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 CTO.org - News Archive - December 4, 2017
Ten lucky winners will be taking home some awesome gear for their cars this holiday season! Are you feeling lucky? Promotion ends December 13 at 11:59 p.m.

The world's biggest e-tailer has made its way to Australia ... 22 years after selling its first book.

The system uses a bar-code scanner to combine payment and coupons in a single transaction.

Fans can fight Hoth-like weather conditions with these new Star Wars jackets based on outfits worn in "The Empire Strikes Back."

PayPal shut down operations at the digital-payments company it owns in November after discovering the breach.

After suspending production of the show in light of accusations against its star, Netflix announced it would create a sixth and final season.

Get this dual-screen phone for only $525.

A celebrity comic's autobiography and a blunt tale of eviction in Milwaukee are just two of the billionaire's recommended reads.

In honor of his 30th anniversary, Mega Man is getting a refreshed look, a new game and a series of classic rereleases.

Apple is predicted to ship 26M-28M AirPods in 2018, according to KGI analysts.

Animal selfies can look cool, but the photo-sharing service wants users to know that sometimes the wildlife is abused.

A fan-made "Trek Wars" trailer creates an alternate universe where Star Wars and Star Trek coexist in harmony.

Commentary: A software engineer for Google-owned Waymo takes to Twitter to describe his struggles with a real-world rental car.

Twenty-eight lawmakers ask FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to put off voting on net neutrality until it investigates claims that many public comments on the issue were made by bots.

The Venmo-style money service will officially roll out to iOS devices next week.

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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.

Nominate an organization for our 2018 Best Places to Work in IT list. The 2018 Best Places to Work in IT will be announced in June 2018.

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


Virtual assistants are destined to do much more than send memos, capture shopping lists or tell cheesy jokes '-” they will become one of the primary ways we interact with the ambient AI that will surround every part of our lives in the not-too-distant future.

That'-™s what Apple'-™s Steve Jobs saw in these technologies way back when he relentlessly pursued the purchase of Siri. He saw the potential of the interface to enable new platforms.

'-'[He] later convinced us that he understood our vision, that he wouldn't just make Siri a tiny feature but something core to Apple's strategy across multiple devices, and that we could impact the world more as part of Apple than as an independent company,'-" Adam Cheyer, the co-founder of Siri, explained earlier this year.


Reports are piling in from afar that Windows Update in Win7 is broken. My first sighting was late Sunday afternoon, when KarenS posted on the AskWoody Lounge:

When I clicked on the Windows Update icon today to start the updates it said that my computer was up to date and that there were no updates available which I know was not the truth because I hadn'-™t installed any of the [recent ones]

KarenS reported that the machine would only regurgitate the message shown in the screenshot.

win7 no update Woody Leonhard/IDG

There was an attempt to isolate the problem on KarenS'-™s computers, to no avail '-” the update service was working fine.


This month, you'll probably need to buy stocking stuffers and cheap little gadgety things for co-workers, extended family members, or to fill in gaps last-minute when you find yourself asking, "Did I buy enough?"."  Amazon has deals running every day, so we've filtered their list of active deals down to just the tech categories, and only the deals $25 or less with 4 or 5 star ratings."  Discounted USB cords, chargers, phone accessories, BlueTooth speakers, splitters, and other gadgets. Here it is: An impulse shopper's dream/nightmare. (Note: When you get to Amazon's page, scroll down past their "featured" deals to where the filtered list begins).


This month, the initial battle will begin on what will be an historic war for the next generation of PCs."  Initially it will be fought on laptops but '-" much like smartphones drifted to tablets, and much of the initial wave of AI-driven, home-based digital assistants '-" this war may eventually encompass all PCs.

If this were just a war between processors, the X86 folks would likely win easily, both because Windows has decades of tuning on X86 and it is the entrenched part. But this isn'-™t about processors. This is about whether the computing will be done on the desktop or in the cloud.

In short this is a war between the modem and the processor'-¦or yet another attempt to turn the PC into more of large smartphone.


Hundreds of millions of downloads just doesn'-™t cut it, apparently. Ivo Beltchev, who first released the Start Menu replacement in 2009, has decided it just isn'-™t worth the effort any more. Yesterday he posted this on his official web blog:

After months of deliberation, I have decided to stop the development of Classic Shell'-¦

There were few factors that led to my decision:

1) Lack of free time.

2) Windows 10 is being updated way too frequently

3) Each new version of Windows moves further away from the classic Win32 programming model'-¦ The new ways things are done make it very difficult to achieve the same customizations


You'-™ve no doubt heard of software as a service. Those who are deeply into IT will nod their heads in recognition when acronyms such as IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) are tossed around, too. But here'-™s one '-'*aaS'-" you might not have heard of yet: everything as a service. And it'-™s the future, according to Linden Tibbets, CEO and co-founder of IFTTT.

But what exactly is IFTTT? And how does it relate to the idea of everything as a service? Here'-™s what you need to know.


Pilot fish is testing a new IT business management system for his company, and decides to have a little fun while he's at it.

"I had access to the development environment to work out the purchasing process," says fish. "I'd log in, create a purchase order, work it through the process and then log in to the dev environment as my boss to see how it worked from her side of it.

"I decided to be funny and -- pretending to be her -- denied my test purchase requests with replies that, well, even she wouldn't say. Since the dev environment didn't have an email server, those denials would just stay in there and go nowhere.

"Until one of the knuckleheads on a different team decided to connect the dev server to the production network. And the dev solution suddenly found itself an email server.


The future belongs to the tech company that best harnesses artificial intelligence. A.I. is vital to understanding what consumers want and thus better design products for them. It is crucial in attracting consumers by delivering them the most customized and attractive content at the point they want it. And it is essential to providing cloud services that help corporations increase their efficiency and improve the way they operate.

Microsoft, like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, is betting big on A.I. The company has some definite A.I. strengths. But it also is missing an important piece: widely used mobile technology. Without that, it will be tough or impossible for Microsoft to win the A.I. war.


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.


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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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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)?



Facebook has a "realistic opportunity" to enter China in 2018, Mizuho analyst James Lee wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. Lee came to the conclusion after meeting "various industry contacts" in China during a recent trip. Facebook's recent appointment of an executive to manage relations with China will help the company "understand the regulatory requirement and negotiate Facebook's operating structure in China," said Lee in the note, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider.



Apple is expected to include wireless charging as a core feature in the iPhones it launches on...



Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone is nearly upon us. Here's everything we expect from what could be Apple's most important product in years.



Apple's App Store is getting a major update in iOS 11, and it's going to make finding new apps far better.



Equifax was hacked and lost the information of 143 million Americans, and they need to tell us how.



Apple's iPhone 8 is nearly upon us, but not everyone is psyched. Here are the best alternatives for Apple's upcoming iPhone.



Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is a wonderful smartphone, but its high price is a tough pill to swallow.



Yahoo's David Pogue has a sneaky way you can create a universal link to a Facebook item so that you can send or post to anyone.



There are some gadgets that are just too cool for us Americans.



More laptop makers are pushing the limits of design and performance, but high-resolution panels are hurting their batteries.



Apple's iPhone is one of the most important consumer gadgets ever made, and it has a lot to do with these simple features.



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