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Is HTC Committed To Virtual Reality?

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The company behind HTC Vive is setting up a new program to fund VR projects centred around improving lives around the world – with $10m to be shared among the successful applicants.

Announced at the World Economic Forum, the VR For Impact initiative will shared the same objectives as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 platform, Upload VR reports. These goals include no poverty, zero hunger, quality education and gender equality.

Vive is looking for experiences that will “improve awareness, education and lead to action”, whether that’s through virtual reality games, films or other cotnent.

“HTC Vive will fund the best ideas using Virtual Reality that truly drive awareness and positive change in our world,” said Cher Wang, the company’s CEO and chairwoman. “We encourage all players in the VR eco-system to join as only together can we drive real impact.”

Vive is now calling for ideas that could become part of VR For Impact, with plans to announce the chosen projects on April 22nd, Earth Day. Developers can apply at www.vr4impact.com. The initiative has already gained the interest of other organisations, such as the World Food Progam.

The power of virtual reality to immerse users in someone else’s story or situation is a major driver for the technology, and exploring the medium’s abilities to convey some of the world’s biggest crises to more people can only be a good thing.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will Apple Release Three New Tablets This Year?

January 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has decided that the reason that people are not buying its tablets is because they don’t have enough over-priced versions available.

To fix this problem Apple is planning to release three more tablets which contain all the same features you can find in cheaper Chinese Tablets at half the price.

According to Digitimes Apple will release three new tablets for 2017, a 9.7-inch iPad, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch model expected to enter mass production in the first quarter followed by the other two in the second.

It is odd really as Apple was thought to want to kill off the 9.7 inch pad and replace it with the 10.5-inch iPad. However not it seems that it wants to make the 9.7-inch iPad become an entry-level device. It can then flog these to corrupt or stupid school managers who don’t know that they can save their schools cash by going elsewhere .

There will be a few supply changes too. Apple will also procure components from its secondary suppliers for its new 9.7-inch iPad and Korea-based Seoul Semiconductor will supply LED for the device instead of the existing 9.7-inch iPad’s supplier Nichia.

The 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get an A10X processor, but that is pretty much anyone knows for now. Our guess is that it will look pretty much like a tablet, have a similar price tag and be even more ignored than the current batch.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Windows 10 Redstone 2 Debut In April?

January 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

It is looking fairly certain that Windows 10’s second major update will be released in April.

The update codenamed Redstone 2 “The Empire Strikes Back” release date has been leaked by Microsoft’s chums Dell and Fitbit. Dell and Fitbit both posted the update news on their forums. Vole has yet to confirm them itself.

Dell made the announcement earlier, and effectively squashed rumors that the new update would be happening in March.

Fitbit said: “We’re excited to announce that Fitbit will be introducing support for tracker notifications (Call, SMS, Calendar and third party apps) and Connected GPS for all Windows users on the Windows 10 Creators Update coming in April.”

It looks like the final version could be 1704, which also tells us the release date. The first two digits representing the year and the other two pointing to the month and in this case the fourth month of 2017. Insiders will be the first to receive the Creators Update.

It is possible that the launch will coincide with the release of the Surface Pro 5 and the Surface Book 2 which are both expected around that time.

Courtesy-Fud

China Introduces New Rules For Mobile App Stores

January 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

China had mandated that all app stores operating in the country register with its Cyberspace Administration in an effort to combat malware but also to tighten control over uncensored content.

The rules took effect Monday, in a country where domestic third-party app stores — not from Apple or Google — are serving billions of downloads to Android smartphones. Chinese internet companies such as Baidu, Tencent and a host of smaller, shadier local app stores have been feeding the demand, at a time when Google has largely pulled out of the market.

The government, however, has problems with the proliferation of app stores and the lack of industry oversight, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Friday. Some app stores have been offering products that violate users’ rights, contain security vulnerabilities or spread “illegal information,” it said.

The new rules intend to force the stores to better audit their products. Cyberspace Administration officials will keep records on the app stores and investigate those that fail to register or which are found falsifying information.

 The new rules are hardly a surprise. China has been heavily censoring the internet for years. Foreign websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been blocked from the country, and local internet services are often required to delete comments or shut down user accounts found posting antigovernment content.

However, in some cases, apps have provided one way for users to circumvent the strict controls. That happened with The New York Times, whose main website was blocked in the country in 2012.

Despite the censorship, the company’s news app was offered on Apple’s app store until China ordered its takedown earlier this month.

Third-party app stores in China have also been known to spread malware. Last year, a mobile Trojan likely sourced from the country managed to infect millions of devices across China, India and Indonesia by imitating Android apps.

The country has over 650 million mobile internet users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The huge user base has made its app stores some of the biggest in the world.

Microsoft To End Detailed Security Bulletins

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft discontinue issuing detailed security bulletins in February, which for nearly 20 years have provided individual users and IT professionals information about vulnerabilities and their patches.

One patching expert crossed his fingers that Microsoft would make good on its pledge to publish the same information when it switches to a new online database. “I’m on the fence right now,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with patch management vendor Shavlik, of the demise of bulletins. “We’ll have to see [the database] in February before we know how well Microsoft has done [keeping its promise].”

Microsoft announced the demise of bulletins in November, saying then that the last would be posted with January’s Patch Tuesday — the monthly round of security updates for Windows and other Microsoft software — and that the new process would kick in on Feb. 14, next month’s patch day.

The web-based bulletins have been a feature of Microsoft’s patch disclosure policies since at least 1998, and for almost as long have been considered the professional benchmark by security experts.

 A searchable database of support documents will replace the bulletins; that database has been available, albeit in preview, since November on the portal Microsoft dubbed the “Security Updates Guide,” or SUG.

The documents stored in the database are specific to a vulnerability on an edition of Windows, or a version of another Microsoft product. They can be sorted and filtered by the affected software, the patch’s release date, its CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifier, and the numerical label of the KB, or “knowledge base” support document.

“Our customers have asked for better access to update information, as well as easier ways to customize their view to serve a diverse set of needs,” wrote an unnamed member of the Microsoft Security Response Center in November to explain the switch from bulletins to database.

Are Notebooks Making Gains Against Tablets?

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.

Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.

This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.

PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.

Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.

Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple PC Division Faltering?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications,  it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.

This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.

The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.

In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.

So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.

As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Acquires Stake In Digital Mapping Firm HERE

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. chip maker Intel plans to purchase a 15 percent stake in German digital mapping firm HERE, it said on Tuesday, as it looks to build its presence in automated driving technology.

A filing to the German cartel office on Tuesday showed Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in the company, which is controlled by German carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen.

Intel and HERE said in a statement that they had also signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly- and fully-automated driving.

Intel did not disclose how much it would pay for the stake but said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.

The deal highlights a shift in the dynamics of research and development in the car industry, which until recently saw automakers largely dictating terms for suppliers to manufacture their proprietary technologies at specified volumes and prices.

Now carmakers are increasingly striking partnerships with technology firms using open technology standards, seeking to harness their expertise in areas including machine learning and mapping as they race against Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Tesla and Apple to develop driverless vehicles.

Last month two Chinese companies and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in HERE and in July, BMW teamed up with Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving cars by 2021.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in 2015 from mobile equipment maker Nokia  of Finland.

Last September, HERE said it would introduce a new set of traffic services allowing drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

Lenovo’s Miix 720 Tablet To Take On Microsoft’s Surface

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the world waits for Microsoft’s next Surface tablet, consumers can opt for h Lenovo’s new Miix 720, a 12-inch Windows tablet loaded with cutting-edge features.

The Miix 720 and will ship in April with a starting price of $999. That’s about $100 more than the starting price of the Surface Pro 4, but the Miix 720 has superior features.

But the Surface could catch up with the Miix 720 soon. A new Surface Pro 5 could be out early this year and could have features like faster processors and a higher resolution screen that could be on par or better than the Miix 720. That’s when the competition will get interesting.

But for now, it’s Miix 720 versus the Surface Pro 4. The Lenovo tablet runs on an Intel Core processor based on the latest Kaby Lake architecture and has an integrated graphics processor capable of supporting 4K video. Surface Pro 4 is a generation behind with Skylake chips, but the next Surface tablet will likely get Kaby Lake.

Lenovo has borrowed some ideas from the Surface with a kickstand at the back of the Miix 720, which helps the tablet sit upright on a desk or tabletop.

A difference-maker in the Miix 720 is the USB-C port, which is also a high-speed Thunderbolt 3 port to connect external peripherals like displays and storage devices. Surface Pro 4 only has one full-sized USB 3.0 port. Additionally, the Miix 720 has USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Lenovo tablet supports up to 16GB of faster DDR4 DRAM. The Surface Pro 4 supports up to 16GB of the older and slower DDR3 memory. Data moves faster with DDR4 memory, and that means faster computer performance.

The Lenovo’s 12-inch screen is smaller than the 12.3-inch screen on the Surface Pro 4 but displays images at a higher resolution. The Miix 720 displays images at a 2880 x 1920-pixel resolution, which is better than the 2736 x 1824-pixel resolution of the Surface Pro 4.

The Miix 720 has storage capacity up to 1TB, and a keyboard attachment turns the tablet into a laptop. Those capabilities are available on the Surface Pro 4. Lenovo will separately sell a stylus allowing users to take notes and draw on the tablet.

Lenovo’s tablet weighs about 780 grams, or 1.1 kilograms with the keyboard attachment. It has a 1-megapixel front camera with infrared, allowing users to log into Windows PCs via face recognition.The tablet also has a 5-megapixel rear camera.

Mozilla’s Firefox Sets Retirement Date For Windows XP, Vista Support

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla will discontinue support for its Firefox browser running on Windows XP and Windows Vista in 2017, the company announced last week.

The exact timing of Firefox’s retirement from those Microsoft operating systems will be determined in the summer, according to a post to a company blog. “We expect to continue to provide security updates for [Windows XP and Windows Vista] users until September 2017,” the firm said. “In mid-2017, user numbers on Windows XP and Vista will be reassessed and a final support end date will be announced.”

Before that, however, Mozilla will automatically migrate Windows XP and Vista users to the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR), a build-and-release track designed for enterprises and educational organizations. “In approximately March 2017, Windows XP and Vista users will automatically be moved to the … ESR,” Mozilla said.

ESR builds are regularly updated with security fixes, but do not receive the new features and enhancements that the standard version does. Instead, Firefox ESR remains feature-static for approximately a year, at which time a new ESR is issued. (Microsoft adopted a similar approach with its Windows 10 Long Term Servicing (LTS) Branch, a release track that eschews feature changes for months, or even years.)

Mozilla created the ESR track in 2012 after some customers balked at its scheme to ship a new edition of the browser every six weeks. Firefox ESR 52, slated to ship on March 7, will be what Mozilla moves XP and Vista users to. From that point until Mozilla officially retires Firefox later in the year, XP and Vista users will receive only security updates to the browser.

Microsoft retired Windows XP from support in April 2014, and will do the same to Vista on April 11, 2017. It’s unclear what percentage of Firefox users run the browser on the two aged operating systems, but analytics vendors portray both as minor players. According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP powered 8.6% of the world’s personal computers last month, and Vista — one of Microsoft’s biggest OS failures — ran 1.1% of the globe’s PCs.

If Windows XP’s rate of decline over the last 12 months continues, its share of the personal computer operating system market will have fallen to about 7% by September. Meanwhile, Vista’s share will have shrunk to an almost-invisible seven-tenths of a percentage point.

Mozilla is one of the last browser makers to pull the support plug from Windows XP. Microsoft stopped patching Internet Explorer on XP when it retired the OS in 2014, and Google scratched XP off Chrome’s support list in April 2016.

Will The ARM And Windows 10 Union Hurt Intel In 2017?

December 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Next year will see the arrival of ARM based Windows machines and while the beasts have not been that popular in the past, it is expected that this time it will be different.

The original Windows-on-ARM experiment, otherwise known as Windows RT, failed it was mostly since it was a tablet and Vole had not really got any mojo in the market at the time.

Now Microsoft’s OEM partners believe that the company will be more successful this time around and less exclusive. Several companies have signed up to create ARM-based notebooks and tablets running Windows 10.

This because Windows 10 on ARM will support the entire library of millions of standard Win32 desktop apps via an optimised emulation engine.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will be the first candidate to receive Windows 10 in 2017, likely starting with the Redstone 3 release expected in late 2017. Microsoft has demoed this chip in action and it provided good performance and decent battery life.

It could also be the key to Microsoft getting into smartphones. It is all rumour and speculation at the moment, but it is a pretty good bet. It will also not be a great thing for Intel which will be having to beat AMD off with a stick as the hardware markets shrink.

Courtesy-Fud

LinkedIn’s Lynda.com Reports Hacking

December 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

lynda-150x150Lynda.com, the online learning subsidiary of LinkedIn, has reset passwords for some of its subscribers after it discovered recently that an unauthorized external party had accessed a database containing user data.

The passwords of close to 55,000 affected users were reset as a precautionary measure and they have been notified of the issue, LinkedIn said in a statement over the weekend.

The professional network is also notifying about 9.5 million Lynda.com users who “had learner data, but no protected password information,” in the breached database. “We have no evidence that any of this data has been made publicly available and we have taken additional steps to secure Lynda.com accounts,” according to the statement.

In a notice to users, Lynda.com said that the database breach could have included some of the users’ Lynda.com learning data, such as contact information and courses viewed. It added that it was warning users out of an abundance of caution.

The company said in a reply on Twitter that it was taking the issue very seriously and was working with law enforcement.

Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion in a cash and stock deal. The parent was in turn acquired by Microsoft this month after meeting regulatory approval from the European Union for the all-cash transaction worth US$26.2 billion.

 

IBM Announces Watson App For iPad

December 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

watson-for-ipad-150x150IBM has officially unveiled Watson Analytics Mobile for iPad — an app that can be used along with a free personal or paid enterprise Watson account.

The app can import data from a cloud-based Watson account into a spreadsheet or CSV format, as well as use apps such as OneDrive and Dropbox to import files. In addition, Twitter hashtags can be entered directly into the app for analysis.

Most features are available to free-account users — except for analyzing Twitter hashtags, although if you’re new to Watson, you’ll get a 30-day trial of that.

The app “is not a replacement for the Watson Analytics web application,” according to an e-mail from Marc Altshuller, general manager of business analytics at IBM Analytics. “As such, the mobile app focuses primarily on the discovery capabilities.” Those include answering ad-hoc questions, using natural language queries to discover patterns in data, and asking questions with voice commands.

In a quick test of the new app, it was clear that Web Watson has considerably more power. Like many mobile apps extracting useful information from data, Watson Analytics Mobile for iPad performed well with sample sales data that had well-understood values such as revenues, expenses, and countries. Some data prep might be useful for other types of data before expecting easy natural-language answers to queries, though.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

 

Microsoft, Intel Working On ‘Far-field Speech Recognition’ For Cortana

December 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

cortana-and-intel-150x150Intel and Microsoft are currently fine tuning the technology that allows you to shout out commands to Cortana or activate a Windows 10 PC from sleep mode without being all that close to it.

The chipmaker is working with Microsoft to add “far-field speech recognition” technology, where the user can shout out Cortana commands to a Windows PC from longer distances.

“Soon, you’ll be able to speak to your PC from a distance and access all of your information on the device and in the cloud,” said Navin Shenoy, senior vice president and general manager for the Client Computing Group for Intel, in a blog entry this week.

The range isn’t available yet.

Users also will be able to use Cortana to start a PC from standby. Users will have to say, “Hey Cortana.”

For now, Cortana works best if the user is close to the PC. This development is more in the vein of Amazon Echo, which can recognize commands from a distance.

The ability to shout commands to Cortana from a longer distance also has Amazon Echo-like benefits. Users will be able to tell a PC to play music or ask about the weather. The feature will be even more useful when Microsoft completes a plan to make Windows 10 PCs hubs for smart homes, with users being able to use Cortana to operate electrical appliances.

That’s just one of many developments Intel is planning for PCs. Intel is working with Microsoft on its wire-free PC initiative, with a high-speed WiGig wireless connection being used to connect PCs to peripherals. Intel also said it would bring its Optane premium memory to PCs by the end of 2017.

Intel is also aggressively pushing for LTE receivers to be installed in laptops and hybrid tablet devices, with the ultimate goal to bring 5G to all devices. The new 5G deployments are expected by 2020 and could bring new forms of long and short-distance communications to devices. Intel is developing modems for 5G connectivity.

Will Windows 10 On ARM Finally Materialize?

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft dropped a bomb on December 7th.  At WinHEC it announced that the Next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have full Windows 10 support. Yes, this time, they will run every Windows X86 application via an emulator.

It looks like 2017 will be a fun year. Qualcomm,  all of a sudden got support for Windows 10 on its mobile computing devices. This will enable new anytime, anywhere connected device form factors. What Qualcomm and Microsoft are trying to say is that you can expect some tablet/notebook devices powered by SoCs that aren’t coming from Intel nor AMD.

This will help the synergy between mobile devices and computers and may well be the right way to do the Windows “continuum” in the right way.

The Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon are expected to support all aspects of Microsoft’s latest operating system including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge browser, Windows 10 gaming titles like Crysis 2 and World of Tanks, Windows Hello, and touchscreen features like Windows Pen. Qualcomm Snapdragon powered devices are expected to support Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Win32 apps through emulation, providing users with a wide selection of full featured applications. There is no label but most things should work, if not all of them.

This is definitely better than Windows RT, when Microsoft tried to develop Windows on ARM – a platform that simply confused the market as it would not run X86 applications. Now that problem is solved.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said:

“We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with our partner, Qualcomm Technologies, We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love – touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more – anytime, anywhere.”

Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT said:

“Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offer one of the world’s most advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life. “With full compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices.”

The first devices running the full Windows 10 experience based on Snapdragon processors are expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2017. From what we understand, this cooperation will not only include Snapdragon 835 and it looks like that all  future chips might end up getting  support for Windows 10. We will have to wait until  the second half of next year to see which will be the first company to launch a device powered by Snapdragon.

It will be interesting to see if that incurs a performance penalty for emulating the applications written for X86 on ARM architecture as emulation always cost you some performance. But Qualcomm and Microsoft would not go to this venture if it wasn’t something they could generally contribute to. This announcement has just put a lot of fuel to a Snapdragon 835 powered Surface phone, or at least a Surface device at some point.

We have a feeling that that might be Microsoft itself of one of the big OEMs think Dell, HP, Lenovo kind of customers.

 

Courtesy-Fud

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