Diamonds Could Help Unlock Quantum Computing

The stumbling block when it comes to quantum computing – which aims to use the quantum-mechanical phenomena of entanglement and superposition in order to perform superfast computational operations without electronic transistors – is maintaining superposition (i.e. more than one physical state, simultaneously; think Schrödinger’s cat), but a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) thinks the secret behind sustaining that state can be found in diamonds.

The MIT researchers have developed a feedback-control system, utilising synthetic diamonds, which can successfully maintain a quantum superposition, the process of which is detailed in a paper entitled “Coherent feedback control of a single qubit in diamond,” published in Nature.

“Instead of having a classical controller to implement the feedback, we now use a quantum controller,” Paola Cappellaro, Esther and Harold Edgerton Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT (pictured above), told ComputerWorld. “Because the controller is quantum, I don’t need to do a measurement to know what’s going on.”

The artificial diamonds used featured a “vacancy” – essentially, a missing carbon nucleus within the structural lattice of the jewel – which was exploited by swapping an adjacent carbon atom for a nitrogen atom, resulting in a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centre. If the NV is exposed to a strong magnetic field – the MIT team fixed a magnet to the diamond – the centre’s electronic spin can then maintain a superposition of up and down at the same time. In this case, the NV centre was able to maintain its superposition for 1,000 times as long as previous experiments.

IBM’s Watson Now Has A Cook Book

Who doesn’t like their food? From the simple sandwich to a Sunday roast, there are plenty of meals you can make to enjoy in anything from five minutes to five hours. When it comes to trying to make something new, most people including professional chefs, prefer to go with using combinations and mixtures they know and like. IBM decided that they didn’t quite like this and tasked Watson, their cognitive computing system, to create a culinary cook book and it delivered.

Available now, the cookbook is a combination of Watsons and the Institute of Culinary Education’s experience creating over 65 different recipes using a combination of classical chef talent and cognitive science. Watson generates the recipes list of ingredients, with the result presenting a combination of scientific flavours while a Chef combined the ingredients to create recipes that even a computer could love.

Starting with a Baltic Apple Pie, Kris Naudus of Engadget found out the hard way that some of the recipes are a little more tricky than the originals they were based upon. The first thing that surprised Naudus was the inclusion of pork to the Apple pie, and the two sauces and garnish included in the recipe only add to the restaurant feel the book looks to create.

With recipes like Indian Tumeric Paella, which “brings simple Indian flavors to a classic paella”, and Turkish Bruschetta, a simple meal that would now include spices and even Japanese eggplants (also known as aubergines).

You can find the cook book on Amazon for £26.88 and so far the reviews seem to be coming in good, for the most part.

GCHQ Admits £1b Investment in Cyber Security “Hasn’t Worked”

Over the last five years, UK intelligence service GCHQ has spent nearly £1 billion on its cyber security initiative, but the civil servant in charge of the program has admitted, “the bottom line is it hasn’t worked.”

Alex Dewedney, Director of Cyber Security for CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group) – a division within GCHQ – told the audience at the RSA security conference in San Francisco last week that, in order to fight cyber security threats to businesses, services, and governments, GCHQ needs more manpower, not money.

“I think the best way to sum up the challenge we face is that while we’ve done a lot over the past five years and spent quite a lot of money as a government, particularly in those years of austerity we’ve been through, the bottom line is it hasn’t worked,” Dewedney said, according to Computing.

“[People believe that] if we keep doing that, then somehow it will magically cause improvement to happen. That approach by itself is not sufficient,” he added. “We can’t just pass information on threats to businesses and tell them to go and deal with it themselves.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has, despite a fiscal policy of austerity, announced plans to double GCHQ’s cyber security budget to £1.9 billion by 2020, but Dewedney thinks that throwing money at the problem is the wrong approach, saying that it’s “not so much a money issue as it is a human resources issue.”

One place that the government should be spending money, argues Dewedney, is on upgrading IT systems. “Not […] spending money on fixing legacy IT issues […] is killing us.”

“I’ve tried to make this argument to my bosses that surely you have to start [with legacy] before you try to do anything more sophisticated,” he said. “But the response has been ‘I’m not spending cyber security programme money to subsidise other departments’ IT budgets’.”

AMD Snags Nvidia Supercomputer Client With FirePro & GPUOpen

When AMD revealed their GPUOpen and Boltzmann Initiative, it seemed like a last-ditch effort to get back some GPU computing and enterprise marketshare. Nvidia had struck first with CUDA and because of its success, many GPU computing platforms have largely been based on CUDA, with OpenCL lagging behind. With the Boltzmann Initiative AMD hoped to steal some Nvidia CUDA customers and they’ve just snagged a big one with their FirePro GPUs.

In partnerships with AMD, CGG, a geoscience company working on gas, oil and resource mining simulations switched over from a full CUDA platform to one entirely based on OpenCL and compatible with AMD. What’s more, they dropped all of their existing Nvidia GPUs and upgraded to FirePro S9150’s based on Hawaii (290X/390X). With the recent changes in graphics architecture, AMD has led in terms of computing with GCN especially shining in this regard.

With one major conversion under their belt, AMD now has a great example to show off to other potential customers. With HIP, up to 90% of CUDA code can be ported without any extra developer input and it looks like the befits of moving to AMD’s platform are worth the 10% of work. Hopefully, AMD will continue to score more enterprise wins, a market which they haven’t done as a well in for a while, and it is incredibly lucrative.

Microsoft: Windows PCs ‘Do More’ Than Macs

The PC Vs Mac debate has been hotly discussed and analysed for what seems to be since the dawn of time. Over the years, there’s been various arguments which outlines the benefits and drawbacks of both systems which makes for an interesting topic. In the past, Mac users proclaimed Windows was an unstable operating system with poor security. However, Alex Stamos of iSec Partners claimed this was incorrect back in 2011 and said that Mac OS X is “significantly more vulnerable” than Windows 7 when it comes to network-based attacks. On the other hand, David Morgenstern from ZDNet dismissed these theories and believes:

“Searching through F-Secure’s Monthly Security Updates for 2013, I could only find one solitary mention of a Mac or iOS vulnerability, and it was for Microsoft Outlook for Mac. There has be something Windowsy behind it.”

As you can see, there’s still varying opinions on this subject, as people try to defend their purchasing habits. On a personal note, I’ve used Macs, PCs, and even completed a few Hackintosh projects. Both operating systems have their own merits, but I really struggle to understand how easily Apple sells computers with such a low specification for the price point. Furthermore, Apple has a very restricted ethos which revolves around control and prevents the end-user from performing major tweaks. Linux is probably the best option for advanced users wanting total control, but Windows isn’t too shabby in this particular field.

Yesterday, Microsoft unleashed an advertising campaign with the slogan, “PCs do more”. In these videos we see The Bug Chicks teach children about insects using Windows 10 software. As always, these marketing adverts are fairly cringe-worthy but it’s always great to see Microsoft outline the benefits of the PC platform. This is bound to spark a lively debate between PC and Mac users. Here is a complete list of the released videos so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6SVsf0k2i0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHoHKjjttvQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln5LU532GuY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOV1tQpgAs8

Image courtesy of A New World Society.

Microsoft Patents a Modular Computing Device

Microsoft applied for this patent as far back as July last year and it was now published just a few days ago. Microsoft has now patented a “modular computing device” that would enable people to put together the exact PC components they want instead of purchasing a completely new system.

Yes, you are completely right with your initial thought. We already have that, it’s called PC parts. We review and post news about those every day here at eTeknix. But that isn’t what we are talking about here, these are modules rather than individual PC components. You might remember Razer’s modular PC called Project Christine or Acer’s Revo Build Mini PC and this new patent is in the same regards.

While the Christine and Revo Build never turned into any real products, there is a good chance that Microsoft has bigger plans for this, especially considering this patent. Microsoft is also taking it one step further and adding everything as module options including the display. This is something that reminds of Google’s Project Ara and its block system, just on a bigger scale.

The stackable hardware connected to the display using a hinge can contain a removable battery, a processor, a graphics card, memory, storage, speakers, and a wireless communication element. There could even be a gesture recognition component or a holographic projection unit. Each of these components can also have housings that are connected magnetically and are swappable.

I really love this idea and I hope that it will turn into a real product line. I most likely wouldn’t purchase it myself, but it would allow every normal user without any knowledge to upgrade his or her system part for part instead of throwing the entire thing in a trashcan and purchasing a completely new device. It would save a lot of costs for those people, but most importantly, it would save a lot of trash. Why should you upgrade more than what’s outdated and don’t waste resources?

“In this way, the computing device may be altered and changed readily by a user in an intuitive manner without requiring detailed knowledge of the hardware.”

2015 Saw Biggest Ever Decline in PC Sales

PC sales in 2015 were the lowest since 2008 – shipping below 300 million units – and the on-year decline of 10.6% is the largest decline ever experienced, beating a previous drop of 9.8% in 2013, IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker announced in a press release on DigiTimes.

“The PC market continued to face persistent challenges from longer-PC lifecycles and competition from mobile phones and tablets, despite the slowing growth in those markets,” IDC reports. “However, economic issues like falling commodity prices and weak international currencies, as well as social disruptions in EMEA and Asia Pacific that disrupted foreign markets were a larger factor for 2015.”

The industry is confident that, despite a steady decline over the last few years, the PC market is set to level out in the coming years.

“The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the China stock market,” Loren Loverde, Vice President of IDC, said. “However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year. Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing.”

“Changes in the OS market also had a significant impact with the end of support for Windows XP and promotions of low-cost PCs driving a surge in replacements in 2014 that combined with the launch of Windows 10 and a free upgrade program to delay new system purchases in 2015,” the IDC press release continues.

“Lastly, while some very attractive new PCs have been launched, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations – deciding when to upgrade and evaluating slim, convertible, detachable, and touch variations versus more traditional PCs. Nevertheless, many of these products have received positive reviews and there’s potential for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows.”

The market saw substantial growth with detachable tablets, which are counted as separate to PCs, with sales up 3% in 2015.

Image courtesy of PC Advisor.

NEC Releases New 27-Inch and 30-Inch MultiSync EA IPS Panel Displays

NEC Display Solutions of America has announced the release of two new widescreen MultiSync monitors with IPS panel technology, the 30-inch EA305WMi and the 27-inch EA275WMi. Both are designed for dual monitor configurations and feature wide viewing angles of 178o horizontal/vertical, DisplayPort 1.2 inputs and outputs, and NEC’s ControlSync technology.

“The new EA305WMi and EA275WMi displays give business professionals new, powerful tools, especially when using multiple monitors,” Art Marshall, Senior Product Manager for Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions, said. “The displays also include NEC’s leading environmental and productivity features, as well as NEC-exclusive ControlSync and human sensors.”

The two displays also come with smart sensing technology, which detects screen content and picks the most appropriate brightness and ambient light levels, plus touch-sensitive controls. The units have fully adjustable stands, which includes height adjusting, tilting, rotation, and pivoting functionality. Additional ports include HDMI 2.0, DVI-D, and a 3-port USB hub.

The displays include the following features:

  • Widescreen IPS panel with LED backlighting
  • 350 cd/m2 brightness and 8-bit color
  • 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1000:1 typical)
  • Ergonomic adjustable stand with 130mm height-adjust, tilt, swivel and pivot
  • Integrated speakers (1W x 2) and headphone jack
  • ECO Mode, carbon footprint meter and cost meter
  • ENERGY STAR 6.0 and TCO 6.0 compliant

The MultiSync EA305WMi-BK and EA275WMi-BK – priced $1,399 and $699, respectively – are available now.

Raspberry Pi Zero Was Inspired by Google

The Raspberry Pi Zero, the tiny, £4 ($5) microcomputer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation which sold out in less than a day, would not have existed were it not for a timely intervention from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, revealed to the Wall Street Journal that, were it not for Schmidt, the company would have instead released a larger, more powerful $60 model.

“I told him we were thinking of making future Raspberry Pi’s a little bit more expensive, up at about $50 or $60, and a bit more powerful,” Upton told WSJ.

Schmidt, though, discouraged the move, with Upton adding, “He said it was very hard to compete with cheap. He made a very compelling case. It was a life-changing conversation.” That life-changing conversation, which took place about three years ago, led to the creation of both the Raspberry Pi 2 and the Raspberry Pi Zero. “The idea was to make a more powerful thing at the same price, and then make a cheaper thing with the same power,” he said.

“We really don’t think we’ll get any cheaper than this. We’ve gone from say, four lattes, to one latte. We’re not going to go below the cost of one latte,” Upton said.

But has Schmidt seen the microcomputer he helped birth? Not yet, according to Upton: “I don’t want to bother him.”

Imagination Launches ‘IoT In A Box’ Kickstarter

UK-based Imagination Technologies has launched a Kickstarter for the Creator Ci40, described as “the ultimate IoT-in-a-box dev kit”.

The kit includes:

  • A powerful IoT hub, the Creator Ci40 development boardintegrates a 550 MHz dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS CPU running OpenWrt and a multi-standard connectivity package (802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.15.4, fast Ethernet), with room for further expansion
  • Two battery-powered MikroElektronika Clicker boardsfeaturing a dedicated 6LoWPAN chip and the mikroBUS socket for adding sensors
  • Three MikroElektronika Click boardsfor measuring temperature, detecting motion, and controlling a relay (hundreds of other Click boards are available from MikroElektronika)

The Creator Ci40 development board acts as the central hub, connecting all other IoT add-ons with its dual-core and dual-threaded 550MHz MIPS InterAptiv CPU. The board’s Ensigma connectivity engine supports 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1.

The additional boards include two MikroElektronika Clickers, each with a 32-bit Microchip controller, mikroProg connector, USB connector, LEDs, push and reset buttons, and external electronics interfacing headers. The boards can standalone, powered by two AAA batteries.

The development supports three open source operating systems – OpenWRT router OS, Google’s Brillo, and a Debian Linux distro – plus Buildroot, which can compile embedded Linux systems, while the expansion boards run the Contiki real-time OS.

The Creator Ci40 is already over one-quarter the way to its £20,000 goal, having raised £5,617 at time of writing. The development board is available for those that pledge £35 (plus £5 shipping), while the full kit, including expansion boards, can be purchased for a pledge of £80 (plus £12 shipping).

One In Five Brits Victims of Cybercrime in 2015

A Deloitte survey claims that around one-fifth of UK computer users have been hit by cybercrime in 2015, according to Tech Week. The survey shows that 21% of people polled experienced instances of personal data theft, either directly or via website security breaches, and had their bank accounts used to pay for goods and services.

39% fell victim to malware, with personal information being either stolen or deleted – a steep rise from 26% in 2013 – with 41% feeling that they have been directly targeted by cyber criminals in some form.

The rise in recent high-profile cyberattacks, though, seems to have raised awareness amongst computer users, encouraging greater vigilance in regard to personal security. 73% responded that they would reconsider using a company that failed to keep its data safe. However, 72% said that they believed it was the responsibility of companies to provide users with the appropriate tools to protect themselves online.

“The volume and value of data available online means that consumers are now more exposed than ever before,” Simon Borwick, Director of Cyber Risk Services team at Deloitte said.

“The rapid rise in e-commerce, both at a B2C and B2B level, has increased the amount of transactional data at risk of abuse. Consumer-facing businesses, particularly those that hold a lot of data, are particularly attractive targets for cyber criminals and fraudsters looking to profit from stealing personal information,” he added.

“Many organisations are struggling to prepare themselves to deal with the wide range of different cyber-attacks. Cyber security has moved beyond simply being an IT issue; it is now a business-wide risk which requires immediate attention at the highest level.”

An Inside Glimpse at Computing in North Korea

After eschewing Windows due to its American origins, North Korea has been using the Red Star operating system for over a decade. Not only is Red Star created by the North Korean state, it is the only OS that is permitted for use within the country, and only supports the native language. The most recent iteration of the software, Red Star 3, is a Linux distro designed to mimic Apple’s OS X, believed to be a favourite of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

A former Google employee, Will Scott, managed to obtain a copy of Red Star 3 from a local KCC retailer during a visit to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, giving us in the West our first glimpse at computing within North Korea.

Red Star 3’s start-up screen:

The installation process asks the user to select your city and time zone. Seoul, capital of South Korea, is conspicuously absent:

The log-in screen:

The resemblance of Red Star 3’s desktop to that of the Mac’s OS X is uncanny:

Red Star’s proprietary word processor:

And its e-mail client:

Documents can be accessed via the File Manager, again taking its cue from OS X’s Finder:

The browser is a modified Firefox, called “Maenara”:

The desktop can be modified, with a number of wallpapers included:

This one in particular, 다박솔초소의 설경, or “snow at the baksol outpost”, seems to say much about the North Korean state’s preoccupation with military might:

Kangaroo: The Portable $99 Windows 10 PC

The Kangaroo, developed by InFocus, is a small $99 Windows 10 PC designed to be versatile and portable. While not as small as a Intel’s tiny Compute Stick, or even a Raspberry Pi, InFocus’ Kangaroo is small enough to fit in a pocket and includes an HDMI dock for easy connection to a TV or monitor, the idea being that multiple docks around your house allows you to move your PC to different rooms without fuss.

The Kangaroo runs on an Intel “Cherry Tail” Atom x5-Z8500 processor, the same chip contained within many popular tablets, and has 2GB RAM, 32GB on-board storage, a microSD slot, and a fingerprint reader. Its internal battery carries enough charge for up to 4 hours use, but also includes a MicroUSB charger. Ports include one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, and an HDMI port.

While the Kangaroo runs Windows 10, it could be of some appeal to iOS users, thanks to its Lightning-to-USB cable, which allows the PC to use an iPhone or iPad as a touchscreen monitor.

Full Technical Specifications:

OS Windows 10 – 64bit Home
CPU Intel Atom x5-Z8500 Processor (2M Cache, up to 2.24 GHz)
Graphics Intel® Processor Graphics Gen8
Video Memory Sharing System Memory
Memory 2GB LPDDR3
Hard Drive 32GB eMMC
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 A/C (Dual Band) / Bluetooth 4.0
Expansion Slot microSD
Security Fingerprint reader
Battery Life Battery power for up to 4 hours (casual use)
Dimensions Computing module : 80.5 x 124 x 12.9mm / Base : 80.5 x 46.9 x 12.9mm
Weight 200g (without adapter & power cord) / 470g (including adapter & power cord)
Ports Computing module: microSD, Micro USB (charge only)
Base: USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, HDMI x 1, DC-IN
Audio Supported through HDMI
Cloud OneDrive
Power Adapter Input: 100V-220V ~ 1A, 50-60Hz / Output: 12V/3A
Accessories included Software – OSLinx (requires download & lightning to usb cable), AC Power Adapter, Kangaroo Dock
Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty
Kangaroo Dock Ports USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, HDMI x 1, DC-IN
Kangaroo Dock 40-pin proprietary

The Kangaroo is currently only available from NewEgg, but VentureBeat reports that the Microsoft Store will be offering the mini-PC soon, too.

Why Floppy Disks Are Still Not Dead

Hey, kids. You know that icon you click to save stuff? That used to be a physical format on which users could save a whopping 1.44MB of data. Impressive, eh? So, why did floppy disks dies off? The answer is, they never did. You or I may not use them anymore, but the outdated format is still alive and kicking in many industries.

Tom Persky in particular owes his livelihood to floppy disks. His company, FloppyDisks.com is a profitable business that, as the name suggests, deals exclusively in the 1.44MB disks. But who’s buying them?

“There are people who love floppy disks,” Persky said, citing a particular journalist who relies on the format for publishing articles. “There’s a large embroidery company that does 500 jobs a day,” adding, “They could do that on a hard drive — except their machinery doesn’t work with a hard drive.”

Persky and his business, being what he describes as the “last man standing”, provides a service that computing and office supplies stores no longer cater to. While Persky’s persistence with floppy disks, which his company has been selling since the early Nineties, might seem prescient, he concedes that he “just forgot to get out of the floppy disk business.”

As Persky puts it, manufacturers use systems that were designed for long-term use. What were these systems based around when they were built? Floppy disks. “In the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of industrial machines were built around floppy disks, which were high-tech of the time,” he says. “They were built to last fifty years.” This antiquated design means that even U.S. Air Force nuclear silos rely on 1.44MB disks.

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information.

Lenovo Caught Pre-Installing Malware on its Computers Again

Earlier this year, Lenovo was caught pre-installing adware on its computers, eliciting a vociferous backlash from users. The Superfish scandal, however, appears merely to have been its test-run in preparation for its latest ruse: Lenovo ThinkPads, ThinkCentres, and ThinkStations have been found containing user-tracking spyware that is scheduled to run every day and sends usage data to an analytics company.

The spyware was discovered by independent computer security consultant Michael Horowitz while using the free software TaskSchedulerView to persue his ThinkPad. He says:

The task that gave me pause is called “Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64”. It was running daily. According to the description in the task scheduler: “This task uploads Customer Feedback Program data to Lenovo”.

I have setup my fair share of new Lenovo machines and can’t recall ever being asked about a Customer Feedback program.

The program that runs daily is Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe and it resides in folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Lenovo\Customer Feedback Program.

Other files in this folder are Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe.config, Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.InnovApps.dll and Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.OmnitureSiteCatalyst.dll.

According to Wikipedia, Omniture is an online marketing and web analytics firm, and SiteCatalyst (since renamed) is their software as a service application for client-side web analytics.

So, while there may not be extra ads on ThinkPads, there is some monitoring and tracking.

On the one hand this is surprising because the machines were refurbished and sold by IBM. On the other hand, considering Lenovo’s recent history, it’s not surprising at all.

Lenovo’s right to use this malware to gather information on its user is buried deep within its Licence Agreement – an .rtf file stored in the obscure folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Lenovo\MetricCollectionSDK\licenses – so is doing nothing illegal, but its behaviour is at the very least unethical and risks violating user trust and damaging its brand.

In lieu of these revelations, Lenovo has issued an official statement regarding data collection which reads:

“Statistical data collection by Lenovo has been the subject of press reports and social media discussion. Similar to other companies in the PC, smartphone and tablet industries and as disclosed in the End User License Agreement, Lenovo products collect non-personally identifiable statistical usage data that is not tracked to any single customer or device. This data helps Lenovo improve both existing and future products.”

“In preparation for Windows 10, all programs preloaded on Lenovo PCs were reviewed by Lenovo and independent 3rd parties from privacy and technical perspectives and are listed in the “programs directory” in Windows, under “settings”. Customers who do not want to participate, can remove the program by going into the “Control Panel”, opening “Add / Remove Programs”, clicking on the program and selecting “uninstall””

Thank you Boing Boing for providing us with this information.

Record For Furthest Distance Quantum Data Transmission Broken

Recently, there have been a lot of articles about technologies straight from science fiction. With lasers being mounted to airplanes by 2019 and Japan firing a laser equal to a thousand times the world’s electricity consumption. With everything from science fiction becoming a reality, it was only a matter of time before this topic appeared in our news again, Quantum Data. Quantum refers to anything that can be in two forms at the same time, for example, Quantum computers are looking at changing how your computer works from  “yes, no” to “yes, no, both”. Quantum Data transmission is a step further.

From Star Trek to Gundam teleportation has always been at the head of science fiction, the ability to go from one place to another by being transmitted like an email or text message. A team of scientists at the US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology have gone and transmitted a photon of information across 63 miles. Now calm down, lets put that into perspective. When transmitting data that far, 99% of photons wouldn’t make the full trip, and this latest record was only broken because of a set of new detectors.

With the ability to transmit data, in what could possibly be the most secure way, across miles from your home to your work and local shops, transmitting quantum data could make WiFi look like plastic cups and string. Would you look forward to being able to use your computer from 63 miles away aware that no one could intercept your messages because you were using the same computer that was 63 miles away, at the same time? Confusing isn’t it?

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of Drum Beat Marketing.

Raspberry Pi Releases £48 7-Inch Touchscreen

After two years of development, the official Raspberry Pi touch display has been released today. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has commissioned Inelco Hunter to produce the screen, which boasts an RGB 800×480 display at 60fps, 24-bit colour, FT5406 10 point capacitive touchscreen, and a 70 degree viewing angle, and is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Raspberry Pi Model B+ and Raspberry PI Model A+.

The touch display connects via a 15-way FPC connector, while the rear of the screen has mounting holes to attach the Pi. The screen and the Pi can be powered through the board’s GPIO port, or though the microUSB port, with the display connected though a DSI port.

The Official Raspberry Pi Touch Display is available from the official Swag Store, as well as from RS Components/Allied Electronics or Premier Farnell/Newark – with shipments available from other sellers later this week – for £48/$60, not including shipping and tax. For an extra £10/$15, customers can buy a coloured frame for the touchscreen, available in tangerine, coupe, royale, noir, flotilla, and jade (or orange, red, blue, black, light blue, and green to you and me).

Full technical specs and a history of the touchscreen’s development are available on the Raspberry Pi blog.

Steve Wozniak Claims Steve Jobs Knew Nothing About Technology

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – affectionately known as Woz – has been unusually frank regarding Steve Jobs involvement in the early years of Apple’s computer development, revealing that Jobs knew nothing about technology and played no role in the design of the Apple I and Apple II home computers.

Wozniak told 14-year-old Sarina Khemchandani, founder of child academia site Reach a Child:

“Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer and printer interfaces and serial interfaces and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers. He did not know technology. He’d never designed anything as a hardware engineer, and he didn’t know software. He wanted to be important, and the important people are always the business people. So that’s what he wanted to do.

The Apple II computer, by the way, was the only successful product Apple had for its first 10 years, and it was all done, for my own reasons for myself, before Steve Jobs even knew it existed.”

Woz adds, however, that without Jobs’ business acumen, Apple would never have succeeded. The best advice he could give a creative trying to sell an idea is, “it’s very important, even if you are not a business man, find someone who is.”

Thank you I Programmer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechnoBuffalo.

New Raspberry Pi Rival Costs Just $15

The Raspberry Pi has revolutionised the budget micro PC market, packing in some impressive computing power for a $35/£25 board. While the Raspberry Pi has already spawned some imitators, like the similarly priced Banana Pi, there’s a new kid on the block, boasting bags of processing capacity for nearly half the price.

The Orange Pi (noticing a theme yet?), priced just $15 (less than £10), measuring 3.3″ x 2.2″ and weighing only 1.3oz, runs on an Allwinner H3 ARM Cortex A7 Quad Core 1.6GHz processor, an ARM Mali-400 GPU, with 1GB DDR RAM. Squeezed on to the tiny board are two USB 2.0 ports, a USB OTG, 100M Ethernet, HDMI and AV ports, camera interface, 40 PIN headers, integrated microphone, IR sensor and even a power switch, which is a feature noticeably absent from the Raspberry Pi.

That’s not the only thing the Orange Pi has over its rival, though, as the micro PC offers 4K video playback, making the new upstart a very appealing proposition when compared to the Raspberry Pi.

The computer has no on-board storage, so relies on a microSD card of up to 64GB, and can run Ubuntu, Raspbian, Debian, and Android operating systems.

The Orange Pi is available from AliExpress and ships from China.

Thank you Liliputing for providing us with this information.

GIGABYTE Unveils the GeForce GTX 970 Twin-Turbo

GIGABYTE has revealed its latest graphics card, the GeForce GTX 970 Twin-Turbo (model: GV-N970TTOC-4GD), a custom GTX 970 modified with a lateral blower-type cooling solution that forces hot air out of the card’s case and through the I/O air vents. Though it only has one blower, the “Twin-Turbo” moniker comes from the intakes positioned on either side of the board, which comes thanks to GIGABYTE choosing the short GTX 970 PCB for its modding, and allows air to be sucked in from both sides. The Twin-Turbo design increases air flow by 24% and provides 29% cooler performance than the reference design.

The GTX 970 Twin-Turbo boasts factory-overclocked speeds of 1101MHz core, 1241MHz GPU dynamic Boost, and a plain 7012 MHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. The custom card is also available in a non-OC SKU, which offers the NVIDIA reference clocks of 1076MHz core and 1216MHz Boost.

The card is powered via a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.2 ports, one HDMI 2.0, and one dual-link DVI port.

The factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 970 Twin-Turbo is expected to be priced at around $310, with the non-OC version at $300. Retail availability will be announced shortly.

Specifications:

GPU Core: Nvidia GTX 970
GPU Base Clock: 1101MHz
GPU Boost Clock: 1241MHz
CUDA Cores: 1664 Cores
Memory Clock: 7012MHz
DVI Output: x1 (DVI-D)
HDMI Out: x1 (2.0)
Display Port: x3

AMD Radeon 370X to Feature 1280 Stream Processors

AMD’s Radeon 300 graphics card series, launched back in June, is about to get a new addition to the family, and we have news about the forthcoming Radeon 370X, thanks to a leaked screenshot of its specifications.

We don’t yet know for sure whether the new AMD Radeon 370X will be associated with the R7 or R9 series; while the model down – the Radeon 370 – is part of the R7 series, and it was assumed that the 370X would belong to the same family, a leaked GPU-Z screenshot, courtesy of Expreview, points to the card being an R9, and potentially a Radeon R9 270X rebrand.

Like the 270X, the 370X has 2GB GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit interface, similar clocks, and also sporting 1280 Stream Cores. The two cards even share the same Device ID. The only notable difference between the pair is a BIOS revision.

The 370X is the latest iteration of the Pitcairn graphics processor, which made its debut in 2012. With the launch of the Radeon 300 series, the GPU was rebranded as Trinidad, after previously carrying the name Curacao during the Radeon 200 generation.

It has been rumoured that the Radeon R9 370X could hit the shelves in the next two weeks, just in time to compete against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Researchers Hack Air-Gapped Computer Using Nine-Year-Old Motorola Phone

An air-gapped computer is the most secure way of storing sensitive data; a PC that has no internet connection and no removable storage or disk drives cannot be compromised by hackers or government surveillance, in theory. Well, it’s time to say goodbye to that theory, as not only have Israeli researchers managed to remotely hack into an air-gapped computer, but they did it with a nine-year-old mobile phone that has no GPRS, Wi-Fi, or mobile data capabilities.

Researchers warn that their findings should encourage companies attempting to protect data via air-gapped systems to “change their security guidelines and prohibit employees and visitors from bringing devices capable of intercepting RF signals,” so says Yuval Elovici, director of the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Since smartphones are often restricted in areas which house air-gapped computers, so the researchers from the Cyber Security Center chose to use an old mobile phone that could bypass any security restrictions.

“[U]nlike some other recent work in this field, [this attack] exploits components that are virtually guaranteed to be present on any desktop/server computer and cellular phone,” the researchers note in their paper.

The phone used, a Motorola C123, runs on a Calypso baseband chip from Texas Instruments, and supports 2G communication, but has none of the more advanced networking capacities of modern smartphones. Data was grabbed from air-gapped computers, running Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu, at a rate of 1-2bps, allowing the researchers to obtain 256-bit encryption keys from the system via radio frequencies.

“This is not a scenario where you can leak out megabytes of documents, but today sensitive data is usually locked down by smaller amounts of data,” Dudu Mimran, CTO of the Cyber Security Research Center, said. “So if you can get the RSA private key, you’re breaking a lot of things.”

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mobile Phones & Smartphones Info.

Dell’s Latest Tablet is Built to Withstand Extreme Conditions

Dell has expanded its Rugged line-up with a new Latitude tablet designed to operate in the harshest of environments. This model is resistant against mud, dust, sand, spillages and other hazards. The tablet can even be dropped from over four feet and has a temperature threshold between -20 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This device is capable of withstanding war zones, high-altitude mountains and industrial workplaces. According to Dell, the unit is,

“Designed for performance and reliability in the harshest conditions.”

In terms of specifications, the tablet features a multi-touch, 11.6 inch 1366×768 panel which can be easily viewed in direct sunlight. Furthermore, it is equipped with a 5th generation Intel Core CPU, Windows 8.1 (fully upgradable to Windows 10), up to a 512GB Solid State Drive and a battery lasting upwards of 12 hours. Dell also utilized a quad cooling solution to prevent throttling in hot locations. I can see this being useful during expeditions near volcanoes or climates with a blistering heat.

Pricing and availability is still unknown, but the niche nature of this device will incur a hefty price tag. Dell’s existing Latitude 12 Rugged laptop contains an Intel Core i3 CPU and 4GB of RAM which retails for $3,649. I wouldn’t expect the final price to be this high but the reinforced casing will undoubtedly increase manufacturing costs.

The Latitude 12 tablet is massive overkill for 99.99% of people but provides a vital service for those who require reliable hardware in tough situations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Koj_xvdRA

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

GlobalFoundries Seals IBM Deal

GlobalFoundries has been given the all-clear to complete its purchase of IBM’s chips division, in a deal worth $1.5 billion. An off-shoot of AMD, GlobalFoundries was founded in 2009 on the back of massive funding from the Advanced Technology Investment Company, the tech investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government. IBM has been struggling to prop up its loss-making chips division for some time, and it is them that is paying GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take the division off its hands, with the promise of a further $3 billion investment over the next five years.

As part of the deal, GlobalFoundries has gained two new chip-fabs and over 16,000 patents, but holistically it positions the company as a new key player in the chip market. It will now take control of IBM’s manufacturing plants in East Fishkill, New York and Essex Junction, Vermont. As part of the agreement, GlobalFoundries will provide IBM with semiconductors for the next ten years.

Sanjay Jha, Chief Executive Officer of GlobalFoundries, lauded the deal as a huge boost to his company’s research and development, saying, “We have added world-class technologists and differentiated technologies, such as RF [radio frequency] and ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit], to meet our customers’ needs and accelerate our progress toward becoming a foundry powerhouse.”

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information.

4K 21.5-Inch Apple iMac Could be Coming This Autumn

9to5Mac, a site that specialises in reporting the latest news and rumours regarding Apple products, may have found evidence that a new 21.5-Inch iMac is on its way – the first update to the series in nearly two years – featuring a 4K display. After digging into the latest release of OS X El Capitan beta, Apple’s successor to Yosemite, 9to5Mac found support for an as-yet non-existent 4096×2304 resolution Apple Retina display.

“Likely destined for a refreshed version of the 21.5-inch iMac, which currently does not have a Retina display, the new El Capitan beta references Mac support for a new 4096 x 2304 resolution Apple-made display panel,” says Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac.

The listings refer to other supported hardware, including Iris Pro 6200, which is Intel’s new Broadwell-integrated graphic chipset – launched earlier this month but not in use in any current iMac iterations – which would certainly be suitable for powering a 4K display. Below that, further reference is made to four of AMD’s new Radeon R9 processors – the M380, M390, M395, and M395X models – which may also feature in the new machine.

BGR has taken this revelation and ran with it, suggesting that a new 4K 21.5-Inch iMac could be hitting stores this Autumn, a common time of year for new Apple desktop releases.

Thank you International Business Times and 9to5Mac for providing us with this information.

Man Spends Three Years Building a 45ft Processor in His House

The trend for tech companies in recent years has been to design and manufacture wafer thin computing devices. From Apple’s impossibly slim MacBook Air to the ingenious Raspberry Pi device which reboots the notion of a PC into a credit card size.

But what happens if you buck the trend of slim systems and decide to build a PC which stands colossal in comparison, no problem right? Well a gentleman by the name of James Newman is currently building a 45ft processor in his lounge of his bungalow in Cambridge. By the time its complete this mega PC will contain an eye watering 14,000 individual transistors and 3,500 LED Lights.

The Processor, which is pictured below, has taken Mr Newman around 3 years to build with the cost so far being in excess of £20,000. There is also the question of storage once it’s finished as the potential weight of this machine would be at least half a tonne with at least another seven panels which will be fixed to the unit.

An Individual who is dedicated to building this machine has to be admired, perhaps this will inspire the next generation to a love of tech, or the processor might even find its way into a museum for educational purposes. Considering this unit operates just the same as a standard chip-sized microprocessor found in all computers, it’s certainly an achievement, just don’t expect there to be much room left in his bungalow.

Image Courtesy of BBC

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Lenovo Enters PC Stick Market

Lenovo is releasing a PC-on-a-stick to rival Intel’s Compute Stick, and it’s cheaper, to boot. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Stick 300 is a dongle that will turn any monitor or TV with an HDMI input into a computer.

The 15mm-thick dongle boasts an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, 2GB memory, and 32GB of onboard storage, which can be boosted via it Micro SD slot, plus WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. It will ship with Windows 8.1, which will of course be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 upon its release on 29th July.

Jun Ouyang, Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Desktop and Visuals, described the IdeaCentre Stick 300:

“We’ve looked at the computing needs of travelers, business people and families, and realized that a truly portable and affordable solution would be a significant benefit to users of all kinds. Our goal with the Ideacentre Stick 300 is to give those users a sense of freedom and enhanced mobility, while packing a serious punch in a small device.”

Lenovo promises that the IdeaCentre Stick 300 can transform “the traditional TV in a vacation rental into a smart multi-media hub, capable of streaming a movie, video chatting with relatives or editing a work document on the fly,” and allowing you to “Convert the dusty monitor lurking in a spare bedroom into a web-enabled homework station, or transform a coveted man-cave into a home cinema.”

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Stick 300 is due to ship in July, in-store and online, priced $129.

Image courtesy of liliputing.