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Opinion

Supply chain attack hits Mac users of HandBrake video converter app

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 4:04pm

Hackers compromised a download server for HandBrake, a popular open-source program for converting video files, and used it to distribute a macOS version of the application that contained malware.

The HandBrake development team posted a security warning on the project's website and support forum on Saturday, alerting Mac users who downloaded and installed the program from May 2 to May 6 to check their computers for malware.

The attackers compromised only a download mirror hosted under download.handbrake.fr, with the primary download server remaining unaffected. Because of this, users who downloaded HandBrake-1.0.7.dmg during the period in question have a 50/50 chance of having received a malicious version of the file, the HandBreak team said.

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Categories: Opinion

Microsoft's Surface Pro 5 won't appear before a 'meaningful change'

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 3:24pm

The latest rumors about the so-called Surface Pro 5 appear to be just that, based on recent statements from Microsoft’s hardware chief. Despite the Surface Pro 4 launching well over 18 months ago, if Microsoft’s working on a new tablet as expected, it seems likely to be a simple refresh of the current model.

Speaking with CNET, Microsoft hardware chief Panos Panay said the company doesn’t plan to produce the expected Surface Pro 5 until there’s a way to make “meaningful change” in the product. Panay warns that doesn’t necessarily mean Microsoft’s waiting for some amazing new processor—which Intel’s current Kaby Lake is not, compared to the Skylake chip already in the Surface Pro 4.

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Categories: Opinion

Android Wear 2.0 finally arrives on Huawei Watch as slow rollout continues

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 3:22pm

Android Wear 2.0 has already been out for a couple months, but it’s been slow to catch on. The new 2.0 watches leave quite a bit to be desired, and the update has been slow to reach some of the most popular devices. But we can finally cross one of our favorites off the list.

Owners of the original Huawei Watch can now load up the newest version of Android Wear on their wrists. Over the weekend, the update began rolling out to devices that were running the Android Wear 2.0 developer’s preview, and now the full over-the-air version is being pushed to all users.

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Categories: Opinion

Lowe’s now offers inexpensive professional monitoring with its Iris smart home service

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 2:00pm

Here’s a smart-home spin on a familiar philosophical question: If an alarm goes off in an empty house where there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

If you want your smart home system to also provide home security, having a third party that can contact emergency responders on your behalf is an essential feature. If a burglar breaks in or a fire breaks out while you’re away from home, a local siren will provide little protection. If it’s loud enough, it might convince the thief to beat a hasty retreat, but it will do nothing to prevent your house from burning down.

Lowe's

The second-generation Lowe's by Iris smart home hub.

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Categories: Opinion

Harman Kardon teases the Invoke speaker, a Cortana-powered Echo competitor

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 1:47pm

Harman Kardon’s Invoke speaker, the Microsoft Cortana-powered answer to the Google Home and Amazon Echo, will ship this fall according to a preview page with the first official images of the tabletop device.

Though pricing hasn’t yet been revealed, Harman Kardon said that the Invoke will perform three major tasks: make and receive calls with Skype, control popular music services like Microsoft Groove, and “get things done” with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.

Microsoft said it would team up last year with Harman Kardon as part of a new Internet of Things initiative powered by Cortana. Though the initial partnership was expected inside connected cars, it appears both companies will leap into homes first. Harman was showing off the new Invoke on a preview page on its website that's since be unpublished, inviting potential buyers to sign up. Thurrott.com first noted the page earlier. 

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Categories: Opinion

HP to scale up its 3D printer business for use in mass manufacturing

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 1:01pm

After announcing its first revenue from sales, HP Inc. today said it is now focused on scaling up its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing business that it believes will rival standard manufacturing technologies, such as injection molding.

While HP is planning some direct sales of its new Jet Fusion printer lineup, the vast majority of the machines will be sold through about 30 resellers in North America and Europe, where the company is focusing its attention.

HP

What's interesting "is 80% of these channel partners are new for HP," Steven Nigro, president of HP's 3D Printing business, said during a press and analyst briefing on Friday.

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Categories: Opinion

Email, email, in the cloud

CIO.com - Opinion - May 8, 2017 - 11:45am

As my company continues to move enterprise applications to the cloud, the latest development presents a security opportunity. We are giving up our on-premises Microsoft Exchange email in favor of the Microsoft Office 365 service. With the transition, we might be able to curtail the common employee practice of communicating and storing sensitive business-related data in email.

Trouble Ticket

At issue: The company email system is moving to the cloud.

Action plan: Work with IT to make sure information is better secured after the change than it is now.

I am encouraging the IT organization to tighten security by implementing controls that were either not available in our on-premises deployment or never implemented. The first order of business is a cleanup of accounts and distribution lists. We have hundreds of email-enabled distribution lists, and too many of them are available to the world. We should be able to cut down the number of lists and set rules about who can use them.

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Categories: Opinion

Computer forensics follows the bread crumbs left by perpetrators

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 11:36am

The boss gets tipped off that an employee might be leaving the company and in so doing is trying to grab as many clients as possible to take with him to his new job. The company brings in computer forensic specialists to look through the employee’s actions online to find the evidence before confronting the employee.

Alfred Demirjian, president and CEO of computer forensic company TechFusion, has seen that and many other scenarios in the 30 years he has been in the business--anything from an employee sabotaging a former company through hijacking an email account to misusing the internet on company time. Commercial software allows his company to dig deep into an employee’s social media postings and texts, or to track them by GPS if they have a company-owned smartphone.

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Categories: Opinion

Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 11:00am

If you hate waiting for your smartphone to charge, relief is coming soon.

After some hiccups, Qualcomm's superfast charging technology, called Quick Charge 4, will be in smartphones around the middle of this year.

Qualcomm says Quick Charge 4 is one of the fastest smartphone battery technologies. It can charge a smartphone up to 50 percent in less than 15 minutes, or give enough juice for five hours of talk time in five minutes, the chip maker claims.

The new charging technology is about 20 percent faster than its predecessor, Quick Charge 3, which is in many smartphones from Sony, LG, HTC and Motorola.

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Categories: Opinion

Bridgestone modernizes data center, hauls out 13 tons of copper wire

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 11:00am

In October 1968, Lyndon Johnson was president, the Beatles released Hey Jude, and computer scientist Douglas Engelbart presented the "Mother of All Demos."

It was also the year tire-making giant Bridgestone Corp. opened a data center in Akron, Ohio. If walls could talk, this data center could tell the story of IT.

That center opened on Oct. 9, 1968, with racks and racks of tapes and a water-cooled mainframe. Today, it is the home of systems supporting an almost completely virtualized environment.

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Categories: Opinion

Azure, AI, JavaScript headline Microsoft Build 2017

CIO.com - News - May 8, 2017 - 11:00am

At its Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle this week, Microsoft will put its Azure cloud and Windows 10 front and center with sessions ranging from cloud services to artificial intelligence to programming languages.

The company will provide a road map for the Azure Compute platform and discuss how to use the cloud service for continuous delivery. Brendan Burns, co-founder of the Kubernetes container orchestration platform and the lead on Azure Container Services, will talk about containers redefining how reliable cloud systems are built, while another session will cover Windows Communication Foundation microservices in Windows containers for use on Azure. Build will also feature a session on linkage between the Node.js JavaScript platform and Azure.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: One day wearables will save your marriage

CIO.com - Opinion - May 8, 2017 - 1:34am

There is a current global surge in popularity of the use of “wearables” for various health and fitness applications. The beeping of fitness watches and devices is the ever-present soundtrack to gyms and tarmac these days as people embrace the information age.

Recently, intensive research has examined the use of biometric data in prediction models for human interactions.

Potentially, you could wear a device on your wrist that could warn you that you were about to have a fight, and consequently suggest appropriate responses. Problems arise in most marriages usually due to some form of miscommunication.

These wearable devices alert the individual of rising emotional responses using physiological data and thus can provide a point of intervention by either party. For example, as your temper rises because your spouse has left his socks on the floor, your device vibrates in response to your rising heart rate and issues a message to take a deep breath. This could essentially stop arguments before they occur and remove the pressure of conflict resolution.

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Categories: Opinion

Why your next business phone will be an Amazon Echo

CIO.com - Opinion - May 6, 2017 - 12:00pm

"The phone is already dead."

That's what Microsoft visionary and HoloLens honcho Alex Kipman said this week.

The "phone call is making a comeback."

That's what one tech publication said this week, based in part on wishful thinking by MIT egghead and Reclaiming Conversation author Sherry Turkle.

Could both be true?

The answer is yes. Phones are definitely dead. Phone calls are forever. But the reasons why may surprise you.

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Categories: Opinion

Email dump hits French candidate Macron ahead of election

CIO.com - News - May 6, 2017 - 1:59am

Another political campaign has been hit by an email dump. This time, the target is French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

On Friday, his campaign said a massive and coordinated hack had breached the email inboxes of several staffers. This came after a mysterious user named “EMLEAKS” apparently dumped the stolen data through torrent files on text storage site Pastebin.

It’s unclear if the information in the dump is genuine. Allegedly, the dump contains a 9GB trove of emails and photos. The torrent files, which were hosted on Archive.org, are no longer available there.

But Macron’s campaign said the leaked files have been spreading over social media as the country prepares to vote for a new president on Sunday.

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Categories: Opinion

Patch to fix Intel-based PCs with enterprise bug rolls out next week

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 9:46pm

Next week, PC vendors will start rolling out patches that fix a severe vulnerability found in certain Intel-based business systems, including laptops, making them easier to hack.   

Intel on Friday released a new notice urging clients to take steps to secure their systems.

The chipmaker has also released a downloadable tool that can help IT administrators and users discover whether a machine they own has the vulnerability.

In addition, vendors including Fujitsu, HP, and Lenovo have released lists showing which products are affected and when the patches will roll out. 

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Categories: Opinion

We've gotten our first look at an Echo with a built-in screen, and it's straight out of 2005

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 8:55pm

Alexa is poised for a major breakout. Over the past few months, Amazon’s AI assistant has expanded to the iPhone in the Amazon app, Android with the Huawei Mate 9, and gotten a camera upgrade with the fashion-minded Echo Look. But a new leak suggests Amazon has even bigger plans for Alexa.

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Categories: Opinion

Java modular battle heats up as Oracle criticizes Red Hat, IBM

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 7:06pm

Amidst a budding controversy surrounding the module system planned for Java, Oracle’s chief Java architect, Mark Reinhold, lashed out today at Red Hat and IBM’s opposition, saying the companies are just guarding their own self interests.

In an open letter to the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Commitee published Friday morning, Reinhold was highly critical of the two rival vendors. The current disagreement centers on Java Specification Request 376, which focuses on the module system featured as part of Project Jigsaw. Red Hat Mid­dle­ware ini­tially agreed to the goals and re­quire­ments of the JSR, but then worked con­sis­tently to un­der­mine them, Reinhold said.

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Categories: Opinion

Chromebook shipments surge by 38 percent, cutting into Windows 10 PCs

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 6:55pm

In a slowing PC market, Chromebooks siphoned market share away from Windows PCs in 2016 as their popularity grew outside the education market.

Chromebook shipments grew by a stunning 38 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Gartner estimated 9.4 million Chromebooks shipped, compared to 6.8 million units in 2015.

The number is just a fraction of overall PC shipments, but growth came in an otherwise down PC market. Overall PC shipments in 2016 were about 270 million units, a decline of about 6.2 percent, according to Gartner.

Looking forward, 2016 may go down as the best year ever for Chromebook shipment growth. Gartner is estimating shipments to continue growing in the coming years but at a slower pace.

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Categories: Opinion

Android device updates: T-Mobile sends out a fix for the Galaxy S8, S8+ red screen

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 5:47pm

The few Galaxy S8 and S8+ models that were seeing red shouldn’t do so for much longer. T-Mobile is the first to push out a fix for the strange tint that appeared on some users’ new phones.

It was a busy week for updates on other fronts, with the monthly patch out for Google’s devices and Nougat hitting a few more Samsung phones.

Each week, we round up all the major software updates to hit the Android ecosystem, including phones and tablets on U.S. carriers, unlocked phones, smartwatches, and Android TV devices. Make sure your device is running the latest available software so you can enjoy new features—and fewer bugs and security holes.

T-Mobile

Galaxy S8, S8+: Samsung has no room to play with fire (it never gets old) when it comes to a problem with its smartphones. So when some users reported a strange, red tint on the screen the company went into overdrive on a fix. After first rolling out in Korea, it’s now hitting stateside. T-Mobile has detailed an update for the S8 and S8+ that adds in two options to tweak the display color. Samsung says this should fix the issue, otherwise you may be able to get a replacement phone if you’re still unsatisfied.

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Categories: Opinion

Motorola could be working on a killer new feature for a tablet that no one will want to buy

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 5:31pm

Unsurprisingly, the Android tablet market on the decline. You don’t have to be an analyst to see that usage is dramatically down, and a new report confirms that very fact. But that’s not stopping Motorola from trying to resuscitate it.

According to Android Police, Motorola is working on a new Moto tablet, it’s first in a number of years. And according to a screenshot it received from a source, the tablet isn’t just another run-of-the-mill 10-inch affair with a metal-and-glass build. It might include a cool new feature that could actually make you want to buy one.

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Categories: Opinion

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