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Space X’s Interne Satellites Launching This Week

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twice in recent days, SpaceX has delayed the launch of a rocket carrying prototype satellites for its planned broadband internet service.

The Falcon 9 is now set to blast off Wednesday, just a few weeks after SpaceX launched its huge Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time.

More than three years ago we learned Elon Musk and his rocket company were working on developing satellites to provide low-cost internet access around the world. Correspondence between the company and the Federal Communications Commission revealed that the first pair of demonstration satellites for the company’s Starlink service will finally be launched into orbit.

The main payload for the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will be the Spanish government’s Paz satellite, designed to capture imagery of the Earth down to the single-meter scale. But there had been unconfirmed reports for several weeks now from space industry sources like NASASpaceFlight.com that a secondary passenger on the flight would be the Starlink demonstration setup.

SpaceX itself has been relatively mum about the debut of its Starlink satellites, and about the entire program itself. However, a letter from SpaceX to the Federal Communications Commission, posted to the FCC website Monday, makes it pretty clear what will be aboard the Falcon 9 when it launches.

The letter refers to two satellites, called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, that will be launched as a secondary payload on the Paz mission. The FCC granted SpaceX a license in November to launch this pair of satellites as part of a test mission.

U.S Feds Look To Strengthen Crytocurrency Rules

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Rattled by the global investment craze over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, U.S. lawmakers are moving to consider new regulations that could impose stricter federal oversight on the emerging asset class, several top lawmakers told Reuters.

Bipartisan momentum is growing in the Senate and House of Representatives for action to address the risks posed by virtual currencies to investors and the financial system, they said.

Even free-market Republican conservatives, normally wary of government red tape, said regulation could be needed if cryptocurrencies threaten the U.S. economy.

“There’s no question about the fact that there is a need for a regulatory framework,” said Republican Senator Mike Rounds, a Senate Banking Committee member.

Digital assets currently fall into a jurisdictional gray area between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and individual states.

Much of the concern on Capitol Hill is focused on speculative trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, leading some lawmakers to push for digital assets to be regulated as securities and subject to the SEC’s investor protection rules.

“The SEC is properly the lead on the issue,” said Republican Representative Bill Huizenga, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets which will hold hearings on the issue in coming weeks.

Huizenga said the recent growth of the virtual currency market had made him more comfortable with more oversight. “Six months ago, we didn’t see this explosion. The marketplace has changed,” he said.

Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, is another lawmaker advocating for direct oversight of digital assets by the SEC.

”A lot of people don’t realize there’s nothing backing these virtual currencies,” she said.

Virtual currencies have existed for years but speculation in them has recently ballooned, along with scams promising investors returns of over 1,000 percent in weeks.

In a time of volatile markets, hackers are also active in the sector, stealing $530 million of digital currency from Japanese exchange Coincheck last month.

Bitcoin, the best known virtual currency, lost over half its value earlier this year after surging more than 1,300 percent.

“We have to look carefully at all of the cryptocurrencies and make sure individuals don’t get taken advantage of,” said Representative Tom MacArthur, a House Financial Services Committee Republican.

Regulators globally have raised the alarm over cryptocurrencies, saying they may aid money laundering and terrorist financing, hurt consumers and undermine trust in the global financial system.

Does Skype Need To Be Rewritten

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Skype has a significant security flaw that Microsoft can’t fix without a major code rewrite.

The flaw is in Skype’s updater process can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer. If exploited, can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full “system” level rights — granting them access to every corner of the operating system.

Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs.

Once installed, Skype uses its built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking.

Kanthak told ZDNet that the attack could be easily weaponized and showed two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.

“Windows provides multiple ways to do it,” he said. But DLL hijacking isn’t limited to Windows; he said — noting that it can apply to Macs and Linux, too.

Once “system” privileges are gained, an attacker “can do anything,” Kanthak said.

Kanthak informed Microsoft of the bug in September, but the software giant said issuing a fix would require the updater go through “a large code revision.”

The company told him that even though engineers could reproduce the issue,” a fix will land “in a newer version of the product rather than a security update.”

Microsoft said that it was better to put “all resources” on building a new client.

To cause any damage of worth, you need to be an administrator or above — like the “system” user.

Courtesy-Fud

HP Adds Apple Devices To Managed Services Offerings

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

As part of HP’s updated DaaS offering, known more generally under the industry term of managed mobility services (MMS), customers will be able to pair iPhones, iPads, Macs and other Apple devices with HP’s support, managed services and analytics.

Apple for years pushed, without much success, to get its hardware and software into the office. But the organic adoption of its iOS devices – especially the iPhone – finally forced enterprises to take it seriously.

In the past year, 82% of the work done on mobile devices in the enterprise was performed using iOS; the remaining 18% of mobile activities were done on Android devices, according to new research from file synchronization software vendor Egnyte.

While Windows continues to dominate the desktop with 75% of enterprise transactions, Apple’s desktop macOS still takes a healthy 25%, according to Egnyte.

To date, most of the growth in MMS has been around PC as a Service.

“HP helped pioneer it, and other PC vendors such as Dell and Lenovo as well as other service providers have been pushing hard, too,” according to Tom Mainelli, IDC’s vice president of Devices and AR/VR. “Now we see the market evolving to include additional devices such as smartphones and tablets. HP’s move to offer Apple hardware is a very interesting one. It’s smart because they know that iOS devices are often the de facto standard within companies. So I’d say they’re ahead of the curve in offering iOS, and it gives them a strong position in the market.”

Until now, HP had not supported any other mobile devices except its own HP Elite x3. “The HP DaaS offerings have evolved over the past couple of years as we continue to address customer demand for new ways to manage the expansion of device types and operating systems across their workforce,” said Michael Park, HP’s general manager of Emerging Compute Solutions.

Is A.I. Ready For The Big Time

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AI is set to be a massive disappointment for those who think it is going to take over the world.

While there have been remarkable advances in AI, after decades of frustration there are too many things that people can do quickly that smart machines cannot.

For example, natural language is beyond deep learning, sure AI machine translators are great tools, but they are leagues behind a competent human translator and will remain that way for decades. AI can’t handle new situations.

Senior partner at Flagship Pioneering, a firm in Boston that creates, builds, and funds companies that solve problems in health, food, and sustainability Jason Pontin has written in Wired that AI is good at a few things but terrible at others.

“Deep learning’s advances are the product of pattern recognition: neural networks memorise classes of things and more-or-less reliably know when they encounter them again. But almost all the interesting problems in cognition aren’t classification problems at all.”

Google researcher François Chollet said that people naively believe that if you take deep learning and scale it 100 times more layers, and add 1000 times more data, a neural net will be able to do anything a human being can do… But that’s just not true.

Gary Marcus, a professor of cognitive psychology at NYU and briefly director of Uber’s AI lab, recently published a trilogy of essays blasting deep learning.

He said that deep learning was not “a universal solvent, but one tool among many”. And without new approaches, Marcus worries that AI is rushing toward a wall, beyond which lie all the problems that pattern recognition cannot solve.

Deep learning is greedy, brittle, opaque, and shallow. The systems are greedy because they demand broad sets of training data. Brittle because when a neural net is given a “transfer test”—confronted with scenarios that differ from the examples used in training—it cannot contextualise the situation and frequently breaks.

Unlike traditional programs with their formal, debuggable code, the parameters of neural networks can only be interpreted using their weights within mathematical geography. Consequently, they are black boxes, whose outputs cannot be explained, raising doubts about their reliability and biases. Finally, they are shallow because they are programmed with little innate knowledge and possess no common sense about the world or human psychology.

Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington said that a self-driving car could drive millions of miles, but it will eventually encounter something new for which it has no experience. Of course a driver in Rome or Sofia encounters these random events every ten minutes so we suspect the AI driving unit would explode.

The theory is that humans might have a better learning algorithm in our heads than anything we’ve come up with for machines.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia And Qualcomm 5G Trials Moving In The Right Direction

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nokia and Qualcomm have completed interoperability testing in the 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz spectrum compliant with the global 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 standard using the commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies.

Focusing on the commercialization of 5G technology, with New Radio as its foundation, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies testing at Nokia’s 5G center of excellence in Oulu, Finland, will provide the basis for 5G NR field trials with operators in 2018.

Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and operators* including BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia and Vodafone Group are already committed to working together in verifying and trialing 5G NR technology. This will be based on the successful interoperability tests of the flexible 5G NR interface from Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies which will support a wide array of 5G services and various deployment scenarios.

In line with Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia’s announcement in September 2017 to collaborate on 5G NR and with the success of these recent tests, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies continue working closely in driving the industry, leading to wide-scale 5G deployments in 2019 based on 3GPP standard-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices. This will enable timely commercial network launches in 2019, in particular in the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia said: “These tests by Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are important to the progress of 5G. Importantly, they demonstrate how we have quickly applied the 3GPP Release 15 specifications that were set in December and using our AirScale base station – which has been shipped to more than 100 customers – together with a prototype Qualcomm Technologies UE. Now, we can look forward to commencing standards-based, over-the-air 5G NR trials with operators.”

Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated, said, “The successful completion of an end-to-end interoperable connection based on the global 5G NR standard is a significant step on the path to launching 5G NR commercial networks and devices starting in 2019. We look forward to furthering collaboration on standard-compliant field trials with Nokia and global operators on the path to commercialisation.”

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Faces Legal Issues Over Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has been sued by a company because of the way it handled the Spectre and Meltdown bugs.

It is not exactly because of the flaws, but because of the speed at which AMD said that it was not in trouble because its chips did not suffer from the bugs.

Rosen Law Firm is a global investor rights firm, where a class action lawsuit has been kicked off on “behalf of purchasers of the securities of Advanced Micro Devices”. The lawsuit details:

“Defendants during the Class Period made materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) a fundamental security flaw in Advanced Micro’s processor chips renders them susceptible to hacking; and (2) as a result, Advanced Micro’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages”.

So AMD is in deep trouble over saying: “To be clear, the security research team identified three variants targeting speculative execution. The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants. Due to differences in AMD’s architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors currently. We expect the security research to be published later today and will provide further updates at that time”.

AMD boldly splitting infinitives which had not been split before said the allegations were without merit and it intends to “vigorously defend against these baseless claims”.

AMD’s current CPUs, Zen core-based products, are entirely immune to Meltdown. Type 2 Spectre attacks that work on AMD hardware are tricky to carry out and need a different set of code for the “same” attack on a different device. AMD Type 1 attacks will not work on Intel or ARM hardware because of implementation differences, and the converse is true too. This means hackers would have to tailor their malware to not just the Type 1/2/3 attack but also for the specific hardware.

Courtesy-Fud

Grammarly Squashes Security Hole

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Typo targeting browser extension Grammarly was found harboring a bug that could potentially expose everything a user ever wrote when using the spelling and grammar checker.

The bug was found by serial flaw spotter Travis Ormandy of Google’s Project Zero security fame. The researcher found that the Chrome and Firefox extension was leaking authentication tokens meaning any website a user visited could access their “documents, history, logs, and all other data”.

Essentially, this would mean all their scribing, blog posting, email, tweeting, moaning on INQUIRER articles and so on, could have been exposed to the wrong eyes providing a bit of simple scripting had been put in place.

“I’m calling this a high severity bug, because it seems like a pretty severe violation of user expectations,” said Ormandy.

“Users would not expect that visiting a website gives it permission to access documents or data they’ve typed into other websites.”

The re-searcher promptly contacted them guys at Grammarly and informed, it of the bug. Grammarly was well fast and promptly patched da bug, in what Ormandy called “really impressive response time”.

Grammarly fix-ed the bug in the extenshion in the Chrome Web Store and pushed out a patch for the Firefox version.

Such was the speedy response Grammarly is claimed that the bug wasn’t exploited and all is well wit the spelchecker.

Neveraless, the bug was certainly an alarming one as Grammarly having 22 million users on its book, which if the bug hadn’t been picked up by Ormandy, could have seen their writing sucked up and exposed by websites with malicious coders lurking up-on them.

Ifcourse, this did’nt happn but it does rise the qeshtion of how much acces we gif bowser extensions to our online acitivitieses and how nuch duue dillegeance is dun to ensure such add-inss r savfe an& bug-three.

Courtesy-TheInq

The Semiconductor Market Rose In 2017

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The market for semiconductors worldwide saw sales rise by 21.6 percent and worth $412 billion.

According to the European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA), using figures provided by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), sales in 2017 were up from a record $338.931 billion in 2016.

The growth was mainly from memory devices, sensors and actuators, analogue devices and logic devices.

Europe, too, performed well in 2017 with sales of $38.311 billion – up 17.1 percent from the year before.

Exchange rate fluctuations because of differences between the euro and the US dollar amounted to -2 percent.

 

Courtesy-Fud

Google Unveils Continuously Updating Email Feature

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Gmail became dynamic. Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday demonstrated a software programming system that would enable emails to feature continuously updating information and greater interactivity.

Users could see automatically updated flight information in a booking confirmation email. They could fill out surveys without leaving a message or review close-up shots of products in a marketing pitch without opening a browser window.

The envisioned changes are an outgrowth of Google’s AMP project, or accelerated mobile pages, Aakash Sahney, a product manager overseeing Gmail, said in a blog post Tuesday.

AMP is a set of programming intended to make webpages load faster by stripping out layers of technology.

It has drawn praise from publishers such as Hearst Corp and the Washington Post for making their websites more inviting for users. But some web developers have expressed concern that Google is getting too much say in how the web operates.

Google is pushing forward. The Gmail integration marks the first broader use for AMP. Other email providers can adopt AMP as well, Google announced as it kicks off an AMP-focused conference for software developers in Amsterdam.

The initial version of AMP for email is aimed at bulk senders. A retailer, for example, that sends a weekly sales notice could ensure that recipients see the current price or availability of an item no matter when the email is opened.

Bookmarking service Pinterest, scheduling app Doodle and Priceline Group Inc’s Booking.com are testing AMP for email, according to Google.

Tablet Market Still Shrinking

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The market for game-changing, super cool keyboardless netbooks is slumping lower than Donald Trump’s approval rating amongst educated black women.

The tablet, which was once touted by the Tame Apple Press as a technology cure for cancer saw only 46 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2017. Both brand and white-box tablet shipments had sequential growths in the quarter.

According to Digitimes Research, white box tablet suppliers are expected to cut their shipments for the first quarter of 2018 to lower their inventory levels and the move will undermine the suppliers’ shipments in the quarter.

For the brand tablet segment, despite cutting its price tag, Apple’s efforts to buck the trend of the first-quarter 2018 low season, shipments are unlikely to make much difference..

Worldwide tablet output will fall 30 percent sequentially and 17.1 percent on year to stand at around 32 million units, a new historical low.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, tablet shipments to first tier brand vendors accounted for over 70 percent of the overall worldwide volume, growing more than 10 percent sequentially, meeting Digitimes Research’s forecast thanks to the vendors’ aggressive promotions.

After its strong promotional campaign in the third quarter of 2017, Amazon turned less aggressive about marketing its tablets in the fourth quarter, resulting in a sequential shipment decline for non-Apple first tier brand vendors’ combined shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017.

White box players saw their combined shipments reach more than 12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 3 percent sequentially, mainly due to strong orders from their overseas clients.

However, compared to the same period a year ago, the overall white-box tablet shipments still slipped 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 because of fierce competitions from first-tier brands’ inexpensive models and weakening demand from emerging markets that are gradually reaching saturation.
In the first quarter of 2018, overall tablet shipments from first-tier brand vendors will drop to only around 22.5 million units, down 32 percent sequentially as non-Apple first-tier vendors will not have any new devices for the quarter.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Illegally Collecting Personal Data, Says German Court

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A German consumer rights group revealed that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid.

“Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register,” said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb.

“This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.” The vzvb posted a copy of the ruling on its website. A court spokesperson confirmed that a judgment had been handed down but declined further comment.

Facebook said it would appeal, even though several aspects of the court judgment had been in its favor. In a statement, it said it had already made significant changes to its terms of service and data protection guidelines since the case was first brought in 2015.

“We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law,” Facebook said.

Further, Facebook would in the meantime update its data protection guidelines and its terms of service so that they comply with new European Union-wide rules that are due to enter force in June.

Facebook, which counts more than 2 billion users worldwide, already faces scrutiny from Germany’s competition authorities over its handling of its users’ personal data.

nVidia AI Base Mercedes Benz In Development

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mercedes has unveiled its new A-Class at the event in Amsterdam last night, which is the first Mercedes car to feature the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system powered by Nvidia.

While the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is quite an impressive hatchback which will enter series production this spring, it is also the first car with the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system as a standard feature.

Powered by an Nvidia chip, the MBUX is described as a system that combines natural language processing, “silky-smooth” 3D graphics and an augmented reality boosted navigation system, bringing both better intuitive interactive and safety. The MBUX system will be available in three display versions, two 7-inch, 7-inch, and 10.25-inch or two 10.25-inch displays.

Although it looks like two tablets stitched together and placed where the dashboard should go, Nvidia claims that the chip will have more than enough computational capabilities to even support new and future applications. As it is updateable over-the-air and as speech and AI applications evolve, MBUX has the potential to offer much more.

Ola Källenius, board member for group research and Mercedes-Benz car development said that the company’s mission was to take the user experience to a new level and by choosing the best technology available for AI they created a learning system that will better anticipate your preference the longer you use it.

The MBUX also has speech recognition and indirect commands, it will not only understand simple phrases like “raise temperature” but also much more complex ones like the “I’m cold. Make it warmer in here.”

“Natural language with AI will be the preferred method of interacting with the car,” said Georges Massing, Daimler AG’s director of user interaction. “That’s because speech is the easiest — and safest — way to interact.”

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be the first car to get the MBUX but similar versions will also be available across its entire vehicle lineup in future.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Gaming Division Growing

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Microsoft today reported its quarterly earnings, giving a glimpse into the health of its gaming business in the process.

Over the final three months of 2017, Microsoft’s gaming business brought in $3.92 billion, up 8% year-over-year. Much of that growth was driven by sales of the Xbox One X, which launched during the quarter at a premium price point of $500. Microsoft said hardware revenues for the quarter were up 14% year-over-year.

Microsoft’s gaming software and services revenues were also up, but not as sharply. The company saw a 4% rise year-over-year, with continuing growth in digital distribution helping offset first-party AAA revenues that were down compared to the previous holiday season. Microsoft’s 2016 holiday lineup included Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, while the 2017 slate relied on Forza Motorsport 7.

As for Xbox Live, Microsoft reported 59 million active users on the service during the last three months of the year, up 7% year-over-year.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Intel Updates Its NUC Systems

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel is updating its NUCs with new models including the “Hades Canyon” gaming model (with AMD graphics), a “Bean Canyon” model sporting 8th-Gen Intel Coffee Lake chips, and a new entry-level set of “June Canyon” computers with low-power Celeron and Pentium chips based on the new Gemini Lake architecture.

Intel has posted technical specs for the new NUC7CJY NUC kit to its website which means we will probably see the June Canyon models out first.

Chipzilla is also talking about a NUC7JYB board, which is the motherboard and processor without any case, memory, or storage.

Lillyputing said that this would be a 4? x 4? motherboard with a soldered 10-watt processor. Systems will be available with a choice of a Celeron J4005 dual-core processor with Intel HD 600 graphics or a Pentium Silver J5005 quad-core chip with Intel HD 605 graphics.

June Canyon PCs can support up to 8GB of DDR4-2133 or DDR4-2400 memory with two SODIMM slots. The NUC7CJY kit is expected to arrive with 4GB of RAM preinstalled, as well as 32GB of eMMC flash storage.

Other features include:

2.5-inch drive bay for HDD or SSD
SD card slot
2 HDMI 2.0a ports (4k60 support
3.5mm audio jack
mini TOSLINK jack for 5.1 channel audio
Gigabit Ethernet
802.11ac WiFI
Bluetooth 5.0
4 USB 3.0 ports
dual digital mic array for far-field voice detection

The June Canyon NUC may be low power, but it’s not fan-less as there’s a fan placed over the motherboard to keep the system from overheating during use.

Courtesy-Fud

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