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Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering.
El Capitan Boosts Mac Speed, Productivity
October 2, 2015
Improved performance and some app enhancements to boost productivity highlight the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Apple has made El Capitan available for download to its users from the Mac App Store. "Basic operations were just quicker, and Apple did a lot of work under the hood," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
XOR Trojan Threatens Linux Networks
October 2, 2015
Researchers for the Security Intelligence Response Team at Akamai on Tuesday issued a high-risk threat advisory for XOR DDoS proliferation. The XOR DDoS Trojan is used to hijack Linux servers to build a botnet for distributed denial-of-service attacks with SYN and DNS floods, researchers tracking the malware said. The massive Linux-based botnet can take down websites under a flood of DDoS traffic.
Microsoft Pushes Deeper Into Linux, Containers, IoT
October 1, 2015
Microsoft announced a slew of corporate cloud solutions at Tuesday's AzureCon. "The value for IoT is in control, data collection and analysis, and Microsoft is apparently building a cloud service that can do all three, and wrapping it with enterprise-level security," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Microsoft also announced a new open Azure Container Service.
Linux Foundation's Open Source R&D Worth $5B
September 30, 2015
The Linux Foundation has released a white paper that puts the estimated value of development R&D costs of its Collaborative Projects at $5 billion. The foundation has provided independent funding for the collaborative software projects since 2008 to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. Open source is changing the world in which we live, according to the report.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
Black Hats Offer Million-Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty
September 30, 2015
Zerodium has posted a million-dollar bounty for juicy iOS 9 bugs or jailbreaks. Zerodium runs a market where exploits and vulnerabilities are bought and sold, according to Damballa. "While there is no insight into a specific buyer, we can assume if an exploit for iOS 9 is found, Zerodium will sell it for way more than $1 million," wrote Loucif Kharouni, senior threat researcher at Damballa.
VectorLinux Light Has That Old-School Linux Feeling
September 29, 2015
VectorLinux 7.1 Light Edition targets fans of the IceWM desktop environment who own older computers. VectorLinux released its latest light edition this summer. What makes it new compared with previous editions is the shift to the lightweight IceWM. Yes, IceWM is very old school. Still, it is a handy and functional alternative that serves legacy computers well.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple's Long-Term Survival
September 28, 2015
One of the ironies of my career is that when I first went to work for a tech company, I specifically wanted to work for a firm that was breaking the mold -- not representative of it. So, in my initial interview, I was concerned that IBM was going to buy the firm because it was the mold at that time. I was promised that there was a contract that said it couldn't. Then, six months later, it did.
Lockscreen Bug Fix Conspicuously Absent in iOS 9 Update
September 25, 2015
Apple has released the first update to its new iOS 9 operating system to clean up some bugs in the original version of the software. Bugs addressed in the update, iOS 9.0.1, include a system freeze on the slide to update screen, alarms and timers that would fail to go off, and frame distortion in paused videos. One bug Apple didn't address allows an intruder to bypass a device's lockscreen.
LibreOffice 5.0 Is the Office Suite Champ
September 25, 2015
LibreOffice 5.0, The Document Foundation's latest open source office suite, deserves to top the list of contenders for best performance in this category. The foundation last month released LibreOffice 5.0 for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. It is the 10th major release since the launch of the project, and the first in the third development cycle. The release coincides with the rollout of Windows 10.
Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves
September 22, 2015
Researchers at Xerox PARC have developed a self-destructing mechanism for microchips embedded on a hardened glass surface. The glass can self-destruct upon command and could be used to secure personal data such as health and banking records. It also can be used to destroy encryption keys stored on memory chips in standard consumer, enterprise and government electronic devices.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
Microsoft Rolls Its Own Linux Distro
September 19, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday announced that it is building its own Linux distribution to manage cloud networks. Through the Azure Cloud Switch, or ACS, Microsoft aims to help network operators rapidly add the network features they need, while avoiding changes that would increase risk and complexity, said Kamala Subramaniam, principal architect for Azure Networking.
The Unsinkable Kim Dotcom?
September 18, 2015
Someone perhaps even more flamboyant than Donald Trump may be getting involved in the U.S. presidential race -- and not on the Republican side. Notorious Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is not running for office, but as his extradition case heats up in New Zealand, a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency -- mild-mannered Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig -- has come to his defense.
Apple Dresses iOS to the Nines
September 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday released iOS 9, the latest version of its mobile operating system. Although more evolutionary than revolutionary, it has some useful additions. The good news is that iOS 9 works on much of Apple's existing hardware. If your device can run iOS 8, it should be able to run iOS 9. However, some of the software's features are available only on the newest iOS devices -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro.
NYC Schools to Teach Kids to Code
September 17, 2015
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced his computer learning initiative, requiring that every student in the city's public schools be exposed to computer literacy training at every grade level within 10 years. The program will cost some $81 million over the next decade. The mayor expects to receive at least half of that from private sources, including the initiative's founding partners.
ExTiX LXQt Breathes New Life Into Weak Hardware
September 17, 2015
The latest release of ExTiX offers a new spin on an old desktop environment and exhibits a passion for speed and ease of use. ExTiX 15.3, a fusion of the LXDE and Razor-qt desktop environments, has the economy of working in the LXQt desktop environment. LXQt is lightweight, modular, very fast and user-friendly. It is based on the popular LXDE -- that is, Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment.
Court Bolsters FTC's Authority to Regulate Cybersecurity
September 16, 2015
Companies that experience data security breaches have a lot to worry about -- but their problems encompass much more than responding to irate consumers. The business community also has to worry about the U.S. government, which can penalize e-commerce companies for failing to provide adequate protection for consumers' personal data. A recent federal court ruling could give the FTC more muscle.
WiFi, Move Over - Here Comes LiFi
September 16, 2015
Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs -- a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology. Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices -- such as toys, wearables and clothing -- over the Internet Protocol, functioning as a LiFi network in much the same way that WiFi works.
Unassuming iPhone 6s Could Knock Some Socks Off
September 15, 2015
Muffled by the rumors Apple TV had gone Hollywood and the giggles the Apple Pencil provoked, the latest additions to Apple's core product line -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- had to settle for a smaller share of the headlines coming out of last week's Hey Siri event. Although the iPhones received less media attention this year, it was not due lack of forward-facing features.
When Data Breaks the News
September 15, 2015
Google is putting a new spin on the news. Instead of relying on journalists to gather facts and report events the old-fashioned way, the company's News Lab, launched earlier this year, aims to deliver news stories through data. Case in point: Who needs polls to reveal that Donald Trump is the most popular candidate in the Republican primary free-for-all?
Acer's Revo Build Is a Puzzle of a PC
September 12, 2015
Acer last week announced the latest in its family of Revo small-form-factor PCs at the IFA 2015 trade show in Berlin. The Revo Build M1-601 consists of a cuboid base unit with a footprint measuring about 5 inches square and a set of easily attachable modules. There are two versions -- one with an Intel Pentium processor and the other with an Intel Celeron CPU.
Raspberry Pi Gets a Touchscreen to Call Its Own
September 10, 2015
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday announced the availability of a touchscreen that brings the low-cost tiny computer one step closer to becoming a standalone mobile device. The touchscreen was in development for nearly two years. The first round of screens will require some assembly of parts that arrive in a small kit, noted Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at Raspberry Pi.
Apple Levels up with tvOS
September 10, 2015
The refreshed Apple TV, tvOS and the Siri Remote Apple presented during Wednesday's "Hey Siri" event may not have been game changers, but the people pushing Apple's renewed focus on gaming are. Television's future lies in apps, proclaimed Apple CEO Tim Cook as he drew the curtain on the Apple TV's new iOS 9-powered operating system: tvOS. That line drew a chuckle from owners of Fire TVs and Rokus.
The Tyranny of Spreadsheets
September 10, 2015
As a former sales and marketing guy, I am more than familiar with spreadsheets as a not-so-good tool for managing the avalanche of data generated by the front office, even before the big data craze. Name a department or function in business and it's easy to find people using spreadsheets to manage it -- often poorly, but through no fault of their own.
KeyRaider Malware Busts iPhone Jailbreakers
September 3, 2015
Data-robbing malicious software dubbed "KeyRaider" has stolen more than 225,000 valid Apple accounts and thousands of certificates, private keys and purchasing receipts, Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 reported last week. The firm identified the malware in cooperation with WeipTech, which found the accounts on a server while it was analyzing suspicious user-reported iOS tweaks.
Intel's Big, Bold Skylake Family Bows
September 3, 2015
Intel on Tuesday introduced its long-awaited 6th Generation Core family, which will include 48 processors. The launch coincides with the migration to Windows 10, which became generally available at the end of July. With Moore's Law in question, Intel finally made a breakthrough in transitioning from 22nm dies down to 14nm. It took the company about four years to do it.
New App Marries Android Wear Smartwatch to iPhone
September 1, 2015
Google has rolled out Android Wear for iOS, allowing consumers to pair the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 and above with an Android Wear watch. They'll be able to check phone calls, messages and notifications; track fitness; and use Google Now instead of Siri to get smart help from their iPhones. Using Google Now instead of Siri is "a cute touch," said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.