John P. Mello Jr.

About the Author John P. Mello Jr.


Tech Buzz

HomePod Devs Stumble Upon Next iPhone Design Clues

Developers combing through the code for the Apple HomePod have found clues to what appear to be features in the next generation of iPhones, and they tweeted their discoveries on Sunday. The firmware for HomePod, Apple’s $349 smart speaker expected in December, apparently contains much of the codebase for future iPhones. One of the goodies in the HomePod’s code is a new biometric method for unlocking an iPhone.

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Audio/Video

Facebook Adds Hardware, Software Vetting and 4K to 360 Live

Facebook has announced several updates to its live-streaming platform, including a new hardware and software vetting program used to create 360-degree video. Through its new Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook will review hardware and software and approve products that work well with its Live 360 offering. Products deemed “ready” for Live 360 will be allowed to display a Facebook Live logo.

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Chips

Microsoft Adds AI to HoloLens Silicon

The next version of Microsoft’s HoloLens may be better at navigating reality than the current version of the mixed-reality headset, thanks to a new coprocessor the company announced Sunday. The second version of HoloLens’ custom multiprocessor — called a “holographic processing unit,” or HPU — will incorporate artificial intelligence technology, Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.

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Wearable Tech

Google’s Ugly Duckling Glass Becomes Enterprise Swan

Google’s augmented reality goggles were a flop several years ago — when intrepid explorers wore the devices in restaurants and bars, sparking reactions ranging from disapproval to outright violence — but they have become very welcome in the workplace. Their success in a host of business settings led The Team at X on Tuesday to announce an expansion of its Glass Enterprise Edition program.

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Cloud Computing

Microsoft Strengthens Partner Bonds

Microsoft has announced several new offerings aimed at strengthening its position in the cloud marketplace, including Microsoft 365 Enterprise and 365 Business, at its Inspire partner conference in Washington, D.C. Microsoft 365 Enterprise is designed to empower employees of large organizations to be creative and work together securely. Microsoft 365 Business targets SMBs with up to 300 employees.

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Software

IoT Fuels Growth of Linux Malware

Malware targeting Linux systems is growing, largely due to a proliferation of devices created to connect to the Internet of Things. That is one of the findings in a report WatchGuard Technologies released last week. The report, which analyzes data gathered from more than 26,000 appliances worldwide, found three Linux malware programs in the top 10 for the first quarter of the year.

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Cybersecurity

Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors

The United Kingdom’s Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization. Due to the “robust measures” in place to protect the legislative body’s accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said. Accounts that were compromised reportedly had weak passwords.

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Software

Microsoft Expands Linux Container Support in Windows Server

Microsoft has decided to expand its support for Linux containers in the next release of Windows Server. Linux containers and workloads will work natively on Windows Server, said Erin Chapple, general manager for the server operating system. The company also will extend Window Server’s Hyper-V isolation capability, which was introduced in the 2016 release of the operating system.

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Tech Buzz

Cook Gives Up a Few Crumbs of Apple Auto Info

News about Apple’s plans for the automotive market have been dripping slowly from the company for months, and CEO Tim Cook this week released a few more drops from the faucet. Apple’s auto efforts are zeroing in on autonomous systems, he said. Self-driving is a core technology that Apple considers very important to its auto plans, but it’s very challenging from an AI perspective, Cook noted.

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Gaming

Xbox One X: More Speed, More Muscle

Microsoft earlier this week announced the next version of its Xbox line of gaming consoles, ahead of E3 2017, now ongoing in Los Angeles. The new Xbox One X, which goes on sale Nov. 7 for $499, is slimmer than previous models and packed with power. With a 6-teraflop Scorpio engine, the One X has 40 percent faster graphics performance than its chief rival, Sony’s PS4 Pro.

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Health

New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic Burn-Healing Potential

A med-tech startup has developed a novel way to treat burn wounds. RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution and sprayed onto the wound using the company’s SkinGun. “The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells,” explained RenovaCare’s Roger Esteban-Vives.

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Operating Systems

Apple’s iOS 11 Makes Siri a More Natural Woman… and Man

New voices for Siri and peer-to-peer payments are among the new features in the next version of Apple’s mobile device operating system iOS 11, previewed at the company’s annual Worldwide Development Conference on Monday. “With the new operating system, Apple has doubled down on many of the applications it has developed for iOS,” said Ross Rubin, the principal analyst at Reticle Research.

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Audio/Video

With Audio Focus, Apple Side-Steps Smart Speaker Competition

Apple raised the curtain on HomePod, its upcoming smart speaker, during Monday’s WWDC keynote presentation. The company also announced some desktop OS features for the iPad, and revealed its plans to become an augmented reality powerhouse. “Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes,” said Apple SVP Phil Schiller.

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Smartphones

Android Creator Launches a Phone of His Own

Essential, a company founded by Andy Rubin, the “father of Android,” on Tuesday pulled off the wraps on a new high-end smartphone. The Essential Phone, priced at $699, includes radios for connecting to all major U.S. carriers. The unit has an almost edge-to-edge display — there’s a bit of bezel at the bottom of its screen — that wraps around the 8-MP selfie camera at the front.

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Tablets

Main Surface Pro Improvements Are Beneath the Surface

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a refresh of its Surface Pro tablet-laptop computer. Although Microsoft said the fifth generation of the unit has been redesigned from the inside out with more than 800 new custom parts, the Surface Pro looks similar to its predecessor. “If you were looking for a major redesign of Surface, this isn’t it,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.

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Social Networking

Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content

The public got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline in a report published Sunday. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism.

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Tech Law

Data Watchdog Cautions Google and UK Health Partner

A British data watchdog has raised questions about whether it was appropriate for a healthcare trust to share data on 1.6 million patients with DeepMind Health, an AI company owned by Google. The trust shared the data in connection with the test phase of Streams, an app designed to diagnose acute kidney injuries. However, the sharing reportedly was performed without an appropriate legal basis.

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Home Tech

Amazon Adds Show to Echo’s Tell

Echo isn’t just for sound anymore. Amazon on Tuesday announced Echo Show, a new version of its popular smart speaker that comes with a 7-inch color touchscreen, 5-inch front-facing camera and dual 2-inch Dolby speakers. With its screen, it can show YouTube videos, access home security cameras, display photos and scroll lyrics as you listen to songs from streaming services.

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Chips

Flaw in Intel Chips Could Open Door to Botnet Armies

A 7-year-old flaw in Intel chips could enable hijackers to gain total control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes. The Intel AMT vulnerability is the first of its kind, according to Embedi, which released technical details about it last week. Attackers could exploit the flaw to get full control over business computers, even those turned off but plugged into an outlet.

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Community

Study Finds Gender Bias in Open Source Community

Gender bias affects contributions to the open source community, according to a paper published Monday. Female programmers’ suggestions for code changes in open source projects — called “pull requests” — were accepted more often than those of their male counterparts when gender was unspecified. However, that changed when the gender of a pull request’s author could be identified.

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internet

Internet Giants Ramp Up Fake News Defenses

Three major Internet brands this week announced initiatives to combat “fake news” online.
Google revealed that it had tweaked its search processes to help bring high-quality content to the top of search result pages. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced a new online publication that aims to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with legions of volunteer community contributors.

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Boardroom

Uber Boss Practices Brinksmanship With Apple

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has a reputation of playing fast and loose with rules, but it appears that a maneuver his company performed on iPhones took his ride-hailing outfit to the brink of ruin a couple of years ago. When Apple discovered Uber was planting code on iPhones that persisted on the devices even after the ride-hailing app was removed, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave Kalanick a warning.

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Tech Buzz

Apple May Be Getting Its Innovation Groove Back

Apple reportedly has begun testing a premium iPhone with a revamped display and body, which could be one of three new models the company is expected to launch this fall. The other two likely will be upgrades to the two existing iPhones. The new design will incorporate curved glass and stainless steel. It will increase the surface area of the display without increasing the size of the phone.

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Cybersecurity

Microsoft’s Timely Response to Shadow Brokers Threat Raises Questions

Just as the Shadow Brokers hacker group started crowing about a dump of never-seen-before flaws in Windows, Microsoft announced it already had fixed most of the exploits. “Today, Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers,” said Microsoft Principal Security Group Manager Phillip Misner. “Most of the exploits are already patched.”

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