Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

The Top Ten Reasons Why Apple Rejects Apps

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2014

Some of the mystery behind Apple’s app rejection decisions has been solved. Now, the powers-that-be behind the App Store have finally revealed why software is so often rejected. You might be surprised by how mundane its reason are. Read more…

The iCloud Flaw That Could Have Caused the Nude Celeb Leaks

Posted by kenmay on September - 1 - 2014

Over the weekend, there’s been a slew of images released showing celebrities in varying states of undress . Now, it appears that a flaw in iCloud could be responsible for the images making their way online. Read more…

Earlier this week, a post started on 4chan claimed a wealth of celebrity nudes- -a large cache in possession of a hacker who’d gained access to several celebrities’ alleged personal photos— would leak on Sunday . Well, Sunday’s here, the supposed leak has begun, and the internet is reacting accordingly. Read more…

An anonymous reader writes A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has determined that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is “against Sharia” and “against moral standards.” However, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, plans to renew licenses and expand the country’s 3G cellular phone network. A radical MP associated with the conservative Resistance Front, warned: “If the minister continues to go ahead with increasing bandwidth and Internet speed, then we will push for his impeachment and removal from the cabinet.” “We will vigorously prevent all attempts by the [communication] minister to expand 3G technology, and if our warnings are not heeded, then the necessary course of action will be taken, ” he added. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cryptolocker is a nasty piece of malware that encrypts the files on your computer and holds them ransom. If you don’t pay for a code to unlock the files, you don’t get them back. FireEye and Fox-IT recently launched a tool to help users get their files back. Read more…

Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Posted by kenmay on August - 31 - 2014

An anonymous reader writes Iceland’s authorities have raised an aviation warning for a region close to the Bardarbunga volcano after a small fissure eruption in the area. The eruption began around 0600 GMT prompting the Icelandic Met Office to raise the aviation warning code to red for the Bardarbunga/Holuhraun area, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said in a statement. The country’s meteorological agency described the eruption as a “very calm lava eruption and can hardly be seen on seismometers.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Since it was teased in March, enthusiasts have been itching to see how Intel’s 8-core Haswell Extreme Edition processor (the i7-5960X) performs. It has now launched (along with two other Haswell-E models) and the reviews are in. Yes, it’s the world’s fastest desktop CPU — but the general consensus is “it could have been better.” Why? Because Intel recently launched a “Devil’s Canyon” CPU for $340 with a base clock speed of 4.0GHz that can easily be overclocked to 4.4GHz. The $1, 000 Extreme Edition chip, on the other hand, has a base clock of 3.0GHz and max turbo speed of 3.5GHz. Since clock speeds are often more important to gamers than multiple cores, that might disappoint many a Battlefield 4 player. On the other hand, with DDR4 support and eight cores (Intel’s highest count ever on the desktop), the chip should excel at pro tasks like 4K video processing and 3D rendering. Given the price tag, that might be the only market that can afford it. Here’s what the experts think. Hot Hardware Hot Hardware called the Haswell-E 5960X “a mix between kick-ass and meh, ” saying that it was actually topped in some tests by the i7-4960X, last year’s Extreme Edition model. That’s because despite having two less cores, the latter has higher clock-rates. Still, it found the new chip to be “mostly superior to the previous-gen, ” in terms of gaming and graphics performance. And if you’re into overclocking, the chip is more configurable than other Haswell processors. ASUS told Hot Hardware the chip was easy to take up to around 4.4GHz or so with decent liquid or air cooling, thanks to adjustable voltage, turbo and other settings. If you decide to do that, however, beware of your power bill: the chip has decent power efficiency at regular settings, but can jump to 180 watts or more when overclocked. Anandtech “Using the 8-core monster… does some financial damage, ” was Anandtech ‘s succinct sum-up of the CPU’s economics. $1, 815 and up is the bare minimum price for a fully configured system, but that can easily stretch to $5, 000 or more if you max out the RAM and graphics. The $1, 000 price of the CPU doesn’t help, but another issue is memory: DDR4 RAM is considerably more expensive than last-gen DDR3, running about $250 per 16GB. On the other hand, you will save a bit of money once it’s up and running. Tick for tick, the new CPU is more efficient than last year’s Extreme Edition 6-core model (provided you don’t overclock), and the DDR4 RAM runs at a lower voltage and consumes less power as well. Still, you’d have to be a serious gamer to justify the mild performance bump for the not-so-mild leap in price over chips like the 4GHz Devil’s Canyon model. Tom’s Hardware However, if you’re into video or 3D graphics, where time is money, it might be worth paying more. Tom’s Hardware took a close look at some real-life benchmarks, including 3ds Max, Adobe Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC and Handbrake media encoding. The new chip tops almost all the charts, and actually bests Intel’s 8-core Xeon E5-2687W v2 in most — and that processor costs twice as much. Since most of the applications are heavily multi-threaded (unlike many games), it also wallops the quad-core, 4Ghz Core i7-4790K in all the tests. That means a 3ds Max render would run about 25 percent faster — which could easily save hours of time. Oddly, Tom’s also showed that if you’re into gaming, the two processors introduced along with the Extreme Edition CPU — the $389 Core i7-5820K with four cores and the $583 6-core 5930K — might actually be better. It said “games often favor architecture and clock rate over core count, ” and sure enough, Battlefield 4 and other titles get higher frame rates on those chips, thanks to the higher clock speeds. So if you’re a gamer, today’s announcement isn’t a total loss — but you may want to ignore the glamor chip and look at the two CPUs playing second fiddle instead. Filed under: Desktops , Intel Comments Source: Intel

Scientists Found the Origin of the Ebola Outbreak

Posted by kenmay on August - 31 - 2014

Taco Cowboy sends this report from Vox: One of the big mysteries in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is where the virus came from in the first place — and whether it’s changed in any significant ways. … In a new paper in Science (abstract), researchers reveal that they have sequenced the genomes of Ebola from 78 patients in Sierra Leone who contracted the disease in May and June. Those sequences revealed some 300 mutations specific to this outbreak. Among their findings, the researchers discovered that the current viral strains come from a related strain that left Central Africa within the past ten years. … Using genetic sequences from current and previous outbreaks, the researchers mapped out a family tree that puts a common ancestor of the recent West African outbreak some place in Central Africa roughly around 2004. This contradicts an earlier hypothesis that the virus had been hanging around West Africa for much longer than that. Researchers are also planning to study the mutations to see if any of them are affecting Ebola’s recent behavior. For example, this outbreak has had a higher transmission rate and lower death rate than others, and researchers are curious if any of these mutations are related to that. … The scientific paper on Ebola is also a sad reminder of the toll that the virus has taken on those working on the front lines. Five of the authors died of Ebola before it was published. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Reformatting a Machine 125 Million Miles Away

Posted by kenmay on August - 31 - 2014

An anonymous reader writes: NASA’s Opportunity rover has been rolling around the surface of Mars for over 10 years. It’s still performing scientific observations, but the mission team has been dealing with a problem: the rover keeps rebooting. It’s happened a dozen times this month, and the process is a bit more involved than rebooting a typical computer. It takes a day or two to get back into operation every time. To try and fix this, the Opportunity team is planning a tricky operation: reformatting the flash memory from 125 million miles away. “Preparations include downloading to Earth all useful data remaining in the flash memory and switching the rover to an operating mode that does not use flash memory. Also, the team is restructuring the rover’s communication sessions to use a slower data rate, which may add resilience in case of a reset during these preparations.” The team suspects some of the flash memory cells are simply wearing out. The reformat operation is scheduled for some time in September. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The history of the stereotyped "Asian" melodic riff

Posted by kenmay on August - 31 - 2014

Carl Douglas’s 1974 Kung Fu Fighting made it ubiquitous, but NPR found that the distinctive, stereotyped combination of rhythm and scale dates to the 19th century , and arrived at its exact nine-note form in the 1930s: “It doesn’t come from Chinese folk music; it’s just a caricature”