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  • Intel Has To Be Better Than ‘Lifestyle Company’ Apple at Making CPUs, Says New CEO
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, doesn’t start his new role until February, but he’s already prepping the company to take on Apple’s M1 chips. From a report: The Oregonian, a local newspaper in Oregon where Intel maintains a large presence, reports that the chip maker held an all-hands company meeting yesterday, and Gelsinger attended. “We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino” makes, Gelsinger reportedly told Intel employees. “We have to be that good, in the future.” Intel has been facing increased competition from both Apple and AMD recently. Apple announced its transition to its own silicon back in June, calling it a “historic day for the Mac.” The transition has gone well, with M1-based Macs providing impressive performance and battery life compared to existing Intel-based Macs. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Apple Plans Upgraded MacBook Pros With Return of Magnetic Charging
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Apple is planning upgraded MacBook Pro laptops this year with much faster processors, updated displays and the return of its magnetic charger, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing a person with knowledge of the plans. From the report: The new laptops are planned to come in two screen sizes, a 14-inch model codenamed J314 and a 16-inch version internally dubbed J316. Both will use next-generation versions of Apple’s in-house Mac processors, upgraded with more cores and enhanced graphics, the person said, asking not to be named as the products are not yet announced. These devices will mark Apple’s first high-end laptops to move away from Intel components. The company updated its base 13-inch MacBook Pro with its own M1 chip in November, to broadly positive reviews. Beyond the more powerful chips, Apple is also planning to step up the displays in its new MacBook Pros with brighter, higher-contrast panels, the person said. The new Macs will look similar to the current versions, albeit with minor design changes. Apple is aiming to launch the new MacBook Pros around the middle of the year. A major change to the new computers will be how they charge. Over the past five years, Apple has relied on USB-C ports for both power and data transfer on its laptops, making them compatible with other manufacturers’ chargers. But the company is now bringing back MagSafe, the magnetic power adapter that means any accidental yanking of the power cable would simply detach it from the laptop rather than pull down the entire computer. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • With Discovery, Star Trek Is Finally Moving Forward
    by Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy on Jan 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    The show’s third season jumps forward 1,000 years into the future. It helped the show not stay mired in old ideas.

  • Ford Halts Focus Car Plant for Full Month Due To Chip Shortage
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Ford Motor is halting production of its most popular car model in Europe for a full month because of the shortage of semiconductors disrupting the worldâ(TM)s biggest automakers. From a report: The automaker’s Focus factory in Saarlouis, Germany, will idle from Jan. 18 through Feb. 19, according to a spokesman, who said lower consumer demand also is playing a factor. The plant is Ford’s lone manufacturing facility for the Focus and employs about 5,000 workers. The facility is the latest to fall victim to a supply issue that’s disrupting carmakers around the globe. Ford already was forced to idle a sport utility vehicle plant in Kentucky this week, joining Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and others in scaling back output because of the bottleneck of chips that play a function in everything from brakes to windshield wipers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Why Cancer Cells Waste So Much Energy
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    MIT News: In the 1920s, German chemist Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells don’t metabolize sugar the same way that healthy cells usually do. Since then, scientists have tried to figure out why cancer cells use this alternative pathway, which is much less efficient. MIT biologists have now found a possible answer to this longstanding question. In a study appearing in Molecular Cell, they showed that this metabolic pathway, known as fermentation, helps cells to regenerate large quantities of a molecule called NAD+, which they need to synthesize DNA and other important molecules. Their findings also account for why other types of rapidly proliferating cells, such as immune cells, switch over to fermentation. “This has really been a hundred-year-old paradox that many people have tried to explain in different ways,” says Matthew Vander Heiden, an associate professor of biology at MIT and associate director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. “What we found is that under certain circumstances, cells need to do more of these electron transfer reactions, which require NAD+, in order to make molecules such as DNA.” Vander Heiden is the senior author of the new study, and the lead authors are former MIT graduate student and postdoc Alba Luengo PhD ’18 and graduate student Zhaoqi Li. Fermentation is one way that cells can convert the energy found in sugar to ATP, a chemical that cells use to store energy for all of their needs. However, mammalian cells usually break down sugar using a process called aerobic respiration, which yields much more ATP. Cells typically switch over to fermentation only when they don’t have enough oxygen available to perform aerobic respiration. Since Warburg’s discovery, scientists have put forth many theories for why cancer cells switch to the inefficient fermentation pathway. Warburg originally proposed that cancer cells’ mitochondria, where aerobic respiration occurs, might be damaged, but this turned out not to be the case. Other explanations have focused on the possible benefits of producing ATP in a different way, but none of these theories have gained widespread support. In this study, the MIT team decided to try to come up with a solution by asking what would happen if they suppressed cancer cells’ ability to perform fermentation. To do that, they treated the cells with a drug that forces them to divert a molecule called pyruvate from the fermentation pathway into the aerobic respiration pathway. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Apple Testing Vapor Chamber Thermal Tech For Next-Gen iPhone, Kuo Says
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    Noted TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a report on Friday said recent industry surveys indicate Apple is “aggressively” testing vapor chamber thermal systems for use in iPhone, suggesting the technology will make its way to the flagship handset in the near future. From a report: Kuo believes Apple is highly likely to incorporate vapor chamber tech into an upcoming iPhone model, though it is not clear if the system will be ready in time for 2021. Generally speaking, vapor chamber (VC) technology involves evaporation of a liquid (typically water) within a specialized heat pipe or heat retention structure that snakes its way through a device chassis. Heat from processors and other high load electronic components causes the liquid to evaporate into a vapor that spreads thermal energy through the evaporation chamber as it travels to areas of lower pressure. Fins or other condenser bodies remove heat from the vapor, which returns to a liquid state and is carried back to areas of high pressure through capillary action. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • US Blacklists Xiaomi in Widening Assault on China Tech
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Xiaomi plunged a record 10% after the Trump administration blacklisted China’s No. 2 smartphone maker and 10 other companies, broadening efforts to undercut the expansion of the country’s technology sector. From a report, shared by dxxt: The U.S. has targeted scores of Chinese companies for the stated purpose of protecting national security, but going after Xiaomi was unexpected. The Beijing-based company has been viewed as China’s answer to Apple, producing sleek smartphones that draw loyal fans with each new release. The company, which vies with Huawei Technologies for the title of China’s No. 1 mobile device brand, also makes electric scooters, earphones and smart rice cookers. The U.S. Defense Dept. identified Xiaomi as one of nine companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military — which means American investors will be prohibited from buying their securities and will have to divest holdings by November. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Amazon Will Let Companies Build Voice Assistants on Alexa
    by msmash on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:04 pm is offering other companies the ability to use the building blocks of the Alexa digital assistant for their own automated versions, the latest effort to embed the company’s voice software into other devices. From a report: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will be the first to use Alexa Custom Assistant, relying on Amazon-built speech recognition and other software to power the automaker’s in-car tools, Amazon said Friday in a statement. The retail and technology giant also invited other companies to customize the underlying Alexa system with their own wake word, voice and unique capabilities. Alexa is most closely associated with Echo smart speakers, but Amazon has been working to extend the software’s reach, and fend off rivals like Apple and Alphabet’s Google, by adding utility for tasks like home automation and the potentially lucrative and fiercely contested market for in-car software. Amazon, which lacks the massive base of captive smartphone users of its main rivals, has suggested voice assistants should be able to talk to one another. The company, like competitors, already offers for rent elements of the technology that powers its digital assistant, but Alexa Custom Assistant represents a more complete set of tools, Amazon said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Facebook Can’t Fix What It Won’t Admit To
    by Steven Levy on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Plus: Zuckerberg’s community manifesto, how to hold platforms accountable, and an accidental admission in Congress.

  • Hackers Used Zero-Days to Infect Windows and Android Devices
    by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica on Jan 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Google researchers say the campaign, which booby-trapped sites to ensnare targets, was carried out by a “highly sophisticated actor.”

  • Tech event calendar 2021: Upcoming US shows, conferences, and IT expos
    by Ken Mingis on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Regional IT events Africa Australia Middle East Southeast Asia Global security events Computerworld has compiled a list of upcoming technology events for the IT industry taking place in the following weeks and months.To read this article in full, please click here

  • 2020 Was the One of the Hottest Years on Record
    by Eric Niiler on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Officials from NASA and NOAA say the warming of both the planet’s air and water are driving weather disasters.

  • Robot Toilets, Vibrating Headbands, and Other Oddities at CES
    by WIRED Staff on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    This week, we recap the news, trends, and stand-out gadgets from the first-ever virtual CES.

  • Tech Coalition Working To Create Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Passport
    by BeauHD on Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: A coalition of health and technology organizations are working to develop a digital COVID-19 vaccination passport to allow businesses, airlines and countries to check if people have received the vaccine. The Vaccination Credential Initiative, announced on Thursday, is formulating technology to confirm vaccinations in the likelihood that some governments will mandate people provide proof of their shots in order to enter the nation. The organization hopes the technology will allow people to “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.” The initiative, which includes members like Microsoft, Oracle and U.S. nonprofit Mayo Clinic, is using the work from member Commons Project’s international digital document that verifies a person has tested negative for COVID-19, the Financial Times reported. The Commons Project’s technology, created in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, is being utilized by three major airline alliances. The coalition is reportedly in discussions with several governments to create a program requiring either negative tests or proof of vaccination to enter, Paul Meyer, the chief executive of The Commons Project, told the Times. The technology will need to allow patients to keep their data secure while being available in a digital wallet or a physical QR code for them to regulate who sees the information. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • AI-Powered Text From This Program Could Fool the Government
    by Will Knight on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    A Harvard medical student submitted auto-generated comments to Medicaid; volunteers couldn’t distinguish them from those penned by humans.

  • Wikipedia Is Basically a Massive RPG
    by Stephen Harrison on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Sure, the metaphor is imperfect. But as the encyclopedia enters its 20th year, it’s worth reflecting on the “rules of the game”—and how they might change.

  • How to Preorder the Samsung Galaxy S21—and Which One to Get
    by Julian Chokkattu on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Should you go Ultra or snag the S21+? We break down the differences between the company’s new phones and round up the best deals.

  • Everything We Know Now About Schools, Kids, and Covid-19
    by Megan Molteni on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Researchers are finally getting good data on how severely SARS-CoV-2 affects children and how they transmit it. What does it mean for reopening classrooms?

  • I Am Not a Soldier, but I Have Been Trained to Kill
    by Rachel Monroe on Jan 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    A sprawling tactical industry is teaching American civilians how to fight like Special Ops forces. By preparing for violence at home, are they calling it into being?

  • TikTok Is Poised to Outlast Trump, and to Test Biden
    by David McCabe on Jan 15, 2021 at 10:00 am

    It is unclear how the president-elect will approach the Chinese tech industry.

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