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Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

Strong and stable: The iOS security guide

4 hours 16 min ago

Apple’s smartphones are highly secure, but if your private or enterprise data matters to you, it’s essential to ensure your iPhone (or iPad) is as secure as possible.

Why security matters

Just because almost all mobile malware targets Android doesn’t mean iPhone users can be complacent.

Quite the reverse:

We need to be even more alert in case attackers use complacency against us. What follows are a few simple tips to help you secure your iPhone (and iPad).

There’s no way to deny that iPhones are in the ascendant, particularly in enterprise IT. Beyond business, you’ll see them used by educators, doctors, police and politicians and in each one of those cases the information on those smartphones is confidential and must not be abused.

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IDG Contributor Network: Critical updates to IE and Flash for November Patch Tuesday

6 hours 37 min ago

November brings a relatively light series of updates from Microsoft. We see a return to form, with Microsoft releasing another critical update to Adobe Flash and several critical patches to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge. Office and Windows platforms (desktop and server) have less severe reported exposures with no reported critical updates for November. Unfortunately, there are already a few reported deployment issues with the Windows updates, with the follow patch-related Knowledge Base (KB) issues reported by Microsoft:

  • 4048952, 4048954, 4048953 (Windows 10 1511, 1607, 1703) : Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications that use JavaScript and asm.js may stop working after installing KB4041676. Internet Explorer 11 users who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) may not be able to scroll through a drop-down menu using the scroll bar.
  • 4048958, 4048961 (Windows 8.x and Server 2012) : Users may see an error dialog that indicates that an application exception has occurred when closing some applications. This can affect applications that use mshtml.dll to load web content.
  • 4048957 , 4048960 (Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 SP1) : Users may see an error dialog that indicates that an application exception has occurred when closing some applications. This can affect applications that use mshtml.dll to load web content. Internet Explorer 11 users who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) may not be able to scroll through a drop-down menu using the scroll bar.

This Patch Tuesday affects the following platforms:

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Patch alert: Microsoft acknowledges printer bug; forced 1709 upgrades continue

6 hours 46 min ago

The patches have been out for only a few days, but as best I as can tell at this early juncture, November’s Patch Tuesday bugs aren’t as bad as they were in October. Thank Redmond.

If you use an Epson dot matrix printer, if you’re seeing an error that CDPUserSvc has stopped working, or if you were forcibly upgraded from Win10 Creators Update, version 1703, to Fall Creators Update, version 1709, I have some good news and some bad news.

Dot matrix dissed

Microsoft has acknowledged a bug in its Patch Tuesday updates that causes “some Epson SIDM and Dot Matrix printers” to fail. The bug appears in this month’s patches for every version of Windows:

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IDG Contributor Network: The big unspoken problem with digital assistants

6 hours 57 min ago

AI-driven digital assistants are fast becoming our way to interfacing with everything.  We largely had them in our phones first, then in our homes, but they are coming in our cars, and they are appearing in our offices.   Each of these AI virtual assistants is learning with increasing efficiency what we like, what we want, how to anticipate our needs, and, eventually, how to best make us happy.  But the big unspoken problem emerging is that each of these things is largely an entirely separate system with virtually no sharing of common information or consistency of experience. 

Let’s talk about why that is a problem.  

We are complex but consistent

Having separate interfaces for every machine we worked with made sense before we had intelligence in these systems.  Having the same controls for a blender as you’d have for a tank would have created problems in both the kitchen and the battlefield (though I can imagine a bender targeting a male demographic that might have sold rather well if it had a cannon and trigger).  

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Review: The iPhone X is the best phone for business, period.

9 hours 18 min ago

Ten years ago, the original iPhone ushered in a new world for mobile computing and sparked the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement at work. Soon after it arrived, iPhones were showing up everywhere in the office, forcing companies to quickly scramble to figure out how to manage them.

Michael DeAgonia

The iPhone X, with its distinctive "notch" at the top and the inky blacks of an OLED display.

That sleek (and deceptively simple) device not only debuted a new touchscreen that would radically change how people interact with technology, it also shook up carrier control, set a new target for Apple’s competitors to aim for and created a platform for countless mobile app developers. Oh, and it eventually gave birth to a highly successful tablet boom with the iPad.

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Now THAT'S a job interview!

9 hours 52 min ago

It's the 1990s, and this network admin pilot fish is being interviewed for a job at a manufacturing plant -- and he's curious about who he'll be replacing.

"After interviewing with a few managers, I found out that the current network admin was actually hired to be a programmer, though he had a very extensive background in PC repair and had network certification," fish says.

"They called the network admin and he came to the interview room and took me on a tour. That included a visit to the computer room, where he showed me they had 10 rather large servers. I noticed none of them had brand logos on them, and I asked who manufactured them. He laughed and said he built them -- and my jaw dropped as he explained why."

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10 ways we’ll move beyond the keyboard

9 hours 52 min ago
Communication evolution

Image by Thinkstock

Since the very first days of the computer age we’ve been tinkering with how, exactly, we talk with our machines. The traditional keyboard and mouse have had a long run, but the touchscreens that now dominate mobile devices won’t be the last word. Cozy up with your old-fashioned touchpad and mouse and settle in for a leisurely scroll through the future of input devices.

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10 blockchain startups and how they can help your enterprise

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 21:00
10 blockchain startups and how they can help your enterprise

Image by Peter Sayer/IDG

Barely a day goes by, it seems, without another blockchain startup announcing a round of venture capital investment or, increasingly, an "initial coin offering" – an unregulated way of raising funds that relies on cryptocurrency, not contract law, to record investors' stakes.

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Microsoft grants enterprises 6 more months of support for Windows 10 1511

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 20:33

Microsoft has reversed the retirement of Windows 10 version 1511, extending support for the 2015 feature upgrade by six months for commercial customers.

"To help some early enterprise adopters that are still finishing their transition to Windows as a service, we will be providing a supplemental servicing package for Windows 10, version 1511, for an additional six months, until April 2018," said Michael Niehaus, director of product marketing for Windows, in a post to a company blog.

The additional support, which Niehaus indicated would be limited to patches for security vulnerabilities rated "Critical" or "Important" -- Microsoft's two top categories in its four-level system -- will be distributed "via all normal channels," including Windows Update, Windows Server Update Service (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and the for-manual-download Microsoft Update catalog.

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IDG Contributor Network: How 5G will spur remote collaboration

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 19:35

People have long dreamed of using broadband communication to reduce business travel, consult with distant specialists, and narrow the opportunity gap between urban and rural communities.

To be sure, broadband communication has not yet delivered everything it promises, but it has had a dramatic impact. Webinars and online document sharing are now common.

5G wireless could turn out to be a catalyst for taking broadband service to the next level, enabling higher speeds, ubiquitous access (from the office, home, and while mobile), and a new generation of remote collaboration features.

Lessons from false starts

The first forays into videoconferencing and telecommuting did not live up to expectations. During the 1970s, there was much excitement about end-to-end digital phone networks based on ISDN (integrated services digital network). The AT&T Picturephone was supposed to make video calling routine. It never achieved a critical mass of users.

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How to turn Google Assistant into a powerful list-making machine

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 17:46

If there's one thing I've learned about Google Assistant since its debut, it's that some of the service's most useful features are the ones that require a little bit of effort to set up.

Sure, Assistant can do all sorts of handy stuff out of the box — like perform calculations and conversions, provide weather and traffic updates, and give up-to-the-minute information on almost anything imaginable. It can send messages, play music, and control your Android device in numerous ways. But those are all things Android has long been able to handle by way of Google's former Voice Search system. Assistant basically just repackaged and rebranded them.

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Facebook's Workplace takes off with 7,000 users at Virgin Atlantic

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 16:44

The nature of Virgin Atlantic’s business means many of its workers are continuously on the move around the globe. Ensuring effective communications channels – a challenge for any company – isn’t easy: nearly half of the airline’s 10,000 employees are cabin or cockpit crew members.

Two months ago, the airline rolled out Facebook’s Workplace, the business version of the social network tool, in a bid to improve information-sharing between staff and senior execs. It currently functions primarily as an intranet for internal communications, though the company plans to integrate the software with other apps and processes, such as ServiceNow, eventually.

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7 things you’ll want to try first with your Apple Watch

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 14:53

Black Friday is coming and lots of Apple fans will probably search for cut price deals on the popular Apple Watch and its vast medley of straps. Here are some of the first things you’ll want to do with the Apple wearable (other than set it up, of course).

Use Apple Pay

Apple Pay on the watch is one of those things that may not sound like much, but the simple convenience of being able to wriggle your wrist to pay public transit charges, buy groceries, or make other small payments quickly becomes something you don’t want to be without. Not only is it safer to use than pulling out your card or iPhone in a crowded place, but you are far less likely to accidentally leave it behind.

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Throwback Thursday: Circular filing

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 11:00

This company's email system has a 200 MB limit for mailboxes -- but not for the "deleted items" folder, says a pilot fish tasked with saving space on the system.

"More than one person had set up elaborately nested folders in their deleted items where they happily had 5 or 6 GB of mail," fish says.

"They had heart attacks when we said we were going to automatically dump anything in there more than two weeks old. We had meetings, conference calls and anguished emails all waiting for us the next day.

"In the end, we had to give classes in how to set up actual archiving, and then had to manually move their data for them before we could finally empty the trash.

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40 Chromebook tips for maximum productivity

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 11:00

Chromebooks may be all about simplicity, but don't be fooled: Beneath their intuitive outer layer lies a web of advanced options. And you don't have to be a power user to embrace it.

Make your way through these 40 tips, and you'll be zipping around Chrome OS like a pro in no time.

Getting around Chrome OS

1. The Chrome OS launcher — the app-drawer-like interface that appears when you tap the Search key or hit the circle icon in the lower-left corner of the screen — is actually a powerful universal search tool. Just start typing as soon as it appears, and you can find and open apps, pull up websites and even get answers to specific questions right then and there.

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Microsoft forces Win10 1703 customers onto 1709, and other Patch Tuesday shenanigans

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 18:52

Another massive outpouring of Microsoft patches yesterday — more than 1,100 separate patches — brought a few surprises and shouts of indignation from a forced but unannounced upgrade. Some bugs are already evident, and there’s a storm brewing over one Office patch. But by and large, if you don’t use Internet Explorer or Edge, it’s a non-event.

Every version of Windows got patched yesterday (Win10 1709, Win10 1703, Win10 1607, Win10 1511 Enterprise, Win10 1507 LTSC, Win 8.1, Win RT 8.1, Win 7, plus Server 2016, 2012 R2, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008). Almost every version of Office (2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, plus 2013 and 2010 Click-to-Run). Plenty of miscellaneous, too: IE 11, 10, 9 and Edge, Flash for all, SharePoint Server, the ChakraCore package, and various .Nets including ASP.NET. The good news? Unless you use IE or Edge, there’s nothing pressing — you can sit back and watch the bugs crawling out of the woodwork.

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Blockchain-as-a-service allows enterprises test distributed ledger technology

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:40

As enterprises look to deploy distributed ledgers, the industry's largest IT providers have launched blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS), offering a way to test the nascent technology without the cost or risk of deploying it in-house.

The BaaS offerings could help companies who don't want to build out new infrastructure or try to find in-house developers, which are in hot demand.

"The thing to be thinking about is that we're still in the early innings of this blockchain wave," said Bill Fearnley Jr., IDC's research director for Worldwide Blockchain Strategies. "There are very few people with multiple years of deep, hands-on experience."

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11% off August Smart Lock Pro With Connect Bundle - Deal Alert

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 14:46

With August Smart Lock Pro, you can lock and unlock your door, control keyless access, and keep track of who comes and goes, all from your phone. The 24/7 activity log means you’re always in the know. With your phone in your pocket, simply open the door and you’re in your home. Heading out? August Smart Lock Pro will also automatically lock the door behind you after you leave. The smart lock currently averages 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where the list price on the Lock and Connect Bundle has been reduced 11% to $249.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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Lock it down: The macOS security guide

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 14:11

Malware is everywhere, and Macs are not immune. You can ignore the potential threat if you choose, but if you are an enterprise user holding confidential data, an educator in possession of private data, or even a Bitcoin collector who maybe clicked a few too many links on one of those dodgy faucet websites, you should know how to secure your Mac.

First, some common sense security tips

Before we get into some of the security technology inside your Mac (including a wide range of security improvements in High Sierra) it is important to point out that the biggest threat your computer faces is the person using it. Cyber attackers are highly sophisticated and can piece together lots of information about you or companies associated with you by simply getting a little more data a little at a time. Make it hard for those people by following simple tips, including:

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Wireless IT is harder than it looks? Who knew?

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:00

Flashback to the days when this midsize tech vendor is selling turnkey business systems to lumberyards, and a pilot fish working there is about to get a new assignment.

"One day, my manager stopped by my desk with a handheld RF terminal," says fish. "He wanted me to write a program for it to do physical inventory for a customer. The device had a 4-line LCD display and a small alphanumeric keypad.

"I went into the computer room and connected the base unit to a serial port on our PDP-8 minicomputer. Then I took the handheld and checked the signal in various parts of the building."

Turns out the signal range is about 200 feet, but there's a problem: The building's aluminum studs create dead spots where fish can't maintain a connection.

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