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Install updates now to address a vulnerability in most Intel CPUs

May 15, 2019 - 8:19 AM - by Reverend
In January 2018, a pair of security exploits dubbed Spectre and Meltdown showed how attackers could take advantage of commonly-implemented CPU technology to access data they shouldn't have been able to. They were followed by a similar bug, Foreshadow, late last year, and now researchers have uncovered four different techniques that exploit Intel's speculative execution technology in a similar way.

The website CPU.fail has collected information about each vulnerability -- they're collectively referred to as Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) -- including Zombieload, RIDL & Fallout, and Store-to-Leak Forwarding. Example code shows how the attacks could be launched using malicious JavaScript, for example, and researchers state that it would be difficult for antivirus software to detect it, however they have not found evidence of anyone using the tech in attacks so far.

If you have a computer using an Intel CPU released since 2011 then congratulations -- you've likely won a vulnerability, since only "select" 8th and 9th gen Core CPUs as well as 2nd generation Xeon Scalable CPUs have hardware protection against the attacks.

Patching the holes will require a combination of firmware updates and software updates. macOS, Windows, ChromeOS and Linux already have software updates to address MDS attacks, while Intel has also released microcode updates for some of its hardware (PDF) that you should get through motherboard and system vendors.

  0 Replies | 137 Views

The Play Store is starting to suggest removing unused apps

May 13, 2019 - 7:38 AM - by Reverend
You probably accumulate apps on your phone over time, and you likely had a perfectly good reason for installing them at the time. How many of those apps do you actually need, though? The Play Store knows, and it's starting to tell users to ditch those unneeded apps.

Some users are seeing a notification from the Play Store that reminds them to get rid of unused apps. It's a bit reminiscent of the app manager that popped up back in 2016. If you tap the notification, you end up in the Notification section of the Play Store. From there, you can tap again to get a list of apps you haven't used lately. For each app you select, the Play Store shows how much space you've saved.

The notification is far from universal, but that's par for Play Store features. This feature may or may not roll out to everyone, and you might never see it if you keep your phone light on apps.

Android Police
  0 Replies | 176 Views

64-megapixel phone cameras are coming

May 09, 2019 - 12:21 PM - by Reverend
Samsung has announced a new image sensor for mobile phones with a higher resolution than anything comparable on the market. The ISOCELL Bright GW1 is a 64-megapixel sensor that uses the same 0.8μm-sized pixels as Samsung’s current 48-megapixel component, meaning it’ll be a physically larger sensor that can capture more light overall.

The Bright GW1 will produce 16-megapixel images by merging four pixels into one, like how existing 48-megapixel sensors turn out 12-megapixel photos by default. Samsung’s new sensor will also be able to descramble the color filter for full-resolution 64-megapixel shots in good light. Sony’s IMX586 48-megapixel sensor has a similar capability, but Samsung’s doesn’t; today the Korean company is also announcing an updated 48-megapixel part that offers the same feature.

48-megapixel cameras are now a common sight on phones: Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and others have all shipped devices with the sensors. Samsung expects its 64-megapixel part to go into mass production in the second half of this year, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the feature show up on spec sheets for late-2019 flagships — particularly if image sensor market leader Sony follows suit.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 249 Views

Minecraft Classic can now be played for free in your web browser

May 09, 2019 - 12:17 PM - by Reverend
If you fancy a bit of retro gaming action, then you can now play the original Minecraft in a web browser – for free and without needing to install anything.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of the immensely popular game, developer Mojang has released Minecraft Classic – which faithfully replicates Minecraft as it was when it originally launched in 2009.

This means you get Minecraft in its original state without any of the updates that have since followed. So, you’re limited to just 32 blocks to build with, as well as the clunky user interface that many of us learned to put up with.

If you have fond memories of the first release of the game, and think that the Minecraft of 2019 is just too complicated, then firing up Minecraft Classic will transport you straight back to a simpler time.

Because Minecraft Classic runs in any modern browser, it means you can play it on a large number of devices, and you can even invite your friends to join in.

May 17 is the official 10-year anniversary of Minecraft.

Minecraft Classic

  0 Replies | 240 Views

Windows 10: Microsoft is bringing back one of Windows 95’s most popular features

May 09, 2019 - 12:12 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is rebooting and open sourcing PowerToys, the Windows 95 utilities that brought power users the popular Tweak UI, which allowed users to manipulate the Windows user interface, and over a dozen other tools.

Microsoft is planning to publish previews of PowerToys utilities via GitHub this summer, along with the source code under an MIT license, as it did with the recently open-sourced Windows Calculator app. Likewise, it is also encouraging any fans to give feedback about which features it should prioritize for PowerToys.

The effort will see PowerTools rebuilt for Windows 10, after the set of utilities was abandoned following the release of Windows XP.

The first of the two utilities Microsoft is working on is MTND or the "maximize to new desktop" widget. MTND shows a pop-up button when the user hovers over the maximize and restore button on a window.

"Clicking it creates a new desktop, sends the app to that desktop and maximizes the app on the new desktop," Microsoft notes.

The second feature scheduled is a Windows key shortcut guide, which appears when a user holds the Windows key down for more than one second. It shows shortcuts available for the current state of the desktop.

  0 Replies | 167 Views

Nike uses AR to help you find the right fit for your sneakers

May 09, 2019 - 12:08 PM - by Reverend
Nike has been experimenting heavily with augmented reality for a few years now, and the company is continuing to work on new experiences powered by the technology. The sportswear giant is now introducing Nike Fit, a feature that uses a combination of computer vision, scientific data, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms to scan your feet and find the right shoe fit for you. And you can do it all in augmented reality, using the Nike app on your smartphone. Nike says that, according to industry research, over 60 percent of people wear the wrong size shoes. With Nike Fit, the company is hoping to solve that problem.

The AR experience itself is fairly simple: You open up the Nike app, go to a product page and, next to where there's usually a menu that lets you pick the size of your shoes, you'll see a new option to measure your feet. From there, the camera will pop up and you'll be asked to stand next to a wall and point your smartphone at your feet, which will prompt a view that uses two AR circles to level your phone. Once the feature recognizes your feet and your physical environment, it starts scanning your feet and then tells you your ideal shoe size for Nike footwear. The entire process takes less than a minute.

For example, you can get a "You are a 10.5" in this Air Max sneaker, giving you more information about why, like "80 percent of people with similar feet to you purchased this size" or "This shoe runs slightly small." Nike Fit will measure your feet virtually down to the millimeter size, and it can tell you if your right foot is larger than your left one, or vice versa. The company says that, based on early testing, it is quite confident on the technology, so much so that it plans to make it a core feature of its Nike app -- it's not just an experiment or a marketing move.

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  0 Replies | 318 Views

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