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Google Fiber Wins Installation Battle In Nashville

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

google-fiber-logo-150x150Google Fiber won a victory in Nashville as the city’s Metro Council approved an ordinance called “One Touch Make Ready,” that would speed up the company’s fiber-optic cable installations.

The ordinance, passed by a voice vote, gives Google Fiber and other ISPs quicker access to utility poles for deploying fast broadband with fiber-optic cable.

Without the measure, each ISP has had to send out a separate crew to a utility pole to move its own line to make room for a new one. The ordinance would permit a single company to make the wire adjustments on a pole instead of waiting for existing providers — competitors like Comcast or AT&T– to make the changes, which could take months.

Mayor Megan Barry is expected to sign the measure into law, but is also expecting a legal challenge. AT&T is reportedly the most likely to file a lawsuit, and Barry said protracted litigation could delay implementation of the law and, therefore, fiber access for citizens, according to The Tennessean.

AT&T could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, Google Fiber posted an upbeat update to a previous blog. “It’s a great day for Nashville,” the blog said of the council’s vote. “This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly.”

Google Fiber said it launched in Nashville in April,  although progress on the rollout has been sidetracked by the work on the ordinance.

Deploying fiber-optic cable on utility poles and underground is a costly and time-consuming process even when competition from other providers doesn’t pose disruptions. In August, a Wall Street Journal report said Google Fiber was hoping to rely on wireless technology instead of fiber in about 12 major cities to reduce its costs. Google Fiber officials did not comment to Computerworld on that report.

Samsung Delays Re-start Of Galaxy Note 7 Sales

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-recall-150x150Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has announced that it will be delaying the start of new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone sales in South Korea by three days to Oct. 1, a move it says is needed for speedy completion of the ongoing recall in the country.

Samsung announced on Sept. 2 a recall of at least 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets, including South Korea, due to a faulty battery causing the phones to catch fire, offering refunds or replacement devices using safe batteries.

The firm hopes to complete the recall quickly and restart sales in the fourth quarter to salvage earnings, but the latest hitch in South Korea underscore continuing challenges in those efforts.

Though product exchanges in South Korea began on Monday, only about 200,000 affected customers have turned in their devices – which Samsung says represents half of affected customers and a recall pace that is much slower than other markets such as Singapore and the United States.

“The recall rate will likely fall sharply should new sales have resumed on Sept. 28,” the company said. Affected customers would no longer be able to exchange their devices through domestic carriers starting on Oct. 1, making the process more difficult.

Samsung hopes to restart new sales in affected markets once it makes enough progress with the recalls, having announced plans to restart sales in Australia and Singapore in October, but the nearly month-long recall process has provided additional stumbles and embarrassment for the firm.

Continued reports of Note 7 fires and damages after the recall announcement, along with warnings or outright bans from aviation authorities on the use or charging of the Note 7 on aircraft, forced Samsung to ask affected customers to immediately turn off their phones to prevent further damage.

Samsung issued an apology for the confusion caused by the delay and said it would do its best to resolve the current Note 7 situation quickly.

Digital Map Company HERE Partners With Automakers To Share Traffic Data

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

here-maps-150x150German digital map maker HERE plans to roll out a new set of traffic services this week that allows drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

The Berlin-based company, owned by Germany’s three premium automakers, will provide four services in which drivers share detailed video views of traffic jams or accidents, potential road hazards like fog or slippery streets, traffic signs including temporary speed limits and on-street parking.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen will all contribute data to the service, making their first big collaboration since they bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion) late last year from mobile equipment maker Nokia of Finland.

Other automakers are expected to join the project later and contribute data from their vehicles, HERE said.

The new live traffic services are set to hit the road in the first half of 2017, HERE said on Monday before the opening of this week’s Paris Motor Show.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles from the three German automakers are set to begin feeding visual data into the HERE system supplying these services, with millions of vehicles expected to contribute live traffic feeds by the end of 2018, HERE said.

“You have competing brands which are putting their data together to create very unique services which were not possible before,” Bruno Bourguet, HERE’s global head of sales, said in an interview.

Data collected from vehicles participating in the network, drawn from brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, location systems, cameras and other sensors, are translated into alerts on driver dashboards using the HERE services.

Collecting sophisticated data from millions of cars on the road promises to give HERE a substantial lead over technology rivals such as Google , Apple, Tesla and TomTom , which have access to data from far fewer vehicles to collect so-called crowd-sourced data, analysts say.

“Crowd-sourced data is crucial for live traffic/maps and the size of the user base will be key to differentiation,” UBS said in a recent report.

As other automakers contribute data for these services, an increasingly comprehensive view of road conditions around the world will be built to aid human drivers and, eventually, computer systems for autonomous cars, for which real-time road data is a pre-condition for replacing human drivers.

AMD 7nm APU Goes Gray Hawk

September 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A few of you might remember that we exclusively posted the news that AMD is working on a 7nm CPU codenamed Starship. The 7nm APU is codenamed Gray Hawk and it aims to attain lower TDPs.

The AMD Starship X86 CPU is a 7nm unit with up to 48 cores and 96 threads and this definitely targets the high end server market as well as performance desktop computers. These CPUs will have a range of TDP values from 35W all the way to 180W. It is safe to assume that the version with 35W TDP ends up with much less than 48 cores.

Now AMD plans to launch its first 7nm and target some embedded markets. Of course, there will be a notebook version of a Gray Hawk, possibly with a different codename but AMD plans to use the 7nm quad core with eight threads, in 7nm for casino gaming machines, arcade gaming, industrial control and automation, retail signage, HMI and security machines. It will also fit into the highly profitable medical imaging market, premium thin clients and communication infrastructure.

We already said with that the APU that joins Polaris GPU architecture and 14nm FinFET Zen core is coming in the second half of 2017, and the Gray Hawk is the successor to that.

There is a big chance that this APU will mix with the Navi architecture that is also expected to launch in 7nm. This product is scheduled for a 2019 launch, so we have quite some time before it happens, but it is good to know that AMD is planning far ahead.

The lowest TPD parts will get to 10W, which sounds quite amazing considering what kind of specification that APU might end up having.

The middle of next year is when we expect to see the Zen / Polaris APUs in notebooks and a bit later in embedded systems. AMD’s Lisa Su was clear at Computex earlier this year. She said that the company plans to launch the desktop first, following with server then notebook and last of all t will be a unit aimed at the embedded market.

Bear in mind that these products should still be considered as concepts and they are subject to change. AMD first needs to master a 14nm FinFET low TDP notebook and embedded Zen based parts before it can more to the very exciting 7nm.

Courtesy-Fud

Privacy Groups Urge Probe Of WhatsApp Data Sharing Practices

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

whatsapp-logo-150x150The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should prohibit mobile messaging service WhatsApp from sharing user data with parent company Facebook in violation of earlier privacy promises, several privacy groups said.

The FTC should step in to stop WhatsApp from violating “commitments the company previously made to subscribers,” the 17 groups said in a letter sent to the agency Thursday. WhatsApp has long billed itself as a secure and private messaging service.

WhatsApp’s recently released plan to share user data with Facebook as a way to target advertising could amount to an “unfair and deceptive” trade practice, said the groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, and Demand Progress.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact this proposed change in data practices will have on the privacy and security of WhatsApp users in the U.S. and across the world,” the letter added. When Facebook acquired the messaging service in 2014, both companies “made numerous promises” that WhatsApp’s privacy policies wouldn’t change, the letter added.

WhatsApp complies with “applicable” laws, a spokeswoman said in response to the letter. “As always, we consider our obligations when designing updates like this,” she added by email.

WhatsApp has collected personal information from more than 1 billion users, “with the promise that this information would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes,” the letter to the FTC said. “WhatsApp’s reversal on this promise is a material, retroactive change that will apply to previously collected data.”

The proposed changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy have raised concerns outside the U.S. as well. On Friday, India’s Delhi High Court ordered the company to delete user data for people who opt out of the changes before Sunday, according to news reports. The court also told WhatsApp to avoid sharing data collected before then with Facebook, even for users who do not opt out of the new policy.

 

Is Twitter About To Go On The Auction Block?

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

twitter-buy-button-150x150Twitter Inc has initiated discussions with several technology companies to explore putting itself up for sale, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, signaling the start of what is likely to be a slow-rolling auction of the high-profile but profit-challenged social media company.

A sale of Twitter has been the subject of on-again, off-again rumors for many months as the company grapples with stagnant user growth, soft advertising sales and losses running at hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The company’s business struggles have come even as the 10-year-old service has evolved into a potent global source of news, entertainment and social commentary.

CNBC, citing anonymous sources, reported on Friday that Twitter is in talks with companies including Google and may receive a formal bid soon. A source told Reuters that Salesforce.com is also in pursuit.

Twitter and Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company did not respond to a request for comment. Salesforce declined to comment.

Verizon, another company mentioned in media reports on Friday as a possible suitor, said it did not comment on M&A rumors but that it had not submitted a bid for the company.

Twitter shares jumped more than 19 percent to $22.22 per share on Friday, marking the largest one-day rise since their first day of trading in 2013. The company now has a market value of around $16 billion.

Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi said Alphabet would be the best acquirer for Twitter since it has not yet been able to crack social media on its own despite several efforts.

“From a strategic standpoint, we think it would be more beneficial for Alphabet as opposed to Salesforce,” Mogharabi said. Former Google executive Omid Kordestani is executive chairman of Twitter.

Morningstar estimates Twitter could be bought for $22 per share. Twitter is working with investment banks Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co in considering possible transactions, sources familiar with the situation said.

Notebook Sells Spike In August

September 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Figures just in for August show that there has been a spike in the sales of notebooks.

Beancounters at Digitimes research have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that the top-5 notebook vendors and top-3 notebook ODMs saw their shipments rise 27 percent  and 31 percent a month in August.

While it could mean that the notebook recession is over, the beancounters think that the spike is due to inventory preparation for the year-end holidays in Europe and North America, Windows 10’s annual upgrade, and mass shipments of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors.

The winner on the notebook front is HP which released some new products in August that successfully widened the vendor’s shipment gap by nearly 700,000 units. The number two was Lenovo. HP stayed firmly as the largest notebook vendor in the month. Dell turned its focus to the consumer sector in August, but its shipments only grew a single-digit percentage on month.

Digitimes Research said that Asustek Computer and Acer both saw boosts of 10 percent  on-month growths in August.

With HP’s significant shipment growth in August, the top three ODMs, which are all suppliers of HP, together achieved higher on-month growth than the top five vendors combined, while ODM’s combined on-year shipment growth turned positive for the first time in the past 16 months.

Quanta benefited from HP’s orders the most in the month, growing nearly 40 per cent from July.

Courtesy-Fud

Many Cisco Devices Remain Vulnerable To NSA Exploits

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

cisco-systems-150x150More than 840,000 Cisco networking devices globally are exposed to a vulnerability that’s similar to one exploited by a hacking group believed to be linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

The vulnerability was announced by Cisco last week and it affects the IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR software that powers many of its networking devices. The flaw allows hackers to remotely extract the contents of a device’s memory, which can lead to the exposure of sensitive information.

The vulnerability stems from how the OS processes IKEv1 (Internet Key Exchange version 1) requests. This key exchange protocol is used for VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other features that are popular in enterprise environments.

Cisco discovered the vulnerability internally after analyzing an exploit for Cisco PIX firewalls that was leaked last month by a hacking outfit called Shadow Brokers. The exploit was part of a larger set of attack tools that Shadow Brokers claimed are being used by a cyberespionage group known in the security industry as the Equation, believed to be linked to the NSA.

Because other hackers could find the same flaw by analyzing the exploit leaked by Shadow Brokers, Cisco decided to inform its customers about it through a security advisory, even though the company is still working on developing and releasing patches.

Many of the affected IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR releases don’t yet have fixed versions, but Cisco released detection signatures for intrusion prevention systems that could be used to protect networks from potential attacks.

The Shadowserver Foundation, an organization that tracks cybercrime and assists with botnet takedowns, has started an internet-wide scan to find Cisco devices affected by this vulnerability — with the goal of reporting them to their owners.

Its latest scan identified devices with 840,681 distinct IP addresses that responded as vulnerable to the probe.

Super Carmaker McClaren Denies Rumors Of Apple Takeover

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

mclaren-and-apple-150x150McLaren shot down a reports that Apple Inc had made an approach for the British Formula One team owner and supercar maker.

“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment,” a McLaren spokesman said.

“As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential.”

The Financial Times newspaper, citing three sources it said had been briefed on negotiations, had reported that Apple had made an approach for a strategic investment or a potential buyout.

It reported that the automotive group could be valued at between 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) and 1.5 billion pounds.

Reports have suggested that Apple, which had no immediate response to the Financial Times story, is working on a self-driving car. The iPhone maker has hired dozens of automotive experts over the past year and is exploring making charging stations for electric cars. Apple also invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing earlier this year.

The McLaren Formula One team is partnered by Honda, who provide the power units. The team is the second most successful after Ferrari in terms of race wins and titles but has not won a grand prix since 2012.

Google Launches AI Chat App Allo

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

allo-1-150x150Google-parent Alphabet Inc rolled out Allo, a messaging app that integrates Google’s search feature and a chatbot that uses machine learning to “improve” itself over time.

The new messaging service, which was unveiled in May, will compete with Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp and Messenger. The much-anticipated launch comes a month after Google rolled out Duo, its video calling app.

Allo features a chatbot powered by Google Assistant, a virtual personal assistant like Apple Inc’s Siri.

Users can call up the assistant in a chat by typing “@google” followed by a search query and the results will be displayed in the chat itself.

“The more you use it, the more it improves over time,” Amit Fulay, group product manager, wrote in a blog post.

The app has a “Smart Reply” feature that suggests responses to chats and can be send with just a tap.

“If your friend sends you a photo of their pet, you might see Smart Reply suggestions like ‘aww cute!’,” Fulay wrote.

Users can also use stickers and scribble on photos before sending them.

Allo will have end-to-end encryption only while chatting in “Incognito” mode. Whatsapp chats have end-to-end encryption.

Google has started rolling out Allo and said the app would be available worldwide in the next few days.

Apple Appears To Be Going With Polaris

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Apple is going to be putting AMD’s Polaris under the bonnet of its much needed iMac refresh.

According to Headlines & Global News in October the fruity tax-dodger is going to announce that its iMac is going to be refreshed after four years and will be finally dragged kicking and screaming into 2016.

AMD will be supplying the Radeon 400 Series Polaris graphics processing units which apparently will be in a powerful enough flavour to run Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.

LG will supply 5K resolution monitors. Thus, this information further hinted that iMac 2016 will most likely be suited for gaming, if they can find anyone who writes for the comedy iOS software.

There is still an unknown as to what the CPU would be. All the original rumors had suggested that Apple had signed up for Kaby Lake. This made sense when Intel was likely to beat AMD Zen to market.

Since then, Intel has had a few delays on Kaby Lake and if Apple is going to use it, the iMac will have to be delayed until next year. This time table does not sit well with an October announcement. AMD is not likely to have Zen ready for it either, so this means that if Apple wants to launch in October then it will have to use the far more pedestrian and less interesting Intel Skylake.

Courtesy-Fud

4K TV Sales Growing Fast

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Despite having limited content, 4K Ultra HD televisions are expected to double sales to 15 million units in the US in 2016.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association said that the next-generation TVs are now being adopted at a faster rate than predecessor high-definition TVs. Sales of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players are also selling at a fast rate.

Shapiro said that 62 percent of consumers plan to buy a consumer electronics viewing device in the next year while a third will buy a smartphone, and 29 percent plan to buy a TV.

“Consumers are showing a strong preference for 4K,” which has four times as many on-screen pixels as HDTVs. It’s faster and more robust than HDTV.”

By 2017, 4K UHD TV sales will hit 20 million a year in the U.S. That number will grow to 23 million in 2018, and 26 million by 2019. The 2016 growth rate is 105 percent above the units sold for 2015, he said.

More than 700,000 4K Blu-ray players have been sold so far in 2016, Shapiro said. Blu-ray is now 10 years old as a technology, launched in support of HDTV content. Now all of the major studios are releasing content on the 4K UHD format. Netflix is also streaming movies in 4K formats online. More than 500,000 4K Blu-ray discs have been sold so far, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

Shapiro said that 4 out of 10 TVs that ship this year will be 4K UltraHD, so sales of HDTVs remain strong as well. Almost every TV set over 50 inches diagonal is a 4K set, Shapiro said.

Prices are dropping too. The average 4K TV price in 2015 was $1,048, and that is dropping to $861 in 2016. Shapiro said that the new ATSC 3.0 television standard is being finalized for 4K transmission over Internet Protocol and on mobile devices, and he expects to see TVs that use the standard at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Goes Bullish

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

It is starting to look like the PC market is picking up and Intel has raised its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in more than two years.

Shares in Intel as much as 4.1 percent to a more than 15-year high on the back of the news which indicates the PC depression might be finally coming to an end..

Sales in the company’s PC business declined three percent to $7.3 billion in the latest quarter. The unit includes sales of chips for mobile phones and tablets. But Intel said that the green shoots of recovery are here.

Firstly HP said last month that revenue in its computer business rose 7.5 percent in the third quarter from the second as sales of notebooks improved. At the time FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said commentary from Intel and HP suggested that PCs were “not as dead as people were thinking.”

Research firm IDC said in July global PC shipments fell less than expected in the second quarter, helped by strength in the United States.

Intel now says it expected third-quarter revenue to be $15.6 billion, plus or minus $300 million, compared with its prior forecast of $14.9 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

That implies the highest-ever quarterly revenue for Intel. Wall Street analysts on average were expecting $14.90 billion.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said the pre-announcement was a good first step to the PC story stabilising at Intel. Shares of rival AMD were up about 1 percent, while those of Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and HP were marginally higher.Shares in Intel had shot ip up 2.6 percent at $37.53

Courtesy-Fud

AMD’s Vega 10 Hits 24 TFlops

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Vega 10 is coming next year and it seems that it will be faster than the P100 card. P100 (21.2 TFlops) is a supercomputer part and has much higher theoretical performance than GP102 (10.97 TFlops). According to the raw numbers, AMD Vega 10 with 24Tflops, Vega 10 will significantly outperform Geforce Titan X. 

Thanks to our well informed and reliable friends, Fudzilla has learned that you can expect as much as 24 TFlops of half precision performance and 12 TFlops of single precision performance. Both half precision and single precision numbers are higher than Nvidia scores with Pascal P100, its highest end Tesla chip.

Earlier  we learned that HBM 2 won’t be really available before the end of the year and this is one of the main reasons why the Vega 10 had to be pushed to 2017. Nvidia announced the Tesla P100 but it always claimed that it plans to ship it in Q4 2016.

Bear in mind that the Titan X uses GDDR5X memory and scores significantly lower than the Tesla P100 and Titan X uses the GP102 chip that packs 12 billion transitions, while the P100 has 15.3 billion.

It is safe to say that Vega 10 will be rather a big chip and it gives you the idea that in case that Volta is not ready to launch in time to compete with Vega 10, Nvidia could have another Titan card based on the P100 with HBM 2 memory up its sleeves.

AMD is working hard to return on all fronts.  The Polaris generation is a decent competitor in the mainstream market but it cannot really touch Nvidia in the high end sector. This might change with Vega 10 and it will make AMD / RTG a bit more competitive.

The Vega 10 includes 16GB of HBM 2 memory.

Courtesy-Fud

Get Ready For Self-Driving Boats In 2017

September 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

roboats-1-150x150MIT is working with two Dutch universities to create a small fleet of self-driving boats that will first be tested in Amsterdam to ferry commuters and goods about the city.

The $27 million, five-year project named Roboat is expected to launch its first watercraft in the canals of the Dutch capital next year.

The researchers are also working to create other “dynamic” craft and temporary floating infrastructure such as on-demand bridges and stages that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours.

Roboat is a collaborative project between MIT and researchers from Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University in Holland.

“Roboat offers enormous possibilities,” Arjan van Timmeren, science director at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, said in a statement. “We’ll also be exploring environmental sensing. We could for instance do further research on underwater robots that can detect diseases at an early stage or use Roboats to rid the canals from floating waste and find a more efficient way to handle the 12,000 bicycles that end up in the city’s canals each year.”

While the university Roboat project is focused on watercraft for canals, private companies have been developing self-driving boats for a variety of other purposes for years.

For example, Sea Machines in Boston builds autonomous control and navigation systems for the commercial marine industry. The company is on its third version of a heavy-duty autonomous workboat for offshore and nearshore operations.

The Sea Machines V2 has robust enough stability for open ocean-floor surveying or to deploy geographically-sensitive acoustic positioning systems. The vessel has a propulsion system that can do 20 knots and pull three tons of cargo.

With a pilot house and helm, the V2 can be controlled autonomously as a robot or  manually driven as a conventional boat.

Saildrone, in Alameda, Calif., is building miniature sailboats that traverse the bay and shores to monitor fish stocks or gather environmental data, according to the MIT Review.

This year, Rolls-Royce announced its vision for autonomous container ships that would traverse oceans sans crew.

“Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry,” said Mikael Makinen, president of Rolls-Royce’s marine division. “As disruptive as the smartphone, the smart ship will revolutionize the landscape of ship design and operation.”

 

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