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Indian Government Officially Bans Over 100 Chinese Mobile Apps; Includes A Malay Social Dating App

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology have officially announced that it is banning a total of 118 mobile apps that it deems to be a threat to both the country and its cybersecurity infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, all of the apps on the list are apps that were developed by companies based in China.
Suffice to say, the list is extensive, with some of the apps actually being popular mobile game apps like PUBG Mobile, Rise of Kingdoms, and Warpath to name a few. On somewhat interesting note, one of the apps called “Malay Social Dating App To Date & Meet Singles”, seems to have been developed by a developer in China.
This isn’t the first time India’s government has chosen to ban a long list of made in China apps. Back in June, it gave TikTok and WeChat the banhammer along with 57 other apps. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance challenged the ban in Indian court, stating that such actions were in strict violations of its freedom of speech rights.
(Image source: AA.)
Of course, it is a widely accepted point that India’s main reason behind banning these apps stems from the ongoing hostilities between the two nations, brought about by skirmish at the borders of both countries.
The full list can be found at the official page of India’s Ministry of Electronic and IT.
(Source: India Ministry of Electronics & IT)
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POCO X3 Spotted In SIRIM Database; Local Launch Imminent

Xiaomi subsidiary POCO recently announced that it will be holding an online global launch event for the new POCO X3 smartphone on 7 September. It appears that we won’t have to wait long for it to arrive in Malaysia, thanks to a listing of the phone found in SIRIM’s database.
This discovery was made by the ever-watchful database observer Kevin Ng TK, who shared his findings on Twitter. According to the screenshot provided, the listing detailed the various connectivity support available on the POCO X3 such as Bluetooth, NFC, and GPS. While the device is shown to support a wide array of GSM and LTE bands, there is no mention of 5G.

Poco X3 #SIRIM pic.twitter.com/Fnhghh38LI
— Kevin Ng TK (@KevinNgTK) September 2, 2020

POCO has kept the new phone’s design and specifications under wraps, so there’s not much known about it. At least officially. On the leaks and rumour side of things, several sources have suggested that the POCO X3 will feature a 6.67-inch 120Hz display, Snapdragon 732 chipset, 20MP selfie camera, and a 5,160mAh battery with 33W fast charging capability. Alleged designs of the phone’s rear had also made its way online, revealing an interesting multi-camera setup.
Render of the alleged POCO X3 (image: MIUI Turkiye)
We’ll eventually find out what the POCO X3 has to offer when it launches next week on the aforementioned date. With the phone already approved by SIRIM, a local launch could take place sometime soon as well.
Thanks for the tip @KevinNgTK!
(Additional source: Notebookcheck.net)
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NVIDIA RTX IO Technology Helps Offset Workload From CPU To GPU, Cut Down Loading Times

Earlier today, NVIDIA officially launched its GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards, all powered by its new Ampere GPU architecture. Prior to their unveiling, the GPU brand also spoke briefly of the new technologies that would be made available alongside the new GPUs. Chief among them being something known as RTX IO.
To put it in laymen terms, NVIDIA’s RTX IO technology was designed to help offload a major portion of loading times and texture rendering from a system’s CPU and have it processed by the GPU. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, describes the process as a “rapid GPU-based loading and game asset decompression”.
To provide some context, textures and load times are governed by the read and write speeds of the storage devices, and the CPU. The latter typically does this on the fly, rendering high quality texture and streaming them at a blistering rate. Ensuring that objects appear in-game and minimise any stuttering.

Of course, how fast this task is done depends on several factors; loading game assets from a traditional HDD will naturally be slow, and while top-tier NVMe SSDs boast lightning-fast speeds, its storage capacities are still playing catch up to its mechanical cousins. On that note, it also doesn’t help that file size of many popular games have grown exponentially, with the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and its multiplayer mode, Warzone, currently sitting at 224GB.
With RTX IO, NVIDIA aims to offer up to 100x faster drive performance and approximately 20 times lower CPU utilisation, while also potentially allowing game developers to cut down game download and install sizes. While the feature is designed for Ampere, Huang did specify that RTX IO will also function with Turing-powered GPUs. So, don’t go throwing out your RTX 20 series just yet.
(Source: NVIDIA, Techspot)
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Google Delivers Wi-Fi Sync, Mic Slider, and Improved Settings Search To Chromebooks

In case you have not noticed from the recent news cycles, it seems that Google has been rolling out updates to many of its products as of late. This time around, the company has just deployed new features to Chromebooks via Chrome OS 85.
For starters, users are now able to have their Wi-Fi passwords synced into the Google Account that they used on their Chromebook. Hence, they will now no longer need to recall the Wi-Fi passwords should they decide to use a different Chromebook device.

Additionally, the search function within Chromebook settings has also been updated with a new intelligent search model. Now, the search bar will provide suggestions that are related to the keyword instead of just settings that exactly match the search term.
At the same time, the company says they will soon allow users to search through their Chromebook settings via the Launcher feature within Chrome OS.

Not to forget, the latest feature that Google has added to the Chrome OS is the new mic slider which allows users to control the level of mic volume through the operating system’s Quick Settings. The company has also noted that users can now pause and resume video recording when they using the built-in camera app.
Additionally, they also now able to capture snapshots while in the middle of a video recording. So, Chromebook users out there, do take note and keep a look for these new features in your device.
(Source: Google Blog)
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Here Are The New 11th Gen Intel Core Laptop Processors; Formerly Known As Tiger Lake

They have been teased for months and the wait is finally over. As promised, Intel today has officially unveiled the new 11th Gen Intel Core processors for laptops which were previously codenamed Tiger Lake.
Built using the 10nm Intel SuperFin process technology, the 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processors are equipped with the new Willow Cove CPU. At the same time, some models carry the new Intel Iris Xe Graphics as their integrated GPU while the rest are equipped with the older Intel UHD Graphics.
[L-R]: 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processors UP3 and UP4.At the moment, the 11th Gen Intel Core family of mobile processors have nine different members:

Intel claimed that these new processors are able to deliver up to 20% more performance for productivity tasks as well as 2.7x faster photo editing and 2x faster video editing against equivalent AMD Ryzen 4000 series chips. For gaming, models with Intel Iris Xe Graphics apparently able to provide up to 2x more performance as well:

Intel has previously revealed that the 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processors natively support Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6. They are also powerful enough to support up to four 4K HDR displays at the same time or one 8K HDR display if super high resolution is what you aiming for.
At the moment, there are more than 150 designs with 11th Gen Intel Core processors currently in development by Acer, ASUS, Dell, Dynabook, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI, Razer, Samsung and many more.

Now that Intel has finally unveiled its new mobile processors, you will be able to hear about these new devices very soon but more importantly, you will also likely see some of them in the market within the next few months as the year-end shopping season is approaching very soon.
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All Autogates and E-Gates In Malaysia Are Now Closed Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

The Immigration Department of Malaysia today has suspended the access to all automated gates at all of the entry points throughout the country. The move was done as part of the government’s effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The temporary closure of these gates was first known through a directive letter that was spread online before it was officially confirmed by the department’s Director-General, Khairul Dzaimee Daud later in the day. The directive applies to all types of automated gates including the Malaysians autogate and foreign visitors e-gate as well as the Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS) in Johor.

Despite being a temporary measure, the Immigration Department didn’t provide any specific conclusion date in its announcement. With that, it looks like you might experience longer clearance time at the airport and other entry points throughout the country starting from today onwards.
According to the Ministry of Health, there are currently 50 positive case of COVID-19 in Malaysia. They are part of 93,469 cases that have been detected in 78 countries across the globe up till 6pm Malaysian time today, according to the statistics from World Health Organization.
(Source: Immigration Department of Malaysia.)
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The Rise of Skywalker: Early Versions of Script Explained Palpatine’s Return

It’s been 79 days since the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film received mixed reactions with many criticising its severe lack of explanations and the humungous Sarlacc Pit where the plot lunged into.
One of the many things that irked fans was the return of Palpatine. The Emperor. Darth Sidious. In the six films prior to Disney’s 2015 revival, the hideous visage and ghastly cackle had been a dark thorn in the Force’s side. When the Force awakened, he sat it out, and when The Last Jedi came, absent, he was. But, nonetheless, he was back to wreak havoc in the ninth instalment of the Skywalker saga. OK.
BUT JUST HOW THE HECK DID SHEEV PALPATINE RETURN AFTER PLUNGING AND GOING “BOOM“ INTO TINY SITH BITS – we didn’t see that happen, but you get my drift – AT THE END OF 1983’s RETURN OF THE JEDI?!
Earlier this week, the official The Rise of Skywalker novelisation was released at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). Subsequently, excerpts from the book began surfacing online. The revelation soon came that The Emperor was indeed a clone and he was rotting in the said body because it could not contain his Spirit.
At the very same event, long-time Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid commented on the exclusion of the scene from the final product. Here’s what he said (via ScreenRant):
At one point, the script had the line – in that first scene, with Adam [Driver who plays Kylo Ren] – when he says, ‘You’re a clone.’ And I said, in that original script, which is no longer with us, “More than a clone. Less than a man.

Having knowledge of this really pushes my buttons as the film could have simply patched up its biggest plot hole, arguably, with a couple of expository lines. Sure, the hokey-Snokeys in pickle jars could have been THE clue. However, if ambiguity was what the filmmakers were going for, it failed miserably due to how choppy and half-cooked the rest of the narrative turned out to be.
What do you think about this post-release reveal? Does it clear up some head-scratching questions you may have initially had? Leave your cackles in the comments.
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The PlayStation 2 Was Released 20 Years Ago Today

Before you know it, we’ve already entered the second decade of the new millennium. That said, 4 March also marked the day when Sony first released the PlayStation 2 (PS2) in the year 2000. Yes, the console that most current adults longed for when they were kids is now 20 years old.

The PlayStation 2’s Legacy
The PS2 was an advanced video game console when it was released back then. Besides offering better hardware performance than its predecessor, it also featured backward-compatibility that allowed it to play PS1 games with some graphics enhancements. Additionally, it was the first console to feature online connectivity and expanded internal storage, which were sold separately as modules later on.
Throughout its lifetime, the PS2 had brought us major hits such as the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Grand Theft Auto 3, Final Fantasy X, Silent Hill 2, and more. The console also birthed new franchises at the time including God of War, Devil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, and even Guitar Hero. MMORPGs such as Final Fantasy XI were a big hit on the PS2 as well, thanks to its ability to connect to the internet.
Sony would later release the Slimline models of the PS2 in 2004 which significantly reduced the size of the console. This variant of the console gradually replaced the older “Phat” models thanks to its compact size and slightly improved hardware.
The PS2 Slim was introduced in 2004
Budget-Friendly DVD Player
Despite its credibility as a home video game console, the PS2 was regarded as a worthwhile DVD player as well. According to Famitsu, non-gamer Japanese consumers actually bought the device just for that feature alone. And because it was cheaper than buying an actual player.
DVD technology was still considered new back in the late 90s and early noughties, therefore it was common to find players priced over JPY64,000 (~RM2,490). Whereas, a brand new PlayStation 2 would instead only cost a Japanese consumer JPY39,800 (~RM1,550). Not a bad deal considering the fact that they also get the ability to play video games with it too.
The PS2’s Memory Card. Yes, 8MB was generous back in the day.
Undisputed Champion (For Now)
The console was also one of Sony’s longest running devices in the market, with production finally discontinued in 2013 – over a dozen years after its launch. Games for the console were still released until the same year, while its repair services in Japan only ended in 2018. Yes, it had lived long enough to see first announcement of the PlayStation 4.
Suffice to say, Sony’s sequel to the original PlayStation console was very well received by gamers around the world. So much so that the PS2 was crowned the best-selling console of all time, with 155 million units sold worldwide.
Sony made a lot of hype for just the logo…
The PlayStation brand had celebrated its 25th anniversary back in April 2019, while the PS5 was also officially announced in October. The fifth generation Sony video game console is expected to launch by late 2020.
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The Invisible Man Composer Breaks Down Film’s Brilliant Music

The Invisible Man is an excellent horror film. It’s thrilling from start to finish. Director Leigh Whannell understands that merely suggesting that someone/something could be watching and stalking can strike more fear in you than just blatantly showing you a CGI monster in a mirror. The film is atmospheric and enrapturing. What also makes the movie great is Composer Benjamin Wallfisch’s music composition. Wallfisch alternates between silence and rich Hans Zimmer-ian scores to enhance the atmosphere and keep us at the edge of our seats.
The opening sequence alone is an excellent example. First, you hear the sound of waves. What follows is complete silence, as the protagonist walks around the house quietly while her man sleeps, gathering her things in an attempt to escape. The tension builds and builds and then we hear a dog bark, followed by a rich and heavy score that elevates our heart rate.
In an interview with Collider, Wallfisch mentioned that director Leigh Whannell wanted the music of The Invisible Man to not just be an accompanying piece but a character in and of itself.
Leigh’s vision was to have the music very much as a character, and not just as underscore. We really wanted the score to take an active role in the experience of the film. A lot of it was about articulating and using silence in a very rhythmic way. By that I mean: when there is music, it tends to be very left field, bold and quite extreme. So you almost don’t trust the absence of music when there’s silence. By doing that the silence almost becomes a musical event. There are very careful structural choices that were made to maximize that.

Apart from that, Wallfisch also talked about how he used music to add texture to the characters.
First there is a cello theme which you hear when she finds out Adrian is dead, and at a couple of other key moments, and secondly a piano theme which has an insistent, building quality. This is also heard only a handful of times in the score, but is meant to convey her inner strength.
And then, in contrast, Adrian Griffin, The Invisible Man, his world is entirely electronic and very aggressive. The sound which Leigh and I were trying to go for him was an electronic sound where things are pushed to the limit in terms of aggression at times, but also something very quiet and indistinct, so it almost creeps up on you. Adrian has a kind of synth leitmotif, something we called a ‘growl’. It shifts in tone throughout and gives him presence even when you can’t see him. It was really fun to have the string orchestra and the electronic elements to the score co-exist in that way.
The Invisible Man opens in Malaysian cinemas 5 March 2020.
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Alleged Google Pixel 4a Images Leak; May Come With Punch Hole Display

Google I/O 2020 may be cancelled, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the search company could be prepping the mid-range variants of last year’s Pixel 4 series. Recently, images of what could be the Pixel 4a made its way online, which means that a launch could be imminent.
The images appear to have first been posted by Slashleaks. In one of the images, we can see the front of the alleged Pixel 4a and its use of a punch hole display, with said punch hole located in a pretty unorthodox position to the top-left of the screen.
It’s unorthodox to us because most smartphone manufacturers to date typically have the punch hole situated either to far-left or far-right corner of the display or simply place it smack dab in the middle of the display’s forehead. Also, the choice of using a punch hole display is also an odd choice in its own right, considering that both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL employ a thick top bezel.

On that note, the sides of the supposed Pixel 4a’s display are also more rounded and seem to be edge-to-edge. Given the blurriness of the image, though, it’s difficult to ascertain this point for now.
The other image basically shows the back of the device. We can see that the phone will have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a square-shaped camera housing at the top corner of the phone. However, it’s clear in this picture that the main camera module only houses a single camera sensor, rather than the dual-camera array that is used in the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL.

As always, the veracity of these images have yet to be confirmed, so take this bit of news with a large grain of salt.
(Source: Slashleaks via PocketNow)
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