The researchers developed a technique to coordinate multiple wireless transmitters by synchronizing their wave phases, according to a statement from MIT on Tuesday. Multiple independent transmitters will be able to send data over the same wireless channel to multiple independent receivers without interfering with each other.
Since wireless spectrum is scarce, and network congestion is only expected to grow, the technology could have important implications.
The researchers called the approach MegaMIMO 2.0 (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) .
For their experiments, the researchers set up four laptops in a conference room setting, allowing signals to roam over 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi. The speed and distance improvement is expected to also apply to cellular networks. A video describes the technology as well as a technical paper (registration required), which was presented this week to the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM 16).
The researchers, from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, are: Ezzeldin Hamed, Hariharan Rahul, Mohammed Abdelghany and Dina Katabi.
Fitbit Inc was cleared of stealing rival Jawbone’s trade secrets, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled on Tuesday, ending Jawbone’s hopes of securing an import ban against Fitbit’s wearable fitness tracking devices.
The judge, Dee Lord, said that there had been no violation of the Tariff Act, which gives the commission the power to block products that infringe U.S. intellectual property, because “no party has been shown to have misappropriated any trade secret.”
The ruling means Jawbone comes away with nothing from a complaint it filed with the trade agency in July 2015, accusing Fitbit of infringing six patents and poaching employees who took with them confidential data about Jawbone’s business, such as plans, supply chains and technical details.
Two of the patents were withdrawn, however, and four others were invalidated by the judge, before a May trial that was limited to the trade secrets claims.
Fitbit Chief Executive Officer James Park said in a statement on Tuesday that Jawbone’s allegations were without merit and an attempt “to disrupt Fitbit’s momentum to compensate for their own lack of success in the market.”
A representative for Jawbone could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fitbit is biggest maker of wrist-based and clippable fitness devices, which track users’ steps, calories burned, heartrates and other parameters. It sold 5.7 million devices in the second quarter, beating revenue estimates.
Jawbone makes a range of activity trackers under the UP brand but has been losing market share. It is no longer among the top five wearables vendors, according to market research firm International Data Corp.
Tuesday’s ruling comes on the heels of a victory for Jawbone in a separate trade case filed against the company by Fitbit. On July 19, another commission judge found all three Fitbit patents in that case were invalid. Fitbit has asked the full trade commission to review the ruling.
Jawbone first sued Fitbit last year over trade secret violations in California state court, where the case is still pending. The companies, both based in San Francisco, are also litigating over patents in federal court.
The five apps — Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word — will be updated to 64-bit for all customers, including those with an Office 2016 retail license, a consumer or commercial subscription to Office 365, and a volume license. Most users will be updated automatically as the suite launches an update app on its regular schedule.
Microsoft has been testing the 64-bit versions with Office Insider participants since April.
Apple has long urged developers to release 64-bit versions of applications — the Mac’s operating system has supported only 64-bit Intel processors since 2011’s OS X Lion — but Microsoft has been one of the most significant holdouts.
For users, the biggest benefit is the ability to work with much larger files — thanks to the significantly bigger swaths of memory that a 64-bit operating system can access.
Unlike the Windows edition of Office 2016, which comes in both 32- and 64-bit flavors, the Mac-specific suite will be available only in 64-bit after September. Microsoft offered users a one-month grace period during which version 15.25 will be provided in both 32- and 64-bit.
“There may be situations in which the customer has to change code that’s not 64-bit ready,” Microsoft said in a support document, referring to possible conflicts with third-party Office add-ons. “If customers can’t immediately move forward to 64-bit builds, we will make available a one-time 32-bit update for the 15.25 release in addition to the default 64-bit updates.”
That 32-bit version of 15.25 must be downloaded manually from Microsoft’s site.
The support document included instructions for reverting to 32-bit if Office 2016 had already been updated to 64-bit.
AMD has revealed a heap of details about its 32-core Zen based product – codenamed Naples – and we have a few things to add.
According to our well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Remember, we were the first to mention Naples in detail in June 2016. Sometimes AMD calls these products Alpha versions but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This could have been a pre-Alpha version that was stable enough to run.
The beta version will follow Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called the final/general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and followed by initial production.
When a tech company says a product will launch in the second quarter, expect it to happen towards the end. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in the last days of May or the first days of June 2017.
The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.
AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “
A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the possible launch date in as many details as we did.
According to a well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Sometimes AMD calls these products an Alpha version but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This might be a pre-alpha version that was stable enough to show.
The beta version is following already in Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called final / general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and it is followed by initial production.
When a company says a second quarter for a launch, you should expect it to happen towards the end of it. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in last days of May or first days of June 2017.
The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.
AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the launch date in as many details as we just have.
Fresh after scoring a reasonably sized contract for the iPhone, Intel is getting more excited about its mobile business and is talking about its 5G plans.
5G is a good thing to talk about as there is no standard yet and it could be years away before carriers think of moving to away from 4G. However, it does inspire confidence that companies, like Intel are busy researching it.
However the Intel Developer Forum (IDF),in San Francisco heard how Intel is not that interested in trying to create 5G modems for mobiles and will instead focus on the back-end infrastructure supporting the technology.
Intel said that while 5G will power the mobile internet, Intel believes there will be a lot of room for its processors and data centers to look after the millions of sensors, cars and internet of things devices which will all be part of it.
Intel said that 2G networks were about phones and voice, and it was rolling out 4G there were requirements that hadn’t been planned for when it was originally designed.
While 5G is expected to start appearing by 2020, it should support IoT devices, as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications. This means that the backbone of datacenters will need to be in place to make it go.
While Intel has been talking about this backbone, it does seem odd that it is not mentioned much about the modem front end of the technology. Our guess is that it is something that Intel cannot ignore and does not appear to be doing so, with its various Internet of Things gadgets.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is gearing up to launch a program to sell refurbished used versions of its premium smartphones as early as next year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The South Korean technology firm is looking for ways to sustain earnings momentum after reviving its mobile profits by restructuring its product line-up. As growth in the global smartphone market hits a plateau, Samsung wants to maximize its cost efficiency and keep operating margins above 10 percent.
The world’s top smartphone maker will refurbish high-end phones returned to the company by users who signed up for one-year upgrade programs in markets such as South Korea and the United States.
Samsung would then re-sell these phones at a lower price, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was not yet public.
The person declined to say how big a discount the refurbished phones would be sold at, which markets the phones would be sold in or how many refurbished devices Samsung could sell.
A Samsung spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation.
It was not clear to what extent the phones would be altered, but refurbished phones typically are fitted with parts such as a new casing or battery.
Rival Apple Inc’s iPhone has a re-sale value of around 69 percent of its original price after about one year from launch, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy sells for 51 percent of the original price in the U.S. market, according to BNP Paribas.
Refurbished phones could help vendors such as Samsung boost their presence in emerging markets such as India, where high-end devices costing $800 or so are beyond most buyers.
Apple sells refurbished iPhones in a number of markets including the United States, but does not disclose sales figures. It is trying to sell such iPhones in India, where the average smartphone sells for less than $90.
Selling used phones could help Samsung fend off lower-cost Chinese rivals that have been eating into its market share, and free up some capital to invest elsewhere or boost marketing expenditure.
Deloitte says the used smartphone market will be worth more than $17 billion this year, with 120 million devices sold or traded in to manufacturers or carriers – around 8 percent of total smartphone sales. Some market experts expect the used market to grow fast as there are fewer technology breakthroughs.
“Some consumers may prefer to buy refurbished, used premium models in lieu of new budget brands, possibly cannibalizing sales of new devices from those budget manufacturers,” Deloitte said in a report.
It just became easier for HipChat customers to see one another whenever they want it. The company launched new group video calling and screen sharing functionality that lets up to 10 other people share a virtual face-to-face meeting.
Users can spin up a call in a HipChat channel, or bring additional people into a one-on-one video call. That way, people who work in far-flung teams can get onto the same page face-to-face, using the same software that they count on for text chat during the day.
HipChat’s announcement Thursday is a move to compete with both consumer services like Skype and Google Hangouts, as well as workplace videoconferencing systems like Lifesize and Skype for Business. The launch is particularly important for HipChat’s competition with Slack, which recently added group voice calls and has video calling on its roadmap.
Group video calls are only available for teams that pay for HipChat Plus, which costs $2 per user per month.
The new video calling features are based on technology HipChat vendor Atlassian acquired with the JitSi open source video-conferencing product. The company still makes the open source version available, but this integration brings video calling into HipChat natively.
Right now, group video calling is only available on HipChat’s desktop apps, but it will make its way to mobile in some form in the future.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Slack can answer with video calling features of its own, after the high-flying productivity startup acquired screen sharing company Screenhero in January 2015.
Some teams may still find themselves in need of dedicated videoconferencing services, if they use specialized hardware for video meetings or if their needs exceed what HipChat can offer. For example, meetings in HipChat can’t have moderators with special privileges, and are limited to 10 participants at launch.
AT&T Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp are among members of the “Robocall Strike Force” that held its first meeting with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
The strike force will report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, chairman of the group.
The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating legitimate phone numbers from governments, banks or others.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in July urged major companies to take new action to block robocalls, which often come from telemarketers or scam artists.
“This scourge must stop,” Wheeler said on Friday, calling robocalls the No. 1 complaint from consumers.
“The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” Wheeler said. In the past, he has said robocalls continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”
Stephenson emphasized “the breadth and complexity” of the problem.
“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop.”
The FCC does not require robocall blocking and filtering but has strongly encouraged phone service providers to offer those services at no charge.
The strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers, network designers and the government.
Other companies taking part include Blackberry Ltd, British Telecommunications Plc, Charter Communications Inc, Frontier Communications, LG Electronics Inc, Microsoft Corp, Nokia Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sirius XM Holdings Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and U.S. Cellular Corp.
Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the task force is a sign “phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.”
Security researchers from Bitdefender have found an IoT smart electrical socket which leaks your Wi-Fi password, your email credentials and is so poorly coded that attackers can use it to hijack the device and use it for DDoS attacks. In the good old days all the power point could do was turn electrical equipment on and off.
Bitdefender didn’t reveal the device’s manufacturer but said the company is working on a fix, which will release in late Q3 2016.
Smart electrical sockets are small electrical socket extenders, which you can plug into a regular wall socket. In this case the device comes with a module that allows users to manage power consumption using predetermined limits and schedule the socket to allow usage only between certain hours.
Bitdefender said that there were several major problems with this unnamed smart socket. When users set up the product, they also need to install one of the accompanying iOS or Android apps. These apps allow the user to connect to the smart electrical socket’s built-in hotspot and configure it by entering the local Wi-Fi network credentials.
The IoT socket uses these credentials to connect to the local network, and contact the vendor servers, where it sends a configuration file that includes several device details, such as model, make, device name, firmware version, MAC address, and others
All this networking is done without encryption, in cleartext, which an attacker can easily pick-up if sniffing the local network at the right time.
Additionally, the device’s default admin username and password is easy to guess, even without reading the device documentation.
The device also comes with a built-in feature to send users email notifications when a device scheduled task executes successfully. For this feature to function properly, users must fill in their email account username and password in the device’s configuration panel. The device improperly stores these details.
Bitdefender researchers say that an attacker that knows the device’s MAC address and default password can take control over the device, rescheduling it, or access data on the user’s email account and password.
Only ten percent of people respond to and deal with desktop security alerts immediately, suggesting that the rest of the population simply ignores them or just lets it happen automatically.
You know the sort of warning. It might be Chrome telling you that something is untrusted, something like that. They are very easy to become blind to, like cookie warnings for example, and the study, which comes from Brigham Young University (BYU) and Google engineers, said that most people just ignore them.
The study, entitled More Harm Than Good? How Messages That Interrupt Can Make Us Vulnerable, suggests that this seeming neglect is down to the fact that people can only do so many things at once.
“System-generated alerts are ubiquitous in personal computing and, with the proliferation of mobile devices, daily activity. While these interruptions provide timely information, research shows they come at a high cost in terms of increased stress and decreased productivity,” the study said.
“This is due to dual-task interference, a cognitive limitation in which even simple tasks cannot be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss.”
Multitasking, then. People struggle to comprehend alerts because they are busy closing windows, stopping videos, typing or uploading at their desk or while mobile. Some 87 per cent showed the most disregard when “transferring information”.
The researchers explained things better in an interview with Phys.org. “We found that the brain can’t handle multitasking very well,” said co-author and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance.
“Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there’s a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times.”
A better time to alert, according to the researchers, is at more passive times, for example while punters are waiting for a page to load or have finished watching a video.
“Waiting to display a warning when people are not busy doing something else increases their security behaviour substantially,” said Jeff Jenkins, lead author of the study.
Last Friday, Toshiba Corporation said that an extensive company restructuring effort over the past year has allowed it to produce a profit of $197 million (¥20.1 billion) for the first time in six consecutive quarters.
This is a noticeable turnaround from a $64.2 million (¥6.5 billion) loss a year earlier, yet still comes in below a $330.8 million profit based on five analyst estimates.
Now, the present Toshiba has emerged as a company focused on semiconductors, nuclear energy and social infrastructure. A decade ago, the company acquired Westinghouse Electric Company in October 2006 for $5.4 billion, one of the world’s largest producers of nuclear reactors, obtaining a 77 percent stake. It then sold 10 percent a year later, leaving it with a 67 percent stake. Toshiba recently claimed in 2015 that the business is now more profitable that at acquisition in 2006.
Accounting scandal leads to losses, followed by recovery
The company’s restructuring efforts included cutting thousands of jobs and letting go of its consumer electronics business. In April 2015, the company began cooperating in a U.S. federal investigation uncovering seven years of accounting manipulation. An official report placed blame on two former CEOs for pushing employees to postpone losses or push forward sales on accounting. According to people familiar with the investigation, the company hid $1.3 billion in losses at its nuclear power operations. The two CEOs, also known to be rivals who disliked each other, resigned their posts in July 2015.
The outcome resulted in slashing 14,000 jobs, shrinking its semiconductor business and selling its home appliances and medical devices groups.
The past fiscal year beginning April 2015 and ending March 2016 was not without significant setbacks in debt-financing abilities and credit-rating concerns. In April 2016, the company booked an impairment charge of $2.3 billion for the financial year on its Westinghouse nuclear unit as a goodwill attempt to address a slow decline in the nuclear business since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.
A containment building at the site of Westinghouse’s first AP1000 power reactor in China (via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
In May 2016, the company reported its worst-ever consolidated net loss of $4.4 billion for FY2015 after restructuring costs, writing down asset values, and reducing deferred tax assets. The company’s official statement said restructuring costs represented $1.09 billion (¥110.5 billion), while asset write-downs represented another $3.21 billion (¥325.1 billion) drag. Total jobs transitioned from 203,100 employees down to 185,900 employees over the course of 2015.
Recovering balance sheet has come under threat
Sources close to Toshiba now claim that its recovering balance sheet has come under threat from Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, which sold its nuclear construction business to Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Company for $229 million in October 2015. The purchase was made so that Toshiba could speed up construction on four reactors in the United States – two in Georgia and two in South Carolina.
Chicago Bridge and Iron said last month it was suing Westinghouse because the Toshiba subsidiary demanded $2 billion in additional payments related to the October sale, justifying its claim with some provisions of the purchase agreement. If CB&I’s claim to the lawsuit is upheld, Toshiba could be obligated to pay $2 billion liabilities and may need to either issue new shares to investors or consider listing its semiconductor business on the financial market.
The new offering from Oracle Data Cloud includes more than 400 million business users and one million addressable U.S. companies, the company said. Factored into that mix are proprietary insights from Oracle BlueKai, Datalogix, and AddThis as well as data from Oracle partners Bombora, Dun & Bradstreet, FullContact, Gravy Analytics, HG Data, Infogroup, PlaceIQ, and TransUnion. Predictive analytics from Leadspace are included as well.
The data derives mostly from the U.S., but some international B2B segments are available, Oracle said.
“B2B marketers can now take advantage of more than 700 enhanced Oracle B2B audience segments, as well as a robust B2B audience marketplace boasting more than 4,000 pre-built audiences from partners,” Oracle said.
The offering aims to help marketers align digital expenditures with campaign objectives and sales outreach, providing a regular flow of relevant and qualified leads from target accounts.
The move is likely in part a result of Oracle’s $1.2 billion investment in Datalogix in late 2014, said Jim Wheaton, principal and cofounder with Wheaton Group.
Datalogix is one of four major cross-vertical “data co-ops” that focus on the acquisition, integration, and ongoing management of massive quantities of data about American consumers and businesses, Wheaton said via email. The others include Abacus, I-Behavior, and Wiland.
Oracle has long targeted the B2B market with sales tools designed to help organizations identify new opportunities, and it’s been “very useful for targeting and territory planning,” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.
“This marketing data provides the same kind of opportunity, and I expect there might be software add-ons to sell with it,” Pombriant said. Either way, “having a massive, up-to-date data source should be a boon to many companies.”
A data breach at 20 U.S. hotels operated by HEI Hotels & Resorts for Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental may have exposed payment card data from tens of thousands of food, drink and other transactions, HEI has said.
The breach follows similar attacks at Hyatt Hotels Corp and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc in recent months.
Norwalk, Connecticut-based HEI, which is privately held, said malware designed to collect card data was found on HEI’s systems.
The malware was discovered in early to mid-June on payment systems used at restaurants, bars, spas, lobby shops and other facilities at the properties, Chris Daly, a spokesman for HEI, said in emails and phone calls.
The number of customers affected is difficult to calculate because they might have used their cards multiple times, Daly said. About 8,000 transactions occurred during the affected period at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara hotel in California, and about 12,800 at the IHG Intercontinental in Tampa, Florida, Daly said.
The malware affected 12 Starwood hotels, six Marriott International Inc properties, one Hyatt hotel and one InterContinental Hotels Group PLC hotel. It was active from March 1, 2015 to June 21, 2016, with 14 of the hotels affected after Dec. 2, 2015, HEI said on its website on Friday.
Marriott and IHG declined to comment. Representatives from the other hotel groups did not respond to requests for comment.
HEI said outside experts investigated the breach and determined that hackers might have stolen customer names, account numbers, payment card expiration dates and verification codes. The hackers did not appear to have gained PIN codes, since those are not collected by its system, it added.
The company has informed federal authorities and has installed a new payment processing system that is separate from other parts of its computer network.
Among the properties affected were Starwood’s Westin hotels in Minneapolis; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia; Snowmass, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Also affected were Starwood properties in Arlington, Virginia; Manchester Village, Vermont; San Francisco; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee.
The Marriott properties affected were in Boca Raton, Florida; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Chicago; San Diego, California; and Minneapolis.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics won a contract to make Nvidia GPUs according to South Korea’s Chosun Biz newspaper.
The paper said Samsung would start making the next-generation Pascal GPUs using its 14-nanometre production technology before year-end. It did not specify the value of the order or say how many chips will be made. Samsung and Nvidia are not saying anything.
According to the newspaper Samsung Electronics is currently testing the Nvidia Pascal (Pascal) architecture on new production lines at the S1 campus Giheung, Gyeonggi Province. It is expected that the first GPU from Nvidia will be supplied by Samsung later this year.
Nvidia normally ships this sort of thing through Taiwan’s TSMC but has changed its mind because of recent unstable supply issues and the fact it wants to diversify its production line, the paper claimed.
It’s not a very practical hack, but the scheme has been designed for “air-gapped” systems, or computers that have been sectioned off from the Internet.
The researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have been studying how to use sound to extract information from air-gapped computers. In June, they showed that even a PC’s cooling fans can be controlled to secretly transmit data, including passwords and encryption keys.
In a new paper, the researchers found that a PC’s hard disk drive could also generate enough noise to do the same. They did this by manipulating the drive’s internal mechanical arm to generate binary signals.
Typically, the mechanical arm only reads and writes data within the hard drive. But when in use, it also creates a good deal of sound at different frequencies — which the researchers decided to exploit.
They developed a piece of malware called “DiskFiltration” which can infect a Linux-based PC to control a hard disk drive’s operations. To record the emitted noise, the researchers placed a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone nearby to log and decrypt the signals.
They found that their hack could transmit enough 0s and 1s for a stream of data, including passwords. However, the transmission rate is quite slow at only 180 bits per minute, and the range is only effective at up to six feet.
Nevertheless, the method is covert. A hacker could infect an air-gapped system with a USB stick, and then secretly extract the data, by simply recording the nearby sounds.
To prevent this kind of hacking, owners of air-gapped owners can consider using solid-state drives, which have no moving parts, the researcher said.