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 CTO.org - News Archive - February 15, 2018
A glitch wiped out people's work to organize older photos. Google warns people not to edit photo dates for now.

VW is betting big on connected cars by making all of its cars capable of communicating via WLANp.

Propaganda-tracking sites report uptick in shooting-related terms following deadly spree in Florida.

We know they'-™re coming, it's only a matter of time. What are your thoughts on this advancement in the auto industry? Do you think fully self-driving cars will be safe?

Kia'-™s European hatch gets a full refresh with lots of new tech and 100 percent less apostrophe.

"I am now broke, cannot afford rent, food, gas, bills," one user complained.

Bandai has been making Power Rangers toys since the '90s. In 2019, the partnership between Bandai and Saban Brands, which makes the TV show, will end.

The FCC's inspector general has been investigating whether Chairman Pai inappropriately pushed for rule changes that would favor Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Love it or hate it, the notch isn't going away.

Sweep the leg, Johnny. The infamous 1980s foes face off again in a preview of the YouTube Red series.

Both the US and the UK attributed last year'-™s NotPetya attack to the Russian military. The Trump administration said the attack would be met with "international consequences."

When retro pop-culture rules your film, it's kind of impossible not to give your own legendary director a nod. Or a roar.

"Designed in Minneapolis and handcrafted by leather artisans."

Who do you think will break the chain -- Alexa, Siri or the Google Assistant? CNET is livestreaming our experiment on YouTube so you can watch along.

A trip could take under 30 minutes.

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Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the" Windows 10 Fall Creators Update" was rolled out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 4. As it did with the Windows 10 Fall 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 4, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it. We've also kept the list of all the preview builds that led up to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3) and the Windows 10 Creators Update (Redstone 2), which are below the builds of Redstone 4.

HP is expanding its Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering to cover Apple's iOS and macOS hardware.

As part of HP's expanded DaaS offering, known more generally under the industry term of managed mobility services (MMS), customers will be able to pair iPhones, iPads, Macs and other Apple devices with HP's support, managed services and analytics.

Apple for years pushed, without much success, to get its hardware and software into the office. But the organic adoption of its iOS devices" '-" especially the iPhone '-" finally forced enterprises to take it seriously.

Microsoft's free Windows Analytics service now scans enterprise Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 PCs, and reports whether they've been updated to defend against potential attacks exploiting the Meltdown and Spectre processor vulnerabilities.

The new capabilities of Windows Analytics' "Upgrade Readiness" were announced Tuesday by Terry Myerson, the top Windows executive at the company. Myerson called the vulnerabilities - found by Google security researchers and reported to vendors in mid-2017 - "a new challenge for all of us" because they were in the silicon, not in software.

"We have added new capabilities to our free Windows Analytics service to report the status for all the Windows devices that [IT professionals] manage," Myerson wrote in a post to a company blog.

Late last month, Apple quietly unveiled major changes to macOS Server. Although the announcement didn't disclose much about the new abilities macOS Server will gain, it does detail services to be deprecated starting this spring. Though these features won't disappear immediately, they will eventually be removed from future releases and hidden on new macOS Server installations.(Insider Story)

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 ).

With Apple's better-late-than-never arrival into the smart speaker market this month, there's been lots of talk about the state of the smart assistant '-” and why, ultimately, all these companies are working so hard to get you talking to their technology.

From Siri to Alexa and Google Assistant to Bixby (yes, even Bixby), the virtual assistants are all soldiers in the tech world's latest battle for our attention. And what these artificially intelligent entities are really all about comes down to a single four-syllable word:


Whether you're Apple, Amazon, Google, or any of the less equipped companies fighting to get a foot into this arena, the virtual assistant is the latest and most promising way to get folks further entrenched in your ecosystem '-” and thus likely to keep using the associated products and services that benefit your bottom line.

It's the 1990s, and this IT support pilot fish is working at a factory that manufactures electronic components, setting up PCs and running the network.

"One day I received a call from a user I'd never heard from before," says fish. "He worked in the chemical treatment area and informed me that his four-month-old PC was not working.

"I walked to his area and he informed me the PC was in his testing room. I entered a closed room and immediately began having problems breathing."

His lungs burning, fish runs back outside and tells the user there's no way he can work on the PC in the testing room -- it will have to be pulled out.

With an annoyed sigh, user goes into the room -- with no more protection than fish had -- and unhooks the PC and brings it to fish, who's still coughing.

IBM sees" blockchain as much more than the foundation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and wants the government to consider embracing it as a way of saving time, cost and risk.

IBM is among a growing number of vendors offering blockchain as a service (BaaS), which allows enterprises to pilot the technology without massive capital expenditures related to onsite development and hardware.

The very early reports are in, and it looks like this month'-™s monstrous panoply of patches isn'-™t as destructive as last month'-™s '-" so far, at least. Aside from a few reported incompatibilities, the big news involves two Outlook security holes that kick in when you download email, or preview a message. There are no known exploits, but if you use Outlook, you need to understand the dangers '-" and should seriously consider patching sooner rather than later.

First, the blast. Yesterday, Microsoft released its usual Patch Tuesday security updates, which include" 50 separately identified security holes (CVEs). Those 50 are in addition to the one Adobe Flash Player security hole, CVE 4074595, that was plugged on Feb. 6. Of the 50, 14 are rated Critical, 34 rated Important (which means they aren'-™t) and two are Moderate.

Many Mac users may have come across a small window that appears on top of their browser when surfing the Web that warns them, "System Scan is Recommended."" So, what is this message, and what should you do if you see it?

TL;DR: Don't panic

The first thing to learn is that this is not a Mac system message. If you ever come across this message, you can be utterly certain that it is a scam. Whoever is behind the message (and it may not be the website owner, but some poorly policed ads network) wants you to agree to something that will probably cost you money, leave your data at risk, or otherwise cause you unwanted problems. While scams like these are nowhere near as widespread on Macs as they are on other platforms, they do appear sometimes.

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.

Microsoft plans to extend support for its Windows Defender ATP service to devices running older operating systems, including Windows 7.

The decision, announced this week, is a turn-about for Microsoft, which had limited the service to Windows 10 machines. In a post to a company blog, a Microsoft director cited customers' heterogeneous set-ups to explain the change.

"We know that while in their transition, some [customers] may have a mix of Windows 10 and Windows 7 devices in their environments," wrote Rob Lefferts of the Windows group's security and enterprise team. "We want to help our customers achieve the best security possible on their way to Windows 10 ahead of the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020."

Flashback to the late 1990s, when this pilot fish has landed a job supporting PCs and a Novell network for a manufacturer that has engineers onsite.

"Most of the workstations had switched to Windows 95, which was the company standard at the time," says fish.

"One day my supervisor gave me a ticket to go install a new laser printer in the office of an engineer. I had rarely interacted with him and had never stepped foot inside of his office, though I knew he was well respected among his peers as being incredibly knowledgeable."

Fish knocks on the office door and says, "Fred, I have your new laser printer." The door flies open and the engineer says, "Come in! Come in! Lets see where we can put it!"

From wired to wireless charging
Apple wireless charging AirPower

Image by Apple

The iPhone X is finally here, and among its many attributes, such as Face ID technology, it supports native wireless charging '-" just as the iPhone 8 line does.

Microsoft is working to create a blockchain-based, decentralized digital identity management platform that would allow users to own and secure access to their online persona via an encrypted database hub.

Over the past year, Microsoft said it has been exploring how to use" Blockchain" and other distributed ledger technologies to create new types of digital identities designed to enhance personal privacy, security and control.

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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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Acer's Swift 7 is the thinnest laptop in the world.

HTC and Valve'-™s Vive was the first virtual reality headset that really made me jump on the VR hype train. Not only could you escape into virtual worlds, but thanks to its motion tracking sensors, your movement in the real world was translated into the digital. Like Facebook'-™s (FB) Oculus Rift, the Vive'-™s display resolution made individual pixels clearly visible in certain situations, killing any sense of true immersion.

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.

Nicomi Stewart, a mother in Rochester, New York, is '-'disgusted'-" after an automated call sent to her phone from the city'-™s school district mispronounced her daughter'-™s name as a racial slur.

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.

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