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Memes: the explanation of nearly everything – including computer viruses

I was a young mathematics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when I read Richard Dawkins’ description of memes. I recall thinking: “Oh, that’s how it all works”.

Memes are a generalization of genes, and, among other things, they include your beliefs.  After studying memes for many decades, I have come to think that they are as indispensable to our understanding of human phenomena as genes are to our understanding of biological ones.

We still don’t have a solid scientific theory of memes; nonetheless, they already allow us to understand why certain things happen the way they do.  Memes are “alive”; they reproduce, mutate, and evolve according to Darwinian laws. They struggle to survive.  It is their struggle that creates and destroys religions, governments, and other institutions.  It is their struggle that determines your behavior, your feelings, and how long you will live.

In my book “Memes” (an extend excerpt is available at leonardadleman.com), I single out three types of memes for special consideration: the ones stored as a sequence in a nucleic acid molecule (e.g. DNA or RNA) called genes; those stored in brains called brenes (portmanteau from brain and gene), and those stored in computers called Turenes (in honor of Alan Turing, the father of computer science).

Roughly speaking, the thing that makes genes, brenes, and Turenes special is that they alone have mastered the art of reproducing themselves.  As a result, their struggles to avoid extinction can be particularly subtle and interesting.

In this article, I will focus on Turenes and the implications of meme-theory to topics of special interest to this blog: computer viruses, malware, and the future of computation.  The reader may find it helpful to think of them as computer data – thought they are far more than that.

The rise of the Turenes

dae1c_Prof_FirstComputer-300x224 Memes: the explanation of nearly everything – including computer viruses

Image: The first computer, ENIAC

On February 15, 1946, the first computer, ENIAC, was unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC used vacuum to store numbers – one of these numbers was the first Turene.

Humans added and multiplied Turenes, and occasionally copied them from one location to another, but Turenes had little control of their destinies; their fate was in the hands of humans (that is, in the hands of genes and brenes).

Just as self-replicating molecules emerged from the primordial soup several billion years ago, about a third of a century ago, Turenes began to self-replicate and exert significant control over their destinies.  How? Well, this is a story WeLiveSecurity already shed some light on,  but I’ll briefly address it again.

It was 1983. I was teaching a class on computer security at USC when a student, Fred Cohen, approached me with words to the effect: “I have an idea for a new kind of security threat”.

Fred proceeded to describe a program that would be made available to users of a computer system. Like an app today, the program would be advertised to do some useful task. But once uploaded (and hence copied) by an unsuspecting user (and at that time, no one suspected anything), the program would do something that had not been advertised; it would grant Fred access to all the user’s files and privileges.

Fred was, and is, a forceful, energetic person, and he finally wore me down. On his behalf, I asked the department chairman if Fred could give it a try on the department computer. The chairman said “sure, why not?”.

In those days, faculty, students, and staff did not have personal computers and so we all shared the department computer. Fred proceeded to write his program and make it available.

The next week, I invited Fred to present his results to the class. As predicted (why don’t people ever listen to me?), it worked. Copies of Fred’s program quickly spread throughout the computer and granted Fred complete access to every user’s data and privileges.  Perhaps the origin of malware can be traced to Fred’s experiments.

By now Fred was thinking hard about what he could do with these new kinds of programs and wanted to try more experiments.

When word got out about Fred’s success, other people also started thinking hard about what these programs could do. The chairman informed me that perhaps he had been a bit hasty in allowing these things in the first place. There would be no more experiments.

“There is great promise in the rise of the Turenes, but there is also great danger.”

I became one of Fred’s Ph.D. advisors; his main advisor was Irving Reed of Reed-Solomon fame. Later that year, I was at a conference and ran into a Los Angeles Times science reporter I knew named Lee Dembart. Lee asked what I was working on. I said that not much; one of my students was studying something we were calling a “computer virus”, but the research was just in the beginning stages.

Saying “computer virus” to a reporter is like saying “walk” to a dog. The result: Lee wrote the story, which as I recall, even included the now common image of a computer with a thermometer in its mouth. Computer viruses had gone viral.

Self-replication and the struggle to survive

Today computer viruses are much more sophisticated than Fred’s, and they replicate despite our attempts to stop them. We are relegated to stopping the simple ones with our anti-virus programs, but we can prove that we can never stop them all.

To keep our societies prosperous and secure (from one another), we will build more and more powerful computers and more and more sophisticated software. We will even rely on our computers to help us build better computers.

There is great promise in the rise of the Turenes, but there is also great danger.  Powerful nations work on black-hat programs that, in the event of war, will knock out the computational infrastructure of their enemies.  Such programs are weapons of mass destruction, and, if used, the death toll could be colossal.  A first world country with no computational infrastructure is a country with no economy, no food, no power and ultimately not a country at all.

But we have already programmed computers to do harm. For example, the Stuxnet virus was apparently used to destroy centrifuges at Iranian uranium enrichment centers (whether this is “harm” depends on the harm-memes of your belief-set).

Though we did not realize it, something of monumental importance occurred on February 15, 1946. A new branch emerged on the tree of life.  Computea (those beings based on Turenes rather than genes) have joined the Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya.

dae1c_Prof_FirstComputer-300x224 Memes: the explanation of nearly everything – including computer viruses

Image: Tree of Life, The open University Image: ENIAC computer, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Image courtesy of Prof. Adleman

We currently live in a symbiotic relationship with computers. In the language of biology, our relationship is “mutualistic”; both parties benefit. For us the relationship is “facultative”; we could (I think) survive as a species even if computers disappeared. For computers, the relationship is “obligatory”; they cannot survive without us; if we go extinct, so do they. But the relationship between humans and computers is changing far more rapidly than symbiotic relationships typically found in the biological world.

“Today’s computers are much more powerful than their ancestors. In the future the forms Computea take and the power they will wield will astound us.”

Today’s computers are much more powerful than their ancestors. In the future the forms Computea take and the power they will wield will astound us. Already, they store our money, run the systems that provide our food and energy, and do a million other things that we cannot live without – and that is the point. We may be very near the time when our side of the relationship stops being facultative and becomes obligatory – if the computers stopped, humans would go extinct?

Today Turenes are like the genes of biological viruses. Neither can replicate in the wider world, each must rely on a special environment created by other living things. For virus genes, replication occurs in cells created by a host; for Turenes replication occurs in computers built by humans.

Could Turenes, with human help, learn to build, repair, and sustain computers by themselves? Will they no longer need us to survive? Will they be free to follow their own destinies and evolve according to their own needs?

We must not forget that they are memes, and like all memes, they will struggle to survive.

About Author: Leonard M. Adleman is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California and is an expert in DNA computing and the protection of electronic data. He is one of the original discoverers of the APR primality test. In 2002 he received the ACM Turing Award for his contribution to the invention of the RSA cryptosystem and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.

Author , ESET

Apple’s Jony Ive is back in charge of product design – including next iPhone

Apple has reinstated Jony Ive as the lead executive on all things design, giving the artsy Brit control over how products look going forward.

For years, Jony Ive has been at the helm of product design at Apple. The 50-year-old joined the firm way back in 1992, and nabbed a job as Senior Vice President of Industrial Design in 1997. Since then, he’s had a massive role in every major Apple launch.

But back in 2015, Ive was named as Apple’s chief design officer and pulled off the general product design machine. This was purportedly done so he could head up the day-to-day management of the ongoing Apple Park development – that’s Apple’s new and only recently launched Californian headquarters.

Now that the Apple Park is operational (it even hosted the recent iPhone X launch), it means that Ive’s time has been freed up once again.

A statement on the matter from Apple spokesperson Amy Bessette sent to Bloomberg reads: “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design.”

Jony Ive is one of the most well-known senior Apple staffers, and is often wheeled out during major product launches to wax poetic on the new device’s finer aesthetic details. So integral is his role to Apple’s success that, in 2016, it was estimated that Apple paid him a $30 million bonus plus an additional $25 million in shares. His personal fortune was recently estimated at around $130 million, and in 2012, he even received a knighthood from the Queen.

Related: iPhone 9

Which Apple product do you think has the best design? Let us know via Facebook or tweet us @TrustedReviews.

Several Vulnerabilities Found in Common Android IDEs Including Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse

When we think of Android vulnerabilities we typically picture a zero-day vulnerability that exploits some process to escalate privileges. This can be anything from tricking your smartphone or tablet into connecting to a malicious WiFi network, or allowing code to be executed on a device from a remote location. However, there’s a new type of Android vulnerability that has recently been discovered. It’s being called ParseDroid and it exploits developer tools including Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, APKTool, the Cuckoo-Droid service and more.

ParseDroid isn’t isolated to just Android’s developer tools, though, and these vulnerabilities have been found in multiple Java/Android tools that programmers are using these days. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a downloadable developer tool or one that works in the cloud, Check Point Research has found these vulnerabilities in the most common Android and Java development tools. Once exploited, an attacker is then able to access internal files of the developer’s work machine.

Check Point Research first did some digging into the most popular tool for reverse engineering third party Android apps (APKTool) and found that both its decompiling and building APK features are vulnerable to the attack. After looking at the source code, researchers managed to identify an XML External Entity (XXE) vulnerability that is possible because its configured XML parser of APKTool does not disable external entity references when parsing an XML file.

Once exploited, the vulnerability exposes the whole OS file system of APKTool users. In turn, this potentially allows the attacker to retrieve any file on the victim’s PC by using a malicious “AndroidManifest.xml” file that exploits an XXE vulnerability. Once that vulnerability was discovered, the researchers then looked at popular Android IDEs and found out that by simply loading the malicious “AndroidManifest.xml” file as part of any Android project, the IDEs starts spitting out any file configured by the attacker.

32978_ParseDroid-1024x506 Several Vulnerabilities Found in Common Android IDEs Including Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse

Credits: Check Point Research

Check Point Research also demonstrated an attack scenario potentially affecting a large number of Android developers. It works by injecting a malicious AAR (Android Archive Library) containing an XXE payload into online repositories. If a victim clones the repository, then the attacker would then have access to potentially sensitive company property from the victim’s OS file system.

32978_ParseDroid-1024x506 Several Vulnerabilities Found in Common Android IDEs Including Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse

Credits: Check Point Research

Finally, the authors described a method through which they can execute remote code on a victim’s machine. This is done by exploiting a configuration file in APKTool called “APKTOOL.YAML.” This file has a section called “unknownFiles” where users can specify file locations that will be placed during the rebuilding of an APK. These files are stored on the victim’s machine in an “Unknown” folder. By editing the path where these files are saved, an attacker can inject any file they want on the victim’s file system since APKTool did not validate the path where unknown files are extracted from an APK.

The files that the attacker injects lead to full Remote Code Execution on the victim’s machine, meaning that an attacker can exploit any victim with APKTool installed by crafting a maliciously made APK and having the victim attempt to decode and then rebuild it.

32978_ParseDroid-1024x506 Several Vulnerabilities Found in Common Android IDEs Including Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse

Credits: Check Point Research

Since all of the IDEs and tools mentioned above are cross-platform and generic, the potential for exploiting these vulnerabilities is high. Thankfully, after reaching out to the developers of each of these IDEs and tools, Check Point Research has confirmed that these tools are no longer vulnerable to this kind of attack. If you are running an older version of one of these tools, we recommend you update immediately to secure yourself against a ParseDroid-style attack.


Source: Check Point Research

Vivaldi now supports Linux on ARM chips, including Raspberry Pi 3

Vivaldi said on Tuesday, December 5,  that it released an optimized version of its web browser for Linux distributions running on devices with ARM-based processors, such as the Raspberry Pi 3, the Raspberry Pi Zero, and the Asus Tinker board. The browser joins Vivaldi’s other builds for Windows, MacOS, and Linux installed on machines with x86-based chips manufactured by Intel and AMD.

“Vivaldi is a web surfer’s complete toolbox that you can personalize and make your own. We strive to add more flexibility for the thriving culture of computer hobbyists and hope that every owner of Raspberry Pi will have fun using Vivaldi,” says Jon von Tetzchner.

The browser is served up as a DEB file, and requires a superuser account to unpack and install. It’s optimized for small devices relying on single-core ARM-based processors, but users can tweak the browser’s settings to get even better performance. These include the ability to disable animated images, and setting the default viewing mode to filter out everything but text (aka Reader Mode).

Vivaldi users shouldn’t experience a “watered-down” version of the browser on ARM-based devices, though. According to Vivaldi, everything offered in the other versions are completely intact, such as cramming multiple pages under a single tab, capturing screenshots, and using the in-browser note-taking component. We took the Windows 10-based version for a spin earlier this year right here.

Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. He parted ways with the company and browser he helped create in 2013 to continue his vision of a solution built for power users. By then, the Opera browser was on a different path than what he originally envisioned, so he set out to pick up where Opera 14 left off with a completely new solution called Vivaldi.

The name stems from Italian Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Tetzchner wanted web surfers to be “composers,” enabling them to customize the web browsing experience in every way possible. The browser’s palate of editing tools span from customizing the interface colors to rearranging its components to viewing detailed statistics of where the user goes online.

Vivaldi officially hit the scene for Windows, MacOS, and Linux in 2016, and is now finally available for Linux machines running on ARM-based chips. For users running Raspbian, Vivaldi says all that’s needed to install the browser is to double-click on the downloaded installer. Instructions for all other Linux-based distributions will depend on the platform and user permissions.

“Enthusiastic Raspberry Pi users who are looking for a more feature-rich and flexible browser, will find Vivaldi a thrilling experience,” Tetzchner said.

To download Vivaldi for Linux running on ARM-based devices, head to Vivaldi.com.




Vivaldi now supports Linux running on ARM-based chips, including Raspberry Pi 3

Vivaldi said on Tuesday, December 5,  that it released an optimized version of its web browser for Linux distributions running on devices with ARM-based processors, such as the Raspberry Pi 3, the Raspberry Pi Zero, and the Asus Tinker board. The browser joins Vivaldi’s other builds for Windows, MacOS, and Linux installed on machines with x86-based chips manufactured by Intel and AMD.

“Vivaldi is a web surfer’s complete toolbox that you can personalize and make your own. We strive to add more flexibility for the thriving culture of computer hobbyists and hope that every owner of Raspberry Pi will have fun using Vivaldi,” says Jon von Tetzchner.

The browser is served up as a DEB file, and requires a superuser account to unpack and install. It’s optimized for small devices relying on single-core ARM-based processors, but users can tweak the browser’s settings to get even better performance. These include the ability to disable animated images, and setting the default viewing mode to filter out everything but text (aka Reader Mode).

Vivaldi users shouldn’t experience a “watered-down” version of the browser on ARM-based devices, though. According to Vivaldi, everything offered in the other versions are completely intact, such as cramming multiple pages under a single tab, capturing screenshots, and using the in-browser note-taking component. We took the Windows 10-based version for a spin earlier this year right here.

Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. He parted ways with the company and browser he helped create in 2013 to continue his vision of a solution built for power users. By then, the Opera browser was on a different path than what he originally envisioned, so he set out to pick up where Opera 14 left off with a completely new solution called Vivaldi.

The name stems from Italian Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Tetzchner wanted web surfers to be “composers,” enabling them to customize the web browsing experience in every way possible. The browser’s palate of editing tools span from customizing the interface colors to rearranging its components to viewing detailed statistics of where the user goes online.

Vivaldi officially hit the scene for Windows, MacOS, and Linux in 2016, and is now finally available for Linux machines running on ARM-based chips. For users running Raspbian, Vivaldi says all that’s needed to install the browser is to double-click on the downloaded installer. Instructions for all other Linux-based distributions will depend on the platform and user permissions.

“Enthusiastic Raspberry Pi users who are looking for a more feature-rich and flexible browser, will find Vivaldi a thrilling experience,” Tetzchner said.

To download Vivaldi for Linux running on ARM-based devices, head to Vivaldi.com.




Cyber Monday 2017: Great deals on iPhones including iPhone X and iPhone 8

CYBER MONDAY and Black Friday have been a great opportunity to pick up a bargain on the latest tech products.

Phone retailers and networks cut their prices on a whole host of handsets, including iPhones.

Black Friday’s a great opportunity to pick up a deal on an iPhone X

We’ve scoured the web to look at some of the best deals on iPhones you can get on Cyber Monday.

If you want to get even more out of your Cyber Monday Bargains, you can sign up to Quidco for exclusive cashback offers from Carphone Warehouse.

Mobiles.co.uk

The iPhone 8 is available at a cut rate with O2

Mobiles.co.uk is offering the iPhone 8 64gb on O2 at £29.00 per month. That gets you 12gb of data, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes with a £185.00 upfront fee. You can save an additional £10 off the upfront fee with the code DEALENVY10.

mobilephonesdirect.co.uk

The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone model

Mobilephonesdirect has two Cyber Monday offers on the iPhone X. You can get the 64gb handset with 26gb of data and unlimited minutes and texts for £64 per month on Vodaphone.

You can also get the 64gb iPhone X on EE with 25gb data along unlimited minutes and texts for £72.99 with a £49.99 upfront fee.

If you’re looking for a deal on an iPhone 7 32gb this Cyber Monday, you can get the handset on EE with 5gb of data along with unlimited texts and calls for £29.99 per month with no upfront fee.

mobilephonesdirect has a number of Cyber Monday offers on the go over the weekend so it’s worth checking out their Cyber Monday page to find more great deals.

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse is offering a number of deals on the iPhone 7 32gb  on Cyber Monday. For £35.00 per month, along with a £19.99 upfront fee, you can get an iPhone 7 with 12gb of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts on a 24 month contract.

If you find yourself burning through a lot of data, you can get 20gb of data, unlimited texts and calls on a 24 month contract for £39.00 per month and a £19.99 upfront fee. That’s four times the data you can normally get at that price.

IT might be tempting to dive in and snap up LOADS of items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s how you can guarantee you’re getting a good deal

PREPARE Make sure that you do your research BEFORE Black Friday hits. Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.

SAVE Add items to your online shopping basket or save the links to your bookmarks to revisit on the day.

GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.


EARN CASHBACK Check websites like Quidco and TopCashback BEFORE you place your order. Cashback websites PAY you to shop. All you have to do is click through their links and the money is added to your online account, usually within 14 days.

PRICES SHIFT Prices and deals can change over the Black Friday period – the offers we select are correct at the time of publishing.

Best Apple Cyber Monday 2017 deals including iPhone 8 and …

While Black Friday itself has passed, deals continue today and through to Cyber Monday, with Apple products being one of the most popular devices for people to buy.

It’s been a big year for Apple, with the launch of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, designed to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the smartphone. 

If you are looking for one of Apple’s latest phones, an iPad, MacBook, or any of Apple’s popular products, this is the place to keep abreast of the latest deals. The best offers we have found so far are on Mobiles.co.uk, Virgin, Tesco, and Argos  – and we will update this page throughout the day as we find more.

Here is The Telegraph’s selection of the best Apple Black Friday deals on Saturday.

Black Friday 2017: Great deals on iPhones including iPhone X and iPhone 8

BLACK Friday and Cyber Monday mean discounts on the latest tech products.

And phone retailers and networks are already cutting their prices on a whole host of handsets, including iPhones.

Black Friday’s a great opportunity to pick up a deal on an iPhone X

We’ve scoured the web to look at some of the best deals on iPhones you can get ahead of Black Friday.

Some networks including O2, Three and Vodafone are waiting until Friday to release their best offers.

But plenty of stores have dropped their prices early and are offering big savings.

We’ll be updating this article throughout the week with the latest great offers, so it’s worth checking back in to see if you can bag yourself a bargain.

Mobiles.co.uk

The iPhone 8 is available at a cut rate with O2

Mobiles.co.uk is offering the iPhone 8 64gb on O2 at £29.00 per month. That gets you 12gb of data, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes with a £225.00 upfront fee. You can save an additional £10 off the upfront fee with the code DEALENVY10.

The website is also offering a great deal on the iPhone 7 32gb. You can bag the handset with 12gb of data, unlimited texts and minutes for £29.99 a month on O2 with a £75.00 upfront fee. You can save £25.00 off the upfront fee with the code BLACKFRI25.

mobilephonesdirect.co.uk

The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone model

Mobilephonesdirect has two Black Friday offers on the iPhone X. You can get the 64gb handset with 26gb of data and unlimited minutes and texts for £64 per month on Vodaphone.

You can also get the 64gb iPhone X on EE with 25gb data along unlimited minutes and texts for £72.99 with a £49.99 upfront fee.

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse is offering a number of deals on the iPhone 7 32gb ahead of Black Friday. For £35.00 per month, along with a £19.99 upfront fee, you can get an iPhone 7 with 12gb of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts on a 24 month contract.

If you find yourself burning through a lot of data, you can get 20gb of data, unlimited texts and calls on a 24 month contract for £39.00 per month and a £19.99 upfront fee. That’s four times the data you can normally get at that price.

IT might be tempting to dive in and snap up LOADS of items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s how you can guarantee you’re getting a good deal

PREPARE Make sure that you do your research BEFORE Black Friday hits. Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.

SAVE Add items to your online shopping basket or save the links to your bookmarks to revisit on the day.

GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.


EARN CASHBACK Check websites like Quidco and TopCashback BEFORE you place your order. Cashback websites PAY you to shop. All you have to do is click through their links and the money is added to your online account, usually within 14 days.

PRICES SHIFT Prices and deals can change over the Black Friday period – the offers we select are correct at the time of publishing.

Razer Phone leaks with monstrous specs including 120Hz display, 4000mAh battery, dual cameras, and more

Razer obviously isn’t known for its smartphones. But with the company’s recent acquisition of Nextbit, many of us have been eagerly awaiting a potential Razer smartphone of sorts. Just two weeks ago, a picture of the alleged Razer device leaked showing off its dual cameras. Now, a mobile carrier in the UK has leaked a product page for the Razer Phone, and potato photo aside, it’s mighty interesting.

db575_nexus2cee_Screen-Shot-2017-10-30-at-10.28.52-PM-668x335 Razer Phone leaks with monstrous specs including 120Hz display, 4000mAh battery, dual cameras, and more

According to the product page that British mobile provider 3G UK posted, the Razer Phone will have some serious power under the hood. It’ll sport a 120Hz 5.72″ IGZO display, as well as 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a giant 4000mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0+, and THX-certified dual front-facing speakers with Dolby ATMOS. The dual camera setup out back consists of a 12MP f/1.75 wide-angle sensor and a 13MP f/2.6 zoom unit. There’s also something called “4G Super-Voice” listed, which appears to be some sort of tech that prevents dead zones. It looks like the phone will run a stock-ish version of Android, given the clean-looking lock screen. Oh, and check out that 13:37 Easter egg in the potatocam photo. Razer has a sense of humor.

db575_nexus2cee_Screen-Shot-2017-10-30-at-10.28.52-PM-668x335 Razer Phone leaks with monstrous specs including 120Hz display, 4000mAh battery, dual cameras, and more

The first image of the Razer Phone we saw.

Several specs aren’t listed here (and the ‘Specifications’ tab contains nothing), but we did come across a GFXBench page from a few weeks ago that says the Razer Phone will have a 1440p display, a Snapdragon 835, a 7MP front-facing camera, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Given how the rest of the specs listed there match up with those that 3G UK did provide, the authenticity isn’t questionable. The Nextbit Robin-inspired design matches up with the TechByte leaked image we saw initially, complete with sharp corners and small circular buttons.

A reddit user (/u/The_King_of_Okay) dug up two links pointing to Razer becoming an official partner with 3G UK and Three as a whole (3G is, confusingly, a subsidiary of Three), indicating that Razer is working hard to expand its smartphone brand. In fact, the 3G UK press release goes as far as to say, “We may even see Razer-branded handsets exclusively on Three, offering all the power needed by gamers.”

Razer is expected to have its “biggest unveiling” on November 1st, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Razer Phone ended up being the subject of it. After all, this is a big stepping stone for a primarily PC-focused company. Given the specs listed here, I personally can’t wait to see what Razer has in store.

Automotive Grade Linux Adds Five New Members Including First …

“The AGL ecosystem is rapidly growing, and we are very excited to expand into new areas like voice recognition and digital marketing, which will enable automakers to easily integrate new consumer features and services into their AGL-based infotainment systems,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with all of our new members as we continue to evolve the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) and expand into new functions like telematics, instrument cluster and heads-up-display.”

The AGL community is coming together for their bi-annual All Member Meeting on October 18-19 in Dresden, Germany. The All Member Meeting allows the AGL community to learn about the latest developments, share best practices and collaborate to drive rapid innovation across the industry. Details can be found here.

New Member Quotes:

Adobe
“With Adobe Experience Cloud, brands have the analytics insights and content management capabilities to deliver great, personalized experiences. As connected and driverless cars gain more traction, it is opening up new ways for consumers to enjoy their favorite services, and we are building technology to help brands capitalize on these opportunities,” said Colin Morris, director of product management, Adobe Analytics Cloud. “We believe that in order to drive these connected car innovations, it will require close cooperation across car makers, operating system providers, and important open source initiatives like Automotive Grade Linux.”

Desay SV Automotive
“As a leading automotive electronic solution provider for vehicle manufacturers, Desay SV Automotive is proud to be a member of the Automotive Grade Linux community. In response to the increasing demand for feature rich, smart and connected In-Vehicle Systems, we believe collaborating with AGL is the best way to bridge the stability required by the automotive industry with the rapid progress of the open source world.”

Fiberdyne Systems
“Fiberdyne Systems is passionate about creating the best audio experience in the vehicle,” said Julian Merritt, CEO of Fiberdyne Systems. “We are delighted to join Automotive Grade Linux and contribute our expertise in audio and DSP to the community.”

Nuance
“We are proud and excited to join the Automotive Grade Linux community and share in AGL’s goal to develop an open industry standard platform that accelerates the development of connected mobility technologies,” said Laith Shina, Vice President of Automotive Strategy, Nuance. “We look forward to bringing our expertise in multi-modal user interfaces, conversational natural language understanding and artificial intelligence to this community and working together to make the future of automotive technology a reality.”

Trend Micro
“Linux, as an open source operating system used to develop automotive-related features, is a current trend, and Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) shows determination and capability in this area. Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information among all connected devices,” said Oscar Chang, EVP of Research and Development at Trend Micro. “With 30 years of experience in the security industry, we have professional threat experts around the world to protect internet security and combat unknown threats. With machine learning based-technology, we are able and glad to work with AGL to secure connected and autonomous cars in the future.”

The full list of AGL members is available here.

About Automotive Grade Linux (AGL)
Automotive Grade Linux is a collaborative open source project that is bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected car. With Linux at its core, AGL is developing an open platform from the ground up that can serve as the de facto industry standard to enable rapid development of new features and technologies. Although initially focused on In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI), AGL is the only organization planning to address all software in the vehicle, including instrument cluster, heads up display, telematics, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. The AGL platform is available to all, and anyone can participate in its development. Learn more: https://www.automotivelinux.org/

Automotive Grade Linux is hosted at The Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. www.linuxfoundation.org

Additional Resources

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see our trademark usage page: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Media Inquiries
Emily Olin
Automotive Grade Linux
eolin@linuxfoundation.org

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/automotive-grade-linux-adds-five-new-members-including-first-voice-recognition-and-digital-marketing-members-300538854.html

SOURCE Automotive Grade Linux

Related Links

https://www.automotivelinux.org

South Salt Lake restaurant closed for 39 health violations, including mouse droppings on plates

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — The Salt Lake County Health Department has closed a restaurant in South Salt Lake due to numerous health hazards, which included animal droppings on plates and other locations.

Wa Me House, 285 East 2700 South, was closed October 17, according to the health department.

The 39  listed violations included mouse droppings on the water heater, floor, plates and warewashing machine as well as “a significant amount of mice feces throughout the facility.”

There were also issues with food being stored in improper places, including food that was stored beneath raw chicken and other food stored in garbage cans or on the floor of a walk-in freezer.

The full list of violations as provided by the Health Department is below. The restaurant could re-open if the operators address the issues and pass another inspection.

 

 

White House pushing for new concessions in bipartisan health bill, including retroactive mandate relief

The White House signaled to Senate Republican negotiators Friday that it wants a bipartisan health-care bill to include retroactive relief this year for individuals and employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, according to individuals briefed on the matter, a request that is sure to anger Democrats.

Key White House officials are seeking a rightward shift in the proposal crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which would restore subsidies to help offset out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans buying ACA plans in exchange for further flexibility in how states regulate health coverage.

The individuals briefed on what the White House privately signaled to Senate Republicans were granted anonymity to describe closed-door talks that had not been announced publicly. They said that nothing was final and that the negotiations were ongoing and could change rapidly.

While the moves were part of what could become a more extended negotiation, the White House requests — which also include providing states with broader leeway — could derail the carefully crafted bipartisan package unveiled this week.

The move to suspend federal enforcement of the insurance mandates is anathema to Democrats, who view the requirements as integral to the law’s success. All taxpayers must now provide proof of insurance coverage or face a penalty. The current fine is $695 per adult and $347.50 per child — up to $2,085 per family — or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater. Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees that do not offer coverage face a fine of about $188 per month for every full-time employee they have beyond the number 30. These businesses also face a fine if federal officials determine the plans they offer are unaffordable or do not provide adequate coverage.

The White House is also interested in adding language that would expand “association health plans,” a kind of insurance in which small businesses of a similar type band together as a group to negotiate health benefits. These plans have had to meet ACA coverage requirements, but the president has sought to use his authority to exempt them from those rules and allow these plans to be sold across state lines without separate insurance licenses.

The White House declined to comment immediately.

In a statement, Alexander said: “This is the normal legislative process with people of different views saying what they are for and against. Something close to the Alexander-Murray proposal is likely to become law this year because the President himself asked us to develop this short-term solution so people aren’t hurt by a chaotic insurance market.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement: “The administration was involved in the Alexander-Murray negotiations every step of the way. There is a broad bipartisan agreement that can pass the Senate right now. The administration should support it instead of floating other ideas that would further the sabotage both parties are trying to reverse.”

Insurers have described the mandates as critical to ensuring that enough healthy people buy coverage, which in turn translates into a broader risk pool. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the individual mandate this year would translated into 15 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, though several experts have questioned whether this requirement provides as powerful an incentive to sign up as the CBO has consistently estimated.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, 6.5 million taxpayers paid $3 billion in ACA penalties for not having insurance in 2016.

Larry Levitt, vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said in an interview that while it is “hard to tease out how much of an effect the individual mandate has had” on coverage, removing it even for a year could prompt some insurers to exit the ACA market.

“This would be a classic poison pill,” Levitt said, adding, “It would be ironic if a bill aimed at stabilizing the market would destabilize the market.”

While Trump signed an executive order his first day in office instructing federal agencies to provide Americans with relief from the ACA, the Internal Revenue Service informed tax professionals this week that they need to provide proof of insurance with tax returns filed for 2017.

“The 2018 filing season will be the first time the IRS will not accept tax returns that omit this information,” the IRS announced in its notice Tuesday.

Trump has sent mixed signals about the substance of the Alexander-Murray plan, which was released Tuesday. He seemed to embrace it at first before later backing away. In general, he has seemed supportive of trying to come up with a bipartisan deal of some kind.

Senate Democrats have been pushing their Republican counterparts to bring the plan as it was released Tuesday to the Senate floor for a vote. But GOP leaders have been more circumspect and have declined to commit to doing so.

Trump ended the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidy payments, known as CSRs, arguing they were funded illegally. But he appears open to Congress passing a measure to appropriating funding for them — provided Republicans get adequate concessions from Democrats. The payments, which cover roughly 7 million consumers, would cost taxpayers about $7 billion in 2017 if they were funded through the end of the year.

The bipartisan measure won new support Thursday, giving it 12 Democratic senators and 12 Republican senators as sponsors.

But it remains far from clear that Alexander and Murray will be able to hash out a compromise that can win the support of most Republicans. With majority support from his own ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not bring the bill up for a vote, Republicans close to the process predicted.

At the same time that the administration is negotiating with lawmakers, it is defending in federal court its decision to cut off the CSR payments. Attorneys general for 18 states and the District of Columbia are seeking a temporary restraining order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that would force the federal government to continue making the payments.

In a brief filed Friday, acting assistant attorney general Chad Readler filed a motion asking for the court to reject the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary relief, saying their claims are “unlikely to succeed,” they “have not demonstrated an imminent risk of irreparable harm” from the cutoff in payments and the public interest weighs “heavily against a judicial decree mandating the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars in unappropriated taxpayer dollars every month.”

Lawyers for both sides will argue their case before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in a hearing Monday.

Automotive Grade Linux Adds Five New Members Including First Voice Recognition and Digital Marketing Members

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open platform for the connected car, is announcing that five new members have joined the project including Adobe, Desay SV Automotive, Fiberdyne Systems, Nuance and Trend Micro.

01c12_Copy_of_logo_agl Automotive Grade Linux Adds Five New Members Including First Voice Recognition and Digital Marketing Members

“The AGL ecosystem is rapidly growing, and we are very excited to expand into new areas like voice recognition and digital marketing, which will enable automakers to easily integrate new consumer features and services into their AGL-based infotainment systems,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with all of our new members as we continue to evolve the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) and expand into new functions like telematics, instrument cluster and heads-up-display.”

The AGL community is coming together for their bi-annual All Member Meeting on October 18-19 in Dresden, Germany. The All Member Meeting allows the AGL community to learn about the latest developments, share best practices and collaborate to drive rapid innovation across the industry. Details can be found here.

New Member Quotes:

Adobe
“With Adobe Experience Cloud, brands have the analytics insights and content management capabilities to deliver great, personalized experiences. As connected and driverless cars gain more traction, it is opening up new ways for consumers to enjoy their favorite services, and we are building technology to help brands capitalize on these opportunities,” said Colin Morris, director of product management, Adobe Analytics Cloud. “We believe that in order to drive these connected car innovations, it will require close cooperation across car makers, operating system providers, and important open source initiatives like Automotive Grade Linux.”

Desay SV Automotive
“As a leading automotive electronic solution provider for vehicle manufacturers, Desay SV Automotive is proud to be a member of the Automotive Grade Linux community. In response to the increasing demand for feature rich, smart and connected In-Vehicle Systems, we believe collaborating with AGL is the best way to bridge the stability required by the automotive industry with the rapid progress of the open source world.”

Fiberdyne Systems
“Fiberdyne Systems is passionate about creating the best audio experience in the vehicle,” said Julian Merritt, CEO of Fiberdyne Systems. “We are delighted to join Automotive Grade Linux and contribute our expertise in audio and DSP to the community.”

Nuance
“We are proud and excited to join the Automotive Grade Linux community and share in AGL’s goal to develop an open industry standard platform that accelerates the development of connected mobility technologies,” said Laith Shina, Vice President of Automotive Strategy, Nuance. “We look forward to bringing our expertise in multi-modal user interfaces, conversational natural language understanding and artificial intelligence to this community and working together to make the future of automotive technology a reality.”

Trend Micro
“Linux, as an open source operating system used to develop automotive-related features, is a current trend, and Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) shows determination and capability in this area. Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information among all connected devices,” said Oscar Chang, EVP of Research and Development at Trend Micro. “With 30 years of experience in the security industry, we have professional threat experts around the world to protect internet security and combat unknown threats. With machine learning based-technology, we are able and glad to work with AGL to secure connected and autonomous cars in the future.”

The full list of AGL members is available here.

About Automotive Grade Linux (AGL)
Automotive Grade Linux is a collaborative open source project that is bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected car. With Linux at its core, AGL is developing an open platform from the ground up that can serve as the de facto industry standard to enable rapid development of new features and technologies. Although initially focused on In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI), AGL is the only organization planning to address all software in the vehicle, including instrument cluster, heads up display, telematics, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. The AGL platform is available to all, and anyone can participate in its development. Learn more: https://www.automotivelinux.org/

Automotive Grade Linux is hosted at The Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. www.linuxfoundation.org

Additional Resources

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see our trademark usage page: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Media Inquiries
Emily Olin
Automotive Grade Linux
rel=”nofollow”eolin@linuxfoundation.org

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/automotive-grade-linux-adds-five-new-members-including-first-voice-recognition-and-digital-marketing-members-300538854.html

SOURCE Automotive Grade Linux

Automotive Grade Linux Adds Five New Members Including First Voice Recognition and Digital Marketing Members

“The AGL ecosystem is rapidly growing, and we are very excited to expand into new areas like voice recognition and digital marketing, which will enable automakers to easily integrate new consumer features and services into their AGL-based infotainment systems,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with all of our new members as we continue to evolve the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) and expand into new functions like telematics, instrument cluster and heads-up-display.”

The AGL community is coming together for their bi-annual All Member Meeting on October 18-19 in Dresden, Germany. The All Member Meeting allows the AGL community to learn about the latest developments, share best practices and collaborate to drive rapid innovation across the industry. Details can be found here.

New Member Quotes:

Adobe
“With Adobe Experience Cloud, brands have the analytics insights and content management capabilities to deliver great, personalized experiences. As connected and driverless cars gain more traction, it is opening up new ways for consumers to enjoy their favorite services, and we are building technology to help brands capitalize on these opportunities,” said Colin Morris, director of product management, Adobe Analytics Cloud. “We believe that in order to drive these connected car innovations, it will require close cooperation across car makers, operating system providers, and important open source initiatives like Automotive Grade Linux.”

Desay SV Automotive
“As a leading automotive electronic solution provider for vehicle manufacturers, Desay SV Automotive is proud to be a member of the Automotive Grade Linux community. In response to the increasing demand for feature rich, smart and connected In-Vehicle Systems, we believe collaborating with AGL is the best way to bridge the stability required by the automotive industry with the rapid progress of the open source world.”

Fiberdyne Systems
“Fiberdyne Systems is passionate about creating the best audio experience in the vehicle,” said Julian Merritt, CEO of Fiberdyne Systems. “We are delighted to join Automotive Grade Linux and contribute our expertise in audio and DSP to the community.”

Nuance
“We are proud and excited to join the Automotive Grade Linux community and share in AGL’s goal to develop an open industry standard platform that accelerates the development of connected mobility technologies,” said Laith Shina, Vice President of Automotive Strategy, Nuance. “We look forward to bringing our expertise in multi-modal user interfaces, conversational natural language understanding and artificial intelligence to this community and working together to make the future of automotive technology a reality.”

Trend Micro
“Linux, as an open source operating system used to develop automotive-related features, is a current trend, and Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) shows determination and capability in this area. Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information among all connected devices,” said Oscar Chang, EVP of Research and Development at Trend Micro. “With 30 years of experience in the security industry, we have professional threat experts around the world to protect internet security and combat unknown threats. With machine learning based-technology, we are able and glad to work with AGL to secure connected and autonomous cars in the future.”

The full list of AGL members is available here.

About Automotive Grade Linux (AGL)
Automotive Grade Linux is a collaborative open source project that is bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected car. With Linux at its core, AGL is developing an open platform from the ground up that can serve as the de facto industry standard to enable rapid development of new features and technologies. Although initially focused on In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI), AGL is the only organization planning to address all software in the vehicle, including instrument cluster, heads up display, telematics, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. The AGL platform is available to all, and anyone can participate in its development. Learn more: https://www.automotivelinux.org/

Automotive Grade Linux is hosted at The Linux Foundation. Linux Foundation projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. www.linuxfoundation.org

Additional Resources

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see our trademark usage page: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Media Inquiries
Emily Olin
Automotive Grade Linux
eolin@linuxfoundation.org

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/automotive-grade-linux-adds-five-new-members-including-first-voice-recognition-and-digital-marketing-members-300538854.html

SOURCE Automotive Grade Linux

Related Links

https://www.automotivelinux.org

Major Wi-Fi security flaws affect billions worldwide, including almost every Internet user in Singapore

SINGAPORE – Major security flaws just discovered have put billions of Wi-Fi devices at risk worldwide, including almost every Internet user in Singapore.

Issuing the alert on Tuesday afternoon (Oct 17), the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCert) said: “These vulnerabilities may affect the data confidentiality of users’ Wi-Fi connectivity in homes and offices.”

The flaws affect nearly every device that uses Wi-Fi, said SingCert.

These include routers, smartphones, computers and surveillance cameras. And there are more than 11 million homes, offices, cafes and public locations here using or providing Wi-Fi connections, according to official figures.

“The attacker can exploit the vulnerabilities to monitor, inject and manipulate users’ network traffic,” the agency noted, responding to queries from The Straits Times.

SingCert is a unit of Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency, which coordinates the nation’s response to cyber threats and attacks.

The alert follows Monday’s confirmation of the flaws by the United States Homeland Security’s cyber-emergency unit US-Cert.

The US authority had quietly warned vendors of the problem two months ago so that vendors would have time to roll out patches before the problem was made public, according to online reports. Though many have since issued patches, billions of devices remain unpatched.

An exploit dubbed Krack (Key Reinstallation Attack) exposes what is said to be the first critical vulnerabilities in WPA2, a common authentication method. The 14-year-old WPA2 protocol secures the Wi-Fi connection between a router and a computer or Internet device.

Mr Mathy Vanhoef, a researcher at Belgium’s University of Leuven who discovered the flaw, said in a research paper published online this week that a hacker could hijack unencrypted conversations and exchanges over the Wi-Fi connection.

  • Ways to stay safe:

  • 1. Patch your Windows machines now. Microsoft released a patch for the Wi-Fi flaw in its Oct 10 Windows update. The current beta versions of Apple’s iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS operating systems also come with the security fix.

    2. Surf only encrypted (https) Web pages. Similarly, website owners should also encrypt their webpages. An attacker might inject malware into unencrypted websites.

    3. Do not send confidential details over public Wi-Fi networks.

    4. Use virtual private network (VPN) services, available online or from Internet service providers, to add an extra layer of security.

    5. Do not visit or install software from unknown websites.

    6. Unplug any unpatched Wi-Fi device, such as Webcams, if the Wi-Fi signal of your router extends into the public space. An attacker within the Wi-Fi range can carry out nefarious exploits.

“The weaknesses are in the Wi-Fi standard itself, and not in individual products or implementations,” he wrote in the paper. “To prevent the attack, users must update affected products as soon as security updates become available.”

There have been no reports of these flaws being exploited so far. An attacker must also be within the Wi-Fi range to carry out nefarious exploits.

Microsoft released a software fix for the Wi-Fi flaw in its Oct 10 Windows update. The current beta versions of Apple’s iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS operating systems also come with the security fix. Other vendors, such as Google, are still creating security patches for their devices, and are expected to release them only in the coming weeks.

SingCert has advised users to check with their vendors on the availability of security patches and apply them as soon as possible.

Dr Gary McGraw, vice-president of security technology at US-based software engineering firm Synopsys, said design flaws are harder to fix than a software bug, which is more common. “That’s (also) why Krack is so pervasive across chips and platforms, affecting many manufacturers worldwide.”

Some security experts said that using a patched device provides enough protection – even if the Wi-Fi router is not patched.

As security software patches for routers, webcams and TVs are harder to apply, Mr Jason Kong, co-founder of Singapore-based network security firm Toffs Technologies, said Internet service providers (ISPs) should set up help desks and provide software update packages for customers. “For peace of mind, users should also subscribe to virtual private network services, available online or from ISPs.”

Apple releases iOS 11.0.2 for iPhone and iPad, including crackling audio fix for iPhone 8

Apple has just released iOS 11.0.2 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. This marks the second bug fix update since iOS 11 launched in September. The build number is 15A421.

It looks to be another round of bug fixes and performance improvements, including a fix for crackly audio during phone calls on iPhone 8, a bug that caused some photos not to show up in user’s libraries and resolves an issue relating to attachments in encrypted email …


60780_vxd168-evergreenassociateads-benefit-assoc-300x250 Apple releases iOS 11.0.2 for iPhone and iPad, including crackling audio fix for iPhone 8

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Apple says the iOS 11.0.2 brings various ‘bug fixes and improvements for iPhone and iPad’.

The minor update is available now for all iOS 11 devices (including the sixth-generation iPod touch).

Apple released iOS 11 on September 19, followed by iOS 11.0.1 a week later. iOS 11.0.1 addressed problems relating to Microsoft email accounts not being able to connect to the server in the stock Mail app.

To update, open Settings on your iOS device and navigate to General → Software Update. You will need at least 50% battery to perform the update, or be connected to a power outlet.

We’ll keep an eye out for any other changes and enhancements in this latest version of iOS 11. No word yet on battery drain or adverse effects on performance, but we’ll report back if something does arise.

Apple has had a busy few weeks as far as its software roadmap is concerned. As well as these couple of bug-fix updates, Apple has also seeded iOS 11.1 to developers which includes some small interface changes.

A bigger update for Apple Watch, watchOS 4.1, is also currently in beta which adds Apple Music streaming and a new Radio app to the watch.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor …

65b26_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor ...

If virtual assistants have been the breakthrough technology in this year’s smartphone software, then the AI processor is surely the equivalent on the hardware side.

Apple has taken to calling its latest SoC the A11 Bionic on account of its new AI “Neural Engine”. Huawei’s latest Kirin 970 boasts a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and is billing its upcoming Mate 10 as a “real AI phone“. Samsung’s next Exynos SoC is rumored to feature a dedicated AI chip too.

Qualcomm has actually been ahead of the curve since opening up the Hexagon DSP (digital signal processor) inside its Snapdragon flagships to heterogeneous compute and neural networking SDKs a couple of generations ago. Intel, Nvidia, and others are all working on their own artificial intelligence processing products too. The race is well and truly on.

There are some good reasons for including these additional processors inside today’s smartphone SoCs. Demand for real-time voice processing and image recognition is growing fast. However, as usual, there’s a lot of marketing nonsense being thrown around, which we’ll have to decipher.

ai

 

Facial recognition technology explained

AI brain chips, really?

Companies would love us to believe that they’ve developed a chip smart enough to think on its own or one that can imitate the human brain, but even today’s cutting edge lab projects aren’t that close. In a commercial smartphone, the idea is simply fanciful. The reality is a little more boring. These new processor designs are simply making software tasks such as machine learning more efficient.

These new processor designs are simply making software tasks such as machine learning more efficient.

There’s an important difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s worth distinguishing. AI is a very broad concept used to describe machines that can “think like humans” or that have some form of artificial brain with capabilities that closely resemble our own.

Machine learning is not unrelated, but only encapsulates computer programs that are designed to process data and make decisions based on the results, and even learn from results to inform future decisions.

Neural networks are computer systems designed to help machine learning applications sort through data, enabling computers to classify data in ways similar to humans. This includes processes like picking out landmarks in a picture or identifying the make and color of a car. Neural networks and machine learning are smart, but they’re definitely not sentient intelligence.

When it comes to talk of AI, marketing departments are attaching a more common parlance to a new area of technology that makes it harder to explain. It’s equally as much an effort to differentiate themselves from their competitors too. Either way, what all of these companies have in common is that they’re simply implementing a new component into their SoCs that improves the performance and efficiency of tasks that we now associate with smart or AI assistants. These improvements mainly concern voice and image recognition, but there are other use cases, too.

65b26_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor ...

New types of computing

Perhaps the biggest question yet to answer is: why are companies suddenly including these components? What does their inclusion make it easier to do? Why now?

You may have noticed a recent increase in chatter about Neural Networks, Machine Learning, and Heterogeneous Computing. These are all tied into emerging use cases for smartphone users, and across a broader range of fields. For users, these technologies are helping to empower new user experiences with enhanced audio, image and voice processing, human activity prediction, language processing, speeding up database search results, and enhanced data encryption, among others.

 

What is machine learning?

One of the questions still yet to be answered is whether computing these results is best done in the cloud or on the device, though. Despite what one OEM or another says is better, it’s more likely to depend on the exact task being calculated. Either way, these use cases require some new and complicated approaches to computing, which most of today’s general 64-bit CPUs aren’t particularly well suited to dealing with. 8- and 16-bit floating point math, pattern matching, database/key lookup, bit-field manipulation, and highly parallel processing, are just some examples that can be done faster on dedicated hardware than on a general purpose CPU.

To accommodate the growth of these new use cases, it makes more sense to design a custom processor that’s better at these type of tasks rather than have them run poorly on traditional hardware. There’s definitely an element of future proofing in these chips too. Adding in an AI processor early will give developers a baseline on which they can target new software.

65b26_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor ...

Efficiency is the key

It’s worth noting that these new chips aren’t just about providing more computational power. They’re also being built to increase efficiency in three main areas: size, computation, and energy.

Today’s high-end SoCs pack in a ton of components, ranging from display drivers to modems. These parts have to fit into a small package and limited power budget, without breaking the bank (see Moore’s Law for more information). SoC designers have to stick to these rules when introducing new neural net processing capabilities too.

A dedicated AI processor in a smartphone SoC is designed around area, computational, and power efficiency for a certain subset of mathematical tasks.

It’s possible that smartphone chip designers could build larger, more powerful CPU cores to better handle machine learning tasks. However, that would significantly bulk up the size of the cores, taking up considerable die size given today’s octa-core setups, and make them much more expensive to produce. Not to mention that this would also greatly increase their power requirements, something that there simply isn’t a budget for in sub-5W TDP smartphones.

65b26_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor ...

Heterogeneous Compute is all about assigning the most efficient processor to the task most suited for it, and an AI processor, HPU, or DSP are all good at Machine Learning math.

Instead, it’s much more astute to design a single dedicated component of its own, something that can handle a specific set of tasks very efficiently. We have seen this many times over the course of processor development, from the optional floating point units in early CPUs to the Hexagon DSPs inside Qualcomm’s higher-end SoCs. DSPs have fallen in and out of use across audio, automotive, and other markets over the years, due to the ebb and flow of computational power versus cost and power efficiency. The low power and heavy data crunching requirements of machine learning in the mobile space is now helping to revive demand.

An extra processor dedicated to complex math and data sorting algorithms is only going to help devices crunch numbers better.

Wrap Up

It’s not cynical to question whether companies are being really accurate with their portrayal of neural networking and AI processors. However, the addition of an extra processor dedicated to complex math and data sorting algorithms is only going to help smartphones, and other pieces of technology, crunch numbers better and enable a variety of new useful technologies, from automatic image enhancement to faster video library searches.

As much as companies may tout virtual assistants and the inclusion of an AI processor as making your phone smarter, we’re nowhere near seeing true intelligence inside our smartphones. That being said, these new technologies combined with emerging machine learning tools are going to make our phone even more useful than ever before, so definitely watch this space.

Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor?

860e9_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor?

If virtual assistants have been the breakthrough technology in this year’s smartphone software, then the AI processor is surely the equivalent on the hardware side.

Apple has taken to calling its latest SoC the A11 Bionic on account of its new AI “Neural Engine”. Huawei’s latest Kirin 970 boasts a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and is billing its upcoming Mate 10 as a “real AI phone“. Samsung’s next Exynos SoC is rumored to feature a dedicated AI chip too.

Qualcomm has actually been ahead of the curve since opening up the Hexagon DSP (digital signal processor) inside its Snapdragon flagships to heterogeneous compute and neural networking SDKs a couple of generations ago. Intel, Nvidia, and others are all working on their own artificial intelligence processing products too. The race is well and truly on.

There are some good reasons for including these additional processors inside today’s smartphone SoCs. Demand for real-time voice processing and image recognition is growing fast. However, as usual, there’s a lot of marketing nonsense being thrown around, which we’ll have to decipher.

ai

 

Facial recognition technology explained

AI brain chips, really?

Companies would love us to believe that they’ve developed a chip smart enough to think on its own or one that can imitate the human brain, but even today’s cutting edge lab projects aren’t that close. In a commercial smartphone, the idea is simply fanciful. The reality is a little more boring. These new processor designs are simply making software tasks such as machine learning more efficient.

These new processor designs are simply making software tasks such as machine learning more efficient.

There’s an important difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s worth distinguishing. AI is a very broad concept used to describe machines that can “think like humans” or that have some form of artificial brain with capabilities that closely resemble our own.

Machine learning is not unrelated, but only encapsulates computer programs that are designed to process data and make decisions based on the results, and even learn from results to inform future decisions.

Neural networks are computer systems designed to help machine learning applications sort through data, enabling computers to classify data in ways similar to humans. This includes processes like picking out landmarks in a picture or identifying the make and color of a car. Neural networks and machine learning are smart, but they’re definitely not sentient intelligence.

When it comes to talk of AI, marketing departments are attaching a more common parlance to a new area of technology that makes it harder to explain. It’s equally as much an effort to differentiate themselves from their competitors too. Either way, what all of these companies have in common is that they’re simply implementing a new component into their SoCs that improves the performance and efficiency of tasks that we now associate with smart or AI assistants. These improvements mainly concern voice and image recognition, but there are other use cases, too.

860e9_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor?

New types of computing

Perhaps the biggest question yet to answer is: why are companies suddenly including these components? What does their inclusion make it easier to do? Why now?

You may have noticed a recent increase in chatter about Neural Networks, Machine Learning, and Heterogeneous Computing. These are all tied into emerging use cases for smartphone users, and across a broader range of fields. For users, these technologies are helping to empower new user experiences with enhanced audio, image and voice processing, human activity prediction, language processing, speeding up database search results, and enhanced data encryption, among others.

 

What is machine learning?

One of the questions still yet to be answered is whether computing these results is best done in the cloud or on the device, though. Despite what one OEM or another says is better, it’s more likely to depend on the exact task being calculated. Either way, these use cases require some new and complicated approaches to computing, which most of today’s general 64-bit CPUs aren’t particularly well suited to dealing with. 8- and 16-bit floating point math, pattern matching, database/key lookup, bit-field manipulation, and highly parallel processing, are just some examples that can be done faster on dedicated hardware than on a general purpose CPU.

To accommodate the growth of these new use cases, it makes more sense to design a custom processor that’s better at these type of tasks rather than have them run poorly on traditional hardware. There’s definitely an element of future proofing in these chips too. Adding in an AI processor early will give developers a baseline on which they can target new software.

860e9_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor?

Efficiency is the key

It’s worth noting that these new chips aren’t just about providing more computational power. They’re also being built to increase efficiency in three main areas: size, computation, and energy.

Today’s high-end SoCs pack in a ton of components, ranging from display drivers to modems. These parts have to fit into a small package and limited power budget, without breaking the bank (see Moore’s Law for more information). SoC designers have to stick to these rules when introducing new neural net processing capabilities too.

A dedicated AI processor in a smartphone SoC is designed around area, computational, and power efficiency for a certain subset of mathematical tasks.

It’s possible that smartphone chip designers could build larger, more powerful CPU cores to better handle machine learning tasks. However, that would significantly bulk up the size of the cores, taking up considerable die size given today’s octa-core setups, and make them much more expensive to produce. Not to mention that this would also greatly increase their power requirements, something that there simply isn’t a budget for in sub-5W TDP smartphones.

860e9_Kirin-970-between-finger-thumb-840x473 Why are smartphone chips suddenly including an AI processor?

Heterogeneous Compute is all about assigning the most efficient processor to the task most suited for it, and an AI processor, HPU, or DSP are all good at Machine Learning math.

Instead, it’s much more astute to design a single dedicated component of its own, something that can handle a specific set of tasks very efficiently. We have seen this many times over the course of processor development, from the optional floating point units in early CPUs to the Hexagon DSPs inside Qualcomm’s higher-end SoCs. DSPs have fallen in and out of use across audio, automotive, and other markets over the years, due to the ebb and flow of computational power versus cost and power efficiency. The low power and heavy data crunching requirements of machine learning in the mobile space is now helping to revive demand.

An extra processor dedicated to complex math and data sorting algorithms is only going to help devices crunch numbers better.

Wrap Up

It’s not cynical to question whether companies are being really accurate with their portrayal of neural networking and AI processors. However, the addition of an extra processor dedicated to complex math and data sorting algorithms is only going to help smartphones, and other pieces of technology, crunch numbers better and enable a variety of new useful technologies, from automatic image enhancement to faster video library searches.

As much as companies may tout virtual assistants and the inclusion of an AI processor as making your phone smarter, we’re nowhere near seeing true intelligence inside our smartphones. That being said, these new technologies combined with emerging machine learning tools are going to make our phone even more useful than ever before, so definitely watch this space.

The 4 Biggest iPhone X Unknowns, Including Face ID’s Performance

There are plenty of good reasons to think the iPhone X will at least be Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) biggest hit since the iPhone 6. In terms of looks, it’s hands-down Apple’s most stunning iPhone to date. And for anyone looking to upgrade from an iPhone 6S or older phone — that’s most of the addressable market, given the pace of smartphone upgrade rates — it delivers big improvements in display and camera quality, traditionally the two biggest drivers of smartphone upgrades. There’s also a major processing power boost, improved battery life and a few neat augmented reality features.

But there are also a few big remaining question marks for Apple’s latest flagship phone. Some have gotten a decent amount of attention, others much less so. They go as follows:

1. How quickly supply constraints will lift.

Widespread reports of iPhone X production challenges have dinged Apple shares the past two weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports of major challenges related to assembling the infrared dot projector modules (codenamed Romeo) that make up part of 3D face-mapping system used to enable the X’s Face ID face-unlocking system. Japan’s Nikkei also reports of limited production for 3D-sensing parts, and cites one source as saying the X is “being produced in small quantities, around tens of thousands daily.” That fits with what KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo previously suggested.

Raymond James, Rosenblatt Securities, Digitimes and others have also reported of production issues. RJ indicates iPhone X mass-production is due to start in mid-October, or about 2 months later than was expected at the end of June; Digitimes reports orders to component suppliers have been slashed.

Major supply constraints on Oct. 27 — the day iPhone X pre-orders start — won’t necessarily do massive damage, particularly given how much pent-up interest there is in the X. But if major constraints persist into December and consumers start wondering whether iPhone X orders will ship in time for their purchases to be unwrapped on Christmas morning, some of those consumers just might start exploring their options.

2. How reliably Face ID will perform.

Face ID, which relies on the front camera, a dot projector, an infrared camera and (at night) an infrared flood illuminator, is easily much more advanced than the face-unlocking features built to date into Android phones. Apple insists one can’t trick Face ID with a user’s photo, nor can it work when a user’s eyes are closed. The company also promises Face ID can work if a user is wearing a hat or glasses, or if he or she attempts to unlock a phone at an angle.

But it isn’t enough for Face ID to be better than face-unlocking alternatives. It also needs to be as quick and reliable as the Touch ID fingerprint sensors built into iPhones and iPads in recent years, given that the iPhone X lacks a Touch ID sensor (the company reportedly encountered issues in its attempts to put one underneath the X’s OLED display). That’s plausible given all of the technology Face ID relies on, but it’s also a high bar.

Apple has had plenty of controversies over the years about unexpected problems (sometimes exaggerated in scope) with new iPhones. The 2012 Apple Maps debacle is probably the biggest of the bunch, but we’ve also seen things like bendgate and and antennagate. Hopefully “facegate” or something to the effect won’t be added to the lexicon of Apple customers and investors.

3. How much steep overseas prices will act as a deterrent.

With its 64GB model going for $999 and its 256GB model for $1,149, the iPhone X’s pricing already pushes the envelope in the U.S.. But things are often much worse overseas, due to steep sales taxes and/or tariffs.

The 64GB model sells for the U.S. equivalent of $1,280 in China, $1,325 in the U.K., $1,390 in India and over $1,300 in many eurozone markets. More modest price deltas can be found for Canada and Japan.

To be fair, U.S. sales taxes will tack on about $60 or $80 to iPhone X prices for many stateside consumers. But on the whole, the phone is still meaningfully cheaper in the U.S. than in most overseas markets.

Thanks partly to installment plan adoption, high-end phone buyers have been getting more comfortable paying over $800 to get their hands on flagship devices — a fact reflected not only by the iPhone X’s pricing, but that of phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, LG’s V30 and (reportedly) Alphabet Inc./Google’s (GOOGL) Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. But the laws of price elasticity still apply to this market, and Tim Cook’s company seems to be testing them in certain foreign locales.

4. Whether the iPhone X’s design and user interface changes will cause headaches.

This is unlikely to be a major problem, but it could annoy some early iPhone X buyers and produce some negative press. Since it didn’t provide the iPhone X with a home button (or the fingerprint sensor normally built into one) in order to pack an edge-to-edge display, and since the phone also doesn’t support the touch-based buttons (softkeys) found at the bottom of Android phone displays, Apple requires X owners to swipe up from the bottom of the display to access the home screen, and to swipe up halfway to switch between open apps. And users have to swipe down from the top right-hand corner to access iOS 11’s Control Center.

That’s going to take some getting used to for many iPhone owners. And in the short-term, the swipe-up gestures will likely lead to accidental presses of controls placed at the bottom of iOS apps. Apple has issued new app design guidelines meant to address this issue, but some developers are bound to adopt them sooner than others.

Likewise, the notch protruding into the top of the X’s display — it houses the front camera and 3D-sensing modules — could obscure part of a video or game’s imagery, as well as portions of other content viewed in landscape mode. Once more, developers should eventually fix this issue, but some complaints are likely to pop up in the interim.




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