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  • Apple Is Making Its Own Modem To Compete With Qualcomm, Report Says (2018/12/12 23:50)
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Apple is apparently working on its own, in-house developed modem to allow it to better compete with Qualcomm, according to several new Apple job listings that task engineers to design and develop a layer 1 cellular PHY chip -- implying that the company is working on actual, physical networking hardware. Two of the job posts are explicitly to hire a pair of cellular modem systems architects, one in Santa Clara and one in San Diego, home of Qualcomm. That's alongside several other job postings Apple has listed in San Diego for RF design engineers. The Information, which spotted the first job posting, cites sources that go a step further, claiming that Apple is not only potentially working to develop its own modem, but is in fact specifically targeting it for use in future iPhones, with the company looking to leave longtime partner Intel behind in favor of its own, in-house solution. According to The Information's report, the new modem would still be years away, with even Apple's purported 5G iPhone slated for 2020 using Intel's in-development 5G modem instead. It makes sense logically, too -- if Apple is only just starting to hire now, it'll take at least a few years before it'll actually be ready to ship hardware. But the move would have big ramifications for the mobile space, particularly for Qualcomm and Intel, two of the biggest modem suppliers in the world. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • California Considers Text Messaging Tax To Fund Cell Service For Low-Income Residents (2018/12/12 23:10)
    According to a report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California may soon tax text messaging to help fund programs that make phone service available for low-income residents. The report says the tax would likely be a flat fee added to a monthly bill instead of a per text tax. The Hill reports: The report outlines the shrinking revenue coming from a current tax on the telecommunications industry and argues that a new tax on text messaging should be put in place to make up for it. "From a consumer's point of view, surcharges may be a wash, because if more surcharge revenues come from texting services, less would be needed from voice services," CPUC spokeswoman Constance Gordon said in a statement. "Generally, those consumers who create greater texting revenues may pay a bit more, whereas consumers using more voice services may pay less." "Parties supporting the collection of surcharges on text messaging revenue argue that it will help preserve and advance universal service by increasing the revenue base upon which Public Purpose Programs rely. We agree," the report states. The CTIA, a trade association representing major carriers in the wireless industry, says the tax is anti-competitive and would put carriers at a disadvantage against social media messaging apps from tech companies such as Google and Facebook. The CPUC is expected to vote on the proposal in January 2019. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • Facebook Settles Oculus VR Lawsuit With ZeniMax (2018/12/12 22:30)
    "Gaming giant ZeniMax Media's lawsuit against Facebook over the misuse of intellectual property related to the founding of Oculus VR has finally been settled," reports TechCrunch. In a statement, ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman said, "We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome. While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties." From the report: At the trial's conclusion, the judge awarded ZeniMax $500 million in damages to be paid by the defendants, including Facebook and some of the Oculus VR co-founders, a figure that Facebook appealed and had reduced to $250 million. Following the initial verdict, ZeniMax sought an injunction on sales of Facebook's Oculus Rift headset, claiming the device violated key IP. Terms of this settlement weren't disclosed. The trial was notable in that it offered a rare moment on the stand for a number of Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It also gave rare insight into the details surrounding the company's founding and acquisition. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • FCC Gives Carriers the Option To Block Text Messages (2018/12/12 21:50)
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: The Federal Communications Commission said it's getting tough on text message spam by clarifying that phone companies can block unwanted texts. At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the Republican-led agency voted 3-1 to classify SMS text messages as a so-called Title I information service under the Telecom Act. The three Republicans on the FCC, which voted to adopt the classification, said this would allow phone companies to block spam text messages. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the new classification would empower wireless providers to stop unwanted text messages. "The FCC shouldn't make it easier for spammers and scammers to bombard consumers with unwanted texts," he said during the meeting. "And we shouldn't allow unwanted messages to plague wireless messaging services in the same way that unwanted robocalls flood voice services." But he said that's what would happen if the FCC were to classify text messages as a Title II telecommunications service under the law. Jessica Rosenworcel, the lone Democrat on the FCC, disagrees with the classification. "Today's decision offers consumers no new ability to prevent robotexts," she said."It simply provides that carriers can block our text messages and censor the very content of those messages themselves." She says the FCC did the same thing to the internet last year when it repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules. "That means on the one-year anniversary of the FCC's misguided net neutrality decision -- which gave your broadband provider the power to block websites and censor online content -- this agency is celebrating by expanding those powers to also include your text messages," she added. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • New LG Gram is the Lightest 17-inch Laptop Ever at Just 3 Pounds (2018/12/12 19:05)
    LG has unveiled two new laptops in its Gram lineup in advance of CES in Las Vegas next month, and the Gram 17 looks like a stunner. LaptopMag: It weighs just 3 pounds, which is crazy light for a notebook with a 17-inch display. That's the same weight as the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. A typical 17-inch laptop weighs 6 to 6.5 pounds, so getting such a big screen in such a lightweight package is definitely no small feat. Does that mean the specs skimpy? Nope. LG says the 15 x 10.5 x 0.7-inch Gram 17 packs a 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8565U, up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. (There's also a slot for an additional SSD). The Gram 17's 72W battery is rated for up to 19.5 hours of usage, which we will obviously put to the test once we get our hands on the laptop. Other highlights include a sharp 2560 x 1600 pixel display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a fingerprint reader and a chassis that's rated MIL-STD-810G for durability. LG's website lists a suggested price of $1,699.99 for the LG Gram 17. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • Europe -- not the US or China -- Publishes the Most AI Research Papers (2018/12/12 18:21)
    The popular narrative around artificial intelligence research is that it's mainly a war between China and the United States. Not so fast, says Europe. From a report: New data released today (Dec. 12; PDF file) by the AI Index, a project to track the advancement of artificial intelligence, shows a trend of Europe releasing more papers than either the US or China. The data was assembled from Scopus, a citation database owned by scientific publishing company Elsevier. If the current trend continues, China will soon overtake Europe in the number of papers published. The number of papers out of China grew 17% in 2017, compared to a 13% increase in the US, and 8% in Europe. Europe boasts top universities doing work in AI, such as Oxford, University College London, and ETH Zurich, in addition to being home to branches of tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Alphabet's DeepMind operates out of London, and French president Emmanuel Macron has been particularly bullish on AI in Europe. Since being elected in 2017, he has already laid out initiatives to bolster the amount of research and corporate AI stationed in France. [...] The AI Index report credits the huge 70% increase in Chinese AI papers in 2008 to a government program promoting long-term research in artificial intelligence through 2020. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • Intel Unveils Roadmaps For Core Architecture and Atom Architecture (2018/12/12 17:40)
    Intel on Wednesday surprised a number of people when it shared not one roadmap on CPUs, but two. AnandTech: For the high performance Core architecture, Intel lists three new codenames over the next three years. To be very clear here, these are the codenames for the individual core microarchitecture, not the chip, which is an important departure from how Intel has previously done things. Sunny Cove, built on 10nm, will come to market in 2019 and offer increased single-threaded performance, new instructions, and 'improved scalability'. Willow Cove looks like it will be a 2020 core design, most likely also on 10nm. Intel lists the highlights here as a cache redesign (which might mean L1/L2 adjustments), new transistor optimizations (manufacturing based), and additional security features, likely referring to further enhancements from new classes of side-channel attacks. Golden Cove rounds out the trio, and is firmly in that 2021 segment in the graph. Process node here is a question mark, but we're likely to see it on 10nm and or 7nm. Golden Cove is where Intel adds another slice of the serious pie onto its plate, with an increase in single threaded performance, a focus on AI performance, and potential networking and AI additions to the core design. Security features also look like they get a boost. The lower-powered Atom microarchitecture roadmap is on a slower cadence than the Core microarchitecture, which is not surprising given its history. The upcoming microarchitecture for 2019 is called Tremont, which focuses on single threaded performance increases, battery life increases, and network server performance. Based on some of the designs later in this article, we think that this will be a 10nm design. Following Tremont will be Gracemont, which Intel lists as a 2021 product. Beyond this will be a future 'mont' core (and not month as listed in the image). Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • Intel Reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU Cores That Go Deeper, Wider, and Faster (2018/12/12 17:00)
    Long criticized for reusing old cores in its recent CPUs, Intel on Wednesday showed off a new 10nm Sunny Cove core that will bring faster single-threaded and multi-threaded performance along with major speed bumps from new instructions. From a report: Sunny Cove, which many believe will go into Intel's upcoming Ice Lake-U CPUs early next year, will be "deeper, wider, and smarter," said Ronak Singhal, director of Intel's Architecture Cores Group. Singhal said the three approaches should boost the performance of Sunny Cove CPUs. By doing "deeper," Sunny Cove cores find greater opportunities for parallelism by increasing the cache sizes. "Wider" means the new cores will execute more operations in parallel. Compared to the Skylake architecture (which is also the basis of Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake chips), the chip goes from a 4-wide design to 5-wide. Intel says Sunny Cove also increases performance in specialized tasks by adding new instructions that will improve the speed of cryptography and AI and machine learning. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • FreeBSD 12 Released (2018/12/12 16:25)
    New submitter vivekgite writes: The 12th version of the FreeBSD has been released, bringing support for updated hardware. Some of the highlights include: OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.1.1a (LTS). Unbound has been updated to version 1.8.1, and DANE-TA has been enabled by default. OpenSSH has been updated to version 7.8p1. Additonal capsicum(4) support has been added to sshd(8). Clang, LLVM, LLD, LLDB, compiler-rt and libc++ has been updated to version 6.0.1. The vt(4) Terminus BSD Console font has been updated to version 4.46. The bsdinstall(8) utility now supports UEFI+GELI as an installation option. The VIMAGE kernel configuration option has been enabled by default. The NUMA option has been enabled by default in the amd64 GENERIC and MINIMAL kernel configurations. The netdump(4) driver has been added, providing a facility through which kernel crash dumps can be transmitted to a remote host after a system panic. The vt(4) driver has been updated with performance improvements, drawing text at rates ranging from 2- to 6-times faster. Various improvements to graphics support for current generation hardware. Support for capsicum(4) has been enabled on armv6 and armv7 by default. The UFS/FFS filesystem has been updated to consolidate TRIM/BIO_DELETE commands, reducing read/write requests due to fewer TRIM messages being sent simultaneously. The NFS version 4.1 server has been updated to include pNFS server support. The pf(4) packet filter is now usable within a jail(8) using vnet(9). The bhyve(8) utility has been updated to add NVMe device emulation. The bhyve(8) utility is now able to be run within a jail(8). Various Lua loader(8) improvements. KDE has been updated to version 5.12. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
  • The Record For High-Temperature Superconductivity Has Been Smashed Again (2018/12/12 15:50)
    Chemists have found a material that can display superconducting behavior at a temperature warmer than it currently is at the North Pole. The work brings room-temperature superconductivity tantalizingly close. From a report: The work comes from the lab of Mikhail Eremets and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. Eremets and his colleagues say they have observed lanthanum hydride (LaH10) superconducting at the sweltering temperature of 250 K, or -23C. That's warmer than the current temperature at the North Pole. "Our study makes a leap forward on the road to the room-temperature superconductivity," say the team. (The caveat is that the sample has to be under huge pressure: 170 gigapascals, or about half the pressure at the center of the Earth.) Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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