It’s holiday season. There just isn’t much technology-related news. Below are the ones that I manage to which are interesting and are related to topics I care about.
Apple apologizes for not telling customers iPhones with older batteries would slow over time – Apple has today posted a letter on its website and a technical article in its Knowledge Base apologizing for not being more transparent about how it handles performance on iPhones with older batteries. Last week, Apple issued a statement that made it clear that changes it made a year ago were indeed slowing down the maximum performance of iPhones with older batteries. Techcrunch
Still living under the tyranny of the password in 2017 – When I lost access to my Google account recently, it left a gaping hole in my digital life and showed me just how tenuous the link to our online world can be. One thing I learned from the story I wrote last week about my experience was that I was far from alone. I got more than a dozen emails and tweets from folks who had been similarly locked out of Google, Facebook or Amazon Prime, and couldn’t figure out how to find their way back. Techcrunch
China begins regulating QR code payments – In an attempt to cut down on fraud, China’s central bank has announced plans to begin regulating payments by QR codes, barcodes, and other scannable codes. The regulations will initially cap payments by traditional QR codes to 500 yuan, or about $76 USD. When additional security measures are applied, the cap can raise to 5,000 yuan, or around $765 USD. At an even higher security level, banks and payment processors are given discretion over the cap. The Verge
Apple to release source code for Lisa operating system in 2018 – The source code for Apple’s ill-fated Lisa operating system and some of its key applications will be released to the general public in 2018. Techspot
Hackers are spreading cryptocurrency mining malware through Facebook Messenger – Either by choice or through hacks, drive-by cryptomining is becoming popular. The increasing price of cryptocurrencies has seen more websites surreptitiously mine Monero using visitors’ CPUs. But a newly discovered mining malware is even more malicious, and it’s being spread through Facebook Messenger. Techspot
AWS showed no signs of slowing down in 2017 – AWS had a successful year by any measure. The company continued to behave like a startup with the kind of energy and momentum to invest in new areas not usually seen in an incumbent with a significant marketshare lead. Techcrunch
Microsoft’s Windows 10 breaches privacy law, says Dutch DPA – The Dutch data protection authority has concluded that Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system breaches local privacy law on account of its collection of telemetry metadata. The OS has been available since the end of July 2015. Techcrunch
Amazon finally makes a waterproof Kindle, after 10 years of Kindles – Amazon has been selling Kindles for 10 years now, but “waterproof” hasn’t appear on its list of incremental technological advancements until now. The company just announced a new version of its popular e-reader that builds on last year’s Kindle design and now has an IPX8 waterproof rating. The Verge
Hyatt breach exposed customer payment data at 41 hotels – Hyatt announced today that its payment systems were breached, exposing credit card data from 41 hotels in 11 countries. The hack was discovered in July and the investigation only just recently concluded. Techcrunch
AWS and Microsoft double down on deep learning with Gluon, a simplified ML model builder – AWS and Microsoft may be arch rivals when it comes to competing for business in cloud storage and services, but when it comes to breaking ground in newer areas where volumes of data make a difference to how well the services work and creating systems that are easier to use, collaboration is key. Today, the two companies announced a new deep learning interface called Gluon, designed for developers of all abilities (not just AI specialists) to build and run machine learning models for their apps and other services. Techcrunch
Fake Adobe Flash malware locks your Android phone’s data unless you pay up – Consider this yet another PSA on why you should never ever download Adobe Flash Player, or anything resembling it if you’re using an Android phone. Security researchers at ESET have discovered a new kind of ransomware infecting Android phones on a level nobody’s ever seen before. Called DoubleLocker, the exploit encrypts the data on the infected device and then changes its PIN number so victims are locked out of their device unless they pay the ransom demanded by hackers. Mashable
Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Quantum Chip to European Research Partner – On Tuesday (Oct. 10), Intel delivered a 17-qubit superconducting test chip to research partner QuTech, the quantum research institute of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The announcement marks a major milestone in the 10-year, $50-million collaborative relationship with TU Delft and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied Research, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. HPCWire
Fujitsu Tapped to Build 37-Petaflops ABCI System for AIST – Fujitsu announced today it will build the long-planned AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) which is set to become the fastest supercomputer system in Japan and will begin operation in fiscal 2018 (starts in April). ABCI will use Intel’s Xeon Gold processors and Nvidia V100 GPUs and deliver 550 petaflops theoretical peak performance in half-precision floating point and 37 petaflops of double-precision peak floating point performance. The award is from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). HPCWire
Qualcomm fires another shot at Apple with a new lawsuit in China – Qualcomm has filed a lawsuit against Apple in its continuing legal battle over patents, this time looking to block the manufacturing and sale of iPhones in China, according to a report by Bloomberg this morning. Techcrunch
WD shows off market-ready MAMR tech for monster hard drives – Western Digital showed off a a prototype hard drive with a potentially revolutionary new energy-assisted magnetic recording technology called microwave-assist magnetic recording (MAMR). The company says the new tech could potentially be ready for market by the end of 2019, and it could allow the manufacture of 40 TB hard drives by 2025. For context, WD is now currently offering 14 TB drives to datacenter customers and 12 TB drives are just entering the general market. The company performed the reveal at its “Innovating to Fuel the Next Decade of Big Data” event at its headquarters in Silicon Valley yesterday. Techreport
Chaos and hackers stalk investors on cryptocurrency exchanges – LONDON, SHANGHAI, NEW YORK: Dan Wasyluk discovered the hard way that trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin happens in an online Wild West where sheriffs are largely absent. Channel Newsasia
I woke up especially early today at around 0645hrs. Went to the washroom and then I went back to my bed attempting to sleep. But I just couldn’t sleep. So instead I just laid there thinking about stuff before getting up at around 0709hrs. Took a pill for my gastritis and then brushed my teeth.
Used my iPad Pro for a bit to browse the web and look through my Facebook news feed before having my breakfast at around 0740hrs.
Watch some YouTube video on my iPad pro while eating. After I’m done, I went for a quick shower and got ready to go to my client’s office.
Got a cold brew and a Turkey Ham with Egg and Cheddar Sandwich from Subway after I arrived at Raffles Place at around 0940hrs.
I started doing some work at around 1030hrs. While writing codes, I was messing around with the virtual machine running on my MacBook pro. I was attempting to figure out why the MSSQL database connection was slow and Windows itself was sluggish. So I was powering on and off the virtual machine. On the third attempt, my MacBook Pro suffered from a kernel panic. I mean, the Windows VM was loading up after I logged in and I was concurrently browsing the web.
I of course went and remove the kext, “tl.uds.netusb controller”, because it was an unnecessary kernel extension. It was the TP-Link USB controller software for the printer my previous company was using. Since I already left, this dump reminded me that I don’t need the controller anymore.
After that, I restarted my MacBook Pro one more time after the system started up again. Luckily I saved my work already and so I could continue from where I left off.
I tried the VM one more time and it was still fine. So after I’m done testing one of the feature that I was implementing, I powered off the VM and focus on another feature that don’t need the VM just yet.
Now, I personally hate virtual machines and is looking for alternatives. I’m thinking about buying an Intel NUC just to host Windows-specific stuff (E.g. Microsoft SQL Server). It is so that I can have a portable server and not worrying about internet connectivity or data breaches (the database contains sensitive client information), while I do my main work on the MacBook Pro (no, I’m not going back to Windows). If I need to any stuff like testing out SQL scripts, I could just do a remote desktop into the NUC.
I don’t think it make sense for me to spend maybe SGS$3000 or more to get a Surface Pro with decent specification or maybe < SG$1500 for a budget laptop. Weight and price are both concerns of mine. If anyone got any other better suggestions do let me know in the comments.
Decided to call it a day at around 1700hrs to avoid the evening crowd. Went home, played a few rounds of Plague Inc., reached home and unpack my Mac again.
I opened up my Apple Mail and went through all the emails from all my email accounts. I got a shock when I saw that I to pay Amazon for usage of the AWS. At first, I thought I had shutdown all the instances that I used. It turns out that I forgot to shutdown the RDS instance and my S3 bucket was still active. I made payment and quickly terminate and delete the RDS instance and S3 bucket. I am contemplating if I should shut down the account since I don’t think I will be using it personally.
After that, I went for a shower and started watching Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 4. Now this is the episode to die for.
I’m not gonna even try to warn anyone about spoilers since this is the internet age. Everything is out there already.
To sum the whole episode up: the Lannisters got severely roasted by the dragon and swarmed by the Dorathki warriors. Jamie’s fate is unknown. Bran Stark is too calm while Arya Stark is a seriously good fighter. Littlefinger is still being the resident creeper.
Earlier today, I actually wanted to watch Atomic Blonde but the friends that I asked either didn’t want to watch or not free. Since it is ridiculously rated R21 in Singapore, I have to watch it in the cinemas since I don’t think I will be able to get it from iTunes. If it really comes down to it, I will watch it by myself. Just hope there are still shows this week.
Personally, I never quite like the idea of censorship or ratings. I mean, the world itself is not that friendly or nice. There are so many things going on. The act of censorship or ratings is like trying to shield people from realities of the world or preventing people from seeing new ideas.
I guess my stance on censorship comes from the fact that I am mostly immune to violent imageries, and I can deal with mature content or thought provoking stuff. I’m not even grossed out by gore or blood in films. I can tell what is fake or propaganda, and what is real.
But I can’t say the same for the other 16, 17 or 18 year-old Singaporeans. I mean even some 21-year-olds still have the mindset of a 16-year-olds. So I shall just say my piece and let it go. Beside I’m already old enough that not really restricted by these ratings unless the content is banned or blocked by the government.
I think I better stop here as I will probably go on and on about some other stuff. I will share more of my thoughts about some other stuff in separate entries or another journal.