Here’s The New Star Wars Trailer, Scene-By-Scene, As GIFs For You To Study

27 If you’re like me (and a billion other geeks), you’re probably watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer on endless repeat, trying to scrape out any little detail you can from the fleeting glimpses it provides. To make my own life easier, I broke the whole thing down into GIFs — one GIF per scene/clip. Care to dig through them with me? Here’s the whole set.… Read More

The Silicon Valley investment bubble starts to deflate

Put the excitement on hold for a moment: Elizabeth Holmes of beleaguered startup Theranos was flanked by former President Bill Clinton and Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, at a recent event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative. Put the excitement on hold for a moment: Elizabeth Holmes of beleaguered startup Theranos was flanked by former President Bill Clinton and Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, at a recent event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Weeby.co Wants To Take The Reins of Mobile Game Development

IMG_0420 Michael Carter and his team at Weeby.co want to break mobile games out of Apple’s App Store and move them into the cloud. In their office on Mountain View’s Castro Street, the team at Weeby.co is building the first cloud-based mobile game development suite. Their new suite combines a cloud-based Integrated Development Environment with integrated game engines for physics and… Read More

Google details Android 6.0 requirements: Disk encryption by default, fingerprint sensors, and Doze

Android Marshmallow at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Google has updated its Compatibility Definition document for Android 6.0, which essentially tells phone and tablet makers what they need to properly run the company’s latest and greatest operating system. There are at least three highlights worth pointing out: Android 6.0 requires that manufacturers enable full-disk encryption by default, what exactly fingerprint sensors require, and Doze mode cannot be modified.

Google unveiled Android Marshmallow at its I/O 2015 conference in May. After three developer previews, Google unveiled the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, which are powered by the new OS out of the box. Now the company has shared what companies need to keep in mind if they want to do the same.

First and foremost, full disk encryption is now mandatory. There is some history here: Google not only enabled encryption by default on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but with Android 5.0 Lollipop even required it for other devices. The company then backpedaled and decided to “strongly recommend” encryption, though it promised to change that to a requirement in future versions of Android.

Apparently that means Android 6.0:

For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience. If a device implementation is already launched on an earlier Android version with full-disk encryption disabled by default, such a device cannot meet the requirement through a system software update and thus MAY be exempted.

That second sentence means this is really just applicable to new devices, since aside from the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, almost no Android device launched with encryption by default. A lockscreen is still not required, but if a user decides to start using one, this change means it is now no longer necessary to re-encrypt the whole disk.

The new Nexus devices have fingerprint sensors, and so you can expect that upcoming Android devices will as well. While Android devices have supported fingerprint authentication before, it was up to OEMs to implement the feature, but as of Android 6.0, the operating system can handle it. You can use your fingerprint to unlock your device, authorize transactions in the Google Play store, sign into third-party apps, and check out with Android Pay.

The rules for implementing fingerprint sensors are as follows.

If a device implementation includes a fingerprint sensor and has a corresponding API for third-party developers, it:

  • MUST declare support for the android.hardware.fingerprint feature.
  • MUST fully implement the corresponding API as described in the Android SDK documentation [Resources, 95] .
  • MUST have a false acceptance rate not higher than 0.002%.
  • Is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to have a false rejection rate not higher than 10%, and a latency from when the fingerprint sensor is touched until the screen is unlocked below 1 second, for 1 enrolled finger.
  • MUST rate limit attempts for at least 30 seconds after 5 false trials for fingerprint verification.
  • MUST have a hardware-backed keystore implementation, and perform the fingerprint matching in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or on a chip with a secure channel to the TEE.
  • MUST have all identifiable fingerprint data encrypted and cryptographically authenticated such that they cannot be acquired, read or altered outside of the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) as documented in the implementation guidelines on the Android Open Source Project site [Resources, 96] .
  • MUST prevent adding a fingerprint without first establishing a chain of trust by having the user confirm existing or add a new device credential (PIN/pattern/password) using the TEE as implemented in the Android Open Source project.
  • MUST NOT enable 3rd-party applications to distinguish between individual fingerprints.
  • MUST honor the DevicePolicyManager.KEYGUARD_DISABLE_FINGERPRINT flag.
  • MUST, when upgraded from a version earlier than Android 6.0, have the fingerprint data securely migrated to meet the above requirements or removed.
  • SHOULD use the Android Fingerprint icon provided in the Android Open Source Project.

Device makers have to follow these requirements to ensure the fingerprint sensor works Marshmallow and any apps that will use its APIs. How exactly this will impact phones and tablets that upgrade to Android 6.0 remains to be seen, though it shouldn’t take more than rescanning your fingerprint.

Last but not least, Doze mode is meant to make your device use fewer resources when left unattended: It automatically goes into a deep sleep state to conserve power. That said, even if you forget to plug in your phone before bed, your phone’s alarm clock will still ring (assuming your battery doesn’t completely run out). App Standby puts your seldom-used apps into a reduced activity state to conserve battery for the apps you use more frequently.

Google isn’t letting companies mess with either:

All apps exempted from App Standby and/or Doze mode MUST be made visible to the end user. Further, the triggering, maintenance, wakeup algorithms and the use of Global system settings of these power-saving modes MUST not deviate from the Android Open Source Project.

It’s great that Google is limiting device makers from messing with Marshmallow’s power management improvements. How app developers will try to circumvent it, however, remains to be seen.

If that wasn’t enough for you, check out the full 74-page document right here: Compatibility Definition (PDF).

More information:

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Google details Android 6.0 requirements: Disk encryption by default, fingerprint sensors, and Doze

Android Marshmallow at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Google has updated its Compatibility Definition document for Android 6.0, which essentially tells phone and tablet makers what they need to properly run the company’s latest and greatest operating system. There are at least three highlights worth pointing out: Android 6.0 requires that manufacturers enable full-disk encryption by default, what exactly fingerprint sensors require, and Doze mode cannot be modified.

Google unveiled Android Marshmallow at its I/O 2015 conference in May. After three developer previews, Google unveiled the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, which are powered by the new OS out of the box. Now the company has shared what companies need to keep in mind if they want to do the same.

First and foremost, full disk encryption is now mandatory. There is some history here: Google not only enabled encryption by default on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but with Android 5.0 Lollipop even required it for other devices. The company then backpedaled and decided to “strongly recommend” encryption, though it promised to change that to a requirement in future versions of Android.

Apparently that means Android 6.0:

For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience. If a device implementation is already launched on an earlier Android version with full-disk encryption disabled by default, such a device cannot meet the requirement through a system software update and thus MAY be exempted.

That second sentence means this is really just applicable to new devices, since aside from the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, almost no Android device launched with encryption by default. A lockscreen is still not required, but if a user decides to start using one, this change means it is now no longer necessary to re-encrypt the whole disk.

The new Nexus devices have fingerprint sensors, and so you can expect that upcoming Android devices will as well. While Android devices have supported fingerprint authentication before, it was up to OEMs to implement the feature, but as of Android 6.0, the operating system can handle it. You can use your fingerprint to unlock your device, authorize transactions in the Google Play store, sign into third-party apps, and check out with Android Pay.

The rules for implementing fingerprint sensors are as follows.

If a device implementation includes a fingerprint sensor and has a corresponding API for third-party developers, it:

  • MUST declare support for the android.hardware.fingerprint feature.
  • MUST fully implement the corresponding API as described in the Android SDK documentation [Resources, 95] .
  • MUST have a false acceptance rate not higher than 0.002%.
  • Is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to have a false rejection rate not higher than 10%, and a latency from when the fingerprint sensor is touched until the screen is unlocked below 1 second, for 1 enrolled finger.
  • MUST rate limit attempts for at least 30 seconds after 5 false trials for fingerprint verification.
  • MUST have a hardware-backed keystore implementation, and perform the fingerprint matching in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or on a chip with a secure channel to the TEE.
  • MUST have all identifiable fingerprint data encrypted and cryptographically authenticated such that they cannot be acquired, read or altered outside of the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) as documented in the implementation guidelines on the Android Open Source Project site [Resources, 96] .
  • MUST prevent adding a fingerprint without first establishing a chain of trust by having the user confirm existing or add a new device credential (PIN/pattern/password) using the TEE as implemented in the Android Open Source project.
  • MUST NOT enable 3rd-party applications to distinguish between individual fingerprints.
  • MUST honor the DevicePolicyManager.KEYGUARD_DISABLE_FINGERPRINT flag.
  • MUST, when upgraded from a version earlier than Android 6.0, have the fingerprint data securely migrated to meet the above requirements or removed.
  • SHOULD use the Android Fingerprint icon provided in the Android Open Source Project.

Device makers have to follow these requirements to ensure the fingerprint sensor works Marshmallow and any apps that will use its APIs. How exactly this will impact phones and tablets that upgrade to Android 6.0 remains to be seen, though it shouldn’t take more than rescanning your fingerprint.

Last but not least, Doze mode is meant to make your device use fewer resources when left unattended: It automatically goes into a deep sleep state to conserve power. That said, even if you forget to plug in your phone before bed, your phone’s alarm clock will still ring (assuming your battery doesn’t completely run out). App Standby puts your seldom-used apps into a reduced activity state to conserve battery for the apps you use more frequently.

Google isn’t letting companies mess with either:

All apps exempted from App Standby and/or Doze mode MUST be made visible to the end user. Further, the triggering, maintenance, wakeup algorithms and the use of Global system settings of these power-saving modes MUST not deviate from the Android Open Source Project.

It’s great that Google is limiting device makers from messing with Marshmallow’s power management improvements. How app developers will try to circumvent it, however, remains to be seen.

If that wasn’t enough for you, check out the full 74-page document right here: Compatibility Definition (PDF).

More information:

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Lenovo Yoga Home 900 hands-on: This is the Hulk of ‘portable desktops’

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 DJ

During the Lenovo Yoga event in San Francisco, I got a chance to sit down with the Lenovo Yoga Home 900, the company’s hulking ‘portable desktop’ solution.

First off, this thing is technically portable, but it’s heavy. It’s essentially a slightly beefier 27-inch flatscreen monitor. The additional weight is owing to an entire tablet PC tucked inside the chassis. I definitely don’t see anyone breezily walking from room to room with this like they could with a laptop or a small tablet.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 DJ side

The left side offers three USB ports, an HDMI slot, and an audio out jack. It’s about as thin as the average flatscreen, which is a feat considering what Lenovo has packed inside of it. Power and volume controls are on the right side of the panel.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 back

The back of the unit features a sturdy hinged stand, which seems to be spring-loaded. When the device is lying flat on its back the stand stays locked into the back of the unit, via a hinge. When the latch is undone, the stand comes loose. When the stand is out and the monitor is standing upright, the screen can be tilted if significant force is applied, yet the unit is stable enough to stay in place when I jab or swipe the screen.

The touchscreen seems about as responsive as that of most tablets, although there were no apps installed (such as Photoshop or Sketchbook), that would have allowed me to test the sensitivity to pressure. The Lenovo Yoga Home 900 is designed to allow multiple users to access the touchscreen at once, a feature another tech writer and I played around with. Using Lenovo’s Aura 3.0 touch interface, we were able to grab photos, but the unit seemed to have a difficult time telling if we were two people trying to snag separate elements on the screen, or a single user simply trying to resize an open image. I like the concept, but it seems figuring out who gets priority when touching the screen is an app-side challenge that software developers need to tackle.

Takeways

As an artist, I’m excited by the possibilities the Lenovo Yoga Home 900 represents for digital illustration, but until I know how much sensitivity there is on the touchscreen unit (if any), I’ll reserve judgement. Another issue is that Lenovo doesn’t seem to have any immediate plans to bring out a stylus for this unit. In order for it to become a substitute for a Wacom Cintiq, for example, the user is going to either need to look for a third-party stylus or enjoy finger painting.

Otherwise, this unit shows promise. I could see some cool stuff being developed as far as multi-player touch games. It could also be used as the hub in a home’s central location, for a family that is otherwise divided by their individual mobile devices. But is it a device the world wants right now? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Crisis Experts Debate Amazon’s Latest Move: Another Shoe to Drop?

shutterstock_324538922 When a New York Times piece came out in August that described Amazon’s workplace culture as “bruising,” Amazon cofounder and CEO Jeff Bezos acted quickly to dampen the story’s blow. He wrote a memo to employees saying the account “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know” and pointed out a separate piece by an Amazon engineer who described the Times article… Read More