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Malware Being Preloaded On New Unused Phones, Study Reveals

September 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

New phones are supposed to be a clean,untouched devices. But alarmingly, that’s not always the case.

Security company G Data has identified more than 20 mobile phones that have malware installed despite being marketed as new, according to a research report. And it doesn’t appear the infection is occurring during manufacturing.

“Somebody is unlocking the phone and putting the malware on there and relocking the phone,” said Andy Hayter, security evangelist for G Data.

Many of the suspect phones are sold in Asia and Europe through third parties or middlemen and aren’t coming directly from the manufacturers, Hayter said.

Brands of affected phones include Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Alps, ConCorde, DJC, Sesonn and Xido.

G Data has contacted some manufacturers, including Lenovo, whose S860 Android smartphone in one instance was found to have the malware.

Ray Gorman, Lenovo’s executive director of external communications, wrote in an email that the device G Data analyzed came from a third-party marketplace. The malware was installed by middlemen, he wrote.

“This is the only such occurrence we have been made aware of,” Gorman wrote. “We always recommend customers transact with authorized distribution channels and only accept merchandise that comes in an official box with original factory seals.”

The malware is embedded in a legitimate app, such as Facebook, which is sometimes preinstalled on phones, Hayter said. It can read and send text messages, install other apps, collect and change call data, grab location information, record phone calls or send premium SMSes, according to G Data’s report.

It’s impossible for consumers to remove since it resides inside the phone’s firmware.

“You can’t take it off there unless you unlock the phone,” Hayter said.

G Data was alerted to the problem after receiving support calls from users who said a file had been quarantined but that it couldn’t be removed.

The problem has been around for a while. In June 2014, G Data said it found malware in the firmware of a relatively inexpensive Android device made by the Chinese manufacturer Star.





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.


Xiaomi Develops Their Own SoC

September 2, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Xiaomi is the latest big phone manufacturer trying to make its own SoCs to differentiate itself from the fearsome competition.

China’s biggest smartphone manufacturer is working on its own SoC that is scheduled to appear in 2016. Details are thin on the ground but it would appear that the company is working on its own ARM based chip. This will help company to compete with Apple, Samsung and Huawei. These three already have an inhouse SoC.

Apple started making its own SoC a while ago with the original iPhone and Samsung has joined in a few years later. This is going to become more common in the phone industry.

Samsung caught everyone by surprise when it announced that its flagship Galaxy S6  and the latest Galaxy 6 Note and edge ended up with a 14nm based 7240 . Before this, they used Qualcomm chips for their high end devices.

HTC ended up using Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 while LG G4 flagship phone chose the Snapdragon 808 which was a slightly slower version of the chip.

Huawei has acquired HiSIlicon SoC manufacturer a few years ago and the company makes its own SoC branded Kirin. The company is doing a decent job with its latest Kirin 930. This “four plus four” A53 chip with one cluster with 2.0 GHz and another with 1.5Ghz seems like a decent chip. It even has Cat 6 modem to compete better.

The future Kirin 950 will have A72 cores and even Cat 10 modems but this is something we will see in course of 2016.

If Xiaomi becomes successful in its SoC plans, it will put Qualcomm and MediaTek in a tough position. The company is using Snapdragon 810 in its MI Note Pro, and Snapdragon 615 in Mi 4i phone.

Redmi Note 2 is using the quite popular MediaTek SoC Helio X10 SoC that ended up in quite a few phones coming from the Far East.

Xiaomi has already developed LC1860 processor for its low end Redmi 2A, which was a sub $100 phone. This was developed by the Xiaomi-owned Pine Cone Electronics working with Chinese chip maker Leadcore Technology. The LC 1860 was significantly less expensive that similar spec Qualcomm chip.

LG has been working on its own SoC codenamed Odin and we still haven’t seen a single device with it. Making SoC chips with an integrated LTE is hard and it costs Qualcomm and MediaTek billions of dollars to refresh the latest offering at least once a year. This was why Nvidia and Texas Instruments have dropped out of this game as it was too hard to compete.


Will GPU Open Sourcing Work

September 2, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

An open saucy general-purpose graphics processor (GPGPU) has been unveiled at the Hot Chips event.

The GPGPU is relatively crude and is part of another piece of an emerging open-source hardware platform called MIAOW.

Karu Sankaralingam, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that an open source hardware platform is emerging that has inherent value

He said that big companies will someday be built using open source hardware, just as multi-billion-dollar Web giants owe their existence to open source software.

He said more people needed to contribute to open source hardware to improve the platform layer so there’s enough for entrepreneurs to build from it.

A 12-person team developed the MIAOW core in 36 months. Their goal was simply to create a functional GPGPU without setting any specific area, frequency, power or performance goals.

The resulting GPGPU uses just 95 instructions and 32 compute units in its current design. It only supports single-precision operations. Students are now adding a graphics pipeline to the design, a job expected to take about six months.

MIAOW compares favourably on several benchmarks to AMD’s latest high-end chip, Tahiti. However, it also falls far short on other benchmarks. Apparently AMD had a quick look at it and said that the designers were not doing anything “too crazy”.

However quite how MIAOW will navigate through the shark infested patent sea is anyone’s guess.



IBM Integrates Blue Box Into SoftLayer

September 2, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM has declared the integration of Blue Box Cloud into its OpenStack private cloud options, where it will sit in a perfect marriage with subsidiary SoftLayer.

Angel Diaz, Big Blue’s vice president of cloud infrastructure and technology, who explained that it really was the best of both worlds, and felt the best analogy was about British dessert foods. Go on Angel, we’re listening.

“No application is an island. What this announcement does is allow customers the best of both worlds [cloud and on-premise],” he said.

Here it comes. “If I’m in England, I love a sticky toffee pudding, right? But I wouldn’t want sticky toffee pudding without ice cream … or custard … and that’s what we’ve done here. We’ve taken Blue Box and, within 90 days, allowed clients to deploy their private cloud in over 40 data centers across the world – a private cloud-as-a-service.”

IBM Blue Box uses dedicated hardware on and off premises and is available as a managed or unmanaged private cloud base.

The system can offer a single management tool for all OpenStack private clouds, no matter their location. It also offers speedy delivery of applications and data through simplified and consistent access to public, private and even hybrid cloud models.

Diaz enthuses: “They still get all the goodness they would expect from a private cloud, but you also get the goodness of a managed environment, with all the elasticity and data sovereignty. That for me is the ‘Aha’ of this particular offering and what we’re trying to do with this particular product.”

Big Blue purchased Blue Box less than three months ago, and the firm has joined the ranks of IBM’s private cloud-as-a-service offerings, and is now officially available in an IBM Cloud layer data centre running SoftLayer infrastructure.

Data can be isolated in SoftLayer’s global data centres, driving down latency and improving application performance for end users, even when connecting to clouds scattered across the world. An open source infrastructure offers greater choice, flexibility and a quick path to innovation, the firm said.

“SoftLayer bare metal servers are perfectly suited for Blue Box Cloud architecture,” said Marc Jones, CTO of SoftLayer.

“Our global cloud footprint means that customers around the world can find a location near them where they can consume OpenStack-powered private cloud-as-a-service without having to worry about the operational headache of that cloud.

“We’re looking forward to the IBM and Blue Box engineering teams scaling this technical success into greater market awareness and adoption of private cloud-as-a-service.”

The announcement was made at the OpenStack Silicon Valley event, and is expected to be one of many big stories from the OpenStack ecosystem in the coming days.



PayPal Rival, Klarna Launches In USA

September 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Payments firm Klarna debuted its U.S business on Tuesday and announced that, one of the biggest U.S. online retailers, would be its first major retail partner.

The company, which has grown throughoutn Europe and gained a 10 percent share of the Northern European e-commerce market, said it had partnered with around 10 U.S. merchants so far.

Sweden-based Klarna, founded in 2005 and backed by investors such as Sequoia Capital and Atomico, is now planning for rapid expansion in the United States, where it will take on rivals such as PayPal and Stripe.

“I would be disappointed if we didn’t have hundreds of merchants on the platform doing millions of transactions as early as in 2016,” Klarna North America CEO Brian Billingsley, told Reuters.

Klarna’s services allow online consumers to buy goods by entering easy-to-remember details such as an e-mail address and zip code. It also lets consumers pay after delivery with Klarna assuming the risk in the interim and paying the retailer immediately.

Klarna, which had net sales of $319 million last year, said it was currently seeing “significant growth” in its core markets in the Nordics and Germany.

Asked how much the group could grow in 2016, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said it was to early to tell as the U.S business was still in its infancy.

“There is definitely a potential to quickly reach half a billion dollars in revenue in a very short period of time,” he said.

Klarna said the company would double in size if it was to capture half a percentage of the U.S market.

“And while of course our ambitions are much higher than half a percentage, it is definitely an interesting reflection of how extremely big the market is,” Siemiatkowski said.



Uber Hires Security Experts For Vehicle Technology

September 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber Technologies Inc  has added two top vehicle security researchers, the company announced, high-profile additions that come as the ride-hailing service ramps up its work on technology for self-driving cars.

Charlie Miller, who had been working at Twitter Inc, and Chris Valasek, who worked at security firm IOActive, have resigned from their jobs and will join Uber this week.

Miller and Valasek won wide attention this month after demonstrating that they could hack into a moving Jeep.

Uber said that Miller and Valasek will join the company’s Advanced Technologies Center, a research laboratory Uber opened in Pittsburgh in February and staffed with dozens of autonomous vehicle experts hired away from Carnegie Mellon University.

An Uber spokeswoman said Miller and Valasek will work with the company’s top security officers “to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber.”

Raffi Krikorian, who heads Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, tweeted a welcome to the duo last week.

Miller tweeted that he was looking forward to starting his new job on Tuesday. Valasek tweeted that his last day at IOActive will be Monday.

As Uber plunges more deeply into developing or adapting self-driving cars, Miller and Valasek could help the company make that technology more secure.

Uber envisions autonomous cars that could someday replace its hundreds of thousands of contract drivers. The San Francisco company has gone to top-tier universities and research centers to build up this capability.



Does The Xbox One Mini Exist?

September 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The rumor mill might have been a bit broken when it was announced that Microsoft was about to launch an Xbox-mini.

The rumor claimed that Microsoft would be holding a launch event in October where people could expect the company to launch the Surface Pro 4, Lumia flagships and an “Xbox One Mini.”

It was claimed that the X-box mini would be third the size of the current console and lack a Blu-Ray drive.

However Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has now debunked this theory, stating that the rumors are simply “not real”. Although he didn’t say the project didn’t exist just that the rumor that it was coming out in October was “not real.”

Given the nature of reality, and theories that the universe is a holographic game being played two-dimensional gods, we are not ready to dismiss out of hand yet.

While the Xbox One Mini definitely won’t be happening the Lumia flagships; Cityman and Talkman, new Surface tablets including the Surface Pro 4, the eagerly awaited Band 2 and perhaps even a slimmer Xbox One is still a possibility at the event.


OpenStack Appears To Be Going Non-Profit

September 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The OpenStack Community is turning its attention to support for containers and improving the platform’s enterprise-worthiness, as the OpenStack Foundation celebrated gaining non-profit status from the US government, a move that will free up extra resources for development, the organisation said.

Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said at the OpenStack Silicon Valley conference at California’s Computer History Museum that OpenStack has developed over the past five years into a general-purpose “integration engine” for IT departments to build infrastructure that allows them to operate a diverse array of applications and services.

“OpenStack has become a framework for computing that lets you plug in commercial and open source options for virtualisation, storage and networking, which is a key benefit for users. What that points to is that OpenStack operates as an integration engine that can take different types of hardware and software, and integrate them into a unified platform that users can operate applications and services on top of,” he said.

Bryce announced that the OpenStack Foundation, which oversees the activities of the OpenStack developer community, has been officially recognised as a tax-exempt non-profit business by the US government.

“From a practical perspective, this means we will have more resources to invest in the community over the long term,” he said.

Bryce also announced the launch of a new App Dev section on the website with resources to help developers make better use of the OpenStack APIs, including a whitepaper on containers.

Containers are the hot technology of the moment, as they hold the promise of packaging applications and services for easy deployment in the cloud, with greater density and scalability than using virtual machines. Much of the effort in the OpenStack community is thus now focused on making containers work without being too restrictive or tying users into one container platform or another.

Docker has garnered much publicity for its container technology, but successfully bringing containers to OpenStack involves more than just supporting Docker, as Craig McLuckie, group product manager for Google’s Compute Engine platform, explained.

“There needs to be something to map containers to your OpenStack infrastructure, the compute, storage and network resources, so that applications inside the containers can access these,” he said.

Naturally, McLuckie held up the Kubernetes project that Google founded as a key part of the solution, with other pieces supplied by OpenStack’s Magnum and the Murano project started by OpenStack firm Mirantis.

“Magnum adds Kubenetes to OpenStack, while Mirantis’ Murano provides native Kubernetes package integration,” McLuckie explained, but adding that there is still much work to be done on properly integrating containers into OpenStack.

“We need to work together as a community to ensure that the core service model can span virtual machines and containers, and we need better integration with the Neutron (networking) module and a solution for containers on bare metal,” he said.

“Virtual machines still have a future as they are the only way to achieve the isolation some applications and services need, but for many people containers are the way forward for most workloads.”


Boeing Developing Drone Destroying Laser System

September 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Boeing’s portable drone-destroying laser system is one step closer to reality after a recent test.

Earlier this month in California, Boeing’s second-generation, compact-laser weapons system disabled a moving, untethered drone. That’s important because enemies can easily acquire commercially available drones — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — and use them to deliver explosives or perform reconnaissance.

Using a laser of up to two kilowatts, the weapons system can focus on a target located at a tactical distance up to “many hundreds of meters” away, according to a Boeing video of the technology.

It took only a few seconds for the drone to ignite and crash. The laser is typically aimed at the tail of the drone because, once that section of the drone is disabled, it becomes impossible to control the drone, according to Dave DeYoung, director of laser and electro-optical systems at Boeing.

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to fire a missile, which may range in cost from $30,000 to $3 million, at a drone that may cost a few thousand dollars, he said in an interview.

It costs “a couple of dollars” for each firing of the new laser weapons system, he said.

“It’s not an either-or situation,” he said. “There will be instances when missiles make sense.”

One of the drawbacks of using lasers, DeYoung said, is that light, unlike a missile, keeps going. The Boeing weapon uses a safeguard to make sure there is a clear line of sight both to and beyond the target.

Boeing is developing the laser system for the U.S. military and wouldn’t reveal certain details like its effective range or cost. DeYoung did say that the laser is a commercial, off-the-shelf product and that Boeing developed the control and target acquisition system.

DeYoung said that Boeing is collecting feedback from the U.S. Department of Defense and incorporating it into further iterations of the prototype, but wouldn’t reveal the commercialization timeline.



Astronomers Contemplate Ways To Discover Alien Life

September 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Detecting signs of life very different from that of Earth in the atmospheres of alien planets may be difficult, but it is possible, researchers say.

A team of scientists examined models of “super-Earths” — exoplanets slightly larger than Earth — to determine how easily signs of life could be spotted. They determined that such biosignatures could be identified more easily on planets orbiting stars producing relatively low amounts of radiation — but even then only if everything worked out just right.

The team, led by Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), did not focus solely on Earth-like life.

“What we’ve been trying to do is move away from that,” William Bains, also of MIT, said during the Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago in June. Bains worked with Seager and Renyu Hu to study super-Earths with hydrogen-rich atmospheres. “We wanted to build a model of biosignatures independent of Earth’s biology.”

‘A dynamic process’

Super-Earths are worlds up to 10 times more massive than our planet. Because of their size, they are more likely to retain an atmosphere rich in molecular hydrogen. The girth of super-Earths also makes them easier to discover, and their atmosphereseasier to characterize, relative to their Earth-size cousins. Hydrogen-rich super-Earths are now known to be quite commonthroughout the galaxy.

Bains and his colleagues simulated a planet 10 times as massive and nearly twice as wide as Earth, with an atmosphere rich in molecular hydrogen. Their simulations placed the planet in an orbit around three different types of stars: a sunlike star, a normal red dwarf (a star smaller and dimmer than the sun) and and an especially inactive red dwarf. (Different stellar types produce different levels of ultraviolet radiation, with the sunlike star producing the most, which affects how molecules break down in the atmosphere of orbiting planets.)

To search for biosignatures, Bains said, it’s important to understand why forms of life produce gas in the first place. Some gas is produced as a byproduct when energy is captured from the atmosphere. Other gases are byproducts of metabolic reactions, such as photosynthesis. The third type is created by life not as a result of its central chemical production but from stress, for signaling and in other functions.

After determining what gases could survive in the atmosphere, the scientists then calculated how much biomass would be needed to produce a detectable amount, and whether or not such an amount of life would be reasonable to find.

The team found four volatiles that would be generated by the production of energy in a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. Of them, three could be formed geologically, making them unreliable biosignatures.

“This was really disappointing,” Bains said.

The only interesting biosignature that the team came up in the first class was ammonia (NH3). For ammonia to be created, life would have to find a way to break the bonds between molecular nitrogen and molecular hydrogen. On Earth, synthetic chemistry can break each molecule apart individually, but no known system is capable of breaking both at once. Still, the team remains hopeful that a form of life could evolve on other worlds capable of capitalizing on the possibility.

Producing a detectable amount of ammonia in the atmosphere of a distant super-Earth would require a layer of life less than one bacterial cell thick, researchers said.

“Even if it was deader than the deadest place on Earth, we could detect it,” Bains said.

That’s the case for super-Earths orbiting sunlike stars, anyway. For alien planets receiving lower levels of ultraviolet radiation, such as those orbiting standard or quiet red dwarfs, the required biomass would need to be significantly higher.

While scientists should be able to detect ammonia in the atmosphere of distant planets, determining if it stems from life is another matter. At present, uncertainties about the size and mass of exoplanets remain high enough that worlds presently thought to be super-Earths could, in fact, be mini-Neptunes, gas giants smaller than those found in the solar system.

Disregarding the fact that surface conditions on gas planets would be essentially nonexistent, the deep atmospheres could produce ammonia without the aid of life. Determining whether a planet is a super-Earth or a mini-Neptune requires probing atmospheric pressures near the surface, something that even NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescopewill be unable to accomplish, researchers said. [‪Building The James Webb Space Telescope (Photos)]

Even if scientists could conclusively identify a planet as rocky, it’s possible that the world could have collected ammonia during its evolution, as Saturn’s moon, Titan, did. Ices on the surface could break down with either internal heat or with the help of ultraviolet radiation, releasing ammonia into the atmosphere to create a false positive.

So, without getting up close to these distant worlds, characterizing whether ammonia in the atmosphere comes from life remains a significant challenge.

The research that formed the basis of Bains’ talk at the astrobiology conference was published in late 2013 in Seager, Bains and Hu also considered another group of gases — those produced for biomass building. Capturing energy from the environment requires energy. On Earth, a prime example is the oxygen plants release during the process of photosynthesis.

Unfortunately, the team was unable to identify any potentially useful biosignature gases of this type in a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. The gases that life might produce would be expected to exist naturally in the atmosphere of such a world, Bains said.

As a third option, the team examined molecules produced unrelated to energy generation. The presence of such gases would depend on the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the atmosphere, because high UV levels lead to the creation of lots of destructive hydrogen ions.

Planets orbiting sunlike stars, which emit lots of UV light, would therefore need an enormous density of biomass to produce biosignatures high enough to reach detectable levels. Even around a normal red dwarf, the values would need to be high, though they could be plausible when compared to Earth’s biomass surface density range.

According to the team, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) could spot evidence of biosignatures gas “if and only if every single factor is in our favor.”

Detecting life using JWST would require a pool of transiting planets around nearby red dwarfs. Because the stars are so dim, they would need to be relatively close to Earth in order for scientists to study their planets. These planets would need a molecular hydrogen atmosphere, which would be easier to study than a more Earth-like atmosphere. The star itself would need to be quiet, with little radiation. Finally, the planet itself must have life that produces a detectable gas as a biosignature.

“We will have the ability to predict some biosignatures gas independent of Earth,” Bains said. “But it’s going to be really hard to detect.”






Facebook Deploying New Technology To Catch Pirated Videos

August 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is enhancing its technology to better identify videos uploaded to its site without the proper permission of copyright holders.

The move comes amid an explosion in the amount of video viewed on Facebook, posted by regular users, publishers and advertisers alike.

Alongside the uptick in video content, copyright holders have complained about videos posted without their permission. A recent report by video marketing and social media consulting companies Tubular and Social@Ogilvy estimated that a majority of the most popular videos on Facebook were pirated.

On Thursday, Facebook said it would be deploying new video matching technology that will be available to a small group of partners. The tool, Facebook said, will let select media companies, multichannel networks and individual video creators identify matches of their videos posted across Pages, profiles, groups and geographies on the site.

The tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly. When matches surface, publishers will be able to report them to Facebook for removal, the company said in a blog post.

Facebook has already been using a system called Audible Magic that uses audio fingerprinting technology to identify and prevent unauthorized videos from making their way to the site.

But the video matching tool, currently in beta, is a new step in Facebook’s broader efforts to establish a content ID system akin to what YouTube uses to quickly identify copyright violations.

On YouTube, copyright owners have the option of running ads against videos that the video sharing site has identified as matches.




HP Moves To Lower The Price Of SSDs

August 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

HP has become the second major player to bring an “affordable all-flash array” to market with new additions to the HP 3PAR StoreServ range.

The new 8000 series consists of a Starter Kit (20800 AFA) and software updates for the full StoreServ range, and HP can now offer multi-petabyte systems offering 3.2 million IOPS with scale out from two to eight controllers and proven tier-1 resiliency.

“Regardless of your size, budget, growth rate, quality of service requirements or even your storage network environment, HP 3PAR StoreServ storage offers a best-in-class flash solution to power your public, private or hybrid cloud with uncompromising adaptability from a single architecture,” said Manish Goel, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage.

HP has also announced additions to the existing 20000 range, including a 20800 All-Flash Starter Kit clocking in at $99,000, and the 20450, a 6PB all-flash array with 1.8 million IOPS.

Using these products together can create up to 60PB of aggregate usable capacity. Both ranges offer the same hardware acceleration from the HP 3PAR Gen5 Thin Express ASIC, which offers double the bandwidth of competing platforms and up to 20GBps of read bandwidth.

Both ranges are now also certified for use in SAP HANA Tailored Data Centre Integrations. Priority Optimisation can bring latencies as low as 0.5 milliseconds through a QoS engine that requires almost no interaction from system admins.

This is just part of an aggressive strategy in cheap, scalable enterprise storage. In April the company launched the Openstack based StoreVirtual range.

HP has also announced data protection enhancements to the 3PAR StoreServ powered by StoreOnce Recovery Manager Central, offering complete granular recovery of backups taken incrementally based only on changed data to minimise resources.

Finally, Fibre customers can use the new HP SmartSAN, which uses Express Provisioning Technology to orchestrate SAN fabric zoning, reducing the process of SAN configuration by 80 percent.

The products are designed to be a little more robust than SanDisk’s InfiniFlash, which is designed for no more than a few writes of archiving, and the price tag goes up accordingly starting at $19,000, but it’s still a significant drop in price for all-flash and hybrid flash arrays.

An eight-node enterprise flash family with density equivalent to a mechanical drive array starts at $1.50 per gigabyte, based on its predecessor line. That’s a big drop given the speed advantages that could pay for itself in certain sectors.

The products will be rolling out over the next few months starting with the StoreServ 8000 which will be available immediately. More products will be available next month, and RMC-V brings up the rear in October.


Pentagon Partners With Apple And Boeing On Wearable Technology

August 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter granted $75 million to assist a consortium of high-tech firms and researchers develop electronic systems packed with sensors flexible enough to be worn by soldiers or molded onto the skin of a plane.

Carter said funding for the Obama administration’s newest manufacturing institute would go to the FlexTech Alliance, a consortium of 162 companies, universities and other groups, from Boeing , Apple and Harvard, to Advantest Akron Polymer Systems and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The group will work to advance the development and manufacture of so-called flexible hybrid electronics, which can be embedded with sensors and stretched, twisted and bent to fit aircraft or other platform where they will be used.

“This is an emerging technology that takes advanced flexible materials for circuits, communications, sensors and power and combines them with thinned silicon chips to ultimately produce the next generation of electronic products,” Carter said.

He was speaking at NASA’s Ames Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The consortium, which will be managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, will add $90 million to the federal money. Local governments will chip in more, boosting the group’s total five-year funding level to $171 million.

Defense officials say the rapid development of new technologies around the globe is forcing the Pentagon to seek partnerships with the private sector rather than developing most of its technology itself, as it once did.

The Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub, which will be based in San Jose, is the seventh of nine such institutes planned by the Obama administration in an effort to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing base.



Drones To Have Intel Inside

August 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chipmaker Intel is taking its competitive game up a notch by investing in its own drones.

Intel has written a check for more than US$60 million to Yuneec International, a Chinese aviation company and drone maker.

This is not the first time that the Chipmaker has invested in drones. It has written smaller amounts for the drone makers Airware and PrecisionHawk. The Yuneec deal is its largest investment in a drone company yet.

Apparently Intel thinks that drones are potential computing platforms for its processors.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he believed in a smart and connected world. And one of the best ways to bring that smart and connected world to everyone and everywhere has been drones.

Amazon and Google are developing drones as they seek new ways to deliver items to consumers, Intel just wants to make sure that its chips are delivering the payload. There is no indication that it is building a secret airforce which it will use to take down competition – that would be silly.

Yuneec makes a range of drones built for aerial photography and imaging. Its technology also powers manned electric aircraft.