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Cook Rearranges Apple's Executive Suite
December 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday announced some personnel moves that suggest CEO Tim Cook's future vision for the company. He named Jeff Williams chief operating officer, elevated Johny Srouji to senior vice president, broadened the powers of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, and added Tor Myhren as vice president of marketing communications.
Linux Mint Upgrade Sparkles
December 17, 2015
Linux Mint upgrade to version 17.3 Rosa is one upgrade regular users do not want to skip. This latest release in downloadable ISO format, available in the MATE and Cinnamon desktop editions, hit servers earlier this month. Several days later, the upgrade was available from within the package management repository for existing Linux Mint users. That eliminates the need for a clean installation.
MacKeeper Loses Control of User Data
December 17, 2015
Kromtech this week revealed a vulnerability in the data storage system of its MacKeeper software. Security researcher Chris Vickery, who alerted the company to the problem with its server, pegged the number of MacKeeper users affected at about 13 million. Kromtech posted a security alert about the breach on MacKeeper's website. The company fixed the error within hours of its discovery, it said.
Feds Give Commercial Off-the-Shelf IT a Closer Look
December 17, 2015
Federal information technology purchasing often involves large amounts of money based on the small print of acquisition requirements. Arcane procurement language seemingly can have a big impact on transactions. For IT vendors, provisions of recent legislation are prime examples of why it pays to scrutinize every line of the laws and regulations pertaining to federal acquisition programs.
GeckoLinux: This Baby Knows What It's Doing
December 11, 2015
GeckoLinux is a custom spin of the openSuse project. It offers an impressive variety of options and easier operation than typical Suse-based Linux distros provide. GeckoLinux is a newcomer. I mean very new. Its first release was last week. You shouldn't view this distro as a wailing infant, however. It's based on openSuse Leap 42.1 and was leapfrogged into near-instant maturity from Suse Studio.
Mozilla Gives Up Firefox Phone Ambitions
December 10, 2015
Mozilla on Wednesday confirmed that it has hung up on the Firefox OS mobile phone and will try using the operating system to dial into other connected device uses instead. The company spent several years developing a browser-based smartphone OS. It ended its sales program of the Firefox mobile operating system to carriers and will no longer develop the OS for smartphones, Mozilla said.
Apple Tweaks Music, Mail, News in iOS Update
December 10, 2015
Apple on Tuesday released a new version of iOS, and while it was largely a maintenance release of the mobile operating system, the upgrade included some treats for music and news enthusiasts. The release, iOS 9.2, improved Apple Music, the company's streaming music service, in a number of ways. For example, users can create new playlists when adding a song to a playlist.
27 Highly Desirable Gifts for Apple-Loving Fanatics - and 1 to Skip
December 10, 2015
Chances are, you know an Apple fanatic -- someone whose iPhone, Mac or iPad is a prized possession. If you don't know a true fanatic, you probably know a fan -- or barring that, someone who might appreciate an Apple-made gift this holiday season. To help you cut through the chaff, from one Apple fanatic to... someone else entirely, I've put together a list of the best Apple gifts.
Federal IT Opportunities: Steady Funding, Constant Challenges
December 9, 2015
The good news for federal information technology managers -- and the vendor community -- is that government IT budgets will remain stable for the next few years in terms of projected spending. An additional potential benefit is that a recent budget agreement will support agencies for two years. The spending stability doesn't mean federal IT procurement will remain boringly routine, however.
Hot New BunsenLabs Linux Eases Pain of CrunchBang Loss
December 7, 2015
BunsenLabs Linux does a bang-up job of picking up where CrunchBang Linux left off. Developer Philip Newborough retired the popular minimalist distro earlier this year. In a world of feature-packed operating systems and bloated Linux distros, he felt his CrunchBang alternative served no further purpose. BunsenLabs is one of three CrunchBang replacements that mimic the lightweight but functional OS.
Steve Ballmer's Excellent Android Adventure
December 7, 2015
Steve Ballmer last week presented an interesting plan to kill Android -- or at least compete with it. What's ironic is that Ballmer's tenure at Microsoft wasn't short of good ideas -- it was short on execution. In contrast, Satya Nadella has shown strength in execution but -- so far -- hasn't come up with anything that represents the kind of risks that Ballmer was willing to take.
Ballmer Points Out Error of Microsoft's Ways
December 4, 2015
Former CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday called out Microsoft on finance reporting and its app strategy for Windows Phone. CEO Satya Nadella this summer laid out his vision for the company in a letter to employees. It included a Windows 10 strategy founded on universal apps, software that could be scaled to Xbox One, Window Phones, tablets and desktops. That's the wrong way to go, Ballmer asserted.
Sluggish Download and Install Subtract From Netrunner's Pluses
December 3, 2015
The Netrunner Rolling 2015.11 version is a disappointing release. It seems sluggish and unimpressive right from the start. Linux Picks and Pans last reviewed Netrunner in 2013 and gave it five stars. This was the standard Netrunner edition built upon Kubuntu, Ubuntu's KDE desktop version. The Netrunner Rolling edition, released in 2014, is based on packages from the Manjaro distribution.
Federal Budget Promises Stable IT Spending - Unless Politics Interferes
December 3, 2015
Just when the U.S. federal budget situation seemed about to settle down -- it didn't. With tens of billions of dollars at stake, federal acquisition managers and the IT vendors who support government agencies were breathing a sigh of relief when Congress and the White House agreed to a two-year government spending program last month. Then the wheels started to come loose.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
Android Studio 2.0 Aims to Rev App Development
December 1, 2015
Google last week released a preview of Android Studio 2.0 at the inaugural Android Dev Summit in Mountain View, California. The preview offers several updates, including Instant Run and a new GPU Profiler. Instant Run lets developers see changes to code running on their devices or emulators, while the GPU Profiler lets users profile their OpenGL ES Android code.
Vinux Enhances Productivity for Visually Impaired Users
November 23, 2015
Vinux 5.0 is a striking example of the flexibility and usability of the Linux OS. Vinux is a fully functional Linux distro that caters to blind and partially sighted users. It's based on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04.3 LTS and gives users support through 2019. The latest version was released earlier this month. It greatly improves on the usability features of other Linux distributions.
HPE Closes Ranks With Microsoft on Windows 10
November 23, 2015
Microsoft last week announced a collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to push Windows 10 solutions to enterprises worldwide. The collaboration will occur in three areas: cloud, productivity and mobility. The move harks back to the strategy Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined last year, saying the company would focus on cloud, mobile and empowering users everywhere.
Microsoft Doubles Down on Open Source
November 20, 2015
Microsoft this week announced at its Connect conference in New York City an expansion of its developer tools with a focus on Linux, Android and open source. The move is an effort to help close the gap between Microsoft's developer platforms and the open source world. The programs include free access for developers who are getting started, updates to .NET, and the renaming of Visual Studio Online.
Nvidia Updates Shield Tablet, Shaves $100 Off Price
November 20, 2015
Nvidia this week revealed a refreshed Shield Tablet K1 and indicated that it isn't done updating the gaming slate. One of the biggest parts of the refresh is a cut of $100 off the price of the 16-GB tablet. The original Shield Tablet was available in a $299 16-GB version and a $399 32-GB variant. A new battery replaces the fire-prone cells that caused a recall of the original Shield Tablets.
Microsoft Retools Minecraft to Teach Kids to Code
November 18, 2015
Microsoft on Monday announced that its Mojang unit's Minecraft will star in Code.org's third annual Hour of Code event in December. A 2-D tutorial version of Minecraft will introduce players ages 6 and older to simple coding, encouraging them to mine and craft by using visual programming, Microsoft said. Players then can engage in a bundle of 14 challenges to reinforce what they've learned.
Ubuntu Studio Is a Treasure Trove for Creative Types
November 17, 2015
Ubuntu Studio 15.10 is a one-stop Linux OS shop for most creative people. It bundles a nearly full range of multimedia content-creation applications for workflows involving audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing. The developers describe this distro as a multimedia content-creation hub for all five creative workflows. The last element -- publishing -- is the weakest link.
Will Apple Beat the Enterprise Curse?
November 16, 2015
Given that it is basically a big iPad with a better keyboard option and stylus support, the iPad Pro has been getting decent reviews. It can be classified as a first-generation product -- and as such, it does far better than most. However, there have been a huge number of companies in Apple's space that have gone under or stalled when they broadened their focus from the consumer to target IT.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
Linux Leaders Join HPC Devs on Open Source Framework
November 13, 2015
The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that it's forming the OpenHPC Collaborative Project to push the software supply to support high-powered computing. The project will provide a new open source framework to meet HPC's application demands and parallel runtime requirements. The framework will provide upstream project components, tools and interconnections to enable the software stack.
Valve's Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home
November 13, 2015
Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve's road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam hardware.
CFOs Calculate Benefits of Cloud ERP
November 13, 2015
One of the clear indications that the cloud movement is becoming mainstream is the growing number of CFOs and finance departments that are adopting Software as a Service solutions to support their corporate responsibilities. Even more interesting is how cloud-based alternatives can redefine the accounting and financial management function in forward-minded organizations.
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
November 12, 2015
The combination of custom-made hardware paired with a tweaked Linux OS makes the Librem laptop lineup a unique offering with several innovative security features not offered in any other computer. The Librem line is a work in progress. The operating system just reached version 2.0 and comes preinstalled on the hardware built with the modified Linux kernel in mind.
iPad Pro: The Thrill Is Gone
November 12, 2015
Apple this week began selling its iPad Pro, but the newly introduced device is failing to evoke the enthusiasm the company's line of tablets traditionally has seen. Reviewers gave the device high marks for its battery life, screen, speakers, light weight and Pen, but panned the keyboard, the lack of a touchpad and 3D Touch, its long charging times and its price.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
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