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Published: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:41:56 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:41:56 -0800


Mac malware is found targeting biomedical research

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:37:33 -0800

A Mac malware that’s been spying on biomedical research centers may have been circulating undetected for years, according to new research.

Antivirus vendor Malwarebytes uncovered the malicious code, after an IT administrator spotted unusual network traffic coming from an infected Mac.

The malware, which Apple calls Fruitfly, is designed to take screen captures, access the Mac’s webcam, and simulate mouse clicks and key presses, allowing for remote control by a hacker,  Malwarebytes said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The security firm said that neither it nor Apple have identified how the malware has been spreading. But whoever designed it relied on “ancient” coding functions, dating back before the Mac OS X operating system launch in 2001, said Malwarebytes researcher Thomas Reed in the blog post.

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Slack finally launches threaded replies

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:47:31 -0800

Slack, the popular work chat app, has launched one of the features that users have been clamoring for over its entire lifetime: threaded messages.

On Wednesday, the company began the process of rolling out the update to all of its users, which will allow them to keep conversations about a particular topic corralled into a single thread. The feature is designed to keep conversations on a particular topic out of the main flow of a chat channel, the company said in a blog post.

Starting a thread just requires users to hover over a message, click the “Start a Thread” button, and type their response. Replies will be grouped into a sidebar thread, and a small link will appear below the original message showing who has replied to a thread and how many replies it has garnered.

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New $29 Pine64 computer takes on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:36:40 -0800

Raspberry Pi's new Compute Module 3 has serious competition coming its way from the maker of the Pine64 board computer.

The new SOPINE A64 64-bit computing module is a smaller version of the popular US$15 Pine64 computer.

It was announced the same week as the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, which is a smaller version of the popular namesake board, was released.

At $29, the SOPINE A64 roughly matches the price of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, which ranges from $25 to $30. The new SOPINE will ship in February, according to the website.

The SOPINE A64 can't operate as a standalone computer like the Pine64. It needs to be plugged in as a memory slot inside a computer.

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Google Maps beta now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:02:00 -0800

If you’ve ever taken longer to find a parking spot than you did driving somewhere, Google Maps might be able to help—or at least prepare you for a headache. Thanks to a new feature in the latest beta, you’ll now be able to tell how hard it will be to park once you arrive at your destination.

The new feature is easy to miss. The next time you pull up driving directions, you’ll see a small circular P icon to the right of your route overview, next to which will show three levels of parking difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Limited. (To make it easier to see at a glance, easy and medium are colored blue while limited is red.) While the feature doesn’t update to show the actual parking situation when you arrive (at least not yet), you can get a slightly longer description when you expand your directions.

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AMD talks tough as it drums up support for 32-core Zen server chip

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:45:00 -0800

At CES, AMD launched its first Zen chips for PCs, called Ryzen. Next on deck is the 32-core server chip code-named Naples, which will ship in the coming months.

Naples doesn't have an official name yet, but the expectations are high. While Ryzen is set up for success in PCs, it's a different story for Naples, which has to take on Intel's juiced-up Xeon chips, which are used in most servers today.

AMD is trying to drum up excitement for Naples, which will be released in the first half of this year. It's promoting Naples using the same tactic as it did for Ryzen -- by talking about the performance benefits of the Zen CPU.

The Zen CPU core in Naples will provide the same performance benefits as in the Ryzen chips. AMD claims a 40 percent improvement in instructions per cycle, an important metric to measure CPU performance, compared to the company's previous Excavator architecture.

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Microsoft halts Minecraft updates for Windows 10 phones, as W10M consumer apps slowly die

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:41:00 -0800

Microsoft has put another nail in the coffin of Windows 10 Mobile, confirming that it has stopped development of its hit game Minecraft for Windows phones.

On Wednesday, Windows Central reported that Microsoft had halted development of Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Windows phones. When asked for comment, a Microsoft representative referred PCWorld to a Minecraft support document that indicates the platform won’t receive future updates. 

The official FAQ states: “Is the 1.0 Ender Update coming to Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Windows Phone? Why not?” It goes on to answer: “The 1.0 Ender Update will not be available on Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows Phone 10. Every Minecraft platform has different needs and our priority is to focus on long-awaited features for as many players as possible.”

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Modern warfare: Death-dealing drones and ... illegal parking?

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:40:00 -0800

A cloud of 3D-printed drones big enough to bring down the latest U.S. stealth fighter, the F35, was just one of the combat scenarios evoked in a discussion of the future of warfare at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.

Much of the discussion focused on the changes computers are bringing to the battlefield, including artificial intelligence and autonomous systems—but also the way the battlefield is coming to computing, with cyberwar, and social media psyops an ever more real prospect.

Former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Mary Cummings, now director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, delivered the first strike.

“The barrier to entry to drone technology is so low that everyone can have one, and if the Chinese go out and print a million copies of a drone, a very small drone, and put those up against an F35 and they go into the engine, you basically obviate what is a very expensive platform,” she said.

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Failure to patch known ImageMagick flaw for months costs Facebook $40k

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:06:27 -0800

It's not common for a security-conscious internet company to leave a well-known vulnerability unpatched for months, but it happens. Facebook paid a US$40,000 reward to a researcher after he warned the company that its servers were vulnerable to an exploit called ImageTragick.

ImageTragick is the name given by the security community to a critical vulnerability that was found in the ImageMagick image processing tool back in May.

ImageMagick is a command-line tool that can resize, convert and optimize images in many formats. Web server libraries like PHP’s imagick, Ruby’s rmagick and paperclip, and Node’s imagemagick, used by millions of websites, are based on it.

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Android Google app now stores offline searches and runs them when a signal returns

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:01:00 -0800

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: You’re trying to read a news story about Facebook or look up the latest rumors about the Galaxy S8, and you hit a dead spot. You tap reload a couple of times, wait a few seconds, and give up.

Google feels your pain, and it doesn’t want you to miss out on valuable information just because your connection flaked out. With a new update rolling out to the Android Google app, your searches will be saved and delivered as soon as your connection returns. As Google search project manager Shekhar Sharad writes in a blog post, “The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed.”

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US alleges systemic employment discrimination at Oracle

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:25:56 -0800

The U.S. government says Oracle routinely and systemically pays white men more than women and minorities and that it favors Asian candidates over others in product development and technical roles.

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed by the Department of Labor that represents the results of a two-year investigation into hiring practices at the Silicon Valley company.

The investigation was triggered by a regular compliance review by the government. As a federal contractor, Oracle is prohibited from engaging in discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

As a result, Oracle stands to lose millions of dollars in federal contracts if the Labor Department can prove its case and the company doesn't change its ways.

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Snowden's stay in Russia has been extended by the Russian government

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:16:00 -0800

U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden will be allowed to stay in Russia for "another couple of years," according to a spokeswoman for the government there.

The Russian government has extended the residence permit for Snowden, the former NSA contractor charged with espionage for leaking details of U.S. surveillance operations, said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry. Zakharova announced the extension on her Facebook page late Tuesday.

Zakharova's post came in response to a column by Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the U.S. CIA, who said Russia can return Snowden to the U.S. as a "perfect inauguration gift" to President-elect Donald Trump.

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Your car's parts could one day be made by a 3D printer

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:14:00 -0800

 A small, family-run business has come up with a metal printer that it thinks will transform manufacturing.

The MK1 metal printer works by melting aluminum into a molten form, and then using a magnetic field to eject droplets of the substance onto a moving plate, which maneuvers around to create the desired 3D shape. That differs from other metal printers, which lay down a layer of powdered metal and melt it with a laser or electron beam, a process called powder bed fusion. In this process, there's a chance that some particles of the powder do not get melted, creating weak spots.

Zack Vader is the CTO and co-founder of Vader Systems and says he came up with the idea of making a metal printer after he failed to find a company that was capable of printing a microturbine generator he needed for a project. So with the help of his father, Scott, and alma mater, the University at Buffalo, he set out to build his own.

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23% off TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp, (Dimmable, Touch Control, 5 Color Modes, USB Charging Port) - Deal Alert

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:03:00 -0800

The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp is adjustable and dimmable for multiple brightness settings, making them ideal for home and office use. Say goodbye to old incandescent light and faintly illuminated working space, and say hello to this elegantly designed, modern looking and energy-efficient source. Designed to blend naturally into any scene and provide flicker-free and ghost-free lighting that is pleasant and comfortable to your eyes. Even after long hours of use, your eyes will feel less fatigue than with traditional types of lighting. With a slight touch from your finger tips, you can switch through 7 brightness level to fine tune your illumination.  This light also allows you to plug in your eReader, tablet, or smartphone into the built-in USB port.  With nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, it averages 4.8 out of 5 stars (read reviews). Its typical list price of $29.95 has been reduced by 23% to $22.99. See the discounted TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp now on Amazon.

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How to turn off Chrome notifications and stop websites from bugging you

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 08:26:00 -0800

Websites are more useful than ever in this advanced age of web apps. Unfortunately, they're also getting more annoying, with every site under the sun asking for your location or permission to send you notifications.

Alerts from websites are a great idea in theory, but they can also get redundant. Why get an alert from your PC about a new message when your phone is giving you the same ping? Or, even worse, Cortana may also send the ping to your Windows 10 desktop, giving you triple notifications?

Nobody needs all that noise. Here’s how to turn off all notifications in Chrome.

How to turn off Chrome notifications

The process is actually pretty simple. Click on the menu icon (the three vertical dots) in the upper right-hand corner of Chrome. Then from the drop down menu, select Settings.

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Oracle patches raft of vulnerabilities in business applications

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 08:04:32 -0800

Oracle released its first batch of security patches this year, fixing 270 vulnerabilities, mostly in business-critical applications. Many of the flaws can be exploited remotely without authentication.

The majority of the fixes are for flaws in business products such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail Applications, Oracle JD Edwards, Oracle Supply Chain Products and Oracle Database Server.

E-Business Suite, which is used by companies to store key data and manage a wide range of business processes, accounts for more than 40 percent of the patched vulnerabilities -- 121. Out of these, 118 are remotely exploitable and the highest rated one has a score of 9.2 (critical) in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System.

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Google's low-cost Android One program may expand to the U.S.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:21:00 -0800

When Google launched its Android One program in 2014 it was designed for one main reason: to create a system of standards for phones in developing countries. Targeting emerging markets in Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and others, the program dictated minimum hardware standards and limited software tweaks to insure people everywhere had access to low-cost phones that still provided regular security updates and the latest Android features.

Now it looks like the program is on its way to the U.S.

According to a report in The Information, Google is looking to launch its first Android One phone in the States “before the middle of the year,” and is eyeing LG as a potential manufacturer. Yesterday, VentureBeat divulged that Google would be partnering with LG on the release of its first Android Wear watch, but The Information’s report doesn’t say whether the two companies would be collaborating on the development of the Android One handset.

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BrandPost: Five Ways Your Device Can Strut Your Personal Style

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:10:00 -0800

Your personal style is your way of expressing and distinguishing yourself. So what does it say about you if you’re toting around a drab black laptop that looks exactly like everybody else’s?

Giving your device a makeover that complements your personality and interests will not only help you stand out from the crowd, it can increase your productivity by energizing you whenever you use it. Here are a few ways to get started.

1.    Choose a PC with some pizazz

The standard advice is to choose a laptop that suits your lifestyle. If you travel a lot for work or are otherwise always on the go, a thin-and-light notebook is best. Designers, photographers, and other visual creatives should prioritize high-resolution displays and ample storage. And performance, durability, and security should top the list for business users.

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Microsoft's Cortana is headed to the Android lock screen

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:08:00 -0800

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BrandPost: Nine Ways Tech Can Help You Make a Positive Difference

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:05:00 -0800

In 2017, instead of looking for leaders who inspire us, let’s set the example we seek. Fortunately, you don’t need to join the Peace Corps or launch a grassroots movement to make the world a better place. There are plenty of small things you can do today that can snowball into something meaningful.

Here are nine examples of how partnering with technology can help you make the world a better place.

1.    Gather for good

Sometimes it takes a village to bring about positive change. Online social networking portal Meetup enables people with charitable intentions to meet like-minded individuals in an informal and friendly atmosphere. Whether your goal is to discover new collaborators or tap into volunteering opportunities, charity meetups foster meaningful connections across charities, social enterprises, and non-profit communities.

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BrandPost: New 2-in-1 Devices Sport Power and Versatility

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:59:00 -0800

Intel-powered 2-in-1 devices are designed to meet the needs of passionate people. Whether you’re a creative type requiring a crisp display to showcase your work or a busy professional who favors portability, there’s a 2-in-1 device with innovative features to fit your lifestyle.

Here’s a checklist to help you figure out which device best suits your needs:

For the ambitious artist:

Whether you’re a seasoned graphic designer or an aspiring cartoonist, the Dell Inspiron 15 is the perfect pick for artistic types. A vibrant 15.6-inch full HD backlit touch display with wide viewing angles always delivers crisp, brilliant images, and a 7th Gen Intel® CoreTM processor assures that intense photo- or video-editing activities won’t compromise performance.

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Microsoft buys Simplygon to simplify rendering VR and AR models

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:55:06 -0800

Microsoft is betting that less is more in 3D design, with the acquisition of the Swedish developer of a 3D data optimization system, Simplygon.

Simplygon takes 3D models in a number of formats, and reduces the volume of data used to describe them by taking out some of the detail -- somewhat like reducing the size of a JPEG image file by increasing the level of compression while leaving the resolution unchanged.

That means the models can be rendered more rapidly or using less powerful hardware, something that will help Microsoft with the "3D for everyone" vision it outlined last October at the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update.

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Researchers create wild ReRAM memory chips that store data and act like a processor

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:54:00 -0800

Computer scientists in Singapore and Germany have collaborated to create a resistive RAM chip that not only stores data but can act as a computer processor.

The breakthrough uses state-of-the-art memory chips known as Redox-based, resistive switching random access memory (ReRAM) and could lead to much faster and thinner mobile devices. Today’s computers must transfer data from the memory storage to the processor unit for computation, which along with slowing performance also requires more power.

“This is like having a long conversation with someone through a tiny translator, which is a time-consuming and effort-intensive process,” said Anupam Chattopadhyay, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. “We are now able to increase the capacity of the translator, so it can process data more efficiently.”

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BrandPost: Local Leagues are a Great Fit for Casual Competitors

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:53:00 -0800

Getting in shape is the perennial New Year’s resolution. But instead of slogging through workouts with the masses at the local health club, many people are opting to join an adult recreational sports league. Team sports offer grown-ups all the same benefits as kids: regular exercise, social support, and improved self-esteem.

You can start by checking out the following organizations for a league near you. And with a portable 2-in-1 notebook like the Lenovo Yoga 900 in your gear bag, you’ll be able to keep track of team schedules, log workouts, and shop for equipment easily from anywhere.

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Gabe Newell's Reddit Q&A: The most interesting answers on Half-Life 3, Steam support, and more

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:30:00 -0800

Valve founder Gabe Newell took to Reddit yesterday for another hour-long AMA/Ask Me Anything session. Among the topics broached: Is Valve still working on singleplayer games? What are its plans for the future? And the perennial “What is up with Steam support? Why is it so bad?”

The timing is pretty fortuitous. Last week Game Informer published an interview with an alleged Valve insider, one who subsequently claimed Half-Life 3 would never happen. And as per usual, Half-Life 3 was the topic of many dodged questions, though Newell did say “I personally believe all unidentified anonymous sources on the internet” when asked about the article. Good ol’ sarcasm.

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49% off 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna With 50 Miles Range - Deal Alert

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:19:00 -0800

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A beginner's guide to IFTTT on Android

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:11:00 -0800

If you truly want to work smarter instead of harder, mastering the ins and outs of IFTTT is the way to do it.

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How to mirror Android SMS alerts on an iOS device

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0800

So here I am, an Android phone in one hand and an iPad in the other. My trusty Nexus 5X is by my side most of the day, but occasionally I set it aside for a midday charge, leaving me with nothing but my iPad to work with.

The only problem with that setup is when my 5X is elsewhere, my iPad has no way of warning me about incoming calls and texts on my Android device. If only there were a way for iOS to receive Android notifications....

Well, there is, actually, but it takes a bit of work. With the help of a clever app that lets you create your own “applets,” your iOS device can alert you about texts, calls, and a few other events on your absent Android handset. Here’s the trick.

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Toshiba considers spinning off its memory business

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:53:00 -0800

Toshiba said it is considering splitting off its memory business into a separate company but added that nothing had been finalized at this point.

The Japanese company said Wednesday that it positions its memory unit as a focus business.

The announcement by Toshiba follows news reports that the company was planning to split its semiconductor  business. The company is considering selling a “partial stake” in its semiconductor business to Western Digital in the U.S., to raise funds for an impairment loss in its U.S. nuclear plant unit, reported Nikkei Asian Review.

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Choosing between Google Photos or Google Drive for image backups

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:00:00 -0800

Google Photos and Drive complement each other in some ways and offer stark differences in others.

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3 tools to help you keep your new year's resolutions

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:30:00 -0800

We’re several weeks into the new year, right around the time when folks start struggling with their resolutions—if they haven’t already abandoned them altogether. That’s because resolutions require more than good intentions and will power. You need to systematically create new habits.

The good news is there’s an abundance of online tools to help you out. Below are three favorites, each using a slightly different method of motivation. Whether your goal is to read more, lose weight, save money, or something else, these apps can help you pave a path to success and see you all the way to the finish line.

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