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Microsoft To End Detailed Security Bulletins

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft discontinue issuing detailed security bulletins in February, which for nearly 20 years have provided individual users and IT professionals information about vulnerabilities and their patches.

One patching expert crossed his fingers that Microsoft would make good on its pledge to publish the same information when it switches to a new online database. “I’m on the fence right now,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with patch management vendor Shavlik, of the demise of bulletins. “We’ll have to see [the database] in February before we know how well Microsoft has done [keeping its promise].”

Microsoft announced the demise of bulletins in November, saying then that the last would be posted with January’s Patch Tuesday — the monthly round of security updates for Windows and other Microsoft software — and that the new process would kick in on Feb. 14, next month’s patch day.

The web-based bulletins have been a feature of Microsoft’s patch disclosure policies since at least 1998, and for almost as long have been considered the professional benchmark by security experts.

 A searchable database of support documents will replace the bulletins; that database has been available, albeit in preview, since November on the portal Microsoft dubbed the “Security Updates Guide,” or SUG.

The documents stored in the database are specific to a vulnerability on an edition of Windows, or a version of another Microsoft product. They can be sorted and filtered by the affected software, the patch’s release date, its CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifier, and the numerical label of the KB, or “knowledge base” support document.

“Our customers have asked for better access to update information, as well as easier ways to customize their view to serve a diverse set of needs,” wrote an unnamed member of the Microsoft Security Response Center in November to explain the switch from bulletins to database.

Rovio Seeks New Gaming Path, Opening Studio In London

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Finnish mobile games and animation developer Rovio Entertainment is intensifying its search for new hit games by opening a studio in London to focus on multiplayer games that would not rely on the company’s Angry Birds brand.

Privately-held Rovio has struggled in recent years as profits from the Angry Birds franchise dropped, prompting deep job cuts and divestments.

But last year Rovio launched an animated Angry Birds 3D Hollywood film that it said did well at the box office and yielded new licensing deals.

 Rovio is now looking to build a team of about 20 people in London to create “massively multiplayer online” (MMO) games that support a large number of players simultaneously, with a focus on new characters.

“MMO is a genre that is growing in mobile, but it is not fully saturated. We are not looking for a niche position but a very wide, inclusive game,” Wilhelm Taht, head of games, told Reuters.

The original Angry Birds game, in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs, was launched in 2009 and it remains the top paid mobile app of all time.

Rovio exploited the brand early on by licensing its use on a string of consumer products. But the company’s failure to bring out new hit games resulted in falling profit, prompting Rovio to cut more than 300 jobs in 2014 and 2015.

“In the long term, our new characters may generate intellectual property and even a brand,” Taht said.

Rovio has a series of smartphone games based on Angry Birds characters. In 2015 it published a puzzle game called Nibblers and it will soon put out Battle Bay, a real-time multiplayer game.

Rovio is not looking to launch a large number of games this year, Taht added.

“Perhaps there’s been some change in our thinking here,” he said. “The market is favorable for games that will live long and that are operated with a service mindset.”

Asked about Nintendo’s hit smartphone game Pokemon GO, Taht said the game truly put augmented reality (AR) on the gaming map.

“We will, of course, be following AR as a technology and a tool,” he said.

In the first half of 2016 Rovio booked a small operating profit, compared with a loss a year earlier, help by growth in game sales.

Rovio has around 200 employees spread between its four game studios in Finland and Sweden and about 400 in total.

Are Notebooks Making Gains Against Tablets?

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.

Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.

This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.

PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.

Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.

Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple PC Division Faltering?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications,  it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.

This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.

The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.

In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.

So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.

As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon’s Alexa Takes On Rival Google’s Android OS

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc’s digital assistant popped up just about everywhere at the CES technology show this week in Las Vegas, even making an unexpected appearance on rival Google’s Android system.

Companies ranging from appliance maker Whirlpool Corp to Ford Motor Co unveiled products featuring Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon that responds to voice commands.

Most strikingly, Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co, which manufactures smartphones running on the Android operating system produced by Alphabet Inc’s Google, announced that its flagship handset will come with an app that gives users access to Alexa in the United States.

 The adoption of Alexa by a prominent Android manufacturer indicates that Amazon may have opened up an early lead over Google as the companies race to present their digital assistants to as many people as possible, analysts said.

Many in the technology industry believe that such voice-powered digital assistants will supplant keyboards and touch screens as a primary way consumers interact with devices.

While the shift is only in the early stages, Google must establish a strong presence quickly, particularly on Android devices, to maintain its dominance in internet search, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

“To the extent that voice becomes more important and something other than Google’s voice assistant becomes the most popular voice interface on Android phones, that’s a huge loss for Google in terms of data gathering, training its AI (artificial intelligence), and ultimately the ability to drive advertising revenue,” he said.

Alexa debuted on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, and Amazon is establishing a broad array of hardware and software partnerships around it. The competing Google Assistant launched last year on the company’s Pixel smartphone, after appearing on Google’s messaging app, and has begun to roll out to third-party devices as well. Graphics processor maker Nvidia Corp announced at CES that its Shield television will feature the assistant.

While Google has expressed an interest in bringing its assistant to other Android smartphones, the decision to debut the feature on its own hardware may have strained relations with manufacturers, Dawson said.

“It highlights just what a strategic mistake it can be for services companies to make their own hardware and give it preferential access to new services,” he said.

HMD Global Debuts The New Nokia Smartphone

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to market Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, debuted on Sunday its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users with a price of 1,699 yuan ($246).

The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire handset unit to Microsoft.

The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.

 “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world… it is a strategically important market,” HMD said in a statement.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones, and then chose Microsoft’s Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic phones under Nokia’s name and Lumia smartphones under its own name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.

HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade.

It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players.

Samsung Puts Confidence In Galaxy S8, Sets 10M Production Target

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has set an early production target of 10 million Galaxy S8 smartphones, South Korea’s Electronic Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Samsung is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year in one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history.

The firm has yet to disclose what caused some Note 7 phones to catch fire on their own.

 The newspaper said the world’s top smartphone maker would start production in March and planned to start selling them in April. Galaxy S7 phones went on sale in March last year.

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 

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.

Was Android The Most Insecure OS Last Year?

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While people might mock Microsoft’s security, it would appear that the least most secure operating systems this year were Android, Debian and Ubuntu.

To be fair, its method of assessing the security of operating systems is somewhat bunk. It sets a figure based on the number of vulnerabilities found rather than the importance of those vulnerabilities or whether someone fixed them quickly. You know that there is something wrong when the fruity cargo cult Apple ranks rather low in the list when its “three wise monkey” approach to security vulnerabilities is legendary.

However, the figures should wipe the smug smile off the faces of those open saucers who claim that Linux and all who sail in her are much better than iOS or Windows.

Courtesy-Fud

Lenovo’s Miix 720 Tablet To Take On Microsoft’s Surface

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the world waits for Microsoft’s next Surface tablet, consumers can opt for h Lenovo’s new Miix 720, a 12-inch Windows tablet loaded with cutting-edge features.

The Miix 720 and will ship in April with a starting price of $999. That’s about $100 more than the starting price of the Surface Pro 4, but the Miix 720 has superior features.

But the Surface could catch up with the Miix 720 soon. A new Surface Pro 5 could be out early this year and could have features like faster processors and a higher resolution screen that could be on par or better than the Miix 720. That’s when the competition will get interesting.

But for now, it’s Miix 720 versus the Surface Pro 4. The Lenovo tablet runs on an Intel Core processor based on the latest Kaby Lake architecture and has an integrated graphics processor capable of supporting 4K video. Surface Pro 4 is a generation behind with Skylake chips, but the next Surface tablet will likely get Kaby Lake.

Lenovo has borrowed some ideas from the Surface with a kickstand at the back of the Miix 720, which helps the tablet sit upright on a desk or tabletop.

A difference-maker in the Miix 720 is the USB-C port, which is also a high-speed Thunderbolt 3 port to connect external peripherals like displays and storage devices. Surface Pro 4 only has one full-sized USB 3.0 port. Additionally, the Miix 720 has USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Lenovo tablet supports up to 16GB of faster DDR4 DRAM. The Surface Pro 4 supports up to 16GB of the older and slower DDR3 memory. Data moves faster with DDR4 memory, and that means faster computer performance.

The Lenovo’s 12-inch screen is smaller than the 12.3-inch screen on the Surface Pro 4 but displays images at a higher resolution. The Miix 720 displays images at a 2880 x 1920-pixel resolution, which is better than the 2736 x 1824-pixel resolution of the Surface Pro 4.

The Miix 720 has storage capacity up to 1TB, and a keyboard attachment turns the tablet into a laptop. Those capabilities are available on the Surface Pro 4. Lenovo will separately sell a stylus allowing users to take notes and draw on the tablet.

Lenovo’s tablet weighs about 780 grams, or 1.1 kilograms with the keyboard attachment. It has a 1-megapixel front camera with infrared, allowing users to log into Windows PCs via face recognition.The tablet also has a 5-megapixel rear camera.

Mozilla’s Firefox Sets Retirement Date For Windows XP, Vista Support

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla will discontinue support for its Firefox browser running on Windows XP and Windows Vista in 2017, the company announced last week.

The exact timing of Firefox’s retirement from those Microsoft operating systems will be determined in the summer, according to a post to a company blog. “We expect to continue to provide security updates for [Windows XP and Windows Vista] users until September 2017,” the firm said. “In mid-2017, user numbers on Windows XP and Vista will be reassessed and a final support end date will be announced.”

Before that, however, Mozilla will automatically migrate Windows XP and Vista users to the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR), a build-and-release track designed for enterprises and educational organizations. “In approximately March 2017, Windows XP and Vista users will automatically be moved to the … ESR,” Mozilla said.

ESR builds are regularly updated with security fixes, but do not receive the new features and enhancements that the standard version does. Instead, Firefox ESR remains feature-static for approximately a year, at which time a new ESR is issued. (Microsoft adopted a similar approach with its Windows 10 Long Term Servicing (LTS) Branch, a release track that eschews feature changes for months, or even years.)

Mozilla created the ESR track in 2012 after some customers balked at its scheme to ship a new edition of the browser every six weeks. Firefox ESR 52, slated to ship on March 7, will be what Mozilla moves XP and Vista users to. From that point until Mozilla officially retires Firefox later in the year, XP and Vista users will receive only security updates to the browser.

Microsoft retired Windows XP from support in April 2014, and will do the same to Vista on April 11, 2017. It’s unclear what percentage of Firefox users run the browser on the two aged operating systems, but analytics vendors portray both as minor players. According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP powered 8.6% of the world’s personal computers last month, and Vista — one of Microsoft’s biggest OS failures — ran 1.1% of the globe’s PCs.

If Windows XP’s rate of decline over the last 12 months continues, its share of the personal computer operating system market will have fallen to about 7% by September. Meanwhile, Vista’s share will have shrunk to an almost-invisible seven-tenths of a percentage point.

Mozilla is one of the last browser makers to pull the support plug from Windows XP. Microsoft stopped patching Internet Explorer on XP when it retired the OS in 2014, and Google scratched XP off Chrome’s support list in April 2016.

Do OLED TV’s Suffer From Burn In

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bad news for everyone who wanted to get an OLED TV soon; some industry experts have told Fudzilla that current generation OLED TVs suffer from a built in defect and that the companies are seeing a lot of TVs being returned after a year of use.

It looks like Quantum dot or Sony Backlight Master Drive LED technology might be your best bet at least for a little while because OLED TVs are still expensive, and the fact that they might get burn in after a while makes them less attractive. There is always good old LED TV, a technology that is predominantly available and manages panels larger than 55 inch at reasonable prices.  

This burn in problem could cause some major recalls at some point in the near future but our industry source, who wants to remain unnamed, did mention that there might be a solution in 2018 for the problem. Unfortunately, the solution will happen with the next generation of OLED panels.

So, getting great color levels and black that doesn’t not looked washed up have their downsides too. The same problem didn’t affect the small panels such as the ones in phones and tablets –  it occurs when on large panels only. Samsung and Sony are sticking with alternative technologies for the time being while LG has been pushing for OLEDs for a while.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Waning, Cutting iPhone Production

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc will put into place a reduction in production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily is reporting, citing calculations based on data from the smartphone’s list of  suppliers.

The company had slashed output by 30 percent in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said.

Apple’s shares were down 0.84 percent in midday trading, in line with the Nasdaq stock index.

 An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Will Apple Cut iPhone Production This Quarter?

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple is expected to cut back its production of iPhone devices by about 10 percent in the first financial quarter of 2017 due to slower than expected sales, according to a Nikkei daily report filed on Thursday.

The information is based on the latest number data from the company’s suppliers, which says the decreased production output is a result of slower sales in the Q4 FY2016 financial quarter ending September 24th. Yet despite a slowdown in sales, the fruit-themed toymaker still managed to top the charts in terms of overall device activations at 44 percent, while Samsung was placed second at 21 percent. The rest of the top global smartphone vendors placed below five percent, with Huawei in third at three percent.

In 2016, the company reduced iPhone production output between January and March by 30 percent due to accumulated inventory levels of the iPhone 6S at the end of the previous holiday season.

This year, the problem appears to be convincing customers that new features on the iPhone 7 and flagship iPhone 7 Plus are enough to justify a purchase at off-contract price or paying off their existing device’s installment plan. Over the past few years, carriers have pushed customers to switch from fixed upgrade cycles over to installment plans or, bringing the length of device ownership to an average of 29 months, up from the typical range of 24 to 26 months during the previous two years.

While Apple is expected to announce a significant iPhone overhaul this year with its 10th anniversary design, the company still must navigate the new service plan trends set by wireless carriers in order to get a significant number of loyal customers to maintain its profit margins.

Courtesy-Fud

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