Just How Do Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

Are you a light sleeper or do you face problems in a crowded office and cannot concentrate to work properly? Then surely you will need the active noise cancelling headphones. This is excellent for creating a silent atmosphere even in the noisiest place. Many people prefer to use this while meditating, sleeping in a thin walled apartment or even while travelling via flight. With the help of these headphones, you can eliminate all the unwanted noise and sound. Does it sound weird about how can headphones create silence? It may, but that is the technology.

How Does It Work?

It works due to the noise cancelling technology which works brilliantly. This technology is controlled by analogue circuits or even by digital signal processing. This technology is created by some algorithms that are designed in such a way that it can analyse the waveform of the background noise. Then a signal is generated based on the particular algorithm that will either reverse the original signal or shift it. This signal which is reversed is amplified and another sound is created by the transducer.

This sound wave created is directly proportional to the amplified version of original sound wave. It can create a destructive interference which can effectively reduce the noise volume. So, this is the technology that works in the active noise cancelling headphones. The sound you perceive through these headphones is reduced in volume with the help of noise reducing or cancellation technology. These headphones are different from that of the normal headphones that you use for listening to music.

Benefits Of Noise Cancelling Headphones

There are many amazing benefits of the noise cancelling headphones. These benefits make it quite popular among many people who stay in some noisy area or travel a lot via flight or even who are light sleepers. These benefits are –

  • It can block almost all types of ambience sound and noise. It can really mute the outer world letting you sleep, work or travel peacefully.
  • With the help of this noise controlling headphone you can even listen to music at a low volume and you do not have to raise the volume unnecessarily to hear clearly.
  • Even if you want to study in some crowded and noisy classroom or while travelling, this will help you to concentrate on your books by eliminating outside noise.

So, all these benefits make it an ideal accessory for you while travelling, reading, meditating, listening to music at low volume and even while you are sleeping. These active noise cancelling headphones are ideally the best way to get rid of the unwanted noise and sounds that do not let you travel or sleep peacefully.

Where To Buy From?

There are thousands of various types of noise cancelling headphones. But you need to be careful while investing and buying one for yourself. Here are some of the tips for you:

  • Researching is very important. If you buy one headphone blindly for yourself without knowing and researching about it then you may face issues too. So, browse through internet and check for the best headphones from some reputed companies.
  • You can shortlist some of the best active noise cancelling headphones for yourself. Then check the reviews and feedbacks regarding those selected ones. This will give you a good idea about the products. If it has some great reviews and customers are satisfied with its performance then you can buy that.
  • Also do not forget to compare the prices of the headphones. There are many brands which keep the prices higher than others while it offers the same features and performance. So, you need to do a thorough comparison of price as well as its features. Invest on the most affordable and cost effective product.
  • Lastly, make sure that the website from where you are buying is reliable and trustworthy. If it is not, then either your money will be wasted or you may not get a genuine product too.

So, it is very important for you to invest wisely and get the best product for yourself. These active noise cancelling headphones are more expensive than that of normal headphones but really worth it. You will definitely get the result which you will expect from it.

Can constantly wearing headphones cause baldness?

No, wearing headphones, no matter how often you do it, will not cause hair loss.

This idea is tied in to the same popularly held falsehood that states that constantly wearing a hat can cause hair loss (and even premature baldness). This is, of course, completely untrue.

Here, from Health Central.com, is a particularly good rebuttal to this old wives’ tale, it deals with a case study of a man named Mark.

“One of the myths surrounding hair loss is that wearing hats will cause or contribute to premature baldness. Fortunately, for men like Mark, this is not true. There is no scientific research that shows wearing a hat contributes to hair loss. In order for a hat to cause hair loss, it would need to be tight enough to cut off circulation to the hair follicles”.  

However, you may wonder why there is hair in your hat when you take it off (and sometimes rather a lot of it)? Well, according to Health Central,

“One of the reasons many people believe that hats cause hair loss is because of the amount of hair left inside a hat when you take it off. Whenever you see this, you might worry that your hair is quickly falling out. But we lose hair every day, as much as 80 to 100 strands daily. Usually, you will see this as you comb and brush your hair or when you shower. However, your hats may catch some of this hair and as it builds up over time, it may seem as if there is a lot of hair in your hat”

We suspect it also has to do with the psychological reactions to natural conditions like male pattern baldness (or androgenetic alopecia). For example, the person believes that there must be an outside factor causing his hair loss, because it can’t be that he is simply going bald for no visible reason. Our hypothetical man tells himself that he’s strong, he’s virile and he’s still a young man – he can’t possibly be going bald, there must be some other reason for it. Hair loss can be quite traumatic and damaging to a person’s self image and baldness is often (wrongly) associated with getting older and less attractive.

In fact, the statistics concerning alopecia are actually quite alarming.

40% of American men experience hair loss by the age of 45, while 65% encounter this problem by age 60 and by age 85, a whopping 80% of American men will have nothing left to comb over. They can’t all be wearing headsets.

There are, however, some things that are proven to cause both hair loss and baldness. The following things can cause hair loss:

  • Stress.
  • Hormonal issues like hypo-thyroidism.
  • The side effects of certain medications.
  • Wearing tight hairstyles like pigtails or cornrows.
  • Some chemicals found in various hair products (e.g. permanents or relaxers).
  • Fungal infections.

To date, we don’t think anyone has ever gone bald from wearing headphones (although we certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that many a balding person has blamed it on them!)

If you are worried about losing your hair, a good piece of advice is to look at your grandfather. Why? Well, before we sign off, here is a final piece from Health Central.

“According to an article in ScienceDaily, the gene that is sometimes responsible for male baldness is inherited from the mother because this particular gene is found on the X chromosome. For men whose fathers became bald, this could be good news. It seems you should look to your grandfather, on your mother’s side, to find out if you have a higher risk of baldness due to genetics”.

Introducing the Sensear Intrinsically Safe Double Protection Headset

Many of you might not heard of Sensear, they are making big strides in the headset industry, here is their latest offering.

Sensear, a global leader in developing and manufacturing best-in-class digital communication headsets, announced the release today of their new Intrinsically Safe Double Protection Headset (IS-SDP). Based on Sensear’s existing SM1xSR IS headset, and incorporating the double protection feature from Sensear’s current non-IS double protection headset; the new IS-SDP headset includes an improved boom microphone, and will interface with a variety of two-way radios both cabled and via Bluetooth for wireless operations.  Bluetooth can also be used with IS Smart phones and other IS Bluetooth devices.

The Sensear IS-SDP headset was developed from a marketplace need for a high performance intrinsically safe headset for extreme noise environments that require Class 1 Div 1 certification. Double hearing protection (both ear plugs and ear muffs) is often required when exposures may exceed 95 decibels (dBA) in many critical working areas. At the same time operators in these environments are required to use two-way radios to hear site communications and respond appropriately. Without the use of an appropriate intrinsically safe headset communications on site can potentially be very difficult.

The ear-plugs for the IS-SDP are hard wired to the headset allowing for dual protection, and communications to be directly understood by the operator. The IS-SDP’s 31 dB NRR combined with Sensear’s patented SENS™ technology allow operators to protect their hearing at a safe level of 82 dB, communicate effectively between co-workers via two-way radio and Bluetooth and maintain 360-degree awareness.

“We were excited about the development of the IS-SDP the early beginnings of Sensear grew from creating unique solutions for many industrial environments,” said Peter Larsson, CEO.  “The IS-SDP continues to show our commitment to developing practical, usable products that solve the communication challenges in heavy industry.”

Source - http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/introducing-the-sensear-intrinsically-safe-double-protection-headset-300052146.html

Can constantly wearing headphones cause baldness?

No, wearing headphones, no matter how often you do it, will not cause hair loss.

This idea is tied in to the same popularly held falsehood that states that constantly wearing a hat can cause hair loss (and even premature baldness). This is, of course, completely untrue.

Here, from Health Central.com, is a particularly good rebuttal to this old wives’ tale, it deals with a case study of a man named Mark.

“One of the myths surrounding hair loss is that wearing hats will cause or contribute to premature baldness. Fortunately, for men like Mark, this is not true. There is no scientific research that shows wearing a hat contributes to hair loss. In order for a hat to cause hair loss, it would need to be tight enough to cut off circulation to the hair follicles”.  

However, you may wonder why there is hair in your hat when you take it off (and sometimes rather a lot of it)? Well, according to Health Central,

“One of the reasons many people believe that hats cause hair loss is because of the amount of hair left inside a hat when you take it off. Whenever you see this, you might worry that your hair is quickly falling out. But we lose hair every day, as much as 80 to 100 strands daily. Usually, you will see this as you comb and brush your hair or when you shower. However, your hats may catch some of this hair and as it builds up over time, it may seem as if there is a lot of hair in your hat”

We suspect it also has to do with the psychological reactions to natural conditions like male pattern baldness (or androgenetic alopecia). For example, the person believes that there must be an outside factor causing his hair loss, because it can’t be that he is simply going bald for no visible reason. Our hypothetical man tells himself that he’s strong, he’s virile and he’s still a young man – he can’t possibly be going bald, there must be some other reason for it. Hair loss can be quite traumatic and damaging to a person’s self image and baldness is often (wrongly) associated with getting older and less attractive.

In fact, the statistics concerning alopecia are actually quite alarming.

40% of American men experience hair loss by the age of 45, while 65% encounter this problem by age 60 and by age 85, a whopping 80% of American men will have nothing left to comb over. They can’t all be wearing headsets.

There are, however, some things that are proven to cause both hair loss and baldness. The following things can cause hair loss:

  • Stress.
  • Hormonal issues like hypo-thyroidism.
  • The side effects of certain medications.
  • Wearing tight hairstyles like pigtails or cornrows.
  • Some chemicals found in various hair products (e.g. permanents or relaxers).
  • Fungal infections.

To date, we don’t think anyone has ever gone bald from wearing headphones (although we certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that many a balding person has blamed it on them!)

If you are worried about losing your hair, a good piece of advice is to look at your grandfather. Why? Well, before we sign off, here is a final piece from Health Central.

“According to an article in ScienceDaily, the gene that is sometimes responsible for male baldness is inherited from the mother because this particular gene is found on the X chromosome. For men whose fathers became bald, this could be good news. It seems you should look to your grandfather, on your mother’s side, to find out if you have a higher risk of baldness due to genetics”.

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x Review

If you are wondering what kind of headphone you should choose to support your shooting practice, whether it is for training or for recreational purposes, then MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x is a perfect ally for you. It is amazing even in the noisy condition and provides excellent ear protection while using it.

Let’s look at the most attractive features of this amazing device.

Most attractive features

What sets this device stand out is its amazing features and user-friendly application. If you look at the benefits you would receive out of it, you would immediately go and order.

  • Two separate and waterproof microphones: What are most important in this device are its two separate microphones. They are very useful in directional hearing while shooting and the sound quality is excellent. If you wear this while shooting practice or for playing or for theatrical purpose, nothing can pass through without you hearing it first. They are also waterproof which means you can use it anywhere you choose even amid the worst weather condition.
  • 300 hours of battery life: The people who have used it have reported that this device has more than 300 hours of battery life which is beyond anyone’s expectation from this range of headphones. MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x has 2 x AAA batteries which support the hearing without any need to connect it for recharging the batteries.
  • Excellent design: What most people look at especially shooters are slick designed head phones because all the time they need to wear it. They also want both of the cups to be slim so that it would be easier for them to carry it. In this device both cups are slim which is perfect for both right hand and left hand shooters.
  • Black fabric headband cover: This device comes up with black fabric headband cover which increases the attractiveness of this device. The band protects the headphone from scratches and dust and it is also a perfect fashion statement for the people who use it.
  • Provide high amplification: The ear head would be such that nothing can pass through without creating a penetration in the ears of the users. This device provides high amplification which means that every minute sound also reaches the ears of the users. In this range of headphones, it is magnificent.
  • AUX Input: This device is provided with AUX input meaning 3.5mm through which one can connect the other device. For example, if you are going for tracking a dog, you can connect the dog tracking device with the AUX input of this device. If you are on hunting, you can connect your hunting radio with it. Or else if you simply want to listen to music you can do that too, just attach the CD player with the AUX input. The advantage is that with this device the mono cable is also included.
  • Waterproof battery compartment: Not only the microphones, the batter compartment of this device is also water proof that means you don’t need to worry about the battery as well. If you need to go out in a situation where the weather is not good enough, you don’t need to think about your battery compartment. They are already secured.
  • Long duration wearing time: Due to its high ear protection, the people who love to play recreational games or love shooting can wear it for more than 6 hours a day without having any issues. And if you are shooting a rifle it also doesn’t act as a hindrance while shouldering the rifle.
  • Noise cancelling is excellent: Most people who have used it have reported that the noise cancelling of this device is excellent. When they wear it they can hear everything clear and as it is. Noisy environment cannot affect their hearing while wearing this device.
  • Warranty: The electronic parts of the device are warranted for 5 years meaning you can use it as much as you want for 5 years.
  • NRR: The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for this device is 18 dB which is very quiet level. As already mentioned having 18 dB as rating means excellent noise reduction mechanism.
  • While only rare devices have no weaknesses, MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-x is one of them. According to users there are no demerits whatsoever in using this device. It is easy, reasonably priced, provides excellent sound quality and perfect partner for people who love shooting and recreational games. Now they can experience the benefits of this amazing, smart device.

How to Use a Walkie Talkie Headset

The basic functioning of walkie talkie headsets or two way radios is similar to standard radios. They receive RW or radio waves over the air. Once radios have received the radio waves, they convert it into sound. However, two way radios also convert sound to radio waves and transmit it back to another receiver. In simple words, these special types of radios can receive and transmit a radio signal simultaneously. Moreover, such radios use two different radio frequencies. This ensures that they can receive and send signals at the same time.

Most of the two way radios in modern times also allow scanning. Through scanning, a user can easily check if anyone is sending a transmission on a particular frequency. If the radio which is being used detects a private line tone, it will stop scanning and lock on that particular channel. This will allow the user to speak and transmit on the same frequency. As mentioned earlier, modern radios allow a person to use multiple channels. However, a walkie talkie headset should be able to generate and transmit radio waves in many different frequencies. All the frequencies should have minute fluctuations with each other.

Applications Uses of Walkie Talkie Headsets

These special type of radios have always been in demand even with all the mobile phones and laptops. Such radios facilitate easy accessibility and instant communication. Moreover, you can communicate with a bunch of people at the same time. With such a radio, you don’t have to call everyone individually and spend a lot of your hard-earned money.

These radios can be used for many different purposes. They are often used in public safety, recreation camps, military training and other businesses. Moreover, they can also be used as toys for children. Two way radios come in many different designs at affordable prices.

These type of radios can also be used in the medical industry. They can be quite useful in admitting patients or attending to people in emergency waiting areas. They also come in handy with outpatient clinics, pharmacies, and surgeries. Such radios can also be used in food industry. They can be used by waiters, kitchen staff and delivery staff in restaurants and so on.

Every person finds it easy to use these radios. Moreover, they are not as complex or difficult to use as mobile phones and other such communication devices. A walkie talkie headset is always the best option to communicate at work, play or home. Such radios can be used in many different situations. Even the most popular communication devices can not challenge the ease of use associated with such radios.

Police investigate after driver caught with mobile, headphones AND LAPTOP on busy Aberdeen road

This is the moment a motorist was captured on camera driving in a busy street – looking at his mobile, with his laptop plugged in and wearing earphones.

A screenshot from the video on Queen's Road, Aberdeen

The shocking footage was recorded in rush hour traffic and shows a blue 4×4 heading towards the centre of Aberdeen.

The male driver of the Land Rover Discovery now faces being quizzed by police about his antics – and has already been condemned by road safety campaigners.

The video was shot in the city’s Queen’s Road and uploaded to YouTube by a mystery cyclist known only as Cycle Cam.

Initially, the driver can be seen apparently looking down at his mobile phone as he cruises past the self-styled vigilante.

But when the biker catches up with him as he gets stuck in a queue of traffic, the full scale of his onboard gadget collection is revealed.

His ears are plugged by headphones connected to a mobile device, he is looking down at his phone and even has a laptop switched on and open next to the transmission tunnel of his vehicle.

The cyclist flashes his lights and points out the separate gadgets to him, but the 4×4 pulls off.

In a description to accompany the video, Cycle Cam writes: “This bloke is driving a Land Rover in town, looking at a mobile phone, laptop and wearing headphones on both ears.

“Not only is he not paying any attention to the road, I suspect he’s not even on this planet.

“I was truly surprised when I saw the laptop with the screen on and the headphones on both ears.

“I was ‘just’ expecting him to be on his mobile phone, as I see dozens of times everyday.”

The latest driver is just one of many motorists named and shamed on YouTube by the cyclist, who first caught the public’s attention last year with a video of a man pretending to be a police officer during a road rage encounter.

Describing his or her self as a “daily cycle commuter”, Cycle Cam’s online profile says: “General cycling education and naming and shaming bad driving in the roads of Aberdeen city and shire.

“Don’t want to be a star in my videos? Don’t endanger others. Drive properly, don’t be impatient and don’t be rude. Simple!”

After being contacted by the Press and Journal about the video, police said they were “following a positive line of inquiry”.

Last night, the driver was criticised by local councillors and road safety groups.

Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross councillor Ross Thomson said he had been “extremely stupid”.

He said: “Dangerous driving like this has been a concern of the local community for some time and is regularly mentioned at community council meetings.

“It is especially a concern on the Queen’s Road because of the close proximity of all the schools in the area.

“The fact he was wearing headphones and had on a laptop is extremely dangerous.

“If you’re wearing headphones you are completely cutting off one of your senses, meaning you can’t hear emergency vehicles or other drivers’ horns.

“I know that driving through town can be frustrating but there is no e-mail that is more important than the life of a pedestrian.”

Neil Greig, research and policy director at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said the driver should be “ashamed”.

He said: “It’s a clear example of breaking the law on mobile phone use and the driver should be ashamed to be taking such risks for the sake of keeping in touch. No call is more important than someone’s life.

“The IAM have no problem with camera users sharing their footage with Police Scotland so that they can consider if formal action is required.

“Ideally, we would like to see more police out there enforcing the law rather than relying on amateurs.

“No one taking such footage should be pursuing a car just to get a good shot. Concentrating on catching someone out is also a distraction from the real task of driving or riding safely.”

You can watch the video by Aberdeen Cycle Cam here, on Scotland’s Worst Drivers’ Facebook page.

Source - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/482954/hold-police-investiagte-after-camera-catches-driver-using-laptop-mobile-and-headphones-on-busy-aberdeen-road/

Legalize it? Colo. considers one-ear, in-car headsets

Colorado could become more friendly for hands-free talking under a proposed tweak to state traffic law.

The bill would specifically legalize the use of one-ear headsets by drivers, if connected to a mobile phone.

Current Colorado law bans the use of “earphones” behind the wheel, which is defined as “any headset, radio, tape player, or other similar device which provides the listener with radio programs, music, or other recorded information through a device attached to the head and which covers all of or a portion of the ears.”

While that definition does not specifically cover phone calls, it leaves enough ambiguity in law that a small group of House Democrats wants to clear it up.

HB 1207 would add an exception to the definition of “earphones” in state law, to exempt: “a headset that only covers all or a 10 portion of one ear and that is connected to a wireless, hand-held telephone.”

The house transportation committee unanimously passed the bill on Thursday morning.

Colorado law does not specifically address the issue of hands-free phone use versus calls made with a handset held to the driver’s head. Under Colorado law, adults are allowed to engage in phone calls behind the wheel, while minors are not.

Numerous scientific studies conclude that hands-free talking is not significantly safer for drivers than talking with the phone held to the ear.

More important than tying up a hand is the fact that engaging in a phone conversation ties up the brain, splitting a driver’s attention between the call and the road and using a significant chunk of the brains cognitive capacity when it would be better applied to the task of driving.

In 2013, Colorado police officers reported that 1,311 crashes were caused at least in part by distraction due to a cell phone, roughly the same number caused by distractions from passengers actually in the cars that crashed.

That statistic does not differentiate between the use of a phone for talking versus texting. Texting behind the wheel is illegal for drivers of all ages in Colorado.

Source - http://www.9news.com/story/tech/personal-tech/2015/02/11/one-ear-headsets-drivers/23234425/

Windows 10 to get ‘holographic’ headset and Cortana

Microsoft has revealed that Windows 10 will bring its voice-controlled assistant Cortana to PCs.

It also unveiled a headset that it said would one day project the operating system over views of the real world.

In addition, the firm announced that the OS upgrade would be offered free of charge for devices running Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Phone.

The offer, which is limited to the Windows 10’s first year of release, may aid its adoption.

It marks a change in strategy from Microsoft’s previous policy of charging for major updates, and could help avoid a repeat of the relatively slow uptake of Windows 8.

One analyst suggested the firm had needed to renew interest in its ecosystem.

“Overall, we know that about only about 10% of computers are running Windows 8 and the adoption rate among companies is similar or lower,” said Frank Gillett, an analyst at the Forrester consultancy.

“Developers are not paying much attention to Windows for mass market consumer apps, and you could even argue that for enterprise software most of the energy is going into mobile apps for iPad and Android tablets.

“Windows 10 is in effect a huge invitation to software developers to write exciting, powerful applications that will draw consumers.

“My hunch is that they can succeed in getting a new generation of PC and tablet applications. The challenge is getting people interested in its phones.”

Holographic helmet

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella said the HoloLens headset represented a “magical moment” of “category creation” that developers lived for.

The wearable tech’s augmented reality see-through lenses represent a major leap forward over Google Glass and other existing eyewear – assuming the machine lives up to its on-stage demo, in which computer-generated elements appeared in the world surrounding the wearer.

The company said that the final version of the machine would not need to be linked to other devices to work, and should be released within Windows 10’s “timeframe”.

It revealed Nasa was already working with the kit, and said the US space agency hoped to start controlling its Mars rovers with a prototype version as soon as July.

Other demos involving the machine included the wearer:

  • playing Minecraft with the video game’s graphics appearing over living room furniture
  • seeing a Skype video appear as if it was taking place on a building wall
  • creating a model of a drone, which she saw in front of her face while shaping it by moving her hands and giving voice commands

“The true innovation HoloLens delivers will be determined by developer commitment in the months and years to come,” commented Geoff Blaber from the CCS Insight consultancy.

“Windows 10 is a defining moment for Satya Nadella early in his tenure as CEO.

“The collaboration required to deliver HoloLens to market is an encouraging sign that he’s breaking down the silos that slowed innovation and stalled execution in recent years.”

Cortana on PCs

Windows 10 brings the same operating system to devices of all sizes, rather than having different ones for PCs/tablets, mobile phones and the firm’s Xbox games console.

One of the key features that consumers will be able to use on PCs from “day one” is Cortana – the voice-controlled tool previously limited to Windows Phone handsets.

  • bring up Powerpoint presentation documents
  • locate photos taken during a specific month
  • dictate and send emails
  • tell the user whether or not the weather forecast indicates they should wear a coat later
  • show where their car is parked

In addition, Mr Belfiore showed how the software could be used to respond to requests that had been typed, rather than spoken into a PC.

Windows 8 had been criticised by some for placing so much focus on touch-centric commands rather than the mouse and keyboard.

But Mr Gillett said he thought the addition of Cortana’s voice controls could prove more popular.

“Voice is a going to complement other ways of interacting with the computer not be a substitute,” he said.

“If you had to say every command instead of touching or clicking, then that would be annoying.

“But if you can quickly say to Cortana, for example, schedule lunch with my mum next Tuesday, then that is powerful.”

Browsing with Spartan

Mr Belfiore also highlighted one of the core benefits of Windows 10: a single app will run on multiple types of device, with the user interface reformatting itself to suit the machine it is running on, rather than having a different program for phones, tablets and PCs.

He showed how this meant more advanced versions of the firm’s popular Office programs Excel, Powerpoint and Word could be brought to handsets running Windows 10 than were possible under Windows Phone 8. He also demonstrated a new “universal” Photos app that collates and sorts pictures taken with different devices.

Mr Belfiore also confirmed reports that the firm’s Internet Explorer web browser was being replaced by a new program codenamed Project Spartan.

This will have Cortana built-in to allow voice commands and provide extra personalised information – such as directions to a restaurant whose website is being looked at.

The software also includes a new “noting mode”, which will let users scribble or type over a page and then share it with others.

“Project Spartan shows a new Microsoft that is not afraid to depart from legacy in order to deliver a better experience,” remarked Carolina Milanesi from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

The new system also introduces the ability to stream Xbox One video games from the console to any other Windows 10 PC or tablet on the same wi-fi network.

This means that users will be able to play any game in their Xbox library on another device in another room of their home if the property’s main TV is being watched by someone else.

The facility is similar to the service Sony offers for its PlayStation 4 games machine that allows it to stream titles to Xperia phones and tablets and the PlayStation TV mini-console.

Some – like voice dictation on mobile, a cloud-based music service and auto-enhance for photos – are strikingly similar to those already available on rival operating systems.

But others are genuinely innovative – quite aside from its awe-inspiring holographic ecosystem.

Gamers will appreciate making the traditional gaming experiences more social and cross-platform.

Heavy web users may be tempted by the collaboration and offline features of the Spartan web browser, as well as the deep integration of Cortana.

And the addition of this powerful natural voice assistant on the desktop is groundbreaking too.

But the case for voice interaction on PCs is not as well-proven as it is on mobile – and Cortana needs to be well executed, otherwise the tried and tested keyboard and mouse could still prove too tempting for users.

The key question: will the combination of the familiarity of past versions of Windows and an enhanced feature set be enough to tempt users to upgrade?

Offering Windows 10 free for the first year is a huge incentive to kickstart adoption.

Windows 10 is well positioned to capitalise on the resurgence of PCs.

But Microsoft is hoping for more than this: it needs the OS to provide a much-needed boost for its mobile ecosystem – and in this regard Microsoft is betting that its universal approach to coding apps will be enough to tempt users away from rivals.

Source - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30924022

Headphones As We Know Them Will Soon Become Obsolete

They’re a staple even on cutting-edge smartphones, televisions, and Hi-Fis, but the jack plug was invented back in the 19th century to route phone calls. Imagine hundreds of them being rearranged with swift dexterity by switchboard operators.

Has any technical standard ever lasted as long?

Despite the jack plug’s age, it will still come as a shock when it disappears into obsolescence. Especially to those people who have just bought an expensive pair of headphones.

The original design was a quarter inch in diameter, which is still used on electric guitars, but it shrank to 3.5mm for headphones. It is showing its age, though, and even the smaller sockets are now hindering the gradual de-thickening of mobile phones. Which is why they’ll soon be replaced.

There are basically two main ecosystems for mobile phones today: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both of them are well on their way to ditching the 3.5mm socket altogether.

At its developer conference last year, during a talk on designing accessories for the iPad and iPhone, Apple announced it was working on headphones that connect via the Lightning port. That odd, proprietary socket that replaced the original 30-pin iPod connector now provides audio as well as power.

Philips was first to develop a pair: the Fidelio M2L. So, just when you thought Apple couldn’t be any more of a walled garden, there now exist headphones that work only on its devices.

Perhaps it was a deliberate measure by Apple to not be the first to launch such a product through its recently acquired Beats brand, to avoid the same accusations of profiteering that cropped up when it dropped 30-pin connectors for Lightning. Certainly, much of Beats’ $3 billion price tag could be recouped if every iPhone owner bought a new set of Lightning-equipped headphones.

The latest version of Google’s Android operating system, known as Lollipop, also includes support for USB audio. This is effectively the same thing as Apple’s new feature but with a universal USB plug rather than proprietary connector.

headphonesFlickr/Garry Knight

What do these features mean for audio? Unlike a traditional headphone wire, which carries the analog signals produced by a chip inside the phone, the new headphones will take digital audio and convert it to an analog signal only when it reaches the speakers next to the ear.

In theory, if you buy decent headphones, this will provide better quality: not only will that DAC (digital to analog converter) most likely be better quality, but there will be less degradation along the wire thanks to digital error correction.

It could also allow phones to be made even thinner, as the round headphone socket is increasingly the bulkiest component, in terms of width, in svelte handsets. Whether or not we really need thinner phones when customers are complaining that their handsets bend in their pockets is another matter, but it certainly makes for easy marketing.

Another benefit is that noise-canceling headphones could draw power from the phone over the wire, as Philips has already taken advantage of, eliminating the need to charge yet more batteries. There’s also the ability to have a microphone on the same cable, and all sorts of buttons to control playback. You could even have apps running on the phone that tweak settings on the headphones, adjusting bass or treble.

So the advantages are clear and numerous, but there are also downsides: how do you charge your phone and listen to music at the same time when your charger and headphones use the same socket? Not a deal-breaker, but still an issue.

Most importantly, your current and potentially new and expensive headphones will become obsolete. You could use an adapter, but that’s far from ideal and will cost you on top of your phone.

Thankfully, this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. Although there’s nothing to stop you splashing out on digital headphones now if you want to adopt early.

The iPhone, for instance, alternates between a partial refresh and a total redesign with each new model. We had the 6 and 6 Plus in September and will most likely get the refreshed “6S” this year, so it’s easy to imagine the “iPhone 7” losing its 3.5mm socket in September 2016.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on this story, so we’ll have to speculate.

You’re probably more likely to retain a 3.5mm socket for longer if you use Android, as there’s a wide range of manufacturers on the platform, so you can choose the one that retains the plug longest.

The really interesting thing will be to see when manufacturers ditch the Lightning and USB ports entirely.

Wireless charging can already handle topping-up our batteries, and Bluetooth can deal with audio and peripherals. Losing the ports will also make devices sleeker and easier to waterproof.

So while it looks certain that the 3.5mm socket will become an anachronism within a couple of generations of phone, the USB and Lightning port may not be too far behind, and the headphones that you bought to replace the ones that became obsolete will also become obsolete. Such is the way of technology.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/headphones-as-we-know-them-will-soon-become-obsolete-2015-1#ixzz3Qb96ojii