February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

Apple has regained the top place in the smartphone market helped by the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, while rival Samsung Electronics grappled with the recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 over overheating batteries, according to a research firm.

The iPhone maker shipped 78.3 million smartphones in the fourth quarter for a market share of 17.8 percent in comparison to 77.5 million smartphones shipped by Samsung, which had a market share of 17.7 percent, Strategy Analytics said Tuesday.

For the full year, Samsung was the clear winner with shipments of 309.4 million smartphones to Apple’s 215.4 million, in part because Apple saw shipments of the iPhone drop in recent quarters.

Apple said earlier on Tuesday that it had sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for the device as well as the Mac, Apple Watch and its services business. For its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016, Apple said iPhone shipments were up by about 5 percent by units from the same quarter in the previous year. Revenue from phones was up 5 percent year-on-year at around US$54 billion.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016


Apple’s message can be taken as meaning it will only be supporting 64-bit apps in iOS 11.

Image: Peter Steinberger/Twitter/Apple

Users of the recently released iOS 10.3 beta who open a 32-bit app are seeing a message warning them that the app “will not work with future versions of iOS” and must be updated to continue working.

The somewhat vague message, flagged on Twitter by Peter Steinberger, founder and CEO of PSPDFkit, is being taken to mean that Apple may only support 64-bit apps in iOS 11. If so, the move could complete a three-year effort to move developers off 32-bit apps in the App Store.

In recent years Apple has phased out iOS support for older devices with 32-bit chips, such as iPhones and iPads in the A5 and A6 families.

As noted by Ars Technica, the list of devices currently supported by iOS 10 could lend itself to dropping support for 32-bit apps completely. Apple has encouraged developers to build 64-bit apps since releasing the iPhone 5s in 2013, which featured the 64-bit A7 chip and iOS 7, the first 64-bit version of iOS.

Every device Apple has released since this pair has a 64-bit processor, and beginning in 2015 Apple mandated that new apps and app updates support 64-bit, which offers better app and CPU performance on mobile devices. These devices include all iOS device models newer than the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini 2.

The cheaper iPhone 5c, released at the same time as the 5s, had the 32-bit A6. The iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and iPad 4 remain the only 32-bit chip devices supported by iOS 10. If they don’t make the cut to iOS 11, it could allow Apple to drop all 32-bit code in iOS.

Nudging developers to 64-bit comes alongside Apple’s recent efforts to remove outdated and broken apps from App Store. Apple began contacting developers last September requesting the apps be updated and vowed to remove them immediately if they crashed on launch. By November Apple had purged nearly 50,000 apps, according to TechCrunch.

Read more about Apple iOS

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

One of the great benefits of the computer age? Easy communication across great distances.

But some people can’t even speak with people right next to them. To help solve that problem, researchers in Europe have developed a device that helps paralyzed patients communicate. But how does it work?

In IT Blogwatch, we listen.

So what is going on? Renee Morad has the background:

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

No single antimalware engine can keep up with all the malware out there. But how about 57 of ’em?

In this video, you’ll learn how to download and run Windows Sysinternals Process Explorer to test all currently running executables on your Windows system against VirusTotal’s 57 antivirus engines, which together offer the best accuracy you can ever get (with a small percentage of false positives that are pretty easy to spot).

Neither the Sysinternals Process Explorer software nor the VirusTotal service costs a cent. The whole setup process will take you about five minutes, and the scan, which you can execute any time you like, takes less than a minute. Only malware in memory will be detected, but if you’re infected, very likely that malicious process will be running — and this easy method will sniff it out.

Now that you’ve found malware, how can you get rid of it?

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

I spent the end of last week at Monki Gras, a London developer conference focused on the craft of software development. It’s a fascinating event, and this year focused on how to package software.

Not surprising, many of the speakers talked about the role of containers in devops and continuous delivery. But there was a general misconception of Windows’ support for containers, generally characterized as support for Docker running in Linux VMs.

That’s not true: Windows has its own container technologies, building on Docker but giving it a uniquely Microsoft spin. That’s probably the source of the confusion, with Windows 10 adding support for a Linux subsystem and Microsoft adding Docker tools to Windows Server 2016 around the same time. Both are part of Microsoft’s approach to cloud-native application development, which is a key element of its Azure platform going forward.

Microsoft’s commitment to containers, one of the more important cross-industry developments of the last few years, shouldn’t be surprising. Perhaps best thought of as a way of encapsulating an entire user land of processes and namespaces to isolate it from other instances running on the same server, containers have rapidly become a key component of devops and continuous-integration implementations. Microsoft has been a quick adopter of these approaches internally, and as always, its tools reflect how Redmond is using software and how it builds applications.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

President Donald Trump may face protests from scientists and technologists like no other president before him.

It’s not just the tech industry that may battle Trump. New forces are arising, some grassroots, such as Neveragain.tech and a planned massive “March for Science,” in Washington and elsewhere. The tech industry protest over the seven-country immigration ban is just a preview.

Major battles also loom over other issues with consequences for tech, including climate change, air quality, support for federal research and trade policy.

Here’s a look at some of the tech-related issues that Trump faces.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

Google is open-sourcing its Chrome browser on the Apple iOS platform, after making changes enabling the code to be part of Google’s Chromium browser project.

The code will be moved to the open source Chromium repository, which lets developers build their own Chrome-like browsers. It had been kept separate from Chromium because of Apple’s requirement that all iOS browsers be built on the Apple-controlled WebKit rendering engine.

But after years of refactoring to cleanly separate WebKit from the Chrome for iOS code, the Chrome for iOS code is rejoining Chromium, Google said in a bulletin. (Chrome on other operating systems uses Google’s own Blink browser engine.) Developers can compile the iOS version of Chromium like they can for other Chromium versions. Google said it had spent a lot of time during the past several years making changes required to move the code for Chrome for iOS into Chromium.

As a result, web app development should be faster, since all tests for Chrome for iOS have available for Chromium browsers. Chromium, providing the open source core of Chrome, has allowed spinoffs of the browser.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

Over the past year I’ve reviewed half a dozen open source machine learning and/or deep learning frameworks: Caffe, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (aka CNTK 2), MXNet, Scikit-learn, Spark MLlib, and TensorFlow. If I had cast my net even wider, I might well have covered a few other popular frameworks, including Theano (a 10-year-old Python deep learning and machine learning framework), Keras (a deep learning front end for Theano and TensorFlow), and DeepLearning4j (deep learning software for Java and Scala on Hadoop and Spark). If you’re interested in working with machine learning and neural networks, you’ve never had a richer array of options.  

There’s a difference between a machine learning framework and a deep learning framework. Essentially, a machine learning framework covers a variety of learning methods for classification, regression, clustering, anomaly detection, and data preparation, and it may or may not include neural network methods. A deep learning or deep neural network (DNN) framework covers a variety of neural network topologies with many hidden layers. These layers comprise a multistep process of pattern recognition. The more layers in the network, the more complex the features that can be extracted for clustering and classification.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

Pyston, Dropbox’s project to create a faster Python runtime similar to just-in-time compiling systems like PyPy, will no longer be sponsored by Dropbox after its latest release.

Version 0.6.1 brings Pyston’s performance up to almost twice that of CPython, the standard-issue Python interpreter. “On web-workload benchmarks that we created, we are 48% faster,” wrote Dropbox’s Kevin Modzelewski on the Pyston blog. “On Dropbox’s server, we are 10% faster.”

Despite these improvements, Dropbox decided further work on Pyston wouldn’t be worth it from a cost-benefit point of view.

Compatibility was one of the biggest stumbling blocks. The blog post noted that it took “more time than we expected” to make Pyston compatible with existing Python code.

February 1, 2017 brianradio2016

Apple overtook Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2016 to become the global smartphone leader, while annual global smartphone shipments hit an all-time high of 1.49 billion, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

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A total of 438.7 million smartphones were shipped during the fourth quarter, a growth of 9 percent annually, Strategy Analytics said. Apple became the leader with 18 percent and 78.3 million units during the October-December period as it “capitalized on Samsung’s recent missteps”.

The South Korean tech giant shipped 77.5 million units during the same period, a drop of 5 percent from a year ago, with 18 percent market share. For the full year, Samsung maintained its leader position with 22.2 percent market share, followed by runner-up Apple with 16.1 percent.

Huawei was struggling at home against rivals like compatriot Oppo but maintained third position thanks to accelerating performances in Western Europe. Oppo was fourth with 2.8 percent and will aim to expand beyond China this year, Strategy Analytics noted.

The global smartphone market recovered slightly due to stronger demand in China and Africa and grew 3 percent from a year ago to 1.49 billion units, the firm said.

On the same day, Apple announced it sold a record 78.29 million iPhones in the October-December period, up 5 percent from a year ago.

In its conference call, Apple said it “saw especially strong demand” for the iPhone 7 Plus which accounted for a higher portion compared to the iPhone 7, with demand exceeding supply throughout the quarter. The bigger-screened model likely soaked up sales in the absence of its chief rival, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, during the quarter.

Samsung earlier announced that it will reveal the Galaxy S8 after the Mobile World Congress in February, which will help it steer through the first quarter of 2017 without a new flagship.