Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for July 28th, 2017

Samsung topples Intel as world’s largest chipmaker

Posted by kenmay on July - 28 - 2017

Samsung registered a record profit of $12.6 billion in its second quarter earnings report, but hidden in those numbers lies another milestone. Of its $54 billion in revenue, $15 billion came solely from Samsung Semiconductors — pushing it above the $14.8 billion that all of Intel brought in. In short: Samsung just ended Intel’s 24-year-reign and became the largest chipmaker in the world. But Samsung didn’t get there by outselling processors — it’s been diversifying its chip offerings for years. While Intel has focused on CPUs for computers and servers after burying its wearables division last November, Samsung has broadened into making chips for mobile devices, as well as connected chips for IoT and smart vehicles. But the company also got ahead of Intel on the strength of its flash memory with more popular SSD products. Intel isn’t giving up on the rivalry, and claimed its next generation of long-delayed Cannon Lake 10nm chips will feature twice as many transistors as Samsung’s or TMSC’s, putting them “light years” ahead. Via: Sam Mobile Source: Samsung Second Quarter 201 Earnings , Intel Second Quarter Earnings (PDF)

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Fontgate strikes again. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif has stepped down following a Supreme Court order disqualifying him from holding office. The ruling also called for anti-corruption cases against Sharif and his family. After proving pivotal to the probe that led to today’s decision, Microsoft’s Calibri font could also make an appearance in the next stage of proceedings. The innocent typeset was dragged into the turmoil in Pakistan last month. Back then, Sharif’s daughter (and heir apparent) Maryam Nawaz was accused of submitting forged documents to the Supreme Court-instituted panel probing her family’s financial assets. In its report, the investigation team said the documents from 2006 were deemed fake because they were in the Calibri font — which wasn’t publicly available until 2007. Moments after the panel’s findings were released, the internet (being the internet) blew up with jokes about #Fontgate. The Pakistani Twitterverse latched on to the term, using it to lampoon Sharif and his aides. The media also got in on the act, even going so far as to interview Calibri’s creator Lucas De Groot. And, arguably, the best result to come from it all: a reference to the investigation made it on to the font’s Wikipedia page . Fast-forward to today’s historic decision. Alongside the PM’s dismissal, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the country’s anti-corruption body to file references against Sharif and others. The evidence collected by the original investigative panel (including that document) will be used in the subsequent cases in accountability courts. As it currently stands, Pakistan is left without a PM, and is also set to lose its finance minister (who was also disqualified in today’s order). Sharif’s ruling party, which holds the majority in parliament, will now choose his successor. Whoever takes over won’t be in for an easy ride. Not a single PM in Pakistan’s history has served a full term in office.

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From a CNET report: Next to DJ Tiesto’s loud image on Wet Republic’s website sits a photo of a bikini model with a beard and an eye patch, with a simple message: “It’s all out war.” Not exactly the type of message you’d expect from a spot that advertises itself as a dance club that doubles as a pool party, but when hackers are in town for Defcon, everything seems to be fair game. The hacker convention, which is in its 25th year in Las Vegas, typically has hotels on alert for its three days of Sin City talk, demos and mischief. Guests are encouraged not to pick up any flash drives lying around, and employees are trained to be wary of social engineering — that is, bad guys pretending to be someone innocent and in need of just a little help. Small acts of vandalism pop up around town. At Caesars Palace, where Defcon is happening, the casino’s UPS store told guests it was not accepting any print requests from USB drives or links, and only printing from email attachments. Hackers who saw this laughed, considering that emails are hardly immune from malware. But the message is clear: During these next few days, hackers are going to have their fun, whether it’s through a compromised Wi-Fi network or an open-to-mischief website. Wet Republic’s site had two images vandalized, both for the “Hot 100” party with DJ Shift. The digital graffiti popped up early Friday morning, less than 24 hours after Defcon kicked off. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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(video link) The latest Star Wars story is already here, and it’s free on YouTube. It’s a series of shorts called Forces of Destiny , and each one delivers action, humor, and a genuinely heartfelt moment of heroism. The best part about the series, authored by Marvel alum Jennifer Muro, is that it fills in backstory on characters that you always wondered about. (So yeah, it’s canon.) Forces of Destiny is a 16-episode series, and the first eight were released this month. Eight more will come in October. The series is episodic, jumping around in time from Episodes 1 through 7 of the films. We see a lot of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB-8, though we also stop in to see Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) kicking butt, Leia doing spycraft, and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) being her usual chaotic good rogue. All the actors from the movies and TV series voice their characters, except Leia (RIP Carrie Fisher), who is voiced by Shelby Young. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Chris Foresman) You’ll see no mention of the iPod Nano or iPod Shuffle on Apple’s website anymore. Today, the company removed the two media players from its website, and reports suggest the company is discontinuing both devices. A report from Business Insider includes a statement from an Apple spokesperson citing the “simplifying” of the iPod lineup. “Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod Touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” reads the statement from an Apple spokesperson. Some of the most affordable products in Apple’s lineup, the iPod nano started at $149 and the iPod shuffle started at $49. Both devices have been sitting on the back burner for a while: Apple hasn’t introduced a meaningful update to either device since 2012, only adding new colors options for both in 2015. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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In 2005 a young man from England created a website called The Million Dollar Homepage and sold advertising space on it. The page is a 1000 × 1000 pixel grid (1,000,000 pixels) and he sold the pixels for $1 each. The page has 2,816 links in it. A recent analysis of all the links reveal that only 1,780 are still reachable. From Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab : Over the decade or so since the Million Dollar Homepage sold its last pixel, link rot has ravaged the site’s embedded links. Of the 2,816 links that embedded on the page (accounting for a total of 999,400 pixels), 547 are entirely unreachable at this time. A further 489 redirect to a different domain or to a domain resale portal, leaving 1,780 reachable links. Most of the domains to which these links correspond are for sale or devoid of content. The 547 unreachable links are attached to graphical elements that collectively take up 342,000 pixels (face value: $342,000). Redirects account for a further 145,000 pixels (face value: $145,000). While it would take a good deal of manual work to assess the reachable pages for content value, the majority do not seem to reflect their original purpose. Though the Million Dollar Homepage’s pixel canvas exists as a largely intact digital artifact, the vast web of sites which it publicizes has decayed greatly over the course of time. [ via Clive Thompson ]

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Enlarge / The announcement of the Creators Update in October 2016. (credit: Ars Technica) Some four months after its initial release, Microsoft says it has opened the floodgates and is now pushing out Windows 10 version 1703, the Creators Update, to every compatible PC (a category that excludes systems using Intel’s Clover Trail Atoms ). Earlier this month, AdDuplex, which tracks the penetration of the different Windows 10 versions, reported that as of July 18, the Creators Update had just passed 50 percent of Windows 10 systems. Forty-six percent are on the previous version, 1607 (aka the Anniversary Update). Until now, the deployment of the Creators Update has been throttled to stage its rollout. That throttle is now removed, so most of that 46 percent should now start upgrading. Microsoft is also saying that with this full rollout, enterprise customers should have confidence deploying the update. With Microsoft getting rid of the “Current Branch” and “Current Branch for Business” nomenclature , this is the closest thing to a signal that the version is enterprise-ready. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / This November 2015 photo appears to be a company photo of Accostings, which Reply All identified as an India-based tech support scam company. Kamal Verma is standing in a black shirt with a watch in the center of the photo. (credit: Kamal Verma ) The following post contains spoilers of Reply All episode #102: Long Distance , which was released on July 27, 2017. If you don’t wish to know what happens in that episode, read no further. Here at Ars, we are no strangers to online tech support scammers. For years now, we have played along with scammers, cajoled them, and called them out on their tricks . Such scams are notoriously difficult to shut down. But we never even dreamed of doing what the podcast Reply All has done  in an amazing episode that was released Thursday morning: doggedly pursue corporate records, find Facebook profiles of at least one company executive, and even manage to have extended conversations with one of them before trying to confront him. In person. In India. Read 93 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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