AMD Ryzen Threadripper Was Made By Engineers In Their Spare Time

By now, most of us are already familiar with AMD’s recently launched lineup of Ryzen Threadripper processors. That said, most of us are probably not aware of how the platform was created in the first place. Folks at Forbes have recently conducted an interview with top AMD engineers who shared details regarding the inception of Ryzen Threadripper.
The most interesting detail that came out of the interview was how AMD didn’t originally plan for Ryzen Threadripper. Back when AMD first announced the “Zen” CPU architecture, the company originally planned to release two iterations of Zen for different markets: mainstream and enterprise. The initial roadmap only consisted of Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 CPUs as well as EPYC processors.

According to AMD’s James Prior, Ryzen Threadripper was actually made by several AMD employees in their spare time. This “team” consisted of those from AMD’s engineering, business unit and marketing departments – even a handful of people from the press joined in as well. The idea of adding a third platform for Zen was then eventually presented to Jim Anderson, AMD Senior Vice President and General Manager, just before AMD’s Computex 2016 event.
Thus, from that moment on, AMD officially decided that it will be adding a third platform for its Zen CPU architecture. To AMD’s delight, Ryzen Threadripper processors were met with waves of positive reviews. This, of course, isn’t surprising at all given Threadriper’s impressive price to performance ratio and stability.
(Source: Forbes)
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Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Special Edition Has A Ceramic Unibody

In addition to the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, the Chinese company also announced a special edition of the device. Called the Mi Mix 2 Special Edition, it removes the metal frame and goes for a full ceramic unibody, the first time this has been done on a smartphone.
Where the Mi Mix 2 uses a 7-series aluminium alloy frame and a ceramic back (the original Mi Mix also has a ceramic back), the Mi Mix 2 Special Edition has a beautiful ceramic unibody that comes in two colours: white and black. This ceramic unibody is manufactured using a single piece of ceramic that goes through a complex process that takes seven days to complete.

Xiaomi introduced the first ceramic body on its smartphones beginning with the Mi 5 in 2016, and it isn’t the only company using this material. OnePlus released a special edition of its OnePlus X that used a ceramic back in 2014, and more recently the new Essential Phone also features a ceramic back paired with a titanium frame. The Mi Mix 2 Special Edition is the first time a smartphone’s entire body is made from four-sided curved ceramic.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Special Edition retains the same set of hardware as the standard edition, but upgrades the RAM to 8GB (from 6GB on the standard version). There is only one storage option at 128GB compared to three on the standard version. It will retail for 4,699 Yuan (about RM3,030).
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Xiaomi Announces Professional Grade Mi Notebook Pro

Xiaomi has announced a follow up to the laptop it announce last year. This new Mi Notebook Pro is yet another 15.6-inch notebook, and features the latest 8th generation Intel Core processors.
According the announcement, the Mi Notebook Pro will feature an unlocked Core i7 clocked at 4GHz. This is paired with 16GB of dual channel 2400MHz RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also includes a discrete graphics card, although it only happens to be an Nvidia GeForce MX150, which can hardly be called high performance.
A new cooling system with paired fans has also been developed for the Mi Notebook Pro. Xiaomi says that this is to ensure symmetrical cooling across the notebook. It vaguely resembles the kind of setup found on gaming laptops, and seems to be a little overkill for a machine that shouldn’t produce much heat.

More importantly, it features an SD card reader; which is a big deal for people in some professions. There is also a pair of USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 sorts, and an HDMI port. Xiaomi has also included a fingerprint sensor next to the touchpad for Windows Hello logins.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is set to cost RMB 6999 (about RM4500) at launch. Two more models are also being released, with a 8GB RAM version going for RMB 6399 (about RM4100) and a Core i5 with 8GB RAM version sold for RMB 5599 (about RM3600).
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Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is Official, Snapdragon 835, 18:9 Display & More

Xiaomi’s highly-anticipated Mi Mix 2 is now officially unleashed. It is a significant upgrade from its predecessor in almost every way, featuring a handsome new design with a 18:9 aspect ratio display.
The Chinese company has been quietly hard at work on the Mi Mix 2, after the surprising success of the original. Despite keeping a similar overall look, the Mi Mix 2 definitely looks a lot more refined from the original Mi Mix.
One of the challenges for the Mix 2 was in reducing the “chin” of the phone. The Chinese company shaved off the chin by 12% on the Mi Mix 2 by employing some interesting new technologies. There’s a new front camera module that’s 1.5mm shorter, while a new antenna design shaved off another 1.3mm. Finally, Xiaomi used a new chip-on-film (COF) display driver that reduced the chin by another 1mm.

Interestingly, there’s a physical speaker that’s slightly hidden at the top of the screen, instead of the piezoelectric one on the original Mix. According to Xiaomi, the piezoelectric speaker setup – where sound is resonated around the metal frame – allowed people nearby the device to be able to hear what’s being played on the speaker. As a result, the Mi Mix 2 employs a “sound-guided speaker”, where a membrane speaker located underneath the screen is connected to the sound hole via a sound guiding tube.
On the other hand, the ultrasonic proximity sensor is retained, as it allowed the sensor to be placed beneath the display.

Round the back, not much has actually changed. There’s a rear fingerprint sensor located beneath the single rear camera sensor. Yes, the Mi Mix 2 uses a single-sensor rear camera setup; its sensor is the same as the primary sensor on the Mi 6: the Sony IMX 386 paired with 4-axis OIS.
Developing…
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MBPJ Takes Action Against Bike-Sharing Service For Obstructing Foot Traffic

MBPJ has seized bicycles belonging to bike-sharing service oBike. The city council says that this is because oBike does not have a license to operate in such a manner, and that the bicycles left out in the open are obstructing foot traffic.
oBike is a service that allows people to rent bicycles for short range travel. Bookings are done using an app, which also unlocks the bikes. Trips are charged at a rate of RM1 for every 15 minutes, with most of the users being students who cannot afford ridesharing services or their own transport.
Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain says that oBike is effectively running an illegal operation in Petaling Jaya as the company has not applied for a license to place its bicycles along streets. However, he also admits that there are no proper regulations to deal with this sort of matter; but the council would be willing to draw them up to accommodate the bike-sharing business.
Curiously, oBike has permission to operate in Subang Jaya. The Subang Jaya Municipal Council issued an approval letter to the company after it submitted an application. According to oBike marketing manager Elaine Chan, the procedures for each local authority are different.
For now, oBike is aware of the situation and has said that it is working with the MBPJ to resolve the matter. That said, it looks like there will be fewer orange bicycles lining the sidewalks for the time being.
[Source: The Star]
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Google Will Make it Easier for You to Control Your Privacy with Refreshed Google Dashboard

Google is about to make it a whole lot easier for you to control what information you share with the internet giant. The company recently announced a refreshed version of Google Dashboard that comes with a brand new design, making it much easier for users to see the Google products they use and the data associated with them.
The new Google Dashboard is built from the ground up, improving usability on touchscreens. Say goodbye to tiny texts that require you to constantly zoom in and out to see a clearer picture. Everything looks more in-line with typical smartphone interface, with bigger text, and more graphical representations. Data are neatly stored based on various Google products you use, and if you need a copy, you can easily download your data from the dashboard itself.
Google Dashboard before (left) and after (right)
So, what can you do on Google Dashboard? With My Activity, you can see all your activities on Google including the videos you’ve watched, your search queries, and such. All My Activity information is private to you, but should you wish to, you may delete them from your dashboard.
Privacy Checkup on My Account is also a very useful tool for you to control your privacy on Google. The tool lets you see your data across Google, and let you control the information you share and make public. Google says that tens of millions Google users around the world are using Privacy Checkup.
The new design will be rolled out “in the coming days”.
(Source: Google)
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MCMC’s Swift Action Against Steam Lauded By Religious Leaders

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission may have annoyed gamers across the country, but its swift action against Steam has been lauded by religious leaders. According to newspaper reports, Christian and Buddhist groups have thanked the commission for immediately banning the controversial Fight of Gods.
Steam, the world’s most popular game distribution platform, was blocked for about 12 hours in Malaysia after it failed to meet an MCMC deadline to geoblock the offensive fighting game. For many, it felt like a heavy handed approach in tackling what was going to be yet another piece of shovelware.
Still, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism deputy president R.S. Mohan Shan thanked the government for listening to his concerns and immediately banning the game. He also asked that the government continue to monitor the situation to ensure that Malaysians do not illegally download the game.

Similarly, the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) said that it commends the swift action taken against the game that included Jesus among its roster of fighters. The CCM also thanked Steam for taking quick action to comply with the MCMC’s request.
The blocking of the Steam store in Malaysia began making headlines across international media as soon as it happened. It was the first time in the world that the store had been blocked over a single game; mostly due to Valve’s willingness to cooperate with local governments to remove selected titles.
However, it would have seemed that the company failed to move fast enough to meet the MCMC’s 24 hour deadline. Although that may have something to do with the 16 hour time difference between Kuala Lumpur and its headquarters in Bellevue.
The Steam store is yet again operational in Malaysia after Valve moved quickly to remove the offending game.
[Source: The Sun]
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Sony Mobile To Launch Xperia XZ1 In Malaysia This Week

First announced at IFA 2017, Sony Mobile will be launching its brand new Xperia XZ1 smartphone in Malaysia later this week. This is confirmed through a media invite that has just landed in our inbox moments ago.
Scheduled to take place on 15 September, the invite didn’t mention the smartphone by its name but clearly highlighted one of the phone’s main feature, the 3D Creator. Through the new app, it allows users to create 3D images out of pretty much anything and use them either as custom wallpaper, avatar, AR object, or actual 3D prints.
The actual media invite to the Sony Mobile Malaysia’s launch event on 15 September.
Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the Xperia XZ1 also carries 5.2-inch full HD Triluminos display with support for HDR alongside 4GB of RAM and UFS-based 64GB internal storage. It also features the same 19MP 960fps Motion Eye rear camera and 13MP Exmor RS front camera from Xperia XZ Premium in addition to a 2700mAh battery which is rather small especially for a device that using Snapdragon 835.
Meanwhile, the invite didn’t reveal whether we’ll be seeing other new Xperia devices from IFA 2017 such as XZ1 Compact and XA1 Plus although there are hints that we’ll be meeting more than just one model at the launch event. So, stay tuned.
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Global Samsung Galaxy S8 Active To Be Launched Soon

After the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, we may be seeing another high-end model coming soon from the Korean company. A certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance suggests that there will be a Samsung Galaxy S8 Active destined for the global market.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active comes in Gold and Black in the US
Samsung traditionally launches an Active version of the flagship phone alongside the standard models, but as exclusive to US carriers (AT&T specifically). However, a new entry filed in the Wi-Fi Alliance database suggest that there will be a Galaxy S8 Active model for the rest of the world.

Carrying the model number SM-G892U, it shares the same model number as the AT&T phone (SM-G892A), where the U could stand for Unlocked.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is said to featured the following specifications:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
8-inch 2960 x 1440 pixel Super AMOLED shatter-proof display
4GB RAM
64GB Internal Storage
12MP f/1.7 rear camera
8MP f/1.7 Selfie camera
USB Type-C connector
A thicker and heavier construction
MIL-STD-810G Compliant
4000mAh battery

If this news is correct, we may see the arrival of an Active-series smartphone in other markets outside of the US (which may include Malaysia). Not many phones has MIL-STD compliance. It would be a great option for those who needs the ruggedness that only the Active models can offer.
(Source: Wi-Fi Alliance via GSMArena)

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Leaked iOS 11 GM Firmware Hints at iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X; Has New Features like Animoji, & More

Over the weekend, the iOS 11 GM firmware was leaked to several news portals. The firmware, which should be scheduled for release later this week, hints at some of the things that we can expect from Apple at its upcoming event scheduled for 12 September 2017; that’s 1am on 13 September for us Malaysians, including the names of the upcoming iPhones, and some interesting new features.
First up, according to developer, @stroughtonsmith, Apple will be launching three iPhones, and no, it’s not what we previously expected. Steve T-S says that the names will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. It was previously believed the regular iPhones with incremental updates would be called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, while the 10th anniversary iPhone would be called the iPhone 8.

iPhone 8iPhone 8 PlusiPhone X pic.twitter.com/OVLfhLxTdT
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 9, 2017

The leaked firmware also hints at some features that we can expect including Face ID, animated emoji called Animoji, and more. There have been multiple reports saying that Apple will remove the Home Button from its tenth anniversary iPhone.
This means that the company would have to remove its Touch ID fingerprint sensor from the device. Multiple reports say that the Cupertino company will replace it with a new face recognition feature, and it might be true after all. The term Face ID is found in the iOS 11 GM firmware, along with an animation that shows users how it works.

The new facial recognition capability can do more than just help users unlock the iPhone X. The iOS 11 GM firmware also shows off a new feature called Animoji, which uses the 3D face sensor to create 3D animated emoji based on the user’s facial expressions. Why use boring emoji when you can opt to use a custom and animated Animoji of unicorns, robots, robots, pigs, poo, and many more?
Other notable things leaked in iOS 11 GM firmware include changes to the status bar, portrait lighting, and true tone display. Since the iPhone X is reported to have minimal bezels, the company will be making some changes to the status bar to accommodate to the new design. According to the firmware, the status bar will have animations to provide users information – the left side will show the time and location information, while the right will show Wi-Fi connections, signal strength, and battery life.
Image source: @stroughtonsmith
Finally, the iOS 11 GM firmware also shows some new camera features we can expect, from the iPhone X at least. Portrait Lighting should be similar to the current portrait mode, with support for Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light. These should be the different flash modes available when capturing portrait images.
While these leaks seem reliable since it comes directly from the final version of iOS 11 software, do take them with a pinch of salt. The official announcement is only about a day away, so just wait a little more to hear the news directly from Apple.
(Source: 9to5Mac 1, 2, 3, 4, @stroughtonsmith)
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