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Updated: 16 min 46 sec ago

Linksys Latest Company To Unveil a Wi-Fi Mesh System

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 8:40pm
From an Engadget report: Mesh networking has become trendy for folks looking to fill every nook and cranny of their homes with Wi-Fi. So it should be no surprise that the makers of the most iconic router ever is unveiling its own system. The Linksys tri-band Velop setup is a modular system that the company says is made to expand as your needs do. Each Velop Tri-Band 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO node pulls quadruple duty as a router, range extender, access point and bridge. According to Linksys, each Velop is capable of a combined speed of 2,200 Mbps. It's like having a bunch of little routers in your home all working together to make sure you can stream The OA regardless of which room you're in.Linksys' Velop will set you back by at least $200 for an individual modular, with the pack of two and three priced at $350 and $500, respectively. This makes it costlier than Google's Wi-Fi router, which starts at $129.

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CloudFlare Was Hit By Leap Second, Causing Its RRDNS Software To 'Panic'

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 8:00pm
Reader Mickeycaskill writes: The extra leap second added on to the end of 2016 may not have had an effect on most people, but it did catch out a few web companies who failed to factor it in. Web services and security firm CloudFlare was one such example. A small number of its servers went down at midnight UTC on New Year's Day due to an error in its RRDNS software, a domain name service (DNS) proxy that was written to help scale CloudFlare's DNS infrastructure, which limited web access for some of its customers. As CloudFlare explained, a number went negative in the software when it should have been zero, causing RRDNS to "panic" and affect the DNS resolutions to some websites. The issue was confirmed by the company's engineers at 00:34 UTC on New Year's Day and the fix -- which involved patching the clock source to ensure it normalises if time ever skips backwards -- was rolled out to the majority of the affected data centres by 02:50 UTC. Cloudflare said the outage only hit customers who use CNAME DNS records with its service. Google works around leap seconds with a so-called "smearing" technique -- running clocks slightly slower than usual on its Network Time Protocol servers.

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Intel Core I7-7700K Kaby Lake Review By Ars Technica: Is the Desktop CPU Dead?

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 7:20pm
Reader joshtops writes: Ars Technica has reviewed the much-anticipated Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake, the recently launched desktop processor from the giant chipmaker. And it's anything but a good sign for enthusiasts who were hoping to see significant improvements in performance. From the review, "The Intel Core i7-7700K is what happens when a chip company stops trying. The i7-7700K is the first desktop Intel chip in brave new post-"tick-tock" world -- which means that instead of major improvements to architecture, process, and instructions per clock (IPC), we get slightly higher clock speeds and a way to decode DRM-laden 4K streaming video. [...] If you're still rocking an older Ivy Bridge or Haswell processor and weren't convinced to upgrade to Skylake, there's little reason to upgrade to Kaby Lake. Even Sandy Bridge users may want to consider other upgrades first, such as a new SSD or graphics card. The first Sandy Bridge parts were released six years ago, in January 2011. [...] As it stands, what we have with Kaby Lake desktop is effectively Sandy Bridge polished to within an inch of its life, a once-groundbreaking CPU architecture hacked, and tweaked, and mangled into ever smaller manufacturing processes and power envelopes. Where the next major leap in desktop computing power comes from is still up for debate -- but if Kaby Lake is any indication, it won't be coming from Intel. While Ars Technica has complained about the minimal upgrades, AnandTech looks at the positive side: The Core i7-7700K sits at the top of the stack, and performs like it. A number of enthusiasts complained when they launched the Skylake Core i7-6700K with a 4.0/4.2 GHz rating, as this was below the 4.0/4.4 GHz rating of the older Core i7-4790K. At this level, 200-400 MHz has been roughly the difference of a generational IPC upgrade, so users ended up with similar performing chips and the difference was more in the overclocking. However, given the Core i7-7700K comes out of the box with a 4.2/4.5 GHz arrangement, and support for Speed Shift v2, it handily mops the floor with the Devil's Canyon part, resigning it to history.

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Dish's New AirTV Set-Top Box Does Over-the-Air and 4K Streaming

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 6:40pm
On Tuesday, Dish unveiled a new streaming device, the AirTV, which uses Android TV as its base operating system, and provides access to the wealth of Android media apps available. TechCrunch reports: But it's also able to grab over-the-air signals with an antenna for streaming live TV, and it works with Sling TV for a cable-free streaming subscription cord cutting experience. The AirTV also handles 4K, which is good news if you picked one of these up over the holiday shopping season. The 4K support will primarily grab content from Netflix and YouTube apps, but because the underlying platform is Android TV, there are other sources available, which is not necessarily true for other smart TV devices looking to bring more 4K into the living room. It's also not necessary for AirTV users to even use Sling TV, the subscription over-the-top streaming service Dish owns. Which is yet another sign of the changing world that TV and cable providers now find themselves in. The AirTV is also available in both OTA and streaming only hardware configurations, and retails for $129 for the antenna-compatible version, and $99 without.

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Facebook Is Sorry for Taking Down a Photo of a Nude Neptune Statue

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 6:00pm
Facebook has apologized for mistakenly blocking a photo of a famous statue for being "sexually explicit." From a report on Fortune: The social media giant flagged a photograph of a 16th-century statue of the sea god Neptune in the Italian city of Bologna. The picture of the sculpture -- which was created in the 1560s -- was featured on the Facebook page of local writer and art historian Elisa Barbari called "Stories, curiosities and view of Bologna." Facebook told Barbari that the picture violated the company's privacy policies. "It shows an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which excessively shows the body or unnecessarily concentrates on body parts," the company said in a statement. The company added: "The usage of images or video of nude bodies or plunging necklines is not allowed, even if the use is for artistic or educational reasons." Facebook later said that blocking the photo was a mistake.

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Linus Torvalds Announces Ridiculously Small Second Linux 4.10 Release Candidate

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 5:20pm
The first day of 2017 starts off for Linux users with the release of the second RC (Release Candidate) development version of the upcoming Linux 4.10 kernel, as announced by Linus Torvalds himself. From a report on Softpedia: As expected, Linux kernel 4.10 entered development two weeks after the release of Linux kernel 4.9, on Christmas Day (December 25, 2016), but don't expect to see any major improvements or any other exciting things in RC2, which comes one week after the release of the first RC, because most of the developers were busy partying. With a total of 26 changes, Linux kernel 4.10 Release Candidate 2 is extremely small for an RC build, but Linus Torvalds decided not to skip it and interrupt the development cycle of Linux 4.10 just because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. "It's been a really slow week between Christmas Day and New Years Day, and I am not complaining at all. It does mean that RC2 is ridiculously and unrealistically small," said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement. "I almost decided to skip RC2 entirely, but a small little meaningless release every once in a while never hurt anybody."

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Samsung's Upcoming Galaxy S8 Smartphone Could Run a PC - Report

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 4:40pm
Samsung's upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone could give users the ability to plug it into a screen and turn it into a desktop personal computer, according to a media report. From the article: The All About Windows Phone blog posted a leaked slide from a presentation showing a Samsung smartphone being connected to a screen with a keyboard and mouse. The slide is titled "Samsung Desktop Experience" and shows a phone powering a screen to create a multi-tasking interface, presumably running on Google's Android mobile operating system. There is not much more information on the slide than a visual representation, but if this is true, it'd be an interesting feature that Samsung will tout as it launches its next flagship phone, one that is crucial to make up the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 which was subsequently recalled.

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Programmer Finds Way To Liberate Ransomware Affected Smart TV, Thanks To LG

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 4:00pm
Television production factory LG has saved Darren Cauthon's new year by providing hidden reset instructions to liberate his Google TV from ransomware. From a report on The Register: The company initially demanded more money than the idiot box was worth to repair the TV and relented offering instructions for resetting the telly after Cauthon took to Twitter to express his displeasure. The infection came after the programmer's wife downloaded an app to the TV promising free movies. Instead, it installed the ransomware, with a demand of US$500 to have the menace removed. Cauthon said LG offered factory reset steps which are not publicly revealed nor known to its customer support technicians. He says a family member showed him the TV over Christmas laden with ransomware purporting to be a FBI message bearing a notice that suspicious files were found and the user has been fined.

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Programmer Finds Way To Liberate Ransomware-Ridden Smart TV, Thanks To LG

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 4:00pm
Television production factory LG has saved Darren Cauthon's new year by providing hidden reset instructions to liberate his Google TV from ransomware. From a report on The Register: The company initially demanded more money than the idiot box was worth to repair the TV and relented offering instructions for resetting the telly after Cauthon took to Twitter to express his displeasure. The infection came after the programmer's wife downloaded an app to the TV promising free movies. Instead, it installed the ransomware, with a demand of US$500 to have the menace removed. Cauthon said LG offered factory reset steps which are not publicly revealed nor known to its customer support technicians. He says a family member showed him the TV over Christmas laden with ransomware purporting to be a FBI message bearing a notice that suspicious files were found and the user has been fined.

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AMD Debuts Radeon FreeSync 2 For Gaming Displays With Stunning Image Quality

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 3:20pm
AMD announced Tuesday it is introducing Radeon FreeSync 2, a new display technology that will enable monitors to show the exact intended image pixels that a game or other application wants to. The result will be better image quality for gamers, according to AMD. From a report on VentureBeat: With the FreeSync 2 specification, monitor makers will be able to create higher-quality monitors that build on the two-year-old FreeSync technology. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD is on a quest for "pixel perfection," said David Glen, senior fellow at AMD, in a press briefing. With FreeSync 2, you won't have to mess with your monitor's settings to get the perfect setting for your game, Glen said. It will be plug-and-play, deliver brilliant pixels that have twice as much color gamut and brightness over other monitors, and have low-latency performance for high-speed games. AMD's FreeSync technology and Nvidia's rival G-Sync allow a graphics card to adjust the monitor's refresh rate on the fly, matching it to the computer's frame rate. This synchronization prevents the screen-tearing effect -- with visibly mismatched graphics on different parts of the screen -- which happens when the refresh rate of the display is out of sync with the computer.

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Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth In Less Than a Decade

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 2:40pm
Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it's likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere, reports Bloomberg. From the article: In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further. Taking advantage: Companies such as Italy's Enel SpA and Dublin's Mainstream Renewable Power, who gained experienced in Europe and now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home. Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs. That's help cut risk premiums on bank loans, and pushed manufacturing capacity to record levels. By 2025, solar may be cheaper than using coal on average globally, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The solar supply chain is experiencing "a Wal-Mart effect" from higher volumes and lower margins, according to Sami Khoreibi, founder and chief executive officer of Enviromena Power Systems. The speed at which the price of solar will drop below coal varies in each country. Places that import coal or tax polluters with a carbon price, such as Europe and Brazil, will see a crossover in the 2020s, if not before. Countries with large domestic coal reserves such as India and China will probably take longer.

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3,000 Ride-Sharing Cars Could Replace Every Cab in New York City, MIT Study Says

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 2:00pm
All 13,000 taxis in New York City could be replaced by a fleet of 3,000 ride-sharing cars if used exclusively for carpooling, according to research published today by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). From a report: Instead of hailing taxis, passengers that use ride-sharing services for carpooling may lead to reduced traffic congestion, pollution, and fuel use. The CSAIL researchers used public data from NYC taxi rides published by the University of Illinois to develop the algorithm. They calculated that 3,000 four-person vehicles travelling to similar destinations could meet 98 percent of taxi demand in the city with an average wait time of 2.7 minutes. Perhaps the most important part of the system is a dynamic repositioning of vehicles based on real-time demand, which makes the system 20 percent faster.

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Specs of Qualcomm's First ARM Processor Capable of Running Windows 10 Leaks

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 8:07am
Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 835's specs have leaked ahead of its CES reveal. An anonymous reader writes: According to the leaked press release, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 sports the Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU (quad-core), Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU, and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP to manage the different workloads. All of this combined together will result in a 27% increase in performance when compared to the previous generation. Qualcomm is also making significant improvements with the Snapdragon 835 when it comes to power consumption. To be precise, the Snapdragon 835 consumes 40% less power than the older generation which is supposed to offer the following: "1+ day of talk time, 5+ days of music playback, and 7+ hours of 4K video streaming. Should your phone need more power, Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 provides five hours of battery life for five minutes of charging." Qualcomm stated in the press release that the Snapdragon also comes with substantial improvements to the graphics rendering and virtual reality. According to the company, the Snapdragon 835 includes "game-changing" enhancements to improve audio, intuitive interactions, and vibrant visuals. The processor also offers 25 percent faster 3D graphic rendering and produces 60X display colors than the Snapdragon 820.

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