Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Mini can make life easier, but they also present some privacy concerns. Doesn’t a device that responds to voice commands need to be listening all the time ? Let’s talk about that. If you think about how a smart speaker or smart display works, logic would tell you that they need to be constantly listening. After all, how can your device hear your “Alexa” or “Hey Google” command if it’s not listening? Well, you’re right. These devices are always listening, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. Listening vs. Recording When people hear that smart speakers are always listening, what they’re really afraid of is the possibility that the smart speaker is always recording them. That’s how humans listen, but that’s not what’s happening with smart speakers. This is an important distinction to make. When you listen to someone talk, you are essentially making a recording of the information in your brain. You remember what the … [Read more...] about Is My Smart Speaker Always Listening to Me?
High-quality sound on PCs from drop-in sound cards and external DACs is a weird subject. It’s not as necessary as it once was. In fact, nobody even thinks about it much anymore. There’s no song or game that you won’t be able to listen to because of underpowered gear. Sound vs. Graphics Hardware Your computer’s built-in sound is pretty good for most tasks. Contrast that with gaming, where if you want to play the newest AAA games at high frame rates, you need a graphics card. A CPU’s integrated graphics processor simply isn’t up to the challenge. Nevertheless, some people still want better sound than a motherboard can offer. When that’s the case, it comes down to two primary choices: a sound card or an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter). A quality listening experience needs a minimum of electrical interference, which is a problem because a PC motherboard is a hotbed of electrical activity. That’s why onboard motherboard audio has shielding to protect itself as best … [Read more...] about What Is an External DAC, and Do You Need One for a PC?
The Apple Watch has been a good fitness tracker since its launch in 2015. With each subsequent generation, it’s gained additional hardware features. The latest Apple Watches can detect and monitor a few different health conditions. Caution: The Apple Watch Isn’t a Medical Device First, I must mention two big caveats. The Apple Watch is in no way a replacement for your doctor, nor is the internet, nor am I (check my bio: I’m just a writer). This article will give you an overview of the different health conditions the Apple Watch can potentially detect. Just keep in mind, the device can’t diagnose you. If you’re at all concerned about the different readings or results you get from any of the sensors, contact your doctor. Also, the Apple Watch is still relatively new. A lot of research is still being done ( you can even participate if you want ) on which conditions it can potentially monitor. Of course, we won’t see the results of those studies for a while. The Apple … [Read more...] about What Health Conditions Can an Apple Watch Detect?