News Room

This Week In Tech – Google Cures Your Travel Woes

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2018-03-14
This week in tech, Google helps you tour the world, Netflix changes the locks and will it be Android Pie, Pancake or Popsicle next?
This week in tech news saw Netflix take the first, revolutionary steps in preventing your children from watching mindless, irritating nonsense. Fresh on the heels of Android’s new Oreo release, we take a look at what’s coming in the next version, VLC media player releases its greatest version yet and Google Street View can be used for so much more than creeping on your ex. Let’s take a look.

Netflix Beefs Up Parental Control Features

Last week, Netflix announced new updates to its parental controls. Users can already set PINs on certain maturity levels, but Netflix has taken an extra step. Parents can now set custom PINs for specific films and television shows, regardless of age recommendations. This means that even if a film is rated All Ages, if you don’t want your children watching it you could lock the film with a PIN. Batman & Robin? Blocked. Your children deserve better than a batsuit with nipples. So do we. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil? Block it. Because some sequels should never have been allowed to happen. Frozen? Why would you want to do this to yourself? Do you hate music? Do you want to resent the sound of your child’s voice? Double blocked! Disney is about to launch its very own streaming service, so, in order to compete, Netflix knows it has to improve on its features for parents. The streaming giant will have to work on retaining its clientele, seeing as though it will no longer be permitted to offer any Disney films released after 2019. Netflix says that it will also be displaying maturity levels at the beginning of each program, so that parents are fully aware of what their children are consuming. The features are set to roll out over the next few months.

What’s Coming In Android P?

Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo… This may sound like Amy Schumer’s daily shopping list, but no, it’s a list of Android OS version code names. Every version since Cupcake has been named after some kind of confectionary item, with Oreo being the latest to roll out. We’ve barely begun to explore and news is already out on the latest tricks and features we might be seeing in Android Popsicle. At least, that’s the name we’re putting our money on. Last week, Google released its first developer’s preview of Android P. A complete list of what has been discovered can be found here. Let’s take a look at some of our own favourite new features.
  1. Indoor Positioning – Uses WiFi connections to triangulate your position indoors. Let’s take a huge mall or confusing airport, for example, and how we could benefit from turn-by-turn directions.
  2. Improved Notifications – More information in your notifications. At a glance, know who the message is from, what it’s about and view any attachments. Do all of this, without even entering the messenger. Best possible way to ignore people.
  3. Multi Camera Support – Many new smartphones have multiple cameras in the front and the back. Few of these allow you to use them both at the same time. Google is working on adding support for this.
  4. Enhanced Privacy – When an app isn’t in use, it will no longer have access to your mic, camera or sensors. If this feature works out properly, we’ll no longer have to worry about our every single movement being recorded. Like it is, right now.

VLC 3.0 – Better At Everything

VLC is arguably the best media player in the world. Anybody who has ever downloaded illegal copies of films can vouch for this – it plays pretty much any type of file you can throw at it, no matter how weird. It is also open source and 100% free to download and use. After years of testing and tweaking, version 3.0 – Vetinari – has finally arrived, and it’s ahead of its time. It is available for Linux, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android, and offers a number of necessary and impressive features. These include support for:
  • Streaming to Chromecast devices;
  • 360-degree video;
  • 3D audio;
  • Hardware acceleration for 4K and 8K playback;
  • HEVC – High Efficiency Video Coding;
  • HDR – High Dynamic Range;
  • Much, much more.
There’s a reason why VLC is called the Swiss-Army Knife of media players, and this update only further cements its reputation.
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Google Maps – Now In Disney Theme Parks

Human beings are explorers at heart. Let’s face it, though, nobody likes traffic and some of us don’t even like other human beings. How do we get around the world, see what all the commotion is about and never, ever have to look another person in their stupid face, all at the same time? The answer is Google Maps. There’s so much more to using the Street View option than stalking or trolling for strange, unexplained phenomena. That’s right; Street View has come to Disney Theme Parks. Of course, this isn’t the first or only virtual tour you can take using Google Maps. Users can visit the Large Hadron Collider, the Kennedy Space Center, Antarctica, a Google Data Center or even the International Space Centre. Now, you’ll be able to visit attractions at 11 Disney Parks, including: You’ll be able to stroll through the parks, explore the castles and even climb aboard some of the rides and attractions. All from the comfort of your sweatpants.