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Submission + - Microsoft Patents AI To Monitor All Actions In Windows And Feed It To Bing (hothardware.com) 1

MojoKid writes: Microsoft has angered users over the past year for its willingness to push the boundaries of acceptable practice for promoting adoption of its operating system. Also, some feel it crossed that line with respect to user data collection and privacy concerns. However, Microsoft stands to garner a lot more criticism if its recent patent filing comes to life in a production software product. The title of the filing is "Query Formulation Via Task Continuum" and it aims to make it easier for apps to share data in real-time so that the user can perform better searches. Microsoft feels that the current software model in which applications are self-contained within their own silos potentially slows the user down. To combat this disconnect, Microsoft has devised a way to facilitate better communications between apps through the use of what it calls a "mediation component." This is Microsoft's all-seeing-eye that monitors all input within apps to decipher what the user is trying to accomplish. All of this information could be gathered from apps like Word, Skype, or even Notepad by the mediator and processed. So when the user goes to the Edge web browser to further research a topic, those contextual concepts are automatically fed into a search query. Microsoft says that this will provide faster, more relevant searchers to users. The company says the mediator can be introduced as an optional module that can be installed in an operating system or directly built in. If it's the latter, plenty of people will likely be looking for a kill switch.

Submission + - Appeals Court Decision Kills North Carolina Town's Gigabit Internet (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: In early August the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the FCC had no authority to prevent states from imposing restrictions on municipal internet. This was a result of the FCC stepping in last year in an effort to "remove barriers to broadband investment and competition." However, the courts sided with the states, which said that the FCC's order impeded on state rights. In the end, this ruling clearly favored firmly entrenched big brand operators like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T, which lobby hard to keep competition at bay. The federal ruling specifically barred municipal internet providers from offering service outside of their city limits, denying them from providing service to under-served communities. The fallout from the federal court's rejection of the FCC order to extend a lifeline to municipal internet providers has claimed another victim. The small community of Pinetops, North Carolina — population 1,300 — will soon have its gigabit internet connection shut off. Pinetops has been the recipient of Greenlight internet service, which is provided by the neighboring town of Wilson. The town of Wilson has been providing electric power to Pinetops for the past 40 years, and had already deployed fiber through the town in order to bolster its smart grid initiative. What's infuriating to the Wilson City Council and to the Pinetop residents that will lose their high-speed service, is that the connections are already in place. There's no logical reason why they should be cut off, but state laws and the lobbyists supporting those laws have deemed what Greenlight is doing illegal. Provide power to a neighboring town — sure that's OK. Provide better internet to a neighboring town — lawsuit

Submission + - Samsung Unveils 960 Pro and 960 EVO SSDs At Up To 3.5GB/sec And 2TB Capacity (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Samsung announced a new family of 960 EVO and 960 Pro NVMe PCI Express M.2 Solid State Drives today. Built on Samsung's 3D V-NAND technology and employing the new Samsung Polaris SSD controller, the 960 Pro is Samsung's highest performance, high endurance drive and the successor to last year's 950 Pro. The 960 EVO is the lower cost model and a follow-on to last year's Samsung 950 EVO drive. The 960 EVO is also powered by the same Samsung Polaris controller but employs more cost-efficient Samsung TLC NAND memory. Both drives arrive in standard M.2 gumstick form factors with PCI Express Gen 3 X4 interfaces and utilizing the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) protocol for lightning-fast speeds and low latency. Specifically, the 960 Pro offers up to 3.5GB/sec and 2.1GB/sec of sequential read and write throughput respectively, with endurance rated at up to 1200TB writes per day. The 950 EVO's specs drop in at a peak 3.2GB/sec and 1.9GB/sec for reads and writes respectively, with a top-end endurance rating of 400TB written per day. The 960 Pro will come in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities starting at $329, while the 950 EVO comes in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities starting at $129. Samsung will be shipping the drives in October this year.

Submission + - Samsung Unveils Gear S3 Classic And Frontier Smartwatches Powered By Tizen (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Samsung just wrapped up an event at the IFA expo in Berlin, where the company unveiled two new Gear S3 branded smartwatches. The new Samsung Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier leverage many of the design elements from last-year's Gear S2 — like their Tizen OS, rotating control dial, round display, and fast wireless charging. However, other aspects of the Gear S3 have received significant upgrades. Although they are internally similar, there are a few external differences between the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier. The Gear S3 Classic is the sleeker, more streamlined version of the two. The Classic has a polished finish, with round buttons at the 2 and 4 o'clock positions and no addition protrusions on its chassis. The Gear S3 Frontier is more rugged and has a darker, brushed finish, with flat, rectangular textured buttons and protrusions on either side of the body to shield the buttons from accidental presses. Both the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier are also outfitted with Gorilla Glass SR to protect their circular, Super AMOLED displays, and they're both compatible with industry standard 22mm watch bands too. They are also IP68 rated, so they're able to withstand dust and dirt and water resistant for up to 30 minutes under 1.5 meters of water. Depending on how heavily these devices are used, Samsung claims they can last roughly 3 – 4 days on a single charge. They also have support for NFC (compatible with Samsung Pay), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and have built-in heart rate monitors, altimeter/barometer, and GPS as well.

Submission + - New Fantom Ransomware Poses As Windows Update (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: A security researcher for AVG has discovered a new piece of ransomware called Fantom that masquerades as a critical Windows update. Victims who fall for the ruse will see a Windows screen acting like it's installing the update, but what's really happening is that the user's documents and files are being encrypted in the background. Fantom is based on the open-source EDA2 ransomware project, and unfortunately there's no way to decrypt the files without the culprit's help. The scam starts with a pop-up labeled as a critical update from Microsoft. Once a user decides to apply the fake update, it extracts files and executes an embedded program called WindowsUpdate.exe. As with other EDA2 ransomware, Fantom generates a random AES-128 key, encrypts it using RSA, and then uploads it to the culprit. From there, Fantom targets specific file extensions and encrypts those files using AES-128 encryption. Users affected by this are instructed to email the culprit for payment instructions. It's not clear how much it costs to decrypt the files or if the person responsible even follows through once payment is received.

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

Submission + - SPAM: Retro-Bit Crams 100 Capcom, Jaleco And Other Arcade Classics Into Mini Console

MojoKid writes: Park the DeLorean, you don't need a time machine to relive those epic gaming moments from yesteryear. There's been a sudden resurgence in classic gaming as of late, with Nintendo announcing a mini NES console pre-loaded with 30 games. If that weren't enough classic gaming goodness to make you feel young again, now Innex has announced the new Retro-Bit Generations plug-and-play console loaded with more than 100 retro titles. These aren't filler games either, with classic big name games from the likes of Capcom, Data East, Jaleco, and others. Among the full-fledged roster of titles you'll find gems like Ghosts'N Goblins, Gun Smoke, Kid Niki Radical Ninja, Kung-Fu, Captain Commando, Kickle Cubicle, Rival Turf, Super R-Type, the Super Bases Loaded series, Knights of the Round, Brawl Brothers, and Ring King, to name just a few of the many games packed into this thing. Unlike previous Retro-Bit consoles, you won't have to mess with cartridges with the Retro-Bit Generations. It's pre-loaded with content, has AV and HDMI ports, an SD card slot so that you can save or transfer archived game progress. The Retro-Bit Generations will be available sometime this fall for $60.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Leak Shows PlayStation 4 Neo Is Expected To Have Twice The Graphics Horsepower (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Following rumors of a more powerful console in Sony's not-too-distant future, one that will be capable of playing games at a 4K resolution, the Japanese electronics maker last month opted to confirm it is indeed in development. Called PlayStation 4 Neo, the upgraded system will bring better hardware to the console scene to meet the needs of gaming on a television with four times as many pixels as a Full HD 1080p display. What's it going to take to game at 4K in the living room? A leaked internal document outlines some very interesting specs of the new model PS4 console. Assuming the leaked document is up to date with Sony's current plans, the PS4 Neo will use the same Jaguar cores as the original PS4, but clocked 500MHz faster, with 8 cores at 2.1GHz (up from 1.6GHz). The more significant upgrade will be the GPU. According to the slide, the PS4 Neo will use an improved version of AMD's GCN compute units (CUs), with twice the number of CUs at 36 instead of 18. They'll also be clocked faster—911MHz versus 800MHz. The net result is a 2.3x improvement in floating point performance.

Submission + - Intel Ships 72-Core Knight's Landing Xeon Phi Processors (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: It has been nearly two years since we first heard about Intel's next generation Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors, which are designed for High Performance Computing (HPC) applications. The processors are a big part of Intel's Scalable System Framework (SSF) and are built on using general-purpose x86 architecture and open standards. Today, Intel announced that its Xeon Phi processors are finally available to customers, nearly a year after the company's originally-quoted launch date. Intel Xeon Phi processors feature double-precision performance in excess of 3 teraflops along with 8+ teraflops of single-precision performance. All Xeon Phi processors incorporate 16GB of on-package MCDRAM memory, which Intel says is five times more power efficient as GDDR5 and offers 500GB/s of sustained memory bandwidth. MCDRAM can effectively be used as a high-speed cache or as a complimentary addition to the system DDR4 memory. Intel is targeting its Xeon Phi as a more competitive solution versus NVIDIA's dedicated Tesla GPU accelerators, citing up to a 5.2x performance advantage in visualization, up to a 2.7x in mathematical modeling, and up to a 5x increase in life sciences apps. The Xeon Phi is available in four basic configurations with 64 to 72 cores, and with processor frequencies ranging from 1.3GHz to 1.5GHz. All four support up to 384GB of DDR4 memory, but the base Xeon Phi 7210 is limited to the 2133MHz variety. Intel notes these are the company's first bootable host processors specifically designed for highly parallel workloads.

Submission + - More Details Surface On AMD 32-Core Server Chip Code Named Naples (hothardware.com)

An anonymous reader writes: AMD is hoping their next generation Zen processor architecture will be able to go toe-to-toe with the best that Intel has to offer and AMD is reportedly working on a high-end server variant of Zen as well, codenamed Naples. Naples would have a total of 32 cores, with a cluster of Zen cores sharing an 8MB pool of L3 cache. Total L3 shared cache is pegged at a stout 64MB and Naples will be capable of executing 64 threads while operating within a 180W power envelope. Naples reportedly will support eight independent memory channels and up to 128 PCIe Gen 3 lanes. In addition, a 16x10 GbE Ethernet controller is integrated into the chipset and Naples will use an SP3 LGA socket. The first server-based Zen processor could possibly squeak by for a late 2016 introduction, but odds are that we won't see widespread availability until 2017. At that time, you should expect Zen server processors in dual-, quad-, 16- and 32-core variants, with TDPs ranging from 35 watts to 180 watts. This is the second sighting of a 32-core AMD Zen variant. Earlier this year a CERN Engineer had details corroborating its existence in a presentation he was giving.

Submission + - Alienware Ships First Laptop With 13.3-Inch 2560X1440 OLED Display (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Dell's Alienware 13 gaming notebook has been popular among gamers 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. The company is officially making the OLED display equipped Alienware 13 available today, that they debuted back in January at CES. Initial testing and review impressions show that, as expected, that OLED display sure is nice. Although, the new Alienware 13 OLED is also representative of a full revamp, 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 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-bezelless Infinity Edge panel.

Submission + - Intel Launches 10-Core Broadwell-E Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition Processor (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Intel has taken the wraps off their latest high-end desktop processor series today, known by the code name Broadwell-E. The flagship chip is the Core i7-6950X and it's a 10-Core / 20-thread CPU with 25MB of shared cache, a base frequency of 3GHz with boost to 3.5GHz and support for Intel's latest Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 helps boosts performance for both single and multi-threaded workloads by identifying the fastest core on the processor die at a particular moment and directing critical workloads to that core first. So, not only does the processor's frequency ramp up when needed, but workloads are also directed to the fastest possible core available. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, along with the architectural advantages in Broadwell-E and the platform's support for faster memory, results in significant performance gains over Intel's previous gen Haswell-E chips, across the board. The Core i7-6950X's additional cores give it an obvious edge in multi-threaded workloads, but the processor also significantly outpaces the 8-core Core i7-5960X in single or lightly-threaded workloads as well. There are four new Broadwell-E processors due to arrive soon, including 6, 8, and 10 core chips ranging from $434 to a very pricey $1723 for the 10-core Core i7-6950X.

Submission + - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Launched: Titan X-Class Performance For Under $400 (hothardware.com) 1

MojoKid writes: The powerful GeForce GTX 1080 got the lion's share of media attention at NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's official unveiling in Austin, Texas a couple of weeks back. But its little brother, the GeForce GTX 1070, was also mentioned along with its expected price point, which is far more attainable for most PC enthusiasts. The GeForce GTX 1070 would reportedly offer "Titan X class performance", which is particularly impressive, given the 1070's sub-$400 asking price. The GeForce GTX 1070 is based on the same GP104 GPU used on the GeForce GTX 1080, and as such, the GeForce GTX 1070 supports all of the new features that NVIDIA's Pascal architecture enables, including Simultaneous Multi-Projection, more advanced memory compression, and GPU Boost 3.0. However, the GPU employed in the GTX 1070 is scaled down somewhat with one of its Graphics Processing Clusters disabled, which results in a total of 1920 active CUDA cores, versus the 1080's 2560, and 120 texture units while the GTX 1080 has 160. The card was officially launched today and in the benchmarks, save for a couple of tests, the GeForce GTX 1070 outruns the GeForce GTX Titan X, and where it doesn't, the deltas separating the cards are miniscule. The GeForce GTX 1070 offers about 80 – 85% percent of the performance of the GTX 1080 and is generally faster than AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X and R9 Nano as well.

Submission + - GeForce GTX 1080 OEM Cards Now Shipping, GTX 1080 SLI Benchmarks Impressive (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA launched their new flagship GeForce GTX 1080 a couple of weeks back and based on new 16nm FinFET manufacturing process technology, the beefy GPU with 8GB of GDDR5X memory on board, was claimed by NVIDA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to offer dramatic increase in performance and efficiency. Unfortunately at the time only reference cards were available to the press but just this past Friday, NVIDIA add-in board partners like EVGA, ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte started unveiling their offerings with custom cooling and goosed-up clocks. EVGA's GeForce GTX 1080 Superclocked ACX 3.0 Edition was one of the first out of the gate and its GPU boosts to 1860MHz, with the memory humming along at 5005MHz. There were some tangible performance gains with this card versus NVIDIA's reference design but the SLI numbers with a pair of GeForce GTX 1080s are more impressive. 4K gaming at Ultra image quality settings is easily achievable. Cards from ASUS, Zotac, MSI and others have started to roll out as well.

Submission + - FBI Raids Dental Software Researcher Who Found Patient Records On Public Server

blottsie writes: Yet another security researcher is facing possible prosecution under the CFAA for accessing data on a publicly accessible server. The FBI on Tuesday raided Texas-based dental software security researcher Justin Shafer, who found the protected health records of 22,000 patients stored on an anonymous FTP.

“This is a troubling development. I hope the government doesn't think that accessing unsecured files on a public FTP server counts as an unauthorized access under the CFAA,” Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and CFAA scholar told the Daily Dot. “If that turns out to be the government's theory—which we don't know yet, as we only have the warrant so far—it will be a significant overreach that raises the same issues as were briefed but not resolved in [Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer's] case. I'll be watching this closely.”

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