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Facebook Joins Forces With Xiaomi To Launch The Oculus In China

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Facebook’s Oculus has announced that is partnering with Chinese phone maker Xiaomi Technology in a deal to manufacture its new virtual reality headset.

Xiaomi has agreed to manufacture Oculus’s new headset, the Oculus Go, which was announced in October 2017.

As part of the deal Oculus has agreed to launch the Mi VR Standalone, a version of the headset exclusive to the Chinese market built with Oculus technology. Oculus has not detailed how the Mi VR Standalone will differ from Oculus Go, but said it will share the same core hardware features and design.

Oculus also revealed it is working with Qualcomm Inc. and will use the company’s Snapdragon 821 chipsets to power the mobile VR headset.

“We’ve worked closely with Qualcomm to deliver the highest possible level of performance to meet the high computing demands of the standalone VR product category,” said Oculus in a blog post.

The Oculus Go us set to release early this year, priced at $199.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Intel Finally Shows Core-I Processor With AMD Inside

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel’s project with rival AMD has yielded five news slices of silicon, with the chip makers revealing the new Core H-series processors that come packing AMD’s Vega M graphics processors.

The chips feature Intel Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs capable of hitting speeds of 4.2GHz and 3.8GHz respectively. Despite being dubbed Kaby Lake-G, with the ‘G’ standing for graphics, the CPUs are eighth-generation chips rather than silicon-based around the seven-gen Kaby Lake architecture.

These CPUs are complemented with AMD’s Vega M GH and Vega M GL GPUs, the former being more powerful than the latter, and have 4GB of second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2) to draw upon.

The Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge on the chips is claimed to be the key to getting the CPU and GPU to play nice, as well as reduce the footprint of the silicon to one that smaller than having a standard CPU paired with a discrete graphics card.

The five chips are as follows, starting with the most powerful: Core i7-8809G, Core i7-8709G, Core i7-8706G, Core i7-8705G, and Core i5-8305G.

At CES 2018, touted benchmarks show the chips keeping pace with a computer using a Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia’s Max-Q version of its mid-range GeForce 1080 GPU.

In both dedicated benchmarking tools and demanding games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the Intel-AMD love-child outpaced the more traditional CPU and GPU setup, though it’s worth noting that the test favours the new eighth-generation architecture and the Core i7-7700HQ is based on last generation Intel tech so it’s perhaps not the fairest comparison.

Nevertheless, for a 2-in-1 chip to out even keep up with a traditional CPU and GPU setup is impressive.

But what will these chips be used for we hear you cry? Well, they’re to be plonked in Dell and HP laptops and 2-in-one devices, slated to be revealed at CES.

And Intel took the covers off its “most powerful” NUC (next unit compute) compact computer to date, which makes uses of the new Kaby Lake-G chips to have a machine that sits in a person’s hand but can still power virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

So basically, these new chips are paving the way for more compact laptops, desktops, and all-in-one PCs that have more graphical grunt than one would expect but don’t hoover up power or cough out heat like more traditional dedicated GPUs.

The real test will be exactly how computer makers put these chips to work and ensure they get the most power and efficiency out of them, but we’re grateful to see a little bit of innovation creep back into Intel’s chip line up, which until now has just being tick-tocking along without much aplomb.

Courtesy-TheInq

U.S. Transportation Dept To Release Revised Self-driving Guidelines

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The US government plans to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines this summer as the government sets out to rewrite regulations that pose legal barriers to robot vehicles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

Chao told a Detroit auto show forum that the revised voluntary guidelines would address not only self-driving automobiles but “barriers to the safe integration of autonomous technology for motor carriers, transit, trucks, infrastructure and other modes.”

Chao said in a Reuters interview the department was preparing for autonomous technology coming rapidly to all transportation modes. “The technology is there, the question is how do we regulate it, how do we continue to promote innovation but also safeguard safety.” Chao said.

General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and many other companies are aggressively pursuing self-driving car technologies and want Congress and regulators to remove barriers to the vehicles.

Bills in Congress to speed the introduction of self-driving cars do not include commercial trucks. In September, Chao announced the first set of revisions to the guidelines that were unveiled by the Obama administration and now plans a revised version by summer.

 Chao said her goal was to eliminate “unnecessary obstacles to the development and integration of new technology. Our approach will be tech-neutral and flexible — not top-down, or command and control.” She added the government would “not be in the business of picking winners or losers, or favoring one form of technology over another.”

In October, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said it was looking for input on how to remove regulatory roadblocks to self-driving cars.

NHTSA said in a report that it wanted to find any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars “particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver.”

The agency also wants comments on what research it needs to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. But it could take the agency years to complete the research and finalize rule changes.

Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle. The agency said in 2016 that current regulations posed “significant” regulatory hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department published notices requesting comments to identify barriers to innovation including one from NHTSA, two from the Federal Transit Administration to address autonomous bus technology and barriers and one from the Federal Highway Administration to address autonomous infrastructure technology. Chao said more were planned.

Last week, GM filed a petition with NHTSA requesting an exemption to have a small number of autonomous vehicles operate in a ride-share program without steering wheels or human drivers.

 Chao said the “department will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration.”

Ford Aims For 22 Electric Vehicles By 2022

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup, Chairman Bill Ford announced at the Detroit auto show.

The investment figure is sharply higher than a previously announced target of $4.5 billion by 2020, Ford executives said, and includes the costs of developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures. Ford’s engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett told investors in October the automaker would slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.

“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Ford told reporters. “If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”

General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG  have already outlined aggressive plans to expand their electric vehicle offerings and target consumers who want luxury, performance and an SUV body style – or all three attributes in the same vehicle.

Mainstream automakers are reacting in part to pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are under pressure from

 Tesla Inc’s success in creating electric sedans and SUVs that inspire would-be owners to line up outside showrooms and flood the company with orders.

GM said last year it would add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the United States and China.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has promised investors the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

Volkswagen said in November it would spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022 – significantly more than when it announced two months earlier it would invest more than 20 billion euros on electric and self-driving cars through 2030.

Toyota is racing to commercialize a breakthrough battery technology during the first half of the 2020s with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

Ford’s additional investments in electric vehicles contrasted with many of the vehicle launches at the Detroit show which featured trucks and SUVs. On Sunday evening, Daimler AG unveiled its new G-class SUV, a bulky off roader, in an abandoned movie theater in downtown Detroit once used as a set for the movie “8 Mile.”

Big Blue Still The Patent King

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

While the media attention has shifted away from Biggish Blue in the hardware world, there are signs that the company is still quietly getting on with it and inventing things.

IBM inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone. IBM is still the outfit which churns out that most patents. 2017 marks the 25th consecutive year that IBM has been named the leader in granted U.S. patents, with a record 9,043 patents

The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries.

For example there was Maja Vukovic’s patent for a system that detects and counteracts cyber attacks.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO said that for the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing.

“Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

IBM inventors received in 2017 more than 1,900 cloud patents, including a patent for a system that uses unstructured data about world or local events to forecast cloud resource needs. The system can monitor data sources – including news feeds, network statistics, weather reports and social networks – to identify where and how cloud resources should be allocated to meet demand.

Another set of innovations helps solve one of artificial intelligence’s current limits: lack of personalization, which can hinder how AI communicates with people. Among the industry-leading 1,400 AI patents IBM inventors were granted in 2017 is a patent for a system that can help AI analyze and mirror a user’s speech patterns to improve communication between AI and humans.

IBM inventors also received 1,200 cybersecurity patents, including one for technology that enables AI systems to turn the table on hackers by baiting them into email exchanges and websites that expend their resources and frustrate their attacks. It could substantially reduce the security risks associated with “phishing” emails and other attacks.

IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.

Other patented innovations from IBM inventors in 2017 include:
• A machine learning system designed to shift control between an autonomous vehicle and a human driver as needed, such as in an emergency.
• A method that uses blockchain technology to reduce the number of steps involved in settling transactions between multiple business parties, even those that are not trusted and might otherwise require a third-party clearinghouse to execute.
• A technique that automatically elevates the security protection of a mobile device when it determines that device is located far from its owner and is likely under someone else’s control.

Courtesy-Fud

Kenmore’s New Washer,Dryer Allows Monitoring From Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The 5-cubic-foot washer is said to be able to wash a “full-size” load of laundry in just 29 minutes. It also offers a Rugged cycle designed to handle bulky items like blankets with steam and a longer cleaning time. Its Direct Drive Motor is supposed to have six different wash movements, which change based on the specific cycle you choose. And, Kenmore says its cold water setting cleans your laundry just as well as warm water.

The 7.3-cubic-foot dryer has an “EasyLoad” door that can open either from the top or the side — whatever’s easiest for you.

But the big news is the new smart capabilities these models have via the related Kenmore Smart app. Up until this point, Kenmore’s laundry appliances have had very limited smart functionality.

The Kenmore Elite Smart top-load washer and Front Control dryer cost $1,000 each and are available now (roughly £740 and AU$1,270 converted).

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

South Korea To Ban Crytocurrency Trading

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

South Korea’s government has announced it will ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park told a news conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

After the market’s sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation’s Presidential office hours later said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized while it was one of the measures being considered.

A press official at the justice ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies, including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.

Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 percent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,730.35 pounds) after the minister’s comments. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down more than 10 percent on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp at $13,199, after earlier dropping as low as $13,120, its weakest since Jan. 2.

 South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related shares were also hammered. Vidente and Omnitel, which are stakeholders of Bithumb, skidded by the daily trading limit of 30 percent each.

Once enforced, South Korea’s ban “will make trading difficult here, but not impossible,” said Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security.

“Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example Japan,” Mun said.

Park Nok-sun, a cryptocurrency analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said the herd behaviour in South Korea’s virtual coin market has raised concerns.

Indeed, bitcoin’s BTC=BTSP 1,500 percent surge last year has stoked huge demand for cryptocurency in South Korea, drawing college students to housewives and sparking worries of a gambling addiction.

“Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more (investors) jumping in, not out,” Park said.

By Thursday afternoon, the Justice Ministry’s announcement had prompted more than 55,000 South Koreans to join a petition asking the presidential Blue House to halt the crackdown on the virtual currency, making the Blue House website intermittently unavailable due to heavy traffic, the website showed.

Is The iPhone X The Best Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Realizing that few people were buying the iPhone X despite being told it was wonderful, the Tame Apple Press decided to carry out an investigation to discover why. 

A CNET reporter visited four carrier stores to ask their salesmen if they’d recommend an iPhone X. But after visiting stores for Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, “I couldn’t even find a salesperson to tell me it was the best iPhone I could buy,” he whined.

Realizing that no sane customer loving sales person would recommend an Apple product he thought he would go to an Apple store instead. There, at least a Genius recommending the most expensive product on the list could reassure him.

Unfortunately not even in Apple land could he find anyone dumb or brainwashed enough to recommend the iPhone X.

“Well, it depends on what you like… The biggest problem I have with it is using Face ID for Apple Pay. You really have to put the phone at a certain angle or it doesn’t work.”

The reporter was outraged at the genius’s sales pitch. “He started with a problem. I was already suspicious. I was in something of a hurry, but I asked him: “So are you selling a lot more of these than other phones?”

The sales genius suddenly sounded like a politician, moaned the hack. “All our phones sell well,” he said. Which sounded not entirely reassuring. Indeed, it sounded like a “no.”

Another Apple store “Genius” (who was testing his iPhone 6), CNET’s reporter was told that “The X and the 8 are the same phone… Inside, I mean. With the X, you’re just paying the extra money for the design.”

The hack noted that the salesman’s $999 iPhone X was wrapped in an ugly pink case, because after four weeks he’d already cracked it. And a third Apple salesman — who touted the glories of an OLED screen — also kept his iPhone X in a case at all times “It’s glass,” he explained. “You’ll definitely need a case.”

This means that you can’t see the lovely phone and show it to your friends, so they can see how beautiful it is, moaned the hack.

“Get a see-through case,” the Apple staff member advised.

Sales of the iPhone X are proving disappointing and it looks like Apple’s get punters to pay more for less strategy is finally not working.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Intel Going To Court Over The “Meltdown” And “Spectre” Fiasco

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel is facing multiple class-action lawsuits over the ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ vulnerabilities affecting all of its x64-64x processors from the last decade.

The chip design flaws, which affect everything from iOS and macOS to Linux and Windows, could lead to hackers extracting important protected information such as passwords and encryption keys from programmes and operating systems if exploited.

Although reports claim the flaws have not yet been exploited, The Guardian reports that Intel has, perhaps unsurprisingly, quickly been whacked by a handful of class-action lawsuits, with three separate suits having been filed by plaintiffs in California, Oregon and Indiana.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation from the chip giant, citing the security vulnerability as well as Intel’s failure to disclose it in a timely fashion. 

They also cite the alleged computer slowdown that will be caused by the fixes needed to address the security concerns, although Intel disputes that this will be the case.

“Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” it said in a statement earlier this week.

“While on some discrete workloads the performance impact from the software updates may initially be higher, additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that impact.”

Lawyer Bill Doyle of Doyle APC, who is representing plaintiffs Steven Garcia and Anthony Stachowiak who filed suit in the northern district of California, said: “The security vulnerability revealed by these reports suggests that this may be one of the largest security flaws ever facing the American public.

“It is imperative that Intel acts swiftly to fix the problem and ensure consumers are fully compensated for all losses suffered as a result of their actions.”

More lawsuits are expected to follow, and it’s expected that most big cloud service providers, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, will likely seek some form of compensation from Intel.

Courtesy-TheInq

Amazon Alexa Arrives On Windows 10 PCs

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The expanding rivalry between Amazon and Google in the battle for virtual assistant dominance intensified at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

While both have a strong claim as front-runners – with Amazon arguably leading the charge at this stage – it’s clear that Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are lagging. Case in point: Several major PC makers launched Windows 10 hardware and trumpeted Alexa support as a major selling point. (Cortana will, of course, also be available since it’s built into Windows 10, but it is the arrival of Alexa that was a key selling pitch.

The Windows 10 devices launched this week with Alexa built include HP’s small form-factor Pavilion Wave PC; Acer’s Aspire; Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks; Asus’ 2018 ZenBook and VivoBook laptops; and Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon and Yoga devices.

With these laptop and PC launches, Alexa is finding its way into a wider array of devices as virtual assistants gain a foothold in the office.

Alexa has benefited from the slow burning success of Amazon’s Echo smart home speakers, but that was only the start. At last year’s CES, Alexa was showcased in a range of products, from fridges to robotic vacuum cleaners, part of Amazon’s plans to position Alexa as an all-pervasive virtual assistant.

Though Toyota and Lexus plan to install the voice-activated assistant in select vehicles, the launch of PCs with Alexa highlights its move from the consumer world to the enterprise – much as the iPhone in 2007 moved quickly from individual users to become a mainstay of the workforce. (The Alexa for Business launch last year – an arena that would seemingly be a natural home for Microsoft – only underscores Amazon’s plans.)

With 25,000 Alexa skills already available, including a growing list targeted specifically at business users, Amazon is already forging deals with corporate partners. A range of companies, including Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, Concur, Ring Central and ServiceNow all plan to integrate their applications with Alexa for Business.

“As we begin 2018, Alexa shows the strongest partner ecosystem – with the most hardware partners and the most skills – and an increasing presence in the office with Alexa for Business,” said Forrester vice president and principal analyst J.P. Gownder.

Business support for Alexa – both at work and in customer-facing spots like hotels – represents a huge opportunity for Amazon, said Gownder. And it has the momentum that other virtual assistants lack currently.

“Cortana hasn’t made enough headway to stave off an aggressive, growing Alexa in business contexts at this point,” he said.

Samsung Looks To Expand Digital Whiteboard

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung debuted its take on the collaborative digital whiteboard at CES, launching its Flip display.

Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Up to four different participants can interact with a Flip whiteboard at the same time, using either their fingers or a stylus to create or annotate content. Designed for use in meeting rooms, the 55-in. 4K display can switch from portrait to landscape orientation depending on company needs. It includes USB ports to enable connection to PCs and mobile devices, as well as wireless connectivity.

An integrated screen-sharing capability allows Flip content to be viewed directly from PCs and mobile devices, which would be useful for remote workers, in particular. Flip runs the Tizen operating system used in a variety of Samsung products, including its smart TVs, and contains 8GB of internal storage.

Samsung set the retail price for the Flip at $2,699; rival digital whiteboards are more expensive. Google’s Jamboard for G Suite, released last year, retailed for $4,999 at launch, while Microsoft’s SurfaceHub costs $8,999 for the 55-in. version.

However, those devices offer integration with each company’s respective business software suite, providing them with an advantage over Samsung’s Flip. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Spark Board integrates with its Spark collaboration software and supports video conferencing.

“The meeting room has become the new battleground for business communications and collaboration,” said 451 Research senior analyst Raul Castañon-Martinez. “Samsung Flip will face tough competition from Google and Microsoft. These players have an advantage with their business and productivity suites, which they integrate into their respective whiteboard products.”

He noted that Google and Microsoft are strong contenders as software providers while Samsung is already present in meeting spaces, thanks to its PBX phone systems and smartphones.

Competing with other feature-rich products is just one hurdle for those offering digital whiteboards, said Larry Cannell, research director at Gartner. Digital whiteboards have been around in some form for years and vendors have yet to convince substantial numbers of users to swap tried-and-trusted tools for digital alternatives.

“The challenge with these products isn’t necessarily integration with back-end software,” said Cannell. “Rather, they are still competing with in-room physical whiteboards and large sticky flipcharts.

“From my experience, most digital whiteboards have ended up being most used as fancy digital projectors,” he said.

Despite the launch of new hardware by some major vendors in the past year, customer demand is “still building momentum,” Castañon-Martinez said. That is likely to change over the next year or two as hardware becomes increasingly integrated with collaboration and productivity software.

Intel’s Mobileye Software Going In Millions Of Vehicles

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving.

The world’s largest chipmaker bought Israeli firm Mobileye last year to compete with peers such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp and tap the fast-growing market of driverless cars.

Intel will also tie up with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, which will use Mobileye technology to develop cars in China, the chipmaker said.

Krzanich also said Intel had not received any information of customer data being compromised so far after the company confirmed last week that the security issues reported by researchers in its widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other devices.

Security researchers had disclosed two security flaws exposing vulnerability of nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc  and ARM Holdings.

Can Samsung Sell Over 300 Million Smartphones In 2018

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

According to a fresh report, Samsung aims to sell a total of 320 million smartphones in 2018.

The South Korean The Investor, spotted by GSMArena.com, reported that Samsung plans to retain its lead in the smartphone market without increasing its targets from last year.

In addition to the high 320 million target for standard smartphones, the company also wants to flog 40 million feature phones, 20 million tablet units, and five million wearables.

The goal is similar to its last yearly target,  and the company reckons that it should be enough to keep the lead in the smartphone market, ahead of Apple, which sold around 200 million devices in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Said To Release Patch This Week For Security Flaw

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems — including personal computers and servers — that render those systems immune to the”Spectre” and “Meltdown.”

Intel paid hundreds of millions of dollars to recall its Pentium processors after the 1994 discovery of the “FDIV bug” that revealed rare but real calculation errors. Meltdown and Spectre are proving damaging to Intel’s brand, sending the company’s stock down more than 5 percent.

This time though Chipzilla and its chums claim to have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates. Besides when you are talking 15 years of chips being affected there was never going to be any way Intel would have done a recall.

Intel has already issued updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years. By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years. Also, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services

The question is whether this update will transform PCs into shadows of their former selves and make them as slow as asthmatic ants with a heavy load of shopping

Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time. While on some discrete workloads the performance impact from the software updates may initially be higher, additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that effect.

Others are not so certain and want to see some benchmarks before declaring Intel safe. Intel said it continues to work with its partners and others to address these issues, and Intel appreciates their support and assistance. Intel encourages computer users worldwide to use the automatic update functions of their operating systems and other computer software to ensure their systems are up-to-date.

System updates are made available by system manufacturers, operating system providers and others.

Initially, AMD told users its chips were not subject to the same sort of attacks as Intel’s chips, but the company has since updated its stance to say its chips are only affected by some of the announced hacks, and these could be fixed with a simple software update. Engineers at Google originally detected the flaw and wrote in a blog post it could affect Intel, AMD, and ARM chips.  Apple has confirmed all its Mac systems and iOS devices are affected.

The Fruity cargo-cult said it had released mitigations to defend against Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2. It will release mitigations in Safari to defend against the Spectre bug “in the coming days.”

The Tame Apple Press has been doing its best to claim that Apple is less affected than anyone else because no one had been hacked using the exploit.  One magazine even wrote the whole thing off as just a “scare.”

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Accelerates Latest Windows 10 Upgrade

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has rolled out 2017’s final Windows 10 feature upgrade to customers faster than it did the year’s first revision, according to data from a Windows app ad network.

Data from AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose technology is embedded in thousands of Windows apps, showed that October’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) had been installed on about 54% of all measured Windows 10 personal computers by Dec. 20.

Windows 10’s FCU, also known as version 1709 in Microsoft’s yymmnumeric format, launched Oct. 17. In the nine weeks from then until Dec. 20, AdDuplex reported, more than half – 53.6% to be exact – had upgraded to FCU from an earlier version.

Other editions still proliferated on customers’ PCs. The April feature upgrade, dubbed Creators Update and labeled 1703, powered 34%. Even older versions, including 2016’s only feature upgrade, the Anniversary Update (1607) and the soon-to-be-retired-from-support 1511, accounted for 11% and 1%, respectively.

The quick shift to FCU stood in contrast to the lethargic transition to Creators Update earlier in 2017. Eleven weeks after Creators Update’s April 5 debut, AdDuplex measured its share of all Windows 10 PCs at just 36%, barely more than a third. Its predecessor, the Anniversary Update, or 1607, continued to power the majority of Windows 10 PCs (59%) at the time.

Microsoft controls the pace of Windows 10 feature upgrades adoption, at least in the opening months after each release. While some users do actively seek out the upgrade to download and install, most wait for Microsoft to offer it to their PC, at which point the rest is usually automatic.

The Redmond, Wash. developer has been clear that it does not open the upgrade spigot all the way at the start. Instead, it provides each feature upgrade to an increasing number of PCs as time ticks by, beginning with the subset of the newest systems that theoretically should have the fewest problems installing the code. The staged-release model – while not new, not even Microsoft’s invention – lets developers gauge installation success, correct any problems, and then continue the rolling release.

That the FCU was handed to customers faster than its predecessor could be explained several ways.

After five releases, Microsoft may have found its legs, able finally to get a majority of its Windows 10 users onto a feature upgrade in little more than two months, and thus prove that it can execute its rapid development and release strategy. Or the FCU was simply in better shape at launch than the spring’s Creators Update; the contrasting timelines reflected the better-quality FCU.

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