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Facebook to ban coronavirus ‘cure’ ads

February 27, 2020 | Tech | No Comments

Facebook will no longer permit ads that promise a cure for the Covid-19 coronavirus, Business Insider reported Wednesday. 

“We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior,” a Facebook spokesperson told the outlet. 

Facebook said in late January that it will work to “limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the virus and [connect] people to helpful information.” This included using Facebook’s network of third-party fact-checkers to identify misinformation about the virus, and removing content with “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities.” 

Finally, Facebook said at the time it would remove “claims related to false cures or prevention methods — like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus — or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.” The new ad removal policy seems to be just a continuation of these efforts. 

Facebook’s action follows Amazon’s recent efforts to remove fake products that are promising to treat or cure coronavirus. 

There’s also been an increase in malware and spam campaigns related to the coronavirus outbreak, including (likely phishing) sites that promise “detection tests” for the virus, as well as malware that promises to report the spread of coronavirus in Japan, but instead points people to download a malicious email attachment. 

The coronavirus outbreak has so far killed 2,700 people and infected 80,239, with the majority of cases being registered in China. 


Samsung is shutting down a smartphone plant in Gumi City, South Korea after an employee was confirmed to be infected with the Covid-19 virus.

According to a local news report, the infected employee is reportedly from the wireless division that is in charge of smartphone production. To prevent the virus from spreading to other employees, Samsung closed the factory over the weekend and sterilised the work spaces.

Other employees who had been in contact with the infected staff have been quarantined. Employees are told to wear masks when they return to work and are refrained from domestic travel. Shuttle bus services between the Gumi plant and the headquarter office have also been suspended.

The Gumi factory is known to be manufacturing some of Samsung’s most premium devices which include the recently announced Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Fold. Samsung claims the impact on smartphone production is minimal.


If you’re a regular user of the Internet, a function that you should be extremely familiar with is the Copy-Cut-Paste. It basically did my assignments more than I ever did! This simple function has saved so many lives, we are forever thankful for the brains behind the iconic function, Larry Tesler. Unfortunately, Larry passed away on Monday (Feb 17th) at the age of 74.

I’m sure most of us have never heard of him before today despite using his invention almost on a daily basis. A computer scientist, Larry has worked with many tech industry giants like XEROX, Apple, Amazon and Yahoo! just to name a few. In 1973, Larry and his colleague Tim Mott developed the basic functionality of copy and paste as a way to make computer use easier and more interactive.

After leaving Xerox, he joined Apple and rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of Apple Newton Group and also the chief scientist within the advanced technology group. While he’s most famous for the invention of the copy-cut-paste function, that wasn’t his only achievement! He led the research on developing the Apple Newton which was the predecessor for the tablet computer. Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered where did the term browser came from, Larry Tesler was the one to coin the term by creating a Smalltalk code browser.

After leaving Apple and Yahoo!, as of 2009, he was an independent consultant and lived with his wife in the Silicon Valley area with his wife. The cause of his death wasn’t immediately available.

Larry Tesler was an innovative inventor who created a function that helped so many people on a daily basis across multiple devices. So far, 2020 hasn’t been a favorable year with us losing so many legends.


Jang Ji-sung used the technology on Korean TV show ‘Meeting You’, and was able to see and touch a virtual version of her daughter Nayeon, who passed away in 2016.

From gaming to military training, virtual reality has been used in a range of innovative ways in recent years.

Now, the technology has been used to ‘reunite’ a grieving mother with her daughter, four years after she died.

Jang Ji-sung used the technology on Korean TV show ‘Meeting You’, and was able to see and touch a virtual version of her daughter Nayeon, who passed away in 2016.

During the touching interaction, the mum and daughter were able to play, touch and even hold conversations.

In a video of the encounter, the mother can be heard saying ‘Oh my pretty, I have missed you’, while stroking the virtual replica of her daughter.

The virtual daughter then replied: “I missed mom a lot.”

At the end of the conversation, Nayeon then lay down to sleep, and her mother said goodbye.

Jang hopes that the encounter will help others who have lost family members.

Writing on her blog, she said: “Three years later, I now think I should love her more than miss her and feel sick so that I can be confident when I meet her later. I hope many people will remember Nayeon after watching the show.”


Telefon pintar paling kecil dunia

January 31, 2020 | Tech | No Comments

REKA bentuk miniatur yang unik dan ultra ringan bukan halangan. Tugasnya seperti merakam gambar, video, berbual, pesanan ringkas, permainan dalam talian, kalendar serta banyak lagi adalah antara perkara yang mampu dilakukan dengannya.

Apa yang pasti, gajet mini sebesar pemetik api pun ada permintaannya. Zini Mobiles sebagai contoh, memperkenalkan Zanco T2, inovasi gajet telefon pintar 3G paling kecil di dunia!

Barangkali agak pelik dan melucukan kerana saiz kerdil tidak ubah seperti telefon mainan. Dalam perkongsian, perincian menarik spesifikasi fitur baharu itu dalam kelas tersendiri.

Fungsinya lebih praktikal berbanding telefon kasut pintar Maxwell yang pernah mengejutkan industri telekomunikasi suatu ketika dahulu.

Menariknya, meskipun saiz tak ubah seperti sekotak gula getah, namun keupayaannya sama seperti telefon pintar lain seperti merakam gambar dan video bersaiz resolusi 128 x 96 piksel.

Justeru, jangan pandang sebelah mata kerana sekecil-kecil peranti dengan saiz satu inci skrin LCD itu, ia berada dalam kelasnya tersendiri.

Menurut Shazad Talib, ketika ini telefon pintar dilihat lebih canggih yang didatangkan dengan harga semakin mahal, biarpun materialnya berat dan mudah ‘rapuh’.

“Zanko T2 pula dicipta sebagai alternatif telefon pintar mampu milik dengan daya ketahanan lebih lasak, ultra ringan dan kompak untuk menjalankan aktiviti seharian.

“Saya percaya si kecil ini mampu menjadi solusi berbanding membawa peranti pintar yang tidak sesuai dibawa untuk aktiviti ekstrem,” kata pengasas Zini Mobiles tersebut.

Suka perbezaan

Agak mengejutkan apabila telefon dengan saiz 2.4 inci x 1.18 inci x 0.65 inci itu mampu berfungsi sebagai peranti alternatif buat si peminat gajet yang sukakan perbezaan.

Mungkin penciptaan fitur baharu dengan berat hanya 31 gram tersebut menjadi berita baik buat pengguna yang sukakan minimalis kerana tidak mustahil, ada peminatnya tersendiri.

Peranti versatil itu agak mengujakan kerana memiliki bateri yang mampu bertahan sehingga tujuh hari selain memiliki ciri storan 32 gigabit (GB) dan akses sambungan Bluetooth.

Bagi mereka yang inginkan kebebasan, peranti cilik itu sememangnya direka untuk menjauhkan diri daripada gangguan emel dan media sosial tanpa meminggirkan komunikasi yang penting-penting sahaja.

Dengan saiz yang comel, ia mudah dibawa ke mana-mana walaupun dengan poket terhad. Sama ada jika mahu berjoging sambil mendengar muzik, Zanco T2 mampu menjadi peneman setia.

Tidak dinafikan, dengan saiz seumpama itu pasti wujud pro dan kontranya. Bagi pemilik jari besar, agak susah untuk menaip pesanan ringkas menggunakan pad halus, apatah lagi bermain permainan seperti ular atau tetris.

Setiap orang memiliki kecenderungan yang berbeza.

Ada yang suka dan ada yang menolak rekaan seumpama itu kerana lebih memilih jam pintar yang memiliki konsep sama.

Meskipun harganya masih belum diumumkan, fitur baharu itu dijangka akan menembusi pasaran bermula April nanti. Pastinya ada yang tidak sabar untuk menunggu kemunculannya nanti.


Chinese companies will play a leading role in 5G technology in the long run despite restriction and fierce competition, Sina Finance reported on Saturday.

Huawei has withstood the first wave of attacks and will finally tackle the challenges caused by the technological ban imposed by the United States, the greatest uncertainty in telecommunications market in 2019, according to an insider.

Finnish telecommunications company Nokia announced 63 commercial 5G deals worldwide on its official website on Jan 9, indicating that these deals exclude other type of 5G agreements, such as paid network trials, pilots or demonstrations.

Chinese tech giant Huawei has signed over 60 5G commercial deals with global leading operators and sent 400,000 5G Massive MIMO AAU worldwide by the middle of October last year.

Huawei has been providing support to launch 35 5G commercial network by December.

Another Chinese telecommunication company ZTE has signed about 35 5G commercial deals, according to statistics released in November.

Swedish company Ericsson has signed 78 5G commercial agreements and deals globally and provided equipment for 24 officially operational 5G commercial networks by December.

Chinese companies’ discourse power has been further increased and has entered key-standards setting arena, although fierce competition for 5G deals will continue, the report said indicating that the competition of 5G equipment providers will turn white-hot in 2020.

Nokia boasts to be the only 5G network (equipment) provider chosen by the United States’ all four major operators, Korea’s all three leading operators and Japan’s all big three operators nationwide and obtained more than 2,000 essential patents for 5G.

After selling mobile phone business, Nokia has been focused on 5G business and the company has taken a leading role in software development, IoT deployment and wireless connection, said Bhaskar Gorti, president of Nokia Software, as reported by the 21st Century Business Herald.

In 5G market, Ericsson last year co-operated with many global operators including Qatar telecom operator Ooredoo, Saudi telecommunications company STC and Russian operator Tele2.

In Chinese market, Ericsson has closely worked with domestic operators and terminal manufactures and explored landing scenarios by opening a smart factory last November.

Compared with the two European companies, Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have more complete industrial chain in 5G technology with a wider coverage, including chips, terminals, systems, and specialised end-to-end 5G solutions.

In addition to 5G base stations, Huawei and ZTE have also launched many terminal products, including multiple 5G mobile phones and 5G CPE.

Statistics from Huawei show the shipment volume of Huawei’s 5G base station modules increased 300 per cent from May to October last year, up from 100,000 to 400, 000.

In September, Huawei also took the lead to deliver an end-to-end 5G Standalone independent networking model.

Despite being blocked by the United States, Huawei said at the end of September that it had started producing 5G base stations without US components.

The company is two-three years ahead in some core components of base stations, a Huawei insider told the 21st Century Business Herald reporter.

Huawei is currently in co-operation with many countries including Switzerland, United Kingdom, Monaco, France, Malaysia and Russia.

ZTE’s market in 5G is also recovering and the company is in co-operation with operators including Telefónica, Orange, WindTre, and Austrian Hutchison Drei.

It is projected that China’s base stations will have hundreds of thousands of demand, and the global demand will reach millions in 2020, the report said.


TikTok and its Chinese equivalent Douyin ranked as the world’s second most downloaded app last year, but the short video platform operated by ByteDance is facing challenges from both upstart rivals and established players that are starting to embrace short-form content.

TikTok and Douyin amassed a combined 740 million downloads last year, overtaking Facebook and Messenger to become the world’s second most downloaded app behind WhatsApp, according to market analyst Sensor Tower.

One of its smaller rivals, Likee, a short video platform owned by Singapore-based Bigo, made its debut among the top 10 with over 330 million installations, half of those from India, according to Sensor Tower, whose report included worldwide downloads for iPhone, iPad and Google Play but excluded Apple apps and Google pre-installed apps.

It also did not include Android downloads from third-party stores mostly used by Chinese because Google Play is blocked in China.

“Short video has been popularised by TikTok for sure, but bigger social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram are aware of it and are doing something about it,” said Meenakshi Tiwari, an analyst at technology market research firm Forrester, who pointed to Instagram’s TikTok-like video-music remix feature “Reels” launched in Brazil two months ago.

Another challenge for TikTok is WhatsApp, which has not yet monetised its user base but might do so this year, Tiwari said.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has its own monetisation challenges because most of its Beijing-based parent’s revenue is generated in China, despite the app’s rapid international expansion.

For example, Beijing-based Chenjin Culture operates an account featuring a pair of twins on both Douyin and TikTok.

The Douyin account, with nearly 5 million followers, earns between 50,000 yuan (S$9,700) and 100,000 yuan for each short video ad it produces for clients wanting to associate their product with the account, but the TikTok version has not been able to generate any income despite having more than 1.6 million followers, said Joey Wang, Chenjin’s co-founder and chief executive.

A TikTok spokeswoman did not comment on the app’s monetisation strategy.

TikTok is reportedly looking at luring advertisers by launching a new feed that would include curated content from TikTok users or original videos created by professional publishers, mimicking rival Snap that has a specific channel that supports video advertisements, according to a Financial Times report on the weekend citing sources familiar with the matter.

TikTok’s efforts may placate the concerns of brands and advertising agencies that worry their commercials could run alongside distressing or even illegal user-generated content on the platform.

TikTok was also thinking about allowing users to shop directly from links embedded in brand advertising, Blake Chandlee, head of the platform’s US ads partnership programme, told the Financial Times in December.

In a response to the report on the new monetisation plan a US TikTok spokeswoman said it was “exciting to see the creativity coming from our publisher community and the successes they’ve experienced creating custom and native content for TikTok. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with them as this community grows”.

Besides competition, another major challenge facing TikTok is the resistance shown by US lawmakers over privacy and security issues.

In response, the app has made efforts to distance the platform from politics, including implementing a ban on political ads and overhauling community guidelines, which spell out the type of content considered “misleading”.

TikTok chief executive Alex Zhu was expected to talk with US lawmakers in the second week of December to address these concerns, but the meetings were cancelled at the last minute and no new time has been scheduled.

Although TikTok is trying to be apolitical, its users in India are doing the opposite.

During ongoing protests against the country’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, related hashtags like #caa have amassed more than 47 million views, with young people using the app to express their political opinions.

In TikTok’s first ever transparency report published in late December, the app operator revealed that the most requests to remove or restrict content in the first half of 2019 came from India.

Tiwari said operating in the India market can present a big challenge for social media companies given the country’s diverse culture and religion.

In response, the TikTok spokeswoman said the app’s users “can post videos on whatever is interesting and expressive to them, aside from things like hate speech or other violations of our community guidelines”.


The future of computing

November 29, 2019 | Tech | No Comments

Intel’s Chief Technology Officer speaks to Balqis Lim on how data and artificial intelligence will drive the digital economy

DATA has become one of the most vital resources of the century. To help consumers prosper in this new digital economy, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer chips, Intel has shifted its focus from being a PC-centric company to a data-centric company.

Its Chief Technology Officer Dr Michael Mayberry says in today’s world, cameras and road sensors are collecting data, and this data has to go somewhere for things to be done computationally.

“How do you make sense of the data? How do you turn it into useful information, whether it’s a map of traffic congestion or of smog in some cities around the world?

“All these are examples of things where you start with raw data. You then turn the data into information, and that information is then used to make decisions. It’s important that we consume the information as quickly as possible to make sense of it. It’s no longer a person-centric thing, it is a data-centric thing,” he says.

Mayberry says when he started working at Intel 35 years ago, it was primarily a memory company, although the company had already started manufacturing central processing units (CPU) at some point.

In the 1980s, Intel made a transition, going from memory centre to a CPU centre. In the ‘90s, the transition was from CPU-centric to PC-centric. Today, the company is in the midst of a transition from PC-centric to data centre.

“What we mean by that last transition is that PCs are an example of something that’s optimised for humans to interact with. It’s a personal computing device. Data-centric means increasing the amount of data that we collect and we need to make sense of it. We then use the data to make decisions, sometimes in real-time,” he says.

Mayberry says the data collected comes in multiple forms, for example, from a video that was shared as a memo to the staff.

“It could be a video camera at a corner intersection. It could also be a sensor collecting information about smog, or the tides, or any of those things. What we want to be able to do is to make sense of all that by combining a lot of pieces of information together. So it’s not simply one piece of information, it’s making sense of all the data we collect all the time throughout the day.”

And as more data is collected, he says there is a need to store it or move it somewhere and a need to do computation around it.

“For example, when your phone’s storage becomes full, you have to offload those pictures to the cloud. That requires network, so that’s the movement of it. The network then may say, ‘hey, I’m going to tag the faces in those pictures’ and that’s compute. All three of those things work together to make sense of the world,” explains Mayberry.

Depending on which piece of product Intel is working on, the company also plays multiple roles. Having driven the PC ecosystem for a couple of decades, Intel is also into standardisation so that the machines can talk to one another.

“We work on that standardisation around how people use technology. We also work on standardisation around how to compute with technology. For example, on artificial intelligence, we have an initiative that’s called OpenVINO that allows people to write programs that make sense of data and do a control of the systems.

“It’s intended to make it more accessible for people to get into artificial intelligence without having to go to school and get a degree and train for years. We do things like that to make our technology easy to use.

“At the same time, we’re making technology more complicated. We’ll build a faster computer, a larger memory device, a faster network, and those, in turn, will require more choices and so we have to work on making those easier to use as well.”

Intel has also embarked on Project Athena, an innovation programme to aid laptop makers meet modern-day computing needs and build revolutionary laptops for the future.

“A decade ago laptops were typically between 1.3kg and 1.8kg, which was considered very light. We are trying to enhance the features to make it convenient to carry around, as well as preserve the things that make a PC useful to people.

“So we’re going to have longer battery life, ease of connectivity, and standards around the display, as well as around the responsiveness. Ultimately, we would like devices that are still as useful as the PCs were, but far more attractive where portability is concerned. So we work with the ecosystem to essentially certify those designs,” says Mayberry, adding that the first batch of these premium products have begun to enter the market.

Mayberry says one of the directions going forward is AI, to handle a large variety of different kinds of data, computing tasks, and sharing of information. “For example, artificial intelligence is one example of things where if we put a particular kind of compute capability in our chips, then it becomes much more useful for that kind of data.

“So as we have been modifying and refining the performance of our computer chips on traditional tasks, we’re also adding instructions. We’re adding compute units, we’re adding software layers to get ready for that future of computing.”

Another direction is increasingly rapid communications, or as Mayberry calls it, 5G. However, he says it is a collection of technologies. There are increasing ways for machines to become autonomous like automating the factory floor.

He says it can be automated to handle more variations such as the orientation of parts or doing adjustment processes in real-time because humans don’t necessarily want to do tedious, unsafe, repetitive tasks. “We think the robots will be able to do better going forward.”

Mayberry says Intel is also working on its 5G protocols to handle a combination of data types, with shorter latency and faster response.

Rather than using cell towers that are far apart, it is using micro cells to have higher bandwidth and ultimately a more rapid exchange of information that will become one of the enablers for machine to machine communication.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, we will see more generational changes where one generation was raised doing one thing, while the next generation will see it as obsolete.

Mayberry says 2020 will not be the era of automated driving, meaning it won’t be broad enough to happen soon. “But my children’s children may never learn to drive because the world will have advanced so much.

“My predictions for next year will be like this year, only better. We’ll have smaller laptops that are lighter and with longer battery life because the electronics are already being developed right now and being shipped.”

As for Intel, he says the company is bringing a lot of 10-nanometre products, promising better performance and lower power, to the market.

“Some of those go into laptops, some into servers, and some into networking. We will have a much wider range of products this time next year than we have today.”


Teknologi dron untuk projek tanaman padi

November 28, 2019 | Tech | No Comments

FELCRA Seberang Perak melakarkan sejarah tersendiri apabila menjadi yang pertama menggunakan teknologi dron berskala besar untuk kerja penyemburan input pertanian di kawasan tanaman padi.

Sejajar dengan aspirasi Felcra Berhad untuk merintis Model Pertanian Pintar, MATA Aerotech dilantik bagi melaksanakan perkhidmatan penyemburan tanaman padi menggunakan teknologi itu bermula hujung bulan ini.

Merujuk satu kenyataan, penyemburan pertanian menggunakan teknologi dron lebih seragam akan menjurus kepada pengurangan pembaziran bahan semburan selain mengehad tenaga kerja manusia dan alam sekitar.

“MATA Aerotech bersama Felcra akan menggunakan teknologi dron dan AI untuk melaksanakan analisa data pengawasan pertumbuhan serta kesihatan tanaman padi.

“Analisa data lebih cepat dan tepat mampu membantu Felcra menambah baik pengurusan serta operasi estet padi ke arah Precision Agriculture selain mengangkat agensi kerajaan itu sebagai peneraju Model Pertanian Pintar yang berteraskan IR 4.0,” katanya.

MoU tersebut menggariskan tiga aspek kerjasama utama iaitu penggunaan teknologi dron robotik untuk pengurusan dan operasi perladangan Felcra, peneraju aktiviti penyelidikan serta pembangunan (R&D) bagi meningkatkan inovasi sektor pertanian selain pembangunan modal insan.

Pelantikan MATA Aerotech itu akan menggunakan teknologi dron bagi kerja penyemburan pertanian tanaman padi seluas 1,557 hektar estet padi Felcra Seberang Perak.


Honda Jazz pilihan

November 27, 2019 | Tech | No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR: Bunyi angin berlebihan, bunyi jalan yang bising, masalah hubungan Bluetooth dengan peranti/telefon pintar dan masalah radio menjadi antara kerumitan utama yang membelenggu pemilik kenderaan baru di Malaysia.

Berdasarkan Kaji Selidik Kualiti Awal Malaysia 2019 oleh JD Power, pemilik kenderaan lebih muda iaitu di bawah umur 35 tahun melaporkan lebih banyak masalah berbanding mereka yang berumur 35 tahun ke atas dengan aduan masalah berkaitan ciri kawalan/paparan dan dalaman kenderaan.

Ia juga mendapati 49 peratus pemilik kenderaan yang tidak melaporkan masalah menyatakan mereka pasti akan mengesyorkan jenama dan model kenderaan mereka kepada orang lain.

Malah, satu pertiga daripada pemilik kenderaan baharu yang tidak mengalami apa-apa masalah dengan kenderaan mereka menyatakan pasti akan membeli balik buatan yang sama di masa depan.

Pengurus Negara Malaysia JD Power, E-Ling Cheah berkata, masalah yang dialami pemilik kenderaan baharu di Malaysia tahun ini didapati menurun berbanding tahun lalu.

“Punca utama penurunan terbabit disebabkan pengurangan masalah berkaitan proses pengilangan kenderaan.

“Kaji selidik itu mendapati jumlah masalah berkaitan dengan pengilangan berkurangan sepanjang tiga tahun lalu kepada 51 peratus tahun ini berbanding 74 peratus pada 2016,” katanya.

Katanya, pemilik kenderaan menunjukkan kepekaan berterusan kepada masalah berkaitan bunyi yang akan menjejaskan persepsi terhadap kualiti keseluruhan kenderaan mereka.

“Pengilang bukan saja harus meningkatkan proses pembuatan, tetapi perlu mengkaji semula panduan rekaan kenderaan bagi mengelakkan masalah ini dari terjadi di awal kitaran pemilikan kenderaan,” katanya dalam kenyataan di sini, semalam.

Kajian berkenaan dilakukan berdasarkan maklum balas daripada 1,904 pemilik kenderaan baharu yang membeli kenderaan mereka antara Julai 2018 dan Ogos lalu.

Malah, kajian ini turut membabitkan 50 model kereta penumpang, pikap dan kenderaan utiliti daripada 12 jenama serta dijalankan antara Mac dan Oktober lalu.

Berdasarkan kajian sama, model Honda Jazz mencatatkan kedudukan tertinggi bagi segmen kenderaan bandar kompak yang menerima anugerah tahap model bagi kualiti awal.