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 CTO.org - News Archive - May 14, 2018
Over 3,000 Google employees joined a protest in April. Now, a few are reportedly walking out.

The data was collected for a project at the University of Cambridge, according to New Scientist.

Everyone's favorite purveyor of slick glass-and-aluminum computers and phones has been rumored to be in the self-driving car game for years now, but what do we actually know?

My grandkids won't remember a time they didn't talk to the TV.

With a rumored 2026 return to US shores, the French automakers are investigating new, leaner ways to sell their cars to the American public.

Delos Incorporated wants your DNA, your mind, your brains, your heart and all of your data. Sound like another company we know?

Plus, jurors aren't allowed to talk about their phones. What's left, the weather?

His musings on the late Apple co-founder are extensive, brutally honest and heartwarming all at the same time.

Don't fear the robot uprising. This bot is here to put a hospital gown on your arm.

The S Roadster slots in between the base AMG GT and AMG GT C.

The company says it's reviewing the complaint.

The Netherlands is following in the United States' footsteps with its decision to stop using the Russian security company's software.

The second half of 2018 is a new chance to grab a piece of Nintendo history.

ZTE buys a lot of individual parts from US companies, he says.

Amazon Go is like a convenience store without the lines or cashiers.

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The wireless industry has grown and changed so much over the last few decades. In the last few years, major wireless brands AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Sprint have introduced or acquired several other brands like Cricket, MetroPCS, Boost, Virgin Mobile and more. They have focused on winning and growing in different slices of the wireless pie, and it'-™s working.

Verizon and Verizon Wireless has been quiet in this space. They tend to take a different route. They are the highest priced wireless service and it looked like things would remain that way. However, now they are doing a deal with Visible that changes all that.

I tend to worry about companies when they let the change wave go on without them. I don'-™t want the growth wave to pass them by and leave them behind like it did with companies like Blackberry, Nokia and Motorola. Leaders who missed the next change wave and now are struggling.

Apple'-™s Terminal application is supremely powerful on your Mac, and while you should be wary when using it, you can benefit from some super-useful Mac tricks if you do.

What is Terminal?

The Terminal application can be understood as a text-based user interface with which to control your Mac using command line tools. These are very powerful, and they enable you to change lots of the ways your Mac usually behaves.

Be warned

Terminal is unforgiving. You don'-™t need to fear it, but you should be very, very careful to use precisely the right code when entering instructions for your Mac '-” particularly if using any command including the word "sudo".

It now appears as if Microsoft didn'-™t test the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, version 1803," with its own Surface Pro (2017) laptops, with any machines that use Intel SSD 600p or SSD Pro 6000p drives, or with any machines that contain Toshiba XG4, XG5, or BG3 series solid state drives (SSDs).

You can draw your own conclusions about the advisability of installing Windows 10 1803.

Late last week, '-'Microsoft Agent'-" Lonnie_L posted on the" Microsoft Answers Forum:

More than four years ago, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its goods. Today, it accepts more than 40 versions of the digital currency for online purchases.

While bitcoin may have first caught the online retailer's eye, it's the technology behind the digital tokens '-" blockchain '-" that has really captured Overstock.com's investment wallet.

About the same time Overstock.com was embracing bitcoin for payments, it put a venture capital stake in blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) through Medici Ventures, its Salt Lake City-based subsidiary created for just that purpose.

It's 1999, and in this IT department the big crisis isn't Y2k, says a pilot fish there -- it's the Melissa virus.

"We were infected, and we were all called into the Emergency Operations Center to devise a strategy to determine the extent of infection and how to mitigate the effects," fish says.

"The server admins were coming up with methods to clean up any servers that were affected. The desktop group was trying to figure out how many desktops were infected. We in the network group were trying to come up with a way to block traffic from the virus, both inbound and outbound, at the firewalls.

"Everything was moving as well as could be expected, but we had to give an update to senior leadership on progress.

Most email can either be secure or easy to use. You can have one but not both.

That'-™s why people are so excited about a new feature in Google'-™s Gmail. It'-™s called Confidential Mode, and it'-™s an easy way to make email more private.

Confidential Mode lets you add an '-'expiration date'-" to emails. Once that date arrives, the email is no longer viewable by the recipient.

Messages marked as Confidential can'-™t be copied, forwarded, printed or downloaded.

And you can revoke access at any time.

Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast. There are a lot of '-'gotchas'-" in the new Confidential Mode that you need to know about.

Microsoft's new move to put PR groups inside its operating divisions is paying off. We're now seeing the worst news shuffled out the door on Friday nights. This week's instance addresses a years-long fight by afflicted Surface Pro 4 users to get Microsoft to admit it has a problem, and to provide redress.

Flickergate, you may recall, involves the propensity of some Surface Pro 4 machines to flicker violently. You can see the shake '-” dating to March 6, 2016, mind you '-” in a YouTube video posted by Dmitriy1986.

I've written about the flicker, and Microsoft's abhorrent treatment of its customers, on April 4, 2017, Aug. 1, 2017, Nov. 13, 2017, Feb. 7, 2018, and Mar. 21, 2018.

Travel light(ly)
competition business speed laptop sprint determin leader

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Wouldn'-™t it be nice to work '-" while traveling z- without carrying so much stuff? I dream about darting through security in my socks, wheeling one spinner case right onto the plane with just a smartphone in my pocket. I also worry that I will I fail at my job when I arrive.

Once upon a time '-" dating back to the first '-'Concept'-" macro virus in Word '-" the Office folks were wary of new features that had possible security implications. But in the past few weeks, we'-™ve been introduced to two new features that have '-'Kick Me'-" written all over them.

First, JavaScript in Excel. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Last December, Microsoft published a Dev Center article that talked about using the new Excel JavaScript API to create add-ins for Excel 2016.

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 ).

As Win10 version 1803 rattles through the unpaid beta-testing phase, it'-™s snagged another victim '-” Intel'-™s aging SSD6 solid-state drives. Both Microsoft and Intel now admit that running Win10 version 1803 on Intel 600p or Pro 6000p is a recipe for disaster.

Some Surface Pro (2017) models ship with '-'bad'-" Intel SSD Pro 6000p drives. Customers are complaining about freezes with Win10 version 1803 '-” and the Microsoft support folks don'-™t have a clue what'-™s causing the problem. Now we know.

Here'-™s how the drama unfolded.

Win10 version 1803 has been in beta testing for centuries, in internet time. The '-'final'-" version, build 17134.1, entered the Windows Insider Fast ring almost a month ago, on April 16. In a jumble of mixed-up build numbers, Win10 version 1803 has been officially pushed since April 30. Why did it take so long to figure out that the 600p and Pro 6000p cause problems?

Mozilla this week released Firefox 60 for Windows, macOS and Linux, enabling a previously-only-tested policy engine so IT admins can manage the browser within the enterprise.

Firefox, which can be downloaded from here, updates in the background, so most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose "About Firefox." The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or details the updating process.

News Apple may work with Goldman Sachs to launch credit services via Apple Pay shouldn'-™t surprise anyone '-” technology is transforming the entire financial system as your iPhone becomes more than a wallet.

It'-™s becoming increasingly clear to me that the market is getting ready to pivot to the next big computing experience. I'-™m convinced we don'-™t need two or three separate computing devices that increasingly do the same things.

PCs, smartphones and tablets all can be used for games, productivity applications and communications. At the same time, we'-™re increasingly getting into trouble using our smartphones inappropriately, which has resulted in laws restricting their use while doing other things '-" like driving. " " 

It'-™s getting closer to a time when we'-™ll move to a converged solution that will both do all we do on our smartphones, PCs and tablets, and allow us to use the technology more safely. I was at Microsoft Build this month [disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author], and I'-™m increasingly convinced their HoloLens could evolve into this converged platform replacement for our personal technology needs.

Microsoft has given customers all kinds of reasons for why the faster release pace of Windows 10 is a great idea, from keeping pace as technology change accelerates to staying ahead of hackers by constantly improving security.

What it's never spelled out is how much the rapid releases would cost users.

In a recent report, Gartner Research put numbers to those costs, and concluded - spoiler alert! - that Microsoft's twice-annual feature updates were a greater burden on enterprises than the once-traditional upgrade-every-six-years tempo that businesses managed until 2015.

The report described a tool Gartner offered to clients, the "Windows 10 Feature Update Cost Model," which lets enterprises estimate costs for tackling one or two such updates each year. The goal of the tool: to "model and plan your cost and labor requirements" for those transitions.

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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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