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Friday, July 31, 2015

Twitter seeks to attract more users with new Homepage

THE SOCIAL NETWORK BECOMES A TAD MORE USER-FRIENDLY.
By  Pavithra Mohan July 31, 2015

Twitter revealed marginal user growth—the least it has shown since going public—during its second-quarter earnings call earlier this week. The social network brings in just 304 million active users per month, a number that pales in comparison to Facebook's nearly 1.5 billion monthly users. Twitter has long struggled to market itself successfully, due in part to the fact that new users have to follow the right accounts and use the site regularly to get a grasp on it.

On Thursday, Twitter introduced a new homepage that should help clarify its mission. Twitter.com will now display relevant, curated sample tweets for hot-button issues and trending topics, ranging from news to sports to entertainment.

In the past, the homepage was essentially just a login page, giving little indication of what lay beyond. More recently, Twitter started displaying categories on its homepage, but only showed a stream of tweets if you clicked through.

Part of the issue is that, for better or for worse, Facebook curates its feed for users, employing an algorithm that highlights what it considers important. Twitter does not, so even if users take a chance on the platform, it will show them an unfiltered stream of tweets that update in real time. Unless you stare at Twitter all day, it can be difficult to follow the thread of a news item or conversation.

Read more here --> fastcompany.com

Analyzing Intel-Micron 3D XPoint: The Next Generation Non-Volatile Memory

by Kristian Vättö, Ian Cutress & Ryan Smith on July 31, 2015

The current mainstream memory technologies, namely DRAM (quick memory accessed by the processor) and NAND (solid-state storage), have been around for decades. While the cell designs have evolved over the years to allow scaling to 20nm and below, the fundamental physics behind DRAM and NAND operation haven't changed a bit and both technologies have their unique technological limitations. DRAM offers nanosecond-level latency and unlimited endurance, but this comes at the cost of large cell size, cell volatility, and power consumption. Since DRAM cells need to be constantly refreshed, the cells don't retain data in an off state, requiring quite a bit of power and making DRAM unsuitable for permanent storage. NAND, on the other hand, has much higher latency (especially write operations) and has a limited number of write cycles, but the cells are non-volatile and the structure is much more efficient, enabling low cost and suitability for storage. 

Combining DRAM and NAND at the system-level architecture provides the best of both worlds, which is why modern computers use DRAM as a memory/cache and NAND for storage. However, there's still a latency and capacity gap between DRAM and NAND, so the question arises: what if you were to combine the best of DRAM and NAND at the silicon level? The mission of next generation memory technology across the industry has been to develop a new type of memory that provides low latency and high endurance while offering a small and scalable cell size.

We have seen numerous startups, such as Crossbar and Nantero, discuss and demonstrate their next generation memory technologies, but we have yet to see the established DRAM and NAND vendors come out with their solutions. Intel and Micron are here to change that with the announcement of their new 3D XPoint (Cross Point) non-volatile memory technology this week.

Read more here --> anandtech.com

Nvidia recalls all Shield tablets due to battery fire fears

By Lehar Maan Fri Jul 31, 2015

Nvidia Corp said it was recalling its Shield 8-inch tablets in the United States as the battery in these devices can overheat, posing a fire hazard. The Android-based tablet, which has a price tag of $300-$400, is targeted at gaming enthusiasts and comes equipped with batteries that are made to last longer.


Nvidia, better known for its graphics chips, said it would replace all 83,000 tablets it sold in the United States since the product's launch in July 2014. Nvidia spokesman Hector Marinez said the company will "continue to aggressively adopt best practices to avoid such concerns in the future."

"Products containing lithium-ion batteries have been the subject of numerous recalls across the electronics industry," Marinez told Reuters, adding that the costs associated with the recall are not expected to be significant. Nvidia did not disclose Shield tablet sales in other markets, though a statement on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) website states that about 5,000 were sold in Canada. Stifel Nicolaus and Co analyst Kevin Cassidy, who owns a Shield tablet, estimated that the optional recall may cost Nvidia $1 million at the most. Cassidy said he has asked the company for a replacement.

Read more here --> reuters.com

Windows 10 – The First 24 Hours

by Yusuf Mehdi July 30, 2015 

It has been an incredible 24 hours for Windows and our fans. We’re humbled and grateful to see the response to Windows 10. We have seen unprecedented demand for Windows 10, with reviews and customer feedback overwhelmingly positive around the globe. We are doing everything we can to upgrade the world to Windows 10 as quickly as possible over the coming days and weeks ahead.

As we’ve shared, our top priority has been ensuring that everyone has a great upgrade experience, so, we are carefully rolling out Windows 10 in phases, delivering Windows 10 first to our Windows Insiders. While we now have more than 14 million devices running Windows 10, we still have many more upgrades to go before we catch up to each of you that reserved your upgrade. Rest assured we are working 24×7 to continue the upgrade process and are prioritizing the quality of your upgrade experience over anything else. We are grateful for your excitement and enthusiasm and we appreciate your patience over the days and weeks ahead as we carefully roll out Windows 10 in phases to all of you that have reserved.

If you reserved your upgrade of Windows 10, we will notify you once your PC is ready for Windows 10 and it has been downloaded on your PC. The best way to know your upgrade is ready is to look for this notification in your system tray.

Read more here --> blogs.windows.com/

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Critical vulnerability in Apple App Store, iTunes revealed

The critical injection vulnerability potentially impacts millions of users.
By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | July 28, 2015

A critical flaw has been discovered in Apple's App Store and iTunes invoice system which could result in session hijacking and malicious invoice manipulation.


Revealed this week by security researcher Benjamin Kunz Mejri from Vulnerability Lab, the persistent injection flaw, deemed critical, is an application-side input validation web vulnerability. In an advisory, the researcher said the vulnerability allows remote attackers to inject malicious script codes into flawed content function and service modules.

According to Mejri, an attacker can exploit the flaw by manipulating a name value (device cell name) within the invoice module through an exchange of malicious, scripted code. If a product is purchased in Apple's stores, the backend takes the device value and encodes it with manipulated conditions in order to generate an invoice before sending it on to the seller.

This results in application-side script code execution within the Apple invoice. The flaw has been issued a CVSS 5.8 severity rating. In addition, cyberattackers can remotely manipulate this bug by interaction through persistent manipulated context to other Apple store user accounts, whether they be senders or receivers. The researcher says:

"The invoice is present to both parties (buyer & seller) which demonstrates a significant risk to buyers, sellers or apple website managers/developers. The issue impact also the risk that a buyer can be the seller by usage of the same name to compromise the store online service integrity."

The exploit can be used to hijack user sessions, launch persistent phishing attacks, create persistent redirects to external sources and manipulate affected or connected service modules.

Read more here --> zdnet.com

Android bug: MMS attack affects 'one billion' phones

By BBC News July 28, 2015

A bug in the Android mobile operating system has been discovered by researchers, who say it affects nearly a billion devices. The flaw can be exploited by sending a photo or video message to a person's smartphone, without any action by the receiver. Google said it had patched the problem, but millions of devices still need their software updating. The researchers said the flaw was "extremely dangerous".

Researchers from US information security company Zimpherium said they believed it was one of the worst Android vulnerabilities to date, estimating that 950 million devices were affected.
Hackers were able to send malicious code within a multimedia message that could access a service within Android called Stagefright. After Stagefright had been invoked, which required no action from the victim, other data and apps on the handset could be accessed by the malicious code.
"These vulnerabilities are extremely dangerous because they do not require that the victim take any action to be exploited," the researchers wrote.

Further details on the flaw will be revealed by the team, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next week.

Read more here --> bbc.com

Samsung Unveils Monitor With Qi Wireless Charging, Casually Mentions AMD FreeSync Support

By Michael Justin Allen Sexton JULY 27, 2015

Samsung unveiled its new SE370 display, which packs a few special features to help it stand out. Samsung claimed that this is the first display capable of wirelessly charging your mobile devices. It also supports several other key features, including AMD's Freesync technology.

The principal feature in this display is the ability to charge your smartphone wirelessly from the monitor's base using Qi wireless technology. Thus, you don't need to worry about digging out a cable to charge your phone when using this display, as you can just set it on the base, and it will begin charging.

Samsung claimed that this is the first display capable of charging mobile devices in this manner. Any device supporting the Qi wireless charging standard will work with this feature.

Read more here --> tomshardware.com

Microsoft has quietly released its own Android launcher

By James Vincent  on July 28, 2015

Microsoft's relatively new strategy of pushing more apps onto more platforms continues apace with the quiet release of Arrow Launcher Beta: a basic but functional launcher for Android devices. As the name suggests, Arrow Launcher Beta is unfinished, and has been pushed onto the mobile scene with little fanfare, attracting beta-testers via a private Google+ group. (We downloaded a mirror of the launcher via the unofficial site Microsoft News, but doing so doesn't get you the updates accessed by signing up for the beta.)

The launcher itself is pretty straightforward, with a pair of lists on the home screen displaying your most recent and most frequently used apps. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings up a customizable list of quick-access apps, as well as some settings and feedback options. Swiping right summons a simple Notes & Reminders page (where you can add tasks and schedule reminders), and swiping left show your most frequent contacts. There's also the option to update your wallpaper daily with images from Bing.

Read more here --> theverge.com
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