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Ubuntu's Vivid Vervet Makes Snappy Entrance
April 21, 2015
Canonical on Tuesday announced the release of Ubuntu 15.04, aka "Vivid Vervet," as in East African monkey. It will be available for download on Thursday. The new OS offers tools for cloud, device, client and Internet of Things development. The Ubuntu desktop release includes mostly maintenance and bug fixes, along with new integrated menus and dashboard usability improvements.
Google Dresses Up Android Wear
April 20, 2015
Google on Monday released an update to Android Wear -- just the second significant feature refresh for its wearable device software since its introduction more than a year ago. "This update is overdue," said Ian Fogg, senior director and head of the mobile and telecoms team at IHS Technology. "With other products, Google adds features fairly continuously," he noted.
Your Lawyer Is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
April 20, 2015
Lawyers help their clients as they negotiate confidential business transactions, hold intellectual property, manage funds and litigate disputes, among many other business activities. In the ordinary course of business, lawyers also maintain numerous confidential documents and data of and about their clients. Lawyers therefore have a big bull's-eye drawn on their backs, visible to cybercriminals.
Opening Windows Source Code Could Improve Security
April 16, 2015
Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich raised a few eyebrows at ChefCon earlier this month, when he aired the possibility of Windows becoming an open source program. Sure, Microsoft's attitude toward the open source movement has mellowed over the years, but the prospect of the company rubbing elbows with the likes of Linux overloads the imagination.
SuperX OS Greases the Classic Linux Wheel
April 15, 2015
SuperX OS is a solid Linux distribution that dispels all of the criticisms about using free open source OSes. SuperX is a relatively new distro developed by Libresoft. Based on Ubuntu and Debian, it adds a highly customized KDE desktop environment. The maturity and impressive performance of Grace, its latest release, makes the SuperX OS a prime replacement choice for whatever distro you now use.
Apple Devs Play WWDC Lottery
April 14, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced that its 26th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in San Francisco June 8-12. The event will include more than 100 technical sessions on developing, deploying and integrating the latest iOS and OS X technologies. Attendees will get access to the latest innovations, features and capabilities of the OSes.
Reactions to New MacBook Run From Tepid to Cold
April 13, 2015
Early reviewers last week weighed in on Apple's new MacBook, and for the most part, they were underwhelmed. The new MacBook is 13.1mm thick, weighs 2 pounds, and has a 12-inch Retina display. Apple has touted it as the future of the notebook, pointing out that it had to reimagine every element to make the device lighter, thinner and better. Critics called it an overpriced netbook.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Shopping for Algorithms and APIs in the Cloud
April 10, 2015
Now that cloud computing has made it economically feasible to capture and collate large volumes of data, many organizations are trying to find an equally economical method to analyze and move the data across various business applications. Enter Algorithmia and Bedrock Data, two cloud-based companies offering online marketplaces to remedy these age-old issues.
Emojis Get Real in New iOS
April 10, 2015
Apple on Thursday released a new version of iOS that adds racial diversity to its emoji library. In addition to the fair-skinned faces found in prior versions, the new assortment includes brown, black and golden yellow mugs. What's more, there are emojis of same sex couples and families, too. "Emoji have become huge for people," said Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Carolina Milanesi.
Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
April 10, 2015
Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.
Devs Rev Up for a Weekend of Galactic Problem-Solving
April 9, 2015
More than 10,000 software and hardware developers, scientists and space fans will spend this weekend huddling in rooms in 136 cities around the world to participate in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge -- a hackathon for space wonks. Using IBM's Bluemix, they will develop apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions to help explore space and to improve life on Earth.
FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Parsix 7 Morphs GNOME Into a Better Desktop
April 7, 2015
Parsix GNU/Linux 7 is a feature-rich rendition of the GNOME desktop that you must take for a spin. Dubbed Nestor, the project's goal is to provide a ready-to-use and easy-to-install operating system based on Debian's testing branch and the latest stable release of the GNOME desktop environment. The Parsix distro meets that goal -- and goes even beyond.
Microsoft Could Throw Windows Wide Open
April 6, 2015
Open sourcing the code for Microsoft Windows is "definitely possible," Microsoft engineer Mark Russinovich reportedly said last week during a panel discussion at ChefConf. The company isn't acknowledging any movement in that direction as yet, but Russinovich's remarks are a strong indication that the Microsoft of today isn't the trenchant foe of the paradigm it was in the past.
Commerce Department Embarks on Data Revolution
April 3, 2015
All major U.S. government agencies employ a chief technology officer who generally deals with the management of IT resources including hardware, software, cybersecurity and the mechanics of the digital world. The U.S. Commerce Department has now gone a step further in addressing the challenges presented by an ever-evolving world of e-commerce with the appointment of a chief data officer.
Google Goes Crazy for Chromebooks
April 1, 2015
Google has announced two new budget-busting Chromebook computers, a tablet/notebook convertible with a full swivel screen, and a Chrome computer-on-a-stick. The Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook both are available for preorder for $149. The Asus Chromebook Flip will hit the market this spring with a $249 price tag. The Asus Chromebit will be available this summer for less than $100.
IBM Aims to Harness Internet of Things
March 31, 2015
IBM on Tuesday announced it will spend $3 billion over a four-year period on a new Internet of Things unit involving thousands of consultants, developers and research staff. The company intends to establish an IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries, which will extract data for business intelligence, and set up a Bluemix IoT Zone, which will help leverage that data for app design.
Big Money Helps Cyanogen Go for Android's Jugular
March 27, 2015
Cyanogen has announced the completion of a financing round that brought $80 million in new funds to pay for more hiring and accelerated development of its open platform software development kit. Cyanogen is committed to liberating the Android OS from the financial grip of Google. Cyanogen has spurred a developing secondary app market for an alternative Android distribution based on its mods.
Amazon Fires 1st Shot in Storage Price War
March 27, 2015
Amazon on Thursday announced two new plans for unlimited storage in its Cloud Drive service. The Unlimited Photos plan includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files. It costs $11.99 per year. The Unlimited Everything option provides limitless cloud storage of photos, videos, movies, music and files for $59.99 per year. Both plans come with a free three-month trial.
Bodacious Bodhi Broadens Linux Desktop
March 26, 2015
Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3's implementation of the Enlightenment desktop, makes an awesome desktop computing platform for office or home. Bodhi is one of only a handful of Linux distros embracing the Enlightenment environment. Its developers call Bodhi the Enlightened Linux Distribution. Beware if you try it: Bodhi Linux could easily become your favorite Linux distro.
Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand
March 25, 2015
It looks and sounds good, but virtual reality is still establishing how to get around in the digital worlds it creates. OSVR has placed the controls in the hands of Leap Motion, which may be a stellar move. Leap's novel approach embeds the VR controls in a faceplate that can be attached to an OSVR-compatible headset. The faceplate will be bundled with OSVR's Hacker Dev Kit when it ships in June.
Self-Service and the 'R' in CRM
March 25, 2015
Self-service is generally considered a good thing, especially in CRM, where there has been significant investment in empowering people to take on more responsibility for provisioning service or making purchases. But it's not all great, and there is some interesting blowback that is causing vendors to reconsider how their offerings work. In sales, self-service has resulted in truncated sales cycles.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.
PENN STATE ONLINE Information Technology Degrees and Certificates