Intel’s Security Exec Jumps Ship

December 18, 2014 by admin  
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Michael Fey has left Intel Security Group to become chief operating officer at Blue Coat. Blue Coat is apparently not the traditional garb of a British Holiday Camp entertainer, but apparently a privately owned network security company.

Fey was one of the few top McAfee managers to stay with the company after it was bought by Intel in 2011. McAfee is now part of Intel Security Group, where Fey had been chief technology officer. Fey said that his role at Blue Coat would be “very similar” to his old job but he was allowed to focus on the cloud and the advanced threats space more.

“Blue Coat had tremendous growth behind the scenes and now I get to focus on taking that growth and trying to get it to the billion-dollar revenue mark,” he told Reuters.

Since the $7.7 billion acquisition by Intel, McAfee has lost senior managers and key talent in technology development, research and sales. At Blue Coat, Fey will replace David Murphy, who will stay on as a strategic adviser to the board.

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MediaTek Cuts Xiaomi

December 12, 2014 by admin  
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The dark satanic rumour mill manufactured a hell on earth rumour that MediaTek has stopped supplying chips to Xiaomi.

MediaTek is apparently cross that Xiaomi has been investing in SoC supplier Leadcore Technology. Xiaomi has reportedly reached a deal with Leadcore allowing the phone maker to get access to the chip designer’s technology patents. DigiTimes however suggests that MediaTek has been trying to expand its presence in the mid-range and high-end market segments, but finds Xiaomi’s pricing strategy is disrupting its plans.

MediaTek’s MT6589T, a quad-core 1.5GHz chip, was originally designed to target mid-range and high-end mobile devices. The solution was introduced in Xiaomi’s Redmi smartphone in August 2013. However, prices for the Redmi series have been cut to as low as $114.

Xiaomi is ranked as the third largest smartphone vendor worldwide in the third quarter of 2014. Xiaomi’s shipments for the quarter registered a 211.3 per cent on-year jump boosting its market share to 5.3 per cent from 2.1 per cent during the same period of 2013.

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Samsung Moves To Block nVidia

December 10, 2014 by admin  
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Samsung has moved to try and block the sales of Nvidia chips in the US.

Samsung has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission as part of patent war which appears to have broken out between the two chipmakers. Samsung claims Nvidia infringed several of its chip-related patents and for making false claims about its products. This is effectively counter-suing after Nvidia filed a suit against the company in September making more or less the same charges.

Nvidia accused Samsung and rival Qualcomm of infringing patents on its graphics-processing unit (GPU). Samsung, which had filed the lawsuit in a US federal court on November 4, is seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents, including a few that govern the way semiconductors buffer and use data.

The ITC complaint also named computer-parts manufacturers Biostar Microtech and Elitegroup. These things run and run and usually wind up with a settlement where both sides agree to keep the details quiet. The ITC is often used as leverage in such cases because it deals with things a little quicker and a product embargo to the US can be seriously damage a company’s wealth.

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McAfee’s Biometric Software Coming Soon

December 9, 2014 by admin  
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A McAfee security product that will use biometric technology to authenticate users will be available for download by the end of the year, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, last week.

“Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again,” Skaugen said.

Further product details were not immediately available. But one of the major inconveniences in using PCs and tablets is remembering passwords, which biometrics can tame.

An average user has about 18 passwords and biometric authentication will make PCs easier to use, Skaugen said.

Biometric authentication isn’t new. It’s being used in Apple Pay, where fingerprint authentication helps authorize credit card payments through the iPhone or iPad. Intel has been working on multiple forms of biometric authentication through fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.

McAfee is owned by Intel, and the chip maker is building smartphone, tablet and PC technology that takes advantage of the security software. Intel has also worked on biometric technology for wearable devices like SMS Audio’s BioSport In-Ear Headphones, which can measure a person’s heart rate.

Intel also wants to make PCs and tablets easier to use through wireless charging, display, docking and data transfers. Such capabilities would eliminate the need to carry power brick and cables for displays and data transfers. Such capabilities will start appearing in laptops next year with sixth-generation Core chips code-named Skylake, which will be released in the second half.

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Oracle And SAP Settle Piracy Dispute

November 24, 2014 by admin  
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Oracle has won a limited victory in its long-running lawsuit with rival SAP.

The action was taken in reference to events dating back to 2007, which saw employees of SAP’s TomorrowNow unit accused of illegally downloading Oracle software.

German company TomorrowNow was bought by SAP as a means to undercut Oracle’s internal tech support rates, with the ambition of getting customers to migrate to SAP solutions, reports Reuters.

In 2006, TomorrowNow started the process of undermining its parent’s position, offering cut-price support to users of the Siebel database and CRM.

Oracle was originally awarded $1.3bn back in 2010, but this was adjusted downwards on multiple appeals.

SAP acknowledged that its employees had been in the wrong, but disputed the damages awarded. SAP offered a $306m payment in 2012, but did so more in hope than expectation given its admissions.

Earlier in the year, a federal judge gave Oracle the option to settle for $356.7m or force a retrial, and the company has now decided on the former with a further $2.5m in interest.

“We are thrilled about this landmark recovery and extremely gratified that our efforts to protect innovation and our shareholders’ interests are duly rewarded,” said Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley.

“This sends a strong message to those who would prefer to cheat than compete fairly and legally.”

SAP agreed: “We are also pleased that, overall, the courts hearing this case ultimately accepted SAP’s arguments to limit Oracle’s excessive damages claims and that Oracle has finally chosen to end this matter.”

SAP announced a partnership with IBM last month to bring its HANA service to enterprise cloud users.

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Dell Unveils 720TB Storage Server

November 18, 2014 by admin  
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Dell has unveiled the DCS XA90, an “ultra-dense” storage server capable of holding 720TB of data in a single 4U chassis.

Described by CEO Michael Dell on stage at the Dell World conference as “the power of a diesel truck in a Mini Cooper”, the DCS XA90 storage server means that a single Dell modular data centre of these units would hold 220PB of data, nearly a quarter of an exabyte.

“In a world where we could download our memories into those servers, we could house the experiences of about 90 people, an entire neighbourhood of digital lives,” said Dell.

He explained that the development of the DCS XA90 was driven by the demand for data storage that is “speeding us towards an exascale future”.

“That is what drove Dell to develop the DCS XA90 for our customers seeking extreme storage density and flexibility as they build out the cloud infrastructure of the future,” Dell added.

The DCS XA90 also packs two independent server nodes featuring Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 processors into each chassis, which Dell said makes it better for data-intensive analytics as well as archival storage.

As part of the announcement, Dell also revealed its PowerEdge FX architecture, a 2U enclosure with six PowerEdge server, storage and network IOA sleds built specifically to fit into the FX2 chassis and support varying workloads.

Due to ship in December, the PowerEdge FX architecture is described as “next-generation convergence” and a game changer in the IT industry, offering the flexibility to build configurations to meet requirements while simplifying management.

“There are other vendors who talk about convergence purely by doing an architecture rack,” said Dell’s server marketing vice president Ravi Pendekanti .

For example, HP’s Moonshot platform “just puts a bunch of blades together”, while Oracle’s Exadata platform “does one thing, and one thing really well, which is run Oracle’s enterprise applications”, he said.

The PowerEdge FX, which stands for ‘flexible infrastructure’, comprises a specially designed 2U rack-mount FX2 enclosure that can be filled with a choice of sled modules offering differing capabilities, enabling customers to adopt a building block approach to their infrastructure.

At launch, the sleds comprise a handful of full-width, half-width and quarter-width compute modules that allow customers to pick the performance and density required for applications such as web hosting, virtualisation or running databases, plus a half-width storage sled that can provide direct attached storage for the compute nodes.

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Intel Opens Up Core M

November 17, 2014 by admin  
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Intel has extended its Core M range of fanless mobile chips by adding four models to the three initial Core M processors launched at the IFA trade show in September.

Like those first fanless models, Intel’s new Core M processors are dual-core chips that support Hyperthreading in up to four threads and have thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 4.5W.

They’re faster than the initial Core M chips, with base clock speeds ranging from 800MHz to 1.2GHz and Turbo Boost speeds from 2GHz to 2.9GHz.

The firm’s initial Core M chips were also rated at 4.5W TDP but topped out at 1.1GHz and 2.6GHz under Turbo Boost.

These additional fanless mobile chips are configurable by system designers, in that OEMs can scale the chip speeds and power consumption up or down depending on the purpose and configuration of the device.

A compact tablet or notebook can conserve power by limiting processor speed, while a larger device can offer higher speed at the cost of higher power draw and heat.

Thus, these new Core M chips can be configured from 600MHz base clock speed and 3.5W TDP to 1.4GHz base clock speed and 6W TDP in the fastest model.

Intel has also boosted the integrated graphics processors in these latest Core M chips, offering GPU base clock speeds ranging from 300MHz to 900MHz, whereas the initial models supported 100MHz to 850MHz.

The detailed specifications of all of Intel’s Core M mobile processors are available on the firm’s website.

Intel said that these new fanless Core M processors will start hitting the market early next year.

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Adobe Eases Privacy Concerns

November 14, 2014 by admin  
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Tests on the latest version of Adobe System’s e-reader software reveals the company is now collecting less data following a privacy-related row last month, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Digital Editions version 4.0.1 appears to only collect data on e-books that have DRM (Digital Rights Management), wrote Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the EFF. DRM places restrictions on how content can be used with the intent of thwarting piracy.

Adobe was criticized in early October after it was discovered Digital Editions collected metadata about e-books on a device, even if the e-books did not have DRM. Those logs were also sent to Adobe in plain text.

Since that data was not encrypted, critics including the EFF contended it posed major privacy risks for users. For example, plain text content could be intercepted by an interloper from a user who is on the same public Wi-Fi network.

Adobe said on Oct. 23 it fixed the issues in 4.0.1, saying it would not collect data on e-books without DRM and encrypt data that is transmitted back to the company.

Quintin wrote the EFF’s latest test showed the “only time we saw data going back to an Adobe server was when an e-book with DRM was opened for the first time. This data is most likely being sent back for DRM verification purposes, and it is being sent over HTTPS.”

If an e-book has DRM, Adobe may record how long a person reads it or the percentage of the content that is read, which is used for “metered” pricing models.

Other technical metrics are also collected, such as the IP address of the device downloading a book, a unique ID assigned to the specific applications being used at the time and a unique ID for the device, according to Adobe.

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Will The Chip Industry Take Fall?

October 24, 2014 by admin  
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Microchip Technology has managed to scare Wall Street by warning of an industry downturn. This follows rumours that a number of US semiconductor makers with global operations are reducing demand for chips in regions ranging from Asia to Europe.

Microchip Chief Executive Steve Sanghi warned that the correction will spread more broadly across the industry in the near future. Microchip expects to report sales of $546.2 million for its fiscal second quarter ending in September. The company had earlier forecast revenue in a range of $560 million to $575.9 million. Semiconductor companies’ shares are volatile at the best of times and news like this is the sort of thing that investors do not want to hear.

Trading in Intel, whiich is due to report third quarter results tomorrow, was 2.6 times the usual volume. Micron, which makes dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, was the third-most traded name in the options market. All this seems to suggest that the market is a bit spooked and much will depend on what Chipzilla tells the world tomorrow as to whether it goes into a nosedive.

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Will ARM Servers Help HP’s Bottom Line?

October 17, 2014 by admin  
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The maker of expensive printer ink HP expects new lower-power servers made with technology from ARM Holdings to make inroads in niche data centres over the next year. If vice president of server engineering Tom Bradicich is right, then it could give Intel a good kicking in its bottom line.

Bradicich said that penetration is low at the moment because the ARM chip was starting from nothing but the take-up is pretty encouraging. HP this week launched new servers made with chips designed by Applied Micro Circuits with intellectual property licensed from ARM. ARM’s supporters, which now include HP say some data centres can be made more cost effective and energy efficient by using them instead of Intel’s server chips.

Bradicich said HP’s new 64-bit ARM-based servers were ideal for handling specialized data-centre workloads like search and scientific analysis. Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Utah plan to use HP’s new servers for scientific analysis and high-performance computing, while PayPal plans to use another version of the servers.

With AMD and other chipmakers working on their own ARM server chips, variety is a key factor for customers that have long depended on Intel, Bradicich said.

Intel has launched its own line of “Atom” low-power server chips to counter the ARM threat. HP offers servers made with Atom chips but said they are not selling that well.

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