Microsoft earnings reports:
$7.6 billion write-off on Nokia, no big deal.
$1 billion Xbox writeoff, no big deal.
$900 million write-off for Surface RT, no big deal.
$6.2 billion write-off for Aquantive, no big deal.
Apple earnings reports:
Record profits, stock price takes a nose dive
- Tox is free. You just have to register on the site.
- Tox is dependent on TOR and Bitcoin. That allows for some degree of anonymity.
- The malware works as advertised.
- Out of the gate, the standard of antimalware evasion is fairly high, meaning the malware’s targets would need additional controls in place (HIPS, whitelisting, sandboxing) to catch or prevent this.
Once you register for the product, you can create your malware in three simple steps.
- Enter the ransom amount. (The site takes 20% of the ransom.)
- Enter your “cause.”
- Submit the captcha.
Reddit user p4block spotted the new “Get Windows 10″ message on his Windows 8 computer earlier today. Other users, including those running Windows 7, confirmed they received the message too (shown below).
So let me get this straight. They ARE able to reach everybody to send them a free popup advertisement, but they are NOT able to reach those same people to send them a free upgrade (using the same mechanism) and they need your e-mail address. I can’t help but think that’s shady as hell.
The GIMP project is not officially distributed through SourceForge—approved releases are only posted on the GIMP project’s own Web page. But Jernej Simončič, the developer who has been responsible for building Windows versions of GIMP for some time, has maintained an account on SourceForge to act as a distribution mirror. That is, he had until today, when he discovered he was locked out of the Gimp-Win account, and the project’s ownership “byline” had been changed to “sf-editor1″—a SourceForge staff account. Additionally, the site now provided Gimp in an executable installer that has in-installer advertising enabled. Ars tested the downloader and found that it offered during the installation to bundle Norton anti-virus and myPCBackup.com remote backup services with GIMP—before downloading the installer authored by Simončič (his name still appears on the installer’s splash screen).
Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.
Next step for Jony: His Royal Highness Grand Emperor of Design, Lord of Edges, Master of Materials, Designator of Textures, Definer of Hues, Defender of Curves.
First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm… Oh wait, wrong fandom.
“His vision for Apple was a company that turned powerful technology into tools that were easy to use, tools that would help people realize their dreams and change the world for the better,” Cook said of Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011.“Our products do amazing things, and just as Steve envisioned, they empower people all over the world,” Cook continued. “People who are blind and need information read to them because they can’t see the screen. People for whom technology is a lifeline because they are isolated by distance or disability.“People who witness injustice and want to expose it. And now they can, because they have a camera in their pocket all the time.”
The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls. And stairs. And roofs. Google and its imaginative co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, essentially want to take 60 acres of land adjacent to the headquarters near the San Francisco Bay, in an area called North Bayshore, and turn it into a titanic human terrarium.
Abandoning thousands of years of conventional wisdom about buildings because you wrote a good search engine once 15 years ago sounds like a good plan to me.
Vigneri and co began by downloading over 2,000 free apps from all 25 categories on the Google Play store. They then launched each app on a Samsung Galaxy SIII running Android version 4.1.2 that was set up to channel all traffic through the team’s server. This recorded all the urls that each app attempted to contact. Next they compared the urls against a list of known ad-related sites from a database called EasyList and a database of user tracking sites called EasyPrivacy, both compiled for the open source AdBlock Plus project. Finally, they counted the number of matches on each list for every appThe results make for interesting reading. In total, the apps connect to a mind-boggling 250,000 different urls across almost 2,000 top level domains. And while most attempt to connect to just a handful of ad and tracking sites, some are much more prolific.Vigneri and co give as an example “Music Volume Eq,” an app designed to control volume, a task that does not require a connection to any external urls. And yet the app makes many connections. “We find the app Music Volume EQ connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs,” they say.And it is not alone in its excesses. The team say about 10 percent of the apps they tested connect to more than 500 different urls. And nine out of 10 of the most frequently contact ad-related domains are run by Google.
The thing I find most striking is how hard it is to do a good Jony Ive impression. Here, compare with this:
System administration is in a sad state. It in a mess.
I’m not complaining about old-school sysadmins. They know how to keep systems running, manage update and upgrade paths.
This rant is about containers, prebuilt VMs, and the incredible mess they cause because their concept lacks notions of “trust” and “upgrades”.
Consider for example Hadoop. Nobody seems to know how to build Hadoop from scratch. It’s an incredible mess of dependencies, version requirements and build tools.
None of these “fancy” tools still builds by a traditional make command. Every tool has to come up with their own, incomptaible, and non-portable “method of the day” of building.
And since nobody is still able to compile things from scratch, everybody just downloads precompiled binaries from random websites. Often without any authentication or signature.
The European Commission is said to be planning to charge Google with using its dominant position in online search to favor the company’s own services over others, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust cases here since regulators went after Microsoft.
Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement in Brussels on Wednesday that Google has abused its dominant position, according to two people who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
It also expected the authorities to open an investigation into Android, the Google software that runs a majority of the world’s smartphones.
Like lots of people, I’m paying attention to the Apple Watch buzz, and doing some of my own speculation. Needless to say, I have no special expertise here. But what the heck; I might as well put my own thoughts out there.
So, here’s my pathetic version of a grand insight: wearables like the Apple watch actually serve a very different function — indeed, almost the opposite function — from that served by previous mobile devices. A smartphone is useful mainly because it lets you keep track of things; wearables will be useful mainly because they let things keep track of you.
I don’t know how these morons are checking this, but when I try their feedback link at the bottom of the page to tell them I get into an endless loop: “please sign in, ok thanks verify that this information on you is still correct, oh you think it is correct, fine, now please sign in….”
Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.
Hmmm… I wonder…
One reason the chip giant cited for that weaker demand: a slowdown in companies upgrading from Windows XP systems. What’s particularly interesting about this is that the move away from the ancient OS helped drive some of Intel’s better results in 2014.
What that suggests is a potentially intractable problem for both Intel and Microsoft: businesses that still manage to operate fine, thank you very much, with an operating system that’s nearly 15 years old. It’s the desktop equivalent of the guy who still uses a flip phone and doesn’t care if you have an app that can identify a song on the radio in three seconds or can stream the Super Bowl live on your smartphone.
But it’s even worse, actually, because that inertia isn’t one guy: It’s firms with potentially dozens or hundred of employees that have their productivity disrupted while new systems are installed and training is implemented. Then there’s the issue of the need for an updated OS. What does Windows 7 or 8 (or 10) do that compels these stragglersto upgrade? If they’re fine with whatever version of Office they’re currently using, and have a decent enough web browser, then most workers are set (though maybe not overjoyed).
There was a scathingly daft story about the Apple Watch in the Guardian yesterday where someone who’d never seen it or used it opined about it being a major mistep and, to double-down on the daftness, trotted out the vapidly cliched “this would never have happened with Steve” line.
The sad part is, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop discovered the writer was actually a marketing consultant for the watch industry
Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”
The Apple Watch isn’t an iPhone any more than the iPhone is a Mac. Computing has moved from the server room to the desktop to the laptop to the pocket and now onto the wrist. Every time that’s happened, every time it’s moved to a new, more personal place, those of us who were used to it in its old place have become slightly anxious, we’ve become subject to our own expectational debt.
The CIA has spent almost a decade attempting to breach the security of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers to allow them secretly plant malware on the devices. Apple announced on Monday, 9 March, that it had sold over 700 million iPhones since the first version was announced in 2007, giving some idea of the scope of the CIA tactics.
Revealed in documents released to The Intercept by Edward Snowden, the CIA’s efforts at undermining Apple’s encryption has been announced at an secret annual gathering known as the “Jamboree” which has been taking place since 2006, a year before the first iPhone was released.
Just look at who Apple has hired in the past couple of years. This should be obvious. Not only is Apple not resting on their laurels, they’re pivoting the company in a pretty big way that’s flying under the radar to all but those watching most closely.
And it feels like a smart bet. Because Apple is at a moment of absolute strength, they can use that clout to get the talent on board to change the engine mid-flight. That doesn’t mean it will work, of course. But it sure seems better than sitting back and atrophying as more nimble opponents approach. This is when you take risks.
One user told me that they nearly “stopped” using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don’t, period. That’s insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.
Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.
“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”
Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.
The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.
Whether Apple is actually building a car, or it’s just a controlled leak to show that the company has more planned after the Apple Watch, isn’t known yet. What is sure, though, is that Apple is now legally covered if it wants to slap its name and logo onto an automobile.
Using its regular law firm Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Apple recently expanded its corporate description to not just include the current array of watches, smartphones, tablets and computers, but vehicles, too. And Apple’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, either. Apple aircraft, anyone?
“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”
“Apple has a very straightforward business model,” he said. “We make money if you buy one of these [pointing at an iPhone]. That’s our product. You [the consumer] are not our product. We design our products such that we keep a very minimal level of information on our customers.”
It also means that Apple’s strategy has made it less profitable than it otherwise might have been, at least in the short term (and even though few shareholders are likely to have noticed, given its massive cash pile).
“We don’t make money selling your information to somebody else. We don’t think you want that. We don’t want to do that. It’s not in our values system to do that. Could we make a lot of money doing that? Of course. But life isn’t about money, life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.”
There are dozens of ways in which Apple’s apparent effort to build an Apple-branded car could go wrong, but there’s one argument against the idea that I’m hearing a lot of that really doesn’t make sense. From Henry Blodget to former GM CEO Daniel Akerson to the LA Times to Yahoo Finance people are saying this won’t work because the car industry is a “low margin” business in contrast to the fat margins Apple is used to earning most of all on its workhorse iPhone.
The misperception here is that Apple earns high margins because Apple operates in high margin industries. The truth is precisely the opposite. Apple earns high margins because it is efficient at manufacturing and firmly committed to a business strategy of sacrificing market share to maintain pricing power. If Apple makes a car, it will be a high margin car because Apple only makes high margin products. If it succeeds it will succeed for the same reason iPhones and iPads and Macs succeed — people like them and are willing to buy them, even though you could get similar specs for less.