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LinkedIn Loses Battle To Block Access To User’s Profile Data

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn unit will not be allowed to prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco granted a preliminary injunction request brought by hiQ Labs, and ordered LinkedIn to remove within 24 hours any technology preventing hiQ from accessing public profiles.

The case is considered to have implications beyond LinkedIn and hiQ Labs and could dictate just how much control companies have over publicly available data that is hosted on their services.

“To the extent LinkedIn has already put in place technology to prevent hiQ from accessing these public profiles, it is ordered to remove any such barriers,” Chen’s order reads.

HiQ Labs uses the LinkedIn data to build algorithms capable of predicting employee behaviors, such as when they might quit.

LinkedIn plans to challenge the decision, company spokeswoman Nicole Leverich said.

“We’re disappointed in the court’s ruling,” Leverich said. “This case is not over. We will continue to fight to protect our members’ ability to control the information they make available on LinkedIn.”

HiQ Labs called the decision an important victory for companies that rely on publicly available data for their businesses.

“HiQ believes that public data must remain public, and innovation on the internet should not be stifled by legal bullying or the anti-competitive hoarding of public data by a small group of powerful companies,” the company said in a statement Monday evening.

That sentiment was echoed by Falon Fatemi, chief executive of Node, a San Francisco startup that uses publicly available data and artificial intelligence to help companies identify potential customers.

The dispute between the two tech companies has been going on since May when LinkedIn issued a letter to hiQ Labs instructing the startup to stop scraping data from its service.

HiQ Labs responded by filing a lawsuit against LinkedIn in June, alleging that the Microsoft-owned social network was in violation of antitrust laws.

Researchers Create Battery-Free Mobile Phone

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Researchers have emerged from their smoke-filled labs with a prototype of a battery-free mobile phone.

The phone is the work of a group of researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and works by harvesting tiny amounts of power from radio signals, known as radio frequency or ‘RF’ waves.

Team member Vamsi Talla told Reuters that ambient RF waves are all around us so, as an example, your FM station broadcasts radio waves,TV stations, mobile phone towers. They all are transmitting RF waves.

The phone is a first prototype and its operation is basic – at first glance it looks little more than a circuit board with a few parts attached and the caller must wear headphones and press a button to switch between talking and listening.

But the boffins say there are plans to develop further prototypes, featuring a low-power screen for texting and even a basic camera. They also plan a version of the battery-free phone that uses a tiny solar cell to provide power.

The researchers plan to release a product in eight to nine months’ time, thought they would not give further details. One team member however, was prepared to give a glimpse of how their work will impact the future of cellphone technology.

“In the future every smartphone will come with a battery-free mode where you can at least make a voice call when your battery’s dead.”

Meanwhile Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Surrey in Britain, are developing supercapacitors, which they believe will eventually allow devices to charge in a period of a few minutes.

Courtesy-Fud

Bitcoin Keeps Soaring, Surpasses $4000 Threshold

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin has passed another major milestone, easily reaching beyond the $4,000 threshold on Sunday. The cryptocurrency, which has only been in existence for seven years, reached a high of $4,224 (equivalent to £3,244 or AU$5,343) shortly after 9 a.m. UTC on Sunday.

It’s been a swift rise for bitcoin, which only passed the $3,000 marker for the first time at the start of the month. The rise also comes fresh off the heels of the so-called “hard fork” in bitcoin which saw a new virtual currency called Bitcoin Cash split off from bitcoin proper on August 1.

The split was designed to deal with the growing popularity of bitcoin, which was struggling to support an increasing number of transactions using existing blockchain technology, though the move left many wondering whether market values would fall.

But bitcoin seems to have defied expectations, pushing through the $4,000 barrier with ease, though there’s no certainty on where values are headed — particularly as we push closer toward the day when every bitcoin is mined.

Still, this is for sure: Purchasing 1 bitcoin for 8 cents back in 2010 would have netted you a 52,800-fold return today.

Amazon Issues Recall For Solar Eclipse Glasses

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon has issued a recall to consumers who purchased eclipse glasses that may not have come from a recommended manufacturer.

The internet retailer began notifying buyers of the unverified glasses on Saturday, warning them not to use the product for viewing the much-anticipated total solar eclipse later this month. Customers who didn’t receive a recall email are safe to use the ones they purchased.

“We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” the email said.

Sales of eclipse glasses have been hot ahead of the Aug. 21 event, when the moon will pass in front of the sun, completely blotting it out for those along a 70-mile-wide corridor stretching across the contiguous United States.

Amazon said it issued the recall over concerns with the quality of the glasses.

“Safety is among our highest priorities. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards,” Amazon said in a statement. ” We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard.”

The American Astronomical Society has information on how to make sure you are purchasing effective glasses for viewing the solar eclipse.

More Unaired HBO Shows Released By Hacker

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hackers have loaded onto the internet more unaired episodes of popular HBO shows but the latest leak did not include anything on the hit series “Game of Thrones,” the Associated Press reported.

The hackers, who broke into HBO’s computer network and have released stolen information for several weeks, provided more unaired episodes, including the popular show “Curb Your Enthusiasm, ” which returns in October.

They also leaked episodes of “Insecure,” “Ballers” and “The Deuce,” according to the Associated Press.

Time Warner Inc’s HBO said Sunday in an emailed statement that it was “not in communication with the hacker, and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released.”

“It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO,” it said. “The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.”

HBO acknowledged the hack earlier this summer. It said the thieves had been leaking stolen materials and asking for a multi-million-dollar ransom.

The hack came at a sensitive time for HBO parent Time Warner as it awaits regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T Inc in a $85.4 billion deal announced in October.

IBM Improves Deep Learning

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Big Blue Boffins claim to have developed technology that dramatically cuts the time it takes to crunch massive amounts of data and then come up with useful insights.

If it is all true then it could mean that deep learning, the technique used by IBM, is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that mimics how the human brain works could be set to take off.

IBM wanted to reduce the time it takes for deep learning systems to digest data from days to hours.

The improvements could help radiologists get faster, more accurate reads of anomalies and masses on medical images,.

Hillery Hunter, an IBM Fellow and director of systems acceleration and memory at IBM Research, said that, until now, deep learning has largely run on single server because of the complexity of moving huge amounts of data between different computers.

The problem is in keeping data synchronized between lots of different servers and processors

In its announcement IBM says it has come up with software that can divide those tasks among 64 servers running up to 256 processors total, and still reap huge benefits in speed. The company is making that technology available to customers using IBM Power System servers and to other techies who want to test it.

IBM used 64 of its own Power 8 servers—each of which links IBM Power microprocessors with Nvidia graphical processors with a fast NVLink interconnection to facilitate fast data flow between the two types of chips..

It developed clustering technology that manages the multiple processors in a given server as well as to the processors in the other 63 servers. If that traffic management is done incorrectly, some processors sit idle, waiting for something to do.

Each processor has its own data set that it knows, also needs data from the other processors to get the bigger picture. If the processors get out of sync they can’t learn anything, explained Hunter.

Courtesy-Fud

Will The U.S. ITC Really Investigate Apple

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The International Trade Commission has announced that it will launch an investigation into Apple following allegations from Qualcomm that its devices violate six of its patents.

The move, arguably procedural, means that the ITC will formally investigate Qualcomm’s complaint, rather than dismiss it outright.

“The US International Trade Commission has voted to institute an investigation of certain mobile electronic devices and radio frequency and processing components thereof,” the ITC said.

“The products at issue in the investigation are mobile electronic devices – such as the iPhone 7, and specific components for such

Qualcomm’s complaint alleges that iPhones, which are made in China, should not be allowed to be brought into the United States if they infringe on its patents, and if the chipmaker has its way, the ITC would ban imports and sales of Apple’s handsets.

At the heart of the matter is Apple’s use of cellular baseband processors made by Intel, with Qualcomm arguing that iPhones Intel’s 4G wireless chips are effectively using six Qualcomm patents “unfairly” and “unlawfully”.

Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm said it is “pleased” with the ITC’s decision to investigate Apple.

“Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC’s decision to investigate Apple’s unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm’s patents,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm.

“We look forward to the ITC’s expeditious investigation of Apple’s ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the Commission can provide.'”

Apple, when asked for comment, pointed to this prior statement from June: “Qualcomm’s illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry.

“They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products – effectively taxing Apple’s innovation.”

Last month, Intel filed its own statement with the ITC, claiming that Qualcomm’s request for the regulatory agency to intervene was “a transparent effort to stave off lawful competition from Qualcomm’s only remaining rival.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Slack Enables Enteprise Mobility Management, Strengthens Security Features

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Slack has enabled integration with the most prevalent enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms in order to offer security and policy management features to its four-year old, cloud-based messaging application.

The messaging platform provider worked with AppConfig, an open standards group, which allowed Slack to integrate through a set of APIs with 21 EMM vendors.

Slack said it also worked more closely with three EMM providers – VMware Airwatch, MobileIron, and Blackberry Good – “to ensure a smooth experience for our joint customers.

“EMM is a critical addition to Slack’s enterprise-grade security feature set, which also includes data encryption in transit and at rest,” Slack said.

Prior to the announcement, Slack already came with its own encryption capability. It can now offer the same crypto security based on the EMM providers’ technology.

EMM is a comprehensive, hardware-agnostic method of remotely managing mobile devices, including their configuration and the enterprise content generated on them, through mobile device management and mobile application management. EMM is all-encompassing; it can control access to corporate apps, internal websites and even the data silos associated with them.

EMM integration affords Slack SCIM provisioning (an open API for managing user identities), SAML-based single sign-on capabilities, two-factor authentication and remote device wiping capabilities.

A new feature, “Profiles in Slack,” enables admins to put faces to names and provide background information about the people on each corporate team using the messaging platform.

The feature allows first and last names, as well as where an employee is located, their job description and their business group.

If a company already uses an identity provider or internal directory, it can now sync that information with Profiles in Slack using the SCIM API, which helps admins consolidate identity management while building out a directory that’s easily accessible by a business team in Slack.

Slack claims to have 6.8 million weekly active users, and more than 1.5 million paid users.

Facebook Introduces New Watch Tab

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Original video content has found a new home at Facebook.

The social network giant has introduced Watch, a new video platform for programming produced exclusively for Facebook users. The new feature, which will be available on mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps, is a continuation of the video push Facebook launched last year.

“On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together,” Daniel Danker, Facebook director of product, wrote in a blog post. “As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos.”

Video has been crucial for Facebook as the social network tries to get people to spend more time on its site. In 2016, the company added a video tab to the Facebook app, where people can find new video content.

The company has also made a big push in Facebook Live, a feature that lets people broadcast themselves live over the internet and directly onto the social network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees the format as the future of his company and has said we’re entering a “golden age for live video.”

The Watch feature will be personalized, suggesting new shows — both live and recorded — based on what your friends and communities are watching. Categories will include “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh” and “What Friends Are Watching.” A Watchlist will help users keep track of programs.

Some of the programming Facebook plans to present includes Nas Daily, in which the rapper makes videos with his fans; Gabby Bernstein, a motivational speaker answering fans questions in real time; and a cooking show called Tastemade’s Kitchen Little that follows kids’ efforts to instruct chefs in the art of cooking. One Major League Baseball game will also be broadcast live on the platform each week.

The feature will initially be available to a limited number of users in the US, with a broader expansion promised “soon.”

Microsoft’s Surface Tablets Not So Reliable, Says Consumer Reports

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The breakage rate for Microsoft Corp’s Surface devices significantly outpaces that of other manufacturers’ laptops and tablets, Consumer Reports said, adding that it was removing its “recommended” designation for Surface products.

The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday.

“If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability,” Jerry Beilinson, electronics editor at the consumer goods testing publication, said in an interview.

Microsoft disputed the study, saying the company’s return and support rates differ significantly from the Consumer Reports study.

“We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson said.

Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier compared with other brands. Apple Inc had the most reliable devices, Beilinson said.

Microsoft entered the hardware market with its first Surface tablet in 2012. Since then, the company has released a series of new Surface tablets and laptops, including the well-reviewed Surface Pro, which launched in May.

The Surface devices serve as a face for the company and exemplify how Microsoft’s manufacturing partners can build hardware around the Windows 10 operating system. However, Surface is a small part of Microsoft’s overall revenue, and Surface revenue has declined year-over-year for the past two quarters.

T-Mobile Launching Its Own Branded Smartphone

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

In a jump back in time when carriers differentiated themselves by branding and selling exclusive phones, T-Mobile confirmed Wednesday that it’s launching its very own budget Android phone called the Revvl.

The Revvl, which runs on Android Nougat, offers pretty basic specs: a 5.5 inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. But it also throws in a fingerprint sensor and will cost T-Mobile customers just $5 a month with no down payment through the company’s Jump! upgrade program.

It goes on sale Thursday.

T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said in a blog that the company is catering to those who want the latest smartphone technology but can’t afford to pay for high-end devices. He added that the Revvl was built specifically for T-Mobile customers who, according to the company, use more data and upgrade their phones faster than those with other carriers.

Payment Firm Vantiv To Acquire Rival Worldpay

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. credit card processor Vantiv locked up a deal to acquire British-based rival Worldpay for 8 billion pounds ($10.4 billion) on Wednesday in a bid to create a $29 billion global payments powerhouse.

Vantiv’s  move, one of the biggest takeovers of a British firm since last year’s Brexit vote, is part of a wave of payments company mergers as consumers move away from cash transactions to digital payments.

Companies such as Vantiv with a strong presence in the United States are scrambling to establish a global footprint in the fast-evolving payments industry.

Once a backwater of banking, the sector is now both lucrative and fast-growing, but also faces competition from newcomers trying to disrupt the way merchants are paid.

Shares in Worldpay, Britain’s biggest payment provider, closed 1.28 percent higher at 388.5 pence after Wednesday’s announcement of the deal, which marks the second biggest takeover of a British company this year after China Investment Corporation’s $13.8 billion purchase in June of London-based warehouse firm Logicor.

Other recent deals in the payment sector include Britain’s Paysafe Group backing a 3 billion pound takeover offer from a consortium of Blackstone BX. and CVC Capital Partners and French payments specialist Ingenico making a 1.5 billion euro swoop on Swedish rival Bambora.

Although Vantiv’s deal was first announced on July 5, it has taken several weeks to conclude, with the deadline for a formal offer extended twice as Vantiv and Worldpay haggled over governance and safeguarding British jobs.

The combined Worldpay and Vantiv, which were both spun out of banks and have thrived in their home markets, will be called “Worldpay” and headquartered in Cincinnati, with a primary listing in New York and a secondary one in London.

Worldpay said that Vantiv has offered 55 pence in cash, 0.0672 of a new Vantiv share, an interim dividend of 0.8 pence per Worldpay share and a special 4.2 pence dividend, valuing the former RBS business at 397 pence per share.

“Our combined company will have unparalleled scale, a comprehensive suite of solutions, and the worldwide reach to make us the payments industry global partner of choice,” Vantiv’s president and CEO Charles Drucker said, adding that the deal will bring benefits in terms of size and technology.

Tesla Developing Self-driving Electric Truck

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc is working on a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Meanwhile, California officials are meeting with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

After announcing intentions a year ago to produce a heavy-duty electric truck, Musk tweeted in April that the semi-truck would be revealed in September, and repeated that commitment at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June, but he has never mentioned any autonomous-driving capabilities.

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture.

Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks. They see the industry as a prime early market for the technology, citing the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic trucks face on interstate highways and the benefits of allowing drivers to rest while trucks travel.

Some companies also are working on technology for “platooning”, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers.

Silicon Valley startup Peloton Technology, for example, is working with several truck makers including Volvo on its platooning system, which it sees as a precursor to autonomy.

Will Desktop Computers Grow Next Quarter?

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While desktop demand was rubbish in the first half of 2017, it expected to start growing in the third quarter driven by new products from AMD and Intel for the gaming and high-end desktop markets.

Digitimes researchers, talking to suppliers, said that AMD and Intel will kick off a surge in buying. AMD’s new top-end 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 12-core 1920X will hit the shops on August 10, while its 8-core 1900X is scheduled to be released at the end of August.

Several vendors have already begun accepting pre-orders for desktop models using AMD’s latest top-end CPU processors since the end of July, including the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper from Dell.

AMD recently announced its new Vega-based GPUs including the Radeon RX Vega 64, using liquid or air cooling modules, and Radeon RX Vega’s prices start from US$399. AMD offers free games and discounts on hardware including Samsung’s CF791 monitor as well as price-cuts on CPU/motherboard bundles to help consumers save up to US$300.

Intel is releasing its next-generation 14nm Coffee Lake processors in the near future and will initially launch products such as the Core i7 8700K. Coffee Lake will also force users to buy a nice new motherboard.

AMD and Intel are also seeing growing sales in the server segment. AMD’s EPYC 7000 series processors were unveiled at the end of June. Although the processor series currently only accounts for less than one percent of the server market, orders for related server makers have been picking up recently and are expected to stay strong in the second half of 2017 with players including Microsoft, Baidu, Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Supermicro, Inventec, Wistron, Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Tyan eagerly promoting their systems.

Intel debuted its Purley server platform in July which is seeing strong orders from enterprises looking to replace their existing server systems. Some market watchers believe the replacement trend will last for a whole year and shore up Intel’s profitability and revenues.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Tougher Security Standards For IoT Forthcoming

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

US Senators are planning to introduce draft legislation next week that would require makers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ensure that their products are patchable and conform to industry standards for security.

The legislation is a bi-partisan effort led by Democratic Party senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden, and Republicans Steve Daines and Cory Gardner.

Although relatively modest in scope, the legislation represents a first step to requiring device makers to start taking responsibility for the security of products connected to the internet. “We’re trying to take the lightest touch possible,” Warner told Reuters.

He added that the legislation was intended to remedy an “obvious market failure” that has left device manufacturers with little incentive to build with security in mind.

It echoes thinking from security specialists such as Bruce Schneier, who have suggested that sensible, rather than heavy-handed legislation is required to push device makers to improve the security of their products.

In November last year, following the Mirai malware attacks that compromised chronically insecure internet-connected CCTV systems, Schneier wrote: “The technical reason these devices are insecure is complicated, but there is a market failure at work…

“The teams building these devices don’t have the security expertise we’ve come to expect from the major computer and smartphone manufacturers, simply because the market won’t stand for the additional costs that would require.

“These devices don’t get security updates like our more expensive computers, and many don’t even have a way to be patched. And, unlike our computers and phones, they stay around for years and decades… Like pollution, the only solution is to regulate,” wrote Schneier.

The draft legislation was put together with help from IT specialists from the Atlantic Council and Harvard University. It would also expand protection for security researchers to hack equipment with the purpose of finding vulnerabilities.

Courtesy-TheInq

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