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Intel, Microsoft, Google Scramble for Solutions as Patches Slow Systems
January 12, 2018
Major tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft and Google, scrambled to calm the mood this week after a large number of computer users reported performance problems linked to security updates for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. A firestorm of criticism has erupted over the response to the chip flaws, which researchers at Google's Project Zero discovered in 2016.
Ominous Processor Vulnerabilities Could Put Most Computers at Risk
January 4, 2018
Nearly a dozen cybersecurity researchers this week reported two potentially serious exploits of vulnerabilities that exist in most modern processors. Three teams independently discovered and reported the Meltdown exploit. Two teams independently discovered and reported the Spectre exploit. The Meltdown and Spectre exploits could used to capture sensitive information on devices.
Massive Intel Chip Security Flaw Threatens Computers
January 3, 2018
A design flaw in all Intel chips produced in the last decade is responsible for a vulnerability that puts Linux, Windows and macOS-powered computers at risk, according to multiple press reports. The flaw reportedly is in the kernel that controls the chip performance, allowing commonly used programs to access the contents and layout of a computer's protected kernel memory areas.
Creatives Not Likely to Blanch at iMac Pro's $5K Price
December 13, 2017
Apple will release a professional version of its all-in-one iMac desktop computer with a $5,000 price tag on Thursday. Up to now, all-in-one computers in general and iMacs in particular have been seen as stylish offerings for home and family, but Apple has changed that in a big way with the iMac Pro. Apple has given the Pro workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O -- all without increasing the size of the iMac.
The Tech Wars of 2018
December 11, 2017
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.
Qualcomm Unveils Powerful New Snapdragon SoC
December 8, 2017
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, an SoC built for immersive multimedia experiences including extended reality, on-device AI and high-speed connectivity. The SoC will power next-generation Android flagship smartphones and Windows 10 notebooks based on ARM architecture. Xiaomi reportedly will use it in its forthcoming Mi 7 flagship, to be released next year.
IBM Adds 2 New Processors to Quantum Computing Ecosystem
November 13, 2017
IBM on Friday announced 20-qubit and 50-qubit quantum processors for its IBM Q early-access commercial systems. The 20-qubit processor -- featuring improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity and packaging -- has coherence times of 90 microseconds, which allows high-fidelity quantum operations, IBM said. The 50-qubit processor is an operational prototype.
Nvidia Containerizes GPU-Accelerated Deep Learning
November 7, 2017
We often talk about hybrid cloud business models, but virtually always in the context of traditional processor-bound applications. What if deep learning developers and service operators could run their GPU-accelerated model training or inference delivery service anywhere they wanted? What if they could do so without having to worry about which Nvidia graphics processor unit they were using?
Microsoft Unveils Power-Packed Surface Book 2
October 17, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Surface Book 2, positioning it as the laptop of the future. The device is powerful enough for the next wave of computing, characterized by mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and immersive gaming, said Microsoft Devices Corporate Vice President Panos Panay. Integration between the Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud has been improved.
Innovation Requires Market Enablement
September 26, 2017
In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.
Apple's Worthy iPhone 8 Models May Languish in X's Shadow
September 20, 2017
Reviews of Apple's new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been laudatory. However, the reviewers can't seem to get their minds off the jewel of the Apple universe, the iPhone X. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are "awesome" and better than last year's models -- but iPhone shoppers who want to be part of the future will save their money and buy an iPhone X later in the year, suggested reviewer David Pierce.
Apple Unveils Highly Secure, High-Priced iPhones
September 12, 2017
Apple has made its long-awaited iPhone splash, accompanied by announcements of major upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV. The company launched two new generations of mobile phones -- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X -- with enhancements in photography and device security in all models. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are built for durability with a new glass back design.
SIGGRAPH 2017: Virtual Reality Is Alive and Flourishing
September 1, 2017
The SIGGRAPH conference is a year event that focuses on the latest in computer graphics and other interactive arts. It is a multidiscipline show, mixing computer imaging with other physical creations. It is also a crossroads for the film, video game, commercial, research and education industries. It has a forward-looking vision while celebrating the recent and not-so-recent past.
Microsoft Unveils Real-Time AI for Azure
August 25, 2017
Microsoft has unveiled a new deep learning acceleration platform designed for real-time AI, codenamed "Project Brainwave." The platform has three main layers: a high-performance, distributed system architecture; a hardware deep neural network engine synthesized onto field programmable gate arrays; and a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models.
It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
Microsoft Adds AI to HoloLens Silicon
July 25, 2017
The next version of Microsoft's HoloLens may be better at navigating reality than the current version of the mixed-reality headset, thanks to a new coprocessor the company announced Sunday. The second version of HoloLens' custom multiprocessor -- called a "holographic processing unit," or HPU -- will incorporate artificial intelligence technology, Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.
The Max-Q: The Coolest Thing Out of Computex
June 5, 2017
I didn't attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market.
PCs Shine Again, but for How Long?
June 1, 2017
Just when PCs looked to be dying a slow, painful death, they became interesting again. As expected, this week's news coming from Computex is flush with new PCs and PC technologies, but is it enough to reinvigorate a market that has faced declining sales since 2011? The market peaked at just over 365 million units annually, and fell to 269 million units last year. So, why all the excitement?
Nvidia Is Off to the Autonomous Car Races
May 20, 2017
Nvidia recently announced that Toyota will use its Drive PX AI car computer platform for advanced autonomous vehicles slated for introduction over the next few years. Nvidia is combining breakthroughs in AI and high-performance computing to build Nvidia Drive PX, the brain of the autonomous car, said CEO Jensen Huang at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference earlier this month.
Google Pushes AI, Machine Learning to the Front
May 18, 2017
Addressing thousands of developers at the annual Google I/O conference on Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlined the company's new strategy to transition from mobile first to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The goal is to equip the company's line of digital assistant products and services to anticipate the needs of users, and comprehend sights and sounds in new ways.
HPE Unveils Huge Single-Memory Computer Prototype
May 17, 2017
HPE on Tuesday introduced the world's largest single-memory computer as part of The Machine, its research project into memory-driven computing. The computer has 160 T-bytes of memory, and HPE expects the architecture to allow memory to scale up to 4.096 yottabytes. The memory is spread across 40 physical nodes that are interconnected using a high-performance fabric protocol.
Nvidia Embraces Deep Neural Nets With Volta
May 12, 2017
At this year's GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia's premier conference for technical computing with graphic processors, the company reserved the top keynote for its CEO Jensen Huang. Over the years, the GTC conference went from a segment in a larger, mostly gaming-oriented and somewhat scattershot conference called "nVision" to become one of the key conferences that mixes academic and commercial high-performance computing.
Flaw in Intel Chips Could Open Door to Botnet Armies
May 9, 2017
A 7-year-old flaw in Intel chips could enable hijackers to gain total control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes. The Intel AMT vulnerability is the first of its kind, according to Embedi, which released technical details about it last week. Attackers could exploit the flaw to get full control over business computers, even those turned off but plugged into an outlet.
Qualcomm May Seek iPhone Ban to Retaliate Against Apple
May 5, 2017
Qualcomm plans to ask the ITC to block imports of iPhones, according to a report. The move apparently was spurred by Apple's recent decision to stop making royalty payments owed under a licensing agreement between the two companies, which is the subject of a billion-dollar legal battle in federal court. "You can't pay something when there's a dispute about the amount," Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Qualcomm Answers Apple's $1B Lawsuit, Files Counterclaims
April 12, 2017
Qualcomm on Monday fired back with a response and counterclaim to Apple's $1 billion federal patent suit filed earlier this year. Apple breached agreements and encouraged regulatory attacks in a scheme to coerce unfair licensing terms, Qualcomm claimed. Apple's suit argues that Qualcomm used its dominant position in semiconductors to force it to pay billions in unfair additional royalty payments.
Imagination's Picture Bleak After Apple Cuts It Loose
April 4, 2017
Imagination on Monday announced that Apple would no longer use its intellectual property, and the company's stock sank faster than a bottomless boat on the news. Apple planned to discontinue its use of the company's IP in new products in 15 months to two years, ending the companies' license and royalty agreement, Imagination said. Those royalties account for about half the company's revenue.
Intel Bets $15.3B on Mobileye's Self-Driving Car Tech
March 14, 2017
Intel has agreed to acquire Mobileye, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology, for $15.3 billion. Intel will integrate Mobileye's computer vision and mapping technology for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles into its Automated Driving Group, to be led by MobileEye CTO Amnon Shashua. Intel SVP Doug Davis will oversee engagement across various Intel groups, and report directly to Shashua.
Nvidia's GeForce 1080 Ti Raises Graphical Chip Bar Yet Again
March 10, 2017
The first reviews of the newly released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti came out on Thursday, and by all accounts this card has performed beyond expectations. Nvidia's new GPU can perform 35 percent faster than its GTX 1080, the company has claimed. Based on Nvidia's Pascal architecture, this flagship gaming GPU includes next-gen 11-Gbps GDDR5X memory, and an 11-GB frame buffer.
Qualcomm, Microsoft to Give Cloud Services a Speed Boost
March 9, 2017
Qualcomm has announced a collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate next-generation cloud services on the 10nm Qualcomm Centriq 2400 ARM-based platform. The collaboration will span multiple future generations of hardware, software and systems. The two have been working for several years on ARM-based server enablement, optimizing a version of Windows Server for ARM running on the Centriq 2400.
Toshiba Plunges on Massive Nuclear Writedown, Earnings Delay
February 15, 2017
Toshiba shares fell 8 percent on Tuesday as the company took a $6.3 billion writedown related to its struggling nuclear power business and delayed the release of its fiscal Q3 earnings. Shigenori Shiga, Toshiba's chairman and representative executive officer, resigned effective Wednesday. His resignation in part reflects management taking responsibility for the Westinghouse fiasco.
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Of the following CES 2018 crowd pleasers, which do you consider the most important or desirable new tech?
Google Assistant -- voice-activated AI on displays everywhere
Helite's Hip'Air - a hip-protecting airbag belt for seniors
HTC Vive Pro - a VR headset with way better resolution and sound
Samsung's 'The Wall' - a modular TV with MicroLED for consumers
Sony's Aibo -- a lovable AI-powered robotic pet dog
Toyota's e-Palette -- a self-driving van for deliveries and more