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 CTO.org - News Archive - December 3, 2017
The first SMS was sent on Dec. 3, 1992, but it would be a couple of years before phones could do it.

The cast, who have now seen the movie's final cut, give hints as to what we can expect from Episode VIII.

See what it's like on the floor from the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" press conference.

It's kind of a spoiler, if you can get Rian Johnson to spill a few thousand other words, all in order.

Cooley shows you the best in-dash tech coming to showrooms next.

Commissioner Gordon unrolls the long-awaited Marvel footage for DC's heroes, and they're either impressed, intimidated or both.

Humans said they were going to blow up the old Detroit Lions stadium, but the stadium thought that was a blast.

Commentary: A simple pop song laments (not) the demise of "House of Cards" and explains that women have been in harassment hell for hundreds of years.

The Star Wars creatures are going to have to keep working on their interspecies friendship.

Commentary: A visit to a T-Mobile store reveals some very particular feelings about Apple's new phone.

If you had majored in turf-grass management (which is a real thing), this is your Super Bowl.

Intimidated in the kitchen? These small appliances and gadgets will help calm your nerves.

This isn'-™t the reaction we expected.

The future of America's payment system still feels half-broken. But a trip over to the UK showed how much better things could be.

Commentary: A New York man allegedly sees the TV show "Forged In Fire," gets inspired, and leaves 32 buildings damaged.

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Windows 7 dropped below the 50% user share mark last month, finally ceding the operating system majority on Windows PCs.

Ironically, the decline of Windows 7 was good news for Microsoft, which wants customers to move to the newer Windows 10 as soon as possible.

According to analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 7's November global user share fell 3.5 percentage points, ending the month at 43.1%. November's plunge was the largest ever for the OS that debuted in 2009.

When only Windows personal computers were included in the calculation, Windows 7 ran 48.8% of all Windows machines, a month-over-month drop of 2.6 points. (The Windows-only percentage is larger because Windows powers 88.4% of the world's systems, not 100%; the remainder run macOS or a version of Linux.)

The world of security is getting super weird. And the solutions may be even weirder than the threats.

I told you last week that some of the biggest companies in technology have been caught deliberately introducing potential vulnerabilities into mobile operating systems and making no effort to inform users.

One of those was introduced into Android by Google. In that case, Android had been caught transmitting location data that didn'-™t require the GPS system in a phone, or even an installed SIM card. Google claimed that it never stored or used the data, and it later ended the practice.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge browsers tumbled last month in user share as the once-universal programs ran on just one in every six personal computers worldwide.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of IE and Edge - an estimate of the world's personal computer owners who ran that browser - plummeted by 3.3 percentage points to end November at 16.3%. The decline was the largest ever for Microsoft's browsers.

Mozilla's Firefox also stumbled badly last month, losing nearly 2 of its hard-won percentage points, slipping to 11.4%, its lowest user share since October 2016.

These numbers, and more importantly the fact that IE+Edge's and Firefox's numbers sank to such a degree, is striking. But it was as much a data reset by Net Applications as proof of massive user desertions.

Apple has just begun its best ever year for iPhones, setting new records over the holiday quarter, according to IHS Markit analyst, Ian Fogg.

A new iPhones record

Fogg is incredibly bullish on Apple'-™s performance, writing:

'-'We expect Apple will enjoy its best ever year for iPhone,'-" anticipating 88.8 million iPhone sales in the current quarter and year-on-year increases in each subsequent quarter in contrast to the same time last year.

(Don'-™t forget, on launch, Apple sold around 3 million iPhone X units in just 20 minutes, around 150,000" phones" per minute and 2,500 iPhone X sales per second.)

Throughout history, there have been a million reasons why Internet Explorer won'-™t start: You click on the icon in the taskbar, and nothing happens. Thanks to some stellar sleuthing by @PKCano on AskWoody, it now appears that there'-™s an identifiable cause for some of the failures. If you'-™ve recently installed any of the Win 7 or 8.1 Monthly Rollups from September onward and you can'-™t get IE to start, check your icon font size. Yes, you read that right.

Earlier this week I received an email from reader JB:

Have you heard of or seen an issue with Internet Explorer 11 crashing when the cumulative update for the Win 7 OS KB4048957 is installed? (not the IE patch mind you '-" the OS cumulative patch. Weird right?)

Microsoft this week announced that upcoming previews of Windows 10 would include new features designed to boost productivity on a personal computer.

Dubbed "Timeline" and "Sets," the former previously trumpeted months ago, the latter a revelation, the pair will, promised Microsoft's top Windows executive, "help make the most of time, one of our most precious resources."

Sets was the more interesting of the two, and not only because it is brand new. Instead, it was Sets' potential that struck a nerve. PCWorld's Mark Hachman, one of the handful of reporters and bloggers briefed before the announcement, said that Microsoft, "plans to overhaul Windows 10" with a single-frame-with-multiple-tabs interface that resembles one of today's browsers.

Even though he's an IT contractor, this pilot fish is in the same boat as regular employees when it comes to being asked to work unpaid overtime.

"Well, not exactly asked," says fish. "Just assigned work that can't be completed in a normal work week. First the project schedule is optimistic at best, then the inevitable problem or major change occurs, then the deadline becomes nearly impossible.

"The only way to even have the deadline as a goal is to work lots of extra hours -- which tends to reduce productivity overall, but apparently the executives haven't taken any economics classes and don't know about the law of diminishing returns."

Fish doesn't mind working a little extra here and there for free. But when he takes a contract with this client in the financial industry, he discovers that management won't authorize paying for any overtime -- but still expects completion by unreasonable deadlines.

The launch of a big Microsoft Windows 10 update like the Fall Creators Update isn'-™t the end of a process '-” it'-™s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we'-™ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the currently shipping version of Windows 10 '-” version 1709, known as the Fall Creators Update '-” with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the Fall Creators Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1703, known as the Creators Update. For each build, we'-™ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft'-™s announcement about it.

What do IT workers want? Fair paychecks, challenging work and ample opportunities for growth, for starters. Our annual listing showcases the organizations that excel at keeping their employees engaged and loyal with compensation, training and access to hot technologies. The report is published every June.

2017: The 2017 Best Places to Work in IT list, our 24th annual report, was published on June 12, 2017.