major

Volvo Car Open tennis tournament will press on during major stadium renovation | Volvo Car Open

Canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic last April, the Volvo Car Open tennis tournament plans to return to action in 2021, tournament director Bob Moran says.

But it will do so without use of Volvo Car Stadium, which will undergo an extensive renovation as soon as City of Charleston permitting allows. For the 2021 tournament, the Volvo Car Open will construct a temporary stadium on the Althea Gibson Club Court, which will provide seating for up to 3,000 spectators for the WTA tournament on Daniel Island.

Work on the renovated Volvo Car Stadium should be completed by the fall of 2021, making it available when the Volvo Car Open celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022, dating back to its days as the Family Circle Cup on Hilton Head Island.

“We are beyond excited with what this state of the art, world-class facility will become as a result of this renovation,” said Moran. “We can’t imagine a better way of celebrating our 50th year of tennis in 2022 and look forward to showing off the new facilities to our players, fans, partners and volunteers.”

The renovation of the 20-year-old Volvo Car Stadium will be funded by Ben and Kelly Navarro as a gift to the City of Charleston. Navarro, a Charleston businessman, and his wife are owners of Charleston Tennis LLC, which is the parent company of the Volvo Car Open, the stadium and the LTP Daniel Island facility. Ben Navarro bought the Volvo Car Open in 2018.

Upgrades to the stadium will include a multi-story “stage house” that will have player-wellness facilities such as premium locker rooms and physical therapy and exercise space. The building also will house media, production and food preparation areas, as well as a new VIP club level overlooking center court. The building also will be

Continue Reading

Analysis: Major Improvements In iPhone 12 Pro Cameras

“The photographer’s phone” is what Apple calls the iPhone 12 Pro, and almost the entire presentation of that model (and its larger iPhone 12 Pro Max sibling) focused on the cameras.

The iPhone 12 Pro has the same 6.1in screen with XDR technology as the iPhone 12, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the largest screen ever in a 6.7in iPhone. They use the same ceramic crystal glass that should be four times more durable than iPhone 11.

The frame around the body of the phone is made of stainless steel that has been coloured and polished to an extreme sheen, and Apple says the gold-coloured model has a lustre that is more reminiscent of actual gold than ever.

Another novelty is even better sealing: the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max both offer an IP68 water-resistance rating to a depth of 6m.

But the really big improvements can be found in the cameras.

Super-sharp cameras

The iPhone 12 Pro has a new telephoto camera corresponding to a focal length of 52mm (which is to say, what most photographers would regard as a ‘normal’ lens), while the Pro Max goes a bit further with a corresponding focal length of 65mm.

As expected, both models have LiDAR sensors that are used partly for AR functions, but also to improve the cameras. In low light, the iPhone 12 Pro uses LiDAR to focus up to six times faster than infrared light. Together with the ultra-wide-angle camera with a corresponding focal length of 13mm, the iPhone 12 Pro thus has 4x optical zoom while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has 5x.

The image stabilisation has now moved into the sensor, something which improves shake protection as it can adjust the image five times faster than in the iPhone 11. Apple claims it

Continue Reading

Kim Jong Un orders remodeling of major hotels in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently ordered sections of several hotels in Pyongyang to be remodeled by the end of 2021, Daily NK has learned. 

Specifically, Kim ordered that hotels for foreign visitors be rebuilt in a modern way to conform with world standards. The order seems to suggest that the country is preparing to opening its borders in the “post-coronavirus era” as part of efforts to earn foreign currency. 

A military source told the Daily NK on Sunday that Kim handed down the order to the command of the Seventh General Department, a military engineering unit, on Oct. 5.

Specifically, North Korean authorities ordered the unit to rebuild the basement restaurant and revolving observatory restaurant of the Koryo Hotel Pyongyang; the hall and 80 guest rooms of the Pothonggang Hotel; the revolving observatory restaurant, basement bowling alley and arcade of the Yanggakdo International Hotel; 30 bedrooms of the Sosan Hotel; and shops in the Pyongyang Hotel.

The order called for all the reconstruction projects to be completed by the “end of 2021.” This seems to suggest that the country’s leadership believes the COVID-19 pandemic will end next year. 

The source explained that the Workers’ Party has an “unchanging” policy to keep promoting the tourism industry and attracting tourists to the country as a way to secure funds for the party along with foreign currency. 

pyongyang
The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang. / Image: BRJ Inc., Creative Commons, Flickr

In short, the authorities wish to highlight North Korea’s image as a “normal country” by bringing several hotels in Pyongyang up to world standards. Meanwhile, they aim to create an opportunity for the country to “break through” its economic troubles by using its image as a  “COVID-19-free” nation to attract tourists. 

Kim’s latest order hints that the authorities may also be trying

Continue Reading

Appleton Eagle Scout completes major UWO Fox Cities campus community garden renovation

Though it’s near the end of the growing season, a large community garden on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus is shining brightly as 15 years of overgrowth was removed and new fencing installed.

Garden beautification efforts―two years in the making―were led by Eagle Scout candidate Elijah Eisen, 17, a junior at Appleton North High School, along with support from Bill Bultman, an emeritus faculty member and Rose Marie Lewis, senior technician on the UWO Fox Cities campus.

Eisen provided much-needed tender loving care to the area and installed new fencing to keep deer and other animals at bay. The garden plots allow individuals and families in the community to grow their own food and flowers. The previous fencing was missing and broken and allowed deer to feast on the garden “like a buffet,” according to gardeners.

With various delays―not the least included the coronavirus pandemic―Eisen is happy the project has finally been completed. He says he was 14 years old when he started planning the garden updates. He had talked to Lewis, unofficial scouting coordinator on campus, about potential Eagle Scout projects.

“Since the beginning, this (Eagle Scout) was my goal,” Eisen said. “I didn’t feel I  accomplished it if I did something small. I wanted one of the biggest projects she had.”

Though Eisen wondered really how hard the project to put up an eight-foot wire fence could be, he soon learned it would take hundreds of volunteer hours digging through layers of clay―and a lot of money.

Pushing through

“I was very up front with him (Eisen) about the scope and complexity of the project, but he has proven to be a very capable and diligent scout,” said Lewis, senior laboratory prep technician at the UWO Fox Cities campus.

Lewis, herself an Eagle Scout mom,

Continue Reading

iPhone 12 to Have Major Performance Improvements

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 lineup is likely to see major performance and efficiency improvements thanks to the A14 Bionic Processor.

Our first glimpse at the A14 comes from the just announced iPad Air 4, which is the first device to sport the next-generation Apple-designed processor. The 64-bit desktop-class A14 Bionic chip sees a considerable leap in performance and efficiency, according to Apple.

Early benchmarks suggest that the A14 is a 6-core chip with a base frequency of 2.99GHz and 3.66GB of memory, achieving a score of 1,583 in single-core and 4,198 for multi-core.

This is markedly higher than the 1,336 in single-core and 3,569 in multi-core for the A13 Bionic from 2019’s iPhone 11 lineup. Roughly compared, that means the iPhone 12 will be 18.4% faster in single-core performance and 17.6% faster than the current top-of-the-line iPhone. Here are speed comparisons of the upcoming iPhone 12 processor with other recent iPhone models (single core performance):

  • iPhone 6s / SE – 196% Faster
  • iPhone 7 – 117% Faster
  • iPhone 8 – 75% Faster
  • iPhone XR / XS – 44% Faster
  • iPhone SE (2020) / 11 / 11 Pro – 18% Faster

Compared to the A12Z chip from the 2020 iPad Pro, the A14 does better than the A12Z in single-core at 1,118 and slightly lower than in multi-core at 4,564. The A12Z has an extra GPU core compared to the A12X, however. These early benchmarks indicate that the A14 offers noteworthy speed enhancements, even over the impressive A13 chip from last year.

Apple says the A14 Bionic chip has a “next-generation” 16-core Neural Engine that delivers 11 trillion operations per second, which is more than twice as many as the A12 chip. There are new-to-mobile accelerators that reportedly deliver up to 10 times better machine learning performance. There is also improved

Continue Reading