Audio News for March 22, 2016

Federal Trade Commission Warns Android Developers Who Spy on User’s TV Habits – The FTC sent letters to a dozen app developers warning them agains their use of “audio beacons” which listen in on the environment and hear sounds from TV shows. The technology comes from an East Indian company and lets the app figure out what you are watching, and tells if you saw the whole show or stopped it half-way thru. Users of smartphones might review the permissions each app has access to. If an app is free, and isn’t developed by some trusted company, you should be careful and watch the permissions. The FTC letter states that the developers published their apps on Google Play and it affects only Android apps at this time.

Best Cables for Audio & Video GearGizmodo has a fine article online
http://gizmodo.com/the-best-cables-for-your-audio-and-video-gear-1764802400
about cable selections with which we mostly agreed. (Except on the point of HDMI being all digital and therefore the cheapest is as good as the most expensive, why did Mapleshade’s HDMI cable clearly enhance the image on my HDTV?)

Classical Music and TV Commercials
– There is bounteous use of classical music to accompany technolgic ad campaigns for cars and other modern gimmicks. Certain composers and pieces are often favored. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is very popular, and Bach gets his due. A feature film about tech branding, Creative Control, uses the same Schubert piece used in Barry Lyndon. It hints at the ways computer technology swiftly colonized human existence. The filmmaker of Creative Control says “I wanted to use the language of advertising to deconstruct advertising.”

Canadian Travelers Never Leave Home Without Their Electronics– A recent survey by RBC Insurance found that electronics even trump medication for many Canadians. 53% always have along their electronics, while only 45% buy travel insurance while on vacation. Electronics are the second most-often listed items after passports that Canadians just can’t leave home without, and cell phones are the top item listed.

VR Video Gaming Is Getting Very Real – By the end of this month the Oculus Rift VR headset will be available for $600, though to have the top-of-line PC to use it might cost you $1500 for a special package. Microsoft’s HoloLens will ship to developers for about $3000, and the HTC Vive VR headset, also required an up-to-date gaming PC, will be available next month for about $800. Google is expected to unveil an updated version of its $15 cardboard VR viewer this year, and Sony plans to ship its PlayStation VR headset in October for $400.

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