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 CTO.org - News Archive - August 3, 2018
Commentary: Fortnite gives Google the middle finger, but both are failing us to some degree.

A MoviePass price history from $50 a month to $10 and beyond.

The crew over at Road & Track managed to convince Tesla to let them have a day of lapping out at Lime Rock Park and we're a little jealous.

We gathered up a bunch of Comic Con 2018 goodies to give to one of our beloved followers. Giveaway ends Aug. 5, 2018.

Both sides of Congress want to know why Google might launch a new censored search engine.

It will still mail you a game disc, though.

The social network is making another tweak to its design.

The conspiracy theory that's captivated far-right social media, explained.

It seems your annoying aunt doesn't have to know about your dating life after all.

The move comes in response to a report revealed that neo-Nazi and white supremacist products are sold on Amazon.

You can even spin it.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney explains to CNET how he's trying to minimize the security risk.

The former NFL star's name was removed along with profanities, a racial slur and sexual references.

Meet the nine astronauts who will fly on the first crewed launches from the US since 2011.

Yes, Starbucks wants a piece of the cryptocurrency action -- but you'll need dollars to pay for that Frappuccino.

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No doubt you recall patching guru Susan Bradley'-™s open letter to Microsoft brass, summarizing the results of her Windows update survey. The results were quite damning in many ways, with complaints about the quality and frequency of patches topping the list.

Microsoft has responded to the open letter in a rather roundabout way. Two days after Computerworld posted the open letter, Bradley received an email that says:


It'-™s Friday. You're a few hours away from your weekend and you probably have a lot to get through, so here'-™s a small collection of tips that should help you get things done a little faster.

Command-Space

I repeat this in every collection because it'-™s so useful: Tap Command-Space" whenever you want to find something on your Mac. Tap Command-Space" whenever you want to get a currency conversion or a quick sum. Tap Command-Space" to open an application. Tap it, and then start typing the item, currency, sum or application name. You should see it appear in the Spotlight search window you just opened. Select it" (if it isn'-™t already selected) and hit Return" (or take a note of the answer to your question which you should see in the bar). Simple. Fast. Effective.


This data center is run by a tech who thinks very highly of himself -- and isn't afraid to make sure everyone else knows about the wonder that he is, reports a pilot fish on the receiving end.

"He made it clear at every opportunity how he did things better than everyone else, including his vendors like me and my organization," fish says.

"I happened to be in the neighborhood one day when the call came in that this customer had a problem, and we better respond -- or else."

When fish arrives, it quickly becomes evident that the crisis is due to an operator error: setting the wrong system date after some routine maintenance.

That's not good, since it's a time-critical business. But fish knows it shouldn't be a big deal to fix -- just restore some data from a backup, right?


Microsoft's and Mozilla's browsers fell to new lows in July as users continued to switch to Google's behemoth, Chrome, which again looks unstoppable.

According to California-based analytics vendor Net Applications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge dropped to a combined user share of 15.4% last month, down a whopping 3.8 percentage points from June. Meanwhile, Mozilla's Firefox cast off a much smaller two-tenths of a percentage point, recording a user share of 9.7%. Microsoft's July number was a record low in Computerworld's tracking of browser data, which began in 2005. Firefox's figure was its smallest user share since February 2006, when it was fighting for the scraps left by the then-dominant IE.


One of my favorite Android shortcuts is the Nougat-introduced ability to snap between apps. Much like Alt-Tab for Windows, you simply double-tap your device's Overview key, and bam: You're zapped back and forth between your two most recently used processes in the blink of an eye.

It's one of Android's most useful hidden features '-” but with the soon-to-be-released Android P update, it's a whole new ballgame. Thanks to P's new gesture navigation system, the Overview key is no more. So instead of having the handy ol' double-tap-to-snap shortcut, you get a new flick-the-Home-button-to-the-right equivalent.


'-'In the railway industry, businesses around the world are using iPhone and iPad to support operations, training, passenger engagement, and maintenance activities,'-" said Apple's chief financial officer (CFO), Luca Maestri, during the company's Q318 financial call. I thought I'-™d find out more.

iOS on the rails

Where are these railways?

Everywhere.

In the U.S., U.K., Japan, Hong Kong and beyond, railway operators are using iOS.

Railways aren'-™t unique, of course. Apple has become an HR issue for enterprise employers, 81 percent of which who plan to purchase a smartphone in the next few months will buy iPhones, according to 451 Research.


Your smartphone is a powerful computer in your pocket '-” and with Android, part of that PC-like muscle means being able to plug your phone into any Windows or Mac system and drag and drop files either way.

Unlike iPhones, Android devices allow you to access their file systems directly from a desktop, without the need for any cumbersome interfaces or complicated procedures. In fact, transferring files to or from an Android device is basically no different than plugging an external hard drive into your computer and moving data to or from it.

All you need is your phone, your computer and a cable to connect 'em '-” with micro-USB or USB-C on the phone side and USB-A or USB-C on the computer side, depending on the specifics of your devices. (Most newer high-end Android phones use USB-C, whereas most pre-2016 devices and many current budget-level phones have the older micro-USB standard. USB-A, meanwhile, is the traditional connector port you're used to seeing on computers, while some newer models like Apple's latest MacBooks have USB-C.) There's a decent chance that the same cable that connects your phone to its wall charger will work.


Windows 10 posted its third strong month of growth in a row in July, putting it on track to overtake the veteran Windows 7 by November.

According to California-based analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10 added nine-tenths of a percentage point in July, posting a user share of 36.6% of all personal computers and 41.4% of those running Windows. (The second number is always larger than the first because Windows never powers 100% of all PCs; in July, it ran 88.4% of the world's systems.)

July's increase was the third consecutive month that Windows 10 added close to a percentage point of user share. Over the May-July stretch, Windows 10 gained 2.8 points. That was the largest three-month increase since the November 2017-January 2018 period, when the OS grew by 5 points.


This support pilot fish divides users into two groups. "There are those who can help me diagnose a problem, and those who lead me down a rat hole if I believe anything they say," says fish.

"I frequently ask test questions to gauge the type of user they are."

Case in point: a newly hired marketing writer who calls fish to ask about her home PC. She's not supposed to do that, but fish figures he'll try to help with a little triage anyway.

User: "I got a wireless mouse, and now the monitor won't work when I start up my computer."

Fish: "Are the cables plugged firmly into the computer and monitor?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "Are the power cords plugged into a multiple outlet strip?"


As the purveyors of streaming video, online games, and social media networks, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) must deliver massive volumes of data to consumers. Typically, data is stored as close to the end user as possible, reducing traffic over ISP backbones and improving the user'-™s experience.

Yet for CDNs to meet today'-™s ever-increasing demand for high-definition content, they require high-speed, reliable, and affordable data storage. That'-™s not always easy.

By leveraging solid-state drive (SSD) performance, CDNs can improve throughput and response times, reduce power consumption, and deliver better reliability than hard drive-based systems. But SSD can be cost-prohibitive for CDNs with hundreds '-" or even thousands '-" of cache servers deployed all over the world.


Frustrated with slow processing rates, many organizations are looking to switch from hard disk drive (HDD) storage devices to solid-state drive (SSD) technology. But questions of SSD capacity and cost have hampered widespread adoption.

That'-™s changing as new SSD solutions deliver superior performance and greater total cost of ownership. Long gone are the days when organizations measured affordability in dollars per gigabyte. New metrics, from cooling costs to energy consumption, are highlighting SDD'-™s status as the better bet over the service life of a hard drive.

Here'-™s a breakdown of how SSD can provide a superior TOC over a five-year lifespan:


Microsoft last week reshaped its portfolio of Windows 10 subscriptions for enterprises, but deferred discussing what, if any, price increases it will levy before October 1.

Along with announcements that it will raise prices on perpetual licenses of Office 2019 and Windows Server 2019, and the associated CALs (client access licenses), Microsoft also revamped its Windows 10 Enterprise subscription offerings.

Changes to Windows 10 Enterprise were spelled out in some detail, even though new pricing was not disclosed. "For Windows, we're taking steps to recalibrate the price and rename the per device/per user offers, optimizing on our strategy of Microsoft 365," Microsoft wrote in an FAQ.


Whether you'-™re a veteran Cloud professional with numerous IT certifications, or you'-™ve just started your career after earning an A+, it'-™s always in your best interest to stay up-to-date with the fundamentals. The Complete 2018 CompTIA Certification Training Bundle includes 12 courses covering several CompTIA exams, so you can stay sharp and potentially add another notch to your belt of IT certifications. It's available on sale today for $59.


Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803) started to roll out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 5 and due to be released this autumn. As it did with the April 2018 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 5, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release, a summary of what'-™s in the build and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it. After that you'-™ll find summaries of all the preview builds that led up to the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Redstone 4), the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3) and the Windows 10 Creators Update (Redstone 2).


Last week I was hanging out with a bunch of engineers and it was a fun trip that I can'-™t yet talk about. However, one discussion jumped out at me because it was so orthogonal to how we think of two of the component vendors in the workstation space. We typically think of AMD and NVIDIA (disclosure: both AMD and NVIDIA are clients of the author) and that they are likely pounding on and bad mouthing each other every chance they get." 

Apparently, that isn'-™t the always the case, when it comes to cooperation on a workstation solution they both seem to agree that a blended AMD/NVIDIA solution is best and the engineers at the event seemed to agree that the hottest workstation you can buy right now has a Threadripper processor and an NVIDIA graphics card. This is anything but a cheap date but given the shortage of engineers and that performance allows fewer engineers to do more work, this configuration is very at the moment. But the two leading workstation vendors, Dell and HP (disclosure: both Dell and HP are clients of the author) don'-™t make one of these providing a huge opportunity for the second tier to move up, or for one of these two to steal a march on the other. It also suggests that the most powerful workstation (depending on load) in Dell likely comes from Alienware.


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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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