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ARM Joins Firms Shunning Huawei's Business
May 23, 2019
British mobile device software design firm ARM has ordered its staff to stop working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, in compliance with a ban issued by President Trump. Under an executive order he signed last week, foreign companies and individuals are prohibited from buying United States technology and services without first obtaining special approval from the U.S. government.
Zombieload, Fallout, and 2 Other CPU Flaws Have Intel on the Hop
May 16, 2019
The high-tech industry once again is in a tizzy over flaws discovered in Intel CPUs -- four new MDS vulnerabilities have come to light. MDS is a sub-class of previously disclosed vulnerabilities that sample data leaked from small structures within the CPU using a locally executed speculative execution side channel. The practical exploitation of MDS flaws is a very complex undertaking, however.
Apple's Looming Nightmare
April 22, 2019
The big news last week was that Apple finally agreed to settle its fight with Qualcomm. Kudos to Tim Cook, because I've known a lot of CEOs rather who would have fought to the death than admitted they were wrong -- and not only wrong but acting disingenuously the entire time. Fighting this to the death would have been far worse. What spurred the settlement likely was he defense Qualcomm mounted.
Everyone's a Winner in Apple-Qualcomm Settlement
April 18, 2019
Apple and Qualcomm unexpectedly announced a settlement as their case entered the second day of a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Diego. In related news, Intel announced it was getting out of the 5G smartphone chip business. The Apple-Qualcomm settlement provides an unspecified one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, among other terms.
Qualcomm: Rethinking AI in a 5G Quantum World
April 15, 2019
It is expected that 5G will move aggressively into the market, with near-complete major metropolitan coverage by the end of the year. This technology is a game-changer, but it doesn't come without issues, one of which is the massive change in network loading. 5G will shift the bottlenecks from the wireless networks to the backhaul, where the expected massive increase in traffic will force some rather impressive network upgrades.
Apple Boosts Performance in New iPad Air and Mini
March 19, 2019
Apple has announced a new 10.5-inch iPad and a refresh of the iPad mini. The iPad Air, which will sell for $499, offers 64 gigabytes of solid state storage and WiFi support. It has Apple's latest mobile processor, the A12 Bionic chip, and supports Apple Pencil and the company's smart keyboard. The 7.9-inch iPad mini, which will sell at a base price of $399 with WiFi support also has an A12 chip.
Structural Shifts in Semiconductor Industry Spawn New Trends
March 8, 2019
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization.
FTC v. Qualcomm: What Really Is Going On
February 4, 2019
I've been watching antitrust cases actively since the 1980s. I had to study historical antitrust cases going back to Standard Oil and RCA, in order to ensure compliance with a related consent decree When I worked at IBM. Each of the other cases had one thing in common: Both of the companies being charged were massively and obviously monopolies. There were many questions.
Why Intel Is in Such Horrid Condition
January 28, 2019
Intel released earnings last week. It beat expectations on the bottom line, but it missed big on the top line and the outlook was dismal. Looking under the covers, the company is a mess. The expected CEO announcement didn't occur. AMD's earnings are expected to be very strong, and AMD just made some organizational changes that suggest an increase in its competitive attack.
The Smartest Tech Products of 2018
December 31, 2018
Picking a product of the year is anything but trivial because the products I cover every week range from headphones to laptops to books, cars and more. So, I thought I'd try something different this year and pick six products that each deserve the title and then name a winner that stands out from the rest. This allows me to simplify the task and get around a bit of a writer's block I've been having on this subject.
Supermicro: Our Motherboards Are Clean
December 12, 2018
Supermicro CEO Charles Liang has informed the company's customers that a leading third-party investigations company found "absolutely no evidence of malicious hardware" on its motherboards. The investigation was undertaken in response to a recent claim that bad actors had inserted spy chips in the firm's motherboards on behalf of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
Who's Winning the Latest Tech Industry Battles?
December 10, 2018
December has become consistent with the Chinese curse, "May You Be Born In Interesting Times." We are up to our armpits in wars. Qualcomm and Intel are fighting for 5G control, and Intel is tearing itself apart. Microsoft passed Apple in valuation, largely because it has not been focusing on Apple. The Huawei founder's daughter has just been arrested, at the request of the U.S.
AI Meets VR in New Nvidia Tech
December 4, 2018
Nvidia has announced a breakthrough in 3D rendering research that may have far-reaching ramifications for future virtual worlds. A team led by Nvidia VP Bryan Catanzaro discovered a way to use a neural network to render synthetic 3D environments in real time, using a model trained on real-world videos. With Nvidia's technology, worlds can be populated with objects "learned" from video input.
Apple Unveils Trio of New iPhones
September 13, 2018
Apple unveiled three new iPhones at a Wednesday in Cupertino. Along with the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR, Apple introduced the Apple Watch 4. "Our mission started with personalizing technology for the desktop," said CEO Tim Cook, and it's "now personalizing it for every aspect of our lives." Apple aims "to put the customer at the center of everything we do," he added.
Nvidia's Convincing Unreality
August 20, 2018
When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn't do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don't get the film quality you get from, well, film.
Nvidia's Turing Chip Opens Door to New Virtual Reality Realm
August 15, 2018
Nvidia has announced a powerful new graphics architecture with the potential to blur the line between virtual and actual reality. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled the new chips at the company's SIGGRAPH 2018 event in Vancouver, Canada. The Turing architecture enables a new generation of hybrid rendering that can be used to create cinematic-quality interactive experiences.
Virus Attack on Chipmaker Could Delay Next iPhone
August 7, 2018
A computer virus over the weekend disrupted the operations of the Asian manufacturer that makes chips for the iPhone and other devices offered by top shelf high-tech companies. TSMC said that a virus outbreak Friday evening affected a number of computer systems and fab tools at its facilities in Taiwan. The incident likely will cause shipment delays and create additional costs.
New MacBook Pros Get Major Power Boost
July 13, 2018
Apple has announced updated MacBook Pro 13- and 15-inch notebooks with a Touch Bar, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, support for up to 32 GB of DDR memory in the larger notebook, a True Tone display, and an improved third-generation keyboard for quiet typing. The 15-inch model comes with 6-core Intel Core i7 and i9 processors rated at up to 2.9 GHz -- with Turbo Boost, up to 4.8 GHz.
Next-Generation 7nm Chips Headed for Fall iPhones: Report
May 24, 2018
Apple has ramped up production of its new 7-nanometer processor for its upcoming crop of iPhones. The new processor will be smaller, faster and more efficient than the 10nm processor in Apple's current iPhone line, according to a report. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, one of Apple's partners, has begun mass production of the chip, which is expected to be called the "A12."
'Holy Grail' Exploit Puts Nintendo Switch Consoles at Risk
April 25, 2018
Devices built on Nvidia's Tegra X-1 mobile processor are at risk of attack from a flaw security researchers have revealed. The exploit chain discovered by Katherine Temkin and others affects any device running the chip, including the Nintendo Switch gaming console. Called "Fusée Gelée," the vulnerability allows anyone to run code on the chip by overloading a critical buffer when a system boots.
Intel Hits the Gas Pedal With 8th Gen Core Processors
April 5, 2018
Intel has unveiled its latest family of 8th generation Core processors. "As with previous new-gen Core launches, these initial solutions are aimed at customers who value high-end performance and dynamic market segments," said Pund-IT's Charles King. The 8th Gen processors incorporate Intel Octane memory, a smart and adaptable system accelerator for desktop and mobile platforms.
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
Free Linux Tool Monitors Systems for Meltdown Attacks
January 27, 2018
SentinelOne has released Blacksmith, a free Linux tool that can detect Meltdown vulnerability exploitation attempts. The company has been working on a similar tool to detect Spectre vulnerability attacks. Though free, Blacksmith is not open source. SentinelOne decided to expedite its development in-house to save time, said Raj Rajamani, vice president of product management.
Intel Reports Progress on Patch-Related Performance Issues
January 25, 2018
Intel appears to have encountered some daylight in its struggle to fix performance issues related to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. The company has identified the root cause on its older Broadwell and Haswell platforms, according to Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel's data center group. Intel has begun rolling out a solution to its industry partners for testing, Shenoy said.
Intel, Microsoft, Google Scramble for Solutions as Patches Slow Systems
January 12, 2018
Major tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft and Google, scrambled to calm the mood this week after a large number of computer users reported performance problems linked to security updates for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. A firestorm of criticism has erupted over the response to the chip flaws, which researchers at Google's Project Zero discovered in 2016.
Ominous Processor Vulnerabilities Could Put Most Computers at Risk
January 4, 2018
Nearly a dozen cybersecurity researchers this week reported two potentially serious exploits of vulnerabilities that exist in most modern processors. Three teams independently discovered and reported the Meltdown exploit. Two teams independently discovered and reported the Spectre exploit. The Meltdown and Spectre exploits could used to capture sensitive information on devices.
Massive Intel Chip Security Flaw Threatens Computers
January 3, 2018
A design flaw in all Intel chips produced in the last decade is responsible for a vulnerability that puts Linux, Windows and macOS-powered computers at risk, according to multiple press reports. The flaw reportedly is in the kernel that controls the chip performance, allowing commonly used programs to access the contents and layout of a computer's protected kernel memory areas.
Creatives Not Likely to Blanch at iMac Pro's $5K Price
December 13, 2017
Apple will release a professional version of its all-in-one iMac desktop computer with a $5,000 price tag on Thursday. Up to now, all-in-one computers in general and iMacs in particular have been seen as stylish offerings for home and family, but Apple has changed that in a big way with the iMac Pro. Apple has given the Pro workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O -- all without increasing the size of the iMac.
The Tech Wars of 2018
December 11, 2017
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.
Qualcomm Unveils Powerful New Snapdragon SoC
December 8, 2017
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, an SoC built for immersive multimedia experiences including extended reality, on-device AI and high-speed connectivity. The SoC will power next-generation Android flagship smartphones and Windows 10 notebooks based on ARM architecture. Xiaomi reportedly will use it in its forthcoming Mi 7 flagship, to be released next year.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.
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