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BLU claims innocence and this is why
The whole situation with AdUps, the Chinese company that provides affordable firmware update software to countless budget Android phones, has somewhat turned into an ugly mess. Although less dramatic than last year’s knee jerk reaction, the latest report coming from Kryptowire, who broke the news last year, has resulted in BLU’s smartphones being suspended by Amazon once again. BLU already made its defense, which seems to have fallen on deaf ears. So it is now trying again to make it painfully clear that they are, in fact, free of any wrongdoing.
AdUps is not spyware and not even Kryptowire called it that, insists BLU. To be fair, Kryptowire really didn’t. In its 2023 report, it simply described AdUps’ OTA software as “FIRMWARE THAT TRANSMITTED PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION (PII) WITHOUT USER CONSENT OR DISCLOSURE”. Curiously, that is more or less how the FTC defines spyware (PDF). In its 2023 follow-up, it did drop the second part of that phrase and simply reported on “mobile devices for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collection and transmission to third parties”. While BLU, and a few other OEMs, was caught unaware by the first report, it insisting on its innocence in this second instance.
“Personal Identifiable Information Storage
BLU will retain any personal identifiable information (“PII”) that it collects through our software while you have an active BLU device. By using BLU devices, you are allowing your information associated with your device to be moved from your country of residence to the United States or any country where this data is stored.
BLU uses industry standard security methods and procedures to protect the information that it collects, but you acknowledge that, like all Internet-connected systems, BLU will not be responsible for the failure of its security except in cases of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
BLU limits the disclosure of your PII to only the third parties used to fulfill obligations or services for BLU users. These companies have access to personal information needed to perform their services or functions, but may not use it for other purposes without the sole permission of the user.”
In other words, when you agreed to use BLU’s devices, you basically agreed that such PII could possibly be transmitted to a third party outside the US. In this particular case, that does apply to the situation with AdUps. Interestingly, the policy’s copyright dates back to 2023, when the AdUps issue first came up. The Internet Archives doesn’t seem to have any version of that page before April this year.
And so we come to BLU’s second arguments: everybody’s doing it. The data that AdUps collects is the same or even just a fraction of what other OEMs are collecting. Google is hardly the bastion of privacy and other OEMs are also collecting such data and sending it to servers in China, as is the case with Huawei and ZTE. It should be noted that both companies are not exactly in the clear as far as the US government is concerned.
Finally, BLU says that Kryptowire’s new report really only identifies the Cubot X16S, from a Chinese OEM, as the only smartphone really spying on its users. This is the data that it collects and sends to third parties, primarily AdUps:
“Browser history, call log, text message metadata (phone number with timestamp), IMEI, IMSI, Wi-Fi MAC Address, list of installed applications, and the list of applications used with timestamps.”
In contrast, the BLU Grand M and Life One X2 only collected and sent these data:
“Cell tower ID (location), phone number, IMEI, IMSI, Wi-Fi MAC Address, device serial number, list of installed applications, and the list of applications used with timestamps.”
Noticeably missing are “Browser history, call log, text message metadata (phone number with timestamp)“. In short, BLU’s phones only send more or less generic PIIs, leaving out potentially incriminating information like messages and browsing history.
This might be all moot anyway, save for a few older phones. Moving forward, BLU will be switching to using Google’s OTA software instead of AdUps, but, again, BLU reminds that Google is really no different other than the fact that it’s based in the US. And even then, it is also collecting other pieces of data, perhaps more than what the AdUps OTA does.
In a nutshell, BLU Products isn’t doing anything illegal even with its continued use of AdUps on some of its remaining smartphones. In that sense, it does have reason to insist that Amazon’s suspension and the ensuing coverage is “non-news”. But whether there is nothing wrong with what it collects, or whether AdUps itself doesn’t sell that information to others, or whether the industry practice is acceptable in the first place, is perhaps a discussion for another day.
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2023 has been an action-packed year for Graph token. The current 51st largest crypto by capitalization, begun its northward journey in the mid-of January earlier this year. At that point in time, its price was hovering around the $0.2 mark.
The next couple of weeks were quite lively, and by 12 February, this token created created its $2.8 high. Since then, however, things have been quite pessimistic on its price chart. At the time of writing, this token was almost back to square one and was seen exchanging hands around $0.6.
Even though GRT has seen more lows than ups of late, it has been able to make its presence felt in the space. Investors today are paying more attention to the developer tangent associated with protocols and Graph’s performance on this front has been noteworthy. Now, it is a known fact that Graph is an indexing protocol that queries data for networks like Ethereum.
Going forward, such open-source indexing protocols would bring out chain reorganization alongside query fulfillment and thereby, improve the application experience of DeFi apps. The network has already powered a host of applications on DeFi. At this juncture, Graph is one of the most reliable protocol brining decentralized public infrastructure to the mainstream market.The fundamental positives
Despite the not-so-healthy price trends, the network-related activity, alongside its utility and use-cases, has been quite imposing. Consider its Price DAA divergence, for starters. Bullish streaks have been dominating the chart of this metric since the beginning of this month.
More often than not, such a divergence has allowed the asset to range better in the market and capture higher trading targets. The same was noted earlier in October and November this year.
So, if the bullish projections continue to surface on the chart, the underlying token’s price would likely start reacting to it positively.
Further, most of the HODLers continue to remain in the ecosystem. ITB’s data highlighted that the average HODLing period for this token is more than 8 months. This means that the token HODLer composition comprises of less traders and more of cruisers and investors.
In fact, the age metrics from Santiment also supported the aforementioned claim. The average age of the coin and the dollars invested have majorly been increasing of late. The same resonates to the larger accumulation phase going on. It also highlights investor confidence with respect to the token.
The deposit transactions too, for that matter, have been revolving more towards the downside since the beginning of this month. This metric, as such, shows the amount of all incoming and outgoing transactions involving GRT deposit addresses everyday. Spikes on the chart usually indicate a rise in short-term selling pressure.
However, keeping the current state of this metric in mind, it can be said that the majority of investors are calm and composed at this stage.
So, keeping the aforementioned positives in mind, it wouldn’t be wrong to claim that this token is good long-term bet and investors can consider adding this coin to their portfolios. Further, given the kind of service the Graph provides, the network is only set to gain more traction going forward.
PostScript, or PS is a common printing language used by many printer manufacturers. PostScript may be common; however, it is not found available for many printers. PostScript is used in high-end printers that are used in the printing industries, some offices, graphic designers, and others who need high-quality printing outputs.
There are two types of printers PostScript printers and Printer Control Language (PCL). Most small home or even some office printers are PCL printers. You will decide to buy a printer at some point and knowing what is PostScript and why is it used in high-end printers will help your choice.What is Adobe PostScript?
Printers that use PostScript are usually more expensive and these printers are mainly used in medium to large industries. These printers are used in printing, publishing, and design businesses.1] PostScript explained
The PostScript Page Description Language was developed by Adobe and released in 1984. It was originally designed for use on laser printers. However, it began to be used on imagesetters for commercial printers. PostScript is a device-independent Page Description Language (PDL). This means the document you print will be the same across all PostScript printers. PostScript describes the graphics and the text so that the printer knows what to print. This means that the print will be uniform. This means that you can print a draft document at home and then send the soft copy to a printer for printing and the two documents would be the same.2] PostScript language is costly to use
One reason for the PostScript printing language to be used in high-end printers is the fact that it is expensive to use. This means it would make regular printers more expensive. The PostScript printers used in industries need to print consistent high-quality files for commercial purposes, so they would find a better use for these costly high-end printers. With most homes or offices not needing to print very high quality, it would not be cost-effective for them to purchase a printer with PostScript. For this reason, manufacturers will use PostScript in high-end printers used in commercial or industrial applications.3] PostScript printers are more specialized
If you think about it, the average person does not need to print high-quality files that would require PostScript. Most persons who would need to print high-quality files would go to a print shop for this. This makes printers that use PostScript language more specialized. Regular printers are device dependent which means they depend on the computer’s memory as well as the small memory in the printer to process files. Printers that use PostScript are not device dependent, they usually have an intermediary server computer that processes their files. Specialized printers are usually more expensive, and they are best for commercial uses.4] PostScript printers are slower than regular printers
Saying that PostScript printers are slower than regular printers may seem like a weird point. However, it is good to note that PostScript printers are slow compared to regular PCL printers. This does not mean that PostScript printers are snail slow, but they are usually not as fast as regular printers. PostScript printers are made for high-quality prints that in some cases need to be large as well.5] PostScript printer files are larger, and more memory is required
PostScript printers are used for commercial applications in most cases. This means a lot of the files will be large. Large files especially with high quality, will take up a lot of memory. PostScript printers would have larger memory and processing capabilities so they will be more expensive. Regular printers do not have a lot of memory in them so that makes them cheaper. Because printers that use PostScript are mainly commercial printers, they are usually very large. This is not to say that PostScript printers cannot be small like an office printer.
Read: Printer keeps pausing during printingWhat does PostScript do in printing?
PostScript is a general-purpose programming language that allows the user to describe the text and graphics on a page. PostScript printers use a computer to run an interpreter for processing the PostScript language files.
PostScript works like vector graphics using mathematical calculations instead of Bitmap and pixels to define graphics and text. This means that a PostScript printer will output higher-quality print and the quality will be consistent across devices.
In essence, this means that the PostScript language creates all the print data and does not rely on the printer for print data. This allow the output to be consistent when printed on more than one type of printer or print device.Are PostScript printers necessary?
If you intend to print only simple graphics and text on a single printer, then you will not need to get a PostScript printer. However, if you design complex work that you want to be printed large, high-quality, and consistently across different devices, you will need a PostScript printer.
As reported by 9to5Mac as well as the rest of the world, it has been announced that Apple will officially be working in partnership with IBM to once and for all take over the enterprise market.
This is without doubt a historic announcement from both companies and I would assume there are a few companies trembling in their boots having heard this news…Blackberry likely being one of them. But if you delve a little deeper, you may be able to see something more significant in this partnership. Something that will not only affect the enterprise, but could potentially change the entire landscape for the consumer market as well…
I previously wrote a blog post about an artificial intelligence supercomputer that IBM have developed called WATSON. Just look at him…what a thing of beauty he is!
But what on earth has this got to do with Apple and IBM working together?
“Siri, meet WATSON”…”WATSON, this is Siri”
OK, ok…silly introduction aside now, let me explain my thinking here:
When Siri was 1st announced, it blew the consumer market away. Finally we had what seemed to not only be a relatively accurate voice recognition service in the palm of our hands, but we could actually have conversations with our new AI friend. YouTube instantly blew up with videos of people asking Siri silly, or even naughty questions and testing her knowledge on various subjects. The world was going mad for the era of the virtual assistant.
That was 3 years ago however and now we have a number of different options at our fingertips, with the key competitor here being the somewhat unstoppable Google Now.
I am without doubt an Apple fan (maybe not a fanboy though) but I can still admit when I see something that I believe is superior to an Apple product. Don’t get me wrong, Siri has it’s benefits over Google Now, but for the most part, Google Now is faster, and often brings back more relevant information.
This is where IBM’s WATSON could come into play.
It is no secret that Apple appear to be working on removing the need for Nuance’s voice recognition software within Siri, and replacing it with their own…but developing a brand new artificial backend would just be too much of a monstrous task to undertake alone.
With a marriage (quite literally) between Siri and WATSON however, we could see Apple leapfrogging all of it’s competitors in the virtual assistant space, very swiftly. If the AI backend of Siri was to be run by a dedicated service such as WATSON, not only would we be getting more relevant information back, and likely quicker…but we could have an assistant who is truly capable of learning. Just watch how even an OFFLINE version of WATSON destroys humans in a game of Jeopardy:
I recently wrote about what I envisage for Apple in the home, and how iCloud (with the help of Siri) will be a hub to store all we need to automate our home media and eventually our lives. Whether we control Siri on our wrists, phones or even on a set of Beats headphones, the Apple virtual assistant is going to become so much more than what we currently know of it, and WATSON could be the technology that puts Siri and artificial intelligence into hyper drive.
Partnerships like this come every once in a while, but when it comes to Apple, I always have faith that things are not always necessarily as they seem on the surface.
Yes, this partnership will definitely create the penetration into the enterprise market that Apple have been craving, but I can’t help but speculate on what more can come out of this. Yes, this is all speculation…but this is also not something to be overlooked (in my honest opinion).
These services will no doubt be integrated into the enterprise apps and services that Tim and Virginia have already spoken about, but Apple would not be Apple if they didn’t have something greater considered. That is my opinion at least…what is yours?
What is computational photography?
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The term computational photography refers to software algorithms that enhance or process images taken from your smartphone’s camera.
You may have heard of computational photography by a different name. Some manufacturers like Xiaomi and HUAWEI call it “AI Camera”. Others, like Google and Apple, boast about their in-house HDR algorithms that kick into action as soon as you open the camera app. Regardless of what it’s called, though, you’re dealing with computational photography. In fact, most smartphones use the same underlying image processing techniques.Techniques and examples of computational photography
With the basic explanation out of the way, here’s how computational photography influences your photos every time you hit the shutter button on your smartphone.
Super resolution zoom / Space zoom
Night mode / Night Sight
Replace the whole sky
Here’s a fun application of computational photography. Using the AI Skyscaping tool in Xiaomi’s MIUI Gallery app, you can change the color of the sky after you capture a photo. From a starry night sky to a cloudy overcast day, the feature uses machine learning to automatically detect the sky and replace it with the mood of your choice. Of course, not every option will give you the most natural look (see the third photo above), but the fact that you can achieve such an edit with just a couple of taps is impressive in its own right.
Face and Photo Unblur
Action pan and long exposure
A brief history of computational photography
Even though you may have only recently heard about it, computational photography has been around for several decades. However, we’ll only focus on the smartphone aspect of the technology in this article.
In 2013, the Nexus 5 debuted with Google’s now-popular HDR+ feature. At the time, the company explained that the HDR+ mode captured a burst of intentionally over- and under-exposed images and combined them. The result was an image that retained detail in both, shadows and highlights, without the blurry results you’d often get from traditional HDR.
Machine learning enabled features like night mode, panoramas, and portrait mode.
Apple eventually followed through with its own machine learning and computational photography breakthroughs on the iPhone XS and 11 series. With Apple’s Photonic Engine and Deep Fusion, a modern iPhone shoots nine images at once and uses the SoC’s Neural Engine to determine how to best combine the shots for maximum detail and minimum noise.
We also saw computational photography bring new camera features to mainstream smartphones. The impressive low-light capabilities of the HUAWEI P20 Pro and Google Pixel 3, for instance, paved the way for night mode on other smartphones. Pixel binning, another technique, uses a high-resolution sensor to combine data from multiple pixels into one for better low-light capabilities. This means you will only get a 12MP effective photo from a 48MP sensor, but with much more detail.Do all smartphones use computational photography?
Most smartphone makers, including Google, Apple, and Samsung, use computational photography. To understand how various implementations can vary, here’s a quick comparison.
On the left is a photo shot using a OnePlus 7 Pro using its default camera app. This image represents OnePlus’ color science and computational photography strengths. On the right is a photo of the same scene, but shot using an unofficial port of the Google Camera app on the same device. This second image broadly represents the software processing you’d get from a Pixel smartphone (if it had the same hardware as the OnePlus 7 Pro).
Right off the bat, we notice significant differences between the two images. In fact, it’s hard to believe we used the same smartphone for both photos.
Looking at the darker sections of the image, it’s evident that Google’s HDR+ algorithm prefers a more neutral look as compared to OnePlus, where the shadows are almost crushed. There’s more dynamic range overall in the GCam image and you can nearly peer into the shed. As for detail, both do a decent job but the OnePlus does veer a tad bit into over-sharpened territory. Finally, there’s a marked difference in contrast and saturation between the two images. This is common in the smartphone industry as some users prefer vivid, punchy images that look more appealing at a glance, even if it comes at the expense of accuracy.
Even with identical hardware, different computational photography methods will yield different results.
This comparison makes it easy to see how computational photography improves smartphone images. Today, this technology is no longer considered optional. Some would even argue that it’s downright essential to compete in a crowded market. From noise reduction to tone mapping depending on the scene, modern smartphones combine a range of software tricks to produce vivid and sharp images that rival much more expensive dedicated cameras. Of course, all this tech helps photos look great, but learning to improve your photography skills can go a long way too. To that end, check out our guide to smartphone photography tips that can instantly improve your experience.
No. Computational photography is a software-based technique used by smartphones to improve image quality. On the other hand, computer vision refers to using machine learning for detecting objects and faces through images. Self-driving cars, for example, use computer vision to see ahead.
Yes, iPhone embraced computational photography many years ago. With the iPhone XS and 11 series, Apple introduced the Smart HDR and Deep Fusion.
Snapchat lets you stay in touch with your friends and family from around the world. The app shot to fame with its unique concept of disappearing photos and messages. While on a whole the app is quite stable, once in a while users do notice some glitches that pop up, especially when a new version is released. In this article, we will cover what the ‘Waiting to send’ issue is and how you can fix it.
What is ‘Waiting to send’ on Snapchat?
Users have noticed that a ‘Waiting to send’ notification appears on Snapchat when they try to send them out. Essentially, this prevents the user from sending out snaps and messages until the first one goes through. The problem, while directly tied to the internet connection’ seems to persist even after the user has successfully connected to a wireless network.
The ‘Waiting to send’ notification appears under the snap or message once you hit ‘send’. This means the snap has not yet been uploaded to the Snapchat servers. It differs from ‘Pending‘ which indicates the snap has already been uploaded.
Snapchat ‘waiting to send’ to one person
You may notice that the ‘Waiting to send’ issue only occurs with one person. Usually, you can send snaps to another user even if one user’s snap is stuck on ‘Waiting to send’. But it doesn’t change anything. You can easily fix the ‘Waiting to send’ issue whether you are getting this for one person or a few or even more.
Why does Snapchat say waiting to send?
Well, initially ‘Waiting to send’ is an indication of poor internet. It means Snapchat cannot upload your content because you do not have the bandwidth to support it. Usually, the notification should disappear once you come into network coverage and the app can upload your content. However, it seems that even when you do, your snap remains unsent and basically in limbo.
The issue seems to be caused by a glitch that sometimes occurs when the app is confused if it should try to upload the snap or not. It also seems to occur more frequently when users purposely put their devices into airplane mode to prevent a snap from going through. When the user turns connections back on, the snap is stuck in limbo.
How to fix ‘Waiting to send’ on Snapchat
Here are some things you can try to fix the ‘Waiting to send’ issue on Snapchat. Hopefully one of them does the trick.
Clear the Snapchat app’s cache
Cleaning the app’s cache is a good way to troubleshoot a lot of issues. This method only works on Android devices. For iOS devices, you will need to uninstall and reinstall the app in order to clear its cache. Don’t worry, this will not affect your saved Memories or messages in any way. No personal data will be deleted by clearing the cache.
Disable Data saver/Low Data Mode
If you have enabled a data saver function on your device, this could cause your background apps to have limited or restricted data access. This could prevent your snaps from uploading.
Now toggle the setting for ‘Low Data Mode’ off.
Force close the Snapchat app
This will force close all processes running associated with the Snapchat app. Be warned though, that doing this could cause you to lose the snap that is in the ‘Waiting to send’ state. While it might fix the issue, you may lose that snap that you are trying to send.
To force close the app, tap the ‘Recent apps’ button on your phone then swipe the Snapchat app away (or tap the X next to the app, depending on your device).
Log out and log back in
You could try logging out of your Snapchat account and then logging back in. However, before you do, make sure that you remember your Snapchat ID and password so that you don’t get locked out of your account. Like the above method, doing this could cause you to lose the snap that is in the ‘Waiting to send’ state.
Now force close the app using the guide above, then log back in and check if the snap has gone through.
Related: How to reset the Snapchat password without phone number and email
Restart your phone
This is the best way to make sure there are no processes interfering with the app, causing it to glitch. Like the above method, doing this could cause you to lose the snap that is in the ‘Waiting to send’ state.
To restart your phone, simply press and hold on the power button, and select ‘Restart’. Let your phone boot up completely before launching the Snapchat app again. Many a time this seems to do the trick!
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