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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.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
New Android-x86 Release Peppered With Problems
August 31, 2015
The latest Android-x86 Project release takes us one step closer to using the Android OS on a desktop or laptop computer -- but the project suffers from stability and reliability issues. If you want one Linux-based OS to run on all of your devices, Android-x86 could become a viable alternative. The major advantage would be keeping all of your settings, apps and Google services on an equal footing.
How the Windows Phone Could Rise Up and Dominate
August 31, 2015
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of Windows 95. What people often forget about Windows 95 is that it not only kicked Apple's butt, but also kicked IBM's -- and it wasn't even a complete product. The thing was an operating system. It's especially hard to imagine now that these things typically are downloaded from the Web, and there's no need to stand in line.
At 24, Linux Has Come Out of the Basement
August 26, 2015
Happy Birthday, Linux Project -- this week you turned 24. The Linux OS has grown up everywhere. Its code and the open source model are found worldwide. People often use linux without knowing it -- when they search on Google, buy metro tickets or surf the Web. Linux travels worldwide on airplanes, and it's embedded in many of the smart devices that bring ultra convenience to our homes and cars.
Linux Foundation Wants to Pin a Badge on Secure Open Source Software
August 25, 2015
The Core Infrastructure Initiative last week announced a program that will offer badges to open software developers who follow best practice software development and security procedures. The CII project enables technology companies, industry stakeholders and software developers to collaborate on the identification and funding of critical open source projects in need of assistance.
McDonald's Tips Android Pay Launch
August 24, 2015
An internal McDonald's memo labeled "proprietary and confidential" has been circulating, advising employees to get ready for a Wednesday launch of Android Pay -- the successor to Google Wallet, and Google's answer to Apple Pay. Google officially announced Android Pay this spring, during it's annual developers conference, saying only that Android Pay would launch with "Android M."
20 Years Later, Windows 95 Launch Brings Tears of Nostalgia - and Hilarity
August 24, 2015
Twenty years ago Monday, Bill Gates officially released Windows 95, ushering in a new era. The OS featured a graphical user interface, along with a task bar and multitasking support, and it introduced the now-iconic Start button to launch applications. Those Windows 95 features made using a PC a whole lot easier. The launch also was notable for turning a software release into a major media event.
Nothing Could Be Finer Than Point Linux
August 20, 2015
Point Linux 3.0, dubbed "Agni," combines a solid operating system with a traditional no-frills approach to performance and reliability. In several ways, Point Linux belies the criticisms of Linux desktop newcomers who find that Linux not simple and straightforward to use. Point Linux is easy to install. It has a clear interface. Everything works out of the box.
Devs Get to Poke Around With Marshmallow
August 20, 2015
Google on Monday announced the official SDK for Android 6.0, aka "Marshmallow." It also opened Google Play for devs to publish apps that target the new API Level 23 in Marshmallow. Google further updated the Android Support Library to v23, giving devs an easier way to make new platform APIs, such as permissions and fingerprint support, backward compatible.
Open Mainframe Project Pushes Linux's Limits
August 17, 2015
The Linux Foundation on Monday announced the formation of the Open Mainframe Project to advance the development of Linux on the mainframe among academia, government and corporate partners. The foundation announced the software consortium at the LinuxCon/CloudOpen/ContainerCon gathering in Seattle. The project will create a set of tools and resources to drive further collaboration and improvements.
Fitbit Hooks Up With Windows 10
August 14, 2015
Fitbit on Thursday introduced a new app for Windows 10, Windows 10 mobile and Xbox One, scheduled for availability later this year. The Fitbit for Windows 10 app features an improved design that allows users to personalize the way they utilize Windows devices as part of a fitness routine. It handles traditional fitness tracking and provides the user with advice to help reach overall fitness goals.
Windows 10 FUD Fades Fast
August 14, 2015
Complaints about Windows 10 keep rolling in, but so far none appears to have stuck. The latest brouhaha is over certain privacy settings. Windows 10 gives users many options to disable certain data-gathering and reporting features, but it appears that some communications to Microsoft servers still slip through. So far, there doesn't seem to be anything shifty or harmful about those interactions.
BQ's Ubuntu Bows on World Stage
August 13, 2015
BQ last week opened an Ubuntu global store accessible to anyone who wants to buy an Aquaris Ubuntu Edition handset. BQ recently launched the BQ Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Edition smartphones in Europe. Both BQ and Canonical, which provides commercial support for Ubuntu Linux, have acknowledged network frequency and mobile operator compatibility issues in some countries, including the U.S.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
Mozilla Plugs Dangerous Firefox Zero-Day Hole
August 10, 2015
Mozilla on Friday released security updates to fix a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser. An exploit that searches for sensitive files and uploads them to a server -- possibly somewhere in Ukraine -- has surfaced in an ad on a Russian news site, Mozilla reported last week. The exploit impacts Windows and Linux users. Mac users could be hit by a modified version.
Broken Windows and 12 Hours of Missing Time
August 9, 2015
The fact that Microsoft has posted a Web page for users to "Get help with Windows 10 upgrade and installation errors" probably is just the latest sign that the release of its new -- and highly anticipated -- operating system has some problems that need to be resolved. It appears things haven't been going as smoothly as the company would have liked since Windows 10 became generally available.
Gadget Ogling: Bacteria-Zapping Toasters, a Clicker for Cortana and Souped-Up Printers
August 8, 2015
In truth, the Nico Gerard Skyview Pinnacle is more an accessory than a gadget, but it's so repugnant and ridiculous that it's impossible not to include it this week. Someway, somehow, watchmaker Nico Gerard found it prudent to create a watch that can accommodate an Apple Watch on its band, mounted where the clasp is located. It starts at $9,300. The Pinnacle is colossally absurd.
Windows 10 Raises Some Hackles
August 7, 2015
"Tablet view is showing saved porn images," wrote Reddit user "FalloutBos." "Woke up to wife asking why I set it to rotate all my porn images right on the desktop view. I have no idea [how] to shut that feature off and that computer is staying shut down until I do." That incident raised howls of laughter, but it points to one of the problems early users of Microsoft's new OS have reported.
MyNotex Is an Almost Perfect Note Taker and Task Manager
August 7, 2015
MyNotex is one application I keep revisiting for my note-taking and project management tasks. Italian Developer Massimo Nardello releases one major update per year. MyNotex keeps getting better and better. Version 1.3.1, was released in June. Nardello took what was a near-perfect locally stored note-taking program and made it better than using cloud-based services such as Evernote, Box or Dropbox.
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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.