Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

In its IPO filing, Snap Inc. revealed that an average of 158 million people use the Snapchat app — sending more than 2.5 billion messages and images — every day. The company’s annual revenue grew from $58.7 million in 2015 to $404.5 million last year. Nearly all its revenue comes from advertising, especially on mobile. Expected to seek a market valuation of $20 billion, Snap may receive $4 billion, which, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence would make the company one of the biggest tech offerings ever in the U.S. Continue reading Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

FaceApp Uses Neural Networks to Alter Age, Gender in Photos

FaceApp relies on neural networks to paste a smile on a person’s photo or change his gender or age. The iOS app doesn’t always work reliably; if the person’s face is large, has a beard or isn’t looking straight at the camera, for example, the results can be unconvincing. Switching genders can produce convincing results, but can only be accessed in “collage” mode, for a very small image. But FaceApp, similar to the Prisma app that uses artificial intelligence to make selfies look like famous paintings, proves that AI is making it easier to manipulate photographs. Continue reading FaceApp Uses Neural Networks to Alter Age, Gender in Photos

Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

In a recently published Infrastructure Security Design Overview, Google explains its six layers of security for the cloud it uses for its own operations and its public cloud services. The company also revealed that it designs custom chips, “including a hardware security chip that is currently being deployed on both servers and peripherals,” that allow it to “securely identify and authenticate legitimate Google devices at the hardware level.” The chip works with cryptographic signatures validated during each boot or update. Continue reading Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

Google Key Transparency Project to Boost Messaging Security

To improve encryption, Google has launched an open source project, Key Transparency, a follow-up to its Certificate Transparency, both of which focus on the need to verify the authenticity of the person or server the user believes he is connecting to. Keybase, a collection of verified users and their “cryptographic credentials” is one solution, but Google now wants to ascertain that the contacts are verified systematically and are privacy-protected, by having the address “double-check” itself. Continue reading Google Key Transparency Project to Boost Messaging Security

CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

Wisconsin-based startup Fasetto demonstrated its LINK storage and communications device at CES 2017. Ideal for media production, the portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4G connected device might be the easiest way to distribute video via up to 15 mixed devices. A production unit merely needs access to a web browser and a little more than eight hours of battery charging time for streaming distribution. This device might also function as a budget version of on-set video support. The compact design (2-inches by 2-inches by 1-inch deep and a mere 4 ounces) packs up to 2TB of solid state storage with a 64 bit octa-core 2.1GHz Exynos 7420 processor and 4GB of RAM. Continue reading CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

International Law Enforcement Takes Down Avalanche Botnet

An international team of law enforcement agencies and security firms just took down “Avalanche,” a botnet that has been engaged in phishing attacks and at least 17 different malware families since at least late 2009. The team took offline more than 221 servers and more than 800,000 domain names used by Avalanche, and conducted searches and arrests in five countries, according to a statement released by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice. Avalanche malware impacted victims in over 180 countries. Continue reading International Law Enforcement Takes Down Avalanche Botnet

Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Amazon’s fifth cloud computing conference, AWS re:Invent, begins this week in Las Vegas, showcasing the impact of Amazon Web Services on corporate information technology. About 32,000 people are expected to attend. In the five years since its debut, AWS has offered a more price-conscious, subscription services-based alternative to on-site servers, storage, networking and software. As a result, Amazon’s AWS has grown 55 percent in Q3 to $3.2 billion, due in part to some large companies that recently came on board. Continue reading Amazon Expands Cloud Offerings, Big Firms Sign On to AWS

Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

Microsoft is submitting designs for its new server, Project Olympus, to the open source Open Compute Project eight months before it will be completed, in an effort to influence the data center market. By offering open source designs, the company pressures hardware manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard to lower pricing of its own cloud infrastructure products. Among the new server’s key strengths are that it can use different international power standards without a need to tweak the hardware and can run a variety of applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

Plex, Amazon Launch Beta Test of Cloud-Based Media Center

Digital media center manufacturer Plex is debuting Plex Cloud, which runs its server on Amazon Drive without a local computer or network-attached storage drive. A select group of beta testers will get their hands on Plex Cloud, enabling them to set up a Plex server in one minute and use Amazon’s consumer cloud storage service, including the ability to stream media to any device. This change removes one of the biggest obstacles to adoption of Plex’s solution for personal media: the need for a dedicated server. Continue reading Plex, Amazon Launch Beta Test of Cloud-Based Media Center

Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

In 2012, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and computer chip researcher Doug Burger believed they had found the future of computing: chips that could be programmed for specific tasks, dubbed field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Project Catapult, as it was called, was intended to shift the underlying technology of all Microsoft servers in that direction. FPGAs now form the basis of Bing. Soon, the specialized chips will be capable of artificial intelligence at a tremendous speed — 23 milliseconds versus four seconds. Continue reading Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0, a software development platform for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, marking the first time that the company has officially supported the two primary competitors to its own operating system. The source code was originally released in 2014, for testing. Linux vendor Red Hat will support it on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS. Because .NET Core is open source, developers will be able to configure it to their needs as well as use it for free to develop their own applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases Code to Linux and Mac OS for First Time

Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, most recently Google’s chief Internet evangelist, co-created Internet server protocols in 1973. Since then, he’s helped the Internet to mature, but one problem he didn’t foresee was the ephemeral nature of storage media, from floppy disks to Zip drives. Tomorrow’s browsers may be incompatible with today’s webpages. Worried about what he calls “a coming digital dark ages,” Cerf has now turned his attention to making the Internet more secure and future-proof. Continue reading Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

Google Develops its Own Chip to Speed Up Machine Learning

Google has just built its own chip as part of its efforts to speed up artificial intelligence developments. The company revealed that this is just the first of many chips it plans to develop and build. At the same time, an increasing number of businesses are migrating to the cloud, lessening the need for servers that rely on chips to function. That’s led some to believe that Google and other Internet titans that follow its lead will impact the future of the chip industry, particularly such stalwarts as Intel and Nvidia. Continue reading Google Develops its Own Chip to Speed Up Machine Learning

Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

Snell Advanced Media (SAM), which is the rebranded combination of Snell and Quantel, outlined solutions for its broadcast/cablecast customers to adopt IP networks, 4K, HDR, software virtualization, monitoring and news/sports solutions, as described by chief executive Tim Thorsteinson. 2016 is looking up, said Thorstseinson at NAB in Las Vegas, adding that, “2015 was the worst year in the market I’ve ever experienced in this industry.” The company is also a founding member of a consortium, AIMS, to standardize the implementation of IP networks. Continue reading Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

Facebook Open-Sources 360-Degree Camera to Jumpstart VR

Facebook debuted the Facebook Surround 360 camera for 360-degree video and VR at its F8 conference this week. The company will also freely share its hardware schematics and complex stitching software via GitHub this summer. Others share Facebook’s vision of virtual reality, including Nokia, Jaunt and Google, all of which built their own 360-degree cameras. But Facebook, by open-sourcing its plans, says chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, furthers its central mission of connecting everyone in the world. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources 360-Degree Camera to Jumpstart VR

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