Shares in Intel have surged after the news leaked that it is trying to buy fellow chipmaker Altera for a cool $10 billion.
If it goes ahead it will be Intel’s biggest purchase ever and the latest merger in the quickly consolidating semiconductor sector.
For those who came in late. Altera, was once part of AMD, and makes programmable chips widely used in mobile phone towers, the military and other industrial applications. Altera’s value to Intel is its programmable chips, which are increasingly being used in data centres, where they are customized for specialized functions such as providing web-search results or updating social networks.
It is seen as part of Intel Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich’s glorious plans to seek out new markets, and new technologies and to boldly go where noIntel has gone before.
Earlier this month, Intel slashed nearly $1 billion from its first-quarter revenue forecast to $12.8 billion, plus or minus $300 million, as small businesses put off upgrading their personal computers.
Altera is one of the only semiconductor companies with better gross margins than Intel, and with about two-thirds of its revenue from telecom, wireless, military/aerospace.
The story has yet to be confirmed by anyone other than the business press which probably means it is true.
Intel’s previous biggest deal, is the $7.7 billion purchase of security software maker McAfee in 2011.
Amazon’s Unlimited Everything Plan allows users to store an infinite number of photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music in its Cloud Drive.
The site also announced a separate $12 per year plan for unlimited photos. People who subscribe to Amazon Prime already get unlimited capacity for photos. Both the Unlimited Everything Plan and the Photos Plan have three-month free trial periods.
Online storage and file sharing service providers, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, have been engaged in a pricing war over the past year. Last fall, Dropbox dropped its Pro plan pricing for individuals to $9.99 per month for 1TB of capacity. Dropbox offers 2GB of capacity for free.
Dropbox also offers members 500MB of storage each time they get a friend to sign up; there’s a 16GB max on referrals, though. With Dropbox Pro, members can get 1GB instead of 500MB each time they refer someone.
Google Drive offers 15GB of capacity for free and charges $1.99 per month for 100GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB.
Apple’s iCloud offers 5GB of capacity for free, and charges 99 cents per month for 20GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB.
Microsoft’s OneDrive offers 15GB of capacity for free, and charges $1.99 per month for 100GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB and $6.99 per month for 1TB.
While Amazon offers unlimited file size uploads for desktop users, it limits file sizes to 2GB for mobile devices.
MSI recently announced a 970A SLI Krait motherboard that will support the AMD processors and the USB 3.1 protocol. Motherboards with USB 3.1 ports have also been released by Gigabyte, ASRock and Asus, but those boards support Intel chips.
USB 3.1 can shuffle data between a host device and peripheral at 10Gbps, which is two times faster than USB 3.0. USB 3.1 is also generating excitement for the reversible Type-C cable, which is the same on both ends so users don’t have to worry about plug orientation.
The motherboards with USB 3.1 technology are targeted at high-end desktops. Some enthusiasts like gamers seek the latest and greatest technologies and build desktops with motherboards sold by MSI, Asus and Gigabyte. Many of the new desktop motherboards announced have the Type-C port interface, which is also in recently announced laptops from Apple and Google.
New technologies like USB 3.1 usually first appear in high-end laptops and desktops, then make their way down to low-priced PCs, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst of Mercury Research.
PC makers are expected to start putting USB 3.1 ports in more laptops and desktops starting later this year.
At the WinHEC conference Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 will support 8K (7680*4320) resolution for monitors, which is unlikely show up on the market this year or next.
It also showed off minimum and maximum resolutions supported by its upcoming Windows 10. It looks like the new operating system will support 6″+ phone and tablet screens with up to 4K (3840*2160) resolution, 8″+ PC displays with up to 4K resolution and 27″+ monitors with 8K (7680*4320) resolution.
To put this in some perspective, the boffins at the NHK (Nippon H?s? Ky?kai, Japan Broadcasting Corp.) think that 8K ultra-high-definition television format will be the last 2D format as the 7680*4320 resolution (and similar resolution) is the highest 2D resolution that the human eye can process.
This means that 8K and similar resolutions will stay around for a long time and it makes sense to add their support to hardware and software.
NHK is already testing broadcasting in 8K ultra-high-definition resolutions, VESA has ratified DisplayPort and embedded DisplayPort standards to connect monitors with up to 8K resolution to graphics adapters and a number of upcoming games will be equipped for textures for 8K UHD displays.
However monitors that support 8K will not be around for some time because display makers will have to produce new types of panels for them.
Redmond will be ready for the advanced UHD monitors well before they hit the market. Many have criticized Microsoft for poor support of 4K UHD resolutions in Windows 8.
The vague announcement raised the question of whether Verizon is simply trying to show its competitive value against Google and AT&T, which have both announced fiber Internet services in a number of cities.
“I think Verizon is trying to play catch up to the others without saying it that way,” said independent analyst Jeff Kagan. “The only question I still have is will Verizon be a real competitor or is this mostly just talk to cover their butts in the rapidly changing marketplace?”
What Verizon did disclose in a news release was that it will be modernizing undisclosed portions of its so-called 100G (for 100 Gbps) metro optical network using packet-optimized networking gear from Ciena and Cisco. Testing and deployment of the Ciena 6500 optical switch and Cisco’s Network Covergence System will happen this year, with plans to go live in 2016. /
“We are not announcing specific geographies at this time,” Verizon spokeswoman Lynn Staggs said in an email. She said the new equipment is not directly related to fiber connections to the premises of homes or businesses. By comparison, both Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower are designed with 1 Gbps connections to homes, schools and businesses in mind.
Staggs said Verizon is upgrading connectivity between central Verizon offices and the backbone network. On top of that service, there is generally an “access” network for the last mile to connect the customer and the metro network, she added.
No matter how Verizon describes the ultimate purpose of its metro network, it is clear to analysts and others that Verizon’s metro upgrades could be used to prepare for last-mile fiber connections to businesses, schools and even homes to take on Google and AT&T directly. “Deploying a new coherent, optimized and highly scalable metro network means Verizon stays ahead of the growth trajectory while providing an even more robust network infrastructure for future demand,” said Lee Hicks, vice president of Verizon network planning, in a statement.
The service, dubbed Pony Express, would ask users to provide personal information, including credit card and Social Security numbers, to a third-party company that would verify their identity, according to a Re/code report on Tuesday.
Google also would work with vendors that distribute bills on behalf of service providers like insurance companies, telecom carriers and utilities, according to the article, which was based on a document seen by Re/code that describes the service.
It’s not clear whether Pony Express is the actual name of the service or if Google will change the name once it launches. It’s planned to launch by the end of the year, according to the report.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.
A handful of vendors such as Intuit, Invoicera and BillGrid already offer e-billing payment and invoicing software. Still, a Google service, especially one within Gmail, could be useful and convenient to consumers if the company is able to simplify the online payment process.
A benefit for Google could be access to valuable data about people’s e-commerce activities, although there would be privacy issues to sort out. Google already indexes people’s Gmail messages for advertising purposes.
Plus, the service could give Google an entry point into other areas of payment services. The company has already launched a car insurance shopping servicefor California residents, which it plans to expand to other states.
It’s unclear who Google’s partners would be for the service, but screen shots published by Re/Code show Cascadia Financial, a financial planning company, and food delivery service GreatFoods.
PC and printer makers have struggled in the recent past as companies reduced printing to cut costs and consumers shifted to mobile devices from PCs.
Hewlett-Packard Co plans to separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations this year.
Xerox Corp has also increasingly focused on IT services to make up for the falling sales of its copiers and printers.
Lexmark divested its inkjet printer business in 2013 and has since boosted its enterprise software business.
The Kofax deal will help the company’s Perceptive Software business achieve its revenue target of $500 million in 2016, Lexmark said.
The business makes software to scan everything from spreadsheets to medical images and provides services to banking, healthcare, insurance and retail companies. It contributed about 8 percent to Lexmark’s revenue in 2014 and has grown at more than 30 percent in the past two years.
Kofax provides data services to the financial, insurance and healthcare companies such as Citigroup Inc, Metlife Inc and Humana Inc.
Lexmark said it expects the deal to “significantly” expand operating margins in its enterprise software business, which would now be worth about $700 million. It will also add about 10 cents per share to the company’s adjusted profit in 2015.
Security researchers who participated in the Pwn2Own hacking contest have demonstrated remote code execution exploits against the top four browsers, and also hacked the widely used Adobe Reader and Flash Player plug-ins.
South Korean security researcher and serial browser hacker Jung Hoon Lee, known online as lokihardt, single-handedly popped Internet Explorer 11 and Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows, as well as Apple Safari on Mac OS X.
He walked away with US$225,000 in prize money, not including the value of the brand new laptops on which the exploits are demonstrated and which the winners get to take home.
The Pwn2Own contest takes place every year at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, Canada, and is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative program. The contest pits researchers against the latest 64-bit versions of the top four browsers in order to demonstrate Web-based attacks that can execute rogue code on underlying systems.
Lee’s attack against Google Chrome earned him the largest payout for a single exploit in the history of the competition: $75,000 for the Chrome bug, an extra $25,000 for a privilege escalation to SYSTEM and another $10,000 for also hitting the browser’s beta version — for a total of $110,000.
The IE11 exploit earned him an additional $65,000 and the Safari hack $50,000.
Lee’s accomplishment is particularly impressive because he competed alone, unlike other researchers who teamed up, HP’s security research team said in a blog post.
Also on Thursday, a researcher who uses the hacker handle ilxu1a popped Mozilla Firefox on Windows for a $15,000 prize. He also attempted a Chrome exploit, but ran out of time before he managed to get his attack code working.
Mozilla Firefox was also hacked, during the first day of the competition, by a researcher named Mariusz Mlynski. His exploit also leveraged a Windows flaw to gain SYSTEM privileges, earning him a $25,000 bonus on top of the standard $30,000 payout for the Firefox hack.
Most of the attacks demonstrated at Pwn2Own this year required chaining of several vulnerabilities together in order to bypass all defense mechanisms put in place in operating systems and browsers to prevent remote code execution.
The final count for vulnerabilities exploited this year stands as follows: five flaws in the Windows OS, four in Internet Explorer 11, three each in Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Reader, and Flash Player, two in Apple Safari and one in Google Chrome.
Sprint will allow companies that sign up for the new Workplace-as-a-Service to use other carriers for wired or wireless communications, while Sprint will continue to manage all the various networks involved.
However, Sprint will offer its own Workplace customers discounts on basic wireless connectivity, such as unlimited voice, texting and data plans for smartphones for $40 — $20 less than the comparable plan for consumers.
Certain pieces of the Workplace offer include actual connectivity, such as Wide Area Network connections, enterprise-grade managed Wi-Fi, voice connections, online collaboration, audio and video conference and instant messaging. But Sprint will also provide mobile device management across all carriers and bring-your-own-device support for laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst for ZK Research, called the Workplace offer unique. “There are plenty of managed and cloud services on the market today that deploy a particular app or service, but nobody has actually taken the time to figure out how to package a complete workplace service,” he said in an interview. “It’s truly turnkey.”
Mike Fitz, vice president of business solution commercialization at Sprint, said the service is focused on businesses with 100 to 10,000 workers at multiple locations with perhaps 20 to 200 workers at each site. Still, he said, Sprint is using the same concept for its own 35,000 employees, an indication that Workplace will scale up for much larger companies.
The largest corporations will still want multiple providers on a global basis, Kerravala said. But Workplace will be ideal for branch offices, where there often isn’t an IT professional around.
Sprint estimated its Workplace service would be half as expensive as more conventional ways of delivering similar services. The various services also include a single monthly bill from Sprint based on $200 a month for each worker. “That makes op-ex predictable,” he said.
The OpenSSL project team has confirmed that it will make available releases on March 19th to fix a number of security defects, classified as ‘high’ severity.
Gavin Millard, Technical Director of Tenable Network Security believes that the vulnerabilities involved effect OpenSSL 1.0.2a, 1.0.1m, 1.0.0r and 0.9.8zf.
“With the contributors to the OpenSSL project staying tight lipped apart from stating it will be classified as “High Severity”, it would be prudent for organisations to identify all systems affected in advance of the patch to deploy the updates if required,” he said.
Fears are that the vulnerabilities will be just as bad as Heartbleed, which is still alive and kicking on non-updated servers. Millard said that hopefully this bug will be less severe than Heartbleed but, until Thursday, only a few will know.
For the full, translated conference, see the video below.
Every three years I install Linux and see if it is ready for prime time yet, and every three years I am disappointed. What is so disappointing is not so much that the operating system is bad, it has never been, it is just that who ever designs it refuses to think of the user.
To be clear I will lay out the same rider I have for my other three reviews. I am a Windows user, but that is not out of choice. One of the reasons I keep checking out Linux is the hope that it will have fixed the basic problems in the intervening years. Fortunately for Microsoft it never has.
This time my main computer had a serious outage caused by a dodgy Corsair (which is now a c word) power supply and I have been out of action for the last two weeks. In the mean time I had to run everything on a clapped out Fujitsu notebook which took 20 minutes to download a webpage.
One Ubuntu Linux install later it was behaving like a normal computer. This is where Linux has always been far better than Windows – making rubbish computers behave. I could settle down to work right? Well not really.
This is where Linux has consistently disqualified itself from prime-time every time I have used it. Going back through my reviews, I have been saying the same sort of stuff for years.
Coming from Windows 7, where a user with no learning curve can install and start work it is impossible. Ubuntu can’t. There is a ton of stuff you have to upload before you can get anything that passes for an ordinary service. This uploading is far too tricky for anyone who is used to Windows.
It is not helped by the Ubuntu Software Centre which is supposed to make like easier for you. Say that you need to download a flash player. Adobe has a flash player you can download for Ubuntu. Click on it and Ubuntu asks you if you want to open this file with the Ubuntu Software Center to install it. You would think you would want this right? Thing is is that pressing yes opens the software center but does not download Adobe flash player. The center then says it can’t find the software on your machine.
Here is the problem which I wrote about nearly nine years ago – you can’t download Flash or anything proprietary because that would mean contaminating your machine with something that is not Open Sauce.
Sure Ubuntu will download all those proprietary drivers, but you have to know to ask – an issue which has been around now for so long it is silly. The issue of proprietary drives is only a problem for those who are hard core open saucers and there are not enough numbers of them to keep an operating system in the dark ages for a decade. However, they have managed it.
I downloaded LibreOffice and all those other things needed to get a basic “windows experience” and discovered that all those typefaces you know and love are unavailable. They should have been in the proprietary pack but Ubuntu has a problem installing them. This means that I can’t share documents in any meaningful way with Windows users, because all my formatting is screwed.
LibreOffice is not bad, but it really is not Microsoft Word and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying.
I download and configure Thunderbird for mail and for a few good days it actually worked. However yesterday it disappeared from the side bar and I can’t find it anywhere. I am restricted to webmail and I am really hating Microsoft’s outlook experience.
The only thing that is different between this review and the one I wrote three years ago is that there are now games which actually work thanks to Steam. I have not tried this out yet because I am too stressed with the work backlog caused by having to work on Linux without regular software, but there is an element feeling that Linux is at last moving to a point where it can be a little bit useful.
So what are the main problems that Linux refuses to address? Usability, interface and compatibility.
I know Ubuntu is famous for its shit interface, and Gnome is supposed to be better, but both look and feel dated. I also hate Windows 8′s interface which requires you to use all your computing power to navigate through a touch screen tablet screen when you have neither. It should have been an opportunity for Open saucers to trump Windows with a nice interface – it wasn’t.
You would think that all the brains in the Linux community could come up with a simple easy to use interface which lets you have access to all the files you need without much trouble. The problem here is that Linux fans like to tinker they don’t want usability and they don’t have problems with command screens. Ordinary users, particularly more recent generations will not go near a command screen.
Compatibly issues for games has been pretty much resolved, but other key software is missing and Linux operators do not seem keen to get them on board.
I do a lot of layout and graphics work. When you complain about not being able to use Photoshop, Linux fanboys proudly point to GIMP and say that does the same things. You want to grab them down the throat and stuff their heads down the loo and flush. GIMP does less than a tenth of what Photoshop can do and it does it very badly. There is nothing that can do what CS or any real desktop publishers can do available on Linux.
Proprietary software designed for real people using a desktop tends to trump anything open saucy, even if it is producing a technology marvel.
So in all these years, Linux has not attempted to fix any of the problems which have effectively crippled it as a desktop product.
I will look forward to next week when the new PC arrives and I will not need another Ubuntu desktop experience. Who knows maybe they will have sorted it in three years time again.
That’s the word from industry analysts after Google announced that it’s opening what is going to be called the Google Shop in Currys PC World, a well-known electronics store in London.
“This is about marketing, not selling,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “While Apple’s stores are real stores with huge volumes, this is about building the brand and exposing people to Google who don’t know about all the Google offerings.”
The Google shop is set up to offer customers the chance to see and try out Google’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecast streaming-media devices, as well as learn about how they work together, according to the company.
Store visitors also will be able to try out Google’s software tools and apps, using a series of immersive features, like a Chromecast Pod that allows users to play movies and YouTube videos, as well as an immersive surround-screen installation called Portal, designed to let users seemingly fly through any part of the planet using Google Earth.
“It’s more an amusement park than a shop, which is what, I think, Google intends,” said Gottheil. “Google is doing a very good job with its brand, but it can always be better. You can’t be too rich, too thin or have good enough marketing.”
Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, noted that as popular as Google’s products, like Android, and services, like Google Maps and Google Earth, are, there’s always room for improvement.
“I think that Google sees the need to make their products even more accessible and sees the store as one method to explore,” he added. “However, they have to realize that these are going to be loss leaders. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to measure the actual value of the stores to Google’s bottom line… If I were them, I’d look at store traffic as the major metric. If they’re getting people into the store, then it’s a win.”
Virtual reality is being viewed as the next big thing, and not just for gaming. Facebook has talked about how VR headsets will let friends communicate as if they’re together in the same room.
A team of engineers at Google is building a version of Android for virtual reality applications, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing two people familiar with the project. “Tens of engineers” and other staff are said to be working on the project.
The OS would be freely distributed, the report said, mirroring the strategy that made Android the most popular OS for smartphones. The report didn’t provide any launch plans, and Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
With rivals investing heavily in VR, it would make sense for Google to build its own OS. Facebook has referred to VR as the next big platform after mobile, and it bought headset maker Oculus VR last year for US$2 billion.
They see VR as the future because it provides an immersive experience for gaming, entertainment, communications, and perhaps other applications not thought of yet. It’s still a way from mass adoption, though, and some people report getting nausea from VR systems, or just don’t want a big display strapped to their head.
Still, there are lots of players in the space. Samsung has Gear VR, Sony has Project Morpheus, and Microsoft has HoloLens.
Google, clearly, doesn’t want to be left behind.
Leading the Android VR effort are veterans Clay Bavor and Jeremy Doig, the Wall Street Journal said. Bavor helped to create Google Cardboard, the company’s low-tech virtual reality viewer that attracted attention at last year’s Google I/O conference.
“We like big, ambitious goals at Facebook,” said Chris Daniels, head of Internet.org in a discussion with several reporters at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
Facebook and several partners founded Internet.org two years ago; it is already serving 7 million customers in Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia. Many of those who were originally connected for free are now paying some fee for more advanced data services.
Daniels, a vice president at Facebook in charge of Internet.org, said the conversion of free Internet users to paying customers is critical to the carriers who provide the Internet infrastructure that makes the service possible.
He sounded the same refrain that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered on Monday in a keynote presentation at MWC with three onstage carriers, including Airtel Africa, which has offered Internet.org in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Millicom, another partner, saw a 30% increase in data users when free data data was launched in Paraguay.
While the goal of 100 countries in a year is ambitious, Daniels said it is achievable, partly because Internet.org has figured out how to work with carriers to offer online services for free that don’t cannibalize the paid services that are the lifeblood of many carriers.
“It’s ambitious to say 100 countries, but our focus is less on the number and to focus more on spreading Internet.org to added companies,” he said. “We’ve had early partners and have brought more [users] online and more are paying for data and buying voice and SMS.”
Once more countries are on board, Daniels said the free basic service model should continue. “We’d like to see it ongoing. We’d like to see free basic services always available. Operators will leave it on only if it continues to benefit their business.”
“Today we’re happy to announce … 64-bit builds for Firefox Developer Edition are now available on Windows, adding to the already supported platforms of OS X and Linux,” wrote Dave Camp, director of developer tools, and Jason Weathersby, a technical evangelist, in a post to a company blog.
Firefox 38′s Developer Edition, formerly called “Aurora,” now comes in both 32- and 64-bit version for Windows. Currently, Mozilla’s schedule, which launches a newly-numbered edition every six weeks, has Firefox 38 progressing through “Beta” and “Central” builds, with the latter — the most polished edition — releasing May 12.
Cook and Weathersby touted the 64-bit Firefox as faster and more secure, the latter due to efficiency improvements in Windows’ anti-exploit ASLR (address space layout randomization) technology in 64-bit.
The biggest advantage of a 64-bit browser on a 64-bit operating system is that it can address more than the 4GB of memory available to a 32-bit application, letting users keep open hundreds of tabs without crashing the browser, or as Cook and Weathersby pointed out, run larger, more sophisticated Web apps, notably games.
Mozilla is the last 32-bit holdout among the top five providers of browsers.
Google shipped a Windows 64-bit Chrome in August 2014 and one for OS X in November, while Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) have had 64-bit editions on OS X and Windows since 2009 and 2006, respectively. Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker known for its same-named desktop flagship, also offers a 64-bit edition on Windows.