Firefox will Block Third-Party Tracking Cookies and Cryptomining



Mozilla announced that Firefox 69 on desktop and Android will, by default, empower all users by blocking third-party tracking cookies and cryptominers. Mozilla calls this a major step in their multi-year effort to bring stronger, usable, privacy protections to everyone using Firefox.

For today’s release, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be turned on by default for all users worldwide as part of the ‘Standard’ setting in the Firefox browser and will block known “third-party tracking cookies” according to the Disconnect list.

Mozilla notes that they first enabled this default feature for new users in June of 2019. Mozilla also points out that over 20% of Firefox users have Enhanced Tracking Protection on. With this new release, they expect to provide protection for 100% of their users by default.

Enhanced Tracking Protection, Mozilla explains, works behind-the-scenes to keep a company from forming a profile of you based on their tracking of your browsing behavior across websites – often without your consent or knowledge. Those profiles and information may be sold for purposes that you never knew or intended.

How can you tell when Enhanced Tracking Protection is working? It is working when you visit a site and see a shield icon in the address bar.

In addition, Firefox 69 will protect users from cryptominers, who attempt to access the CPU of other people’s computers in order to generate cryptocurrency for themselves. The option to block cryptominers is included in the ‘Standard Mode’ of the Content Blocking preferences in Firefox 69.

I love when companies make an effort to protect the privacy of their users. It is a rare thing in today’s world, were so many websites and corporations feel that they are entitled to harvest as much data as they can grab. It is also good that Mozilla’s Firefox 69 will block cryptominers. It is wrong (and incredibly selfish) to sneakily access someone else’s computer for the purpose of cryptomining.


YouTube Shares its Plans for Removing Harmful Content



YouTube posted information on its official blog about its plan for removing harmful content. It is part of YouTube’s effort to live up to their responsibility while preserving the power of an open platform.

The plan consists of four principles:

  • Remove content that violates YouTube’s policy as quickly as possible
  • Raise up authoritative voices when people are looking for breaking news and information
  • Reward trusted, eligible creators and artists
  • Reduce the spread of content that brushes right up against YouTube’s policy line.

Over the next several months, YouTube will provide more detail on the work they are doing to support these principals. The first focus is on “Remove”. They have been removing harmful content since YouTube started, but accelerated it in recent years.

Because of this ongoing work, over the last 18 months, we’ve reduced views on videos that are later removed for violating our policies by 80%, and we’re continuously working to reduce this number further.

After reviewing a policy, YouTube may discover that fundamental changes aren’t needed. But, if the review uncovers areas that are confusing to the community, YouTube clarifies their existing guidelines.

For example, YouTube provided more detail about when a “challenge” is too dangerous for YouTube. YouTube’s hate speech update was launched in early June. YouTube says the profound impact of their hate speech policy is already evident. In April, they announced they are updating their harassment policy, including creator-on-creator harassment.

Another thing YouTube is doing, in addition to human reviewers, is the use of machine learning technology to help detect potentially violative content. In addition, YouTube is removing content that breaks its rules before that content is widely viewed, or even viewed at all. More than 80% of auto-flagged videos were removed before they received a single view in the second quarter of 2018.

For example, YouTube notes that the nearly 30,000 videos they removed for hate speech over the last month generated just 3% of the views that knitting videos did over the same time period. Personally, I love that something as creative and informative as knitting videos are getting so many more views than the awful videos that include hate speech.


Hidizs Sonata HD DAC Review – USB C to 3.5 mm



There’s no doubt that USB C is the new standard for smartphones, tablets and laptops and it replaces a plethora of legacy ports, including all the annoying variants of USB. In addition, USB C supports digital audio and several device manufacturers have decided to remove 3.5 mm audio sockets from their phones and tablets. Google, OnePlus, Samsung, Huawei and LG all have at least one model which only has USB C.

This is not good news if you have invested in high-end headphones or earbuds that connect via a cable. Yes, manufacturers typically include a USB C to 3.5 mm adaptor for the devices but my experience is that the sound quality isn’t that great – frankly, it’s rubbish.

Both my smartphone (OnePlus 6T) and tablet (Huawei Mediapad M5) are USB C only devices, and as an owner of some half-decent headphones, I’d been looking to improve the audio experience. I came across a recommendation for the the Hidizs Sonata HD DAC Cable II so I thought I’d try it out. I ordered via Amazon.com to be shipped to the UK, so it set me back about US$45 in total.

The Hidizs DAC comes in small zipped case typical of audio goods. Inside there’s the Sonata DAC cable itself, plus a USB A to USB C converter for use with laptops and PCs that don’t have the newer type of USB. It’s also needed for flashing the firmware, but more on this later.

First impressions are that this is a good product – the cable has lovely plaiting and the socket is metal….but we’re not here to look at the Sonata. What does it sound like?

Brilliant. The difference between the Hidizs DAC cable and the Huawei OEM one was easily noticeable. The sound was much clearer, with greater clarity and really opened up the performance.  Very impressed and would definitely recommend the Sonata if you have any kind of quality headphones. I tested with a range of headphones from Sennheiser to 1more, both over-ear and in-ear.

Using the USB A to C converter gives the benefits of the DAC over whatever penny chip was used in a PC or laptop. Windows 10 picked up the DAC on insertion and resetting the audio output to the new device yielded much better sound across the board too.

Finally, the Sonata 3.5 mm input is a TRRS type and supports headphones with a microphone, meaning you can take phone calls when you have your headphones on, as long as there’s a mic on the ‘phones. Interestingly, the firmware can be updated too and if you don’t use the phone function, the output audio quality can be enhanced further to 24bit/192kHz. I didn’t actually try to flash the firmware…

Overall, the Hidizs Sonata HD DAC Cable II is a big improvement over the cables provided in the box with smartphones and tablets sporting USB C. Recommended.

There’s more in the video below.

 


Meet the Limitless Innovations Charge Hub X3 [Review]



Charging hubs seem to be a dime a dozen these days – ok, they cost a bit more than that, but you get the point. That being said there’s also some great innovation going on these days. There now hubs with multiple ports to allow to charge things from one outlet. 

Today we’re looking at the Charge Hub X3 from Limitless Innovations, which makes a large array of products, many of them for charging. 

This is a three-port version and the plug that attaches to the back and plugs into the wall is actually a Macbook plug, although the device doesn’t appear to support charging one. When plugged in it has a blue indicator light on the front. The charging is relatively fast as well. It does not supply the charging cables, you’ll have to use your own, but pretty much everyone has those or you wouldn’t be buying this product. You can plug is whatever you want – USB to micro USB, USB to USB-C or USB to lightning. 

The company points out that “Our Charge hub X3 3 Port USB Charger is compact and ready to charge virtually any 3 USB devices fast with 2.4amp max output per port!”. It comes in 10 different colors – Black, white. Red, blue, pink, purple, green, grey, orange and turquoise. 

It’s available now for $39.99 at Limitless Innovations. There are also 5 port and port hubs for a bit more. It would be very handy when traveling with one charger for everything. 


Juice Systems Product Overview



The team from Juiced System sent me a variety of products to try. All are quite straightforward and there Deca Hub is quite robust. While most will leave it on their desktop I travel with mine as it easy to hook up to various devices while I travel. Both the 10 Port and the UltraHub USB-C Thunderbolt multiport Adapter give you a lot of options.

On top of the hubs, they have USB-C Port adapters that eliminate the need to carry a bunch of accessories to access media cards. There full line of USB-C to USB-C cables also are nice in that they are robust and versatile.  Visit their website to see the full lineup.

Demo Room Design by AudiMute.com contact me to get the pricing on all of their Audio Conditioning products.


Live from the New Studio #1391



Live from the New Studio, this is really a trial run as the Audio, Cameras, Lighting has not been fully dialed in. So looking for feedback on today’s show. I have a lot of work to do yet to get it where it needs to be. Great show for a live one so I hope you will enjoy the podcast and give the video a look.

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Amazon uses Tips to Pay Drivers Wages #1390



Amazon apparently was caught paying there deliver drivers with Tips they received versus paying them a fair wage and letting them keep their tips. This is the ultimate cheap charlie tactic I think I have ever seen. Big happening here this weekend with the install of the Audimute panels and finishing the studio design. Very exciting times ahead.

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