EU demands Apple play fair

EU demands Apple play fair

It looks like the Apple-specific charging cable may be a thing of the past with the European Union demanding that all smartphone makers use a universal USB-C port for wired charging by 2024. The same rule will be applied to many other electronic devices like tablets, cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles and e-readers. In the future, laptops will need to follow the same rule.

- With the legislation in process for over 10 years, this does not come without warning. The legislation still needs ratification by the EU Parliament and Council that will come later in the year. Apple will face the biggest impact because they still have their proprietary port for charging but the EU claims it is not specifically targeting Apple. Apple claims this kind of rule damages innovation in both harming Europe and the rest of the world. I find that argument a thin one. It will all come down to the definition of the word "universal" as Apple has a tendency to add something to the cable so it notifies the Apple device it is acceptable.

- I recently saw a quote from the US-based Washington Examiner from a senator there: "The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation." Given that what some call "disinformation" often becomes fact soon after, this is a disturbing statement from a senior politician and something I would expect from China and others way before coming out of the US.

- Samsung is trying to duplicate the human brain's structure on a computer chip. Working with Harvard University the aim is to allow chips in the future to work in a low power, environment adaptive manner, with perhaps some autonomy and cognition capabilities included. As of now this aim is at best a maybe proposition. If you talk to any professor of psychology, they are likely to tell you we still have only a limited understanding of how the brain does what it does. So just copying the structure of the brain onto a chip may work but it also probably won't. If you want to know more about their proposal, check out Neuromorphic Electronics Based On Copying And Pasting The Brain in Nature Electronics. A better question is what if they succeed? What will the result be? Will it be friendly to humans or will it become Skynet? Just asking.

- This story is a little old but it does once again refer to the 97% which seems to be a magic figure for some. China has developed an AI-based prosecutor that can apparently charge citizens of a crime. It has been tested in the Shanghai Pudong prosecutor's office and can allegedly get it right 97% of the time for eight different crimes. They include dangerous driving and obstructing officials, but the one that caught my eye is picking quarrels and provoking trouble. This would seem to be somewhat subjective, and without very clear definitions could cover just about everything from a marital squabble to political dissent.

- If you remember my AI example of millions of samples just to train some software to filter out noise from a recording compared with the 17,000 legal cases over five years used to train this AI, it seems at best scant especially given what is at stake. It might be better called a basic rules-based engine. The software can run on a PC and uses 1,000 traits extracted from a case description filed by humans. I can already see a range of issues with this reliably providing enough data to press charges and determine the sentence. A 97% success rate seems high, particularly in a nation not known for admitting they can get things wrong. When it is wrong, who takes the blame?

- Sony's answer to inflation is their new gold-plated Walkman with a modest price of US$3,700 (131,000 baht). No, it won't play your old tapes, it is an Android 11 media player, just like your smartphone, minus the gold plating. Yes, you can get the high-quality audio experience over Wi-Fi, or using a Kimber Cable connection that only the true audiophile will have. If you need to know more and have that kind of cash then check out any Sony site.

- Samsung has been accused of cheating in benchmark tests to inflate the apparent abilities of its hardware. In this case it is the luminosity of their S95B TVs. According to the YouTube channel FlatpanelsHD, Samsung is using an algorithm during tests to boost luminescence by up to 80% to make the reviews look better. According to FlatpanelsHD, if you try this during normal use the panels will potentially fry. Samsung, like other companies out there, deny that they are using any algorithms to fudge the results. When you walk into many stores, they will have the TV set in display mode pushing the signal to the max to display its qualities. This is so normal I don't think most people believe it will be so bright back at home in with a normal setting and setup.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at

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