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 CTO.org - News Archive - October 10, 2018
The 45-year-old media magnate (and son of Rupert Murdoch) is currently a nonexecutive member of Tesla's board.

Men are less likely than women to discuss mental health issues and far more likely to attempt suicide. Can mobile apps help men save their own lives?

The powerful storm now lashing the Florida Panhandle took on a ghoulish look when seen from space.

Lenovo's market share increases, Apple's slides a bit.

A new version of the Razer Phone is imminent.

Themes of immigration, depression and loneliness mark Sona's short binge-watch through space.

Check out our thoughts on Google's new flagship lineup.

Nation-states, corporations and hacktivist groups meddle with elections in the US and around the world.

A complete list of everything on Apple'-™s increasingly deep bench of original programming.

A revamped app is slated to come out early next year, according to CNBC.

The company knew about the security flaw potentially exposing personal data since March but didn't disclose it for more than half a year.

Just where is Apple putting that $1 billion investment in TV programming?

Machine learning might be a novelty for you, but the next generation will grow up with it.

Workers will also get cash rewards for tenure milestones every five years.

It would include stricter enforcement against tech companies who mishandle your data and privacy.

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Facebook has unveiled updates to its Workplace social collaboration app, including the ability to communicate with external organizations using its chat client.

Workplace launched in 2016 following a lengthy beta trial during which it was called Facebook at Work. Its customer base has since grown to more than 30,000 businesses.

At Facebook'-™s first user conference for Workplace '-" Flow '-" the company announced that Workplace Chat, the enterprise equivalent of its consumer-focused Messenger tool, now supports communication between multi-company groups.

Office 365 subscribers always have the latest version of Microsoft Office '-” currently Office 2016. They also get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office 2016 without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they'-™re available. We'-™re doing this for you, so you don'-™t have to.

Following are key updates to Office 365 for Windows since Office 2016 was released in September 2015 '-” all the 2017 updates and the most important ones from 2016 and late 2015, with the latest releases shown first. We'-™ll add info about new updates as they'-™re rolled out.

New phone launches these days are pretty darn consistent. By and large, they're all about the hardware and why this latest model is light years better than the one you saw last year: the snazzier design, the smaller bezels, the sharper display, and so on.

At this week's Pixel 3 launchapalooza, Google took a decidedly different approach. Sure, its presenters glossed over some of those standard hardware high points '-” physical niceties that set the phone apart from its predecessor and give this latest model a reason to exist '-” but the real focus, and the sell for most people, was something far less tangible. Cementing a strategy the company started with its first Pixel two years ago and then refined with last year's second-gen model, Google basically told us: Hey, hardware is fine and all, but everyone's got the same stuff '-” and none of it is especially exciting anymore. Where we're gonna shine is in an area where no one else can compete: software.

There'-™s a well-known bug in the Win7 update installer that can throw error 0x8000FFF unless you pre-install an upgrade to the installer. I wrote about this Servicing Stack Update (SSU) requirement about a month ago.

Three weeks ago, Microsoft promised to fix the problem. Superficially, the problem shouldn'-™t exist anymore. But because of sloppy implementation, the bug'-™s still there, and people are still hitting error 0x8000FFF when they try to install Win7 Monthly Rollups. Fellow columnist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols hit the same problem yesterday.

Everyone who can is looking into using Blockchain, and Apple is no exception, though it will be a long time before we see any consumer-facing implementations of this.

Apple looks at lots of technologies

If it'-™s on the Gartner Hype Cycle, you can bet a few bucks Apple is looking at it.

That'-™s why I think it will eventually introduce a 3D printer that works in conjunction with ARKit (unverified prediction), and also why it must be thinking about how to use blockchain.

In one of the worst Windows rollouts in history '-” at least since Windows 3.1 '-” last week'-™s rollout of Win10 version 1809 left some PCs with empty Documents, Photos and other folders, and it managed to mangle user profiles for others. The net result was mayhem, with Microsoft yanking the 1809 upgrade three days later.

Now, a week after the initial assault, we'-™re told that Microsoft has solved all the problems and has begun a test rollout of the new, improved, latest version of the last version of Windows. The new rollout is only going to the Windows Insider beta-testers who are enrolled in the Slow or Release Preview rings. (It can'-™t go out to the Insider Fast ring because that ring was pushed to 18252.1000, the first round of '-'version 19H1'-" betas, back on Oct. 3.)

Moving toward a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) strategy should be a major corporate goal over the next several years as mobile devices proliferate in the workspace and cloud applications replace legacy, client-based software.(Insider Story)

To help make life better for you, my loyal readers, I suffer by running Windows 7 and 10 on two harmless '-” never hurt anyone in their lives '-” PCs. Well, I did. But, in the last week I ran into not one, but two, showstopper update bugs.

First, on Windows 10, I was one of those '-'lucky'-" people who had files vaporize when I '-'updated'-" to Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809). Because I only use Windows for trivial tasks, I didn'-™t lose anything valuable when the patch decided to erase everything in the My Documents folder.

Somehow, I think most Windows users use Windows for more important work than I do. I hope you have current backups. At least Computerworld'-™s Woody Leonhard has some good news: You can get those deleted files back.

This IT consultant isn't exactly well thought of as a technical professional -- but that doesn't stand in the way of a long and varied career at a big consultancy, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"This consultant did nothing egregious enough to be terminated, but it wasn't often that a client would want to renew them beyond the initial period," fish says.

But the consulting outfit's regional manager doesn't want to terminate the mediocre consultant, who also happens to check off several "protected minority" categories.

Subtle hints aren't effective, and the consultant still gets average pay raises every year because no client will go on record that the consultant is actually a problem. Even bad locations don't seem to bother the consultant.

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 ).

The launch of a big Windows 10 update like the October 2018 Update isn'-™t the end of a process '-” it'-™s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we'-™ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the currently shipping version of Windows 10 '-” version 1809, known as the October 2018 Update '-” with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the October 2018 Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1803, known as the April 2018 Update; 1709, known as the Fall Creators Update; and finally updates to version 1703, known as the Creators Update. For each build, we'-™ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft'-™s announcement about it.

From wired to wireless charging
Apple wireless charging AirPower

Image by Apple

Apple's iPhone X (and XS) models offer a variety of cutting edge features, such as Face ID technology, and they supports native wireless charging '-" just like the iPhone 8 (and a variety of Android devices).

Microsoft today issued the final security updates for Windows 10 Home 1703 and Windows 10 Pro 1703, the feature upgrades that launched 18 months ago.

Microsoft labels its feature upgrades in a yymm format to identify their purported production dates, or when the code was finished. But contrary to the mm part of the ID, the upgrades typically begin rolling out in April and October of each year.

Windows 10 1703 debuted April 5, 2017.

Customers running Windows 10 Enterprise 1703 or Windows 10 Education 1703 will continue to receive operating system patches for another year, with the last update for them scheduled for Oct. 8, 2019. Support for the upper-end SKUs (stock-keeping units) was recently extended by 12 months, from the once-standard 18 months to 30. Starting with Windows 10 Enterprise 1809 - currently in limbo after Microsoft halted distribution because of a flaw that deleted user files - the 30-month support will be awarded only to the xx09 upgrades, or those launched in the fall. But the additional Enterprise/Education support was handed out to all already-released-and-still-supported versions, including 1617, 1703, 1709 and 1803, as a kind of grandfather clause.

Launched at the turn of the century, Rituals Cosmetics now has over 670 stores worldwide. And in 2016, it began its migration to Apple solutions all across its business.

An Apple enterprise

In a move that demonstrates just how rapidly the world of retail is switching to Apple, Rituals' Joost van der Zwaan," IT Infrastructure Architect, told me:

Microsoft has barred access to the latest Windows 10 feature upgrade, told those who did run it to keep their hands off their PCs, and warned people who had manually downloaded the build - but not yet installed it - to discard the disk image.

The primary problem, Microsoft conceded, was that the upgrade - designated 1809 in the firm's numeric format but also dubbed "October 2018 Update" - tended to erase all the files in the Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos folders.

"We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating," the company said in its usual understated fashion, in a support document. "If you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files after an update, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT."

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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.

The daughter's name is Nicarri.

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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