JPEG XS pre-standard implementations emerging

Image boffins readying streaming codec for VR, cars, drones

The Joint Photographic Experts Group's image compression standard, JPEG XS, has started to turn up in implementations ahead of its slated April 2019 completion.

The still-under-development standard is pitched as targeting VR, 5G, and high-resolution image formats like 8K. The group says it's working on a low-latency image coding system for the standard, will cut both power consumption and bandwidth requirements.

The core coding system is due for completion in July 2018, and the whole standard including reference software is scheduled for next April (the roadmap can be found here).

As so often happens, developers jockeying for early-adopter attention are running ahead of the standards documentation process – however, rather than vendor-land, the gun-jumpers are academic, with the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits among those making the running.

The Fraunhofer Institute is gearing up to show off a codec implementation at this week's National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show at Las Vegas.

The institute will demonstrate its codec handling JPEG XS as an input format for Adobe Premier Pro CC, with realtime playback as 4K UHD video (frame rate 60p).

Fraunhofer's codec runs at between 2:1 and 6:1 compression, using the SMPTE 2110 IP-based transmission standard (also under development; its first four documents were published in December 2017).

Switzerland's EPFL has virtual reality applications in its sights, noting that one reason VR headsets so often disappoint is latency.

Professor Touradj Ebrahimi of EPFL's Multimedia Signal Processing Group says in this release that JPEG XS is designed not for storage, but for streaming. It puts a cap of 6:1 on the degree of compression, and assumes that connections are fast enough to handle a larger file size.

Ebrahimi, who also conducted JPEG XS performance evaluations, is quoted as saying “we are compressing less in order to better preserve quality, and we are making the process faster while using less energy”.

As well as VR, EPFL's piece lists self-driving cars, drones, and possibly space applications as targets for JPEG XS (for traditional image storage, the familiar JPEG format will remain).

The JPEG XS standardisation process kicked off in 2016 with this call for proposals (PDF). As well as its latency, power and bandwidth requirements, the standard aims for an easy-to-implement algorithm, a small memory footprint, and support for long cable runs. ®

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China rallies support for Kylin Linux in war on Windows

openKylin project is latest chapter in Beijing's love-hate relationship with Redmond

China’s efforts to end its reliance on Microsoft Windows got a boost with the launch of the openKylin project.

The initiative aims to accelerate development of the country’s home-grown Kylin Linux distro by opening the project up to a broader community of developers, colleges, and universities to contribute code.

Launched in 2001, Kylin was based on a FreeBSD kernel and was intended for use in government and military offices, where Chinese authorities have repeatedly attempted to eliminate foreign operating systems.

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Is a lack of standards holding immersion cooling back?

There are just so many ways to deep fry your chips these days

Comment Liquid and immersion cooling have undergone something of a renaissance in the datacenter in recent years as components have grown ever hotter.

This trend has only accelerated over the past few months as we’ve seen a fervor of innovation and development around everything from liquid-cooled servers and components for vendors that believe the only way to cool these systems long term is to drench them in a vat of refrigerants.

Liquid and immersion cooling are by no means new technologies. They’ve had a storied history in the high-performance computing space, in systems like HPE’s Apollo, Cray, and Lenovo’s Neptune to name just a handful.

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The App Gap and supply chains: Purism CEO on what's ahead for the Librem 5 USA

Freedoms eroded, iOS-Android duopoly under fire, chip sources questioned – it's all an opportunity for this phone

Interview In June, Purism began shipping a privacy-focused smartphone called Librem 5 USA that runs on a version of Linux called PureOS rather than Android or iOS. As the name suggests, it's made in America – all the electronics are assembled in its Carlsbad, California facility, using as many US-fabricated parts as possible.

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Supply-chain provenance has become more important in recent years, thanks to concerns about the national security implications of foreign-made tech gear. The Librem 5 USA comes at a cost, starting at $1,999, though there are now US government agencies willing to pay that price for homegrown hardware they can trust – and evidently tech enthusiasts, too.

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Google location tracking to forget you were ever at that medical clinic

Plus: Cyber-mercenaries said to target legal world, backdoor found on web servers, and more

In brief Google on Friday pledged to update its location history system so that visits to medical clinics and similarly sensitive places are automatically deleted.

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Google keeps a log of its users whereabouts, via its Location History functionality, and provides some controls to delete all or part of those records, or switch it off. Now, seemingly in response to the above concerns and a certain US Supreme Court decision, we're told Google's going to auto-delete some entries.

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TikTok: Yes, some staff in China can access US data

We thought you guys were into this whole information hoarding thing

TikTok, owned by Chinese outfit ByteDance, last month said it was making an effort to minimize the amount of data from US users that gets transferred outside of America, following reports that company engineers in the Middle Kingdom had access to US customer data.

"100 percent of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure," TikTok said in a June 17, 2022 post, while acknowledging that customer information still got backed up to its data center in Singapore. The biz promised to delete US users' private data from its own servers and to "fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US."

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W3C overrules objections by Google, Mozilla to decentralized identifier spec

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The DID specification describes a way to deploy a globally unique identifier without a centralized authority (eg, Apple for Sign in with Apple) as a verifying entity.

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Cyberattack shuts down unemployment, labor websites across the US

Software maker GSI took systems offline, affecting thousands of people in as many as 40 states

A cyberattack on a software company almost a week ago continues to ripple through labor and workforce agencies in a number of US states, cutting off people from such services as unemployment benefits and job-seeking programs.

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In a statement to media organizations, GSI President Paul Toomey said the Palm Harbor, Florida-based company "identified anomalous activity on our network," and took its services offline. Toomey didn't elaborate whether GSI was hit with ransomware or some other type of malware.

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One of the first RISC-V laptops may ship in September, has an NFT hook

A notebook with an RV SoC is cool enough. Did we really need the Web3 jargon?

It seems promoters of RISC-V weren't bluffing when they hinted a laptop using the open-source instruction set architecture would arrive this year.

Pre-orders opened Friday for Roma, the "industry's first native RISC-V development laptop," which is being built in Shenzen, China, by two companies called DeepComputing and Xcalibyte. And by pre-order, they really mean: register your interest.

No pricing is available right now, quantities are said to be limited, and information is sparse.

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Crypto sleuths pin $100 million Harmony theft on Lazarus Group

Elliptic points to several indicators that suggest the North Korea-linked gang was behind the hack

Investigators at a blockchain analysis outfit have linked the theft of $100 million in crypto assets last week to the notorious North Korean-based cybercrime group Lazarus. The company said it had tracked the movement of some of the stolen cryptocurrency to a so-called mixer used to launder such ill-gotten funds.

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According to blockchain analytics company Elliptic, the attacker immediately turned to Uniswap, a decentralized exchange, to convert most of the assets into 85,837 Ethereum, which researchers said is a common method used by hackers to avoid the stolen assets from being seized.

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2050 carbon emission goals need nuclear to succeed, says International Energy Agency

Without it, $500b more in investments is needed to reach C-neutrality

There's more than one path to net zero emissions by 2050, but the only practical one runs straight through nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency.

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Ubuntu Unity desktop back from the dead after several years' hiatus

Thanks to Linux wunderkind Rudra Saraswat, not Canonical, this time

Good news for especially determined fans of Ubuntu's formerly in-house desktop: there's a new version.

Unity 7.6 just appeared, although there is a more complete list of changes in the earlier announcement that it was in testing.

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