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AMD Continues PC and Server Market Share Gains Amid Slumping Demand

The preliminary Mercury Research CPU market share results are in for the second quarter of 2022, arriving during what is becoming a more dire situation for the PC market as sales cool after several years of stratospheric growth. From a report: According to the recent earnings report from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, the recovery will be a long one. Still, for now, AMD appears to be weathering the storm better than its opponents as it continued to steal market share from Intel in every segment of the CPU market. The desktop PC market is still on fire, but it isn't a good kind of fire. Intel issued a dire earnings report last week -- the company lost money for the first time in decades, partially driven by PC declines. Intel also announced it was delaying its critical Xeon Sapphire Rapids data center chips and killing off another failing business unit, Optane; the sixth unit retired since new CEO Pat Gelsinger took over. In contrast, AMD's revenue was up 70% year-over-year as the company continued to improve its already-great profitability. AMD is firing on all cylinders and will launch its Ryzen 7000 CPUs, RDNA 3 GPUs, and EPYC Genoa data center processors on schedule. That consistent execution continues to pay off. AMD continued to take big strides in the mobile/laptop market, setting another record for unit share in that segment with 24.8%. AMD also gained in the server market for the 13th consecutive quarter, reaching 13.9% of the market. Notably, AMD's quarterly gain in servers is the highest we've seen with our historical data, which dates back to 2017.

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The Most Curious Nation About Crypto Is Nigeria, Study Shows

Africa's most-populous nation showed more interest in cryptocurrencies than any other country since the digital assets began to decline in April, according to a study by price tracker CoinGecko. From a report: Nigeria scored 371 in the study that looked at Google Trends data for six searches such as "buy crypto" or "invest in crypto" that were then combined to give each English-speaking nation a total search ranking. The West African country was followed by the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. "This study provides interesting insight into which countries remain most interested in cryptocurrency in spite of market pullbacks," CoinGecko's co-founder Bobby Ong said in an emailed statement. "The countries at the top of this list appear to be keenest to buy the dip, and highlight their long-term outlook for cryptocurrencies."

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Google Fiber Plans 5-State Growth Spurt, Biggest Since 2015

Google Fiber plans to bring its high-speed internet service to multiple cities in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska and Nevada over the next several years in its first big expansion since it spun out as an independent Alphabet unit in 2015. From a report: In his first media interview since becoming chief executive of Google Fiber in February 2018, Dinni Jain told Reuters on Wednesday that his team was finally prepared to "add a little bit more build velocity" after over four years of sharpening operations. The anticipated expansion to 22 metro areas across the United States from 17 today includes previously announced projects to launch in Mesa, Arizona and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The choices were based the company's findings of where speeds lag. "There was an impression 10 years ago that Google Fiber was trying to build the entire country," Jain said. "What we are gesturing here is, 'No, we are not trying to build the entire country.'"

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One of 5G's Biggest Features Is a Security Minefield

True 5G wireless data, with its ultrafast speeds and enhanced security protections, has been slow to roll out around the world. As the mobile technology proliferates -- combining expanded speed and bandwidth with low-latency connections -- one of its most touted features is starting to come in to focus. But the upgrade comes with its own raft of potential security exposures. From a report: A massive new population of 5G-capable devices, from smart-city sensors to agriculture robots and beyond, are gaining the ability to connect to the internet in places where Wi-Fi isn't practical or available. Individuals may even elect to trade their fiber-optic internet connection for a home 5G receiver. But the interfaces that carriers have set up to manage internet-of-things data are riddled with security vulnerabilities, according to research that will be presented on Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. And those vulnerabilities could dog the industry long-term. After years of examining potential security and privacy issues in mobile-data radio frequency standards, Technical University of Berlin researcher Altaf Shaik says he was curious to investigate the application programming interfaces (APIs) that carriers are offering to make IoT data accessible to developers. These are the conduits that applications can use to pull, say, real-time bus-tracking data or information about stock in a warehouse. Such APIs are ubiquitous in web services, but Shaik points out that they haven't been widely used in core telecommunications offerings. Looking at the 5G IoT APIs of 10 mobile carriers around the world, Shaik and his colleague Shinjo Park found common, but serious API vulnerabilities in all of them, and some could be exploited to gain authorized access to data or even direct access to IoT devices on the network. "There's a big knowledge gap. This is the beginning of a new type of attack in telecom," Shaik told WIRED ahead of his presentation. "There's a whole platform where you get access to the APIs, there's documentation, everything, and it's called something like 'IoT service platform.' Every operator in every country is going to be selling them if they're not already, and there are virtual operators and subcontracts, too, so there will be a ton of companies offering this kind of platform."

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Newly Identified Langya Virus Tracked After China Reports Dozens of Cases

Researchers have begun tracking a newly identified virus in China, with dozens of cases recorded so far. From a report: The novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) was first detected in the north-eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan in late 2018 but was only formally identified by scientists last week. The virus was likely transmitted from animals to humans, scientists said, and Taiwan's health authority is now monitoring the spread. The researchers tested wild animals and found LayV viral RNA in more than a quarter of 262 shrews, "a finding that suggests that the shrew may be a natural reservoir." The virus was also detected in 2% of domestic goats and 5% of dogs.

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Archaeologists Rebury 'First-of-Its-Kind' Roman Villa

Ruins of a sprawling ancient Roman villa discovered in the United Kingdom have been reburied, just one year after their discovery was announced. From a report: Historic England, a government preservation organization, hopes the move will safeguard the "first-of-its-kind" archeological site for future generations, reports BBC News. The discovery last year delighted experts, who underscored its historical significance. "These archaeological remains are a fantastic find and are far more than we ever dreamed of discovering at this site," said Keith Emerick, inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, in a statement last year. "They are already giving us a better knowledge and understanding of Roman Britain." Archaeologists unearthed the ruins in Scarborough, England, in 2021 when investigating land slated for a housing development. The structures found are likely from a "high status" property, such as a luxury dwelling or religious site. The compound, which included a luxury bathhouse, could even have been a "stately home-cum-gentleman's club," reported the Guardian's Alexandra Topping last year. Roughly the size of two tennis courts, the villa had a circular center that was probably a tower, per the BBC, with hallways leading to several rooms and outbuildings. Regardless of how the villa was used, archeologists agree it was "designed by the highest-quality architects in northern Europe in the era and constructed by the finest craftsmen," said Karl Battersby, who works for the North Yorkshire county council, to the Guardian.

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As Metaverse Land Prices Plummet, Mark Cuban Says Buying Digital Land Is 'the Dumbest Sh*t Ever'

Mark Cuban, the billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and avid crypto enthusiast, is not sold on the metaverse. "The worst part is that people are buying real estate in these places. That's just the dumbest shit ever," he told the crypto-themed YouTube channel Altcoin Daily this past weekend. From a report: Cuban's comments come as the hype surrounding the metaverse -- a term that loosely describes an emerging virtual world where people can hang out, play, and shop -- seems to be cooling. Last November, Facebook changed its name to Meta, spurring a flurry of excitement about the potential of the metaverse, which fueled a land grab for digital plots in so-called metaverse platforms created by the likes of the Sandbox and Decentraland. These platforms enable investors to buy land as an NFT, which can be developed with virtual buildings or experiences or resold on secondary markets like NFT exchange OpenSea. Companies like Warner Music Group, Atari, Samsung, and Adidas have all bought digital land -- a move that Cuban, based on his latest comments, appears unlikely to follow. Cuban also isn't buying the central claim of metaverse land speculators that scarcity will make these digital plots valuable. "It's not even as good as a URL or an ENS [Ethereum naming service], because there's unlimited volumes that you can create," he said during the YouTube interview. Despite being an investor in Yuga Labs, the owner of popular NFT collections Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, Cuban said he was not a fan of the company's land sale, which raised about $317 million for its metaverse platform Otherside in April. "I still thought it was dumb to do the real estate. That was great money for them, you know, but that wasn't based off a utility," he said.

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Microsoft is Open-Sourcing Its Emoji

Microsoft said Wednesday that it has released almost all of its emoji designs to GitHub and Figma, allowing anyone to tweak and design their own. From a report: Microsoft isn't saying that you'll be able to use your own emoji designs inside Windows, and the company isn't saying that absolutely all of the company's emoji are being released into open source, either. Specifically, Microsoft is excluding the Clippy emoji (boo!) and a few that includes the Microsoft logo. Naturally, Microsoft can't release its own copyrighted trademarks into the public domain, Jon Friedman, a corporate vice president of design and research at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. It's no small task to open-source each of Microsoft's 1,538 emoji, Friedman wrote. "Similar to how typeface sets include bold, italic, and regular styles, emoji must exist as a SVG, PNG, and JPG file to allow for true versatility. And for each of those, a vector, flat, and monochrome version should be created for scale and flexibility."

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Microsoft Reportedly Lays Off Team Focused on Winning Back Consumers

Microsoft is reportedly laying off its team focused on winning back consumers. From a report: In 2018 the software giant originally detailed its efforts to win back the non-enterprise customers it let down, forming a Modern Life Experiences team to focus on professional consumers (prosumers). Business Insider now reports that Microsoft is laying off that team, and telling the roughly 200 affected employees to find another position at the company or take severance pay. While Microsoft isn't officially commenting on the end of its Modern Life initiative, a Microsoft senior designer revealed there was "hard news" for the Modern Life Experiences team this week in a LinkedIn post. The news comes weeks after Microsoft cut less than 1 percent of its 180,000-person workforce, with job cuts in consulting, and customer and partner solutions. Microsoft has also been cutting open job roles as it slows hiring amid a weakening economy.

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Man Who Built ISP Instead of Paying Comcast $50K Expands To Hundreds of Homes

Jared Mauch, the Michigan man who built a fiber-to-the-home Internet provider because he couldn't get good broadband service from AT&T or Comcast, is expanding with the help of $2.6 million in government money. From a report: When we wrote about Mauch in January 2021, he was providing service to about 30 rural homes including his own with his ISP, Washtenaw Fiber Properties. Mauch now has about 70 customers and will extend his network to nearly 600 more properties with money from the American Rescue Plan's Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, he told Ars in a phone interview in mid-July. The US government allocated Washtenaw County $71 million for a variety of infrastructure projects, and the county devoted a portion to broadband. The county conducted a broadband study before the pandemic to identify unserved locations, Mauch said. When the federal government money became available, the county issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking contractors to wire up addresses "that were known to be unserved or underserved based on the existing survey," he said. "They had this gap-filling RFP, and in my own wild stupidity or brilliance, I'm not sure which yet, I bid on the whole project [in my area] and managed to win through that competitive bidding process," he said. Mauch's ISP is one of four selected by Washtenaw County to wire up different areas. Mauch's network currently has about 14 miles of fiber, and he'll build another 38 miles to complete the government-funded project, he said. In this sparsely populated rural area, "I have at least two homes where I have to build a half-mile to get to one house," Mauch said, noting that it will cost "over $30,000 for each of those homes to get served." The contract between Mauch and the county was signed in May 2022 and requires him to extend his network to an estimated 417 addresses in Freedom, Lima, Lodi, and Scio townships. Mauch lives in Scio, which is next to Ann Arbor. Although the contract just requires service to those 417 locations, Mauch explained that his new fiber routes would pass 596 potential customers. "I'm building past some addresses that are covered by other [grant] programs, but I'll very likely be the first mover in building in those areas," he said. Under the contract terms, Mauch will provide 100Mbps symmetrical Internet with unlimited data for $55 a month and 1Gbps with unlimited data for $79 a month.

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DNSFilter Acquires iOS Firewall App Guardian

DNSFilter, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of DNS-based web content filtering and threat protection, has announced it's acquiring Guardian, a privacy-protecting firewall for iOS. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. From a report: Guardian was founded in 2013 by Will Strafach, a security researcher and former iPhone jailbreaker who in 2017 discovered that AccuWeather was secretly sending precise location data to a third-party company without a user's permission. The company's "smart firewall" iPhone app blocks apps from sharing users' personal information with third-parties, such as IP addresses and location data, by funneling data through an encrypted virtual private network (VPN). The startup, which claims to have so far blocked more than 5 billion data trackers and 1 billion location trackers, recently joined forces with Brave to integrate its firewall and VPN functionality into its eponymous non-tracking browser.

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Major Test of First Possible Lyme Vaccine In 20 Years Begins

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Associated Press: Researchers are seeking thousands of volunteers in the U.S. and Europe to test the first potential vaccine against Lyme disease in 20 years -- in hopes of better fighting the tick-borne threat. Lyme is a growing problem, with cases rising and warming weather helping ticks expand their habitat. While a vaccine for dogs has long been available, the only Lyme vaccine for humans was pulled off the U.S. market in 2002 from lack of demand, leaving people to rely on bug spray and tick checks. Now Pfizer and French biotech Valneva are aiming to avoid previous pitfalls in developing a new vaccine to protect both adults and kids as young as 5 from the most common Lyme strains on two continents. Most vaccines against other diseases work after people are exposed to a germ. The Lyme vaccine offers a different strategy -- working a step earlier to block a tick bite from transmitting the infection, said Dr. Gary Wormser, a Lyme expert at New York Medical College who isn't involved with the new research. How? It targets an "outer surface protein" of the Lyme bacterium called OspA that's present in the tick's gut. It's estimated a tick must feed on someone for about 36 hours before the bacteria spreads to its victim. That delay gives time for antibodies the tick ingests from a vaccinated person's blood to attack the germs right at the source. In small, early-stage studies, Pfizer and Valneva reported no safety problems and a good immune response. The newest study will test if the vaccine, called VLA15, really protects and is safe. The companies aim to recruit at least 6,000 people in Lyme-prone areas including the Northeast U.S. plus Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. They'll receive three shots, either the vaccine or a placebo, between now and next spring's tick season. A year later, they'll get a single booster dose.

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Scientists Create a More Sustainable LED From Fish Scales

Scientists have discovered that by microwaving fish waste, they can quickly and efficiently create carbon nano-onions (CNOs) -- a unique nanoform of carbon that has applications in energy storage and medicine. This method could be used to make cheaper and more sustainable LEDs in the future. The researchers from Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan published their findings in Green Chemistry. Smithsonian Magazine reports: CNOs are nanostructures with spherical carbon shells in a concentric layered structure similar to an onion. They have "drawn extensive attention worldwide in terms of energy storage and conversion" because of their "exceptionally high electrical and thermal conductivity, as well as large external surface area," per the paper. They've been used in electronics and for biomedical applications, such as bio-imaging and sensing and drug delivery, write the authors in the study. Though CNOs were first reported in the 1980s, conventional methods of manufacturing them have required high temperatures, a vacuum and a lot of time and energy. Other techniques are expensive and call for complex catalysts or dangerous acidic or basic conditions. This "greatly limits the potential of CNOs," per a statement from Nagoya Institute of Technology. The newly discovered method requires only one step -- microwave pyrolysis of fish scales extracted from fish waste -- and can be done within ten seconds, per the authors. How exactly the fish scales are converted into CNOs is unclear, though the team thinks it has to do with how collagen in the fish scales can absorb enough microwave radiation to quickly increase in temperature. This leads to pyrolysis, or thermal decomposition, which causes the collagen to break down into gasses. These gasses then support the creation of CNOs. This method is a "straightforward way to convert fish waste into infinitely more useful materials," and the resulting CNOs have a high crystallinity, which gives them "exceptional optical properties," per the statement. They also have high functionalization, which means they're "bonded to other small molecules on their surface," writes Ellen Phiddian for Cosmos. This combination of attributes means the CNOs can glow bright blue.

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28 Years Later, Super Punch-Out!!'s 2-Player Mode Has Been Discovered

Hmmmmmm shares a report from Ars Technica: While Punch-Out!! has been one of Nintendo's most beloved "fighting" series since its 1984 debut in arcades, it has rarely featured something common in the genre: a two-player mode. On Monday, however, that changed. The resulting discovery has been hiding in plain sight on the series' Super Nintendo edition for nearly 30 years. Should you own 1994's Super Punch-Out!! in any capacity -- an original SNES cartridge, a dumped ROM parsed by an emulator, on the Super Nintendo Classic Edition, or even as part of the paid Nintendo Switch Online collection of retro games -- you can immediately access the feature, no hacking or ROM editing required. All you need is a pair of gamepads. [T]oday's Super Punch-Out!! discovery revolves around a simple series of button combinations, which require nothing more than a second controller. The two-player mode is hidden behind an additional, previously undiscovered menu, which lets solo players skip directly to any of the game's boxing combatants. It's essentially a "level select" menu, which many classic games featured for internal testing, and speedrunners could arguably use it to practice against specific opponents more quickly. This menu can be accessed by holding the R and Y buttons on player two's controller at the "press start" screen, then pressing Start or A with player one's controller. Do this, and a new menu appears, displaying all 16 boxers' profile icons. Pick any of these icons to engage in a one-off fight; once it's over, you're dumped back to the same boxer-select menu. In this menu, friends can access a two-player fight if player two holds their B and Y buttons down until the match starts. You won't hear a sound effect or any other indication that it worked. Instead, the match will begin with the second player controlling the "boss" boxer at the top of the screen. Combine the "ABXY" array of buttons with "up" and "down" on the D-pad to pull off every single basic and advanced attack. All credit goes to the coder responsible for the new @new_cheats_news account on Twitter, notes Ars.

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Spiders Seem To Have REM-Like Sleep and May Even Dream

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: Barred from her lab by pandemic restrictions, behavioral ecologist Daniela C. Robler caught local jumping spiders and kept them in clear plastic boxes on her windowsill, planning to test their reactions to 3-D-printed models of predatory spiders. When she came home from dinner one night, though, she noticed something strange. "They were all hanging from the lids of their boxes," says Robler, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Konstanz in Germany. She had never seen jumping spiders suspended motionless on silk lines like this before. "I had no idea what happened," Robler says. "I thought they were dead." It turns out the jumping spiders were simply asleep -- and that Robler had discovered an alternate sleeping habit of the species Evarcha arcuata, which had been known to build silk sleeping dens in curled-up dead leaves. But the real surprise came when she decided to spy on them all night. [...] Mostly the spider just hung there. But then her legs started to twitch, and her abdomen and even her silk-producing spinnerets did so as well. Sometimes her legs curled in toward her sternum. With every spider Robler recorded, these odd movements only appeared during distinct bouts that lasted a little more than a minute and occurred periodically throughout the night. "They were just uncontrollably twitching in a way that really looked a lot like when dogs or cats dream and have their little REM phases," she says. [...] Robler and her colleagues wondered if the twitching spiders could be experiencing something like an REM phase of sleep and possibly even having dreams. "We were like, 'Okay, that would be insane,'" she says. Then she thought, "Let's figure it out," and immediately changed her research plans for the spiders. [...] When Robler recorded 34 sleeping spiderlings, she found that their twitches were accompanied by unmistakable eye-tube movements that did not happen during other phases of sleep. [...] But it is too soon to say for sure that the spiders are experiencing something akin to REM sleep in humans. The researchers first need to confirm the spiders are actually asleep during this phase by showing that they are less responsive to their environment. Robler and her "dream team" of co-authors have already started those tests. And she points out that the leg curling is a particularly striking aspect of the spiders' REM-like phase because that pose is typically only seen in dead spiders. Spiders use hydraulic pressure maintained by muscles to keep their legs extended, and the curling could result from the muscle paralysis that typifies REM sleep. The team's initial findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

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