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Eventful October T

Managing Director Noor Azman Head of Department YK Cheah

he quiet months are always the calm before the storm and as expected the storm hit us hard in October. Attending major events are always an honour for us, so we were thrilled when Alibaba invited us to the company’s Computing Conference in China held in midOctober. We also got to go to the HKTDC Electronics Fair & ElectronicAsia 2017 in Hong Kong. Look out for our coverages on the two events in our World News section. One of the biggest news in October was definitely on Intel’s Coffee Lake and Z370 chipset, which was finally released not long ago. Impressions on the platform have already been formed, so we were happy when we got our hands on a Coffee Lake CPU and three Z370 motherboards from the leading brands for review. We also got to test the DJI Spark drone, an AMD Vega GPU, and the Nokia 8. Besides the more serious work stuff, we also have an article on this year’s Tokyo Game Show, which we managed to see a bit of in person. While not as exciting as many may have hoped for, there’s some new information available that you can read in our Lite ‘n Leisure pages. There’s plenty left to read this issue, so we’re not going take more of your time. So until next issue, bye for now!

EDITORIAL Deputy Editor Matthew Yap Writer Nixon Ng Writer Rikco Shim Contributors Michael Eckstein, Martin Jäger, Christoph Schmidt, Andreas Th. Fischer, Fabian von Keudell, Arthur Hoffmann, Stepanie Biberger, Patrick Dörfel, Jörg Geiger, Richard Meusers, Patrick Hannemann Design & Layout Halijah Ismail Cover Design Halijah Ismail SALES & MARKETING Senior Manager YK Cheah Account Manager Connor Tan Consultant Muffadzlee Dato’ Sufian ADMINISTRATION Admin Manager WP Lim ONLINE www.chip.com.my @CHIPMY CHIP Malaysia PUBLISHER Online Dynamics (M) Sdn. Bhd. A-5-07 Block A, Neo Damansara Bandar Damansara Perdana, Jalan PJU 8/1 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: (03) 7727 6554 Fax: (03) 7727 3554

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Matthew Yap Deputy Editor

© This edition of CHIP is a publication of Online Dynamics (M) Sdn. Bhd. licensed by Vögel Burda Holding GmbH, 80336 Munich, Germany. © Copyright of the trademark ‘‘CHIP by Vögel Burda Holding GmbH, 80336 Munich, Germany. No part of CHIP magazine / shall be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. All views expressed in the magazine are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of CHIP magazine / the publisher. All information in the magazine is provided ‘as is’ and ‘as available’ and CHIP magazine / the publisher makes no representations and gives no warranty of any kind, implied, express or statutory as to the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, non-infringement of 3rd party rights, title, merchantability and / or suitability / fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the said information. Under no circumstances whatsoever shall the CHIP magazine / the publisher be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages whether in contract or in tort arising out of or in connection with the use of the information made available in CHIP magazine. All prices, product versions and URLs’ are correct at the time of printing.

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contents

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COVER STORY NEWS & TRENDS

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038

060 The Big Hacker Report The end of three annual conferences brought some new updates on the cybersecurity landscape with it 006 Local News Coverage of the latest news and events right on our shores

026 World Wired Web All the latest tech happenings around the world

024 Security Reports Monthly dose of security news

FEATURES

038 Voice AIs Might Raise The Future Children don’t know any better, but voice assistants might be a bad influence on them

044 Update For Windows 10 Windows 10’s next update, Redmond 3, is set to drop. What changed?

048 Making It New Sometimes, old doesn’t mean unusable. With the right tricks, you can extend the life of your old hardware and save money

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TEST LAB

048 067 Test Lab: The Tools Test Labs’ tools of the trade

068 Test Lab Contents Take a pick and get started!

076 Reviews Professionally conducted reviews following our stringent tests and benchmarks

LITE & LEISURE

94 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

PRACTICE

112 Make Your Own Cloud Storage

REGULARS

001 Welcome Note 116 Tips and Tricks

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In this Blast of the Past, we get our taste of the court room

102 E-Sports Express What’s the latest gossip in the e-sports world?

Online Cloud storage can be useful, but they can’t beat the flexibility and cost savings of making your own

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contents chip download

CHIP Downloads November 2017 We’re back with our monthly dose of interesting, free and handy tools for you to enhance your PC experience. If you want to know how you can get these files, follow the instructions below: 1. Head on our website @ www.chip.com.my and right at the top, click on the ‘‘Downloads” tab 2. After that, click on the respective month’s post. You will then be prompted for a password. The password can be found on this page monthly. 3. Navigate using the tabs and pick the categories you want to download the files from. Once you find the file you want, just click on it and you’re good to go! And it’s as easy as that! PASSWORD FOR NOVEMBER2017 - securityfirst

Featured Tools Ashampoo Privacy Protector Privacy Protector offers an innovative, combined security approach that includes encryption, archiving and cleaning. Instead of having to use separate tools that may not play well together, you can now rely on a single, well-balanced solution that does away with confusing settings and bloated menus in favour of clarity and usability.

Ninja Download Manager Ninja Download Manager is a newcomer to the download manager scene and has a simple and minimalistic interface. The accelerator improves your file downloads to up to 10x faster than your browser. It also as a built-in video downloader with support for YouTube and Vimeo, additionally it also comes with a video converter.

5KPlayer 5KPlayer or 5KP is a lightweight and minimalistic media player, it has a straightforward and self-explaining interface. It doubles as a radio player and allows you to download free videos from YouTube and over 300 other sites. The developer keeps it updated so you’ll always have something to look forward to.

Essentials

Our list of essentials consists of programs and software such as graphics drivers, browsers, compression software and even Cloud storage software that will improve a PC user’s experience. The links on our website won’t provide you with the files, instead it will lead you to the developers’ official website, where you can find the right file for you. 004

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contents chip download

The Monthly Downloads Seer Operating system: Win Vista,7,8,10 A windows quick look tool for those who liked the feature on the macOS. It supports over hundreds of file formats like video, audio, text and PDF. You can also copy video frames and images from your preview to the clipboard.

MediaPortal Operating system: Win 7,8,10 MediaPortal transforms your PC into a HTPC, it displays all your movies, series’, photos and music in a dynamic way in the comfort of your living room. Movie and music playback as you want to without ever getting in the way of your enjoyment.

MemTest86 Operating system: Win XP, Vista,7,8,10 A standalone memory testing software for x86 computers. It boots from a flash drive or CD and tests the RAM in your computer for faults using a series of comprehensive algorithms and test patterns.

Telegram Operating system: Win XP, Vista,7,8,10 A brand new messaging app that could rival Whatsapp, it lets you have self-destructing messages and allows you to watch videos straight from its app instead of being redirected to YouTube.

PointerStick Operating system: Win XP, Vista,7,8,10 PointerStick is a portable program that presents on the Windows Desktop a virtual pointer stick, for example for Presentations to highlight the current mouse position and the emphasis on presenting will be better.

AnyBurn Operating system: Win Vista,7,8,10 Any Burn is lightweight, but professional CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray burning software that everyone must have. It provides a free and complete solution for burning to burn Audio CDs and more to rewritable discs or even create images from already written discs.

Wise Disk Cleaner Operating system: Win XP, Vista,7,8,10 Wise Disk Cleaner helps you to delete unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and make your computer run faster. Providing many custom options allowing advanced users to clean up their files even further.

Etcher Operating system: Win 7, 8, 10 Etcher helps to create bootable to USB sticks so you can try different live systems as you please, this way you can quickly switch between live systems on your Raspberry Pi to choose the most suitable one.

Right Click Enhancer Operating system: Win XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 Right Click Enhancer adds applications, files and folder shortcuts to the right click menu leading to a cleaner and more organised desktop. You can also create submenus inside the right click menu to keep even your right click menu organised. chip malaysia

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news

From left to right: Edmund Hoh, Product Manager, Acer Malaysia; Chan Weng Hong, General Manager of Products, Sales and Marketing, Acer Malaysia; Jeffrey Lai, Product Manager, Acer Malaysia; and Johnson Seet, Director of Products, Acer Malaysia

Acer Reveals Refresh And More Acer launches their new laptops refreshed with the latest right generation Intel Core processors and many other interesting products

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cer Malaysia revealed its latest line of devices, which comprise of two laptops refreshed with the latest eight generation Intel processors and more. Sturdy yet flexible thanks to its patented dual-torque hinge, the Acer Spin 5 is built for everyday use. With a single charge giving up to 13 hours of usage time, this is one laptop that is ideal for users on the go. Furthermore, the 15.6-inch model also offers a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 option for users who demand significantly better speed and power efficiency from their graphics card. The new Spin 5 is thinner than its predecessor with the 13.3-inch model measuring in at 15.9mm thin, while the 15.6-inch model is 17.99mm thin. Sporting a sleek body with an eye-catching metal design and durable hinge for easy convertibility to four useful modes between laptop, tablet, display and tent modes. The Acer Spin 5 is priced from RM3,599 to RM4,999 depending on the configuration users choose. Then there’s the Acer Swift, also upgraded

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with the latest eighth generation Intel processors and have the additional option of adding a NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics for the 15.6-inch model. With up to 10-hours of battery life, the Acer Swift 3 boosts performance and power efficient for all-day work. The price for the Acer Swift 3 with the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics is RM4,299, and it is available in Stellar Blue and Steel Grey. If you’re looking for a curved monitor, then Acer has unveiled the Acer XR382CQK - their first monitor featuring a 37.5-inch IPS curved 21:9 screen with UltraWide QHD+ display. With a 2300R curvature, it presents a high-end immersive experience with a wider field of view and increased perceived area of peripheral vision compared to a flat display. The monitor is priced at RM4,999. Finally, there’s the Acer Aspire C22-860, a slim and elegant space-saving AIO PC. Featuring a 16:9 FHD display with an incredible 90% screen-to-body-ratio borderless display, the display delivers vivid colours and shows text sharply and clearly. The AIO PC also comes

The XR382CQK supports FreeSync and Daisy Chaining for a smooth multi-monitor setup

The new Acer Spin 5 is 21% thinner than its previous generation

A quaint AIO PC which fits the needs of space savers

with a detachable webcam that connects with a USB and stays on magnetically. So if you’re in need for a space saving AIO PC, do check out the Acer Aspire C22-860, which is priced at RM2,399. www.acer.com


news

MSI Launches Malaysia’s Largest MSI Store

The brand also launched an all new Vortex gaming desktop PC

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here aren’t many concept stores of major PC brands in Malaysia, though the number has been increasingly in recent months. With gaming and e-sports continuing to gain prominence in Malaysia, it stands to reason that MSI would decide to bunk down and launch its biggest one here. The new MSI concept store, located near Kuala Lumpur’s BB Plaza and Low Yat Plaza, will allow those interested in MSI products to browse through the brand’s selection of complete systems and components. Covering two floors, it will feature a product showcase area at the ground floor that also functions as the shopping zone, while the first floor will be used to host events. MSI also mentioned that the company plans to host mini local competitions on the first floor. More importantly, this gives MSI an avenue to engage its fans regularly and build a strong community for them.

Currently, MSI has some of its latest motherboards and graphics cards, as well as a slew of different notebooks on display. There’s also a small VR experience space, where staff will be on hand to help interest customers try out the VR backpack and demo some games on it. There’s also a console area complete with a screen, racing seat, and racing wheel. This area is now equipped with a new compact desktop PC, with other machines to replace it for demo in future. The new desktop PC is the Vortex G25, which was launched at the event as well. A slimmed down The inside of the store

version of the Vortex G65 from last year, the Vortex G25 is a compact gaming desktop in a 2.5L-sized chassis that weighs only 2.5kg. Having flat sides also allows the unit to be placed upright or on a surface, plus it has VESA mounting compatibility, so you can hook it to the back of a TV or monitor and save even more space. Equipped with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070 and a eight generation Intel Core i7 processor inside, it has enough firepower to play the latest games. At the same time, MSI has equipped it with Cooler Boost Titan - a cooling system with eight heatpipes. www.msi.com/my

A demo area to see how some MSI products perform

MSI and partners cut the ribbon to officiate the opening of the new store

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The new Vortex G25


news

Third from Left: Mr. Khoo Hung Chuan (General Manager of Lenovo Malaysia and Singapore) with Mr. Gary Khan (Consumer Lead, Lenovo Malaysia) posing with cosplayers and the new laptop!

New Entry To The Lenovo Legion Lenovo launches new devices that slots perfectly into the Legion family, and comes with great features

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n early October, Lenovo launched three new products – the Lenovo Legion Y920 Laptop, Legion Y720 Tower and the Legion Y520 Tower. Lenovo even invited ‘‘Geek Fam”, a professional DotA 2 team that is based in Malaysia, and the famous “Kuala Lumpur Hunters” to attend the event, as these teams are now sponsored by Lenovo. They even had ‘‘Tashbunny”, a popular Twitch streamer and Astro eGG personality, alongside Geraldine Read, Malaysian Race Car driver as Lenovo Community members. At the event, Mr. Khoo Hung Chuan (General Manager of Lenovo Malaysia and Singapore) mentioned that following the success of the previous League of Champions Series I, which was held earlier this year, they have decided to officially announce that there will be a Series II. The Y920 Laptop is equipped with some powerful stuff under the hood. It comes with a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, and up to 32GB of DDR4 memory. It is topped with a

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17.3-inch FullHD IPS display, which is capable of 4K resolution, and sports a fully mechanical keyboard that has multicolour backlighting. For audio quality, Lenovo teamed up with JBL to deliver a 3W Bass Subwoofer plus two 2W JBL speakers combo for the laptop. Next up are towering towers, the Y720 Tower and Y520 Tower, which come with several different configurations. You can pad up the Y720 Tower with a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU and so on. Both the Y720 Tower and Y520 Tower can also be upgraded by yourself, giving you ultimate customisation for your own builds. All devices are now available to purchase from official Lenovo Exclusive Stores and Lenovo Multi Brand Stores. The Y920 Laptop starts at a base price of RM12,999, which can go up depending on the configurations that you opt for. As for the Y720 Tower and Y520 Tower, they are priced at RM7,799 and RM4,999 respectively, and prices will also increase depending on the configurations. For the full

The Legion Y720 Tower

The Legion Y520 Tower

The Legion Y920 Laptop – now equipped with a mechanical keyboard

list of specifications and configurations, head on to Lenovo’s site or Official Stores. www3.lenovo.com/my/en


news

From L to R: Michelle Lee (Marketing Assistant Manager of Consumer Imaging and Information Division), Jeffrey Kung (Head of Consumer Imaging and Information Division), Andrew Koh (President and CEO) and Sandy Lee (Marketing Senior Manager of Consumer Imaging and Information Division) posing with the four new Canon PIXMA printers

New Canon Printers

Now bridging the gap between smartphones and printers with Bluetooth

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anon officially unveiled and launched four brand-new printers that are equipped with new connectivity options for consumers who love to print from mobile devices. The four new devices in the PIXMA series are the TS9170, TS8170, TS5170 and TR8570. All models are equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Andrew Koh, the President and CEO of Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd said ‘‘Canon is proud to be Malaysia’s leading brand for inkjet printers for the last 21 consecutive years. It really is a testament to the dedication we have towards our products, our customers and the imaging industry. While we are grateful for the support Malaysians have given us over the years, we are commited to the pursuit of excellence in providing quality innovations and products as technologies continue to evolve.” Jeffrey Kung, the Head of Consumer Imaging and Information Division of Canon Marketing Malaysia also chimed in, saying ‘‘The new

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printers are easy to use, efficient and looks elegant, while maintaining the high print quality that Canon is known for… Despite the rise of the digital and social media era, we are still seeing people who appreciate a hard copy of their photos in their hands.” The PIXMA TS9170 Photo All-in-One is compact and elegant, thanks to its gold lid with black chassis design. Users can now print and scan photos and documents directly from a mobile device, while being able to enjoy a variety of Creative Filter options from the large 5-inch touch-screen display mounted on a tilt panel. You can also print your images from a memory card using the printer. As for the TS8170, it comes in three different colours, Stylish Black, Dynamic Red and Minimalist White for those who want their printers to be in sync with their surroundings. This comes with a 4.3-inch touch-screen LCD. Both printers have a new Ink System called Photo Blue, which is capable of delivering breath-taking colour

reproduction. Photo Blue also operates in a new 6-ink system with the TS9170 and TS8170. Also, cartridges will be available in standard and XL capacity. The smallest of the bunch, the TS5170, comes with a 2.5-inch LCD, while the TR8570 is equipped with a 4.3-inch touchscreen LCD panel. With Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, users can now interact with their printers easily and can always stay connected to the PIXMA printers via the Canon Print Inket/SELPHY app. When a user’s printer is low on ink or on paper, they will get a notification on their phone notifying that they will need a change of paper or ink cartridge, as long as they are in Bluetooth range. All the printers are now available for purchase from Canon Image Square outlets, authorised dealers, and Canon Official Store on Lazada. The PIXMA TS5170 is only available through Lazada. Retail prices are as follows: PIXMA TS9170: RM1,037 PIXMA TS8170: RM840 PIXMA TR8570: RM999 PIXMA TS5170: RM537 (only on Lazada) www.canon.com.my


news

BenQ Introduces Comprehensive B2B Display Solutions

facilitating a truly interactive experience with the various education and corporate purposes. Lastly, we have the BlueCore LU9715 Laser Projector along with the previously mention LX810STD. This projector features BlueCore Light Engine technology to bring you optimised visuals and energy efficiency. business-display.benq.com

BenQ introduces a trio of new products providing ground breaking display capabilities for education and corporate industries

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enQ has brought together a trio of their product lines to offer a complete and allinclusive platform for presentation and display purposes. This ranges from the durable Dustproof Projectors, to the feature rich GermResistant & Eye-Care Interactive Flat Panels (IFP) and low energy consumption BlueCore Laser Projectors, plus Wireless Presentation Solution InstaShow. Developed with hassle-free and long term use in mind, the Dustproof DX808ST and LX810STD projectors are equipped with the company’s own IP5X-rated Dust Guard technology, which blocks and eliminates dirt and particles from the device, providing durability and longevity - a major benefit for shared environments in education halls, classrooms or in meeting rooms. BenQ DustProof projectors integrates one or more

enhancements designed to keep out dust boost performance, and prolong operational life. BenQ has also created a series of SGScertified 4K Interactive Flat Panel Displays with health enhancing features like germ-free surfaces and Smart Eye-care solutions. From the Germ-Resistant & Eye-Care Interactive Flat Panels (IFP) series, BenQ showcases their 65-inch RP654K, 70-inch RP704K and 75-inch RP750K, which offer a host of interactive platforms and health-conscious necessities. All three products under the Germ-Resistant & Eye-Care IPF series comes with a multi-layered durable, non-toxic, nano-ionic silver agent that kills most bacteria and viruses on contact. They are also equipped with Smart-EyeCare solution, offering eye-care protection and technologies like anti-glare, TUV-certified blue light reduction, and flicker-free viewing,

The LU9715 with a an amazing 8,000 ASI lumens of brightness

The BlueCore Laser & Dustproof LX810STD Short Throw projector

From left to right is Sasha Huang, Projector Business Line Manager, BenQ Asia Pacific Corporation; Jeffrey Liang, President, BenQ Asia Pacific Corporation; and Eason Lu, General Manager, BenQ Service & Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd

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news

A New Surface To Work On

Microsoft’s long-awaited Surface Pro has finally launched in Malaysia

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n the 26th of September, we were invited to the launch of the Surface Pro at Colony @KLCC. Boasting several new features that its older counterpart doesn’t have, the new Surface Pro comes with new accessories that were showcased at the event, such as the new Surface Pen and new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover. The Surface Pro comes with several configurations – 7th Generation Intel Core m3, i5 or i7, 4GB to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, up to 512GB of SSD or 1TB of PCIe NVMe, and a 12.3-inch Pixel Sense Display with 2736 x 1824 of resolution. It also has a fan-less design, as the internal of the device is built with graphite. It makes the device lighter and dissipates heat easier compared to the previous generations. Aside from that, the new Surface Pro comes with a bigger battery, and up to 13.5 hours of video playback, and boasts about 50% more battery life than the previous generation. Despite that addition, the Surface Pro is still 40g less than the Surface 4.

For creative workers, Microsoft has also included a new Studio Mode, which slightly raises the device instead of having it lay flat on the table, and angles it towards you so you can draw, scribble or write notes on it without stretching your neck. Speaking of creativity, the new Surface Pen aims to deliver the best writing, creating, drawing and browsing experience to you. It is optimised for the new Surface Pro and with its accurate inking, you can draw with ease. Also, it’s currently the lowest latency Pen in the industry with only 21 milliseconds of latency. Moreover, it has four times higher pressure sensor compared to the previous generation of Surface Pen. As for the Type Cover, it is made of Alcantara, a suede-like luxury material from Italy, which is normally used in expensive cars, yachts and aircraft interiors. They keyboard on the Type Cover is equipped with full 1.3mm travel keys for 10% faster typing compared to previous generations. As mentioned, the Surface Pro comes with

several configurations and they are listed below: 1. Intel Core m3, 128 GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 615 - RM3,699 2. Intel Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620 - RM4,499 3. Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620 - RM5,899 4. Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 - RM7,199 5. Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 - RM9,999 As for the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover, it is priced at RM669 and comes in Platinum, Burgundy and Cobalt Blue. The Surface Pen comes in Platinum, Black, Burgundy and Cobalt Blue, and is priced at RM299. It is also compatible with the older generation devices, but the older devices would not be able to fully enjoy the enhanced pressure sensor of the Surface Pen. www.microsoft.com/en-my/surface

A front shot of the Surface Pro, looking sleek as ever

From L to R: Jacqui Miranda (General Manager, Windows & Devices Group, Microsoft APAC), Michal Golebiewski (Chief Marketing and Operation Officer for Microsoft Malaysia) with Jane Dore (Surface Product Lead for Microsoft APAC)

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news

From left to right, Kelvin Lek (Managing Director of RugGear Southeast Asia, Jennifer Liew (Mobile-to-Business Director of Compunation Technology, Raymond Chew (Managing Director of Compunation Technology) and Maverick Chen (President of RugGear Headquarters)

Combining Smartphone With Ruggedness

with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and BPER PushTo-Talk to equip local business with not just a device for them to communicate, but a business management tool. www.ruggear.com

Besides launching a new ultra-compact camera, Sony also launched the latest RX10 IV and FDR-AX700

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ugGear is a brand known for their sturdy smartphone that are made to withstand extreme conditions. The brand that originated from Germany is popular overseas and spans all over the world now. To spearhead the revolution of RugGear devices in Malaysia, the brand’s sole local distributor - Compunation - will be bringing in three RugGear devices, namely the RG160, RG310 and RG730. The RG160 comes IP68 rated and is capable of functioning from -20 degrees to 60 degrees, and MIL-STD 810G certified. It features an 1,800 mAh battery, a 2.4-inch RugDisplay-Glass, 512MB of storage, 256MB of RAM, a touchpad for control and a 0.3-megapixel rear camera. Next is the RG310, which comes with a larger 3,600 mAh battery, and runs on Android OS. It is also IP68 rated, can withstand

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temperatures between -20 degrees to 60 degrees, and sports an amplified loudspeaker, a LED torch, as well as a SOS Button for emergency calls. Also, it has the same 2.4-inch RugDisplay Glass with touchpad capabilities. The device uses 3G and has Bluetooth, as well as a 5-megapixel rear camera with a 0.3-megapixel front camera, 4GB of storage, and 512MB of RAM. Lastly, the RG730 sports a bigger 5-inch RugDisplay Glass screen and is a more advanced RugGear phone. It runs on Android 6.0 and has LTE, NFC and Dual Sim capabilities. You can even charge its 3,020 mAh battery with wireless charging. It has a 13-megapixel rear camera, 16GB of ROM with 2GB of RAM. Similar to the others, it is IP68 rated and MIL-STD 810G approved. Compunation will be bundling the devices

Jennifer Liew putting the RG730 to the water test!


news

Sony Malaysia executives and models at the event, posing for a shot with the newly launched cameras

Feature-packed, Small Body Besides launching a new ultra-compact camera, Sony also launched the latest RX10 IV and FDR-AX700

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few weeks ago, Sony launched a new ultra-compact camera that comes with very interesting uses. Designed to have the image quality of Sony’s RX series of cameras, the new RX0 has advanced features to go with it - all crammed into its tiny, but tough body. To provide professionals and enthusiasts new ways to express their creativity, Sony developed the new RX0 to be good at not only shooting still images, but also for filming videos. Being so small also gives it a flexibility that larger cameras may not have, such as being hooked up to a flying drone. Measuring at 59 x 40.5 x 29.8 mm (WxHxD) and weighing 110g, the RX0 is as small and as light as an action camera. Despite its size, it’s a tough cookie that can withstand drops and brave the environment. One of the main traits of the RX0 that Sony is promoting is its ability to be used in a

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multi-camera setup. This means that multiple RX0 cameras can be connected to one another, then capture shots simultaneously using the FA-WRC1M trigger. According to Sony, up to 15 cameras can be triggered at once. In addition, by using the PlayMemories mobile app, users can actually connect five RX0 wirelessly so that you can capture video footage from five different angles. A camera control boxed that will enable wired connection will be released next year. Another key feature of the RX0 is its 1.0type stacked 15.3-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, BIONZ X processor, and a built in wide-angle ZEISS Tessar T 24mm F4 lens. Considering its form factor, the lens if fixed but does deliver a normal wide-angle view without the fish-eye effect. It’s able to shoot in JPEG or RAW, supports multiple video formats, and can take pictures at a rate of 16 fps. As mentioned, the RX0 can withstand the

elements – with the right accessories. Using the MPK-HSR1 housing, the camera can go underwater to a maximum depth of 10-metres. The body itself is also very robust, since it can be dropped from 2-metres, and can survive being crushed as long as it doesn’t exceed a force of 200 kgf/2000N. In other words, this camera can be used in rough environments, as well as in the rain or dusty places. The Sony DSC-RX0 is now available for pre-order at a price of RM3,199. Sony also introduced the DSC-RX10IV compact camera and the FDR-AX700 Handycam at the launch, which are priced at RM7,999 and RM7,299 respectively. www.sony.com.my

The new RX0 is smaller than the size of a palm


news

Huawei Kirin 970

The world’s first mobile chipset with built-in artificial intelligence is ready to conquer your mobiles

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n the 3rd of October, we were invited to attend a briefing of the latest Huawei mobile chipset, the Kirin 970. A step up from their previous chipset that was featured in its previous Huawei and honor models, the Kirin 960, the 970 comes with a new 10nm FinFET manufacturing process and is the world’s first chipset to feature a built-in AI from the get-go. With the implementation of AI into the chipset, Huawei is saying that the devices will see improvements on camera features such

The Kirin 970 running a calorie counter app

as image recognition and sorting to optimising your phones performance. The 970 comes with an integrated 12-core GPU, Cat 18 Support for improved LTE capabilities, better power management with the 10nm structure and an embedded neural processing unit (NPU). In a test performed on the day, the Kirin 970 manages to outperform a Samsung S8 running an image recognition app, and clocked an average of 32 fps when recognising images, finishing about a minute quicker than the S8. However, Eric Zhou, the Product Marketing Director for Huawei Wireless Terminal, has mentioned that the image recognition app currently only works in very few select apps. Eric Zhou also mentioned that with the Cat 18 Support, users will be able to enjoy increased data transmission speed of up to 1.2 Gbps with 4x4 MIMO + 256QAM + DL 3CC. With that said, the implementation of AI into their mobile chips is meant to further streamline

Eric Zhou, Product Marketing Director for Huawei Wireless Terminal posing with a Kirin 970

our life and to add extra convenience. We can’t wait to see what it can actually offer to us in a real-life situation. Currently, the Huawei Mate 10 is pegged to have the latest Kirin 970 chipset, so all we have to do is wait for a proper announcement. consumer.huawei.com/my

Microsoft’s CyberSecurity Report of Malaysia Malaysia’s malware infection rate is climbing and it’s not a good thing

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icrosoft revealed that Malaysia is one of the countries that have been infected with increased malware encounter. Roughly an average of 12.9% computers, that are running on Microsoft real-time security products in Malaysia, have reported at least a malware encounter in the first quarter of 2017 alone. This is slightly higher than the global average of 9%. However, compared to the first quarter of 2016, Malaysia has seen a significant decrease by 16.7%. Despite that, this is still a cause for concern among Malaysians. ‘‘For digitalisation to reach its fullest potential, users must first trust the technology they use. Microsoft is committed to helping our customers and partners to

build that trust and the first step is to help them understand the multitude of cyber threats out there, so they can implement more effective ways to manage and neutralise these risks,” said Dr. Dzahar Mansor, the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Malaysia. Microsoft’s bi-annual Security Intelligence Report (SIR) report mentions that Ransomware Attacks are on the Rise. Indeed, in the first half of the year alone, we have encountered WannaCrypt and Petya, which exploited vulnerabilities in outdated Windows operating systems worldwide. Win32/Spora has also rapidly became one of the most widespread ransomware families. Spora encrypts files with well-known extensions

From L to R: Dr. Dzahar Mansor (National Technology Officer, Microsoft Malaysia) with Dato’ Dr. Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab (Chief Executive Officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia) unveiling the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) Volume 22

such as .doc, .jpg, .pdf and so on, while utilising its worm capabilities and spreading it to other computers in the same network. Microsoft also outlined several practices that everyone should practice, to reduce their risk to cyberattacks. Always practice caution when you are connected to a public internet domain, ensuring that your software is up to date, use the latest software and technologies, and make sure that cyber security and data privacy policies are high priority in your organisation. https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/

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A demonstration of heatmap mapping on the UShop+ platform

Matrix Choong, Advantech Regional Sector Head (left) and Cheol Kim, Intel Asia Marketing Director of Retail Solution Division at the event

Advantech iRetail Solution Day 2017

The UTC-542 Interactive Signage Display

The future of retail is not just online, but also in interactive retail business on physical locations

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dvantech, along with partners, gathered for the Advantech iRetail Solution Day 2017 where speakers from their respective industries come together to share their thoughts on iRetail. What is iRetail you may ask? iRetail is the combination of technology with retail services, making services more thoughtful and efficient in both operation and strategy planning. As digital technologies change and advance so does shopping behaviour and consumer activity. Therefore, it’s important that retail businesses get the data they need to evolve together.

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iRetail is a very broad term that covers a lot of bases, but we can give you a rough idea what to look for. Data and information play huge roles in iRetail, as knowing customer behaviour and trends will allow business owners to better serve and increase their sales. Not only that, technology can be integrated into simple equipment’s like trolleys in a supermarket to prevent loss. For every missing trolley, a supermarket has to take a loss to replace it. But we could prevent that from happening by using technology. Then there’s pilferage. Businesses,

Some ways to improve your business is getting feedback, and using iRetail technology makes things even easier


news

An example on how interactive and digital signages are being used in an iRetail setting

Advantech provides innovative solutions for iRetail businesses, like the UPOS 500 series

especially one which has cash exchanging between hands, are most commonly plagued with the issue of pilferage. Employees may find a way to ‘‘beat the system” and slowly cause losses to the business. With real time monitoring and the ability to look out for abnormal happenings, technology can help prevent additional losses and stop pilfering from happening. Intel also made an

Ivan Kong, Advantech Malaysia Area Sales Manager (left) demonstrating the AIM-37 POS system

appearance at the event to share their innovations in transforming retail, from their early Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) models to their latest Intel Smart Display Module (Intel SDM). The Intel SDM is ideal for solutions and displays with space constraints like interactive signages. Data has shown that digital signages is the world’s second fastest-growing ad medium, together with kiosks it’s one of the fastest growing applications, bringing with it strong ROI and demonstrated increased sales, along with promotion conversions and decrease in sign auditing and printing costs. Advantech is capable of providing iRetail solutions, with countries and cities like Bangkok and Thailand being their biggest markets. Advantech’s UShop+ is a cloud platform built for retailers, providing business intelligence and solutions through store traffic analytics and store heatmaps. Using camera setups that are already in place, UShop+ are capable of doing head counts, heatmap recording, facial detection, mobile WiFi detection, and keeping track of POS transaction data. Then we have Advantech’s UPOS 500 Series, which sport flexible and versatile products with expandable inputs/outputs and storage. The series’ modular design makes it easy to configure, maintain, and extend. They also feature compact and stylish designs with multiple colour selection, as well as a slim and fanless body with an IP65 rated touch screen. A diverse second display can be purchased to showcase commercials or receipt information. Following the UPOS 500 Series is the AIM-37, together with a cradle that turns it into a Mini POS station. Designed for mobility and stationary use, you can dock it to charge and remove it anytime to service customers in seconds. The compact cradle is not just an embedded thermal printer, but is also a self-service kiosk and an extension hub that connects important business tools, such as card readers and more. This technology runs true with merchants wanting a fast, cost-effective, secure, and flexible way to migrate to better retail solutions. This helps retail move away from traditional desktop payment terminals to tablet based POS payment systems that offer more flexibility and features for a lower total cost of ownership. Using a modular approach these new tablet systems can easily accommodate and adapt to growing payment technologies. http://www.advantech.com/

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security report

A Service That Displays Hacked Passwords

An add-on for the ‘Have I been pwned’ test service now allows users to check whether their passwords have been cracked

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here are numerous services that check whether the using brute force attacks, so avoid using it anymore. data associated with a particular user account has Ideally, users should use a separate password for each already been compromised in a hacking attack. For user account. If possible, you should also activate a 2-factor example, security researcher Troy Hunt has been running authentication system. Password managers can also be quite the haveibeenpwned.com passwordhelpful. However, we’re not really too testing service for a few years now. keen about password services like This service allows users to search for LastPass or Dashlane. More secured e-mail addresses or user names and options are programs like KeePass, find out whether their user accounts which ensure that the encrypted have been affected by data theft. password file remains on the Hunt has now expanded the service to computer. With such services, users include a new function. who want to use their passwords on The updated service now displays smartphones or other PCs will have cracked passwords as well and all to independently ensure that the the users have to do is click the password database is transported ‘‘Passwords” option in the menu, then in a secure manner. However, the enter the password that they want to advantage lies in the fact that they check. At the touch of a button, the will not have to share their passwords service throws up one of two possible with a service. messages. ‘‘Good news...” indicates In any event, many experts now that the password in question has not believe that passwords have had yet been stolen in a hacking attack, their day, at least when it comes while ‘‘Oh no...” reveals that the to smartphones. In the near future, password is already in the hands of biometric procedures will slowly but Along with e-mail addresses and user names, the hackers. Passwords that have already surely become the new norm. haveibeenpwned.com service also checks passwords been snatched can be discovered

Data Theft Of The Month 175,000 IP CAMERAS: BUGS IN CHINESE WEBCAMS

26 MILLION EUROS: MAJOR HAUL OF CRYPTO-MONEY

UNICREDIT: ACCOUNTS OF 400,000 CUSTOMERS HACKED

Security experts have uncovered multiple loopholes in about 175,000 NeoCoolCam IP cameras, where it is allegedly easy to generate a buffer overflow on their logon screens. This enables attackers to plant malicious code, which in turn makes it possible for them to either spy on the camera owners or recruit the cameras for a botnet. No patches have been released as yet.

A programming error in the Ethereum Wallet has forced the company behind the product (Parity Technologies) to part with a lot of money. The error allowed unknown parties to steal 26.8 million euros (approx. RM133.3 million) from people who were using the crypto currency. According to the company, the damage was contained and that the attackers were unable to siphon off a further 67 million euros.

According to Italy’s UniCredit, data associated with 400,000 of the bank’s Italian customers has ended up in the hands of hackers. Although the thieves did not steal online banking passwords, they did manage to grab IBAN numbers and large amounts of personal information. Due to the case, UniCredit has announced its desire to spend 2.3 billion euros (approx. RM11.4 billion) to enhance its IT security.

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Threema Now Secures Voice Calls As Well T

he secure messenger Threema will soon start using end-to-end encryption for voice calls and volunteers can now test the new function, using the beta versions of the Android and iOS apps. Threema creates the keys on the smartphone itself and will not leave the smartphone at all, according to the Swiss company.

Self-Driving Cars Can Be Fooled Easily A

Hackers Can Spy On Users Of Amazon Echo T

he security company MWR Labs has uncovered a vulnerability in Amazon’s smart Amazon Echo loudspeakers. The debug contacts hidden under the bottom cover allegedly make it possible to use an SD card to gain root access. Attackers would then be able to randomly manipulate the loudspeaker and spy on owners. According to Amazon, this flaw doesn’t affect the latest models, only the Echo versions from 2015 and 2016. Amazon is recommending that users avoid buying used loudspeakers, because they may have been compromised in such a manner.

Danger Barometer High risk

Blackmail Trojans: The most frequent type of Windows malware Even though the percentage of blackmail Trojans (ransomware) fluctuates from month to month, ransomware programmes represent by far the most frequently-occurring type of Windows malware Percentage of blackmail Trojans emerging in Windows malware

Medium risk

74% 60%

62%

63% 58%

55%

SOURCE: MALWAREBYTES LABS

Loopholes in NeoCoolCam IP cameras make them easy to hack into, allowing attackers to use it as spying tools or for a botnet

utonomous vehicles are easier to hack than you might believe. Recently, a research team associated with various US universities manipulated traffic signs by sticking characters or scribbling on them. This confused the cars’ machine learning algorithms to such an extent that (for example) stop signs were incorrectly interpreted as 70 km/h zone signs. In order to minimise such risks, the researchers are recommending a combination of automatic recognition and as much contextual information as possible.

Low risk

January 2017 February 2017 March 2017

Number of the Month:

26,800,000

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

Over 26 million Euros (approx. RM133.3 million) worth was stolen from Parity Technologies, the company behind the Ethereum Wallet

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PaintShop Pro 2018 Is Glowing With A New Interface

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ith new looks, the classic image editor PaintShop Pro is now in version 20.0. The program can be operated using finger tips on high-resolution screens. Like Photoshop Elements, there is a working area for beginners (‘‘Basic elements”) and a namesake ‘‘complete area” for advanced users. The developer Corel has also revised the functions for cropping, transparency and text. The cloning brush now shows a preview of the stamp goal including transparency. Even pipettes and the colour changer show the transparency. In addition, the revised Text tool now offers superscript and subscript. Paintshop Pro 2018 now goes beyond the usual material and offers ten new colour palettes, 30 brushes, 30 histories, 30 textures and 15 samples. According to Corel, the tool should start in double-fast time as compared to the previous version and special algorithms, like the calculation of the sharpness depth can be done faster than before. The image editor runs under Windows from Windows 7 version onwards and costs around 70 Euro (approx. RM348), while the PaintShop Pro Ultimate 2018 costs around 90 Euro (approx. RM448). Buying the latter gives you more features, which are also offered by the paint program Painter Essentials 5 and the Raw developer AfterShot 3.

Web Company Versus US Neo-Nazis

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he network operator Cloudflare has closed the account of the US -Neo-Nazi page Daily Stormer. Earlier, companies like Google and AirBnB had already announced to boycott the right-wing extremist propaganda.

Firefox 55 Is The First Disregarding The Digital Legacy Browser Supporting A WebVR Password Rules W Redefined

mere 18 percent of the web users have made provisions to deal with their digital legacy, but only half of them have it under full control. Particularly, the youngest (14 to 29) and the oldest (65+) generation hardly think about dealing with data after their death.

ith the update to the version 55, Firefox is the first browser, worldwide, to bypass the programming interface WebVR. As a result, people who have virtual reality glasses like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive can use VR contents directly via Firefox. Mozilla has compiled some tech demos to attract users and soon Chrome, along with Microsoft Edge, will also have WebVR under their wings.

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hanging passwords every 90 days was a rule that Bill Burr came up with. But ironically, the creator of this solid IT rule has stopped following it himself. Instead of passwords laden with special characters, he recommends constructions that comprise of several words. His reasoning for the change of rule was: ‘‘I was barking up the wrong tree.”


world wired web

Disney Terminates Smartphones Set Collaboration To Receive The With Netflix Android 8 Update

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he Walt Disney group is following a new streaming strategy and therefore, has terminated its collaboration with Netflix. However, not all Disney TV productions are affected by the strategy, meaning that Netflix subscriptions don’t have to completely avoid Disney content. Thanks to the incorporation of the streaming company BAMTech, Disney will offer new movies from the Pixar studios and Disney from the end of 2019 onwards. The BAMTech branch, BAMTech Europe, should start operations with the sports streaming of the Discovery subsidiary from 2018 onwards.

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ndroid O, the new version of the operating system from Google, will roll out soon. Interesting new features include the battery management for better control of background processes, more options for notifications and a picturein-picture (PiP) function. Even for developers, there is something to look forward to, like WebView and Java improvements. As usual, Google’s devices will receive the update first, i.e. the Pixel, Pixel C, Pixel C, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. As for the Nexus Player - models by other manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, HTC, or Huawei - the earliest they can expect an update is by the fourth quarter of 2017. There is still speculation about the name of the Nougat successor, but it is most likely to be code named ‘‘Oreo” – an American biscuit which is already in the market since 1912.

Anker Eufy Genie Hardware Declares War Against Update Echo Dot With Tesla

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he accessories manufacturer Anker has launched a loudspeaker compatible with Alexa, called Eufy Genie in the market, which has all the Alexa skills. With a price tag of 35 Dollars (approx. RM148), it is cheaper than Amazon’s Echo Dot. All units that have Alexa Skills can be controlled with it in small and smart households, including Lighting, sonication, weight and health checks, robot vacuum cleaner control, reminder, alarm and information functions. Thanks to a 3.5 mm jack socket, you can also connect the weak Genie to more powerful sound systems. Finally, one can strive for a larger base for the Alexa platform. Anker, which was previously known for its chargers and powerbanks, is selling its products through Amazon and will soon have other products included as well.

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ith the production start of the new model 3, Tesla is also upgrading the central computer of Model S and Model X to ‘‘hardware 2.5”. This is remarkable since the CEO Elon Musk had envisioned pure automation functions as software update for the then-new ‘‘Hardware 2.0”. According to Tesla, cars will be upgraded with the new hardware free of cost, should it be necessary for the autopilots.

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HKTDC Electronics Fair & ElectronicAsia 2017

Hong Kong is a city that is filled with innovation and development. In a year alone, there are more than 3 fairs that solely focus on Electronics and IT, courtesy of HKTDC. This year, we were invited to one of them By Rikco Shim

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he Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body that is dedicated to promoting Hong Kong trade, by exploring opportunities for companies in Hong Kong, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and propel them to the world stage for potential business partners. Every year, HKTDC organises more than 320 trade fairs and promotional activities, 590 networking and outreach events, and

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receives about 650 trade missions to help Hong Kong’s SMEs. Aside from the Spring and Autumn Electronics Fair, HKTDC organises fairs such as Optical Fairs, International Wine and Spirits Fair, SmartBiz Expo, Baby Products Fair, Food Expo and so on. By doing so, HKTDC is able to position Hong Kong as Asia’s central business district and set the city as a trendsetter. This will encourage overseas and mainland companies to utilise Hong Kong’s services

platform, bringing more business opportunities to local service providers. For this year’s HKTDC Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), we were invited to attend the fair, and it was an eye-opening experience as we were treated to a plethora of new startups, inventions and technologies that have yet to hit the market. The following pages are some products that caught our eye from the show floor during the fair.


world wired web Oikay Oikay is a company that specialises in mini cameras that can be placed almost anywhere. For example, take your everyday car dash cam. It is heavy, requires constant power and can’t be placed everywhere. This is where Oikay comes in. Take the Oikay C3, for example. The C3 is a mini camera that can be attached to magnetic surfaces. If you wish to use it as a body cam instead, simply link the magnet together and tuck the metal surface onto your coat pocket, and voila, you have a body cam. Maybe you’re cycling somewhere and wish to have a bike cam, then you can stick the C3 onto your bike. Using the C3 is as simple as that, it comes with a 650mAh battery that can record up to 4.5 hours before requiring a charge. You can also control the camera using your smartphone app. www.oikay.com

ONO ONO is a Smartphone 3D Printer that prints objects using your smartphone. Simply plug the ONO printer to your smartphone, launch the ONO app, and print away. The ONO can reach up to 42-XY and 100-Z micron resolution. For 3D blueprints, you can either design them yourself, or select a design from the ONO app. The ONO requires resin to print out the obects, and you there are a few resins that you can choose from, such as ‘‘Solid”, a hard cream-white resin like PMMA and is opaque, or ‘‘Ruby Red” a firm bright red resin like ABS that produces glossy objects. www.ono3d.net

QIUB QIUB is a power bank that does much more than just being your regular old power bank. It comes with an integrated data cable which can be used to transfer data from or to your phone from a PC. It also comes with a microSD reader that can be used to store or move your important documents. Available in two sizes, the QIUB also comes in two different capacities. At the moment, the QIUBs comes with a microUSB and Lightning connector for your Apple and Android devices. They have mentioned that more USB connections will be made available in the future. So instead of having two different cables and a card reader, you can just carry one around. One stylish cube that fits into your pockets. www.myqiub.com

HICOOLER HICOOLER is the world’s first personal pocket-sized air-conditioner. If you’re someone who just wants a little cooling during the warmer days no matter where you are, simply fill the tank and you have your own air-conditioner. According to HICOOLER, when filled into the tank the water will not leak out, therefore making it safe to store in your backpack or carry-on. You can use it in a few settings: Quiet Mode, which barely produces any noise, or the Strong Mode that will definitely cool you off on a hot sunny day. The HICOOLER has been in development for six years. It has been approved by the US Patent office and is currently undergoing a Kickstarter campaign. You can even purchase an additional battery for the HICOOLER that functions as a power bank if needed. www.hi-cooler.com

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world wired web GOQI Qi charging has been around for a while now, but just being able to charge wirelessly is not enough for the guys at GOQI. GOQI has decided to take it up a notch by making wireless charging a possibility while being on the move. With a combination of wireless charging in an everyday wallet, GOQI has tackled it with style. As most of you know, needing to fumble around with wires while on the go is not an easy task. GOQI has designed several different products to solve that problem. You can have a suction enabled power bank with wireless charging capabilities, or a fashion wallet that has a pocket for you to slide your phone into and charge. The wallet even comes with several different designs to suit different needs and different styles. www.goqiwireless.com

BCxLAB BCxLAB has several products under its belt, and one of them is the LYNQ. The LYNQ is a one stop solution for your office or home office needs. It is built with a Bluetooth speaker with an integrated mic for music or business calls. Aside from the speaker, it comes with a USB-C input for your MacBook, four USB Ports for you to charge your other devices, Qi wireless charging pad on top of the device, and a cable organiser under the device to align all your USB cables neatly. For the busy businessman, it even has three holders for you to hold your pens and stylus. Other BCxLAB products include the ‘‘Alumina”, an aluminium mousepad for the discerning businessman, Bluetooth speakers – ‘‘Nano”, a speaker the size of a business card, and ‘‘Harmony” a speaker with power bank capabilities. www.bcxlab.com

Green Rain Green Rain is a company that’s devoted to audio products, and this time they’re unveiling something new for the night time runner or audio enthusiast that wants to be different. Introducing the S206, a Smart Bluetooth Headset that comes with some unique features under its hood. Firstly, it comes with Glow cables that can be tuned to either glow regularly, or to the tune of the music that you are listening to. In addition, the device hooked onto the earbuds is capable of giving you HiFi Sound and adapts to your hearing. Aside from that, it also comes equipped with a microphone which can change your voice. If you wish to mask your voice, then this is the way to go. It also has Auto-tune capabilities to make you sound like T-Pain, or when you are having a sore throat, it will make you sound soothing. The S206 has a 600 mAh battery capacity, which is equal to 14 hours of playback at medium volume with the glow off, or five hours if the glow is turned on. www.szgreenrain.com

Move It Move It is an all-in-one fitness equipment that can be placed virtually anywhere and will not cost you much space, as it is only as big as a water jug. Simply place it in your car, home or your office, you can have can have your exercise virtually anywhere. It comes with an Ab Wheel, Jump Ropes, Pushup Stands and Resistance Bands. At first looks, these devices may seem unfamiliar to you, and that’s because you have yet to connect everything together. It comes with a set of Smart Handles, which are required to power and to track your exercise with. For example, if you wish to use the Ab Wheel, simply connect the handles to the Ab Wheel. The handles will detect what equipment you are using and send the data to your smartphone app. You can physically see the reps that you’ve done and calories burned via the app. Leaderboards are present on the app between workout pals and worldwide leaders, so you can challenge yourself to achieve better. A spokesperson from the company mentioned that more exercise tools will be made available soon. Exercise better and smarter, while not taking up valuable space. http://www.move-it.club/

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HYone – Flameless Lighter The HYone Flameless Lighter requires no flame to light up your cigarettes. It uses a unique shaking method to spark the ring of the lighter and voila, your cigarettes will be lit. The device itself is very slim and lightweight and according to HYone they have ensured that it will not accidentally misfire and cause mass hysteria. It uses a microUSB input to charge the device. http://hyone.hk

Linough – Ninja Lock Ninja Lock is an easy step towards making your home a smart home. It is a lock that is placed on the opposite side of the key entry. You can then unlock the lock with your smartphone using an app, or even allow other people to have access to unlock your door via the app for events or Airbnb access. In addition, you can still unlock the device with your normal key, keycards or order an additional keypad accessory. https://www.ninjalock.me

Phi Networks – PhiGolf PhiGolf allows you to play golf almost anywhere, provided you have a golf club with you and the PhiGolf sensor. Simply plug the device onto the back of a golf club, turn on the device and pair it with your smartphone. Launch the PhiGolf app and you can practice your swings and play games. You can accurately analyse your putts and swings with the app, and you can even play a few games on it with friends or go solo. An easy way to practice your swings without going to a full course. http://www.phigolf.com/

GOXD – Memto The Memto is an art piece, a moving photo frame and home decoration that you can use to display moving images, like the moving images that you see in the Harry Potter movies. Using a unique technology that converts images to different blocks, which can then display Live Images or 3D images. You can now use this to display your family pictures in 4K or even moving images to show off that special moments. http://www.goxdmemto.com/

DreamWave – Tremor Have you ever wanted to bring out a Bluetooth speaker to the beach and blast your tunes, but worry that it’ll be dirty or drown in water? Worry not as the Tremor is a speaker that is built for outdoor audio enthusiast. Built tough and equipped with two full range drivers, two tweeters and two subwoofers, you don’t have to worry about the Tremor not having enough power. It comes with a 20,800 mAh battery and can also act as a power bank for your other devices. http://godreamwave.com/

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Alibaba Computing Conference 2017

This year’s conference shows that AliCloud is up there with the big names when it comes to Cloud services, but more is yet to come By Matthew Yap

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arlier in October, Alibaba hosted its annual Computing Conference, with the event held at Hang Zhou this year. The key focuses at this conference were topics related to Big Data, Machine Intelligence, the Internet of Things and more. Themed ‘‘Apsara Intelligence”, it’s clear that Alibaba is placing a lot of emphasis on AI and building the support and platform it needs. Alibaba believes that AI will rule the future and a quote found in a video during the conference proves this: ‘‘AI is a child and in the future, everything will be a child.” To that end, many of Alibaba’s investments in China over the last few years has centred around concepts like Smart Cities, which rely heavily on technologies like IoT to link infrastructures to Machine Intelligence that analyses the data that are collected. In a keynote by Simon Hu, President of

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Alibaba Cloud Computing, he mentioned that

the platform now has over one million customers, making it the world’s fastest growing global Cloud Computing service. There are documented case scenarios of AliCloud’s success in the Cloud computing business, such as during 2016’s Singles’ Day, when over billions of transactions were processed in that day without any hiccups. Hu also mentioned that Malaysia’s own AirAsia has used Alibaba’s Cloud and security technologies to defend against 90% of cyber-attacks. Industries around the world will begin to depend on internet technologies in the future, which is why Alibaba is preparing to

President of Alibaba, Jack Ma, giving his keynote speech


world wired web

The official launching of The Academy

launch more Cloud server centres. According to an Alibaba representative, Malaysia will be getting its own AliCloud Cloud server centre soon. As for products, new servers announced included the Thor – a proprietary but modular server that can adapt to various technologies; the X-Trident, which specialises in providing the dual advantage of a physical server’s stability with a Virtual Machine’s scalability; and the Kylin server that uses immersion liquid-cooling for greater power reduction. However, we have yet to confirm if the Malaysian server centre will include the newer offerings.

Case study: Hema stores One of the applications of Cloud technologies from AliCloud was for the chain store in China known as Hema. Located in multiple states of the country, the retail chain store uses Alibaba’s technology to integrate e-commerce with onsite shopping in a near seamless manner. Founded in 2015, Hema represents Alibaba’s success in reinventing the traditional supermarket. The chain store was founded due to a plan to merge the online and offline world. This idea isn’t new, but it is now possible due to the widespread use of smartphones and mobile devices. And Alibaba’s relative success with Hema shows that it can be done. Since it was first launched in 2015, the brand has since then launched 13 branches located in major cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Ningbo. CHIP was invited to tour one of these stores, where everything can be ordered to cart from the shelves, then paid at a single counter – all with the use of a single mobile app. Besides that, the app will also allow the shopper to find out more about an item or product when the bar code is scanned with

the app, while also displaying other suggested items for the shopper. One of the main draw for the locals are the food stalls within, as well as fresh seafood from over 50 countries, which can be ordered and cooked within the premise. To better cater to the needs of those in the area, the stores use Alibaba’s data-driven Cloud services to track the preferences and purchases of people within 5km radius of the store.

Setting up for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook

personnel to join the programme. Alibaba has appointed its Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Zhang, to steer the helm of the Academy. To accomplish these goals, Alibaba plans to invest more than 15 million USD into R&D in the course of the next three years. ‘‘The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners. We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere,” said Jeff Zhang. In his keynote speech, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, also said that he believes that development should aim to solve the world’s greatest problem in order to be considered a great endeavour. ‘‘To be the greatest, you must solve the world’s greatest problem,” he said in Mandarin. He has set three mandates for the programme: To exist longer and beyond Alibaba Group itself; to service and contribute to the whole world; and to represent the generation and the world. In the course of doing so, DAMO will aim to be self-sustainable and not rely on funding from the Chinese government. As of now, seven R&D labs are on the cards and Alibaba has announced that those will be in China (Beijing and Hangzhou), the United States (San Mateo and Bellevue), Moscow in Russia, Israel (Tel Aviv) and Singapore. Some of the areas of research that were mentioned include data intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction.

One of the big announcements at the Computing Conference was the launch of the Alibaba DAMO Academy. Also known as ‘‘The Academy”, it is an innovative global research programme created with the goal of increasing technological collaborations worldwide, advancing the development of cutting-edge technology and narrowing the technology gap for a more inclusive world. Through DAMO, which stands for the ‘‘Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook,” the company aims to open more research and development (R&D) centres around the world and You can find out more about a product at a Hema store, or add it to a e-shopping cart by scanning these bar codes recruit talented

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feature

Technilexicon: Wireless-ax Wireless transmission is becoming faster than ever, but the new 802.11ax standard also focuses on the use of LTE technology to feed a higher number of devices By Jorg Geiger

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ince 2013, a new work group has been been working on the successor to the current 802.11n (2.4 GHz) and 802.11ac (5 GHz) standards - the 802.11ax standard. The first ax-routers probably won’t be available before 2019, but it’s exciting to know that the packaging of such routers could feature signs reading ‘‘10 Gb-WiFi” or the like. In theory, this does indeed sound like it would be possible, because an ax-router can simultaneously emit eight data streams. What’s more, each data stream would have a maximum capacity of 1200 Mb/s. All in all, this would translate to a total of 9600 Mb/s. In comparison with its predecessor, the data throughput would be 27 percent higher. Wireless ax nabs such a high data throughput with the help of modulation tuning. Previously, WiFi transmissions used an 8-bit modulation with 256 symbols (256-QAM, or quadrature amplitude modulation). In comparison, 802.11ax is compatible with 10-bit modulation, which in turn leads to the level of 1024-QAM. However, the developers of 802.11ax are not targeting the major speed boost that would be feasible under such circumstances. Or rather, they are not aiming for such a scenario when it comes to the maximum attainable data rate.

Countering WiFi congestion Although the new standard has yet to be finalised, relevant work groups are already calling it “high-efficiency wireless’. They are referring to its ability to ‘service’ more users at a time, compared to its predecessor. It should also, theoretically, serve users at a higher speed. This applies in particular to situations in which other users are already using a lot of bandwidth. In other words, when the WiFi becomes congested, ax-routers are supposed to feed the average wireless network user at four times the original speed. This is crucial,

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allotted to concrete WiFi clients. The small sub-carrier bundles (resource units) are dynamically allocated to the available WiFi devices and will always apply to all of them. Compared to OFDM, OFDMA reduces the control data overhead, which makes a big difference when it comes to situations involving small data packets like messenger messages.

Multi-User-MINO uplink

The predecessor, 802.11ac, shortened the wait for free channels with the help of a Multi-UserMIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output). A base because the number of WiFi-capable devices station that is compatible with 802.11ac Wave in an average household is constantly on the 2 can simultaneously feed up to eight WiFi rise. The 2.4-GHz frequency band is already devices (8 x 8), but this was previously only hopelessly overloaded and the congestion possible in the downstream process. However, merely took a breather wireless-ax completely when 802.11ac was integrates the Multi-Userintroduced with the 5-GHz MIMO functionality into the band. 802.11ax transmits upstream process, which in both frequency bands makes it possible for up to and is compatible with eight devices to send data gets rid of the bottleneck in existing WiFi clients. to the base station current home networks that Specifically, ax is backwardsimultaneously. A nice little transmit with wireless-ac compatible with everything side effect is that even older up to 802.11b, which was introduced in 1999. ac-devices feel the upload boost, because they Consequently, compatibility problems don’t have to wait for a long time. Live involving your existing WiFi devices should streaming and video-sharing operations constitute no more than an absolute exception require uploads that are as fast as possible. to the rule. Wireless-ax uses the well-known beamforming technique for simultaneous transmitting and receiving operations involving multiple devices. Adoption of LTE technology With the beamforming technique, each WiFi However, old WiFi devices cannot use all the device is identified using a kind of fingerprint. new ax functions. This is why the packet This fingerprint follows the spatial header envisions two separate domains. The arrangement of the aerials. At the same time, first one is a legacy part for compatibility with ax also optimises matters in other areas and existing standards, while the second part is for sub-divides the frequency spectrum into high efficiency. The fact that even a single multiple sub-carriers in a more accurate character can make a big difference is manner. The symbol length is stretched from 4 primarily demonstrated by the new (AC) to 16 microseconds. The goal of these modulation procedure, which is only measures is to facilitate a more robust transfer compatible with ax clients. In addition to the that stretches all the way up to the boundary of existing OFDM (Orthogonal Frequencythe radio cell. Division Multiplexing), the new ax-WiFi is also In addition, a new scheduler ensures that compatible with OFDMA (Orthogonal the base station and devices properly negotiate Frequency-Division Multiple Access). This is the usage of the stronger upstream operation. something that has been adopted by the In this case, the base station is the unit that is developers of LTE. OFDMA becomes necessary in charge, which will send a trigger frame to all in situations in which the number of the WiFi devices. This frame specifies which simultaneous users is very high, and most of streams a device may use for the uplink and the clients spend their time waiting during when. Even if the waiting periods are short, standard operations. The customary channels devices can conserve electricity by falling into – i.e. 20, 40, 80 and 160 MHz – are sub-divided sleep mode until the time is right. into several small sub-carriers, which are then

More MUMIMO in the upload


Web-enabled devices per 4-person household

802.11ax: Good for many devices When it came to the new 802.11ax WiFi standard, the developers’ goal was higher efficiency. Multiple devices are supposed to be fed much quicker, especially in overloaded WiFis

2012

8

2017

24

2022

50 Source:: GSM Association

802.11ac Multi-User-MIMO

802.11ax Multi-User-MIMO

In the beginning, 802.11ac could only supply data to four WiFi clients simultaneously. Wave 2 facilitated eight streams, which flow from the base station to the devices. However, a bottleneck occurs when it comes to uploads, because only a single connection is established for the route leading from the devices to the base.

Wireless-ax upgrades MultiUser-MIMO in an important area. Like before, one case can still serve eight devices simultaneously. What’s new is that the multi-user function also works when it comes to uploads. This means that it is available for the path leading from the clients to the base. Even older clients benefit from this arrangement.

Sub-carrier spacing: Transfer more data

OFDMA: More efficient data transfers When it comes to OFDM (left) in an ac-WiFi, even tiny payloads end up occupying entire packets. On the other hand, ax-WiFi‘s (right) OFDMA combines different payloads in order to reduce the overhead

Frame

802.11ax User 1 (website)

User 1 (website)

Signal

802.11ac

When it comes to a WiFi, the spectrum of frequency blocks is divided into sub-carriers. In case of ac and ax, the sub-carriers have widths of 312.5 kHz and (just) 78.125 kHz, respectively. This makes data transfers more insensitive to disruptions

802.11ac 312.5 kHz

Frequenz

User 2 (Streaming)

Frame

User 2 (Streaming) Signal

Frame

Frame

Comparing WiFi standards

User 3 (Messenger)

802.11ax

User 3 (Messenger)

78.125 kHz

Frequenz

About 18 years ago, Wireless LAN appeared for the first time at the humble level of 802.11b, but they gained a good foothold quickly. Further development will be determined by the throughput and speed. Wireless-ac drastically increased the maximum data rate, while wireless-ax will optimise the Multi-User-MIMO feature. The latter is great for situations in which several devices are transmitting simultaneously

802.11b

802.11g/a

802.11n

802.11ac

802.11ax

Maximum data rate per stream (in MBit/s)

11

54

150

866

1.200

Frequency band (in GHz)

2,4

2.4/5

2.4 and 5

5

2.4 and 5

Channel width (in MHz)

20

20/20

20 and 40

20, 40, 80 or 160

20, 40, 80 or 160

Single Input Single Output (SISO)

Single Input Single Output (SISO)

Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO)

MIMO/MU-MIMO (only downstream)

MIMO/MU-MIMO (downstream and upstream)

Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS)

DSSS and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM)/OFDM

Orthogonal FrequencyDivision Multiplexing (OFDM)

Orthogonal FrequencyDivision Multiplexing (OFDM)

OFDM, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)

1

1

4

8

8

Aerial technology Transmission technology Maximum number of spatial streams


feature

1982

Approximately six kilometres

Market launch The vinyl-killer started with Billy Joel and ABBA

is the length of the spiralshaped signal track on a fully-written CD

1980

1990

1992 Blank CDs

CHIP TIMELINE Birth And Downfall Of A Circular Shiny Thing 35 years ago, the first compact discs reflected the light of day and turned the music market inside out – even Ludwig van Beethoven played a role in its development By Patrick Hannemann

S

ince the invention of sound recording (which took place about 140 years ago), there have been four major commercially-successful data carriers for music: The Edison cylinder, gramophone

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records, Compact Cassetes and finally CDs, which will eventually see the end of the era of physical distribution of songs. In 1982, Billy Joel’s ‘52nd Street’ became the first music album in the world to be

distributed on compact discs. Despite the still-high prices of players, the CD outstripped the ‘black gold’ vinyl record to become the world’s largest-selling sound carrier in less than ten years. The first commercial player –

Photos v. li.: Sony Music; Universal Music; iStockphoto/terex, Jacob Wackerhausen; Apple

Thanks to the CD-R, users can conveniently copy their music onto their own PCs for the first time ever


feature

1999 CD sales hit their worldwide peak around the millennium. Revenue: About 26.9 billion US Dollars

2000

SOURCE: IFPI.ORG

2016

Peak Music

Stabilisation phase In 2016, the music industry as a whole grew by 5.9%, while digital sales grew by 17.7% to a whopping US$7.8 billion.

2010

2017

2003 Legally digital ortals like iTunes and Musicload become more and more popular, along with MP3 players like Apple’s iPod

Sony CDP-101 – had a price tag of about 720 dollars then. However, the benefits outweighed the price. With a diameter of just twelve centimetres, the CD was a lot smaller, and its initial playback capacity of up to 74 minutes (without changing sides) meant that it could play audio for a longer period of time. Sony and Philips had agreed upon this particular playback duration, so that Wilhelm Furtwೂngler’s interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony would fit onto a single disk. The compac disk functioned in a similar way to that of the gramophone record. In fact, the only difference is that it operates on a smaller scale. For the CD, information – i.e. music or data – is located on a spiral-shaped track. This track is made up of long and short ‘pits’ and ‘lands’, i.e. recesses and rises that

can be measured in micrometres. Instead of being read through a needle, they are read optically with the help of a laser (from the inside to the outside). The sequence of long and short pits represents a 16-bit binary coding of the audio data, with a sampling frequency of 44,100 Hertz. Unlike LPs, this arrangement does not generate static or clicks. CD sales hit their peak at the turn of the millennium. In 1999, millions of albums were sold all over the world. However, this was also when the birth of the Napster website heralded the decline of the CD. Millions of users used the music-sharing site to share MP3 files with each other and the trend continued until the year 2001, when the site was shut down due to massive legal steps

taken by the music industry. Legal service providers like iTunes and Musicload were the ones that attracted the masses toward the option of purchasing and enjoying music without using any data carriers. Unlike the clunky ‘Discman’, MP3 players like Apple’s iPod were able to fit snugly in pockets. What’s more, they could also carry a higher number of albums at one go. In fact, users didn’t even have to change sides. Modern streaming services are even making the troublesome process of copying audio files unnecessary. Unlike gramophone records, it’s doubtful whether the compact disk will be able to make a comeback in a niche segment. After all, it can offer neither the charm of analogue nor long-term durability.

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feature

Voice Assistants Raising Rude Kids? Algorithms are endlessly patient and voice assistants like Alexa, Cortana or Siri respond in an undeterred and friendly manner, even to rude words. What is it teaching us as users?

W

hen young Brite Ben John spread the Google query that his grandmother May Ashworth searched for via Twitter, there was no end to the wonder and gossip on the Internet. Newspapers and blogs reported what the old lady had hopefully written in the input window of the search engine: ‘‘Kindly translate these Roman numerals MCMXCVIII, thanks”. As per her request, the website displayed the answer as ‘‘1998”, so far so good. Why did this situation that an 86-year old, who obviously does not belong to the ‘‘digital natives” and who displays an old-fashioned attitude, garnered so much attention? Ideally, some will consider May Ashworth as uninformed and naive or make fun of her. And all the more after they read the clarification from the lady: ‘‘I thought, there is someone who will give me the answer and wanted to thank him for it.” What was the

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reason for the excitement? How do two incomparable phenomena collide in every good point? In this case, the virtue of courtesy and the digital technology. These days, it’s amazing to see manners on the internet, despite the protection of anonymity it offers. Politeness has always been a fundamental part of humans. Something that many forget while working with programs and computers for a long time.

The first victim of the computer world is manners If it was never practiced, then it can’t be considered lost. The difficulty for parents to educate their children is set to experience extensive changes, thanks to the likes of Artificial Intelligence. However, whether it will always generate the desired results is

Photos: iStockphoto/ideabug (li.); Marc Bergmann (re.)

By Richard Meusers


feature debatable. The last cry in the palette of deals from Amazon is the small tower speaker Echo, which hides the digital assistant Alexa inside. Like its virtual counterparts Cortana or Siri, Alexa listens to every word and never gets tired. The first ones to discover this are always the children. If, for instance, the assistant is connected to Hi-Fi system, then it could lead to an endless game for them. ‘‘Alexa, make the radio louder!” ‘‘Alexa, lower the radio volume!” - ‘‘Alexa, make the radio louder!” And it’ll go on and on, soon becoming a loud battle between the stubbornness of the digital operator and the person involved. Adults are already doubting the inevitable lapses of the assistant. For example, they might ask for it to switch off the Philips Hue Light, but Alexa might not be able to establish a connection, or switch on the radio because Alexa claims that there are no radio stations. Moments later, you have to stand in front of the 25-year old radio and fix the ‘problem’ with the press of a button. What’s that about there being no radio stations again?

Virtual voice assistants >Alexa Amazon‘s little helper can obtain new capabilities, also known as skills, and can be integrated overall.

>Google Assistant The successor of Google Now also answers questions in context. >Jarvis Facebook‘s experimental AI adapts itself as a self-learning system to the habits of the user.

>Bixby At the start of the year, Samsung launched its own assistant that interacts with many app.

>Siri Apple‘s standard assistant since long. Meanwhile, the users wander to other offers.

>Cortana Microsoft‘s answer to Siri, open for third party developers.

Turn it up! Bring it down! Turn it up! Children have less patience, in general, while the AI are infinitely patient. Imagine a scenario where someone yells ‘‘Alexa, are you stupid?” To which comes a calm answer: ‘‘I am continuously learning and will be better informed next time.” This is how de-escalation looks. There is no solace in the thought that the children will quickly get acquainted with the Kafkaesque extensions of the computer routine in this manner, even if you can train for its pitfalls. ‘‘I have noted that my children push the virtual assistant much further than they would push a human,” said Avi Greengart, technology analyst and a father of five from New Jersey. ‘‘Alexa never says: ‘Now that was impolite’, or: ‘I do not like that you keep on asking me the same questions again and again’.” Because the system responds to spoken words, it is particularly kid-friendly. Amazon didn’t exactly design its Digi-assistant as a kid’s toy or learning aid, but that doesn’t change the fact that operating it is literally child’s play. Even the youngest of them all can easily operate the device, since no reading, writing or gestures are required. They observe how their parents work with the small computer and quickly learn that a sentence with ‘‘Alexa” at the beginning activates the device, which obeys (almost always) what one says to it. It is advisable to be brief and precise while working with the voice assistant, so that misunderstandings and malfunctions are avoided. The first thing to do away with are the small pleasantries which often enhance a conversation between humans. No time for ‘‘please” or ‘‘thanks”. This is not good news for parents who want to teach their kids the basic rules of manners, because the inconspicuous device doesn’t ascribe any importance to these practices. In another case, Hunter Walk, a venture capitalist and a father from San Francisco, finds the multiple usage possibilities of the virtual voice assistants quite impressive. But, he also worries that Alexa will slowly transform his four-year old daughter ‘‘into a raging asshole”, since the virtual help itself tolerates the worst of manners. ‘‘It starts with the fact that the activation command is ‘‘Alexa” and not ‘‘Alexa, please...” he commented. And Alexa also does not expect any ‘‘Thank you” before it is ready for the next task. Since children in this age

‘‘It may be that machines will raise us” Prof. Dr. Birger P. Priddat University of Witten/Herdecke, Department of Economics and Philosophy

learn a lot through repetitions, the Amazon device tells them that they will get what they want as long as they speak clearly.” Walk’s idea is for a special children mode to be implemented, one that will make Alexa respond only to known magic words.

Algorithms as a troll filter Not everyone shares the fear that the world of tomorrow would be populated only by soul-less voice machines and neglected brats. The economics and philosophy professor Birger P. Priddat at the University of Witten/Herdecke sees a change for a positive, educational effect in the strong reason-relatedness of Alexa and its counterparts. ‘‘We cannot work with the machines with emotional, hateful, effervescent or even bland wishy-washy and babbling statements. The algorithms will gently correct and question our morale in a relentlessly reasonable manner,” he said. It could also be the case that the machines can teach people how to be civilised. Their algorithms would be in a position to reject hate talk simply with a request to the sender to transfer all of it in the most civilized manner possible. Like a home-teacher, AI would patiently rectify everything that the kids talk in confused or broken languages. And they would not need to thank anyone for it.

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feature

Endless Music At 30 million songs and counting, streaming portals are particularly recommended for music and audio books. The range of products, handling and functions are all important aspect to such portals By Michael Eckstein

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curated playlists, as well as a re-engineered way to access offline contents.

Random sample from a vast number of tracks We used a mixture of the latest tracks, classics and somewhat exotic numbers to assess the range of products provided by the individual streaming services. Our list contained a total of 230 tracks, albums and audio books, so the services that score well are the ones that generate hits. All combined, the service providers offer a total of up to 150 million tracks in their databases. That’s enough material for users to be able to do nothing but listen to music and audio books for the next few centuries. Nevertheless, our test list brings various hit ratios to light. Spotify, Tidal and Google Play Music are particularly well-sorted. Only a maximum of 13 musical tracks or albums are missing, so we rewarded this performance with a score of 99 to 100 points. The other streaming services exhibit more gaps, especially when it comes to albums. For example, SoundCloud Go+ (which is at the very bottom of the table) fails to find 26 out of 100 albums, as well as 24 individual tracks. All in all, a

Photo: iStockphoto/littlehenrabi

P

ractically all the music streaming services in the market charge about RM15 or more for single-user and up to RM75 for multiuser subscriptions. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for the user to spot the differences between the various services. We wanted to zero in on the differences, so we took a closer look at twelve full-programme service providers. Note that we didn’t consider models like Amazon Prime Music, which is only accessible to Amazon’s Prime customers and offers a limited range of tracks. Here, we standardised the best score in each test criterion to the level of 100 and this managed to come to a resounding conclusion: Spotify Premium is clearly the winner. The Swedish streaming pioneer scored more points than its competitors in every assessment category. As a result, its overall score stands at 100. However, Deezer comes in at a very close second, scoring just four points less than Spotify. A broad range of service providers can be found, such as Google Play Music and Aldi life. In particular, Juke and SoundCloud Go+ bring up the rear, but not because they were completely unsatisfactory or unusable. In fact, Juke has improved its app, but the new version was unavailable at the time of the test. Among other things, the new version is supposed to offer


feature total of eight service providers managed to notch up a grade of ‘Very good’ in the product range category. When it came to audio books, none of the service providers were able to do particularly well for themselves, with the best ones offering only 17 out of 30 desired tracks in their packages. Amazon and Juke bring up the rear in this particular category, as both offer only three and two audio books respectively. Juke even charges an exorbitant fee for every title.

Streaming’s no fun without comfort Even the most extensive and diverse range of streaming products is no fun at all when the operations begin to falter. That’s why we also assessed the clarity of the user interface and customer-oriented orientation aids in addition to the range of products. Apps, login variants, payment options, sorting mechanisms and usable end devices are other important criteria. In this regard, the service providers have to master the balancing act of presenting their line-ups on various platforms in a clear manner. This covers everything from small 5-inch smartphone displays and TV apps, to scalable browser user interfaces on 27-inch monitors. The sheer volume of material makes this a difficult task and the service providers manage to perform this task with varying degrees of quality. All the services make it necessary to go through a settling-in period in order to be able to get a handle on the functions. Spotify solves this problem quite well, by displaying interesting additional information regarding the results in a relatively small amount of space when you enter search queries. This gives the user an additional incentive to dig deeper into the lavish collection of music. The marginal column contains links to playlists, albums and more. Deezer also manages to score well with its well-thought-out user interface and brisk operations. Besides the two, we also liked French-based service Qobuz’s interface. Apple’s music app suffers from a frequent lack of list views. Although cover miniatures are displayed, the more important track and album names are removed. This turns the selection process into a game of trial and error. Then there’s Napster and its relative Aldi life, both which make their operations more complicated with overflowing and compartmentalised screens, as well as ambiguous terminology. The performance also leaves something to be desired, showing more stutters and delays compared to the other services. Also, Qobuz and Tidal only deliver lossless audio if an extra fee is paid. Once paid, users can experience excellent sound quality if they happen to be using high-value hi-fi systems or high-end headphones. However, it doesn’t make sense to spend this extra money if you’re using devices like Bluetooth speakers, simple headphones or ordinary speakers. This is because standard quality is more than enough for audio output sources like that. New offers can link login operations with social media services, but credit cards, direct debits and PayPal transactions have already established themselves as the main payment options. However, Apple Music and Deezer also allow their users to settle their purchases using mobile phone accounts. As for Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music and SoundCloud Go+, these four provide their services free of cost. However, users will have to endure advertisements that are inserted between tracks. There are extra points for functions like cloud options, upload options, playlists, social sharing options and recommendations. In addition, some services allow you to use your own music files – like digitalised records or ripped CDs – to plug the gaps in the range of products on offer. Apple’s

Spotify is our winner. This streaming service is in the lead in every sub-category, scoring in both the product range and comfort departments

Two players dominate the streaming market Spotify has almost twice as many users as Apple Music, its strengthened competitor, but the Swedes are suffering losses in spite of this 50.0 mil.

Ċ

27.0 mil.

6.3 mil. 03/2017

06/2017

12/2016

4.5 mil. 12/2016

1.0 mil. 12/2016

Just like Spotify, many streaming services offer the option of playing music in a manner corresponding to mood or the situation


iTunes enables you to import your own media file that cannot be found in Apple’s stock into the iCloud music media library. These can then be accessed using the Apple Music app and also be synchronised to all kinds of end-user devices. Spotify Premium, Deezer, Google Play Music and Microsoft Groove also offer similar features.

Social integration has now become part of a good audio package Content-sharing has now become part of the daily routine. As a result, we also assessed how well the streaming portals are linked with social media services. The issue at hand involves the tasks of creating playlists in a collaborative fashion and sharing contents via links, Facebook or Twitter – Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, Napster, Aldi life and SoundCloud Go+ offer particularly well-developed forms of these functions. On the other hand, Apple Music (among others) continues to exhibit weakness in this particular category.

Although the streaming services are always expanding their selection of audio books, none of the services are able to really score well in this department yet

Rank 3

Rank 4

Rank 5

Deezer

Google Play Music

Microsoft Groove

Tidal Premium

100 100

96.0 97

88.7 99

87.4 91

87.3 100

Comfort (30%)

100

93

72

82

77

Functions (20%)

100

98

87

86

72

10

10

10

10

10

14.90

14.90

14.90

An overview of music streaming services

Rank 1

Spotify Premium

Overall Range of products (50%)

Rank 2

RANGE OF PRODUCTS Monthly price: Individual subscription (in euros, ca.) Monthly price: Family subscription (approx. RM)/user Testing phase (duration in days)

30

30

30

30

30

Over 30 million

43 million

40 million

Not specified

46 million

Albums found (out of 100 test albums) in product range

93

89

92

79

92

Singles found (out of 100 test singles) in product range

96

94

95

95

96

Audio books found (out of 30 audio books) in product range

17

17

17

12

17

ӑ/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ • ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/ӑ •/•/ӑ/ӑ ӑ

ӑ/ӑ/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

•/ӑ/• ӑ/ӑ/•/• • ӑ/• ӑ/ӑ/•/• •/•/•/• •/•/• •/•/•/• •

•/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

ӑ/•/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/•/• • ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/•/• •/•/•/• •/•/• •/•/•/•

Number of tracks (ca.) according to service provider

COMFORT Social-Login (Facebook/Google+/Twitter) Payment: Credit card/PayPal/Direct debit/Prepaid Other payment options Browser/PC line-up App: iOS/Android/Windows Phone/Windows 10 Smart-TV: Samsung/Philips/LG/Sony Streaming speakers: Fire TV/Apple TV/Chromecast Consoles: Xbox 360/Xbox One/PS3/PS4 Supports audio hardware

Klarna, mobile phone bill

ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/ӑ •/•/•/• ӑ(very extensive)

Mobile phone bill

ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/ӑ •/•/•/• •/•/• •/ӑ/•/• •

ӑ (extensive)

FUNCTIONS Listening while offline/Uploading local songs Free cloud memory for one’s own songs Interruption-free track change* Music recommendations: Mood/Listening habits New releases/Latest charts User ratings (tracks/albums/playlists) Genre radio/Artist streams/Adaptive radio Lyrics/Music videos/Concerts Artist information/Similar artists Adding albums/Creating playlists from selection/ Warnings for duplicate tracks Sharing via link/Facebook/Twitter Creating playlists with friends

ӑ/ӑ • ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ •/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

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ӑ/ӑ

ӑ/ӑ

50,000 tracks

3 hours

• ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/• ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ •/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ •/•/• ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ •/•/• ӑ/ӑ/• •/ӑ/• ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/ӑ

ӑ/• • ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ •/•/• ӑ/ӑ/• •/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/•

ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ

ӑ/ӑ/ӑ •

ӑ/ӑ/ӑ •

ӑ/ӑ/ӑ •

ӑ/ӑ/ӑ ӑ

Very good (100 – 90.0) Good (89.9 – 75.0) Satisfactory (74.9 – 60.0) Not recommended (44.9 – 0) ӑ Yes • No *For concept albums

042

ӑͬӑ No limit (Premium+)

Adequate (59.9 – 45.0)

Not recommended (44.9 – 0)


Almost all the services can recommend music on the basis of moods and listening habits. These functions make it easier to handle the versatile range of content and enable you to broaden your musical horizons. Unfortunately, Qobuz attaches no importance whatsoever to such features, while Juke and SoundCloud Go+ are only partially compatible with them. Many people frequently discover interesting artists and wants to know more about them. In such a situation, extensive information and recommendations pointing towards similar performers can be quite helpful. All the services except for Amazon offer this, though Juke and SoundCloud Go+ also offer only curtailed versions of it. In addition to providing music videos for several artists, Apple Music also displays lyrics. Other useful feature are genre radios and artist streams that help users to discover something new. Almost all the service providers have built in such functions, but Qobuz is the sole exception to this rule. In the final analysis, the streaming service that offers the smallest selection of tracks ends up being the winner. Quality really does trump quantity!

Deezer uses a slender and reduced app to provide comfortable access to its extensive range of products

Rank 6

Rank 7

Rank 8

Rank 9

Rank 10

Rank 11

Rank 12

Amazon Music Unlimited

Apple Music

Qobuz

Napster

Aldi life

Juke

SoundCloud Go+

84.1 90

82.3 92

80.0 90

76.5 88

75.0 88

69.9 85

69.3 77

71

67

84

56

51

69

61

89

81

47

79

79

34

64 10

10

10

10

10

10

10

~15

15

30

90

15

30

30

30

30

Over 50 million

Over 40 million

40 million

Over 40 million

Over 40 million

46 million

150 million

87

90

86

76

76

85

74

92

90

85

89

89

85

76

3

8

16

16

16

2

6

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ӑ/•/• ӑ/ӑ/ӑ/0 • ӑ/• ӑ/ӑ/•/• •/•/•/• •/ӑ/ӑ ӑ/•/•/• ӑ(extensive)

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Mobile phone bill

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250 tracks

100,000 tracks

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ӑ/• • • •/• ӑ/ӑ •/•/• •/•/• •/•/• ӑ/ӑ ӑ/ӑ/•

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feature

The Future Of Windows 10 Ransomware protection, eye control, and integrated Linux are alternatives – this and a lot more will be included in the Redstone 3 update that is set to be released in this quarter By Andreas Th. Fischer

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Dependence on Google and Facebook Similar to Google’s search engine, which is also more or less unobtrusively updated, Windows 10 will get two big updates in a year. With these, Microsoft upgrades functions and brings the operating system up to date. There are also monthly patch packages, which fix small errors and closes security gaps. Last year in 2016, the Anniversary Update (the so-called Redstone 1 update) was released, bringing with it a new Start menu, an offline mode for the Windows Defender as well as extensions for Cortana and the Edge browser, among other things. The Creators Update (Redstone 2) followed this spring, improving gaming performance and providing a night mode, reviewed data

Photos: Tobii AB

W

ith Windows 10 and the leadership of Satya Nadella, Microsoft has bid farewell to a business model used to its full extent over a decade. Instead of releasing a big new operating system version every couple of years and selling it to users at a high price, the Redmond company is jumping on the ‘‘Software as a Service” bandwagon. In the future, Windows will function as a service that is continuously updated. To start, the manufacturer also presented the new operating system over a longer period of time in order to achieve as extensive a market penetration as possible.


feature protection settings as well as the new Paint 3D application. Now, the Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3) is around the corner and we expect it to launch in the last quarter of this year. Despite several announcements, Microsoft does not always manage to complete all planned functions at the promised date. While the Fall Creators Update should cover, amongst other things, the so-called timeline that has been announced for quite some time now, there’s no guarantee that Microsoft will deliver on time.

Plagued with delays The timeline should contain applications and contents that a user has used in the past – across all devices. This means that a task that has been started should be seamlessly carried forward on another computer. Amazon’s Whispersync synchronisation service also works in a similar fashion, but is only limited to e-books and audio books. This would have been a practical feature for many users, but unfortunately it will not be included in Redstone 3. The same applies to the planned Cloud Clipboard, which was also not completed in time and had to be postponed. Admittedly, data protection specialists had misgivings about both functions, as they require Microsoft to receive even more data about the user and his/her PC usage. In the last few months, the company has already released several pre-versions, which should give an insight into Redstone 3 and what can be used for troubleshooting. Microsoft works with different version numbers and complete updates receive a number, which comprises the year and the month of the release. The Creators Update thus has the version number 1703, as it was released in March of the year 2017. In addition to that are the build numbers, which Microsoft numbers consecutively. The current preview version at the time of writing is version 16257. If you would like to get an earlier preview of the builds, you can register to the Windows Insider Programme for free. The details for the same can be found in the box on the following page.

Functions and Apps, which Microsoft would like to eliminate With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft will not only add new functions to Windows 10. It will also take the opportunity ‘‘clear out” the operating system.

Function or App

Is eliminated

3D-Builder-App

X

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)

X

Considered to be outdated and is not developed further

Paint

X

Outlook Express

X

Reader-App

X

SysKey

X

Once the Fall Creators Update is done, you can determine the exact bandwidth you would like to provide for Windows Patches

Less is more However, Microsoft will not only add new functions and Apps with the upcoming update. The manufacturer has also deleted a few items, including the safety tool EMET. Redmond also announced its desire to stop developing MS Paint further and to remove Windows 10 sooner or later. However, this news created a major backlash over the Internet that Microsoft had to reconsider its decision. As a result, Paint continues to live on in the Windows Store and can be reinstalled from there, if so desired. For a summary, we’ve included a table at the top right of this page to display some functions and App that Microsoft would like to eliminate as well. There isn’t much to see yet when it comes to the Fluent Design feature announced in the spring. Although there is an option in the settings to switch on transparency effects, it is currently deactivated. The ARM version of Windows 10 has also been rather quiet, but the first tablets with it are supposed to appear in the next few months as well. Moving on, there are a few functions that we know will definitely make it for the next update. To test them out, you obviously need to get the latest build from Windows Insider. Among the features, Windows users with a rather slow Internet connection will be

The Exploit protection that has been announced should also prevent malware attacks, which the virus scanner does not yet have a signature for

The preview to Fluent Design also includes a switch to activate the transparency effects, it is still greyed out

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feature pleased with several new options, such as the ability to limit the bandwidth available for updates. Under ‘‘Start l Settings l Update and Safety l Extended Options l Transmission Optimisation l Extended Options”, you can set the maximum percentage of bandwidth that will be used when downloading or uploading Windows patches, once the Fall Creators Update is done. Note that all steps and ‘click-paths’ described in this article could change, as Microsoft is currently working intensively on the Preview versions.

New safety functions in Windows 10

Those who wish can, upon updating to Redstone 3, operate Windows 10 without the use of hands and only with the eyes, from this fall from

You can download the preview versions of Windows 10 after registering for the Windows Insider Programme

It has already been mentioned that the safety software EMET has been axed by Redmond. It is replaced by a new safeguard against exploits, which is integrated with the Fall Creators Update in the Windows Defender Security Centre. In order to configure the exploit safeguard, double-click on the shield icon in the lower right corner of the system tray and then to the left of the folder icon ‘‘App & Browser control”. Scroll down and click on ‘‘Settings for Exploit protection”. All essential protective measures are already activated here by default. Windows 10 will receive one more protective function that will protect files from blackmail Trojans. It is called ‘‘Folder Access Monitor” and is also present in the Windows Defender Security Centre. To open it, click left on the shield icon ‘‘Virus & threat protection” and then on ‘‘Settings for virus and threat protection”. Scroll slightly down and activate the function for ‘‘Folder Access Monitor”. With ‘‘Protected Folders”, you can now determine which folders Windows should safeguard against modifications in the future. With the ‘‘Allow App through monitored folder access” option, add programmes that you allow to modify the files in your protected folders. All other applications that desire access to it are automatically blocked by Windows.

Late love for Linux

Windows Insider Programme If you would like to demo upcoming improvements for Windows 10, simply register for the Windows Insider Programme. You can then download the newest preview versions and try out all the functions introduced in this article by yourself. Theoretically, even your existing Windows 10 version can be used for this purpose. However, we recommend the use of a virtual machine (VM), because the preview versions provided by Microsoft are intended for testing and still contain errors. Therefore, it is better to use a virtualisation software such as VirtualBox and install Windows 10 in it. First, create a new Windows account on signup. live.com, which will only be used for the preview versions.

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Download Windows 10 as ISO file, install the operating system in VirtualBox and update it. Next, go to the programme and click on ‘‘Start l Settings l Update and Safety l Windows Insider Programme”, then click on the ‘‘First Steps” and ‘‘Link account” buttons. Enter the data for your test account and register yourself. Select the point ‘‘Quick display” as ‘‘Interval” and click twice on ‘‘Confirm” and finally on ‘‘Restart now”. As soon as the VirtualBox restarts, call ‘‘Windows Update” and click on ‘‘Look for updates”. Windows 10 will now download the current preview version and install it. Note that the VM will restarts multiple times during the process.

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With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft also wants to remove thirdparty Linux support. Instead, all testers can download and install the Insider version Ubuntu, OpenSuse Leap 42 and the Suse Linux Enterprise Server 12 directly from the Windows Store; Fedora is still to come. This integration is primarily aimed at developers, as Microsoft wants to enable them to programme directly under Windows Software for Linux and to immediately test their software. However, even end-users can install a few systems and use them under Windows. However, no graphical interfaces are available by default. By all accounts, though, they are relatively easy to install and can be used on Windows 10. Furthermore, the Fall Creators Update will have other improvements. For example, the Task Manager of Windows 10 should be able to display the memory usage of the graphics card and its capacity. Apart from that, the pocket calculator now has a currency convertor, which uses current rates from the Internet. With Version 16257, Microsoft has also integrated mouse control using eye tracking. In conjunction with the use of the Eye Tracker 4C by Tobii, the mouse pointer can be controlled without using the hands. All in all, the fall update for Windows 10 includes several useful improvements and bearable cuts. However, experience shows that Microsoft does not roll out new versions to users immediately, but only little by little.


feature Amount of newly developed malware every day 390,000

Brutal Cyber Attacks

The computer worm MyDoom holds the record for the fastest propagation rate to date. In 2004, it was present in every twelfth Email and slowed down the Internet worldwide by 10 percent

Between trojans, DDoS and viruses, hardly a day goes by without cyberattacks against companies or individuals By Patrick Hannemann

Estimated number of members of the civil Red Hacker Alliance in China 100,000

The amount of money lost due to Internet crimes in the USA in 2001 is 17.8 Million US Dollars

Traffic volume capability of a DDoS attack by the malware Mirai from 2016 620 GB/s

The amount of money lost due to Internet crimes in the USA in 2016 is 1.45 Billion US Dollars

Distribution of attacks under Windows according to the types of malware in the year 2016

The most frequently attacked applications are browsers and Android systems, overall 75 percent

Viruses 49.2 percent

Malware detection rate for Windows devices 77.22 percent

General Trojans 30.3 percent

Malware detection rate for Android devices 5.83 percent

Worms 11.5 percent

52 percent of all malware are distributed over the Internet with the domain ending ‘‘.com”

‘‘I Love You” from 2000 is 50 million

Scripts 4.32 percent

‘‘Sasser” from 2004 is 1 Million

Backdoors 0.87 percent

‘‘Storm” from 2007 is 10 million

Ransomware 0.87 percent

‘‘Conficker” from 2009 is 2.9 Million Amount of money that Microsoft invested in 2003 for tackling malware programs in US dollars 5 million

Number of all the malware programs discovered by 2005 1.7 million Total Number of discovered malware in 2017 600 million

The smallest virus family to date is called ‘‘Mini” or ‘‘Trivial” and is made up of, in case of some variants, 13 Bytes Loot by the ransomware WannaCry 700,000 US Dollars Ransom money that a South Korean web hoster paid in June after a ransomware attack 1 Million US Dollars Portion of ransomware victims who pay ransom money but do not get back their data 20 percent

The price for invaluable data Particularly perfidious is the ransomware, a malware which demands ransom from the user in exchange for the hostage - data. Thus, users, on an average, would pay: ($1 = approximately RM 4.24)

Great Britain

568 US-$

Denmark

446 US-$

USA

350 US-$

Germany

France

227 US-$

203 US-$ Source: Bitdefender Symantec

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Illustrationen: CHIP

Number of devices infected through selected malware

Hours of community service completed by Robert Morris, the developer of the first computer worm in 1988 400


feature

Don’t Scrap, Upgrade Instead Many devices age or break down after two years, and it doesn’t make sense to repair them. However, a little effort can help you avoid making a new purchase By Martin Jager and Christoph Schmidt

W

henever a piece of hardware becomes a few years old, the manufacturers usually want the customer to replace it by buying a new item that’s expensive. However, with just a little effort, you can ensure that your PCs, mobile devices and accessories do not suffer a premature death. This would be good for both your wallet and the environment. In theory, desktop PCs can be expanded and upgraded, although the process is usually more difficult for laptops. However, with both desktop or laptops, Windows 10 sets an artificial expiry date for the hardware. Once this date is reached, Windows 10 refuses to install updates. You might also find that no drivers are available. This is already known to happen to things like older graphics cards, certain CPUs and old scanners or TV tuner cards. However, there are certain software tricks that will enable you to keep these devices alive for a few more years. On the other hand, mobile phones and tablets have lives that are shorter and the hardware associated with these devices are enhanced quite quickly. Furthermore, using these devices on the go subjects them to risk of accidents and a higher degree of wear and tear. What’s more, the manufacturers also scrimp on software updates, making it so that

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older devices tend to have poor security and functionality. However, you can extend the service life by 50 to 100 percent with the help of simple hardware upgrades, or the somewhat more complicated use of customROM firmware.

Keeping Laptops And PCs Running For The Long Term One of three points is usually the factor that allegedly makes PC hardware and accessories ready for the scrap press. First one is when the computer starts feeling too sluggish, while the other two is when a hardware defect puts a device out of commission, or when further use is prevented due to software/driver problems. Our step-by-step explanation reveals how these difficulties can often be rectified in a relatively simple manner.


feature Upgrade to SSD and add more RAM When it comes to CPUs, a seven-year-old midrange PC is fast enough for regular modern tasks. If that isn’t the case, it probably means that the device doesn’t have enough RAM, or the magnetic hard drive is holding the system back. When it comes to laptops and desktop PCs, both these problems can be solved quite easily. Let’s consider the RAM scenario first. A modern version of Windows can barely operate in a useful manner if you have less than 4GB of RAM. It could run at full capacity even if you’re just using a browser to browse through multiple websites or have multiple active programmes, all of which can cause delayed response times and constant hard drive accesses. Before you upgrade the system, you should use the [Win] + [Pause] key combination to find out how much RAM has been installed, and how much of it is ‘usable’. If there is a difference between the two values, it can usually be put down to the fact that computers that do not have dedicated graphics cards have to use up to 512MB as VRAM. Obviously, this chunk of memory cannot be used as RAM. The same system properties window also indicates whether the installed version of Windows is a 64-bit or 32-bit version. In practice, the latter shouldn’t use more than 3.5GB of RAM.

Once they have been upgraded to an 8GB RAM, even older computers gain the ability to perform all sorts of daily routine tasks with ease

Photos: Simon Kirsch (lead story); CHIP Studios (2)

Take a look before upgrading The CPU-Z diagnosis tool helps you find out which memory you need for the upgrade. You can find the relevant information the ' SPD” tab by using the drop-down menu in the upper left portion to select the available slots (RAM slots) one after the other. The parameters of the respective memory module will then be displayed on the right. With that information, you’ll be able to easily decide how to proceed with your upgrade. When doing so, you should search for one or two modules that are compatible with the parameters that have been displayed ("Module Size" and "Max Bandwidth") for the modules that have already been installed. You can search through large online IT shops or IT-related price comparison sites to search for the "Part Number" displayed by CPU-Z. If all the slots are occupied by (excessively small) modules, then it’s better to replace the existing RAMs installed with larger ones. You can find a replacement by entering your notebook’s or desktop motherboard’s model into the search feature on the website of a RAM manufacturer like Corsair, Crucial or Kingston. It should also be noted that these websites will usually also allow you to order the modules. The installation procedure is one of the simpler hardware related operations. For desktop PCs, all you have to do is open the slots’ clips or just remove the old module and insert the new one, ensuring that the contacts are properly aligned. As for laptops with their smaller SO-DIMM modules, you can usually get access to the slots under an easy-to-open bottom flap. Once the screws or locks have been removed, these modules can be removed easily, so you can install new modules instead. During the next boot-up, the system will automatically detect the extra RAM capacity. Again, you can verify this by using CPU-Z.

Before performing RAM-related and other upgrades, you can use the CPU-Z tool to obtain important information about the hardware that is to be upgraded

The support websites of business laptop manufacturers provide information about the devices and the available replacement parts

An SSD makes any system get a move on Using magnetic hard drives as system drives is a tad outdated, since they slow down the system during boot procedures, program launches and all data access operations. Switching over to an SSD can solve the problem for a few years. When it comes to older computers, SATA SSDs are the only things that can be considered and they’re also relatively affordable. Online shops offer the right kind of replacement batteries for customary laptops – The capacities are often higher than that of the original version


feature Manufacturers like Samsung, Crucial and Sandisk usually provide migration software as well. You should first connect the SSD to your computer as an additional drive, then use the software to transfer your system onto the SSD. Once this has been done, go ahead and install the SSD in place of the hard drive. For a desktop PC, you should use a SATA port to establish the connection. If you’re using a laptop, you should connect the SSD with the help of an external USB casing (which must be purchased separately) for 2.5-inch SATA drives, which will also allow you to keep using the old hard drive once you’ve completed the migration process.

Power failures are frequent but easy to rectify Adapters can be broken or lost quite quickly, but there are clones and universal mains adapters with suitable adapters

A laptop with a broken-down display can be used with an external monitor, or as a living room PC that is connected to the TV set

Adapters and batteries can break down quickly. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to diagnose the problem and repair the damage: If a laptop comes to an absolute standstill after activation, but keeps running via the mains using the adapter (this can happen if the battery has been removed), it probably means that the battery has broken down. If that’s the case, you should use Amazon or eBay to run a search for the laptop’s model name and ‘battery’. If a replacement is too expensive or unavailable, you should go ahead and continue using the computer as a desktop replacement. This also applies to situations in which the laptop display is no longer in commission. Depending on the model, the display and its hinges can be removed (e.g. Lenovo Thinkpads), and the lower section can be connected to a monitor or TV set. Should those be possible, then the PC can at least be used as an extra. You can install software like Kodi and MediaPortal and a wireless keyboard/mouse, turning it into a HTPC. If the laptop can’t even remain functional with the help of an adapter, you will have to start looking for a replacement; we advise against any and all attempts to open and repair the device. When it comes to the usual computers, you can find what you’re looking for on Amazon or eBay. If you can’t find a laptop-specific model, a universal adapter with interchangeable connectors would be the second-best option. In that case, the universal adapter must supply the (correct) voltage and (at the very least) current as your original one. Always make sure that the voltage that is set doesn’t exceed the originals.

Accessories with software and driver problems

VueScan often makes it possible to keep using old scanners that are not supported by new Windows versions due to a lack of drivers

Even if the situation involves old TV cards, you can get them to work with software that operate under Windows 7 or 10 – provided you can get the drivers to work

Peripheral devices have already had to deal with situations in which there were no drivers for new Windows versions. As a result, many scanners – e.g. the Nikon Coolscan slide scanner – were only supported by the manufacturers up to Windows XP. Since no better slide scanners have been offered after that, these devices are sadly destined for the scrap heap. However, the manufacturers of unofficial drivers and software can provide assistance. In case of scanners, the options are ‘SilverFast’ (www.silverfast.com), which exhausts all the features of high-value photo and slide scanners, and ‘VueScan’ (www.hamrick.com), which tries to support as many old scanners as possible. Third-party software is also available for inexpensive old hardware. For example, if you’re dealing with TV cards and sticks, you can go for ‘DVBViewer’ (www.dvbviewer.com), which features several functions and adjustment options. This tool is also compatible with Windows 10. In general, many older devices are more compatible with Linux than they are with newer Windows versions. As a result, this makes it a good idea to boot into Linux every now and then with the help of either a USB stick or a dual-boot installation. This could, for example, be done for the purposes


feature of scanning. Ubuntu Linux is a particularly good choice, because of its broad hardware support capabilities. Furthermore, it’s also well-suited to be used as a substitute operating system for outdated versions (XP). Tablets featuring Intel’s Clover Trail CPUs (Intel Atom Z2520 – 2580, Z2760) were delivered with Windows 8/8.1. Those who have updated such devices to Windows 10 have been left out in the cold ever since the ‘Creator’s Update’, because that was when Windows declared that the life span of the CPUs was at an end and discontinued the update service. It is either difficult or impossible to install Linux on these Intel tablets (if this is to be done, it should be done in conjunction with a USB keyboard, so that you will be able to operate the installer). However, if you do manage to do this, the tablet will last until the end of its life, all while featuring the latest software.

System requirements Windows 10 specifies a service life for hardware, when updates will no longer be provided after it passes. Windows 10 cannot be installed unless the following minimum requirements are fulfilled: Win10 32 Bit Processor Graphics card

Win10 64 Bit 1 Gigahertz

Nvidia from GT4xx onwards, AMD from HD5xxx onwards

RAM

1 GB

2 GB

HDD capacity

16 GB

20 GB

Smartphones And Tablets Smartphones and tablets definitely can’t be updated and upgraded as comfortably and extensively as PCs. Their usage profile is one of the reasons for this: In addition to being light and mobile, they are also supposed to be protected against all kinds of wear and tear, as well as being high-performance devices in spite of all this. However, individual usage patterns also factor in. For example, those who focus solely on design and performance - who make purchases without considering repairability or further development - have no right to complain if they are forced to visit the checkout counter repeatedly every three years. In this regard, the technological development curve has bottomed out to such an extent that a smartphone that is three or even four years old is perfectly capable of handling most intended uses. Of course, this is provided you don’t want to take pictures for your next art book or shoot a full-fledged feature film. A used-up battery is often the only thing that stands in the way of continued use. Ever since Android 6 was released, you can even use a microSD card if the device doesn’t have enough memory for large apps. While there are many manufacturers that have stopped providing security updates, many of these old smartphones can run LineageOS, which is a freely-available alternative operating system. One pleasant side effect of this particular operating system is the fact that you will be able to gain full control of the device, get rid of bloatware and get by without a Google account. Even if you cannot find a fresh battery or new operating system for an aged device, certain accessories will make it possible for you to turn the device into an e-mail typewriter, kitchen surfing station or car navigation system.

Any PC with a multi-core CPU and 1GB RAM is fast enough for Ubuntu, which comes with long-term updates

Ever since Android 6 (Marshmallow) was released, it has been possible to format micro SD cards as internal memories and install apps directly

Photos: CHIP Studios (2)

Proceed carefully when replacing batteries Lithium-ion batteries can only cope with a limited number of charge cycles. This limit is usually reached after a maximum of three years. Except for a mere handful of exceptions (like LG’s commendable attempt with exchangeable batteries for the G5), the casing always has to be opened in order to replace the used-up battery. When it comes to older models like the Samsung Note 4 or the LG Nexus 5, you can do this quite easily with your fingernail. However, it would be more advisable to use a screwdriver featuring a Philips, Torx or Earlier Android versions allow you to manually move many apps to the SD card. Unfortunately, iPhones don’t offer this option


feature Pentalobe profile and a flexible guitar pick to open clip fasteners or remove ribbon cable connectors. The path leading to the interior becomes somewhat more complicated if the device comes with extra features like ‘waterproof’ or a relevant IP certification. The rear wall of such a device tends to be 'pasted' down and such adhesive seals need to be softened up by heating it, before it can be removed. Experience has shown that this can be done quite well using the heat compresses that are heated in a microwave oven; these can be obtained at pharmacies. You can also heat it through careful use of a hot air gun. Later, when you need to replace the battery, the rear wall can be re-sealed using either an all-purpose adhesive or adhesive seals that have been designed for such purposes. Valuable instructions for opening several models can be found online at websites like www.ifixit.com, which will also specify the kind of tools you will need for the procedure. You should be very careful when you’re removing the rear wall, so that you won’t tear off any induction coils or aerials that may be fastened to the wall. What’s more, the battery is usually pasted firmly within the casing. But for certain devices (like the iPhones), special straps are positioned on the battery instead, enabling you to remove the adhesive beneath the battery. In order to avoid short circuits, you should ensure that you use a plastic tool to deal with the battery. You should also make sure you don’t crease it too much, because you will often find that the connection cable is hidden beneath a protective plate or other printed circuit boards. Apple in particular is only too glad to use screws of varying lengths to fasten these items, so you should pay close attention to the proper locations of the different screws. The cable plug might also have been secured with a strap that can only be noticed upon close inspection. An old battery also represents a fire hazard due to the risk of exhaustive discharge, which is why you should dispose of it properly as soon as possible. When you acquire a new battery, you should ensure that it’s a battery that fits comfortably into the provided space. These days, you can buy just about any battery over the internet. Unfortunately, this also means that the range of options includes counterfeit goods. The safest thing to do would be to rely on a major electronics shipper. If you’re only going to be able to hit paydirt with Amazon or eBay, you should at least give yourself an overview of the market, which in turn will help you determine the average costs of such special batteries. Furthermore, you should also ensure that you don’t simply go for the cheapest offer you can find. In any event, stay away from used products; there’s simply no way of knowing whether such batteries already contains micro short circuits caused by falls or water damage.

With certain devices like iPhones, the adhesive beneath the battery can be removed using straps. Pay attention and avoid damaging any ribbon cables or antennas by accident

An enterprising community of developers has placed convenient rootkits at our disposal, which in turn even makes it possible for laymen to unlock their mobile phones

The free LineageOS keeps your mobile device (here: Nexus 7) up to date and also gives you full control over your apps

This is doable Rows 1 – 3 indicate the degree to which popular smartphones and tablets can be opened. The rows below that tell you which upgrades are possible

Transfer apps and data to an SD Card Unfortunately, all mobile devices contain firmly-soldered device memories

Apple iPhone 5c

Apple iPhone 6c

Samsung Galaxy S6

LG Nexus 5

Huawei P8

HTC ONE M8

Apple iPad

Samsung Note 12.2

Nexus 7

Open with:

Plectrum

Plectrum

Plectrum

Fingernail

Plectrum

Plectrum

Plectrum

Plectrum

Plectrum

Screws:

Manufacturer/ Model

P2, PH00

P2, PH00

PH00

PH00

PH00

PH00

PH00

PH00

Bonding surfaces:

Easy

ӑ

Front panel

ӑ

Easy

Battery change

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

SD-Card

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

Alternat. OS

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ

ӑ ӑരYes • No


feature that cannot be expanded. Smartphones and tablets with an SD card slot are the only devices that allow you to expand the memory. This is why we now have to say goodbye to all iPhone and iPad users, because when it comes to these devices, Apple is unwilling to provide extra memory since it also opens up the way for users to install an alternate operating system. On the other hand, even Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ allowed users to transfer apps to an external SD card. Although Android 4.4.2 ‘KitKat’ did temporarily eliminate this option, it became available once again with the release of Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’. To add on to that, users have even been allowed to install apps directly on an SD card ever since Android 6.0 ‘Marshmallow’ was released. You should go ahead and use this option for all memory-intensive applications like navigation systems, music and video operations and e-books. If the app itself doesn’t want to permit the transfer, at least move the path for application data. If this has not already happened during installation, you can make the relevant changes afterwards under "Settings | Application manager | App info | Memory”. This menu path can also vary depending on the Android version.

Photos: iStockphoto/georgeclerk (navigation system); CHIP Studios (Nexus 7, tool, keyboard); iFixit (hands)

Alternative operating systems Last summer, Cyanogen Inc. failed in its goal of commercially exploiting Cyanogen OS, its alternative version of Android. And since last June, Canonical has not been providing any more security updates for its mobile Ubuntu Touch. Against this backdrop, the scenario looks bleak for alternatives to Google’s Android. Thankfully, an enterprising open-source community of programmers has set itself up on the internet, a community that has been driving the development of CyanogenMod as LineageOS on a semi-voluntary basis (https://wiki.lineageos.org/ devices/). The group now offers versions for many popular smartphone and tablet models, with Google’s own Nexus smartphones leading the way. These versions can be downloaded for free and the number is going up every day. In some cases (such as with the Nexus 7), users might even enjoy an increase in speed. For example, a four-and-a-half-year-old Samsung Galaxy S4 becomes fully up-to-date when it’s combined with LineageOS and a 64GB memory card. Now, the task of rooting a smartphone or tablet and installing a new operating system isn’t exactly child’s play. After all, the manufacturers don’t intend for it to happen. Nevertheless, such operations are no longer the exclusive domain of computer geeks. If you study the numerous instructions on the internet and persevere, even non-nerds should be able to do it too.

Second career for mobile devices

The task of opening a mobile phone usually calls for tools like screwdrivers, spatulas and cold/warm compresses

Basic equipment With the tools that we’re recommending and a few household utensils, you will even be able to open a smartphone that is waterproof

Tool

Purpose

SIM pin or paperclip

Removing SIM and SD cards; hardware reset

Plectrum

Disengaging clip connections

Specific screwdrivers

Unscrewing

Spatulas

Levering tasks

Tweezers

Gripping, removing adhesive residues

Cutting tool

Cutting, shaving

Hot gel cushions

Softening adhesives

Bluetooth keyboards (e.g. Logitech K480) and mice can turn old tablets into light and portable typewriters

If your mobile device doesn’t even allow you to replace the battery anymore, you could use an external powerbank or a car battery to ensure that the device retains a certain amount of charge. Peripheral specialists like Logitech offer Android-compatible keyboards and mice that can be connected via Bluetooth, making it both possible and easy for you to use mobile devices that have been placed on desks. In addition, all popular printer manufacturers now offer apps that can be used to print things via WiFi, while apps like ES File Explorer make it possible to use the network to move data. There are also universal car device cradles that allow you to fasten the devices in your vehicle, while a 12-V-to-USB adapter provides the required power. With all these options available to users, old hands continue to have a variety of potential uses. If you could get them to work, then there’s really no good reason to acquire a brand-new device. When attached to the cigarette lighter port, an age-worn smartphone turns into a useful navigation system or multimedia player


feature

Closing The Gaps A security test of antivirus tools revealed that the tools themselves have some blatant vulnerabilities. Here’s how you can protect yourself despite that By Fabian von Keudell

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your PC, but also secure your mobile devices -regardless if it runs on Android or iOS.

How To Protect Your Antivirus Software The latest antivirus applications protect your computer, not only against known threats but also Zero Day attacks. For hackers, successful attacks on AV software are the ideal way. This is because when they take over the application, they also get access

Photo: iStockphoto/Filograph

T

he security experts from Symantec count 13 million new malware variants per month. Antivirus systems (AV) should be protected from them, but it is apparent that the protection systems themselves are vulnerable and susceptible to attacks. We tested these antivirus programmes and the results are a cause for concern. In some cases, the transmission methods are not secured enough, while in others there are developers that use unsafe programme libraries. This article aims to show you which AV softwares are worth using, how do the protection mechanisms of the programmes work and also explain how to configure the software. Even when you are using a good antivirus, you should also use software from third parties. This way, you not only protect


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Product

Secure download via https

The first line of defense starts on the website of the developer. Since AV developers are no longer distributing their software via DVDs, they prefer to provide a download code in the packaging. The advantage here is that the user can always download the latest version. Some providers distribute the software via a secure httpsconnection. The data bus is encrypted in this manner, which reduces the chances of file manipulation. However, there are always some black sheep who rely on unsafe http-connection, allowing attackers to capture the data stream and slip an unsafe, manipulated version of the software to the user. Various tests have discovered that several providers have this problem (see table on the right). Confronted with this result, the companies have pledged to improve and will look to transfer data in an encrypted manner in the near future.

The extensive analysis of AV test shows that all developers, by far, do not use certificates or protective mechanism. In terms of improvements, there has been more than compared to previous years.

Executable programe files with 64-Bit (signed/unsigned/ invalid certificate)

Secure download connection

Only some AV developers protect their software

Executable program files with 32-Bit (signed/unsigned/ invalid certificate)

to the PC system and can deactivate the monitoring function of the antivirus software. To combat this, developers of protection programs use three anti-hacker functions.

Avira Antivirus Pro 15

168/0/1

5/0/0

Bitdefender Internet Security 17

88/0/0

246/0/0

ESET Internet Security 10

2/0/0

81/0/0

244/0/0

14/0/0

ӑ ӑ ӑ ӑ ӑ ӑ • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Kaspersky Internet Security 17.0 G Data Internet Security 25.3

84/0/0

42/0/0

Updates only with signature

F-Secure SAFE 14.1

265/1/0

29/0/0

The virus programs use certificates that aren’t systematic (see right), so that updates for the scan engine and signatures come in as protected and certified for the PC. With these updates, the provider signs the individual program packets. Upon receiving it on the user’s computer, the AV software checks the authenticity of the digital signature and then installs the updates. This way, unauthorised updates are excluded. But most of such updates are not excluded, even if the antivirus program runs perfectly and is configured optimally from the factory. In that case, it’s better to configure it yourself - more on that in the following pages.

MicroWorld eScan IS Suite 14

139/2/0

25/0/0

Symantec Norton Security 22.8

194/0/0

20/0/0

Trend Micro Internet Security 11.0

32/0/0

245/6/0

Hardware protection in the processor Since Windows XP-SP2, the Microsoft OS supports DEP protection (Data Execution Prevention), which starts directly in the CPU. The way it works is by having Windows set a special NX Bit (No execution) for a specific memory area in which critical data is stored. For instance, if a program tries to run the CPU registry through a buffer overflow, the DEP will block access and report it to the operating system. Nowadays, the technology is considered as a standard, but not all use the function (see right). DEP itself is not a fool-proof guaranteed protection. This is why developers use it in tandem with other technology.

BullGuard Internet Security 17

19/1/0

69/1/0

AVG Internet Security 17.1

157/3/0

39/1/1

Comodo Internet Security Pr. 10

11/0/0

52/0/0

Emsisoft Anti-Malware 12.1

5/0/0

28/0/0

Avast Free AntiVirus 17.1

132/6/0

14/1/1

McAfee Internet Security 19.0

49/0/0

324/0/0

ThreatTrack VIPRE IS Pro 2016

118/12/0

13/1/0

Quick Heal Total Security 15.1

33/11/0

208/29/0

K7 Computing Total Security 15.1

89/6/0

3/0/0

AhnLab V3 Internet Security 9.0

19/2/0

90/1/0

Status: April 2017/Source: AVTest

secure

ӑyes • no

Average use of protective mechanism in percent (ASLR and DEP) 2017

2015

2014

100

100

99,7

100

87,9

89,2

100

100

100

100

100

96,4

98,8

99,4

97,7

100

99,5

93

100

91,1

17,5

100

100

99,3

100

76

71,8

99,6

100

93,1

97,2

95,9

95

92,2

53

56,5 k.A.

92

k.A.

90,1

96,9

98

88,5

100

96,7

85,3

43,3

38,3

76,4

28,9

37,3

58,5

25,9

k.A.

36,3

34,5

24,6

Potentially insecure

dangerous

Software against buffer overflow The ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomisation) technology was developed more than ten years ago so that attackers cannot anticipate where critical data is present in the buffer. First used in Windows Vista, ASLR allowed programmes to allocate memory. For mobile systems, iOS 4.3 was the pioneer for it and then it was used in Android 4.0. Unfortunately, ASLR is also not 100 percent secure. Using different tricks, attackers can bypass the random distribution. For example, the malware can be distributed across the entire memory via spraying. With this method, attackers provoke a buffer overflow, which helps them in corrupting files with malware. To prevent this from happening, the AV developers try to run only

The antivirus software can be downloaded from some providers via insecure and manipulative http-connections


feature certified software on the computer.

Optimise AV Programs You should make configurations, particularly for browser extensions and the update settings as not all features of an AV software can always be helpful to secure your own system. Sometimes it is even better to deactivate one or the other function completely.

Optimise time of update

Browser plug-ins of antivirus programs warn against insecure sites but are rather insecure themselves

The protection of AV programs rises and falls with their topicality. Security researchers assume that known gaps can be actively exploited within a few hours. But many AV programs start an automatic update only once a day or even less frequently. It is better to set the update routine to 12 hours, as most users are comfortable with that. If you often visit unknown websites or install software on the system, then reduce the time span to two hours.

Disable the browser toolbar

The installed antivirus programs should search for programme and definition updates every 12 hours

Some AV systems like Avira will block access from unknown USB media and protect against attacks like the BadUSB virus

Most AV developers install a browser extension that monitors search history and visited websites. Unfortunately, some of the browser extensions themselves are unsafe. Once, security experts from Google found out that the extension from AVG use special JavaScript AVIs that are commonly considered unsafe. Since then, AVG has patched the application. Apart from the security plans, the users must also deal with annoying advertisements with some extensions, such as the Avast AV software. The intention was probably positive, with Avast intending to show cheaper online prices for the products displayed to the user, using the help of the SafePrice feature. What Avast obviously does not reveal is that the company earns money with every click. The tools check the entire net traffic of the browser in the background in order to warn against unsafe sites, acting act as proxy, similar to Man-in-the-Middle attacks, so that the programmes can also check the network traffic for viruses from encrypted sites. However, security experts have also found weak points even in the SSL proxies. For instance, the renowned researcher Tavis Ormandy, who found that the AV developers’ use of proxies is fatal, as it allows hackers additional starting points for attacks. Meanwhile, the browsers themselves only warn against unsafe sites, meaning that the toolbars do not provide any additional protection.

Activate USB protection Virus protection provided by software like Avira help with attacks that start from USB devices. To achieve this, the software blocks access to external media. As a result, malware such as BadUSB don’t have any chance to attack. With cases like BadUSB, USB drives masquerade as keyboards in the background and run the hidden programme code. To prevent that, you need to activate the USB protection for the AV software you’re using. If your software does not support the function, you can use MyUSBOnly (myusbonly.com, approx. RM129) instead.


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Professional SelfProtection For The PC Despite comprehensive antivirus software, you can easily extend the protection further for your devices. We’ll explain which software you can use and the settings you require.

Check infections independently When you are visiting unknown sites and you do not know whether they are virus-free, you can use the online service virustotal.com. After entering the URL to be checked, the service analyses the site and displays a detailed report. Additionally, you also have the option to search files on the portal. For instance, if your AV system warns you against a file on your hard disk, upload the file to virustotal. Once uploaded, it will be checked with the help of several antivirus engines from popular developers. This way, even false alarms from your virus protection are reliably verified.

Outwit ransomware A backup is a simple solution option against encryption trojans. However, this process alone is often enough to outsmart such malware. This is because the latest ransomware do not encrypt the entire hard disk, because AV software can recognise and block such access. Instead, the viruses look specifically for documents and images on the disk and damage them. You can prevent this by storing your important files in an encrypted container, which malware won’t be able to peek into or access. Use the software VeraCrypt to create an encrypted file container for your documents.

You can best protect some files via encryption with VeraCrypt against hacker attacks like Ransomware.

Run a security check With its Baseline Security Analyzer, Microsoft offers a program that specifically searches for vulnerabilities in a PC. To do this, the program checks whether all necessary patches have been installed and checks the correct configuration of critical settings on the system, such as the firewall or a secure password. Behind every warning, you will find the link ‘‘Troubleshooting” that will explain how to resolve the detected problems.

Secure mobile devices You should use a combination of AV and additional software even for mobile devices. For Android, this is the easiest since the virus scanner will scan the entire system, like in Windows. However, iOS users need to use special software to secure their devices.

Install system updates By installing the latest OS updates, you will prevent most attacks on your smartphone or tablet. In order to install the updates in iOS, go to ‘‘Settings | General | Software Update”, as it is recommended to upgrade your OS manually this way. If you load an infected desktop computer using this software, then the firmware file may be already compromised. The download process is encrypted and signed via the update in iOS. You can use

The Baseline Security Analyser or Microsoft checks the system for important updates and helps with critical security settings


feature 1

2

Additional protection For Android users, it is advisable to get extra protection for their system using an AV software 1 . iOS users can detect jailbreaks with apps like Lookout 2

Important updates

1

You should automatically activate updates in Android 1 . The system will then show the necessary patches in a separate pull down menu 2 .

Setup protection tools Due to the rigid architecture of iOS, you do not need to install any additional antivirus software apart from the Lookout app. This is because the programs cannot check the system. But that’s not the case when it comes to Android. With the latter, you need provide your system with a security software, especially if you are using an older version of the OS. For your ease of reference, we’ve included a list of choices in the table on the bottom left. You are well-protected with the installation of an AV software and you will be able to protect yourself against Phishing attacks with the help of additional software like Financial Security from McAffee. The software checks popular banking apps in the background and also checks the browser for a correct test sum, so that alterations to the applications are excluded through this process. The tool also checks your Internet connection for dubious data traffic. For example, if a malware is installed on a device and is spying on the data, then the McAffee app will immediately report and block the access.

2

Use special browsers

You can use this mobile AV system

The antivirus software and additional anti-phishing software can indeed protect you against most dangers, but you should also use additional protection for mobile browsing so that you are proactively ready against attacks. An excellent example here is by using the browser Cliqz from the Google Play Store. For one, the browser offers records tracking information and on the other hand, while also preventing access to passwords and account information of the user. If you use all the information and applications as described in this article, the majority of the virus shouldn’t be able to affect your devices - even when your AV solution has a weakness or two. But the one thing you need to ensure is that your software is constantly up-to-date. Otherwise, not even the latest technology won’t be of help.

After a detailed test, CHIP, in cooperation with AV Test, recommends the following antivirus systems for Android devices AhnLab V3 Mobile Security 3.1 Antiy AVL 2.5 Bitdefender Mobile Security 3.2 Cheetah Mobile CM Security 3.3 G Data Internet Security 26.0 Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 11.13 McAfee Mobile Security 4.9 Norton Mobile Security 3.18 Sophos Mobile Security 7.0 Tencent WeSecure 1.4 Trend Micro Mobile Security 8.2

the security app Lookout to check whether a malware is already present on the mobile system. Available through the App Store, this software also checks whether there is an unwanted jailbreak present or whether any mischievous applications are installed on the device. On the other hand, the security level of Android devices is low. Most worryingly, cheap entry-level devices do not get any new firmware updates. According to Google, Android Nougat (the latest version), is installed on 11.5 percent of all Android devices. On the contrary, two vulnerable OS versions - Lollipop or Kitkat - are running on almost the other half of the devices. To check whether new OS versions are available, open the ‘‘Settings” and go to the page ‘‘Via Phone”, then click on ‘‘System updates” here. Even with installed apps, you have to keep the applications upto-date and there is an automatic system in Android that needs to be manually activated for that. To do this, open the Play Store app and tap on the three lines on the top left. Next, select ‘‘Settings” and activate the option ‘‘Allow automatic app updates only via WiFi” under ‘‘Automatic app updates”. The OS will inform you about the upcoming updates via the pulldown menu, which you can view anytime by pulling it down from the upper screen margin.

You will find the AV systems in Google Play Store in the tab ‘‘Tools | Top Charts”


cover story

The Big Hacker Report At the Black Hat, DEF CON and Cyber Week events, the world’s leading security experts told everyone what the attacks of the future are going to look like and explained how we could protect ourselves against them By Fabian von Keudell

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cover story fairs hardly ever feature discussions dealing with attacks that are already known. Instead, the speakers deal with new attacks or snooping techniques, while also providing information regarding protective measures. The experts seem to agree that what the professionals displayed at these trade fairs are going to transform the daily routines of all users in the near future. Having spoken to some well-known security experts at the events, we now have new information to share with you.

Attacks Against Smartphones

From the hackers’ point of view, the smartphone is one of the world’s most rewarding targets, because these devices are used to store things like e-mails, images and credit card data. With the right kind of software, the data can be read and manipulated. Even the mobile phone’s location signal can be forged.

Mobile payment with loopholes

T

he world’s three biggest hacker fairs take place every summer. One is the Cyber Week held in Tel Aviv, while the other two are the Black Hat and DEF CON in Las Vegas. Each of these trade fairs has its own speciality. At Cyber Week, the managers of security companies talk about new dangers, while security researchers working for different companies discuss attacks in great detail at the Black Hat event. On the other hand, you hardly encounter any speaker who’s prepared to use his real name at the DEF CON event. And one of the reasons behind such anonymity is because the hacks that are put on display often toe the line when it comes to the law. In fact, an arrest was actually made at the event this year. These trade

Until recently, Apple’s Apple Pay mobile payment system was thought to be one of the most secure systems in the world – practically unbreakable. All of that changed at the Black Hat presentation, where Tim Yunusov utterly dismantled the security concept of Apple’s payment procedure. Although many experts believe that Apple Pay is secure even if the iOS device’s access protection system has been disabled with a jailbreak, Yunusov used self-programmed tools that read the data to prove that the opposite is true. To protect themselves, users can check whether their devices have been subjected to a jailbreak operation. One way to do this is by using the SystemGuard app. However, there are also bugs that affect devices using an Apple-certified OS. In fact, these bugs are associated with situations in which the device in question is used to make an online purchase with the help of Apple Pay. The security researcher found that payment procedures can be executed even if the seller does not accurately verify user information. As a result, something like a replay attack would make it possible to use the crypto-key associated with a specific payment procedure several times. This key contains the one-time credit card number that Apple allocates to each payment procedure and hackers can use it to initiate random payment procedures involving random amounts. There’s only one prerequisite that has to be fulfilled and that is for the payment procedures to involve the same service provider, as well as being carried out within a short span of time. When that happens, users cannot defend themselves on their own. Apple and the banks must promptly deactivate the used crypto-keys as soon as the respective transactions have been completed, or it falls on the users to keep a close eye on their own dealings.

Highly secret snooping software for Android About a year ago, it became known that intelligence agencies throughout the world were using the Pegasus software created by NSO Group Technologies to spy on iOS devices. All the attackers had to do was send a simple phishing SMS, which would tempt users to

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cover story visit a website. Lookout’s security researchers have now uncovered the Android-related equivalent and revealed it at Black Hat. The software in question is called Chrysaor and its method of attack is extremely target-oriented. According to Lookout, the software has been installed on no more than 0.000001 percent of the world’s Android devices. It infiltrates a device via phishing (just like Pegasus) or an app download, then as soon as it has been installed, it checks whether it can root the smartphone. If it can, it will then start monitoring and extracting data. Realtime monitoring will not be possible if the device possesses a root protection facility. In that case, Chrysaor simply browses through the device, collects data and sends it to a monitoring server. This particular phenomenon affects all Android versions. Unlike Pegasus, the NGO Group doesn’t even have to use zero-day exploits, so it is quite difficult to protect yourself from such an attack. The best form of protection is to only click on known links and use nothing but standard apps.

2

Apple Pay hacked To protect yourself against the illegal reading of your credit card data, you should check your device for jailbreaks 1 and regularly inspect the Apple Pay receipts 2

GPS spoofing removes 2-Factor protection At the DEF CON event, a hacker called ‘Karit’ showed everyone just how easy it is to manipulate GPS signals. ‘‘You would have thought that a system as important as GPS would have been protected against attacks,” said Karit. However, one can fool the tracking system using hardware that is worth about 500 US dollars (approx. RM2,121). There’s a variety of attack options that the method provides. For example, an Uber ride calculates the fare on the basis of the time and distance that has been covered. Karit can manipulate the distance value by transmitting his own GPS signal, which is much

Tim Yunusov explains how hackers could manipulate Apple Pay to make multiple withdrawals from an account

INTERVIEW

Modern ransomware attacks are just the beginning Marcin Kleczynski, IT expert and CEO of Malwarebytes, explains why blackmailers will be more successful in the future > Should victims of a ransomware attack go ahead and pay the ransom? The ransomware debate apparently only involves two options: To pay or not to pay. But I believe it depends on the situation. If you have lost important data like a PhD thesis, whose value exceeds that of the ransom, why shouldn’t you pay up and try to get your data back? > Will ransomware attacks increase in the future? In the future, the data won’t be what leads to blackmail, because having access will become the new way to blackmail. For example, there could be DDoS attacks against large companies that will only stop if paid. This will be made possible by easily-hackable IoT devices, because the development of such devices typically don’t prioritise IT security above all else. For example,

if the reservation website of a large company like Lufthansa is paralysed by an IoT botnet, company bosses will have to ask themselves whether they should give the blackmailers something like 10 percent of their daily earnings, so that the attack will cease immediately. Alternatively, they could hope that their own IT folks will be able to fend off the attack quickly enough. From the companies’ point of view, such situations are going to become more and more problematic in the future. > Could such attacks also be used against modern cars? Elon Musk recently said that his biggest concern would be a fleet attack, i.e. a remote access to all Teslas throughout the world. This allows hackers to paralyse the cars, until the

company pays a ransom. However, Tesla takes IT security very seriously. For example, they are using anti-malware tools produced by us. But other manufacturers have a lot of catching up to do in that particular department. For example, one of my IT researchers managed to hack his new car in less than 20 minutes, after which he was able to use his notebook’s cursor keys to control the vehicle. He was able to do this because the car receives updates via a USB stick and leaves a certain network port open for this purpose. It Marcin Kleczynski, was child’s play for the CEO Malwarebytes him.

Photos i. UZS v. li.: Black Hat USA 2017; Apple; Black Hat USA 2017; Malwarebytes

1


cover story

Attacks Targeting Networked Devices Photos i. UZS v. li. o.: dpa/Picture Alliance/AP Photo; Black Hat USA 2017; Coleman Cable via Amazon; Great Scott Gadgets; (2); CHIP (2); David Robinson, ZX Security

Smart home devices are very rarely protected against hacking attacks. Since they often lack even a simple encryption system, all that attackers have to do is intercept the radio transmission.

FBI nabs hacker The hacker Marcus Hutchins was arrested by the FBI on the edges of the DEF CON event. Officially, he has been charged with developing the Kronos banking Trojan. The indictment is still classified

This is what the TOP government Trojans can do Target-oriented snooping apps can read almost everything that’s stored on the targeted devices and Android makes this especially easy. In fact, the intelligence agencies don’t even need a zero-day loophole

Self-destruct function

ӑ ӑ ӑ ӑ • • ӑ

ӑ ӑ • ӑ ӑ ӑ ӑ

Launches targeted attacks against popular apps and devices

ӑ

ӑ

Prevents system updates

ӑ •

ӑ ӑ

Can change installed app processes SMS extraction

Sound wave attack throws devices off balance Researchers working for China’s Alibaba group have found out that modern devices can be manipulated using sound waves. Experts managed to use hardware worth about 350 US dollars (approx. RM1,485) to disrupt smartphone displays and even cause drones to crash. According to the experts, the most dangerous attacks are the ones that target hoverboards and scooters. In a demonstration video, they illustrated an attack against a Segway Minipro. The sound waves disrupted the scooter’s sensors, which caused the rider to fall off. In this case, users of the devices cannot protect themselves, so the manufacturers are the ones who have to rectify the situation. The researchers recommend using a specially-shielded processor on the circuit board. Help could also be provided by a software patch, such as an algorithm that filters the malicious sound wave signals out of the sensors’ data streams.

Zero-day exploits necessary Audio surveillance Rooting of the device necessary Autonomous snooping app

Possible to read screen (without rooting)

Yes

1

Many IoT devices can be hacked quite easily Caleb Madrigal (alias Metem) also uses sound waves to carry out his attacks. For some time now, he has been using hardware worth a few hundred US dollars to comb through radio and sound wave spectrums, no matter where he happens to be. He found that while many IoT devices like smart sockets are protected on the software-side, they use radio signals to control their clients (i.e. other sockets) - signals that can be recorded and reproduced very easily. The free Audacity sound tool is used for this purpose, allowing hackers to operate the devices without having to go through any security queries. At the DEF CON, Madrigal demonstrated how this method can also be used to paralyse things like home alarm systems.

2

GPS-Manipulation Hardware worth a few hundred dollars 1 can be used to change GPS data. For example, this makes it possible to reduce the fares of the Uber 2 taxi service, since the price is calculated based on the distance that has been covered

ӑ

SOURCE: LOOKOUT

stronger than the one that comes from the satellites that are at a distance of 20,000 km. In Karit’s experience, the drivers always accept the reduced fare. Another method is to use the position data and GPS signal to manipulate the time zone setting on a device. From Karit’s point of view, this represents quite a juicy target, because it can even be used to bypass the 2-factor protection for various companies and services. He simply uses his GPS transmitter to turn back the clock by transmitting an incorrect time signal. Old one-time passwords would then start functioning again. According to Karit, such an attack can only be carried out if, in addition to the crucial GPS receiver of the company, the hacker also forges the jamming transmitter. Although large companies like Google and Amazon also use the GPS time signal, they use other sources – like NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) – to verify it.

No


cover story

Sound waves render devices inoperative At the Black Hat event, researchers from the Alibaba group demonstrated how they could use sound waves to manipulate devices’ displays, and even cause Segway scooters to crash

2

IoT hacked by radio A special radio transmitter 1 allows for replay attacks that make it possible to manipulate smart sockets 2 and activate or deactivate them from a distance

ATM hacked in seconds There’s a training camp for hackers located about an hour from Tel Aviv. There, CyberGym’s CEO Ofir Hason showed CHIP the company’s offices during Cyber Week. At the camp, security experts from all over the world use these premises to practise cyber-attacks and counterattacks. Among their teachers are ex-soldiers who used to be part of the Israeli military’s infamous Unit 8200. ‘‘This facility allows companies to emulate a variety of attacks, such as attacks targeting industrial facilities that use SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) components,” explained Hason. Hason’s clientele includes major banks, so part of the equipment he has on hand includes an ATM. About 50,000 machines of this type can be found in Asia. This represents a big risk for the clients, because the machines have computers inside that are still using Windows NT 4.0, which is extremely easy to hack. Hason also knows exactly why these machines are still in use. ‘‘An update would simply be too expensive for several service providers,” he said. Although newer versions are being used in Europe, these versions are also vulnerable. Hason was tight-lipped on the issue of exactly how they’re vulnerable, but there were others who were a little more talkative on this subject. At the Black Hat event, experts from IOActive showed everybody how they could access the hidden USB ports of newer ATMs in a matter of seconds, in order to install malware that deactivates all the security mechanisms. The technique in question is called ‘jackpotting’, a method that still works despite being an old trick. In August of this year, a perpetrator was filmed at a Postbank branch using a USB drive to install malware on the ATM and cleaned out its entire supply of money. However, it took him about half an hour to gain access, while IOActive’s experts can carry out their attack a lot quicker than that.

1

Attacks Targeting Cars 1

ATM hack Professionals reveal the vulnerabilities of ATMs 1 at a hacker training camp. For example, many devices still use floppy disk drives 2

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Automobile manufacturers are gradually beginning to realise that their vehicles’ on-board computers also need to be better protected against attacks. Even technology pioneer Tesla is realising just how important this is, because the company’s vehicles are being hacked repeatedly, despite over-the-air updates.

Tesla-hack in spite of a patch from the manufacturer In September 2016, experts working for Keen Security Lab showed that they could hack into a Tesla’s control computer and manipulate things like the roof and parking brake. Tesla responded in just ten days, rectifying the vulnerabilities through an over-the-air update. Now, one year later, the very same people are making Tesla’s life difficult once again. The current scenario once again affects important systems, with the brakes in the crosshair once again. In this case, the hackers used an open guest network (which is normally only used by Tesla’s workshops) to access the cars’ computers, where they found a bug in the WebKit browser engine. From there, they managed to get into the internal control systems.


cover story Thanks to a vulnerability in the code signature, the experts were then able to implant their own code, which in turn brought the car under their control. Incidentally, the attackers can also open the doors and activate or deactivate the lights. According to insiders from Keen Security Lab, Tesla responded to the attacks in an exemplary manner and a patch was once again released in less than ten days. On the other hand, cars produced by other manufacturers are a lot more insecure. Even when it comes to their latest models, BMW, Mercedes and VW can only install updates either at a workshop or through a USB drive, and the procedure takes a lot of valuable time. In any event, the risk of a vehicle hack isn’t even the most significant risk faced by modern cars.

Car-hack via smartphone Security researchers from China have developed a web app that enables them to hack the doors, windows and brakes of a modern Tesla. Tesla has already responded by releasing a patch

Photos v. o.: Tencent; Tesla Motors; Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein (Musk); Malwarebytes (Kujawa); CHIP (Diskin); PDQ Vehicle Wash Systems

Fear of mass attacks against automobile manufacturers A fleet attack is the thing that frightens Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. In such a scenario, cybercriminals would attack Tesla’s main servers, thereby gaining the ability to remotely control all the Teslas in the world. It sounds like something out of a science fiction story, but it’s a genuine danger, because Tesla is the only car manufacturer that offers the option of manipulating cars by radio. But Musk isn’t the only one sounding this particular alarm; Malwarebytes’ Adam Kujawa also believes in the possibility of such an attack. In an interview, the virus lab boss said that he believes that other manufacturers could also end up facing the same threat. It could, for example, involve manipulation of the eCall system. In fact, this idea is corroborated most impressively by Yuval Diskin, former chief of Israel’s domestic intelligence service. From his point of view as someone from a company that also helps car manufacturers protect their systems, such an attack is only a matter of time. For example, an entity with sufficient financial and personnel resources might be able to paralyse all the BMWs in the world.

Attacks targeting fleets and infrastructure A fleet attack is currently considered to be the worst-case scenario. It allows hackers to infiltrate the servers of car manufacturers like Tesla and simultaneously paralyse all the networked cars in the world

Car wash ruins vehicles Whitescope’s researchers have proven that even car washes can turn into a hazard. The experts took a look at Laserwash, which is a company that manufactures car washes. In order to ensure that nobody would get hurt, they programmed a proof of concept that made the car wash damage cars. In order to do this, the hackers would use web access to manipulate the distance sensors. In this case, the car wash facility could end up ramming the car and even injure the passengers in the worst-case scenario. The researchers managed this method of attack by using a standard password to access the facility’s web proxy, which can be accessed freely through the internet. Unfortunately, it looks like the attack isn’t serious enough for the manufacturer to consider releasing a patch yet. The manufacturer did issue a warning that recommends changing the standard password, but many of the car washes are still open to access via the web. As scary as the hackers’ methods are, most of them do disclose their results to the manufacturers, so that they will be able to release the appropriate patches. As a result, all the companies have to do is ensure that they respond swiftly. If they don’t, the bugs could be exploited by people who have malicious intentions.

From left: Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla), Adam Kujawa (lab boss of Malwarebytes) and Yuval Diskin (ex-head of Israel’s domestic intelligence service) perceive the risk of a large-scale fleet attack

Attackers were able to hack a networked car wash and make the mechanical washing arm strike the car. The manufacturer has not yet released a patch


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Intel Platform Motherboards Intel DZ77GA-70K MSI Z87 MPower

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Nokia 8 Marvo Scorpion HG8802 Lian Li PC-O11 vivo V7+ Acer Switch 5 PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 560 MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON ASUS ROG Zephyrus ASUS ZenBook Flip S ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming ASUS ROG STRIX RX VEGA64 GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Intel Core i5-8400 GIGABYTE X399 Designare EX D-Link PowerLine AV2 1000 Starter Kit DJI Spark iKANOO i708

CHIP Awards CHIP Editors’ Choice Award

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Ratings Each product review is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for different key parameters:

Awarded to products that receive unanimous endorsement from all CHIP editors for its overall brilliance

CHIP Outstanding Award Reserved for products that combine astute technical performance with good quality and design

CHIP Recommended Award Given to products that possess singular quality worthy of a recommendation

PERFORMANCE : Refers to the efficiency of execution FEATURES : Rates the abilities and unique characteristics available DESIGN : Varies according to product. Finished products - form factor and build quality. Hardware components - layout, size and cooling solution. Software - user interface VALUE : Calculated from the performance and features of the product in relation to the price

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first looks

Sniped Ya The Brook Sniper is a conversion accessory that is plugged into the USB slot of your console. Once plugged in, it allows you to plug in a mouse and keyboard onto the device. You can then customise the keystrokes and buttons on your keyboard or mouse using the BrookSniper app on your mobile device. There are a few games that come with presets on the app so you don’t have to waste time doing your own configurations. Now you can dominate the battlefield using mouse and keyboard on consoles. Brook Sniper Contact: Brook Accessory Info: http://www.brookaccessory.com/

Compactly Designed The XZ1 Compact is similar to its bigger brother, the Xperia XZ1. It comes with a 4.6-inch HD TRILUMINOS Display, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, which can be expanded with a 256GB microSD card. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and is equipped with a 2,700 mAh battery. It also has Quick Charge 3.0, but sadly no wireless charging. As for the cameras, it sports a 19-megapixel Motion Eye camera for the rear, and an 8-megapixel front camera. The XZ1 Compact is also capable of running 3D Creator, and capture 3D images all on your device. Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Contact: Sony (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Phone: 1 300 88 1233 Info: www.sony.com.my

Compact & Lightweight The ASUS FX553VD is a lean, mean gaming machine that is built light and compact, allowing you to take it everywhere. Equipped with a 7th gen Intel Core i5 7300HQ processor, 4GB of 2,400 MHz DDR4 RAM which can be upgraded, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1TB of HDD. For the display, it sports a 15.6-inch Full HD Anti-Glare display with 60Hz of refresh rate. It also comes with a built-in optical DVD drive for those pesky school projects handins. Measuring at 383 x 255 x 30 mm and weighing less than 3 kg, this could be your perfect gaming and work companion anywhere you go. ASUS FX553VD Contact: Thunder Match Technology Sdn Bhd, All IT Hypermarket Sdn Bhd, Brightstar Computer Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 9286 9333, (03) 5879 7336, (03) 2202 7587 Info: https://www.asus.com/my/Laptops/ASUS-FX553VD/

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first looks Gaming on Ultra The GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming is one of the latest boards from GIGABYTE to feature the new and hot Intel 8th Generation processors. The board comes with several goodies such as RGB Fusion, AMP-UP Audio, Smart Fan 5, and so on. It also sports a Thermal Armor for the I/O port cover, as well as a new design for the M.2 Heatsink. With RGB Fusion you can sync up your RGB devices and components together to display the same colour. It can also support DDR4 Memory with XMP capabilities of up to 4,000 MHz and more! Besides that, the board is VR ready, and can support graphic cards with up to 3-Way CrossFire or 2-Way SLI Support. GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming Contact: Nation-Tech Sdn Bhd, Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 4280 6636, (03) 79566300 Info: www.gigabyte.my

Sure To Impress The Epson SureColor SC-B9070 is an Indoor Signage Production Printer. It is capable of printing up to 100 sqm/h, and is capable of printing signs with up to 2880Ă—1440 dpi of resolution, along with a maximum ink droplet size of 4.1 pl. Utilising the top of the line printing technology of Dual PrecisionCore TFP Print Heads with 8-channel, capable of drop-on-demand that will ensure amazing printing speeds. The after-heater of the printer will also improve ink-drying time, and this allows the media to be taken up the reel without transferring wet ink to the roll. The printer can fit a paper of at least 300 mm, with a maximum of 1,626 mm wide. Epson SureColor SC-B9070 Indoor Signage Production Printer Contact: Epson Malaysia Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 5628 8288 Info: www.epson.com.my

Skilling On The Rest The Sharkoon Skiller Mech SGK2 is a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that comes without the numpad that is usually present on other keyboards. This allows the keyboard to have a smaller size compared to other keyboards, saving you valueble desktop space. The board uses Kailh Red switches, which is similar to Cherry Red switches, but made by a different company. It’s illuminated with White LEDs and is also equipped with Anti-Ghosting Keys, N-Key Rollover support, 6-Key Rollover support, and on-the-fly macro recording. The keyboard also sports a gold-plated USB plug with braided cable. Sharkoon SKILLER MECH SGK2 Contact: IDEAL TECH PC Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 9202 3137 Info: https://www.sharkoon.com/

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first looks Not Your Average Lightsaber Elitegroup’s Z370 board comes with some bells and whistles, but weirdly it is not as bright as a lightsaber. It does have some illumination on the side, which can be controlled in the BIOS. But this is not new as they rarely focus on the aesthetics and more on raw power. It supports the latest Intel 8th Gen processors and 64GB DDR4 2,400 MHz on default, which can be pushed to 3,200 MHz on OC. The board also has three PCIE slots, but only capable of supporting AMD CrossFire. You can even utilise LEET Boost to easily overclock your components without having to get into the nitty gritty stuff. ECS Elitegroup LEET Z370-Lightsaber Motherboard Contact: Convergent Distribution(M) Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 2144 1881 Info: www.ecs.com.tw

MIXing It Up ADATA, a brand that is mostly known for their storage and memory products have just recently announced the XPG EMIX H30 Gaming Headset and XPG SOLOX F30 Gaming Amplifier. This combo allows you to enjoy 7.1 virtual surround sound with spatial and multi-directional audio. On the amplifier, you can easily switch between four preset sound modes for gaming, movie, music or voice. You can also swap between speaker or headphone output with a touch of a button. 53 mm drivers are also equipped on the headphones, so you can enjoy a variety of audio range as well as deep bass. ADATA XPG EMIX H30 Gaming Headset & XPG SOLOX F30 7.1 Gaming Amplifier Contact: Achieva Technology Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7955 1768 Info: www.adata.com

XTREEM Speeds Team Group’s T-FORCE XTREEM DDR4 memory recently won Japan’s Good Design Award by beating the world record for highest overclocking frequency of 5,280 MHz, becoming the first ever memory to ever break the barrier of 5,200 MHz. It comes with base frequencies of up to 4,133 MHz and supports Intel XMP 2.0, which allows you to easily overclock it. For now, the XTREEM DDR4 memory comes without any RGB or over the top design, but instead it comes with a low profile design. Team Group T-Force Gaming XTREEM DDR4 Memory Contact: AMT PC Distributors Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 3344 1124 Info: http://www.teamgroupinc.com/en/

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first looks Speed Of Light The latest mouse from Logitech is wireless and is made for gamers. It comes with a new sensor dubbed the HERO sensor and is capable of utilising the full DPI range of 200 to 12,000. According to Logitech, it will have zero smoothing, acceleration and filtering. The HERO is also equipped with smart power management that allows the mouse to last up to 500 hours on high settings, and 18 months on low settings. You can even connect the G603 to multiple devices using LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth technologies. The mouse is still usable with one battery, without any loss in performance aside from battery life. The mouse also sports six programmable buttons. Logitech G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse Contact: Ingram Micro Sdn Bhd, MCL Sdn Bhd, M-Link Sdn Bhd, Kaira Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7955 8188, (03) 8023 3800, (03) 7728 9003, (03) 7955 3669 Info: www.logitech.com/en-my

Elegant Design The ED3 is one of Acer’s latest monitor to grace the table of gamers and designers, and comes with some great features. It features a 27-inch 1800R curved Full HD display, one that is not yet found on many monitors in the market now, but is slowly increasing in numbers. The display is also rated at 4ms of response time and 144 Hz of Refresh Rate, backed by AMD’s FreeSync for reduced screen tearing. It’s also less prone to flickers and features BlueLightShield to reduce eyestrain. Acer ED273 abidpx Contact: Acer Sales and Services Sdn Bhd Phone: 1 800 88 1288 Info: www.acer.com.my

Bring On The Legion The Lenovo Legion Y920 laptop was recently unveiled, and will be made available to the local market very soon. It comes with 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 and up to 32GB of DDR4 memory. For the display, Lenovo made it a 17.3-inch Full HD IPS display, which is capable of 4K resolution. This is topped off with a fully mechanical keyboard on the laptop. If you love RGB, you can even enable multicolour backlight for the keyboard. As for the audio side of things, Lenovo teamed up with JBL to deliver impeccable audio experience with their 3W bass subwoofer and 2W speakers. Lenovo Legion Y920 Laptop Contact: Lenovo Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: 1 800 80 8575 Info: www.lenovo.com/my/en

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first looks You’re A MasterWatt Cooler Master a popular brand all around the world has just announced new products within their MasterWatt series Power Suppy, ranging from 450Wto 750W. It comes with DC – DC circuit design, which provides reliable and stable output voltages consistently. A Cooler Master 120 mm Silencio FP fan coupled with sealed LDB bearings can be seen on the unit, combining for low noise and reduced power consumption compared to other fans. Sleeved cables are also provided with the PSU for better cable management, allowing uses to keep a clean and more professional look. The MasterWatt operates at 0dB under 15% load. Cooler Master MasterWatt 650 Contact: Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd, Build Technology Supply Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7956 6300, (03) 7955 3699 Info: www.coolermaster.com

Ring Light Ready The Razer Kiyo is a webcam that is made for streamers. It’s equipped with a ring light right around the camera, with the colour temperature of the light set to 5600K, and brightness capable of reaching 10 Lux. An omni-directional microphone is also built into the device, so it can be your all-in-one streaming device if you want it to. The camera on the device can record at 1080p in 30FPS or 720p in 60FPS. Now you don’t have to buy expensive lighting solutions to increase your streaming quality, since it is all built into the small webcam. Look brighter and better for your streams. Razer Kiyo Contact: Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7956 6300 Info: www.razerzone.com

Aye Matey The latest phablet phone from HUAWEI comes in the form of Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. The Mate 10 Pro features a 6-inch Fullview and OLED display with 402 ppi. It is powered by the new Kirin 970 processor, which is equipped with a NPU (Neural Network Processing Unit). Empowering this device is 4GB RAM with 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM with 128GB of ROM, and it runs on the Android 8.0-based EMUI 8.0. It also sports a dual camera setup for the rear camera, consisting of a 20-megapixel monochrome camera with 12-megapixel RGB camera, while the front uses an 8-megapixel camera. Lastly, a whopping 4,000 mAh battery compliments the device. HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro Contact: Huawei Malaysia Mobile Hotline Phone: 1 800 22 0086 Info: www.huawei.com/my

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first looks Gotta Go Fast G.SKILL, a big name familiar to RAM enthusiasts, has just announced the availability of a new configuration of 4x 8GB (32GB) DDR4-4266MHz. This RAM kit is built from ultra-highperformance Samsung B-die DDR4 ICs, marking it as the fastest 4x 8GB configuration available in the market now. In combination with ASUS OptiMem technology, it boosts the T-Topology layout with improved stability and increased frequency headroom. The memory is running on CL19-23-23-43 at 1.4V and it is Intel XMP 2.0 ready, so you can take it to the next level. G.SKILL Trident Z RGB 32GB DDR4-4266MHz Contact: Eternal Asia (M) Sdn Bhd, IDEAL TECH PC Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 5613 5600, (03) 9202 3137 Info: https://www.gskill.com/en/

TUF For Gaming ASUS has recently inched their TUF series to appeal to more gamers with their tough and ready to game motherboards. The TUF Z370-PLUS GAMING is no different. It supports the latest Intel 8th Gen processors, up 64GB 4,000 MHz(OC) memory, and AMD 2-Way CrossFireX. Audio wise, it sports a Realtek ALC887 codec on the board. As usual with TUF boards, it is built to last and built, with top notch protections for the whole motherboard, from the I/O port cover to PCIE SafeSlots. The edges of the motherboard are also RGB illuminated, so you can control and sync it together with ASUS Aura Sync. ASUS TUF Z370-PLUS GAMING Contact: ASUSTek Computer Malaysia Phone: (03) 2131 6650 Info: www.asus.com/my

Who Needs Earphones Anymore? The Zungle Panther are sunglasses that have built-in bone conduction speakers, which allows you to listen to music all from your sunglasses, without the need for any earphones or headphones. It works by transmitting sound waves to the skull via vibrations. This allows you to listen to music while paying attention to your surroundings. There is also no need for wires as you simply connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The sunglasses are also equipped with a built-in microphone, so you can take your phone calls on the go as well, without pulling out your smartphone. Zungle Panther Contact: Zungle Inc. Info: https://www.zungleinc.com

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Nokia 8 Price: RM2,299 Contact: Avaxx Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 5638 3888 Info: https://www.nokia.com/en_my/phones Operating System: Android 7.1.1 System on Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Memory: 4 GB Storage: 64 GB Display: 5.3-inch IPS QuadHD Camera: Dual 13-megapixel (Colour + Mono) rear, 13-megapixel front Battery: 3,090 mAh Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm Antutu: 173,724 points PCMark for Android: 6,717 points 3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 3,499 points 3DMark Slingshot: 4,586 points

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

A New 8 Enters The Battle

Nokia’s latest Android flagship device comes with some great bells and whistles

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he Nokia 8 is a device that does most things well without adding too much bloatware to the original Android experience. It is one of the lightest OS that we’ve used over the years, with OxygenOS from the OnePlus just behind it. This phone is well-built, but lacks much of the innovation found in other smartphones that are available in the market right now. It does have a vertical dual camera setup in the middle of the phone, a headphone jack on top of the device and a USB Type-C port for charging at the bottom. The camera at the back is great to use, but sometimes when you are using it in Twin mode, it lags ever so slightly, creating a potentially unusable picture. The device is capable of taking great pictures, maybe even better than similarly priced counterparts. Another feature added with the camera is with its Dual-Sight mode, which utilises both the front and rear camera together for a split-screen picture. This is useful if you want to be in the picture, but don’t want to

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cram everyone into a wefie. With the latest snapdragon processor – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, navigating the phone is a breeze and during our time of testing, the phone remained responsive and could multitask games without issues. However, we did run into an instance whereby the phone was stuck in a bootloop, and all we could do was wait for it to run out of battery. Luckily that only happened once during our testing, so it could just be a fluke. It also features a new Nokia OZO spatial 360 audio recording and playback, which allows high quality audio recording and playback. With Audio Focus, you can maintain the focus on what you want to record by reducing ambient sounds and background noises. The phone as an overall package does its job well and fights for its spot as a device that you should purchase this year, if you are not interested in other flagship models within the same price range. Plus, you can now have the original Nokia track set as your ringtone to get that nostalgia kick.

The vertical dual camera setup on the Nokia 8

Dual-Sight camera mode

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Speedy phone Dual-Sight camera mode

Not very 2017 with top and bottom bezels

CHIP CONCLUDES Overall, a great phone that comes with little bloatware and runs on the latest Snapdragon processor, and is priced less than RM 3,000.


test lab

Marvo Scorpion HG8802 Price: RM69 Contact: GMCW SDN BHD Info: www.gmcw.com.my Frequency response: 20 – 20,000Hz Impedance: 32ohm Connectivity: USB, 3.5mm

By Nixon Ng

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

The Price Is Right Marvo has been surprising us with their products, which come with great value and good to match

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aming can come in different forms, from your mobile phone to a console platform, and while playing online games with friends and strangers communication is always key. There’s a wide range of options out there when it comes to headsets, but some of them are actually quite costly especially for those on a tight budget. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining as there are also cheaper options out there that will solve your budget problems. Dive in to the Marvo HG8802, a USB headphone which works across most gaming platforms like PC, PlayStation and Xbox. The packaging it comes in is pretty simple and the box has that gamer vibe, but on the inside it’s pretty simple. All you get is the headphone and a cardboard insert, but honestly there’s nothing else you’ll need. The overall build quality of the HG8802 is decent; it doesn’t feel cheap and plasticky like those OEM headphones you get from your local IT store. It does lack that true feeling of durability but that’s to be expected at the price you’re getting it for. However, it’s not flimsy by any means. We adjusted the headphone length and bent it about and it seems fine, just

don’t try to force it into a split. Surprisingly the headphone is actually quite comfortable. The cushion meant for your head is soft and doesn’t apply any pressure, while the cups are slightly hard but are big enough to fully encompass even some of our big ears. Isolation isn’t its forte but it’s good enough to drown out some background noise. The cable used on the HG8802 is braided cloth, which makes it supple yet slightly rigid, and we’ve noticed some kinks leftover from when the cables were wound up during packaging. We also have to say the HG8802 is incredibly light so you won’t feel any weight pressing down on your head. The top cushion adds on to that. Sound quality wise, the HG8802 is quite good. Listening to Porter Robinson’s Shelter, an orchestratic and electronic song with vocals, we had a nice mix of bass, mids, and highs. Mids and highs come through clear and no distortion was noticed. Bass is good and tight but as it goes lower it starts getting muddy and drowns out everything else. On the other hand, the bass is great for gaming as it allows you to hear and feel all the excitement.

Control the volume, microphone and connect your 3.5mm cable to this remote

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Comfortable Great value

Doesn’t isolate well

CHIP CONCLUDES A value oriented gaming headphone which works across most gaming platforms, the HG8802 is a steal and is a great choice for those on tight budgets.

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Lian Li PC-O11 Price: RM1,099 Contact: GMC Worldwide Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 8023 0336 Info: www.gmwc.com.my Motherboard Size: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX Bays: 4x 3.5-inch, 1x 2.5-inch, 3x 5.25-inch Front Panel I/O: 2x USB 3.0, Audio In/Out Fan Support: 1x 120mm (Rear), 3x 140mm (Front), 2x 120mm (Top) Dimensions: 210 x 473 x 490 mm (WxHxD)

By Mathhew Yap

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Show ‘Case’ Defined

Lian Li shows that it knows the current generation of PC enthusiasts, as this casing definitely shows only what most like to see

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e’ve not had things come in from Lian Li for the longest time, until the PC-7HWX was sent to us last month. This month, they’ve sent us another model that is considered higher end - the PC-O11. The Lian Li PC-O11 is thicker than most cases and it’s also made out of aluminium and tempered glass, giving it an elegant and clean look. Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to that: It’s prone to fingerprints and it’s heavier than most cases, so do consider that when you are trying to find placement for it. An interesting thing about this case is its dual-chamber design, with the side chamber used to install and hide components that tend to be a pain to manage (such as HDDs or PSU cables) from view. Then there’s the main chamber where the user gets to show off all their RGB bling. On the outside, you can see tempered glass panels on the front and side – both which are removable. The metal panel at the front can be removed as well, though there’s no need to do. At the top is another removable cover, which hides a magnetic dust filter under it. There’s a much larger dust filter at the bottom that can only be accessed by tilting the enclosure over, due

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to how it’s design. While it helps provide an intake area that is better filtered, it also makes it difficult to move the chassis without lifting the entire thing. A good thing is that everything can be removed without tools, since the external panels are held in by high quality pegs. Removing the right panel gives you access to two removable HDD bays and the area where the PSU is to be installed. You also have multiple mounting spots scattered around the interior for 2.5-inch drives, which makes up for the lack of drive cages. But other than that, this side chamber is a bit underutilised. The main chamber is quite standard when it comes to installation, though the mount for water pump is a welcome addition. The one thing we’d really like to change on this chassis is the radiator brackets; there’s one pre-installed at the top and another in the box. Most AIO or liquid cooling loop users prefer brackets that are flexible, such as a slide or rail system that allows you to make adjustments. Lian Li opted for one with fixed mounting holes instead, which don’t support 140mm or 280mm radiators, nor allow for flexible placement of other smaller 120mm or 240mm radiators.

Lacking more traditional feet with spacing at the bottom, the best way to move the chassis is to haul the entire thing up

The mounting rack for water cooling radiators is fixed instead of using a rail system, which means it doesn’t support 140mm sizes and it’s inflexible when it comes to placement

+

Plenty of space Looks good

Hard to move around Inflexible mounts

CHIP CONCLUDES Looks pretty and theoretically a great concept, but the execution leaves some to be desired.


test lab

vivo V7+ Price: RM1,499 Contact: vivo Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 2856 9530 Info: www.vivo.my Operating System: Funtouch OS 3.2 System on Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon running Adreno 506 Memory: 4 GB Storage: 64 GB Display: 5.99-inch Camera: 24-megapixel (Front), 16-megapixel (Rear) Battery: 3,225 mAh Dimensions: 155.87 x 75.74 x 7.7 mm Weight: 160 g Antutu: 59,277 points PCMark for Android: 4,747 points 3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 434 points 3DMark Slingshot: 801 points

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Better Pictures, Better Display vivo’s latest venture into edge-to-edge display and improved selfie camera

v

ivo is a brand of smartphones that’s quickly gaining popularity in Malaysia. Their latest smartphone, the V7+, comes bigger and better than the previous phone from the smartphone giant. It features a 5.99-inch edge-to-edge display from the sides, and this time, no physical buttons can be seen on the device, aside from the volume rocker and power button which are both located on the right side of the device. Right out of the box, the device comes wrapped with a protective plastic, a clear phone case and other accessories can be found inside. The device is great to hold and look at, but like other vivo phones, you can feel the edges of the device where the screen meets the body. It does slightly increase the grip that you have on the phone, but for some it might be an annoyance. With the removal of a physical button, gestures are the way you control the device. A simple swipe up from the bottom minimises the app you are currently on, while swiping from the left of the screen to the middle will

bring up your control panel along with used apps, which you can clear by dragging them away from the drawer. The front camera of the device is improved, allowing you to take better selfies. With Live Photos, Group Selfies, Instant Filters and more, your selfie game can be upped with these additions. The phone is decently fast, but for a 2017 flagship it’s not quite up to par. However, by opting for a lower-end processor, they are able to keep their cost down, so that’s an advantage of the choice. Multitasking is still manageable on the device and since vivo has enabled App Clone, you can have two instances of Whatsapp running, one for personal use and the other for work. With all that said, this phone is decent if you are looking for a selfie phone and do not want to splurge on a smartphone. It comes with a decent processor that is still capable of playing the latest games, can handle your usual tasks well, packed with a great camera for both front and back, and sports a 2017 design of smartphones with edge-to-edge display.

Sporting a single rear camera setup

The rounded edge display on the vivo V7+

+

Looks great Capable of taking amazing selfies Price

Slightly older processor

CHIP CONCLUDES A decent phone built up to date for 2017, and if you are big on selfies, the vivo V7+ should be on your shortlist.

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Acer Switch 5 Price: RM3,399 Contact: Acer Sales and Services Sdn. Bhd. Phone: 1 800 88 1288 Info: www.acer.com.my Operating System: Windows 10 Home Processor: Intel Core i5-7200U Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 Memory: 8GB LPDDR3 Storage: 256GB SSD Connectivity: 802.11ac WiFi Others: MicroSD card reader, Stylus Dimensions: 292.90 mm x 201.80 mm x 9.60 Weight: 0.9kg (1.27kg with dock) PCMark Home: 2,646 points PCMark Creative: 2,767 points PCMark Work: 2,933 points

By Matthew YAo

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Portable Excellence

The 2-in-1 Switch series returns with a new model that hits the right spot for the average PC user

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hen the first hybrid detachable notebooks appeared, many brands decided to make their own. That’s understandable, since portability and flexibility are important to many people. In Acer’s camp, one of its latest in this category is the Switch 5. As Acer probably intended when naming it, the Switch 5 is a device that’s able to be used as a tablet, or switched to notebook use when docked with the keyboard. The body itself comes in a dark-grey coloured body that’s mostly aluminium, with a display surrounded by rather thick bezels. Diagonally, it measures more like a 12-inch device than an 11-inch one. The good thing is that the screen is a very sharp QHD IPS display (2160 x 1440). The body and even the keyboard dock have solid builds. Within the keyboard dock is some hard plastic, giving the dock a strong frame that doesn’t flex, while keeping the weight of the entire unit low. Case in point, the Switch 5 only weighs 1.27kg even with the dock attached. Being a detachable device that’s closer to tablet than a traditional notebook, the Switch 5 doesn’t has as many ports as its full-sized cousins. However, Acer equipped it with volume

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buttons, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, USB 3.0 Type-C port, 3.5mm jack for a headset and a microSD card reader. It also has rear and front facing cameras, which is useful for video calls and taking pictures. The keyboard included is decent, as it is spaced out well and has good key travel, while its trackpad does well enough. When not docked, there’s a stylus available to use the machine in tablet mode. Like other devices with the same type of dock, the Switch 5 doesn’t feel comfortable to use when placed on the user’s lap, as it would dig into thighs with relish. As a tablet, the Switch 5 can be great for watching videos. However, while its high resolution means visuals are quite sharp, the colour reproduction isn’t the best for an IPS display. Its contrast ratio is also average at best, but it does have a very bright screen. In regards to audio, it does well enough but lacks bass as expected of a device this size. Thanks to its LiquidLoop cooling system, the Switch 5 doesn’t have generate any fan noise yet stays at a comfortable temperature most of the time. It might feel a bit warm on full load, but it won’t cook your lap.

Acer included the dock and stylus in the package, which makes the Switch 5 very good in value

The kickstand is supposed to retract automatically, but doesn’t do so if opened all the way

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Highly portable Bundled accessories Silent

Average screen

CHIP CONCLUDES It may not be the absolute best when it comes to performance, but its easily one of the top options you can go for in the detachable 2-in-1 category.


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PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 560 Price: TBC Contact: Achieva Technology Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7955 1768 Info: www.powercolor.com

GPU: AMD Radeon RX560 Memory: 4GB GDDR5 Clockspeed: 1,288MHz (base/gaming mode), 1,750 MHz (boost) Ports: 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort Slot Size: Dual-Slot Other: 128-bit interface, 1024 stream processors Dimensions: 225 x 128 x 38 mm 3D Mark Time Spy: 2,712 points 3D Mark Fire Strike: 5,812 points 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme: 2,853 points 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra: 1,474 points

By Matthew Yap

Performance: Features: Design:

Entry Level Gaming More people are getting into gaming, particularly e-sports, so having an affordable option like this GPU is great

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onths after AMD first launched its Polaris-based RX 500 series, the company has finally released the high-end Vega GPUs as well. While those are for high-end gaming and other consumer applications, GPUs like the cheaper PowerColor Red Dragon RX 560 is designed for entry level gaming like e-sports titles. The Red Dragon RX 560 is a relatively short GPU that comes in a simple box with no other accessories inside. It’s covered by a black plastic shroud that encloses a small aluminium, with a single 120mm fan to cool the entire unit. Don’t expect any frills either; it has no RGB lighting, backplate or special fan blade design. PowerColor’s goal was for a compact size and low weight, which they achieved. Being light makes it great to use in ITX builds. But since it’s a dual-slot card, users might run into issues. Length-wise it’s not too long, so that helps for shorter cases or if it’s a there are drive cages in the way. In terms of I/O, you only get one port each

for DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. You can still use it with two monitors in 1080p resolution if you want, since it should have the bandwidth. With a TDP of 75W, some may be surprised that it can run on 1,288 MHz core clock speeds and 1,700 MHz memory clock speeds. However, that’s about as high as it gets and it’s can’t be reliably overclocked further. To compensate, it runs near silent, with the low-powered fan barely heard even under full load. We were worried that the cooling system wouldn’t be efficient enough, but it manages relatively well due to the low power draw and stays around 30° for idle to 75° when it’s under typical load. While not the best performing cooler, it manages the heat well enough. As an entry level GPU, you won’t be doing more than 1080p gaming with it. But thanks to Radeon Chill, we see decent frame rates at low temperatures. It’s more than enough to comfortably play titles like LoL or Dota 2, and can run more high-end games at low to medium settings if you want.

A single 6-pin PCIe cable is enough to power this GPU

This GPU is quite lean on the I/O, providing only one port each for DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort

+

Near silent Affordable

Can’t overclock much

CHIP CONCLUDES A great budget card that’s quiet if a bit warmer than most, it can play most e-sports games you want at 1080p as long as you adjust the settings.

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MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO Price: RM4,345 Contact: JW Power Marketing Sdn Bhd, Mediaforte (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Adventure Multi Devices Sdn Bhd, Build Technology Supply Sdn Bhd Phone: (03)-2148 1307, (03)-7960 6868, (03)-7955 7788, (03)-7773 0399 Info: my.msi.com GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Memory: 11GB GDDR5X Ports: 1x DVI, 2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI Slot Size: 2.5-slot Dimensions: 325 x 140 x 48mm 3DMark Time Spy: 8,712 points 3DMark Fire Strike: 22,731 points 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme: 13,800 points 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra: 7,280 points

By Nixcn Ng

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

A Triple Threat One of the best iterations of the GTX 1080 Ti we’ve seen so far

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etting all these high end graphics cards this month is a dream come true for us here at CHIP, and both from different camps. You won’t see us comparing them but we’ll definitely let you know the best and worst parts of each other. Coming in with a hefty weight of almost 1.5kg is the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO. The TRIO in its name stands for the triple fans built into the cooling shroud. Also, RGB is taking root even on graphics card, with Mystic Light RGB scattered throughout the cooling shroud of this GPU, including some slight accent on the backplate. MSI calls their three fan cooler TRI-FROZR, which comes with their TORX 2.0 fans and the ZeroFrozr technology, so you’ll have zero noise from the TRIO when below 60-degrees Celsius. The TRIO comes with three different core profiles that modify the base and boost clock of the card. In OC Mode, you’ll get the highest factory overclock for the card at

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1,683MHz, the default profile on the other hand is the Gaming Mode with a maximum turbo clock of 1,657MHz. Then we have the third mode Silent, which downclocks the card further to reduce power consumption and heat generation. On the memory side the TRIO has a massive 11GB of GDDR5X memory and a memory bus of 352-bit, which means you can pump up those textures, render distance, anti-aliasing, and have a sick multi-monitor setup all at once. To support all that you’ll need dual 8-pin power connectors to power the card, and you’ll also need at least a 600W power supply to be safe, probably a bit more overhead if you want to overclock it further. But the most important factor is… Does it game? Without any suspense, of course it does. Its performance when it comes to games is amazing, definitely deserving to be called one of the fastest graphics card at the moment. With the TRIO you’ll have no problems playing the latest games while keeping your computer cool and silent.

A trio of TORX 2.0 fans!

Awesome backplate with embedded Mystic Light

+

Beastly performance Low temperatures

None

CHIP CONCLUDES What more can you ask for from a graphics card? Performance, RGB, Cooling? All check! What are you waiting for?


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MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON Price: RM970 Contact: JW Power Marketing Sdn Bhd, Mediaforte (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Adventure Multi Devices Sdn Bhd, Build Technology Supply Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 2148 1307, (03) 7960 6868, (03) 7955 7788, (03) 7773 0399 Info: my.msi.com

Socket: LGA 1151 Chipset: Intel Z370 RAM Slots: 4 RAM: Max 64 GB (4000+ MHz on OC) Connectivity: 1x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN Ports: 2x USB 2.0 Type A, 1x USB 3.1(Gen 2) Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4x USB 3.1(Gen 1) Type-A, 1x HDMI, 1x Display Port Other: 2-way NVIDIA SLI, 3-way AMD Crossfire Size: ATX PCMark8 Home: 4,316 points PCMark8 Creative: 4,462 points PCMark8 Work: 3,703 points

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Gaming On Carbon

One of the motherboards from MSI’s Z370 line-up that features some carbon looks

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he Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon, as its name suggests, comes with carbon fibre parts around the motherboard, namely on the rear I/O shield and chipset heatsink. Made for intensive gaming, this motherboard is endorsed by professional gamers and will have no issue staying on for 24-hours for those intense gaming sessions or raids. It has multiple features that will help you in gaming, such as Game Boost and Multi-GPU capabilities on the motherboard. The BIOS is also easy to use and can be configured to deliver greater performance when gaming. Aside from that, an Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN controller provides exceptional online gaming experience with low latency and better bandwidth management. To further boost your build’s gaming capabilities, it also supports 2-Way SLI and 3-Way Crossfire. In addition, it is equipped with the MSI Mystic Light utility that allows you to sync a plethora of other RGB components with the board’s lighting, so you show off your build’s colour in unison.

As for audio, it sports two Realtek ALC1220 Codec, the Audio Boost 4 that consists of a HD audio processor with a built-in DAC, and supports DSD Super Audio CD playback. It can also support output devices with up to 600 ohms of impedance, while its Chemi-Con audio capacitors help produce a warmer sound. Audio Boost also protects your ears by eliminating popping sounds when you plug or unplug your audio devices, or when it’s switch on and off. You can fit up to 64GB of DDR4 memory on this board and overclock it to a whopping 4,000MHz if you tweak it correctly. A XMP LED highlight can also be seen on the board, so you can physically see when the XMP Profile is active. As a board that is released the same time when Z370 is announced, it managed to keep its footing against other heavy hitters in the market right now. It should also be noted that it did not run into any crashes or weird errors during our testing.

The Rear I/O with carbon shield

Audio Boost 4 with Chemi-Con audio capacitors

+

Looks

None

CHIP CONCLUDES Overall a great board that runs on the latest Intel 8th gen processor and comes with fantastic audio and gaming features.

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ASUS ROG Zephyrus Price: RM15,999 Contact: Build Technology Supply Sdn Bhd, Servex (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, ECS Astar Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7955 3699, (03) 80246688, (03) 6286 8222 Info: www.build.com.my, www.servex.com.my, www.ecsm.com.my Operating System: Windows 10 Home Display: 15.6-inch Full HD @ 120Hz Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Connectivity: 1x USB 3.1 Type C Thunderbolt, 4x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI Memory: 24GB DDR4 Storage: 1TB SSD Others: Aura RGB backlit chiclet keyboard Dimensions: 379 x 262 x 16.9 mm Weight: 2.25 KG (with battery) PCMARK8 Home: 4,163 points PCMARK8 Creative: 5,183 points PCMARK8 Work: 3,556 points 3DMark Timespy: 5,402 points 3DMark Firestrike Ultra: 4,049 points 3DMark Firestrike Extreme: 7,574 points

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

The New God Of Wind

The latest powerhouse gaming laptop from ASUS

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he ASUS ROG Zephyrus is a name derived from the God of the West Wind from Greek mythology. It’s packaged in a black box with red trims, and has several goodies such as a wired mouse, stickers, and more inside. The build of this laptop is a unique one. When you prop the screen up, the bottom of the laptop will be raised up as well, allowing better air flow when you are heavily gaming. Upon closer inspection, the stands that prop up the body of the laptop seems quite sturdy, but we’re worried about the lifespan of the stands. Aside from that, the keyboard area of this laptop is reduced in size in order to fit a fan inside. When gaming, the fan becomes loud and the area above the keyboard gets hot too, resulting in the heat transferring to your palms. On other gaming laptops, you will usually feel uncomfortable with the heat under your wrists, making gaming sessions an annoyance unless you have a portable keyboard with you, but ASUS solved this issue with style. The keyboard area also features a trackpad for on-the-go

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gaming, and can also be switched to a numpad with a click of a button. We still would recommend external accessories to game with, as some might struggle with the placement of the keys and the tiny trackpad. We noticed that the trackpad will not work occasionally when you press down multiple keys during gaming. The Zephyrus is made to game, so you can expect it to have the latest and greatest in specs. It comes with an i7-7700HQ processor, 24GB of RAM, and the holy grail of GPUs - the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. We tested the Zephyrus with some games that require heavy firepower, such as Battlefield 1 and Witcher 3, and it managed to shrug them off without fuss. Framerates were maintained throughout our testing, even when the graphics were all pushed to Ultra. Overall, this monster of a laptop is great for gaming, portable and slim for its class. It features state-of-the-art technologies behind its build and ASUS proves itself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Illuminated keys on the keyboard along with the fan area equipped with ROG logo

The bottom of the laptop is raised up, giving ample airflow to the laptop when used

+

Slim & lightweight Unique design

Price Fingerprint magnet

CHIP CONCLUDES An amazing laptop equipped with GTX 1080, for people who like to game and desire something very portable, but it comes with a steep price.


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ASUS ZenBook Flip S Price: RM6,699 Contact: Build Technology Supply Sdn Bhd, Servex (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, ECS Astar Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 7955 3699, (03) 80246688, (03) 6286 8222 Info: www.build.com.my, www.servex.com.my, www.ecsm.com.my Operating System: Windows 10 Home Display: 13.3-inch Full HD Touchscreen @ 60Hz Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U Connectivity: 2x USB 3.1 USB-C, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 Memory: 8GB DDR3 Storage: 512GB SSD Others: Sleeve, Mini Dock, Stylus Dimensions: 313 x 218 x 10.9 mm Weight: 1.1 KG PCMARK8 Home: 2,687 points PCMARK8 Creative: 2,869 points PCMARK8 Work: 3,211 points

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Flipping Decent The thinnest convertible laptop in ASUS’ repertoire

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he ZenBook Flip S is the latest convertible laptop from ASUS. We managed to get our hands on the Royal Blue variant and the colour is dazzling. With a gold finish on the ASUS logo and gold trim along the sides, using this laptop will undoubtedly draw some eyes. The laptop is decently built. It features a 13.3-inch Full HD display with touchscreen capabilities, so you can easily use it when converted into Stand Mode, which disables the keyboard/touchpad. It is also packed with ASUS technologies, such as Splendid, to further boost the viewing goodness of your movies and media. However, it is not just a movie machine as it can be used for work as well. Weighing slightly over 1KG, it is light and slim, and can be slotted easily in your backpack or messenger bag without weighing you down. The Harman Kardon-certified speakers with ASUS SonicMaster Premium audio system will further boost your audio listening capabilities. The speakers are bottom firing, so it might be slightly less audible when you are watching your movies in Laptop Mode. It works better when you are watching it in

Tent Mode. The keyboard on the laptop is backlit and features 1.0mm key travel, allowing you to type comfortably and more accurately. It also sports a fingerprint reader on the side of the device for easy unlocking, but if you wish you can also configure Windows Hello on the device so you can unlock the laptop using your face. Bundled together with the laptop is a mini dock that features a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.0 Type-A port, and a full-sized HDMI port that allows you to display your work or images on a bigger screen. Besides that, it also comes with the ASUS Pen that has 1,024 pressure levels and can sense force from as little as 10 grams to 300 grams. The ASUS Pen also works without a hitch on Windows Ink. As for the specs of the device, it comes in bundles with different configurations, such as storage of up to 1TB SSD and as much as 16GB of RAM. The laptop is charged via its USB-C port as well, so it is best to have an additional accessory that supports more USB ports if you wish to plug in more peripherals to it.

Splashes of gold throughout the laptop, on the keyboard and trim

The mini-dock that comes bundled together

+

Extremely slim and lightweight Royal Blue colour variant is eye-catching

Price Fingerprint magnet

CHIP CONCLUDES Overall as a convertible laptop, it does the job well. Portable, stylish, fast to boot, comes with touchscreen capabilities on the beautiful display, and topped with a decent battery life.

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ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming Price: TBA Contact: ASUSTek Computer Malaysia Phone: (03) 2131 6650 Info: www.asus.com/my

Socket: LGA 1151 Chipset: Intel Z370 RAM Slots: 4 Memory: 4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C .)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/320 0(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz DDR4 Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x VGA, 1x LAN, 1x ASUS WiFi GO! Module, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 5x Audio port, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 2x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4, 4x PCIe x1, 6x SATA 6Gb/s, 2x M.2 PCMark Home: 4,254 points PCMark Creative: 5,261 points PCMark Work: 3,707 points

By Matthew Yap

Performance: Features: Design:

Nominal Upgrade A new generation tends to have more to prove and here is one of ASUS’ take on the Z370 platform

I

ntel’s new platform has been out for some weeks now and reception has been mixed at best. However, benchmarks generally show notable performance improvements so it has merits. Regardless, it’s here to stay and ASUS is on the ball with its ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming. As far as layout goes, this motherboard really isn’t all that different from its predecessors. Of course, ASUS has included many of its newer features, such as the M.2 Heatsink. Spacing around the CPU socket is ample, so you shouldn’t run into and RAM clearance issues. There’s four DIMM slots, while the two PCIe slots – that run in single x16 mode or dual x8 for SLi or CrossFireX – have metal brackets to reinforce them. In addition, this motherboard has two M.2 slots, so you can use two fast NVMe SSDs if you want. Note that you’ll have to remove the lower slot’s heatsink before you can install a module there. The ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming comes with five fan headers, which is a decent amount. It accommodates a water pump, two CPU fans, and two fans additional fans for your

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chassis. Besides that, it has two headers that support RGB LED strips and another for addressable strips. Like many of ASUS current motherboards, you’ll be able to sync the lighting colours and patterns to the board’s owns. I/O options are good here, but a bit lean on the USB side. There’s a total of six USB ports, one of which is a USB Type-C and two that are the slower USB 2.0. For those instances when your GPU fails, ASUS also included a VGA, DisplayPort and HDMI port for video output. In addition, it has an Ethernet port and a Wireless module, the latter a common thing to see on higher-end motherboards these days. Another feature that’s now quite common is the support for 3D printed parts. With the mounts on the motherboard, you can mount a small fan to cool the M.2 SSD, considering that a sixth fan header for that is included. When it comes to overclocking, this board does well enough. However, the higher temperatures for Coffee Lake CPUs mean that extreme overclocking isn’t feasible without a high-end cooling solution.

Having less USB ports is becoming a common sight, though many would say it’s not something they welcome

One of the M.2 slot is covered by a heatsink, which also has some thermal pads on it to mitigate heat

+

M.2 heatsink Plenty of RGB support

Low number of USBs

CHIP CONCLUDES A good motherboard if you’re looking for something that’s decent in multiple areas.


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ASUS ROG STRIX RX VEGA64 Price: TBA Contact: ASUSTek Computer Malaysia Phone: (03) 2131 6650 Info: www.asus.com/my GPU: AMD RX VEGA64 Memory: 8GB HBM2 Ports: 1x DVI, 2x HDMI, 2x DP Slot Size: 2.5-slot Dimensions: 273 x 140 x 43mm 3D Mark Time Spy: 6,727 points Fire Strike Extreme: 9,435 points Fire Strike Ultra: 5,252 points Performance: Features: Design:

By Nixon Ng

Unleash The STRIX

There’s nothing bad to say about the ROG STRIX RX VEGA64, it’s a solid graphic card with an eye out for people who love RGB

R

OG is coming out full force with gaming graphics cards packed with ASUS exclusive technologies, and one of their latest superstars is the ROG STRIX RX VEGA64. This flagship graphics card comes with ASUS’ best technologies, even ASUS Aura Sync RGB LED’s can be found on the cooling shroud. This means additional synchronisation options for modders to work with and greater customisation available to everyone. Cooling on the STRIX is excellent, keeping cool throughout gaming and benchmarks, not surprising as the cooling shroud houses three full size fans and an incredibly thick heatsink. The fans used are ASUS’ Patented Wing-Blade Design and according to our ears they do a pretty good job keeping the setup quiet. Not only that, you can game in almost silence when 0dB kicks in, as the fans turn off when the graphics card temperature goes below 55°. Something interesting to look at is ASUS’ FanConnect II, which features two 4-pin headers that allow you to connect fans to your graphic card, and connected fans reference both GPU and CPU temperatures for optimal

cooling. The card also takes up 2.5-slots to accommodate the larger heatsink, but should be fine if you’re running a single graphics card. On the back of the STRIX you’ll find a backplate that also sports the Aura Sync lightning. In terms of output, they designed the STRIX so it would be compatible for VR headsets, giving it two DisplayPort and HDMI ports. This is always welcomed as majority of monitors still use HDMI, and the single DVI port also adds some flexibility to the card. It requires double 8-pin power connectors to power properly and has a rated TDP of around 295W, so you’ll probably need a power supply with at least 600W to run it, or higher if you want to overclock it comfortably. When it comes to performance the STRIX is a beast, clocking in average frames surpassing 60FPS easily on 1080p games. If you want to game on 1080p with no bottle neck at all then this graphics card is the way to go, but of course when you get a card this powerful you’ll be looking at 4K gaming as well. The STRIX holds its own well in the realm of 4K gaming, and of course in VR gaming as well.

A beautiful backplate on an awesome card

FanConnect II adds a new way of cooling

+

Performance FanConnect II Low temperatures

None

CHIP CONCLUDES An amazing card with great performance and cooling, not to mention LED customisability with Aura Sync and VR-ready capabilities.

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GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Price: RM1,299 Contact: Nation-Tech Sdn Bhd, Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd Phone: (03)-4280 6636, (03)-79566300 Info: www.gigabyte.my

Socket: LGA1151 CPU: Intel Z370 RAM Slots: 4 RAM Type: DDR4 Ports: 1x DP, 1x HDMI, 5x USB 3.1 Gen1, 1x USB Type-C USB 3.1 Gen2, 1x USB Type-A 3.1 Gen2, 2x RJ-45, 1x SPDIF, 5x audio jack PCMark 8 (Home): 4,366 points PCMark 8 (Creative): 5,262 points PCMark 8 (Work): 3,656 points

By Nixon Ng

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

A Shining Star The GIGABYTE Z370 AUROS Gaming 7 hits the mark, whether it comes to performance or looking good

W

ith the release of Coffee Lake processors, motherboard manufacturers are hard at work to bring the next level of performance to gamers and enthusiasts alike. We were definitely excited to see what they were going to throw at us. Then our prayers were answered when we found the GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 sitting in our office. As you would expect, the motherboard uses the latest Intel Z370 chipset that sports a new LGA1151 socket variant. The socket had to be made to match the new power requirements of the Coffee Lake processors, which now have an increased core count. This means you won’t be able to use older processors in this motherboard even though the processors can physically fit in the sockets. After setting up the motherboard we were greeted by GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion, which lit up the entire motherboard. The LED’s were placed across the motherboard and we think that modders will have a great time customising with it. Sporting four DDR4 DIMM sockets, this motherboard supports dual channel memory configurations and up to 64GB of

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RAM. It also supports memory ranging from 2,133-2,666MHz and up to 4,133MHz when overclocked. When it comes to storage, other than the six SATA 6Gb/s sockets, you also get 3 M.2 connectors that are capable of RAID 0, offering speeds faster than before. There’s also support for Intel Optane Memory, which acts like a cache drive to boost your storage significantly. An important factor we look for in a motherboard is a wide range of connectivity in its I/O back panel, and we weren’t disappointed. On the back you’ll find all the important bits like a DisplayPort and HDMI port, not to mention five USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. Then you have the USB Type-C and USB3.1 Gen2 Type-A port. To make it interesting the motherboard has two LAN ports, one Intel Gigabit LAN chip and the other is a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 LAN chip. Of course, with a Z370 motherboard you’re expecting to overclock, and with GIGABYTE’s EasyTune interface you’ll be able to overclock your system in a single click. So even if you’re a beginner to overclocking you’ll be able to get that extra boost in performance without hassle, even while you’re still learning the ropes.

GIGABYTE’s RGB FUSION LED’s are all over the place!

Two M.2 slots here and another up top for some RAID 0 goodness

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Overall design Feature packed

None

CHIP CONCLUDES Modders will find themselves in paradise with the RGB LED’s all over the board, while even gamers and enthusiasts will be able to appreciate the aesthetics and performance the AORUS Gaming 7 brings with it.


test lab

Intel Core i5-8400 Price: TBC Contact: Intel Malaysia Info: www.intel.com Architecture: Coffee Lake Process: 14nm Base Clock: 2.8GHz Boost Clock: 4.0GHz Cache: 9MB TDP: 65W Cinebench: 950cb PCMark 8 (Home): 4,366 points PCMark 8 (Creative): 5,262 points PCMark 8 (Work): 3,656 points

By Nixon Ng

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Have A Coffee By The Lake Intel takes a step in the right direction with Coffee Lake, helping to further pave the way for multi-core optimisation

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he processor war has been hot with the release of AMD’s Ryzen processors, and nothing is better than competition as motivation to outdo each other. After much wait the new Coffee Lake processor from Intel has been launched this month, and we’re lucky enough to get our hands on the Intel Core i5-8400. The launch of Coffee Lake is a pretty big deal for the fact that Coffee Lake has increased the core count across their i-Series processors. The i3 is now a quadcore processor from dual-core, while the i5 and i7 processors are now hexa-core processors. The Z370 chipset also uses a new LGA1151 socket, which is physically similar to the Z270 but doesn’t support older processors so it’s important to note that. As for this processor itself, the Intel i5-8400 is targeted for the average consumer. Clocking in with a basic core clock of 2.8GHz, the 8400 can hit higher clock speeds of 4.0GHz when its turbo kicks in. It also supports DDR4-2666MHz memory natively. For its integrated graphics, it uses a UHD Graphics 630 that sports a 350MHz base

clock and boost clock of 1.05GHz, as well as a 9MB L3 cache. When you add all of that, along with the fact that the TDP is just 65W, the Core i5-8400 becomes an excellent choice for building an office PC or HTPC. Performance wise the 8400 definitely does it job, cranking in scores that we expected. With six true cores, consumers are able to get more core counts for lower prices and we might see developers start putting more effort into multi-core optimisation. Temperature wise the 8400 idles at 40°C but when stressed it could hit temps of up to 80°C. Fortunately, these numbers are based on Furmark torture tests and you’re more likely to see an average of 60-70°C on heavy loads and gaming. If you’re getting the 8400 for gaming you won’t be bottlenecked when playing games like DotA2 and LoL, but if you’re aiming to play some triple A titles you might have to look at something with higher performance for the best experience. But just the 8400 alone without a dedicated graphics card is still suitable for watching movies or doing office work.

Not overclockable but has quite a huge boost clock

Can’t use this chip with older chipsets despite being able to physically fit

+

Performance Value

None

CHIP CONCLUDES If you’re on a budget, the i5-8400 is a great choice with its true six cores, which used to be found only on higher end processors.

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GIGABYTE X399 Designare EX Price: RM1,949 Contact: Nation-Tech Sdn. Bhd., Ban Leong Technologies Sdn. Bhd. Phone: (03) 4280 6636, (03) 79566300 Info: www.gigabyte.my Socket: TR4 Chipset: AMD X399 RAM Slots: 8 Memory: 3600+(OC)/3466(OC)/3333(OC)/3200(OC)/2 933(OC)/2667*/2400/2133 DDR4 Ports: 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse, 2x Gigabit LAN, 1x WiFi, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 5x USB 3.0, 5x Audio ports, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x8, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4, 3x PCIe 3.0 x1, 6x SATA 6Gb/s, 3x SATA Express, 2x M.2 socket 3, 1x U.2 connector PCMark 8 Home: 3,858 points PCMark 8 Creative: N/A PCMark 8 Work: 3,433 points

By Matthew Yap

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Designed To Excel GIGABYTE once again pulled through, providing PC enthusiasts with a great option

T

he price-to-performance ratio of a Threadripper CPU is highly appealing for professional work, so the platform supporting it has to be just as appealing. But does GIGABYTE’s X399 Designare EX tick all the right boxes? As expected of a higher-end model, the X399 Designare EX came in a fancy box with plenty of extras inside. This includes some Velcro straps, a bunch of stickers, two risers for the RGB headers, an SLi bridge, one M.2-to-U.2 converter, and the external WiFi module. It has a more metallic look thanks to the silver colour, which reflects the lighting from other components when the system is switched on. A shroud covers the I/O port and audio chipset here, while RGB LEDs are spread across the entire unit. You’ll find eight DIMM slots and five PCIe slots on this motherboard. Two of the PCIe slots run on x16, another two on x8 and the last on x4. At a total of 52 PCIe lanes taken, this leaves the last 12 for the three M.2 slots. As you can see, it makes full use of the 64 PCIe lanes that the platform can deliver, so that all

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your components can have enough bandwidth. Speaking of M.2 slots, all three have a small heatsink with thermal pad attach, but the third slot can only support shorter modules. Besides the above, there’s also eight SATA slots and eight fan headers installed, the latter enough for the best cooling solutions you can think of. While some X399 have been reported to be difficult to work with, we didn’t have much issues getting this one setup and running; the torque screws didn’t take much effort, so installing it was quick. Other than that, note that using the first PCIe slot effectively blocks the first M.2 slot. Users can opt for installing their GPU on the second slot, but this blocks the third PCIe instead. Of course, a PCIe riser can be used to avoid this problem. On to performance, the benchmarks scores for this board wasn’t high because the set of RAMs we could use on it weren’t the best. Like its mainstream Ryzen counterpart, the Threadripper CPUs thrive on higher RAM clockspeeds. With the right module, the X399 Designare EX can easily be one of the top performing motherboards available to date.

A backplate can be found at the back of the motherboard, to ensure that the board won’t flex

Each M.2 slot comes with its own heatsink and thermal pad

+

Lots of I/O Plenty of fan headers

Limited RAM compatibility

CHIP CONCLUDES Other than some clearance issues with the PCIe and M.2 slots, this motherboard is one of the best X399 boards around – if you can afford the price that is.


test lab

D-Link PowerLine AV2 1000 WiFi AC

Price: RM340 Contact: Advancenet Technology Sdn. Bhd., Ingram Micro Sdn. Bhd., Lab Seven (M) Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 8070 3633, (03) 7952 8188, (03) 80758811 Info: www.dlink.com.my

Ports: 1x LAN port Network Standard: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3x, IEEE 1901, HomePlug AV2.1/AV2, IEEE 802.11ac Encryption: 128-bit AES Data Encryption Max PHY Rate: 1000Mbps Data Rate: 10/100/1000 Mbps (auto negotiation) Dimensions: 114 x 59 x 38 mm, 140 x 68 x 50 mm (WiFi AP) Weight: 195g

By Matthew Yap

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

Effective Network Extension

PoE devices have never been commonly used by consumers, but D-Link makes sure that it has one of the best around if you need it

N

etworking brands have many solutions to solve WiFi dead zones, some that we’ve reviewed before. This time around, D-Link sent us the PowerLine AV2 1000 WiFi-AC1200 Starter Kit for us to take a look at. The PowerLineAV2 1000 isn’t new to us since we reviewed the Ethernet-port-only variant earlier this year. But unlike that starter kit, this one has a DHP-W610AV and DHPP610AV combination. The former is essentially used as a wireless access point, while the latter is a smaller PoE adapter. Inside the box is a configuration card, the quick installation guide, a few other miscellaneous documents, and two Ethernet cables. For the DHP-P610AV, you’ll find that it’s similar to the one we reviewed before: A power socket passthrough at the front, three LED indicators below it, and an Ethernet port located on the right side of the device. There’s also a Simple Connect button at the bottom, which works to quickly setup the connection. The DHP-W610AV a noticeably larger device that you’ll want to use in places where the WiFi

is weak or dead. It has two WiFi antenna on its sides, as well as an On/Off switch, WPS button, reset switch and an Ethernet port. What it lacks is a power socket passthrough, though considering its function D-Link may have opt to drop it for a more stable WiFi signal. To install it, the DHP-P610AV must first be connected to a wall socket near your router and then connected to it. Next, plug the DHPW610AV unit to a wall socket in the area you want WiFi to be strengthened. After that, plug a PC to it or use the WiFi to access its interface, then setup as required. For the last step, you’ll be prompted to press the Simple Connect button on both units to connect them. The PowerLine AV2 1000 Starter Kit isn’t complicated to use and its performance is quite good. D-Link mentioned a noise filter that reduces electric noise and we did notice that it performs consistently. Another great thing is that while it doesn’t achieve its max 1-Gigabit speed often, it doesn’t dip in performance much unless you connect a power extension with too many things plugged to it.

A Simple Connect button can be found at the bottom of the PoE unit

Besides an Ethernet port, there’s also an on/off switch and reset button on the wireless unit

+

WiFi AP included Fast

None

CHIP CONCLUDES Much better than just two identical Ethernetonly PoE devices, offering some flexibility by way of WiFi.

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DJI Spark Price: RM2,288 Contact: ECS Astar Sdn Bhd Phone: (03) 6286 8222 Info: www.ecsm.com.my Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS @ 12-megapixel Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD @ 30p Max Speed: 50 kph in Sport Mode without wind Max Flight Time: 16 minutes Connectivity: Wi-Fi @ 100m (Distance) / 50m (Height) Storage: Max 64GB microSD Satellite Positioning System: GPS/GLONASS Dimensions: 143 x 143 x 55 mm Weight: 300g (including battery and propellers)

By Rikco Shim

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

A Little Spark In Your Hands

The latest soda can-sized drone can easily fit in your backpack for those impromptu drone sessions

T

he DJI Spark is a follow up to the amazing Mavic, and this time it comes in a smaller form factor along with some new additions that makes it a good DJI drone for beginners to get their hands on. It can be controlled via gestures or using your smartphone or drone controller. Simply just tap the power button, then have it lift off your palm once it has your face recognition down to a pat. Using gestures, you can pan the drone from left to right, or up and down. Once you have the drone at the position you desire, simply pose a picture frame with your fingers and the drone will snap a picture. Flying the Spark with your smartphone is also very easy. Simply connect it to your DJI GO 4 app, then connect to the drone via Wi-Fi, and voila - the setup is done and you are ready to fly. You will have to find a suitable location to fly the drone and make sure that it is not raining, in order to keep your drone in tip-top condition. The battery life of the Spark is decent, clocking at about 16 minutes, and charging it is also simple. If you did not purchase the ‘‘Fly More” combo, which comes with a charging hub, just plug it into your standard micro-USB charger and

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you are good to go. During our tests, we’ve used it a few times and found that it usually stopped flying at about 50%, and charges up fully in less than an hour. You can take pictures using the smartphone, and if you do not have a microSD card, do not fret as the pictures taken can be shared to the DJI GO 4 app, which you can then share to your family and friends. As the Spark is a miniature version of the other available drones, the picture quality of the Spark is not of particularly high quality.But with some trial and error, you can definitely get a smooth video out of the Spark. To make it even better, DJI has given the Spark a few QuickShot abilities such as ‘‘Rocket”, which propels the drone upwards, or ‘‘Helix” to make the drone automatically fly upward and spiral around the subject. Overall, the Spark is a drone that is made for convenience. Simply take it out, lift off and take a snap in less than a few minutes, this enables you to capture those impromptu moments of life, the beauty of nature and so on, without wasting too much time on the setup.

The DJI Spark flying, equipped with the Propeller Guards from Fly More Combo

A screenshot taken before the flight using a Samsung Galaxy S7

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Lightweight Convenient

Could have a better camera

CHIP CONCLUDES The DJI Spark offers you what most drones can’t do, and that is convenience – all in the palm of your hands. You can set up and fly, all within a few minutes.


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iKANOO i708 Price: RM315 Contact: ICMD Company Limited Info: www.icmdworld.com Frequency Response: 90 – 20,000Hz Output Power: 6W x 2 Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm Dimensions: 216 x 89.5 x 84mm

By Nixon Ng

Performance: Features: Design: Value:

The Clothed Diva

Is that a piece of décor or is that a speaker? How about both!

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hen you’re out on holiday or even just a road trip, you can’t avoid playing music. Whether camping in the forest or chilling by the beach, music makes everything better. Headphones aren’t going to work in a group, so it’s time to pull out your brand spanking new portable Bluetooth speaker! Imagine if the speaker you pulled out was the iKANOO i708? The iKANOO i708 is a simple device, with only just a few buttons on top to control music playback, so you’ll be listening to your tracks in no time. Setup is fairly simple, switch the device on and then pair it with a Bluetooth enabled device like your smartphone. Once pairing is complete that’s basically it. If you don’t have a Bluetooth device you can always use the AUX port on the side, which requires a regular 3.5mm cable, to connect your device to the speaker. Design wise the i708 looks like something you’d have to pay 2-3 times its price to

get. The cloth surface gives it a luxurious vibe and allows it to fit on top of tabletops or shelves and still look like great décor. Speaking of durability the i708 is slightly weighty giving a solid feel and would take some effort to knock it off a surface. Keeping the speaker powered is a 4,000mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery, providing music playback for hours before requiring another charge. So it looks good, it lasts long, how about what it sounds like? We tried a wide variety of music genres and it sounds great across all genres, but in a group what’s also important is volume, and volume was not a problem when we cranked it up all the way. Put it in the middle or in the corner of your room and it’ll still sound good. In terms of portability, you won’t be putting it into your purse anytime soon. But it’ll fit nicely at the bottom or on the top of your backpack when you’re out and about.

It charges via micro USB and you can also plug in your music through the AUX

+

Aesthetics Easy to use

None

CHIP CONCLUDES Put it in the corner, carry it about, or use it as décor, the iKANOO i708 will fit anywhere and play your tunes as well as it looks.

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Blast From A Geek’s Past

Nostalgia can become a strong emotion when it comes to gaming, so join us as we travel back in time to reminisce and play the games of days long past By Nixon Ng your client’s innocence. The game puts you into the shoes of the titular character Phoenix Wright as you work together with your mentor Mia Fey to save your best friend, Larry Butz, in the first chapter of the game. On the NDS you navigate through the game with the bottom half, which forwards the text and also acts as your “Inventory'. You also have access to your Court Records. These are your most important tool for winning cases, as the Court Records keep all your evidence as well as profiles of those involved in the case. We would like to stress just how important the Courts Record is, because without it you’re basically just shooting blind. When you’re not currently in a trial you’ll be given the opportunity to travel around to key locations, which gives you access to witnesses and the chance to find evidence. You will have to be meticulous during your search for evidence, because you can easily leave an important piece of evidence behind. The game doesn’t punish if you

Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney

A

little history lesson for those who are new to the Ace Attorney series, quite a bit of people have played the Ace Attorney and after asking a lot of people, it seems that everyone didn’t know that the first game was actually released on the Game Boy Advance, whereas people thought

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it was on the Nintendo DS. Just a little fun fact before we get into the game. Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney is a game you’ll keep coming back for more, because who doesn’t love a good mystery? In each 'Chapter' you’ll be thrown right into the middle of a crime and it’s your job to prove

The characters have fun interactions with each other so there’s never a dull moment


lite & leisure

Wipe that cocky smirk of that guys face by finding faults in his testimony

do forget, instead you’ll have to collect all the key evidence required before you’ll be allowed to proceed to the trial. So if you haven’t reached the next trial it means you haven’t collected all the key ingredients for your soup of justice. Everything you hear from witnesses is important to remember, and we can’t count how many times we missed out on contradictions because we weren't paying attention. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the box, because even when you’re convinced that you know who the killer is and how he did it, you need to piece together the evidence to prove it. You have to do it step by step or else you’ll get a penalty, it reflects real life where your opinions may not match others, so you’ll have to use facts and evidence to steer them in the right direction. To get those contradictions out, you’ll have to cross examine those on the stand and present evidence that will contradict their statements. Slowly you’ll break apart the guilty party’s statements and begin to figure out the real story behind what happened. There’s no difficulty level on this game, but we can

When you see an opportunity arise it’s time to take action

ensure that you’ll be busting your heads at certain parts of the game. When you reach the point where excitement is at its peak, the music pulls you into the moment and you’ll feel a rush. When you finally win the trial and prove your client’s innocence, it’s the best feeling ever. Going back to how the game keeps you from proceeding to the trial, there will be times where you will spend a long time searching for evidence that you’ve missed. When that happens the music doesn’t change, as great as the soundtrack is it will get repetitive easily. The only other is when something comes up and you forget or put the game aside. Then, you come back a few weeks or months later and realise you’ve forgotten everything and won’t be able to continue where you left off, because you’ve forgotten all the evidence and testimonies that link to each other. On the bright side, Phoenix Wright is a game

we're willing to replay again from the start, because the story is just that good.

Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney Genre: Visual novel Developer: Capcom Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Phoenix_Wright:_Ace_Attorney Platform: GBA, NDS, Wii, PC, iOS, Android, 3DS

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A story that pulls you in Fun characters Challenging Great at controlling atmosphere

-

Repetitive music

Gameplay: Sound: Replayability:

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Story Retold Through BloodStained Fists Yakuza Kiwami takes us back to the first Yakuza game in style By Rikco Shim

Y

akuza Kiwami is the remake of the original Yakuza 1, except with better graphics, improved combat system, more things to do and a slightly tweaked storyline. The story revolves around Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of the Dojima Family. Above the Dojima Family, there's the Tojo Clan, which is the largest clan in Kanto, and is made up of more than 30,000 men. The story kicks off when Yumi, Kiryu’s close friend was kidnapped by Sohei Dojima, the Patriarch of the Dojima Family. When Kiryu

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finally finds Sohei Dojima, he stumbles onto Nishikiyama, Kiryu’s best friend, holding a smoking gun and standing over the dead body of Dojima. Kiryu takes the blame and was given a 10-year sentence. As part of his sentence, he is expelled by the Tojo Clan. After he completes his sentence, he is dropped into an unfamiliar world where the Tojo Clan is in turmoil. Ten billion yen had went missing from the Clan and Yumi was missing as well. It is your job as Kiryu to find out where Yumi

is and find out where the money disappeared to. The world of Yakuza Kiwami is often cluttered, closed off and strange, to depict the Japanese lifestyle at that time. There is a plethora of interesting characters in the game, whether as NPCs to beat up, or NPCs to play mini-games with - all staples of the Yakuza series. You will often stumble into eccentric characters that you can’t help but laugh at and then beat them up to a pulp. Majima Everywhere is a mode newly


lite & leisure

A comparison of Yakuza 1 (2006) and Yakuza Kiwami (2017)

implemented into this remake. Goro Majima, one of Kiryu’s rival, will roam the streets and will force Kiryu to battle him when encountered. The purpose of this mode is to make Kiryu regain his Dragon skills after his 10-year stint in jail. The mode is fun and forces you to constantly be in tip top condition if you wish to win, as the fights increase in difficulty the more times you fight him. Hostess bars, clubs, gambling dens, hidden casinos, batting courts, SEGA arcades and more are all sprawled around

the world. So, if you are tired of beating up random Yakuza that come up to you looking for a fight, you can take a load off to play Blackjack, Mahjong, Pool and even sing some Karaoke. The Yakuza series is known for the crazy amount of mini-games that you can take on whenever you feel like it. For example, there's MesuKing: Battle Bug Beauties, a rock-paper-scissors game disguised as a card game. In MesuKing, your cards are the form of characters or movesets. The characters are ladies dressed as insects, hence the name Battle Bug Beauties.

In this mini game, you can collect rare movesets with stronger power the more you play and the more you progress in the story. Overall, this game is priced cheaper than regular triple-A titles due to the nature of it being a remake, so it is not a bad idea to pick it up now and be lost in the world of crime. Yakuza Kiwami is an adventure game, disguised as a brawler and a drama. Again, if you have never played a Yakuza game before, this is the time to do so. You should also pick up Yakuza 0, a game released in early 2017, which serves as a prequel to this game. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is also in the making and is currently pegged for release in Japan for the PlayStation 4 on December 2017. No current news for worldwide release, but considering Kiwami’s success, it is bound to come soon.

Yakuza Kiwami

Genre: Action RPG Developer: SEGA Info: http://yakuza.sega.com/kiwami/home. html System Requirements Platform: PlayStation 4

+

A plethora of minigames Plenty of side quests Great storyline

-

Fights can get boring Kiryusaaaaaaaaan (Majima Sensor gets triggered too often)

Gameplay: Sound: Replayability:

Fighting some random enemies

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Tokyo Games Show 2017 The capital of Japan once again played host to the annual Tokyo Games Show (TGS), bringing with it a host of exciting demos and announcements By Matthew Yap

E

very year, TGS marks one of the last major gaming events of the year, showing the world what to expect from games that were teased or revealed over the months. This year, demos for a few highly anticipated titles were on ground. Specifically, there’s Capcom’s Monster Hunter World, Koei Tecmo’s Fire Emblem Musou, Bandai Namco’s Code Vein, and much more. Below are some notable highlights and demos from the event.

Detroit: Become Human The PlayStation booth is once again one of the biggest this year, with multiple games to demo. Among them, an exclusive at the event was the demo for Detroit: Become Human. A new trailer was revealed, but the demo was largely the same. In it, you get to play the android known as Connor – one of the game’s three protagonist. If you’ve seen earlier trailers, this is the case where he has to negotiate with a rogue android in a hostage situation. The players choices and actions in game can greatly affect the outcome of the situation, such as the scenario ending with you saving the hostage or not.

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Dragon Ball FighterZ First debuting at this year’s E3, Dragon Ball FighterZ was available for demo at TGS with all the updates given so far. One of it is the reveal of Android 21, an all-new original character designed for this game, as well as the Super Saiyan Blue versions of Goku and Vegeta. We also got to see Krillin, Piccolo, Android 17 and 18, and many other characters. The roster is slowly expanding into what should hopefully be a robust lineup when the game finally releases next year. Besides the additions to the roster, a new story mode was also revealed.

Code Vein Code Vein is Bandai Namco’s own take on the Soulsbourne genre and we got to personally try this game out in a 20-minute demo. In it, you get to swap between three weapon types, fight in a cave full of monsters that will mob you, as well as die against a boss battle that had far too many pattern changes for our liking. In terms of aesthetics and mood, the game feels a lot like Nioh or Bloodbourne, but certainly plays quite differently. A new character was also introduced and was present in the demo as a companion character.

Monster Hunter After a long absence from the platform, the series returns to the Sony PlayStation with a title that’s set to rope in a lot of players due to it being available for the PC later this year. This time around, instructional videos for aspects like the weapons have been included into the game to make it easier for newcomers. New facilities were also introduced at TGS, such as the Ecology Research Station that improves the Scoutflies scouting speed, or the Training Area to practice using the weapons in the game.

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Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite Launched not long ago, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is already getting DLCs in the works from Capcom. In the new DLC, the Monster Hunter series makes its way into the game with a female character simply named "Monster Hunter”. The DLC trailer also revealed that Sigma from the Megaman X series, as well as Black Panther, Black Widow, Venom and Winter Soldier from the Marvel universe, who will all be added to the roster later this year.

Fire Emblem Warriors Many TGS visitors flocked to Koei Tecmo’s booth to have a crack at the new Fire Emblem Warriors. Celica – a new character – was revealed, along with the new Weapon Awakening, Musou Attack and Bond Conversations system. Being a typical Musou style game, the game didn’t really offer anything groundbreakingly new, other than having the Fire Emblem twist of giving tactical commands on the fly. Of course, the rock-paper-scissor nature of the series’ weapon system is in place as well. Regardless, Fire Emblem fans who like to play simple hack-n-slash will definitely enjoy Fire Emblem Warriors.

Atelier Lydie & Soeur Set to be released later this year, the new Atelier Lydie & Souer: Alchemist of the Mysterious Painting was also available for demo. The 15-minute demo showcased some of the game’s exploration, which includes the usual material gathering, general combat, and a boss battle to top it off. Featuring dual-protagonists Lydie and Soeur, this game has flashy graphics, colourful world areas and a slice-of-life feel to it. As a whole package, it’s not all that different from its predecessors and we continue to bemoan the departure of more serious titles like Mana Khemia.

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Gran Turismo Sport Gran Turismo Sport is a game we first got to see the demo at PlayStation Experience a few months ago and we got to see more of it at TGS 2017. Made to be a new generation of Gran Turismo (hence it not being Gran Turismo 7), Polyphony plans to get into the e-sports scene with the game’s online racing mode. This time around, they’ve removed the dynamic weather system, but players will get to change the time of the day before a race. Polyphony Digital has also mentioned that there will be a total of 177 cars and 19 locations.

A Certain Magical Virtual-On Some may remember the game being in the arcades close to two decades ago, but when we first got news that Virtual-On would be reappearing we were surprised. Based on a crossover novel from last year, A Certain Magical Virtual-On has characters from A Certain Magical Index piloting the robots in Virtual-On to compete in a contest. Leaving that aside, the gameplay itself doesn’t really stray much from how the original plays. However, any Virtual-On game – especially if it’ll have updated graphics – will be welcome by old fans of the game.

Itadaki Street Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Love a game of Monopoly? Then the upcoming edition of Itadaki Street (or Fortune Street as it’s known in the West) should interest you. Square Enix showcased the Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary at TGS 2017 and as expected, it’ll feature characters from the two series. Unlike a standard game of Monopoly, players get to choose to go left or right from their current spot and maps have different shapes, rather than the basic square.

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lite & leisure E-SPORTS NEWS

E-Sports Express Latest E-sports updates from the region and around the world

By Matthew Yap, Nixon Ng & Rikco Shim

ESL One set to return to Genting in 2018 When Malaysian fans got a taste of their first real international Dota 2 event with ESL One Genting at the start of 2017, there was hardly anyone who didn’t want an encore. That’s why ESL has decided to do so, with ESL One Genting 2018 once again to be hosted at Genting’s Arena of Stars. Tickets have begun selling, with the Early Bird tickets already sold out. Another three round of ticket sales will be held between now and the day of the event, so look out for those if you’re interested.

Valve no longer supports nonofficial streamers For a long time, there have been people who stream Dota 2 tournaments without getting the permission of official organisers or Valve. This is done by watching the tournament in-game – by buying the ticket – then streaming it normally on YouTube or Twitch. StarLadder has begun to issue DMCA’s to streamers who do so, while Valve has finally taken an official stance as well. "We believe that anyone should be able to broadcast a match from DotaTV for their audience. However, we don’t think they should do so in a commercial manner or in a way that directly competes with the tournament organiser’s stream,” read the official statement. This means that popular streamers are not allowed to use things like ads or branding overlays when they run such streams.

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lite & leisure

Mineski wins first Dota 2 Minor Dota 2’s professional circuit has evolved into a new form after Valve’s decision to implement the Minors. This started off with the third season of the StarLadder i-League Invitational, which Team Liquid won – beating Mineski to take the crown. Now, Mineski has defeated LGD Gaming in the finals of the PGL Bucharest to take first place. With this, Mineski tops the Pro Circuit point rankings at 720 points.

Execration are champions of The Major League Locally hosted The Major League, a Dota 2 tournament hosted by Celcom, has ended with Team Execration as the winners. After regrouping from their dismal performance at this year’s The International, Execration’s new roster pulled off many good results and proved themselves a stable roster. They beat local favourites – Fnatic – before taking out EHOME in the grand finals.

First ever SEA Shadowverse tournament This year’s GameStart saw the hosting of the SEA Mobile Major 2017, which included a tournament and demo area for Cygames CCG – Shadowverse. At the event, newcomers get to try the game and be rewarded with real card packs each containing a Legendary card from the game. The tournament was also an exciting highlight for SEA gamers who play the game, as it featured a respectable prize pool of 5,000 US Dollars (approx. RM21,163). After two days of games, the player known as ‘Riripwn’ emerged as the grand prize winner.

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lite & leisure E-SPORTS NEWS

olofmeister is now FaZe-ing With the recent signing of GuardiaN from Natus Vincere, FaZe is not yet finished with capturing star talents for their team yet. The newest signing is in the form of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer, replacing Fabien ‘kioShima’ Fiey. olofmeister has been a long-time member of Fnatic’s roster. In a post, he wrote: "As tough of a decision it was to leave Fnatic, a team that I will always carry with me in my heart, as easy as it was to decide on the team I wanted to join – FaZe. FaZe is an incredible organisation with fantastic fans and above all a super talented and hungry team with players I admire, view as friends and share the same commitment and goals in becoming the world’s best at Counter-Strike.” As of 23rd of October, FaZe is ranked the #1 team on HLTV, as they recently won ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, beating Astralis 2:0.

Malaysia’s first GeForce certified iCafe The Pantheon, Malaysia’s very first NVIDIA GeForce GTX-certified Platinum eSports Arena, and iCafe was launched on the 24th of October. This venue houses a whopping 116 PCs equipped with GTX 1060 or higher PCs with 27-inch and 144Hz monitors, as well as components and peripherals from brands such as NVIDIA, Alienware, Legion, MSI, Omen, Predator, ROG and so on. Aside from the 116 PCs, Pantheon also has an auditorium for eSports, a VR experience zone, Racing Simulator Zones, PlayStation 4 Zones, and six experience rooms that have different gaming setups for users to try and experience before they purchase. Now, you can test out the latest and best components or products before you drop those hard-earned cash. Franky How, the Managing Director of The Pantheon, said: "We are proud to be the first Platinum NVIDIA-certified iCafe that is eSports ready in Malaysia. With the launch of The Pantheon, we hope to provide only top-of-the-line experience for gamers in Malaysia with our cutting-edge equipment and yet still maintain an affordable price, so that more gamers will be able to enjoy our wide array of offerings.” As for prices, it can range from RM 5 to RM 7 per hour on the computers, and for the other zones, it can cost up to RM50, especially for the VR Zones. The Pantheon has also setup different membership programs, such as free access to the PS4 when members purchase food and beverages above RM5. Similar to other iCafes, students with school uniforms are strictly prohibited from entering, and patrons under the age of 12 are only allowed in the premise until 10pm and only with parental guidance.

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lite & leisure

Yankees enters the League You know that eSports is becoming a thing when big sports franchises want a piece of the action, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happening. One of the latest to enter the eSports world is the New York Yankees and anyone who knows baseball would know of this name. The New York Yankees has confirmed in an announcement that they have invested in Echo Fox’s parent company and plans to bring their experience in marketing, sales and partnership to eSports.

Ninjas In Pyjamas /FF NiP has had their problems, but it seems that they have finally decided to leave the Summoner’s Rift. Their latest roster was unable to produce the results they hoped and came in last place during the 2017 EU Summer Split. This could be one of the reasons that have led to Ninjas in Pyjamas dropping their entire LoL roster. With them losing in the 2018 Spring Promotion, maybe Ninjas In Pyjamas is ready to take a step back and get back to the drawing board.

Cleveland Cavaliers join the Championship Series The Cleveland Cavaliers has been officially accepted to hold a franchise in the NA League of Legends Championship Series starting 2018. They have also taken the initiative to hire ex-COD professional player Matthew Haag, also known as Nadeshot, to oversee operation of the LoL team. With transfers coming up soon, will we see strong players joining the Cavalier franchise? We’ll be interested to see whether the Cavaliers has what it takes to take it from the court to the rift.

Krepo drops casting for coaching We’ve all seen Krepo casting before, and he always had good points to share about games. Now Krepo will be taking his analytical skills to FC Schalke 04, replacing Michael "Veteran” Archer as the Head Coach. Krepo will be the one spearheading the 2018 season and will be in charge of the roster and player care. But with them just barely making the cut for the 2018 EU LCS Summer Split, Krepo will have to work overtime to get Schalke 04 into shape.

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lite & leisure TOUCH

Gaming Apps Of The Month These are the apps that we have currently installed on our mobile devices. We think they should be on yours too By Nixon Ng and Rikco Shim

Idle Poring (Android, iOS – FREE)

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ravity Co, the company responsible for Ragnarok Online, is bringing back nostalgia in a big way. Idle Poring is an idle game that does most of the work for you without requiring much of your attention. It can be played in small doses, or indefinitely if you’re just a huge RO fan. It certainly takes you back to the earlier days of coming back from school and immediately firing up the computer to play RO. The community is similar to the one that we are used to, some toxic, mostly friendly and chatty people can be found in the chat. Chatting while idling is pretty easy to do. In the game, you

The battle screen, chat function, and a fight with Bigfoot

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start off as a Novice, and when you hit level 10, you can job change to (currently) three different classes: Swordsman, Archer or Mage. We hope that Gravity will slowly introduce other jobs such as Thief and Merchant.

Costumes that you can buy, enticing you with the "Try It” button

The game will automatically play itself, fighting mobs for you and all you need to do is change equipment, increase stats, set skills, equip pets and so on. You will meet mobs, equipment and pets which you have seen in the game, triggering all kinds of nostalgia. After you have successfully defeated an enemy, they will sometimes drop equipment for you, and this is the grind that will take you to the next level, fighting stronger bosses and MVPs in the world. When you are confident enough, you can challenge a map’s boss and it allows you to advance. You start from Prontera and will slowly venture off into other parts of the RO universe. Pets in this game increase your stats and can be sent out to run explorations, which will grant you random drops that will help you in the game. Of course, as per the norm for mobile games, IAPs are present for you to purchase costumes and more, such as Mr. Smile or Racoon Hat. And like the actual game, only the rich will be able to purchase these. So, if you want to look good in your replays when you show it off to people in the chat, you can do so. WoE and PVP are present in the game, so the elements of Multiplayer are there. Overall the game is simple, and requires not much attention from you. You can certainly feel that you are making progress in the game by being able to beat other players or stronger MVPs. If you are a fan of Ragnarok Online, then this is the game for you.


lite & leisure

Hitman Go (Android – RM 3.99, iOS – RM 19.90)

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itman Go is a puzzle/turnbased strategy game that takes place in the Hitman universe. You play as Agent 47, and you are tasked to kill targets and grab objectives. The stinger comes with how you perform the tasks. You can either distract the guard with rocks, or kill them all to advance to your objectives. There are several challenges that will test your strategic skills. Some of the challenges comes in the form of having no guards killed, the amount

The challenges that are presented to you

of steps that you can take, and so on. Luckily, you can restart the level repeatedly without any

drawbacks. Sometimes, the challenges also force you to replay the level with contradicting challenges such as a "No Kill” run and "Kill All Enemies” run. You are also required to pass the challenges as they unlock the next level. For example, level 10 requires 10 challenges to be completed, and can’t be unlocked until you have 10 cleared challenges under your belt from the previous levels. The game aesthetics are derived from table top games, with characters and backgrounds looking like plastic figures that you usually use from such games. When you knock out a guard, they are placed on the side of the table. Some of the levels require strategic planning to pass through but during the earlier levels, you’re slowly introduced to more features that will help you with your success. Despite being a paid game, there still some addition elements of IAPs in the game, which is sad to see. But considering it's from Square Enix, we kind of expected that to happen. Overall, this is a game that requires some thought behind your moves, but can be tackled easily in short bursts, or within a single gaming session if you wish. However, the latter is quite difficult as some levels require plenty of trial and error to see what works and what leads to your removal from the board. If you’re not someone who enjoys going through the same level again and again, then this game might not be for you. But it is a game that’s worth the price when it is discounted. The game is also available on PC and is titled as the "Definitive Edition” if you prefer to play on a bigger screen.

The gameplay screen, with "spots” that you can move to

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lite & leisure CROWDFUNDING

Made Possible By The Masses Our monthly look at crowd-funded projects that caught our eyes By Matthew Yap and Nixon Ng

Wiral LITE Casual photography has taken a life of its own, with various products designed to make taking photos easier. For example, there’s the Wiral LITE - a camera accessory that can turn your camera into a cable cam. Attach the two ends of the cables to trees at your favourite jungle trail or the running track in a stadium, and suddenly you can capture some footages that even drones might not be able to help with. http://kck.st/2ywVsu7

I’m Back Do you like vintage photos? They have a type of feel to it that digital photos don’t seem to have these days. But now you might be able to bring back those warm colours and soft shades with "I’m Back” – a digital component that can be attached to analog cameras. When attached so, it essentially replaces the role of a film roll, so that captured images are now created on the camera module and then saved into an SD card. http://kck.st/2wumXAA

Rev-O-Mate Designers who use the PC tend to have some great options in terms of design aids. Support the Rev-O-Mate and such a tool could be yours. This product is a no-click dial with 10 programmable buttons and it’s designed for artist and creators that use programmes like Photoshop, SAI or ClipStudio. It can be used to quickly do scaling, rotations, changing brush sizes, and more. http://kck.st/2xFWSQo

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lite & leisure

OJO

TEAMOSA

OJO is a portable mini-projector, speaker, power bank and spare dock for your Nintendo Switch. It’s capable of beaming a 30~120-inch display at 200 lumens of brightness. The powerbank holds up to 20,400mAh of charge so you can charge your Switch anywhere and dock it into the OJO to enjoy a large screen gaming experience. Not only that, the OJO comes with a 5W speaker built into it, so you’re basically carrying around a portable TV. It also uses the principle of "diffuse reflection”, which eases the strain put on your eyes while playing games. http://bit.ly/2yXAVPm

Master the art of tea making and give your tea the respect it deserves. With TEAMOSA, you can customize the strength and flavour with every brew, ensuring each and every cup is crafted to perfection. Freely choose between our paper tea capsules, or your own favourite loose tea leaves. TEAMOSA is the first tea brewing machine that combines the modern science and the art of traditional tea making. The main healthpromoting substances in tea are polyphenols, or more commonly known as, antioxidants. TEAMOSA have applied ultrasonic extraction to increase antioxidants yield. http://kck.st/2xkz9qI

Atom X1 The ATOM X1 is the world’s smallest 32bit Arduino and breadboard compatible microcontroller, measuring in at 14.9 x 14.9mm and weighing 0.95g. It sports 256KB ROM, 32KB RAM, a 48MHz clock, an Arduino zero bootloader, eight I/O pins, eight PWM, six ADC, Serial and I2C, and eight Digital. That’s a lot to fit on a small package, and it’s all powered by a Micro USB port (3.3v to 20v). Equivalent to the size of a US Dime coin, you can practically bring this anywhere. http://bit.ly/2yanOv6

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Back Issues Missed a few month’s worth of CHIP? Or have a particular issue that you would really like to have? We might not have a time machine to send you back, but we’ll definitely be able to get you a copy of our magazine of time’s past.

Only RM7.42 each !

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Conditions: FORMS INCOMPLETE WILL NOT BE PROCESSED > Kindly send in forms together with payment in cheque / money order / postal order > All orders must be accompanied by payment, favouring Online Dynamic (M) Sdn Bhd. Please allow 2-3 weeks to process each form.

Contact: ONLINE DYNAMICS (M) SDN BHD A-5-07 Block A, Neo Damansara, Bandar Damansara Perdana, Jalan PJU 8/1, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Tel: 603 7727 6554 Fax: 603 7727 3554


practice

Setting Up A Personal Cloud The NAS system of popular developers like ASUSTOR, QNAP and Synology can be readily used as private Cloud storage. Here’s what you will need to configure for it to work By Arthur Hoffmann

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ervices like Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Microsoft OneDrive offer free storage on the Internet. However, generally the amount of free storage is only enough for smaller text or image files. If you need more space for things like videos in HD resolution or extensive music collections, you have to shell out more money. Additionally, there are also security issues when it comes to Cloud storage. There’s no telling where the servers are precisely located, or who has access to them and how good is the data protection. But you can opt to set up your personal Cloud storage with a compatible network hard disk. For example, ASUSTOR, QNAP and Synology all offer you access as long as you have an internet connection, almost unlimited storage space and the certainty that the data will be in your four walls. And since you can expand the storage space of your NAS as you want, your own Cloud also keeps up with increasing demands. Here, it is not important whether you

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have a device with one, two or even four hard disks. For the latest devices, the NAS manufacturers rely strongly on the integration of Cloud functions with appealing menus, simple setup and helpful extras. These devices offer comfortable setup assistants, data access via well-designed websites, and apps for smartphones and tablets. In this article, you will learn how to configure the Cloud service of the 4-Bay NAS ASUSTOR AS3204T. Other than QNAP and Synology, ASUSTOR does not rely on proprietary solutions but provides the proven Opensource software ownCloud as an app. The clients for Android and iOS apps cost money, but they are inexpensive at about RM4 (Android) and RM5.50 (iOS).

How to proceed 1 Open configuration interface In your web browser, enter the IP address of your ASUSTOR NAS,


practice

1

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2

5

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type the username and password and click on the arrow button to log in to the configuration screen. Alternatively, you can open the application ‘‘ASUSTOR Control Center” on your computer and click on your NAS.

server address, which you have to enter in the first step, is made up of the IP address of your NAS and the suffix ‘‘owncloud9” – i.e ‘‘http://192.168.0.56/owncloud9”. Click on ‘‘Next”, type the login data you’ve configured in step 3 and proceed by clicking on ‘‘Next”.

2 Install ownCloud app

5 Select folders to be synchronised

Open ‘‘App Central”, select ‘‘Categories | Backup & Sync”, click on the button ‘‘Install” under ‘‘ownCloud9” and confirm the following dialog by clicking on ‘‘Install” to install the components of your NAS.

Go to the browser where the own Cloud configuration is still opened (see step 3), on the left select ‘‘All Files”, first click on the Plus icon, then on ‘‘Folder” and specify a name, for example, ‘‘ownCloud-Sync”. In the software, activate the option ‘‘Select elements to be synchronised” in ‘‘Server”, select the new folder and click on OK. Thereafter, select the local folder and confirm with ‘‘Connect” and select the user account.

3 Set up Administrator account Close the ‘‘App Central” and click on the desktop icon ‘‘ownCloud9” to start the components that are running in the browser window. Under ‘‘Create Administrator Account”, type a username and a password and press the button ‘‘Finish Installation”.

4 Download and set up Desktop software Click on ‘‘Desktop App” and select ‘‘Install Desktop Clients | Windows 7, 8.x and 10” to download the software. Next, install the software by following the instructions on the screen and start the software. The

6 Make further settings The synchronising will start immediately and automatically in the background. In the software, you will see the tasks completed by ownCloud, under ‘‘Activity | Synchronisation log”. Under ‘‘General”, you can determine whether the program starts up when Windows boots up and whether it should display Desktop notifications.

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practice

Photographing Buildings By Stefanie Biberger

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ith the correct approach, you can convert your architecture photos into small works of art. To get an optimal image effect, you should first pay attention to the lighting conditions. The buildings appear in a soft light in the morning and in the evening, the decorations, mantels and windows appear like plastic. You can also get beautiful shadow effects, depending on the position of the sun. Using the following tips, you should be able to get some exciting shots.

How to proceed 1 Capture spectacular reflections Fascinating reflections of the surroundings can be found on buildings with huge glass facades. Looking up between skyscrapers to capture the reflections of these buildings is worth it for enthusiasts. A beautiful effect can also be seen when constructions like bridges, churches or castles reflect in water.

2 Play with perspectives New motifs can be created in modern architecture through change in perspective, simply by lying flat or climbing a wall.

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3 Use falling lines creatively Falling lines - every architecture photographer knows them and tries to either avoid them or use them creatively. These lines emerge when the motif is not aligned to the sensor level when the camera tilts. On the photo, it looks as if the vertical lines are heading towards a common point somewhere behind when in reality they’re running in parallel. These minor distortions can be rectified by editing, provided you have left enough place around the motif. However, it is better to snap your photos in a way that ensures all lines and edges are aligned in parallel to the camera, as much as possible. Monuments, on the other hand, allow falling lines to be used creatively. The character distortion gets a specific design when the camera is inclined to 45 degrees.

4 Plan image composition For a lot of art nouveau facades, purist Bauhaus style or monument barrock castles, a well-thought out picture composition brings out the best of the architecture in photo. First, think whether you wish to capture the building completely or in detail. In case of facades, you should align yourself to the dividing elements like windows that already give the viewing direction. Common photo rules, like the golden cut, will help in the composition. For example, if the motif is a castle in front of a mountain

Photos: iStockphoto/m1366 (Aufmacher), bushton3 (#1), Anthony Rosenberg (#2), Nikada (#3 o.), querbeet (#3 u.), Rudy Balasko (#4), catalby (#5), nesneJkraM (#7)

Architecture photography uses motifs like skyscrapers or a baroque castle. Here’s how your photos can achieve a grander effect than the buildings you try to depict


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4 5 scenery, then you can shift the main motif to the left or right. Buildings in front view can be ‘raised’ further up the picture, provided that the foreground is suitable for it. For example, does a road lead to a building? Then, use those lines to guide the view of the viewer to the main motif.

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5 Move interesting details into focus PoP ornaments, wall paintings or decorative figures adorn numerous buildings. Detailed photos can add to the classic front views, so pay attention to high depth of sharpness and select a low ISO setting while taking photos. This ensures that fine elements can appear sharp throughout.

6 Minimise annoying elements using filters Longer exposure times can be implemented using a grey filter. For example, people who run through the picture can be magically ‘‘erased”. A pole filter helps in reducing annoying reflections on reflective surfaces.

7 Map the insides using HDF function

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When it comes to taking photos inside a building, such as ballrooms or staircases, lighting conditions can sometimes be a big challenge. You can counter-balance the frequent high contrast in buildings with an exposure latitude that you can then merge into an HDR image. Extra tip: A stable tripod is a must when doing architecture photography. It not only allows an exact direction, but also long exposure times in interaction with the self-timer.

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tips & tricks

Tips Tricks

02 You can initiate Windows Reset via ''Recovery� in your Windows Settings

NOVEMBER 2017

WINDOWS & OFFICE Windows Restoring missing systems files using sfc

01

If Windows tells you that the file "mfc110u.dll" is missing, then it is probably a problem with the Registry or a virus that is responsible for it. This DLL deals with a system file, therefore you should never download it from unknown websites. Instead, open the command prompt as Administrator. To do this, type "Command Prompt" in the search window, select the option in the list of results and select the context command "Run as Administrator" by right-clicking on it. Next, type the command "sfc/scannow" and press the [Enter] key. Furthermore, the tool System File Checker will start which checks all

01 Using sfc/scannow will look for missing DLL files from your system

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the protected system files and replaces damaged files by an intermediate copy. As soon as the program runs, the file "mfc110u.dll" should be present on your computer again. If the problems persist, then search your computer for viruses, for example, using the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (on https://www. kaspersky.com/). At the end of the search process, repeat the action described earlier, with the System File Checker (sfc).

02

Windows 10 Reset the operating system to factory settings

If you wish to reset Windows 10 to factory settings, then the easiest way is via the "Settings". If the installation of Windows is on a separate partition, which is the case on most computers. Open the Start menu and then click on

03 You can sort your text in Word easily with ''Sort�

the gearwheel icon. You will now see the "Recovery" option under the "Update and Security" category. and the category "More Recovery Options" at the bottom. Here, click on the link "Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows". Furthermore, the "Windows Defender" will open and will offer a clean "Restart". This process takes at least 20 minutes. There is another method to reset the operating system to the factory settings. Go to the "Recovery" in the "Settings" via the "Update and Security" category and press the button "Go" under "Reset this PC". Here, you can decide whether you want to keep or delete your personal files and then reinstall Windows.

03

Word Arrange rows in Word documents

The text editor Word has a practical and relatively unknown feature, where with few clicks, you can sort rows and select between alphabetically or numerically. To use the Sort tool, your document must


tips & tricks have several paragraphs. Select the paragraphs that you wish to sort and click on the "Sort" icon under "Paragraph” menu located under the "Home” Tab. You can identify the icon with a downwards arrow and the letter A and Z. After clicking on the icon, the "Sort Text" window will open. Here, you can select whether you wish to sort according to "Text", "Number" or "Date". If your document includes titles or defined fields, then you can sort according to titles or fields instead of paragraphs. Finally, determine whether you wish to proceed in an "Ascending" or "Descending" order and confirm by clicking on the OK button.

temperature at night". The value selected in each case appears on the screen in real time. You can also define a schedule for activating and deactivating the night mode. If location services are activated on your system, you can activate the night mode also after sunset and deactivate it at the time of sunrise.

05 04

Windows 10 Make night Windows sessions more eye-catching

The night-mode of Windows 10 should be soothing for your eyes at late hours. The activation and deactivation of the night mode can be done in the "ActionCentre". You can open it by clicking on

05 Windows 10 With Samsung Flow, you can now add an extra layer of protection using Protect your your fingerprint to use your PC computer against can now download the app Samsung unauthorised access via a Flow from the Google Play Store, or fingerprint scanner via the Microsoft Store. Next, install

If you wish to protect your Windows 10 PC with the help of a fingerprint scanner, then it must be equipped with theTrusted Platform Module (TPM) i.e. a special chip to identify the computer. Under certain conditions, you need to activate the function in the BIOS as well. Some of Samsung's smartphones, like Samsung Galaxy S8, have a fingerprint scanner that can act as a sensor. The smartphone must run at least under Android 6.0 Marshmallow. 04 Under Windows, the Easily change the degree of colour temperature change of Windows’ Night prerequisite is the Mode Creators Update. You the speech bubble on the right next to the time. When you click the "Night Mode" button, it gets activated and you can deactivate it by clicking on it again. If the button is not visible in the ActionCentre, then go to the link "Expand" in order to show all entries including the night mode. To set it up, right-click on the button and select the option "Go to settings". In the following window, go to the link "Night light settings". Now you have the option to adjust the night mode via your settings using the slider "Colour

both applications and follow the setup assistant. You can then protect your computer with the help of the fingerprint scanner of your Samsung smartphone.

06

Word Convert document into PDF format

If you wish to send Word documents or wish to publish them on the net, then you should first convert them into PDF format. This will reduce compatibility problems for other users and will ensure that the document is virus-free. Word files can be saved very easily in the PDF format. Open the "File" menu and go to the command "Save as". In the next window, you can define the storage location, file name and file type. Select "PDF" under "File type" and then press the button "Save". Word will now convert the document and store it at

06 Simply save your documents as PDF to save yourself the hassle of having problems with sending/reading Word documents on another PC

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tips & tricks the selected location. Other tools such as PDF-Xchange Lite from (https:// www.tracker-software.com/product/pdfxchange-lite) can also do the same thing, but with more options.

07

09

Windows Create signature in mail clients of Windows

You can create, change and delete a signature in the mail app of Windows 10. To do this, open the app and click on the gearwheel icon for the "Settings" on the bottom left. Here, go to the category "Signature" and select an account. Now, move the slider under "Use Email signature" to the right to the position "On" to activate the function. Next, type your personal mail signature in the text field under it. Windows will automatically save it and attach it at the end of every message.

08 Accessing the UEFI screen via ''Recovery” in Windows Setting

option "Recovery" under the category "Update and Security". Here, press the button "Restart now" under "Advanced startup" and you will gain access to

Word Add position frames to the text documents

A position frame can be quickly and easily inserted into the text editor Word. On the right in the menu bar, type the word "Form" on the text with "What do you want to do? " in the field with the bulb icon. A collapsible menu with the option "Legacy Tools" will open. After clicking on it, another menu opens on the right. Under "Legacy Forms", press the button bearing the name "Insert Frame" (fourth icon from the left). Now drag the position frame to the desired position in your text document. If you wish to edit frame simply right click on the border of the frame, and click on "Format Frame”.

09 Using "Legacy Tools” to add frames to your Word documents

07 Configure your signature on the Windows 10 Mail app in Settings

08

Windows 10 Access UEFI or BIOS of the computer

Incidentally, interventions in the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or - in case of older devices - BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) of the computer, cannot be avoided. However, there are various methods to gain access to the firmware of the PC. To access the UEFI, navigate to "Settings" in the Start menu of Windows 10. You will then find the

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the UEFI. Once you have started your computer, do not enter your password in the log-in screen but click on the Power button on the bottom right. Thereafter, when you click on the "Restart now" option while keeping the [Shift] key pressed, the UEFI will open directly. If Windows 10 is running on an older computer, then you will need access to the BIOS. You just have a few seconds to access the BIOS while starting the computer, The BIOS opens only when you press the correct key at the right time. Which key that could be depends entirely on the BIOS manufacturer. After switching-on the PC, keep pressing the [F1], [F2]. [F8]. [F10], [Del] or [Esc]. If Windows starts instead of BIOS then shut down the operating system and try again.

10

Windows 10 Create more storage space by deleting the old OS

In the folder "Windows.old", Windows saves the old operating system when you are upgrading to Windows 10. In the first four weeks after the upgrade, you can free up a lot of space by deleting this folder. However, downgrading to the old Windows version is no longer possible thereafter. Press the key combination [Windows]+[I] to open the "Settings" of Windows 10 and click on the "System" button. In the left column, open the category "Storage" and go to "This PC (C:)" on the right side. Windows will display a detailed list of the memory usage on the following page. The folder "Windows.old" is hidden under the point "Temporary Files", which you have to click


tips & tricks

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10 If you are sure that you do not need the older version of Windows, you can manually remove it

now. To delete the files, go to the option "Previous version of Windows", and check the option. You can then remove the files by clicking "Remove files�. Should you not find this option under the temporary files, then the memory problem has already been taken care of by itself. Windows 10 will automatically delete the folder "Windows.old" after 28 days.

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11 Clicking the highlighted button will bring out the Clipboard tab

clipboard then open the "Options" by right-clicking on the Clipboard icon in the taskbar and set a check mark for

Excel Use the weighted mean value to achieve more accurate results

Excel can calculate a weighted mean value without much effort. To do this, you need the functions "Total Product" and "Total". The mean value depends on the allocated weight. This is important, for instance, when you want to calculate the average price of a product of which you have sold different quantities at different prices. In our example, you want to calculate the average price of a pencil. For the first order, ten pencils cost ten cent each and for the second order, 15 pencils cost nine cent each. While calculating a simple mean value, Excel would not consider that a larger number of pencils for nine cents went over the counter. The result would be 9.5 cents. On the contrary, you can calculate the more accurately weighted mean value which is 9.4 cents in this example, using the formula "=TOTALPRODUCT(single values;WeightShare)/ TOTAL(WeightShare)".

Word Use the Clipboard optimally

If you want to work more efficiently, use the clipboard of Word properly. To access the clipboard, go to the tab "Home" and click on the arrow in the lower right corner under the "Clipboard� menu. Word will now show you the elements present in the clipboard. Click on the option that you wish to insert and select "Insert". You can put all the temporarily stored entries in the document via "Insert all" and you have several options while inserting them. For instance, you can incorporate text without the original formatting, merge the old formatting with the latest one or keep the old formatting. If you do not wish to insert an element, then simply click "Delete" from the drop-down menu when you hover over the item. To insert an element as fast as possible, click on it so that it appears on the selected position. You can also use the shortcut [Ctrl]+[V] to insert it quickly. If you work regularly with the

12 Using weighted mean can help you accurately calculate the average numbers

"Show Office Clipboard Automatically". In the options, you also have the choice between different display options. Thus, while copying, you can see how many elements are already present in the clipboard. Or you can exit Word to show the clipboard when you press the key combination [Ctrl]+[C] twice. By setting a check mark for "Show Office Clipboard icon on the Taskbar", you can show the Clipboard on the task board.

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Windows 10 Change icons of programs or links

If you wish to change the Desktop icons of Windows 10, you can actually do so. To change a program or a link for another icon, right-click on the icon and open the "Properties" in the context menu. In the following window, press the button "Change Icon". A window with the same name will open, then you can search for a new icon from the list and confirm your selection by clicking

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tips & tricks You have a choice between "Left", "Centred", "Right", "Decimal" and "Vertical Line". Set the cursor to the position in the text where you have planned the tab. Select an element and place it on the ruler using the mouse. The cursor will then jump immediately to the desired tab. Word also gives 13 you the option to You can change some icons on your computer under "Properties” connect several texts in a row with points, dashes or a line, so that on the OK button. Windows will change the document is arranged clearly. To do the icon after you have also closed the this, go to the "Paragraph” menu under "Properties" window via OK. "Home” tab, and click on the button on the bottom right of "Paragraph”. Here, press the button "Tabs" on the bottom Word Provide documents with individual left. You can further modify your settings tabs in the window with it name. All the tabs of the page are entered in the list field "Tab stop position". At this point, you Price lists or bills can be designed can precisely see at which positions you attractively with the help of individual have set the tabulators. You can change tabs, but the automatic tabulator gap the placement in this window whenever is 1.25 centimetres and is sometimes you want and also find the option field not useful while formatting. To define "Alignment" under it, with different tab individual tabs, first search for the ruler variants. If you do not like the type above the document. If it is not visible, selected earlier, then chose another one. then activate it with the menu command Finally, you will still have the option to "View | Ruler". There is a small box set the "Filler". Select between points, next to the ruler on the left. Determine dashes and lines. Once you have done the desired tab by clicking on the box. the settings, press the "Set" button. The set tabs can be then also dragged to another position in the ruler.

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14 Navigate Microsoft Word with "Tabs" to ensure readability

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15 Non-working apps can be often start by changing the compatibility setting under Windows 10

"Properties” by right-clicking on the file. Set the check mark for "Compatibility Mode” in the tab "Compatibility” and select "Windows 7” from the list. If this attempt also fails, then you should look for a version of Windows 10 on the website of the app developer. The last option to get the apps running is to setup and install Windows 7 as a virtual operating system in the VirtualBox (on CHIP DVD).

HARDWARE Notebook Revive the failed Touchpad

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If the touchpad of your notebook stops working, it could be affected by multiple problems. For example, most laptops can lock the touchpad via a key combination, which you may have triggered accidentally. To remove this lock, search for an icon for the touchpad

Windows 10 Revive the non-working apps under Windows 10

When you see the error message "This app cannot be run on the PC” in Windows 10, the most probable reason is a compatibility problem. In many cases, the problem is solved by installing the apps as Administrator so that they run under Windows 10. For this, right-click on the file and select the context command "Run as Administrator”. If this does not work, try it with the compatibility mode where you open the

16 Finding out what errors that your Mouse/Touchpad is having under Settings


tips & tricks in the topmost row of the keyboard. This icon may be crossed off. You will find this icon mostly on the [F5] or [F6] key. Once you have found the correct key, press it along with the [Fn] key. You will find the [Fn] key on the bottom left of the keyboard. If this action does not work, then connect a mouse to the USB port and open the category "Hardware and Sound" in the Control Panel. On the top, you will find the applet "Mouse" under "Devices and Printers". Click on the link and the "Properties" window will appear. Activate the "Hardware� tab on the extreme right, which has the name of the installed track points and touchpad. Now set a check mark for the option "Activate Touchpad" in the "Touchpad" area and confirm by clicking on OK. If the touchpad still does not work, then check the device's driver. Using the shortcut [Windows]+[R], open the "Run" window and go to the Device Manager via the command "devmgmt. msc". Here, go to the category "Mice and other pointer devices", right-click on the option for your touchpad and

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Smartphone Prevent heat damage to the phone's battery

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E-Book Reader Bring the unruly Kindle to order via restart

Overheated and even burning Even the world's leading E-Reader is not smartphone batteries have made a lot immune to breakdowns. If your Amazon of headlines in the past. Namely, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. But this heat risk can be minimised through proper management. First, you should avoid placing your smartphone in direct sunlight as doing so may heat up your device up to 70 degrees. Harmful power adapters can also heat up the battery a lot while charging. Therefore, basically use only original power adapters to charge your battery. Cheap power adapters, generally, contain low-quality components that may damage your hardware. Another cause for a heated battery 18 is the heavy usage of the An easy restart could revive your problematic Kindle processor over a long period.

These few steps are some protective measures that you should be taking with all phone batteries

select the context command "Update driver software". If the touchpad still fails to function, then select the "Uninstall" option. After restarting your computer, you can re-"Install" the touchpad driver at it position. Next, you have to activate the touchpad in the Control Panel under certain conditions, as described in the earlier paragraph.

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Therefore, remember to close apps in the background. If you notice overheating of the battery, then let it cool down slowly. Never place your smartphone in the refrigerator or in the freezer but in a cupboard or under a shade. If necessary, remove the cell phone cover (if possible) for the heat to dissipate.

Kindle encounters problems, then generally a restart is the remedy. First, give the standard solution a try. Keep the Power button pressed for about six seconds till the screen turns white. Next, press the Power-On button again to restart the Kindle. If this action does not work, then you have to do a complete restart. To do this, press the Power button for minimum 40 seconds long without break. The display will switch off or flicker after about six to eight seconds. Nevertheless, keep the Power-On button pressed till 40 seconds are over. The home screen will appear a few seconds after you have finally released the Power button, and the Kindle will start. If the E-reader still does not work, then charge it fully and repeat the steps mentioned. Data will not be lost in any of these two restart methods.

19

Toner Store cartridges for laser printer, securely and sustainably

Toners for laser printers are anything but cheap. Already, the price of a colour cartridge is about RM200, so you should


tips & tricks purchasing an Echo.

21

Mainboard Identify symptoms of a defective mainboard

19 Taking care of your printer toner could prolong its shelf life

take care in storing them correctly if you have purchased toners in advance. The optimal case is to keep the toners in their original unopened packing. The air humidity should neither be low nor too high in the storage space and should be between 30 and 80 percent. The

accidentally released.

20

Loudspeaker Test Amazon's voice assistant Alexa, without Echo loudspeaker

20 Testing the Amazon Echo on the website before purchasing

ideal value is between 40 to 50 percent. Always store the toner in the installation position i.e. horizontal and not upright. The surrounding temperature should be between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius. If you cannot store the cartridges in their original packing if there is a lack of space, then the storage location should be as dark as possible and protected against direct sunlight. Apart from the humidity and surrounding temperature, good air circulation works positively on the shelf life of the toner. Therefore, you should ventilate the storage location regularly. Finally, ensure that the cartridges are not accessible to children, so that harmful toner dust is not

The highlight of the Amazon Echo Bluetooth speaker is the voice assistant Alexa. You can also test Alexa before purchasing Echo. In order to test Alexa in the browser, log in to your Amazon account and install a microphone. Next, log in to the Alexa Skill Testing Tool (echosim. io/welcome) and you can immediately start communicating with Alexa. Now you can give it a try, before committing to

All components of the PC are connected via the motherboard, which is the central unit. If your computer malfunctions, then the motherboard comes forth as the main cause of the problem. However, before you start thinking of replacing it, you should confirm whether it is actually at fault. Failure of the Power LED: A clear indication for a defect is the failure of the Power LED. If the small light does not glow after starting the PC, then check whether the cable is properly plugged in. For this, open the PC and check whether the connector with the name "POWER+” and “POWER-” (often also stated as "PWR+” and "PWR-” is plugged in or not. If yes, then the motherboard or the power LED may be defective. No visual: If there’s no visual output, it’s not necessarily a GPU problem, but can sometimes be caused by defective motherboards. In order to find out more about this, connect the monitor to one of the on-board graphics outputs. If there is no visual output when the PC is switched on and the Power LED does not glow, then probably the mainboard is defective. CPU remains cold: Another indication of a defective motherboard could be the socket for the processor. Let the PC run for a few minutes without video signal and Power LED. Subsequently, switch off the PC and carefully touch the cooler’s fins. If they are cold, then the motherboard is not actuating the CPU.

21 There are various indications when the motherboard has definitely gone kaput

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tips & tricks Motherboard speaker is muted: Generally, the motherboard speaker registers itself with a few beeps when the PC starts. If your PC does not beep even once then this indicates a defective motherboard. If your PC has not yet beeped, then you may have turned off the notification in the BIOS. In that case, a BIOS reset will reactivate this function. If your motherboard is not equipped with a speaker, you can purchase or borrow one to test the motherboard. If all these symptoms occur in your computer, then there is high probability that the motherboard is defective. When selecting a new one, keep in mind that you can reuse almost all your PC components, so a complete overhaul might not be necessary.

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Samsung Smart-TV Connect Bluetooth keyboard to Samsung TV

place automatically when they switch on. Thereafter place the keyboard in the direct vicinity of the TV. Subsequently, go to the menu option "Add Bluetooth keyboard”. Your smart-TV will now look for a Bluetooth keyboard in the vicinity. As soon as your keyboard appears in the search field (mostly under the name "Bluetooth Keyboard”), press the confirmation button on the TV remote control. Select the language in the "Keyboard Settings” option, or end the process via the "Close” button. Once done, the Bluetooth keyboard is ready for operation for your smart TV.

WEB, TOOLS & PHOTOS Google Maps Use the map service for comfortable hotel search

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Google Maps not only helps you in planning your route, but also in searching for suitable accommodation. To find a hotel, you have to first enter the location

and then "Hotel" in the search field. You can also limit the search further by specifying the suburb or street. Alternatively, scroll down to the brief info about the location. At the end, you will find the option "Display Hotel" in the "Hotels" area. If you wish to get more information about the respective hotel, then click either on the map or on the hotel in the list of hotels on the left of the screen. Google Maps will now show you an overview of the hotel details likes whether the room is air conditioned, has WiFi, or if pets are allowed. Use the slider "Deals" to check which hotels offer the cheapest price in the desired period.

24

Android Protect sensitive files against curious eyes

You can activate a private mode from Android 6 (Marshmallow) onwards on certain devices. Once activated, Android

22 You can operate your Samsung Smart TV much more comfortably with a Bluetooth keyboard

You will have to refer to the operating manual to know whether your smart TV is Bluetooth-enabled. If your Samsung TV has a WLAN on board then generally there is a Bluetooth interface included in the TV. You would need a Bluetooth keyboard with the standard Bluetooth 3.0 to get a good transfer rate. In order to connect your keyboard, first switch-on your Samsung TV and then open the settings window via the "Menu” button on the remote control. There, select the tab "System” and navigate to the "Device Manager”. Thereafter, go to the option "Keyboard settings”. Now switch on the Bluetooth keyboard and ensure that the Bluetooth function is also switched on. In most of the keyboards, this will take

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23 Easily look for hotels around you. You can even look for hotels which have deals going on

24 Protect private files on Android using Private Mode


tips & tricks will be able to protect sensitive content with the help of a password. You can also access the private mode, which can be found in the settings, then tap on "Personalisation | Private Mode". Next, a notification from Android will ask you to confirm the use of the mode. Once done, you will have a choice between different unlocking methods and the setup is then complete. If you want to move a photo from the gallery into private mode in future, tap on the three dots and go to the command "Move to private". However, for the latest Samsung device, the Samsung Note8, it has been switched to Secure Folder, which does the same thing as Private Mode.

25

Facebook Deactivate account temporarily or delete it completely

Creating a Facebook account is a quick task. But on the contrary, it is as easy if you want to quit using Mark Zuckerberg's network. Apart from the final deletion of the Facebook account, there is also the possibility of inserting an unlimited Facebook pause by deactivating the account. To do this, log in, click on the small arrow on the top right and open the "Settings". In the category "General” click on "Deactivate your account" at the bottom. Now your profile will no longer be visible on Facebook. However, it can be reactivated whenever you wish. Searching for an option to delete your account in the "Settings" is futile. The Facebook exit is possible only via the link https://www.facebook.com/help/ delete_account. After you have opened the link, click on "Delete my account” and it is done.

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Android Upgrade Recycle Bin for Android cellphone

27

Photography Capture exciting photos with fixed focal length

Accidentally deleted files can be recovered sometimes, but and only with

Lenses without zoom offer some advantages. Since the lenses are a lot easier to produce, lenses with fixed focal length are relatively cheap to get. More plus points are the sharp and detailed photos and the high light intensity. Fixed focal lengths are available in almost all focal length, ranging from ultra-wide angle up to telephoto. For this purpose, a lens with 35 to 50 millimetres is recommended at the start. The focal 26 length of 50 mm Adding a Dumpster app on Android could save yourself from deleting important files corresponds to the natural viewing radius of humans and thereby, gives a the help of the tools like Recuva (on very natural effect to photos. A regular https://www.piriform.com/recuva). This price-performance hit is the 50-mm is because unlike Windows, Android 1.8 lens, which are a part of the Canon, lacks a Recycle Bin feature. The feature Nikon and Sony portfolio for around works by having deleted files moved to RM500. While taking photos, you should it first, where it can then be copied back be moving a lot and trying out new or restored at any times. However, the perspectives; photos will be more exciting Recycle Bin function can be obtained if you shoot them from varying positions. in Android via the Dumpster app. After You should try out unusual angles as downloading it from the Google Play well. Here, you can also test the effects Store, install the app. With Dumpster, of different f-stops on the photo. you will be able to recover deleted photos, music files, videos, documents and other file types reliably.

27 25 Release yourself from Facebook’s control by deactivating or deleting it

Lens that come packaged with your original camera can do the trick if you know how to navigate around it

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picture perfect

This is how

you swing

in Phigolf!

@ HKTDC 20

14/10/2017

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13/10/20

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A robot spotted in the wild during HKTDC Electronics Fair 2017

14/10/2017 Literally taking your speakers in

a shower @ HKTDC 2017

14/10/2017 Living in style @ HKTDC 2017

14/10/2017 24/10/2017 Literally drink yourself with the help of Evebot @ HKTDC 2017 126

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What float can’t you drink? Spea

ker float! @ HKTDC 2017


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17/10/2017 This guy is all set to have his dance recor

ded with the Sony RX0 No roaring monster wil

21/09/2017 l faze this hunter @ TGS

2017

2/10/2017 26/10/201

Digging deep

One of the

into BenQ pr

many impr

ojector’s du

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Huawei’s AI can now accurately detect a croissant

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Acer is taking us for a swift spin with these girls (notebooks) chip malaysia

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in the next issue DECEMBER

Silly-conmen Valley? The brilliant minds in Silicon Valley have always seem to be the ones that will help lead the world. But it is looking increasingly like they’re out of touch with the real world

Speeding Up Your Wired Network

We’ve spent many articles talking about how to improve your wireless network, so in this article we’ll tell you how to set up a mostly wired one

Machines On The Front Lines There are voices who are starting to warn against the use of machines in weapons, but is putting restrictions or stopping the development of AI feasible? We explore this topic in this article

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