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Intel

Intel Demos Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Series Running Overwatch At IDF (hothardware.com) 56

Reader MojoKid writes: Intel unveiled a number of new product innovations out at IDF last week, but the company also stuck to its core product march by teasing its next gen Core series processor. Kaby Lake is the follow-up product to current, 6th Generation Skylake-based Core processors. With Kaby Lake, Intel is adding native support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, along with a more powerful graphics architecture for improved 3D performance and 4K video processing. Kaby Lake will also bring with it native HDCP 2.2 support and hardware acceleration for HEVC Main10/10-bit and VP9 10-bit video decoding. To drive some of those points home, Intel showed off Overwatch running on a next-gen Dell XPS 13 built around a 7th Gen ULV Core i5 processor, in addition to a HP notebook smoothly playing back 4K HDR video. Kaby Lake 7th Generation Core-based products should start arriving to market in the fall.
Microsoft

Microsoft Store Offers Free Laptop If They Can't Upgrade Your PC To Windows 10 (microsoft.com) 126

Microsoft is now promising that their Microsoft Store employees "will give you a free Dell laptop if the staff can't do a same-day upgrade on your eligible PC by close of business," reports new Slashdot submitter Pritam Dash. To be eligible for the Dell Inspiron 15, the PC must meet Microsoft's upgrade requirements -- and be checked in by noon -- and in a further effort to boost adoption for their of the Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft is also announcing that "If your PC isn't compatible with Windows 10, we'll recycle it and give you $150 toward the purchase of a new PC." (This second offer is limited to PCs already running Windows 8). Both offers are valid until July 29th, "while supplies last."

Meanwhile, the U.S. army is "half a year behind the January 2017 deadline to adopt Windows 10 set by Defense Department Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen," and has hired Microsoft engineers to assess their 1.1 million devices and legacy systems.
Entertainment

The Great Tablet Gold Rush Is Over (mashable.com) 170

Earlier this month, Dell announced that it will no longer sell Android tablets. The company added that slate tablet market is "over-saturated" and is "experiencing declining demand from consumers." The company says it will focus more on 2-in-1 -- otherwise known as hybrid laptops -- devices moving forward. Dell is right. According to IDC, tablet sales have fallen greatly in the last few years. Mashable goes on to say that the "great tablet gold rush is over." From an article: Pretty much every major tablet maker's growth fell year-over-year. Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, the two most popular brands of tablets, were down 18.8% and 28.1%, respectively. [...] In the beginning, the pitch was: The tablet is the future of computing. It'll replace your phone and your laptop. Then it became: A small tablet will replace your smartphone. Today, the pitch: It's good enough to replace your laptop. But only for some people, and only if you're willing to get by with a mobile OS. Long story short: Tablets are a complete mess right now. We can't seem to decide if we want them to replace all of our devices or only a few of them.
Microsoft

Microsoft Targets The iMac With New All-In-One Surface PCs, Reports Say (networkworld.com) 140

New submitter Miche67 writes: Two reports say Microsoft is working on an all-in-one (AIO) PC under the Surface brand. If that's true, it would put it in competition with HP and Dell, which have their own AIO lines, as well as put it in competition with Apple's iMac. Network World reports: "Both DigiTimes and Windows Central picked up on the story, each citing their own sources. DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based publication with connections to the PC industry over there (but also a very mixed record of accuracy) said the new devices would come in the third quarter of this year. Windows Central, which is a little better when it comes to rumors, said it did not have a solid release date." Business Insider was able to find a patent filing by Microsoft for a desktop PC that supports the rumored AIO design. "The device is evidently targeting a 'modern and elegant' design and is meant to be something akin to a premium appliance or furniture," Windows Central wrote. Intel's release date of the new Kaby Lake line of processors around Q3 of this year complicates things. While Kaby Lake is said to be more mobile-friendly with less power consumption and heat, they would make for a good choice for an AIO machine. However, it would be pushing it for Microsoft to release its AIO machines in the same quarter that Kaby Lake is due. On a semi-related note, a programmer at Building 88 recently confirmed that Microsoft will release Surface 5 devices next year powered by Kaby Lake processors. He posted pictures of four device holders marked "2017" on his Twitter account.
Android

Dell Stops Selling Android Tablets (pcworld.com) 82

Dell is discontinuing its Venue line of Android tablets. Furthermore, the company says it will also stop issuing software updates to its existing Android tablets. The move comes as Dell wants to shift its focus on Windows 2-in-1 devices. As for the other reason, the American company adds that Android market is "oversaturated" and is experiencing "declining demand from consumers." Other Android devices from the company were discontinued some time ago. The company will honor after sales support for people who have purchased Venue Android tablets until the warranty and service contracts expire.
Chrome

Google Ponders About a Chromebook Pro (venturebeat.com) 138

Google is currently surveying people about what a Chromebook Pro should be like. VentureBeat's report cites two people who recently shared the development on a forum. One user was asked the question, "How would you think a Chromebook Pro is different than a Chromebook?" whereas the other user was asked, "what a Chromebook Pro should be like in [his/her] opinion and what type of people would want to use it." From the report:The word "Pro" would imply a high-end laptop running Chrome OS, just like, say, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 4. But there are many other companies -- Asus, Dell, HP, and Samsung, among others -- that make Chromebooks, along with Google. It isn't clear from these survey questions if Google is thinking about making a Chromebook Pro itself, just as it has made high-end Chromebook Pixel laptops, or if Google is just wondering how consumers would perceive a Chromebook Pro made by a third party. Meanwhile, Google last month published a job posting entitled "Quality Engineer, Chromebook Pixel," suggesting that a third generation of that device could be on the way.Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular. They outsold Mac for the first time in the United States earlier this year. The majority of the Chromebooks available today, however, pack in entry-level specifications, giving users very limited choice. Though we have seen devices like Chromebook Pixel, a range of high-end Chromebooks could entice even more customers.
The Almighty Buck

Bill Guarantees 50% Salary For Workers Laid Off With Non-Compete (computerworld.com) 223

Reader dcblogs shares a Computer World report: Non-compete agreements are controversial for many reasons, but what may be worst of all: Even if you are laid off from your job, a non-compete agreement may still apply. California has made non-compete agreements unenforceable, but Massachusetts has not. Some opponents say that's partly the result of lobbying by EMC, which has considerable clout as a major state employer, headquartered in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton. But the pending $67 billion merger of EMC with Dell, and the prospect of merger-related layoffs, is spurring a new attack on non-compete agreements. State lawmakers are considering limiting non-compete agreements to one year, banning them for low-wage workers and for people terminated without cause. The leading legislative proposal will also require an employer to pay at least 50% of the former employer's salary during the period of time the non-compete is in effect. This salary guarantee is called "garden leave" and is in Massachusetts House bill H.4323. In May, the White House released a report about non-compete agreements. It found that 18% of the workforce is now covered by a non-compete agreement, but over the course of a career, some 37% of all workers (PDF) will be subject to them.
Graphics

Alienware Launches Laptop With QHD OLED Display After 20 Years of Business (hothardware.com) 82

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Dell's Alienware 13 gaming notebook has been popular among gamers and power users that want a little more horsepower in a relatively light 4.5 pound 13-inch machine. However, over the past couple of years, Alienware hasn't changed-up the design much -- until today that is. [In celebration of its 20th anniversary], the company is officially making the OLED display equipped Alienware 13 available today, which they debuted back in January at CES. Initial testing and review impressions show that, as expected, the OLED display sure is gorgeous. The OLED display of the Alienware 13 is also representative of a full revamp (except for the skins), including a 6th generation Intel Skylake Core series processor and an NVMe Solid State Drive. The real kicker, however, is that Alienware's 13.3-inch QHD (2560X1440) OLED display offers great saturation and contrast with an extremely crisp 1ms pixel response time that delivers beautiful image quality, whether working in content creation, or in fast-moving action while gaming. Viewing angles with the display are also superior to high-end IPS panels including Dell's own XPS 15 with its near bezel-less Infinity Edge panel. At E3 2016, AMD announced the Radeon RX 470 and RX 460, which will join the RX 480 in the company's Polaris family.
Bug

A $190 Million Misclick for T. Rowe Price (fortune.com) 35

An anonymous reader writes: This week a court ordered restitution for any investors who'd opposed the 2013 buyout of Dell Inc., approximately $3.87 per share, plus interest. The investment firm T. Rowe Price was a vocal opponent of the deal, and had over 30 million shares scattered throughout its mutual funds. But an automated system at T. Rowe Price used its default setting -- which indicated support for the buyout -- an error which is now estimated to have cost the firm close to $190 million.
Dell won't receive the money "because, in essence, they checked the wrong box," reports Fortune. And the Baltimore Sun adds that the firm now faces the prospect of class action lawsuit from angry investors.
HP

Top Windows OEM Lenovo Urges Customers To Uninstall Accelerator Application (lenovo.com) 49

Two-Factor Authentication service Duo Security reported earlier that third-party updating tools found on Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus (the top five Windows OEMs) are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attack. Hours later, Lenovo, the world's largest Windows OEM by shipment figure, has issued an advisory in which it urges users to uninstall Accelerator Application, which comes preinstalled on many of its laptops and desktops models. Fortune reports: Specifically, as Lenovo said in an advisory notice, the auto-update feature in its Accelerator Application software can be exploited by a "man-in-the-middle attack" -- someone could get in between the computer and the server pushing out the updated software, fooling the computer into installing a fake version of the update instead of the genuine article. Such attacks can allow anything from surreptitious malware installation to the insertion of surveillance capabilities, or even the hijacking of PCs.
Security

Out-Of-the-Box Exploitation Possible On PCs From Top 5 OEMs (arstechnica.com) 81

According to a report published by two-factor authentication service Duo Security, third-party updating tools installed by Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus (the top five Windows PC OEMs) are exposing their devices to man-in-the-middle attacks. Dan Goodin, reports for Ars Technica: The updaters frequently expose their programming interfaces, making them easy to reverse engineer. Even worse, the updaters frequently fail to use transport layer security encryption properly, if at all. As a result, PCs from all five makers are vulnerable to exploits that allow attackers to install malware.Duo Security adds: Hacking in practice means taking the path of least resistance, and OEM software is often a weak link in the chain. All of the sexy exploit mitigations, desktop firewalls, and safe browsing enhancements can't protect you when an OEM vendor cripples them with pre-installed software.
IBM

Is Denver The Next High-Tech Center? (newyorker.com) 151

An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living.

"Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix.

Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California "The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."
Botnet

Ransomware Adds DDoS Attacks To Annoy More People (softpedia.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware developers have found another method of monetizing their operations by adding a DDoS component to their malicious payloads. So instead of just encrypting your files and locking your screen, new ransomware versions seen this week also started adding a DDoS bot that quietly blasts spoofed network traffic at various IPs on the Internet.
Softpedia points out that "Renting out DDoS botnets on the Dark Web is a very lucrative business, even if prices have gone down in recent years."
Google

Chromebooks Outsell Macs For the First Time In the US (theverge.com) 177

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Google's low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple's range of Macs for the first time in the U.S. recently. IDC analyst Linn Huang confirmed the milestone to The Verge. "Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16," says Huang. "Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story." IDC estimates Apple's U.S. Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined. Chromebooks have been extremely popular in US schools, and it's clear from IDC's comments the demand is driving US shipments. Outside of the US, it's still unclear exactly how well Google's low-cost laptops are doing. Most data from market research firms like IDC and Gartner focuses solely on Google's wins in the US.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.6 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 149

An anonymous coward writes: Just like clockwork, the Linux 4.6 kernel was officially released today. Details on the kernel changes for Linux 4.6 can be found via Phoronix and KernelNewbies.org. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell support and Dell XPS 13 Skylake support are among the many hardware changes for 4.6. For Linux 4.7 there are already several new features to look forward to from new DRM display drivers to a new CPU scaling governor expected.
prisoninmate also writes: Linus Torvalds announced the final release of the anticipated Linux 4.6 kernel, which, after seven Release Candidate builds introduces features like "the OrangeFS distributed file system, support for the USB 3.1 SuperSpeed Plus (SSP) protocol, offering transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, improvements to the reliability of the Out Of Memory task killer, as well as support for Intel Memory protection keys," [according to Softpedia].

"Moreover, Linux kernel 4.6 ships with Kernel Connection Multiplexor, a new component designed for accelerating application layer protocols, 802.1AE MAC-level encryption (MACsec) support, online inode checker for the OCFS2 file system, support for the BATMAN V protocol, and support for the pNFS SCSI layout."

Microsoft

Sales Of PCs, Laptops, Tablets Continue to Fall, Hit Lowest Point Since 2011 (canalys.com) 314

According to the latest numbers provided by marketing research firm Canalys, the shipments of PC devices -- which includes desktops, notebooks, all-in-ones, two-in-ones, and tablets -- amounted to 101 million units in the first quarter of 2016. The number underscores a 13% decline from the same period a year ago, and it is also the lowest volume since the second quarter of 2011. Apple led the chart among PC OEMs, moving 14 million units (suffering 17% fall), followed by Chinese conglomerate Lenovo. HP assumed the third position, with Dell and Samsung closely following it. Tim Coulling, Canalys Senior Analyst said in a press statement: The global PC market had a bad start to 2016 and it is difficult to see any bright spots for vendors in the coming quarters. The tablet boom has faded in the distance and the market is fully mature. Global shipments declines are expected to continue unless vendors bring transformational innovation to the market. Apple and Microsoft are propping up shipments in established markets with their detachables, but price points make them less affordable in low-income countries. Although other vendors are coming to market with cheaper alternatives, they are unlikely to have a big impact on volumes in the short term. The number of people looking to buy their first PC is at an all-time low and 2016 is likely to bring yet more turmoil to global PC vendors.
HP

HP Says It Made the World's Thinnest Laptop (time.com) 166

An anonymous reader writes: HP claims that its Spectre laptop, unveiled April 5, is the world's thinnest laptop. It measures 10.4mm thick or 0.41 inches. That would mean that it's slimmer than the 12-inch MacBook (0.52), MacBook Air (0.68 inches) and Dell XPS 13 (0.59 inches) at their thickest points. It's also thinner than the 0.52-inch Razer Blade Stealth. The new notebook is equipped with an advertised nine-hour battery life, 13-inch HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display, and sixth generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. The Spectre will be available for pre-order on April 25 for $1,169.99 before it hits Best Buy stores on May 22 for $1,249.99.
Businesses

Dell Sells IT Services Unit For $3 Billion (informationweek.com) 28

An anonymous reader writes: On Monday, March 28, Dell has publicly announced it is selling its IT services unit to NTT Data of Japan for more than $3 billion. The sale of Dell's IT services marks the first and largest transaction the company has taken on since it disclosed in December that it was considering divestitures to help offset its buyout of storage giant EMC, said Dell spokesperson David Frink. However, Frink cautioned that it's not fair to speculate that there will be more divestitures to come or that this will be the last, as the company moves forward with its EMC buyout deal that is valued at roughly $60 billion. The deal between Dell and NTT Data will help ease some of the financial burden of the deal between Dell and EMC. According to Frink, that mega-deal with EMC is expected to close in the August to October timeframe.
GNU is Not Unix

Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management (phoronix.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.
Advertising

McAfee Uses Web Beacons That Can Be Used To Track Users, Serve Advertising 73

An anonymous reader writes: A test of seven OEM laptops running Windows has shown consistent privacy and security issues, including an interesting revelation that the McAfee Antivirus running on six of them is using web beacons to serve ads and possibly even track users online. The seven laptops – Lenovo Flex 3, Lenovo G50-80 (UK version), HP Envy, HP Stream x360 (Microsoft Signature Edition), HP Stream (UK version), Acer Aspire F15 (UK version), and Dell Inspiron 14 (Canada version) – have been tested by the security research team of Duo Security by simply sniffing the traffic sent from and to them once they have been taken out of the box, plugged in, and connected to a network.

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