A repast of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
This morning a lot of people who own Belkin routers woke up to find they had no access to the internet. While their devices were connecting to their Wi-Fi networks and their modems were connecting to their ISPs, the router and modem seem to be suffering from communication breakdown. The problem is affecting at least Belkin router models in the U.S. and other regions or the world regardless of ISP.
Belkin has acknowledged there is a problem with its older routers, and it's posted a workaround on its site.
Nice paint job too.
we're told that the next milestone in this journey to Windows 10 will be a consumer preview that will presumably offer a clearer view of the touch/tablet side of this product, and hopefully a peek at a combined Windows RT/Windows Phone. But I feel like there's still lots of work to be done on the desktop side. And here's what I'd like to see before Windows 10 is complete.
To be clear, none of this should cast any aspersion on the good work I already see in the Windows Technical Preview. I honestly didn't think it was possible to truly reconcile desktop and Modern, but it appears that Microsoft will pull it off. So bravo for that.
But the thing is, while the big picture stuff is all there—the Start menu with tiles, the floating Modern mobile app windows and so on—it's the fit and finish stuff that's missing. That is, there are many other things that need to happen before this newly integrated user experience actually works properly for traditional PC users.
Here are a few ideas.
Intent on showing there is life after Sony, the new owner of the Vaio personal computer brand has unveiled a prototype for a domestic niche market that takes a lesson from a longtime Sony rival – Panasonic.
Informally dubbed the "monster tablet," Vaio Corporation's new computer is a cross between a laptop and tablet for photographers, illustrators and other creative professionals. The hybrid device comes with a 12.3in high-resolution screen, an electronic pen and wireless keyboard.
If commercialized, the monster tablet would also come with a monster price tag of at least ¥200,000 ($1,825), indicating a strategy to ignore the entry-level market and focus on professionals – an approach that has worked well for Panasonic with a different clientele.
"By creating a tablet environment that is as powerful as a desktop, we want to free up creators from the desk when at work," said Vaio deputy general manager Yoshifumi Ito.
The high end is where the profits are, but the customers are tougher to find.
Eric Virey, an analyst, told the Wall Street Journal that there could be only one reason [for GT Advanced Technologies, which just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy] to create such a facility: "For me, there is absolutely no doubt that it was for the smartphone," he said.
Matt Margolis of PTT Research told me basically the same thing: "Even if the [Apple] watch sells 30m units it still wouldn't consume 25% of annual capacity of that plant in Arizona." But nevertheless, GT built a facility that could ultimately produce enough sapphire for north of 100m iPhones, yet not a single one uses the second-hardest material on the Mohs scale.
With Apple typically silent, the best speculation is that things fell apart at two stages of the process. First, GT couldn't deliver in the expected quantities soon enough. That might have limited sapphire to perhaps only the top-end models of the iPhone 6 much like the way only the Plus offers optical image stabilization on its camera. Second, the slight curved edge of the design meant that the thin sheets of sapphire would require delicate finishing to join with the similarly curved metal back. That stage of the process apparently went poorly. Virey and Margolis both cited trouble with the finishing stage as a likely reason for Apple pulling the plug.
The chief executive of GTAT is under scrutiny after selling a lot of shares just ahead of Apple's announcement.
In the first half of 2014, spam rose by 60% compared with the same period a year ago. This was probably due to the continuing pain caused by the Conficker worm and the boom in threats such as Mytob, Upatre and ZeuS, which all use spam as their main infection vector.
According to Flora Chang, threat intelligence product manager at Barracuda, today's spamming botnets are not as widespread as the early behemoths. This is partly because the first ones were around for a lot longer so had more time to develop, and partly because of increased vigilance among defenders of the internet.
"However, the current spammer organisations have learned from the mistakes of the older campaigns," Chang says.
"While the botnets may not be as prolific as before they are still effective so we have to continue to be on our toes. It's a never-ending escalation of tactics."
Amazing to think Conficker is still spreading its ills. And that spam volumes have gone up so much; good filtering is essential, especially now that ransomware is becoming the new way of getting spam to pay.
This year, Huawei clinched the global No. 3 spot for smartphone shipments during the second quarter, according to market researcher IDC, while GFK data showed that the Chinese company controls a larger smartphone share than Samsung in South Africa, Myanmar, Venezuela and Columbia.
During the past year, Yu's unit posted revenue of over US$9bn, 18% year-on-year growth, and exceeded its profit target.
Meanwhile, Yu continues to announce drastic plans including cutting 80% of Huawei's product lines, pushing the ratio of sales through retailers and e-commerce sites to 80% and reducing sales through telecom operators to 20%, the report said.
The first major success of Huawei's smartphone business under Yu came with its P6 model, which sold nearly 3m in China and over 1m overseas in 2013, the magazine noted.
The success of the Ascend P6, the fruit of Huawei's previous experience of expanding into the high-end market, quenched all criticism of Yu within the company, the report said.
Huawei has big ambitions: watch out for it as smartphone prices drop. (On an unrelated note, the layout of the WantChinaTimes page is very familiar.)
Wonderfully coy language:
"Before you purchase an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from somebody else, make sure that Find My iPhone Activation Lock is turned off and the device is ready for you to use."
In other words: save yourself from buying a nicked iPhone. You have to input the serial number or IMEI - for both of which you need to get into the Settings. However, only the iCloud password will disable the Activation Lock. It's a nice idea, but will it get much use?
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