Laptops “bricked” by routine update. Hashtag Trending for Wednesday, June 11, 2024

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It’s official, ChatGPT will be integrated with Siri for free in iOS 18 and MacOS Sequoia, HP ProBooks Bricked by Bad Firmware,  Raspberry Pi Makes Splash With $690M IPO, Oracle Java Police Targeting Fortune 200, Microsoft Axes Copilot Pro’s GPT Builder

These stories and more on this “if they break it you own it” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, let’s get into it.

In a major AI move, Apple has partnered with OpenAI to integrate the wildly popular ChatGPT chatbot directly into Siri on iOS and macOS devices.

Announced at WWDC 2024, the ChatGPT functionality will be available for free to all Apple users when iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia launch later this year – no subscription or account required.

When using Siri, a confirmation prompt will appear before any queries or documents are sent to OpenAI’s servers for ChatGPT processing. Apple says user data won’t be logged.

For OpenAI’s paid ChatGPT subscribers, they’ll be able to link their accounts to access premium AI features within Apple’s operating systems.

The partnership allows Apple to rapidly enhance its AI capabilities while upholding its privacy principles. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman highlighted the “shared commitment to safety and innovation.”

Apple had also been in discussions with Google, but ultimately opted for OpenAI’s powerful language models like GPT-4o, which will power the Siri ChatGPT experience.

Beyond ChatGPT in Siri, Apple unveiled its own “Apple Intelligence” brand encompassing numerous new AI enhancements coming across its product lineup.

But the OpenAI deal stands out – giving Apple users free, seamless access to one of the most sophisticated AI assistants on the market directly within their operating systems.

Sources include: The Verge

Owners of HP ProBook 445 and 455 G7 laptops are reporting that a recent firmware update, version 01.17, is bricking their machines. HP has pulled the update from its support site, with 01.16 the latest available version.

While HP initially seemed to blame Microsoft’s Windows Update for delivering the bad firmware through patches, multiple users claim they installed it directly from HP’s own Support Assistant app or website.

In an email allegedly sent to a service center, HP requested loan units to investigate, saying “HP has removed the BIOS from hp.com/HPIA. As a result, please refrain from updating any more PCs until further notice.”

However, one user claims an HP technician replaced a motherboard, updated to 01.17, and still experienced the same bricking issue when upgrading from 01.15 or 01.16 firmware.

Another user says after a Windows Update and subsequent BIOS upgrade, their ProBook 455 G7 is stuck on a black screen with just noisy fans.

Compounding matters, HP is reportedly quoting some out-of-warranty users around $440 for a motherboard replacement to fix the issue they caused.

With conflicting accounts over where the faulty update originated, impacted users are understandably frustrated at potentially having to pay for repairs to address HP’s mistake on professional-grade laptops.

In a world where the mantra is that keeping up to date is essential in terms of cyber security, mistakes like this may convince companies that updating right away may present another kind of risk.  And the finger pointing might try to push the blame somewhere else, but for customers, it’s a huge frustration.

Sources include: Neowin.net

Oracle has escalated its Java licensing compliance crackdown by sending audit letters to Fortune 200 companies for the first time.

Java was initially developed by Sun Microsystems and released in 1995 as free and open-source software. For many years, Sun allowed free use of Java for all purposes, including commercial applications, under various licenses like the Java Community Process. When Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, they continued permitting free Java usage for personal and development purposes. However, in 2019 Oracle made significant licensing changes, requiring paid commercial licenses for many business use cases.

In 2023, Oracle moved to a per-employee subscription pricing model for commercial Java use. Experts estimated this change made Java 2 to 5 times more expensive than previous licensing.

While smaller firms had faced audits, Oracle had initially held off on targeting the largest corporations. But that has changed recently according to Craig Guarente, CEO of Palisade Compliance.

“In the last month, we’ve seen official audit letters from Oracle to Fortune 100 companies – some were existing subscribers, others weren’t paying Oracle anything for Java.”

The audits aim to push companies toward Oracle’s “Java SE Universal Subscription” which bundles licensing and support starting at $25 per employee annually.

However, the costs can rapidly escalate, even into the millions for enterprises. One retail client was quoted $4 million just to use Oracle Java for a new point-of-sale system rollout.

Analysts predict over 80% of production Java deployments will move to free open source alternatives like OpenJDK by 2026 to avoid Oracle’s high licensing fees.

As Oracle gets more aggressive, businesses are being forced to re-evaluate their Java strategy before Oracle’s auditors come knocking.

Sources include:  The Register

In a landmark move for the maker of tiny, low-cost computers, Raspberry Pi has gone public on the London Stock Exchange.

The company priced its IPO at £2.80 per share, valuing Raspberry Pi at around $690 million US. But investor demand was so high that the stock popped 32% shortly after its market debut.

The successful listing could net Raspberry Pi over $200 million in raised capital. It’s also a win for the London exchange, which has struggled to attract major tech IPOs as many UK companies opt to go public in the US markets.

While Raspberry Pi’s credit card-sized computers were initially a hit among hobbyists for DIY projects and retro gaming, the ARM-based boards have found a lucrative market in industrial and embedded systems. That segment now accounts for 72% of the company’s sales.

In 2023 alone, the 60 million Raspberry Pis sold globally generated $266 million in revenue and $66 million in gross profit for the company.

Raspberry Pi remains a subsidiary of the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, which aims to make coding education more accessible. But the commercial arm’s newly public status provides a capital boost.

Strategic investors like ARM and Sony Semiconductor have also increased their stakes through the IPO.

By taking its affordable computing platform public, Raspberry Pi has unlocked new resources to scale amid surging industrial and embedded system demands.

Sources include: TechCrunch

In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced it is completely shutting down the GPT Builder capability that was part of its Copilot Pro subscription offering.

GPT Builder, which launched just in January 2023, allowed Copilot Pro users to create, edit and publish custom GPT language models tailored to specific use cases.

But Microsoft stated they are “shifting focus on GPTs to Commercial and Enterprise scenarios” and “stopping GPT efforts in consumer Copilot” as part of “evaluating strategy for consumer Copilot extensibility.”

The shutdown begins July 10th, when GPT Builder creation stops. Then from July 10th-14th, Microsoft will delete all existing custom GPTs and associated user data – both those created by the company and by customers.

It’s a stunningly quick reversal for a product Microsoft itself touted as “coming soon” just 5 months ago when launching Copilot Pro at $20 monthly.

The rest of Copilot Pro’s features like Office app integration and GPT-4 priority remain. But Microsoft will not reduce subscription pricing despite lopping off the GPT customization capabilities.

The abrupt shutdown underscores the fast-evolving, often experimental nature of generative AI rollouts as tech giants rapidly shift priorities and strategies. But that uncertainty may backfire as companies may be reluctant to integrate functions with their work processes if those functions can be withdrawn on what, in corporate terms, is a moment’s notice.

Sources include: The Register 

And that’s our show for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a daily news show, with a weekend interview show we call the Weekend Edition.

Show notes are at technewsday.ca or .com  – either one works.

We love your comments.  Contact me at editorial@technewsday.ca

I’m your host Jim Love, have a Wonderful Wednesday

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