Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

This week, we also continued to stay at home, which, of course, is already pretty fed up, but nevertheless the self-isolation of citizens prevents the spread of the coronavirus, and this is important now for all of us. Of course, it would be nice to be isolated in your estate on Rublevka, with your own forest of several hectares, a swimming pool and other delights of life, and not in an apartment of 33 square meters, but this in our country can only be afforded by a select few, who every day call from screens us don’t go out. By the way, I don’t understand why so-called recreational walks, which are allowed in other countries, are prohibited in our country, because everyone, without exception, needs to go outside and breathe fresh air for general health, of course, provided that social distance is observed.

There are still two weeks left until the end of the non-working days, but it is likely that the president will extend this regime for some more time, it is not just that the May 9 Victory Parade was canceled yesterday. Another sad thing is that Aeroflot canceled all international flights until the end of July, at least since yesterday it is no longer possible to purchase tickets on the airline’s website for dates earlier than August 1, 2020. True, at the time of preparation of the material, the airline did not give official comments on this situation.

But, of course, everything that is happening now, not only in Russia, but also in the world, looks like a dystopia – people are sitting at home, in order to go somewhere, passes are required, there are control posts on the roads, and police are patrolling the streets. In general, this is not the future we expected.

Digital badges

Since April 15, Moscow and the Moscow Region have introduced compulsory digital passes for moving around the city and the region in their own car and public transport. Here it must be said that for some reason different resources are used in different regions of Russia to obtain digital passes, although it would be more logical and cheaper to develop a single system. So, the application “State services STOP Coronavirus”, developed by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia, they are also working on “State services”, which was prepared for the issuance of passes, turned out to be inoperative for Moscow and the region. The mayor of our city has moved the receipt of passes to the city portal, where his own system was implemented. In general, confusion, vacillation and no coordination of actions.

It takes at least 5 minutes to get a digital pass on the portal to travel around the city, even though everything here was done humanly. True, if you made a mistake somewhere when entering data, then the system will not inform you about this immediately, but only after a few days, and immediately with a notification about the cancellation of your pass.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

Of course, everything cannot work perfectly, especially considering that the system seems to have been assembled in the shortest possible time. Therefore, on Thursday, many individual entrepreneurs in Moscow and the Moscow region received letters of happiness with the cancellation of passes. Representatives of the portal reported a malfunction in the system, but it seems that they simply forgot to link the TIN check to the database of registered individual entrepreneurs, who have it common for an individual and an individual entrepreneur. It is good that the error was found on the same day and all previously canceled digital passes were restored.

Another unpleasant incident related to obtaining digital passes occurred with the MegaFon operator. All subscribers of this operator who were in the Moscow region and wished to receive a pass via SMS (another option available for residents of Moscow and Moscow region) were debited from the account by 35 rubles. It turned out that the government of the Moscow region had forgotten to send a request for the organization of services to the number used by the operator MegaFon, and on the morning of April 13 it was still tied to another service. Well, the operator promptly reconnected the number, and all the money previously written off from subscribers was returned.

Despite the fact that the Moscow authorities had been building the smart city for so long, on the first day of the introduction of digital passes, it turned out that the system was not completely ready for work. Checking the passes in the metro led to the formation of congestions of people, which in this situation is unacceptable. Police officers checked all passes manually, which led to a crowd of people. Although it would seem that you hammered in the number of your Troika card during registration, why the check cannot be tied to it, there is a pass – the turnstile opens, no pass does not open, and then check this person already. It was no better on the roads either, there were congestions in the places of control, but here it is at least not as critical as in the case of the metro, since each driver sits in his own car. Although in this case there are questions as to why the check should not be tied to traffic cameras, because each person requesting a digital pass enters the license plate number of a personal or company car if they intend to move around the city in this way.

As a result, it turns out that Moscow and the Moscow region were completely unprepared for the introduction of digital passes. The system was made in a hurry, although nothing prevented us from taking a ready-made solution, and as a result, it received many errors. There is no connection to the automatic systems of the city, that is, it turns out that in the “smart city” there is no common infrastructure that would allow linking everything into a single database, which would greatly simplify the verification of digital passes of citizens. In fact, it turned out as always, they told me to do it from above, but they didn’t even ask if there were tools for this and if they were completely ready to work.

Apple introduced the new iPhone SE

Apple quietly unveiled its new iPhone SE last week. As in the previous iPhone SE, the manufacturer took one of its old models, in this case the iPhone 8, as a basis for the novelty, and installed a new filling in it. So, the iPhone SE received a fresh A13 Bionic processor, eSIM support, the main camera from the iPhone 11 and, in principle, all other components, like the body, came from the iPhone 8. The latter, in turn, disappeared from the catalog of current Apple models along with the older modification of the iPhone 8 Plus, although both are still available for sale in other stores.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

Thus, the new iPhone SE becomes the most affordable iPhone, last year’s iPhone XR, which remains in the company’s current model line, is slightly higher, and then the fresh models of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are already coming. In general, Apple’s lineup is quite harmonious. iPhone SE as a compact smartphone with powerful hardware, although I would call it simply the most affordable smartphone of the brand, then last year’s hit iPhone XR with slightly weaker hardware, but a bigger screen, a capacious battery and Face ID, and, of course, relevant to Today is the 11th episode.

Who might be interested in the new iPhone SE today? I think, first of all, owners of old smartphones of the company will pay attention to it, for which new models are too expensive, but SE will be more affordable. Here, the 4.7 ”display will be a joy, especially for owners of iPhone 5 / 5S / SE, and the camera, albeit with one, but a new module will please the owners with its quality. Add wireless charging, IP67 water resistance and powerful hardware here, and you get a great solution for migrating from older models. Another category of buyers may be those who are still hesitant to switch to iPhone from inexpensive Android devices. But here, of course, it will be more difficult: for 40 rubles, this is how much the initial version of the iPhone SE with 000 GB of memory will cost in Russia, you can buy, for example, last year’s flagship on Android, the same Huawei P64 Pro, which in all characteristics will surpass new SE. But here everything already depends on the user’s desire, how much he wants to switch to the iPhone and a new OS for himself.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

Apple has turned out to be an interesting product, but in the current conditions the company has set too high a price for our market. In the US, the initial modification starts at $ 399 (plus state tax), which looks more attractive. On the other hand, the previous iPhone SE from the start also did not really enter Russia, but when the price for it went down, the device became very popular.

Our editor-in-chief has a different opinion on the new iPhone SE, so I suggest reading his material:

And one more:

And also on the topic of news, I will recommend you one more of our material about Apple:

Shown the new OnePlus 8

The Chinese company OnePlus, which belongs to the Chinese corporation BBK, this week presented new smartphones of the 8th series, which included the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro models. The company heard the wishes of the fans and provided the older model with IP68 water protection and wireless charging. The smartphones are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processors. The OnePlus 8 Pro boasts a 6.78 “120Hz QHD + resolution of 3168 x 1440 pixels and HDR10 + support, while the younger model has a 6.55” 2400 x 1080 pixels screen at 90Hz. The main camera of the older model consists of four modules: 48 MP wide-angle, 8 MP telephoto, 48 MP ultra-wide and the so-called sensor for 5 MP filters, 16 MP front camera. In the younger model, the main camera consists of three modules: 48 MP wide-angle, 16 MP ultra-wide-angle and 2 MP macro. Unlocking is carried out by a sub-screen sensor. The smartphones will come with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and can have 128GB and 256GB of main storage.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

Yet, with the departure from its original role of “flagship killer” for little money, the Chinese OnePlus has become less interesting. Yes, in each new smartphone from the company we see more and more new flagship features and performance gains, but the price of the devices is also growing. For example, the new OnePlus 8 will start at $ 699, while the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $ 899. There are many competitors in this segment, both iPhones and Galaxy and flagships from other manufacturers are playing here, so OnePlus will only interest the fans of the brand. And I don’t believe in everything that the Chinese promise. Yes, their 120Hz displays are good, but the same cameras are inferior in quality to smartphones from other manufacturers. In general, a good product, but for a very narrow circle of buyers.

We have published material on the site following the presentation of new products from OnePlus, read:

And we also have a review of the realme 5 Pro smartphone from another subsidiary of the BBK corporation:

Gigi for steps, even if you stay at home

The operator “Beeline” invites its subscribers to keep their usual activity and move more, even being at home on self-isolation. To maintain a healthy lifestyle for its clients, Beeline has updated the terms of the “Gigi for Steps” promotion. Now, even for 1 steps a day around the house, Beeline subscribers receive 000 MB of additional Internet traffic per day or 100 GB per month.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

A good initiative on the part of the operator, who did not forget about the popular promotion and changed its conditions in accordance with the current reality. So we stay at home and continue to travel from room to kitchen and back, while receiving additional traffic from the operator.

Hyundai Tucson WAY special edition introduced

The carmaker Hyundai has unveiled a special series of Tucson crossover – the Hyundai Tucson WAY, which will be released in limited quantities. A distinctive feature of the special version of Hyundai Tucson WAY is a multimedia system with an 8-inch touch screen on the front panel, equipped with the Yandex.Auto platform, which includes Yandex.Navigator and voice assistant Alice. In addition, support for the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces is available. This solution has already been seen on Kia cars, but now it is being implemented by Hyundai. The Yandex.Navigator application will be installed on the manufacturer’s existing hardware and will work in offline or online mode, the latter will be available when the car is connected to an access point, for example, created on a smartphone, and for the former it will be necessary to preload maps, again via access point.

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

You can learn about the Yandex.Auto implementation from our Kia Cerato test, which uses a similar solution:

And about Hyundai Tucson – from our separate material:

A week with the MyBook service

Sitting at home, I discovered the MyBook service, which is the Liters project. Unlike the well-known electronic bookstore “Liters”, MyBook offers access to the library of books on the currently fashionable subscription scheme. You pay 229 or 549 rubles per month and get access to a library of 143 books in the first case and 000 books in the second. In addition, in the second option, you also get access to the library of audiobooks.

For myself, I chose a Premium subscription for 549 rubles, not only because of the expanded library and access to audiobooks, but also because of one interesting feature. So, the MyBook service offers the synchronization of text and audiobooks from its library, which allows you to switch between formats and start reading or listening exactly from the moment you left off in a different format. Tired of reading – you switched to the audio version and continue listening exactly from the moment you stopped, tired of listening – switched over and continue reading. When self-isolation is removed, it will be possible to listen to audiobooks on the road, and continue reading them at home in text format. At the moment, the service has synchronized more than 2000 books by popular authors, they are marked in the library with special icons. Here is what the service itself writes about the implementation of this function:

Based on machine learning technologies, the MyBook team has created a unique algorithm for a complete seamless transition between audio and e-books. Its peculiarity lies in the comparison of two audio fragments, in contrast to the classical approach, where work is carried out only with the text. Thanks to its own IT solution, the service has significantly accelerated the process of processing, comparing and merging books. So, the synchronization of an audiobook lasting 20 hours, which could take 12-40 hours, in MyBook lasts an average of 10 minutes, which allows the service to quickly expand the catalog of synchronized books.

In the MyBook app and on the MyBook website, synced works are specially labeled “Read and Listen” with the book and headphone icons. Switching between formats is easy. It is enough to select a fragment of text in the e-book and click “Listen”. Or, if the user is listening to an audiobook and wants to revert to text format, select the “Read” icon in the upper right corner of the application screen. Due to the fact that synchronized works are voiced not using text to speech technology, but by living readers, the atmosphere of the book and the author’s “intonation” are conveyed as accurately and vividly as possible.

I really liked the feature with the synchronization of text and audio material, it is really convenient, and it works flawlessly. Also bribed by the subscription approach. Yes, 549 rubles a month may seem like a rather large amount, but, on the other hand, books are now also worth a lot. For example, a digital copy of Boris Akunin’s “Black City” is priced at 199 rubles, an audiobook – at 344 rubles, and a paper edition costs more than 500 rubles. In MyBook for 549 rubles you get both a digital edition and an audiobook, plus in a month you can read not only “Black City”, but three or four more books, which, in turn, pays for the cost of the subscription.

As a result, I can safely recommend MyBook for those who read more than one book a month. Convenient app for iOS and Android, large library, access to audiobooks and, of course, synchronization between formats.

… and dessert

The controversial anonymous artist, known under the pseudonym Banksy, also sits at home in self-isolation, but continues to work. Last week, on his Instagram account, he posted photos of his new work, taken in his own bathroom, and the caption: “My wife hates it when I work at home.”

Saturday coffee №99. #SittingHousesSaturday coffee №99. #SittingHousesSaturday coffee №99. #SittingHousesSaturday coffee №99. #SittingHouses

And also this week the third season of the series “Killing Eve” has started on the service “Amediateka”. I will definitely have to look.

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