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 CTO.org - News Archive - October 6, 2017
You can't miss this CNET video producer in his multiple hats. Oh, and most importantly, he likes mustaches!

Google's updated VR headset comes with $40 worth of games.

Behind the wheel of the ride-hailing company's self-driving cars are "safety drivers," they're responsible for taking control in case anything happens.

"Do not disturb when driving" is a go.

Ah, well.

The Tarantula Nebula spins a web of beauty alongside a bubbly neighboring nebula in a glorious Hubble Space Telescope image.

The Hubble Space Telescope generates some of the most spectacular views of space ever seen. Step into a world of swirling nebulae, galactic gas clouds and sparkling galaxies.

In a rare public interview, Apple's design chief shares that he never met anyone who could focus like Steve Jobs.

Commentary: Germany's Dusseldorf airport is notorious for its crosswinds. In this video, Emirates pilots seem to be battling the gusts even after landing.

A report suggests Amazon wants to be a pharmacy -- and is deciding whether it should.

There's no true definition of the term "pursuit rated," but third-party testing confirms these cars are up to the task of police work.

Comic conventions like New York Comic Con are discouraging or banning some costume weapons in light of public violence. How do cosplayers feel about dumping their carefully crafted props?

New Kaiju, new Jaegers and John Boyega as Idris Elba's heir apparent? Time to cancel the apocalypse again.

"Electric Dreams" looks like the next "Black Mirror" and then some.

Are self-driving commercial planes in our near future?

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Update for iOS 11

With iOS 11, you can still bypass the iPhone lock screen and trick Siri into getting into a person's phone. The bypass is the same as it was in the earlier version of the operating system:

  • Press the home button using a finger not associated with your fingerprint authentication, prompting Siri to wake up.
  • Say to Siri: Cellular data.

Siri then opens the cellular data settings where you can turn off" cellular data.

As was the case before, anyone can do this. It doesn't have to be the person who "trained" Siri.

By also turning off Wi-Fi, you cut off her connectivity access. You will get an error saying, '-'Siri not available. You are not connected to the internet.'-" But you don'-™t care about that error because you have already bypassed the iPhone lock screen.


Network slicing is a specific form of virtualization that allows multiple logical networks to run on top of a shared physical network infrastructure. The key benefit of the network slicing concept is that it provides an end-to-end virtual network encompassing not just networking but compute and storage functions too. The objective is to allow a physical mobile network operator to partition its network resources to allow for very different users, so-called tenants, to multiplex over a single physical infrastructure. The most commonly cited example in 5G discussions is sharing of a given physical network to simultaneously run Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Broadband (MBB), and very low-latency (e.g. vehicular communications) applications. These applications obviously have very different transmission characteristics. For example, IoT will typically have a very large number of devices, but each device may have very low throughput. MBB has nearly the opposite properties since it will have a much smaller number of devices, but each one will be transmitting or receiving very high bandwidth content. The intent of network slicing is to be able to partition the physical network at an end-to-end level to allow optimum grouping of traffic, isolation from other tenants, and configuring of resources at a macro level.


One of the potentially biggest moves this decade for Windows is the platform's move to include ARM as well as x86 support. This joint project by Microsoft and Qualcomm could be fascinating and very successful if done right '-” and another Windows RT if the execution is lacking. [Disclosure: Both Qualcomm and Microsoft are clients of the author] Interestingly, with the iPad Pro, Apple has shown that the market for this product exists, and that product is likely the primary competitor for what will result." 

Hardware is due in 2018, so we have plenty of time to look at the promise and potential problems with Windows on Snapdragon.


Many iPhone and iPad users are annoyed at Apple'-™s decision to change the way Control Center'-™s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controls work, as they no longer work. Fortunately, you can still switch connectivity off quite easily.

What is the problem with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tools?

Apple in iOS 11 decided that when you tap the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, the system now will disconnect you from any devices or networks you are currently on but no longer truly switches Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off.

This means that even though you thought you switched them off, they remain active for things like AirDrop, AirPlay, Continuity, Hotspot, Location services and devices such as the Apple Watch and Pencil.


Windows has long been the world'-™s biggest malware draw, exploited for decades by attackers. It continues today: The Carbon Black security firm analyzed 1,000 ransomware samples over the last six months and found that nearly 99% of them targeted Windows.

That'-™s not news for IT administrators, of course. But this might be: Linux and other open-source software are emerging as serious malware targets. Several recent highly publicized attacks exploit holes in open-source software that many enterprise admins once considered solidly safe.


This company goes whole hog for Six Sigma, and that means training for everybody, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"Everyone had to go through the two-hour introduction to Six Sigma," fish says. "Everyone in IT had to sit through the multi-day training sessions that could be used to pass the 'Green Belt' exam, and select people from most departments in the company also attended."

Unlike Six Sigma's Black Belts, Green Belts don't spend all their time on the process-improvement methodology -- they still have their other job responsibilities too. And most of fish's co-workers don't seem to think getting a Green Belt is worth the trouble.


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.

AR app development: What'-™s happening?

Udacity and Unity" 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, and automotive, " 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.


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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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