All posts on January, 2017


Government

Silicon Valley Up in Arms Over Proposed H-1B Overhaul

Silicon Valley is in an uproar over a proposed new executive order that would overhaul existing foreign worker visa policies. The Trump administration’s goal apparently is to prioritize the hiring of American workers and change the way U.S. companies can recruit skilled professionals from other countries. Policy should “prioritize the protection of American workers,” the draft reportedly states.

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Malware

Hackers Targeted DC Police Cams Days Before Inauguration

A ransomware attack darkened the video surveillance system of the District of Columbia’s police department eight days before the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Video storage devices for 70 percent of the CCTV system reportedly were unable to record anything between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, as police techies scrambled to combat malicious software found on 123 of 187 networked video recorders.

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Tech Buzz

BlackBerry, Microsoft and the Ever-Smarter Connected Car

BlackBerry last week announced that its turnaround was finished, and Microsoft finally provided some information on its new connected car deliverables. One strange thing was that after CEO John Chen excitedly pointed out that BlackBerry had displaced Microsoft in Ford, he then announced a strategic initiative to work more closely with Microsoft on BlackBerry’s own market-leading QNX car OS.

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Emerging Tech

Apple Formally Joins High-Powered AI Partnership

The Partnership on AI has announced that Apple, well known for its culture of secrecy, has joined the organization as a founding member. The other founding members are Amazon, Facebook, Google/Deep Mind, IBM and Microsoft. The group also announced the final composition of its inaugural board of trustees. The group plans to announce additional details sometime after the board’s Feb. 3 meeting.

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Cybersecurity

Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks

President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.

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Customer Experience

Banking Customer Satisfaction Barometer Inches Up

Customer satisfaction with banking institutions improved last year, based on the annual Bank Satisfaction Barometer CFI Group released Thursday. Customers were more likely to remain loyal to their bank and even recommend it to others, according to the annual survey of bank customers across the United States. Banks improved their standing with customers and maintained stronger relationships.

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Consumer Security

Personalization, Simplicity Key to Smart Home Device Adoption

Continued innovation and messaging are crucial for smart safety and security device manufacturers that want to capitalize on new opportunities in the emerging Internet of Things. Early adopters of smart devices are often drawn to the innovative design and technological gadgetry. However, mass market adoption depends on clear and compelling value propositions that appeal to the masses.

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How To

Customizing a Computer? Here’s What You Need

There are plenty of reasons to build a custom computer. While custom computers may initially be more expensive than prepackaged desktops or laptops, they can provide you with nearly endless possibilities, whether you’re looking for a top-notch gaming machine, a system for mixing music, or the ideal choice for developing Web applications. Custom is the way to go for performance and flexibility.

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Developers

Asus Tinker Board Joins Raspberry Pi on the Bargain Table

Just when you thought Raspberry Pi couldn’t be knocked from its market-leading perch, along comes Asus with a rival device that may give the Pi a run for its relatively little money. Asus just launched its own low-cost computer, the Tinker Board, which is being sold in the UK and Europe for about $57. Its features could interest open source enthusiasts in doing a little comparison shopping.

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Government

New FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

President Donald Trump on Monday named Ajit Pai chairman of the FCC. Pai, who has been a Republican commissioner for the agency since 2012, replaced Tom Wheeler, whom President Obama appointed to the top post in late 2013. With the new administration, Republicans gain the expected majority of the commission. Pai has been known to be a foe of former President Barack Obama’s Net neutrality rules.

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Enterprise Security

The Old Man and the Tsunami: A Security Story

There’s a folk-story that all Japanese schoolchildren learn about an old man who lives in a village by the sea. One day, an earthquake hits. He’s the only person in the village to realize that a tsunami will soon follow. He hurries to the nearby mountainside where the rice for the village is grown and sets the entire harvest aflame. All of the villagers race to the mountainside to deal with the conflagration — their rice is their most precious resource.

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Tech Buzz

The US Press Corps vs. Trump: A Teachable Moment

Life is about negotiation. We negotiate our relationships — including marriage, which is a contract that many don’t take seriously. We negotiate our jobs, and we negotiate our interactions with our families. Those who are good at this tend to have relatively happy lives. While they don’t get everything they might want, they get more than most. When things degrade into wars, both sides lose.

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Reviews

FastComputer: Fussy but Fixable

FastComputer Linux is a disappointing experience that almost fails. It is poorly designed, has little community support, and lacks its own home base and identity, all of which contribute to an identity crisis. Its home — on Sourceforge.com — lacks much in attractiveness, as does the distro. The Linux OS offers developers and users choice among desktop options and OS standards.

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Hacking

Yahoo and the Year of Living Dangerously

If there is a lesson to be drawn from Internet search giant Yahoo’s hellish past year, it is a grimly illustrative one: Never assume a cybersecurity disaster can’t get worse. Last September, the Internet portal disclosed that it had suffered the most damaging and far-reaching data breach in history — only to then announce in December the discovery of a second, earlier, and even larger hack.

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Social Networking

New LinkedIn Site Design Encourages Engagement

LinkedIn has announced a new look tied to a complete overhaul of its technology architecture, which brings conversations and content front and center. The redesign brings the LinkedIn desktop in line with the mobile browser version launched in 2015. LinkedIn will roll out its new desktop globally over the next few weeks. Among the changes are a streamlined navigation bar and smarter messaging.

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Tech Law

Luckey Dons Virtual Flak Jacket for Zenimax Testimony

Palmer Luckey on Wednesday denied that he stole proprietary code from ZeniMax Media, in the little-known company’s blockbuster $2 billion lawsuit against Oculus VR and Facebook. ZeniMax has alleged that in 2012, when Luckey was just a video game enthusiast, he corresponded with John Carmack, who allegedly used proprietary hardware and software information to develop the Oculus Rift VR headset.

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Social Networking

Google Gives Google+ Some Nips and Tucks

Google has announced three new updates to Google+ in an effort to revive interest in the faltering product. The added features will be rolled out next week, when the old Google+ layout will vanish. Lower quality comments will be hidden, although Google didn’t explain how or by whom comments will be judged. Google has tweaked the Google+ UI to display more posts and less white space.

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