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AMD’s Raven Ridge Will Offer Vast Improvement Upon Release

September 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Leaked benchmarks for AMD’s forthcoming Raven Ridge APUs suggest that upcoming devices, expected to be launched in time for Christmas, will outperform current Bristol Ridge APUs by up to 90 per cent on multicore applications. 

According to WCCFTech, scores for the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U indicate that, compared to the current AMD A12-9800B APU, the new processor is more than 50 per cent faster in terms of single-core performance, and around 90 per cent faster on multi-core workloads.

The leaked benchmarks for the AMD part shows a score of 3,625 on Geekbench for single-core performance and a score of 9,723 for multi-core. That compares with scores of 2,315 and 5,115, respectively, for an HP Elitebook 745 G4 packing the AMD Pro A12-9800B four-core Bristol Ridge APU.

The Raven Ridge APUs will be the first integrated devices featuring a combination of AMD’s Zen microarchitecture, which it launched in March this year, and its Vega graphics processing unit (GPU) microarchitecture, which it released this summer.

Information released by AMD earlier this year suggests that the new APUs ought to provide at least a 50 per cent boost to CPU performance while consuming half the power. The new devices are expected to appear first in low-end and mid-range laptops.

Both Zen and Vega are designed to run on a 14nm process architecture, compared to their predecessor technology’s 28nm. While Zen, in the form of Ryzen desktop CPUs, have been well received, the reception for Vega has been more muted, with debut devices not providing the big performance leap over rival Nvidia many had expected.

On top of that, AMD’s preference for HDM memory over GDDR5 has also added to the cost of graphics cards based on Vega, while bitcoin miners have also snapped up much of the early production, forcing mainstream buyers either to pay a premium for AMD’s latest graphics cards – or buy cards by Nvidia instead.
Courtesy-TheInq

Londoners Want Uber Back, Sign Petition

September 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Half a million people have signed an online petition in under 24 hours supporting Uber’s bid to stay on the streets of London, showing the company is turning to its tried-and-tested tactic of asking customers for help when it locks horns with regulators.

London’s transport authorities stunned the powerful start-up on Friday when they deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service for safety reasons and stripped it of its license from next week, although it can continue to operate while it appeals.

The regulator cited Uber’s failure to report serious criminal offices, conduct sufficient background checks on drivers and other safety issues, threatening the U.S. firm’s presence in one of the world’s wealthiest cities.

Uber immediately emailed users in London and urged them to sign a petition that said the city authorities had “caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”.

By 1200 GMT on Saturday, more than 515,000 people had signed in support of Uber.

It counted 3.5 million active users in London in the past three months. Even if many tourists are probably included in the total, the figure represents a potential political force of commuters who face long journeys between their home and offices and who use Uber as a cheaper alternative to other taxi firms.

Turning to users for help is one of the first steps in Uber’s playbook. In Jakarta, Budapest, Toronto and Portland it asked riders to sign petitions and built online tools to contact lawmakers to show their support.

Regulators have at least partly relented in Portland, Toronto and Jakarta, but Budapest remains a work in progress.

Uber now faces a showdown with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who this month said he wouldn’t let his teenage daughters use cabs like Uber on their own over fears for their safety.

Khan, a leading figure in the opposition Labour Party, said on Friday: “All private-hire operators in London need to play by the rules. The safety and security of Londoners must come first.”

As mayor, Khan is chairman of Transport for London, the regulator which stripped Uber of its license.

 London’s decision is the first major challenge for new Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over from co-founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick. He was forced out after internal and external investigations into sexual harassment complaints, the thwarting of government inquiries and potential bribery.

YouTube Introduces Fan Sponsorship Service

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube Gaming fans will now be able to directly donate money to their favorite eligible creators with sponsorships, the company announced.  A monthly $4.99 payment gives fans perks such as custom emoji and access to exclusive live chats. Fans can also purchase digital goods directly from the channels.

In order to be eligible, creators must be over 18 years old and have a Gaming channel which is monetized and enabled for live streaming. The channel must also have over 1,000 subscribers.

Early tests of YouTube Gaming sponsorships proved successful. According to the company, GameAttack, for example, makes most of its channel revenue through sponsorships and Super Chat (in which live stream participants can pay to pin their comments). And Rocket Beans got 1,500 sponsors on the first day.

YouTube on Tuesday also began testing out sponsorships with non-gaming creators on YouTube’s main app.

With the launch of sponsorships and the growth of other revenue-generating features such as YouTube Red and Super Chat, YouTube is ending paid channels, which offered monthly subscriptions for some channels but didn’t see much success. Less than 1 percent of creators use it today, according to the company.

Amazon Is Developing It’s Own ‘Smart Glasses’

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc is busy developing its first wearable device – a pair of ‘smart glasses’, the Financial Times reported earlier this week.

The device, designed like a regular pair of spectacles, will allow Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa to be summoned anytime at all places, the report said, citing people familiar with the plans.

There would be a bone-conduction audio system in the device to allow the wearer to hear Alexa without inserting headphones into his or her ears, according to the report.

Amazon was not immediately available to comment on the report outside regular business hours.

Earlier this year, Alphabet Inc re-introduced its own wearable glass headset, Google Glass, after discontinuing its production last year.

FitBit May Have Been Used In Red Sox’s Signs Theft

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

An Apple Watch might not have been the device the Boston Red Sox used to allegedly steal signs from the New York Yankees after all.

The Yankees filed a complaint earlier this month with Major League Baseball saying the Red Sox were stealing pitch signs by using the smartwatch during a four-game series last month in Boston, according to The New York Times. The Yankees provided a video showing a Red Sox staffer looking at his wrist wearable and relaying a message to players, possibly tipping off what pitches were going to be thrown.

The report identified the device as an Apple Watch, but a Boston reporter says it was, in fact, a wearable by rival Fitbit.

“Turns out there was no Apple Watch involved in Red Sox sign stealing. It was a Fitbit product according to a major league source,” the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo said in a tweet Saturday. It wasn’t immediately clear which Fitbit product the Red Sox might have been using.

While there is no rule against stealing signs, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said using electronic means to do so is a violation and the allegations are under investigation. The Red Sox have admitted to having trainers relay information from their replay staff to players using electronic devices, a strategy that was in place for weeks.

The Red Sox organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

China Touts ‘Hack Proof’ Quantum Network

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

China has installed its first “commercial” quantum network in its northern province of Shandong, state media said, the country’s latest step in advancing a technology expected to enable “hack proof” communications.

China touts that it is at the forefront of developing quantum technology. In August it said it sent its first “unbreakable” quantum code from an experimental satellite to the Earth. The Pentagon has called the launch of that satellite a year earlier a “notable advance”.

Now the country’s “first commercial quantum private communication network” has been setup for exclusive use by more than 200 government and official users in Shandong’s provincial capital Jinan, the official Xinhua news agency said.

It did not elaborate on how the system would be commercially operated.

“Hundreds of pieces of equipment connected by hundreds of kilometers of fiber optics were installed within five months,” Xinhua said.

The network provides secure telephone and data communication services and is expected to be connected to a Beijing-Shanghai quantum network, the news agency said.

Quantum channels send messages embedded in light, and experts say that attempts to disrupt or eavesdrop on them would create detectable disturbances in the system.

Other countries, including the United States, have been working on their own quantum networks for years.

Microsoft Updates Teams Collaboration Software

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft has added enhancements to its Teams collaboration software, including guest account access and beefing up security and management capabilities for IT admins.

The guest access means that Office 365 users can now add people from outside their company to a team, enabling third-party users to participate in chats, join meetings and collaborate on documents.

The new feature means that IT staff will now be able to centrally manage guest accounts, enabling them to add, view or, if necessary, revoke access.

“This is a very significant milestone for Teams, as up until now it was only available for internal use,” said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Now customers will be able to collaborate with people outside of their firewall, opening up a much broader range of use-cases.”

Anyone with an Azure Active Directory account can be added as a guest in Teams.

Microsoft said that there are currently more than 870 million Azure Active Directory user accounts.

While guest users must have an Azure Active Directory account to use Teams, there are plans to allow anyone with a Microsoft Account to be added as a guest. If a guest doesn’t have an existing Microsoft Account, they would have to create a free account using their email address, whether they use Outlook or other email providers such as Google’s Gmail.

Guest user access will fall under the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365, the company said.

Security is an important factor when enabling guest access for users. With this in mind, Microsoft said that guest accounts will be added and managed within Azure Active Directory via Azure AD B2B Collaboration. Azure Active Directory provides features such as conditional access policies for guest users as well as machine learning algorithms to detect anomalies and suspicious incidents, and it can automatically trigger security processes such as multi-factor authentication when required.

The addition of guest access brings Teams in line with competing messenger tools such as Slack and Cisco Spark, which also enable external access, as well as Microsoft’s own Yammer collaboration software.

“It is encouraging that Microsoft is rolling out the ability to allow external users to collaborate in Teams, but it is a feature most collaborative applications have had for a while,” said IDC research director Wayne Kurtzman.

“To be a serious contender in the collaboration applications market, has to catch up with the market on a lot of features and functions,” he said.

In addition to the new features, Microsoft offered insights into how Teams is faring six months after its launch. According to the company, 125,000 organizations have now used the Slack competitor, compared to 30,000 back in January. That leaves plenty of room for growth, of course; Microsoft claims there are currently around 100 million Office365 users globally.

Rovio To Move Forward With IPO

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Finnish mobile games giant Rovio has confirmed plans to publicly offer its shares through the Helsinki arm of NASDAQ.

The Angry Birds firm released a statement detailing its intentions, revealing that it is planning “a share issue of approximately €30m”, which equates to $36m. Shares will also be sold by Trema International Holdings – currently the firm’s largest shareholder – and “certain other shareholders”.

This confirms ongoing reports that Rovio would consider an IPO, something the studio said was a possibility back in June. Last month, the rumours strengthened with suggestions that the IPO could raise $400m, valuing the company at $2bn.

The aim of the IPO is to enable Rovio to continue its growth, give it access to capital markets and “broaden its ownership base”, as well as build on the company’s brand awareness.

Throughout the statement Rovio refers to itself as a games-first entertainment company, although it also draws attention to the success of last year’s film The Angry Birds Movie and its ongoing merchandise business.

Rovio also notes that, as of June 2017, its games have been downloaded more than 3.7bn times, with an average monthly active userbase of 80m during the second quarter of this year.

CEO Kati Levoranta reiterated that the studio’s most recent releases – Angry Birds Evolution, Battle Bay and Angry Birds Match – have also outperformed all previously launched titles in select key performance indicators, giving Rovio cause to be optimistic about the IPO. Last month, Rovio revealed these releases had helped double its quarterly earnings year-on-year.

“Today, Rovio is stronger than ever and is well positioned in the fast growing mobile gaming market with our diversified games portfolio, proven game development talent and operational excellence as well as our large existing user base.  I am confident in our games-first strategy,” said Levoranta.

“The contemplated IPO and listing are an important milestone in developing Rovio into an even stronger games-first entertainment company.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Deezer Takes On Giants Of Music Streaming

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

From Brazilian gospel to Puerto Rican reggaeton and Dutch hip-hop, music streaming company Deezer is making waves all over the globe looking for markets where it can survive and thrive against Spotify and Apple.

The French firm has little hope of success going toe-to-toe with its far bigger rivals in the mass-market realms inhabited by the likes of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

Instead, it is focusing on local music genres in fast-growing, often non-English language markets, areas where it believes it can steal a march. It is targeting local listeners while also looking to position itself for a global audience as a “cool”, non-mainstream alternative.

As part of this strategy, launched this year and called Deezer Next, it is dispatching local teams of “editors” to identify talent in niche genres and create original content, Netflix-style.

The aim is not only to differentiate its catalog but also to reduce its reliance on the record labels that take the lion’s share of streaming services’ revenue. It has 40 editors globally and is looking to recruit more.

Deezer Chief Executive Hans-Holger Albrecht said he would target selected markets in Latin America, Asia, and Africa where Spotify was not already predominant. They include Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

“I strongly believe in the localization of content,” he told Reuters. “While Spotify is mainly playlist-focused, we are betting on local differentiation, and this has helped us become number one in gospel in Brazil.”

But finding a path to profit represents a formidable task for the loss-making company.

It has a similar “freemium” to market leader Spotify, whereby it attracts users by offering advert-supported free access and charges a monthly fee of about $10 for the full service. However, it has only 12 million active users – about 9 million paying – compared with Spotify’s 60 million paying subscribers, and brings in just a tenth of the Swedish firm’s $3 billion annual revenue.

Deezer, controlled by billionaire investor Len Blavatnik, is nonetheless sinking tens of millions of euros into this local music drive. Its strategy is based on a bet that music streaming will continue to grow rapidly to eventually eclipse all other forms of music listening.

The paid streaming market is expected to grow 16 percent to $28 billion by 2030 in terms of annual revenue, according to Goldman Sachs

“Streaming is a very young market, with just about 10 percent penetration globally, so there is a lot of potential still,” said Albrecht.

Qualcomm Develops New Chipset For Autonomous Cars

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has introduced a new Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) chipset and reference design that aims to bring automakers one step closer to deploying the communications systems necessary for fully autonomous vehicles.

Ford, Audi, the PSA Group and SAIC are all endorsing the new chipset which means that it will get out there. 

Qualcomm says that the 9150 C-V2X chipset will be available for commercial sampling in the second half of 2018, and is based on specs from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations.

Qualcomm’s C-V2X reference design will feature the 9150 C-V2X chipset, an application processor running the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) V2X stack, as well as a Hardware Security Module (HSM). C-V2X technology encompasses two transmission modes: direct communications and network-based communications. It’s key for both safety features and for implementing autonomous driving capabilities.

Its direct communications capabilities improve a vehicle’s situational awareness by detecting and exchanging information using low latency transmissions. Relying on the globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS band, the 9150 C-V2X chipset can relay information on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) scenarios without the need for a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), cellular subscription or network assistance. On top of that, C-V2X network-based communications – designed for 4G and emerging 5G wireless networks – supports telematics, connected infotainment and a growing number of advanced informational safety use cases.

Courtesy-Fud

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 Moving Into The Camera Space

September 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon enables 360-degree 4K video capture and live-streaming, spatial “surround-sound” audio recording.

When launched in 2013, the Ricoh Theta was the world’s first 360-degree, single-shot camera, which easily let users capture and express themselves in new and unique ways. 360-degree still photos and videos redefined photography by giving the viewer the ability to control what he or she sees in a scene. In addition, the resulting 360-degree images were easily shared with others, allowing them to virtually experience a scene.

Today, Ricoh Imaging announced its latest update in the 360-degree camera line, the Ricoh Theta V camera, offering 360-degree 4K video capture and live-streaming, spatial “surround-sound” audio recording and high-speed image transfer.  The Theta V can connect to and be controlled by any Android or iOS-based smartphone or tablet using the Theta S app. The first type of connection is either via Bluetooth low energy (BLE), which enables an “always on” connection between a camera and phone.  The second uses Wi-Fi.  Supporting two connections allow for  greater flexibility in how they wirelessly control the camera and upload images through the Theta S app. The processor powering the camera is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, and makes use of the Qualcomm Connected Camera Platform.  There is 19GB of built-in storage which allows for up to 4,800 stills and approximately 40 minutes of 4K (H.264) video to be stored.

In addition to standard features, the Ricoh Theta V is the first Street View Mobile Ready camera to be certified by Google. This distinction means that Ricoh Theta V owners will be the first to experience the all-new auto mode, which lets you create Google Street View imagery while you walk, bike or even drive.

The Ricoh Theta V is available for pre-sale today for $429.95 at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com and retail outlets in the USA. The 3D Microphone TA-1 is also available today for $269.99, and the Underwater Case TW-1 will be available in October for $199.95.

Courtesy-Fud

YouTube Live Updated, Streaming Simplified

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube is aiming to make your livestreaming more about the moment and less about the technicalities.

New launched updates to YouTube Live will bring more streaming power to your iPhone or iPad, help you moderate comments, and stream with less of a delay, Kurt Wilms, product lead for YouTube Live, said in a blog post.

“Whether it’s solar eclipses, NBA superstars, the hottest music artists, pro gamers, creators donating to charity, or the world’s most famous giraffe, creators use live to connect with fans during the moments that matter,” Wilms said.

The additions come as more celebrities, YouTubers and regular folks experiment with broadcasting video via their phones. It helps that there are myriad options, including Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope. The tech giants behind livestreaming all hope that when you feel the need to broadcast in real time, you’ll pick them.

YouTube’s updates include making it simpler to stream from your Apple iPhone and iPad. Although you can already livestream from certain apps via the YouTube Gaming app, the feature will now come to the main YouTube app so you can use your phone’s microphone and front-facing camera to add audio and video commentary to your stream.

No matter what you’re streaming, you’ll be doing it with lower latency, or less of a delay between when you broadcast the video and when people actually see the feed. The new feature is called ultra-low latency and cuts down on lag so you can answer questions or get viewer response faster. It’s a step toward real-time interaction with folks watching your live video.

Finally, there are also several new tools aimed at chat moderation. One lets you pause the chat to moderate by pressing and holding “alt/option.” Another lets you check for inappropriate messages and hold them for approval. The system, if you opt in to it, learns over time what you want to hold for review. Another tool is shared hidden user lists, which let moderators use the same hidden user lists for comments and live chat. A hidden user list consists of people a creator does not allow to comment.

Roku Prepares For Initial Public Offering

September 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Roku is gearing up to go public.

The streaming device maker is seeking $100 million in its initial public offering, according to a filing Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company will be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker ROKU.

Roku, which makes popular streaming devices like the Roku PremiereRoku Express+ and Roku Streaming Stick, said it’s seizing on the cord-cutting trend. “TV streaming’s disruptive content distribution model is shifting billions of dollars of economic value. Roku is capitalizing on this large economic opportunity,” reads the filing.

Roku may not be as recognizable a name as some of its streaming box competitors, which are all monolithic tech companies like Apple, Google and Amazon, but its products routinely slay in CNET reviews and in sales.

In the filing, Roku said it had more than 15 million active accounts, and that its users streamed over 6.7 billion hours of content on its platform in the first half of this year, a 62 percent increase from the first half of 2016. Earlier reports hinted that Roku planned to go public this year.

Roku declined to comment beyond the filing.

Millions Of Users Info Left Exposed By Time Warner Cable

September 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

More than four million records of users of Time Warner Cable’s MyTWC app were discovered unsecured on an Amazon server last month, according to digital security research center Kromtech Security Center.

The files — more than 600 gigabytes in size containing sensitive information such as transaction ID, user names, Mac addresses, serial numbers, account numbers — were discovered on Aug. 24 without a password by researchers of Kromtech.

“A vendor has notified us that certain non-financial information of legacy Time Warner Cable customers who used the MyTWC app became potentially visible by external sources,” Charter Communications Inc,  Time Warner Cable’s parent, said in an email.

The information was removed immediately after the discovery and the incident is being investigated, Charter said.

The breach was eventually linked to BroadSoft Inc, a communications company, whose unit developed the MyTWC app.

Broadsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LG Unveils Sleeker, Feature Packed V30 Smartphone

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

LG Electronics officially unveiled a slimmer version of its top-of-the-line phone, with advanced new camera and voice-activation features aimed at active video users, which it hopes can help it claw back market share lost to rivals.

The LG V30 offers a 6-inch screen that is shorter and narrower than its previous flagship phone, the G6, introduced just six months ago, making it easier to grasp. It is the lightest smartphone with a 6-inch or bigger screen, LG said.

The phone has a 13 megapixel wide-angle camera on the front, for selfies, and a 16-megapixel camera on the back for taking photos or shooting videos.

The rear camera has an f/1.6 glass camera lens, the widest aperture lens of any major smartphone, putting it ahead of the flagship phones of Samsung Electronics, Apple’s existing iPhone 7 series and HTC, LG said.

 A bigger aperture lets more light in and translates into clearer pictures, a key feature where camera phones have always lagged behind adjustable lens digital cameras.

“LG has pulled out all the stops with the V30 when it comes to specifications and features,” said phone industry analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who had been pre-briefed on the device.

“Ultimately it will depend on how much it is prepared to spend on marketing to take the fight to Samsung and educate consumers about how the V30 is different from rival Android ’super phones’”, he told Reuters.

Once a top five supplier of smartphones, LG fell to the No. 8 ranked smartphone supplier in 2016, according to data from market research firm Strategy Analytics.

LG, along with once major names like HTC and Sony have been squeezed between top global vendors Samsung, Apple and Huawei and other up-and-coming, aggressive Chinese smartphone suppliers.

Apple is expected to introduce its new iPhone 8 line-up in a few weeks. Samsung has unveiled several major new phone models so far this year, including the Galaxy S8 and the recent Note 8.

The LG V30 offers what it calls a cinematic mode for making movie-quality videos, without any training, that provides 15 preset options including romantic comedy, summer blockbuster, mystery, thriller and classic movie effects.

The phone is equipped with Google Assistant and Voice Recognition to activate preset options with voice commands rather than manual effort and other advanced audio features.

Pricing for the premium-priced new phone models were not immediately disclosed by LG.

The V30 is set to be available in South Korea starting on Sept. 21, followed by targeted markets in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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