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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.
OS X Zero-Day Exploit Threatens Massive Mac Attack
August 4, 2015
Mac users, beware -- the ads you see on the Web could let hackers hijack your device. Malwarebytes has discovered a new zero-day exploit in OS X that lets apps bypass passwords during installation to get root permission through a Unix shell. A new adware installer downloaded by a Malwarebytes researcher modified his sudoers file -- a hidden Unix file that controls access to root permissions.
The Cloud's Open Source Seeds Are Growing Strong
August 4, 2015
Open source seeded the cloud, 451 Research found five years ago -- and those seeds have grown. Open source now plays an even more prevalant and important role -- not only in cloud computing, but also in other, related areas, such as big data, DevOps and application containers. One can consider any layer of cloud computing -- Infrastructure as a Service, for example -- and see the impact.
Windows 10: Changing the Apple vs. Microsoft Dynamic
August 3, 2015
What I find most interesting about Windows 10 is that if Apple wanted to knock Microsoft off the desktop, then it -- not Microsoft -- should have released a product like this. When I say "like this," I mean one that could transform a smartphone into a PC. My reasoning is that Microsoft is relatively weak in smartphones, and Apple currently is kicking Google all over the market.
Mozilla Gripes at Microsoft for Giving Edge an Edge
July 31, 2015
Mozilla CEO Chris Beard has published an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, calling on him to offer Windows 10 users an easier way to set their browser preferences. Beard characterized the lack of choice in the Windows 10 experience as "very disturbing." It appears to have been designed to force users into an experience Microsoft wants them to have instead of one they want, he charged.
US House Opens Up to Open Source
July 31, 2015
Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of representatives and House committees are added to the total. Certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House have been clarified.
Microsoft Fans Embark on Windows 10 Migration
July 30, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday began offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users in 190 countries. Eligible users began receiving taskbar notifications, beckoning them to begin the migration to Windows 10. To encourage migration, Microsoft has asked the first flock of digital pilgrims to use the hashtag #UpgradeYourWorld and to tag a nonprofit organization to their posts.
Motorola Promises Its Smartphones Will Love You Back
July 29, 2015
Motorola, on Tuesday launched three new handsets -- Moto X Style, Moto X Play and a refreshed Moto G -- designed to end the "one-sided relationships" between smartphones and consumers. People have been living with phones that nag during drives, make outbursts during meetings, and run out of juice just when they're most needed, the company said. Motorola promised its new suitors will change that.
Super-Scary Android Flaw Found
July 28, 2015
Zimperium on Monday revealed a stunning discovery by researcher Joshua Drake -- a flaw in Android's Stagefright media playback engine that could expose millions of mobile device users to attack without their having done anything. Stagefright, which processes several popular media formats, is implemented in native code -- C++ -- which is more prone to memory corruption than some other languages.
The New Solus: Putting the Pieces Together Again
July 22, 2015
The Solus Project is a rebranded and rereleased Linux distro trying to regain its former popularity. In a field of Linux distributions cluttered with look-alike offerings, Solus brings something simple and something new. Solus has impressive potential for being uncomplicated and different. Based in the UK, the Solus Project is the latest iteration of SolusOS, which morphed into Evolve OS.
Google Photos Backup Keeps Collecting Until You Make It Stop
July 15, 2015
Uninstalling Google's Photos app doesn't turn off backup sync, meaning photos taken with Android devices could be saved to the company's cloud storage, even if the user doesn't intend to store them there, Google acknowledged on Tuesday. The issue came to light last week, when a BizJournals editor reported finding hundreds of family photos he had deleted from his phone stored in Google Photos.
Report: Android Wear Smartwatches to Get Together
July 14, 2015
It's rumored that the next version of Android Wear, reportedly scheduled for release in August, will bring tap gestures and watch-to-watch communications. The update initially was scheduled for launch on July 28th. "For now, these features simply bring parity between Android Wear and watchOS," said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani, but neither platform "offers a compelling use case" as yet.
Mangaka Is an Artful Blend of Simplicity and Style
July 13, 2015
Mangaka is a not-so-traditional Linux distro with a gorgeous look. After gaining some traction among fans of the manga and anime communities, Mangaka fell dormant in December 2009. Developer Animesoft International regrouped, and the latest Release Candidate version came out on June 20. The Mangaka Project -- the name means "love" in Japanese -- started out with the code name of "AngelOS."
Microsoft's New Groove
July 12, 2015
Microsoft's Music app, formerly known as "Xbox Music," will sport a makeover when it arrives rebranded in Windows 10 as "Groove," the company announced earlier this week. Groove's dancing partner will be the all-new Movies & TV app. "Groove Music Pass" will replace "Xbox Music Pass" as the name of the $10-a-month premium streaming service. The apps will be a go on July 29.
Apple Gives Fans a Taste of New OSes
July 10, 2015
Apple on Thursday released to consumers a preview of the latest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems -- iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan -- which contain a number of new features, including a revamped two-factor authentication scheme. The latest release of iOS also contains two new smart folders. One collects selfies, and the other aggregates screen shots.
Gunpoder Malware Masquerades as Lesser Evil
July 9, 2015
Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 team on Tuesday published a report on Gunpoder, a family of Android malware that can evade detection scans by pretending to be adware. Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu authored the report. The team discovered the new Android malware last November. Its new report aims to spur cooperation within the security community to mount defenses against the threat.
Makulu 9 Aero Soars Above the Linux Distro Crowd
June 26, 2015
The special release of Makulu 9 Aero edition might seem like one flexible Linux offering too many. However, anyone hankering for a Windows-like operating system and the best of what is easy about using Linux could not make a better choice. The Linux OS is notorious for its great variety of distros. Linux is also infamous for having far too many choices.
Samsung Jams Up Windows Security Updates
June 25, 2015
Samsung has been disabling Windows updates by means of an executable file, Disable_Winduwsupdate.exe, that is part of its SW Update software. The issue came to light on Tuesday, when Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker published a blog post about his discovery when helping a user who was having problems. It seemed that Windows Update kept getting disabled.
Red Hat, Samsung Ramp Up Enterprise Mobility
June 24, 2015
Red Hat and Samsung Business Services on Tuesday announced a strategic alliance to deliver the next generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise. The alliance, announced at the Red Hat Summit 2015, combines the strengths of each company -- Samsung's mobile device portfolio and Red Hat's open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies.
Container Coalition Seeks Common Standard Creation
June 22, 2015
Docker and CoreOS on Monday announced the formation of a coalition of 21 industry leaders to create the Open Container Project, a nonprofit organization seeking minimal common standards for software containers for cloud storage. The two companies made the announcement on the opening day of Dockercon, a two-day conference covering all aspects of the Docker ecosystem.
Antergos Linux Lowers the Arch Barrier
June 18, 2015
Antergos is an Arch-based Linux distribution that offers six desktop choices. This is a distro that Linux tinkerers might well embrace, but it comes with a few more stumbling blocks than other Linux options, which could make it a less welcome alternative. Its developers created a cute logo that espouses the notion that Antergos is a distro "for everyone." In some ways, that is true.
Linux Foundation Beefs Up Scholarship Program
June 17, 2015
The Linux Foundation on Wednesday announced that it was more than doubling the number of scholarships to be awarded this year for Linux training. The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development. Its announcement opened the door for the submission of applications for the 2015 Linux Training Scholarship Program.
Can Android Give BlackBerry New Life?
June 16, 2015
BlackBerry could be considering equipping an upcoming smartphone with Google's Android operating system, Reuters reported last week. The move would be consistent with BlackBerry's strategy to focus on software and device management instead of handsets. Such a pivot would take the company away from its current strategy to regain lost market share with a new generation of BlackBerry smartphones.
antiX Linux Doesn't Fool Around
June 15, 2015
The antiX distro is both something old and something new. It is a handy and innovative approach to keeping aging computers fast and active. It is also an energy infuser for new computers. I started playing around with antiX when looking for something different to keep some older computers out of the trash heap. antiX is a fast, lightweight distro that is easy to install.
Patch Tuesday Sunset Will Be a Mixed Bag for Windows Security
June 11, 2015
Microsoft will phase out Patch Tuesday -- its monthly potpourri of software product fixes -- when it rolls out Windows 10, which could be a mixed bag for the operating system's security. Patches will be applied automatically as they're ready. That means users no longer will have to wait until the second Tuesday in the month to secure their systems from potentially troublesome vulnerabilities.
Apple Gives Open Source a Swift 2 Kick
June 10, 2015
Apple this week announced Swift 2 and said it would open-source it later this year. Swift 2 is a programming language for iOS, OS X and watchOS. It has a new error-handling model. Two new features in Objective-C -- nullability annotations and generics -- make Swift 2 work better with Apple SDKs. Swift is "a modern language where memory management is internalized," said IDC's Al Hilwa.
Cisco, IBM Bet Big on OpenStack
June 9, 2015
OpenStack, a free and open source cloud controller package that has been struggling to gain acceptance in the enterprise, took a giant stride forward when IBM and Cisco opened up their wallets last week. IBM announced it would buy hosted OpenStack private cloud provider Blue Box Cloud. Cisco announced plans to purchase Piston Cloud Computing, developer of the CloudOS operating system.
Apple Music Steals WWDC's Scattershot Show
June 9, 2015
To cap off Monday's wide-ranging keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced a three-pronged music initiative -- a streaming service, a live radio broadcast station, and an app that lets artists connect with fans. "Music is such an important part of our lives and our culture," Cook said, showing off Apple's famous "one more thing" slide.
The Best Unsung Features of Windows 10
June 8, 2015
There are things about working with large companies that can be really frustrating. For instance, when both Windows Vista and Windows 8 were coming to market, a number of us pointed out that things needed to be fixed before the product was released, but we were ignored, with catastrophic results. This time, however, Windows 10 is looking better than any OS I've ever reviewed.
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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.