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Data Storage

Amazon Is Killing Off Its $12/Year Plan For Unlimited Photo Storage (petapixel.com) 48

To many's surprise, Amazon introduced a consumer-focused storage option -- unlimited photo backup for only $12 per year. This was Amazon's attempt to lure customers away from Google, Dropbox, and iCloud. But it seems, even for Amazon, $12 per year for so much storage space is not feasible. The company has reportedly started to inform the customers that the plan is being discontinued. PetaPixel reports: Subscribers of the plan, which was launched in March 2015, are taking to the web to report receiving an email from Amazon informing them of the change. Amazon is offering customers free months of the Unlimited Storage plan, which costs $60 per year. It seems that some people are being offered a standard 3-month free trial of the service, while others are being offered a 12-month free period.
Hardware

SolidRun x86 Braswell MicroSoM Runs Linux and Full Windows 10, Destroys Raspberry Pi (betanews.com) 200

BetaNews has a report today about a company called SolidRun, which has announced an Intel Braswell-based MicroSoM. Unlike the ARM-powered Raspberry Pi, this is x86 compatible, meaning it can run full Windows 10. Plus, if you install a Linux distro, there will be far more packages available, such as Google Chrome, which is not available for Pi. Heck, it can probably serve as a secondary desktop, Brian with the site writes. From the report: At 53mm by 40mm, these new MicroSoMs provide unheard of design flexibility while also eliminating the headache of having to design complicated power-delivery subsystems thanks to its single power input rail design. SolidRun's Braswell MicroSoM also offers flexibility in RAM options, ranging from 1GB to 8GB configurations, and offers on-board support of eMMC storage up to 128GB. Its robust design and unsurpassed HD Edge surveillance, event detection, and statistical data-extraction capabilities makes it the platform of choice for mission-critical applications requiring guaranteed reliability," says Solidrun.It starts at $117, the website has more details on specifications.
Power

Elon Musk To Unveil Solar Roof With Storage, Charger Next Month (bloomberg.com) 75

Elon Musk plans to unveil Tesla and SolarCity's new solar roof product, which will come integrated with version 2.0 of the Tesla's PowerWall solar storage battery for the home, as well as a Tesla car charger, he said today. Bloomberg adds: Billionaire Elon Musk, the chairman and the largest shareholder of both Tesla and SolarCity Corp., announced his plans to unveil the new product in a message on Twitter Thursday. SolarCity's board agreed to Tesla's offer to buy the biggest U.S. rooftop solar supplier on Aug. 1. The product fits into his long-term vision of helping provide green homes that run on solar energy and use battery storage to help power systems, including charging electric cars, even after sundown. He announced in August that SolarCity is developing a "solar roof," a roofing product that incorporates solar technology without using standard photovoltaic panels.
Hardware

Samsung's 960 Pro and 960 Evo SSDs Marry Crazy-Fast Speeds With Roomy Capacity (pcworld.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung is following up its NVMe successes from 2015 with some fresh blazing-fast M.2 SSDs for storage geeks. The company just announced the Samsung 960 Pro and 960 Evo during this year's Samsung SSD Global Summit. As with 2015's 950 Pro NVMe SSDs, the new 960 series marries stacked V-NAND density with the Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) specification. They also use a 4-lane PCIe 3.0 interface, just like the 950 Pro. The 960 Evo and Pro will roll out in October with prices starting at $130 and $330, respectively. The 960 Evo will be available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities, while the Pro offers 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB versions. The Evo utilizes cheaper and more tightly packed TLC (triple-level cell) NAND, while the Pro sports speedier MLC (multi-level cell) NAND. That 2TB maximum is double the top capacity Samsung offered with the 950 Pro in 2015, and in another age would've earned the moniker "jaw dropping" for packing that much storage into an M.2 SSD. But this is the age of the 1TB SDXC card, so maybe sheer capacity increases aren't as impressive as they used to be. Seagate also announced a 2TB M.2 storage option for enterprises in July.BetaNews has more details.
Google

Google Backs Off On Previously Announced Allo Privacy Feature (theverge.com) 84

When Google first unveiled its Allo messaging app, the company said it would not keep a log of chats you have with people when in incognito mode. The company released Allo for iOS and Android users last night, and it seems it is reneging on some of those promises. The Verge reports:The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default -- a clear change from Google's earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. Users can also avoid the logging by using Alo's Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement. Like Hangouts and Gmail, Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google's algorithms. According to Google, the change was made to improve the Allo assistant's smart reply feature, which generates suggested responses to a given conversation. Like most machine learning systems, the smart replies work better with more data. As the Allo team tested those replies, they decided the performance boost from permanently stored messages was worth giving up privacy benefits of transient storage.
Desktops (Apple)

macOS Sierra Is Now Available For Download (engadget.com) 200

Dave Knott writes: Apple's latest desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, is now available for download. In addition to the Siri virtual assistant hitting the desktop for the first time, the free update includes features like a universal clipboard, revamped Messages, a storage optimization tool, and Apple Pay on the web.Engadget has also tested the new operating system and gave it a fairly positive review. It notes that Siri integration is "useful, if you already use Siri," and that iCloud and storage improvements have "practical benefits for everyone." But at the same time, the publication found that Siri "isn't always smart enough."
Data Storage

SanDisk's 1TB SD Card Aims To Solve Your Storage Problems (zdnet.com) 98

SanDisk has a new SD card which caught our attention today: a prototype card with a storage of 1TB of memory. The company says that 1TB card is necessary as we increasingly move to the world where more and more content in 4K and 8K become available. ZDNet adds: A few years ago it was inconceivable that anyone would want a 1TB storage card for their camera, but with the rise of 4K and 8K capture, as well as 360-degree video and VR, high-end professionals need all the storage they can get their hands on.
Desktops (Apple)

23 Years Later: the Apple II Receives Another OS Update (arstechnica.com) 81

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Yesterday, software developer John Brooks released what is clearly a work of pure love: the first update to an operating system for the Apple II computer family since 1993. ProDOS 2.4, released on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Apple II GS, brings the enhanced operating system to even older Apple II systems, including the original Apple ][ and ][+. Which is pretty remarkable, considering the Apple ][ and ][+ don't even support lower-case characters. You can test-drive ProDOS 2.4 in a Web-based emulator set up by computer historian Jason Scott on the Internet Archive. The release includes Bitsy Bye, a menu-driven program launcher that allows for navigation through files on multiple floppy (or hacked USB) drives. Bitsy Bye is an example of highly efficient code: it runs in less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. There's also a boot utility that is under 400 bytes -- taking up a single block of storage on a disk. The report adds: "In addition to the Bitsy Boot boot utility, the ProDOS 2.4 'floppy' includes a collection of utilities, including a MiniBas tiny BASIC interpreter, disk imaging programs to move files from physical floppies to USB and other disk storage, file utilities, and the 'Unshrink' expander for uncompressing files archived with Shrinkit."
Android

Amazon Launches Updated Fire HD 8 Tablet Now With Alexa Voice Services (hothardware.com) 61

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: For the first time, Amazon's Alexa voice service is headed to a tablet. It's one of the standout features of Amazon's new Fire HD 8, a budget slate built to offer users all-day battery life, faster performance, and double the onboard storage of previous versions Fire HD tablets -- all for a low $90 price tag. The Fire HD 8 tablet's 8-inch HD (1280x800) IPS display is driven by a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM, and a capacious 4,750 mAh battery that is claimed to deliver up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life. In addition, Alexa voice services works on the Fire HD 8 just as it does on other supported products, only here the voice assistant is conjured up by long pressing the home button. You can then task Alexa with reading the news, giving weather reports, playing songs, and so forth. The new Fire HD 8 32GB model is available to pre-order now for $90 with special offers (ads) or $105 without.
Windows

Raspberry Pi Passes 10M Sales Mark (bbc.com) 102

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi has sold 10 million units -- continuing its success as the most popular British computer ever. The computer, about the same size as a credit card, was first released in 2012 and is widely used as an educational tool for programming. However, it can also be used for many practical purposes such as streaming music to several devices in a house. A new starter kit for Raspberry Pi, including a keyboard and mouse, has been released to celebrate the success. The kit also includes an SD storage card, official case, power supply, HDMI cable, mouse, keyboard and guidebook -- it costs $130 and will be available in the coming weeks. The Pi, which is manufactured in Wales, has been adopted by pupils, programmers and inventors around the world.
Businesses

HP Enterprise Reaches $8.8 Billion Deal With Micro Focus For Software Assets (reuters.com) 31

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co will spin off and merge its non-core software assets with Britain's Micro Focus International Plc in a deal worth $8.8 billion, the companies said on Wednesday. The move is part of HPE Chief Executive Meg Whitman's plans to shift HPE's strategy to a few key areas such as networking, storage and technology services since the company separated last year from computer and printer maker HP Inc. The deal with Micro Focus, a multinational software company based in Newbury, United Kingdom, was announced along with HPE's latest quarterly earnings. In the third quarter, HPE reported net revenue of $12.2 billion, down 6 percent from $13.1 billion a year earlier. In the deal, HPE is sending one of the British firms it acquired back to where it started. HPE acquired part of its software portfolio through the $10.3 billion purchase of Britain's Autonomy Corp Plc in 2011. HP's $11 billion purchase of Autonomy was supposed to form the central part of the U.S. group's move into software. Other HPE assets that will be merged include software for application delivery management, big data, enterprise security, information management and governance and IT Operations management businesses.
Cloud

Google Teams Up With Cloud Company Box To Sell More Google Apps For Work (recode.net) 9

Two big giants in the cloud storage race are joining hands. Box, which leads enterprise content platform, on Wednesday announced a partnership with Google. The companies say they will collaborate on several initiatives to transform work in the cloud, including integrations between Box, Google Docs and Google Springboard, to deliver a seamless experience for working and collaborating on content in the cloud. Recode reports: Google and Box will also, per a press release, "work together to develop and deliver next-generation intelligence to Box users searching for content on Google Springboard" -- Google's new search-like function for all its enterprise apps. Is this a precursor to a Google acquisition of Box? Maybe. Box has a market cap of around $1.8 billion and Google has some $73 billion laying around.
Android

LG Introduces The V20, The First Android Nougat Smartphone (venturebeat.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: LG has unveiled its V20 flagship smartphone, the successor to the V10 that LG introduced last year, and the first smartphone to run Google's Android Nougat OS out of the box. It's also the first phone to get In Apps, a new homescreen shortcut in Android that makes it easy to search through content on all installed apps. There's a customizable "second screen" at the top, the fingerprint scanner/power button on the rear, and a removable smooth aluminum alloy back cover that can allow you to remove the battery. There's no longer two front facing camera sensors, just one 5-megapixel wide-angle camera. There are however two rear-facing camera sensors similar to the G5. There's an 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle camera sensor and 16-megapixel 75-degree camera sensor. The new phone features a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with support for up to 2TB of storage via microSD, a 3200 mAh battery, and a 5.7-inch QHD display. It measures 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm and weighs 174g. The USB-C adapter supports fast charging. The phone will be available in titan, silver, and pink, although pink won't be coming to the U.S. market. LG has yet to disclose the price, the release date, or carrier availability for the phone. It's also the first smartphone to feature a 32-bit hi-fi quad DAC.
Crime

Meet URL, the USB Porn-Sniffing Dog (cnn.com) 299

HughPickens.com writes: CNN reports that URL, the porn-sniffing dog, is the newest crime-fighting tool at the Weber County Sheriff's office with a nose that could help put away some of the country's most predatory and dangerous criminals. URL (pronounced Earl) sniffs out electronic storage media. Still just a pup, the 18-month-old K-9 is one of fewer than two dozen such dogs in the United States that hunt the unique chemical compounds emitted from flash drives, memory cards, cell phones, iPads and other similar devices. While dogs like URL can't tell detectives if a device has electronic evidence on it, they are able to find devices that humans might otherwise miss. Detective Cameron Hartman points to the high-profile case of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who was convicted on child pornography and other charges last year. A K-9 named Bear, who was trained by the same man who trained URL, led investigators to hidden thumb drives inside Fogle's home. The U.S. Attorney's office for Southern Indiana confirmed those devices contained evidence against Fogle. URL has found evidence relating to pornography during the execution of search warrants for the task force in several investigations of child sex crimes and child trafficking. "He actually found a USB that was in this jar that was closed, and the jar was in a box, and the box had stuff in it. The jar itself had stuff in it."
HP

HP Builds One Desktop PC Around a Speaker, Another Modular PC In Slices (arstechnica.com) 78

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: HP has announced today two new desktop PCs: HP Elite Slice and Pavilion Wave. The HP Elite Slice is a modular machine, with USB Type-C for power and I/O. The base unit contains all the core guts of the PC -- up to a 35W Core i7-6700T processor, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 512GB NVMe storage, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and several ports. The top cover of the main unit is modular, while the bottom of the unit contains a special connector that can allow for additional modules to be stacked. HP has an audio module that includes speakers and a microphone array, and an optical drive module. It should be available later this month, starting at $699. The Pavilion Wave on the other hand combines a PC and a speaker in a 10.3 inch tall triangular box. As for specs, it features a 35W processor, up to an i7 processor, up to 16GB RAM, with up to 1TB SSD or 2TB HDD. An AMD R9 M470 is optional. In addition to the speaker, the Wave features a microphone array for Cortana support.
Bug

Staff Breach At OneLogin Exposes Password Storage Feature (cso.com.au) 47

River Tam quotes a report from CSO Australia: Enterprise access management firm OneLogin has suffered an embarrassing breach tied to a single employee's credentials being compromised. OneLogin on Tuesday revealed the breach affected a feature called Secure Notes that allowed its users to "store information." That feature however is pitched to users as a secure way to digitally jot down credentials for access to corporate firewalls and keys to software product licenses. The firm is concerned Secure Notes was exposed to a hacker for at least one month, though it may have been from as early as July 2 through to August 25, according to a post by the firm. Normally these notes should have been encrypted using "multiple levels of AES-256 encryption," it said in a blog post. Several thousand enterprise customers, including high profile tech startups, use OneLogin for single sign-on to access enterprise cloud applications. The company has championed the SAML standard for single sign-on and promises customers an easy way to enable multi-factor authentication from devices to cloud applications. But it appears the company wasn't using multi-factor authentication for its own systems. OneLogin's CISO Alvaro Hoyos said a bug in its software caused Secure Notes to be "visible in our logging system prior to being encrypted and stored in our database." The firm later found out that an employees compromised credentials were used to access this logging system. The company has since fixed the bug on the same day it detected the bug. CSO adds that the firm "also implemented SAML-based authentication for its log management system and restricted access to a limited set of IP addresses."
Intel

Lenovo's 'Yoga Book' Laptop Is So Thin It Needs A Touchscreen Keyboard (gizmodo.com) 115

An anonymous reader writes: At IFA in Berlin, Lenovo announced the Yoga Book, a laptop that measures in at just 0.38-inches thick, making it the thinnest laptop currently available. In order for it to retain such a slim profile, the keyboard needed to be redesigned. The Yoga Book features what is called the Halo Keyboard, a touchscreen keyboard that is separated from the display and doubles as a drawing tablet. Gizmodo reports: "Officially it's called the Halo Keyboard, and if you've ever tried to quickly type on a tablet's software keyboard than you'll be familiar with the experience. Only it's a little nicer because the keyboard is separated from the display, so it doesn't suck up screen real estate, and it has a pleasantly rough texture. It's also got haptic feedback, which in the case of a touchscreen keyboard is sort of like sticking lipstick on the pig. A press of a button turns the keys off and turns the keyboard into a drawing tablet. From there, it behaves a lot like a Wacom tablet, directly reporting pen input into your chosen app. It even reads pen inputs through paper laid over the input panel." Some other specs of this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet include an Intel Atom processor, 64GB of onboard storage with support for a microSD card, 13 hours of battery life, 4G LTE, 802.11 AC Wi-Fi, front and rear cameras, and a 10.1-inch, 1080p display.
Security

After Breaches At Other Services, Spotify Is Resetting Users' Passwords (vice.com) 33

And now, Spotify is asking its users to reset their passwords. The popular music streaming service is "actively resetting a number of users' passwords," Motherboard reports, adding that the company is doing this because of the data breaches at other services and websites. In an email to customers, the company said, "Don't worry! This is purely a preventative security measure. Nobody has accessed your Spotify account, and your data is secure." The move comes less than a week after Dropbox began resetting its users' passwords. Earlier today we learned that the cloud storage had been hacked, and as many as 68 million accounts are affected.
Security

Hackers Stole Account Details for Over 60 Million Dropbox Users 66

The Dropbox hack is more severe than we expected. Motherboard has the details: Hackers have stolen over 60 million account details for online cloud storage platform Dropbox. Although the accounts were stolen during a previously disclosed breach, and Dropbox says it has already forced password resets, it was not known how many users had been affected, and only now is the true extent of the hack coming to light. Motherboard obtained a selection of files containing email addresses and hashed passwords for the Dropbox users through sources in the database trading community. In all, the four files total in at around 5GB, and contain details on 68,680,741 accounts. The data is legitimate, according to a senior Dropbox employee. Security expert Troy Hunt has corroborated on Motherboard's claims, and has updated Have I Been Pwned website where you can go and see if you're among one of the victims.
Windows

Acer Unveils Slim Windows 10 Notebooks, Convertible Chromebook, Curved Screen Laptop (zdnet.com) 46

Ahead of this week's IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Acer has unveiled a range of notebook computers. The company has a new 13-inch Chromebook R 13 laptop, which it says can also be used as a tablet. There's a new line of Windows 10 Swift notebooks and Spin convertible laptops that are powered by Intel's just unveiled seventh generation Core processors. The Chromebook R13 sports a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and is powered by a MediaTek quad-core processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. It also houses a USB Type-C, USB 3.0, and HDMI ports. It offers as much as 12-hour of battery life. ZDNet adds:The 14-inch Spin 7 features an aluminium unibody design and is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, with up to 8GB RAM, and 256 GB solid state disk storage. It weighs 1.2 kg (2.6 pounds) with a width of 10.98mm (0.43 inches). It also includes two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. The Spin 7 goes on sale in the US and Europe in October, with prices starting at $1,199 and 1,299 euro respectively. Heading up Acer's ultra-slim lineup is the aluminium construction, black and gold Swift 7. It features a 13.3-inch full-HD IPS display and Intel 7th generation i5 processor, with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. It boasts fast wireless and dual USB 3.1 Type-C ports. Acer is promising nine hours of battery life for the device, which weighs 1.1kg (2.48 pounds) and has a height of 9.98mm (0.39 inches), making it the slimmest in the Swift series. It will be available in the US and Europe in October from $999 and 1,299 euro respectively.

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