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Adobe’s Flash Days Are Numbered In Firefox Browser

July 26, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mozilla has announced that  it will follow other browser markers by limiting the use of Flash in Firefox next month.

The open-source developer added that in 2017 it will dramatically expand the anti-Flash restrictions: Firefox will require users to explicitly approve the use of Flash for any reason by any website.

As have its rivals, Mozilla cast the limitations (this year) and elimination (next year) as victories for Firefox users, citing improved security, longer battery life on laptops and faster web page rendering.

Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content,” wrote Benjamin Smedberg, the manager of Firefox quality engineering, in a post to a company blog.

Firefox 48 is slated to ship on Aug. 2.

The initial blocking Smedberg mentioned will be based on a list Mozilla will generate by crawling the home pages of the top 10,000 websites as ranked by Alexa. Flash content that those sites use to “fingerprint” users, or as “super cookies” — two techniques to track visitors for advertising purposes — will land on the list, and thus not be run by Flash.

Through 2016, Mozilla will expand the list in Firefox by blocking other Flash content, including that used by advertisers to measure “viewability;” whether the ad has been seen, not erased, for example, by an ad blocker.

In 2017 — Smedberg did not say when, exactly — Firefox will require users to click on Flash content to activate the plug-in, and thus show that content. The click-to-activate demand will be enforced for all Flash content on all pages of all sites.

Firefox is late to the dump-Flash party.

Other browser developers — Apple, Google and Microsoft — have been more active in limiting Flash. Safari has frozen some Flash content since 2013, while Chrome did the same in September 2015. Edge will follow suit with the release of the Aug. 2 upgrade, Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

 

 

Microsoft’s Office 365 Subscription Slows Signficantly

July 26, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft said that consumer subscriptions to Office 365 topped 23 million, signaling that the segment’s once quite large year-over-year growth had slowed significantly.

The Redmond, Wash. company regularly talks up the latest subscription numbers for the consumer-grade Office 365 plans — the $100 a year Home and the $70 Personal — and did so again this week during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

“We also see momentum amongst consumers, with now more than 23 million Office 365 subscribers,” CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday.

But analysis of Microsoft’s consumer Office 365 numbers showed that the rate of growth — or as Nadella put it, “momentum” — has slowed.

For the June quarter, the 23.1 million cited by Microsoft in its filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) represented a 52% increase over the same period the year prior. Although most companies would give their eye teeth — or maybe a few executives — to boast of a rate of increase that size, it was the smallest since Microsoft began providing subscription data in early 2013.

A year before, the June 2015 quarter sported a consumer Office 365 subscription growth rate of 171% over the same three-month span in 2014.

The subscription increase also was small in absolute terms: Microsoft added approximately 900,000 to the rolls during the June quarter, down from 2.8 million the year before and also less than the 1.6 million accumulated in 2016′s March quarter.

The 900,000 additional subscribers added in the June quarter were the smallest number in more than two years.

While Microsoft did not directly address the slowing of growth in the consumer Office 365 market, it did attribute a similar trend among corporate subscriptions to the difficulty of maintaining huge year-over-year percentage gains as the raw numbers of subscriptions increased.

 

 

 

 

 

Are Movie Theaters Moving To Virtual Reality?

July 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung’s Gear VR headset has been installed in a what is believed to be the first Virtual Reality popup cinema.

The VIVID VR Cinema has been constructed in Toronto, Canada, where a total of three different films were being shown — The Visitor, where a young couple prepares for the woman’s greatest fear to arrive; Imago, a title about a former dancer in a coma who’s aware of her surroundings; and Sonar, a movie about a drone that discovers a signal on an asteroid.

The cinema is small – only 30 seats. Each has a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a Gear VR with a Galaxy S7 clipped to the back. Tickets cost $20 for the 40-minutes to watch the three films.

The movies have been carefully crafted to let their viewers to choose different narratives to focus on so even the plot is interactive.

It is expected that more of this type of entertainment will arrive when more content is available. It might be a couple of decades before the first Hollywood blockbuster though.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Tech Firms Form OTrP To Support IoT Security

July 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A bunch of tech firms including ARM and Symantec have joined forces to create a security protocol designed to protect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The group, which also includes Intercede and Solacia, has created The Open Trust Protocol (OTrP) that is now available for download for prototyping and testing from the IETF website.

The OTrP is designed to bring system-level root trust to devices, using secure architecture and trusted code management, akin to how apps on smartphones and tablets that contain sensitive information are kept separate from the main OS.

This will allow IoT manufacturers to incorporate the technology into devices, ensuring that they are protected without having to give full access to a device OS.

Marc Canel, vice president of security systems at ARM, explained that the OTrP will put security and trust at the core of the IoT.

“In an internet-connected world it is imperative to establish trust between all devices and service providers,” he said.

“Operators need to trust devices their systems interact with and OTrP achieves this in a simple way. It brings e-commerce trust architectures together with a high-level protocol that can be easily integrated with any existing platform.”

Brian Witten, senior director of IoT security at Symantec, echoed this sentiment. “The IoT and smart mobile technologies are moving into a range of diverse applications and it is important to create an open protocol to ease and accelerate adoption of hardware-backed security that is designed to protect onboard encryption keys,” he said.

The next stage is for the OTrP to be further developed by a standards-defining organisation after feedback from the wider technology community, so that it can become a fully interoperable standard suitable for mass adoption.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is nVidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 Living Up To The Hype?

July 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

As announced earlier, Nvidia has officially lifted the NDA off its Geforce GTX 1060 allowing sites to publish reviews which also means that retailers/e-tailers now have the green light to start selling the new graphics card.

Based on 16nm GP106 GPU, the new Geforce GTX 1060 is the third Nvidia Geforce graphics card based on the new Pascal GPU architecture. The GP106 GPU packs 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs and 48 ROPs and it will be coming with 6GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit memory interface.

The new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, which will be apparently sold only by Nvidia, will work at 1506MHz and 1709MHz for the GPU base and Boost clocks while memory will end up with a reference clock of 8000MHz, which adds up to 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The reference Founders Edition comes with a standard blower-style cooler which is somewhat simplified and lacks both heatpipes or vapor-chamber, mostly due to the fact that the GTX 1060 has a 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 needs a single 6-pin PCIe power connector which leaves it plenty of headroom for further overclocking.

Performance-wise, the Geforce GTX 1060 is on par with the GTX 980 4GB, and since it comes with 2GB more VRAM, it is a better choice. More importantly, the Geforce GTX 1060 is faster than the RX 480 in most cases, which is its direct competitor on the market.

Unfortunately, the GTX 1060 lacks SLI support, probably because it would kill the sales of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.

Priced at US $299 for the Founders Edition and coming with a MSRP of US $249, the Geforce GTX 1060 is quite impressive, offering more performance than the recently launched Radeon RX 480 and bringing that impressive Pascal power efficiency to the mainstream market.

Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the price wars in the mainstream graphics card segment and will push the prices closer to the MSRP. Both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 offer decent performance per buck so it will be a fight to the bitter end.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Does M$ Have A Strategy For Windows?

July 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

As we reported earlier today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed the virtues of its cloud computing platform.

But he didn’t say very much about Windows at all.

And, according to Seeking Alpha financial analyst Mark Hibben in a note to his clients, it’s almost as if Nadella has given up the ghost on the now long in the tooth operating system.

He didn’t say much about smartphones either but admitted that Windows 10 won’t hit the one billion user mark.

But there are another billion and a bit people out there who are using previous versions of Windows and Hibben thinks that that’s Microsoft should really take advantage of that opportunity.

Hibben thinks that while Nadella is practically creaming himself about the cloud the same sort of urges don’t seem to apply to Windows.

Windows phone revenues have fallen 71 percent compared to the same period last year and Microsoft seems to lack a strategy for smartphones in the future.

So has Microsoft given up on Windows? That, surely, can’t be the case.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Researchers Create Atomic Scale Drive

July 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers have worked out how to create an atomic scale rewritable data-storage device capable of packing 500 terabits onto a single square inch.

That is enough to store most readers porn collections in just a couple of feet of data rather than the rooms it takes up now. Apparently you can stuff the entire contents of the US Library of Congress in a 0.1-mm wide cube — we guess that does not include the toilets and the cafe..

The atomic hard drive was developed by Delft University’s Sander Otte and his chums. It features a storage density that’s 500 times larger than state-of-the-art hard disk drives.

According to the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology, which we get for the impossible spot the proton competition, the technology is not exactly commercial yet.

Otte and the team placed chlorine atoms on a copper surface, resulting in a perfect square grid. A hole appears on this grid whenever an atom is missing. Using a sharp needle of a scanning tunneling microscope, the researchers were able to probe the atoms one by one, and even drag individual atoms towards a hole.

When a chlorine atom is in the top position, and there’s a hole beneath it, it’s a 1. Reversed, the bit is a 0. and it becomes a hard drive.

Each chlorine atom is surrounded by other chlorine atoms, which helps keep them in place, except near the holes. This method makes it much more stable than methods that use loose atoms. Using this technique, the researchers were able to perform write, read-out, and re-write operations in a one-kilobyte device comprising 8,000 atomic bits. It is by far the largest atomic structure ever constructed by humans.

During the experiment, the researchers preserved the positions of more than 8,000 chlorine “vacancies,” or missing atoms, for more than 40 hours at 77 kelvin. After developing a binary alphabet based on the positions of the holes, the researchers stored various texts, including physicist Richard Feynman’s seminal lecture, There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This data was stored atom by atom, bit by bit, on the surface of the copper sheet. The ensuing write/re-write speed was relatively slow—on the scale of minutes—but the demonstration showed that it’s possible to reliably write, store, and read data at the atomic scale.

The system cannot function in an everyday environment. In its current form, the atomic hard drive can only operate in clean vacuum conditions and at liquid nitrogen temperatures, which is -346°F (-321°C). Most readers porn collections are far too hot for it to handle.

Courtesy-Fud

 

ZTE Debuts Zmax Pro Smartphone For $99

July 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

ZTE’s $99 ZMax Pro includes some of the latest smartphone technologies, which is a pleasant surprise for a low-priced handset.

The smartphone has a 6-in. screen and is available only through MetroPCS in the U.S. It weighs about 175 grams and is 8.9 millimeters thick.

It has some top-line features found in the latest smartphones, like a USB Type-C port. It also runs on the latest Android OS 6.0 code-named Marshmallow.

The Gorilla Glass 3 screen shows images at a full HD resolution. The handset has 32GB of internal storage and a micro-SD card for expandable storage. That’s a lot of storage for a handset under $100.

The handset is comparable to the new fourth-generation Moto G handset, which is now available unlocked on Amazon.com for $199.99 for a 16GB model. The Zmax Pro has a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera, along with an eight-core Snapdragon 617 processor, all of which are also packaged in the Moto G.

The ZTE phone also has a 3,400 milli-amp-hour battery, which provides about 25 hours of talk time and 400 hours of standby time. It also features a fingerprint reader, which isn’t commonly found in low-cost handsets.

However, the smartphone lacks some other features. It includes 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, not the latest 802.11ac, which offers a wider range and faster speeds.

The smartphone succeeds last year’s ZMax 2, which sold for $149. The handset may be available unlocked and through other carriers in the future, but the company wasn’t ready to share details.

 

 

Does Pokemon Go Really Show The Possibilities Of VR?

July 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.

As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.

After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.

The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.

Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021′ and replace that with ’2016′ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.

Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.

And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.

Courtesy-Gi.biz

 

Is Google Really Working On Augmented Reality Devices?

July 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that Google has abandoned its VR projects and is secretly working on a an augmented reality-style headset.

Engadget reported that the Californian technology giant is building the head-mounted computer that will work independently of smartphones and desktop PCs.

It claims that this secret project, which is quietly in development, is a replacement for an Oculus Rift style project that has been axed.

Actually the project sounds more like a hybrid VR-AR setup: “While it does have a screen, it will offer features more in line with augmented reality systems than existing VR headsets.”

Google is not saying anything and it does have a habit of working on things and then giving up on them. But the rumours are indicative of just how important AR and VR is becoming for the industry’s major players:

It is widely viewed as the next major platform, with similar possibilities to the early days of mobile. Facebook has the Oculus Rift, Microsoft has its AR Hololens headset, and there are rumours about Apple’s intentions to get into virtual reality after everyone else has done the legwork and then it will arrive and claim it has invented it.

Google was into mobile-powered VR game early with its DIY Cardboard headset, and earlier this year it announced Daydream — a virtual reality platform that, like Cardboard (but much more sophisticated), uses a smartphone as its hardware base.

Engadget claims that employees working on the secretive alternative headset have been told that Daydream is “not the company’s long-term plan for virtual and augmented reality.”

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are nVidia’s Days Numbered?

July 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.

The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.

The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.

While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.

“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”

At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.

We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia’s Volta Goes FinFET

July 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.

Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.

It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.

The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.

GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.

Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Share Price Making A Comeback?

July 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.

The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.

But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.

It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.

The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.

On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.

The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Skype Launches New Chromebook And Linux Versions

July 15, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Linux and Chromebook owners now can now install new versions of Skype.

Microsoft launched an alpha version of a new client for Linux on Wednesday, in a push to get users of the open-source operating system to make video calls and send messages with Skype.

There was a Linux client available for the service previously, but this launch is a move by the company to get users of the operating system on the latest version of Skype. Users will get a new interface, emoticons and a file-sharing interface.

Chrome users will be able to use web.skype.com to make calls from Google’s web browser and desktop operating system starting Wednesday, too. Like the Linux client, the new Chrome client is still in alpha, so there are likely to be bugs, along with missing features.

These launches are important as Skype faces increased competition in the messaging and digital calling space. Apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts have all either built or are building voice and video calling functionality into their services.

The new Linux app allows users to connect with other people using the latest versions of Skype across many other platforms. But it’s based on new calling architecture that makes it incompatible with the previous version of Skype for Linux and some older versions of Skype on other platforms.

 

Is Linux Having A Bad Week?

July 15, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Open Source’s Mr Sweary, Linus Torvalds has dubbed his fellow Linux kernel creators and “brain-damaged” because of their C++ style punctuation.

On one of the kernel news groups, Torvalds threw his toys out of the pram over “brain-damaged stupid networking comment syntax style.”

This is the sort of thing that miffs him.

/* This is a multi-line format.
It does not look bad to us, but Linus hates it becasue it is not balanced */

“If the networking people cannot handle the pure awesomeness that is a balanced and symmetric traditional multi-line C style comments, then instead of the disgusting unbalanced crap that you guys use now, please just go all the way to the C++ mode.”

That is fighting talk in the Linux community where people have been killed for less.

Torvalds writes that he wants comment styles have a certain visual symmetry and balance.” It would probably be fine, but for the fact that following an internet law which states that if any comments on grammar or spelling, their post will have at least one such mistake in it, Torvalds misspelt symmetry.

He said that “networking code picked *none* of the above sane formats… but picked these two models that are just half-arsed shit-for-brains.”

“I’m not even going to start talking about the people who prefer to ‘box in’ their comments, and line up both ends and have fancy boxes of stars around the whole thing,” he adds. “I’m sure that looks really nice if you are out of your mind on LSD, and have nothing better to do than to worry about the right alignment of the asterisks.”

Torvalds snarled that if people thought this comment punctuation was ok then it was time to “start moving the whole kernel over to the C++ style.”

For now, he writes “I really don’t understand why the networking people think that their particularly ugly styles are fine. They are the most visually unbalanced version of _all_ the common comment styles, and have no actual advantages.”

Courtesy-Fud