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 CTO.org - News Archive - August 7, 2018
We finally have answers about what really happened following the FCC's allegations of a cyberattack on its commenting system.

The company says it values our privacy.

Deadpool even faces dinos during this pinball adventure.

The Jet Propulsion Lab's DIY Curiosity rover costs billions less than the real thing.

*OK, its friction brakes. The electric SUV's by-wire binders use heavy regen to all but eliminate conventional braking in daily use.

The main character's hidden face will be "an important part" of the upcoming Showtime series, the network says.

Step into another dimension as a super creative Rick and Morty tattoo gets video effects.

Reps from Elon Musk's rocket company, NASA and academia are reportedly gathering in Colorado to discuss getting situated on the Red Planet.

Stainless steel has been a popular choice for kitchen appliances, but these unique finishes are worth a look.

Yes, they were dissolved in Avengers: Infinity War, but did you really think this many great characters were gone forever?

An iOS update in May exposed some of Snap Inc.'s source code.

It's not set in stone just yet, but a new blog post at least helps explain where this idea came from.

Alex Jones's Infowars app is also still available on iOS App Store and Google Play store.

From Cupcake to Pie, Android has acquired many tastes since its launch.

Companies like Tesla have already been hit by the tariffs.

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Microsoft's patching, updating and upgrading of Windows - in particular Windows 10 - is a mess that the company needs to clean up, according to responses to a questionnaire circulated among business IT administrators.

But Microsoft doesn't get that there's a problem. Or if it does, it's not willing to say so. Instead, it touted a set of "guiding principles" for servicing Windows that it has not followed, argued the patch expert who distributed the questionnaire and urged Microsoft's top executives to heed the feedback.

"If Microsoft cannot see that [those who are] in charge of patching [are] now waiting and not immediately sending out updates [to workers], then Microsoft isn't listening to [its] customer base," said Susan Bradley in an email reply to questions. "If Microsoft is not realizing that [its] enterprise customers are having issues with the timing of the feature updates, then Microsoft is not listening to their enterprise customers."

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.

Apple appears to be taking a small step to make it easier for enterprises to upgrade their clapped-out old legacy Windows systems in favour of new Macs.

Easing the Windows pain

The snag for Windows users upgrading to Macs has always been the challenge of bringing all the data across to the new system.

Apple already offers its Windows Migration Assistant to make it easier to migrate, and now it seems it is about to improve this solution when it ships macOS 10.14 Mojave.

The rate at which telecom networks are growing and changing is nothing short of fantastic. It'-™s always risky to embrace a new paradigm, but for network carriers and customers, the risks of waiting could be greater.

Network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networks (SDN) represent a radical departure from the traditional way of building, managing and evolving telecom networks. It'-™s often described as a switch from proprietary boxes to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. While there is a potentially significant cost-savings in making such a switch, cost-savings is not the main driving force. The ability to quickly implement new business models, to deliver applications on demand, and to automatically provision and tear down resources are what make NFV and SDN so potentially disruptive.

Hey! Can you believe it?! After months of awkward puns about the pending "Android P release" (and let's not even get into the "leaks"), we finally have an official name and number for Google's next great Android offering: Android 9, Pie.

Yep '-” just Pie. It's short, it's sweet, and it's a heck of a lot faster to type than certain past Android version names (here's lookin' at you, Ice Cream Sandwich). And it's not just a name and a number, either: Android 9 is fully cooked, out of the oven, and on its way into the world as of this week.

The time has come for the sales team at this financial services company to get new top-of-the-line laptops -- and they're being upgraded 80 at a time, reports an IT pilot fish there.

"Late one night, the guy in charge of the upgrade got a call from Security saying that a break-in had occurred," fish says. "They told him that on the security cameras they saw the thieves making off with a lot of laptops.

"The upgrade project manager arrived at the scene to meet the police -- who were very puzzled when he started laughing.

"Turns out the thieves stole 80 decommissioned laptops with no hard drives, while ignoring the 80 new laptops sitting in boxes beside the decommissioned ones."

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).

From hardware diversity to customization potential, Android offers no shortage of enticing benefits for business users. Out of the box, though, a typical Android phone is anything but optimized for productivity.

Power up most popular phones, and you'll find ineffective home screens, mediocre keyboards and all sorts of untapped potential. But all it takes is a little tweaking to go from unrefined gizmo to finely tuned work companion.

Follow these eight steps, and your Android phone will be primed for productivity and ready for business.

1. Optimize your home screen

One of the simplest and most impactful ways to improve your phone's effectiveness is to focus on its foundation: the home screen. Your home screen is the first thing you see when you unlock your device, and it's the launching point for practically everything you do. Yet for most people, it's a cluttered and inefficient mess '-” and that, suffice it to say, is counterproductive.

The U.S. wireless market quality, reliability, speed and customer satisfaction are better and stronger than ever according to three studies by J.D. Power, OpenSignal and Ookla. These factors used to be very important for customers in their choice of carrier. Today, carriers generally offer excellent quality from coast to coast. No one carrier is best in every area however. Let'-™s look the best way for you to choose the right carrier for you.

Twenty-years ago there were dozens of smaller wireless carriers. Today, there are fewer, larger national carriers. They have all improved, year after year. Back then, quality was not consistent, but the choice was simpler. Smartphones were not yet the rage, so the choice was for voice only. Each carrier would have cities with great quality and other cities with lousy quality.

Apple chipmaker TSMC suffered a serious WannaCry-related ransomware infection that closed down production at some of its factories. The incident should be a wake-up call for manufacturers across every industry.

Manufacturing is under attack

TSMC has said the incident was not the result of a direct attack. Instead it says its systems were exposed to the malware '-'when a supplier installed tainted software without a virus scan.'-"

The malware spread fast and impacted some of the company'-™s most advanced facilities used to build Apple'-™s A-series chips.

While the financial services and shipping industries have been quick to deploy blockchain, the healthcare industry could soon follow their lead as it looks to increase efficiency and security, reduce costs and expand services with the distributed ledger technology.

It's the early 1980s, and the corporate department where this pilot fish works decides to replace its aging minicomputers with the hottest thing in departmental IT: the IBM System/38.

"But the budget wouldn't support a brand new one, so we bought a used system from a Japanese company," says fish. "Several people in other departments were heard to jokingly wonder if the new system would speak Japanese.

"It was shipped over to us and then sat without power in the computer room for several months while the rest of the project -- terminals, twinax cables, modems, software and user training -- slowly ground forward.

Once upon a time, Microsoft symbolized all that was wrong with the tech world: greedy, monopolistic, single-mindedly focused on profits while caring little about the public good. In the heyday of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, the company ran roughshod over competitors in its attempt to corral the worldwide market for both operating systems and application software.

But today, Microsoft has embraced the role of the tech world'-™s better angel. And as events show in recent weeks, that'-™s not hype. The company has, to some extent, tried to act as the industry'-™s conscience as well as taking actions for the greater good.

One case in point: Microsoft'-™s recent revelation that it had uncovered evidence that the Russian government had targeted three congressional campaigns in the upcoming midterm elections '-” and that it had helped thwart the plot. Microsoft discovered the attempts as part of its long-running battle against the Russian government'-"backed hacking cyber-espionage group called Fancy Bear. Microsoft, which has been playing whack-a-mole with the group for well over a year, targets the command-and-control servers that control malware that Fancy Bear plants on victims'-™ computers, as well as associated websites that install malware on targets'-™ computers when the victims visit them as a result of a spearphishing attack.

A huge gulf exists between what businesses know about voice-enabled technologies, and what they do about it.

To illustrate that fact, Globant surveyed more than 600 senior decision makers and found that while huge majority of respondents see big benefits to voice technology, only 31% use it daily at work.

It's no secret that voice technology is valuable. Just look at the consumer smart speaker market. More than 43 million Americans now own one. Many of the people who will eventually use voice technology at work are already using it every day at home.

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:

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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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