July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

Microsoft will stop serving one of three types of Windows 10 updates, contending that the updates have been superseded by an even small and more efficient format.

Delta updates are due to disappear early next year, Microsoft said, with their demise effective Feb. 12, 2019, that month’s Patch Tuesday. Two formats will then remain: Full updates and express updates.

Delta updates are those that include only the components that have changed since the previous month’s update. Because delta updates include the full component that changed – say, the Notepad application – not only the individual files that make up the component, they are larger than express updates, which deliver only changed files. The bottom line, and what enterprise IT is most interested in, is that express updates are smaller than delta updates, which are in turn smaller than full updates.

According to Mike Benson, a member of the Windows team responsible for crafting updates, an express update typically weighs in at 150MB to 200MB, compared to a delta update’s larger 300MB to 500MB. Put another way, express updates are between 33% and 70% smaller than delta updates.

July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

Google has been ordered to pay a $5.05 billion fine and stop forcing Android smartphone makers to install its search engine and browser on their phones. That decision was handed down by the European Union’s antitrust authority on Wednesday.

The ruling could open the way for smartphone makers to offer more choice, with devices running different versions of Android, or offering alternative browsers or search engines out of the box.

The European Commission found that Google has abused its dominant market position in three ways: tying access to the Play store to installation of Google Search and Google Chrome; paying phone makers and network operators to exclusively install Google Search, and preventing manufacturers from making devices running forks of Android.

Much of the attraction of today’s smartphones lies in the apps users can download and install on them, and Google Play offers by far the largest range of apps of any app store for mobile phones.

July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

Video: Should professionals keep banking on the Mac?

The long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh has landed, and sees both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro 2018 with Touch Bar getting a significant hardware bump.

Let’s take a look at what’s new.

Must read: Apple refreshes the MacBook Pro, but won’t quell worries about Mac’s future

Silicon upgrade to 8th-gen Intel Core

First up is Apple shifting the processor up to the 8th-generation Intel Core platform, with the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID getting a 2.3GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, and the higher-specced 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID getting processors ranging from the 2.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor to the 2.9GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i9 chip.

All the Intel Core processors feature Turbo Boost technology that allows the clock speed to the boosted beyond the base frequency.

Depending on usage scenario, owners can expect up to twice the performance for some actions such as importing RAW files into Adobe Lightroom, and more modest performance increases for actions such as WebKit compiling or rendering in Autodesk Maya.

More RAM

Another big upgrade is the expansion of the 16GB of RAM ceiling for higher-end MacBook Pro models, raising it to 32GB.

Speed of the RAM has been upgraded too on the 15-inch model, with the aging DDR3 technology replaced with higher-performing 2400MHz DDR4.

Read also: MacBooks for pros: How to decide among several workable options | A full-spec updated 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro will cost you $6,699 | Blackmagic eGPU: The future of the MacBook Pro is having more stuff tethered to it | CNET: ‘Quieter’ MacBook Pro keyboard is reportedly exclusive to 2018 model

For those who need more RAM to get more done in less time (Apple has clearly heard the screams of those working with 4K and 5K video, VR rendering, and high-end coding work), this will be a welcome change.

More storage, but at a huge cost

Storage has also been expended for the higher-end 15-inch MacBook Pros to go up to 4TB of SSD storage on selected models (up from 2TB), but this option adds a whopping $3,200 to the price tag, so it’s not going to be the sort of thing that has wide appeal.

For the 13-inch model, the maximum storage has been doubled to 2TB.

Those who don’t need high-performance internal storage will save a lot of money by augmenting a more meager internal SSD with lower-cost external storage.

Modest graphics boost

Graphics performance has also been beefed up to offer the Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory at the high end, offering around 2.1 TFLOPS performance.

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However, even the 13-inch MacBook Pro gets a decent graphics upgrade, powered by an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 integrated graphics chip with 128MB of embedded DRAM, which is twice as much as the previous generation.

For those wanting more GPU performance, it’s worthwhile remembering that these new laptops also support eGPU technology. For high-end applications such as content creation, VR, and even gaming, adding an external GPU to a MacBook Pro can significantly boost performance.

Apple added eGPU support in macOS 10.13.4 and are supported on MacBook Pro systems released in 2016 or later, the iMac 2017 or later, and the iMac Pro.

Display remains the same

The Retina Display displays on the new MacBook Pros with Touch Bar remain unchanged:

  • 13.3-inch, 2,560 × 1,600 (16:10) with 227 pixels-per-inch, 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), and True Tone technology
  • 15.4-inch, 2,880 × 1,800 (16:10) with 220 pixels-per-inch, 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), and True Tone technology

“Hey Siri” and the T2 chip

The updated MacBook Pros will also be the first to support “Hey Siri,” allowing you hands-free access to the voice assistant.

This feature, along with the Touch ID security features and the Touch Bar are powered by a custom chip Apple called the “T2.”

Goodbye MagSafe 2

The MacBook Pro was the last holdout for the MagSafe 2 connector, but with this refresh Apple’s entire laptop lineup has switched over USB-C charging.

MagSafe 2 was far from perfect, but it did prevent damage to the laptop. Break the USB-C port and you’re looking at replacing the entire mainboard.

Read also: Apple’s Mac is in a ‘sad state’, says this popular developer: Do you agree? | Apple suddenly remembers the Mac (or remembers you care about it) | Why Mac users don’t really matter to Apple | Introducing the Mac mini Pro

True Tone comes to the MacBook Pro

The updated MacBook Pro laptops also come with True Tone displays that change their color temperature based on the color temperature of the room, and now the Touch Bar will also support True Tone technology.

The True Tone technology first made an appearance in Apple products on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro back in 2016, before making its way to the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2017), the iPhone 8/8 Plus, and the iPhone X.

The headphone jack lives on

For the port junkies out there, you’ll be pleased to know that the configuration is unchanged, with there being four Thunderbolt/USB-C ports offering 40/10 Gbps of bandwidth respectively, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Yes, the headphone jack might be dead on the iPhone, but it lives on with the MacBook Pro.

Performance, performance, performance

All-in-all, Apple says that the 15-inch model will have a 70 percent performance increase, and the 13-inch model should double its performance.

The actual performance bump will, of course, vary depending on the MacBook Pro specification, and the workload, but as a general trend the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2018 models seem to higher levels of performance compared to the previous generation models than the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2018 models do.

Battery capacity

The higher-performing hardware clearly needs more power to run, because Apple has bumped the battery capacity in this refresh. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch ID now has a 58-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, with that increased 83.6-watt-hour (from 54.5- and 79-watt-hour, respectively).

This increased battery capacity, however, doesn’t translate into increased battery life, with Apple still sticking to the usual “up to 10 hours wireless web/iTunes movie playback and up to 30 days of standby time.”

Has Apple updated they keyboard?

There have been claims (along with class-action lawsuits) that the MacBook Pro keyboards using the “butterfly” technology being susceptible to damage from dust and debris. Apple claims that the updated MacBook Pro laptops feature a “third-generation butterfly keyboard, but it seems that the update has more to do with making the laptop quieter than it does with making it more resistant to damage from stuff getting into it.

UPDATE: It turns out that Apple may have tweaked the keyboard by adding a silicone membrane beneath the keycaps to help prevent damage from dirt and dust.

That said, Apple now offers a four-year repair warranty on keyboards, which should go some way to offer peace of mind.

The Force Touch trackpad appears unchanged.

The price man, what about the price?

Well, for the base model of both sizes, the prices remain the same ($1,799 for the 13-inch model, and $2,399 for the 15-inch model). However, things like 32GB of RAM and 4TB of storage quickly add thousands to this.

Super-sizing to the 2.9GHz 6-core 8th-gen Intel Core i7 for a 2.9GHz 6-core Intel Core i9 that adds an extra $300, and bumping the RAM from 16GB to 32GB adds another $400.

But it’s storage that really gets out of hand fast, with the 4TB option add a whopping $3,200 to the price tag.

Read also: Why the Mac you know has no future | Apple boosts performance of 13-, 15-inch MacBook Pros – TechRepublic | It’s gone! 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro vanishes from Apple Store – CNET | Best ultraportable laptops for business | Best laptops

What about finishes?

You get to choose between Space Gray and Silver.

Encase your new MacBook Pro in leather

Yes, Apple makes leather sleeves for the new MacBook Pros, and they are priced at $179 for the 13-inch version, and $199 for the 15-inch version, and they will be offered in brown, blue, and black.

When do the updated MacBook Pro laptops go on sale?

The MacBook Pro 2018 laptops were available on the day of announcement, July 12, 2018.

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July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

“We want Google to end its illegal behavior,” says EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, per the Guardian , and the regulator hopes a record $5.06 billion fine will compel it to do so. Described by the Wall Street Journal as the EU’s “sharpest rebuke yet” to the power wielded by…

July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

Is your iPhone running slow? Is performance being throttled by iOS to prevent it from crashing? Would a new battery help restore it to peak performance? Here’s how you can use iOS to find out.

Head over to Settings > Battery. There you will see a new option labeled Battery Health (Beta). Click on this to find out more about your battery.

Note that this feature applies only to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus.

If your battery’s maximum capacity is over 80 percent, you’re good to go. If it’s under that figure, your battery is worn and is in need of replacing (and if it’s really close to that, say 81 percent, then you might still experience crashes when your iPhone is exposed to cold).

For more information, check out this article.

July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

Toshiba’s Tecra range is built specifically with businesses users in mind, and while the 14-inch, 1.25kg Tecra X40 E is on the large side for an ultraportable, it does offer plenty of high-end features, including 8th-generation Intel processors.

I was broadly complementary about last year’s Tecra X40-D series, although slightly wary of battery life. This time around battery life seems improved — my review unit soldiered on for 8.5 hours in one test session, dropping to 30 percent battery life in the process. The workload was document creation and a small amount of web browsing, so the system was not working particularly hard: still, all-day battery life should be well within reach for most users.

toshiba-tecra-x40-emain.jpg

The 14-inch Tecra X40-E runs on 8th generation Intel Core processors, offering battery life of up to 14.5 hours according to Toshiba.

Images: Toshiba

The Tecra X40-E is not too big to go in a backpack, measuring 332mm by 228.9mm by 16.9mm, and weighing from 1.25kg. It will need a protective sleeve, however, because there’s quite a lot of flex in the lid section.

Very little has changed in the hardware design compared to last year’s model. There’s a pointing stick sitting between the G, H and B keys which is responsive and can be used in conjunction with a pair of physical buttons above the touchpad. There’s still no status light to let users know they’ve disabled the touchpad, which is an irritation as it’s easy to forget that the touchpad has been disabled.

There are plenty of security options for the business user: a fingerprint reader is built into the touchpad, an IR camera for Windows Hello, plus Toshiba’s encryption, TPM2 and a smart card reader on the right edge.

This is a standard laptop design with the screen pushing back to around 130 degrees. The 14-inch screen sits inside what’s by today’s standards relatively wide bezels — 10mm on the sides and 20mm at the top. The full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) screen has a matte, non-reflective finish that’s easy on the eye. It’s nice to have a touch screen, although of course this does add to the price, and volume purchasers can forego this feature to save on costs. If I have a criticism of the screen, it’s a bit on the dark side — even at maximum brightness.

Top ZDNET Reviews

SEE: Windows 10 April 2018 Update: An insider’s guide (free PDF)

The keyboard is a delight to use. From memory it doesn’t feel different to last year’s Tecra X40 D model, and I found the light but responsive action conducive to extended periods of typing.

The 8th generation Intel processor is complemented by up to 32GB of RAM — and my review unit (whose particular specs are not available on Toshiba’s UK website) was powered by a Core i7-8650U CPU with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The asking price for this configuration is £1,249.17 (ex. VAT).

There’s a single USB 3.0 port, a pair of Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, a MicroSD card slot, a full sized HDMI connector and a 3.5mm headset jack.

Overall this is a nice workhorse laptop, aimed more at knowledge workers than media creators. It has a great keyboard and good battery life, so it should suit mobile professionals. The touch screen is useful, but it’s a shame the lid is rather flexible.

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July 18, 2018 brianradio2016

A distributed file system, a MapReduce programming framework, and an extended family of tools for processing huge data sets on large clusters of commodity hardware, Hadoop has been synonymous with “big data” for more than a decade. But no technology can hold the spotlight forever.

While Hadoop remains an essential part of the big data platforms, and the major Hadoop vendors—namely Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR—have changed their platforms dramatically. Once-peripheral projects like Apache Spark and Apache Kafka have become the new stars, and the focus has turned to other ways to drill into data and extract insight. 

Let’s take a brief tour of the three leading big data platforms, what each adds to the mix of Hadoop technologies to set it apart, and how they are evolving to embrace a new era of containers, Kubernetes, machine learning, and deep learning.

Cloudera Enterprise Data Hub

Cloudera was the first to market with a Hadoop distribution—not surprising given that its core team consisted of engineers who had leveraged Hadoop in places like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook. Hadoop co-creator Doug Cutting serves as chief architect.