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  • I was recently in Seattle for Microsoft's Build 2017 developer conference. It was a monumental trip for me, as I had never been to the west coast before. Being a New Yorker, the furthest west I'd ever been was Colorado. Getting there was an interesting experience in itself, as I had a layover in Minnesota -- yet another place I had never been. On the final day of Build 2017, some journalists -- including yours truly -- were invited to a tour of the Microsoft campus. This was an invitation I couldn't pass up. As a self-proclaimed computer nerd, visiting… [Continue Reading]
  • Microsoft is expected to unveil the successor to the Surface Pro 4 tomorrow at a special event in Shanghai. There is not much that we know about the new hybrid device at this stage, other than it will look very similar to the current model, but the software giant hints that there will be four new Type Covers available for it. Microsoft's corporate VP of Devices, Panos Panay, has posted a photo on Twitter which shows the keyboard in what appears to be red, gold, gray and blue colors. That would match the keyboard colors of the Surface Laptop, which was introduced early this… [Continue Reading]
  • A firmware update to the Netgear R7000 router adds a new feature that will concern privacy advocates. The update allows Netgear to start "collecting analytics data" and the release notes warn that: "NOTE: It is strongly recommended that after the firmware is updated to this version, you log back in to the router's web GUI and configure the settings for this feature." Netgear says that the data collection is to help it "isolate and debug technical issues" and does not -- according to the company -- include details such as the websites that are visited, but it will still be… [Continue Reading]
  • Carolina Read Software has unveiled Jarte 6.0, a major update for its Windows WordPad-based word processor. The $19.95 Jarte Plus 6.0 build now supports running custom AutoHotkey scripts when you open a document, hit a hotkey or click a custom toolbar button. The system allows automatically entering text, replacing existing text, changing highlighting, colors and more, and you’re able to work with files, run programs, open websites, or do anything else AutoHotkey can normally do. Jarte’s free and Plus builds get special tags which can automatically insert the current date and clipboard contents, position the text cursor or run an… [Continue Reading]
  • At the moment, Facebook appears to be more concerned with keeping fake news out of users' news feeds and clamping down on clickbait and propaganda, but there has also been a lot of interest recently in how the social network moderates -- or censors -- content posted by its users. A leak of what has been dubbed The Facebook Files gives a fascinating insight into how the company moderates content, shedding light on just what its secret internal guidelines are. Some of the rules are surprising -- livestream of self-harm, for instance, will not be censored, still images of animal… [Continue Reading]
  • If you want to keep the government and other people out of your business when surfing the web, Tails is an excellent choice. The Linux-based operating system exists solely for privacy purposes. It is designed to run from read-only media such as a DVD, so that there are limited possibilities of leaving a trail. Of course, even though it isn't ideal, you can run it from a USB flash drive too, as optical drives have largely fallen out of favor with consumers. Today, Tails achieves an important milestone. Version 3.0 reaches RC status -- meaning the first release candidate (RC1). In… [Continue Reading]
  • While many pundits are quick to dismiss Chromebooks, some consumers are embracing these laptops. True, from an overall market share perspective, Chrome OS is largely insignificant. With that said, it is absolutely dominating the education segment. Not to mention, as more and more consumers do everything in the web browser, Windows and macOS can be seen as overkill for some. Unfortunately, many Chromebooks are both underpowered and low quality to keep costs down. While there are some solid models, they are few and far between. Samsung is looking to change this, however, with the long-promised Chromebook Pro. The company announced the… [Continue Reading]
  • Exploits linked to leaked NSA hacking tools have been causing havoc recently, with the WannaCry ransomware infecting more than 300,000 systems. WannaCry made use of the previously unknown SMB exploit EternalBlue, but the leak included details of several others. Microsoft has released patches, but are they in place on all your PCs? The simplest and most reliable way to find out is to run Windows Update and check for missing patches. If a system hasn’t been updated for a while, you’ll be missing far more than the NSA patches, and it’s important to get them all. Chinese antivirus vendor Qihoo… [Continue Reading]
  • I suffer from phantom smartwatch syndrome -- an ailment that hopefully will disappear over time. Nearly four weeks ago, I put aside Apple Watch 2 stainless steel and replaced it with the simple but appealing ManchesterWatchWorks Iconik 3. Problem: Almost any shifting movement of the timepiece causes me to reflexively flip my wrist and look down; there is false perception of haptic sensation. Apple has trained me well, and I'm tired of being its dog doing tricks. Woof. Woof. Growl. I feel free! Gone are the nagging alerts -- and I had them barreled down to a minimum of approved services: Some… [Continue Reading]
  • The concept of a "smart home" is finally becoming a reality for many; devices are becoming both more affordable and easier to setup. It is not uncommon for a home to have Wi-Fi cameras, voice assistants, smart thermostats, and more, nowadays. One of the coolest aspects of the smart home is the ability to control lights -- bulbs, switches, and outlets. In my home, I leverage Belkin's Wemo outlet adapters to turn my lamps both on and off using Alexa -- it is awesome. Now, Belkin has a new smart device that I cannot wait to add to my home --… [Continue Reading]
  • Amazon Video is one of the best deals in entertainment, as it comes included with a Prime account. As many consumers sign up for the retailer's Prime membership scheme to get free two-day shipping, the streaming video service is often viewed as an added bonus. True, its selection isn't the best, but it is passable. Not to mention, Amazon's original programming is rather solid. Another great deal is Microsoft's Xbox One S. Not only does it play games, but it includes a 4K Ultra-high-definition Blu-ray disc player. In fact, the console is often less expensive than many such standalone disc players, making… [Continue Reading]
  • Even though the GDPR is just a year from coming into force, the majority of businesses are still unprepared. This is according to new research from Compuware, which says businesses are risking huge non-compliance fines. Some businesses, truth be told, have made progress since last year. The most progress has been made on the knowledge front -- 67 percent of European and 88 percent of US organizations with EU customer data are informed on GDPR. This is up from 55 percent and 73 percent respectively, last year. UK businesses, unfortunately, are least prepared to comply with the General Data Protection… [Continue Reading]
  • Cybersecurity experts from Recorded Future think the cybercrime group we know as APT3 is on the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s payroll. It bases its conclusions on the work of "intrusiontruth," a group claiming to have investigated some of the most important APT actors. Analyzing APT3’s C&C infrastructure, it came across two names, Wu Yingzhuo and Dong Hao, who allegedly registered many of the domains that the threat actors had used. Both names are also shareholders for a China-based security firm Guangzhou Boyu Information Technology Company, or Boyusec. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Boyusec worked with Huawei to create… [Continue Reading]
  • When IBM announced recently it was summoning workers back to central offices after decades of pioneering a remote work model -- it was a seminal moment for the legacy tech company and a head-scratching moment for future-forward companies everywhere. IBM’s desire to reignite innovation and collaboration and all the other long-touted benefits of manufacturing physical proximity among employees is understandable after 20 straight quarters of declining revenue. But it also feels really counter-culture: not in a cool, old-is-new again kind of way, but in a doesn’t-IBM-know-this-is-a-bad-idea kind of way? The move will have long-term effects on IBM’s ability to hire… [Continue Reading]
  • It’s been a week since the WannaCrypt/WannaCry ransomware cyber attacks began, and the repercussions are still being felt. It became clear quite early on that the ransomware was hitting older Windows systems hard (Windows 10 wasn’t affected), with a lot of talk focusing on the number of at-risk Windows XP systems still in service. But here’s the interesting thing. Most of the affected systems -- over 98 percent -- were actually running Windows 7. SEE ALSO: Microsoft patches Windows XP to fight the WannaCrypt ransomware attacks According to new figures released today by Kaspersky Labs, the 64-bit version of Windows… [Continue Reading]
  • Job positions that require skills in so-called "microservices" have seen a huge boost to increase by 133 percent in the last year. According to a new report by Rackspace, this has made such positions among the most popular IT jobs on the market today. The report also says that roles related to Agile Software Development are also up 16 percent in the last year. Google’s Kubernetes has seen "meteoric" growth in demand among engineers, jumping 919 percent since last year. Docker is also seeing continued interest over the course of the last 12 months, as well. The demand for DevOps… [Continue Reading]
  • A new form of malware is targeting innocent victims in order to mine cryptocurrency for its creators. Adylkuzz, which targets the Monero cryptocurrency, stays hidden within an infected machine, and does not give visual warnings or interfere with users’ files. Security firm Bitdefender, which first spotted the malware, says the best way to protect yourself is to keep your operating system up to date, to disable the Server Message Block service on the computer if patching is impossible, and back up any and all data to offline hard drives. Anyone can create cryptocurrency through a process called mining. It is… [Continue Reading]
  • Netflix is the first big name on Google Play to block Android devices that are rooted or have an unlocked bootloader from downloading its app. And it looks like it may not be the last, as now Google is officially giving all developers the option to do the same. Developers on Google Play can enforce support exclusions based on a device's SafetyNet status, which is also what Netflix has used to restrict access. Out of the box, rooted devices or devices with an unlocked bootloader are supported, but developers have two options that they can choose to change that. As Google explains… [Continue Reading]
  • When the education-focused Windows 10 S was announced, many people were dubious that it could be a success. Limiting the operating system to apps from the Windows Store seems like a recipe for disaster. That opinion is understandable, as we have sort of been down this road before with Windows RT -- which failed. The concept can confuse users. I was sort of hopeful for Windows 10 S when Microsoft made a shocking announcement at Build 2017 that it is bringing Linux distributions to the Windows Store. This gave the impression that students using the S variant of the OS… [Continue Reading]
  • The WannaCry ransomware has made a huge mess across the globe, affecting hundreds of thousands of PCs, including critical devices in the healthcare sector. It is so dangerous that Microsoft released a public patch for Windows XP, after it dropped support three years ago. Of course, the patch did not stop Windows XP users from getting infected, but, thankfully, a decryption tool, called WannaKey, is now available and should help recover your locked files. WannaKey is not guaranteed to work on every Windows XP device, however. The developer of the tool says that, in order for it to work, you should not… [Continue Reading]