Thursday 15 October 2015

USB stick that can instantly fry any machine

Killer USB stick destroys your computer in seconds
Russian hackers have created a USB stick that can instantly fry any machine it is plugged into.

These 'killer' USB sticks can fry your laptop or phone in seconds, if plugged in.

A simple USB stick, created by a Russian security researcher known as 'Dark Purple' can instantly fry any machine it plugs into, including your laptop or TV.

The USB destroys laptops by sending 220 volts through the signal lines of the USB interface, rendering anything it is plugging into useless.

Dark Purple claims in a Russian-language blog post that the attack is not just limited to computers, but can used to incapacitate almost anything equipped with a USB drive. The examples he gives are smart phones that support USB mode, TVs, routers, modems, etc. His goal, he writes, is to test prototypes of "devices that perform only one function - the destruction of computers."

Although the laptop looks completely dead after the USB is done with it, Dark Purple claims that it will be restored once the motherboard has been replaced. "It is extremely unlikely that the hard disk or the information on it was damaged," he wrote.

This is good news as it means hackers who get their hands on the USB won't be able to wipe the data stored on your computer's hard drive - which is is probably more valuable to you or your business than the computer itself.

To protect yourself, don't plug in unknown USB sticks into your personal devices.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Dell to buy EMC in $67 billion record tech deal

Dell to buy EMC in $67 billion record tech deal, aims for cloud market:
Computer-maker Dell Inc struck a deal on Monday to buy data storage company EMC Corp for $67 billion, setting a record in the technology industry, as it tries to transform itself into a giant in the fast-growing market for managing and storing corporate data.

The acquisition, the year's third-largest in all sectors, highlights the frenzy of dealmaking sweeping the economy, as big or mature companies take advantage of low interest rates to buy rivals as a way to spur growth.

The deal should help privately held Dell, the world's No. 3 computer maker, diversify from a stagnant consumer PC market and give it greater scale in the more profitable and faster-growing market for cloud-based data services.

That desire to reach beyond PCs - whose growth has been stopped in its tracks with the rise of mobile devices - echoes moves by Dell's big rivals. Hewlett-Packard Co, the No. 2 PC maker, is splitting off its computer and printer unit this year to focus on the corporate data business. IBM Corp sold its PC unit a decade ago.

By combining Dell's server businesses with EMC's storage and virtualization assets, the new, enlarged company will have a broader range of products to challenge Cisco Systems Inc, IBM and Hewlett-Packard in the areas of cloud computing, mobility and cyber security.

"I don’t think either Dell or EMC were viable over the long run as a standalone; they really needed each other," said Eric Johnson, dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. "Dell was mostly on the consumer side, which is a terrible place to be. EMC had some enterprise products, but not the complete package."

The deal valued EMC at $33.15 a share as of the end of trading Friday. Dell will pay $24.05 per share in cash and will also give EMC shareholders a special stock that tracks the share price in VMWare Inc, the maker of cloud-based virtualization software majority-owned by EMC.

The stock market gave the deal a lukewarm response. EMC shares rose 1.8 percent to $28.36 after earlier jumping more than 2.5 percent. VMware shares plunged 7.8 percent to $72.48, decreasing the value of Dell's offer.

VMware will remain a publicly traded company. FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said shareholders were concerned, however, that VMware would lose talented employees amid uncertainty about their future under Dell, eventually hurting the company's performance.

Read More: REUTERS

Thursday 8 October 2015

Battery life problem - iPhone 6S

IT SEEMS it's not just 'shutdowngate' plaguing iPhone 6S users, as the smartphone is reportedly suffering from a problem in the battery life department.

Not long after the iPhone 6S made its debut, it was revealed that there are two versions of the handset in the wild: one with a 16nm TMSC chip, and another with a Samsung chip built on the 14nm standard.

It was believed that, despite Samsung's chip being smaller, the two processors performed equally well, but MacRumours has revealed that this isn't the case. According to benchmark tests carried out on the iPhone 6S, the version with the TMSC chip offers almost two hours more battery life than the version with Samsung-made internals.

If you've got an iPhone 6S and want to check whether it has a TMSC or Samsung chip, you can do so by installing this app, users on Reddit are advising. TMSC's chip shows up as N66MAP or N71MAP, while Samsung's appears as N66AP or N17AP. However, it's worth noting that we tried using the app on our iPhone 6S, but didn't have much luck.

Read more: the INQUIRER
By Carly Page

Friday 2 October 2015

Peruvian shamans pray for protection from El Nino

Photo: Martin Mejia, AP
Shamans hold up a statue of baby Jesus, or "El Nino" in Spanish, as they play drums and maracas during a ritual asking for protection from the natural phenomenon known as El Nino, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. 

LIMA, PERU — Shamans in Peru participated in a ritual Thursday asking for protection from the natural phenomenon known as El Nino on the outskirts of Lima.

Peruvian sailors named the formation El Nino—the (Christ) Child—because it was most noticeable around Christmas.

Every few years, the winds shift and the water in the Pacific Ocean gets warmer than usual. That water sloshes back and forth around the equator in the Pacific, interacts with the winds above and then changes weather worldwide. 

In Peru, they've already declared a preemptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding.

source: SFGATE
by: Martin Mejia, Associated Press

Thursday 1 October 2015

Tesla's Model X SUV is Fast and Expensive

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the company's latest supercar on Tuesday: the Model X. It's an all-electric SUV that accelerates like a sports car.

Musk spent a lot of time touting the safety features of the Model X, arguing that it has dramatically better crash safety than competing SUVs. Advanced sensors and software can detect an impending crash and automatically apply the brakes. And Musk says the car has the industry's best air filters, including a "bioweapon defense mode" to prevent bacteria, viruses, pollen, and other pollutants from entering the vehicle.

                                           (The Verge)

The most visible innovation in the Model X is the falcon-wing doors. Instead of swinging outward as they do on most SUVs, the rear passenger doors on the Model X swing upward.

But before you get too excited, the Model X has sports car pricing to go with its sports car acceleration. On Tuesday, Musk unveiled a 90D model for $132,000, a P90D model with a "Ludicrous Speed" acceleration mode for $142,000. A tweet from Musk indicates that "lower cost versions" are "coming later."

The Falcon-Wing Doors
Unlike normal car doors that swing out to the side, the rear passenger doors on the Model X swing up. In the past, this kind of door has had a big problem: If there's an obstacle next to the car — like another car — it can block the door from opening.

Tesla solved this problem by adding an extra set of hinges to the middle of the doors. That allows the doors to swing upward without swinging out very far:

by : Timothy B. Lee