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Amazon Fire TV stick 4K review: When Alexa makes life easier

The Kashmir Monitor





When the Amazon Fire TV stick was launched last year it was a very popular device for its sheer versatility. This year, Amazon has updated it to make this 4K compatible and give it more intelligence by incorporating Alexa smart assistant.

The Amazon Fire TV stick 2018 looks exactly like the earlier version. However, the remote is different. It now comes with a power button and there are volume controls too, including a separate mute button at the bottom.

In fact, while setting up the Fire TV, the on-boarding includes a test to check if the remote can control the television. This is a great feature and you can basically forget the TV remote once you start using the Fire TV as the power button switches off the television too.


I could not test the 4K abilities of stick as I don’t have a UHD television at home. But during the demo I have seen that the video quality is pretty stunning. Maybe, because it needs more power for 4K, the set up told me that the USB power from the TV was not enough.

However, I stuck to it and did not go for the power adapter as finding another slot on the power strip is impossible in my home. Even on my Full HD television, the picture quality was pretty good.

The other new feature is Alexa on the Fire TV. Now, you click the search button and ask Alexa whatever you want. For me, with my son sitting idle at home for holidays, the first query was “Alexa, play Harry Potter”. And it worked as I would have expected on my Echo.

However, there is no wake word here and you have to press the Mic button on the remote to make Alexa hear your command. But Alexa knows the context about the content and asking it to play opens up video by default and not songs like on the Echo.

The other interesting feature is how the Fire TV can be paired with an Echo device and you can ask Alexa directly to play on the television. However, since I connected the Fire TV to my LG smart TV it seemed the latter too started appearing in the network as a Fire TV. I ended up linking the Echo with this first and that did not lead anywhere. Then when I unlinked and found the actual Fire TV network, voice commands started working fine.

However, this linking makes sense only if the Echo and TV are in the same room. Also, I could not get to stream audio from the TV via the Echo too. That would have been a good function to have.

Overall, the Fire TV has made enough improvements to make it ready for 2019. It’s not very different from the earlier version, but it gives you access to 4K content via streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime, while adding the convenience of Alexa.

But buy this only if you have a 4K television at home, otherwise settle for the earlier version which also happens to be much cheaper.



Novel microscope can non-invasively diagnose, treat diseases:Study

The Kashmir Monitor



Scientists have developed a specialised microscope that has the potential to diagnose diseases like skin cancer as well as perform precise surgery without making any incisions in the skin.

According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, the microscope allows medical professionals to pinpoint the exact location of an abnormality, diagnose it and treat it instantly.

“Our technology allows us to scan tissue quickly, and when we see a suspicious or abnormal cell structure, we can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue – without cutting into the skin,” said Yimei Huang from the University of British Columbia in Canada.


It could be used to treat any structure of the body that can be reached by light and requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eye, brain or other vital structures, researchers said.

“For diagnosing and scanning diseases like skin cancer, this could be revolutionary,” said Harvey Lui, professor at the University of British Columbia.

The study shows that the device allows imaging of living tissue up to about one millimetre in depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam.

Researchers said that this microscope, however, is different from previous technology due to its capability to not only digitally scan living tissue, but also treat the tissue by intensifying the heat produced by the laser.

“We can alter the pathway of blood vessels without impacting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues,” said Lui.

The researchers also said that their aim is to make multiphoton microscope technology more versatile while also increasing its precision.

“We wanted to be able to identify what was happening under the skin from many different angles and to have the capability of imaging different body sites,” said Haishan Zeng from the University of British Columbia.

Developments of a miniature version of the telescope that could be used to perform microscopic examinations and treatment during endoscopy are also underway, researchers said.

“We are not only the first to achieve fast video-rate imaging that enables clinical applications, but also the first to develop this technology for therapeutic uses,” said Zeng

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Black Shark 2 gaming smartphone coming to India on May 27:Report

The Kashmir Monitor



After Asus and Nubia, Black Shark is set to launch a high-end gaming smartphone in India. According to BGR India, Black Shark has already started sending invites for the launch of Black Shark 2. The gaming phone will reportedly launch in India on May 27.

Black Shark 2 was launched in March and is already available for sale in China. The phone is the second-generation gaming smartphone and a follow-up to the Black Shark Helo.

This will be the first ever gaming smartphone from Black Shark to launch in the country. In case you are not aware, Black Shark is a sub-brand of Xiaomi.


As expected, this is a premium smartphone with top-of-the-line specifications. The device boasts a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a 2340 x 1080 and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The entire display, according to the company, is pressure sensitive. This means gamers can map onto the display that reacts to different levels of pressure
Under the hood, it is powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor coupled with either 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage or 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s also a 4,000mAh battery with 27W fast charging support, a 48MP/12MP rear camera setup, and a 20MP front-facing camera.

It also features an in-display fingerprint scanner, similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10+. Black Shark 2 also comes with Liquid Cooling 3.0, a vapor cooling system similar to what the Razer Phone 2 uses. The company also plans to sell optional accessories with the Black Shark 2 in India.

The launch of Black Shark 2 comes at a time when the popularity of mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite at the all-time high in India. The gaming smartphone will take on the likes of the Asus ROG Phone and Nubia Red Magic. Interestingly, ZTE’s sub-brand Nubia is also expected to launch the Red Magic 3 in India in the coming days.

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Tara Sutaria obsessed with makeup

The Kashmir Monitor



Actress Tara Sutaria, who has wooed the audience with her stylish and glamorous looks in her debut film ‘Student of the Year 2’, says she loves to do makeup. “I am completely obsessed with makeup. I love to experiment different cosmetic products.

I even check social media to have a look at trending makeup and fashion styles…So that I don’t miss out anything,” Tara told IANS. She has also shared her own makeup style.

“During day time, I prefer to have a natural look…So I opt for minimal makeup. At night, I like to go a little bold,” added Tara, who has been appointed brand ambassador for the global brand, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, in India. Ater putting on makeup, the 23-year-old makes sure to keep herself hydrated as much as possible.


“The most important thing to do is to keep youself hydrated. So when I apply makeup, I make sure to drink ample amount of water. And it is very much important to take off your makeup from your skin completely before heading to sleep. Cleansing, toning and moisturising is my skin care ritual.” On the work front, Tara will next be seen in ‘Marjaavaan’.

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