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October 2018

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At times, Chromecast-connected audio devices might start playing out of sync. Don’t worry here’s your fix!

One of the standout features of Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Chromecast Audio is that it allows users to put a number of units organized into an audio group together so that they can play the same thing in sync. However, sometimes the sync gets affected due to latency, so you need an easy way out to tackle this problem.

For those of you who don’t know, Chromecast Audio allows easy audio streaming from an Android device to almost any capable 3.5mm speaker. The integrated 3.5mm cable featuring the Chromecast Audio connects to speakers, enabling users to stream audio from their Chromebook, OSX, Windows, iOS, or Android devices using the Chromecast app. The audio is streamed by means of a Wi-Fi connection, and Chromecast is capable enough to stream, not just music, but any type of audio from your device. This includes multitude of apps such as Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play music.

The means of stream-synced audio to all the connected devices on your home seems elegant, but the dramatic latency issues likely create syncing problem of the audio. In a setup of Chromecast Audio, when a signal takes longer than anticipated to move from point A to point B, it causes the audios to play out of sync. Everything on the Internet does not connect at the exact same speeds, the different location in your house can trigger slower data-travel issue, and on the other hand wires and speakers come with their own built-in latency flow. Fortunately, there is an easy and non-technical method to fix the Chromecast’s un-synced audio.

Here’s the fix:

Open the “Google Home” app and search for the malfunctioning (un-synced) unit in the Chromecast Devices. Tap the three dots “Settings icon” located on the top right corner. On the Advanced section, tap Group delay correction setting. Adjust slider, up until the audio “syncs” for you.

And that’s it! It does sounds so stress-free, and easy to be true, right? If this helped you with solving the audio issue on your music streaming device then give us a follow up, and let us know in the comments section!

Apple has promised that the recent battery issue in its previous generation smartphones will not lead to an explosion

Earlier, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) acknowledged a battery fault in its previous-generation iPhone model which has caused concern among users regarding the possibility of a devastating explosion. For those who don’t know, Samsung Electronics. Co. Ltd (OTCMKTS:SSNLF), Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone industry, incurred significant losses due to a devastating manufacturing fault on the battery powering Galaxy Note 7.

Galaxy Note 7 users complained that their device’s battery heated up before it caught fire and exploded. This also substantially affected the Korean tech giant’s reputation in the international market.

Fortunately, Apple has promised that its smartphone devices will never suffer a similar fate as Galaxy Note 7. Despite the recent battery fault experienced by the Cupertino-based tech giant’s previous-generation smartphone devices, it has assured users that its devices will never suffer a similar fate like its rival flagship smartphone.  

Recent events have led Apple to launching a battery replacement program for its iPhone 6S models. Interestingly, Apple has confirmed that only a limited number of iPhone 6S models have been incorporated with faulty batteries which forcefully shut down. Also, the company will only provide a free battery replacement to users who use iPhone 6S manufactured during the time frame of September 2015 and October 2015. Chinese authorities have stressed that a similar battery fault is forcefully shutting down other previous generation models of iPhone, including iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6S Plus.

Interestingly, Apple officials have recently confirmed that this battery fault in its previous-generation iPhone is the direct result of the device’s design, which is intentionally programmed to shut down under specific conditions in order to protect the devices’ electronic components. The company has not discovered any other reason for the forceful shutdown of devices.

Delivering strong production results amid low oil prices, the Anglo Dutch company takes lead in the third quarter season

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) reported third quarter of fiscal 2016 (2QFY16) financial results before the market opened on November 01. The energy giant posted improved earnings and revenues and navigated through the commodity price crash strongly, even as low crude prices weighed down its financial performance.

NET INCOME

The Anglo Dutch oil giant posted adjusted net income of $2.79 billion for the quarter. This was considerably up from the net earnings of $1.77 billion in the same quarter last year while significantly up from the net income of $1.04 billion in the previous quarter. Consensus had expected net income for 3QFY16 to be around $1.78 billion but the company beat this estimate by a notable margin of 56.25%.

The company posted $0.7 earnings per share in 3QFY16, up from $0.56 earnings per share in the same period a year ago while from $0.26 per share in the previous quarter. The oil major succeeded in beating consensus expectations of $0.46 earnings per share by 49.89%.

REVENUES:

Revenues for the third quarter clocked in at $61.8 billion compared with $58.4 billion in the preceding quarter and $68.7 billion in the same quarter of last year. Analysts had expected Shell to post revenue of $56.16 billion for the quarter but it beat the estimate by a significant margin of 10.13%.

Cash and cash equivalents of the company stood around $8.5 billion in the third quarter while the asset sale proceeds amounted to $200 million. In addition, Shell estimates capital spending to range around $25 billion through 2017 at the bottom of its $25 billion to $30 billion guidance and lower than the current year’s $29 billion.

Smashing estimates while driving up output, Shell has indeed made a strong mark in the third quarter season. Expressing his contentment, CEO Ben van Beurden stated: “Shell delivered better results this quarter… but lower oil prices continue to be a significant challenge across the business, and the outlook remains uncertain”

The Country Caller believes that although the company executed strong results in the latest quarter, the uncovered dividend payout still remains a matter of concern. Amid the oil prices trading below $50 per barrel currently from $115 per barrel two years back, companies effectively paying today and not investing for tomorrow are at a high risk of liquidity. Shell having a history of never once suspending its dividend is exposed to the same risk.

The firm believes that the platform is moving toward a potentially transformative period for second generation compounds

Piper Jaffray Analyst, Charles Duncan, reiterated his Overweight rating on Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated (NASDAQ:CORT). The reiteration came after the firm held investor meetings with the management. However, his price target (PT) remained unchanged at $12. Shares rose 3.38% in the market, yesterday.

Mr. Duncan believes that the company is moving toward a likely transformative period for second generation compounds. This would exhibit its clinical value in a wide array of cortisol driven indications. The company has already performed commendably since the beginning of the year, yielding 34.94% year-to-date (YTD) through Wednesday.

From ‘134, the analyst anticipates to note results of Phase 2 Cushing syndrome treatment during the second half of fiscal year 2017, with the absence of progesterone activity. The results are also expected to support the efficacy of the drug. It can potentially open doors to increased penetration in US and EU.

For FY17, Mr. Duncan looks forward to view progress in ongoing oncology trials. He expects the trials to confirm replicable and meaningful efficacy from Mife, also known as Korlym. He also foresees progress in ‘134 in GR-expressing tumor types, such as Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). The firm expects these results prior to Korlym’s quarterly revenue performance, and expected clinical & commercial progress of its cortisol-modulating compounds portfolio.

Street analysts have given Corcept Therapeutics a consensus PT of $9.25, with upward potential of 37.65% over Wednesday’s closing price. Out of four analysts viewing the stock at FactSet Fundamentals, three recommended Buy whereas one advocated Underweight.

Save 75% of mobile data with Google’s AI

Alphabet’s Incorporation’s (GOOGL) artificial intelligence (AI) will now help compress images so that the least user data is consumed. Thanks to this technology, users will now be able to save almost 75% of their mobile data without having to compromise on details of any content they watch. The technique was developed by the search engine giant and is known as Rapid And Accurate Super Image Resolution.

The RAISR is a software that reads and analyzes images and makes a replica of those images by the usage of quarter of the pixels of the original image. However, the detail in this process is not compromised. The major drawback is that this machine learning technology is only available on Google+.

Google revealed RAISR back in November, which is now being used for HD Google+ images on Android devices.  Every time a user requests an image, Google++ will get the image but in a smaller size which will enable users to save up to 75% of their mobile data via the help of RAISR’s algorithms.  

Users who are not interested in this technology on Google++ should be patient as the company will surely expand this technology to other applications in the future. The search engine giant is not the only one that has attempted to help users save data. In June, Twitter bought an AI startup, Magic Pony, which provided similar tech and even improves low-quality videos.

Users who have used Photoshop will be aware of this technology as it is used to shrink an image and consists of fewer pixels, called down sampling and vice versa for up scaling.  The company said, “Doing so reduces the data cost of each image by up to 75 percent. The technique is currently being applied to more than a billion images a week, and the company says doing so has reduced users’ total bandwidth by about a third.” This technology will definitely come handy for the masses but only when it comes out for other apps and not just Google++.

After a long time, the console is ready for its next major update

Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) has confirmed the first details of its next major firmware update for PlayStation 4. In line of Sony’s tendency to always refer its major updates with fancy names, the new system software update 3.50 is officially codenamed as Musashi.  

The update will introduce some fan-favorite and highly requested features to the system. Fans have been asking for the ability to change their online status to offline for a very long time. To those who enjoy solitude, they’ll be glad to know that the update will enable you to do so and at will.

You will now be notified when anyone in your friend’s list comes online. Additionally, you can choose specific people that you want to be notified about. Sony is clearly listening to feedback from its users, as these two were one of the most demanded features.

It is surprising that such trivial features were not included since the console’s launch. Even more surprising is the fact that it took so long for these to arrive. But nonetheless, good news for gamers knowing their feedback isn’t falling on deaf ears.

You now schedule events, allowing you to pre-register for a gameplay session with your friends. It will save you the trouble of creating a party and inviting your friends. Sony is also expanding its broadcast options for PlayStation 4. Users can now stream directly to DailyMotion, alongside YouTube and Twitch.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the update is that you can look forward to streaming games on your Windows PC and Mac. The Remote Play for PC will be available soon, but for now is not going to be present in the beta.

The system software update will go in beta phase starting March 2. Users who are registered to participate in the program will receive instructions via email on how to download the firmware update. Sony has not announced the public release date for the update.

 

While Greenwich’s zoning commission is not convinced to allow Tesla to open a store, the company officials are not willing to give up

Ahead of the public hearing regarding the direct sales bill on March 02, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) faces resistance from the Planning and Zoning Commission in Connecticut. Despite the company’s statement of no buying/selling activity at its much-awaited Greenwich store, it faces resistance from the authorities and the car retailers association.

Last week, Greenwich Times stated that the electric vehicle (EV) maker has launched its first Connecticut store at 340 Greenwich Avenue to offer test-drives and convince them to buy Model S or Model X through its website. The new facility is subjected to the Commission’s approval, as the zoning regulations categorize automakers as “group five,” which are prohibited in the region.

The automaker seeks to get around the town zoning rules by suggesting to operate a gallery, not a retail outlet, for educating consumers about Tesla and its offerings. However, the officials, who will vote on the matter shortly, are not convinced to give permission to the company. Nevertheless, Tesla representatives are not willing to give up on the matter.

The preliminary opinion of the government entity is that the EV maker would be considered as group five that would keep it away from the town in anyway. Commission officials seemed eager to welcome Tesla to the avenue but not how it wants to. Margarita Alban, a member of Planning and Zoning opposing Tesla’s direct sales model, was present during last week’s hearing. He applauded the commission’s Commission, highlighted car companies, such as Mercedes and Miller Motorcars, which are doing well in Greenwich Avenue; despite having no presence in the town. Another member, Richard Maitland, stated that he was concerned regarding the space Tesla gallery would utilize for educating customers.

James Fleming, President at Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA), that has been stand against Tesla and highlighted that it is also promoting a direct sales bill at the state capitol, apart from evading Greenwich’s zoning laws. The commission’s approval to operate Tesla store would create uncompetitive playing ground, Mr. Fleming said.

Currently, Tesla is not allowed to sell cars directly to Connecticuters under the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, a direct sales bill has been set up in the General Assembly and CARA strongly opposes the bill. The franchise dealerships’ heavy criticism led to the direct sales bill kill in Senate, last year.  Next public hearing on the bill is scheduled for later this year.

 

Users will now be able to buy tickets from their news feed

Facebook users will be pleased to know that the social media giant has partnered with Ticketmaster, giving them an open place to buy tickets from their profiles from anywhere in the world.

According to Buzzfeed, this new feature by Ticketmaster will be rolled out for everyone by the end of April. Additionally, the partnership is not restricted to the site alone, as the feature will be making its way to Facebook Messenger as well.

It is important to note that in the beginning, a limited number of events’ tickets will be available for purchase through Facebook. If everything goes according to plan, expansion will be imminent.

Dan Armstrong, GM and VP of distributed commerce of Ticketmaster, explained that the purpose of making such a move was quite obvious, it would not only make it easier for Facebook users to buy tickets but it would allow Ticketmaster to sell more tickets at the same time.

It was only recently that Facebook announced that its Messenger app would support Dropbox file sharing. Now, Ticketmaster too has joined along with Uber, Lyft and Spotify to have integrated its services into the social media site.

Seeing how massive Facebook’s target audience is and how its users have grown over time, its platform has not only become highly effective, but it has attracted a lot of attention from different companies. The social media site is just beginning to understand its platform’s true potential, and its taking its time to ensure everything works out the way it wants it to.

The company’s annual finance report has revealed a new game in the pipelines

Ubisoft Entertainment SA (EPA:UBI) released its final earnings for the fiscal year 2016 today, highlighting confidence in its hard focus on open-world games. According to the company, the number of open-world games has steadily grown in the past eight years, making up for a sizable portion of the video games market. Ubisoft made it clear that it intends to be part of that growth by releasing multiple games in the genre on a regular (yearly) basis.

It cited examples from the past to make it clear that it has the resources and will to keep up with other major publishers – assumingly, pointing at Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) – in pace. At the same time, Ubisoft stated that it’s equally important that each launch receives excellent post-release support for the betterment and growth of its consumer-base.

Ubisoft is currently working on five major AAA projects which it intends to release by March 31, 2017. This list includes Watch Dogs 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, For Honor, and an unannounced new IP which it intends to announce at E3 2016 in June. According to rumors, the mysterious new project is going to focus heavily on online elements, much like what we have experienced with The Division, Rainbow Six Siege, and what has been promised for Ghost Recon: Wildlands and For Honor. It may be the same formula, but it has worked wonders for the company. Ubisoft is most likely to stick with it until stagnancy in the market causes it to search for something fresh.  

Elsewhere in the earnings report, Ubisoft stated that both The Division and Rainbow Six Siege proved to be excellent sources for “strong recurring digital revenue stream”. The “recurring” value here is related to post-release DLC, microtransactions and subscriptions. Ubisoft expects this revenue stream to further grow in the coming years. Microtransactions may be a highly controversial matter where the players are concerned; Ubisof, however, clearly has no plans to withdraw from this lucrative business model.

The company has excellent long term growth prospects, including best positioning in vapor, according to Jefferies

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) was maintained at Hold by Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett. However, he raised price target by approximately 2% from $99 to $101 to reflect positive momentum. The analyst also increased the estimates for the company. Philip Morris shares are currently trading in green, increasing 0.77% in the market.

Mr. Owen Bennett commented that the company owns exceptional long term growth prospects. It could be best positioned in vapor in the longer term. Thus, increase in price target would reflect positive momentum generated from its growth prospects.

However, Bennett believes that the near term growth expectations may have gotten ahead of themselves. The near term multiple could be pressurized on the back of disappointing risk associated with fiscal year 2017 growth as the firm sees increasing pressure for core cigarette business. The multiple could also be negatively impacted by its recognition as being most expensive across the industry and rising vapor competition.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that the New York-based company has done outstandingly well since the beginning of the year. Shares have risen roughly 9.6% year-to-date through Friday. The firm also raised its estimates for FY16 and FY17 earnings per share (EPS), reflecting long term optimism. FY16 EPS estimate inched up three cents from $4.94 to $4.97. On the other hand, FY17 EPS increased by six cents from $5.32 to $5.38.

Whilst Jefferies reiterated the shares at Hold, other firms have suggested higher ratings. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs maintained it at Buy with a PT of $116. Also, Wells Fargo & Co. reiterated it at Outperform, with a price target of $115, back in September.

Street analysts have given it a 12-month median price target of $105.65, indicating its upside potential of about 9.7%. Out of 22 analysts, nine gave Buy ratings, whereas one rated Overweight, 11 advocated Hold, and one advised to Sell.