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Samsung ends Intel's 2-decade-plus reign in microchips

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 01:05:00 UT

Manufacturers are packing more and more memory storage capacity into ever smaller mobile gadgets, as increased use of mobile applications, connected devices and cloud computing services drive up demand and consequently prices for memory chips, an area dominated by Samsung. Just as Saudi Arabia dominates in oil output, Samsung leads in manufacturing the high-tech commodity of memory chips, which enable the world to store the data that fuels the digital economy. "Greater use of smartphones and tablet PCs instead of computers is driving the rise of companies like Samsung," Chung said. Since 2002, Samsung Electronics has been the largest supplier of memory chips, called DRAMs and NANDs. Tight supplies coupled with rock solid demand have pushed prices of memory chips higher, with average selling prices of DRAMs and flash memory chips doubling over the past year, bringing South Korea's memory chip makers record wide profit margins. Not just tech companies but also transport, retail, tourism, food and other industries are seeking ways to better use or manage data, to gain insights on trends or customer preferences and otherwise make money from "big data."



Apple kills iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle as music moves to phones

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 23:35:29 UT

Apple kills iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle as music moves to phones The company discontinued sales of the two music players Thursday in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones. Apple has long predicted iPods would gradually fade away as more people bought iPhones or other smartphones capable of playing music.



Rust Belt Wisconsin looks to fill high-skill jobs at Foxconn

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 23:34:18 UT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Rust Belt state that built a manufacturing legacy through assembly-line jobs will have to quickly transition to a more highly skilled workforce now that Foxconn has selected Wisconsin as the site of its coveted U.S. electronics plant. Foxconn has not said what type of jobs it will offer in order to produce liquid-crystal display panels that are used in televisions and computer screens. [...] the average salary for the jobs will be nearly $54,000, suggesting some of the higher-end positions will be engineers, software developers and people proficient in computer-assisted design, Still said. Walker said part of wooing Foxconn to Wisconsin included meetings with chancellors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Milwaukee and the president of Gateway Technical College to talk about training opportunities so graduates would be prepared to work at the plant. The incentive package, which lawmakers could take up in a special session next month, will be pro-rated on how many jobs the company creates and how much it spends. Walker and other state officials have said the trade-off for the incentives will pay off in the long run, noting that Foxconn's presence will create thousands of other jobs through the hundreds of suppliers it will rely on for materials.



Intel's 2Q results top analyst views, lifting stock

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:38:37 UT

(AP) — Intel Corp. more than doubled its second-quarter profit as sales of its personal computer chips strengthened and the company made further inroads in promising new areas of technology. Sales in Intel's division that includes personal computer chips posted revenue of $8.2 billion, up 12 percent from last year's second-quarter. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company's efforts to expand into product lines catering to the still-developing fields of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars are also gaining momentum.



Inmates at SoCal jail capture their escape on smartphone

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:17:13 UT

In an age when everything else is captured for public consumption on a smartphone, why not your own jailbreak? Inmates who broke out of the maximum-security wing of a Southern California jail last year did just that with a smuggled cellphone and through an attorney released it to the public Wednesday, complete with glossy voiceover from one of the convicts.




Forbes: Amazon CEO Bezos was briefly the world's richest man

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:57:46 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly became the world's richest man Thursday in Forbes magazine's tracking of wealth, as stock in his e-commerce company hit an all-time high. According to securities filings, Bezos owns about 80 million shares, or 17 percent; those shares were valued at more than $87 billion at the peak. Bezos issued a request for philanthropic ideas in a tweet in June, just before Amazon announced a $13.7 billion deal for organic grocer Whole Foods. Shares fell another 2 percent in after-markets trading as the company missed Wall Street's expectations on profit. Olsavsky said he expects Whole Foods will complement Amazon's other channels for selling groceries, including AmazonFresh deliveries and an experimental Go convenience store in Seattle.



Nokia reports loss, warns of decline in networks industry

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:20:56 UT

HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia continued to be hit by a decline in its core networks sector in the second quarter with almost flat sales, and cautioned Thursday that a weakening in networks would be greater than previously expected. In May, Nokia signed a patent license and business collaboration agreement with Apple, settling all litigation between the companies, which helped the second-quarter earnings from technology patents grew by 90 percent to 175 million euros, which Suri described as an "excellent performance."



Why you still can't ditch your cable box

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:23:25 UT

The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete. In 2015, tech companies and consumer advocates were pushing the Federal Communications Commission to open up the cable-box market. The industry has little motivation to get rid of rented cable boxes or to keep its promises without pressure from regulators, said John Bergmayer, senior counsel of the public advocacy group Public Knowledge, in a filing to the FCC. When the app was requested in New York City, a customer service rep pushed a more expensive traditional "triple play" TV, internet and phone package instead. Separately, in 2015, Comcast launched a box-free cable service in Boston called Stream, designed for phones, tablets and computers and aimed at younger users. Stream remains limited to Boston and Chicago, although Comcast said Wednesday that it's going to roll out a revamp, "Instant TV," aimed at digital users, in the second half of the year. The company says net neutrality rules and regulators under the Obama administration hindered Stream's rollout. Even without these apps made broadly available, Comcast has been able to draw video customers via its upgraded cable-box system, X1, which has integrated Netflix and is expected to add YouTube. Revenue from the internet arm could get a further boost if Trump's FCC rolls back net neutrality rules, as expected.



Apple ordered to pay $506M in Wisconsin patent infringement

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 16:29:33 UT

(AP) — A judge has ordered computer-maker Apple Inc. to pay more than $506 million in a patent infringement case brought by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation after the two sides agreed on final damages. A jury in 2015 found Apple infringed on a patent held by the foundation, which supports research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Greek police see leads in money laundering suspect's phone

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 16:13:52 UT

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A cellphone seized during the arrest of a Russian man the U.S. wants extradited for allegedly laundering vast sums through bitcoin transactions should provide key data for the investigation, Greek police said Thursday. Thessaloniki security police chief Avraam Aivazidis told The Associated Press that officers who arrested the suspect at a hotel near Ouranoupolis — next to the all-male monastic community of Mount Athos — grabbed his cellphone before he could lock it, ensuring vital data were not lost. A Department of Justice statement said Vinnik has been indicted by a grand jury in the Northern District of California, on charges including money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. According to the indictment, Vinnik allegedly received funds from a major hacking attack on the Mt.



Why Twitter won't ban President Donald Trump

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:55:57 UT

The president's tweets draw attention to the struggling service, even if tweets mocking reporters and rivals undercut Twitter's stated commitment to make the service a welcoming place. Calls to ban Trump from Twitter, largely by liberal activists, writers and Twitter users, sounded even before he became president. Groups such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned the video as a threat against journalists (a White House aide said at the time that the tweet should not be seen as a threat). [...] CEO Jack Dorsey told NBC in May that it's "really important to hear directly from leadership" to hold people accountable and have conversations out in the open, not behind closed doors. Emma Llanso, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's Free Expression Project, said Trump's tweets are "very clearly politically relevant speech" and are even being cited in court cases challenging the president's policies. [...] a U.S. appeals court used Trump's tweets in June to block his travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Comedian Dana Goldberg, who says she has been blocked by the president but is not part of the lawsuit, likened it to him "giving the State of the Union and blocking out the TV sets of people who voted for (Hillary) Clinton."



Samsung soars, sidestepping jailing of chief, Note 7 fiasco

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:08:05 UT

After a tumultuous year of surreal corruption scandals involving exotic horses and the jailed billionaire scion and one of the most embarrassing recalls in the consumer electronics history, Samsung stunned investors with another improbable record: the South Korean tech giant may have earned more than Apple and ended Intel's quarter century dominance in the semiconductor industry. Seemingly invincible Samsung Electronics appears set to log record annual profit this year as exploding use of data in mobile devices and the "memory supercycle" help it surmount the jailing of its de facto leader and sidestep losses from its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7s. While Lee and Park battle allegations of bribery and other charges, Samsung is thriving thanks to tiny microchips called DRAM and NAND memory chips, which are needed to store and process data in servers and mobile devices. Memory chip prices have soared thanks to tight supply conditions, bringing unprecedented profitability to both Samsung and South Korea's No. 2 chip manufacturer, SK Hynix. The Galaxy S8 series of smartphones recorded higher sales than their predecessors, helping the company's mobile business rebound from last year's crisis over Galaxy Note 7s that had to be recalled and eventually discontinued because they tended to overheat or catch fire.



Amazon and Foxconn reflect a growing trend: Deliver it now

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:16:21 UT

Amazon's plans to add 50,000 jobs at a dozen warehouses across the United States and Foxconn's decision to build a $10 billion plant and hire up to 13,000 workers in Wisconsin aren't just feel-good stories of job creation. [...] President Donald Trump took the opportunity to take some credit Wednesday for the Foxconn announcement, saying it "definitely" happened because of his election and his pursuit of tax and regulatory cuts. For Taiwan-based Foxconn, building a factory in Wisconsin brings it closer to U.S. buyers of its liquid-crystal display panels, which are used in televisions, computer screens and automotive dashboards. For years, the United States has lost factory jobs as manufacturing moved to low-wage countries, especially China. The Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit set up to restore American factory jobs, says that last year, for the first time in decades, the number of manufacturing jobs created by U.S. companies that moved operations back to the United States and by foreign companies investing in America exceeded the jobs lost by U.S. companies moving abroad. [...] manufacturers more and more worry that supply chains that cross oceans can be disrupted by such unexpected shocks as earthquakes and other natural disasters, thereby delaying shipments to impatient buyers. [...] foreign-owned companies in the United States can easily widen the trade gap, according to analysis by Robert Scott, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank based in Washington.



New York eyes textalyzer to bust drivers using cellphones

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 02:27:19 UT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Police in New York state may soon have a high-tech way of catching texting drivers: a device known as a textalyzer that allows an officer to quickly check if a cellphone has been in use before a crash. "Despite laws to ban cellphone use while driving, some motorists still continue to insist on texting behind the wheel — placing themselves and others at substantial risk," Cuomo said in a statement first reported by The Associated Press. Digital privacy and civil liberties groups already have questioned whether the technology's use would violate personal privacy, noting that police can already obtain search warrants if they believe information on a private phone could be useful in a prosecution. Many security experts are skeptical when it comes to promises that the textalyzer would only access information about phone usage, and not personal material, according to Rainey Reitman, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for civil liberties when it comes to digital technology. The committee will hear from supporters and opponents of the technology, law enforcement officials and legal experts before issuing a report, Cuomo's office said.



At hacker summit, a new focus on preventing brazen attacks

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:18:01 UT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Against a backdrop of cyberattacks that amount to full-fledged sabotage, Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos brought a sobering message to the hackers and security experts assembled at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Too many security researchers, he suggested, are focused on "really sexy, difficult problems" that don't address the common vulnerabilities that allow malware attacks to wreak havoc. [...] too many security-minded hackers seem intent on demonstrating newly discovered hacks, such as making an ATM spit out cash or taking remote control of an internet-controlled car, rather than shoring up more mundane defenses. GLOBAL ATTACKS, SERIOUS DAMAGE Since May, the world has been rocked by two major international cyberattacks — the ransomware WannaCry and a likely state-sponsored attack called NotPetya that spread out of Ukraine.