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Barcelona Opts for Breath of Open Source Fresh Air
January 20, 2018
Barcelona city officials have voted to shut the door on Microsoft Windows in favor of the Linux operating system and open source technology. The city hopes to save money from proprietary software license fees and to build a specialized library of open source applications targeting the needs of government workers. Its goal is to encourage specialized open source solutions throughout governmental agencies in Spain.
CES 2018: Spare Human Bodies, a $54K HTC Simulator and Intel's People-Chopping Cuisinart
January 15, 2018
OK, I hate CES. It really is a horrible event, largely because of the timing -- and particularly this year, Las Vegas making it a nightmare to get around -- but man did they have cool stuff at the show. Among presentation highlights were Nvidia showcasing a whopping 65-inch gaming monitor TV. Lowlights included Intel showcasing a human-carrying drone as something out of a horror movie.
FOSS Community Struggles to Patch Against Spectre, Meltdown Flaws
January 13, 2018
Many in the open source community worked feverishly this week to respond to heightened fears that software updates to fix the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities would put millions of computers at risk of slowdowns or even total disability. Updated kernels were released for mitigation of Meltdown variant 3, or CVE-2017-5754, for X86-64 architecture, said Canonical VP Dean Henrichsmeyer.
Intel, Microsoft, Google Scramble for Solutions as Patches Slow Systems
January 12, 2018
Major tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft and Google, scrambled to calm the mood this week after a large number of computer users reported performance problems linked to security updates for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. A firestorm of criticism has erupted over the response to the chip flaws, which researchers at Google's Project Zero discovered in 2016.
GeckoLinux: A Polished Distro Just Got Smoother
January 11, 2018
GeckoLinux offers both seasoned users and new distro adopters an easy way to try an openSuse-based spin that is loaded with features and an ample inventory of the leading Linux desktops. The developer released a major update of GeckoLinux earlier this week. I enjoyed testing the beta version last fall, and I was even more pleased with the added embellishments packed into this final version.
With Linux, You Don't Get One Kernel of Truth... You Get Many
January 9, 2018
As much as I love to poke at the inner workings of my computer, I'll admit that until recently, I didn't give much thought to which version of the Linux kernel my desktop system was running. For most desktop users, this isn't all that odd. Compatibility of kernel modules is often critical for servers and production systems, but day-to-day desktop usage doesn't change much from update to update.
3 Critical Things Sales Can Learn From IT
January 9, 2018
If you're in sales, it's likely there are people you want to talk to, and others you may go out of your way to avoid. You might be excited to talk to the CMO -- or not so excited -- based on the leads you recently worked. You might avoid the people from finance, but you might enjoy conversing with your comp plan administrator. However, there's one group of people you may never even consider.
New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center
January 5, 2018
A renowned Linux innovator has developed a new mobile operating system, called "Project eelo," in an effort to provide a level of data privacy that traditional Android and iOS devices fail to offer. The new eelo system will allow mobile phone users to regain control over their personal information at a price they can afford, said Gael Duval, who created Mandrake Linux back in 1998.
Ominous Processor Vulnerabilities Could Put Most Computers at Risk
January 4, 2018
Nearly a dozen cybersecurity researchers this week reported two potentially serious exploits of vulnerabilities that exist in most modern processors. Three teams independently discovered and reported the Meltdown exploit. Two teams independently discovered and reported the Spectre exploit. The Meltdown and Spectre exploits could used to capture sensitive information on devices.
Massive Intel Chip Security Flaw Threatens Computers
January 3, 2018
A design flaw in all Intel chips produced in the last decade is responsible for a vulnerability that puts Linux, Windows and macOS-powered computers at risk, according to multiple press reports. The flaw reportedly is in the kernel that controls the chip performance, allowing commonly used programs to access the contents and layout of a computer's protected kernel memory areas.
SoftMaker for Linux Is a Solid Microsoft Office Alternative
December 27, 2017
SoftMaker Office could be a first-class professional-strength replacement for Microsoft Office on the Linux desktop. The Linux OS has its share of lightweight word processors and a few nearly worthy standalone spreadsheet apps, but very few high-end integrated office suites exist for Linux users. Generally, Linux office suites lack a really solid slide presentation creation tool.
Full Disclosure Applies to Internal Security Too
December 21, 2017
If you've been keeping up with the news, you've probably noticed a few recent reports about companies that may have been a little less than candid about security issues. For example, we recently learned that Uber experienced a breach in 2016. As we've also learned from subsequent press reports, the company may have paid the attacker to remain silent about that breach instead of acknowledging it publicly and openly.
Microsoft Gives Productivity Tools More AI Chops
December 15, 2017
Microsoft has announced new AI features and functionality for several of its flagship products and services. Harry Shum, EVP of Microsoft AI and Research, recently demonstrated some of the new capabilities. Building on the progress the company has made in integrating AI over the past year, the new enhancements are designed to help users perform increasingly complex and complicated tasks.
Data Modeling Is Key in New Customer Insight Platform
December 15, 2017
Heap has introduced a new feature set for its autonomous customer insight platform. Non-destructive data modeling allows users to define and model new insights without touching the raw data structure, resulting in faster iteration and speeding up productivity. Virtual event definitions let users retroactively update metrics on the fly wherever they are used.
Creatives Not Likely to Blanch at iMac Pro's $5K Price
December 13, 2017
Apple will release a professional version of its all-in-one iMac desktop computer with a $5,000 price tag on Thursday. Up to now, all-in-one computers in general and iMacs in particular have been seen as stylish offerings for home and family, but Apple has changed that in a big way with the iMac Pro. Apple has given the Pro workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O -- all without increasing the size of the iMac.
Oops... Some HP Laptops Shipped With Hidden Keylogger
December 12, 2017
Some HP laptops users came with a preinstalled program to capture the keystrokes of users, a security researcher recently discovered. The researcher, Michael Myng aka "ZwClose," discovered the keylogger software while trying to solve a keyboard problem for a friend. The software is turned off by default. After Myng contacted HP about the program, it quickly released a patch to get rid of it.
If You're Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way
December 12, 2017
Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure. ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux, which is a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.
The Tech Wars of 2018
December 11, 2017
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.
Qualcomm Unveils Powerful New Snapdragon SoC
December 8, 2017
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, an SoC built for immersive multimedia experiences including extended reality, on-device AI and high-speed connectivity. The SoC will power next-generation Android flagship smartphones and Windows 10 notebooks based on ARM architecture. Xiaomi reportedly will use it in its forthcoming Mi 7 flagship, to be released next year.
New Open Platform Helps Enterprises Manage Their Own Cloud Services
December 6, 2017
CoreOS on Tuesday announced the release of Tectonic 1.8, a Kubernetes container management platform. Tectonic enables enterprises to deploy key automation infrastructure components that function like managed cloud services without cloud vendor lock-in. The CoreOS Open Cloud Services Catalog offers an alternative to cloud vendors' proprietary services and APIs.
Quantum Key Distribution Gets a Speed Boost
November 30, 2017
A method for scrambling data to protect it from the super powerful computers of the future has received a speed boost from a team of researchers from Duke and Ohio State universities and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The method uses quantum key distribution to guard data from prying eyes. The problem in the past with the technology is it's slow. Transfer speeds typically are measured in kilobits per second.
CPQ's Other Life
November 30, 2017
Configure, Price, Quote systems have a name problem. When they debuted, their basic functions gave a name to the category that was self-explanatory, and it fit well. As with any good idea in technology, however, frequent use brought with it demand for more functionality that quickly outstripped the technology's charter -- a happy problem.
Major Players Roll Up Sleeves to Solve Open Source Licensing Problems
November 30, 2017
Four big tech players this week moved to improve their handling of open source software licensing violations. Red Hat, Google, Facebook and IBM said they would apply error standards in GNU GPLv3 to all of their open source licensing, even licenses granted under older GPL agreements. "This will make everything consistent with GPLv3," said IP attorney Lawrence Rosen.
MacOS High Sierra Flaw Creates High Anxiety
November 29, 2017
Apple has released a security update to fix a serious flaw revealed via Twitter. The patch is available for macOS High Sierra 10.13.1. macOS 10.12.6 and earlier versions aren't affected. "This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and, starting later today, it will be immediately automatically installed on all systems running MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1," Apple said.
New AWS Platform Promises Fast AR, VR, 3D Development
November 29, 2017
AWS has announced Amazon Sumerian, a new Web-based platform to help developers quickly design and deploy VR, AR and 3D applications. The platform lets developers build realistic VR, AR or 3D environments, populate them with animated characters and 3D objects, and create scripts to determine how they interact with users of a particular application and with each other.
Which Is Best for You: iPhone 8, iPhone X or Galaxy S8?
November 20, 2017
Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system hit the marketplace one decade ago. Ten years later, there's still plenty of debate over which is better. I've lately been asked which of three new flagship phones is better: Apple's iPhone 8, its iPhone X, or Samsung's new Galaxy S8, which runs Google Android? Smartphones have gone through some remarkable changes over the years.
MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds
November 16, 2017
MX Linux-17 Beta 1 is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian's "stable" branch. It is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. Normally, taking a first look at an early phase beta release means taking a few hours to get familiar with the features and performance. If too many glitches appear, it can doom the early release to a negative review.
New Firefox Runs Like a Rabbit
November 15, 2017
New version releases of browsers don't get the buzz they used to get, but Firefox Quantum is an exception. The latest version of the Mozilla Foundation's browser, released Tuesday, is all about performance. Firefox is twice as fast as it was a year ago, Mozilla claimed. It is not only fast on startup -- it remains zippy even when taxed by multitudes of tabs.
Take Linux and Run With It
November 14, 2017
"How do you run an operating system?" may seem like a simple question, since most of us are accustomed to turning on our computers and seeing our system spin up. However, this common model is only one way of running an operating system. As one of Linux's greatest strengths is versatility, Linux offers the most methods and environments for running it.
IBM Adds 2 New Processors to Quantum Computing Ecosystem
November 13, 2017
IBM on Friday announced 20-qubit and 50-qubit quantum processors for its IBM Q early-access commercial systems. The 20-qubit processor -- featuring improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity and packaging -- has coherence times of 90 microseconds, which allows high-fidelity quantum operations, IBM said. The 50-qubit processor is an operational prototype.
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Will Facebook be able to fix social media's biggest problems?
Yes, its return to emphasizing close relationships is a good start.
No, its efforts aren't sincere -- it only cares about its bottom line.
Yes, but only through a huge, sustained education effort.
No, people -- not the platform -- are the problem.
Yes, the problems are wildly exaggerated -- there's not much to fix.
No, and it's too big to fail, so the problems will only get worse.