Daily Tech Headlines – May 22, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – May 22, 2018
Number 507
Broadcast Date MAY 22, 2018
Episode Length 4:59
Hosts Sarah Lane

Instagram now allows muting without unfollowing, Comcast now selling xFI pods for WiFi boosts, ZTE may get US support in a trade deal.


Microsoft and Google have disclosed a new CPU security vulnerability similar to the Meltdown and Spectre flaws uncovered earlier this year. It's called Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4), which exploits speculative execution that modern CPUs use. The new vulnerability will need firmware updates for CPUs that could affect performance. Intel has delivered microcode updates for Speculative Store Bypass in beta form to OEMs with broader availability in the coming weeks. The firmware updates will set the Speculative Store Bypass protection to off-by-default. Intel is redesigning its processors to protect against attacks like Spectre or this new variant 4, and the company’s Xeon processors (Cascade Lake) will have built-in hardware protections for 8th generation Intel Core processors that ship in the second half of 2018.
Instagram has added a mute button on Instagram so that you can stop seeing photos in your feed without unfollowing that user. Instagram said that it added this feature to make your feed more personalized, “We've also heard it may be a useful tool for managing complex social dynamics,” a rep tells Buzzfeed. After muting someone in the feed, you’ll still see their DMs, and you’ll still be able to look at their photos if you go to their profile page.
Comcast announced its own Wi-Fi extender devices called xFi Pods that help boost wifi signals throughout the home. Comcast invested in the mesh router maker Plume last year, which offers plug-in “pods” that help extend Wi-Fi signals. The companies' products are designed to work in tandem. Comcast also licensed the Plume technology, then reconfigured some aspects of it i to integrate xFi. It also designed its own pods in-house. Plume's pods were initially available in limited markets including Boston, Chicago and Denver. Today, a pack of 8 sells on Plume's website for $329, but Comcast’s six-pack is $199. A three-pack is $119, or $179 directly from Plume.
Intel and Micron announced their jointly-developed QLC NAND flash memory is now available. Micron is now shipping the 5210 ION series solid state drive based on QLC NAND: The new flash memory stores four bits of data per memory cell, providing a 33% capacity boost over three bit per cell TLC NAND, currently the SSD standard. But QLC has lower write endurance and lower write performance. Micron is primarily marketing the 5210 ION SSDs as replacement for hard drives.
Google Duplex, the AI appointment maker, got a lot of people talking after it was debuted at I/O, but Microsoft has a similar product it's been testing in China. At an AI event in London, CEO Satya Nadella showed off Xiaoice (pronounced “SHAO-ICE”) social chat bot.that has 500 million “friends” and more than 16 channels for Chinese users to interact via WeChat and other messengers. Nadella says “One of the things we started doing earlier this year is having full duplex conversations... Xiaoice can be conversing with you in WeChat and stop and call you. Then you can just talk to it using voice.” By the way, “full duplex” means a conversation where both participants can speak at the same time, if you were wondering how Google named Duplex.
RED is partnering with VR camera maker Lucid on an 8K, 3D prosumer camera that will work with the upcoming Hydrogen One smartphone. The device has two synced 4K cameras that capture and convert video and images to 8K 4V (.h4v) files. Those can then be displayed in 3D on the Hydrogen One's "holographic" display, and later uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and RED's own content hub. The Hydrogren One will come in aluminum for $1,195 or titanium for $1,595. It's set to arrive this summer at Verizon and AT&T, or directly from RED.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters report the US may be near a deal to lift its ban on U.S. firms supplying parts to ZTE Corp, citing anonymous sources. ZTE, was given a seven-year ban in April that had essentially ruined operations. The new deal could include China removing tariffs on imported U.S. agricultural products, as well as buying more American farm goods.
Apple announced new security changes being implemented on May 25 will prevent the first-generation Apple TV and PCs running Windows XP or Vista from using the iTunes Store. The first-generation Apple TV launched in 2007 and was updated to a flash-based second-generation model in late 2010. The first-generation model was declared obsolete by Apple in late 2015. Machines running Windows XP or Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft and are unable to use the latest versions of iTunes, as iTunes 12 requires Windows 7 or later.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – May 21, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – May 22, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – May 23, 2018"