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ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

Google will shut down Fusion Tables
Google is shutting down its Fusion Tables cloud service, a Google Drive option that offered an easy way to create online visualizations, especially maps. Google announced today that the service will end on Dec. 3, 2019, and "maps using the Fusion Tables Layer in the Maps JavaScript API v3.37 will start to see errors in August 2019." 

The news once again highlights the risks of relying on "free" cloud services from for-profit private companies.

"Mapserver, Geoserver, PostGIS, GEOS, and all the other open source software you were using 9 years ago when Google Fusion Tables was the new hotness are still available will not be shut down next year," taunted open-source advocate Paul Ramsey on Twitter.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

What's in the latest Firefox update? Mozilla looks over users' shoulders, suggests tools and add-ons
Mozilla released Firefox 64 for Windows, macOS and Linux with an embedded recommendation system that spotlights features and suggests specific add-ons based on how users work the browser and where they steer it on the web.

Engineers also patched 11 vulnerabilities in Firefox. Two were marked "Critical," Mozilla's highest threat ranking. "Some of these bugs showed evidence of memory corruption and we presume that with enough effort that some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code," Mozilla said in the advisory posted to the web.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

Microsoft Teams gains ground on Slack
Two years after its launch, Microsoft Teams is outpacing team chat rival Slack - largely thanks to Teams' free availability as part of Office 365 subscriptions. That's according to a survey of 900 IT decision makers in North America and Europe conducted by Spiceworks. 

The results indicate that Teams is now the second most popular business chat app and is used by 21% of respondents, up from 3% in a similar Spiceworks survey in 2016. That ranks it ahead of third-place Slack, the popular standalone team chat tool in use by 15% of businesses polled. (That represents a slight increase from 13% in 2016.)

[ Related: Microsoft Teams: Its features, how it compares to Slack and other rivals] The most popular tool is another Microsoft app, Skype for Business. It's used by 44% of surveyed businesses, up from 36% two years ago. Another rival, Google Hangouts (now Google Hangouts Chat), meanwhile, saw use drop to 11%, from 16% two years ago. Facebook's Workplace remained at 1%, while stats for Cisco's Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark) were not provided. 

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

5 reasons to remain skeptical about 5G in 2019
Have you heard? Some vaguely defined but super-snazzy-sounding thing called 5G is, like, totally coming to knock your socks off any second now. It's gonna speed up your phone, revolutionize your productivity, and probably even lower your cholesterol.

Okay, so maybe some of that is pure poppycock. But you know what? So is the very idea that 5G is anything an average person should get excited about — or consider adopting — in the coming year.

You'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. After all, the mobile tech marketing machine has been revving up considerably over these past few weeks, pushing out all sorts of spectacular-sounding narratives about how 5G is going to change the way we work, live, and lather. (Again, at least one of those items is my own nonsensical creation, but I'd argue that all of them are equally absurd.)

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

Will 2019 be the year of the Mac?
iPhone maker Apple makes lots of other products, including Macs, and the next 12 months could see some of the strongest Mac sales for some time as millions of aging Windows machines still used in enterprise IT are upgraded to a more advanced computing platform.

Time for the iPhone halo First there was the Mac halo, then the iPod came along, which created its own halo and built interest in iPhones. Then Apple broke into the enterprise with iPad. History repeats itself. In 2019, the halo returns to the Mac.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

Review: 4 wireless chargers for both smartphone and watch
While there may be more than a dozen multi-device wireless chargers technically available now, most do not charge both smart watches and smartphones - and most of the companies who make them could not actually provide units for review since they're bring offered through crowdfunding projects.

As a result, we're limiting this review to multi-device chargers from three stalwart companies and a start-up that promptly shipped over a review unit.

[ Further reading: Wireless charging explained: What is it and how does it work? ] Samsung's Wireless Charger Duo IDG Samsung's Wireless Charger Duo.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 11, 2018

And that was actually the CLEAN version!
It's more than a few years back, and this oilfield services company is implementing a new email filter, says a pilot fish working there.

"It was part of an email security product," fish says. "The filter could identify emails containing language that was not considered business appropriate.

"We'd had HR incidents involving inappropriate language in the past, especially from field hands emailing to office staff -- it gave a new meaning to 'crude oil workers' -- so it was decided we should enable the feature with its default settings and give it a run.

"Only a few hours later we received an alert that a message had been identified with inappropriate language.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 10, 2018

Innovative anti-phishing app comes to iPhones
We're always told never to click on a link we receive in an email in case doing so takes us to some dodgy phishing site where our account details are violated, but what if our email app warned us before we clicked malicious links?

Can this app offer you protection? MetaCert isn't fully available yet, but it does seem to be a promising solution that provides email users in enterprise and consumer markets an additional line of defence against clicking on malicious links received in email messages.

The solution emerged from the developer's earlier work building an API to help app developers add a layer of security to WebView.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 10, 2018

Patch Tuesday's coming; make sure you have Windows Update shut off and stop seeking!
I've seen a couple of verified reports that Microsoft is now pushing the newly revised Win10 September-October-November-December 2018 Update, version 1809, on "seekers." Be aware that Microsoft, once again, interprets a click on "Check for updates," as giving carte blanche to install whatever is in the kettle.

Double, double toil and trouble

If you'd rather not offer your machine for the ol' eye of newt and toe of frog treatment, there are some quick and easy steps you should take right now to make sure your machine will withstand Patch Tuesday's onslaught.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 10, 2018

Real estate blockchain set to go live in early '19
New York-based ShelterZoom plans to launch a real estate application that will lets buyers and sellers transact deals over a blockchain-based network, which could make purchasing a house as easy as pressing a button on a smartphone or tablet.

Set to go live in the first quarter of 2019, the application allows sellers, buyers and real estate reps to see all offers and acceptances in real time online. Real estate agents, along with clients, can also access property titles, mortgages, legal and home inspection documents through the Ethereum-based encrypted blockchain ledger.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 10, 2018

eBay's ApplePay stats show why mobile payments are struggling
When eBay recently started giving customers the option to move away from paying with PayPal — which eBay, of course, used to own — to other methods including ApplePay, something interesting happened: About 12% of all of the ApplePay-eligible shoppers (they own an ApplePay-capable mobile device) moved to ApplePay, according to figures released by eBay.

This is one of those stats that both shows continuing momentum for ApplePay and mobile payments in general (no Android option has been offered yet by eBay) and also illustrates the problem with moving ApplePay meaningfully beyond the 10%-12% of eligible users where it has been plateaued for a few years. OK, in this context, I could have been meaner and said "stuck."

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 10, 2018

Forbidden names, revisited
Flashback a few decades to the glory days of online service CompuServe, when anyone could get an account -- but not everyone could use their real names, according to a pilot fish in the know.

"You logged in with your account number, but to join a forum -- a chatroom focused on a specific topic -- you had to give a real name," fish says. "The name on your billing record was the default.

"Of course there were fraudsters who used an official-sounding name to phish people for personal info and credit card data. So users were not allowed to have words like 'billing' as any part of their in-forum real name. This could only be overridden by the forum sysop. I was one.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 08, 2018

With move to rebuild Edge atop Google's Chromium, Microsoft raises white flag in browser war
After a years-long pummeling, Microsoft this week surrendered in the browser war, saying that it will junk Edge's home-grown rendering engine and replace it with Blink, the engine that powers Google's Chrome.

With Edge pulling code from the Chromium project, the browser will also be able to run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as well as macOS.

[ Further reading: Google's Chromium browser explained ] "We intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers," wrote Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president in the Windows group, in a post to a company blog.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 07, 2018

Patching waters finally look calm; now is a good time to install the November Windows and Office patches
November's patches initially appeared relatively innocuous, with a few catastrophic problems in 64-bit Office 2010, which is a bit of a standing joke anyway.

As the month melted on, we saw a Win10 version 1803 second cumulative update, KB 4467682, that caused havoc, including blue screens on Surface Book 2 PCs, and customized Start Menu bugs (thx, Günter Born). Microsoft yanked it on Dec. 6 — no small consolation to those of you who install everything as soon as it's offered. Or even a week later.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 07, 2018

How iOS developers can build better apps
Things have changed in the iOS economy.

While it's still possible since the 2008 App Store launch for relatively inexperienced developers to create hit products, it's a lot less likely. And while you still get stories of young developers making it, for the most part it's all about the big dev firms.

I've been thinking about this for a bit, and thought I'd try to put together a few ideas that may help people thinking about making an iPhone or iPad app.

Start where you mean to finish If you haven't yet started building your software then App Store optimization may not be particularly high on your list of priorities, but given this is where you will end up once you build your app, I think it makes sense to consider this first, when you first imagine the idea for a new solution.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 07, 2018

Tech event calendar 2018-19: Upcoming shows, conferences and IT expos


Tech Events Event Description Starts Ends Location RStudio Conference 2019 Hadley Wickham hosts this conference on all things R and RStudio aimed at helping attendees become better at data science with R. 2019-01-15 2019-01-18 Austin, TX MWC Barcelona The original Mobile World Congress, now renamed MWC Barcelona, addresses a wide range of mobile topics, from AI to Digital Wellness, Digital Trust and connectivity in general. 2019-02-25 2019-02-28 Barcelona, Spain RSA Conference USA Expert-led sessions, keynotes and seminars covering the latest cybersecurity developments. 2019-03-04 2019-03-08 San Francisco, CA SXSW Covering everything from entertainment to entrepreneurship, this sprawling conference has tracks dedicated to Tech Industry & Enterprise, Coding & Development, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency, Health & Medtech, and VR/AR/MR. 2019-03-08 2019-03-17 Austin, TX

ComputerWorld
Dec 07, 2018

But hey, she sure interviewed well!
Project manager and IT director interview this contract programmer, and based on the contract shop's recommendation and a brief technical interview she's hired, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"She interviewed well, but unfortunately that's where her skills largely ended," fish says.

"Basic skills required for this job were C, SQL and Oracle's PL/SQL and Pro*C -- that's like C with embedded SQL. After struggling for a few days on her first assignment, she asked me, 'How do you open a file in C?'"

Fish hands her his copy of The C Programming Language and tells her to look up the fopen() function.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Windows 10: A guide to the updates
The launch of a big Windows 10 update like the October 2018 Update isn't the end of a process — it's really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we've summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the currently shipping version of Windows 10 — version 1809, known as the October 2018 Update — with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the October 2018 Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1803, known as the April 2018 Update; 1709, known as the Fall Creators Update; and finally updates to version 1703, known as the Creators Update. For each build, we've included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration guide
All good things must come to an end, and the reign of Windows 7 as an actively supported, good-enough operating system is no exception. While it may feel like you just finished the heavy lifting of migrating your Windows XP machines to Windows 7, it turns out that Windows 7 is now more than nine years old, at least two and a half versions behind Windows 10 (depending on whether you consider Windows 8.1 to be a version of Windows all its own), and approaching end of Microsoft support in 2020.

Creating and managing deployment groupsTo read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: Hell froze over: Microsoft moves Edge to Chromium
[Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.]

I'm reading a great book named The Darkest Eyes by Mick Brady. In it the female protagonist goes through a rift to enter an alternate reality to Atlantis and fight little green aliens. Pretty out there, I know…but yesterday when Microsoft told me they were moving to Chromium with Edge I thought I'd hit my head with the Crystal Skull from the story and either ended up in an alternative reality or had completely separated from reality (I'm pretty sure my wife would claim the latter). 

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

What's in the latest Chrome update?
Google this week boosted Chrome to version 71, the last refresh of 2018 and one that includes punitive measures against sites spewing what the search giant described as "abusive experiences."

Chrome 71 also patched 43 security vulnerabilities reported by outside researchers, who were paid $59,000 in finders' fees.

[ Related: How to replace Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 — and why you should ] Chrome updates in the background, so users can typically just relaunch the browser to install the latest. To manually update, select "About Google Chrome" from the Help menu under the vertical ellipsis at the upper right; the resulting tab either shows the browser has been updated or displays the download process before presenting a "Relaunch" button. New-to-Chrome users can download it from this Google site for Windows, macOS or Linux.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Nine weeks later, Microsoft resumes its ill-fated Win10 1809 rollout — but only for seekers
Microsoft released Win10 version 1809 — the Windows 10 September-October-November-December 2018 Update — to the unwashed masses back on Oct. 2. Four days later, in a flurry of major bugs including permanently deleted files, Microsoft yanked the bits. Then version 1809 reappeared five and a half weeks later, in build 17763.107, on Nov. 13. A few hours later, Microsoft released KB 4467708, which delivered the 1809 faithful to build 17763.134, and brought even more bugs.That's where we sat until last night.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

5 handy Google Fi features you shouldn't forget
Got Fi? Google's unusual wireless service may have shifted its name from Project Fi to Google Fi this fall, but its core proposition remains the same: Pay only for the data you use, and avoid all the traditional carrier gotchas and nonsense.

For the right kind of person, especially among those of us on Android, Fi can be a real cost- and hassle-saver. And aside from its most prominently promoted perks — the seamless network-switching, the public Wi-Fi use, the fee-free roaming and hotspot capabilities, and so on — Fi has some pretty interesting out-of-the-way options that can really elevate your experience.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Will Apple's iPhone replace your password?
Imagine using Face ID on your iPhone alongside a password and Touch ID on your computer in order to access highly secure websites, such as online banks, enterprise intranets and confidential online data services.

That's a possibility as Apple begins testing a new security standard called WebAuthn.

What is WebAuthn? Apple has begun beta-testing support for the standard in Safari Technology Preview Release 71, thought it does warn this support is an "experimental feature", so it may go no further than that.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Bin there, done that
It's a few years before the creation of eBay, and the IT shop where this pilot fish works is upgrading one of its oldest machines with external tape drives.

"In order to do this, we had to obtain a certain type of SCSI card that had been stopped being made many years ago," says fish. "Our supplier managed to get the cards for $35,000 in the back of a warehouse in Sweden, and they were the last of their type available."

When the packages arrive, one of fish's colleagues takes delivery of them. His desk is a mess, so he puts them on the floor right next to it.

Next morning, they're gone.

A quick search doesn't turn them up. But someone mentions seeing a janitor heading to the trash bin with two boxes. And the bin is scheduled to be emptied that day.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 06, 2018

Head-to-head: Apple iPad vs. Microsoft Surface Go for Business
Tablets have gotten more powerful over the years, but even top-tier 2-in-1s like Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's iPad Pro are still a step away from replacing laptops for many business users. They do provide a very attractive alternative to lugging around a notebook on business trips, but these flagship tablets start at anywhere from $650 to $900 and can easily climb to $1,500 or more after you configure them and add in the cost of a keyboard case and stylus. That kind of expense is hard to justify for a device that's secondary to the laptop a business worker needs for everyday use.

The Surface Pen adds $100. It's smaller than Apple's Pencil and magnetically sticks to the side of the tablet, making it harder to drop or lose. There are two buttons on the Pen: one on the side to right-click and one on top to open a favorite app. It takes about a minute to program any app to open when you press the button.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

Microsoft trash talks Windows 10 LTSC - again
Microsoft has again disparaged Windows 10 Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC), the OS feature-fixed version that most resembles the now-discarded traditional Windows maintenance model.

"All too often, I have seen strategic decisions about Windows 10 servicing options and the use of the Long-Term Servicing Channel driven by the wrong criteria, for example, IT professional familiarity prevailing over end user value and impact," John Wilcox, a Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) evangelist for Microsoft, complained in a post to company blog last week.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

BrandPost: BYD Auto Becoming a Leader in New Energy with the Best Data Storage System
On October 11, 2017, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) announced the 2017 Low Carbon Champions Awards. BYD UK - the London branch of BYD Auto - won the "Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle of the Year Award" and jointly won the "Grand Prix" - the top award - with Transport for London (TfL) and Go-Ahead London for their partnership in launching London's first two all-electric bus routes (507 and 521). This award specifically noted BYDs contribution in delivering the vehicles, operational capacity, and infrastructure for the London project. Founded in 1995, BYD engages in IT-related and automobile business for traditional fuel-powered vehicles and new energy vehicles. With 30 production centers established around the globe, BYD is the only vendor that owns both power battery and vehicle technologies in the new energy field.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

BrandPost: Huawei Constructs a Best-in-Class Optical Transport Network for ÖBB
Huawei deployed an Optical Transport Network (OTN) using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) for Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). DWDM technology enables 100Gbit/s performance and the ability to expand broadband network systems efficiently. Customized for ÖBB, Huawei's DWDM OTN products are now deployed at multiple sites across Austria and Germany.

One of the Most Reliable Railway Operators in Europe

One of Austria's leading rail transportation companies, the ÖBB group transports 459 million passengers and 115 million tons of goods per year. It is among the most reliable railway operators in Europe with a punctuality rate of 96 percent. More than 40,000 employees across the group ensure that nearly 1.3 million passengers reach their destination safely every day.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

BrandPost: Huawei Empowers Japan's CyberAgent to Build an IDN-Capable Cloud Data Center Network with All-Fixed Switches
Pioneer of Japanese Pan Entertainment

CyberAgent, Inc. is a well-known Internet company in Japan. It provides services in multiple fields, such as online communities, video on demand (VOD), gaming, advertising, and Internet venture capital. In 2018, revenue is expected to exceed US$3.8 billion. Gaming is an important growth engine. CyberAgent has seven major game titles and other several tens of smartphone games. An animated version of hit titles such as "GRANBLUE FANTASY" has been made to entertain users with the world of the game in different way. Media is a major investment area of CyberAgent, such as AbemaTV, a internet TV station which offers about 20 channels for free, and FRESH LIVE, a live streaming service with many celebrities and popular personalities.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

BrandPost: ETH Zurich relies on high-performance Wi-Fi from Huawei
World's Leading Technical and Natural Science University

The "Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule" or ETH in Zurich is one of the world's leading technical and natural science universities. It is an important place of study, research and work for around 19,800 students, including 4,000 PhD students from over 120 countries, with 510 professors and 9100 employees. The ETH was founded in 1855 and was a driving force for the industrialization of Switzerland. In total, the ETH has produced 32 Nobel Prize winners (including Albert Einstein). At ETH, students find an environment that promotes independent thinking, and researchers enjoy a climate that inspires excellence. In the heart of Europe and with a worldwide network, ETH Zurich is developing solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow. ETH is regularly placed in international rankings as one of the world's best universities and the leading university in continental Europe. In 2017, ETH reached 10th place in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

BrandPost: ICBC (Asia) Leverages Cutting-edge Technology to Drive Cross-border Financial Upgrades and Development
Cross-border finance has become a new growth point of ICBC (Asia)

Cross-border finance is developing rapidly thanks to the opening up of China's capital market, opportunities brought by "Belt and Road Initiative", and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Take Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) as an example. ICBC (Asia) started its cross-border RMB business in 2013. By the end of 2017, the bank had established partnership with more than 500 enterprise customers, supported the settlement of near 20 currencies, processed more than CNY36 trillion RMB settlement, had more than CNY30 billion total deposit, and achieved double-digit growth in relevant businesses.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

iOS 12 is now installed on nearly 3 out of 4 iDevices
Apple's iOS 12 is now installed on 72% of iPhones, iPads and iPods that are four years old or newer - and 70% of all iDevices, according to data from the company's App Support webpage.

iOS 12 has seen some of the fastest user adoption in recent years, and surpassed iOS 11 just two and a half weeks of its release in mid-September. At that time (Oct. 5), iOS 12 had already been installed on 47% of iDevices.

iOS 11 is now on only 21% of all iDevices.

Apple Before iOS 12's launch on Sept. 17, iOS 11 was running on 85% of iPhones and iPads, according to Apple's developer support page.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

8 Gmail tips for Mac users
I think many Mac users continue using Google's free Gmail service.

Here are some tips that may improve your experience when using the ad company's free email service through a browser on your Mac.

You can use drag-&-drop Gmail on the web works like most apps on your Mac, which means you can drag-&-drop almost anything into the composition window and it will be attached to the message you are writing.

You can do this using Finder if you like, but you can also drag directly using the application icon at the top left of the item name.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

Microsoft, acknowledging Win10 1803 update blue screens, offers limited remediation
Microsoft has long had problems with its second monthly cumulative updates. In recent months, we've seen a string of bad "non-security" second monthly updates, which are pushed out the Windows Update chute without any external testing.

As @b notes on AskWoody, Microsoft has published a full mea culpa, along with some sound (but not very helpful) advice:

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

Blockchain: What's it good for? Absolutely nothing, report finds
In a joint report for the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Technology conference this fall, researchers who studied 43 blockchain use cases came to the conclusion that all underdelivered on claims.

And, when they reached out to several blockchain providers about project results, the silence was deafening. "Not one was willing to share data," the researchers said in their blog post.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 05, 2018

Just like clockwork
Flashback to the days when this programmer pilot fish is working on system software for a large vendor that makes large computers -- and one of the thorniest problems is knowing what time it is.

"At the time, the system time-of-day clock was actually a calculation," says fish. "It was the date and time when the system was initialized, plus the time that the machine had been running.

"Since every system initialized slightly differently, this code was rewritten every time we built a new system. For about three systems in a row, the time-running variable was defined as an integer instead of a real.

"We would go through months of debugging in-house and customer testing, then declare victory and ship the system.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

Microsoft gets explicit about Windows 10 upgrade blockers
Microsoft now warns customers of specific bugs and compatibility problems that prevent it - at least temporarily - from offering Windows 10 PCs the latest feature upgrade.

After Microsoft re-released the October 2018 Update - labeled 1809 in the company's yymm format - on Nov. 13, it expanded the section titled "Current status of Windows, version 1809, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server, version 1809" on the definitive Windows 10 update history support page, adding more information about blockers.

[ Related: The best places to find Windows 10 ISOs ] Five blockers currently stymy installation of 1809 to, among others, PCs running a pair of Trend Micro security packages and machines relying on new Intel display drivers. Rather than offer 1809 to such systems, Microsoft simply refuses to give them the upgrade.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

Google Fi (aka Project Fi): The complete FAQ
Google Fi may sound like some weird sort of initiation ritual ("Whoa, what happened to Rick? I heard he got Googlefied!") — but if you can get past its silly-sounding name, the recently rebranded wireless service can both save you money and step up your smartphone security situation.

Make no mistake about it: Google Fi — known as Project Fi up until last week — is a pretty unusual proposition. And it absolutely won't make sense for everyone. If you fall into a certain style of smartphone usage, though, it can eliminate a lot of the downsides that typically come with a traditional wireless plan.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: Why 5G will be disruptive
Every next-generation mobile phone standard is greeted by some skepticism. Fifth-generation technology has certainly endured its share. Critics say it's just a collection of incremental improvements, is being used as an excuse to restrict competition (for instance, by banning Chinese vendors from the US market), and will drive up prices.

However, in a report published by my company in collaboration with Rysavy Research, we conclude that   5G is uniquely positioned to enable new products, services, and business models. While no next-generation technology is a panacea, 5G's flexible and scalable architecture comes with expansive new spectrum and rules easing the deployment of small cells. That's a powerful combination.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

12 Siri tips you'll wish you'd used before
Everybody likes to learn a few tips that will save them time, so I've identified a dozen things Siri will do for you that you may never have come across before.

Talk on your speaker phone Working on something and you need to call a friend? Open Siri up and ask it "Hey Siri, call (your friend) on speaker". Siri will dial your contact and launch the conversation using your speakerphone.

This is just as useful in the office as it is in the kitchen.

Siri will Find that iPhone Mislaid your iPhone? Ask Siri, "Find my iPhone" and your smart assistant will show you a list of all the devices you own, asking you "Which model"? Choose the relevant model and Siri will let you play a loud sound on your mislaid device.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

Win10 version 1809 gets yet another jolt, fourth KB 4469342 now runs build 17763.168
Those of you in the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring were treated to yet another patch yesterday. This latest KB 4469342 (the fourth version to bear the same name) brings the Windows 10 September-October-November-(checks calendar)-December 2018 Update to build 17763.168.

Seriously, Microsoft's doing the Right Thing with this incarnation of the Win10 SOND 2018 Update. It's being held in the shop until it's ready for prime time. Heaven only knows when that will be, but as far as I'm concerned, the longer the better.

Apparently the new KB 4469342 went out to Windows Insiders in the Release Preview Ring yesterday, Dec. 3. The ChangeWindows Timeline says build 17763.168 went out to both the Release Preview Ring and the Slow Ring, but that's not the case. As @abbodi86 notes, the new version is only available in the Release Preview Ring.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 04, 2018

The name that must not be, um, Skyped?
This pilot fish works in one of the fund-raising departments of a big university, and among the tools she needs to do her job is Skype on her home computer.

"I started the install," says fish. "You need to type in your first and last name before you can use the program.

"The software responded with a message, with Microsoft's logo and my email address at the top, followed by the headline Add details and the words We need a little more info before you can use this app.

"Then it told me the details it wanted in red: This name contains a word that isn't allowed. Please enter a different name.

"Part of my last name rhymes with thorn but begins with P. I had to misspell it in order to use the program."

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

Windows by the numbers: Windows 10 fails to unseat Windows 7
Windows 10 battled Windows 7 last month for the title of Most Popular Windows, but again failed to land enough blows to put its opponent on the canvas.

According to U.S. analytics company Net Applications, Windows 10 slipped one-tenth of a percentage point in user share during November, falling back to 38.1% of all PCs and 43.8% of those running Windows. (The second number is larger than the first because Windows does not power all personal computers; in November, Windows ran 87% of the world's systems. Most of the remainder ran macOS, Linux or Chrome OS.)

[ Related: Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration guide ] Meanwhile, Windows 7 lost five-tenths of a percentage point last month, just a third as much as in October. Windows 7 closed November on 38.9% of all personal computers and on 44.7% of all Windows PCs.

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ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

Microsoft's $480M HoloLens deal with US Army could boost AR adoption
Microsoft has won a $480 million contract to provide US Army soldiers with HoloLens devices for training and combat missions - a significant step forward in the adoption of augmented reality technology.

The deal is part of the army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System project, which aims to develop a headset that will increase "lethality, mobility, and situational awareness" for soldiers in action.

[ Further reading: How AR and VR will change enterprise mobility ] The devices used by the Army will differ from consumer versions of HoloLens and must be compatible with helmets already used by soldiers. Among the list of requirements are night vision, thermal sensing and concussion detection, as well as the ability to monitor and display an individual's heart and breathing rate.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: Project Fi changes name to Google Fi, but is it growing?
Google has been busy entering all three segments of the wireless industry with their Android OS, Pixel smartphones and Project Fi services. Three months ago, I wrote a column discussing Google's activity in the wireless space. Some of their effort is very successful. Others, not so much. So, let's take an updated look at Google in wireless and what to expect from them going forward.

We all know that Android is a hit. It is one of the big two wireless operating systems in the market today. Apple iOS is the other. In fact, Android is the OS that is behind most of the smartphones in the market today like Samsung Galaxy.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

Why it really doesn't matter if Apple is ‘late' to 5G
Apple knows how networks work. Think how the company managed to become dominant in mobile technology off the back of iTunes and the iPod. It knows tastes change, and it knows how to surf that change. At its best, this is what the company does.

Apple will go 5G when its ready It looks like the latest Apple critic group think we are going to endure across the next 12-18-months will be: "Apple is late to 5G".

The argument will be based on a smattering of hardware manufacturers sticking 5G inside of their devices a little earlier than most in the industry, even though the networks aren't ready, 5G services aren't really available, and (last time I looked) the standard isn't even complete yet.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

Why we love recommendations
This first-time manager in IT hires a new member for his team, but the new guy doesn't work out well, reports a pilot fish who's also on the team.

"That was despite the fact that he had received glowing references from his peers and prior employers," fish says. "In one of our bull sessions, the manager complained about those inaccurate references."

Fish finally gets tired of hearing the naive complaints and decides to clue him in. "Look, only an idiot would give someone as a reference who would speak poorly of them," he points out. "Remember that!

"And for all you know, that 'professional reference' could be a good personal friend of the candidate who doesn't mind saying the candidate is a great worker when they're actually a complete slacker.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Dec 03, 2018

Review: G Suite gets an AI boost
Google added a handful of new features to G Suite this summer, mostly AI-driven upgrades focused on collaboration. According to the company, G Suite users spend nearly three-quarters of their time creating and communicating with colleagues, so many of the recent updates are focused on helping these users save time when working together.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

ComputerWorld
Dec 02, 2018

Top web browsers 2018: IE and Edge catch a break - and their breath
Microsoft's browsers last month staved off decline for the first time since June, managing to hold on to their share of the market even as Mozilla watched more users desert Firefox.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, Internet Explorer's and Edge's share rallied in November, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point to close the month at 13.9%. The boost to Microsoft's browser fortunes came entirely from the if-not-obsolete-then-certainly-creaky IE, which scratched back to 9.6%. Edge, the default for Windows 10 and the browser Microsoft has pinned hopes to, remained flat at 4.2%, the same ground it occupied in October.

[ Further reading: How to replace Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 — and why you should ] The rise of IE was ironic, since Microsoft long ago demoted the browser, saying it was suitable only for the soon-to-be-retired Windows 7 and for Windows 10, as a legacy stop-gap. Microsoft stopped improving or enhancing the browser, specifically IE11, in early 2016. Since then, the Redmond, Wash. company has only serviced the browser with security updates.

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ComputerWorld
Dec 01, 2018

It's time for BYOF (bring your own Fi)
Google Fi, a mobile service aimed at consumers, is potentially one of the best things that ever happened to businesses and enterprises.

I'll tell you why in a minute. But first, I'll tell you what's good about Fi generally, and also what's new.

Why Fi? Google Fi is not for everybody — or every business. It's an odd service, by which I mean that it's very different.

Google Fi, which launched as Project Fi in April 2015, is a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, which means that it rebrands and resells mobile phone services.

Google Fi-supporting phones have special software and antennas that automatically switch between U.S. domestic carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular) and Wi-Fi on the fly, depending on signal strength.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 30, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft Surface Headphones help mitigate the distractions of horrible open plan offices
 [Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.]

Dan Lyons' new book "Lab Rats:  How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us" makes it pretty clear how awful the new trend toward open plan offices is. Originally, people believed open office plans would be a significant improvement to the previous (and horrible) approach to office design - the dreaded cubicle. Which is ironic, given that the originator of the cubicle hated what his creation had become.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 30, 2018

How an iPad can help if you get sick at sea
What happens if you get sick at sea? For a good example of how telemedicine can help even the smallest and most remote communities, I spoke with Alaska Maritime Physicians (AMP) to find out how it provides medical assistance to people at sea.

Worse things happen at sea The company is working with DrChrono to provide EHR solutions to its physicians, who use this in conjunction with iPads and iPhones to provide treatment to patients remotely at sea. Doctors handle treatment, recovery and triage using Apple's technologies and DrChrono.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 30, 2018

Assist, redefined
It's a few decades back, and this applications programmer pilot fish accepts a job at a company that provides support for insurance companies. But he won't be writing applications -- he'll be in system software.

"I was there about three weeks when my manager assigned me to assist the applications group in reviewing tapes created as part of a modernization project," says fish.

"They had giant Rolodex-like drums of four-by-six-inch cards with individual home and business ratings. The project to move them to an online system was being mandated by the client insurance companies who funded this company."

The applications support group is apparently too busy to work on the project, so fish starts working with the user community.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 30, 2018

Amazon launches patient data-mining service to assist docs
Amazon this week announced its latest data analytics product, one aimed at scouring unstructured data within electronic medical records (EMRs) to offer up insights that physicians can use to better treat patients.

Amazon's new Comprehend Medical AWS cloud service is a natural-language processing engine that purports to be able to read physician notes, patient prescriptions, audio interview transcripts, and pathology and radiology reports - and use machine learning algorithms to spit out relevant medical information to healthcare providers.

[ Further reading: A.I. and speech advances bring virtual assistants to work ] Amazon's Comprehend Medical software service is one of 13 new machine learning software products the company announced on Tuesday.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 29, 2018

How to replace Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 — and why you should
Don't like the Windows 10 Microsoft Edge browser? You're not alone. Only 11% of all Windows 10 users ran Edge as their main browser as of October 2018, down from 24% about two years before then, reports Computerworld's Gregg Keizer.

Still, that's a lot of people running the browser, and many of them might run it only because Microsoft has made it the Windows 10 default. You might be one of them. There's no doubt Edge has been an improvement over Internet Explorer. But it may not be improvement enough.

In this article, I'll outline the reasons you may want to switch from Edge to Chrome, Firefox, Opera or another browser, and then show how you can replace Edge with any browser of your choice as your default.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 29, 2018

FAQ: Windows 10 LTSB explained
Windows 10 powered to its third anniversary this year, but one branch, identified by the initials L-T-S-B, remained an enigma to most corporate users.

LTSB, which stands for "Long-term Servicing Branch," was among the pillars of Windows 10 in the months leading up to, and for months after, the mid-2015 roll-out of the operating system. For a time, it seemed that it had a shot at becoming the Windows 10 for enterprise because it was seen as a calm port in a storm of radical change.

[ Related: Fix Windows 10 problems with these free Microsoft tools ] That hasn't happened, in part because Microsoft has steered customers away from LTSB.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 29, 2018

Microsoft Patch Alert: After months of bad news, November's patching seems positively serene
By far the most important reason for this month's relative patching calm: Microsoft decided to wait and get the Windows 10 (version 1809) patch right instead of throwing offal against a wall and seeing what sticks.

[ Related: Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration guide ] What remains is a hodge-podge of Windows patches, some mis-identified .NET patches, a new Servicing Stack Update slowly taking form, a bunch of Office fixes - including two buggy patches that have been pulled and one that's been fixed - the usual array of Flash excuses and Preview patches.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 29, 2018

How to use your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement (Part 7)
If you're using your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement then it is reasonable to imagine you travel with the device. If you do, then you simply must ensure you put every form of protection you can in place to protect the valuable data on your Apple tablet.

Protection at the edge I can't stress enough how important it is to secure your devices - try searching Twitter for iPad security and see how many people accidentally leave their devices on trains and planes, not to mention the risk of theft.

You absolutely do not want to make it easy for others to access your personal information of confidential data simply because your iPad is left insecure.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Present company excepted
One of IT's jobs in this city government is to be the first-level gatekeepers of ergonomic policy, reports a support manager pilot fish there.

"When we set up PCs, we use the ergonomic trays and mouse decks under the tables to do it per the policies," fish says.

"All my support staffers are trained to set up workstations, and to refer any requests for nonconforming setups to our risk management division's safety technician."

That's not mere buck-passing. The safety technician has the training and certification needed to OK and document nonconforming setups. That way, if there's a resulting injury, the city is on record as having counseled the employee.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

About Computerworld's Best Places to Work in IT
What do IT workers want? Fair paychecks, challenging work and ample opportunities for growth, for starters. Our annual listing showcases the organizations that excel at keeping their employees engaged and loyal with compensation, training and access to hot technologies. The report is published every June.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2019 Best Places to Work in IT list. Deadline: Dec. 21, 2018. Nominate an organization now!

Nominate an organization for our 2018 Best Places to Work in IT list. The 2018 Best Places to Work in IT will be announced in June 2018.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Mozilla's 2017 expenses grew twice the rate of revenue
Mozilla's revenue in 2017 increased by 8% over the year prior but expenses shot up more than twice that, by 17%, during the same period.

Most of the $562 million in revenue for the Mozilla Foundation came from royalty payments, with the bulk of that generated from various deals struck for the default search engine spot in Firefox. Mozilla Foundation is the nonprofit that in turn runs Mozilla Corp., the commercial organization that creates and services the Firefox browser for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

[ Related: Get serious about privacy with the Epic, Brave and Tor browsers ] According to Mozilla's 2017 financial statement released on Tuesday, $539 million, or about 96% of all revenue, came from royalty payments. The percentage of revenue derived from royalties has never been under 91% - Mozilla's fortunes have always been tied to Firefox's search contracts - but 2017's portion was slightly lower than 2016's.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Review: Office 2019 is the best advertisement yet for Office 365
When Microsoft released Office 2019 for Windows this fall, it did so not with a bang, but a whisper. In years gone by, Microsoft typically trumpeted new Office releases with great fanfare and hoopla, but this time it released a blog post or two with few details and left it at that.

There's good reason for that: Microsoft is pushing Office 365, the subscription of version of Office, over the perpetual version of the suite. When you purchase a perpetual version of Office, such as Office 2016 or Office 2019, you pay a one-time fee for it and own it forever — and it never gets new features. That's in contrast to Office 365, which requires an ongoing subscription fee and is constantly updated with new features. It's clear that Microsoft wants people to move to Office 365, so it wants to draw as little attention as possible to any new perpetual Office release.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the Insider Preview builds
Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) started to roll out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, due to be released next spring. As it did with the October 2018 Update, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.

After years of using "Redstone" in its code names, Microsoft is changing it up with the next release, which is code-named "19H1" (for 2019, first half) rather than "Redstone 6." What follows is a list of every preview build of Windows 10 19H1, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release, a summary of what's in the build and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Apple puts its money where its mouth is for more women in tech
Apple is trying to do something positive to help end the gender gap in the technology industry with a new scheme to support women entrepreneurs building businesses around apps.

Making a difference Apple's Entrepreneur Camp will consist of an intensive technology lab, specialized support and ongoing mentoring.

It's open to firms with a working or prototype app that are founded or co-founded by females that also have at least one woman on the development team.

The company also states that it "believes that gender expression is a fundamental right" and welcomes "all women to apply to this program."

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

WeWork halts rollout of Alexa for Business
One of Amazon's flagship Alexa for Business customers - office rental company WeWork - has reportedly called time on its trial of the virtual assistant technology.

WeWork was highlighted as an early adopter of the technology when Alexa for Business was launched at Amazon's Re:Invent conference last year. Alexa for Business is a set of tools that allows central IT deployment and management of large numbers of Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo devices.

[ Related: Alexa for Business: What it does, how to use it] According to a CNBC report on Tuesday, WeWork's pilot project lasted only two months before the project was halted. The company, which provides co-working spaces, planned to install Echo devices in its rooms and develop Alexa 'skills' - standalone applications and integrations with backend systems - to allow members to control meeting room facilities, check whether a room is free and even request analytics to be read out.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Pixel Slate vs. Pixelbook: The productivity conundrum
So maybe you've heard: Google's got a new high-end Pixel product that's finally ready for us productivity-hunting primates to purchase.

The product is curiously tough to define. It's a tablet, but probably not like any other tablet you've used before. It's a laptop, but only kinda — and with a fair number of asterisks attached. And it doesn't run Android, exactly, though it does run Android apps and have an interface that'll feel awfully familiar if you've used a recent Android phone.

The product, as you no doubt know (you smart cookie, you), is the Pixel Slate — a convertible Chrome OS computing device that doubles as both a laptop and a tablet, provided you pick up its optional keyboard accessory. On paper, it almost seems like a more versatile version of Google's high-end Pixelbook, which is basically the same thing except with a display that swivels back instead of detaching completely.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

New cumulative updates for Win10 1803 and 1709 — and a taste of what might be right in 1809
We may be witnessing a Patch Festivus Miracle in the making. The powers-that-be in Redmond have slowed down the relentless pace of Win10 updates and, at least in the case of the latest version of the last version of Windows, we may actually see a responsibly vetted patch.

Yesterday, the "D Week" Tuesday in November, saw a mass of Win10 patches normally distributed during "C Week" — which fell over Thanksgiving in the U.S. Among the usual assortment of Win7, 8.1, .Net and other bug fixes, we saw two mainstream Win10 patches:

Win10 version 1803 — KB 4467682 brings the build up to 17134.441. Lots and lots of little bug fixes, plus a fix for the eye-popping filename association bug first publicized by Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek earlier this month. 1803 still shows two known issues: The SqlConnection exception in .Net, and the Seek Bar is broken in Windows Media Player. I think of the latter bug as just deserts for anybody who hasn't switched from Windows Media Player to VLC or Plex.

ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Sirin to launch its first blockchain-enabled smartphone
Swiss-based Sirin Labs plans to launch its first blockchain-enabled smartphone on Thursday; the device will give users a secure method to access cryptocurrency exchanges, store their digital currency offline and exchange encrypted communications with other users.

Announced earlier this year, Sirin's Finney smartphone will come with a built-in cold-storage crypto wallet for retaining bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens keys, including Sirin's own SRN token. The SRN token enables fast payments between blockchain network peers without the need for crypto mining (also known as feeless blockchain).

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

Sirin to ship its first blockchain-enabled smartphone
Swiss-based Sirin Labs plans to ship its first blockchain-enabled smartphone on Thursday; the device will give users a secure method to access cryptocurrency exchanges, store their digital currency offline and exchange encrypted communications with other users.

Announced earlier this year, Sirin's Finney smartphone will come with a built-in cold-storage crypto wallet for retaining bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens keys, including Sirin's own SRN token. The SRN token enables fast payments between blockchain network peers without the need for crypto mining (also known as feeless blockchain).

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

That bus rolls both ways
Programmer pilot fish's new boss calls an all-hands meeting so she can get to know the IT staff, which is spread across the country.

"We all flew in to meet in a hotel conference room," says fish. "The usual team-building 'trust' exercises occurred, and then we had one day to discuss events at each site.

"One of the new network admins mentioned that the server in the Southwest site was having problems, and from what he could tell it had never backed up."

New boss tells him to research backup options and focus on cloud-based solutions, then asks if anyone else has an idea.

Fish mentions that he knows the server only has 2TB of storage, and while the net admin is researching permanent solutions it would be a good idea to simply copy everything to a $100 4GB external USB drive.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 28, 2018

WhatsApp at work: Companies grapple with a popular ad hoc tool
Popular consumer technology often makes the jump from the personal to the professional. AOL Instant Messenger, the iPhone and Facebook, for example, started off as consumer apps and devices and quickly gained ground in the office.

More recently, WhatsApp, the messaging app now used by 1.5 billion people worldwide (and owned by Facebook) has been traveling that same path.

[ Related: 5 collaboration tools that enhance Microsoft Office ] A recent survey from UK-based analyst firm CCS Insights indicates WhatsApp is the most widely-used mobile app in the workplace, more prevalent than mobile versions of team chat apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. "It is one of the most successful and popular apps out there and that will naturally bleed over into the enterprise," said Nick McQuire, vice president for enterprise research at CCS Insights. The firsm surveyed 672 employees in the US and Europe.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

Office 365: A guide to the updates
Office 365 subscribers always have the latest version of Microsoft Office — currently Office 2016. They also get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office 2016 without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they're available. We're doing this for you, so you don't have to.

Following are key updates to Office 365 for Windows since Office 2016 was released in September 2015 — all the 2017 updates and the most important ones from 2016 and late 2015, with the latest releases shown first. We'll add info about new updates as they're rolled out.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

Microsoft's multi-factor authentication service flakes out - again
Just one day after Microsoft came clean with an explanation of a Nov. 19 outage that blocked users of Office 365 from logging into their accounts using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), today the service again went on the fritz.

"Starting at 14:25 UTC on 27 Nov 2018, customers using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) may experience intermittent issues signing into Azure resources, such as Azure Active Directory, when MFA is required by policy," read the Azure status dashboard. Two and a half hours later, the dashboard reported that after resolving a problem with an earlier DNS (Domain Name Service) issue, engineers rebooted the services. "They observed a decrease in the failure rate after the reboot cycles," the dashboard concluded.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

Microsoft cheat sheets: Dive into Windows and Office apps
Need to get up to speed on the latest features in Excel 2016? Wrestling with an old version of Word? Looking to get more out of Windows 10? Computerworld's cheat sheets are easy-to-use guides to help you navigate Microsoft's core productivity apps.

Here's a one-stop resource where you can find in-depth stories on several generations of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook for Windows, focusing on what's new in each major release. We've also got guides for SharePoint, OneNote, Microsoft Teams and Windows itself.

Microsoft's subscription-based office suite, Office 365, is continually updated with new features, and the company has just released Office 2019, its latest non-subscription office suite. We'll be publishing new cheat sheets to cover those products, but we're willing to bet that many companies and individuals will stay on older versions of the standalone software for some time to come. We've got you covered here.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

The definitive Windows 7 retirement timeline countdown
In about 400 days, Windows 7 will get the support guillotine.

Microsoft has set the end of general support - the kind that's free to all, and at this point exclusively patches to quash vulnerabilities - as Jan. 14, 2020. Customers have known that for years, what with Microsoft's once-traditional support policy.

But what happens before that date? Or after?

[ Related: Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration guide ] Computerworld used the year or so prior to Windows XP's retirement - that OS was Windows 7's predecessor as an enterprise linchpin - to assemble definite, likely and possible events on 7's calendar.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

How to use your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement (Part 6)
We've been looking at how to use an iPad Pro to replace a laptop for many tasks. In this chapter, we share several tips to help you be more productive with your Apple tablet.

Episode guide:

Part One: iPad Equipment Part Two: Keyboard, Typing, Shortcuts, and Dictation tips Part Three: How to multitask on iPad Pro Part Four: How to use Apple's Files app and tags Part Five: Useful utilities to help you get things done Part Six: iPad productivity tips Use the mouse iPads have a built-in mouse. There are two ways to access it:

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

New beta-test version of Win10 1809 arrives, and — mirabile dictu! — it's in the Release Preview ring
Two weeks ago we witnessed an amazing change in Microsoft's approach to patching Windows 10. For the first time, Microsoft pushed a test version of a cumulative update to Win10 1809 out through the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring — which is exactly why we have a Release Preview Ring. Yesterday, lightning struck twice, with Microsoft releasing a new version of KB 4469342 to the Insider Release Preview Ring, bringing the latest test build of Win10 1809 to 17763.167.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

Now THAT'S the old-school way to pull wire!
It's been a few years since Sharky passed along some tales of IT people recruiting animals to pull network wire through some inconvenient places -- but now one pilot fish may have found the grandaddy of them all.

"An 1884 story in the British journal The Electrician said that in the 1850s, most of the London telegraph wires were underground," says fish.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 27, 2018

Outlook 2016 cheat sheet
The pundits will have you believe email is being supplanted by texting, social media, chat apps like Slack, and direct communications software such as Skype and Google Hangouts Meet.

Don't believe them.

Email is still big, the mainstay of workplace communications as well as a popular way for people to keep in touch with friends and families. And for many people, email means Outlook. Although Microsoft has recently announced the availability of Office 2019 to commercial users, many businesses will stick with Office 2016 (and thus Outlook 2016) for some time to come — especially because the company is now saying that Office 2016 users can connect to Microsoft's online services until 2023.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

Windows Hello for Business: Next-gen authentication for Windows shops
Authentication: the act of proving one's identity to the satisfaction of some central authority. To most, this process means typing in a username and a password. It's been this way for years and years.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

Ohio becomes the first state to accept bitcoin for tax payments
Ohio this week began accepting bitcoin as a form of tax payment from businesses, making it the first U.S. state to do so.

The Ohio Treasurer's office said it is working to help make the state a national leader in blockchain, the underlying platform for bitcoin. Blockchain can be used for many different types of business transactions - from supply chain tracking to the creation of a mesh network for IoT devices.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: Amazon Echo sets the bar for the perfect PC, smartphone or tablet upgrade experience
Back in the 1990s I became concerned that it took way too long for someone to provision a new laptop.  What brought this to my attention was when Intel was recommending users get laptops every two years, arguing that the impact on productivity easily justified the cost.  I observed that the people doing the briefing had products that were 3-5 years old and asked, "if replacing a laptop every two years could be justified based on productivity gains, why don't you do it?" 

Delving deeper into this question, I found that a lot of Intel employees refused new laptops because it could take several days - sometimes up to a week! -  to get a new laptop provisioned and working correctly again.  Apple was kind of the gold standard, because migrations were far quicker and less annoying.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

Apple feels the tech transition heat
Supplier rumor in combination Apple's decision to stop revealing iPhone sales data may have hurt the company's notional market cap a little, but company watchers should think a little more deeply.

Is it business as usual? Numerous data points ostensibly emerging from inside the Apple supply chain seem to claim the company's iPhone sales aren't hitting targets.

Analysts were disappointed with iPhone sales figures (46.89m v predicted 47.5m), delighted with company revenues and Goldman Sachs cut its Apple price targets three times.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

What is Windows Hello? Microsoft's biometrics security system explained
Windows Hello is a biometrics-based technology that enables Windows 10 users to authenticate secure access to their devices, apps, online services and networks with just a fingerprint, iris scan or facial recognition. The sign-in mechanism is essentially an alternative to passwords and is widely considered to be a more user friendly, secure and reliable method to access critical devices, services and data than traditional logins using passwords.

"Windows Hello solves a few problems: security and inconvenience," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "Traditional passwords are unsafe as they are hard to remember, and therefore people either choose easy-to-guess passwords or write down their passwords."

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

IDG Contributor Network: AT&T, Verizon, mobile 5G and what's coming next in wireless
In the race to mobile 5G, it seems AT&T and Verizon are in it to be first. While I understand there is an honor that goes to the winner, in the scheme of things does it really make much of a difference to users? After all both Apple iPhone and Google Android compete and Apple is always later with 5G, by choice.

After all, over time, both AT&T and Verizon were tops in 2G, 3G and 4G. Will 5G be any different depending on who is first? I guess it has to do with bragging rights. So, let's take a closer look at what is available today and what's coming next.

The kick-off for this new game is that mobile 5G is already available today in some markets from AT&T Mobility. That will expand over coming years. However, if you want to use 5G services today, you may just be in luck if you are an AT&T Mobility customer in one of their newly upgrade markets.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

10 highly useful add-ins for Microsoft Office
The tools available in Microsoft Office are highly versatile, but sometimes you want to do something that Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook can't accommodate. Chances are good, though, that you can find an add-in that will give you that little extra something.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

ComputerWorld
Nov 26, 2018

See, this is how reputations are made
One division's database group at this Fortune 1000 company consists of a pilot fish and his manager -- except the manager isn't around.

"She was out for months, recovering from liver surgery, leaving me in charge," says fish.

"One day, an engineer I'd known for years came in with an urgent request for a special report. I pointed to my overflowing in-box and told him I'd probably get to it sometime tomorrow afternoon.

"Seeing his disappointment, I added slyly, '...but if you bribe me with donuts, I'll cut your work to the top of the pile.'

"I didn't think he'd take me seriously. But he thought about it for two seconds and said, 'Deal!'

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ComputerWorld
Nov 23, 2018

What Apple is doing in 2019
Silly season has hit us once again, and with every website offering some kind of take on Black Friday shopping posts I thought I'd sketch a few notes on some of the all-new Apple products and services I expect to learn more about in 2019.

What everyone knows We all know a little about the company's plans:

New iPhones, iMacs, waterproof AirPod 2's and more.

We can also imagine the introduction of some take on its long-awaited AirPower product (will it be called something different?) and it's an easy next step to suspect we might see some move toward true wireless energy supply, given its recent activity in that space.

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ComputerWorld
Nov 23, 2018

ThrowBlack Friday: Let me repeat that
At this retailer, the director in charge of stores decides that every time a store employee gets an email, a copy should automatically be sent to the employee's supervisor, reports an IT pilot fish working there.

"After many days of setting the autoforward feature on the mail server for each of our 120 store email accounts, it is now configured so that the low-level user's email is copied to the mid-level user, thus to the location manager and finally the regional manager," fish says.

"Complaints start immediately."

Store managers don't understand why they're suddenly getting two or three copies of each email sent to their store. Fish explains that the boss wants each manager to know what's going on in the store by getting copies of the emails.

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ComputerWorld
Nov 23, 2018

Will Cortana go the way of Windows Phone?
"Say goodbye, Cortana."

That might be what Microsoft is contemplating saying to its struggling digital assistant. Cortana, or at least Cortana as we know it today, could end up on the Microsoft scrap pile, next to Windows Phone. To which I say, "Good for you, Microsoft. You just might be starting to learn."

Cortana, as I said, has been struggling. It hasn't reached the mobile ubiquity of Apple's assistant, Siri, or made any headway into the booming market for smart speakers as have Amazon's Echo and Dot and Google Home. And it likely never will.

How far behind is Cortana? Reports this summer said that Amazon had sold 50 million smart speakers. Google's smart speaker sales have been surging as well. In fact, the analyst firm Canalys found that Google's smart speakers outsold Amazon's for the first time in the first quarter of 2018, selling 3.2 million units to Amazon's 2.5 million. Cortana? Sales of the only smart speaker with Cortana built into it, the Harman Kardon Invoke, were too small to measure. And although Apple is essentially a no-show in the smart speaker market, Siri is so popular on Apple's mobile devices it's essentially become a cultural touchstone.

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ComputerWorld
Nov 22, 2018

Gmail encryption: Everything you need to know
Encryption may sound like a subject best left to hackers and tinfoil hat wearers, but don't be fooled: It's a critical part of contemporary life and something that's important for everyone, especially business users, to understand. And one of the places where encryption is most relevant and misunderstood is in the realm of email.

If you're using Gmail for electronic communication — be it for business, for personal use, or a combination of the two — it's well worth your while to know how the service does and doesn't secure your information and what steps you can take to make sure you're getting the level of privacy you need.

Ready to dive in?

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ComputerWorld
Nov 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Just our way of saying thanks!
This software-based simulator is huge. It's more than a decade old. It's the division's cash cow. And the project to deliver a new version written in C is on track to miss its February delivery date by about four months, says a senior software engineer pilot fish.

Fish isn't on the six-engineer project team -- he's the company's expert on object-oriented design. But when his boss approaches, looking very apologetic, fish knows what's coming.

"I realize this type of work is beneath you," the boss says. "But you're the best person to get this program back on track. Would you mind doing mid-level engineer work for a few months?"

No problem, says fish, and dives in. Over the next few months, he redesigns several major components of the application and personally writes 20,000 lines of code, and the team delivers the system before Thanksgiving -- three months early.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 21, 2018

W. Va. says mobile voting via blockchain went smoothly
West Virginia officials say a mobile voting app based on blockchain technology successfully allowed absentee military members and their families living overseas to participate in this year's mid-term elections using only their smartphones.

The West Virginia Secretary of State's office estimated that 144 West Virginia absentee voters living in 30 different countries cast ballots using an application on approved mobile devices that records the ballots anonymously using blockchain.

[ Further reading: What is blockchain? The most disruptive tech in decades ] The state used the app, which was developed by Boston start-up Voatz, to allow  absentee voting by military members deployed overseas. The absentee voters would otherwise have had to submit paper absentee ballots via mail or vote over a land line telephone.

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ComputerWorld
Nov 21, 2018

Zoho customer service tools get AI, analytics updates
Zoho has added AI and analytics features to its CRM suite, part of a drive by the company to unify its sales, marketing and customer support apps.

Zoho CRM Plus was launched in 2014, bundling nine apps into what the company describes as its customer experience platform. 

[ Related: 7 Trello alternatives for visual task management ] Enhancements to several of its apps were unveiled last week, including Zoho's social media management tools and SalesIQ visitor tracking software, providing a single platform for all customer-facing staff. 

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 21, 2018

Apple's small Silk Labs purchase pushes A.I. to the edge
Apple's AI push into on-device machine learning continues, with news of its acquisition of Silk Labs breaking just as the U.S. heads into its annual holiday season.

The edge case for AI The Information states Apple quietly acquired Silk Labs earlier this year.

Apple's new purchase seems a good one.

The acquisition closely matches Apple's feelings about the need to put AI/machine intelligence at the edge. Devices must be smart enough to function when they are offline and secure enough not to damage the privacy of customers.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 21, 2018

Apple's small Silk Labs purchase pushes AI to the edge
Apple's AI push into on-device machine learning continues with news of its acquisition of Silk Labs breaking just as the U.S. heads into its annual holiday season.

The edge case for artificial intelligence (AI) The Information states Apple quietly acquired Silk Labs earlier this year.

Apple's new purchase seems a good one.

The acquisition closely matches Apple's feelings about the need to put AI/machine intelligence at the edge. Devices must be smart enough to function when they are offline and secure enough not to damage the privacy of customers.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 21, 2018

As usual, there's a simple explanation
IT manager pilot fish puts in an order with an internet provider to boost bandwidth and get a bigger block of IP addresses, and it looks like everything is running on rails.

"Forms were completed and everything was going smoothly," fish says. "I received a box with a modem on Monday as promised. I got it racked up and powered ahead of time.

"That way, when the ISP tech arrived on Wednesday afternoon, all he would really need to do is swing the connection from the old modem to the new one and call into the ISP's network operations center to have them assign the new IP block to the new modem. Then I could assign the IP addresses to our firewall."

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ComputerWorld
Nov 20, 2018

Useful R functions you might not know
Almost every R user knows about popular packages like dplyr and ggplot2. But with 10,000 packages on CRAN and yet more on GitHub, it's not always easy to unearth libraries with great R functions. One of the best way to find cool, new-to-you R code is to see what other useRs have discovered. So, I'm sharing a few of my discoveries -- and hope you'll share some of yours in return (contact info below).

Choose a ColorBrewer palette from an interactive app. Need a color scheme for a map or app? ColorBrewer is well known as a source for pre-configured palettes, and the RColorBrewer package imports those into R. But it's not always easy to remember what's available. The tmaptools package's palette_explorer creates an interactive application that shows you the possibilities.

To read this article in full, please click here



ComputerWorld
Nov 20, 2018

How to fix iCloud when it stops working
iCloud sits at the heart of the Apple user experience, connecting and syncing all our devices together and enabling a host of utterly essential tasks. That's why when iCloud goes wrong, it's good to follow this checklist of steps to try to make it better.

Is this thing on? The first thing to check when iCloud seems to stop working is Apple's own iCloud System Status page. This lists all the available iCloud services the company provides. If something here is marked as not working and relates to the problem you are experiencing then you should probably just wait for Apple to address it.

To read this article in full, please click here



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