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 CTO.org - News Archive - March 6, 2018
The agency's relationship with staff in the Best Buy repair unit goes back at least a decade, say documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The patent shows a robot that can switch from two to three wheels and carry cargo. But can it "like" friends' updates for you with its robo-arms?

China's first space station, Tiangong-1, launched in 2011 and was supposed to wind up in the Pacific Ocean. Now it's anyone's guess where it'll land.

As net neutrality rules are repealed, the states take matters into their own hands. How will that affect the broader fight for an open internet?

The Ray Baum Act reauthorizes the FCC and encourages deployment of next-generation wireless services in the US.

The Transit Connect Cargo Van debuts at Indianapolis' NTEA Work Truck Show looking to hold on to its crown as America's best-selling small work van.

The EV is the first in a line of mobility service concepts coming in 2018.

The new computer-controlled high-definition headlights from Mercedes can project signals onto the road to help convey information about a driver's surroundings.

The 2018 Geneva Motor Show is treating us to a ridiculous number of unveilings, including 1,000-plus horsepower hypercars, mind-bending concepts and the next wave of consumer electric vehicles.

Google's quantum computing effort takes a big step forward, and the company thinks a prototype could outdo conventional machines in some tasks.

The play, called "Brilliant Jerks," opens in London later this month.

Arie made a pour decision, and viewers of the ABC show want to help Becca drown her sorrows by sending her free drinks through the mobile payment service.

The German luxury brand and the French aircraft company team up for the wildest debut of the Geneva Motor Show.

Greg Greeley, who ran Amazon'-™s popular membership program, will lead Airbnb's homes segment when he joins the company this month.

NASA recruits William Shatner to encourage the public to send their names to the sun on board the Parker Solar Probe.

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With the first Android P developer preview inching ever-closer to its arrival, I've been thinking a lot about the state of Google's Android software and where it stands in the grander mobile tech ecosystem.

Even within Android itself, after all, it's hard to talk about the "new" features of a major release without acknowledging the fact that, in some form, many of those features have often long existed in third-party manufacturers' implementations of the software.

Take Nougat, for example. The big headline feature from 2016's Android 7.0 release was the addition of split-screen mode '-” the ability to view two apps on-screen at the same time. Another noteworthy element was an expanded Quick Settings area, with an added set of always-present toggles atop the regular notification panel and a newly customizable set of tiles when you swipe down from that view.

Despite the hype, there is a case to be made that CIOs and other IT leaders do not need to know about blockchain technology. It is so new, so slow and so deeply unhelpful for many business processes that that one CIO described it as '-'a joke." And when it does eventually arrive, it will largely operate behind the scenes and be run by third-party suppliers, meaning there will be no real need to understand the different flavors of technology at work.(Insider Story)

You may recall that last month'-™s cumulative update for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709), KB 4074588, brought with it a torrent of bugs. After watching customers twist in the wind for two weeks, Microsoft finally acknowledged these bugs:

  • Windows Update History reports that KB4054517 failed to install because of error 0x80070643. (Bogus, an old bug; ignore it.)
  • Because of an issue that affects some versions of antivirus software, this fix applies only to computers on which the antivirus ISV updated the ALLOW REGKEY. (A warning: That'-™s now de rigueur for all Windows updates.)
  • After installing this update, some USB devices and onboard devices, such as a built-in laptop camera, keyboard or mouse, may stop working. This may occur when the Windows Update servicing stack incorrectly skips installing the newer version of some critical drivers in the cumulative update and uninstalls the currently active drivers during maintenance.
  • After installing this update, some devices may fail to boot with INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. This issue occurs when the Windows Update servicing stack incorrectly skips installing the newer version of some critical drivers in the cumulative update and uninstalls the currently active drivers during maintenance
  • Because of an AD FS server issue that causes the WID AD FS database to become unusable after a restart, the AD FS service may fail to start. There is no way to undo the database corruption. To return your AD FS server to a functional state, you must restore it from a backup.

Yesterday'-™s cumulative update, KB 4090913, which brings Win10 1709 up to build 16299.251, claims to fix the third bug:

While I think it'-™s true to say iMessage apps are a promise that'-™s still waiting to be kept, I'-™ve little doubt we'-™ll see these lightweight apps become more important '-” and more ambient '-” in the future." 

What are iMessage apps, and how do I use them?

iMessage apps are available from the App Store for Messages.

You find the store and access those apps you have already installed by tapping the App Drawer icon left of the text entry window in an active iMessage. Tap the App Store to find new apps." Apple includes a few default apps '-” Recents, Music, Digital Touch, GIF images, and Apple Pay (where available).

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.

Amid the growing use of mobile devices for work by federal employees, U.S. defense and intelligence agencies are fast adopting biometrics and other alternative ways of " computers, smartphones and tablets, according to a new report.

More than 90% of federal agency IT officials in an online survey said their organizations provide secure mobile access for work-issued devices, but less than 20% support workers' personal devices to access most agency systems. Forty percent of those same officials voiced concern about securing personal devices, according to the online survey of federal government IT and cybersecurity officials.

It's a few decades back, and this university decides it's time for a dedicated computing center, says a pilot fish studying there at the time.

"Grand plans were made," fish says. "The computing center would be next to the administration building and in front of the library.

"But that brought objections from the people who gave the money to build the library. So the computing center was built there -- but underground.

"The computing center could be reached from the admin building basement, but because the computing center was lower, the hallway between buildings was a ramp.

"All was well until one day when a move was going on. The maintenance men were moving dollies loaded high with furniture from the admin building to the computing center.

Granted, February'-™s patches from Microsoft weren'-™t as malevolent as January'-™s patches, but they still managed to knock out lots and lots of PCs. That said, if you can tiptoe around the problems, now is a good time to get the latest versions of the latest patches installed.

Problems with Win10 Fall Creators Update

The worst problem I see at this point involves clobbered USB connections on Win10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709) machines after installing the latest cumulative update, KB 4074588. To its credit, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem. But the only offered fix, a complex manual workaround, would drive a hardened MS-DOS junkie to drink.

Integration is the big advantage of Apple'-™s Calendar in macOS. It'-™s a little basic, but it does the job. And while better choices exist, it seems worth checking to ensure you'-™re getting the best you can from the application.

How Siri can help

One useful Siri feature on both Macs and iOS devices is that you can ask your assistant to tell you what appointments you have today, tomorrow, next week and so on. Just invoke Siri to ask the question, and you'-™ll be shown a list of them '-” you don'-™t even need to open Calendar. You can also ask questions like, '-'Do I have anything planned for September 2?'-" or '-'When is my meeting with Robert?'-"

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the" Windows 10 Fall Creators Update" was rolled out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 4. As it did with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to" members of Microsoft's Insider Program.

What follows is a list of every preview build of Redstone 4, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it. We've also kept the list of all the preview builds that led up to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3) and the Windows 10 Creators Update (Redstone 2), which are below the builds of Redstone 4.

One of the interesting launches this month was the Blade Shadow PC."  This offering out of France seems to provide the best current view of the likely future for desktop computing."  It isn'-™t yet the present for most of us and I'-™ll get to that, but it showcases what could be done in the cloud albeit with some impressive heavy lifting." 

Let'-™s talk about why we are moving to a cloud based personal computer model, what the Blade Shadow PC (kind of a cool name) currently provides, and where it falls short this week." 

The drive for cloud PCs

The issues we all have to currently deal with are hardware migration (when you have to move from an old PC to a new one), software patching and updates, and adequate security in a world where threats are advancing faster than security software."  With the current model you own all of this and it is not only annoying it is dangerous."  The danger comes from the fact even companies are having trouble keeping up with new security exposures, those of us that work from home are mostly praying we aren'-™t targeted." 

Software developer is assigned the task of chasing down a bug that involves a true-or-false value that's not right, says a pilot fish on the scene.

"A boolean variable wasn't receiving the correct value at some point before being evaluated in an if statement," fish says. "The developer started by checking the use cases where the boolean was supposed to be false.

"After spending some time on it, he still wasn't able to determine what caused the boolean to have the wrong value.

"Then he had a brilliant idea: simply assign the 'false' value to the boolean just before the if statement. And boom! It worked!

"He declared the bug fixed and it went to the tester -- who pointed out the obvious fact that the application was not working properly when that boolean was supposed to be true.

If you have never heard of SharePoint, you have probably been living under a rock. Microsoft'-™s enterprise collaboration platform is embedded in almost all medium and large organizations in some fashion or form, and SharePoint Online is part of the Office 365 subscription service, meaning that hundreds of thousands of users have access to the software. As part of the Office 365 subscription, you automatically get the latest version of the software.

But SharePoint is as complex as ever, and if you'-™ve used earlier versions of SharePoint, you'-™ll find that in the 2016 and Office 365 '-'next wave'-" releases, Microsoft has definitely moved the cheese. The interface is different than it was in earlier versions of SharePoint, and some ways you interact with the software have changed. Or perhaps you are new to SharePoint, or are interested in teasing out the power of SharePoint Online as you work with your team.

Share this story: IT folks, we hope you'll pass this guide on to your users to help them learn more about SharePoint Online.(Insider Story)

Remember the Zune? Probably not, or if you do, you don'-™t remember it well. It was a portable digital music player launched by Microsoft in 2006 to compete with Apple'-™s iPod. It tied to Microsoft'-™s MSN music service in the same way the iPod ties to iTunes.

The Zune was one of Microsoft'-™s many ungodly kludges. It started life as a bulky, too-expensive, unwieldy contraption that was unpleasant to use and inferior in every way to an iPod. I know because I had one. (That'-™s the kind of thing one has to do when one covers the Microsoft beat.) And it only got worse from there. For example, there was midnight on December 31, 2008, when countless first-generation Zunes froze and refused to work because their internal clock drivers couldn'-™t handle the leap year properly. (A day later, the Zune unfroze by itself.) Eventually, in 2011, Microsoft finally discontinued the unloved and unlovable device.

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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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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)?

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...

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