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NBC To Host Daily News Show On Snapchat

July 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Comcast Corp’s NBC News plans to offer a twice-per-day news show on Snapchat, the company said on Wednesday, part of its push to attract younger viewers who tend to watch TV on mobile devices.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal invested $500 million in Snapchat owner Snap Inc  during its initial public offering as it seeks to boost its digital offering.

Broadcast news outlets like NBC News face an aging audience. The median age of NBC Nightly News, for example, is 64 years old, according to the Nielsen ratings agency. That is much older than the 18-to-34-year-old demographic that advertisers covet.

Last month, NBC News launched a digital video service, called “NBC Left Field” featuring short documentaries to appeal to social media users.

“This is a concerted effort that is crucial to our future,” said Nick Ascheim, head of digital at NBC News.

“Stay Tuned” will focus on issues of the day and will air at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays and 1 p.m. EDT on weekends. The show will also air for specific breaking news events.

The launch of the daily news show comes amid increasing investor skepticism about Snap’s ability to grow and compete with Facebook Inc’s Instagram.

Is Intel Abandoning The IoT Arena

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

For ages Intel has been banging on about the Internet of Things and how it will be the saviour of the chip business.

It seemed that Intel, having been too late to take advantage of the mobile boom, wanted to be in place when the Internet of the Things arrived.

However, Intel of late, appears to be withdrawing some of its enthusiasm. It is discontinuing its Galileo, Joule, and Edison lineups of development boards. The chip maker quietly made the announcement and now appears to be letting 130 people go from its IoT teams.

Intel plans to lay off 97 people at its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara and up to 40 more in Ireland as the chipmaker makes cuts to its Internet of Things group.

Intel’s IoT group provided $721 million in revenue in the first quarter of the year, up nearly 11 percent from the prior year. But IoT accounted for less than five percent of Intel’s sales.

Curiously, Intel hasn’t yet scrapped Curie, its platform for wearable devices. But given that the wearable market is at a standstill, it might not be long before Intel exits this market segment too.

But it is looking like Intel is falling back to its default PC/Server chips and has no plan to do anything else.

Courtesy-Fud

Toshiba Launches 4-bit NAND Flash Memory

July 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Toshiba has announced the latest generation of 3D flash memory, the 4-bit-per-cell, quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology NAND flash memory.

Thanks to the QLC technology, which features a 64-layer stacked cell structure, Toshiba managed to hit the world’s largest die capacity of 768Gb/96GB. This also enables a 1.5TB (terabyte) device with a 16-die stacked architecture in a single package, which is also a 50 percent increase in capacity per package compared to the earlier generation.

Since QLC NAND flash suffers from the same, if not worse issues as the MLC NAND, which is how to push data into a single cell without affecting the reliability and performance, it remains to be seen if SSDs based on QLC NAND flash memory will actually hit the cost/performance sweet spot.

We suspect that these drives will mostly be focused on data centers, where lower power consumption and footprint are a premium, but eventually we will see it in other markets.

According to Toshiba, samples of the QLC device started shipping earlier in June to SSD and SSD controller vendors for evaluation and development purposes while further samples will be showcased at the upcoming Flash Memory Summit 2017 in August.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Add More Life To The IoT

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has doubled the lifecycle support for its whole series of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions platforms from seven years to 15 years.

The move is part of a cunning plan to gain the confidence of its partners in the IoT supply chains and step up the development of IoT-related processor platforms and chipsets.

This will push up Intel’s operating costs, but it might just convince supply-chain partners and accelerate development of IoT solutions and applications.

Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft are all fighting in the IoT market and are making deals or seeking mergers and acquisitions to stay ahead.

Intel’s IoT platform lifecycle support program announcement is expected to effectively boost the willingness of its partners to use Intel IoT solutions gear and expand its global IoT platform penetration rate.

All Intel IoT solutions platforms, including next-generation 14nm Skylake-SP server and processor platforms, existing Skylake-architecture Xeon E3-12xx/15xxv5 series, and the sixth-generation Core, Pentium and Celeron processors will see their lifecycle support extended to the range of seven to 15 years from the existing maximum of seven years.

In addition, processor platforms recording higher shipment records, including N3700 (Braswell), Celeron N3xxx (Braswell) and J1900/N2xxx (Bay Trail), as well as Atom C2xxx (Rangeley), E3800 series (Bay Trail) are all covered by the new lifecycle support program.

IoT solutions products have yet to contribute notable profits to Intel. In the first quarter of 2017, Intel made $721 million in IoT-related revenues, showing an annual growth of 11 percent.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Hits Two Billion Users Milestone

June 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc announced this week that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world’s largest social media network.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg disclosed the number to his followers in a Facebook post. “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you,” he wrote.

The user base is bigger than the population of any single country, and of six of the seven continents. It represents more than a quarter of the world’s 7.5 billion people.

Facebook defines a monthly active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through its website or a mobile device, or used its Messenger app, in the past 30 days. It does not include people who use the Instagram or WhatsApp networks but not Facebook.

The company said in May that duplicate accounts, according to an estimate from last year, may have represented some 6 percent of its worldwide user base.

The social network’s user population dwarfs that of similar companies. Twitter Inc  reported in April monthly active users of 328 million, while Snap Inc’s Snapchat had 166 million daily users at the end of the first quarter.

WeChat, a unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd and a widely used service in China, said in May that it had 938 million monthly active users in the first quarter.

Facebook had 1.94 billion people using its service monthly as of March 31, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier. It reached 1 billion in October 2012.

The company, which Zuckerberg started in 2004 in his college dorm room, uses its huge size advantage to lure advertisers, offering them highly targeted marketing capabilities based on its data about users.

The number of advertisers topped 5 million in April, the company said.

Facebook’s growth has increasingly come from outside the United States, Canada and Europe. Three years ago, those regions accounted for some 38 percent of users, compared with about 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Electronic Signature Service DocuSign Reports Hacking

May 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Electronic signature service DocuSign revealed that hackers had temporarily gained access to a database that houses customer emails, which the company linked to a surge in phishing emails sent to its users.

The company said the emails imitated the DocuSign brand to trick recipients into opening a Microsoft Word document containing malicious software.

DocuSign’s service is widely used by big bank and insurers for keeping track of financial transactions, with 12 of the top 15 U.S. financial services companies using the company’s software.

The privately held company, valued at about $3 billion, makes software to add legally compliant electronic signatures to documents.

DocuSign said only email addresses were accessed. Names, physical addresses, passwords, social security numbers or credit card data were not accessed, the company said on its website.

San Francisco-based DocuSign said earlier this month that it was tracking the malicious e-mail campaign.

DocuSign has about 200 million users and has been embraced as a quick and secure way to sign contracts and other official documents using a finger on a mobile device.

Are eBooks Losing Steam In The U.K.?

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ebooks are dying out and are being replaced by the good old fashioned non-digital versions with a bit of spine.

Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17 percent in the UK in 2016, according to the Publishers Association.

Sales of physical books and journals went up by seven percent over the same period, while children’s books surged 16 percent. The same trend is on display in the US, where ebook sales declined 18.7 percent over the first nine months of 2016.

According to the Association of American Publishers, paperback sales were up 7.5 percent over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1 percent.

Some of this might be due to the death of tablets and e-readers which turned out not to be the game changing hardware that the Tame Apple Press and Steve Jobs told us.

The Sales of e-readers have declined by more than 40 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International.

“E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiralled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note.

One of the things we have noticed in research book sales is that people are grabbing PDF versions of books and never reading them. But in any case, it does look like the traditional book has another few hundred years life left in it.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter, Bloomberg To Team Up On Streaming TV News Service

May 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc is teaming up with Bloomberg Media for a round-the-clock streaming television news service on the social networking platform, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The channel, which is yet to be named and is expected to begin operations this fall, would be announced Monday, WSJ said.

Twitter’s user growth has stalled in the past few quarters and the company has been trying to convince advertisers that it will strengthen its user base.

As part of its efforts, it has updated its product offerings including live video broadcasts from its app and launched new features to attract users.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in an internal memo last October one of the company’s missions was defined as being the “people’s news network”.

Twitter has made a push into news and sports on mobile devices last year and this foray could pique the interest of a media company as an acquirer, analysts have said.

Is Google Using Chromebooks To Spy On Kids?

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Human rights group, the  Electronic Freedom Foundation has complained that Google is continuing to use its Chromebooks to spy on customers.

The main issue, it seems, is the fact that the education system is changing the way it treats the students’ privacy, mostly due to a rollout of low-priced Chromebooks that come with educations services. Often, they are available for a reduced price or even given out for free.

“Educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely. In fact, they tie personally identifying information, such as kids’ names, birthdays, browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, and behavioural information,” the EFF said.

Since most of those customers are under-age school kids, it appears that Google is rather a little too interested in knowing all about them.

The EFF first complained about Google two years ago, and since then, it claims the search engine outfit has not done much to improve its antics.

Now it says that Google still hasn’t shed its “bad guy” image when it comes to the data it collects on underage students.

The company continues to massively collect and store information on children without their consent or their parents’. Not even school administrators fully understand the extent of this operation.

According to the latest status report from the EFF, Google is trying to end students’ privacy without their parents notice or consent and “without a real choice to opt out.”

This, they say, is done via the Chromebooks Google is selling to schools across the United States. It is a shame really because Google’s number one rival for this market is Apple.

The EFF investigated 152 ed-tech services that survey respondents reported were in use in their classrooms. The findings weren’t too great, as most of these services had privacy policies lacking in encryption, data retention or data sharing rules.

One school Chromebook administrator  told the EFF that they’re “putting all [their] eggs in one basket that we’re not in control of. We don’t know where this student data is going.”

Courtesy-Fud

Is Toshiba Out Of The Woods?

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toshiba Corp’s shares finally recovered this week after Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that Apple is considering a multi-billion-dollar investment into the company’s semiconductor chip business.

Back in February, Toshiba revealed that it had been considering a split of its memory chip business into a separate company to help make up for a $6.56 billion write-down of its US nuclear equipment operations. In late December, the company’s shares fell more than 45 percent after revealing that it was balancing a four-part effort to get back to a profitable state.

The following month, Foxconn and TSMC both partnered up to place bids on shares of Toshiba’s memory business in an attempt to challenge Samsung’s dominance of the flash memory market. The collaboration team has been serious about its talks with Toshiba, but is not trying to force anything to happen.

Apple wants 20 percent stake in Toshiba’s chip business

Now, the latest reports from NHK suggests the fruit-themed toymaker also wants more than 20 percent stake in Toshiba’s chip business, while somehow convincing Toshiba to maintain partial stake and keep the business under US and Japanese regulations, according to anonymous sources. Without subverting existing negotiations, the Cupertino company has considered a plan where Foxconn would own around a 30 percent stake of the NAND flash business so as not to interrupt global market competition over Japan’s semiconductor industry.

Prior to Apple’s announcement, Toshiba has so far narrowed down the field of memory unit bidders to four companies, according to sources. They include Broadcom, SK Hynix, Foxconn, and Western Digital.

Attention is now on company auditor, Tokyo Stock Exchange

On Thursday, Toshiba’s shares were down 4.8 percent after declining as much as 8.1 percent during morning trade. Experts have cautioned that the company is now in a warning zone of losing its listed status on the stock exchange, as it faces increased financial risk at its Westinghouse nuclear subsidiary. According to Financial Times, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is now attempting to decide whether the company’s internal controls comply with its listing criteria. Toshiba has proposed several improvements following its $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015, but if they are deemed insufficient by the exchange, then its shares could be delisted and the company would ultimately transition into a private entity.

Besides the foreign investor lawsuit that arrived on behalf of its accounting malpractices, Toshiba’s accounts were notable in part because its independent auditor, PwC Aarata, did not certify their accuracy. One analyst at Citigroup claims that Toshiba’s disagreement with its auditor was likely to “heighten concern” about its shares being delisted. Robert Rostan, a former Deloitte auditor, says “It is extremely rare for an independent auditor to not sign off on a client’s accounts, let alone a public industrial giant like Toshiba.”

Despite the financial risk posed by its flagship nuclear projects, Toshiba insists everything on the balance sheets is under control. Aside from a very tangible delisting risk, it will be left to the mercy of Toshiba’s many financial creditors to garner up enough support in solidarity for the weathered company.

Courtesy-Fud

Does Spreadtrum’s Chip Really Have Intel Inside?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

China-based mobile chip vendor Spreadtrum has announced a new chip dubbed the SC9861G-IA, targeted at the “global mid-level and premium smartphone market”.

The chip is based around Intel’s Atom-based Airmont processor cores and it was made by Chipzilla using its 14-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.

Spreadtrum said the chip will go into mass production in the second quarter of 2017 which means we should see it in the shops in the second half of 2017.

One thing should be noted is that Intel is not involved in the branding at all. Spreadtrum is pitching it as being made by the Intel Custom Foundry (ICF) but other than that its name is off it.

Spreadtrum claims the Airmont CPU core inside the SC9861G-IA runs at 2GHz and it is unlikely to beat the Snapdragon 652 in per-core performance. Running on x86 make it less useful as a rival to ARM based chips. Intel’s mobile chips were not as bad as was claimed by the armies of Android fans, but it was not as robust, which is one of the reasons we suspect Intel pulled the plug on it.

There can be only one reason why a smartphone maker would opt for this chip and that is that it is considerably cheaper than the rivals.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Toshiba 1TB Flash Chip Make Waves?

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Troubled Japanese chipmaker Toshiba has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND memory product.

The new 512 gigabit, 64-layer device has three-bit-per-cell triple-level cell (TLC) technology and will be part of Tosh’s BiCS FLASH product line. This technology will enable a 1-terabyte chip solution later this year. 

For those who came in late, BiCS FLASH is a 3D flash memory stacked cell structure.

Sample shipments of the new 512Gb devices have begun, with mass production scheduled for the second half of 2017.

The new flash memory product has 65 percent greater capacity than the previous generation technology, which used 48 layers of NAND flash cells.

In addition to the new 512Gb device, Toshiba’s BiCS FLASH lineup also includes a 64-layer 256Gb offering, which is currently in mass production.

According to Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC’s memory business unit, “The introduction of our third generation BiCS FLASH coupled with the industry’s largest 1TB chip solution strongly reinforces Toshiba’s flash leadership position. These innovations underline our commitment to developing leading-edge memory solutions, and we will continue to advance our 3D technology to meet the ever-increasing storage market demand.”

The chip will be used in data centres but also consumer SSD products so it could be cheap enough to get into high-end gaming rigs.

This announcement comes as Toshiba talks about off-loading its lucrative SSD operations to pay for the accounting fiasco and the dodgy nuclear power plant deal it lost billions on.
A previous report about Western Digital, Foxxcon, SK Hynix and Micron Technology have now also thrown their hats in the ring to purchase a majority share in Toshiba’s memory spin-off.

Courtesy-Fud

Researchers Show How Heartbeats Can Be Used As Passwords

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Researchers at Binghamton State University in New York believes your heart could be the vital to your personal data. By measuring the electrical activity of the heart, researchers say they can encrypt patients’ health records.

The fundamental idea is this: In the future, all patients will be outfitted with a wearable device, which will continuously collect physiological data and transmit it to the patients’ doctors. Because electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are already collected for clinical diagnosis, the system would simply reuse the data during transmission, thus reducing the cost and computational power needed to create an encryption key from scratch.

“There have been so many mature encryption techniques available, but the problem is that those encryption techniques rely on some complicated arithmetic calculations and random key generations,” said Zhanpeng Jin, a co-author of the paper “A Robust and Reusable ECG-based Authentication and Data Encryption Scheme for eHealth Systems.”

Those encryption techniques can’t be “directly applied on the energy-hungry mobile and wearable devices,” Jin added. “If you apply those kinds of encryptions on top of the mobile device, then you can burn the battery very quickly.”

But there are drawbacks. According to Jin, one of the reasons ECG encryption has not been widely adopted is because it’s generally more sensitive and vulnerable to variations than some other biometric measures. For instance, your electrical activity could change depending on factors such as physical exertion and mental state. Other more permanent factors such as age and health can also have an effect.

“ECG itself cannot be used for a biometric authentication purpose alone, but it’s a very effective way as a secondary authentication,” Jin said.

While the technology for ECG encryption is already here, its adoption will depend on patients’ willingness to don wearables and on their comfort with constantly sharing their biometrics.

Will 5G Be A Game Changer?

January 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The maker of chips Qualcomm has issued a new report which identifies 5G as a significant technology worldwide game-changer.

Its new report, “The 5G Economy” looks at the potential economic and social impact of 5G around the world. The study was conducted jointly by research firms IHS Markit, PSB and leading economist Haas School of Business’s, and principal executive officer of the Berkeley Research Group (BRG). Professor David Teece. The 5G Economy includes an economic impact study and opinion research about the expectations for 5G among business and technology leaders carried out by PSB.

The combined findings of the study show how 5G will profoundly affect the global economy and that business decision makers in technology and other industries overwhelmingly believe in the transformational nature of 5G.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that the researchers confirmed our strong belief that 5G will be a fundamental game changer.

“We have been hard at work helping create some of the key technologies and applications that will make 5G a reality, pushing the boundaries of LTE, collaborating with industry leaders, and spearheading the critical research behind the next-generation global wireless standard.”

The study indicates that 5G will catapult mobile into the exclusive realm of General Purpose Technologies, like electricity and the automobile, that provide the foundation for massive innovation, give rise to new industries and benefit entire economies.

This will happen as 5G advances mobile from a set of technologies connecting people to people and information to a unified fabric connecting people to everything.

Dr. Teece said he had spent many years studying the impact of general purposes technologies, and it’s clear that 5G will propel mobile into that category, assuring the technology’s long-term impact on society and continued growth for decades.

According to the study, in 2035, when 5G’s full economic benefit should be realized across the globe, a broad range of industries – from retail to education, transportation to entertainment, and everything in between – could produce up to $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G.

The 5G value chain will generate up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035, supporting as many as 22 million jobs. Over time, 5G will boost real global GDP growth by $3 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2020 to 2035, roughly the equivalent of adding an economy the size of India to the world in today’s dollars.

Complementing the economic study, polling research done by PSB confirms that business decision makers and opinion leaders around the globe expect 5G to bring widespread benefits for society and the economy overall, enabling new products and services, increasing productivity and allowing for new industries to emerge. Over 90 percent of the more than 3,500 respondents agreed that 5G will enable new products, services and use cases that have not been invented yet.

Courtesy-Fud

Symantec Finally Putting Security Into IoT

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Symantec has announced that it has come up with an IoT router which can secure your Internet of Things. 

Dubbed Norton Core, the device is a new app-enabled router that has built-in security to protect the entire home,. Symantec claims the device aims to keep safe up to 20 devices connected to it, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets or any internet-of-things devices, in real time.

The router gets regular updates on cyber-crime information and protection mechanisms to keep any device connected to it safe. In case an infected device is connected to the network, it can isolate it from the rest of your devices to prevent the spreading of the malware.

Router level security is not new but it is rarely seen at for home users

Via the mobile app, you can monitor the network and see a list of online threats that the router has blocked. It even shows you the current safety level of your home network. You can also use the app to pause the internet for any connected device and set a bed time, during which the broadband connection is turned off.

Norton Core is a compact dome-shaped device that measures just 6 by 6 by 5 inches (15 by 15 by 13 cm). It has a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 1MB of system memory and 4GB of flash memory. The router supports the latest 4×4 AC2600 Wi-Fi standard, with a top speed on the 5GHz band of 1.73 megabits per second and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Symantec says the Norton Core’s Wi-Fi can cover a home of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. It also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports for wired clients.

The Norton Core is now available for preorder at $200, with a regular price of $280, in either titanium gold or granite gray. The price includes one year of subscription to its security protection, called Norton Core Security Plus, after which the ongoing cost is $99 per year.

Courtesy-Fud 

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