Apple-1 computer, more than 40 years old, sold for US $375,000

The model originally had the value of US $ 666.66, when it was sold in the computer store Byte Shop

An Apple-1 , an unusual model of the first computer produced by the now iconic technology company, won $ 375,000 at an auction this week, according to the auction house based in Boston, RR Auction.

The computer was one of the 175 sold by Steve Jobs  and Steve Wozniak of his production in a garage in Silicon Valley , when Apple took its first steps, between 1976 and 1977.

The model originally had the value of US $ 666.66 when it was sold at the Byte Shop computer store in Mountain View, California, in the 1970s.

Jobs and Wozniak originally designed the Apple-1 as a circuit board to be sold as a kit and complemented by electronics hobbyists, but Byte Shop, owned by Paul Terrell, agreed to buy 50 if they were fully assembled and did not require welds by of the buyer.

According to RR, the computer that was sold this week was restored to its original condition in June and included the original Apple-1 board, a cassette interface, keyboard and other components.

The sale price was far from becoming a record, however another Apple-1 computer sold for US $ 905,000 in 2014.

The latest version of Windows 10 warns its users that they do not have to install Chrome or Firefox

Microsoft does not believe that Windows 10 users need another Internet browser other than Edge. This is how he communicates directly in the latest build of the Windows 10 Insider program, which, as some surprised users have discovered, shows a warning message.

when you try to run the installers of Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi. This dialog box appears in several languages

so it seems to be a well-established policy.

According to the message in question, the user “already has Microsoft Edge – the safest and fastest browser for Windows”, so it is not necessary to install alternatives. The options allow launching Edge (option highlighted in blue) or continue with the installation. Microsoft therefore does not block the use of third-party browsers, but clearly tries to discourage its use.

As Engadget points out , this is not the first time that Microsoft tries to promote Edge with questionable methods. One of the most recent was when he forced the opening of Windows Mail links with Microsoft Edge. He has also shown notifications to Chrome users, urging them to try their own browser. This practice is however somewhat more aggressive and contrasts with the old (and already disappeared) message of “choose your browser” forced by the European Union as a result of the Internet Explorer domain.

Generally the functions that appear in the buildsInsider end up arriving at the definitive version of Windows 10 with the following great update, although it is not always the case. Technical problems or changes in strategy have caused delays and cancellations in some services under the testing process, so Microsoft could backtrack depending on the response of the public. Which judging by the initial reactions, is not being very receptive.

Redstone 5, the next big update of Windows 10, will arrive in the month of October. Some of the innovations introduced with its launch include a file explorer with nightly theme , clipboard with history , improvements to the screenshot tool and the first update of the notebook in almost two decades.

Facebook works on its own artificial intelligence to detect deep fakes

Facebook has a major problem with the fake news . Its no a secret. Groups and individuals of diverse filiation use the popularity of the social network to spread all kinds of information, some patently false, that reach the eyes of a vast mass of users who do not exercise their critical sense too much. That said, there is a possibility that the next big political scandal based on a fake news is likely even for experts, and deep fakes could be the perfect tool to light the fuse.

This type of montages use artificial intelligence techniques to replace the faces of a video and even synchronize their features with any type of audio, allowing the creation of surprisingly credible videos. Most publicly available applications leave something to be desired, but using good quality material and the right software some videos may require several viewings to determine their authenticity.

The availability of relatively simple tools has made deep fakes a hobby for some users.

For this reason, and since Facebook is a means of information of first order for millions of people around the world, the social network has expanded its program of checkers to determine the validity of the videos published on the platform. The 27 organizations that collaborate with Facebook to assess the validity of their news may also score videos and static images rated as potentially fraudulent by an automated learning system.

Essentially, Facebook’s artificial intelligence will examine photos and videos until they encounter some kind of suspicious content, which will then be sent to a human team made up of organizations such as Snopes, Politifact or Associated Press. Journalists and fact checkersthey will check their authenticity using visual verification, but also reverse searches and metadata analysis. Receive the human assessment, the artificial intelligence of Facebook will improve the accuracy of your future detections.

The concern for deep fakes began to spread after videos like this created by the University of Washington.

Developing (and training) this artificial intelligence at optimal levels will not be an easy task. Facebook recognizes that right now it is more successful using OCR techniques in videos to detect fraudulent texts inserted in videos that verify the transcription of the audio of a video to verify its authenticity. Making the jump to deep fakes , which can be even more deceptive, will therefore require considerable technical and human effort.

Source: ZDNet

LG Display is in crisis for the Chinese LCD screens and bet on the OLED to recover

Beyond the sale of televisions, which lately is not giving badly, LG is one of the largest providers of screens for the electronics industry. Its subsidiary LG Display has enjoyed for years a comfortable situation as a producer of LCD panels, but in less than a year the South Korean firm has gone from having the leadership to sink almost catastrophic.

According to news agency Reuters , sales of LG LCD panels suddenly evaporated after Chinese manufacturers, led by BOE Technology Group, accelerate the pace of investments to compete globally. Over the past five years, LG Display had registered significant benefits on the shoulders of a market with a limited number of suppliers, but the lack of foresight has led to losses.

Bang & Olufsen uses OLED 4K panels and the LG Smart TV platform.

The situation is such that just a year ago LG had eight production lines in its native South Korea and a ninth in China. After the closures of the last few months, it only keeps two factories active in South Korea and its existing facilities in China. It has also canceled plans to open a new factory that does not make sense at this time.

The market situation is not favorable for LG. Reuters notes that the price of 50-inch LCD panels has fallen by approximately 32% year-on-year, reducing profit margins that in the lower segments are directly negligible. Meanwhile, LG Display has three consecutive quarters of losses and has been forced to activate an “emergency management system”, asking its employees to look for cheaper flights when they have to travel and reduce company meals.

LG Display Vice Chairman Han Sang-beom smashes a discarded 55-inch LCD panel with a hammer during an event at their factory in Paju, South Korea, April 26, 2018. LG Display/Handout via REUTERS

Getting out of this situation will not be easy. Recovering the lost ground as manufacturer of LCD panels is almost mission impossible at this point, and so it was staged by the vice president of LG Display last April when he armed himself with a hammer to destroy an LCD screen in front of the cameras. Now the company’s efforts are focused on the production of large-format OLED panels, where it has no competition.

According to estimates LG Display, by 2020 40% of its revenues will come from the sale of OLED panels, when they currently represent 10%. “Given that OLED is our response and solution to the crisis, there is nothing we can do other than tighten our belts and drive the OLED,” an employee of the company told Reuters. Nor is there many more outlets.

LG Display expects its OLED screen division to benefit during the third quarter. It will not be only through LG’s own TVs. Its panels are also used by brands such as Panasonic, Philips, Loewe, Bang & Olufsen and Sony, which calibrate them according to their respective needs and provide their own image processing technologies.

The launch of the first 8K panels will possibly serve to maintain the interest of LG’s partners, generally interested in factors such as contrast.

That said, OLED 8K is not the only leading technology that LG Display is investing in. During this past IFA 2018 the company also presented its first MicroLED screen, with a total of 173 inches and 4K support. Of the emissive type, the MicroLED technology combines the absolute black and infinite contrast of the OLED with the blinding brightness of the LCD LED, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes available to all consumers and Samsung takes it for now the front .


Amazon investigates the sale of customer data and the use of bribes to improve scores

Amazon has a major problem with its product analysis and positioning system. This is something in the public domain. The company has long done what it can to deal with promoted sales, items offered for free through unofficial channels in exchange for positive ratings, but the company is now dealing with a potentially more serious issue: the sale of data of its customers by employees. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is investigating this practice eminently focused on China, where there are more and more registered independent sellers. According to the story, employees of the company, through intermediaries, would offer detailed information on sales and even email addresses to improve the positioning of their products or amend negative ratings. 

Apparently Amazon would have detected several incidents of this type. The affected countries are unknown (the Chinese division would apparently be the most vulnerable, in part, the newspaper explains, because of its low salaries), but at least several United States employees would also have participated in the sale of data. Depending on the type of information, those involved would charge between 80 and 2,000 dollars.

In addition to having detailed information on sales and traffic, useful to position your products better, the vendors involved would also be interested in the email addresses of certain buyers. The problem for consumers is therefore not to risk buying a product full of false paid valuations, but the fact that these sellers would contact critical users to ask them to change their valuation. In return they could be offered free products or discounts.

More serious if it would be the use of bribes so that employees of Amazon eliminate the negative analyzes. Apparently some vendors have come to pay Amazon employees with the power to edit or delete reviews left by the buyers themselves. This work is done through intermediaries contacted through the Chinese application WeChat. According to the US newspaper, the cost of erasing a negative review is $ 300 and normally requires a minimum of five deleted texts, since intermediaries negotiate the deletion of comments in batches.

These intermediaries would also offer the interested stores lists with the keywords of the searches, data on sales volumes and certain statistics related to consumption habits. Armed with this valuable information (which Amazon treasures for itself), unscrupulous sellers manage to position their products at the top of the results. According to sources in The Wall Street Journal, for $ 80 you can buy information about the number of times that users searched for a certain product and clicked on its page, find out which sellers buy advertising and how much it costs them.

Amazon should stop this kind of situation if it wants to avoid major credibility problems. The issue of paid reviews was already compromising, but the fact that some sellers can access such extremely sensitive information has extraordinarily serious implications both for users, whose privacy is violated, and credibility, since not a few businesses are seriously harmed by this type of practice.

OnePlus aims for the launch of its first television for 2019

OnePlus seems determined to follow the steps that have led Xiaomi to her current position. Although much more slowly (which could otherwise be more sustainable), the Chinese manufacturer  has begun to diversify its catalog with the introduction of new products. The biggest one is yet to arrive, but it is already beginning to be glimpsed. It will be a television and presumably will arrive in 2019 with an emphasis on design, image quality and sound.

The news has been given by Pete Lau, the head of the company. In an interview with the Indian edition of Business Insider. The executive has pointed out that the current market is “fairly traditional in terms of functions and experience”, factors that would play an important role in the first OnePlus TV. Moreover, Lau says that other manufacturers “have not integrated the Internet well” in their TVs, while OnePlus would be offering continuous updates to increase their performance and connectivity possibilities during the five years after its launch.

Currently it is not at all strange that many companies forget to release updates for their TVs within a few years of its release. The fact that OnePlus dares to speak of a continuous updating plan for five years is therefore striking (and even intriguing). All in all, the CEO of OnePlus is the first to admit that “it will not be something perfect and absolutely complete and revolutionary” from the first day, suggesting that his strategy as a manufacturer of smart televisions will be developed very gradually.

One of the fundamental pillars of this strategy will be the deployment of some kind of artificial intelligence technology. It is not clear if it is a voice assistant to use, despite Business Insider paraphrases the interest of Lau in offering features already available through Amazon Echo and Google Home . More controversial could be the integration of a camera as a fundamental part of the television, particularly in terms of its implications on the privacy of users . “We have it in mind and we will have a solution,” has been limited to declaring the OnePlus manager.

As for its performance, all there are are vague promises. It is impossible to talk about resolution (which is not a small thing with 8K on the horizon ) or support for different types of HDR, so fans should settle for the promise that the first OnePlus TV will be a “premium” product and with capabilities comparable to other featured models , although predictably at a lower price. Anyway, “the decision has been made” and the still anonymous first OnePlus TV will come true, so we can only expect the dissemination of official details throughout the next year or the appearance of the first leaks. What comes before.

A new botnet infects computers with cryptocurrency mining malware to disinfect them

Normally, the appearance of a new botnet rarely has positive implications. There are exceptions, however. As these swarms of devices are commonly used to launch massive computer attacks with few resources, there is evidence of extraordinary cases such as Hajime, which infects unsafe IoT devices to prevent their hijacking . Now a new example is added: Fbot, a network that fights against crypto-malware. Or that’s what it looks like. 

The discovery of Fbot has been announced by researchers at 360Netlab (Qihoo), who describe it as a derivative of Satori, in turn based on Mirai. This last botnet came to occupy the news after a mysterious attack cut the accessto some of the most used pages and services in the world . Unlike Mirai, Fbot is superficially benign, and in fact exhibits an extremely strange performance. 

According to the 360Netlab research, Fbot infects Android-based devices such as tablets and smartphones, but also streaming devices (which are occasionally authentic malware festivals and vulnerabilities) and other members of the Internet of Things. Its purpose is to find and eliminate com.ufo.miner, a botnet derived from the miner ADB.Miner.

Essentially Fbot performs a scan to check if TCP port 5555 is open. If that is the case, launch an attack to eliminate the ADB mining scripts, close the processes and leave the system completely clean. It is also a botnet of the most arranged, since once its attack is completed it deletes itself. Equally intriguing is the fact that the botnet is controlled by DNS blockchain protocols ( EmerDNS ), which makes it difficult to trace.

Initially the effects of Fbot seem to be benign. At least in appearance. The fact is that nobody has claimed their authorship and there is no way of knowing if it has any ulterior purpose, so it can not be ruled out that it is a tool created by a group of miners with the purpose of eliminating the competition. Likewise, Fbot does not stop being software installed without the user’s permission, with all that that implies.

Samsung introduces a triple rear camera in its mid-range with the Galaxy A7

Earlier this month the head of the Samsung phone division said the company planned to release some of its next technological advances not in its more advanced phones, but in the mid-range. What not many did not expect is that this strategy was to take shape so soon. Today the South Korean firm has launched it with the announcement of the Galaxy A7, a very popular phone that now stands out for the presence of a triple rear camera.

Reasonably extended in countries such as Spain but not very competitive at a technical level, the Galaxy A7 is reinvented now with quite interesting features on paper. In addition to the almost usual Full HD + screen with rounded corners (based on Super AMOLED technology) there is a chipset of eight cores and unknown paternity accompanied by up to 6 GB of RAM.

  • Super AMOLED 6-inch screen 2220 x 1080
  • Eight-core processor at 2.2 GHz
  • 4/6 GB of RAM (depending on the market)
  • 64/128 GB of storage (depending on the market, expandable in the 64 GB model)
  • LTE (depending on the market)
  • Rear camera 24 + 8 + 5 MP
  • Front camera 24 MP
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 3,300 mAh battery

The camera is in any case the star of this mobile. The main sensor has a resolution of 24 megapixels (f / 1.7), while the secondary sensor is ultra panoramic, with a total of 8 megapixels and a capture capacity of 120 ° to take better pictures of groups of people or landscapes. The third sensor has a resolution of 5 MP and is used to capture depth data, necessary to generate blur effects. The front camera is also remarkable, with a total of 24 MP.

Samsung has not yet put a price on this phone, which is expected to arrive in the fall. The company has scheduled an event for next October 11, when we will possibly know the specific configuration for Spain and the rates.

Source: Samsung

Xiaomi expands its high range with the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite

Simplification, reduction and convergence are terms that have no place in the Xiaomi dictionary. Proof of this is the fact that today its flagship has added two new variants with the debut of the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite (or Mi 8 Youth). The first of them is remarkable because almost certainly it will become the international version of the Mi 8 Explorer Edition (in Spain we only know the base model ), while the second is configured as a more affordable phone.

Starting with the most powerful model, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro basically retains all the benefits of the well-known Mi 8 Explorer Edition, although with some minor changes. For example, instead of having only 8 GB of RAM, it will also be offered with 6 GB. The rest remains essentially unchanged, including the 6.21-inch AMOLED screen with integrated fingerprint reader and the Snapdragon 845 chipset .

  • AMOLED screen 2248 x 1080 of 6.21 inches
  • Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 6/8 GB of LPDDR4x RAM
  • 128 GB of UFS storage
  • Rear camera 12 + 12 MP
  • Front camera 20 MP
  • Fingerprint reader under screen
  • USB-C (without minijack)
  • 3,000 mAh battery with fast charge

In addition to black and a striking pearl between gold and pink, the Mi 8 Pro will be offered in a version with translucent casing to see its circuitry (false and totally decorative, since the real chipset is housed in another position). It is interesting the detail that the battery is reduced by 400 mAh with respect to the Mi 8 base according to the official site. 

The prices in China will be equivalent to 400 and 450 euros depending on the RAM. 

Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, with Snapdragon 660

As for the Mi 8 Lite, we have an aesthetically very familiar phone but not identical. In addition to varying the orientation of the rear cameras (vertical in the Pro and horizontal in the Lite), the screen is now 6.26 inches, with a resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels. Also, theChipset is quite more modest, with a Snapdragon 660 and 4 or 6 GB of RAM. In a way it could look like the little brother of the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE.

  • Screen 2280 x 1080 of 6.26 inches
  • Snapdragon 660 chipset
  • 4/6 GB of LPDDR4x RAM
  • 64/128 GB of UFS storage
  • Rear camera 12 + 5 MP
  • Front camera 24 MP
  • Fingerprint reader
  • USB-C (without minijack)
  • 3.350 mAh battery with fast charge

The price of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite in China will be approximately 175 euros for the model of 4/64 GB, 215 euros for the 6/64 GB and 250 euros for the 6/128 GB variant. Data related to its international availability should be communicated soon.

Samsung plans to reduce RAM production to avoid falling prices according to Bloomberg

The semiconductor industry moves on the basis of explosion and contraction cycles, something that users who assemble their own computers are very familiar with. However, when prices fall, it is not usually because the manufacturers want it, but it is due to factors such as a possible reduction in demand that leaves them with an excess of inventory. This is a situation that Samsung wants to avoid. 

The South Korean firm, currently the world’s largest semiconductor maker , is planning according to Bloomberg reduce the production of its RAM chips in anticipation of lower demand in 2019. The purpose is simply to “help maintain or increase” prices, working under the expectation that RAM sales will grow less than 20% during next year. The NAND chips, used in the SSD units, should register a growth of 30%. 

Although positive, these figures are significantly lower than those advanced at the beginning of the year, when Samsung expected increases of 20% and 40%, respectively. 

This situation is not exactly what is said new. About a year ago the main RAM manufacturers made adjustments in their production lines with the same purpose, which has resulted in a stagnation (and even rise) of prices throughout 2018. The issue is that it is a market essentially dominated by three companies, Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron, none of which seems to be particularly interested in a price war. Unlike. 

According to a Bloomberg analyst, “if Samsung reduces the growth of its DRAM, it shows that the company is happy with the current oligopolistic structure of the market, preferring to keep the supply tight and prices high rather than increasing its market share and risking reduce prices, so the chances of continued DRAM prices are higher than before. “