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 CTO.org - News Archive - January 7, 2019
The Soundbrenner Core is a smartwatch for musicians. It packs a vibrating metronome, magnetic tuner and other music tools.

There's even a new outdoor "party" speaker that incorporates a small table with cup holders.

Also on tap are new Master Series OLED sets and Sony's latest mainstream models.

Sony says its update to the X800 4K Blu-ray player, the M2, will now include support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard.

Sony has announced two new audio products at CES 2019, the Atmos-compatible X8500 and the 350 Watt HT-S350 sound bars.

Its WH-1000XM3, WH-1000XM2 and WI-1000X headphones will add Alexa in the coming weeks.

The graphics card manufacturer is pushing even further into the world of self-driving car tech.

One for games, one for not-games, plus a 27-incher for really fast games.

New year, new batch of modest refinements, for two of the best-made business laptops on the market.

New HDR screens are on the menu, too.

Otter + Pop integrates OtterBox'-™s slim Symmetry case with a built-in PopGrip and a swappable PopTop that retracts into the case.

Capstone Connected Home debuts a smart mirror that lets you chat with Google Assistant while you get ready in the morning.

Next up, steak.

A hack on the cryptocurrency let attackers spend coins twice.

Its ability to navigate tricky terrain could be a huge benefit following a natural disaster.

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Salaries for blockchain developers are up again, with annual pay soaring by more than $4,000 over the past six months for those in the highest bracket. And the rush to embrace distributed ledger technology is also pushing pay up for related jobs, according to a new report.

The median annual salary for a blockchain developer is now $132,000, with experienced workers commanding upwards of $176,000 a year when they move to new organizations, according to Janco Associates, a management consulting firm that conducts regular salary surveys and updates its report biannually." 

There'-™s a quiet crisis throttling productivity, frustrating end users, and vexing IT leaders: Workers aren'-™t getting what they need from IT to do their jobs. They'-™re frustrated, avoiding IT, and becoming less engaged with their work.

The good news is this crisis can be quelled with some simple steps like listening more, asking the right questions, and focusing on the ends '-” the business objectives '-” to deploy the means '-” technology '-” to empower workers.

This challenge has become acute thanks to a confluence of trends: digital transformation and changing workforce demographics. Digital transformation has solidified the importance of mobility '-” with mobile technologies and cloud computing, we work anywhere, anytime. Work isn'-™t a place: It'-™s what we do. As younger workers '-” Millennials, Gen-Z especially '-”" flex their muscles in the workplace, IT leaders face a new set of challenges.

One week into 2019, and Apple just plugged the news gap with a series of major announcements that put it at the center of a trade show event it doesn'-™t even exhibit at: CES 2019.

What stays on iPhone

The first warning that 2019 won'-™t be like every other Consumer Electronics Show came when Twitter was set ablaze with news of Apple'-™s well-targeted attack ad on the outskirts of the show.

The ad '-”" a huge 13-story black billboard" '-” is emblazoned with the slogan:

Why, if Microsoft is such a successful company, has it failed in wireless and smartphones over the last decade? Sure, they still lead in operating system wars with Windows and software like Word, but that may have as much to do with lack of real competition than the more important customer satisfaction. So why has the company having so many problems in wireless?

If we pull the camera back, we can see the wireless and smartphone wars have claimed many victims over the last decade or two. Ten years ago, the smartphone space was led by Blackberry and Nokia. Ten years before that it was Motorola. All have now fallen to the bottom of the list as Apple iPhone and Google Android entered and rapidly grew.

With Patch Tuesday coming tomorrow, now'-™s a good time to make sure you have Windows Automatic Update throttled. Yes, you need to patch sooner or later. No, you don'-™t need to do it in lockstep with Microsoft'-™s, uh, exuberant pace.

Case in point: On Jan. 3, Microsoft released 14 non-security Office patches. (Those are patches for the '-'perpetual'-" installed '-'MSI'-" versions of Office, not the Office 365 Click-to-Run versions. You gotta love the terminology.) The bug fixes covered a range of bugs, most notably including errors in the way Japanese dates are displayed.

A few hours later, the Japanese-language blogs erupted with reports that four of the new patches '-” the ones for Office 2010 '-” caused Excel to throw a Stop error when it was opened. The bad patches:

If 2018 was the year of the data breach, the thinking among IT pros is that this will be the year companies take concrete steps to prevent future breaches.

That was the sentiment among tech professionals who took part in a recent @IDGTechTalk Twitter chat about enterprise tech trends for 2019.

In fact, a recent @IDGTechTalk poll found privacy and security to be the top enterprise tech issue for 2019 (45 percent), followed by artificial intelligence (30 percent), cloud computing (16 percent), and blockchain (9 percent).

Microsoft's disastrous roll-out of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update was put into stark focus last week when published data showed its adoption was only an eighth that of its 2017 predecessor.

According to statistics gathered by AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose technology is embedded in thousands of Windows Store apps, Windows 10 October 2018 Update - 1809 in Microsoft's yymm labeling format - had been installed on just 6.6% of all Windows 10 systems by year's end.

That was a small fraction of the 53.6% powered by 1709 - Windows 10's second feature upgrade of 2017 - at the close of that year.

This year, artificial intelligence will continue its push into mobile hardware and enterprise communication devices, challenging IT shops' enterprise mobility management (EMM) capabilities while at the same time offering potential security benefits.(Insider Story)

It's the early days of big-iron computing, when IT is called Data Processing and this programmer pilot fish has a program that has apparently compiled perfectly.

Well, not exactly. "I had exactly 256 errors in my program," fish says. "The mainframe compiler software used to have only one byte for counting compiler errors. My program took the whole mainframe down -- several times!

"After they figured out that it was my compilation that took the mainframe down, I got called in to a meeting with my manager and the data center manager.

"I was told I could only compile my program on weekends, and only under the supervision of the data center manager and his top mainframe programmer!

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.

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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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