What Happens When You Open and Save a JPEG 500 Times?

Many years ago, back in the first days of digital photography, torture testing JPEG images to determine how much quality has been lost by making multiple edits was quite a big thing. JPEG’s use a technique called lossy compression that drops information to keep file sizes at a manageable level.

A YouTuber and a keen studier of generation loss, Jon Sneyers resurrects this with a very quick video demonstrating the effect of opening and resaving the same JPEG 500 times. He does so using several different compression methods too,  such as JPEG, WebP and BPG. The video demonstrates some of the formats maintain quality much better than the others.  In fact, some of them change and give a very interesting metamorphosis.

From the video, it’s quite easy to see that the JPEG format is the best of them all when it comes to retaining its original form after hundreds of saves. When working with photos and having seen the video above, it certainly makes sense to use the RAW format when working with constant edits to images. However, JPEG is still a very good format for images, it keeps the file sizes fairly regular and makes it a lot easier for taking a quick photo without having to go through the hassle of post-image processing in Photoshop.

The US Snowfall Captured Through a Lense

The recent US snowfall has absolutely hammered the East Coast of America in terms of size and ferocity which has led to the cancellations of thousands of flights as well as leaving tens of thousands without power, below is a selection of stats which conveys the extent of this force of nature.

  • 40 inches of snow – Has been recorded in Glengary, West Virginia; 39 inches fell in Philomont, Virginia; and Redhouse, Maryland, received 38 inches.
  • 11 states declared states of emergency – Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. Washington, D.C., has declared a “snow emergency.
  • 8,569 flights – Have been cancelled for Saturday and Sunday
  • More than 74,000 people – Without power.

Below is a selection of beautiful, fantastic yet thought-provoking images that conveys just how disruptive this storm has been for residents as well as the country as a whole.

Below is the first image of “Henry Street in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York”, as you can see, this bustling street has rather ground to a halt.

Next Image below is of a “snowball fight at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC”, this image has been captured in pretty good detail.

The next image below conveys a gentleman by the name of “John Mexner who tries to make headway by shoveling  his vehicle out in Washington”. The morning commute looks rather in vain after the size of disruption from the storm.  

The next image below certainly conveys the amount of snow that has been dumped on the US, the gentleman within the photo is “Ben Osborn who walks with a shovel past a line of snowed-in cars in northeast Washington”, each car looks similar to a giant snowball.

The next image below is beautifully shot and conveys an individual who is producing a “snow angel in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C”, the blueness of the sky is a striking contrast to both the memorial and also the snow.

The last image is certainly thought-provoking and shows “Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia”  being almost completely hidden from snow.

The last image may not be relevant to the US, but it is certainly stunning, it conveys a frozen mast within Fujian Jiuxian China, wow.

Image courtesy of BBC

Toshiba Records $4.5 Billion Annual Loss

Toshiba CEO was forced to resign after revelations came to fruition about the company’s management exaggerating operating profits by as much as $1.2 billion. Clearly, this has made a profound impact on their reputation among partners and consumers. According to The Wall Street Journal, The company is set to make a $4.5 billion annual loss with 7,800 jobs being cut as part of a large restructuring programme. Toshiba is having to make difficult decisions to try to restore faith in the company and rebuild once again. However, given their tarnished reputation, it’s impossible to know if they have a long-term future.

Out out the job losses, 6,800 are going from Toshiba’s customer electronics and applications department. Toshiba President Masashi Muromachi said about the upcoming financial period:

“We admit our steps toward restructuring were behind the curve,”

“The damage wouldn’t be this large if we had been able to implement overhaul plans much sooner.”

He also suggested that the company would “focus on businesses that can generate profits” and “consider withdrawals from unprofitable ones if a turnaround is difficult.”  This is an interesting statement to make and exemplifies how challenging Toshiba’s future is. It seems even the company’s CEO isn’t optimistic about the profitability of certain markets. This means is perfectly feasible for them to exit the consumer electronic sector to stay afloat.

Lenovo Reports First Loss in Six Years

Despite being one of the leading PC vendors, Lenovo is experiencing a tough financial period and recorded a $714 million net loss. This is the first loss the company has reported in 6 years and makes for some alarming reading. One root cause is a major restructuring programme resulting in 3,200 job losses. Additionally, the acquisition of Motorola was a costly endeavor, and Lenovo had to accept $300 million worth of unsold handsets.

PC sales also reduced by 17 percent compared to last year, but this is expected given the current market. Furthermore, the 17 percent drop is actually one of the better results when compared to other manufacturers. However, I’m pretty convinced the Superfish malware scandal didn’t do the company any favours and caused a great deal of negative publicity. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if consumers were more hesitant to buy Lenovo products in the future. On the other hand, the amount of people who actually know about this controversy is quite small and the average consumer doesn’t really follow the latest technology news.

Whatever the case, the financial results aren’t as worrying as they first seem due to Lenovo’s current costs. Realistically, there’s no reason why they can’t turn a profit again, but it will be especially difficult in the competitive smartphone sector.

AMD Reports 2015 Third Quarter Results

We recently brought you some amazing news regarding Fujitsu buying 85% of AMD’s shares. This not only means that AMD has money again, but the company’s shares are now less fragmented; is it too little too late as AMD reports 2015 Third Quarter financial Results?

The future still looks bleak as AMD has reported a quarterly loss of $197 million. It’s no secret on how many significant changes AMD has made to the organisation in efforts to reduce costs and increase profits. Despite these changes, that’s an increase loss from last quarter’s $181 million. Whilst AMD is continuing to lose market share to Intel and Nvidia, when you look closer and start to reflect on AMD’s shares over the last five years, it really starts to tell the story of AMD’s ongoing struggles:

Maybe we shouldn’t write AMD off yet because alongside Fujitsu’s major investment the Embedded, and Semi-Custom part of the organisation has increased 13% over last quarter. Operating income for this segment came in at $84 million, up from $27 million in Q2

AMD is doing more corporate restructuring in an attempt to reduce expenses further. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the results is whilst they are attempting to provide the best value for money their gross margin is only 23%, something has to give eventually.

What’s your thoughts on this subject? Will Fujitsu’s major investment provide AMD with the much-needed injection to fix things, or is it money down the creek? Let us know in the comments below.

Toshiba Reports $318m Net Loss

Toshiba’s fiscal performance from the year start to March has finally been revealed and recorded a net loss of $318 million. The delayed result was caused by the sale of its investment in Finnish firm, Kone to try to recoup financial confidence after senior management figures overstated profits by an estimated $1.22 billion. Despite the rather worrying financials, Toshiba is bullish about the future and released a statement which said:

“While the US economy had lost some momentum in the second half of FY2014, the UK had witnessed a strong performance and the Eurozone had sustained a gradual recovery”.

Despite a slowdown in China, the emerging economies as a whole saw a continued gradual recovery, reflecting solid growth in South-east Asia and India”.

Consumer confidence in Toshiba is quite low after the profits scandal and the company looks to the long-term to restore faith in their management and product line. It’s too early to say what the future holds, but there’s no reason to begin writing Toshiba off just yet. It’s extremely possible that this downturn could be reversed but then again, investors are always concerned about losses or mismanagement. Hopefully, the company can work towards a prosperous future through innovation and products which offer customers real value-for-money.

Do you own a Toshiba product?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Uber Reportedly Operating At Huge Losses

San Francisco-based transportation Network Company Uber has been a revelation in terms of market adoption and consumer exposure. But, the key is successful financial management which benefits the long-term viability of a company; this has been placed in a questionable stasis by alleged leaked financial Documents which covey’s a somewhat punishing set of results from Uber’s point of view.

Gawker has purportedly leaked Uber’s financial results which show operating losses of more than $100m (£65m) in the second quarter of 2014, albeit coupled with steady growth in revenue. This is an astonishing figure which is compounded by an astronomical valuation which sets the total value of the company at $50bn; this makes Uber one of the most funded start-ups in the world.

Below is the documents which Gawker have published, now, this slightly confused me too, but eTeknix have clarified the figures. Everything is actually x1000, so when the Net Loss for 2013 is $56,530, this means it is in reality $56 million. The second document lays out quarterly profits and losses in 2012 and part of 2013, this shows healthy revenue coupled with steadily deepening losses. In 2012, Uber’s losses totalled $20.4 million; from the first quarter of 2012 until mid-2013, quarterly losses more than doubled from $3.5 million to $8.1 million.

Uber released a statement which did not deny the existence or the validity of these documents but outlines the following,

“Shock, horror, Uber makes a loss. This is hardly news and old news at that, It’s the case of business 101: you raise money, you invest money, you grow, you make a profit and that generates a return for investors.”  

Which is true, any business has to invest capital in order to grow, the only question centres around the point when it becomes unsustainable. For me it’s reckless to value a perceived wealth of a company at such a high figure, it raises expectations to a level to which assets cannot compete. Revenue has to be maximised while minimizing losses, otherwise shareholders will become nervous and sceptical of projected figures which places Uber in a tricky position.

Image courtesy of abc7

Fibre-Optic Signals ‘Combed’ to Perfection

We have been talking a lot about the limitations of fibre optic cabling and signal transfer for a while now; if you recall back a few weeks, we covered a story regarding how we could be ‘running out of internet‘. Well, it now seems that scientists have overcome these issues. Researchers in the San Diego-based University of California have demonstrated a new way of passing signals through fibre optical cabling over vast distances with very little to no signal loss.

Fibre optic cables are simply amazing, high-speed data transfers have allowed us to jump from basic <20mbps internet connections to >100mbps in the last few years alone. The issue with this method of data transfer is that over a certain amount of cable, the data can start losing integrity without the use of amplifiers. These amplifiers (repeaters) boost the signal to overcome the signal loss, but fibre optic repeaters are expensive. With the new method of ‘combing’ the data signals into much more concentrated signals, researchers have managed to send data over a huge 7,400 miles of fibre cable with little to no signal loss and only using standard amplifiers; which is a massively cheaper option.

What does this mean for us? We could see much faster and cheaper fibre optic connections in the near future. Are you currently using a fibre optic based internet connection? Why not drop into our forums and join the Internet Speed conversation.

Thank you to Slashdot for providing us with this information.

Tablets in Trouble Again – iPad Shipments Decline Further

The world isn’t as interested in tablets as we once were and not even Apple is able to stay perched on top a cloud of fan-boys and drones.

Shipments of tablets worldwide will increase by only 7.2% in 2014, compared to a 52.5% growth last calendar year. In exact numbers this equals a 235.7 million total shipment number for tablets, globally. Amongst this is an IDC prediction of Apple’s iPad sales to sit at 64.7 million total units, seeing a decline of 12.7% comparative to 2013 – this is opposite to their Mac computer and iPhone sales which have reported growth in each area respectively.

Alongside these results, global shipment numbers of PCs and smartphones have seen a rise. We’ve reported on similar stories in the recent past, with a few different theories as to why smartphones continue to rise and tablets are falling. One of the main examples seems to be that due to smartphone screens getting larger (iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 4), there seems to be less and less reasons to purchase a tablet for day to day usage. If your phone already has a powerful Intel processor, a 5″ screen, 4G internet and copious applications, is there really a need for you to spend $400+ on a high quality tablet to match it? People are starting to think not.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has reportedly expressed hope that iPad shipments will be back in the green year-on-year, but so far it’s simple not the case. However, Apple personally are expecting a possible boost through an enterprise partnership with business kings IBM – set to deliver mobile devices customized with cloud, management and analytical software.

The predicted growth ranging up to the year 2018 is expected to sit at around 5.4% total, however an addition of Windows 10, Google OS and Apple’s new technologies may see this alter slightly.

Information thanks to PC World
Image courtesy of
OBJ

Sony Anticipates $2.1B Loss on Smartphone Division

More bad news for Sony – the company has just revised its forecasts for the financial year and things aren’t looking good in its mobile sector. Sony is expecting a loss of $2.1B US – terrible news for the Japanese manufacturer. The company has been haemorrhaging money across the board for a number of years now, and whilst their photography and electronic entertainment divisions have successfully seen a big turnaround in recent years – it’s obvious that there’s still a lot more work to be done.

In early 2014 – the smartphone division was looking positive and upbeat and was expecting to “achieve significant sales growth” – however it’s clear that things haven’t worked out. Sony’s now looking to “revise to reduce risk and volatility”, or in layman terms – simply playing it safer in the mobile space. A smart choice it might turn out to be, as the company looks to turn its focus to concentrating on flagship devices, as well as reducing the number of mid-low end devices. It’s worth noting that it’s recent Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact devices have been well received thus far by critics – so with a bit of luck Sony might successfully turn the ship around. For more on Sony’s revised financial forecasts, visit the official release.

Thanks to Sony for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of LazyGamer.net.

Mario Kart 8 Can’t Save Nintendo from $97 Million Loss

It’s sad news for Nintendo as they agree that they have made a huge loss. They state that their loss was due to the fact that the WiiU just didn’t have enough big titles at launch and quite frankly, it still doesn’t have enough big titles.

Nintendo said:

“The operating loss was 9.4 billion yen because total selling, general and administrative expenses including fixed expenses exceeded gross profit.”

Nintendo are now relying on the new Super Smash Bros title and Pokemon, an all time fan favorite, to carry the sales forward for the WiiU. Wii U console sales have improved in the Americas and Europe: 510,000 units were sold worldwide in the last three months, compared to 160,000 in the same period last year, which shows more and more people are picking up a WiiU but my guess is that this boost was more or less entirely down to the launch of Mario Kart 8.

Skylanders is another title Nintendo are hoping to release for the WiiU after it’s huge success with previous generation consoles, Mario Kart 8, at the time of writing, has sold 2.8 million units worldwide. Let’s hope big titles will bring further boosts in WiiU popularity, for the sake of Nintendo.

Thanks to Engadget for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy NintendoWikia.

Western Digital’s Cloud Services Still Facing Major Disruption

Since March 26th customers who own any of Western Digital’s Cloud storage based products have been facing crippling connectivity issues after a vulnerability in the service was exposed, resulting in the downtime of connections to and from the WD2Go servers and consequently the loss of connectivity by users to their Cloud storage products that are installed in their homes and offices.

We are nearing two weeks since the service was interrupted and in most case lost completely, after an unknown vulnerability in the way that the service operates was exposed and since then engineers have been frantically working away to discover and repair the problem and restore service to thousands of users world-wide. Unlike Cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, Western Digital’s Cloud storage products such as the MyCloud, EX2, EX4 and MyBook World Live offer customers the ability to have all of their shared files stored within the confines of the home or office, whilst offering up greater storage capacities and the peace of mind that data is not being accessed or scanned by any third-party applications or sources.

A recent letter from WD President Jim Murphy stated “We understand how important your content is to you, your business and your family. Our customers are the reason we strive each day to make better products and services that enable you to enjoy this content. Your entire digital life must be safely stored and readily accessible, and is what makes the WD personal cloud, personal. While your data has remained safe and accessible in your home or office, the service disruption may have temporarily prevented some of you from remotely accessing that content. We’ve dedicated the past week to restoring your remote access as quickly as possible.”

Whilst this indicates to us that normal service is being restored to customers on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t mention what the vulnerability is and how it was discovered. Mr Murphy’s letter went on to say “All of us at WD are committed to minimizing downtime and ensuring the service information we provide is valuable and frequent. We already have implemented important changes to our infrastructure and network capability. While we have validated the vast majority of your remote connections, we continue our focus on providing uninterrupted access from your phone, tablet or computer. Your content deserves nothing less.”

Unfortunately this information nor any official word from WD through the support pages appears to be easy to find, leaving the support channels inundated with requests from users for help and updates on the loss of connectivity to their systems. Although this looks to be a flaw in the network security at the service data centre, data stored on users devices is not at risk and if you feel concerned you can simply turn off your storage until we have confirmation that the service has been fully restored.

Considering I’ve got one of the latest My Cloud systems – the EX2 – currently in for review, I will be keeping an eye on the service status and will keep you all updated accordingly with news that comes to light. What is certain though is that this loss of connectivity will reflect the sales of and reputation of WD’s Cloud systems so they are working against the clock to restore the service and protect themselves from a financial hit.

Source: Press Release

Virtual Space Battle Worth $300,000 Erupted In Eve Online, All Due To An Unpaid Bill

It is said that EVE Online had the most colossal battle, and the most expensive one, which all started because one alliance forgot to pay the most common thing we all have to face in life, namely a bill. The N3 coalition failed to make a hugely important system, allowing other alliances to attempt complete takeover, leading to all hell breaking loose and losing an estimate of $300,000 in the process.

“An alliance in the N3 coalition missed a bill payment for the system where Pandemic Legion is staging and storing their fleets. This missed bill caused sovereignty to drop across the system leaving the station vulnerable to capture. Seizing the opportunity, the CFC (Goonswarm Federation, Razor Alliance, Black Legion and the Initiative) and Russian Coalition (Solar Fleet, Darkness of Despair and Against ALL Authorities) captured the station.” CCP explained in an e-mail.

N3 and Pandemic responded in force, with more firepower, then CFC and Rus responded as well with even more force. And so on, until the whole thing escalated beyond the point of no return. In the process, the various factions involved lost a total of around 70 titans, and given that titans are massive god ships, as they describe them “the blue whales to everyone else’s guppies”, which cost somewhere in the area of $3,000 a ship, losses were huge. With another 4,000 ships tossed into space’s deadliest rave, it all adds up to approximately $284,500, and numbers are still rising.

It ended with N3 and Pandemic losing 40-50 titans while CFC, Rus, and co managed a slightly less catastrophic 20-25. CFC won, but obviously not without some serious damage taken as well.

Thank you Rock, Paper, Shotgun for providing us with this information

Japanese Camera Manufacturers Suffer Losses

Panasonic and other Japanese camera manufacturers struggle to keep up with today’s smartphones. Since most people nowadays prefer more portable and mobile devices, and most importantly, everything compacted, it appears that the smartphones and tablets are the best solution. Therefore, giants such as Panasonic and Fujifilm Holdings have been losing money and have suffered a fall of more than 40%, with only 59 million cameras sold.

On the other hand, sales of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras are flourishing as users prefer connectivity above picture quality. Looking at a mid to long term, the imaging companies need to turn around and rethink their strategy or face the consequences in the future, and they aren’t looking pretty. Panasonic is said to have had a downfall of 0.7 form 3.8% to 3.1% during the course of this year.

“If you look mid-to-long term, digital camera makers are slipping and the market is becoming an oligopoly,” said Credit Suisse imaging analyst Yu Yoshida. “Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last – and only Canon, Nikon and Sony fulfil that criteria,” he added.

In the meantime, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are trying to fend off the smartphone threat by cutting compacts, targeting niche markets such as deep-sea diving, and launching the higher-margin mirrorless models. The mirrorless format promised mid-tier makers an area of growth as the dominance of Canon and Nikon all but shut them out of SLRs, where Sony is a distant third. Neither Panasonic nor Fujifilm makes SLRs, and Olympus stopped developing them this year.

“SLRs are heavy and noisy, whereas mirrorless are small and quiet. While some people say SLRs still have better image quality, mirrorless (cameras) have improved to the point where they’re equivalent, if not superior,” said Hiroshi Tanaka, director of Fujifilm’s optical division.

However, Sony still keeps up to date with its two QX lenses released this quarter. These come with their own sensors and processors, and clip onto smartphones through which the user operates them wirelessly. They are pocket-sized and produce photographs of a quality rivaling that of a compact camera. But Sony appears to have connected with consumers as demand soon outstripped production. Some are even using the lenses in a way Sony didn’t intend, like place them at a distance while they press the shutter on their smartphone to take self-portraits, or selfies.

“We had no idea how much the QX would sell initially when we put it out. We didn’t set any targets,” said Shigeki Ishizuka, president of Sony’s digital imaging business. “There are so many consumers that were hungry for Sony to do this,” said Chris Chute, IDC’s digital imaging research director. “They’ve (waited for Sony) to come out with something really innovative, almost like the Walkman (portable music player).”

Thank you Chicago Tribute for providing us with this information

Man Throws Away Hard Drive With More Than 7,500 Bitcoins Within

Bitcoin, the virtual currency that has gained plenty of attention in recent times, is back in the news, but with a rather unfortunate twist to it. It appears that one man who has spent a few years, since 2009 to be more precise, to mine more than 7,500 Bitcoins, might now be unable to receive a single cent for all his effort.

According to Ubergizmo via The Guardian, James Howells of Wales claimed that he threw away an unwanted hard drive which was first installed in a Dell notebook four years back, and that notebook’s main purpose was to mine Bitcoins. Three years ago, the notebook decided to give up the ghost, and while he took apart the machine for its parts, the hard drive remained in a drawer until he threw it away this summer without realizing the value of its contents.

Howells, unfortunately, has no backups available on any of his other drives or USB flash drives. Howells even made the trip to the landfill site located near Newport, Wales in order to look for at least $7.5 million worth of Bitcoins in his hard drive but to no avail. Poor fellow, we hope that he has a slice of fortune that would help turn the situation around.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information