Samsung Laptops Disable Windows Update Automatically

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: windows update, Samsung, notebook, Malware

A report from Paul Thurrott draws an uncomfortable comparison between the behavior of Samsung's notebook software and the recent Superfish controversy, and should be cause for concern for anyone using Samsung laptops with factory software.

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Image credit: Samsung

The behavior is rather malware-like, as Thurrott point out: "In disabling Windows Update, the Samsung utility is behaving like malware—is, in fact, malware—which of course opens this event up to a comparison with Lenovo’s Superfish fiasco."

This behavior is apparently designed to prevent Microsoft drivers from installing over Samsung's proprietary versions, but this obviously has significant security implications. The fact that this happens automatically in the background is a signifant breach of trust for consumers. This discovery was initially made by a Microsoft MVP, Paul Barker, who posted this response from Samsung on his blog:

“When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work,” he was told. “For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates.”

There are instructions for disabling this software, but it might just be time for all of us to go to the trouble of creating our own official restore media and starting fresh with a clean install of Windows.

Source: Petri

AMD prepares for the return of the Thin Client

Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2015 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, Samsung, cloud monitor

AMD and Samsung will be releasing several 'Cloud Monitors',  a design previously know as thin clients, powered by a 2.2GHz dual-core AMD GX222 APU with an unspecified 655MHz GPU and 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM.   The TC222W will have a 21.5" screen and the TC242W a 23.6" screen, both will be 1080p and come with three USB 3.0 slots, four USB 2.0 slots and an Ethernet port.  The storage will be cloud based, hence the name, and will be similar to HP's MT245 and T420 which will also be powered by AMD APUs.  The thin client is making a return to the office and with AMD offering chips with configuration TDPs between 5W to 25W they may find themselves successful in this returning segment of the marketplace.  Read more at The Inquirer.

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"SAMSUNG AND AMD have joined forces to announce a line of all-in-one 'cloud monitors' featuring integrated thin client technology powered by AMD's Embedded G-series system on chip (SoC)."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Portable wireless storage from Samsung

Subject: Storage | June 8, 2015 - 07:15 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, wireless storage, 1.5tb drive

If you find yourself running low on space on your phone and need a handy way to extend your storage you could consider the Samsung Wireless HDD.  A mere 19.9x89x126.5mm and 275g it won't take up a lot of space but will allow up to five devices to connect over 802.11 b/g/n WiFi to stream the content stored on the drive.  It also has USB 3.0 connectivity to help you load up the drive before you head out on the road and you can even steal some of it's 7 hour rated battery life by using it as a charging station for your phone.  Kitguru tested multiple streams and found that two simultaneous connections work perfectly but it is best not to exceed streaming to a pair of devices.  The five device rating seems to refer more to the number of saved connections than to the number of streams you can run.

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"While many users these days may have several terabytes of PC storage space, mobile storage is yet to catch up. Many phones come with just 16GB of internal storage, while 128GB is just about as good as it gets. This means most users simply cannot fit their media collections on their mobile devices – which is far from ideal."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: KitGuru

Fab Wars 10 nm; may the FinFET be with you

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2015 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, Samsung, 10 nm FinFET

The race to 10nm FinFET production is still tight with TSMC expected to tape out their first parts towards the end of the year and Samsung today revealing a similar time line according to The Inquirer.  Samsung has also confirmed they will be starting construction on a new plant in South Korea in 2017, which is a good move for the company considering their loss of the chip contract for the new iPhone to TSMC.  With Samsung going almost full out on their 14nm FinFET lines for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Apple had concerns that Samsung would not be able to keep up with demand and unfortunately GLOBALFOUNDRIES could not take advantage either as their yields are, to put it politely, lacking. 

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"SAMSUNG HAS REVEALED that it will soon begin production of its 10nm FinFET node, and that the chip will be in full production by the end of 2016."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Think twice before selling that old Android phone

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2015 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: Android, Samsung, htc, Nexus

It seems that the factory reset for Android 4.3 and below is flawed, in that researchers were able to recover data from wiped phones.  Two University of Cambridge scientists tested 21 phones from Samsung, HTC, Nexus and 2 other unspecifed vendors all running versions of Android ranging from 2.3 to 4.3 and were able to recover data from a supposedly wiped phone.  They did not test newer versions and so are unsure if the problem has been rectified nor did Google respond to The Register when they inquired.  The researchers had a success rate of 80% for recovering tokens for Google and Facebook and could even recover encryption keys, although the keys were still password protected they could be brute forced.  Make sure to encrypt your phone with a long password before you wipe it and sell it, give it away or toss it out!

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"Half a billion Android phones could have data recovered and Google accounts compromised thanks to flaws in the default wiping feature, University of Cambridge scientists Laurent Simon and Ross Anderson have claimed."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Samsung's Galaxy refresh refreshes a bit too often

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2015 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s6, Galaxy S6 Edge

No company wants to hear their new flagship product has issues but unfortunately that has become all too common as financially gifted and tattooed Apple fans are well aware.  It would seem that Samsung is also having launch pains as users are seeing problems with RAM allocation.  The Inquirer reports that the phone will use up to 2.5GB for simple tasks, with Chrome being a major memory thief.  The programs do still run and the issue is not causing crashes, instead you can expect to see some stuttering and a lot of refreshes when you return to an app that has lost focus, even for a short time.  Samsung is aware of the problem and working on incremental updates which you can pick up via Update Now under Settings.

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"SAMSUNG HAS ADMITTED that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are suffering performance problems due to a RAM management fault."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Beware of Snapdragons for they are subtle and quick to anger

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2015 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 810, qualcomm, LG, Samsung

There have been many stories about Qualcomm's difficulties lately, from the court case with NVIDIA to Samsung and LG not using their Snapdragon 810 for their new smartphones.  Qualcomm has struck back at the speculations about problems with this chip that rose from these decisions, pointing out that Microsoft, Xiaomi, Motorola and Sony will all be releasing devices with the Snapdragon 810 in the near future.  LG put in their two cents as well, pointing out their decision to use the 808 chip was made over a year ago and they are still planning on utilizing the next generation Snapdragon 820 in the future, not to mention that they use the 810 in their G Flex 2.  Samsung has also shown their belief in Qualcomm's products considering they will be fabbing the 820.  You can see a short video of an interview with Qualcomm about this topic over at The Register.

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"QUALCOMM HAS DEBUNKED chatter that LG ditched its octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip for the G4 owing to overheating problems."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Samsung 840 EVO Standalone ISO Updater Now Available

Subject: Storage | April 28, 2015 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: TurboWrite, tlc, ssd, slc, Samsung, 840 evo

For those of you following the Samsung 840 EVO saga, last week we saw the release of Magician 4.6. Samsung was initially throttling downloads and firmware update rates, but those limits appear to have been lifted as of this morning. Another thing we noticed this morning was the inclusion of the standalone ISO updater for those who are otherwise unable to run the Magician software (i.e. Mac users):

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For those on laptops or other devices with no optical drive, I've confirmed the ISO can be used via USB if placed there with a tool such as Rufus.

Note to Linux users:

There was an early report of complications from a user who was running a full disk fstrim during boot, where that operation was causing errors (corrected once that operation was disabled). It should be noted that full disk TRIM operations are redundant so long as the OS is issuing TRIM on-the-fly during regular file moves / deletions. This may be an issue with queued TRIM handling of the new 840 EVO firmware. If not reproduced / corrected by Samsung, the Linux devs may be able to add this firmware revision to the queued TRIM blacklist to possibly fix the problem on their end.

Note to mSATA 840 EVO users:

It appears the update does not currently apply to these. I've asked Samsung about this.

Living on the Edge

Subject: Mobile | April 23, 2015 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, Galaxy S6 Edge, lollipop

The physical difference between the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge are quite visible, but does the different body justify the price difference?  The curved screen adds a bit of screen real estate and provides improved view angles compared to the base model but similar to the previous Galaxy Note Edge, there are not many apps designed to take advantage of the curve.  The phone is 7mm thick and weighs slightly less than the base S6 at 132g, with a similar battery and the same TouchWiz overlay on top of Android Lollipop.  You can check out what The Inquirer thought of Samsung's new premium phone here if you are considering purchasing the S6 Edge.

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"THE GALAXY S6 EDGE will be seen by many as an expensive gimmick given that it's over £100 more expensive than the regular Galaxy S6, while others will see it as Samsung pushing the boundaries of design, and trumping its rivals by bringing something new to the smartphone market."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: The Inquirer

Samsung Magician 4.6 and 840 EVO Firmware Released - Downloads Throttled

Subject: Storage | April 23, 2015 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: TurboWrite, tlc, ssd, slc, Samsung, 840 evo

For those who watched last night's podcast live, I predicted that Samsung would be posting their 840 EVO Firmware and new Magician 4.6 software 'soon'. Turns out that 'soon' was actually this morning, but there's a catch - Samsung decided to limit the daily downloads:

magician download error.png

If you went to the Samsung SSD Download Page and got the above error, don't fret, there are a few mirrors out there:

I downloaded from these three sources and at the time of this posting can confirm all three are identical to the Magician 4.6 download available from Samsung.

Once installed, you *should* be able to use Magician to update the firmware on your 840 EVO and (hopefully) see its performance come back to where it should be. There have been some reports of users unable to update, but that appears to be Samsung's servers being hammered and Magician's default / timeout is to report that you are on the latest firmware. Restarting Magician may force it to re-check and get the update.

Linux and Mac users are not yet able to update as the ISO updater has not been released for the new firmware. Those capable can update their Linux or Mac 840 EVOs connected as a secondary drive under Windows with Magician 4.6 installed. Also, if you're running Linux and happen use fstrim during boot, read this post prior to updating.

Source: Samsung