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Intel 8th-Gen Core CPUs Still on 14nm

Intel seems to have hit a bit of a brick wall when it comes to wafer design and scaling. While they do a bit better job that I can do, they still seem to be stuck on 14nm - for the fouth generation in a row. It seems as though the 8th generation CPUS will focus more on the "Y" and "U" line - meaning that mobile is first priority. It will be intesting to see what they can pull off with the same basic CPU die size.

With Intel stringing out 14nm (or at least, an improved variant of 14nm as we’ve seen on 7th Gen) for another generation, it makes us wonder where exactly Intel can promise future performance or efficiency gains on the design unless they start implementing microarchitecture changes.

Source: AnandTech

Vizio Fined $2.2 Million for Spying

Vizio actually makes some pretty solid products for the price, and they even have SMART features that we expect to find on top-tier companies. Unlike these companies however, Vizio made no mention that firmware upgrades on older TVs (done automatically) would enable those units to spy on and collect user data. 

It did provide Vizio with a wonderful new way to collect and store a huge variety of consumer data under the pretense of adding consumer functionality. MAC addresses, IP addresses, nearby WiFi network names, metadata were all hoovered up and stored. And when the FTC says viewing data, it means that Vizio used pixel analysis to compile personal data on every program and device connected to the Vizio set.

Source: TechDirt

Samsung's Chromebook Pro Needs More Work

Samsung is looking at expanding their Chromebook line to something a little fancier. At CES they talked about the new Chromebook Pro and made some pretty big promises as to the performance and features of this Pro machine. Early testing shows that it's far from ready as the stylus input is way too laggy to be useful - and this is one of the main reasons it's getting the "Pro" tag. Hopefully they can smooth out the wrinkles soon. Samsung doesn't need a product to flop right now.

The good news is that performance seems to have improved in the few weeks I've been using the Chromebook Pro, thanks to a series of software updates. Google will be gathering data on the Play Store and Android app usage in the next few months -- the Samsung Chromebook Plus (a laptop that's identical to the Pro with the exception of a weaker ARM processor) hits stores this Sunday, with the beta Play Store included.

Source: Engadget

Valve Replaces Greenlight with Steam Direct

Valve has been pretty helpful in some ways with Indie game developers with their Greenlight program, and I guess that rose by another name still has the same flavor. They've recently renamed the initiative and smoothed out some issues that enabled developers to "farm" their games to the top of the list. This abuse will be cut down and a few other changes will be coming when the new program launches in the spring.

Valve’s motivation for moving from the Greenlight system, apart from “removing obstacles” are pretty obvious, dating back to its launch, it has been plagued by fake games and, in more recent times, has been abused by developers trying to make their games more popular.

Source: Neowin

Google Play to clean up Play Store

Starting next month is appears that Google is going to be cleaning up the Play Store for Android by deleting a whole slug of Apps that don't meet their data security standards and could see hundreds of thousands of apps go missing. This is of course a good thing as many apps require access to things that they don't need as well as it will eliminate the unattended apps that developers have abandoned. March 15th is the date the deleting will be beginning so don't be too surprised to see an app or two you've been using will be MIA. SlashGear has the full story.

Beginning next month, the number of apps offered through the Google Play Store may thin out a bit. Google has been sending out emails to developers alerting them to what is likely an incoming purge, and telling them what they can do to avoid it. Apparently, Google isn’t too fond of the fact that a number of apps require sensitive permissions from users, but don’t provide a privacy policy to explain why the apps need those permissions.

Twitter is still losing money

The good news for Twitter is that in Q4 of 2016 they saw 1% revenue growth and 4% traffic growth. The bad news of course is that they lost money, $167 million dollars which accounted for a 12% profit loss. I guess they've figured out where to keep getting more money from but one would think this can't last forever. The BBC has the full story. 

The social networking service reported a loss of $167m (£133m) in the final three months of 2016, as against $90m in the same period a year earlier.

There were 319 million active users, 4% up on a year earlier, but revenue from ads fell slightly to $638m.

Donald Trump's use of Twitter did little to boost users or add income.

Fourth-quarter revenues were $717m, 1% up on last year's $710m.

Twitter cracking down on abuse once again

Twitter is once again cracking down on abuse, something they weren't able to do last time they tried to crack down on abuse. They're going to try to stop things like allowing people to start new accounts after they've been permanently banned and cracking down on accounts that are only made to harass others. While all good in theory, the time to work on some of these issues was probably several years ago before people moved onto other social networks, but only time will tell if it is too late or not. USA Today as the full story.

Fairly or not, Twitter is known the Internet over as the place the trolls are.

Stung by criticism that Twitter has allowed harassment and abuse to spread unchecked and under growing pressure from Wall Street to deliver growth, CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged "a completely new approach to abuse." Twitter's vice president of engineering Ed Ho said last week the company will keep working on combating abuse "until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel."

Samsung battery factory starts on fire

This next story feels like piling on, however, Samsung had a "minor fire" at their battery factory this week. The best part of the story is that it was caused by a bin of faulty batteries. Pretty sure Samsung was hoping never to hear the words battery and fire in the same sentence ever again only to have this happen. PCGamer has the full story.

Reuters describes it as a "minor fire" at the Samsung SDI Co Ltd factory, one that was caused by waste products containing faulty batteries. The fire has since been extinguished and there were no injuries reported, but this is the last thing Samsung needed to happen. It also reflects poorly on lithium-ion battery technology.

Oculus closing some demo locations

Facebook was pretty excited about showing off their Oculus VR headset and worked a deal with Best Buy to setup 500 demo stations across the US. Unfortunately the demos might not have gone over as well as they were hoping and some stores were reporting days where no demos were given. Facebook is blaming the change on seasonal changes, but the end result is 200 of the 500 demo sites are closing. Business Insider takes a closer look at why VR isn't blasting off as quickly as some were hoping.

Facebook is closing around 200 of its 500 Oculus virtual reality demo stations at Best Buy locations across the US, Business Insider has learned.

The scaling back of Facebook's first big retail push for VR comes after workers from multiple Best Buy pop-ups told BI that it was common for them to go days without giving a single demonstration. An internal memo seen by BI and sent to affected employees by a third-party contractor said the closings were because of "store performance."

Google Pulling off Infamous Hollywood "Enhance" Photos

It's long been a pet-peeve of mine when a movie shows some horrible video that a detective needs enhanced and magically they can pull detail out of seemingly nothing. While that has been movie effects, Google has risen to the challenge and now can pull off some pretty amazing enhancements from a pixelated 8x8 source. They can turn it into something much, much better - but the process will not be available for general consumers - yet.

Google Brain and DeepMind are two of Alphabet's deep learning research arms. The former has published some interesting research recently, such as two AIs creating their own cryptographic algorithm; the latter, of course, was thrust into the limelight last year when its AlphaGo AI defeated the world's best Go players.

Source: ARSTechnica

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