Wednesday, October 21, 2015



Link to TechEye

Intel minions create fast open source graphics

Posted: 21 Oct 2015 01:10 AM PDT

minionsChipmaker Intel has set its minions the task of creating a high-performance software rasteriser for the Linux Mesa 3D Graphics Library.

Mesa currently uses swrast, LLVMpipe, and Softpipe drivers as software rasterisers that run OpenGL on the CPU rather than any dedicated GPU. But apparently Intel's minions have been developing a new, high-performance software rasteriser.

The minions hope to upstream their new “OpenSWR” project into Mesa as offering fast, CPU-rendered graphics.

For those who came in late, OpenSWR is the newly-announced high performance software rasterizer that’s developed at Intel by a different team of minions.

That group was looking at software-defined visualisations and scientific visualisations. Chipzilla already had developed a high-performance software rasteriser internally and then later they decided to engage in this project and work on upstream Mesa3D support.

Writing in its blog, a spokesMinion said that for high geometry workloads the software was faster than llvmpipe.

"This is to be expected, as llvmpipe only threads the fragment processing and not the geometry frontend. The linked slide below shows some performance numbers from a benchmark dataset and application."

On a 36 total core dual E5-2699v3 there is a performance 29 times to 51 times that of llvmpipe.

"While our current performance is quite good, we know there is more potential in this architecture. When we switched from a prototype OpenGL driver to Mesa we regressed performance severely, some due to interface issues that need tuning, some differences in shader code generation, and some due to conformance and feature additions to the core swr. We are looking to recovering most of this performance back,” the spokesMinion said. Whatever any of that means.

The new rasteriser is being put out under the Mesa MIT license. Intel is making it open-source to and making it easier to deploy. Unlike their Intel i965 Mesa driver, this rasterizer builds atop Gallium3D. Additionally, OpenSWR makes use of LLVM.

The rasteriser should work with AMD CPUs, if it has AVX/AVX2 support. Intel plans on adding AVX512 support as well.

Yahoo signs Google pact

Posted: 21 Oct 2015 01:09 AM PDT

French_surrenderYahoo has signed a search advertising deal with Google which it claims will boost its efforts to turn around the company.

The deal, which is a bit like the French surrender during WW2, was announced as Yahoo reported revenue and profit that fell short of what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted.

The deal with Google builds on an existing search partnership with Microsoft under which Yahoo gets a percentage of revenue from ads displayed on its sites.

The companies have agreed to delay implementation of the deal in the United States to allow the antitrust division of the Department of Justice to review it.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost revenue from ad sales in the face of stiff competition from Google and Facebook.

It  is a sign of how bad things are getting at Yahoo, when the Google deal is cast as one of the few bright spots included in the company’s third quarter results.

Yahoo said it expected fourth quarter revenues of $1.16 billion–$1.20 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.33 billion.

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want”.

“We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core advertising business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said. Maybe the word should be headaches.

Yahoo said the proposed spinoff of its 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding – a key matter for shareholders – will go through in January.

Yahoo earlier this year sought a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to confirm whether the transaction, worth about $27 billion currently, would result in a tax obligation. The tax agency denied the request, but Yahoo said it would go ahead with the spinoff by the end of the year anyway.

Many analysts attribute little value to Yahoo’s core business without its Asian assets, which also include a 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan.

Other good news came results came from Yahoo’s emerging businesses, which Mayer calls Mavens – mobile, video, native and social advertising.

Revenues in that area rose 43 percent to $422 million in the quarter. Native advertising refers to ads that blend into the type and style of the content being viewed.

Revenues after deducting fees paid to partner websites fell to $1.0 billion from $1.09 billion, and the company forecast a drop to $920 million-$960 million in the current quarter.

Traffic acquisition costs, the amount Yahoo spends to attract users to its websites, jumped to $223 million in the quarter from $54 million a year earlier. Whatever that means.


VMware barely floats as Dell sharks circle

Posted: 21 Oct 2015 01:07 AM PDT

shark-week-2015-promoAs the tinbox shifter Dell is planning to buy EMC and VMware, the later has shown off some pretty dismal results.

VMware forecast current quarter revenue largely below Wall Street’s estimates, sending its shares down five percent in extended trading.

The company blamed poor sales in due to speculation about its future and weakness in China, Russia and Brazil. How the Dell deal could have influenced the whole quarter when it was only announced last week is anyone's guess.

VMware forecast revenue of between $1.83 billion and $1.88 billion for the fourth quarter, its seasonally strongest. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $1.88 billion.

Analysts were not mincing their words. Speaking from a pile of sack-cloth and ashes FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives predicted "dark days ahead for VMware" as this company is "heading down a troubled path" where death awaits it with pointy teeth –  we added the last bit.

VMware also said on Tuesday that it would form a new cloud services business with EMC that would operate under the Virtustream brand.

The new business will be jointly owned by VMware and EMC.

“This initiative is around creating a tighter integration for both companies as they go after the elusive cloud opportunity,” Ives said.

Virtustream’s results will be consolidated into VMware’s financials, starting in the first quarter of 2016.

EMC, which owns about 80 percent of VMware, bought Virtustream for $1.2 billion in July.

VMware’s revenue rose to $1.67 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $1.52 billion a year earlier.

Apple tells Judge its iPhone is unhackable

Posted: 21 Oct 2015 01:05 AM PDT

unsinkabeFruity cargo cult Apple's lawyers are so completely deluded about their product's ability they actually told a judge that the iPhone was unhackable.

It appears that the company brought its own reality distortion field  to court when it  told a US judge that accessing data stored on a locked iPhone would be “impossible” with devices using its latest operating system.

Since the Titanic, manufacturers have been very careful about using the impossible word. This is mostly because all technology can be hacked when someone applies themselves to do it.  The OS has been jailbroken so someone must have hacked it.

The case is over whether Apple can assist police hack into a phone to help them in their inquiries. Apple said it had the “technical ability” to help law enforcement unlock older phones, which in theory means that criminals should update their phones immediately.

Apple’s position was laid out in a brief filed late Monday, after a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York, sought its input as he weighed a US Justice Department request to force the company to help authorities access a seized iPhone during an investigation.

In court papers, Apple said that for the 90 percent of its devices running iOS 8 or higher, granting the Justice Department’s request “would be impossible to perform” after it strengthened encryption methods.

Those devices include a feature that prevents anyone without the device’s passcode from accessing its data, including Apple itself.  So Apple is telling the world that its iPhone is unhackable because it uses radical technology called a “password”.

The feature was adopted in 2014 amid heightened privacy concerns following leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance programs.

Apple told US Magistrate Judge James Orenstein it could access the 10 percent of its devices that continue to use older systems, including the one at issue in the case. But it urged the judge to not require it to comply with the Justice Department’s request.

“Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,” Apple’s lawyers wrote.

Orenstein does not think it is possible to require Apple to disable security on the iPhone, but deferred ruling until Apple had a chance to say if it was “technically feasible and, if so, whether compliance with the proposed order would be unduly burdensome.”

Turn your car on with your Apple iWatch

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 07:23 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 15.20.57A company has introduced an Apple Watch application which lets you find it, start it and manage it.

Connect2Car, which specialises in automotive digital applications, said the app will let people unlock the door, start the car, or find it if you've lost it in a giant car park.

The app interacts with other Connect2Car units which sell for between $139 and $199.

In addition to these features, the app also includes speed limit alerts, vehicle alarm notifications, and driving history.

The company has released the Apple Watch app in the App store, and it also an Android version of the application available on the Google Play Store.

Samsung revises smartphone launch

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 07:04 AM PDT

samsung-galaxy-note-5In a bid to compete more successfully with Apple and with Chinese competitors, a report said it will introduce the Galaxy S7 in January 2016.

That's according to the South Korean ET News, which said the earlier launch is months ahead of when it was first expected.

Samsung, according to the report, has started the production process by asking external suppliers to tender for components.

The Galaxy S7 will have a a brand new one chip application processor.

It will also re-segment its smartphone line up with a "premium" machine aimed specifically at Apple.

The report said that Samsung will use its own core in premium product lines rather than using an ARM core, codenamed "mongoose".

Google hunts down Microsoft Office

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 06:27 AM PDT

Microsoft campusMicrosoft Office is still a cash generator for the Redmond outfit but now it looks like Google wants to snaffle that business from it in the enterprise market.

Google said in a statement that it will not charge for its Google Apps for Work software for three years and will also subsidise companies that want to move from the Microsoft software to its own.

Google already makes a considerable amount of money from its software and services, and the attraction to enterprises could be that they won't have to sign long contracts for programs – that's the Microsoft model.

Instead, Google wants to offer subscriptions which will give access to software and end up costing companies far less.

Microsoft isn't sitting down on the cloud front – its Office 365 is a cloud product that seems to be doing pretty well.

China threatens US, European fabs

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 06:08 AM PDT

ChinaThe Chinese government is committed to developing its own semiconductor business and it's pretty clear that nothing is going to stop its advances.

Now market research company Trendforce has revealed the trends in the Chinese semiconductor market which is describes as a "growing challenge" to US and European IC manufacturers.

Trendforce said Powerchip started building a 12-inch fab in Hefei in China. The 12-inch factory is a joint venture between Taiwanese Powerchip and Hefei City Government and will start operation in 2017 and produce 40,000 wafers a month.

Trendforce pointed out that Chinese IC designers have had generous government subsidies and companies including HiSilicon and Spreadtrum are in the vanguard of the shannel.

While fabless IC firms onlyhave 18.5 percent market share worldwide, that figure is sure to rise in the next five years.

China's own homegrown foundry company SMIC has three eight inch fabs in three locations and also two 12-inch wafer fabs in Shanghai and Beijing.

Both Taiwanese foundries TSMC and UMC also have fabs in mainland China.

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