Grupo Antolin to open $61.2 million plant in Michigan, create 430 jobs

DETROIT — Spanish auto interiors parts supplier Grupo Antolin plans to open a $61.2 million manufacturing plant in suburban Detroit.

Antolin Shelby Inc., a newly-formed subsidiary of Grupo Antolin, will lease a 350,000-square-foot building that is under construction in Shelby Township, Mich.

The project is expected to create 430 new jobs and is supported by a $3.6 million performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The plant is needed as Grupo’s other plants are at capacity, according to a Michigan Economic Development Corp. memo. The memo did not identify a specific part to be made at the plant. It was unclear which customer would be served by the plant.

Grupo, with its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., operates plants in Michigan in Wayne, Marlette and Warren as well as in Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

The expansion stems from Grupo’s $525 million acquisition of Magna International Inc.’s interiors business in 2015. The Magna sale included 36 manufacturing operations and about 12,000 employees in Europe, North America and Asia.

Earlier this year, Grupo announced it would sell its seating business to Lear Corp. for $307 million. That transaction is expected to close by June 30.

How to connect an Apple wireless keyboard to Windows 10

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While some users prefer the tactile feel of a solid mechanical keyboard, others opt for a streamlined and simple looks. And, in the tech world, Apple is the king of modern design. However, this poses a problem for users who prefer Windows 10, or who may be working in a Windows-only organization.

The good news is, even if you’re using Windows 10, you can still take advantage of Apple’s peripherals for use with your machine. One of the most popular accessories from Apple, its wireless keyboard, is actually pretty simple to set up for Windows.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure your wireless keyboard is charged. If you have the older Apple Wireless Keyboard, make sure you have some fresh batteries in it. If you have the newer Apple Magic Keyboard, make sure it has been charged with the cable it comes with. Although, it might have some charge out of the package.

Note: Both of Apple’s wireless keyboards are configurable to work with Windows 10, but require slightly different steps toward the end.

SEE: MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar: Video review

You’ll then need to turn on Bluetooth on your Windows 10 machine. Click on the Start button (the Windows icon in the bottom left of the desktop) and then click “Settings.”

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From here, you should be looking at the standard settings pane, where you can access network settings, account information, security and privacy settings, and more. Click on the “Devices” option. It may say “Bluetooth, printers, mouse” underneath it.

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Once you’re in the “Devices” pane, you’ll want to click the “Bluetooth” option on the left-hand side of the screen. Towards the middle of the screen it will say “Manage Bluetooth devices.” Under that header, make sure that the slider under “Bluetooth” is turned to “On” and is displaying in blue.

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Once that slider is in the “On” position, there should be some text that reads “Your PC is searching for and can be discovered by Bluetooth devices.” Under that text, you’ll see a list of Bluetooth devices that are available for pairing. Click the option that says either “Magic Keyboard” or “Apple Wireless Keyboard,” depending on which model you have, and click the grey button that says “Pair.”

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You will then see a popup window that offers a passcode. This is when the setup for the two types of Apple wireless keyboards differs. If you have the older Wireless Keyboard, simply type the code on the screen and hit the Enter/Return key on your Apple keyboard.

However, if you have a newer Apple Magic Keyboard, there is some confusing behavior that may occur. Windows 10 seems to read the Magic Keyboard as a separate device, complete with a screen, so it will present a code in the window and the text “Compare the passcodes,” under the assumption that it wants you to compare displayed text on another screen. Since the Magic Keyboard obviously doesn’t have a screen, you can just click “Yes.”At this point you should be connected.

To test the keyboard, simply click in the search bar and try to enter text. If you want to be sure, follow the same steps above to get to the Bluetooth settings pane and under “Magic Keyboard” or “Apple Wireless Keyboard” it should say “Connected.”

To disconnect the keyboard, click on your keyboard’s name and click the “Remove device” button that pops up. When it asks if you’re sure you want to disconnect the device, click “Yes.”

Nissan Kicks emerges from the shadows

PHOTO GALLERY: Nissan Kicks spy photos





PHOTO GALLERY >>

NASHVILLE — Nissan’s elusive Kicks — a new baby crossover — is getting closer to U.S. showrooms.

Nissan has not officially disclosed plans for the Kicks, a Versa-sized subcompact, but it has been spotted road-testing near the automaker’s U.S. r&d center in Farmington Hills, Mich.

The Kicks will extend Nissan’s crossover and SUV lineup to compete against the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossovers. Nissan’s crossover lineup currently stops at the subcompact Juke, which features a lower, hatchbacklike profile compared with the Kicks. The Rogue Sport, slightly smaller than the Rogue, will debut this spring as a Japanese import.

But the Juke was never intended to appeal to the lower-end U.S. mass market, as the Kicks will be. The Juke’s marketing push has always been as a sporty vehicle, pitched primarily to single males.

According to company sources, the smaller Kicks will be built at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where the Versa is produced, and reach U.S. showrooms as early as the first of next year.

Nissan originally presented the Kicks concept as a product for South American markets, with a plan to produce it in Brazil. That plan remains on track, but Mexico will take the larger role in exporting the vehicle globally, including to the U.S.

Report: 2016 saw 8.5 million mobile malware attacks, ransomware and IoT threats on the rise

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In 2016, the number of malicious installation packages hit more than 8.5 million—three times more than the year before, according to a report on mobile malware evolution from Kaspersky Lab, released on Tuesday. The firm registered nearly 40 million attacks by malicious mobile software over the course of the year as well.

Geographically speaking, the nations with the highest number of attacks were Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal, China, and Indonesia, the report stated.

The No. 1 malware threat of 2016? Trojans, which gained super-user privileges that allowed them to secretly install advertising applications and display ads on the infected device, and even buy apps on Google Play, the report found. And this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

The Trojans attacked Android devices via vulnerabilities that are patched in newer versions—however, most users do not update their phones in a timely manner, leaving them open to danger.

“Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that most devices do not receive OS updates (or receive them late), and are thus vulnerable to old, well-known and readily available exploits,” the report stated.

SEE: Android ransomware up more than 50%, locking users’ devices until they pay

Because this malware installs its modules in the system directory, it makes remedying the situation difficult, the report noted. “Some advertising Trojans are even able to infect the recovery image, making it impossible to solve the problem by restoring to factory settings,” it stated.

Kaspersky Lab also found installations of the modular trojan Backdoor.AndroidOS.Triada, which allowed hackers to alter text messages sent by other apps and steal money from the device owner.

Google Play remains a popular place for cybercriminals to find business: Kaspersky Lab detected about 50 new applications infected by Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.am, the new modification of Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.ad. And many of these apps were installed more than 100,000 times.

“Representatives of this class of malicious software have been repeatedly found in the official Google Play app store, for example, masquerading as a guide for Pokemon GO,” the report stated. “This particular app was downloaded over half a million times and was detected as Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.ad.”

Ransomware attacks grew the most over 2016: Trojan-Ransom increased almost 6.5 times, now representing 4% of all malware installation packages. Kaspersky Lab detected 261,214 mobile ransomware Trojans in 2016. “This growth was caused by the active distribution of two families of mobile ransomware – Trojan-Ransom.AndroidOS.Fusob and Trojan-Ransom.AndroidOS.Congur,” according to the report. The criminals behind the Trojan usually demand between $100 to $200 to unlock a device, Kaspersky Lab noted.

Hackers also evolved their use of mobile banking Trojans over 2016, many of which learned how to bypass new Android security measures and continue stealing user information.

“This year, we will continue to closely monitor the development of mobile banking Trojans: the developers of this class of malware are the first to use new technologies and are always looking for ways to bypass security mechanisms implemented in the latest versions of mobile operating systems,” the report noted.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are also a growing target for cybercriminals, with an “attack-the-router” Trojan Switcher targeting the Wi-Fi network that an infected device is connected to. “If the Trojan manages to guess the password to the router, it changes the DNS settings, implementing a DNS-hijacking attack,” the report stated.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. A new report from Kaspersky Lab found that the number of malicious installation packages hit more than 8.5 million in 2016, three times more than 2015.

2. Trojans were the No. 1 malware threat of 2016, due in part to cybercriminals attacking mobile devices that had not been updated.

3. Ransomware attacks and IoT attacks are increasingly common, the report found.

Toyota ramps up winter sports marketing with Burton Snowboards partnership

Toyota is snowballing its support for winter sports with a multiyear partnership with Burton Snowboards.

The announcement comes as athletes compete in the snowboard maker’s annual Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships event this week in Vail, Colo. Toyota is marketing to the event’s youthful attendees with branded events, swag and a free shuttle service.

“With less than a year to go before our first Olympic and Paralympic Games as a TOP partner in PyeongChang, Toyota is actively increasing our support for winter sports,” Jack Hollis, Toyota’s group vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

In 2015, Toyota became the first automaker to sign on as a 10-year sponsor for the global Olympics games starting in 2017. The next Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February 2018.

The automaker reportedly paid $835 million to become one of 11 companies with exclusive worldwide marketing rights under The Olympic Partner, or TOP, program.

Toyota also sponsors the U.S. Freeski and Snowboard teams, the U.S. Grand Prix and Dew Tour events and has supported several professional riders in the past.

Both Toyota and Burton currently sponsor 16-year-old snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, who became a brand ambassador for the Toyota Rav4 and Prius models last year.

Hans Greimel contributed to this report.

Mitsubishi pads crossover lineup with Eclipse Cross

PHOTO GALLERY: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross







PHOTO GALLERY >>

Mitsubishi will kick off its long-promised product revival with a new compact crossover dubbed the Eclipse Cross, slated to hit the U.S. market in 2018.

The all-new crossover will slot between Mitsubishi’s current Outlander Sport and its larger Outlander. At 173 inches long, the Eclipse Cross — dubbed a coupe by the automaker — is seven inches shorter than a Honda CR-V and five inches shorter a Ford Escape, though the wheelbase of all three is within an inch.

The crossover was revealed Tuesday ahead of next week’s official debut at the Geneva auto show. It will go on sale in Europe later this year.

Globally it will come with two powertrain choices.

Foreign markets will receive a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The U.S. market will get only the gas engine: a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a CVT gearbox that features a sport mode with eight simulated gear changes.

The Eclipse Cross will come with front-wheel drive as standard while an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system and brake-activated torque vectoring will be optional.

The vehicle’s styling is a more pronounced take on current Mitsubishi cues.

The front is full of sharp angles and the brand’s two-bar “dynamic shield” grille design; squint and it bears a resemblance to a Lexus RX crossover. The silhouette is marked by an aggressive slant to the rear hatch, cutting into cargo room and giving it the “coupe” look Mitsubishi ascribes to it. The rear end is highlighted by a sharp LED light bar running horizontally between the two rear glass windows.

Inside the Eclipse Cross seats five. A new touchpad sits in the center console and controls the infotainment screen mounted on the dashboard. A new head-up display will be available, as will features such as heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, radar cruise control, forward collision warning and lane-departure warning.

Pricing on the new model hasn’t been announced but it’s expected to start in the low to mid-$20,000 range.

The Eclipse Cross is just the beginning of Mitsubishi’s forthcoming product revival that will focus on crossovers. A redesigned Outlander Sport is expected next and will shrink to avoid the current overlap with the Eclipse Cross in market positioning. The next-generation Outlander will grow larger and slightly upmarket when it debuts in 2019. Plug-in hybrid variants are expected in at least one of the models going forward.

4 ways wireless carriers will change to prepare for connected cars

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The birth of autonomous and connected cars will not only reshape the way that people get around—it will also present many challenges and opportunities for businesses. In particular, the new transportation ecosystem—which is likely to result in vehicles that are connected and shared—has big implications for telecommunication companies, including wireless carriers, infrastructure providers, and equipment vendors.

On Tuesday, a report by Deloitte titled Connecting the future of mobility: Reimagining the role of telecommunications in the new transportation ecosystem outlined the various future states of transportation, offering recommendations for how telecommunication companies can succeed in the coming environment.

“As transportation options improve in breadth and level of integration to support intermodal mobility experiences, customer expectations are becoming increasingly sophisticated,” said David Smud, telecom sector leader for Deloitte’s Future of Mobility practice. “If telecom companies can continue to develop a full range of capabilities that meet these needs, while aligning with core strategies and smart go-to-market ideas, they will be able to expand revenue opportunities beyond traditional boundaries.”

According to Deloitte, there are four potential “future states” in transportation. They are:

Future State 1: Consumers still own vehicles, and there are small steps taken towards driver-assist technologies and growth in number of connected vehicles.

Future State 2: Ridesharing continues to expand, and connectivity services emerge from managing fleets of shared vehicles.

Future State 3: “Full autonomous capabilities become a reality,” which means that a lot of data is generated. Also, passengers consume even more data in transit.

Future State 4: Autonomous driving and car sharing come together, which means new experiences for passengers, new services, and managing connectivity of fleets.

According to the report, these future states will bring “a new mobility ecosystem that is connected, seamless, efficient, and intermodal.” Value from these future states will be “derived from consumer-centric data, systems, and services-oriented business models.”

Telecom companies have a unique position in any of these potential futures. According to the report, an increased demand for “on-the-go content would require new types of audio/video content aggregation and delivery methods to provide interoperability for different types of content, including voice, text, social media, video streaming, and virtual reality.” In other words, screens will move from our homes and smartphones straight into our vehicles, providing new entertainment and social experiences for passengers.

So how can telecom companies take advantage of the new transportation landscape? Here are four recommendations from Deloitte:

1. Stick with the core strategy

The report warns that companies may be “tempted” to pursue “new and innovative technologies and monetization opportunities.” However, businesses should stay focused on their mission and target strategies that align with their specific core mission.

SEE: Our autonomous future: How driverless cars will be the first robots we learn to trust (TechRepublic)

2. Rationalize and prioritize investments

Companies should outline multi-year strategies that include which capabilities they want to develop. Investments can span IoT tech, 5G, network security, digitization of content, and autonomous tech. According to the report, telecom businesses should “prioritize investments in developing or acquiring must-have capabilities that help to efficiently target vertically integrated opportunities and/or provide a foundation that allows them to scale and broaden the services they deliver.”

3. Create “go-to-market partnerships”

The new landscape means that telecom businesses will likely face competition in areas that they have not traditionally been part of their domain. In these spaces, companies should “aggressively build out their service portfolio by pursuing go-to-market partnerships and cross-industry alliances that provide access to these opportunity areas while allowing them to bring the power of their core offerings to bear through enabling connectivity and content delivery,” the report said. This will result in a “valuable foot in the door to help telecom companies build brand permission in this space.”

4. Be adaptable

Telecom companies should be ready to “realign strategies as the external environment evolves,” the report said. “They should allow for adequate incubation for mobility innovations and experimentation by providing a measure of insulation from usual market pressures that call for immediate results and returns.” The report also calls for businesses to look out for “signposts” that point to how quickly autonomous and connected vehicles will be adopted, including how soon society is ready to adopt these vehicles, tech advances, and regulations.

The report concludes that telecom businesses will begin to compete against not only peer companies, but also “Silicon Valley giants and automotive OEMs,” all of whom are looking to gain a foothold in the connected car space.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A report by Deloitte addresses how telecom businesses will be affected by changes in the transportation landscape—specifically, the introduction of autonomous and connected vehicles.
  2. According to the report, the integration of connected and shared vehicles will provide major opportunities for telecom companies, in terms of offering a space for new in-transit experiences.
  3. The report outlines four guidelines for how telecom companies can “win” in this new space, including: Stick to the core strategy; rationalize and prioritize investments; Create “go-to-market partnerships”; and be adaptable.

Audi repeats as Consumer Reports’ top brand; Tesla leads domestics

Audi paced the industry for the second consecutive year in Consumer Reports’ latest Brand Report Card, while Tesla was the highest-ranked domestic brand — ending Buick’s three-year streak.

Buick, however, did remain in the top 10 for the third straight year.

Meanwhile, three brands — Porsche, BMW and Mazda — had all of their vehicles earn Consumer Reports’ recommended designation. Mazda also had all of its models recommended in last year’s report.

Consumer Reports calculated overall scores by taking into account road test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and safety results for each tested model of a brand. The magazine’s auto team then averages those scores at the brand level to show which ones are making the best cars, the magazine says.

Consumer Reports ranked 31 brands. The magazine says brands must have at least two tested models to be included in the list, which leaves out Alfa Romeo, Genesis, Maserati, Ram and Smart.

The top five brands remained the same, but several switched places. While Audi (81) stayed in the top spot, Porsche (78) move up two spots to second place; BMW (77) rose two spots to third place; Lexus (77) dropped one spot to fourth; and Subaru (74) slipped three spots to fifth.

Kia, Mazda, Tesla, Honda and Buick rounded out the top 10.

“From year to year we see movements in brand rankings because of changes in reliability and new road tests,” the magazine said. “Subaru dropped from second to fifth place because the previously very reliable Legacy and Outback are now rated only average, and the WRX/STI dropped to below average.”

The bottom of the list was anchored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands. Fiat (41) came in last, with Jeep (45), Mitsubishi (51), Land Rover (52) and Dodge (56) coming in just above Fiat.

But the news wasn’t all bad for FCA. Chrysler, which had only the 300 and Pacifica tested this year, saw the biggest rise of any brand after moving up seven spots to 19th place.

While Chrysler’s ranking was aided by its small lineup, its vehicles were among the top road-test performers after registering an 84 in that portion. Chrysler’s 84 road-test score was good enough to top upscale brands such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

However, Chrysler’s road-test performances weren’t good enough to garner Consumer Reports’ recommendations for the 300 or Pacifica.

Acura, Infiniti and Cadillac were the other big gainers this year, with each brand jumping six spots. Acura rose to the 13th spot, Infiniti landed in 16th place and Cadillac ticked up to 18th.

“Chrysler is on the right track with the capable and sophisticated new Pacifica minivan, which is a real standout,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, in a statement, adding: “If the company can spread that quality throughout its fleet, and improve its uneven reliability, its ranking in our annual analysis could continue to rise.”

Class of 2017
Consumer Reports analyzes its test and survey data across the car model lines to compile its Brand Report Card.

RankBrandOverall ScoreRoad-Test Score% of Tested Models Recommended
1Audi818686
2Porsche7888100
3BMW7786100
4Lexus777475
5Subaru748183
6Kia747771
7Mazda7375100
8Tesla738850
9Honda727786
10Buick727267
11Toyota716878
12Hyundai707386
13Acura687340
14Volvo687740
15Lincoln688025
16Infiniti677717
17Chevrolet677447
18Cadillac667933
19Chrysler66840
20Mercedes-Benz668013
21Ford657446
22Nissan646933
23Volkswagen647825
24Mini60710
25GMC607320
26Jaguar59790
27Dodge56740
28Land Rover52710
29Mitsubishi51460
30Jeep45550
31Fiat41520

How to export VirtualBox virtual machines as appliances

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Your data center is running like a well-oiled machine. One reason for that smooth functionality is that you have the help of virtual machines (VMs), thanks to VirtualBox. But what happens when you want to spin one of those VMs away from their current hosting server?

Say you have a web server, an email server, a database server, a Docker server, and a Nextcloud server all running on the same machine (by way of the same VirtualBox installation) and you want to move the Nextcloud server to either another data center or to a more powerful host. You might be inclined to copy the VM files from one host to the next, but that would be the wrong method. Instead, you should export the VM as an appliance, move the appliance to the new host, and then import the appliance.

How do you export a VM as an appliance? I’ll walk you through the process.

SEE: Quick glossary: Virtualization (Tech Pro Research)

How to export a VM to an appliance

In order to export an appliance, your VM must be powered down. If the machine is in a Saved state, it will not export.

Once the VM in question is powered down, go to the VirtualBox main window and click File | Export Appliance. In the resulting window, locate and select the VM to be exported and click Next (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure AFigure A

In the next window, select the location to hold the exported appliance file as well as format of the appliance (Figure B). By default, the file will be saved with an .ova extension, which is good because it will save the appliance as a single file; if you save the file with an .ovf extension, the appliance will be saved as separate files. In other words, stick with the default .ova extension—you can select between OVF 0.9, OVF 1.0, and OVF 2.0. The default is OVF 1.0, and it usually works fine.

After you name the appliance and select the format, click Next.

Figure B

Figure BFigure B

In the final screen, review your settings and then click Export to start the process (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure CFigure C

The process takes awhile; for instance, to export my Nextcloud appliance, the process took approximately 10 minutes. When the export completes, you will find an .ova file that you can move to the new host machine, import, and then enjoy the VM on its new host.

How to import a VM to an appliance

  1. Move the exported .ova file to the new host server.
  2. Open VirtualBox.
  3. Click File | Import Appliance.
  4. Locate the .ova file.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Review the Appliance settings.
  7. Click Import.

When the import completes (this process takes significantly less time than exporting), the VM is ready to start up and use.

An easy way to move VMs

Exporting VMs to appliances is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to move guests from host to host; in fact, this method should be considered the only method of migrating your VMs from host to host. Give this task a try, and see if your VMs aren’t happy living in their new home.

Google Play now considers user engagement, not just downloads, in ranking games

Google is making a significant change to how its app store, Google Play, will work in terms of making the best games more easily discoverable by end users. At the Game Developers Conference, the company announced that it recently tuned its app store algorithms to take into account user engagement, and not just downloads, in order to better reward quality titles, as opposed to those that are just being installed in large numbers.

For the gaming industry, this shift could have a serious impact on how games are marketed, as many publishers often focus on ad campaigns aimed solely at getting games onto users’ devices as a means of getting their titles ranked higher in Google Play’s charts.

In some cases, those app installs aren’t even legitimate — that is, they’re not organic downloads from end users, but are instead fraudulent downloads designed to boost the app’s ranking. With the update to the ranking algorithm, this could change, making it more difficult to game the charts.

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-09-43-amExplains Google in a blog post out this week:

“…there are many instances when great games don’t get the visibility and attention they deserve…This is one of our ways to reward quality, which for games means promoting titles with stickiness (strong engagement and retention metrics) as well as a more traditional measure like a high star rating.”

The post itself didn’t detail where the algorithm would come into play, given that Google had also simultaneously announced the launch of new editorial pages on the Play store, launching later in the month. Here, editors will hand-select titles to be promoted to users, much like Apple does today.

However, Google confirmed with us that the algorithm change is indeed aimed at the Play Store’s Top Charts, as well as the individual lists by genre.

While neither Google — nor its rival Apple — detail how the ranking algorithms work, both stores have focused heavily on factors like downloads and velocity to determine an app’s placement. Apple is also said to take into account other metrics, like ratings and reviews, and usage statistics. Google is now making similar improvements, it seems.

The changes were announced alongside a host of other updates for Android app developers, including the launch of strike-through pricing for running promotions, as well as the new editorial pages.

Featured Image: Bloomberg/Getty Images