Topic 2 (Hardware)
In short, IT infrastructure consists of seven major components: Computer hardware platforms, Operating system platforms, Data management and storage, Networking/telecommunications platforms, Internet platforms, Enterprise software applications and Consulting system integration services. The listed articles here will discuss how hardware devices such as the new Intel Optane SSD 900P or even quad computing will help provide creative solutions and enhance performance in technology as a whole.
List of Interesting Hardware Tech News
1. How bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are hurting gamers
The recent cryptocurrency mining craze has resulted in a shortage of graphics card in the market. As a result, graphics card prices are skyrocketing and it is affecting gamers out there.
2. Will This Display Technology Become the New Gold Standard In 2018?
It has been suggested that an up and coming hardware technology – Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) may be a new IT standard in 2018. The article discusses the advantages of OLED compared to its predecessors LCD and LED. OLED has also been incorporated into multiple devices such as LG Television sets and more notably, iPhone X.
3. Why on Earth is IBM still making mainframes?
While IBM has quit making PCs in 2005 and servers in 2014, it is still making mainframes as the mainframes today are very important for transaction processing, such as ensuring that the mobile devices used to make the transactions are secured.
4. Flexible Solution for secure IT in cars
Today, almost everything in cars is managed by an electronic control unit (ECU). The problem is that these mini computers are increasingly coming under attack. Researchers have now developed a platform that makes it possible to flexibly install secure devices in a way that is based on open and vendor-neutral hardware and software standards.
5. New and Bigger Storage Technology
Intel came up with a new storage hardware called the Intel Optane SSD 900P which uses a new 3D Xpoint technology.
6. Makers can enjoy depth-sensing capabilities via Intel cameras
This article talks about the release of Intel’s new depth-sensing cameras, D415 and D435 from its RealSense product line. The article also includes the specs of the cameras and their main advantage of adding 3D capabilities to any device or machine.
7. Octa-core Superphones: When a Single Core is just not enough!
This article uses the newest Samsung model, the Samsung Galaxy S6, as an example to explain how smartphones can have multi-core processors and the rationale behind the trend of smartphones having multiple cores. The Samsung Galaxy S6 has 8 cores on its central processor. This figure is well above the number of cores a home computer or even a basic business computer would have.
8. Qualcomm Unveils Powerful New Snapdragon SoC
Qualcomm has introduced the snapdragon 845 mobile platform, a system on a chip build for immersive multimedia experiences including extended reality (XR), on-device artificial intelligence and high-speed connectivity. The 845 substantially reduces power consumption, improves visual quality, and boosts XR application performance. The SoC will also power the next generation of android flagship smartphones and Windows 10 notebooks.
9. The future of Photonics Quantum Computing
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkfi0P_H4xQ
The article summarises how quantum computing is a complex system that requires multiple criteria to be fulfilled and how photons are the only answer to quantum computing. The article also shows how photonic quantum computing is not something noteworthy now due to the increasing complexity of the system that cannot be controlled by humans as of now.
10. AI, Cloud and Internet of Things
This article highlights how IOT, AI and Cloud are working in tandem to give us the future of technology. Cloud provides the architecture of the future. Internet of Things gathers and collects data with its sensors, exchanging data from device to device. Artificial Intelligence utilizes data to programmatically manipulate data. Cloud computing enables these with is massive and distributed storage system.
11. I Got Chipped: A Dispatch From The Frontier Of Wearable Tech
A company has pushed the limits of wearable technology by allowing its employees to plant RFID chips under their skin which will allow them to do several cool stuff including the opening of doors and purchasing of several stuff from the staff canteen. This could be the start of something revolutionary if there is security in place but this has also resulted in significant ethical considerations.
12. Apple answers to slowing down old phones
There was a recent rave after users discovered that Apple has slowed their old phones down on purpose. Many theorized that this was a case of ‘planned obsolescence’ and an attempt by to earn more profits. Apple has issued the statement in which it claims it was due to the limitations of old batteries.
13. How to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws
The Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws are making headlines around the world. The article provides a summary of the 2 bugs as well as the latest guide for every new fix.
14. Inside the weird world of Quantum Computing
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhHMJCUmq28
This article explores Quantum Computing, which may be the possible future computer as researchers strive to create new energy-efficient computers to cope with rising demands. The physics/mechanics of quantum computing is explained.
15. Intel’s Core i9
Given the affordability, convenience and increasing functions of laptops and smartphones, such devices have replaced traditional PC in carrying out the bulk of home computing chores. Hence, the distinction of being high-end would be the distinction in which PC purchasers will look out for. Intel has thus launched the Core i9, is the first consumer desktop processor to cram 18 cores and 36 threads into a single piece of chip.
16. Microsoft Eye Control Makes Accessibility Widely Available to Disabled
As computers play a vital part in society, people with disabilities are heavily disadvantaged from activities ranging from education to commerce. Companies nowadays are moving to counter the limitations to those people with disabilities who otherwise can’t simply use a computer with the implementation of ‘The Eye Control Function’ which supports key and mouse capability. Stephen Hawking was initially known for this custom-built hardware and now, Microsoft is making computer eye control a reality for everyone.
17. A Closer Look At The Multi-Cloud Trend
Many people are unclear on how to leverage on the potential of public cloud and this article discusses the advantages of multi-cloud in minimising the disadvantages of only using one single public cloud, such as vendor lock-in. However, there are also issues that may limit the benefits that multi-cloud can bring, due to expertise requirements and operational costs.
18. Intel promises a hardware-based fix for Spectre and Meltdown for CPUs this year
Intel has promised that future CPUs released this year will incorporate silicon-based changed to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware, which are the security problems that have been widely publicized since they were first publicly unveiled at the start of the year. There is a small performance hit for Intel’s CPUs and the benefits of building a fix into their future chips at a silicon level should be expected to eliminate the small performance dip related to it.
19. What We Know So Far About Meltdown and Spectre, the Devastating Vulnerabilities in Modern CPUs
Speculative execution is a technique employed in modern microprocessors where a processor predicts which calculation it might need to do subsequently and then solves them in advance in a parallel fashion, thus improving the performance of CPUs. Recent research by Google’s Project Zero and researchers from different universities have however shown a serious flaw in the way modern processors are hardcoded to use speculative execution. The optimisation technique does not check permissions correctly and leak information about speculative commands that don’t end up being run, thus allowing an attacker to read memory that should be inaccessible.
20. What Is Hybrid Cloud Computing And Why You Should be Using It
Hybrid cloud is an enterprise IT environment where the organisation mixes and matches private cloud and public cloud infrastructure. This allows them to combine the online capability of a public cloud with the on-premises security of a private cloud.
21. Extent of Cloud that I did not know about
This article talks about the different platforms and organisations that use Cloud. It also covers how much different organisations such as the US Federal and private banks saved in terms of budget, due to shifting into Cloud. Many statistics were also given to prove the extent and significance of Cloud in today’s world.
22. How Secure is Your Data When it is Stored in the Cloud?
The use of cloud storage is becoming increasingly common as people store their data, files and information within their cloud storage. However, is our information really secured?
23. IBM’s phase-change memory is faster than flash and more reliable than RAM
IBM made a breakthrough that allows electronic devices to process much quickly through the use of phase-change memory (PCM). PCM is able to store 3 bits per cell at a lower cost as compared to DRAM. It also allows the replacement of RAM in desktops and flash memory in mobile, thus enabling phones to launch in a few seconds.
24. Cloud computing: Now hospitals can keep confidential patient records in the public cloud
NHS UK has allowed many medical organisations to store patients’ data information onto cloud computing services. It was identified that there are more benefits as compared to the risk of storing sensitive data on the cloud.
25. Moore’s Law is running out – but don’t panic
This isn’t the first time the end of Moore’s Law has been proclaimed. Industry observers think that Moore’s Law is running out as we are now reaching the end of the silicon era. As to what will replace silicon, possible trends such as optical processing and quantum computing has been brought up.
26. Vanishing point: the rise of the invisible computer
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTVEVvfGOIw
For Moore’s law to hold until 2050 means engineers would have to figure out how to build computers from components smaller than an atom of hydrogen which is the smallest element exist and that is impossible. Moore’s law is ending. But as it fades, it will fade in importance. The definition of “better computer” will change and currently many other avenues of innovative computing technologies are growing.
27. How will computers evolve over the next 100 years?
Will Moore’s Law continue to hold true when we may encounter problems we cannot cross with cramming more transistors on the atomic scale? Future computers may rely on a completely different model than traditional machines, where we abandon the old-transistor processor and start looking into using DNA to process information. There also seems to be a future where we stop relying on physical input interfaces such as a computer mouse and keyboard and turn to have our devices reacting seamlessly with our desires.
28. Moore’s Law 2017: an uphill battle
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv_2C95cO6s
Moore’s Law – the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. To quote Greg Yeric, the director of future silicon technology for ARM Research, he said,“ I don’t think anyone could confidently tell you that they have a plan for 15 more years of Moore’s law”, which effectively sums up this article into a concise statement highlighting the technical plateau faced by the hardware industries.
29. The New Way Your Computer Can Be Attacked
This article summaries the importance of microprocessors and the discovery of major security vulnerabilities in modern microprocessors. It also explains how such vulnerabilities affect computer performance as well as the implications these vulnerabilities bring about to individuals and the whole industry.
30. 2018 might just be the year for VR 2.0 Hardware
Link (Video): https://youtu.be/7RlPZ_EGIv4
In the past, VR users often find themselves tangled in cables as all current VR systems work only when connected to an external computing device — a gaming-quality PC, smartphone, or game console. In every case, the hardware requires the external computing power because the demands of VR were too much to be onboard. There simply was no way to produce the kind of output VR needs with affordable built-in computing. However, 2018 might change with several standalone VR systems being released.
31. Kano: How DIY computer kits for children are creating programmers of the future
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gs5UuEjYgI
To the uninitiated, computing is often considered to be something almost magical, or so high level in complexity that only know-it-alls understand anything about it. But what if you could de-mystify technology? What if, other than using the Microsoft Office suite of software on a PC and apps on your smartphone, you could make it ubiquitous for the masses to understand coding and how computers work? London-based startup Kano set out to create a computer that children could snap together and build all by themselves, just like Lego bricks.
32. Fog Computing
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuo5Pxc4w3c
Fog computing is another layer of distributed network environment and is closely associated with cloud computing and the Internet of things (IoT). In essence, fog computing acts as an intermediate layer between IoT and the cloud, being closer to the end user and supports mobility at the same time.
33. A new update to Firefox Quantum lets it make better use of multi-core processors
Compared to the older version of Firefox which runs on a single main thread, the latest Firefox 58 allows it to make full use of multi-core processors for enhanced performance. The new multi-threaded page rendering separates the tasks needed to generate pixels that make up a web page, allowing the browser to maintain a higher frame rate. The average load time for loading the top 200 news site is can now be reduced to a minimum of 3.2 seconds with Firefox (7.7 seconds in Chrome).
34. Opinion: Western Digital unveils breakthrough in hard-drive technology that will be used beyond 2030
The article talks about the breakthrough in hard drive technology by Western Digital that enabled the increase in capacity through Microwave-assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR). As the storage demand in enterprise increases along with the expansion of the digital cloud, coupled with phenomenon such as Big data and Internet of Things, there is a need for higher capacity and denser storage options. This technology enables writing on smaller of the disk platter reliably and leading to significant increase in densities in hard drives over time without significant cost increase, performance question and platform incompatibility.
35. French presidential candidate Mélenchon uses ‘hologram’ optical illusion to appear in seven places
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oqWpFFS8dI&t=1575s
During his presidential campaign, French Politician Jean-Luc Melechon used a “hologram” to hold simultaneous rallies in 7 different cities across France, reaching an impressively large audience. Though not a true “hologram”, which is a 3D image reproduced from a pattern of interference produced by a split coherent beam of radiation (as a laser), Melechon’s team managed to pull this feat off by beaming a projection onto a transparent plane to create the illusion.
36. The rise of artificial intelligence is creating new variety in the chip market, and trouble for Intel
Processors are no longer improving quickly enough to be able to handle, for instance, machine learning and other AI applications, which require huge amounts of data and hence consume more number-crunching power than entire data centres did just a few years ago. Intel’s customers, such as Google and Microsoft together with other operators of big data centres, are opting for more and more specialised processors from other companies and are designing their own to boot. Nvidia has produced chips called graphic processing units (GPUs) which many companies have written AI applications that run on its chips, and it has created the software infrastructure for other kinds of programmes, and Intel faces tough competition from them.
37. Intel’s processors have a security bug and the fix could slow down PCs
There is evidence of a hardware bug that results in security vulnerability in Intel chips from the last decade. The design flaw means that malicious programmes can potentially read the contents of the kernel memory. The bug will require an update at the operating system level to fix and potentially result in a slow down in the performance of five to thirty percent.
38. What Every Major Phone Gained by Removing the Headphone Jack
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2rS4DlJCc
This article talks about how some of the smartphone makers who are big players in the market following suit behind Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone audio jack with the announcement of the iPhone 7 back in 2016. With the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack from their flagship phones, these smartphone makers are able to derive various benefits, ranging from saving space (and thus thinner phone) and a longer battery life.
39. The physical infrastructure of the Internet
Both the video and article give detailed explanations on how the Internet is physically structured to transmit information between users through electricity, light and radio waves. The article also mentioned how the future of the Internet structure might change due to projects such as Google’s project loon which aims to launch solar-powered balloon up into the stratosphere to provide Internet to rural areas and help people connect after disasters.
40. Are mainframes still relevant today?
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ximv-PwAKnc 0:47 – 1:47mins
In an industry where fast computing and security is needed, are our new computing methods really more applicable? This article provides information on who and for what reasons do various organisations use mainframes in the present day despite the availability of other newer computing systems that are more commonly used by people at work and why they are suitable for such business activities.
41. Is it the End for Wired headphones?
With the recent announcement that the latest Sony headset has no jack port, and the charging port will double up for both USB Type C and Audio Connectors, this follows the trend for ditching the headphone jack port by Apple (iPhone 7 in 2016), that introduced a lightning port in its place.
42. SanDisk Presents the World’s First 1TB Flash Drive That Uses the Type-C USB Port
SanDisk has begun its aggressive move to make its storage Type-C USB peripherals and announced the world’s first 1TB flash that utilizes the Type-C USB port. The company also claims that the flash drive is the smallest storage drive to take advantage of this port. In addition to transferring data across notebooks seamlessly, you will also be able to attach this to Android handsets and tablets that make use of the Type-C USB port without having to use an OTG cable.
43. 10 enthralling visions for the future of computing
While hardware just sounds like a boring IT jargon, it actually is so interesting and the future of tomorrow. For example, reading up more about one such hardware VR, I found out about how it goes beyond just gaming purposes but has value in the field of psychology and even medicine. The hardware we are so familiar with – the PC is slowly but surely being revolutionized as well, as it is looking towards wireless charging. While it seems like everyone is all about upgrading software and there is much fuss over new apps, but hardware too is innovating. And not just in terms of becoming slimmer or smaller in size, but solid and exciting innovations as such and that’s something I look forward to.
44. Ledger grabs $7 million for its cryptocurrency hardware wallets
The French startup, Ledger, has just raised $7 million to fund for designing and making its cryptocurrency hardware wallets more ubiquitous. Hardware wallets store cryptocurrencies securely off-chain and off-line, and it is currently the most secure way to store cryptocurrencies. The increase in demand for cryptocurrency has led to an increase in demand for hardware wallets. Ledger has kept up to popular demands with its newest product Ledger Nano S, a USB size device with a small display screen.
45. Raptor Smartglasses for Road Warriors
Israel-based start-up, Everysight, has created smart glasses for cyclists, which enables a slew of data to be provided to cyclists on the go so that the cyclist can keep his eyes straight on the road, and ensuring peak performance and form. It is essentially a smartphone crammed into a pair of glasses. It’s powered by a quad-core CPU and runs Android.
46. Nvidia CEO says Moore’s Law is dead and GPUs will replace CPUs
“In case you were unaware, Moore’s Law is no longer relevant, as GPUs are advancing at a much faster pace than CPUs”, stated Nvidia CEO Jensen Huan at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2017. He also mentioned that graphic processors are on track to replace CPUs.
47. Hack-proof NEM-PUFs Chips
Korean researchers have developed a function known as NEM-PUFs or nano-electromechanical physical unclonable functions, to chips inside computers giving each of these chips a unique identity. When these chips are grouped together, it creates an entirely random security code that is nearly impossible to replicate. The hardware was put to several durability tests and even had a self-destruction mechanism that would destroy the chips or device when tampered with.
48. FOREO UFO: Beauty Tech; a whole new way to use mask in 90 seconds!
With millions of women using facial masks daily to leave their skin softer, smoother and more radiant, the beauty industry is constantly finding ways to innovate and create a competitive edge. However, one issue is that many are too lazy for a 20-minute skincare and they simply want the easiest way out. Thus, the latest beauty tech FEREO UFO, a device that depicts a UFO, allows the fast track to flawless-looking skin by turning a 20-minute treatment into a 90-second treatment which is more convenient and effective than a conventional sheet mask.
49. Stochastic Computing in a Single Device
Stochastic computing is a computing method that uses random bits to calculate via simpler circuits, at lower power, and has a greater tolerance for errors. Similar to an MRAM memory cell, this device can perform the stochastic computing versions of both addition and multiplication on four logical inputs. However, stochastic computing has been improved through the design of a cell that produces random strings of bits that carry and compute information.
50. Nintendo delays its 64gb switch games till 2019
Nintendo is delaying delivery of its 64-gigabyte game cards for its Switch console till 2019, which means that gamers have to wait longer for some data-rich software titles. This delay comes after a successful year on the market for Switch, a hybrid between a living room game console and a portable player.
51. Underwater Drone, thread to worldwide security, but an opportunity for businesses
Aquabotix launched new underwater drone which could be operated anywhere on earth through the internet. Aquabotix can be deployed for a myriad of settings including the mapping of the seafloor, searching for shipwrecks, assisting in search and rescue missions and other marine incidents.
52. Mining Bitcoin Costs More Energy Than What 159 Countries Consume in a Year
The article introduces how the energy that has been consumed by the subsequent surge in mining has exceeded the average yearly electricity consumed yearly by 159 countries in 2017 due to the recent craze in Bitcoin mining.
53. A Step Towards Productive Coffee Shops in Singapore
Two productive coffee shops were launched last year in Tampines and Choa Chu Kang respectively. The word “productive” is used as the first two manpower-lean local coffee shops now have a tray return robot to facilitate a more convenient process of returning trays after dining, a floor-cleaning robot and also a self-ordering kiosk which can accept orders through a mobile application.
54. Razer’s Project Linda imagines a laptop dock for the Razer Phone
Razer creates Project Linda which is a companion piece for the newly minted Razer Phone which turns it into a full laptop, and the phone screen becomes a trackpad.
55. Intel’s smart tiny house packs futuristic technology into 264 square feet
This article is about Intel’s Smart Tiny House that operates on an Internet-of-Things (IoT) system. To save space, many of the devices and furniture (e.g. Thermostat, lighting, door lock) in the house are automated and connected through an IoT platform through a single tablet application. All the systems also respond to voice control and are capable of learning and storing your preference too.
56. An algorithm for your blind spot
The article talks about using smartphone cameras for blind spots. This could be useful for self-driving cars and for future search-and-rescue operations.
57. Sophia the Robot
Sophia is a social humanoid robot which will help in research artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI refers to the intelligence of a machine that can successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can execute. The humanoid is already being used to help research autism and other diseases. Sophia would be trained in all the skills required for search and rescue operations, and deploy that as a standard platform for service robotics.
58. Neighbor Unlocks Front Door Without Permission With The Help Of Apple’s Siri
This article talks about how a Reddit user’s, “sportingkcmo”, door was unlocked by his neighbour, as he was using Apple’s HomeKit.
59. Experts fear a risk to Smart Nation projects from hardware flaws
Two hardware flaws, Meltdown and Spectre, have threatened Singapore as these flaws could affect almost all computers and smartphones worldwide. Other than that, these flaws would allow hackers to commandeer fleets of autonomous vehicles and surveillance cameras that are part of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives. The flaws can be exploited to plant malware in autonomous vehicles and Web cameras that can launch sophisticated targeted attacks on critical infrastructure, thus jeopardizing Singapore advancing to a Smart Nation.
60. iBeamBLOCK: Smart compact modular projecting system
Link (Video): https://youtu.be/TQ19Dj5fV0E
iBeamBLOCK is the world’s first modular smart projection system with an HD projector and a Windows-powered tablet attached, allowing seamless and vivid presentations without compromising on visuals or lag. This device is the epitome of a high-luminescence display, a high-performance tablet to input your presentation and a high-powered power bank that allows up to 2 hours of non-stop presentation. The modular design of this device means you can replace any one part, should they become faulty, without purchasing the entire product.
61. Microsoft Has a Plan to Add DNA Data Storage to Its Cloud
Microsoft is developing an apparatus that uses biology to replace tape drives. Many tech companies are starting to work on this idea as there are physical limits to how much data can be stored in devices like hard drives. However, there are some problems faced, mainly due to the high cost of converting and storing the data into DNA strands. Despite that, storing data in DNA is still a novel and impressive idea, considering the massive amount of data that can be stored as well as how it will always be relevant as DNA is the building block of life.
62. French presidential candidate Mélenchon uses ‘hologram’ optical illusion to appear in seven places
During the previous French election campaign, presidential candidate Mélenchon used hologram technology to “appear” in several cities at the same time. This was one of the most unique usages of hardware in a political setting and had surprisingly resulted in a spike in votes for Mélenchon at that time. This is interesting as well because hologram technology has become increasingly prevalent in the past few years and people are coming up with more useful usages of this technology to enhance their lives. Perhaps the thought of having hologram technology within every household will become more of a reality rather than science fiction from “Star Wars”.
63. First Ever Robot Citizen
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvmZw06-RxM
This is the ever first robot to have citizenship in Saudi Arabia. Sophia is an evolving genius machine which will enchant the world and connect with people regardless of age gender and culture.
64. Old dog, new tricks: Sony unleashes ‘intelligent’ robot pet
Link (Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhESLovHII4
The article introduces Sony’s improved robot pet, Aibo. The Aibo embodies modern day technology of cloud storage, where it stores information and gestures of its owners and these data ultimately allows for the different Aibo bots to be uniquely different from one another. The use of cloud in Aibo was a decision that was made in order to allow for Aibo’s character to be “preserved” in times of potential “hardware damage” and this reflects the competition between cloud computing and traditional IT infrastructures.
65. Singapore restaurant ‘hires’ robot waiters
Mr Zhang Zhinong, boss of Rong Heng Seafood Restaurant uses robots waitress to serve customers food to deal with his manpower issue in his restaurant. He got the idea when he saw robots serving food in a restaurant in Kunshan city, near Shanghai, in late 2014, and decided to adopt the idea after facing trouble recruiting manpower.