November 4, 2013

BlackBerry CEO steps down as company secures $1 billion funding from investors

Chen, BlackBerry’s new interim leader, comes with strong credentials. He most recently played an instrumental role in turning around the fortunes of Sybase, a company that was once in a similarly distressed state to BlackBerry’s current plight. His experience in the mobile enterprise business will be an asset and could potentially point to the future direction of the company. John Chen is also taking up the role of Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s board, immediately taking on a great deal of both power and responsibility.

Mr. Chen seems like a fantastic choice for the company. He definitely has the leadership background that Thorsten Heins lacked. Hopefully, this new CEO can turn the company around ASAP.

Google Employees Confess The Worst Things About Working At Google

Google may understand engineering, but not design.

“There is not enough focus on product and visual design.  This has led to many aborted/semi-successful products, like Wave, Google Video, Buzz, Dodgeball, Orkut, Knol, and Friend Connect.  There is probably too much focus on pure engineering.”

Now it all makes sense. Kind of.

Western Digital enlists helium for 6TB energy-efficient drives

The lower turbulence also increases the drive’s capacity because more platters can be squeezed into the 3.5-inch housing. Today’s 4-terabyte models use five platters and top out at 4TB, but the Ultrastar He6 has seven platters and reaches 6TB of capacity. That’s also useful for data centers where space is at a premium.

These would be amazing in my 5-bay RAID 5 array.

Usain Bolt Ate 100 Chicken McNuggets a Day in Beijing and Somehow Won Three Gold Medals

In the ten days Bolt spent in Beijing, he downed approximately 1,000 nuggets, averaging 100 a day. At 940 calories per 20-piece box, that means that Usain ate about 4,700 calories worth of Chicken McNuggets a day and 47,000 calories over the course of his stay in China. (And that’s without Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce, which, let’s face it, only a fool would pass up.)

There must be something in the nuggets. Or he just didn’t want to eat anything else China cuisine had to offer.


Living in a Surveillance State

“George Orwell was an optimist” says Mikko Hypponen. This is a must watch, and he is a must follow on Twitter.

Forget anonymous e-mail. Think privacy.

Google or Skype or Yahoo are capable of providing true end-to-end encryption, but the problem that they run into is that that stops their business model of advertising. Mega’s business model is pay for storage. There’s no advertising.

I cannot wait to see this in action in the new year.


October 31, 2013

Touch ID takes hardware security to new levels

It was then discovered that the Touch ID sensor currently in the device was not the original one that came in the device. Once the original was returned, Touch ID started working again.

At this point, we knew there had to be some additional, previously undisclosed, hardware lockdown going on. To test this theory, we took two iPhone 5s handsets that had never been opened before, and verified Touch ID was working on both. The front assemblies, which contain the Touch ID assembly itself, were then removed and swapped. After re-assembly, both Touch ID setups failed. When returned to the original device, Touch ID once again operated correctly.

This confirmed for us that the Touch ID component cable assembly itself is tied to each individual A7 chip.

This is some absolutely profound hardware security that Apple integrated in their new Touch ID finger print scanner on the iPhone 5s.


October 30, 2013

How Was Supposed to Work and Didn’t

The Obama administration has announced that the federal health exchange Web site, which has been plagued by software problems from the start, would be fixed by the end of November.

This is a well documented and visually pleasing piece by The New York Times. For America’s sake, I hope Obama gets this website up and running ASAP.

The Cost Of Internet In America Is Way Too High

The report found that, for U.S. consumers, the best price available for a 150 Mbps connection is Verizon’s FiOS, which goes for $130 per month in the small group locations where it’s even available. Most international cities were offering comparable service for about $50 a month. Over the summer, Verizon rolled out a new 500 Mbps service in select in American cities for the hefty price tag of $300 a month. By contrast, someone in Paris could get the same level of service for a mere $86. (All dollar figures in the report are adjusted for the cost of living in the cities measured.)

The price of Internet service in Canada is also way too high. Our “Big 3” Internet providers all pretty much charge around the same amount. We essentially get around 25 Mbps down with an 80GB bandwidth  for $54 a month.

Does Life End After 35?

His advice to me: Don’t be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself. Comparing yourself to what others are doing is a waste of time.

Life has a new chapter for us at any age.

Apple Makes Big Tablets Beautiful All Over Again

The iPad Air may be a lightweight device physically, but it’s a heavyweight when it comes to performance. Benchmarks tell only one side of the story, and the one that most users will be more interested in is around how the tablet work under normal, everyday usage conditions. Put simply, Apple’s latest iPad soars.

It’s unanimous. The new iPad Air is a clear winner. I will be picking one up this Friday.

Adobe: Hacker attach much bigger than previously disclosed

Adobe Systems Inc. said on Tuesday that the scope of a cyber-security breach disclosed nearly a month ago was far bigger than initially reported, with attackers obtaining data on more than 38 million customer accounts.

The software maker also said that hackers had stolen part of the source code to Photoshop editing software that is widely used by professional photographers.

This ongoing crisis at Adobe is heading even more south. Terrible news for industry professionals.

Mac Pro, Ara, and Modularity

Inevitability has caught up with us. We’ve pushed hard to keep modularity around as long as possible. I’ll certainly miss it, as I’m currently typing this article on a computer that’s quite literally a pile of parts on my desk.

But in the end, it’s the right step. I’d rather make improvements to speed, power consumption, size, and cost than keep the bottleneck of modularity around. Apple has made one of the first large steps away from modular computing, and while it’s certainly not their first time doing so, they’re going to have an uphill battle initially. At some point though, modular computers and devices simply wont be able to keep up with specs of closed systems. Precision factory manufactured machines will outperform what home builds are capable of.

Interesting perspective. I know people would prefer one or the other. One group is always fascinated with being able to tinker and upgrade parts of their computers when need be. On the other hand, I know professional photographers and designers who don’t know or want to know how to do these things. They just want to crush and push their computers to the limits as much as they can.