Tag: newstrack

QNAP brings AMD NAS to market

QNAP-tvs873-frontFor a while now AMD has been largely ignored by the makers of NAS x86 gear – who have tended to favour Intel or, more lately,  ARM.

QNAP has become the first vendor to bring an AMD-based x86 NAS to the market and was showing off its wares at CES over the weekend.

Dubbed the TVS-x63 lineup has four, six and eight bay models. Each of them has a four or eight GB of RAM. The 8-bay model also comes with a ‘+’ SKU and a 10GBASE-T NIC pre-installed in the spare PCIe slot. The ‘+’ version comes with either 8 or 16 GB of RAM.

What makes this NAS different from many of the others out there is that QNAP specifies the CPU in the TVS-x63 models as ‘AMD quad-core 2.4 GHz with Radeon Graphics.’ This turns out to be AMD’s GX-424CC SoC.

This 4C/4T Steppe Eagle configuration is based on the Puma microarchitecture and has a TDP of 25 W. The L2 cache is 2 MB in size. The cores run at 2.4 GHz while the integrated Radeon GPU runs at 497 MHz.

This can support DDR3 memory at 1866 MHz. Puma supports out-of-order execution and is expected to turn out a performance similar to Silvermont in the Bay Trail SoCs.

The TVS-x63 has two HDMI outputs to handle multi-media. It supports true 4K output for the UI as well as QvPC. Video playback is restricted to 1080p and the the VCE engine is supported by the firmware, enabling hardware-accelerated transcoding similar to what we saw with the TS-x51 and TS-x53 Pro units that used Quick Sync.

The AMD offering by QNAP is a bit of a surprise and could force a price drop in similar NAS specs in the next few months. This is assuming that Intel’s vendors are beating a path to Intel’s door demanding either a product or a price which matches what AMD has done.

The TVS-863+-8G is expected to retail for $1400 which is really cheap if you take into account that the . 10G port is pre-installed. More basic models cost $1200 for the TVS-863-4G, $1000 for the TVS-663-4G and $800 for the TVS-463-4G.


EMC warns of the perils of masses of small data

zxzzzzd1Guy Churchward, head of EMC’s $20-billion core technologies division, has warned that small data is going to cause even bigger headaches than the big stuff.

Taking to the Economic Times  Churchward said that data challenges for the Internet of Things or driverless cars were huge,

He said that millions of driverless cars, and billions of other internetconnected devices will not be Big Data. “What you have is not big data, it is actually `small data’ – because what it is, is billions and billions of small data objects.”

EMC expects IoT to create a sprawl of billions of autonomous devices, which will create security, storage and management nightmares in future.

Churchward warned that  “small data sprawl” will take the challenges of Big Data and make them 100x more difficult.

Security, storage, management and applications would be completely different in a world filled with billions of devices, each of which will have its own big data. None of the currently available tools and applications would work in such environments.

Part of EMC’s over $2.3-billion research and development budget is being used to address this `small data’ problem but the company thinks that it will take between three to five years to start bearing fruit.


Big Content forces Chilling Effects to self-censor

 seal_3Big Content has pressured the Chilling Effects DMCA archive to censor itself, just as the world is starting to see those who stand up to censorship as heros.

The organisation decided to wipe its presence from all popular search engines to prevent it being sued by copyright holders.

Chilling Effects was an archive of all sites which had been shut down with a DMCA court order.  For years it was quietly showing how free speech was being threatened by take-down orders.

Google now processes more than a million takedown requests from copyright holders, and that’s for its search engine alone.

Google partners with Chilling Effects to post redacted copies of all notices online seeing it as one of the few tools that helps to keep copyright holders accountable. It shows inaccurate takedown notices and other dirty deeds by the content industry.

Founded by Harvard’s Berkman Center, it offers an invaluable database for researchers and the public in general.

Chilling Effects removed its entire domain from all search engines, including its homepage and other informational and educational resources and it looked like Big Content is behind it.

Its pages contain hundreds of millions of non-linked URLs to infringing material. Copyright holders are not happy with these pages. Copyright Alliance CEO Sandra Aistars described the activities of the Chilling Effects projects as “repugnant”.

Berkman Center project coordinator Adam Holland told TorrentFreak,  Chilling Effects has now decided to hide its content from search engines, making it harder to find.

The self censorship may sound strange coming from an organisation that was founded to offer more transparency, but the Chilling Effects team believes that it strikes the right balance, for now.

“It may or may not prove to be permanent, but for now it’s the step that makes the most sense as we continue to think things through,” he added.

The notices themselves remain online, but with just the site’s own search it’s harder to find cases of abuse. The copyright holders on the other hand will be happy.

Ellison is up to something with Kurian

 Larry EllisonThe appointment of Safra Catz and Mark Hurd as co-CEOs at Oracle made considerable sense to Wall Street, but sources in the database firm were surprised that Thomas Kurian did not come out of it as well as they expected.

This indicates that Chairman Larry Ellision is up to something.

Kurian was appointed president of software development, but that seems to underplay his importance at Oracle.

Reuters points out that Ellison often turns to Kurian for a second opinion and affirmation on product decisions and conversations.

A former executive told Reuters that Ellison always looks back at Thomas and asks him what he thinks.

This has led many to believe that Kurian, not Herd or Catz will end up replacing Ellison when the 70 year old retires.

After Hurd and Catz were promoted, top executives worried about keeping Kurian motivated and happy. He continued to report directly to Ellison, now executive chairman of the board, along with Hurd, Catz and two others.

Ellison seems to be in no hurry to leave and was appointed Oracle’s chief technology officer in September, but he has in recent years spent an increasing amount of time on other interests, including his sailing team, and as he develops the Hawaiian island he largely controls into an eco-tourism destination.

When Ellison does eventually hand over the reins, he will want to entrust Oracle to someone who lives and breathes technology, and Kurian is seen fitting that job description best among the top executives.

However outside Oracle Kurian is an unknown. He is seen as a technologist who understands Oracle’s products inside out, works long hours, executes Ellison’s vision and is pants at small talk.

He is the man behind Oracle’s middleware business developing into a substantial enterprise and  Oracle’s vast and still rapidly evolving suite of products, from business software applications to servers and databases.

Ellison has put him in charge of the company’s move to the cloud and if he manages it, it will be difficult for his detractors to deny him the top spot.

What stands against him is his tendency not to delegate and he likes to get involved in a minutia.

However the same applies to Ellison, and it would appear that he has plans for Kurian, which should worry the Herd of Katz he has placed as joint CEOs.

AMD shuns the Internet of Things

1-AMD-s-New-Steamroller-Architecture-to-Bring-Significant-PerformanceWhile Intel is pinning its future on the Internet of Things (IoT), AMD appears to be spurning it as if it were a rabid dog.

Its senior vice president and general manager of the computing and graphics business group John Byrne thinks that it is much wiser to keep pushing into the PC market, which is still a $40-billion-a-year opportunity.

Talking to Venture Beat  he said that AMD has to execute on its upcoming Carrizo family of accelerated processing units (APUs), which will be focused on the mobile computing market. About 300 million PC processors and 90 million graphics chips are sold each year, and Byrne wants AMD to get its fair share of those sales.

Byrne thinks that setting up a chip making operation for the Internet of Things is just an invitation to lose money.

Byrne said while it concentrated on the IoT, Intel it was missing opportunities in the classic PC market.

“There’s still 300 million PCs, still 90 million graphics chips. If I look at Intel, Nvidia, and my revenue, that’s still a $40 billion market — even before you get to the IoT. If you look at the gross margin profile of that business, it’s still significantly more than AMD as a company’s average. There’s still significant market opportunities in the classic PC space,” Byrne said.

He said that AMD still had work to do in the PC chip market. It had to work on its x86 performance, ensuring that each product it bought to market is better x86. There needed to be improvements in graphics, notebooks needed to improve battery life.

Byrne said that it all meant that AMD could push into the commercial market a long more. He pointed out that AMD won the industry’s largest single tender in commercial 18 months ago in India and Elitebook with HP last year.

“Wait until you see the lineup of commercial platforms I have with Carrizo. It allows us to continue to attack that i3, attack that i5 consumer, and really get to penetrate the commercial market space. We’ll attack graphics. That’s going to be my strategy next, he said.

While he said that the Internet of Things is important there are two ways to make cash from it. Intel is concentrating on the silicon inside the wearable. However, that will cost under $10 and not make huge amounts of cash.

“You’re seeing that with Quark and some of the other investments our competitors are making. I’m not in business to lose money. Share and revenue is nice but so is profitability,” he said.

But all of those devices have to be connected and it is those higher end devices that AMD will be targeting.

AMD warns virtual reality is a long way away

 virtual-realityA true virtual reality machine is a lot longer away than many believe, warns AMD.

AMD’s chief gaming scientist Richard Huddy said that getting photorealism in games is impossible in the  current virtual reality hardware.

Talking to DevelopHuddy said that virtual reality was a staggeringly exciting field.

“But hardware companies need to produce something 100 or 200 times more powerful than current hardware if we’re going to get to the stage where we have complete photorealism in virtual reality headsets. It starts with the facts that, for a person with 20:20 vision, they will need a screen with a resolution of about 8k-by-6k to enjoy photorealism.”

This sort of statement flies in the face of many of the claims of the tech press who have been looking at the current generations of virtual headset.

Huddy predicts about 35 million pixels per eye should suffice for VR photorealism. That’s still 75 million pixels, taking us to a 35-fold increase compared to a standard 1080p monitor.

To get an indication about how far you have to go to get close to that Huddy you will need to get a 400x-to-1000x increase in horsepower to engender true, convincing VR photorealism that is indistinguishable from the real world.


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.


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.

Lenovo praises Windows 10

Microsoft’s forthcoming OS Windows 10 has been praised to the skies by thinkpad maker Lenovo.

Lenovo Peter Hortensius, chief technology officer at Lenovo told PC World that customers are anxious to breathe some life into Windows 10 and his outfit was bullish and hopeful about Windows 10.

Windows 10 will succeed Windows 8.1 operating system, which has been slammed for its touch-based tablet user interface. Windows 10 will resolve many problems affecting Windows 8.1, which is a good OS but has its problems, Hortensius said.

Windows 10 will boot straight to the desktop and brings back many familiar Windows 7 features, which Microsoft  hopes will please OS loyalists. It also removes program incompatibility issues plaguing Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions for Intel and ARM processors.

Analysts have said Windows 10 could spur a round of PC upgrades in businesses, which could boost PC shipments. Lenovo’s shipments have increased even as rivals like Dell and Hewlett-Packard struggled in recent years as laptop and desktop shipments slowed.

Customers are responding well to changes in Windows 10, and Microsoft is taking the right approach in developing the OS, Hortensius said.

Lenovo was positive about where the product was going and depending on customer demand, Lenovo may consider the OS for a range PCs, tablets and handsets.

“It’s up to Microsoft to make competitive offerings. If they do… we’ll gladly use it,” Hortensius said.

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.