Friday, October 30, 2015



Link to TechEye

Siri insists you sign up for Apple services

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 01:35 AM PDT

apple-dalek-2Fruity cargo cult Apple has a novel way of making sure that its fanboys sign up for all its expensive services – it refuses to let Siri help them unless they do.

Apple Music is starting to end its three-month free trials and the service is not considered that great. However Apple has recruited Siri to make sure they renew their contracts.

Angel investor Tom Conrad pointed out on Twitter that if you ask Siri to tell you the top songs in the US, and you aren't an Apple Music subscriber, she will refuse to respond.

In fact she says she can't look up the music charts as "you don't seem to be subscribed to Apple Music".

So rather being a search service for useful information, Siri is basically a marketing tool for Apple.

If you have Apple Music, Siri will direct you to the Apple Music app when asked about the most popular song in the US.

Something similar happens when you ask about top movie rentals in the US, Siri will attempt to plug iTunes.

Apple is getting increasingly desperate as it has not been able to see off its rival Spotify. In fact Spotify claims the service has seen even greater user growth since the launch of Apple Music.

UK developers will not need to build backdoors

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 01:34 AM PDT

back-door-to-hellThe UK government is unlikely to force developers to build backdoors in their software so that its spooks can snoop on users' doings.

The move had been expected since Prime Minister David Cameron said that “in our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” Of course he thought that most people would answer no, when the majority think "yes David I don't want you reading my emails"

Baroness Shields said the government has no intention in forthcoming legislation either to weaken encryption or provide back doors to it. Instead government wants companies to decrypt ‘targeted’ data when required, and provide access to it.

In other words, David is saying "you don't have to build backdoors, but if the only way you can do what we want is by building one, you better get your skates on, or let us in through the front door."

The difficulty is that the Conservative government has a lot of backers who are in big business and they want strong encryption to stop the Chinese stealing their data.  But Current law requires that companies must be able to provide targeted access, subject to warrant, to the communications of those who seek to commit crimes or do serious harm in the UK or to its citizens.

Baroness Shields said: “It is absolutely essential that these companies which understand and build those stacks of technology are able to decrypt that information and provide it to law enforcement in extremis”.

Confused?  Yeah.  It appears that this is yet another technology issue that Cameron's government has not thought through.

Samsung joins the push to autos

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 01:33 AM PDT

tv-carSamsung is one of the late arrivals trying to push its technology into cars.

Data compiled by Thomson Reuters IP & Science suggests that Samsung and its partners are ramping up research and development for auto technology. Two-thirds of their combined 1,804 US patent filings related to electric vehicles and electric components for cars coming since 2010.

The reason that no-one has heard about it is because Samsung has not yet landed significant business.

LG recently announced a major supply agreement with General Motors and Nvidia claims its chips will be in more than 30 million cars in the next three to four years.

IHS analyst Danny Kim said Samsung does not yet have a unified, group-wide approach to building its supplier presence in the industry.

“Samsung needs a serious commitment to drive the synergies between all competent organisations within Samsung Group,” he said.

Oddly Samsung has some history in the industry, but its experience has been bad. Ten years ago it flogged its debt-laden carmaking unit to Renault.  But in 2010 it had another crack at the auto industry, identifying car batteries as one of its five growth businesses.

To be fair, Samsung SDI C is the world’s number 6 electric car battery maker and can count BMW, Chrysler and Volkswagen among its chums.

The Samsung patent filings show a wide range of technologies including a drowsy-driving detection system, an alert system for break-in attempts and a transparent display for directions and traffic information.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics created a dedicated team to sell components such as camera modules to new auto clients and says it would consider acquisitions to boost car-related businesses.

Samsung Display has cited the auto industry as a potential growth area and has been testing its OLED displays with BMW and auto parts maker Continental.

Samsung Electronics could catch up by taking the one-stop-shop approach, similar to that of LG Electronics, by working with sister companies to combine offerings such as batteries, chips, sensors and software such as the Tizen operating system into a single package, analysts say.

Analysts suggest it could speed things up by acquiring established players such as Japan’s Renesas Electronics. This would allow Samsung to provide an entire platform and not just a single component.

European Parliament declares Snowden a whistleblower

Posted: 30 Oct 2015 01:32 AM PDT

snowden_2912545bThe European Parliament narrowly adopted a nonbinding forceful resolution urging the 28 nations of the European Union to recognise Edward Snowden as a "whistle-blower and international human rights defender" who should not be prosecuted.

The resolution has no legal force and limited practical effect for Snowden, who is living in Tsar Putin's Russia on a three-year residency permit.

The decision to grant Snowden asylum remains a decision for the individual European governments, and none have done so thus far, because it would mean miffing the United States which wants to hang Snowden from a convent tree for treason.

For those who came in late, Snowden revealed the extent of the US's spying on humanity and that it was even snooping on its own allies.

Many Europeans sympathise with Snowden and hate the eavesdropping and wiretapping by the United States and its British and Canadian chums.

The resolution calls on European Union members to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties."

Four Latin American nations have offered him permanent asylum, but he does not believe he could travel from Russia to those countries without running the risk of arrest and extradition to the United States.

The White House, immediately criticised the resolution.

"Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States. As such, he should be returned to the US as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process."

We think that means it already has decided on the tree and the type of rope it would use on the noose.

Google pays tiny corporation tax

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 08:42 AM PDT

GoogleThe Irish wing of Google has only paid the taxman 28.6 million Euro although its turnover amounted to 18.3 billion Euro last year.

That's according to Irish newspaper The Journal, which said accounts for Google Ireland Limited pushed a third of the $66 billion of revenues that Google generated worldwide.

The Journal said that 2,763 people work for the Google subsidiary, with two thirds of them working in sales and marketing.

But Google, in its defence, said it has invested half a billion Euro in Ireland on buildings and is building a 150 million Euro data centre outside of Dublin.

The European Commission is currently investigating both Google and Apple for siphoning funds to tax havens.

The EC is also investigating whether the Irish government set up a deal with Google so it avoided having to pay very much tax at all.

Samsung posts big profit

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 08:09 AM PDT

SamsungSouth Korean giant Samsung said that it has turned in an operating profit of $6.5 billion, with revenues rising 8.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

And it posted a profit in its mobile division, attributing the growth to sales of its Galaxy Note 5. It said it would turn in similar profits in its fourth financial quarter.

The company attributed its profitability mainly to sales of components.

Like other smartphone vendors, it doesn't expect business to be quite as buoyant next year – largely due to competition at the low end from Chinese manufacturers and saturation in the developed market.

As a result of its profitability, Samsung will buy back close to $10 billion worth of shares and give shareholders a third to a half of free cash flow through dividends.

Tablet shipments slump

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 07:37 AM PDT

Dell TabletSales of tablets have continued to fall in the third quarter of this year – that's the fourth quarter in a row showing a decline.

IDC released figures showing that shipments were down by 12.6 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same quarter this time last year.

Shipments amounted to 48.7 million units worldwide, and the installed base of tablets at the end of last year was 581.9 million units, up 36 percent from 2013.

IDC said that it believes people are hanging onto devices for four years or more, but added to that, the smartphone installed base is getting bigger and phone display sizes are larger.

The market is on the move, said IDC, and there are signs that people are considering detachable machines, the so-called 2-in-1s.

The problem there is that these detachables are much more expensive than smartphones and, for that matter, tablets.

Apple remains the top dog in the market, although the shine is coming off its tablet line because of "self cannibilisation". Samgung i second, followed by Lenovo, Asis, and Huawei.

Wi-fi wins in shops

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 07:23 AM PDT

wi-fi symbolLocation applications in shops will be worth $2.5 billion in 2020, and based on wi-fi, largely because of the huge installed base of smartphones.

ABI Research said that BLE beacons have become the flavour of the day but wi-fi has an unparalleled reach.

Shops will use wi-fi because of its superior penetration and will be used by major chains as an aid to analytics, ABI said.

Patrick Connolly, a principal analyst at the firm, said that 802.11mc and wi-fi aware are much more accurate than existing wi-fi standards.

He said: "Most access point vendors have developed their own high accuracy algorithms to compete with other indoor technologies.

"Wi-fi Aware has long term potential in a lot of markets, but there is very little for retail technology companies to hang their hats on today."

He said leading edge startups are hybridising wi-fi with BLE camera analytics and that gives a big potential for proximity advertising and "loyalty rewards".

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