Category Archives: Computer Hardware

On land and in space, IoT networks can now cover the planet

The whole idea of IoT is to connect more things, including devices far from a company’s data centers or maintenance crews. For enterprises that have things all over the world, vendors and service providers are starting to look at the big picture.

At Mobile World Congress later this month, Nokia will show off what it calls WING (worldwide IoT network grid), a virtual global infrastructure that may include multiple private and carrier networks and satellite systems, depending on what an enterprise needs to connect and how it intends to use the data that’s collected.

“A global enterprise can actually have what they think is their own virtual network of global connectivity for their IoT devices,” said Phil Twist, vice president of mobile networks marketing & communications, in a briefing this week. WING will be commercially available in the second half of this year.

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US House approves new privacy protections for email and the cloud

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Monday the Email Privacy Act, which would require law enforcement agencies to get court-ordered warrants to search email and other data stored with third parties for longer than six months. 

The House approved the bill by voice vote, and it now goes the Senate for consideration.

The Email Privacy Act would update a 31-year-old law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Some privacy advocates and tech companies have pushed Congress to update ECPA since 2011. Lax protections for stored data raise doubts about U.S. cloud services among consumers and enterprises, supporters of the bill say.

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Qualcomm CEO slams Apple for ‘without merit’ lawsuits

Senior executives at Qualcomm slammed Apple on Wednesday for lawsuits filed in the last week alleging the smartphone chip-maker significantly overcharged it for licensing fees.

The spat saw cases filed last Friday in California and this week in Beijing and were top of mind when Qualcomm conducted an earnings call with analysts on Wednesday.

For 15 minutes, Qualcomm executives criticized Apple’s moves, calling the two lawsuits “without merit” and accused the iPhone-maker of trying to use them as a way to reduce the royalties the iPhone maker pays to Qualcomm. 

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The DOD is testing a swarm of autonomous, 3-D printed drones

The Department of Defense is testing low-cost, autonomous, micro-drones for low-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

The drones, dubbed Perdix, operate as a swarm and are not individually pre-programmed. Instead, they act as a collective organism with one distributed brain for decision-making, the DOD said in a statement on Monday.

“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” says William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office of the DOD.

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Microsoft CMO: Forced Windows 10 upgrades were ‘pretty painful’

This year, Microsoft pushed users on taking advantage of its offer to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10 for free. That meant the company used a variety of tactics to get people to install an updater and run it to replace their old operating systems with the new one. 

Overall, Microsoft got the balance right between being too aggressive and getting users to upgrade, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela said in a Windows Weekly interview. But he did admit that Microsoft stepped out of line at one point with a change that confused and dismayed a number of users. 

“There was one particular moment … where the red ‘x’ in the dialog box, which typically means, you know, ‘cancel,’ didn’t mean cancel,” he said. “And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have, we knew that we had gone too far.”

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