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The Internet

North Korea Blocks Data Access For Foreigners 28 28

Posted by timothy
from the I-suspect-it's-just-a-time-warner-problem dept.
According to Reuters, foreigners in North Korea who formerly had online access via the country's 3G network have now been blocked from using it, in the wake of a fire at Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel, though it was not immediately clear whether the two events are related. Vox.com has an interesting look into what internet access is like for North Koreans, but as the linked Reuters report explains, access is in general much freer for residents as well as visiting foreigners.
Businesses

Santander To Track Customer Location Via Mobiles and Tablets 130 130

Posted by timothy
from the truman-show dept.
New submitter raburton writes: Santander (one of the biggest banks in Europe) slipped a little note on the corner of my latest statement saying they intend to start collecting "location or other data" from mobiles and tablets that their customers own, from 1st July 2015. There is no link to further information about the policy, or any suggestion you can opt out of it. The stated aim is of course to "prevent and detect fraud", but once they have the data (and they'll probably keep it for a long time) they, or anyone who can gain access to it, can do whatever they like with it. In this day and age I find it hard to take any assurances to the contrary very seriously. Is this kind of policy common practice with banks elsewhere?
Handhelds

UW Researchers Prototype Sonar-Based Contactless Sleep Monitoring 40 40

Posted by timothy
from the while-you-were-sleeping dept.
n01 writes: Researchers of the University of Washington are testing the prototype of their ApneaApp to diagnose sleep apnea, a health problem that can become life-threatening. To monitor a person's sleep, the app transforms the user's smartphone into an active sonar system that tracks tiny changes in a person's movements. The phone's speaker sends out inaudible sound waves, which bounce off a sleeping person's body and are picked back up by the phone's microphone. "It's similar to the way bats navigate," said Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, lead author and a doctoral candidate in the UW's department of computer science and engineering. "They send out sound signals that hit a target, and when those signals bounce back they know something is there." In technical terms, the app continuously analyzes changes in the acoustic room-transfer-function (sampled at ultrasonic frequencies) to detect motion. This is very similar to what the iPhone app Sleep Cycle Sonalarm Clock does, except that the UW researchers have improved the sensitivity of the method so it can precisely track the person's breathing movements which allows it to not only detect different sleep phases but also sleep apnea events. The advantage in both use cases is that the sleep monitoring is contact-less (there's nothing in the user's bed that could disturb their sleep) and doesn't require any additional hardware besides the user's smart phone.
Portables

Surface Pro 3 Handily Outperforms iPad Air 2 and Nexus 9 204 204

Posted by timothy
from the but-can-it-take-pictures dept.
An anonymous reader points to an interesting comparison of current tablets' peformance, as measured with the Geekbench benchmarking tool, which boils down various aspects of performance to produce a single number. The clear winner from the models fielded wasn't from Apple of Samsung (Samsung's entrants came much lower down, in fact), but from Microsoft: the i5-equipped Surface Pro 3, with a Geekbench score of 5069.; second place goes to the Apple iPad Air 2, with 4046. The Nexus 9 rated third, with 3537. One model on the list that U.S. buyers may not be familiar with is the Tesco Hudl 2, a bargain tablet which Trusted Reviews seems quite taken by.
Blackberry

Is BlackBerry Launching an Android Phone? 113 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the trying-something-different dept.
An anonymous reader writes: According to a Reuters report BlackBerry may launch an Android phone with a hardware keyboard. If true, it's a definite shift in their business model. "We don't comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched," said the company in an email. Google declined to comment.
United Kingdom

Fake Mobile Phone Towers Found To Be "Actively Listening In" On Calls In UK 122 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-hear-you-with dept.
New submitter nickweller writes: More than 20 Stingray fake phone towers which can collect data from passing devices and listen in on calls have been discovered operating in the UK. The Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling the IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays, or what is being done with the information they are gathering. Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "If people imagine that we’ve got the resources to do as much intrusion as they worry about, I would reassure them that it’s impossible.”
Medicine

South Korea Tracks Mobile Phones Over MERS Outbreak 20 20

Posted by Soulskill
from the adapting-to-the-new-normal dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that South Korea has stepped up its efforts to fight an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after the number of known cases keeps increasing rapidly. World health officials are not recommending general travel restrictions, but members of the public are being advised not to do so. Nearly 2,000 schools have been closed, and 2,300 people are in quarantine. The South Korean government is also taking the unusual step of using mobile phones to track which citizens may have been in contact with confirmed MERS patients. The outbreak in South Korea has been traced back to a man who went to multiple medical centers in mid-May seeking treatment for his symptoms. The government is apologizing for its slow response to the situation, and hoping the economic damage won't be too bad.
Networking

5G Is On Its Way, But Approaching Slowly 86 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-learning-from-the-4G-situation dept.
New submitter CarlottaHapsburg writes: Ericsson and Nokia are leading the pack when it comes to developing 5G, but there are some major complicating factors: flexible architecture, functioning key standards, the U.S.'s lethargy in expanding mmWave, and even the definition of what 5G is and can do. It'll get here, but not soon: "5G networks are widely expected to start to roll out by 2020, with a few early debuts at such global events as the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It is an ambitious deadline given what is expected from 5G -- no less than the disruption of the communications market in general, and telecom in particular, as well as related sectors such as test equipment." The FCC's Tom Wheeler says 5G is different for every manufacturer, like a Picasso painting. It should be an exciting five years of further developments and definitions — and, hopefully, American preparedness.
Power

Researchers Power a Security Camera With Wi-Fi Signals 59 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the negative-and-positive-waves dept.
Kristine Lofgren writes: Nikola Tesla dreamed of a world full of free, wireless power. While he never accomplished that dream during his lifetime, researchers at the University of Washington are doing their part to make it a reality with a breakthrough in wi-fi powered electronics. Dubbed PoWi-Fi, the team led by Vamsi Talla were able to recharge and maintain consistent low-level power over a number of different devices at distances of up to 28 feet.
Microsoft

Microsoft Hasn't Given Up On the Non-Smart Phones It Inherited From Nokia 66 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-phone-left-behind dept.
jfruh writes: Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business was mostly focused on gaining a hardware line that ran the company's Windows Phone OS; but in the process, Microsoft also gained ownership of some model lines that are classified as "feature phones" and some that are straight up dumb, and they're still coming out with new models, confusingly still bearing the "Nokia" brand. The $20 Nokia 105 as billed as "long-lasting backup device" and comes with an FM radio, while the $30 Nokia 215 is "Internet-ready" and comes with Facebook and Twitter apps.
AMD

AMD Launches Carrizo Mobile APU With Excavator CPU Cores, Integrated Southbridge 46 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-numbers dept.
MojoKid writes: AMD previously only teased bits of detail regarding their forthcoming 6th Generation A-Series APU, code named "Carrizo," as far back as CES 2015 in January and more recently with AMD's HSA (Heterogenous System Architecture) 1.0 spec roll-out in March. However, the company has officially launched the product today and has lifted the veil on all aspects of their new highly integrated notebook APU. Carrizo has been optimized for the 15 Watt TDP envelope that comprises the bulk of the thin and light notebook market currently and it brings a couple of first to integrated notebook chip designs. AMD's Carrizo APU is the first SoC architecture to fully support the HSA 1.0 specification, allowing full memory coherency of a shared memory space for both CPU and GPU up to 32GB. It's also the first integrated chip to include full support in hardware for H.265/HEVC HD video decoding and finally, Carizzo is also the first AMD APU to have a full integrated, in silicon, Southbridge controller block. So, with its CPU, GPU, memory controller, Northbridge, Southbridge, and PCIe 3.0 links, Carrizo is truly a fully integrated System On A Chip. The company is claiming a 39% CPU performance lift (combination clock speed and IPC) and up to a 65% in graphics, versus their previous generation Kaveri APU. AMD notes laptops from major vendors will begin shipping in the next few weeks.
Android

LG Arbitrarily Denying Android Lollipop Update To the G2 In Canada? 131 131

Posted by timothy
from the arbitrary-lines dept.
Lirodon writes: Its funky rear-mounted buttons may have left critics divided, but the LG G2 is still a pretty capable Android device. While it has gotten an update to Android 5.0 "Lollipop" in some major markets (including the United States, of course), one major holdout is Canada. Reports are surfacing that LG's Canadian subsidiary has decided not to release the update for unknown reasons. But, what about custom ROMs? Well, they handled that too: they have refused to release Lollipop kernel source for the Canadian variant of the device. It is arbitrary actions like this that cause Android's fragmentation problems. A curious note, LG has not specifically made reference to the bugs other users have been having with the update.
The Courts

Blackberry Defeats Typo In Court, Typo To Discontinue Sales of Keyboard 67 67

Posted by timothy
from the one-way-or-another-it's-over dept.
New submitter juniorkindergarten writes: Blackberry and Typo have reached a final settlement that effectively ends Typo selling its iPhone keyboard accessory. Blackberry took Typo to court for twice for patent infringement over the copying of Blackberry's keyboard design. Blackberry and Typo first battled it out in court, with Typo losing for copying the Blackberry Q10 keyboard design. Typo redesigned its keyboard, and again Blackberry sued them for patent infringement. The final result is that Typo cannot sell keyboards for screens less than 7.9", but can still sell keyboards for the iPad and iPad air. Exact terms were not disclosed.
Businesses

Nokia Shifts To Selling Back-End Systems To Mobile Networks 40 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the trying-something-different dept.
jfruh writes: With Nokia's handset business now sold off to Microsoft, you might be wondering what the remainder of the company does, exactly. The company is trying to use its expertise at other end of its old business, offering data centers and virtualized infrastructure to wireless networking companies to make their businesses more efficient. Competitors include Ericsson, another mobile phone also-ran.
Android

An Early Look At Android M's Multi-Window Mode For Tablets 95 95

Posted by timothy
from the multi-tasking dept.
Ars Technica has a look at the experimental multi-window mode in the just-announced Android M. It's not a headlining feature yet: "buggy, busted, and buried, but intriguing nonetheless" is how Ars describes it. Android Police is similarly faint in its praise. All that might be true, but to many users even a partly working multi-window mode would be welcome, especially one blessed by Google. (Some Samsung users have had multi-window support for a while, but not built into the OS proper, and multi-window capabilities can be found via app, too.)