Spillikins №529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The week was difficult, many events are sad, especially since they could have been avoided. With these topics, we will start the release, but before that I want to dwell on the craze that has swept the Russian market - in 2019, various associations of musicians plan to release their electronics, headphones and speakers. In the coming days, you will hear about the launch of the Black Star acoustics line, which includes wireless headphones and a number of other accessories.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

This is the first sign of this year, later there will be lines from other artists who will stand on the shelves of different stores. The laurels of Dr. Dre, who at one time made a lot of money on his fans who bought headphones, haunt domestic performers. And it seems to me that there is a certain rational grain in this. It is clear that initially these will be turned Chinese devices. But due to competition, the desire to stand out, perhaps someone will start doing a little more, and then competition will arise. This means that we will see the growth of local brands that will try to provide either value, or design, or both. And this is to be welcomed. I do not have the feeling that the topic will instantly take off, the pioneers will fill a lot of cones. However, it will be an interesting journey. Are you interested in getting headphones from the Russian musicians you listen to? Who, in your opinion, has the most loyal audience today, whose fans are ready to buy electronics without looking back at the fact that the same headphones under the X brand did not exist before? While you think about this question, we will start our weekly issue. Let's go!

Content

Live shooting and Boeing crash in Ethiopia - social media

At first glance, two tragedies have absolutely nothing in common - one happened in Africa, the other in New Zealand. In one case, the aircraft control system failed, in another, people deliberately used weapons to kill other people, massacred a mosque. Unfortunately, both of these stories are united by the fact that they are typical of our world, but at the same time, the latest technologies that are available to mankind are used here and there.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner, which comes to replace old aircraft, new avionics are being installed. In October 2018, such a Lion Air plane crashed, killing 189 people. Even then, there were many strange things in the discussion, for example, the pilots claimed that they were not warned about how one of the security systems worked, and then it led to a disaster. Boeing did not write instructions about this, as they did not consider it necessary.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

To appreciate this story, it must be placed in the context of competition between airliner manufacturers - there are two major players in the world today, Boeing and Airbus. The Boeing 737 model belongs to the narrow-body liners, it is a workhorse, one of the most popular aircraft in the world - it appeared in the late 60s. The competing Airbus A320 was created twenty years later, and in it many hydraulic control systems - read, mechanics - were replaced with electric ones, although there is no need to talk about the complete computerization of decisions of that time. The appearance of the A320neo gave an impetus to the development of Boeing, as the updated machine gave airlines a different fuel consumption, the avionics changed, which made it easier to control the aircraft. The importance of avionics and how it can make it easier to control a car in a critical situation is often talked about in terms of the Airbus A320 landing on the Hudson in 2009, when not a single passenger or crew member died. An experienced pilot, who knew the plane well and knew how to fly it, performed an actual miracle, squeezed everything out of the car that was possible, and saved people. The opposite also happens, when a human error occurs, the crew is not sufficiently prepared and cannot save either themselves or people, this is a matter of knowledge and skills. The same Lion Air flight experienced the crew struggling with an automatic control system that was taking over control. The pilots were not trained how to act in such a situation, for them it was unexpected. We can say that it was the avionics that led to the disaster, and people could not take control.

The recent crash is still being investigated, but the wreckage of the plane has already been found, which indicate the exact similarity of the situation with the tragedy that happened six months earlier. Moreover, external control and the situation itself also match the description of the Lion Air disaster. It turns out that the Ethiopian Airlines crew and passengers died due to the fact that for six months no one admitted that there could be a mistake, although it was described in the press and widely discussed. Boeing did not turn off the system, did not test this system many times on simulators and simulators, in any case, I could not find any messages on this topic. The reason for the company's cautious behavior is that the total number of orders for the 737 Max 8 exceeds 5,000, it is the company's best-selling Airbus A320neo, and orders placed for the coming years alone amount to almost $700 billion in money. It was impossible to question the quality of this liner, and therefore this position of the company led to the next disaster, I have no doubts about it. I am sure that people working in aviation, at least some of them, will take a completely different position - there is no official result of the investigation yet, and it is too early to talk about anything. And this is the right position, it is balanced and logical, but only at first glance. We had a disaster, and after it, a system failure was publicly discussed, which was not fixed in any way. And do you know why? This would mean landing all planes and incurring multi-million dollar losses every day. Boeing doesn't have the ability to instantly retrofit the hundreds of planes that are affected. And the decision to sweep the dirt under the rug, familiar to everyone since childhood, found application in this situation. This is how I see the whole story, unfortunately, this is a corporate game in which money is more important than people, no matter what they say about it today.

China was the first to land the Boeing 737 Max 8 and banned the flights of these aircraft. China was followed by other countries, a couple of days later Russia and the United States joined the bans. Boeing habitually said that the cars are safe, but until the end of the proceedings they support this ban. In the coming weeks, Boeing is due to create new software that will change the operation of the MCAS system, which prevents aircraft from stalling. In particular, developers use not one, but two sensors to make a decision. The system will be turned off if the pilots take control, that is, the system will not automatically work with manual control. They also promise to train the crews to act in such a situation. Sounds healthy? Undoubtedly. But the problem is exactly one thing - why does everyone at Boeing do this only after the second disaster? And only after these aircraft were actually landed all over the world, refusing to operate them. There are many things to think about here, but the main thing is that public discussion and pressure on the airline was clearly not enough to force it to act and take the steps that were necessary. The wave of discussions on social media was emotional, but that's all - nothing specific was proposed, nor were any conclusions drawn.

And here we come to the second story, which, oddly enough, hit Facebook hard. Several people staged a massacre in a small New Zealand town, they broke into a mosque, where they began to kill people, the total death toll at the time of writing was already close to fifty. To some extent, it looks like the plot of some kind of computer game, the death of people is perceived by many teenagers as something familiar, familiar to them from games. I was not too lazy and read forums, discussions in different countries, the palette of opinions is wide, but if we discard the extreme ones, then, in addition to sympathy, there will be a noticeable fraction of those who see this not as a disaster, but as entertainment and nothing more. This is a kind of game with the best graphics, since these graphics are real, that is, these are videos of a real place and real people. I would venture to guess that most of those who think so are quite young and have grown up on various reality simulators that give you the ability to kill and contain scenes of violence that look realistic. The line between the game and the real world has blurred or become thin.

Let's imagine for a moment that someone finds a vulnerability in an airliner's software that allows it to run a program that will cause it to crash after takeoff. And then hundreds of people will die. Or such an error will be in the autopilot of cars of certain brands. Someone who talks about a vulnerability will most likely not put it into practice, but there will be people who want to try and see what happens in reality. They will not care about someone else's life, it is exclusively virtual for them, they do not know these people and will never know. And, as a result, we will face the fact that neo-barbarians without social prohibitions and attitudes will be able to decide the fate of other people for a short time. This is a terrible drug - a feeling of own power over other people's lives, and in the hands of those people who, as a rule, have not achieved anything in society. The glory of Herostratus is still a kind of fame that those who go to massacres so much crave. We are not protected from this in any way, and modern media show role models of behavior, pay attention to how often they shoot at American schools. This is not a question of the population having weapons in their hands, it is a question of the fact that the media show such a model, condemn it, but, nevertheless, demonstrate that individuals find a way out in this. And others repeat this pattern.

Our world does not yet depend entirely on programmers and the code they write. But this is temporary, as the number of systems directly dependent on computers increases every year. Computerization provides huge benefits, but it is also our weak link. But the weakest link is education and the values ​​that we give to children, how we shape society, what is possible and what is not. Media, computer games with violence, social networks - all this is developing too quickly and without any real control or restrictions. Any person in the network is able to get any information, but also to find like-minded people, and of any kind. This is a huge plus, but at the same time a huge minus.

It is my deep conviction that many things in our lives should not be turned into a show, for example, plane crashes or massacres like New Zealand. And many should think about what responsibility lies on them for what is happening. For example, for myself, I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to support people who are hungry for attention, and therefore I just don’t watch streams or their recordings where there is deliberate violence, as was the case in New Zealand. Alas, I, like society, do not have ready-made recipes for how to solve all these problems. But there is no doubt that they need to be solved, they transform the world around us too much.

Spotify vs. Apple, and a small win for Qualcomm

The Spotify streaming service is not so well known in Russia, but it is extremely popular in the world, and especially in the USA. At the end of 2018, Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers worldwide. By comparison, Apple Music has 56 million users worldwide and is not growing as fast as Spotify. The Swedish company behind the service has filed a complaint with the European Commission that Apple is restricting features on iOS and discriminating against competitors. For the sake of this, they even created a separate website that tells what exactly Apple is doing with competitors. You can find it here.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

Let me list the five main claims that Spotify makes against Apple. I think that you can easily agree with many.

Claim #1. Apple requires a 30% mark-up for in-app sales, which is the money the company receives. But in reality, this markup is not paid by Uber, Deliveroo and a number of other players, especially since Apple Music does not have such a markup. It turns out that this is discrimination. Apart from other claims, this does not sound like a very strong position, because iOS as a platform is owned by Apple, and the company can charge money for distributing software, but let's see how the company limits its users and developers.

Claim #2. If a developer refuses to pay within an Apple app, then Apple restricts their communications with the consumer. For example, you cannot offer any discounts, promos, or other things on the app. But what's even more interesting is that you sign an agreement under which you also cannot send emails with such offers. You either pay Apple or agree to these draconian terms.

Claim #3. It is not possible to upgrade your subscription from a free to a paid version within the Apple app, it is prohibited. That is, the user must somehow find out that this can be done on the Spotify website, since any communications on this topic are prohibited in the application, as well as mailings, as we talked about in paragraph number two.

Claim #4. In Apple, without explanation, they do not allow updating many functions in the application, fixing bugs. In fact, there are obstacles to improve the Spotify application, although there are no and cannot be any restrictions for the native Apple Music application.

Claim #5. Apple restricts access to the platform to create a competitive advantage. For example, they do not allow Spotify on Apple Watch, they do not give access to Siri, HomePod, and so on. That is, in fact, the Spotify user is forced to use Apple products for voice control, since the company does not provide any other option. This is unfair competition.

These allegations have been sent along with the facts to the European Commission, the next question is whether an investigation into Apple's practices will begin. The likelihood that the European Commission will launch such an investigation is extremely high, and this threatens Apple with big trouble, the company will not be able to put pressure on competitors, as it does now, and the example of Spotify is just one of many. For Apple, the fight against Spotify is a fight for the future of revenue from other people's content and services, and a fight to the death. With falling iPhone sales, the only source of income is services that should bring money. And here the attack on Apple comes from all sides, large companies do not want to pay a tax on the Apple ecosystem and offer their users to buy their services on the side. Given that on Android all the same services and content are noticeably cheaper (at least 30%!), Apple's future lies with its own services, otherwise they will remain in splendid isolation.

Apple's response to Spotify's claims is expectedly vague, there are no specifics on the facts, but only general words that Spotify is popular on the iOS platform and this supposedly means that the application was not restricted in any way.

As for me, the current situation is critical, and the pressure on Apple will increase. Another thing is that such cases have been going on for years, and it is not worth waiting for the result before 2020-2021. But the important thing is that the investigations and their results will come out at a time when Apple's market situation will worsen even more, all these stories will increase the company's problems in the future.

Look at Qualcomm's battle with Apple, which began two years ago. In San Diego, Qualcomm won a lawsuit against Apple. The case dealt with Qualcomm's patent infringement and found that Apple had infringed three patents for a paltry $31 million in damages. But most importantly, this opens the door to other lawsuits and, in particular, to calculate payments from each iPhone sold, and there the amounts will be completely different.

Simultaneously, in Apple vs. Qualcomm in California, a judge ruled that Qualcomm owed Apple a billion dollars in retro bonuses that weren't paid out as companies began to sue around the world. What many perceive as a victory for Apple is not. The very nature of retro bonuses is such that they may not be paid if a number of agreements are violated, and they were violated in this situation. So Qualcomm will fight back from paying this money for a long time, especially since counterclaims are in progress.

Vipe chargers - portable and stationary. Replacement laptop charger

I've said many times that I'm happy with my 2013 MacBook Pro 13 and I'm not going to change it to something else. In any case, while he works and copes with his work with a bang. Nevertheless, different machines come to the tests, Huawei's MateBook recently arrived, and I caught myself thinking that I lack Power Delivery (PD) technology support in my laptop. It allows you to use not only certified chargers from different manufacturers to charge your laptop, but also external batteries, which looks like science fiction, but it no longer is. It is clear that it will not work to fully charge a laptop from a 20,000 mAh battery, but extending its operation for a couple of hours is already worth a lot, especially if you are somewhere in the mountains where you cannot find an outlet during the day with fire. Or you are in places where there is almost never a light, and diesel generators provide power, as was the case last summer when I traveled around the Pamirs.

Most modern laptops support PD technology starting from a certain cost, if we talk about devices from Apple, then these are both MacBook and MacBook Air / Pro of different diagonals that have been released in recent years. When buying a laptop, I always had the question of what I also need to buy an additional charger, since I live in several places (home, office at least), and carrying a charger with me is not always convenient. Chargers from Apple have never been inexpensive, and there were no alternatives, since the company forbade creating chargers for a proprietary connector. With the advent of USB Type C connectors, everything has changed, and now different companies are creating alternative chargers that are in many ways superior to what Apple itself offers.

In MVideo I accidentally stumbled upon a Vipe charger (then I saw that the product was fresh and was only spreading through federal networks, I also found it in iPort St. Petersburg), it is called Vipe PowerStation and is designed for different devices. In "MVideo" this device is positioned for laptops, placed it in the appropriate section. In my opinion, this is not at all the case, and here's why. This is a universal charger with three USB ports and one USB Type C port. It is clear that it can charge a PD-enabled laptop with it, but in fact, you can use this block to quickly charge your iPhone or any other smartphone, as well as other devices.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins № 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The more I read into the specifications, the more I realized that I needed this little thing even taking into account the fact that my main laptop does not support PD. Take a look at what connectors are on board this 75 watt charging station.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

With the orange label, this is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the other two USB ports deliver up to 2.4A/5V. Moreover, Quick Charge is claimed by Qualcomm, but in fact, fast charging of smartphones from Samsung, Huawei (3.6-6V / 3A, 6-9V / 2A, 9-12V / 1.5A) is supported. Of course, USB Type C initially supports various operating parameters - 5V / 3A, 9V / 3A, 15V / 3A, 18V / 3A, 20V / 3A. All these connectors are located on one front side, and you can charge several devices at the same time.

It comes with a small stand and a cable, all very compact. I liked that the cable is 1.5 meters long and it is convenient for stationary installation of the station at home, it will not be difficult to reach the outlet if you put the station on the table.

I have never seen a light sensor in such chargers, it serves here to reduce the brightness of the indicator. In complete darkness, it becomes muffled, in bright light it flares up more strongly.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The weight of this small box is 215 grams. This is quite comparable to Apple's 61 watt charger (276 grams). But at the same time, the dimensions and compactness are comparable, and instead of one USB Type C output, you get four different connectors at once and you can charge several devices at the same time.

In terms of compactness, this unit reminds me of a typical external battery, the difference between them is minimal, so you can imagine how it will fit into your backpack or bag. The ideal scenario for using such a station when traveling is that you do not take a charger from your laptop, your smartphones, you only need cables. And it turns out that the weight of your luggage is reduced, and the convenience is increased - you feed all your electronics from one charge. Conveniently? Wrong word.

The quality of workmanship, thoughtful design - all this speaks in favor of the Vipe PowerStation, but the most important argument against which it is difficult to argue is the cost. In the same MVideo, the price of the accessory is 4,990 rubles. In addition to the station in black, you can buy it in white. I somehow got tired of the white color and therefore took a black one.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

For comparison, I will give the cost of a 61 W MacBook charger - 5,990 rubles. It is noticeably simpler, has only one connector and is inferior to this solution in every sense. The dimensions, as you remember, are exactly the same. Cool stuff? Absolutely.

Already after I got acquainted with PowerStation, I decided to find the company and asked to show what other chargers there are. It turned out that there are two TravelStation S / M power supplies, the first for 45 watts, the second for 60 watts. This is a simple version of the charger, which, perhaps, will be enough for everyone who does not have many electronic devices, the difference from the PowerStation is that there are only two connectors on the case, USB Type C and a regular USB with QC 3.0 support.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

In both models, the plug is built into the case, meaning you don't need to carry a wire, but you will be tied to the outlet and where it is located. With a wire, I like the solution more, since you are guaranteed to be able to “plug in”, but here the charging size, similar to that of Apple, is not always and everywhere convenient, you know this even better than me.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The price of TravelStation M for 60 watts in the same MVideo is 3,790 rubles. Let me remind you that an analog from Apple costs 5,990 rubles, the difference in cost is obvious, and the presence of a second USB output is here >Satin Bonnets is a clear advantage, it is difficult to compare them directly in terms of capabilities. Portable charging is also done neatly, in terms of price / quality ratio, it turned out to be excellent.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins No. 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

What can I finally say about these devices? In my opinion, they turned out great, and they are needed for those who often travel or charge several devices at home. This is a good replacement for standard PD power supplies for laptops from both Apple and other companies. If you live in several places, then instead of lugging around chargers, you can buy such charging stations and solve your problems once and for all. When traveling, it is also a convenient alternative to a bunch of different chargers, you only need to take wires with you. The same PowerStation was with me in Barcelona, ​​Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and I quickly got used to the fact that I have fast charging in one place, it's damn convenient. In Barcelona, ​​just in case, I took the usual exercises, insured against surprises, then abandoned them. I hope that my experience will be useful for you, as many of my friends and colleagues are constantly traveling and looking for solutions on how to lighten their luggage as much as possible, this is one of the ways.

But I've been using the N200 as a mainstream for a couple of weeks, so I have a lot to say. The claimed battery life on a single charge is up to 8 hours, I got up to six hours, no more. Passive isolation is not the best, the noise of the train is easily audible, you have to twist the sound to the maximum. The sound of music is not bad, they sound completely different than the Galaxy Buds, in some ways more pleasant. But there is no companion app, no special settings. The downside is that Bluetooth 4.1 drains the battery of a smartphone faster than the same 5.0.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins № 529. Massacre in New Zealand and Boeing crash in light of technology Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

I am writing a review of headphones slowly, I think that

Spillikins №529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The week was difficult, many events are sad, especially since they could have been avoided. With these topics, we will start the release, but before that I want to dwell on the craze that has swept the Russian market - in 2019, various associations of musicians plan to release their electronics, headphones and speakers. In the coming days, you will hear about the launch of the Black Star acoustics line, which includes wireless headphones and a number of other accessories.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

This is the first sign of this year, later there will be lines from other artists who will stand on the shelves of different stores. The laurels of Dr. Dre, who at one time made a lot of money on his fans who bought headphones, haunt domestic performers. And it seems to me that there is a certain rational grain in this. It is clear that initially these will be turned Chinese devices. But due to competition, the desire to stand out, perhaps someone will start doing a little more, and then competition will arise. This means that we will see the growth of local brands that will try to provide either value, or design, or both. And this is to be welcomed. I do not have the feeling that the topic will instantly take off, the pioneers will fill a lot of cones. However, it will be an interesting journey. Are you interested in getting headphones from the Russian musicians you listen to? Who, in your opinion, has the most loyal audience today, whose fans are ready to buy electronics without looking back at the fact that the same headphones under the X brand did not exist before? While you think about this question, we will start our weekly issue. Let's go!

Content

Live shooting and Boeing crash in Ethiopia - social media

At first glance, two tragedies have absolutely nothing in common - one happened in Africa, the other in New Zealand. In one case, the aircraft control system failed, in another, people deliberately used weapons to kill other people, massacred a mosque. Unfortunately, both of these stories are united by the fact that they are typical of our world, but at the same time, the latest technologies that are available to mankind are used here and there.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner, which comes to replace old aircraft, new avionics are being installed. In October 2018, such a Lion Air plane crashed, killing 189 people. Even then, there were many strange things in the discussion, for example, the pilots claimed that they were not warned about how one of the security systems worked, and then it led to a disaster. Boeing did not write instructions about this, as they did not consider it necessary.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In order to appreciate this story, it must be placed in the context of competition between airliner manufacturers - there are two major players in the world today, Boeing and Airbus. The Boeing 737 model belongs to the narrow-body liners, it is a workhorse, one of the most popular aircraft in the world - it appeared in the late 60s. The competing Airbus A320 was created twenty years later, and in it many hydraulic control systems - read, mechanics - were replaced with electric ones, although there is no need to talk about the complete computerization of decisions of that time. The appearance of the A320neo gave an impetus to the development of Boeing, as the updated machine gave the airlines a different fuel consumption, the avionics changed, which made it easier to control the aircraft. The importance of avionics and how it can make it easier to control the machine in a critical situation is often discussed in the context of the landing of the Airbus A320 on the Hudson in 2009, when not a single passenger or crew member died. An experienced pilot who knew the plane well and knew how to fly it, performed an actual miracle, squeezed everything out of the car that was possible, and saved people. The opposite also happens, when a human error occurs, the crew is not sufficiently prepared and cannot save either themselves or people, this is a matter of knowledge and skills. The same Lion Air flight experienced the crew struggling with an automatic control system that was taking over control. The pilots were not trained how to act in such a situation, for them it was unexpected. We can say that it was the avionics that led to the disaster, and people could not take control.

The latest crash is still being investigated, but the wreckage of the plane has already been found, which indicate the exact similarity of the situation with the tragedy that happened six months earlier. Moreover, external control and the situation itself also match the description of the Lion Air disaster. It turns out that the Ethiopian Airlines crew and passengers died due to the fact that for six months no one admitted that there could be a mistake, although it was described in the press and widely discussed. Boeing did not turn off the system, did not test this system many times on simulators and simulators, in any case, I could not find any messages on this topic. The reason for the company's cautious behavior is that the total number of orders for the 737 Max 8 exceeds 5,000, it is the company's best-selling Airbus A320neo, and orders placed for the coming years alone amount to almost $700 billion in money. It was impossible to question the quality of this liner, and therefore this position of the company led to the next disaster, I have no doubts about it. I am sure that people working in aviation, at least some of them, will take a completely different position - there is no official result of the investigation yet, and it is too early to talk about anything. And this is the right position, it is balanced and logical, but only at first glance. We had a disaster, and after it, a system failure was publicly discussed, which was not fixed in any way. And do you know why? This would mean landing all the planes and incurring multi-million dollar losses every day. Boeing doesn't have the ability to instantly retrofit the hundreds of planes that are affected. And the decision to sweep the dirt under the rug, familiar to everyone since childhood, found application in this situation. This is how I see the whole story, unfortunately, this is a corporate game in which money is more important than people, no matter what they say about it today.

China was the first to land the Boeing 737 Max 8 and banned the flights of these aircraft. China was followed by other countries, a couple of days later Russia and the United States joined the bans. Boeing habitually said that the cars are safe, but until the end of the proceedings they support this ban. In the coming weeks, Boeing is due to create new software that will change the operation of the MCAS system, which prevents aircraft from stalling. In particular, developers use not one, but two sensors to make a decision. The system will be turned off if the pilots take control, that is, the system will not automatically work with manual control. They also promise to train the crews to act in such a situation. Sounds healthy? Undoubtedly. But the problem is exactly one thing - why does everyone at Boeing do this only after the second disaster? And only after these aircraft were actually landed all over the world, refusing to operate them. There are many things to think about here, but the main thing is that public discussion and pressure on the airline was clearly not enough to force it to act and take the steps that were necessary. The wave of discussions on social media was emotional, but that's all - nothing specific was proposed, nor were any conclusions drawn.

And here we come to the second story, which, oddly enough, hit Facebook hard. Several people staged a massacre in a small New Zealand town, they broke into a mosque, where they began to kill people, the total death toll at the time of writing was already close to fifty. To some extent, it looks like the plot of some kind of computer game, the death of people is perceived by many teenagers as something familiar, familiar to them from games. I was not too lazy and read forums, discussions in different countries, the palette of opinions is wide, but if we discard the extreme ones, then, in addition to sympathy, there will be a noticeable fraction of those who see this not as a disaster, but as entertainment and nothing more. This is a kind of game with the best graphics, since these graphics are real, that is, these are videos of a real place and real people. I would venture to guess that most of those who think so are quite young and have grown up on various reality simulators that give you the ability to kill and contain scenes of violence that look realistic. The line between the game and the real world has blurred or become thin.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In a New Zealand massacre, a shooter used the LIVE4 app to report live from his smartphone. Everything happened live on Facebook, then the recording appeared on other platforms - YouTube, Twitter and so on. The owners of social services are trying to remove this content, blocking accounts, but what got into the network cannot be completely cleaned out, the content creeps through. A few days later, it is not difficult to find a recording of what happened, there are enough sources distributing this video.

I understand why the attacker broadcast the video, his motives are clear. It is not clear to me what is in the minds of people who post this video, distribute it and find ways to bypass the blocking. This is precisely the problem that the line between reality and the virtual world has begun to blur, and such a video looks like another entertainment that tickles the nerves. And this is a huge problem for all of us.

Let's imagine for a moment that someone finds a vulnerability in an airliner's software that allows it to run a program that will cause it to crash after takeoff. And then hundreds of people will die. Or such an error will be in the autopilot of cars of certain brands. Someone who talks about a vulnerability will most likely not put it into practice, but there will be people who want to try and see what happens in reality. They will not care about someone else's life, it is exclusively virtual for them, they do not know these people and will never know. And, as a result, we will face the fact that neo-barbarians without social prohibitions and attitudes will be able to decide the fate of other people for a short time. This is a terrible drug - a feeling of own power over other people's lives, and in the hands of those people who, as a rule, have not achieved anything in society. The glory of Herostratus is still a kind of fame that those who go to massacres so much crave. We are not protected from this in any way, and modern media show role models of behavior, pay attention to how often there are shootings in American schools. This is not a question of the population having weapons in their hands, it is a question of the fact that the media show such a model, condemn it, but, nevertheless, demonstrate that individuals find a way out in this. And others repeat this pattern.

Our world does not yet depend entirely on programmers and the code they write. But this is temporary, as the number of systems directly dependent on computers increases every year. Computerization provides huge benefits, but it is also our weak link. But the weakest link is education and the values ​​that we give to children, how we shape society, what is possible and what is not. Media, computer games with violence, social networks - all this is developing too quickly and without any real control or restrictions. Any person in the network is able to get any information, but also to find like-minded people, and of any kind. This is a huge plus, but at the same time a huge minus.

It is my deep conviction that many things in our lives should not be turned into a show, for example, plane crashes or massacres like New Zealand. And many should think about what responsibility lies on them for what is happening. For example, for myself, I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to support people who are hungry for attention, and therefore I just don’t watch streams or their recordings where there is deliberate violence, as was the case in New Zealand. Alas, I, like society, do not have ready-made recipes for how to solve all these problems. But there is no doubt that they need to be solved, they transform the world around us too much.

Spotify vs. Apple, and a small win for Qualcomm

The Spotify streaming service is not so well known in Russia, but it is extremely popular in the world, and especially in the USA. At the end of 2018, Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers worldwide. By comparison, Apple Music has 56 million users worldwide and is not growing as fast as Spotify. The Swedish company behind the service has filed a complaint with the European Commission that Apple is restricting features on iOS and discriminating against competitors. For the sake of this, they even created a separate website that tells what exactly Apple is doing with competitors. You can find it here.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

Let me list the five main claims that Spotify makes against Apple. I think that you can easily agree with many.

Claim #1. Apple requires a 30% mark-up for in-app sales, which is the money the company receives. But in reality, this markup is not paid by Uber, Deliveroo and a number of other players, especially since Apple Music does not have such a markup. It turns out that this is discrimination. Apart from other claims, this does not sound like a very strong position, because iOS as a platform is owned by Apple, and the company can charge money for distributing software, but let's see how the company limits its users and developers.

Claim #2. If a developer refuses to pay within an Apple app, then Apple restricts their communications with the consumer. For example, you cannot offer any discounts, promos, or other things on the app. But what's even more interesting is that you sign an agreement under which you also cannot send emails with such offers. You either pay Apple or agree to these draconian terms.

Claim #3. It is not possible to upgrade your subscription from a free version to a paid version inside the Apple app, it is prohibited. That is, the user must somehow find out that this can be done on the Spotify website, since any communications on this topic are prohibited in the application, as well as mailings, as we talked about in paragraph number two.

Claim #4. In Apple, without explanation, they do not allow updating many functions in the application, fixing bugs. In fact, there are obstacles to improve the Spotify application, although there are no and cannot be any restrictions for the native Apple Music application.

Claim #5. Apple restricts access to the platform to create a competitive advantage. For example, they do not allow Spotify on Apple Watch, they do not give access to Siri, HomePod, and so on. That is, in fact, the Spotify user is forced to use Apple products for voice control, since the company does not provide any other option. This is unfair competition.

These allegations have been sent along with the facts to the European Commission, the next question is whether an investigation into Apple's practices will begin. The likelihood that the European Commission will launch such an investigation is extremely high, and this threatens Apple with big trouble, the company will not be able to put pressure on competitors, as it does now, and the example of Spotify is just one of many. For Apple, the fight against Spotify is a fight for the future of revenue from other people's content and services, and a fight to the death. With falling iPhone sales, the only source of income is services that should bring money. And here the attack on Apple comes from all sides, large companies do not want to pay a tax on the Apple ecosystem and offer their users to buy their services on the side. Given that on Android all the same services and content are noticeably cheaper (at least 30%!), Apple's future lies with its own services, otherwise they will remain in splendid isolation.

Apple's response to Spotify's claims is expectedly vague, there are no specifics on the facts, but only general words that Spotify is popular on the iOS platform and this supposedly means that the application was not restricted in any way.

As for me, the current situation is critical, and the pressure on Apple will increase. Another thing is that such cases have been going on for years, and it is not worth waiting for the result before 2020-2021. But the important thing is that the investigations and their results will come out at a time when Apple's market situation will worsen even more, all these stories will increase the company's problems in the future.

Look at Qualcomm's battle with Apple, which began two years ago. In San Diego, Qualcomm won a lawsuit against Apple. The case dealt with Qualcomm's patent infringement and found that Apple had infringed three patents for a paltry $31 million in damages. But most importantly, this opens the door to other lawsuits and, in particular, to calculate payments from each iPhone sold, and there the amounts will be completely different.

Simultaneously, in Apple vs. Qualcomm in California, a judge ruled that Qualcomm owed Apple a billion dollars in retro bonuses that weren't paid out as companies began to sue around the world. What many perceive as a victory for Apple is not. The very nature of retro bonuses is such that they may not be paid if a number of agreements are violated, and they were violated in this situation. So Qualcomm will fight back from paying this money for a long time, especially since counterclaims are in progress.

Vipe chargers - portable and stationary. Replacement laptop charger

I've said many times that I'm happy with my 2013 MacBook Pro 13 and I'm not going to change it to something else. In any case, while he works and copes with his work with a bang. Nevertheless, different machines come to the tests, Huawei's MateBook recently arrived, and I caught myself thinking that I lack Power Delivery (PD) technology support in my laptop. It allows you to use not only certified chargers from different manufacturers to charge your laptop, but also external batteries, which looks like science fiction, but it no longer is. It is clear that it will not work to fully charge a laptop from a 20,000 mAh battery, but extending its operation for a couple of hours is already worth a lot, especially if you are somewhere in the mountains where you cannot find an outlet during the day with fire. Or you are in places where there is almost never a light, and diesel generators provide power, as was the case last summer when I traveled around the Pamirs.

Most modern laptops support PD technology starting from a certain cost, if we talk about devices from Apple, then these are both MacBook and MacBook Air / Pro of different diagonals that have been released in recent years. When buying a laptop, I always had the question of what I also need to buy an additional charger, since I live in several places (home, office at least), and carrying a charger with me is not always convenient. Chargers from Apple have never been inexpensive, and there were no alternatives, since the company forbade creating chargers for a proprietary connector. With the advent of USB Type C connectors, everything has changed, and now different companies are creating alternative chargers that are in many ways superior to what Apple itself offers.

In MVideo I accidentally stumbled upon a Vipe charger (then I saw that the product was fresh and was only spreading through federal networks, I also found it in iPort St. Petersburg), it is called Vipe PowerStation and is designed for different devices. In "MVideo" this device is positioned for laptops, placed it in the appropriate section. In my opinion, this is not at all the case, and here's why. This is a universal charger with three USB ports and one USB Type C port. It is clear that it can charge a PD-enabled laptop with it, but in fact, you can use this block to quickly charge your iPhone or any other smartphone, as well as other devices.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins № 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The more I read into the specifications, the more I realized that I needed this little thing even taking into account the fact that my main laptop does not support PD. Take a look at what connectors are on board this 75 watt charging station.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

With the orange label, this is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the other two USB ports deliver up to 2.4A/5V. Moreover, Quick Charge is claimed by Qualcomm, but in fact, fast charging of smartphones from Samsung, Huawei (3.6-6V / 3A, 6-9V / 2A, 9-12V / 1.5A) is supported. Of course, USB Type C initially supports various operating parameters - 5V / 3A, 9V / 3A, 15V / 3A, 18V / 3A, 20V / 3A. All these connectors are located on one front side, and you can charge several devices at the same time.

It comes with a small stand and a cable, all very compact. I liked that the cable is 1.5 meters long and it is convenient for stationary installation of the station at home, it will not be difficult to reach the outlet if you put the station on the table.

I have never seen a light sensor in such chargers, it serves here to reduce the brightness of the indicator. In complete darkness, it becomes muffled, in bright light it flares up more strongly.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The weight of this small box is 215 grams. This is quite comparable to Apple's 61 watt charger (276 grams). But at the same time, the dimensions and compactness are comparable, and instead of one USB Type C output, you get four different connectors at once and you can charge several devices at the same time.

In terms of compactness, this unit reminds me of a typical external battery, the difference between them is minimal, so you can imagine how it will fit into your backpack or bag. The ideal scenario for using such a station when traveling is that you do not take a charger from your laptop, your smartphones, you only need cables. And it turns out that the weight of your luggage is reduced, and the convenience is increased - you feed all your electronics from one charge. Conveniently? Wrong word.

The quality of workmanship, thoughtful design - all this speaks in favor of the Vipe PowerStation, but the most important argument against which it is difficult to argue is the cost. In the same MVideo, the price of the accessory is 4,990 rubles. In addition to the station in black, you can buy it in white. I somehow got tired of the white color and therefore took a black one.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

For comparison, I will give the cost of a 61 W MacBook charger - 5,990 rubles. It is noticeably simpler, has only one connector and is inferior to this solution in every sense. The dimensions, as you remember, are exactly the same. Cool stuff? Absolutely.

Already after I got acquainted with PowerStation, I decided to find the company and asked to show what other chargers there are. It turned out that there are two TravelStation S / M power supplies, the first for 45 watts, the second for 60 watts. This is a simple version of the charger, which, perhaps, will be enough for everyone who does not have many electronic devices, the difference from the PowerStation is that there are only two connectors on the case, USB Type C and a regular USB with QC 3.0 support.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

In both models, the plug is built into the case, meaning you don't need to carry a wire, but you will be tied to the outlet and where it is located. With a wire, I like the solution more, since you are guaranteed to be able to “plug in”, but here the charging size, similar to that of Apple, is not always and everywhere convenient, you know this even better than me.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The price of TravelStation M for 60 watts in the same MVideo is 3,790 rubles. Let me remind you that an analog from Apple costs 5,990 rubles, the difference in cost is obvious, and the presence of a second USB output is here >Satin Bonnets is a clear advantage, it is difficult to compare them directly in terms of capabilities. Portable charging is also done neatly, in terms of price / quality ratio, it turned out to be excellent.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins No. 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

What can I finally say about these devices? In my opinion, they turned out great, and they are needed for those who often travel or charge several devices at home. This is a good replacement for standard PD power supplies for laptops from both Apple and other companies. If you live in several places, then instead of lugging around chargers, you can buy such charging stations and solve your problems once and for all. When traveling, it is also a convenient alternative to a bunch of different chargers, you only need to take wires with you. The same PowerStation was with me in Barcelona, ​​Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and I quickly got used to the fact that I have fast charging in one place, it's damn convenient. In Barcelona, ​​just in case, I took the usual exercises, insured against surprises, then abandoned them. I hope that my experience will be useful for you, as many of my friends and colleagues are constantly traveling and looking for solutions on how to lighten their luggage as much as possible, this is one of the ways.

AKG headphones in Samsung branded retail - an example of AKG N200

Samsung is gradually starting to promote Harman products, the company recently became a subsidiary of Samsung, so this decision looks logical. Samsung has chosen AKG as its home brand (these are the headphones that come with the company's flagships), and many headphones now flaunt that they are tuned by AKG engineers. Models of 2018 appeared in Samsung retail, which were shown at IFA in Berlin, I took some for testing and will tell you about them in detail. But I started using the N200 wireless headphones, as they have a very interesting price in the USA of about $ 60 (only 9 pieces left at the time of writing, so hurry up). With us they cost 10,990 rubles.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The price determines the perception of the product, I’ll say right away that for $ 60 these wireless headphones are ideal, this is almost a free offer, and it’s pointless to evaluate something in them, you just need to grab them as quickly as possible.

But I've been using the N200 as a mainstream for a couple of weeks, so I have a lot to say. The claimed battery life on a single charge is up to 8 hours, I got up to six hours, no more. Passive isolation is not the best, the noise of the train is easily audible, you have to twist the sound to the maximum. The sound of music is not bad, they sound completely different than the Galaxy Buds, in some ways more pleasant. But there is no companion app, no special settings. The downside is that Bluetooth 4.1 drains the smartphone battery faster than the same 5.0.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins № 529. Massacre in New Zealand and Boeing crash in light of technology Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

I am writing a review of headphones slowly, I think that

Spillikins №529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The week was difficult, many events are sad, especially since they could have been avoided. With these topics, we will start the release, but before that I want to dwell on the craze that has swept the Russian market - in 2019, various associations of musicians plan to release their electronics, headphones and speakers. In the coming days, you will hear about the launch of the Black Star acoustics line, which includes wireless headphones and a number of other accessories.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

This is the first sign of this year, later there will be lines from other artists who will stand on the shelves of different stores. The laurels of Dr. Dre, who at one time made a lot of money on his fans who bought headphones, haunt domestic performers. And it seems to me that there is a certain rational grain in this. It is clear that initially these will be turned Chinese devices. But due to competition, the desire to stand out, perhaps someone will start doing a little more, and then competition will arise. This means that we will see the growth of local brands that will try to provide either value, or design, or both. And this is to be welcomed. I do not have the feeling that the topic will instantly take off, the pioneers will fill a lot of cones. However, it will be an interesting journey. Are you interested in getting headphones from the Russian musicians you listen to? Who, in your opinion, has the most loyal audience today, whose fans are ready to buy electronics without looking back at the fact that the same headphones under the X brand did not exist before? While you think about this question, we will start our weekly issue. Let's go!

Content

Live shooting and Boeing crash in Ethiopia - social media

At first glance, two tragedies have absolutely nothing in common - one happened in Africa, the other in New Zealand. In one case, the aircraft control system failed, in another, people deliberately used weapons to kill other people, massacred a mosque. Unfortunately, both of these stories are united by the fact that they are typical of our world, but at the same time, the latest technologies that are available to mankind are used here and there.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner, which comes to replace old aircraft, new avionics are being installed. In October 2018, such a Lion Air plane crashed, killing 189 people. Even then, there were many strange things in the discussion, for example, the pilots claimed that they were not warned about how one of the security systems worked, and then it led to a disaster. Boeing did not write instructions about this, as they did not consider it necessary.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

To appreciate this story, it must be placed in the context of competition between airliner manufacturers - there are two major players in the world today, Boeing and Airbus. The Boeing 737 model belongs to the narrow-body liners, it is a workhorse, one of the most popular aircraft in the world - it appeared in the late 60s. The competing Airbus A320 was created twenty years later, and in it many hydraulic control systems - read, mechanics - were replaced with electric ones, although there is no need to talk about the complete computerization of decisions of that time. The appearance of the A320neo gave an impetus to the development of Boeing, as the updated machine gave airlines a different fuel consumption, the avionics changed, which made it easier to control the aircraft. The importance of avionics and how it can make it easier to control a car in a critical situation is often talked about in terms of the Airbus A320 landing on the Hudson in 2009, when not a single passenger or crew member died. An experienced pilot, who knew the plane well and knew how to fly it, performed an actual miracle, squeezed everything out of the car that was possible, and saved people. The opposite also happens, when a human error occurs, the crew is not sufficiently prepared and cannot save either themselves or people, this is a matter of knowledge and skills. The same Lion Air flight experienced the crew struggling with an automatic control system that was taking over control. The pilots were not trained how to act in such a situation, for them it was unexpected. We can say that it was the avionics that led to the disaster, and people could not take control.

The recent crash is still being investigated, but the wreckage of the plane has already been found, which indicate the exact similarity of the situation with the tragedy that happened six months earlier. Moreover, external control and the situation itself also match the description of the Lion Air disaster. It turns out that the Ethiopian Airlines crew and passengers died due to the fact that for six months no one admitted that there could be a mistake, although it was described in the press and widely discussed. Boeing did not turn off the system, did not test this system many times on simulators and simulators, in any case, I could not find any messages on this topic. The reason for the company's cautious behavior is that the total number of orders for the 737 Max 8 exceeds 5,000, it is the company's best-selling Airbus A320neo, and orders placed for the coming years alone amount to almost $700 billion in money. It was impossible to question the quality of this liner, and therefore this position of the company led to the next disaster, I have no doubts about it. I am sure that people working in aviation, at least some of them, will take a completely different position - there is no official result of the investigation yet, and it is too early to talk about anything. And this is the right position, it is balanced and logical, but only at first glance. We had a disaster, and after it, a system failure was publicly discussed, which was not fixed in any way. And do you know why? This would mean landing all planes and incurring multi-million dollar losses every day. Boeing doesn't have the ability to instantly retrofit the hundreds of planes that are affected. And the decision to sweep the dirt under the rug, familiar to everyone since childhood, found application in this situation. This is how I see the whole story, unfortunately, this is a corporate game in which money is more important than people, no matter what they say about it today.

China was the first to land the Boeing 737 Max 8 and banned the flights of these aircraft. China was followed by other countries, a couple of days later Russia and the United States joined the bans. Boeing habitually said that the cars are safe, but until the end of the proceedings they support this ban. In the coming weeks, Boeing is due to create new software that will change the operation of the MCAS system, which prevents aircraft from stalling. In particular, developers use not one, but two sensors to make a decision. The system will be turned off if the pilots take control, that is, the system will not automatically work with manual control. They also promise to train the crews to act in such a situation. Sounds healthy? Undoubtedly. But the problem is exactly one thing - why does everyone at Boeing do this only after the second disaster? And only after these aircraft were actually landed all over the world, refusing to operate them. There are many things to think about here, but the main thing is that public discussion and pressure on the airline was clearly not enough to force it to act and take the steps that were necessary. The wave of discussions on social media was emotional, but that's all - nothing specific was proposed, nor were any conclusions drawn.

And here we come to the second story, which, oddly enough, hit Facebook hard. Several people staged a massacre in a small New Zealand town, they broke into a mosque, where they began to kill people, the total death toll at the time of writing was already close to fifty. To some extent, it looks like the plot of some kind of computer game, the death of people is perceived by many teenagers as something familiar, familiar to them from games. I was not too lazy and read forums, discussions in different countries, the palette of opinions is wide, but if we discard the extreme ones, then, in addition to sympathy, there will be a noticeable fraction of those who see this not as a disaster, but as entertainment and nothing more. This is a kind of game with the best graphics, since these graphics are real, that is, these are videos of a real place and real people. I would venture to guess that most of those who think so are quite young and have grown up on various reality simulators that give you the ability to kill and contain scenes of violence that look realistic. The line between the game and the real world has blurred or become thin.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

In a New Zealand massacre, a shooter used the LIVE4 app to report live from his smartphone. Everything happened live on Facebook, then the recording appeared on other platforms - YouTube, Twitter and so on. The owners of social services are trying to remove this content, blocking accounts, but what got into the network cannot be completely cleaned out, the content creeps through. A few days later, it is not difficult to find a recording of what happened, there are enough sources distributing this video.

I understand why the attacker broadcast the video, his motives are clear. It is not clear to me what is in the minds of people who post this video, distribute it and find ways to bypass the blocking. This is precisely the problem that the line between reality and the virtual world has begun to blur, and such a video looks like another entertainment that tickles the nerves. And this is a huge problem for all of us.

Let's imagine for a moment that someone finds a vulnerability in an airliner's software that allows it to run a program that will cause it to crash after takeoff. And then hundreds of people will die. Or such an error will be in the autopilot of cars of certain brands. Someone who talks about a vulnerability will most likely not put it into practice, but there will be people who want to try and see what happens in reality. They will not care about someone else's life, it is exclusively virtual for them, they do not know these people and will never know. And, as a result, we will face the fact that neo-barbarians without social prohibitions and attitudes will be able to decide the fate of other people for a short time. This is a terrible drug - a feeling of own power over other people's lives, and in the hands of those people who, as a rule, have not achieved anything in society. The glory of Herostratus is still a kind of fame that those who go to massacres so much crave. We are not protected from this in any way, and modern media show role models of behavior, pay attention to how often they shoot at American schools. This is not a question of the population having weapons in their hands, it is a question of the fact that the media show such a model, condemn it, but, nevertheless, demonstrate that individuals find a way out in this. And others repeat this pattern.

Our world does not yet depend entirely on programmers and the code they write. But this is temporary, as the number of systems directly dependent on computers increases every year. Computerization provides huge benefits, but it is also our weak link. But the weakest link is education and the values ​​that we give to children, how we shape society, what is possible and what is not. Media, computer games with violence, social networks - all this is developing too quickly and without any real control or restrictions. Any person in the network is able to get any information, but also to find like-minded people, and of any kind. This is a huge plus, but at the same time a huge minus.

It is my deep conviction that many things in our lives should not be turned into a show, for example, plane crashes or massacres like New Zealand. And many should think about what responsibility lies on them for what is happening. For example, for myself, I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to support people who are hungry for attention, and therefore I just don’t watch streams or their recordings where there is deliberate violence, as was the case in New Zealand. Alas, I, like society, do not have ready-made recipes for how to solve all these problems. But there is no doubt that they need to be solved, they transform the world around us too much.

Spotify vs. Apple, and a small win for Qualcomm

The Spotify streaming service is not so well known in Russia, but it is extremely popular in the world, and especially in the USA. At the end of 2018, Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers worldwide. By comparison, Apple Music has 56 million users worldwide and is not growing as fast as Spotify. The Swedish company behind the service has filed a complaint with the European Commission that Apple is restricting features on iOS and discriminating against competitors. For the sake of this, they even created a separate website that tells what exactly Apple is doing with competitors. You can find it here.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

Let me list the five main claims that Spotify makes against Apple. I think that you can easily agree with many.

Claim #1. Apple requires a 30% mark-up for in-app sales, which is the money the company receives. But in reality, this markup is not paid by Uber, Deliveroo and a number of other players, especially since Apple Music does not have such a markup. It turns out that this is discrimination. Apart from other claims, this does not sound like a very strong position, because iOS as a platform is owned by Apple, and the company can charge money for distributing software, but let's see how the company limits its users and developers.

Claim #2. If a developer refuses to pay within an Apple app, then Apple restricts their communications with the consumer. For example, you cannot offer any discounts, promos, or other things on the app. But what's even more interesting is that you sign an agreement under which you also cannot send emails with such offers. You either pay Apple or agree to these draconian terms.

Claim #3. It is not possible to upgrade your subscription from a free version to a paid version inside the Apple app, it is prohibited. That is, the user must somehow find out that this can be done on the Spotify website, since any communications on this topic are prohibited in the application, as well as mailings, as we talked about in paragraph number two.

Claim #4. In Apple, without explanation, they do not allow updating many functions in the application, fixing bugs. In fact, there are obstacles to improve the Spotify application, although there are no and cannot be any restrictions for the native Apple Music application.

Apple's response to Spotify's claims is expectedly vague, there are no specifics on the facts, but only general words that Spotify is popular on the iOS platform and this supposedly means that the application was not restricted in any way.

As for me, the current situation is critical, and the pressure on Apple will increase. Another thing is that such cases have been going on for years, and it is not worth waiting for the result before 2020-2021. But the important thing is that the investigations and their results will come out at a time when Apple's market situation will worsen even more, all these stories will increase the company's problems in the future.

Look at Qualcomm's battle with Apple, which began two years ago. In San Diego, Qualcomm won a lawsuit against Apple. The case dealt with Qualcomm's patent infringement and found that Apple had infringed three patents for a paltry $31 million in damages. But most importantly, this opens the door to other lawsuits and, in particular, to calculate payments from each iPhone sold, and there the amounts will be completely different.

Simultaneously, in Apple vs. Qualcomm in California, a judge ruled that Qualcomm owed Apple a billion dollars in retro bonuses that weren't paid out as companies began to sue around the world. What many perceive as a victory for Apple is not. The very nature of retro bonuses is such that they may not be paid if a number of agreements are violated, and they were violated in this situation. So Qualcomm will fight back from paying this money for a long time, especially since counterclaims are in progress.

Vipe chargers - portable and stationary. Replacement laptop charger

I've said many times that I'm happy with my 2013 MacBook Pro 13 and I'm not going to change it to something else. In any case, while he works and copes with his work with a bang. Nevertheless, different machines come to the tests, Huawei's MateBook recently arrived, and I caught myself thinking that I lack Power Delivery (PD) technology support in my laptop. It allows you to use not only certified chargers from different manufacturers to charge your laptop, but also external batteries, which looks like science fiction, but it no longer is. It is clear that it will not work to fully charge a laptop from a 20,000 mAh battery, but extending its operation for a couple of hours is already worth a lot, especially if you are somewhere in the mountains where you cannot find an outlet during the day with fire. Or you are in places where there is almost never a light, and diesel generators provide power, as was the case last summer when I traveled around the Pamirs.

Most modern laptops support PD technology starting from a certain cost, if we talk about devices from Apple, then these are both MacBook and MacBook Air / Pro of different diagonals that have been released in recent years. When buying a laptop, I always had the question of what I also need to buy an additional charger, since I live in several places (home, office at least), and carrying a charger with me is not always convenient. Chargers from Apple have never been inexpensive, and there were no alternatives, since the company forbade creating chargers for a proprietary connector. With the advent of USB Type C connectors, everything has changed, and now different companies are creating alternative chargers that are in many ways superior to what Apple itself offers.

In MVideo I accidentally stumbled upon a Vipe charger (then I saw that the product was fresh and was only spreading through federal networks, I also found it in iPort St. Petersburg), it is called Vipe PowerStation and is designed for different devices. In "MVideo" this device is positioned for laptops, placed it in the appropriate section. In my opinion, this is not at all the case, and here's why. This is a universal charger with three USB ports and one USB Type C port. It is clear that it can charge a PD-enabled laptop with it, but in fact, you can use this block to quickly charge your iPhone or any other smartphone, as well as other devices.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins No. 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The more I read the specs, the more I realized that I needed this feature even though my main laptop does not support PD. Take a look at what connectors are on board this 75 watt charging station.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

With the orange label, this is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the other two USB ports deliver up to 2.4A/5V. Moreover, Quick Charge is claimed by Qualcomm, but in fact, fast charging of smartphones from Samsung, Huawei (3.6-6V / 3A, 6-9V / 2A, 9-12V / 1.5A) is supported. Of course, USB Type C initially supports various operating parameters - 5V / 3A, 9V / 3A, 15V / 3A, 18V / 3A, 20V / 3A. All these connectors are located on one front side, and you can charge several devices at the same time.

It comes with a small stand and a cable, all very compact. I liked that the cable is 1.5 meters long and it is convenient for stationary installation of the station at home, it will not be difficult to reach the outlet if you put the station on the table.

I have never seen a light sensor in such chargers, it serves here to reduce the brightness of the indicator. In complete darkness, it becomes muffled, in bright light it flares up more strongly.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The weight of this small box is 215 grams. This is quite comparable to Apple's 61 watt charger (276 grams). But at the same time, the dimensions and compactness are comparable, and instead of one USB Type C output, you get four different connectors at once and you can charge several devices at the same time.

In terms of compactness, this unit reminds me of a typical external battery, the difference between them is minimal, so you can imagine how it will fit into your backpack or bag. The ideal scenario for using such a station when traveling is that you do not take a charger from your laptop, your smartphones, you only need cables. And it turns out that the weight of your luggage is reduced, and the convenience is increased - you feed all your electronics from one charge. Conveniently? Wrong word.

The quality of workmanship, thoughtful design - all this speaks in favor of the Vipe PowerStation, but the most important argument against which it is difficult to argue is the cost. In the same MVideo, the price of the accessory is 4,990 rubles. In addition to the station in black, you can buy it in white. I somehow got tired of the white color and therefore took a black one.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

For comparison, I will give the cost of a 61 W MacBook charger - 5,990 rubles. It is noticeably simpler, has only one connector and is inferior to this solution in every sense. The dimensions, as you remember, are exactly the same. Cool stuff? Absolutely.

Already after I got acquainted with PowerStation, I decided to find the company and asked to show what other chargers there are. It turned out that there are two TravelStation S / M power supplies, the first for 45 watts, the second for 60 watts. This is a simple version of the charger, which, perhaps, will be enough for everyone who does not have many electronic devices, the difference from the PowerStation is that there are only two connectors on the case, USB Type C and a regular USB with QC 3.0 support.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

In both models, the plug is built into the case, meaning you don't need to carry a wire, but you will be tied to the outlet and where it is located. With a wire, I like the solution more, since you are guaranteed to be able to “plug in”, but here the charging size, similar to that of Apple, is not always and everywhere convenient, you know this even better than me.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The price of TravelStation M for 60 watts in the same MVideo is 3,790 rubles. Let me remind you that an analogue from Apple costs 5,990 rubles, the difference in cost is obvious, and the presence of a second USB output is here >Satin Bonnets is a clear advantage, it is difficult to compare them directly in terms of capabilities. Portable charging is also done neatly, in terms of price / quality ratio, it turned out to be excellent.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins No. 529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

What can I finally say about these devices? In my opinion, they turned out great, and they are needed for those who often travel or charge several devices at home. This is a good replacement for standard PD power supplies for laptops from both Apple and other companies. If you live in several places, then instead of lugging around chargers, you can buy such charging stations and solve your problems once and for all. When traveling, it is also a convenient alternative to a bunch of different chargers, you only need to take wires with you. The same PowerStation was with me in Barcelona, ​​Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and I quickly got used to the fact that I have fast charging in one place, it's damn convenient. In Barcelona, ​​just in case, I took the usual exercises, insured against surprises, then abandoned them. I hope that my experience will be useful for you, as many of my friends and colleagues are constantly traveling and looking for solutions on how to lighten their luggage as much as possible, this is one of the ways.

AKG headphones in Samsung branded retail - an example of AKG N200

Samsung is gradually starting to promote Harman products, the company recently became a subsidiary of Samsung, so this decision looks logical. Samsung has chosen AKG as its home brand (these are the headphones that come with the company's flagships), and many headphones now flaunt that they are tuned by AKG engineers. Models of 2018 appeared in Samsung retail, which were shown at IFA in Berlin, I took some for testing and will tell you about them in detail. But I started using the N200 wireless headphones, as they have a very interesting price in the USA of about $ 60 (only 9 pieces left at the time of writing, so hurry up). With us they cost 10,990 rubles.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies

The price determines the perception of the product, I’ll say right away that for $ 60 these wireless headphones are ideal, this is almost a free offer, and it’s pointless to evaluate something in them, you just need to grab them as quickly as possible.

But I've been using the N200 as a mainstream for a couple of weeks, so I have a lot to say. The claimed battery life on a single charge is up to 8 hours, I got up to six hours, no more. Passive isolation is not the best, the noise of the train is easily audible, you have to twist the sound to the maximum. The sound of music is not bad, they sound completely different than the Galaxy Buds, in some ways more pleasant. But there is no companion app, no special settings. The downside is that Bluetooth 4.1 drains the smartphone battery faster than the same 5.0.

Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light technologies Spillikins № 529. Massacre in New Zealand and Boeing crash in light of technology Spikers #529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

I am writing a review of headphones slowly, I think that

Spillikins №529. Massacre in New Zealand and the Boeing crash in the light of technology

The week was difficult, many events are sad, especially since they could have been avoided. With these topics, we will start the release, but before that I want to dwell on the craze that has swept the Russian market - in 2019, various associations of musicians plan to release their electronics, headphones and speakers. In the coming days, you will hear about the launch of the Black Star acoustics line, which includes wireless headphones and a number of other accessories.

This is the first sign of this year, later there will be lines from other artists who will stand on the shelves of different stores. The laurels of Dr. Dre, who at one time made a lot of money on his fans who bought headphones, haunt domestic performers. And it seems to me that there is a certain rational grain in this. It is clear that initially these will be turned Chinese devices. But due to competition, the desire to stand out, perhaps someone will start doing a little more, and then competition will arise. This means that we will see the growth of local brands that will try to provide either value, or design, or both. And this is to be welcomed. I do not have the feeling that the topic will instantly take off, the pioneers will fill a lot of cones. However, it will be an interesting journey. Are you interested in getting headphones from the Russian musicians you listen to? Who, in your opinion, has the most loyal audience today, whose fans are ready to buy electronics without looking back at the fact that the same headphones under the X brand did not exist before? While you think about this question, we will start our weekly issue. Let's go!

Content

Live shooting and Boeing crash in Ethiopia - social media

At first glance, two tragedies have absolutely nothing in common - one happened in Africa, the other in New Zealand. In one case, the aircraft control system failed, in another, people deliberately used weapons to kill other people, massacred a mosque. Unfortunately, both of these stories are united by the fact that they are typical of our world, but at the same time, the latest technologies that are available to mankind are used here and there.

In the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner, which comes to replace old aircraft, new avionics are being installed. In October 2018, such a Lion Air plane crashed, killing 189 people. Even then, there were many strange things in the discussion, for example, the pilots claimed that they were not warned about how one of the security systems worked, and then it led to a disaster. Boeing did not write instructions about this, as they did not consider it necessary.

To appreciate this story, it must be placed in the context of competition between airliner manufacturers - there are two major players in the world today, Boeing and Airbus. The Boeing 737 model belongs to the narrow-body liners, it is a workhorse, one of the most popular aircraft in the world - it appeared in the late 60s. The competing Airbus A320 was created twenty years later, and in it many hydraulic control systems - read, mechanics - were replaced with electric ones, although there is no need to talk about the complete computerization of decisions of that time.The appearance of the A320neo gave an impetus to the development of Boeing, as the updated machine gave the airlines a different fuel consumption, the avionics changed, which made it easier to control the aircraft. The importance of avionics and how it can make it easier to control the machine in a critical situation is often discussed in the context of the landing of the Airbus A320 on the Hudson in 2009, when not a single passenger or crew member died. An experienced pilot who knew the plane well and knew how to fly it, performed an actual miracle, squeezed everything out of the car that was possible, and saved people. The opposite also happens, when a human error occurs, the crew is not sufficiently prepared and cannot save either themselves or people, this is a matter of knowledge and skills. The same Lion Air flight experienced the crew struggling with an automatic control system that was taking over control. The pilots were not trained how to act in such a situation, for them it was unexpected. We can say that it was the avionics that led to the disaster, and people could not take control.

The recent crash is still being investigated, but the wreckage of the plane has already been found, which indicate the exact similarity of the situation with the tragedy that happened six months earlier. Moreover, external control and the situation itself also match the description of the Lion Air disaster. It turns out that the Ethiopian Airlines crew and passengers died due to the fact that for six months no one admitted that there could be a mistake, although it was described in the press and widely discussed. Boeing did not turn off the system, did not test this system many times on simulators and simulators, in any case, I could not find any messages on this topic. The reason for the company's cautious behavior is that the total number of orders for the 737 Max 8 exceeds 5,000, it is the company's best-selling Airbus A320neo, and orders placed for the coming years alone amount to almost $700 billion in money. It was impossible to question the quality of this liner, and therefore this position of the company led to the next disaster, I have no doubts about it. I am sure that people working in aviation, at least some of them, will take a completely different position - there is no official result of the investigation yet, and it is too early to talk about anything. And this is the right position, it is balanced and logical, but only at first glance. We had a disaster, and after it, a system failure was publicly discussed, which was not fixed in any way. And do you know why? This would mean landing all planes and incurring multi-million dollar losses every day. Boeing doesn't have the ability to instantly retrofit the hundreds of planes that are affected. And the decision to sweep the dirt under the rug, familiar to everyone since childhood, found application in this situation. This is how I see the whole story, unfortunately, this is a corporate game in which money is more important than people, no matter what they say about it today.

China was the first to land the Boeing 737 Max 8 and banned the flights of these aircraft. China was followed by other countries, a couple of days later Russia and the United States joined the bans. Boeing habitually said that the cars are safe, but until the end of the proceedings they support this ban. In the coming weeks, Boeing is due to create new software that will change the operation of the MCAS system, which prevents aircraft from stalling. In particular, developers use not one, but two sensors to make a decision. The system will be turned off if the pilots take control, that is, the system will not automatically work with manual control. They also promise to train the crews to act in such a situation. Sounds healthy? Undoubtedly. But the problem is exactly one thing - why does everyone at Boeing do this only after the second disaster? And only after these aircraft were actually landed all over the world, refusing to operate them. There are many things to think about here, but the main thing is that public discussion and pressure on the airline was clearly not enough to force it to act and take the steps that were necessary. The wave of discussions on social media was emotional, but that's all - nothing specific was proposed, nor were any conclusions drawn.

And here we come to the second story, which, oddly enough, hit Facebook hard. Several people staged a massacre in a small New Zealand town, they broke into a mosque, where they began to kill people, the total death toll at the time of writing was already close to fifty. To some extent, it looks like the plot of some kind of computer game, the death of people is perceived by many teenagers as something familiar, familiar to them from games. I was not too lazy and read forums, discussions in different countries, the palette of opinions is wide, but if we discard the extreme ones, then, in addition to sympathy, there will be a noticeable fraction of those who see this not as a disaster, but as entertainment and nothing more. This is a kind of game with the best graphics, since these graphics are real, that is, these are videos of a real place and real people. I would venture to guess that most of those who think so are quite young and have grown up on various reality simulators that give you the ability to kill and contain scenes of violence that look realistic. The line between the game and the real world has blurred or become thin.

In a New Zealand massacre, a shooter used the LIVE4 app to report live from his smartphone. Everything happened live on Facebook, then the recording appeared on other platforms - YouTube, Twitter and so on. The owners of social services are trying to remove this content, blocking accounts, but what got into the network cannot be completely cleaned out, the content creeps through. A few days later, it is not difficult to find a recording of what happened, there are enough sources distributing this video.

I understand why the attacker broadcast the video, his motives are clear. It is not clear to me what is in the minds of people who post this video, distribute it and find ways to bypass the blocking. This is precisely the problem that the line between reality and the virtual world has begun to blur, and such a video looks like another entertainment that tickles the nerves. And this is a huge problem for all of us.

Let's imagine for a moment that someone finds a vulnerability in an airliner's software that allows it to run a program that will cause it to crash after takeoff. And then hundreds of people will die. Or such an error will be in the autopilot of cars of certain brands. Someone who talks about a vulnerability will most likely not put it into practice, but there will be people who want to try and see what happens in reality. They will not care about someone else's life, it is exclusively virtual for them, they do not know these people and will never know. And, as a result, we will face the fact that neo-barbarians without social prohibitions and attitudes will be able to decide the fate of other people for a short time.This is a terrible drug - a feeling of own power over other people's lives, and in the hands of those people who, as a rule, have not achieved anything in society. The glory of Herostratus is still a kind of fame that those who go to massacres so much crave. We are not protected from this in any way, and modern media show role models of behavior, pay attention to how often they shoot at American schools. This is not a question of the population having weapons in their hands, it is a question of the fact that the media show such a model, condemn it, but, nevertheless, demonstrate that individuals find a way out in this. And others repeat this pattern.

Our world does not yet depend entirely on programmers and the code they write. But this is temporary, as the number of systems directly dependent on computers increases every year. Computerization provides huge benefits, but it is also our weak link. But the weakest link is education and the values ​​that we give to children, how we shape society, what is possible and what is not. Media, computer games with violence, social networks - all this is developing too quickly and without any real control or restrictions. Any person in the network is able to get any information, but also to find like-minded people, and of any kind. This is a huge plus, but at the same time a huge minus.

It is my deep conviction that many things in our lives should not be turned into a show, for example, plane crashes or massacres like New Zealand. And many should think about what responsibility lies on them for what is happening. For example, for myself, I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to support people who are hungry for attention, and therefore I just don’t watch streams or their recordings where there is deliberate violence, as was the case in New Zealand. Alas, I, like society, do not have ready-made recipes for how to solve all these problems. But there is no doubt that they need to be solved, they transform the world around us too much.

Spotify vs. Apple, and a small win for Qualcomm

The Spotify streaming service is not so well known in Russia, but it is extremely popular in the world, and especially in the USA. At the end of 2018, Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers worldwide. By comparison, Apple Music has 56 million users worldwide and is not growing as fast as Spotify. The Swedish company behind the service has filed a complaint with the European Commission that Apple is restricting features on iOS and discriminating against competitors. For the sake of this, they even created a separate website that tells what exactly Apple is doing with competitors. You can find it here.

Let me list the five main claims that Spotify makes against Apple. I think that you can easily agree with many.

Claim #1. Apple requires a 30% mark-up for in-app sales, which is the money the company receives. But in reality, this markup is not paid by Uber, Deliveroo and a number of other players, especially since Apple Music does not have such a markup. It turns out that this is discrimination. Apart from other claims, this does not sound like a very strong position, because iOS as a platform is owned by Apple, and the company can charge money for distributing software, but let's see how the company limits its users and developers.

Claim #2. If a developer refuses to pay within an Apple app, then Apple restricts their communications with the consumer. For example, you cannot offer any discounts, promos, or other things on the app. But what's even more interesting is that you sign an agreement under which you also cannot send emails with such offers. You either pay Apple or agree to these draconian terms.

Claim #3. It is not possible to upgrade your subscription from a free version to a paid version inside the Apple app, it is prohibited. That is, the user must somehow find out that this can be done on the Spotify website, since any communications on this topic are prohibited in the application, as well as mailings, as we talked about in paragraph number two.

Claim #4. In Apple, without explanation, they do not allow updating many functions in the application, fixing bugs. In fact, there are obstacles to improve the Spotify application, although there are no and cannot be any restrictions for the native Apple Music application.

Claim #5. Apple restricts access to the platform to create a competitive advantage. For example, they do not allow Spotify on Apple Watch, they do not give access to Siri, HomePod, and so on. That is, in fact, the Spotify user is forced to use Apple products for voice control, since the company does not provide any other option. This is unfair competition.

These allegations have been sent along with the facts to the European Commission, the next question is whether an investigation into Apple's practices will begin. The likelihood that the European Commission will launch such an investigation is extremely high, and this threatens Apple with big trouble, the company will not be able to put pressure on competitors, as it does now, and the example of Spotify is just one of many. For Apple, the fight against Spotify is a fight for the future of revenue from other people's content and services, and a fight to the death. With falling iPhone sales, the only source of income is services that should bring money. And here the attack on Apple comes from all sides, large companies do not want to pay a tax on the Apple ecosystem and offer their users to buy their services on the side. Given that on Android all the same services and content are noticeably cheaper (at least 30%!), Apple's future lies with its own services, otherwise they will remain in splendid isolation.

Apple's response to Spotify's claims is expectedly vague, there are no specifics on the facts, but only general words that Spotify is popular on the iOS platform and this supposedly means that the application was not restricted in any way.

As for me, the current situation is critical, and the pressure on Apple will increase. Another thing is that such cases have been going on for years, and it is not worth waiting for the result before 2020-2021. But the important thing is that the investigations and their results will come out at a time when Apple's market situation will worsen even more, all these stories will increase the company's problems in the future.

Look at Qualcomm's battle with Apple, which began two years ago. In San Diego, Qualcomm won a lawsuit against Apple. The case dealt with Qualcomm's patent infringement and found that Apple had infringed three patents for a paltry $31 million in damages. But most importantly, this opens the door to other lawsuits and, in particular, to calculate payments from each iPhone sold, and there the amounts will be completely different.

Simultaneously, in Apple vs. Qualcomm in California, a judge ruled that Qualcomm owed Apple a billion dollars in retro bonuses that weren't paid out as companies began to sue around the world. What many perceive as a victory for Apple is not. The very nature of retro bonuses is such that they may not be paid if a number of agreements are violated, and they were violated in this situation. So Qualcomm will fight back from paying this money for a long time, especially since counterclaims are in progress.

Vipe chargers - portable and stationary. Replacement laptop charger

I've said many times that I'm happy with my 2013 MacBook Pro 13 and I'm not going to change it to something else. In any case, while he works and copes with his work with a bang. Nevertheless, different machines come to the tests, Huawei's MateBook recently arrived, and I caught myself thinking that I lack Power Delivery (PD) technology support in my laptop. It allows you to use not only certified chargers from different manufacturers to charge your laptop, but also external batteries, which looks like science fiction, but it no longer is. It is clear that it will not work to fully charge a laptop from a 20,000 mAh battery, but extending its operation for a couple of hours is already worth a lot, especially if you are somewhere in the mountains where you cannot find an outlet during the day with fire. Or you are in places where there is almost never a light, and diesel generators provide power, as was the case last summer when I traveled around the Pamirs.

Most modern laptops support PD technology starting from a certain cost, if we talk about devices from Apple, then these are both MacBook and MacBook Air / Pro of different diagonals that have been released in recent years. When buying a laptop, I always had the question of what I also need to buy an additional charger, since I live in several places (home, office at least), and carrying a charger with me is not always convenient. Chargers from Apple have never been inexpensive, and there were no alternatives, since the company forbade creating chargers for a proprietary connector. With the advent of USB Type C connectors, everything has changed, and now different companies are creating alternative chargers that are in many ways superior to what Apple itself offers.

In MVideo I accidentally stumbled upon a Vipe charger (then I saw that the product was fresh and was only spreading through federal networks, I also found it in iPort St. Petersburg), it is called Vipe PowerStation and is designed for different devices. In "MVideo" this device is positioned for laptops, placed it in the appropriate section. In my opinion, this is not at all the case, and here's why. This is a universal charger with three USB ports and one USB Type C port. It is clear that it can charge a PD-enabled laptop with it, but in fact, you can use this block to quickly charge your iPhone or any other smartphone, as well as other devices.

The more I read into the specifications, the more I realized that I needed this little thing even taking into account the fact that my main laptop does not support PD. Take a look at what connectors are on board this 75 watt charging station.

With the orange label, this is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the other two USB ports deliver up to 2.4A/5V. Moreover, Quick Charge is claimed by Qualcomm, but in fact, fast charging of smartphones from Samsung, Huawei (3.6-6V / 3A, 6-9V / 2A, 9-12V / 1.5A) is supported. Of course, USB Type C initially supports various operating parameters - 5V / 3A, 9V / 3A, 15V / 3A, 18V / 3A, 20V / 3A. All these connectors are located on one front side, and you can charge several devices at the same time.

It comes with a small stand and a cable, all very compact. I liked that the cable is 1.5 meters long and it is convenient for stationary installation of the station at home, it will not be difficult to reach the outlet if you put the station on the table.

I have never seen a light sensor in such chargers, it serves here to reduce the brightness of the indicator. In complete darkness, it becomes muffled, in bright light it flares up more strongly.

The weight of this small box is 215 grams. This is quite comparable to Apple's 61 watt charger (276 grams). But at the same time, the dimensions and compactness are comparable, and instead of one USB Type C output, you get four different connectors at once and you can charge several devices at the same time.

In terms of compactness, this unit reminds me of a typical external battery, the difference between them is minimal, so you can imagine how it will fit into your backpack or bag. The ideal scenario for using such a station when traveling is that you do not take a charger from your laptop, your smartphones, you only need cables. And it turns out that the weight of your luggage is reduced, and the convenience is increased - you feed all your electronics from one charge. Conveniently? Wrong word.

The quality of workmanship, thoughtful design - all this speaks in favor of the Vipe PowerStation, but the most important argument against which it is difficult to argue is the cost. In the same MVideo, the price of the accessory is 4,990 rubles. In addition to the station in black, you can buy it in white. I somehow got tired of the white color and therefore took a black one.

For comparison, I will give the cost of a 61 W MacBook charger - 5,990 rubles. It is noticeably simpler, has only one connector and is inferior to this solution in every sense. The dimensions, as you remember, are exactly the same. Cool stuff? Absolutely.

Already after I got acquainted with PowerStation, I decided to find the company and asked to show what other chargers there are. It turned out that there are two TravelStation S / M power supplies, the first for 45 watts, the second for 60 watts. This is a simple version of the charger, which, perhaps, will be enough for everyone who does not have many electronic devices, the difference from the PowerStation is that there are only two connectors on the case, USB Type C and a regular USB with QC 3.0 support.

In both models, the plug is built into the case, meaning you don't need to carry a wire, but you will be tied to the outlet and where it is located. With a wire, I like the solution more, since you are guaranteed to be able to “plug in”, but here the charging size, similar to that of Apple, is not always and everywhere convenient, you know this even better than me.

The price of TravelStation M for 60 watts in the same MVideo is 3,790 rubles. Let me remind you that an analogue from Apple costs 5,990 rubles, the difference in cost is obvious, and the presence of a second USB output here Satin Bonnets is a clear advantage, it is difficult to directly compare them in terms of capabilities. Portable charging is also done neatly, in terms of price / quality ratio, it turned out to be excellent.

The price of TravelStation M for 60 watts in the same MVideo is 3,790 rubles. Let me remind you that an analogue from Apple costs 5,990 rubles, the difference in cost is obvious, and the presence of a second USB output is here Satin Bonnets Satin Bonnets a clear advantage, it is difficult to directly compare them in terms of capabilities. Portable charging is also done neatly, in terms of price / quality ratio, it turned out to be excellent.

What can I finally say about these devices? In my opinion, they turned out great, and they are needed for those who often travel or charge several devices at home. This is a good replacement for standard PD power supplies for laptops from both Apple and other companies. If you live in several places, then instead of lugging around chargers, you can buy such charging stations and solve your problems once and for all. When traveling, it is also a convenient alternative to a bunch of different chargers, you only need to take wires with you. The same PowerStation was with me in Barcelona, ​​Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, and I quickly got used to the fact that I have fast charging in one place, it's damn convenient. In Barcelona, ​​just in case, I took the usual exercises, insured against surprises, then abandoned them. I hope that my experience will be useful for you, as many of my friends and colleagues are constantly traveling and looking for solutions on how to lighten their luggage as much as possible, this is one of the ways.

AKG headphones in Samsung branded retail - an example of AKG N200

Samsung is gradually starting to promote Harman products, the company recently became a subsidiary of Samsung, so this decision looks logical. Samsung has chosen AKG as its home brand (these are the headphones that come with the company's flagships), and many headphones now flaunt that they are tuned by AKG engineers. Models of 2018 appeared in Samsung retail, which were shown at IFA in Berlin, I took some for testing and will tell you about them in detail. But I started using the N200 wireless headphones, as they have a very interesting price in the USA of about $ 60 (only 9 pieces left at the time of writing, so hurry up). With us they cost 10,990 rubles.

The price determines the perception of the product, I’ll say right away that for $ 60 these wireless headphones are ideal, this is almost a free offer, and it’s pointless to evaluate something in them, you just need to grab them as quickly as possible.

But I've been using the N200 as a mainstream for a couple of weeks, so I have a lot to say. The claimed battery life on a single charge is up to 8 hours, I got up to six hours, no more. Passive isolation is not the best, the noise of the train is easily audible, you have to twist the sound to the maximum. The sound of music is not bad, they sound completely different than the Galaxy Buds, in some ways more pleasant. But there is no companion app, no special settings. The downside is that Bluetooth 4.1 drains the battery of a smartphone faster than the same 5.0.

I am writing a review of headphones slowly, I think that