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Project Loon – Internet and Phone Access without Towers or Cables!

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Sometimes disaster brings out the opportunity for technology to take that first step for it to become mainstream. However unfortunate the disaster may be, the technology provides the solution to allow communications to continue that the disaster struck areas can get the assistance that they need. Even though we are at the cusp of breakthroughs and our technology is state of the art, detecting people or their ability to let the world know that they need aid can be limited in a disaster. A perfect example is Peru and recently Puerto Rico.  Both countries have been ravaged by natural disasters which has left the countries with very little ability to communicate with the outside world. Families have been dissipated and homes have been destroyed due to these events. With families that are in other countries that could provide vital aid or governments that need to view the damage, communication and the internet is key.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA brought to light the steps that different industry leaders such as Facebook, Google, and X (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet) are taking to bring internet to the rest of the world that don’t have the sophisticated towers of major cities through giant balloons. Many major organizations such as Facebook have tested the possibilities and are still vetting approval for testing to take place in major cities, but are getting pushback due to ISP providers have not collaborated with these companies and the state/federal restrictions, not to mention FAA guidelines for this type of technology to be dispersed. One company out of the masses was granted approval to service another country during their disaster. That country was Peru and their ISP has been allowing testing to be done with X.  The telecommunications carrier called Telefonica (TEF) has been working with X for months prior to their disaster to get ahead of other countries with this technology. Fortunately for Peru, their gamble to allow X to perform their tests gave them the optimal coverage that they needed to communicate with the rest of the world by providing the much-needed internet and voice services during their disaster. The testing which was done and the disaster usage of this technology has catapulted X to new horizons and pushed this technology to the forefront of not only disaster recovery, but also stretching the barriers of communication out to rural areas.  The possibilities of this technology and its uses are endless.

X has dubbed the name of this project as “Project Loon”. Project Loon has become ever increasingly visible with all the hurricane activity which has been hitting the US coastlines and islands with devastating results. One of the major islands for the US which is currently suffering is Puerto Rico. After damaging floods from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria again hit the island. Since the aftermath of these two disasters, the island is still having power issues, and typical communication methods such as cell phones or the internet are incapable of being used. Power for much of the island is still out and families within the US are devastated by not knowing the fate of loved ones that have been living in Puerto Rico during the storm. Fortunately, the US government has been keeping an eye on Project Loon and noticed its benefit to Peru. Due to the devastation and the success that Peru had with Project Loon, the US government has granted an experimental license for X to provide communications to Puerto Rico.

This approval by the Federal Communications Commission is exactly the type of boost that X has needed to make its mark in the US. It is the opportunity for X to show that Project Loon can support disasters and give the visibility that the world needs to communicate with disaster struck countries. Alphabet, which owns X and Google is has conquered the first hurdle with the approval by the government. However, the approval is only the first barrier that had to be overcome. Unlike Peru, Puerto Rico had not been testing Project Loon before the disasters took place. The problem is Project Loon extends the coverage of a local telecommunications company and distributes those signals through the balloons hovering over the island. Without the testing and collaboration of a pre-designated telecommunications provider, testing and integration must be done with both systems. These tests are vital to ensure that the system works successfully with the designated telecommunications carrier. Even though the system has been proven to work in Peru with Telefonica, these are two different systems, with one that has already been tested and one has not. Despite the hurdles and barriers in front of Project Loon, they have assured that they are making steady progress to successfully launch communications.

Disasters are horrific and never good for people, neighborhoods, cities, or countries.  As unpredictable as natural disasters are, it is the responsibility of the country to ensure that the people enduring this hardship can communicate at the bare minimum. The US is trying to get Puerto Rico back in good standing through the Loon Project which can not only help Puerto Rico, but also connect parts of the country and the world that are in lack of internet and voice. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA commend X with their efforts to bring this technology mainstream and look forward to their continued growth to help countries such as Puerto Rico get and stay connected to the rest of the world.

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Retinal Scans, SmartPhones, and No More Car Keys!

Monday, September 25th, 2017

The wave of the future keeps getting brighter and brighter as 2017 pushes forward. So many advances that IT GURUS OF ATLANTA has covered and have still yet to cover. One of the most recent innovations comes with car makers now speaking of Retinal Scans to replace conventional car keys. This innovation could revolutionize the way how car makers produce their lineup of cars and the way how consumers utilize cars in the future.  This software is to be integrated as an app from the car maker and then integrated with the user’s smartphone hardware to make each user’s experience unique.

The concept uses NFC, which is called Near-field communications. Near-filed communications utilizes the retinal scan capabilities of devices such as the iPhone X which does facial recognition. The cameras and the algorithms utilized in devices such as the iPhone X allow the security and unique values needed for automakers to place the app as a car key replacement on the device.  One of the major automakers that are pushing NFC is BMW which is noted to be one of the innovators that integrate technology with automobiles. Another concept which BMW is considering the use of the rear-view mirror to embed the security of NFC in order to gain access into the car’s systems. This would act as a secondary security feature on top of the initial retinal scan of the phone used to open the doors of the vehicle.  Gentex, which is a maker for rear view mirrors is the primary company spoken of at a recent Frankfurt Auto Show to integrate this technology.

BMW board member, Ian Robertson, recently told Reuters, “People never take the key out of their pockets.  So why do I need to carry it around? We are looking at whether it is feasible, and whether we can do it. Whether we do it right now or at some point in the future, remains to be seen.”  BMW already setting the trend prior to integrating this technology by priming the market with the current car keys. BMW is one of the few car makers which offers an LCD wireless key.  What this does is integrate the wireless capabilities of a cell phone and a key fob. BMW’s app currently allows car owners to unlock their car, remote start to warm up the car or cool it down prior to the user entering the vehicle. However, as a security feature, the car will not move without the physical key being present inside the vehicle.

Most of the backlash has come from security experts that question the thought of the car security being hacked and made easy for car thefts to be done. The more mobile and internet based access that physical objects have is a double-edged sword. There is the convenience of access, but there is also the security risk of making some tangible accessible by the intangible threats of hacking. Hackers are the most advanced criminal wave threatening the livelihood of society. Now financial, educational, government, and now automaker institutions join the ranks of other entities that are at risk to this growing threat by adding convenience to their products and services. However, with an ever-changing landscape of technology, if other carmakers are integrating the technology, then the other carmakers have little options but to join the standard to maintain their competitive edge.

Tesla the innovator in the electric car has already stepped up to the plate by offering along with their app, Tesla sends out NFC enabled key cards that allows the car to be unlocked or started by a single tap of the card. Tesla utilized Bluetooth technology that does the unlocking and starting of the vehicle. Tesla continues to innovate and many look towards their much anticipated 2018 models to be released. Tesla always raises the bar in terms of what is thought to be practical versus what is envisioned. Industry car makers and accessories manufacturers such as Gentex are envisioning the future with much successful technology implementations.

Gentex, which owns HomeLink, is in the process of integrating biometrical algorithms in order to allow access to cars. They are partnering with Delta ID to use their current ActiveIris technology to take their systems to the next level.  Currently HomeLink is embedded in most models of the rearview mirrors that are produced by Gentex. Homelink controls the garage doors from the vehicles when they approach or leave the home. Gentex is speaking of integrating current features which are part of an app which has security features such as facial, voice, and fingerprint recognition. The future of Gentex has a road map of including keyless car operation with manufacturers such as BMW, then expanding to full home-automation that includes lighting, security, and HVAC.

As this technology develops, integrates, and becomes mainstream, IT GURUS OF ATLANTA will be there every step of the way to give insightful updates and feature concepts that are innovative to the industry.

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

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Confirmed: iPhone 8, iWatch 3, and the secret iPhone X (10)!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

After much anticipation this week, Apple has blown off the hinges with its latest Apple event which took place on September 12th, 2017. This event was one of the technology market’s major event as Apple is the leading manufacturer in cutting edge design, security, and effortless user interfaces. Since the introduction of the original iPhone by Steve Jobs over 10 years ago, Apple has made their mark on the industry and in the world to be a trend setter in the market. Apple has continued to captivate the minds and intuitively interface user and technology in a perfect blend. With releases such as the iPhone 6 Plus which gave us a glimpse into a larger hand set, and then following through with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple has reshaped our expectations of the company and engulfed an ever-evolving way of technological advancement from what is expected into what the mind can achieve.

This year’s Apple event had been a major buzz among Apple enthusiasts including the technology market as rumors circled about how the new iPhone 8 would look. There are always speculations that go around and many of the different enthusiasts had gone from a practical belief of what the iPhone 8 would look like into a realm of extreme possibilities. Well Apple being the show stopper as they are come on September 12th, 2017 to announce their lineup and to set the record straight. The presentation was led by Tim Cook, which is the CEO of Apple, and was assisted by Phil Schiller. In the event, they laid out the new lineup of Apple devices from the Apple TV 4K to iWatch 3, then disclosed the new iPhone 8. The big surprise to everyone was when they gave us a peek at their crown jewel that they have been working on for the past few years, which is the iPhone X (iPhone 10). This mind-blowing device is the high note that Apple closed on during their event. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA want to give more insight on these devices, their availability, and pricing. The first device up is the Apple TV 4k.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K is a tv experience unlike any other. From the depth defying sound, picture quality, apps, and features, it’s clear to see that tv watching is not just tv watching with Apple. Oh, and did we forget to mention the 4k? Yes, that’s right, the Apple TV 4k allows the user to watch their movies and stream in 4K HDR. Stream and watch content from favorite providers such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, and more. One of the key note features which comes along with the Apple TV 4K is that it now has “Siri” integrated. Picking up the remote and speaking to Siri the same as you would on your phone just became that much simpler as this device is fully Siri AI integrated.

If this is your first Apple TV device, then let’s get into the specs of this simple, yet robust device. Well at first glance at opening the box you see it is small such as a mini desktop and then has a remote that comes along with it. Simple but intuitive is the Apple standard. Inspecting the Apple TV 4K, you will see the ports a single HDMI 2.0a, Gigabit Ethernet, and IR Receiver. The output ports allow for Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound which gives the real feel as if being a part of the program that is being viewed.  The other device next to it would be the nifty remote that you would use to speak to Siri, go to channels, open apps, and much more. The remote works on Bluetooth 4.0 technology, has a lightning connector charger, and most importantly, rechargeable batteries to ensure longevity.  The Apple TV 4K weights about 15 ounces so it is light and the remote weights about 1.59 ounces. Underneath the hood o of this device you will find Apple’s A10X chip processor which is what allows the 4K quality to be viewed.  Once the cords are properly connected, the proper input is selected on your 4K TV, then from start, you will see the difference in quality that the Apple TV 4K brings to your home or office.

Now for the next important question and that is pricing and availability. How can a person get their hands on this coveted device? Well let’s start to talk about the two different models. The first model is the 32Gig, which the only difference between this model and the other is the amount of space that can be housed. The next model is the 64Gig in the lineup which allows the maximum room for storage on the device. Pricing wise, is as follows: Apple TV 4K 32Gig – $179 and Apple TV 4K 64Gig – $199. Both devices are available for Pre-Order right now! Once ordered, the first shipments will start to be received as of September 22nd, 2017.

iWatch 3

Step aside iWatch and iWatch 2, the iWatch 3 is what everyone was amazed to see in action. When the stage was taken by Tim Cook and he announced the new features of the iWatch, the audience was amazed at all the new features. The iWatch 3 major selling point is that it is now completely independent of the phone. That is correct. The iWatch 3 is one of the very few wearable watches that has its own cellular network capabilities. This means you can leave your phone at home and still receive all your app alerts, emails, texts, and make/receive calls. The excitement doesn’t stop there as Apple spoke of “Siri” being included and the ability to stream over 40 million songs seamlessly on this device. The wireless earbuds that are an added accessory do not come with the iWatch 3, but Apple knew exactly what they were doing when they designed this device.  The iWatch 3 will set itself above the bar by not only having the cellular network included, but adding dust and water resistance to the list of features. Now swimmers can take their iWatch swimming to monitor their progress and the rest of the world can go diving into the pool without worry about getting their iWatch wet. Its water resistance level is now up to 50 meters now as opposed to previous models such as the original iWatch and iWatch 2.

 

 

As the iWatch 3 is unboxed, its first distinguishing character if getting the cellular version, the digital crown has a red dot over it. The symmetry of the watch remains the same physically and it has the same unique fit as with the other versions.  The iWatch 3 operates on the LTE network with the same connectivity and speed as a smartphone. The iWatch 3 can do noise reduction during calls, get alerts from the same apps on the phone, access to the iTunes store, and music streaming. iWatch 3 comes with WatchOS 4 that is packed with a variety of feature updates. There are four different versions of the iWatch 3, which are the iWatch 3, iWatch 3 Nike, iWatch 3 Edition, and iWatch 3 Hermes. All models come with the S3 chip which is 70% more powerful than the previous versions, 50% more power efficient, and is 85% faster when connected via Wi-Fi. Beyond just the hyped-up speed, the storage capacity has also been increased in the iWatch 3 from 8GB to 16GB allowing even more to be saved locally on the iWatch 3.  The iWatch 3 cost varies by model and size. The cost for the iWatch 3 is iWatch 3 $329 to $749, iWatch 3 Nike series $329 to $399, iWatch 3 Hermes $1,299 to $1,399, then the iWatch 3 Edition which costs $1,299The iWatch 3 pre-orders started on September 15th, 2017 and go on sale on September 22nd, 2017.

iPhone 8

The much-anticipated iPhone 8 hit the airwaves with the months of momentum packed behind it as expected by Apple. The advances in technology and design and how are Apple has managed to blend them into one device is what Apple enthusiasts have grown to want and expect from this new addition to the iPhone family.  From the exterior design, it is easy to see that the casing is in durable glass from edge to edge. This glass exterior gives the phone a slick look which allows it to deliver a smooth finish to the space grey, silver, and gold finishes. The size of the iPhone 8 comes as with previous iPhone 6 and 7, where there is the standard 4.7-inch retina display and the Plus size which comes with a 5.5-inch retina display.  The display comes with 3D touch integrated along with enhanced retina sensors to improve the visual experience of the device.  The two dual speakers at the bottom of the phone includes an upgrade that packs a deeper base feature giving more quality sound as playback or streaming is done with more precision.  The lightening connector at the bottom of the phone between the speakers has dual usage which is for charging and wired headphones to plug into as with previous models.  The home button with fingerprint ID is in the same location along with the side power, and volume buttons.  The true magic of the iPhone 8 is beneath the hood.

The True Tone display gives a rich feel for the picture and video quality. The mechanics behind the quality of imagery given by True Tone is that it has sensors that measure the amount of ambient light color and adjusts the brightness accordingly when capturing videos and pictures. Storage for the iPhone 8 has been limited to two sizes which are the 64GB and 256GB. The dust and water resistance capabilities have been enhanced to give the iPhone 8 a water resistance level of rating IP67. This means that it can be submerged in under 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes and still function without issues.  Capturing photos and videos are impressive with a 7MP front facing camera which is complemented with a 12MP rear facing camera.  The standard iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with digital zoom. The standard comes with 5x digital zoom and the plus comes with 10x digital zoom.  Portrait mode comes standard with the iPhone 8 Plus, but then gets an upgrade by having Portrait mode in the front facing camera with Portrait lighting. The beloved Portrait mode can now be done with light from the front or the back and in light or dark scenarios.   Video capture and playback are done in magnificent 4K at 24, 30, and now 60 fps.  The ability to take 8MP photos while capturing 4K video recordings comes as part of the iPhone 8 package for both models.

To get a true understanding of the work designed behind the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is to look at the processor. By doing a true blend of Artificial Intelligence, user interaction, speed, and efficiency, Apple’s driving force for this device is the A11 Bionic chip.  The A11 Bionic chip has a neural engine which does true machine learning. This chipset is the most powerful currently packed into a smartphone device. With this processor, it allows the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to perform 25% faster than the previous models. Multi-tasking is easily accomplished without compromising performance by the A11’s ability to access all 6 cores simultaneously.  Wireless charging has been added as an enhancement which Apple is showing that they are slowly moving away from the conventional cords that restrict use and access. The icing on this cake is iOS 11, which comes with a plethora of additions to performance, features, and updates. iOS 11 will come standard on all of Apple’s new devices and will be available for download to all Apple devices on September 19th, 2017.  Now for pricing on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 prices are 64GB $699 and 256GB $699, then the iPhone 8 Plus is 64GB $799 and 256GB $949. Preorder today with your carrier and be one of the first to receive shipment between October 2nd to October 9th, 2017.

iPhone X (iPhone 10)

Before closing the Apple event on September 12th, 2017, Apple gave its enthusiasts a market changing introduction of their iPhone X (iPhone 10). Everyone expected that the iPhone 8 would be the star of the show and then subsequent models would follow to make the introduction of the iPhone 8 and updates that much more powerful. However, Apple had a different view in mind. To commemorate their 10th year anniversary and to give the Apple fans innovative technology, they introduced the iPhone X (iPhone 10). From the exterior to the interior, the iPhone X is unlike any other iPhone ever delivered by Apple. One of the first features to stand out about the iPhone X is that the screen goes from edge to edge, where the black spaces were for the fingerprint ID and the upper large portion for the camera and hearing have been significantly reduced to a thin strip. There is no more “home button” and the screen has jumped to a 5.8-inch super retina display. The screen size is larger than any of the iPhone Plus models. The phone comes in two colors which is space grey and silver adding feature to the durable glass which encompasses the phone completely. In terms of pixel density, the phone has 458 ppi (pixels per inch).  OLED is integrated into the super retina display of the device and is the first to be integrated with a smartphone. True Tone is included with this device as with the iPhone 8, it enhances the picture taking experience and allows the viewer to engage with the images or videos on a more realistic level.

“Siri” can be engaged by the usual “Hey Siri”, but if there is no home button, then Siri can be launched by the new feature of the right-side button.  The iPhone X comes with what Apple has dubbed “Face ID”. Facial recognition is included with the iPhone X allowing it to give the security features of facial recognition that is required. The facial recognition feature is so advanced that it will not unlock the phone unless the phone is looked at by the user.  The thin strip at the top of the display is where the technology resides. In the thin strip at the top of iPhone X is located the Infrared Camera, Flood Illuminator, Front Camera, Dot Projector, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Speaker, and Microphone. All these features work together to determine the size, depth, and characteristics to create a mathematical model to determine if there is a match for the face ID originally created by the owner of the device.  Even if there are changes to the user such as changing hairstyles, adding accessories, aging, or even adding facial hair, Face ID can depict the owner of the device and if there is a match. All processes are done on the device and not sent to a server as with other facial recognition software. The statistics revealed by Apple is that only 1 in 1,000,000 can ever unlock the device with similar facial features.

iPhone X comes dust and water resistant with the same level of resistance that the iPhone 8 has of IP67. Wireless charging is integrated as part of the features added which is why the durable glass encases the device from edge to edge. No more need for conventional chargers or carrying multiple chargers for all your Apple devices.  Portrait mode is integrated with the camera allowing selfies to be taken with the professional sharp look that users of the iPhone Plus have grown fond of.  No longer having to only take Portrait images in lighted areas only, because there is a new Portrait Lighting feature that is supported by the TrueDepth camera included with this device. The back camera is 12MP and the front facing camera receives the upgrade of 7MP.  The digital and optical zoom is up to 10x. Taking videos are all in 4K giving the record and playback features impeccable quality at 60fps.

The true genius behind the iPhone X is derived from the A11 Bionic chip which has a total of 6 cores. Two of the cores are the major processors and the other four load balance for the primary processors making multi-tasking effortless.  The A11 chip is integrated with machine learning allowing for an advanced user experience as it learns the habits, voice, and facial features of the owner.  The iPhone X comes with iOS 11 as part of its standard package allowing the new OS to fit this device perfectly.  The battery life for the iPhone X has been upgraded to 21hrs of talk time, 12hrs of internet surfing, 13hrs of video playback, 60hrs of audio playback, and up to 50% faster charge than the previous models.

Now for pricing and availability of this new this device. The iPhone X comes in the same capacity as the iPhone 8 which is 64GB and 256GB. The pricing for the iPhone X is $999 for the 64GB and $1,149 for the 256GB. Apple is accepting Pre-orders for the iPhone X on October 27th, 2017 and the first shipments will start to be received 3rd of November 2017. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA have been keeping close tabs on Apple and their development of this new technology. We look forward to unveiling more information for this device as the time rapidly approaches. Stay connected with the latest news and updates from IT GURUS OF ATLANTA by subscribing to our newsletter in the link below:

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New Tech Possible Use in Mayweather Vs. McGregor Fight! Blending Physical with Tech!

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Now who in the world of technology, sports, or entertainment has not heard of the huge Main Event on Saturday, August 26th, 2017. The main event which I am speaking of is McGregor Vs. Mayweather. This fight has been all over the news since the beginning of the name calling, extravagant photo scenes, press conferences, and live appearances by both boxers to show their personalities. From the young to the old which has a television, smartphone, tablet, computer, radio, or just general access to the internet has heard of this event for months in the making. McGregor coming from a Mixed Martial arts background winning multiple titles to Mayweather which is an undefeated boxing legend, both these box office smashers bring a plethora of experience from different arenas to this one history making event.  These two titans are engaged to a battle which will reveal one victor.

As sports fans and entertainment enthusiasts gather to watch the event either live or via multiple broadcasting platforms, technology experts are geared up to see the possibility of the introduction of a new technology to the Main Event arena. This new technology which we speak of is called “StrikeTec”. These are wearable sensors which the boxers would wear to keep track of their movements, force, number of punches thrown, and speed. This valuable data can give accurate information which the naked eye can sometimes miss and data that can be further used for training and even gaming software.

The StrikeTec wearable sensors progress and learn along with the user. The more the user wears the devices is the more accurate the data is evaluating the performances and giving meaningful insights and reports designed to increase performance.  Coaches can use the data to determine the force of a punch, the speed at which the punches are being thrown, and determine the exhaustion rate more accurately than ever. More than just using previous techniques that have been effective in the past, this data can prove that technology can blend naturally with physical improvement.

 

 

 

The sensors themselves are 7mm in height and 18mm in length. The sensors are attached to the user’s wristband and communicates via Bluetooth to the StrikeTec Boxing Training App. The user’s routines, and current stats are translated into real-time data which is used to determine how the coach will increase or decrease the boxer’s activities during a fight.

 

Between Mayweather and McGregor, it is possible to see this technology being utilized to analyze how the boxers are performing and how the coaches communicate with them. Even though unconfirmed that McGregor and Mayweather fight will be using this exact technology, the boxing and technology world is a buzz with the possibilities that technology and boxing are blending in this huge Main Event.

For the gamers amongst us, this data will surely be used in future games to be brought out by EA sports and other large gaming companies. Previously the data from fights and training of these boxers were either compiled through the naked eye in the past or through suits the boxers wear with multiple sensors to monitor movement. The data used in previous games was sometimes viewed as biased, however, with the current evolution of technology and its accuracy gamers are certain to get more accuracy with their games. This invaluable data which is currently being captured by StrikeTec is not only being transitioned from boxing, but into other sports such as Mixed Martial Arts, and Kickboxing. As the water resistant capabilities expand with this technology, swimming and other water sports are sure to follow in the line of sports that this technology will be used to monitor athletes! IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is always there at the edge of cutting edge technology and we will embrace the efforts of StrikeTec as they expand their growing reaching in the sporting arena.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

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