Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place
Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share. India’s music-streaming leader Saavn raises $100M, adding 1M users each month In the latest sign that the shift to music streaming is accelerating, India’s Saavn announced today it had raised $100 million and […]
VB EVENT: Business is about winning. Of course, most startups lose, but the goal of each is to win — to build something new and innovative and worthwhile that will grow, acquire users, find customers, and increase in value. In short, to win. Increasingly, for businesses of all kinds — startup, tech, edtech, fintech, medtech — winning in business means winning […]
With $2.4M in funding, ClipMine launches its crowdsourced video indexing and annotation service
We’re infatuated with video, just look at the statistics. There are an enormous amount of videos being created every day, with a high rate of duplications most likely. So how will we be able to find the video that best serves our need? Is there a way for viewers to simply navigate to the part […]
Funding Daily: Today’s tech funding news, in one place
Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share. China’s Ourpalm invests $2.3M in Garfield game maker Animoca Brands Chinese web and mobile game developer Ourpalm has invested $2.3 million in Animoca Brands, the maker of mobile games such as one based on the […]
Sony Mobile CEO states that the company isn’t selling or leaving
Sony has had some rough patches when it comes to its mobile division, but the company has plenty of perseverance. The CEO of Sony Mobile, Hiroki Totoki, recently gave an interview in which he stated that Sony “will never ever sell or exit from the current mobile business.” That’s a bold statement to [...]
Samsung offering $200 off full-priced Galaxy Note 4
A new Galaxy Note is in the works and Samsung is offering a fantastic deal to make some room for the new model. In a deal called ‘Notable Savings,’ Samsung is offering a $200 online rebate for customers who purchase a full-priced Galaxy Note 4 through a participating retailer, which notably [...]
Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Truedialer, Clock
Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are [...]
Top 10 Android app updates this week: Truedialer, Periscope
Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the [...]
Bluetooth speakers today are a dime a dozen, and submersible speakers are no different. Remember all of those waterproof speakers shown off in the Sharper Image and in-plane catalogs? But like with speakers in general, finding a good submersible speaker isn’t easy. So how does the NYNE Aqua, a submersible speaker that isn’t exactly cheap, [...]
NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'
The latest report based on leaks by Edward Snowden has it that the NSA hacked into the servers of a Chinese router company that had itself been accused by the US of potentially aiding government espionage.
Twitter battle in Turkey heats up, spreads to YouTube -- reports
The fight over a Twitter ban in the country intensifies, as the government reportedly blocks a workaround, the White House weighs in, and Google refuses to yank YouTube vids critical of the prime minister.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 22, 2015 Press Contact: Alessandra Wike firstname.lastname@example.org Knowingly Corp, an Austin-based Internet startup, announced today that it has acquired a portion of the assets of Gigaom. These…
Buyers and practitioners in the data market have faced a gut-wrenching choice: work with big data and tolerate the latency of batch-mode processing, or work interactively with relatively small data sets…
This year’s update to Apple’s mobile operating system isn’t a blockbuster release full of controversial design; in fact, the biggest iOS update of the year, Apple Music, is already out. But that doesn’t mean you should write iOS 9 off just yet.
Unless you’re the rare breed that uses Outlook, or have switched to Inbox, you’re no doubt familiar with the look of Gmail’s web interface. Now, through Gmail’s settings, themes and some selected add-ons, you can easily transform that look to better suit your tastes.
We know that in the game of thrones, you win or you die. And we know who’s dead. So...who’s winning? We’ve put together a comprehensive video tracking all five seasons of HBO’s grimly set jawline spectacular Game of Thrones, so that you can quickly and easily know who’s winning, and who’s dying.
This Bacteria-Slaying Light Fixture Is Perfectly Safe For Humans
Bacteria-killing ultraviolet lights can sterilize everything from toothbrushes to bedsheets. But a new type of light fixture called the Indigo-Clean is able to wipe out those same dangerous pathogens while still being safe for patients or caregivers in a hospital.
I Want to Live In This Colorful Maze Made From Sheets of Plastic
Each year a different artist or designer is tapped to create the Serpentine Pavilion, a site-specific installation that’s open all summer in London’s Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion just opened to the public as a colorful, cacophonous labyrinth—with a secret cafe at the center. When can I move in?
Lock and Unlock Your Android Device Automatically with Gravity Screen
Levels of smartphone addiction being what they are, locking and unlocking your mobile can take up a lot of precious time in the day: If only your phone knew when you were looking at it and when you’d set it down or put it in a pocket. That’s exactly that Gravity Screen offers, a free download from the Google Play Store.
HTC has reported consolidated revenues of NT$8.679 billion (US$280.48 million) for June 2015, representing a 19.55% drop on month and 60.4% drop on year. The monthly figures were the lowest since February 2014.
CyberFlow Analytics announces partnership with MaxMind for cyber security intelligence
Top Priority Sector:
San Diego, CA, June 30 – CyberFlow Analytics, an emerging provider in the cyber security market with its Security Behavior Analytics solution, has announced it is partnering with MaxMind to enable geolocation for cyber breach activity in the enterprise and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Enterprises must be able to track behavioral anomalies not only between devices but also between internal and external locations as part of their cyber security practice.
Sonasoft launches no-cost email archiving and eDiscovery promotion to school districts
Top Priority Sector:
San Jose, CA, June 30 – Sonasoft Corp. (OTCPK: SSFT), a provider of enterprise-class email archiving and eDiscovery software solutions, has launched a no-cost promotion on its eDiscovery and email archiving software with purchase of a one-year maintenance contract and professional installation. U.S.
Coral bleaching threat increasing in western Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, July 6 –As unusually warm ocean temperatures cover the north Pacific, equatorial Pacific, and western Atlantic oceans, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists expect greater bleaching of corals on Northern Hemisphere reefs through October, potentially leading to the death of corals over a wide area and affecting the long-term supply of fish and shellfish.
25 convicted criminals arrested in Nevada enforcement operation
Top Priority Sector:
Las Vegas, July 1 – Child sex offenders and convicted drug traffickers are among the 25 criminal aliens arrested during a four-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Clark County that concluded last week.
EPA finalizes rule to reduce climate-damaging HFCs
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, July 2 – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a rule to prohibit certain uses of chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. This action responds to President Obama's Climate Action Plan by reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.
Blue Campaign expands public awareness effort to fight human trafficking
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, July 2 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the expansion of the DHS Blue Campaign’s public awareness efforts to major airports, truck stops, and motorist gas stations across the country to better enable Americans to recognize and report potential instances of human trafficking. Travelers will now see Blue Campaign messages in new locations throughout their journey. For the first time, these messages will describe the signs of human trafficking to help the general public more readily recognize and report this heinous crime.
Center for Internet Security opens the Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense 6.0 for industry comment
Top Priority Sector:
East Greenbush, NY, July 1 – The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has made public the latest release of the Critical Security Controls Draft Version 6.0 in its effort to receive feedback from the greater cybersecurity community.
HTC isn't the only company looking at a not-so-happy quarter. Samsung also has issues of their own, but their Q2 2015 performance still didn't lose them any money. The company reported guidance numbers of $44 billion in revenue and $5.63 billion in profit.
Here’s a first look at Google’s RideWith app for ride sharing [SCREENSHOTS]
Yesterday we told you guys about Google's pilot program for a ride sharing service that would help drivers and passengers connect for gas-saving commutes. Unfortunately the service is only available in Israel to start, but that doesn't mean we can't get a good look at the app ahead of its arrival in other markets.
Sony Mobile CEO says they have no plans to sell or exit their mobile business — ever
In a recent interview, Sony Mobile CEO and President Hiroki Totoki gives us some insight on his plans for the company and addresses rumors that they might be selling or exiting mobile entirely. Not so much.
Grab an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S6 (32GB) for $500 [DEALS]
Despite its shortcomings (don’t worry, every phone has ’em), the Samsung Galaxy S6 is still one of the best smartphones available. We especially love the way it’s nearly impossible to take a bad shot of the phone, making it our go-to phone when snapping photos at parties or events.
Google is testing an Uber-like ride share service in Israel
Google could be looking to jump into the rideshare game themselves. The company has started trialing an Uber-like service through Waze, the crowd-sourced map app that Google bought a while back. The Pilot began in Tel Aviv, Israel.
LG G Pro 3 specs could include iris recognition technology, Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM
The LG G Pro 3 is being readied by the South Korean company, and it could turn out to be a bombshell of a device. New rumors suggest the device will come with some of the most insane specs we've seen in an LG phone (and any phone) yet.
Amazon’s big “Prime Day” sale will have more deals than Black Friday
Amazon loves putting on sales, and now they're about to give Prime members even more of a reason to spend money. The company has announced Prime Day, an online shopping event exclusively for Amazon Prime members.
1sockchuck writes: Parachuting a container full of IT gear into a war zone is challenging enough. In the mountains of Afghanistan, helicopters had to deliver modular data centers in three minutes or less, lest the choppers be targeted by Taliban rockets. UK vendor Cannon recently spoke with DataCenterDynamics, sharing some of the extreme challenges and lessons learned from deploying portable data centers for military units in deserts and mountains. The same lessons (except, hopefully, with a lower chance of being shot) would apply in lots of other extreme enviroments, too.
Eric Holder Says DoJ Could Strike Deal With Snowden; Current AG Takes Hard Line
cold fjord writes with the report at Yahoo that Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a "possibility exists" for the Justice Department to cut a deal with ... Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States ... Holder said "we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures" and that "his actions spurred a necessary debate" that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies ... "I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists."
A representative of current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, though, said that there has been no change in the government's position ("This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed."), Holder's musings aside. As the article points out, too, "any suggestion of leniency toward Snowden would likely run into strong political opposition in Congress as well as fierce resistance from hard-liners in the intelligence community."
Hacking Team Scrambling To Limit Damage Brought On By Explosive Data Leak
An anonymous reader writes: Who hacked Hacking Team, the Milan-based company selling intrusion and surveillance software to governments, law enforcement agencies and (as it turns out) companies? A hacker who goes by "Phineas Fisher" claims it was him (her? them?). In the meantime, Hacking Team is scrambling to minimize the damage this hack and data leak is doing to the company. They sent out emails to all its customers, requesting them to shut down all deployments of its Remote Control System software ("Galileo") — even though it seems they could do that themselves, as the customer software apparently has secret backdoors. Perhaps they chose the first route because they hoped to keep that fact hidden from the customers? And because every copy of Hacking Team's Galileo software is secretly watermarked, the leaked information could allow researchers to link a certain backdoor to a specific customer.
HughPickens.com writes: Ever notice at your high school reunions how some classmates look ten years older than everybody else — and some look ten years younger. Now BBC reports that a study of people born within a year of each other has uncovered a huge gulf in the speed at which human bodies bodies age. The report tracked traits such as weight, kidney function and gum health and found that some of the 38-year-olds in the study were aging so badly that their "biological age" was on the cusp of retirement. "They look rough, they look lacking in vitality," says Prof Terrie Moffitt. The study says some people had almost stopped aging during the period of the study, while others were gaining nearly three years of biological age for every twelve months that passed. "Any area of life where we currently use chronological age is faulty, if we knew more about biological age we could be more fair and egalitarian," says Moffitt. The researchers studied aging in 954 young humans, the Dunedin Study birth cohort, tracking multiple biomarkers across three time points spanning their third and fourth decades of life. They developed and validated two methods by which aging can be measured in young adults, one cross-sectional and one longitudinal. According to Moffit the science of healthspan extension may be focused on the wrong end of the lifespan; rather than only studying old humans, geroscience should also study the young. "Eventually if we really want to slow the process of ageing to prevent the onset of disease we're going to have to intervene with young people."
Mark Wilson reports that the first RTM candidate for Windows 10 has been spotted: build 10176. Leaks and sources have suggested the company intends to finalize the operating system later this week, perhaps as early as July 9th. This would give Microsoft almost three weeks to distribute it to retailers and devicemakers before the July 29th launch date. "While the RTM process has been a significant milestone for previous releases of Windows, it’s more of a minor one for Windows 10. Microsoft is moving Windows 10 to a 'Windows as a service' model that means the operating system is regularly updated."
Proposed Regulation Could Keep 3D-printed Gun Blueprints Offline For Good
SonicSpike sends a report on a proposed update to the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations which could shut down the sharing of files for 3D printed gun parts over the internet. "Hidden within the proposal, which restricts what gear, technology, and info can and cannot be exported out of the U.S., is a ban on posting schematics for 3D printed gun parts online." This follows a lawsuit from Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed back in May fighting the federal government's command to remove blueprints for the "Liberator" 3D-printed gun from their website. A senior official at the U.S. State Department said, "By putting up a digital file, that constitutes an export of the data. If it's an executable digital file, any foreign interests can get a hold of it."
Tablizer writes: NASA has provided an update to the problem with the New Horizons probe that will fly by Pluto next week. "The investigation into the anomaly that caused New Horizons to enter "safe mode" on July 4 has concluded that no hardware or software fault occurred on the spacecraft. The underlying cause of the incident was a hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence that occurred during an operation to prepare for the close flyby. No similar operations are planned for the remainder of the Pluto encounter.
Hacking Team Hacked, Attackers Grab 400GB of Internal Data
Several readers sent word that notorious surveillance company Hacking Team has itself been hacked. Attackers made off with 400GB worth of emails, documents, and source code. The company is known for providing interception tools to government and law enforcement agencies. According to the leaked files, Hacking Team has customers in Egypt, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Mongolia, Russia, Germany, Sudan, and the United States — to name a few. It has been labeled an enemy of the internet by Reporters Without Borders. "Clients have had their passwords exposed as well, as several documents related to contracts and configurations have been circulating online." Nobody knows yet who perpetrated the hack.
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…
Developers Active in Time have gone one step further, and released a video of the first swimming app developed for the Watch. The app is capable of measuring strokes, stroke type, lengths and heart rate.
This should make it the perfect tool to track your swim, with the heart rate data allowing more accurate reporting of calorific burn.
The company has made a similar app for the Pebble smartwatch, but started with an Apple Watch app as soon as watchOS 2 was announced last month at WWDC. The updated OS allows for native apps, allowing it to work remotely, away from a smartphone.
They have shown off the app in use at the London Aquatics Centre, host of the 2012 Olympics.
The developers had to overcome several obstacles, firstly that the touch screens didn't work under water. Tim Bradley writes in a blog post, "The screen is incredibly bright and clear — possibly the best we've ever used whilst swimming.
"On the downside we initially had some buttons on the in-swim screen and found that the water was activating them. Our solution there was to hide all functions behind a force touch menu."
The biggest obstacle though? Apple itself -- the company won't allow apps "that encourage users to use an Apple Device in a way that may cause damage to the device".
Lulzbot 3D printers are visually distinctive with their black steel metal frames and show of 3D printed parts. The inner workings are all on display and make the printer look like it's been taken from some kind of science lab.
Actually that's not too far from the truth as Aleph Objects, the company behind the Lulzbot line of printers, bases much of its products on the work done by the RepRap project, and propagates a very clear message that it works with the Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware communities. This means that its hardware is accessible and you can update it as you see fit – at least if you have the skill.
This also means that the Lulzbot Mini is a refinement of all those open source projects, so while you are buying a commercial 3D printer you are also buying into the 3D community. Speaking of buying, the asking price for this 3D printer is £1620 (it's pitched cheaper at $1350 over in the States, which is equivalent to AU$1815).
Fabricated steel sheet forms the basic shape of the printer and while this form of casing may be pretty primitive the quality of finish and weight of the material used gives the machine a reassuringly solid quality. Altogether the whole machine weighs in at 8.55kg, and this is just enough to keep vibrations caused by the stepper motors to a minimum while still ensuring that the printer is easy to move when needed.
The main power supply and control panel are hidden away in the main casing to one side of the unit, but the rest of the machine is open so all the print head and build area can be seen during the print process. This visibility of the print area is handy as you can easily get a good view of the print as it builds. The open design of some 3D printers is something that can raise concern, but as long as the printer is placed in a sensible position and people are warned that sticking their fingers into the workings isn't a great idea, then this open frame approach doesn't seem to affect the quality of the print in any way.
The Lulzbot Mini features a heated print bed that measures 15.2 x 15.2cm and will print to a height of 15.8cm, really not a bad size for a printer with the Mini designation.
The design of this print bed means that it moves along the y axis while the print head moves along the x and z axis. This print size compares well against the Ultimaker Go which features an unheated print bed at 12 x 12 x 11.5cm, and the more expensive Ultimaker 2 at 23 x 22.5 x 20.5cm for its heated build plate.
When it comes to loading 3D models you need to connect the Lulzbot Mini directly to a computer via a USB cable, and this connection must remain throughout the duration of the print.
Filament loading and swapping is relatively straightforward with the control panel in the Cura software used to heat the head, and then the spring-held filament clamp above the head can be released by hand and the filament removed and replaced. The process takes a couple of minutes just to wait for the head to heat but is far easier and less frustrating than many other printers including the Ultimaker 2.
Setup and printing
When removing the Mini from the box you're instantly struck by the attention to detail, as hidden beneath the top metal structure is a printed 3D grip which just makes lifting and moving the printer easy. Like a car jack point this grip highlights where the printer can be lifted safely which seems sensible for a machine that is extremely complex and potentially easily damaged.
Packaging and octopus removed (like cereal there's one in every packet, printed for your printer to check that it leaves the factory in full working order) it's just a case of plugging into the mains, tethering to a computer and you're almost ready to go. There are a couple of setup procedures, such as loading the Cura software, removing a short length of filament from the head and loading your own filament, but all this only takes a few minutes.
Lulzbot recommend that the first print you try is the Rocktopus which is a freely downloadable file from its website – once it's downloaded you can then tweet your first 3D printed effort to the Lulzbot gallery. Again this reinforces the community feel that owning this printer instantly gives you. In the box alongside the printer is an easy to follow quick start guide along with a series of tools and some glue for the print base to help you get started. These tools also help you to maintain the printer in the future, a touch unmatched by other manufacturers.
The unboxing to print time is around twenty minutes depending on how focused you are and how long it takes you to download and install the Cura Lulzbot edition software. Once hardware and software are in place and connected by USB, the Cura software then needs to be configured. This is easy enough with a click-through setup process and decent set of instructions that quickly gets you to the point where you're ready to start printing.
As mentioned, it's suggested that you download and print the Rocktopus model for your first print and to test that the printer is working correctly. With the model loaded into Cura all you need to do is hit connect and then print. A whirl of the fan and a few minutes later the machine comes alive. This initial print takes around 50 minutes using the default settings, with a great result first time showing that everything was working as it should be. Once the Rocktopus is finished the knife included with the printer can be used to prize the model from the heated base. It's worth leaving everything to cool down for 10 minutes so the extraction of the model is easier.
The Lulzbot Mini takes 3mm filament and in our testing we used PLA, ABS and HIPS which is the preferred material. Prints using all three types of plastic turned out well using a variety of settings. A nice touch in the software is the ability to have direct access to fine adjustment of the hot-end and print base temperature, as this can greatly affect the print quality and varies with each model.
Overall print quality was good with resolutions ranging from low, at 500 microns, to a respectful 50 microns (a micron being 0.001mm so this means a maximum resolution of 0.05mm layer height). Adjusting the settings improved the quality of the prints significantly and as always a little experimentation with the settings depending on the model being produced ensured that a good print is never too far away when using the Lulzbot Mini.
When comparing the quality of a print from the Lulzbot Mini with one from the Ultimaker Go you can see a difference in the fine detail of the print showing that the Ultimaker Go just has the edge. But the Ultimaker lacks versatility when it comes to supported materials and adjustment compared to the Lulzbot.
Cura is maintained by Ultimaker and for getting started is an excellent piece of visual software that enables you to quickly switch between quick and expert settings. To help you get started there are a variety of profiles that are directly downloadable from the Lulzbot website for different materials and qualities. These can be quickly loaded depending on your filament choice and the quality of print that you want.
If however you wish to use another piece of software to control your 3D printer then the Mini also has profiles ready to download for other common applications such as Slicer.
The Lulzbot Mini might initially make it look like it has been built in a shed, but the quality of finish and materials is excellent. There is nothing in the design and build of this machine that comes across as cheap or not fully thought through. The use of 3D printed parts gives the machine an air of confidence from the moment you start using it, and the open hardware design enables you to upgrade and tinker with the machine as you see fit.
The quality of prints is good and this is a great printer for creating and testing prototypes and models. The use of the Cura Lulzbot edition software is a great software choice and enables you to get set up and printing quickly with little or no fuss, and if you don't like it then there's always the ability to use something else.
USB printing is handy as you can communicate directly with the printer, however once the print process has started your computer is then locked into that location until the end of the print. An option for SD card printing would be welcome. Print quality is good but doesn't quite have the refined detail of the Ultimaker series.
Lulzbot Mini is an exciting 3D printer – it has the confidence to use 3D printed parts which are integral to the design. It also has a good community of users and excellent written documentation and support. You can even download the plans and build one from scratch although it doesn't really work out any cheaper than buying one pre-built.
Initial setup and configuration really couldn't be easier enabling you to unbox and print in minutes. Print resolution at the highest setting couldn't quite match the fine detail that can be achieved by the Ultimaker series, but then the Lulzbot Mini is cheaper than the base model Ultimaker Go.
The Lulzbot Mini is reliable and easy to use, and while it might not reach the print resolutions of the Ultimaker it is cheaper – and also, what will swing the decision for many is the open hardware design and compatibility with a wide range of filaments.
Windows 10's final version could be just days away
The all-singing, all-dancing 'final' Windows 10 version appears to be going through its final checks in Redmond, as the final few tweaks are rolled out.
Windows Insiders will soon be taking a peek at one of the final builds - including the update that renames Xbox Music to Groove and overhauls the Movies and TV App.
Writing on the Windows blog, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc explicitly refers to an extra build when he said "Here's a quick overview of the new features you'll find with both apps in the build coming to Windows Insiders this week."
Final code close?
But, more excitingly, the chances that Microsoft will be releasing the "final" Windows 10 code have increasing significantly as signs of an RTM (release to manufacturing) build have emerged on a reputable build tracker, Buildfeed.
10.0.10176.16384.th1.150705-0552 carries the lab string th1 (referring to Threshold, the codename of Windows 10) and was released on July 5.
Build 10163 is expected to come any time now with Windows 10 RTM likely to be signed off by Microsoft on Friday.
The company released three builds last week in a surprising twist and has already committed to solving as many bugs as possible before the launch of Windows 10 on July 29, rather than introducing new features.
The LG G4 S, a midrange smartphone in the flagship LG G4's clothing, looks closer to reality with a new leak that reportedly shows the specifications of the upcoming handset.
The specs were seen on a report generated by the GFXBench benchmarking tool, and it reveals a mid-range smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip, an octa-core 1.4GHz CPU and it's running Android 5.1.1.
The screen will be a 5.2-inch Full HD affair, it will have a 7MP rear camera and a 4.8MP front-facing snapper.
According to the leak the LG G4 S will have 1.4GB RAM, but rather worryingly it claims the handset has just 3.5GB of internal storage.
As we often find smartphones with 8GB of storage far too little, the fact that the LG G4 S comes with less than half of that is concerning.
The benchmarks might not be correct though - that could either be the usable storage on the phone or it may be an early development handset that won't have exactly the same hardware as the final version.
Let's hope that LG decides to pack more storage into the LG G4 S, otherwise owners of the new handset could find themselves shelling out for an additional microSD card.
Performance or capacity. That's been the dichotomy that's dominated data storage since the first mainstream solid-state drives for PCs appeared nearly a decade ago.
But now Samsung has launched the first 2TB SSDs aimed at consumers. Give it up for the Samsung 850 Pro 2TB (£750, around US$1,166, or AUS$ 1,554), tested here, and its 850 Evo sibling. At last, the speed of solid-state flash memory has been combined with the multi-terabyte mass storage that's previously been the preserve of conventional hard drives with their spinning magnetic platters.
So, how has Samsung pulled it off? A big part of the explanation is Samsung's 3D V-NAND memory. 3D V-NAND, of course, is Samsung's trailblazing new flash memory technology that sees memory cells stacked atop one another in layers rather than just arranged in a flat two-dimensional array.
The most obvious benefit of that is the ability to squeeze much more capacity into a given area of memory chip. But the upsides go beyond that. For starters, using multiples layers of memory cells takes the pressure off the need for each layer to absolutely maximise capacity.
That means mature rather than cutting-edge silicon production processes can be used, which increases yileds and thus reduces costs. It also means the chips aren't right on the ragged edge for performance, which makes them more reliable – often a major limitation for flash memory which wears out gradually as data is written to the memory cells.
In practice, that means where Samsung's previous-generation 840-series drives sported NAND memory with uber-tiny 19nm transistors, the 850 series is thought to get by with 40nm technology.
Samsung hasn't revealed whether the new 850 Pro in 2TB format uses the same 40nm 3D memory. But given the density enabled by stacking multiple layers, it's plausible that Samsung's existing 3D V-NAND technology is good enough.
However, what we do know is that achieving that headline 2TB has required Samsung to come up with a new controller chip. Samsung says its existing MEX controller as seen in the exisitng 128GB to 1TB 850 Pro SSDs had limitations when it comes to really high capacities. Consequently, the new 2TB has a new controller, known as the MHX.
As ever, actual technical details are thin on the ground. The market is so competitive, not many SSD makes are keen to give up the technical secrets of their controllers, sadly.
That said, Samsung's performance claims make it clear they don't think the upped capacity comes with any performance downsides. Samsung quotes exactly the same numbers for the new 2TB 850 Pro as existing Pros down to 250GB. So, that's 550MB/s sequential reads, 520MB/s sequential writes on the on e hand and 100,000 Read IOPS and 90,000 write IOPS on the other.
Arguably where things get really interesting with Samsung's 'Pro' line of drives, however, is durability. And here the 2TB absolutely does not disappoint. Samsung provides a mega 10-year warranty along with expectations of 300TB's worth of writes. Wow.
That's probably even more important with a really large drive than a puny SSD that you might expect to replace within a couple of years. This thing has legs.
However, the elephant in the room and what we haven't mentioned up to this point is that the 2TB model and indeed all Samsung 850 Pro and Evo models don't offer compatibility with the latest storage interfaces.
We speak of PCI Express-based interfaces like M.2 and SATA Express (even is the latter is increasing looking like a stillborn standard). Instead, the 850 Pro 2TB is a plain old SATA drive.
That means it's limited to a real-world peak performance of about 550MB/s. That's simply a function of the 6Gbps limitation of the SATA interface. What's more, SATA uses a control protocal known as AHCI, which was conceived for magnetic hard drives, not SSDs. And that, in turn, makes SATA sub optimal in terms of random access performance with SSDs.
If you're upgrading an exisitng system – and particularly a laptop – that may not be a problem. You may not have any M.2 slots in your PC, in any case. But as the storage solution for a new PC you are planning to build or an existing system with M.2 support, the limitations of SATA compared with M.2 drives kicking out nearer 2GB/s of bandwidth than the mere 550MB/s top whack of a SATA drive make even this 2TB look pretty old hat.
Specifications and peformance
As for the actual performance of the new Samsung 850 Pro 2TB, it's all about expectations. Or rather, it's about managing expectations.
Thanks to its 2TB capacity, this isn't a cheap drive. In fact, predictably enough it's painfully pricey. If you therefore go in expecting it to render all asunder, you are in for a big disappointment.
If, on the other hand, you accept it for what it is, a very large SATA drive as opposed to a drive that's compatible with the latest super-fast PCI Express storage interfaces, you're liable to be much happier.
Here is the spec sheet provided to TechRadar:
Memory type: 3D VNAND
Controller: Samsung MHX
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Form factor: 2.5-inch
Read / write performance: 550MB/s / 520MB/s
IOPS performance: 100,000 read, 90,000 write
Warranty: 10 years limited
Here's how the 850 Pro 2TB performs. In terms of raw sequential throughput, it'll do 559MB/s for read and 534MB/s for wirtes. In other words, it's simply bouncing off the limitations of the SATA interface.
As for random access performance, we're talking 41MB/s for reads and 133MB/s for writes, which are again as good as it gets for a SATA drive.
Arguably more interesting is the fact that the 850 Pro 2TB clocks in with probably the fastest time we've seen for a SATA drive in our real-world 5GB file compression test. It's only a matter of a second or two, but it's further confirmation that this drive is about as good as it gets for SATA technology.
For context, the latest M.2 drives are up near 2GB/s for sequential reads and 200MB/s for 4k random writes. So how you view this drive's performance will ultimately come down to whether you're in the market for M.2 or SATA drives. It's great for a SATA drive, deathly slow in some departments compared to an M.2 drive.
The sheer 2TB of the new Samsung 850 Pro is obviously its key defining feature. It means you no longer have to choose between a big but relatively dumb magnetic drive and a small but slick SSD. You can now have speed and capacity in a single drive.
Other highlights include the stellar endurance ratings, that awesome 10 year warranty and excellent performance for a SATA SSD.
Apart from the fairly obvious fact that the Samsung 850m Pro 2TB is hideously expensive, it's also very conspicuously limited by its SATA interface.
Where the latest PCI Express-powered M.2 drives are kicking out nearly 2GB/s of raw bandwidth, the peak performance of this mega money SSD is closer to one quarter of that figure. Oops.
Prepare youself for the trotting out of cliches. For if ever there was a horses-for-course verdict, this is it.
Viewed in the broad context of all SSDs, the new Samsung 850 Pro 2TB is dead slow. The latest M.2 drives absolutely annihilate it for raw performance.
However, narrow the context down to SATA drives and it suddenly finds itself at the very top of the pack. So it really comes down to you buying needs and preferences. If you need the biggest and best SATA SSD for something like a laptop upgrade, this Sammy is a killer, albeit at a price.
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With the first generation of 802.11ac wireless routers, the Asus RT-AC68U stands apart from many of its competitors, with both great wireless performance and superb built-in software that offers plenty of functions and an intuitive, well-designed interface.
Even today, it still costs a bit more than other routers, but arguably it's worth paying a bit extra for the benefits of great performance and useful and functional software.
The competition is catching up now though. For example, TP Links' superb Archer D9 can just about match the AC68U for wireless performance, and its software is pretty good too.
So to maintain its advantage, Asus is under considerable pressure to deliver the goods once again with an updated flagship model, the RT-AC87U.
It's still relatively expensive with a UK price of £179 ($240 in the US, which translates to AU$315).
The big headline feature is a fourth antenna, making it capable of 4x4 802.11ac wireless speeds. The theoretical wireless throughput it can manage is now 1733 Mbit/sec, dubbed AC1750. In practice, it should correspond with roughly 25% better performance. Combined with up to 600Mbps 802.11n wireless speeds, Asus is calling it AC2400-compliant.
But the big caveat here is that right now, barely any devices have a built-in wireless adaptor that can handle quad-stream 802.11ac. It's still quite rare to even find one with 3x3 wireless, Apple's laptops being the exception, rather than the rule.
However, Asus has also released a new quad-stream wireless bridge to compliment the RT-AC87U. Dubbed the EA-AC87, it's just about the only way to get those 4x4 speeds from the new router, aside from investing in a second 4x4 router set to bridge mode.
The RT-AC87U has a flat angular design, similar to Netgear's Nighthawk X4 but with all four of its quite massive antennas positioned at the rear, making it look less like a giant robot insect than some routers (as many people have casually commented).
It retains some elements of the AC68U's unique checkerboard pattern, something I rather like, with the left and right sides of the chassis decorated in this way. At the front of the device are two chunky buttons on the left, to enable the LEDs and wireless access, and on the right a USB 3.0 port is hidden behind a removable cover.
Inside, it uses a dual-core Quantenna 500MHz chip for 802.11ac, with a second dual-core 1GHz Broadcom chip for 2.4 GHz wireless, which also manages all the other router functions. It also has 256MB of system memory, plenty for a router.
A USB 2.0 port joins the four gigabit Ethernet ports at the rear, along with a hard power switch and device reset button. Nine blue LEDs flicker on and off at the front to show the status of various aspects of the router, such as power, internet status, 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity and each Ethernet port.
Once again it uses well-designed, useful and clearly labelled built-in software. There are countless examples of where Asus has the leg up on competitors' efforts, and it's still the best software from any router manufacturer.
As before, the main page layout is divided into sections that show, at a glance, the status of various aspects of the network – how many clients are connected, which wireless networks are up, whether you have a hard disk connected to the USB ports, and so on. It's simple to navigate.
One example is the notifications system. Anyone with knowledge of networking and computer security will say one of the first things you should do is change your default router login password. Most people forget, never bother, or don't know how to. The RT-AC87U displays a reminder in the form of a flashing exclamation mark in the corner, with a quick link to take you to the right page.
It's a small touch, but this is an example of the extra attention Asus has lavished upon its new router's software. And you get other similar warnings and notifications too, such as when a firmware update is available.
The main menus on the left lead to the more advanced sections of the interface, and there are plenty of them. There's a full system log, VPN server, IPv6 support and dynamic DNS, all of which you would expect to find on any modern router now.
The new Adaptive QoS mode deserves a mention too. Venture into the menu and each computer on the network is listed, with a real-time update of the bandwidth they are consuming. You can drag and drop coloured labels to rearrange their priority, and it's all easy peasy. But it's also useful to diagnose whether one of your computers is hogging all your upstream bandwidth, for example.
In here there's also a handy Web History section, logging the domains each computer on your network has been accessing. Useful to see when the kids are using Facebook rather than doing their homework, for example.
The AiProtection section has both parental controls and a general overview of the router's security. You can run a security assessment which lists everything that could be a risk, from the strength of your wireless password to malicious website blocking and disabling WPS, UPnP and guest logins. With one click it sets all the relevant options to secure the RT-AC87U.
It's worth pointing out even these settings might not stop a truly determined and well-equipped hacker, but they're about as good as it gets for a consumer-class router.
The USB Application option has full support for not just hard disks, but 3G/4G wireless modems, and a range of NAS-like features such as a Samba media server, Apple Time Machine functionality, and AiDisk cloud file backup.
For wireless testing, like other routers, I used a pair of Macs running the Wi-Fi Perf software. This software measures throughput between the two machines without relying on a file transfer, so any bottlenecks due to storage are not an issue.
I tested 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac performance at 1 metre, 5 metres and 10 metres distance, with clear line of sight to the router. Since the receiver in the 2013 MacBook Pro is a 3x3 802.11ac model, this was only testing the 3x3 performance of the RT-AC87U, reflecting a setup used on many current devices.
Here are the results of our benchmarking:
RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server
2.4GHz 802.11n (1 metre) 114.65 Mbps
2.4GHz 802.11n (5 metres) 105.26 Mbps
2.4GHz 802.11n (10 metres) 78.93 Mbps
RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server
3x3 802.11ac (1 metre) 686.12 Mbps
3x3 802.11ac (5 metres) 248.89 Mbps
3x3 802.11ac (10 metres) 178.34 Mbps
RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client
2.4GHz 802.11n (1 metre) 134.57 Mbps
2.4GHz 802.11n (5 metres) 112.52 Mbps
2.4GHz 802.11n (10 metres) 105.03 Mbps
RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client
3x3 802.11ac (1 metre) 640.54 Mbps
3x3 802.11ac (5 metres) 377.23 Mbps
3x3 802.11ac (10 metres) 245.48 Mbps
These results are excellent, with some particularly good short range speeds, although they're fairly typical of most 3x3 routers. Notably, the 3x3 802.11ac results come out slightly short of the speeds I measured from the Netgear Nighthawk R7500 X4 router.
I then ran another test. With the EA-AC87 4x4 bridge connected to one of the Macs via Ethernet, I hooked the bridge up to the 4x4 network of the RT-AC87U. Think of the EA-AC87U as a giant wireless dongle, connected via Ethernet rather than USB, and with four big antennas.
With the only wireless link here between the bridge and the router, I was fully testing the 4x4 capability of the router at various distances. And the results were superb, as you can see for yourself:
RT-AC87U Performance Client-to-server
4x4 802.11ac (1 metre) 753 Mbps
4x4 802.11ac (5 metres) 750 Mbps
4x4 802.11ac (10 metres) 256 Mbps
RT-AC87U Performance Server-to-client
4x4 802.11ac (1 metre) 863 Mbps
4x4 802.11ac (5 metres) 811 Mbps
4x4 802.11ac (10 metres) 490 Mbps
Like Usain Bolt at his best, these server-to-client results break all records, with the fastest speeds I've ever recorded from a wireless router. 863 Mbps is a fantastic speed and shows the true potential of 802.11ac is still to be realised. At 10 metre range, 490 Mbps is another record, beating just about every other 802.11ac router on the market at this distance.
This time, these 4x4 802.11ac speeds are much better than those achieved by Netgear's R7500.
The 4x4 client-to-server results are a little more down to earth. The RT-AC87U still performs well, although here it's roughly 15% faster than the standard 3x3 802.11ac speeds. These are still good results, though.
I also copied a 5GB folder of large files from a hard disk connected to the USB 3.0 port, averaging 31.3 MB/sec read and 26.6 MB/sec write. A 5GB folder of smaller 1MB JPEG images copied across with 20.1 MB/sec read and 17 MB/sec write. While this is slower than a native USB 3.0 connection on a computer, and is matched by many other routers, in the old days when routers used puny processors, you'd be lucky to get 1MB/sec, making them generally useless for file storage.
Finally I measured the router's idle power consumption without any USB device connected as 12.4 Watts. That's a tad more than other routers – I measured 8.1 Watts from Netgear's Nighthawk X4 and 5.1 Watts from AVM's Fritz! Box 3490.
The software is definitely the best thing about the RT-AC87U. With many other routers and older models, there are dozens of small annoyances that the engineers at Asus have solved, with a bit of lateral thinking (and perhaps some market research). There are many features, and in all honesty we've only scratched the surface of them in this review.
The performance at standard 3x3 802.11ac frequency is very good, although not record breaking, and is nothing to complain about at all. The 4x4 performance is outstanding though.
USB performance and 802.11n speeds are similarly adequate.
The lack of 4x4 802.11ac hardware is a potential reason not to buy this router. Device manufacturers aren't exactly falling over themselves to adopt faster 802.11ac speeds either.
It's a bit pricey too, reflecting the higher overall cost of 802.11ac hardware.
The best configuration is with the wireless bridge, used for extending wireless coverage over distances. But this is an extra cost on top of the router.
The Asus RT-AC87U is undoubtedly the very best wireless router on the market, not just for its performance, but for its excellent software. Asus has clearly invested more resources into this area than other firms usually do, and the effort has really paid off, making some of the software in competing routers look like a mere afterthought. Venturing into a router to change settings used to be a chore, even for people with some know-how – but Asus has changed all this for the better.
Wireless performance isn't leaps and bounds ahead of the competition though. While its 3x3 802.11ac speeds are perfectly respectable, they're not the fastest I've ever seen.
But as a counter to that, the new 4x4 mode works brilliantly, and is incredibly fast, at both short range and distance. You will need to buy more hardware to take advantage of it though, which is why the software, rather than the 4x4 wireless speeds, is the real reason to spend extra money on the RT-AC87U over the competition.
In this respect, it may prove more popular for businesses, hotels and so on rather than individuals.
GoPro announces its smallest, lightest action-camera yet, the HERO4 Session
If you've always wanted to buy a GoPro camera but were put off by the advanced, pro-level functionality found in GoPro's HERO4 Black, you're in luck – GoPro has announced its most user-friendly camera ever: the HERO4 Session.
Operating the HERO4 Session is easier than it is on any of GoPro's other cameras, with a single button used to perform the majority of its functions – A short press of the shutter button turns the camera on, starting video capture automatically, a longer press powers the camera on and switches it to Time Lapse photo capture mode, and you only have to press the button once more to save your recording or photo and turn it off again.
Just like with previous models, you can further refine your controls and settings by using the GoPro App or Smart Remote.
GoPro or go home
The HERO4 Session is 50% smaller and 40% lighter (74g) than GoPro's HERO4 Black and Silver, at roughly a cubic inch in size.
Its reduced size and weight means that the HERO4 Session can be placed in areas that were previously impossible, such as on the bottom of a skateboard.
It's also waterproof right out of the box to a depth of 10 metres, without the need for an additional case or dive housing, though it does come with standard and low-profile mount brackets, as well as a new Ball Joint Buckle mount.
HERO4 Session is also compatible with all existing GoPro mounts and accessories.
The HERO4 Session retains GoPro's signature high-quality image capture capabilities, recording 1080p video at 60fps, 720p at 100fps and 1440p at 30fps (those after 4K video will have to opt for HERO4 Black), along with eight megapixel photos in its Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes.
The new model also features auto image rotation, placing your video capture the right way up, regardless of how you attach it to any given surface (it should be noted however, that the image will not rotate once it has commenced recording), and a new dual microphone system which automatically switches its sound recording between two microphones in order to minimise wind noise.
The GoPro HERO4 Session hits the street on July 12 for AUD$579.95 (approx. US$399 and £329), which is the same price as GoPro's HERO4 Silver.
Over the weekend, one of the most notorious and secretive security surveillance companies, Hacking Team, has been hacked and hundreds of Gigabytes of data that includes emails, source code and internal documents stolen.
It is not clear at this stage who hacked Hacking Team and more importantly, why. The attackers made sure that their intrusion would not go unnoticed by defacing the company's Twitter account and making public more than 400GB of content.
Hacking the hackers
This tactic would, in theory, allow the attackers to hide their tracks and proceed towards their real intended target(s), in what is likely to be a state of confusion and FUD for Hacking Team's clients.
The Italian company offers a wide range of services and tools, all aimed at helping organisations and governments, gather data on individuals. A lot of its clients are allegedly oppressive governments although the company has always maintained the opposite.
The hacked files show that Hacking Team counted customers from Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Sudan, Russia, UAE amongst those who had paid for its services.
The company's social accounts and website are no longer accessible.
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