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 CTO.org - News Archive - March 11, 2018
Commentary: Is this a portent of the true future? Welcome to a replica that has real world uses. Perhaps too real.

Musk tells the crowd at SXSW that when the next dark age descends, we need some humans stashed on the moon and Mars to keep going.

Photo from the Oscars shows the billionaire and a Star Trek captain boldly going to the red carpet.

Commentary: When the long-awaited meeting of Bigfoot and human occurs, it doesn't go well.

Want to stay out of the afterlife? Never tell a member of the Dora Milaje to wear a wig.

iFixit's examination of Samsung's flagship phone may explain why low-light images are often blurry.

This $119 smart garage door controller manages up to three garage doors with voice commands, remote access and the option to include a third-party camera.

The climate of Barcelona, political and weather-wise, stood out at a tech show that failed to impress beyond the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

The Tesla and SpaceX honcho splashes down for a quick appearance and some words about the inspirational power of space travel.

Samsung stole the limelight at this year's Mobile World Congress with the Galaxy S9, and now we want to hear from you! What do you think makes the S9 so great?

Commentary: Interviewed by NBC's Megyn Kelly, the Russian president says he, on the other hand, isn't a Twitterer.

This year's new colors include shades of salmon, green, blue and pink. They'll be available for some of KitchenAid's stand mixers and select small appliances.

A book about VR gets made into a film about VR, which is being promoted with VR. Dizzy yet? Don't slam your controller into the wall like CNET's Erin Carson did.

The 1More'-™s latest full-size headphone offers tremendous bang for the buck.

Commentary: It's not enough these days to have millions of followers. The Hollywood Reporter's social media popularity chart judges actors on additional criteria.

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New rules for '-'self-driving cars'-" in California highlight a glaring misconception about how A.I. works.

An educated public understands that autonomous vehicles are amazing but that they are so far unable to fully take control of a passenger vehicle with no human behind the wheel.

It'-™s only a matter of time before today'-™s '-'safety drivers'-" '-” the humans who sit idle behind the wheel in case the artificial intelligence fails '-” get out of the car and leave the driving to the machines, right?

Whoa, slow your roll there, self-driving car narrative.

California just approved licenses for self-driving cars to in fact have no human driver behind the wheel, or no human in the vehicle at all (after dropping off a passenger, or for deliveries) with one caveat: The self-driving car companies must monitor and be able to take over driving remotely.


While Apple may have a rep as the brand users would walk across broken glass for, Android users actually have a higher rate of loyalty, according to a new report.

The study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that 91% of Android owners remain loyal to that mobile OS, compared with 86% of iOS users.

The data was collected as part of quarterly surveys of 500 users that have been performed by CIRP from March 2013 through December 2017. For its latest results, CIRP measured the percentage of customers who remained with each operating system when activating a new phone over twelve months ending December 2017.


The business world is evolving at a rapid pace. As we move toward increasingly varied, sophisticated, and challenging collaboration scenarios, solution providers are having a hard time keeping up with the changing workforce'-™s needs. With this evolution, we are seeing three conflicting pressures in the market when it comes to conferencing: increasing numbers of collaboration scenarios to support, a need for simplification, and a demand for better audio and video quality.

In the past, solution providers focused mainly on supporting the increasing number of scenarios. Providers are quickly patching together video conferencing and screen-sharing technologies to try to keep up with these new scenarios. With this urgency to patch technology together, they often increase complexity while lowering experiential quality for the user. So while more scenarios are now being supported, users are forced to bridge the significant gap between what technology offers and what we actually need in the real world.


Microsoft will name the next feature upgrade for Windows 10 as "Spring Creators Update," according to a tipster who has a solid track record on the operating system.

The feature upgrade, which Microsoft continues to tweak, will likely be released in early April.

"1803 = Spring Creators Update," wrote "Walking Cat" on Twitter Thursday. Walking Cat, who also goes by "@h0x0d" on the micro-blogging service, has been the source of numerous tidbits of Windows 10 information. He or she had queried a Windows Insider participant who had the latest build and asked for a read-out of a PowerShell command. The result: a list of feature upgrade names.


When it comes to using the Android or iOS platform, everybody seems to have chosen sides '-” but living in a multi-platform world means we need to share files occasionally. Here are eight ways Android and iPhone/iOS users can share files with each other.

1. Use email

Sending files using email remains the easiest way to share items with others; however, this isn'-™t always the most effective choice if:

  • You don'-™t know a person'-™s email address
  • You can'-™t get online
  • You are sharing very large files
  • You are sharing sensitive data, such as client records.

Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to share data between the two platforms.


Flashback to the 1990s, when this very seasoned ex-mainframer is winding down his career by managing a midrange system at a manufacturing site, according to a PC tech pilot fish there.

"Fred was literally counting down the days to retirement," fish says. "He had managed to arrange a schedule that had him coming to work at 5 a.m. and walking out the door promptly at 1 p.m. to play golf, every single day."

But one day a console operator tells Fred that the AS/400 is reporting a problem with a hard drive. Fred calls IBM and a technician arrives the next day and gets to work.

A few minutes later, Fred walks into fish's repair depot with his face white as a ghost, sits down on a stool and says, "I'm dead."


Just when you thought Win10 Fall Creators Update was finally starting to look stable, Microsoft pulled another tone-deaf move. Reports have been pouring in from people who were forced to upgrade from Win10 1607 (the Anniversary Update) or Win10 1703 (the First Spring Creators Update) to the latest version of the last edition of Windows, Win10 1709.


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.


Google is slowly pulling back the curtains on its next-gen Android P release. Yesterday, we got our first glimpse at a work-in-progress, developer-focused preview of the software '-” and today, we're getting a closer look at what exactly is new when it comes to Android P and the ever-evolving subject of Android security.

I had the chance to chat with Xiaowen Xin, Google's Android platform security product manager, about some of the significant changes on the way with Android P. Here's the inside scoop on what you can expect:


Do you use Siri to its full potential? Perhaps it'-™s time to refresh your memory with this list of useful things you can ask it to do for you.

Control your devices

Siri will help you control all kinds of settings on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can ask Siri to:

  • Turn Wi-Fi on/off
  • Turn Bluetooth on and off
  • Switch to Airplane Mode (you'-™ll need to disable it again manually)
  • Brighten and darken the display
  • Raise and lower the volume
  • Turn on Low Power Mode
  • Open Settings
  • Take a Pano shot
  • Open [name of app]
  • Open [name of site] website
  • Set a timer for [state time]
  • Set an alarm
  • Flip a coin, roll a dice
  • How much free space do I have? (A Mac-only question)

Timey wimey stuff

  • What time is it in [name a place]?
  • When is sunset tonight?
  • When is it sunrise in Tokyo?
  • What'-™s the weather in Tokyo?
  • What'-™s the weather in Tokyo this weekend?
  • Will I need an umbrella today?
  • What'-™s the weather going to be like today?
  • What will the weather be like this weekend?
  • How hot will it be next week?
  • What was the score in the Arsenal game?
  • When is the next Arsenal match?
  • What'-™s [Apple] stock trading at today?

Conversions and calculations

  • What is $50 in Euros?
  • What are 125 meters in feet?
  • What is 5 plus/times/divided by/minus 4?
  • What is the square root of 7?
  • What is 15 percent of [number]?
  • What are 5 US cups in liters?
  • What'-™s the tip for $143?

Translation services

Siri in iOS 11 gained the ability to translate for you. While it'-™s a little confined (you can only translate from U.S. English), it allows you to translate into French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, and Italian. Siri will both speak the translation and show it on screen with a play button you can use instead of speaking if you like.


This software manager pilot fish works in the IT department of an engineering firm. "IT-challenged users sometimes bring their more vexing problems to me instead of the help desk," fish says.

So he's not surprised when one of the firm's purchasing agents approaches him sheepishly to ask for a lesson in attaching documents to emails.

It seems that several other employees have complained that the purchasing agent's attachments are practically useless. Fish asks him to explain exactly what he's been doing.

Turns out he's completely clueless about how to email his documents in their native formats. But he does know one thing: He can receive faxes in his email in-box.


Apple's iMac Pro desktop computer boasts a bevy of top-notch tech specs." 

It starts with an 8-core Intel Xeon W chip, a high-end graphics card with" 8GB of HBM2 memory, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD for storage and 8 USB ports (four of them USB-C/Thunderbolt)." Oh, and it has a 5K retina display and comes in a space gray case to distinguish it from lesser iMacs.

Prices start at $4,999 '-" and with a few upgrades (18-core processor, anyone?) can easily top $10,000." 


It's getting close to time for the next major revision of the non-subscription version of Office. Office 2019 is expected to be launched in the second half of this year. Microsoft calls this the '-'perpetual'-" version of Office because you pay a one-time fee for it and own it forever, and it doesn'-™t get upgrades until the next major version is released.(Insider Story)


Google on March 6 released Chrome 65 for Windows, macOS and Linux, with fixes for 45 vulnerabilities, and security and developer improvements and enhancements that users won't see, or even notice.

Chrome updates in the background, so users only need relaunch the browser to install the latest version. (To manually update, select "About Google Chrome" from the Help menu under the vertical ellipsis at the upper right; the resulting tab either shows the browser has been updated or displays the download-and-upgrade process before presenting a "Relaunch" button.) Those new to Chrome can download it from this Google site.


For regulators to understand blockchain's cybersecurity benefits and risks, they must first have a deeper understanding of the technology '-" and businesses hold the key to that, according to new research.

Governments around the world are beginning to increase regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, which are underpinned by blockchain's distributed ledger technology. In turn, businesses that use private or "permissioned" blockchain networks are likely to also see more oversight, according to experts.


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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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