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 CTO.org - News Archive - October 5, 2017
It's not easy to make it to the last spicy wing on the Hot Ones Youtube channel, but Terry Crews explains why he's up to the challenge.

Commentary: Inspired by a new ballad about the Tesla CEO, here are some tunes other tech gurus should adopt.

The site rolled out the update earlier than planned after it was criticized for allegedly spreading misinformation following the mass shooting.

The rapper's firm hopes to raise $30 million during its initial coin offering, CNBC reports.

Google's all-new lineup features surprises like the Pixelbook and Pixel Buds. As for Google Clips... no.

Single motherhood is hard, but it's even harder if your kid can turn himself invisible and make his cereal float out of its bowl.

US regulators and large wireless carriers are offering help to get communications networks restored on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

A recently hired Mattel CTO has decided that its high-tech child monitor is not fit for release.

The Weather Channel continues its controversial naming of winter storms, and this year's trendy list has played soccer with your kid.

Thanks to a New York Times promotion oversight, a few new subscribers got a helluva deal on a Google Home.

The UK's Royal Navy may no longer rule the waves, but the ships that make up its fleet are some premium hunks of hardware.

A handful of iPhone 8 Plus phones have split apart in at least five different countries in the past 2 weeks, according to various reports.

We'll tell you which device is best for the unique way you live.

Debbie Sterling's line of STEM toys is introducing girls to the concept of engineering at a young age.

Today's podcast is devoted to Google's small addition to its Home family.

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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 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.

Mozilla plans to halt all Firefox security updates next year to personal computers powered by either Windows XP or Windows Vista, closing that chapter of its browser's history.

"Today we are announcing June 2018 as the final end-of-life date for Firefox support on Windows XP and Vista," Mozilla said in an unsigned post to a company blog.

Windows XP and Vista have both been retired by Microsoft, XP in April 2014 and Vista in April 2017. Once dropped from support, an operating system stops receiving security updates from Microsoft. Third-party application developers, however, may continue to support their products on retired versions of Windows.

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 ).

I'm just gonna come out and say it: If you're still obsessing over bezels, you've got your eye on the wrong prize.

Sure, most smartphone manufacturers want you to see those sexy edge-to-edge screens and feel that tingly, gotta-have-it sensation. They're fresh, they're new, they're futuristic-looking '-” the gadget within" must be better than what you have now, right?

Well, maybe. The truth, though, is that that sort of superficial quality is far from the most significant factor most people should be prioritizing when pondering a new phone. Selling hardware isn't easy, especially these days, and device-makers know they need to latch onto readily visible or measurable marketing points if they want folks to open up their ears and wallets. That's why we saw obsessions over things like extreme thinness, maximum megapixels, and utmost display density in the past.

With hundreds of millions of iOS 11 devices now capable of running AR apps, Apple has created huge opportunity, but there just aren'-™t enough skilled developers. Udacity and Unity plan to help.

What'-™s happening?

The two companies have introduced two new training schemes to help develop new generations of AR developer.

That'-™s important, given some analysts expect the VR/AR industry to be worth around $108 billion by 2021.

You can'-™t underestimate the potential of AR.

You see, while the mass market focus is on gaming applications, the truth is that industries including healthcare, education, entertainment, real estate, automotive, and more can use AR to '-'fundamentally change'-" their relationships with their customers. IKEA'-™s Place app is a great example of this.

Part of a growing trend, MobileIron announced today that it is adding machine learning-based threat-detection software to its enterprise mobility management (EMM) client, which it said will help address an increase in mobile attacks.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it has partnered with Zimperium, a maker of machine learning-based behavioral analysis and threat detection software that monitors mobile devices for nefarious activity and apps.

MobileIron said it will integrate" Zimperium's z9 Engine" software" with its security and compliance client. The software will reside on users' iOS or Android smartphones or tablets, and it will also become a part of IT administrators' EMM control consoles. That upgrade to MobileIron's EMM client will "automate the process of detecting and responding to mobile threats," MobileIron stated.

Slack is touting a partnership that will allow its team messaging tool to act as the interface for a range of Oracle business applications.

The deal has advantages for both companies, offering Oracle a new method of engagement with its sales, HR and ERP apps and handing Slack a chance to boost its presence in large organizations.

Slack has made significant efforts to court large corporate customers as the collaboration software market continues to grow. It launched its Enterprise Grid in January, has added new features such as shared channels and threaded messages, and partnered with other enterprise software providers such as ServiceNow.

This big organization has processes and procedures that are extensively documented, says an IT pilot fish there.

"In change and configuration management, where I work, this is especially true," fish says. "All changes to the approved configuration baseline are managed and approved by headquarters.

"My team just implements that approved baseline.

"So I was surprised when one of my coworkers called me with an odd question. She said someone at headquarters just called her and asked about that approved configuration baseline.

"The headquarters guy wanted to know what document the approved baseline is recorded in.

"Don't you just love telling the folks above you how to do their job?"

Microsoft's browsers suffered another big setback last month, losing so much user share that they fell beneath the 20% bar.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge '-” an estimate of the world's personal computer owners who ran those browsers '-” plummeted by 1.9 percentage points, ending at a combined 19.3%. The downturn was the largest since October 2016.

September's decline was previewed the previous month, when IE+Edge lost nearly a full percentage point after a five-month stretch when the browsers' slump had been relatively small.

If Windows 7 were an actor, it would be a past-prime stage star who overstayed his curtain call and refused to acknowledge his understudy who, just the night before, had wowed the critics and charmed the audience.

Last month, though, Windows 7 ceded a tiny pool of the limelight to that understudy, Windows 10, giving the crowd hope that the aging actor would finally figure out he should exit, stage left, before the theater's manager got the hook and dragged him off the boards.

According to metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 7's user share in September was 48.4%, a decline of 1.2 percentage points. More importantly, the operating system ran 52.1% of all Windows machines during the same stretch, a month-over-month drop of 1.3 points. (The second percentage is larger because Windows was detected on 90.6% of the world's PCs, not 100%; the remainder ran macOS or some kind of Linux.) This was the largest decline of Windows 7's user share '-” an estimate of the percentage of the world's personal computers powered by the OS" '-” since July 2016.

Apple'-™s platform innovations are opening new frontiers in childcare and education, with iOS-friendly augmented reality (AR) toys and child-focused hospital systems showing the impact of digital transformation, from the cradle to the grave.

Blending real and virtual experiences

'-'Why, sometimes I'-™ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,'-" said the White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

In tomorrow'-™s world, your children will also believe impossible things, as the boundaries between their real and virtual experiences dissolve.

Tech firms will need to work hard to convince the public that these new merged experiences can be trusted '-”" take a look at reaction to Mattel'-™s Aristotle device, which prompted Jeff Chester, executive director of the Centre for Digital Democracy, to warn: '-'The kid tech industry sees kids'-™ bedroom as an economic bonanza."

One of the most powerful attributes of e-commerce today is its relatively effortless due diligence, where a customer can easily see rival offerings, compare pricing based on the exact model number and/or specifications, and browse the comments left by customers (which may not always be valid, but that's another issue).

That due diligence nicety was swept aside by a MasterCard move last week to integrate purchases within mobile virtual reality (VR) environments. To be fair, this mobile VR purchasing effort by MasterCard is one of the first industry efforts to allow anything other than "sit and watch" in a VR app, so the effort should be encouraged. They may intend to add due diligence capabilities later on '-” remember what Amazon's initial homepage looked like" '-” but such user-friendly efforts are not typical from MasterCard.

The manufacturer where this IT pilot fish works has implemented a process-improvement system that the company calls "workout," because it involves taking unneeded work out of processes, which saves money and improves profit.

"The manufacturing team looked at their processes and noticed that they were filling out this piece of paper with all kinds of statuses and quality stamps and completion checks," says fish.

"But they never used them. The parts arrived with a blank sheet and the completed assemblies left with filled-out sheets. Obviously they had no need for this document."

And since there's measurable time spent completing the form along the way, the team concludes it can save a lot of hours per year by not having to fill it out.

Whether you'-™re on the IT team at a company or work for a managed service provider (MSP), a help desk ticketing tool is a must for providing solid tech support. These applications give IT staff and end users a way to communicate about and track technical issues and questions.(Insider Story)

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 Creators Update was rolled out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 3. As it did with the Creators 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 3, which will officially be named the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, starting with the most recent.

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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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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)?

Facebook has a "realistic opportunity" to enter China in 2018, Mizuho analyst James Lee wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. Lee came to the conclusion after meeting "various industry contacts" in China during a recent trip. Facebook's recent appointment of an executive to manage relations with China will help the company "understand the regulatory requirement and negotiate Facebook's operating structure in China," said Lee in the note, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider.

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.

Apple's App Store is getting a major update in iOS 11, and it's going to make finding new apps far better.

Equifax was hacked and lost the information of 143 million Americans, and they need to tell us how.

Apple's iPhone 8 is nearly upon us, but not everyone is psyched. Here are the best alternatives for Apple's upcoming iPhone.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is a wonderful smartphone, but its high price is a tough pill to swallow.

Yahoo's David Pogue has a sneaky way you can create a universal link to a Facebook item so that you can send or post to anyone.

There are some gadgets that are just too cool for us Americans.

More laptop makers are pushing the limits of design and performance, but high-resolution panels are hurting their batteries.

Apple's iPhone is one of the most important consumer gadgets ever made, and it has a lot to do with these simple features.

Hope you had a nice outdoorsy summer, because for the foreseeable future, you'-™re going to have a hard time leaving the living room. The fall video game season is just about underway, and the 2017 edition is keeping with tradition by slinging enough massive games your way to tax both your wallet and your eyesight. From Mario to Marvel, here'-™s what the next few months have in store. '-'Destiny 2'-"

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