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Weekend tech reading: Xeon & unlocked Skylake CPUs planned for laptops, beware of trojaned routers

By Matthew
Aug 9, 2015
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  1. Intel promises unlocked, overclockable Skylake CPU for laptops The first of Intel's Skylake processors are here, and while these quad-core desktop CPUs will be of limited interest to anyone who doesn't care about overclocking, examining them and their chipsets gives us some idea of what we can expect from the rest of the Skylake family. Intel's announcement did include one more tidbit that we didn't look at in our early review -- the company says that it plans to release an unlocked, overclockable K-series Skylake CPU for laptops. Ars Technica (also, Bringing Intel Xeon to notebook PCs)

    Welcome to the Internet of compromised things This post is a bit of a public service announcement, so I'll get right to the point: Every time you use WiFi, ask yourself: could I be connecting to the Internet through a compromised router with malware? It's becoming more and more common to see malware installed not at the server, desktop, laptop, or smartphone level, but at the router level. Routers have become quite capable, powerful little computers in their own right over the last 5 years, and that means they can, unfortunately, be harnessed to work against you. Coding Horror

    IBM adds medical images to Watson, buying Merge Healthcare for $1 billion IBM is adding medical images to the health data its Watson artificial-intelligence can mine to help doctors make diagnoses. The big technology company announced on Thursday morning that it was buying Merge Healthcare, a medical-imaging software company, for $1 billion. When IBM set up its Watson health business in April, it began with a couple of smaller medical data acquisitions and industry partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. The NY Times

    Watch this human-controlled robot crush cans and punch through drywall "The way I like to think about this project is that we're trying to put a humans brain inside of the robot". Don’t worry: it's less techno-horror-movie-esque than it sounds. We're getting closer and closer to robots that can roam about on their own. DARPA's Atlas robot is climbing stairs and opening doors; Google's Small Dog is running around, bounding over small obstacles, and presumably remembering the names of each and every person who tries to kick it over so as to destroy them later. TechCrunch

    Inside the failure of Google+, a very expensive attempt to unseat Facebook That was the original pitch for Google's Facebook rival, Google+, a refrain hammered over and over by the social network's chief architect, Vic Gundotra, in meetings with the company's top brass. Gundotra, described by colleagues we spoke with as charismatic and politically-savvy, eventually persuaded Larry Page, the Google cofounder who returned as CEO at the beginning of 2011 after a decade behind the scenes, to turn the company upside down for this cause. Mashable

    How to shoot down a drone (Don't. But if you're going to...) You're hanging out in your backyard when suddenly a drone approaches, a friendly little recreational quadcopter. It zooms over your house before it doubles back and sits there in the sky, hovering over you and staring you down. It doesn't look so friendly anymore. It looks like a spy. In the past few years, there's been a lot of time and effort devoted to the complicated question of whether you ought have the right to shoot that sucker down. Popular Mechanics

    Design flaw in Intel processors opens door to rootkits, researcher says A design flaw in the x86 processor architecture dating back almost two decades could allow attackers to install a rootkit in the low-level firmware of computers, a security researcher said Thursday. Such malware could be undetectable by security products. The vulnerability stems from a feature first added to the x86 architecture in 1997. It was disclosed Thursday at the Black Hat security conference by Christopher Domas... ITworld

    Physicists announce graphene's latest cousin: stanene Two years after physicists predicted that tin should be able to form a mesh just one atom thick, researchers say that they have made it. The thin film, called stanene, is reported on 3 August inNature Materials1. But researchers have not been able to confirm whether the material has the predicted exotic electronic properties that have excited theorists, such as being able to conduct electricity without generating any waste heat. Nature.com

    SanDisk, Toshiba double down, announce the world's highest capacity 3D NAND flash chips SanDisk and Toshiba announced today that they are manufacturing 256Gbit (32GB), 3-bit-per-cell (X3) 48-layer 3D NAND flash chips that offer twice the capacity of the next densest memory. The two NAND flash manufacturers are currently printing pilots of 256Gb X3 chips in their new Yokkaichi, Japan fabrication plant. They are expecting to ship the new chips next year. Computerworld

    Credit cards used on CVSPhoto.com might be comprimised We have been made aware that customer credit card information collected by the independent vendor who manages and hosts CVSPhoto.com may have been compromised. As a precaution, as our investigation is underway, we are temporarily shutting down access to online and related mobile photo services. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working diligently to resume service as soon as possible. CVSPhoto

    Crackdown 3 will deliver Microsoft's cloud-backed, fully destructive terrain When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, it claimed developers and gamers could take advantage of Microsoft's unique cloud infrastructure to boost game performance or create special effects that a single Xbox One couldn't possibly handle. The company never said much about the feature after that, though we saw a glimmer of it last year, when Titanfall ran the game's AI on Microsoft’s cloud servers. ExtremeTech

    What brings a virtual city to life? In a recent column for Giant Bomb critic Austin Walker penned an extended meditation on how the urban-scape of Batman: Arkham Night lacked soul. One of his more interesting conclusions was that the lifelessness of the city throughout the course of the game, packed only as it was with enemies waiting to be attacked, robbed the series of one its core characters: Gotham City itself, and in the process, the characterisations that flow from the nature of the city, perhaps especially for its signature supervillains. Gamasutra

    A miniature accelerator to treat cancer CERN, home of the 27-kilometre Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is developing a new particle accelerator just two metres long. The miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) is designed for use in hospitals for imaging and the treatment of cancer. It will consist of four modules, each 50cm long, the first of which has already been constructed. "With this first module we have validated all of the stages of construction and the concept in general", says Serge Mathot of the CERN engineering department. CERN

    Keys to the kingdom: The rise of the mechanical gaming keyboard Many of you are reading this article on a PC. Your hands are resting on the QWERTY-style keyboard, the left resting in the section containing the keys Q, W, E, A, S, D, and the right resting somewhere in-between the dedicated arrow keys and Enter. If you're at work, perhaps your boss will come by and you'll be forced Alt-Tab to a more productive-looking window. If you're at home preparing to game, your fingers slide over to the familiar WASD keys. USgamer

    The web we have to save Seven months ago, I sat down at the small table in the kitchen of my 1960s apartment, nestled on the top floor of a building in a vibrant central neighbourhood of Tehran, and I did something I had done thousands of times previously. I opened my laptop and posted to my new blog. This, though, was the first time in six years. And it nearly broke my heart. A few weeks earlier, I’d been abruptly pardoned and freed from Evin prison in northern Tehran. Medium

    Apple's fall iPhone event to be held Sept. 9 Apple hasn't yet officially announced its annual fall media event, but it's definitely planning one -- and the date is fast approaching. Sources familiar with Apple's plans tell BuzzFeed News the company intends to hold a special event the week of Sept. 7, with Wednesday the 9th being the most likely date. Sept. 9 is the same day on which Apple held this event last year. BuzzFeed

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