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 CTO.org - News Archive - January 2, 2019
The German government is relaxing its approvals process for exhaust systems meant to clean up old diesels, but carmakers aren't sold on the idea.

The sensor allows you to control your gadgets and device features with hand gestures.

Talk about a rerun. A controversial poster that first surfaced in a November tweet was visible on a Cabinet Room table.

The CEO aims to focus more on developing AI.

There are a few reasons why prices are going up.

Nvidia is looking to shake up the gaming laptop scene with powerful new GPUs, while other PCs pitch added privacy.

Apple says the biggest hit came from China.

Fifty years after Neil Armstrong's historic step, robots from China, India, Israel, the US and elsewhere are heading back.

This may seem like an oddball thing for Honda to do, but remember how much money it spent developing Asimo?

The agency's 5G wireless spectrum auction is still a go, but forget about filing a consumer complaint.

The incentives will disappear completely in April 2020.

You don'-™t have to adjust your screen, just your security settings.

The Kuiper Belt object is a fetching shade of red.

But please don't murder anybody, the Star Wars and Batman star pleads.

A dashboard made almost entirely of screens wasn't enough for Byton. Now it's adding one to your steering wheel.

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What do IT workers want? Fair paychecks, challenging work and ample opportunities for growth, for starters. Our annual listing showcases the organizations that excel at keeping their employees engaged and loyal with compensation, training and access to hot technologies. The report is published every June.

Nominations are now closed for the 2019 Best Places to Work in IT list. Our special report announcing the honorees will be published in June 2019.

The 2018 Best Places to Work in IT list, our 25th annual report, was published on June 18, 2018.

By the time Microsoft manages to refit its Edge browser with Chrome's engines, there might not be much of an Edge there.

Microsoft's browsers - Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge - jettisoned the most user share in over a year last month, falling to a record low. Meanwhile, Edge's share of all Windows 10 PCs, a metric Computerworld views as the most accurate reflection of user acceptance, also dropped to a new low.

According to web analytics company Net Applications, IE's and Edge's combined share plunged by 1.5 percentage points to end 2018 at 12.4%. The decline was the largest since September 2017, excepting a larger share sell-off two months later when Net Applications purged its data of fraudsters' bots. Most of the drop-off was due to users fleeing IE; the obsolete browser lost 1.3 percentage points all by itself, slumping to 8.3 percentage points. Edge shed slightly more than one-tenth of a point, more-or-less tying its former record low, first set in September 2018.

CES 2019 is coming to Las Vegas next week and from the pre-briefings I am taking, what I am learning is that it may be time for a name change. Instead of calling the show CES 2019, I think it should be called CES 5G 2019. The reason is simple. So much of the innovation and enhancements to the products and services at the show depend on 5G wireless networks, smartphones and other mobile gear going forward.

Wireless is becoming the heartbeat at the center of the massive consumer electronics industry. This is incredible to think about. Just ten years ago, 3G wireless played a smaller role at the CES shows.

5G Wireless will play a growing role in every other industry

Fast-forward to today and we can see how wireless is playing a crucial role in a growing number of consumer electronics technologies and companies. And that is rapidly growing.

There was a time when Apple defined the future direction of the entire tech industry for the next 12 months when its annual January Macworld Expo event set the scene.

Even the first iPhone was announced Jan. 9, 2007.

What this meant

The January event meant Apple commanded the attention of every tech media and industry thought leader at the beginning of each year.

Airports across the planet were filled with people making their quarterly journey to an Apple keynote (others took place in New York, France and Tokyo, with a fifth event WWDC in June).

Nearly three and a half years after its release, Windows 10 last month surpassed its enterprise predecessor, Windows 7, as the most popular operating system on the planet.

According to analytics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10 jumped by 1.1 percentage points in user share in December, climbing to 39.2% of all personal computers and 45.5% of all PCs running Windows. (The second number is larger than the first because Windows does not power all PCs; in December, Windows ran 86% of the world's systems. Most of the remainder ran macOS, Linux or Chrome OS, in decreasing order.)

Meanwhile, Windows 7 lost 2 percentage points last month, four times the loss of November and the largest one-month decline in over a year. Windows 7 ended 2018 on 36.9% of all personal computers and on 42.8% of all Windows PCs.

Imagine a company that can verify the background of a new employee and onboard them with the click of a single virtual button, or a banking customer who can verify their identity for a loan without exposing personally identifiable information '-" again with a click of a button.

That's the potential blockchain holds for decentralized identity management. It's done " by creating a digital wallet that serves as a repository for all kinds of personal and financial data, info that can only be shared after a specific request and only with the permission of the owner.

Blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) '-" in combination with digital identity verification '-" holds the potential to solve online privacy issues that plague everything from consumer sales and bank know-your-customer regulations to employee credentials that allow access to confidential business systems.

Medical rehab facility is facing a compliance deadline for HIPAA privacy regulations, and that could be a problem, says a cybersecurity pilot fish working there.

"The HIPAA regulations are strewn with potential issues," fish says. "When some aspect isn't followed and a patient's data privacy is compromised, the fines can be substantial."

And that's the headache fish faces because of his facility's use of Gmail. As the site's cybersecurity engineer, fish knows that ordinary Gmail isn't HIPAA compliant.

Fortunately, there's a fix -- one that involves additional paperwork and agreements, along with some added security verification. But that's still easier and less complex than moving everyone off Gmail.

When it comes to mobile technology, trends mean so much more than any single event.

That's a notion we see reinforced time and time again here in the land o' Android '-” and that's why so much of our focus in this little corner of the internub is on the bigger-picture view of what's going on with Google. By looking at those broader trends, we can get a sense of how the company's strategies are shifting and what those changes suggest about the future of Android and other mobile tech efforts.

We had no shortage of such matters to consider in 2018 '-” and some of the trends we've observed over these past 12 months will almost certainly inform the patterns we'll see over the course of the coming year.

Pilot fish's company gets a new ERP package in early 1999. Implementation team works for nine months and hits the go-live date at the end of November.

A couple weeks into December, fish receives notice that the ERP vendor's tech support will be available over New Year's weekend to provide phone support -- for a premium price. "My company took a pass -- we felt pretty good about our level of Y2K readiness," says fish.

On the first business day of the year, there's a noncritical non-Y2K problem with the ERP package. Fish goes to the vendor's website and tries to create a Support Incident but can't. "I kept getting bounced out to a message stating, 'Incidents may not be created for dates prior to Dec. 1, 1756.' So I went to the phone," he says. "Their phone system was down."

Tech Events

If you think your new iPhone's Face ID facial recognition feature or your bank's fancy new fingerprint scanner will guarantee privacy and block hackers from accessing sensitive personal or financial data, think again.

In the coming year, cyberattacks will zero in on biometric hacking and expose vulnerabilities in touch ID sensors, facial recognition technology and passcodes, according to a new report from credit reporting agency Experian Plc. While biometric data is considered the most secure method of authentication, it can be stolen or altered, and sensors can be manipulated, spoofed or suffer deterioration with too much use.

Even so, as much as 63% of enterprises have implemented or plan to roll out " biometric authentication systems to augment or replace less-secure passwords, Experian said in its report. The push toward biometric systems dates back to the turn of the century in the financial services industry.

This business owner was told years ago that a Microsoft Exchange server was too expensive to maintain for a network his size, reports a pilot fish who now has the business as a client.

"So even in 2018 they were still on POP email, with a copy of each message going to their cell phones," fish says.

"Client had internalized 'Exchange bad,' so there was no real discussion on this topic, even while experiencing really horrible customer service from their current email provider.

"Client received an email on Christmas Eve stating that the provider was shutting down the email server in one week, so my client needed to migrate over to the new server. This involved changing all the settings on both the phones and the PCs, as well as the MX records.

Microsoft's announcement earlier this month that it was dumping its own browser technology for Google's - turning Edge into a Chrome clone - was a stunning acknowledgement that the company had lost its decades-long battle for browser supremacy.

"We intend to adopt the Chromium open-source project ... to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers," Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president in the Windows group, wrote in a Dec. 6 post to a company blog. But while Belfiore blew the open-source horn, he didn't bother to recap how Microsoft reached this point when earlier in the century, it was the dominant browser maker, accounting for more than 90% of all usage after it laid waste to Netscape Navigator.

Your software is lying down on the job, a customer accuses tech support pilot fish.

What do you mean? fish asks.

"The computer starts printing the form, but when it's halfway, it just stops," user says. "If we try to print it again, we get the same result."

Fish quickly exhausts the diagnostics he can do over the phone and makes the long drive out to the site.

On arrival at the office, he notices a big Christmas tree standing near the printer and decked out in lots of lights. He also notices that the cord to the Christmas lights isn't plugged in and remarks on it to the clerk.

"That's right," says clerk. "We don't have enough outlets in this room, so we had to unplug the printer in order to plug in the tree lights. But don't worry -- we've unplugged the lights and plugged the printer back in.

The booming team collaboration market is likely to continue booming in 2019 as companies roll out chat apps more widely across their operations.

With Microsoft leveraging the ubiquity of its Office suite to push Teams, and Slack doubling down on its still-evolving enterprise push, the two leaders in the market are likely to continue to try and one-up each other in the search for new customers. At the same time, a host of other firms, from Facebook to Google, Cisco and more, will continue to build out their own team chat platforms.

IDC, by the way, expects the collaboration market to generate $3.5 billion in revenues in the year ahead, up from $2.9 billion in 2018.

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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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