Category Archives: computerworld

IBM Watson’s A.I. gets smarter

IBM is adding new smarts to its Watson artificial intelligence system, including the ability to scour photos on social networks to see what you’ve been up to.

Watson began life as a hardware system built to win the TV quiz show Jeopardy, but it’s evolved into more than a dozen cloud services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications.

IBM says there are now more than 100 commercial applications making use of Watson, and at an event in San Francisco on Thursday it will showing new computing services to encourage more developers to get on board.

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Apple lists 25 apps affected by XcodeGhost

Apple identified 25 apps in its stores that used a rogue version of its Xcode development tool, and advised users to update the affected apps to fix the issue on their devices.

Figuring in the list are the WeChat app from Tencent and the Didi ride-hailing app, which had been identified earlier as affected. Other apps include its China website and local chatting tool Encounter, the app for Baidu Music and China Unicorn’s customer service app.

Apple has said that some developers downloaded counterfeit versions of Xcode that have been infected with the XcodeGhost malware and created apps that were also infected.

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US rank drops to 55th in 4G LTE speeds

The U.S. has fallen to No. 55 in LTE performance as speeds rise rapidly in countries that have leapfrogged some early adopters of the popular cellular system.

The average download speed on U.S. 4G networks inched up to 10Mbps (bits per second) in the June-August quarter, according to research company OpenSignal. That was an improvement from 9Mbps in the previous quarter, but the country’s global ranking fell from 43rd as users in other countries made much larger gains. 

The U.S. was one of the first countries with commercial LTE service when Verizon Wireless launched its network in late 2010. But other countries that adopted the system later started with better technology, and some have secured more frequencies or rolled out enhancements that U.S. carriers haven’t embraced as much, OpenSignal said. 

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Review: Epson EcoTank — an inkjet printer without cartridges

Epson is attempting to rewrite printer history with its new line of EcoTank inkjet printers. Instead of using small, prefilled ink cartridges that have to be frequently (and expensively) replaced, Epson’s new printers use permanent tanks in which generous amounts of ink are poured. When you run out of ink, instead of buying and snapping in new ink cartridges, you just pour more in.

There are currently five models that are part of the EcoTank line: two consumer-level printers (the $380 Expression ET-2500 and $400 Expression ET-2550), two business-level all-in-ones (the $430 WorkForce ET-4500 and $500 WorkForce ET-4550), and the $1,200 heavy-duty WorkForce Pro WF-R4640. On the whole, these printers tend to cost more than their traditional equivalents — for example, an inkjet all-in-one such as the HP Officejet Pro 8620 retails for about $150 rather than the $430 or $500 that you’ll pay for one of the EcoTank printers.

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Consumers are keeping smartphones, tablets and PCs longer

Consumers are holding on to their tablets, laptops and smartphones for longer periods, leading Gartner to predict a 1% contraction in shipments of all types of devices globally this year.

The Gartner forecast, announced Wednesday, is a reversal from one quarter ago when the research firm predicted overall growth of 1.5% for devices globally, when compared to 2014.

“Replacement activity across all types of devices has decreased, said Ranjit Atwal, a Gartner analyst. “Users are extending the lifetime of their devices, or deciding not to replace their devices at all.”

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