Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

July 2, 2015 by admin  
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Yahoo is beefing up its search service on mobile devices, following Google’s lead by highlighting content such as images, videos and reviews ahead of regular search results

The changes will apply to Yahoo search on the mobile web in the U.S., in browsers such as Safari and Chrome. Yahoo’s mobile app and desktop site already provide some additional content within results.

A search on the mobile web for Barack Obama, for instance, displays information about him from Wikipedia, such as his height and birth date, as well as links to news, images and YouTube videos. In one search Thursday, the videos included some curious choices, including “Barack Obama is Illuminati.”

Google already highlights a variety of content related to search queries, including news and related tweets, as well as links to other services like Maps. Microsoft’s Bing does something similar.

Because Yahoo is playing catch-up, the changes might not attract many new users, but they could help it retain people who use Yahoo for mobile searches today.

In the last quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for half of Yahoo’s search traffic in North America, up from 32 percent during the same period in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer.

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Facebook To Require Stronger Digital Signature

June 16, 2015 by admin  
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Facebook will require application developers to adopt a more secure type of digital signature for their apps, which is used to verify a program’s legitimacy.

As of Oct. 1, apps will have to use SHA-2 certificate signatures rather than ones signed with SHA-1. Both are cryptographic algorithms that are used to create a hash of a digital certificate that can be mathematically verified.

Apps that use SHA-1 after October won’t work on Facebook anymore, wrote Adam Gross, a production engineer at the company, in a blog post.

“We recommend that developers check their applications, SDKs, or devices that connect to Facebook to ensure they support the SHA-2 standard,” Gross wrote.

SHA-1 has been considered weak for about a decade. Researchers have shown it is possible to create a forged digital certificate that carries the same SHA-1 hash as legitimate one.

The type of attack, called a hash collision, could trick a computer into thinking it is interacting with a legitimate digital certificate when it actually is a spoofed one with the same SHA-1 hash. Using such a certificate could allow an attacker to spy on the connection between a user and an application or website.

Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and other organizations have also moved away from SHA-1 and said they will warn users of websites that are using a connection that should not be trusted.

The Certificate and Browser Forum, which developers best practices for web security, has recommended in its Baseline Requirements that digital certificate issuers stop using SHA-1 as of Jan. 1.

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Broadcom Aquired?

June 8, 2015 by admin  
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It is starting to look Broadcom will get bought out by its rival Avago as deep throats within both outfits think a deal is close.

Avago is in advanced buyout talks to acquire Broadcom, which manufacturers chips for both the smartphone and broadband industries. The two companies are more or less the same size, but at the moment Broadcom is the weaker partner

It has been the subject of previous speculation regarding acquisitions. The company is among the largest maker of chips for mobile systems such as smartphones, tablets and wearables, Internet of things (IoT) devices and automotive technology products.

Such capabilities could give Avago greater traction in fast-growing markets like IoT and mobile devices.

Broadcom announced last year that it was closing its baseband cellular chip business after being unable to gain inroads against such competitors as Qualcomm. The company had $8.4 billion in revenue last year.

It seems everyone wants a lot more consolidation in the chip industry. Intel reportedly resumed buyout talks to acquire Altera earlier this month, with the parties eyeing a potential price that could reach $13 billion. Micron was tipped as a potential buyer of rival SanDisk.

An April report cited a note from Bernstein analyst Mark Newman. According to this report, Newman pointed to SanDisk’s current valuation as making it a prime takeover target for rival NAND chip maker Micron, as well as other players in the market.

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Intel Rewards RealSense Developers

May 21, 2015 by admin  
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Intel has awarded  $1m to a number of developers as part of its RealSense 3D App Challenge, which was launched last year.

Announced by Intel president Renee James at Computex 2014, the RealSense App Challenge was part of Intel’s efforts to boost RealSense globally and generate software innovation around the ecosystem.

More than 7,000 software creators in 37 countries applied to compete, and 400 were selected to develop new applications for entertainment, learning and collaboration.

Several hundred developers of creative app ideas in these categories received the latest edition of the RealSense 3D Camera and RealSense software development kit, which included free tools, examples and application programing interfaces with which to develop their ideas.

Intel announced on Thursday that the grand prize winner, who picks up $100,000, is Brazilian developer Alexandre Ribeiro da Silva of Anima Games.

His Seed app requires gamers to use reflexes and rational thinking to solve puzzles. The goal of the game is to guide a little floating seed through its journey to reforest a devastated land.

The second prize of $50,000 was awarded to Canadian developer David Schnare of Kinetisense. His OrthoSense app uses RealSense to help medical professionals remotely rehabilitate a patient who has suffered a hand injury by tracking their range of movement over time.

“This practical application of human-computer interaction is an impressive example of how technology can make our lives better,” Intel said.

Another notable winner was Lee Bamber from the UK, who received recognition for his virtual 3D video maker. The app allows a user to record themselves as a 3D hologram and then transport to a variety of scenes.

Once recorded, they can then change the camera position over the course of the playback to add an extra dimension to a video blogs, storybook or v-mails, for instance.

“The idea of the app is that you can choose the backdrop then set the lighting as you would in a studio then do the acting,” Bamber explained in his video.

Doug Fisher, SVP and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, said in a blog post that now the app challenge is complete “the real work begins”, as Intel Software will continue to encourage all finalists to bring products to market.

“We also will continue mobilising our resources to inspire, educate and advance innovation through programmes such as the Intel Developer Zone, where developers can engage to find new software tools and build industry relationships,” he said.

“Human-computer interactions will no longer be defined by mice, keyboards and 2D displays. Our physical and digital worlds are coming together. When they do, the opportunities for us as consumers and businesses will explode.”

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Samsung Buys LoopPay

March 5, 2015 by admin  
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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has acquired U.S. mobile wallet startup LoopPay, signaling its intention to launch a smartphone payments service to compete with rival Apple Inc.

Mobile payments have been slow to catch on in the United States and elsewhere, despite strong backing. Apple, Google, and eBay Inc’s PayPal have all launched services to allow users to pay in stores via smartphones.

The weak uptake is partly because many retailers have been reluctant to adopt the hardware and software infrastructure required for these new mobile payment options to work. These services also fail to offer much more convenience than simply swiping a credit card, Samsung executives said on Wednesday.

LoopPay’s technology differs because it works off existing magnetic-stripe card readers at checkout, changing them into contactless receivers, they said. About 90 percent of checkout counters already support magnetic swiping.

“If you can’t solve the problem of merchant acceptance…, of being able to use the vast majority of your cards, then it can’t really be your wallet,” said David Eun, head of Samsung’s Global Innovation Center.

Injong Rhee, who is leading Samsung’s as-yet-unannounced payments project, said the Asian giant will soon reveal more details of its envisioned service. He would not be drawn on speculation the company may do so during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He said new phones such as the upcoming, latest Galaxy would support the service.

Apple Pay, launched in September, allows iPhone users to pay at the tap of a button. Executives have lauded its rapid rollout so far, including the fact that more than 2,000 banks now support it and the U.S. government will accept Apple Pay later this year.

But Apple Pay requires retailers to install near-field communication and some have been reluctant. In addition, many retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and CVS Health Corp, back their own system, CurrentC.

Samsung had invested in LoopPay, along with Visa Inc and Synchrony Financial, before its acquisition. Terms of the deal, which Samsung negotiated over several months, were not disclosed.

It’s unclear how else Samsung could differentiate its service versus Apple’s or other rivals.

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Is Qualcomm Overheating?

February 2, 2015 by admin  
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South Korean smartphone maker LG Electronics Inc said on Thursday that it has not experienced any overheating problems with Qualcomm Inc’s new Snapdragon processor that is powering a curved-screen device going on sale later this month.

“I am very much aware of the various concerns in the market about the (Snapdragon) 810, but the chip’s performance is quite satisfactory,” Woo Ram-chan, LG vice president for mobile product planning, told reporters at a press event for the company’s G Flex2 smartphone.

The comment came after Bloomberg reported a day earlier that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s top smartphone maker, decided not to use the new Qualcomm processor for the next flagship Galaxy S smartphone after the chip overheated during testing. Samsung and Qualcomm have declined to comment on the report, which cited unidentified sources.

Samsung is widely expected to unveil the new Galaxy S smartphone in early March, and Bloomberg reported that the Korean firm will use its own processors instead.

But LG’s Woo said on Thursday that internal tests for the G Flex2, powered by the new Qualcomm processor, show that the new product emits less heat than other existing devices. The new phone is scheduled to start selling in South Korea on Jan. 30.

“I don’t understand why there is a issue over heat,” he said.

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Are We Moving Too Fast Into Cloud Computing?

January 7, 2015 by admin  
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Businesses need to take a hybrid approach when it comes to the cloud, Dell has said.

The firm’s cloud strategy leader, Gordon Davey, told V3.co.uk in an interview that cloud computing is “overhyped” and moving an entire IT infrastructure into the cloud would be an unrealistic goal.

Davey also believes that cloud vendors have enticed companies to make major shifts to the cloud without considering a model that works for their business.

“I think it’s definitely a case of cloud as a buzzword is overhyped. The idea of cloud for the sake of cloud doesn’t really stand out,” he said.

“The problem comes from customers that have seen the buzzword and want to get the benefits and are just jumping on the bandwagon because it is an industry hype thing, rather than actually evaluating the benefits that a true cloud can bring, and applying that to their business requirements.”

Davey outlined the need to take a more considered approach, adopting an IT strategy that mixes on-premise infrastructure with cloud components to harness the technology without escalating IT costs and complexity.

“The future is going to be hybrid. It’s horses for courses – putting the right workload on the right platform,” he said.

“It’s that balanced approach that I think we’re going to see much more often, rather than trying to put everything into the cloud and potentially failing.”

Davey’s position is unsurprising given Dell’s approach of acting as a ‘middleman’ between cloud service providers and end users, providing hardware, software, services and consultancy to enable businesses to use cloud computing in a way that works for them.

“We see our role as enabling the cloud industry, being that underlying technology,” he said, going on to detail Dell’s five pillar approach to acting as a cloud middleman rather than developing its own end-to-end cloud offering.

The strategy involves consulting on a customer’s cloud needs, helping provide cloud infrastructure, brokering deals between vendors and users, providing security, and managing how multiple cloud services are deployed in a single business.

Davey claimed that Dell’s strategy will help companies take a more tailored approach to cloud adoption, adding: “A properly deployed cloud for the correct workloads in hugely beneficial.”

Dell is not alone in promoting a hybrid approach to cloud adoption. Microsoft is adding hybrid cloud capability to the next version of Windows Server.

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Twitter To Track Mobile Users

December 11, 2014 by admin  
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Twitter Inc has plans to start tracking what third-party apps are installed on users’ mobile devices so the social media company can deliver more tailored content, including ads, the company has revealed.

The feature, called “app graph,” will allow the company to see what other applications users may have installed on phones or other devices.

“To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,” the company said on its site.

The posting also included instructions on how to turn the feature off. Twitter is not collecting data from within the applications, the posting noted.

Twitter, whose main service allows users to broadcast 140-character messages, has been searching for ways to re-invigorate user engagement and drive growth. As part of that effort, the company is considering creating additional mobile applications beyond its core messaging service.

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Office 365 Goes Video Streaming

December 3, 2014 by admin  
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Microsoft unveiled Office 365 Video, a YouTube-like streaming service where enterprises and large organizations can post in-house video content for communication and training.

“Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content,” said Mark Kashman, a senior product manager with the Office 365 team, in a blog posting.

Kashman touted Video as a tool for internal communications, citing the examples of new-employee orientation, management messaging and worker training. Employees will also be able to contribute to a “Community” section, though most companies will probably frown on cat antic clips.

The service rolls out over the next few days to companies that have registered for Office 365′s First Release early distribution program, then through early 2015 to others.

Video will be available only to subscribers of Office 365′s plans for enterprises — E1 through E4 — and universities (A2 through A4). It will not be offered to consumer subscribers or firms with small business-oriented plans like Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.

Kashman also said Office 365 plans for government agencies will get Video at some point, but he did not proffer a timeline.

The other requirement is SharePoint Online, an off-premises component of the enterprise and academic plans, but missing from the increasingly popular Office 365 ProPlus, the rent-not-buy plan used by organizations that have decided to retain their back-end services, like SharePoint and Exchange, on premises.

Although Office 365 Video has elements of consumer streaming services like Google’s YouTube, it’s strictly an in-house affair: It will be available only to employees, and then only those whom IT administrators have assigned access rights.

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What Will Facebook Do With WhatsApp?

October 21, 2014 by admin  
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Facebook, which closed its acquisition of mobile messaging service WhatsApp earlier this week, has said that it has no near-term plan to make money from it.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who is visiting India to participate in an event to boost Internet usage, refused to say much more, but it does indicate that the company has not worked out a cunning plan yet.

Facebook’s final WhatsApp acquisition price tag has risen an additional $3 billion to roughly $22 billion because of the increased value of Facebook’s stock in recent months. This means that Zuckerberg is under pressure to make a bob or two from the deal.

WhatsApp works across different types of phones, across borders, and without advertising. The app only charges a 99 cent annual subscription fee, which is waived for the first year.

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