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Daughter Duo is Dancing in The Same Company
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together. Performing Side-By-Side In The Nutcracker Regina and Melina are not only dancing in the same Nutcracker this month, they're onstage at the same time: Regina is doing Snow Queen, while Melina is in the snow corps, and they're both in the Arabian divertissement. "It's very surreal to be dancing it together," says Regina. "I don't know that I ever thought Melina would take ballet this far." Left: Regina and Melina with another company member post-snow scene in 2003. Right: The pair post-snow scene in 2017 (in the same theater) Keep reading at
2017-12-11 20:19:05
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company.
New York City Ballet Announces Interim Leadership Team
The New York City Ballet Board of Directors announced on Saturday the interim team that has been appointed to run the artistic side of the company during ballet master in chief Peter Martins' leave of absence. Martins requested a temporary leave from both NYCB and the School of American Ballet last Thursday while the company undergoes an internal investigation into the sexual harassment accusations aimed at him. The four-person group is made up of members of the company's current artistic staff, led by ballet master and former principal dancer Jonathan Stafford. Joining Stafford are NYCB resident choreographer and soloist Justin Peck and ballet masters Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both former dancers with the company. While the members of this group haven't had much leadership experience, their close familiarity with the company (Krohn left the stage for her new role just two months ago) should help to ease the dancers' transition. The team will be responsible for the day-to-day artistic needs of the company including scheduling, casting and conducting rehearsals. While there's no word yet on the length of their tenure, we'll continue to keep you updated as the story surrounding Martins unfolds.
2017-12-11 17:02:55
NYCB has announced an interim leadership team to run the company during Peter Martin's leave of absence amidst sexual harassment accusations.
Watch Pennsylvania Ballet & Boston Ballet Face Off for the Super Bowl
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots aren't the only teams bringing Super Bowl entertainment this week. To celebrate game day (and cheer on their region's respective teams), the dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet and Boston Ballet took a break from their usual rehearsals to perform some Super Bowl-themed choreography. Dressed in their Eagles green, the PAB dancers performed a fast-paced routine full of fouetté turns, sky-high jumps and some swan arms (because they're known as the birds, get it?). But Boston Ballet also decided to get in on the fun—with five Super Bowl wins, they're used to seeing their team in the big game. Sharing their own video on Facebook, which stars principal Paul Craig and soloist Derek Dunn, Boston Ballet threw in a few Balanchine tricks thanks to some props from Prodigal Son. This is officially our new favorite way to get in on the football fun.
2018-02-02 21:58:13
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots aren't the only teams bringing Super Bowl entertainment this week. To celebrate game day (and cheer on their region's respective teams), the dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet and Boston Ballet took a break from their usual rehearsals to perform some Super Bowl-themed choreography.
dance shoes
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!
2018-04-24 19:00:11
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals ar...
Rebecca Krohn on Her Retirement from New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet principal dancer Rebecca Krohn will take her final bow with the company this Saturday night. Krohn joined NYCB as an apprentice in the fall of 1998 and slowly rose through the ranks, becoming a principal in 2012. Though Krohn is best known for her flawless execution of classic Balanchine leotard ballets, her repertoire is vast, spanning Jerome Robbins to Justin Peck. After dancing Stravinsky Violin Concerto with Amar Ramasar on Saturday, Krohn will return to the NYCB studios on Monday in a new role: ballet master. We had the chance to talk to the thoughtful and eloquent dancer about her time with the company and goals for the future. Was New York City Ballet always your dream company? As soon as I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer, I knew that I wanted to be in New York City Ballet. I moved to New York when I was 14 to train at the School of American Ballet, and I got my apprenticeship with the company when I was 17, so it was really a dream come true. Krohn and Adrian Danchig-Waring in Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Video Courtesy NYCB. What have been your favorite ballets or roles to dance? Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto, which I'll dance for my final show, has always been a favorite, as well as Balanchine's Movements for Piano and Orchestra and Agon. Also Robbins' Dances at a Gathering... there are so many, it's hard to choose! I've always really loved the Balanchine black and white ballets, and there are some Robbins ballets that are always so fulfilling. Can you think of a favorite moment with the company? After almost 20 years there are countless things. In general I would say the time that I've had onstage with some of my friends and dancing partners has been so special. It's one thing to be a friend with someone and another to also share the stage with them. There's just an amazing sense of trust and spontaneity; I feel so connected when I'm out there. That's something I'll never forget. What's the main way that your experience in the company has changed over the years? As I was getting older the company all of a sudden started to seem younger and younger. When I became a soloist and especially a principal my relationship with the corps de ballet dancers shifted. I wanted to be someone that the young dancers could look up to; I wanted to reach out and connect to them more, and to offer support and advice. Krohn and Amara Ramasar in Balanchine's "Movements for Piano and Orchestra." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB. Did you always know that you wanted to stay on with the company? It had been in the back of my mind for a number of years, but I didn't really address it formally until a year ago. I spoke to Peter (Martins), just to kind of let him know what I had been thinking. I wanted to hear how he felt about it, which was actually a little nerve-wracking, but he thought it was a great idea. What are you most looking forward to in your new role? I'd like to nurture them and their talents; I'm always amazed to see how talented everyone is. The ballets that we have in our repertoire are so amazing—it's a great honor to be able to carry them on with the new dancers for the future. Krohn with Robert Fairchild in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go. Video Courtesy NYCB. Is there someone who's teaching style or mentorship style you'd most like to emulate? There are a couple of ballet masters that I've connected to. I'm very close to Karin von Aroldingen. Her undying passion for these pieces is incredibly inspiring. Susan Hendl has also been an inspiration. She has a wonderful talent of drawing out everyone's unique qualities and femininity. What parts of your life outside of ballet do you most look forward to cultivating now that you'll have more time on your hands? I'm looking forward to having more time to enjoy museums in the city. While I was dancing I didn't want to be up on my legs all day on my days off. I won't have to worry about that so much now, and I can spend my day off roaming around and being inspired. I also love to cook, so I'll get to cook a lot more and hopefully host more dinner parties. Krohn and Company in Balanchine's "Serenade." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB. Do you have a piece of advice for young dancers who are just starting out? What's so special about ballet is the discipline that it instills. It's important for young dancers to really understand that that is what's taught to you in ballet class every day. It's an invaluable quality for a person to have, whether they continue to dance or end up doing other things. My other piece of advice is that you have to treat each day as a new start. Some days you might not feel good about yourself, or things in your body might not be working well—every day is different. But you have to start fresh, be positive and move forward.
2017-10-06 14:44:51
We interviewed New York City Ballet principal Rebecca Krohn on her company retirement, exciting new career as a ballet master, and her advice for young dancers.
Roy Kaiser to Become Nevada Ballet Theatre's New Artistic Director
In 2014 the dance world was surprised when longtime Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser stepped down. It was announced yesterday that Kaiser will be rising to the helm again as the Las Vegas-based Nevada Ballet Theatre's new artistic director, replacing James Canfield. Kaiser will be the fourth artistic director in NBT's 46 year history. The company will be gaining a highly experienced leader. Following his rise through the ranks to principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet, Kaiser worked as a ballet master and eventually took the reigns as the company's artistic director in 1995. Pennsylvania Ballet added 90 new ballets and 35 world premieres to their repertoire under his leadership. Roy Kaiser with Pennsylvania Ballet Dancers. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Nevada Ballet Theatre. NDT is the largest professional ballet company and dance academy in the state, with 35 company dancers and a vibrant school. Kaiser will hit the ground running with the company's 10th Anniversary Celebration of A Choreographer's Showcase, its collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, opening this weekend. In November the company will reference Kaiser's Balanchine roots with a program titled Classic Americana featuring Serenade and Western Symphony, as well Paul Taylor's Company B.
2017-10-06 20:30:05
Former Pennsylvania Ballet dancer and director Roy Kaiser will take the helm at the Las Vegas-based Nevada Ballet Theatre as the company's artistic director.
What It's Like Inside NYCB After Peter Martins
New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight. When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the decision? Who would oversee the Balanchine ballets? Who would be in charge of casting? Would a new director bring along huge upheaval? Could some of us be out of a job? The dancers currently have little information about the search process and plans to move forward. But Mr. Martins' absence has certainly been felt around the theater. I've noticed it the most during dress rehearsals, particularly for Balanchine ballets. Although he rarely attended daily rehearsals, he always supervised the final rehearsals before the ballets went before the audience. Frequently, he had a nugget of wisdom to share, often from the mouth of Balanchine himself, to help us fix a tricky partnering maneuver, or a difficult sequence of turns.
2018-04-24 16:37:24
New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight.When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the de...
Nutcracker Secrets and Surprises
Literary Roots E.T.A. Hoffmann, a German writer, penned the eerie and dark tale "Nutcracker and Mouse King" in 1816. About 30 years later, the French writer Alexandre Dumas took the Nutcracker story into his own hands, lightening things up and softening the character descriptions. Dumas even cheered up the name of the protagonist. "Marie Stahlbaum" (meaning "steel tree," representing the repressive family Marie found herself in, which led her imagination to run wild) became "Clara Silberhaus" (translated to "silver house," a magnificent home filled with shiny magic.) Snowflakes of the original cast, "The Nutcracker" at the Mariinsky Theatre, 1892. Photo by Walter E. Owen, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives. From Page to Stage In 1892 St. Petersburg, choreographer Marius Petipa and composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky pulled the story off the page and onto the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. But Petipa fell ill while choreographing The Nutcracker and handed his duties over to his assistant, Lev Ivanov. Critics at the 1892 premiere were not pleased. Balletomanes felt the work to be uneven, and lamented the lack of a main ballerina in the first act. Many thought that the story was too light compared to historically based stories. Out of Russia Despite its initial reception, the ballet survived, partially due to the success of Tchaikovsky's score. Performances were scarce, though, as the Russian Revolution scattered its original dancers. The Nutcracker's first major exposure outside of Russia took place in London in 1934. Former Mariinsky ballet master Nikolas Sergeyev was tasked with staging Petipa's story ballets on the Vic-Wells Ballet (today The Royal Ballet) from the original notation. The notes were incomplete and difficult to read, yet Sergeyev persisted, and The Nutcracker made it to the stage. Dancers from ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in "The Nutcracker" pas de deux. Photo Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives. An American Premiere The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo brought an abridged version of The Nutcracker to the U.S. in 1940. Over the next decade, the company toured the ballet extensively, exposing it to audiences nationwide. Willam Christensen (center) with his brothers Lew and Harold. Photo Courtesy San Francisco Ballet. Across the Country… In 1944, San Francisco Ballet founding artistic director Willam Christensen choreographed the U.S.'s first full-length Nutcracker. Christensen later founded Ballet West, which continues to perform his version of The Nutcracker each year. Balanchine rehearsing the snow scene with NYCB. Photo by Frederick Melton, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives. A Christmas Staple Though the ballet's popularity was already growing, some historians suggest that George Balanchine was the first to irretrievably link the work to the holidays. As dance critic Robert Greskovic puts it, Balanchine was "responsible for making the ballet a fixture of the Christmas season and of a ballet company's repertory." New York City Ballet first presented Balanchine's Nutcracker in February of 1954 but quickly recognized its holiday appeal and moved the ballet to December for the following year. Nutcracker All Over As regional ballet companies sprouted around the country, The Nutcracker became a staple.Today it's a holiday tradition that keeps families coming back year after year; its mass appeal keeps ballet in mainstream culture. Many companies attract audiences by infusing the classic with their own regional heritage: Christopher Wheeldon's Nutcracker for the Joffrey Ballet is set at Chicago's 1893 world's fair and The Washington Ballet serves a dose of American history with characters such as George Washington and King George III. George Washington in The Washington Ballet's Nutcracker." Photo by Carol Pratt, Courtesy The Washington Ballet. The Nutcracker also serves as the financial backbone of companies nationwide. Last year San Francisco Ballet sold a total of 87,926 tickets to the holiday ballet and Boston Ballet sold a total of 92,907. Despite its humble roots, The Nutcracker is now the show that companies rely on to put on inventive and cutting-edge works throughout the rest of the year. More secrets and surprises… According to dance historian Doug Fullington, in the original 1892 scenario the Nutcracker has two sisters who graciously welcome Clara to the Land of Sweets with warm hugs. Pennsylvania Ballet's Craig Wasserman in the Candy Cane variation. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet. The Candy Cane variation (danced to the Russian Trepak music) was choreographed by its original 1892 dancer, Alexandre Shiryaev. Dance critic Mindy Aloff says that Shiryaev was "possibly the first practitioner of hand-drawn animation; he notated his choreography in sequential drawings that could be projected to show the dance in movement." Balanchine included Shiryaev's original choreography in his Nutcracker. The ethereal twinkling sound in the Sugar Plum Fairy's solo comes from the celesta, a rare instrument Tchaikovsky heard in France. "He had one sent to him essentially in secret," says Fullington. Balanchine was given a budget of $40,000 for his 1954 premiere and, according to Aloff, he spent $25,000 on the Christmas tree alone. When asked if he could do without the tree Balanchine responded, "[The ballet] is the tree." Today, New York City Ballet's tree weighs one ton and can reach a full height of 41 feet. 1892 "Nutcracker" costume sketch by Ivan Vsevolozhsky of the Sugar Plum Fairy's retinue. Courtesy Peter Koppers. Choreographic notations suggest that the Cavalier's variation was originally danced by a retinue of eight female fairies representing things like fruit, flowers and dreams. According to Fullington, Pavel Gerdt, the dancer who created the role, was likely too old to dance the variation himself. NYCB's Brittany Pollack and Chase Finlay in the grand pas de deux toe slide. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet. In Balanchine's grand pas de deux, the lead ballerina holds an arabesque while gliding across the stage on pointe, pulled by her gallant prince. According to Fullington, Balanchine took this slide from Ivanov's original choreography. The Sugar Plum Fairy's prince's original name was "Prince Coqueluche." Meaning "whooping cough" in French, it likely referred to a lozenge candy. NYCB's Unity Phelan and Silas Farley in Karinska's Hot Chocolate costumes. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet.
2017-12-11 17:37:37
The iconic ballet's path from critical flop to holiday fixture. E.T.A. Hoffmann, a German writer, penned the eerie and dark tale "Nutcracker and Mouse King" in 1816.
Inside the Beijing Dance Academy
In one of 60 spacious dance studios at the Beijing Dance Academy, Pei Yu Meng practices a tricky step from Jorma Elo's Over Glow. She's standing among other students, but they all work alone, with the help of teachers calling out corrections from the front of the room. On top of her strong classical foundation and clean balletic lines, Pei Yu's slithery coordination and laser-sharp focus give her dancing a polished gleam. Once she's mastered the pirouette she's been struggling with, she repeats the step over and over until the clock reaches 12 pm for lunch. Here, every moment is a chance to approach perfection. Pei Yu came to the school at age 10 from Hebei, a province near Beijing. Now 20, and in her third year of BDA's professional program, she is an example of a new kind of Chinese ballet student. Founded in 1954 by the country's communist government, BDA is a fully state-funded professional training school with close to 3,000 students and 275 full-time teachers over four departments (ballet, classical Chinese dance, social dance and musical theater). It offers degrees in performance, choreography and more. BDA's ballet program has long been known for fostering pristine Russian-style talent. But since 2011, the school has made major efforts to broaden ballet students' knowledge of Chinese dance traditions and the works of Western contemporary ballet choreographers. Pointe went inside this prestigious academy to see how BDA trains its dancers. Getting In BDA's admission process is extremely competitive, despite the school's large numbers. The ballet program is made up of a lower division, lasting seven years, and a four-year professional bachelor program. The professional division's admission procedure is extensive. Every year, hundreds of students ages 16 to 18 audition in Beijing over the course of two days, presenting classical and contemporary variations and improvisational work, and taking an academic exam. "We are looking to produce artists with the technical skills to excel in professional companies and the knowledge to work in all jobs in the field of dance," says the ballet department's executive and artistic director and former National Ballet of China principal Zhirui (Regina) Zou. Nearly 100 are currently enrolled in the professional ballet program. Though the school does admit foreign applicants, it does not host international students very often because the academic entrance exam measures Chinese language proficiency (most classes are taught in Chinese). BDA does participate in exchange programs with ballet schools around the world. A Typical Day Students begin their days with an early 8 am technique class. Following the Vaganova method, classes are strict and focus on precise positions and placement. Upper levels are split to keep class size small—around eight students per class. Teachers correct individual students—usually only the best ones, positioned front and center—using the terms "not good" (bù haˇo) and "better" (gèng haˇo), but rarely awarding praise. The day continues with classical Chinese dance, character, contemporary, repertoire and pas de deux, as well as dance history, anatomy, music appreciation and injury prevention. "Classical Chinese dance is a large part of our identity as Chinese ballet dancers," explains Zou. She points out an example from a girls' ballet class, where students circle their heads as if in a reverse renversé during an attitude promenade. "Chinese dance focuses on circular upper-body movements, a unique coordination that complements ballet technique." Rehearsals and classes can end as late as 9 pm. Students live on campus in dormitories; with little free time and all focus placed on their futures, they consider BDA home until graduation. BDA's ballet department in a performance of "La Bayadère." Photo Courtesy BDA. Stage Time Performance is the most important aspect of BDA students' professional development, with annual productions featuring classical ballets, contemporary works and student choreography. Since dancers don't usually audition internationally, these performances are their chance to be discovered—directors from surrounding Chinese companies, including the National Ballet of China, attend in order to scout new talent. As a result, preparation is intense. In a studio rehearsal for La Bayadère, Act II, no understudies are present, and any imperfection is pointed out by one of four coaches at the front of the room. All lines, heads, arms and feet are perfectly placed. Although Pei Yu sparkles in her variation, the other dancers are similarly strong and dedicated. Students run the piece twice for stamina. Between run-throughs, each fastidiously practices difficult sections, never satisfied with the results. Dancers approach more contemporary movement with a mature coordination mirroring many professional dancers. Recent performances have included works by Paul Taylor, Jorma Elo and Christopher Wheeldon; students often get to work with the choreographers directly. Pei Yu learned Over Glow from Elo himself. "He showed us how to handle rhythm with the whole body," she says. "Ballet has so many rules, but contemporary ballet makes me feel excited and free." Sun Jie, a coach and men's teacher at BDA since 2008, explains how introducing works from Western choreographers has broadened the overall abilities of Chinese ballet dancers. "When we started to teach new works at BDA in 2011, students struggled to move freely or adapt to new movement," he says. "But learning these styles over time has opened dancers' eyes to new possibilities." Life After Graduation BDA students enter professional life somewhat older than in the West, with graduates ranging from 20 to 22 years old. Only the most promising students receive company contracts, but others accept teaching and other dance-related posts at BDA and surrounding dance schools and institutions. Although many have won awards at international competitions, the school does not actively focus on competing. "To prepare competitors, so much attention must be placed on individual students, whereas performances encourage the entire student body," says Zou. Even so, competitions have given these students international exposure, though only a small percentage of graduates accept jobs abroad. BDA alumni in American companies include San Francisco Ballet soloists Wei Wang and Wanting Zhao and ABT corps members Zhiyao Zhang and Xuelan Lu. With graduation in sight, Pei Yu shares the same dream as many of her classmates: a spot with the National Ballet of China. P A men's classical Chinese dance class. Photo by Lucy Van Cleef. Beijing's Bournonville Connection Exposure to the Danish Bournonville style is a special component of the diverse ballet education that BDA offers. Former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Frank Andersen has been a guest teacher at the school since 2002, and was awarded a professorship in 2012. So far, BDA students have performed in Bournonville ballets including Napoli's Act III, La Ventana and Conservatory, and some danced in the National Ballet of China's 2015 production of La Sylphide. Thanks to almost 23 years of Andersen's work in Beijing, Bournonville has found a second home in China. Though there are Bournonville technique classes when time allows, Andersen imparts those lessons through the repertoire and Danish mime. "The most important part is making the mime believable," Andersen explains. "Young dancers often have the urge to overact. If I can't describe what I want with words, I have to show them." He holds his hands towards his chest, indicating the sign for "I." "Showing can be more effective than telling. That's the beauty of Bournonville's work. It's so honest."
2018-03-19 14:57:19
In one of 60 spacious dance studios at the Beijing Dance Academy, Pei Yu Meng practices a tricky step from Jorma Elo's Over Glow. She's standing among other students, but they all work alone, with the help of teachers calling out corrections from the front of the room. On top of her strong classical foundation and clean balletic lines, Pei Yu's slithery coordination and laser-sharp focus give her dancing a polished gleam. Once she's mastered the pirouette she's been struggling with, she repeats the step over and over until the clock reaches 12 pm for lunch. Here, every moment is a chance to approach perfection.
dance shoes
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!
2018-04-24 19:00:11
Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals ar...
Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside Get Hilariously Candid
Though American Ballet Theatre principals James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston have long displayed their envy-worthy friendship on Instagram, this week the Cindies (their nickname for each other) offered viewers an even deeper glimpse into their world. While on tour with ABT at the Kennedy Center, the duo sat down in front of the camera to answer some questions from their fans via Facebook Live. Starbucks in hand, they discuss their mutual love of food (particularly pasta and Japanese curry), the story behind the Cindy nickname and what it's like picking up contemporary choreography versus classical. Boylston also delves into her experience guesting with the Paris Opéra Ballet, her dream of choreographing an avant-garde ballet on Whiteside to a Carly Rae Jepsen song and best and worst Kennedy Center memories (like the time she fell onstage while doing fouettés at the end of La Bayadère's first act). Whiteside, on the other hand, imitates a unicorn, talks about preparing for roles and creates a new middle name for Boylston. The twosome also offer heartfelt advice for aspiring professional dancers. Check out the highlights in this video below; for the full 24-minute version, click here.
2018-02-02 21:44:06
Though American Ballet Theatre principals James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston have long displayed their envy-worthy friendship on Instagram, this week the Cindies (their nickname for each other) offered viewers an even deeper glimpse into their world. While on tour with ABT at the Kennedy Center, the duo sat down in front of the camera to answer some questions from their fans via Facebook Live.
Ballet Performances This Week
What's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights. The Bolshoi Premiere of John Neumeier's Anna Karenina Last July Hamburg Ballet presented the world premiere of John Neumeier's Anna Karenina, a modern adaptation on Leo Tolstoy's famous novel. Hamburg Ballet coproduced the full-length ballet with the National Ballet of Canada and the Bolshoi, the latter of which will premiere the work March 23 (NBoC will have its premiere in November). The production will feature Bolshoi star Svetlana Zakharova in the title role. This is especially fitting as Neumeier's initial inspiration for the ballet came from Zakharova while they were working together on his Lady of the Camellias. The following video delves into what makes this production stand out. World Premieres at Richmond Ballet and Ballet Arizona Richmond Ballet's New Works Festival March 20-25 features pieces by four choreographers who have never worked with Richmond Ballet before: Francesca Harper, Tom Mattingly, Mariana Oliveira and Bradley Shelver. But there's a twist: each choreographer had only 25 hours with the dancers to create a 10-15 minute ballet. Meanwhile the Phoenix-based company's spring season opens with Today's Masters 2018, March 22-25. The program includes a company premiere by Alejandro Cerrudo and world premieres by Nayon Iovino and artistic director Ib Andersen. Andersen's Pelvis features dance moves and costumes from the 1950s and references to Elvis Presley (pElvis, anyone?) San Francisco Ballet Honors Robbins Mysterious; romantic; witty; electrifying. That's how SFB describes their upcoming tribute to Jerome Robbins, March 20-25. The company is one of dozens of others honoring Robbins this year; last week we covered Cincinnati Ballet and New York Theatre Ballet. SFB is presenting four works celebrating the famed choreographer's career in ballet and Broadway: Fancy Free, Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Cage and Other Dances. Reid and Harriet Designs at the Guggenheim March 25-27, costume design duo Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung take the stage as part of Guggenheim Works & Process. The partnership is known for creatively intersecting design and dance; last summer they created a swimwear line based on Justin Peck costumes, and in November they presented their design-driven Nutcracker. For this week's show they collaborated with a long list of choreographers including Lar Lubovitch and Pam Tanowitz to create short works featuring their costumes. A number of dancers including New York City Ballet principal Russell Janzen will be acting as moving models.
2018-03-19 20:00:43
What's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.
Guillaume Côté on NBoC's "Frame by Frame"
This week marks the world premiere of Frame by Frame, The National Ballet of Canada's new full length ballet based on the life and work of innovative filmmaker Norman McLaren. While those outside of the cinephile community might not be familiar with McLaren's work, he is commonly credited with advancing film techniques including animation and pixilation in the 20th century—he died in 1987. The Canadian artist's many accolades include a 1952 Oscar for Best Documentary for his abstract short film Neighbours (watch the whole thing here). Later in life, McLaren became interested in ballet, and made a number of dance films including his renowned 1968 Pas de deux. NBoC's new work, titled Frame by Frame, will run June 1-10 in Toronto. The ballet combines vignettes of McLaren's life with movement quotes from his films and real time recreations of his technological advances. It was created in collaboration by NBoC principal dancer and choreographic associate Guillaume Côté and film and stage director Robert Lepage, who is making his NBoC debut. Pointe touched base with Côté on how this interdisciplinary project came together. Where did the initial spark for this idea come from? Robert and I have been wanting to work together for years. I approached him about doing a different project a long time ago, and he said "well, maybe that's not the correct project." He came to me about four years after that and said "I think I finally have something I'd like to work on with you," so then I approached the National Ballet. Were you familiar with McLaren's work before this project? I wasn't. Robert had just worked on a big McLaren documentary, and he got me to come see it and I realized that it was all about movement, and that this animator was basically a choreographer himself, a choreographer of space and time. There was all this material to work with and he'd made a number of iconic dance films, so it seemed like a no brainer. So I started my research and kept finding out more surprising fun facts about McLaren's passion for dance, like that he met Guy Glover, the man that he was in a relationship with for 50 years or so, in the audience at Covent Garden while watching a ballet. Guy was a curator of a dance festival in Canada. Robert Lepage and Guillaume Côté in rehearsal for "Frame By Frame." Photo by Elias Djemil-Matassov, Courtesy NBoC. What was the research process like? Robert had just finished his documentary and has a really deep understanding of this kind of Canadian culture. He'd already gotten incredible footage from the National Film Board of Canada of McLaren behind-the-scenes. I watched a tremendous amount of film, and I read a lot about him and his collaborators, and even met a few who are still alive. The research was truly enriching, because I realized how wonderful of a person he was as well, which dictates how we share his personal life onstage. What was the timeline of the project? We had our first workshop four years ago. Since then we've been doing five-day workshops once a year in Robert's studio, Ex Machina, where he has a multi media team. They would put together projections and props for us to experiment with. Robert would give me some homework, and I'd take it on myself to create some impressionist sections. Sometimes we decided that they were great, and sometimes we decided that they weren't. It was this really collaborative way of getting things started because I was able to present dance first, and then we were able to add technology to it, as opposed to the technology taking over and stealing from the dance. Artists of the Ballet in rehearsal for "Frame by Frame." Photo by David Leclerc, Courtesy NBoC. How does the piece balance a narrative retelling of McLaren's life with reproductions of his works? I would say that the vignettes of his life are one third, and then the technologies that he pioneered and making abstract dance interpretations based on those technologies like stop motion or body painting and body projection are the second third. And then the last third is basically just direct quotes from his films and bringing them back to life. Like with Pas de deux, the effects in that film took him months to make, but now thanks to technology we can duplicate it live. It's not a story ballet per say, but there is a story from beginning to end. What was the process like of taking movement quotes from McLaren's films?
2018-05-30 21:05:57
This week marks the world premiere of Frame by Frame, The National Ballet of Canada's new full length ballet based on the life and work of innovative filmmaker Norman McLaren. While those outside of the cinephile community might not be familiar with McLaren's work, he is commonly credited with advancing film techniques including animation and pixilation in the 20th century—he died in 1987. The Canadian artist's many accolades include a 1952 Oscar for Best Documentary for his abstract short film Neighbours (watch the whole thing here). Later in life, McLaren became interested in ballet, and made a number of dance films including his renowned 1968 Pas de deux.
Broadway's "Carousel" Stars Some Familiar Ballet Faces
The Broadway revival of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein's Carousel opened last week, and while it stars luminaries from the worlds of musical theater (Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller) and opera (soprano Renée Fleming), it also stars choreography by one of ballet's own heavy hitters: New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, who shares top billing with the musical's director, Jack O'Brien. There are more than a few familiar faces onstage, too. NYCB principal Amar Ramasar is cast as ne'er-do-well sailor Jigger Craigin, while NYCB soloist Brittany Pollack plays Louise, who dances Act II's famous "dream ballet." American Ballet Theatre soloist Craig Salstein took a leave of absence from the company to serve as the show's dance captain and to perform in the ensemble, where he's joined by recent Miami City Ballet transplants Adriana Pierce and Andrei Chagas (a Pointe 2015 Star of the Corps). Several other veteran Broadway ballet dancers round out the cast, including An American in Paris alumni Leigh-Ann Esty (Miami City Ballet), David Prottas (NYCB) and Laura Feig (Atlanta Ballet, BalletX), and Come Fly Away's Amy Ruggiero (American Repertory Ballet, Ballet Austin, Twyla Tharp). "CBS Sunday Morning" recently ran a lengthy profile on Peck, who at age 30 has already established himself as one of the world's most in-demand choreographers. In addition to shedding light on his efforts to make ballet more accessible to modern audiences ("I don't want ballet to feel like an elitist art form"), Peck answers the question on everyone's mind in the post Peter Martins era: whether he's interested in becoming NYCB's next director. The profile also includes fun behind-the-scenes Carousel footage—check it out above.
2018-04-24 21:00:20
The Broadway revival of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein's Carousel opened last week, and while it stars luminaries from the worlds of musical theater (Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller) and opera (soprano Renée Fleming), it also stars choreography by one of ballet's own heavy hitters: New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, who shares top billing with the musical's director, Jack O'Brien.
The Joffrey Presents Ekman's "Midsummer Night's Dream"
This spring, The Joffrey Ballet will present the North American premiere of Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. The Swedish choreographer is best known for his absurdist and cutting-edge productions. "This is not Shakespeare's Midsummer," says Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater. The title of Ekman's version, which premiered with the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2015, refers not to Shakespeare but to Midsummer, the traditional Scandinavian summer solstice festival. The piece follows a young man through a day of revelry followed by a nightmare, blurring the line with reality. "It's a kind of otherworldly dream," says Wheater. Bringing Ekman's production to life is no small feat; the piece utilizes the entire Joffrey company. "I can't think of another performance that has so many props," says Wheater, listing giant bales of hay, long banquet tables, umbrellas, beach chairs and more. The piece features a commissioned score by Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, which will be performed onstage by singer Anna von Hausswolff. "She is very much a part of the performance; she's kind of the narrator," says Wheater. Dancers also contribute to the narration with spoken text, including imagery of young love and a dose of humor. The Royal Swedish Ballet in Alexander Ekman's "Midsummer Night's Dream." Photo by Hans Nilsson, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet. This will be the fourth work by Ekman that The Joffrey has performed. "I think it says something that Alex trusts us to bring the work to its full realization," says Wheater. "It's not just a few ballet steps here and there; he asks you to fully engage with yourself, not only as a dancer but as an actor and a person." Ekman's Midsummer will run April 25–May 6 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.
2018-04-24 15:00:34
This spring, The Joffrey Ballet will present the North American premiere of Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. The Swedish choreographer is best known for his absurdist and cutting-edge productions. "This is not Shakespeare's Midsummer," says Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater. The title of Ekman's version, which premiered with the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2015, refers not to Shakespeare but to Midsummer, the traditional Scandinavian summer solstice festival. The piece follows a young man through a day of revelry followed by a nightmare, blurring the line with reality. "It's a kind of otherworldly dream," says Wheater.
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Bay Community News
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has arrested four men from Atlanta after they allegedly hired local transients to cash fraudulent checks for them using stolen personal information. Three transients have also been arrested for their participation. BCSO Criminal Investigations opened an investigation after deputies initially responded to a call from a local transient who claimed he had been robbed by two men. Investigators now believe that four black males came from Atlanta to the Destin area on October 1, 2017, and rented two vehicles. On October 3, 2017, they came to Bay County and two of them─Johnathan Johnson and Germarco Johnson─ picked up transient Scott Allen McNeight, age 44. McNeight was recently released from prison on October 1, 2017. They first asked McNeight if he had a photo ID, which he did. The men took a photo of the ID and sent it to the two other men from Atlanta. A fraudulent check was created using McNeight’s information and stolen routing numbers and checking account numbers. The other two suspects from Atlanta─Clarence Suggs and Reginald Hughes─ picked up transient James Dean Riles, age 58, for the same purpose. The two transients were first taken to a thrift store in Springfield. The Atlanta men purchased better clothing for the transients to wear when they entered banks to cash the fraudulent checks. Once dressed, McNeight was taken to a bank on Panama City Beach and was able to cash a 1,600 check. Although the agreement was for the transients to get about $80 for their part in the scam, McNeight took half of the money and fled on foot. Demarko Johnson and Johnathan Johnson were able to find McNeight at a gas station at Magnolia Beach Road and Thomas Drive. The two men entered the gas station after McNeight, one of them carrying a tire iron. Johnathon Johnson put McNeight in a choke hold, and they threatened McNeight with the tire iron, and took the money, his wallet, and his cell phone. That was when McNeight called the BCSO to report the robbery. Although initially not forthcoming about the true circumstances surrounding the robbery, McNeight eventually told investigators how he got the money. James Dean Riles, the other transient, was unable to cash his fraudulent check at the first bank, and was taken by Clarence Suggs and Reginald Hughes to a second bank where he was successful. He was paid $80 and was taken by the two men to Millville and left. Riles then called the Panama City Police Department to file a complaint about what he had done. Riles had important tag information on one of the vehicles. Using the tag information, investigators were able to learn the two vehicles were rentals and eventually identified the four men from Atlanta. A BOLO was put out to local law enforcement on the vehicles. One was located at a business on East Avenue and contact was made with Clarence Suggs, age 27, and Reginald Hughes, age 26. They were arrested. Suggs and Hughes were charged with Counterfeiting of an Instrument with Intent to Defraud (two counts), Principal/Accessory to Uttering a False Bank Bill (two counts), and Larceny $300 or more but less than $5000 (two counts). A BCSO investigator spotted the second vehicle in a grocery store parking lot in Lynn Haven. He watched as a man left a bank adjacent to the parking lot, and got into the vehicle with two black males. A traffic stop was done and Johnathan Johnson, age 22, and Germarco Johnson, age 27, cousins, were arrested. Johnathan Johnson was charged with Robbery with a Weapon, Counterfeiting of an Instrument with Intent to Defraud (two counts), Principal/Accessory to Uttering a False Bank Bill (two counts), Larceny $300 or more but less than $5000 (two counts), and Violation of Probation for Financial Identity Fraud. Germarco Johnson was charged with Robbery with a Firearm, Counterfeiting of an Instrument with Intent to Defraud (two counts), Principal/Accessory to Uttering a False Bank Bill (two counts), and Larceny $300 or more but less than $5000 (two counts). The white male with them was identified as Charles Edward Sinard, age 39, a transient. He was also arrested and charged with Uttering a False Bank Bill, Larceny $300 or more but less than $5000, and Criminal Mischief, $1000 or more. The other two transients involved in this case, Riles and McNeight, were also arrested and charged with Uttering a False Bank Bill and Larceny $300 or more but less than $5000. During a search warrant on the two vehicles two printers, blank checks, cash, and a computer with check-making software were located and seized. All seven men were taken to the Bay County Jail and booked. 34 total views, 34 views today Share Us
2017-10-06 21:59:22
25 Year Old Molests Child Under 12
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a local man on charges he committed sexual battery on a child. The victim confided in a family member that Shanard Cameron had molested her. Cameron, age 25, allegedly took the victim without parental consent to a festival and had sex with her. The victim was interviewed at Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. Contact was made with Shanard Cameron and he was subsequently arrested and charged with Sexual Battery on a Child Under the Age of Twelve. 36 total views, 36 views today Share Us
2017-10-06 21:29:26
How to install the Trac project management tool on Ubuntu 16.04
One of the most challenging tasks on an admin's list is the management of projects and tickets. This can be especially overwhelming when you have a larger IT department and a staff working on numerous projects at once. But the management of projects and ticket issues doesn't just fall on the heads of large companies. Even if you're a one-person shop consultancy, it can be easy to drown in a quagmire of projects. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools available to help you with that. If you happen to be a fan of open source (and who isn't?), those tools are not only readily available, they are free and (generally speaking) easy to set up. I want to walk you through the installation of one such tool: Trac. Trac can be used as a wiki, a project management system, and for tracking bugs in software development. I'll be demonstrating the installation on a Ubuntu Server 16.04. And so, let's get to it. Installation The installation isn't terribly challenging, but does require a bit of typing. Log into your Ubuntu server and let's take care of the dependencies. If your Ubuntu Server platform is without Apache, install it with the command: sudo apt-get install apache2 -y Once that completes, install Trac with the command: sudo apt-get install trac libapache2-mod-wsgi -y Next, the auth_digest module must be enabled with the command: sudo a2enmod auth_digest Now we create the necessary document root for Trac (and give it the correct permissions) with the following commands: sudo mkdir /var/lib/trac sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/trac sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/html/trac For our next trick, we create a Trac project directory (we'll call it test) with the command: sudo trac-admin /var/lib/trac/test initenv test sqlite:db/trac.db Time to give that new directory the proper permissions. This is done by issuing the following commands: sudo trac-admin /var/lib/trac/test deploy /var/www/html/trac/test sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/lib/trac/test sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/trac/test Finally, we create both an admin user and a standard user with the commands: sudo htdigest -c /var/lib/trac/test/.htdigest "test" admin sudo htdigest /var/lib/trac/test/.htdigest "test" USER Where USER is the name of the user you prefere. After both of the above commands, you'll be prompted to type (and confirm) a password. Remember these passwords. Configure Apache Create an Apache .conf file for Trac with the following command: sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/trac.conf Add the following content to the new file: WSGIScriptAlias /trac/test /var/www/html/trac/test/cgi-bin/trac.wsgi AuthType Digest AuthName "test" AuthUserFile /var/lib/trac/test/.htdigest Require valid-user Save and close that file. Enable our new site (and restart Apache) with the following commands: sudo a2ensite trac sudo systemctl restart apache2 Accessing Trac Open a web browser and point it to http://SERVER_IP/trac/test (where SERVER_IP is the IP address of your server). You will be prompted for login credentials. Log in with the user admin and the password you set when you created admin user earlier. You can also login with the non-admin user you created. There is actually no difference between the users (which could be a deal-breaker for some). One thing to note: If you need more users, you'll create them from the command line (in similar fashion as you did above). For every user you need to add to Trac, issue the command: sudo htdigest /var/lib/trac/test/.htdigest "test" USER Where USER is the username. The above command will add the user to the project test. If you need to create more projects, you must go back through the process of creating a new project directory and then add users to it. Once you've successfully authenticated, you'll be presented with the Trac web interface, were you can begin working (Figure A). Figure A You can now go to Preferences and configure your installation of Trac. Once you've completed that, you can begin creating new tickets. If you get the (please configure the [header_logo] section in trac.ini) error, you can configure this with the command: sudo nano /var/lib/trac/test/conf/trac.ini In that file, you'll see the section: [header_logo] alt = (please configure the [header_logo] section in trac.ini) height = -1 link = src = site/your_project_logo.png width = -1 That is where you'll configure a header logo to suit your company. SEE: IT project management: 10 ways to stay under budget (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Congratulations You now have your Trac system up and running. Although you might find systems with more features (and a more powerful configuration system), Trac is very simple to set up and use. If you're looking for a basic ticketing system that can serve as a project management tool, Trac just might fit the bill. Automatically sign up for TechRepublic's Open Source Weekly Newsletter for more hot tips and tricks. Subscribe Also see
2018-05-30 00:00:00
Trac is a basic ticket system and project management tool. Here's a look at the process of installing this handy tool on Ubuntu Server.
New Amazon class certifies cloud pros in securing data on AWS
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: A new class from Amazon, the AWS Certified Security - Specialty Exam, will validate a cloud pro's ability to secure the AWS platform. Cloud skills are in high demand, but added security expertise could help set job seekers apart. A new professional exam from Amazon Web Services (AWS) will help cloud experts validate their ability to secure data on the platform, according to a Monday blog post. The AWS Certified Security - Specialty Exam is now available to those who hold either an Associate or Cloud Practitioner certification from AWS. As noted in the post, AWS recommends that those taking the exam have at least five years experience working in IT security and two years experience working on AWS workloads. The exam will deal with such topics as "incident response, logging and monitoring, infrastructure security, identity and access management, and data protection," the post said. The exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions and will likely take 170 minutes to complete. The registration fee is $300. SEE: Cloud computing policy (Tech Pro Research) According to the post, once the exam is complete, the test taker will have a working knowledge or understanding of the following: Specialized data classifications on AWS AWS data protection mechanisms Data encryption methods and AWS mechanisms to implement them Secure Internet protocols and how to implement them on AWS AWS security services and features Additionally, the post noted that those who pass the exam will have a competency in working with AWS security services in production, an understanding of security operations, and the "ability to make tradeoff decisions with regard to cost, security, and deployment complexity given a set of application requirements." For those looking to prepare for the exam, the post recommends going to the AWS Training website and working on the Advanced Architecting on AWS and Security Operations on AWS trainings. Additional security trainings on AWS Security Fundamentals, Authentication and Authorization with AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS Shared Responsibility Model, and AWS Well-Architected Training are also helpful. Additionally, compliance and security whitepapers will also help prepare would-be test takers. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
The AWS Certified Security - Specialty Exam could help tech professionals broaden their skills on the AWS platform.
How to set up a Gitstorage appliance for in-house code collaboration
Git is the largest revision control and collaboration system available for development. Git has replaced larger, more costly systems across the globe and has become the de facto standard tool for coders. But for some companies, small or large, housing code on a third-party cloud storage service might be a no-go. If that's the case, the only solution is in-house. For some, that means setting up a server and running a Git repository for the housing of proprietary or open source code. However, for some companies (especially those on the smaller side), having the resources (and time) to set up a server dedicated for Git storage may not be an option. That being the case, what do you do? Fortunately there's a solution, one that's incredibly simple. Said solution is Gitstorage, an easy-to-deploy appliance dedicated to housing your Git repositories. Each appliance is a single board computer (based on the Raspberry Pi). The device is smaller than a credit card, has no moving parts, generates no heat, is wall-mountable, is powered by a standard USB (or included mini USB), and offers a standard ethernet connection. The full specs are: Dimensions - 3.44" × 2.93" × 1.28" (87.4 mm × 74.3 mm × 32.5 mm) Weight - 2.08 oz (59 g) Wall mount - 4 screws Ambient temperature - 32 °F - 104 °F (0 °C - 40 °C) Memory capacity - 16 GB (GS-16) 64 GB (GS-64) Storage for git repos - 10.6 GB (GS-16) 58.6 GB (GS-64) Certifications - CE, FCC Processor - H2 quadcore Cortex-A7 with 512 MB RAM Power supply - Standard USB Connectors - 1 × 10/100 MBit/s Ethernet, USB-A, Power (USB Micro-B) Web interface languages - English (US), French, German Price (MSRP) - $399 USD (GS-16) $499 USD (GS-64) But how well does the Gitstorage appliance work? Is it really that easy to deploy? Let's deploy one and find out. SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Setup The setup of the Gitstorage is remarkably simple: Unpack the box. Plug the device into your network (you'll need a Cat5 cable). Connect the power cable. Wait 60 seconds. At this point, things get a bit complicated. According to the directions, you should then be able to point a browser to and the Gitstorage interface will appear. I tried that on both a Linux desktop and a MacBook Pro. Neither machine could find the device. In fact, if I attempted to ping the address, I received a WAN IP address that didn't respond. The only way I was able to reach my Gitstorage device was to log into my router, look for gitstorage among the connected devices, and find out the IP address of the device. Once I had that IP address, I could point my browser to that address and login with user root and password password. At that point, the setup wizard is presented (Figure A). Figure A The steps to the setup wizard are: Language selection EULA Name the device Device root CA creation or import (optional) Encryption password Admin setup (email/password) Dropbox setup (optional) Email setup (optional) Once I completed the wizard, trouble in paradise arose. During the first round, the final screen was blank. After a reboot, I had to walk through the wizard again. This time around the final screen appeared, the All set link didn't work. So I returned to the IP address and was presented with a login screen. I attempted to use the admin email/password I'd setup during the wizard, but that wouldn't work. I then attempted root/password ... again to no avail. After another reboot (unplug, wait a few seconds, plug back in), I was (once again) sent to the setup wizard (only this time, half-way through). Once again, the final screen links wouldn't work. Fortunately, I was sent two devices, so I unplugged the first (a GS-16) and plugged in the second (a GS-64). This time around, everything went smoothly and I was able to log into the Gitstorage interface (Figure B). Figure B Usage From the main interface, your first task is to create users. Click on the Users button and add the necessary information for a new user (Figure C). Figure C You can now create a new repository. However, new repositories can only be created by the Root user. This is a problem. Why? Remember that admin user created during setup? I was unable to login with that user. So the only user with root privileges is root and the password is, well, not even remotely secure. Changing that password isn't nearly as intuitive as you might think (at least not from an admin perspective). Instead of the root user password change option being in the Settings sections, you must click on the Root user button in the upper right corner. From the popup menu (Figure D), click Account. Figure D In the resulting window, click Password. When prompted, type (and verify) the new password for the root user. Log out and log back in with your new credentials. Now click on the Repositories entry in the left navigation, click the Create button, give the repository a name, and click Submit. Once you've created the repository, click on the Settings entry for it and then click the Add user button, so you can add users to the repository (otherwise the root user will be the only one with access). SEE: 10 Terminal commands to speed your work on the Mac (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Smooth sailing And that's pretty much all there is to setting up a Gitstorage device. Although I did have one hiccup with the first appliance, setting up the second resulted in some pretty smooth sailing for using an in-house Git repository. If you're looking for an incredibly simple solution for code collaboration (and you don't have the resources to setup your own Git server), I highly recommend a Gitstorage device. It's a simple, small, and elegant solution that should serve you well. Automatically sign up for TechRepublic's Cloud Insights Newsletter for more hot tips and tricks. Subscribe Also see
2018-05-30 00:00:00
If you're looking for an easy solution to house and collaborate on code, and you don't have the resources to setup a Git server, Gitstorage could be your best bet.
Qualcomm XR1 chip could bring faster, cheaper AR/VR to the enterprise
Qualcomm's new Snapdragon XR1 chip, announced via a Tuesday press release, aims to break down the barrier for high-quality virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and bring the technologies to lower-end devices. If successful, the XR1 chip could improve technologies found in modern smart glasses, and make VR and AR more affordable to get into for smaller companies. The chip could also help bring more artificial intelligence (AI) functionality into AR as well, the release noted. In its release, Qualcomm called the XR1 an Extended Reality (XR) platform, noting that it will help bring higher quality experiences to mass-produced devices. And the addition of the AI capabilities will provide "better interactivity, power consumption and thermal efficiency," the release said. SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research) The XR1 features an ARM-based multi-core CPU, a vector processor, a GPU, and a dedicated AI engine for on-board processing. A software layer with dedicated machine learning, connectivity, and security is also part of the platform, the release said. The chip can handle up to 4K definition at 60 frames per second, according to the release. It also supports OpenGL, OpenCL, and Vulkan, and its AI capabilities contribute to computer vision features. Other hallmarks of the XR1 are high-fidelity audio and six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and controller capabilities, making it easier to get around in the virtual world. "As technology evolves and consumer demand grows, we envision XR devices playing a wider variety of roles in consumers' and workers' daily lives," Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm's Mobile Business Unit, said in the release. OEMs like Meta, VIVE, Vuzix, and Picoare are already building on the XR1 platform, the release said. The big takeaways for tech leaders: Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon XR1 chip, which could bring high-quality AR and VR experiences to more users, at a lower cost. The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 features an on-board AI engine to boost computer vision capabilities in AR applications. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-05-30 00:00:00
The platform will also optimize for AI-powered AR experiences, and help with battery life.
Why are companies moving to the cloud? 81% simply fear 'missing out'
If you've ever wondered why so many companies are making moves toward the cloud, the answer may surprise you: It's fear of missing out. According to recent report from Commvault and CITO Research, 81% of business leaders are embracing the cloud because they're concerned about missing out on cloud advancements. So, just how many executives are making that move? According to the report, 93% of respondents said that at least some of their processes were being moved to the cloud. Additionally, 56% said that they had already moved, or intended to move, all of their processes to the cloud. "The survey unequivocally confirms that Cloud FOMO is real and on the mind of C-level and other IT leaders who are grappling with bringing the value of this new frontier to their organizations, from increasing IT outcomes to being a strategic driver for increased business agility," Dan Woods, CTO of CITO Research, said in the release. "The research indicates the migration toward the cloud is underway in full force, even as companies struggle to understand cloud capabilities. Data protection and recovery was highlighted as a fundamental area where the cloud is having significant business impact." SEE: Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) Don Foster, senior director of solutions marketing for Commvault, said in the report that cloud technologies are still seen as a key driver for digital transformation. As such, it makes sense that these business leaders would be concerned about getting to the cloud quickly. The most important cloud projects cited by the respondents were data protection and backup, and data recovery, as noted by 75% of the respondents and 63% respectively. However, there are some challenges holding these companies back from realizing their cloudy dreams. The sheer volume of data was cited by 68% of those surveyed as a key barrier, while 65% pointed to a struggle with skills and talent, and 55% said policies were the biggest barrier. These business leaders are putting their money on the line, too. Some 87% plan on putting more money in their budget for cloud investments. The reasons for why these respondents wanted to move to the cloud were varied. Of those surveyed, 33% noted that "customer focus through business agility" was their primary reason for moving to the cloud. Cost savings were the primary reason for 22% of respondents and 20% said "innovation and development of new apps, products and services" was the driving force behind their cloud journey. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers Some 81% of business leaders said that they're moving to the cloud simply out of a fear of missing out on the tech advances provided by the technology, according to a report from Commvault. Of those questioned, 93% said they would be moving at least some of their processes to the cloud, while increasing their budget for it. Increasing agility and customer focus was the main reason for 33% of business leaders to make a move to the cloud. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
A new report from Commvault shows that IT executives are concerned about missing out on cloud advancements in their business.
How to request your personal data under GDPR
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Individuals can get access to all of their data from a given firm, including their employer, by filing a subject access request. The GDPR will eliminate the cost for subject access requests and shorten the required response time from 40 days to 30. The May 25 deadline for the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast-approaching, and the coming changes will greatly shift the ability of companies to interact with customer data. Many people know the GDPR for its hard-line regulation around the "right to be forgotten," where an individual can request a company to erase the personal data it holds on them. However, it also contains the right to access any information that may be held by a company, including your employer. The process for data access under GDPR will be mostly the same as it was under the Data Protection Act of 1998, but with a few slight differences. For starters, a person will need to file a subject access request (SAR) that, as noted by the Guardian, is simply "an email, fax or letter asking for their personal data." SEE: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy (Tech Pro Research) For clear guidelines on submitting an SAR, see the Subject access code of practice from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). There is no particular format required, as long as the request is made in writing. There are two key differences between SAR requests made under the Data Privacy Act and those made under GDPR: The cost and time frame. Before GDPR, the maximum fee that could be charged for access to your data was £10, or about $14. Under GDPR, however, that fee is being removed for standard requests. Although, the ICO also notes that a firm may charge a "reasonable fee" when "a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive." According to SAR guidelines from the ICO, an individual should have the personal data held on them described, be told whether their personal data is being processes, be told why it's being processed, be told if that data is being sent anywhere else, and be given a copy the data and details of its sourcing. The other detail that will change with personal data access under GDPR is how long companies have to respond to your request. Under the Data Privacy Act, companies had 40 calendar days to respond once they received a request. Now, however, they will have to provide the data within one month of receiving the request. The company can file for an extension of an extra two months if the "requests are complex or numerous," according to the ICO's right of access page. If the request is made electronically, the firm will provide the data in an accessible electronic format. However, the ICO's page notes that GDPR best practices recommend companies establish a secure self-service portal system for easy access. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
A subject access request will require any company to turn over data it has collected on you, and it's pretty simple to do.
5 data protection policies your employees must know in the post-GDPR era
The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May, requiring all organizations that handle the data of EU citizens to comply with its provisions regarding collecting and using personal data. However, a majority of companies likely missed the compliance deadline, and many employees remain unaware of the policies needed to keep data safe. "Data privacy is a hot topic with GDPR going into effect," said Dave Rickard, technical director at CIPHER Security. "An awful lot of companies may not think they have exposure to it, but there are lots of variables in that." For example, one online retailer Rickard works with has many customers from the EU, but can't geolocate them from the website. Others don't work with EU citizens, but have data processing and storage facilities there, which are also subject to GDPR. SEE: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy (Tech Pro Research) GDPR will likely influence data privacy policies in other countries, Rickard said. However, cultural differences, particularly between the EU and US, may make this difficult. "In the EU people are very centered on the perspective that 'My name, my social security number, my passport information, everything that is PII about me, belongs to me. It's part of my individuality,'" he said. "Whereas in North America, people have long since taken the perspective instead that data is currency. There are so many business models that are built on it. Data is money." The majority of companies that need to be compliant with GDPR are not yet, Rickard said. "I'd say compliance right now is only at about 35% or 40% at the most," he said. "I think a lot of people are taking a wait and see approach." Some of the bigger players like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are going to be the canaries in the coal mine, Rickard said. "I think that they'll have actions taken on them first, and people are going to wait and see if the actual GDPR penalties play out the way that they've been published." Companies that fail to comply with GDPR will face a penalty of either 4% of their global revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater. Here are five types of policies that companies must ensure they have in place and have trained employees on in the age of GDPR, according to Rickard. 1. Encryption policies Most companies lack policies around data encryption, Rickard said. "Most people who are data owners are unaware of whether their data is encrypted at rest or not," he added. "GDPR is big on encryption at rest." SEE: Encryption policy (Tech Pro Research) 2. Acceptable use policies An acceptable use policy should covers things like what applications are allowed, what web searching and social media habits are appropriate for the business, and the potential threats to brand reputation, Rickard said. 3. Password policies Passwords remain a common digital entry point into an organization for hackers. Even if, in the best case scenario, employees use complex passwords that are changed often and not shared, human error and carelessness can still put a business at risk. "One of the easiest ways to breach a company is to put somebody on the janitorial staff and go looking at desks," Rickard said. "People often have Post-it notes on monitors with passwords on them." 4. Email policies IT should have an email policy in place that hardens systems and can detect spam and viruses, Rickard said. "The kind of information that can be disclosed via email should be spelled out very clearly," he added. 5. Data processing policies Companies need to do data process flow mapping to see what data is being collected, how it's being processed, and who is receiving processed copies, Rickard said. "GDPR closes all those gaps," he added. Employee training is paramount for ensuring these policies are enforced, Rickard said. Raising awareness of the threat landscape and common vulnerabilities can help counteract human error. "Security awareness and training is the cornerstone of any security program," he added. For tips on how to best train employees on cybersecurity practices, click here. Stay up to date on all the latest cybersecurity threats. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-07-03 00:00:00
Here are the policies that businesses must have in place to remain GDPR compliant, and meet best practices for data privacy.
Why a cloud-friendly Java could finally be possible with Jakarta EE
Over the past two decades, Java has arguably been the most successful programming language on the planet. Go is cool, Swift is nifty, but old-school Java keeps reinventing itself to power both yesterday's and tomorrow's applications. Depending on how you count, some 14 million Java programmers code today, with many of them paid well to maintain massive enterprise applications (an estimated 80% of enterprise workloads run on Java). Redmonk, in its latest Q1 2018 survey, says Java is the second-most popular language after JavaScript among developers. Not that Java lacks challenges. For example, Java is perhaps the most divisive technology in the industry—a morass of competing vendors with a constipated governance model that excludes much more than it includes. In this way, Java has left obvious gaps and frustration for developers who need a bridge to a cloud-native future. SEE: Job description: Java developer (Tech Pro Research) To ease that frustration, Tuesday the Eclipse Foundation unveiled new directions for Java EE under the recently-named-by-community-vote Jakarta EE Working Group, the successor to Java EE (which remains licensed by Oracle and maintained under the JCP). Java, cloud-friendly? It just might happen. An open Java The one thing everyone agrees about Java is that it's imperfect. And yet there's hope. No longer your grandparent's Cobol, what if a vibrant community embraced Jakarta EE and pushed it much faster than any Java EE before? Under the Eclipse Foundation's guidance, we may finally get the power of open source collaboration to build on the best of Java's two decades of work. Through this new Jakarta EE Working Group process, we should see big Java EE vendors like IBM, Red Hat, and Oracle working within the open processes of the Eclipse Foundation with smaller vendors like Tomitribe and Payara. In this world, there's no single vendor to impose its will on Java. Instead, we may finally get a true code meritocracy where Java communities and individuals function as peers. Instead of a divisive force, Jakarta EE could become a catalyst to join disparate Java communities behind a shared goal. In this case, my bet is on a race to some version of cloud-native implementation for Jakarata EE. You can read all the details on the new Eclipse Foundation governance model online but for me, it's much more interesting to see where the community wants to go. To the credit of the Eclipse Foundation, they surveyed more than 1,800 Java developers worldwide to take the pulse of the Java community. Under Oracle's (or Sun's) control, this sort of community outreach simply didn't happen (though, to its credit, Oracle made the decision to move Java to the Eclipse Foundation's stewardship). Java's cloudy future In the survey, the Eclipse Foundation learned that the three most critical areas that developers want Jakarta EE to prioritize are: Better support for microservices (60%) Native integration with Kubernetes (57%) Faster pace of innovation (47%) SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Almost half (45%) of the Java developers surveyed are already building microservices, with more (21%) planning to do so within the next 12 months. Add to this the fact that half of these developers currently only run a fifth of their Java applications in the cloud but 30% say they'll run 60% or more of their applications in the cloud, and it's clear how much pent-up demand there is for a more cloud-friendly Java. To get there, roughly a third of the developers surveyed have embraced Kubernetes. This is a cloud-savvy crowd that needs their preferred programming model to keep pace with their ambitions. None of this was a surprise, of course. Java developers aren't living in a cloud-free world. Developers want a framework of tools that helps them be more successful using the Java skills they already have to build next-generation, cloud native applications. With the new Jakarta EE, they just might get their wish. Click here to subscribe to TechRepublic's Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-18 00:00:00
Under the auspices of the Eclipse Foundation, Java developers are demanding more cloud, and are likely to get their wish.
Report: 32% of IT pros plan to switch jobs in 2018, most for better pay and training
High demand and low supply of IT professionals may lead to turnover in the new year, a new report found. Some 32% of IT professionals said they plan to search for or take an IT job with a new employer in 2018, according to Spiceworks' 2018 IT Career Outlook. Among those planning to make a job move, 75% said they are seeking a better salary, 70% said they want to advance their skills, and 39% said they want to work for a company that prioritizes IT more than the one they currently work for. Of the 2,163 IT professionals from North America and Europe surveyed, 7% said they plan to start working as a consultant, while 5% said they plan to leave the IT industry altogether. Another 2% reported plans to retire in 2018. Some employees said they expect positive changes from their current employer in the new year: 51% of IT professionals said they expect a raise from their current employer next year, while 21% said they also expect a promotion. However, 24% said they don't expect any career changes or raises in the next year. SEE: IT jobs 2018: Hiring priorities, growth areas, and strategies to fill open roles (Tech Pro Research) Millennials in particular (36%) were more likely to say they were seeking new employment—more than Gen Xers (32%) and baby boomers (23%). Millennial IT professionals are also more likely to leave their current employer to find a better salary, advance their skills, work for a more talented team, and receive better employee perks than older employees. Meanwhile, Gen X IT professionals are more likely to leave their jobs to seek a better work-life balance, while baby boomers are more likely to leave due to burnout. Despite those who plan to leave their jobs, 70% of IT professionals say they are satisfied with their current jobs—though 63% say they believe they are underpaid, the report found. This number is even higher among millennials: 68% of millennial IT workers feel underpaid, compared to 60% of Gen X and 61% of baby boomers. In terms of salary, millennial IT professionals are paid a median income of $50,000 per year, while Gen X IT professionals are paid $65,000, and baby boomers are paid $70,000. These salaries also correlate to years of experience, the report noted. In terms of tech skills needed to be successful in any IT job in the coming year, 81% of IT professionals reported that cybersecurity expertise was critical. Despite understanding how critical this area is, only 19% of IT pros reported having advanced cybersecurity knowledge—potentially putting organizations at risk. This echoes previous research about the dearth of cybersecurity professionals currently available to companies, as well as the need to upskill employees to fill security gaps. SEE: Cheat sheet: How to become a cybersecurity pro About 75% of IT professionals also said that it was critical to have experience in networking, infrastructure hardware, end-user devices, and storage and backup. Of these, 41% said they have advanced networking skills, 50% said they have advanced infrastructure hardware skills, and 79% said they are advanced in supporting and troubleshooting end user devices, including laptops, desktops, and tablets. "Although the majority of IT professionals are satisfied with their jobs, many also believe they should be making more money, and will take the initiative to find an employer who is willing to pay them what they're worth in 2018," Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, said in a press release. "Many IT professionals are also motivated to change jobs to advance their skills, particularly in cybersecurity. As data breaches and ransomware outbreaks continue to haunt businesses, IT professionals recognize there is high demand for skilled security professionals now, and in the years to come." Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow. 32% of IT professionals said they plan to search for or take an IT job with a new employer in 2018. -Spiceworks, 2017 Among IT pros planning to make a job move, 75% said they are seeking a better salary, 70% said they want to advance their skills, and 39% said they want to work for a company that prioritizes IT more. -Spiceworks, 2017 81% of IT professionals reported that cybersecurity expertise was critical in the field, but only 19% said they had advanced cybersecurity skills. -Spiceworks, 2017 Image: iStockphoto/Rawpixel Keep up to date on all of the latest leadership news. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
IT workers planning to change jobs are seeking higher salaries, skills advancement, and companies that prioritize IT, according to a Spiceworks report.
How to protect your company from tax season phishing scams
Unfortunately, it seems there's a phishing scheme to go along with virtually every event in life, whether a holiday, a tragedy, or an annual ritual. Tax time is not exempt, so to speak. Whether you work in finance or you support users who do, it's important to be on the lookout this tax season for phishing schemes geared towards obtaining confidential information from unsuspecting individuals. What should users look out for? A common phishing attempt involves compromised or spoofed emails which purport to be from an executive at your organization and are sent either to human resources or finance/payroll employees. The email requests a list of employees and their related W-2 forms. That's not all, however. Another common scam (which can occur throughout the year) involves receiving a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the IRS (caller ID can be spoofed to show this as well) who informs you that you owe money for back taxes and often threatens law enforcement retribution if payment (usually via credit card over the phone) isn't provided. The IRS will never call you on the phone to report you owe them money nor demand money over the phone; they utilize the postal service for such notifications. They also will not engage in threats and are supposed to provide an opportunity for you to work constructively with them or negotiate payment. SEE: IT leader's guide to cyberattack recovery (Tech Pro Research) What standard protection methods should be used? The typical safeguards against phishing can protect you and your employees; establish a policy against requesting confidential information through email, call people directly to verify such requests, arrange for secure transfer of data, and limit the number of employees who possess the authority to access or handle W-2 forms. The IRS also recommends contacting them about any malicious activity. Phishing attempts can be reported to If someone from your company has given out W-2 information, contact with a description of what happened and how many employees were affected. Also make sure not to attach any confidential information! If your company is contacted by scammers claiming you owe the IRS money, report it via the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage. You can also call 800-366-4484. You should also report this to the Federal Trade Commission via the FTC Complaint Assistant on What else is available to help here? Education and establishing proper procedures can be helpful in minimizing risk, but I also highly recommend using technology to safeguard data as well. While both technology and humans may be prone to failure, technology is harder to fool or take advantage of. With that in mind, data loss prevention (DLP) can be a handy tool in combating phishing gimmicks of this nature. DLP systems examine traffic coming in and out of an organization: emails, instant messages, web access - anything that is sent over the network. These systems can sniff out confidential information such as Social Security numbers and block them from being transmitted. This comes with a potential cost, however; legitimate traffic may end up blocked, such as when employees email tax information to their tax preparers or their own personal accounts. This can pose a challenge for DLP systems (and those responsible for administering them) in separating the wheat from the chaff. The end result is undoubtedly a slew of false positives with frustrated and/or confused employees. SEE: Intrusion detection policy (Tech Pro Research) Another potential solution is user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA). UEBA can determine the likelihood the employee is sending tax information to themselves via their personal email address by analyzing behavioral patterns to determine the legitimacy of specific activities. For example, if an employee named Ray Donovan sends a W-2 form from his corporate email address ( to his Gmail address (, UEBA can determine that it's highly likely this information is being sent to the same person and will not send a critical alert nor block the transmission. It helps if Ray has a history of sending himself emails of this nature so UEBA can mark that behavior as normal. However, in a genuine phishing scenario where Ray sends a W-2 form to, an email address he has not previously contacted, UEBA could determine that it's not the same person, analyze further using behavioral comparisons and send alerts or take action as necessary. What about a situation where an employee is emailing confidential information to themselves when they shouldn't (such as someone else's W-2 form, or their own despite company policies prohibiting this)? UEBA can still send alerts which can then result in investigational activity and appropriate discipline as needed, including termination. Making employees aware that this activity is analyzed and monitored can serve as a deterrent and ensure confidential information remains in appropriate hands. For more security tips and news, subscribe to our Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-03-19 00:00:00
A current rash of phishing attacks involves obtaining W-2 forms. Here are some ways IT pros can help prevent data loss and make users aware of the threats.
HTC VIVE announces price for the VIVE Pro VR headset, opens preorders
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: HTC has announced its latest VR headset, the VIVE Pro, and has also opened up preorders for the $799 unit. The HTC VIVE Pro offers 78% increase in resolution over the previous VIVE model and is also capable of wireless connectivity using WiGig technology. HTC's new flagship VR headset, the VIVE Pro, is now available for preorder for $799. Included with the new VR headset is a six-month subscription to VIVEPORT, a VR gaming subscription service where subscribers can choose five titles from the service's catalog to rent at any given time. After the trial expires a VIVEPORT subscription will cost $8.99 per month, though purchasing a subscription prior to March 22nd will lock in the current rate of $6.99 per month, which will increase to $8.99 at that point. Along with the release of the VIVE Pro, HTC is reducing the cost of the currently available VIVE headset to $499, a reduction of $100. Purchasing the currently available VIVE includes a two-month subscription to VIVEPORT and a free copy of Fallout 4 VR. The VIVE Pro's capabilities The VIVE Pro will begin shipping on April 5, 2018, and is a considerable upgrade over the previous VIVE model, all without needing much in the way of upgrades to the PC that powers the headset (VIVE units aren't standalone). The VIVE Pro has dual OLED screens with a resolution of 2880x1600, a 78% increase in resolution over the current generation VIVE. It has a 90 Hz refresh rate and a 110 degree field of view and can be used with the current generation of controllers and base stations. SEE: New equipment budget policy (Tech Pro Research) The VIVE Pro VR headset is also WiGig compatible, meaning that users won't need to tether it to a computer or base station, provided they're willing to pay for a separate wireless module, which hasn't been priced or given a release date yet. HTC VIVE US general manager Daniel O'Brien said that the VIVE Pro is designed to deliver "the best quality display and visual experience to the most discerning VR enthusiasts," as well as offering a premium product to drive adoption of VR technology and products. Developers interested in becoming a part of HTC's vision for the future of VR can learn more about building applications for the HTC VIVE Pro at the VIVE developer's portal. Like other VR development platforms, VIVE makes use of Unity and the Unreal Engine and a proprietary SDK for building apps. Learn more about the latest tech trends by subscribing to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-03-19 00:00:00
The new HTC VIVE Pro will be priced at $799 and can be preordered today for early April shipment. The price of the original VIVE is dropping to $499.
Are smart locks secure? AV-TEST has the answer
Smart locks began appearing on doors when building automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) went mainstream. However, the public's acceptance of smart locks has been less than stellar—initial cost vs. actual benefits are seemingly the primary reason why. Image: Amazon The low adoption of smart locks may soon change if the powers that be at Amazon have their way. The company recently introduced Amazon Key, a remotely-controlled building-access platform—consisting of Amazon's Cloud Cam, a compatible smart lock, and smartphone app (shown to the right)—that allows Amazon-approved delivery personnel to open locked doors and leave deliveries inside the customer's home or office. A slew of additional conveniences not related to package delivery may also help the acceptance of smart locks. That said, the public's interest in smart locks will only improve if the benefits outweigh the costs, and the technology is proven to be physically safe and electronically secure. Security issues have already been reported about Amazon Key. Liam Tung in his ZDNet article Amazon: We're fixing a flaw that leaves Key security camera open to Wi-Fi jamming writes, "A malicious courier could easily freeze the Key's Cloud Cam and roam a customer's house unmonitored." Concerns about smart locks and security were raised way back in 2013. My TechRepublic article High-tech home security products: Who are they really helping? quotes several experts who question the security of smart locks and the technology supporting them. SEE: Internet of Things Policy (Tech Pro Research) AV-TEST put six smart locks' data security through their paces Knowing what experts were saying about smart-lock systems four years ago and the likelihood of smart locks becoming popular, the people at AV-TEST, an independent IT-security testing lab, decided to see if things have improved. The lab's engineers developed a test program and put these six smart locks through their paces: August Smart Lock (USA) Burg-Wachter secuENTRY easy 501 (Germany) Danalock V3 (Denmark) eQ-3 Equiva Bluetooth Smart Lock (Germany) Noke Padlock (USA) Nuki Combo (Austria) Test environments Data security was the first thing considered by the engineers with special emphasis on acquisition, storage, and transmission of data; the following image depicts how they employed Wireshark to capture traffic between the smart lock being tested and the controlling smartphone application. Besides communications, the team examined each system's hardware and software, tested the software-update process, and determined whether the associated smart-lock application had any security issues. Image: AV-TEST The results It seems smart locks have improved considerably in the past four-plus years. From the AV-TEST report: "Convenience does not have to mean less security. This reassuring conclusion can be made following the surprisingly strong results of the smart-lock testing." Concerning the test results, the test engineers offer the following insights. Installation: Despite physical differences, all smart locks evaluated by AV-TEST installed easily—systems manufactured by eQ-3 and Nuki being the easiest. Local communications: All tested smart locks are locally activated via Bluetooth. "As a standard feature, the smart locks use encryption, mostly AES with at least 128 bits," mentions the report. "Three locks, August, Danalock, and Nuki can encrypt at a higher rate—AES with 256 bits." The AV-TEST engineers report that smart locks by August, Danalock, and Nuki can integrate with local Wi-Fi networks; this allows location-independent remote control using the mobile device's smart-lock app. According to the report, neither Bluetooth nor SSL-encrypted Wi-Fi connections introduce any detectable vulnerabilities. Data protection: AV-TEST's engineers measured each smart lock's privacy policy against European data-protection law. One concern centered on whether systems save more data than what is needed to operate properly. From the report: "For August, Danalock, and Noke, the testers see a need for improvement, e.g., in terms of information on stored data and its use by third parties. An adaptation to European data-protection law would easily remedy these defects." SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report) Smartphone-app security: The report warns that apps are a potential target for attackers, in particular how each app manages access permissions and log files. All smart-lock systems but August and Danalock handled access and log files adequately. The engineers are concerned that August and Danalock generate comprehensive debug logs that provide clues to how the app functions. Additionally, August keeps debug logs in a protected area, whereas Danalock does not, making it possible to read the log files using tools like Android Logcat. The report suggests both August and Danalock need to improve security in this area. One serious misstep: The AV-TEST paper took issue with the smart lock from Burg-Wachter because the lock system does not require the user to change the default admin password. "A dangerous complacency, as IoT devices with unchanged default login details are easy prey for attackers," mentions the report. Overall results Each smart lock was rated on local communications, external communications, app security, and data protection, with three stars holding top honors. The following graph shows the overall results. Image: AV-TEST On a positive note, the AT-TEST report notes, "All in all, it appears the manufacturers of smart door locks, unlike many other manufacturers of smart home products, did their homework." The report concludes by saying, "The AV-TEST Institute rated five out of six of the locking systems evaluated in the quick test as having solid basic security with theoretical vulnerabilities at the most." Stay informed about IT security news, tips, and tutorials—subscribe to our Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-10 00:00:00
Consumers and professionals have questioned whether smart locks are secure; AV-TEST tested six smart locks to find out if those concerns are justified. Find out what the tests revealed.
Top 5: Things AI might actually be good for
Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly mocked as being used as a marketing term. But AI is also being used to create some legitimately useful tools. So, to beat back some of the less useful uses of the term, here are five things AI might actually be good for: 1. Farming FarmLogs is an example of complex data analysis that tracks weather, soil conditions, historical satellite imagery and helps farmers determine what kind of plant growth to expect and how to maximize crop yields. SEE: Farming for the future: How one company uses big data to maximize yields and minimize impact (TechRepublic) 2. Medical diagnosis Watson made this use of AI famous, and while you can debate its effectiveness, others like Intel are working on things like precision medicine. Machine learning can compare molecular tests with previous cases to customize treatments. Computer interpretation of medical images as an aid to diagnosis is also making rapid advances. SEE: Beware AI's magical promises, as seen in IBM Watson's underwhelming cancer play (TechRepublic) 3. Stopping predators The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is experimenting with AI to help automate and speed up scanning websites for suspicious content. SEE: IT leader's guide to deep learning (Tech Pro Research) 4. Recruiting AI can help sort through resumes and rank candidates. Unilever used an AI called HireVue to analyze candidates' answers body language and tone, cutting down time to hire and increasing offers and acceptance rates. SEE: How to implement AI and machine learning (ZDNet) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) 5. Customer service AI assistants were made famous by smartphones, but where they really shine is providing assistance to human customer service agents. AI can be used to process natural language and route people to the right agent and even listen in and prompt agents with queries and responses. We didn't even include autonomous cars, which use all kinds of machine learning and types of AI to interpret sensors. And there are loads more. There's a lot of fog around the idea of AI these days, but if you look closely you can see some pretty good examples of the real thing. For more about artificial intelligence and other innovations, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-02-02 00:00:00
It's easy to dismiss AI as a buzz phrase or just a marketing term, and in some cases it is. But here are five situations where AI can be helpful.
How 5G will power innovations in VR and artificial intelligence
Manish Vyas, president of business communication at Tech Mahindra, spoke with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson about innovations that will be enabled by the arrival of 5G. Watch the video, or read the full transcript of their conversation below: Patterson: Help us understand, Manish, 5G we hear a lot of hype about. What's the reality of this new wireless standard? Vyas: The reality is that it does promise us to transform. You very rightly use the word digital, but my translation of digital is it promises to change the way people would live, work, and play going forward in a more significant fashion than what you saw with the previous generations. If I could just expand on that a bit, 5G is not just about the throughput and the speed and the power and the latencies, but 5G is about exciting, exciting propositions that will come our way both in the enterprise space and in the consumer domain. Given that 5G also combined with some of the other later technological innovations that are happening as we speak, for example, artificial intelligence, will just enable a certain set of use cases. It will just change the paradigm of how people communicate, how people consume experiences, or how people transact business. All of that is going to change, so I guess that's the reason why everybody is so hyped up, if I may, about 5G. Patterson: So, how? We know that the capabilities of 2G, 3G, and 4G has iterated and created new technological capabilities. What specifically about 5G enables IoT, enables high-speed mobile devices, and enables artificial intelligence? Vyas: Yes. I think it is, and all of them are related, the convergence of other software technologies that are advancing at the speed of light right now. Let's take two of them, just to build a use case, right? Let's take VR, virtual reality. Let's take IoT, which is the ability to connect the devices and harness the power of data, right? Now, combine that with the wireless advancements that will happen with the 5G technology from an access, as well as from how the data is processed. It will create use cases that have hereto not been possible. SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research) One of my favorite examples that I often give is think of an NFL game, and think of the tailgate parties that happen outside any stadium. There are any number of thousands of people who are perennial tailgate party goers. They don't even enter the stadium game after game, year after year, but they like to spend a lot of money outside the stadium. The experience that they will now get, imagine with the VR and with the discoverable aspect of the network that 5G does, where if you, Dan, for example, as a big fan of a certain running back of a certain NFL team, as you're partying with your buddies outside a certain stadium, you will be notified that something dramatic happened inside the stadium and with whatever device that is available at the time, which is also by the way advancing, with 5G and with the fact that you are discoverable by the network and the latencies and the availability of the network is like never before, the throughout is like never before, so the IoT on a camera or a device, the VR experience, powered by 5G, you will there and then and you will be the only person who will be able to stand almost right next to the running back and experience as the things explode and happen at the site. Just the sheer power of that use case is phenomenal, and the money that different people in the ecosystem will make out of it, including the telecom service provider, I think can be quite an interesting paradigm in my view. Patterson: What are some of the challenges or roadblocks to the rollout of 5G? Vyas: I think there are plenty. One of the biggest ones is going to be, without even getting into the technology aspect at this point, I would say is still a major part of the industry will still struggle to find the justification to invest in the capital, from a business case ROI standpoint. Now, on that one, one is also hearing as I go around the world and meet different CTOs and other executives of service providers, one is hearing that there are different ways of skinning that cat, if I may. The overall cost of 5G deployment is likely to be atmospherically high at this point, there are all indicators that the likely cost is going to be cheaper than what was in 4G, and if that happens, that itself is probably a business case-justification. SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Of course, there is a bigger underlying assumption that the prices in the marketplace at least hold up, and if they drop, they drop only marginally and not dramatically. There's no guarantee of that, but at least that's a possibility. That's one challenge, clearly that the market is going to face. The second is going to be a more technical and execution challenge, which is the availability of the technology, the trials that need to go through in a very satisfactory fashion worldwide so that people get enough confidence to go and deploy the technology at a very large scale, which I don't think is a question of if, it is more a question of when. I guess the challenge would be more for delay rather than really making it happen. Patterson: Manish, I think that that is a great point. I wonder if you could leave us with say, the next 18- to 36-months in the rollout of 5G. Where are we in a year, year and a half, and where are we in three or four years? Vyas: I would say in three to four years time, I would be surprised if the world is not entirely enabled by 5G. When I say that with a sense of responsibility that there would be still be a certain set of companies that may not adopt it, because of how they would want to position it, which would be challenging, and they would be under tremendous pressure, but I believe that in the next three to four years, as the other technologies also evolve, the other software technologies, I believe in the next three to four years, we will see a very large scale deployment worldwide. In the imminent short-term, the 18, 20 months, I think we will see the early adopters clearly making progress. This year alone, we might see some of the major tier-one service providers in the North American continent, we will see them doing about 12 to 15 trials. By that, I mean 12 to 15 locations or cities would be 5G-enabled by the end of the year. For more about the latest tech innovations, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-19 00:00:00
Manish Vyas, president of business communication at Tech Mahindra, spoke with TechRepublic about the power of 5G to change the way we live and work, as well as some of the challenges to rolling it out.
Five programming languages with hidden flaws vulnerable to hackers
Writing bug-free software is practically impossible, due to the impracticality of predicting every way in which code might be executed. But even if developers go above and beyond to avoid flaws that can be exploited by hackers, attackers can often still take advantage of vulnerabilities in the design of the underlying programming language. At the recent Black Hat Europe conference, IOActive security services revealed it had identified flaws in five major, interpreted programming languages that could be used by hackers in crafting an attack. "With regards to the interpreted programming languages vulnerabilities, software developers may unknowingly include code in an application that can be used in a way that the designer did not foresee," it writes. SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research) "Some of these behaviors pose a security risk to applications that were securely developed according to guidelines." These are the five programming languages and the flaws that were identified: 1. Python Currently enjoying a surge in usage, Python is regularly used by web and desktop developers, sysadmin/devops, and more recently by data scientists and machine-learning engineers. The IOActive paper found that Python contains undocumented methods and local environment variables that can be used to execute operating-system commands. Both Python's mimetools and pydoc libraries have undocumented methods that can be exploited in this way, which IOActive used to run Linux's id command. 2. Perl Popular for web server scripting, sysadmin jobs, network programming and automating various tasks, Perl has been in use since the late 1980s. IOActive highlights the fact that Perl contains a function that will attempt to execute one of the arguments passed to it as Perl code. It describes the practice as a "hidden feature" within a default Perl function for handling typemaps. 3. NodeJS NodeJS provides a server-side environment for executing JavaScript, the language commonly used for scripting in web browsers. IOActive found that NodeJS' built-in error messages for its require function could be exploited to determine whether a file name existed on the machine and to leak the first line of files on a system—potentially useful information for an attacker. 4. JRuby The Java implementation of the Ruby programming language was found to allow remote code execution in a way that isn't possible in Ruby as a base language. By calling executable Ruby code using a specific function in JRuby, IOActive was able to get the function to execute an operating system command, the Linux command id, by loading a file on a remote server. 5. PHP The venerable server scripting language was used to call an operating system command, again the Linux command id, using the shell_exec() function and exploiting the way PHP handles the names of constants. "Depending on how the PHP application has been developed, this may lead to remote command execution," say researchers. That said, many web admins have long known the potential risk posed by PHP's shell_exec() function, and how to disable it. Exploitable flaws in each programming language were identified using a tool called a differential fuzzer, which was designed to automatically find vulnerabilities. The fuzzer works by running through a large array of scenarios in each language, calling each of the languages' native functions with a wide variety of different arguments and observing the results. Keep up to date on all of the newest tech trends. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-03-13 00:00:00
Even if developers go above and beyond to avoid flaws that can be exploited by hackers, attackers can often still take advantage of bugs in the design of the underlying programming language.
How the blockchain could help build a decentralized media economy
Jarrod Dicker, CEO of, talked with Dan Patterson about how his company uses the blockchain to document media assets. Watch the video, or read the full transcript of their conversation below: Patterson: The decentralized media economy is here. What the heck is a decentralized media economy? Well, surprise, surprise, it runs on the blockchain. ... You have worked at The Washington Post, as well as RebelMouse and other media companies. First, why a startup? Why a blockchain startup? And, why Dicker: Three of the most frequent questions I get. So why a startup? I think my past three years at The Washington Post have been somewhat startup in a legacy media news organization, and the fact that we were run by Jeff Bezos, who owns the Post. It was an amazing time for news, right, and all news media. There was a lot of momentum and excitement behind all the work that we were doing. Especially when we took it to the tech side. And one thing that I've always focused on throughout my career was how do we build a better model for the business of media, which is what I found extremely hard to do. It's also extremely hard to do within just one media company. So over the past few years, I've been building something at The Washington Post called RED, Research Experimentation Development, where we were building new technologies and systems to use on the Post, off the Post, licensed white label to really help build a better media economy. Then I started really understanding not just the technologies behind blockchain, but the philosophies behind them. The idea of consensus and decentralization. Coincidentally, approached me in terms of going there, becoming the chief executive officer, and building the team. We could get into how that all went down, but that's how I ended up here now. Patterson: So the blockchain, this is possibly one of the most hyped technologies in recent memory. But it really is useful when you have to stamp a piece of asset, whatever that asset is. No matter whether it's gold and diamonds, or housing and real estate, or in this case, content. So a lot of us in media on the backend, we have content management systems and you can see a log of activity that is not necessarily for the public, but you can see what happens to a particular asset over time. Why is a blockchain good for public pieces of media? And when I say assets, in this case we're referring to a post, or a video, or an audio podcast. Why is the blockchain so good at documenting those types of assets? Dicker: Yeah, I think for one, a quick answer is the idea of immutability, right. The idea that something could be permanent and stored there. Mainly for attribution, being able to check to see who the owner of an idea is, whose authorship of a certain idea, and just make sure that that cannot be manipulated. I think that that's extremely important, but scary for a lot of media companies. I've had a couple conversations where folks in media have said, "Well, that's terrifying because what if I need to redact a statement?" Right, or what if I need to take something down for advertisements? And where I think we'll see the value of blockchain in media is also like philosophically how we change the way that we think and build content and creative ideas in the media landscape. What I mean by that is right now, we are used to a web, where we can delete, where we can change, and where we can alter. And what's really happened there is that people throw ideas out there, knowing that if they are wrong, they could change or delete, or things are not immutable, right, per se, which is what's happening on the blockchain. What I really hope beyond just the products of what it can do, is really that it'll change the way that we do things, right. Like in society today, there are consequences for things that you do. You can't just press the delete button or change, right. So you think about these sort of things before you actually act on them. And I think what we've seen in the media landscape is that people are very quick to send ideas or shoot ideas out there, knowing that they can hide behind something, or knowing that they could change something. And what does it really mean when you need to kind of account for those ideas, and when they are living on a blockchain forever? So one of which, when it comes to media on the blockchain, I think is this idea of security, immutability. SEE: What is blockchain? Understanding the technology and the revolution (free PDF) (TechRepublic) This new notion that you are now in control of your ideas and of your assets, both in a public and private, public key, private key manner. And being able to take control of that, right. We at, really want to focus more on the long tail creators, like we are accessible for everyone. We aim to be a library of the world's creative assets on the blockchain and are building different ways for access and people to do so. Whether that's through, as you mentioned, a content management system, or going directly to, or within your own domains. But once you do that, what can you actually do on the domain? And I think there's two major things. One is really being able to own and manage your ideas. So how do you issue a content license? What should that cost? How can you make sure that your ideas are being heard and transacted on? An example that I give often and we see it every single day on Twitter, is that if you put something up on Twitter, which is a piece of media that can go viral beyond just the at replies, there's also Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed, and others saying, "Hey, Dan. I love this. Do you mind if I use this?" And at that moment, you really have already put it on Twitter and you just assume, "Sure, right. It's already out there." Well, what if you had the opportunity to say, "Oh, there's clearly value in this content I'm creating. Sure, here's my private key with the smart contract and rules that you need to abide by if you want to license and leverage this content." So that is one thing that I think is extremely important that we'll learn both in terms of changing a behavior about applications of using blockchain for media. The other is this idea of transparency, as you mentioned, and reputation, right. In everything that we do in life, reputation matters. Like if you go to a hotel, you're going to look at the ratings. If you ride in an Uber, you look at ratings. Every single thing is based on that transparency and reputation. Even if you're going to eat something, right. Truth could be subjective, information could be subjective. Like the same way that you would look at maybe the back of a carton of milk and say, "Okay, there's a lot of fat, but I'm cool with it." Or, you may say, "No, like I don't want all that fat." But when it comes to information and transparency, that doesn't really exist. So I think this idea of building reputation for creators, not just to say, "That this creator tells the truth and this creator doesn't tell the truth." But just give transparency as to the way that they navigate it- Patterson: Yeah, ownership and the attribution- Dicker: Exactly. Patterson: Yeah. Dicker: Exactly, and be able to see, has it been fact checked? Right, who has seen it? Has this person published before? They've taken this picture in Sri Lanka, are they actually in Sri Lanka? Right, or are they in New Jersey? So I think that sort of information really is applicable, especially nowadays, when it comes to deep fakes and people putting information out there, to really just get more exposure and transparency to the end consumer, so that they can make decisions on their own based on what they're consuming. Patterson: Yeah, so the obvious use cases could be say, iStock photo and allowing creators to control the assets that are there. But also social media, as well as news content, or almost any piece of content where an exchange of trust has to happen. And really what you're talking about with transparency, is the exchange of trust equity. And being able to say, "This is the process by which a particular asset exists in an ecosystem, and you can vet and verify it using the blockchain." So you use the Ethereum blockchain. Dicker: We use the ERC-20. Patterson: Yeah, so explain to me how that applies to, not just in terms of content, but you are building a content library. Why did you elect to use Ethereum? What are some of the advantages of that? And, is this the next emerging hot blockchain? Dicker: So I want to back up and just make it clear. We stamp on the Bitcoin blockchain because it's the most secure blockchain. We leverage Ethereum for ERC-20 tokens because is a token dynamic-type model. In that, to build reputation, we need to build incentive systems, and that's why the token exists to help fuel and challenge the marketplace in order to get the best content up and the worst content down. I think with Ethereum, the most interesting thing that's happening is that they are opening up with these ERC-20 tokens and beyond, the opportunity for people to build their technologies on top of it. And that's where you've kind of seen a huge movement towards that blockchain and the opportunities of that blockchain. There's also companies like ConsenSys out in Bushwick, that are building right on top of this, companies for every single pocket of the industry that could leverage blockchain for proof, right, of value and really what it could really become. That is definitely happening to answer your question. Like that trend is moving and there's a lot of accessibility there. Now that being said, we're way off, right, from building scalable blockchain solutions when it comes to enterprise and conversations that we would have had three years ago when I was at The Washington Post in talking about technologies built there. So that is somewhat exciting because I don't believe that we are dead set on one blockchain for anything. SEE: Blockchain: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)'s ambitions and the partnerships that we have and others that are building on top of the work that we're doing, are kind of opening up the same opportunity. Look, is build a protocol that is helping build reputation on the web. And if you want to help leverage that, to help build reputation within your applications, then you should build on There's a company called Encrypt that's building on top of, which is really looking to circumvent censorship when it comes to information delivery. So if you are posting an article or have a website, and you are concerned that your IP could be blocked, how can you leverage Encrypt to make sure that that information is then spread out in a bunch of different devices and not just one central server? To then be able to come back and have that information delivered, and that's something that's being built on top of There's other conversations of people in media that are looking for certain solutions that want to build on top of what we're doing, as well. So we leverage Bitcoin blockchain just because it's an easy marketing example to say, "Look. If you value your money and you trust Bitcoin blockchain because money is the most important thing to you at this moment, well, your ideas are equally important, right? And if your ideas are important, you want them to be as secure as your money." But there are opportunities for us to port to either. There's opportunities for us to mimic or build our own. I think it's still early days, but the biggest thing that we're looking to do now is influence a space that could benefit from new thinking, right, the business of media really trying to figure out how to strengthen media companies, how to allow them to evolve, how can get we give power back to creators, right? How do we give velocity to independent thought and a platform, where people could drive revenue and earn what they should earn, based off their ideas? An analogy ... Or, sorry. I hate sports analogies, but an analogy- Patterson: I love sports analogies- Dicker: And hopefully, the audience does, as well. But the way that free agency works in sports, right, does not really exist when it comes to media or content. So each writer is somewhat valued the same. I mean, we look at certain nuances like Twitter followers, or tenure, right, or work that they've completed. But in sports, you have this opportunity where every single quarterback is rated, right, in front of the public based on their skillset, based on their salaries, based on all these different set of criteria. In media, that really doesn't exist, right. So what if we can build these sort of valuations and services to set up, so that we can actually pinpoint the value of content and the value of media that everyone is creating, which personally, I believe is extremely undervalued right now. And I'm sure you agree, as well, and anyone who works in this space constantly is telling people that, "Content cost money. Content is valuable. It costs a lot to create great content. If you want good content, you need to pay for it." But I think what we need to do is start proving these things, and in order to prove these things, we need to set up dynamics and platforms in order to do so, and that's kind of what we're doing here. For more on blockchain and other world-changing technology, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-02-28 00:00:00
Jarrod Dicker, CEO of, explained how blockchain tech could revolutionize the news industry, help eliminate fake news, and enhance trust in social media.
Windows 10 wishlist: Five gripes Microsoft needs to take seriously
Microsoft is constantly tinkering with Windows 10, dropping in new features and swapping out old ones, but there are a few annoyances it seems unable or unwilling to fix. What ties most of the following complaints together is Microsoft's reluctance to let users choose for themselves, preferring instead to try to coerce users and control how they use their computer. Here are the five ways Windows 10 is broken that Microsoft needs to sort out. 1. Sort out the Control Panel / Settings app confusion Windows 10 adopts a rather confused approach to managing settings—splitting the options between the legacy Control Panel and the Settings app. Microsoft appears to be in the process of gradually migrating these options to the new Settings app, with each big feature update further diminishing the role of the Control Panel. However, having to juggle between the two menus is not particularly user friendly, and the changes in where settings lie is particularly aggravating for some users, as can be seen by the large number of forum posts this issue generates. You can use the Search function to locate the Settings you need, but there are still clearly a large number of users who still struggle to locate what they're looking for. 2. Give all users control over updates All Windows 10 users should be given control over when updates are applied. Currently there is no simple option for Windows 10 Home users to defer updates in the same way there is for users of Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. SEE: Windows 10: Streamline your work with these power tips (free TechRepublic PDF) Users of non-Home editions can toggle options in menus to put off updates for months at the very least. However, Home users have to engage in hacky workarounds, such as setting their connection to 'Metered', which can have unwanted side effects due to Windows no longer downloading most Windows updates or Windows Store app updates. Microsoft should just relent and give the Home edition the same level of control over updates as is available to Pro users. 3. Allow users to opt out of feature updates altogether Not everyone appreciates Microsoft's twice-yearly feature updates messing with their desktop, and, for some, the smattering of new features are, at best, unnecessary. Microsoft should give all users the option to completely opt out of feature updates—the most recent being the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update— and instead only receive essential patches and fixes. As it is, users of Pro and Enterprise can defer feature updates for more than a year, so why not go one step further and let everyone opt out altogether. Does it really make sense for people who don't have the slightest interest in virtual reality to suddenly find their computer has a Mixed Reality Portal? There's even already precedent for the change, with Microsoft recently revealing that PCs with unsupported Intel Atom CPUs would not receive any feature updates post last summer's Anniversary Update. 4. Stop trying to force Bing and the Edge browser on users While makes sense for Microsoft to build an ecosystem of linked services, from both a practical and commercial point of view, it would be nice if Microsoft let users choose their sniearch engine when using Windows built-in search feature. Microsoft says that locking the Search function to Bing and its Edge browser is necessary to ensure the best possible experience for Windows 10 users. But given the relatively limited market share of Bing and Edge, it's clear that many users prefer competing products and services, so again it would be good if Microsoft would allow users to use their search engine or browser of choice. 5. Stop pushing the Microsoft Store so hard until it's better stocked Microsoft is determined to get more people to use the Microsoft Store, whether by locking Windows 10 S to using Store apps, or by releasing Store exclusives. However, despite launching in 2012, the Store's selection of apps is still fairly lacklustre, especially compared to the unfettered selection of software available for the Window desktop. Microsoft faces a classic chicken and egg problem: without the userbase, it won't get the apps, but without the apps, you can't attract the userbase. Trying to forcibly create an audience by creating an OS locked to the store isn't the answer, however, all it does is highlight just how sparse the offerings in the Microsoft Store are. Be your company's Microsoft insider with the help of these Windows and Office tutorials and our experts' analyses of Microsoft's enterprise products. Subscribe to our Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe More on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
2017-10-24 00:00:00
Microsoft needs to stop trying to coerce users and control how they use their computer.
The top 5 iPhone X gestures every user should know
The iPhone X is built with gestures in mind, taking MultiTouch to the next level as it's now the main way to interact with the iPhone. Doing things as simple as double-tapping the Home button to show the App Switcher, using Reachability for items at the top of the screen, and Force Quitting apps has changed. These are the top five gestures that you need to know to take full advantage of the iPhone X. SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research) 1: How to access the App Switcher on the iPhone X On previous versions of iOS hardware, accessing the App Switcher to swap to another app or force quit an app was as simple as double-tapping the home button; however, with iPhone X, the home button is no more. To access the App Switcher—whether you're in an app or on the Home Screen—you'll use the Home gesture (swipe up from the bottom), except you'll stop halfway up the screen and pause. The view will change to the App Switcher you know and love (Figure A). Figure A 2. How to force quit apps on the iPhone X Inside of the App Switcher, you may be wondering how to force quit an app, because in this new switcher, swiping up does not quit the app. To force quit an app, launch the App Switcher, then tap and hold on an app. This will enter editing mode where you can either choose the "-" button that appears in the corner of each open app, or swipe up as you would on a non-iPhone X iOS device. As we've mentioned in a previous article, you only need to Force Quit unresponsive apps. There is no need to force quit apps on a regular basis. 3. How to quickly swipe to the previously used app on the iPhone X The Home Indicator at the bottom of the screen gives you many capabilities at a single tap or swipe. Swiping from left to right on the Home Indicator will launch the previously used app from the App Switcher without the need to open the App Switcher. This feature is very useful on the iPhone and greatly improves multitasking capabilities because it lets you jump between apps quickly and efficiently. SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) 4. How to enable Reachability on the iPhone X Reachability is an accessibility feature that can be enabled on previous iPhone models by double-tapping on the Home Button to slide the top of the screen down by half the screen to make top items more reachable while holding the device with one hand. With the Home Button gone, this feature has changed slightly and is not enabled by default. To enable Reachability in iOS 11.1.1, follow these steps. Open the Settings app. Navigate to General | Accessibility. Enable the option for Reachability (Figure B). Figure B To use Reachability once it's enabled, swipe down on the Home Indicator at the bottom of the screen. You'll see the current app slide half way down the screen, giving you easier access to reach the items at the top of the screen. 5. How to manage the iPhone X's Home Screen On an iPhone X, you may be wondering how to exit out of Home Screen arranging mode (aka jiggly mode). First, enter this mode by tapping and holding on an icon or folder on the Home Screen. The icons will begin wiggling, and you can rearrange them. To exit this mode, swipe up from the bottom like you would to exit to the Home Screen from an app. In iOS 11.1.1, a Done button appears in the top right corner of the screen in the status bar area—Tapping this button will also exit editing mode. For more iPhone tips and tricks, subscribe to our Apple Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-11-12 00:00:00
iPhone X requires new gestures to interact with the Home Screen and apps. This tutorial shows you the top gestures that every iPhone X owner needs to know to take advantage of the Apple mobile device.
HPE and NASA experiment with 'Spaceborne Computer,' a supercomputer that could help us get to Mars
Image: HPE Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA will partner to send a supercomputer to space, the companies announced in a blog post on Monday. The "Spaceborne Computer" will be sent up to the International Space Station (ISS), first by being launched on the SpaceX CRS-12 rocket, and then sent via the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft. It will be a year-long experiment, with aims to eventually land on a mission to Mars—a trip of the same length. Why? Advanced computing, currently done on land, could help astronauts survive in gruelling conditions by allowing for processing of information in real-time in space. The Spaceborne Computer comes equipped with the HPE Apollo 40 class systems, the blog post stated, which includes a high-speed HPC interconnect running an open-source Linux operating system. Importantly, this system could eliminate communication latencies, which can take up to 40 minutes, and can "make any on-the-ground exploration challenging and potentially dangerous if astronauts are met with any mission critical scenarios that they're not able to solve themselves," Alain Andreoli, SVP and GM of HPE's data center infrastructure group, wrote in the blog post. A computer this advanced has never run in space before, since most computing systems are not developed to survive in brutal conditions that include factors such as radiation, solar flares, micrometeoroids, unstable electrical power and irregular cooling. However, the software on this computer was developed to withstand these types of conditions, and its water-cooled enclosure for the hardware was created to help keep the system safe. The project, Andreoli wrote, has implications beyond what it can do for a voyage to Mars. "The Spaceborne Computer experiment will not only show us what needs to be done to advance computing in space, it will also spark discoveries for how to improve high performance computing (HPC) on Earth and potentially have a ripple effect in other areas of technology innovation," Andreoli wrote. SEE: How Mark Shuttleworth became the first African in space and launched a software revolution (PDF download) The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers: On Monday, a blog post by HPE announced a partnership with NASA that will send a "Spaceborne Computer"—a supercomputer—on a year-long experiment to the ISS. The project is intended to eventually end up on a voyage to Mars—which also takes a year—with the intention of helping astronauts perform high-level computation in space, which could eliminate the current lag-time in communication between space and Earth. The project is intended to have broader implications for the kind of advanced computing that can be done in space. Find out The Next Big Thing from TechRepublic. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
A year-long experiment will send a highly sophisticated computing system, via the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft, to the ISS. The ultimate goal is aiding astronauts on a trip to Mars.
Apple's FileVault 2 encryption program: A cheat sheet
Apple's FileVault encryption program was initially introduced with OS X 10.3 (Panther), and it allowed for the encryption of a user's home folder only. Beginning with OS X 10.7 (Lion), Apple redesigned the encryption scheme and released it as FileVault 2—the program offers whole-disk encryption alongside newer, stronger encryption standards. FileVault 2 has been available to each version of OS X/macOS since 10.7; the legacy FileVault is still available in earlier versions of OS X. This comprehensive guide about Apple's FileVault 2 covers features, system requirements, and more. We will update this article if there's new information about FileVault 2. SEE: Encryption Policy (Tech Pro Research) Executive summary What is FileVault 2, and how does it encrypt data? FileVault 2 is a whole-disk encryption program that encrypts data on a Mac to prevent unauthorized access from anyone that does not have the decryption key or user's account credentials. FileVault 2 is a whole-disk encryption program that encrypts data on a Mac to prevent unauthorized access from anyone that does not have the decryption key or user's account credentials. Why does FileVault 2 matter? Encryption of data at rest or stored on a disk is often the last resort to ensuring that data is protected against unauthorized access. The recent high-profile security breaches make it even more important to know about encryption programs such as FileVault 2. Encryption of data at rest or stored on a disk is often the last resort to ensuring that data is protected against unauthorized access. The recent high-profile security breaches make it even more important to know about encryption programs such as FileVault 2. Is FileVault 2 available to all macOS users? All macOS users can enable FileVault 2 to protect their data. Some users running more recent versions of OS X can also enable disk encryption, while others using older versions of OS X will only be able to utilize legacy FileVault, which encrypts just their home folder. All macOS users can enable FileVault 2 to protect their data. Some users running more recent versions of OS X can also enable disk encryption, while others using older versions of OS X will only be able to utilize legacy FileVault, which encrypts just their home folder. What are the pros and cons to using FileVault 2? Some of the pros include it supports legacy hardware, and deployment may be locally or centrally managed by users or the IT department. One con is enabling FileVault 2 can have a negative impact on I/O performance of approximately 20-30% of modern CPUs. More pros and cons are detailed in this article. Some of the pros include it supports legacy hardware, and deployment may be locally or centrally managed by users or the IT department. One con is enabling FileVault 2 can have a negative impact on I/O performance of approximately 20-30% of modern CPUs. More pros and cons are detailed in this article. What are alternatives to FileVault 2? The main competitors are VeraCrypt, BitLocker, GnuPG, LibreCrypt, and EncFS. The main competitors are VeraCrypt, BitLocker, GnuPG, LibreCrypt, and EncFS. How can I get FileVault 2? FileVault 2 is baked in to all versions of macOS and supported versions of OS X. The encryption program is turned off by default, though it's easy to enable. Additional resources What is FileVault 2, and how does it encrypt the startup disk on Macs? FileVault 2 is an encryption program created by Apple that provides full-disk encryption of the startup disk on a Mac computer. By utilizing the latest encryption algorithms and leveraging the power and efficiency of modern CPUs, the entire contents of the startup disk are encrypted, preventing all unauthorized access to the data stored on the disk; the only people that can access the data have the account credentials that enabled FileVault on the disk, or possess the master recovery key. By enabling FileVault 2's whole-disk encryption, data is secured from prying eyes and all attempts to access this data (physically or over the network) will be met with prompts to authenticate or error messages stating the data cannot be accessed—even when attempting to access data backups, which FileVault 2 encrypts as well. Additional resources Why does FileVault 2 matter? FileVault 2, in and of itself, cannot prevent users from attacking your system or otherwise exfiltrating the encrypted data. The encryption program is not a substitute for proper physical, logical, and data security standards, but rather a part of the overall puzzle that makes up your device's security. Data encryption is often seen as the last resort because, if all other security features in place are compromised, encrypted data will still be unreadable by everyone except people that have the decryption key, or those that can brute-force their way past the algorithm, which is easier said than done. SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides If the encryption standard in place is properly implemented and uses a strong, modern algorithm, and the recovery keys are not accessible or consist of a long, random key space, the attackers will have their work cut out for them. If the attackers gain access to the data sitting on the disk, they may be able to copy it, take it off your network, and even attack it directly, but they'll still be at an impasse if they cannot crack the encryption. And if the attackers cannot crack the encryption, your data will remain unreadable, and subsequently, of little to no real use or value. Additional resources Is FileVault 2 available to all macOS users? Users running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later, all the way through the current version of macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), may enable and fully utilize the full-disk encryption capabilities of FileVault 2 on their desktop or laptop Mac computers. By default, the feature is disabled; however, it only takes accessing the System Preferences and clicking the Turn On FileVault 2 button to enable the feature and encrypt your whole disk. Encryption may be enabled by the user or managed by the administrators for company-owned devices. Administrators have set policies via Profile Manager and/or scripts that will enable FileVault 2 during deployment and implement institutional recovery keys that the company manages in order to recover encrypted data per device, if needed. SEE: Essential reading for IT leaders: 10 books on cybersecurity (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Once FileVault 2 is enabled, only the user with administrative privileges that enabled FileVault 2 with their account may decrypt the drive's contents. Additionally, a master recovery key is created during the initial process; users with either of those keys may be the only ones to decrypt the volume and read the contents of the drive. Additional resources What are the pros and cons to using FileVault 2? The pros to using FileVault 2 It's a native Apple solution that is designed by Apple for Apple computers. FileVault 2 supports legacy hardware, even for devices that are no longer officially supported by Apple. Deployment of FileVault 2 may be locally or centrally managed by users or the IT department. Whole-disk encryption works to safeguard all data stored on disk now and in the future. Backup of encrypted data works seamlessly with Time Machine to create automated backup sets. Disks encrypted with FileVault 2 must first be unlocked by user accounts that are "unlocked enabled"; these are typically accounts with administrative privilege, preventing non-admin accounts from accessing the disk's contents, regardless of the ACL permissions configured. FileVault 2 uses a strong form of block-cipher chain mode, XTS, based off the AES algorithm using 128-bit blocks and a 256-bit key. The cons to using FileVault 2 Legacy FileVault (or FileVault 1) does not encrypt the whole-disk—only the contents of a user's home folder. This affects legacy hardware that do not support the features in FileVault 2. Backing up encrypted data with Time Machine can only be done when a user is logged off of the session. For on-the-fly backups, the destination path must be a Time Machine Server, which requires macOS Server to perform online backups. The encryption passphrase used to encrypt the disk is the same as the end-user's password that enabled FileVault 2. If the password becomes compromised, the disk may be encrypted and data may be compromised. Enabling FileVault 2 can have a negative impact on I/O performance of approximately 20-30% of modern CPUs, and it noticeably worsens performance on older processor hardware. If the passphrase or recovery key must be changed, the entire volume will need to be decrypted and have the encryption process run again with the new key. Any device with FileVault 2 enabled must be unlocked by an admin credentialed account prior to being accessed or used by a non-admin account. If the device is not unlocked, non-admin accounts will not be able to use the computer until it is first successfully unlocked. Individual files, folders, or any other kind of data cannot be encrypted on the fly. Only data that resides on the local disk or FileVault 2-encrypted volumes may be encrypted in their entirety. Additional resources What are some of the alternatives to FileVault 2? VeraCrypt is a free, open source disk encryption software that provides cross-platform support for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It was derived from TrueCrypt, which was a full-disk encryption application that discontinued support by its creators after a security audit revealed several vulnerabilities in the software. Having acquired the use of TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt forked the former app and corrected the vulnerabilities, while adding some changes to strengthen the way in which the files are stored. VeraCrypt creates a virtually encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a disk that can be read by the OS. It can encrypt the entire disk, a partition, or storage devices, such as USB flash drives and provides real-time on the fly encryption, which can be hardware-accelerated for better performance. It also supports TrueCrypt's hidden volume and hidden operating system features. BitLocker is Microsoft's full-disk encryption featured in supported versions of Windows Vista and later. Using default settings, BitLocker uses AES encryption with XTS mode in conjunction with 128-bit or 256-bit keys for maximum protection, especially when leveraged with a TPM module to ensure integrity of the trusted boot path, which prevents many physical attacks and boot sector malware from compromising your data. When used on a computer in an Active Directory environment, BitLocker supports key escrow, which allows the Active Directory account to store a copy of the recovery key. In the event that data needs to be recovered, administrators may retrieve the key. GnuPG is based on the PGP encryption program created by Phil Zimmermann, and later bought by Symantec. Unlike Symantec's offering, GnuPG is completely free software and part of the GNU Project. The software is command-line based and offers hybrid encryption by use of symmetric-key cryptography for performance, and public-key cryptography for the ease of exchanging secure keys. While the lack of GUI may not be for everyone, the program's flexibility allows for signed communications, file encryption, and, with some configuration, disk encryption to protect data. Dubbed the universal crypto engine, GnuPG can run directly from the CLI, shell scripts, or from other programs, often serving as a backend for other applications. LibreCrypt is a transparent full-disk encryption program that fully supports Windows and contains partial support for Linux distributions. It is open source and has an online community of users that are committed to resolving issues and introducing new features. Often cited as the most easy to use encryption program for Windows, it can create encrypted containers as well, mounting them as removable disks in Windows Explorer for easy access. It addition to the multitude of supported encryption and hashing standards and modes, it also supports smart cards and security tokens to authenticate users, and decrypts data at the file level, partition, or for the entire disk. EncFS is an encrypted filesystem that runs in the user-space, using the FUSE library. The FUSE library acts as an interface for filesystems in user-space that allows users to mount and use filesystems not natively supported by the host OS. FUSE/EncFS are open source releases and support Linux, BSD, Windows, Android devices, and macOS. It is also available in a number of languages, as it has been translated by community members. With active community support on GitHub and regular updates, EncFS offers users the ability to create a filesystem that can be mounted and used to store secure data files, and then it may be unmounted to protect against offline attacks and unauthorized user access. Additional resources How can I get FileVault 2? FileVault 2 is in all versions of OS X from 10.7 through macOS 10.13—it just needs to be enabled, as the service is turned off by default to allow end users to perform the initial setup process, which allows them to create a master recovery key. This key will act as a backup in the event that they become locked out of their account and must recover data via an alternate path. Users of OS X prior to 10.7 may use Legacy FileVault, or FileVault 1 (the initial offering of the encryption application), which only encrypts a user's home folder and not the entire disk. This must be enabled per user on that device and will still leave any data not stored within an encrypted home folder available to unauthorized access. The good news is that as long as your Apple computer supports a recent version of OS X or the modern releases of macOS, you can upgrade your Mac's operating system at anytime to a newer version to enjoy the benefits of FileVault 2's enhanced security. Additional resources For the latest IT security news, tips, and downloads, subscribe to our Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe
2018-03-19 00:00:00
FileVault 2, Apple's encryption program, offers data protection for the whole disk in an efficient method that is simple to implement and seamless to the user. Learn more about Apple's FileVault 2.
How Google Fiber turned 2017 into its comeback year
Google Fiber showed new life in 2017, after a near death experience in late 2016. The fiber internet pioneer launched in three new cities—Huntsville, AL, Louisville, KY, and San Antonio, TX—this year. It also began to heavily rely on shallow trenching, a new method of laying cables, to expedite the construction process. SEE: Photos: How Google Fiber is using 'shallow trenching' to outbuild its gigabit rivals "We're very pleased with the response from residents in these markets—along with our other existing Google Fiber cities, where we worked hard throughout the year to bring Fiber service to even more people in many more neighborhoods," a Google Fiber spokesperson told TechRepublic. The comeback happened after a construction halt and the CEO stepping down in October 2016, which left some wondering if Fiber was on its last breath. SEE: Internet and Email usage policy (Tech Pro Research) But 2017 wasn't entirely a year of redemption. In February, hundreds of Fiber employees were moved to new jobs at Google. And Gregory McCray left the role of CEO in July after only holding the position for five months. And internet experts still have their doubts. Chris Antlitz, a senior analyst at Technology Business Research, labelled Fiber's year as "not very good." Jim Hayes, president of the Fiber Optic Association, called Google Fiber a "very distant player" in the fiber market. However, Antlitz added that, for Alphabet—the parent company of both Google and Google Fiber—that means they're just not growing as fast as they wanted to. Google Fiber has still had an impact this year, he said. Fiber set a new bar for broadband by showing incumbent internet service providers (ISPs) that it is economically feasible to bring 1 gigabit internet to consumers, Antlitz said. Since Google Fiber led a connectivity renaissance in 2011 when it launched in its first city, Kansas City, KS, top telecom providers have been in an arms race to upgrade their broadband pipes to accommodate 1 gigabit, Antlitz said. Google Fiber's presence in the market has caused competition that has forced other fiber providers like Verizon and AT&T Fiber to offer cheaper, faster service. Adding a second provider to a market can reduce prices by around one-third, according to a study by the Fiber to the Home Council. SEE: Google Fiber 2.0 targets the city where it will stage its comeback, as AT&T Fiber prepares to go nuclear AT&T has been particularly competitive, analysts say. They've been expanding in current and prospective Google Fiber cities, including adding new neighborhoods in San Antonio months before Google Fiber arrived. In Louisville, AT&T sued the Louisville Metro Government over its "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance, which allows Google to use existing poles to install its technology without permission from the telecom company that owned the poles. The lawsuit was dismissed in August, and AT&T said it wouldn't appeal the dismissal in October. A TechRepublic investigation found that AT&T has talked a big game about its buildout in Louisville, but has dragged its feet in rolling out gigabit internet to customers and has signed up very few households. It's this kind of activity that has gotten AT&T's gigabit strategy labeled "fiber-to-the-press-release." It's unclear what Google Fiber's 2018 will look like. The company's map of Fiber cities doesn't yet list an upcoming city where Fiber will be heading next. Six potential cities—Portland, OR, San Jose, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, Oklahoma City, OK, Tampa, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Phoenix, AZ—are listed as places the company is exploring. SEE: Louisville and the Future of the Smart City (a ZDNet/TechRepublic special report) William Hahn, an analyst at Gartner, said going to even one-third of those cities next year would be impressive for Google Fiber. However, he said he doesn't foresee a shift in the market in the next two years. The next big gamechanger? The rollout of 5G, which will give providers more wireless to potentially play with in cities and hard-to-reach rural areas. In five US cities in 2018, Verizon plans to roll out 5G fixed wireless, which will compete directly with fiber in speed and low latency. Antlitz said it's probable that Fiber will collaborate with incumbent ISPs to target unserved and underserved communities, including those in emerging markets and harder-to-reach rural spots. "I think they don't want to be an ISP," Antlitz said. "They're trying to prove a point." The point? That faster, 1 gigabit internet can be affordable—and that the existing ISPs just needed a push. "They got what they wanted," Antlitz added. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-10-18 00:00:00
After ending 2016 with its future in jeopardy, Google Fiber began shallow trenching and launched in three new cities during 2017. Still, questions remain
What is hyperconverged infrastructure, and why should you care?
Spend more than an hour in a meeting with any major software company and you're bound to hear the buzzword "hyperconverged infrastructure," but what is it, and why should you care? Industry analyst Zeus Kerravala explained it for us in a question-and-answer session. We played the role of skeptic. SEE: Virtualization policy (Tech Pro Research) TechRepublic: We think we understand what hyperconverged infrastructure means, but how would you explain it? Zeus Kerravala: "It's kind of a weird term. There was already a converged infrastructure market [lacking the software aspect] when this technology came around. Hyperconverged platforms are turnkey products that include all the hardware and software one needs to run a contained little data center in a box. ... When you look at running data center infrastructure there's a lot of different choices for buyers. If you use Cisco networking, EMC storage, and Dell computing, which is a pretty standard thing, there's over 800 configurations. [In HCI] the vendor's done all the heavy lifting. They're not plug-and-play... it's data center technology, nothing's ever going to be plug-and-play. But customers have told me the deployment time for these is days vs. months if you're trying to cobble it all together yourself." SEE: The cloud v. data center decision (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) TechRepublic: Do you think most corporate sysadmins and CIOs understand this? Zeus Kerravala: "I'm not sure the CIO does. I think technology has been somewhat niche. It's been used primarily for virtual desktop deployments. Those are workloads that tend to be demanding... unified communications are a likely next thing. I don't really understand where the 'hyper' came from, to be honest with you." TechRepublic: Most good ideas in information technology are cyclical. How much of this is truly novel and how much is just a new name? Zeus Kerravala: "We used to have converged platforms a long time ago, and we called them mainframes. The reason the hyperconverged market exists is to simplify the deployment of all the stuff we need to run data centers." TechRepublic: Why is this happening now? Zeus Kerravala: "I talk to CIOs. More and more, CIOs are less concerned about the technical aspects of running stuff. They want stuff to work so they can run the business. There's a theme of digital transformation that's cutting across all businesses. If you talk to a CEO about running a business, it's about speed today. It's Darwinism." SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) TechRepublic: What are the risks of changing from traditional to hyperconverged infrastructure? Zeus Kerravala: "I haven't really talked to anyone who hasn't had a good experience [except] using the technology for the wrong workloads. If you're going to run hyperconverged infrastructure, the development has to be done on a product that's at least similar from a hardware perspective." TechRepublic: What about hardware upgrades? Zeus Kerravala: "Applications that have the most demanding hardware requirements, I'd probably keep those on a platform that I have a little bit of control over, and I can upgrade the processors when I need to. If you wouldn't run it on a virtual machine, then certainly don't run it on this." TechRepublic: Which companies are offering hyperconverged infrastructure the right way? Zeus Kerravala: "The market leader right now in terms of brand and share is still Nutanix. They've done a lot of work in software. The one to watch is Dell/EMC but for specific use cases [such as with VMware's vSphere]. If your hypervisor is Microsoft or Citrix, then I might look at a different platform... 8kpc is a startup. They've done a lot of work on the hardware optimization phase." TechRepublic: Which companies aren't doing so well at it? Zeus Kerravala: "I think HPE is bit of a confused company right now... Lenovo is another one that I've expected more of by now." TechRepublic: What is your advice for customers considering a hyperconverged infrastructure product? Zeus Kerravala: "There's a lot of products on the market and they all kind of pitch the same message. But the performance from box to box, from vendor to vendor, is going to be quite different depending on what you're running on it. Do your own testing. How does it work in a hybrid cloud situation? I'd also want to know from a roadmap perspective about flash storage, 100Gb Ethernet, and then NVMe." TechRepublic: What else should people know? Zeus Kerravala: "Try to have a good understanding of what it means to the operational team. Things may be easy to deploy initially but take a look at the ongoing management. That's really going to determine whether you get value out of these products or not." For more networking, storage, and enterprise hardware news, subscribe to our Data Center Trends newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-28 00:00:00
There was already converged infrastructure. Now there's hyperconverged infrastructure, which adds the software layer. Do you need it? Analyst Zeus Kerravala shares his opinion on HCI.
How to choose the right wearable device for business vs. fitness
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Business professionals could gain from wearing a wearable device, but some have more fitness features than business features. Professionals should look for wearables with different ways to stay connected, basic activity tracking, and a fashion-forward look. Wearables, like smartwatches and fitness trackers, are popular with business professionals, and for good reason. The devices can collect data and provide insights, allowing wearers to track their fitness and productivity to reach their goals faster. But some devices may not work the best for business professionals. They may not have enough ways to stay connected in terms of communications, or they may be too focused on physical goals like meditation. And some may stand out too much for professionals in formal business attire to feel comfortable wearing them. SEE: Wearable Device Policy (Tech Pro Research) How to choose a wearable for business Connectivity is the first thing to consider when selecting a wearable for business purposes. Some options can connect to a smartphone, while others work outside of a cellular network. Some professionals need constant access to business communication, and selecting a wearable that works in tandem with a smartphone can provide that. Think about what you want to accomplish with your wearable. Do you want to just be able to see notifications, or do you need to be able to answer texts and emails as well? What about activity tracking? It can help you understand how you spend your hours to find ways to become more productive, or you can use it for fitness purposes as well. Apps and integrations can be helpful for business professionals, so check out what is available. Some, especially ones connected to a smartphone, have multiple options, while others have fewer choices. Integrations can streamline things between your wearable and other devices, potentially making you more efficient. Apps can offer new ways to boost productivity. Mindfulness features are also helpful, especially in high-stress jobs or industries. A sleep tracker can help understand if you're sleeping long or well enough. Finally, looks aren't everything, but some wearables can stand out when worn with business attire. More wearables are adopting the look of traditional watches, with leather bands and sleek faces. A wearable won't do much if you don't wear it because of its look. How to choose a wearable for fitness First, you should consider if you want one device to carry from work to the gym, or if you want separate options. Some popular devices, like the Apple Watch, can work for both environments due to the amount of features and connectivity options. Much like with business wearables, you need to consider what exactly the fitness tracker needs to do. Most will offer the same baseline metrics, but others offer more analytics. How much insight do you want into your workouts? Some only need simple step tracking, but someone training for a marathon may need more detail. In what physical environment are you going to use the device? Whatever the answer, the tracker should be ready. For example, if you're a swimmer, you obviously need a water-resistant device. Runners may want a device with a built-in GPS so they can track their runs. You should also consider the tracker's connected app, if it has one. What analysis and insights can you get on the app? Does it have features to track food and water intake? Like with business wearables, integrations may also be important, so review the offerings. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-11-06 00:00:00
Wearables can help business professionals stay connected and increase productivity, but only when they know which ones to wear.
How to sort and delete sets of Gmail messages: 4 steps
You might want to mass delete email from Gmail for many reasons: To remove non-work-related messages from an account, to achieve "inbox zero" as part of a personal productivity effort, or—more mundanely—to reduce the storage space used by attachments. Some people pursue #NoEmail—and start to treat email as an ephemeral communication channel instead of a permanent archive. Before you start to mass delete items from Gmail, I recommend that you export your current email data. To do this, use Google Takeout at Choose the "Select None" button, then scroll down the page to Mail. Move the slider to the right of Mail to "on." (You may export just some of your email: Select the down arrow to the left of the slider, then choose one—or more—Gmail labels to select items tagged with those labels to export.) Select Next at the bottom of the page, then choose the format, file sizes, and storage action for your export. Wait to start your deletions until you've either downloaded or verified that your exported email has been stored. (Note: If you use G Suite, an administrator has the ability to disable access to Takeout. If that's the case, talk with your administrator about backup before you begin.) After you backup, cycle through the following four steps to move sets of email to the Gmail trash. 1. Search I've found that typing search terms into the Gmail search box in the desktop Chrome browser to be the most efficient way to find and select sets of emails. And while Google gives you a long list of search operators, I suggest you start with the following: Email address . Enter to: or from: followed by an email address to find all of the email sent to or received from an address. . Enter to: or from: followed by an email address to find all of the email sent to or received from an address. Subject . Enter subject: followed by a word (or a phrase in quotes) to find all email that contains the word or phrase specified. . Enter subject: followed by a word (or a phrase in quotes) to find all email that contains the word or phrase specified. Date . While there are several time-search options, try before: or older_than: first. The first locates items prior to a specified data, while the latter locates item older than a certain number of days, months, or years (e.g., 3d, 1m, or 7y for 3 days, 1 month, or 7 years, respectively) from the current date. . While there are several time-search options, try before: or older_than: first. The first locates items prior to a specified data, while the latter locates item older than a certain number of days, months, or years (e.g., 3d, 1m, or 7y for 3 days, 1 month, or 7 years, respectively) from the current date. Size. Locates email larger than a specific size. For example, larger:20M finds items larger than 20Mb. Often a simple search may be all you need to locate a set of email you no longer need. For example, you might not need to keep receipts from some vendors (email address), accepted calendar invitations (subject), email older than 3 years (date), or large files (size) stored elsewhere. 2. Review and refine Review the search results to see if you wish to keep email found with a simple search. If no, move on to step no. 3. If you see emails that you wish to keep among the results, you'll need to refine your search. You can combine multiple search terms. For example, search for both an email address and a date: older_than:1y This would find items older than one year from the current day. Or, add a subject as well, to narrow the results further: older_than:1y subject:"Weekly meeting" You may use the - character to exclude a search term (or terms). For example: older_than:1y -subject:"Quarterly review" This would find items older than a year sent to a specific email address, but would exclude any emails with the subject "Quarterly review." If more than one screen of results is indicated, select the arrow in the upper right area to review additional screens of email search results. Refine and review the results until you're confident that all the email found by your search is email you wish to delete. 3. Select / Select All Select the box at the top of the column above your email search results to select all of the email displayed. If your search returns more email than is displayed on the current screen, you'll see a message above the list of email that gives you the option to "Select all conversations that match this search." Click the words to select all conversations that match your search terms. 4. Move to Trash Select the trashcan icon to delete the selected email. Repeat for various terms Repeat your search to find, select, and delete as many sets of email as you wish. When I help people get control of their email we often search for things such as: Old promotional emails, newsletters, and updates Email no longer needed from specific clients, vendors, or colleagues System status notices (e.g., update notifications and system down/up notifications) Outdated social media or account sign-in notifications Email related to prior jobs (including paid and volunteer roles) Tip: Use a label to exclude a set from a search Often, I find it helpful to label a set of email so that I can always exclude that set of email when I work through the email deletion process. For example, you might want to keep all email from a specific person (or several people). To do this, first create a Gmail label, such as "Never delete." Then, search for a colleague's email address. Select all email with that person, then select the label icon, choose the label you created (e.g., "Never delete"), then select "Apply" at the bottom of the column. Repeat this process for as many criteria as you wish Then, when you do searches, always exclude labels that match the selected set. For example: older_than:1y -label:"Never delete" This would return all emails older than a year, while excluding all emails labeled "Never delete." Optional: Delete Trash At this point, you're done. Gmail will remove items left in the trash after 30 days. If you really want things deleted now, you can always navigate to the trash, select all items (and select all items in the trash), then choose "Delete forever." × e-gmail-auto-delete-vault-search.jpg G Suite controls A G Suite administrator has at least two significant options available to manage mail, as well. First, an administrator can set a Gmail auto-delete policy (from, sign-in, then Apps > G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings > Compliance: Email and chat auto-deletion) for messages to either be moved to trash or deleted after a specified number of days. The administrator also may specify that emails with a specific label (or labels) will not be auto-deleted. Second, a G Suite administrator can configure Google Vault, which gives the organization a sophisticated set of controls to preserve, search, and export email communications for legal and/or compliance purposes. (Vault is included with Business and Enterprise edition licenses.) Your thoughts? Do you maintain a pristine, close-to-zero Gmail inbox? Or do you archive everything forever? How often do you delete sets of messages from Gmail? Let me know in the comments — or on Twitter (@awolber). Subscribe now to our Google Weekly newsletter to stay informed of useful Google news and tips! Subscribe Also see
2018-05-30 00:00:00
After exporting email you need to keep, you can find emails you no longer need based on their date, sender, and subject.
Google Cloud Speech API gets enterprise upgrade with new tools and 30 more languages
On Monday, Google announced new updates to its Cloud Speech API that could help make it a more effective tool for business users. According to a Google blog post, the API is getting a new feature called word-level timestamps, along with support for 30 new languages and three hour files. For those unfamiliar, the Google Cloud Speech API uses neural network models to allow developers to convert audio to text. It's powered by machine learning, and can return its results in real-time. Word-level timestamps, the post said, was the most requested feature for the API from developers. Essentially, this feature adds a timestamp for each word it identifies in a given transcription. "Word-level timestamps let users jump to the moment in the audio where the text was spoken, or display the relevant text while the audio is playing," the post said. SEE: How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (PDF download) One of the customers cited in the post, Happy Scribe, uses the word-level timestamps to lower the time it takes for them to proofread the transcriptions they offer their customers. Another firm, VoxImplant, uses it to better analyze recorded phone conversations between two parties. As part of a broader announcement around Google's voice input capabilities, the Cloud Speech API will now offer support for 30 additional languages, bringing the total number supported up to 119. The languages will first be offered to Cloud Speech API customers, but will eventually be supported on other Google products, like Gboard, as well. As noted by ZDnet's Stephanie Condon, the extended language support could help Google win over some customers in emerging markets. The full list of languages that work with the Cloud Speech API can be found here. Additionally, the post said, the Cloud Speech API will now support files that are longer than three hours in duration, an increase from the previous limit of 80 minutes. Files that are longer than three hours can be supported on a "case-by-case basis by applying for a quota extension through Cloud Support." The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers Google Cloud Speech API now supports 119 languages and three hour long files, and offers a new word-level timestamp feature. Word-level timestamps were the no. 1 most-requested feature, allowing developers to jump to the moment where a certain word was said in an audio transcript. The features could help make the API more business-friendly, and the language support could win Google some business in emerging markets. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Google Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
Google is adding support for a new feature called word-level timestamps, files up to three hours long, and more languages for its Cloud Speech API.
How Australia's backdoor proposal could threaten security for the rest of the world
Should world governments have backdoors to encrypted applications? Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently made a proposal to ensure that law enforcement can still gain access to information despite its' protection by encryption. Access Now's US Policy Manager Amie Stepanovich met with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson to explain why that may be a bad idea. "The problem with [this proposal] is that by allowing that law enforcement access, what you're doing is you're creating a security technology that fails sometimes," Stepanovich said. See: IT security and privacy: Concerns, initiatives, and predictions (Tech Pro Research) Encryption is the first defense against people trying to compromise your personal data. Since encryption isn't a failproof technology, building it in can lead to more data breaches and crime because it's facilitating a much less secure internet, she said. The policy requested by Turnbull affects the rest of the world because Australia's encryption policy could set a precedent for other countries. Stepanovich noted that it's important to understand that this policy would likely not stop criminals or terrorists from accessing secure communications technologies. The math used in encrypted applications, she said, is not subject to the whims of politicians, which means bad actors will still be able to cover their tracks. See: Encryption Policy (Tech Pro Research) In the past, other governments have pursued similar policies. For example, some require keys to be stored in third-party facilities and are easily stolen. Some countries restrict the strength of encryption or even prevent the use of end-to-end encryption. These tactics are easily circumvented, said Stepanovich. She reiterated the need for privacy as a tool that protects consumer privacy, communication between journalists and sources, whistleblowers, and corporate intellectual property. "We're at a time where we need to be facilitating research into and development of the strongest security tools possible," she said. "We need to be investing in security as much as we possibly can," said Stepanovich. Strengthen your organization's IT security defenses by keeping abreast of the latest cybersecurity news, solutions, and best practices. Subscribe Also see:
2017-08-14 00:00:00
Australia's Prime Minister recently suggested a proposal that would allow access to information protected by encryption. Access Now's US Policy Manager Amie Stepanovich tells why that's a bad idea.
How one AI company is bringing medical care to millions of rural Chinese residents
China's population, which in 2016 had 793 million urban residents and 590 rural residents, is spread out over a land mass of 3.7 million square miles. By 2010, 93% of the rural population had healthcare coverage, but providing rural medicine and timely healthcare to rural regions persist. This is where analytics can make a difference. "We wanted to take analytics, artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies and use them to better understand different medical conditions, how to diagnose them, and how to treat them," said Kuan Chen, founder and CEO of Infervision, a Chinese artificial intelligence and deep learning company that specializes in medical image diagnosis. Analytics, artificial intelligence, and deep learning are put into play by analyzing medical images and reports on different pathological conditions, and then coming up with different models and sources of treatment and medical interventions based on common patterns that are assembled from studies of thousands of patients in China's urban hospitals. "These models use deep learning to 'learn' from the data and continuously improve their diagnostic capabilities," said Chen. The first disease that Chen targeted was lung cancer, with the software being able to locate hard-to-detect or hidden nodules in the lungs that could prove to be cancerous. Now the task at hand is providing a similar diagnostic and medical intervention tool for strokes, which can especially be useful in rural areas where qualified medical practitioners are scarce. SEE: IT leader's guide to deep learning (Tech Pro Research) "By studying the stroke condition of a patient, the analytics can determine what is the optimum time table for treatment, and how aggressively the stroke should be treated," said Chen. In short, the AI and analytics become a second pair of eyes for radiologists against which they can cross-check their own diagnoses. How important is this? "In many rural areas in China, there are no trained radiologists who can help stroke victims," said Chen. "And in other areas of the world, like the US, radiologists make an average of $375,000 a year, so they are very expensive." Chen says that the feedback he gets from hospitals is that younger radiologists and medical practitioners rely heavily on AI, while older practitioners prefer to use it as a second opinion that they cross-check against their own. "In a stroke, you want to respond to the condition as quickly as possible," said Chen. "It might take 30 to 35 seconds in a standard process to generate a report on the condition so treatment can be determined. With our tool, that time is cut to less than three seconds." The use of deep learning and expanded analytics also expand the spectrum of diagnosis, which can lead to better results. "In one non-stroke case that involved diagnosis and treatment of a bone fracture and a degenerated area of bone, the standard approach is to treat the affected area itself," said Chen. "With analytics and AI, a system can focus on different areas of the body that are far removed from where the problem is to see if these other areas could be affecting the condition. If it is a problem that is being generated far from the fracture itself, the analytics allow us to treat causes of the condition, and not just symptoms." SEE: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF) (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report) Here are some best practices hospitals and clinics can adopt as AI and deep learning tools evolve: Deploy the tool where help is needed most If there is an acute shortage of medical practitioners in a specific region, analytics and AI can help in situations like stroke intervention and treatment, and the chances for success for patients will improve. Use the tool for training Radiologists and medical practitioners must develop knowledge and experience before they can become expert diagnosticians. An analytics and deep learning tool can assist in the training process because users can compare their own findings against what the system finds in numerous scenarios. Learn to expect the unexpected You might think you are going to treat one condition and end up treating another. The bone fracture that Chen mentioned, where the system actually found the causal problem in a different area of the body, is a prime example. This is why medical practitioners should keep their minds open. Never forget that AI and deep learning tools are still developing Just because a system uses AI, deep learning and analytics doesn't mean that is it always right. Medical practitioners should use these systems as assistants and not as undisputed authorities, because there are some areas where a machine can't be a replacement for human thought and reasoning. For more about AI, big data, and the latest innovations, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2017-12-11 00:00:00
Providing health services to a widely-dispersed population can be a challenge. Here's how AI can help when there aren't enough medical professionals to go around.
A new slim version of Windows 10 called "Lean" could be perfect for low-end PCs
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: A new stripped-down Windows 10 build called "Lean" was discovered in the latest Insider preview of Windows 10. It lacks many Windows 10 features and has a 2GB smaller installation size. Microsoft hasn't said what Lean's purpose is, but it appears to be for lower-end machines or those that need to be locked down from user tampering. Microsoft's latest Windows Insider skip ahead build contains a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 Lean, which cuts the installation size by 2 GB. Discovered by Twitter user Lucan, Windows 10 Lean cuts out several Windows 10 features: desktop wallpaper is disabled by default, the Microsoft Management Console and registry editor are missing, drivers for CD and DVD drives can't be installed, Microsoft Edge doesn't allow downloads, and Microsoft Office is missing as well. At first glance it may seem that Windows 10 Lean is an alternative to Windows 10 S (which only allows app installation from the Windows Store), but Lucan quickly dismissed that by saying that those restrictions don't apply, as he was able to run applications normally locked to Windows 10 S users. What is Windows 10 Lean's purpose? The Twitter discussion growing up around Lucan's discovery of Windows 10 Lean is devoid of one important thing: an explanation as to its purpose. Mary Jo Foley from TechRepublic sister site ZDNet speculated that it was a version of Windows 10 S for home or enterprise, but Lucan said he doesn't think that's the case. Windows 10 S, he said, is more like a set of restrictions on top of a standard Windows 10 install, which Lean definitely isn't. Another Twitter commenter said it may be ideal for educational use, as schools often have older computers that need a smaller install. Add to that the heavy restrictions on what a user can do in Windows 10 Lean (no downloading, no Regedit, etc.) and you have a relatively resilient OS that has lower-end hardware requirements. SEE: Securing Windows policy (Tech Pro Research) WIndows 10 Lean could make a great OS for any systems that see a lot of user contact: Loaner machines, kiosks, sales floor demos, and other specific roles would be a great fit for Lean. Anyone who has ever managed computers that see a lot of public contact knows they have to be locked down, and Windows 10 Lean seems designed for that particular purpose. There are a lot of things users can't do in a base install of Lean, leaving it up to an administrator to pre-load an installation with certain software or settings that would be largely unalterable. Given the limits of WIndows 10 Lean it's likely that it's designed to save space, be a quick install, and be customized as an image prior to being installed. Lean images could be configured to suit specific roles, and users would be largely unable to damage them. We won't know what Windows 10 Lean is really designed for until Microsoft says so, but If you want to check it out now you can do so in Redstone 5 Insider preview build 17650, available now to Windows Insider members. Get a roundup of the biggest Microsoft news of the week in your inbox: Subscribe to our Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-10-24 00:00:00
The latest build of Windows 10 contains a new slimmer installation option called Windows 10 Lean that cuts out some features in exchange for saving space.
Essential Phone PH-1 review: The many positives, plus a few drawbacks
Image: Essential Before I made the purchase of an Essential Phone, like everyone else, I scoured through review after review. My goal was to sift through the chaff and find something that would key me into understanding what was at the core of the PH-1. It didn't take long for a common thread to bubble up from the surface. That thread? A less-than stellar camera. The good news for me was that I don't consider a smartphone's primary function to be taking photos, so having the best camera available wasn't a top priority. With that out of the way, it seemed the PH-1 met all of my needs, and did so at a price point that was right on the money. And thus, I made the purchase, and set aside my OnePlus 3 to embark on a journey with the newest underdog. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of the underdog. I've been using Linux as my primary OS for decades, so I'm accustomed to watching a platform scrape and dig for attention and respect. However, after just two weeks of use, I'm convinced the PH-1 shouldn't be considered an underdog but a top dog, in a class by itself. That's not to say it's perfect because it's not, but no device is (and anyone who believes otherwise is kidding themselves). Now that I've had plenty of time to experience Essential's first foray into the smartphone market, I feel like I have plenty to say about the device. And, with that said, let's dive into the good and the bad. SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research) The bad I thought I'd flip the script and start with the bad. Why? Because there isn't much in the way of bad to be found. In fact, I have to trick myself into thinking "Maybe photos are more important than I originally thought!" before I can really come up with something negative of note to say about the PH-1. It has been well documented that the Essential Phone's camera is lackluster. The software is a bit slow, and the low-light photos are far from great. The selfie camera also suffers from the software issues that hinder the main camera. However, after four updates (that's right, four updates since I received the device, more on that in a bit), I've watched the camera app improve exponentially. It's still not nearly as good as the Pixel 2 camera app for instance, but it's passible. For anyone that doesn't consider photos to be a priority, the camera app will suffice. The only other nit to pick is that the gorgeous case is the biggest fingerprint magnet I've ever seen. I'm constantly wiping the back down. Had this phone not been nearly as beautiful as it is, the fingerprints wouldn't concern me. But the PH-1 is one of the most elegant smartphones I have ever held in my hand, so my propensity is to keep it clean. Essential should be cleaning up in awards for hardware design—of that there is no doubt. Finally, there is no headphone jack. That's okay for two reasons: Bluetooth headphones have come a very long way, and Essential included the necessary dongle so users won't have to toss their standard headphones or other devices that might make use of that common interface. And that's it for the bad. The good There is almost too much to say here , so I'm going to boil it down to a few "essential" items. First and foremost: the design. As I said, it's gorgeous. But even the titanium sides and ceramic back take a seat to the display. No it's not the most cutting edge (Essential went with an LCD display, instead of the more popular, flagship level, OLED option), but the edge to edge is absolutely beautiful. Essential essentially proved that a bezel-less device is very much possible and their home screen launcher makes perfect use of the screen real estate (Figure A). Figure A The one downfall is that not every app found in the Google Play Store makes use of that full screen. To Essential's credit, so far I've only found one app that didn't—Discogs (Figure B). Figure B Beyond the hardware, there's the stock Android (shipping with Android 7.1.1). If you're looking for nothing but essential Android, the PH-1 delivers. Upon arrival the device included the bare minimum software. There was zero bloat. Couple that with the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, and that barebones Android runs as smoothly as any flagship device. Period. Apps install quickly, start instantly, and run smoothly. The PH-1 easily stands toe-to-toe with my wife's Samsung Galaxy S8. One very crucial aspect many users will appreciate is how quickly the PH-1 receives the Android Security Patch. Since initially turning on the device, my PH-1 has received four Android updates. Even though the device is running Android 7.1.1, it enjoys the most recent Security Patch (Figure C). Figure C The combination of beautiful and powerful hardware, and up-to-date barebones software make for an incredible experience. Who's the ideal PH-1 user? Let's make this easy: If you're tired of devices shipping with bloat—and who isn't—the PH-1 might be the ideal device for you. If you're constantly on-the-go, the titanium case is strong enough to withstand your brutal abuse. If you're a fan of the underdog, the PH-1 is the perfect smartphone for you. The ratio of price to performance will absolutely blow you away. No other smartphone, regardless of manufacturer, enjoys this level of form and function. Essential has every right to stand with the leaders in the industry. It's every bit as cool as the iPhone X and as flexible as any Android device—all without the price found with most flagship smartphones. If you like your devices to turn heads, the PH-1 is the perfect mix of brawn, brains, and beauty. The look of the PH-1 draws onlookers in, and the performance locks them in. The second you hold the PH-1 in your hand you'll know you've purchased a quality product. This is a flagship smartphone, there's no doubt. What more needs to be said? Bravo Essential, you've created something special. Automatically sign up for TechRepublic's Mobile Enterprise Newsletter for more news and tips. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
With the Essential PH-1 phone, Jack Wallen says an underdog company has created a top dog product.
Fatal pedestrian crash causes Uber to stop self-driving car tests
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: An Uber vehicle in autonomous driving mode hit and killed a woman in Tempe, AZ, in the first known pedestrian fatality involving the self-driving technology. Uber has temporarily stopped its self-driving operations in Tempe and all other cities where it has been testing its vehicles, including Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. An Uber car in autonomous driving mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ, on Monday, in the first known pedestrian fatality involving the self-driving technology, as reported by our sister site CNET. Uber has since temporarily stopped its self-driving operations in Tempe and all other cities where it has been testing its vehicles, including Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. The vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel, according to a statement from the Tempe police. More about autonomous vehicles Special report: Tech and the future of transportation (free PDF) This ebook, based on the latest special feature from ZDNet and TechRepublic, looks at emerging autonomous transport technologies and how they will affect society and the future of business. Read more The female victim walking outside of the crosswalk crossed Curry Road in Tempe, and was struck by the Uber car, the police said in the statement. She was transported to a local hospital, where she passed away from her injuries. SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of autonomous vehicles (Tech Pro Research) The investigation is still active, and Uber is assisting, the police said in the statement. "Our hearts go out to the victim's family," an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement. "We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident." "Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted on Monday. "We're thinking of the victim's family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened." This is the first known pedestrian fatality from a self-driving car. However, autonomous vehicles have been involved in a number of other accidents, including backing into a delivery truck in Las Vegas and getting hit by another car whose human driver did not yield in Tempe, both in 2017. In May 2016, a Tesla driver was killed in an accident while the car was operating in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. A US Department of Transportation investigation did not identify any defects in design or performance of the Autopilot system. The pedestrian fatality could have immediate implications for the rollout of self-driving taxis and delivery vehicles, which are predicted by many to be the first widespread applications of self-driving technology. It could mean that progress is slowed until more regulations are in place. The accident could also impact discussions around how autonomous vehicles will change auto insurance. KPMG estimates that the technology will lead to an 80% drop in accident frequency by 2040, and that providers will need to shift from covering the car itself to the software of the car. It remains to be seen how coverage of accidents like this may change. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-03-19 00:00:00
An Uber vehicle in autonomous driving mode killed a woman in Tempe, AZ, in the first known pedestrian fatality involving self-driving technology.
IBM Watson Data Kits speed enterprise AI development
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: IBM launched IBM Watson Data Kits, designed to speed the development of AI applications in the enterprise. Enterprise AI apps created with IBM Watson Data Kits have the potential to aid in faster, more informed decision making for business leaders. On Tuesday, IBM launched IBM Watson Data Kits, designed to speed the development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in the enterprise. These apps have the potential to aid in faster, more informed decision making for business leaders, according to a press release. "Watson Data Kits will provide companies across industries with pre-enriched, machine readable, industry-specific data that can enable them to scale AI across their business," the release said. In Q2, Watson Data Kits will become available for the travel, transportation, and food industries, with kits for travel points of interest and food menus. Kits tailored for additional industries are also expected in the coming months, the release noted. SEE: The Power of IoT and Big Data (Tech Pro Research) More than half of data scientists said they spend most of their time on janitorial tasks, such as cleaning and organizing data, labeling data, and collecting data sets, according to a CrowdFlower report, making it difficult for business leaders to implement AI technology at scale. Streamlining and accelerating the development process for AI engineers and data scientists will help companies more quickly gain insights from their data, and drive greater business value, according to IBM. "Big data is fueling the cognitive era. However, businesses need the right data to truly drive innovation," Kristen Lauria, general manager of Watson media and content, said in the release. "IBM Watson Data Kits can help bridge that gap by providing the machine-readable, pre-trained data companies require to accelerate AI development and lead to a faster time to insight and value. Data is hard, but Watson can make it easier for stakeholders at every level, from CIOs to data scientists." The Watson Data Kit for travel points of interest will offer airlines, hotels, and online travel agencies with more than 300,000 points of interest in 100 categories, to create better experiences for travelers, according to the release. Companies in the travel and transportation industry can use the kits to build AI-powered web and mobile apps to help users find information on points of interest in a given area. For example, the release noted, a hospitality company could use the data kit to train AI powering its chatbot to recommend personalized destinations based on a customer's individual preferences. Meanwhile, the Watson Data Kit for food menus includes 700,000 menus in 21,000 US cities, according to the release. This will offer AI developers content for apps that can help users filter menu items, types of food, locations, and price points. The kit allows developers to build in side-by-side comparisons of menu choices and prices. For example, the release noted, the kit could be integrated into a car's navigation system to provide voice-activated directions to the closest bakery that sells gluten-free muffins. Stay up to date on all the latest big data news. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Big Data Essentials newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-03-19 00:00:00
Watson Data Kits will cut the time needed to train AI systems to process data from months to minutes.
How the NFL and Amazon unleashed 'Next Gen Stats' to grok football games
The National Football League has 180 million fans worldwide. About 17 million of those trek out to stadiums each season—which means over 90% of NFL fans are catching the games on TV, online and mobile. That's why NFL games represented 37 of the top 50 highest-rated television broadcasts of 2017. A lot of the appeal of football is that it's not just about the long throws of quarterbacks, the bullish strength of defensive lineman, and the lightning-fast reflexes of wide receivers, for example. It's about the chess match between the coaches, and the preparation, instincts, and quick decision-making of the smartest players. But while these athletic feats are amazing to watch and easy to recognize, it's often a lot harder to pinpoint the strategies and the smarts that tip a game one way or the other. That's where the NFL's Next Gen Stats—a big partnership with Amazon Web Services—is changing how the game is understood, using a combination of cloud computing, big data analytics, and machine learning. "We've been turning a corner on creating metrics that are more advanced and do a better job of telling the story of the game," Matt Swensson, the NFL's vice president of emerging products and technology, told TechRepublic. SEE: Big data policy (Tech Pro Research) | Job description: Chief data officer (Tech Pro Research) | Job description: Data scientist (Tech Pro Research) The NFL has been keeping statistics since 1920. But most of the stats that it displays to the public had been pretty standard for the past several decades. It was the kind of stuff you see on trading cards and game programs—yards passing, yards rushing, catches, tackles, quarterback sacks, interceptions, etc. But in 2015, it began putting a pair of RFID tags from Zebra Technologies on the shoulder pads of every NFL player in order to track speed, field location, and movement patterns. Now, it also has sensors on the referees, first down markers, and end zone pylons. How to fully take advantage of all this data and convert it into value for the NFL and its customers was the big challenge. When Amazon learned that the NFL now had all this player telemetry data, the AWS team suggested that they could help create more value with analytics—similar to what AWS had famously done with Major League Baseball Advanced Media. "We started working with [the NFL] to help them apply machine learning to that data," AWS vice president of marketing Ariel Kelman told TechRepublic. "They're recording things like when the ball was snapped, what the formation was, how many of which type of player was on the field, what the result of the play was. A lot of that is pattern recognition... The idea is there's a whole bunch of things that require manual detection and tagging that they want to be able to automate." So AWS and the NFL drew up a partnership where the NFL used the Amazon cloud, its advanced analytics tools and the new SageMaker machine learning product—while Amazon got to slap the AWS logo on Next Gen Stats as the official sponsor and get a bunch of promotional opportunities that show off what its big data tools can do. The deal kicked off about six months ago, before the start of the 2017 football season, and culminates on Sunday in Super Bowl LII—although both the AWS and NFL folks were even more excited about what they're going to be able to do with the data next year. Here are the three main ways it's changing the game: 1. The impact of Next Gen Stats on NFL teams One week of NFL games now creates 3TB of data, NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle said in her presentation at Amazon's re:Invent conference last November. After each game, the league now exports a trove of data to each team to help them evaluate their overall performance and their players. The league provides some basic tools to help the teams evaluate the data along with a few basic insights. Some teams have their own data scientists or analytics partners to take it further. The teams are using the data to help inform their training, fitness, and game preparation. But there's one big caveat that's keeping them from using the data to plan game strategies and draw up plays. "Right now clubs are getting just their side of the ball, and so that's a decision point that's coming up," said the NFL's Swensson. "We want to be able to ultimately get to a place where both sides of the ball are available to clubs, so they can do a lot more interesting analysis." In other words, teams don't get their opponents' in-depth data or the patterns that machine learning can see. That's a big topic for the NFL in the upcoming off-season, and it's an issue that's up for consideration by the NFL Competition Committee. Image: NFL 2. The impact of Next Gen Stats on NFL broadcasts The place where Next Gen Stats has made its most visible impact is on the television broadcasts of NFL games by CBS Sports (both TechRepublic and CBS Sports are owned by CBS). AWS has brought the data visualizations of Next Gen Stats into CBS broadcasts and given CBS analysts data points to explain some of the most important plays in the game. AWS is also working with the NFL's other broadcast partners to bring similar capabilities next season. Some of the Next Gen Stats that analysts now have access to include, for example: Real-time location data on all of the players Player speed and acceleration Total running distance for each player for the entire game The amount of separation that receivers get from their defenders The pressure rate that defenses have on quarterbacks Percentage of quarterback throws into tight windows Announcers such as former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo—a new color commentator at CBS this season—have embraced the data and used it to help give viewers an inside look at why some of the plays on the field succeed and others don't. "We're working with the guys in production at CBS Sports to try and evolve it to really make the fan experience better. It's early days. What we've learned from baseball is the way to present this data," said Amazon's Kelman. "We're looking forward to taking it to the next level next season." 3. The impact of Next Gen Stats on NFL fans For fans, the NFL has launched as a portal to view these new insights and data points. There are all kinds of new statistics that you've never seen on the back of a trading, such as: Average Time to Throw (quarterbacks) Average Completed Air Yards (quarterbacks) Aggressiveness Percentage (quarterbacks) Efficiency (running backs) 8+ Defenders in the Box (running backs) Average Time Behind Line of Scrimmage (running backs) Average Cushion (receivers) Average Separation (receivers) Average Targeted Air Yards (receivers) The site also includes charts for quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers to see their patterns from their last game. In addition, the NFL publishes photo essays with specific insights from Next Gen Stats from the previous week's games, as well as videos that explain the differences and similarities between players, teams, and games based on the data. "There's some very complicated parts of football that can be really fascinating to die hard fans," said Swensson. "A lot of times you watch a game and maybe you don't realize some of the decisions and why they are made, or even some of the intricacies of the game such as why players line up a certain way. My hope is that [Next Gen Stats] continues to educate fans and help them understand more and more of our game." SEE: Turning Big Data into Business Insights (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) This stuff is obviously great source material for fantasy football junkies, but it can also fuel die-hard fans in their search to better understand the performance of their team and their favorite players—which can also create greater customer loyalty for the NFL. The good news for fans is that the program is just getting off the ground. "The stuff you see on the site now is just based off the tracking data and the splits we've been able to do based on location data, but not much pattern recognition," said Swensson. "A lot of the machine learning stuff we've done, we haven't put up yet. Our plan is to launch that for next season." Of course, there's one more big game left this season. For the fans watching Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, here are a pair of Next Gen Stats videos that break down what's likely to be the game's key matchup: Image: NFL What other businesses can learn "The typical conversation that we're having with customers around machine learning is that it is one of the top priorities," said Kelman. "But, there is a huge gap in most of these companies between what they want to do and the skills of their people. It's kind of as simple as we have all this data, what should we do with machine learning? What problems should we point it at, and what kind of predictions should we make? The more examples that we can give our customers of what other people are doing, the better." Subscribe to TechRepublic's Big Data newsletter to keep up with the latest tips and best practices. Subscribe Also see
2018-02-02 00:00:00
Amazon Web Services' combination of cloud, data science, and machine learning has provided a whole new lens to understand football. Here's the inside story of the NFL's big data experiment.
Microsoft Office users beware: New malware comes through PowerPoint email attachment
A new malware campaign is making its way into businesses through a malicious PowerPoint email attachment, Trend Micro research has found. According to blog post, CVE-2017-0199 traditionally utilizes RTF documents, and this is the first time it has been seen to abuse PowerPoint Slide Show in the wild. The malware comes in an email that appears to be from a company that manufactures cables. The email tells the recipient to see the order and asks for them to quote cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) and free on board (FOB) prices as well. Due to the targeted nature of the email, as the criminals are typically going after electronics companies, the post said, the email is being considered a spear phishing attack. In the sample email provided by Trend Micro, the attachment is titled PO-483848.ppsx. In that case, PO could be short for purchase order, in an effort to increase the perceived legitimacy of the PowerPoint file. SEE: 10 ways to minimize fileless malware infections If the victim opens the attached file, there will be no purchase order, not even any fake text attempting to be one. It simply reads: CVE-2017-8570. That's the name of another Microsoft vulnerability, the post said, but not the one that this particular malware is targeting. PowerPoint then initializes a script moniker and runs the malicious payload, the post said. If successful, it will download an XML file from the internet. Some JavaScript code in that XML file runs a PowerShell command that downloads and executes a remote access tool. At this point, the attackers will be able to run remote commands on the victim's machine. "The tool's capabilities are quite comprehensive, and includes a download & execute command, a keylogger, a screen logger, and recorders for both webcam and microphone," the post said. The biggest issue for this given attack is the fact that it comes by way of a PowerPoint file. Most current detection methods focus on the RTF delivery method, so that means attackers utilizing the PPSX files could have an easier time avoiding antivirus detection, the post said. To protect against attacks like this one, businesses should make sure that their systems are properly patched and updated to account for any known vulnerabilities. Also, users should be regularly educated on proper security hygiene and email etiquette. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers A new spear phishing campaign is using PowerPoint files to exploit the CVE-2017-0199 and deliver malware to victims. If a user clicks on the attached file, it will run a remote access tool, and could allow attackers access to a user's keystrokes, screen, webcam, and microphone. IT should keep systems update and educate users on the proper behavior regarding attachments and emails from outside parties. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
Trend Micro research has identified a new malware threat that presents itself in the form of a malicious PPSX file attachment. Here's what professionals should look out for.
Why Wikipedia's cofounder wants to replace the online encyclopedia with the blockchain
Many industries have adopted blockchain technology as a core part of their operations. It creates transparency and trust between parties so that trust is no longer needed, which is why industries such as real estate, finance, and advertising are beginning to use it. And now, Wikipedia's cofounder Larry Sanger wants blockchain to replace the free online encyclopedia. TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with Sanger to discuss why he joined Everipedia, and why the blockchain should replace Wikipedia. Everipediais the encyclopedia of everything, where topics are unrestricted, unlike on Wikipedia, Sanger said. More technically, it's a blockchain encyclopedia with a decentralized protocol for accessing and sharing knowledge. SEE: Cheat sheet: Blockchain A blockchain is a list of transactions, or a ledger, that can be used to represent a database. By putting all of Everipedia's content on the blockchain, it creates a transparency between writers and readers. When it's all set up, it will be possible for people to propose adding information to the blockchain, Sanger explained, and people who have tokens (which are earned by adding to the blockchain) come to a consensus about what information gets added to the blockchain. "In terms of editorial standards, just to get on an encyclopedia blockchain will be relatively easy," Sanger said. When the initial protocol is adopted, it should be a very low bar that allows encyclopedia articles to get onto the blockchain, he said. However, the actual editorial decisions that are made won't happen on that level. Different users of the information that make up the blockchain and Everipedia will make the decisions on the ratings of articles, and what order they will be placed. Users will be able to go in, read those articles, and visit our interface to submit their own ratings, he said. Find out The Next Big Thing and subscribe to TechRepublic's newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
Blockchain technology is breaking into many industries, including publication. Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger explains how tech can create transparency, and allow more content on the site.
iOS 11.4: Here's what business users need to know
Apple's iOS 11.4 has left beta and is now officially available for public installation on compatible iPhones and iPads. Two of the three major updates to iOS in 11.4 are centered around the HomePod, Apple's Siri-powered Amazon Echo competitor, adding features such as easier pairing and AirPlay 2-enabled speaker support. The biggest change that business users should be aware of is the addition of iCloud storage for iMessages. Users who choose to store iMessages in iCloud will free up device space and automatically sync iMessages across devices, but there is a trade-off: iCloud has been hacked before. The more personal, or sensitive business, information you store in iCloud the more you stand to lose if your account is compromised. Storing iMessages in iCloud: How to do it safely iOS users who want to store their iMessages in iCloud can do so with very few steps: Just open the Settings app, tap on your name, then on iCloud, and make sure the Messages option is toggled on. iOS will then offload all your iMessages to your iCloud storage space and you should see some freed up storage pretty quickly. If your iCloud account were to be hacked, however, the attacker could gain access to all your iMessage conversations as well as the attachments they contain. There's no surefire way to prevent your iCloud account from being compromised: If an attacker finds a backdoor in Apple's security (which happens with some degree of regularity) they will gain access, like it or not. SEE: Research: Defenses, response plans, and greatest concerns about cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (Tech Pro Research) That doesn't mean you can't defend yourself. The simplest method is to enable two-factor authentication on your iCloud account. Two-factor authentication, like most other methods of cybersecurity, isn't foolproof but it's the best step you can take to avoid ending up like the dozens of celebrities who had their iCloud data stolen in 2014. A good rule of thumb when it comes to personal cloud storage services like iCloud is to avoid storing anything truly confidential in it. For business users this can be a variety of things—proposals, internal use documents, and other records should only be stored in business-controlled cloud accounts. Should businesses allow iCloud syncing for iMessages? Businesses that use iOS should be wary of allowing users to sync iMessages to iCloud: It's convenient, but it's simply too great a risk for companies concerned with data security. The reason why businesses should prevent iCloud users from syncing messages is a matter of Apple's repeated security failures over the past several years. As mentioned in an article on TechRepublic sister site ZDNet, Apple's reputation has taken a big hit in the past few years, and a lot of that is due to its sloppy coding and high-profile software bugs. If Apple wants business users to trust it with sensitive data it has some work to do on the security front. Until then, protect yourself by being careful what information—including iMessages—are stored in iCloud. You can read the full iOS 11.4 patch notes here. The big takeaways for tech leaders: iOS 11.4 has been released, and one of its major new features is the ability to sync iMessages to iCloud. Given Apple's recent, and repeated, security failings, business users should avoid trusting sensitive information to iCloud: It's better to wait and see if Apple steps up its security game. Get a roundup of the biggest Apple headlines by subscribing to our Apple Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-05-02 00:00:00
The release of iOS 11.4 brings new features, bug fixes, and small improvements. Here are the ones that stand out for professionals.
How to build a simple timesheet that accommodates projects in Excel 2016
The article How to build a simple timesheet in Excel 2016 tracks hours worked in a traditional clocking-in- and-out, one-record-per-day structure. That's not always suitable, so in this article, I'll show you a different model that tracks days using a columnar structure rather than the traditional row structure. This model supports projects, as many as you need. You probably won't find a magic bullet with either timesheet model, but you can adjust and customize either model to fit your needs. I'm using Excel 2016 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions. You can use the browser edition to enter your hours. For your convenience, you can download the demonstration .xlsx and .xls files. 1. Determine your needs As with any timesheet app that you plan to distribute, you need to consider the following issues: How to validate input to eliminate typos and other invalid data. We'll use data validation in two spots. How users will access the template. You can distribute it or allow them to access the sheet via a browser or web-based application. This article doesn't extend beyond a local or server file. How to protect the template from misuse. Because this model uses a Table object to expand, Excel protection isn't helpful. How to secure confidential information, such as social security numbers, if required. Our example doesn't contain any confidential data. 2. The model Figure A shows the completed timesheet with all the trimmings. This model supports a seven-day week, beginning with Sunday and ending with Saturday. Unlike the timesheet from the first article, this structure allows you to track hours specific to projects. You can easily adapt this structure to handle more than one week. Figure A We'll create this simple timesheet that allows you to track time by projects. The sheet has an input area for employee, company, and department information, including the time (pay) period. This model doesn't force you to "clock in." Instead, users enter hours by category or project. As such, the user does bear bit more responsibility for tracking actual work hours throughout the day. SEE: Tap into the power of data validation in Excel (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 3. Limit the time period The example uses Sunday to identify the pay period. You could enter a combo control that lists every Sunday of the year, but it would be cumbersome to use. Instead, we'll a validation control that accepts only Sunday dates: Select B2. Click the Data tab click Data Validation in the Data Tools group, and then select the Data Validation option from the dropdown list. In the resulting dialog, choose Custom from the Allow dropdown. In the Formula control, enter the following formula (Figure B): =WEEKDAY($B$2,1)=1 If you like, click the Error Alert tab and enter a meaningful error message, as shown in Figure C. This step isn't necessary for the timesheet to work, but your users will appreciate the information. Click OK. Figure B Use a formula that accepts only Sunday dates. Figure C Enter a meaningful error message. Figure D shows the result of entering a date that isn't a Sunday. You could continue to limit input values, but we won't do so in this article. Figure D The data validation control rejects invalid input dates. 4. Automate the dates This next step returns the dates in a single pay period by referencing the input date in B2. To start the sequence, enter the following expression in B5: =IF(B2<>"",B2,"") Next, enter the following expression in C5 and copy it to D5:H5: =IF(B5<>"",B5+1,"") To extend the pay period, simply add more expressions to row 5. For now, the expressions return nothing because B2 is blank. Enter a Sunday date; initially, the expressions return serial values. Apply the Short Date format to B5:H5 to display meaningful dates, as shown in Figure E. Figure E Format the expressions in row 5 to display dates. 5. Add a projects list The next few steps might be confusing as we implement them, but everything will come together in the end, so don't worry. Our structure supports projects, and you can specify as many projects as necessary in a simple list. Later, we'll add a data validation control that references this list. Move to a new sheet and enter the list shown in Figure F. Next, convert the list to a Table object so it requires no additional work to update: Click anywhere inside the list. Click the Insert tab and then click the Table option in the Tables group. In the resulting dialog (Figure F), indicate whether your Table has headers—the example Table does. Click OK. Figure F Convert the list to a Table object so you can update it easily. You can't directly reference a Table in a data validation control, so let's assign a defined name to the Table. First, we you need to know its name. Click inside the Table and then click the contextual Design tab. You'll find the Table object's name in the Table Name control to the left of the ribbon, as shown in Figure G. (It's often easier to work with a more meaningful name than the one Excel assigns. To rename the Table, click inside the Table Name control, enter a name and press Enter. We won't bother with this example.) Figure G Discern the Table object's name. Now you're ready to assign a defined name to the Table as follows: Click anywhere inside the Table. Click the Formulas tab. In the Defined Names group, click Define Name. In the resulting dialog, enter ProjectList as the Name. Reference the Table using the format =Tablename[Columnheader]. In this case, that's =Table10[Projects], as shown in Figure H. Click OK. Figure H Give the Table a defined name. It seems like you've gone to lot of extra work to create a simple list, but it's worth it. Because the list is a Table object, you can add and delete projects and the data validation control that we'll add later will automatically update, without any extra work on your part. SEE: 10 Excel time-savers you might not know about (TechRepublic) 6. Add category input range With your projects list in place you're ready to start building the work-hour input ranges. Beginning at A7, and using Figure I as a guide, add a row of header labels and category labels. Be sure to leave a blank row (row 6) between the information input range and the category input range. The white space will help reduce the visual noise. Figure I Leave a blank row between the category Table and the dates. Next, using the instructions in step 5, convert the category input range (A7:H12) to a Table object. It isn't necessary, but formatting and updating will be easier. (Your formats won't match the figure, so don't worry about that.) With the category Table object selected, click the contextual Design tab and check the Total Row option in the Table Style Options group. Select Sum from the dropdown added to B13. Copy that function to C13:H13. Figure I shows the finished category Table input range. By making the range a Table, you can easily add or delete new categories, but each category requires only one row per pay period. You can add a new or delete an existing category, but you won't duplicate a category. 7. Add project input range Now you're ready to add the project input range, which includes the project data validation control I mentioned earlier. Enter days of the week, Sunday through Saturday in B15:H15—leaving a blank row between the two input ranges. To add the projects data validation control, select A16 and do the following: Click the Data tab, click Data Validation in the Data Tools group, and then select the Data Validation option from the dropdown list. In the resulting dialog, choose List from the Allow dropdown. In the Source control, enter =ProjectList (Figure J), the defined name you gave to the project list Table object in step 5. If you like, click the Error Alert tab, and enter a meaningful error message. This step isn't necessary for the sheet to work, but your users will appreciate the information. Click OK. Figure J Create a data validation control that lists the projects. In the last step, you converted the category input range to a Table. Do this again, converting the project input range (A15:H16) to a Table (with headers). Then, enable the Total Row as you did for the category Table. You may or may not need a project row each week. You could have 0 rows or several, depending on the number of projects you worked on that pay period. The current project list has only two projects, so you'd have up to two rows for the given pay period. If you add a new project next week, you might have up to three rows in this Table. As you add projects using the data validation list, the Table, shown in Figure K, expands. As before, don't worry about Table formats just yet. Figure K This Table will adjust to the number of projects you work on during the pay period. 8. Category and project totals To add a column of category totals, select I8, click AutoSum, highlight B8:H8 and press Enter. Change the default header to Category Totals and increase the column width. Repeat this process to add project totals to the project Table. Be sure to highlight row 16 (AutoSum might try to sum values in column I). 9. Grand daily totals Presently, you have category and project weekly totals in column I and daily subtotals in row 13 and 17. You don't have a daily grand total. Insert two blank rows between row 5 and 7. Select B7 and enter the expression =Table4[[#Totals],[Sunday]]+Table3[[#Totals],[Sunday]] Copy it to C7:H7. Instead of entering those long references, you could click B15 and B19. Figure L shows the timesheet after disabling the gridlines and applying Table formats consistently to both Table objects. It's a bit odd to have grand totals at the top of the sheet, but this position allows the project Table to grow with impunity. Figure L The complete timesheet. 10. Business rules At this point, your sheet is functional, but there are some things you might want to add. If blank cells are problematic for your accounting system, add zeros to the input ranges in the category and project Table objects. To do so, enter a 0 into an empty cell and copy it to the Clipboard. Then, select B10:H14 (the category input range) and press F5. In the resulting dialog, click Special. Select the Blanks option and click OK. Press Ctrl+v to paste the 0 from the Clipboard into the selected blank cells. Repeat this task for the project Table's input range, B18:H18. Users can delete the 0s and accidentally leave blanks, so you might want to consider a conditional formatting rule that highlights blank cells: =ISBLANK(inputrange) As you add new projects to the project Table, the rule highlights the entire new row because those cells are blank. Most companies don't allow overtime in the same day that you use comp, sick, or vacation time. You can use the following conditional formatting rule to highlight the values in B12:H14 when the overtime value in row 11 is greater than 0 and the corresponding comp, or sick, or vacation value is greater than 0: =AND(B$11>0, OR(B$12>0,B$13>0,B$14>0)) It won't fix the problem, but it will alert your user that a problem exists. Using the sheet Each pay period, the user will open the template file and rename it to reflect the current pay period. It's not the only way, of course, but it's the easiest way. Employees can submit a printed copy or the electronic file. Figure M shows hours accrued for the work week beginning March 25, 2018. Harkins worked a total of 44 hours; 31 in fixed categories and 13 on specific projects. As you can see, there's a problem on Thursday because Harkins is claiming 2 hours of overtime and 2 hours of sick time. The only way to resolve this error is to remove either the overtime or the sick time. Figure M Using the sheet. There's one limitation worth noting: If you work 10 hours on a single project in the same day, you can't identify two of those hours as overtime. Enter 10 in the project row and let payroll staff work out the overtime when applying rates. Normally you'd protect the sheet before distributing the workbook, but you can't easily protect a sheet with an expanding Table object. For better or worse, you'll have to trust users to be somewhat competent with this timesheet. They always have the template to start fresh, if the worst happens. Get more great Office tips and tricks delivered to your inbox. Sign up for TechRepublic's Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Send me your question about Office I answer readers' questions when I can, but there's no guarantee. Don't send files unless requested; initial requests for help that arrive with attached files will be deleted unread. You can send screenshots of your data to help clarify your question. When contacting me, be as specific as possible. For example, "Please troubleshoot my workbook and fix what's wrong" probably won't get a response, but "Can you tell me why this formula isn't returning the expected results?" might. Please mention the app and version that you're using. I'm not reimbursed by TechRepublic for my time or expertise when helping readers, nor do I ask for a fee from readers I help. You can contact me at Also see:
2018-03-19 00:00:00
This timesheet is useful if you need a more flexible structure and the ability to accommodate multiple projects.
Two ways to speed up Excel macros
Most of us use macros to automate processes that we repeat or that require specialized knowledge. Regardless of why you use macros, you want them to run as quickly as possible. You can optimize your code by: Disabling features that update the sheet Avoiding selecting things In this article, I'll show you how to make simple changes to your code to optimize it for speed. I'm using Excel 2016 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but these tips will work in older versions. The tips are specific to the desktop version because macros don't run in the browser version. There's no demonstration file; you won't need one. 1: Disable updating features Have you noticed that your screen sometimes flickers while a macro is running? This happens when Excel attempts to redraw the screen to show changes made by the running macro. If screen updates aren't necessary while running the macro, consider disabling this feature so your macro can run a bit faster. Use the following statements to disable and enable this feature: Application.ScreenUpdating = False 'macro code Application.ScreenUpdating = True You can expect Excel to redraw the screen when the macro completes its work—when you reset the property to True. Disabling screen updates won't disable the Status Bar, which displays information during normal operations, including what your macro is doing. To disable updates to the Status Bar, use the DisplayStatusBar property as follows: Application.ScreenUpdating = False Application.DisplayStatusBar = False 'macro code Application. DisplayStatusBar = True Application.ScreenUpdating = True If your macro is analyzing a lot of data, consider setting the Calculation property to Manual while the macro is running. That way, the workbook won't recalculate unless you force it to by pressing F9. Calculation speed probably isn't a large performance factor is most normal workbooks though, and it can have unexpected results, so use it sparingly—as needed: Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual Application.ScreenUpdating = False Application.DisplayStatusBar = False 'macro code Application. DisplayStatusBar = True Application.ScreenUpdating = True Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic Macros can trigger unnecessary event procedures. For instance, entering a value into a cell triggers the Worksheet_Change event. A few won't be noticeable, but if the macro is complex enough, you might consider disabling events while the macro is running: Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual Application.ScreenUpdating = False Application.DisplayStatusBar = False Application.EnableEvents = False 'macro code Application.EnableEvents = True Application. DisplayStatusBar = True Application.ScreenUpdating = True Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic Similar to setting the Calculation property to Manual, disabling events can have unexpected results, so use it with careful consideration. 2: Don't select things If you use the macro recorder, you may have noticed that it's fond of using the Select method to explicitly reference things. It works, but it's slow and prone to runtime errors. If you want to start with the recorder, do so. Then, review the resulting code for Select methods and change them to Range references. For example, the following recorder code applies italics to C4:C62: Sub Macro1() Range("C4:C62").Select Selection.Font.Italic = True End Sub The recorder uses the Select method to identify the range. Once you know the right methods and properties—Font.Italic = True—you can easily rewrite the macro as follows: Sub Macro2() Range("C4:C62").Font.Italic = True ' Sheets("Divisions").Range("C4:C62").Font.Italic = True ' Range("Table3[Species]").Font.Italic = True End Sub Macro2() accomplishes the same thing with one line of code and without selecting the range. In short, you simply combine the two statements and delete the Select method and the Selection object. The optimized code is more efficient and less prone to runtime errors. The commented lines show the Sheet and Table object references. The sheet reference is necessary only if you want to run the macro outside of the sheet (Divisions, in this case). The Table references the Species column in a Table named Table3. To learn more about efficient selection methods when using VBA, read Excel tips: How to select cells and ranges efficiently using VBA. Similar to selecting ranges and objects to perform an action in the sheet, an explicit reference to the sheet also slows down processing. The solution is to use variables. For example, the following code references the same cell (value) six times: Function ReturnFeeSlow() Select Case Range("I4") Case 1 ReturnFee = Range("I4") * 10 Case 2 ReturnFee = Range("I4") * 20 Case 3 ReturnFee = Range("I4") * 30 Case 4 ReturnFee = Range("I4") * 40 Case 5 ReturnFee = Range("I4") * 50 End Select MsgBox ReturnFee, vbOKOnly End Function At the very least, ReturnFeeSlow() makes two explicit references to I4. It's not changing the value, it's using the value in a simple expression. In this case, it's more efficient to define a variable with the value in I4 and use the variable, as follows: Function ReturnFeeFast() Dim intFee As Integer intFee = Range("I4").Value Select Case intFee Case 1 ReturnFee = intFee * 10 Case 2 ReturnFee = intFee * 20 Case 3 ReturnFee = intFee * 30 Case 4 ReturnFee = intFee * 40 Case 5 ReturnFee = intFee * 50 End Select MsgBox ReturnFee, vbOKOnly End Function Faster is better Please forgive the obnoxiously contrived examples, but the concept is the point, not the code's purpose. Specifically, built-in updating features and explicit references to the sheet or a range will slow down your code. Admittedly, with today's fast systems, simple macros won't always need optimization. However, if you're working with a complex custom application, these easy-to-implement changes should improve efficiency. Get more great Office tips and tricks delivered to your inbox. Sign up for TechRepublic's Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Send me your question about Office I answer readers' questions when I can, but there's no guarantee. Don't send files unless requested; initial requests for help that arrive with attached files will be deleted unread. You can send screenshots of your data to help clarify your question. When contacting me, be as specific as possible. For example, "Please troubleshoot my workbook and fix what's wrong" probably won't get a response, but "Can you tell me why this formula isn't returning the expected results?" might. Please mention the app and version that you're using. I'm not reimbursed by TechRepublic for my time or expertise when helping readers, nor do I ask for a fee from readers I help. You can contact me at Also read...
2017-08-14 00:00:00
When it comes to executing actions and performing tasks, faster is always better. Learn two tricks that will make your Excel macros more efficient.
Report: Degree-holders boosting tech resume with online courses, but rewards divided
According to Codecademy, 2017 might have been the year of re-education. New research from the online coding resource said more than half of its users this year hold a college degree, using their free time to boost their skill set by learning to code. About 55% of Codecademy's users reported having some kind of college degree, showing that tech professionals are finding ways to expand their resume and stay relevant in a constantly changing field. "We're hearing increasingly from people learning to code to get a leg up in their current industry and from people who want to move into tech adjacent fields," the report said. "Considering that this is one of the few sectors of the economy that's growing, it makes sense." SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research) In a survey of part of the site's 45 million users, about 40% said they were learning coding skills to enter software development or a similar position. Others said coding was empowering and enabled them to work from home, the report said. With multiple reports of a tech skills gap, tech professionals may continue to see online courses, like those at Codecademy, as a way to keep up with new programming languages and refresh pre-existing skills. Online courses may also help those without a degree build the skills employers are looking for. About half of the respondents said they had never taken an university coding course. Of those who had taken an in-person college coding class, 25% made the switch to online courses because they felt they were a safer space to learn a new skill. The report is coming from users who have already begun learning to code online, but the findings may signal a shift to more online courses as a way to boost tech resumes. Around 10% of respondents said they felt happy when learning in a traditional university setting, the report said. Overall, only 5% of respondents said they were anxious in such a setting, but women were 2.5x more likely to say they were anxious. Online courses may offer women and minorities a chance to learn tech skills without feeling intimidated by typically male-dominated university computer science programs. The report found that, while women may feel more empowered in online courses, men are more likely to see a pay raise or promotion due to learning how to code. Men are almost 55% more likely than women to say they made more money due to their new coding skills. Men are 1.5x more likely than women to receive a promotion due to the skills, the survey found. "Dozens of programs have sprung up to help women move into careers in tech, but it seems that even when women take all the right steps, they're not seeing the reward," the report said of the findings. Despite women-targeted programs and adjusted entry-level computer science courses, more may need to be done to fight gender disparity in the tech industry. Want to use these statistics in your next presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these takeaways: 55% of Codecademy users hold a college degree, but are still learning how to code via the online course platform. -Codecademy, 2017. 40% said they were learning new coding skills to move into a software development job or similar position. -Codecademy, 2017. Men are 55% more likely than women to make more money due to learning how to code. -Codecademy, 2017. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
More than half of people using online coding courses are trying to boost their degree value, a new report from Codecademy found.
Worried about Gmail snooping? Here's Google's advice on keeping your account secure
Google has posted a defense of Gmail's privacy protections after a Wall Street Journal report found the service was allowing third-party companies to read personal emails. The WSJ reported that employees at firms offering personalized services, such as shopping and travel suggestions, are accessing and reading Gmail users' messages. While not referencing the story directly, Google Cloud's director of security, trust and privacy, Suzanne Frey, published a post in the wake of the report, in which she outlined Gmail's privacy protections. "We continuously work to vet developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before we open them for general access, and we give both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used," she wrote. SEE: GDPR security pack: Policies to protect data and achieve compliance (Tech Pro Research) Before a third-party app can access Gmail messages, Frey says the software is submitted to "a multi-step review process that includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app's privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does". A key part of this review is ensuring that apps only collect data they need and don't misrepresent how they are using this data, according to Frey. How to keep your Gmail secure Third-party apps need to have been given explicit permission by the user before those apps can access personal data, Frey said, adding that these permissions can be revoked using the Security Checkup page in the user's Google account. Those concerned about third-party access to their Gmail account can also visit and select the Apps with account access page, from which they can revoke any previously-granted permissions. Image: Google Business users enjoy a wider range of protections, with G Suite admins able to screen connected OAuth apps to limit the data access that individual users are able to grant. Google ceased scanning consumer Gmail messages to personalize ads to users in June last year, a point that Frey stressed in her post yesterday. "We do not process email content to serve ads, and we are not compensated by developers for API access. Gmail's primary business model is to sell our paid email service to organizations as a part of G Suite." Public awareness of privacy issues has been heightened recently, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data firm was accused of using the personal information of millions of Facebook users to try to change election results. Despite Google's assurances, David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says the WSJ's findings show how important it is for individuals and businesses to pay close attention to the permissions they give third-party apps. "We have a right to privacy - but we need to be aware of what terms and conditions we are agreeing to when signing up for free email and social-media accounts, especially regarding the rights we are waiving or the access to data that we are giving away," he said. "We should also think twice before allowing third-party apps to connect to our accounts." The big takeaways for tech leaders: G Suite admins can screen connected OAuth apps to limit the data access that individual users are able to grant. Those concerned about third-party access to their Gmail account can visit and select the Apps with account access page, from which they can revoke any previously-granted permissions. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-07-04 00:00:00
Google issues a defense of Gmail security following a report into third-party firms accessing users' emails.
Most iPhone X owners weren't satisfied with this one feature
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Overall, iPhone X users gave the product a 97% customer satisfaction rating. — Creative Strategies, 2018 Despite overall customer satisfaction with the iPhone X, device owners had problems with Siri, leaving the digital assistant with a roughly 20% customer satisfaction rating. — Creative Strategies, 2018 For years Apple has responded to complaints about the functionality of Siri and as more virtual assistants have popped up from their rivals, users continue to grumble about the things it cannot do. That was one of the biggest takeaways from a study of iPhone X users conducted by Creative Strategies, Inc. Ben Bajarin, principal analyst and the head of primary research, said in the report that iPhone X owners gave the product "an overall 97% customer satisfaction. While that number is impressive, what really stands out when you do customer satisfaction studies is the percentage who say they are very satisfied with the product," Bajarin wrote. In terms of the survey respondents who met that "very satisfied" mark, the report found it to be about 85% of iPhone X owners. SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research) But when the report authors broke it down by specific features, Siri stood out as one of the only things users were not happy with. Every other feature had a customer satisfaction percentage above 60%. Siri was the only feature below that mark at about 20%. This figure is more prominent, Bajarin said, because their survey focused on early Apple adoptees, who he said "tend to be more critical and less satisfied overall than mainstream consumers." This is good for Apple because of the very high marks almost every other feature received in the survey. But Siri's very low score dovetails with the years of complaints users have had with how Siri functions. The Street's Leon Lazaroff wrote that Siri's main problem is a consumer base expecting it to function like other virtual assistants, which it cannot do because it was designed for a very specific purpose. "Siri's job is to integrate those devices, it's meant to grease the connections between Apple devices, making the iPhone integral to the iPad, AppleWatch and AppleTV — and all points in between," Lazaroff wrote. "The problem for Apple is that people have come to expect a voice-activated device that can answer relatively easy questions fast and efficiently, and Siri...has mostly fallen short." Siri's inability to answer basic questions like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant has left users confused about what the feature is actually supposed to do. Verge journalist Walt Mossberg wrote in 2016 that Apple "wasted its lead" with Siri and was too slow to add features and functionality that its rivals had already mastered. "Siri's huge promise has been shrunk to just making voice calls and sending messages to contacts, and maybe getting the weather, using voice commands. If you try and treat Siri like a truly intelligent assistant, aware of the wider world, it often fails, even though Apple presentations and its Siri website suggest otherwise," Mossberg wrote. A study done by Stone Temple last year found that Siri "only answered 21.7 percent of questions and nailed 62.2 percent of them completely, correctly," noting that "Alexa and Siri both face the limitation of not being able to leverage a full crawl of the web to supplement their knowledge bases. It will be interesting to see how they both address that challenge." Despite the challenges with Siri, Apple should be heartened to know that most users gave the iPhone X very high scores on almost everything else, and Bajarin said Apple is set up nicely for the future. "Overall, the data we collected around iPhone X show that if Apple is truly using this product as the baseline for innovation for the next decade, then they are off to a strong start and have built a solid foundation," Bajarin wrote in the report. Bajarin later added: "If Apple can bring Siri back to a leadership position and in combination continue to build on the hardware and software around iPhone X base foundation, then they will remain well positioned for the next decade." Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Apple Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
The majority of iPhone X owners were happy with the phone's looks, battery life, speed, and more. But one critical feature was lacking in a major way.
3 ways to reshape your workforce in the age of AI
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and human-machine collaboration could boost business revenues by 38% by 2022, and raise employment levels by 10%. — Accenture, 2018 61% of senior executives think the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI will rise in the next three years. — Accenture, 2018 Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to impact nearly every industry, and businesses that don't take immediate steps to upskill their workforces to collaborate with machines will miss out on revenue, according to a recent report from Accenture Strategy. If businesses invest in AI and human-machine collaboration at the same rate as top-performing companies, they could boost revenues by 38% by 2022, the report found, lifting profits by $4.8 trillion globally. These businesses could also raise employment levels by 10% in that timeframe. Business leaders are optimistic about the changes that AI can bring to their organization and workforce, according to the 1,200 senior executives surveyed for the report: 72% said that intelligent technology will be critical to their organization's market differentiation. Further, 61% said the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI will rise in the next three years. And 69% of the 14,000 workers surveyed said that it was important to develop skills to work with these intelligent systems. SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research) However, a disconnect remains, as only 3% of business leaders said that their organization plans to significantly increase its investment in reskilling workers in the next three years. "To achieve higher rates of growth in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in equipping their people to work with machines in new ways," Mark Knickrehm, group chief executive of Accenture Strategy, said in a press release. "Increasingly, businesses will be judged on their commitment to what we call Applied Intelligence - the ability to rapidly implement intelligent technology and human ingenuity across all parts of their core business to secure this growth." While many fear that AI will replace low-level jobs, most businesses are optimistic about the impact on their companies, the report found: 63% of senior executives said they think their company will create net job gains in the next three years due to AI, while 62% of workers said they believe AI will have a positive impact on their work. Here are three ways business leaders can shape their future workforce in the age of AI, according to Accenture: 1. Reimagine work by configuring work from the bottom up Some 46% of business leaders agreed that job descriptions are already obsolete, and 29% said they have redesigned jobs extensively. Leaders should assess tasks rather than jobs, and then allocate those tasks to both machines and people. This balance the need to automate work and to elevate your worker's capabilities. 2. Pivot the workforce to areas that unlock new forms of value Leaders should go beyond process efficiencies to prepare their workforce to create new customer experiences, Accenture recommends. This might mean finding new growth models by reinvesting savings gained from automation into the future workforce. It also requires a new leadership mindset that values long-term transformation opportunities. 3. Scale up "new skilling" Determine your workforce's current skillset, and their willingness to learn how to work with AI. You can then use digital platforms to target different areas of the workforce with personalized learning opportunities. "Business leaders must take immediate steps to pivot their workforce to enter an entirely new world where human ingenuity meets intelligent technology to unlock new forms of growth," Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, said in the release. "Workers are impatient to collaborate with AI, giving leaders the opportunity to demonstrate true Applied Intelligence within their organization." Keep up to date on all of the newest tech trends. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-02-02 00:00:00
Some 61% of senior executives say more jobs requiring collaboration with AI will rise in the next three years. Here's how to prepare workers for the change.
3 tips for selecting the best project management software for your business
According to software rating and review site Capterra, there are over 600 project management solutions. However, not all PM software will work in every industry, company, or project size and type. Here are three steps to help your company select the right software to suit your project needs. 1. Evaluate your internal environment. Gather all the details about your business and how it operates. Factor in company size, hierarchy, how departments and units are structured, and how they interact. Also, analyze products or services, culture, and the available internal and outsourced talent. Some other factors to consider include internal policies, technology, internal views, project methodologies, long-term goals, and finances. These have the potential to create alignment issues with the way your business operates or manage projects. Before choosing PM software, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your business. This in-depth analysis may slow the selection process down, and take time and effort, but it is an essential exercise that will help all stakeholders avoid disappointment, wasted time, and potentially unnecessary costs. Having a big-picture view can reduce the risk of selecting a solution that does not align well with the long-term strategy or the unique inner workings of your business. SEE: Managing vendor relationships: Time commitment, benefits, and pain points (Tech Pro Research) 2. Identify projects and confirm PM software will sufficiently support all aspects. Work with business leaders to identify and document high-level details about upcoming projects, both short and long-term. Record as much detail as possible; this information will be required when sending requests for information (RFIs), requests for proposals(RFPs), or requests for quotes (RFQs) to software vendors. To ensure the a particular solution can meet your short and long-term goals, pay close attention to the details provided to make sure project requirements are properly and fully addressed in vendor documents. Look for features that work for your specific project needs. Just because a vendor offers more features than other vendors does not make it the best choice for your company's projects. Make sure the solution can accommodate your key processes and methodologies and that it is scalable and customizable. Also take the time to make sure the vendor can complete onboarding within your company's budget and schedule. SEE: How to build a successful project manager career (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 3. Do a trial run. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to do a trial run of the fully-working version of the software your company intends to implement. Again, involve key participants in this step to sufficiently test all the required features to make sure each meets your project needs. This may require people from many different areas of the company: make sure frontline users are okay with the system, as well as IT specialists. This is the final gateway before onboarding and reduces the costly buyer's remorse that companies encounter all too often. Evaluating your internal business environment, identifying potential short and long-term projects, confirming sufficient support, and doing a trial run of software can help your company select the right solution to suit your project needs. For more project management and business leadership advice, subscribe to our Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2017-12-07 00:00:00
It can be challenging and time-consuming trying to decide which project management solution will fit your company's needs. Here are three ways to narrow the search.
Machine learning business use will double by end of 2018, report says
Medium and large enterprises are set to double their usage of machine learning by the end of 2018, according to a new report from professional services firm Deloitte. The number of machine learning pilots and implementations will double by the end of 2018, and then will double from that number by the end of 2020, Deloitte's report predicts. Businesses spent $17 billion on the technology in 2017, and that is expected to increase to $57.6 billion by 2021. Deloitte identified five factors that have held back machine learning growth: Too few practitioners, high costs, tools are too young, confusing models, and business regulations. SEE: Quick glossary: Artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research) The estimated growth shows how as the technology evolves, buy-in from businesses may increase, whether they're using it to improve workflows or create new products. If businesses opt to not adopt the technology, they may risk falling behind others. The report looked at other emerging technologies, including augmented reality (AR). One billion smartphones will create AR content at least once in 2018, the report found, with 300 million using AR at least monthly. In what used to just mean an animated face filter on Snapchat or Instagram, AR will expand to other uses for mobile devices. Last week, Apple named AR as one of its breakout app trends of 2017. Deloitte predicts direct revenues from AR on smartphones will hit $1 billion by 2020, growing tenfold from 2018. With the trend continuing to grow, developers and brands may need to find ways to integrate AR into an app to stay up-to-date and entertain users. While Deloitte expects less than $100 million in discrete app revenues for AR content globally in 2018, it could drive sales in other ways. The ability to simply host AR content may be a key difference to consumers looking to switch or upgrade devices. In good news for business travelers, the Deloitte report also found in-flight connectivity (IFC) will be up 20% in 2018. One-quarter of all airline passengers will fly on a plane with access to the internet. Business travelers will have a higher chance they will be able to connect in the air, enabling them to get more work done in transit. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers Businesses will double their usage of machine learning by the end of 2018, a new Deloitte report found. So far, the technology has been held back by regulations, evolving tools, high costs, and few practitioners. The projected growth, expected to hit $57.6 billion in spending by 2021, shows how it is being increasingly utilized as a business tool. Those not currently planning on using machine learning in their business may need to reconsider, or risk being left behind. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-04-07 00:00:00
The technology's projected growth shows its emergence as a business aid, according to Deloitte research.
Built-in keylogger found in HP laptops...again
A built-in keylogger has been discovered on a host of HP laptops for the second time in 2017. The hidden software was discovered by security blogger Michael Myng, who also goes by the handle ZwClose. According to Myng's post, he found the keylogger in the keyboard driver when he was looking for more information on how the keyboards on certain models were backlit. "The keylogger saved scan codes to a WPP trace. The logging was disabled by default but could be enabled by setting a registry value (UAC required)," Myng wrote in the post. SEE: Information security incident reporting policy (Tech Pro Research) After Myng initially noticed what looked like the format string for a keylogger, he began to dig deeper. However, without having an HP laptop of his own, he couldn't look as deeply as he wanted to, the post said. So, he reached out to HP. After messaging HP, the company replied to Myng and confirmed the keylogger, which he noted was actually a debug trace. A patch has since been released that removes the keylogger, but users must update their machines to get it. HP has since launched a web page with all the relevant information for which laptop models are affected, including link to the update. The issue affects commercial notebooks, mobile thin clients, mobile workstations, and consumer laptops as well. HP users should check the list of affected devices on the web page to see if their model is listed. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a keylogger has been found on HP laptops. Back in May 2017, a keylogger was found in an audio driver package present in many HP laptops, according to security firm ModZero. While neither instance of the keylogger may have been malicious, the presence of such surveillance software could be detrimental to HP's brand image among consumers. Personal privacy is a major concern among users, and any software that seems like it could potentially violate that privacy could drive users away. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers A built-in keylogger was found in a huge number of HP laptops by security blogger Michael Myng, also known as ZwClose. Found in the keyboard driver, the keylogger saved scan codes to a WPP trace, but it was disabled by default, Myng reported in his post. HP users should check the list of affected machines on HP's web page for the keylogger, and follow the necessary steps to update their machine. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
A security blogger uncovered what appears to be a keylogger on certain HP laptops. Here are the affected models, and what you can do to fix it.
Why Docker's survival depends on money from customers, not investors
Image: iStockphoto/real444 Docker is apparently about to raise another $75 million in venture capital funding, bringing its total raised to roughly $250 million. If only it could raise similar amounts from paying customers. Even as containers have gone mainstream, with enterprises embracing them en masse, Docker, the company, has largely missed out. Though this new round brings the company's value to $1.3 billion, that number has hardly moved from Docker's $1 billion valuation back in 2015. Investors clearly continue to have an appetite for Docker's potential, but unless the company does something drastic to super-charge its appeal to paying enterprises, other companies like Red Hat will continue to mint money on the container revolution that Docker kickstarted. Fat and lazy on investor cash You've seen it before: The hearty congratulations on Twitter to startups that raise a big round of funding. Too often, however, venture money isn't a sign of success—it means a company still hasn't figured out how to make money, so it's buying time with VC money. While venture money can be used to fuel growth, too often companies use it as an excuse to put off the inevitable, difficult task of making money. SEE: Docker rocker: container technology usage doubles; serious money follows (ZDNet) I should know. I've lived it, working for a range of open source startups that each struggled to make money. My most recent startup, MongoDB, seems to have cracked the code on revenue, with indications that it has now surpassed $100 million in annual revenue. But, it wasn't venture capital that delivered the revenue. Instead, a new, highly sales and operations-minded CEO, Dev Ittycheria, joined the company and started forcing hard decisions to turn a hugely successful open source project into a hard-headed open source business. Docker, however, has yet to make this shift. Yes, the company hired a new CEO, Steve Singh, the former CEO of Concur Technologies. Like Ittycheria, Singh may well bring discipline and a sales-minded culture to Docker. Indeed, according to the funding rumors, a significant share of the funding is intended to build out a sales and marketing machine. If so, that's really good news, as Docker's current revenue is paltry compared to its popularity, as several sources close to the company have shared with me. Even if you don't believe the inside sources, the company's valuation growing just $300,000 over two years is testimony enough that Docker has yet to crack the revenue code. The problem for Docker, however, is that other companies are minting lots of revenue from containers, even as it searches for the right approach. Your loss, my gain It's not hard to find competitors currently collecting copious cash from the container fever Docker did most to spark. Google, Microsoft, and AWS are all earning healthy returns on containers within their clouds, but Red Hat, more than any other company, offers the most painful slap in the face. Two years ago, Cloud Technology Partners' Mike Kavis highlighted a few reasons that Docker was (then) worth $1 billion after its funding round. Each of those, however, points to Red Hat as a bigger beneficiary of the container mania than Docker, given that Red Hat wisely chose to build on community darling Kubernetes. In his post, Kavitz talked about Docker as sitting at the center of a future of distributed applications, its affinity for hybrid architectures, and its robust ecosystem, among other things. SEE: Special report: Riding the DevOps revolution (free PDF) But each of these areas is more likely to favor Kubernetes, which has become the center of the container ecosystem precisely because it's how enterprises choose to manage containers at scale. Add Kubernetes' traction to Red Hat's longstanding ability to sell into the enterprise and it starts to become clear how hard Docker has made things for itself by delaying a real revenue model for so long. Is it too late? No. But Docker, despite rightly getting credit for fostering the container market, is the underdog, and not nearly as well-equipped as Red Hat to make money from containers. With every major tech vendor firmly behind Kubernetes, Red Hat has wind in its sails as its Kubernetes-based OpenShift competes against a Docker whose management tooling has the benefit of being closely aligned with the company that invented the container standard, but also the detriment of not being tied to the community managing those containers with Kubernetes. Docker is by no means doomed, but it has serious work to do—the dull, grinding work of sales. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Data Center Trends newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
Docker started the container revolution, but it is struggling to capitalize on it as better-equipped competitors take on the market.
Why some of the world's biggest companies are using AI to manage human employees
Artificial intelligence (AI) may end up displacing more than just entry-level work, taking over management roles at some of the biggest companies in the world, according to a Wall Street Journal report. It all started in the gig economy, the report explained. Firms like Uber, for example, use machine learning and related technologies to manage some of the tasking assignments for the self-employed people who work through their platforms. However, now legacy organizations like GE and Shell are also jumping on the AI bandwagon, rolling out tools to their full-time workforce as well, The Wall Street Journal reported. The tech tools are handling tasks such as "scheduling and shepherding strategic projects," the Journal reported, and researchers cited said that this could lead to the elimination of certain management roles of the displacing of other managers. SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research) These types of machine learning and AI software are also being leveraged in hiring and human resources as well, with Gartner predicting 25% growth in the overall human resources and workforce management software market by 2020. So, what makes AI so well-suited to take over certain management roles? It's all in the data. AI is good at making decisions based almost solely on available data. Humans can use data, but can also lean on their own intuition or fall into confirmation bias, the report said. AI could potentially help make more objective business decisions, but these tools and platforms could also have their own biases introduced by the humans that create them. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London, told The Wall Street Journal that managers primarily work to "identify potential, build teams, assign tasks, measure performance and provide feedback"—things that he said humans are not proficient at. However, AI can use data to do perform these tasks, which could lead to a day when we no longer need human managers, Chamorro-Premuzic said. Despite the use of AI in management, some companies utilize the technology only to eliminate administrative tasks, the report said. One also has to question the value of automating that may have been relegated to middle management—a demographic that's true value has been brought into question over the past few years and that has been shrinking in many organizations as they move toward more flat organizational structures. Of course, this further begs the question of what value can be gleaned from automating a position that may have been on the road to elimination anyway. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers According to a Wall Street Journal report, some of the world's biggest companies like Uber, GE, and Shell are using AI and machine learning to complete management tasks. AI excels at certain management tasks because of its ability to make decisions that can be more data-centric than those made by humans, but biases may still remain. The tasks that AI does well could likely be ascribed to middle management, a professional demographic that is shrinking as some companies move to a flatter organizational structure. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-11 00:00:00
A new report from The Wall Street Journal details how companies like Uber, Shell, and more have used artificial intelligence and machine learning to help with managerial tasks.
Why non-IT employees are now driving decisions about SaaS and cloud applications
Ryan Duguid, SVP of technology strategy at Nintex, spoke with TechRepublic's Dan Patterson about the role of non-IT employees in cloud transitions. Watch the video or read the transcript of their conversation below: Patterson: The cloud has had an undeniably transformative effect on the enterprise and SaaS, of course, is at the heart of cloud growth. Now, the growth of SaaS might be up to non-IT workers. Ryan, thank you very much for your time today. I wonder if we could first define how SaaS has grown historically to this point, and then we'll talk a little bit about why it's up to non-IT employees to help the growth of the cloud, and cloud-based applications. Duguid: Certainly, so at the end of the day, the massive upswing in SaaS is driven for obvious reasons, right? There's cost savings associated with it, a lack of requirement for as many IT administrators to keep the lights on, but fundamentally, I think it's about speed of delivery of technology to the business, and that's always been a problem in the IT sector, and SaaS really makes the promise to solve that problem. Patterson: So what is it about SaaS that has either reached an apex, or what is it that is now demanding non-IT employees to buy in as well? Duguid: I think there's two parts to this, right? The first part is that at the end of the day, SaaS has largely been driven by demand from the business. IT historically has struggled to keep up with the requirements of the business, and so the business is constantly pushing for the latest and greatest technology. I think the other side of it, is now there's a proliferation of SaaS vendors out there, when in the early days it was the big boys like the Workdays, and Salesforce and the likes. There's not a SaaS application for everything, for every business function, for every industry, no matter how large or small, and so as a result there's really this thirst or appetite for the business to get in and self-serve, even if IT's not willing to be a part of that journey. Patterson: Can you give us a profile of some of the IT and business technology decision makers who are now involved in the process of adopting SaaS solutions for the enterprise? SEE: Vendor Relationship Policy (Tech Pro Research) Duguid: Certainly, it's the typical players, so it's everything from the CIO down to the VP's and directors of IT within an organization, but more importantly now what we're starting to see is a lot of decisions being made by what we call line of business IT. Essentially, very smart technology-focused individuals within a particular department. So, for example, in the sales department, you'll typically find a Salesforce administrator whose responsible for the deployment, the management, the feeding and nurturing of their Salesforce CRM, and so you're starting to see a lot more of that type of role turn up within an organization, whether they're responsible for Salesforce's CRM, your human capital management systems or the likes, but it's more of a de-centralized type of IT and larger organizations. Patterson: Ryan, I wonder if you could leave us with a forecast, perhaps the next 6, 12, 18, months in the growth of not just SaaS, but the cloud, the multi-cloud and post-GDPR? Duguid: Ha ha, post-GDPR. You know, I guess GDPR and other associated compliance requirements are sort of the stick that people wave to try and slow this down, but at the end of the day, the prediction I'd give is there's no stopping this, right? This is how technology is delivered to the business now. It meets the needs of the business, the pace, it helps people tackle digital transformation, get ahead of disruptive competitors in the marketplace, and so I think you're just going to see more and more, and from our perspective at Nintex what we're really fascinated by is the concept of IT and the business working together, where IT is empowering the business to get their jobs done with SaaS platforms. But the business is the ones choosing the technology. It's done with the right level of governance and control, but at the same time it's delivered with the ease and flexibility that helps the average employee get their job done more effectively. For more on SaaS and cloud, subscribe to our Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-19 00:00:00
The IT department used to make decisions about technology adoption. But according to Nintex's SVP of technology strategy, other departments are now making the push for the latest and greatest tech.
Drupal admins: Get ready for emergency out-of-band patch for critical vulnerability
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Drupal developers have announced another emergency patch for release on Wednesday. Drupal administrators are advised to patch urgently. Last month's Drupalgeddon 2 vulnerability is presently being exploited by at least three different malware families. Once again, the developers of Drupal are preparing an emergency out-of-band patch for a critical vulnerability in the popular content management system. The security advisory indicates that another patch will be released between 16:00 - 18:00 UTC on April 25th, 2018. (For reference, that is between 12:00 - 2:00 pm on the same day, in Eastern Daylight Time.) Patches will be provided for the 7.x, 8.4.x, and 8.5.x branches of Drupal. Specific details of the vulnerability are unclear, as the developers have not provided any hints of the nature of the issue prior to the release of the patch. However, the advisory does note that it is a follow-up to the patch issued last month in response to the "Drupalgeddon 2" security vulnerability, which related to a conflict between how PHP handles arrays in parameters, and Drupal's use of the hash (#) at the beginning of array keys to signify special keys that typically result in further computation. In order to patch that vulnerability, an input sanitation check was added to /includes/ in the Drupal code. Noted developer Scott Arciszewski of Paragon Initiative indicated that the new vulnerability "probably doesn't involve breaking the PHP interpreter." SEE: Information security incident reporting policy (Tech Pro Research) Despite the care to pre-announce an urgent out-of-band vulnerability by the developers, seemingly many Drupal installations remain unpatched. The Muhstik botnet has been observed by Netlab 360 infecting vulnerable Drupal instances and implanting xmrig and cgminer cryptocurrency mining software. The Netlab 360 report posits that propagation is also happening from the servers with infected Drupal instances. The botnet is also targeting since-patched vulnerabilties in ClipBucket, DasanNetwork Solution, Webdav, WebLogic, Webuzo, and WordPress, the report said. In addition to Muhstik, two other groups of malware have also been identified as actively exploiting the vulnerability. Content management systems such as Drupal, as well as blogging platforms like WordPress, are popular targets for hackers, due to their widespread nature. Drupal's usage statistics page indicates the software powers about 1.1 million websites. In particular, Drupal has been susceptible to major vulnerabilities, as the original "Drupalgeddon" SQL injection vulnerability from 2014 showed. For administrators of Drupal installations that for whatever reason are unable to be patched, Trend Micro's Deep Security package offers filters for the original Drupalgeddon 2 vulnerability to prevent attackers from taking control of vulnerable systems. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
Drupal's first patch for the 'Drupalgeddon 2' apparently proved insufficient, prompting a timed release of another patch on Wednesday.
Google's Partner Interconnect connects your data center to the cloud with provider link
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Google has announced Partner Interconnect, which allows SMBs to establish a semi-dedicated connection of partial circuits between 50Mbps and 10Gbps. At launch, 23 connection partners globally are participating in the Google Partner Interconnect cloud service. Google has announced Google Cloud Partner Interconnect, a flexible means of establishing a direct connection between an on-premises data center and Google's platform for hybrid cloud deployments. Partner Interconnect allows organizations to connect to Google Cloud through 23 partners around the globe, according to a Google press release. While Google's Dedicated Interconnect offering—which reached general availability last October—is only available in 10Gbps full circuits, Partner Interconnect allows users to select partial circuits from 50Mbps to 10Gbps to meet the requirements of SMBs, the release said. Participating partners include AT&T, Cologix, Internet2, and Verizon in North America; AT TOKYO, KDDI, NRI, NTT, and Softbank in Japan; BT, Orange, Telemares, and Telia Carrier in EMEA; and Macquarie and Megaport in Australia, as well as Colt, DE-CIX, Digital Realty, Equinix, IXReach, Level3, Tata Communications, and Zayo globally. Google Cloud product manager John Veizades noted in the release that establishing a Partner Interconnect connection is easy, as "our partners have already set up and certified the infrastructure with Google Cloud. This provides a turnkey solution that minimizes the effort needed to bring up network connectivity from your data center to GCP." SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research) This announcement is part of Google's renewed interest in catering to businesses relying on hybrid cloud installations. With these new connection solutions, businesses deploying hybrid cloud can use Google Cloud services without having their data pushed through the public internet, while also providing greater control over how data is routed across the network, the release noted. This greatly reduces access time and latency in comparison to pure public cloud deployments. However, data transmitted over these connections is not encrypted by default, requiring users to use application-level encryption. For organizations hesitant to commence hybrid cloud deployments due to data security concerns stemming from allowing any outside traffic, the added control over the flow of data across a Partner Interconnect connection may be adequate to ease concerns. In addition to Partner and Dedicated Interconnect options, Google has announced a number of collaborations over the last year in an attempt to entice organizations looking to deploy hybrid cloud. In October, Google and Cisco announced a new integration allowing applications to be deployed across on-premises and Google Cloud, as a counter to the similar partnership between AWS and VMWare. Similarly, Google and Nutanix announced a deal last June to allow on-premises and cloud deployments to be managed as a unified service. General availability for Partner Interconnect is expected in the coming weeks, according to the release. For disambiguation, the Google Cloud product originally called Interconnect was renamed to "Carrier Peering" last year, following the release of Direct Interconnect. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
Google is partnering with ISPs around the world to provide easier connections to meet the needs of SMBs.
Cracking open Nintendo's NES Classic Edition game console
If you're a gamer who grew up in the 1980s (like me), odds are you helped Link rescue Princess Zelda or Mario defeat King Bowser on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Thirty-plus years later, Nintendo is helping those gamers relive their old-school victories with the NES Classic Edition. Released in November 2016, the NES Classic Edition is a pint-size version of the original system. It comes with a single two-button controller and 30 preloaded games, including old favorites like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid and Ghosts'n Goblins. The original NES Classic Edition was discontinued in April 2017. Nintendo has said that that console will return to stores on June 29, 2018. How did Nintendo pack so much 8-bit fun into a single box? To find out, I broke out my tools. Note: This story originally ran in the Fall 2017 issue of CNET Magazine. We're publishing the story online to coincide with our Cracking Open video of the NES Classic and the original NES. Cracking open the NES Classic Edition I started with the four rubber pads, or feet, on the console's bottom. Using a thin Phillips screwdriver, I removed the pads and the tiny screw hidden underneath each one. I then lifted off the upper half of the system's plastic case to reveal the tech inside. Though it's less than a quarter the size of the original NES, the Classic Edition's interior is far less cramped. Gone are the front-loading, VCR-esque cartridge tray, the 72-pin cartridge connector that failed so often and the bulky video, audio and power circuitry. All that 1980s tech has been condensed down to a single main circuit board that's about the size of a drink coaster. After disconnecting the cables for the two game controller ports and a thin cable for the power and reset buttons, I removed a few more screws, lifted off the metal shield that covers the main circuit board and took out the board itself. Next, I removed the two controller ports, each held in place with a small bracket and single screw. To finish, I only had to disconnect a black, plastic housing that contains a small circuit board to which the contacts for the power and reset buttons are mounted along with the front LED. My teardown of the console was complete. Turning my attention to the game controller, I removed six screws from the bottom of its clamshell case and then separated the two halves. Inside is a single rectangular circuit board. The entire cracking-open process took less than 15 minutes and was the simplest teardown I've ever done. CNET/TechRepublic What the teardown tells us Simple to crack open: The only tool you really need to disassemble the NES Classic Edition is a small Phillips screwdriver (#00 or #000 should work). There's no glue inside the console or the controller, all the internal components are easily accessible and the screws are all the same diameter and length. More tech packed into a smaller package: The Classic Edition has a quad-core ARM processor, 256MB of RAM and 512MB of storage. For comparison, the original NES had an 8-bit processor, 2KB of work RAM, 2KB of video RAM and no game storage. NES emulator on a single-board computer: The Classic Edition is basically a Nintendo-sanctioned NES emulator running on a Linux single-board computer. Yes, Linux. And if you're wondering whether it's possible to hack the Classic Edition and load more games? That answer is also yes. There's plenty of information on the internet that will show you how to update the system's software and install additional games. But be warned: There's always a chance that modifying your system could cause irreparable damage. More importantly, downloading and using games for which you don't already own a license for is usually illegal. Yesterday's games running on today's tech The NES Classic Edition is pure retro gaming fun. It's a much easier way to play old NES games than hunting through flea markets or online auctions for original hardware. And, it's less complicated (and more legal) than running emulator software with downloaded games on a PC. Unfortunately, after selling over 2 million Classic Editions, Nintendo unexpectedly discontinued the console in April 2017. If you didn't manage to scoop one up then, you may still be able to buy one online, albeit at a likely inflated price. It's also being released again on June 29. We shelled out $200 for the one I cracked open, which is way more than the $60, £50 or AU$100 retail price. Perhaps what stood out the most to me after cracking open the NES Classic Edition was just how much technology has improved in the past three decades. The hardware inside the Classic Edition is tiny compared with the original system, yet it's so much more powerful. I can't wait to see how far technology advances in the next 30 years. Also see: Update, May 29 at 5:55 p.m. PT: Added information about the NES Classic Edition returning to stores in June 2018.
2018-05-30 00:00:00
We crack open the NES Classic Edition for a look at the tech that lets us recapture the video game glory of our youth.
Microsoft SharePoint tip: Clean up OneDrive syncing to reduce confusion
One of the major benefits of using Microsoft SharePoint to create a central location where team members can collaborate on documents and other important tasks is file synchronization. Whenever a change in a document or other file is made in a SharePoint folder, it gets propagated to the cloud and every other device connected to that server. This important function is handled by the same syncing application that controls Microsoft OneDrive. Unfortunately, there is more than one version of the OneDrive syncing app. This fact can sometimes create unnecessary and often frustrating confusion. Subscribers to Microsoft Office 365 have their version of OneDrive, while purchasers of the standalone version of Office 2016 are often using a version known as OneDrive for Business. Recently, Microsoft decided to remove some of the confusion by consolidating the syncing software into one version of OneDrive. However, the transition to a single version of OneDrive has been, to put it politely, rough, which has caused even more confusion and frustration. As you can see in Figure A, I found myself in a situation where I had both the Office 365 OneDrive version and the OneDrive for Business version running at the same time. It led to major instability, long boot times, and general annoyance. Figure A Of course, as an Office 365 subscriber, it would be best for me to use just the Office 365 OneDrive. But getting rid of the older version is not as simple as uninstalling it. Removing OneDrive for Business requires a bit of trickery. Here is how I did it. Getting OneDrive for Office 365 If you are using SharePoint with Office 365, which is what I recommend, you want to be using the Office 365 version of OneDrive. The easiest way to get it is to log into the online version of SharePoint, navigate to the folder you want to sync, and then click the sync button. If you are not using the latest OneDrive software, the system will prompt you for permission to upgrade. But before you do, be sure to synchronize all your documents so that what is online is up to date and what you want propagated across devices. After that, uninstall whatever OneDrive you have installed on your devices. This is your best chance for a clean install of the software. If you don't, you could end up like me—inadvertently running two versions of OneDrive. SEE: 30 things you should never do in Microsoft Office (free TechRepublic PDF) Exorcising the ghost of OneDrive's Past If you do find your device is running two versions of OneDrive, you may find that clicking the inviting Uninstall button in the Start Menu (Figure B) just doesn't work. In my case, that link just took me to the application list, where the only OneDrive application that could be removed was the new version—there was no separate entry for OneDrive for Business. Figure B My assumption was that there were remnants of entries buried deep inside the Windows Registry that were continuing to call upon the old application. I tried changing the name of the old OneDrive app, but that just caused errors. My internet research suggested using a third-party app like CCleaner, but I was not sure which entries to delete and which to leave alone. Obviously, something else had to be done. I decided to use the Group Policy Editor to try to reestablish the correct OneDrive parameters. Here are the steps to take. First, right-click on the Windows 10 Start Menu and click the Command Prompt (Admin) menu entry. Type this application name at the prompt and press Enter: gpedit.msc That will open the Group Editor. Next, navigate to this entry: Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | OneDrive You should see a screen similar to Figure C. Figure C Double-click Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage to reach the dialog box shown in Figure D. Figure D Click the Enabled button, click OK, and reboot your device. When that reboot is complete, there should be no OneDrive application running and no icon in the system tray. Now repeat the process but change the dialog box setting shown in Figure D back to Not Configured and reboot again. This little trick fixed my ghost in the machine problem and left me running just one version, the correct Office 365 version of OneDrive. Smooth sailing After I removed the extra version of the syncing software, SharePoint became more responsive, files no longer failed to sync for unexplained reasons, and the computer began booting in a reasonable amount of time. I finally feel like I can actually take advantage of SharePoint's full range of features. If you are having problems with SharePoint or OneDrive, perhaps you should check to see whether you have more than one cloud icon in the system tray—you may have a conflict to sort out. Get more Windows news, tips, and how-to's delivered to your inbox. Sign up for TechRepublic's Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Also read... Your take Have you run into any issues with OneDrive syncing? Share your advice and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.
2018-02-02 00:00:00
Microsoft SharePoint is a great tool for collaboration, but it is dependent upon the proper operation of the OneDrive syncing app--which can act unreliably without proper maintenance.
6 tips for managing your mental bandwidth
Time is an interesting thing. It's the one "commodity" that cannot be created or destroyed, and you can't acquire more than 24 hours each day. What we do with those 24 hours ultimately impacts everything from our long-term success to how we relate with the important people in our lives. Key to utilizing our limited amount of time is successfully allocating our mental focus, or to use the technology vernacular, our "mental bandwidth." Just as you can only perform so many simultaneous computing tasks for a given amount of network bandwidth, so too can we as human only focus on, and be successful at, a certain amount of tasks. Here are some tips for managing your mental bandwidth. 1. Ignore the dogma and experiment The world is ripe with prescriptive advice, yet as individuals what works for me may not work for you, and oftentimes the advice is conflicting. For instance, a penny saved might be a penny earned, yet we're also told not to be penny smart and pound foolish. The same holds true with advice for mental bandwidth, where one "reputable" source might encourage multitasking, while another demand absolute singularity of focus. Rather than trying to adapt your working style to someone else's, experiment with different techniques and keep those that help, while casting aside those that don't, even if they work for a well-regarded guru, loved one, or friend. There's no harm in mixing, modifying, and abandoning in an effort to find techniques that work best for how your individual brain is "wired." 2. Actively manage your mental bandwidth Perhaps the biggest mistake many people make is allowing their mental bandwidth to be managed for them. The beeping phone, meeting request, or act performed for ritual or obligation all rob our limited mental bandwidth, and many perform these actions unquestioningly. If you allocate your focus as you see fit, and actively choose what you want to focus on, you'll be in command of your mental bandwidth even when faced with unmovable obligations ranging from work to civic duties. SEE: Time management tips for tech professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 3. Do a bandwidth cost/benefit Most of us are awash in meeting requests and accept without question. Everyone complains about excessive meetings, yet it's often a guilty pleasure to summon a group at your whim, or join a discussion under the assumption that your input is necessary and valuable. In the worst case, this might extend to accepting vague requests for "coffee" or "catch-up" sessions without thinking through whether the commitment is worth the cost in allocating your focus elsewhere. The world is awash in advice on how to make meetings more productive; simply asking yourself whether requesting or attending is worth the cost in mental bandwidth is a great start. 4. Plan for focus time There are tasks that require great focus, whether performing precision or dangerous manual work, or designing a complex system or bit of code. Or, you may need to spend some time with a small group, free from distraction. Book a block in your calendar, shut off your phone, move to a different physical location, or do whatever is required to create the right circumstances to have the necessary focus to get the job done. Creating the right environment and circumstances can be a critical element in how you'll deploy your mental bandwidth to achieve the best result. 5. Know when to throw in the towel Thankfully, most work cultures are evolving away from rewarding "time served" to outcomes produced, but for many of us it can be tempting to put in the extra hour at the office, or delay vacations for what's perceived as a critical set of meetings or deadlines. Trying to squeeze out the last ounce of mental bandwidth can be tempting in the moment, but it's ultimately an effort with rapidly diminishing returns. Calling it a night, taking that long-delayed vacation, or even the simple act of a quick walk around the office will recharge your mental energy and make you more effective in the long run. 6. Don't make assumptions about your team A locked door and giant pair of headphones might be just the thing you need to focus and deploy your mental energies most effectively. It can be tempting to assume that what works for you will be effective for others, even to the point of designing your physical spaces and policies around what you assume will allow your team to best manage and deploy their mental bandwidth. Rather than assuming, ask your team how you can help them be most effective. Allow your teams to experiment and find what works for them, and use the end result as the benchmark for success, rather than trying to dictate that everyone adapt the exact same working style. For more business and leadership advice, subscribe to our Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2017-12-08 00:00:00
We've all heard that time is the most precious commodity, but our attention span is even more valuable, as it affects how we utilize our time. Here's how to manage it effectively.
Pro time saver: Amazon Key can deliver packages to your car in office parking lot
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: Amazon Key will now deliver packages into a customer's vehicle at no extra charge, saving them time and money. Professionals can have packages delivered to their car in the office parking lot, which is more professional than fielding personal deliveries inside the office. Amazon Prime members can now have their Amazon orders delivered directly into their car through Amazon Key, the company announced in a Tuesday press release. Amazon Key was originally touted as the service for delivering packages directly into the home of the recipient. Now, however, the Amazon Key In-Car service will deliver packages into compatible vehicles as long as they are parked somewhere that is publicly accessible, like a work or home address, the press release said. Amazon Key In-Car is now available in 37 US cities, and currently works with 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac with OnStar; and 2015 or newer Volvo cars with Volvo On Call, according to an Amazon spokesperson. SEE: Workplace safety policy (Tech Pro Research) "To get started, customers download the Amazon Key App and then link their Amazon account with their connected car service account," the release said. "Once setup is complete and the delivery location has been registered, customers can shop on and select the "In-Car" delivery option at checkout." Amazon customer Scott L. from Miami noted in the release that he setup the service with his OnStar-equipped car, only giving Amazon permission to unlock the trunk and re-lock the vehicle. And each time a delivery driver requests access to the customer's car, it's done through an encrypted authentication process, the release said. Once the driver is confirmed to be at the right place with the right package, the car is unlocked. "No special codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers," the release said. On delivery day, customers must confirm they are parked within range of the delivery location and are then given a 4-hour window for when the delivery will take place. Amazon Key In-Car is safer than having a package delivered to one's porch, as thefts of online purchases have skyrocketed. But, it's also less invasive than allowing someone into a home, as is the process with the traditional Amazon Key delivery service. For professionals, Amazon Key In-Car can save time and provide piece of mind by having packaged delivered into a car parked in the office parking lot. It's also a lot more professional than having personal packages delivered to the office during the work day. With Key and Key In-Car, Amazon is working to blend the digital transformation of e-commerce with the physical world. It's a small look at the future of the connected world and why people like Larry Dignan, of our sister site ZDNet, have called the company out as being one of the most innovative tech companies today. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Tech News You Can Use newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
The service is available for newer model Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo cars.
Amazon launches new cloud services to tackle data loss, analytics, migration
On Monday, company leaders from Amazon Web Services (AWS) took the stage at the AWS NY Summit to detail the firm's latest efforts in data protection, analysis, and migration. The first of the core announcements was Amazon Macie, a new security tool that uses machine learning to identify the secure data that a customer is storing in AWS, and takes steps to protect it. "Amazon Macie recognizes sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII) or intellectual property, and provides customers with dashboards and alerts that give visibility into how this data is being accessed or moved," a press release said. Macie works with data stored in Amazon's Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), but support for additional data stores is due later in 2017, the press release said. Macie can be enabled through the AWS Management Console, and its cost is determined by the amount of content that is classified as secure. SEE: Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) The goal of Macie, it seems, is to make the jobs of security professionals easier by automating many of the daily processing tasks associated with categorizing and protecting cloud data. Once a baseline is established among a customer's data, Macie looks for anomalies, and alerts users to any activity it deems suspicious. Another new service, AWS Glue, could make it easier to analyze customer data as well. Glue is an extract, transform, and load (ETL) service that simplifies the processes for loading data into Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), or other databases running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), so that the data can be further queried and analyzed, according to a press release. ETL jobs in Glue can be created through the AWS Management Console. Customers tell Glue what data they want to target in AWS, and then Glue "discovers the associated metadata (e.g. table definitions) and classifies it, generates ETL scripts for data transformation, and loads the transformed data into a destination data store, provisioning the infrastructure needed to complete the job," the release said. AWS Glue is a serverless solution. Because of this, customers are billed for compute resources consumed relative to data preparation and loading jobs, the release said. In an effort to make cloud migration easier, AWS also announced its new AWS Migration Hub, an umbrella solution made up of the AWS Application Discovery Service, the AWS Server Migration Service, and the the AWS Database Migration Service. In addition to guiding users through the migration process, it also tracks the migration status as well. While the AWS Migration Hub is based in the US West (Oregon) Region, it can manage migrations that happen in any AWS region, the release said. There is no additional cost for the Hub, as users are just charged for the services that are a part of the hub. Additional AWS products like the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), AWS Config, and AWS CloudHSM all received some minor updates at the AWS NY Summit as well. The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers Amazon Macie is a new security tool that uses machine learning to identify sensitive cloud data, and takes extra steps to protect it. AWS Glue is an ETL service that makes it easier to migrate data to one of many AWS data stores so it can be analyzed and queried. The new AWS Migration Hub is a collection of AWS tools that guide a user through the cloud migration process and give insight along the way. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Cloud Insights newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-14 00:00:00
At the recent AWS NY Summit, leaders from Amazon Web Services outlined new tools like Macie and Glue that could improve many customer's cloud efforts.
What your company can learn from the controversial Google memo
The First Amendment gives Americans freedom of speech, however, it does not give citizens freedom from consequences of their speech, says tech author and BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page. Recently, a Google engineer was fired after releasing a controversial memo stating women don't advance in the tech industry because of biological differences. Page uses this issue to shed light on how companies can manage free expression in the workplace. SEE: Employee political activity policy (Tech Pro Research) In the situation of the Google memo, the employee was fired not because he broke a law, but because he broke a company policy. "When people talk about having open discourse and people being able to be free to express their opinions, what they mean is about 'how to develop a product' or 'how to address company services,' Page said. "They want to have alternative points of view around making the best possible product." This freedom of expression in the workplace isn't an excuse to get into political debates, and most companies don't want you to do that, she said. It also becomes a liability issue for a company when its employees make derogatory comments about their colleagues—especially in an environment where collaboration is critical—because it affects employees' comfort levels and deters the best talent. SEE: Hostile workplace prevention policy (Tech Pro Research) Page suggested that companies of every size should have a code of conduct about internal and external communications. Companies need have policies in place about the type of speech that's appropriate for their employees about their colleagues. Employees should also know that they represent the company when talking about anything relevant to their industry. "This should be normal for companies and employees to understand," she said. Page said that all companies with over 50 employees should have an HR manager. Once a company reaches that size, there are a lot more policies and regulations that need to be put in place. "There are baseline HR things that you should do at every company, that's the biggest lesson, and if you're not doing them, you're missing out." Discover the secrets to IT leadership success with these tips on project management, budgets, and dealing with day-to-day challenges. Subscribe to TechRepublic's Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe See also:
2017-08-14 00:00:00
What does free speech look like in the workplace? Tech author and BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page explains how companies can manage free expression at work.
Cambridge Analytica's Facebook game in politics was just the beginning, the enterprise was next
Updated 3/18/2018: On March 17, 2018, Facebook announced that Cambridge Analytica was suspended for violating the company's standards and practices. TechRepublic's Dan Patterson was one of the early reporters to write about Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 campaign. Patterson spoke with CBS News about how the data firm could have harvested so many Facebook profiles. The interview has been added to this article. SEE: How a Facebook app scraped millions of people's personal data | Video: Facebook data was misused to sway 2016 voters, reports says (CBS News) This article was originally published on March 13, 2017. TechRepublic recently reported on controversial tweets by former White House technology staffer Gerrit Lansing and former Trump campaign social media strategist Gary Coby alleging Cambridge Analytica overstated its role in the campaign and the capabilities of the firm's technology. Specifically the company was accused of taking credit for Trump's Facebook advertising strategy and his victories in Michigan and Florida. The tweets sparked a fiery debate about the role of big data in politics and vertical industries. Big data undeniably played a huge role during the 2016 presidential campaign, and after big elections political data innovations are often adopted by enterprise companies and SMBs. Some political technology firms—particularly partisan startups like NGP VAN and Targeted Victory—are now focused on local and regional races in the US. Other firms, like L2 and Cambridge Analytica, deploy their analytics product across enterprise verticals such as media, finance, and health care. SEE: Quick glossary: Big data (Tech Pro Research) Last year in an interview with TechRepublic CEO Alexander Nix reiterated the company's non-partisan status. "We are fundamentally politically agnostic and an apolitical organization," he said. "The high volume of Republican primary candidates this cycle allowed us to enter a competitive market." Cambridge Analytica famously states its database contains over 5,000 data points on nearly every American consumer. The company is hardly the only big data company to make grand assertions about the power of analytics. Nearly every firm that TechRepublic spoke with while reporting this story agreed that big data is undeniably powerful and expressed concern that "magical" claims undermine the true value of analytics. WATCH: Documentary shows information revolution of big data (CBS News) "Faulty products that exaggerate results can mismanage client expectations," said a person familiar with the political technology industry. "Innovation only really succeeds if the product works. In any [business] sector, if one company exaggerates it harms the entire ecosystem. It erodes trust in the market." Cambridge Analytica refuted the allegations and clarified its role on the campaign in mid-February during a 30-minute phone conversation. Portions of the audio interview, however, were off record so we asked Cambridge Analytica's head of product, Matthew Oczkowski, to respond to the allegations and clarify how their technology works. Can you contextualize the controversy regarding the tweets from Lansing and Coby? At CA, we break up our data into three buckets: political, commercial, and 1st party. We work with several of the main voter file providers, depending on the preference of our clients, to access vote history and voter profiles. We also access many of the top commercial data providers on a licensing basis; this data includes things like general demographics, geographics, purchase history, interests, etc. Finally, we collect data internally from R&D projects like internal surveys and research, exclusive data relationships, and data collection through direct response projects. Can you articulate what Cambridge Analytica's technology is, how it works, and how you applied your tech for the Trump campaign? At our core, we are a data and behavioral science company. Simply put, we help organizations figure out who to talk to and what to say to them. We believe that demographic-based marketing has become relatively obsolete and that understanding the underlying motivations of an individual are a far more effective way to communicate with someone. We deploy this research through both digital and television, which serve as the vehicles to reach these individuals. For the Trump campaign, we served as the data agency of record, but our role quickly evolved as the cycle progressed. Our three core pillars of execution were data science and analytics, digital marketing (mostly persuasion and GOTV), and polling/research. Having a large amount of control and input into each of these three areas allowed us to be extremely efficient and reactive. It also allowed us to easily integrate with the staff at Giles-Parscale and the RNC. Our approach allows our clients, like the Trump campaign, to more efficiently spend their resources and better persuade and mobilize their advocates. Since data is the underpinning of every actionable insight that an organization would want to make, the applications of what we do are endless. With the Trump campaign, we assisted with everything from resource allocation for media buys, calculating the most efficient candidate travel stops, influencing the content in surrogate speeches, and personalizing messaging to the individual voter. SEE: Hiring kit: Data architect (Tech Pro Research) We learned that no two campaigns are alike and that there is no 'playbook' for the standard way to run a data, digital, or technology program on a campaign. Developing a custom program five months out from election day proved to have its unique challenges. Also, the style of President Trump as a candidate was far different from what we have seen with other candidates. This required us to changes some of our approaches to more quickly measure the attitudes of the electorate. Hindsight is always 20/20, but going back and doing it all over again I would have traded money for time. I say this on most campaigns that I work on, but a bit more maturity in a few of the programs we set up may have yielded even better results. Given the outcome of the election, we are more than happy with the result. At the end of the day, people are people. Convincing someone to show up and vote or donate for a political candidate is correlative with many issues businesses face everyday. Whether it be finding new customers, or improving brand loyalty, many of our techniques are suited to do just that. Regarding your tech, does the firm build tech in-house, acquire tech from startups and other companies, or a mixture? We acquire data in a number of ways - everything from commercial licensing, political exchange agreements, internal investment (R&D projects), and proprietary relationships with partner companies. We most certainly do build tech in house. We recently hired our CTO, Darren Bolding, who served as CTO of the RNC this past cycle. Darren and I manage, and are currently expanding, our in-house team of engineers to productize our offering a bit more. We aim to move more towards general automation of what we do in the form of a SaaS product. SEE: IT leader's guide to Agile development (Tech Pro Research) Big data is a huge business trend. What's your take on the current state of political big data? And what does the future look like? We don't consider ourselves a 'big data' company, we are a data analytics company. Many organization out there want to serve as the database of record for their clients. We aim to be the layer on top of that, which provides our clients with actionable insights - essentially acting as the brain behind the decision-making process. We've come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to be done on the side of automation. Campaigns move so quickly that often it's difficult to keep up. The more automation we can bring to the process outside of the campaign HQ will greatly increase our speed in delivering insights to the decision makers. Keep up to date on all of the latest in tech. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Best of the Week newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-03-19 00:00:00
The controversial data company's product lead spoke to TechRepublic to clarify the firm's role on the Trump campaign and outline a vision for the future of enterprise analytics.
Learn these 3 languages now if you want to become a data scientist
Looking to expand your skills in the tech realm? Demand for developers with data science skills is currently "very strong" among businesses, according to Shu Wu, director of Indeed Prime, with "tremendous growth" over the last four years for data scientist job postings. "Job outlook is strong and data science roles command a high average salary, but the competition is tough," Wu said. "A data scientist that is an expert at examining data is great, but someone who can make data digestible for the entire organization is pinnacle." Technology advances and the massive volumes of online data available are affecting every sector and have tremendous impacts on the economy, said Karen Panetta, IEEE fellow and dean of graduate engineering at Tufts University. This so-called "data avalanche" is not just about the sheer volume of data, but also the speed at which it changes and grows, and the diverse types of data available. "Knowing how to use a spreadsheet and a traditional database will not suffice in the emerging Big Data revolution," Panetta said. "Analyses need to be done in real-time, where decisions can be critical. Being able to simply know how to use the software tools is only part of this challenge. Understanding the data across disciplines, being able to communicate its meaning, and using statistics will be the differentiating factors from a traditional 'number cruncher.'" SEE: How to build a successful data scientist career (free PDF) In terms of learning a programming language that allows you to work with data, "the standard across the board for any language is to find something and do it," said Forrester analyst Mike Facemire. "The great thing about writing code is that doing it wrong is a great learning experience." Facemire recommends going to Github to see examples, and finding a data set that interests you and learning to analyze it. Ultimately, it's more important to understand how to solve a problem by breaking it down into smaller pieces than it is to know the language itself, Facemire said. "At the end of the day it's just a way to interface with a computer," he said. "The computer doesn't care which language you use, it cares more that you broke down your problem properly and solved it properly to get the proper outcome." Some educational institutions have created data science degree programs, including Northeastern University, Boston University, CUNY and Merrimack College. Some of these schools offer online courses, and lower-cost programs and seminars are available through the IEEE Computer Society, Panetta said. If you want to pursue a career in data science, you should consider learning one of the following three languages. 1. R R is a language and framework used for data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis, Panetta said. The language saw a large surge as data analysis and data science become more prevalent in the past couple years, Facemire said. It's popularity has since leveled off a bit, however. R has tooling that is built for data scientists, with extensions and plugins specifically for that purpose. "It is essential when learning a language like R that individuals understand the fundamental mathematical skills," Panetta said. "It would be disastrous if we just trusted the outputs of software without knowing what we were truly measuring and without understanding the data we were providing it as input." SEE: The 10 easiest programming languages to learn 2. Python Python is a general purpose language, which is already hardy, and includes tooling that can fit into environments that require visualizations that will appear in websites or on mobile, Facemire said. It is also more readable than R, he added. "If you're at the point in my career when you're thinking, 'I want to be a data scientist—which language should I learn?' I would look at both R and Python and see which makes sense to you," Facemire said. "Both are absolutely viable." Businesses usually don't prioritize one over the other in terms of required skills for data scientists, he added. 3. Java Java was recently ranked as one of the most favored and most versatile language to write in, according to a survey from WP Engine. It's another general-purpose programming language that is specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It can be used to build virtually anything, particularly scalable, multithreaded platforms, and has a strong user base. Java is also an interpreted language—unlike C and C++, Java doesn't require as much lower-level understanding of the hardware, Panetta said. That makes it easier for those studying in disciplines beyond computer science and engineering to learn it. Java is also the most in-demand coding language in terms of tech job postings, according to Indeed. Image: iStockphoto/scyther5 Keep up to date on all of the latest trends in big data. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Big Data Essentials newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-08-11 00:00:00
Demand for developers with data science skills continues to grow. Here's what you need to learn to break into a career in the field.
Feeling uninspired? 4 tips for gaining fresh perspective on leadership and innovation
For decades, workers from line level to management aspired to be experts in their particular niche. If you were an IT leader at an automotive parts company, you'd strive to learn every nuance of the industry, attending industry conferences, hiring outside industry experts, and perhaps occasionally visiting the customers that used your components as a way to gain an additional perspective. However, new competitors, new technologies, and companies that are willing to abandon the "rules of the road" are changing the game. Savvy leaders are finding inspiration outside the walls of their company, and apply techniques from seemingly unrelated industries to their companies. Taking inspiration from unlikely places has a twofold benefit. First, it can allow you to identify tools or techniques that haven't yet been applied to your industry. Secondly, it can reignite a passion for your company or even your career more broadly. If you're feeling that there's little left to learn or inspire, taking an outside perspective provides an entirely new world of knowledge to excite and inspire you. Here are some ideas for gaining an outside perspective. 1. Be a student of the world Too many adults have lost the joy with which children explore their worlds, constantly asking why and trying to determine how something works. As leaders, we can apply this zeal inside and outside our offices. Despite years at an organization, give yourself permission to explore why certain things are designed a certain way, and to look for how that process could be improved, modified, or abandoned. Similarly, let your curiosity roam outside work, when you're shopping, traveling, or engaging in a hobby. Good design, interesting processes, and innovation are all around us, and an intriguing customer experience at your favorite store might serve as inspiration for everything from an employee training application to a story that helps sell your next internal initiative. Next time you're stuck in line, waiting for a meal, or in a waiting room at a doctor's office, put your phone away and just observe. How are people interacting? What technologies are being used or disused? How are employees interacting with their customers? What's interesting or noteworthy about the physical space? You'll suddenly find that there's inspiration all around you. SEE: How to keep your staff motivated and engaged (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 2. Follow aspirational companies and industries Rather than looking solely to industry peers or your customer base for inspiration, identify a few companies or industries that have capabilities that you'd like to acquire. Recently many companies have begun focusing on customer experience, and seek inspiration from the retail industry, a relatively obvious example of looking outside your industry. There are also more nuanced examples. Perhaps your company sells plumbing supplies through a complex network of dealers and distributors. Automotive companies have long been faced with similarly complex distribution and dealership networks, yet must market directly to consumers, and may provide techniques and inspiration that haven't yet arrived in your industry. Apple has long been known for creating well-designed products, but they also run a world-class supply chain, with complex manufacturing and distribution relationships that could be relevant to any manufacturing company. Even business models can serve as an inspiration. Uber brought digital disintermediation to the masses, and being "The Uber of [insert industry]" has become a bit of a cliché, but it's still worth thinking through whether other business models could be applied to your company. Could you rent your products rather than selling them? Is there a physical product or a service offering that could augment what you currently sell? Could you serve as a middleman that allows entry into an otherwise expensive product? Other companies have proven that unconventional business models can be successful, so at the very least thinking through how these could apply to your industry will prepare you for potential competitors. 3. Ask better questions As leaders, we often fall into a default state of assuming our job is to provide answers. We're the men and women that are supposed to make decisions, provide guidance, and answer tough questions. These are important leadership skills, but increasingly, so is asking the right questions. The rapid pace of change increasingly means we as leaders simply cannot have a functional knowledge of every discipline that's required to compete effectively in today's market. A junior designer on our team might have a bit of knowledge that can help push the collective thinking forward, but will only offer that knowledge if you as a leader create an environment where he or she feels like they can contribute. Try to gain a sense of the perspectives each person on your team brings to the table. This is useful for two reasons. First, it allows you to call on specific people when you need expertise in a particular area. Secondly, it can help identify areas where your team is lacking. You may have a dozen technologists, but no one that can think through how to make employees more effective. Or, you might have a room full of great thinkers on customer experience, but no one that knows the capabilities and limitations of the tools required to deliver those experiences. SEE: 10 books every small business entrepreneur should read (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 4. Get out of your comfort zone Focusing only on your industry can be comfortable. You speak the same language, have the same concerns, and often move at a similar pace to industry peers and competitors. As a leader, you may have grown up in the industry, and are well-regarded as an expert in the space. It can be uncomfortable to spend time with someone who has never heard of you, and regards some aspect of your company as significantly lagging or even irrelevant. However, just as sitting in an "echo chamber" of like-minded individuals can adversely affect our personal lives and perspective on our fellow human beings, so, too, can safely remaining in your professional echo chamber. For more business and leadership tips, subscribe to our Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-04-24 00:00:00
The best leaders and thinkers take inspiration from outside their company, industry, and experience. Here's how to apply some of these techniques yourself.
Android bug causes text messages to show up in Google Search; here's how to fix it
An unusual Android bug found by a Reddit user is causing a lot of people to scratch their heads: When typing "" (note the extra dot) the poster found all of his recent text messages displayed through Google instead of the content he was searching for. Other Reddit users chimed in saying that they were getting the same results, with some even experiencing it when they performed a search for "Vizela viagens" (a travel agency in one Reddit user's home town), and the glitch also appeared with variant spellings too. Reddit users with a wide variety of Android devices said they were affected as well. Particularly interesting is one comment stating that if you type "my text messages" into the search bar you receive the same result. What this means for how Google may be caching text messages is unknown. Is it a security risk? Google has yet to issue a statement regarding the bug, and without some acknowledgement of the issue and its scope it's difficult to know if there is any real risk of data exposure. More likely is the possibility that the bug is connected to Google Assistant, as pointed out by an article on MSPoweruser: "upon testing, I found out that any Android device with Google Assistant has this issue. It isn't certain if this is a deliberate action by Google or just a weird glitch that [lets] Google access the messages stored on the device." SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research) Google Assistant has been able to read text messages aloud for some time, raising the distinct possibility that Google simply overlooked a few precise search terms that would generate the same result. Those concerned about the privacy and security of their text messages can protect themselves, and the process is easy. Open the Settings app, tap on the Apps option, and then revoke SMS permissions from the Google app. There's a good chance this isn't anything more than a simple bug, but taking precautions to protect your personal messages is good to do just in case. The big takeaways for tech leaders: Android users are reportedly finding their text messages in Google Search results when typing specific things like "" or "Vizela viagens." It's not known at this point if there is a security risk inherent in this glitch. It's more likely that this is a bug tied to Google Assistant's ability to read text messages aloud. If you're still concerned about device security you can disable Google's SMS permissions in the Android Settings app. Learn about the latest exploits and bugs by subscribing to our Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-14 00:00:00
Android users searching for very specific things found their text messages in Google Search results instead. Are business users at risk of having data compromised?
Securing smart factories: How Schneider Electric connects devices and prevents outages
TechRepublic's Dan Patterson spoke with Andrew Bennett, the SVP of IoT EcoStruxure at Schneider Electric about EcoStruxure's role in the Internet of Things. Watch the video, or read the full transcript of their conversation below: Patterson: The Internet of Things has a profoundly powerful impact on the digital transformation of almost every industry. Andrew, thank you very much for your time today. I wonder if we could start with first, what is EcoStruxure, and what role does the Internet of Things play? Bennett: Yeah, great, thank you, Dan. Schneider Electric of course, is a company that works with a lot of industrial clients, so you can think about us in industrial space and buildings, in the grid, and of course, what we do for places like data centers. And one of the things that we've been doing for a long time is thinking about connecting devices in those settings to enhance analytics. That's really kind of the core of what we do as a company. We take a very OT, operational technology perspective on that. And so EcoStruxure, EcoStruxure really is our set of architectures that allows us to think about all those connectable devices, and then edge control, how do you actually control those devices. A lot of our clients are running mission-critical operational technology, so this could be a nuclear power plant, or a petrochemical facility, or the grid. And so, edge control of those devices, actually having intelligence, not just embedded at the nodes but at the edge, is really important as they can't risk being disconnected from the internet. SEE: The Power of IoT and Big Data (Tech Pro Research) And then at the top of EcoStruxure, at the top of that stack, it starts with those connected devices and then edge control, really is where we build a lot of our software. So we build software for control, for analytics, of where we're starting to build out some of the AI and machine learning, and where we store a lot of that data of course, in the cloud, so that we start to do more sophisticated views of what's going on in those manufacturing sites, or petrochemical sties, or whatever they happen to be. And so that's, I would say at the crux of it, that's what EcoStruxure is. It's an architecture that allows all three of those layers to interoperate, and it's really designed to be completely open and interoperable, because while we think our customers should only buy Schneider Electric stuff, that is probably not realistic and so, we need to be very open in the way we work with other vendors as well. Patterson: I'm glad about the nuclear power plants, there are all types of industrial facilities that are adopting Internet of Things, but generally when I talk to people, even in business technology, they tend to think of IoT as a smart fridge or your Alexa. Can you give us an example of a device that might be IoT and deployed at large scale? Bennett: Yeah, for sure. I think, think about just a breaker. Just your electrical infrastructure, and really the most important thing, because it's pretty hard to run a manufacturing process or a plant without power. And so today, because of really our heritage and our legacy with power, and delivering clean reliable energy, everything starts with that electrical infrastructure. So at plants today we have customers that are connecting those assets. They want to know about their energy consumption. They of course want to reduce energy consumption 'cause that's good to the bottom line. It's also good from a sustainability perspective. So if you think about all that electrical infrastructure, then you can start to kind of work your way up the stack in terms of whether it's a motor that's running a conveyor belt, or part of your process. Whether it's a pump. These are all devices that historically were not all connected, right. They didn't historically see the need to necessarily connect those. Over time, more and more of those devices became connected, primarily so that those companies could control. So when we talk about OT, as juxtaposed to IT for a second, we're really talking about operational technology where a SCADA, which is the software for controlling that infrastructure, is actually opening and closing devices. It could be a breaker, it could be a pump, and what's happened over time is, of course that data is hugely valuable to start to think about broader trends. And so a lot of times we talk about this IT/OT convergence, which probably gets a little overplayed out there, but that's really those two worlds, right, where you're taking all these connected devices from an OT perspective, and starting to think about all the fantastic things you can do with IT from an AI, machine learning, and all the great things that are coming out there in the industry. Patterson: You said the magic words there. What role does automation and artificial intelligence play with this connected infrastructure? SEE: Green tech initiatives: Best practices and breakthroughs (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Bennett: Yeah, listen I think there's an endless set of applications in the IoT and industrial space of the Internet of Things. You know I also think we have to be careful, because I do think there's a tendency and I'm certainly guilty of it, of using a lot of the buzzwords and attracting folks to the pure machine learning side of the equation. But what we're observing with clients today, is first of all, a lot of them are still moving through that journey of actually connecting to those devices, right? Controlling those devices. So kind of the, I would say the ability to actually aggregate data. But what's happening over time for sure is, as you aggregate that data, as you can start to look at broader trends, you could start to bring in things like machine learning, and the thing that I think that we're seeing today that is the most pronounced, is that you still need quite a bit of human interaction when it comes to machine learning or AI. You need to identify patterns, and then you need to feed those back into machine learning so that you know what that pattern recognition looks like, and then you can start to take proactive measures, and so, just one example. You know a lot of outages or problems that happen in industrial setting, often start, you can actually look at things like partial discharge, or electrical partial discharge that happens in equipment. And if that happens over a long period of time, eventually that piece of equipment's probably going to fail. And so today, if you kind of looked at the signatures of what that looks like, a human being can look at that, you know we have thousands of electrical engineers in our company. Incredibly intelligent about what they do. You might not necessarily want to go out drinking with them but, they're a lot of fun too, to actually identify these problems. These guys can look at that, they can look at those signatures, they can instantly say, "You're going to have a problem here." Now to codify that, and actually take that and build AI around that, that process is, I would say we're in the early stages. So you saying this, this is what that pattern looks like, now you can feed that into an AI system, and you can start to create a set of patterns that you can look for, and then obviously do what we ultimately wanna do, which is not just predict, but avoid outages and equipment failures in an industrial setting. Patterson: Andrew, last question for you, what about the security? All of us adopting Internet of Things, see security as an integral component of the entire infrastructure. What role does cybersecurity and cyber defense play in adoption of IoT devices? Bennett: Yeah look, the software, the hardware that we deliver for our clients, you know we are working with folks that are driving mission critical OT out there in the industry. So that's the good news. The bad news is that those clients are always gonna be targets, you know really aggressive nation state type attacks, not just your run of the mill hacker. So for us, as a company, when you kind of go back to thinking about EcoStruxure and those three stacks, I think the important thing is to think, not just about how well hardened is that connected product, 'cause some of them aren't. They weren't historically, they were just maybe a thermometer, right, and so you wouldn't think about how you had to protect just a little device. But you have to think about cybersecurity comprehensively across that entire stack. Not just the products, not just the edge control, but the software layer at the top. So, for us as a company, that's really our approach to think about all three of those aspects of EcoStruxure, how we not just bring new devices and add new IO to that environment, but how we think about cybersecurity from the product design level all the way up to that top stack of software, so, it's a big challenge, and you know we take it pretty seriously as a company, as you can imagine. For more about IoT and other tech innovations, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-04-19 00:00:00
In the industrial IoT, factories and data centers face two main barriers: connectivity and poor electrical infrastructure.
How to develop a business case for your project
A business case is the first step in gaining approval for a project. Regardless of how small a project may seem, it is important to take the time to consider why the project is worthy of time and finding resources.. This may seem like an unnecessary and time-consuming step, but it can increase the chances of getting a project approved. What is a business case? In short, a business case is a comprehensive document created by the initiator of a project that details and justifies the business need for the project and why it should go ahead. The business case is reviewed by key decision makers who will determine if a project will be approved and allowed to proceed or denied. The following is a list of everything a business case should include. SEE: Quick glossary: Project management (Tech Pro Research) An executive summary This is a brief high-level description and summary of what is in the business plan. It makes it easy for executives and other key decision-makers to quickly understand what to expect in the document and is used to capture their interest. A statement of the problem or opportunity This section of the business case helps decision makers understand what the opportunity or issue is and why they should be interested in reading further about the proposed project. Projects are typically initiated to: Resolve a business problem Take advantage of an opportunity Deliver a product or service based on the request of a customer Address a legal, legislative, tax, security, or other type of governance requirement. An analysis of the problem or opportunity In this section, you should present your analysis of why the problem exists or how an opportunity came about. It should also identify any risks to the business or department if the project does not go ahead. Make sure to include facts as well as support for those facts that affirm the need behind the project proposal. A list of possible solutions The business case should identify the potential solutions. These should be clear and realistic. In this section, include not only the solution(s) but also information that describes how and why these are considered solutions. An analysis of costs vs. benefits To make an informed decision, executives need to know all-in costs as well as the benefits of a project to the business. They will also want to know the tangible and intangible costs to the organization if the project does not proceed. As with the problem and opportunity analysis section, make sure to include facts that support any claims or assumptions. SEE: IT project cost/benefit calculator (Tech Pro Research) Recommendations This is the section where you provide your recommendation regarding the solution you are proposing and why. Support your recommendation with facts and figures whenever possible. Also explain why this solution is better than other possibilities. The project proposal The project proposal section outlines key information about the actual project such as the scope, the timeline, the costs, and resources required to successfully execute the project. Business cases can differ in length and composition depending on the size, nature, or complexity of a project or organization. The key is to ensure that you have factored in at least these five things: Why a project is needed. What prompted the need for the project. What resources and funding are required. How the project will be implemented. What the final impact or benefit is to the organization. Once the business case is approved, the information from it will be transferred to another key project management document called the project charter where it will be expanded upon further. For more project management and leadership advice, subscribe to our Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-05-30 00:00:00
Before any project gets off the ground, you will need to be able to develop a sound business case to present to decision makers. Here's everything you need to know.
How to add Google Docs to the Windows 10 New section of the context menu
Image: iStock/bernardbodo In early 2018, I received an email from a TechRepublic member asking me to revise and update an article I wrote back in 2012. In Add Google Docs to the Windows 7 New menu (revised), I showed how to add various links to Google Docs to the New section of the Windows 7 context menu. It was a complicated hack of the Windows Registry and not something anyone should undertake lightly. Since receiving that email, we have been exploring other options users can take to add easy access to Google Docs to Microsoft Windows 10. The simplest and most efficient way is to add links to the Chrome jump list located on the Taskbar as explained in How to create new Google Docs using jump lists in the Microsoft Windows 10 taskbar. SEE: Comparison chart: Enterprise collaboration tools (Tech Pro Research) However, despite showing you an easier way, and despite the warnings, some of you will still want to use the method that involves hacking the Windows 10 Registry file. Here are the steps you can take to add links to the Windows context menu (Figure A) that will allow you to start a new Google Doc, Spreadsheet, Presentation, or Drawing. Figure A WARNING! This technique involves the edit of the Windows 10 Registry file. The Registry is vital to the operation of the Windows operating system. A corrupted Registry could render Windows inoperable and require a complete re-installation to repair. Backup the Registry and create a System Restore point before you attempt this technique. SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research) Editing the Registry The total amount of editing to be done to the Windows Registry with this technique is too great and too rife with the possibility of error to list in this article. Instead, to simplify the process, I have created a downloadable file that you can use to do the edit for you. Click the link below to download the file and then extract its contents into an empty folder. The file was originally created by HowToGeek for Windows 7 but has been modified to reflect changes made by Google over the years. That is the other major drawback of this technique, besides editing the Windows Registry, Google could change the links to create new documents at any time, which would break this hack and require another revision. Figure B The folder with the extracted files should look like Figure B. Copy the four icon files to the Windows folder so the system can find them. Next, run the AddGoogleDocsToNewMenu.reg file by double-clicking it. The system will warn you about editing the Registry file, click OK and let the edit take place. It may take a few seconds for the change to finish processing, but the next time you right-click on an empty spot on the Windows Desktop and navigate to the New menu item you should see four new entries, as shown in Figure C. Figure C Domain This edit is specific to the free version of the Google productivity suite. Subscribers often use Google Docs from within a domain structure. In this situation, the AddGoogleDocsToNewMenu.reg file must be changed to reflect the domain. Links to each type of document will have to be modified to look like this: Right-click on the AddGoogleDocsToNewMenu.reg file and open it with Notepad or some other text editor. Do not just double-click it or select Open—that will just run the file with the wrong links. Change the links of each section to reflect your domain and then save the file. Revert to normal If you want to remove the links from the New item list of the Windows context menu, double-click and run the other file located in the download called: UninstallGoogleNewMenu.reg. This file will eliminate the keys created by the other file and revert the New menu back to its default settings. SEE: How to create new Google Docs using jump lists in the Microsoft Windows 10 taskbar (TechRepublic) Be careful This technique should work for any version of Windows 10 and as long as Google maintains the current file reference system. However, it is the more dangerous option. Adding links to the Taskbar makes more sense, particularly in an enterprise environment, where IT departments frown severely on users editing the Windows Registry. Keep up with Microsoft news, product releases, and feature updates. Subscribe to TechRepublic's Microsoft Weekly Newsletter! Subscribe Also see: Your thoughts: Will you use this technique and edit the Windows Registry, or will you use jump lists and the Taskbar? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
2018-04-24 00:00:00
You can add links to start new Google Docs directly to the Windows 10 context menu by editing the Registry file. This article contains instructions, and a downloadable file, to make that easier.
Mary Meeker's 2018 internet trends report: 5 things business pros need to know
On Wednesday, KPCB partner Mary Meeker released her 2018 Internet Trends report—a 294-slide presentation examining the global impact of the internet on the economy, and how it is changing the daily lives of users. While the report is focused heavily on the consumer side of tech, there are some key trends that impact the business world. Technology companies represent 25% of the overall US market cap, and that number is growing, as noted on slide 39. Additionally, six of the top 15 CapEx and R&D spenders in the US are tech companies, the report found. As technology continues to impact the US and world economies, certain aspects of the field will be especially important for business professionals to keep up with. Here are five of the most important things in Meeker's report for professionals to take note of. SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research) 1. Internet is impacting, disrupting jobs Technology disruption is nothing new in the workplace, but the pace at which it is happening is accelerating, as noted on slide 142 of the report. The rapid adoption of the internet coupled with massive growth in storage and compute power is rapidly shifting day-to-day work in every industry. Technology also makes it easier for freelance workers to find jobs, and freelance work is growing at a faster pace than traditional work. On-demand workers are in high demand, and are growing in number. Immigration is also essential for creating new tech jobs, as 56% of the highest-valued tech firms were founded by first or second generation Americans, as noted on slide 289. 2. Consumers keep moving to mobile While this may sound like a broken record, customers keep moving to mobile, and they don't seem to be slowing down. Mobile shopping and mobile payment apps are providing better online and in-store experiences, and many services—including mobile app-based ones— are shifting from one-time purchases to subscription models. Mobile shopping apps alone have experience 6% year-over-year growth, the report noted. The next generation of retail includes mobile technology and in-store retail, furthering the omnichannel ideal some companies are striving for. 3. AI everywhere Artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are growing in prominence, brought to light by cloud leaders such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This includes hardware tools for GPU acceleration, and APIs for features such as natural language processing and computer vision. Based on a Morgan Stanley CIO survey cited in Meeker's report, AI isn't an enormous priority for increased spend, but it is "rapidly rising." Meeker quoted Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who said that "AI is one of the most important things that humanity is working on." The US and China are the two biggest players in AI right now, according to the report. 4. The privacy paradox One of the most poignant points that Meeker noted was the rise of the "privacy paradox," wherein internet giants are using personal data to make services better and cheaper, increasing both user engagement and regulatory scrutiny. Following the Cambridge Analytica controversy at Facebook and the advent of GDPR, companies have to walk a fine line between personalizing their products and services and remaining in good favor with consumers, watchdog groups, and regulators. Companies must understand the unintended consequences of their products, and regulators must understand the unintended consequences of regulations, Meeker said in the report. 5. Enterprise messaging improves productivity, collaboration Consumerization has reshaped what enterprises expect from their tech tools, with Dropbox and Slack being two of the best examples, Meeker noted in the report. One particular aspect of consumer products that is also exploding in the enterprise is messaging threads. These threads help organize information and the teams that need it, while also providing context and history, Meeker's report said. Tools like Slack can shorten the onboarding process, eliminate many email conversations, and help development teams get to market faster than before. Stay informed, click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-05-30 00:00:00
The annual report focused on topics like mobile payments, AI, and tech's impact on the economy
'Unpatchable' Nintendo Switch exploit is perfect example of the importance of firmware security
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways: An unpatchable flaw in Nvidia Tegra X1 SoCs makes it possible for an attacker to gain control over a device to run arbitrary code. The flaw applies to all Tegra X1 SoCs and can't be fixed—Tegra X1 bootROMs can't be patched once they leave the factory. A vulnerability in Nvidia Tegra X1 system on a chip (SoC) processors allows an attacker total control over the device at the bootROM level, and there's nothing Nvidia or Tegra X1 hardware manufacturers can do about it. The exploit, called Fusée Gelée by its discoverers Kate Temkin and ReSwitch, has already been used to install a custom ROM on a Nintendo Switch. Nintendo's tablet-like Switch runs on a Tegra X1, as do other Android tablets, making this vulnerability concerning to any manufacturer who builds systems on the X1, and even those building on other Tegra chips, Temkin said. The nature of the attack makes a software patch impossible, and Temkin recommends anyone with an affected device should move on to a new one when possible. Why Fusée Gelée is unpatchable The Fusée Gelée vulnerability requires gaining access to the Tegra X1's USB recovery mode, which has an inherent flaw that allows an improperly coded USB control request to overflow the bootROM's direct memory access (DMA) buffer. Several requests that can be sent to the bootROM are improperly coded: A proper request would only return the amount of bytes the handler has available, but some return however many bytes a host requests. That coding error allows a host to request up to 65,535 bytes, more than enough to overflow the DMA buffer. Once overflowed, an attacker can copy data into the protected application stack and execute any code they desire. The most obvious solution to Fusée Gelée would be to issue a software patch to fix the bootROM, but here's where a problem arises: bootROM patches on Tegra X1 chips are impossible once a chip leaves the factory. Ipatches, which are patches released at the factory during chip production, would be able to fix the flaw on X1 devices that haven't left the assembly line yet, but anyone who has a current Tegra X1 device is vulnerable to a Fusée Gelée exploit. An important warning about hardware and firmware security There are several lessons to be taken away from the Fusée Gelée exploit, and they apply to OEMs as well IT professionals. First off, manufacturers need to be sure that their hardware has been properly tested against all possible attacks. Fusée Gelée allows a device owner to hack their own hardware, which isn't a risk itself, but it could also allow an attacker to write code to remotely execute a similar attack. Firmware security is a critical part of device design that can easily be exploited—just look at Spectre and Meltdown. Had Intel been diligent in seeking out vulnerabilities, it might not be facing a vulnerability in nearly every single processor it ever created. SEE: IT leader's guide to reducing insider security threats (Tech Pro Research) For IT support staff and security professionals, Fusée Gelée paints a whole other set of complications: hardware security. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, hardware modification was necessary to force the device to boot into recovery mode. Doing so isn't complicated though: It just requires the bending of an exposed pin. It's not known what kind of hardware exploits may be necessary to force other Tegra X1 devices into recovery mode, but it's best not to find out and to implement good hardware security policies instead. Publicly accessible devices should be protected from tampering by putting them in locked cases or in secure mounts. From a security perspective, Tegra X1 devices should be closely monitored to make sure they aren't on a business network while in a modified state. While the risk of problems from a rooted device is minimal, they still open up possible attack avenues that may not be expected. Get the latest security news by subscribing to our Cybersecurity Insider newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-04-24 00:00:00
The exploit, which affects all Nvidia Tegra X1 systems, allows arbitrary code execution at the bootROM level.
How to find and interview nontraditional tech job candidates: Tips for managers
The tech talent shortage is requiring many companies to think outside the box when it comes to finding employees to fill tech roles. This means looking beyond standard computer science graduates and expanding your search pool to include some nontraditional candidates, including those for whom tech is a second career, those with disabilities, and those from a variety of unrelated backgrounds. "There are more positions open seeking computer science degrees than there are computer science degree graduates right now," said Blake Angove, director of technology services at LaSalle Network. "So if you want to get your position filled in a timely manner and get the work done, you have to look at more nontraditional degrees." Often, other degrees include skills that can relate to IT roles, Angove said. For example, LaSalle Network recently placed an IT project manager with a history degree at a company. "They had strong writing skills, they had analytical skills, so those relate well to a project management position," he said. "So even though it's a technical role, the person is doing well on the job." Here are some tips for finding and interviewing candidates who could make a difference at your company. SEE: Interviewing guidelines policy (Tech Pro Research) Revamping job postings Finding a candidate who can do the job often means rewriting job descriptions, said Mel Hennigan, talent expertise panelist for the Society for Human Resource Management. "When you start to reverse engineer the position and you can base the requirements on what outcomes you need to achieve, you start to realize you can broaden your pool," Hennigan said. "You no longer have to say, 'You must have this degree to qualify for this position.' Instead, it's 'You must meet these objectives,' and that opens the spectrum up a lot." Many companies require a bachelor's degree for every position, even administrative ones, Hennigan said. "You should really break it down into what tasks have to be performed in order to achieve success, and then let the best candidate win based on their skills and abilities rather than on their credentials," she added. For positions such as programmers, it's easy to set up an online test that allows you to objectively judge whether or not they have the abilities to complete the job. "A recruiter no longer has to pick up the phone for the initial screen, when a recruiting tool can provide the candidate with a set of questions that will help qualify them or disqualify them, and it can do so based on their actual abilities rather than their credentials," Hennigan said. Budgeting for training to catch nontraditional employees up to speed will also allow you to make faster hires, and eventually make your company more competitive, Angove said. "We're finding companies that are fortunate enough to have that budget to provide training or certification are loosening up some of the specific technical requirements and ramping the people up," he added. Building a mentor program is also a successful and cost-effective way to help new employees learn more tech skills, Angove said. Identifying skills, not degrees Candidates build skills in many ways, all of which should be taken into consideration, said Kelli Jordan, IBM's talent leader for New Collar Initiatives. "They can build it in a four-year degree program. They can build it in a computer science program at a community college, or in a boot camp," she said. "What we like to focus on is that application of the skill, and a lot of that does come out in the interview process." IBM performs skills assessments for job candidates, regardless of their background. For example, when interviewing for a software development role, interviewers give candidates a coding exercise, examine their GitHub repository, and talk to them about the code they wrote. SEE: How CXOs can develop a diverse workforce (Tech Pro Research) The interview process for all job candidates includes behavioral questions about what a candidate has done previously, such as "Tell me about a situation where you had to evaluate competing priorities." It also includes situational questions, which tend to work well for candidates with minimal experience, Jordan said. These are questions such as, "Walk me through how you might handle an upset client." "That's going to help you to understand that candidate's thought process and their potential future behaviors, and together, they help you build a really good picture," Jordan said. It's key to listen for a nontraditional candidate's intent, Jordan said. This person may have some great examples of how they have handled a situation in the past, but they may have applied that knowledge in a different way or setting. "Focus on the skill and the application of what they've done versus where they did it," she added. Making interview accommodations To attract more diverse candidates, Microsoft undertook a number of inclusivity measures in recent years, including reworking job descriptions and training managers on interviewing nontraditional candidates, according to Neil Barnett, the company's director of inclusive hiring. About two and a half years ago, Microsoft created an autism hiring program. Some 50 employees have been hired through the program, Barnett said. About half of those employees had applied to jobs at Microsoft previously, he added. But now, "we train managers and teams ahead of time on neurodiversity and disability etiquette," Barnett said. "We believe that by demystifying and breaking down the stereotypes of disabilities, we can help eliminate any unconscious biases that recruiters, hiring managers and teams might have before they interview a candidate." Microsoft also trains hiring managers to offer job candidates the opportunity to ask and receive customizations for the interview. This might include performing a technical interview on their own familiar device, spacing more time between multiple interviews, or lengthening the time of each interview—which might allow someone with ADHD or a cognitive disability adequate time to think and respond to questions. "Managers found that offering customizations have made all interviews more successful," Barnett said. "Asking candidates what they need to have the most inclusive interview experience will pay off in finding untapped talent." Image: iStockphoto/Wand_Prapan Keep up to date on all of the latest leadership news. Click here to subscribe to the TechRepublic Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-12-08 00:00:00
The tech talent shortage may require your company to find job candidates who lack a traditional computer science degree. Here's how to overcome that barrier and find your next top performer.
How to install Android's Via Browser and why you should use it
Image: Jack Wallen Ah the ubiquitous web browser. What would we do without one? Not much, that's for sure. No matter if you're seated at your desk or roaming about with mobile in hand, you depend upon a web browser. But which browser? That's the key. There are browsers for every type of user, especially in the mobile landscape. Most users, however, simply live with the default. On Android, that's Chrome. What would you say if I told you there were better options? There's Firefox, Opera, Puffin, Dolphin, Naked Browser, Orfox, Ghostery, and so many more. But one particular mobile browser tends to fall through the cracks. That browser is Via Browser, and it is certainly worth your time. Via Browser is a lightweight, fast, customizable, mini browser that doesn't feel like a "mini" browser at all. In fact, outside of the fast speeds, Via contains enough features to make it feel like its full-blown brothers and sisters. Via is also really stable, with a developer that actively works to fix bugs and add new features. Let's install Via Browser on Android and see if it might make you want to switch from your default. Installation The installation of Via Browser is quite simple. Here are the necessary steps: Open the Google Play Store on your Android device Search for Via Browser Locate and tap the entry by Lakor Tap Install Allow the installation to complete That's all there is to the installation. At this point, you should see an icon for Via on the home screen or the App Drawer (or both). Tap to launch the browser. Permissions Out of the gate, you'll be warned about the necessary permissions. The developer has done a great job of explaining these permissions (so users won't grow paranoid that the browser is spying on them in any way - Figure A). Figure A Dismiss this warning and then okay the necessary permissions (Storage and Location). Usage Using Via Browser is incredibly intuitive. From the homepage (Figure B) tap the search bar and either type a search string or a URL. If you type a search string, the results will appear in a Google search. If you type a URL, guess what? The site in question will appear. Simple. Figure B If you don't want Google as your search provider, you can tap the Menu button (three horizontal bar icon in the bottom right of the Via homepage) and tap Settings. Tap General and scroll down until you see Search Engine. Tap Search Engine and select from the available options (Figure C). Figure C One option I like with the default Chrome browser is the pull down to refresh gesture. Fortunately, Via includes this—only it's not enabled by default. To enable this option, go to Settings | General | Operation. In this screen (Figure D), tap to enable the Pull to Refresh Gesture. Figure D Privacy Out of the box, Via Browser has Do Not Track and Block Ads enabled and Location Access disabled. There is also an included Incognito Mode, for use when you want to leave nothing to chance. To get to the Incognito Mode, tap the Menu button and then tap Incognito Mode (Figure E). Figure E Tabs I have to admit, I really like how the Via Browser handles tabs. At the bottom of the window, you'll see a small square with a number. That number is now many tabs you have open. Tap that square to reveal a popup that allows you to quickly access any of those open tabs (Figure F). Figure F Closing an open tab is just a matter of tapping its associated X. Why I use Via Browser Of all the mobile web browsers I've used, Via offers the best ratio of speed, options, and simplicity. Are there better browsers? Sure. On the desktop, Firefox is my go-to, but not so much on my mobile devices. When I'm on the go, I need fast, simple, and lightweight. That's Via Browser to a tee. If you've yet to find that perfect mobile browser, I highly suggest you give Via a try and see if it doesn't wind up your default. Automatically sign up for TechRepublic's Mobile Enterprise Newsletter for more news and tips. Subscribe Also See
2017-01-03 00:00:00
Ever heard of the Android browser Via? Probably not. This simple and speedy browser makes navigating the mobile web easy while on the go.
Free PDF download: Tech and the Future of Transportation
Autonomous transportation has been a subject of science fiction for decades, but it's quickly becoming reality, with companies such as Ford and Domino's Pizza being some of the latest to get into the action in interesting new ways. This month's special report from ZDNet and TechRepublic, Tech and the Future of Transportation, looks at how the rise of autonomous transportation will affect businesses and employees. You can download all of the stories as a free PDF ebook (free registration required). There are many obstacles to overcome before autonomous vehicles go mainstream, and writer Conner Forrest examined those, including liability in case of accidents, insurance coverage, and fear caused by high-profile mishaps. Diving further into the safety issue, writer Teena Maddox reported on the ability of autonomous vehicles to save lives by eliminating accidents caused by human error. Looking at the current business landscape, writer Alison DeNisco reported on research that named the 10 leading companies in the autonomous vehicle space. Some relatively unknown companies made the list, and some of the usual suspects like Tesla, Uber, and Apple were absent. TechRepublic's global editor in chief Jason Hiner delved into the massive disruptions that could be unleashed by hyperloop. This feature also contains original research from Tech Pro Research, a joint venture from ZDNet and TechRepublic. That report details predictions from 289 professionals about how autonomous transportation will affect their industries, companies, and personal lives. To read these articles and more, download the full PDF report, Tech and the Future of Transportation. For more about autonomous transportation and other innovations, subscribe to our Next Big Thing newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2018-02-02 00:00:00
This special report from ZDNet and TechRepublic examines the future of transportation and its impact on commuters, deliveries, and businesses. Download the entire report as a free PDF ebook.
How to use the Windows Tags property to manage Office files
Sometimes you don't know you need a feature until you discover it and put it to use for a bit. Then you wonder how you ever got your work done without it! That's how you might feel about Windows Tags. Yes, it's a Windows feature, but you can use Tags to manage Office files—and other file types as well. Whether you work alone or share files via a server or even OneDrive for Business, you can benefit from Tags. In this article, I'll show you how to add Tags to Office and non-Office files and how to search using those Tags. I'm working with Office 2016 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system. The Windows Tags property is available in older versions, back to Windows Vista. In Office, they've been available since at least Office 2007 (but maybe longer). There's no downloadable demonstration file. You won't need one. What are Tags? Don't confuse Office Smart Tags and Windows Tags; they aren't the same thing. Windows Tags are keywords used for organizing (searching) files. How you use them will depend on your needs, but anytime you're working with bulk files or sharing files for the same purpose, Tags can help. Don't limit their use to simply describing the file's contents, either. You can use Tags to describe how you use the file. For instance, you might use terms such as complete and not complete to describe status. Or you might use the term upload to group files you need to upload to an external service such as OneDrive. Add a tag to an Office file Tags are a Windows file property, but you can add them when saving an Office file. During the save process, you'll see an Options link. It's quite possible that you've never explored this link before. Let's take a look: With any Office file open, click the File tab and choose Save As in the left pane. Below the Filename and Location controls, click the More Options link (Figure A). In the bottom-right corner of the resulting dialog, look for the Tags control (Figure B). Click the Add A Tag Link and supply a keyword (Figure C). To add more than one, separate the keywords with a semicolon. Once you add a Tags keyword, Office will display it in an AutoComplete list when you tag subsequent files, making it easier to use Tags consistently. Click Save and continue as you normally would. Figure A Click the More Options link. Figure B Click the Tags control and start entering keywords. Figure C Separate keywords with a semicolon. You can add Tags to all your Office files this way. Although I showed you only one, you might have several files that warrant a plant sale or 2018 keyword. Following our example, you have a plant list in Excel, but you might also have a vendor contract in Word and several graphic files you're using in different publicity venues. Searching Now let's use File Explorer to find all your plant sale files. You could run a quick search on your local drive using any number of search strings: plant list, contract, and so on. If you use this route, you know that a search can take a while and it often turns up a lot of files you're not looking for. As you can see in Figure D, what you might expect to be a simple search for your Word contract is anything but. A similar search on 2018 could return similar or even worse results. Figure D A search on contract returns a lot of files. Okay, I confess: The above search is unnecessarily complicated—I did that on purpose. If you see a lot of files you can't identify, check the Advanced Options dropdown and make sure System Files is unchecked (unless you're looking for system files). Doing so will improve most search tasks, with or without Tags. However, thanks to Tags, you don't have to second guess, remember every related file you've generated or updated, or wade through busy search results. Even if the search includes system files (as above), you won't see a lot of unexpected files. You'll see only the files you've tagged accordingly. To pinpoint just the files you want to see related to your plant sale, open File Explorer and click This PC (or a folder, a server drive, or OneDrive). Enter a search string in the following form: Tags: search string As you can see in Figure E, the search on Tags: plant sale matches only two files: the plant list in Excel and the vendor contract in Word. If you know where the files are, you can run a quicker search by selecting that folder before executing the search. If you're like me, some folders contain a lot of files and a Tags search is often easier and quicker than a normal alphabetical list. Figure E Using the plant sale Tags keyword reduces the number of files returned. Not all formats are equal Not all software allows you to add Tags when saving a file, but that's not a problem. You can use File Explorer to add Tags: Open File Explorer and select the file you want to tag. On the View tab, click Details in the Panes group to open the Details pane. Enter the appropriate Tags (Figure F). Click Save. Figure F Enter your Tags. Now when you run the same search, Tags: plant sale, File Explorer returns the first two files and the .jpg, as shown in Figure G. Figure G This time, the search found three tagged files. Using File Explorer, you can sort and group a folder's contents using Tags. Simply click the View tab and choose Tags from the Sort By or Group By dropdown. Or right-click the background and choose Tags from the Sort By or Group By options. In addition, you can filter for Tags. As Figure H shows, you can filter for specific Tags if you're using the Details view. This is great when you know all your files are in the same folder. Figure H You can also filter by Tags. Using File Explorer, you can add Tags to several files at the same time. Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting files to create a multi-file selection. Then, add Tags as you normally would. If you add a file to the selection that doesn't allow tagging, the Tags control won't be accessible for any of the files, so be careful. Only as good... Tags, or keywords, are only as good as the people adding them. If you work alone, this is easy. If you're trying to corral files for an organization, it's much harder. Everyone may not be on the same page, so searches will be incomplete at best. That might be one reason they're not more popular. Even using File Explorer, you can't add Tags to every file type. For instance, you can't tag a .txt file. In addition, you can use any of the properties via the Details pane in the same way. For instance, for Content status, you might enter Incomplete and Complete. To search, you'd use the string Contentstatus: Complete. You can also use wildcards. To see all tagged files, you'd enter Tags: -[]. That means that where Tags isn't null. As you can see, there's a lot to explore! Get more great Office tips and tricks delivered to your inbox. Sign up for TechRepublic's Microsoft Weekly newsletter. Subscribe Send me your question about Office I answer readers' questions when I can, but there's no guarantee. Don't send files unless requested; initial requests for help that arrive with attached files will be deleted unread. You can send screenshots of your data to help clarify your question. When contacting me, be as specific as possible. For example, "Please troubleshoot my workbook and fix what's wrong" probably won't get a response, but "Can you tell me why this formula isn't returning the expected results?" might. Please mention the app and version that you're using. I'm not reimbursed by TechRepublic for my time or expertise when helping readers, nor do I ask for a fee from readers I help. You can contact me at Also read...
2018-02-02 00:00:00
Searching, grouping, and even filtering files is easier if you know how to use the Windows Tags property.
How to work with a personal coach to improve your leadership skills
Often, individuals begin their management careers by being thrust into management roles after they demonstrate outstanding operational performance. Unfortunately, few companies prepare these new managers for management responsibilities. Worse yet, a crisis in leadership can become a personal trauma. "I hate my job," said a manager-colleague last week as we were having coffee. "All I ever wanted to do was develop software, and now my company's asking me to manage it." There are many individual like this in tech. Entrepreneurs innovate new products and then just as zealously set out to find a CEO or COO to run their companies. In other cases, individuals who are managing really do want to become the great managers that their companies expect them to be—but they are afraid of failing. SEE: How to manage job stress: An IT leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic) If you're operating in a management capacity, but find yourself needing coaching and mentoring, you may want to consider engaging a personal coach. Here are a few tips for doing so: Know what you are looking for One of the reasons managers pursue career and personal coaching is that they feel something is missing from their management styles and techniques, but they don't know what. A personal management coach can help you identify shortcomings in your management style and how to address them—but it's still good to have some idea of what your shortfalls might be before you engage an outside coach to help you. Having an idea of what you think the problems are is a great way to starting the conversation. Seek measurable and results-oriented coaching Manager coaching shouldn't be used just to make you feel better about your job — it should be intended to actually improve your performance and effectiveness. If your coach doesn't have a results-oriented methodology for coaching you, you will want look at other options. One of the more established management coaching methods is goals-reality-options-will, or GROW. GROW was first developed in the UK in the 1980s. In the process, the person being coached develops goals that they would like to attain, and identifies the obstacles that have prevented attainment. In step two, the person and coach look at the realities of the situation. In step three, the person works with a coach to discover options, such as what would happen if the obstacles didn't exist, or what else they could do, and in step four a specific goal attainment plan with timelines is developed. Pursue your coaching in a trusted environment I once worked alongside a vice president colleague who told me she asked the CEO for assertiveness training. She had many great ideas, was frequently drowned out in meetings, and it was beneficial for her and the company that she get the training. Unfortunately, she also ended up reinforcing her boss' opinions of her non-assertiveness by asking for the training. If you are in a situation like this, it might be more advantageous for you to invest on your own in a career coach. SEE: How to build a successful CIO career (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Final remarks Management consultant Peter Drucker once said, "Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing." To get there, managers pursue coaching in areas that range from developing self-confidence in meetings and in interactions with others, to learning how to better balance their personal and professional lives. By engaging with a personal coach, managers can attain better results—and that's good news for companies and employees, too. For more business and leadership advice, subscribe to our Executive Briefing newsletter. Subscribe Also see:
2018-05-30 00:00:00
Business leaders are often looked to for coaching and mentoring, but sometimes they're the ones who need it. That's where coaching can come in handy.
Size of a Raspberry Pi, power of a MacBook: The Window 10-powered LattePanda Alpha
If you're after a computer close to the size of the tiny Raspberry Pi but approaching the power of the MacBook, then you may want to check out the LattePanda Alpha. However, it's worth noting the LattePanda Alpha is not a Pi competitor. While the Pi costs just $35, the LattePanda Alpha starts at $289. The difference is reflected in the specs, with the LattePanda Alpha having more in common with a laptop than a low-cost board like the Pi. The LattePanda Alpha uses the same class of Intel processor as found in this year's 12-inch MacBook, a 7th generation, Intel Core m3. Backing up this processor is 8GB of DDR3 memory and 64GB Flash storage, alongside Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, 4K video out. While the board's makers DFRobot say the Alpha will ship with Windows 10 Pro, they add it will also be compatible with a range of Linux-based OSes. The board—which is about 70% the length of the iPhone 7 Plus—is designed to be used to be used by developers working in a wide range of fields, from robotics to internet of things, and as such has the necessary electronics for adding a wide-range of custom hardware to the board. SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi The Alpha has 2 x 50-Pin headers for hooking up hardware, as well as an Arduino Leonardo co-processor. Alongside the Alpha, the board's makers will also release a version of the board without the eMMC storage for $269, as well as the lower-specced LattePanda Delta, which starts at $129. The Delta runs on an Intel Celeron N4100 processor, has 4GB of RAM but still keeps many of the advantages of the Alpha board, such as 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 3 x USB 3.0 ports. Both boards are being crowdfunded via Kickstarter, and as of publication have passed their £72,611 funding target, with just shy of £97,000 raised with 56 days left to go. DFRobot estimate that the boards, which are also available with a 7-inch touchscreen display, will ship in May next year. It is not the first Windows 10-based, developer board released by the company, with an earlier machine selling for around $120. That initial board was again higher specced and priced than the Pi, but also attracted some reports that the board overheated without additional cooling, resulting in the processor being throttled to a slower speed. Image: DFRobot Image: DFRobot Automatically sign up for TechRepublic's Open Source Weekly Newsletter for more hot tips and tricks. Subscribe Read more about the Raspberry Pi
2017-12-11 00:00:00
The LattePanda Alpha has more in common with a laptop than low-cost board like the Pi.
Storage survey aims to shed light on reading data in 100 years
A decade ago, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) conducted a 250-person survey to gather information about how companies might read data from 2007 when the year 2107 arrives, but it's become so obsolete that the words flash and cloud aren't even found in the 66-page concluding report (PDF). If at first you don't succeed, try again, SNIA officials determined. "It took us quite a while to put the first survey together 10 years ago. We got a lot of good information from it," said Thomas Rivera, chairman of the SNIA data protection committee. "We realized that as time went on there's been a lot of changing in the industry, not just in storage itself but also in a lot of the technology and regulations regarding storage and archiving." SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy (Tech Pro Research) SNIA has many updates in the 2017 edition of its survey—there are 50 questions about business drivers, data sources, organization goals, policies, preservation, privacy, security, and storage. They hope to double the amount of respondents and include archivists, record managers, and technologists (the 2007 edition focused on technology managers). Also, there's a strong emphasis on leaving the storage questions open ended and not mentioning specific brands, so that a vendor cannot easily rig results, Rivera said. There are already storage companies today that claim 100-year reliability based on laboratory endurance tests, Rivera noted, though he acknowledged that such claims are impossible to truly prove short of owning a DeLorean equipped with a flux capacitor. SEE: The cloud v. data center decision, free PDF (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report) Some of the unique questions from the current survey are: What is your organization doing to deal with media migration and long term readability issues? (Migration means periodically moving information to new media to assure readability. Readability refers to both physical and logical readability—is the information in a format that your applications can read and interpret?) Which applications produce information that is of highest concern in maintaining long term readability of information? (Readability implies the ability to read the physical media and to logically interpret and use the content in an application context.) Do you audit/verify the integrity of data stored by a managed service provider or cloud? Yes/No? How? Do long-term archives necessitate the use of specialized security technologies and/or services that differ from normal storage infrastructure? If yes, what are they? SNIA hopes to publish results in the first half of 2018. Rivera added that future surveys may be even more frequent than every 10 years based on technology changes. Looking forward, he observed, the next edition could include questions about DNA storage, persistent memory, and quantum computing. Keep up with news about data centers, enterprise storage, and networking—subscribe to our Data Center Trends newsletter. Subscribe Also see
2017-09-22 00:00:00
Answers from the Storage Networking Industry Association's 2007 survey are already largely obsolete. The SNIA's 2017 survey focuses on storage, policies, security, and more.
The werewolf family of Nepal
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-02-15 12:05:59
In the hope of relief, the Budhathoki family travelled from their remote village in the mountainous Dolkha District in north Nepal to undergo laser treatment near the capital of Kathmandu.
Transgender College Principal Manabi Resigns After 'Non-Cooperation' From Staff
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 14:38:00
India's first transgender college principal Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay has submitted her resignation after about one-and-a-half years in office, expressing frustration at "non-cooperation" of a section of teachers and students of her institution.
জেনের সঙ্গে আলাপ‚প্রেম থেকে বিয়ে – অকপট প্রীতি জিন্টা
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-02-15 12:38:18
It was a mystery and shocking to see Preity tying the knot suddenly as few people knew that she is dating Gene.
Shame on us ! What is this?
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-02-14 16:29:20
The circular stated that since Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged on February 14, schools should pay tribute to three martyrs.Later they withdrew the circular after much embarrassment.
Yogeeta Bali Wanted To Commit Suicide Because Of Mithun Chakraborty
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-08-11 15:17:26
Yogeeta Bali, wife of Mithun Chakraborty wanted to commit suicide as her then husband was having an affair with heroine Sridevi.
সোশ্যাল মিডিয়ায় ছবি দিয়ে কি বয়ফ্রেন্ডের কথাই সবাইকে জানাতে চাইছেন সোনম?
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 18:36:12
There have been rumours that they might get hitched in 2017, but the Neerja actor has always kept mum on this topic
Cricketer Mohammad Kaif Trolled On Social Media For Doing Surya Namaskar
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 13:27:26
Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif became the latest target of Twitter trolls after he posted photos of himself doing the Surya Namaskar.
Sara & Ibrahim are very excited on the birth of their half-brother Taimur
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 15:11:47
Saifeena's close friends revealed that Ibrahim and Sara were “very excited”
প্রাক্তন প্রেমিকা প্রিয়াঙ্কাকে মেরে ফেলতে চান শাহিদ!!
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 14:23:27
The Kill Marry Hookup sequence on Koffee With Karan rapid fire round always puts the celebs in a tongue-tied situation.
In a befitting reply to his detractors Mohammed Shami posted a photo on Twitter
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-01-02 12:37:13
In a befitting reply to his detractors Mohammed Shami posted a photo on Twitter
সাগর, আই লাভ ইউ
০ = 0, ১ = 1, ২ = 2, ৩ = 3, ৪ = 4, ৫ = 5, ৬ = 6, ৭ = 7, ৮ = 8, ৯ = 9 ্ = See example (Hasant/Viram) ় = * (Nukta) ʼ = ' (Urdhacomma) ঽ = & (Avagrah) ৺ = ~ (Isshar) ৹ = a~ (Bengali ana sign) ৲ = Rs~ (Bengali Rupee sign) ৳ = T~ (Taka sign) । = | (Devanagari danda) ॥ = || (Devanagari double danda) ₹ = Rs (Indian Rupee sign) 卐 = +~ (Swastika sign) Zero Width Joiner = ^ Zero Width Non Joiner = ^^ These symbols will type Bengali characters first but if "~" will be followed, it will remove previously typed Bengali character and then type the symbol. Symbols & ~ * : ^ | ' have special meaning. You can type this way & = &~ ~ = ~~ * = *~ : = :~ ^ = ^~ | = |~ ' = '~ The English symbols [ ] { } ( ) < > - + / = ; . , " ? ! % \ _ $ @ # translate into the same symbols. Example নমস্কার can be written by typing "namaskaar" As per Rule # 3, ligature will be rendered. ZWJ and ZWNJ characters are used to produce alternate rendering of ligature. A consonant followed by ZWJ character will produce half-formed consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‍ন = prash^n A consonant followed by ZWNJ character will produce dead consonant character. Example প্রশ্ন = prashn প্রশ্‌ন = prash^^n If two english characters are making one Bengali Vowel (i.e. ai, au), then ZWJ character is used to separate them into two different vowels. It will not add ZWJ character but only considered as the separator between two vowels.
2017-04-14 16:26:57
The novel by eminent Bengali writer Prachet Gupta revolves around his legendary character Sagar, the unusual dreamcatcher.
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