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 CTO.org - News Archive - December 5, 2017
It's a seemingly simple change, but being able to flip emojis from one direction to the other opens up a new world of communication possibilities.

Lei Jun, head of the Chinese smartphone maker, says the company is still figuring out its strategy in the US.

Despite self-inflicted leaks, delays and stiff competition, the HomePod remains intriguing

Shervin Pishevar is stepping away from Hyperloop One and Sherpa Capital after accusations of sexual misconduct by five women.

Cooley shows you the best self-driving tech and interesting new services coming to showrooms soon.

The Girl Scouts and Raytheon aim to prepare girls in middle and high school for careers in STEM with a new national program.

You'll have a hard time running out of storage with that much space.

Commentary: In its final review of Apple's latest phone, the consumer publication points to durability as the X's weakness.

Google, which owns YouTube, and Amazon are going to war over streaming services and plenty more. YouTube is also disappearing again from Amazon'-™s Echo Show video device.

New Asus and HP devices use Snapdragon mobile chips from Qualcomm and promise longer battery life, always-on connectivity and other phone-like features.

Qualcomm confirmed the name of its next top-of-the-line processor, but offered little additional details beyond saying Samsung will build the chip.

Now valued at $11.5 billion, the ride-hailing company has extra fuel to compete with its rival Uber.

Now you can repay your friends -- and vice versa -- via iMessage on your iPhone. Any money you get then goes on an Apple Pay Cash card on your iOS device.

The hidden twists and turns of the Reddit community will emerge in an official podcast series called Endless Thread.

Startup PlexCorps is a fraud, the SEC says. It's trying to retrieve $15 million people invested in digital 'PlexCoins.' PlexCorps says it's legit.

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Computerworld's annual Best Places to Work in IT list showcases organizations that offer top compensation, training and access to hot technologies. Nominate an organization for the 2018 list!

Every time a new Android version arrives, a new game begins: Which of the lovingly described fresh platform features will fail to live up to its hype and then end up fading out of the foreground '-” either to be phased out completely or just brushed aside and consigned to oblivion?

It seems like a funny thing to say, but when you look back at Android's history, you realize how many once-transformative-sounding features ended up fizzling and being forgotten soon after their grand debuts. Some remain buried in the software while others quietly vanished after a period of inertia, but they all share the fact that they're nowhere near the center-stage-worthy elements they once appeared to be.

There's a major system failure in this data center, and it's all-hands-on-deck for everybody in IT, according to a consultant pilot fish who's been through this before.

"I'm willing to help as best I can," fish says. "In order to be viewed as a team player, you have to stick around '-” it doesn't matter if you're contributing or only sitting there available.

"But after about 30 minutes of just being in reserve, I approached the manager in charge: 'Hey, I'm just sitting here burning billable hours. Do you want me to remain here? I'm reachable and can dial in if needed, but...'

"He did a quick check with the rest of the team to find out if they needed me '-” and then told me, 'No, head on out, we'll call you if we need you.'"

I'-™ve called it a step toward a new cryptocurrency. I'-™ve talked about how Apple Pay is just yet another chip taken out of the shoulders of conventional banking. I'-™ve even looked at Bitcoin and why that digital asset is growing in stature among Apple users. Today, I want to explain how to use the new iOS 11.2 feature, Apple Pay Cash.

I'-™ve been hearing a lot from friends recently about how Windows 10 is the best Windows ever and people would be stupid not to switch. These being friends, I don'-™t want to be rude, but '-” cough, ahem '-” I don'-™t buy it.

Is security your No. 1 concern? Well, Windows 10 is no more secure than Windows 7 '-” which is to say it is a profoundly insecure operating system. There have been a lot of serious Windows security patches in the last year, and Windows 10 had all the same problems as Windows 7.

True, Windows didn'-™t have anything as bad as macOS'-™s unbelievably stupid '-'Let anyone log in as the administrator'-" security hole, but just because Microsoft didn'-™t botch things as badly as Apple did doesn'-™t get it off the hook. I mean, what do you call it when Microsoft fixes security holes in Windows 10 that it doesn'-™t patch in Windows 7? I call it really, really stupid.

Mozilla last week announced that revenue in 2016 exceeded $500 million, the first time it broke the half-billion-dollar bar, while development costs climbed 6% as the organization worked up Firefox Quantum, the revamped browser it shipped in November.

The bulk of the $520 million in revenue for the Mozilla Foundation came from royalty payments, with most of that coming, as usual, from deals struck for the default search engine spot in Firefox. Mozilla Foundation is the nonprofit that in turn runs Mozilla Corp., the commercial organization that creates and services Firefox for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

According to Mozilla's just-released financial statement for 2016, $504 million, or 97% of all revenue, came from royalty payments. The percentage of revenue derived from royalties has never dipped below 91% - Mozilla's fortunes have always been tied to Firefox's search contracts - but 2016's portion was lower than the 99% record set in 2015.

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.

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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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