Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Intel confirmed a report indicating that its microprocessor chips contain two major security flaws, which makes the vast majority of world computers vulnerable to hacking. Intel is working with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), ARM Holdings and other chipmakers and operating system providers to develop a comprehensive, industry-wide approach to combating the potential problems. The two major security flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, could let hackers access the entire memory contents of computers. Continue reading Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Amazon Imagines Alexa Will Soon Replace Your Smartphone

Amazon is aiming for a future in which its digital assistant Alexa replaces the smartphone. The future Alexa will evolve from speakers to touchscreens and a new, simpler kind of computing based on voice commands rather than apps. The rationale is that the smartphone has become ever-more complicated, with dozens of apps that distract the user. Developers also have an interest in moving off the smartphone, which has also been shown to have negative health effects. Rather than a distraction, Alexa offers specific interactions. Continue reading Amazon Imagines Alexa Will Soon Replace Your Smartphone

Microsoft HoloLens Finds New Life for Corporate Applications

Microsoft hasn’t given up on HoloLens. The company believes it is more suited for corporate training than gaming, and now Japan Airlines is using it is a good example of that. Two years ago, the Japanese company sent pilot Takashi Wada to Microsoft headquarters to try out the HoloLens; now he teaches HoloLens-equipped trainees how to flip virtual switches in a cockpit, prior to using flight simulators. Microsoft isn’t alone in pursuing such applications, with Alphabet, Apple and Facebook following suit. Continue reading Microsoft HoloLens Finds New Life for Corporate Applications

Amazon Debuts B2B Version of its Popular Prime Membership

Amazon is following up the success of its Prime membership for consumers by launching a new Prime membership aimed at businesses. Investors worry that Amazon will wrest revenues from traditional industrial suppliers, much as it did with retail operations and bookstores among other businesses. For that reason, the news that Amazon now offers Business Prime Shipping had an immediate impact on WW Grainger, whose shares dropped as much as 4.6 percent, and Fastenal, whose stock dipped as much as 4.2 percent. Continue reading Amazon Debuts B2B Version of its Popular Prime Membership

Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

Adobe has finally pulled the plug on Flash, an application that Steve Jobs excoriated as far back as 2010 for being too insecure and proprietary for the iPhone. Adobe stated that it would no longer update and distribute the Flash Player at the end of 2020, and many in the industry will cheer its demise. In fact, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari have been blocking Flash for the past year, but many sites devoted to gaming, education and video still use Flash, whose infamously weak security has been exploited by malware. Continue reading Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

IKEA to Launch an AR App Based on Apple’s ARKit Platform

This fall, IKEA will roll out an augmented reality application for iPhones and iPads, using Apple’s ARKit platform. The company currently has teams of interior designers, professors and others in the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.S. working on the app, which is timed to go live with Apple’s launch of iOS 11 software. IKEA is not alone in realizing its customers could benefit from an app that allows them to envision how a couch will look in their living room; online furniture company Wayfair has also released an AR app. Continue reading IKEA to Launch an AR App Based on Apple’s ARKit Platform

Microsoft Targets Education Market with New Surface Laptop

Microsoft debuted its new $999 Surface Laptop, targeted to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air in the classroom. The new Surface, available in four colors, is 2.76-pounds, a bit lighter and thinner than Air and offers a 14.5-hour battery life, slightly longer than the Air’s. On the less expensive end, Microsoft partners Acer, Lenovo and HP unveiled laptops, also running Windows 10 S, for the education market starting at $189. Windows 10 S, touted as more secure, can run apps from Microsoft’s Windows Store. Continue reading Microsoft Targets Education Market with New Surface Laptop

Researcher Predicts AR, VR Will Soon Manage Supply Chains

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Dr. Matthias Winkenbach has a good idea of how virtual reality could completely change how corporations solve supply chain problems. He believes that in at least three-to-five years away, supply chain managers will rely on augmented and virtual reality to make better decisions more quickly, with the ability to see holograms with visible data via an AR or VR headset. Managers can immerse themselves in remote environments without traveling to physical locations. Continue reading Researcher Predicts AR, VR Will Soon Manage Supply Chains

Microsoft Offers Lawsuit Protection for Azure Cloud Customers

Microsoft debuted Microsoft Azure IP Advantage, which provides payment for legal costs to customers using the open-source technology that is part of Azure services, including Hadoop data analysis. The rationale behind this new Advantage program is that, by offering Azure customers protection from intellectual property litigation, Microsoft removes an obstacle to the cloud computing service’s growth. This litigation protection service is already in place for Azure customers developing apps with Microsoft technology. Continue reading Microsoft Offers Lawsuit Protection for Azure Cloud Customers

Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Augmented reality has found a spot on the factory floor of AGCO Corp., a company that manufactures agricultural equipment in Jackson, Minnesota. Workers wear Google Glasses that display diagrams and instructions as an aid in conducting quality checks on tractors and chemical sprayers. The result is so successful that the Duluth, Georgia-based company plans to expand the program next year, using 3D computer-generated imagery to help workers weld 30-foot booms to chemical sprayers. Continue reading Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Microsoft acquired Genee, a smart scheduling app that can help improve the company’s virtual assistant Cortana. Currently, Cortana can track packages and set reminders based on location among other tasks but, with Genee, it could also automatically set business meetings simply by recognizing key phrases in emails. That’s just one of the many tasks that an AI-enhanced Cortana would be able to do, all based on Genee’s ability to interpret language. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Continue reading With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Google Redoubles its Cloud Ambitions, Offering AI Programs

Cloud computing is booming, and Google is losing ground to Amazon and Microsoft. As the business of renting computer servers to outside businesses grows more lucrative, Google has decided to promote its artificial intelligence software to enterprise customers. Now, potential customers of Google’s cloud offering can also take advantage two software programs — converting text to speech and extracting meaning from text — that, up until now, have only been used internally. Rivals Amazon and Microsoft offer competing AI products. Continue reading Google Redoubles its Cloud Ambitions, Offering AI Programs

Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

Microsoft just paid $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn and its treasure trove of information about the business social network’s 105.5 million monthly active users. That enormous quantity of data will drive machine learning to create and evolve products as well as anticipate customer needs. Microsoft isn’t alone in going after large repositories of data for that very reason. As Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet exploit the possibilities of machine learning, they all are competing for the information necessary to find actionable patterns. Continue reading Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Google is focusing on advances in artificial intelligence as a competitive advantage. Its new Google assistant is positioned as the company’s latest iteration of search, and Google is promoting a variety of products based on machine learning that face competing products. Google Home will compete with Amazon Echo, while messaging app Allo will take on Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and Snapchat. With regard to virtual assistants, Google is going against versions from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. Continue reading Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

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