Microsoft Stops Meltdown And Spectre Patches On AMD Machines After Computers Stop Booting

Microsoft has stopped Windows updates meant to patch the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities on AMD powered computers. This comes after some users reported that their machines refused to boot after installing the patch.
“Microsoft has reports of some customers with AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing this KB. To prevent this issue, Microsoft will temporarily pause Windows OS updates to devices with impacted AMD processors at this time.”
AMD processors are technically not affected by the Meltdown vulnerability, and the company has been maintaining that it also immune to the threat imposed by Spectre. Microsoft, for its part, is not taking any chances and has been pushing out its patches to all supported Windows systems without discrimination.

The company is working with AMD to overcome the problems, but it might take a while to test the patch. No details about what might be the preventing the computers from booting have been put forward, but AMD processors might have to stay vulnerable for a bit longer.
[Source: Microsoft]
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Google Unites Its Payment Services Under The Google Pay Banner

Google has consolidated both Android Pay and the Google Wallet into a single service known as Google Pay. This will ostensibly make it easier for customers, rather than having two separate entities doing the same thing.
There’s not much else to the announcement, other than services that once allowed either of Google’s payment options have already begun integrating Google Pay. Google will also be rolling the new service out across more products over the next few weeks.

This looks like more of a housekeeping sort of thing rather than a functional change. Google never really had a good reason to maintain two difference services, which makes this unification somewhat overdue.
Nothing is going to change for the most part. But there will be some adjustment to the new naming system.
[Source: Google]

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AMD Slashes Prices Of Ryzen Processors By Up To 30 Percent

AMD has announced price reductions for its current lineup of Ryzen processors. The announcement came during the red company’s CES 2018 event which was held recently. In addition, AMD launched Ryzen 3 Mobile, Vega Mobile, 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs, and the X470 chipset during the aforementioned event as well.
Processors that are affected by AMD’s price reduction announcement are listed below:

It’s interesting to see how AMD is still trying to increase the sales of its Ryzen processors at this time; even when knowing that its CPUs are already doing very well in the market already. Perhaps AMD is trying to clear its current inventory to make way for the upcoming 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs.
Even more interesting is the fact that AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 1900X was also bestowed with a price cut (from US$549 to US$449). This price cut, of course, makes the Threadripper 1900X come with better value for money compared to the Core i7-7820K, which has an official MSRP of US$599 (about RM2,399).
Unfortunately, it’s still not known whether AMD’s price cuts will be implemented in Malaysia – although we think it’s very likely that the company will. Regardless, we’ll be sure to post an update regarding this matter should there be an official announcement from AMD Malaysia in the coming weeks.
(Source: PC Perspective, TechPowerUp)
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CES 2018: Sony Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra And L2 Launched

Sony Mobile has announced three new smartphone models at the CES 2018 trade show in Las Vegas. Headlining the lineup is the Xperia XA2. As an upgrade to the Xperia XA1, the XA2 features a similar design , but naturally comes with updated internals.
The screen is a 5.2-inch Full HD display, covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. Running the show is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is microSD expansion if needed. The battery is a 3,300mAh unit with fast-charging capabilities for quick power top-ups.
Imaging is handled by the rear 23-megapixel camera and the front 8-megapixel sensor. The rear sensor is Sony’s large 1/2.3” Exmor for mobile and it supports both 4K recording and 120fps slow-motion video. For selfies, the 120-degree lens on the front captures more subjects and surrounding with each shot.
The colours available for the XA2 and XA2 Ultra at launch
Next, the Xperia XA2 Ultra ups the ante by having a large 6-inch display, and not one but two cameras on the front. One sensor is a 16-megapixel unit with optical-stabilisation technology while the other is an 8-megapixel 120-degree wide angle sensor.
It has a larger battery at 3,850mAh, 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of internal storage with microSD expansion as well. Like the XA2, it supports fast charging with the optional Fast Charger.
Xperia L2
Lastly, the Xperia L2 is the baby of the bunch. It has a quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 5.5-inch display at 720p and a generous 3,300mAh battery. It features the same 8-megapixel wide-angle selfie unit as the XA2 and XA2 Ultra, which is joined by a 13-megapixel unit at the back. An entry mid-range model at its best.
All three models feature a rear fingerprint scanner – a first for Sony Mobile. The Xperia L will be heading to stores sometime this month, while the XA2 and XA2 Ultra is expected to be available from February 2018.
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Tello from DJI Is A RM 400 Drone For Education

DJI just announced a new licensed drone, aimed at the lower-end market, as well as the education sector. Built by Ryzerobotics, the Tello is a eight-bladed drone that is tiny in the hands. It is only 80 grams, but it has features that larger drones boast.
The Tello is powered by an unspecified Intel processor, and which can access flight programs made with Scratch – a visual programming language and tool developed by MIT and aimed at kids.
Out of the box, Tello can already do impressive actions such as 360-degree flips, throw-to-activate and even bounce mode. With a 100 metre transmission range, it transmits HD footage using 802.11n WiFi connection to a smartphone running the Tello app.
With a 13-minute flight-time, collision detection and a 720p camera on the front, it is not a cinematic drone platform, but is perfect for first time drone flyers.

The drone even supports VR flight mode, with compatible Bluetooth controller and VR goggles. Images transmitted and captured are electronically stabilised for smooth footage and, taking cues from DJI’s larger drones, it has visual positioning system and collision avoidance to hover safely.
The Tello is available from the DJI online store, but is still out of stock at the time of this story.
(Source: DJI)
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CES 2018: Razer Announces Chroma Lighting For Philips Hue

Razer has revealed a partnership that will introduce its Chroma lighting technology to Philips Hue lights. Allowing people to effectively put pulsing RGB lighting in their entire homes.
The Philips Hue line of home lighting is a series of WiFi connected lights that can be controlled from a single location. This covers an entire range of lightbulbs, lightstrips, and even standalone lamps. It can technically already cover a range of different colours and lighting conditions on its own, thanks to the Hue lights being capable of projecting 16 million different colours.
What Razer brings to the table with Chroma is integration with both the Synapse 3 control panel and the Chroma Studio app. Synapse 3 should be familiar to all those who use Razer products. It’s been expanded to be able to control individual Hue lights, allowing gamers to control the room lighting without having to get up.

Chroma Studio adds the ability to control lighting effects for all Chrome equipped devices. Which seems to mean that Razer wants gamers to synchronise the pulsing lights on their keyboards with the rest of the room. This should probably come with an epilepsy warning.
For the most part, this isn’t really a new product. It’s simply an integration of Philips Hue technology with the Razer Chroma. Providing customers with another method of controlling their home lighting. Of course, Hue lights also work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.
[Source: Razer]
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GoPro Stops Making Drones; Drops Pay Of CEO To $1

GoPro is undergoing a company wide restructuring after experiencing a lackluster 2017. The company fell short of its earnings target, despite revenue in the fourth quarter actually improving over the same time period in 2016. As such, it has announced that the GoPro Karma will be its last drone.
A number of changes are taking place at GoPro, with the company aiming to reduce its annual operating expenses by $80 million (RM320 million). Firstly, the workforce is being cut; with GoPro saying that it aims to drop headcount from 1254 employees to somewhere below 1000.
It will also no longer be developing or manufacturing drones. The Karma drone failed to impress over the competition from DJI, not to mention that a number of the products were recalled after losing power during flight. Curiously, GoPro is also blaming drone regulations being put in place by the US and UK for reducing the future potential of the market.

“Although Karma reached the #2 market position in its price band in 2017, the product faces margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market. Furthermore, a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States will likely reduce the total addressable market in the years ahead. These factors make the aerial market untenable and GoPro will exit the market after selling its remaining Karma inventory. GoPro will continue to provide service and support to Karma customers.” Reads the press announcement.
Finally, GoPro is reducing the salary of CEO and founder Nicholas Woodman to a mere $1 (RM4). That said, Woodman still retains any other form of remuneration that he had before.
GoPro isn’t exactly struggling for revenue. It’s still doing reasonably well with its line of action cameras. The GoPro Hero 5 saw relatively slow sales shortly after launch, but picked up once it saw a price drop.
[Source: GoPro]
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CES 2018: Xiaomi Reveals Mi VR Standalone, Becomes Oculus Go Hardware Partner for Global Launch

Aside from revealing the processor that will be powering Oculus Go standalone VR headset, Oculus’ VP Hugo Barra has also reveal that the company has partnered with Xiaomi for the global launch of the headset. The announcement took place during his surprise appearance at today’s Qualcomm’s CES press briefing.
Immediately after the revelation, the VP of Mi Ecosystem, Thomas Tang took the stage to announce Mi VR Standalone headset which is a version of Oculus Go made specifically for China. In fact, it is really hard to differentiate both devices apart in the product image that was shown on stage during the press event.
Aside from the similarity of physical design, the Mi VR Standalone will be running on the same processor as per Oculus Go which is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. With the support for Oculus Mobile SDK, it provides opportunity for Oculus developers to bring their contents to Mi VR platform for the Chinese market.
However, specific details regarding the Mi VR Standalone headset such as specifications, pricing, and release date were not revealed by either Thomas or Hugo at the event.
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CES 2018: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 To Power Oculus Go Standalone VR Headset

When Oculus announces its standalone Go virtual reality headset in October last year, the company didn’t reveal much regarding the hardware that it has implemented into the device. Here at CES 2018, we have finally learned about one of the main components behind the headset.
During the Qualcomm press conference, the VP of Oculus, Hugo Barra has revealed that the Oculus Go headset will be running on Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. He mentioned that the chipset is able to provide high performance for the headset while still retaining power efficiency.

Other components within the headset are still not yet known at the moment though since Hugo didn’t reveal them during his short appearance at Qualcomm’s CES 2018 press conference. However, he did point out the Oculus Go could be the most accessible VR headset in the world due to its starting price tag of USD 199 (about RM 796).
As reported before, the new Oculus Go is scheduled for release in 2018.
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CES 2018: Acer Embraces Nvidia’s Giant Gaming Monitor Concept With The Predator Big Format Gaming Display

Nvidia believes that what gamers really need is a massive display. More importantly, it has convinced other manufacturers to go along with the idea, hence Acer’s announcement of the 65-inch Predator Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD).
As far as monitors go, the Predator BFGD fully embraces the specifications required by Nvidia. It features full G-sync compatibility, has a 120Hz refresh rate, and also supports 4K resolution. Considering that this is all on a monitor larger than most household tvs, it really is quite impressive.

As part of Nvidia’s BFGD concept, the Predator gaming monitor also ships with Nvidia Shield technology built in. Which means that users can stream games from the Shield library of games, run media playing apps, and even use the Google Assistant to operate the monitor. All before actually hooking it up to a computer.
There’s no price or release date for the Acer Predator Big Format Gaming Display at the moment. However, we fully expect it to end up be priced like the luxury item that it clearly wants to be.
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