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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Frankensteins in history. It's alive!

Amazon Key takes deliveries to new level: Inside your home

The new in-home service will roll out to 37 US metro areas next month and eventually allow you to let in a dog walker or house cleaner.

Amazon wants to get even closer to its customers.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Harman Kardon's Cortana-Powered Smart Speaker Underwhelms

Early reviews of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana -- the smart speaker that features Microsoft's personal assistant -- have been lukewarm at best.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Most powerful micro-scale solar cell yet developed

Scientists have developed a micro-scale biological solar cell that generates more power than any existing cell of its kind.

A microfluidic lab-on-a-chip system that generates its own power is essential for stand-alone, independent, self- sustainable point-of-care diagnostic devices to work in limited-resource and remote regions, said Professor Seokheun Choi, from Binghamton University in the US.

Miniaturised biological solar cells (micro-BSCs) can be the most suitable power source for those applications because the technique resembles the earth's natural ecosystem.

"Micro-BSCs can continuously generate electricity from microbial photosynthetic and respiratory activities over day- night cycles, offering a clean and renewable power source with self-sustaining potential," said Choi.

"However, the promise of this technology has not been translated into practical applications because of its relatively low power and current short lifetimes," he said.

Researchers created a microscale microfluidic biological solar cell that can attain high electrical power and long-term operational capability, which will provide a practical and sustainable power supply for lab-on-a-chip applications.

The bio-solar cell generated the highest power density for the longest time among any existing micro-scale bio-solar cells, according to a study published in the journal Lab on a Chip.

"The device will release biological photo-energy conversion technology from its restriction to conceptual research and advance its translational potential toward practical and sustainable power applications for point-of-care diagnostics to work independently and self-sustainably in limited-resource and remote regions," said Choi.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Ukraine says cyber attack may happen in next few days

Ukraine's state security service SBU and the state-run Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said the attack could take place Oct 13 to17 when Ukraine celebrates Defender of Ukraine Day. —

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Will backers of failed startup Skully finally get their US$1,500 smart helmets?

Smart helmet startup Skully is attempting a comeback, promising to finally ship products to the thousands of customers burned by the company's spectacular failure last year.

Google plans to upgrade two-factor authentication tool after high-profile hacks

Google plans on upgrading its two-factor authentication tool with an improved, physical security measure aimed at protecting high-profile users from politically motivated cyberattacks, according to a

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

iPhone X: Absolutely everything you need to know

iPhone X: Absolutely everything you need to know

In the few brief moments we spent with the new iPhone X, we got a sense of its truly game-changing potential. Since then, we've taken a close look at the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and found them to be incremental, high-quality updates to last year's models. They're safe and sensible phones that, for now, remain overshadowed by the potential of the forthcoming iPhone X. Our initial assessment: unless you need a new iPhone before the end of 2017, we think it's worth holding out to see how the iPhone X performs. (Not everyone agrees.)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K review

iFixit’s iPhone 8 teardown shows that you really don’t want to crack that glass back

iFixit’s iPhone 8 teardown shows that you really don’t want to crack that glass back

The iPhone 8 has finally arrived, and iFixit got a jump on its teardown of the updated device by traveling to Sydney, Australia to pick it up a bit early. Its examination of the phone shows that while it’s similar in some respect to the iPhone 7, you really want to make sure that you don’t break that glass back.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Google’s new Doodle

Google’s new Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Indian chemist Asima Chatterjee

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ford Motor Puts Design Strategy Under the HoloLens

Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford's design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools -- a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors -- for mixed reality headsets and visualization software.

Unlike with the clay models, which can weigh 5,000 or more pounds, designers with HoloLens can make instant changes to side mirrors, grilles, interiors and other vehicle elements. And they can do so without even getting their hands dirty.

Ford has been working with Microsoft's HoloLens technology at its Dearborn, Michigan, studios for the past year. The mixed reality tech has allowed designers to consider proposed virtual design elements as if the additions were part of a physical vehicle. It has allowed engineers to see different shapes, sizes and even textures on vehicles. These displays can be rendered in minutes or hours, whereas using clay models to evaluate the same changes would take weeks or even months.

Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford's design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools -- a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors -- for mixed reality headsets and visualization software.

Unlike with the clay models, which can weigh 5,000 or more pounds, designers with HoloLens can make instant changes to side mirrors, grilles, interiors and other vehicle elements. And they can do so without even getting their hands dirty.

Ford has been working with Microsoft's HoloLens technology at its Dearborn, Michigan, studios for the past year. The mixed reality tech has allowed designers to consider proposed virtual design elements as if the additions were part of a physical vehicle. It has allowed engineers to see different shapes, sizes and even textures on vehicles. These displays can be rendered in minutes or hours, whereas using clay models to evaluate the same changes would take weeks or even months.

Ford is not the only automaker to utilize HoloLens technology. Microsoft and Volvo Cars in 2015 announced a partnership that would allow buyers to stay in the physical world while being able to browse an augmented reality showroom that highlighted car customization options, and even allowed potential car buyers take part in virtual test drives.

Augmented Designs

Unlike virtual reality, in which everything the viewer sees is simulated, the HoloLens augmented or mixed reality experience lets designers to see photo-quality backdrops along with other elements that merge with a physical object.

Designers wear wireless headsets that allow them to see real objects with virtual elements overlaid. The HoloLens technology, which is compatible with off-the-shelf Windows 10 computers, provides 3D holographic images. For designers, it means speeding the process. For engineers, it means visualizing the effects a design choice could have on driving conditions -- such as how the placement of a side mirror might create blind spots for the driver.

The headsets can be synced so that multiple team members can view a design simultaneously, aiding the collaborative process. Team members can record audio notes as well.

"VR, and now mixed reality, has been gaining a significant amount of traction in most facets of design," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

"The advantage of being able to create a seemingly life-size image you can explore and often place in real settings is reducing substantially the need for and eliminating the time to create physical models," he told TechNewsWorld.

"You can only get so much out of plans and artists' rendering," Enderle added. "With MR, you can now see the object as it will exist before you create it in natural settings. You can even use simulators and then observe the car from the outside long before it is built, let alone ready for track testing."

Commercial Applications

It would seem that virtual reality in its present state would offer more in the way of consumer applications, whereas augmented or mixed reality would serve the commercial world more effectively.

"The collaboration between Ford and Microsoft is an example of the practical application of AR in commercial settings," suggested Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

"While many focus on consumer AR, Microsoft and companies like Epson, ODG, Meta and others have seen a real market in commercial applications," he told TechNewsWorld.

Mixed reality could be not only a time saver, but also a cost and labor saver for designers and engineers alike.

"It has real benefits in the design process to visualize parts of the car before building clay models and sheet metal," added Krewell.
Opportunities for Innovation

A faster design process also would allow auto makers to refocus their efforts on innovation as they strive to beat rivals to the finish line -- or at least to the showroom floor.

Mixed reality technology can't yet replace all physical testing, but it can increase dramatically the pace of development efforts.

"This is critical for firms like Ford, who are trying to catch Tesla and adjust for the coming world of electric autonomous cars," observed Enderle.

Moreover, while mixed reality might not be an entertainment technology for consumers in the way that VR promises to be, it could enhance their experiences on the showroom floor.

"From the consumer perspective, it creates better ways to configure the car, because they can see a configuration even if it doesn't exist in pictures or on the showroom floor, just by donning the VR or MR goggles," Enderle said.

"Because this allows for more experimentation during the design process, the cars they eventually get should be more pleasing and advance more quickly," he suggested. "This could vastly improve not only the quality of cars, but also our satisfaction with them."

Tech News World

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CCleaner hacked with malware: What you need to know

CCleaner hacked with malware: What you need to know

It seems that CCleaner, one of PCWorld’s recommendations for the best free software for new PCs, might not have been keeping your PC so clean after all. In an in-depth probe of the popular optimization and scrubbing software, Cisco Talos has discovered a malicious bit of code injected by hackers that could have affected more than 2 million users who downloaded the most recent update.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

iOS 11's Control Center

iOS 11's Control Center doesn't let you turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Apple’s new Control Center in iOS 11 is a lot more fully featured, with a customizable layout and a number of new added controls accessible with Force Touch. One aspect of it that may have, at least at first, appeared like a big plus is now proving to be a bit of a security and usability problem: the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi controls.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nvidia shares hits record

Nvidia shares hits record high as AI takes centrestage

Shares of Nvidia Corp touched a record high for the second straight day on Monday following yet another steep increase in the chipmaker's price target by a Wall Street analyst.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mellow makes skateboard electric

Modular design, removable battery, and a novel kick assist mode feel like a genuine evolution of the idea

Electric skateboards are still fairly novel in the grand scheme of “ways to get around,” but for an inherently exciting idea, they’ve gotten awfully boring pretty quick. Boosted still makes the best one, and only a few competitors truly pressure that status. Meanwhile, a China-fueled race to the bottom has flooded the market with boards so full of compromise that many aren’t worth their more palatable $100 to $500 price tags.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Google Chrome

Google Chrome to start blocking autoplay videos in January

If you regularly plug headphones into your computer when browsing the internet, you likely know the evils of autoplay videos. One second you're browsing in peace, the next your eardrums are obliterated by an insanely loud advertisement.

Google is being the ultimate pal: In an upcoming update to its Chrome web browser, it will block any autoplay video that has sound. "Starting in Chrome 64," an official blog post noted Thursday, "autoplay will be allowed when either the media won't play sound, or the user has indicated an interest in the media."

How does Google know whether you've indicated an interest in the media? Chrome will register you being interested in autoplay videos when you add a webpage to your phone's home screen or when you frequently play media from a site on Chrome's desktop browser. Outside these parameters, autoplay videos will be paused until you click play.

A release schedule in the blog pegs the new feature for January 2018, when Google rolls out its next major Chrome update, Chrome 64. A similar feature was announced for Apple's Safari browser back at WWDC in June, and will be available starting Sept. 25 when MacOS High Sierra launches.

If you have a particularly deep resentment of autoplay videos, an update will come next month for Chrome 63 that'll allow you to block audio for specific, pesky sites.

Read more

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iPhone X VS iPhone 8

iPhone X VS iPhone 8

Established in 2008,Indira Bali was created with the aim to help improving and strengthen both local and national economic

Thursday, September 14, 2017

IBM Touts Top-Notch Security

IBM Touts Top-Notch Security in Next-Gen Linux Mainframe

IBM on Tuesday launched LinuxOne Emperor II, the second generation of its open source mainframe computer system, at the annual Open Source Summit in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kaspersky Software Banned for US Government Use

Kaspersky Software
Banned for US Government Use

The US government banned the use of Kaspersky security software in federal offices Wednesday, saying the Russian company has risky ties to Russian intelligence that threaten US national security.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke ordered all government offices to remove and replace any of the company's popular anti-hacker software in use within 90 days.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple iPhone X adopts facial recognition and OLED screen

Apple iPhone X adopts facial recognition and OLED screen

Apple has revealed a high-end smartphone with an "edge-to-edge" screen that has no physical home button.
The iPhone X - which is referred to as "ten" - uses a facial recognition system to recognise its owner rather than a fingerprint-based one.
Apple said FaceID can work in the dark by using 30,000 infra-red dots to check an identity, and was harder to fool than its old TouchID system.
It is Apple's most expensive phone yet.
A 64 gigabyte capacity model will cost $999 (£999 in the UK) when it goes on sale on 3 November. A 256GB version will be priced at $1,149 (£1,149 in the UK).

Monday, September 11, 2017

New iPhone - ‘iPhone X’

The expected three new phones will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. — Reuters

Apple’s new phone to be called ‘iPhone X’, code leaks show

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Google’s new privacy dashboard makes it easier to see what Google knows about you

Google’s new privacy dashboard makes it easier to see what Google knows about you

Google will soon be rolling out design changes to its user-facing privacy and security dashboard, in an attempt to make it more touchscreen-friendly and more clear to users which Google products are storing their data.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Researchers turn to the universe in the name of quantum cryptography

Researchers in Germany had the Alphasat I-XL communications satellite send laser beams in the infrared range to a measuring station located 38,000km away, on the holiday island of Tenerife. They then analysed the light quanta of the laser beam, thus generating a code to be used to read an encrypted message. — dpa

Researchers turn to the universe in the name of quantum cryptography

The big iPhone 8 changes will likely cost you more than ever

The big iPhone 8 changes will likely cost you more than ever

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Google Photos

Google Photos update now saves more internet data by caching videos

Sunday, September 3, 2017

iPhone 8 Siri

iPhone 8 might let you activate Siri with the sleep/wake button

Friday, September 1, 2017

Back up your computer

How to properly back up your computer

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you don’t regularly back up your computer. And why should you? After all, getting a laptop stolen or having a hard drive crash is the sort of thing that only happens to other people. Your files are fine, right?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

iPhone 8

iPhone 8 rumors:
New gestures, not a virtual home button, will control navigation

Update August 30, 2017: The iPhone 8 reportedly won’t have a virtual home button. Instead, it will rely on new gestures for navigation. Go to the “What’s the latest?” section for all the new details.

Apple is still selling tens of millions of iPhone 7s every month—but all everyone can talk about is what’s coming next. After all, 2017 marks the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, so Apple is reportedly gearing up to make this year’s model extra special.

If you passed on the iPhone 7 to wait for the iPhone 8—or the iPhone 7s or whatever name Apple decides to use—it sounds like the next phone could be the design refresh you were waiting for. Just don’t expect the headphone jack to return. We’ll keep track of the latest rumors and how plausible they are, and we’ll put them in one spot (this one!) so you can pop on over whenever you want to read the latest.

What’s the latest?

The rumor: After reading about all the hardware changes allegedly due for the iPhone 8, we had some questions. How will the virtual home button work? How do we access Siri? How do we get to the multitasking carousel? A new report from Bloomberg Technology answers many of them.

According to Mark Gurman, Apple is planning on introducing some interesting changes to the iPhone 8 version of iOS 11. Most notably, there will be a redesigned Dock with a new interface similar to the one on the iPad version of iOS 11, which is accessible from anywhere.

Below that will be a “thin, software bar“ across the bottom of the screen in lieu of a home button. According to Gurman, users will be able to drag the bar up to the middle of the screen to unlock the phone. A similar gesture will launch the multitasking carousel while using the phone, and then another flick upwards will close the app and return to the home screen. Apple will be embracing the camera notch at the top of the screen, “showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds” and dividing the status Save and exit bar into two halves when on the home screen.

Plausible? Absolutely yes. Gurman’s sourcing is usually excellent, but even beyond that, the changes outlined here are smart and sensible. Without a home button, swiping and tapping will take on even greater prominence in iOS 11, and it seems Apple has struck a balance between simplicity and efficiency with the new bar at the bottom of the screen. Swiping up to both unlock and switch apps might actually be even more intuitive than tapping the home button, but we still have one question: Will we still be able to access Siri by long-pressing? 

Will Sept. 12 be the day?

The rumor: The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will hold an event at its new Apple Park campus on September 12 for the media and special guests. Apple will reveal three new iPhones: two iPhone 7 models, and a model “to mark the product’s 10th anniversary.”

Plausible? The rumor of the September 12 event date has picked up a lot of steam lately. The date makes a lot of sense; Apple could start taking orders at the end of that week, and the new iPhones would start shipping to customers by the end of the month. This is a pattern that Apple has done in the recent past.

Prices start at $999?

The rumor: The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen wrote an analysis on why the iPhone has been so successful for ten years. He also mentions that the upcoming iPhone release will include “a premium model priced at around $999,” according to his sources. He also says that the premium model will have a smaller bezel, facial recognition, and charging via magnetic induction.

Plausible? Chen’s report is consistent with rumors of a premium phone with a premium price tag. The features he mentioned also align with the rumors. It looks like the iPhone 8 is going to be an expensive phone.

iPhone 8 mockups

The rumor: iPhone 8 mockups, “prototypes,” and “dummies” are making the rounds in the tech media. People are creating physical models based on the rumored specifications and what was revealed in the HomePod firmware. If you’re interested in what people think the next iPhone will be like, here are a few stories and videos to check out.

Plausible? The HomePod firmware dig revealed a lot about the upcoming iPhone, especially about the screen, so the the mockups of the iPhone screen seem the most plausible. A lot of other thing about the design—like whether it will have a glass or metal back, and the camera alignment—is still speculative.
Limited production and no rose gold?

The rumor: The trusted analysts at KGI Securities are predicting some good news and bad news in terms of the new iPhone launch next month. Good news: Three new models—a 4.7-inch iPhone 7s, a 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus, and a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone 8—will arrive in September. This contradicts an earlier rumor that the OLED iPhone 8 was behind schedule and wouldn’t go on sale until late October. 

Now for the bad news: KGI is also predicting that only two to four million OLED units will be available at the beginning, with Apple ramping up production to 45 to 50 million later next year. Even worse? KGI said that the new iPhones will only come in three colors: black, silver, and gold.

Plausible? After previous rumors of delays, it sounds like Apple is willing to do anything to get the OLED iPhone out in time. Even if that means making only a very-limited supply at first, and having to sacrifice a wider range of color options.

It may also be wishful thinking, but it’s hard to believe that Apple would make a new special anniversary iPhone that does not come in a new exclusive color. Especially after the jet black and red options proved to be so coveted, and rose gold has now been embraced as a signature Apple color. Hopefully more color options will become available in 2018 as OLED production ramps up. Again, wishful thinking.

Facial recognition and all-screen confirmed?

The rumor: We’ve been hearing for weeks that the iPhone 8 will ditch the home button for a radical new design built around a new OLED screen that covers nearly the entire front of the handset. But as with all rumors, we’ve been skeptical. However, it appears as though an eagle-eyed iOS developer has uncovered the truth. 

Steven Troughton-Smith dug into an early firmware release for Apple’s upcoming HomePod speaker and found a treasure trove of information about the iPhone 8. Most notably, it seems to confirm that the iPhone 8 will dump Touch ID.  According to Troughton-Smith, the pre-release firmware includes several references to a new “BKFaceDetectStateInfo” string, which seemingly refers to a new face detection biometric system. The iPhone’s camera may also be able to recognize your face, even if it’s laying down on a table. Additionally, the firmware contains a small icon of the iPhone 8, and it matches up nearly perfectly with the rumors, right down to the camera cutout at the top.

The rumor, part two: And that’s not all the HomePod firmware has revealed. Troughton-Smith has unearthed a few more goodies about the next iPhone, most notably the likely screen resolution. He uncovered references to a resolution of 1125 x 2436, which would give the iPhone 8 a 5.15-inch 3x Retina display at 521ppi, making it the highest resolution iPhone screen ever. Back in February, highly accurate tipster Ming-Chi Kuo predicted this exact size for the iPhone 8. However, he explained that the full size of the screen would actually be 5.8 inches at 1242 x 2800, with part of the bottom reserved for the virtual home button and other functions. Troughton-Smith also discovered references to a “home indictator” rather than a home button, so it’s likely that Kuo was right on the money. Additionally, tap to wake functionality, a popular feature on Android phones, will likely make an appearance, but Troughton-Smith sees nothing to indicate under-the-display Touch ID.

Plausible? Um, yeah. Of all the rumors we’ve read—and that’s no small number—this is the most believable. Unless Apple is trolling us hard, it’s pretty clear that the iPhone 8 will have a new facial recognition biometric and a completely new design. While the pieces here don’t necessarily confirm the rumor that Touch ID will be going away, it certainly lends credence to the idea, especially in light of the home button-less image and home indicator reference. At any rate, with each passing day (and rumor) we’re getting more and more excited about the iPhone 8, whatever it costs.

Frickin’ laser beams in the friction camera?!

The rumor: We already know that Apple is hard at work at a killer AR framework that lets developers create amazing virtual experiences, but Fast Company reports that Apple is working to add a rear-facing 3D vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser system to the iPhone 8. What that means to us is a killer way to lock in on what the camera sees. According to the site, the new sensor will accomplish two tasks, enabling better depth detection for augmented reality apps, and implementing more accurate autofocus for photography.

As it stands Apple has done some amazing things with ARKit, but all eyes are on the iPhone 8 to bring it to the next level. Fast Company cautions that the feature might not be ready for this year’s phone—or might be limited to the higher-end models—but one thing is for sure: A laser sensor in the iPhone 8 would certainly give Apple a needed boost in the AR race.

Plausible? Apple’s augmented reality ambitions were all speculation until WWDC, but now that ARKit has landed, it’s clear that AR is a big part of Apple’s iOS roadmap. And the next iPhone is the perfect device to showcase what the new tech can really do. A depth-detecting laser sensor incorporated into a next-generation dual-camera system will instantly make the iPhone 8 the most intriguing handset for AR, giving it an edge that might actually make it useful for something more than capturing Pokémon at the park. 

Delayed wireless charging and a sky-high price tag?

The rumor: It’s all but confirmed that the iPhone 8 will have wireless induction charging built in, like many of its Android peers. There’s even some images that suggest a wireless charging coil. Some new speculation from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggests it might not be ready when the handset launches. In a tweet he writes, “I’ve heard that inductive charging … might be late, waiting for iOS 11.1 (a la Portrait mode last year).” One of the premier features of the iPhone 7 Plus is Portrait Mode, which blurs the background around your subject to create a depth effect, but early adopters had to wait a few weeks to get it. If you remember, the iPhone 7 launched on Sept. 16, but Portrait Mode didn’t arrive until over a month later, on Oct. 24. It would be a bummer if wireless charging were similarly delayed on the iPhone 8, but because Gruber also says the charger will be sold separately, we might be waiting a while before the accessories ship anyway.

Gruber also opines on the price of the iPhone 8, or as he calls it, the iPhone Pro. In a lengthy post on his site, he concludes that the new OLED model will likely start at $1,200 for 64GB of storage. That’s a sky-high price for sure, but rumors have been swirling about the four-figure price of the iPhone 8 for a while now.

Plausible? John Gruber doesn’t play the rumor game all that often, but when he does, he generally has solid information. As such, both of these nuggets are entirely possible. It’s not uncommon for Apple to delay features until they’re just right, so it would sooner delay wireless charging than ship a buggy version. Gruber also lays out a surprisingly compelling argument for such an expensive phone. In short, Apple will be fighting supply issues for months to come, so it needs to offer a reason for tens of millions of people to buy the regularly priced models releasing alongside it. A $300 difference in price would certainly fit the bill.

Goodbye Touch ID?

The rumor: After months of conflicting reports that put the iPhone 8’s fingerprint sensor either under the display or on the rear casing (as with Android phones), often-accurate KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has dropped a bombshell (via StreetInsider): The iPhone 8 won’t have a Touch ID sensor at all. Apple is reportedly dumping fingerprint support in favor of facial recognition, which will be enabled by a new 3D-sensing front camera. The report also backs the existence of the camera cutout at the top of the screen, which will give the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 bragging rights as the phone with the highest screen-to-body ratio, besting even the Samsung’s super-slender Galaxy S8.

Plausible? It’s starting to look like this is going to happen. A previous post on Reddit floated this idea, and now one of the most accurate tipsters in the Apple universe has backed the claim. Touch ID has had a major impact on the security of our iPhones, not just with unlocking, but also with secure files, Apple Pay, and App Store purchases.
In our experiences with facial recognition, it’s not nearly as accurate or convenient, and hackers have had better luck with spoofing it. We’ll have to see what Apple does here, but this seems like a worse move than killing the headphone jack.

Waterproofing and wireless charging

The rumor: The iPhone 8 will feature both waterproof capabilities and wireless charging, according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review. The information comes from Wistron, one of Apple’s assembly companies, which told shareholders on Wednesday that the new features will “alter the assembly process a bit.” Apple made last year’s iPhone 7 the first to be considered water-resistant, and we’ve heard previously that Apple is seriously considering wireless charging. It’s unclear, though, whether the all-new 2017 iPhone will sport these new capabilities.

Plausible? It makes sense that Apple would want to take the iPhone 8 one step further in terms of water-resistance, so making it technically waterproof is the next logical step. Apple is notoriously cautious in designating its products waterproof or even water-resistant, though, so we’ll see if the company makes this claim in the upcoming iPhones.

As for wireless charging, this seems likely. Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium last year, and previous rumors have indicated that all new iPhone models being released this year will feature wireless charging. So if you’re going to bet on an all-new feature, wireless charging is as close to a safe bet as we’ll get before launch date.

When will it come out?

The rumor: There are conflicting theories regarding the iPhone 8’s launch window. Some have speculated that Apple may miss the traditional September launch window because a lot of custom-ordered parts, including pieces for the display, wireless charging, and printed circuit boards, won’t be ready by September, according to the latest findings from Nikkei Asian Review. The iPhone 7s models are expected to come out on schedule, however. 

In this report, an analyst from research company IHS Markit confirmed that Samsung is now the exclusive OLED supplier for the new iPhones, because Samsung specializes in manufacturing curved smartphone displays. However, the analyst says “Samsung is facing challenges in delivering what Apple wants,” even though they’ve cranked out close to 75 million curved iPhone displays so far.

This is not the first time we’ve heard that Apple has faced roadblocks during the iPhone 8’s production. This follows an earlier report from reputable KGI analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, which reported that the iPhone 8 will be out in October or November due to these supply issues. Previously, Digitimes reported that Apple was facing delays in developing its proprietary fingerprint sensor for the new OLED-equipped iPhone 8 (if, indeed, that feature will remain on the phone). Additionally, Japanese news site Macotakara reported that STMicroelectronics, the new supplier of the iPhone’s 3D camera sensors, needed more time to ramp up mass production. With all these production issues, some reports even suggest the iPhone 8 won’t come out until 2018. 

Rumors being what they are, analysts at JPMorgan had predicted Apple would take the wraps off its new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, based on a note obtained by 9to5Mac. This is something the company hasn’t done since 2010—and didn’t do this year, after all.  

Plausible? At first, it seemed very unlikely that Apple would miss its typical September launch date. Plus, Digitimes doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to iPhone rumors. But now that Nikkei Asian Review and Ming-Chi Kuo are jumping on board, this rumor gets a credibility boost. Apple is tinkering with assembling OLEDs for the first time, as well as incorporating new camera sensors and fingerprint sensors (if the latter is still a feature). If there were an iPhone model that required a little more time, the iPhone 8 would seem to be it.

We’re not surprised the JPMorgan prediction fell through. During the company’s second-quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said people were pausing their iPhone purchases because they saw rumors of upcoming iPhones and wanted to wait. Announcing an iPhone 8 in June and not making it available to buy until September would all but kill Apple’s iPhone business—at least without hefty discounts to spur sales.

What’s with the delay?

The rumor: The 3D Touch feature on the iPhone 8 has been a real pain for Apple. According to AppleInsider, Apple is still trying to get 3D Touch to work properly on the iPhone 8, and this will push the production schedule to October or November. In addition, Apple is reportedly paying more than double to get 3D Touch on the iPhone 8. AppleInsider previously reported that TPK Holdings is charging between $18 and $22 to implement 3D Touch on the OLED iPhone 8. The same company currently charges between $7 and $9 per current iPhone. The price increase stems from the fact that implementing 3D Touch on an OLED display requires putting the sensors between a “glass sandwich.”

Plausible? Even if the iPhone 8 doesn’t come out until way later this year, Apple shouldn’t be too worried. A new, souped-up iPhone would be perfect for the holiday shopping season, and investors are already drooling about the higher demand it could trigger. It’s also possible that Apple has come across some unexpected costs in producing the all-new iPhone 8, especially because is the company’s first time building in an OLED display. The iPhone 8 is already rumored to command a higher price tag, so even if Apple has to pay more to provide the same features, its margins will remain intact.

Concept video based on CAD schematic?

The rumor: A new concept video has surfaced that renders some of the most prominent rumors about the iPhone 8. The video showcases the iPhone 8’s OLED display, as well as the vertically aligned rear camera system. Based on a factory computer-animated design schematic, the video is courtesy of French gadget leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, known as OnLeaks on Twitter.

Plausible? Hemmerstoffer has a good track record when it comes to iPhone rumors. Last year, he posted a photo of the iPhone 7 case months before the device was unveiled. However, even Hemmerstoffer admits the latest video may not be 100-percent accurate because Apple is testing various prototypes of the iPhone 8. “I can’t confirm this is 100% accurate,” he tweeted. Watch the video below.

Mac World

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The social network said its high-profile users were specifically targeted

Instagram hack
Celebrity contact details revealed

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Could the iMac Pro feature Intel’s new Xeon W processors?

Password Manager

Why you need a password manager

By now, you know you should be using unique passwords. Make it easy and painless with a password manager.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The computer that can smell explosives

Oshi Agabi envisages airports that will need no visible security system allowing people to just walk on to planes

TEDGlobal: The computer that can smell explosives

Nigerian Oshi Agabi has unveiled a computer based not on silicon but on mice neurons at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Google Connects Depression Assessment Tool

Google Connects Mobile Searchers to Depression Assessment Tool

The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Wednesday announced that Google on mobile now provides people who search for the term "clinical depression" with a direct link to the PHQ-9 questionnaire used by medical professionals in the United States to evaluate patients for the disorder.

People can conduct a self-assessment by filling in the questionnaire online.

When someone conducts a Google search on mobile for information on "clinical depression," a link to "check if you're clinically depressed" will appear in the depression knowledge panel.

Clicking on the link will take the user to the PHQ-9 questionnaire.

NAMI hopes teaming up with Google will help raise awareness of clinical depression and lead sufferers to determine their level of depression and the need to seek help, said Mary Giliberti, the organization's CEO.

Clinical depression is a treatable condition, and the PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis, she noted.

Noble Effort

One in five Americans experience an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime, but only about half the sufferers receive treatment, Giliberti pointed out, and generally only after six to eight years.

"By making PHQ-9 easily accessible in the Clinical Depression Knowledge Panel, we hope that will help provide useful and insightful information to spur deeper research on the Web or to help you have more in-depth conversations with your doctor," said Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha.

"The effort is noble, though I'd feel better if this project was managed by someone other than Google, with the appropriate medical background, oversight and protections, such as a major hospital," remarked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Privacy Questions

Because Google stores user data, there may be legitimate concerns that information entered into the PHQ-9 form would be retained.

"The privacy and security of our users is of the utmost importance," Google's Cadrecha told TechNewsWorld.

"We recognize that this information is sensitive and private, and Google will not store your responses or your results," she said.

"This speaks to trust, and whether management actually knows what the engineers who have set this up actually did," Enderle told TechNewsWorld.

"In the past, Google has been lax with regard to oversight," he added, so concerns about data retention are reasonable, "even though it clearly isn't an executive intent."

Google parent Alphabet already collects some data on consumers' health.

Its Verily Life Sciences division, formerly Google Life Sciences, in 2014 launched Project Baseline, which seeks to collect phenotypic health data from about 10,000 participants over four years.

The project will make de-identified data from the study available to qualified researchers for exploratory analysis.

Google Is Watching You?

"Google sees everything that moves through their portal," said Michael Jude, a research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

"At some level, everything's stored for some period of time," he told TechNewsWorld.

Google is "asking us to trust them not to store anything long term," Jude added. "However, the act of seeing this data lets it build profiles of users."

The company "probably already can build a psychological profile of its users from their searches and other user data," he speculated. "If a profile leaked, they could claim that it was simply from publicly disclosed data. How could anyone prove otherwise?"

Tech News World

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Troubleshoot and recover a Mac with a failed drive

Troubleshoot and recover a Mac with a failed drive

Hard drives failures can happen to anyone, including Mac 911 columnists. A relatively new hard drive bit the dust, requiring days of work to get back to status quo ante.

My wife has a 2011-era MacBook Pro and was barely keeping space free on its original 512GB hard drive. An upgrade made sense, and for a machine of that vintage, the cost of a 1TB SSD seemed too high. We opted for an affordable hard drive. I used a USB 2.0 enclosure to clone the existing drive via Disk Utility while booted into Recovery, which left us with a backup (the original drive) and the newly cloned drive, which I swapped into the computer. We also updated an existing SuperDuper clone as an additional safety policy. (Disk Utility lets you clone and restore drives, a nifty hidden superpower in Recovery.)

This worked just fine for six weeks, until she started to receive errors while using her mail client, restarted, and had screens of Matrix-like text scrolling down. Very quickly, it appeared the drive was damaged, not just corrupted. How did I diagnose this?

  • Zapping the NVRAM didn’t help.
  • Starting into single-user mode worked, as did performing the fsck command-line function to make sure a drive was left in the correct state for booting. However, the same symptoms resulted when exiting into a full startup environment.
  • The Mac could boot into Recovery, but Disk Utility couldn’t perform a repair on the drive, as it wouldn’t unmount.
  • I could launch Terminal in recovery to use the diskutil program to force the drive to unmount, but Disk Utility would always wind up reporting that it was unrepairable.
  • I used Target Disk Mode to mount the Mac onto another Mac to see if Disk Utility might be able to perform magic that way, and it also failed.
  • Sometimes, even a failing drive can be duplicated, but it was in too bad a shape for that, whether through Recovery mode and Disk Utility or Target Disk Mode.
I purchased and installed TechTools Pro 9.5, which can create a bootable Mac system that includes itself. I installed that onto an SSD I had handy, and after running through basic diagnostics that confirmed the Mac was fine, I used its Surface Scan tool to see if it could identify whether bad blocks (unusable small segments) on the disk. Sure enough, it started reporting piles of bad blocks and then stalled. (That’s not great behavior for utility software that’s supposed to cope with terrible system problems.)

Fortunately, we had the six-week-old clone—and I was kicking myself for not having updated it more recently—and a CrashPlan backup that was up to date as of just moments before the system went bad. Between diagnosing and running tests, it took parts of a full day.

CrashPlan hiccups

Restoring also took about a day due to the unfortunately outdated and somewhat primitive controls still found in Code42’s CrashPlan for Home. While I’ve used CrashPlan for many years, the company has held off on updates to its home product for some time, and it just announced on August 22 that it will no longer develop this version. It will stop working in October 2018. I’ve gradually switched my backups to Backblaze; my wife remained on CrashPlan as we have prepaid service that hadn’t expired yet.

We had set CrashPlan to archive just documents and media, not the entire disk, but the CrashPlan restore operation reported over 500GB to recover, excluding a 100GB music library that hadn’t changed and that we’d offloaded to make recovery faster.

After examining the overage, it seems that CrashPlan doesn’t properly recognize the “hard links” that iPhoto and Photos share. Hard links are a special form of Unix file reference that allows a single file to be represented as existing in multiple places on a hard drive. When you use Photos to upgrade an iPhoto library, rather than copy the entire contents, the app uses hard links to point to files in the iPhoto library. Apple chose this route as it saves enormous space.

However, my wife had only launched Photos, which caused it to create an updated library, but hadn’t actively used it. We could remove it from the drive and the restore process. This eliminated over 100GB of files that needed to be downloaded.

CrashPlan also fails to check whether a file to be restored is identical to one already stored on disk. It can only overwrite a file (whether identical or not) or create another copy of it with a unique name. This seemingly defeats the point of restoring. Even with gigabit Internet, CrashPlan ran its restore from between 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps, slowing things down further. 

Ultimately, we got back to status quo ante after losing a few days of access and many hours to restoration work.

Be better prepared

In the future, we’ve resolved to make two changes:
  • More regular creation of clones. SuperDuper lets you set a schedule, and you can just plug in a drive and let it run overnight (even though it might only take an hour or two). I have a drive permanently plugged into my iMac that makes a nightly clone, even as I also back everything up to the cloud.
  • Switch to Backblaze, even if you’re currently using CrashPlan, given that its inadequate home software won’t be improved. Check out our review of Arq, a potential local (and remote) network backup, or match Backblaze with local Time Machine backups.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to including screen captures as appropriate. Mac 911 can’t reply to—nor publish an answer to—every question, and we don’t provide direct troubleshooting advice.


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