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Published: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 01:10:37 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 01:10:37 -0800

 



LinkedIn will help people in India train for semi-skilled jobs

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:52:17 -0800

Microsoft has launched Project Sangam, a cloud service integrated with LinkedIn that will help train and generate employment for middle and low-skilled workers.

The professional network that was acquired by Microsoft in December has been generally associated with educated urban professionals but the company is now planning to extend its reach to semi-skilled people in India.

Having connected white-collared professionals around the world with the right job opportunities and training through LinkedIn Learning, the platform is now developing a new set of products that extends this service to low- and semi-skilled workers, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at an event on digital transformation in Mumbai on Wednesday.

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Microsoft seeks Indian customers with exclusive Skype Lite app

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:30:01 -0800

There’s a growing population of Skype users in India, and Microsoft wants to capitalize on that with the launch of Skype Lite, a new app that’s designed to be more useful in that market.

The app allows users to send and receive Skype messages, plus make video and audio calls to both users of the Lite version and the full version of Microsoft’s app. Skype Lite is supposed to be optimized for delivering a good experience over rough network conditions, which is key for India where high-speed cellular data is harder to come by.

Building a special app for India makes sense, as the country hosts a large and still growing smartphone market. Skype faces a crowded competitive landscape in the messaging market, which also includes Kik, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Telegram and a host of other competitors.

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UPS launches an autonomous drone from a delivery truck

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:30:12 -0800

On Monday, a UPS drone buzzed over fields in Lithia, Florida, to deliver a test package to a rural home.

It was launched from the roof of a modified UPS truck and automatically returned to the vehicle after making its drop-off. The idea is that the driver can continue along his or her route while the drone makes a delivery that would otherwise be out of the way. 

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Best Bluetooth speakers

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:19:00 -0800

Last updated February 21, 2017 to include our review of the Vizio SmartCast Crave 360.

There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.

But the industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we’ve picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and—yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers—price is no object.

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Redfin CTO says machine learning needs human help

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:02:46 -0800

Machine learning can automate the handling of huge troves of data to help companies make and save money. However, they’re not without pitfalls, as the real estate tech company Redfin learned.

As Redfin began building its own machine-learning capabilities, it ran into a problem: Employees weren't using them. Bridget Frey, the firm’s CTO, said in an interview that there was a key reason for that: At first, Redfin didn't leave room in these systems for the real estate agents who were supposed to use them to make modifications.

For example, a Listings Matchmaker feature generated a list of personalized recommendations for homebuyers, based on their interests. In its initial iteration, agents weren’t able to add recommendations they thought would be useful.

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75% off Brother P-Touch PT-D210 Label Maker - Deal Alert

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:05:00 -0800

The PT-D210 makes it easy to create great-looking labels for your home and office. With convenient one-touch keys, you can quickly access fonts, symbols, frames and templates. Plus, you can preview your work on the display. The highly rated unit is a #1 best-seller on Amazon, where it has been discounted 75%, for what will likely be a limited time. So instead of $40 you'll be paying just $10. See the deal now on Amazon.

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Steam Link Is 60% Off - Mirror Your Gaming Setup to TV at 1080p - Deal Alert

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:12:00 -0800

The Steam Link allows existing Steam gamers to expand the range of their current gaming set up via their home network. Just connect your Steam PC or Steam Machine to your home network, plug into a TV, and stream your games to the Link at 1080p. Video and audio data is sent from your computer to the Steam Link, while your controller input is sent back in real time. Virtually every game that your computer runs can be played on your TV. Steam Controller, Xbox One USB wired, Xbox 360 USB wired, Xbox 360 wireless, PS4, PS3 wired and Wii-U Pro controllers are compatible, as are many third-party Xbox controllers. Steam Link's typical price is $50, but right now you can get it on Amazon for just $20. See the significantly discounted Steam Link on Amazon.

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Best Buy has cut the MacBook Air's price tag to $800

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:21:00 -0800


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Everything we think we know about the LG G6

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:58:00 -0800

Update, 2/21/17: This post has been updated with a press release from LG about the the new camera’s capabilities.

With Mobile World Congress just around the corner, everyone is going to be on the lookout for the hottest new Android phone. This year that won’t be Samsung’s Galaxy S8, as the company has already announced that it won’t be bringing its flagship handset to Barcelona this year, so the attention will be squarely on LG and its G6.

Last year’s G5 made a splash for its quirky modular concept, but after disappointing sales (and an equally flat V20), LG will be looking to capitalize on Samsung’s absence with a major release that gives people a reason to buy one of its handsets again. And based on what we’re hearing, the new G6 might do just that.

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Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:52:33 -0800

The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks.

On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.

XXE vulnerabilities can be exploited by tricking applications to parse specially crafted XML files that would force the XML parser to disclose sensitive information such as files, directory listings, or even information about processes running on the server.

Klink showed that the same type of vulnerabilities can be used to trick the Java runtime to initiate FTP connections to remote servers by feeding it FTP URLs in the form of ftp://user:password@host:port/file.ext.

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Intel supercharges Atom chips with 16 cores and pro-level features

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:38:00 -0800

Intel’s Atom was mostly known as a low-end chip for mobile devices that underperformed. That may not be the case anymore.

The latest Atom C3000 chips announced on Tuesday have up to 16 cores and are more sophisticated than ever. The chips are made for storage arrays, networking equipment, and internet of things devices.

The new chips have features found mostly in server chips, including networking, virtualization, and error correction features.

Networking and storage devices don’t require a lot of horsepower, so the low-power Atom chips fit right in. Only a handful of Intel server chips have more than 16 cores, but the number of Atom cores means the chip can handle more streams of data.

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Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:01:00 -0800

It’s been a long time since there’s been any news about a premium Android tablet. What was once a burgeoning product category has fallen flat as high-end phones become bigger and more powerful, and most new tablets that have been released over the past year are either targeted at budget buyers or children. But with the Galaxy S8 delayed until the spring, Samsung has all but confirmed it will be bringing a new high-end tablet to Mobile World Congress this year.

And it looks to be a solid upgrade. The Galaxy Tab S2 has been on shelves since 2015, so Samsung has had a lot of time to think about what it wants from its flagship Android tablet. And while most people will probably still be talking about the Galaxy S8 teaser Samsung is expected to unveil at its MWC event, the Tab S3 isn’t a throwaway release.

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Don’t wait for 5G: LTE could be your key to IoT

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:56:09 -0800

One of the many whiz-bang features promised in 5G is a new way of connecting millions of small, low-powered IoT devices. But there's no need to wait: Two forms of LTE tuned for IoT have entered a market that's already heating up with rapidly expanding specialist networks.

The new standards, LTE-M and NB-IoT, were completed last year and will share the spotlight at Mobile World Congress next week with an array of network miracles envisioned for the next generation of cellular, due for commercial launches in 2020.

As major carriers now upgrade LTE to serve IoT applications, more companies are likely to find available LPWANs (low-power, wide-area networks) in the areas where they want to deploy IoT. The new technologies add to a list of options some enterprises can already buy. They're here just in time for enterprises to start comparing networks.

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LTE speeds outpace home internet with new Qualcomm and Intel modems

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:34:00 -0800

With every new generation of smartphone, LTE connections get faster. That’s because the devices have faster modems that can transfer data at unprecedented download speeds.

The top modem providers are Intel and Qualcomm, whose cellular chips are used in the iPhone. On Tuesday they both announced modems that will push LTE connections to speeds well over those of regular home internet connections.

Qualcomm unveiled the X20 LTE chipset, which can transfer data at speeds of up to 1.2Gbps. Intel announced the XMM 7560 LTE modem, which can download data at speeds of up to 1Gbps.

However, cellular networks aren’t yet designed to handle such fast speeds. One exception is Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, which has launched a gigabit LTE service for commercial use in that country.

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Facebook's latest Snapchat attack: WhatsApp status updates

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:27:00 -0800

As Snapchat prepares to go public with its hotly anticipated IPO, it already has a formidable foe. Facebook has been launching digital missiles at the image messaging app for years, building a copycat feature into Instagram, stickers and effects in Messenger, and even testing a Direct Share option for photos in Facebook itself. Now Snapchat has yet another Facebook-backed competitor, and it may prove to be the most formidable at all.

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, just announced that it is getting into the disappearing message game. WhatsApp is celebrating its eighth birthday by launching a complete revamp of its status feature, which helped catapult it to worldwide popularity. Where previously you could only customize it with clever text expressions, now you can share photos and videos as a status update, complete with funky filters and effects.

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Fingerprint scanning is coming to Chromebooks

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:17:00 -0800

Later this year, Chromebook owners with the appropriate hardware may be able to unlock their laptops with their fingerprint. Chrome Story recently spotted a new flag in Chrome OS Canary that discusses “Quick Unlock (Fingerprint).”

Mentions of fingerprint security features are also scattered throughout the changelog for Chrome OS 58.0.3007.0 that was released to the Dev Channel on February 14. Google routinely adds new features (or parts of them) to Dev Channel releases without fanfare. Hints of Google’s fingerprint plans for Chrome OS first surfaced last September.

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ARM buys Mistbase and NextG-Com to extend its reach in IoT

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:12:40 -0800

Chip designer ARM has a new strategy for the internet of things: to offer complete solutions "from application software to antenna."

ARM has typically left it to licensees of its microprocessor designs to add their own wide-area radio modems and other circuitry essential for the chips at the heart of smartphones and other connected devices. That's the case with Qualcomm, for example, which packages ARM's processor core with its own LTE modems to deliver the chips at the heart of Apple's iPhones.

But now ARM wants to deliver the whole stack itself, at least for low-power, low-bandwidth devices, ARM wireless business general manager Paul Williamson said in a blog post Tuesday.

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Verizon knocks $350 million off Yahoo deal after massive data breaches

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:35:00 -0800

Verizon Communications will pay $350 million less for Yahoo after two major data breaches reported by the struggling internet pioneer.

Verizon will pay about $4.48 billion for Yahoo’s operating business, and the two companies will share any potential legal and regulatory liabilities arising from two major data breaches announced in late 2016. The companies announced the amended terms of the deal Tuesday.

Back in October, one news report had Verizon seeking a $1 billion discount after the first breach was announced.

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Soon your Samsung Galaxy's fingerprint reader will unlock your Windows 10 PC

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:32:00 -0800

Samsung is telling Galaxy device users they’ll soon be able to use their phone’s fingerprint sensor to unlock nearly any Windows 10 PC.

The Samsung Flow app currently lets users unlock a Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 with the fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge and Edge+, Note 5, and A7 and A5 devices.

After the Windows 10 Creators Update, however, that login feature will expand to all Windows 10 PCs that have the hardware to support it, as first reported by SamMobile.

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Amazon Prime Members Get 20% off Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition For Xbox One - Deal Alert

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:15:00 -0800

For a limited time, if you're an Amazon Prime Member (or have a free trial -- get one here) you'll see the price drop an extra 20% on Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition for Xbox One. Price drop activates when you add it to your cart, and sinks the price from $79.88 to $63.99. Combining tactical combat with card-based strategy, your deck is your army in all new Blitz mode as you build collections of powerful Halo vehicles and troops and command those units in fast-action matches. See the discounted Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition on Amazon.

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Blizzard's ending Windows XP, Vista support for Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, and more games

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:12:00 -0800

Three years after Microsoft killed Windows XP for good, the rest of the tech world is ending its vigil for the venerated operating system. Even games that launched during the XP era are moving on, as over the weekend, Blizzard announced that its pantheon of PC-focused titles are dumping support for Windows XP and Vista.

“Starting later this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm,” Blizzard wrote in its forums. “Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions.”

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Intel's mobile future lies in blazing-fast modems as it buries Atom's failure

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:04:00 -0800

Apple’s iPhone has twice been linked to Intel’s mobile future. The chip maker bungled it up once, but is coming on strong the second time.

Intel passed on the opportunity to make chips for the first iPhone, and in May discontinued Atom smartphone chips after wasting billions trying to get them in handsets. The chip company instead started building a new mobile identity around its modems and wireless connectivity assets.

Intel’s had success, and some iPhone 7 smartphones are already using the chip maker’s modem. The company is now building faster modems, and carrying out trials for future 5G wireless networks.

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Intel takes on IoT complexity with carrier-approved boards

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:00:02 -0800

Getting cellular devices certified for carriers’ networks is an expensive, complicated process that’s even harder in the new field of IoT.

Smartphone and tablet makers have been dealing with certification for years, spending as much as US$1 million on the process for just one device, GlobalData analyst Avi Greengart says. It’s gotten harder as carriers add new frequency bands.

But at least phone makers have been through this before. When enterprises have new ideas about how to use the internet of things, and when manufacturers try to turn those ideas into reality, they're new to the process. Certification delays can hold up devices and IoT rollouts.

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Kubernetes is now generally available on Azure Container Service

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:00:02 -0800

Microsoft and Google don’t get along all that often, but they do agree on using Kubernetes for cloud container orchestration.

Kubernetes is generally available for use with Azure Container Service, Microsoft’s managed cloud container hosting offering, as of Tuesday. ACS support for Kubernetes comes along with the service’s existing support for the Apache Mesos-based DC/OS and Docker Swarm.

Containers provide an isolated, portable and consistent runtime for applications that’s particularly well-suited to deployment in a cloud environment. Orchestrators like Kubernetes help manage groups of containers. Many cloud providers like Microsoft offer services that help simplify the management of that whole system even further. ACS is one such service.

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Quickly scan your Gmail inbox with website favicons

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:00:00 -0800

There’s a neat little Chrome extension for Gmail that technology blogger Amit Agarwal recently released called Gmail Sender Icons. It adds a slight visual tweak to Gmail that makes it easier to see which company or website has sent you a message. The extension places a small tile before an email’s subject line with the favicon and name of the originating website.

Agarwal’s basic idea for the extension is to help differentiate between seeing an email from Bob Johnson from Microsoft and Bob Johnson from Acme Widgets. But there are other uses for it as well. If a scam email claiming to be from Twitter happens to get through Google’s filters, you should be able to see that it was actually from Scamwebsite.net and not Twitter.com.

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Windows 10's data-gathering changes don't satisfy European privacy watchdogs

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:56:00 -0800

European Union privacy watchdogs are still not happy with Windows 10’s gathering of data about its users, over a year after they first wrote to Microsoft to complain.

While the company has developed ways to give users more control over what data is collected, their consent to its collection cannot be valid without further explanation, according to the Article 29 Working Party, an umbrella body for the EU’s national privacy regulators.

The working party welcomed Microsoft’s introduction of five new options in Windows 10 to limit or switch off certain kinds of data processing, but said they provided insufficient information about their operation.

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This chip adds Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and smart device chops to maker boards and gadgets

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:53:00 -0800

One of Raspberry Pi’s weaknesses is a lack of wireless technologies, which limits its communications capabilities with other devices. One new chipset from Qualcomm could help fill that gap.

The QCA4020 chipset packs in Bluetooth Low Energy 5, ZigBee 3.0, WiFi 802.11n, and OpenThread wireless communications protocols.

The chipset is like a mini-developer board—an integrated chipset with an ARM-based CPU. It can be used to create smart home or industrial devices.

It can also serve as a wireless access point for Raspberry Pi and other developer boards used to make smart gadgets, drones, robots, and industrial devices. It has a number of connector protocols and can work with Arduino boards.

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The ultimate guide to increasing your Android phone's battery life

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:00:00 -0800

You don't need to buy a new phone to add hours to your battery. All you need is to flip a few switches and adjust your habits.


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6 gotta-know Spotify tips for Android and iOS

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 03:30:00 -0800

There’s more to the Spotify app for Android and iOS than simply streaming your favorite artists or Spotify’s premixed radio stations. Indeed, the Spotify mobile app is capable of some pretty clever tricks once you know what you’re doing.

For starters, it’s easy to download a Spotify radio mix to your phone for on-the-go playback without putting a dent in your monthly mobile data allowance—and indeed, you can set Spotify to stay offline completely, if the need arises. You can also tweak the quality of your audio streaming and music downloads, keep playing tunes even when your playlist is over, “crossfade” from one song to another, and more.

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Vizio SmartCast Crave 360 speaker review: Great features, but mediocre sound

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0800

Vizio is known for making great TVs that don’t cost all that much. Now the price-for-performance king is looking to disrupt the audio market in the same way, with a series of powered speakers that play music over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB media, and even hardwired ethernet. The SmartCast Crave 360 reviewed here is a good effort if you’re looking for something to play background music, but it doesn’t evoke the visceral excitement that audio enthusiasts crave.

As you’ve probably surmised from its name, you can “cast” audio from any mobile or computer app that supports Google’s Chromecast audio technology over your Wi-Fi network to any of the speakers in the SmartCast lineup. You can cast the same or different music to each speaker, but I didn’t get to test that aspect of Vizio’s offerings because the company sent only the Crave 360 for this review.

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