European Legislator Urging the Breakup of Google Has Ties to a Law Firm
Andreas Schwab, a German member of the European Parliament, is “of counsel” at the law and lobbying firm CMS Hasche Sigle, which has represented some of the German publishing interests that have been eager to declaw Google.
While there have been numerous deals for the Chromecast since its launch, this ($23.99) is the best price we can recall seeing through Amazon. It even comes with 2 free months of Hulu Plus right now, which is another $16 savings.
And thankfully this deal doesn’t mean leaving the comfort of your home [...]
Top 10 new Android games this week: NinJump Dash, Wicked Lair
Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we’re playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any [...]
Moto 360 leather and metal bands arrive in Motorola’s online store
The Moto 360 has been available in several varieties for a while now, including versions with leather and metal bands. If you bought one model but wish that you could have the bands that came with the other versions, well, now you can.
Motorola is now selling leather and metal bands for [...]
How to add Qi wireless charging to any Android smartphone or tablet
Wireless charging is one of our favorite smartphone features. Simply drop a wireless charging-equipped smartphone on a compatible charger and you’ll never have to fumble around with another microUSB cable again. The problem is that there are very few Android devices that have wireless charging abilities right out of the box. Samsung and LG have a [...]
PureVPN has been an established player in the Virtual Private Network space since 2007 and presently serves more than one million customers. I wouldn’t normally lead off an app review with a description of the company, but when one of the primary functions of the app is to protect your privacy, the fact that they have [...]
Wireless chargers, while very convenient, can be frustrating at times. Many chargers have their own way of centering a device on its lone charging coil, while others don’t include anything to center it at all. You’re left to carefully find the perfect spot where your device starts charging and make sure it doesn’t move from [...]
Moto X (2014) just $359 through Motorola for Cyber Monday
The 2014 Moto X is one of our favorite devices right now, hence the recommendation in our gift guide, and that was at its already pretty reasonable $499 asking price. For Cyber Monday, Motorola is chopping $140 off the top, bringing [...]
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.
In Netflix's subscription-based on-demand world, viewership is cumulative. Measuring it at any given point in time might give you a number, but that number has little correlation with the content's value…
Touchscreens are everywhere these days, and even though you've probably heard people mumble about the relative benefits of capacative screens compared to resistive ones, you might not actually know how they work. This video explains.
Your Future Gadgets Won't Have Those Strange Logos on the Back
Ever looked at your phone and thought it would be a whole lot prettier without all those FCC logos and regulatory compliance numbers printed on the back? Well, from now on, they'll be a thing of the past. Here's why.
At $23, You Have No Excuse to Not Buy a Chromecast
Even at full price, the $35 Chromecast is one of the best deals in tech, so when it's a full 1/3 off, it'd almost be criminal not to buy it. And when you factor in the two free months of Hulu+, you're really only paying about $10 for the hardware. [Chromecast, $23]
Taiwan market: Financial holding firms mulling investments in PV power generation
Three to four Taiwan-based private financial holding companies have been evaluating existing PV power-generating stations or ones under construction in Taiwan as investment targets, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
India market: Local brands continue to make ground in smartphone segment
Local handset brands in India have continued to gain ground in their home market, with Micromax taking a 20% share in the smartphone segment in the third quarter of 2014, trailing after only Samsung Electronics, which had 24% in the sector, according to IDC.
Gemtek Technology to adopt Cloud Foundry operational model
Wireless networking/communication device maker Gemtek Technology, in order to transform its business operation, will adopt Cloud Foundry, a business operational model of integrating its hardware products with internally-developed cloud computing service platforms to provide cloud computing application solutions and related maintenance services for clients including hardware vendors, telecom carriers and Internet-based application service providers, according to company chairman and CEO Howard Chen.
Taiwan PCB production value to rise 7% in 2014, says IEK
Factories set up by Taiwan-based PCB makers in Taiwan and China are forecast to generate total production value of NT$558.4 billion (US$18.1 billion) in 2014, rising 6.93% on year, according to the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK). IEK previously estimated a smaller 3% increase.
Lenovo reportedly to start producing wearable devices soon, says report
China-based electronics maker Fenda Technology recently announced it has been selected by Lenovo as a qualified supplier for the vendor's wearable devices, which implies that Lenovo is poised to start mass producing a wearable device in the near future, according to a Chinese-language Sina.com report. Fenda declined to provide further details about the cooperation.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics to expand businesses in China in 2015, says paper
The Samsung Group's component manufacturing affiliate Samsung Electro-Mechanics has seen its performance seriously impacted by Samsung Electronics' weakening smartphone sales recently and therefore is looking to expand its businesses in China in 2015 to reduce the risk of having all its eggs in one basket, according to a Chinese-language China Business News report citing a Samsung executive as saying.
Recently, a GSN reader emailed me about the Transportation Security Administration's hazardous material tracking program. The agency is required by a 2007 law to track sensitive security materials but it stopped doing so in 2013. The program was cut because of sequestration. State and local response personnel are going to pay a heavy price for this short-sighted decision unless Congress acts in the next two weeks to fully fund the program.
CDC/DHS add Mali to nations requiring enhanced airport screening and monitoring
Top Priority Sector:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have added Mali to the list of Ebola-affected nations for which enhanced screening and monitoring measures will be taken. There are no direct flights from Mali to the United States. However, each day, a small number of travelers, averaging 15-20, begin itineraries in Mali and transit through other countries en route to the United States. The majority of these travelers are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents returning home to America.
American Immigration Council releases guide to Obama’s executive action
Top Priority Sector:
Editor’s Note: This article consists of the introduction and overview of the American Immigration Council’s Special Report on the Immigration Accountability Executive Action announced by the President on November 20 and 21, 2014. The entire Special Report may be accessed at the URL listed below.
This week the guys are giving thanks for their favorite technology. What tech are you most thankful for? They also discuss Nexus 6 bloatware and branding, Samsung not matching their own high hopes, Google Glass stores shutting down, Apple ditching Google search, and more!
Google Play’s Cyber Weekend deal puts 85 movies on sale for under $10 each
Need some to watch as you're pinned to your bed or sofa after all that Turkey and stuffing? Google Play's Cyber Weekend (which goes on now all the way through Cyber Monday) might have something up your alley.
ThanksGiveaway Thursday: Win a new Android phone, Ouya, or Dropbox storage from AndroidArea.com
Gobble, gobble: it’s time for a giveaway. Make that four giveaways as part of AndroidArea.com’s ThanksGiveaway Thursday. While you are busy giving thanks, we’ll be busy giving away new Nexus smartphones, Ouya consoles, and Dropbox Pro storage to several lucky winners.
Good morning, folks! It’s Thanksgiving, and that means much of the world is celebrating life for a number of different reasons. For most, though, it’s a time to reflect and show thanks and appreciation for everything you have in your life. And, well, it also happens to be the day where you eat a ton […]
Google Play Movies & TV discounts handful of hit movies by as much as 75% for Cyber Weekend
Fighting back the Black Friday crowds isn't everyone's cup of tea, so why not cash in on some of those deals from the comfort of your couch? Google Play Movies & TV is hosting their own Black Friday deal, with select titles up to 75% off.
You can now buy a brown leather or stainless steel Moto 360 bands from Motorola
After the Moto 360's official metal and brown leather bands became available from AT&T earlier this month, they are now (finally) available direct from Motorola. Priced at $30 for the leather, or $80 for the metal.
Get an unlocked HTC One M8 for $370 (reburbished) with free shipping [DEALS]
If you hurry, you can snag yourself an unlocked HTC One M8 on eBay for only $370. It’s a refurbished model and the listing isn’t entirely clear on the exact model meaning this could either be the AT&T model that’s been unlocked for use on any network (comes with AT&T bloatware), or it’s the actual […]
Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source
AmiMoJo writes Government figures revealed that Scotland is now generating more power from "clean" technologies than nuclear, coal and gas. The combination of wind, solar and hydroelectric, along with less-publicized sources such as landfill gas and biomass, produced 10.3TWh in the first half of 2014. Over the same period, Scotland generated 7.8TWh from nuclear, 5.6TWh from coal and 1.4TWh from gas, according to figures supplied by National Grid. Renewable sources tend to fluctuate throughout the year, especially in Scotland where the weather is notoriously volatile, but in six-month chunks the country has consistently increased its renewable output.
Researchers Discover an "Off Switch" For Pain In the Brain
concertina226 writes Scientists working together from several international universities have discovered that it is possible to block a pathway in the brain of animals suffering from neuropathic pain, which could have a huge impact on improving pain relief in humans. So far, the most successful ways to treat chronic pain from a pharmacological point of view are to create drugs that that interact or interfere with various channels in the brain to decrease pain, including adrenergic, opioid and calcium receptors. However, there is another way – a chemical stimulator called adenosine that binds to brain receptors to trigger a biological response. Adenosine has shown potential for killing pain in humans, but so far, no one has managed to harness this pain pathway successfully without causing a myriad of side effects. Led by Dr Daniela Salvemini of SLU, the researchers discovered that by activating the A3 adenosine receptor in the rodents' brains and spinal cords, the receptor was able to prevent or reverse pain from nerve damage (the cause of chronic pain).
andyring writes With Christmas fast approaching, and me being notoriously hard to buy for, I thought a camera drone would be great to suggest for Christmas. But the options are dizzying, and it's nearly impossible to find something and know it'll be decent. What are Slashdotters suggestions/recommendations/experiences with a basic camera drone in the $100-150 range? Looks like all of them do video but I'm more interested in high-res stills although that may be a moot point.
Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet
AaronW writes Engineers at Stanford University have developed an ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings but also directs internal heat away using a system called "photonic radiative cooling." The coating is capable of reflecting away 97% of incoming sunlight and when combined with the photonic radiative cooling system it becomes cooler than the surrounding air by around 9F (5C). The material is designed to radiate heat into space at a precise frequency that allows it to pass through the atmosphere without warming it.
UK Announces Hybrid Work/Study Undergraduate Program To Fill Digital Gap
An anonymous reader writes The UK's Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey today revealed a new scheme where undergraduates will be able to avoid student fees and student loans by working for companies for three years whilst simultaneously undertaking academic studies with participating universities, resulting in a degree at the end of their successful involvement in the scheme. The British government will fund two-thirds of the cost of tuition and the host employer the remainder. The "Digital Apprenticeship" scheme will remunerate students at an unspecified level of pay, and though details are currently sketchy, is reported to obviate the need for student loans. The initiative is targeting the skills gap in the digital sector, particularly in the field of web-development and technical analysis.
An anonymous reader writes This weekend both BT and Sky implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. Interestingly, however, BT appears to have gone above and beyond the court order, limiting access to various other sites as well. Over the past several days TorrentFreak has received reports from several users of private torrent sites who get an 'error blocked' message instead of their favorite sites. These include the popular IPTorrents.com and TorrentDay.com trackers, as well as scene release site Scnsrc.me. IPTorrents and Torrentday are significant targets. Although both sites require prospective users to obtain an invite from a current member (or from the site itself in exchange for cash), they have over a hundred thousand active users. The error displayed when BT subscribers try to access the above URLs is similar to that returned when users to try access sites covered by High Court injunctions.
Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025
Lucas123 writes An industry consortium made up by leading hard disk drive manufacturers shows they expect the areal density of platters to reach 10 terabits per square inch by 2025, which is more than 10 times what it is today. At that density, hard disk drives could conceivably hold up to 100TB of data. Key to achieving greater bit density is Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and Bit Patterned Media Recording (BPMR). While both HAMR and BPMR will increase density, the combination of both technologies in 2021 will drive it to the 10Tbpsi level, according to the Advanced Storage Technology Consortium (ASTC).
Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen
Lasrick writes After four decades of confining Ebola outbreaks to small areas, experts acknowledged in an October 9 New England Journal of Medicine article that "we were wrong" about the scope of the current situation. At the present transmission rate, the number of Ebola cases in West Africa doubles every two to three weeks. Early diagnosis is the key to controlling the epidemic, but that's far easier said than done: "And there are several complicating factors. For one thing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 60 percent of all Ebola patients remain undiagnosed in their communities." A transmission rate below 1 is necessary to keep the outbreak under control (instead of the current rate of 1.5 to 2), and the authors detail what's in the works to help achieve early detection, which is crucial to reducing the current transmission rate.
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…
Five free programs to be thankful for this Thanksgiving
It's Thanksgiving! A day to be thankful for all the great things we've been blessed with (or just another rainy Thursday in November if you're not in the US, but stick with me here). So we here at TechRadar thought it would be the perfect opportunity to round up five free programs we're truly thankful for.
These are some of our favourite apps, the best free software we reckon is available today. They've enriched our lives, made work easier and saved us when we thought all hope was lost. So today, after you've gorged yourself on turkey and pumpkin pie, spare a minute or two to say thanks for these brilliant programs.
Got a favourite that we haven't mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Who needs Photoshop? Seriously, when you start using GIMP you won't need any other image editor. It may be free, but the guys and gals behind this superb piece of kit have spared no expenses in making it as powerful as possible. With layers, scripts, advanced manipulation tools, tons of brushes and a whole heap more, GIMP gives you more goodies than Santa on a particularly good day (hold on there, still a month to go...).
The high king of free software, GIMP proves that you don't need to spend big to get huge results. With enough firepower to put paid alternatives to shame, getting this much for free feels almost...wrong. But it's so, so right – GIMP is open source and developed by volunteers dedicated to keeping it as free and as awesome as possible, and if that's not something to praise, we don't know what is.
If there's ever software to be thankful for, it's recovery software, and Recuva is one of the best in its class. It's an absolute life saver for anyone who has emptied the recycle bin, only to realise there was something important lurking in there. Similarly, it can recover damaged, corrupted or even unsaved data, providing a lifeline just when you thought your precious files were gone for all eternity.
And if that wasn't enough to prompt tears of joy, it's free! Yes, all the heartache of accidentally deleting your marriage photos banished forever, and not a penny spent to do it. No matter whether you deliberately deleted the files and then changed your mind, or if you were blighted by a catastrophic computer crash, Recuva should be your first port of call when it comes to bringing your files back from the dead.
avast! Free Antivirus
When it comes to something as important as keeping your computer safe and secure, you want to know you're getting the best that money can buy. Except in this case, because with avast! Free Antivirus, you get all the essential protection you need without having to pay a penny. With a robust antivirus and anti-malware scan, home network checking and a useful browser cleanup tool, the free version has all you need to stay safe from online nasties.
And if you do decide you upgrade, avast! offers you a ton of useful features to keep the worst the internet has to offer at bay. From blocking out spam and phishing sites to running a silent firewall and protecting your online banking, upgrading is perfect if you're looking for all-round internet protection from one of the most trusted names in the biz.
No roundup like this would be complete without mentioning LibreOffice, an office productivity suite that proves that the best things in life really are free. Borne of the OpenOffice project, LibreOffice contains a range of programs that anyone familiar with Microsoft Office will recognise; from word processors to spreadsheets to databases, they're all in here, full of features and ready to solve your office woes.
Everything is laid out in a similar way to its Microsoft cousin, so there's no steep learning curve to negotiate, while LibreOffice can read Microsoft file types and save to them too, so there are no compatibility issues to fret over either. With extra apps like a database creator and a drawing suite, LibreOffice goes where office software fears to tread – and emerges unscathed and with its head held high.
There was a time when free calls were a hacker's fantasy. Nowadays, they're a solid reality, thanks in no small part to Skype. This fantastic program connects users to each other over the internet, allowing people to make free calls to anywhere in the world, provided the recipient is also using Skype. For those times when you need to call a landline, Skype also offers reasonable rates as part of a dedicated call package.
Install it on your phone and call another Skype user and you won't have to worry about eating into your contracted minutes either (though you will use up data). You can use it to make conference calls, stay in touch with long distance friends or use it as an instant messenger. It's bringing people a little closer together for free, and surely that's something to be thankful for.
So that's it, five great free programs to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Got one you want to share? Let us know in the comments.
Every camera manufacturer has its own brand of image stabilisation system. Most use mechanisms inside the lens, where gyroscopic sensors detect any camera movement and drive motors that shift an internal lens element to correct it. The trouble is, according to Sony, that these only counteract certain types of movement, namely pitch and yaw.
This is where you inadvertently twist the camera sideways or in an up-down direction as you take the picture. The movements may be so tiny you don't notice, but they can be enough to blur the fine detail in your pictures. This is typical of shots taken with telephoto lenses – actually, it affects all lenses, but telephotos magnify the blur and make it more obvious.
But these aren't the only movements that can cause blur. High-magnification images, particularly macro shots, are often spoiled by lateral and vertical movements, or x/y shifts, during the exposure. Sony's image stabiliser can correct these too.
The fifth axis of correction is 'roll', which is an unintended circular movement that's most obvious in video footage but can affect still images too, especially with slower handheld exposures at night, for example. You'll see it when a horizon that should have been straight is actually slightly skewed.
Sony says this is the world's first full frame camera with 5-axis image stabilisation. Olympus also has a 5-axis image-stabilisation system, first introduced with the OM-D E-M5, but this controls a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor, and although there are commercial connections between the companies, Sony says the stabilisation technology in the a7 II is completely unconnected with Olympus's.
Some Sony lenses already have stabilisation built in, but here's where the system gets clever. The A7 II will use the axes of correction provided by the lens and supplement them with the extra axes available in the camera. You won't get 'double' stabilisation, but you will get the best blend of both systems.
The big advantage, of course, is that you can now get stabilised images with non-stabilised lenses, and that includes older Sony A-Mount lenses for its D-SLR and SLT cameras, which can be attached to the A7 II via an adaptor.
Sony is claiming the equivalent of 4.5 stops of correction from the new system, and we look forward to putting this to the test.
In the meantime, take a look at this Sony A7 II demo video.
SharePod is a brilliantly simple solution if you're having trouble syncing between your iPhone/iPod and your computer, or if you just don't want to use iTunes.
Why you need it
A few weeks ago I bought a new computer, and iTunes was not happy at all. Because I'd synced my iPhone with my old laptop, iTunes refused to play ball with my new one – instead of syncing as normal, it tried to copy all my music across again, on top of the music that was already on my iPhone, which of course there wasn't space for.
What I desperately needed was SharePod. This handy program allows you to quickly and easily transfer files between your computer and your iPhone or iPod, bypassing iTunes and any syncing issues that come with it. You can transfer your music, videos and playlists, and it even backs up your database, so you can quickly right any wrongs that may occur during transfer.
And if you need more, SharePod allows you to play music, edit tags and delete album art, playlists, music and videos. If it does throw up any errors during transfer, these won't ruin the whole process; instead, SharePod quickly logs any problems encountered, before continuing. If iTunes and your computer are dancing to different tunes, SharePod will be music to your ears.
Works on: PC, Mac
Versions: Trial, full ($20)
Transfer music: Move your music, videos, playlists and podcasts from iTunes to your iPhone or iPod and vice versa
Copy or share playlists: SharePod allows you to copy your playlists to your computer, allowing you to back them up or share them with others
Recover music: If your computer has crashed or you've started using a new one, SharePod can recover your music and rebuild your playlists
Industry voice: How to get more value from the cloud
Many businesses are currently thinking about moving business critical functionality to the Cloud. But when is the right time to migrate? And how can businesses drive this migration successfully?
For smaller and medium sized businesses there is still a lot of confusion about when they should consider moving to cloud-based back office functionality. Why? It is partly driven by a reluctance from some IT suppliers to lose the opportunity to sell and maintain hardware. But legitimate concerns over issues like security and availability also muddy the waters.
Cloud adoption is being driven by the increased variety of services available, reductions in the cost of upfront capital investment and improvements in internet security. The Cloud is no longer only seen as a data storage option with many Software as a Service business applications. These used to be limited to email and general office processes but as the platform matures, these are embracing every office process – from HR to finance.
A typical example would be that of the Accounts Payable function. Historically this was a labour intensive and largely manual process that relied on invoices being received by post, being matched to purchase orders, being processed for approval and ultimately being paid. The opportunities for lost invoices amongst huge piles of paperwork was significant, leading to bill chasing from suppliers. If anything, matters got worse at the dawn of the digital age.
Now invoices were arriving by fax, email and paper. The email invoices might be formatted as PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or within the body of the email, with no consistency of format or approach. Managing this experience to the satisfaction of all parties required a lot of manual labour.
Larger organisations could invest in document management and automation systems to automate much of this process but smaller businesses did not have this option. This issue was particularly intense for businesses that receive huge numbers of small invoices. The processing cost per invoice can be anything from £2 to £20.
The evolution of the Cloud has transformed this kind of process and democratised access to the tools traditionally accessed only by larger businesses. Invoices can be scanned and uploaded to a remote server for storage – in itself a significant advantage over traditional paper storage.
The real magic takes place when invoices are automatically matched to purchase orders – removing the need for significant manual intervention and eradicating the manual intervention. Typically more than 90 percent of all invoices can be matched in this way, leaving accounts staff to deal with the exceptional.
So at what point does it become viable for a business to move to a cloud-based service? At Readsoft we typically find that it is less about the size of business and more about volume of invoices. Any business that receives more than 1000 invoices per year can benefit from this back office automation. Businesses that receive 5000 or more invoices can see significant improvements in cash flow visibility, benefit from early payment discounts and see a significant return on investment.
Not just about email and storage
Furthermore once a business is signed up, all it requires is a networked scanner in order to get up and running. Usability is a key consideration, with the best cloud-based systems being simple to use and requiring little training.
The Cloud is not only about email and storage. For businesses that wish to reduce capital costs and function more efficiently, numerous back office functions can be taken into the Cloud to drive business efficiency and drive down cost.
Simon Shorthose is Managing Director of Readsoft UK. Readsoft is a leading provider of business automation services for back office processes
The SanDisk Extreme Pro is an update to last year's well-received Extreme II SSD. Priced at about £250 (around $390, AU$455) online, the Extreme Pro bears a few similarities, employing the same Marvell controller but with optimisations to the firmware for additional performance.
The NAND has been upgraded to SanDisk's own faster second-generation 19nm MLC flash, with space reserved for not just the usual over-provisioning, but also nCache Pro tiered storage, with part of the drive treated as SLC flash.
Coupled with excellent endurance and a 10-year warranty, which matches that of Samsung's similarly priced 850 Pro SSD, the Extreme Pro is a consumer SSD that's aiming for the very top of the performance leaderboard.
SanDisk is a heavyweight in the flash memory industry, with decades of experience making storage for consumer electronics, including memory cards, USB sticks and embedded devices. Part of an elite list of companies which includes Toshiba, Micron and Samsung, SanDisk manufactures its own flash memory chips, and therefore could be described as an entirely vertical SSD company, but for one exception – it relies on third parties for the controller and software.
In the case of the Extreme Pro SSD, that third party is Marvell, and the controller in question is a modified 88SS9187, the exact same eight-channel controller used in last year's Extreme II SSD. The firmware has seen some alterations though, which join a few other tweaks and changes that improve performance and longevity.
Three capacities are available, with SanDisk following other firms in ditching its 120GB model, instead offering tiers at 240GB, 480GB and 960GB.
What's in the box?
In the box you get the drive itself, which measures 7mm high, in keeping with the smaller spaces available in some laptops. There's also a mounting bracket and a link to a software download of the SanDisk SSD Dashboard software, which allows for real-time diagnostics, viewing SMART data and firmware updates.
Under the hood of the 480GB model are eight 64GB flash memory chips mounted on one side of the PCB, protected by thermal pads. Each memory chip is made of eight 64Gbit dies, built from SanDisk's second-generation 19nm 2-bit MLC flash memory. SanDisk has not yet deployed 3D NAND technology like Samsung's 3D V-NAND, but earlier this year the company announced a partnership with Toshiba to build a new fabrication plant in Japan focused on 3D NAND production.
Notably missing on the Extreme Pro are capacitors for power-loss protection, as seen on some enterprise drives. This omission is however somewhat mitigated by the presence of nCache storage, SanDisk's proprietary caching technology. There's no hardware encryption either, something the majority of competing SSDs offer, although it's questionable whether many people take advantage of this.
Cache and carry
Like Samsung's TurboWrite employed on some of its SSDs, SanDisk's nCache is a caching technique where a portion of the flash memory is written to like SLC flash, with only a single bit written to each cell, which improves performance and longevity. Small writes are written to the cache first before being flushed to the main MLC portion of the drive in larger blocks. The total amount of space reserved for nCache isn't disclosed, but it's unlikely to be that much.
There's 512MB of DDR3 memory cache used in the 240GB Extreme Pro as well, with 1GB in both the 480GB and 960GB models.
Longevity is quoted as 80TB of writes in total, across all three capacities of Extreme Pro. While less than you might expect from an enterprise SSD, such as PNY's Prevail Elite, which quotes an obscene 1.5PB of writes, that is still a considerable amount of writes for a consumer drive, working out to almost 22GB a day over the ten-year warranty period, or 44GB a day over five years. Not at all bad.
The 10-year warranty is also to be commended, matching Samsung's offering with its 850 Pro, and showing SSD firms are now really willing to back up their longevity claims with long warranty periods.
When it comes to SSD performance, the limitation of the 6 Gbit/sec SATA bus is a hard limit on the sequential transfer speeds attainable. The only way to overcome this limit is by hooking directly into the PCI-Express bus, as with existing drives based on PCI cards, such as the OCZ RevoDrive 350.
The SATA Express and M.2 connectors are just starting to show up on motherboards and laptops, which allow standard-sized SSDs to reach the kind of speeds expected from PCI-Express drives. But these aren't available in great numbers, mainly because the current market is so limited, but this situation will undoubtedly change soon.
With the Extreme Pro, SanDisk quotes sequential transfer speeds of up to 550MB/sec while reading, and up to 520MB/sec writing for the 240GB model, with 515MB/sec on the 480GB and 960GB models. Read IOPS are quoted as up to 100,000 read and 90,000 write. Impressive claims indeed.
In CrystalDiskMark, these claims were just about met, with the SanDisk Extreme Pro achieving 547MB/sec sequential read speeds and 509MB/sec write speeds. IOPS came slightly under though, with 80,100 IOPS random 4K read, and 76,670 IOPS writing.
For comparison, in the same test, Samsung's 850 Pro managed just slightly better scores in the sequential tests – with 550MB/sec reading and 525MB/sec writing. But that drive managed better IOPS, hitting 83,500 writing.
The Extreme Pro read access time in AS SSD of 0.035ms is excellent, the fastest I've yet recorded, but the 0.04ms write is ever so slightly worse than a few other drives I've seen. In ATTO Disk Benchmark, I measured consistently high write speeds hovering around 515MB/sec across all data sizes over 32K, a clear leap ahead of the Samsung 845DC EVO which topped out at 441MB/sec.
Overall, these performance results are highly impressive. While not enough to crown the Extreme Pro the fastest SSD ever made, it's certainly on the winners' podium, claiming a silver medal to the Samsung 850 Pro's gold.
The Extreme Pro is one of the fastest drives I've ever tested, with great sequential read and write speeds within a tiny margin of the Samsung 850 Pro.
The longevity is equally excellent, with enough writes to ensure the drive will function well unless put under extreme usage situations. Backing this up is an exceptional 10-year warranty.
Pricing is also more than competitive, with many retailers selling it for slightly less than the Samsung 850 Pro.
It's a tad disappointing that the IOPS results didn't come out slightly better, as that was the only test where there was a clear difference between Samsung's offering and the Extreme Pro.
As with that drive, while SSD pricing is competitive, I do wish prices were even lower, and capacities even greater, for high-performance drives like the SanDisk Extreme Pro. Indeed, while this is a great drive, in real-world use the more affordable Crucial MX100 is likely to be an equally satisfying upgrade, if you're upgrading from a hard disk for your operating system.
And finally, one small criticism could be the lack of a few features. The lack of power-loss protection and drive encryption isn't a deal breaker, but some people might find them useful.
The Extreme Pro is a great performing SSD and it's fairly priced, so deserves a recommendation. The long warranty is another bonus, and the endurance is good too.
Although the drive's measured IOPS didn't quite hit the same level as some of Samsung's efforts, it was still alright in this department, and its sequential speeds compete with the very fastest SSDs.
If you're looking to buy an SSD, the Extreme Pro is worth considering.
Industry voice: The case for mandatory data breach disclosure laws
This year, we have seen a long list of organisations that have suffered data breaches. There are always important lessons to learn from such events, and in this article, we'll take a closer look at two breaches which occurred in the space of a fortnight back in August. Namely, the breach of eBay's ticket selling site StubHub, and online bookmakers Paddy Power.
In the first instance, and typical to almost every breach, what unites both is that personally identifiable information was stolen – including individual customer names, usernames, addresses, email addresses, phone contact numbers and dates of birth.
One breach leads to another
But what distinguishes the StubHub breach is that this compromise was not as a result of the company's servers coming under assault, but that the hackers had used login details and passwords obtained from previous attacks in order to gain network access. There have been numerous warnings that personal data nabbed in one heist can be used to design other, more insidious socially-engineered cyber-attacks, and this breach was confirmation of such an eventuality.
This is also one of the reasons why the recent revelation that a Russian hacking group has allegedly amassed 1.2 billion usernames and passwords is so significant. The black market thrives on this sort of data.
In the case of Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker revealed that some 649,000 customers were affected by a breach that took place in 2010. Given that it took almost four years for the event to come to light, there has been the potential for other cyber-attacks to have been launched with Paddy Power customer data in the meantime. However, the significant amount of time it took for details of the incident to be released is not as rare an occurrence as you might think: Australian daily deals site Catch of the Day recently notified its customers of a breach that it experienced three years prior.
From a compliance point of view, both these cases add further urgency to the need to reclassify all data as 'sensitive' and add more weight to the mandate for tighter breach notification laws. There has been a growing trend towards personal data breach notification in Europe – for example, Germany and Ireland have both introduced more stringent national data breach notification requirements than those provided under the current e-Privacy Directive.
Given that the most recent draft of the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation stipulates that data controllers are obliged to notify the relevant privacy regulator of a breach within a 72 hour period, businesses across the board need to be ready to respond to breach incidents much faster, or face the adverse consequences.
In the fight against cybercrime, the need for mandatory data breach notification laws not only emphasises the dangers posed to the security of the international community, but also acts as a crucial reminder to businesses that the onus for effective data protection lies with them.
Another point to bear in mind is that other proposed changes to the law threaten to increase maximum fines for breached businesses from 2% to 5% of the company's global annual turnover – which means that failing to adequately secure data presents a very severe operational risk for organisations that hold personal data in their care, and to which the regulations apply. Cybercrime is a highly sophisticated and destructive industry targeting organisations of all shapes and sizes, capable of damaging brands and resulting in painful compliance penalties.
The fact that data breach incidents continue to make headlines confirms that businesses are still very much being targeted for customer data. As such, organisations must start appreciating the value of the sensitivity of the information they collect. For businesses looking to stay out of the headlines with bottom-line and consumer trust intact, ensuring they have appropriate data security solutions in place like encryption and access controls, coupled with security intelligence is essential.
Only by doing so will a business be alerted to unusual or anomalous user behaviour and network access as and when it happens, which may indicate an external attack or a malicious insider. It's important to remember that, aside from the raft of fraudsters, opportunists, hacktivists and organised crime syndicates out there, trusted 'insiders' can present as much of a risk to data as anyone else.
Karbonn Mobile announces UK arrival with Black Friday discount
Karbonn Mobile isn't a name that springs to mind when you consider budget smartphone manufacturers, but in its native India, it's kind of a big deal.
The company commands 13 per cent of the Indian smartphone market and has partnered with Google on bringing the Android One standard to the developing world. Now it has its sights set on the UK's budget smartphone market with four handsets prepped to arrive over the next few months.
The first of these is the Karbonn Mobile Sparkle V, the company's 4.5-inch Android One flagship. It launches exclusively on Amazon today and is discounted to £99 for two of the retailer's Black Friday Lightning Deals.
Away from the Black Friday discount, the 3G-only Sparkle V stands at £129 and comes with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 4.5-inch 854 x 480 display, 1GB RAM and 5MP rear-facing camera. The hardware is identical to the version sold in India and, as such, supports dual SIMs and a microSD card.
Although the Sparkle V launches with Android KitKat, its status as an Android One handset means Android 5.0 Lollipop is imminant. Karbonn says the OTA update will arrive between mid-December and the first week of January.
"The OS is starting to supercede the manufacturer in some cases, so the partnership with Google will definitely help the brand," Deborshi Sarkar, head of sales at Karbonn's parent company Santok, told TechRadar.
"That being said, we definately plan to get Karbonn out there as a mobile manufacturer. We want to be the leader in affordable smartphones."
Sarkar optimistically predicts that Karbonn can manage a 4 or 5 per cent UK market share in 12 to 18 months.
"We will launch [the Sparkle V] in retail in Q1  as well as a 4G device and next year we will be releasing more devices under the Android One brand. In Q3 and Q4 next year, we will look to partner with software companies and apps," he said.
Despite a resilient Indian business and the marketing boost of Google's Android One branding, the UK's budget smartphone arena is a difficult one to conquer. The EE Kestrel offers similar specs and the bonus of 4G for £99.
Meanwhile, the excellent Motorola Moto G (2014) is available at a similar price point but comfortably beats the Sparkle V on specs. And, unlike Karbonn, the Motorola name is well established here in the UK.
It remains to be seen whether a low price and the promise of native Android is enough to sway the majority of budget smartphone users. However, we'll know more when we've given the Sparkle V the full TechRadar review treatment, so stay tuned to find out how it performs.
The Glorious Resolution: Feast your eyes on 5 HiDPI laptops
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Active Directory is dead: long live Active Directory. While Microsoft's Windows Server Active Directory (WSAD) is unable to meet the needs of today, its younger sibling Azure Active Directory (AAD) looks set to take the world by storm.…
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Venezuela wants oil price back up to $100 a barrel
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