Strange Google Fit evolution

Google fit had this convenient menu entry named "Log your weight", which is something I do about every day for a few years.
I'm using the Android app Libra as well. It is actually much better than Google Fit at weight tracking thanks to adequate data smoothing, giving a better idea on how your weight is evolving.

Google Fit uses your weight for calories calculations however so it's a good idea to keep it up to date.

But Google removed the "Log your weight" access in latest Fit app update.
Version 1.55.41-008


#supercurioBlog #fitness


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Black and white in color trick

It's amazing how many seconds the effect lasts (and how true they appear) as long as you keep looking precisely at the dot.

In case you were wondering if you can use your eyes as instrument to calibrate displays, well.. let's say they're not the best tool for that πŸ˜€
– You can't access the RAW data from the sensors
– There's too much processing in the brain and even before that at the biological level.

Fascinating πŸ™‚

Via +PetaPixel

#supercurioBlog #color #video #vision

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You heard this sample too

Whoa, mind blown!
Even I used this sample when making music in Fast Tracker 2 as a teenager 😀

Following the links from this article:

And discussion on Hacker News, about this famous "Amen Break"

#supercurioBlog #music

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What sense make of tonight Paris attacks, if any?

Early stories told by victims who escaped some of the attacks we can hear on French news contain an indication of a motive: payback.

More specifically, payback via killing and terror as an act of war, perceived by them as legitimate following the armed involvement of France in Syria and against ISIS.
That's what they said.

With more than a hundred people killed and several simultaneous armed attacks against civilians, targeting symbolic places like the Stade de France (Football which is the most popular sport, symbol of victories and cultural unification) or the Bataclan (a small concert hall, symbol of culture, reputed for the magic intimacy artists find here with their audience) as much as people, this event still ongoing is the largest terrorist attack in France to date.

I can't tell if this justification by payback instead of mainly ideological really is significant.
After all, those who commit barbaric acts, leading to their own death have to justify them to themselves somehow.
It could be significant, differentiating then what happened tonight from Charlie Hebdo previous events.

In case it is significant, it is a reminder that France army is indeed at war in foreign countries and against multiple groups including Islamic ones.

Actually, France was close to go to war against Assad in Syria several years ago with the idea of saving civilians mass murdered by a dictator and help the democratic opposition to establish a legitimate replacement government.
It turned out that the situation wasn't quite so simple, and after failing to convince other countries to follow it didn't happen.

After that, France's army got involved in Mali, since January 2013.

Now, France has started bombing targets like ISIS training centers in Syria, since September 25 2015.

I can only observe that my country is not a neutral one.
Instead, it tends to enter armed conflicts when asked to by foreigners demanding help when crimes against humanity and mass killings happen.
I think it does with reasonably sincere goals to protect human rights more than plain political or economic self-interest. France has a tradition of action to protect human rights.
A majority or French people are against war however. They also learned their lessons from a colonial history on not trying to "civilize" other countries.

But France is still involved in wars.
And tonight's attacks might be one among many acts of the distant war happening in Syria French citizens do not really see or live until now.

What I hope is that the French government won't run into more paranoia. The ongoing direction for Internet surveillance is bad enough already.
I hope that the French government won't be trying at any cost to prevent new attacks by punishing the local population for the consequences of a war fought distantly.
Won't be trying to provide an impossible security at the cost of freedom and privacy.

I see that other European countries put more resources into welcoming refugees, less into armed conflicts.
Maybe it's a safer approach. Maybe it's a better one.

Still providing help to other human beings in need by making an effort to share a better environment, instead of leaving them trapped into the insanity of war or oppressive regimes.
But doing so in another way that getting involved in the same violence and insanity.
Because as we can see, through such interference we end up bringing the insanity back home at some point.

It's true welcoming refugees is not the easiest thing for everyone, but tonight events might be a reason to reconsider current France's approach to human rights protection and peace.


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Android high privileges exploit from Chrome

A Chinese security researcher presented an exploit leading to privilege escalation from simple website, through a V8 Javascript VM vulnerability.
This is the most critical type of vulnerability you can expect, since a payload can reach millions of users in very little time through a malicious ad, one thing the web appear to have the most difficulty avoiding even on reputable websites.

This presentation happened during the Japanse conference named PacSec, from a speaker named Guang Gong.
The page lists his intervention as:

"Exploiting Heap Corruption due to Integer Overflow in Android libcutils — Escalate privilege by vulnerabilities in Android system services" Guang Gong, Qihoo 360,@oldfresher
How to exploit CVE20151528 to get system_server permission in Android.

You can wait until the patch reaches +Google Chrome stable at some point – and it will be worth tracking when since the disclosure was made responsibly.
If security is of high importance for you +Mozilla Firefox might be a strong alternative today.

The Register: I know, not the best source, feel free to suggest others on this one πŸ˜‰

Via +Engadget

#supercurioBlog #security

Latest Android phones hijacked with tidy one-stop-Chrome-pop
Chinese researcher burns exploit for ski trip.

Source post on Google+

Android Wear app update: feedback not encouraging

And why would they remove the battery stats?
It's the function I use the most in the app…
Maybe Google noticed that people were using it quite a bit (including to share their disappointment) and wants people to focus on other things instead.
I don't have any other theories.

So no update for now, I disabled automatic updates on the package.

#supercurioBlog #battery #AndroidWear


In Album 2015-11-11

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T-Mobile vision of net neutrality

Today, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced a list of video services that some customers will be able to stream off-quota.
For services missing from this list, the same customers are supposed to pledge the US carrier to add them.

Everyone seem to rejoice because they get more than before for the same price, which seems like a good deal.

To really rejoice however, you need to you factor out:

– US carriers are more expensive than most of European ones in price/GB of data with equivalent contracts.
T-Mobile could add more data for everyone, or lower the prices for everyone, right now. But no, the benefit concerns only a few manually-selected websites/companies it and keeps the prices and quotas as they are.

– Notice the absence of both +YouTube and +Vimeo in the list today. Don't you think those two matter in the video streaming landscape? What could possibly justify the fact they're missing in the initial list.
They both have a premium paid option, they both compete for dollars and attention with +Netflix or any other in this list.
But they're not T-Mobile approved, that's how things are.

– Concerning the remaining 99.9% of other websites, today, T-Mobile says: If they meet our requirements, we’ll investigate the feasibility of adding them. No one pays to join and no money is exchanged
* The requirements and investigation are completely opaque.
* No money is exchanged today according to them. Good luck finding out if there's not another kind of compensation. And what guarantees that next year T-Mobile will require a fee – or something else to all of these services: nothing at all.
* Do you really want your carrier to pre-approve one way or another the websites you're supposed to visit?
* How would you ask T-Mobile to add your favorite website to the list? You just need to beg them in public on Twitter. Free marketing, and.. fantastic privacy as well.

I mean, did everyone already forgot about the net-neutrality 101?
Free stuff ! Yay!!
I would suggest to think a little bit long term here before placing yet another US carrier in a position of unnecessary influence and power.

#supercurioBlog #critic

Binge On Streaming Video List
With Binge On™ and a qualifying rate plan, watch unlimited video without hitting your data bucket. Services include: Netflix · HBO NOW · HBO GO · Hulu · Sling TV · Sling Box · ESPN · Showtime · Starz · Movieplex · Encore · T-Mobile TV · Vevo · Vessel · Univision Deportes · Major League Baseball …

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Power efficient Cortex-A35 to replace Cortex-A7 CPU

The Cortex A7 is still king in powerful wearable SoCs today: Snapdragon 400, Exynos 3250 and MediaTek MT2601.
These are still capable enough to run a full Android or equivalent smartwatch OS, but do not compromise on heat-up and empty the small batteries they're coupled with.

+ARM just announced the highly successful Cortex-A7 successor, the ARMv8 64-bit Cortex-A35.
It's described at being better at everything than the A7 and also configurable.
SoC vendors will be able to choose which or customize the blocks included without resorting to build their own CPU: something very convenient to scale it from IoT devices choosing it instead of micro-controllers to full-fledged smartphones.

We will probably see it as small core in big.LITTLE configuration as well, since the A53 has not been as convincing as hoped.

#supercurioBlog #CPU

ARM Announces New Cortex-A35 CPU – Ultra-High Efficiency For Wearables & More

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The cost of HDR+ computational photography

+Sam Pullen​​​​​ demonstrates in this video the main limitation with Google's current computational photography approach.

Reported by most reviewers as "lag" or "bugs" of the #Nexus 5X and 6P camera app since this is the mode activated by default, it has a simple explanation:
The amount of time to process multi-exposures shot as one HDR+ picture joined with the limited amount of RAM allowed as buffer makes it unsuitable for consecutive pictures shooting.

Here's the process which occurs with any Android smartphone since the past few years:

– you launch the camera app
– the viewfinder preview starts the ISP to capture full resolution readouts from the sensor at 30 FPS, renders them at near display resolution, adjusting in real-time automatic exposure and white balance
– you press the shutter button
– the camera ISP hardware takes one of the full resolution sensor readout, renders it in full resolution, compresses the output automatically using the hardware JPEG encoder, offers the compressed file as a buffer to the camera app, camera app saves it as a file on disk.
– the previous sequence of operations, using almost no CPU at all can be repeated at 4 times per second or more.

Instead, here's the process with HDR+:

– until you press the shutter button: identical.
– the camera ISP hardware takes multiple (up to 9*) consecutive readouts, some with positive and negative exposure compensation, from the sensor at 30 FPS, renders them and offers them as uncompressed buffers in RAM to the camera application.
– the camera application takes all these images as input and feeds them to a super-resolution algorithm, which also tunes the local contrast and color balance, compressing or extending the dynamic range locally depending on the analyzed image content.
– the HDR+ algorithm takes a few hundred milliseconds to several seconds to render a processed image
– once the HDR+ algorithm is finished, it offers the result as buffer to the hardware JPEG encoder, which returns a buffer to the camera app then saved as a file.
– during the HDR+ processing in background, you can press the shutter button again to trigger the capture, but only as long as there is enough available memory to store those multiple exposures as uncompressed image buffers in RAM.

As you can see from this list of operations, the two modes function rather different.

– Standard mode doesn't rely on the CPU to do much beside synchronizing the preview between the camera and the display hardware, then saving the final result as a file on disk.

– HDR+ relies extensively on the RAM and CPU to build (hopefully) better images from many captures.

As a result, both the RAM and CPU are bottlenecks limiting the consecutive shooting capability.

Now you may ask: why isn't HDR a problem on other phones?

There are several explanations:

– Google chose a target that's unsuitable for the Nexus 5X consecutive image shooting. It means too many images in buffer given the amount of RAM and computational capability available, too complex processing.

– Google HDR+ implementation is not optimized enough.

– Samsung flagships since the Galaxy S5 process their HDR rendering hardware-accelerated instead of relying on the CPU. Their implementation is efficient: enough to process the preview in HDR at 30 FPS, compressing the dynamic range more and better than Google's HDR+, it doesn't slow down shooting either. Samsung HDR rendering is even available to third party applications in their Camera SDK while Google's HDR+ is entirely proprietary.

How can Google improve the situation?

– Reducing the amount of captures directed to HDR+ dynamically depending on the load to avoid stopping and making the photographer miss shots

– Reverting to 100% hardware accelerated standard shooting when at least two HDR+ images are processing in background instead of preventing the user to shoot. A standard image is better than no image at all. As demonstrated by +Sam Pullen​​​​​, the current situation generates user frustration.

– Use more hardware acceleration (OpenGL shaders, Renderscript) and less CPU to improve the HDR+ algorithm speed to catch up with the competition, improving the power efficiency and avoid slowing down even more during consecutive shooting due to CPU thermal throttling.

* 9 frames for HDR+ was mentioned in a Google blog post last year, it could have changed on latest camera app.

#supercurioBlog #camera #video

Source post on Google+

Confirmed: Chromecast audio analog output is 48kHz 16-bit today

I gave a hand to +FrAndroid​​​​​ +Manuel C.​​​​​ to explore the audio capabilities of the Chromecast audio.

Google confirmed what we found in measurements earlier: Chromecast audio resamples everything to 48 KHz 16-bit for both the optical and analog output.

– It is a poor default choice for audio since most material is sampled at 44.1 KHz.
– The resampler itself is not so great, introducing various distortion artifacts.
– The 16-bit output limitation is not welcome, including for 16-bit material since the volume control is software and digital.
– And it prevents playing 96 KHz 24-bit material without loss of quality.

Google say they are working on it, however they didn't adjust their marketing material announcing the support of 96 KHz 24-bit resolution which is rather unfortunate.

I have a lot more measurements and data than the graph +FrAndroid​​​​​ republished, would you like to see them?

#supercurioBlog #audio #measurements #chromecast

Test du Chromecast Audio, le parfait compagnon de vos oreilles – FrAndroid
Après avoir rendu intelligents les écrans les plus basiques avec son Chromecast, Google a souhaité aller plus loin cette année avec le Chromecast Audio, un

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