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iPad Pro: The Thrill Is Gone
November 12, 2015
Apple this week began selling its iPad Pro, but the newly introduced device is failing to evoke the enthusiasm the company's line of tablets traditionally has seen. Reviewers gave the device high marks for its battery life, screen, speakers, light weight and Pen, but panned the keyboard, the lack of a touchpad and 3D Touch, its long charging times and its price.
Google Opens Floodgates for TensorFlow Development
November 10, 2015
Google released TensorFlow, its second-generation machine learning system, to the open source community. It's offering TensorFlow as a standalone library with associated tools, tutorials and examples under the Apache 2.0 license. Google uses TensorFlow in deep learning, Google Search and other applications. Apps built with TensorFlow can move seamlessly from desktops to mobile phones.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
Why Tablets Are Tanking
November 9, 2015
Boy, we really have gone full circle on tablets -- and not just once. Back when the Windows tablets first came to market, a whole bunch of us predicted it wouldn't be long before they replaced all of the notebooks. I don't think they even made it to 10 percent before the tablet market collapsed, and the pre-existing forms reclaimed their shares. Then the iPad launched.
Microsoft and Red Hat Collaborate in the Cloud
November 6, 2015
Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a deal that bridges their cloud technologies, which have been separated by the competing Windows and Linux platforms. The partnership lets customers migrate their data to either Microsoft Azure or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It also integrates features in both cloud systems so customers can use them interchangeably.
Cortana for iOS Enters Beta Territory
November 4, 2015
Microsoft this week launched a survey for Windows Insiders, seeking candidates for a limited beta of Cortana for iOS. "We're testing the Cortana for iOS app with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing [it] publicly," said Microsoft spokesperson Jennifer Reynolds. The full app is slated for release later this year. Selected testers will get the app in the next few weeks.
GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux
November 4, 2015
GALPon MiniNo is one of the strangest and most distinctive Linux distros to grace the Linux Picks and Pans computer screens. Those two traits make it an almost ideal option for anyone looking for a reliable operating system for youngsters and educational facilities that cater to early education students. PicarOS Diego 2015 is the latest in the GALPon MiniNo family of Linux products.
Chrome OS Is Dead, Long Live Chrome OS?
October 31, 2015
Google reportedly is two years into a plan to consolidate the Chrome operating system and Android and plans to roll out a combined OS in 2017. Chromebooks running the Chrome OS have gained adoption as entry-level computers for students and as a low-cost option for a growing number of corporate customers. "Chrome OS isn't being killed," said a source familiar with the company's strategy.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
Plasma 5 Powers KaOS Productivity
October 27, 2015
KaOS is an efficient Linux distribution built around a refined KDE desktop environment that just keeps getting better. The KDE integration is more controlled than other Linux choices. I reviewed this distro last year, and I was impressed then with the solid performance of KaOS. The latest version takes it a step further, adding a calming, cleaner look and feel to the user interface.
Liquid Lemur Linux Floats Fluid Desktop Design
October 20, 2015
Liquid Lemur offers a new twist on the usual Linux desktop environment experience. Developer Edward Snyder recently released the second alpha version of Liquid Lemur Linux 2.0. It offers a hybrid desktop experience that combines the Window Maker window manager with elements of the Xfce desktop. Liquid Lemur has been around for a few years, but it has gone through several directional changes.
ONOS Project Gets Linux Foundation Bump
October 15, 2015
The Linux Foundation has announced a strategic partnership with ON.Lab and its ONOS project community to develop open source network services. They will build infrastructure for software-defined networking and network function virtualization technology. The foundation will provide its global reach, experience and infrastructure to seed ONOS' growing community.
Mate Makes Robolinux Raptor Soar
October 14, 2015
Robolinux Mate Raptor v8.1 is a stunningly gorgeous and well-tuned operating system that soars with unmatched functionality. This release of the Robolinux line runs the newest iteration of the Gnome 2 fork desktop Mate. It is fast and slick. The integration of Mate as a modern desktop environment is growing on me -- especially the way it's paired with the really cool features in Robolinux.
Acer Trots Out New Windows 10 PCs
October 13, 2015
Acer has announced two new Windows 10 devices. The Aspire R 14 convertible has four use modes, while the Aspire Z3-700 all-in-one PC has a built-in battery with five hours' life. Both include the Cortana personal assistant. They also have Acer TrueHarmony Plus technology with Dolby Audio, as well as Acer BluelightShield, which is designed to help reduce eyestrain.
Ex-Maintainer Bemoans Linux Kernel Community's 'Toxic Background Radiation'
October 13, 2015
Longtime Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp last week published a blog post detailing her reasons for quitting the Linux kernel community. Sharp maintained the USB 3.0 host controller driver until January, when she decided to leave rather than continue to "contribute to a community where I was technically respected, but I could not ask for personal respect," she wrote.
At the Heart of OpenStack Evolution
October 8, 2015
There is little question regarding the prevalence and significance of open source software in enterprise IT, but one of the best places to more deeply examine how open source software fits into today's enterprise IT landscape is the OpenStack cloud software and project. It has come to represent the primary open source cloud in the market, considered alongside rivals such as Amazon and VMware.
Microsoft Throws the Book at Apple
October 6, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday held an event in New York City where it unveiled a laptop, a tablet, three Lumia smartphones and a fitness band -- all running Windows 10 -- along with a slew of other products. It also announced new apps for Windows 10, including Box, Facebook, Instagram, Flipagram, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Uber. All of the apps will be available on the new devices.
Slackel Linux: Not Your Father's Slackware
October 6, 2015
Slackel is a Linux distro a step away from the mainstream Debian-based Linux OS line. It is based on Slackware and Salix. Users already familiar with that lineage are more inclined to like Slackel. Slackel offers a few advantages not usually found with the Slackware Linux lineup. The main difference is that its repository includes the current version of Slackware and the latest version of KDE.
Another Day, Another Billion Android Users at Risk
October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities.
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.
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.
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.
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