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Microsoft’s Windows 10 Usage Off To An Impressive Start

August 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 10 got off to a roaring start in its first few days, with early usage share handily surpassing that of the firm’s last free upgrade, Windows 8.1, data from a Web analytics vendor showed.

Worldwide, Windows 10′s usage share — a measure of how active users of the OS were on the Internet, not the number of users or PCs running the operating system — doubled from 0.3% to 0.6% on the official launch day of July 29, according to Irish metrics company StatCounter.

By the end of Saturday, Aug. 1, Windows 10′s global usage share had climbed to 2.5%.

In the United States, the surge of Windows 10 — which was offered as a free upgrade to most consumers and small businesses running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 — was even more impressive. By Saturday, the U.S.-only usage share of Windows 10 stood at 3.7%.

Windows 10′s usage share jump, both worldwide and in the U.S., was dramatically larger than the increase posted by Windows 8.1 in mid-October 2013, when Microsoft offered the revised OS as a free upgrade to those then running Windows 8.

Windows 8.1′s usage share topped out at 0.6% — both globally and in the U.S. — on the third day after its debut, a fourth (worldwide) and a sixth (U.S.) of Windows 10.

The larger increases were expected: Windows 10′s pool of potential upgraders was massive compared to Windows 8.1′s, because Windows 7, the dominant operating system both worldwide and in the U.S., was included. And the fact that Windows 10 is, unlike 8.1, a major upgrade — the latter was a minor refresh — with a restored Start menu, integrated Cortana and loads of other new features, plays in 10′s favor.

Microsoft has only said that there are were 14 million devices running Windows 10 within the first day of issuing the final code, a number that presumably included the approximately 5 million it previously said were using the OS’s preview provided to members of its Insider program.

 

 

Mozilla Complains Publicly About Windows 10 Default Browser Setting

August 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla has gone public with its complaint about Windows 10 resetting the default browser, calling it “disturbing” and demanding that it “undo its aggressive move to override user choice.”

Microsoft defended the practice of making its Edge browser the default in Windows 10, but left open the possibility of a future change. “As with all aspects of the product, we have designed Windows 10 as a service; if we learn from user experience that there are ways to make improvements, we will do so,” a company spokeswoman said in an email reply to a request for comment.

In a letter from Mozilla CEO Chris Beard to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Beard slammed the way Windows 10 setup changed the default browser on a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC upgraded to Windows 10.

“I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10,” Beard said in the letter, which Mozilla posted publicly. “Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”

Beard was referring to the Windows 10 upgrade setup process, which in “Express Settings” assigns the new Microsoft browser, Edge, as the default, even if users had previously specified a rival like Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome. Most users will simply click “Next” in the Express Setup without diving into the details.

Users who accept that setting for Edge must later — the first time they click on a link — confirm Edge as the default.

Windows 10 users can later re-assign Firefox or another browser as the default, but doing so requires work on the part of the user, many of whom will be unlikely to bother.

In a blog post, Beard elaborated on Mozilla’s displeasure with Windows 10′s upgrade behavior, and resurrected antitrust actions Microsoft’s faced, perhaps hinting at new complaints to regulators, if not in the U.S., then in the European Union (EU). “It is bewildering to see, after almost 15 years of progress bolstered by significant government intervention, that with Windows 10 user choice has now been all but removed,” Beard alleged.

 

 

 

Is Samsung Starting To Focus On Tizen?

August 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung might be gearing up to push its home grown operating system which sounds like a sneeze.

Tizen was launched in 2012 and appears to be slower than an asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping at starting off.

The Samsung Z1 Tizen-powered smartphone has also sold over 1 million units which is not bad but it seems that Samsung has bigger plans for Tizen.

The Linux-based operating system also powers smartwatches, cars, TVs, and refrigerators, among other devices and it might be part of Samsung’s push into these markets.

At its first Tizen Developer Summit in Bengaluru, India, the company shared the advancements it has made to the operating system and also the roadmap of things to come and appealed for developers to support it.

The company unveiled new Tizen SDKs for phones, smartwatches, and smart TVs. It has now brought in the capability to have floating buttons on its mobile operating system, and also added support for DALi (Dynamic Animation Library), a 3D engine that improves the animation capability of a phone.

Samsung is providing TV developers with the ability to use HTML5, JS, CSS technologies to make new apps.

The company wants to improve the built-in integration for apps to use system features. The new SDK also has an improved TV simulator, which developers can use to code apps and test them out for different screen sizes.

Samsung also revealed that all 17 smart TVs it launched this year are powered by Tizen.

It could be that Samsung really is planning to walk away from Android and put some weight behind Tizen.

Courtesy-Fud

 

T-Mobile Profits Rise

August 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US has had a good quarter with a 14 per cent jump in revenue to $8.2 billion and net income of $361 million.

It It all seems to back CEO John Legere’s aggressive Uncarrier marketing campaign.

For those who came in late his adverts say things like: “While the carriers continue to use gimmicks to confuse consumers, T-Mobile continues to listen to customers and respond with moves that blow them away.”

To be far though US carriers are famous for being such bastards that even light will bend to avoid touching them, it should be easy to show them up.  Still we have heard moans about T-Mobile too.

T-Mobile US made 2.1 million net additions in the second quarter, including 1 million postpaid users. And the operator increased its full-year guidance for postpaid net adds to 3.4 million – 3.9 million, from 3.0 million – 3.5 million.

Subscriber growth lifted revenue in the quarter, including service revenue up by 12 per cent to $6.1 billion.

T-Mobile US also generated net income of $361 million, down from $391 million in the year ago period although the 2014 figure was boosted by a disposal of spectrum that netted $747 million, partially offset by a decrease in income tax expense in Q2 2015.

On a sequential basis, the operator was back in the black following a loss of $63 million in Q1 2015.

The operator said it will remain profitable in Q3 and Q4, and full-year 2015.

 

University Of Connecticut Hit By Chinese Hackers

August 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The social security numbers and credit card information of up to 6,000 University of Connecticut students, faculty and others may have been stolen by cyberhackers from China, the university said on Friday.

Officials detected a potential breach of the School of Engineering’s network in March and an investigation uncovered that hackers may have gained access to it as early as September, 2013, spokesman Tom Breen said.

He said 6,000 students, faculty, alumni and research partners of the school were notified that their personal information may have been compromised.

“The breach is far more extensive, could impact many more accounts and started much earlier than we originally believed,” said Breen. “There is no way at the present time to determine the exact number of accounts hacked,” he added.

Breen said the hack has been traced to China ”based on the type of cyber-attack that was launched, and the software used.” He added the FBI and several state agencies have been notified. The university said it was also taking steps to secure its systems.

 

 

Did Microsoft Intentionally Delay The Surface Pro 4?

August 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The dark satanic rumor mill has suggested a good reason Microsoft delayed the launch of its flagship tablet-laptop, Surface Pro 4.

The latest rumors suggest that Microsoft was waiting to jack the latest Intel Skylake processor under its bonnet.

Redmond seemingly wants the new Surface Pro to be state of the art and be a tablet which is useful. Skylake will give it better battery life and performance with current industry standards like Bluetooth 4.1, Cat6 LTE, WiDi 6.0, and A4WP wireless charging weaved into it.

Intel will support the tablets through compatibility with 3D cameras and audio processing software plus better stylus interaction.

There is no sign of confirmation of the rumors. Microsoft has been quiet so far about the Surface Pro 4. We had been expecting it to highlight some of the better features of Windows 10.

However if the rumors are true it will be a hell of a lot better than the MacBook Air 2015 because it will feature innovation, rather than just being thin.

Latest news about its release date suggests a 2016 launch.

Courtesy-Fud

Oracle’s New Processor Goes For The Cheap

August 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle is looking to expand the market for its Sparc-based servers with a new, low-cost processor which it curiously called Sonoma.

The company isn’t saying yet when the chip will be in the shops but the spec shows that could become a new rival for Intel’s Xeon chips and make Oracle’s servers more competitive.

Sonoma is named after a place where they make cheap terrible Californian wine  and Oracle aims the chip at Sparc-based servers at “significantly lower price points” than now.

This means that companies can use them for smaller, less critical applications.

Oracle has not done much with its Sparc line-up for a couple of years, and Sonoma was one of a few new chips planned. The database maker will update its Sparc T5, used in its mid-range systems and the high-end Sparc M7. The technology is expected to filter to the Sonoma lower tier servers.

The Sparc M7 will have technologies for encryption acceleration and memory protection built into the chip. It will include coprocessors to speed up database performance.

According to IDG Sonoma will take those same technologies and bring them down to low-cost points. This means that people can use them in cloud computing and for smaller applications.

He didn’t talk about prices or say how much cheaper the new Sparc systems will be, and it could potentially be years before Sonoma comes to market.

Courtesy-Fud

Yahoo Acquires Fashion Website Polyvore

August 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc announced on Friday that it has agreed to acquire fashion start-up Polyvore to help drive traffic and strengthen its mobile and social offerings.

Yahoo, which did not disclose terms of the deal, said Polyvore will accelerate its ‘Mavens’ growth strategy.

The company has been focusing on four areas — mobile, video, native advertising and social — which it calls Mavens, to drive user engagement and ad sales as it battles intense competition from Google Inc and Facebook Inc .

Revenue from Mavens made up about one-third of the company’s total revenue in the quarter ended June 30.

The Mavens portfolio includes BrightRoll, mobile app network Flurry, mobile ad buying platform Yahoo Gemini and blogging site Tumblr.

Polyvore, the brainchild of 3 ex-Yahoo engineers, was started in 2007.

The Mountain View, California-based company allows users to mix-and-match articles of clothing and accessories and customize them into “sets”.

Polyvore’s co-founder and CEO Jess Lee was earlier part of Google Inc’s  associate manager program, which Marissa Mayer headed before joining Yahoo as CEO.

 

Yahoo Unveils Livetext Mobile Messaging App

July 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo unveiled a mobile messaging app that combines texting with live one-on-one video.

The app, named Livetext, is video calling with a twist: there’s no audio. To communicate, users type texts and emojis that are overlaid onto the screen during the call.

The app’s format might sound restricting, but Yahoo says Livetext will help users to communicate more freely. The lack of audio, the company says, removes inhibitions that people might feel when they otherwise receive video calls in public.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between the simplicity and ease of texting, with the live feeling of calling,” said Adam Cahan, senior vice president of video, design and emerging products at Yahoo, during the app’s unveiling at an event in New York on Wednesday that was webcast.

Livetext was developed from scratch at Yahoo. Its development was aided by Yahoo’s acquisition last year of mobile messaging app MessageMe, the company said Wednesday. It’s yet another messaging app in a sea of competitors like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Still, Livetext is the latest attempt by Yahoo to provide a messaging app that resonates with users. It became available to download for free on Thursday for iOS and Android, in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Users will be able to text in English, French, German and Chinese using the app.

The app streams video only when two people are connected through the app at the same time. Users can search for friends in the app through their Livetext user name, or through the contacts list on their phone.

There is no time limit on calls placed through the app, and no way to save or archive the sessions. The video quality will depend on the strength of the data connection, although connections at 3G and above should suffice, Yahoo said.

It’s available on Android and the desktop, but not on iOS.

 

 

 

 

Samsung Plans Price Cut For Galaxy S6 Phones

July 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Lukewarm demand for its flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone and higher marketing costs led Samsung Electronics to another quarter of declining sales and profits in the April to June period.

In the key smartphone market, an area led by Samsung until recently, the popularity of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets and the rise of lower-cost phones from Chinese vendors squeezed Samsung at both the high and low end of the market.

The company said Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sales were lower than expected.

It still managed to make money but not nearly as much as the same time last year. Operating profit for the quarter was 2.8 trillion won, down about 38 percent on the same period of 2014.

The results come against a backdrop of continuing record quarterly results at smartphone rival Apple. It sold 47.5 million phones in the quarter and recorded sales of $49.6 billion and a quarterly net profit of $10.7 billion — both squarely ahead of sales and profits at Samsung.

For the rest of this year, Samsung said it will attempt to boost smartphone sales by reducing the price of the Galaxy S6 and introducing new large-screen models. This time more than ever before, the company is under intense pressure to score a hit with a new phone to help turn around its declining business.

 

 

Is Wafer Output Headed Down?

July 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

United Microelectronics (UMC) expects to post an up to 5 per cent decrease in wafer shipments for the third quarter of 2015.

The outfit’s capacity rate will fall below 90 per cent for the first time after being flat out for ages.

UMC CEO Po-Wen Yen said the third quarter, would suffer from the inventory correction problems that were first noticed in the first quarter.

Current weakness in overall demand, partly due to the uncertainties in economic outlook, will prolong the inventory adjustment through the second half of 2015,” he said.

UMC used 94 per cent of its overall capacity in the second quarter of 2015, when the company shipped a record 1.54 million 8-inch equivalent wafers.

Shipments during the quarter were driven mainly by 28nm products, the foundry noted.

UMC reported consolidated revenues of $1.23 billion for the second quarter, down 6 per cent on last year. Gross margin came to 22.9 per cent compared with 24.3 per cent in the first quarter and 22.9 per cent in second.

UMC created net profits of $1.45 billion in the second quarter of 2015 – the highest level in nine quarters.

Looking into the third quarter, UMC expects to use 87-89 per cent of its overall capacity in the third quarter. Wafer shipments and ASPs will fall up to 5 per cent and about 3 per cent, respectively, on quarter.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Sony Finally On Solid Ground Thanks To The PS4

July 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The PlayStation business has had another phenomenal quarter in the first four months of 2015, selling three million PS4 units and turning in an operating income of $160 million from revenues of $2.365 billion. There are now 25.3 million PlayStation 4 units in the hands of players worldwide – a number achieved in less than two full years.

The console continues to be the company’s fastest seller – outpacing the PS2, which took two years and eight months to reach the 20 million mark. Furthermore, thanks to dropping production costs for PS4 hardware, a 12 per cent increase in sales from the same quarter last year translated to a massive 350 per cent rise in operating income.

A strengthening dollar again hurt Sony’s bottom line, having an estimated impact of 15.6 billion Yen on the revenue total of 288.6 billion Yen, but this was massively outweighed by the increase in sales and the efficiency gains of Sony’s operation. On the strength of the results, Sony has added another 20 billion Yen in operating income to the sector’s full year forecast.

The sales rate of PS4 shows a healthily steady growth in player base, returning to a gradual upswing after a huge blip in Q3, 2014. Sony has upgraded it full year forecast from 16 million units to 16.5 as a result – a figure which would show a substantial increase on 2014′s 14.8 million total. By Sony’s own reckoning, the end of Q1 2016 will see nigh on 40 million of the consoles in homes. Vita sales once again went unmentioned in the report, whilst the gradual decline of PS3 continued.

Hardware wasn’t the only success story. Network, (“Network includes network services relating to game, video, and music content provided by Sony Network Entertainment Inc.”) mad almost as much in revenues, netting around 105.8 billion Yen compared to Hardware’s 129.5 billion. The Other category (Other includes packaged software and peripheral devices) brought in 30.6 billion.

Overall, the corporation turned a healthy profit, banking $676 million in net from sales of nearly $15 billion. Whilst the PlayStation business is very healthy indeed, it’s far from Sony’s only, or even biggest, success story: Devices, Imaging, Financial Services and Music all continue to return a higher operating income.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Uber Jumps Into Car Leasing Business

July 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber Technologies has rolled out its own auto leasing subsidiary in an effort to secure more drivers, injecting the fast-growing ride services company directly into the financial services sector for the first time.

The move by Uber, announced as a pilot project, follows the end of its partnership with Banco Santander’s U.S. lending unit earlier this year.

Uber announced the initiative but disclosed few financial details, though it said it would offer both new and used cars.

Uber launched a program in November 2013 to arrange manufacturer discounts and lenders for prospective drivers who lacked cars in the hopes it would boost vehicles driving for the app-based service.

At the time, Uber said it hoped to finance 100,000 drivers. Nearly 20,000 drivers have participated in the program so far, Uber said.

Santander Consumer USA Holdings declined to comment last week on why the Uber leasing deal ended. Uber continues to partner with other lenders for car purchases.

Andrew Chapin, head of vehicle solutions for Uber, this week said Uber wants to provide drivers with more flexibility than traditional leasing companies can offer. Participants in Uber’s program can return their vehicle with two weeks notice and “limited additional costs,” the company said.

One of the fastest-growing sharing-economy companies, Uber operates in 57 countries, with an estimated value of more than $40 billion. It has also tangled with transportation authorities across the globe, along with attorneys seeking to deem Uber drivers employees entitled to benefits.

Uber’s entry into auto leasing brings it into contact with yet another set of regulators in a controversial business. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month said it would oversee non-bank auto lenders who process at least 10,000 loans or leases per year.

The CFPB said it seeks to ensure such leases are marketed accurately, and that debt collectors operate fairly.

 

 

Workhorse Wants In On The Drone Delivery Business

July 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Workhorse, a truck maker based in Loveland, Ohio apparently wants in on the drone package delivery business.

Workhorse isn’t as high profile as Amazon or Google, but it demonstrated an eight-rotor delivery drone designed to work with its electric trucks and use some of the same battery technology.

“Our concept is, you have a package-delivery drone that rides on top of a truck as the driver goes about his day, and helps to pick off outliers on his route to help cut down on the cost of delivery per package,” said Elliot Bokeno, a mechanical engineer with Workhorse, who demonstrated the drone at a conference at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

If a driver had four deliveries in one part of town but only one in another, the drone might be able to handle that single, less convenient delivery.

The technology combines autonomous and manual control.

GPS is used to determine the delivery location, and the drone flies there without any human input, Bokeno said. But when it gets to the address, a downward-pointing camera switches on and an operator at a remote center takes over.

The operator guides the drone down, making sure to avoid people and obstacles, and releases the package. The drone then resumes autonomous flight and makes its way back to the truck.

In tests, the drone has flown as fast at 55 mph and has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes. The company is working with Panasonic, which provides batteries for Workhorse’s electric vehicles, on more advanced battery technology that will increase flight times to 45 minutes.

Bokeno said his company has already talked to several package delivery companies about using its technology.

For now, tests of the technology over relatively short distances continue. Workhorse is collaborating with the University of Cincinnati and hopes to begin multi-mile delivery tests soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Nokia Unveils Virtual Reality Camera

July 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Finland’s Nokia, once the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, has debuted a spherical camera designed for making 3D movies and games that can be watched and played with virtual reality headsets.

The device, showcased at an event in Los Angeles, takes video and audio in 360 degrees with eight sensors and microphones, and is the first from Nokia’s digital media solutions business — one of its new focuses for future growth.

Nokia is going through restructuring after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft last year and following that up with a proposed 15.6 billion euro ($17.2 billion) acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, which is set to boost its main network equipment business.

“We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other,” Nokia executive Ramzi Haidamus said in a statement.

In May, GoPro introduced a similar system using 16 cameras and Google’s software, while several other technology companies such as Facebook and Samsung have announced different plans to enter the virtual reality market.

Nokia is also planning to come back to the phone business by designing and licensing handsets once its deal with Microsoft allows it to do that late next year.