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White House Puts Clamps on Data Center Development
March 24, 2016
The federal program for improving the operation of thousands of government data centers has entered a new phase that will impact significantly how electronic information is stored and managed. Proposed updates to data center operations will affect providers of data management products and could spur the use of cloud technology. Vendors have been invited to comment on the proposals by April 1.
Google Says Sayonara to Chrome App Launcher
March 23, 2016
Google on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down the Chrome app launcher everywhere but in the Chrome OS. That means users who like to launch their favorite Google apps from a menu will have to settle for launching them only within the Google Chrome browser or through shortcuts in their bookmark bar. Windows, Mac and Linux users prefer launching their apps within Chrome.
New Stagefright Exploit Takes a Bow
March 22, 2016
Stagefright, a multimedia library in Android 2.2 and higher, has been exploited again, according to news reports published last week. Zimperium last year reported a Stagefright exploit that it said exposed 95 percent of Android devices. Details of the latest exploit, named "Metaphor," were published earlier this month in a paper from NorthBit. Metaphor affects Android 2.2-4.0 and 5.0-5.1.
Hopkins Boffins Break iMessage Encryption
March 22, 2016
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University has found a way to crack open files sent as encrypted instant messages in Apple's iMessage app, according to news reports published Monday. Although it took months to do, the researchers, led by Professor Matthew Green, were able to brute force a 64-bit encryption key, allowing them to unscramble an image file stored in Apple's iCloud.
Android, iOS on Opposite Sides of Encryption Divide
March 18, 2016
Consumers' understanding of what encryption does apparently doesn't determine whether they use the technology, as iPhone owners are much more likely to use encryption than Android users. Most Android phones are not encrypted, either by user choice or manufacturer design. About 95 percent of all iPhones reportedly are encrypted, compared with less than 10 percent of Android phones.
Apple Ransomware Reveals Cert Problem
March 17, 2016
Researchers last week discovered the first ransomware in the wild aimed at Apple's hardware platform. While the threat was subdued quickly, it exposed the weakness of digital certificates in authenticating software to devices. The ransomware appeared as a legitimate application because it contained a digital certificate stolen from a bona fide Mac developer in Turkey.
Xbox Signals It's Ready to Rumble
March 16, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that it would support cross-network play between its latest gaming console and other platforms. Cross-network support would allow Xbox One players to engage in multiplayer gaming with friends and randoms on platforms such as Steam and the PlayStation Network. It will be up to developers to support cross-platform games, however.
Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void
March 15, 2016
The ability to run the Android OS as a fully functional desktop on PCs took a giant leap forward this month with a release that merges the Android-x86 Project with Jide Technology's Remix OS distribution. Android-x86 Project developer Chih-Wei Huang late last month announced on the project's website a partnership with Jide. He started the Android-x86 Project in 2009.
HPE Floats Machine Learning in the Cloud
March 15, 2016
Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week announced the public availability of its HPE Haven OnDemand Machine Learning as a Service. The Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform provides more than 60 APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a variety of data, including text, audio, images and video. Launched in beta in 2014, HPE Haven OnDemand has more than 12,750 registered developers.
Devs Get to Noodle With Android N
March 14, 2016
Google last week announced a developer preview of Android N, the forthcoming release of its mobile operating system. The release comes early; it was widely expected to be announced in May at Google I/O 2016, the Google developers conference. Releasing a work-in-progress build earlier in the development cycle will give Google more time to incorporate feedback from developers.
SQL Server on Linux Shows Microsoft's More Flexible Side
March 9, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to release a version of SQL Server 2016 for Linux. "Bringing SQL Server to Linux is another way we are making our products and new innovations more accessible to a broader set of users," said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie. SQL Server will be able to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, in the cloud and on-premises.
Quantum Computer Leap Could Make Today's Encryption Passe
March 8, 2016
Researchers at MIT and the University of Innsbruck last week announced that they had designed and constructed the world's first scalable quantum computer, a development that could make existing encryption technology obsolete. They built the computer using five atoms in an ion trap. The researchers used laser pulses to carry out an algorithm on each atom to correctly factor the number 15.
Ransomware Plague Spreads to Macs
March 8, 2016
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks last week announced that they had found the first ransomware in the wild aimed at Macintosh computers, but Apple and one of its developers quickly neutered it. The ransomware -- a malware program that scrambles data on a computer and won't unscramble it unless a ransom is paid -- was embedded in software for installing an OS X app for sharing files on BitTorrent.
Epic Games Founder Rails Against Microsoft's Walled Garden
March 8, 2016
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney last week called on Microsoft to remove the walls it's building around the Windows Store with its Universal Windows Platform initiative. The problem is that it is impossible to install and update UWP apps from third-party publishers outside of the Windows Store, he wrote in an op-ed. Microsoft could remove the option to support apps that haven't been approved.
FBI Would Hurtle Us Back to Encryption Jurassic, Apple Warns
March 8, 2016
The FBI's efforts to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the slain San Bernardino terrorists could threaten national security, charged Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of engineering, in an op-ed piece published Monday. Terrorists and criminals could launch attacks on vital infrastructure through access "to just one person's smartphone," he maintained.
Amazon Flip-Flop Lands Fire OS Back in Encryption Camp
March 7, 2016
Amazon last week announced that it had reversed a previous decision to drop support for local encryption on version 5 of its Fire tablet operating system. The disclosure came one day after the company joined 14 others to support Apple in its fight against the FBI, which wants the company to create a tool or code to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists.
The Technological Evolution of US Healthcare
March 7, 2016
The disease management industry, which focuses on reducing or delaying the use of expensive treatments or costly procedures, has passed its prime as a unique approach to controlling escalating costs attributed to chronic conditions. It worked on the sickest of the sick, but as patient conditions progressed and engagement levels decreased, it gradually lost its effectiveness.
If You Like Fedora, You'll Love Korora
March 4, 2016
The Korora Linux desktop is a solid computing platform that's loaded with options to suit a wide range of user needs. Korora 23 final was released last month. It's a Fedora-based distribution featuring many user-friendly enhancements as well as a choice of five desktop environments. Unless you are looking for bleeding-edge desktop environments, Korora gives you all the top contenders.
German Authorities to Examine Facebook's Data Practices
March 3, 2016
The German Cartel Office on Wednesday announced the launch of an investigation into Facebook over allegations that it abused its market position by infringing data protection rules, specifically in connection with the terms of service on the use of user data. The office, or Bundeskartellamt, is looking into whether Facebook's terms of service violate data protection provisions.
Report: 3.5 Million HTTPS Servers Vulnerable to DROWN
March 2, 2016
A report released Tuesday on the DROWN vulnerability raises concerns about possible attacks that could expose encrypted communications. DROWN is a serious vulnerability that affects HTTPS and other services using SSL version 2, according to the team of security researchers who compiled the report. The protocols affected are some of the essential cryptographic protocols for Internet security.
EU Fleshes Out Privacy Shield Agreement
March 1, 2016
The European Commission on Monday released a draft of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement, which would replace the controversial Safe Harbor provisions that regulated U.S. access to the data of European residents. The legal texts aim to finalize the reform of EU data protection rules, which apply to all companies doing business in the region, EC officials said.
Fresh Raspberry Pi Has Better Hardware Baked In
March 1, 2016
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Monday announced the availability of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B for $35, the same price as the previous model. It is the second major upgrade to the board in just over a year. The hardware upgrade boosts the single-core processor of the original Pi to a faster, more capable quad-core chipset in the Pi 3. The current model is based on a 64-bit chipset.
Google Killed the Laptop Star
February 29, 2016
Anyone who went to business school recognizes the basic tenet that you use marketing to build demand in order to sell products. Through the 1990s, there was impressive marketing surrounding laptops. Apple aggressively marketed this class, as did Microsoft, and it seemed every other brand on TV was trying to convince us we needed a new PC. PC marketing dropped off a cliff in the last decade.
RebeccaBlackOS Is a Class Act
February 26, 2016
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian Testing-based live distribution that offers a developmental view of Wayland-based Linux desktop sessions. A few other distro makers have prototypes of Wayland running, but the options for different desktop environments available all from one live-session DVD caught my attention. Anyone curious about where Wayland development is headed can get a first look from RBOS.
Chicago School Board Elevates Computer Science to Graduation Requirement
February 26, 2016
The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously to make computer science a graduation requirement for all high school students beginning with next year's freshmen. Chicago Public Schools has become a national leader in computer science education since Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the Computer Science for All initiative for grades K-12 in 2013, the board said.
Microsoft Buys Xamarin to Boost Cross-Platform Development
February 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a platform provider for mobile app development. Xamarin's platform will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio, enabling developers to build apps using C# to deliver fully native mobile app experiences across platforms, including Android and iOS, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie.
The Downside of Linux Popularity
February 25, 2016
Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux. The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android. Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.
The Right Sales Technology Buys Time to Turn B Players Into A Players
February 24, 2016
In sales, A-B-C does not simply refer to the Alec Baldwin scene in "Glengarry Glen Ross." It's the system that sales managers (and salespeople themselves) use to categorize performance. A players smash their quotas on a regular basis; B players battle to deliver results, and usually do; C players have a history of missed objectives and should consider work in another field.
Dell's Embedded PCs Take the IoT to the Mainstream
February 23, 2016
Dell on Tuesday announced the release of its first purpose-built industrial PC products for the mainstream market: the Embedded Box PC 3000 Series and 5000 Series. The products are a response to the growing embedded computing market and the lack of reliable devices, Dell said. The embedded systems market is expected to reach $23.1 billion in 2019, according to a Technavio study.
Google Gives iOS Devs Open Source EarlGrey Testing Tool
February 22, 2016
Google last week introduced EarlGrey, a functional user interface testing framework for Apple iOS apps. YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Translate and Google Play Music have successfully adopted the framework, the company said. EarlGrey has been open sourced under the Apache license. Developers can add it to their projects using CocoaPods or manually add it to Xcode project files.
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What's your reaction to Hillary Clinton's proposed broadband for all by 2020?
It's wonderful -- it will close the digital divide.
It's a worthy goal, but it can't be done by 2020.
It's pie in the sky -- it would be way too costly.
It won't happen -- she's just trying to curry tech industry favor.
I pay for my broadband -- why should I foot the bill for others?
I don't care one way or the other.