The eyes have it: understanding your sight

Image result for The eyes have it: understanding your sightTwelve million Australians have a long term eye condition, with our ageing population expected to mean more and more cases of macular degeneration. The good news is that most vision loss is preventable or treatable. Eye experts Professor Greg Dusting and Doctor Peter Van Winjgaarden sit down with Phil Clark for a conversation about the complexities of our eyes, and treatments for eye disease.

[“Source-abc.net”]

 

The seven-day GM diet is back – but is it actually good for you?

Bananas are your GM friend

Bananas are your GM friend CREDIT: BLOOMBERG NEWS

Shoulder pads, sequins, and a seven-day diet plan that asks you to eat eight bananas in one day – the 80s certainly gifted us with some weird and wonderful trends. And now (along with the shoulder pads and sequins), that diet plan is making a comeback.

Supposedly the brainchild of General Motors (GM), the GM diet plan was developed to help their employees lose weight – although the automotive company has never actually confirmed the connection. A quick Google search reveals pages of fans of the diet, who rave about their 11lb weight loss after just seven days.

So what’s behind this ‘miracle’ diet plan – and is it actually good for you?

In short, the GM diet is an extremely strict seven-day plan that suggests you drink 12-15 glasses of water a day while cutting out alcohol, tea and coffee; and restrict your calorific intake from food.

Wondering what to eat on 8th day after GM diet? Many of the readers have asked this question in the comments and a few through email. So, I thought of explaining this topic as a separate post rather than replying to them so that it can help everyone who’re in a confused state about what to eat after completing GM diet program for a week.

  • Overweight or Obesity, is undoubtedly, one of the biggest problems faced by most of the people these days. The scientific solution to lose weight is to increase the expenditure and decrease the consumption of calories. Generally, our body burns a certain number of calories even while we’re completely at rest.

    That is called the Basal Metabolic Rate aka BMR. This BMR varies from one individual to another, based on several factors such as height, weight, age and lifestyle. So, if a person’s BMR is 1500 calories per day, then his body will burn those 1500 cal even if he does nothing. However, if the same person consumes around 2000 calories or more, then his/her body will store the remaining 500 calories in the form of FAT cells, resulting in weight gain. So, according to this principle, losing weight is purely calculation. Spend more than you consume and you’ll obviously shed weight.

    Now, let us come to our topic. Most of the people who follow the 7 day diet plan will lose around 4 to 7 kgs, depending on how they followed it. Unfortunately, there are several other factors that interfere with weight loss, due to which a few people might not get such fantastic results.

    Let us assume you’ve followed the diet properly and lost around 5 Kgs of weight in the span of 1 week. You’ll definitely gain weight after the 7 day diet, if you get back to your old lifestyle (eating habits). There is actually no guarantee that the weight you’ve lost is permanent. To be frank, there is no diet plan in this world that promises such guarantee. It is because, our body weight depends on how we manage it and it is a continuous process. If you wanted to stay fit and healthy, then you should always see what you’re eating. Consuming unhealthy or fast foods may lead to obesity and it is an open secret.

    What to Eat on GM Diet 8th Day?

    So What Should You Eat After Completing GM Diet?

    If you want to avoid those lost pounds from coming back, then you should definitely change your diet routine. It is advised to consume low carb high protein diet in order to maintain your weight permanently or until your next GM diet session. Failing in doing so will obviously ruin your efforts that were put into following the General Motors diet program.

    Simple Weight Loss Logic:

    1 pound of FAT = 3500 calories; 1 KG = 2.2 Pounds; In order to lose 10 Kg of weight, you should spend/burn around 10 x 2.2 x 3500 = 77000 calories. Since, reducing such a huge number of calories won’t happen even in the dreams, it is recommended to reduce a minimum of 500 to 800 maximum per day. So, if you cut down 800 calories per day, then it would take 77000/800 = 96 days to lose 22 pounds/10 Kgs of weight naturally without following any crash diet plans.

    What to Eat After Finishing GM Diet?

    First, calculate how many calories you need per day and based on the BMR value, you should plan your meal plan accordingly. Below, you can find sample meal plans for both vegetarians and non-vegetarian eaters.

    If your BMR is under 2000 calories, then you can consume either the 1200 calorie meal plan or the 1500 calorie meal plan. No matter, what your BMR is, you should never go below the 1200 calorie limit as it would impact your health in a negative manner.

    Along with the above diet routines, below are a few tips which if followed will result in much quicker weight loss.

    • Avoid high calorie foods like noodles, samosas, pasta and all kinds of foods that are high in carbs or starch.
    • Replace the white foods (white rice) with brown colored foods (whole-wheat). Brown rice is always better than the White rice.
    • Try to stop your coffee or tea drinking habit and consume Green tea for weight loss. It is both healthy and boosts your metabolism.
    • Drink enough water per day (min of 3 to 4 liters)
    • Soups are very beneficial for losing weight as they aid in better digestion. Include this Cabbage soup or Tomato soup in your daily routine.
    • Try to allot at least 30 minutes every day to perform exercises like cardio workouts or Yoga poses. If time is your biggest problem, then at least try to perform this 7 minute HIIT workout instead.

    If you follow these tips, you’ll definitely lose weight and also keep it OFF after finishing the GM diet.

 

[“Source-7daygmdiet”]

The eyes have IT: TSB to roll out iris-scanning tech for mobile banking

Human iris. Photo by SHutterstock

TSB has announced plans to roll out iris-scanning technology for its mobile banking app from September.

The move will make the UK high street bank the first in Europe to debut iris-scanning tech.

TSB’s iris recognition tech [source: TSB]

Biometric authentication for banking, in general, has become commonplace over recent years with fingerprints among the preferred method, thanks in large part the inclusion of fingerprint reader technology in higher-end smartphones, particularly since the launch of Apple’s TouchID back in 2013. Voice recognition is used elsewhere in the banking industry, particularly in call centres.

The TSB tech is based on technology from Samsung and only customers with the latest Samsung Galaxy S8 will be able to use iris recognition to access their TSB accounts. The bank already supports fingerprint recognition-based logins.

TSB told us: “Customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphone will have the option, from September 2017, to unlock their TSB mobile banking app using the Samsung Pass iris scanner. TSB’s consumer customers will be able to access their banking using either the fingerprint (an existing feature) or the iris scanner, without any need to remember lengthy IDs or passwords.

TSB’s chief information officer, Carlos Abarca, said iris recognition was more secure than other forms of biometrics. “It takes advantage of 266 different characteristics, compared with 40 for fingerprints,” he said.

“Iris recognition allows you to unlock your TSB mobile app with a simple glance, meaning all of those IDs, passwords and memorable information become a thing of the past.”

The tech offers a blend of security and convenience, according to the bank. Once customers log in after going through an iris scan app, they will need to enter a password or secret number, a TSB spokesman explained. Use of the tech is optional and other account access options will continue to be offered.

German hackers from the Chaos Computer Club were recently able to trick a Samsung Galaxy S8’s iris scanner with a picture of the device owner’s eye and a contact lens. TSB said it was relying not only on biometrics but on a digital certificate pushed onto the phone during the enrolment process, so would-be hackers would need not only a high definition image of their target’s iris but their smartphone in any serious attempt to circumvent the bank’s authentication controls.

Security experts gave the move a cautious welcome, noting that biometrics are useful but far from invulnerable. Biometric security is no longer the stuff of spy or sci-fi films. The technology is more secure than password alone but by no means a panacea.

Etienne Greeff, CTO and co-founder of SecureData, commented: “It’s good to see businesses like TSB looking to replace passwords, which are flimsy and easily breached, but hackers are wise to biometrics and it won’t stop them from trying to get their hands on your data. Biometric security has been hacked in the past and there are countless examples of fingerprints being copied, voices being mimicked and iris-scanning software being tricked.”

Multiple attacks on fingerprint scanners have been recorded over the years. HSBC’s voice recognition security system was recently fooled by a BBC journalist and his brother.

“Biometric authentication is not entirely immune to potential attack and therefore should not be relied on as the sole means of verifying a user,” said Richard Parris, chief exec at Intercede. “Rather than use biometrics in isolation, instead businesses need to be looking at strong authentication that incorporates three distinct elements – possession (something you have, such as a smartphone), knowledge (something you know, such as a PIN) and inherence (something you are, an iris scan).

“This allows businesses to verify that the person accessing the service is who they say they are, in addition to limiting the amount of times an individual can attempt access if any of these elements are missing or incorrect.”

Companies storing authentication data have a greater responsibility to safeguard it because it’s harder to recover from breaches. Fingerprint or iris patterns can’t be revoked and changed, unlike password or credit cards. “With board directors to soon be responsible for complying with GDPR, more consideration needs to be had for security techniques deployed today and how we can better protect consumers,” SecureData’s Greeff concluded. ®

[“Source-theregister”]

EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENT

Image result for EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENTThe fitness industry is said to be worth £4.4bn in the UK alone. But, despite medical research telling us that exercise will help us live longer, the majority of people do not engage with health and fitness. Could it be that exercise is still considered a punishment – as it was in Victorian prisons?

Or do we just need to increase the fun and social aspect to exercise to get more of us working up a sweat?

Medical research suggests exercise is good for our health and will help us all live longer. But a report by the British Heart Foundation says that 20 million people living in the UK are physically inactive.

To be considered active, the Department of Health recommends adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. So it begs the question: why do close to a third of the country’s population struggle to meet this recommended amount of exercise, when doing so could prolong their life?

A reason why inactive people may not engage in enough exercise is because it is not perceived to be a fulfilling or satisfying leisure pursuit. Other competing pastimes of a more sedentary nature, such as watching TV, reading and gaming, are seen by some as being more enjoyable.

Exercise as punishment

The treadmill was devised as a form of punishment for convicted criminals in the Victorian era. At this time, prisoners had to undertake long hours of hard labour by walking on treadmills to grind flour. This form of punishment was abolished in the late 19th century for being too cruel.

Exercise also has a long history of being used as a form of correctional behaviour in schools. Indeed in 2014 the then-Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, proposed to ban exercise being used in schools as a form of punishment for fear that it would put children off being active.

Given that exercise has a lengthy historical association with the use of discipline for the purpose of punishment and obedience, can 21st century society ever be truly accepting of exercise as a leisure pursuit that can have personal fulfilment?

At present, the high volume of inactivity levels in the UK suggests a large amount of people are not motivated to take exercise. Getting people to be more active, therefore, would require a shift in people exercising because they want to rather than having to.

Making it social

My research explores the role of social psychology for the development of interventions that make physical activity a fulfilling pursuit for long-term condition sufferers. This is because social psychological science has consistently demonstrated that people are motivated to seek social connections in order to fulfil their psychological needs as human beings. For example, “the belongingness hypothesis” states that people have a basic need to feel closely connected to others.

So it is important people have positive social exercise experiences that enrich their quality of life and, in doing so, make the pursuit of exercise a more satisfying and worthwhile activity. This can be achieved by creating exercise environments that provide individuals with a shared sense of social connectedness, creating opportunities for people to form friendships, meaningful attachments and mutually supportive relationships.

For example, the EuroFit programme takes a unique approach for improving men’s health and fitness by allowing fans to train in the environment of a professional football club they support. City Ride events are another example, where families and friends of all ages and abilities can enjoy cycling together through the streets of a vibrant traffic-free environment. Similarly, walking sports offer a social atmosphere of fun, laughter and camaraderie for those who may have difficulty participating in high impact activities.

Connecting people in dynamic and socially rewarding exercise environments has the potential to offset the drudgery often associated with exercise and make it a leisure pursuit worth doing.

[“Source-independent”]

I went on the Silicon Valley diet craze that encourages butter and bacon for 2 months – and it vastly improved my life

Image result for I went on the Silicon Valley diet craze that encourages butter and bacon for 2 months - and it vastly improved my lifeA diet that goes against conventional wisdom on healthy eating is gaining momentum among Silicon Valley tech workers. And it involves eating a lot of fat.

The ketogenic (or “keto”) diet – which first became popular in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy and diabetes – limits carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams a day, which is the rough equivalent of a plain bagel or a cup of white rice. By comparison, dietary guidelines laid out by the USDA recommend consuming between 225 and 325 grams of carbs a day.

On the keto diet, the body goes into starvation mode and taps its own fat stores for fuel. Studies suggest the low-carb, high-fat diet may promote weight loss , dull hunger , and stave off age-related diseases. More research is needed on its long-term effects, especially in healthy people.

An increasing number of health nuts – from internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose tp podcaster Tim Ferriss – swear by the keto diet. I spent the last two months eating bacon, butter, and avocado to see why the keto movement is so popular.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

 

Julia Lipscombe: Postpartum hair loss is no joke — but it grows back

Julia Lipscombe, with her son Indiana in their Edmonton home on Feb. 2, 2017, noticed a few strands of hair fall from her head about three and a half months after her son was born.David Bloom / Postmedia

“Thinking about getting pregnant again so that my hair stops falling out.”

It was an innocent Facebook post a few months ago. And, for the record, I’m not recommending that.

The post was just a joke that I thought would make a couple of people smile. But it ended up being one of the most popular mom-related things I’ve ever put on social media.

The women in my larger Internet circle really wanted to talk about their hair falling out. And mostly, it seemed, this was one of those things they hadn’t been prepared for.

Personally, I’d heard about the glossy, shiny and thick hair you’re supposed to acquire during pregnancy. I hadn’t been aware, however, that after you give birth you will be leaving a trail of DNA behind you everywhere you go.

My hair loss went something like this.

At three-and-a-half months postpartum, I noticed a few strands of my almost chin-length bob coming out in my hands in the shower. It wasn’t gradual — from that moment on, I couldn’t touch my hair without several coming loose.

There are a few different causes for postpartum hair-loss, said Dr. Jonathan Tankel, an obstetrician gynecologist working at the Hys Centre and the University of Alberta’s University Health Centre.

“By far, the most common cause is called telogen effluvium. There’s different phases of hair development — there’s a growth phase, and a resting phase. (In this case), the resting phase, where you lose the hair, tends to be accelerated and the growth phase is decreased.”

Telogen effluvium isn’t exclusive to women who’ve given birth, and can also occur when someone has had major stress, a major surgery or has nutritional deficiencies, for example.

There are two types of this condition — acute, the kind most women will experience after childbirth, and chronic.

“The acute type will usually occur in the first few weeks or months after childbirth and most people will start regrowing their hair by a year or a year-and-a-half afterward,” said Tankel.

In other words, most people shouldn’t stress too much about it.

But how much hair loss is too much?

“If someone is having hair-loss that is ongoing for more than a year, it’s worth seeing their primary care physician, just to make sure there’s no other cause. For example, we would generally check people’s blood count, we would check their iron.”

He also suggests seeking help from a family doctor or dermatologist if the hair loss is causing psychological distress, or if it’s showing cosmetically.

I was pretty lucky.

The shedding slowed down by five-and-a-half months postpartum, and by six months it had altogether stopped. My hair is not noticeably thinner.

But, there’s another thing they don’t tell you about — regrowth.

My now legitimately chin-length, curly brown bob is accented by a ring of short, copper-brown curls that stick out around my face like a crown — including new short sideburns. I love curly hair, but the inconsistency is pretty funny.

When I wear my hair down, it looks like I have a tangled nest around my head before my regular hair starts. And when it’s up, I have a sort of Orphan Annie thing going on. My hairstylist, Quinn, is able to straighten and therefore hide the tiny hairs when I see her for special events, but I can’t do it at home for everyday.

On the grand scale of life’s annoyances, this is tiny and insignificant. Hair grows back. I joked to my mom friends that I’m paying more attention to wearing cute outfits so that people don’t look at my mane. Ball caps have become my best friend.

I wonder though, is there anything I could have done to be proactive? To stop the shed in the first place? Can I make my little wisps grow faster? My original Facebook post resulted in plenty of tips that some of my friends swore by. But I’m skeptical about most miracle beauty cures.

Tankel suggests that supplementing with iron might make a difference, but is uncertain about other remedies. “Some studies showed that taking extra iron — even if the iron levels weren’t low to begin with — could make a difference.

“There are other supplements that people use. For example, some people use zinc, some people use biotin, some people use vitamin D. But there’s no clear proof that they work. I can’t say that (they definitely don’t work), but I’m not aware of any clear evidence that they do.”

Vance Elliott, of the Advanced Hair and Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery Clinic, agrees.

“There’s no harm in taking biotin, but it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “But there is also treatment that does work.”

Like Tankel, Elliott suggests that postpartum women experiencing hair loss for a year should see a doctor. And if you’re worried about it, he said, there’s no harm in seeing a doctor before then.

“If they’re concerned that their hair isn’t going back to normal or is continuing to thin, they should have it looked at. I don’t like the idea that treatment gets delayed for someone just because it gets chalked up to, ‘This is what happens after babies’.”

Elliott said that significant, prolonged hair-loss after childbirth can, in some cases, be the onset of female pattern hair loss.

“If someone genetically has inherited the genes that predisposes them to female pattern hair-loss, sometimes pregnancy or their series of pregnancies can be what kicks that off.”

If you’ve seen your physician and determined your hair loss is outside of the postpartum norm, there are two main medical treatments that are effective, said Elliott.

“Minoxidil, which is also on the market as the brand name Rogaine, which is a topical medicine. And low-level laser therapy, which is not medication. It’s a laser modality that’s applied to the scalp externally.”

You can undergo laser therapy while breastfeeding, said Elliott. But the safety of Minoxidil during breastfeeding is not known and Elliott recommends discussing either option with an obstetrician or family doctor first if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

For most of us, though, the worst things we’ll have to deal with is a drain full of hair and all that pesky regrowth.

“It’s a normal thing,” said Tankel. “In the vast majority of people, the hair will come back.”

In the meantime, it’s summer — invest in a good floppy hat.

[“Source-nationalpost”]

Google Maps now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination

google maps parking

Update 1/27/17: The feature is now available in the full version of the app. This article has been updated to reflect this news.

If you’ve ever taken longer to find a parking spot than you did driving somewhere, Google Maps might be able to help—or at least prepare you for a headache. Thanks to a new feature in the latest version of the app, you’ll now be able to tell how hard it will be to park once you arrive at your destination.

The new feature is easy to miss. The next time you pull up driving directions, you’ll see a small circular P icon to the right of your route overview, next to which will show three levels of parking difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Limited. (To make it easier to see at a glance, easy and medium are colored blue while limited is red.) While the feature doesn’t update to show the actual parking situation when you arrive (at least not yet), you can get a slightly longer description when you expand your directions.

The update is currently rolling out in the Google Play store, but if you’re not seeing it, you can sideload the Google-signed APK from APKMirror. Keep in mind that the feature is only available in 25 cities across the U.S: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and the Washington D.C. area.

Why this matters: Parking can be a major headache when driving somewhere new, so we’ll take any information we can get. And with the new Uber integration built right into the app, a red circle could mean the difference between driving or being driven somewhere.

source”cnbc”

Is it time to take a break from social media?

Zeenia Baria| TNN | Jan 21, 2017, 01.00 AM IST

Don't let social media take over your life (Thinkstock)Don’t let social media take over your life (Thinkstock)
It’s hard to imagine life without social media, isn’t it? For a large number of the urban population, Facebook, Twitter, Instagrametc. have become de rigueur — such an integral and essential part of life that even the thought of not being able to access them seems incomprehensible. Whether you belong to the category that likes to document every tiny aspect of their life on social media or the one that simply likes to see what other people are up to, there is no escaping its claws. In recent times, several studies have revealed that while social media has its positive side, it can also lead to self-esteem issues, among others. The latest study reported that taking a break from social media just for a week could actually boost mental health.
Social media can be very addictive
Says consultant psychiatrist Dr Pavan Sonar, “Social media can have a negative impact on mental well-being because of its addictive potential. People often get addicted to social media and spend hours of their time there. This can cause reduced productivity as well as relationship issues in real life. As with any addictive substance, social media could also give you a false ‘high’. You may portray yourself better than the real you. The likes and good comments may work as positive reinforcements to do same again and again. Your awkwardness in the real world can be easily hidden in this virtual world. The constant need to get attention might be satisfied here. Your craving for gossip and checking what other people are up to also make you visit the site repeatedly.”
Adds psychiatrist Dr Ashish Gambre, “Social media today is a medium of instant communication where one gets all the news and recent updates from friends and around the world. Unfortunately, today’s youth also look for validation, approval and comparison, which, in turn, can have a negative impact on their mental well-being. There are so many social media sites on the Internet and the reason one gets addicted is simple — you can communicate with a lot of people at one time and share a part of your life with yourcomments, pictures and videos. When one starts getting likes and positive comments, he or she simply gets encouraged to do more.”

How to lower your use

The first thing that one needs to do is understand and accept that there is a problem of spending too much time on social media. Only once this acceptance is made, can one move forward for a positive change.

  • Firstly, track the time spent on these sites.
  • Remove unnecessary apps and notifications from your smartphone.
  • Prioritise your work. First focus on completing your real work; go online only once you’ve finished all your tasks.
  • Go out and meet friends instead of chatting with them in the virtual world.

“By reducing the use of too much social media, one can meet people face to face and make real friends, focus more on the work at hand, increase productivity and thereby, gain confidence. Social media is a great tool to use but it is up to you how you use it for your benefit,” explains Dr Gambre.

Ends Dr Sonar, “People need to acknowledge how social media is causing problems in their real life. Uninstall apps on your smartphone and stick to your decision of spending less time — say maximum 20 minutes — in 24 hours on social media. Curbing your use helps improve mental health more than you realise.

Latest Comment

Yes
Otherwise it going to break our life, family life. We will not be able to be with nature
Prakash Vadnere

  • It gives you plenty of time to spend on yourself and your near and dear ones in the real world.
  • Helps you to be more realistic about yourself and others.
  • Increases your productivity.
  • Keeps you away from negative emotions that one often encounters online.
  • You remain socially safe rather than isolated.

What the study said

A new study split nearly 2,000 people, aged 34 on average, into two groups. One group would keep on with their social media use as usual. The other group quit using it for a week. Before and after the study period, participants answered questions designed to capture their attitudes about the site and their styles of use. Some were active users, meaning they posted pictures and updates, and some were passive users, meaning that they typically just scrolled through the newsfeed or browsed profiles. They were also asked questions about their life satisfaction and about mental health, including happiness, loneliness, enthusiasm, depression, decisiveness and anger.

After a week, people who’d given up on this were better off in several regards. They had better well-being and life satisfaction. Study author Tromholt Morten said, “The present study provides causal evidence that quitting it leads to higher levels of both cognitive and affective well-being. The participants who took a one-week break reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life.”

source”cnbc”

Android TV home screen bloat and how to fix it

mixboxscreen

When I reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Box last week, one of my complaints was about the layout of the home screen. Instead of having just one section for all your apps, the Mi Box splits your app library in two, with a separate section of “Mi Box Recommends” apps that can’t be customized.

This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this problem. Last year’s Nvidia Shield Android TV, which runs the same operating system from Google, also has a separate row just for Nvidia’s pre-installed gaming apps and Netflix. As with the Mi Box, there’s no way to move those apps around.

Fortunately, there are ways to take control of your home screen on the Xiaomi Mi Box, Nvidia Shield Android TV, and Google Nexus Player. They’re just hidden out of sight from the average user. Here’s what you can do:

Xiaomi Mi Box: removing the “Mi Box Recommends” row

Getting rid of Xiaomi’s bloatware first requires a settings tweak:

  • Go to Settings
  • Under the Device heading, select Apps
  • Under the System apps heading, scroll to and select XiaomiLeanbackCustomizer
  • Select Disable, then select OK

Removing this row doesn’t get rid of the apps themselves, it simply moves them to the main app section so that everything’s in one place. To remove these apps completely, you launch them first, as this takes you to the Google Play Store to complete the installation. After this step, uninstall the apps through Settings > Apps or through the Google Play Store, and the icons should disappear. (Thanks to Android Box Reviews for the tip.)

Nvidia Shield Android TV: removing the “Shield Hub” row

shieldandroidtvhome

The weirdest thing about the Nvidia Shield Android TV is how it relegates the Netflix app to the same row as Nvidia’s own gaming services. If this bothers you as much as it bothers me, follow these steps for relief:

  • Go to Settings
  • Under the Device heading, select Apps
  • Under the System apps heading, scroll to and select Nvidia Customizations
  • Select Notifications, then select Off

When you return to the home screen, both Netflix and the Shield Hub app will appear inside the main apps section. You can press and hold the “A” button on those apps to rearrange the icons.

There’s just one downside: Launching the Shield Hub takes you straight to Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service, with no apparent way to access GameStream (for in-home streaming from a PC) or Nvidia’s native game store.

Extreme measure: Set a new default launcher

If you’re still unhappy with the Android TV home screen—for instance, you don’t like the Recommendations row, or don’t want your games and apps separated, you can install an alternative home screen launcher.

tvlauncher

Alternative home screen launchers for Android TV provide more freedom to customize.

With Android 6.0, Google made this a lot harder on Android TV devices. Even if you install an alternative launcher like HALauncher or TVLauncher, there’s no built-in way to set them as the default. Fortunately, there is a workaround, discovered by the XDA developer forums. All you need is a laptop and USB cable, and it doesn’t even require rooting your device:

  • Install your alternative launcher of choice
  • On your PC, download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot
  • Nvidia Shield owners may need to install Shield Open Source drivers on the PC, though this shouldn’t be necessary in Windows 10
  • On your Android TV device, go to Settings
  • Under the Device heading, select About
  • Scroll down to Build, and press the “A” button eight times. (A message will tell you that you are now a developer.)
  • Return to the main Settings menu
  • Under the Preferences heading, select Developer options
  • Select Debugging, then select USB Debugging, then select On
  • Connect the Android TV device to the PC with a USB cable
  • On the Android TV device, approve the connection
  • On the PC, launch Minimal ADB and Fastboot
  • In the command prompt, type adb devices
  • Verify that a device is detected (it should appear as a string of numbers)
  • In the command prompt, type adb shell pm hide com.google.android.leanbacklauncher
  • Now when you press your device’s home button, it should return to your alternative launcher. To get the standard launcher back, return to the command prompt and type adb shell pm unhide com.google.android.leanbacklauncher.
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androidhomescreenfix

I’ve confirmed that this works on the Nvidia Shield Android TV. And unlike the more basic workaround that eliminates Nvidia’s home screen section, launching the Shield Hub app from an alternative launcher preserves access to GameStream and Nvidia’s game store.

One of Android’s strengths has always been the ability to customize, so it’s a shame Google makes power users go through so many steps to change the home screen. But at least it’s still possible.

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This story, “Android TV home screen bloat and how to fix it” was originally published by TechHive.

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As AMD mulls GPU for 32-core Zen chip, it develops software tools

AMD’s new ROCm software tools will exploit the joint computing power of its GPUs and Zen chips

AMD Radeon WX 5100
AMD’s Radeon WX 5100 GPU is targeted at VR content creation.

Credit: AMD

COMMENTS
AMD has a clear-cut business plan: Its upcoming 32-core Zen chip will bring it back into high-performance servers, and the company has expressed a desire to make high-performing GPUs for such systems.

The combination could make for a powerful server and a signature re-entry for AMD into the server market, where it virtually has no presence after bad product decisions cost it market share. The company is already doing the background work so software can be written and installed on those servers.

AMD has released the latest version of software tools, called ROCm, that will make it easy to write and compile parallel programs for its GPUs and CPUs. It’s targeted mainly at high-performance computing applications.

ROCm is key to AMD’s re-entry into the fast-growing data center market. AMD’s GPUs are rocking game consoles, PCs, and virtual reality systems; ROCm provides a base for the company to build GPUs for large-scale servers.

ROCm is a low-level programming framework like Nvidia’s CUDA. But instead of being closed source, it’s open source and can work with a wide range of CPU architectures like ARM, Power, and x86.

Beyond servers, AMD also doesn’t have a big presence in the high-performance computing (HPC) market. Most of the GPUs in the world’s top supercomputers are from Nvidia, but ROCm tools provide AMD a base for the company to take market share from Nvidia.

The ROCm platform is targeted at the large-scale server installations and for multiple GPUs in a cluster of racks, said Greg Stoner, senior director for Radeon Open Compute.

It’ll work with AMD’s latest Radeon Pro GPUs and current consumer GPUs based on the Polaris architecture. It can be used to run neural networking clusters or for scientific computing.

But there’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Scientists use Nvidia’s CUDA because the company’s GPUs are already in supercomputers. AMD scrapped its FirePro brand, which was targeted at supercomputing, and is reestablishing the Radeon brand for servers. AMD hasn’t said if it would release GPUs targeted at supercomputing to take on Nvidia’s Tesla, but it’s a lucrative market.

Stoner didn’t reveal any of AMD’s supercomputing GPU plans but said ROCm will play a big role as the company goes after the HPC space.

“We know what we have to do for future hardware” in the supercomputing market, Stoner said.

The specifications established by Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation are core to ROCm. The specifications are designed to harness the joint computing power of CPU, GPU, and other processors in a system. AMD has said HSA specifications could replace OpenCL, which is widely used today for parallel programming.

AMD is chasing open-source standards, contrary to Intel, which rules the server market and is trying to push its proprietary standards. AMD is a member of recently established organizations like Gen-Z and OpenCAPI, which are trying to push open-source

source”cnbc”