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Oracle Does the Cloud Dance
September 19, 2016
Sunday's Oracle OpenWorld keynotes were good -- especially compared with prior years -- but they still suffered from the perennial problem of trying to stuff too much content into a two-hour event. Diane Bryant, SVP at Intel and a big Oracle partner, spent an hour covering a very broad landscape. Perhaps the most interesting information in Bryant's presentation concerned Intel's new line of chips.
Apple Hopes iPhone 7 Extras Will Make Up for Missing Headphone Jack
September 8, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus, confirming a rumor that has evoked widespread dread: The traditional headphone jacks are gone. The new iPhones are sleeker than their predecessors, though, as well as water resistant. Their biggest plus might be the advanced lenses in what Apple claims is the most sophisticated smartphone camera in the world.
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Zen's Place in the Computing World
August 31, 2016
AMD, which has been clawing its way out of the doldrums, recently showcased its octacore, 16-thread Summit Ridge desktop processor featuring its Zen core in a performance match-up against Intel's octacore Broadwell-E Core i7-6900K CPU. The two similarly configured processors were locked at 3 GHz for the test, in which they ran the multithreaded Blender rendering application.
Intel Snaps Up Nervana to Jump-Start AI
August 16, 2016
Intel last week announced the acquisition of startup Nervana, in a bid to enhance the company's capabilities in artificial intelligence and deep learning. Nervana jumped out of the gate at its 2014 launch with a robust platform for deep learning, a framework called "Nervana Neon," and the Nervana Engine -- a groundbreaking ASIC chip scheduled for introduction by the first quarter of 2017.
900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits
August 9, 2016
Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers disclosed. The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed "QuadRooter," affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers. The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds.
Softbank Strong-ARMs Its Way Into Internet of Things
July 19, 2016
Softbank Group has agreed to buy British semiconductor maker ARM Holdings for about $31.4 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Softbank agreed to pay a hefty premium for ARM, with a price of about $67.28 per ARM share, which is a 42.9 percent premium over the $47.08 closing price as of Friday, the last business day before the deal was announced. The surprise move will help Softbank gain a solid IoT foothold.
SiFive Launches Freedom FOSS SoC Platforms
July 13, 2016
SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models.
Google's New Custom Chip May Not Live Up to the Hype
May 23, 2016
Google last week announced the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom application-specific integrated circuit, at Google I/O. TPU was built for machine learning applications and has been running in Google's data centers for more than a year. Google's AlphaGo software, which thrashed an 18-time international Go champion in a match earlier this year, ran on servers using TPUs.
HP Chromebook 13 Wins High Praise - for a Chromebook
May 2, 2016
HP and Google last week unveiled the HP Chromebook 13. Designed with input from customers on what they want in a next-generation Chromebook, the device is about 13 mm thick, weighs 2.8 pounds, has a brushed anodized aluminum chassis, and is the first Chromebook to use Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors. It has a USB C port, and HP offers a USB-C docking station as an option at $145.
Intel Pivots From PCs to Cloud
April 22, 2016
Intel this week announced that it would slash 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan to focus more on cloud-based computing and the Internet of Things and less on PCs. The cuts, which will involve about 11 percent of Intel's global workforce, will be achieved through voluntary retirements and layoffs, the consolidation of job sites, and a re-evaluation of existing and planned programs.
Apple's MacBook Refresh Draws Tepid Response
April 19, 2016
Apple on Tuesday announced a refreshed MacBook with some incremental improvements but nothing likely to dazzle even the staunchest Mac fans. The improved battery life and fanless design got the attention of tech analyst Eric Smith. "Battery life is always top of mind for consumers," he said. However, he was "a little disappointed" that there has been no improvement to display resolution.
Hortonworks Ramps Up Hadoop Security
April 14, 2016
Hortonworks this week announced a series of enterprise security efforts to bolster performance and data safety with its Hortonworks Data Platform. The company announced that Pivotal Software will standardize on Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution. The thrust of the product announcements concerned updates on applying security policies and maintaining data governance.
Lawrence Livermore Lab Buys Brainy IBM Supercomputer
April 5, 2016
IBM last week announced that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has purchased its TrueNorth processor-based cognitive computing platform. The purchase included an end-to-end ecosystem and a multisocket host node. The lab will build a supercomputer based on the platform to see how neural networks might be used in the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration's cybersecurity program.
Fresh Raspberry Pi Has Better Hardware Baked In
March 1, 2016
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Monday announced the availability of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B for $35, the same price as the previous model. It is the second major upgrade to the board in just over a year. The hardware upgrade boosts the single-core processor of the original Pi to a faster, more capable quad-core chipset in the Pi 3. The current model is based on a 64-bit chipset.
Google, Movidius to Bring Deep Learning to Mobile Devices
January 29, 2016
Movidius on Wednesday announced that it's working with Google to put deep learning on mobile devices. Google will source Movidius' latest flagship chip -- the MA2450 -- and software development environment, and will contribute to Movidius' neural network technology road map in return. That could result in mobile devices that will be able to understand images and audio swiftly and accurately.
Microsoft Prods Skylake Users to Take the Windows 10 Plunge
January 18, 2016
Microsoft last week announced that within the next 18 months, it will end support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on machines equipped with Intel's 6th generation Core processors, also known as "Skylake." As of mid-July next year, Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Skylake systems, and only the most critical security fixes will be released for earlier versions of Windows.
Samsung Snaps Up Snapdragon 820 Chip Manufacturing Deal
January 14, 2016
Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced that it had struck a deal that will make it the sole manufacturer of Qualcomm's flagship mobile processor. Samsung last spring began mass production of a logic chip utilizing its 14-nanometer LPP (Low-Power Plus) process in its own Exynos 8 Octa processor. That process will be used for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip.
Will Apple Beat the Enterprise Curse?
November 16, 2015
Given that it is basically a big iPad with a better keyboard option and stylus support, the iPad Pro has been getting decent reviews. It can be classified as a first-generation product -- and as such, it does far better than most. However, there have been a huge number of companies in Apple's space that have gone under or stalled when they broadened their focus from the consumer to target IT.
OpenWorld's Substance Feast
November 4, 2015
For once, Oracle OpenWorld went long on substance. That's hard to do when you have so many products to discuss and Larry Ellison pontificating, but he was both under control and substantive -- though he couldn't resist taking a few shots at competitors. Oracle's team hardly ever sees SAP and IBM in deals these days, he announced, and he gave due praise to cloud pioneers NetSuite and Salesforce.
Element 14 to Bake Custom Raspberry Pi's
October 29, 2015
Element14 on Tuesday revealed an exclusive agreement to offer OEM customers bespoke designs based on the Raspberry Pi platform. Raspberry Pi -- which has seen success in the educational and maker fields -- is targeting commercial manufacturers and the Internet of Things, signing up Premier Farnell through the latter's element14 brand to customize its boards.
NX Leaks Hint at Nintendo Comeback
October 20, 2015
Nintendo reportedly has started to distribute software development kits for its next game console. The company hasn't laid out in detail the ecosystem of third-party software that it plans to build around its upcoming console, code-named "NX," but it plans to integrate it with a digital platform for smartphones, tablets, PCs and its own hardware. The NX will employ "industry-leading chips."
A7 Patent Suit Loss Could Cost Apple $862M
October 14, 2015
A U.S. District Court jury earlier this week found that Apple's A7 processor infringes a patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent management arm of the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. WARF alleged patent infringement and claimed damages of up to $862 million in a complaint filed early last year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
iMac Refresh Advances Retina Revolution
October 14, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced upgrades to its iMac line, including Retina displays and Intel sixth-gen Skylake processors. The company also reached deeper into its hat to pull out "magical" new peripherals. The entire 27-inch series of iMacs now come with the 5K Retina displays, while the 21.5 inch iMac comes with a 4K Retina display. There are about 5.3 million more pixels to be had in a 5K display.
Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple's Long-Term Survival
September 28, 2015
One of the ironies of my career is that when I first went to work for a tech company, I specifically wanted to work for a firm that was breaking the mold -- not representative of it. So, in my initial interview, I was concerned that IBM was going to buy the firm because it was the mold at that time. I was promised that there was a contract that said it couldn't. Then, six months later, it did.
Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves
September 22, 2015
Researchers at Xerox PARC have developed a self-destructing mechanism for microchips embedded on a hardened glass surface. The glass can self-destruct upon command and could be used to secure personal data such as health and banking records. It also can be used to destroy encryption keys stored on memory chips in standard consumer, enterprise and government electronic devices.
WiFi, Move Over - Here Comes LiFi
September 16, 2015
Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs -- a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology. Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices -- such as toys, wearables and clothing -- over the Internet Protocol, functioning as a LiFi network in much the same way that WiFi works.
Unassuming iPhone 6s Could Knock Some Socks Off
September 15, 2015
Muffled by the rumors Apple TV had gone Hollywood and the giggles the Apple Pencil provoked, the latest additions to Apple's core product line -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- had to settle for a smaller share of the headlines coming out of last week's Hey Siri event. Although the iPhones received less media attention this year, it was not due lack of forward-facing features.
Intel's Big, Bold Skylake Family Bows
September 3, 2015
Intel on Tuesday introduced its long-awaited 6th Generation Core family, which will include 48 processors. The launch coincides with the migration to Windows 10, which became generally available at the end of July. With Moore's Law in question, Intel finally made a breakthrough in transitioning from 22nm dies down to 14nm. It took the company about four years to do it.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.