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 Latest Technology News
That's one hell of a birthday party, even if you can't get 'em in the US.

A test lets people in Facebook groups simultaneously watch and comment on the same Facebook video -- live or already published.

Mark Hamill, John Boyega and director Rian Johnson mock the bizarre no-women edit. If only Carrie Fisher were here.

The social network agrees to open a full-and-proper investigation into Russia-backed activity during the UK's 2016 EU Referendum.

The social network agrees to reopen its investigation after initially saying it found only a minimal amount of UK-related activity.

People like fast-loading sites, Google says, so slow ones will have a harder time with prominence in search results.

Facebook, Google and Twitter explain during a Senate committee hearing what they're doing to stop propaganda from spreading during the midterm elections.

Most automakers give it out for free, but not BMW. That would be too easy.

McLaren hosted a gala opening for its new carbon fiber technology center in Yorkshire by whipping sweet, smoky doughnuts in a Senna.

Scientists discover chameleons with a nifty skin and bone feature that lets them glow in stunning patterns under UV.

Detroit was seriously busy this year, so here's a cheat sheet in case you missed anything.

Tech giant says that -- factoring in current spending, product sales tax and taxes on employees' wagers -- it expects to contribute $350 billion to the US economy.

Multidevice charging hubs are all the rage. Nomad's new one incorporates a wireless charging top with four ports.

Commentary: In a new ad, the carrier claims that staying with Verizon shows a lack of intelligence.

"Bill protection" will help heavy data users cap what they spend.

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Although enterprise subscribers to Office 365 typically use a large number of the in-the-cloud-and-on-premises suite's components, only two '-" email and the Office applications '-" provide significant value, a recently-released survey showed.

The disconnect between usage and value was portrayed by research firm Gartner, which in mid-2017 polled more than 160 IT professionals to collect opinions on Office 365 in the enterprise.

"There's a baseline of value to switching to the cloud, especially if things were expensive to manage [on premises]," said Craig Roth, a Gartner research vice president and the author of a report capitalizing on the survey. "But the real value comes when you start changing your work processes to take advantage [of Office 365] to its full extent."


Slack has talked of its high expectations for group chat channels, which it argues will replace email as the primary means of workplace communication by 2025.

While channels are becoming a popular method for internal communication, Slack also wants to push them as way to interact with external companies '-" and stakeholders, too.

With that in mind, the team messaging company has expanded its shared channel feature '-" unveiled as a beta trial at its first conference in September last year '-" to enable private conversations between workers at separate organizations."  A third of its paying users have now signed up for the beta, Slack said.


I never thought I'd say this, but LG might be onto something.

The company that I've long criticized for having compelling pieces but no cohesive vision has come out with a radical declaration: It's no longer gonna play by the rules and release new phones at a regular clip just because that's what everyone else is doing.

The word, as reported by The Korea Herald, came out of a CES press conference last week. The paper quotes a company exec as saying LG will "unveil new smartphones when it is needed" and won't launch them on a firm yearly schedule "just because other rivals do." Instead, the quote says, the company will "retain existing models longer" and offer more "variant models."


Apple'-™s Developer Enterprise Program lets enterprises develop and distribute proprietary iOS apps across the company outside of the App Store, using a private portal or URL.

What is Apple'-™s Developer Enterprise Program?

Apple'-™s growing enterprise position may not have engaged hearts and minds across the entire company '-" yet '-" but it is clearly a booming business for the company.


It's the 1980s, and this pilot fish is taking a Cobol class where the professor's anger about her messy divorce is spilling into her classroom.

"One day I was having a seriously bad day, as my mother had passed away during spring break," says fish. "When I went to her office to ask a question, she demanded to know why I missed the point during class.

"I replied I was having issues due to my mother'-™s death. She retorted that the man across the street from her had died, yet somehow she gathered the strength to get to work. I was so taken aback by the bizarre comment I left."

A week later, fish is on his way to the Cobol class when the professor gets on the elevator with him and ignores his cheerful "Good morning, professor!" greeting.


Mobile is making itself felt in retail in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. But Visa and Kroger are dealing with mobile in very different ways, with Visa '-” perhaps a decade too late, but late is better than never '-” conceding that the authentication of mobile payments makes signing for a purchase no longer necessary. Meanwhile, Kroger is pushing mobile checkout but still wants shoppers to wait in line to pay.

Visa ups its mobile game'-”says payment signatures no longer required

Let's start with Visa. In a very significant '-” and long overdue '-” move, Visa last week (Jan. 12) joined fellow card brands MasterCard, American Express and Discover in signaling an end to the payment signature, as of April in Visa's case. Technically, the brands merely said that signatures are no longer required, but given that retailers have begged for the end of signature for years, as a practical matter, it will be gone in the U.S. before the summer arrives.


With hundreds of business-oriented laptops to choose from '-” everything from sleek ultralight tablets to huge portable workstations '-” picking the right ones to outfit your company'-™s workforce can make finding a needle in a haystack seem easy. We'-™re here to help with a buyer'-™s guide that breaks the options into categories and provides pros and cons of each.

Ultraslim laptops

(Insider Story)

If you'-™re wondering whether your computer is susceptible to the latest b'ªte noir, Meltdown and Spectre, you can take the official Microsoft patch and, after a suitable amount of technical drudgery, come away with a result that doesn'-™t answer much. Or you can try Steve Gibson'-™s new InSpectre and '-" with suitable caveats '-" see some meaningful results and a few hints about catching up.

Microsoft has a complex PowerShell script that details your machine'-™s exposure to the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws. Running that script on all but the simplest and most up-to-date systems turns into a hair-pulling exercise, and the results are coated in 10 layers of technical gobbledygook.


Suddenly, we are having a debate on device addiction of smartphones like Apple iPhone and Google Android. I have written about this many times over the last decade. This impacts everyone, from the enterprise to users and needs to have a higher profile. We need to find solutions to this growing problem. It'-™s good to see that we are finally discussing this important point.

Addiction is a disease, and addiction to electronics like the iPhone and Android smartphones is new, but is impacting our entire society. Just think of all the people you see every day with their faces plastered to the screen of their smartphone.

There are two sides to this problem. One side is bad, but surprisingly, the other side is good. We have begun this new conversation with the Apple iPhone. I think it will only spread over time. I think we should expect it to ultimately include every smartphone and then every electronic device that is habit forming. It will even spread to apps of which many people are addicted.


I'-™ve seen a lot of bizarre Microsoft patches-of-patches, but the new patches for AMD processors are in a world of their own. The security-only, manually downloadable patches appear to be Meltdown/Spectre patches for machines that were bricked by other bad patches, earlier this month, but they'-™ve arrived with no instructions '-” and a strange circular logic.

Last week, Microsoft released two patches, with these official titles:

  • KB 4073578: Unbootable state for AMD devices in Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • KB 4073576: Unbootable state for AMD devices in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

The Win7 KB article says:


[Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.]

I got to sit down with Microsoft prior to the start of CES to talk about the broad future visions they'-™ve been sharing with folks all week."  As you would expect, given this is CES, focus was on personal technology."  This was separate from Surface or any other tightly focused effort and it was more Windows centric as well."  The near-term future of personal technology strategy from Microsoft is broken down into the following areas:

Lots of choice

This has always been a keystone of the Microsoft strategy in the 1980s/90s and why they so easily rolled over Apple and Sun last century."  They had the advantage of leverage because they had lots of hardware licensees while Apple and Sun had to go it alone."  (Strangely this strategy didn'-™t work with Smartphones but that was largely because Microsoft didn'-™t capture the developers like they did initially with Windows)." 


Apple may (or may not) have scaled back its ambition to build its own connected vehicles, but at CES 2018 we still saw lots of news around its CarPlay system. Here'-™s a brief run-down on what happened:

What they'-™re saying about autonomous vehicles

CES 2018 saw lots of conversation on the topic of connected cars, but the big truth remains that as the industry digs deeper into the attempt to create automated and semi-automated transport, it'-™s becoming clearer that the challenge isn'-™t only technical '-” but regulatory, privacy, safety and a host of other puzzles also need to be resolved.


Maersk and IBM today announced a joint venture to deploy a blockchain-based " electronic shipping system that will digitize supply chains and track international cargo in real time.

The new platform could save the global shipping industry billions of dollars a year by replacing the current EDI- and paper-based system, which can leave containers in receiving yards for weeks, according to the companies.

Blockchain will enable a single view via a virtual dashboard of all goods and shipping information for all parties involved, from manufacturers and shippers to port authorities and government agencies.


The Windows emergency security updates issued by Microsoft earlier this month came with an unprecedented prerequisite - a new key stored in the operating system's registry - that antivirus vendors were told to generate after they'd guaranteed their code wouldn't trigger dreaded Blue Screens of Death (BSoD) when users apply the patches.

The demands confused customers, and fueled a flood of support documents and an avalanche of web content. Those who heard about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities struggled to figure out whether their PCs were protected, and if not, why not. Millions more, not having gotten wind of the potential threat, carried on without realizing that their PCs might be barred from receiving several months' worth of security updates.


Flashback to the 1980s, when this pilot fish at a big computer vendor is working on a team that's wiring hardware for some production equipment.

"It required very good vision and concentration, as we were wire-wrapping pins on the backplane to connect certain pins together, and we had to make sure we had the proper pin for the proper slot for the proper side of the module," says fish.

"As we were trying to wire the components, one my co-workers decided he wanted some music, so he turned on some hard rock -- loudly.

"All of a sudden, productivity dropped to near zero. There we were, trying to count the pins to wire: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, L...no no, A, B, C, H...no, no...A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H.


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BYTE is starting a new series, to bring back the issues you loved in print from 1975 to 1998. Initially we have the first two issues and four others from 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Security experts urge companies to implement two-factor authentication, VPNs, and graduated permission levels to better protect customer data from hackers.

Microsoft admits that it doesn't encrypt all server-to-server communications, opening the way for the NSA and others to access the data flow.

Affordable Care Act site has faced a relatively low volume of attacks, compared with other federal websites.

Google's Gmail app for iPad and iPhone gets new features and iOS 7's design language.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels announces PostgreSQL database service, new instance types, use of solid state disk to speed I/Os.

As software eclipses hardware, it's dawning on enterprises that they need API programs. Here's where to begin.

Authors Guild's claim of copyright infringement gets shot down in a surprise ruling.

The goal is allow home monitoring devices and mobile health apps communicate more easily healthcare providers.

Google's personal assistant software gets upgraded to better manage owners' lives and understand natural language requests.

Android smartphones owners can now pay for goods and services by tapping their device to Isis terminals at 1.3 million locations nationwide.

LinkedIn pushes customized content with the integration of news curation app Pulse for desktop and mobile versions.

Hacker grabbed 860,000 passwords for fun, but promises not to leak or use them to harm people.

VMware wants to move into cloud computing? Guess what, Amazon's moving into desktop virtualization.

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Acer's Swift 7 is the thinnest laptop in the world.



HTC and Valve'-™s Vive was the first virtual reality headset that really made me jump on the VR hype train. Not only could you escape into virtual worlds, but thanks to its motion tracking sensors, your movement in the real world was translated into the digital. Like Facebook'-™s (FB) Oculus Rift, the Vive'-™s display resolution made individual pixels clearly visible in certain situations, killing any sense of true immersion.



CES 2018 had more than its fair share of wacky items and compelling gadgets, but one of the biggest trends to emerge, once again, from the popular tech expo was voice-enabled devices. And, of course, it was all about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.



Here are seven items at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.



At CES 2018, Sennheiser announced two new products that focus on recording or playing back 3-D audio.



Honda wants to change your perception of robots. And it's hoping to do so with four new concept robots.



At CES 2018, Ford announced it is working with a city in which it will operate its self-driving cars. The automaker wouldn't identify the city but did say how autonomous vehicles can change the way people live.



Intel is betting that Volocopter 2X will be one of the first passenger-carrying drones to operate in the U.S. A prototype of the pilotless two-seat helicopter-like drone was shown off at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.



AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance that the Austin, Texas-based computer and graphics chip company is quickly working to resolve and address a recently-discovered security flaw that affects AMD computer chips.



Nvidia (NVDA) might be making big news at CES 2018 thanks to its artificial intelligence and self-driving car technologies, but the company originally started out by building PC graphics cards. It'-™s an impressive display of gaming power, and likely to drain players'-™ wallets in the year ahead. Nvidia has been working on cloud gaming technology, the ability to stream and play games at their highest settings from high-powered servers to anything from the best laptop to a 5-year-old hunk of junk, for some time now.



It's hard to figure out which of the connected household devices on display at CES 2018 is worth buying, but it's even more difficult to know if they are secure from hackers. A security expert visits exhibits and tries to help.



Nicomi Stewart, a mother in Rochester, New York, is '-'disgusted'-" after an automated call sent to her phone from the city'-™s school district mispronounced her daughter'-™s name as a racial slur.



You may soon get to say a lot more on Twitter. The social media giant announced it is testing a longer character limit. The change will extend the current 140 characters to 280 for all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Users won'-™t see this change right away, though. Only a small percentage will be testing it at first, and according to the company, it is just a test and there is no guarantee this change will be available to everyone. Via Business Insider:" http://www.businessinsider. ...



Mac OS High Sierra (macOS 10.13)." As the new name suggests, it'-™s just a refinement of last year'-™s Mac OS Sierra. In fact," you" could sum up what's new in an article about as short as" this one.



Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)?



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