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3D Printed Parts Cuts Cost For Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Boeing plans to use at least four 3D-printed titanium parts to construct its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and may some day rely on as many as 1,000 parts created via  additive manufacturing.

Boeing has hired Oslo, Norway-based Norsk Titanium AS to print the parts. It marks the first time that FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium parts will be used as structural components on a commercial aircraft, according to the company.

The parts will be used near the rear of the Dreamliner, a mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Boeing builds about 144 Dreamliners each year.

Printing 3D parts for Boeing will allow the aircraft manufacturer to eventually reduce the production costs for each 787 Dreamliner by as much as $3 million, Norsk Titanium said.

“We are providing Boeing with an initial quantity of four parts per 787 airplane and are actively working to expand this order to possibly more than 1,000 parts per airplane, which if we achieve, could save Boeing $2 million to $3 million per airplane some years from now,” a Norsk Titanium spokesman said via email to Computerworld. “If we achieve our goal of selling over 1,000 parts per 787, they would be located in a wide variety of structural applications.”

The use of 3D printing technology is growing at an exponential rate, Boeing said, and interest in using it “has increased dramatically during the past few years.”

“3D printing offers great potential to reduce the cost and weight of aircraft structures and improve the ability of engineers to design parts purely for their eventual function in a vehicle system,” a Boeing spokesperson said in an email. “3D printing enables the design and production of integral structures. This means converting an assembly and several structures into one piece.”

Boeing’s use of Norsk Titanium’s parts is not the company’s first foray into the use 3D printing technology.

Last year, Boeing said it was testing an industrial 3D printer from Stratasys that can build objects of virtually any size using materials such as carbon fiber for lighter weight and stronger parts. The printers were designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive and other industries by being able to build completed parts with repeatable mechanical properties.

Intel Acquires Stake In Digital Mapping Firm HERE

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. chip maker Intel plans to purchase a 15 percent stake in German digital mapping firm HERE, it said on Tuesday, as it looks to build its presence in automated driving technology.

A filing to the German cartel office on Tuesday showed Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in the company, which is controlled by German carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen.

Intel and HERE said in a statement that they had also signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly- and fully-automated driving.

Intel did not disclose how much it would pay for the stake but said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.

The deal highlights a shift in the dynamics of research and development in the car industry, which until recently saw automakers largely dictating terms for suppliers to manufacture their proprietary technologies at specified volumes and prices.

Now carmakers are increasingly striking partnerships with technology firms using open technology standards, seeking to harness their expertise in areas including machine learning and mapping as they race against Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Tesla and Apple to develop driverless vehicles.

Last month two Chinese companies and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in HERE and in July, BMW teamed up with Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving cars by 2021.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in 2015 from mobile equipment maker Nokia  of Finland.

Last September, HERE said it would introduce a new set of traffic services allowing drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

Tesla Reaches Settlement With Owners Over Cars Performance

December 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

tesla-motors-logo-150x150Electric automobile maker Tesla Motors Inc has reached an out-of-court settlement with 126 Norwegian customers who alleged their vehicles performance did not match promises made in the firm’s marketing.

Lawyers for the owners and the company told the Oslo District Court in a joint letter they wanted to withdraw the case which had been due to start on Monday, a court spokeswoman said.

Kaspar Nygaard Thommessen of Oslo-based law firm Wikborg Rein, who represented the car owners, told Reuters a settlement had been reached in recent days and the case had been resolved.

He declined to provide details of the settlement.

Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv (DN) said on Sunday Tesla had agreed to pay 65,000 Norwegian crowns ($7,700) to each car owner, about half of what they demanded, or allow them to choose from alternative options, including car upgrades.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The case involved Tesla’s Model S P85D, which the car owners said had a lower horsepower than stated by Tesla. The company has denied misleading the buyers.

While the Model S PD85 is no longer offered in Norway, similar Tesla Model S cars range from $95,000 for the 90D version to $135,000 for the P100D, according to the company’s Norwegian price website. Most buyers will also pay for add-ons that raise the price further.

Norway is among the world’s top markets for electric cars thanks to generous government subsidies aimed at increasing the electrification of transport.

The registration of new Tesla cars in Norway fell by 24 percent in the first 11 months of 2016 compared with 2015, according to data from lobby group Road Traffic Information Council (OFV).

SAP Expands IoT Footprint With Plat.One Acquisition

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

sap-logo-150x150SAP has acquired IoT software developer Plat.One,taking the first step of a plan to invest $2 billion in the internet of things over the next five years.

Some of those billions will be spent on the creation of IoT development labs around the world, SAP said Wednesday. It already has plans for such labs in Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, Shanghai and São Leopoldo in Brazil.

The company is also rolling out a series of “jump-start” and “accelerator” IoT software packages for particular industries, to help them monitor and control equipment.

Another compoent of SAP’s IoT plan is to acquire new businesses, the latest of which is Plat.One. This company makes a platform that helps smart devices talk to one another and with a central database, translating between the different protocols they use to communicate. Plat.One says it manages 200,000 devices for 25 enterprise customers, including three telecommunications companies: BT, T-Systems and Telecom Italia.

Back in June SAP bought Fedem Technology, a Norwegian company specializing in the modeling of structures under load. By mapping sensor data from real structures onto these models, SAP intends to create digital avatars of buildings and industrial machines that can be inspected for wear or damage virtually, without the need for a site visit.

SAP is not alone in having designs on the industrial IoT market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise teamed up with GE to sell that company’s Predix IoT platform back in June, with GE naming HPE its preferred storage and infrastructure provider in return. The following month it was Microsoft’s turn, as it struck a deal to put GE’s Predix on the Azure cloud platform.

SAP’s plan for Plat.One is to link it with its HANA Cloud Platform, built around the company’s HANA in-memory database. One of the strengths Plat.One claims for its software is that it works well on the network edge, particularly in environments where connectivity to cloud platforms is intermittent. That could be useful for tracking machinery in industrial or mining environments with patchy network coverage.

Plat.One is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, but it was founded near Genoa in Italy, where its research team is still based.


U.S. Marines Tests Minitiature-Sized Helicopter Drone

August 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Marine Corps is testing out a pocket-sized drone that can stream live video feeds from three cameras and is tiny enough that it’s almost invisible from the ground.

The Black Hornet PD-100 can stay aloft for 25 minutes and has a range of 1.6 km (1 mile). That means Marines can use it for surveillance far beyond their current position.

It can fly missions guided by GPS, yet fits in a pocket. The cable hanging out the back in this image is an antenna, not a cord for power or data.

The three cameras can be used to send live video or take pictures. One camera points ahead, one directly down and one at 45 degrees to the ground.

The tests took place in California recently during an exercise called MIX-16, held to evaluate new technologies and how they might be used by the Marines.

The Black Hornet has already been used in Afghanistan by the British military, and the U.K. Ministry of Defence was sufficiently impressed to make it an ongoing part of the country’s military kit.

It’s made by Norway’s Prox Dynamics, and the Norwegian Special Forces have ordered a version with night-flying capability. The drone is also used by a handful of other countries.





Opera Becomes First Browser With Automatic Ad Blocker

March 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Norwegian company Opera rolled out a new version of its desktop computer browser that promises to load web pages faster by incorporating ad-blocking, a move that makes reining in advertising a basic feature instead of an afterthought.

Faster loading, increased privacy and security and a desire for fewer distractions are behind the growing demand for ad-blockers.

However, their popularity is cutting into the growth of online marketing for site publishers and corporate brands, who rely on reaching web and mobile users to pay for their content rather than restricting access to paid subscribers.

Opera has a history of introducing innovations that later become common in major browsers such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking, which helped users control an earlier generation of in-your-face ads and malware disguised as advertising.

“Ad-blocking technology is an opportunity and a wake-up call to the advertising industry to pay attention to what consumers are actually saying,” an Opera spokeswoman said.

Opera said it can cut page-loading times by as much as 90 percent by eliminating the complex dance that occurs behind the scenes in a user’s browser as various third-party ad networks deliver promotional messages to users.

The Norwegian company, which has agreed to a takeover by a group of Chinese firms led by Beijing Kunlun Tech in a cash deal valued at $1.23 billion, introduced its first computer web browser in 1995.

With the rise of the smartphone, it shifted to focus on the mobile browser and advertising market, where it now derives most of its revenue and counts 281 million users.

Opera said on Thursday it was introducing a version of its browser aimed at software developers and early adopters, but will eventually offer the feature for both computers and phones.

The Oslo-based firm ranks a distant fifth behind more mainstream desktop computers browsers from Microsoft, Google, Firefox and Apple. The company counts 60 million active monthly desktop users worldwide.



Firefox 64-bit Finally Is Available For Windows

December 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla has finally shipped Firefox 43, the first edition that lets users download a production-grade 64-bit version for Windows.

While Mozilla did not debut the 64-bit support with any fanfare, it was the biggest difference between Firefox 43 and its predecessors.

A preview of the 64-bit Firefox for Windows was issued more than nine months ago, when Mozilla’s usual schedule would have meant a May release.

The biggest advantage of a 64-bit browser on a 64-bit operating system — like Windows and Apple’s OS X — is that it can address more than the 4GB of memory available to a 32-bit application, letting users keep open hundreds of tabs, and run larger, more sophisticated Web apps, notably games.

The appearance today of the Firefox 43 ends Mozilla’s climb to catch up with rivals, who had offered 64-bit browsers long before, in some instances years. Google, for example, shipped a Windows 64-bit Chrome in August 2014 and one for OS X in November of that year, while Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) have had 64-bit editions on OS X and Windows since 2009 and 2006, respectively. Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker known for its same-named desktop flagship, also offers a 64-bit edition on Windows.

Mozilla was the last holdout among the top five browser builders.

Its path to a 64-bit Firefox for Windows has been contorted. Although Mozilla has long had 64-bit versions for OS X and Linux, the developer shelved work on one for Windows in November 2012, only to recant and restart the project a month later.

A 64-bit Firefox was important for Mozilla if only because of its push to retain users switching to Windows 10, which like previous editions of Microsoft’s OS, comes in 32- or 64-bit versions.

Other improvements and changes in Firefox 43 include support for more intensive content-and-ad-tracker blocking using “lists” from San Francisco-based Disconnect, which also powers the “Private Browsing” mode introduced last month with Firefox 42.




Opera Browser Introduces VPN For Everyone

September 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Opera Software has announced a crop of additional functionality for its desktop edition which graduates today to become Opera 32.

The Norwegian browser firm has a relatively small but very loyal market share of 1.27 percent. It has benefited in recent years from increased compatibility owing to a change to the open source Chromium base, making it the biggest Chromium browser apart from Chrome itself.

Front and centre is the integration of SurfEasy, the VPN service bought by Opera in March. Customers can now run completely anonymous browsing sessions from within Opera 32.

Other browsers offer ‘anonymous browsing’, but this does not protect your browsing of robot sex doll sites from your ISP or your search engine. With a VPN you can be sure that whatever you get up to is secret.

Opera product manager Zhenis Beisekov said in the Opera Blog: “Your security online has always been our highest concern. We want to move it another step forward, because we believe that privacy online is a universal right.”

Other new features include the addition of password syncing between browsers, which joins the existing shared tabs, bookmarks and data.

Bookmarks get a new tree-view designed to make it easier to find stuff in your bookmarks, and maybe give them the tidy up they’ve needed all these years.

Visually, Opera 32 gains animated background themes to allow further personalisation. A short snatch of video or a gif animation can become part of your brower, and you can even add one of your own to the Opera catalogue, if you’re artistically inclined.

Opera recently announced a major update to its Mini browser for smaller devices, which offers a data compression option that maintains the integrity of the page content for the first time, making it ideal for roaming and low bandwidth areas.


Maker Of Opera Browser Up For Sale

August 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Directors of Norwegian browser maker Opera Software said that they were mulling selling the company and had hired bankers to explore options after the firm missed a second-quarter revenue forecast.

The board of directors said the move had been prompted by “strategic interest in the company from a number of parties,” according to a recent statement. In response, Opera had “initiated a process to evaluate and consider strategic alternatives … with the objective of further enhancing shareholder value.”

The Oslo-based company will be advised by bankers from ABG Sundal Collier and Morgan Stanley International.

Also on Friday, Opera acknowledged that its second-quarter revenue would come in at the low end of its prior guidance to investors, caused by a shortfall attributed to its mobile advertising arm. The culprit: Weak revenue from the video side of the ad business.

For the full 2015 fiscal year, Opera anticipates revenue of between $600 million and $618 million, about 5% off its earlier guidance of between $630 million and $650 million.

Although the 20-year-old Opera is best known to consumers as the maker of the same-named flagship browser, the company generates two-thirds of its revenue from its mobile advertising group.

The Opera browser has long been fifth in a five-browser market, even though it was frequently first with now-standard features, such as browser tabs and a new tab page filled with shortcuts to frequently visited sites.

But Opera has a miniscule share on personal computers and a shrinking share on mobile. In July, Opera accounted for just 1.3% of all browsers used that month, according to metrics vendor Net Applications, about a fourth that of Apple’s Safari, the No. 4 browser, and only one thirty-ninth of the leader, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.



Is Mastercard Going With Selfies?

July 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mastercard has announced plans to roll out a verification technology that requires a selfie to process payments.

The industry’s latest move in the shameless act of narcissism is a biometric face scanning technology that will let customers replace their PINs with their face, according to MasterCard chief product security officer, Ajay Bhalla.

Bhalla told CNN Money that the multinational financial services corporation has teamed up with all the major phone manufacturers to deliver the technology.

“The new generation, which is into selfies, I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it. This [app] seamlessly integrates biometrics into the overall payment experience,” he said.

“You can choose to use your fingerprint or your face. You tap it, the transaction is OK’ed and you’re done.”

The selfie payment feature will roll out on a trial basis first in the US, with a full scale deployment to follow at an unspecified date.

The system requires users to blink when prompted once they have held their device at eye-level for the checkout process to complete.

This ensures that potential cyber crooks cannot use a still image of the user to hack into their personal account.

MasterCard announced last month that all retail outlets across Europe will accept contactless payments by 2020, paving the way for wider adoption of mobile payment solutions.

Mike Cowan, head of emerging payments products at MasterCard, revealed at the company’s Future of Payments event in London that Europeans will soon be able to tap to pay anywhere.

“From the beginning of 2016 any new payment terminal that gets deployed must accept contactless, and every single terminal must accept it by 2020,” he said.

This means that new point of sale terminals must adhere to the new standard on deployment from 1 January 2016, while existing terminals that don’t yet support contactless payments must be replaced by 1 January 2020 at the latest.



MasterCard Testing A New Card With Fingerprint Reader

October 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Around The Net

MasterCard is trying out a contactless payment card with a built-in fingerprint reader that can authorize high-value payments without requiring the user to enter a PIN.

The credit-card company showed a prototype of the card in London on Friday along with Zwipe, the Norwegian company that developed the fingerprint recognition technology.

The contactless payment card has an integrated fingerprint sensor and a secure data store for the cardholder’s biometric data, which is held only on the card and not in an external database, the companies said.

The card also has an EMV chip, used in European payment cards instead of a magnetic stripe to increase payment security, and a MasterCard application to allow contactless payments.

The prototype shown Friday is thicker than regular payment cards to accommodate a battery. Zwipe said it plans to eliminate the battery by harvesting energy from contactless payment terminals and is working on a new model for release in 2015 that will be as thin as standard cards.

Thanks to its fingerprint authentication, the Zwipe card has no limit on contactless payments, said a company spokesman. Other contactless cards can only be used for payments of around €20 or €25, and some must be placed in a reader and a PIN entered once the transaction reaches a certain threshold.

Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN has already tested the Zwipe card, and plans to offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all its cards, the bank has said.

MasterCard wants cardholders to be able to identify themselves without having to use passwords or PINs. Biometric authentication can help with that, but achieving simplicity of use in a secure way is a challenge, it said.


Kuddle, Microsoft To Launch Child Safe Tablet

September 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Kuddle, a Norwegian photo-sharing app created for children, plans to roll out a child safe tablet with Microsoft on Dec 1, and expects to sign funding deals with several venture capital firms within weeks, its chief executive said on Monday.

The Oslo-based company said it was on track to reach its goal of one million users by year-end and plans to soon raise another $5 million of fresh funds on top of the nearly $6 million it has already raised.

“We are working with Microsoft on several child safe devices which will be sold on our online store,” Chief Executive Ole Vidar Hestaas said. “The first device will be an Ipad Mini sized tablet prized under $100 that will be ready ahead of the Kuddle Store launch.”

“This is a child friendly device and it is not possible to download games like GTA (Grand Theft Auto) or apps like Snapchat,” Hestaas said.

Kuddle, which bills itself as a rival to Instagram, lets parents monitor what their children publish and keeps access to content restricted, preventing strangers from seeing and sharing pictures. There are no hashtags or comments to prevent online bullying and “likes” are anonymous.

Hestaas said the company also is in talks with Samsung and Microsoft’s Nokia phones unit on similar cooperation, and that it was also working on deals with European telecoms operators Telenor and Vodafone for child safe Kuddle SIM cards to be sold separately or linked up to one of its devices.

The app, which has a target of 1 million users by the end of 2014, is now available in 7 languages. The most significant growth has recently come from Brazil and the US.

Hestaas said he expects to conclude funding deals with several major international venture capital funds within weeks.

The firm’s present investors include Norwegian golf ace Suzann Pettersen.



Opera Mini Browser To Become Standard On Windows Phones

August 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Mobile

Norwegian software maker Opera inked a deal to take over the browser building unit of Microsoft’s Nokia cellular phone unit and reported second-quarter earnings above expectations on Thursday, sending it shares sharply higher.

“We have signed a strategic licensing deal with Microsoft. We are basically taking over the browser building department in Nokia,” Opera Chief Executive Lars Boilsesen said. “This means that Opera Mini will become the default browser for Microsoft’s feature phone product lines and the Asha phones product lines.”

The deal will be profitable from the start, he added.

“All the current user base will be encouraged to upgrade to Opera Mini and all the new phones will come with Opera Mini pre-installed as a default browser. This is a great deal for us. We have dreamed of this for more than 10 years.”

In a separate statement, Opera said the licensing agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms.

“As part of the agreement, people who use the current browser for these phones, Xpress, will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser. Factory-new devices will have Opera Mini pre-installed.”



Browser Makers Pulling Rogue Digital Certificates

December 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software  joined Google in revoking rogue digital certificates that had been issued by a subordinate certificate authority (CA) of France’s cybersecurity agency.

Google revoked the certificates for users of its Chrome browser last Saturday after a four-day investigation. Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software followed suit on Monday.

In a security advisory, Microsoft said it had released an update to most versions of Windows — including Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 — that revoked the pertinent certificates. Unlike other browser makers, Microsoft records trusted digital certificates in Windows, not in its Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

However, the third of Windows PC owners still running the 12-year-old Windows XP have been left out in the cold. “No update is available at this time for customers running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003,” Microsoft said in its advisory.

Google’s discovery also prompted Mozilla to annul the rogue certificates. The revocations will be included with Firefox 26, according to a blog post by Mozilla.

Opera Software blacklisted the certificates in older versions of its Opera browser. The Norwegian company’s newest, Opera 12, did not require an update because that version did not automatically trust ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information), the French Network and Information Security Agency whose intermediate CA issued the original unauthorized certificate.

According to ANSSI, the certificates were signed by DGTrésor, France’s Department of the Treasury. ANSSI described the gaffe as “human error … during a process aimed at strengthening the overall IT security of the French Ministry of Finance.”

According to Google and Mozilla, ANSSI found that a secondary certificate was installed on a network monitoring device, and able to sniff local traffic to and from third-party sites. Microsoft warned that, “An attacker could use these certificates to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks” against a large number of Google-owned domains, and

The browser makers’ fast response was in contrast to similar incidents in the past, when certificate invalidation took longer. An intermediate certificate issued by Turkish CA Turktrust in mid-2011 and installed on a firewall appliance in December 2012 was not revoked by Microsoft and others until early January 2013.


European Do Not Track Supporters Make Demands

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Supporters of the Do Not Track standard have warned its detractors that they won’t stand for any nonsense, and have given backers an encouraging nudge in the direction of fair implementation.

In Europe, Neelie Kroes, the VP of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has just given a speech in which she cautioned the industry against ignoring Do Not Track, messing around with its standards or abusing the cookie system.

Speaking at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels she said, “Standardisation work is not going according to plan. In fact, I am increasingly concerned. About the delay, and about the turn taken by the discussions hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). I think that won’t come as a surprise to you. And I know that my colleagues across the Atlantic, at the Federal Trade Commission, feel the same.”

So what is the problem? According to Kroes the problem is a watering down of the standard, and she repeated her earlier calls for firm rules that actually protect the individual.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I will say it again today: the DNT standard must be rich and meaningful enough to make a difference, when it comes to protecting people’s privacy,” she said.

“It should build on the principle of informed consent, giving people control over their information. And, indeed, it must be designed to let people choose to not be tracked. The clue is in the name: do NOT track.”

European Minister though she might be, Kroes also aimed her warning at those American companies that ultimately could make or break the standard. She’s looking at the internet giants, and their implementation of the rules when she says that European regulators won’t stand for any nonsense.

“I mean everyone,” she said. “Including American companies. Because if you want to track Europeans, you have to play by our rules. Our new data protection framework is crystal-clear on that point.Including online businesses. In the long term, the online economy won’t grow if it acts against the grain, against the wishes of ordinary users, against their need for trust. And under such conditions, nor can online services prosper.”

Over the pond Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus co-chairs Joe Barton and Edward Markey expressed their disappointment at statements from the Digital Advertising Alliance that call for avoidance of the standard and ignoring of its guidance.

“Privacy is an issue that affects everyone, and the Digital Advertising Alliance’s announcement made clear that it puts profits over privacy. If consumers want to be tracked online, they should have to opt-in to be tracked, instead of the other way around,” they said.

“This is why we are disappointed to hear the Digital Advertising Alliance insist that it will not honor Microsoft’s “Do Not Track” default and will not penalise companies that ignore it.”

The Digital Advertising Alliance is a self regulatory group for online behavioural advertisers.


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