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Mobile Ads Generate A Signficant Chunk Of Facebook’s Revenue

April 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook continued expanding its business with ads placed on small screens last quarter, when it generated 73 percent of its sales from mobile ads.

Facebook’s total first-quarter revenue was US$3.54 billion, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, the company reported Wednesday. That was a bit less than the consensus analyst estimate of $3.56 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters.

With a bounty of personal data on its billion-plus members — many of whom now log in from their smartphones — Facebook’s mobile ad business has become a juggernaut.

During the quarter, which ended March 31, Facebook grew its mobile ad sales by 59 percent to $2.59 billion. After going public in mid-2012, Facebook faced questions from investors over its ability to grow its business on mobile, but the company eventually dispelled those doubts.

Net income came in at $512 million, down 20 percent, while earnings per share dropped 28 percent to $0.18.

On a pro forma basis, which excludes certain costs, such as share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, Facebook had earnings per share of $0.42, up from $0.35 last year, and beating the analyst consensus estimate of $0.40.

“This was a strong start to the year,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

The company’s costs and expenses rose by more than 80 percent from a year earlier, to $2.61 billion.

The number of people who log in monthly to Facebook grew by 13 percent, to 1.44 billion. And the number of those people who log in from a mobile device grew faster, by 24 percent to 1.25 billion.

In addition to its primary mobile app, Facebook now operates a suite of apps including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. But its flagship app generates by far the most mobile ad sales.

Facebook began placing ads in Instagram in 2013, but by its own admission has done so slowly and gradually. Neither Messenger nor WhatsApp carry ads yet.

 

 

IBM Taking QRadar To The Cloud

April 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM IS bringing its QRadar Security Intelligence technology to the cloud in a bid to help companies prioritize major security threats more quickly and free up critical resources to fight cyber attacks.

The offering is available through a cloud-based software-as-a-service model, and comes with an IBM Security Managed Services option for security experts with more advanced skills.

QRadar Security Intelligence comes in the form of two services. The first is IBM Security Intelligence on Cloud, which the firm said will help organisations determine whether security-related events are simple anomalies or actual threats.

“Built as a cloud service using IBM QRadar, enterprises can quickly correlate security event data with threat information from over 500 supported data sources for devices, systems and applications,” IBM explained.

“This is complemented by more than 1,500 pre-defined reports for use cases such as compliance, vulnerability management and security incident response.”

The second service is Intelligent Log Management on Cloud designed to simplify security and compliance data collection.

This is also powered by IBM QRadar technology, and uses analytics and a hosted, multi-tenant technology to integrate with existing infrastructure, working with real-time correlation and anomaly detection capabilities.

“Through support for more than 400 platforms, security managers can also capture logs from nearly any device in their security operation,” the firm added.

IBM said that the announcement is a reaction to the findings in the 2014 IBM Cyber Index, which revealed that organisations across the world deal with an average of 91 million potential security events every year, a problem that creates huge amounts of data that needs to be stored and analysed.

The cloud software announcement arrives just after IBM posted its Q1 2015 financial results, demonstrating strong growth in the cloud.

The results showed cloud revenues up 75 percent to $3.8bn from $2.3bn in the first quarter of 2014.

However, IBM posted an overall quarterly revenue decline of 12 percent owing to the effects of the strong dollar.

Revenues were $19.6bn for Q1, a figure that would have been equal to the $22.5bn that IBM made last year were it not for the effects of the dollar and moves to divest unprofitable parts of the business.

Overall the revenue drove IBM to profits of $2.4bn for the quarter. The company said that this was down five percent on the same period last year, although at that time IBM also reported profits of $2.4bn, suggesting that the original figure was raised at some point.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Raytheon Acquires Websense, Forms Defense-grade Security Unit

April 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Defense contractor Raytheon is acquiring Websense, which it will combine with its own security unit to create a new, separately operated business to battle criminal networks and state-funded espionage.

Today’s Internet attacks “are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and are being perpetuated by state sponsored groups, criminal organizations, hacktivists and insiders,” said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services business, in a conference call Monday announcing the acquisition. “Our goal is to provide defense-grade solutions that allow our customers defend against [attacks], detect them early, decide how to counter and defeat such attacks in real-time.”

Raytheon plans to spend $1.9 billion in a deal to get 80 percent ownership of the new business based on Websense. It will then create the new company by combining Websense with its own cyberproducts business unit, valued at approximately $400 million. Vista Equity Partners, Websense’s current owner, will purchase a 20 percent stake in the new, combined company, for approximately $335 million.

The joint venture will be a separately operated Raytheon business segment. John McCormack, current CEO of Websense, will serve as chief executive of the new business. The name of the new company will be disclosed when the deal closes, by the end of the second quarter, the companies said.

Websense’s Triton line of secure Web gateway products guard internal networks against malware, data theft and Internet-based snooping. The new company will combine Triton with Raytheon’s own SureView portfolio of security products, which can watch for unusual user activity, protect against known vulnerability attacks, and detect hidden anomalies using machine-learning technologies.

The two companies also have a complementary customer base. Raytheon has focused largely on serving U.S. defense agencies — it generated sales of $23 billion in 2014, which was mostly from large-scale systems work. Websense has a strong presence in the commercial enterprise market. It serves 21,000 customers and has relationships with over 2,200 channel partners.

 

 

 

Yahoo Looking To Unload Japanese Unit

April 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc announced it is exploring unloading in its stake in Yahoo Japan Corp, which could be worth almost $9 billion before tax, news that boosted Yahoo’s stock price.

The Internet company has hired advisers to help it evaluate options for the stake, Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer told investors on a conference call on Tuesday. It will not be included in the planned spin-off of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, she said.

Investors have been urging Mayer to monetize the Yahoo Japan stake separately, after she announced plans to spin off the Alibaba stake in January, which could be worth $40 billion.

The advisers will help Yahoo “determine the most promising opportunities to maximize value” for the Yahoo Japan stake, said Mayer.

But Wall Street remained broadly cautious about the plan.

“They are taking the slow train, stressing the process,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst BGC Partners, who warned that a deal, if any, could be a long way down the line. “Engaging advisers doesn’t mean spinning it out.”

Yahoo owns about 35 percent of Yahoo Japan Corp, which has a market value of almost $25 billion on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japanese internet company SoftBank Corp is the biggest shareholder, with about 36 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Last month Yahoo shareholder Starboard Value LP said the Alibaba spin-off was a “good first step” but urged Yahoo to also spin off its Yahoo Japan stake in a tax-efficient manner. Starboard did not reply to a request for comment.

 

ARM Appears To Be On The Rise

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.

The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.

Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.

Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.

ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@

Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.

Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.

ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Strips Down Nano-Server

April 22, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is going great guns in the server market having recently announced the Nano Server, a “minimal footprint” Windows Server, and Hyper-V containers, which provide virtual machine isolation capabilities to containers.

Nano Server is even more stripped-down than Windows Server Core with the GUI stack, 32 bit support (WOW64), MSI and a number of default Server Core components all being put in the dustbin.

You can’t do local logons, Remote Desktop and WMI and PowerShell are the only tools available to manage the creature.
Microsoft is also working on better remote tooling and is coming up with a set of management tools for the nano. It is planning work on PowerShell’s Desired State Configuration, file transfers and script authoring and debugging.

Cutting all this stuff out has made it more efficient, secure and availability. Redmond said that the Nano Server has 93 percent lower VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) size.

It also gets 92 percent fewer critical bulletins and requires 80 percent fewer reboots than a typical Windows Server. It is also a bit quicker to setup: from bare metal to running Nano Server takes 3 minutes.

Hyper-V containers also will offer the system a fair bit of isolation that was only available to “dedicated physical or virtual machines”.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Intel Downgrade Itanium?

April 22, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The last processor released was Poulson that was pretty advanced for its time, but is now getting so old that parts of the chip are haunted.

The Itanium 9500 series processors were designed for scalability in mind and targeted at the HPC market and Intel has been pretty quiet about a replacement.

KitGuru cornered an Intel suit and asked them if they were planning to can it completely, but the suit denied it.

“Intel remains committed to the Intel Itanium product line and to the delivery of the next-generation Intel Itanium processor, code named ‘Kittson’. [It] will be manufactured on Intel’s 32nm process technology and will be socket compatible with the existing Itanium 9300/9500 platforms, providing customers with performance improvements, investment protection, and a seamless upgrade path for existing systems,” the spokesman said.

Hang on a minute. Kittson was originally supposed to be on the 22nm process, so the downgrade to 32nm is a bit of a shock.

The only one still trying to flog the Itanium ecosystem is HP. However, HP is in process of transitioning to the x86-64 ecosystem as well, and once it does that, there will be virtually no demand.

Intel has also made it very clear that they have not announced any product after Kittson – which means Kittson will be the end of that branch of the evolutionary tree.

It is sad really IA64 was interesting and had some legs for businesses taking them away from x86 land. It just seems that it was a Betamax.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Make Qualcomm’s New Snapdragon Chip

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc plans to have its next-generation Snapdragon 820 mobile processors to be made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, tech news website Re/code reported, citing unnamed sources.

The move comes after Samsung opted to use its own Exynos processors for the recently launched flagship Galaxy S6 devices instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, prompting the U.S. firm to cut is financial outlook for the year.

Samsung and Qualcomm declined to comment on Re/code’s report. The report, dated April 20, did not say whether Qualcomm was looking at other manufacturers for the 820 processor besides Samsung.

The report suggests gathering momentum for Samsung’s system chips business, which investors and analysts expect will swing to profit this year. That could be negative for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which analysts say has gotten the bulk of Qualcomm’s orders for high-end chips.

Samsung’s 14-nanometer manufacturing technology gives the firm an edge over rivals such as TSMC, as smaller chips are more energy-efficient and deliver better performance. Investors and analysts say the superior technology will lead to more outside orders for Samsung’s contract manufacturing business and further boost earnings.

Media reports say Samsung will make processors for Apple Inc’s new iPhones expected to launch later this year, and the firm also recently added Nvidia Corp as a contract manufacturing client.

 

 

Google’s Loon Close To Launching

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google says its Project Loon is nearing the capability to produce and launch thousands of balloons to provide Internet access from the sky.

Such a number would be required to provide reliable Internet access to users in remote areas that are currently unserved by terrestrial networks, said Mike Cassidy, the Google engineer in charge of the project, in a video post.

The ambitious project has been under way for a couple of years and involves beaming down LTE cellular signals to handsets on the ground from balloons thousands of feet in the air, well above the altitude that passenger jets fly.

“At first it would take us 3 or 4 days to tape together a balloon,” Cassidy says in the video. “Today, through our own manufacturing facility, the automated systems can get a balloon produced in just a few hours. We’re getting close to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons.”

Trials are currently underway with Telstra in Australia, Telefonica in Latin America and with Vodafone in New Zealand, where the video appears to have been largely shot. Maps tracking the path of balloons over the country are seen at several points in the video.

At a European conference in March, a Google executive said the balloons were staying aloft for up to 6 months at a time.

At some point they do come down, and Cassidy says the company has developed a system to predict where they will land and to retrieve them.

It has also worked on a reliable launching system.

Google hasn’t provided any details about what a commercial roll-out of the technology might look like.

 

 

 

Mozilla’s Firefox Coming To iPhone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla will offer Firefox for Apple’s iPhone “soon,” according to a company announcement of an open marketing position.

As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”

Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”

Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.

The phrase “Firefox-like experience” was crucial: Apple allows only those browsers into the App Store that are built atop its own rendering and JavaScript engines, WebKit and Nitro, which power Safari. Mozilla relies on its own technologies for both. Firefox on iOS, then, will be a user interface (UI) layer atop WebKit and Nitro.

Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.

The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.

Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.

 

 

 

Russian Hackers Going After Adobe And Windows

April 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Russian hackers have been taking advantage of vulnerabilities in popular Adobe and Microsoft software to gather government information, US security firm FireEye has claimed.

The company’s latest report said that it detected a limited advanced persistent threat campaign targeting zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows which started on 13 April.

FireEye said that the group’s goal is to find information about government, military and security organizations which is “likely to benefit the Russian government”.

Researchers using the security firm’s Dynamic Threat Intelligence Cloud software detected the pattern of attacks through a “correlation of technical indicators and command and control infrastructure”, and believes that APT28 is “probably responsible” for this activity.

Adobe has since patched the CVE-2015-3043 vulnerability in APSB15-06.

Microsoft is aware of the outstanding local privilege escalation vulnerability in Windows, named CVE-2015-1701, but has not yet issued a patch.

FireEye said that updating Adobe Flash to the latest version will render the exploit harmless because it has seen CVE-2015-1701 in use only in conjunction with the Adobe Flash exploit for CVE-2015-3043.

The Flash exploit is served from unobfuscated HTML/JS. The launcher page picks one of two Flash files to deliver depending on the target’s platform, for example Windows 32-bit or 64-bit.

“The payload exploits a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Windows kernel if it detects that it is running with limited privileges,” explained FireEye.

“It uses the vulnerability to run code from userspace in the context of the kernel, which modifies the attacker’s process token to have the same privileges as that of the system process.”

The APT28 attackers relied heavily on the CVE-2014-0515 metasploit module to conduct these new exploits, FireEye said.

CVE-2014-0515 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s Shader processing, whereas CVE-2015-3043 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s FLV processing.

Users are advised to patch their Flash software as soon as possible to protect against the vulnerability.

FireEye said last week that a Chinese hacking group called APT 30 spied on Asian governments for over a decade.

The group was discovered and detailed by FireEye in a report which claimed that it has been spying on Asia Pacific countries’ governments from as far back as 2004.

The security firm said that APT 30 takes a special interest in political developments in Southeast Asia and India, and is particularly active during Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits.

It also focuses on regional issues and territorial disputes between China, India and Southeast Asian countries.

Courtesy-TheInq

ARM Buys Into Bluetooth For IoT

April 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has announced the acquisition of two Bluetooth companies in a bid to expand its presence in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, and has created a new portfolio dubbed ARM Cordio in the process.

The UK semiconductor designer has picked up Wicentric, a Bluetooth smart stack and profile provider, and Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD), a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property (IP).

Wicentric is a privately held company that focuses on the development of low-power wireless products. These include Bluetooth protocol stack and profiles for creating interoperable smart products, and the link layer for silicon integration.

SMD is also privately held and provides radio IP solutions including a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block and related firmware to simplify radio deployment.

“Central to all SMD radios is native sub-one volt operation,” explained ARM in justifying its acquirement. “Operating below one volt enables the radio to run much longer on batteries or harvested energy.”

Terms of the agreements have not been disclosed, but ARM said that both companies’ IP will be combined to form the ARM Cordio portfolio.

This will integrate with the firm’s existing processor and physical IP targeting markets that require low-power wireless communications in the IoT space. The portfolio is available now for immediate licensing.

ARM is pushing its stance in the IoT market in a bid to monopolise on what is essentially the next big thing in tech before it becomes ubiquitous.

For instance, ARM joined forces with IBM in February to launch its mbed Device Platform as a starter kit with cloud support, offering developer tools with cloud-based analytics.

The mbed tool was announced last year and is primarily an operating system built around open standards to “bring internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool” and make IoT deployment faster and easier and thus speed up the creation of IoT-powered devices.

Launching the mbed IoT Starter Kit Ethernet Edition with IBM means that the company can channel data from internet-connected devices directly into IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.

The IoT Starter Kit consists of an ARM mbed-enabled development board from Freescale, powered by an ARM Cortex-M4-based processor, together with a sensor IO application shield.

Courtesy-TheInq

AMD To Power Samsung’s Digital Media

April 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Embedded R-Series accelerated processing unit, previously codenamed “Bald Eagle,” is powering Samsung’s latest set-back-box digital media players.

AMD’s Embedded R-Series accelerated processing unit, previously codenamed “Bald Eagle,” is powering Samsung’s latest set-back-box digital media players.

Bald Eagle was designed for high performance at low power with broad connectivity but mostly for digital signage.

It seems that new Samsung SBB-B64DV4 is intended for demanding signage applications that transform Samsung SMART Signage Displays into digital tools for a wide range of business needs.

The chipmaker claimed that by using its Embedded R-Series APUs, Samsung SBB media players for digital signage can manage HD graphics performance and support multivideo stream capabilities up to two displays, in a power efficient and ultra-compact form factor.

Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions said that digital signage is a key vertical for the AMD Embedded business.

“The AMD Embedded R-Series APU enables leading digital signage providers to harness high levels of compute and graphics performance within a low-power design envelope. AMD Embedded Solutions help designers at Samsung achieve aggressive form factor goals and drive down system costs while providing the rich multimedia their digital signage customers’ demand,” he said.

The AMD Embedded RX-425BB APU combines an x86 CPU with an integrated, discrete-class AMD Radeon R6 graphics processing unit in a low-power configuration to minimize heat dissipation constraints and meet energy efficiency requirements.

The processor uses AMD’s latest Graphics Core Next architecture, created for advanced graphics applications and parallel processing capabilities.

 

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Unveils Office Touch Apps For Windows Phones

April 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp has finally rolled out a long-awaited suite of touch-friendly Office apps that allow Windows phone users to work on Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on their phones with touch commands and to transfer them easily between devices.

Test versions of what Microsoft is calling its Office Universal apps are available to download immediately and full versions will be available by the end of the month, Microsoft said.

Many Office users have waited months for Microsoft to introduce the apps, which adapt their look and commands to the device being used, whether Windows Phone or tablet.

Microsoft, in a departure from tradition, has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s  iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.

The company’s reasoning was that those popular devices, which have dominated mobile computing, represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.

Basic functions are free for everyone, but for advanced editing features, users must pay for a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.

Microsoft is set to release a new version of Office for desktop PCs, and a new version of Windows, later this year.

 

 

Twitter Re-designs Home Page, Hopes To Attract New Users

April 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter, hoping to attract new users, is turning its home page into a portal for news and content around dozens of topics.

Twitter.com has been redesigned to make content posted to the site more accessible to people who do not have accounts with the service. Those people can visit the site, and as of Wednesday they will find 18 tabs leading to streams of content on various topics, whether it be country singers, general news, or travel guides.

There’s also dozens of other curated streams of content accessible from links on the home page, with the content organized around more granular topics like U.S. federal agencies, art museums and wedding guides.

Previously, visitors to Twitter.com who did not have accounts were greeted with a sign-up page.

The changes come as Twitter faces continuing pressure to grow the number of people who use its site, and find new ways to make money off people who see its tweets and interact with them. Twitter ended the last quarter of 2014 with 288 million users who log in monthly — a 20 percent increase from the previous year, but the smallest annual growth rate Twitter ever reported.

One of Twitter’s biggest problems is that many people still don’t understand what it’s for.

With the redesigned home page, the company is trying to address this, by highlighting the site’s value as a source of real-time information and news. The tweets Twitter has selected for its new streams, the company says, come from some of the most popular accounts posting on those topics.

People without accounts still can’t do much to interact with the content. To reply to, re-tweet or “favorite” one of the tweets, the visitor is prompted to create an account. But with the redesign, Twitter hopes it might give the uninitiated enough bait to sign up.

And even without a flood of new sign-ups, Twitter’s new home page is likely to get more tweets in front of more people. That could give rise to new advertising methods around those tweets.

The new home page is available first in the U.S. on the desktop, Twitter said on Wednesday, though it will be arriving “to more places over time.”