Samsung to Italy: we ‘did not slow down older models with software updates’

Samsung was forced to get into defensive mode again last week, when Italian authorities launched an investigation against it, as well as against Apple, for potentially slowing down older phones in order to force consumers into buying new ones, the so-called “planned obsolescence” in legalese. 

While Apple may have had a perfectly good reason to do it, given that iPhones with older, weaker batteries, may go into shutdown mode at certain peak power demand scenarios, it doesn’t really make sense in the case of Samsung, which sells many millions more of cheaper midrangers and …

The Totally Addicted Fitness Week diary: a journal for the most competitive

Right, this is where I’m at something of an advantage over the other chaps in this diary, simply because I’ve already been using the Garmin Forerunner 935 for marathon training for a while – the sheer amount of things you can do with this watch is the reason I selected it for this test.

As TechRadar's Running Man of Tech I've been running six or seven days a week for the last four years – along with failing at a couple of triathlons – so popping on a pair of trainers and heading out into whatever weather is second nature for me now – and I’ve long enjoyed using Garmin options on my wrist as a run-and-fitness tracker.

Garmin’s watches are performance-based, rather than relying on flashy screens and pointless features. It monitors my heart rate all day and night, provides info on my sleep, tracks my steps, assesses how hard I’m running each day and even spits notifications from my connected phone to my wrist.

All this on a seven day battery life, off six to seven hours a week run tracking too – that’s the best we’ve seen from any watch. 

And the great thing is once you’ve downloaded the Garmin Connect app, you’re  all set up once it’s paired to your phone for any activity you can throw it into.

What I also like about Garmin watches is the sheer amount of things I can monitor when running. The E-Ink display is so legible in all lights, and if I want to track anything from my average lap pace to my heart rate to the time the sun is going to set, it’s all available here and incredibly customisable.

Day 1) Running

It's time for the hard work to begin, and I’m going to start with my homeland: running. Again, this feels like a bit of a cheat as I’ve been using the Forerunner 935 as my running companion for a while now, and I really like the variety of things it can do.

The main thing is just the reliability though – I’ll head out with my running chums most days, and they're all also sporting a Garmin model of some sort.

That means when we cross the mile marker it can be a chorus of bleeps as the the GPS stays in line.

But today, it ’s time to hit Hyde Park solo and get running laps around the lake. My session is going to be a six mile progression, where each mile needs to be faster than the last, with the final set all-out speedwork (along with a half mile warm up and cool down).

Usually, I’ll just get out and run with this workout – I only need to remember how fast I’ve done each set (alerts blink up every mile) and make sure I go faster.

But for the purposes of this diary, I’ve set up the run ahead of time on the Garmin Connect app. It’s a little time-consuming and certainly not something you can do in the two minutes before you run, but offers useful prompts, especially for more technical sessions.

The sheer range of features on the Garmin Forerunner 935 is dizzying, but useful

So today, that’s done and I’m ready to run. The GPS lock is a little slower on the Forerunner 935 than on other running watches I’ve used (including other models in the Garmin range, weirdly) but it bleeps within 30 seconds today and I’m off running.

I’ve eschewed the chest strap, as I’ve found it to be a little inaccurate, preferring the heart rate monitor scanning my pulse from my wrist. This is important, as I want to be able to see the difference in effort, not just pace, after my run to check I’ve not been helped by the wind behind me or a downward gradient.

Any workout with varying speeds is always more fun to do than a standard jog – and for that to work, I really need this technology strapped to my wrist. I could go online earlier and identify mile markers to spot en route, but with the Forerunner 935 I can drift off and just wait for the bleeps telling me what to do.

In terms of today's workout – well, it’s hard to say anything about it really, as it worked out precisely as I set it up. Every mile I had my pace already set to meet (apart from the last mile, where it was all-out effort) and I kept within the parameters set to make sure I went faster each time.

The heart rate monitor is consistent, but seems to give me a slightly lower heart-rate reading than other similar watches

The bleeping telling me to speed up and slow down was relatively minimal, but it’s always good to have that there keeping you in check – it really is like a coach alongside with a stopwatch just telling you what to do. 

That doesn’t mean I wasn't wanting to die by the end of it – the final section was into the wind and incredibly hard – but having the watch tell me what speed to go meant I largely kept right on pace.

Another feature of the Garmin system I really like is that it instantly uploads to Strava, the fitness social networking platform, as soon as the run is over so I can interrogate my workout straight away. 

It turns out that for half the time I was running with the wind, and half the time against it, so the mile reps were right in terms of time, but not in effort.

Perhaps next time I’ll do this based on heart rate to get a more accurate training reflection – but there’s something so satisfying about running faster and faster that I’ll doubt I’ll ever switch to that mode.

One of the key things about this diary is working out whether I’ll keep doing the activity I’m testing, and yes – based on this, I think I’ll keep running.

  • Catch up on the rest of TechRadar’s fitness week where we are highlighting the techy tools you can be using to improve and monitor your physical health 

T-Mobile misses a clean sweep of the latest Open Road report by milliseconds

Twice a year, Open Signal releases its report on the latest state of the mobile industry. The second report for 2017 had T-Mobile on top after winning five different categories, failing to finish first on just one. The nation’s third largest carrier took the blue ribbon for 4G and 3G Download Speed, Overall Download Speed, 3G Latency and Availability. AT&T was first in 4G Latency, beating out T-Mobile by 1.45 milliseconds. In other words, the Magenta hued carrier was a split second away from a clean sweep.

The report from Open Signal comes just days after T-Mobile and its MetroPCS pre-paid …

Watch Tim Cook try Animoji for a Duke commencement ceremony

Apple sacrificed so many things to make the TrueDepth 3D face-mapping camera set on the iPhone X really good, that you might have already started wondering if it’s all been worth it. The phone maker was so certain that Face ID can work flawlessly, that it disposed of the home button and Touch ID finger scanner entirely to make room for a larger display, hurting loyal fans’ muscle memory in the process.

So, were all those sacrifices worth the risk to alienate an entire cohort of legacy iPhone users for the simple act of unlocking your phone in a fancy …

Amazon Go app released in the Google Play Store so you can shop in a futuristic store

Two years ago Amazon depicted the future of shopping using just a simple mobile app that would enable consumers to skip checkout and lines. The Amazon Go app was launched back in 2016, but it had no use without a physical store to benefit from its features.

Amazon promised that the first stores with no cashiers or checkout lines would be opened in 2017 in Seattle and Washington. Today, the company announced the first Amazon Go convenience store will open on January 22 in Seattle.

To make things much easier for those who want to shop at Amazon Go, the US giant is now making the Android …

The first Sony Xperia phone without a 3.5mm headset jack might be released soon

Whether we like it or not, it’s probably just a matter of time before most relevant smartphone makers are ditching 3.5mm audio jacks, at least on their high-end devices. Samsung, LG, and Sony have not done this yet, but it looks like Sony may do it in the very near future. Last week, the FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) approved a mysterious Sony phone while revealing a few interesting things about it. According to documents made available by the FCC, this unannounced Sony phone (currently known only by its FCC ID, PY7-21831A) appears to be using a USB Type-C port for both audio, …

New record for HQ Trivia as 1.6 million vied to win $15,000 on Sunday

HQ Trivia is hotter than ever. The live trivia game show has been available for both iOS and Android users since late last month. The app has been updated in an attempt to prevent it from freezing, like it was wont to do. HQ also has apparently scaled up its servers to handle a larger number of game players. On January 1st, we told you that the 9pm game that evening drew 1 million people for the first time, but only 750,000 were allowed to play.

The cap is now higher. Sunday evenings’ trivia battle attracted an HQ record 1.6 million users to a special game that offered a higher than usual …

Deal: JBL Link smart speakers are discounted by up to 35% at US retailers

It’s true the Amazon enabled Alexa voice commands on its Android app, but that won’t replace the smart speakers yet. Two voice assistants seem to drive sales of smart speakers these days, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

If you happen to a fan of the first, you’ll be pleased to know there are a few JBL smart speakers on sale in the United States that might interest you. Abt, B&H, Best Buy, Newegg, and Verizon are now selling the JBL Link series smart speakers at deep discounts.

The cheapest of the three smart speakers, the JBL Link 10 usually sells for $150, but you can get …

Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre spots are impacting the security of some PCs with older CPUs

Intel has cautioned your repairs for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs could potentially cause instability with older processors, while the company’s CEO additionally issued a declaration guaranteeing greater transparency regarding these types of major weaknesses moving forward.

The bad news in the fix front pertains to Broadwell and Haswell CPUs regarding both consumer and information center usage, with rebooting dilemmas evidently plaguing some users.

In a security up-date (spotted by the enroll) Intel stated: “We have obtained reports from a few customers of greater system reboots after using firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are operating Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and information center. Our company is working quickly with these clients to comprehend, diagnose and address this reboot issue.”

So, presumably pre-Haswell processors aren’t hit. The perfect solution is may need a revised firmware up-date, and Intel notes it’s busy chewing the situation over with clients and taking care of an answer now.

Transparent and timely

Meanwhile, Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich issued a statement of his own (highlighted by the Verge) making several pledges, including a vow of ‘transparent and timely communications’ from company.

Krzanich restated Intel’s formerly noted objective of patching 90percent of Intel processors introduced within the last five years contrary to the insects by the end of the week, with updates coming for the remaining portion of the firm’s CPUs ahead of the end for the month.

He further included that Intel will “commit to publicly determine significant safety vulnerabilities after guidelines of responsible disclosure” moving forward.

As well as in terms of transparency because of the fixes of these (along with other) insects, Krzanich said: “As we roll out pc software and firmware spots, we’re learning much. We understand that effect on performance differs commonly, in line with the particular workload, platform setup and mitigation method. We commit to offer frequent progress reports of patch progress, performance data alongside information.”

Performance hit

To that end, Intel has also released some fresh performance benchmarks showing the effect for the Meltdown and Spectre patches across a variety of different applications.

Whilst the firm had previously stated, these numbers show that its latest (8th-gen) processors – operating on a Computer with an SSD – show a maximum 6% performance hit. That’s across PCMark 10, SYSmark 2014 SE and 3DMark benchmarks.

It’s interesting to start to see the other figures for mobile Kaby Lake CPU show a more impressive plunge of 14per cent in one benchmark, and Skylake desktop processors show a drop of 21per cent because same benchmark – particularly SYSmark 2014’s responsiveness test.

While that’s significantly worrying, these big drops are merely witnessed inside one standard, so it seems like something of a anomaly. One other six benchmarks cited for SYSmark and PCMark show drops of up to 7percent with Kaby Lake CPUs, or over to 10% in Skylake (although the majority of the Skylake outcomes nevertheless hover around 6% to 7percent drops).

The good news for gamers is that the DX11 benchmarks show no genuine huge difference post-patch, with outcomes either unchanged, or slight falls of a percentage point or two which doubtless won’t be noticed.

So, what Intel initially said seems broadly real, although there are incidents of bigger slowdowns. What exactly is possibly more concerning is the fact that they are benchmarks for Skylake or more recent processors, and we’ve yet to see any figures from Intel concerning the effect on older CPUs.

Microsoft makes its markings

Based on Microsoft’s own benchmarking, those making use of Haswell (4th-gen) processors or older will experience more significant slowdowns, and “some users” will possibly notice a decrease in system performance (in place of Intel’s assertion that any sluggishness wouldn’t realistically be noticeable).

Assuming you’re operating a mature operating system – previous to Windows 10 – with one of these older potato chips, the situation gets worse, and “most users” will notice a fall within their PC’s performance.

If Intel is shooting for transparency, the company must create figures showing the results on older processors, plus the company has certainly pledged to take action fleetingly, saying: “Within the following week, we want to offer a representative set of data for mobile and desktop platforms which were launched within the past 5 years.”

That means we ought to see benchmarks going back to and including Haswell processors, as that generation of Core CPUs premiered in 2013, or five years ago. Plus it’ll positively be interesting getting those outcomes, to observe how they shape up within the light of Microsoft’s findings.

AMD’s action

Meantime, on the other hand of the CPU fence, AMD has published an improvement on its processor’s security regarding Spectre (as Meltdown doesn’t affect AMD potato chips, only Intel people).

AMD stated that concerning Bing Project Zero (GPZ) variation 1 of Spectre (‘bounds check bypass’), this is included by an OS patch, and Microsoft is dispersing patches for most AMD PCs at this time.

Not absolutely all devices, however, because of the major dilemma of the Windows area causing boot failure for some PCs with older AMD processors. This resulted in Microsoft halting the distribution regarding the patch, even though problem ought to be corrected ‘shortly’, and Microsoft begins pressing out the update again for older AMD PCs by in a few days.

Concerning GPZ variant 2 of Spectre (‘branch target injection’), AMD stated it had been continuing to the office closely using the industry at large in negating this threat, which: “We have actually defined extra actions through a mixture of processor microcode updates and OS spots that we could make available to AMD clients and partners to help mitigate the risk.”

The organization stated it might make optional microcode updates readily available for Ryzen and Epyc CPUs beginning this week, with updates for older processors due to get to the ‘coming months’.

Finally, in the event that you’re focused on these security flaws, don’t forget that individuals have full guide on the best way to force away Meltdown and Spectre. 

  • Purchasing a brand new notebook having contemporary Central Processing Unit? have a look at our best laptop computers

Are mobile operators ready for GDPR?

If anybody desired reminding of the approaching menace of GDPR additionally the implications for companies, then £400,000 fine handed out to Carphone Warehouse, earlier in the day recently, will be a tiny wake-up call.

While the fine had beenn’t section of any GDPR arrangement – that doesn’t come into effect until might – how big it was a bit of an eye-opener. “It’s the dimensions of the fine, that has been a bit unanticipated,” stated Lewis Henderson of protection business Glasswall, pointing out your three million customer reports greatly surpassed the 157,000 customer records within the Talk Talk breach: an incident which also warranted the £400,000 “You do wonder what a business needs to do in order to be struck by the utmost,” Henderson mused.

The dimensions of the fine is significant because in May, the now-dizzying amount is possibly dwarfed by the penalties handed out for breaching GDPR.  Therefore, while the £400,000 is, as Henderson points out, underneath the maximum, it’s large enough to act as a warning shot.

Telcs and mobile operators will, by virtue of their big client bases, be tempting targets for cyber criminals and, provided how big is their turnovers, they’ll be tempting goals too for information commissioners seeking to make a good example of shoddy information protection practice.

It’s fair to say that there won’t be hefty fines passed out in the first few weeks that GDPR is functioning but, it’s nearly inevitable that in just a year some company will likely to be hammered. There does be seemingly a belief floating around the industry that the size of fines (at 4per cent of international return) is simply plenty talk. But offered the sloppy practice that rather a lot of organizations are indulging in, we could expect you’ll see a minumum of one hapless company struck by way of a huge penalty, pour encourager les autres.

Henderson stated that the globe has moved on since GDPR had got closer. “I made a quick calculation, and estimated when the ICO fined Carphone Warehouse the most it might under GDPR instructions, it would were hit having a £190m fine.”

Plus it’s the realisation that fines could be that big that will concentrate minds of operators, making sure their systems are because robust as possible. But, as Henderson said, three years following the Talk Talk information breach, businesses are still being hit – simply in November, it had been stated that Three suffered a information breach of a unique.

Nevertheless the nature of attack changed, said Henderson. “Three years ago, attackers were knocking on the home of internet sites, I’d state that these days 60percent of attacks use file accessories – they’re the largest threat.”

The fact that criminals continue to be threatening customer documents – regardless of the attack techniques is scary enough – but one of the biggest counter balances against this was once the reputational harm, however it doesn’t seem like that’s the actual situation anymore.”

“People are being desensitised,” said Henderson. “whenever Talk Talk ended up being hit in 2015, the share price took this kind of beating it took months to recuperate the situation.” That’s a comparison from what took place  this week, he said, pointing down that after Carphone Warehouse got hit by its fine, the share price shortly transpired … by a entire portion point. And considering that the headlines associated with fine had been established on a single day your team finance director left, the penalty may not have been the only cause for that fall in share cost.

There does seem to be acceptance given that client records will probably be hacked and, while embarrassing, it’s no big deal. 10 years ago, possibly, it may cause immense injury to a business’s reputation:  these days, such news causes only a ripple in the share price.

It’s exactly this kind of belief that GDPR was built to change.

Therefore, how prepared are operators the brand new reality of GDPR? According to a Clearswift survey from final September, businesses aren’t fully prepared for the alterations in regulation. The study revealed that only about 25 % of European businesses are GDPR-ready and, while technology and telecoms businesses are better prepared than most, only 32per cent of the sector ended up being completely involved.

Unprepared

That, naturally, had been four months ago, there has been fast modifications since that time as organizations have actually woken up to the realities of GDPR. The Clearswift survey unearthed that 44per cent of companies were well higher level within their plans, hoping to be compliant by the May due date.  One associated with facets that driven that modification may be the understanding that despite Brexit, the modifications are coming therefore the UK being out from the EU could have no impact on the use of GDPR.

But even like the organizations formulating an idea, of a 3rd of all businesses won’t get ready and that will include many telecoms firms (Clearswift survey didn’t go into way too much information). Regardless if it’s just a handful, that’s a worrying sign.

The top boys will likely to be fully aware of the problems and can have spent months securing their systems but, ultimately, there’s going to a information breach and this time, someone’s going to be hit having a big  fine.

It will be good to imagine that the operators’ systems are tightly secure nevertheless the usage of assaults dedicated to accessories mean that it becomes harder to connect things up tightly. As Glasswall’s Henderson said: “It’s the present that keeps offering.”

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