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 CTO.org - News Archive - June 6, 2018
More seniors and low-income households are accessing the internet lifeline.

The latest update to the Fitbit app allows users to respond to texts and track female health information. Here's who gets these features.

Curation is hard, so Valve won't do it anymore.

The Mercedes-Benz Collection gives members access to some of the best Benzes in the fleet, as long as they're willing to pony up the monthly fee.

They beam sound that only you can hear.

The star system is our next-door neighbor in the galaxy. New data shows it might be hospitable, too.

Consumers are no longer restricted to traditional car buying and leasing methods. Here'-™s our guide to find out if a car subscription service is right for you.

Watch it live here: Sunday, June 10: 1:00 p.m. PT, 4:00 p.m. ET.

A report details new capabilities and devices targeted by the VPNFilter malware.

Longer, wider, taller and equipped with far more tech that before, the new X5 goes on sale in November 2018.

Online stars build millions of followers by opening up their lives, including relationships, to fans. But sometimes when the romance ends, a nightmare begins.

Comcast tells CNET it's mostly fixed, but some small businesses still say the phones are down.

They still need you a little hooked.

The Wasteland may finally be going online. And it comes with a great cover of Country Roads.

The Black Hornet drones will support squad-level surveillance.

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Once upon a time, making a choice about how you updated Windows was easy: Let Microsoft decide. The company had a release cycle, and you went along for the ride.(Insider Story)


Progression of macOS
The Evolution of Mac OS X [cover]

Image by Computerworld

Fifteen years ago, on March 24, 2001, Apple released the first version of its Mac OS X operating system, noteworthy for its UNIX architecture.


The evolution of iOS
The Evolution of iOS [cover]

Image by Computerworld

Just as a computer would be useless without an operating system, so would a phone. In 2007, Apple changed the game with the introduction of its smartphone and first-ever mobile operating system.


Installing a pre-release version of your web browser promises at least two distinct thrills. The first one: You get to test new features sometimes months before mainstream users see them. How cool is that?

The second thrill comes from taking a risk. Installing pre-release software can cause data loss (perhaps even hair loss), excess battery drain on portables and other aggravations. As Google puts it on its Chrome Canary download page, it'-™s '-'not for the faint of heart.'-"

But let'-™s assume you'-™re up for the challenge and eager to see what'-™s next for your browser. Here'-™s what you need to know about pre-release versions of Chrome, Safari Technical Preview, Firefox and Edge.


So, which is it? Dark Mode in macOS Mojave? More organized notifications in iOS 12? Privacy improvements in Safari? Or perhaps some of the new fitness and health features coming in watchOS 5?

ios12 logo Apple

In the aftermath of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, our trio of Apple experts '-" Macworld's Michael Simon, freelancer Michael DeAgonia and Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis '-" had a tough time deciding which of the various changes were the big news.


A kind of sanity returned to Windows' status in May as the outgoing Windows 7 finally dropped some significant user share while Windows 10 padded its tally.

According to U.S.-based analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 7 sloughed off 1.8 percentage points last month, accounting for 41.8% of the user share of all personal computers and 47.3% of all those running Windows in May. (The second number is larger than the first because Windows powered 88.4% of all PCs, not 100%.)

May's decline was the largest in nearly two years, excepting a late-2017 reset when Net Applications purged its data of criminal bot traffic.

The change from past months was dramatic: In both March and April, Windows 7 gained ground, exactly the opposite of what Microsoft wants to see as it pushes customers to adopt Windows 10 and rid themselves of the older Windows 7.


When Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) released a prototype sensor for allowing smartphones to smell, it didn't merely replicate what a human nose can do. Once deployed, the phone will be able to detect aromas far more precisely than human noses. What is the enterprise IT potential here? Quite a bit.

Let's start with a few dangers. When employees smell smoke, electrical burning or a gas leak, companies lose valuable time trying to find the source, especially if the smell is coming from behind a wall. That's mostly because human noses are fine '-” to varying degrees, changing from person to person '-” at detecting smells, but the nose can quickly become accustomed to the smell. A smell-equipped phone, however, could indicate that the smell's concentration at this instant is x parts per million and that the" concentration increases when moving north and decreases when moving south. That alone could potentially save lives.


This soon-to-be-wed pilot fish has anything but IT on his mind -- he and his fiancee are spending a long weekend at a combined bachelor/bachelorette party at a casino.

"All our friends know each other, so it's easier to have it together," fish says. "Monday afternoon comes, we're heading home with the party, and I get a call from my manager asking me to come into work.

"I let him know that I'll get there as soon as we drop everyone off. By the time that's done it's 4 p.m., and I'm told they still desperately need me in the office."

And when fish walks into his office, he sees why: His co-worker Barney is sitting surrounded by piles of laptops, and users are steadily coming in to drop off even more laptops.


Mozilla's Firefox landed on a slippery slope last month and may face a slow demise as users desert the browser for Google's Chrome.

According to California-based analytics vendor Net Applications, Firefox lost a quarter of a percentage point of user share in May, ending the month at 9.9%. It was the first time Firefox has fallen below the 10% marker since November 2016.

Net Applications calculates user share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers people use to visit its clients' websites. It then tallies the visitor sessions - which are effectively visits to the site, with multiple sessions possible daily - rather than count only users, as it once did. Net Applications thus measures activity most of all, although differently than rival metrics sources that focus on page views.


Well, gang, it's official: Cross-platform convergence is now both magical and revolutionary.

Apple, in case you haven't heard, is taking a serious step toward bringing its mobile and desktop platforms together: At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference adjective-shouting extravaganza this week, the company announced a plan to let developers bring iOS apps onto MacOS starting next year. So, yes: That means the Apple faithful will soon be able to run iPhone-like software on their regular ol' keyboard-packin' computers.

Pretty spiffy idea, right? Mobile software, on the desktop! Just think of the possibilities. But wait: Why does something about this seem so eerily familiar?


Apple'-™s tvOS 12" got some attention during the WWDC keynote, but the story that doesn'-™t seem to have broken the surface is that Apple'-™s slow and gradual plan to become a key platform provider in the television space is breaking new ground.

TV: Unwired

Apple announced two significant items that show its ambition to replace the cable TV box is slowly bearing fruit:


Blockchain development already tops some lists of the hottest skills in the IT job market, and thousands of blockchain jobs in the U.S. are now up for grabs.

But what kind of blockchain jobs are companies posting, and how good is the pay?

About 23% of larger enterprises are now actively working on Blockchain apps and they will typically hire a project manager, one or two application designers, and two to four developers '-" all with prior blockchain experience, according to Janco Associates, a management consulting firm that conducts regular salary surveys.


Database admin pilot fish knows this company's systems inside and out after 20 years with them, and he's a bit annoyed when his boss brings in a consultant for the latest project.

"I suspect there's an unspoken practice of discrimination against me due to my age," fish says. "I don't claim to know everything, but I know enough to have kept things running without incident during my time here, and when I'm stuck I know who to reach out to.

"Recently my manager requested a meeting with me, the consultant and other managers to discuss my proposal for the project, which included the liberal use of stored procedures on the SQL Server.

"The consultant shook his head and loudly said that we needed to start using CLR in SQL Server, and that it would be easy to use: Just write the procedure offline, compile it and then integrate it into SQL Server. So simple!


It'-™s been 20 years since the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 state attorneys general sued Microsoft for violating federal antitrust laws. The government argued that Microsoft illegally protected its Windows monopoly and used it to try to kill competitors to Internet Explorer, notably Netscape. The suit also charged that the company used its operating system muscle to target Apple, Lotus Software, RealNetworks, Linux and others.

In late 1999, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled against Microsoft. A lot has changed since then, but how much of that change is due to that landmark ruling?

Before the suit, Microsoft was the world'-™s most influential technology company, with Windows essentially a monopoly in operating systems, Microsoft Office a monopoly in productivity suites and Internet Explorer a top browser.


Microsoft launched Teams last year as its own take on the booming market for group messaging apps led by Slack and now also fought over by Google, Facebook and Cisco, to name but a few.

As with all team chat tools, the core aim of Microsoft Teams is to connect staff and enhance productivity, providing an alternative to '-" or even replacing '-" email. Microsoft describes it as a '-'digital translation of an open office space.'-" That'-™s how a company spokesperson described the software.

[ Related: Cortana explained: How to use Microsoft's virtual assistant for business ]


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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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