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Can The Lenovo IdeaPad Challenge Microsoft’s Surface Pro?

September 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Lenovo has unveiled it’s updated IdeaPad and IdeaCentre devices aimed at those looking to upgrade to Windows 10 systems, including a Skylake-powered Surface competitor.

Lenovo’s new line-up includes seven computers, comprising the IdeaCentre AIO 700 desktop PC, the IdeaPad Miix 700a 2-in-1 tablet hybrid, and five laptops: the IdeaPad 300 and 500 and their lighter cousins, the IdeaPad 100S, 300S and 500S.

Lenovo said that the new designs feature an option for Intel’s RealSense 3D cameras alongside Windows 10 for “never-before-seen PC performance” while “giving discerning shoppers multiple reasons to upgrade this holiday season”.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 (above) sees the firm setting its sights squarely on Microsoft’s Surface, with the device sporting an integrated kickstand, optional keyboard cover and the same dual watchband hinges as seen on on the Yoga 3 Pro.

It also boasts a 12 inch Full HD+ 2160×1440 display, a 6th-generation Intel Core processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB SSD and either Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home.

The IdeaPad MIIX 700 starts at $699, and will be available sometime this year.

The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 700 desktop (below) is said to deliver up to double the power, screen resolution and memory capacity of the previous-generation, making it ideal for videos and gaming, Lenovo said.

The desktop has the latest Intel Core i7 processor, coupled with up to a 27in UHD 10-point multitouch display alongside JBL stereo speakers and discrete graphics.

“This all-in-one desktop is upgraded to up to twice the CPU performance, screen resolution and memory capacity of its three-year-old previous generation, offering music and movie buffs double the incentive to refresh their hardware this season,” the firm said.

There’s also a removable slip-off back panel providing flexibility for those wanting to upgrade or maintain the system. The IdeaCentre AIO 700 24in desktop starts at $1,099 and will be available in October.

Meanwhile, the new Lenovo IdeaPad 300 and 500 laptops are claimed to be 33 percent thinner than the same range three years ago. This doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but Lenovo promised that the devices will “take portability to the next level”, weighing 2.1kg for the 14in laptop and 2.3kg for the 15in.

They come with up to Nvidia GeForce 920 graphics, 1TB of storage and Dolby Advanced Audio. The IdeaPad 500 will be powered by the latest Intel 6th generation Core i7 processor with optional JBL speakers.

For those who want an even thinner and lighter laptop, the IdeaPad 100S, 300S and 500S are thinner and lighter than their IdeaPad 300 and 500 cousins, and much lighter than their comparably priced counterparts from three years ago. The IdeaPad 100S 14in laptop is 35 percent lighter, while the IdeaPad 500S 15in laptop is 20 percent lighter.

The IdeaPad laptop range will start from $179, going up to $499 depending on model, size and specifications, and will be available in October.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Researchers Explore Humans As Networks For Wearable Devices

September 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

People who wear networked gadgets all over their bodies could possibly become a network themselves.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have found a way for wearables to communicate through a person’s body instead of the air around it. Their work could lead to devices that last longer on smaller batteries and don’t give away secrets as easily as today’s systems do.

The proliferation of smartphones, smart watches, health monitoring devices and other gear carried close to the body has led to so-called personal area networks that link the gadgets together and provide a path to the Internet through one that has a Wi-Fi or cell radio. Today, those PANs use short-range over-the-air systems like Bluetooth.

But radio technologies like Bluetooth can’t transmit well through the body itself, so they have to go around it. Bluetooth signals can travel as far as 10 meters (30 feet) which increases the chance of eavesdropping and leads to high “path loss,” an effect that weakens signals on the way to their destinations, the researchers said.

A team led by Professor Patrick Mercier of the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has discovered a way to use the body itself as the medium for data transmission. It uses magnetic fields and shows path loss that’s 10 million times lower than what happens with Bluetooth.

This could make the magnetic networks much more efficient, so devices don’t have to work as hard to communicate and can have smaller batteries — or get longer useful lives with the same size batteries. The team hasn’t actually tested the system’s energy use yet. They envision the technology being used for networks of health sensors that monitor many parts of the body.

Wireless technologies like Bluetooth radiate electrical and magnetic waves, which a human body tends to absorb, Mercier said. By contrast, his team’s network transmits data over magnetic fields that are created between two coils. Those fields can easily travel through the body. The system works like NFC (near-field communications), but at a slightly longer range.

 

 

 

Ericsson Developing Next-gen LTE, Focuses On IoT

September 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Ericsson is developing LTE with faster upload speeds, as well as using unlicensed spectrum to speed up downloads and customizing the technology for Internet of Things applications.

The Swedish telecom equipment vendor is planning on showing off some of the developments at the CTIA Super Mobility conference next week in Las Vegas.

5G will likely be one of the hottest topics at CTIA, but LTE still has lots mileage left — after all, the first two letters stand for Long Term. And it’s a lot easier to upgrade an existing network than roll out a new one.

One of the more contentious upgrades is using unlicensed spectrum for LTE. Detractors fear it will affect Wi-Fi performance, which uses the same frequencies.

To prevent that from happening, a number of methods are being developed to make LTE play well alongside Wi-Fi. At CTIA, Ericsson is demonstrating LTE-U (Unlicensed) Fair Sharing, which continually monitors the radio environment to determine the overall average channel availability.

The company is also showing LTE at speeds up to 600Mbps with the help of carrier aggregation and better signal encoding. Carrier aggregation, which is part of LTE-Advanced, allows networks to devote more resources to some users by treating two or more channels in the same or different frequency bands as if they were one.

Because of the amount of spectrum needed, not all operators will be able to offer 600Mbps.

The work that’s been done to increase bandwidths has so far focused on faster download speeds. Using some of the same technologies, attention is now being turned to speedier uploads, as well.

However, future LTE networks are also being developed to work better with the Internet of Things. A new version called  LTE Category 0 is much slower than current networks, but that’s fine since most IoT apps don’t need lots of bandwidth. The upside is that the cost of devices drops and battery lives can be extended to 10 years and more.

To show what’s possible, Ericsson has teamed up with chipmaker Sequans to demonstrate a prototype network and device.

All the LTE upgrades are part of Ericsson’s Networks Software 16A and 16B. They will be used on indoor and outdoor base stations and become available next year.

 

 

 

nVidia Launches Grid 2.0

September 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has announced the release of its Grid 2.0 servers and expects it will have industry support. The idea is to deliver even most graphics-intensive applications to any connected device virtually.

Several major vendors including Cisco, Dell, HP and Lenovo have a GRID solution to run on 125 server models including new blade servers. Nvidia worked closely with Cytrix and Cmware to bring the powerful experience to the users.

Nvidia tells us that IT departments can offer their workers the instant access to powerful applications, improving resource allocation.

Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVIDIA said:

“Industry leaders around the world are embracing NVIDIA GRID to provide their employees access to even the most graphics-intensive workflows on any device, right from the data center,”NVIDIA GRID technology enables employees to do their best work regardless of the device they use or where they are located. This is the future of enterprise computing.”

Nvidia GRID 2.0 doubles user density over the previous version, allowing up to 128 users per server. GRID 2.0 uses the latest Maxwell GPU architecture offering twice the performance over the previous generation of GRID. The new GRID 2.0 offers the blade server support and this is a big deal in enterprise market.

All new GRID 2.0 now supports Linux OS. This is something that was missing from the first version of the GRID server, and the driver is mature enough to be offered to the end users.

Nvidia doesn’t offer prices publicly but in case you are a big company and you want to test GRID 2.0 services you can sign up for 90 days evaluation.

You can test the Nvidia GRID vGPU acceleration on Windows desktop with 2D and 3D applications including Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, Esri ArcGIS Pro and Siemens NX.

Courtesy-Fud

LinkedIn Rolls Out Revamped Messaging Service

September 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

LinkedIn Corp has unveiled a revamped messaging service along the lines of modern chat apps, departing from its unpopular design that resembled email.

The new service will include features such as GIFs and stickers to add a “little extra personality” to user’s chats, the company said in a blog post.

The messaging service now has improved push and email notifications and messages are organized in a chat-style format with conversation threads akin to most messaging apps today such as Facebook Inc’s Messenger and WhatsApp.

LinkedIn, which operates the biggest social networking site for professionals, has started to roll out the new messaging service to English-language users accessing its platform via a desktop or through an app.

Users can also attach photos and documents to messages.

The company also said it was looking at offering voice and video calling with the messaging platform in the future.

LinkedIn plans to make the revamped messaging feature available in other languages in the coming weeks.

 

T-Mobile Threatens ‘Data Thieves’

September 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile USA is on a mission to stop data thieves, which it says are taking advantage of the company’s unlimited high-speed data plan through excessive tethering — the use of smartphone data service on other devices.

The carrier offers unlimited 4G LTE on smartphones, but limits data usage through tethering to 7GB a month under a Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature, which reduces speed beyond that limit. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, he or she can add on more.

But CEO John Legere has accused some users of “hacking” the system to swipe high-speed tethered data, by strategies like downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones or writing code to mask their activity.

“It’s a small group — 1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers — but some of them are using as much as 2 terabytes (2,000GB!) of data in a month,” Legere wrote.

“I’m not sure what they are doing with it — stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin — but I really don’t care!,” he added.

Legere said the company was going first after the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing, as they can compromise the network experience for other T-Mobile customers. The company claims to have developed technology that can detect the people who choose to break its terms and conditions.

Erring customers will be warned, and then lose access to the company’s unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan, and be moved to an entry-level limited 4G LTE data plan, according to a support page.

 

 

Acer Warms To Takeover Possibility

August 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Acer Inc founder Stan Shih said he would welcome a takeover of the struggling Taiwanese computer manufacturer after a drastic decline in its stock price, while warning any potential buyer would have to pay a heavy amount.

“Welcome,” Shih told reporters in response to a question about whether Acer would be open to a takeover. He added however that any buyer would get an “empty shell” and would pay dearly.

“U.S. and European management teams usually are concerned about money, their CEOs only work for money. But Taiwanese are more concerned about a sense of mission and emotional factors,” he said.

His remarks were first reported by Taiwanese media on Thursday and were confirmed by a company spokesman.

Acer has reported steep on-year sales falls in recent months, including a 33 percent drop in July.

It suffered a T$2.89 billion ($90 million) loss in the first six months of 2015, versus a slight profit in the same period last year. It booked losses for all of 2011, 2012 and 2013 amid cratering PC sales.

Its stock price has fallen by nearly half since early April.

 

 

Qualcomm To Wirelessly Charge BMWs

August 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has launched its new Official Safety Car for season two of the FIA’s Formula E Championship.

For those not in the know, the Formula E Championship is for electric cars, and they are no longer the milk floats that English people get stuck behind in narrow streets.

The new Official Qualcomm Safety Car is the BMW i8 but it will be charged wirelessly with an advanced Qualcomm Halo 7.2kW wireless charging system.

The Qualcomm Halo 7.2kW wireless charging system delivers twice the amount of energy to the BMW i8′s batteries per hour as compared to last year’s 3.6kW system.

This halves the full charge time, enabling the vehicle to fully charge in one hour. Employing Qualcomm Halo DD technology, with magnetic architecture optimization, ensures higher coupling coefficients and drives lower system currents, higher inefficiencies and the ability to support higher power levels.

A Qualcomm spokesman said that an open championship has encouraged teams to develop their own powertrain tech.

This ensures that the racing remains highly competitive, and it supports the goal of Formula E to advance the development of new technologies for electric vehicles and to bring those technologies, vital to sustainable mobility, to the attention of millions of people around the globe, a spokesman said.

Qualcomm’s general manager of wireless charging, Steve Pazol said Qualcomm was excited to continue its support of Formula E in this second season.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Report Reveals Hi-tech Vehicle Systems Are Rarely Used By Owners

August 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Although car makers are spending billions of dollars to install cutting-edge technologies in vehicles, a new report shows many owners don’t use them.

According to J.D. Power’s 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report, 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of 33 of the latest technology features.

The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership.

The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); heads-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).

Additionally, there are 14 technology features that 20% or more of owners don’t even  want in their next vehicle. Those features include Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. When narrowed to just Gen Yers, the number of vehicle owners who don’t want entertainment and connectivity systems increases to 23%.

“In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human-machine interface (HMI) research at J.D. Power. “In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.”

About the technology now offered in new cars, vehicle owners said they simply “did not find it useful,” adding that it “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it.”

Vehicle owners who said their dealer did not explain a tech feature also had a higher likelihood of never using it, the survey found.

J.D. Power built its report on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership. The report was conducted between April and June 2015.

 

 

 

IBM Thinks Businesses Should Block TOR

August 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM security research has found that people are using the so-called dark net to launch cyber attacks, force ransomware demands on punters and make distributed denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

The dark net, accessed via Tor, is often tagged as a threat. The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly 3Q 2015 report identifies a spike in bad traffic and leads with a warning.

The report introduces Tor as the network that takes people to the dark net. We might start calling it the ferryman and the passage across the river Styx, but things are complicated enough.

IBM said that Tor is used by “non-malicious government officials, journalists, law enforcement officials” and bad people alike. It is the latter that should concern us.

“This latest report reveals that more than 150,000 malicious events have originated from Tor in the US alone thus far in 2015,” the report said.

“Tor has also played a role in the growing ransomware attack trend. Attackers have evolved the use of encryption to hold data hostage and demand payment/ransom for the decryption code.”

We have been here before, and ransomware has been a feature of many a security alert this year already. We heard, courtesy of Bitdefender, that ransomware charges start at £320, and are a real pain to deal with. We also heard that it is Android mobile users in the UK who get the worst of the hackers’ grabbing-for-money treatment.

Back at the IBM report, and we find IBM X-Force on the issue. X-Force, which is nothing like X-Men, said that hackers push internet users who are easily fooled by flashy online advertisements into installing the new cyber nightmare. Ransomware, it warns, will separate you from your cash.

“A surprising number of users are fooled by fake/rogue antivirus [AV] messages that are nothing more than animated web ads that look like actual products. The fake AV scam tricks users into installing or updating an AV product they may never have had,” it explains, adding that in some cases people pay the money without thinking.

“Afterward, the fake AV keeps popping up fake malware detection notices until the user pays some amount of money, typically something in the range of what an AV product would cost.”

This establishes the subject as a mark, and the hackers will exploit the opportunity. “Do not assume that if you are infected with encryption-based ransomware you can simply pay the ransom and reliably get your data back,” said IBM.

“The best way to avoid loss is to back up your data. Regardless of whether your backup is local or cloud-based, you must ensure that you have at least one copy that is not directly mapped visibly as a drive on your computer.”

Tor nodes in the US spewed out the most bad traffic in the first half of this year, according to the report, adding up to about 180,000 attacks. The Netherlands is second with around 150,000, and Romania is third with about 80,000.

The bulk of this negative attention lands at technology and communications companies. You might have assumed the financial markets, but you were wrong. IBM said that ICT gets over 300,000 Tor thwacks every six months, manufacturing gets about 245,000, and finance gets about 170,000.

IBM said that the old enemy, SQL injection attacks, is the most common Tor-led threat to come at its customers. Vulnerability scanning attacks are also a problem, and IBM said that the use of the network as a means for distributed DoS attacks should “Come as no surprise”. It doesn’t.

“These attacks combine Tor-commanded botnets with a sheaf of Tor exit nodes. In particular, some of the US-based exit nodes provide huge bandwidth,” explained the report.

“Employing a handful of the exit nodes in a distributed DoS orchestrated by the botnet controller and originating at dozens or hundreds of bot hosts can impose a large burden on the targeted system with a small outlay of attacker resources, and generally effective anonymity.”

There is a lot more. The bottom line is that bad things happen on the dark net and that they come to people and businesses through Tor. IBM said that concerned outfits should just block it and move on, which is along the lines of something that Akamai said recently.

“Corporate networks really have little choice but to block communications to these stealthy networks. The networks contain significant amounts of illegal and malicious activity,” said Akamai.

“Allowing access between corporate networks and stealth networks can open the corporation to the risk of theft or compromise, and to legal liability in some cases and jurisdictions.”

That sounds fine to us, but won’t someone give a thought to those non-malicious government officials out there?

Courtesy-TheInq

Amazon Expands Prime Now, Adds Alcohol Delivery

August 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc announced that it will begin delivering wine, beer and spirits to U.S. customers for the first time as part of its speedy delivery service, Prime Now.

The online retailer is expanding Prime Now, its one- and two-hour service, to Seattle, where the company is headquartered, and offering alcohol deliveries there.

Amazon Prime, the company’s $99 per year shopping membership program, offers free two-day delivery on millions of items. It is a key testing ground for the retailer’s new services, ranging from TV and on-demand video to fast delivery.

Amazon has said it has “tens of millions” of Prime subscribers. Analysts estimate the program to have around 40 million users worldwide.

The company has steadily expanded Prime Now since it launched the service in New York City last year. It facilitates integration of the retailer’s grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, which has been slower to expand to new markets.

On-demand grocery delivery is a growing and competitive market in the United States. Instacart, a grocery delivery company, announced on Tuesday that it had expanded to Indianapolis, its 17th city. Other startups, like Postmates, which focuses on meal delivery, also deliver personal care goods and alcohol for customers using a network of couriers.

Prime Now customers can order using an app available on both iOS and Android devices. Orders are shipped from smaller warehouses, or hubs. An Amazon spokeswoman said the company opened two facilities in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington, to handle Prime Now deliveries.

 

LG To Unveil Upgraded G Pad Tablet

August 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Even if the tablet market is in stuck in a rut, vendors aren’t giving up on the product category. LG Electronics will debut the best model of its G Pad tablet series at the IFA trade show in Berlin next week.

LG’s latest tablet, the G Pad II 10.1, is more powerful and has a better screen than its predecessor,  but it also has a slightly smaller battery.

A quad-core 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor powers the G Pad II and its 10.1-inch screen has a 1200 x 1920 pixel resolution. That’s a big step up from the original G Pad 10.1, which had a Snapdragon 400 processor and an 800 x 1280 pixel screen.

The G Pad II also has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of integrated storage that can be expanded using the tablet’s microSD card slot. There is a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera at the front.

Features that could turn out to be useful include a Reader Mode, which makes reading e-books more comfortable by reducing the blue light of the display backlight, according to LG. On the software side, the tablet comes preloaded with Microsoft Office and an additional 100GB of free OneDrive storage for two years.

LG didn’t reveal when the G Pad II 10.1 will go on sale, but said it will be available in North America, Europe and Asia. Pricing for the LTE and Wi-Fi models will be announced locally at the time of launch, the company said.

 

 

 

Google Including Tweets In Desktop Search

August 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

An earlier agreement between Google and Twitter that has placed tweets in Google search results on mobile devices since earlier this year has now been expanded to the desktop.

Relevant tweets will appear in desktop results for queries performed in English. The search doesn’t need to include the term “twitter” or twitter hashtags — if there are tweets that Google thinks are relevant, it will surface them anyway.

Last Friday, for instance, a search for “President Obama” returned recent tweets from Obama’s Twitter account near the top of the page, below a few news articles.

The tweets that appear will include photos and links that may have been contained in the tweet.

Google has provided links to tweets in its search results for a long time, but showing the actual tweets could potentially give a boost to Twitter at a time when it’s struggling to add new users.

Google noted the expansion on Friday in an update to its earlier announcement around the mobile rollout.

The company has said it will make the feature available in other languages besides English.

 

 

Instagram, Pinterest User Growth Soars

August 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Possibly market saturation or because of waning interest, some of the world’s largest social networks are experiencing sluggish growth.

Facebook, for instance, is the largest social network in the world, with more than 1 billion active monthly users. But it didn’t garner significant growth among U.S. Internet users in the past three years, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

Some 72% of online U.S. adults use Facebook today. That is up only 5 points from 67% in 2012, Pew noted.

By comparison, Pinterest more than doubled its user base, going from 15% of online U.S. adults in 2012 to 31% today. Similarly, Instagram also showed strong momentum, growing from 13% three years ago to 28% now.

Other major players, including Twitter and LinkedIn, also saw growth but not at such a strong pace.

Pew reported that 23% of online adults use Twitter, a 7-point increase from the 16% who used it in 2012. As for LinkedIn, a quarter of online adults use the site, up from 20% in 2012, the survey noted.

“Interesting but not surprising,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “I have six kids under 23 and none of them use Facebook regularly. I think Facebook is almost considered an older person’s social tool now… Much of the growth in the younger population is on Instagram, Vine, etc.”

The Pew study also shows that while younger users are using Instagram and Pinterest, they clearly haven’t abandoned Facebook.

According to Pew, 82% of online U.S. adults between the ages of 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those between 30 and 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.

 

 

 

Is Samsung Working On An 18 Inch Tablet?

August 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung is working on a huge Android-based tablet that could be used in living rooms, offices, or schools, presumably as a coffee table.

According to Sam Mobile the SM-T670, codenamed ‘Tahoe’, is an Android 5.1 Lollipop-based tablet with an 18.4-inch display.

It will have a TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and be powered by an octa-core 64-bit 1.6GHz Exynos 7580 processor. It will have a rather low 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, a microSD card slot and a 5,700 mAh battery.  Face it though a tablet this big is not going to spend a lot of time being carried about or needing a battery.

Apparently it will have an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 2.1-megapixel secondary camera. It will be 451.8 mm wide, 275.8 mm tall, and 11.9 mm thick.  Strangely no one has mentioned the things weight.

Samsung is also said to be working on a Windows 10-based tablet with a high-resolution 12-inch display, a 13nm Intel Core M chipset, 4GB RAM, and an S Pen.

Courtesy-Fud