Do you remember the scene where Indiana Jones is chased by a giant boulder threatening to crush him? Think of the boulder as major Ashampoo projects and me as Indiana Jones–but less agile and with somewhat rusty hips. That's what it's been like around here recently! And every boulder caught me straight on! The blog was the first victim of this deadline frenzy and, though it hurt, there was nothing I could do about it. Naturally, a lot has happened during my forced absence as blog writer so let's start with a particular crummy topic that could potentially cost cellphone users hundreds of dollars each month: fleeceware!
For as long as I can remember, virtual reality (VR) has been a dream of many creative minds, and movies like "Avatar" have given this idea mainstream appeal. I, on the other hand, find myself standing very visibly in one of Ashampoo's kitchenette, wearing glasses and frantically waving controllers around. Wandering virtual worlds invisible to outsiders always exposes yourself to a little bit of ridicule. Still, the physical effort pays, as the Oculus Quest, that I'm putting through its paces for you today, is a fairly intriguing piece of entertainment technology. No longer do you need a beefy PC and spread sensors around your room to experience VR. Grab a pair of glasses, a controller and off you go!
The trade war between the US and China is raging on, and it's prompting both parties to look for ways to reduce their mutual economic dependency. In the IT sector, one of the biggest bargaining chips is the declaration of a national emergency concerning telecommunication, as already done by president Trump. This decree can, and already has been, used to ban Chinese companies from cooperation with US companies. And it has become painfully obvious that companies like Huawei, so far, don't have viable alternatives once they're cut off from cooperation with Alphabet/Google. Naturally, the most prestigious Chinese company didn't take this lying down, which is why Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, recently presented an operating system poised to run on virtually every device, including cellphones, tablets, TVs and cars. Enter Harmony OS.
Microsoft sure are having a hard time with their customers. Their trust is limited, they have ample bad experience with purported software "enhancements" and they dislike being surveyed. This becomes particularly apparent once new Windows updates are about to be rolled out. Many users like their systems the way they are (and fear that updates will cause issues). On the other hand, Microsoft want a consistent OS level across their user base to facilitate future modifications. And since Microsoft are calling the shots, they are about to force updates down our throats.
Few technologies are as controversial as ad blocking. While users love them for their ability to enjoy the web undisturbed, advertisers consider them the death of the commercial internet. Now, the makers of Chromium, the basis for Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi and soon Edge, have announced drastic changes. And if patron Google / Alphabet gets their way, there will be tough times ahead for ad blocking.