The program, dubbed “Student Advantage,” was unveiled in mid-October, when Microsoft promised that it would debut Dec. 1.
Educational institutions, whether K-12 school districts or those in higher education, that license Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office 365 ProPlus — the former is traditionally-licensed software while the latter is a subscription — can now also hand Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions to students, free of charge.
Schools and universities must have licensed Office for staff and faculty institution-wide, according to Microsoft, to be eligible for the student give-away. When students graduate, their Office 365 subscription expires.
Office 365 ProPlus includes rights to download and install copies of the newest Office desktop applications on up to five Windows PCs or Macs owned by the student, as well as rights to run the iPhone or Android editions of Office Mobile.
Students, faculty and staff at universities that do not equip employees with Office can instead pay a flat $80 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University. That subscription program allows Office 2013 to be installed on up to two PCs or Macs, and Office Mobile on as many as two mobile devices.
HP plans to axe more than 1,100 jobs at three of its UK sites in 2014, the Unite union announced on Wednesday.
The 1,124 job cuts will take place across three of HP’s UK workplaces, in Bracknell, Sheffield and Warrington. A total of 618 jobs could be lost at the Bracknell hub, 483 will go at Warrington, and 23 at Sheffield.
However, Unite said that many of these job cuts will affect HP employees who work from home, although we’re not sure that makes the situtation better.
Unite national officer Ian Tonks said, “For the last five years HP has been addicted to a culture of job cuts in the UK to such an extent that its highly skilled workforce has little faith in the way the company is being managed and will be going forward.
“Unite will be doing everything possible to mitigate these job losses which are a hammer blow to the UK’s IT sector and very distressing for employees in the run-up to Christmas.”
The reason for the job cuts is still not entirely clear. HP cited “reorganisation” and “falling demand”, despite being one of the only PC makers in the third quarter to show sales growth, while rivals Acer and Asus posted massive declines in PC shipments.
Tonks continued to condemn the job cuts, adding, “At the recent re-negotiation of the European works council (EWC), senior European managers were unable to answer any questions about the future EWC, as they could not get hold of their American bosses because of last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. It’s no wonder there is so little faith in the European management.”
HP has yet to announce when the job cuts will commence, but reports claim they will begin in early 2014.
A HP spokesperson said in a statement, “HP commenced consultation for Q1 FY14 on November 28th, 2013 in the UK regarding potential workforce changes for 2014.
“The proposed UK workforce management plan is part of HP’s global multi-year productivity initiative that was announced on May 23, 2012, and updated at its Securities Analysts Meeting on October 9, 2013, to address current market and business pressures in support of HP’s turnaround in EMEA.
“HP remains committed to supporting the employability of its employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re-skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment as appropriate.”
Companies from Panasonic Corp to Toshiba Corp are pulling engineers and money away from their TV operations and into developing ‘smart appliances’ after losing out in the living room to cheaper Asian rivals.
A fridge that texts pictures to show what’s for dinner, a voice-controlled washing machine -appliances like these are being designed to talk to each other via the cloud to cut energy bills.
For now, they’re expensive, deterring buyers: a Japan-only Toshiba smart fridge with camera runs to about $2,800 versus less than $800 for a basic model. Yet as more products come on the market and competition cuts prices, global smart appliance sales will rocket to $35 billion by 2020 from just over $600 million last year, according to technology intelligence firm Pike Research.
As the industry prepares to descend on Las Vegas next month for CES, the world’s biggest tech trade fair, that’s mouth-watering for all electronics makers. But none more than Japan’s.
They’ve been squeezed into billions of dollars of losses in recent years, caught between high manufacturing costs, aggressive competition from the likes of Samsung Electronics Co and the strong yen, making exports of consumer staples like TVs more expensive.
To prosper in the new niche, Japanese companies must not only convince consumers to shell out for a whole new set of appliances, which need to be all from the same brand to guarantee compatibility. Further down the line, they’ll also have to hold their own against the same cheaper Asian rivals that stole their thunder in leisure electronics.
“Everyone says having the same brand of goods would be more energy-efficient, but in the end it comes down to the price and function of each product,” said Satomi Wakamatsu, a 41-year old housewife from Hiroshima. She owns a Hitachi Ltd fridge and washing machine, and an air conditioner made by Daikin Industries Ltd.
Wakamatsu considered buying smart appliances. But she balked when she added up the cost of all-new appliances, in addition to the home energy management system (HEMS) needed to connect them to each other to monitor and cut energy usage – a further $2,000-$3,000.
Sales of Japanese companies’ HEMS were helped over the last year by hefty government subsidies designed to stimulate energy efficiency – but they ended in October. Panasonic sold 20,000 HEMS units between April and September, double its full-year target, but said it’s unsure if that pace can be sustained without the subsidy.
Toshiba, meanwhile, wants 20 percent of its appliance sales to be from ‘smart’ goods by the end of fiscal 2014.
The tablets run Android 4.2, code-named Jellybean, and are listed at the company’stablet page. The list includes the $199.99 Slate 7 Extreme with a 7-inch screen, the $329.99 Slate 8 Pro with an 8-inch screen, and the $299.99 Slate 10 HD with a 10.1-inch screen.
The Slate 8 Pro offers 11.5 hours of battery and has the hardware to provide 4K video and gaming. The tablet has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, which has a graphics processor capable of handling 4K video. The screen can display images at a 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution. An HDMI port allows the tablet to be connected to TVs for 4K video. Other features include an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 720p front camera, 16GB of internal storage and a 1GB of RAM.
The Slate 10 HD offers 10 hours of battery and is meant for Web surfing and basic multimedia use. The screen displays images at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It has a dual-core Marvell PXA986 ARM-based chip, 16GB of storage, a high-definition front camera and a five-megapixel back camera. Other specifications include 1GB of DRAM and a micro-SD slot.
The Slate 7 Extreme is listed at the site, but is out of stock. The tablet offers 10.5 hours of battery life, and as the product name suggests, it is meant for entertainment and high-definition video. It has a Tegra 4 chip, making it capable of processing 4K video. Other features include a 1280 x 800-pixel screen, 16GB of storage, an HDMI slot, a five-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera.
The entry-level $149.99 Slate 7 Plus tablet, which is an upgrade from an earlier Slate 7 that was discontinued earlier this year, is also available. The Slate 7 Plus has 8GB of storage and an older Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Other features include a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The tablet offers six to seven hours of battery life.
All of the tablets have Wi-Fi and micro SD slots.
Terms of the deal, which was announced Monday, were not disclosed. SkyPhrase’s team has joined Yahoo’s Labs business unit in New York City, a Yahoo spokeswoman said.
Yahoo Labs is a science and research division of Yahoo focused on next-generation products and services. The division is active in a number of areas — human computer interaction, mobile and personalization are just a few — and it’s unclear into which areas specifically SkyPhrase’s technology might be integrated.
What’s clear is that Yahoo wants to make its services smarter at understanding natural language. By joining Yahoo Labs, both companies can “continue to work on our shared vision of making computers deeply understand people’s natural language and intentions,” SkyPhrase said in its announcement of the acquisition. SkyPhrase could not be immediately reached to comment further.
A cached version of the startup’s website offers a clue: sports. In addition to Web analytics, SkyPhrase’s business at one point included technology for National Football League statistics. The technology could be integrated into Yahoo’s Sports services, which include stats, real-time scores and breaking news, and also Yahoo’s Fantasy sports apps.
There are some obvious areas of Yahoo’s Fantasy sports apps that could benefit from SkyPhrase’s technology. The company’s Fantasy Sports Football app, for instance, lets users pick players, chat with others and check message boards. Providing a suite of mobile products focused on personal experiences is a stated goal for Yahoo, so it would make sense for the company to try to improve its services there.
Natural language processing is also a hot area of search critical to the success of Yahoo’s biggest competitors like Facebook and Google. Facebook is working on its own natural language search engine with Graph Search, which was announced earlier this year. And Google is constantly working to improve its search algorithms to better understand more complex queries. Its latest search ranking system, “Hummingbird,” was designed for precisely that.
Apple confirmed the acquisition but would not say why it purchased the company, which specializes in analyzing Twitter data and providing insights into current sentiment on a variety of topics.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier, cited people familiar with the deal as saying Apple forked over more than $200 million.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.
Topsy did not respond to requests for comment.
The iPad and iPhone maker often does what it calls “bolt-on” acquisitions, small deals to acquire technology that then gets integrated into existing or future products.
Apple’s main effort in social media has revolved around Ping, a music-centered social sharing network that was at one point integrated into its iTunes app. The service, which lets users post music tracks they liked to a newsfeed, didn’t catch on and was shut down.
But the California gadget maker has been increasingly making it easier for people to share photos, videos and news through its devices and directly to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
It also operates iTunes Radio, an online streaming music service that competes with Pandora and could benefit from Topsy’s data on consumer sentiment.
In the second half of 2013 Intel was forced to deal with at least six different desktop processor groups. On the top of the food chain Intel has Ivy Bridge E, Sandy Bridge E followed by, Haswell LGA 1150 and Ivy Bridge 1150 processors. The end carries the remains of Sandy Bridge processors, Celeron BGA and Bay Trail Atom processors.
As you can imagine Ivy Bridge E, Sandy Bridge E both based on LGA 2011 socket occupy some two percent of total Intel socket market while Haswell LGA 1150 reaches almost 30 percent of total shipments by socket in 2H 2013.
The most dominant products were naturally Ivy Bridge LGA 1155 parts that accounted for more than sixty percent of total shipments. Sandy Bridge 32nm processors in Socket 1155 are taking three percent of total shipments in 2H 2013 while Celeron BGA / Bay Trail D and old Atom based on Clower Trail 32nm should occupy some 5 percent.
In 1H 2014 Ivy Bridge E will eat the Sandy Bridge E market taking most of the pie for itself. Haswell and Haswell refresh, both LGA 1150 parts, should occupy close to 55 percent of the market while Ivy Bridge is doomed to shrink to 40 percent. Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 will be in some one to two percent of socketed processors that will ship in 1H 2014, while Celeron BGA and Bay Trail D (same thing under different brand) will grow into the Cedar View D market and conquer the rest of the low-end.
Both Haswell refresh and Bay Trail D should continue growing in 2H 2014 according to Intel’s desktop transition guide.
The agency in charge of the problem plagued HealthCare.gov website said it is changing providers of Web hosting services, the latest change for the website at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care reforms.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it is replacing data center services from Verizon Communications Inc’s Terremark subsidiary, with services fromHewlett-Packard Co.
Terremark’s data center experienced issues in late October that caused outages across the system, prompting embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to phone Verizon’s chief executive to discuss the problems.
Obama and Sebelius had promised the website would make it easy to shop for health insurance required under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
Instead, slow response times, error messages and outages like the ones seen at Terremark’s data center meant few Americans have been able to enroll so far.
The disaster has fueled Republican criticism of the law, and alarmed Democrats who supported it. The administration has had to scramble to make fixes in the hopes enough Americans sign up by deadlines in December and March.
Both Verizon and HP declined comment on the contract change, as did the White House, which referred questions about the contract to CMS.
CMS said its contract with Terremark had been set to end in March 2014. Last summer, several months before the botched October 1 launch of HealthCare.gov, the agency issued a “task order” asking for bids. HP was awarded that contract, a CMS spokesman said in a statement.
The contract change was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Now, CMS needs to transition its data center to HP at a time when it is just beginning to dig out from a mountain of problems with the website, which is designed to let consumers shop for health insurance required under Obama’s signature health care law.
The complexity of the switch between data center providers could be an additional challenge for the project. A CMS spokesman did not respond to questions about whether the transition would affect the website.
The Obama administration has said it plans to have the website working smoothly for most users by this weekend.
Part of that upgrade involves doubling capacity so the website can handle 50,000 users at once.
A source close to the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there are some concerns about the website’s ability to handle so many users because of problems with switches and servers maintained by Terremark.
“CMS has begun the necessary activities to transition the data center over to HP. We are working to ensure a smooth transition between the two contractors,” the CMS spokesman said in a statement.
Verizon has received $55.4 million for its work on the healthcare marketplaces since its contract started in 2011, according to federal contracting records.
A computer cluster running the so-called the Never Ending Image Learner at Carnegie Mellon University runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week searching the Internet for images, studying them on its own and building a visual database. The process, scientists say, is giving the computer an increasing amount of common sense.
“Images are the best way to learn visual properties,” said Abhinav Gupta, assistant research professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. “Images also include a lot of common sense information about the world. People learn this by themselves and, with [this program], we hope that computers will do so as well.”
The computers have been running the program since late July, analyzing some three million images. The system has identified 1,500 types of objects in half a million images and 1,200 types of scenes in hundreds of thousands of images, according to the university.
The program has connected the dots to learn 2,500 associations from thousands of instances.
Thanks to advances in computer vision that enable software to identify and label objects found in images and recognize colors, materials and positioning, the Carnegie Mellon cluster is better understanding the visual world with each image it analyzes.
The program also is set up to enable a computer to make common sense associations, like buildings are vertical instead of lying on their sides, people eat food, and cars are found on roads. All the things that people take for granted, the computers now are learning without being told.
“People don’t always know how or what to teach computers,” said Abhinav Shrivastava, a robotics Ph.D. student at CMU and a lead researcher on the program. “But humans are good at telling computers when they are wrong.”
He noted, for instance, that a human might need to tell the computer that pink isn’t just the name of a singer but also is the name of a color.
While previous computer scientists have tried to “teach” computers about different real-world associations, compiling structured data for them, the job has always been far too vast to tackle successfully. CMU noted that Facebook alone has more than 200 billion images.
The only way for computers to scan enough images to understand the visual world is to let them do it on their own.
“What we have learned in the last five to 10 years of computer vision research is that the more data you have, the better computer vision becomes,” Gupta said.
CMU’s computer learning program is supported by Google and the Office of Naval Research.
The C720P Touchscreen Chromebook has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, which displays images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The lightweight laptop offers roughly seven-and-a-half hours of battery life and runs on an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on the Haswell microarchitecture.
Chromebooks are laptops for those who do most of their computing on the Web. Chrome OS is mostly adapted for keyboards, but the touchscreen could ease selection of options in menus and improve interaction in browsers and other applications.
A new wave of Chromebooks running the latest version of Chrome OS started shipping in October.
The laptop will be available in early December through Amazon.com, Best Buy and Acer’s online store. The laptop will be available in the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, U.K., France, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Finland.
Other Chromebooks include Acer Chromebook C720-2848, which has an Intel processor and is priced at $199.99, and Hewlett-Packard and Google’s Chromebook 11, which has an ARM processor and is priced at $279. HP’s Chromebook 14 has a 14-inch screen, an Intel processor and is priced at $299 in Office Depot.
The C720P weighs 1.35 kilograms and boots in seven seconds. Other features include 32GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 ports, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and an HDMI slot. Users will get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years with the laptop.
It is not known for which applications Apple aims to use the PrimeSense technology or the price it has paid for the Tel Aviv, Israel, company. Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet emailed the company’s standard statement after an acquisition.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she wrote.
PrimeSense technology was used to power the Kinect motion sensing input device in the original Xbox from Microsoft.
The Calcalist newspaper in Israel reported on the deal about a week ago, and said Apple would pay $345 million for the company.
PrimeSense said earlier this month that its sensor was used by 3-D printing company 3D Systems for its new 3-D scanner called Sense.
The company’s sensors have applications in other areas, ranging from retail to healthcare, which suggest that Apple has a number of alternatives for deployment of the technology in its own devices. Its Capri sensor is a small-size device designed specifically for integration with mobile phones, TVs, tablets and PCs.
PrimeSense was founded in 2005 and has operated as a fabless semiconductor company. Its technology already powers over 24 million devices around the world, enabling natural interaction between people and devices and between devices and their surroundings, the company said on its website.
AMD has announced that its proprietary Mantle graphics API is attracting more interest as some big names sign up. Rebellion Entertainment has entered the game with its Asura engine and officially adopted Mantle for their upcoming Sniper Elite V3.
It looks like the first title that will be supported by Mantle will be Sniper Elite 3. So far no one is saying what advantage there will be for Asura to run on Mantle, it seems likely that it will give boosts in performance as well as enhanced graphics quality. Chris Kingsley chief technology officer and co-founder of Rebellion Entertainment said in a press release that his studio was pushing technology as far as it could.
“We are excited about the possibilities that Mantle brings to PC gaming and the industry as a whole. We believe that supporting Mantle will enable us to stay on the bleeding edge of PC gaming and ensure that we don’t leave any performance on the table when it comes to offering gamers amazing experiences,” he said.
Mantle, a cross-platform application programming interface for windows designed specifically for graphics processing units based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimisation. Mantle is supposed to bypass bottlenecks in modern PC/API architectures and enables nine times more draw calls per second than DirectX and OpenGL thanks to lower CPU overhead, AMD claims.
Esoteric business software maker, which no one is really certain what it does, SAP is debating whether to accelerate moving more of its business to the cloud.
The move would be a change in strategy which might initially have only a small impact on its sales. Co-chief executive Jim Hagemann-Snabe said the change would generate more sales by 2017 particularly in markets like the US where there is a big push onto the cloud.
Talking to a Morgan Stanley investor conference this morning, Hagemann-Snabe said that this would have impact on the 2015 level, I don’t expect enormous impact but it would have some impact because you are delaying some revenues. In the long term however it makes a lot of sense, which is not the sort of thing people expect from SAP.
Even if it means that it will be the first to make ARM’s 64-bit chips, Intel said that it wants to expand its contract foundry work. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he would expand his company’s small contract manufacturing business, paving the way for more chipmakers to tap into the world’s most advanced process technology.
Krzanich told analysts that he planned to step up the company’s foundry work, effectively giving Intel’s process technology to its rivals. He said that company’s who can use Intel’s leading edge and build computing capabilities that are better than anyone else’s, are good candidates for foundry service. Krzanich added that the slumping personal computer industry, Intel’s core market, was showing signs of bottoming out.
Intel also unveiled two upcoming mobile chips from its Atom line designed interchange features to create different versions of the component. A high-end version of the new chip, code named Broxton, and is due out in mid-2015. SoFIA, a low-end chip was shown as an example of Intel’s pragmatism and willingness to change how it does business. Krzanich said that in the interest of speed, SoFIA would be manufactured outside of Intel, with the goal of bringing it to market next year.
Intel will move production of SoFIA chips to its own 14 nanometer manufacturing lines, Krzanich added.
HP’s Mesquite tablet, which has a 7-inch screen, will go on sale this coming Friday, according to Intel . The Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the biggest shopping days in the U.S. Locations of Walmart retail outlets offering the product were not immediately available.
A source familiar with the plan said the tablet will have an Atom chip code-named Medfield. Further product details were not available.
Intel has said that its chips will power Android tablets starting at under $100. But the Medfield chip is not Intel’s latest, and it does not deliver the applications or graphics performance of Intel’s latest Atom tablet chip code-named Bay Trail.
To meet the sub-$100 price tag, device makers usually leave out some features from tablets. Sub-$100 tablets tend to have low-resolution screens, limited storage and an older version of Android. But for some buyers the devices represent impulse buys, as the tablets provide basic functionality without hurting their wallets.
Tablets from other vendors are also expected to sell at under $100 through the end of the year. Many of them may come with ARM processors, which are used in most tablets today including in models from Google, Acer, Samsung and Asustek. Micro Center on Friday was selling for $99.99 a 7-inch Asus Memo Pad tablet with an ARM processor, a 1280 x 800 pixel screen, 1GB of storage, rear and front cameras and Android OS.
Intel has a small presence in the tablet market, and discounted tablets could be one way to challenge ARM’s dominance. Many other Intel-based tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, which runs on an older Atom chip code-named Clover Trail+, will also be available at discounted prices.
The price of tablets with Intel’s latest Bay Trail Atom chips and 8-inch screens is expected to fall as low as $220 as part of promotions. Bay Trail tablets are currently available only with Windows 8, though Intel has said a handful of 32-bit Android tablets will become available. Intel earlier this week said Bay Trail tablets with 64-bit Android would ship next year.