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 CTO.org - News Archive - January 9, 2018
Health care is getting more connected than ever. A group of experts says the biggest challenge is getting the right data to doctors.

Huawei addresses the controversy over a failed deal to have AT&T sell its flagship phone at its CES keynote.

We'll see the truck with 80 miles of all-electric range by 2019.

Say what you will about the company itself, but dang, this car HUSTLES.

Outdoor Tech is showing wire-free versions of its popular Chips Bluetooth helmet speakers at CES.

Furrion is one step closer to creating its powered mech racing series.

One Moto Mod measures your heart rate and blood pressure, while the other features a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

Under wet Las Vegas skies, CES 2018 opens for business. Here's everything you need to know as giant technology show gets underway.

Polk has seemingly grafted the head of an Amazon Echo Dot into its first smart sound bar, the Command Bar.

At CES 2018, Navya demonstrated its Autonom Cab, which for most people will probably be their first time in an autonomous car.

The bureau's director says his agency was unable to access the contents of nearly 7,800 devices last year, despite legal authority.

CES 2018 is an excellent place to meet a wide array of robo-friends.

The tech was rumored to go in the iPhone and Samsung phones, so it's kind of a big deal.

A Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut worried he might be outgrowing his clothes while in space.

As gadgets get smarter, more companies are trying to find ways to improve your health through wearables, appliances and fitness trackers.

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The networking world is undergoing a lot of change right now '-" and 2018 is likely to bring even more evolution.

Companies are trying to figure out what Cisco's intent-based networking push means.

IoT devices are popping up almost everywhere on the network edge, raising questions about what happens to all the data they're creating and whether it's secure.

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.

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

Ah, early January. It's a time when hopes are fresh, promises are grand, and hype is about as hyperbolic as it gets.

As we mark the start of CES and the beginning of a new year of ambition and anticipation, it's more important than ever to maintain perspective. In a realm where practically everything includes a superlative, after all, a good old-fashioned reality check is the best chance we've got to keep ourselves grounded.

And in the realm of Android, specifically, some of the same grandiose narratives seem to pop up time and time again '-” so much that they're basically just empty words at this point.

Will this be the year some of these things actually come true? Maybe. But given the context and history we have in front of us, anyone would be well-advised to take the following now-standard Android narratives with a healthy grain of salt in 2018:

Wireless plays an incredibly important role in the products and services that make up this year'-™s CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Things change quickly. A decade ago you didn'-™t see many wireless carriers, handset makers or wireless data services at the show. However, over the years, as wireless data has continued to speed up and expand, most products and services use wireless and that'-™s a very big story this year.

Think about it. Of course, wireless is still that service which your iPhone, Android or tablet link up to. However, wireless data services are also rapidly growing in more directions than you realize. They are starting to empower countless other industries, products and services.

Sonos has designed the Play:1 wireless speaker to look and sound great in any space, whether it's a kitchen counter or the bookshelf in your bedroom. It contains two Class D amplifiers, one 3.5" mid'-"woofer for mid'-"range frequencies and deep bass, and one tweeter for crisp and accurate high'-"frequency response. Pair multiple speakers together in the same room for a more immersive experience, or add speakers in different rooms. When connected to an Amazon Alexa-enabled device, you can control the Sonos experience hands-free using Alexa voice commands." 

Like all the big tech firms, Apple is spending billions to produce original video content as it builds its place in the future of media, but it faces lots of challenges in its attempt.

The revolution will be televised

Big players, including Google, Apple and Facebook, want a slice of the $170 billion/year U.S. TV market.

They are willing to invest deeply to grab their piece of the pie. That'-™s the thinking of Needham & Co analyst" Laura Martin in an extensive client research note provided to me, "The Future of Media '-" an Epic Battle."

The hastily released Jan. 4 Windows Meltdown/Spectre patches left many AMD computer owners in a bind. Complaints started flowing in shortly after the release, with blue screen errors 0x000000C4 and 0x800F0845, and machines that stubbornly refused to start, even after undergoing normal resuscitation. Windows PCs with AMD processors got dinged, but there are also reports of Intel machines with AMD video cards malfunctioning.

As anyone in IT can tell you, Linux has invaded the server room. The operating system is running file servers, print servers, content delivery systems, global caching servers, data archives, VPN servers '-” you name it. There'-™s a very good chance that the big iron that composes the backbone of your company'-™s digital world is powered by Linux.

Chances are also good that it'-™s not on many of your desktops, if any.

Microsoft Windows continues to rule the enterprise on the desktop. Any inroads made against it have come from macOS X, typically in marketing and creative divisions. Relatively few companies consider the option of Linux on the desktop. But in recent years Linux distributions have become far more sophisticated and user-friendly, and the cost of deployment can be a fraction of more traditional large-scale desktop installations. Linux is often viewed as more secure, too. PC World calls security '-'one of" Linux's many advantages over Windows'-" and offers five reasons why it is more secure.

A scheduled vulnerability scan is running in this big data center when, without warning, the storage farm is suddenly knocked out, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"This scan checks all ports and protocols on the network for any exposures," fish says. "The scan had never affected the storage pool, but this time the Windows, Unix and mainframe storage farms completely shut down.

"The security guys said it obviously meant the storage was vulnerable and that the scans should continue. The storage team was saying they couldn't bring the storage back until the scans stopped.

"In the meantime, we had a major outage -- all servers, regardless of operating system, were down.

Echo Dot is designed to work seamlessly in every room of your house, and right now you can get $20 off your order when you buy 3 Dots, or get one Dot free when you buy 6. Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, and more. New Alexa "skills" are being created all the time." If you're in the market for a few Dots, jump over to Amazon and claim your discount while it lasts.

Samsung unveiled its take on the collaborative digital whiteboard at CES today, launching its Flip display.

Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Up to four different participants can interact with a Flip whiteboard at the same time, using either their fingers or a stylus to create or annotate content. Designed for use in meeting rooms, the 55-in. 4K display can switch from portrait to landscape orientation depending on company needs. It includes USB ports to enable connection to PCs and mobile devices, as well as wireless connectivity." 

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.

Office 365 subscribers always have the latest version of Microsoft Office '-” currently Office 2016. They also get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office 2016 without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they'-™re available. We'-™re doing for you, so you don'-™t have to.

Following are key updates to Office 365 for Windows since Office 2016 was released in September 2015 '-” all the 2017 updates and the most important ones from 2016 and late 2015, with the latest releases shown first. We'-™ll add info about new updates as they'-™re rolled out.

Even while we accept that coding skills are key to some future employment, Apple is under some pressure to improve parental controls to help prevent children from becoming hooked on their phones. Apple already provides some protection parents can use to limit their children'-™s smartphone use. Here'-™s what you need to know:

What are Apple's parental controls?

Apple has similar controls for iPads, iPhones, Macs and the Apple TV. Apple calls these Restrictions, and you can use them to block or limit apps and features that children can access on their device. Among other things, these tools can restrict use of Safari, the camera, Siri, FaceTime, AirDrop, CarPlay and individual apps.

Microsoft'-™s hasty Meltdown/Spectre patches," released late on Jan. 4, have started baring their fangs. Complaints about Win10 Fall Creators Update cumulative update KB 4056892 and Win7 Monthly Rollup KB 4056894 resulting in blue screens '-” particularly on AMD Athlon, Sempron, Opteron and Turion processors '-” started appearing shortly after the patches were released.

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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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