Wednesday, September 30, 2015



Link to TechEye

Apple has to pay for botched iPad programme

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 01:22 AM PDT

poison-appleThe fruity cargo cult Apple has had to pay the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) $4.2 million for a botched programme which was supposed to give 640,000 kids an iPad.

Cupertino was expecting to trouser $30 million from the $1.3 billion project, but it was a disaster from the start. There were accusations of mismanagement, miscalculation and corruption.

Former LA schools Super John Deasy  role in the iPad project drew attention after disclosures of close ties he had with executives at Apple and Pearson. Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October, has denied any wrongdoing, and board members also have said they don’t believe he was guilty of any illegal actions.

The FBI has sent its crack team of untouchables to look at the way Apple won the contract in the first place.

Lenovo, the other tech company involved in the project aside from Apple, agreed to let the district have the $2.2 million worth of laptops it recently ordered for free.

LAUSD will also get $6.4 million – it’s still a tentative amount, though – from education software maker Pearson, which was contracted to conjure up maths and English curricula to use with the project.

The district says Pearson only ever provided a partial curriculum. LAUSD plans to use most of the money from the settlement to buy computers for a completely different initiative. It is not clear if Apple will get the chance to bid for that one.


Nvidia plans new Clash of the Titans

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 12:28 AM PDT

titanThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth rumour that Nvidia  is working on a new dual-GPU graphics card that would take two flagship GM200 chips and put them on a single board.

The belief is that it will go out under a “Titan” branding, and could be a doubling of a fully-unlocked Titan X.

If that is correct then that would mean both GPUs would feature 3,072 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs and 96 ROPs, with 12 GB of GDDR5 available to each GPU through a 384-bit bus.

Question is whether 6,144 CUDA cores and 24 GB of memory ever going to be enough? For a start half the memory will be duplication as only 12 GB would be available to games.

No one is confirming the rumour. Nvidia might opt for a dual GTX 980 Ti setup instead, or it might just go to the pub and forget all about it. That is the thing with rumours.

Like with all dual-GPU cards from Nvidia, it will perform identically to having two separate graphics cards connected in SLI, as the dual-GPU card uses SLI to connect both GPUs.

The advantage would really be in cooling which tends to be a bit better on dual-GPU cards compared to traditional SLI setups.

We expect that when you plug this in all the lights in your street will dim and there will be a manic cackling from your power company as it calculates your new bill.

Nvidia’s dual-GM200 graphics card will reportedly be launching very shortly, although the price hasn’t been revealed just yet. Nvidia last dual-GPU card, the $3,000 GTX Titan Z, was considerably more expensive than simply buying two single-GPU cards and hooking them up in SLI. Only the stupid bought it, and there were not enough of them to go around.

Fiorina diverted HP servers for US snooping programme

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 12:28 AM PDT

CarlyCarly Fiorina's close relationship with US snoops during her time as CEO of HP has come to light, and does not bode well for privacy is if she is elected President.

NSA director Michael Hayden has confirmed that in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, he rang winsome Carly asking her to quickly provide his agency with HP computer servers for expanded surveillance.

He needed the HP servers so the NSA could implement "Stellar Wind" which was a controversial warrantless wiretapping programme, including the bulk collection of American citizens' phone records and emails that had been secretly ordered by the Bush White House.

"Carly, I need stuff and I need it now," Hayden recalled telling Fiorina.

Fiorina redirected trucks of HP computer servers that were on their way to retail stores from a warehouse in Tennessee to the Washington Beltway. They were then escorted by NSA security to the gates of agency headquarters in Fort Mead. Fiorina said she felt it was her duty to help.

"They were ramping up a whole set of programmes and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats. …What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked," she said.

When Hayden became CIA director in 2006, he named Fiorina as chair of an agency external advisory board consisting of former top intelligence officials, generals and business leaders.

She made regular trips to CIA HQ including overseeing one specific project requested by Hayden keeping CIA undercover espionage missions secret from government leaks and demands for greater public accountability and openness.

Fiorina is trying to position herself as a "hawk" and is in favour of lots of re-arming and more snooping. She was also critical of those poor CIA people who got into trouble over waterboarding,

Fiorina rejected the conclusions of a senate report into waterboarding "disingenuous" and "a shame" that "undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe."

We used to call her the corporate axe woman during her time at HP, it looks like the those who suffered from her sharpened blade got off lightly.

Researchers make mushroom inside battery

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 12:27 AM PDT

Portobello-MushroomsA team of researchers has been growing mushrooms in lithium-ion batteries to make them last longer – not just any mushroom they have to be portabella.

Engineers and material scientists at the University of California, Riverside used portabellas to create a longer lasting battery.

The new lithium-ion battery features anodes made of portabella mushrooms. In addition to being more durable, they’re also more inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Portabellas are easy to grow so the anodes are simple to produce.

The mushrooms are seen as a replacement for graphite. Graphite is costly and its production process is slow and harmful to the environment. Mushrooms attracted scientists because they’re extremely porous and rather tasty.

Graphite degrades over time as the result of electrode damage, the high concentration of potassium salt in portabellas improves the material’s electrode capacity.



Apple’s El Capitan comes tomorrow

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 08:09 AM PDT

apple queueApple said that the latest release of OS X will be made available tomorrow as free upgrade.

El Capitan has upgrades affecting window management, includes Spotlight search and has better performance said Apple.

Apple has changed Mission Control for organising files on Macs and will arrange all the windows in a single layer.

Spotlight can now be used to check share prices, weather, schedules and improved search capabilities.

Apple said that built in apps in El Capitan include pinned sites, and a mute button to switch off those annoying ads that often appear in the middle of otherwise useful content.

The company claims system performance – particularly graphics – has been improved and its Metal technology can speed system level rendering by up to 50 percent.

The upgrade supports Macs introduced in 2009 and later and some machines introduced in 2007 and 2008.

Virgin Media speeds up its broadband

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 06:41 AM PDT

Virgin VividVirgin Media said today it will introduce 200Mbps broadband to its UK customers under a new branding called Vivid.

The company will contact UK customers this week to tell them how they can optin to an upgrade from the 1st October at no charge.

Virgin claims that 200Mbps means that a two hour HD movie can be downloaded in just over three minutes, and a music album in three seconds.

The company said that it will be able to deploy the speeds to 90 percent of its five million or so customers by the end of this year.

There will be options to upgrade to 70Mbps, Vivid 150Mbps and Vivid 200Mbps.

It's not immediately clear why Virgin Media will offer these different speeds, although it is piggybacking on ultrafast optical fibre.

Microsoft fined by China

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 06:31 AM PDT

Microsoft campusThe Chinese antitrust authorities have fined Microsoft and a Chinese firm for breaking antitrust rules.

But Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, will not be too worried because it was fined $31,430 along with its Chinese firm BesTV.

The offence, according to Reuters, was that both failed to tell antitrust regulators that a joint venture exceeded a threshold laid down by the authorities.

The two companies formed a JV in 2013 in an attempt to popularise the Xbox in China.

China is apparently taking a much dimmer view of Microsoft which is alleged to breach antitrust rules with its operating system and Office software.

That investigation isn't yet complete but if China does fine Microsoft it is probably going to be for a lot more than $31,430.

Half a million 3D printers to ship next year

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 06:24 AM PDT

3D printer - Wikimedia CommonsGartner said that it estimates that worldwide shipments of 3D printers in 2016 will reach close to half a million.

That's up 103 percent from the quarter of a million units that will ship this year, the report said.

The reason for growth in the 3D printer market is because of quality and performance improvements which are driving demand from both enterprises and ordinary people.

Pete Basiliere, research VP at Gartner, said: "The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to a broad based global market of enteprises and consumers."

He said that seven technologies make up the 3D market, with material extrusion being the leader of the pack. He forecasts these units will reach five and a half million units in 2019, representing 97 percent of the total, largely because of the sale of entry level machines.

Enterprises are interested in the technologies because they can prototype new products and make tools used to produce other items.

IBM to buy Meteorix

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 06:18 AM PDT

IBM logoBig Blue said it will buy a company called Meteorix which specialises in Workday, which is a set of cloud applications for finance and personnel management.

Bridget van Kralingen, senior VP at IBM global business services, said the acquisition will make IBM one of the leading Workday service providers in the world.

Sam Spector, CEO of Mateorix said that his company's rapid growth was down to its strong focus on customers. He said that combining the capabilities of the two companies will mean customers can use the analytics of IBM and its own experience in providing Workday applications.

IBM did not say how much it will pay for Meteorix or when the acquisition will be completed. It also did nt say whether the unit will function autonomously or whether it will be absorbed into the IBM global services unit.

The company was only started in 2011 with most of its customer base in the USA and Canada.

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