2019 Toyota Avalon spied testing

The 2019 Toyota Avalon was spotted undergoing benchmark testing alongside the current Avalon and the Kia Cadenza. The spy shots show that the saloon will get a revised styling similar to the new Camry.

The new Avalon is built on Toyota’s modular TNGA architecture, a front-wheel-drive chassis currently serving in the Prius and Camry. The current car’s bland styling has been ditched in favour of the curvy design language from the new generation Toyota cars. The narrow wraparound headlamps, the grille and the tail lamps draw influence from the current Camry. The alloy wheel design, however, is all new.

Propelling the Avalon would be four-cylinder mills for petrol and diesel variants along with a 3.5-litre V6 for the top-of-the-line variant. This engine develops 301bhp of 362Nm of torque in the Camry. The current Avalon is a facelift which has been on sale since the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The new Avalon will be introduced in mid-2018


Here’s How To Remove Your Private Medical Records From Google Search Results – And Why You Should

Google is now entertaining requests of users who want to remove their private medical records online from search results.

Of course, this is one surefire way to address online safety and privacy, especially at a time when hackers tend to target the networks of numerous medical facilities or related peripherals across the globe.

How To Remove Your Private Medical Records

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, it should be mentioned that Google recently updated its policy in removing online content from Google, which now includes “confidential, personal medical records of private people.”

Basically, what you want to do here is send proof to Google that your personal data is turning up in the search results and get in touch with the company to take it down.

Step 1: Double-check whether or not your private medical records are indeed online. To do this, simply search for your name on Google Search.

Note: Arguably, the best time to check is when news about hackers breaching medical facilities’ networks make the headlines.

Step 2: Copy and save the URL of a website where you found your details.

Step 3: Head to Google’s support page for taking down online content and make the request official.

Step 4: At the bottom of the page, click on “Remove information you see in Google Search” and answer the rest of queries accordingly. At the end of it all, provide the URL containing your personal records.

Note: If that support page doesn’t exactly fit the bill, you can head on over to Google’s legal support page for removing content, which offers more options to report.

Why You Should Ask Google To Remove Your Private Medical Records

As a rule of thumb, the less info you have on the internet, the less likely you are to become a victim of cybercrimes.

Back in August 2015, personal details of 3.9 million people got leaked online, leaving the victims vulnerable to hackers.

In other words, they were at risk of having their identities and banking and credit card info stolen, and they could’ve even had their medical information sold or used by other individuals and get denied medical attention due to debts.

The Bottom Line

To sum things up, Google is expanding the types of content it’ll remove from the search results, with the latest addition to the policy for private medical records.

It should be pointed out that users can have all sorts of sensitive info taken down as long as it’s under the company’s guidelines.

“You can ask Google to remove your sensitive personal information, like your bank account number, or an image of your handwritten signature, or a nude or sexually explicit image or video of you that’s been shared without your consent, from Google search results,” Google says.

With all said and done, staying safe and keeping your personal info private on the internet should b


Google To Stop Reading Gmail Messages: Here’s How To Remove Personalized Ads Completely

Google will no longer scan emails of its Gmail users for advertising purposes, the company confirmed on Friday, June 23.

Google began performing the practice very early on, nearly since the launch of Gmail, in fact. It lets the company look through a person’s email content and show them advertisements based on what it finds.

Simply put, the practice amounts to Google’s form of targeted ads. Gmail users have the option to opt out, and the company only uses the tactic on personal Gmail accounts and not corporate accounts.

That said, the mere existence of this practice has made it hard for Google to search and retain corporate clients for its cloud business, according to Google cloud division head Diane Greene, in an interview with the Financial Times.

That difficulty possibly roots from companies not fully understanding Google’s business tactics, in addition to them not trusting Google enough to hand over sensitive data.

Ads based on scanned email contents drew lawsuits and some of the harshest criticism the company faced in its early years but offered marketers a chance to reach their customers more directly.

Google’s Cloud Business

Since Google welcomed Greene in November 2015, her chief goal has been to convince more companies and enterprises to turn to Google’s G Suite platform and not to those offered by competitors. But Greene’s job has been a steep climb, as both Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud services business lead the race, with Amazon offering hosting service and Microsoft offering corporate productivity tools and services.

The primary purpose behind the move, it appears so, is to hopefully gain more customers by convincing them that their personal and private data won’t be at risk.

Will Users Stop Seeing Ads Entirely?

All told, the move doesn’t mean Gmail users will stop seeing ads completely going forward. Of course, the company can still rely on search histories to determine what ads it can show a certain individual, in addition to relying on YouTube activity, Chrome browsing, and all other sorts of browsing one does as long as they’re logged in to their Google account.

But those who might have been quite alarmed about Google’s targeted ads practices should be at least less alarmed with this move.

In 2014, Google stopped scanning student Gmail accounts over privacy concerns.

How To Opt Out Of Google’s Targeted Ads Practice

Targeted ads can often be alarming for those who don’t know the underlying process behind it. But it’s possible to opt yourself out of seeing them.

Those who don’t want to see personalized ads may go to Google Ads Settings page and easily opt out. Just simply turn the slider “off.”

But those who want to keep it on may do so too, of course. Keep in mind, however, that when you tick the box that says you’re letting Google make use of your Google account activities, the company will be able to access your YouTube browsing habits, searches, and other browsing data to give you more relevant ads.

Thoughts about Google’s decision? Do you think it will help bring in more customers for its G Suite platform? As always, if you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!


ESA Pushes For Satellite-Based 5G Internet, Inks Deal With 16 Space Companies To Make It A Reality

The European Space Agency (ESA) has thrown its weight behind satellite-based 5G internet. In fact, ESA has partnered with 16 European space companies to champion the technology, and they’re all preparing for testing in the next couple of years.

The agreement over the partnership, dubbed “Satellite for 5G,” was signed at the recent Paris Air and Space Show.

Signing Up For 5G Internet Connection?

ESA and its partners in the European space industry will work as one to deploy satellites in different trials over the next couple of years. The goal is to convince providers on the supremacy of satellite-based 5G over terrestrial-based counterparts.

The trials will focus on selected targeted sectors, including “transport, media and entertainment, and public safety,” an ESA statement noted. Afterward, the group seeks to win support from the European Commission.

ESA Director of Telecommunications Magali Vaissiere stated that satellites can offer high-speed 5G connection even on remote islands and mountains, and users can reach first responders wherever they are on Earth.

“5G provides a major opportunity for our space industry, for space and satellites to become integral parts of the future generation of communications networks and services,” Vaissiere said following the signing of the agreement.

As Engadget noted, the joint agreement is still in very early phases and the signatories are yet to finalize the details of the tests they are planning to perform. But it’s expected that the public will hear more about the ambitious project at the “Space and Satcom for 5G: European Transport and Connected Mobility” conference to be held on June 27 to 28.

Potential Gains And Challenges

Gizmodo UK wrote that it’s quite unlikely for satellites to completely replace the current system of “huge masts dotted everywhere.”

The problem, particularly with data, is a signal heading to one’s phone from space takes a while to complete its journey. The latency results in issues, meaning some applications won’t work properly. As for download speed, the distance isn’t substantial, only the time found between requesting a file and the time one actually starts downloading.

Again, though, the technology may provide a lifeline to those in remote areas where there’s simply dismal coverage.

The 5G’s ultimate goal isn’t the network’s power and speed, and ultra-broadband is only part of what it can bring. It is being eyed to deliver new services, particularly when it comes to connecting objects, from smartphones and tablets to headsets VR and intelligent cars.

“We are trying to anticipate the future,” Vaissiere emphasized, adding that sectors such as the connected car may have a need for the 5G network.

Vaissiere said that ESA had long sought to unite the players to make the 5G a reality, taking leadership of the initiative.

In related developments, a team of Chinese scientists has recently succeeded in beating the record for quantum entanglement, beaming the entangled photons from 300 miles above Earth to separate places 750 miles apart.

The breakthrough is deemed useful in the urgent matter of tackling cyberattacks. In the face of internet connections’ current vulnerability to online attacks, quantum communication is seen promising in forging faster, more secure communication channels.


Bigger Isn’t Always Better: YouTube Aims To Fix VR By Cutting It In Half

VR 180

As the name implies, VR 180 ditches the traditional 360 degree-focus of other VR videos for a more limited field of view. This will make it easier for content creators to make VR videos that work on mobile and desktop devices while still supporting Daydream, Cardboard, and PSVR. When paired with one of the supported platforms, VR 180 videos will give users an immersive 3D experience. In addition to videos, VR 180 will also support live streams allowing content creators and viewers to interact in real-time.

It hasn’t given us a date, but YouTube said that VR 180 videos will soon be compatible with standard video production tools such as Adobe

Affordable Cameras

As we’ve already noted, the costs of VR are one of the major hurdles to widespread adoption. While Google and other companies are working to make the headsets more affordable, they are also taking a major step forward in terms of VR videos. Google has announced that they have partnered with YI, Lenovo, and LG to produce VR cameras that will be the same as standard cameras. The first batch of these VR cameras is expected to launch this winter. Google’s VR 180 certification program will offer other companies the opportunity to produce VR 180 cameras which should help to keep prices low.

Aside from price, usability has been another major obstacle to VR’s success. While the tech may not be too complicated for tech-enthusiasts, the average user may be a different story. Luckily, these upcoming VR camera won’t have that problem as Google insists they’re as easy to use as any point-and-shoot camera.

The ease of usability combined with an affordable price point should make VR 180 a more popular format, at least as popular as VR videos can be. The real question we have is whether or not many users will take advantage of the VR-aspects of these videos. VR headsets are still a niche product and this produ.


Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh glad to let elite athletes play two sports in college

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh fielded questions during some down time at the Michigan elite camp on June 23, 2017, in Ann Arbor. Video by Mark Snyder/DFP

U-M football could have a baseball player, a swimmer and a wrestler in the freshman class


As the rest of Michigan football’s freshman class begins academic orientation on Saturday, they’ll consider their football futures.

Some will also consider playing other sports.

U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said today he’s glad to let them play multiple sports, if they’re good enough.

The topic arose because of U-M linebacker Jordan Anthony, who would like to play football in the fall and baseball in the winter and spring.

High school players run drills with Wolverines coaches and players assisting at the Michigan elite camp June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

“Very much would embrace it,” Harbaugh said following today’s Michigan’s elite camp. “He’s an elite football player, an elite baseball player. When they’re elite at two sports, right when football’s over, their freshman year, we’ll let them go to another sport. Starting in January, he could go play baseball if he chooses to.”

His requirement is they need to be “elite-elite in two sports.”

More: Get to know 5 incoming freshmen from Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class

Harbaugh noted that incoming receiver Oliver Martin has that freedom to join the Michigan swimming team and another unnamed player may choose to wrestle.

But it’s only if they’re proven with high-level talent in other sports.

“If they’re going to just spit seeds in the outfield then no, come establish yourself in spring practice,” Harbaugh said. “A track runner, if they’re elite-elite in track or field in throws, as soon as football’s over we’ll let them go participate in the second sport. Now if they’re just going to be put in a race to finish 10th and pick up a point, we’d rather have them in winter conditioning until they establish themselves as a football player.”

More: Aubrey Solomon not sorry he left South, glad to be under Rashan Gary’s tutelage

Familiar face: Harbaugh confirmed that his former NFL running back Alfonso Smith has joined the U-M program as an intern, learning to be a coach. Smith was a running back for Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers in the 2014 season.

“Just a great, great guy,” Harbaugh said. “First class individual all the way. He is very serious about football, always was. When we were coaching him in San Francisco, I remember the day, I went up to him and said, you should coach when you’re done. Play football as long as you can but then coach. Fortunately when he decided he was hanging them up, he called and we just jumped at the opportunity to get him over here.”

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh opens the elite skills camp on June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

Smith will assist with the running backs but all of his duties must take place off the field.

Notes: Michigan is no longer in the graduate transfer market after pursuing at least two known players in the past few months. Both offensive lineman Sunny Odogwu (UCLA) and safety Korrin Wiggins (East Carolina) chose other schools. “I think we’re settled,” Harbaugh said.


Dell XPS 15 (2017) review: Kaby Lake and a 4K display make a difference

dell xps15 4

Dell’s XPS 15 is proof that iterations—no matter how small—still matter. Externally, even owners of the previous XPS 15 would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between new and old.

The ports are the same, the keyboard and the trackpad are the same and, well, just about external thing with the XPS 15 looks identical. Yet the internal changes make this year’s XPS 15 a markedly better laptop than last year’s.

dell xps15 5

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The keyboard on the XPS 15 appears unchanged, which isn’t a good thing because it’s still slightly too small.

It’s what’s inside that counts

The main difference with the latest generation XPS 15 is, of course, inside. While the previous version sported a 6th-generation quad-core Intel Skylake CPU paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, the latest iteration notches up to a quad-core 7th-gen Kaby Lake chip, and graphics upgrades itself to a GeForce GTX 1050.

Besides the Core i7-7700HQ CPU and GTX 1050, Dell has also given the XPS 15 an optional Windows Hello-compliant finger print reader. It’s not the horrible swipe-style reader of yesterday that always took four attempts to work. It’s a modern, full-fingerprint pad reader similar to what you’d find on phones and tablets.

del xps15 6

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

There’s no Windows Hello camera, but a fingerprint reader (seen just below the right cursor key) lets you use Windows 10 Hello.

Our test unit comes equipped with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD screen. With its near edge-to-edge “InfinityEdge” display, and glossy Gorilla Glass NBT protective layer, the IGZO panel is truly stunning to behold. The near bezel-less design does, unfortunately, banish the integrated webcam to the bottom of the panel, as well as prevent the XPS 15 from integrating a near infrared (IR) camera for Windows Hello support. Consider the fingerprint reader your consolation prize.

Also featured in our test unit are 16GB of DDR4/2400 in dual-channel mode and a 512GB Lite-On CX2 NVMe M.2 SSD. The drive uses MLC flash rated at 2.5GBps reads and 1.2GBps writes. On CrystalDiskMark 5.2 we saw about 2.1GBps reads and 1GBps writes.

The other change from the prior generation is an increase in battery capacity, to about 97WHr from the previous model’s largest battery of 84WHr. That’s just shy of the largest lithium ion cell you can carry on a plane legally.

dell xps15 8

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The port selection is unchanged from prior to current generation. This view of the right side shows an SD card reader, USB Type A, and Kensington lock port.


Alpina builds what BMW won’t – M5 Touring

Alpina builds what BMW won’t – M5 Touring

Performance estates are a dream-come-true for an automotive geek. It has the practicality of a wagon and performance of a sports car bundled into one awesome package. After BMW declined to build the G30 M5 estate, Alpina has come to our rescue with a 600bhp wagon.

The Alpina B5 B-Turbo, will be offered both in sedan and estate body styles based on the new OKL platform on which the G30 5 Series are being built. Under the hood you have the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 engine delivering 600bhp of power. The earth-bending 800Nm of torque is delivered through an all-wheel drive system, because the traction from two wheels will not just be enough.

If you thought the added weight would make it less agile, the Alpina B5 also gets rear-wheel steering to ensure you carve corners faster than ever before while the four wheels dig in to the tarmac to lay down all the power. The Alpina B5 pits itself against power wagons like the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate, the Audi RS6 Avant and the Jaguar XF Shooting Brake.


June security patch hitting Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and A7 (2017)

Samsung has started rolling out a new update to its Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) smartphones. Currently hitting units in India, the update brings the Android security fixes for June.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

A detailed change-log isn’t yet available, so it’s difficult to say what other changes (if any) are included in the update. As is usually the case with OTA roll outs, it might take sometime for the update to hit your device.


Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 lands in South Korea for $260

The Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 flip phone – which was made official back in September last year, and has been only available in China so far – has now arrived in the company’s home country of South Korea.

Samsung says both LTE and 3G variants of the phone will be launched in the country. Color options include black and burgundy. The handset will carry a price tag of KRW 297,000 ($260).

The Galaxy Folder 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 425 SoC, and sports a 3.8-inch display of a WVGA resolution. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory. The flip phone features an 8MP main camera with LED flash and a 5MP front shooter.

Measuring 122 x 60.2 x 15.4mm and weighing in at 160g, it runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box and packs in a 1,950mAh battery.