Instead of requiring that users fill in the letters and numbers shown in a distorted image, sites that use Google’s reCAPTCHA service will be able to use just one click, answering a simple question: Are you a robot?
“reCAPTCHA protects the websites you love from spam and abuse,” wrote Vinay Shet, product manager for Google’s reCAPTCHA service, in a blog post. “For years, we’ve prompted users to confirm they aren’t robots by asking them to read distorted text and type it into a box… But, we figured it would be easier to just directly ask our users whether or not they are robots. So, we did! ”
Google on Wednesday began rolling out a new API that rethinks the reCAPTCHA experience.
CAPTCHA “can be hard to read and frustrating for people, particularly on mobile devices,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “People often have to put in the text several times. On the surface, this seems a good way to improve the user experience. It still requires human intervention, just something simpler.”
CAPTCHAs were created to foil computer programs that hackers or spammers use to troll for access to websites or to collect email addresses.
Google said CAPTCHAs are less useful than they have been, although they are still frustrating to everyday users.
“CAPTCHAs have long relied on the inability of robots to solve distorted text,’ wrote Shet. “However, our research recently showed that today’s artificial intelligence technology can solve even the most difficult variant of distorted text at 99.8% accuracy. Thus distorted text, on its own, is no longer a dependable test.”
The new API, along with Google’s ability to analyze a user’s actions — before, during, and after clicking on the reCAPTCHA box — let’s the new technology figure out if the user is human or not.
“The new API is the next step in this steady evolution,” Shet stated. “Now humans can just check the box and in most cases, they’re through the challenge.”
“Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more,” wrote Rajesh Jha, Microsoft corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365, in a blog post announcing the purchase.
Over the past year, Microsoft has been extending its Office set of office productivity software and services so they can be accessed on non-Windows devices. The company has released Office apps for the iPad and iPhone, and is working on a version of Office for Android.
Founded in 2013, Acompli offers an iPhone and Android mobile e-mail client that streamlines many of the basic tasks around managing e-mail so they can be completed on the device itself, rather than by using a desktop client. Users have reported that the software works particularly well with Microsoft’s Exchange e-mail servers. Microsoft offers a basic version of Outlook for iPhones, though thus far it has seemingly garnered only a lukewarm response from users.
The free Acompli app offers advanced features such as the ability to view both calendar items and email side by side on the same screen. The calendar lets users email available times for proposed meetings and send a message when they are running late.
Microsoft plans to pair the Acompli development team with the team for its own Outlook e-mail client.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though tech website Re/Code reported that the acquisition was worth more than $200 million.
Films bought on Vudu will be integrated with the Disney Movies Anywhere service starting on Tuesday, Jamie Voris, Disney Studios’ chief technology officer, said at an event where the company highlighted mobile initiatives.
Disney is building the service as studios try to steer movie fans to digital purchases while sales of DVDs decline.
The media company launched Disney Movies Anywhere in February with Apple Inc’s iTunes, and this month partnered with the Google Play online store. Customers can buy more than 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies through those retailers and watch them on a variety of Internet-connected TVs, computers and mobile devices.
The addition of Vudu comes on the same day that Disney releases a sing-along version of animated blockbuster “Frozen” and digital versions of the Marvel hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
TSMC has announced that it will begin volume production of 16nm FinFET products in the second half of 2015, in late Q2 or early Q3.
For consumers, this means products based on TSMC 16nm FinFET silicon should appear in late 2015 and early 2016. The first TSMC 16nm FinFET product was announced a few weeks ago.
TSMC executive CC Wei said sales of 16nm FinFET products should account for 7-9% of the foundry’s total revenue in Q4 2015. The company already has more than 60 clients lined up for the new process and it expects 16nm FinFET to be its fastest growing process ever.
Although TSMC is not talking about the actual clients, we already know the roster looks like the who’s who of tech, with Qualcomm, AMD, Nvidia and Apple on board.
This also means the 20nm node will have a limited shelf life. The first 20nm products are rolling out as we speak, but the transition is slow and if TSMC sticks to its schedule, 20nm will be its top node for roughly a year, giving it much less time on top than earlier 28nm and 40nm nodes.
The road to 10nm
TSMC’s 16nm FinFET, or 16FinFET, is just part of the story. The company hopes to tape out the first 10nm products in 2015, but there is no clear timeframe yet.
Volume production of 10nm products is slated for 2016, most likely late 2016. As transitions speed up, TSMC capex will go up. The company expects to invest more than $10bn in 2015, up from $9.6bn this year.
TSMC expects global smartphone shipments to reach 1.5bn units next year, up 19 percent year-on-year. Needless to say, TSMC silicon will power the majority of them.
The feature, part of the Google+ Helpouts online collaboration video service that launched a year ago, allows healthcare workers to share expertise through live video and provide real-time advice from their computers or mobile devices.
“When you’re searching for basic health information — from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is provide you with the most helpful information available. We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people,” a Google spokesperson said in an email response to Computerworld.
The new Helpouts feature offers a link to a video service that a physician or other healthcare worker has established for advising patients who’ve used a particular search query, such as “congestive heart failure” or “shoulder injury.”
Video chat services and other forms of remote communications with healthcare workers have increased 400% from 2012 levels.
This year in the U.S. and Canada, 75 million out of 600 million appointments with general practitioners will involve electronic visits, or eVisits, according to new research from Deloitte.
With an aging Baby Boomer population and broadband bandwidth improved a hundredfold from a decade ago, telemedicine is exploding as a convenient and less costly alternative to the traditional visit to the doctors’ office.
Kaspersky has revealed that it is working with Interpol in attempting to foil a gang of cash machine (ATM) hackers who have found a way to make it spit out its contents without even using a card.
The hack is incredibly carefully thought out. Hackers gain access to cash machines, through mole employees or perhaps cleaners, and add the malicious code, named Tyupkin by Kaspersky. The cash machine continues to function as normal.
The malware is triggered only at set times – Sunday and Monday nights – thus avoiding being accidentally triggered by a member of the public.
At that time, the mule is sent to the machine and types in a series of digits unique to that raid based on an algorithm known to the gang.
He then makes a second call to the gang who generate the second half of the code from their end, thus ensuring that the mule isn’t tempted to swan off with the dough.
At that point, it’s Winsday. The machine will display how much is in each cash compartment and willingly spits it out to the waiting mule who goes back to distribute the swag.
“Offenders are constantly identifying new ways to evolve their methodologies to commit crimes, and it is essential that we keep law enforcement in our member countries involved and informed about current trends and modus operandi,” said Sanjay Virmani, director of the Interpol Digital Crime Centre.
“We strongly advise banks to review the physical security of their ATMs and network infrastructure and consider investing in quality security solutions,” added Vicente Diaz, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team, who, coincidentally, knows a company that can offer those solutions. Fancy.
Among the recommendations Kaspersky offers is a reminder to switch away from default passwords for systems including the system BIOS for each cash machine.
In June of this year, two Canadian teenagers showed how they had broken into an in-store ATM simply by downloading the instructions from the internet and using unchanged default passwords.
Malware for ATMs first came to the fore in 2008 when two Louisiana criminals reconfigured a cash machine to make it believe that it had smaller denomination bills than it really did.
TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process (16FinFET or 16FF) is now in risk production. The companies collaborated to optimise ARM’s 64-bit ARMv8 processors designs for the new node.
The designs are now being optimised for TSMC’s improved 16FF+ process, which promises to deliver a 11% performance gain in the same power envelope for the A57 and a 35% reduction for the A53. The companies hope to finalise their work on 16FF+ optimisation by the end of the year.
The initial results for the first generation 16FF process are encouraging. The big Cortex A57 core manufactured in 16FF can achieve a sustained clock of 2.3GHz. It is backed by Cortex A53 cores running at the same clock and consuming an average of 75mW for most workloads.
Pete Hutton, executive VP and president of ARM product groups, said the joint effort will eventually transform end-user experiences across the next generation of consumer devices and enterprise hardware.
“This silicon proof point with ARM Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors demonstrates the additional benefits in performance and power efficiency that 16nm FinFET technology delivers to big.LITTLE implementations,” said Hutton.
Cliff Hou, VP of R&D at TSMC, said the company is proud to be the first foundry to validate an ARM big.LITTLE chip on 16nm technology. He said the collaboration with ARM will continue and the companies will strive to deliver market-leading SoCs for mobiles, servers and infrastructure applications using new nodes.
The vulnerability means that on the surface, it looks like the popups and advertisements are coming from the websites users are visiting, when they are actually coming from the fake Evernote web extension.
Researchers at the company discovered the vulnerability in a “multi-plug .PUP” file, which installs the fake Evernote browser extension.
A PUP file is one that has the .pup file extension and is most commonly associated with the Puppy Linux operating system. PUP files run when an installer program is opened on the user’s computer and they are similar to the installer.exe files that are used with Windows applications.
“A quick look shows the PUP is digitally signed by ‘Open Source Developer, Sergei Ivanovich Drozdov’, although the certificate has since been revoked by the Issuer. This serves as another reminder that you can’t always trust a program just because it’s digitally signed,” said Malwarebytes malware intelligence analyst Joshua Cannell.
“Clicking ‘Visit website’ directs the user to the Chrome webstore page for the actual Evernote Web extension,” Cannell added. “Chrome believes the real extension is installed, as verified by the Launch App button. When clicking this button with the fake extension installed, nothing happens, whereas normally the user is met with an Evernote login screen.”
Cannell explained that this is because the extension uses a content script to run in the context of the webpages a user browses.
“The content script is guaranteed to be loaded into every web page using the extension manifest (manifest.json). When visiting webpages, you’ll get a series of annoying advertisements, all leading to potentially more unwanted programs and offers,” he added.
To remove the extension, Chrome users need to visit the extensions tab in the browser and click the picture of a garbage can.
Evernote hit the headlines for its security concerns last year when it emerged that its network had been compromised by hackers.
The online note-taking service issued a password reset for all users after the discovery. It said that it “discovered and blocked” suspicious activity on its network, but claimed that no user data was compromised during the intrusion.
“In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost,” Evernote said.
Chip-equipment maker Applied Materials has surprised most of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street with a better-than-expected third-quarter profit. It appears that contract manufacturers are spending more on technology used to make smartphone and memory chips.
The company also forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely above analysts’ average estimate. Chief Executive Gary Dickerson said that demand for DRAM chips is expected to grow in the current quarter.
Applied Materials, which also provides equipment to make flat panel displays and solar cells, forecast an adjusted profit of 25-29 cents per share for the fourth quarter. Wall Street was expecting a profit of 26 cents per share.
Applied Materials expects revenue growth of about 10 to 17 percent, implying revenue of $2.19 billion to $2.33 billion for the quarter. Analysts on average were expecting $2.28 billion. Applied Materials’ net income rose to $301 millionin the third quarter ended July 27, from $168 milliona year earlier. Revenue rose 14.7 percent to $2.27 billion.
Revenue in the company’s silicon systems business, which brings in about two-thirds of total sales, rose 16 percent to $1.48 billion.
The company reported Thursday that its net profit reached $214 million, while quarterly revenue increased 18 percent year-over-year to $10.4 billion.
Although better known as a PC maker, Lenovo has been making major gains selling mobile handsets in its home market of China. It is now the country’s largest smartphone vendor with a 12.5% share of the market, according to research firm IDC.
The second quarter was the first time Lenovo smartphones outsold its PCs, with 15.8 million units, the company reported on Thursday.
Lenovo’s handsets still aren’t making as much money as PCs. Almost half its revenue came from selling laptops, while its mobile devices division, which includes tablets, accounted for only 15% of its total revenue in the quarter.
The company’s PC business has in the past been helped by its huge presence in its home market of China. But in the second quarter, Lenovo reported that it was also making gains in PC sales to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
In those markets, the company’s revenue reached $2.8 billion, up from $1.9 billion a year ago.
Lenovo, which currently ranks as the number one PC vendor in the world, is trying to expand in servers and mobile devices. Earlier this year, the company announced it would acquire Google’s Motorola Mobility, and IBM’s x86 server business.
Lenovo is still working with regulators to get approval for those deals.
Dylan Larson, ?director for Intel’s Xeon product marketing, told a workshop in Intel’s Hillsboro campus in Oregon that Intel was keeping a close eye on Arm which it sees as its biggest rival. He said the chip maker needs to do more in the mobile devices segment to increase its foothold as Internet of Things gathers momentum.
Intel should not have bothered. The silly season story was sparked by a blog from former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee in which he said: “When Apple announced its 64-bit A7 processor, I dismissed the speculation that this could lead to a switch away from Intel chips for the Macintosh line for a homegrown ‘desktop-class’ chip. I might have been wrong.”
This was seized on by the tame Apple Press that Jobs’ Mob was going to drop Intel for its own homemade chips. This is based on the religious conviction that Arm designs and alongside Apple brilliance will come close to Intel any time soon. While this might be true in smartphones they not really comparing like with like.
Billy Cox, Intel’s general manager for the software development division told Computer Weekly that Arm has some bright people working for it and they are capable of innovating, but Intel has invested years in research and innovation.
AMD has said that, by the fourth quarter of 2014, ARM-powered servers will start shipping. Market analysts expect that ARM processors will account for 20 per cent of server units shipped by 2019. Larson said Intel was still at least two years ahead of ARM in the server market, and besides being server focused was so five years ago.
“We are already doing that – five years ago we were more server-focused. Today we take a holistic approach,” Larson said.
He said that the Internet of things might mean mobile chips but it also leads to big data, and enterprises need sophisticated datacentre infrastructure to analyse that data, said Larson.
“Our datacentre strategy, which encompasses compute, storage and networking, is aimed at providing enterprises with a software-defined architecture.”
Last week Zynga reported results for the quarter that ended June 30, revealing declining revenues and deepening losses. In the process, the company also lowered its outlook for the full year.
For the second quarter, Zynga posted revenues of $153.2 million, down 34 percent year-over-year. The company also saw a net loss of $62.5 million, compared to the previous second quarter’s loss of $15.8 million. On a non-GAAP basis, Zynga reported bookings down almost 7 percent to $175.1 million, with a non-GAAP net income of $2.8 million, as opposed to the $6.1 million non-GAAP net loss it reported for last year’s second quarter.
“While our quarterly financial results were in line with our guidance range, we aspire to do better and improve execution across our business,” Zynga CEO Don Mattrick said. “Inside Zynga, we recognize that our products have the potential to live for multiple years and with nurturing, refinement and investment, they can grow and scale. We are purposefully competing, and while we would like to be further along, we believe we are making the right decisions to grow our business and unlock long term shareholder value.”
The results convinced Zynga to downgrade its outlook for the full year, as it now projects bookings of $695-$725 million, down from $770-$810 million. Meanwhile, Zynga expects its full-year non-GAAP earnings per share to be flat to down a penny, compared to the previous guidance of up one to three cents.
On the plus side, Zynga’s daily active users, monthly active users, monthly unique payers, and monthly unique users were all up quarter-over-quarter. However, all of those metrics were down significantly year-over-year.
Zynga shares were down nearly 8 percent as of this writing to $2.69 in after-hours trading.
The laptop, which has a 14-inch screen and Android 4.3, was announced in June. At the time, HP said it would be priced at $399.
It is available on HP’s website.
The SlateBook 14 was introduced after customers told HP they wanted laptops with Android. The laptop has an interface similar to that on Android tablets and can adjust mobile apps to run on the larger touchscreen. Users will also be able to sync laptop data with mobile devices and vice versa.
The laptop is also for those who rely on the Web for most of their computing, much like Chromebooks. It has a few advantages over Chromebooks, with support for key Android apps such as Skype. Android also boasts better wireless printing support than Chromebooks.
The laptop weighs 1.68 kilograms and offers nine hours of battery life, according to specifications on HP’s website.
It has a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of DRAM and 16GB of storage. Connectivity features include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has a webcam, USB 3.0 port and a micro-SD slot for expandable storage.
It could be a strong multimedia laptop with a 1920 x 1080 pixel screen and an integrated graphics processor that can handle 4K video. TVs can be connected to the laptop through an HDMI port.
RayV, founded in 2005, is focused on efficiently distributing HD-quality video to a global audience, with a focus on mobile.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Yahoo is focused on growing video users and monthly streams, and while we’re only getting started, we’re very focused on this in 2014,” Yahoo said in its announcement of the deal.
RayV’s service will improve Yahoo’s underlying technology infrastructure, and most of RayV’s employees will join Yahoo’s R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel.
A deal between Yahoo and RayV was in the works for at least a couple months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The acquisition comes as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is focused on giving people more of a reason to visit Yahoo’s site, partly through original online shows.
Yahoo’s Screen portal includes a range of videos including original news, as well as content from partners like Comedy Central, BuzzFeed and Saturday Night Live.
Yahoo recently announced that it would be airing the television show “Community” on Screen, after it was canceled by NBC earlier this year.
The company rolled out a set of tools for software developers on Wednesday that allows businesses to deduct payments directly from a customer’s PayPal account.
The developer kit is the first big push from Braintree since it was bought by eBay for $800 million last year to help PayPal, eBay’s payments division, expand its presence on mobile devices.
Eliminating the need for mobile shoppers to type in their credit card details on their phones should help boost sales, Braintree Chief Executive Bill Ready said in an interview.
This is especially critical as consumers spend more time on their smartphones, a trend that is forcing developers to design a “fundamentally different computing experience” for the smaller screen, Ready added.
Braintree processes payments for businesses including car service Uber and online home-rental marketplace Airbnb.