BitTorrent Wants To Bleep Your Private Messages

Keeping private messages private may have just gotten a bit easier thanks to BitTorrentEUs new messaging service. Known as Bleep, BitTorrent first announced the service last year, when it released alpha versions of its software. Yesterday, the company officially released versions for Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X.

Bleep is hoping to distinguish itself from other messaging services such as Whatsapp, iMessage, and the Facebook app, by offering users better privacy and more control over their data. The service will allow users to sign up using only nicknames if they don't want the company to have access to their personal details.

No Cloud Server To Hack

Bleep is also marketing itself as a more secure alternative to the other messaging services, something users may find particularly attractive following the high-profile hack of several celebritiesEU personal iCloud accounts last year. BitTorrent said that kind of attack is not possible with BleepEUs architecture.

EUIn our implementation, we keep messages and the encryption keys for images stored on your local device, not the cloud,EU the company said in a blog post announcing the launch of the service. EUFor messages and metadata, there is no server for hackers to target and because you hold the keys, images canEUt be leaked to haunt you later. WeEUve solved serverless peer-to-peer messaging, including the ability to get offline friends your messages when they come back online.EU

Despite the fact that Bleep will not store usersEU private information, they will still be able to invite friends to the service using the contact details stored on their devices. Users can also invite friends to connect by scanning QC codes, known as Bleep keys.

Like the competing apps on the market, BitTorrent is offering Bleep for free. It is also providing end-to-end encryption of its messages and a native app for all...

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JPMorgan To Convert Chase Cards to Chip Technology

JPMorgan Chase will replace all of its customers' debit cards with more secure chip-based cards nationwide, the bank said Tuesday, and expects to have chips on 70 percent of its debit cards by the end of 2015.

Chase is the latest U.S. bank to convert its debit cards from those with the traditional magnetic stripe to chip cards, which look like regular bank cards but have a metal chip embedded in them. The chip adds additional encryption technology to the card, and when used correctly makes it more difficult to steal information and use a stolen credit card for fraud.

Customers who do not already have a Chase chip debit or Liquid card will receive one in the mail during the next 12 months, Chase said. It already embeds chips into most of its new credit card products. The bank is also upgrading its ATMs to accept chip cards, it said.

The chip technology on payment cards has been common in other countries, particularly in Europe, but is expected to become the default option in the U.S. in coming years. The transition has come partly as a result of a series of high-profile data hackings and increased the focus on security among large companies, especially banks.

Bank of America began converting its debit cards to chip-based cards in October 2014. Citibank will start converting its debit cards this summer, a spokesman said.

Despite the banks pushing chip-based cards on its customers, chip-based card usage in the U.S. remains minimal. The cards require that merchants upgrade their equipment used at checkout to accept them, often at significant expense. Also customers with chip-based cards, when given the option, continue to swipe their cards as they have done for decades, bypassing the more-secure but unfamiliar chip technology altogether.

In a survey done by Chase, 65 percent of consumers have...

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Patch Tuesday Still Alive and Kickin’

Despite news last week that Microsoft is effectively putting the kibosh on Patch Tuesday and replacing it with Windows Update for Business (WUB), MayEUs Patch Tuesday rolled around with 13 security bulletins.

The patches fix vulnerabilities in Office, Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Lync, Silverlight, Microsoft Font Drivers, Microsoft SharePoint Server software, and the .NET framework. Three of the bulletins are rated critical and 10 are rated important on MicrosoftEUs scale. So is Patch Tuesday dead or not?

Before diving into your May priorities, Russ Ernst, director of product management at HEAT Software (formerly Lumension), told us itEUs important to understand what Microsoft announced -- and what it didnEUt -- during last weekEUs Ignite Conference.

EUSlated for release sometime this summer, the enterprise version of Windows 10 will ship with WUB. Using a ring approach, organizations can choose to immediately install the first ring of updates issued by Microsoft as they are ready or, to wait for the patches to be vetted and install them from a second or third ring,EU Ernst said. EUThis new approach will allow for 24/7 updates for organizations that already have a well-established patch management process, and regularly scheduled patches for others.EU

A Variety of Threats Remain

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of cloud security firm Qualys, told us the main patch this month to address is MS15-043 for IE which fixes 22 vulnerabilities, of which 14 rated critical. Critical CVEs in IE allow the attacker to gain remote code execution on the machine of the target by luring the target to a malicious Web page. He said attackers have a variety of techniques.

EUAttacking common blogging and forum software to gain control over the Web site and then include links to the malicious pages [is one strategy],EU Kandek said. EUA good example is the SoakSoak campaign. Recent vulnerabilities in this class have...

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Skype Extends Translator Preview to Everyone

Microsoft is aiming to break down language barriers by making its Skype Translator preview available to anyone who wants to download it. Previously downloadable only after users had completed an online sign-up form, the real-time translation application can now be used by anyone running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 preview on a PC or tablet, Microsoft said on Tuesday.

Announced last December in preview form, Skype Translator combines the statistical smarts gleaned from real-life translations with more advanced machine learning's deep neural network-enabled capabilities. Microsoft said its research teams have spent more than a decade working to hone its automated translation technologies.

Now available as a download from the Windows Store, the latest version of the application -- still described as a "preview" -- supports real-time, spoken translations in four languages: English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. It also offers automatic instant messaging translations in 50 languages.

Skype Translator 'Almost a Third Speaker'

"While speech recognition has been an important research topic for decades, widespread adoption of the technology had been stymied by high error rates and sensitivity to speaker variation, noise conditions, etc.," Microsoft Group Program Managers Mo Ladha and Chris Wendt said last year in a post on the Garage & Updates blog. "The advent of deep neural networks for speech recognition, pioneered by Microsoft Research, dramatically reduced error rates and improved robustness, finally enabling the use of this technology in broad contexts such as Skype Translator."

While the application remains in preview form, Microsoft plans to continue seeking feedback from early users and use that information to help improve its translation capabilities, according to Ladha and Wendt.

"(T)here are specific challenges inherent in the user experience of language translation," they noted in a description of how the technology works. "The automated translator in Skype Translator appears almost as a third...

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Moore’s Law Turns 50, Creator Says It Won’t Go on Forever

With the 50th anniversary of MooreEUs Law, Intel is sharing its impact and its founder is making predictions about the next 50 years. At an event in San Francisco on Monday to honor the anniversary, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (pictured) predicted that the law named after him will remain valid for another five to 10 years. He said the fact that it has lasted for 50 years is truly amazing but he acknowledged no exponential can go on forever.

Moore laid down what is known as MooreEUs law in 1965. He discovered that the number of transistors per square inch of integrated circuits had doubled every year since its invention. Moore predicted that transistors would continue to decrease in cost at an exponential rate as their number on each silicon chip doubles each year.

Intel said, "Moore's Law has continued to drive staggeringly fast progress in computing technology to deliver unprecedented economic benefits and societal changes."

According to an IHS research report, the technological innovation enabled directly and indirectly by MooreEUs Law continues to drive gains in productivity. As productivity improves, costs decrease and new opportunities emerge that spur economic growth. The report estimates that the impact of MooreEUs Law could be as high as $11 trillion in incremental GDP over the past 20 years.

EUMooreEUs Law has proven to be the most effective predictive tool of the last half-century of technological innovation, economic advancement, and by association, social and cultural change,EU said Dale Ford, vice president of Semiconductors & Components at IHS.

Delivering Remarkable Innovation

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of MooreEUs Law -- and its future.

King told us after Moore's observation about the time required to double transistor density originally appeared in 1965, it became a sort of...

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Moore’s Law Turns 50, Creator Says It Won’t Go on Forever

With the 50th anniversary of MooreEUs Law, Intel is sharing its impact and its founder is making predictions about the next 50 years. At an event in San Francisco on Monday to honor the anniversary, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (pictured) predicted that the law named after him will remain valid for another five to 10 years. He said the fact that it has lasted for 50 years is truly amazing but he acknowledged no exponential can go on forever.

Moore laid down what is known as MooreEUs law in 1965. He discovered that the number of transistors per square inch of integrated circuits had doubled every year since its invention. Moore predicted that transistors would continue to decrease in cost at an exponential rate as their number on each silicon chip doubles each year.

Intel said, "Moore's Law has continued to drive staggeringly fast progress in computing technology to deliver unprecedented economic benefits and societal changes."

According to an IHS research report, the technological innovation enabled directly and indirectly by MooreEUs Law continues to drive gains in productivity. As productivity improves, costs decrease and new opportunities emerge that spur economic growth. The report estimates that the impact of MooreEUs Law could be as high as $11 trillion in incremental GDP over the past 20 years.

EUMooreEUs Law has proven to be the most effective predictive tool of the last half-century of technological innovation, economic advancement, and by association, social and cultural change,EU said Dale Ford, vice president of Semiconductors & Components at IHS.

Delivering Remarkable Innovation

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of MooreEUs Law -- and its future.

King told us after Moore's observation about the time required to double transistor density originally appeared in 1965, it became a sort of...

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MediaTek Debuts 10-Core Mobile Processor

Taiwan-based chipmaker MediaTek is making a 10-core processor that is says is the world's first mobile processor with three processor clusters. The new processor, the Helio X20, is expected to make its way into devices by year's end. The new productEUs promise comes from its ability to reduce power consumption by altering the number of cores working at any one time, depending on the power necessary to complete a given task.

The reason for this is MediaTek's new Tri-Cluster CPU architecture, which has three processor clusters each designed to handle different types of workloads more efficiently, according to the company. The Tri-Cluster CPU contains one cluster of two ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 2.5 GHz for high performance, and two clusters of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores, one running at 2 GHz for medium loads and one running at 1.4 GHz for light activities.

"By leading with mobile CPU architecture and multimedia innovation, MediaTek continues to push the envelope of power efficiency and peak performance, " said Jeffrey Ju, senior vice president of MediaTek.

Revolutionary?

MediaTek has also integrated a CorePilot 3.0 heterogeneous computing scheduling algorithm that controls how threads are allocated to the cores. CorePilot 3.0EUs job is to schedule the tasks for all CPUs and GPUs while managing power and thermal effects to enable extreme performance while creating less heat. This reduces power consumption by 30 percent compared with conventional dual-cluster architectures on top of the increase in energy efficiency, thanks to Helio X20's supported ARM Mali-T880 GPU. according to MediaTek.

"With the integration of MediaTek's WorldMode Category 6 LTE modem with carrier aggregation and upgraded CorePilot 3.0 advanced scheduling algorithm, the Helio X20 is set to revolutionize the mobile processor industry and address the global demand for flagship mobile devices," according to the company.

Better Performance

We reached out to Linley Gwennap, principal analyst...

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Microsoft Invests in Undersea Cables To Support Cloud Services

Being a "cloud-first, mobile-first" company means Microsoft must handle the massive and growing amounts of data such services require. That's why the company has been investing "significantly" in new fiber capacity across both land and sea.

Microsoft announced Monday that it had signed on as the first foundation customer for the America Europe Connect (AEConnect) subsea cable being laid across the Atlantic by Aqua Comms Limited and TE SubCom. Scheduled to go into service in December, the 5,400-kilometer-long fiber optic cable connecting Shirley, New York, and Killala, Ireland, will provide low-latency, 100-Gbps connectivity for Microsoft and other Internet service providers.

Redmond is also adding more long-haul fiber capacity for its data centers in a partnership with Hibernia Networks in Ireland, and has joined a consortium to build the New Cross Pacific Cable Network (pictured) between North America and Asia.

Not Enough Subsea Capacity for 100 Gbps

"As people and organizations expect data and information at their fingertips, Microsoft must have an infrastructure that can deliver the cloud services, including Azure, which our customers need to support their global businesses," Network Enablement Managing Director David Crowley said in a Microsoft Azure blog post. With the company's rapid growth in cloud services, "we need a strong subsea strategy to ensure our customers experience high availability access to their data," he said.

Microsoft has made significant investments over the past nine months to expand both its terrestrial and subsea dark fiber capacity, Crowley noted. The new partner projects announced Monday will make the company's connections across both the Atlantic and the Pacific even stronger, he added.

"Out of approximately 230 subsea cables across the globe, very few are currently equipped to fully support coherent technology with 100-Gbps capabilities," Crowley said in a statement released with the AEConnect announcement. "With bandwidth-hungry applications on the rise, we want...

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Verizon Grabs AOL for $4.4 Billion — Good Buy?

With the future in mind, Verizon Communications is making a bold -- and expensive -- step to build its digital and video platforms. The telecom giant has inked a deal to acquire Internet legend AOL. Verizon will pay $50 per share for a total value of about $4.4 billion.

Verizon said the acquisition will beef up its LTE wireless video and OTT (over-the-top video) strategy. Beyond the obvious, the deal will also support and connect to VerizonEUs Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, helping the company expand from wireless to IoT for consumers and businesses.

EUVerizonEUs vision is to provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multiscreen network platform,EU said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO. EUThis acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.EU

A Multi-Billion Opportunity

Most people who use the Internet have used -- or at least heard of -- AOL. Once known as America Online, AOL has staked a claim in the digital content world and advertising platforms space.

EUAt Verizon, weEUve been strategically investing in emerging technology, including Verizon Digital Media Services and OTT, that taps into the market shift to digital content and advertising,EU said McAdam. EUAOLEUs advertising model aligns with this approach, and the advertising platform provides a key tool for us to develop future revenue streams.EU

Merging AOL with Verizon will create a scaled, mobile-first platform targeting what eMarketer has assessed as a $600 billion global advertising industry. Verizon immediately picks up AOLEUs subscription business, portfolio of global brands like Engadget, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and AOL.com, as well as Emmy-nominated original video content and programmatic advertising platforms.

EUVerizon is a leader in mobile and OTT connected platforms, and the combination of Verizon and AOL creates a unique and scaled mobile and OTT...

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Could $9 C.H.I.P. PC Replace Raspberry Pi?

The people behind an Oakland-based technology firm called Next Thing Co. are touting their product in development -- C.H.I.P. -- as "the world's first $9 computer." Launched on the fundraising site Kickstarter with the goal of raising $50,000, the project has attracted more than $757,000 in pledges as of early Monday afternoon.

"To make C.H.I.P. for $9 we need to buy components in extremely large quantities," Dave Rauchwerk, one member of the Next Thing Co. team, said on the startup's Kickstarter video. The company said it hopes to source a key component, the system-on-chip for C.H.I.P.'s development board, through a China-based fabless semiconductor firm called Allwinner Technology.

"To sell C.H.I.P. for $9, we need to order tens of thousands of chips," Next Thing Co. said on Kickstarter. "By using common, available and volume-produced processor, memory, and Wi-Fi chips, we are able to leverage the scales at which tablet manufacturers operate to get everyone the best price."

PocketC.H.I.P. Adds Portability

Featuring a 1 GHz processor with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage, C.H.I.P. will come with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, and can be connected wirelessly to a keyboard and mouse, the company said.

With the addition of either a VGA or HDMI adapter, the C.H.I.P. can be connected to any size screen. Combined with a molded shell PocketC.H.I.P. case (a $40 add-on) that features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard and five-hour, 3,000 mAH battery, C.H.I.P. can also be turned into an on-the-go computer.

"We built C.H.I.P. to make tiny, powerful computers more accessible and easier to use," according information on the company's Kickstarter page. The company said both C.H.I.P. and PocketC.H.I.P. will be totally open source. "This means all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and...

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