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FAA Grants CNN Rights To Fly Drones Over Crowds

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

News giant CNN has been granted a waiver to make routine drone flights above crowds, a milestone for the drone industry, which is expected to experience dramatic growth in the next few years.

The Part 107 waiver represents the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a waiver for unlimited flights of unmanned aerial vehicles over people, the news network said in a statement.  FAA rules prohibit drone flights over people, but waivers are available when applicants can demonstrate no risk of injury.

“This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN’s UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large,” David Vigilante, senior vice president of legal for CNN, said in a statement.

New FAA regulations for commercial use of drones went into effect in August 2016, making it easier for pilots to use drones for everything from structural or crop inspection to search-and-rescue operations to film production.

CNN will be allowed to fly a Vantage Robotics Snap drone weighing 1.37 pounds and featuring four enclosed rotors to reduce the chance of injury. The device is designed to break apart and be snapped back together if it crashes.

The move comes as the drone industry experiences meteoric growth. The FAA expects the number of commercial drones to grow from 42,000 at the end of 2016 to about 442,000 aircraft by 2021.

Samsung Bixby Arrives On Refrigerators

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Get ready for smarter appliances.

Samsung has announced the second generation of its Bixby digital assistant will be coming to its various non-mobile devices including its smart TVs in the US and Korea in 2018, as well as its Family Hub refrigerator. The company also announced a new SDK for developers to make apps that work with Bixby.

Bixby 2.0, Samsung’s answer to the likes of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, is smarter than its first version, with deep-linking capabilities and improved natural language capabilities. It can better recognize individual users and better predict peoples’ needs. The update integrates predictive technology from Viv, which Samsung has said would help the software work with third-party apps.

At the Samsung Developer Conference on Wednesday, Koh Dong-jin, the head of Samsung’s mobile business, laid out the company’s vision for the future beyond the smartphone: everything connected.

“At Samsung we see a new era of seamless experiences that break the barrier of a single device,” Koh said.

Samsung made the announcements at its fourth annual developers conference, taking place this week in San Francisco. The event, which started off small at a San Francisco hotel, last year expanded to Moscone Center West, where Apple previously held its developer conference. This year, 5,000 people are attending SDC, Koh said. Last year, about 4,000 developers attended.

Samsung has had difficulty generating enthusiasm for many of its software products. The company leans on Google’s Android software to run the vast majority of its smartphones and tablets, while its own Tizen operating system has struggled to gain a foothold. Meanwhile, Samsung has scrapped many of the services it’s created, like the Samsung Media Hub and Milk Video.

But it keeps trying. Samsung introduced Bixby on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus earlier this year and has been pushing SmartThings. It’s also partnered with Facebook’s Oculus on virtual reality for mobile devices. For Samsung, getting developers to create unique apps for its broad range of products — from its televisions to its smartwatches — is key.

Will PC Sales Ever Make A Comeback

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Beancounters at Gartner have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that sales of traditional PCs are still falling.

Things might pick up next year, but PC sales have continued to fall and analyst always say “things will get better next year.”

Gartner said that PC shipments will drop by nearly eight percent this year, and another 4.4 percent in 2018. By 2019, 16 million fewer traditional PCs and notebooks will be sold than were shipped this year.

However, much of this will be offset by the rise in spending on high-end notebooks so that the overall PC market will by 2019 be at pretty much the same level it was last year.

Tablets — defined by Gartner as basic and utility ultramobile devices — will also decline over the period to 2019.

But despite the declines in traditional PC sales, Gartner said it was a misconception that everyone has gone mobile, noting that its own research found that users depend just as much on PCs or tablets as they do on smartphones. One big difference between smartphones and PCs is that people are replacing their handsets much more regularly.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner Atwal said: “Users holding onto their PCs for longer remains a major issue for the PC market. In contrast, users continue to replace their smartphone quite frequently.”

Business PC shipments could return to growth by the end of this year, driven by faster Windows 10 replacement in many regions — especially in Western Europe.

“Despite the fact that prices have been rising due to higher component costs, Windows 10 replacements have kept the PC market relatively stable through 2017,” said Atwal. “We estimate that the PC market (desk-based, notebook and ultramobiles) is set to return to 0.8 percent growth in 2018,” he continued. According to Gartner, this trend would be driven by growth in Russia and China.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel and Samsung Pursuing HiSilicon

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

HiSilicon Technologies wants another supplier for the fabrication of its 7nm chips and apparently Samsung, Globalfoundries and Intel are trying to get the Chinese fabless firm’s attention.

TSMC has been HiSilicon’s sole foundry partner for its 16nm and 10nm solution and will remain so, but  HiSilicon wants to get a back up for 7nm chips to ensure sufficient production capacity.

TSMC has regained chip orders from Qualcomm, which used to be the foundry’s largest client, the sources noted. TSMC is believed to have snapped up Qualcomm’s next-generation processor orders with its 7nm FinFET process.

According to Digitimes Samsung intends to attract 7nm chip orders from HiSilicon by bundling its foundry services with resources of components such as OLED panels, DRAM and NAND flash chips, the sources indicated. This could all go tits up as Samsung is HiSilcon’s rival in the smartphone SoC market.

Globalfoundries has a better chance if the foundry can stake a claim in the 7nm segment with technology enabled by some IP patents from IBM, which HiSilicon used to place its chip orders.

Intel with its 10nm process technology is vying aggressively for chip orders from HiSilicon. Intel has claimed its 10nm technology offers a density of about 100 million transistors per square millimeter, which industry sources believe is equivalent to TSMC’s and Samsung’s 7nm process nodes.

Courtesy-Fud

Did The Hyatt Hotel Chain Suffer Another Data Breach

October 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Hyatt hotel chain is warning customers that it has been breached for the second time and that they should probably do something about it.

Krebs on Security, or Brian to his friends, is the first with the bad news, and reports on the letter that Hyatt is sending out to potential towel and dressing gown thieves. Hyatt is reporting that its internal people clocked onto some card payment shenanigans between 18 March and 2 July 2017.

The problem started at the front desk, reportedly, so is likely to be a point of sale problem.

“Upon discovery, we launched a comprehensive investigation to understand what happened and how this occurred, which included engaging leading third-party experts, payment card networks and authorities,” says the firm on its FAQ page.

“The incident affected payment card information – cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code – from cards manually entered or swiped at the front desk of certain Hyatt-managed locations. There is no indication that any other information was involved.”

That is enough though, yeah? Hyatt says that only a small proportion of punters are affected, but that they are still important regardless.

“While this incident affects a small percentage of guests, it’s important to Hyatt that we notify guests and provide helpful information about steps they can take. We have directly contacted all guests for whom we have appropriate and reliable contact information that used payment cards at affected hotels during the at-risk dates. We do not have appropriate contact information for all guests, so we have also posted this notice with a list of affected hotels and respective at-risk dates,” it explained.

The firm has recommended that people check their transaction history on their bank statements to see if they are in trouble. It added that it has cleared things up at its end if anyone wants to book another stay.

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft’s Edge Browsers Appears To Be The Best At Thwarting Malware

October 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft’s Edge easily beat rival browsers from Google and Mozilla in third party tests of the behind the scenes services which power anti-malware warnings and malicious website-blocking.

NSS Labs said Windows 10’s default browser is better at blocking phishing and socially-engineered malware attacks than Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

The outfit said Edge automatically blocked 92 percent of all in-browser credential phishing attempts and stymied all socially-engineered malware (SEM) attacks.

The latter encompassed a wide range of attacks, but their common characteristic was that they tried to trick users into downloading malicious code.

The tactics that SEM attackers deploy include links from social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and bogus in-browser notifications of computer infections or other problems.

Edge decisively bested Chrome and Firefox by decisive margins. Chrome blocked 74 percent of all phishing attacks, and 88 percent of SEM attacks.

Meanwhile, Firefox came in third in both tests, stopping just 61 percent of the phishing attacks and 70 percent of all SEM attempts.

Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox rely on the Safe Browsing API, but historically Mozilla’s implementation has performed poorly compared to Google’s.

Edge also took top prize in blocking attacks from the get-go. In NSS’s SEM attack testing the Voleware stopped every attempt from the first moments a new attack was detected. Chrome halted 75 percent and Firefox halted 54 percent of the brand new attacks

The researchers spent three weeks continuously monitoring the browsers on Windows 10 computers.

Courtesy-Fud

Venmo Payments Comes To Retailers This Week

October 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

PayPal Holdings Inc announced that more than two million U.S. retailers will be able to accept payments through its mobile app Venmo starting this week, seeking to broaden its reach with a brand that has been a hit with young people.

Venmo, which has been part of PayPal since 2013, is one of the most popular mobile applications to make person-to-person payments in the United States. It processed $8 billion (£6 billion) in payments in the second quarter of this year.

Venmo users will be able to use their app balance or linked cards and bank account to shop on the mobile sites of almost all merchants that accept payments with PayPal, including retailers such as Foot Locker, Lululemon Athletica Inc and Forever 21.

Paypal started slowly introducing the ability to pay select businesses with Venmo early last year.

“At Venmo from the very early days our vision was to always let you use it for whatever you want to buy,” Ben Mills, head of product, at Venmo, said in an interview.

The company will be charging merchants fees for processing Venmo payments, Mills said, adding that the service’s ease of use could help increase their sales, he added.

Over the coming months Venmo users will also be able to transfer money instantly from Venmo to their bank accounts for a $0.25 fee per transfer.

At the moment Venmo immediately alerts users that a money transfer is in progress, but takes time to shift funds between bank accounts.

San Jose, California-based PayPal has been expanding its services to gain advantage over rivals in the digital payments market, particularly in P2P payments, where competition has intensified.

This year a consortium of some of the largest banks in the United States launched Zelle, a network that allows their customers to send money to each other instantly on their smartphones.

PayPal also said that retail purchases using Venmo will be covered by its purchase protection scheme, where customers may get refunds if they do not receive a product or it is different than described.

Drone Strikes Commercial Airplane In Canada

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It was, says the Canadian Minister of Transport, the first time in Canada’s history.

In a statement, Marc Garneau revealed last Thursday, a Skyjet flight was struck by a drone as it approached Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City.

“I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely,” said Garneau.

The Ministry of Transport told me that the aircraft was a Beech 100 King Air. The drone has not been identified.

Garneau told CBC that “it could have been much more serious” had the drone struck an engine or the cockpit.

He said the drone had been flying 3 miles from the airport at 450 meters (around 1,500 feet). This is 150 meters above the legal limit. There were eight passengers on the plane.

Since drones became commonplace, there have been increasing reports of the unmanned aerial vehicle endangering aircraft.

Some have been reported as near-misses. Some pilots have been convinced that a drone has struck their plane, although the actual presence of a drone was never confirmed.

Indeed, earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration declared that it had seen no verifiable evidence that a drone had ever struck a plane.

“Every investigation has found the reported collisions were either birds, impact with other items such as wires and posts, or structural failure not related to colliding with an unmanned aircraft,” it said.

In September, however, two army helicopters were struck by a drone over Staten Island.

Cyanogen Changes Names And Now Focusing On Self-Driving Cars

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The outfit which claimed to be making an Android killer and failed, is now getting a license to make self-driving cars.

According to Biz Journals, Cyngn has changed its name from Cyanogen and recently got a permit to test its self-driving tech on California roads.

The cunning new plan is being led by Lior Tal, the former chief operating officer who took over as CEO last year when the outfit’s cunning plan to kill off Android went tits up.

No new funding has been disclosed for the reinvented company. It lists on its website investors who backed it before it pivoted, including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, Qualcomm and Chinese social networking company Tencent.

The company was the center of acquisition talk in 2014, when companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung and Yahoo expressed interest in the company.

The new company says on its website that its goal is to develop “purpose-driven autonomy”.

“Very soon autonomous machines will be everywhere, in surprising places, exciting new form factors both unexpected and delightful,” it says. “Cyngn is bringing this world to life, animating the inanimate and delivering the future now.”

Courtesy-Fud

Apple May Introduce Face ID To All iPhones By Next Year

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple’s Face ID will officialy debut on the iPhone X on November 3, and it looks like the new tech may be here to stay. According to KGI Securities analyst and known Apple commentator Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), all 2018 iPhones will likely have Face ID.

Thanks to Apple’s TrueDepth camera system, the X gets all sorts of new tricks like Face ID, AR, and (yes) Animojis. This makes facial recognition a standout feature on the phone and also one of the big differences between the X and the more traditional iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Kuo suggests that iPhones released in 2018 are likely to abandon the fingerprint sensor, which might mean it’s the end of the line for Touch ID on the iPhone. Touch ID has been used for certain situations like unlocking your phone or Apple Pay, but if Face ID works as intended, we may see the end of Touch ID (at least in its current form).

Kuo also claims that the TrueDepth camera gives Apple a competitive edge and differentiates the iPhone X from other phones on the market. He says that Android competitors are still years behind with their facial recognition tech. Releasing more iPhones with this technology in the near future could help Apple bank on this advantage.

This doesn’t mean Touch ID is dead just yet. A handful of Apple products (like the MacBook Pro) still use Touch ID, but Kuo has predicted that soon other devices could start using Face ID — possibly the next iPad Pro.

It’s worth noting that the facial recognition tech is reportedly causing slowdowns in iPhone X production. If that’s the case, Apple will need to speed things up if it wants to include facial recognition in next year’s iPhones.

You’ll be able to test Apple’s facial recognition when the iPhone X hits stores Nov. 3.

Facebook’s Oculus Turns Focus Towards Enterprise VR

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Oculus is looking to entice corporate users into getting on board the VR train with the launch of a business-focused product bundle.

The Facebook-owned company sees a variety of uses for its headsets, from enterprise collaboration to employee training, in a range of industries. Putting VR technology in the hands of more businesses is a crucial step to growing the market, and Oculus wants to make the process easier with Oculus for Business.

The $900 package contains an Oculus Rift headset, Touch controllers, remote, three sensors and three Rift Fits headset foam pads. Business customers will also receive dedicated customer support and extended licenses and warranties.

“Businesses of all types can use Rift to boost productivity, accelerate training, and present the otherwise impossible to their employees and customers ­– across industries like tourism, education, medical, construction, manufacturing, automotive, and retail,” the company said in a blog post.

Oculus’ launch follows a similar move from rival VR hardware vendor HTC Vive last year.  HTC’s Vive Business Edition contains a range of Vive products, along with dedicated support and 12 month warranty. That package costs $1,200.

Oculus’ own announcement shows how the firm has lagged behind HTC in the commercial market, as well as with consumers, said Moor Insights and Strategy analyst Anshel Sag.

“This move seems like the beginning of Oculus’ recognition that they need to formally address the business market, otherwise the enterprise doesn’t believe they’ll get the support they need,” he said.

The backing of Oculus and Facebook will help further the case for VR at work in terms of growing the market, said Sag. However, support for business users is still emerging.

“I do believe that if Oculus wants to serve this market appropriately, they are going to have to also offer services that address enterprise needs and not just sell them a ‘business kit,’” he said.

Oculus for Business is aimed at a variety of use cases. Audi is using Oculus to create virtual showrooms for its cars that let prospective customers try out thousands of custom configurations before making an order. There is also potential around employee training, with DHL showing staff safety procedures when lifting heavy objects.

Workplace collaboration is another emerging use.

Oculus has partnered with Cisco for trials of a VR version of Spark, its collaboration platform that  supports messaging, voice calls and video conversations. Spark in VR allows remote workers to meet and communicate in virtual environments using avatars, allowing them to brainstorm on virtual whiteboards and interact with files. There are also integrations with Cisco’s  digital whiteboard, Spark Board.

This is likely just the beginning for VR as a collaboration tool.

 

Tesla Hands Pink Slips To 400 Employees

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc fired about 400 employees late last week, including associates, team leaders and supervisors, a former employee told Reuters on Friday.

The dismissals were a result of a company-wide annual review, Tesla said in an emailed statement, without confirming the number of employees leaving the company.

“It’s about 400 people ranging from associates to team leaders to supervisors. We don’t know how high up it went,” said the former employee, who worked on the assembly line and did not want to be identified.

Though Tesla cited performance as the reason for the firings, the source told Reuters he was fired in spite of never having been given a bad review.

The Palo Alto, California-based company said earlier in the month that “production bottlenecks” had left Tesla behind its planned ramp-up for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan.

The company delivered 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 during the third quarter. In July, it began production of the Model 3, which starts at $35,000 – half the starting price of the Model S.

Mercury News had earlier reported about the firing of hundreds of employees by Tesla in the past week.

DirecTV Now Streaming Service Showing Signs Of Live

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

AT&T’s entrance into the online streaming video business is finally gaining ground.

The Dallas telecommunications giant disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had added a net 300,000 customers to its DirecTV Nowstreaming service in the third quarter. That’s compared to the 491,000 customers it added in the first half of the year.

Overall, the company warned that it had lost 90,000 US video subscribers, blaming a combination of the impact from several hurricanes, higher credit standards and competition from both traditional pay TV players and online alternatives.

AT&T is in the midst of transforming itself beyond providing you with basic phone, internet and wireless service. It also wants to be an entertainment powerhouse, as evidenced by its acquisition of satellite TV provider DirecTV and its pending deal to buy Time Warner, the home of “Superman” and “Game of Thrones.” The results were likely helped by a promotion that offered DirecTV Now at a discount when budgeted with its wireless plans.

AT&T warned that it had 900,000 fewer handset equipment upgrades than a year ago, although it said the decline didn’t affect its customer growth and that turnover levels were still low.

The company blamed the hurricanes and an earthquake in Mexico, where it owns several wireless assets, on revenue falling $90 million and its pre-tax earnings to decline by $210 million. It expects further reductions in the fourth quarter.

The company, however, also maintained its 2017 forecast of mid-single digit adjusted earnings growth.

BlackBerry Settles Patent Dispute With BLU Products

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd announced that it inked a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies.

Canada’s BlackBerry filed lawsuits against BLU in 2016, as part of the handset-maker-turned-software-company’s move to make cash off a bunch of technology patents it had collected in its heyday.

Thursday’s agreement will include on-going payments from BLU to BlackBerry, the companies said, but did not give further details.

The settlement will allow Blackberry “to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market,” said Jerald Gnuschke, senior director of Intellectual Property Licensing at BlackBerry.

BlackBerry, which holds about 40,000 worldwide patents and applications, has been long been focusing on software sales and licensing after its once-popular phones lost out to Apple and others in the smartphone industry.

Do Brother Printers Pose A Security Risk Online

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A security researcher has found nearly 700 Brother printers left exposed online, allowing access to the password reset function to anyone who knows what to look for.

Ankit Anubhav, Principal Researcher at NewSky Security said the printers offer full access to their administration panel over the Internet.

According to Bleeping Computer https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hundreds-of-printers-expose-backend-panels-and-password-reset-functions-online/ a wide range of Brother printer models, such as DCP-9020CDW, MFC-9340CDW, MFC-L2700DW, or MFC-J2510 have the issue.

The cause of all these exposures is Brother’s choice of shipping the printers with no admin password. Most organizations most likely connected the printers to their networks without realizing the admin panel was present and wide open to connections.

These printers are now easy discoverable via IoT search engines like Shodan or Censys.

Organisations running Brother printers should verify if the printer exposes the administration panel by default online, and/or set a custom password to prevent unauthorised access to the device.

Courtesy-Fud

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