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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Intel Q1 financials show data centre growth

Intel Q1 financials show data centre growth

Intel’s Q1 2014 results slightly exceeded analysts’ expectations, but the company’s mobile arm is suffering a significant drop in revenue.


Intel has released its financials for the first quarter of 2014, and things are looking good with better-than-expected results despite its continued struggles to break into the mobile arena and a still-shrinking desktop market.

The company’s official figures for the quarter show $12.8 billion in revenue, exactly matching analysts’ expectations, with a gross profit margin of 59.7 per cent for a total earnings per share of $0.38 – above the $0.37 average expected by analysts. $3.1 billion of this came from the Data Centre Group, responsible for server and high-performance computing (HPC) products, which enjoyed a bumper 11 per cent boost in revenue over the same period last year; the PC Client Group, which targets the still-shrinking PC market, brought in the lion’s share at $7.9 billion, a one per cent drop compared to Q1 2013.

In the first quarter we saw solid growth in the data centre, signs of improvement in the PC business, and we shipped five million tablet processors, making strong progress on our goal of 40 million tablets for 2014,‘ claimed Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich during the company’s earnings call. ‘Additionally, we demonstrated our further commitment to grow in the enterprise with a strategic technology and business collaboration with Cloudera, we introduced our second-generation LTE platform with CAT6 and other advanced features, and we shipped our first Quark products for the Internet of Things.

Other highlights include a 10 per cent quarter-on-quarter drop in revenue for the Internet of Things Group which ended the quarter with $482 million in revenue, still an 11 per cent improvement over the same period last year thanks largely to new low-power Atom and Quark processor products. The company’s Mobile and Communications Group, responsible for smartphone and tablet oriented chips, was by far the biggest loser: with just $156 million in revenue, its income was down 52 per cent quarter-on-quarter and a massive 61 per cent compared to Q1 2013.

Investors seem pleased with Intel’s performance in the quarter, with the company’s share price rising 1.08 per cent in pre-market trading to $27.06, still short of its recent April 2012 high of $28.38.

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Windows 8.1 Update 1 installation problems continue

Windows 8.1 Update 1 installation problems continue

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update 1, a mandatory patch for future security updates, is proving a pain for some users who are unable to install it on their systems despite recent patches.


Microsoft is continuing to address problems with Windows 8.1 Update 1, its first major update to the operating system formerly known as Windows Blue and a mandatory install for anyone who wants to continue to receive security updates in the future.

Released earlier this month, Windows 8.1 Update 1 introduces a number of tweaks and improvements to Microsoft’s flagship OS including user experience enhancements for those who eschew touch-screen interfaces in favour of the traditional keyboard and mouse. While the biggest of these improvements, the reintroduction of the Start Menu which was removed in Windows 7 after its introduction way back in Windows NT 4.0, has been held back for a future release the mandatory nature of Windows 8.1 Update 1 makes it quite literally a must-install for Windows 8.1 users.

Sadly, all is not well with the update. Last week Microsoft was forced to pull the update from WSUS following reports that it would prevent the installation of future updates for corporate users. Now, the company is working to patch additional issues with the update – some of which prevent its installation altogether.

One bug, which presents the error code 0x800f081f during installation, has already seen a patch released on Windows Update; a second patch has been provided for users who are finding that installing Windows 8.1 Update 1 prevents Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft’s web server package, from being uninstalled at any time.

Despite these patches, problems with the update still remain. Many users are taking to the Microsoft support forums to claim that, despite the updated patch being released to Windows Update, Windows 8.1 Update 1 still fails to install. A work-around suggested in the forums has been noted by some to improve matters, removing a damaged version of the package so a fresh copy can be downloaded, but others report that the process makes no difference to their systems.

With Microsoft planning on enforcing installation of Windows 8.1 Update 1 by refusing security updates to anyone still on plain old Windows 8.1 starting on the next Patch Tuesday in May, the race is on for the company to fix the flaws and get the update rolled out to all its customers.

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Nvidia claims Mantle-beating gains with 337.50 Beta

Nvidia claims Mantle-beating gains with 337.50 Beta

Nvidia’s latest beta drivers, 337.50, come with a claimed performance boost that can best AMD’s Mantle in some titles – and without the need for devs to go back and add support.


Nvidia has made big promises of its latest GeForce beta driver, with claims that optimisations made to its DirectX implementation can result in performance improvements that in some cases better those promised by rival AMD’s Mantle architecture, without the need to modify existing games.

Released late yesterday, the GeForce 337.50 Beta driver bundle make various optimisations to DirectX 11 titles which, the Nvidia claims, can have a dramatic effect on performance. According to the company’s internal testing, those running single-GPU systems will see a boost as high as 64 per cent in selected titles, while those on multi-GPU systems via SLI can expect gains as high as 71 per cent.

Granted, those gains apply only to Nvidia’s latest and greatest graphics cards, and even then only on selected titles: the company has measured a near-50 per cent boost in the performance of Sniper Elite v2 and Total War: Rome 2 using a pair of GeForce GTX 780Ti boards in SLI with an Intel Core i7 3960K and 8GB of RAM, just over 40 per cent in Alien vs. Predator, and just shy of 30 per cent in Sleeping Dogs. Other games highlighted by the company include Battlefield 4, with a promised 12 per cent boost, and Thief, with a 7 per cent boost

The company also teased its DirectX 12 implementation, promising that when Microsoft’s next-generation API is ready for release it will bring even higher performance boosts for those whose graphics chips will support the standard.

Additional announcements made by Nvidia include the release of the GeForce Experience 2.0 software, offering optimisations for more than 150 games and the introduction of ShadowPlay and GameStream support for laptop users. The SHIELD hand-held console, yet to launch in the UK, has also seen a software update which adds the ability to stream games from a desktop over the internet as well as the local area network.

The company’s full performance figures for the new driver update, along with a link to download the drivers, are available on the official GeForce site.

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Web hit by OpenSSL ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability

Web hit by OpenSSL 'Heartbleed' vulnerability

Versions of cryptographic library OpenSSL since 2012 are vulnerable to the ‘Heartbleed Bug,’ which allows an attacker to silently steal the contents of system memory.


Security researchers have released details of a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic library which exposes encrypted internet services to information disclosure attacks.

Continuing a terrible year for information security, what with the verification flaw in GnuTLS and Apple’s infamous goto fail bug, the OpenSSL project has confirmed that versions of its software since 2011 have held a serious vulnerability which has been dubbed the ‘Heartbleed Bug,’ and which can be used to read a system’s memory remotely – gathering secret keys which can then be used to decrypt previously-transmitted information.

It’s a serious flaw; OpenSSL is the standard library for driving SSL and TLS encryption in a variety of software packages and information appliances; Apache and nginx, two of the most popular server packages around accounting for an estimated 66 per cent of all web servers, use OpenSSL; the library is also commonly used in other encrypted systems such as virtual private network (VPN) appliances, point-of-sale (PoS) systems and messaging servers.

The Heartbleed Bug works by exploiting the heartbeat extension of the Transport Security Layer (TLS) protocol; attackers are able to read unlimited system memory in 64KB chunks, with exploitation leaving no trace on the system. These memory chunks can be reassembled and analysed to gather usernames, passwords, encryption keys, and other privileged information which should not be exposed to the public.

The OpenSSL project has confirmed that the code responsible for the flaw has been present in its software since 2011 and available to the public since the release of OpenSSL 1.0.1 in March 2012. Since then, the 1.0.1 branch has become widespread, shipping by default with numerous operating systems including Ubuntu Linux and OpenBSD. While the project has released a fixed version, OpenSSL 1.0.1g, this will take time to distribute – leaving servers with less proactive admins vulnerable to attack.

Ironically, those who have not upgraded in a while may be protected against the flaw: the older OpenSSL 1.0.0 and 0.9.8 branches are unaffected, having been frozen before the bug was introduced.

More details of the flaw are available at Heartbleed.com.

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Xbox boss Spencer: ‘wrong decisions’ were made

Xbox boss Spencer: 'wrong decisions' were made

Microsoft’s new Xbox division head Phil Spencer has admitted that ‘the wrong decisions’ were made prior to the launch of the Xbox One.


Microsoft’s Xbox division has a new head, former Microsoft Game Studios leader Phil Spencer, and he’s determined to get gamers back on-side following the competitively weaker launch of the Xbox One.

When Microsoft first showed off its next-generation console, many felt it had forgotten about its core demographic. Much fuss was made over the ability to watch TV through the console’s HDMI input, while concerns about its requirement for an always-on internet connection to play even offline single-player games were dismissed. The public spoke, and Microsoft was forced to dramatically alter its plans with the dropping of the always-on requirement and the decision that the bundled Kinect sensor platform could be left disconnected from the console with no ill-effect.

Now, Spencer is eager to convince gamers that under his auspice lessons will be learned. ‘There is a lot of learning that I did as a leader in the organisation,‘ he explained in a video interview with Microsoft’s Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, ‘when I just heard how our message resonated with people and some of the decisions that we made, that I think were actually the wrong decisions, and we had to revisit those decisions.

Describing the anger that gamers showed towards Microsoft at that time as being personally hurtful, Spencer has vowed that the division won’t be making the same mistakes again. Calling the current sales of the Xbox One ‘great‘ – despite Sony’s PS4 considerably outselling its more expensive rival – Spencer described a future in which Xbox will be the key driver in Microsoft’s rebirth ‘as a consumer[-oriented] company.’

Missing from Spencer’s interview responses were any reference to the company’s plans for supporting PC gaming on its Windows platform. If you’re curious as to how the new Xbox boss comes across on camera, the interview is embedded below.

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Intel invests in China with Smart Devices venture

Intel invests in China with Smart Devices venture

Intel has announced the formation of a Smart Device Innovation Centre in Shenzen, back by a $100 million Intel Capital fund, alongside the release of an IoT gateway product line.


Intel is continuing its push into the it’ll-take-off-any-day-now-honest wearable computing market with a major investment in China, founding a Smart Device Innovation Centre backed by a $100 million fund from Intel Capital.

That Intel is focusing heavily on low-power embedded systems for wearable computing is no secret. Having been caught on the hop with the mobile computing boom, allowing Cambridge-based rival ARM to gain an overwhelming majority market share, the company is adamant it won’t make the same msitake twice. In September last year, Intel Capital invested in Recon Instruments, Intel proper recently picked up Basis Science, and the Quark processor and Edison computer-on-module are clearly designed for low-power ultra-compact computing.

Now, chief executive Brian Krzanich has announced a new plan to push its low-power and wearable computing efforts still further with a little help from Shenzen. Announced at the company’s Chinese Developer Forum today, a new deal will see the company establish the Intel Smart Device Centre in Shenzen and introduce a $100 million Intel Capital China Smart Device Innovation Fund to encourage the use of Intel products in future low-power devices.

The China technology ecosystem will be instrumental in the transformation of computing, claimed Krzanich in his speech. ‘To help drive global innovation, Intel will stay focused on delivering leadership products and technologies that not only allow our partners to rapidly innovate, but also deliver on the promise that “if it computes, it does it best with Intel” – from the edge device to the cloud, and everything in between.

Krzanich also announced the launch of the awkwardly-named Intel Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things, a router based on Intel’s Quark and Atom chips for connecting low-power wearable and embedded sensors to a network, and demonstrated for the first time his company’s SoFIA integrated mobile system-on-chip design, an all-in-one chip for smartphones and tablets with which Intel hopes to challenge ARM’s dominance.

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Intel upgrades the Edison

Intel upgrades the Edison

Intel’s Edison has undergone a significant redesign since CES, dropping the Quark chip for an Atom and losing its SD card form factor – although the original design may yet hit the market.


Intel has announced an upgrade to its yet-to-launch Edison embedded computing platform which looks more like a ground-up rethink of the whole project, ditching the company’s flagship Quark processor for tried-and-tested Atom and losing the tiny SD card form factor.

Intel unveiled Edison in January of this year as part of its renewed focus on embedded and particularly wearable computing technologies. Prototype-proven and in a product-ready design, Intel claimed at the time, Edison was the second outing for the company’s low-power Pentium-based Quark processor which had previously launched in the hobbyist-oriented Galileo development board.

Now, Intel has announced a redesign which loses the two unique features of Edison: its SD card form factor and its Quark processor.

The shift sees Intel swap the Quark chip out in favour of a 22nm Atom processor based on the Silvermont architecture. A dual-core design running at 500MHz, the Atom will give considerably improved compute performance compared to the Quark, but requires a separate microcontroller unit to drive the input-output portions of the board.

The shift to Atom also does away with the SD card size of Edison, and while Intel hasn’t confirmed precise sizes for the new edition it has admitted that the last-minute shift in architecture means the new Edison will be ‘slightly larger‘ than the design chief executive Brian Krzanich showed off at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

The Atom-based Edison won’t replace the planned Quark version, Intel claims, but instead augment it as part of a new Edison-branded range of products. ‘We have received an enthusiastic response from the pro maker and entrepreneurial communities, as well as consumer electronics and industrial IoT [Internet of Things] companies,‘ claimed Intel’s Michael Bell of the move, ‘and have decided that in order to best address a broader range of market segments and customer needs we will extend Intel Edison to a family of development boards.

Intel has not yet confirmed availability or pricing for the Atom or Quark variants of the Edison.

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Facebook buys Oculus VR for $2bn

Facebook buys Oculus VR for $2bn

The virtual reality headset has earned a great deal of interest from developers and both Oculus VR and Facebook want to bring it to a much larger audience.


Social networking giant Facebook has bought virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR for for $2bn.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that the company’s general direction with regards to gaming will remain unchanged by the acquisition but that he sees the virtual reality platform as a future method of global communication.

Oculus will operate independently within Facebook to meet its goals with regards to immersive gaming with Facebook only chipping in to throw its weight behind striking deals with more developers and publishers.

‘Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences,’ said Zuckerberg. ’After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face, just by putting on goggles in your home.’

Facebook intends to bring the virtual and augmented reality offered by the Oculus Rift into the lives of billions of people.

’Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together,’ added Zuckerberg.

In the last 18 months, the Oculus team has taken more than 75,000 orders for development kits and interest from developers has been high. In a statement from the Oculus VR team, they assure everyone that the Facebook and Oculus teams are very much on the same page with regards to the future and potential for the virtual reality platform.

In reaction to the news that Facebook had acquired Oculus VR, Minecraft developer Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and Oculus VR investor called a halt to plans to bring the open-world cube-rearranging game to the Oculus Rift, citing his uncertainty over Facebook’s motives and their historic instability as a platform as reasons.

’I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition,’[i] said Persson on his blog. [i]’I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook.’

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‘Say hello to my e-go’: 10 funny first tweets we love

Twitter is the open mic at The Improv of the Internet, so unless you’re a funny person who wants to be heckled, you might want to make your first tweet chuckle-worthy. To celebrate turning 8, Twitter on Thursday opened its archive, making it easy to look up anyone’s first tweets. Yeah, we confess; we fell down the first-tweets rabbit hole fast. But at least you get to share in the adventure with a sample of our favorites funnies. See any we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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Find your first tweet: Twitter opens archive for its birthday

Craves first tweet

Crave’s first tweet was all about a CPU cooler.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

I honestly couldn’t remember what my first tweet was about. I joined Twitter back in 2010 and have generated 1,559 tweets since then. Too many to recall them all. In celebration of its 8th birthday, Twitter is making easy for forgetful people like me to discover the very tweet that started the journey. Your first tweet.

Using the site first-tweets.com, you can enter your Twitter username and instantly pull up that intelligent, insightful, and funny first tweet you posted. In my case, it was a deadly dull journalistic inquiry asking to get in touch with a press contact for a restaurant. Scintillating! If I had known I was going to be looking at my first tweet again years down the line, I would have composed something about “Star Trek” crossing over with “Doctor Who,” or perhaps an artfully beautiful haiku.

Fortunately, first-tweets.com doesn’t limit you to your own output. You can check on other usernames as well. CNET’s first tweet in 2009 is all about ATT increasing a bounty on fiber vandals. You’ll find that some of today’s Twitter luminaries didn’t exactly shine in their first outings. Sir Patrick Stewart’s entry is a simple “Hi World.”

Geek star Wil Wheaton, however, fares better. Not only did he sign up way back in 2007, but he tweeted out this message to kick things off: “Trying to figure out if I signed up with ‘wilwheaton’ to prevent some jerk from stealing it, or if some jerk already stole it.” It has style. It has content. It was a portent of great Twitter things to come.

Perhaps my favorite first tweet so far comes from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak back in March 2009: “Rare massage (for me), then dance practice. No pain, no gain. Awkward but fun, this dancing. I still can’t do Macarena.” That tweet conjures up some delightful imagery.

If you really like your first tweet, you can re-broadcast it from the first-tweets site. I won’t be doing that. Go look at your first tweet and report back. Tell us in the comments if it was a keeper or something you would rather keep locked away in the dusty drawer of your Internet past.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.s first tweet

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. chose his recent Daytona 500 win as his Twitter kick-off.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

(Via USA Today)

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