Monday, September 28, 2015



Link to TechEye

Blaming Autonomy for HP’s woes might not pan out

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 01:40 AM PDT


BN-EE799_hp0820_P_20140820164645Former managers of British outfit Autonomy have prevented evidence that HP knew all about it when it wrote a cheque to buy the company.

For years we have heard, mostly from HP, how the British outfit cooked the books before selling its operation to HP. HP is suing Autonomy founder Mike Lynch, and former finance director Sushovan Hussain, in London for damages of about $5.1 billion for their management of Autonomy, alleging they engaged in fraudulent activities to boost the value of the company.

But in a new report, Autonomy founder Mike Lynch said that HP was made aware of practices at Autonomy, including hardware sales and growth rates boosted by different accounting rules, before it bought the firm for $11 billion in an ill-fated deal.

Lynch said contentious matters, such as the sale of hardware and the recognition of revenues in deals with resellers, were raised in a due diligence report by KPMG.

The report, made public after US shareholders pursued action in the United States against HP, also shows KPMG warned HP the difference between European and US accounting standards could impact historical growth rates for the company.

“The KPMG report directly contradicts the statements HP made about Autonomy on which its whole case is based/ HP said it did not know things that it plainly did,” Lynch said.

HP has continued to deny that it had knowledge of Lynch and Hussain’s contrived sales to value added resellers and other improper transactions and accounting practices, all of which artificially inflated Autonomy’s reported revenues, misrepresented its rate of organic growth and overstated its gross and net profits.

But the documents made public in the court case in Northern California also indicate that Chairman Ray Lane was worried about going ahead with the deal right up to the last minute.

He emailed HP’s independent directors requesting a last-minute meeting before the acquisition was announced, saying he had “received new news this morning that I’m still trying to digest,” according to the documents.

A report by legal firm Proskauer Rose prepared for HP said the minutes for this meeting were unavailable.

Days after the deal was announced, Lane said in an email to Chief Executive Leo Apotheker that he was “still haunted by Autonomy itself”.

He asked Apotheker and the company’s advisers if there was any way to get out of the deal.

Apotheker, who was replaced by Meg Whitman weeks later, responded in an email that he was 99 percent sure that the Autonomy deal was irreversible.

Apple queues down by 60 percent

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 01:25 AM PDT


apple queueOne of the signs that Apple is falling from favour is that its queues are getting shorter.

Despite there being better buying options, Apple has always encouraged its fanboys to queue outside its stores, sometimes months an advance, to provide the Tame Apple Press (TAP) with a thinly disguised advert.  The long queues showed how popular the phone was along with the enthusiasm of customers.

Until now.

Apple's Covent Garden store queue revealed how far the Apple brand has fallen in Europe.  The Covent Garden branch is the biggest in Europe and the numbers of people queuing for the just released iPhone 6S wasn't quite as big as last year.

There were the usual nut-jobs there to be interviewed by the Tame Apple Press, but the metal barriers erected in the cobbled streets in front of the store were not full to bursting, as they were last year and the year before.

The queue was a miserable 400 people strong by the time the doors opened at 8 AM –  an impressive number for any launch but far short of the 1,000 or so that queued last year.

The Tame Apple Press was in a quandary and did its best not to reach the conclusion that the iPhone 6S was just not big enough to drag as many people onto the streets overnight as last year's shiny toy.

Some tried to blame online sales, but they existed last year and still people queued.

Other TAP members used the opportunity to advertise how different the new iPhone was from the old one by reporting instead that it was now available in a very manly pink and that sales of these versions of the phone were higher than expected.

But nothing could answer the problem that that buyers were not be quite as eager this time around. This also flies in the face of Apple claims the new iPhone is looking set to beat the 10 million sold of last year's iPhone 6 with the first few days.

Researchers build first permanent optical memory on a chip

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 01:24 AM PDT

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsA team of boffins has created the first permanent optical memory on a chip, a critical step towards photonic chips.

Harish Bhaskaran, a nanoengineering expert at the University of Oxford and electrical engineer Wolfram Pernice at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, have worked out a way to solve to the disappearing memory problem using material at the heart of rewritable CDs and DVDs.

Rewritable material is made from a thin layer of an alloy of germanium, antimony, and tellurium. When zapped with an intense pulse of laser light, GST film changes its atomic structure from an ordered crystalline lattice to an "amorphous" jumble.

These two structures reflect light in different ways, and CDs and DVDs use this difference to store data. To read out the data—stored as patterns of tiny spots with a crystalline or amorphous order—a CD or DVD drive shines low-intensity laser light on a disk and tracks the way the light bounces off.

The researchers noticed that the material affected not only how light reflects off the film, but also how much of it is absorbed. When a transparent material lay underneath the GST film, spots with a crystalline order absorbed more light than did spots with an amorphous structure.

Having worked that out the researchers wanted to see whether they could use this property to permanently store data on a chip and later read it out.

Using standard chipmaking technology they built a chip with a silicon nitride device, known as a waveguide, which contains and channels pulses of light. They then placed a nanoscale patch of GST atop this waveguide. To write data in this layer, the scientists piped an intense pulse of light into the waveguide. The high intensity of the light's electromagnetic field melted the GST, turning its crystalline atomic structure amorphous. A second, slightly less intense pulse could then cause the material to revert back to its original crystalline structure.

They dramatically increased the amount of data they could store and read. For starters, they sent multiple wavelengths of light through the waveguide at the same time, allowing them to write and read multiple bits of data simultaneously, something you can't do with electrical data storage devices.

According to Nature Photonics, which we get for the spot the proton competition, by varying the intensity of their data-writing pulses, they were also able to control how much of each GST patch turned crystalline or amorphous at any one time.

Photonic memories are a long way from being better than their electronic counterparts. Ultimately, Bhaskaran believes that if a more advanced photonic memory can be integrated with photonic logic and interconnections, the resulting chips could be 50 to 100 times the speed of today's computer processors.

GCHQ recorded the browsing habits of everyone

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 01:23 AM PDT

903163The UK spooks know exactly what you were browsing in 2007 and 2008 had have built a profile on you.

Dubbed Karma Police, the project was launched in 2009, without telling Parliament or the great unwashed.

According to documents published by The Intercept, the explicit intention of correlating “every user visible to passive SIGINT with every website they visit, hence providing either (a) a web browsing profile for every visible user on the Internet, or (b) a user profile for every visible website on the Internet”.

You should be especially worked up if you visited or pornography site RedTube as its users were flagged for special attention.

The spooks also had another project called Blazing Saddles which targeted listeners of “any one particular radio station … to understand any trends or behaviours”.

The aim of the programmes was to test a wealth of data mining techniques could be applied on small closed groups of individuals, to look for potential covert communications channels for hostile intelligence agencies running agents in allied countries, terrorist cells, or serious crime targets.


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