Ray Ban’s Meta Glasses now let you listen to Apple Music with voice controls for maximum nerd points

The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are still waiting on their big AI update – which is set to bring features like ‘Look and Ask’ out of the exclusive beta and bring them to everyone – but while we wait, a useful upgrade has just rolled out to the specs.

The big feature for many will be native Apple Music controls (via 9to5Mac). Previously you could play Apple Music through the Ray-Ban Meta glasses by using the app on your phone and touch controls on the glass’ arms, but this update allows you to use the Meta AI voice controls to play songs, playlists, albums, and stations from your music library for a hands-free experience.

The update also brings new touch controls. You touch and hold the side of the glasses to have Apple Music automatically play tracks based on your listening history.

The Apple Music app icon against a red background on an iPhone.

(Image credit: Brett Jordan / Unsplash)

Beyond Apple Music integration, the new update also allows you to use the glasses as a video source for WhatsApp and Messenger calls. This improves on pre-existing interoperability that allows you to send messages, and images or videos you captured using the glasses to contacts in these apps using the Meta AI.

You can also access a new command, “Hey Meta, what song is this?” to have your glasses tell you what song is playing through your smart specs. This isn’t quite as useful as recognizing tracks that are playing in public as you walk around, but could be handy if you like collecting playlists of new and unfamiliar artists.

To update your glasses to the latest version, simply go to the Meta View App, go to Settings, open the Your Glasses menu option, then Updates. You’ll also want to have your glasses to hand and make sure they’re turned on and connected to your phone via Bluetooth. If you can’t see the update – and your phone says it isn’t already on version 4.0 – then check the Play Store or App Store to see if the Meta View app itself needs an update.

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Windows 11 24H2 blanket bans some desktop customization apps in test builds – and a lot of folks aren’t happy

Windows 11 users who have customized the interface of the operating system with a third-party app may run into trouble with the incoming 24H2 update later this year, if what’s happening in testing is anything to go by.

Tom’s Hardware spotted a Neowin report noting that in the recently deployed preview build 26100 of Windows 11, which is supposedly the RTM version of the 24H2 update, Microsoft has stealthily (and rather crudely) disabled some apps that modify the interface.

Specifically, StartAllBack and ExplorerPatcher are the two UI customization apps that are blocked from Windows 11 24H2, meaning you won’t be able to get the update until you remove that software.

So, why has this happened? As you might guess, the reason for effectively casting aside these third-party apps is bound up in the compatibility and possible stability and security issues that they cause, as Windows development MVP Rafael Rivera makes clear on X (formerly Twitter).

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Indeed, as Neowin points out, when you attempt to install ExplorerPatcher on build 26100, the OS tells you that it can’t be run because the app “causes security or performance issues on Windows.”

Windows 11 working on a laptop PC

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Analysis: A rush to RTM?

As one bright spark on X observes, tongue firmly planted in cheek, Microsoft Teams is also “an unreliable high crash rate bit of software” so why doesn’t Microsoft block that from installing? Well, Rivera does respond to that little bit of trolling, noting that whatever stability issues Teams may have, it doesn’t prevent OS boot or recovery options – suggesting there are some serious flaws with these customization apps and the 24H2 update.

If you recall, 24H2 has an all-new underlying platform called Germanium, so there are some big changes here – and we’re guessing that this shift under the hood is the reason for the apps being problematic. That’s pure guesswork, mind.

Whatever the reason behind the apparently thorny compatibility issues, there are problems with the way Microsoft has gone about this. Communication with the software developers would be expected – and normally happens in these kinds of cases, at least giving them some warning of what’s going on. Not this time, though.

Furthermore, the way the ban appears to have been implemented seems very crude – it’s a blanket ban on all EXE files containing the names of the offending apps (which means all versions are affected, and any related apps). The way this has been done smacks of either laziness or a rush to get this move through, which isn’t a good look for Microsoft.

It almost seems like Microsoft has jammed this in at a late stage because the 24H2 update RTM needed to be pushed out of the door sharpish. There was a problem found last-minute and a fix was hastily applied using a hatchet, not a scalpel (again, guesswork – but this is what it feels like).

That theory does make some sense, as the predicted date for the RTM (near-finalized) candidate of the 24H2 update was April, and this build needs to be ready for new Snapdragon X Elite AI PCs which are coming in June (in theory). These laptops require that Germanium build due to their ARM-based chips, so there’s a critical need to get this done.

In short, it’s all a bit messy and some feathers have definitely been ruffled here – although due to the mentioned shoddy implementation of the app ban, it’s actually very easy to circumvent it: simply rename the EXE of the client. We wouldn’t recommend doing that, mind – as if the hints about boot failure are on the money, your PC could end up with a serious spanner in the works.

Meanwhile, these customization apps still work with Windows 11 23H2, the current version, and we have to remember that these changes are still in testing. We don’t know if this ban is temporary, or whether it’ll actually be enforced when 24H2 arrives later this year (from September, most likely).

Microsoft and the relevant devs should be able to work together and find a better solution, indeed a full resolution, before then, and Rivera’s comments indicate this will be the case.

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Germany bans Zoom for official use

Parts of the German government have blocked the use of Zoom following concerns around its privacy and security protection.

Officials at the German Foreign Ministry have had their use of Zoom restricted following a government memo warning about the risks in using the software.

Amid the coronavirus-led lockdowns, Zoom and other teleconferencing apps have experienced a spike in usage.  However, the company has faced severe backlash after reports surfaced of traffic being routed through China, Zoombombing, a lack of proper security measures and other privacy-related issues.

According to the Handelsblatt newspaper, Zoom was already being widely used across the ministry’s international partners, meaning it would be difficult to ban its use completely, so employees could log on using private machines for professional purposes if there was a crisis.

“Based on media reports and our own findings we have concluded that Zoom’s software has critical weaknesses and serious security and data protection problems,” the memo read.

Zoom ban

The move comes hours after Taiwan’s government said it would avoid using Zoom due to a number of security and privacy concerns, suggesting that alternative applications from competitors like Microsoft and Google are safer. 

As China doesn’t acknowledge Taiwan as an independent state, official data being relayed through China is considered as a privacy threat for the nation.

A statement issued by the Taiwanese Department of Cyber Security states, “if the organization must use non-domestically produced software for international exchanges or some other special situation, many global and communication giants—like Google and Microsoft—are offering such technology for free amid the current pandemic.”

“Organizations should consider these options after evaluating any associated data security risks,” it added.

Zoom, which saw its user base balloon to 200 million in March, had been struggling to control the spike in usage. The company admitted that it had mistakenly routed data through Chinese servers and has clarified that it has stopped using the backup servers for non-Chinese customers.

Similarly, reports of Zoom calls not being end-to-end encrypted, hackers being able to eavesdrop into calls, records of meetings available publicly on the internet, and un-invited attendee’s able to hijack calls caused major concerns globally.

Elsewhere, various schools in the United States have also switched to Microsoft Teams for remote classes and banned Zoom immediately. Even Elon Musk’s SpaceX has barred the usage of Zoom by its officials and Canada's electronic surveillance agency also didn’t approve the platform for “any government discussions that require secure communications.”

Last week, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologized for the incidents, and announced that the company will stop working on new features to focus on securing the platform. 

Zoom’s market value has been reduced by one-third since it registered a record high in late March and its shares also experienced a drop by one per cent in pre-market trading on the Nasdaq.

Via: Bloomberg, Reuters

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