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AI lifeline to help devs craft smartmobe apps that suck a whole lot less... battery capacity

Remember the days when you didn't have to charge your phone several times a day?


Artificial intelligence can help developers design mobile phone apps that drain less battery, according to new research.

The system, dubbed DiffProff, will be presented this week at the USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation conference in California, was developed by Charlie Hu and Abhilash Jindal, who have a startup devoted to better battery testing via software.

DiffProf rests on the assumption that apps that carry out the same function perform similar tasks in slightly different ways. For example, messaging apps like Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, or Skype, keep old conversations and bring up a keyboard so replies can be typed and sent. Despite this, Whatsapp is about three times more energy efficient than Skype.

"What if a feature of an app needs to consume 70 percent of the phone's battery? Is there room for improvement, or should that feature be left the way it is?" said Hu, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University.

The research paper describing DiffProf is pretty technical. Essentially, it describes a method that uses “differential energy profiling” to create energy profiles for different apps. First, the researchers carry out a series of automated tests on apps by performing identical tasks on each app to work out energy efficiency.

Next, the profile also considers the app’s “call tree” also known as a call graph. These describe the different computer programs that are executed in order to perform a broader given task.

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Apps that have the same function, like playing music or sending emails, should have similar call trees. Slight variances in the code, however, lead to different energy profiles. DiffProf uses an algorithm to compare the call trees and highlights what programs are causing an app to drain more energy.

Developers running the tool receive a list of Java packages, that describe the different software features, which appear in the both apps being compared. They can then work out which programs in the less energy efficient app suck up more juice and if it can be altered or deleted altogether. The tool is only useful if the source code for similar apps have significant overlap.

The researchers used an Android device to test eight different app groups that perform various tasks such as streaming music, scanning for viruses or sending emails. They found that Soundcloud saps more energy than Spotify or Pandora.

Google Hangouts was less energy efficient than Facebook’s Messenger or Whatsapp. DiffProf even managed to spot bugs wasting energy in Kaspersky antivirus mobile app and Pandora. Both bugs were confirmed and the Pandora one was fixed afterwards. ®

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Google sets burial date for legacy Chrome Extensions

In January 2023, add-os built with Manifest V2 API will fail

Google this month said Chrome browser extensions written under its Manifest V2 specification will stop working in January 2023.

Thereafter, only Manifest V3 extensions will be supported in Chrome, a change that critics fear will hobble the add-ons and make them little more than toys.

"Years in the making, Manifest V3 is more secure, performant, and privacy-preserving than its predecessor," said David Li, product manager for Chrome extensions and the Chrome Web Store, in a blog post. "It is an evolution of the extension platform that takes into consideration both the changing web landscape and the future of browser extensions."

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Amazon delivery staff 'denied bonus' pay by AI cameras misjudging their driving

Plus: Why trans gamers are turning to deepfake voices, and more bits and bytes

In brief AI cameras inside Amazon’s delivery trucks are denying drivers' bonus pay for errors they shouldn’t be blamed for, it's reported.

The e-commerce giant installed the equipment in its vehicles earlier this year. The devices watch the road and the driver, and send out audio alerts if they don't like the way their humans are driving.

One man in Los Angeles told Vice that when he gets cut off by other cars, the machine would sense the other vehicle suddenly right in front of him, and squawk: “Maintain safe distance!” Logs of the audio alerts and camera footage are relayed back to Amazon, and it automatically decides whether drivers deserve to get bonuses or not from their performance on the road.

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Container security without governance is neither secure nor governed

Encryption in a Kubernetes environment

Sponsored In the first article of our four-part series on Kubernetes in the enterprise, we outlined the data services that underpin a properly constructed Kubernetes container environment. Data security, data governance, data resilience, and data discovery are the pillars that support the evolution of Kubernetes from raw storage, either persistent or ephemeral, to true data services that are suitable for deployment in enterprises.

In this and subsequent articles we will drill down to those specific data services. Here, we cover data security and data governance together because they are in some ways two sides of the same coin. You can think of security as a layer in data governance or data governance as a higher-level kind of security.

With containers flitting about a cluster of machines, spawning chunks of microservices code and demanding access to data, it is vital to secure data at the storage layer underneath Kubernetes and from within the Kubernetes platform itself.

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Two months after Microsoft's fee slash, Google prepares to take a lower cut from vendors on Cloud Platform

It's dev-ine intervention

Google Cloud Platform – the perennially third-placed provider in the infrastructure-as-a-service sales race – will reportedly slash the fees charged to third-party vendors that use its cloud marketplace to punt their own services.

According to CNBC, GCP will take a 3 per cent cut of the revenues generated by other vendors on its digital souk instead of the 20 per cent it has historically swallowed.

A spokesperson at the Chocolate Factory refused to confirm or deny the specific financials in the change but sent us a statement:

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Samsung is planning to reverse-engineer the human brain on to a chip

'Here I am, 100 billion neurons and all you want me to do is calculate all the ways this could possibly go wrong?'

Industrial mega-conglomerate Samsung is working to "copy and paste" the structure of the human brain onto computer chips.

The Korean megacorp has linked with Harvard University to replicate the make-up of the brain in a chip format in the hope that doing so will allow future chips to access the brain's "low power, facile learning, adaptation to environment, and even autonomy and cognition" capabilities.

According to Samsung: "The brain is made up of a large number of neurons, and their wiring map is responsible for the brain's functions. Thus the knowledge of the map is the key to reverse engineering the brain."

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UK's National Crime Agency WLTM Deputy Director of Digital Data & Technology

Up to £118,000 and use of Cycle2work scheme for successful applicant

Britain's National Crime Agency – charged with thwarting serious and organised crime – is putting out the feelers for a senior figure to head up, among other things, the threat response, analysis, capability exploration and research unit, otherwise known as TRACER.

The Deputy Director of Digital Data and Technology (DD&T) role at the law enforcement agency is being advertised with a wide-ranging salary of between £71,000 and a little under £118,000, presumably dependent on the levels of skills the chosen candidate can demonstrate.

The winning candidate will also operate as the NCA's Chief Science and Innovation Officer.

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Baby, I swear it's déjà vu: iFixit prises open the iPhone 13 Pro

Battery still swappable – rest fiddly

It wasn't only eager fanbois awaiting their Apple deliveries last week - teardown terror iFixit also got its hands on the iPhone 13 Pro and did what it does best.

The team took on the 128GB version of Apple's A15-powered iPhone 13 Pro, replete with 6GB RAM, a 6.1-inch (2,532x1,170 pixel) screen and 12MP triple camera system.

Prising open the phone in a similar way to the iPhone 12 Pro revealed a worryingly flimsy combined digitiser and display cable, and an L-shaped battery.

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Fake 'BT' caller fleeces elderly victim of £30k in APP app scam

That's authorised push payment – where they get the mark to make the transfer

Police have issued an urgent warning after an elderly man was scammed out of £30,000 by phone fraudsters pretending to be from BT.

The incident happened last Thursday (23 September), prompting West Mercia Police to issue a bulletin warning people to be on their guard against suspicious phone calls.

In this case, the victim was called with the perpetrators pretending to be from BT. They then asked him to download an application onto his mobile.

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Want to feel old? Aussie cyclist draws Nirvana baby in Strava on streets of Adelaide because Nevermind is 30

Meanwhile, Nirvana baby unchuffed about being Nirvana baby

Poor Spencer Elden. Not only does the chap have to live with his "unauthorised" baby pic on the cover of Nirvana's breakthrough record Nevermind – the image has now been immortalised on the streets of Adelaide via GPS exercise tracker Strava.

In case you missed it, Nevermind, one of the greatest guitar albums ever made, turned 30 on Friday (feel old yet?), but the anniversary has been soured somewhat by the sleeve art's subject suddenly deciding he doesn't like his infant body being exposed on the shelves of every record store in the world.

Elden has sued the surviving members of the punk power trio – drummer Dave Grohl, now of Foo Fighters, and bassist Krist Novoselic – and the estate of late frontman Kurt Cobain, along with a number of other defendants, for sexual exploitation.

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Yet another Big Tech exec heads to central government: This time IBMer Dan Bailey in 6-month stint

Big Blue UK and Ireland cloud man hired as 'interim' CTO, tasked with creating fellowship of the cloud

IBM UK and Ireland exec Dan Bailey has been seconded to the Cabinet Office for a six-month contract as interim chief technology officer. His tasks are to include the creation of a pan-government CTO council for the cloud, raising questions of a conflict of interest.

At the time of publication, Bailey still stated on his LinkedIn profile that he is cloud services leader and CTO at IBM UKI, but The Reg can confirm he was hired last month by former 29-year Big Blue veteran Joanna Davinson, who was herself recruited as exec director for the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) within the Cabinet Office in February.

A senior source in government IT told us: "Bailey is leading cross-government conversations on future cloud and data strategy with the Functional Leaders Group."

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Metrobank techies placed at risk of redundancy, severance terms criticised

Now sing with us: Agile, agile, agile...

Exclusive Metro Bank has put "less than 90" IT employees at risk of redundancy as it endeavours to "support our new agile way of working" – agile being that nebulous yet overused term that can be heard in certain circles.

Disgruntled techies working at the retail and commercial bank contacted us this week to inform of recent events that will affect people in the Architecture, Engineering and IT change teams.

A spokesperson at Metro Bank – the first new bank on the British high street in 150 years when it opened in 2010 – sent us a statement:

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