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The Almighty Buck

$415 Million Settlement Approved In Tech Worker Anti-Poaching Case 104

An anonymous reader writes: Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel have been embroiled in a high-profile court case accusing them of creating anti-poaching agreements in an attempt to keep tech industry salaries under control. Now, Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that the $415 million settlement against the tech giants is fair, and will stand. Koh also cut in half the amount awarded to the attorneys in the case. The lawsuit was a class-action originally joined by about 64,000 workers. Other companies were involved with the case, and reached settlements earlier, and a few members of the class action may opt out of any settlement. But the remaining members will only get something in the vicinity of $6,000 apiece for the damage done to their earnings.
Security

Check Point Introduces New CPU-Level Threat Prevention 130

An anonymous reader writes: After buying Israeli startup company Hyperwise earlier this year, Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq: CHKP) now unveils its newest solution for defeating malware. Their new offering called SandBlast includes CPU-Level Threat Emulation that was developed in Hyperwise which is able to defeat exploits faster and more accurately than any other solution by leveraging CPU deubgging instruction set in Intel Haswell, unlike known anti-exploitation solutions like kBouncer or ROPecker which use older instruction sets and are therefore bypassable. SandBlast also features Threat Extraction — the ability to extract susceptible parts from incoming documents.
Intel

Intel Launches Onslaught of Skylake CPUs For Laptops, Hybrids and Compute Stick 54

MojoKid writes: Intel is following up on its Skylake launch bonanza by opening the floodgates on at least two dozen SKUs mostly covering the mobile sector. The company is divvying up the range into four distinct series. There's the Y-Series, which is dedicated to 2-in-1 convertibles, tablets, and Intel's new Compute Stick venture. Then there's the U-Series, which is aimed at thin and light notebooks and "portable" all-in-one machines. The H-Series is built for gaming notebooks and mobile workstations, while the S-Series is designated for desktops, all-in-one machines, and mini PCs. Also, the Y-Series that was previously known as simply the Core M, (the chip found in products like the 12-inch Apple MacBook and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300) is now expanding into a whole family of processors. There will be Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 processors, similar to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPU models in other desktop and notebook chips.
Media

Mozilla, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Others Form 'Alliance For Open Media' 98

BrianFagioli tips news that Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Intel, Amazon, and Netflix are teaming up to create the Alliance for Open Media, "an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest." Several of these companies have been working on this problem alone: Mozilla started Daala, Google has VP9 and VP10, and Cisco just recently announced Thor. Amazon and Netflix, of course, are major suppliers of online video streaming, so they have a vested interested in royalty-free codecs. They're inviting others to join them — the more technology and patents they get on their side, the less likely they'll run into the issues that Microsoft's VC-1 and Google's VP8 struggled with. "The Alliance will operate under W3C patent rules and release code under an Apache 2.0 license. This means all Alliance participants are waiving royalties both for the codec implementation and for any patents on the codec itself."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.2 Released 141

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.2 kernel is now available. This kernel is one of the biggest kernel releases in recent times and introduces rewrites of some of the kernel's Intel Assembly x86 code, new ARM board support, Jitter RNG improvements, queue spinlocks, the new AMDGPU kernel driver, NCQ TRIM handling, F2FS per-file encryption, and many other changes to benefit most Linux users.
Hardware

Video The IoT, the MinnowBoard, and How They Fit Into the Universe (Video) 25

The IoT is becoming more pervasive partly because processor costs are dropping. So are bandwidth costs, even if your ISP isn't sharing those savings with you. Today's interviewee, Mark Skarpness, is "the Director of Embedded Software in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corporation," which is an amazing mouthful of a title. What it means is that he works to extend Intel's reach into Open Source communities, and is also aware of how hardware and software price drops -- and bandwidth price drops at the "wholesale" level -- mean that if you add a dash of IPV6, even lowly flip-flops might have their own IPs one day.

This video interview is a little less than six minutes long, while the text transcript covers a 17 minute conversation between Mark Skarpness and Slashdot's Timothy Lord. The video can be considered a "meet Mark" thing, and watching it will surely give you the idea that yes, this guy knows his stuff, but for more info about the spread of the IoT and how the Open Hardware MinnowBoard fits into the panoply of developer tools for IoT work, you'll have to read the transcript.
Input Devices

Skylake Has a Voice DSP and Listens To Your Commands 99

itwbennett writes: Intel's new Skylake processor (like the Core M processor released last year) comes with a built-in digital signal processor (DSP) that will allow you to turn on and control your PC with your voice. Although the feature is not new, what is new is the availability of a voice controlled app to use it: Enter Windows 10 and Cortana. If this sounds familiar, it should, writes Andy Patrizio: 'A few years back when the Xbox One was still in development, word came that Kinect, its motion and audio sensor controller, would be required to use the console and Kinect would always be listening for voice commands to start the console. This caused something of a freak-out among gamers, who feared Microsoft would be listening.'
Intel

Intel's Collaborative Cancer Cloud, an Open Platform For Genome-Based Treatments 16

Lucas123 writes: Intel and the Knight Cancer Institute have announced what will be an open-source service platform, called the Collaborative Cancer Cloud. The platform will enable healthcare facilities to securely share patient genomic data, radiological imagery and other healthcare-related information for precision treatment analysis. Key to averting HIPAA privacy issues will be Intel's Trusted Execution Technology, its embedded server encryption hardware that tests the authenticity of a platform and its operating system before sharing data. Intel said it will be opening that technology up for use by any clinic that want to take part in the Collaborative Cancer Cloud or to build its own data-sharing network with healthcare partners. Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute, said the Trusted Execution Technology will allow healthcare centers to maintain control of patient data, while also allowing clinics around the world to use it for vastly faster genomic analysis.
Intel

Intel Discloses Detailed Skylake Architecture Enhancements 53

MojoKid writes: Intel is still keeping a number of details regarding its complete Skylake microarchitecture and product line-up under wraps for a few more weeks, but at a public session at IDF, some of the design updates introduced with Skylake were detailed. Virtually every aspect of Skylake has been improved versus the previous-gen Haswell microarchitecture. I/O, Ring Bus, and LLC throughput has been increased, the graphics architecture has been updated to support DX12 and new eDRAM configurations, it has an integrated camera ISP, support for faster DDR4 memory, and more flexible overclocking features. All of these things culminate in a processor that offers higher IPC performance and improved power efficiency. There are also new security technologies dubbed Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) onboard Skylake, which support new instructions to create and isolate enclaves from malware and privileged software attack, along with Memory Protection Extensions (Intel MPX) to help protect stack and heap buffer boundaries as well. A new technology, dubbed Intel Speed Shift, also allows Skylake to switch power states faster than previous-gen products, controlling P states fully in hardware, whereas previous-gen products required OS control. The end result is that Skylake can switch P states in 1ms, whereas it takes roughly 30ms with older processors.
Open Source

Debian Founder: How I Came To Find Linux 136

An anonymous reader writes: Ian Murdock has pretty solid open source cred: in 1993 he founded Debian, he was the CTO of Progeny and the Linux Foundation, and he helped pave the way for OpenSolaris. He has published a post about how he initially joined the Linux ecosystem. Quoting: "[In 1992], I spent most evenings in the basement of the MATH building basking in the green phosphorescent glow of the Z-29 terminals, exploring every nook and cranny of the UNIX system upstairs. ... I was also accessing UNIX from home via my Intel 80286-based PC and a 2400-baud modem, which saved me the trek across campus to the computer lab on particularly cold days. Being able to get to the Sequent from home was great, but I wanted to replicate the experience of the ENAD building's X terminals, so one day, in January 1993, I set out to find an X server that would run on my PC. As I searched for such a thing on Usenet, I stumbled across something called 'Linux.'" How did you come to find Linux?
Data Storage

Intel Promises 'Optane' SSDs Based On Technology Faster Than Flash In 2016 80

holy_calamity writes: Intel today announced that it will introduce SSDs based on a new non-volatile memory that is significantly faster than flash in 2016. A prototype was shown operating at around seven times as fast as a high-end SSD available today. Intel's new 3D Xpoint memory technology was developed in collaboration with Micron and is said to be capable of operating as much as 1000 times faster than flash. Scant details have been released, but the technology has similarities with the RRAM and memristor technologies being persued by other companies.
AMD

AMD Still Struggling With Linux Gaming 100

An anonymous reader writes: AMD's Linux gaming performance has been embarrassingly bad, and it doesn't look like there's any quick remedy. Virtual Programming just released Dirt: Showdown for Linux, and it's the latest example of AMD's Linux driver issues: AMD's GPU results are still far behind NVIDIA's, with even the Radeon R9 Fury running slower than NVIDIA's aging GTX 680 and GTX 760. If a racing game doesn't interest you, Feral Interactive confirmed they are releasing Company of Heroes 2 for Linux next week, but only NVIDIA and Intel graphics are supported.
Graphics

Intel Skylake Gen9 Series Graphics Architecture Unveiled 29

MojoKid writes: Intel's Skylake is here and the new architecture comprises Intel's 6th generation Core line of CPUs. In recent testing it was confirmed that Intel's Skylake-based Core i7-6700K is the company's fastest quad-core desktop processor to date. However, one thing Intel kept a tight lid on was the underlying technology of the Gen9 Intel HD Graphics engine on board Skylake, that is until now. An overview of the changes Intel made specific to Intel Gen9 graphics, notes the following among other tweaks: Available L3 cache capacity has been increased to 768 Kbytes per slice (512 Kbytes for application data). Sizes of both L3 and LLC request queues have been increased. This improves latency hiding to achieve better effective bandwidth against the architecture peak theoretical. Gen9 EDRAM now acts as a memory-side cache between LLC and DRAM. Also, the EDRAM memory controller has moved into the system agent, adjacent to the display controller, to support power efficient and low latency display refresh. Gen9 has also been designed to enable products with 1, 2, or 3 slices, each with 24 EUs per slice and 8 EUs per subslice. Finally, Gen9 adds new power gating and clock domains for more efficient dynamic power management. This can particularly improve low power media playback modes.
Security

Researcher Exploits 18-Year-Old Design Flaw To Compromise X86 Chips 128

jfruh writes: Security researcher Christopher Domas has demonstrated a method of installing a rootkit in a PC's firmware that exploits a feature built into every x86 chip manufactured since 1997. The rootkit infects the processor's System Management Mode, and could be used to wipe the UEFI or even to re-infect the OS after a clean install. Protection features like Secure Boot wouldnt help, because they too rely on the SMM to be secure.
Intel

Planar NAND Development Ends After 26 Years 109

Lucas123 writes: The non-volatile memory used in thumb drives, SSDs, smartphones and any other mobile device today has at last hit an engineering wall. The major developers of planar NAND this week said now that they've reached 15 or 16 nanometer process technology, they no longer expect to shrink their lithography process any further, as the capacity and economic benefits no longer make sense. Toshiba, which produced the first NAND flash chip in 1989, SanDisk, Intel and Micron said they will turn their engineering efforts to 3D flash trap NAND, 3D resistive RAM and other vertically-stacked non-volatile memories that offer a much longer road map. The manufacturers all said they'll continue to produce planar NAND while developing 3D NAND, which has already doubled previous capacities while also offering two to 10 times the erase-writes of previous non-volatile memories and twice the write performance. Intel and Micron are also producing a 3D NAND, based on floating gate, and a ReRAM that the companies say will increase performance and endurance 1,000 time over planar NAND. Toshiba and SanDisk have come out with a 48-layer 3D NAND that could allow them to produce 400GB microSD cards next year.
Graphics

KDE Plasma 5 Problem Traced To Bug In Intel Graphics Driver 56

prisoninmate writes with news that certain complaints about the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment may not be KDE's fault at all: Apparently, KDE Plasma 5 runs just fine, and the issue is related to a serious Intel Graphics Driver Stack bug. The good news is that a workaround for the bug is already available, and it requires you to modify the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf file from your Linux kernel-based operating system, by switching back to the older UXA acceleration method instead of the default SNA method used in many distros.
Intel

Intel's Skylake Architecture Reviewed 99

Vigile writes: The Intel Skylake architecture has been on our radar for quite a long time as Intel's next big step in CPU design. We know at least a handful of details: DDR4 memory support, 14nm process technology, modest IPC gains and impressive GPU improvements. But the details have remained a mystery on how the "tock" of Skylake on the 14nm process technology will differ from Broadwell and Haswell. That changes today with the official release of the "K" SKUs of Skylake — the unlocked, enthusiast class parts for DIY PC builders. PC Perspective has a full review of the Core i7-6700K with benchmarks as well as discrete GPU and gaming testing that shows Skylake is an impressive part. IPC gains on Skylake over Haswell are modest but noticeable, and IGP performance is as much as 50% higher than Devil's Canyon. Based on that discrete GPU testing, all those users still on Nehalem and Sandy Bridge might finally have a reason to upgrade to Skylake. Other reviews available at Anandtech, Hot Hardware, [H]ard|OCP, and TechSpot.
Businesses

Sociologist: Job Insecurity Is the New Normal 585

Mr.Intel writes: Allison Pugh, professor of Sociology at University of Virginia, and author of The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity, says workers in the U.S. are caught up in a "one-way honor system," in which workers are beholden to employers. She says that the golden era when Americans could get a job, keep it, and expect to retire with an adequate pension are over. JP Morgan Chase has cut 20,000 from its workforce in the past 5 years, last year HP cut 34,000 jobs, and many others have announced layoffs. In this interview Pugh talks about the social effects of this "insecurity culture."
China

China To Impose Export Control On High Tech Drones and Supercomputers 67

hackingbear writes: Following similar hi-tech export restriction policies in the U.S. (or perhaps in response to the U.S. ban on China,) China will impose export control on some drones and high performance computers starting on August 15th, according to an announcement published on Friday by China's Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs. The ban includes (official documents in Chinese) drone that can take off in wind speed exceeding 46.4km/hour or can continuously fly for over 1 hour as well as electronic components specifically designed or modified for supercomputers with speed over 8 petaflops. Companies must acquire specific permits before exporting such items. Drones and supercomputers are the two areas where China is the leader or among the top players. China is using its rapidly expanding defense budget to make impressive advances in (military) drone technology, prompting some to worry that the United States' global dominance in the market could soon be challenged. The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian "spy drone", reportedly Chinese-made. China's 33-petaflops Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, while still using Intel Xeon processors, makes use of the home-grown interconnect, arguably the most important component of modern supercomputers.