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Will Toshiba Push Its Memory Business Into An IPO

January 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Technology

Toshiba is considering an IPO of its prized memory chip business if an agreed $18 billion sale of the unit to Bain Capital fails to gain antitrust approval by the end of March

The IPO is one of the various contingency plans being looked at by Toshiba’s top executives, and some analysts and Toshiba shareholders favor it over the existing deal.

Toshiba agreed last September to sell Toshiba Memory, the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND chips, to a consortium led by Bain Capital to cover billions of dollars in liabilities arising from now-bankrupt US nuclear power unit Westinghouse.

But the Japanese conglomerate no longer faces the pressure it once did to complete a sale, after raising $5.4 billion with a new share issue to overseas funds late last year, which with tax write-offs gives it sufficient funds to cover its liabilities.

Hong Kong-based activist investor, Argyle Street Management, a hedge fund with $1.2 billion under management, has voiced opposition to the sale, saying it was no longer necessary.

A Toshiba spokeswoman said there had been no change to the fact that the company was working towards completing the sale of the chip unit.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Looks To Expand Digital Whiteboard

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung debuted its take on the collaborative digital whiteboard at CES, launching its Flip display.

Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Up to four different participants can interact with a Flip whiteboard at the same time, using either their fingers or a stylus to create or annotate content. Designed for use in meeting rooms, the 55-in. 4K display can switch from portrait to landscape orientation depending on company needs. It includes USB ports to enable connection to PCs and mobile devices, as well as wireless connectivity.

An integrated screen-sharing capability allows Flip content to be viewed directly from PCs and mobile devices, which would be useful for remote workers, in particular. Flip runs the Tizen operating system used in a variety of Samsung products, including its smart TVs, and contains 8GB of internal storage.

Samsung set the retail price for the Flip at $2,699; rival digital whiteboards are more expensive. Google’s Jamboard for G Suite, released last year, retailed for $4,999 at launch, while Microsoft’s SurfaceHub costs $8,999 for the 55-in. version.

However, those devices offer integration with each company’s respective business software suite, providing them with an advantage over Samsung’s Flip. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Spark Board integrates with its Spark collaboration software and supports video conferencing.

“The meeting room has become the new battleground for business communications and collaboration,” said 451 Research senior analyst Raul Castañon-Martinez. “Samsung Flip will face tough competition from Google and Microsoft. These players have an advantage with their business and productivity suites, which they integrate into their respective whiteboard products.”

He noted that Google and Microsoft are strong contenders as software providers while Samsung is already present in meeting spaces, thanks to its PBX phone systems and smartphones.

Competing with other feature-rich products is just one hurdle for those offering digital whiteboards, said Larry Cannell, research director at Gartner. Digital whiteboards have been around in some form for years and vendors have yet to convince substantial numbers of users to swap tried-and-trusted tools for digital alternatives.

“The challenge with these products isn’t necessarily integration with back-end software,” said Cannell. “Rather, they are still competing with in-room physical whiteboards and large sticky flipcharts.

“From my experience, most digital whiteboards have ended up being most used as fancy digital projectors,” he said.

Despite the launch of new hardware by some major vendors in the past year, customer demand is “still building momentum,” Castañon-Martinez said. That is likely to change over the next year or two as hardware becomes increasingly integrated with collaboration and productivity software.

Did Good Ditch Project Tango

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Search engine outfit Google has dealt a blow to those who want to see AR everywhere by pulling the plug on its Project Tango.

For those who came in late Project Tango, the company’s first attempt to bring a solid augmented-reality experience to the average user. It used an array of cameras and sensors to accurately map 3D areas.

While, the concept was not bad, the fact it needed so many camera caused the devices support Tango to be relatively large and expensive.

The first Tango device put into production was the “Peanut” phone, which was given to early access partners in 2014. This evolved into the “Yellowstone” 7-inch tablet, which was initially sold for $1,024 before a massive price drop to $512.

The only other devices with Project Tango were the Lenovo Phab2 Pro, which was a pretty pants phone in the first place. Then the ZenFone AR was released to a loud sounding yawn.

Google is working on a software-only solution called ARCore. Not only is ARCore like Tango in functionality, but it doesn’t require specialised hardware.

Courtesy-Fud

Powermat Releasing Updated, Stronger Wireless Charging Pad

December 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Powermat plans to roll out an upgrade to its wireless charging technology in January  that will enable 15-watt power transfers through a 1.5-in. thick solid surface and provide support for new Apple iPhones and other Qi-enabled devices.

The wireless charging company also plans to release an under-tabletop product that allows users to simply place enabled mobile devices atop a desk, for example, to begin receiving a charge.

By moving from 5 watts to 15 watts with the upcoming software upgrade, Powermat chargers will transfer power to a mobile device at the same rate as a traditional charging cable, according to Powermat CTO Itay Sherman.

The upgrade, to be formally unveiled at CES in January, will also open the door for future software improvements, including power transfer rates of up to 65 watts; that would cover everything from tablets to laptops, Sherman said.

Currently, only Dell’s Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop features wireless charging based on technology from WiTricity.

The software upgrade is particularly significant in that it natively supports charging for Qi-enabled devices, such as the iPhone 8 and X series, Apple’s first smartphones to get wireless charging. A software upgrade earlier this year did enable compatibility with the Qi specification, but it only offered 5W power transfer.

Powermat’s upcoming software upgrade will support 7.5W so called “fast charging” for the new iPhone line as well as most Android smart phones.

Powermat’s inductive wireless charging is widely used today and has been adopted by Duracell, General Motors, Starbucks and AT&T. Among airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants and arenas, Powermat claims to have 12,000 charging spots in the U.S. and Europe, and is being embedded in millions of cars and smartphones.

While the technology is inductive as opposed to resonant, which allows for greater distances between a charger and enabled device, Powermat added a larger charging coil and a booster to its newest chargers. That allows for power transfers of up to 1.5 inches in distance.

“With this charging technology there are no more wires on top of the desk or table,” Sherman said. “In the past, there has been a reluctance on the part of enterprise customers to use wireless charging because of all the wires on the top side of a desk, but with this technology they no longer need to do that.”

The new charger can attach to the bottom of a desk or conference table with just two screws; a sticker atop the surface then directs users were to place their smart phones for charging. The charger’s firmware also contains an algorithm that detects how far power needs to be projected to an enabled device.

Pricing for the new charger has yet to be released.

Powermat is part of the Airfuel Alliance consortium, which was founded when two of the three major wireless charging standard bodies — the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)­ — merged in 2015. The Airfuel Alliance competes against the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), a standards groups backing the Qi specification.

Because the WPC’s specification is open, Powermat’s latest upgrade will offer compatibility, Sherman said.

“Charging devices we have today are upgradable to support the WPC’s [Qi] specification, but the new design will be compatible day one,” Sherman said. “To be very honest, the difference between these two technologies have been minute. The whole market is consolidating now.”

Windows 10 Hits 600 Million Mark

December 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Software king of the world Microsoft says that its Windows 10 is on 600 million devices.

CEO Satya Nadella referenced the new number for the first-time moments ago at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, where he is giving analysts and investors an update on Microsoft’s progress and strategy.

This is an increase from the 500 million devices touted by Microsoft earlier this year, but it’s still well short of the company’s original goal of one billion Windows 10 devices within two to three years of its 2015 release.

Microsoft has admitted that the original goal is a little too optimistic, but it has seen Windows XP use dropping away lately which is at least some comfort.

Courtesy-Fud

Verizon Wireless To Sign A Streaming Deal With NFL

November 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Communications Inc, no. 1 U.S. wireless carrier, is closing in on a deal  with the National Football League for digital streaming rights, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

With the new agreement, Verizon will be able to give subscribers access to games on all devices, including big-screen TVs, and not just phones, according to the people, Bloomberg said.

Verizon will lose exclusive rights to air games on mobile devices, Bloomberg quoted two people as saying. Verizon’s rights will include the NFL’s Thursday night games, among others, one of the people said, according to Bloomberg.

Financial details and the duration of Verizon’s contract with the NFL could not immediately be learned, Bloomberg said.

Neither NFL nor Verizon could immediately be reached for a comment by Reuters.

Do Consumers Have Trust In The Security Behind IoT

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Security outfit Gemalto has just released a survey which says that 90 percent of consumers lack confidence in the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The survey showed that two thirds of consumers and almost 80 percent of organizations support governments getting involved in setting IoT security because they did not trust manufacturers to protect them.

Gemalto Data Protection CTO Jason Hart said it was clear that both consumers and businesses have serious concerns around IoT security and little confidence that IoT service providers and device manufacturers will be able to protect IoT devices and more importantly the integrity of the data created, stored and transmitted by these devices.

“With legislation like GDPR showing that governments are beginning to recognize the threats and long-lasting damage cyber-attacks can have on everyday lives, they now need to step up when it comes to IoT security. Until there is confidence in IoT amongst businesses and consumers, it won’t see mainstream adoption.”

Consumers’ main fear – cited by two thirds of respondents – was hackers taking control of their device. In fact, this was more of a concern than their data being leaked (60 percent) and hackers accessing their personal information (54 percent). Despite more than half (54 percent) of consumers owning an IoT device (on average two), just 14 percent believe that they are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the security of these devices, showing education is needed among both consumers and businesses.

In terms of the level of investment in security, the survey found that IoT device manufacturers and service providers spend just 11 percent of their total IoT budget on securing their IoT devices. The study found that these companies do recognize the importance of protecting devices and the data they generate or transfer with half of companies adopting a security by design approach. Two thirds of organizations report encryption as their main method of securing IoT assets with 62 percent  encrypting the data as soon as it reaches their IoT device, while 59 percent as it leaves the device. Ninety two percent of companies also see an increase in sales or product usage after implementing IoT security measures.

According to the survey, businesses are in favor of regulations to make it clear who is responsible for securing IoT devices and data at each stage of its journey (61 percent) and the implications of non- compliance (55 percent). Almost every organization (96 percent) and consumer (90 percent) wanted government-enforced IoT security regulation.

Encouragingly, businesses are twigging that they need support in understanding IoT technology and are turning to partners to help, with cloud service providers (52 percent) and IoT service providers (50 percent) the favored options. When asked why, the top reason was a lack of expertise and skills (47 percent), followed by help in facilitating and speeding up their IoT deployment (46 percent).

Hart said: “The lack of knowledge among both the business and consumer worlds is quite worrying and it’s leading to gaps in the IoT ecosystem that hackers will exploit.”

“Within this ecosystem, there are four groups involved – consumers, manufacturers, cloud service providers and third parties – all of which have a responsibility to protect the data. ‘Security by design’ is the most effective approach to mitigate against a breach. Furthermore, IoT devices are a portal to the wider network and failing to protect them is like leaving your door wide open for hackers to walk in. Until both sides increase their knowledge of how to protect themselves and adopt industry standard approaches, IoT will continue to be a treasure trove of opportunity for hackers.”

Courtesy-Fud

IoT Botnet Worse Than Mirai Wreaking Havoc On Organizations

October 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Check Point has caught wind of a new IoT botnet that’s “more sophisticated than Mirai” and has already affected at least one million organizations worldwide.

Check Point first unearthed the botnet, codenamed ‘IoT_reaper’, at the beginning of September and claims that, since, it’s already enslaved millions of IoT devices including routers and IP cameras from firms including GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, Avtech, Netgear, MikroTik, Linksys and Synology.

The latest campaign shares similar technical aspects to Mirai but is said to be more dangerous as it is able to “evolve” in order to exploit vulnerabilities in devices connected to the internet, which it then uses to spread the malware to other devices.

The security firm warns that the botnet is “rapidly spreading worldwide” and could soon be weaponized the launch cyber-attacks in the same fashion of Mirai last year. 

Check Point said: “While some technical aspects lead us to suspect a possible connection to Mirai, this is an entirely new and far more sophisticated campaign that is rapidly spreading worldwide.”

“It is too early to guess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but with previous botnet DDoS attacks essentially taking down the internet, it is vital that organizations make proper preparations,” the team noted.

Check Point says that, so far, it estimates that “over a million organizations have already been affected worldwide, including the US, Australia and everywhere in between.

It expects this number to keep growing, noting that “our research suggests that we are now experiencing the calm before an even more powerful storm. The next cyber hurricane is about to come.”

“It is vital to have the proper preparations and defense mechanisms in place before an attack strikes,” Check Point warns.

This isn’t the first Mirai-like threat that’s been uncovered. Earlier this year, a new threat called ‘BrickerBot’ was revealed, which – as its name suggests – threatened to permanently brick IoT devices, rather than harnessing them to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) network.

Courtesy-TheInq

Are The IoT Botnets Becoming A Problem

October 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A huge botnet which is based around internet of things devices is getting so big it will be able to apply for UN membership and get its version of “Botnet’s got talent”.

Codenamed IoT_reaper, it has swallowed two million devices which are mostly IP-based security cameras, network video recorders (NVRs), and digital video recorders (DVRs).

Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab and Israeli security firm Check Point have spotted and analysed the botnet as it continued to grow during the past month.

The botnet uses some code from the Mirai IoT malware, but there are also many new things that make the botnet a stand-alone threat.

Mirai scanned for open Telnet ports and attempted to log in using a preset list of default or weak credentials.

Reaper does not use a Telnet scanner, but primarily uses exploits to forcibly take over unpatched devices and add them to its command and control (C&C) infrastructure.

Netlab says that IoT_reaper primarily uses a package for nine vulnerabilities: D-Link 1, D-Link 2, Netgear 1, Netgear 2, Linksys, GoAhead, JAWS, Vacron, and AVTECH. Check Point also spotted the botnet attacking MicroTik and TP-Link routers, Synology NAS devices, and Linux servers.

Netlab experts say the botnet is in its incipient stages of development, with its operator adding as many devices to the fold as possible.

Check Point and Netlab point out that IoT_reaper did not launch any DDoS attack, but Reaper comes with a Lua-based execution environment integrated into the malware that allows its operator to deliver modules for various tasks, such as DDoS attacks, traffic proxying, and other.

Reaper’s Lua core also comes embedded with 100 DNS open resolvers, a functionality that will allow it to carry out DNS amplification attacks.

The FBI and Europol warned about the dangers of leaving Internet of Things devices exposed online, but the world does not seem particularly concerned that their lightbulbs could take part in an attack on the power grid.

Courtesy-Fud

Is ARM Looking For More Engineers

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

ARM has hired more than 1000 new staff members worldwide since it was taken over by Softbank last year, with a large proportion of these in the UK.

According to figures provided by Softbank’s UK Takeover Panel suggest the number of employees in ARM’s UK operation rose from 1,749 to 2,173, while in the rest of the world, its workforce increased from 2,220 to 2,845, bringing the total number of new staff to 1049.

Softbank wants to build ARM’s presence in the UK, fulfilling a commitment made when it lodged its takeover bid last year. At the time, Softbank said it would double the number of staff in both the UK and worldwide and although there’s still a fairly large recruitment campaign to go to hit that number.

Some of the employees now listed as ARM’s were transferred from SoftBank so it is not as great as it appears, however the outfit seems serious about hiring.

The company revealed it continues to operate the business from its UK headquarters in Cambridge and it has opened two new offices in the city.

“This progress on undertakings illustrates not only SoftBank’s ambition to develop ARM into one of the leading global technology companies, but also its commitment to UK jobs and research and development,” a spokesman said.

Courtesy-Fud

Can The IoT Market Grow By 30 Percent YoY

September 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Internet of Things (IOT) platform market is expected to grow 35 percent annually to $1.16 billion by 2020, according to Verizon’s State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017 report.

The report finds that the biggest growth will be in business-to-business applications which can generate nearly 70 percent of potential value enabled by IoT.

More than 73 percent of executives either researching or currently deploying IoT. Manufacturing, transportation and utilities make up the largest percent of investments, while insurance and consumers represent the fastest areas of spending growth.

Currently there are 8.4 billion connected “things” in use in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and network technology, cost reductions and regulatory pressures driving adoption, business leaders are not only paying attention, they’re getting in the game the report said.

While the opportunity for revenue growth is the biggest factor driving IoT adoption, regulatory compliance remains a driving factor behind enterprise IoT implementation. Standards, security, interoperability and cost make up over 50 percent of executive concerns around IoT. These uncertainties are holding businesses back from full IoT deployment, with many still in proof-of-concept or pilot phase.

Early adopters seem focused on proving out simple use cases to track data and send status alerts, just starting to realize the full value IoT has to offer in driving growth and efficiencies across business, the report said.

The report’s author Mark Bartolomeo, VP of IoT Connected Solutions at Verizon said: “Over the past year, industry innovators in energy, healthcare, construction, government, agtech and beyond have not only piloted, but in many cases, deployed IoT technology to improve business inefficiencies, track and manage assets to drive value to the bottom line. In 2017, advancements in technology and standards, coupled with changing consumer behaviours and cost reductions, have made IoT enterprise-grade, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg in driving economic value across the board.”

Courtesy-Fud

VMWare, Google Partner Up Over Chrome Devices For The Enterprise

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

VMware’s AirWatch subsidiary has teamed up with Google to enable unified end-point management (UEM) of all Chrome OS devices in an enterprise.

Through VMware Workspace ONE’s cloud portal, IT admins will be able to manage Chrome devices in their company alongside all other endpoints from a single console.

Among other things, IT managers will be able to perform a number of tasks including on-boarding employees; provisioning, auditing and tracking hardware; device wiping; and securing access to personalized enterprise app catalogs.

With new enterprise-ready capabilities from Chrome Enterprise License, companies will also be able to control device policies using a customizable assignment of groups based on geography, device platform, department, and employee role. The goal is to simplify policy enforcement across an enterprise, VMware said.

“The consumerization of the enterprise has left IT managing multiple operating systems on a variety of devices – some provided by the business and others brought in by employees,” said Sumit Dhawan, general manager of End-User Computing at VMware. “As Chrome OS continues to gain momentum, our customers are eager to manage these devices consistently along with all other endpoints, including mobile devices.”

Through Workspace ONE, VMware AirWatch users will also be able to securely manage the lifecycle of Chromebooks, Dhawan added.

In March, VMware’s AirWatch announced a partnership aimed at accelerating the adoption of Chromebooks by enhancing existing application accessibility of the devices through VMware Workspace ONE. That collaboration enabled one-click secure authentication and management of apps – cloud, web and virtual – for organizations deploying Chromebooks.

While it’s an industry first in terms of the Google partnership, VMware’s move to enable UEM highlights a larger trend as the enterprise mobility management (EMM) software market quickly consolidates. As a result, tools for provisioning, configuring and securing mobile devices are being subsumed into larger product suites.

Intel Details Atom C3000

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has released a few details on its Atom C3000, and unlike previous flavours of Atom these are being tipped for the network rather than home use.

Earlier in the week Gigabyte launched a new server motherboard that came packing a previously unannounced Intel Atom C3958 16-core 2.0GHz processor. Hexus points out that this product launch was a little ahead of Intel’s own announcement of the chip range, which was done today.

The processors are designed for light scale-out workloads that require very low power, high density, and high I/O integration including network routers, switches, storage, security appliances, dynamic web serving, and more.

Chipzilla says that the Intel’s Atom C3000 series SoCs are designed to deliver “low power, efficient intelligence, to the farthest edge of the network,” They will start to appear in Network and Enterprise Storage products.

Intel claims they can deliver up to 4.0x storage performance improvement, up to 3.4x network performance improvement, and up to 2.3x compute performance improvement

The C3000 series are the third-generation system-on-a-chip based CPUs manufactured on Intel’s optimized 14nm process technology.

At the top end Intel offers the Atom C3958 with 16-cores and running at 2.0GHz at $449. This 31W processor can use up to 256GB of RAM and can support 8x USB 3.0 ports, 16 SATA ports, and offers 4×10/2.5/1GbE LAN.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Tougher Security Standards For IoT Forthcoming

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

US Senators are planning to introduce draft legislation next week that would require makers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ensure that their products are patchable and conform to industry standards for security.

The legislation is a bi-partisan effort led by Democratic Party senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden, and Republicans Steve Daines and Cory Gardner.

Although relatively modest in scope, the legislation represents a first step to requiring device makers to start taking responsibility for the security of products connected to the internet. “We’re trying to take the lightest touch possible,” Warner told Reuters.

He added that the legislation was intended to remedy an “obvious market failure” that has left device manufacturers with little incentive to build with security in mind.

It echoes thinking from security specialists such as Bruce Schneier, who have suggested that sensible, rather than heavy-handed legislation is required to push device makers to improve the security of their products.

In November last year, following the Mirai malware attacks that compromised chronically insecure internet-connected CCTV systems, Schneier wrote: “The technical reason these devices are insecure is complicated, but there is a market failure at work…

“The teams building these devices don’t have the security expertise we’ve come to expect from the major computer and smartphone manufacturers, simply because the market won’t stand for the additional costs that would require.

“These devices don’t get security updates like our more expensive computers, and many don’t even have a way to be patched. And, unlike our computers and phones, they stay around for years and decades… Like pollution, the only solution is to regulate,” wrote Schneier.

The draft legislation was put together with help from IT specialists from the Atlantic Council and Harvard University. It would also expand protection for security researchers to hack equipment with the purpose of finding vulnerabilities.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is Google Really A Racist Company

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A senior software engineer at Google has opened a can of worms by calling for the company to abandon it diversity initiatives in favor of “ideological diversity,”

In a document titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” the 10 page rant argues that the gender gaps at Google are the result of biological differences between men and women, and that the company shouldn’t offer programs that help under-represented groups.

The author also alleged that politically conservative employees are discriminated against, and that achieving “ideological equality” should be a priority. He feels that conservative political feelings should be a protected class because they are not looked after by anti-discrimination laws like race, religion, age, sex, citizenship, familial status, or one’s disability, or veteran status are.

Numerous Google employees voiced their outrage over the existence of the document, and indicated that the author’s management chain and HR have been made aware of it.

“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.” The author goes on to speak to perceived biases within Google, and how that is detrimental to the company.

Basically after starting out by saying “I am not a misogynist or racist” the writer then goes into a rant about how inferior women are and then says white men are vulnerable. The writer thought that women were unsuited for tech because they like people, whilst men like things.

However what is more alarming, is that while the document is angering women and minorities working at Google there is a small vocal section of the company, lets call them white backward males who think that women should be at home and in the kitchen rather than programming who agree.

This has put Google’s new VP of Diversity, Danielle Brown, on the spot. She has sent a memo to Google employees, saying that she “found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender,” and that it’s not a “viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”

She went on to write that a diverse workplace is a central part of the company’s culture.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul, she wrote.

Courtesy-Fud

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