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Adobe’s Flash Days Are Numbered In Firefox Browser

July 26, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mozilla has announced that  it will follow other browser markers by limiting the use of Flash in Firefox next month.

The open-source developer added that in 2017 it will dramatically expand the anti-Flash restrictions: Firefox will require users to explicitly approve the use of Flash for any reason by any website.

As have its rivals, Mozilla cast the limitations (this year) and elimination (next year) as victories for Firefox users, citing improved security, longer battery life on laptops and faster web page rendering.

Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content,” wrote Benjamin Smedberg, the manager of Firefox quality engineering, in a post to a company blog.

Firefox 48 is slated to ship on Aug. 2.

The initial blocking Smedberg mentioned will be based on a list Mozilla will generate by crawling the home pages of the top 10,000 websites as ranked by Alexa. Flash content that those sites use to “fingerprint” users, or as “super cookies” — two techniques to track visitors for advertising purposes — will land on the list, and thus not be run by Flash.

Through 2016, Mozilla will expand the list in Firefox by blocking other Flash content, including that used by advertisers to measure “viewability;” whether the ad has been seen, not erased, for example, by an ad blocker.

In 2017 — Smedberg did not say when, exactly — Firefox will require users to click on Flash content to activate the plug-in, and thus show that content. The click-to-activate demand will be enforced for all Flash content on all pages of all sites.

Firefox is late to the dump-Flash party.

Other browser developers — Apple, Google and Microsoft — have been more active in limiting Flash. Safari has frozen some Flash content since 2013, while Chrome did the same in September 2015. Edge will follow suit with the release of the Aug. 2 upgrade, Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

 

 

Are Movie Theaters Moving To Virtual Reality?

July 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung’s Gear VR headset has been installed in a what is believed to be the first Virtual Reality popup cinema.

The VIVID VR Cinema has been constructed in Toronto, Canada, where a total of three different films were being shown — The Visitor, where a young couple prepares for the woman’s greatest fear to arrive; Imago, a title about a former dancer in a coma who’s aware of her surroundings; and Sonar, a movie about a drone that discovers a signal on an asteroid.

The cinema is small – only 30 seats. Each has a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a Gear VR with a Galaxy S7 clipped to the back. Tickets cost $20 for the 40-minutes to watch the three films.

The movies have been carefully crafted to let their viewers to choose different narratives to focus on so even the plot is interactive.

It is expected that more of this type of entertainment will arrive when more content is available. It might be a couple of decades before the first Hollywood blockbuster though.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Tech Firms Form OTrP To Support IoT Security

July 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A bunch of tech firms including ARM and Symantec have joined forces to create a security protocol designed to protect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The group, which also includes Intercede and Solacia, has created The Open Trust Protocol (OTrP) that is now available for download for prototyping and testing from the IETF website.

The OTrP is designed to bring system-level root trust to devices, using secure architecture and trusted code management, akin to how apps on smartphones and tablets that contain sensitive information are kept separate from the main OS.

This will allow IoT manufacturers to incorporate the technology into devices, ensuring that they are protected without having to give full access to a device OS.

Marc Canel, vice president of security systems at ARM, explained that the OTrP will put security and trust at the core of the IoT.

“In an internet-connected world it is imperative to establish trust between all devices and service providers,” he said.

“Operators need to trust devices their systems interact with and OTrP achieves this in a simple way. It brings e-commerce trust architectures together with a high-level protocol that can be easily integrated with any existing platform.”

Brian Witten, senior director of IoT security at Symantec, echoed this sentiment. “The IoT and smart mobile technologies are moving into a range of diverse applications and it is important to create an open protocol to ease and accelerate adoption of hardware-backed security that is designed to protect onboard encryption keys,” he said.

The next stage is for the OTrP to be further developed by a standards-defining organisation after feedback from the wider technology community, so that it can become a fully interoperable standard suitable for mass adoption.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is nVidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 Living Up To The Hype?

July 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

As announced earlier, Nvidia has officially lifted the NDA off its Geforce GTX 1060 allowing sites to publish reviews which also means that retailers/e-tailers now have the green light to start selling the new graphics card.

Based on 16nm GP106 GPU, the new Geforce GTX 1060 is the third Nvidia Geforce graphics card based on the new Pascal GPU architecture. The GP106 GPU packs 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs and 48 ROPs and it will be coming with 6GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit memory interface.

The new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, which will be apparently sold only by Nvidia, will work at 1506MHz and 1709MHz for the GPU base and Boost clocks while memory will end up with a reference clock of 8000MHz, which adds up to 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The reference Founders Edition comes with a standard blower-style cooler which is somewhat simplified and lacks both heatpipes or vapor-chamber, mostly due to the fact that the GTX 1060 has a 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 needs a single 6-pin PCIe power connector which leaves it plenty of headroom for further overclocking.

Performance-wise, the Geforce GTX 1060 is on par with the GTX 980 4GB, and since it comes with 2GB more VRAM, it is a better choice. More importantly, the Geforce GTX 1060 is faster than the RX 480 in most cases, which is its direct competitor on the market.

Unfortunately, the GTX 1060 lacks SLI support, probably because it would kill the sales of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.

Priced at US $299 for the Founders Edition and coming with a MSRP of US $249, the Geforce GTX 1060 is quite impressive, offering more performance than the recently launched Radeon RX 480 and bringing that impressive Pascal power efficiency to the mainstream market.

Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the price wars in the mainstream graphics card segment and will push the prices closer to the MSRP. Both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 offer decent performance per buck so it will be a fight to the bitter end.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Does Pokemon Go Really Show The Possibilities Of VR?

July 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.

As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.

After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.

The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.

Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021′ and replace that with ’2016′ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.

Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.

And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.

Courtesy-Gi.biz

 

Are nVidia’s Days Numbered?

July 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.

The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.

The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.

While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.

“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”

At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.

We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia’s Volta Goes FinFET

July 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.

Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.

It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.

The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.

GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.

Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Nintendo Questioned Over Pokemon GO Data Collection, Privacy

July 14, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A Democratic U.S. senator requested the software developer behind Nintendo Co Ltd’s Pokemon GO to clarify the mobile game’s data privacy protections, amid concerns the augmented reality hit was unnecessarily collecting vast swaths of sensitive user data.

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter to Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke asking what user data Pokemon GO collects, how the data is used and with what third party service providers that data may be shared.

The game, which marries Pokemon, the classic 20-year-old cartoon franchise, with augmented reality, allows players to walk around real-life neighborhoods while seeking virtual Pokemon game characters on their smartphone screens – a scavenger hunt that has earned enthusiastic early reviews.

Franken also asked Niantic to describe how it ensures parents give “meaningful consent” to a child’s use of the game and subsequent collection of his or her personal information.

“I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent,” Franken wrote.

“As the augmented reality market evolves, I ask that you provide greater clarity on how Niantic is addressing issues of user privacy and security, particularly that of its younger players,” he added.

Franken additionally asked Niantic to provide an update on a vulnerability detected on Monday by security researchers who found Pokemon GO players signing into the game via a Google account on an Apple iOS device unwittingly gave “full access permission” to the person’s Google account.

Pokemon GO on Tuesday released an updated version on iOS to reduce the number of data permissions it sought from Google account users.

Niantic did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Franken’s inquiry.

The company, spun off by Google last year, created the game in tandem with Pokemon Co, a third of which is owned by Nintendo.

 

Microsoft Teams Up With IBM To Push Enterprise Surface Tablet

July 14, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft said its Surface devices pulls in about $1 billion in revenue every quarter, and the company hopes to raise that number by putting the devices on more corporate desktops.

The company is teaming up with IBM, one of the world’s largest software makers, to write applications specifically for Surface devices. The goal is to tailor Surface devices to meet the needs of financial, consumer goods and retail organizations.

The deal is significant for Microsoft, which wants to make Surface devices more attractive to enterprises. Market research firm IDC expects enterprise PC upgrades to pick up in the second half of this year, and Surface devices with tailored software could appeal to companies.

Surface tablets are already used by organizations like the National Football League and Emirates airline. It is one of the better Windows PCs available, but it has had more success with consumers and professional buyers than enterprises.

For IBM, the deal is much like the one it struck with Apple in 2014 to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. IBM will acquire more enterprise software customers, and it won’t have to worry about supporting the hardware.

The IBM custom software will take advantage of unique Surface features, Microsoft said. The applications will revolve around analytics, reporting, employee productivity, management and forecasting.

Microsoft also struck a similar partnership with Booz-Allen Hamilton to work on Surface tablets for government, public sector and health-care organizations, with a focus on security and manageability of devices. U.S. government organizations have specific requirements in computers purchased, particularly in the area of security.

Further details about the deals weren’t shared.

 

 

Is Samsungs Galaxy S7 Active Really Waterproof?

July 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

If you look at adverts for Samsung’s new Galaxy you would be forgiven for thinking that the smartphone is waterproof. Unfortunately according to US consumer reports, it isn’t.

The Samsung advert shown in Italy ends with the dramatic placing of a Galaxy into a glass of water. Which looks impressive.

Consumer Reports performs an immersion test when a manufacturer claims that its product is water-resistant and the Galaxy S7 Active failed.

While the phone performed extremely well in other tests. Consumer Reports is refusing to recommend it because the water resistant claim is incorrect.

Samsung says its phone follows an engineering standard called IP68 that covers both dust- and water-resistance, and that the phone is designed to survive immersion in five feet of water for 30 minutes.

Consumer Reports placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurised to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When it removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras. The touchscreen was borked.

A second Galaxy S7 Active also failed the same test and neither phone worked properly again.

Samsung says it has received “very few complaints” about this problem, and that in all cases, the phones were covered under warranty. A spokes Samsung sang:

“The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”

The company says it is investigating the matter.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Samsung Debuts UFS Memory

July 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung has announced the introduction of the first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) memory card line-up, which it claims has capacities of up to 256GB and speeds up to 530MB/s.

The range is based on the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association Universal Flash Storage 1.0 Card Extension Standard. It is a bit of a mouthful, but it means that they are next-generation replacements for the micro-SD format.

Samsung’s internal testing,  which may or may not be accurate, showed its top-end 256GB UFS memory card offers 530MB/s sequential read performance – some five times faster than ‘a typical UHS-1 micro-SD card.’  It can carry out 40,000 input output operations per second (IOPS), bringing performance in line with SATA-connected solid-state drives (SSDs).

Senior vice president for memory product planning and application engineering at Samsung Electronics Jung-bae Lee said that Samsung’s new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal user experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution.

‘By launching our new high-capacity, high-performance UFS card line-up, we are changing the growth paradigm of the memory card market to prioritise performance and user convenience above all.’

Yes he used the word “paradigm” so he had probably run out of real words to say about the device.

Performance drops below SSDs for write tasks. At 170MB/s sequential write performance is not bad and better than a micro-SD card. Samsung has said when the cards are coming out or how much they will cost.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Walmart Announces Mobile Payment Service Rollout Complete

July 8, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Walmart Stores Inc announced that it has completed the rollout of its Walmart Pay mobile payment service across the United States and that 88 percent of transactions on the payment app are from repeat users.

Overall transactions on the app, which the world’s largest retailer launched in December, jumped 45 percent in the last week, Daniel Eckert, senior vice-president of services at Walmart US, said on a conference call with the media.

Walmart declined to disclose the increase in transactions since the launch, or the number of the mobile app’s users in its stores.

U.S. retailers have launched many mobile payment apps in the last two years, but customers and merchants have been slow to adopt them.

U.S. mobile payments accounted for an estimated $67 billion of purchases in 2015, and are expected to grow this year to $83 billion, or 24 percent of all purchases made via smartphones, according to the latest Forrester Research data.

Eckert said Walmart Pay users have not been spending more as a result of using the app. The company is monitoring shopping patterns to see if purchases would increase.

The retailer will start advertising the app to push customer usage, he said.

Walmart Pay is available on Apple and Android devices and allows payments with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift cards.

Customers at a checkout counter must choose the payment option within the app and use their smartphone camera to scan the code displayed at the register. An e-receipt would be sent to the app. Apple Inc’s Apple Pay and Alphabet Inc’s Android Pay require retailers to install compatible new equipment, which has hindered wider acceptance.

Walmart does not accept external mobile wallets like Apple Pay in its stores. Discussions about accepting third party wallets are ongoing, but Walmart has no immediate plans to do so, Eckert said.

 

 

Will Virtual Reality Really Take Off

July 8, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

While beancounters have been predicting that VR will arise to become an important part of the IT industry, some of us have wondered if that was likely if the technology was too expensive and lacked a “killer app.”

But it is starting to look like the killer app will not be gaming, or office management, or anything else that the beancounters have been looking at. The real killer app, like VHS before it, will be smut.

Last week a group of VR retailers got together to produce a virtual erotica exhibition in Japan showing the porn applications available for VR. They had a few machines on hand and they expected a moderate amount of interest.

What happened was that shed loads of lonely Japanese blokes patiently queued up outside waiting to see if the tech was ready to meet their expectations. When we say loads we mean far too many. The exhibition had to pre-maturely close due to the pressing crowds.

While this made for a funny story, it actually shows who VR’s target market will be, initially. It will not be geeks or gamers it will be those who want a sexual experience either because they can’t get one, or can’t be bothered. It is these guys who are going to provide the base numbers that will make the machines profitable, rather than those who want to chainsaw zombies in 3D. For practical reasons these guys have deep pockets too.

It was the same people who provided the bedrock for internet bandwidth since the 1990s. Smut is still a mainstay of the Internet, although it is nowhere near as much as it was at the beginning. That is pretty much how this will play out over the next decade.

The porn users will be the early adopters and they will create the offer growth opportunities for component suppliers, including sensors, infrared (IR)/laser transmitters and LED chips. They will swiftly drive the cost of headsets down so that they become more accessible to other users and uses.
They will also force the development of better technology. Say what you like about porn, if it looks fake, or the experience is not particularly real then people are swiftly going to be dissatisfied.

This is going mean lighter VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices, more MEMS parts and IR/LED sensing components to detect the positions and movements of a “target.”

What we find interesting is that going through all the stories about VR and its cousin AR is that there is a marked reluctance for anyone to admit that this is what is about to happen. There are a few off-hand references to the “entertainment industry” or using the devices to “watch movies” but we can’t find anywhere that pundits are actually saying that “porn will be the killer app” – other than Fudzilla.

Practically this means that a lot of investment and marketing is heading in the wrong direction. While people are talking games, or even office applications, they are missing out on the apps and hardware which will propel VR and AR through its initial adoption hurdle.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is nVidia Having Production Issues?

July 1, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The rumor mill is flat out claiming that TSMC is getting the blame for a shortage of GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 supply issues. However, sources have been on the blower to say that is untrue, the lack of availability are generated by exceptionally great sales.

The 1080′s cards were launched in 27 May  and the GTX 1070 on 10 June, however stocks are scarcer than an intelligent post-Brexit plan in the UK. Even the over-priced Founders’ Edition cards are as rare as an apology from an Italian politician.

The rumor is that that TSMC is having trouble producing the 16nm FinFET chips that power the Pascal GPUs in the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. However what we are seeing is that interest is overwhelming supply – the Geforce has been selling better than any high end card in the recent history.

The reason is simple – the card’s performance is exceptional and if you are in the market for $500+ card you definitely want the 1080 or the 1070. AMD so far has nothing new to offer as a Fury X replacement.

According to many leaks Radeon RX480 will launch tomorrow, June 29th, but as you should probably know by now, this card cannot compete with GTX 1080 or 1070. The performance of Radeon RX480 should be around between GTX 960 and GTX 970, which is quite good for the mainstream card.

Again, people who spend $500+ on GPUs want more than that – they want to play Doom and Battlefield 1, or similar high end at 1440 or 4K resolution and Ultra settings. This is what is causing the shortage of cards.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft’s Updates Sway, Adds Paid Features

June 30, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Uncategorized

After a year on the market, Microsoft’s Sway presentation software has been updated with new functionality available to paying customers.

Office 365 subscribers will be able to lock their Sway presentations with passwords, load them up with more multimedia content, and conceal the software they used to make them with an update that Microsoft announced Tuesday.

That last feature will be an important change for users who don’t want to have a big banner at the end of their presentations saying they were made with Microsoft Sway. This change means that the presentation software will be more useful for creating shareable, public-facing documents that are either presented live or published to the web.

Adding paid features is a big step for Sway, which was launched in beta last year as the new kid on the block in Microsoft’s Office suite. It feels like the sort of presentation software that Microsoft might have created if it set out to make PowerPoint for the 21st century.

The news came as part of a major end-of-month Office update from Microsoft, which also revealed that users of Outlook will start seeing new cards that inform them about upcoming flights and inbound packages when they get notifications sent to their email inbox.

Those capabilities are rolling out to the Outlook web client and Outlook for the Mac. In the future, they’ll be available on Windows, iOS, and Android, along with the Mail and Calendar apps built into Windows 10.