nk497 writes: Intel has shown off a working version of its Skylake chip — the successor to the recently arrived Broadwell, which was a dieshrink to the 14nm process. Skylake will be a new architecture and also be produced via the 14nm process. Intel said at IDF that chips will arrive in the second half of 2015, and hit volume production by the end of that year.
nk497 writes: Broadband customers are overwhelmingly choosing not to use parental-control systems foisted on ISPs by the government — with takeup in the single-digits for three of the four major broadband providers. Last year, the government pushed ISPs to roll out network-level filters, forcing new customers to make an "active" decision about whether they want to use them or not. Only 5% of new BT customers signed up, 8% opted in for Sky and 4% for Virgin Media. TalkTalk rolled out a parental-control system two years before the government required it and has a much better takeup, with 36% of customers signing up for it. The report, from regulator Ofcom, didn't bother to judge if the filters actually work, however.
nk497 writes: The UK will build a spaceport by 2018, with eight locations under consideration — the majority of which are in Scotland. The Department of Transport is evaluating existing airfields for suitability to become a spaceport, examining factors such as the weather — strong winds are a problem — and how it will affect the local environment and economy.In its report, the government noted that commercial sub-orbital spaceflights for paying passengers will kick off by the end of this year in the US via Virgin Galactic. It wants the UK to get in on the space tourist action, becoming the centre for such activity in Europe.
"In the longer term, it is possible that spaceplanes will enable intercontinental travel at very high speeds," the report added. "There have been suggestions that by travelling on a sub-orbital trajectory, journey times from the UK to Australia could be cut from the current duration of around 20 hours to as little as two hours." Aside from space tourism and weekend getaways to Brisbane, the spaceport will also allow satellite launches plus delivery of cargo and scientific payloads into orbit. If all goes well, the government predicted the first sub-orbital flights by 2018, followed by satellite launches in 2020, and orbital flights by 2030.
nk497 writes: Windows users have been given a two-week "window of opportunity" to get protected from a nasty malware duo, after UK authorities teamed up with international police to take control of hackers' command and control servers. Operation Tovar, as it's been dubbed, shut down the servers behind CryptoLocker and GameoverZeus, which are normally spread via dodgy email attachments or phishing emails. The two work together, with CryptoLocker taking over if the latter can't find enough data to harvest and sell.
The operation kicked off last week with the UK's National Crime Agency, the FBI, Europol and a host of tech firms including McAfee and Dell all working together. In all, organisations across 11 countries took part, letting authorities take control of the hackers' servers to pause the attacks. Such cooperation is "almost unprecedented", said Rik Ferguson, Trend Micro's vice president for security research.
nk497 writes: Microsoft has issued a patch for XP only three weeks after saying it would no longer support the aging OS. Last month's Patch Tuesday updates were supposed to be the last Windows XP ever got, but a serious flaw hitting all versions of Internet Explorer forced Microsoft to issue another fix.
Adrienne Hall of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing said that the seriousness of the flaw had been "overblown" because it happened so close to the end of support for XP. However, to keep users safe, Microsoft has made an "exception", suggesting XP users shouldn't hope it happens again.
nk497 writes: The Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL wasn't placed there deliberately, according to the coder responsible for the mistake — despite suspicions from many that security services may have been behind it. OpenSSL logs show that German developer Robin Seggelmann introduced the bug into OpenSSL when working on the open-source project two and a half years ago, according to an Australian newspaper. The change was logged on New Year's Eve 2011.
"I was working on improving OpenSSL and submitted numerous bug fixes and added new features," Seggelmann told the Sydney Morning Herald. "In one of the new features, unfortunately, I missed validating a variable containing a length." His work was reviewed, but the reviewer also missed the error, and it was included in the released version of OpenSSL.
The attack highlights the flaws in router firmware, the researchers said. "It's not new as an issue to the InfoSec community but this is one of the biggest we've seen recently as it's quite insidious," Cymru's Steve Santorelli said, adding the hack could let the attacks conduct man in the middle attacks, impersonating your bank, for example.
nk497 writes: A UX designer working at Microsoft has taken to Reddit to explain why Windows 8's Metro screen isn't designed for power users — but is still good news for them. Jacob Miller, posting as "pwnies", said Metro is the "antithesis of a power user", and designed for "your computer illiterate little sister", not for content creators or power users. By splitting Windows into Metro and the desktop, Microsoft has created space for casual users as well as power users.
"Before Windows 8 and Metro came along, power users and casual users — the content creators and the content consumers — had to share the same space," he added. "It was like a rented tuxedo coat — something that somewhat fit a wide variety of people." As an example, he cited multiple desktops, a feature frequently requested by power users that confuses average consumers, so hasn't been implemented. "It's not that the desktop was too difficult for casual users, it's that by tailoring the desktop for casual users and power users, we had our hands tied by what we could provide for the power users," he continued. "By separating the two workflows, we can make the desktop more advanced than what the casual users are comfortable with, to the benefit of the power users."
nk497 writes: British students are set to learn how to code from next school year in September, and now a new organisation is pushing for this to be our Year of Code. That group is run by Lottie Dexter, who doesn't actually know how to code herself — though she's working on it, via Year of Code's own program. "I don’t know code," she said. "But in terms of this campaign, I think that’s an asset because I’m learning as I go. Hopefully, I'll prove to everyone it is easy, it is step-by-step, and that you can pick it up." Does it matter that she can't code?
nk497 writes: Reports that new parental controls from ISPs are blocking legitimate sites are "fanciful", according to the government's child safety advisor, Claire Perry — the MP who pushed for the filters to be put into place. She dismissed recent reports that the newly implemented filters were blocking harmless sites — including her own — as "anecdotal evidence". "When these filters came out there was anecdotal evidence — some of it completely, completely fanciful — that sites were being overblocked. Including mine, which is ridiculous, because it wasn't," she said,
Contrary to her comments, UK ISPs have faced continued criticism for blocking harmless sites — including child safety websites, suicide prevention charity the Samaritans, news site TorrentFreak, and even the jQuery website.
nk497 writes: Good news for everyone who carries their smartphone into the washroom with them: Corning has unveiled germ-resistant Gorilla Glass for smartphones and tablets. At CES 2014, the company revealed its latest version of the strengthened glass will feature antimicrobial properties, thanks to the inclusion of ionic silver. The ionic silver is embedded in the glass, but doesn't affect the clarity of the glass or with touchscreen operations, Corning said.
"Corning’s antimicrobial Gorilla Glass inhibits the growth of algae, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria because of its built-in antimicrobial property, which is intrinsic to the glass and effective for the lifetime of a device," said James R Steiner, senior vice president and general manager for Corning Specialty Materials.
nk497 writes: Consumer hard drives don't fail any more often than enterprise-grade hardware — despite the price difference. That's according to online storage firm Backblaze, which uses a mix of both types of drive. It studied its own hardware, finding consumer hard-drives had a failure rate of 4.2%, while enterprise-grade drives failed at a rate of 4.6%.
CEO Gleb Budman noted: "It turns out that the consumer drive failure rate does go up after three years, but all three of the first three years are pretty good," he notes. "We have no data on enterprise drives older than two years, so we don’t know if they will also have an increase in failure rate. It could be that the vaunted reliability of enterprise drives kicks in after two years, but because we haven’t seen any of that reliability in the first two years, I’m sceptical."
nk497 writes: Smartphone displays aren't only getting larger, they're multiplying, with the arrival of the YotaPhone — which features a secondary e-paper display on its rear. The YotaPhone features an always-on, 4.3in, e-paper second screen on the rear, to display notifications such as emails, texts and other notifications without requiring the user to wake up the main LCD screen, thereby extending battery life. It can also be used as an ebook reader.
"One thing is fundamentally wrong [with smartphones] – for most of the time it’s sleeping," said Yota CEO Vlad Martynov. "It’s just a black box, the display is dark. It's useless and there's no value to me." The YotaPhone will go on sale this year in Russia, Austria, France, Germany and Spain for €499 (£413), with the UK to follow within the first three months of next year. It isn't planned to launch in the US.
nk497 writes: Only 25% of Yahoo staff have obeyed the company's request to "eat their own dog food" and switch to Yahoo Mail, a colourful internal memo has revealed. The leaked email, acquired by All Things Digital, implores staff to move over to the corporate version of Yahoo's webmail system, gently lambasting staff who refuse to part with Microsoft Outlook.
The message goes on to take a swipe at what appears to be Yahoo employees' preferred mail client, Microsoft Outlook, describing it as "anachronism of the now defunct 90s PC era, a pre-web program written at a time when NT Server terrorised the data centre landscape with the confidence of a T-Rex born to yuppie dinosaur parents who fully bought into the illusion of their son’s utter uniqueness because the big-mouthed, tiny-armed monster infant could mimic the gestures of The Itsy-Bitsy Pterodactyl".
nk497 writes: If your data's important to you, store it on a mechanical hard disk rather than an SSD. That’s the advice of Phil Bridge, managing director of data recovery specialist Kroll Ontrack, who said that while recovering lost data from solid-state media is possible, the process can be time-consuming — and therefore expensive. "With spinning media you’ve got pretty well established sets of standards," Bridge explained. "With solid-state, it’s almost as if every drive that comes in has a different structure and different technology."