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Phone Companion App Lets Cortana Get Around
May 27, 2015
Microsoft advanced its "if you can't beat'em, join'em" mobile strategy with Tuesday's announcement of Phone Companion, an app built into Windows 10 that's designed to synchronize information across multiple platforms, including Android and iOS. Windows 10 Phone Companion works like a hub on a PC for a user's mobile devices, allowing apps like Cortana to work across multiple platforms.
Apple vs. Lenovo: Lenovo's Coming-Out Party
May 25, 2015
If there is one vendor on the planet that has the capability to fight Apple -- on paper, it is Lenovo. Lenovo this week will hold its annual Lenovo Tech World event in China, showcasing the company's new breadth. While it would be easy to position this as the U.S. against China, Lenovo is actually far more of a multinational company, with executives balanced between the U.S. and China.
Simplicity Linux Makes Good on Its Easy-Peasy Promise
May 22, 2015
The latest edition of Simplicity Linux, version 15.4, recently became available for download. Simplicity Linux delivers just what its name suggests: It is a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. Simplicity lets you carry your entire desktop, favorite installed applications, and complete collection of documents and files in your pocket everywhere you go.
Apple Fiddles With MacBook Pro, iMac Features and Pricing
May 21, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced performance enhancements for the MacBook Pro and a new configuration and price changes for the iMac. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with its Force Touch trackpad and improved flash storage, battery and graphics performance is available immediately online, starting at $1,999. The Force Touch trackpad first appeared in the latest 13-inch MacBook.
Russia Aims to Build US-Free Mobile OS
May 20, 2015
Russia wants to develop alternatives to proprietary or partly closed mobile operating systems by using open source tools as a foundation, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Nikolay Nikiforov said last week. "Success would make a fairly significant impact on the go-to market plans of numerous IT vendors," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
Venom Less Toxic Than Heartbleed
May 20, 2015
It was a little over a year ago that the Heartbleed bug shocked the Internet with its potential for mischief. Now another flaw in open source code has sent network administrators into damage control mode. The bug, called "Venom" for "Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation," allows an intruder to jump out of a virtual machine and execute malicious code on its host.
Makulu Gives Unity a Good Name
May 18, 2015
Makulu Linux now is one of the first major distros to integrate the Unity desktop. It was more than worth the wait! The Unity desktop is Ubuntu's flagship desktop environment. Canonical pushed through its development several years ago as a way of introducing users to its "unifying" computing platform for all devices. It removed the traditional panel bar and two-column application menu.
Venom Vulnerability Could Violate Virtual Machines
May 14, 2015
Crowdstrike on Wednesday made public its discovery of yet another long-buried Linux vulnerability. "Venom," as it has been dubbed, was unearthed by the firm's senior security researcher, Jason Geffner. It is listed as vulnerability CVE-2015-3456. Venom exists in the virtual floppy drive code used by virtualization platforms based on QEMU, or quick emulator. It has been around since 2004.
Arduboy Could Spark Retro Gaming Revolution
May 13, 2015
Arduboy, a new pocket-sized 8-bit game device, has ignited a firestorm of interest on Kickstarter. With 27 days to go, the campaign already has drawn contributions of more than eight times its modest $25k goal. The rapid funding response could spark a miniature retro revolution. The handheld Arduboy has the potential to divert gamers from smartphones and tablets.
$9 Debian-Based C.H.I.P. Computer Is a Kickstarter Smash
May 11, 2015
C.H.I.P., a Linux-based mini-PC priced at just $9, is receiving an overwhelming response on Kickstarter. Launched last Thursday with a funding goal of $50,000, it has chalked up more than 16,000 backers who have shelled out upwards of $815,000. The project still has 25 days to go. The tiny open source device, made by Next Thing Co., has been dubbed the "Raspberry Pi killer."
Cyanogen Taps Truecaller in Effort to Build a Better Mobile OS
May 8, 2015
Cyanogen, best known for its FOSS Android-based OS, CyanogenMod, soon will provide caller ID screening and spam blocking directly from the native dialer on Cyanogen OS, the commercial version of its operating system. These capabilities will be provided through the company's global partnership with Truecaller. They will be baked into future smartphone devices preloaded with Cyanogen OS.
Voyager-X Will Take You on a New Xfce Journey
May 7, 2015
Voyager-X 10.14.4, released in March, is based on Xubuntu/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This new Voyager-X is one of the first distros to use the new Xfce 4.12 desktop, more than one year in the making. Ubuntu has yet to implement it, and few other Linux distros have put the new update into play. Thus, the latest Xfce desktop is considered "experimental." However, it is a fully functional upgrade.
EMC's ViPR Slithers Into Open Source
May 6, 2015
EMC on Wednesday announced it will release its commercial ViPR software storage controller technology as an open source project called "CoprHD." The ViPR software controller puts the control functionality and the data services into separate operational planes, allowing different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products and cloud storage.
Microsoft Fires Up Its Business Engines
May 5, 2015
Microsoft on Monday announced a slew of products and services for IT professionals at its first Ignite conference, being held in Chicago through Friday. Among them were the Microsoft Azure Stack, its next-generation hybrid cloud, and Windows Update for Business, a new management option for Windows 10 that will keep devices up to date with the latest security updates and Windows features.
FOSSers Puzzle Over Significance of Open Source .Net Core
May 4, 2015
Microsoft last week released a preview of the next version of its .Net Core runtime distribution, fulfilling last fall's pledge to open source .Net and take it cross-platform for Mac and Linux. "Windows 10 is and will be a standard .Net platform, and improving the interoperability of .Net builds bridges from those platforms to Windows 10," said Black Duck Software's Bill Weinberg.
Steer Clear of iOS 8's Infinite Loop
May 1, 2015
A flaw in iOS 8 allows hackers essentially to crash apps that perform SSL communications whenever they like. Skycure reported the bug at the RSA security conference held last week, advising owners of iOS devices to upgrade to iOS 8.3. Apple this week confirmed that iOS 8.3 addresses the vulnerability. An attack would involve specially crafting an SSL certificate to regenerate a bug.
Vivid Vervet Doesn't Have Much Meat on Its Bones
April 29, 2015
You will not see much new in Ubuntu 15.04, aka "Vivid Vervet," unless you peer under the hood. The release of Ubuntu 15.04 for the desktop includes mostly maintenance and bug fixes, along with new integrated menus and dashboard usability improvements. Perhaps the most significant technical change in this desktop release is the adoption of Systemd to replace the default init manager system.
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
VMware Draws on Open Source to Manage Cloud Micro Services
April 28, 2015
VMware last week released details about two new open source projects -- Project Lightwave and Project Photon -- that aim to bridge the divide between the company's virtualization software and other vendors' containers. Both projects integrate into VMware's unified platform for the hybrid cloud, allowing the company to create a consistent environment for cloud-native and traditional applications.
Can Microsoft Take Back Momentum From Google and Apple?
April 27, 2015
Microsoft is holding its Build event this week, marking the beginning of its major push to launch Windows 10. Build is in San Francisco this year, which effectively puts it right in the back yard of both Apple and Google -- a nice "in your face" move. I was the featured launch analyst for Windows 95 two decades ago and there, Microsoft ripped Apple a new rear orifice.
Ubuntu's Vivid Vervet Makes Snappy Entrance
April 21, 2015
Canonical on Tuesday announced the release of Ubuntu 15.04, aka "Vivid Vervet," as in East African monkey. It will be available for download on Thursday. The new OS offers tools for cloud, device, client and Internet of Things development. The Ubuntu desktop release includes mostly maintenance and bug fixes, along with new integrated menus and dashboard usability improvements.
Google Dresses Up Android Wear
April 20, 2015
Google on Monday released an update to Android Wear -- just the second significant feature refresh for its wearable device software since its introduction more than a year ago. "This update is overdue," said Ian Fogg, senior director and head of the mobile and telecoms team at IHS Technology. "With other products, Google adds features fairly continuously," he noted.
Your Lawyer Is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
April 20, 2015
Lawyers help their clients as they negotiate confidential business transactions, hold intellectual property, manage funds and litigate disputes, among many other business activities. In the ordinary course of business, lawyers also maintain numerous confidential documents and data of and about their clients. Lawyers therefore have a big bull's-eye drawn on their backs, visible to cybercriminals.
Opening Windows Source Code Could Improve Security
April 16, 2015
Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich raised a few eyebrows at ChefCon earlier this month, when he aired the possibility of Windows becoming an open source program. Sure, Microsoft's attitude toward the open source movement has mellowed over the years, but the prospect of the company rubbing elbows with the likes of Linux overloads the imagination.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.