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Weekly Tech Update #437 - Times are Rough at Telsa

We have just posted up Episode #437 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing AT&T and Time Warner merge to form the Borg, Tesla says toodaloo to 9% of their employees, and, sigh, more Bitcoin news. We have those stories and more...

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AMD Shows off Ryzen 2nd Gen

AMD has been on a roll and if you've been keeping up with Computex news, they've helped Intel look really, really bad. AMD announced their Ryzen 2 line and showed off plenty of working Threadripper 2nd Gen systems running an incredible 32-core processor (64-threads). 

 

After the announcement, Intel quickly showed off some 28-core madness, that was cooled by industrial cooling systems. After people started laughing at them, they pulled all of the systems as clearly they just were trying to keep up with AMD and show they had something nifty as well (Spoiler: They don't). The 32-Core Threadripper is cooled by air - although it is a beefy cooler.

 

Yahoo Messenger Gets Axed on July 17

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was discontinued last October by Yahoo (Oath) and now Yahoo is killing its own messenging platform. Yahoo Messenger has been around for years, but they can't compete with Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and others. The thing is, Yahoo is directing people to another messenger app they started testing a while ago called Squirrel. It's beta and invite only, but you can request access here. I have no idea why they'd kill one to start another. It makes as much sense as Google having three messaging apps for Android. None.

“There currently isn’t a replacement product available for Yahoo Messenger,” the company writes. “We’re constantly experimenting with new services and apps, one of which is an invite-only group messaging app called Yahoo Squirrel (currently in beta).” Squirrel is a group messaging app Yahoo started testing last month.

Source: TechCrunch

Snapdragon 850 is Qualcomms's PC Chip

Qualcomm has been doing a lot of awesome things over the past few years in terms of chip designs. They have built most of the smartphone processors as well as a ton of IoT chips, VR Headsets and a bunch of wearable processors as well. They really have a solid product line with their Snapdragon processors and they are in virtually all flagship devices. They've just stepped up their game again and released the Snapdragon 850 - a chip that is designed entirely for Windows PCs that support ARM. The beauty of this chip is that it is clocked in a 2.96GHz and the chip includes a camera processor that captures 4K and HDR. In addition to those nifty tidbits, it also includes Qualcomms X20 LTE modem that enables 1.2Gbps transfer speeds, and up to 25 hours of battery life on a thin-and-light PC. Zing!

So how is a made-for-PC chipset different from one for a phone? Not much, really. Since the Snapdragon 850 is meant to be used in devices bigger than a smartphone (like laptops and convertibles), it can run at higher clock speeds without overheating. The extra space in larger chasses allows for better dissipation. Thanks to the faster 2.96GHz clock speed (among other tweaks), the Snapdragon 850 is about 30 percent faster than the 835.

Source: Engadget

Weekly Tech Update #436 - Apple Speeds up Old Devices

We have just posted up Episode #436 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing Canon embraces digital only, the subscription you can't pass up and of course Apple's WWDC highlights. We have those stories and more...

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Weekly Tech Update #435 - Sony's PS4 is on Life Support

We have just posted up Episode #435 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing Amazon bans return junkies, PS4 is nearing the end of its life and YouTube is tardy to the music party. We have those stories and more...

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Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland

Apple has started paying their back taxes to Ireland, which unless they can get the courts to overturn them, come out to a whopping 13 billion Euros ($15 billion USD). In the grand scheme of things this won't hurt Apple too much if the decision stands up but it is an interesting start as countries go after big businesses that have been avoiding taxes with elaborate schemes. Reuters has the story.

The European Commission ordered Apple in August 2016 to pay the taxes it ruled it had received as illegal state aid, as part of its wider drive against what it says are sweetheart tax deals usually used by smaller states in the bloc to lure multinational companies and their jobs and investment.

 
 

Cable keeps losing customers, but not as fast as you might have thought

A constant topic of discussion in the tech world is how internet video will mean the end of cable companies, however, while subscriptions are dropping, it really isn't as bad as predicted. Since 2012, 3.4 million people have cut the cord but it hasn't bankrupted any of the major players. The first quarter in 2018 saw 285,000 users which is once gain about the average over the past couple years. DSLResports has the full story.

The cord cutting phenomenon saw a slight slowdown during the first quarter, with the nation's biggest pay TV providers losing "just" 305,000 subscribers during the first quarter. According to the latest study from Leichtman Research, that's a notable improvement from the half a million subscribers the industry lost one year earlier. That said, Leichtman's numbers tend to be notably lower than many Wall Street analyst estimates, and the cord cutting phenomenon is expected to heat back up during the second quarter, when many college students go home for the summer.

ZTE shuts down operations

ZTE has announced that they'll be shutting down their global operations as a result of the sanctions that were placed against them by the US government. ZTE was one of the more promising smartphone makers and has some pretty decent devices. Thanks to some issues with them withholding information from the US government, the US has banned American companies from exporting technology to ZTE and as a result the company has decided to shut down all together. ArsTechnica has the full story.

One of the leading Chinese smartphone makers, ZTE, is shutting down global operations in the face of crippling sanctions levied by the US government. ZTE is China's number-two smartphone maker, and as recently as last year it was the number-four smartphone vendor in the US.

"The major operating activities of the Company have ceased," ZTE wrote (PDF) in a Wednesday announcement to stock market traders in Hong Kong.

ZTE's business became untenable after a US government order banned American companies from exporting technology to the Chinese smartphone maker. ZTE is heavily dependent on US-made components, especially Qualcomm chips and Google's Android software stack.

IBM bans all removable storage for staff

We talk pretty regularly on our podcast about data breeches and hacks, however, the biggest liability is still your users when it comes to security weak points. IBM is taking things to a new level by banning all removable storage for their staff members which seems a little extreme but quite frankly isn't the worst idea in the world. Unfortunately for IBM and any other big company, it's nearly impossible to actually enforce a policy like this. The Register has the full story.
 
IBM has banned its staff from using removable storage devices. An advisory to staff penned by IBM global chief Information security officer Shamla Naidoo said the company “is expanding the practice of prohibiting data transfer to all removable portable storage devices (eg: USB, SD card, flash drive).” The advisory says some pockets of IBM have had this policy for a while, but “over the next few weeks we are implementing this policy worldwide.” Big Blue’s doing this because “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimised.” IBM has banned its staff from using removable storage devices. An advisory to staff penned by IBM global chief Information security officer Shamla Naidoo said the company “is expanding the practise of prohibiting data transfer to all removable portable storage devices (eg: USB, SD card, flash drive).” The advisory says some pockets of IBM have had this policy for a while, but “over the next few weeks we are implementing this policy worldwide.” Big Blue’s doing this because “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimised.”

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