Tag: techeye

Tim Cook will give away his fortune

Apple's Tim CookThe head of the Apple Cargo Cult, Tim Cook has said that he will do something that Steve Jobs never did – give away his fortune.

Fortune magazine cited the head of the world’s largest technology corporation as saying he planned to donate his estimated $785 million fortune to charity – after paying for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education.

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change,” Cook told the magazine.

Fortune estimated Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested.

He will join billionaire financier Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg who have all pledged to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

While Cook has not made nearly as much as Gates, the Apple CEO told Fortune he hopes to make a difference.

Recently Cook has become more outspoken on issues ranging from the environment to civil rights. Cook, who recently revealed he was gay, spoke out against discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities during his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honour last year.

He told Fortune he has started donating money to unspecified causes quietly and is trying to develop a more “systematic approach” to philanthropy that goes beyond writing checks.

When Jobs was asked to participate in the scheme he said no.

While Forbes  claimed that Steve Jobs did not have to give a cent to charity because he filled the world with lots of nice looking gadgets made in factories were people were dying to get out, his motives for not giving money to charity was generally questioned.

The New York Times said Jobs did not have to give away any of his fortune because millionarres only did that to buff their image and Jobs was perfect .  He also was charitable in that he paid his staff a wage to work for him.

It is nice to see that Apple has finally got someone at the top who sees helping other people as being important.

Facebook “robbed” British data centre design

hqdefaultA British company is claiming that the social notworking site stole its design for a datacentre.

Facebook is being sued by BladeRoom Group (BRG) which that claims the social network stole its technique for building data centres and, perhaps worse, is encouraging others to do the same through the Open Compute Project.

BladeRoom came up with an idea to construct data centres in a modular fashion from pre-fabricated parts. It’s intended to be a faster, more energy-efficient method.

However Facebook used the idea to build part of a data centre in Lulea, Sweden, that opened last year.

“Facebook’s misdeeds might never have come to light had it decided that simply stealing BRG’s intellectual property was enough,” the company said in its lawsuit, filed last Monday at the federal district court in California.

“Instead, Facebook went further when it decided to encourage and induce others to use BRG’s intellectual property though an initiative created by Facebook called the ‘Open Compute Project’.”

BRG is suing Facebook for theft of trade secrets and breach of contract, among other things, and asks for a jury trial. It’s seeking unspecified financial damages and an injunction to stop anyone using its technique.

The British outfit said Facebook should have to pay for “all profits, cost savings, and reputational enhancement” it gained from its alleged use of BRG’s designs. The suit was jointly filed by BRG and Bripco, both based in Cheltenham, England.


Paypal fined for aiding arm sellers

Cover1-600x400PayPal has reached a $7.7 million settlement with the US Treasury for ignoring US sanctions and allowing money transfers to accounts linked to Iran, Cuba, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

According to DCIno, The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) detailed a damning string of instances in which the company accepted and processed 486 transactions totalling approximately $43,934 over a five-year period.

“PayPal’s management demonstrated reckless disregard for US economic sanctions requirements in deciding to operate a payment system without implementing appropriate controls,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

PayPal allowed a bloke called Kursad Zafer Cire, who was named by the US State Department in 2009 as an associate of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who provided nuclear know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Cire’s name was added to the Treasury Department’s list of “specially designated nationals” who have been specifically named as being under sanctions by the US for their involvement in terrorism, programmes involving weapons of mass destruction, drug cartels or other major illicit activities.

Between October 2009 and April 2013, PayPal processed 136 transactions totaling $7,091 to or from an account registered in his name.

First, PayPal failed to identify the account as being related to a specially designated national, but later in 2009 the account was flagged five times. Each time PayPal risk operations agents dismissed the alerts without requesting additional information to clarify whether the account did indeed belong to someone under sanctions.

In 2013, PayPal requested additional information from its customer, and received a copy of his passport. The name, birth date and place of birth exactly matched the person listed on the specially designated nationals list, but PayPal again approved the transfer.

It wasn’t until it was flagged for the seventh time, on April 3, 2013, that the account was blocked and reported to the Treasury Department.

PayPal allowed transactions to proceed although they contained specific references to countries under sanction, such as “Iran,” “Cuba,” “Tehran,” “Khartoum” or “Sudan.”

PayPal brought new management into its compliance division in 2011 to strengthen its controls, which also counted as a mitigating factor.

The company said that over the last two years it has built a new payment scanning system that allows for “real-time scanning of potentially sanctioned payments before they are processed.”


Philips turns out the lights

lightbulbsDutch giant Philips had already said it would split its existing business into two companies – automotive lighting and LED and its healthcare business.

But now it looks like it’s exiting its core business – lighting – completely.

The lighting company will be spun off and will be floated on the stock exchange, probably in 2016.  Its lighting business generates revenues of around $2 billion and has 37,000 staff.

Philips originally started in the late 19th century in its core business – making electric lamps.  It diversified greatly during the 20th century at one time even operating its own aircraft business. It also was for a while a player in the audio-visual business and in PCs.

A few years back it spun off its semiconductor business which is now trading as NXP and which is expected to merge with Freescale soon.

Lumileds, the name of the automotive and LED lighting business, will eventually be completely sold off, according to a report in Electronics Weekly.


Amazon offers unlimited cloud storage

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeOnline giant Amazon said it is to offer unlimited cloud storage, offering two plans for people who want to upload vast collections of media that they have.

The first is called the Unlimited Photos Plan – it comes with a free three month trial, then a subscription of $12 a year – this lets you store as many photographs as you like on the Amazon Cloud and includes 5GB of extra storage for videos, documents or other files.

The second is called the Unlimited Everything Plan – this also comes with a three month trial at no charge then a subscription of $60 a year.  As the name implies, it lets you store all of your stuff in Cloud Drive.

Existing members with a Prime subscription already can use unlimited photo storage but can add a subscription to the Unlimited plan to store everything else too.

Amazon is now a considerable player in the IT business – although many people can buy CDs, books and the like – it also offers services for enterprise players too, particularly in the cloud.


EU to shake up e-commerce market

euroflagzEuropean Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is set to start a year long quest to break down barriers to e-commerce trading across borders.

According to a report on Reuters, she believes barriers are preventing the growth of sales online.  She also appy ears to believe that some companies are using the existing situation to block trade between the 28 European Union countries.

The European Union said that one in two people bought stuff online during 2014, but only 15 percent of people bought kit from another EU country.

She will send a set of questionnaires to the 28 members of the EU and she will also send the billet doux to a number of companies that she believes might be actively blocking trade by using border barriers.

She expects to have a report ready by the middle of next year and believes that it’s important to have a single digital market in the European Union.

Apparently, investigators from the Commission raided European companies that sell electronic gizmos online that Vestager believes may be engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.


Biometrics come into their own

fingerprintBiometric systems, particularly in relation to smartphones, look like they’re going to boom during this year.

ABI Research, a market analysis company, said that worldwide revenues for such systems will deliver $3.1 billion this year.

The systems will be targeted not only at home users but at authentication systems for the enterprise market, according to ABI.

Algorithms linked to cloud computing are set to give better user authentication, with applications for mobile payments, bring your own device (BYOD) systems.

The research said that the leaders in the biometric pack are Apple and Samsung but there are other players who are introducing voice and face recognition into the equation.

We reported elsewhere today that Apple is rumoured to be brining out three more iPhones this year that incorporate fingerprint recognition.

Dimitrios Pavlakis, digital security research analyst at ABI, said: “Biometry is moving rapidly into the security ecosystem and its adoption by CE devices will jumpstart this phenomenon.”


Apple iPhone deluge continues

novità-apple-2013It appears that Apple is set to release three more iPhones in the second half of this year.

Informed sources have leaked details of the models to Taiwanese wire Digitimes.

It reports that the phones will be the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Plus and a four inch device currently codenamed the iPhone 6C.

Each of the phones will use Corning Gorilla Glass come with LTPS panels and while the 6S series will use Apple’s A9 chips, the 6C will use A8 microprocessors.  They’ll all be kitted out with NFC as well as fingerprint scanners.

Digitimes also reports that Taiwanese firms Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron will manufacture the handsets.

Meanwhile the same wire reports that chip foundry TSMC will fabricate the chips for the 6S and 6C.

Motorola could not kill patent troll with fire

trollMotorola has been told by a US jury that it used an idea in a patent troll’s portfolio without permission.

Intellectual Ventures’ claimed that it invented multimedia text messaging, something that Motorola said it came up with.

The jury, which deliberated for about a day and a half, cleared Motorola on a second patent related to wireless bandwidth, which it said was invalid. Damages are to be determined later.

It was the second time the two companies faced off in court. The first round, in February 2014, ended in a mistrial after jurors could not agree on a verdict.

Another trial between the two, involving a single Intellectual Ventures patent related to detachable computer devices, is scheduled to begin Thursday.

Lenovo bought the Motorola handset division from Google in October.

Intellectual Ventures is one of the largest intellectual property owners in the world, with more than 70,000 patents and patent applications to its name. It only recently began suing companies in addition to its longtime strategy of licensing its wide array of patents.

It sued Motorola in 2011, alleging that several of Motorola’s mobile devices infringed its patents.

Intellectual Ventures insists that unlike some of the firms denounced as “patent trolls” it does not file frivolous lawsuits. Apparently the definition of a troll is now that the cases have to be frivolous, we thought that they had to be made by people who did not invent anything and were filed purely to make a company wealthy.

In February, Intellectual Ventures won a $17 million patent verdict against security software maker Symantec strengthening its track record in court.

Red Hat does better than expected

red-hatRed Hat has surprised the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by being able to stick to its profit forcast, despite the US dollar shooting through the roof.

Red Hat predicted it would make a profit for the first quarter that matched analysts’ estimates despite warning on a strong dollar hurting its revenue.

Red Hat shares were up five percent in after-market trading after the company’s profit beat the average analyst estimate for the eighth straight quarter.

The company also said a $500 million share buyback program will replace an existing $300 million programme.

Red Hat gets nearly half its revenue from international operations and expected to suffer from the US dollar’s strong gains. HP, Microsoft and IBM had estimated a significant impact from the dollar’s gains.

The company, whose customers include Adobe and Verizon, forecast an adjusted profit of $469 million-$474 million for the first quarter.

Red Hat also forecast a revenue of $1.99-$2.02 billion for the full year. Analysts were expecting  revenues of $2.02 billion.

The company’s billings revenue was $688 million in the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected $646.2 million.


Radio Shack customer data sold off

1980-radio-shack-catalogWho needs hackers? It turns out that all that personal data stored in US corporate servers can be sold off to the highest bidder anyway.

Radio Shack, which has been collecting customer data since the 1980s, is about to sell the lot to raise money to pay off some of its debts.

A list of RadioShack assets for sale includes more than 65 million customer names and physical addresses, and 13 million email addresses. The asset sale may include phone numbers and information on shopping habits as well.

Standard General, a hedge fund and RadioShack’s largest shareholder has bought the database but a bankruptcy court still has to approve the deal.

Needless to say some people have a problem with this and some customers have gone to court to block the sale.

As Bloomberg points out, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that selling the data would be illegal under state law. Texas doesn’t allow companies to sell personal information in a way that violates their own privacy policies, and signage in RadioShack stores claims that “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Paxton believes that a data sale would affect 117 million people.

AT&T also wants RadioShack’s data destroyed for competitive reasons. AT&T doesn’t think RadioShack is entitled to the personal information it collected from wireless sales, and may be concerned that the data might fall into another carriers’ hands.

But there is precedent for allowing customer data to be auctioned off in bankruptcy proceedings. In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission allowed Borders to auction personal data if the same privacy policy applied, the buyer was in the same line of business, and the data was sold alongside other assets.

Standard General, which plans to keep some RadioShack stores open, may try to argue that it’s putting the data to similar uses.

Big Data man wins Turing award

Michael_Stonebraker_2MIT boffin Michael Stonebraker has won the Turing Award for his work on the field of database management systems (DBMSs).

The Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Turing Award, is the Nobel Prize of computing and comes with a Google-funded $1 million prize.

ACM said that Stonebraker “invented many of the concepts that are used in almost all modern database systems … and founded numerous companies successfully commercialising his pioneering database technology work”.

Stonebraker said he didn’t know what he was researching for more than 30 years until the people in marketing started talking about Big Data and that was when he realised that he’d been studying this thing for the better part of his academic life.

For more than 40 years Stonebraker has helped spur a multibillion-dollar “big data” industry that he himself has participated in, creating and leading nine separate companies, including VoltDB, Tamr, Paradigm4, and Vertica.

Stonebraker most influential systems, Ingres and Postgres, provided the foundational ideas and source code that spawned several contemporary database products, including IBM’s Informix and EMC’s Greenplum.

Ingres was one of the first relational databases, which provide a more organised way to store multiple kinds of entities and is the industry standard for business storage.

Stonebraker released many of his systems into the public domain, long before the idea of open source existed and ensured their widespread adoption and allowing other academics to build on his work.

Apple creates old lamps for new scheme in China

lampFruity cargo cult Apple thinks that the best way for punters behind the bamboo curtain to keep buying its expensive products is if they can trade them in like a car.

Jobs’ Mob plans to introduce a trade-in program for iPhones in China in association with Foxconn.

Under the deal, people will be able to exchange older iPhones at Apple stores in China for credit against the company’s products starting March 31.

Chinese demand for larger-screen iPhones helped fuel Apple’s record profit of $18 billion in the final quarter last year.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said China is poised to overtake the United States as the company’s biggest market, and he is working to about double the number of stores in Greater China by the middle of next year.

The only problem is that most of Apple’s potential customers will have to sell a kidney, or body part to get enough cash to buy a phone.

Under the China programme, Foxconn will buy the iPhones directly, without Apple taking ownership, and repair the devices if needed before selling them on its e-commerce websites such as FLNet and on Alibaba’s online store.

Foxconn, a key Apple supplier, is also in talks to sell the older iPhones in physical stores and may take the trade-in program online in future.

Apple has a similar scheme in the US, where the company has started accepting non-Apple devices, Bloomberg reported.

Major US wireless carriers including Verizon Communications and Sprint last year offered subscribers schemes under which they could trade in their old iPhones for new ones.

Diablo Technologies Protects Patent ‘917

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 10.01.42Diablo Technologies released an announcement yesterday evening claiming a “decisive victory” in a lawsuit brought against the company by Netlist, Inc. (NLST). According to the release a “federal jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Diablo, with the jury Unanimously concluding that there was no breach of contract and that there was no misuse of trade secrets. Further the jury confirmed Diablo’s sole ownership and inventorship of the ‘917 patent.”

Diablo’s press release further stated:“We are extremely pleased with the jury’s verdict today,” said Riccardo Badalone, CEO and Co-Founder of Diablo Technologies. “We look forward to getting back to serving our customers and delivering on our exciting Memory Channel Storage roadmap.”

The decision further validates Diablo’s position as a thought leader and technology innovator. Diablo Technologies’ Memory Channel Storage™ architecture delivers high-performance flash storage for workloads including database, virtualization and data analytics.

Trial transcripts have not yet been posted on the US District Court, Northern District of California’s website at the time of this writing…,


ZTE profits soar by 94 percent

zte-open-firefox-osChinese telecomms provider ZTE said higher sales of 4G network kit and smartphones meant that for its financial year it turned in a 94 percent net profit increased.

The Shenzhen based corporation said the net profit rose to $423.5 million in its 2014 financial year.

It claims it is the fastest growing providers of 4G across the world, with strong wins internationally and consolidation of its number one position in mainland China.

It claims its lead in 4G technology is allowing it to take the lead in research on 5G technology and it has already introduced pre G5 base stations for trial.

In addition to telecomms, ZTE made inroads into the cloud computing for the financial services market, and also showed growth in data centre products

Revenues from business outside China accounted for 50.2 percent of ZTE’s results.

The company said that it showed growth for both 4G smartphones and 3G handsets worldwide, and improved its branding, its channel distribution and its services.