Wednesday, November 11, 2015



Link to TechEye

Google sees off browser tracking cases

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:36 AM PST

A US appeals court upheld the dismissal of federal claims and revived two California state law claims accusing Google of invading computer users’ privacy by placing tracking “cookies” in their browsers.

The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected claims in a proposed class action lawsuit that Google violated federal wiretap and computer fraud laws by exploiting loopholes in Apple Safari browser and Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.

Four computer users accused Google of bypassing their cookie blockers, helping advertisers target potential customers.

In a 60-page decision on behalf of a three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes said the plaintiffs did not show they suffered “damage” or “loss” from the tracking of their computer use.

Fuentes said Google’s alleged contravention of cookie blockers it publicly promised to respect could lead a reasonable jury to find it engaged in “egregious” conduct that violated users’ privacy rights under California law.

Google agreed in 2012 and 2013 to pay a combined $39.5 million to settle civil charges by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 37 states and Washington, DC that it tracked Safari users’ Internet use without their knowledge. It did not admit doing anything wrong.

The decision largely upheld the October 2013 dismissal of the case, including other state law claims, by US District Judge Sue Robinson in Wilmington, Delaware.

Qualcomm demos new Snapdragon

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:34 AM PST

dragon-and-chip-472_0Qualcomm’s has demoed its latest Snapdragon 820 chipset which it hopes will take the bad taste away from its previous fire-breathing incarnation.

The 810 damaged Qualcomm when it turned out to run a little hot and caused Samsung to defect to its own Exynos 7420 processor instead. The new 820 is supposed to fix all these problems and be much better.

In fact Qualcomm showed a slide that indicates that the normalized power consumption of a Snapdragon 820 is 30 per cent less than the earlier 810 and could mean batteries last a third longer.

For mobile gaming, the 820 rendered 720-pixel resolution graphics and images on a loop. Qualcomm claims that the chipset’s Adreno 530 graphics processing unit will be 40 percent more power efficient than its 810 predecessor and have a 40 percent increase in performance. It also uses temporal, or time-based, antialiasing technology to smooth out the edges of graphics, further reducing pixelation.

The 820 chipset uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology which means that the phones will charge four times faster when compared to standard charging methods. It also supports wireless charging (on phones that offer it), as well as compatibility for devices sporting Micro-USB, USB Type-A and USB Type-C charging ports.

The 820 supports Cat-12 LTE technology and the 802.11 a/d Wi-Fi specification.  Qualcomm claims the chip has a peak downlink rate of 600Mbps and an uplink rate of 150Mbps on LTE. This is faster than the 810, which had a 450Mbps downlink peak and a 50Mbps uplink peak.  However this technology is more or less redundant as it is not supported by the carriers yet.

Tim McDonough, Qualcomm’s vice president of marketing, assures that the 820 was designed to run cooler than its previous iteration and to be better in general.

Its lower power consumptions, “means lower thermals,” said McDonough. “We attacked efficiency at every concernable level.”


Microsoft launches cloudy bitcoin experiment

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:32 AM PST

cloudMicrosoft has launched a cloud-based blockchain platform on which will allow financial institutions to experiment cheaply and easily with bitcoin.

Vole has teamed up with ConsensYs to create a huge, decentralized ledger of every bitcoin transaction, which is verified and shared by a global computer network. It is supposed to be virtually tamper-proof.

Blockchain technology is not limited to bitcoin and can be used to secure and validate the exchange of any data. Others are building blockchains to provide additional features to the bitcoin. Vole is using one of them, called Ethereum, as its blockchain platform.

Microsoft's cunning plan is to make the platform will be available to banks and insurance companies that are already using Azure. Vole said four large global financial institutions had already signed up to the service.

Vole claims the platform provided a “fail fast, fail cheap” model for firms: they can experiment with the cloud-based technology using templates provided by Microsoft without having to build their own systems.

The technology allows companies to create their own private blockchains, or so-called “smart contracts” that automatically execute the terms of an agreement, in 20 minutes, even with no prior experience.

Microsoft has been attempting to shift its focus to cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows. Last month it reported an eight percent increase in its cloud business for the first quarter.

Taxman may block Dell’s EMC bid

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:29 AM PST

Dell's Computer Shipments Increase 28% In ChinaTin box shifter Michael Dell's bid to buy EMC might be derailed because the US taxman wants a slice of the action.

According to Re/code Dell $67 billion offer to buy data storage company EMC could be taxed by up to $9 billion, because key aspects of the deal, tracking stock might not qualify for the sort of tax treatment the companies consider essential.

Dell has denied that this is a problem. It thinks that tax authorities would treat the tracking stock in line with previous similar transactions. The merger agreement also has no requirement on this issue that would prevent the deal from closing, the people added.

Tracking stocks allow stockholders to benefit from performance of a specific unit of a publicly traded company, without giving away any ownership or control.

Re/code claimed that Dell insiders were concerned that the creation of the tracking stock will invite scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service.

If the IRS ruled that the tracking stock qualified as a taxable distribution of shares, it would either require Dell to borrow more money to pay EMC shareholders or derail the deal, Re/code said.

Dell has lined up a debt package for up to $49.5 billion to finance its planned acquisition of EMC, the second-largest M&A financing on record.

The PC maker is preparing to sell around $10 billion in non-core assets, including software and services, to reduce the heavy debt load it will be taking on.

PC sales continue to fall

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 07:19 AM PST

IBM PCDespite optimistic noises from vendors that the fourth calendar quarter would see a rebound in sales of PCs, it just does not seem to be happening.

According to the Taipei Times, Asustek, Wistron and Compal have all seen drops of sales.

A senior executive at Asustek told the newspaper that there's still fundamental weakness in the marketplace.

Compal saw sales fall by 9.91 percent in October compared to October in 2014, while sales fell 19.49 percent compared to September 2015.

Meanwhile, another Taiwanese news feed – Digitimes – said that Compal and Wistron saw sales of notebooks decline. In Compal's case, it shipped 32.4 million notebooks in the first 10 months of this year, and that's a fall of 2.6 million units compared to the same period last year.

Compal, however, is shielding itself from being hit on the desktop and notebook side by developing a pretty robust server business.

Truce called in battle of LED light bulbs

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 07:04 AM PST

flexible LEDFierce price cutting of LED light bulbs has come to an end, at least for the time being.

According to market research company Trendforce, the average price of 40W replacement light bulbs rose by 2.8 percent in October to $11.1. The price of 60W bulbs rose 3.5 percent to $15, Trendforce said.

The reason for the lull in the price wars is because in many countries LED light bulb makers were offering specific price cutting promotions.

The price war has continued worldwide for the last three calendar quarters and considerable consolidation is expected in the industry.

In some regions the price of 40W replacement bulbs rose sharply – that;s true in the UK market which saw an increase of 9.9 percent in October. The German market, too, saw price rises that amounted to 9.4 percent.

Microsoft to build two data centres in the UK

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 06:54 AM PST

Microsoft campusSatya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, announced that the company will build two data centres in the UK.

The UK data centres will become part of a network of 26 data centres worldwide.

Microsoft is interested in growing its cloud computing business in which it finds itself in an unlikely war against Amazon.

Amazon has plunged billions into providing web services which also generate billions in revenue but have only yielded tiny profits in the last financial quarter.

According to the BBC, the reason that Microsoft is building data centres in the UK is partly to allay privacy worries about data being held outside a country's borders.

6.4 billion things connected in 2016

Posted: 10 Nov 2015 06:19 AM PST

internet of thingsA market research company is predicting that next year 6.4 billion connected "things" will be deployed worldwide.

Gartner said that the internet of things (IoT) will account for services spending of $235 billion in 2016, a rise of 22 percent from this year.

It estimates that by 2020 nearly 21 billion things will be part of the internet of things.

Most of the spend is coming in the professional category but there will also be wider deployment for the common woman or man.

Eventually, consumers – that's people – will make the largest number of connected things but enterprises will spend the most.

Cross industry connected devices will include light bulbs, building management systems, and devices used in hospitals, ships and many other sectors.

These devices will take up a lot of power by 2020, and some pundits are predicting there won't be enough power worldwide to support this many devices.

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