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Reports: Chromecast devices killing WiFi networks

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2018 20:24

Reports: Chromecast devices killing WiFi networks Users report that Google devices with the Cast features are causing network connectivity problems on their home WiFi networks.

Devices that seem to cause issues once connected to some networks include Chromecast and Google Home devices. The issue appears to affect some routers from ASUS, Linksys, Netgear, Synology and TP-Link. It appears that the issue is due to the devices flooding the router with data packets when recovering from a sleep state.

TP-Link linked the problem to MDNS multicast discovery packets. Under normal circumstances, these packets normally sent in a 20-second interval, but TP-Link determined the devices will sometimes broadcast a large amount of these packets at a very high speed in a short amount of time.

This occurs when the device is awakened from its "sleep" state, and could exceed more than 100,000 packets. The longer your device is in "sleep", the larger this packet burst will be.

TP-Link has issued some firmware updates for affected devices, which you can find here. Mean while, Google is also looking for a solution to the problem which it says affects only a small number of users.

(via: Engadget)




AfterDawn: News

This how much Meltdown and Spectre fixes slow down your computer

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2018 13:29

This how much Meltdown and Spectre fixes slow down your computer As companies are trying to recover from what were, and still are, perhaps the most severe CPU bugs in the history of the computer, people are wondering how exactly does this affect them.

Both manufacturers and platform developers have been patching the problems Spectre and Meltdown entail, to the extent that they can be prevented, but there's one new problem that appears after you've patched your system.

See, Microsoft talked recently about how the software patches might make your computer slow down a little bit, and Intel seems to agree. The world's largest CPU manufacturer has released test results on how much you can expect slowing down after the patch.

On Windows 10 machines the overall office productivity performance declines around 5 to 10 percent on Intel's Core chips. The exact percentage depends on many factors including, but not limited to, generation of the CPU, the version of Windows, as well as even the computation type.

On Skylake CPUs, that's the 6th generation of Core chips released couple years ago, the drop is around 8 percent while newer 8th generation chips (Kaby and Coffee Lake) slow down less than 6 percent. Mostly the slowdown was reported in the responsiveness section, which took a hit of up to 14%. The office productivity tests were done with SYSmark 2014 SE.

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp exploit found, allows snooping private group chats

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2018 12:53

WhatsApp exploit found, allows snooping private group chats WhatsApp became quickly the world's largest instant messaging platform, and for a good reason. The company has offered early on such important features as end-to-end encryption.

Security features are near and dear to WhatsApp's heart, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have any problems. Facebook owned messaging platform has been hacked by a group of researchers that say they've found a way to join seemingly private conversations, Wired reports.

The researchers from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany showcased their finding at the Real World Crypto security conference held in Switzerland. At the Zurich conference, German cryptography researchers explained how a person breaching into WhatsApp servers could add new members to group chats without the administrators approval as is the case normally.

The chat room members, however, see this new member as approved by the administrator, and he can see the encrypted conversations between all group members. According to the researchers this will not allow the newly, and fraudulently, added member to see previously sent messages.

Fortunately the exploit does require access to WhatsApp servers, which isn't exactly the easiest task. One could also expect more harm from access to WhatsApp's servers than snooping local crochet club's trending patterns.

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AfterDawn: News

No Galaxy S9 at CES, Samsung to unveil new flagship next month

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2018 12:10

No Galaxy S9 at CES, Samsung to unveil new flagship next month While many of the leading smartphone manufacturers were on the show floor of the Consumer Electronics Show of 2018 in Las Vegas, not a lot of new top products were launched. Year after year, CES has become less of a mobile trade show as MWC and independent releases are getting more popular.

However, just so happens that many of the biggest smartphone manufacturers develop also other consumers electronics, and that of course includes Samsung. Even though rumors had it that Samsung was going to release the newest iteration of Galaxy S line earlier this year, we didn't see a Galaxy S9 at CES.

This isn't completely unexpected and at least we heard from the head of Samsung mobile division DJ Koh, who revealed that the unveiling of Galaxy S9 is imminent. Like last year, Samsung is going to announce new Galaxy S flagship phones at Mobile World Congress, or MWC for short, late next month.

While Samsung seems to be fairly open about their launch schedule, a somewhat unorthodox approach, they haven't revealed the shipping dates. However, if previous years are any indication, and they usually are, one can expect to see the new Galaxy S9, and probably Galaxy S9+, to hit the stores in March.

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AfterDawn: News

AT&T backs away from a Huawei deal because of fears of Chinese spying

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2018 9:10

AT&T backs away from a Huawei deal because of fears of Chinese spying Huawei is the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer, right behind Apple and Samsung. In fact, it even surpassed Apple in the second quarter last year. However, it is not a popular brand in the U.S., and there are a few hurdles before it'll succeed here, at least if AT&T are concerned.

America's second largest mobile carrier, AT&T, has just backed out from a deal with Huawei, Wall Street Journal reports. According to reports, the Chinese manufacturer was ready to unveil the partnership with AT&T at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas this week.

Instead, AT&T cancelled last minute which left Huawei at the trade show just showing off their Mate 10 Pro (pictured) flagship without a major announcement. Huawei's press conference was held and the company still announced Mate 10 Pro availability in the US but without the help of AT&T or any other carriers for that matter.

Neither of the companies have commented on reasons why AT&T backed out but reports say that it was due to data security concerns that have loomed over Chinese manufacturers.

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AfterDawn: News

Remember Kodak? Yes, the cryptocurrency company

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Jan 2018 14:45

Remember Kodak? Yes, the cryptocurrency company Many of you probably remember Kodak as the savior of your scuba diving trip with their disposable cameras. Or perhaps you've owned one the company's less iconic cameras. The company has a long history in cameras, but it's been closing in on bankruptcy for years.

Now, they've decided to take a bit of a detour from cameras and announced their own cryptocurrency.

Yeah, didn't expect that, did you? Except for the headline for the story, no one would have expected that. Unless you look at the current climate surrounding the blockchain technology and more specifically cryptocurrency.

Everyone seems to be chiming in and wants to get a piece of that action, whatever it will be worth in a few years. Now that Kodak's old technology and patents have largely been sold to the highest bidders, the company is trying to revive itself as a new type of company.

It still does, however, see itself very much in the photography space, so their new blockchain based platform KodakOne is meant for the photographers and media agencies. The KodakOne uses a proprietary cryptocurrency, I guess you could call it altcoin, called KodakCoin. So essentially you can buy and sell rights to use photos for KodakCoins.

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AfterDawn: News

First in-screen fingerprint sensor announced in a smartphone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Jan 2018 12:21

First in-screen fingerprint sensor announced in a smartphone Fingerprint sensors are one of the best ways to authenticate in a smartphone, and in recent years they've become a staple that provides fast, secure and efficient way to unlock your device. However, in the past year or so, smartphone manufacturers have adopted a new type of technology that has made it harder to deploy a fingerprint reader in the phone.

Bezeless displays are have been the craze ever since people fell in love with the original Xiaomi Mi Mix. Now Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, Huawei, OnePlus, and others have their own nearly bezeless flagship phones. That means that you've had to move your fingerprint sensor from the front, where many like it the best, to the back, or, as is the iPhone X's case, remove it completely.

However, maybe you prefer fingerprint sensor over even a state-of-the-art face unlocking like Face ID, and you definitely want it in the front because you need to unlock the phone a billion times a day while it's laying on the desk, and you still want a huge display that takes up nearly all the room from the front face of the phone.

Well, Chinese manufacturers showed a prototype of an in-screen fingerprint sensor even before the iPhone was out, but it was slow and not really where it needed to be to hit the markets. Last month, though, Synaptics, the company behind many of your laptop's trackpads and other input devices, unveiled an in-screen fingerprint sensor called the Clear ID (pictured). It promised a top tier manufacturer to showcase it at CES 2018.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung showed off their 146-incher at CES

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Jan 2018 11:45

Samsung showed off their 146-incher at CES The Consumer Electronics Show, perhaps more commonly known as CES, started in Las Vegas earlier this week, and electronics manufacturers have been showing off their most impressive new, upcoming, or often even concept products.

As expected, many of these are TVs, as CES is the TV trade show. While LG showed their OLED display that bends, which isn't anything new really albeit bigger and better, Samsung decided to focus on size.

Samsung's top of the line TV is called The Wall. The Wall is a modular television that dwarfs anything else on the show floor. The diagonal size of this behemoth of a TV is 146 inches. That is something you would only expect from a projected screen.

Because it is modular you can actually make it even bigger by connecting more displays into it. Makes sense to call it The Wall, doesn't it?

While the conference is dubbed Consumer Electronics Show, this piece of equipment probably doesn't land on many walls of traditional consumers. It might, however, be a for high-end solution in larger public events.

According to Samsung the TV uses what they call MicroLEDs. These smaller than normal LEDs provide the background lighting separately for each pixel, unlike in traditional LED backlit LCD TVs. This means that it offers excellent contrast, not unlike OLED panels, because you can turn off individual pixels with the backlight.

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AfterDawn: News

Wi-Fi is getting way more secure, thanks to WPA3

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2018 22:20

Wi-Fi is getting way more secure, thanks to WPA3 Wireless local area networks (WLAN) are going to get much, much more safe in the near future. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the new WPA3 standard for Wi-Fi was introduced.

WPA2 has been in use since 2004 and has been found to be less than optimal for the safety needs of modern Wi-Fi users. The largest differences between WPA2 and WPA3 are in open network security. Currently in an open Wi-Fi network the connections between devices are not protected in any way, and thus listening and manipulating traffic is very easy.

WPA3, however, introduces a specification for device specific encyption, which means that even if the network can be accessed without passwords you'll be able to securely transmit data without worrying about interception by other devices.

The new standard also includes a feature which allows network operator to deny access from a device to a network when the password has been guessed wrong multiple times. This protects against the so-called brute force attacks.

Wi-Fi Alliance expects the WPA3 standard to be released later this year.




AfterDawn: News

Intel reveals a breakthrough in quantum computing

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2018 14:45

Intel reveals a breakthrough in quantum computing While Intel has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, perhaps excluding the collaboration with a long time rival AMD, to open up Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas they unveiled a technological breakthrough in quantum computing that hopefully shifts the focus.

The new 49-Qubit quantum chip is called Tangle Lake, and promises leaps in superconducting computing. Intel calls the new chip a major breakthrough and according to the company it truly starts quantum computing era. This even though we've seen 128-Qubit systems from a Canadian quantum computing company D-Wave Systems years ago.

The 125-Qubit D-Wave, originally unveiled in 2015, has since been surpassed by D-Wave 2X quantum computer that offers processing powers in the 1000-Qubit range.

Intel's breakthroughs are obviously still a big news in the space, after all, it is the largest CPU manufacturer in the world. Tangle Lake, as well as other quantum computing endeavors by Intel come from their Netherlands unit.

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AfterDawn: News

Project Linda turns your Razer Phone into a Razer laptop

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2018 9:23

Project Linda turns your Razer Phone into a Razer laptop For years manufacturers have tried to bridge the gap between a smartphone and a computer by introducing proprietary docking technologies. You might remember Microsoft's effort with Windows 10 phones and computers or Samsung's DeX with their Android phones.

Obviously there have been others, and there will be more that try to breath life into a fantasy many of us are looking forwards to. The newest addition to the group is the gaming focused manufacturer Razer, who've shown off their concept at CES.

Razer's Project Linda is still, as mentioned, just a concept, but it is a seemingly well built and largely market-ready product. It's a Razer Blade-like laptop shell that needs the company's Android phone to power up.

You dock the Razer Phone in the slot situated at the track pad, and as you might imagine the phone's display serves as one. You also use the phone's fingerprint sensor to authenticate and even the dual front-facing speakers because the laptop has no built-in speakers.

Project Linda laptop includes a 13.3 inch 120Hz QHD display with touch capabilities, 53.6 watt battery, 200 gigabytes of storage, USB-A and USB-C connections, a 720p webcam, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack that is missing from the phone.

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AfterDawn: News

Intel and AMD finally revealed their collaborative chip

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2018 9:09

Intel and AMD finally revealed their collaborative chip The long standing rivals of the processor space, Intel and AMD, announced late last year that they would be doing a collaborative effort which would end in a new kind of chip that would include Intel's CPU prowess and AMD's graphics chips.

Now the chip medley has been officially announced, and it's called the Intel 8th Generation Core with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics – a mouthful, right?

Technically the CPU is an H series processor in terms of power consumption but Intel has created a new G series for the Vega powered chip. The G series can include processors with a TDP up to 100 watts, so they fit snuggly between desktop and mobile processors.

The 100-watt versions of newly announced G series processors include Core i7-8809G and Core i7-8709G while lower prowered 65-watt ones are called Core i7-8705G and Core i5-8305G.

All the CPUs have four Kaby Lake cores that run at around 3 GHz with a Turbo of approximately 4 GHz. AMD developed GPU features 24 computing units in 100-watt models and the lower-powered models have 20. Only the highest end 8809G is specced for overclocking.

To showcase how the new processors are optimally used, Intel announced a reference product called Hades Canyon (pictured). The NUC (Next Unit of Computing) form factor computer is a mini PC that has the power to run VR applications in addition to fulfilling other home entertainment needs.




AfterDawn: News

HP recalls notebook, mobile workstation batteries over safety concerns

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Jan 2018 6:41

HP recalls notebook, mobile workstation batteries over safety concerns HP is recalling batteries for some notebook or mobile workstation products after numerous reports of overheating, property damage and a burn injury.

It estimates that about 50,000 batteries are involved, sold with products between December 2015 and December 2017. HP received eight reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500 with one report of a minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand.

The batteries were shipped with or sold as accessories for HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series), HPx360 310 G2, HP Envy m6, HP Pavilion x360, HP 11, HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) Mobile Workstations.

HP is providing battery replacement services by an authorized technician at no cost. Additionally, HP is also providing a BIOS update that places the battery in "Battery Safety Mode" so that the notebook or workstation can be safely used without the battery by connecting to an HP power adaptor.

If the validation process identifies a battery as being eligible for replacement, the BIOS update should be applied and the system should be rebooted. During the reboot process, an option will be presented to enable Battery Safety Mode.

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon to seek Premier League streaming rights

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Jan 2018 6:29

Amazon to seek Premier League streaming rights Amazon is reportedly set to bid for a Premier League streaming rights package next month, to bring English Premier League matches to Amazon Prime customers.

It had been expected that a digital player would jump in and compete for streaming rights for Premier League football matches at auction. Sky and BT Sports dominated the previous auction in 2015, which generated more than £5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) in revenue for the Premier League.

Amazon views the acquisition of more sports content as a way to boost subscribers to its Prime service. It tells investors that the service also tends to produce more loyal shoppers overall than non-Prime customers.

One of its more recent exclusive features is a documentary series about Manchester City football club, which is currently leading the Premier League division at just over half way through the season.

Ed Woodward, chief executive officer of Manchester United, had previously hinted to shareholders that he expected to see digital giants come in and compete against the traditional broadcasters to bid on match packages, which will range from 32 matches to 20 matches.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple: All Mac and iOS devices affected by CPU flaws

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Jan 2018 3:21

Apple: All Mac and iOS devices affected by CPU flaws Apple has confirmed that its Mac and iOS devices are affected by CPU flaws disclosed this week, and that it is patching to mitigate the threat.

Apple confirmed on its tech support website that all Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. The Cupertino giant has already issued fixes to address the threat of Meltdown, specifically iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2.

Apple Watch is not affected by Meltdown.

Spectre is a potential threat for Mac and iOS devices but requires a malicious app (or a benign app acting maliciously) to exploit the flaw successfully. For that reason, Apple stresses that customers should only acquire apps from trusted sources.

There are other ways for Spectre to be exploited in Apple devices however, with the most obvious being a malicious webpage opened in the Safari browser. To address this possibility, Apple has pledged to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre.

Meltdown and Spectre affect almost all CPUs sold in consumer devices for a couple of decades.

Read More: Meltdown & Spectre: Serious CPU bugs affect Desktops, Servers and Smartphones





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