The researchers developed a technique to coordinate multiple wireless transmitters by synchronizing their wave phases, according to a statement from MIT on Tuesday. Multiple independent transmitters will be able to send data over the same wireless channel to multiple independent receivers without interfering with each other.
Since wireless spectrum is scarce, and network congestion is only expected to grow, the technology could have important implications.
The researchers called the approach MegaMIMO 2.0 (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) .
For their experiments, the researchers set up four laptops in a conference room setting, allowing signals to roam over 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi. The speed and distance improvement is expected to also apply to cellular networks. A video describes the technology as well as a technical paper (registration required), which was presented this week to the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM 16).
The researchers, from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, are: Ezzeldin Hamed, Hariharan Rahul, Mohammed Abdelghany and Dina Katabi.
Fitbit Inc was cleared of stealing rival Jawbone’s trade secrets, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled on Tuesday, ending Jawbone’s hopes of securing an import ban against Fitbit’s wearable fitness tracking devices.
The judge, Dee Lord, said that there had been no violation of the Tariff Act, which gives the commission the power to block products that infringe U.S. intellectual property, because “no party has been shown to have misappropriated any trade secret.”
The ruling means Jawbone comes away with nothing from a complaint it filed with the trade agency in July 2015, accusing Fitbit of infringing six patents and poaching employees who took with them confidential data about Jawbone’s business, such as plans, supply chains and technical details.
Two of the patents were withdrawn, however, and four others were invalidated by the judge, before a May trial that was limited to the trade secrets claims.
Fitbit Chief Executive Officer James Park said in a statement on Tuesday that Jawbone’s allegations were without merit and an attempt “to disrupt Fitbit’s momentum to compensate for their own lack of success in the market.”
A representative for Jawbone could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fitbit is biggest maker of wrist-based and clippable fitness devices, which track users’ steps, calories burned, heartrates and other parameters. It sold 5.7 million devices in the second quarter, beating revenue estimates.
Jawbone makes a range of activity trackers under the UP brand but has been losing market share. It is no longer among the top five wearables vendors, according to market research firm International Data Corp.
Tuesday’s ruling comes on the heels of a victory for Jawbone in a separate trade case filed against the company by Fitbit. On July 19, another commission judge found all three Fitbit patents in that case were invalid. Fitbit has asked the full trade commission to review the ruling.
Jawbone first sued Fitbit last year over trade secret violations in California state court, where the case is still pending. The companies, both based in San Francisco, are also litigating over patents in federal court.
Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 is creating supply problems worldwide, the South Korean tech giant said, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.
While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.
“As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted,” Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.
Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world’s top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.
Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand “as early as possible”. It gave no further details.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there was no production issue for the curved screens used on the Galaxy Note 7 and that the shortage would not be a long-term problem.
“The party got more visitors than Samsung expected, so they just need to put more food out,” said Nomura analyst C.W. Chung, who said the supply situation was not a major risk given that Samsung made key parts such as displays and chips in-house.
Samsung could sell as many as 15 million Galaxy Note 7 phones this year, Chung said, compared with an estimated 9 million Galaxy Note 5 phones sold last year.
The phone went on sale on Aug. 19 in countries including the United States and South Korea, where it retails for 988,900 won ($882).
The five apps — Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word — will be updated to 64-bit for all customers, including those with an Office 2016 retail license, a consumer or commercial subscription to Office 365, and a volume license. Most users will be updated automatically as the suite launches an update app on its regular schedule.
Microsoft has been testing the 64-bit versions with Office Insider participants since April.
Apple has long urged developers to release 64-bit versions of applications — the Mac’s operating system has supported only 64-bit Intel processors since 2011’s OS X Lion — but Microsoft has been one of the most significant holdouts.
For users, the biggest benefit is the ability to work with much larger files — thanks to the significantly bigger swaths of memory that a 64-bit operating system can access.
Unlike the Windows edition of Office 2016, which comes in both 32- and 64-bit flavors, the Mac-specific suite will be available only in 64-bit after September. Microsoft offered users a one-month grace period during which version 15.25 will be provided in both 32- and 64-bit.
“There may be situations in which the customer has to change code that’s not 64-bit ready,” Microsoft said in a support document, referring to possible conflicts with third-party Office add-ons. “If customers can’t immediately move forward to 64-bit builds, we will make available a one-time 32-bit update for the 15.25 release in addition to the default 64-bit updates.”
That 32-bit version of 15.25 must be downloaded manually from Microsoft’s site.
The support document included instructions for reverting to 32-bit if Office 2016 had already been updated to 64-bit.
Target will focus on its website, Target.com, and offline-online experiences such as order pickup and digital marketing, McNamara said in a blog post on the company’s website.
“Technology and supply chain are the new battlegrounds for retail,” he said. “The retailers with the strongest technology and supply chain will have the best chance of winning.”
Target will also focus on efforts such as store replenishment and merchandising systems to keep its stores well stocked, he said.
The retailer is in the middle of a hiring boom, McNamara said, adding that the company had hired about 700 engineers since he joined as CIO in February 2015.
Target had 341,000 employees as of Jan. 30, according to a regulatory filing.
The Z2 phone, equipped with a 4-inch screen and India-specific features such as a safety mode for motorcyclists, will be the cheapest Tizen phone Samsung has launched to date at 4,590 rupees ($68.44).
The phone, the first Tizen-powered device that will run on 4G networks, will start selling in India on Aug. 29.
The world’s top maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips is trying to reduce its dependence on Google, whose Android operating system powers Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
The firm has been using Tizen on products ranging from TVs, home appliances and wearable products to enable the devices to communicate with each other and phones via the internet.
Samsung has so far kept Tizen for a small number of markets such as India and Bangladesh, where many potential customers are still first-time buyers looking for a cheap device and do not necessarily need a big library of apps.
The firm declined to comment on sales figures but analysts have said the Z2’s predecessors have found some success.
Massachusetts will begin levying a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.
Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee.
“I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors,” said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas.
Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police.
“They’ve been breaking the laws that are on the books, that we’ve been following for many years,” said Larry Meister, manager of the Boston area’s Independent Taxi Operator’s Association.
The law levies a 20-cent fee in all, with 5 cents for taxis, 10 cents going to cities and towns and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund.
The fee may raise millions of dollars a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts.
The law says the money will help taxi businesses to adopt “new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities” and to support workforce development.
Regulations for how the fee will be collected and a plan for how it will be spent still need to be drawn up, said Mark Sternman, a spokesman for the state’s MassDevelopment agency, which will be in charge of the money.
Riders and drivers will not see the fee because the law bars companies from charging them. Instead, companies themselves will pay the state, although Evdakov said it will be passed on to riders or drivers one way or another.
Authorities worldwide are grappling with how to regulate and tax ride-hailing. Seattle has passed a law that allows drivers to unionize. In Taiwan, Uber is battling a tax bill of up to $6.4 million.
Despite the cost, ride services in Massachusetts appear to have accepted the fee in exchange for other provisions. For example, the law does not ban them from picking up at Boston’s airport or convention center, although there will be special rules for those sites.
Lyft is pleased with the law even though it is not perfect, spokesman Adrian Durbin said.
Soliciting readers for how to spend the 5-cent fee, a column in the Boston Globe offered ideas such as hospitality training, incentive bonuses and help so taxi owners could buy “flagship” vehicles like a 1940s Checker or a Porsche.
Meister said the money could go toward improving a smartphone app his association has started using, or to other big needs.
“We definitely need some infrastructure changes,” he said.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is gearing up to launch a program to sell refurbished used versions of its premium smartphones as early as next year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The South Korean technology firm is looking for ways to sustain earnings momentum after reviving its mobile profits by restructuring its product line-up. As growth in the global smartphone market hits a plateau, Samsung wants to maximize its cost efficiency and keep operating margins above 10 percent.
The world’s top smartphone maker will refurbish high-end phones returned to the company by users who signed up for one-year upgrade programs in markets such as South Korea and the United States.
Samsung would then re-sell these phones at a lower price, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was not yet public.
The person declined to say how big a discount the refurbished phones would be sold at, which markets the phones would be sold in or how many refurbished devices Samsung could sell.
A Samsung spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation.
It was not clear to what extent the phones would be altered, but refurbished phones typically are fitted with parts such as a new casing or battery.
Rival Apple Inc’s iPhone has a re-sale value of around 69 percent of its original price after about one year from launch, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy sells for 51 percent of the original price in the U.S. market, according to BNP Paribas.
Refurbished phones could help vendors such as Samsung boost their presence in emerging markets such as India, where high-end devices costing $800 or so are beyond most buyers.
Apple sells refurbished iPhones in a number of markets including the United States, but does not disclose sales figures. It is trying to sell such iPhones in India, where the average smartphone sells for less than $90.
Selling used phones could help Samsung fend off lower-cost Chinese rivals that have been eating into its market share, and free up some capital to invest elsewhere or boost marketing expenditure.
Deloitte says the used smartphone market will be worth more than $17 billion this year, with 120 million devices sold or traded in to manufacturers or carriers – around 8 percent of total smartphone sales. Some market experts expect the used market to grow fast as there are fewer technology breakthroughs.
“Some consumers may prefer to buy refurbished, used premium models in lieu of new budget brands, possibly cannibalizing sales of new devices from those budget manufacturers,” Deloitte said in a report.
It just became easier for HipChat customers to see one another whenever they want it. The company launched new group video calling and screen sharing functionality that lets up to 10 other people share a virtual face-to-face meeting.
Users can spin up a call in a HipChat channel, or bring additional people into a one-on-one video call. That way, people who work in far-flung teams can get onto the same page face-to-face, using the same software that they count on for text chat during the day.
HipChat’s announcement Thursday is a move to compete with both consumer services like Skype and Google Hangouts, as well as workplace videoconferencing systems like Lifesize and Skype for Business. The launch is particularly important for HipChat’s competition with Slack, which recently added group voice calls and has video calling on its roadmap.
Group video calls are only available for teams that pay for HipChat Plus, which costs $2 per user per month.
The new video calling features are based on technology HipChat vendor Atlassian acquired with the JitSi open source video-conferencing product. The company still makes the open source version available, but this integration brings video calling into HipChat natively.
Right now, group video calling is only available on HipChat’s desktop apps, but it will make its way to mobile in some form in the future.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Slack can answer with video calling features of its own, after the high-flying productivity startup acquired screen sharing company Screenhero in January 2015.
Some teams may still find themselves in need of dedicated videoconferencing services, if they use specialized hardware for video meetings or if their needs exceed what HipChat can offer. For example, meetings in HipChat can’t have moderators with special privileges, and are limited to 10 participants at launch.
AT&T Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp are among members of the “Robocall Strike Force” that held its first meeting with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
The strike force will report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, chairman of the group.
The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating legitimate phone numbers from governments, banks or others.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in July urged major companies to take new action to block robocalls, which often come from telemarketers or scam artists.
“This scourge must stop,” Wheeler said on Friday, calling robocalls the No. 1 complaint from consumers.
“The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” Wheeler said. In the past, he has said robocalls continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”
Stephenson emphasized “the breadth and complexity” of the problem.
“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop.”
The FCC does not require robocall blocking and filtering but has strongly encouraged phone service providers to offer those services at no charge.
The strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers, network designers and the government.
Other companies taking part include Blackberry Ltd, British Telecommunications Plc, Charter Communications Inc, Frontier Communications, LG Electronics Inc, Microsoft Corp, Nokia Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sirius XM Holdings Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and U.S. Cellular Corp.
Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the task force is a sign “phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.”
Security researchers from Bitdefender have found an IoT smart electrical socket which leaks your Wi-Fi password, your email credentials and is so poorly coded that attackers can use it to hijack the device and use it for DDoS attacks. In the good old days all the power point could do was turn electrical equipment on and off.
Bitdefender didn’t reveal the device’s manufacturer but said the company is working on a fix, which will release in late Q3 2016.
Smart electrical sockets are small electrical socket extenders, which you can plug into a regular wall socket. In this case the device comes with a module that allows users to manage power consumption using predetermined limits and schedule the socket to allow usage only between certain hours.
Bitdefender said that there were several major problems with this unnamed smart socket. When users set up the product, they also need to install one of the accompanying iOS or Android apps. These apps allow the user to connect to the smart electrical socket’s built-in hotspot and configure it by entering the local Wi-Fi network credentials.
The IoT socket uses these credentials to connect to the local network, and contact the vendor servers, where it sends a configuration file that includes several device details, such as model, make, device name, firmware version, MAC address, and others
All this networking is done without encryption, in cleartext, which an attacker can easily pick-up if sniffing the local network at the right time.
Additionally, the device’s default admin username and password is easy to guess, even without reading the device documentation.
The device also comes with a built-in feature to send users email notifications when a device scheduled task executes successfully. For this feature to function properly, users must fill in their email account username and password in the device’s configuration panel. The device improperly stores these details.
Bitdefender researchers say that an attacker that knows the device’s MAC address and default password can take control over the device, rescheduling it, or access data on the user’s email account and password.
Only ten percent of people respond to and deal with desktop security alerts immediately, suggesting that the rest of the population simply ignores them or just lets it happen automatically.
You know the sort of warning. It might be Chrome telling you that something is untrusted, something like that. They are very easy to become blind to, like cookie warnings for example, and the study, which comes from Brigham Young University (BYU) and Google engineers, said that most people just ignore them.
The study, entitled More Harm Than Good? How Messages That Interrupt Can Make Us Vulnerable, suggests that this seeming neglect is down to the fact that people can only do so many things at once.
“System-generated alerts are ubiquitous in personal computing and, with the proliferation of mobile devices, daily activity. While these interruptions provide timely information, research shows they come at a high cost in terms of increased stress and decreased productivity,” the study said.
“This is due to dual-task interference, a cognitive limitation in which even simple tasks cannot be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss.”
Multitasking, then. People struggle to comprehend alerts because they are busy closing windows, stopping videos, typing or uploading at their desk or while mobile. Some 87 per cent showed the most disregard when “transferring information”.
The researchers explained things better in an interview with Phys.org. “We found that the brain can’t handle multitasking very well,” said co-author and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance.
“Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there’s a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times.”
A better time to alert, according to the researchers, is at more passive times, for example while punters are waiting for a page to load or have finished watching a video.
“Waiting to display a warning when people are not busy doing something else increases their security behaviour substantially,” said Jeff Jenkins, lead author of the study.
AMD has put TrueAudio Next onto Github as part of its LiquidVR SDK.
AMD is trying to tackle the same audio problems as targeted by Nvidia’s VRWorks Audio. The aim according to the brief is to:
“Create a scalable AMD technology that enables full real-time dynamic physics-based audio acoustics rendering, leveraging the powerful resources of AMD GPU Compute.”
In other words, it will give immersive audio alongside VR headsets and allow audio to catch up a bit with graphics.
Writing in the GPU Open blog, Carl Wakeland, a Fellow Design Engineer at AMD, said that the 2D screen had resulted in sound never really getting a look in. Some games had bought in 3D audio as a novelty but this could be a distraction. But head-mounted display “changes everything.”
AMD TrueAudio Next is a significant step towards making environmental sound rendering closer to real-world acoustics with the modelling of the physics that propagate sound – AKA auralisation.
The new AMD TrueAudio Next library is a high-performance, OpenCL-based real-time math acceleration library for audio, with special emphasis on GPU compute acceleration. But it is not perfect yet, although the fact it has real-time GPU compute backing it up it is pretty good, apparently.
Wakeland says that two primary algorithms need to be catered for – time-varying convolution (in the audio processing component) and ray-tracing (in the propagation component).
“On AMD Radeon GPUs, ray-tracing can be accelerated using AMD’s open-source FireRays library, and time-varying real-time convolution can be accelerated with the AMD TrueAudio Next library.”
AMD uses a new ‘CU Reservation’ feature to reserve some CUs for audio, as necessary, and the use of asynchronous compute.
Apple is trying to convince the world it is “coming up with something new” by talking a lot about Artificial Reality.
It is a fairly logical development, the company has operated a reality distortion field to create an alternative universe where its products are new and revolutionary and light years ahead of everyone else’s. It will be curious to see how Apple integrates its reality with the real world, given that it is having a problem with that.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been doing his best to convince the world that Apple really is working on something. He needs to do this as the iPhone cash cow starts to dry up and Jobs Mob appears to have no products to replace it.
In an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday, Cook said Apple is “doing a lot of things” with augmented reality (AR), the technology that puts digital images on top of the real world.
“I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain we talked about.”
However Apple is light years behind working being done by Microsoft with its Microsoft’s HoloLens headset and the startup Magic Leap’s so-called cinematic reality that’s being developed now.
Cook appears to retreat to AR whenever he is under pressure. But so far he has never actually said that the company is developing any.
Appple has also snapped up several companies and experts in the AR space. And in January, the Financial Times claimed that the company has a division of hundreds of people researching the technology.
But AR would be a hard fit to get a product out which fits Apple’s ethos and certainly not one for years. Meanwhile it is unlikely we will see anything new before Microsoft and Google get their products out.
The acquisition would make Xylem a major player in the market for smart meters, at a time when regulatory requirements and a drive for savings are pushing both companies and consumers to control their water and energy consumption more tightly.
Xylem will finance the deal with about $400 million of its non-U.S. cash, new and existing credit facilities, and a combination of short- and long-term debt, the company said in a statement.
Xylem, which manufactures equipment used in water and wastewater applications, reaffirmed its 2016 earnings forecast and said it expects the deal to add to its adjusted earnings in 2017.
Reuters exclusively reported earlier on Monday that the companies were nearing a deal.
Sensus, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a supplier of smart metering and related communications systems to the water, gas, heat and electric utility sectors. Its revenue was $837 in the year ended March 2016.
Xylem said the purchase price was 10.7 times Sensus’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in fiscal 2016. Rye Brook, New York-based Xylem had revenue of $3.7 billion last year.
Sensus is one of the longest held investments in the history of private equity. Buyout firm Jordan Company, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s private equity arm, acquired the company for $650 million in 2003.
Goldman’s private equity business still owns 34 percent of Sensus, with Jordan Company owning the remainder.
Sensus’s financial metrics have steadily improved since bottoming three years ago, driven by stronger end-market demand and comprehensive cost-cutting initiatives, ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said earlier this year.
New product launches, combined with Sensus’s restructuring efforts, should benefit operating results over the medium term, Moody’s added.