February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

The nation’s energy policies appear to be ready to change drastically under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The President’s “America First Energy Plan,” published yesterday, appeared to focus almost exclusively on increasing fossil fuel production and rejuvenating the coal industry.

The plan called for accessing “the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.”

coal Energy Information Administration

Another goal of the plan is to achieve “energy independence” from what the White House statement described as the “OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests.”

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

An AMD Athlon or Sempron chip may not drum as much excitement as Ryzen, but loyalty has helped those brands stick around for more than a decade.

So what happens to those and other PC processors, like the A-series and FX, when AMD’s new Ryzen chips start flooding the market in March? AMD has said the first high-end desktop Ryzen chips will ship in March.

For now, AMD plans to make no changes to its lineup of existing chips, a company spokesman said.

Instead, the chips will be regrouped to focus on price-sensitive PC buyers.

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

PaddlePaddle, Baidu’s open source framework for deep learning, is now compatible with the Kubernetes cluster management system to allow large models to be trained anywhere Kubernetes can run.

This doesn’t simply expand the range of systems that can be used for PaddlePaddle training; it also provides end-to-end deep learning powered by both projects.

Training with the Big K

Deep learning frameworks must be trained on a given data set to produce results. The training process can be processor-intensive and time-consuming, so spreading it out across a cluster of machines speeds up the process. Baidu created Paddle (short for “PArallel Distributed Deep LEarning) to run across a cluster of machines to train models for tasks like machine translation and search-result ranking. The company then turned to Kubernetes to manage those clusters, with help from Kubernetes contributor CoreOS.

Kubernetes can scale based on demand or allocate based on resources, so it can help PaddlePaddle efficiency by clustering together or spreading apart jobs based on their resource needs. “PaddlePaddle jobs that require GPUs [can be combined] with other jobs requiring different resources, like large memory or disk I/O throughput, on the same set of physical computers,” wrote Baidu in its blog post describing the changes.

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

JBL Charge 3 is the ultimate, high-powered portable Bluetooth speaker with powerful stereo sound and a power bank all in one package. The Charge 3 takes the party everywhere, poolside or in the rain, thanks to the waterproof design, durable fabric and rugged housing. Its high-capacity 6,000mAh battery provides 20 hours of playtime and can charge your smartphones and tablets via its USB output. A built-in noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone gives you crystal clear calls with the press of a button. Wirelessly link multiple JBL Connect-enabled speakers to amplify the listening experience. The Charge 3 currently averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 1,140 people (read reviews), and its typical list price of $180 has been reduced to $123. See it now on Amazon.

This story, “32% off JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

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February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

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At that point, no one in their right mind thought that Apple would actually think of decamping for Indian shores.

CNET/CBS Interactive

A few days ago, there was a lot of attention given to the revelation, which an Indian minister from the southern state of Karnataka tweeted, that Apple would soon start manufacturing the iPhone at a location (owned by Apple partner Wistron) in the state’s biggest city often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore (also called Bengaluru).

This news was predictably received with joy and pride by Indians and government ministers who have longed to see the country climb the manufacturing value chain and rival their far more accomplished neighbor China. There is no better marker that they have begun to do so than a decision by the most premium phone maker in the world to begin using India as a manufacturing base.

However, it now seems that this disclosure may turn out to be premature. A few days ago, India’s revenue secretary dropped this bombshell: “There is no way we can give individual exemptions under GST regime,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia told ET. “All of them (CVD exemptions) will go.”

What Adhia is referring to is the not-so-small matter of Countervailing Duties or CVDs — an import duty levied on electronic components shipped in to the country that especially affects smartphone makers. Components used in mobile phones had been exempted from this kind of levy under the WTO Information Technology Agreement (amounting to 12.5 percent of the good) for the past several years — until last year, when the country ordained bringing back three items from the list to be charged accordingly in order to bolster the fortunes of local manufacturing under its ‘Make in India’ initiative.

At that point, no one in their right mind thought that Apple would actually think of decamping for Indian shores. Therefore, the pressing agenda was to try and boost the fortunes or domestic manufacturers as much as possible, a decision that they are probably now ruing. Fact is, component and labour costs have increased to such an extent in China that its neighbor is increasingly becoming more attractive despite India’s infrastructure deficiencies.

In fact, as I mentioned in this previous story, Apple is not the only one inspired to move here. At least half-a-dozen Chinese phone manufacturers have already opted for India as a manufacturing base that spins out phones for the Indian market, something that has also helped propel them to corner over 50 percent of the domestic market at the expense of Indian companies like Micromax, Lava and Korean giant Samsung.

The problem regarding “exemptions” that revenue secretary Adhia is referring to in his above statement is the fact that India is quickly migrating to a new tax regime in the upcoming financial year — specifically called a “Goods and Services Tax (GST)”. It is an all-encompassing levy that does away with the dizzying array of ones at the state and central level that have existed till now. In other words, the GST will now subsume all other taxes and duties including the CVD.

Here’s where the nub of the issue lies: In the past, the central government would have been able to give Apple a 15-year exemption on this duty — something that the US company has said that they will absolutely have to be given in order to manufacture here, and which the company is not flexible about. “They want predictability and certainty in tax regime as any mid-term tax shock can topple all their financial calculations,” said one official in explaining Apple’s conditionality. This is compounded by the fact that the company’s component manufacturers are not as yet willing to set up shop in the country.

Yet, almost overnight, that exemption is not the central government’s to give. The new body responsible for determining who gets what exemptions, if at all any, is the GST Council (comprised of the finance ministers of all of the Indian states and headed by the country’s finance minister), and they have currently appointed a host of central and state government officials to investigate and decide which goods deserve an exemption and which don’t.

The problem here is that if Apple gets an exemption, you can bet your bottom Rupee (or in this case Renminbi) that every other smartphone maker that is now a “low-cost” one will be clamouring for the same exemption. The Center meanwhile will have to do a lot of arm-twisting to the various state ministers to provide this exemption on grounds that it is in the best interests of the country.

“No Ministry has taken a final view on the submissions made by Apple. We are in touch with them (the Ministries). If the government decides to listen to particular demands, it would be for the good of the entire sector and the measures will be extended to all and not just the company (Apple),” said Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek at a news conference on Monday.

The company has also asked for easing of conditions that have to do with labeling as well as the mandatory domestic sourcing norm for one-third of inputs used, which was denied to them last year. No doubt its competitors will be watching action on these fronts keenly.

There is one trump card that the central government could play: Today, electronic manufacturers receive benefits under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) that was put in place years ago to attract foreign investment in the electronics sector. The scheme provides capital subsidy and reimbursements for things like CVD and excise on capital equipment to boost manufacturing of electronics in the country. There is some talk that in a last-ditch scenario the Central government will make an exception in Apple’s case, dubbing it an “advanced technology” product to meet the company’s requirements.

Until then, it’s a waiting game avidly watched by anyone connected to the government and the electronics industry in India — not to mention Apple.

Video: Trump may bring jobs back to the US, but robots will get them

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

Linux: How to install Kodi 17 Krypton

The Kodi media player has proven to be a very popular application, despite criticisms by some in the media that it is linked to piracy. Version 17 was recently released, and you can now install it on your Linux computer.

Matt Hanson at TechRadar explains how to install Kodi 17 in Linux:

Kodi 17 Krypton is included in Ubuntu repositories, which means it’s straightforward to install Kodi in Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-based distro.

Open the terminal (you can press Ctrl+Alt+T) and type in the following:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install kodi

Kodi can also be installed on other distributions using third-party repositories, but these aren’t officially supported by Kodi, so you may not get the best experience.

You can also compile Kodi from source files to run on various Linux distros. The Kodi website has a comprehensive guide to installing from the source code.

More at TechRadar

If you aren’t familiar with using Kodi, you can get more information about it on the official Kodi wiki and Kodi discussion forum. You can also install add-ons for Kodi that will enhance its features.

Arrests made in “fully loaded” Kodi box raids

Speaking of Kodi, five people were recently arrested in the UK for selling “fully loaded” Kodi boxes that allegedly allowed users to access premium content for free.

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

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LG Watch Sport is one of two new Android Wear watches launching alongside Android Wear 2.0.

Google

Nearly a year ago, we saw our first glimpse of Android Wear 2.0, Google’s smartwatch operating platform. It’s now finally becoming a reality.

Originally scheduled for release alongside Android 7.0 Nougat in fall of 2016, Android Wear 2.0 was eventually delayed until “early 2017.

Last month, Google confirmed the operating system would see a public release in February, and true to its word, Android Wear 2.0 will start rolling out on Feb. 10. Complete rollout will depend on the manufacturer of supported watches, with complete availability expected to take a few weeks.

Android Wear 2.0 includes standalone apps users can use without a phone nearby, relying instead on a direct Wi-Fi connection or LTE signal depending on the watch’s capabilities. A revamped interface throughout Android Wear 2.0 aims to make the watch easier to use and navigate, with support for a rotating digital crown similar to what’s found on the Apple Watch.

Also included is support for Android Pay on watches equipped with NFC capabilities, and watch faces gain complications, putting more information on a watchface at a glance. At launch, Android Pay will not work when paired with an iOS device. However, Google is working on adding the service as soon as possible.

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LG Watch Style.

Google

Google Assistant will also play a key role in Android Wear 2.0, giving users a voice-activated assistant on his or her wrist to answer questions, send messages, start timers, and so on.

As Google has done in the past when releasing a major operating system update, the company teamed up with a company to create new devices. This time, Google and LG collaborated on two Android Wear watches.

The LG Watch Style and Sport will be available starting Feb. 10 at Best Buy and through Google’s online store. With the Sport supporting LTE connectivity, it will also be available at AT&T & Verizon Wireless retail locations.

The Watch Sport will retail for $349, while the Style is priced at $249. The difference in pricing is justified when you look at the specs of each watch.

Watch Sport Watch Style
Size 45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2mm 42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79mm
Processor 1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100
Display 1.38-inch full circle P-OLED (480 x 480 / 348ppi) 1.20-inch full circle P-OLED (360 x 360 / 299ppi)
RAM 768MB 512MB
Storage 4GB 4GB
Battery 430mAh with wireless charging 240mAh with wireless charging
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Sensors Accelerometer, gyroscope, PPG, barometer, ambient light sensor Accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor
Color Titanium, Dark Blue (Google Store exclusive) Silver, Titanium, Rose Gold
Waterproof Dust and water resistance (IP68) Dust and water resistance (IP67)

Both watches will feature a rotating dial for navigation. A dedicated button on the Watch Sport will launch Android Pay, with another button acting as a shortcut to Google Fit.

Google and its hardware partners have a lot of work ahead if they want to take on Apple and its smartwatch. The Apple Watch currently accounts for half of the smartwatch market — and over 80 percent of profit.

Below you will find Google’s list of Android Wear devices that will receive Android Wear 2.0 in the coming days and weeks:

  • ASUS ZenWatch 2
  • ASUS ZenWatch 3
  • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
  • Casio PRO TREK Smart
  • Fossil Q Founder
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Huawei Watch
  • LG Watch R
  • LG Watch Urbane and 2nd Edition LTE
  • Michael Kors Access Smartwatches
  • Moto 360 2nd Gen
  • Moto 360 for Women
  • Moto 360 Sport
  • New Balance RunIQ
  • Nixon Mission
  • Polar M600
  • TAG Heuer Connected

Video: Fitbit wants you to socialize more and get fit

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

With a regular list price of $149.99, the current discount makes the Jaybird X2 Sport is now available with a 13% discount for this deal. Features include:

  • Premium Bluetooth Audio For Skip-Free Music Outdoors
  • 8 Hours of Music + Calls With Complete Remote Controls
  • Secure Over/Under-Ear Fit Options
  • Lifetime Sweat proof Warranty
  • Includes Comply Premium Sport Memory Foam Ear Tips, Patented Secure-Fit Ear Fins, Friction-Fit Silicone Sport Carrying Case, Silicone Ear Tips, Charging Cable & Cord Management Clips.

Jump to Amazon now for additional details, and to explore buying options.

This story, “13% off Jaybird X2 Sport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (Storm White) – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

In a surprisingly detailed 20+ page report titled “UNDER THE HOODIE: Actionable Research from Penetration Testing Engagements“, Rapid7 – provider of tools such as Metasploit and Nexpose – is sharing some very interesting insights into the choices being made by companies in their penetration testing and what the testers are uncovering. Released just moments ago, this research report provides details on:

  • how much organizations budget for pen testing engagements;
  • what information organizations are most interested in protecting, despite the recent uptick in online industrial espionage;
  • what percentage of sites are free of exploitable vulnerabilities;
  • the easiest ways for attackers to execute their attacks; and
  • how often pen tests successfully identify and exploit software vulnerabilities.

The statistics provided will likely help many companies refine or initiate their own penetration testing. The findings are based on 128 penetration tests that the company conducted in Q4 of 2016. They reveal many interesting details and some surprising details on testing choices such as:

  • internal vs external testing pentesting engagements;
  • different lengths of engagements;
  • various customer testing priorities;
  • choices made by organizations of vastly different sizes; and
  • similarities across a range of different industries (verticals)

You can learn a lot about the types of vulnerabilities exposed, how credentials can be uncovered and accounts compromised – even those using two-factor authentication (2FA), that account lockout thresholds are commonly exceeded to limit credential guessing, and how escalating privileges can often take a pentester from one compromised user account all the way to domain admin privileges.

Surprises

The study uncovers some important, some surprising, and some fairly worrisome observations that might drive your own pentesting efforts – such as the high percentage of vulnerabilities created by system misconfiguration, the facts that 2/3 of penetration testers remaining undetected, that the industry you’re working in doesn’t make as much difference as you might imagine, and that domain admin access was achieved in nearly a quarter of the testing engagements.

February 8, 2017 brianradio2016

Like every previous Windows Server release, Windows Server 2016 is jam-packed with new features and capabilities. While it is difficult to pick one single feature as the most significant, the new Nano Server deployment option is definitely a strong contender.

As you may recall, several years ago Microsoft gave us the option of deploying Windows in a lightweight Server Core configuration. Server Core deployments achieved their size reduction by sacrificing most of the GUI elements. Nano Server can be thought of as the next evolution in lightweight Windows Server operating systems.