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Zen's Place in the Computing World
August 31, 2016
AMD, which has been clawing its way out of the doldrums, recently showcased its octacore, 16-thread Summit Ridge desktop processor featuring its Zen core in a performance match-up against Intel's octacore Broadwell-E Core i7-6900K CPU. The two similarly configured processors were locked at 3 GHz for the test, in which they ran the multithreaded Blender rendering application.
25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
August 25, 2016
Happy Birthday Linux! You're 25! When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform.
Netgear's Orbi WiFi Promises Strong Signal All Through the House
August 23, 2016
Netgear on Monday announced the Orbi WiFi System, designed to eliminate dead spots in smart homes. Orbi's system "is similar to using a network extender, but Netgear has improved on this approach with a dedicated band for communication with the satellite devices," explained Bill Ablondi, a research director at Strategy Analytics. The initial Orbi system will be available in September for $400.
Sony Tips PS4 Slim Standard Strategy
August 22, 2016
Sony reportedly plans to roll out a slimmed-down standard version of its popular PlayStation 4 video game console next month. The news follows the company's announcement earlier this year that it would introduce a higher-end version of the console with enhanced graphics, aimed at hard-core gamers. The new PS4 standard model could be Sony's way of attracting more casual users.
Intel Snaps Up Nervana to Jump-Start AI
August 16, 2016
Intel last week announced the acquisition of startup Nervana, in a bid to enhance the company's capabilities in artificial intelligence and deep learning. Nervana jumped out of the gate at its 2014 launch with a robust platform for deep learning, a framework called "Nervana Neon," and the Nervana Engine -- a groundbreaking ASIC chip scheduled for introduction by the first quarter of 2017.
TCP Flaw Opens Linux Systems to Hijackers
August 11, 2016
A flaw in the RFC 5961 specification the Internet Engineering Task Force developed to protect TCP against blind in-window attacks could threaten Android smartphones, as well as every Linux computer on the planet. The flaw is described in a paper a team of researchers presented at the 25th Usenix Security Symposium, ongoing in Austin, Texas, through Friday.
Reports: MacBook Pro Is Getting a Makeover
August 10, 2016
The long wait for a MacBook Pro refresh appears to be nearing an end, if the latest rumors are correct. The new MacBook Pros expected to launch this fall will feature a Touch ID power button and a touch-sensitive OLED strip that will replace the physical function keys on the keyboard, according to reports. The strip will bring up functions appropriate to the application that's in use.
900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits
August 9, 2016
Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers disclosed. The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed "QuadRooter," affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers. The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds.
Delta's Tech Glitches Cause More Cancellations, Delays
August 9, 2016
Delta Air Lines reportedly canceled 300 flights Tuesday morning, a day after a mammoth outage that forced it to temporarily ground thousands of flights worldwide and ultimately cancel more than 400 of them. Although an update posted at 10:00 p.m. ET Monday night warned that there would be more than 100 flight cancellations and roughly 200 delays Tuesday morning, the actual numbers were worse.
AMD's Budget-Friendly Radeon RX 460 Makes It Easier to Get in the Game
August 9, 2016
AMD on Monday introduced its budget-priced Radeon RX 460 graphics card designed for e-sports gamers. It delivers the high frame rates DirectX 9-based shooters and action games demand, but also handles the more robust next-generation DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs. The Radeon RX 460 offers a peak performance of 2.2 TFLOPS with support for 1080p frame rates at 1080p.
Linux Botnets on a Rampage
August 5, 2016
Linux-operated botnet Distributed Denial of Service attacks surged in this year's second quarter, due to growing interest in targeting Chinese servers, according to a Kaspersky Lab report released this week. South Korea kept its top ranking for having the most command-and-control servers. Brazil, Italy and Israel ranked among the leaders behind South Korea for hosting C&C servers, according to Kaspersky Lab.
Xiaomi Unveils Budget-Friendly MacBook Air Rival
July 28, 2016
Xiaomi on Wednesday unveiled the Mi Notebook Air, its challenger to the MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch model is priced at about $750, compared to the MacBook Air's $1,050 price tag in China. The device is also available in a 12.5-inch version. The Mi Notebook Air offers a number of features that aren't available in a MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch model is gaming-ready.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty Printers, Bargain Smartwatches, and Font Finders
July 26, 2016
Paper, designed by Ludwig Rensch, is sadly a concept for now. It holds a ream of paper to make loading the printing material easier than shuffling with a stack of loose leafs. It can scan documents and send them to your phone if you desire. It can make copies. There's a string of LEDs to show how much ink is left for each color, and there's even a handle on top .
Softbank Strong-ARMs Its Way Into Internet of Things
July 19, 2016
Softbank Group has agreed to buy British semiconductor maker ARM Holdings for about $31.4 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Softbank agreed to pay a hefty premium for ARM, with a price of about $67.28 per ARM share, which is a 42.9 percent premium over the $47.08 closing price as of Friday, the last business day before the deal was announced. The surprise move will help Softbank gain a solid IoT foothold.
SiFive Launches Freedom FOSS SoC Platforms
July 13, 2016
SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models.
Microsoft Makes It Easier to Say No to Windows 10
June 28, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new Windows 10 upgrade policy -- weeks after losing a $10,000 case in a small claims court. The owner of TG Travel Group in Sausalito, California, last month won a final judgment after she alleged that her computer was upgraded to the new operating system without prior authorization, according to court documents.
Windows Holographic: Changing Our Perception of the World
June 6, 2016
There were a lot of interesting announcements last week, ranging from cool new devices to what was basically an Amazon Echo on wheels from Asus. Such is the nature of Computex -- arguably one of the most powerful technology shows in the world. However, one of the most fascinating was Windows Holographic, which goes far beyond Hololens to redefine the world as we perceive it.
HP Offers Versatile PC Gaming Machines for Grown-Ups
June 2, 2016
HP last week introduced several new additions to its Omen by HP gaming hardware line: 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, a desktop PC and a 32-inch Quad HD4 display. The laptops will be available next month with a starting price of $900; the desktop and display will be available in August at HP online and at select retailers, with pricing as yet undisclosed.
What Will HPE Sell Next?
May 30, 2016
I joined a bunch of analysts in discussing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's next move at a secret conclave last week. The company had just announced the sale of its IT services, which basically undid much of Mark Hurd's work as CEO. It already had sold off PCs and printers, more than undoing Carly Fiorina's earlier efforts. Granted, HPE spun it like it was an acquisition.
Google's New Custom Chip May Not Live Up to the Hype
May 23, 2016
Google last week announced the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom application-specific integrated circuit, at Google I/O. TPU was built for machine learning applications and has been running in Google's data centers for more than a year. Google's AlphaGo software, which thrashed an 18-time international Go champion in a match earlier this year, ran on servers using TPUs.
Flaw Puts a Billion Wireless Mice at Risk
May 20, 2016
Wireless mice and keyboards are the perfect accessories for a world in which devices increasingly are shuffling off their connection coils, but those accessories -- especially untethered rodents -- also can create new threats for those who use them. One such threat is Mousejack. The attack exploits a vulnerability found in 80 percent of wireless mice.
Could the Next Disruptive Consumer Product Be a Flip Phone?
May 16, 2016
Smartphones appear to be losing their luster, and the king of smartphones -- Apple -- clearly is not having a good year. Suddenly, I'm hearing that there is an upswing in flip phones, making this feel a bit like a Game of Thrones episode, when a believed-dead king returns to seize the throne by surprise. Clearly, the market is looking for the next big thing.
Google's Chirp May Try to Drown Out Amazon's Echo
May 13, 2016
The device, which might resemble the OnHub router, would incorporate its Google Now voice assistant technology. Google likely will launch the product later this year, although it's expected to preview it at I/O. The Echo, one of Amazon's biggest product launches in years, combines a speaker with the Alexa personal digital assistant -- voice recognition software that performs numerous functions.
Opera Browser Sips Laptop Juice Rather Than Slurping
May 13, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced a dedicated power-saving mode in the developer version of its Web browser. Tests showed it extended laptop battery life by up to 50 percent against Google Chrome, Opera said. The browser will suggest enabling power-saving mode when a battery has 20 percent of capacity left. Clicking on the battery icon after a laptop is disconnected from its power cable activates it.
Clock Is Ticking for Free Windows 10 Upgrade
May 10, 2016
Microsoft last week announced that Windows 10 was running on 300 million PCs and reminded customers that its free upgrade offer would end July 29. After that date, the price to upgrade to Windows 10 Home will be $119. "We're pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.
HP Chromebook 13 Wins High Praise - for a Chromebook
May 2, 2016
HP and Google last week unveiled the HP Chromebook 13. Designed with input from customers on what they want in a next-generation Chromebook, the device is about 13 mm thick, weighs 2.8 pounds, has a brushed anodized aluminum chassis, and is the first Chromebook to use Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors. It has a USB C port, and HP offers a USB-C docking station as an option at $145.
Wall Street Pummels Apple After Weak Q2 Earnings Report
April 28, 2016
Apple shares were trading at around $95 as of mid-day Thursday in the wake of the company's disappointing Q2 earnings report. That was even lower than Wednesday's opening price, which was down more than $8 from Tuesday's $104.35 at market close. The company's second-quarter performance was dismal. The iPhone recorded its first drop in sales -- to 51.2 million units, down from 61.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
Why Is the PC Industry Trying to Kill the PC?
April 25, 2016
Every time the "PC is dead" topic comes up, an old Monty Python movie comes to mind, and I'll bet you can guess which one. PCs are on almost every desk, and the installed base is measured not in the hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands -- it is measured in the hundred millions. Brian Krzanich last week announced a massive layoff at Intel, and once again the alarm sounded.
Intel Pivots From PCs to Cloud
April 22, 2016
Intel this week announced that it would slash 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan to focus more on cloud-based computing and the Internet of Things and less on PCs. The cuts, which will involve about 11 percent of Intel's global workforce, will be achieved through voluntary retirements and layoffs, the consolidation of job sites, and a re-evaluation of existing and planned programs.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus Makes Its Debut
April 20, 2016
Canonical on Thursday launched Ubuntu 16.04, aka "Xenial Xerus," an upgrade that will be supported for the next five years. The latest version for all desktop, server and cloud editions will be available for download starting Thursday. Ubuntu 16.04 includes four major technology advancements geared toward multiplatform uses. Xenial Xerus is the sixth Long Term Support release for Ubuntu.
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Is fake news a major problem?
Yes -- people don't know which news to trust.
No -- it's very easy to spot.
Yes -- it's propaganda warfare, and the U.S. is losing.
No -- people have always believed what suited them.
Yes -- but only temporarily, as people are catching on.
No -- much of it actually isn't fake.