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Submission + - Barnes & Noble Has Been Quietly Refreshing Its Nook Hardware (

itwbennett writes: Peter Smith writes that he 'had more or less written off the Nook when Barnes & Noble farmed hardware duties out to Samsung.' But now that Amazon is aiming for the low end with its downgraded Fire tablet line, Barnes & Noble has an opportunity to 'carve out a niche on the higher end of things,' says Smith. And so it has been quietly moving in that direction. Yesterday, Venture Beat wrote about the newly (and stealthily) launched $250 Samsung Galaxy Tab E Nook. As Smith notes, 'the specs for this new tablet aren't anything special,' which might explain the stealthy launch, except that another, pricier Nook tablet apparently came out a month ago (again, according to VentureBeat), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook.

Submission + - Amazon Aims To Out-Twee Etsy With "Handmade" Store (

jfruh writes: Etsy has long been the home for artisans who want a storefront for their cute, handmade items like jewelry and clothes. But as the company has expanded, it's allowed sellers to put partially factory-made items into their inventory. Now they're getting competition from an unlikely place: Amazon, whose new "Handmade At Amazon" store only sells hand-crafted items.

Submission + - Did You Get the Best Chip In Your iPhone 6S? (

itwbennett writes: Apple is splitting the manufacture of the A9 processor for its iPhone 6S between TSMC (~60%) and rival Samsung (~40%) — 'and they are not created equal', writes Andy Patrizio. For starters, Chipworks noted that Samsung uses 14nm while TSMC uses 16nm. And a Reddit user posted tests of a pair of 6S Plus phones and found the TSMC chip had eight hours of battery life vs. six hours for the Samsung. Meanwhile, benchmark tests from the folks at MyDriver (if Mr. Patrizio's efforts with Google Translate got it right) also found that the Samsung chip is a bigger drain on the phone's battery, while the TSMC chip is slightly faster and runs a bit cooler. So how do you know which chip you got? There's an app for that.

Submission + - Dell, EMC Said To Be In Merger Talks

itwbennett writes: According to a Wall Street Journal report, Dell might buy some or all of storage giant EMC (the grain of salt here is that the Journal's report cited unnamed sources, and cautioned that the the companies might not finalize any agreement.) If the report has it right, though, 'a total merger would be one of the biggest deals ever in the technology industry,' writes Stephen Lawson for the IDG News Service, 'with EMC holding a market value of about US$50 billion. It would also bring together two of the most important vendors to enterprise IT departments.'

Submission + - Why Is RAM Suddenly So Cheap? (

jfruh writes: The average price of a 4GB DDR3 memory DIMM at the moment $18.50 — a price that silicon tech blogger Andy Patrizio calls "just crazy." Why is it so cheap? The memory business tends to go in boom and bust cycles, but the free availability of Windows 10 means that fewer people are upgrading their PCs, reducing RAM demand — and prices might stay low for another two years.

Submission + - Nissan Creates The Ultimate Distracted Driving Machine (

jfruh writes: More and more research is suggesting that it isn't safe to text or even talk on our phones hands-free while driving, but one brave car company is pushing full-speed in the other direction. Nissan has created a concept car in which every surface, including the entire dashboard and even the seats, is a display device. The car is the result of "extensive" surveys with the younger generation that came to the conclusion that, according to Nissan, young people "feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends."

Submission + - 30 years a sysadmin (

itwbennett writes: Sandra Henry-Stocker’s love affair with Unix started in the early 1980s when she 'was quickly enamored of the command line and how much [she] could get done using pipes and commands like grep.’ Back then, she was working on a Zilog minicomputer, a system, she recalls, that was 'about this size of a dorm refrigerator’. Over the intervening years, a lot has changed, not just about the technology, but about the job itself. 'We might be ‘just' doing systems administration, but that role has moved heavily into managing security, controlling access to a wide range of resources, analyzing network traffic, scrutinizing log files, and fixing the chinks on our cyber armor,’ writes Henry-Stocker. What hasn’t changed? Systems administration remains a largely thankless role with little room for career advancement, albeit one that she is quick to note is ‘seldom boring’ and ‘reasonably' well-paid.

Submission + - Apple, Microsoft Tout Their Privacy Policies To Get Positive PR (

jfruh writes: Apple hasn't changed its privacy policy in more than a year — but that didn't stop the company from putting up a glossy website explaining it in layman's terms. Microsoft too has been touting its respect for its users's privacy. This doesn't represent any high-minded altruism on those companies' parts, of course; it's part of their battle against Google, their archrival that offers almost all of its services for free and makes its money mining user data.

Submission + - Uber's Rivals Forming An International Alliance (

jfruh writes: Didi Kuaidi is China's biggest native ride-sharing app, and it's using its cash hoard to build an alliance and global giant Uber. On the heels of a $100 million investment in Lyft, the company is also investing in Ola, India's biggest entry in the market. The deals have been described as involving sharing technology and market knowledge.

Submission + - Europe Agrees To Agree With Everyone Except US What 5G Should Be

itwbennett writes: Following agreements signed by the EU with South Korea in June 2014 and with Japan in May 2015, the EU and China 'have agreed to agree by the end of the year on a working definition for 5G,' reports Peter Sayer. 'About the only point of agreement so far is that 5G is what we'll all be building or buying after 4G, so any consensus between the EU and China could be significant,' says Sayer.

Submission + - EFF To Offer Trusted SSL Certificates To the Public, For Free (

itwbennett writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has jumped through all the necessary hoops to become a certificate authority and soon will begin offering trusted SSL certificates to the public, for free. The official certificate authority is called Let's Encrypt and it just issued its first certificate 10 days ago, but it has not yet been added as a trusted authority. Let's Encrypt has set a public availability date of November 14th 2015, at which time their root certificate will have been cross-signed and the general public will be able to obtain free, trusted certificates.

Submission + - IBM's Watson Is Now Analyzing Your Vacation Photos (

jfruh writes: IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyzes images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. Watson turns what it gleans into structured data, making it easier to load into a database and act upon — which is clearly appealing to marketers and just as clearly carries disturbing privacy implications.

Submission + - HP Adds Protection Against Firmware Attacks to Enterprise Printers (

itwbennett writes: Researchers have been demonstrating attacks against printers for years. Now, Hewlett-Packard has started building defenses directly into its printers' firmware instead of just patching individual vulnerabilities. The company's new M506, M527 and M577 series of LaserJet Enterprise printers, set to go on sale in October and November, will have built-in detection for unauthorized BIOS and firmware modifications.

Submission + - Hack iOS 9 and Get $1 Million, Cybersecurity Firm Says (

itwbennett writes: Exploit acquisition company Zerodium has $3 million to buy iOS jailbreaks. 'Eligible submissions must include a full chain of unknown, unpublished, and unreported vulnerabilities/exploits (aka zero-days) which are combined to bypass all iOS 9 exploit mitigations including: ASLR, sandboxes, rootless, code signing, and boot chain,' Zerodium said on its iOS 9 Bug Bounty page

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