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Will Windows 10 On ARM Finally Materialize?

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft dropped a bomb on December 7th.  At WinHEC it announced that the Next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have full Windows 10 support. Yes, this time, they will run every Windows X86 application via an emulator.

It looks like 2017 will be a fun year. Qualcomm,  all of a sudden got support for Windows 10 on its mobile computing devices. This will enable new anytime, anywhere connected device form factors. What Qualcomm and Microsoft are trying to say is that you can expect some tablet/notebook devices powered by SoCs that aren’t coming from Intel nor AMD.

This will help the synergy between mobile devices and computers and may well be the right way to do the Windows “continuum” in the right way.

The Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon are expected to support all aspects of Microsoft’s latest operating system including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge browser, Windows 10 gaming titles like Crysis 2 and World of Tanks, Windows Hello, and touchscreen features like Windows Pen. Qualcomm Snapdragon powered devices are expected to support Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Win32 apps through emulation, providing users with a wide selection of full featured applications. There is no label but most things should work, if not all of them.

This is definitely better than Windows RT, when Microsoft tried to develop Windows on ARM – a platform that simply confused the market as it would not run X86 applications. Now that problem is solved.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said:

“We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with our partner, Qualcomm Technologies, We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love – touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more – anytime, anywhere.”

Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT said:

“Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offer one of the world’s most advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life. “With full compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices.”

The first devices running the full Windows 10 experience based on Snapdragon processors are expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2017. From what we understand, this cooperation will not only include Snapdragon 835 and it looks like that all  future chips might end up getting  support for Windows 10. We will have to wait until  the second half of next year to see which will be the first company to launch a device powered by Snapdragon.

It will be interesting to see if that incurs a performance penalty for emulating the applications written for X86 on ARM architecture as emulation always cost you some performance. But Qualcomm and Microsoft would not go to this venture if it wasn’t something they could generally contribute to. This announcement has just put a lot of fuel to a Snapdragon 835 powered Surface phone, or at least a Surface device at some point.

We have a feeling that that might be Microsoft itself of one of the big OEMs think Dell, HP, Lenovo kind of customers.

 

Courtesy-Fud

VW’s Porsche Being Probed For Software Manipulation Regarding Emissions

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

porsche-cars-150x150Germany is looking into whether Volkswagen’s (VW) sportscar brand Porsche used software to disguise exhaust emissions, the country’s car industry regulator said on Thursday, in a fresh blow to VW’s attempts to move on from a 15 month-old scandal.

Germany’s Motor Transport Authority, KBA, said it was examining software that can measure the angle of a car’s steering wheel.

At stake is whether Porsche used software to detect whether its cars were being subjected to laboratory tests, using this information to switch to a less polluting emissions pattern than would occur under normal driving conditions.

 Porsche was not immediately available for comment.

VW  admitted in September 2015 to using illegal “defeat device” software in the United States to disguise the true level of toxic emissions from diesel engines, sparking the biggest business crisis in its history.

It has agreed a multi-billion dollar settlement with U.S. authorities and is spending billions more to refit vehicles and speed up development of electric cars.

The KBA is already conducting a similar investigation into VW’s Audi brand, which supplies engines to Porsche.

Does AMD Have A New Graphics Card In Route?

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A mystery AMD GPU has been spotted in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database, which goes in line with previous rumors that AMD is possibly preparing a new graphics card, called the RX 490.

The Radeon RX 490 has been already spotted online a few times and there have been quite a few rumors that AMD is working on a new graphics card. According to newest benchmark results, the graphics card, with Device ID 687F:C18, is very close to the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080.

While it is currently anyone’s guess, the mystery graphics card spotted in these benchmarks is most likely a dual-GPU Polaris graphics card and the score is in line with what you would get with two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards in Crossfire. On the other hand, the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark does detect multi-GPU configurations and it did not detect it in these results.

We have already managed to confirm that AMD Radeon Technologies Group should launch its new Vega GPU architecture, with a Vega 10 GPU, sometime in the first half of 2017 with possible briefings sometime this month. Bear in mind that some sources suggest that Vega could launch as early as Q1 2017.

The AMD Vega 10 GPU is expected to hit 24 TFLOPs of half-precision and 12 TFLOPs of single-precision compute performance. It is expected to pack 4096 Stream Processors and come with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

The aforementioned benchmark result might easily be a sample of the Vega GPU, but that would be a big surprise. Results were pulled from the benchmark data site but Techpowerup.com managed to get all the screenshots.

As you already know, AMD is hosting the big “New Horizon” event on December 13, where we expect it to preview its new Zen CPU architecture as well as new AM4+ desktop motherboards and hopefully preview or at least mention a new graphics card.

Courtesy-Fud

Is FitBit King Of Wearables?

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

You might not be aware of it, because the Tame Apple Press is going on an offensive, but Apple is losing the wearable’s market to Fitbit.

Today the tech press was full if a bizarre story claiming that Apple was going to clean up this Christmas with its iWatch. This is news to use because we knew that sales in the iWatch were falling. Nevertheless, Tim Cook was being quoted on Reuters as saying this would be the best Christmas ever for Jobs’ Mob’s iWatch.

We wondered how the story even got printed but it turned out it was because another report came out from IDC which revealed that not only were Smartwatch shipments down 51.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016 but Apple’s iWatch sales had fallen by 71 percent.

The IDC report show that the overall wearables market is up 3.1 percent year over year, but the winner is Fitbit and not Apple.

Fitbit saw a year on year growth of 11 percent. It shipped 5.3 million units in Q3 2016, representing a 23 percent share of the market. The company looks set to acquire Pebble and eventually offer a true smartwatch of its own, cementing its position at the top of the pile.

Chinese giant Xiaomi sits in second place with a 16.5 percent market share and 3.8 million units shipped in Q3, while fitness brand Garmin is in third position with a 5.7 percent market share and device shipment volumes of 1.3 million.

Apple is in fourth place and Samsung is the last manufacturer on the list. It may only have a 4.5 percent market share thanks to its 1 million shipped units, but that still represents YoY growth of almost 90 percent.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Data Centers Push For 100% Renewable Energy Usage In 2017

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

google-bldg-150x150Google announced that it will be able to power all of its global data centers and corporate offices from 100% renewable energy in 2017, a goal the company has been working toward for years.

Back in 2010 Google began signing long-term contracts to purchase renewable energy directly from solar and wind farm suppliers. The company’s first contract was to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Iowa.

Last year, Google purchased another 842MW of renewable energy, nearly doubling the clean power it had purchased, which took it to 2 gigawatts (GW) of cumulative renewable power.

“Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future,” Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, stated in a blog.

Google pursued a multi-pronged approach to reach its 100% renewable energy goal, buying electricity through power purchase agreements(PPAs) that locked in contracts for carbon-free energy at a set price. The guaranteed revenue from PPAs also allowed renewable energy suppliers to invest with confidence in additional capacity, such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. Google also started creating more efficient facilities that would use less energy.

Google has signed onto 20 renewable energy projects around the world — about two-thirds of which are in the U.S. — amounting to more than $3.5 billion in clean energy investments.

Google also purchased its power through renewable energy credits, each one of which represents 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity sold separately from commodity power sources and fed into the general electrical grid.

“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80%, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” Hölzle said. “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.”

“Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone — not just Google — has access to clean energy,” he added.

‘Stegano’ Malvertising Ads Expose Millions Of Online Users To Hacking

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

malvertising-2-150x150Since October, millions of internet users have been exposed to malicious code embedded in the pixels from tainted banner ads designed to install Trojans and spyware, according to security firm ESET.

The attack campaign, called Stegano, has been spreading from malicious ads in a “number of reputable news websites,” ESET said in a Tuesday blog post. It’s been preying on Internet Explorer users by scanning for vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and then exploiting them.

The attack is designed to infect victims with malware that can steal email password credentials through its keylogging and screenshot grabbing features, among others.

The attack is also hard to detect. To infect their victims, the hackers were essentially poisoning the pixels used in the tainted banner ads, ESET said in a separate post.

The hackers concealed their malicious coding in the parameters controlling the pixels’ transparency on the banner ad. This allowed their attack to go unnoticed by the legitimate advertising networks.

Victims will typically see a banner ad for a product called “Browser Defense” or “Broxu.” But in reality, the ad is also designed to run Javascript that will secretly open a new browser window to a malicious website designed to exploit vulnerabilities in Flash that will help carry out the rest of the attack.

Hackers have used similar so-called malvertising tactics to secretly serve malicious coding over legitimate online advertising networks. It’s an attack method that has proven to be a successful at quickly spreading malware to potentially millions.

The makers behind the Stegano attack were also careful to create safeguards to prevent detection, ESET said. For instance, the banner ads will alternate between serving a malicious version or a clean version, depending on the settings run on the victim’s computer. It will also check for any security products or virtualization software on the machine before proceeding with the attack.

ESET declined to name the news websites that were found unknowingly displaying the malicious ads, but cautioned that the attack was widespread, and could have been hosted through other popular sites as well.

Will Facebook Get Acquired By Evil Google?

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The word on the information street is that Google wants to buy Facebook. It is entirely speculative, but could have legs.

Information leaked suggests that talks are well advanced between the two companies.

Anecdotal evidence from many Facebook users suggests that talks are well advanced and the companies are already sharing experimental data, between themselves, of user data. Other sources suggest that Microsoft (Vole) is also interested in Facebook and, conversely, that Facebook is interested in buying Microsoft.

None of the companies cared enough to comment to Fudzilla at press time. 

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple Still In The Self-Driving Car Arena?

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claiming that was still interested in making self-driving cars.

Jobs’ Mob got a black eye in its self-driving car plans when it found that car makers were not the push over it expected. Jobs’ Mob arrived on the scene expecting car makers to fall over themselves to make Apple their partner. It made a list of demands about the way it was going to turn out and the car makers just laughed.

As a result, Apple appeared to give up on Project Titan, which was supposed to make the car, and reallocated all its staff to other projects or fired them.

Now this letter to the NHTS has Apple claiming to be “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

The letter is Apple’s official comment on the federal government’s automated vehicle guidelines, released last September, which has already drawn feedback from many companies working on autonomous cars like Google and Ford.

The federal government is continuing to collect feedback from tech companies and car manufacturers on its recently released automated vehicle policy. It would appear that Apple still wants into the program. Although how this will be possible without a product, or staff capable of making such a product is strange.

The letter is signed by Steven Kenner who is the man in charge of what is left of Project Titan.

“Apple agrees that companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses. By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone.”

A cynic would suggest that Apple is hoping that other companies will share data which it can use to create its own product.

Apple also wants the government allow for “regulatory flexibility” to encourage innovation. This means that the government should keep the guidelines voluntary and avoid passing any concrete rules or mandates so Apple can do what it likes.

Courtesy-Fud

Nikola Motor Co. Debuts Hydrogen Fuel-cell 18-Wheeler

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

nikola-motor-truck-150x150Startup Nikola Motor Co. took the wraps off of their hydrogen fuel-cell powered 18-wheel tractor trailer truck that will have a range of 800 to 1,200 miles on a fill-up, which is nearly double that of any other semi-truck on the road.

The custom-built, hydrogen-electric, 800-volt fuel cell 18-wheeler, a class 8 rig that will be able to haul 80,000 lbs., will be more powerful than any other production diesel truck on the road, the company said.

 In May, the company announced that its first class 8 semi-truck would be an all-electric vehicle, but in August said it was instead developing a transport powered with a hydrogen fuel cell.

The Nikola One will retail for $375,000, nearly double the price for a standard diesel semi-trailer.

To spur adoption, the company is also offering enough free hydrogen for each purchased truck to travel 1 million miles.

The Nikola One will also be offered through a leasing program that will cost from $5,000 to $7,000 a month, depending on the configuration and options a customer chooses. It will also include unlimited miles and hydrogen fuel, and a warranty and scheduled maintenance during a 72-month term. In August, the company had said the leasing program would cost from $4,000 to $5,000 a month.

At no additional cost, owners can trade in their Nikola One for a new one every 72 months or 1 million miles, whichever comes first.

To date, Nikola Motor has accepted reservations totaling nearly $3 billion in future orders, it said.

“Nikola will build a world-class advanced manufacturing facility which will create thousands of new jobs,” said Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton.

“Nikola is currently in discussions with several states to decide who to partner with in its effort to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, advance green energy and revolutionize the trucking industry. The location of the Nikola Motor manufacturing facility will be determined in the first half of 2017,” Milton said.

Apple Watch Sales Off To A Strong Start During Holiday Season

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

apple-watch-2-150x150Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers racked up an impressive record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc  Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters.

Cook said the gadget’s sell-through – a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers’ shelves – reached a new high.

Cook’s comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. The comments offer a glimpse of the gadget’s performance during the holiday quarter, which is typically Apple’s strongest.

 “Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook wrote.

“Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch,” he said.

Cook did not respond to a request for specific sales figures for the gadget.

Apple has disclosed few details about the performance of the Apple Watch, its first new product released under Cook. The company has not broken out sales of the gadget in its earnings, instead lumping it into an “other products” category that includes devices such as the iPod and Apple TV.

Strong sales of the Apple Watch are to be expected during the holiday quarter as the gadget is a more natural gift than some of the company’s other products such as the iPhone or Mac computer, said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. Apple also lowered the price of the gadget this year, potentially helping the holiday sales comparison, O’Donnell noted.

 

Will The TeraHertz Band Help Increase Wi-Fi Speeds

December 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

teraResearchers have worked out a way to push Wi-Fi speeds to 34 Gbps using the TeraHertz band.

While greater bandwidth in the 300GHz and above band has been known for a while it is pointless because the range makes it a chocolate teapot.

Some researchers have managed to hit 100 Gbps but when it only works for a few centimetres it is not commercially viable.

Now boffins at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have got the technology to provide a great 34 Gbps speed with a decent range.

Naoto Oshimo, one of the scientists behind this latest test, said that “device performance is almost sufficient for short-distance wireless communication such as KIOSK downloads, which might be its first application”. By that they mean that they have managed 10 metres, almost OK for home use.

Oshimo believes that this technology will scale hugely in terms of the speed as well, and we could eventually be looking at topping the 1Tbps mark.

Courtesy-Fud

Seagate And Amazon Backing Into The Clouds

December 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hard drive maker Seagate has teamed up with Amazon to create a $99 1TB external hard drive that automatically backs up everything stored on it to the cloud.

Dubbed the Seagate Duet, the drive’s contents are cloned to Amazon Drive. All you need to do is plug in the drive, sign in with your Amazon account and that is it.

You can drag and drop files over, and access them from the web or Amazon’s Drive app on smartphones and tablets. Seagate claims you’ll get a year of unlimited storage just for buying the hard drive, which normally costs $59.99 annually.

Amazon’s listing for the Duet has some fine print. At the moment the offer is for the US and is not valid for current Amazon Drive Unlimited Storage paid subscription customers.

You also have to redeem the promo code within two months of buying the hard drive if you want the years’ worth of unlimited cloud storage.  Returning the Duet, will see your 12 months of unlimited drive storage slashed down to three.

Courtesy-Fud

PC Shipments Expected To Finally Rise In 2017

December 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

While PC shipments are set to decline in 2016, beancounters at IDC think that the drop will be better than expected and there will be an improvement in 2017.

IDC expects PC vendors to ship a total of 258.2 million units this year, a figure which would be 6.4 percent lower than last year. It had been expected that there would be a 7.2 percent fall. Now IDC is saying that growth will still be negative in 2017, but shipments are expected to decrease by just 2.6 percent compared to this year.

Commercial shipments of notebooks will grow this year, while desktops should stay flat in terms of growth. The pressure from mobile devices is said to decrease as the markets mature. The tablet market in particular is not as big of a concern or threat to PCs as it is declining too.

IDC Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research vice president Loren Loverde said that the PC market continues to perform close to expectations.

“Some volatility in emerging regions is being offset by incremental gains in larger mature markets while the interaction with tablets and phones is stabilizing. We continue to see steady progression toward smaller desktops and notebooks as replacement buying helps stabilize overall shipments in the coming years”.

Looking towards 2020, IDC claims that the market will still face a decline in terms of unit shipments, but only a small one at 0.8 percent. In 2020, PC vendors are expected to move 250 million units.

IDC Devices and Displays senior research analyst Neha Mahajan said:

“Despite continued weakness in the consumer segment, the US PC market is showing some signs of stability in the near future with some sources of optimism for the long haul. Backed by early Windows 10 transitions that are expected to boost commercial PC shipments in the next couple of years, and steady growth of PCaaS (PC as a Service) which should help shorten refresh cycles of commercial systems in the long-term, the overall US PC market sentiment certainly seems to be improving”.

Courtesy-Fud

Gooligan Malware Gains Access To Over 1M Google Accounts

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

google-bldg-150x150A new Android malware has succeeded in gaining access to more than 1 million Google accounts, and it continues to infect new devices, according to security firm Checkpoint.

“We believe that it is the largest Google account breach to date,” the security firm said in blog post.

The malware, called Gooligan, has been preying on devices running older versions of Android, from 4.1 to 5.1, which are still used widely, especially in Asia.

Gooligan masquerades as legitimate-looking Android apps. Checkpoint has found 86 titles, many of which are offered on third-party app stores, that contain the malicious coding.

 Once Gooligan is installed, it attempts to root the device, as a way to gain full control. The malware does this by exploiting well-known vulnerabilities in older versions of Android.
“These exploits still plague many devices today because security patches that fix them may not be available for some versions of Android, or the patches were never installed by the user,” Checkpoint said.
Gooligan will then go on to steal the user’s Google authorization tokens, giving the malware access to Gmail, Google Play, and other related services.

Of the 1 million Google accounts breached, 19 percent were based in the Americas, 9 percent in Europe, while 57 percent were in Asia, according to Checkpoint.

Facebook Developing Artificial Intelligence To Patrol Live Videos

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

fb-logo-3-150x150Facebook Inc is developing a way to automatically flag offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning.

The social media company has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies this year, from facing international outcry after removing an iconic Vietnam War photo due to nudity, to allowing the spread of fake news on its site.

Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company “community standards.” Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company.

Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material. It is “an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies,” he said.

The company already had been working on using automation to flag extremist video content, as Reuters reported in June.

Now the automated system also is being tested on Facebook Live, the streaming video service for users to broadcast live video.

Using artificial intelligence to flag live video is still at the research stage, and has two challenges, Candela said. “One, your computer vision algorithm has to be fast, and I think we can push there, and the other one is you need to prioritize things in the right way so that a human looks at it, an expert who understands our policies, and takes it down.”

Facebook said it also uses automation to process the tens of millions of reports it gets each week, to recognize duplicate reports and route the flagged content to reviewers with the appropriate subject matter expertise.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in November said Facebook would turn to automation as part of a plan to identify fake news. Ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. election, Facebook users saw fake news reports erroneously alleging that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.

However, determining whether a particular comment is hateful or bullying, for example, requires context, the company said.

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