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General News News (1413)

Man Suing Microsoft for Unwanted Windows 7 to Windows 10 Update

Category: General News
Posted: February 16, 2018 09:42AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A lot of people really liked Windows 7, so much so they skipped Windows 8, and some even want to skip Windows 10. To encourage people to upgrade, and in an attempt to unify Windows users to a single platform, Microsoft made the upgrade from either older operating system to Windows 10 free, but there are still some who wanted to avoid it. This includes Frank Dickman of New Mexico, who is apparently very opposed to Windows 10, because he is suing Microsoft and its CEO over the Windows 10 upgrade.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Dickman's ASUS 54L laptop came with an OEM license for Windows 7 and after it was upgraded to Windows 10, it become "non-functional immediately." It continues to state the upgrade removed the older operating system, which is normally kept to allow recovery of potentially lost files or returning to the previous operating system. (The backup is also made when you install a major upgrade and is kept in the Windows.old folder and can be removed using the Disk Cleanup utility, in case you were curious.) Supposedly Microsoft refused to put Windows 7 back onto the computer, stating the computer vendor (ASUS) must do so, but the lawsuit claims they are untrustworthy, so Microsoft must do it. If Microsoft refuses to do so within 30 days, Mr. Dickman wants "$6,000,000,000.00 (six hundred million dollars)" [sic] from the company and its CEO, Satya Nadella.

It is hard to say right now what is going to happen with this lawsuit, but it may be interesting to watch.

Source: The Register

Facebook May Make Watch Into YouTube Competitor

Category: General News
Posted: February 8, 2018 07:15AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Right now the dominant video hosting and sharing service is YouTube, where anyone can freely upload content, and if they satisfy the right conditions, they can even share in the ad revenue the videos earn. According to CNBC sources, Facebook is considering making changes to its Watch platform to compete with YouTube.

Watch launched in August 2017 and Facebook bought the rights to the shows that were on it, which means creators could not freely upload content, unless they became a partner. This also means not everyone would receive ad revenue for their content, but that is something the company is considering changing. By making it free to upload content and allowing content creators to receive a cut of the ad revenue, Facebook hopes to bring more long-form content to the platform and chick away at YouTube.

Recently YouTube changed the requirements for someone to earn ad revenue from the platform, removing the lifetime view count of 10,000 and making the requirement 4000 hours of watch time and 1000 subscribers. This change was made to appease ad buyers who were upset by their ads appear on inappropriate videos. What Facebook might be considering to avoid this would be to allow ad buyers to purchase specific shows, similar to how television ads are purchased. Of course all of this is technically rumor, but it will be interesting to see what strategies Facebook may adopt to bring more content to its platform.

Source: CNBC

Google Might Be Developing Game Streaming Service and Possibly an Associated Console

Category: General News
Posted: February 7, 2018 10:40AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While there are some video game streaming services out there, their presence seems to be somewhat marginal and discs and downloaded installs dominate. Despite the nascent state of the services, there is a rumor Google might be developing its own solution, bringing game streaming to Chromecast and potentially a Google-made console. Supposedly this service, codenamed Yeti, is already functional on Chromecast, though Yeti was still in an early form at the time. The original intent was for Yeti to be used on Chromecast streaming devices with a Yeti hardware controller, while the idea of console being a more recent addition. The company's plans have been shared with some top-tier developers, according to the rumor, to see about getting existing games brought to Yeti or having new games developed for the service.

While this may sound unrealistic, Google did recently hire Phil Harrison, a form PlayStation and Xbox executive, so they do have someone with console experience among their ranks now.

Source: WCCFtech

Meltdown and Spectre Samples Showing Up

Category: General News
Posted: February 5, 2018 10:31AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At the beginning of January the news about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities first broke, and by the end of the month 139 samples had been found, according to AV-TEST. The antivirus testing firm shared this information with SecurityWeek, with those samples coming from sources including researchers, testers, and antivirus companies.

While the appearance of these samples is worrying, there is perhaps still some time to prepare as these appeared to be in a research phase. Most of them looked to be recompiled or extended versions of the proof-of-concept code released as part of the research papers identifying them, so they have not become malicious yet. This means you will want to make sure you are installing updates to your software, microcode, and possibly taking other measures to protect yourself. These other measures include turning off your computer when it is not needed for long periods of time and closing your web browser when you do not need it. Some of the proof-of-concept attacks use JavaScript code that can attack IE, Chrome, or Firefox.

On the bright side, along with the many software updates being rolled out by various companies, both Intel and AMD announced in their Q4 2017 earnings calls they have hardware-level fixes developed for future CPU releases. Intel stated the fixed chips are coming this year and AMD said the Zen 2 architecture will be the first with the fix. Zen 2 is scheduled to launch in 2019.

Source: SecurityWeek

Corsair Launches New Gaming Chairs

Category: General News
Posted: February 2, 2018 09:45AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When gaming or working for long stretches in front of your computer, a comfortable seat can be very important. To the end, Corsair has announced two new series of gaming chairs; the 2018 T1 RACE and T2 ROAD WARRIOR. Both chairs are available with black, white, red, blue, or yellow accents.

The T2 ROAD WARRIOR has a number of features to keep you comfortable, including premium perforated PU leather and several points of adjustment. The seat back can be reclined up to 170º and the seat base too can be tilted by up to 17º, and there are included neck and lumbar pillows with soft microfiber exteriors, for when you need the extra support. The arm rests can be moved vertically, horizontally, forward and back, and can be rotated to match your needs, and for when you need to move around the rollerblade-style wheels will keep the movement smooth and most floors, including over carpet.

The new T1 RACE also has PU leather, pillows, and the rollerblade-style wheels but can be reclined 180º. The lift only provides 85 mm of lift though.

Both the T2 ROAD WARRIOR and T1 RACE are available now and are backed by a two-year warranty.



Source: Press Release

MSI Announces New Keyboard and Headset

Category: General News
Posted: January 31, 2018 10:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you are looking for either a new keyboard or a new headset, MSI has announced some you may want to look at. The new keyboard is the Vigor GK40 GAMING and it features mechanical-like keystrokes, meaning a more crisp feel for a better typing experience than typical membrane keyboards. It also has six RGB illumination zones with multiple light effects and speed settings for these effects. The Vigor GK40 Gaming can also be purchased as part of a bundle with the Clutch GM10 GAMING mouse, which offers up to 2400 DPI and a 4-level switch.

Also announced is the Immerse GH60 gaming headset that sports 50 mm Neodymium drivers with Hi-Res certification to provide detailed and clear sound. Its ergonomic design is meant to distribute its weight evenly on your head while the soft ear pads make a comfortable fit. Two sets of pads are included, with one being smooth leather and the other soft cloth, in case you have a preference or just want to switch out to something fresh after a long session. It connects via a 3.5 mm headphone jack, so you can enjoy the headset on more than just your computer.

All of these products should be available soon if not already.

Source: Press Release

National 5G Network Memo Only Proposal and Lacked Traction

Category: General News
Posted: January 30, 2018 09:47AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some of you may have seen headlines and news stories recently about a proposal for the US government to build a national 5G network. Something as significant and as radical a department from current policy got a lot of attention, but apparently the proposal itself is dated and was only floated as an idea, not as something imminent.

The proposal came from an official at the National Security Council, which is a White House-based body that advises the president, but other organizations and government bodies would also weigh in on such a plan. These include the Federal Communications Commission, and the chairman, Ajit Pai, has stated he would vehemently oppose a move to nationalize 5G like this. Among the FCC's responsibilities is stewardship of wireless frequencies, auctioning off sections for use, like those 5G will use and current 4G networks use, and keeping other sections of the spectrum unlicensed and open for public use.

Exactly how a 5G network might be deployed though is still being determined as the millimeter waves it will use are attenuated by building materials, such as low-emissivity glass, foliage, the human body, and even rain. The high bandwidth 5G offers can compensate for some of this, but other methods are also being investigated. (An advantage to having a broadcast engineer in the house is hearing about these topics after dinner.)

Source: Recode

Dell Considering Reverse-Merger with VMware

Category: General News
Posted: January 30, 2018 09:20AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At present Dell Technologies is a privately held company, but that may change as means of paying off its $50 billion debt are considered. Among the potential plans is a reverse-merger with VMware. VMware was a pioneer in virtualization and in 2015 Dell acquired EMC and 80% stake in VMware for $67 billion. That deal remains the largest technology acquisition to date, but this proposed reverse-merger, where the smaller VMware would purchase Dell, could surpass it.

The reason this reverse-merger is being considered is as a way to make Dell publicly traded again without having to go through a traditional initial public offering. If this were to happen, VMware would give the private owners of Dell, Michael Dell and Silver Lake, shares which they could then sell on the public market. This plan is just one of many for Dell's board of directors to consider when they meet next month, so it is still very possible something else will be done to address the company's debt.

Source: CNBC

Atari Dragster Record Stricken by Twin Galaxies and Other Todd Rogers Records

Category: General News
Posted: January 30, 2018 07:26AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you look in the Guinness Book of World Records currently, the longest held record in a video game is held by Todd Rogers for a 5.51 second run in Dragster, an Atari game made by Activision. This record goes back almost 35 years but many of challenged its authenticity, including an investigation by Ben Heck, and now Twin Galaxies has decided to strike the record, along with all other records held by Rogers.

Twin Galaxies is the video game racing organization and it was in August 2017 it received a formal dispute of the Dragster record, though challenges to its authenticity are far older with some saying the 5.51 second run is impossible. While the many community challenges to the record did weigh on Twin Galaxies Adjudication, a fairly young part of Twin Galaxies, it was a statement by former senior referee Robert Mruczek that apparently pushed it all over the line to not only remove the Dragster record but all of Rogers' records from the Twin Galaxies database.

Mruczek has been a friend of Rogers for a long time, but as a referee and record holder himself, he questioned some of the records. These include a score of 960,001 points in the game Kaboom! and a 47 second run in the Atari 2600 Superman game. His analysis of Kaboom! indicates that while the 960,001 score is possible on difficulty A in the game, it would involve "five hours of stellar gameplay" followed by very poor gameplay. He asked Rogers to produce evidence of the score, but none was ever provided. In Superman Mruczek determined a time of 45 seconds would be the absolute best possible, so a 47 second run is within the realm of reality, but with cheating he only achieved a run of 58 seconds, but with a shortcut could cut off nearly 10 seconds. That combines to mean a 47-49 second run is possible with cheating, but Rogers' claim is 47 seconds without cheating.

With these records now striped from the database many others move up, including all those with 5.57 second runs in Dragster, as that is now the first-place record. Guinness World Records has also been contacted to redact the 5.51 second record and other Rogers records will likely be removed in time as well.

Source: Twin Galaxies

Intel Informed Several Companies, Including Chinese Companies, Before US Government of Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

Category: General News
Posted: January 29, 2018 11:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As we approach February, I am not surprised to see Meltdown and Spectre continue to be in the news, but I will admit this is not a story I expected to see. According to the Wall Street Journal, Intel informed a number of companies prior to the early public announcement of the vulnerabilities, but failed to notify the US government. Making the story more interesting is that Chinese companies were among those Intel shared the vulnerabilities with, which calls into question if the Chinese government, monitoring such communications, was also aware of the issues before any patches were available.

If you do not remember, both Meltdown and Spectre are vulnerabilities identified by Google's Project Zero in June 2017 that exploit speculative execution. While Spectre can affect all CPUs to differing degrees, Meltdown is only viable on unpatched Intel systems and can be used to expose the memory of all virtual machines on a server. Clearly this is a significant security threat, and as usually happens, Intel notified some partners about it so the companies could coordinate and develop patches to protect against it. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft were notified, as well as Chinese companies Lenovo and Alibaba, but the Department of Homeland Security and NSA were not. These US government organizations only learned about the vulnerabilities the day the Register broke the story, which was a week earlier than the planned public announcement. Due to this lack of awareness, the DHS Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was initially advising replacement of the CPU was necessary, but is now stating users should patch their systems to protect themselves.

Thus far, there is no evidence the information Intel was sharing was misused, but this still seems to have been an odd decision of Intel's on who to notify and when.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Multiple Suits Filed Against AMD and Intel Over Spectre and Meltdown

Category: General News
Posted: January 17, 2018 11:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

One can hardly be surprised by this news as a total of six lawsuits have been filed against AMD and Intel combined. Four of these suits are against Intel with the other two against AMD. The two against AMD are both concerning if AMD and/or any of its executives and officers misled people about the impact of the vulnerabilities, thereby committing fraud to keep stock values high. The Rosen Law Firm v AMD is currently asking for those who purchased AMD stock between February 21, 2017 and January 11, 2018 to join its class action suit, though a class has not been certified yet. The Pomerantz Law Firm v AMD suit is a bit more specific in its claims by pointing out that days after AMD had stated there was "near zero risk" to the second variant of Spectre, the company "acknowledged" its CPUs are susceptible to it and have made available optional microcode patches to protect against it.

Turning to the Intel suits, they come from Brower Piven, Levi & Korsinsky, LLP, Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP, and Bronstein, Gewritz & Grossmand, LLC. All four of these share similar language by alleging Intel CPUs contain a fundamental design flaw making them vulnerable, the fixes ton the vulnerability can slow the processors' operation by 5-30%, and that public statements made by the company were materially false and misleading. The Brower Piven and Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP filings also mention reports of a sale of stock options by Intel's CEO.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything comes of these suits, and I could see it potentially impact how significant security vulnerabilities are handled in the industry. When the Spectre and Meltdown issues were discovered, various companies were informed, so patches and other mitigation methods could be developed, but the information was kept private and away from the public. While one can make the argument this is to prevent malicious actors from using the information to attack still vulnerable systems, these lawsuits appear to make the argument this information needs to be disclosed to the shareholders earlier. This is going to be an interesting year for the computer industry.

Source: WCCFtech

Circuit City Returning February 15

Category: General News
Posted: January 12, 2018 03:10PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Do you remember Circuit City? It used to be the top big-box tech chain, but fell from that height. There was an attempt to bring it back as an online-only sister site to Systemax's TigerDirect, but that failed too. At CES 2018 though, Ronny Shmoel, the Circuit City CEO who bought the band back from Systemax in 2015, announced Circuit City is being resurrected again.

The new Circuit City will begin as an experiential website, followed by kiosks, store-in-stores, and finally showrooms. Supporting the site will be the commerce platform of the IBM Watson AI. Watson will learn customers' interests and then behave as a shopping assistant, attempting to put experience over product as you search for what you need and want.

Source: Twice

Microsoft Pauses Meltdown and Spectre Patch Roll Out for Some AMD Systems

Category: General News
Posted: January 9, 2018 08:04AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Depending on the system you are running, you might not get the Windows patches to protect against Meltdown and Spectre. According to Microsoft, some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation the company has, and this has led to conflicts leaving the AMD devices in an unbootable state. If your system has one of the impacted AMD processors, you will not receive the patches at this time. A list of the impacted AMD CPUs is not provided on the Microsoft page, but Microsoft does say it is working with AMD to resolve the issue.

Source: Microsoft

Supposed Code for Navi GPU in AMD Linux Driver Busted

Category: General News
Posted: December 21, 2017 11:15AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Not too long ago there were some claims around the Internet that the next generation of GPUs from AMD, based on the Navi architecture, already had code in the AMD Linux driver. The folks at Phoronix, who specialize in covering Linux, have also taken a look at the code and explained the reference to GFX10 is not Navi, or any specific GPU for that matter. The code itself first appeared back in July and is related to AMD's open-source GPU debugger, UMR, and is to supply it with arbitrary new GPU information. It is not a part of the debugger but a demo file for testing the debugger.

As further evidence this is not Navi, or anything else, GFX10 is also identified as "SUPER_SECRET," uses the address 0x12345670, and the demo code calls it "Fakerizo," which is a play on the words fake and Carrizo, an AMD APU. While it does make sense for Navi to also bear the GFX10 identifier, as Vega is GFX9, this is not it.

Navi is currently expected to arrive in H2 2018 though, so it may only be months before it appears in the Linux driver code. With luck though, this driver support will come in time for the launch, thanks to AMDGPU DC having been merged and the AMD Vulkan driver having been open-sourced.

Source: Phoronix

Kaspersky Requesting Court Overturn Ban on Software

Category: General News
Posted: December 19, 2017 08:06AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Last week President Trump signed into law a spending bill that also banned the use of Kaspersky Lab software on government computers, something the Department of Homeland Security already issued a directive concerning in September. Now the Russian software company has asked a federal court to overturn this ban, claiming it was not afforded due process.

According to Kaspersky Labs, there is no evidence its software has been used by the Russian government for espionage purposes, and the government mostly relied on uncorroborated news media reports. While the loss of US government business is actually somewhat minor, not even amounting to $54,000 or 0.03% of its US subsidiary's sales, this has been a much more significant blow to its reputation. Some retailers have even dropped Kaspersky products, including Best Buy, as a result of the claims against the company.

In addition to overturning the ban, the company also wants the court to declare its products are not a security threat to government computers.

Source: Reuters

Mozilla Pushed Add-on to Firefox and Now Pulled It Into Add-on Store

Category: General News
Posted: December 18, 2017 10:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Last week Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, pushed an extension out to the popular browser, without informing its users or requesting permission. The extension was named Looking Glass and had the cryptic description of "MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS," which left many users to found it confused and concerned a piece of spyware was on their computer.

As it turns out this extension is part of a marketing promotion for the TV show Mr. Robot and not a danger to anyone's computers. It is for an ARG connected to the show and needed to be explicitly enabled to play the game, but this was not communicated to users when it appeared on their systems. Now the extension has been moved to the Firefox Add-on store and is no long being pushed on users. If you are a fan of the show and want to play the ARG, you can follow the store link.

Along with the move to the add-on store, there is also a Firefox support page concerning Looking Glass, which states the television series centers around online privacy and security, which are among the ten guiding principles of Mozilla as, "individuals' security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional."

Along with the number of user comments concerning this event, Gizmodo has also shared some public comments of a Mozilla software developer, who is equally dismayed by this.

Source: Gizmodo

Disney Purchasing Significant Portion of 21st Century Fox

Category: General News
Posted: December 14, 2017 07:14AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There have been rumors of this possibility of late, but now it is official that The Walt Disney Company is purchasing a significant amount of 21st Century Fox's media assets, including film and television studios, Fox's stake in Hulu, and intellectual properties such as Avatar, National Geographic, Fantastic Four, and X-Men. This deal comes to approximately $52.4 billion in stock, though the value is subject to adjustment and Disney is assuming about $13.7 billion of Fox's debt. Disney is not acquiring all of Fox's properties though, and prior to the acquisition completing Fox Broadcasting networks and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network will be spun off to a new company. It is anticipated that Fox will try to finish its acquisition of Sky, which will then go to Disney as part of this deal

Of course this deal will need to survive the scrutiny of regulatory bodies meant to prevent monopolies before it can close. According to Bloomberg, Disney expects the deal to close in 12 to 18 months.

Source: Bloomberg, The Walt Disney Company, and 21st Century Fox

President Trump Signs Law Banning Kaspersky Lab Software from Government Use

Category: General News
Posted: December 13, 2017 11:33AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

On Tuesday President Trump signed a defense policy spending bill that included a provision banning the use of Kaspersky Lab software on government computers. This follows a directive from September to remove the software within 90 days, and since then most have. This all stems from a concern Kaspersky Lab software can and has been used by Russian intelligence for cyber-espionage purposes. Kaspersky has repeatedly denied these claims and has even offered to have its source code audited, but has thus far failed to assuage the government's concerns.

Recently it was announced Kaspersky Labs would be closing its Washington D.C. office, which sold software to the U.S. government, but it is still opening new offices across North America. It will also be opening Transparency Centers for independent experts to analyze and verify Kaspersky code.

Source: Reuters

VESA Announces Fully Open HDR Standard for Displays

Category: General News
Posted: December 12, 2017 11:49AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When purchasing a new display today, there are a variety of specifications to consider, such as resolution, refresh rate, and more recently if it supports high dynamic range (HDR). While HDR displays have been available for some time now, there has been no actual agreement within the display industry for what counts as HDR, which can cover increased color gamuts, brightness, and supported bit-depth. To adres the confusion, VESA has announced DisplayHDR, a fully open standard with three levels of HDR support for testing the quality of current and upcoming displays.

The three levels within DisplayHDR are DisplayHDR 400, DisplayHDR 600, and DisplayHDR 1000. DisplayHDR 400 is the lowest, requiring luminance can reach 400 nits, which is as much as 50% more than standard dynamic range (SDR) displays, limits on the amount of light that can escape when the screen is black, and a minimum color gamut of 95% of ITU-R BT.709. DisplayHDR 600 bumps the peak brightness up to 600 nits, has even tighter limits of how much light can leak out, requires a minimum color gamut of 99% BT.709 and 90% DCI-P3 65, and actual support for 10-bit image processing and 8-bit pixel drivers. Most SDR panels do not use 8-bit color signals but 6-bit with dithering used to simulate 8-bit video. DisplayHDR 1000 has much the same requirements as DisplayHDR 600, but with a peak brightness requirement of 1000 nits and still tighter black level performance.

According to the VESA press release, we can expect to see DisplayHDR compliant products at CES next month. There are over two dozen active member companies that contributed to developing these standards, including AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, LG, and Samsung.

Source: VESA and DisplayHDR

China Allegedly Using LinkedIn to Recruit German Informants

Category: General News
Posted: December 11, 2017 01:37PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The German intelligence agency (BfV) has recently claimed Chinese intelligence is attempting to use the networking site LinkedIn to target thousands of Germans. Supposedly a minimum of 10,000 people were targeted by fake profiles, possibly with the intent to recruit them, in an effort to subvert German politics.

According to BfV, the plan involves making fake LinkedIn accounts for Chinese professionals that then make contact with German users. This contact could ultimately lead to them becoming informants and has apparently been targeting high-ranking politicians, in an attempt to infiltrate government bodies and agencies.

Source: BBC

Kaspersky Labs Closing Washington DC Office

Category: General News
Posted: December 8, 2017 10:55AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Kaspersky Labs Inc., the company behind products the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned, is closing its Washington D.C. office, which was selling it software to the government. The company is not pulling out of the country though, as it intends to open up new offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto next year. To counter claims its products can be used for espionage, the company is also going to open its source code up for third-party review. To help facilitate audits of its code, the Kaspersky is also going to open Transparency Centers with SCIF-class (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) facilities for independent experts to analyze the code and question Kaspersky employees.

Source: Bloomberg

Canadian Media Companies and ISPs Apparently Developing Plan for Blocking Pirate Sites

Category: General News
Posted: December 6, 2017 09:36AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Piracy is an issue many want to address, which is why there are many laws and methods in many countries to stop it and prosecute those guilty of it. Documents obtained by Canadaland indicate some Canadian companies, both media companies and ISPs, are developing a proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to develop a blacklist of pirate sites the ISPs must then block. This blacklist would be maintained by a non-profit organization called Internet Piracy Review Agency, which would be formed as a result of this plan, and enforcement would come from the CTRC. If you notice something missing there, that is because the judicial system is not involved in this process, at least not until after a site has already been blocked. Blocking pirate sites is not a new tactic to counter piracy, but it has involved the judicial process previously, and at least this draft does not appear to involve that kind of oversight.

While there might be a number of companies willing to sign on in support of this plan, there are reasons to believe the CRTC and Canadian government would not be willing to enact and enforce it. Only time will tell where this will go, but it seems unlikely it will be this draft that would be adopted, if proposed in its current form.

Source: Canadaland

Microsoft Azure Deploys AMD Epyc Processors for Upcoming Lv2-Series Virtual Machines

Category: General News
Posted: December 5, 2017 10:28AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When AMD launched its Ryzen processors in the beginning of the year, many praised the CPUs and the company for returning competition to the industry. It was later that AMD released its Epyc processors to challenge Intel in datacenters and other professional settings, where it has been successfully gaining clients. The most recently announced client is Microsoft for it Azure Lv2-Series virtual machines.

Microsoft Azure is an enterprise-grade cloud computing platform, and its L-Series VMs are specifically optimized for storage. Microsoft chose to use Epyc 7551 processors because of the high I/O bandwidth they provide and 128 PCIe lanes each CPU offers, which surpasses available two-socket solutions. The Lv2 VMs Azure will offer will span from 8 to 64 vCPU sizes, with the largest offering direct access to 4 TB of memory.

Source: AMD and Microsoft

To Test Atari Dragster Record, Ben Heck Builds RAM Analyzer

Category: General News
Posted: December 4, 2017 09:48AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In September 1982 a record of 5.51 seconds was set on the Atari 2600 version of the game Dragster, an Activision title released in 1980. In the decades since, this record has yet to be beaten, or even matched, so many wonder if Todd Rogers, the record holder actually cheated. To determine if this time was even possible, some in the spreedrunning community decided to analyze an emulator of the game, and came away with the best possible time being 5.57 seconds. This has led to a dispute being field with Twin Galaxies, the video game racing organization, for the record to be removed, but software analysis based on an emulator is not necessarily ideal. To provide third-party, independent analysis on actual Atari 2600 hardware, Twin Galaxies turned to Ben Heck who at last has an excuse to build a RAM analyzer for an Atari 2600.

The RAM analyzer is the featured build on a recent episode, embedded below, of the Ben Heck Show, and is fairly interesting to watch as quirks of the old hardware are discovered. It does not include if the 5.51 seconds record is possible, but that is the next step. With the RAM analyzer it will be possible to have the game play itself, making decisions at the best possible time. Will the record stand, or will this expose a decades-long fraud? It seems we will have to wait to find out.



Source: Element 14 [1] and [2]

Anonymous Cellular Network, Sopranica, Being Developed

Category: General News
Posted: December 4, 2017 08:39AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For many people a substantial part of their lives runs through their smartphones, and as amazing of tools they are for the user, some dislike their potential for tracking us. To combat that, a programmer in New York City, Denver Gingerich, decided to work on an open source, DIY cell network that offers anonymity. This network is called Sopranica and it was in January when Gingerich published the first code called JMP. This is what allows the network to use XMPP, a secure instant messaging protocol better known as Jabber so users can enjoy voice and text from an anonymous phone number. All of the data is also encrypted, so it is not possible for someone to listen in, but currently it also means an Internet connection is required. The next phase of Sopranica, called WOM, is meant to tackle this requirement by allowing people to attach a small and inexpensive radio to their routers, providing Sopranica access in the area. None of the process involved with setting up Sopranica requires any identifying information, so if someone tried to find you from your JMP phone number or the Jabber ID you are using, the search will stop there.

After the writer at Vice set up his own phone to use Sopranica, he used it to call Denver Gingerich and got an interview you can read at the source. If you are interested in Sopranica and its future, hit the link and read some more about its future and the challenges it is facing.

Source: Vice

TechCrunch Finds, Interviews Former Twitter Employee Who Deactivated President Trump's Account

Category: General News
Posted: November 30, 2017 09:19AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At the beginning of November, President Trump's Twitter account was deactivated for about 11 minutes, which almost immediately sparked response, media coverage, and questions concerning how this happened. It was not long before Twitter stated it was an accident and the person responsible was a contractor on his last day. TechCrunch start looking for this contractor and finally found Bahtiyar Duysak and spoke with him in Germany, where he was raised. His work in the United States was part of a work and study visa and included time working with Google and YouTube through the contractor Vaco. His work with Twitter was through Pro Unlimited.

By Duysak's account of the day, it was uneventful work in the Trust and Safety division, which is alerted of reports of bad behavior on Twitter and triages the complaints. Many have reported President Trump's tweets as violating the platform's terms of service, and one such report came in at the end of his day. As, what the TechCrunch article describes as "a final, throwaway gesture" Duysak started the process to deactivate the account before closing the computer and leaving the building. It was not until hours later that he even learned the account was deactivated for a time, which is something he did not expect would happen. It was explained by Twitter previously that while some tweets can appear to violate its TOS, 'newsworthiness' plays a factor and so if it is in the public interest to keep the tweet up, it will remain up. Being the leader of a nation, it would seem President Trump's tweets would be protected under this consideration, but for eleven minutes that proved to not be the case.

For Duysak, his interest now is just moving forward, and escaping media attention. Not only himself but family, friends, former employers, and associates have all been subjected constant requests by reporters and he hopes by stepping forward he can help bring this to an end. He wants to clear the air, get a new job, and move on with his life.

Source: TechCrunch

HDMI 2.1 Specification Released

Category: General News
Posted: November 28, 2017 12:23PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Today the final specification for HDMI 2.1 has been released, and its capabilities are fairly impressive, especially if you are still using 1920x1080 displays and media. For comparison, the HDMI 2.0b spec allows for 4K video at 60 Hz and a bandwidth of 18 Gbps. This new spec supports up to 48 Gbps and this much bandwidth can be put to use for 4K at 120 Hz and 8K at 60 Hz without compression. With VESA DSC 1.2a compression, you can go as high as 10K at 120 Hz. While the spec is backwards compatible, you will need a new Ultra High Speed HDMI cable to achieve the 48 Gbps bandwidth, thanks to the better shielding such cables have. The eARC feature for simplifying connectivity and superior audio formats and quality can be enjoyed with current HDMI and High Speed HDMI cables that support Ethernet.

Along with those features, HDMI 2.1 also has support for Dynamic HDR, Variable Refresh Rate, Quick Frame Transport and Auto Low Latency Mode for reduced lag, and Quick Media Switching to eliminate delays before content is displayed. It also supports color spaces with 10, 12, and 16 bits per color component and up to BT.2020, a color space that covers more than twice BT.709, the HDTV color space.

HDMI Forum expects to have the Compliance Test Specific published in the first half of next year, which will be necessary to start seeing Ultra High Speed HDMI cables come to market.

Source: HDMI Forum Inc. [1] and [2]

Lost Bitcoin Holding HDD Worth $71 Million Now

Category: General News
Posted: November 27, 2017 08:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When Bitcoin was still new, no one really knew what was going to come of the cryptocurrency and how many orders of magnitude its value could grow. Back in 2009 one person, James Howells, had acquired some 7500 Bitcoins and left them on his hard drive. He took apart that computer after spilling a drink on it, and in 2013 threw the hard drive out while clearing old IT equipment. It was only after this that he took an interest in Bitcoin and realized its value. He reached out to the dump and at the time was told it could be three to five feet down in the dump the size of a soccer field. Now with the value of Bitcoin around $9483, the contents of that hard drive come in at about $71,122,500.

Suddenly I do not feel bad about never throwing out my old computer components.

Source: TweakTown

Kaspersky Flagged by Defense Intelligence Agency in 2004

Category: General News
Posted: November 20, 2017 05:49PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A somewhat recent topic in the news has been concern over Kaspersky products, culminating in a ban on them by the Department of Homeland Security in September. Now it has been revealed by a memo sent to the Science, Space and Technology Committee of Congress that the Defense Intelligence Agency flagged the products as a potential threat back in 2004. At the time there were suspicions the Russian government could use it as an espionage tool, and so the Department of Defense ceased using its products. Other federal agencies continued to use them, however, and due to the ban they must remove the products by December 12.

Source: Wccftech

Wal-Mart Preordered 15 Tesla Tractor-Trailer

Category: General News
Posted: November 20, 2017 11:05AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At the end of last week, Tesla unveiled its plans to build electric tractor trailers and shortly thereafter other companies started announcing their preorders, including Wal-Mart. The retailer told CNBC it has preordered 15 of the Tesla tractor trailers to determine how well it might be integrated into its supply chain and meet long-term sustainability goals. Of the 15, five will be for Wal-Mart U.S. and the other 10 for Wal-Mart Canada. Wal-Mart's fleet currently consists of about 6000 trucks.

The Tesla tractor trailer is to have a 500-mile range on a single charge and the ability to connect to a fleet management system. It will also allow the driver to stand with the steering wheel in the center of the cab and touchscreens on both sides. It is expected to go into production in 2019.

Source: CNBC

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