September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

The sleek new Surface Laptop comes with it, and so do $300 two-in-one tablet PCs for education and business. But exactly what is Windows 10 S, and how is it different from other versions of Windows 10?

The “S” in Windows 10 S doesn’t stand for anything, although Microsoft throws around words such as safe, secure, streamlined, superior performance, simple and student to explain it. Standardized and super locked down might be closer to the mark. This is a full version of Windows with some limitations, one that’s designed to start up quickly, have long battery life, and keep working properly month after month after month, without resets or support calls.

“Windows 10 S was inspired by teachers,” Mohammed Samji from the Windows engineering team told Computerworld. “It’s about making sure the operating system is safe and secure, but most importantly whether it’s for school or for consumer or enterprise, when you have a device, you want it to work great the day you open it, and the next day and a thousand days later.”

The education market is the first focus for the Windows 10 S push. To some extent, “Windows 10 in S mode,” as Microsoft frequently refers to it to emphasize that this is the full version of Windows underneath, is a reaction to the danger posed by competition from Chromebooks. A key point is that devices you’re relying on in a classroom need a battery that lasts all day, because they have to work in the last lesson of the day as well as the first. Another is that schools are usually short on IT resources, so they’re looking for simpler management options that rely on the cloud.

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

How to temporarily disable Face ID if someone tries to unlock your phone

Apple announced today that it is switching from Bing to Google as the Web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS, and Spotlight on Mac.

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Apple officials did say they will continue to use Bing Web image search results in Siri, noted TechCrunch, citing an Apple statement sent to the outlet. These changes were set to roll out at 9 am PST and were expected to be completely rolled out worldwide later this afternoon.

Google already is the default Web search provider in Safari for iOS and Mac. As TechCrunch notes, it’s not clear exactly why Apple is doing this now. It could be because Apple wants consistent search results across all its platforms. It also could be part of the Apple-Google search relationship.

In 2013, Microsoft and Apple struck a deal to make Bing the backup Web search engine in Siri. In 2014, Microsoft and Apple struck a related deal to make Bing the default Web search engine for Spotlight on the Mac and iOS 8.

Microsoft is continuing to push forward with Bing. Just today, Microsoft announced a new private preview for a Bing service, known as Bing for Business, which surfaces company information along with Web search information for those companies that decide to turn it on.

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

Apple Watch Series 3

Three days into testing the Apple Watch Series 3, my experience has been more or less consistent with that of my older Series 2. With the most notable difference is the liberating feeling of not having to take my phone to the movies, or even into a restaurant for dinner, out of fear of missing an important text or phone call.

Here are some quick thoughts about using the new, always-connected Apple Watch over the course of a weekend.

LTE

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A new cell tower icon is present on the Apple Watch Series 3’s control center. (Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

more iphone news

When early reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3 were published, there was some concern that LTE connectivity was flaky. Apple admitted there is an issue with how the watch’s software handles Wi-Fi networks when away from an iPhone that consequently caused issues with LTE, and that it’s working on a fix.

In my limited experience thus far, I have had zero issues with my watch connecting to a cellular network. There is about a 30-second delay from when the watch first disconnects from my iPhone until it fully connects to AT&T’s network, after which it works just as it should.

Notifications arrive, calls ring on my wrist, and messages are sent without a hiccup. I’ve tested LTE around my rural home, where Wi-Fi congestion isn’t a big deal, and in a city environment, where open Wi-Fi is common. LTE worked in both scenarios.

I have extensive travel planned as I continue to work on my full review, and I’ll surely keep an eye on just how well the cellular portion of the Series 3 works, but so far so good for me.

Battery life

Thus far, the battery life of the Series 3 has been nearly identical to what I experienced on the Series 2. On Saturday, I woke up around 7 am, and immediately took the watch off the charger.

I used the cellular portion of the watch for four hours total over the course of two days to place a couple quick test calls, and send a couple messages, and complete my daily workout. The rest of the time my iPhone was nearby, and the watch mirrored notifications and tracked steps and health data as it normally does.

The battery died Sunday afternoon, roughly 30 hours after taking it off the charger. I have zero complaints about that.

That red crown

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(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

The inner portion of the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular connectivity no longer matches the color of the housing. Instead, it’s bright red. This red seemingly serves the lone purpose of being a clear indicator to others that your watch is different: It can connect to a cellular network.

Other than potentially being a method for second-hand buyers to verify a listing is indeed for a watch with cellular functionality, the red dot serves as nothing more than a status symbol. And I wish it didn’t have it. Naturally, someone came up with stickers you can purchase to place over the red dot if you don’t like it, but I won’t go that far.

PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE

Apple is dropping Bing in favor of Google in Siri, Spotlight on Mac

Microsoft’s Bing gets a ding from Apple, which is switching out its BIng-powered Web search results to those from Google.

Ex-NSA hacker drops macOS High Sierra zero-day hours before launch

The vulnerability lets an attacker steal the contents of a Keychain — without needing a password.

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Just hours before Apple is expected to roll out the new version of its desktop and notebook operating system, macOS High Sierra, a security researcher dropped a zero-day.

Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker who now serves as chief security researcher at ‎Synack, posted a video of the hack — a password exfiltration exploit — in action.

Passwords are stored in the Mac’s Keychain, which typically requires a master login password to access the vault.

But Wardle has shown that the vulnerability allows an attacker to grab and steal every password in plain-text using an unsigned app downloaded from the internet, without needing that password.

Wardle tested the exploit on High Sierra, but said that older versions of macOS and OS X are also vulnerable.

He tweeted a short video demonstrating the hack.

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Wardle created a “keychainStealer” app demonstrating a local exploit for the vulnerability, which according to the video, can expose passwords to websites, services, and credit card numbers when a user is logged in.

That exploit could be included in a legitimate-looking app, or be sent by email.

“If I was an attacker or designing a macOS implant, this would be the ‘dump keychain’ plugin,” said Wardle.

He reported the bug to Apple earlier this month, “but unfortunately the patch didn’t make it into High Sierra,” he said, which was released Monday.

“As a passionate Mac user, I’m continually disappointed in the security of macOS,” he said. “I don’t mean that to be taken personally by anybody at Apple — but every time I look at macOS the wrong way something falls over. I felt that users should be aware of the risks that are out there I’m sure sophisticated attackers have similar capabilities.”

“Apple marketing has done a great job convincing people that macOS is secure, and I think that this is rather irresponsible and leads to issues where Mac users are overconfident and thus more vulnerable,” he added.

In his tweet, Wardle suggested that Apple should launch a macOS bug bounty program “for charity.” Right now, Apple only has a bug bounty for iPhones and iPads, which pays up to $200,000 for high-end secure boot firmware exploits.

It’s the second zero-day that Wardle found for the operating system this month — the first shows how the new software’s secure kernel extension loading feature is vulnerable to bypass.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Contact me securely

Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755–8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

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September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

While mobile is the biggest digital channel, and app stores are swamped with new apps—as well as iterations of existing ones—daily, the ability to release faster and with higher automation coverage is still a big pain for most organizations. In the recent world quality report by Sogeti, the findings were that only 29 percent of the tests are being automated.

When exploring the key reasons and challenges for such a low percentage, especially for the mobile space, we see five key challenges that can explain that low rate—some are very much related to the findings in the report.

1. Tighter release schedules leave less time to automate

Organizations don’t have time to integrate new tests into their existing test cycles, and therefore have less time to develop new test code.

Due to the complexity of the mobile environment, and time allocated for this task, there is less time to write stable test code that continuously runs in parallel across mobile platforms.

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

Facebook has been facing a lot of flak over the role it played in pushing “fake news,” especially during last year’s election cycle. Now it’s come to light that none other than then-President Obama conferred with Mark Zuckerberg just days after the election (and after Zuckerberg’s proclamations that it was…

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

Apple has achieved something very smart: It has positioned the iPhone X as the new smartphone equivalent of an Aston Martin, making every other smartphone on the planet (including its own) boring. That’s why iPhone 8 sales are slack. Millions already want to spend $1,000 on the “future of smartphones.”

iPhone 8 sales reports

We’ve seen worldwide reports that the traditional queues outside Apple retail stores were lackluster for iPhone 8/Plus compared to previous iPhone releases.

  • A poll on my own small Apple-focused website reveals that 57 percent of respondents waiting for an iPhone X with just c.10 percent purchasing an iPhone 8. This broadly reflects polls elsewhere.
  • Slice Intelligence last week revealed its data that showed the first five days of iPhone 8 pre-orders were 78 percent lower than we’ve seen subsequent to other launches.
  • KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has called iPhone 8 sales “sluggish” on strength of pent-up demand for the iPhone X.

Localytics latest data also confirm this narrative.

“While new iPhone launches typically generate large crowds waiting to get into the Apple Store, it has been reported that crowds were much smaller for the latest devices.

“As the Wall Street Journal noted, slow adoption on the iPhone 8 may actually be a good sign for Apple and an indication of potentially strong interest in the iPhone X.”

They claim that iOS 11 adoption (at 22 percent) lags all previous iOS releases back to iOS 8 in terms of adoption within the first six days and that iPhone 8 adoption to be way lower than that of previous iPhones.

September 25, 2017 brianradio2016

Lazy initialization is a technique that defers the creation of an object until the first time it is needed. In other words, initialization of the object happens only on demand. Note that the terms lazy initialization and lazy instantiation mean the same thing—they can be used interchangeably. By taking advantage of lazy initialization, you can improve the application’s performance by avoiding unnecessary computation and memory consumption. In this article we’ll look at how we can perform lazy initialization in C#.

Let’s understand lazy loading with a simple example. Consider two classes, Customer and Order. The Customer class contains an Orders property that in turn references a collection of instances of the Order class. The Orders collection may contain a large amount of data and may even need a database connection to connect to the database and retrieve records. In such a case, there is no point in loading data in the Orders property until we need the data. Lazy initialization allows us to load the Orders collection only when the data is asked for.

Using the Lazy<T> class in C#

Although you can write your own custom code to implement lazy initialization, Microsoft recommends using the Lazy<T> class instead. The Lazy<T> class in the System namespace in C# was introduced as part of .Net Framework 4.0 to provide a thread-safe way to implement lazy initialization. You can take advantage of this class to defer the initialization of resource-intensive objects in your application.

When you use the Lazy<T> class, you need to specify the type of object you intend to create lazily in the type argument. Note that lazy initialization occurs when you access the Lazy<T>.Value property. Here is an example of how the Lazy<T> class can be used:

September 24, 2017 brianradio2016

Raise your glasses as we talk about what both hosts purchased this past week on MobileTechRoundup show #407.

motr-logo1 Image: ZDNet

  • We both bought an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE: First impressions
  • Apple’s working on an LTE fix already
  • How to get an Apple Watch with LTE to work with Android
  • Hands on with the Fitbit Ionic
  • Leaked info on the Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2 and Google Pixelbook
  • Kevin’s next Android phone might be the Moto X4 mid-ranger with Fi support
  • Here’s how Google Assistant works with the new Bose headphones

Running time: 66 minutes

Listen here (MP3, 76MB)

Subscribe to the show with this link (RSS)

September 24, 2017 brianradio2016

Just weeks before it releases the next upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft is trumpeting last spring’s version, claiming that the latter is “the most performant and reliable” ever.

The drum beating for Windows 10 Creators Update, aka 1703 in Microsoft’s yymm format, comes less than four weeks before the slated Oct. 17 launch of its successor, titled “Fall Creators Update” and numbered 1709.

On reliability, Microsoft asserted that 1703 is much more stable than its mid-2016 predecessor, known as both “Anniversary Update” and 1607. “Our close collaboration with our ecosystem partners has resulted in a 39% total reduction in operating system and driver stability issues between the Anniversary Update and Creators Update,” John Cable, director of program management in the Windows Servicing and Delivery group, contended in a post to a company blog Friday.

Of course, Microsoft’s praise of 1703 fit its long-standing message that Windows 10’s speedier release schedule results in incremental improvements that reach customers faster than the traditional upgrade-every-three-years model. But it also may have been meant to prod enterprises, which must adopt Windows 10 before the current OS standard-bearer, Windows 7, is tossed from support in early 2020.