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Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Will Support 8K Resolution

March 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Software King of the World Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system will support screen resolutions that will not be available on commercial displays for years.

At the WinHEC conference Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 will support 8K (7680*4320) resolution for monitors, which is unlikely show up on the market this year or next.

It also showed off minimum and maximum resolutions supported by its upcoming Windows 10. It looks like the new operating system will support 6″+ phone and tablet screens with up to 4K (3840*2160) resolution, 8″+ PC displays with up to 4K resolution and 27″+ monitors with 8K (7680*4320) resolution.

To put this in some perspective, the boffins at the NHK (Nippon H?s? Ky?kai, Japan Broadcasting Corp.) think that 8K ultra-high-definition television format will be the last 2D format as the 7680*4320 resolution (and similar resolution) is the highest 2D resolution that the human eye can process.

This means that 8K and similar resolutions will stay around for a long time and it makes sense to add their support to hardware and software.

NHK is already testing broadcasting in 8K ultra-high-definition resolutions, VESA has ratified DisplayPort and embedded DisplayPort standards to connect monitors with up to 8K resolution to graphics adapters and a number of upcoming games will be equipped for textures for 8K UHD displays.

However monitors that support 8K will not be around for some time because display makers will have to produce new types of panels for them.

Redmond will be ready for the advanced UHD monitors well before they hit the market. Many have criticized Microsoft for poor support of 4K UHD resolutions in Windows 8.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Verizon To Bolster 100G Metro Fiber-optic Network

March 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Verizon has announced new technology to bolster its super-fast 100 Gbps fiber-optic network serving metro areas, but didn’t reveal where the work will be done or other details.

The vague announcement raised the question of whether Verizon is simply trying to show its competitive value against Google and AT&T, which have both announced fiber Internet services in a number of cities.

“I think Verizon is trying to play catch up to the others without saying it that way,” said independent analyst Jeff Kagan. “The only question I still have is will Verizon be a real competitor or is this mostly just talk to cover their butts in the rapidly changing marketplace?”

What Verizon did disclose in a news release was that it will be modernizing undisclosed portions of its so-called 100G (for 100 Gbps) metro optical network using packet-optimized networking gear from Ciena and Cisco. Testing and deployment of the Ciena 6500 optical switch and Cisco’s Network Covergence System will happen this year, with plans to go live in 2016. /

“We are not announcing specific geographies at this time,” Verizon spokeswoman Lynn Staggs said in an email. She said the new equipment is not directly related to fiber connections to the premises of homes or businesses. By comparison, both Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower are designed with 1 Gbps connections to homes, schools and businesses in mind.

Staggs said Verizon is upgrading connectivity between central Verizon offices and the backbone network. On top of that service, there is generally an “access” network for the last mile to connect the customer and the metro network, she added.

No matter how Verizon describes the ultimate purpose of its metro network, it is clear to analysts and others that Verizon’s metro upgrades could be used to prepare for last-mile fiber connections to businesses, schools and even homes to take on Google and AT&T directly. “Deploying a new coherent, optimized and highly scalable metro network means Verizon stays ahead of the growth trajectory while providing an even more robust network infrastructure for future demand,” said Lee Hicks, vice president of Verizon network planning, in a statement.

 

 

Lexmark Scoops Up Kofax For Nearly $1B

March 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Lexmark International Inc, known for its printers, said it plans to acquire Kofax Ltd in an about $1 billion deal that would double the size of its enterprise software business.

PC and printer makers have struggled in the recent past as companies reduced printing to cut costs and consumers shifted to mobile devices from PCs.

Hewlett-Packard Co plans to separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations this year.

Xerox Corp has also increasingly focused on IT services to make up for the falling sales of its copiers and printers.

Lexmark divested its inkjet printer business in 2013 and has since boosted its enterprise software business.

The Kofax deal will help the company’s Perceptive Software business achieve its revenue target of $500 million in 2016, Lexmark said.

The business makes software to scan everything from spreadsheets to medical images and provides services to banking, healthcare, insurance and retail companies. It contributed about 8 percent to Lexmark’s revenue in 2014 and has grown at more than 30 percent in the past two years.

Kofax provides data services to the financial, insurance and healthcare companies such as Citigroup Inc, Metlife Inc and Humana Inc.

Lexmark said it expects the deal to “significantly” expand operating margins in its enterprise software business, which would now be worth about $700 million. It will also add about 10 cents per share to the company’s adjusted profit in 2015.

 

 

Facebook To Open Messenger App To Third-Party Developers

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook’s Messenger app mostly been used for keeping in touch with friends. Now people can also use it to send each other money. In the future, it could become a platform which other apps could use, if recent rumors prove true.

This Wednesday and Thursday at its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook will show off new tools to help third-party developers build apps, deploy them on Facebook and monetize them through Facebook advertising.

Among those tools might be a new service for developers to publish content or features of their own inside Messenger, according to a TechCrunch article. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

Such a service could make Messenger more useful, if the right developers sign on. Search features, photo tools or travel functions could be incorporated into Messenger and improve users’ chats around events or activities.

However, Messenger already lets users exchange money, and it also handles voice calls. Layer on more services and Messenger could become bloated and inconvenient to use.

In other words, making Messenger a platform would be a gamble.

A more versatile Messenger could generate new user data Facebook could leverage for advertising, helping it counter a user growth slowdown in recent quarters. It could also boost Facebook’s perennial efforts to increase participants in its developer platform and the number of users of its third-party apps.

Even if Facebook doesn’t turn Messenger into a platform at F8, it will likely do so in the future, said John Jackson, an IDC analyst focused on mobile business strategies. For the same reasons Facebook might turn Messenger into a platform, it could do the same for other apps like WhatsApp or Instagram, he said.

“The objective is to enrich and multiply the nature of interactions on the platform,” providing valuable data along the way, he said.

 

Intel’s Broadwell Spec Apparently Leaked

March 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

People working for the Chinese VR Zone  have found evidence that Intel will only be launching two Broadwell desktop processors in Q2 2015.

The new Broadwell Desktop CPUs are based on the LGA1150 pin layout and will be compatible with the current Z97 motherboards.

ASUS and ASRock recently announced that their motherboards will be able to handle the new 14nm Broadwell processors with a BIOS update. The two new CPUs will be the Intel Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C.

There are some odd things on this list. It is not clear what the C stands for in the product names. Our local AMD fanboy says it stands for C*ap while others have suggested, camel or caramel, depending on how hungry they are. The processors are unlocked for overclocking like the previous K models were and it could the K has somehow become a C.

The new i7 has four cores and eight threads running at a base frequency of 3.3GHz and with a turbo to 3.7GHz while the i5 has a base speed of 3.1GHz and a Turbo of 3.6GHz on its four cores, four threads base. The i7 comes with 6MB cache while the i5 only has 4MB and both are powered by the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 iGPU.

Courtesy-Fud

Vessel Launches Early Access, Paid Subcription Video Service

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Online video platform Vessel officially debuted its paid subscription service on Tuesday, offering programming at least three days before other websites in a bid to reshape an industry dominated by free content on Google Inc’s YouTube.

Vessel, which costs viewers $3 a month, was founded by former Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar and Chief Technology Officer Richard Tom. They aim to create an early window for a selection of web video, similar to the way movies are released in theaters before they arrive on cable TV or the Internet.

“Early access is very valuable,” Kilar said in an interview. “There are a lot of consumers who would love to see something early.”

More than 130 creators will provide early access to content on Vessel. After the exclusive period ends, videos can go to YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo or other free, ad-supported sites, and are free on Vessel.

YouTube stars such as Ingrid Nilsen, Rhett & Link and Shane Dawson are among creators whose videos will make their debut on Vessel. Other programming comes from online networks such as food-oriented Tastemade and celebrities such as Alec Baldwin.

Video creators on Vessel keep 70 percent of ad revenue, compared with 55 percent that is typical on YouTube, plus 60 percent of Vessel subscription revenue.

With those incentives, the new service will be an easier sell to creators than offering viewers who are used to watching videos for free, said Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.

“Vessel must rely on content creators’ popularity and self-marketing to entice their loyal viewers into paying a monthly fee,” he said.

The service is free for one year for viewers who sign up within the first three days.

It is unlikely YouTube will lose significant revenue from a migration to Vessel, Sappington said. YouTube made its debut a decade ago and has more than 1 billion users.

 

 

Can Intel Succeed In The Mobile Space?

March 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has launched its latest campaign to get back into the mobile market, and this time it might just get away with it.

Intel’s involvement in mobile is a history of dropped balls and lost opportunities. In 1996, Intel supplied the processor for the Nokia Communicator that had early features of smartphones, it lost this to AMD. In 1999, it supplied the computer processor for the early BlackBerry, but sold the business to Marvell in 2005. In 2004, it supplied the brains for the Palm Treo 650, an early smartphone that was discontinued four years later. In 2006, it snubbed a request from Apple to make a processor for the iPhone.

Now CEO Brian Krzanich, is spending billions to gain a mobile foothold as it introduces new Atom microprocessors for smartphones and tablets.

In March, Intel announced a range of new products for mobile computing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In January, Intel combined its mobile and personal computing businesses into a single computing group.

It has formed alliances with two Chinese companies that make chips for mobile phones and consumer electronic products. And is spending big to get into the new Internet of Things market.

It’s new Core M range is also getting attention from mobile PC makers and companies which want to set up wireless offices.

All this is taking its toll. Last year, Intel posted a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group by essentially subsidizing the purchase of its tablet chips by tablet makers. The company expects its mobile group to break even in 2016.

Bryant said this was a price that needed to be paid for sitting on the sidelines for a number of years and then fighting your way back into the market.

“We will improve this. We will not continue to accept a business with multibillion dollar losses, but this is the price you pay to get back in. We are getting back in.”

While it is easy to write off Intel in mobile, it is clear that there is a lot happening and Intel is prepared to spend money to get there. Already it is getting attention from the manufacturers, and maybe this time it will not drop any balls.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Updates Android Smart Lock With On-body Detection

March 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google is adding a feature to Android’s smart lock that could significantly reduce the number of times users need to key in a passcode to unlock their phones.

On-body detection uses the accelerometer in the phone to detect when it’s being held or carried. If enabled, the feature requires a passcode the first time the phone is accessed but then keeps the device unlocked until it is placed down.

That means, for example, that users walking down the street won’t have to unlock the phone every time they take their phones out of their pockets.

The feature wasn’t widely announced by Google, but it began operating in some phones on Friday.

Like the other elements of smart lock, it should be used with caution as it can’t detect who is carrying the phone.

“If you unlock your device and hand it to someone else, your device also stays unlocked as long as the other person continues to hold or carry it,” reads a message displayed on phones with the new feature.

The smart lock feature was introduced with Android 5.0 KitKat and allows users to set zones around trusted places, such as a home or office, and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as a computer or car radio. When the phone is in those zones it will remain unlocked once it’s been unlocked the first time.

It can also recognize faces and remain unlocked when it sees a trusted face.

 

 

 

 

Pwn2Own Researchers Able To Hack All Four Browsers

March 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Security researchers who participated in the Pwn2Own hacking contest have demonstrated remote code execution exploits against the top four browsers, and also hacked the widely used Adobe Reader and Flash Player plug-ins.

South Korean security researcher and serial browser hacker Jung Hoon Lee, known online as lokihardt, single-handedly popped Internet Explorer 11 and Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows, as well as Apple Safari on Mac OS X.

He walked away with US$225,000 in prize money, not including the value of the brand new laptops on which the exploits are demonstrated and which the winners get to take home.

The Pwn2Own contest takes place every year at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, Canada, and is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative program. The contest pits researchers against the latest 64-bit versions of the top four browsers in order to demonstrate Web-based attacks that can execute rogue code on underlying systems.

Lee’s attack against Google Chrome earned him the largest payout for a single exploit in the history of the competition: $75,000 for the Chrome bug, an extra $25,000 for a privilege escalation to SYSTEM and another $10,000 for also hitting the browser’s beta version — for a total of $110,000.

The IE11 exploit earned him an additional $65,000 and the Safari hack $50,000.

Lee’s accomplishment is particularly impressive because he competed alone, unlike other researchers who teamed up, HP’s security research team said in a blog post.

Also on Thursday, a researcher who uses the hacker handle ilxu1a popped Mozilla Firefox on Windows for a $15,000 prize. He also attempted a Chrome exploit, but ran out of time before he managed to get his attack code working.

Mozilla Firefox was also hacked, during the first day of the competition, by a researcher named Mariusz Mlynski. His exploit also leveraged a Windows flaw to gain SYSTEM privileges, earning him a $25,000 bonus on top of the standard $30,000 payout for the Firefox hack.

Most of the attacks demonstrated at Pwn2Own this year required chaining of several vulnerabilities together in order to bypass all defense mechanisms put in place in operating systems and browsers to prevent remote code execution.

The final count for vulnerabilities exploited this year stands as follows: five flaws in the Windows OS, four in Internet Explorer 11, three each in Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Reader, and Flash Player, two in Apple Safari and one in Google Chrome.

 

 

Will nVidia’s Pascal Make It To Market In 2016?

March 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Pascal is Nvidia’s next generation architecture and it is coming after Maxwell of course. The company says it will launch next year, but details are still sketchy.

According Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang, it is coming with Mixed Precision and this is the new architecture that will succeed Maxwell. Nvidia claims that the new GPU core has its own architectural benefits.

3D memory or High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), is a big thing and Jen Hsun Huang claims 32GB is possible with the new architecture, compared to 12GB on the new Maxwell-based Titan X. This is a staggering increase from the current standard of 4GB per card, to 12GB with Titan, and probably up to 32GB with Pascal. NV Link should enable a very fast interconnect that has 5 times the performance of PCI Express, which we all use right now. More memory and more bandwidth are obviously needed for 4K/UHD gaming.

Huang also shared some very rough estimates, including Convolution Compute performance, will be four times faster with FP16 precision in mixed precision mode. The 3D memory offers a six-fold increase in GPU to memory bandwidth.

Convolution and bandwidth at the front, and bandwidth to convolution at the back of the GPU, should get be five times faster than on Maxwell cards. It is complex fuzzy logic that is hard to explain with so few details shared by Nvidia about the Pascal architecture.

The width update interconnect with NV Link should get you a twofold performance increase and when you when you multiply these two numbers, Nvidia ends up with a comes to 10x compute performance increase compared to Maxwell, at least in what Nvidia CEO calls the “CEO bench”.

He warned the audience that this is a very rough estimate. This 10X number mainly targets deep learning, as it will be able to teach the deep learning network ten times faster. This doesn’t meant that the GPU offers 10 times the GPU performance for gaming compared to Maxwell, not even close, we predict.

Volta made it back to the roadmap and currently it looks like the new architecture will be introduced around 2018, or about three years from now.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel And Cadence Design Show 14nm In Foundry

March 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Cadence Design and Intel announced that the two companies have hammered out a 14nm (nanometer) library characterization reference flow for customers of Intel Custom Foundry.

The library characterization reference flow is centered on the Cadence Virtuoso Liberate Characterization solution and Spectre Circuit Simulator and enables accurate 14nm logic libraries.

The reference flow for 14nm logic libraries enables the creation of Liberty libraries, AOCV de-rating tables, library validation and reliability views.

The reference flow was developed using Virtuoso Liberate, Virtuoso Liberate LV, Virtuoso Variety characterization solutions and Spectre Circuit Simulator to deliver accurate logic libraries, including advanced timing models (ECSM, CCS), advanced noise models (ECSMN, CCSN), and advanced power models (ECSMP, CCSP).

The reference flow enables Intel Custom Foundry customers to re-characterize the logic libraries for custom process, voltage or temperature corners or to characterize custom cells following a similar characterization methodology.

Intel Custom Foundry has an extensive design platform on Intel’s 14nm Tri-gate process technology for systems-on-chip (SoCs) targeted at cloud infrastructure and mobile applications.

Intel’s 14nm platform is the second generation to use 3D Tri-gate transistors that enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors.

Ali Farhang, vice president, Design and Ennoblement Services, Intel Custom Foundry said that accurate logic libraries were required to enable customers to implement and verify differentiated SoCs on Intel’s 14nm design platform.

“Intel Custom Foundry’s 14nm characterization reference flow includes best characterization practices jointly developed by Intel Custom Foundry and Cadence and can accelerate the ramp-up time for customers who need to re-characterize libraries,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Looking To Replace IE Browser Name

March 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft has confirmed that the new default browser in Windows 10 will not be named “Internet Explorer,” essentially marking the end of a 20-year reign by the once omnipresent product.

A new name was not disclosed, however.

“We’re right now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, during a discussion of branding Monday at the firm’s Convergence conference. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. And we have to name the thing.”

Microsoft has talked about Spartan before: In January, when the company touted Windows 10′s consumer-oriented features, it officially announced the new browser, dubbing it with the code name. Spartan, executives said then, would be the default Web browser for the new OS, although Internet Explorer will also be bundled with Windows 10, primarily for enterprise legacy requirements.

The clear implication was that Spartan would be tagged with a name different than “Internet Explorer,” or its shorthand, “IE.”

Capossela made that plain Monday when he talked about working up a new moniker.

According to people familiar with Microsoft’s plans, it will not reveal Spartan’s name until May, most likely at Ignite, the conference slated to run May 4-8 in Chicago. Ignite will roll up TechEd with several older, often-smaller meetings, including those that specialized in Exchange and SharePoint.

 

 

HSA Foundation Post New Standards For GPUs

March 19, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The HSA Foundation has issued a new standard which can match up graphics chips, processors and other hardware to boost things like video search.

The downside is that Intel and Nvidia to not appear to have been involved in the creation of the version 1.0 of its Heterogeneous System Architecture specification.

What the standard would mean is that compute, graphics and digital-signal processors will be able to directly address the same physical RAM in a more cache-coherent manner. It will mean the end of external buses and loosely linked interconnects, and allow data to be processed at the same time.

A GPU and CPU can work on the same bits of memory in an application in a multi-threaded way. The spec refers to GPUs and DSPs as “kernel agents” which sounds a bit like corporate spies for KFC.

The blueprints support 64-bit and 32-bit, and map out virtual memory, memory coherency, and message passing, programming models, and hardware requirements.

While the standard is backed by AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Samsung, Intel and Nvidia are giving it a miss. The thought is that with these names onboard there should be a enough of a critical mass of developers who will build HSA-compliant games and tools.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Facebook Adding Send Money Feature To Its Messaging App

March 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc announced that it will be adding a new feature to its messaging app that will allow friends to send and receive money through it.

Users can tap or click a dollar icon in a new chat window to send money to their friends, after they link a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a U.S. bank to their accounts.

The free feature will roll out over the next few months for users in the United States who access Facebook Messenger through desktop computers or Google Inc’s Android and Apple Inc’s iOS operating systems on mobile devices.

Users can create a PIN or enable Touch ID if they have an iPhone to add a level of security to the payments.

Snapchat had launched a similar service last November, called Snapcash.

The mobile messaging company partnered with online payments company Square to allow Snapchat users to link their debit cards to their account and quickly send money to a contact by starting a chat on a smartphone.

 

Sprint Launches New Work-As-A-Service Plan

March 18, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint unveiled a new turnkey wired and wireless communications service for small- and medium-sized companies that will cost $200 a month per worker.

Sprint will allow companies that sign up for the new Workplace-as-a-Service to use other carriers for wired or wireless communications, while Sprint will continue to manage all the various networks involved.

However, Sprint will offer its own Workplace customers discounts on basic wireless connectivity, such as unlimited voice, texting and data plans for smartphones for $40 — $20 less than the comparable plan for consumers.

Certain pieces of the Workplace offer include actual connectivity, such as Wide Area Network connections, enterprise-grade managed Wi-Fi, voice connections, online collaboration, audio and video conference and instant messaging. But Sprint will also provide mobile device management across all carriers and bring-your-own-device support for laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst for ZK Research, called the Workplace offer unique. “There are plenty of managed and cloud services on the market today that deploy a particular app or service, but nobody has actually taken the time to figure out how to package a complete workplace service,” he said in an interview. “It’s truly turnkey.”

Mike Fitz, vice president of business solution commercialization at Sprint, said the service is focused on businesses with 100 to 10,000 workers at multiple locations with perhaps 20 to 200 workers at each site. Still, he said, Sprint is using the same concept for its own 35,000 employees, an indication that Workplace will scale up for much larger companies.

The largest corporations will still want multiple providers on a global basis, Kerravala said. But Workplace will be ideal for branch offices, where there often isn’t an IT professional around.

Sprint estimated its Workplace service would be half as expensive as more conventional ways of delivering similar services. The various services also include a single monthly bill from Sprint based on $200 a month for each worker. “That makes op-ex predictable,” he said.