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The EU Proposes Ban On Encryption Backdoors

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The EU has done a sensible thing and proposed that end to end encryption be preserved and never be backdoored.

This is the kind of proposal that we at the INQUIRER can get behind. Encryption is an important thing that we value. Unfortunately, various governments take an opposing view and think that they should have their own backdoor access to communications.

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The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has come to the conclusion that secure is better and has produced a PDF on the subject. It says that fundamental European rights should protect the individual and what they want to keep private.

“Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (“the Charter”) protects the fundamental right of everyone to the respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications,” it says.

“Respect for the privacy of one’s communications is an essential dimension of this right. Confidentiality of electronic communications ensures that information exchanged between parties and the external elements of such communication, including when the information has been sent, from where, to whom, is not to be revealed to anyone other than to the parties involved in a Communication.

“The principle of confidentiality should apply to current and future means of communication, including calls, internet access, instant messaging applications, email, internet phone calls and personal messaging provided through social media.”

In case you missed it there is a war going on over encryption. Governments believe that backdoors are silver bullets for tackling terrorism, while people who understand technology say that backdoors are a big problem that could undermine everyone’s security and ruin the internet for everyone.

Last year the House of Lords stood firm on the bad idea. “Law enforcement and the intelligence agencies must retain the ability to require telecoms operators to remove encryption in limited circumstances, subject to strong controls and safeguards, to address the increasing technical sophistication of those who would seek to do us harm,” said Earl Howe, the government’s deputy leader in the House of Lords, and minister of state for defense as he flapped about tackling terrorism.

Courtesy-TheInq

Was The iPhone Originally Suppose To Copy An Android Features?

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Steve Jobs wanted the iPhone to be more like Android and have a back button in addition to a home button, however the designers over ruled him.

Brian Merchant’s new book, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, said that if Jobs’ designers had managed to pull it off, it would have meant that the iPhone would have the same look and feel of the Android products which replaced it as the number one operating system.

Much has been made skipped over by the Apple Press about how super-cool and wonderful the iPhone is because it does not need a back-button and only has a single home button, but apparently this idea went against what Jobs wanted.

The book names Imran Chaudhri, a veteran Apple designer who spent 19 years working on Apple’s Human Interface Team.

Jobs’ original vision was to have two buttons as he correctly felt that users would need a back button for navigation.

However, the designers were less practical and argued that it was all about generating trust and predictability. If you have a back button it means that you do not really trust where the operating system is taking you.

In other words, they wanted Apple users to believe that the phone could not make mistakes. Having a back button implied that you could do that and end up in the wrong place. The back button would be too complex to factor in.

“Part of the problem with other phones was the features were buried in menus, they were too complex. A back button could complicate matters too, he told Jobs

Apparently, Jobs backed down and agreed that the design concept based around “we know what we are doing” was far more important that what users would actually need.

Courtesy-Fud

Australia Wants More Access To Encrypted Messages

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Australia has announce that it will seek greater powers to tackle the use of encrypted messaging services used by terrorists and criminals at an upcoming meeting of ministers from the “Five Eyes” intelligence network.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, will meet in the Canadian city of Ottawa next week, where they will discuss tactics to combat terrorism and border protection, two senior Australian ministers said.

Australia has made it clear it wants tech companies to do much more to give intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications.

“I will raise the need to address ongoing challenges posed by terrorists and criminals using encryption,” Australian Attorney General Senator Brandis said in a joint statement.

“These discussions will focus on the need to cooperate with service providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies.”

Tech firms such as Apple and Facebook, which owns encrypted messaging service WhatsApp, have been criticized in the United Kingdom and United States for not doing enough to crackdown on so-called dark spaces where extremists can communicate.

Industry involvement in thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging will be a priority for Australia at the gathering, Senator Brandis said.

Will Xeon Scalable Processing Show Up In Intel Skylake-SP

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While Intel has not got around to releasing its Xeon Scalable Processors it is starting to provide a few more details about the Skylake-SP based microarchitecture.

Intel said that a new mesh interconnect architecture has been designed to increase bandwidth between on-chip elements, while simultaneously decreasing latency, and improving power efficiency and scalability.

Writing in his bog, Akhilesh Kimar, Skylake-SP CPU Architect said: “The task of adding more cores and interconnecting them to create a multi-core data center processor may sound simple, but the interconnects between CPU cores, memory hierarchy, and I/O subsystems provide critical pathways among these subsystems necessitating thoughtful architecture. These interconnects are like a well-designed highway with the right number of lanes and ramps at critical places to allow traffic to flow smoothly…”

In many-core Xeon processors, Intel used a ring interconnect architecture to link the CPU cores, cache, memory, and various I/O controllers on the chips. However, life has become more difficult as the number of cores in the processors, and memory and I/O bandwidth has increased.

Ring architecture requires data to be sent across long stretches to reach its intended destination. The new mesh architecture addresses this limitation by interconnecting on-chip elements better. This increases the number of pathways and improve the efficiency.

Intel showed us this snap of the new mesh architecture.  

Processor cores, on-chip cache banks, memory controllers, and I/O controllers are organised in rows and columns. Wires and switches connect the various on-chip elements and provide a more direct path than the prior ring interconnect architecture. Mesh allows for many more pathways to be implemented, which further minimizes bottlenecks, and also allows Intel to operate the mesh at a lower frequency and voltage, yet still deliver high bandwidth and low latency.

Kimar also says in the post: “The scalable and low-latency on-chip interconnect framework is also critical for the shared last level cache architecture. This large shared cache is valuable for complex multi-threaded server applications, such as databases, complex physical simulations, high-throughput networking applications, and for hosting multiple virtual machines. The negligible latency differences in accessing different cache banks allow thus allowing software to treat the distributed cache banks as one large unified last level cache.”

Intel is also implementing a modular architecture with its Xeon Scalable processors for resources that access on-chip cache, memory, IO, and remote CPUs. These resources are distributed throughout the chip so “hot-spots” in areas that could be bottlenecked are minimized. Intel claims the higher level of modularity with the new architecture allows available resources to better scale as the number of processor cores increases.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Teach Chatbots To Negotiate

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Chatbots are being taught how to drive a hard bargain in a new AI experiment carried out by Facebook’s Labs.

According to New Scientist, the research could lead to more effective personal assistants able to negotiate on our behalf, sorting out calendar clashes and the like.

French website Julie Desk is already offering this kind of AI diary management, but now Facebook has jumped on the bandwagon, looking at perhaps getting you a good deal on your next holiday, according to Mike Lewis from the social network’s boffin division.

The team trained bots on a database of over 5,000 text conversations between people playing a game where they had to divvy up an inventory of “things”. Each “thing” was assigned a value, with the values unique to each player and each item. So, for example, a ball might be worth four to one player, but only two to another.

The object of the game, as in most games, is to score the most points, by acquiring the most objects with the highest personal value.

After learning, the bots were further trained with more matches, some against each other, some against humans. Working in natural language often led to a crappy deal. Working in totally selfish terms often led to a great deal, but often one made in utter gobbledegook.

The trick, therefore, was to find a way of combining techniques to produce something that would allow the bots to communicate with humans in a real world scenario. The result was a good (but not brilliant) negotiator who can work with humans on their terms.

Beyond doing work for you, a bot might be able to give you useful tips when doing a deal that perhaps you don’t want to hand over. Say you’re negotiating a house price, it could be able to tell you how much of your hand to play and what not to say.

Oliver Lemon at Heriot-Watt University explained that the use of natural language was essential as a user would need to be able to go back to a deal and work out why it did what it did – in other words, justification is important when you’re a bot.

Late last year we reported on UCLA students who had created a Judge Rinderbot.

Courtesy-TheInq

Young Star Helps Astronomers Solve Stellar Mystery

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Astronomers using the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have precisely measured the rotating fountains of gas flowing out from a massive newborn star, revealing the complex interplay between the star’s magnetism and centrifugal forces.

Astronomers are still puzzled by the way massive stars form in interstellar space, the new study’s researchers said in a statement. When a massive rotating cloud of gas collapses under gravity, stellar fusion becomes possible, and a baby star is born. As angular momentum is conserved while the cloud shrinks, the resulting baby star should be spinning very fast, according to the laws of physics. 

To get a better idea of the conservation of angular (or rotational) momentum, imagine a spinning ice-skater. As ice-skaters spin with their arms outstretched, they spin slowly; when they bring their arms close to their bodies, they spin faster. Physics dictates that this concept should hold true for a shrinking cloud of star-forming gas: As it shrinks, it should spin faster.

But astronomers have found that stars in our galaxy spin much more slowly than the laws of physics predict they should. Therefore, there must be some mechanism that’s dissipating angular momentum from stars soon after they are born, the researchers said.

In the new work, published online June 12 in the journal Nature Astronomy, astronomers observed a massive newborn star called Orion KL Source I in the Orion Nebula and used ALMA to reveal the rotation of its powerful stellar winds. 

“We have clearly imaged the rotation of the outflow,” Tomoya Hirota, an assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies) and lead author on the paper, said in the statement. “In addition, the result gives us important insight into the launching mechanism of the outflow.”

Hirota’s team noticed that the outflow of stellar gases is rotating in the same direction as the star and that it emanates from Source I’s hot gas disk, and not from the star itself. This finding agrees with a theoretical “magnetocentrifugal disk wind model,” the researchers said.

In this model, gas is ejected from the rotating disk and is forced to move outward. Like a spinning lawn sprinkler, propelled by centrifugal forces, the water spirals outward, away from the sprinkler head, siphoning some of the star’s angular momentum. But in the case of this star, the spinning gases leaving the disk are also directed up and down along magnetic-field lines to create the spinning outflows that ALMA has detected. And the researchers believe that these flows are dissipating rotational energy from the baby star, slowing down its rotation, and therefore possibly explaining why stars in our galaxy rotate more slowly than expected.

“In addition to high sensitivity and fidelity, high resolution submillimeter-wave observation is essential to our study, which ALMA made possible for the first time,” Hirota said. “Submillimeter waves are a unique diagnostic tool for the dense innermost region of the outflow, and at that exact place, we detected the rotation.

“ALMA’s resolution will become even higher in the future,” Hirota added. “We would like to observe other objects, to improve our understanding of the launching mechanism of outflows and the formation scenario of massive stars with the assistance of theoretical research.”

Courtesy-Space

Will Tesla Be Next To Join The Already Crowded Music Streaming Business?

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Move over, Spotify. Eat it, Apple. Later, Tidal. Tesla wants to join the club.

That’s at least the latest from Recode, which cites music industry sources saying Tesla has held talks with all the major labels about licensing for a proprietary music streaming service.

What isn’t clear is when and if Tesla will rev this effort up, so to speak, or how broad it will be. Will this be just for its cars or for anyone with a phone?

Tesla, in a statement, didn’t address the rumor directly, but instead said its goal is, “to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers.”

“We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose,” the company said.

Sony Music Entertainment, one of the industry’s major record labels, declined to comment. Meanwhile Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Of course, Tesla has a long history of going it alone. The all-electric car company created special software and chargers, despite already existing options. The company even created its own software to manage its manufacturing centers.

Intel Kaby Lake With AMD GPU Expected Later This Year

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A few days ago, Videocards had an update on the engineering samples that got leaked. 

One thing caught our attention, the Intel(R) HD Graphics Gen9 with 694C:C0 graphics. It took us some time to ask round, and it turns out that a Kaby Lake with AMD graphics combination might be the right lead.

We already told you that Apple is likely to be the customer who nicely asked Intel to make such a Frankenstein chip. What Apple wants, Apple gets is the mantra and it is very hard to say no to hundreds of thousand sales guaranteed by the Apple logo used on any of their products.

It is clear that the platform has two separate GPUs, the Intel HD Graphics Gen9 and 694C:C0. The latter is probably one of AMD’s GPUs and it’s hard to tell if this is all integrated solution sitting in the same package, or rather two separate chip platform. We would go for the all integrated solution, as it makes more sense and saves a lot of space and BOM cost.

Sysoft goes one step forward calling the platform “Intel Kaby lake Client platform Kaby lake Client System (Intel Kaby lake DDR4 RVP17)”. It is listed as a desktop platform too.

GFX data base is very certain that 694C:C0 is an AMD device. This is not by any means a confirmation but it is the first time that we saw an Intel Kaby Lake CPU matched with both Intel Gen 9 graphics and AMD GPU. If you are an investor and looking for ways to make money, bear in mind that we are a news service and not any kind of advisory board. You do it at your own risk and leave us out of it.  

We would expect this Kaby Lake with 694C:C0 solution to ship later this year. 

Courtesy-Fud

Pokemon Go New Features Aims To Thwart Cheaters

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Niantic, the developer behind the wildly popular Pokemon Go game, has announced new features to help curb cheating in the game.

“Pokemon caught using third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay will appear marked with a slash in the inventory and may not behave as expected,” the company explained on the Silph Road subreddit.

While Niantic was not specific in the post about which third-party services are being targeted, tools such as GPS fakers that artificially place you in “busy” Pokemon areas or bots to catch Pokemon for you have already been identified as “cheats” in the game.

The company also was not clear about how ‘slashed’ Pokemon caught by cheating will behave, although various theories have been put forward by players in the subreddit, including “your moves will permanently become splash/struggle” or “it eats the pokemon around it in your inventory”.

The announcement comes shortly after Niantic’s unveiling of the largest update to the game so far, which brings multiplayer “raid battles” to Pokemon’s Gyms.

Is The Memory Market Poised For Growth

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The divination division of analyst firm Research and Markets has shuffled its tarot cards and consulted the liver of a particularly fine RAM and decided that the global semiconductor memory IP market to grow at a CAGR of 11.27 per cent during the period 2017-2021. 

Publishing its oracles in a tome with the catchy title “Global Semiconductor Memory IP Market 2017-2021” report to their offering.Research and Markets thinks that the sales of semiconductor memory IP licenses to fabless companies as well as IDMs and foundries for designing and manufacturing semiconductor devices. These semiconductor devices are used in applications, such as automotive, consumer electronic devices, and industrial automation. 

The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is emergence of IoT. IoT involves M2M communication, enabling devices to exchange and act upon information by eliminating human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. According to networking equivalent, Metcalfe’s Law, formulated by Robert Metcalfe, the value of a telecommunication network is proportional to the square of the number of devices connected to it.

According to the report, one of the major drivers for this market is growing demand for mobile devices. Consumer electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets have witnessed significant growth in the last decade. The growth in the semiconductor industry is proportional to the growth in the consumer electronics industry. Mobile computing devices include smartphones, tablets, and wearables.

Courtesy-Fud

Electronics Makers Scrambling For Memory Chips As iPhone 8 Looms

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Global electronics makers are making a last dash to secure a stock memory chips to keep production lines running as Apple Inc’s  new iPhone 8 launch later this year threatens to worsen a global squeeze on supply.

While heavyweights such as Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd- which is also the world’s top memory chip maker – will not be seriously hit, industry sources and analysts say some electronics makers are paying a premium to lock into longer-term contracts.

Others are placing orders earlier than before to ensure their perilously low inventories do no dry up completely.

“After the supply shortages emerged we brought forward our procurement decisions … to ensure a stable supply,” smartphone and personal computer maker LG Electronics Inc said in a statement, adding it had pushed up quarterly purchase decisions by about a month.

Chip manufacturing technologies are growing increasingly complex, raising investment costs yet providing less output growth as some suppliers struggle to improve yields. This has caused some chip prices to double or triple from a year earlier.

Some analysts say device makers could be forced to cut down on the amount of DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks at once, or NAND chips that are used for long-term data storage, on new products if the cannot get enough chips.

A chip supplier source told Reuters a handful of clients have moved to 6-month supply agreements, accepting higher prices than the customary quarterly or monthly deals, to make sure they get enough memory chips for their products.

“The problem will be more acute for the NAND market, where the iPhone remains a critical source of demand given the huge sales volumes and recent moves to increase storage capacity on the device,” said the source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Apple And Ikea Team Up On Virtual Furniture

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ikea, the famous flat-pack furniture manufacturer, is developing an app that will digitally overlay true-to-size furniture using Apple’s new ARKit technology. Looking through the window of an iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to see how Ikea’s furniture could look in your home before you have to buy or assemble anything.

Apple unveiled ARKit at its WWDC conference earlier this month, naming the Swedish furniture company as one of its partners, but other details were scarce. Now, thanks to an interview with Ikea digital transformation manager Michael Valdsgaard at Di Digital, we’re getting a little more information on the fruits of that partnership.

According to Valdsgaard, the app will have realistic 3D renders of 500-600 pieces of furniture upon its launch, with items added sporadically. Ikea also hopes to add a feature that lets you buy furniture from the app after you virtually map it out in your house.

Just don’t be surprised if the app doesn’t have the exact rocking chair you want at launch — Ikea’s full catalog includes tens of thousands of items.

We already knew that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a big fan of AR, calling the technology “huge” and claiming it has more potential than VR. But in order to get behind Cook’s excitement, we’ll need to see some real world applications of the technology, besides just catching Pokemon. The Ikea app, which is reportedly aiming to launch in the autumn when iOS 11 is available, could be a good example.

Ikea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Is Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake On Schedule

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has officially announced that its 9th generation Core Cannon Lake CPUs, based on 10nm manufacturing process, are on track as well as that its Ice Lake architecture has  taped out.

According to a post over at Intel’s official Twitter account, the company has reached another milestone for 10nm manufacturing process, with Cannon Lake CPUs on track while 2nd-generation Ice Lake CPUs are on track, too.

Despite its confidence in the 10nm manufacturing process, which is only well founded if the yields are good, and upcoming architectures based on that manufacturing process, Intel is obviously feeling pressure from AMD and still needs to launch its 14nm Coffee Lake CPUs.

As you already know, Intel’s Coffee Lake architecture has been rumored to bring the first 6-core/12-thread CPU to the mainstream consumer lineup. The upcoming 10nm Cannon Lake architecture should be a simple die shrink of the Coffee Lake.

According to earlier rumors, Intel is expected to launch its Coffee Lake CPUs in August.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon’s Acquisition Of Slack Could Mean Deeper Enterprise Presence

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Online retail giant Amazon is rumored to be interested in purchasing collaboration firm Slack Technologies — a possibility that could give Amazon a more direct entry into the enterprise.

“Bottom line: this could be a good move for Amazon in terms of upping their game in the enterprise collaboration market, but the devil is in the details of staying power and execution versus competitors like Google, Microsoft and Facebook,” said Forrester analyst Art Schoeller.

Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Amazon is considering the move in a deal that could be valued at $9 billion.

A Slack official declined to comment on the report. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

Slack has more than 5 million daily users, and has seen widespread adoption since its inception three years ago. More recently, Microsoft was thought to be eyeing the company, but backed away from a deal when it determined the price — possibly as much as $8 billion — was too high, Schoeller said.

Microsoft eventually shifted tactics and formed Microsoft Teams, which launched in November 2016.

The Amazon interest in Slack is noteworthy, given that in February it released a video and audio conference service named Amazon Chime. Schoeller also noted that Amazon’s WorkMail offering has not put much of dent in the popularity of Microsoft’s well-established Exchange/Outlook combo or Google Gmail.

Acquiring Slack would help boost Amazon’s market position, Schoeller said, but it would need to follow through with more investment after any purchase if it hopes to take on the major collaboration rivals. He also noted there could be spillover effects on Amazon’s cloud operations.

“If Amazon continues to add business applications on top of Amazon Web Services, it will give other partners pause because they would now operate on a competitor’s platform,” Schoeller said.

Although Amazon Chime already has a Chat Room capability, Schoeller expects Slack would displace that as instant messaging gives way to similar team messaging apps.

Chime competes with online web conferencing services such as Zoom, Uber Conference and Join.me. Alan Lepofsky, vice president at Constellation Research, noted that besides WorkMail, Amazon also offers Amazon Docs which is a file-sharing service.

“It will be interesting to see if Amazon and Slack make a good combination,” Lepofsky said. “Amazon has been trying to improve their reach inside corporate accounts, outside of just developers. They have their Workspaces virtual desktop, WorkMail and WorkDocs, Chime and Do…, but we don’t hear much about corporate customers adopting these tools.

“Perhaps Slack would provide them a foot in the door, kick starting the opportunity for more of their platform,” he said.

Slack could also act as a front end to many of Amazon’s A.I. services, Lepofsky added. The company could wind up with an Echo product line and the Slack platform for software.

Ybrain Headband Treats Depression

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The 21st century is increasingly acknowledging that depression as a serious illness, and now a team from South Korea wants to treat it with 21st century technology.

South Korean startup Ybrain’s Mindd headband sends weak electronic currents to the frontal lobe of your brain, reports The Korea Herald. The process, neuroscientifically referred to as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), aims to stimulate the frontal lobe — where decreased activity is associated with depression.

Ybrain has received over $9 million in funding over the past four years, and says clinical trials have shown the Mindd headband to be effective and yield no side effects. It’s been used in 12 hospitals throughout South Korea already, Ybrain CEO Lee Ki-won said to the Herald, and the company hopes to bring the headband to Europe later this year and to the US in 2019.

Depression and suicide are a major problem in South Korea, with nearly 38 people killing themselves every day in the country in 2015, according to South Korea’s National Statistical Office. That’s about a third of the daily suicides in the US in the same year, a country which has roughly six-times the population.

The Mindd headband works alongside a phone app, in which patients can log their sleep, exercise and medical treatment.. All of that information will be sent to doctors for monitoring.

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