1 HP1 on left ear, CCAudio2 HP2 on right ear, matching volumes I wasn't able to discern a phase difference when playing a track on Google play music: great result.

It would be worth trying after a while to see if the Chromecast audio drift and how much: if the reference clocks are the DAC ones without compensation after the initial synchronization, I suppose it will drift at some point.

One limitation I experienced is that the volume was not matched anymore between both headphones after adjusting the group volume.

But still: pretty cool stuff, I think this platform has a promising future!

#supercurioBlog #Chromecast #audio #multiroom


In Album Chromecast audio multiroom first impressions

Source post on Google+

2-step verification doesn't provide the security I expected

Today I went to the closest +Orange France​ shop in Chambéry, France to request a new SIM card, pre-cut to the nano size.

This SIM exchange was easy.
Too easy actually, and I'm coming back with serious doubts on the validity the 2-step auth or verification as we use it today.

Here's the story:

I enter the shop, a lady welcome me and ask the reason of my visit.
I'd like to request a new SIM card
The lady asked my name and my phone number
My name is François Simond, 0699XXXXXX
I'm told that it should be ready in 20 minutes, and I can wait here or run a few errands in the meantime, I choose the later
20 minutes later, I'm back and receive consequently an SMS telling my SIM card is ready.
5 minutes after, a gentleman call my name, we go sit at his desk, he confirms if it's about a new SIM
He goes to grab an envelope in another room and give it to me, announcing this is my new SIM:
When will it be activated ?
He answers "immediately" and indeed my phone just lost reception.
I thank him and leave the store, ready to get the new SIM in my phone and happy with the service.

Then I start to think a little:

– Did they really deactivated my SIM without any kind of confirmation that the owner requested to?

– Did they really gave a new SIM, with complete access to my phone line, the capability to receive and emit SMS/MMS, and unrestricted ability to send and receive internet packets that can be traced back to me… without knowing anything about who they were giving this to?

Then I thought that I felt confident before that my Google accounts were protected by the additional code generated by the app or sent by SMS as recovery, well: not anymore!
Anyone can gain access to my phone line, they just need to walk in a store, say my name, get a new SIM – disconnecting me in the process.

Bank account? Same thing!

I assumed that anyone capable of making and delivering a new SIM would do so after a careful identity check.
But apparently, it was merely wishful thinking.

Now I have questions:

1/ Does your wireless carrier give new SIM on demand to anyone walking in a store just like +Orange France​ did today?

2/ 2-step auth with SMS as recovery is a joke. Would you recommend disabling the SMS recovery? Is there a risk to be locked out that way?

And.. really.. the privacy and security implications of this simple stupid thing: ouch.
I won't dare listing the various abuses possible using the same operation as an attack.

#supercurioBlog #security #SIM #carrier


Source post on Google+

Nexus 6P display lens and color shifting

when viewed even at a slight angle, there is a noticeable color shift to a cooler tonality

+GSMArena​​ review unit, your feedback on +Google+​​ and my blog, all three units I had in hands are the same on this regard.

I don't think +Google​​ and +Huawei​​ made the right choices in terms of polarizer and lens on the Huawei +Nexus​​ 6P.

In the meantime, I've looked at a Lumia 950 in a store today exhibiting no color shifting with viewing angles and good panel uniformity.

Ping +Taylor Wimberly​​

#supercurioBlog #display #Nexus #Nexus6P

Huawei Nexus 6P review: Stepping it up
Last year, a dramatic change came to Google’s Nexus offering. The upper-mid range phone that was the Nexus 5 was replaced by a premium and much more expensive model made by Motorola. Skip time ahead about a year to this fall and we are offered a true premium package with a significantly lower price tag. The Nexus 6P is beautifully designed by Huawei to please both power users and average users alike.

Source post on Google+

How much the Nexus 6P takes from a Quickcharge 1.0 charger?

Since I've read that the Nexus 6P only "fast charge" protocol was 5V/3A over dual USB-C connectors, I was curious to find out.
And since I don't have any fancy equipment right now, this is using only software 🙂

– Using the provided charger and USB-C – USB-C cable:
Takes about 3A as expected

– Using a Samsung 5V/2A charger, which uses the same signaling as Quickcharge 1.0, and the provided USB-A USB-C cable (which is ridiculously short):
Takes about 2A, close to the maximum for this charger and definitely more than 1A which is the max for USB power without signaling.

So it stays reasonably compatible with most equipment dating from the pre-QuickCharge 2.0 era.

Either way, I'm not a fan of the solution Google adopted for the Nexus 5X and 6P charging.
The USB-C cables provided are annoyingly short. Since they have to carry 3A they're thick and inflexible.
Choosing a 50% higher current instead of higher voltages is inefficient: it requires thicker, more expensive, shorter cables.

And eventually, only 15W to charge a 3450 mAh battery is just not fast.
USB-C might be a the future standard but as it is on this year's nexus, it is not a very particularly convincing solution compared to Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 or 3.0

#supercurioBlog #charging #Nexus #Nexus6P


In Album Nexus 6P charging simple test

Source post on Google+

Nexus 6P HDR+ Auto, does it work for you?

After trying on the Nexus 6P with HDR+ always on yesterday, I wanted to evaluate HDR+ Auto in typical situations where you want multiple exposures to recover shadows or highlights.

As you can see from the samples shared here the result is clear: HDR+ Auto simply doesn't work.
In all my attempts today, HDR+ Auto was unable to identify scenes with dynamic range challenges and in need for some tone mapping.
I remember that yesterday HDR+ Auto turned HDR+ On at least once but I was unable to reproduce that today in real world scenarios.


– The 6P camera exposure system can easily underexposue a central subject. It is common that you need to aid the exposure system by tapping on your subject (hopefully your subject won't be of dark color)

– HDR+ sometimes increases contrast and reduces the final dynamic range instead of extending it, giving the opposite result to what's desired. It does so unpredictably.

My tip would be to activate HDR+ as forced On since HDR+ Auto doesn't activate it in the obvious conditions requiring it on, unless you need to shoot several images quickly.
Then since the automatic exposure can't be trusted outdoor, you it is recommended to tap on subjects to expose for them, while the preview will often seem overexposed, HDR+ should usually re-expose the final image rendered and recover highlights in the process.

HDR+ in general needs work to avoid being counter productive randomly, and HDR+ Auto is useless as it is now.

#supercurioBlog #camera #Nexus #Nexus6P


In Album Nexus 6P HDR+ auto

Source post on Google+

Nexus 6P sunlight screen legibility

I'm surprised it wasn't highlighted in every review that the Nexus 6P sunlight legibility is poor, for 4 main reasons:

– The automatic brightness at its default settings doesn't adjust to ambient lighting conditions enough.
You have to slam the auto brightness offset slider manually to the maximum so it reaches the maximum brightness allowed.
It is either a defect of the light sensor of my unit or a bug that may need to be filed.

– The amount of internal reflections in the panel is high in today's standards, in no way comparable to an LPTS LCD of the two years old Nexus 5 and its polarized lens generation.

– The maximum brightness allowed by the AMOLED panel driver (measured at 366 cd/m² on my unit) is below average nowadays. Most mid-range smartphones reach higher brightness levels.

– The gamma curve is nearing a 2.4 average at higher brightness levels (it is rarely constant on AMOLEDs)
It makes every color but white itself darker than it should, which only reduces legibility further in challenging environmental conditions.


Bugs, limited hardware characteristics and inadequate calibration together make up one of the poorest sunlight legibility in today's smartphones on the Nexus 6P.

Concretely, it means that if you're used to walk out, exchange message, read articles, you will struggle doing so on the Nexus 6P despite the larger screen.

Some of the shortcomings could be addressed to improve the situation.

#supercurioBlog #display #Nexus #Nexus6P #analysis

Source post on Google+

Improvised Nexus 6P vs Nexus 5 HDR+ low light photoshoot

I walked around in Chambéry with two cameras, so that happened.
The 6P HDR+ works better in low light to extend dynamic range, and it's also performing great to extend the dynamic range in order to preserve skys.

While the 6P camera preforms rather poorly in great lighting due to suboptimal automatic settings and below average color rendition, it becomes an excellent performer in low-light.
The new HDR+ computational photography algorithms working with the large 1/2.3" sensor equipped with f/2.0 aperture lens is a worthy alternative to OIS in stills .. at least compared to the Nexus 5, which you can see is still capable of perfectly usable shots in most situations.

The 6P camera is an absolute killer for selfies however. HDR+ on this one makes wonder to expose the face and everything else in the worst conditions.
The focus distance is close enough to keep your face sharp and get some background blur. Even in low light, the amount of detail preserved is high: enough to show your skin texture, which is fine in some case, unflattering in others (in good lighting) where the sharpening will highlight skin imperfections instead.

I made this album because it also demonstrates that if color profiling accuracy is crucial for great outdoor shots: our eyes and brain are highly trained to recognize subtle color tones found in nature it is not as much if at all in artificial lighting. That's part of why the Nexus 6P camera can be an excellent performer in these situation despite it essentially sucks in sunny outdoor natural conditions.

– As you can notice, the field of view of the Nexus 6P is larger than the Nexus 5. It's pretty convenient for architecture and landscape, less suited to shoot people.
– Both Nexus 6P and 5 bokeh circles are not very good.
– I had to delete roughly 1/3 of out of focus shots from the Nexus 6P. It misses is just a bit quite often in low light, leaving you with a good looking but a bit blurry picture. Make sure to review and shoot again.
– Unless specified, the exposure is in full auto (and sometimes not what I would choose manually)
– The Nexus 6P is lacking exposure compensation entirely, while it is available even on HDR+ on the Nexus 5.

Oh and it was also the opportunity to take some pics of my city before leaving for Stockholm 🙂

#supercurioBlog #camera #comparison #Nexus


In Album Nexus 6P vs Nexus 5 low light improvised comparison

Source post on Google+