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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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China reveals its top five sources of online fraud

'Brushing' tops the list, as quantity of forbidden content continue to rise

China’s Ministry of Public Security has revealed the five most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated online or by phone.

The e-commerce scam known as “brushing” topped the list and accounted for around a third of all internet fraud activity in China. Brushing sees victims lured into making payment for goods that may not be delivered, or are only delivered after buyers are asked to perform several other online tasks that may include downloading dodgy apps and/or establishing e-commerce profiles. Victims can find themselves being asked to pay more than the original price for goods, or denied promised rebates.

Brushing has also seen e-commerce providers send victims small items they never ordered, using profiles victims did not create or control. Dodgy vendors use that tactic to then write themselves glowing product reviews that increase their visibility on marketplace platforms.

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Oracle really does owe HPE $3b after Supreme Court snub

Appeal petition as doomed as the Itanic chips at the heart of decade-long drama

The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle's appeal to overturn a ruling ordering the IT giant to pay $3 billion in damages for violating a decades-old contract agreement.

In June 2011, back when HPE had not yet split from HP, the biz sued Oracle for refusing to add Itanium support to its database software. HP alleged Big Red had violated a contract agreement by not doing so, though Oracle claimed it explicitly refused requests to support Intel's Itanium processors at the time.

A lengthy legal battle ensued. Oracle was ordered to cough up $3 billion in damages in a jury trial, and appealed the decision all the way to the highest judges in America. Now, the Supreme Court has declined its petition.

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Infusion of $3.5bn not enough to revive Terra's 'stablecoin'

Estimated $42bn vanished with collapse of UST, Luna – we explain what all this means

TerraUSD, a so-called "stablecoin," has seen its value drop from $1 apiece a week ago to about $0.09 on Monday, demonstrating not all that much stability.

The cryptocurrency token, abbreviated UST, is supposed to be pegged to the price of the US dollar. Hence the "stable" terminology.

But UST is not a "centralized stablecoin" that's exchangeable for a fiat currency; UST for USD (US dollars). Rather, it's a "decentralized stablecoin," meaning it can be exchanged for Luna (LUNA) tokens, another cryptocurrency tied to the Terra blockchain.

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DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM

Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMEs

DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

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GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims

Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

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US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting

Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

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Meta hires network chip guru from Intel: What does this mean for future silicon?

Why be a customer when you can develop your own custom semiconductors

Analysis Here's something that should raise eyebrows in the datacenter world: Facebook parent company Meta has hired a veteran networking chip engineer from Intel to lead silicon design efforts in the internet giant's infrastructure hardware engineering group.

Jon Dama started as director of silicon in May for Meta's infrastructure hardware group, a role that has him "responsible for several design teams innovating the datacenter for scale," according to his LinkedIn profile. In a blurb, Dama indicated that a team is already in place at Meta, and he hopes to "scale the next several doublings of data processing" with them.

Though we couldn't confirm it, we think it's likely that Dama is reporting to Alexis Bjorlin, Meta's vice president of infrastructure hardware who previously worked with Dama when she was general manager of Intel's Connectivity group before serving a two-year stint at Broadcom.

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Lithium production needs investment to keep pace with battery demand

Report says $42b will need to be poured into industry over next decade

Growing demand for lithium for batteries means the sector will need $42 billion of investment to meet the anticipated level of orders by the end of the decade, according to a report.

Lithium is used in batteries that power smartphones and laptops, but there is also rising use in electric vehicles which is putting additional pressure on supplies.

The report, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, predicts that demand will reach 2.4 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2030, roughly four times the 600,000 tons of lithium forecast to be produced this year.

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Cars in driver-assist mode hit a third of cyclists, all oncoming cars in tests

Still think we're ready for that autonomous future?

Autonomous cars may be further away than believed. Testing of three leading systems found they hit a third of cyclists, and failed to avoid any oncoming cars.

The tests [PDF] performed by the American Automobile Association (AAA) looked at three vehicles: a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe with Highway Driving Assist; a 2021 Subaru Forester with EyeSight; and a 2020 Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot.

According to the AAA, all three systems represent the second of five autonomous driving levels, which require drivers to maintain alertness at all times to seize control from the computer when needed. There are no semi-autonomous cars generally available to the public that are able to operate above level two.

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Kasten by Veeam adds ransomware detection to K10 data management platform

Catching compromise attempts before kicking off that recovery plan

Kubecon Veeam acquisition Kasten kicked off this year's Kubecon with an updated version of its K10 product, aimed at securing the Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

Now known as "Kasten by Veeam", the company told the Valencia-based conference that version 5 of the K10 Kubernetes backup and data protection suite includes extra ransomware defenses.

K10 has received a number of updates since Kasten's acquisition by Veeam. Version 4.5 added coverage for platforms including Kafka, Cassandra, and the K3s Kubernetes distribution.

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Financial giant Santander: 80% of our IT infrastructure in cloud

'Most challenging element of migration likely remains' warns analyst

Spanish financial giant Santander has migrated 80 percent of its core banking IT infrastructure to the cloud as part of its $20.8 billion (€20 billion ) modernization programme, with the help of in-house software created by resident developers.

Readers hoping for a tale of disaster and woe may be sorely disappointed as the bank seems to have made steady progress in the past year compared to April 2021 when some 60 percent of its infrastructure was delivered off-premise.

The $48.3 billion (€46.4 billion) revenue financing giant has a presence across Europe, South America, Asia and North America. It made $3.17 billion (€3.053 billion) of its attributable profit of $8.44 billion (€8.124 billion) in the US last year, it said in its 2021 fy results.

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