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Google Updates Hangouts To Be More Enterprise-friendly

August 1, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google wants to help make your work day a bit more social and is taking its Google Hangouts into the business arena.

The company is trying to make it easier for enterprises to use Hangouts for face-to-face, if not in-person, meetings, according to Clay Bavor, vice president of product management for Google Apps.

The Hangouts feature, which was first introduced as part of Google+, comes to the enterprise as part of a slew of new features for Google Apps for Business customers.

Starting today, even non-Google+ users can use Hangouts at work. Any Google Apps customer can start or join a high-definition video meeting that connects up to 15 participants — from a computer or Chromebox for Meetings device. Google noted that the same ability will “soon” be available on smartphones and tablets.

“Hangouts is now covered under the same Terms of Service that support our other Google Apps for Business products, like Gmail and Drive,” wrote Bayor, in a blog post . “That means we’ve got your back with 24×7 phone support and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime, as well as ISO27001, SSAE 16/ISAE 4302 and SOC 2 certification. Additional enterprise integration with Google Apps Vault is coming by the end of the year.”

Taking Hangouts to the business community is another way for Google to get its foot in the door with enterprises. However, it’s also part of the company’s effort to push out Chromebox, Google’s Chrome OS-based corporate meeting device, to a bigger, and more business-minded, audience.

“In the coming months, we’ll be making Chromebox for Meetings work better in rooms of all shapes and sizes,” Bayor wrote. “In larger conference rooms, you can connect two displays to one Chromebox for meetings device to see your audience and project a presentation at the same time. And if you’ve ever wanted a dedicated setup for video meetings for your home, new personal calendar integration means you will be able to easily set up Chromebox for meetings outside the office.”

He added that IT administrators can better manage meetings directly from the Google Apps Admin Console, giving them options like remote starting, muting and ending a meeting.

“Google is moving into the enterprise, or at least trying to,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “I know Hangouts was introduced with Google+, but Hangouts is cleaner, more understandable, and more business-friendly, as a stand-alone chat, video-chat, video-conferencing application.”

Google is scheduled to hold a Hangout on Aug. 19 to go over the new features.

 

 

Researchers Warn USB Devices Can Be Used In New Hacking Schemes

August 1, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

USB devices such as mice, keyboards and thumb-drives may be used to hack into personal computers in a potential new class of attacks that evade all known security protections, a top computer researcher has revealed.

Karsten Nohl, chief scientist with Berlin’s SR Labs, noted that hackers could load malicioussoftware onto tiny, low-cost computer chips that control functions of USB devices but which have no built-in shields against tampering with their code.

“You cannot tell where the virus came from. It is almost like a magic trick,” said Nohl, whose research firm is known for uncovering major flaws in mobile phone technology.

The finding shows that bugs in software used to run tiny electronics components that are invisible to the average computer user can be extremely dangerous when hackers figure out how to exploit them. Security researchers have increasingly turned their attention to uncovering such flaws.

Nohl said his firm has performed attacks by writing malicious code onto USB control chips used in thumb drives and smartphones. Once the USB device is attached to a computer, the malicious software can log keystrokes, spy on communications and destroy data, he said.

Computers do not detect the infections when tainted devices are inserted into a PC because anti-virus programs are only designed to scan for software written onto memory and do not scan the “firmware” that controls the functioning of those devices, he said.

Nohl and Jakob Lell, a security researcher at SR Labs, will describe their attack method at next week’s Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas in a presentation titled: “Bad USB – On Accessories that Turn Evil.”

Thousands of security professionals gather at the annual conference to hear about the latest hacking techniques, including ones that threaten security of business computers, consumer electronics and critical infrastructure.

 

 

Intel’s Broadwell Getting New Graphics Core

August 1, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel’s 5th generation Core processor family is condemned Broadwell and it is coming in Q4 2014 to select thin and light notebooks. It launches with the Y-series processor line (4.5W TDP) and it will expand to the H-series processor line with a max TDP of 47W by Q2 2015.

Naturally the new core is getting new graphics. The Y-processor line that launches first will come with Intel HD Graphics 5300 and this is the part that we meant when we said that 2014 Broadwell won’t be the full Monty. The first Broadwell core is not getting the new 6000 series Iris graphics core. That was the main compromise that Intel had to face in order to bring this processor to market in late 2014.

The follow up U-processor line will get two new graphics cores. The first one is Intel Iris Graphics 6100 and the second one is Intel HD Graphics 6000. There will another option as well , in the form of Intel HD Graphics 5500. The U-processor line limited to 15W to 28W SKUs is launching already in Q1 2015 and it will get the new 6000 series core.

The H-Processor line will get the fastest graphics option and the fastest core called Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 seems to be the fastest option available. The H-processor line will also come with the Intel HD Graphics 5600 core.

Sadly, we didn’t get more about the actual specification. We just have the official designations and a timeframe, but at least we know when to expect them.

Courtesy-Fud

 

CSR Develops New SDK To Speed Up The IoT

August 1, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

CSR has launched a developer kit for its CSRmesh protocol, which allows an unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices to be networked together and controlled from a smartphone, tablet or PC.

The kit includes development boards, a USB programmer and access to the software development kit (SDK), which includes example applications that aim to accelerate the development of new low-power connected Internet of Things (IoT) products, CSR said.

“We are seeing Bluetooth Smart underpinning many more products as the Internet-of-Things shifts from concept to reality,” said CSR IoT leader Rick Walker. “By launching the CSRmesh Development Kit we are equipping developers with the tools they need to innovate and take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the IoT. We are helping them to bring networked devices to market as quickly and simply as possible.”

CSRMesh, which combines a configuration and control protocol with CSR’s Bluetooth Smart devices including the CSR101x family, has already been adopted by several lighting manufacturers, including Samsung, for its smart bulb lighting solutions.

The CSRmesh protocol works by using Bluetooth Smart to send messages to other Bluetooth Smart devices in the network, which in turn relay them onward, allowing messages to be addressed to individual devices or groups of devices. It is also possible for devices to belong to multiple groups.

Control of the devices is via any smartphone or tablet that supports the Bluetooth Smart standard, or via standard control devices such as light switches or control panels that have been Bluetooth Smart enabled.

The SDK is initially offered with software supporting networked lighting applications, with updates for home automation and other IoT applications based on CSRmesh due later in the year.

The CSRmesh Development Kit is now available from selected CSR distributors from $299, or about £180, and features three CSRmesh Bluetooth Smart development boards, one USB programmer, batteries and a setup guide. Additional development boards can be purchased from $49 each, or about £30.

“Developers can also purchase additional CSRmesh Development Boards to expand their mesh development and testing,” CSR said. Below is a video of what is possible with CSRMesh for lighting.

Courtesy-TheInq

Audi Tests Self-driving Car In Florida

July 31, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Audi this week tested a self-driving car on a Tampa highway that had been recently designated as an automated driving and connected car test bed.

The car manufacturer demonstrated how its “Piloted” driving technology installed in an Audi A7 was able to handle driving functions on freeway conditions up to 40 mph.

Audi plans to begin offering the initial version of Piloted driving – called Traffic Jam Pilot – to the public within five years.

The ability to conduct research in the real-world conditions offered by Florida and the Expressway Authority is crucial to pre-production development, Audi said in a statement.

In 2012, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill that allowed the testing of autonomous vehicles in the state, making Florida one of only three states where autonomous vehicles can be piloted on some designated roads. Tampa’s Selmon Expressway, where the Audi A7 was piloted, was recently designated as an autonomous driving technology test bed.

California and Nevada have also passed legislation to allow self-driving vehicle testing on roadways.

 

 

Netflix Strikes Deal With AT&T To Ensure Smooth Streaming

July 31, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Video streaming service Netflix has agreed to pay U.S. broadband provider AT&T Inc to ensure smooth delivery of Netflix content to Internet users, according to a statement made by both companies

The announcement of the deal, put together in May, comes as Netflix has been waging a public campaign against such fees, which they present as tolls, and calling on the Federal Communications Commission to review the market.

Having brokered this so-called interconnection agreement, AT&T and Netflix are now working to build out new network connections for Netflix content to be delivered directly to AT&T’s servers “to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,” the companies’ representatives said.

“We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days,” AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris said.

This marks the third such agreement Netflix struck with major U.S. Internet service providers in recent months after it revealed similar traffic exchange agreements with Verizon Communications Inc in April and Comcast Corp in February.

Consumers have also complained to the FCC about an ongoing spat between Netflix and major Internet providers, saying they are experiencing slow download speeds for Netflix video.

Both sides accuse each other of causing a slowdown in Internet speeds by the way they route traffic.

Financial terms of such interconnection agreements are secret. The FCC last month moved to privately review the current deals, though did not indicate specific plans to regulate that part of the market.

 

Fifty Percent Of Android Apps May Have Security Holes

July 31, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers that discovered the Heartbleed security vulnerability have warned that over half of the 50 most popular Android mobile apps have inherited security vulnerabilities through the irresponsible recycling of software libraries.

Codenomicon, which coined the term “Heartbleed” upon discovering the OpenSSL flaw, will name and shame app developers later this month when it publishes its findings on those that neglected robust security practices.

Preliminary results from a study by Codenomicon revealed that over half of the 50 most popular Android apps submit the user’s Android ID to third party advertising networks without permission.

The study found that one in 10 apps send either a device’s IMEI code or location data to a third party, one in 10 apps connected to more than two ad networks, and surprisingly, one even sends the user’s mobile phone number.

It also found that over 30 percent of the apps transmit private data in plain text and plenty more are not encrypting the transfer of this data.

Codenomicon chief security specialist Olli Jarva, told ITnews that 80 to 90 percent of mobile app software is made up of reused libraries, most of which are available under open source, and that was because developers “did not want to invest in reinventing the wheel” with every app that they release.

“We’re seeing the end products inherit vulnerabilities – sometimes it’s just poor software design or logic errors in implementations, and sometimes those bugs are identified and patched. Sometimes, like in the case of Heartbleed, they are not identified for two years.”

Jarva suggested that some developers “act intentionally”, which is even more worrying.

“Some people might have been providing a vulnerability on purpose in order to do something nasty once the code has been distributed,” he added. “Who are they working with? Do they have side-line jobs somewhere else? The developers might be getting their dollars from ad networks.”

Heartbleed is considered the worst thing to happen to the internet since selfies, and web servers are still suffering from the fallout of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

Shaking the industry like a bear might a salmon, Heartbleed caused most companies to come forward and issue alerts and patches. Some laggard servers remain though, and according to security researchers over 300,000 are still vulnerable to exploits.

In the wake of the Heartbleed bug, the Linux Foundation founded the Core Infrastructure Initative, financially supported by the industry, with a remit to ensure that SSL connections remain safe from another similar vulnerability.

Courtesy-TheInq

Intel’s 5th Gen Broadwell Coming In Three Flavors

July 31, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel’s 5th Core processor family, codenamed Broadwell, will launch in three lines for the mobile segment. We are talking about upcoming Broadwell 14nm processors that will start appearing in Q4 2014 and will continue to launch trough the first half of 2015.

The 5th generation Core 5Y70 and three other similar parts belong to the Y-line of processors. these are BGA processors with 4.5W TDP and they draw significantly less power than the Y-line of processors belonging to the Haswell generation. The Haswell Y-processor line has a TDP of 11.5W and 4.5W – 6W Scenario Design Power (SDP). Since Intel is doing fine with 4.5W TDP on Broadwell it doesn’t use the imaginary SDP rating for the 5th generation of Core processors.

Y, U and H-processor lines

The second to come is the U-Series line that comes in BGA and TDPs ranging from 15W to 28W. Remember Broadwell 5th generation Core has graphics inside as well, so these power figures sound quite good. It replaces U-series line of Haswell 4th generation parts that also has a TDP of 15W to 28W.

The last of 5th generation mobile processor family is the H-processor line that comes with BGA and whooping 47W TDP. This one is meant for the high end systems and Intel has U processor line with Haswell with the same TDP and a lower TDP version that had 37W maximum thermal dissipation.

No Broadwell M-series 37W, 47W and 57W parts?

One might notice that Intel doesn’t mention the M-processor line that is available in Haswell flavour, but this processor line is not mentioned in the current roadmap.

Broadwell 5th generation Core U-series line starts in Q1 2015, Broadwell 5th generation Core Y-series line starts in Q4 2015, while the H-series line starts appearing in Q2 2015.

Bay Trail-M also known as N-processor line with its 7.5W to 4.3W TDP and 4.5W and 2.5W Scenario Design Power will stick around until it gets replaced by more efficient Braswell designs in Q1 2015.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook To Mandate Messenger App For Mobile Chat

July 30, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

If you like to send messages via Facebook when you’re on the move, be prepared to download a new app.

Facebook has confirmed that it will be deleting the messaging feature from its mobile app over the next few days, and requiring people to use its standalone Messenger app instead.

The change follows through on a plan announced in April and for now affects Facebook’s mobile app on iOS and Android. You’ll be able to send and receive messages on the desktop as before.

“In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they’ll need to download the Messenger app,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email.

The company’s goal is to make Messenger the best mobile service for messaging, she said, and avoid any confusion that might arise from having two mobile products for the same thing.

The move may also greatly increase the number of people who use Facebook Messenger.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s earnings call last week that Facebook was looking to turn Messenger into an important business.

Messenger has more than 200 million monthly active users — just under a fifth of Facebook’s total user base. As well as sending text messages, it can handle Internet-based voice calls, group chat, and exchanging photos and short videos.

Facebook started the switch to Messenger a few months ago in a handful of countries, mostly in Europe, and the results have been positive, it said.

Still, it’s unclear how the change will sit with people who’ve grown accustomed to using the main Facebook app for messaging. You’ll still be notified in the Facebook app when you receive a message, but you’ll have to open Messenger to view it and respond.

Facebook says the change will help improve the performance of both the apps over time. It’s already working to improve Messenger; the company recently hired former PayPal president David Marcus as part of a push to build new capabilities for Messenger, possibly including payments.

 

 

AMD’s Carrizo Goes Mobile Only

July 30, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s upcoming Carrizo APU might not make it to the desktop market at all.

According to Italian tech site bitsandchips.it, citing industry sources, AMD plans to limit Carrizo to mobile parts. Furthermore the source claims Carrizo will not support DDR4 memory. We cannot confirm or deny the report at this time.

If the rumours turn out to be true, AMD will not have a new desktop platform next year. Bear in mind that Intel is doing the exact same thing by bringing 14nm silicon to mobile rather than desktop. AMD’s roadmap previously pointed to a desktop Carrizo launch in 2015.

AMD’s FM2+ socket and Kaveri derivatives would have to hold the line until 2016. The same goes for the AM3+ platform, which should also last until 2016.

Not much is known about Carrizo at the moment, hence we are not in a position to say much about the latest rumours. AMD’s first 20nm APU will be Nolan, but Carrizo will be the first 20nm big core. AMD confirmed a number of delays in a roadmap leaked last August.

The company recently confirmed its first 20nm products are coming next year. In all likelihood AMD will be selling 32nm, 28nm and 20nm parts next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon To Offer 3D Printing

July 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and other items from third-party vendors using a new personalization option on its website.

Most of the more than 200 items available on the company’s new 3D printed products store, which was rolled out on Monday, can be customized using a new feature that allows users to rotate and change the item they are viewing.

Before it is printed by one of Amazon’s sellers, users can customize a product like as a bobble head figure by changing its skin and eye color, hair style and outfit, Amazon said.

“The customization is something we’re keenly interested in,” said Petra Schindler-Carter, director for Amazon marketplace sales, speaking in an interview. “We’ll always look for new applications for that.”

Amazon, which has more than 240 million users, has expanded its marketplaces division to include new areas such as fine art and wine. It is part of Amazon’s larger investment into new areas like mobile services and original content that led to its larger-than-expected second-quarter loss last week.

The new printing option taps into a broader “Maker movement” among tech entrepreneurs in northern California, and to some extent Europe, that is focused on customizing 3D objects rather than development software or mobile applications.

3D printers have gained in popularity on Amazon Supply, a wholesale site for businesses. That interest led Amazon to offer customers an 3D print option, Schindler-Carter said.

 

Is Oracle’s Linux 7 Unbreakable?

July 29, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Oracle has announced the release of its Linux distribution Oracle Linux 7.

Oracle Linux 7 is the latest release of the company’s version of its enterprise grade Linux flavour that is a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

This latest release adds a range of features including XFS, Btrfs, Linux Containers (LXC), Dtrace, Ksplice, Xen enhancements and the Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3.

“Oracle Linux continues to provide the most flexible options for customers and partners, allowing them to easily innovate, collaborate, and create enterprise-grade solutions,” said Oracle SVP of Linux and Virtualization Engineering Wim Coekaerts.

“With Oracle Linux 7, users have more freedom to choose the technologies and solutions that best meet their business objectives. Oracle Linux allows users to benefit from an open approach for emerging technologies, like Openstack, and allows them to meet the performance and reliability requirements of the modern data center.”

Oracle’s outspoken CEO Larry Ellison recently claimed that its servers were “untouchable”, two weeks after it released patches for 36 vulnerabilities in its Java platform.

The company recently won a court case against Google after successfully arguing that the APIs used in Google’s Android mobile operating system infringed Oracle copyrights.

The Oracle Linux 7 operating system is freely downloadable and distributed with updates and security fixes subsequently available from Oracle Yum servers. A paid option is also available for anyone wishing to buy Oracle support.

Oracle Linux 7 has a 10-year production lifecycle, or lifetime support for subscribers, with additional upgrade support available for users of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.

Courtesy-TheInq

Verizon To Begin Slowing Down Data Speeds For Unlimited Subscribers

July 28, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Communication Inc’s high speed wireless customers who have the company’s legacy unlimited data plans may begin experiencing slower speeds starting Oct. 1, the company said on Friday.

The announcement comes as wireless carriers attempt to shift data-hungry subscribers onto tiered plans, which charge customers for individual data packages.

Verizon will slow services for the top 5 percent of data users who are on unlimited plans in places where the network is experiencing high demand, the company announced on its website.

The policy will impact customers who consume more than 4.7 gigabytes in a single billing period who are on unlimited plans and who have fulfilled their minimum contract terms and are subscribing to service on a month-to-month basis.

Users might experience slower speeds when streaming high-definition video or during real-time online gaming, the company said.

Customers on the company’s tiered data plans will not be affected.

The policy is currently in effect for unlimited subscribers on the 3G network, but will be expanded to its 4G, higher speed network in October.

Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans in 2012.

 

 

Dell, BlackBerry Downplay Apple-IBM Alliance

July 28, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

IBM Corp’s recent move to team up with Apple Inc to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unfazed for now.

Top executives at Dell and BlackBerry Ltd scoffed at the threat posed by the alliance, arguing the tie-up is unlikely to derail the efforts of their own companies to re-invent themselves.

“I do not think that we take the Apple-IBM tie-up terribly seriously. I think it just made a good press release,” John Swainson, who heads Dell’s global software business, said in an interview with Reuters in Toronto last week.

PC maker Dell and smartphone maker BlackBerry are in the midst of reshaping their companies around software and services, as the needs of their big corporate clients morph.

Swainson, who spent over two decades in senior roles at IBM, said, “I have some trouble understanding how IBM reps are going to really help Apple very much in terms of introducing devices into their accounts. I mean candidly, they weren’t very good at doing it when it was IBM-logoed products, so I do not get how introducing Apple-logoed stuff is going to be much better.”

While conceding that Apple products hold more allure, Swainson said they lack the depth of security features that many large business clients like banks covet.

IBM and Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen similarly downplayed the threat of the alliance in an interview with the Financial Times, likening the tie-up to when “two elephants start dancing.”

 

 

Oracle Goes DaaS

July 28, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle has launched a service to deliver data from the cloud collected from multiple sources in order to drive business intelligence and decision-making.

Initially the firm is delivering products using data from marketing and social media, letting enterprise customers use this information for business benefit without having to worry about its source or management.

Oracle’s Data as a Service (DaaS) is a suite of offerings that are intended to provide data that can simply be plugged into any relevant application the customer requires. It is being delivered as part of the Oracle Cloud, alongside the firm’s existing infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) offerings.

The first offerings are Oracle DaaS for Marketing, giving users access to a vast array of anonymised user-level data gathered from many sources; and Oracle DaaS for Social, which delivers enriched social media data providing intelligence on customers, competitors and market trends.

According to Oracle Data Cloud GM Omar Tawakol, the service enables customers to separate their own data from existing application siloes, enrich it with data from external sources, and then feed it into a variety of different applications to drive more informed decisions.

Takawol said the platform is based on Oracle’s leading data products, combined with assets Oracle gained through its acquisition of data marketing firm BlueKai earlier this year.

“We believe this is the next revolution in how applications can become more useful, by being enriched with data not just from that application itself, but from others within the enterprise and from outside the boundaries of the organisation itself,” he said.

But Oracle’s proposition is more than just providing a raw data feed for customers to subscribe to: the firm claims that it can deliver cleaned-up data to comply with data-protection and privacy regulations across the globe, and can also aggregate social data by identifying the same users across different social networks.

In effect, Oracle appears to be offering a service similar to the US government’s PRISM intelligence-gathering platform, but intended for business intelligence and marketing purposes.

Speaking at Oracle’s launch event, Ovum analyst Tom Pringle said that the timing is right for such DaaS offerings to come to market, but warned that it is early days for this kind of service and that potential pitfalls lay in the way, such as privacy concerns.

“Data has moved out of the IT department and into the boardroom, so it is now front and centre for organisations around the world. As more and more business processes have shifted into becoming online services, DaaS becomes a natural extension of that,” he said.

But privacy and legal rights are “growing in the public consciousness”, Pringle said, and warned that any misstep over use of harvested public data could pose a “danger to the reputation” of the business involved.

“It’s still early days for what is basically an entirely new category of service, and what path it will take is not clear,” he said.

Oracle DaaS for Marketing is available now in a new subscription model, while Oracle DaaS for Social currently has limited availability, the firm said. Oracle did not specify pricing for the new services, and had not responded to requests from The INQUIRER at the time of writing.

Courtesy-TheInq