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 CTO.org - News Archive - April 9, 2018
Fibre to the Curb, or FTTC, will now reach 1.5 million homes and businesses by 2020.

After an AMA on Reddit with the two showrunners, we have a lot of questions. Not the least of which is: WHY, JONAH?

Law prohibits state agencies from doing business with ISPs that don't agree to treat all traffic on the internet equally.

A part of your living room can be forever Wakanda in just about one month.

Data analytics firm says it licensed Facebook user data from a company that obtained it legally.

Law firm Hagens Berman is looking for Facebook users for a class action case to prevent "similar shenanigans again."

Members of the House and Senate committees set to question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received campaign contributions from Facebook employees.

One of Elon Musk's rockets sent a spy satellite to orbit, but it didn't let go until it was too late. A report says Northrop Grumman is at fault.

The US Department of Justice just confirmed: 7 people have been charged.

The update, which hit the UK in time for the 9 p.m. game Monday, will be available in the US "soon," along with other new features. HQ also teased a "surprise feature coming next week."

That includes the company's retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities in 43 countries.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg supports the proposed Honest Ads Act. Sens. Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar want the company's rivals to back it too.

A teardown by iFixit finds Huawei's new phone is as difficult to fix as Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

From new ways of protecting its users to the never-ending problem of security, here are the greatest hits from Zuck'-™s prepared remarks before Congress.

A glorious NASA video takes Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imagery and turns it into a 4K tour of the moon that will make you want to go for a visit.

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Since its launch in 2014, Slack has become a popular tool for enterprise collaboration; it now has 6 million daily active users worldwide '-" around a third of whom are paying customers '-" and it continues to evolve to take on even more tasks.

With a valuation of $5.1 billion, Slack Technologies '-" the company behind the app '-" generated $250 million with its latest funding round and appears headed towards an IPO. Recently, it added former Goldman Sachs head of human capital management Edith Cooper to its board and appointed its first CFO, Allen Shim, who has been with the company for four years.

March Windows patches were a mess. With the revelation of Total Meltdown, we recently discovered that all of this year'-™s Win7 patches left gaping security holes. It'-™s fair to say that the initial Patch Tuesday patches for almost every version of Windows, for every month this year, have had confirmed bugs. Every one.

If you want to help test this month'-™s Windows and Office patches, hey, I salute you! Most folks, though, would be well advised to turn off Automatic Update and wait for the initial wave of devastation to pass.

I take it as an article of faith that you don'-™t want to install the spring update to Windows 10, version 1803, as soon as it'-™s available. As we'-™ve seen, repeatedly, upgrading to a new version of Windows 10 as soon as it'-™s out leads to madness. For almost everyone, the new features in version 1803 '-” Timeline, a few moved settings, more telemetry options but not the one ('-'OFF'-") that matters most, faster upgrades '-” just aren'-™t worth the bother of installing and setting up an entirely new copy of Windows. (Unless you really want Candy Crush Soda Saga installed for the umpteenth time.)

If you'-™re a Cortana or Edge fan, your opinion may vary, of course. And there are undeniable benefits under the covers. But for 90% of us, I would guess, 1803 isn'-™t high on the priority list. It certainly isn'-™t worth thrusting yourself into the unpaid beta tester pool at the earliest opportunity, while waiting for Microsoft to iron is problems out. Thus, for most Windows 10 users, it makes a whole lot of sense to wait and update to 1803 when you'-™re good and ready for it '-” not when MS decides to push it on you.

Apple offers valuable multi-tasking tools to help you get productive on your iPad. What are they, how do they work, and how do you use them?

The what and the why of iPad productivity tools

Slide over, split screen, picture in picture, improvements to the Dock, and a variety of gesture enhancements (along with support for drag & drop) make it possible to use an iPad much more effectively when working between apps.


As a longtime proponent of two-factor authentication (2FA) in a mobile world, I was pained to get hit with two problems using 2FA on Thursday (April 4). But maybe the ability to publicize those two mobile-oriented problems with 2FA will do some good, if sites just pay attention.

The day started with my trying to link to an interesting mobile security story in my social feed (yes, that would shortly prove ironic). The story link wouldn'-™t work for me, with my browser telling me the site had redirected me too many times. It suggested that I clear out my cookies. That made little sense to me given the immediate problem, but I was overdue for a cookie cleanout anyway, so I gave it a shot.

Fintech firms, software makers, telecom providers and other businesses have joined forces develop a blockchain-based network that will enable anyone to exchange digital credentials online and without the risk of unintentionally exposing any private data.

The companies are part of the Sovrin Foundation, a new nonprofit organization now developing the Sovrin Network, which could enable anyone to globally exchange pre-verified data with any entity also on the network.

The online credentials would be akin to identify information you or I might have in our physical wallets: a driver's license, a bank debit card or a company ID.

Pilot fish accepts an invitation to an all-day free workshop given by a big IT vendor -- even though he knows it's a thinly disguised sales pitch.

"They want to tout their machine learning and big data capabilities, and show everyone how easy it is to learn to use these powerful tools," says fish.

"Prominent in their summary is their great idea of letting users build private Clouds, with some common connections, to store and process data. Users can set permissions for different degrees of access by different collaborators.

"I expressed some concern about the challenge of managing such a complex set of permissions without just creating a bunch of virtual silos. But I was warmly assured that this company knows what it's doing. Trust us!

Here'-™s a thought: Mind-reading software is not only ready for commercial use, but it will actually be of practical use in everyday business applications.

But wait, you say. That'-™s creepy, invasive and useless. Read this column, though, and you just might change your mind about that. (And if you do, your gadgets will know.)

The missing ingredient

Futurists have predicted mind-reading technology for years. And while the detection of brain-wave patterns has been possible for decades, the missing ingredient was the ability to interpret them.

But now, thanks to artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning, we can finally know what'-™s going on inside people'-™s minds.

When Apple'-™s latest macOS update blanked external screens, third-party hardware vendors scrambled to warn customers and caused Mac users to call each other names.

macOS 10.13.4, which Apple released March 29 and immediately began pushing to users, has crippled DisplayLink, the technology from the same-named company that allows multiple monitors to be connected to one PC, often through a hardware dock, via USB, Ethernet or even Wi-Fi. Companies including Dell, HP and Kensington sell docks that rely on DisplayLink.

When Mac users saw blank displays, they raised a ruckus on Apple'-™s support discussion forum. Many work in corporate offices that had equipped workers with docks for their Mac, and multiple monitors that no longer showed anything.

The quality of March'-™s patches set new lows, even by Windows'-™ tarnished standards. The Win10 patches flew fast and furious, with new Microsoft-induced bugs introduced and swatted multiple times over the month. The Word 2016 security patch demands that you first install the Word 2016 non-security patch, or Word refuses to open files. That bug hasn'-™t been fixed. Windows 8.1/Server 2012R2 escaped relatively unscathed. Server 2008 got a fix for its buggy patch, KB 4090450, on April 3. But Windows 7'-¦ ah, that'-™s a dying horse of a completely different color.

The battle of the smart assistants continues, and while people seem to want to get more from using Siri, others seem to want to figure out how to turn Cortana off, and Google Assistant isn'-™t far behind. How can Apple exploit its advantages to push HomePod higher?

Voice assistants face-off

I'-™ve been digging through the latest interesting data from SEMRush, which shared their findings around search habits when it comes to voice assistants. The research shows that Siri is now the most searched intelligent personal assistant, both globally and in the U.S., and it also shows the sort of questions people are asking about all the assistants.

IT administrator pilot fish handles all technology for this midsize public library. A frequent part of his job: repurposing old equipment for less critical or demanding needs.

"I chose an old desktop PC to re-image and put out on the library floor for public use," says fish. "Imaging and setup went smoothly, and I took the repurposed computer out into the library to deploy.

"To fit the PC tower under the desk where it would live, I had to twist it in an awkward orientation up in the air. Upon doing so, there was a distinct metallic sound of multiple pieces falling and clanking together, as if the components inside the case were disintegrating."

Word has always been the workhorse app of the Microsoft Office suite, and Word 2016 is no different than past versions. Nearly everyone who uses Office ends up using Word at some point, whether it be for writing memos, typing up agendas, creating reports, crafting business correspondence or any of a thousand other uses.

The current version, Word 2016, was released in late 2015 when the entire Office suite was upgraded, and by now many businesses have moved to it. But although you may have upgraded to the latest version, you might be missing out on some worthwhile features introduced in Word 2016 for Windows '-” that'-™s what we'-™ll look at in this story.

Apple broke its silence today in order to reassure the Mac-buying public that it is indeed still working hard on developing the next Mac Pro '-” but we probably won'-™t see this unicorn beast reach the Apple Store until 2019.

The delays will continue until waiting is fashionable

Apple seems to be working very hard on the new Mac model. Development of the new Mac is very much centered around the needs of professional users '-” the company has even recruited some pro users to work with it in developing the new systems.

Whew. This whole Facebook data mess sure is spiraling into quite the fiasco, isn't it?

Seems every day lately, there's some new shocking twist to how everyone's personal data was used (and abused) without their knowledge. While much of the issue revolves around Facebook itself and practices that are out of our control, there's an angle that ties in directly to Android '-” and it's one that's important to think through, whether you use Facebook or not.

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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)?

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.

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