Category: Uncategorized

Samsung shuffles its executive cards

Samsung LCDIn a bid to stay competitive, Samsung is about to slim down its executives and put together new business units.

According to a report in the Korea Times, Samsung has 353 top executives but promises to cut the number and remove some positions.

The move also means a rationalisation of its premises, moving people around both in its home country and abroad.

Although Samsung hasn’t officially confirmed that as many as a third of executives will lose their positions, it has confirmed that the cull will happen.

Samsung is in fierce competition with fledgling Chinese companies and feels it needs to cut costs to stay in the game.

The company has a wide range of business lines and the Korea Times reports that Samsung Heavy and Samsung Engineering may be combined, with layoffs certain.

Information Commissioner hits out at Talktalk

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 14.18.56Talktalk, which saw a massive hack attack on Wednesday, has been criticised by the office of the Information Commissioner for not notifying it of the breach until a day later.

Talktalk believes that four million peoples’ accounts have fallen into the wrong hands and CEO Dido Harding admits that she’s not sure if the data that was stolen was unencrypted.

She apologised to all Talktalk customers and said that a criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police has started, and that she had received a ransom demand from an individual or group purporting to be responsible for the attack.

It’s believed that phone numbers, credit card numbers,and names and addresses may all have been compromised by the attack.

This is the third cyber attack Talktalk has suffered this year and the Information Commissioner is already investigating the previous two instances.

Turn your car on with your Apple iWatch

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 15.20.57A company has introduced an Apple Watch application which lets you find it, start it and manage it.

Connect2Car, which specialises in automotive digital applications, said the app will let people unlock the door, start the car, or find it if you’ve lost it in a giant car park.

The app interacts with other Connect2Car units which sell for between $139 and $199.

In addition to these features, the app also includes speed limit alerts, vehicle alarm notifications, and driving history.

The company has released the Apple Watch app in the App store, and it also an Android version of the application available on the Google Play Store.

Apple peddles censored news

surprised-newspaper-readerFruity cargo cult Apple believes that there is a market for news “selected” for the needs of Apple fanboys..

The Apple News app is being billed as delivering readers a selection of stories from around the mediasphere that’s tailored to their specific interests and reading habits.

It claims that all its friends in the Tame Apple Press are signing up to join it.  In fact if you want to feel like being sick, you can always read what these “Apple partners” are saying about the awful service

“Like Apple Music before it, Apple News enjoys a distinct advantage over third-party competitors by virtue of coming preinstalled on every iPhone and iPad running iOS 9. Also like Apple Music before it, the app immediately impresses with its appealing interface—and gradually disappoints with its as-yet-unrealized potential,” enthused the Slate.

However the news system, which is supposed to protect you from the perils of click bait actually does stop decent stories going through.  It also gives you stories such as those which mention C list celebs and reality telly stars who no one should be interested in.

In fact, the signs are that what Apple wants you to read is probably not what you should be reading.  Whatever algorithms Apple is using is no better or worse than a human magazine editor.

However one thing is likely to be certain, you are not reading this story on Apple News.  Apple is a company which is famous for its reality distortion field.  It has a policy of not commenting on news which is unfavourable to it – unless it really has too.  Its recent statements about how well it is doing in China fly in the face of what analysts expect the company to archieve.

Trusting a company which operates in such a way selecting your news is insane.  How can you ever be sure that you will ever see a negative Apple story, or a piece of information you really need about your shiny too.

 

Notebook shipments up in August

Compaq 386The news for vendors of notebooks hasn’t been good for many quarters now but it appears August offers a glimmer of hope for the manufacturers.

Digitimes Research (DR) said that the top five brands showed growth of 17 percent in August, over July’s figures.

In more rosy times, August was the month that manufacturers prepared machines for the “back to school” period but that patterns been disrupted for some years now.

DR said that out of the top five vendors, HP, Lenovo and Acer had a healthy August showing growth of 30 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent respectively.

But the shipments were not too good for Asustek and Dell, which showed weak growth, with DR believing the latter suffered from lack of demand in the commercial sector.

Meanwhile, the original design manufacturers – that is to say the companies that actually make the kit that is later branded, also did well, with Quanta, Compal and Wistron all seeing growth for the period.

DR believes it’s impossible right now to gauge the effect of Windows 10 on notebook sales.

And while many of the companies showed growth in shipments, those aren’t sales.

Google says: “We’re innocent, gov”

GoogleEuropean Commission allegations that search giant Google is behaving against antitrust laws have met with a rather insouciant response from the company.

Google, which positively says it’s not evil, is being accused by the EU of skewing search results in favour of sending people to sites that suit the search behemoth or its paying customers, rather than in a more fair way.

But apparently Ken Walker, chief legal officer at Google, feels that EU claims are all just so much tosh.

He’s been in charge of submitting a weighty document of 150 pages to rebut the accusations from the European Commission, which has been investigating claims for some time that Google is bending the rules.

Walker wrote in his blog that the information Google has handed over to the European Commission shows that its product search is “robustly competitive”.

Google further said: “The [EC’s} SO (statement of objections) says that Google’s displays of paid ads from merchants (and, previously, of specialised groups of organic search results) “diverted” traffic away from shopping services. But the SO doesn’t back up that claim, doesn’t counter the significant benefits to consumers and advertisers, and doesn’t provide a clear legal theory to connect its claims with its proposed remedy.”

Google handed over information spanning more than 10 years for the Eurocrats to ponder in the privacy of their own offices.

Amazon makes a profit shock

A shocked Baby (2)_fullAmazon posted an unexpected quarterly profit and predicted it would have a good third quarter something which has not happened within living memory.

Well our memories at least, but we are getting old.

It is the first time since 2014 that Amazon reported a profit and has worried by investors by making heavy spending on new ventures.

Amazon’s shares had languished for much of last year as the company failed to deliver sustainable profits. The shares traded as low as $284 last October.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky told analysts the money spinner was Prime, which for $99 a year also provides exclusive access to certain movies, music and Kindle books. It is getting new subscribers at rates “higher than we’ve ever seen.”

Membership was growing faster outside the United States than inside, helped in part by a recent one-day sale event called “Prime Day,” Amazon said.

“Growth has been fuelled in large part by Prime growth and item selection growth. It’s been a huge driver both in North America and international segments,” Olsavsky said.

For the second quarter, Amazon reported a profit of $92 million compared with a loss of $126 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 19.9 percent to $23.19 billion.

Analysts expected a loss on a revenue of $22.39 billion.

Sales in North America, the company’s biggest market, rose 25.5 percent to $13.8 billion from a year earlier, helped by strong demand for electronics and general goods.

Revenue from the cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, soared 81.5 per cent to $1.82 billion, accounting for nearly 8 per cent of the quarter’s revenue.

Amazon Web Services is seen as a core engine of growth, with Amazon Prime and Marketplace, where the company acts as a go-between for third-party sellers.

The company forecast net sales would grow 13 per cent to 24 per cent, to $23.3 billion to $25.5 billion, in the third quarter, well above analysts’ consensus estimate of $23.89 billion.

Amazon estimated third-quarter operating results ranging from a loss of $480 million to income of $70 million.

Teen wins DARPA supercomputing contract

rare-photos-the-lost-boys-movie-733516_405_325While most kids of today are slacking off with their mates and moaning vaguely about their parents, Thomas Sohmers has scored a supercomputing contract with DARPA.

Sohmers started an exascale computer systems company called Rex Computing at the age that most teens are finding it impossible to get out of bed.

His company has just been given $1.25 million to hire another few engineers to create his Neo chips from concept to production—and has a sizeable DARPA contract.

Sohmers has locked down the architecture and should get a verified RTL by the end of this year. It will sample its first chips in the middle of 2016 and move to full production silicon in mid-2017 using TSMC’s 28 nanometer process.

The DARPA funding fixed the automatic scratch pad memory tools which was the “difficult part and where this approach might succeed where others have failed is the static compilation analysis technology at runtime.”

Automated step at runtime is one of the biggies in the Neo design. It will mean you can have a cache-based system but without all the area and power overhead.

Sohmers’ cunning plan is to strip all the complexity out of the on-processor memory system and put it into the compiler. This happens at compile time and does not add to software’s complexity.

The compiler knows where data will need to be at different points and it inserts it rather than storing it in DRAM.

Sohmers’ team has already created the instruction set architecture and the basic core chip design and for the rest of the year will push the functional verification. This will ensure the ISA is optimized for the applications Sohmers’ team are targeting and free from logical inconsistencies and other potential problems.

Sheesh, kids of today. When I was his age I was writing Pascal programs to create a game where a Roman legionary threw a spear at a charging Celt.

Senior Intel man dead

Intel's Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce

* UPDATE. A man who worked for Intel posted a link to this story on DeFacebook, resulting in a whole shit storm of righteous indignation that I could report Woodget’s death in the way I did below.

Intel was celebrating the anniversary of some chip it once made. The Intel man on Facebook doubted that I had any evidence that the late Woodget had placed a writ my way.  Well, he did.  Woodget said, as he escorted me off the Park Lane premises that I could expect a writ the next day.  And so it came to pass. I am sure he might have been a very pleasant geezer but he really went incandescent.  I never saw him again after the event and VNU London  lawyers tied Intel up in a Spycatcher like dilemma.  The Intel man posting on Facebook said I had no evidence that he issued the writ. Well, there are at least six journalists then working at VNU and still living that can testify to that.

He might have been a very nice man. But this is not an obituary, just a memory – so stay your righteous indignation and if you want to write an obituary, why don’t you just jolly well go ahead and celebrate his life? Woodget seemed more interested in which of his customers had betrayed his corporation.

Intel’s John Woodget, according to very reliable sources, died in a car crash a few days ago.

Woodget. very famously, turned its European lawyers onto Dutch company VNU (Castle Despair) in the 1990s, four years or so after I started the Register. The first time I met him he was very genial indeed, because we were the press and that.

This happened at a very posh hotel in Park Lane, when I showed Mr Woodget – a very senior Intel executive – a roadmap one of its “partners” had showed to us. He went incandescent at the time and I had to beat a hasty retreat.

The next day,  when I got into work, an Intel European lawyer, based in Munich, had totally misunderstood British copyright laws and, worse, had sent a fax to VNU but to the wrong address demanding damages and reparation.

VNU, which then was a Dutch company – and  which subsequently bought the INQUIRER –  told lthe European Intel lawyer to get lost. Apparently everything in Europe was controlled in Munich, which didn’t have a clue about British law, as senior VNU executive Tony Loynes pointed out to me at the time.

TechEye regrets that Mr Woodget is dead. I didn’t know him as a man, but it is true to say that when he sent the European lawyers on my case the day after I met him, I didn’t feel good. I kept my job at VNU and had already started the Register and then created  the INQuirer.

Plug pulled on anonymous Wi-Fi

spyRhino Security Labs has pulled the plug on an anonymous Wi-Fi device it was developing just a month after its existence was announced.

Security researcher Benjamin Caudill from Rhino Security Labs unveiled Proxyham, a device small enough to be slotted into a book and squirrelled away in a separate location from the user in order to confuse Internet traffic tracking systems.

The $200 device was made up of a Raspberry Pi PC and antennas. The product uses low-frequency radio channels to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots up to 2.5 miles away, and if a user’s signature is traced, the only IP address which appears is from the Proxyham box which can be planted far away from the user.

At the time Caudill was quoted as saying, “You can have it all the way across town, and worst case scenario the police go barge into the library across town”.

He was supposed to be showing it off at the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas next month, but now that will not happen.

The sale and distribution of the Proxyham anonymous Internet browsing device, source code and blueprints has been stopped in its tracks.

Through Twitter, Rhino Labs said “Effective immediately, we are halting further dev on Proxyham and will not be releasing any further details or source for the device.”

Caudill will no longer be hosting a talk at Defcon on the device, whistleblowers and the challenge of being anonymous online and no one is saying why.

I could be because the outfit has secretly flogged it to another party. However, this was quickly quashed by the security firm, which said they “can’t go into any further details” on either the research or cancelled talk.

What is more likely is that it has received a National Security Letter which would also act as a gagging order.