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Knoll Systems GSZ67 and GSZ44 eco-friendly multiroom amps

The “earth friendly” juggernaut continues, with even high-end home automation specialists feeling the need to slap some green on their spec sheets.  You’d find it pretty hard to fault the range of amps and control panels from Knoll Systems generally, but if the one factor stopping you was concern for the livelihood of the Crested Grebe then their new GSZ44 and GSZ67 controller-amplifiers should salve your conscience.

That’s because Knoll’s Eco-System amps can shut off unused channels or the full system, which according to the company adds up to hundreds of dollars in saved energy bills over a year, and an idle power draw of under 2W compared to the 40-80W of a standard amp.  As a handy benefit of this selective shut-down, the GSZ44 and GSZ67 channels left active can actually use some of the freed-up rail voltage to boost their own output.

Available now, the GSZ67 has an MRSP of $2,199 while the GSZ44 has an MRSP of $999.  Crested Grebe sold separately.

Press Release:

The GSZ67 has a12-channel class A/B amplifier that produces 50 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 70 watts per channel at 4 ohms. The smaller GSZ44 has an 8-channel class A/B amplifier that produces 30 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 35 watts per channel at 4 ohms. While offering unparalleled reliability, power and sound quality these GSZ systems offer the Knoll exclusive Eco-System™ circuit. This patent-pending circuit determines which of the 8 or 12 stereo channels (in pairs) are in use and delivers power only to those channels needing it. The channels that are “off” are truly off, not in “standby” or “mute”. As an added bit of ingenuity, the circuit enables the active channels to share more rail voltage resulting in more reserve power for the stereo channels in use.

Given today’s energy-conscious consumers, the most timely benefit of the Eco-System™ circuit is the electrical savings that the owner gets over what a comparable class A/B amplifier would cost to operate. The typical home owner will enjoy a savings of hundred dollars or more per year in electrical costs and that can be multiplied when taking into account the increased costs of air conditioning to extract unwanted heat produced by a typical multi-channel amplifier. Comparable amplifiers without the Eco-System™ circuit would use about 14 times (40 – 80 watts) the amount of power while idling in standby. By comparison the GSZ44 with Eco-System™ uses under 2 watts while idling!

According to Knoll Systems VP of Marketing and Sales, Richard Hanson, “These Eco-System multi-room audio systems are perfectly timed for today’s marketplace. Homeowners that want multi-room audio as a part of the everyday lifestyle want great sound. The 8 and 12-channel Eco-System amps sound fabulous, thanks to Kevin Knoll’s years of experience and design savvy. But these same customers also want to be responsible and only put in systems that are energy-efficient at the same time. These Eco-Systems let the homeowner fill their homes with great sound, while showing their appreciation for energy conservation. It’s the perfect entertainment match for today’s economy.”

The new GSZ systems are aiming to be record breaking product for Knoll Systems by virtue of their Eco-System™ technology, ease of installation and affordable cost. Knoll’s experience with the custom installation channel also means that these new systems offer unparalleled reliability, power and sound quality.

For nearly 10 years Knoll multi-channel amplifiers have sold around the world because of their legendary reliability and unparalleled sound quality. The GSZ Series takes the next logical step by being eco-friendly as well.

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Google Rolls Out New Eco

New filters in Google Search can help users find the most eco-friendly options when it comes to planning travel and buying appliances.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a number of green initiatives his company is working on, which includes enhancements to Search and Maps among other projects.

Here’s more about the updates announced this week.

Find Flights With Low Carbon Emissions

An update to Google Flights will display information about carbon emissions directly in search results.

Starting today, Google will display a carbon emissions estimate for nearly every flight.

This information will be displayed in the SERPs right next to the price and duration of the flight.

In addition to cost and time, travellers can now factor carbon emissions into their decision-making process.

Google will display associated carbon emissions per seat for every flight, allowing searchers to find lower-carbon options if they prefer.

When users search for hotels they will now see information on their sustainability efforts, such as waste reduction and water conservation measures, and whether they’re Green Key or EarthCheck certified.

Find Environmentally Friendly Appliances

An update to Google Shopping will allow searchers to find the most environmentally friendly options when shopping for appliances.

Searches for energy-intensive products like furnaces, dishwashers, and water heaters will return suggestions in the Shopping tab regarding the most sustainable options.

Eco-friendly Routing in Google Maps

Starting now in the U.S., and in Europe in 2023, Google will highlight the most fuel-efficient route when searching for a location in Maps.

“Thanks to AI and insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), eco-friendly routing is rolling out now in the U.S. on Android and iOS, with plans to expand to Europe and beyond in 2023.

We estimate that eco-friendly routing has the potential to prevent over one million tons of carbon emissions per year — that’s the equivalent of removing over 200,000 cars from the road.”

Google Maps will continue searching for the fastest route. If it happens to differ from the most fuel-efficient route then Maps will present two options. Users can then decide which route they want to follow.

Coming Soon: Lite Navigation for Cyclists

Google says the use of biking directions on Maps have increased by up to 98% in cities around the world

To make it easier to get around via bike, Google is introducing an alternative to the standard turn-by-turn navigation called “lite” navigation.

Lite navigation mode makes it possible for cyclists tosee important details about their route needing to constantly look at their screen.

At a glance cyclists can see their trip progress, their ETA in real-time, and the elevation of the route. Lite navigation starts rolling out in the coming months wherever cycling navigation is live on Android and iOS in the coming months.

Coming Soon: Updates to EV Search

Google is making it easier to see hybrid and electric vehicle options, compare them against gas-powered models, directly in search results.

Those features will start to roll out in the U.S. this year, with more to come in 2023.

Usability Vs. Security. How Various Operating Systems Manage Security

There is no such thing as perfect security in the computing world. There’s not even one “best” approach. Operating systems have to balance usability, user expectations, and simple operation with security concerns and do their best to make an appealing blend. Security is often the opposite of usability and flexibility, so finding the right balance is important to building a user base and maintaining longevity.

Different developers have different approaches to operating system security, from challengingly secure to problematically open. These distinctions often come down to philosophical choices expressed through security policies. You can understand how an OS sees itself, its purpose, and its users by examining how the OS handles security.

Highest Security, Lowest Usability: Tails

Tails is an extreme take on operating system security. It’s likely the most secure operating system available to the public. However, it’s extremely difficult to use for general-purpose computing. Tails is a “live” operating system, meaning it can be run on a computer from a DVD or USB drive. Tails has no save state and must start from “zero” on each boot. This fresh start erases any traces of previous user activity or possibly malicious software. When paired with the built-in security programs found in Tails, it creates an extremely secure operating system.

The limitations of this strategy are immediately obvious. Such an operating system is all but unusable for most general purpose computing. So who is it for then? Users who, for whatever reason, require that level of security. You’d only be willing to suffer through this approach if you had an extremely good reason to deal with the downsides. If your personal or professional safety depends on high security, Tails is a good tool. Such strong security can enable hackers and ne’er-do-wells, but it’s also crucial for the safety of whistle-blowers, investigators, and journalists.

High Usability and Security: iOS

Apple’s iOS offers high usability and high security but virtually no options for serious customization of the operating system. It’s a largely inflexible system. If you’re not happy with Apple’s design decisions, you had better hope they change it for you or consign yourself to a life of useless grumbling.

Apple often attracts criticism for its “walled garden” approach to software design on iOS, especially from users accustomed to greater freedom. This criticism is accurate, as any dispassionate user can admit. The choice undeniably restricts users and limits developer freedom, but it is not without its benefits. Designers leverage these restrictions to improve security and usability. When it’s hard to access system data or make changes to the system’s core functionality, less can go wrong, either accidentally or maliciously.

Take a recent example for illustration. Within the last month, some Android users discovered that their Facebook app had quietly hoovered up years of phone call metadata. iOS users, however, had no such problem. And it’s not thanks to the iOS users’ diligence: they’re just as lazy as everyone else. The iOS operating system simply prohibits such data collection.

Of course, this does limit the types of apps available on iOS, restricting user choice and limiting app developers. However, these limitations repay the user with fewer opportunities to break the system or decrease security. This choice represents a fundamental philosophical distinction in operating system security design when compared with more open systems like Windows and Android.

Moderate Usability and Security: Windows

Windows attempts to strike a practical balance between security and usability, permitting users to make major changes to the operating system while still preventing serious attacks. It’s a delicate balance, and Windows walk its tightrope carefully. A misstep in either direction often means a bad user experience or security problems down the line.

Fortunately, the adoption of Windows-as-a-Service in Windows 10 means that Microsoft can make major updates to the OS over the course of its life. And, in a controversial move, they can also force sufficiently important updates on users whether they want them or not.

It hasn’t always been a smooth road. Windows has sometimes suffered security flaws and software vulnerabilities. The attack surface is immense, and near-universal adoption makes discovering attacks and zero-days well worth the trouble. But considering that the vast majority of computing devices in the world run Windows, it’s a clear indication of the philosophy’s popularity. Perfection is not essential to success. Windows has proven that good-enough security and reliable functionality is an acceptable compromise for most personal and corporate users.

High Usability, High Security: macOS

Just like iOS, macOS offers an attractive combination of high usability and high security. However, users also get the major downside of iOS: limited user control. Apple tightly controls their software and hardware ecosystem, freeing them from the many security and support obligations that Microsoft labors under. As such, they have the freedom to create a highly usable and highly secure operating system, though there have been some embarrassing security black eyes in the most recent version of macOS. The system also benefits from some security through obscurity: with such a small segment of the desktop market, macOS doesn’t represent an appealing target for attackers.

Variable Usability, Variable Security: Linux

Linux might be the most flexible operating system architecture around, meaning it’s hard to say for certain what kind of security or usability the operating system has. It’s not a monolithic entity like macOS or Windows but a common feature in countless distros, ranging wildly in quality, scattered across the world. Thus, to talk about “Linux security” is to paint with an extremely broad brush.

In general, the Linux kernel is secure, but it’s just the core around which you build your own distribution. It’s theoretically easy to add packages that compromise that security, creating flaws where none previously existed. It’s also easy to build an operating system that only you would ever want, offering a degree of customization and control that’s simply impossible on other platforms.

Working with the most popular distros, like Ubuntu and Debian, will limit exposure to security bugs, but it’s a problem that infects all free and open-source software. Free software simply gets less coding attention than paid software, which we all learned to our detriment in the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. Similar issues could be lurking in other popular open-source utilities, and we might not know until its too late. Like many things in Linux, it’s up to the user to manage their own security, ensuring they have a combination of usability, flexibility, and security that they’re comfortable with.

Moderate Usability, Low Security: Android

Android offers the user far more customization via flexibility. But as a trade-off, it’s far less secure than competing operating systems. This is almost entirely thanks to the distribution strategy rather than any inherent flaw or oversight in the operating system. Android isn’t “broken” or “bad,” but the way it exists in the market creates opportunities for exploitation.

The incredibly open system offers massive flexibility, so it’s cheap, widespread, and familiar to consumers. But from a security perspective, it’s a patchwork of vendor-specific implementations, slow-motion updates and near non-existent support from manufacturers after devices are sold.

Essentially, the only “true” Android experience comes from Google devices, but that represents an incredibly small segment of the market. Android in its purest stock form doesn’t have an inherent or design-based security problem. However, the way fragmentary and variable Android is implemented by vendors creates a potential minefield of security issues.


Perfect security is an illusion. There is no “best” operating system or a “right” approach to security. It’s about finding a balance between what you need and what you want in an operating system. Different strokes for different folks, and different ways to solve the same problem. This is why diversity in the marketplace is so crucially important: sometimes there isn’t a “best” solution, and you want a solution to a problem that best fits your philosophy and needs.

In a broad analysis, Windows manages the most popular balance between usability, security, and flexibility. Users have a significant degree of freedom to customize and even break their systems, but usability and design could be better managed. The many inter-operating parts of the Windows operating system provides fertile ground for security holes and a high incentive for attackers to find those bugs before Microsoft. But with constant patches and updates, Microsoft has done good work staying ahead of the curve.

iOS represents a different but also successful model. The iPhone rules the high-end smartphone market, remaining an extremely popular device year after year with users of all stripes. The usability and security improvements that iOS’ user restrictions enable are apparently well worth it for many users, and the system is well-designed enough that the inflexibility of iOS is barely noticeable.

Image Credit: Jhallard

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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Ai Systems Are Not Humans! Us Court Denies The Patent Right To Machines

US law allows only ‘natural persons’ to be registered as individuals; individuals who can take an oath swearing their paternity to the product

Even as the debate around AI gaining sentience hasn’t subsided, artificial intelligence. US patent court struck down Stephen Thaler’s petition seeking a patent for the products developed by the AI system purportedly developed by him. CAFC, the US appeals court, in Thaler V. Vidal’s case ruled out the machine’s candidature to qualify as an inventor under the US Patent Act. The decision is in similar lines to the series of judgments delivered by courts from around the world for the same case. The legal tiff dates back to 2023 when he filed for a patent for the two products, an AI food container developed based on fractal geometry and a torch light. Instead of using his name in the patent document, he mentioned the neural network’s name, DABUS, claiming that the products are its brainchildren.

Back then US Patent and Trademark Office rejected his plea, reasoning that US laws allow only ‘natural persons’ to be registered as individuals; individuals who can take an oath swearing their paternity to the product, which machines or computer software are incapable of. This time the Court of Appeals, supporting the USPTO’s stand, was unambiguous in stating the obsolescence of “metaphysical matters” about “the nature of invention or rights, if any, of AI systems.” It stressed the repeated reference to the term “individuals” is very well in alignment with its interpretation. “While we do not decide whether an AI system can form beliefs, nothing in our record shows that one can, as reflected in the fact that Thaler submitted the requisite statements himself, purportedly on DABUS’ behalf,” CAFC explained. Cutting the game to chase, the judgment hinges on legal requirements which has little to do with the court’s understanding of AI’s capability.

Refusing to give up on his mission, he wants to contest the judgment in the US Supreme court. He says, “The court ignores the purpose of the Patent Act and the outcome that AI-generated inventions are now unpatentable, will have real negative social consequences.” This brings us to the question if artificial intelligence deserves patent rights and why. 

When Thaler says, negative consequences, he means the patent laws being misused under the cover of patent law. For example, AI has been responsible for inventions in the medical field which left unpatented could give leeway to idea hoggers, leaving businesses and funders discouraged to pursue research, preventing cutting-edge research to happen in the first place. Experts too are of the opinion that instead of rewriting the IP Acts completely, it would be a reasonable option to create a custom law including artificial intelligence, because, at the end of the day, AI learns by itself and makes decisions for itself. As artificial intelligence is becoming an omnipresent and inevitable part of day-to-day lives, it is highly imperative to consider if AI qualifies to be considered as an entity similar to a POSA (person with Ordinary Skills in Art). The lack of benchmarks to determine if AI’s invention is unique might be another challenge, given the AI’s ability to constantly improve itself.

This argument finds support in Australian Court’s initial assumptions that led to a favorable judgment only to be overruled later by the appeals court. The judges considered the possibility of AI setting its goal, freedom to choose options and pathways towards the goals, and the ability to trawl for data it requires. The court did spell out why AI’s autonomy is not a misnomer, as long as artificial neural networks can choose the algorithms and interact with other networks. If only this argument could be taken forward to establish AI as a legit entity – which would probably be Thaler’s next line of argument – the question of ‘persona’ could be put to rest.

More Trending Stories 

This Year’s Physics Nobel Honors Work On The Complex Systems Underlying Climate Change

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi for their contributions to how we understand complex physical systems, such Earth’s climate, as well as the phenomenon of climate change. Manabe and Hasselmann share one half of the award, and Parisi received the other half.

The universe’s systems of matter seem almost miraculously complex, and even more astonishing than their complexity is their apparent simplicity. Even something as banal as the weather report is an inestimably intricate part of a series of predictions based on millions of years’ worth of patterns. Manabe, Hasselmann, and Parisi sorted through the chaos of a constantly evolving environment to find reliable patterns, separating the signal from the noise, and finding structure within the randomness from the atomic level to the planetary. Manabe and Hasselmann won for their work on physical modeling of Earth’s climate and reliably predicting global warming; Parisi discovered of the hidden patterns in disordered, complex systems that make it possible to describe seemingly random phenomena through these rules.

Syukuro Manabe, a meteorologist and climatologist at Princeton University, showed how higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere lead to increased temperatures of the Earth’s surface. In 1960, he spearheaded physical climate models, becoming the first person to probe the interaction between radiation balance (radiation coming into versus off of the planet) and the vertical movement of air masses within the atmosphere. Working with a simplified model, Manabe found that carbon dioxide levels increased global surface temperature by over 2°C, while oxygen and nitrogen had virtually no effects on it.

Syukuro Manabe’s climate model.

This model verified that carbon dioxide, as opposed to solar radiation, caused this surface temperature increase—temperatures close to the ground rose while atmospheric temperatures dropped. Were this change due to solar radiation, the entire atmosphere should warm simultaneously. From this insight, Manabe moved on to a groundbreaking three-dimensional model, which he published in 1975.

[Related: Nobel Prize awarded to researchers who parsed how we feel temperature and touch]

While Manabe was focusing on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Hasselmann, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, fixed his gaze on climate and weather. Weather fluctuates wildly every day, whereas climate is the average of weather conditions. Because weather varies so quickly, it’s difficult to calculate. About ten years after Manabe, Hasselmann created a stochastic weather model, meaning a model that accounts for chance. But he went a step further—he also developed methods to account for human impact on the climate. Those methods have allowed researchers to link climate, weather, and human intervention into complex climate models.

About 1980, Giorgio Parisi, a theoretical physicist at Rome’s Sapienza University, demonstrated a greater principle underlying systems like the climate, showing that the randomness of some phenomena belie a web of hidden rules. Parisi explored the nature of a particular kind of matter called spin glass. Spin glass is an alloy, a composite metal made of two or more metal elements. For example, one type of spin glass is iron atoms randomly mixed into a grid of copper atoms. These few iron atoms alter the material’s overall magnetic properties. Each atom behaves like a magnet, or spin, and usually all the spins point in the same direction. But in spin glass, the spin is frustrated, which means some spin pairs want to point in one direction while other pairs want to point in the opposite direction. In his book, Parisi likens this atomic behavior to a Shakespeare tragedy. Think of Romeo and Juliet: While they love one other, each receives opposing signals from their family to despise the other. Their attraction is stymied by family pulling them in different directions.

Spin glass is the basis for many complex models, and in 1979 Parisi applied something called a replica trick to a spin glass model problem. A replica trick is a mathematical technique that processes many replicas of a system at once, which had been impossible for physics. Parisi found a clandestine structure in the replicas and used it to solve a spin glass problem. His work on spin glass altered not only physics but also mathematics, biology, neuroscience, and machine learning. This research also relates back to the climate system.

The Nobel Prizes are awarded each year in October in a number of categories; the main ones in science are medicine and physiology, physics, and chemistry. Last year’s prize in physics went to Roger Penrose for his discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity, and to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.

Finally: Cheap And Easy (And Bullet

If you had an unrecoverable hard disk failure — right now — what would you lose? E-mail? Family photos? The report you’ve been working on? Your job?

I’m not here to lecture you about the need for backups — you know you should do regular backups, but you probably don’t. And I know why.

Backups suck.

The software is too complicated, and often dumps everything into a proprietary backup file you can’t easily access or check. If you back up to the same disk as your data, you’re dangerously putting all your eggs in the same basket. External hard drives aren’t much better. I’ve owned three, and all have let me down in one way or another, either by suddenly failing, or constantly damaging random files. And offline storage isn’t great, either — it’s expensive, and usually provided by some company you’ve never heard of, and that may go out of business tomorrow.

The Perfect Backup System

The ideal system would back up my files automatically and constantly, store off-site, cost very little, be totally secure, and let me look at, open, check and verify any file, any time. It would also be cross-platform, and back up to servers I trust completely. It should be fast and cheap. It should also let me back up from one system, and grab those files from another — say, from my laptop.

Is that asking too much? Apparently not. I have found such a backup system — finally!

Jungle Disk

Jungle Disk puts a virtual drive on your computer that looks like any another hard drive.

Unlike “regular” backups systems, you can browse, open, check and confirm the validity of every file in your backup by simply opening the folder, and using the files as if they were on your local hard drive. They’re not locked away in a cryptic, proprietary system.

The Jungle Disk application lets you set up automated backups, which looks for any file changes in the files or folders you specify, then backs up any modified files at the frequency you set. You set it and forget it.

Jungle Disk is currently in “beta,” and is free for now. Once it launches, the company plans to charge a one-time fee of $20, or you can choose to pay $1 per month for as long as you use it.

Wait, “beta” backup software?

That’s right, and it’s not risky. Jungle Disk is just an interface to the S3 service, which is very secure, reliable and trusted.

Amazon S3

Amazon’s S3 won a “Codie” award this month for “Best Storage Software Solution.”

Amazon S3 lets you move, copy or delete file sizes up to 5 GB each, and you can store an unlimited number of files.

You pay for Amazon only for what you use, when you use it. It costs 15 cents per gigabytes for storage, and 20 cents per gigabyte of data transferred.

How to Use Jungle Disk

The installation will walk you through the process of setting up and establishing the secure connection to Amazon S3. To pay, you can use your existing chúng tôi account — the one you already use to buy books — or create a new one.

Now you’re ready for anything — your PC could be stolen, your house could burn down, your PC could be destroyed by a meteor. No problem! Just find another system, and all your files are there, safe and sound and ready to use — Finally!

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