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Apple Launches iMac With Coffee Lake and Vega

Today, Apple updated its iMac lineup with 9th generation Intel processors and AMD Vega graphics. The 21.5 inch iMac now sports up to 6 cores, while the 27 inch iMac gets what's presumably a fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die. Apple also says they're they're offering "Radeon Pro Vega graphics" in both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. The subtext reveals that the smaller iMac has an optional "Vega 20" graphics card, while the larger one features the long-rumored Radeon Pro Vega 48. It's not clear if we'll ever see desktop gaming versions of these Vega GPUs, but some people have already pointed out that smaller Vega GPUs could cut into sales for the recently-launched RX 590.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 11:13 AM (CDT)

Texas Is Trying to Block Tesla from Servicing Its Cars

Tesla’s problems are beginning to grow in the Lone Star State: the automaker’s direct-sales model is already banned in Texas due to the clever use of old laws by local car dealers with a loud lobbying voice, but legislators have now introduced a bill that would prevent the company from servicing its cars through its own service centers. While Texans have managed to get their hands on Tesla vehicles by having them delivered from other states, the passing of this law could mean a whole new can of problems.

Well, Texas’s use of direct-sale laws was already ridiculously abused but they are now pushing it to a whole new level of stupidity. If the legislature actually approves this bill, it would be extremely disappointing from a political standpoint and a major hit to Tesla itself and Tesla owners in Texas. Texan EV fans, or free market fans for that matter, should contact their local representatives and let them know how you feel about this ridiculous attempt to abuse legislation to give a monopoly to franchise dealers who are afraid of fair competition from Tesla and other companies looking to sell and service their own vehicles.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 10:45 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Proves the Critics Right: We're Heading toward a Chrome-Only Web

Chrome’s total dominance of the web is becoming more of a reality by each passing day, and Microsoft, whose Edge browser will soon be powered by Chromium, has become a clear contributor to that dark future: the company has released a new version of Skype for Web, but despite legitimate improvements such as HD video calling and recording, the service will not work on non-Chromium browsers such as Firefox and Safari. Users have managed to sidestep this by changing their user agent, which suggests laziness on Microsoft’s part, or something worse.

There's perhaps also some irony in that the Skype app is built with a framework designed to foster cross-platform development, between devices, desktop, and the Web. For those who can use the Web app, it looks extremely similar to the desktop apps, which also look very similar to the mobile apps. That's because it's built using ReactXP, Microsoft's layer on top of Facebook's React and React Native frameworks. These let you use Web technology to build applications not just for the Web but also the desktop and smartphone platforms.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Apple Will Unveil Its Streaming Video Service on March 25

"It’s show time": Apple has sent out an invite for its next event on March 25, which indicates an official unveiling of the company’s long-rumored streaming video service. While the actual launch is reportedly months away, Apple is expected to tease some of its original TV content, which includes stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell. A Bloomberg report suggests the company wants to win an Oscar badly.

Apple is spending billions of dollars on projects that feature stars like Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Durant, and producers such as J.J. Abrams. It’s also building a slate of films from Oscar-winning studios A24 and Cartoon Saloon. The company is racing to complete content deals with partners by this Friday, Bloomberg News reported this week. Apple will charge for some content, while other video will be free for Apple device users.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:05 PM (CDT)

Valve Offers Developers Access to Its Network via Steamworks

Valve has updated the Steamworks SDK with new networking APIs. These APIs give Steam partners access to Valve's network, grants them protection from denial-of-service attacks, 100% reliable NAT traversal, and improved connectivity. Also included are tools for instantly estimating the ping between two arbitrary hosts without sending any packets and a high quality end-to-end encrypted reliable-over-UDP protocol. Valve says relaying traffic anonymizes it, protecting both gameservers and clients from denial-of-service attacks. For an attacker to disrupt gameplay, they must mount an attack large enough to overwhelm multiple data centers.

Finally, by relaying the traffic in software, we can often improve the ping time! How can a relayed route be faster than a direct route? The Internet is a packet-switched network; there is no such thing as a "direct" route. When a packet is sent "directly" to the remote host's IP address, it takes the route determined by standard IP routing protocols. This route is often not optimal! Our protocol puts the client in charge of routing decisions. The client considers each relay point-of-presence, and determines the end-to-end latency along this route. It then selects the route with the lowest latency.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 7:23 PM (CDT)

Win Some, Lose Some in Qualcomm vs Apple Saga

A jury in federal court in San Diego awarded Qualcomm $31 million in a patent infringement case against Apple. Qualcomm requested damages amounting to $1.41 per iPhone. The three patents that Apple allegedly violated were related to battery life in mobile phones. In another case, a U.S. federal judge issued a preliminary ruling favoring Apple related to patent royalty rebate payments. Factories that build Apple iPhones paid Qualcomm billions of dollars to use Qualcomm's technology. Apple agreed to reimburse the factories. "Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators." Apple filed a lawsuit after it says Qualcomm refused to issue $1 billion in patent royalty rebates. Qualcomm alleged that "Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission." Apple said it was just responding to regulators.

The decision will not become final until after the trial in the case, which begins next month. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple. Apple's contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the nearly $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm," Qualcomm's Rosenberg told Reuters.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 3:32 PM (CDT)

The Web's Creator Comments on Its Future

The internet turned 30 this year, and CERN celebrated it with a long (and if I'm being honest, not particularly exciting) webcast featuring its creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. However, after the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal and what seems like a new privacy/security related scandal every day since then, Sir Tim is worried about the future of the internet. Today, he published an open letter on the future of the web, noting that "while the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit." The BBC recently posted an interview with Sir Tim, which you can watch below:

To tackle any problem, we must clearly outline and understand it. I broadly see three sources of dysfunction affecting today's web: Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment; System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation; Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 10:46 AM (CDT)

TSMC's Profits are Expected to Decline

The Taiwanese news outlet Digitimes seems to have many sources in the chipmaking industry, and according to their cited "market observers," Taiwain Semiconductor is expected to post their first annual profit drop in 8 years. For reference, both Nvidia and AMD manufacture their latest GPUs on TSMC's 12nm and 7nm processes, respectively, but the introduction of more 7nm products from both companies this year allegedly won't be enough to sustain growth. The report claims that "disappointing" sales of new iPhones and a "cutback in orders placed by GPU firm Nvidia" will more than offset a "ramp-up in orders for 7nm chips from HiSilicon, Qualcomm and AMD."

TSMC already described 2019 as "a slow year" for its operations and also the overall semiconductor market, citing macroeconomic uncertainty, and disappointing high-end smartphone sales that have led to inventory pile-ups in the supply chain. The use of substandard photoresist chemicals that disrupted its 12/16nm chip production at Fab 14B earlier this year is set to have a further impact on the foundry's performance this year. The photoresist material incident has prompted TSMC to cut its revenue estimate for the first quarter to NT$7-7.1 billion from NT$7.3-7.4 billion. The impact will also reduce TSMC's gross margin by 2.6pp, operating margin by 3.2pp, and EPS by NT$0.42, the foundry disclosed previously. TSMC said the wafers scrapped will be made up in the second quarter. But the incident is expected to reduce its gross margin by 0.2pp, operating margin by 0.2pp, and EPS by NT$0.08 in all of 2019.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 10:20 AM (CDT)

Intel Teases Its New Intel Graphics UI

Intel has released a teaser video that shows off the new Intel Graphics UI with an announcement of "Coming this month." #JoinTheOdyssey

The new control panel for Intel Graphics is coming. Get a taste of what that means for the future of visual computing. The Odyssey awaits.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 10:14 AM (CDT)

Tesla Crashes into River, Owner Claims It Accelerated on Its Own

In yet another alleged case of demonic Tesla quirkiness, a Chinese couple in Shanghai claims their Model S lost its mind and accelerated into a river near a Supercharger station with them in it. The owner, Xiao Chen, told reporters he was stepping on the brakes but the vehicle, unexpectedly, "rushed out of control" instead. Electrek suggests they may not deserve the benefit of the doubt, as Tesla has "safeguards to prevent an automatic system to enable a sudden acceleration." Similar incidents in the past also mostly involved "user error."

"...the owner Xiao Chen had just been rescued ashore, and the gray Tesla was still lying in the river and was soaked in the water. Xiao Chen is still in shock, he told reporters: I was from the beginning stepping on the brakes, and the car suddenly rushed out of control! It turned out that Xiao Chen and his wife drove the car to school in the morning of the incident. After the delivery, they came to the Tesla Supercharger station to prepare for charging. According to Xiao Chen, he kept driving very slowly, stepping on the brakes, but when he got there, the car was out of control."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Vivendi Sells the Remainder of Its Shares in Ubisoft

Vivendi says it has sold the remainder of its shares in Ubisoft. This amount represented a 5.9% stake in Ubisoft. Reuters reported that Vivendi made a capital gain of $249 million. Vivendi was determined to takeover Ubisoft, but Ubisoft was able to fight them off.

"Vivendi is no longer a Ubisoft shareholder and maintains its commitment to refrain from purchasing Ubisoft shares for a period of five years," Vivendi said in a statement. "Vivendi, which already owns Gameloft, a global leader in mobile video games, confirms its intention to continue to strengthen its position in the video games sector," it added.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 07, 2019 5:16 PM (CST)

Fujitsu Document Leaks More 9th Gen Intel CPUs

A motherboard and processor compatibility document straight from Fujitsu's website has reportedly unveiled several previously unannounced 9th Generation Intel Core processors. The document was quickly taken down, but according to the screenshots other media outlets managed to capture, many CPUs in the existing lineup are getting an "F" variant with a disabled IGP and a "T" variant with a lower TDP.
Intel is allegedly squeezing the fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die into a 35W TDP with the Core i9-9900T, while the Celeron G4390 even has a low power variant. Meanwhile, the 2 core, 4 thread, Pentium G5600 is getting an IGP-less SKU, which will presumably target affordable gaming desktops with discrete GPUs. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 9:13 AM (CST)