Divers

  • Apple se félicite de ses efforts pour préserver l'environnement (MacBidouille)

    Apple a publié son dernier rapport sur ses efforts réalisés pour préserver l'environnement.
    Elle y parle tout particulièrement de ses efforts pour diminuer son impact sur le réchauffement planétaire en diminuant l'empreinte carbone de son activité. Et dans les faits c'est réel, la société est en train de faire sortir de terre de plus en plus de fermes solaires qui compensent de mieux en mieux sa consommation d'énergie. La société annonce que 100% de sa consommation est compensée par des énergies vertes aux Etats-Unis et 87% dans le reste du monde. Attention toutefois, ceci ne prend en compte que les consommations de ses filiales et Apple Store et pas celles de la production de ses produits en Chine qui est forcément colossale.
    On a aussi droit à une vidéo:

     

  • 70 secondes pour démarrer une Apple Watch (MacBidouille)

    Une vidéo postée sur Youtube montre le temps que met une Apple Watch pour, une fois éteinte, redémarrer et donner l'heure.

    Il lui faut pas moins de 70 secondes pour ce procédé ce qui est très long pour un produit Apple. Souhaitons que les choses s'amélioreront lors de prochaines mises à jour à moins que ce ne soit lié à des choix dictés par des économies d'énergie comme par exemple l'utilisation de mémoire Flash peu performante.

  • Samsung Introduces New 8" and 9.7" Galaxy Tab A Tablets (AnandTech)

    Today Samsung Electronics America announced two new tablets that are coming to market in the United States. Samsung's new Galaxy Tab A tablets come in 8.0" and 9.7" sizes, and Samsung is marketing them as tablets that are well suited for keeping in touch with friends and family. The specs of both tablets are laid out in the chart below.

      Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7"
    SoC Snapdragon 410 (APQ8016) 4x 1.2GHz Cortex A53,
    400MHz Adreno 306 GPU
    RAM/NAND 16/32GB NAND + MicroSDXC, 1.5GB RAM
    Display 8.0" 1024x768 PLS LCD 9.7" 1024x768 PLS LCD
    Dimensions 208.4 x 137.9 x 7.5mm, 313g 242.5 x 166.8 x 7.5mm, 449g
    Camera 5MP Rear Facing, 2MP Front Facing
    Battery 4200 mAh (15.96 Whr) 6000 mAh (22.8 Whr)
    OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
    Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, microUSB2.0

    Both tablets have very similar specifications. They are both distinctly mid-range tablets, with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 at their heart, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 1024x768 PLS display. They're really only differentiated by the size of their displays, and subsequently their dimensions and battery capacity. I think it may be difficult for Samsung to charge a price premium for the 9.7" model when it doesn't have any improvements to display resolution or internal hardware over the 8.0" model.

    What makes these new tablets stand out from Samsung's previous tablet offerings are their sizes and their design. Both tablets have a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is a significant departure from the 16:10 tablets that Samsung has produced in the past. Both tablets also have a full metal chassis, which will be an enormous improvement over the plastic construction of Samsung's other tablets. I am very interested to see what Samsung can do with this type of design on a high end tablet with flagship specifications.

    Both Galaxy Tab A models are available for preorder now, and they'll begin to ship on May 1st in the United States. Both models are available in white, titanium, and blue finishes. The 8.0" model costs at $229, while the 9.7" model costs $299. There will also be a version of the 9.7" model with Samsung's S-pen included for $349. Through Samsung's new app partnership with Microsoft, the new tablets will come with Microsoft's Office for Android applications preinstalled, and buyers will receive 100GB of OneDrive storage for two years.

  • Windows 10 : une build 10064 (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Encore des fuites pour une build non publique de Windows 10. Elle est cette fois-ci estampillée 10064.
  • Le pourquoi de l'urgence Flash Player (Génération NT: logiciels)
    A priori à la solde de la Russie, un groupe de hackers exploite dans des attaques une faille Flash Player - corrigée en urgence la semaine dernière - et combinée avec une 0-day dans Windows.
  • Windows 10 : une sortie fin juillet ? (Génération NT: logiciels)
    La présidente et CEO d'AMD a-t-elle vendu la mèche ? Elle annonce fin juillet pour le lancement du système d'exploitation Windows 10.
  • Intel NUC5i7RYH Broadwell-U Iris NUC Review (AnandTech)

    Over the last couple of years, mini-PCs in the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) have emerged as one of the bright spots in the troubled PC market. Intel's NUC systems are one of the most popular in this category. The lack of graphic prowess in the NUCs allowed for machines such as BRIX Pro (based on the Haswell Iris Pro CPU) to enter the market. With Broadwell, Intel is bringing out an Iris NUC on its own. Read on for our review of the NUC5i7RYH.

  • Sony Announces the Xperia Z4 (AnandTech)

    Today Sony Mobile officially announced the Xperia Z4 on their Japanese website. The Xperia Z4 will be the company's flagship smartphone for 2015, sitting alongside Sony's flagship tablet which is called the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Based on the specifications provided by Sony, it certainly looks like they've done everything possible to make it fit that role with regards to its hardware. Thankfully, Sony's launch page gives pretty much every specification one could be interested in, and I've organized them in the chart below.

    Sony Xperia Z4
    SoC MSM8994 2/1.5 GHz A57/A53 Snapdragon 810
    Memory and Storage 32GB NAND + MicroSDXC, 3GB RAM
    Display 5.2" 1920x1080 IPS LCD
    Cellular Connectivity 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm UE Category 7/9 LTE)
    Dimensions 146 x 72 x 6.9 mm, 144g
    Camera

    20.7 MP Sony Exmor, 1/2.3" Rear Facing, 25mm focal length
    5.1MP Front Facing

    Battery 2930 mAh
    Other Connectivity 2x2 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.1, microUSB2.0, NFC, GPS/GNSS
    SIM Size NanoSIM
    Operating System Android 5.0 Lollipop

    The specifications for the Z4 are certainly appealing. Potential speed and thermal issues relating to Snapdragon 810 aside, the Z4 packs what is basically the best internal hardware available for smartphone manufacturers at the moment. Snapdragon 820 won't be available until the second half of this year at the absolute earliest, and so MSM8994 paired with 3GB of RAM is the fastest you'll see in an Android smartphone that isn't the Galaxy S6.

    What may be notable for some is the decision to stay with a 1920x1080 LCD. Given the issues with power consumption and brightness with current 2560x1440 LCD panels, and the relatively limited improvement to sharpness at this display size, I think that staying with a 1080p display was the right decision to make with the Z4.

    The Xperia Z4 comes in White, Black, Copper, and Aqua Green

    Design wise, the Xperia Z4 bears a great deal of similarity to its predecessor, the Xperia Z3. While it's not a full metal unibody design, it does have a metal frame surrounding the outside of the device. At 6.9mm it is as thin as the iPhone 6 which is impressive. Sony has also been able to include one of their 20.7MP sensors without introducing a camera hump, although the compromise is its 25mm focal length. Like most of Sony's recent products, the Xperia Z4 has an IP65 / IP68 rating for dust and water protection, which is something that now differentiates it from the flagship devices offered by other manufacturers.

    At the moment, Sony hasn't provided any information about when an international release of the Xperia Z4 can be expected. It follows that the price is also unknown, although one can guess that it will be around the same price as this year's other flagship devices.

  • Un chercheur en sécurité interdit de vol par United (MacBidouille)

    Il y a peu nous vous parlions de l'alerte lancée par la FAA sur le manque de sécurité des systèmes embarqués des avions.
    Chris Roberts un membre de cette communauté de personnes recherchant sans relâche des failles pour aider les sociétés à les combler s'est amusé de découvrir dans un vol d'United Airlines qu'il pouvait prendre le contrôle des systèmes d'alerte de l'avion. Devant ce manque de sécurité il a posté en plein vol un Tweet informant la communauté de sa découverte.
    A l'arrivée du vol, il a eu la surprise d'être attendu par les agents de sécurité de la société qui n'étaient pas là pour lui demander de les aider à combler cette faille mais pour le remettre au FBI qui l'a détenu pendant quelques heures avant de lui confisquer son Mac et son iPad.
    Dans la foulée il a été interdit de vol par United.

    C'est hélas dans l'immense majorité des cas le comportement typique des sociétés auxquelles ces pirates blancs ont affaire. Plutôt que d'écouter ces experts elles préfèrent les considérer comme des méchants qui s'en sont pris à leur sécurité, chose certainement plus facile que de se remettre en question.

    Pourtant elles sont les premières ensuite à pleurer quand de vrais pirates s'en prennent à leurs infrastructures provoquant des dommages incomparablement plus importants que des blessures d'amour propre. C'est certainement parce que dans ce genre de cas il faut trouver un responsable à ces failles plutôt que de pouvoir pointer du doigt un responsable d'une attaque.

  • Le SSD du MacBook Retina utiliserait un contrôleur maison (MacBidouille)

    Il y a un peu plus de trois ans, Apple s'est offert Anobit, une start-up spécialisée dans la conception de contrôleurs mémoire flash. Depuis, on n'avait plus beaucoup entendu parler de cette société, et Apple avait fait appel à des fournisseurs de contrôleurs tiers, Samsung, Toshiba et Sandisk. Mais selon iFixit, les choses semblent avoir changé avec le MacBook Retina, qui pourrait bien être le premier Mac doté d'un contrôleur SSD Apple.

    Carte mère MacBook Retina
    La carte mère du MacBook Retina, le probable contrôleur SSD est encadré en orange

    Lors du démontage de la machine, iFixit n'a en effet pas réussi à y repérer de contrôleur SSD connu. À l'emplacement qui semble être celui du contrôleur du SSD (juste à côté des puces de mémoire flash), ils ont trouvé un module empilant plusieurs puces. L'une d'elle est une puce mémoire de 512 Mo (ce qui confirmerait qu'il s'agit bien du contrôleur du SSD, aucun autre composant n'ayant besoin d'une telle quantité de mémoire), l'autre porte une référence inconnue et ne correspondant pas aux nomenclatures des principaux fabricants de contrôleurs : 338S00055.

    Si ce contrôleur fait ses preuves dans le MacBook Retina, on peut s'attendre à ce qu'Apple remplace petit à petit les contrôleurs tiers sur le reste des Mac, ce qui pourrait même se faire en dehors des cycles de renouvellement, Apple nous ayant déjà habitué à jongler entre les références de SSD sur un même modèle.

     

  • Samsung n'apposera plus sa marque sur ses smartphones au Japon (MacBidouille)

    Samsung a pris une décision qui peut paraître étrange. Dorénavant la société n'apposera plus sa marque sur les smartphones vendus au Japon. Ils porteront celle de l'opérateur, en particulier NTT Docomo ou KDDI. Cela démarrera la semaine prochaine avec le lancement là bas du Galaxy S6 Edge.
    Samsung a pris cette décision pour éviter que les ventes de ses produits soient pénalisées par les relations diplomatiques tendues entre le Japon et la Corée du Sud.

    Difficile de dire si cela changera quelque chose aux ventes de Samsung au Japon tant cette décision semble plus symbolique qu'autre chose. La marque n'avait pas empêché les appareils Samsung de se vendre quand ils avaient un fort succès et la retirer n'aura probablement pas une grande incidence s'ils sont boudés comme l'ont été les Galaxy S5 partout dans le monde.

  • Mises à jour et téléchargements de la semaine (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Comme tous les dimanches, retrouvez notre résumé des mises à jour et téléchargements de la semaine.
  • Windows 10 : captures pour les petites tablettes (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Un premier aperçu du système d'exploitation Windows 10 adapté à des tablettes avec un écran inférieur à 8 pouces.
  • WWDC: Apple a fini son tirage au sort (MacBidouille)

    Devant l'affluence de demandes de participation à la WWDC, Apple a mis en place un système de loterie. Ce tirage au sort est terminé et les développeurs qui ont gagné (en plus d'avoir payé) le droit à y participer seront notifiés par la société de leur victoire.
    Hélas, dans le système actuel unique de cette WWDC, il est impossible d'étendre de trop le nombre de places. En effet, les cours et ateliers sont dispensés par les ingénieurs de plus haut niveau chez Apple et il n'y en a pas tant que ça.
    Pouvoir accéder à ces personnes invisibles le reste du temps est déjà une énorme motivation pour participer à cette WWDC aujourd'hui (alors qu'Apple offrait facilement des places il y a encore seulement 10 ans).

    Bravo aux chanceux et s'il y a des Français dans le lot, nous serions ravis qu'ils nous fassent parvenir leurs impressions.

  • Les documents volés à Sony Pictures mis en ligne sur Wikeleaks (MacBidouille)

    Une partie des données mises en ligne suite au piratage de Sony Pictures a été mis en ligne par Wikileaks, qui a de plus ajouté un moteur de recherche pour s'y retrouver plus facilement.
    Certains apprécieront cette mise à disposition, d'autres non. Elle permet toutefois de voir la puissance de cette compagnie face aux politiques du monde entier. Ainsi, en France, Nextinpact montre avec certains de ces documents à l'appui, la manière dont la HADOPI a été influencée pour ne pas autoriser Videolan à accéder aux clés AACS pour permettre la lecture des Blu-ray sur son logiciel VLC. De ce que l'on en retire, le rejet de la HADOPI est pratiquement un copier-coller des suggestions de Sony.
     

  • Première bêta de la 10.10.4 (MacBidouille)

    Seulement quelques jours après la sortie de la 10.10.3, Apple lance un bêta test de la 10.10.4.

    Aucune information sur les changements apportés n'est donnée pour le moment.

    [MàJ] Nous l'avons installé sans difficulté. Comme d'habitude nous conseillons à ceux qui ont activé le Trim par voie logicielle de le désactiver auparavant et ensuite de le réactiver, ce qui a fonctionné dans notre cas.

  • Première bêta de la 10.10.4 (MacBidouille)

    Seulement quelques jours après la sortie de la 10.10.3, Apple lance un bêta test de la 10.10.4.

    Aucune information sur les changements apportés n'est donnée pour le moment.

  • The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Review (AnandTech)

    As recently as the Galaxy S5, Samsung had a fundamentally different strategy from companies like HTC and Apple. While design wasn’t ignored completely, Samsung Mobile had a different set of priorities. In general, it felt like Samsung wanted the phone to have every feature possible to please every possible potential customer. Features like a removable battery and microSD card slot seemed to be a crucial point of differentiation. TouchWiz focused on delivering a full suite of applications even if they were pretty much redundant when compared to Google’s applications. Samsung also seemed to cost-optimize their external shells, favoring polymer builds over glass or aluminum. Since the Galaxy S, this strategy paid off handsomely. With the help of strong marketing, Samsung proceeded to dominate the Android market from the days of the Galaxy S2, to the point that almost no other Android OEM was relevant in terms of market share.

    However, Samsung’s tried and true strategy failed with the Galaxy S5. Fundamentally, Samsung had always been competing with Apple and their iPhone line-up at the high end, but Samsung consistently held a price advantage. The real problem was the rise of low-cost flagship phones, which squeezed Samsung significantly. Other OEMs were able to justify their high-end pricing by delivering a polished software experience and premium hardware design. In comparison to these relatively cheap phones which delivered largely the same experience and hardware, Samsung’s sales crumbled and the Galaxy S5 didn’t meet sales expectations.

    This brings us to the Galaxy S6, which is supposed to be Samsung’s attempt at refocusing their product design and lineup. To see if Samsung succeeded at this, read on for the full review.

  • Windows 10 : Microsoft améliore les bureaux virtuels (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Intégrés nativement dans Windows 10, les bureaux virtuels gérés depuis Task View vont avoir droit à plusieurs améliorations pratiques. Microsoft annonce la couleur.
  • Windows XP : Google Chrome prolonge. On fait le point (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Le support de Windows XP pour Google Chrome ne se terminera pas à la fin du mois comme cela en prenait le chemin. Le navigateur y sera mis à jour jusqu'à la fin de l'année… mais bon.
  • Home Automation Systems - A Consumer Checklist (AnandTech)

    The Internet of Things (IoT) concept has gained a lot of traction over the last couple of years. One of the main applications of IoT lies in the home automation space. Consumers have many options in this space, but none of them have the right combination of comprehensiveness, economy, extensibility and ease of use. We provided an introduction to IoT / home automation back in 2012, and the space has rapidly evolved since then.

    As we ramp up our IoT / home automation coverage, we wanted to bring out a set of aspects that consumers should analyse in detail when choosing a home automation system. They will also help us in reviewing home automation systems / devices from a consumer's perspective. This piece will begin with a short overview of how home automation systems have evolved since our last coverage.

    Introduction

    There are a wide variety of home automation devices, but the common / popular ones fulfill one or more of the following:

    1. Control state of an electrical outlet or switch
    2. Monitor energy consumption of an electrical outlet or switch
    3. Control light bulb intensity and/or color
    4. Monitor environmental data (parameters such as temperature, humidity etc. or detection of motion, open doors or windows, live video feed etc.) via connected sensors

    It is also expected that a home automation solution will allow configuration and automatic triggering of events based on data collected from the component devices.

    Why is Home Automation Hot?

    It is an interesting exercise to look into why home automation and IoT tend to draw a lot of players (established companies, VC-funded startups and crowd-funding seekers) into the market. The potential for revenue is huge (multiple devices per household) and development of single-function components is not resource intensive (many home automation devices are simple to design and suitable even for undergraduate engineering projects). This is the reason why established companies go for an ecosystem of products, while others try to start with one or two devices.

    Home Automation and the Cloud

    The cloud has come as a messiah for all the IoT / home automation device vendors seeking venture funding. As mentioned earlier, home automation devices need to be controlled and/or monitored and their state needs to be actionable. This requires intelligence that has traditionally been resident in the in-house command center. Some vendors opt to offer service plans by moving this intelligence to the cloud and making all user interactions go via their servers. It also provides them with data mining opportunities. In certain cases, vendors can claim delivering of a better experience for customers using machine learning on the cloud side.

    Open APIs

    The presence of a cloud-based service-oriented model also makes companies hesitant to be part of an open ecosystem. It is desirable to have open APIs, or better still, a full description of the internal workings of the system and how to access it. For crowd-funded products and those from small startups, this is important for a couple of reasons: becoming part of the ecosystem of products controlled by devices like the Logitech Harmony Hub is easier and power users (typically having more weight for their word of mouth) can develop their own applications to interact with the device or integrate it with their existing home automation system.

    The above points help us in understanding the current state of the home automation market. Armed with this knowledge, consumers should  be able to identify hidden costs in any home automation system under consideration. Our next section will draw up a checklist for consumers in this area.

    Drawing up a Checklist

    In evaluating home automation devices, there are a number of questions that the consumer needs to ask before committing to a particular product family.

    1. Does the unit require an always-on Internet connection? What are its capabilities in an 'Intranet of Things' scenario?

    Devices which need the Internet all the time typically put all intelligence in the cloud and force the cloud component on the end user. Note that this is different from systems that use the cloud to make things easier for novice users. In the case of a forced cloud component, it would be desirable for consumers to get more clarification from the vendor. A purchase decision should be made only if one is satisfied with the answers provided.

    • What happens when the Internet connection in the consumer premises goes down?
    • What happens if the IoT product vendor's servers experience downtime at a critical juncture?
    • If the IoT product vendor were to go out of business, would the IoT device be rendered useless?
    • Is the consumer expected to 'purchase' the IoT device with the mindset that he is just leasing the product from the company with no guarantee of availability / operation in the future?
    • Is there a guarantee for security / hacker-proofing on the cloud side to ensure that the unit doesn't act like a Trojan horse for nefarious access into one's internal network?

    Many companies try to justify a cloud-only model by trumping up the benefits of analytics in the cloud. Typically, they are useful for IP cameras (but, even in that case, there is nothing on the technical side that justifies preventing users from getting a less-featured local network-only experience).

    Consumers need to fight back against pure-cloud plays in the home automation space

    For most other home automation devices like thermostats, it is mostly a matter of data mining / customer lock-in, rather than user experience.

    2. Is it possible for authorized third-party applications or devices to control the unit without compromising security?

    This is another way of checking if the device has open APIs available for control. Even if open APIs are available, one has to check if the communication always passes through the device vendor's servers. In that case, all the concerns voiced earlier need to be considered here too.

    In terms of security, consumers also have to look into how access is authorized (for both native and third-party API control). IoT security is a hot topic right now, and even the average consumer needs to be aware of the protection mechanisms on a device that has unfettered access to one's internal network.

    Consumers must encourage devices with secure, but open APIs

    On the other hand, control of devices can even be set up by integrating with cloud services such as IFTTT (If-This-Then-That). IFTTT is quite popular and encouraged / promoted even by the IoT device manufacturers. In those types of situations, consumers must think about whether such cloud services can be trusted with access to one's social media accounts. It can't be stressed enough - when dealing with home automation devices, consumers must always keep security on top of their mind.

    3. Does the installation require new wires or 'hubs' in addition to the main unit? How is the command center implemented?

    The rise in popularity of home automation can be attributed to the use of Wi-Fi as the communication medium of choice. Almost all Internet-connected homes have a Wi-Fi network, and hooking up a home automation device to it ensures that no other bridge devices are needed for communication. Unfortunately, 802.11ah, the version of Wi-Fi optimized for IoT (low-power and long range) doesn't seem to be taking off as fast as expected. In the meanwhile, Z-Wave and ZigBee continue to strengthen their install base. Some devices have also opted for Bluetooth. Bluetooth works well for wearables where the IoT device talks to a smartphone. However, it requires some adaptation for usage in a home automation setting (CSR's proprietary BLE extensions with mesh networking support, CSRmesh, is an example). Other than Wi-Fi, everything else requires some sort of hub device to interface with the IP network.

    Lowe's Iris uses a smartphone app as the command center. A ZigBee / Z-Wave to IP hub can be seen in the top left

    Legacy home automation systems often had a centralized command center / station where the components could be controlled and rules could be programmed. With the advent of mobile devices, command and control is achieved via mobile apps. The rules can be either stored in the cloud (and integrated with cloud-base rules services such as IFTTT (If-This-Then-That)) or locally in the device or a control hub.

    4. What are the power requirements of the device? If powered via batteries, what type is used, and how often do they need to be changed?

    Many home automation devices that fulfill duties such as door / windows closure sensing tend to be battery-operated. In such cases, it is important for consumers to identify the type of battery being used and their expected lifetime. Usage of Wi-Fi as a communication medium in such devices is not usually a good choice - low power protocols such as Z-Wave and ZigBee are better suited. AC-powered home automation devices don't need to worry about this aspect. That said, if Wi-Fi is being used, it would be an added bonus if the device were to sport a low-power Wi-Fi SoC. Data rates are not that big of a concern when it comes to IoT devices. Reduction in power requirements often trumps the bandwidth aspect.

    Door/window contact sensors might use CR2 batteries or CR2032 coin cells, depending on the vendor

    In case the device under consideration connects to a wired network (common in devices such as IP surveillance cameras), it would be an added advantage if PoE (power over Ethernet) were to be used in order to reduce cabling requirements.

    5. Is the device a standalone product or a member of an ecosystem of products? What are the pricing aspects?

    Consumers need to identify whether the device under consideration is a standalone product or one of many components in a product family. In the former case, the importance of open APIs and ability for third-party applications to control the unit is increased. Otherwise, the consumer is likely to end up with multiple mobile apps for controlling different devices. In the latter case, it is good to check if all the devices in the product family can be controlled via a single interface (usually a mobile app or a central home automation server).

    Home automation solutions may have products for multiple use-cases (eg. Lowe's Iris & SmartThings) or have a narrow focus (eg. smart lighting with Philips Hue & LIFX)

    The final aspect that consumers need to consider is pricing. Home automation has remained a niche market so far because not many consumers can afford the price of professionally installed systems. There is nothing wrong in going for such a high-priced system - if you can afford it. That said, home automation technology is becoming more and more user-friendly (in terms of ease of installation and operation). Devices are becoming more and more affordable. Some devices such as those that do energy monitoring / power outlet scheduling and temperature control often end up paying for themselves over the long run in saved electricity and heating costs. In any case, it is important for consumers to shop around for their home automation needs. There are many offerings providing the same functionality. In addition to being satisfied with the answers to the four questions above, being comfortable with the short and long-term costs is also an important aspect. Some devices have a monthly subscription fee for cloud-based access, and that needs to be considered in the overall cost structure.

    Concluding Remarks

    This piece has brought out a set of aspects that go beyond what the usual company press releases / tech press coverage shed light on. These typically also lead to the negative aspects (from a consumer perspective) of any home automation system. In order to bring out the true picture of any device / system targeting home automation in the IoT / IoE space, we will be carrying a summary table covering the following points in each of our home automation reviews:

    • Communication Technology (Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Z-Wave / ZigBee etc.)
    • Power Source
    • Hub / Bridge Requirement
    • Control Center (Local device / cloud / local server etc.)
    • User Control Interface (Mobile apps / web server / dedicated consumer premises equipment etc.)
    • Notes on Open APIs
    • Notes on Cloud Reliance (includes subscription aspects)
    • Notes on Security
    • Pricing

    The aspects brought out in the preceding section were presented in the form of questions that the consumers need to ask. Note that most of them are open-ended ones, and a non-consumer friendly answer to any of them doesn't automatically make the product a disappointing one. For example, Dropcam - one of the more successful exits in the home automation / IoT space - has always actively prevented local access to the video feed. This didn't prevent them from selling a large number of cameras. The intention of this piece is to educate consumers - they should vote with their wallets to encourage open devices and systems. Hopefully, the next Dropcam's product family members will be as much friendly to power users as they will be easy to use.

  • OS X Yosemite : Apple complète la grosse mise à jour (Génération NT: logiciels)
    Bien qu'imposante, la mise à jour OS X 10.10.3 n'était pas complète. Apple y ajoute un supplément pour des problèmes spécifiques de démarrage. Dans le même temps, un problème de Kernel Panic émerge.
  • More Pictures Of 2015 MacBook’s Apple-Built SSD Controller (AnandTech)

    The ever-excellent crew over at iFixit completed their initial teardown of the Early 2015 MacBook yesterday, creating some very nice shots of the Mac’s little logic board in the process. However not stopping there the crew also detached the SSD controller from the board, giving us our best look yet at what we strongly believe to be an Apple-built semi-custom or fully-custom SSD controller.


    Images Courtesy iFixit

    On the logic board itself, we can see that iFixit’s sample is equipped with Toshiba MLC NAND, 128GB per side, one package per side. However of greater interest is the chip bordered in orange, which based on the fact that it has multiple markings we believe to be the SSD controller, assembled in a Package-On-Package (PoP) fashion. The number we can decode is a part number for a 512MB Hynix LPDDR3 memory module; the other number we cannot decode at this time.

    Multiple markings in this fashion is a tell-tale sign of a PoP chip, and having the SSD controller and its DRAM on-package with each other and located right next to the NAND chips makes a ton of sense, especially in such a cramped design. That said, while it means we can’t directly access the SSD die, it also confirms that this is not a strictly off-the-shelf SSD controller since someone had to go through the extra step of PoPing it.


    Images Courtesy iFixit

    Meanwhile having detected the chip from the logic board, we can see the underside of the chip, which has additional markings. At this time we are unable to decode the part number, 338S00055, though based on the location and PoP design we believe it to be the SSD controller. Otherwise the fact that it doesn’t match any other SSD controller part numbers is yet another clue that Apple had some kind of hand in developing the SSD controller.

    Apple in traditional fashion is mum on the whole matter, but we’ll keep digging to see what else we can uncover about this unexpected surprise in their latest laptop.

  • AMD Posts Q1 2015 Results: $180 Million Net Loss (AnandTech)

    Today AMD released their Q1 FY 2015 financial results, and the company reported revenue of $1.03 billion for the quarter. This is a 16.9% decrease as compared to Q4 2014, and a 26.4% decrease from the $1.40 billion recorded in Q1 2014. Operating income based on GAAP numbers was an operating loss of $137 million, which is a substantial decrease in loss as compared to Q4 2014, where they had an operating loss of $330 million, however in Q1 2014 they had a small operating income of $49 million, so although they have improved quarter-over-quarter, that is a significant reduction year-over-year. Net loss for the quarter was $180 million, or $0.23 per share, which once again is better than Q4 2014 where there was a $364 million ($0.47/share) loss, but much worse than the $20 million ($0.03/share) loss in Q1 2014.

    AMD Q1 2015 Financial Results (GAAP)
      Q1'2015 Q4'2014 Q1'2014
    Revenue $1.03B $1.24B $1.40B
    Gross Margin 32% 29% 35%
    Operating Income -$137M -$330M $49M
    Net Income -$180M -$364M -$20M
    Earnings Per Share -$0.23 -$0.47 -$0.03M

    Part of these losses are due to the ongoing restructuring at AMD, which has contributed heavily to these numbers. One of the new restructuring fees is due to the exit from the Seamicro branded dense server business, which has cost them an additional $75 million this quarter, including $7 million in cash. Due to these hits, AMD also provides Non-GAAP results which exclude these numbers. On a Non-GAAP basis, AMD’s operating loss is just $30 million, however that is still down significantly from the $89 million operating income in Q1 2014, and the $52 million operating income from last quarter. Net loss on a Non-GAAP basis is $73 million, or $0.09 per share. This is a decline from Q4 2014 where there was a net income of $18 million ($0.02/share) and Q1 2014 where they were able to achieve a net income of $35 million ($0.05/share).

    AMD Q1 2015 Financial Results (Non-GAAP)
      Q1'2015 Q4'2014 Q1'2014
    Revenue $1.03B $1.24B $1.40B
    Gross Margin 32% 34% 35%
    Operating Income -$30M $52M $89M
    Net Income -$73M $18M $35M
    Earnings Per Share -$0.09 $0.02 $0.05M

    AMD has also entered into a fifth amendment of their agreement with GlobalFoundries, and AMD is expecting to purchase about $1 billion in wafers in 2015.

    Breaking down their product segments, the Computing and Graphics segment had a 20% decline in revenue quarter-over-quarter, and a 38% decrease year-over-year, with Q1 having net revenues of $532 million. The quarterly decrease was due to lower desktop and notebook processor sales, whereas the yearly decrease was due to lower desktop processor sales and GPU channel sales. The division had an operating loss of $75 million for the quarter, which is a significant change from the $56 million loss last quarter and the $3 million income in Q1 2014. The loss was partially offset by lower operating expenses, but clearly more work is needed. AMD is hoping for better success with their new APU, Carrizo, which they are expecting to deliver double digit performance increases and much better energy efficiency compared to Kaveri, which is the current APU.

    AMD Q1 2015 Computing and Graphics
      Q1'2015 Q4'2014 Q1'2014
    Revenue $532M $662M $861M
    Operating Income -$75M -$56M $3M

    The Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment had a year-over-year revenue decrease of 7%, and a quarter-over-quarter decrease of 14%, with Q1 2015 coming in at $498 million. The quarterly drop is due to a seasonal decrease in semi-custom SoC sales (read: Consoles had a ramp up for the holidays and are now back to lower sales) and the yearly decrease is due to lower numbers of server processors being sold. However this segment did have an operating income to report of $45 million for the quarter, but this is down from the $109 million in Q4 2014 and $85 million in Q1 2014.

    AMD Q1 2015 Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom
      Q1'2015 Q4'2014 Q1'2014
    Revenue $498M $577M $536M
    Operating Income $45M $109M $85M

    The “All Other” segment had an operating loss of $107 million. As compared to Q1 2014, this is $68 million more operating loss, which is primarily due to the $75 million hit for exiting the dense server business. In Q4 2014 this segment had a $383 million loss.

    For Q2, AMD is forecasting revenue being down an additional 3%, plus or minus 3%, and non-GAAP Gross Margin to remain flat at 32%.

    AMD is certainly not in a great position right now, and the new CEO Dr. Lisa Su has some work to do in order to get AMD back to a financially viable state. Part of that is diversifying revenues, especially with the PC market slowing again. AMD has not had a significant product launch in a few quarters, which has not helped either.

    Source: AMD Investor Relations

  • Samsung va utiliser un nouveau procédé de rétro-éclairage par boîte quantique (MacBidouille)

    Depuis quelques temps les fabricants d'écrans utilisent un système de rétro-éclairage par boîte quantique. Il est composé de nanostructures qui peuvent dans ce cas émettre des électrons dans des longueurs d'onde très précises, de quoi améliorer et étendre la colorimétrie des écrans LCD.
    Actuellement, tous les fabricants utilisent le même procédé pour produire leurs boîtes quantiques. Samsung a réussi à mettre la main en exclusivité sur un nouveau système qui est bien moins cher à mettre en œuvre.
    Il va permettre à la société de prendre un avantage concurrentiel significatif sur sa concurrence.

    Maintenant que Samsung semble amené à produire de plus en plus de dalles LCD pour Apple, on peut considérer que c'est une bonne nouvelle même s'il y a peu de chance que les gains tarifaires finissent par être reportés sur le prix final d'un produit Apple.

  • AMD Exits Dense Microserver Business, Ends SeaMicro Brand (AnandTech)

    AMD’s Q1’15 earnings announcement just came out a bit ago, and while we’re still waiting for the analyst call to take place to get more details, there is one item we want to get to right away, and that’s the fate of AMD’s dense server business. As part of today’s earnings release, AMD has announced that they’re existing the dense server system business – operating under the SeaMicro brand – effective immediately.

    AMD initially acquired SeaMicro back in 2012 for $334 million as part of their larger play into being an agile company, aiming to take a big chunk of what was expected to be a fast-growing market micro/dense server market. In the microserver model, servers are built using very large numbers of lower performance cores, making the servers leaner, more power efficient systems for tasks that involve large numbers of low-impact threads (think: web servers). This in turn mapped well to AMD’s processor designs, where both the Bulldozer and Cat families would be well suited for such a design, not to mention AMD’s future ARM based CPUs.

    SeaMicro’s first product post-acquisition was the SM15000, a dense server design announced in late 2012 that offered either AMD “Piledriver” Opterons or Intel “Ivy Bridge” Xeon CPUs. However as it turns out that first design was also the last design; SeaMicro did not release any additional products prior to today’s announcement from AMD.

    Jumping back to today, AMD’s announcement comes as the company is continuing to try to find a solid foothold as a semi-custom silicon company, to which it would appear that the SeaMicro business no longer fits into. AMD’s initial announcement does offer a bit of insight as to why they’re exiting the business – to “sharpen and simplify” what the company invests in –  and we’ll likely hear more on today’s call.

    Meanwhile it’s worth noting that we haven’t heard anything from SeaMicro in some time now, so today’s announcement is perhaps not all that surprising. Still, AMD’s first ARM processors were set to ship this year – the Opteron A1100 – which would have been a good fit for the SeaMicro servers. However A1100 itself appears to be behind schedule at this time, as AMD has yet to bring A1100 to market beyond last year’s development kit.

    Anyhow, as part of exiting the dense server business, AMD will be taking a $75 million dollar special charge, which is “primarily related to impairment of previously acquired intangible assets” and will include a $7 million cash payment. Meanwhile AMD’s announcement doesn’t say what will become of the SeaMicro team – at this point we’re not entirely sure how large it is after AMD’s most recent restructuring – though I wouldn’t be surprised if they at least rolled some of that expertise into future ARM server CPUs. As for the SeaMicro brand itself, with AMD’s exit the brand has been shuttered, and AMD has deactivated the SeaMicro website.

    Update: Here are the prepared remarks from AMD's CFO regarding SeaMicro

    At the corporate level, we continue aligning larger portions of our R&D investments to take advantage of long-term growth opportunities across our EESC segment. As we prioritize our R&D investments and simplify our business, we made the decision in the first quarter to exit the dense server systems business as we increase investments in our server processor development. We retain the fabric technology as a part of our overall IP portfolio. We see very strong opportunities for next-generation, high-performance x86 and ARM processors for the enterprise, datacenter, and infrastructure markets and we will continue to invest strongly in these areas.

  • VLC : mise à jour pour le lecteur multimédia (Génération NT: logiciels)
    VideoLAN propose VLC 2.2.1. Cette mise à jour de maintenance corrige de nombreux bugs.
  • Mise à jour supplémentaire pour la 10.10.3 (MacBidouille)

    Apple propose une mise à jour additionnelle pour la 10.10.3, destinée à régler un problème que nous vous laissons le plaisir de lire sur la capture.

     

  • Razer Launches The BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma Keyboard (AnandTech)

    Razer’s latest mechanical keyboard is a new Tournament edition of their BlackWidow keyboard (see our review of the pre-chroma version here). The BlackWidow is a fully mechanical keyboard with Razer’s Chroma backlighting, which offers fully configurable coloring using Razer’s Synapse software. The original BlackWidow is Razer’s best-selling keyboard.

    The BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma is for those that need to take their keyboard with them, and is an update to the non-Chroma model. It is a compact version, which drops the number pad on the right, and the macro keys on the left. It also features a detachable USB cable, as well as a custom hard carrying case to package the keyboard in to. The keyboard itself features mechanical switches designed by Razer, and the Chroma backlighting is the new feature to this model, and offers 16.8 million color options which can be defined into key zones, or different lighting effects just like it’s full sized sibling.

     

    For those that are interested in a RGB mechanical keyboard they can more easily tote about, Razer is selling the new model today on their website and are offering it as an exclusive through BestBuy in the USA and Canada.

    Source: Razer

  • The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Review (AnandTech)

    Back in November, Dell took the lid off of their Venue 11 Pro 7000 refresh which is their first tablet offering to have Core M powering it. Dell is aiming this tablet squarely at the enterprise segment, but with prices that start low enough for consumers to take a look as well. Starting at $699, it is not an inexpensive device, but it does offer some compelling features on top of the powerful (for a tablet) processor. Dell has an entire range of accessories for the tablet to let the end user get the maximum out of the device, and allows the device to be used as a tablet, a laptop, or even a desktop computer.

L'argent, c'est comme les femmes, pour le garder, il faut s'en occuper,
sans cela il va faire le bonheur de quelqu'un d'autre.
-+- Edouard Bourdet -+-