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How IT should prep for Apple's public OS betas

As has become Apple's standard practice in recent years, the company will soon roll out  public betas of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra . Both are expected to arrive by the end of June. Public betas can be useful for Apple and other tech companies. They accelerate feedback and can ensure that bugs — including ones that internal testing might not spot — get fixed before the final version of an operating system ships. And because public betas a...
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Are Android bug fixes worth $510 when buying a phone?

Techies are supposed to focus on the latest and greatest, the biggest and fastest. I've never been like that. Especially when it comes to cellphones, my computing needs are modest. So, consider the fairly low end  ASUS ZenFone 3 MAX ZC520TL phone which Asus currently sells for roughly $140. It has a 5.2 inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1280x720. Many phones offer more pixels, but this is sufficient for me and fewer pixels should help wi...
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6 months using Office and a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple introduced the first iteration of its MacBook Pro with Touch Bar a few months ago. Microsoft soon put Touch Bar support in Office for Mac apps. I’ve used both for several months and with a new Touch Bar Mac now available and Microsoft’s implementation clearly past beta, I thought it might be useful to discuss my experience using both together. The MacBook Pro w. Touch Bar With the exception of one weird, now discredited, Laptop story,...
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The 5 surprising things to know about smart glasses

The world's largest long-haul airline wants both employees and customers using smart glasses. Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, revealed this week that the company sees smart glasses as a strategic initiative that should help them fend off discount airline rivals. Airlines succeed when they can treat passengers with a personal touch and top-notch customer service. For example, flight attendants can call passengers by name, provide personal...
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BrandPost: Not Your Grandparent’s Company: Bringing the Workplace into the 21st Century

Gone are the days when employees dedicated the better part of their lives climbing the corporate ladder, working 40-plus hours a week year after year with all their hopes pinned on an early retirement. That was the way our grandparents worked, and it’s being rejected by Millennials and, increasingly, Gen-Xers. To remain competitive, companies need to change with the times. They need to bring the workplace into the 21st Century to attract th...
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Rogue cell phone surveillance gives rise to mobile threat defense

Researchers have created a device using off-the-shelf components that can sniff out controversial cell phone surveillance devices, known as IMSI-catchers or StingRays, used by federal and state law enforcement as well as hackers. The International Mobile Subscriber Identity-catchers have not only been used to locate mobile devices but also to sometimes eavesdrop on users, send spam or upload malware, according to University of Washington (U...
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Microsoft resurrects Windows XP patches for second month straight

Microsoft today followed May's unprecedented release of security updates for expired operating systems, including Windows XP, by issuing another dozen patches for the aged OS. The Redmond, Wash. company cited fears of possible attacks by "nation-states," a label for government-sponsored hackers or foreign intelligence services, for the updates' release. "In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose...
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Apple takes on Facebook with its own Messages Bots

A few weeks ago, I suggested that it should be possible to contact your bank to arrange a loan using your AirPods . Apple at WWDC 2017 announced a key partnership that will eventually enable this: a team-up with Nuance to create a bot-based customer service ecosystem for Messages, taking on similar solutions from Facebook and others in the process. It’s called “ Business Chat ”. Introducing Business Chat We’re not looking at completely auto...
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The evolution of Mac OS X

Apple introduced OS X Mountain Lion at WWDC 2012, and from then onward dropped the "Mac" prefix from all references of OS X on its website. iCloud synced mail, calendars, contacts, reminders, documents, notes and more between Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. Apps from iOS devices were also brought over: Reminders, Notes and Messages, which brought iMessage to the Mac for the first time; Notification Center alerted users to new emails,...
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Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the builds

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, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date...
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There's no Office free ride on Apple's new 10.5-in. iPad Pro

When Apple expanded the iPad Pro's screen from 9.7-in. to 10.5-in., it simultaneously shrunk the pool of those who can run Microsoft's Office apps free of charge. Like the 12.9-in. iPad Pro introduced in late 2015, the resized iPad Pro gets dumped into the iOS Office apps' pay-to-use bucket. Microsoft relies on screen size to separate what it considers consumer-grade tablets from those it believes are business-suitable, with the line drawn ...
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FAQ: How Microsoft plans to upgrade Office 365

Six weeks ago, Microsoft decreed that Windows 10 would be refreshed twice a year, in September and March, to make its release schedule more predictable, and thus, more tolerable to enterprises. Almost unnoticed was that the Redmond, Wash. company announced a virtually identical scheme for corporate subscribers to Office 365. Office 365 ProPlus -- the application suite provided to customers under plans like the $20-per-user-per-month Enterpr...
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Inside the trillion-dollar selfie industrial complex

A decade ago, I witnessed a glorious sunset over the Mediterranean from the unique vantage point of a cliff on the edge of Oia, a beautiful village on the Greek island of Santorini -- me, my wife and a few dozen other visitors. Everyone was facing the setting sun with all cameras pointed out over the water. Fast-forward to this week: The rooftop restaurant overlooking Marrakech's Jemaa el-Fnaa square at sunset was crowded with tourists taki...
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May's Windows numbers: Windows 7 digs in

Windows 7 last month dug in its heels, and retained control over a majority of all Windows PCs, an analytics company reported this week. The standard enterprise operating system, Windows 7 will be shuffled onto the retired-from-support list in two and a half years, on Jan. 14, 2020. May's Windows 7 user share -- an estimate of the percentage of the world's personal computers powered by the 2009 operating system -- was 49.5%, said metrics ve...
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May's browser numbers: IE + Edge skid persists

Microsoft's browsers last month continued their free fall, again shedding a significant amount of user share, an analytics company reported today. According to data from California-based Net Applications, the user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge -- an estimate of the proportion of the world's personal computer owners who ran those browsers -- fell by nearly a full percentage point in May, ending at a combined 23.2%. May's decline w...
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Review: Office 365's Delve, Sway and Planner fall flat

Microsoft really, really wants to own all of your office work , so it keeps finding new tools it hopes you will add to your Office 365 portfolio. (All require an Office 365 account to use.) The latest is today’s announcement that its Microsoft Planner mobile app is now available for iPhone and Android phones. Microsoft said on its Office Blog   that current Planner users can use this companion app to view and update their plans on the go.  ...
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US 'might' ban laptops on all international flights & TSA may make you unpack carry-ons

The US “might” ban laptops from the cabin of all international flights into and out of the US and “likely will” require air travelers to unpack carry-on bags for TSA inspections. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that the US “might” ban laptops from the cabin of all international flights into and out of the US. Pressed to reveal more, Kelly added, “There’s a real threat. Numerous threats agains...
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Tech VCs, at Churchill Club, predict an edgy future

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Innovation drives the tech industry, but nothing happens without investors. That's why the Churchill Club's annual Top Tech Trends event here in Silicon Valley always sells out -- to find out where the folks with money are placing their bets. Every year, a panel of leading venture capitalists delivers 10 predictions and defends the trends they think will have a big impact in the next five years. Panelists (and audience...
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IDG Contributor Network: News from Epicor’s annual user conference

Epicor’s annual user conference in Nashville this year was a good chance to spend time with the company, its partners and its customers. I have some big thoughts about Epicor and its existential issues, but I’ll leave that post for a little later. For now, here’s a roundup of what we saw at the show. Show demographics Thirty-two countries were represented at the show, with some 3,300 attendees. There was a good mix of customers, media/analy...
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IDG Contributor Network: The complexity of password complexity

Deploying password quality checking on your Debian-base Linux servers can help to ensure that your users assign reasonable passwords on their accounts, but the settings themselves can be a bit misleading. For example, setting a minimum password length of 12 characters does not mean that your users' passwords will all have twelve or more characters. Let's stroll down Complexity Boulevard and see how the settings work and examine some setting...
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BrandPost: What’s Your Strategy to Create a Great Company Culture?

Much has been made about the potential of “digital transformation” to make companies more competitive, to engage more closely with customers, and to speed everything from decision making to time-to-market. This digital revolution has also impacted employees, and not always in a positive fashion. Always connected workers often work longer hours, both onsite and off, and the pace and volume of work has steadily increased for many employees. A...
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And that's why we troubleshoot first

IT support pilot fish who works for a public library system gets a work order from one of the branches: One of the PCs that's available for public use is making a beeping sound. "Trying to troubleshoot the device, I asked the onsite staff to be sure that there wasn't something on the keyboard that might be pushing down a key," says fish. "I had them clean the keyboard. I asked if there was a pattern to the beeping. Just random beeping, they...
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Google, A.I. and the rise of the super-sensor

Google dazzled developers this week with a new feature called Google Lens. Appearing first in Google Assistant and Google Photos, Google Lens uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) to specifically identify things in the frame of a smartphone camera. In Google's demo, not only did Google Lens identify a flower, but the species of flower. The demo also showed the automatic login to a wireless router when Google Lens was pointed at the router bar...
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WD aims to tame growing data needs with latest enterprise SAS SSD

With data centers seeing rapid data growth, Western Digital Corp. (WD) has announced its highest performing 2.5-in. small form-factor SAS SSD. The drive is aimed at helping companies deal with increasing needs for virtualized storage systems, online transaction processing, database analytics and private and hybrid clouds. WD's Ultrastar SS300 , developed in partnership with Intel, uses a 12Gbps SAS interface and sports sequential read/write...
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Hackers reportedly hold Disney's newest Pirates of the Caribbean film for ransom

While some people are still fretting about WannaCry ransomware and possible variants of it, hackers are reportedly threatening to release Disney’s upcoming Johnny Depp film if Disney doesn’t pay a ransom. Although Disney would not confirm that the stolen film is the fifth in the Pirates franchise, it doesn’t intend to bow to extortion. The ransomed movie is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, according to Deadline ; it is sche...
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