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 CTO.org - News Archive - April 14, 2018
Radio isn't dead yet, but its future isn'-™t exactly healthy.

Hasbro, Lego and other toymakers are releasing their toys depicting younger Han Solo's adventures.

Finally, Android users (with Google phones) will be able to connect to Android Auto over Wi-Fi.

In his interview with CBS This Morning, Musk says that relying too much on robotics was his mistake.

"Consent decree" was one of the buzzwords in Mark Zuckerberg's testimony this week, but what does it mean? We break down Facebook's 2011 settlement with the FTC.

Looking for a new game to play on your phone or tablet? Here are our picks of the best mobile games.

Facebook's CEO went to Washington, in part, to mend relationships with lawmakers. But Congress also has the other tech giants in its sights.

If you're all about the iPhone, these are some of the best games you can play.

These are unequivocally the best Android games on the planet.

Wagons -- estate cars -- used to dominate the world's roads. But in recent years, SUVs and crossovers have indeed taken over. We explore why this shift happened, and ask, was it for the better?

We speak to scientists behind a new mission to find nearby exoplanets that could host life.

We don't know much yet, but we know we want one.

Though Yahoo was already scanning its users' emails to maximize ad opportunities, doubling-down on the policy could raise eyebrows in a post-Cambridge Analytica world.

Boeing and Rolls-Royce invest in Reaction Engines, a British company developing a hypersonic propulsion system that's part rocket, part jet engine.

The spike in costs comes after the CEO spent 2017 on a big tour of the US.

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One screen, one user.

But what happens when any screen can serve hundreds of users?

In Steven Spielberg'-™s 2002 sci-fi movie, Minority Report, billboards could display customized ads that addressed each passerby by name (or at least by the name of the person who provided one'-™s eyeballs). Every public holographic billboard became private, targeted and personalized for a couple of seconds as each person walked by.

In reality, the public will likely reject the Minority Report model of their personal data being used to trigger public ad personalization.

A Windows Ink engineer has confirmed that there'-™s a bug in the third Win10 1709 March Cumulative Update, KB 4089848, that breaks common pen movements in Photoshop, Lightroom and CS Paint. Looks as if the same problem bedevils this month'-™s 1709 Cumulative Update, KB 4093112, as well. Microsoft, it seems, decided to break pen behavior in Win10 1709 without any notification or explanation.

Early this month, DavideV, on the Microsoft Answers forum, posted a rather strange observation:

Law enforcement interest in iPhone encryption-cracking hardware from two new companies is a strong indication that Apple no longer claims the mobile security high ground.

"What this means, if it's true, is that people who thought all of their communications were totally secure shouldn't feel so confident going forward," said Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. "But, then security has always been a tug of war between the ones implementing it and the ones trying to break it."

In February, reports surfaced" that an Israel-based technology vendor, Cellebrite, had discovered a way to unlock encrypted iPhones running iOS 11 and were marketing the product to law enforcement and private forensics firms around the world. According to a police warrant obtained by Forbes," the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had been testing the technology.

Google has rolled out updates to Sheets, including the ability to record macros - part of the company'-™s plan to appeal to more business users with it G Suite cloud product portfolio.

Macro recording provides a way to automate repetitive tasks within the G Suite spreadsheet tool, potentially saving users hours of duplicated effort.

The macro recorder lets users record actions within Sheets and then play them back without writing code. Once recorded, a macro is automatically converted into an Apps Script '-" a Google scripting language derived from JavaScript. This can be later edited to update the macro, rather than forcing users to re-record it completely.

Apple is updating its products and services to bring the company in line with the EU'-™s forthcoming privacy protection rules, General Data Protection Regulations" (GDPR). Among other improvements, customers will be able to download all the information Apple keeps about them.

What is GDPR?

The GDPR rules are designed to bring existing data protection laws into the 21st century. They give individuals the right to see what information companies hold about them, oblige business to handle data more responsibly, and put a new set of fines and regulations in place. Almost any entity that handles personal data will be impacted by the GDPR rules.

In one of the most bizarre patching contortions I'-™ve seen in a long time, Microsoft originally released this month'-™s Win7/Server 2008R2 Monthly Rollup patch, KB 4093118, with a little bit of southern lagniappe.

As I mentioned" earlier this week, if you wanted to install this month'-™s Monthly Rollup and didn'-™t want to clobber your Network Interface Card (NIC) or any of your manually set IP addresses, you had to manually install the security-only patch KB 4093108 ahead of time.

Patching by prescience, as it were. There'-™s a" Great Carnak joke in there somewhere.

Cool charts for all
a team gathers around a table to work

Image by Thinkstock

Have you noticed that people groan when you pop open a spreadsheet to share your brilliant data insights? Maybe it'-™s not you '-" or your audience '-" that's to blame. Maybe you suffer from Dull-and-Overused-Chart-Syndrome?

It's the late 1970s, and this pilot fish with a brand-new liberal-arts degree gets a data processing job with his state's Motor Vehicles department -- where the tech is a little out of date.

"By 1890, Herman Hollerith was supplying punch card systems, with data on cards that could be read, sorted or summarized by machinery," says fish. "Punch card tub files -- long trays to hold thousands of cards -- were in wide use in the mid-1950s when IBM developed rotating magnetic disks to replace tub files.

"But this Motor Vehicles office never went to punch cards. Licenses and titles were entered by hand on multipart carbon-backed forms. All these flimsy slips of paper were filed in the tub file room in the bowels of a state capitol annex."

One of the great things about R is the thousands of packages users have written to solve specific problems in various disciplines -- analyzing everything from weather or financial data to the human genome -- not to mention analyzing computer security-breach data.

Some tasks are common to almost all users, though, regardless of subject area: data import, data wrangling and data visualization. The table below show my favorite go-to packages for one of these three tasks (plus a few miscellaneous ones tossed in). The package names in the table are clickable if you want more information. To find out more about a package once you've installed it, type help(package = "packagename") in your R console (of course substituting the actual package name ).

What a long, strange trip it's been.

From its inaugural release to today, Android has transformed visually, conceptually and functionally '-” time and time again. Google's mobile operating system may have started out scrappy, but holy moly, has it ever evolved.

Here's a fast-paced tour of Android version highlights from the platform's birth to present.

Android versions 1.0 to 1.1: The early days

Android made its official public debut in 2008 with Android 1.0 '-” a release so ancient it didn't even have a cute codename.

Things were pretty basic back then, but the software did include a suite of early Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Calendar and YouTube, all of which were integrated into the operating system '-” a stark contrast to the more easily updatable standalone-app model employed today.

By my calculations, seeing this morning's news that LG is opening up a "Software Upgrade Center" '-” the industry's "first such facility aimed at providing customers worldwide with faster, timelier smartphone operating system and software updates" (!) '-” could result in three distinct reactions.

First is the woefully uninformed, overly positive reception '-” the one LG clearly hopes to elicit with its over-the-top press release: "Whoa! Look at LG! It's breaking new ground and showing just how committed to customers it really is."

With all of the problems in the January, February and March patches for Windows and Office, you'-™d think we would catch a break in April. In one sense we did '-” some of the worst bugs in the earlier patches now seem to be behind us. But we'-™re definitely not out of the woods just yet.

Consultant pilot fish gets a panicked call from a client: "Everything was working fine. We went into a meeting, and when we came out, nothing worked. We couldn't access the Internet or the server, nor use our VoIP phones."

Fish arrives on site and, sure enough, the network is completely down -- nothing's working. He checks one more time with the client, who repeats that all anyone did was go into a meeting.

"After futzing with the switches and routers, the owner saw me moving some cables," says fish. "I was connecting my laptop directly to the router, where it worked fine.

"He said, 'Oh yeah, I did do something in the conference room. I connected a wire to a jack.'"

File management isn'-™t the sexiest area of smartphone ownership '-” but if you use your device for productivity, it'-™s an important subject to consider.

Your phone, after all, is your on-the-go connection to the world. It'-™s basically the new PC. And whether your work involves presentations, PDFs, Word documents or images, you'-™re bound to find yourself fumbling around with files on your pocket-sized screen sooner or later.

With the right tools, though, dealing with files from your phone doesn'-™t have to be a hassle. And the good news? Android'-™s got plenty of outstanding options.

These are the best, organized by what they'-™ll help you accomplish.

Mac users running the recently released macOS 10.13.4 update may see a new alert message when they log in and launch apps this morning, as Apple begins keeping its WWDC promise to push developers to upgrade their apps to 64-bit.

What is this alert?

Starting around midnight local time April 11 and 12, Macs running the latest OS version begin offering up a warning message the first time their users launched a 32-bit application.

macos high sierra 32 bit app alert Apple

32-bit app alerts are coming to macOS 10.13.4.

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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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