Apple HomePod Sales Struggle, Fall Way Behind Amazon Echo

The HomePod has not delivered the sonic boom Apple had hoped for so far. Apple's new $329 home speaker had strong pre-orders when it was launched Feb. 9, but it has petered out in the increasingly competitive home speaker market since, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Three weeks after its debut, the HomePod, at its nadir, captured about 4 percent of the weekly sales of smart home speakers. Inventory is rising in Apple stores, and Apple cut back on orders and lowered sales forecasts, according to Bloomberg, which cites numbers from Slice Intelligence.

During its preorders, Apple made up a third of the smart home-speaker market. But after its first 10 weeks on the market, Apple HomePod made up only 10 percent of the smart home speaker market, just behind second-place Google Home's 14 percent. The overriding winner was the Amazon Echo, which made up 73 percent in that same period.

Bloomberg pointed to the HomePod's lagging artificial intelligence, powered by Siri, and other limited capabilities when compared to Amazon Echo and Google Home, as reasons for its sluggish sales. HomePod, despite being $100 more expensive than the most expensive Amazon Echo product -- Echo Show, which has a video screen -- is limited in voice commands to mainly controlling Apple's proprietary apps, such as Apple Music.

Apple is forecasted to sell 7 million HomePods in 2018 and about 11 million in 2019, longtime Apple observer and Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster told Bloomberg. Those figures pale in comparison to Amazon and Google's forecasts: Amazon is forecasted to sell 29 million and 39 million Echos in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Alphabet, Google's parent company and owner of Google Home, is forecasted to sell 18 million and 32 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

From its introduction at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose in May,...

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Driverless Cars Give Hope to the Blind

In 2012, Steve Mahan, who is blind, climbed into the driver's seat of a self-driving car and rolled up to the drive-thru of a Taco Bell in a video that's been viewed more than 8 million times online.

The piece, produced by Google, captured the potential of autonomous-car technology to change the lives of the visually impaired.

"It was my first time behind the steering wheel in seven years and was absolutely amazing," Mahan said.

Self-driving-car advocates say that in addition to helping the disabled, the vehicles will allow people to do other tasks while driving and make roadways safer by removing human error.

But six years after Google's viral video, national advocates for the estimated 1.3 million legally blind people in the U.S. are worried the industry is not factoring their needs into the design of the new technology, a mistake they say will make the cars more expensive and harder for them to access.

"Although we have been held up as obvious beneficiaries of the technology in conversations and presentations, this will have just been exploitation if the systems are not accessible," said Anil Lewis, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind's Jernigan Institute.

"How about instead of Taco Bell, we demonstrate a blind person independently operating an autonomous vehicle, dropping off his/her kids at school on the way to work, and maybe stopping by a Starbucks on the way?"

The concerns are fueling new research outside the auto industry to develop data and software meant to help ensure the needs of the blind are met when autonomous cars become commonplace.

In a University of Florida study, blind people are using experimental software that could be easily installed in cars and peoples' phones.

On a recent sunny winter day in central Florida, Sharon Van Etten eased into the backseat of an SUV and began speaking...

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Getting the Most From Wordfence Premium

If your WordPress site matters, upgrading to Wordfence Premium gives you the best protection available. And at $99 per year, it is incredibly affordable. Once you’ve made this great investment, there are a few things you can do to optimize your site’s security.

This post is Copyright 2018 Defiant, Inc. and was published on the wordfence.com official blog. Republication of this post without permission is prohibited. You can find this post at: https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2018/04/wordfence-premium/

Install Your Premium License Key

Do you have the free version of Wordfence installed? You probably see that your site security status circles are not fully 100%. You can quickly change that after you purchase your premium license.

Your Premium license key is available on the API Keys page at Wordfence.com. To install it, simply go to either the Global Options or All Options page within the plugin on your site, and paste the license key into the ‘License Key’ box in the Wordfence License section. Hit the ‘Install License’ button and you’re all set!

That one step enables these important Premium features:

  • The Real-time IP Blacklist blocks all requests from the most malicious IPs, protecting your site while reducing load.
  • Real-time firewall rule updates protect you from the latest threats
  • Real-time malware signature updates provide malware blocking within the firewall and malware scanning features with the latest threat intelligence
  • Site reputation checks tell you if your IP has been blacklisted for malicious activity, generating spam or other security issues.
  • Premium support from our amazing team of Senior Support Engineers

 

 

There are just a few more steps to make sure you site is locked down.

Optimize the Firewall

Your Wordfence firewall should be in extended protection mode, which means the Wordfence firewall will execute before any other PHP code on your server. There’s no better protection available than the Wordfence firewall when it’s optimized and armed with the Premium firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IPs.

You can learn more about optimizing the Wordfence firewall in our help section.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two factor is one of the most secure forms of remote system authentication available. We support both text messages to your cell phone or Google Authenticator as second authentication methods. If a password is ever stolen somehow, this extra layer of protection ensures your WordPress site remains secure.

Configure Country Blocking

If you’re experiencing malicious activity from a country that you’re not doing business in, you can block it with Wordfence Premium. Be judicious in your blocking, however. Make sure you don’t block countries that may affect your site’s functionality (e.g., don’t block the United States and inadvertently block Google and PayPal).

You can also use country blocking to secure your login page only. If you know you’ll only be logging in from one location, secure your login page from being accessed from other locations.

Customize Your Scan Schedule

With Wordfence Premium, a full scan runs every 24 hours by default, which should be fine for most sites. You can specify which hour or hours of the day you’d like scans to run. We recommend looking at your site traffic patterns and selecting times when traffic is generally the lowest for the day. If you’d like to increase the frequency, you can schedule them to run as often as every hour.

Managing a Large Number of Sites?

We’re doing something new for those of you tasked with securing a large number of WordPress web sites. The Wordfence Client Partner initiative gives agencies, educational institutions, and other large scale users of WordPress a dedicated technical partner to assist with Wordfence at scale. Does this sound like you? Let us know. We’re here to help.


Get Support From Our Senior Support Engineers

The comprehensive capabilities of Wordfence give you tools and features that provide a level of security for WordPress you won’t see elsewhere. But when you’re just getting started, it all may seem overwhelming at first. With Wordfence Premium, you have access to the best WordPress security support team in the world. Our awesome team of Sr. Support Engineers can assist you with any Wordfence- or site security-related question you may have. Just enter a ticket here and they will respond within a few hours on average.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped get your started with Wordfence Premium. To learn more about Wordfence please check out our great help content, or our learning center to learn more about WordPress security in general.

The post Getting the Most From Wordfence Premium appeared first on Wordfence.

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Getting the Most From Wordfence Premium

If your WordPress site matters, upgrading to Wordfence Premium gives you the best protection available. And at $99 per year, it is incredibly affordable. Once you’ve made this great investment, there are a few things you can do to optimize your site’s security.

This post is Copyright 2018 Defiant, Inc. and was published on the wordfence.com official blog. Republication of this post without permission is prohibited. You can find this post at: https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2018/04/wordfence-premium/

Install Your Premium License Key

Do you have the free version of Wordfence installed? You probably see that your site security status circles are not fully 100%. You can quickly change that after you purchase your premium license.

Your Premium license key is available on the API Keys page at Wordfence.com. To install it, simply go to either the Global Options or All Options page within the plugin on your site, and paste the license key into the ‘License Key’ box in the Wordfence License section. Hit the ‘Install License’ button and you’re all set!

That one step enables these important Premium features:

  • The Real-time IP Blacklist blocks all requests from the most malicious IPs, protecting your site while reducing load.
  • Real-time firewall rule updates protect you from the latest threats
  • Real-time malware signature updates provide malware blocking within the firewall and malware scanning features with the latest threat intelligence
  • Site reputation checks tell you if your IP has been blacklisted for malicious activity, generating spam or other security issues.
  • Premium support from our amazing team of Senior Support Engineers

 

 

There are just a few more steps to make sure you site is locked down.

Optimize the Firewall

Your Wordfence firewall should be in extended protection mode, which means the Wordfence firewall will execute before any other PHP code on your server. There’s no better protection available than the Wordfence firewall when it’s optimized and armed with the Premium firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IPs.

You can learn more about optimizing the Wordfence firewall in our help section.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two factor is one of the most secure forms of remote system authentication available. We support both text messages to your cell phone or Google Authenticator as second authentication methods. If a password is ever stolen somehow, this extra layer of protection ensures your WordPress site remains secure.

Configure Country Blocking

If you’re experiencing malicious activity from a country that you’re not doing business in, you can block it with Wordfence Premium. Be judicious in your blocking, however. Make sure you don’t block countries that may affect your site’s functionality (e.g., don’t block the United States and inadvertently block Google and PayPal).

You can also use country blocking to secure your login page only. If you know you’ll only be logging in from one location, secure your login page from being accessed from other locations.

Customize Your Scan Schedule

With Wordfence Premium, a full scan runs every 24 hours by default, which should be fine for most sites. You can specify which hour or hours of the day you’d like scans to run. We recommend looking at your site traffic patterns and selecting times when traffic is generally the lowest for the day. If you’d like to increase the frequency, you can schedule them to run as often as every hour.

Managing a Large Number of Sites?

We’re doing something new for those of you tasked with securing a large number of WordPress web sites. The Wordfence Client Partner initiative gives agencies, educational institutions, and other large scale users of WordPress a dedicated technical partner to assist with Wordfence at scale. Does this sound like you? Let us know. We’re here to help.


Get Support From Our Senior Support Engineers

The comprehensive capabilities of Wordfence give you tools and features that provide a level of security for WordPress you won’t see elsewhere. But when you’re just getting started, it all may seem overwhelming at first. With Wordfence Premium, you have access to the best WordPress security support team in the world. Our awesome team of Sr. Support Engineers can assist you with any Wordfence- or site security-related question you may have. Just enter a ticket here and they will respond within a few hours on average.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped get your started with Wordfence Premium. To learn more about Wordfence please check out our great help content, or our learning center to learn more about WordPress security in general.

The post Getting the Most From Wordfence Premium appeared first on Wordfence.

Read More

Study Says Many Android Vendors Regularly ‘Forget’ Security Patches

If you believe your Android phone is receiving regular security updates from the manufacturer, you could be sadly mistaken, according to a new study from a Berlin-based IT security research firm.

Researchers with Security Research Labs studied Android devices from numerous companies and found what they call a hidden patch gap, with large numbers of manufacturers regularly failing to update device security. They said that failure exposes the Android ecosystem to risks despite recent patch improvements, leaving devices susceptible to remote exploits.

Google's Android is the world's leading mobile operating system, with more than 2 billion users around the world. It's also supported by a far more diverse system of manufacturers and developers than its rival, Apple's iOS, which contributes to much more uneven security practices.

Patch Claims Need 'Independent Verification'

Researchers Karsten Noll and Jakob Lell presented their findings today at the HITB security conference in Amsterdam. They said they took a "novel analysis approach" to look for missing seurity updates on a wide range of Android devices, and discovered that most vendors "regularly forget to include some patches, leaving parts of the ecosystem exposed to the underlying risks."

Among the companies whose devices they tested, Google, Sony, Samsung, and Wiko came out on top, with zero or just one patch typically missing. TCL and ZTE, by contrast, landed on the bottom of their list, with more than four missed patches on their devices.

Noll and Lell's findings contradict the claims by many Android device makers that they roll out regular updates to fix vulnerabilities identified by Google's monthly Android security bulletins. The researchers said users should seek independent verification that their devices are regularly patched, and developed an app called SnoopSnitch for that purpose. SnoopSnitch is available as a free download through the Google Play Store.

'Defense in Depth' Is...

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Tesla and NTSB Clash Over Fatal Crash Investigation

As the back-and-forth over who or what was at fault in the recent fatal crash of a Tesla Model X vehicle in Mountain View continues, the electric carmaker has said it has withdrawn from the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the matter. But the federal agency said it had took the "rare" action of ousting Tesla from the probe.

Late Wednesday, Tesla said in a statement it would no longer take part in the NTSB probe because the investigation would require Tesla to not divulge information about its Autopilot feature to the public. Autopilot is a technology in Tesla cars that allows a vehicle to perform some functions such as lane changes and parking on its own.

A Tesla spokesperson said in a statement that the NTSB requirement to not divulge information on Autopilot "fundamentally affects public safety negatively (and) we believe in transparency, so an agreement that prevents public release of information for over a year is unacceptable."

The safety board -- which earlier this month said it was not happy Tesla had released information on the crash -- on Thursday disputed Tesla's claim that it withdrew from the investigation. The agency said it had removed the firm as a party to the probe. Tesla had earlier accepted "party status" in the investigation, which allows the parties to share investigative information in the early stages of an accident probe, the agency said.

"Tesla violated the party agreement by releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB," the agency said in a statement.

"Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public."

Agency chairman Robert Sumwalt said he had called Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday night to tell...

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Amazon Officially Owns Ring, Bolstering Smart Home Push

Amazon's reported $1bn acquisition of video-doorbell maker Ring has closed, giving the company a significant lead over rival Google in the potentially lucrative home security market.

The deal, announced in February and closed today, means Amazon now owns a leader in DIY video security systems. Ring makes popular wireless doorbells with cameras and a range of home security cameras, recently launching a wireless home security system with keypads, contact sensors and motion detectors.

Ring becomes Amazon's second largest acquisition to date, following its $13.7bn deal last year for Whole Foods Market. The financial details of the deal were not released.

Dave Limp, Amazon's head of devices under whose division Ring will now report to, said of the deal: "Ring was doing great. It was growing remarkably year-on-year by any metric, including in the number of customers but also by traditional financial metrics, from already sizeable numbers -- so we feel like it was a great deal for both sides."

Amazon marked the close of the deal by slashing the price of Ring's original video doorbell from £159 to £89, a move that it is expected to be the first of many across Ring's product line.

Ring founder and chief executive Jamie Siminoff, who will stay in place under Amazon, said: "I call this deal a milestone and not an acquisition or an exit, because I see it as a step along the road of our mission to provide effective and affordable protection for neighborhoods.

"Combining with Amazon allows us to come into a large organization that has a lot of different support mechanisms, and leverage them, be it technology, a service or something else, to scale much faster than we would have been able to do before."

Siminoff said Amazon's scale will enable a price change that will enhance the accessibility of Ring's products and bring...

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Zuckerberg Flubs Facebook Privacy Commitment Details

Over two days of questioning in Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he didn't know key details of a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission that requires Facebook to protect user privacy.

With congressional hearings over and no immediate momentum behind calls for regulation, the biggest hammer still hanging over Facebook in the U.S. is a fresh FTC investigation . The probe follows revelations that pro-Trump data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica acquired data from the profiles of millions of Facebook users. Facebook also faces inquiries in Europe.

The 2011 agreement bound Facebook to a 20-year privacy commitment , and any violations of that pact could cost Facebook a ton of money, even by its flush-with-cash standards. If Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress is any indication, the company might have something to worry about.

Zuckerberg repeatedly assured lawmakers Tuesday and Wednesday that he believed Facebook is in compliance with that 2011 agreement. But he also flubbed simple factual questions about the consent decree.

"Congresswoman, I don't remember if we had a financial penalty," Zuckerberg said under questioning by Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette on Wednesday.

"You're the CEO of the company, you entered into a consent decree and you don't remember if you had a financial penalty?" she asked. She then pointed out that the FTC doesn't have the authority to issue fines for first-time violations.

In response to questioning by Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Zuckerberg acknowledged: "I'm not familiar with all of the things the FTC said."

Zuckerberg also faced several questions from lawmakers about how long it takes for Facebook to delete user data from its systems. He didn't know.

The 2011 consent decree capped years of Facebook privacy mishaps, many of which revolved around its early attempts to follow users and their friends around the web. Any violations of the 2011 agreement could subject Facebook...

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AMD Unveils Second-Generation Ryzen Processors

AMD has announced preorders on Ryzen 2nd generation processors are officially live now and the chips are due to arrive on April 19.

AMD's newest processor family includes four processors: the Ryzen 7 2700X, Ryzen 7 2700, Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600. Both the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 2700 feature eight cores, 16 threads and, as rumored, a higher base/boost clock speeds over the previous Ryzen 7 1700X and 1700 CPUs.

The $329 Ryzen 7 2700X features a 3.7 GHz base clock, 4.3 GHz boost clock and 20MB cache, but a higher 105W TDP -- up from the 95W Ryzen 7 1700X.

The $299 Ryzen 7 2700 is a touch slower with a 3.2 GHz base, 4.1 GHz boost, 20MB and a lower 65W TDP because of lower overclocking capabilities.

The 2nd generation Ryzen 5 kicks off with two six core and 12 thread options: the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600. The Ryzen 5 2600X costs $229, and comes with a 3.6 GHz base clock with a 4.2 GHz boost, 19MB of cache and 95W TDP.

Meanwhile, the Ryzen 5 2600 costs $199, and is also a hair slower at 3.4 GHz and 3.9 GHz base and boost clock speeds, respectively -- along with 19MB cache and 65W TDP.

While it might seem like AMD's non-X suffixed chips are getting the short end of the stick, the pricing between all the parts is fairly close. So it doesn't seem like AMD is placing as much of a premium on the Extended Frequency Range (which is exclusive to X variants) and overall greater overclocking abilities of the 2700X or 2600X.

Ryzen 2nd generation is shaping up to be almost everything the rumors suggested it would be, from top speeds to pricing. Of course, stay tuned for our reviews on these hot...

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Don’t Forget To Stand: Sitting May Thin Memory-Related Brain Area

If you want to take a good stroll down memory lane, new research suggests you'd better get out of that chair more often.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found that in people middle-aged and older, a brain structure that is key to learning and memory is plumpest in those who spend the most time standing up and moving. At every age, prolonged sitters show less thickness in the medial temporal lobe and the subregions that make it up, the study found.

The prospect of thinning in the brain's medial temporal lobe should spark plenty of worry.

Some loss of volume in this region occurs naturally as we age, and the result is poorer episodic memory -- the kind which brings to mind events in one's past.

But shrinkage of the brain and its memory centers becomes particularly pronounced in dementia, and thinning of the cortex probably contributes to that. Even before Alzheimer's disease steals memories, the condition begins to change the density and volume of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, memory-making structures that lie at the heart of the medial temporal lobe.

The findings are based on interviews and tests of 35 cognitively healthy people between the ages of 45 and 75. Researchers at UCLA's Semel Institute and its Center for Cognitive Neurosciences queried the volunteers about their physical activity patterns and scanned their brains in an MRI. Then they gauged how self-reported sitting time or physical activity levels corresponded to thickness in these critical brain structures.

The study subjects reported average sitting times of three to 15 hours a day. After adjusting for their subjects' ages, the researchers found that every additional hour of average daily sitting was associated with a 2% decrease in the thickness of the medial temporal lobe.

The research suggests that, compared to a person who sits for 10 hours...

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