Computer & Internet

computerworld.comThis company hires a recent college IT graduate, promising him that he'll be working on a project with some of the latest and greatest technology, says a pilot fish on the inside."But when he actually started, that project got put on hold -- and kept getting delayed," fish says."Since they didn't want him just sitting around reading technical articles, they put him on a mainframe project. But though he had taken a Cobol class early in his college career, he had no real work experience with it."Not surprisingly, he also has zero experience with the kinds of data-handling arcana involved in legacy mainframe applications, such as RECFM=VB and VSAM. He doesn't even have basic mainframe skills like knowing JCL and TSO/ISPF.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comCryptoLocker. WannaCry. Petya. Bad Rabbit. The ransomware threat isn’t going away anytime soon; the news brings constant reports of new waves of this pernicious type of malware washing across the world. It’s popular in large part because of the immediate financial payoff for attackers: It works by encrypting the files on your hard disk, then demands that you pay a ransom, frequently in Bitcoins, to decrypt them.To read this article in full, please click here(Insider Story)...

computerworld.comOne of the curious constructions of the Internet is the term identity provider. You don’t need anyone to provide you with an identity, of course. You have an innate one by virtue of being human. Rather, so-called identity providers, or IDPs, provide you with an identifier, a means of recording attributes important to that provider, and some method of proving it’s you – usually a password.This is not surprising since online identity has traditionally been viewed through the lens of an organization and its needs, not the individual and his or her needs. Identity systems are created to administer identifiers and attributes within a specific domain. The result: people end up with hundreds of online personas at hundreds of organizations. Each of these administrative identity systems is proprietary and owned by the organization that provides it; you really don’t have an online identity that’s independent of these many systems. Got a new address, or an updated...

computerworld.comCan you recall way back when people predicted Apple would introduce true wireless charging with tech from a firm called Energous? Such hopes seemed dashed when the company’s new iPhones launched with Qi wired wireless charging, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those plans have been shelved because …To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comMicrosoft last week took the unprecedented step of requiring customers to have up-to-date antivirus software on their personal computers before it would hand over a critical security update."This was unique," said Chris Goettl, product manager with client security and management vendor Ivanti. "But there was a danger here."Goettl was talking about the emergency updates Microsoft issued last week to bolster Windows' defenses against potential attacks leveraging the vulnerabilities labeled Meltdown and Spectre by researchers. Operating system and browser makers have shipped updates designed to harden systems against the vulnerabilities, which stemmed from design flaws in modern processors from companies such as Intel, AMD and ARM.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comThe PowerDrive 2 Elite from Anker is super compact, and can simultaneously charge 2 devices with the fastest possible charge of up to 2.4 amps per port. A soft blue LED light makes it easier to navigate in the dark. 10 safety mechanisms are built in to protect your devices from surge and temperature fluctuations, and an 18-month warranty is included for additional peace of mind.We haven't personally reviewed this model, but our PCWorld team recently test drove the beefier PowerDrive Speed 2 model and found that it delivered on its promises (See: "Anker PowerDrive Speed 2 car charger review: Anker lights the way").To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comWelcome to another banner Patch Tuesday. Microsoft yesterday released 56 separately identified security patches for every supported version of Windows, Office, .Net, Internet Explorer and Edge. Out of that monstrous pile, only one patch cures a currently exploited problem — a flaw in Word’s Equation Editor that should have been fixed in November.If you’re a “normal” user, your first priority shouldn’t be Microsoft’s patches, notwithstanding the fabulous PR job performed on Meltdown and Spectre’s behalf. Assuming you don’t open random Word docs with dicey embedded equations, your main concern right now should be getting your antivirus house in order.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comThe growing rivalry between Amazon and Google in the battle for virtual assistant dominance intensified at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.While both have a strong claim as front runners – with Amazon arguably leading the charge at this stage – it’s clear that Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are lagging. Case in point: Several major PC makers launched Windows 10 hardware and trumpeted Alexa support as a major selling point. (Cortana will, of course, also be available since it’s built into Windows 10, but it is the arrival of Alexa that was a key selling pitch. [ More info: How to really customize your Alexa Flash Briefing ] The Windows 10 devices launched this week with Alexa built include HP’s small form-factor Pavilion Wave PC; Acer’s Aspire; Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks; Asus’ 2018 ZenBook and VivoBook laptops; and Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon and Yoga devices.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comNetworking pilot fish is sent to do some work at a remote customer site. "It's my first time there, and the visit is an eye-opener," reports fish. "The location turns out to be a janitor's utility closet in a small building that's been converted to house the network equipment and a couple of important servers."Cable runs from naked holes in the wall, in undifferentiated bundles held up by tie-wraps attached to drop-ceiling crossbeams. The room isn't temperature controlled, and the servers are sitting on shelves that line the walls."Fish swallows his misgivings and starts looking for the switch he's supposed to work on. He finds it under a bundle of cable, covered in plaster dust and old spider webs. Dusting it off, he starts in on it.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comIt can be a challenge to create presentations that are relevant and engaging and make your customer want to say, “Yes, yes, yes!”To read this article in full, please click here(Insider Story)...

computerworld.comMicrosoft said Tuesday that Windows 7 PCs would run slower after receiving and installing the crash updates designed to stymie attacks that leverage the recently-disclosed vulnerabilities in virtually every in-use microprocessor.But for Windows 10, a Microsoft executive said, "We don't expect most users to notice a change because these [slowdown] percentages are reflected in milliseconds."The contrast, general though it was, came from Terry Myerson, who leads the company's Windows group."With Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kaby Lake or newer CPU), benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns," Myerson wrote in a Tuesday post to a Microsoft blog. Skylake and Kaby Lake were the codenames for the Intel processors launched in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The bulk of new personal computers sold in 2016 and 2017 were equipped with Skylake or Kaby Lake CPUs (central processor units).To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comYou  may recall that Microsoft disabled automatic Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) in Word back in December. I wrote about the problem and its solution in "Office as a malware delivery platform: DDE, Scriptlets, Macro obfuscation." Microsoft stopped automatic DDE, the {DDEAUTO} field in Word, while setting up certain registry entries that can soften that decision.This month, I was surprised to discover Microsoft has made a roughly analogous change in Excel. Applying this month’s Excel security patches doesn’t change the DDE server launch and DDE server lookup settings, but it does give admins the ability to stifle both of the user prompts associated with DDE access.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comEveryone knows how to print from their Mac, right? You just hit the Print button (or Command-P) – but are you using these print-related tricks?How to print from the Dock What if you didn’t even have to open documents to print them? What if you could just print from the document icon in Finder using drag & drop? You can — here’s how: Open System Preferences>Printers & Scanners. Look to the Printers list and select the printer you want to use. Drag & drop the printer icon from the list to your Dock. You should see the icon for that printer appear in your Dock. Quit System Preferences. In the future, you’ll be able to print items just by dropping them on the print icon in your Dock. When you drop, you won’t see the usual print tools, but you will see the printer’s management window in which you can cancel printing if you want.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comIf you're a tax time do-it-yourselfer, this is a deal that will save you money, and potentially make you some money as well.H&R Block's popular tax software is fully updated for 2018 and designed to make your 2017 tax prep easier and more convenient. Step-by-step interviews guide you through a customized experience relevant to your tax situation, so you know everything is accounted for. This version contains everything you need to prepare your federal and state taxes in one complete program, and everything can be handled electronically (including the PC or Mac software download). Right now the tax software's price is reduced 33% on Amazon to $29.99.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comThere have been many companies whose products have changed, and even revolutionized the way in which we live, but it’s hard to find one which has had the global impact of Microsoft. People like them and dislike them for various reasons, but I sincerely doubt that any of us can objectively dismiss the impact Microsoft has made. Founded in 1975, they are a young company by many standards, which may be a contributing factor to their success, but part of their success has been their resilience and ability to respond to changing technologies, market demands, and business opportunities. In some cases, they have created opportunities, and even demand, while in others they were slow to respond or late to react. To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comWhile the hype around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has sent their prices  skyrocketing, some governments and companies are restricting activity to head off potential money laundering and protect consumers from a credit meltdown.Cryptocurrencies have begun to exit once-friendly China for more open nations and other regions and businesses are beginning to impose restrictions on how – or even whether – they can be used.Open blockchains, such as bitcoin, are only the first to be affected by increased regulatory oversight. Depending on how they're used, permissioned blockchains, or those that are centrally administered and used for general transactions, could also be affected by the push to reign in the cryptocurrency technology.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comAs we rappel down the Patch Tuesday rabbit hole this month, Microsoft just announced it’s going to start pushing its January Windows security patches onto AMD processors again. But it neglects to mention which ones. Per a late-night change to KB 4073707: Microsoft has resumed updating the majority of AMD devices with the Windows operating system security update to help protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comSomething interesting happened this week at CES.I'm not talking about the flashy keynotes, the annual TV trot-out, or even the gyrating robot strippers (though, okay, that last one sure was...something).To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comA year of scandal Image by Nixon Library2017 was a tough year for many. It exposed the dark side of human nature most people have long tried to ignore or deny: Racism, sexism, predatory sexual behavior, and using tech to cheat at things we all agree should be fair. To read this article in full, please click here...

computerworld.comMicrosoft today told enterprises that Windows 10's second feature upgrade of last year, October's "Fall Creators Update," had been sufficiently tested and is ready to deploy across their organizations.The announcement came slightly short of three months after the Oct. 17, 2017, debut of Fall Creators Update, better known to corporate customers as 1709 in Microsoft's yymm nomenclature.[ Related: Fix Windows 10 problems with these free Microsoft tools ] "Enterprise customers...can also fully deploy when ready," wrote John Cable, a Microsoft director of program management, in a post to a company blog.To read this article in full, please click here...

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