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 CTO.org - News Archive - January 10, 2018
Video site also removes the YouTube personality from an elite ads program accessible to top creators.

I went hands-on with Beyerdynamic's upcoming Amiron Wireless headphone and was duly impressed.

This Bluetooth button sticks on your tupperware and tracks the time until your food expires.

A proposed law in the Senate requires credit reporting agencies to protect the data it amasses on American consumers from hackers -- or pay the price.

Measuring brain waves is getting easier. An Imec headset could improve your memory, change video games while you play, or give you an attitude adjustment.

Netflix'-™s $8 billion to spend on shows? In Vegas for CES, Hulu says: I see your $8 billion and raise you another $20 billion.

Roll up one and all, to 2018's generation of TVs, including the world's first big-screen TV that actually does roll up like a newspaper.

The company's new connected security system includes a full-color HD camera that you mount above your door for a bird's-eye view of visitors.

Tech leaders urge congressional leaders to pass legislation protecting undocumented immigrant children.

A CNET-hosted panel at CES discusses getting people comfortable with strangers in their homes and making sure everyone gets the right kind of toilet paper.

We may be at the biggest technology convention on the planet, but sometimes you just have to go analog with some old-fashioned drifting.

iOttie's iON line includes new wireless chargers that support charging of multiple devices at the same time.

Commentary: US News and World Report releases its list of 100 best jobs. At the top, a job that apparently offers great work-life balance. Really?

From Nanoleaf to Philips Hue, established names in smart, color-changing light flexed their muscles at CES 2018, with a flurry of new products and announcements that have us excited.

The V30 dons a new vibrant pink shade at the annual tech show.

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The growing rivalry between Amazon and Google in the battle for virtual assistant dominance intensified at this year'-™s CES in Las Vegas.

While both have a strong claim as front runners '-" with Amazon arguably leading the charge at this stage '-" it'-™s clear that Apple'-™s Siri and Microsoft'-™s Cortana are lagging. Case in point: Several major PC makers launched Windows 10 hardware and trumpeted Alexa support as a major selling point. (Cortana will, of course, also be available since it'-™s built into Windows 10, but it is the arrival of Alexa that was a key selling pitch.

The Windows 10 devices launched this week with Alexa built include HP'-™s small form-factor Pavilion Wave PC; Acer'-™s Aspire; Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks; Asus'-™ 2018 ZenBook and VivoBook laptops; and Lenovo'-™s Thinkpad X1 Carbon and Yoga devices.

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.

Welcome to another banner Patch Tuesday. Microsoft yesterday released 56 separately identified security patches for every supported version of Windows, Office, .Net, Internet Explorer and Edge. Out of that monstrous pile, only one patch cures a currently exploited problem '-” a flaw in Word'-™s Equation Editor that should have been fixed in November.

If you'-™re a '-'normal'-" user, your first priority shouldn'-™t be Microsoft'-™s patches, notwithstanding the fabulous PR job performed on Meltdown and Spectre'-™s behalf. Assuming you don'-™t open random Word docs with dicey embedded equations, your main concern right now should be getting your antivirus house in order.

The PowerDrive 2 Elite from Anker is super compact, and can simultaneously charge 2 devices with the fastest possible charge of up to 2.4 amps per port. A soft blue LED light makes it easier to navigate in the dark. 10 safety mechanisms are built in to protect your devices from surge and temperature fluctuations, and an 18-month warranty is included for additional peace of mind.

We haven't personally reviewed this model, but our PCWorld team recently test drove the beefier PowerDrive Speed 2 model and found that it delivered on its promises (See: "Anker PowerDrive Speed 2 car charger review: Anker lights the way").

Microsoft last week took the unprecedented step of requiring customers to have up-to-date antivirus software on their personal computers before it would hand over a critical security update.

"This was unique," said Chris Goettl, product manager with client security and management vendor Ivanti. "But there was a danger here."

Goettl was talking about the emergency updates Microsoft issued last week to bolster Windows' defenses against potential attacks leveraging the vulnerabilities labeled Meltdown and Spectre by researchers. Operating system and browser makers have shipped updates designed to harden systems against the vulnerabilities, which stemmed from design flaws in modern processors from companies such as Intel, AMD and ARM.

Can you recall way back when people predicted Apple would introduce true wireless charging with tech from a firm called Energous? Such hopes seemed dashed when the company'-™s new iPhones launched with Qi wired wireless charging, but that doesn'-™t necessarily mean those plans have been shelved" because '-¦

One of the curious constructions of the Internet is the term identity provider. You don'-™t need anyone to provide you with an identity, of course. You have an innate one by virtue of being human. Rather, so-called identity providers, or IDPs, provide you with an identifier, a means of recording attributes important to that provider, and some method of proving it'-™s you '-" usually a password.

This is not surprising since online identity has traditionally been viewed through the lens of an organization and its needs, not the individual and his or her needs. Identity systems are created to administer identifiers and attributes within a specific domain. The result: people end up with hundreds of online personas at hundreds of organizations. Each of these administrative identity systems is proprietary and owned by the organization that provides it; you really don'-™t have an online identity that'-™s independent of these many systems. Got a new address, or an updated credit card number? You'-™ll have to deal with each of these systems one at a time in whatever manner they require.

This company hires a recent college IT graduate, promising him that he'll be working on a project with some of the latest and greatest technology, says a pilot fish on the inside.

"But when he actually started, that project got put on hold -- and kept getting delayed," fish says.

"Since they didn't want him just sitting around reading technical articles, they put him on a mainframe project. But though he had taken a Cobol class early in his college career, he had no real work experience with it."

Not surprisingly, he also has zero experience with the kinds of data-handling arcana involved in legacy mainframe applications, such as RECFM=VB and VSAM. He doesn't even have basic mainframe skills like knowing JCL and TSO/ISPF.

CryptoLocker. WannaCry. Petya. Bad Rabbit. The ransomware threat isn'-™t going away anytime soon; the news brings constant reports of new waves of this pernicious type of malware washing across the world. It'-™s popular in large part because of the immediate financial payoff for attackers: It works by encrypting the files on your hard disk, then demands that you pay a ransom, frequently in Bitcoins, to decrypt them.(Insider Story)

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."

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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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