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 CTO.org - News Archive - February 6, 2018
Male drivers earn 7 percent more than their female counterparts, according to a new study.

Continuation models continue to pour out of Jag Classic's UK workshop, forcing us to further curse our relative poverty.

Stew and his wife Meg are fans of the Grateful Dead. Well, mainly Stew. This is their home theater/virtual concert hall in Montana.

The actor-comedian is asking investors to sell their shares amid concern the social network profited from Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

And the company's Netflix competitor, a streaming service for movies from Disney properties like Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars, will arrive in late 2019.

SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket from Florida Tuesday, and you can follow a live shot of its quirky payload: Elon Musk's red Roadster and its driver.

Commentary: The French decide to become strict on handheld phone use by changing the definition of what it means to be driving.

Time to trade those Old West-style guns for samurai swords? One possible attraction seems to be set in ancient Japan.

Chinese researchers found hackers turning internet-connected devices into tools for creating caches of the digital currency Monero.

The social network reported surprisingly higher sales and active users, the latest indication its redesign and new ad efforts are working.

Elon Musk's rocket company has sent its most powerful system yet, Falcon Heavy, on its way to space and into history. And the launch was unreal.

There's a Tesla Roadster in space, and while it's not the first car to do that, it might be the first car on Mars.

Apple hints it's considering such a move, in a letter responding to a US senator's questions about slowing down older iPhones.

In day 2 of the trial over self-driving tech, Waymo presents Uber's ex-CEO with notes that aim to show Travis Kalanick was also after intellectual property.

From Winterfell to outer space: The producers of HBO's hit sword-and-sorcery series take on another challenge, this time in a galaxy far, far away.

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Microsoft's shift to Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) for Windows 10 crafted a repetitive, predictable schedule of version release and support expiration dates for Windows 10.

Although consumers can essentially ignore any schedule - Microsoft decides when their devices are upgraded - business customers and their IT personnel should be marking the calendar with the important upcoming events.

Amazon Go finally launched after a year of trial and error. If successful, this will help them first transform the grocery business and eventually all of retail. They are using wireless technology as the center of this new universe. Let'-™s take a look at how the world of retail has changed and will continue to change going forward thanks to Amazon and mobile technology.

What is Amazon Go? It lets you walk in, pick up what you want and walk out. No cashiers, no credit cards, no unloading your basket, packing bags and reloading it. As you walk out, sensors charge the app on your smartphone. It'-™s very similar to ordering online from Amazon, but it'-™s in a retail environment.

You know that feeling when a band you've followed for ages finally starts to get its due '-” when the right album at the right moment helps the skeptical masses see all that raw potential you've long been applauding?

That's precisely what's happening right now with Chrome OS. The platform's been picking up serious steam and winning mountains of overdue praise these past few months '-” and if Google has its way, that momentum won't be letting up anytime soon.

Up until now, the saga of Chrome OS's rise has been more slow march than dramatic leap. Those of us who watch the platform closely have seen the seeds of something significant for years and have observed as Google slowly but surely built up a garden to nurture them.

We are undergoing a lot of technology changes at the moment."  3D printers, autonomous cars, package- and even people-carrying drones, industrial and personal robots, and mixed reality which promises to blur the lines between what is real and what is digital are all coming at warp speeds.

One of the more interesting moves is being made by Microsoft [Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author], as they shift to a cloud model for both application and operating system delivery and access."  We knew this was coming when Satya Nadella took over for Steve Ballmer as CEO. As the champion for the cloud at Microsoft, he was all-in." 

The firm'-™s initial move last year was to step away from the traditional upgrade cycle and deliver product updates with new features several times a year, rather than semi-annually or later. This month they announced that, for enterprises, they would still provide extended support the old way for firms that couldn'-™t be on that aggressive cycle, and a blending of their Software-as-a-Service offerings, which now includes Office 365, Windows 10, Security and Enterprise Mobility." 

Microsoft'-™s group chat tool, Teams, may have garnered more attention when it launched last year, leaving Planner '-" aimed at helping teams coordinate projects, share files and work more effectively '-" largely in the shadows.

Billed as a lightweight, collaborative and highly visual task management tool, Planner is positioned as a rival to the popular Trello (just as Microsoft'-™s Teams is seen as its answer to Slack). But in a crowded collaboration field, Planner also matches up against tools like as Asana and Smartsheet, which offer alternatives to more complex project management applications.

Apple'-™s iPhone X has been a thousand-dollar gamble that has paid off for the company, but while we seem to know lots about what analysts and media pros think, we don'-™t appear to have too much feedback on what everybody else is thinking when it comes to the next-gen smartphone. I thought I'-™d find out.

The global conversation

Twitter is the global conversation center for just about every topic you can imagine. Sure, some people take it too far, but so long as you have a Block button you can filter the bots and fools right out. So, what has Twitter been saying about iPhone X?

Enterprises invest a lot of time, effort and money in keeping their systems secure. The most security-conscious might have a security operations center. They of course use firewalls and antivirus tools. They probably spend a lot of time monitoring their networks, looking for telltale anomalies that could indicate a breach. What with IDS, SIEM and NGFWs, they deploy a veritable alphabet of defenses.

But how many have given much thought to one of the cornerstones of their digital operations: the operating systems deployed on the workforce'-™s PCs? Was security even a factor when the desktop OS was selected?

This raises a question that every IT person should be able to answer: Which operating system is the most secure for general deployment?

The Highlighted Content web part is modern SharePoint'-™s answer to the classic Content Search and Content Query Web Parts. New features will be coming to this web part based on what we learned at Ignite 2017, but there are some great solutions you can build today.

Highlighted Content '-” a great tool for helpful solutions

Highlighted Content is available only on modern SharePoint pages. The basic configuration available with the web part allows you to roll up content in an individual site, a document library on a site, or across an entire tenant based primarily on the type of content: News, Documents, Pages, Video, Images, etc.

Pilot fish gets a trouble ticket to swap out a network switch at an office he's never been to. But he has the address and knows it's suite 211, so he's not worried about locating it.

"I arrive at the office complex, find the correct building and start trying doors," says fish.

"The first set is locked. I walk around the building to the next set. Two are locked and another one has a meeting in progress.

"About this time a woman walks toward the building, and I ask her where suite 211 is. She says, 'I don't know, but you can follow me through our office to the main hall if you want.'

"I follow her and get to the main hallway. As I start walking down it, I notice that the numbers are getting smaller.

Windows 10 added more user share in January than in any month since mid-2016, according to web analytics vendors Net Applications, the company said last week.

Data published Feb. 1 by the California-based Net Applications showed that Windows 10 had accumulated 1.4 percentage points of user share - the portion of all personal computer owners who ran the operating system - during January, ending the month powering 34.3% of the world's PCs and 39.1% of all those systems running a flavor of Microsoft's OS. (The second number is larger than the first because Windows accounted for 88.8% of all operating systems, not 100%.)

Windows 10's increase was its largest since August 2016, if the November 2017 drop of 2.7 points is ignored. The latter was part of an across-the-board revamp of Net Applications' data, designed to purge the numbers of bogus traffic originating from criminals' "bots," and thus was not proof of a sudden rush to Windows 10.

Apple's Health Records feature in the upcoming iOS 11.3 rollout may be the most high-profile attempt at sharing healthcare data between caregiver and patient, but it won't succeed without industry's cooperation.

What is new is the mass market Apple commands with its iPhone and iPad and the company's efforts to take advantage of new industry standards and collaborative alliances for aggregating and sharing patient data from disparate healthcare systems.

Even with all the electrification of healthcare data and advances in networks for sharing that data, however, one industry stalwart is unlikely to be replaced: the fax.

If you'-™re shopping around for productivity suites, the list of candidates may seem a little... short. It'-™s going to be Microsoft Office or Google G Suite, right? Well, not so fast. You do have choices '-” and they won'-™t break the bank.(Insider Story)

January 2018 was a month that will go down in patching infamy. Looking back on my notes, we had patches released, yanked, re-released and/or re-re-released on 15 different days in January. Untold thousands of machines were bricked by Microsoft patches. Millions of hours were lost chasing down bad patches and bad advice.

Although there were a couple of real bugs fixed in the January patches '-” the Equation Editor vulnerability being suspect #1 '-” most of the angst was completely superfluous. The Meltdown/Spectre patches at the heart of the drama attacked a problem that wasn'-™t '-” and isn'-™t '-” there. We still have no known Meltdown or Spectre exploits in the wild. None.

Apple has kept CEO Tim Cook'-™s enterprise security promise" and has" staked space" in one of the few growing sectors of the insurance market, revealing a new enterprise-focused cybersecurity offering brought to market with Cisco, Aon and Allianz.

This company has its systems set up so that any power outage will trigger an email that's sent to the support team. But that's not quite working, according to an IT consultant pilot called in to troubleshoot.

"The client has multiple servers, each with its own UPS," says fish. "Each UPS is connected to the server running the software that sends out an email if there is an outage.

"Over the last several months there have been occasional outages, but Server3 has never sent out an email. The software has a test button, and every time the test button is clicked, a test message is successfully received. Yet when I pull the power cord on the UPS, no message is received.

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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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Acer's Swift 7 is the thinnest laptop in the world.

HTC and Valve'-™s Vive was the first virtual reality headset that really made me jump on the VR hype train. Not only could you escape into virtual worlds, but thanks to its motion tracking sensors, your movement in the real world was translated into the digital. Like Facebook'-™s (FB) Oculus Rift, the Vive'-™s display resolution made individual pixels clearly visible in certain situations, killing any sense of true immersion.

CES 2018 had more than its fair share of wacky items and compelling gadgets, but one of the biggest trends to emerge, once again, from the popular tech expo was voice-enabled devices. And, of course, it was all about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Here are seven items at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.

At CES 2018, Sennheiser announced two new products that focus on recording or playing back 3-D audio.

Honda wants to change your perception of robots. And it's hoping to do so with four new concept robots.

At CES 2018, Ford announced it is working with a city in which it will operate its self-driving cars. The automaker wouldn't identify the city but did say how autonomous vehicles can change the way people live.

Intel is betting that Volocopter 2X will be one of the first passenger-carrying drones to operate in the U.S. A prototype of the pilotless two-seat helicopter-like drone was shown off at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance that the Austin, Texas-based computer and graphics chip company is quickly working to resolve and address a recently-discovered security flaw that affects AMD computer chips.

Nvidia rolled out a slew of updates for its GeForce line of gaming products at CES 2018 including massive computer screens and cloud game streaming.

It's hard to figure out which of the connected household devices on display at CES 2018 is worth buying, but it's even more difficult to know if they are secure from hackers. A security expert visits exhibits and tries to help.

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)?

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