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In 2019, smartphone brands have made huge jumps in camera quality, especially when it comes to zoom and low-light. On the other hand, video quality hasn’t been given the same amount of attention. That could change in 2020 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865’s improved ISP. Yet, even as Android smartphones are shipping with larger internal storage capacities, have faster modems, and are now supporting 5G networks, an old limitation prevents most of these phones from saving video files that are larger than 4GB in size. However, that could change in Android 11, the next major version of Android that’s set to release in 2020. I’ll try to summarize the reasoning behind this limitation without going too deep into the technical aspects. Basically, Google decided that Android’s MediaMuxer and MPEG4Writer classes, which are respectively responsible for muxing (combining) video files and saving them as MP4 files, should support outputting an MP4 file with a maximum size of 2^32 – 1 byte, which is approximately 4GB. This decision was made in early 2014, back when the Google Nexus 5 with its maximum 32GB of internal storage was still on the market, SD cards were still widely in use, and the first phones with 4K video recording had just come to market (Galaxy Note 3). Thus, there wasn’t much demand to save video files over 4GB in size: most phones didn’t have enough storage, SD cards formatted in FAT32 wouldn’t support it anyway, and few phones recorded in high enough quality to even meet that limitation. Fast forward 5 years and much has changed: there are now phones with 1TB of storage, SD cards are now the exception rather than the norm, and 4K video recording is ubiquitous, with 8K video recording soon to reach devices. Today, if you record a 4K video on the Pixel 4, your video will reach 4GB in size in about 12 minutes; that’s at the default quality settings of 30fps for the frame rate and 48Mbps for the bitrate. After about 12 minutes of recording, the camera app will save the video and immediately begin recording another video – without the user noticing. When you check your phone’s DCIM folder, you’ll notice that what was supposed to be one continuous video recording has instead been split into multiple video files. For example, a 73-minute video recording on my Pixel 4 was split into 7 different files – all of which were seen by Google Photos as separate recordings. It’s not difficult to mux these MP4 files before uploading to Google Photos, but you’ll have to use a third-party app if you want to do so. Most people wouldn’t bother or know how to do so, I would imagine. Further details provided on OUR FORUM.

Time is running out for anyone still on Windows 7. Soon there'll be no more security and software updates. Here's what you need to do. The end is near: All support for Windows 7 expires on Jan 14,2020. While the operating system will remain fully functional, no more updates mean you could be working on a computer with major security holes that won't ever be fixed by Microsoft. Considering that the number of vulnerabilities on Windows 7 that could be potential entry points for Trojans or viruses is steadily increasing, you need to have a plan to upgrade to Windows 10. Most private users will be able to get a free update. Windows 10 accepts Windows 7 installation keys – provided you still have that edition installed. You can make the change in three ways: Upgrade the Windows 7 installation to Windows 10, replace it with a brand new Windows 10 installation or install the new operating system parallel to the old one. Whichever you do, you should save your data beforehand and download the free Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. With this, the disk image required for the migration can be downloaded and saved on a USB stick, for example. The advantage of a parallel installation is that all your programs, settings and data will remain untouched. The entire Windows 7 installation is preserved and is only a restart away. If you're upgrading, the experts recommend that you check that all your drivers are up to date beforehand, in particular critical ones such as for the graphics chip or USB interfaces. You also need to uninstall any virus scanner, as Windows 10 brings its own (Defender). Otherwise, the upgrade may fail due to outdated drivers or because the virus scanner blocks it. When you go to upgrade, you need to insert the USB stick or DVD containing the Windows 10 disk image while Windows 7 is running and click on the "Setup.exe" file. If you want a fresh install of Windows 10 that completely replaces Windows 7, you need to restart the computer so it can boot from the USB stick or DVD.

At Microsoft’s Ignite 2019 conference, the company announced the general availability date for its new Edge web browser. The Chromium-based Microsoft Edge will be available on January 15 and it appears that the migration will happen in the background through an over-the-air software update. In updated support documentation, Microsoft quietly announced that Chromium-based Edge will be rolled out to Windows 10 computers via a Windows Update. It makes sense since the Chromium-based version of Edge is not tied to Windows or any operating system releases. The document suggests that users will not have the option to keep the old Edge and the new browser would be deployed ‘automatically’ for all systems running Windows 10 version 1803 (April 2018 Update) or newer. “To help our customers become more secure and up-to-date, Microsoft will distribute Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) through Automatic Updates for Windows 10 RS4 and newer,” the company said. While the consumers will be forced to try the new Edge experience, Microsoft says it will launch a Blocker Toolkit for organizations so administrators can control the installation of the new browser on configurations with automatic Windows Update enabled. Microsoft is hoping to address the bugs and add new extensions to the store ahead of the browser’s general availability in January. Microsoft is inviting developers to update their existing Edge extensions and as well as migrate their other extensions to the new browser. The classic Edge never got a significant number of browser extensions due to its low adoption and Microsoft’s strict policy of manually reviewing each extension. While Microsoft will still review the extensions and the process could be slow, Edge users will be able to install Chrome or Chromium extensions from other marketplaces such as Chrome web store. Chromium-based Edge currently has more than 100 extensions available on its add-ons website, but the store is likely to get many more add-ons ahead of the browser’s general availability in January. Follow this and more on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox Series X, its flagship next-generation console succeeding Xbox One, promising leading performance at up to 8K or 120Hz. While formerly teased under the Project Scarlett moniker, it closes the year with an early glimpse of its top-tier SKU on track for late 2020. That includes a sleek all-black tower-style casing, with a refined Xbox controller characterized by a fresh look and share button. The Xbox Series X is expected to go head-to-head with the Sony PlayStation 5 next holiday, kicking off a new hardware cycle scrambling for performance. Microsoft has detailed sizeable CPU and GPU upgrades under the hood, backing our previously-reported Xbox Series X specifications, looking to support improved resolutions, framerates, and overall graphical fidelity. And while pledging to deliver Xbox Series X in 2020, Microsoft is yet to open preorders for the console. With a formal price yet to be unveiled, we're yet to receive the opportunity to lock down a payment – assumedly on hold until closer to launch. While some third-party retailers allow buyers to "register" interest and subscribe to future updates, there's no official option to preorder in late 2019. With the Xbox Series X reveal, GameSpot sat down with Xbox partner director of program management, Jason Ronald, discussing the team's current stance of preorders. "We think, in the end, what people want from us is ... to put a controller [in their] hand," Ronald told GameSpot. "People tell me, 'Hey, I want to pre-order right now,' and we definitely love that--like it's great to have those fans--but I also know that these investments aren't trivial for families. I want to be transparent about what our design goals are." So, when will Xbox Series X preorders go live? That's currently unclear, with Microsoft remaining coy on plans and when future updates are expected. Redmond is still locking down the final hardware configuration planned for the console, which makes sense given the full year before launch. When preorders do go live, expect Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, and all other major retailers to stock the device. Pricing for the Xbox Series X also remains a mystery, although with both Xbox One and Xbox One X positioned at $500 from launch, expect a somewhat similar ballpark for the next console. Whether the Xbox Series X sees a dedicated reveal event next spring, similar to the original Xbox One, or Microsoft shelves the device until E3 in June, expect to more on pricing, and how to place your order in 2020. Follow this thread by visiting OUR FORUM.

The seven-year cycle of the Sony PS4 will come to an end next year, which means that the Next-Gen game console is in full development. In the meantime, the Japanese manufacturer has officially announced that the Sony PlayStation 5 will be launched before Christmas 2020. The PS5 is expected to be officially announced in February, during PlayStation Meeting 2020. Update 26/11: Samsung has announced a Solid State Drive (SSD) for PCs and game consoles. Chances are that this NVMe SSD is intended for the PlayStation 5. Possibly the same memory is also used by the developing Microsoft Xbox Two, finally, this game console will also have SSD memory. Update 20/11: The possible introduction date, price, and release date have been leaked. According to the latest information, the PS5 will not be announced in February 2020, but in June during the E3 2020. The game console will receive a prize of $ 499 / € 499 and will be released on November 20, 2020, with a 2TB SSD. It remains to be seen whether Europe will also immediately belong to the first batch. The previous PlayStation game console was first released in America, followed by the European launch two weeks later. If Sony opts for the same strategy this time (which is certainly not inconceivable), this means that in the Netherlands we can also buy the Sony PS5 around the New Year. At least, you can actually buy the new game console. Because with Game Mania you can place a PS5 pre-order since October 2019. If you decide to make a reservation, you must make a deposit of € 50. As soon as the sale price is announced by Sony, this down payment amount will be deducted as a discount, so that you will not have to pay anything extra for your ultimate game system. Regarding the design, with every new generation of PlayStation, it has been decided to totally revise the design. It is expected that the five-generation will get a totally new design. In August 2019, LetsGoDigital was able to discover the design of the Sony PS5 Development Kit, which is used by game developers to develop PS5 games. A Dev Kit usually looks different from the consumer version, so it is still unclear what the PS5 will look like that we can buy in the stores later. Although Sony has not yet released information about the price and design, the manufacturer has already revealed several new features over time. The new PlayStation 5 thus becomes an 8K game console, and it will also be possible to play in 4K @ 60fps. Please visit OUR FORUM for more.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends making sure that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart TVs in your home are properly configured to protect them and your other devices from potential attackers. FBI's recommendations come after a long stream of malicious campaigns targeting such devices that usually are unsecured, to either add them to large botnets or use them as a stepping stone in multi-stage attacks aiming for other devices like smartphones and personal computers. This advice aims to help you build a digital defense around your smart TV and IoT devices to protect your sensitive personal and financial information, seeing that they are easily reachable as they usually come with an Internet connection enabled by default. "Unsecured devices can allow hackers a path into your router, giving the bad guy access to everything else on your home network that you thought was secure," the FBI Portland Office says. "59.7% of routers have weak credentials or some vulnerabilities" and "59.1% of users worldwide have never logged into their router or have never updated its firmware," said Avast in its 2019 Smart Home Security Report published in February — the stats were extracted from data collected from 16 million different home networks and 56 million devices all over the world. The easiest way to protect your data from a hacker that manages to compromise one of your IoT devices is to secure your home network by segregating them on a separate network. "Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network," the FBI says. "Keep your most private, sensitive data on a separate system from your other IoT devices." The US federal law enforcement agency also advises changing the devices' default password with unique and hard to crack passwords, thus blocking any hacking attempts trying to use known passwords set with factory settings. Making sure that mobile apps paired with such devices don't have permissions that would allow them to harvest your information is also recommended, as is always keeping all your IoT devices up to date by enabling automatic updates whenever possible. "Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home," the FBI states. "A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router." Following a successful attack, hackers can take control of the smart TV in your living room or bedroom to spy on you using the built-in microphone and camera. For recommendations please visit OUR FORUM.