10 Tech News Roundup #9

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

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

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10 Tech News Roundup #8

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share – TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Techcrunch

Apple is looking into reports of iPhone 8 batteries swelling – Reports from a few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus buyers have suggested there could be an issue with the battery inside some of the devices swelling, causing the case of Apple’s new iPhone to split open and expose the smartphone’s internals. Techcrunch

Apple gave Uber the keys to your iPhone screen, and it was all super shady – Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Uber is a shady company. Mashable

The Pixel’s missing headphone jack proves Apple was right – When it launched the iPhone 7 a year ago, Apple confidently declared the headphone jack obsolete technology that we could learn to live without. The Verge

HP is ditching the last serious Windows phone – HP has canceled plans to build out a line of Windows phones due to Microsoft’s general disinterest in continuing to battle Google and Apple on mobile. The Verge

Analyst and execs say Microsoft might kill off the Surface line by 2019 – With its new Pixelbook 2-in-1, it appears as if Google is trying to take on Microsoft and its laptop-tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro. But several big names within the industry think the Windows maker will drop its Surface lineup by 2019, if not sooner. Techspot

Microsoft has an Edge on iOS and Android handsets – Do you use Microsoft Edge? While I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with Microsoft’s newest browser, I have to admit it’s fast and slick. Techreport

The rise of female e-gamers in Singapore – SINGAPORE: A marketing executive by day, female gamer Calyn Koh heads straight for her home computer after work. Channel Newsasia

Outside criticism forced YouTube to change its search results after Las Vegas shooting conspiracy theories spread – YouTube is revamping the way its search algorithm picks videos to display on the site, after a spate of clips promoting false conspiracy theories about Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting were prominently featured on its site. Business Insider

Google Compute Engine goes a little crazy with up to 96 CPU cores and 624 GB of memory – If you’ve got a resource-hungry app, Google Compute Engine’s latest offering has you covered. Techcrunch

10 Tech News Roundup #7

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

Apple would like to remind the FCC that it can’t activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones don’t have – Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that “urged” Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. Techcrunch

Amazon still has no idea why Google pulled Youtube from the Echo Show – Even as Amazon unveiled a whole new collection of Echo devices, it was still smarting from one major partner’s decision to block video content from its big-screen Echo Show. Mashable

Apple could bring the iPhone X’s best feature to future models — without the OLED screen – Apple’s newest iPhones force customers to make a difficult choice: Should they upgrade immediately to the iPhone 8, or spend $1,000 and wait for the iPhone X and leave bezels behind with its glorious edge-to-edge OLED display? Mashable

NASA delays launch of the world’s most powerful space telescope, again – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has experienced another delay. The Verge

US Exascale Program – Some Additional Clarity – The last time we left the Department of Energy’s exascale computing program in July, things were looking very positive. HPCWire

BlackBerry, yes BlackBerry, is making a comeback as a software company – When you think about dead companies walking, BlackBerry was clearly one that came to mind, but under the leadership of CEO John Chen, the company is actually making a comeback as a software company focused on security, and it’s latest quarterly earnings report suggests the pivot is working splendidly. Techcrunch

Oracle’s board will unanimously reject a shareholder request for a gender pay gap audit – Et tu, Safra? When Oracle meets for its annual shareholder meeting on November 15, the board of directors will vote to reject a shareholder proposal requesting that the company do a payroll audit to check for a gender pay gap. Business Insider

Nvidia boss: Moore’s Law is dead, GPUs will soon replace CPUs – Nvidia boss Jensen Huang has become the latest expert to declare that Moore’s Law is dead. Speaking at the GPU Technology conference in Beijing, China, the CEO also said that advancements in graphics processors mean GPUs will soon replace CPUs, DigiTimes reports. Techspot

GovTech signs deal with Tableau to equip public officers with visual analytics skills – SINGAPORE: At least 1,500 public officers in Singapore will be equipped with skills in visual analytics over the next three years, after the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) signed a memorandum of intent with Tableau Software on Friday (Sep 29). Channel Newsasia

The list grows: Whole Foods hit by hackers – Whole Foods Market — which was recently acquired by tech giant Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) — said Thursday that hackers were able to gain access to credit card information for customers who made purchases at some of its in-store taprooms and restaurants. CNN

10 Tech News Roundup #5

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

The wireless chargers at Starbucks will get updated to support iPhone X and 8 – Yes, you should be able to charge your new iPhone X or iPhone 8 at Starbucks. Techcrunch

DARPA Pledges Another $300 Million for Post-Moore’s Readiness – Yesterday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a giant funding effort to ensure the United States can sustain the pace of electronic innovation vital to both a flourishing economy and a secure military. HPCWire

The iPhone X’s Face ID could be a troubling harbinger of what’s to come – The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your face is almost certainly the door to your wallet. Oh, and also the last vestiges of your privacy. Mashable

An Apple executive just revealed tasty new details about Face ID we didn’t know – Apple’s iPhone X is here, and with it comes a new controversial features: Face ID. Mashable

WhatsApp’s unsend feature will soon let users delete shameful messages – Thanks to the numerous messaging apps available today, communicating with each other has never been easier. Techspot

Facebook Messenger Day hits 70M daily users as the app reaches 1.3B monthlies – Facebook has finally revealed how its Snapchat Stories clone is doing, though it’s not seeing the same explosive growth as Instagram or WhatApp’s version Techcrunch

Apple is turning a design quirk into the iPhone X’s defining feature – Draw me an iPhone. The lines may be squiggly, the rounded corners imperfect, but almost everyone you pose this challenge to will present you with the shape of a rectangle containing another rectangle sat atop a circle. The Verge

Ad industry attacks Safari’s effort to protect your privacy – When Safari 11 arrives on iPhones and Macs later this month, Apple’s browser will come with a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention that makes it harder for advertisers and publishers to track what you do online. CNET

Singapore public organisation faced state-sponsored cyberattack last year: CSA – SINGAPORE: An unidentified public organisation in Singapore faced a foreign “state-sponsored” cyberattack late last year, according to a report released by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) on Thursday (Sep 15).
Channel NewsAsia

Singtel launches unlimited data mobile plans – SINGAPORE: Singtel on Friday (Sep 15) launched mobile plans offering unlimited data, two weeks after rivals StarHub and M1 unveiled similar plans catering to data-hungry consumers.
Channel NewsAsia

Latest Technology Tidbits 2

LaterPay enters the US market with its media payment technology

Dated: 11 August 2017

Read More: LaterPay brings its media payment technology to the US

Summary:

Media companies will now gain access through LaterPay to a new form of business model that will allow them to monetize various pieces of content or getting users to buy a pass to their sites for a limited period of time.

It does sounds a lot like micropayment. When it comes to the internet, micropayment as a model tends to fall flat. Cosmin Ene, LaterPay’s founder and CEO, said that their technology is suppose to make the payment process as frictionless as possible. No payment information is needed when readers buy their first piece of content. It’s only when the bill reaches $5 that the users would need to pay up.

LaterPay raised an additional 5 million euros, bringing the total funds to 20 million euros, in as part of their United States expansion.

Author’s Take:

I personally never quite liked ads because they ruin the experience of a site and it’s can be full of malware. Thus I use a ad-blocker. I also don’t subscribe to news sites because there are free sources. I know that authors and journalists need to make money too. Hmm…I think this might change my stance.

Microsoft Surface products no longer recommended by Consumer Report due to reliability issues

Dated: 10 August 2017

Read More: Don’t buy these 4 Windows laptops if you care about reliability, says Consumer Reports

Additional Reference (if any): Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports

Summary:

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that tests and rates products across multiple categories has officially removed the “recommended” designation from four Microsoft laptops. They are also not recommending other products in the Surface lineup because of the poor predicted reliability.

Reliability of a given product was determined by survey of Consumer Reports subscribers and other recent studies, according to the press release. From the data collection, the organization estimated that 25% of Microsoft laptops and tablets will encounter some problem within two years of ownership.

The press release stated, this is not to say that other brands do not have issues but the difference in how unreliable Microsoft devices were was “statistically significant”.

Microsoft offered their counter statement in an email to COnsumer Reports, “Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

Author’s Take:

I did own a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 once and I didn’t use it long enough to experience any significant problem. I personally like the experience provided by the product but I do see people commenting on forums about how their devices were not working properly.

Now is a good time to upgrade that iPad of yours

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Finally, there’s a good reason to upgrade your iPad

Summary:

It’s challenging for Apple to convince users who already own an iPad to buy a newer version. The existing iPads can already do many things users wanted to do such as watching videos, surfing the web, reading news, etc.

The new iPads are just not compelling enough for these kind of users. However, with iOS 11, that situation may just change.

For photographers, they will now be able to edit photos much easier on iOS 11 for iPad with the new updated Photos app. They will now be able to edit a photo with just a few sliders. The app now also allows trimming of Live Photos so that you get to keep parts that you want, and allow you to special effects to the Live Photos.

Advanced photographers who wants more power can look into using the recently updated Adobe Lightroom for iOS, which comes with support for Apple Pencil, 3D Touch Support, and nearly all the features from the desktop version.

Author’s Take:

So with iOS 11, the “Pro” moniker of the iPad finally starts to make some sense. I personally own a iPad Pro 9.7 and I find that I use it from time to time to do creative work like drawing, or writing. With the Logitech Create keyboard for iPad, the overall footprint is small enough for me to bring it with me anywhere to do my journals and various writing projects. All the apps that I need are there and I didn’t need to bringing my MacBook out. The Apple Pencil is intuitive to use and I take notes with it.

Latest News in Brain Science

New Substance improves brain function of Alzheimer’s disease

Dated: 28 July 2017

Read More: Dementia: new substance improves brain function

Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease is at this moment an incurable disease and affects 50 million people worldwide. Amyloid beta, which are chunks of organic compounds, that is responsible for Alzheimers. These organic compounds, simply put, are leftovers from when the Amyloid precursor protein is broken down by two enzymes known as Beta-secretase 1 (BACE) and Gamma Secretase.

Recently, scientists from the Technical University of Munich discovered that a substance which inhibit the enzyme, BACE, improves the memory performance and restore normal function of nerve cells in animal models, and that the substance must be given as early as possible. A clinical trial is being planned with 1000 participant and the scientists are hoping that the discoveries found in animal models is also applicable in humans.

New drug found to provide longer relief for Parkinson’s disease sufferers

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson’s disease

Summary:

Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is also an incurable disease. The only difference is that it comes on slowly over time and is manageable through drugs and surgery until the patients develop dementia. As of 2015, it affects 6.2 million people and caused 117,400 deaths globally 1.

Currently, the drugs given to Parkinson’s sufferers are intended to help manage the condition rather than cure. Sufferers need to take multiple medication, multiple times a day.

Researchers at Binghamton University developed a new drug called D-512, which is currently in pre-clinical phase. The new drug has fewer side effects than current drugs such as ropinirole, and last longer when providing relief. The drug itself is also an antioxidant which is important since oxidative stress is a major cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Autistic people are less likely to be surprised by the unexpected

Dated: 31 July 2017

Read More: People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Summary:

Normal people tends to get surprised by the unexpected due to their expectations. However, researchers found that autistic people, especially those with more pronounced symptoms, were less surprised when dealing with sudden changes.

Paraphrasing Dr. Lawson, “When we are uncertain about our own beliefs, we are driven more by our senses rather than prior expectations. People with autism may be expecting more volatility and thus it may be the reason why they tend to suffer from sensory overload, and their enhanced perceptual functioning and context insensitivity.”

The study also found that the ability to form expectations was related to the severity of communication problem in autistic people.