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 CTO.org - News Archive - January 6, 2019
Water you up to, besides photobombing every celeb's red-carpet moment?

Expect more OLED and 8K TVs, home audio products, Bluetooth speakers and more.

Nuheara, which bills itself as a smart-hearing company, promises a smarter and better sounding set of totally wireless earphones.

Talking to your shower will be easier than ever.

The company's new kids iPad case has flexible hooked arms (or are they legs?).

This nightlight, launched at CES 2019, changes colors, senses motion, listens for smoke alarms and reassures you that everyone is OK.

The motion-sensing smart lock features a built-in camera -- but can the rechargeable batteries keep up?

A second, downward-facing camera lets you see if there's a package waiting for you at your doorstep.

The analog watch with electrocardiogram is a third of the price of an Apple Watch S4.

At CES 2019, Jabra is entering the crowded market for premium wireless noise-canceling headphones with the $299 Elite 85h, which has some high-tech features, including hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant support.

The infrared Volo Go battery-powered hairdryer claims to dry hair fast.

At CES 2019, First Alert announces its Onelink Bell smart doorbell system.

Moona's water pump and pillow pad regulates your temperature as you sleep.

Monitor a family member's routine remotely with Hive Link.

At long last! Foldimate says it has a working version of its laundry-folding robot.

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Tech Events

This year, there are a lot of moving parts regarding personal technology. First, we have the foldable screens coming to smartphones, which will likely migrate to other devices. Second, we are due for a major refresh on existing AR and VR technology, bringing both closer to the mainstream. Third, we have 5G ramping up shifting performance loads from the devices to the cloud. Fourth, we have deep learning replacing machine learning as the primary way we build AI. Fifth, we have the Apple watch, which, in its ultimate configuration, is basically a wrist-mounted smartphone. And finally, we have the disruptions associated with a weakening of Apple and Intel, opening the door for more innovation and some major changes in the existing technology power structure.

Apple wants to make it harder for its customers to use cheap USB-C cables '-” and it'-™s for your own good.

The risks of USB-C cables

Cables are complicated, and that'-™s why friends don'-™t let friends connect cut-price or otherwise unverified USB-C cables to their systems '-” and soon, you won'-™t be able to.

Apple has warned its users to avoid using low-quality equipment for years. It was only in 2016 that it was revealed that hundreds of chargers at that time sold on Amazon and advertised as being made by Apple were in fact dangerous fakes.

This pilot fish is an IT team lead, and most of his software developers are fine -- but then there's Fred.

"He had been a mechanic, and had no real computer training," says fish. "He took a one-week programming class, and then somehow convinced an IT manager that he was a programmer and was hired.

"I had the honor of being Fred's lead. He knew nothing. Once, when he was having a problem, I told him to copy several lines of code into his program without changing any of them. When he came back and said that it still wasn't working, I found he had totally rewritten it into gibberish.

"When the project was about to be delivered to the testers, his code still wasn't working. Over the next week, I totally rewrote his code. At least he thanked me.

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) started to roll out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, due to be released next spring. As it did with the October 2018 Update, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.

After years of using "Redstone" in its code names, Microsoft is changing it up with the next release, which is code-named "19H1" (for 2019, first half) rather than "Redstone 6." What follows is a list of every preview build of Windows 10 19H1 that has been rolled out to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring, 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.

Once upon a time, in a world not so far away, accessing a computer remotely required all sorts of costly, complicated software and technical know-how.

These days, it's a different story. Google's free Chrome Remote Desktop service makes it dead-simple to get on any computer '-” Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS '-” from practically any other desktop or mobile device. You can access all of the remote system's contents and even click around as if you were sitting right in front of it.

Chrome Remote Desktop can be useful for signing into your own personal or work computer from afar, and it can be equally valuable for peeking in on someone else's system '-” be it your co-worker's or your mother's '-” to provide hands-on help without having to be in the same location.

Chrome users have laid into Google after the search giant scrubbed an option that let them restore an earlier user interface (UI), saying that the new look was "untenable" and "ugly," and "would burn the eyes."

The brouhaha, which has packed complaints into venues like Chrome's official support forum, Twitter and Reddit, grew in volume and vitriol throughout December, after Google upgraded the browser to version 71.

Although Google revamped Chrome's UI with version 69 - released in September to mark the browser's 10th anniversary - users were able to punt that look-and-feel for the prior by setting an option in the panel that showed after typing chrome://flags into the address bar. The option was labeled "UI Layout for the browser's top chrome;" switching from "Default" to "Normal" and restarting the browser restored the older UI.

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 ).

In retrospect, Apple'-™s warning of softer-than anticipated iPhone sales is entirely predictable as trade wars, political, and civil insecurity and tribalism deepen their grip across societies that really should know better.

Tough times

Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a statement to explain the miss. You'-™ll have seen it dissected everywhere (though few point the finger at the real culprit).

IT support pilot fish takes a call to help a user change a password on a webpage form -- and it reminds fish of just how much help-desk techs love password resets.

"I spent 25 minutes talking to him," fish groans. "There were only two buttons to press, Submit and Reset.

"You'-™d think that after pressing Reset three times and having it erase the passwords he typed in, he would try Submit -- right?

"But no -- our customer tried a fourth and then a fifth time, until he got the idea to hit the other button.

"This person was by all accounts a functional, employed adult..."

Sharky needs a new year's worth of stories of users, management and IT gone off the rails. So send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Businesses are finding a wide variety of applications for augmented reality and virtual reality tools, from training to rapid prototyping to enhancing marketing materials. Add that demand to consumer interest in the technologies for entertainment, gaming, retail showcasing, and more, and it'-™s not surprising that IDC has predicted that the overall AR and VR headset market is set to grow from 8.9 million units in 2018 to 65.9 million units by 2022.(Insider Story)

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).

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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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