Author: Nick Farrell

Apple defective motherboard case temporarily thrown out

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405Lawyers from Apple are celebrating after they managed to convince a judge to throw out a case which accused it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained “logic boards” it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.

US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made “affirmative misrepresentations,” despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops “state of the art” or the “most advanced” on the market.

“Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple’s logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality,” Alsup wrote. “Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively.”

However, Alsup did not chuck out the case completely. He gave the plaintiffs until January 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status. It is not clear how they are going to proceed next.

The plaintiffs claimed that Apple’s sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing.

A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. Still you get what you pay for.

Infosys beats Wall Street predictions

Workers are pictured beneath clocks displaying time zones in various parts of the world at an outsourcing centre in BangaloreIndian outsourcers Infosys have business results which were much better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted.

Infosys posted a 13 percent rise in quarterly net profit, as it won more outsourcing contracts from Western clients than many thought possible.

Infosys, which provides IT services to clients including Apple, Wal-mart, and Volkswagen, said profit in the quarter ended December 31 rose to $520.9 million. Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of   $498.8 million.

It has been a tough year for Infosys.  It has lost ground to competition and staff have been leaving the building so fast they have had to keep the doors open all the time.

The company has been boosting growth by focusing on high-margin services including artificial intelligence and automation.

The company won 59 new clients in the December quarter, it said in a statement.

 

 

Only 10 percent of cloud apps are secure

Every silver has a cloudy liningNew research has found that only one in ten cloud apps are secure enough for enterprise use.

According to a report from cloud experts Netskope, organisations are employing an average of over 600 business cloud apps, despite the majority of software posing a high risk of data leak.

More than 15 percent of logins for business cloud apps used by organisations had been breached by hackers.

One in five businesses in the Netskope cloud actively used more than 1,000 cloud apps, and over eight per cent of files in corporate-sanctioned cloud storage apps were in violation of DLP policies, source code, and other policies surrounding confidential and sensitive data.

A quarter of all files are shared with one or more people outside of the organisation, and of external users with links to shared content, almost 12 percent have access to 100 or more files.

Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri said that 2014 left an indelible mark on security – between ongoing high-profile breaches and the onslaught of vulnerabilities like Shellshock and Heartbleed, CSOs and CISOs had more on their plate than ever.

“These events underscore the sobering reality that many in the workforce have been impacted by data breaches and will subsequently use compromised accounts in their work lives, putting sensitive information at risk,” he added.

The research also found that the most insecure apps were primarily linked with marketing, finance and human resource software, while cloud storage, social and IT/app management programmes had the lowest proportion of insecure apps.

“Employees today have shifted from thinking of apps as a nice-to-have to a must-have, and CISOs must continue to adapt to that trend to secure their sensitive corporate and customer data across all cloud apps, including those unsanctioned by IT,” Beri continued.

Google Drive, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Gmail were among the apps investigated.

Do you want electricity with that?

mcdonalds-hospitalPurveyor of meat themed products McDonalds is installing 600 charging hotspots in 50 of its British restaurants.

The move means that anyone with a compatible smartphone or tablet can simply sit it on the counter to start automatically charging its batteries. They will have to be quick of course, it does not take long to eat at McDonalds, something seems to propel you from the building after five minutes.

The setup is part of a deal with wireless charging technology company Air Charge which will provide  the charging pads, which operate on the Qi standard.

Air Charge made the announcement during this week’s International CES in Las Vegas but it has been trailed in some UK McDonald’s already.

The charging plates, which will be integrated into tables and counters, are water resistant and wipe clean and offer native support to 70 different smartphone handsets currently on sale.

Nokia Lumia handsets support the Qi wireless charging standard, either out of the box or via an optional back plate.

Starbucks has been named as rolling out wireless charging points across its US operation. However, rather than the Qi standard, backed by the Wireless Power Consortium, Starbucks has opted for the Power Matters Alliance standard instead.

There were three competing wireless charging standards all attempting to become the global standard, but two of them the Power Matters Alliance (which counts Google as a member) merged with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which is backed by Dell and Microsoft to integrate the two standards in future devices and chargers.

Github too open saucy for porn companies

INDUSTRY HP 1Open Sauce depository Github is being hit in a crossfire between porn companies and torrent sites.

Several Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints filed to Google by the porn companies have taken down dozens of legitimate GitHub URLs.

GitHub support pages, entire code repositories, and user profile pages have all been purged from Google and Tomasz Janczuk, a former Microsoft employee, had part of his GitHub repository ​removed from Google’s search results by a company representing Adam & Eve, a porn production company.

Janczuk said that removing GitHub pages from Google’s search results could harm the open source software community by reducing its visibility online.

Apparently Adam&Eve thought that Janczuk’s URL, “https://github.com/tja​nczuk/edge,” was apparently too close to The E​dge, a 2001 flick made by the company.

Of course it is not just the porn companies doing this. Other GitHub pages have been taken down by the music companies for similar reasons.

All of it is because the content groups are using the dumbest method to find P2P content – that of URLs rather than actually checking if the site infringes their copyright.

GitHub does have a DMCA ​policy​ requires that users be notified of complaints levied against them and given time to correct the issue. Google handles its 345 million yearly takedowns nearly automatically .

Nicky Case, developer of Nothing​ to Hide, an open source indie game was target​ted by Total Wipes in September for having the word “hide” in its GitHub​ URL, in an email. In the end however his software was not taken down from Google’s search results.

But he said that if his GitHub repository was less famous, maybe it wouldn’t have gone as well.

 

Samsung profits slump

samsung-hqSamsung confirmed its first annual profit decline since 2011, but said that a fourth quarter pick up indicated that earnings may have stabilised.

The smartphone maker lost market share for three consecutive quarters up to July-September, and analysts say the trend likely continued in the October-December period.

The Tame Apple press claims it is because Samsung cannot beat the super bendy iPhone 6, but it is more likely that Samsung has seen its Chinese market disappear to locally made brands. It has also suffered from a weak won, which explains its limp.

Healthy memory chip demand and improvements in the mobile business on the back of new mid-to-low tier smartphones are buoying hopes that Samsung has at last staunched the bleeding.

Samsung said its fourth-quarter operating profit is likely to be $4.74 billion, beating what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street had predicted.

The outlook means Samsung’s 2014 profit will probably be the weakest in three years, although it marks a rebound from the third-quarter’s profit which was the firm’s lowest quarterly result in more than three years. The company is expected to release its annual results later this month.

Most analysts expect profits to continue improving through at least the second quarter of 2015 with the outfit’s semiconductor division to do much better than the mobile business in October-December.

The company did not provide a breakdown of its earnings figures in Thursday’s outlook, but a person with direct knowledge of the matter said that components sales picked up across the board, with healthy demand for memory chips and higher liquid crystal display panel prices.

The mobile division’s contribution to Samsung’s profit has slipped from about 68 percent at its peak in 2013 to about 44 percent in the third quarter.

 

TalkTalk buys Tesco’s Blinkbox

tesco-blinkboxTalkTalk confirmed  that it has written a cheque for Tesco’s Blinkbox Movies business and in a three for two deal bought the supermarket giants budget fixed line broadband and phone customers.

Tesco has been suffering from a pile of financial hurt and has been looking to offload some of its  less lucrative assets. Web-based Blinkbox video streaming service was given a kicking from better offerings from Netflix, Amazon and NOW TV.

Tesco originally took ownership of Blinkbox for £3m in 2011. Since then the supermarket giant has added Blinkbox Books through the £4.5m acquisition of digital book service Modcast and they later paid £10.8m to buy music streaming service WE7, which was turned into Blinkbox Music.

But the service has not made enough cash and last we heard made a post-tax loss of £24.7m on total revenues of just £3.5m.

Vodafone and TalkTalk were known to have an expressed an in the service.

TalkTalk said that the integration of blinkbox with its YouView based TV business would “begin immediately” through a restructuring of the combined platform.

Adrian Letts, Blinkbox CEO and Co-Founder, will join TalkTalk as Managing Director for TV and report to Tristia Harrison, Managing Director of the ISPs consumer business.

Buying Tesco’s broadband base is another example of TalkTalk trying to make  its national network to grow faster.

Apparently Tesco’s broadband customers, which were still using Vodafone’s LLU telecoms network, will be transferred across to the TalkTalk platform  by September 2015.

Apple to make bending a feature

bendAfter it released its iPhone 6 which bent in your pocket, the more cynical amongst us thought that Apple might try to make this a “feature”.

Sure enough Apple has won a patent for flexible display tech that allows for layering of components like microphones or speakers

Flexible displays, in and of themselves, are nothing new. What makes this patent different is that it includes support for components — like buttons, microphones, or speakers — that can be mounted around the display and work through it.

So in other words when the phone bends everything else bends with it – exactly the effect when you put a bad structurally designed phone in your skinny jeans and the whole thing bends.

What appears to have happened is that Apple did not just make its bending on its iPhones a feature, it actually took out a patent on it.

According to Patently Apple this flexible display is capable of being bent and acting as a pass-through device that can handle a wide range of functionalities.

Apple envisions people bending or in some way manipulating the screen to touch a button activator below its surface.

By deforming that specific portion of the display, the activity associated with the button would be created. In another example, the flexibility of the display would create a porous layer that would allow for sound waves to pass through. Therefore, speakers and microphones and other components could sit under a screen and work as they do now.

Actually, it does appear that using this technology Apple could build a phone which is all-screen or nearly all-screen in design which will mean the death of the home button.

Intel’s future is drones and women

tarotreadingAt the CES show at Las Vegas this week, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich showed off a computer built into a jacket button and a wristband that transforms into a selfie-snapping flying camera drone.

It says a lot about where Intel sees the future of computing. Gone are the days of number crunching business computers, instead the world’s chip makers are developing gadgets which are better at photographing their own users.

Already tourist destinations are full of people carrying their phones on sticks so that they can take snaps of themselves at famous monuments without needing a friend. Now it seems that Intel sees a future for machines that can take pictures of bald heads at famous monuments while at the same time navigating through a sea of Japanese drones re-enacting a narcissistic battle of Midway on the Spanish Steps.

Krzanich used most of his keynote to talk up Intel’s efforts in computerised apparel and other sensor-packed gadgets as consumers get bored with their tablets and start selling their kidneys for the next shiny thing.

Curie, a new button-sized computer for smart clothes, is due out later in 2015 and includes Bluetooth radio as well as the latest from Intel’s Quark line of low-power chips. However Krzanich did sound a little like an East End market barrow boy when he talked about “rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, and yes, even the buttons on our jackets.” They are not dodgy, not dodgy.

Intel is working with Oakley to launch a smart gadget for athletes later this year, Krzanich said. The chipmaker in December announced it was developing smart glasses with Luxottica, which owns the Oakley brand.

Krazanich also said that he was spending $300 million to get more women and minorities in the technology and the video game industries. Note that money will be spent training women and minorities, there is no guarantee that Intel or any other technology company will hire them.

Intel has a poor record of accomplishment employing women and some minorities. While it is happy to hire Chinese and Indian workers, because they are nice and cheap, only a quarter of Intel’s US employees in 2013 were women and 12 percent of its workforce were Hispanic or African American.

Last year Intel made a huge mistake by backing the misogynistic GamerGate campaign to pull advertising from gaming news sites who dared to slam sexism in the gaming industry. In the end it changed its mind and resumed advertising.

 

 

There’s no fall out from Sony hack

2000px-United_States_Fallout_Shelter_Sign.svgDespite a storm in a teacup over the Sony hack, which saw high level political involvement, Sony insists that there will be no financial fallout for the company.

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said he does not expect the November cyber attack on the company’s film studio to have a significant financial impact.

Apparently the film which North Korea wanted blocked “The Interview,” has generated revenue of $36 million. It earned another $5 million at 580 independent theatres showing the movie in North America.

The flick cost $44 million to make but given that it was a rubbish film, Sony probably was relieved that hack meant that it did not have to spend much marketing it. Most of the sales have been online. It will probably make a little more when it goes to DVD and Sony will get its cash back on a film that it otherwise probably would not have. Some have said that Sony spent $30 million marketing the flick which would mean that the film would come in at a loss.

“We are still reviewing the effects of the cyber-attack,” Hirai told reporters. “However, I do not see it as something that will cause a material upheaval on Sony Pictures business operations, basically, in terms of results for the current fiscal year.”

Sony Pictures may need several more weeks to rebuild its computer network after what has been deemed as the most destructive cyber-attack on a company on US soil. North Korea has denied it is behind it.

 

Monster sues Apple over missing a Beats

history-of-headphones-1895The maker of  $1,800 wires Monster has sued Apple over alleged “fraud and deceit” in the way that its new subsidiary Beats acquired control of the rights to the popular “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones.

In May 2014, Beats was bought by Apple, but under a partnership formed in 2008, Monster and Beats developed “Beats by Dr. Dre,” a line of colourful, high-end headphones that vie with the likes of Skullcandy and Bose.

Monster engineered the headphones and was unfairly cut out before Beats was sold to Apple last year, it is alleged.

The complaint names Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre as well as HTC as defendants.

The complaint said that the defendants, who still work for Apple, fraudulently acquired Monster’s “Beats By Dr. Dre” product line including all development, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and retail rights, via a “sham” transaction with HTC.

Apparently, in 2011, HTC said it would buy a 51 percent stake in Beats for $309 million. Beats bought back half of HTC’s interest in the company soon after the transaction, the complaint complained.

The defendants used the change of control as an excuse to end its relationship with Monster in 2012, while it made millions off the work of Lee and Monster.

Iovine and Dr. Dre then “improperly erased” Monster and Monster’s founder Noel Lee from Beats’ history.

Nvidia and AMD stuffed by TSMC’s Apple friendship

two-applesNvidia and AMD have had their move to 16nm and 20nm designs hampered by the limited capacity of both nodes at manufacturer TSMC.

According to WCCFTech.com,  AMD GPUs are made by TSMC as are Nvidia’s chips.  But it looks like all TSMC’s capacity has been sucked up by Apple and Samsung.

This is hard on Nvidia which already had to make the chips in its GTX 980 and 970 cards, using the 28nm process instead of the 20nm it wanted. Nvidia thought it was better to skip 20nm and go straight to 16nm for future designs.

AMD wanted to drop from 28nm to 20nm for its new GPUs but hit the same capacity issue which stuffed up the delivery of AMD’s 20nm R9 300 series graphics cards. We expected these in February and March of this year but now they are at least two months behind.

AMD’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster has warned that there would be 20nm and 28nm products in 2015 but no 14nm or 16nm products until 2016.

And the reason is because Apple’s 16nm A9 chip, which is being made by TSMC has priority and what is left is being taken by Samsung which outsources a lot of work to TSMC.

AMD and Nvidia are stuffed. The only other manufacturer with spare 14nm capacity is Intel and it is not very likely that Intel will sell capacity to its rivals.

What this means then is that the world is not getting cutting edge GPU technology from the two top vendors because Apple has a huge control of TSMC and Intel is Intel.

Canadian copyright clubbers skirt the lines

mountie-maintain-rightCanipre, a Montreal-based intellectual property enforcement firm, is in trouble over a blog which appears to been involved with a copyright infringement for months.

Copyrightenforcement.ca is run by Barry Logan, Canipre’s Managing Director, Operations. In addition to posting releases from Canipre and information about the TekSavvy case, the site has posted dozens of full-text articles from media organisations around the world.

According to tech law expert Michael Geist  the blog posted the full text of a 1,200 word article on TV piracy from the Wire Report, an Ottawa-based telecom publication.

This news piece sat behind a paywall limited to subscribers and is listed as “exclusive content” and was on display in an online locked filing cabinet with a sign up saying “beware of the leopard”.

Logan seems to think it is OK to repost full-text articles from other sources. In December, there were feature articles from the Huffington Post Canada, Business Insider, and Cnet.

They are not even attributed either. Some of the posts include articles that strip out reference to the author and others include no attribution whatsoever. Copyrightenforcement.ca also uses photos from the articles, often without attribution.

So what Canipre is doing is offering its services to media companies to detect piracy while running a blog which does exactly what it was bloggers banged up for, it seems.

Canipre runs an infringement-monitoring programme designed to take advantage of Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system. The release notes that the service detects online infringement and sends notifications alleging infringement to Canadian Internet providers, who must forward the notifications to their subscribers.

 

LG presses on with OLED

oldtvWhile the rest of the display world abandons plans for OLED as too expensive for the big screen, LG is hanging on to the technology.

LG Display has announced it will increase production capacity of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for TVs.

LG Display and its sister company, LG Electronics, claim OLED TV will give them a competitive edge over rivals once the technology matures.

LG Display said it would more than quadruple the monthly production capacity of OLED TV panels to 36,000 units by the year-end from 8,000 currently.

The companies say OLED is far superior to the mainstay liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, offering better picture quality as well as lower power consumption.

However it admits that costs, however, are much higher, making OLED TVs several times more expensive than LCD sets. LG Electronics’ 65-inch ultra-high-definition OLED TV launched in South Korea last year was priced at $10,874, more than three times the price of a comparable LCD TV by the same company.

Samsung has given up on OLED, saying the technology is not ready yet for mass consumption. It has focused on quantum dot technology instead.

LG Display finished building a $640.58 million factory to increase production of OLED TV panels. The panel maker did not comment on its investment plans for 2015.

It is not as if LG is betting the farm on OLED, it is also launching its own quantum dot TVs alongside OLED products this year in what it says is a two-track strategy.

Apple fanboy recants to inquistion after criticism

Galileo_facing_the_Roman_InquisitionApple fanboy Marco Arment has said that he has extreme regrets for daring to post in his blog that Apple software had dropped down the toilet.

Arment is a web and iPhone software developer, writer, and podcaster and his comments seemed fair enough. While Apple hardware is the best it has been, the software has fallen behind, he said.

Armet’s comments included lines like: “ We now need to treat Apple’s OS and application releases with the same extreme scepticism and trepidation that conservative Windows IT departments employ.”

He said that he suspected the rapid decline of Apple’s software is a sign that marketing is too high a priority at Apple today. Having major new releases every year is clearly impossible for the engineering teams to keep up with while maintaining quality, he said.

This morning Arment posted that he regretted his original comment because he claimed his words had been chopped up and twisted by those who thought Apple was doomed.

“I started it with the headline and many poor word choices, which were overly harsh and extreme. I was being much nastier and more alarmist than I intended. I edited some words to be more fair and accurate, but it was too late. I can’t blame the opportunists for taking the bait that I hastily left for them,” Arment said.

However, Arment said that he felt embarrassment and guilt for criticising the company which had changed his life.

“Instead of what was intended to be constructive criticism of the most influential company in my life, I handed the press more poorly written fuel to hamfistedly stab Apple with my name and reputation behind it. And my name will be on that forever,” he wrote.

But what is interesting is that while Arment feels guilty, he has not retracted what he said about Apple software – simply that he regretted saying it. He complains that his comments pushed him into the limelight and gave ammunition to those who might wish the company harm.