FBI hunt for woman accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop to sell to the Russians


Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards”. Her father, who lives in Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said.

FBI officials said they believe Williams “has fled”. Her mother told local law enforcement that she packed a bag and left, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don’t list a lawyer for her.

But the FBI have arrested a heavy metal guitarist who is accused of spraying police officers with a pepper-based bear spray irritant.

Jon Schaffer, guitarist with heavy metal band Iced Earth, turned himself in after seeing his face on a wanted poster.

Jon Ryan Schaffer turned himself in Sunday after he was featured on an FBI poster seeking the public’s help in identifying rioters, said Chris Bavender, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Indianapolis office. He has been charged with several felony counts, including engaging in an act of physical violence and knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.

It wasn’t immediately known if Schaffer, a member of the band Iced Earth, had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf and online federal court records Monday didn’t yet list his case.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Schaffer had been sought after, according to a federal statement about his case, he was seen in photographs and on video “engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police inside the Capitol building” and holding a container of bear spray.

Schaffer is a supporter of President Donald Trump and has voiced various conspiracy theories, once telling a German news station that a shadowy criminal enterprise is trying to run the world under a communist agenda and that he and others are prepared to fight with violence.

According to a statement filed in federal court by an FBI agent, Schaffer “has long held far-right extremist views”. The statement said that: “During an interview in 2017, Schaffer … referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise’. During that same interview, Schaffer stated that the 2016 presidential election was ‘rigged.’”

Four of Schaffer’s “Iced Earth” bandmates put out a statement on Instagram and Facebook condemning the violence that rioters were involved in, saying: “We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

Federal charges of assault, destruction of government property and obstruction were also laid against 24-year-old Colorado man Robert Gieswein, who is alleged to have attacked US Capitol police with a spray cannister and a baseball bat.

Gieswein appears affiliated with a radical militia group known as the Three Percenters, which advocates for resistance to government policies it believes infringe on individual rights, according to the affidavit, and runs a private paramilitary training group he calls the Woodland Wild Dogs.

AP, Bloomberg

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Laptop repairman at center of Hunter Biden saga is alive


The claim: The computer repairman at the center of the Hunter Biden laptop saga was found dead

In October, the New York Post published copies of “smoking gun” emails it claimed were recovered from a laptop that belonged to Hunter Biden.

It alleged that the emails revealed Joe Biden — the vice president at the time of the emails, a candidate at the time they were published, and now the president-elect — had been compromised by his son’s business ties in Ukraine.

The source of the laptop that purportedly contained the emails was a computer repairman from Wilmington, Delaware.

John Paul Mac Isaac — owner of The Mac Shop — told reporters that a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought three liquid-damaged laptops to his repair shop in April 2019, per the Delaware News Journal.

The man left one laptop for repair and never returned to retrieve it.

Eventually, Mac Isaac gave a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to Brian Costello, an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, who is the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump. Mac Isaac said he turned the hard drive over to Costello because of fears for his safety.

More: A tabloid got a trove of data on Hunter Biden from Rudy Giuliani. Now, the FBI is probing a possible disinformation campaign.

Now, some users on Facebook have claimed that Mac Isaac was found dead, posting screenshots of a headline that reads, “Computer Shop Owner Who Raised Alarm About Hunter Biden Laptop Found Dead.”

Alongside the headline, they shared captions like “Democrats hit man strikes again” and “NOT A COINCIDENCE.”

The claim first appeared on the website America’s Last Line of Defense, which claimed on Nov. 28 that Mac Isaac “has been found dead, also under highly mysterious circumstances.”

A description of the circumstances included a “loud explosion” in South Park, Colorado, where it claims Mac Isaac had moved after he closed up shop in Wilmington.

“When police and fire arrived at the scene, they were confronted by a blazing inferno that had entirely engulfed Mr. Isaac’s new computer repair shop,” it read.

The users who posted the claim to Facebook have not responded to requests from USA TODAY for comment.

President-elect Joe Biden’s son was in the spotlight during the presidential campaign for his business dealings with Ukraine and China.

Claims about death of computer repairman are from satire website

The claims that Mac Isaac had been found dead originated on America’s Last Line of Defense — which is a satirical publication, per its website.

“Everything on this website is fiction,” the website reads. “It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined.”

America’s Last Line of Defense also disclaims that “any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental.”

The specific story about Mac Isaac was labeled as satire.

Christopher Blair, the creator of America’s Last Line of Defense, told USA TODAY that its articles are distinguished by the fact that they have “zero in common with reality.”

“We follow one specific rule, and that is that the piece has to be ridiculous,” he wrote in an email.

Fact check: Fake anti-Christmas quote attributed to Kamala Harris began as satire

What is true about the repairman?

In reality, Mac Isaac is alive — evidenced by a video he posted to YouTube on Dec. 5. In the video, “The Truth,” he gives a brief family history and denies having any ties to Russia or acting as a “hacker.”

One tidbit from the story on America’s Last Line of Defense that also happens to be true is that Mac Isaac closed up his computer shop in Wilmington.

More: Computer repairman who claimed he gave Hunter Biden data to Giuliani closes shop as laptop saga gets stranger

On Nov. 24, the Delaware News Journal reported that “ten days after the election, a sign on the repair shop’s door said it had closed. A neighbor said the owner had left town.”

Brian Della Rocca — an attorney who is representing Mac Isaac — confirmed that Mac Isaac shuttered the shop after receiving death threats. Della Rocca declined to disclose whether Mac Isaac had left town or where he might have gone.

Fact check: False claim that Malia Obama was arrested originated on satire site

Our rating: False

Based on our research, the claim that the computer repairman at the center of the Hunter Biden laptop saga was found dead is FALSE. The claim first appeared on a satirical website. The repairman — John Paul Mac Isaac — posted a video on YouTube on Dec. 5, proof that he is alive.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Laptop repairman at center of Hunter Biden saga is alive



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Review: Can the Samsung Tab S7+ replace a laptop?


Pros: Capable hardware, great screen, good keyboard, suitable daily driver 
Cons: Let down by software that isn’t optimised for tablets; some minor niggles

I’VE never been a fan of tablet computing although I must admit the geek in me prompted me to get into the newest and latest very early on. My first foray into tablet computing was the Asus Eee Pad Transformer back in 2011. Can any one of you even remember that model? I can’t, as I had to check my purchase records and Google the picture of it!

As it turns out, tablets have come a long way since then. I tried again a few years later to get into the Apple tablet ecosystem with the iPad 2 and that didn’t work out either. My last foray into tablets was when I opted for a Samsung Tab A 8.0 with S Pen functionality. I thought that the S Pen would make a difference, but I ultimately concluded that that didn’t really work out either.

My major pain point about the tablet is this: It’s not portable enough that you can carry it everywhere like you could with the smartphone; it’s not powerful enough in the hardware, software and interconnectivity departments to replace my working laptop. 

While the smartphone has become more powerful as the years go by with the likes of Samsung Note being touted as full productivity tools, you still can’t do any serious work with a smartphone especially for journalists like us who need a full-scale keyboard to write. Meanwhile, tablets continue to have limitations in terms of storage space, software compatibility and general usage.

So I was curious about the latest Samsung Tab S7+ when it came to the market. Could this be a compromise between a power portable device and having just enough real estate to use as a daily driver for work?

Let’s find out.

Review: Can the Samsung Tab S7+ replace a laptop?

Design and build

The Samsung Tab S7+ is the latest iteration to come out of the South Korean giant. In the world of tablets, Apple’s iPad has been the front runner in terms of preference and shipments, followed by Samsung and Huawei.

But being behind isn’t a bad thing as it means that Samsung would need to innovate in order to differentiate itself from Apple. This is where I believe the new Tab S7+ has done well, as a device that comes both with a high-quality attached keyboard, touted to be worth RM999,  and an S Pen to boot.

The 12.4-inch Tab S7+ retails for RM4,599, while it’s smaller sibling, the 11-inch Tab S7, goes for RM3,299.

The Tab S7+ sports the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chip, coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space, which is expandable to 1TB on an external SD-Card. Other specs include a super AMOLED screen, a 13MP rear main shooter; a 5MP ultra-wide rear camera; and an 8MP front selfie camera.

The Tab S7+ measures at 285 x 185 x 5.7 mm (11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inch) and weighs in at 575g. I found the weight a little too heavy and the size a little too big. Personally, I would opt for the Tab S7, with an 11-inch screen and weight of 498g.

Design-wise, the Tab S7+ is top notch, as you would come to expect from Samsung. On the right (or top) side of the device, you’ll find the on/off switch and the volume rockers. On the left side of the screen is the connection to the full-sized  keyboard. On the top and bottom are stereo speakers that are tuned by audio specialists AKG. 

There is a fingerprint scanner found on the display, and it’s the same kind that is found on the Note 20. The scanner works but as I’ve said before with my review of other Samsung’s in-display technology, it doesn’t work well when my fingers are damp or wet.

The keyboard snaps onto the back side of the tablet via magnets and with the keyboard connection. The S pen is also magnetised to the back via a built-in crevice, which is a very nifty place to store your pen while not in use. The S Pen is also charged wirelessly while attached to the back but you must be careful to stick the pen tip facing the camera for it to be charged.

At the back, you have a two-camera set up with a flash to boot. The specs here aren’t amazing but then again, tablet cameras aren’t a big deal as you don’t usually use them as shooters given you have your smartphone with you all the time and will likely use that instead.

Overall, the feel is sturdy and solid, and I did not find any issues carrying it around and did not feel that the keyboard cover slipped off at any point.

As for the display, the 12.4 super AMOLED is what many have come to expect from an excellent screen found on top-end Samsung “S” or Note series of smartphones. The 12.4-inch screen has a resolution of 2,800 x 1,752 and supports a fast 120Hz refresh rate making it smooth to operate, which makes it mighty smooth. 

This is where the screen shines even better than the iPads, as AMOLEDs are just more punchy in their presentation and really stand out as more “alive.” I did a comparison between the Tab 7+ and the Tab 7 on Netflix, playing the same show side-by-side, and my observations are that it makes a difference.

Brightness is good even under sunlight, colours are vivid while watching HD content, although the color balance is on the bright side. You can of course tone it down via software options. The screen has a 16:9 ratio, and some have complained that vertically, it may not have the same real estate as a 4:3 screen. But I didn’t find it a bother viewing most of my apps.

For me, the high-point of the device is the keyboard. As someone who uses a keyboard to make a living, I can tell you I’m quite fussed over this. What I’ve found over the years is that tablet keyboards aren’t good for typing mainly because they try to balance between form and function. To be honest, even the latest Apple Macbooks’ keyboards are disappointing. 

But the Tab 7+ keyboard is just great. The pitch is right, the tactile feel is great for such a flat and thin keyboard. Typing with it is a joy. But the keyboard isn’t perfect either.

A major peeve I had was that there was no way to control the trackpad direction for scrolling. I’m used to a ‘positive scroll logic’ – that is to say that when I  swipe my finger down on the trackpad, I’d expect the page on screen to scroll down. 

The Tab 7+ goes the other way – like you would experience when using your fingers to directly scroll the touch screen up and down. I get it that some prefer the latter but it would be nice if Samsung gave the option for people like me instead of forcing us to go in the direction it wants us to go.

Another negative was the terrible palm rejection on the touchpad – it’s downright lousy.

I find that if I’m not careful, the mouse pointer comes into play and moves around and sometimes, the cursor is all over the place as a result of a slight inadvertent touch. What’s more, the software doesn’t have much in the way of controlling palm rejection, something I wish Samsung will take note of in the next software update, together with the screen scroll direction.

There are few more small niggles that may annoy you about the Tab 7+. Firstly, there isn’t a headphone jack, which means you have to be using a converter via the USB C port. You can’t simply use any kind of converter and the best is to use a Samsung branded one. Otherwise use a Bluetooth headset. 

Secondly, in order to transfer stuff to say a pendrive or an external drive, you’ll need a USB C to USB B type converter or a USB C pendrive, which can be very expensive. There is also no mouse support unless it’s a direct Bluetooth mouse sans the USB A receiver adapter. 

All the aforementioned didn’t bother me as the whole point of having a tablet is that you can touch the screen and get things done; also, I’ve long switched to Bluetooth headsets and don’t bother with wired ones anymore.

Review: Can the Samsung Tab S7+ replace a laptop?

Performance

As I review this Tab 7+, I’m cognisant that I’m doing so from a very specific angle – that of evaluating if it could replace my full-sized, six-year-old Macbook Air. With that said, my main criteria for testing this would be: performance (including battery life), portability, and accessibility (including software and apps). 

Given these criteria, this is where I can tell you that the Tab 7+ mostly succeeds, and where it does not, it isn’t per se, Samsung’s fault but more of Google’s Android and apps (more on this later). 

So what are the plus points with the Tab S7+? 

For starters, the Tab S7+ is super portable, although I found that 12.4-inch is a tad too big for me. I would however consider the Tab  S7, the 11-inch tablet that makes things even more portable.

On to the S pen. Samsung’s S pen technology has been well received in the Note series and most people are happy with it. But where the South Korean giant has done even better than before is the reduction of the latency of the writing from 42ms down to 9ms. 

You might think that this isn’t significant but when you use older versions of the S Pen, you can actually really feel it when using the lower latency pen. The feel is really close to writing on paper and the strokes are smooth but with enough friction to make writing easy and natural.

As a writer, I must say the new-improved Samsung Notes is better than its predecessors. The one feature that I really enjoyed using is the “record while you take notes” feature. As a journalist, this is a bread-and-butter feature I’ve been wanting to have for yonks but until now, had not been integrated into an app as well as Samsung has done so.

To use this, you just have to open your Samsung notes, turn on the recording, and proceed to write or type as you would any interview session, and after that, you can play back the recording within Samsung Notes. 

But where the magic comes in is that you can simply move your cursor or use the S pen to simply go to the word you’ve selected, and the recording clip will cue up to that point automatically. No more running independently through the audio file to find out where your important quotes or points to note are, and wondering who said what, and at which point.

Of course, there are other nifty features that you can do with the Tab S7+. You can annotate PDF files, which is a big advantage; integrate your files with pictures, charts and tables; and draw anything from doodles to sketches – all on the Notes. Of course, you can use other apps with the S Pen, such as Screen Write, Live Messengers, AR Doodle and PenUp, just to name a few.

The battery life of the Tab 7+ is acceptable for a 10,090mAH size. For the most part, I could get through the day with it, unless I used an inordinate amount of time watching videos and streaming a lot of data, which is something one shouldn’t be doing on a work day anyway. Screen-on time averaged between seven and eight hours, and that was good enough for me. 

I could get through a 1.5 hour Netflix movie with full brightness and reasonable audio volume using about 25% of battery juice. Of course, you could switch the display to 60Hz to eke out more battery life but I wouldn’t recommend that you compromise the screen smoothness for battery life. 

Speaking about audio quality, the Tab 7+ is equipped with four speakers which are tuned by AKG and the software has the option of Dolby Atmos, which when turned on, makes a great difference. I thoroughly enjoyed this feature watching some of the 1,080p movies, with Dolby surround, I had in my collection.

As for charging the battery, this was a bit of a let down as the Tab S7+ only came with a standard 15W charger, which meant it took more than 2 hours plus to get from single digit battery percentage to 100%. I had to use a 25W Samsung charger to halve that charging time but that means shelving up another RM60 to RM70 for such a charger.

From a purely numbers perspective, I obtained a Geekbench score of 946 for single core and 2,795 for multi-core functions. It isn’t as fast as the iPad but that’s just purely numbers as I doubt you’ll feel the difference subjectively.

From a network perspective, the Tab S7+ launched in Malaysia only has Wi-Fi connectivity as 5G isn’t even here in the country yet. Do note this as Samsung has another variant that supports 5G launched elsewhere around the world.

Lastly the camera. As mentioned earlier the specs for these cameras are so-so. I didn’t dabble much with the camera as I find it cumbersome to take pictures with a tablet. 

But suffice it to say, you get the same features as you do with the Samsung S20 series, namely, modes such as Live Focus (for portraits), Pro Video, Night and Single Take. This allows you to record a short video and then creates multiple clips and images with different aspect ratios targeted at social media.

For the front shooter, an 8MP camera is more than enough for your Microsoft Teams or Zoom calls. The camera angles on these conference calls were pretty wide when I tried them, and I find absolutely no problems with them.

Review: Can the Samsung Tab S7+ replace a laptop?

Software and usage

This is where anyone would feel the downside of the use of an otherwise great tablet from Samsung. Firstly, the native apps that come with the Tab S7+ do take advantage of the bigger display real estate. So YouTube, Google email, and other Google products do generally work well. 

Still not all of them do. For example, when using Chrome to open websites, such as Gmail, the views don’t default to desktop view. So if you preferred using your web browser to view your Gmail, the view on your browser is defaulted to a more mobile view. This way, you can’t get to all the buttons you normally have access to when viewed on a proper laptop browser.

And if you use Google Task, which I do, it doesn’t recognise that it’s accessing on a tablet and can’t switch you over to landscape mode, which is the natural position, given that you use the keyboard attached to the Tab S7+ in landscape mode most of the time. Google Task is fine for smartphones but not tablets! The work around is to open my Google Calendar on my browser and see my task on the taskbar. 

Other non native apps also suffer from the same problems. Take LinkedIn for example. The app just looks as if it’s a stretched out version of the mobile version on landscape mode – very unattractive.

And don’t even get me started about Zoom. The tablet version cannot give you more than four simultaneous screens to look at, something that a real laptop can easily do.

All these troubles boil down to Android developers, who aren’t willing to tailor-make their apps for tablet computing as the scale of usage is not there compared to Windows and Macs, and even the iPads out there. To be fair to Google, some iPad apps also do suffer the same fate as Android.

Samsung does provide somewhat of a solution for this called DeX, which converts the whole tablet to look like a Windows desktop. I tried using it and to a certain extent, it does manage multitasking better. But I found DeX too much of a bother to use and didn’t like the fact that I was actually emulating a Windows desktop on a Samsung.

Final words

So did my experiment to replace my MacBook work? I would say yes, for the most part. I think given what I do, I found the pros outweigh the cons mentioned above. 

But at RM4,599, it’s a lot to part with for such a machine as you can get an equivalent or cheaper full-sized laptop for much less. Notwithstanding that the Tab S7+ is a very accomplished piece of hardware, but it is let down by the software side of things. 

If you’re not too fussed about having a super AMOLED screen, a smaller keyboard and screen and other non top-notch specs, you could consider the Tab S7. At RM3,299, it’s much more affordable, and does the job of a portable, run-around device for your everyday use. 

That having said, I’ve learnt that I will still need to keep my MacBook Air functioning for things I can’t easily do with the tablet. But at least, I can move around more with the tablet and still get most things done.

Do note that in Malaysia, the keyboard and S pen are bundled together with the pricing and that makes it attractive for people like me looking for a replacement for my daily driver laptop. Had the keyboard and S pen not been bundled, then it becomes quite an ordinary tablet, and I wouldn’t have recommended it.
 



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Gareth Bale pictured with a laptop during Wales’ bore draw with USA


Golf-mad Gareth Bale was spotted with a laptop in the stands during this clash and he will surely have found the Masters a lot more exciting.

But Wales caretaker Rob Page insisted he had no problem with the star potentially watching the golf instead.

There was precious little goalmouth action in Swansea with Tottenham ace Bale resting ahead of Wales’ last two Nations League games.

And it is doubtful how much Bale would have registered anyway with a laptop infront of him – coinciding with the first round from Augusta.

But Page, deputising for absent boss Ryan Giggs who is being investigated by police, responded: “I don’t know what the players not in the squad were up to.

“There are no problems at all.



Bale was sat on his laptop while keeping one eye on Wales vs USA

“Bale is here, he has been brilliant all week.

“He was in the changing room before hand making sure everyone was in the right frame of mind.”

Record-scorer Bale will have to forsake the golf though when Wales host the Republic of Ireland on Sunday evening when the final round is scheduled.

Wales will need the on-loan ace back after just two shots on target at the Liberty Stadium.

Page, who made nine changes, insisted it was always part of the plan to rest Bale for Sunday.

He stressed: “Yeah absolutely. He is probably the fittest he has been.

“He has worked week in week out and we will benefit from that.



The fixture coincidentally clashed with The Masters golf tournament
The fixture coincidentally clashed with The Masters golf tournament

“It was always the plan to leave him out of the 23 and have him rearing to go and firing on Sunday.”

USA were playing their first game since the pandemic and the death of Floyd George under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis.

The visitors’ stars wore tracksuits with ‘Be the change’ across them for the national anthem as each player had a different slogan on his back.

These included: ‘believe to achieve, for social justice, unite in truth, end racism, for social justice, peace and black lives matter’.

USA coach Greg Berhalter said: “I’m proud of how the players came together and thought long and hard about how they would stand up to social injustice.

“They came up with: ‘Be the change’.

“The guys really take this seriously and want the individual to take responsibility for making the change in society.

“It’s a great message and I was really proud of the guys in that moment.”

Wales went into the game 20th in the Fifa rankings with the USA two places below them and there was little to separate the two teams on the pitch either.

Wales had to wait until the 32nd minute to test Zack Steffen in the USA goal after Tom Lawrence tried a shot from distance after a cross-field ball by Kieffer Moore.

USA took until the 51st minute to stretch Danny Ward as Sebastian Lletget hammered a low right-foot hot across goal.

Wales debutant Brennan Johnson came off the bench and nearly made a big impact as he raced clear before firing in a low effort which Steffen saved.





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How to Watch Apple’s November Mac Laptop Event


Weren’t we all here just a couple weeks ago? Hanging around on the internet waiting for Apple to show off some new hardware?

Indeed, we were. Apple has already staged two hardware release events this fall: one for the Apple Watch and iPads and one for the four new iPhones. Now the company is inviting us all to join its executives at its corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California, for another big reveal, the third of the season.

We expect this week’s event to center around Mac laptops and desktops. Apple has already announced its plans to gradually transition its computers away from Intel processors and toward its own custom silicon chips, with the first Apple-cored Macs arriving at the end of 2020. So here we are. Which computers will be the first to make the leap? As reported by Bloomberg last week, the 13-inch MacBook Air and a couple of MacBook Pro models will likely be the machines where the new processors make their Mac debut. (Apple’s custom silicon already powers its iPhones and iPads.)

We can also expect some additional details about (and a release date for) macOS 11 Big Sur, the next version of Apple’s desktop operating system. There’s also a sliver of a chance we’ll see some of the other long-rumored hardware in the pipe: new headphones, new Apple TV, AirTags.

Apple’s show-and-tell will be livestreamed for free, so anyone can tune in. We should be treated to prerecorded segments featuring Apple executives walking us through the new products and demonstrating the features for the cameras. There will be no audience—just you, your cohabitants, and the stack of take-out containers you’ve accumulated since election day.

How to Watch

Apple’s presentation will start at 1 pm Eastern, 10 am Pacific on Tuesday, November 10. You can stream it right here on this page. You can also view the stream on Apple’s website, in the Apple TV app, or on the company’s YouTube channel.

That Apple TV option is new this year, by the way—now that Apple has its own streaming service, it also has a dedicated video app on mobile devices, Apple TV boxes, Roku boxes, and in some smart TVs. You can open that app and find the option to stream Tuesday’s event, whether or not you subscribe to the monthly Apple TV+ streaming service.



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Intel launches Iris Xe Max graphics chip with three laptop makers


Intel has launched its Iris Xe Max graphics chip with three laptop makers as customers. Acer, Asus, and Dell have signed on to launch thin-and-light laptops with Intel’s first stand-alone graphics chip.

The stand-alone graphics chip uses the same microarchitecture as the Intel Iris Xe graphics, or the integrated graphics in Intel’s 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processors. But this one is more powerful, with 96 execution units, a frequency of1.35GHz, and built-in encoding capability. The latter is good for the target market of content creators because it helps them process videos faster, said Darren McPhee, director of product marketing, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“We’re targeting this solution at mainstream thin light notebooks, and specifically the mobile creator,” said McPhee. “It’s going to be a long-term strategic play with this first wave of the product. We’re focusing on how can we enhance the creator capabilities in this space.”

The chip has been under design for a few years, and it’s a big bet by Intel to expand beyond the CPU market.

The new discrete graphic processing unit (GPU) will position Intel better in its competition with the two other stand-alone graphics chip makers, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices. The three customers will are using the Intel graphics chips in their new thin-and-light laptops that are debuting today. Intel says this is just the beginning of a strategic push into the graphics chip market coming in 2021.

Above: Intel Iris Xe Max graphics capability.

Image Credit: Intel

The Iris Xe Max features Intel Deep Link technology, which helps Intel’s central processing units (CPUs) work well with its GPUs, using a common software framework to boost performance for things like video encoding. Intel said that its GPU can do Hyper Encode for up to 1.78 times faster encoding than Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card for desktops. The 2080 consumes more power than the Intel graphics solution, but it’s not a great comparison for the current market. The 2080 is being replaced by Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3080 GPUs now, but Intel said it wasn’t able to test against 3080s.

Available starting today, Intel Iris Xe MAX graphics are available for the Acer Swift 3x, Asus VivoBook Flip TP470, and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 laptops. These are the first devices to leverage 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processors, Intel Iris Xe MAX graphics, and Intel Deep Link technology.

Above: Intel’s graphics chip vs. Nvidia’s laptop graphics chip.

Image Credit: Intel

Intel said the combined tech can run AI-based creation software seven times faster than similar laptops configured with third-party graphics.

As for games, Intel said the Iris Xe Max graphics also deliver 1080p graphics in a wide variety of popular games. Intel said that its GPUs can outperform games on laptops that use Nvidia MX350 notebook GPUs. Those GPUs consume about the same amount of power as the Intel GPUs, while the 3000 series Nvidia GPUs consume a lot more.

Intel is offering promotions that bundle creator applications and games, starting on November 3. 
After Intel expands the rollout of the GPUs in early 2021, Intel will also launch its DG2 graphics chips, which are targeted at desktop graphics performance. Intel hasn’t said when those chips will debut, or the performance levels. But Intel said it will bring Xe discrete graphics to value desktops in the first half of 2021. It believes the Xe graphics architecture will scale from the low end to the high-end graphics markets, from gaming to datacenter graphics.

Intel’s 11th Gen Intel Core S-Series desktop processors, code-named Rocket Lake, will debut in 2021.

“I’d say they are making solid progress. It’s not going to beat an Nvidia RTX 2060 on game performance, but they have a good solution for thin and light productivity notebooks,” said Kevin Krewell, an analyst at Tirias Research, in an email to GamesBeat. “It’s a better solution for creative workers that want the discrete GPU. I like the unified software stack with dynamic power-sharing. The Deep Link ability to have both integrated and discrete Iris Xe graphics working together for video and deep learning tasks is a plus. I’d say it’s a decent start, but it’s not for gaming laptops.”

Beyond the Iris Xe Max, Intel is working on its Xe HPG high-performance graphics chips, which consume more power and can run high-powered desktops.

The chip is made with Intel’s 10-nanometer Super Fin manufacturing technology.


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‘Nothing to’ Hunter Biden Laptop Story, ‘My Son’s an Honorable Man’



During an interview with Iowa’s KCRG on Friday, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden stated that “there’s nothing to any” of the “smear” stories about his son, Hunter’s laptop and “my son’s an honorable man.”

KCRG Anchor and Managing Editor Beth Malicki asked, “So, what about the Americans who really, today, only want me to ask you about Hunter Biden’s laptop, how are you going to get them to see that you are fighting for them, when they’re so dead set against you?”

Biden responded, “By the way, there’s nothing to any of that, nothing to any of that. It’s all a smear. Every major outfit, every serious investigator has pointed out that this is a smear. This is classic Trump. We have four days left, and all of a sudden, there’s a laptop. And you may recall, there’s also talk about, four months before, there was a similar thing that somebody had, allegedly. There’s overwhelming evidence that — from the intelligence community that the Russians are engaged. I mean, look, this is — my son’s an honorable man. And all the investigations that were done around the issue of what was going on in Ukraine, if you noticed, every one of the major people who worked for Trump, during the impeachment, went under oath, and under oath said, [Joe] Biden did his job. No law was broken. … Hunter Biden broke no laws.”

(h/t Trump War Room)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett





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DNI John Ratcliffe: Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign


FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, Hunter Biden waits for the start of the his father’s, Vice President Joe Biden’s, debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:58 AM PT – Monday, October 19, 2020

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has said Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. In an interview Monday, he called out Democrat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for claiming such.

Ratcliffe stated the Intelligence Community does not believe Schiff’s claims because there is no intelligence to support them. The Republican also has said the laptop is in the jurisdiction of the FBI and the Intelligence Committee has not been involved in the matter.

The emails in question detail Hunter’s ties to corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs and Chinese officials who paid him for introducing them to his father when he was vice president.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) fired off a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray, urging him to disclose if the agency is probing emails reportedly from Hunter’s laptop.

Johnson has asked Wray to inform the panel if the agency has taken any action regarding those emails. The lawmaker also questioned what the FBI knew about Hunter and when they knew it, while noting it speaks to a “larger issue.”

This comes as outrage surrounding the emails continues to grow.

“You have taken blood money,” said former White House strategist Steve Bannon. “…blood money, Hunter Biden, to do your drugs and all your depravity.”

Bannon has accused Joe and Hunter of stealing money from the people of China as well as Ukraine by aiding and abetting their corrupt regimes.

Hunter tried to retrieve his laptop from a Delaware computer shop after the latest revelations broke of his corruption overseas, added Bannon. However, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has said the computer now belongs to that shop and to the American public.

“So it was now his property, according to the contract signed by Hunter Biden, which we have right here,” Giuliani said of the shop owner. “Property that is abandoned, under the law, becomes the property of the person that’s in possession of it.”

Giuliani has also said the man who found Hunter’s Ukraine emails told the FBI he was “really afraid” and “scared for his life.” The former New York City mayor noted the man even gave copies of Hunter’s hard drive to his friends in case he got killed.

“Hunter Biden’s computer also contains photos that show illegal activities,” Giuliani added. “In short what the photographs display is Hunter Biden, who is a very serious…degenerate.”

Giuliani went on to say the FBI also has a copy of Hunter’s hard drive along with his own legal team. The evidence of the Biden’s corruption overseas is under review.

Meanwhile, both Bannon and Giuliani have claimed more evidence on the corruption scheme will be released in the coming days.

MORE NEWS: Trump Supporters Cheer ‘Lock Him Up’ In Response To Biden Dealings





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Rudy’s ‘Russian Agent’ Pal Teases ‘Second Laptop’ With Hunter Biden Kompromat


Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Rudy Giuliani has dismissed concerns that his latest anti-Biden smears are part of a foreign-election interference plot, but a Ukrainian lawmaker recently deemed an “active Russian agent” by the U.S. Treasury is now touting further details to come.

Andrii Derkach, one of the key players in Giuliani’s years-long dirt-digging mission against Joe Biden in Ukraine, piggybacked on the former New York City mayor’s latest Biden smears—supposedly involving a forgotten laptop. Derkach claimed on Facebook that there is a “second laptop” with evidence of corruption involving the Biden family.

Chinese Billionaire’s Network Hyped Hunter Biden Dirt Weeks Before Rudy Giuliani

The claim appears to muddy the waters around Giuliani’s latest “smoking gun” charge against Hunter Biden. He says they came to light after an obscure Delaware computer repair shop owner found Biden’s laptop in his possession and copied the hard drive before alerting federal authorities and inexplicably Giuliani’s own lawyer. Now, with Derkach jumping in with claims of a “second laptop,” that would mean private computer contents allegedly connected to Hunter Biden have somehow found their way into the hands of three separate parties: A media empire controlled by a Chinese billionaire who’s tight with Steve Bannon; a random Delaware shop owner who is outspoken in his support of Trump; and Derkach, a Ukrainian conspiracy theory peddler who studied at Moscow’s FSB academy.

Derkach wrote on Facebook about the questionable New York Post report that relied on unverified images of emails provided by Trump allies to supposedly prove a corruption scheme by Biden and his son involving Ukrainian gas company Burisma. He then said there was a second laptop, which was used by “two representatives for the interests of [Burisma founder Mykola] Zlochevsky.”

“That laptop was given to Ukrainian law enforcement,” Derkach wrote, adding that the Burisma representatives who used the laptop were now serving as “witnesses in criminal proceedings.” He said the witnesses were ready to testify about an international corruption scheme involving Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of the gas company.

It has already been reported that Russian intelligence agents successfully hacked into Burisma computer networks last year, although it is not clear how much they were able to access and copy.

Despite what Team Trump would have the public believe is a towering mountain of evidence, neither Joe or Hunter Biden have been charged with any wrongdoing, and Ukrainian prosecutors confirmed months ago that they had found no evidence of any crimes.

Derkach is no newbie to the Biden saga. While cozying up to Trump allies like Giuliani during impeachment proceedings, he held repeated press conferences in Kyiv touting purported proof of corruption by the former vice president, and claiming it was not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election, but Ukraine. He also featured prominently in an “exposé” by the Trumpian One America News Network, and met with Giuliani in Kyiv last year as part of their anti-Biden mission. His claims have not held up under scrutiny.

After Derkach was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in September for working as a foreign operative, Giuliani insisted he had not seen “any evidence” to conclusively say whether Derkach was working as a Russian agent or not.

He told The Daily Beast this week that he believed it was a toss up whether his partner in the Biden smearing campaign was an active intelligence operative. “The chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50,” he said.

Rudy: Only ‘50/50’ Chance I Worked With a ‘Russian Spy’ to Dig Dirt on Bidens and Ukraine

But U.S. intelligence officials had begun warning in spring 2019 that Derkach was part of a Russian effort to worm their way into the U.S. presidential election and spread the narrative that Biden and his son were involved in nefarious corruption schemes overseas.

Giuliani’s allegations against Biden have evolved drastically since he first began his attacks on Trump’s then presumed 2020opponent by claiming the former vice president improperly forced out a Ukrainian prosecutor. After numerous “exposés” on Biden’s supposed abuse of power aired on OAN largely failed to gain much traction, Giuliani shifted his focus to Biden’s son, Hunter, who he has now deemed a “national security risk.”

Bizarrely, even Giuliani’s allegations against the younger Biden have pinballed all over the place, from his initial claim that Hunter used access to his father to line his own pockets, to his very personal attacks on his admitted struggles with substance abuse, and, perhaps most desperately, his latest smear that Hunter Biden engaged in “disgusting sexual behavior.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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