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Showing posts from July, 2017

Linux Convergence Dream

The Elusive Total Linux Convergence Dream Regular readers know that I usually stick to the well-charted territory of essential terminal commands and practical overviews of Linux history, since they are immediately useful to newcomers.

Thankfully for beginners, the basics don't change very quickly -- but that's not to say that Linux is a stagnant ecosystem. Far from it. Linux can be found at the very frontier of emerging computer trends.
Most current events in the Linux community have little direct impact on the average desktop user, but one recent development that very much does is Canonical's decision to end development of Ubuntu's flagship Unity desktop. This was disheartening news for Unity fans this spring, but over the past few months it has been the subject of intense discussion throughout Linux developer and user circles for what it portends for the community at large.

Facebook Adds 4K to 360 Live

Facebook Adds Hardware, Software Vetting and 4K to 360 Live Facebook on Tuesday announced several updates to its live-streaming platform, including a new hardware and software vetting program used to create 360-degree video.

Through its new Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook will review hardware and software and approve products that work well with its Live 360 offering. Products deemed "ready" for Live 360 will be allowed to display a Facebook Live logo on their packaging or website.
"Each camera's app or Web experience will enable you to interact with your friends and followers through direct access to Facebook's native reactions and comments," noted Facebook Product Manager Chetan Gupta and Product Marketing Manager Caitlin Ramrakha in an online post.
Facebook has approved 11 cameras and seven software suites so far.
Live 360 Ready cameras included Giroptic iO, Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Air, Insta360 Pro, ION360 U, Nokia Ozo, Z CAM S1, 360Fly HD, 360Fly 4K …

The 5 Technologies We Need to Change the World

The 5 Technologies We Need to Change the World I just finished reading an interesting hard science fiction book called The Punch Escrow, by Tal M. Klein (a movie is in the works).

What makes the difference between hard and soft science fiction is that hard science fiction is based on science, while soft is, let's just say, far more imaginative. To be honest, I enjoy both types, and the soft stuff is a ton easier to write. Those pesky physical rules don't get in the way, and you don't have to do research.

The story takes place several decades in the future, and it revolves around the idea of quantum foam and teleportation. It points out why teleportation never may be practical, but it brings up the idea of human 3D printing, which could be used more effectively for space exploration.

However, it also would have a massive number of other uses, both good and bad, which got me thinking about what else could change our future in a massive way. I came up with a list of five pot…

Intel accuses Qualcomm

Intel accuses Qualcomm of trying to kill mobile chip competition Intel says Qualcomm's patent spat with Apple is really about quashing competition from Intel. Intel has jumped into the fray surrounding the Apple-Qualcomm patent spat by accusing the world's biggest maker of mobile phone chips of trying to use the courts to snuff out competition.

The chip giant made the allegation late Thursday in a public statement (PDF) to US International Trade Commission. The commission had requested the statement as part of its investigation into Qualcomm's accusation that Apple's iPhones of infringe six of Qualcomm's mobile patents.
Specifically, Intel said, the case is about quashing competition from Intel, which described itself as "Qualcomm's only remaining competitor" in the market for chips for cellular phones.

Microsoft Rolls Out Linux Support

Microsoft Rolls Out Linux Support in SQL Server 2017 Release Candidate Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its first public release candidate for SQL Server 2017, which includes full support for Windows, Linux and Docker containers.

SQL Server on Linux improves on earlier previews with several key enhancements, including active directory authentication; transport layer security to encrypt data; and SQL Server Integration Services that add support for Unicode ODBC drivers.

SQL Server 2017 has demonstrated faster performance than competitive databases or older SQL Server versions with new benchmarks, Microsoft said, including the world record TPC-H 1-TB non-clustered data warehousing benchmark achieved this spring using SQL Server 2017 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and HPE DL380 Gen 9 hardware.

New Security, Automation Tools

Red Hat Linux Upgrade Pushes New Security, Automation Tools Red Hat on Tuesday announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 beta.
RHEL 7.4 includes new security and compliance features and streamlined automation, along with tools for improved systems administration.

This latest upgrade comes nearly three years into the series 7 lifecycle. It continues to provide enterprises with a rich and stable foundation for both existing applications and a new generation of workloads and solutions.

"RHEL 7.4 enables data centers to continue running mission-critical stuff. We rarely see the particular features any more. We just take the technology for granted," said Steve Almy, principal product manager for RHEL at Red Hat.

Google create stunning photos using Street View imagery

Google is using AI to create stunning landscape photos using Street View imagery Google’s latest artificial intelligence experiment is taking in Street View imagery from Google Maps and transforming it into professional-grade photography through post-processing — all without a human touch. Hui Fang, a software engineer on Google’s Machine Perception team, says the project uses machine learning techniques to train a deep neural network to scan thousands of Street View images in California for shots with impressive landscape potential. The software then “mimics the workflow of a professional photographer” to turn that imagery into an aesthetically pleasing panorama.

China blocking VPNs

China may not be blocking VPNs after all Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese government would be requiring internet provides to block users’ access to personal VPNs. However, a new report published today in the state-run news site The Paper (spotted by Engadget) seems to contradict that report.
The statement from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says that “authorized” VPNs will be allowed to conduct business as usual, and that the new restrictions only apply to companies using unauthorized VPNs, a policy that the ministry notes has been in place since January.
That said, the statement in The Paper doesn’t really clarify which users are eligible for approval or how that process will work, leaving plenty of room for additional restrictions if the government decides to go that route. 


Spotify denies promoting 'fake artists'Music streaming service Spotify has denied that some of its playlists contain music tracks by "fake artists". A music industry publication listed 50 artists it claimed were not real.

They have racked up millions of streams by appearing on mood-based playlists such as Sleep and Ambient Chill, but many have no other visible profile.

However, one industry expert told the BBC Spotify was "not committing a crime" if it was commissioning tracks or buying production music.

"We do not and have never created 'fake' artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop," Spotify said in a statement.

"We do not own rights, we're not a label, all our music is licensed from rights holders and we pay them - we don't pay ourselves."
Low profile Some of the artist names in the list, compiled by Music Business Worldwide (MBW), did appear to have a presence on other platforms - g…

Facebook and Google will participate

Facebook and Google will participate in next week’s big net neutrality protest Facebook and Google have confirmed their participation in a wide-scale net neutrality protest scheduled for July 12th, according to Fortune. The protest is being called the “Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality,” or “Day of Action” and “Battle for the Net” for short. It’s designed to be an illustrative example of the breadth and magnitude of opposition to the Federal Communication Commission’s recent regulatory behavior (or lack thereof) that open internet advocates fear could roll back years of legislative progress, in a fashion similar to the SOPA and PIPA protests of 2012.

It’s unclear how Facebook or Google plan to participate. However, a number of other tech companies have also confirmed their support, including Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Mozilla, Kickstarter, and Spotify. “Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net …

Google Calendar gets an iOS widget

Google Calendar gets an iOS widget, nearly three years after widgets launched Google Calendar users on iOS, rejoice: the official Google Calendar app for iPhone and iPad has finally gotten a Today widget, allowing you to preview upcoming events at a glance from the “Today’ section of the notification shade and lock screen, as spotted by 9to5Mac.

The widget can show the next two events on your calendar, and expand to show another four. Like other Today widgets, the preview can also be accessed on iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 devices by pressing down with 3D Touch on the Google Calendar icon.

That’s pretty much it. There’s no way to show a full month view like the excellent Fantastical 2 does, which is one of the main reasons it remains my favorite iPhone calendar app. But if you’ve been looking to have more easily accessible information from your Google Calendar, now you can.

Google Calendar’s Today widget update is available now on the App Store.


Qualcomm accuses Apple

Qualcomm accuses Apple of infringing six patents in iPhone, iPad Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc will ask the US International Trade Commission to bar Apple Inc from selling some iPhones and iPads in the United States that use chips made by competitor Intel Corp on the grounds that the devices infringe on six Qualcomm patents. 
In a request that would broaden its legal battle with Apple, San Diego-based Qualcomm said it will ask the US ITC to ban imports of the infringing Apple devices. A related lawsuit was filed in federal court in California on Thursday to request monetary damages. 

Qualcomm, which also supplies chips to Apple, said the six patents help devices perform well without draining the battery. 
Apple referred reporters to its earlier comments on the dispute with Qualcomm, which accuse Qualcomm of unfairly imposing what Apple calls a "tax" on Apple devices using Qualcomm chips. 
In its complaint to the ITC, Qualcomm asked the body to ban "iPhones that use cellular b…

Apple Health

Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub, CNBC reported last week.
Apple has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would help consumers gain more control over their private medical information, according to the network.

The plan appears to be a natural extension of Apple’s recent health industry strategy, which includes its Research Kit, CareKit and HealthKit — platforms that allow developers to create apps that help patients, hospitals and researchers find new ways to collect, manage and deliver health data efficiently and directly.

“This has been an interest point as part of Apple’s strategy in the healthcare vertical for some time,” said Daniel Ruppar, digital health …

Nokia vs Xiaomi

Nokia, Xiaomi Announce Business Collaboration, Multi-Year Patent Deal Nokia and Xiaomi on Wednesday announced business collaboration agreement and a multi-year patent agreement which includes cross licensing for each company's cellular standard essential patents. Under the new business agreement, Xiaomi also acquired patent assets from Nokia.
The Finnish firm, which focuses on telecommunication network equipment, will likely help its Chinese partner gain technological advancements, and help it with its operations in over 30 countries. Apart from smartphone business, the agreement will also benefit Xiaomi with its Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem which the Chinese company claims crossed over 60 million connected devices. Xiaomi claims that there are now over 8 million daily active connected devices on the Mi Ecosystem platform.

The new partnership between Xiaomi and Nokia will mean that the latter will offer network infrastructure equipment usually required by large Web providers…

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking:  Trump could push the Earth over the brink

You walk out into the streets. They're melting.

Which is strange, because it's raining. Wait, that's not rain. That's sulphuric acid. Your umbrella is melting too.

That's the dark scenario painted by famed physicist Stephen Hawking to the BBC on Sunday. And who might be responsible for this molten hell on earth? Why, Donald Trump.

"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible," Hawking told the BBC. "Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."

He was specifically referring to Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate accord and his seeming belief that, well, the concept of global warming was invented by the Chinese for material gain.

"By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will caus…

PCs Shine Again

PCs Shine Again, but for How Long? Just when PCs looked to be dying a slow, painful death, they became interesting again. As expected, this week's news coming from Computex in Taiwan is flush with new PCs and PC technologies, but is it enough to reinvigorate a market that has faced declining sales since 2011?
The market peaked at just over 365 million units annually, and fell to 269 million units last year, according to Gartner. So, why all the excitement?
The excitement is emerging from both the technology driving PCs and the applications leveraging the processing power of PCs. In terms of technology, the battle between AMD and Intel for processor supremacy has heated up again, along with a new core race.
High-End Battle Impact AMD kicked off the new battle with its Ryzen processor, featuring up to eight CPU cores with 16 threads, the equivalent of 16 virtual cores. With significantly lower price points, AMD also lowered the starting price for a well-equipped gaming PC to less th…

Hackers Can Guess PINs, Passwords

Hackers Can Guess PINs, Passwords From Brainwaves: Study Hackers can guess a user's passwords by monitoring their thoughts, according to scientists including those of Indian origin who suggest that brainwave-sensing headsets need better security.

Electroencephalograph (EEG) headsets allow users to control robotic toys and video games with the mind.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US found that a person who paused a video game and logged into a bank account while wearing an EEG headset was at risk for having their passwords or other sensitive data stolen by a malicious software programme.

"These emerging devices open immense opportunities for everyday users," said Nitesh Saxena, associate professor from University of Alabama.

"However, they could also raise significant security and privacy threats as companies work to develop even more advanced brain-computer interface technology," said Saxena.

The team, including PhD student Ajaya …