Tag: newstrack

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.

Intel shows off 14nm processor

Intel-Core-MIntel has taken the wraps off its first 14nm processor, the Core M at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The CPU is designed for the ultramobile, low-power market and is an  SoC die shrink of the existing architecture.

Where it does something interesting is on the GPU side with shedloads of improvements and advances,

The video decoder block has been beefed up with dual bit stream decoders, we are expecting to see other improvements but Intel has been quiet on exactly what it has tweaked and changed to date.

Intel does appear to have clear ground ahead of it. TSMC’s 20nm is only a slight improvement on die size and power consumption, Intel’s new Broadwell cores are 37 percent smaller.

What is odd, is that although more than half the chip seems dedicated to its GPU, Intel has made no announcement about supporting Direct X12. Nvidia and AMD has announced full DX12 support for their various current hardware,

Intel claims its new chip can boost battery life by 1.5 hours, speed video conversions, and offer a whopping 22 percent improvement to 3D performance. It has been a while that we have seen a significant productivity jump and we were not expecting to see much in the way of improved CPU performance from this chip anyway.

We are expecting Intel to announce the shipment of its Cherry Trail platform today too.  This is the  14nm Bay Trail die shrink that’s been on the roadmap for a little while and is not really news.  What is strange is how Intel has been quiet about the specifics of Cherry Trail so far. We have no benchmarks, statistics, or anything.

This is odd given Intel’s commitment to tablets and that pushing the Atom down to 14nm is a significant achievement. It should mean some performance gains and it is not clear why Chipzilla is not trumpeting it more.

Spies are putting off writers

spyA survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Centre has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance.

Some have said that the spying has meant they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or censored their posts or phone calls.

More than 75 percent of respondents in countries classified as “free,” 84 percent in “partly free” countries, and 80 percent in countries that were “not free” said that they were “very” or “somewhat” worried about government surveillance in their countries.

The survey was conducted anonymously online in Autumn 2014 and yielded 772 responses from fiction and nonfiction writers and related professionals, including translators and editors, in 50 countries.

Smaller numbers said they avoided or considered avoiding writing or speaking on certain subjects, with 34 percent in countries classified as free, 44 percent in partly free countries and 61 percent in not free countries reporting self-censorship. Respondents in similar percentages reported curtailing social media activity, or said they were considering it, because of surveillance.

The executive director of the PEN American Centre, Suzanne Nossel, said that the findings, taken together with those of a 2013 PEN survey of writers in the United States, indicate that mass surveillance is significantly damaging free expression and the free flow of information around the world.

“Writers are the ones who experience encroachments on freedom of expression most acutely, or first,”. Nossel said. “The idea that we are seeing some similar patterns in free countries to those we’ve traditionally associated with unfree countries is pretty distressing.”

The survey added that mass surveillance by the United States government had damaged its reputation as a defender of free expression, with some 36 percent in other “free” countries and 32 percent in “less free” countries saying freedom of expression had less protection in the United States than in their nations.


India invented the airplane 7,000 years ago

India_flagThe Indian Science conference has hit the interwebs for the number of bizarre presentations being made.

If you believe the government-backed presentations, the world’s first plane was invented by the Hindu sage Maharishi Bharadwaj. Indian mathematicians also discovered the Pythagorean Theorem but the Greeks got the credit and elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha got his head because of the superiority of ancient Indian plastic surgeons.

All this is part of a cunning plan by the more nationalist Indian government to push its country’s achievements the only problem is that they appear to have lost their marbles.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the conference on Saturday and urged the nation’s scientists to “explore the mysteries of science.” Modi was the one that said the elephant-trunked, pot-bellied Hindu god Ganesha got his head because of the presence of plastic surgeons in ancient India.

Anand Bodas, the retired principal of a pilot training facility claimed that the Indians invented the airplane because the ancient Vedas say so.

“The ancient planes had 40 small engines.” Also, he said, a flexible exhaust system that modern aviation can’t even approach – probably because they have to obey things like the laws of physics.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who was present at the session, said ancient Indian science was based on “experience and logic” and “that wisdom must be recognised”.

India’s science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan, made another startling claim at the conference, saying that ancient Indian mathematicians also discovered the Pythagorean Theorem but that the Greeks got the credit.

Needless to say, Indian boffins are jolly cross about their conference being hi-jacked by pseudo-science nationalists. More than 200 scientists signed an online petition opposing Sunday’s scheduled lecture, called “’Ancient Indian Aviation Technology,” saying it amounted to “giving a scientific platform for a pseudo-science talk”.

“If we scientists remain passive, we are betraying not only the science, but also our children,” the petition said.

Melting your hard drive is not always destruction of evidence

stock-footage-melting-iron-in-the-foundry-iron-castingA US court has ruled that sometimes it is OK to melt your hard drive and you will not be accused of destroying evidence.

Malibu Media was carrying out a file-sharing lawsuit against an alleged file-sharer. The defendant said that the hard drive failed and it had to be replaced. Malibu Media claimed that this act alone constituted destruction of evidence and wanted victory declared and the file sharer crucified as a warning to others  – or something like that.

Magistrate judge Mark  Dinsmore said recommended that Malibu Media’s “Motion for Sanctions Against Defendant for the Intentional Destruction of Material Evidence” be denied.

Malibu Media, is a porn company, which is having a few of its cases stick lately, particularly its flick “Pretty Back Door Baby” which appeared on BitTorrent in 2012.

The defendant explained that the drive was taken to recycling where it would be melted down.  Malibu pointed out that the Defendant received notice of this lawsuit in October 2012 through the letter from Comcast and that the hard drive that Defendant replaced in early 2013 could have, “contained evidence of Plaintiff’s copyrighted works.”

However, the court said that   the porn company had failed every element of the test for proving that the evidence was destroyed before the defendant knew he was being sued.

“Sanctions for spoliation therefore may not be imposed simply because evidence was destroyed; instead, such sanctions are appropriate only if the evidence was destroyed for the purpose of hiding adverse information,” the court said.

The court noted that the defendant received notice of this lawsuit at the beginning of October 2012, but did not destroy the hard drive until “late February 2013”.

Had Defendant truly wished to hide adverse information, the Court finds it unlikely that Defendant would have waited nearly five months to destroy it. In fact, the Defendant’s continued use of the hard drive for the months after he learned of the litigation suggests that the hard drive contained no information to hide at all, or that Defendant did not intend to hide any such information.

There was also evidence that Plaintiff, however, did not serve the complaint on Harrison until April 2013, after Defendant had arranged to order the replacement hard drive, and after the recycling of Defendant’s hard drive.

The Defendant testified that the service of the complaint was the first time that he became aware that he was personally being sued for copyright infringement. At the time of the destruction in February 2013, Defendant was not even certain he had been sued, making it much less likely that he destroyed the hard drive to hide information that could prove damaging in this litigation.

The Defendant also had a receipt for the hard-drive something that he showed the court. The court felt that it was unlike he would have produced the receipt showing the purchase of the hard drive had Defendant wished to hide the purchase of the replacement hard drive.

It puts the porn company’s entire case on the back foot. Suddenly there was no evidence to suggest that the destroyed drive was involved in the alleged acts of copyright infringement and no conspiracy to destroy evidence. The court also sided with the defendant that the drive was not even used for the purposes of using BitTorrent.

Microsoft Xbox SDK leaked by open sourcers

rms-meets-open-sauce-detail (1)Software giant Microsoft has had the embarrassment of having its Xbox One SDK leaked to the great unwashed by an open sauce group calling itself H4LT.

H4LT insists that it is not a hacker group, but is distributing the SDK to improve the software.

“Progress is achieved faster than alone. Something kept between us will not achieve anything. Share it with the community equals creativity and research. Shared is how it should be. The SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One,” the group announced to Hot Hardware .

The SDK for any given product is available behind some degree of registration and does not necessarily cost users. So getting your paws on a copy was not a matter of sneaking it out of a heavily guarded back vaults using minis.

The SDK includes Microsoft’s Pix which shows that the Xbox One’s has an optional seventh core for game programming. There are also multiple Xbox Kinect tools, including the Kinect Studio and the Kinect Visual Gesture Builder.

Kinect also has an app for testing and creating applications that listen for speech.

The group has also claimed that once the SDK is out, people who have knowledge or has in the past reversed files related to the Windows 8 operating system should definitely have a go at reversing some files in there.

The Xbox One is practically a stripped Windows 8 device and has introduced a new package format that hasn’t had much attention. This format is responsible for updating the console and storing applications Games are under the category of ‘Applications’ on the Xbox One and is a modification of Virtual Hard Disks.

Reuters begins iWatch adverts

ef391361d47e87c2209be9fbaa094fdfThe once legendary news agency Reuters  has begun hawking Apple’s up and coming toy watch, which is being delivered two years behind the competition, and  without any killer apps.

Reuters ran a story this morning saying that “Apple’s forthcoming smartwatch poses a conundrum for advertisers: How to tap the enticing possibilities of the tiny gadget without overwhelming consumers with messages.”

Is it? Well not really. Some company mobile-marketing firm TapSense plans to release an Apple Watch ad-buying service at CeBit and since there is no way that Reuters can write a positive iWatch story this week it has had to run with this one.

According to Reuters: “The service will provide a first glimpse of how businesses can serve up ads on the watch, even though the gadget will not be available until later this year.”

Surely that is only a problem if the iWatch was “ground-breaking, new technology” which had not already been in the market place for two years and been greeted by a loud sounding yawn by the rest of the world.

But Reuters warns the same qualities that render the watch exciting to Madison Avenue, such as the ability to detect customers approaching a store and to zap an ad directly to their wrists, also risk alienating those customers.

Is it?  The iPhone has been around for years and it has never used that sort of technology. Instead what TapSense seem to be selling are interactive wallpapers on the watch dial with brand logos and personalised clock faces.

The watch’s main screen allows the display of several tiny icons, including for email, weather, time, and potentially a few favourite service and retail apps.

The start-up is exploring using Apple Watch’s location-based features to target new customers. Apple has not added global positioning on the Apple Watch, but apps can track location as the device is tethered to a smartphone.

Reuters admits that it is not clear if the iWatch will create a new mass-market category, Venture capitalist Fred Wilson caused a stir last week by predicting the watch “will not be the home run product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been”.

But with the mainstream press pushing non-stories to the great unwashed about the vapourware, it does have a chance of selling more than its rivals.


Nvidia puts high-end graphics in car

indy1909Nvidia unveiled a new processor aimed at powering high-end graphics on car dashboards as well as auto-pilot systems.

Before the Consumer Electronics Show, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the Tegra X1 chip would provide enough computing for automobiles with displays built into mirrors, dashboard, navigation systems and passenger seating.

“The future car is going to have an enormous amount of computational ability,” Huang said. “We imagine the number of displays in your car will grow very rapidly.”

The Tegra X1 has twice the performance of its predecessor, the Tegra K1, and will come out in early 2015, Nvidia said.

A platform combining two of the X1 chips can process data collected from up to 12 high-definition cameras monitoring traffic, blind spots and other safety conditions in driver assistance systems, Huang said.

The chips can help detect and read road signs, recognise pedestrians and detect braking vehicles before you do.

Nvidia has been struggling to compete against larger chipmakers like Qualcomm in smartphones and tablets and thinks that its Tegra mobile chips will be better off in cars and is already supplying companies including Audi, BMW and Tesla.

In the third quarter, revenue from Tegra chips for automobiles and mobile devices jumped 51 percent to $168 million. While this is not bad it is a Fiat 500 to Nvidia’s Mac Truck of total revenue of $1.225 billion.


Apple sued over goldfish sized memory

AJ21D2 Goldfish swimming in bowl. Image shot 2004. Exact date unknown.The fruity cargo cult, Apple has been sued by some of its customers for tinkering with the memory on the iPhone.

The  lawsuit claims that that upgrades to the iOS 8 operating system are causing the phone’s memory to fill up, and that the company has misled customers about it.

Miami residents Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara accuse Apple of “storage capacity misrepresentations and omissions” relating to Apple’s 8GB and 16GB iPhones, iPads and iPods. Orshan has two iPhone 5 and two iPads while Endara had purchased an iPhone 6.

They say that upgrades to the operating system end up taking up as much as 23 percent of the storage space on their devices and they have lots of  8 x 10 coloured glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to prove it.

“In addition to making material misrepresentations and omissions to prospective purchasers of Devices with iOS 8 pre-installed, Apple also makes misrepresentations and omissions to owners of Devices with predecessor operating systems,” according to the complaint, which seeks class-action status for others who bought 16GB devices.

“These misrepresentations and omissions cause these consumers to ‘upgrade’ their Devices from iOS 7 (or other operating systems) to iOS 8,” it said. “Apple fails to disclose that upgrading from iOS 7 to iOS 8 will cost a Device user between 600 MB and 1.3 GB of storage space – a result that no consumer could reasonably anticipate.”

The motive for the alleged crime is that it encourages customers to move to the monthly-fee-based iCloud storage system. Apple “aggressively” marketed the iCloud about the same time that it launched the new OS.

“Using these sharp business tactics, Defendant gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, such as when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,” the lawsuit contends. “To put this in context, each gigabyte of storage Apple short-changes its customers amounts to approximately 400-500 high resolution photographs.”


Sony sues for hacker leak

leakSony has been sending out  legal notices to those publishing its leaked e-mails.

Over the holidays Sony threatened Twitter with legal action if they allow users to publish the leaked e-mails Sony calls “stolen”.

A DMCA notice was sent to Twitter demanding that the tweets be taken down because the e-mails were copyrighted. Twitter so far has not done anything about the tweets.

Online media outlets and blogs such as Buzzfeed and Torrentfreak have been publishing leaked information too, and it is possible that Sony is testing the legal waters of stopping the spread of embarrassing information by going after a soft target.

Of course, that has not worked and Twitter has kept the accounts of its users up and running.

It is a moot point if Sony will stop any more embarrassing details from the hack coming to light. After all the US Government could not stop embarrassing information being leaked online via Wikileaks and other news sites.

NSA spys on Wikileaks

spyGoogle has told WikiLeaks that on Christmas Eve the Gmail mailboxes and account metadata of a WikiLeaks employee were turned over to law enforcement under a US federal warrant.

WikiLeaks journalist and Courage Foundation acting director Sarah Harrison displayed a redacted copy of the warrant during her presentation on source protection at the Chaos Communications Congress yesterday in Hamburg, Germany.

The warrant was dated for execution by April 5, 2012 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and it was apparently part of the continuing investigation by the Justice Department into criminal charges against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

It is not clear whose e-mail was searched and details were not provided, and Wikileaks is a little er secretive about who works there. According to a statement on the organisation’s website, “Given the high level assassination threats against WikiLeaks staff, we cannot disclose exact details about our team members.”

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: that it did not talk about individual cases to help protect all its users.

When it received a subpoena or court order, Google check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if it doesn’t, it asks that the request is narrowed.

“We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users,” a spokesGoogle said.

This is the second time a US warrant has been served at Google for data from someone connected to WikiLeaks. A sealed warrant was served to Google in 2011 for the email of a WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland. The Justice Department has also previously sought to get metadata from WikiLeaks-connected Twitter accounts, and won a court battle with Twitter three years ago to force it to hand it over.


Samsung confirms Tizen TV move

tv58Samsung has confirmed that it is moving all its new smart television products launched in 2015 to its operating system which is named after a particularly loud sneeze.

Tizen will give smart tellies additional software and connectivity functions, such as video streaming and web browsing capabilities.

Kim Hyun-suk, Samsung’s president of visual display business said that while Samsung is focusing on Tizen, the hope was that other TV makers will follow suit and help build an ecosystem that will help the platform grow.

Televisions are only part of Samsung’s Tizen plans. The idea is that a few smartwatches and cameras will also use it.

Samsung has been keen to move to Tizen to break it free from Google’s iron grip with its Android platform. Some pundits think that it will not take off until Samsung builds a successful smartphone with it.

This will encourage developers to write software for Tizen.  Certainly TVs will increase the platform’s user base, even if it is not the normal sort of market developers write for.