Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

Are Apple Desktop PCs Sells Increasing

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A US news station, which normally chants Apple mantras with the rest of them claimed Apple was the focus of a mini firestorm which is about as scathing as the Tame Apple Press gets.

At the centre of the problem is Apple’s aging Mac Pro desktop line which was due for a refresh to bring the rubbish bin PC into the internet age. You would think after not improving a computer for a since 2013 you could add a few improvements.
Apple decided that the best thing to do was jack up the price – after all you get what you pay for right?

Even MacWorld thought that Apple was taking the Nintendo.

But there’s nothing new about what Apple did. “The two available Mac Pro configurations aren’t new, they’re just newly priced,” MacWorld pointed out.

The entry-level $2,999 Mac Pro model now has 6 Intel Xeon processor cores –versus 4 cores on the previous configuration – with dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics chips. And the $3,999 Mac Pro gets an 8-core Intel Xeon processor with dual AMD
FirePro D700 graphics silicon. Woop!

Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller reportedly said that the Mac Pro had heat (aka “thermal”) issues that “restricted” a user’s ability to upgrade and that Apple is “sorry to disappoint customers”.

Apparently Apple had a meeting where it was claimed that Apple said it is “completely rethinking” the Mac Pro model. And, as a result, the company acknowledged “that its flashy 2013 Mac Pro redesign was a mistake”.

It has apparently taken them four years at least to have worked that out, and even longer before Apple comes up with a solution. In fact the overhaul will not happen this year.

9to5Mac insists that Apple is trying to assuage any perceived user frustration, and this is the closest thing that Jobs Mob has got to an apology.

“The very fact that Apple felt compelled to hold [Monday’s] meeting in the first place is evidence of just how much it thinks it screwed-up here. The company that has always taken the view that ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them’ has clearly had to face the fact that, in the pro market at least, that’s not the case.”

Courtesy-Fud

Will Online Security Get Better?

April 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Big Blue has issued a warning about the poor state of online security and claimed that things are getting worse.

In its IBM Security 2017 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, Big Blue said that the number of hacked records grew 566 percent in 2016 from 600 million to more than four billion.

In one case, a source leaked more than 1.5 billion records which was probably the Yahoo breach, only that was a few years ago.

In the first three months of 2016, the FBI estimated cybercriminals were paid a reported $209 million via ransomware. This would put criminals on pace to make a billion dollars from their use of the malware just last year.

In 2016, many significant breaches related to unstructured data such as email archives, business documents, intellectual property and source code were also compromised.

IBM said that the most popular malware in 2016 was Android malware, banking Trojans, ransomware offerings and DDoS-as-a-service vendors.

IBM said that while the healthcare industry continued to be beleaguered by a high number of incidents, attackers hit on smaller targets resulting in a lower number of leaked records.

In 2016, only 12 million records were compromised in healthcare – keeping it out of the top five most breached industries..

In 2016 more than four billion records were leaked, more than the combined total from the two previous years, redefining the meaning of the term “mega breach”.  In one case, a single source leaked more than 1.5 billion records, IBM wrote.

Caleb Barlow, Vice President of Threat Intelligence, IBM Security said: “While the volume of records compromised, last year reached historic highs, we see this shift to unstructured data as a seminal moment. The value of structured data to cybercriminals is beginning to wane as the supply outstrips the demand. Unstructured data is big-game hunting for hackers and we expect to see them monetize it this year in innovative ways.”

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft To Offer Samsung Galaxy S8 Phones With Own Apps Installed

April 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft will offer for sale Samsung’s newest Android-powered phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, in its brick-and-mortar stores later this month.

The phones can be pre-ordered now at Microsoft’s retail outlets — but not online — and will also be available for purchase in the stores beginning April 21, Samsung’s release date for the new, larger models. Microsoft’s prices will be the same as Samsung’s: $750 for the Galaxy S8, $850 for the S8+.

But the Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones sold by Microsoft will not be identical to those offered elsewhere. “A Microsoft customization is applied when the devices are unboxed and connected to Wi-Fi,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “This customization ensures customers a best-in-class productivity experience with Microsoft applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more.”

Microsoft has worked hard to craft Android versions of its productivity apps since it spun its mobile strategy away from building and selling Windows-powered smartphones.

The company couched the Galaxy sales as part of that theme. “The new device customization is an example of bringing together Microsoft applications on more devices so customers can work, play and connect from their pockets,” the spokeswoman added.

“I think it’s a pretty smart move,” said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. “Samsung is probably the No. 1 enterprise supplier of Android smartphones today. And they’re configuring the phone to make sure their products are on it.”

Gold’s point? “This is a preemptive strike against Google,” he said.

Microsoft has always been most interested in its commercial customers, those who contribute the majority of the company’s revenues. Gold emphasized that those thoughts remained uppermost at Redmond.

“Microsoft has two plays in the enterprise, the traditional, where Exchange is the back-end, and then the cloud,” he said, talking of mobile. “Microsoft’s asking, ‘Can I keep them from saying “I can switch to Google,”‘ when they go to the cloud? So, this is a stake in the ground, Microsoft saying, ‘Try our stuff, you’ll like it.'”

Although Gold expects Microsoft to try to sell company app-equipped phones to enterprises in other ways, perhaps by making deals with carriers, which are the usual sellers of smartphones to corporate customers buying in bulk, he is also upbeat about Microsoft’s immediate plans. “In big companies, remember, 30% to 40% of smartphones are BYOD,” Gold said of the “bring your own device” model where businesses support employee-owned phones, tablets and notebooks in the office.

Microsoft’s Samsung deal has been low profile; rather than issue a press release or even publish a post on one of its countless blogs, the company issued a statement. Likewise, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be sold, at least initially, through Microsoft’s limited number of retail stores only.

Job Applicants Info Compromised In McDonald’s Canada Hacking

April 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

McDonald’s Corp’s Canadian unit announced on Friday personal information of about 95,000 restaurant job applicants has been compromised in a cyber attack on its careers website.

The information included names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and employment backgrounds of candidates who applied online for jobs at McDonald’s Canada restaurants between March 2014 and March 2017.

The careers website was shut down after McDonald’s learned of the attack, and will remain closed until an ongoing investigation is complete, the unit said.

The company said it currently had no evidence that the information taken had been misused.

McDonald’s Canada said its job application forms do not ask for sensitive personal information such as social insurance numbers, banking or health information.

McDonald’s said earlier this month its official Twitter handle was compromised after a tweet sent from the account slammed U.S. President Donald Trump.

Return Of The Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

March 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has announced that it plans to offer refurbished versions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the model pulled from markets last year due to fire-prone batteries.

Samsung’s Note 7s were permanently scrapped in October following a global recall, roughly two months from the launch of the near-$900 devices, after some phones self-combusted. A subsequent probe found manufacturing problems in batteries supplied by two different companies – Samsung SDI Co Ltd and Amperex Technology Ltd.

Analysis from Samsung and independent researchers found no other problems in the Note 7 devices except the batteries, raising speculation that Samsung will recoup some of its losses by selling refurbished Note 7s.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters in January that it was considering the possibility of selling refurbished versions of the device or reusing some parts.

Samsung’s announcement that revamped Note 7s will go back on sale, however, surprised some with the timing – just days before it launches its new S8 smartphone on Wednesday in the United States, its first new premium phone since the debacle last year.

Samsung, under huge pressure to turn its image around after the burning battery scandal, had previously not commented on its plans for recovered phones.

“Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand,” Samsung said in a statement.

South Korea’s Electronic Times newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said on Tuesday Samsung will start selling refurbished Note 7s in its home country in July or August and will aim to sell between 400,000 and 500,000 of the Note 7s using safe batteries.

Samsung said in a statement to Reuters the company has not set specifics on refurbished Note 7 sales plans, including what markets and when they would go on sale, though noting the phones will not be sold in India as some media reported earlier this year.

The firm said refurbished Note 7s will be equipped with new batteries that have gone through Samsung’s new battery safety measures.

“The objective of introducing refurbished devices is solely to reduce and minimize any environmental impact,” it said.

Emaar Malls Acquisition Of Souq.com May Be Amazon’s Challenger

March 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Dubai’s Emaar Malls, operator of glitzy Middle East shopping centers, has tendered an $800 million offer for regional online retailer Souq.com, setting up a potential bidding war with Amazon.com.

Emaar Malls’ bid has so far not been accepted by Souq.com shareholders, the Dubai-listed firm said in a stock exchange announcement on Monday.

Reuters reported last week that Amazon had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com, which was founded 12 years ago by Syrian-born entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.

Amazon declined to comment, and Souq.com did not respond to an emailed request for further comment.

However, Emaar Malls’ offer is higher than Amazon’s $580 million bid, a source familiar with the matter said. The Financial Times reported Amazon would pay between $650 and $750 million, quoting two sources familiar with the matter.

However, Souq.com will have to break an exclusivity agreement with Amazon if it is to accept the Emaar Malls offer at this stage, the source said.

The Emaar Malls bid includes a $500 million up-front payment and a guaranteed 15 per cent internal rate of return for Souq.com shareholders, the source said.

A successful bid would give Emaar “a firmer footing in retail and consumer behavior,” said Sanyalaksna Manibhandu, head of research at NBAD Securities.

The offer is not the first move online to be made by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, who made his name as chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai-government linked-developer of the world’s tallest building. Emaar Malls is the retail unit of Emaar Properties.

Last year Alabbar raised $1 billion from regional investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to set up his own Middle East e-commerce firm Noon.

Days before announcing Noon, Alabbar and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos met in Dubai, leading to speculation that they would forge some sort of partnership in the region.

Originally set to open for business with 20 million products, Noon quietly missed its January launch date. The company has yet to comment on the delay.

Emaar Malls bid is independent of Noon, the source said, aimed at complementing the retail unit’s brick-and-mortar sales by introducing services such as “click and collect”. Shoppers in the Arab world prefer to make purchases in-store despite a young and tech-savvy population.

Emaar Malls is the operator of the Dubai Mall, which accounts for around 50 percent of the emirate’s luxury goods spending and is one of the Middle East’s largest shopping centers.

“Emaar’s retail division will strengthen the case for online retail for traditional brick and mortar retailers, by providing an avenue of online retail,” Euromonitor research analyst Rabia Yasmeen said in an email.

 

Advertising Coalition Agree To Online Ads Standards

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A broad coalition of advertising trade groups, ad buyers and sellers from Western Europe and the United States are pushing the industry to stop using annoying online marketing formats that have given rise to use of ad-blockers.

The types of ads the coalition has identified as falling below standard include pop-up advertisements, auto-play video ads with sound, flashing animated ads and full-screen ads that mask underlying content from readers or viewers.

The explosion of ad-blocking tools has launched a prolonged debate within the advertising industry over whether to rein in abusive ad practices or simply freeze out consumers who use ad blocker and still expect access to premium content.

The Coalition for Better Ads said on Wednesday it was publishing the voluntary standards after a study in which more than 25,000 web surfers and mobile phone users rated ads.

They identified six types of desktop web ads and 12 types of mobile ads as falling beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability and called on advertisers to avoid them.

Matti Littunen, research analyst at Enders Analysis focusing on digital media, said the ad formats identified by the coalition “have already been discouraged for years by these bodies and yet are still commonplace.”

The coalition is made up of major advertising associations from Britain, France, Germany and the United States, online ad platforms Google and Facebook, advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever and news publishers including News Corp, Washington Post and Thomson Reuters, the corporate parent of Reuters News.

“This is an opportunity, with the breadth of our participation, to actually not only capture what the consumer doesn’t want but also to really educate and take action to make that a reality in the online experience,” said Chuck Curran, a lawyer for the coalition, on a call with reporters.

“It’s that measurement of the point where the consumer is not just dissatisfied with the ad experience but actually more likely to use ad blockers and this is what we capture with the better ads standards.”

Ad-blocking, which has surged steadily since 2013, covered 615 million computer or mobile devices in 2016, up 30 percent from a year ago, according to estimates from Dublin-based PageFair, a firm that helps advertisers find ways to overcome blockers. That’s 11 percent of the world’s online populatio

Alibaba Pushes Further Into Entertainment With Latest Acquisition Of Damai

March 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd  has completed the purchase of online ticketing platform Damai.cn, the e-commerce giant announced on, marking a further push into entertainment by the firm as it expands beyond its core online retail business.

“Ali announces its acquisition of Damai, part of our big entertainment strategy,” the firm said on its Sina Weibo platform. Alibaba first invested in Damai in 2014. “This continues an earnest three-year romance.”

In a separate post Damai said it was happy to join the “Alibaba family”. It also reposted a statement from a senior Alibaba executive saying this meant Alibaba now owned 100 percent of the firm.

Alibaba said in a statement to Reuters that the full acquisition of Damai “fits nicely into our ‘health and happiness’ strategy and forms a strategic part of the value chain in our media and entertainment business.”

“Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content as well as expand our user reach and engagement,” Alibaba said, adding there would be synergies with its own entertainment units Alibaba Music, Alibaba Pictures and Youku.

Intel Goes To The Cloud With Alibaba

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), has announced a pilot program with Chipzilla for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service with the goal of enabling customers to have virtual access to powerful compute resources in the cloud to help them manage business, scientific and enterprise data application workloads more effectively.

By using Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.

The service delivers on-demand scalability of workload acceleration with FPGAs while reducing upfront investment risks and accelerating delivery of new infrastructure services.

Senior director, Alibaba Cloud the appropriately named Jin Li said that Alibaba Cloud offers customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access it without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure.

“This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity,” Jin said.

One of the key benefits of FPGAs is that they are programmable and can be customized to accelerate and scale for varying workloads, such as machine learning, data encryption and media transcode.

Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group said that Intel FPGAs were enabling new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services.

“In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”

Courtesy-Fud

Nest GoesTwo-Factor Authentication

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Palo Alto-based startup Nest Labs, which introduced its first Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011 along with a range of other home automation devices, prior to being acquired by Google, has just announced that it is introducing two-factor authentication for additional security to prevent customer security footage from getting stolen by thieves.

Two-factor can be enabled through “Account Security” menu option

Two-factor authentication is a login method where a person is only granted access after presenting several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication system. Most applications and websites do this by asking the user for a login password, followed by a verification code sent via email or text message. Nest will now allow users to open the Nest app on their connected home devices, navigate to Account Security, and enable a new option to activate “2-step verification”.

According to Nest Founder and Chief Product Officer Matt Rogers, the process “takes a minute or two for our customers, but for hackers working from computers all over the world, things get a whole lot harder”. He said: “We all know data security is a moving target, Technology keeps advancing, but so do the people who want to break into your email, your credit card or any other account they can get their hands on. But your home is your safe haven, where private information should stay private.”

Back in January 2016, a group of researchers at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy discovered that some users’ Nest thermostats leaked zip codes onto the internet. This was based on the coordinates of the company’s weather stations, a  bug that has since been patched. Another group of researchers at the University of Central Florida found that they could gain control of Nest’s Linux operating system while the devices were booting up by installing a custom software package through the USB port. While this second method is more of a jailbreak rather than a firmware security bug, the researchers noted that data sent over the air is encrypted, while data stored on the device is not. They used an ARP tool to trick other devices on the same Wi-Fi network into talking with the compromised Nest using the custom software package.

The security researchers admit that two-factor authentication is one of the best protection mechanisms available for home users who may be more vulnerable to having an unpatched Nest device connected to their network, while enterprise users shouldn’t need to worry about the ARP spoof as most corporate networks have deployed detection software for their IoT networks.

Courtesy-Fud

McDonald’s Finally To Begin Testing Mobile Ordering App

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

McDonald’s Corp this month will finally start testing its long-awaited U.S. mobile ordering app with the goal of avoiding the kinds of service issues that have impacted digital debuts by companies such as Starbucks Corp.

Digital ordering has been challenging for many restaurant chains and their customers. Domino’s Pizza Inc, now the industry leader, took years to perfect it. Starbucks’ technology took far less time, but in January the chain said mobile orders poured in faster than they could be processed, creating backlogs that drove away time-crunched walk-in customers.

McDonald’s sees mobile as a way to win back customers after four straight years of traffic declines, but the project is not without risks.

“We can’t impact the speed or the quality of our food,” Jim Sappington, McDonald’s executive vice president of operations, digital and technology, told Reuters in an interview at a temporary warehouse space in Chicago’s West Loop where the company has built a new high tech restaurant. It features a redesigned kitchen to speed order flow and show off its technology initiatives.

If its famous french fries are served cold or if mobile customers have to wait for orders, “you get a question of ‘Why did I use the app?’,” Sappington said. “Our focus is to make the overall experience clearly better.”

McDonald’s said that automating more orders should cut transaction times, reduce errors and free up workers to do things like deliver food to tables or cars in spots designated for mobile orders.

“It’s better to be right than to be first to market,”

McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook said recently.

To that end, Sappington plans multiple pilot tests to work out any kinks and streamline the integration with the company’s existing technology systems before rolling out the finished app in nearly all 14,000 U.S. restaurants and some 6,000 others in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia and China, by the end of this year.

Was Visa Hacked?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Thank you very much for the Aintree Iron.

Card holders with Visa credit cards have been hacked today, although the extent of the hack is not yet known.

How does Fudzilla know?  Well yours truly is the holder of a Barclaycard Visa card, and earlier on this afternoon received an automated call from Barclaycard, just verifiying that I could be compromised by a fraudulent attempt to use my card.

I persisted with the automatic call until I finally got through to a real person, who confirmed the reason my card had been stopped was because of a hack of the Visa database.

At press time, a Visa representative wasn’t there to provide further details of how and when the attack took place. How do I know this isn’t a scam itself? That’s easy – I bought a paltry item from Amazon for £1.89 and soon got an email telling me my card had been stopped.

It would have been a bit inconvenient if I only had one credit card and was working in overseas, wouldn’t it?

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Releases ‘Prophet’ Forecasting Tool

March 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook has open-sourced its Prophet forecasting tool, designed “to make it easier for experts and non-experts to create high-quality forecasts,” according to a blog post by Sean J. Taylor and Ben Letham in the company’s research team. “Forecasts are customizable in ways that are intuitive to non-experts,” they wrote.

The code is available on GitHub in both Python and R.

Prophet is aimed specifically at business problems such as computer infrastructure capacity planning that have at least several months of data (preferably a year or more) and issues such as seasonality, “holidays” that can affect trends (such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday for retailers), and events that can have significant impacts (such as launching a new website when trying to forecast site traffic). Prophet can also handle some missing values and outliers, the blog post said.

Facebook suggests taking Prophet for a spin using page views from a Wikipedia page, data which is currently available on tools.wmflabs.org/pageviews.

Prophet was built using Stan, a probability programming language that connects with several popular analytics platforms such as MATLAB and Stata in addition to Python and R.

Is LG Preparing To Battle Samsung?

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung and LG are going pretty much head to head as they launch their flagship phones at roughly the same time

LG is going to introduce G6 in Barcelona, Spain on the 26 February and start selling on the 10 March. Presale for G6 will take place from the 2-9 March. Samsung is going to introduce the Galaxy S8 in New York on the 29 March and launch it on 21 April. Presale for Galaxy S8 has not been figured out yet.

LG gets 42 days march on Samsung and this is the first time when LG has beaten Samsung to the punch. It will be about 50 days earlier if  the presale schedule is included. However, they are more or less releasing at the same time, which means that a war is expected in a way not seen before.

Initially Samsung was going to launch the Galaxy S8 globally on the 21 April and domestically a week earlier. Its original plan was to have presale on the week of the 6th April and launch the Galaxy S8 in South Korea on the 14 April. To have stable supplies, it has modified its plan by having Galaxy S8 launch globally and domestically on the same day.

So it looks like both companies are competing against each other before they officially launch their premium smartphones.

Courtesy-Fud

Alibaba Goes Deeper Into Brick-and-mortar Retail

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced that it has  formed a strategic partnership with Bailian Group, the largest retailer by store numbers to join the e-commerce giant’s drive to use big data to improve and profit from brick-and-mortar sales.

The deal, which does not include any financial investment in Bailian, is the latest in Alibaba’s still nascent efforts to capture a bigger share of the retail market as online sales growth slows.

It has also spent $4.6 billion on a minority stake in appliances retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, is leading a $2.6 billion bid to take department store and shopping mall operator Intime Retail Group Co Ltd private and has bought a stake in grocery chain Sanjiang Shopping Club Co Ltd.

News of the agreement sent shares in Bailian Group firms surging but analysts cautioned it may take several years before returns from using big data can make a significant difference to earnings.

“There is a big push right now across brands to try and figure out how to mix physical and online shopping but gains so far have been limited,” said Shanghai-based retail analyst Ben Cavender at China Market Research Group.

The two firms will initially cooperate on supply chain technology using Alibaba’s big data capabilities and will integrate Alipay payments with Bailian Group’s existing membership program.

Bailian operates 4,700 outlets in 200 cities including supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies – more than double the stores owned by Suning, Intime and Sanjiang combined.

An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment on how many stores will be involved in the new partnership. A Bailian spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Alibaba, which has an active user base of around 500 million, has said it wants to tap China’s entire $4.8 trillion retail economy by developing data-driven management tools for retailers and brands.

China’s e-commerce market is expected to average around 18 percent annually until 2020, according to consultancy Bain & Company, compared with an average rate of 35 percent during the preceding four years.

And while e-commerce has seen phenomenal growth in China, brick-and-mortar sales still accounted for 84 percent of total retail sales in China last year, Bain said.

Among Bailian Group firms, shares in Shanghai Bailian Group Co Ltd were up by the 10 percent daily limit in afternoon trade. Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co Ltd rose 7 percent and Shanghai Material Trading Co Ltd climbed 5 percent.

Next Page »