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Intel pulls the plug on Project Alloy all-in-one VR headset PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Friday, 22 September 2017 22:35
intel vr headsetAbout a year after introducing a new virtual reality system called Project Alloy, Intel is pulling the plug on the project. Well, kind of. Alloy headsets were supposed to be wireless, so technically there’s no plug to pull. The idea behind the project was to create an all-in-one headset that basically put all the components of a PC into the headset itself, freeing you from the need to connect a VR headset to a computer with wires. But according to a statement issued to Road To VR, Intel is going to “wind down its Project Alloy reference design.” Basically, the idea was always to create a reference design that could be adopted by hardware partners interested in launching headsets based on that design but sold under the own brand names. Apparently there wasn’t that much interest from hardware partners… which is unsurprising, since most PC makers seem to have gotten on board with Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headset platform instead. Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo have all unveiled Mixed Reality headsets that will sell for between $300 and $450, and they’re all designed to plug into a Windows computer and work with motion controllers designed by Microsoft. That doesn’t mean there’s no interest in a system that doesn’t involve running wires across a room. Several gaming PC makers have introduced backpack PCs designed for use with VR headsets, allowing you to plug HDMI and USB cables into a computer you wear on your back so that there’s nothing to trip over. When you move, the wires move with you...For more please visit our forum.
 
Surface Pro (2017) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Thursday, 21 September 2017 04:04

surface pro Microsoft clearly feels it has nailed the form factor for its flagship hybrid PC. In the most recent iteration of its Surface Pro, Microsoft has made only the most subtle changes to the device's unique form factor, which is otherwise nearly identical to the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3. The other substantive change, of course, is the model name, which drops the number in favor of a proper name that's clearly designed for some staying power. If you're a fan of the Surface Pro design, this is a subtle but significant upgrade, one that's well worth considering. If on the other hand, you're in the market for a conventional clamshell laptop, you now have other options in the Surface family. As a result, the new Surface Pro no longer has to live up to its predecessors' tagline, "the tablet that can replace your laptop." Instead, Microsoft calls this iteration "the most versatile laptop." If you're rarely going to use it in tablet mode or in studio mode, propped up on the kickstand so you can draw or sketch with a pen, you should be looking at the Surface Laptop or the more powerful Surface Book instead. The new Signature Type Cover uses the same Alcantara material as the keyboard in the Surface Laptop. At $160, it's available in three colors, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, and Platinum. Microsoft says it's been redesigned from its predecessor, offering slightly greater key travel. I found it almost impossible to distinguish the feel from an earlier model Type Cover...Complete details can be found on our forum.

 
Google to introduce second smart speaker PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 17:47

google smart speakerWith nearly 2 billion users estimated to be using digital assistants by 2021, voice assistants are becoming increasingly important. Amazon has been dominating the world of smart speakers for a while now, but other tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and even Apple have been making moves to catch up, with Google, with the release of Google Home in November 2016 seemingly the most nimble. While Apple and Microsoft have both announced but are yet to release their first smart speaker, Google appears already ready to release their second. Google has a big hardware event in October where the company will unveil new Pixel 2 smartphones, along with some other devices. The company will also be introducing a new smart speaker under the Google Home line — the Google Home Mini. Similar to the Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home Mini will be a smaller version of the company’s Home smart speaker. The smart speaker will come with Google Assistant, and it’ll probably include all the features that are available on the larger Google Home. Just like the original Home, the new Home Mini will be available in multiple different colors: Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. The new design and colors certainly look better than the original Google Home, but they don’t have swappable bases. The new Google Home Mini will sell for $49, reports Droid Life. Microsoft, on the other hand, is anything but a fast follower. They officially announced the Harman Kardon Invoke back in May 2017, but it won’t be available for purchase until this Fall. The arrival of Microsoft’s first Cortana-powered smart speaker is a little too late, and the US-only availability is also going to be very disappointing for some. For more please visit our fourm.

 
iOS 11 release date is today PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 21:21

ios11iOS 11 is scheduled to be released tomorrow (although here's a way you can get your hands on it today if you want), and if you're thinking about upgrading to iOS 11 the moment it's released, there are some steps that you should take so you don't end up in a world of hurt. Before you go hog-wild, throw caution to the wind and start upgrading, be aware that there are risks. Things can go wrong, stuff may be broken, and you may lose data. Plenty of iOS launches have been marred by bugs and problems, so with that in mind, it's a good idea to have an up-to-date backup, because making a fuss isn't going to bring back your lost photos or documents. Keep in mind that unless you're willing to jump through hoops and do things that Apple frowns upon, going to iOS 11 is a one-way trip, so you might want to let other people go ahead of you just in case there are gotchas Chances are that your iPhone or iPad has accumulated a lot of detritus over the months and years, so what better time to get rid of it than now. While iOS 11 doesn't need as much free space to install as some of the earlier releases of iOS, getting rid of apps that you no longer use -- or perhaps have never used -- makes good sense. Following the upgrade, you'll need to enter your iCloud password in order to be able to reconnect to all your data and photos. If you don't have this close to hand -- remember, having it on the device you're upgrading isn't all that convenient -- then this might be a good time to do that. For some time now, Apple has been warning iPhone and iPad users that legacy 32-bit apps may slow down their devices, but with the recent release of iOS 10.3, Apple has escalated things by making it clear that the end is nigh....For more on this release visit our forum.

 
CCleanup: A Vast Number of Machines at Risk PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Monday, 18 September 2017 22:21

ccleaner hackedSupply chain attacks are a very effective way to distribute malicious software to target organizations. This is because, with supply chain attacks, the attackers are relying on the trust relationship between a manufacturer or supplier and a customer. This trust relationship is then abused to attack organizations and individuals and may be performed for a number of different reasons. The Nyetya worm that was released into the wild earlier in 2017 showed just how potent these types of attacks can be. Frequently, as with Nyetya, the initial infection vector can remain elusive for quite some time. Luckily with tools like AMP, the additional visibility can usually help direct attention to the initial vector. Talos recently observed a case where the download servers used by the software vendor to distribute a legitimate software package were leveraged to deliver malware to unsuspecting victims. For a period of time, the legitimate signed version of CCleaner 5.33 being distributed by Avast also contained a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner. CCleaner boasted over 2 billion total downloads by November of 2016 with a growth rate of 5 million additional users per week. Given the potential damage that could be caused by a network of infected computers even a tiny fraction of this size, we decided to move quickly. On September 13, 2017, Cisco Talos immediately notified Avast of our findings so that they could initiate appropriate response activities. The following sections will discuss the specific details regarding this attack. CCleaner is an application that allows users to perform routine maintenance on their systems. It includes functionality such as cleaning of temporary files, analyzing the system to determine ways in which performance can be optimized and provides a more streamlined way to manage installed applications. On September 13, 2017, while conducting customer beta testing of our new exploit detection technology, Cisco Talos identified a specific executable which was triggering our advanced malware protection systems. Upon closer inspection, the executable in question was the installer for CCleaner v5.33, which was being delivered to endpoints by the legitimate CCleaner download servers. Talos began initial analysis to determine what was causing this technology to flag CCleaner. We identified that even though the downloaded installation executable was signed using a valid digital signature issued to Piriform, CCleaner was not the only application that came with the download. During the installation of CCleaner 5.33, the 32-bit CCleaner binary that was included also contained a malicious payload that featured a Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA) as well as hardcoded Command and Control (C2) functionality. We confirmed that this malicious version of CCleaner was being hosted directly on CCleaner's download server as recently as September 11, 2017.For more read our 2 part story on our forum.

 

 
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U benchmarks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Sunday, 17 September 2017 19:46

ryzen 5 2500uAMD launched the first chips based on its new Zen architecture this year, and so far we’ve seen a whole bunch of options, ranging from entry-level Ryzen 3 processors to the company’s high-end Ryzen Threadripper chips with support for up to 16 CPU cores and 32 threads. But all of the Ryzen chips launched to date have a few things in common: they’re desktop processors and they’re designed to be used with a separate graphics card since they don’t have integrated graphics. AMD plans to launch a line of Ryzen Mobile chips with integrated graphics aimed at laptops by the end of the year. Formerly codenamed “Raven Ridge,” Ryzen Mobile chips will be part of AMD’s APU or “Accelerated Processing Unit” family and the Ryzen 5 2500U is expected to be a 4-core/8-thread processor with AMD Radeon Vega graphics. A listing at Geekbench seems to confirm those specs, and an image posted to reddit seems to suggest that the chip is showing up in 3DMark 11 benchmark results as well. I’d take the actual benchmark scores with a grain of salt since we’re talking about unreleased products. But at this point, it looks like the Ryzen 5 mobile chip outperforms a Core i7-7660U Kaby Lake processor with Intel Iris Plus 640 graphics in 3D Mark 11. For more visit our forum.

 
Windows 10 update causes HP login lag PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Saturday, 16 September 2017 19:23

hp pavillion all in oneMicrosoft recently rolled out a new cumulative update to Windows 10 earlier this week. The update (KB4038788) packed a lot of minor fixes and security patches, but it also packed a little surprise for some users. Some Windows 10 users running HP devices are running into an issue resulting in a long delay during login after the upgrade process. Once the update is installed, users are seeing a black screen for up to 10 minutes before they can access the actual login screen. Both Microsoft and HP are yet to acknowledge the issue. It is not clear as to how many devices or users are affected by the issue. But if you are having this problem after installing the latest Windows 10 update, there’s a potential fix available. Several users on Reddit have reported a fix that seems to have done the trick for most users.

 
Your Windows Has Been Banned PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wayne   
Friday, 15 September 2017 18:04

your windows has been bannedThe Internet offers an abundance of information, but there are also many dangers lurking online. Most users encountered malware at least once and speaking of which, it seems that Your Windows Has Been Banned malware is making its return. Your Windows Has Been Banned isn’t a new malware, and in fact, it first appeared in 2016. This nasty malware will lock your computer screen and ask you to pay money to unlock your PC. According to the message on the screen, your PC is locked in order to protect other Windows users. The message doesn’t offer any extra information regarding the reason why your PC was banned. To unlock your PC, the message instructs you to call a supposed Microsoft technician. This is a complete scam, and you shouldn’t ever call the number or visit the website specified in the message. There are several variations of Your Windows Has Been Banned malware, and some versions will ask you for $50 in Bitcoin in order to unlock your PC. On the other hand, there are greedier versions that will require $200 to unlock your PC. In order to force you to pay, the malware will threaten to delete all your files and make your PC unusable. This is just a standard scare tactic that malicious users use to scam others, so you don’t have to worry about your files.

 
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