Thursday, December 24, 2015

Akuma Reveal - Tekken 7 Fated Retribution (Thoughts)

He has been added: Gouki, Devil... AKUMA

Here are my thoughts:

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The Chief Technomancer
VB Kid

Researchers show off a working light-based processor

Photonic computing is not longer just a theoretical exercise.

The year has been chock-full of scientific breakthroughs, but the University of Colorado is determined to finish 2015 with a bang. Its researchers have created what they say is the first full-fledged processor to transmit data using light instead of electricity. The design isn't entirely photonic, but its 850 optical input/output elements give it the kind of bandwidth that make electric-only chips look downright modest -- we're talking 300Gbps per square millimeter, or 10 to 50 times what you normally see. The key was finding a way to reuse existing conventional processes to put optics in places where regular circuitry would go.

The design isn't a powerhouse with a tiny size (3mm by 6mm, or 0.1in by 0.2in) and just two cores. However, it shows the potential for dramatic improvements in computing power without having to completely reinvent the wheel. You could have networking gear that copes with massive amounts of data, for example. And there's plenty of room for optimization, too, so the possibilities for this technology remain wide open.

Source: engadget

Your VB Kid

The myth of Mariana's Web, the darkest corner of the internet

Let's just call it the Derpweb.

Chances are, like me, the first time you heard about the Dark Web it was described as a foul and depraved marketplace, where children, drugs, and pirated movies could be bought for mere Bitcoin. Tabloids paint it as a place where a veritable "Top 10" of our biggest fears resides. Opportunistic security companies sell threat intelligence services that allude to hunting for bad guys in dark dens that deal in organ harvesting, involuntary human experiments, and more.

Like most people, I find the siren song of lurid, spooky bullshit to be irresistible.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Log into most any Linux system by hitting backspace 28 times

24-25-26-27-28? That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!

Security researchers have discovered a ludicrously simple way to hack into a number of Linux distributions: Just tap the backspace key 28 times in a row. A team from the Cybersecurity Group at Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) in Spain found that doing so for builds utilizing the ubiquitous Grub2 bootloader -- that's to say just about all of them -- immediately bypasses the lock screen, initiates the "Grub rescue shell" and grants the user access to the system for whatever nefarious things they have in mind.

The team found that the backspace trick triggers a memory error, which in turn launches the rescue shell. The bug isn't a huge threat -- I mean, a hacker would need physical access to your machine in order to exploit it -- especially now that Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Debian all have released patches.


VB Kid

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Insider allegedly hacked lottery software in multiple states

He used a rootkit to know the winning numbers in advance.

If you use insider knowledge for your own gain, it could land you in hot water... especially if you hacked the computers at your job to get the information you need. At least that's what Eddie Tipton, Multi-State Lottery Association's former security director, is being accused of. Tipton allegedly used a rootkit -- a malicious software that activates when a computer boots up -- to know a drawing's winning numbers in advance. He'd then ask an accomplice to buy the winning ticket and to collect the money afterward.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Apple is still working on making your next iPhone waterproof

Resealable sockets on the way?

Apple's iPhones are not yet officially waterproof, even though one or two intrepid users have been busy testing how they hold up to a dunking. Now a new patent has emerged suggesting it's a feature that Apple has an eye on including in the future.

The patent came to light this week but was filed back in July 2014. It focuses on a rubber port cover that loses and regains its shape - so it would allow a headphone jack to be plugged in but then seal the gap again once the headphones were removed, for example.

Ports are one of the weak links when it comes to making a phone that's waterproof - how do you stop water getting into the handset when Lightning cables and other peripherals need to be inserted?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Apple reportedly switching to OLED iPhone screens in 2018

And then they'll claim it's revolutionary, even when Samsung has been using it for years.

Apple has always used LCD display technology in the iPhone, but reports are now claiming the technology giant is planning a switch to OLED screens. Apple is reportedly meeting with suppliers to lay the groundwork for the switch, which could happen in 2018. That would be the iPhone 8 generation.

The current iPhone 6s Plus has a 1080p LCD, the highest among Apple’s smartphones. Android devices have moved to 2560 x 1440 LCDs in some cases, but these panels tend to be noticeably dimmer and use more power than lower resolution screens. OLED displays have the advantage here as the light is produced by the pixels themselves rather than a backlight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

‘Critical flicker fusion’ test can measure the brain’s processing speed

Sampling rates are important when we want to observe or record phenomena extending through time – for a stream of information of a given bit depth, we can capture a richer and more accurate portrait of whatever it is that we’re processing when we take samples or measurements more times per second. We measure the quality of an audio file in its bitrate, the performance of a monitor in its refresh rate, and the smoothness of a video by its frame rate. Now scientists from the University of Georgia have devised an elegant method of testing the visual sampling rate of the human brain.

The researchers used a metric called critical flicker fusion to assess the sampling rate of the brain in this recent experiment involving two cohorts: college-aged (average: 21 years old) and elderly (average: 72 years old) participants. Critical flicker fusion occurs when the observer can no longer distinguish between changing visual stimuli, like two colors of light flickering at increasing frequencies, the approach used by the researchers in this experiment. Many factors act upon the sampling rate of the human eye, but the processing speed of the brain determines the rate at which it can use the information provided to it by the optic nerve. Individuals in either cohort with a higher critical flicker fusion score went on to score higher, in the second half of the experiment, on tests of executive function: cognitive tasks requiring planning, reflection, and self-control.

Anonymous goes to war with ISIS and shoots itself in the foot

Groups associated with Anonymous launch a new “op” quite frequently, but the recent #OpParis has attracted more attention, because it’s a reaction to the recent terror attacks in Paris that claimed more than 130 lives. The goal of the op is apparently to expose Twitter accounts and websites that are run by members of ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, reports are now claiming that the vast majority of Twitter accounts targeted by members of Anonymous aren’t affiliated with ISIS at all. Oops.

Like many of Anon’s past ops, #OpParis and #OpISIS are aimed mainly at reporting accounts run by the group being targeted. Any personal details of the account owners uncovered are also made available online. The semi-official OpParis Twitter account has claimed that more than 20,000 Twitter accounts belonging to members of ISIS and its supporters have been suspended. It’s reasonable to think that Anonymous members have reported that many accounts, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that many of them have anything to do with ISIS. In many cases, the accounts may actually be run by anti-ISIS individuals, journalists, and academics.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Unofficial app makes PlayStation 4 to PC streaming a reality

Sony's had its Remote Play tech in one form or another since the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, but it didn't truly take off until its implementation on PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita handheld. But that's kind of wasted when nobody is buying the Vita and it's getting zero love from its parent company. Remote Play PC is exactly what its name implies: an application that tricks the PS4 into thinking a PC is a Remote Play device. Microsoft changed the game (sorry) with the ability for the Xbox One to stream its games to Windows 10-based hardware and until Sony catches up we're just going to have to settle for an unofficial app that costs money to perform the task.

The developer (operating under the pseudonym "Twisted") says that the reasoning for charging for the application is to help make ends meet while working on it full time. "The only way to support this is to charge for the app, all my previous projects have been free and I don't want to have to, but sadly it's the only way to support my living costs," Twisted writes. In case you're curious about how it works before dropping the $10 (£6.50) on Wednesday, there's a video just below. It honestly looks like a better experience than Sony's PlayStation Now game streaming service, but until we go hands on with it for ourselves it's hard to tell exactly how this will work out in the wild.

Why would anyone even want this? Because while streaming to the Vita (or certain Android devices) works, having a bigger screen to play Fallout 4 or Until Dawn while traveling without the hassle of taking a PS4 through airport security honestly sound really awesome. There's also mouse and keyboard support. The question is how long Sony will let this slide before issuing a cease and desist. As homebrew and console hacking site Wololo points out, folks who pay for the app could be out their hard-earned money if the company steps in and shuts this down.

Source: engadget

Your VB Kid

Dell laptops may have a Lenovo Superfish-size security problem

Lenovo’s Superfish scandal earlier this year was arguably the worst security flaw since the Sony rootkit debacle of ten years ago. Multiple IdeaPad product lines were shipped with a self-signed HTTPS certificate that could be used to spoof the secure connection that using HTTPS is supposed to guarantee. In simple terms: Laptops with Superfish installed couldn’t actually verify if the banking sites or e-commerce destinations they connected to were actually the sites they claimed to be. There was no simple way to remove the software, and users were forced to jump through multiple hoops to resecure a system. Now, Dell appears to have done something similar, though the investigation is still ongoing.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Google Wants to Make Chips Because Qualcomm Screwed Up

Google is looking to design its own smartphone CPUs and GPUs, according to new reports, because it can't find mobile processors that could push Android devices into new worlds of virtual and augmented reality. Camera and image processing performance are also areas Google needs help with, according to Ars Technica.

Hackers have infiltrated the US arrest records database

Earlier this year, a hacking group broke into the personal email account of CIA director John Brenner and published a host of sensitive attachments that it got its hands on (yes, Brenner should not have been using his AOL email address for CIA business). Now, Wired reports the group has hit a much more sensitive and presumably secure target: a law enforcement portal that contains arrest records as well as tools for sharing info around terrorist events and active shooters. There's even a real-time chat system built in for the FBI to communicate with other law enforcement groups around the US.

New Android adware tries to root your phone so you can’t remove it

A new piece of Android malware has been revealed by security firm Lookout, and it’s a clever one. The malware in question is a type of trojan adware called Shuanet, which is masquerading as 20,000 different popular apps. Shuanet doesn’t just display ads, though. It also attempts to root any device it is installed on, allowing the malware to survive factory resets.

Shuanet shares a lot of code with several other adware trojans that Lookout has detected recently known as Kemoge and Shedun. What’s interesting about Shuanet is that it doesn’t seek to wreak havoc on an infected device or clog it with other malware. This is adware first and foremost, so the goal is to get people to use their devices and see the ads.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Windows 10 penetration estimated at 120 million

Three months on the market

In three months since it debuted, Windows 10 is reportedly found on more than 120 million desktops, laptops and tablets. This is up 10 million from the 110 million install base that Microsoft disclosed earlier this month when it announced the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

The 120 million figure is not an official number, but it's an estimate reported by Winbeta, citing internal sources.

Samsung’s massive 18.4-inch Galaxy View tablet could crush the iPad Pro

The much-speculated Samsung Galaxy View has finally been revealed in images, thanks to the serial leaker EVleaks. The first glimpse of the tablet surfaced at IFA 2015 in the form of a teaser video. The Galaxy View comes with a massive 18.4-inch full HD display, which is bigger than any other tablet on the market aside from some PC all-in-ones that double as tablets. Samsung is clearly pushing boundaries here, though.

It’s not the first time a company has pitched a tablet with such a big display. For example, Alcatel unveiled the OneTouch Go Play with a screen size of 17.3 inches. Interestingly, in the above image, you can see a stand behind the device; it seems to resemble the Microsoft Surface‘s stand. The Galaxy View had also appeared on several third-party seller websites with a price tag of $600 for the 32GB variant, along with some additional specifications and availability info. The listings were removed as soon as the leak went viral, though.

Russian ships may be preparing to attack the global internet

US government sources have revealed to the New York Times growing concerns that Russian naval vessels may be threatening the global internet infrastructure. Russian ships have been seen tracing out the routes of the trans-oceanic cables that carry the vast majority of the world’s internet traffic around the world. Russian ships seem to be deliberately staying close enough to these cables to use their attached submersibles, which the US says could descend and sever the lines — or perhaps tap them. The sheer number of ships involved has been described by senior diplomats as comparable to the Cold War.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Google gives you more info on why it's blocked a website

Every once in a while, when you click on a link from Google Search, you get a blood red screen that screams malware. Sometimes, it even happens to a website you frequent, and Google knows you might be wondering why that's the case. That's the reason Mountain View has tweaked its Transparency Report to include a Safe Browsing Site Status section. If you're curious why a familiar URL suddenly takes you to a warning landing page, then all you have to do is check its status to get the details straight from Google itself. While some websites really do host malware that can harm your computer, the company says others suddenly get blocked due to infected content uploaded by users or due to a temporary infection. Whatever the reason is, Google promises to quickly notify site owners about the issue, so you can access blocked websites again as soon as possible.

Source: engadget

VB Kid

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lasers could improve the safety of brain surgery

Helping surgeons tell tumours from healthy tissue

Neurosurgeons are being given given a new tool to improve the safety of their operations - lasers that show them where the edges of a tumour are.

As you might imagine, operating on a brain is not an easy task. Cancerous tissue looks just like healthy tissue, and surgeons have traditionally just used their best judgement in working out how much brain to remove.

Now however, a new type of microscope could change all that. The Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) microscope lets surgeons see the difference in real-time between normal brain tissue and tumour tissue.

Friday, October 16, 2015

DARPA's developing a data network that connects squadrons even when jammed

DARPA issued a Broad Agency Announcement solicitation for a new program called Dynamic Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization (DyNAMO) which aims to keep America's manned (and unmanned) combat aircraft connected even if enemy forces attempt to jam their communications. But that's not as straightforward as it sounds. US aircraft are additionally hindered by the fact that many of the platforms operate on incompatible radio networks using different encryption schemes. And while the DoD has already developed specialized data-link gateways to act as universal translators between them, the gateways' bandwidth is limited.

"DyNAMO's goal is to enable pilots in one type of aircraft with a specific suite of sensors to easily share information with different types of manned and unmanned systems and also receive sensor information from those various platforms for a comprehensive view of the battlespace." Wayne Phoel, DARPA program manager, said in a statement. "We aim to develop technology that dynamically adapts networks to enable instantaneous free-flow of information among all airborne systems, at the appropriate security level and in the face of active jamming by an adversary."

Darpa expects the DyNAMO technology to run some custom radio hardware it's also developing through the Communications in Contested Environments (C2E) program. This program seeks, essentially, to update the translating data-link gateways with an architecture that closely resembles commercial smart phones. That is, one where the application processing, real-time processing, and hardware are all managed and validated separately. In this way, DyNAMO will be able to take raw RF data, convert it into a format that every plane in the squadron can process and then disseminate it reliably.


Your VB Kid

Samsung's Gear S2 smartwatch with 3G will cost you $50 more

If you've been itchin' to get your hands on the cellular version of Samsung's Tizen smartwatch and its fancy rotating bezel, you'll soon be in luck. Both T-Mobile and Verizon announced pricing and availability for the Gear S2 with 3G today. On T-Mobile, you can add the wearable to your plan for $5/month while the watch itself will set you back $360 or $15 on a monthly payment plan. There isn't a pre-order option, but it'll hit the Big Magenta's stores and website on November 15th. Verizon will also require you to pay an extra $5 a month to add the Gear S2 to your account, but it's offering the gadget for $350 or $300 if you opt for a two-year contract. You're able to pre-order from Verizon, starting today, before it goes on sale November 6th. T-Mobile and Verizon will both carry dark grey and silver models, so you'll have two color options to choose from should you decide to splurge for one. AT&T is expected to announce availability for the Gear S2 as well, but hasn't revealed those details just yet.

*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.

Source: engadget

Your VB Kid

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Google is killing Chrome's notification center for Mac and Windows

In 2013, Google added a full-fledged notification center to Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux that combined rich notifications from web pages with Google Now info. However, it seems that almost no one ever used that notification center, so Google's killing it in the next version of Chrome. In its Chromium blog, Google admitted that "few users" visited the notification area, so it would be removed to streamline the desktop experience.

Notifications will certainly still stick around Chrome -- earlier this year, the browser started supporting a new web standard for push notifications from web sites. But it sounds like there won't be an easy way to see what you might have missed while away from your computer, and it also looks like there won't be any way to get Google Now info on your desktop, either. On ChromeOS, Google recently moved Google Now info out of the notification center and into a new app launcher that combines search, Google Now, and your frequently-used apps. Whether or not there will be a new way for Mac, Windows and Linux users to get to Google Now remains to be seen.

Source: engadget

Your VB Kid

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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The Chief Technomancer
VB Kid

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Google is now Alphabet, the owner of Google

The paperwork is filed and it's official: Google has restructured itself into Alphabet. As of the close of business today shares of the old Google are now part of Alphabet, which counts Google as a subsidiary. On our end, this doesn't change much -- unless you're a big fan of Ingress or Pokemon -- but now Sergey Brin and Larry Page can chase innovations in seemingly unrelated areas. Sundar Pichai will keep running day-to-day operations at the new Google, except now with the title of CEO

Google now includes Android, Search, YouTube, Apps, Maps and Ads. Meanwhile, Alphabet can focus on Google Fiber (high speed internet), Calico and Life Sciences (health), Google Ventures and Google Capital (investments), Nest (home automation) and Google X (everything fun, like drone deliveries, self-driving cars and city-wide WiFi).

Google Proceeds With Implementation of New Operating Structure

Google Inc. announced today that, pursuant to its previously announced plans to create a new public holding company, Alphabet Inc. ("Alphabet"), by implementing a holding company reorganization (the "Alphabet Merger"), it expects that the Alphabet Merger will close after the close of business on October 2, 2015. Google anticipates that shares of Google Class C Capital Stock and shares of Google Class A Common Stock will begin trading as Alphabet Class C Capital Stock and Alphabet Class A Common Stock, respectively, on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on October 5, 2015. Shares of Alphabet Class C Capital Stock and shares of Alphabet Class A Common Stock will continue to be traded under the same ticker symbols under GOOG and GOOGL, respectively.

Update: The Alphabet merger is now effective. For more information on the merger, please see Alphabet's Form 8-K filed on October 2, 2015.


Your VB Kid

Did Google’s quantum computer just get the biggest processor upgrade in history?

Largest processing

Google will be getting a major upgrade to its D-Wave brand quantum computer, which has been the source of controversy over the past several years. The company has kept a tight wraps on just what it hopes to accomplish with quantum technology, and whether it has started to accomplish it. Now we know that the computer itself will be getting significantly more powerful, and that D-Wave will maintain it with further upgrades for another seven years. If you believe D-Wave’s take on the technology, this newest version is exponentially more powerful than the last.

Apple made the iPhone 6s nearly waterproof and didn't tell anyone

Hiding secrets

Leave it up to Apple to downplay a surprisingly useful engineering feat: A water-resistant iPhone. It turns out the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sport a combination of new technology that makes them far more resistant to liquid damage than past iPhones, iFixit reports. Apple packed in a new gasket around the sides of the phone, and it incased every cable connector on the phone's logic board with a waterproofing material. Given that the logic board that includes most of the iPhone's sensitive electronics and is the most prone to water damage, Apple's solution is particularly clever. Most other water-resistant phones focus on protecting external ports, rather than internal electronics. While it's far from being truly waterproof, there are plenty of videos online showing iPhone 6s models surviving water dunks. The truly strange thing is Apple has never mentioned the feature -- unlike Samsung and Sony, both of which championed water resistance as key features of some recent phones (though Samsung gave up on it for the Galaxy S6, and Sony is backtracking on its claims).

Saturday, September 26, 2015

This AI algorithm can match the average American on real SAT questions

When tech gets smarter

Yeah, yeah — of course a computer won at a math competition. That’s not the point. This story, which concerns a rather amazing program called GeoS from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), is about the ability of AI to usefully engage with the world. To a computer, with a brain literally structured for these sorts of operations, the math SAT is not a test on calculation, but reading comprehension. That’s why this story is so interesting: GeoS isn’t as good as the average American at geometry, it’s as good as the average American at the SAT itself.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The iOS App Store has been hit with its first major malware scare

Malware authors have been targeting Android for years with all manner of nasty tricks, but we’re only now seeing the first large scale attack on Apple’s walled iOS garden. Researchers at Palo Alto Networks have uncovered a hive of iOS malware nestled within the very thing that was supposed to keep users safe — the App Store. Apple has already taken action to remove the threat, but the full effects of the “XcodeGhost” are not yet known.

Apple has managed to avoid any major malware scares all these years thanks in large part to the stringent manual review processes that all apps must go through. It can take weeks to get a minor update approved for release in the App Store, and there’s no simple way to install apps via an outside source. Unofficial app repositories are where virtually all the Android malware lurks, so iOS has avoided this problem.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

3D printing proves ancient ‘spear butt’ is a musical instrument


One nice thing about 3D printing is that it doesn’t just make things possible, but that it makes them easier. Some complex shapes, intricate lattices of splines — sure, those might be hard to make by conventional means, but generally 3D printing is about putting old abilities in new hands. For instance, we’ve always been able to make precise casts of ancient artifacts — but it’s always been difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Now, 3D printing is making accurate recreation of relics as easy as passing it through a scanner, and that has big implications for science.

Particle collider creates ‘primordial goo’ of the early universe


A quark-gluon plasma is the original state of the universe. After the Big Bang, for a length of time extending for perhaps a few milliseconds, matter was so unimaginably super-heated that it was in its most disordered possible state. This means that there was nothing larger or more organized than single subatomic particles — the constituents of relatively enormous things like protons.

The behaviour of this plasma, and the process by which it cooled to form matter as we know it, is one of the most important questions for early universe cosmology today. That’s why it’s so surprising that an American particle collider called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) was able to create it with very little actual mass. Their results are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Self-healing material could patch up damaged spacecraft in under a second


Space is big and mostly empty, but it’s the small part that isn’t empty that ends up being an issue for space exploration. Even a tiny piece of debris from a derelict satellite or ancient bit of space rock can cause damage to a spacecraft, and that damage can expose your fragile atmosphere-loving body to the harsh vacuum of space in a real hurry. Researchers from the University of Michigan working with NASA have developed a material that might add an extra layer of protection from space debris, a material that can heal itself to seal hull breaches.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Breaking Bad pilot becomes first 4K content pirated from Netflix

Can't be stopped

You probably don’t even have a 4K TV yet, but content providers are already getting the video ready for the day when you do. Netflix is one of the main sources for 4K video right now as we await 4K Blu-Ray discs, and thus far content producers could feel secure providing their UHD video on the streaming platform. However, it appears that the first pirated 4K content from Netflix has hit torrent sites, calling into question how secure the latest DRM schemes really are.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This might be HTC's late-2015 flagship phone


HTC has been promising another "hero" phone this October to try and turn around its dismal fiscal performance, but what that device would look like has remained a mystery. Would it just be a tweaked One M9? If a claimed photo leak is accurate, it might be considerably more than that. The two images purport to show the A9 (aka Aero), a handset that has very little in common with the M9. Its camera is above the antenna stripe (reminiscent of the M8's depth camera) rather than below, and it appears to be flatter. The front, meanwhile, looks like it's switching to "2.5D" curved glass. Those aren't far-fetched changes, but we can't blame you if you're still skeptical -- these pics are tough to verify, so it's possible that they're just fanciful renderings.

And what's inside? That's even less certain, although there are rumours that the A9 will use a 10-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch quad HD display and a hefty 3,500mAh battery. If so, this would be a different beast than the M9, focusing more on longevity (the main reason the X20 has all those cores) over raw performance. With that said, we're not convinced yet. The X20 isn't supposed to be ready until early 2016, so you may see a more familiar chip inside HTC's stopgap smartphone.

Source: engadget

Your VB Kid

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mirror your Android device on your Mac or PC with Vysor


There are plenty of ways to mirror your smartphone onto your desktop, but none are as apparently easy (or snappy) as this one. Vysor has been cooked-up by AllCast creator Koush as a seamless way to mirror your Android device's display onto a Windows, Linux or Mac computer. All you'll need to do is connect one to the other over USB and install the Chrome plugin and in a few seconds, you should be able to control your phone with a keyboard and mouse. It may have been intended as a developer tool, but one keen-eyed Reddit user spotted the app while it was in private beta and shared it with the world.

Scientists in Antarctica detect cosmic neutrinos from outside our galaxy

There's life out there

Few particles in the universe are as strange and interesting as the neutrino. These elementary particles have no charge and so little mass that they can usually slip through matter without leaving a trace. While you read this sentence, several thousand neutrinos have shot right through your body unimpeded by all the squishy stuff inside. Naturally, detecting these particles is not easy, but a team of researchers working in Antarctica has managed to detect the rarest neutrinos of all — cosmic neutrinos from beyond the Milky Way.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Microsoft kills patch notes, will no longer explain most Windows 10

You don't need to know

When Microsoft debuted Windows 10, it began offering significantly less information about KB updates in any given package. Instead of getting a clickable link that provided more than a bare sentence of information, users have to manually search for KB articles based on the given name. While this isn’t difficult, it’s an example of how Redmond has made it a bit more difficult to know what the OS is doing or why it’s doing it. Now, the company has stated that this obfuscation isn’t an artifact of a rushed launch — the company will not explain feature updates unless it deems them significant.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The realities of a $50 smartphone

Is it possible?

As mobile networks kill off phone subsidies, users might now begin to appreciate just how much their new smartphone really costs. It's an even bigger problem in the developing world, where relatively few have the cash to buy even a mid-range phone like the Moto G. Google attempted to remedy the problem with Android One, but the first generation of "affordable" devices were far too expensive. That's why the company is pledging to get the cost of a smartphone down to just $50 -- a price that, right now, seems impossible to achieve. If Google can do it, however, it'll be able to connect countless people in countries like India, the Philippines and Turkey. Fifty dollars isn't a lot of money to put together a device, so what sort of phone can you get for the money?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Samsung unveils massive 16TB SSD built with new 3D NAND

It's bigger

We've seen multiple companies jockey for the record of largest SSD over the years, but Samsung appears to have gotten tired of the hooplah and decided to own the category outright. The company announced a new 16TB SSD (formatted capacity, 15.36TB) at the 2015 Flash Memory Summit. The massive increase in density is thanks to the 48-layer 3D TLC NAND that Samsung announced earlier this week, and it’s one massive puppy. Based on the company’s own statistics, each of its new 3D NAND chips can hold up to 256Gb (32GB). That means 32 chips per terabyte, and 512 chips to provide 16TB of data. If Samsung over-provisioned the drives by 10%, there could be as many as 600 NAND chips inside the PM1633a.

Lenovo can sell PCs, but not phones

Even the world's no.1 PC maker finds selling smartphones tough

Lenovo is the biggest PC maker in the world, but smartphones remain a challenge. The company's mobile arm announced a pre-tax loss of $292 million for the three months ending in June: Motorola phones shipped stood at 5.9 million, down just less than a third from last year. The company now plans to cut 10 percent of its non-manufacturing jobs (roughly 3,200 people), aiming to save around $650 million in the second half of 2015. It's also writing down $300 million in unsold phones. The company's total net profit dropped 51 percent year-on-year, down to $105 million.

Lenovo's chief exec, Yang Yuanqing, told Reuters that he stands by the acquisition of Motorola, which cost $2.91 billion in 2014. He added that restructuring Motorola and Lenovo's smartphone divisions will take two to three quarters. This looks likely to cost $600 million, due to the "toughest market environment in recent years" -- likely why the company is trying all sorts of gambits.

Source: Engadget

Your VB Kid

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ubuntu Phone is shipping — too bad the software isn’t ready

It's not ready

Over the last few years, Google and Android have increasingly dominated the mobile scene, with Microsoft relegated to bit-player status. Once-massive players like BlackBerry scarcely stir a ripple in the market. Nonetheless, Ubuntu has chosen to stick its neck out and create a mobile operating system based on its own software to hopefully compete against the massive entrenched players. A new review of the Ubuntu Phone OS puts the operating system through its paces — and finds a great deal wanting.

Windows 10 Build 10240 is the RTM version, but Microsoft wishes you’d stop calling it that

Well, why not?

As the Windows 10 ship draws close to port, we’ve seen confirmation from multiple sources that yes, Windows 10 Build 10240 is the RTM version that was sent out to OEMs for installation. The problem with this classification, however, is that Microsoft now refuses to use it. When Mark Hachman of PCWorld reached out to the company for confirmation, he was met with the following: “This build is the latest Windows 10 build, and we’ll continue to update Windows 10 code as we head toward launch and beyond,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are embracing a new way to deliver Windows.”

Friday, July 24, 2015

Google realised you hate full-page app ads

You know those full-screen "interstitial" ads that pop up when you load a mobile site and suggest that you install the app instead? It just dawned on Google that they actually make you rage-quit the entire site and go somewhere else. The search giant decided to take a look at interstitial ads for its own Google+ -- a site that's not exactly beloved in the first place. It found that while nine percent of visitors did press the "get app" button, 69 percent abandoned the page completely.

Japan is building a 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' bullet train

Japan is yet to create any towering bio-machines in the style of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it's doing the next best thing: decorating a Shinkansen bullet train to look like the iconic purple Unit-01.

It's being put together by Japanese train operator JR West to celebrate the the 20th anniversary of the hit mecha anime, as well as the 40 years that have passed since the completion of the Sanyo Shinkansen line. In addition to its striking paint job, the "500 Type Eva" train will have an Evangelion-themed interior and heaps of special memorabilia for fans to buy. JR West says it'll launch this autumn and run until March next year, completing two trips between Hakata and Shin-Osaka each day. We're on board, as long as the train isn't required to fight any formidable Angels along the way.

VB Kid

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Windows 10 automatic updates are mandatory for Home users

You WILLL update. There is no choice

Microsoft has always struggled to get consumers to install important Windows updates, but it’s pulling out the big guns with Windows 10. The company has confirmed that Home users of Windows 10 will have to agree to receive system updates automatically as part of the terms and conditions. So you’re going to be up-to-date whether you like it or not.

Boxed copies of Windows 10 contain a USB flash drive

Now I want my games llike this

The free upgrade to Windows 10 can’t come soon enough for those of us left frustrated by the desktop-unfriendly interface of Windows 8. Hopefully Windows 10 fixes all the issues and gives us a much more Windows 7-like experience. But the next version of Windows has another welcome change that Microsoft hasn’t talked too much about: if you purchase a boxed copy of the operating system it won’t require an optical drive for installation anymore.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Intel delays next-gen chips as Moore's law begins to crack

He is Moorse, and his word is LAW

Intel says its next-gen "Cannonlake" chips will be delayed by six months, marking the second time in a row it hasn't released a CPU on a two-year "Moore's law" cycle. Last year's 14-nanometer Broadwell chips were similarly delayed, and even Haswell and Ivy Bridge were behind schedule. Intel said that the setback for the new 10-nanometer chips was caused by the increasing complexity in building transistors that small. Addressing the elephant in the room, CEO Brian Krzanich said that "the last two technology transitions have signaled that our cadence today is closer to 2.5 years than two."

To address the lack of chips in the pipeline, Intel said that it's going to release new "Kaby Lake" code-named 14-nanometer chips based on the previous-gen Skylake architecture. Krzanich said that "we expect that this addition to the roadmap will deliver new features and improved performance, and pave the way for a smooth transition to 10-nanometer." Nevertheless, he admitted that Intel is now on a "tick-tock-tock" cycle rather than a "tick-tock" as before. That bodes poorly for an already-struggling PC industry, as consumers will have one less reason to get excited about new products.

Intel also admitted that PC demand was weaker than expected, and expects it to get worse by year's end. Nevertheless, Krzanich thinks the July 29th launch of Windows 10 will provide a tonic. "A lot of the really good features of Windows 10 -- things like Windows 10 Hello, where you have facial log in, and you don't have to use all your passwords, the Start screen, the touch usages of gaming as the new games come to this product -- those are going to run with PCs that have the latest features," he said. Despite the gloomy PC talk, Intel still managed to pull in a better-than-expected $13.2 billion for the quarter, thanks to a new focus on data centers, Internet-of-Things and memory.


The Chief Tecnomancer
VB Kid

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