Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit

May 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.

A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.

Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange  that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.

MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Facebook Implement Changes To ‘Trending Topics’ Amid Criticism

May 25, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc said that it had made some tweaks to the procedures for its “Trending Topics” section after a news report alleging it suppressed conservative news prompted a U.S. Congressional demand for more transparency.

The company said an internal probe showed no evidence of political bias in the selection of news stories for Trending Topics, a feature that is separate from the main “news feed” where most Facebook users get their news.

But the world’s largest social network said in a blogpost that it was introducing several changes, including elimination of a top-ten list of approved websites, more training and clearer guidelines to help human editors avoid ideological or political bias, and more robust review procedures.

Earlier this month, a former Facebook contractor had accused the company’s editors of deliberately suppressing conservative news. The allegations were reported by technology news website Gizmodo, which did not identify the ex-contractor.

The report led Republican Sen. John Thune to write a letter demanding that the company explain how it selects news articles for its Trending Topics list.

Two days after Thune’s letter, Facebook published a lengthy blogpost detailing how Trending Topics works even though it rarely discloses such practices. Previously, it had never discussed the inner workings of the feature, which displays topics and news articles in the top right hand corner of the desktop homepage for its more than 1.6 billion users.

Facebook said its investigation showed that conservative and liberal topics were approved as trending topics at nearly identical rates. It said it was unable to substantiate any allegations of politically motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources.

But it did not rule out human error in selecting topics.

“Our investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies,” Colin Stretch, Facebook’s General Counsel, wrote in a company blogpost.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg met last week with more than a dozen conservative politicians and media personalities to discuss issues of trust in the social network.

 

 

Can eSport Be Used A Promo Tool?

May 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

While some publishers establish their own eSports divisions and appoint chief competition officers, Take-Two is approaching the competitive gaming trend with a bit more caution. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the company’s financial earnings report today, CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick said the field was promising, but still unproven.

“eSports we find very interesting,” Zelnick said. “It is, however, still more a promotional tool than anything else. And most people see eSports as an opportunity to increase consumer engagement in their titles, and depending on the title, to increase consumer spending within the title.”

To date, Take-Two’s biggest eSports endeavor has been an NBA 2K tournament with 92,000 teams competing for a $250,000 prize. The final 16 teams are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament this weekend, with the finals taking place during the NBA Finals next month.

“It’s just the beginning for us,” Zelnick said of the tournament. “It’s very gratifying so far, but we have yet to see it as a stand-alone profitable business. We see it more as an adjunct to consumer engagement in our titles.”

Zelnick also addressed the company’s digital revenues, which for the first time made up more than half of its revenues for the year. While the industry has shifted heavily toward digital in recent years, Zelnick doesn’t see this as some sort of tipping point or a harbinger that physical goods are in for declines from here on out.

“This year was a little different because we had a very significant portion of this year’s revenue through digital distribution,” Zelnick said. “And that’s a reflection of the power of titles like Grand Theft Auto Online as well as PC titles, 90 percent of which are digitally delivered. With frontline console releases, your numbers are more like 20 percent from digital distribution. So physical distribution remains the lion’s share of our revenue.”

While Zelnick acknowledged the growth of digital distribution is a good thing for Take-Two, he specified that it wasn’t a strategy for the company because it’s ultimately out of his hands.

“We want to be where the consumer is, and we’re not really the ones who vote,” Zelnick said.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

How Often Does Jupiter Get Whacked?

May 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Jupiter doesn’t get whacked by asteroids and comets quite as often as scientists had thought.

Objects big enough to generate a fireball visible from Earth — such as the spectacular one that occurred on March 17 — slam into Jupiter about 6.5 times per year, according to a new study based on the pooled observations of amateur astronomers around the world.

“In three years since our program started, amateur contributors from Europe, the U.S. and Australia have analyzed the equivalent of more than 56 days of videos — around 53,000 videos — without discovering an impact,” Marc Delcroix, who coordinates a group of about 60 skywatchers worldwide, said in a statement. [Jupiter Collision! Impact Captured by Amateur Astronomer (Video)]

“This is a result in itself and, together with the reports of amateur astronomer John McKeon, has helped us come up with our preliminary estimate, which slightly reduces previous estimates of the flux of impacting objects [at] Jupiter,” Delcroix added.

McKeon captured the March 17 Jupiter fireball on video. (Another amateur astronomer, Gerrit Kernbauer, spotted the impact first; McKeon went through his observations from that night after learning of Kernbauer’s find

Researchers think that the March 17 event was caused by an object 33 to 66 feet (10 to 20 meters) wide. Skywatchers have observed three other such Jupiter strikes since June 2010; all of them likely involved impactors in the same general size range, scientists have said.

But bigger objects hammer the gas giant fairly frequently as well. A 1,650-foot-wide (500 m) asteroid barreled into Jupiter in 2009, for example, and the big chunks of broken-apart Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 pummeled the huge planet in July 1994, leaving dark scars that were visible in Jupiter’s cloud tops for months.

Jupiter is much bigger and more massive than Earth, so the giant planet gets hit by cosmic objects thousands of times more often than our planet does. (Asteroids and comets are drawn in more frequently by Jupiter’s powerful gravity.)

Nailing down Jupiter’s precise impact rate is of interest to astronomers and planetary scientists as well as skywatchers.

“Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the statistics of a very few number of impacts detected, but plans to improve our detection methods and perform systematic searches will help us to detect more of these objects,” Ricardo Hueso Alonso, of the University of the Basque Country in Spain, said in the same statement. “That will allow us to know more about the current architecture of the outer solar system and the role of Jupiter in protecting the Earth from comparable impacts.”

The study team presented its results at a workshop on Jupiter for professional and amateur astronomers at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. The workshop was organized by the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure, a project designed to support planetary-science activities throughout Europe.

Courtesy-Space

nVidia Outs The Tesla M10

May 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has been talking about its Tesla M10 GPU designed to run on the latest version of the company’s GRID technology.

For those who came in late, GRID technology is supposed to give servers a kick in the graphics back-end. It powers virtual desktops and support cloud-powered gaming.

Nvidia says the Tesla M10 GPU can support up to 64 desktops per board and 128 per server with two boards. This means shedloads of virtual machines  which are potentially dead and alive.

The new graphics card ccan support Citrix’s XenApp and virtual PCs running Windows, or power virtual workstations that need the performance for professional graphics work.

The M10 is a bit like the M6 and M60 as a GPU accelerator – unlike the M10 motorway which is a disappointingly short road connected the M1 to the A414 just south of St Albans.

Companies making use of virtual machines or looking to substitute hardware for more efficient virtual systems can access the GRID and Tesla tech for less than $2 per month per user for use with virtual apps and remote desktop sessions, and the firm will provide virtual PCs for less than $6 per month per user.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Photos, Links To No Longer Count In Tweet’s 140 Character Limit

May 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc users will soon have more flexibility in posting tweets because the company plans to discontinue including photos and links as part of its 140-character limit, according to a Bloomberg report.

The social media platform has faced stagnant user growth. Months earlier, Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said the company would simplify its product in an effort to attract new users.

“We think there’s a lot of opportunity in our product to fix some broken windows that we know are inhibiting growth,” Dorsey said during a February earnings call.

Links currently take up to 23 characters of a tweet, limiting the amount of commentary that users can offer when sharing articles or other content.

Twitter has faced stagnant user growth, and shares have fallen more than 70 percent over the past year.

Twitter declined to comment on the report.

 

Is EA Cautious About The 3rd Person Shooter Market?

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

EA is telling the world that it wants into the third-person action market with an open world game, but it does not appear to be happening any time soon.

EA Studios VP Patrick Söderlund told us in 2015 that EA wanted to expand its portfolio into gigantic action games like Assassin’s Creed or Batman or GTA and CFO Blake Jorgensen said something similar.

“We feel like there’s a huge opportunity for us to continue to invest in new areas of the business like the action genre where we haven’t competed historically. There’s a very ripe opportunity for us to invest in and we’ve been able to bring great talent in to build out that part of the business.”

But according to Game Radar it is not going to happen any time soon. Blake is quoted as saying that the outfit was building an action genre product that’s probably will appear in three or four years.

We can expect something new from EA next year which has not been announced, Blake said. But this will not be anything like the big games which have captured popular attention.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia Shows Better Than Expected Profit

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia forecast better-than-expected revenue for the current quarter demand for its chips has risen, while its rival, AMD has a knap while waiting for its Zen technology to arrive.

Shares of the company, which also reported profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, were up 7.5 percent in extended trading.

The chipmaker last week unveiled its GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 graphics processors based on its Pascal technology.

Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the new Pascal GPU architecture will give a giant boost to deep learning, gaming and VR. The  processors were in full production and would be available later this month.

Revenue from its gaming business, which designs graphics cards such as GeForce for PCs, rose 17 percent to $687 million.

The company has weathered a shrinking personal computer industry by focusing on game enthusiasts, who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for processors used in playing graphically demanding games. Revenue from its data center business, which includes its Tesla processors, rose 62.5 percent to $143 million.

The company said it expected second-quarter revenue to be $1.35 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.28 billion for the quarter. Nvidia’s net income rose to $196 million in the first quarter ended May 1 from $134 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 13.4 percent to $1.31 billion, while analysts were expecting $1.26 billion.

The company also said it intends to return about $1 billion to shareholders in fiscal 2017 through quarterly dividends and share buybacks.

Courtesy-Fud

 

The Weather Channel To Launch New Mobile App

May 16, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

The Weather Channel is gearing up to roll out a mobile phone app for its recently launched online local news service Local Now in a bid to expand its viewership, Chief Executive Dave Shull told Reuters in an interview.

The independent TV network, which brings weather coverage from blizzards to tornadoes to millions of American homes, rolled out in January an online service “Local Now” that offers local news, weather, traffic and sports updates. The service is currently only available on Dish Network Corp’s online streaming service Sling TV.

“News should be personalized for you, hyper-local, and on-demand just like your favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu,” Shull said on Thursday. “You shouldn’t have to wait for the local news to come on at 11 p.m.”

The Local Now app, expected to launch in June, lets users access the service on iOS and Android phones by entering account information from their cable or satellite-TV subscription with some operators, such as Time Warner Cable Inc, Shull said. It offers a free trial for a week.

The launch comes as streaming services such as Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video gain popularity and viewers shun traditional pay-TV offerings.

Streaming or over-the-top services bring slim bundles of channels from sports to kids entertainment to viewers, but often lack rich local news content as streaming rights have to be painstakingly negotiated with hundreds of stations.

The challenge for local news stations is to satisfy mobile demand without undermining viewership for traditional broadcasts, which generate hefty fees from cable operators who pay to carry their content.

By identifying a viewer’s location, ad-free Local Now creates a real-time, short-form newscast using live data from Weather Channel traffic and weather cameras and news from a handful of content partners, such as the Associated Press. The newscasts, which do not feature a news anchor, use automated pre-recorded words strung together to deliver news.

By leveraging existing Weather Channel infrastructure and using cost-efficient technology, Local Now can offer local news coverage to distributors at a “fraction of the cost” charged by local news stations, Shull said.

 

 

 

The FTC Focusing On Google’s Search Engine Dominance Again

May 12, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials are asking questions again about the possibility that Alphabet Inc’s Google has abused its dominance in the Internet search market, Politico reported, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

The FTC’s senior antitrust officials have discussed the matter in recent months with representatives of a major U.S. company, which objects to Google’s practices, Politico reported.

The inquiry appears to be in the early, information-gathering stage, the news website reported.

The regulators ended their earlier investigation in January 2013, saying that the company had not manipulated its Web search results to hurt rivals.

Google declined to comment. The FTC could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

 

Will AMD’s Zen Processor Be Quad-Core?

May 12, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In May 2015, we reported that AMD’s first Zen CPUs, launching in Q4 2016, would most likely be quad-core chips based on a presentation slide showing the company’s Zen core units scaling up to four cores with shared L3 cache. According to new information released one year later, this may not be the case and, the company could be preparing to launch eight and six-core variants in a tight efficiency race against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs.

AMD’s official “Zen-based Quad Core Unit” slide” was released May 6, 2015 during its Financial Analyst Day when the company claimed its new platform will have a more competitively-focused IPC design, higher core counts, lower latency caches and will be based on second-generation 14nm Low-Power Plus (LPP) process technology.

On Wednesday, sources close to the folks at Italian site Bitsandchips.it now suggest that AMD will produce 8-core and 6-core Zen x86 chips initially – and only in the event of bad yields will OEMs and ODMs decide to use quad-core variants. Due to the fact that Intel is launching 6-core and 10-core high-end Broadwell-E processors later this month, it appears AMD will be initially focused on bringing back some high-end desktop (HEDT) market share from Intel’s stagnant performance numbers.

In recent benchmarks, the Core i7 6950X is only about 10 percent faster than the Core i7 5960X in Cinebench multi-threaded performance, while the former Haswell-E chip is actually slightly faster in Cinebench single-threaded tests. This is a great place for AMD to gain some ground against Intel’s ‘Kaby Lake’ CPUs in Instructions Per Clock (IPC) by launching Zen with a higher number of cores, at least initially.

We mentioned in August 2015 that Zen uses SMT (hyperthreading) just like Intel’s cores and will be switching back to a single FPU-per core design. With this market approach, every core will be able to run two simultaneous threads just like Intel’s CPUs. This is AMD’s way of breaking from the “core pair” implementation that was established in Bulldozer in October 2011, also known as Clustered Multithreading (CMT).

Of course, AMD will eventually release a 16-core x86 Zen APU with Greenland integrated graphics, but this is not expected to compete with Intel until 2017 when 10-nanometer Cannonlake CPUs are released later in the year. AMD can also produce an 8-core and even 6-core version of this Zen APU

Bristol Ridge APUs will initially take dual-core and quad-core designs

Meanwhile, the company is planning to announce some new dual-core and quad-core APUs later this month at Computex 2016, codenamed Bristol Ridge, to compete with current Intel 6th-generation Skylake CPUs. These 7th-generation APUs are built using four ‘Bulldozer’ CPU cores and eight GPU cores, and AMD will categorize them as “entry level” CPUs when they launch later this summer. Already, HP has announced an Envy x360 15-inch convertible with dual-core and quad-core Bristol Ridge parts based on the AMD FX naming scheme.

GlobalFoundries has been ramping up production of its second-generation 14-nanometer technology, also known as 14 Low-Power Plus (14LPP) since Q4 2014 and provided some validation on production samples in December 2015. AMD has said in the past that it will not pay GlobalFoundries (or any foundry) to develop custom silicon for its architectural designs. With this in mind, the company is relying heavily on the success of the GF second-gen 14LPP process technology and fully-depleted silicon technology to restore its core PC business back to levels it has not experienced in years. The improvements should help AMD gain traction in both TDP efficiency and performance that will allow the company to effectively scale Zen designs across more market segments in years to come.

Courtesy-Fud

 

TSMC Working On Apple’s A11 Processor

May 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Apple’s partner in crime, TSMC has begun to tape out the design for Apple’s A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process.

Digitimes’ deep throats claimed TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017.

This means that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple’s A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017 and building the chips will likely start to generate revenues at TSMC in the third quarter. The A11-series processor will power the iPhone models slated for launch in the second half of 2017.

TSMC is expected to get two-thirds of the overall A11 chip orders from Apple.

The company is officially refusing to comment on Digitimes’ story, but it does fit into what we have already been told about Jobs’ Mob’s plans for next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter Blocks Intelligence Agencies Access To Tweet Analytics

May 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Uncategorized

Twitter has prohibited a data-mining firm from providing analytics of real-time tweets to U.S. intelligence agencies, according to a Wall Street Journal report, quoting a person familiar with the matter.

Twitter, which provides Dataminr with real-time access to public tweets, seems to be trying to distance itself from appearing to aid government surveillance, a controversial issue after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the government was collecting information on users through Internet and telecommunications companies.

Executives of Dataminr told intelligence agencies recently that Twitter, which holds around 5 percent of the equity in the startup and provides the data feed, did not want the company to continue providing the service to the agencies.

Twitter’s move appears to be in line with its policy on the use of its tweet data by external companies.

“Dataminr uses public Tweets to sell breaking news alerts to companies such as Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones and government agencies such as the World Health Organization, for non-surveillance purposes,” Twitter said in a statement Sunday. “We have never authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes.”

U.S. intelligence agencies gained access to Dataminr’s service after In-Q-Tel, aventure capital organization backed by U.S. intelligence agencies, put money in the firm, the WSJ said, quoting a person familiar with the matter. Twitter is said to have conveyed to Dataminr that it didn’t want to continue the relationship with intelligence agencies at the end of a pilot by the data analysis firm arranged by In-Q-Tel. Dataminr does not figure in the list of In-Q-Tel portfolio companies on its website.

 

 

Samsung Shows Off New FinFet Process

May 4, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics is introducing a third 14-nano FinFET system semiconductor process that has lower electricity consumption and production cost than previous cost.

According to the Electronic Times, Samsung said that it will soon be completing development of Low-Power Compact (LPC) 14-nano FinFET process. Strategic partners of Samsung’s foundry business are predicting that this process will be used in anger by the end of the year.

All this is moving fast Samsung mass-produced Low Power Early (LPE) Chips, which are 1st generation chips just last year. It has just mass-produced second 2nd generation 14-nano LPP66 (Low Power Plus) chips that have 15 per cent lesser electricity consumption compared to LPE chips.

The Exynos 8 Octa Series and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 443 820 which is under the bonnet of the Galaxy S7 are mass-produced through 14-nano LPP process.
Samsung’s third generation process reduces the number of masks that are used for wafer manufacturing process. It is expected that 14 nano will be around for as long as 28 nano was.

Even when 10-nano and 7-nano processes are developed, there will be many fabless manufacturing companies will still use cost-efficient 14-nano process.

Qualcomm, Samsung and Mediatek recently introduced new 14 and 16-nano AP products that are inexpensive. They will be used for Snapdragon 443 625, Exynos 7870, and Helio P20, and this indicates that a number of chips produced by 14-nano process will increase.

Samsung’s 14-nano LPC process, will start a war with Taiwan’s TSMC in a battle to secure customers. TSMC has three types of 16-nano FinFET processes. It’s first 16-nano FinFET process arrived at the end of 2014.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Twitter Troubles Continue, Misses Revenue Estimates

April 28, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Uncategorized

Twitter Inc  disappointed investors once again with first-quarter results that revealed stagnant revenue growth as the microblogging service struggles to grab new users amid efforts to improve its complicated interface with several new features.

Twitter’s user base grew modestly to 310 million monthly active users in the quarter ended March 31 from 305 million in the fourth quarter, above analysts’ expectations. But investors were let down by the revenue miss since outlining a turnaround plan.

“It’s obvious Twitter is having trouble,” said Arvind Bhatia, analyst with CRT Capital. “It’s not growing anywhere close to where people expected a while back.”

On a call with analysts, executives said advertisers, especially in Europe, held back spending ahead of major events, including the Olympics and the European Champions League. They also said users were spending more time watching and sharing video, but that advertisers’ budgets had not yet shifted from legacy advertising products such as promoted tweets.

Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said Twitter’s long-term goal was to have “millions of advertisers like our competitors.” Facebook Inc has more than 3 million advertisers.

Twitter has struggled with stagnant user growth as its complex interface makes it less attractive to new users.

As part of its turnaround plan, the company has emphasized its live offerings, including live commentary and video streaming through its Periscope app, to attract new users. But it faces fierce competition from Facebook Inc  which has recently ramped up its live video product, Facebook Live.

Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said that talent recruitment was a top priority for the year, especially on the engineering and product teams. Twitter lost several top executives earlier this year and has since added two new board members and a new chief marketing officer.

The company forecast revenue of $590 million to $610 million for the second quarter. Analysts on average were expecting $677.57 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

First-quarter revenue rose 36 percent from a year earlier to $594.5 million, but widely missed the average analyst estimate of $607.8 million.