October 16, 2017 brianradio2016

After six months of waiting, the next major upgrade to Windows 10 is almost here. Known as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, it will begin rolling out to the public on October 17.

The upgrade touches countless parts of the operating system, from OneDrive file storage to Cortana, the Edge browser, security and more. I’ve been tracking its progress for the last half year and putting it to the test with serious use in the last several weeks. Here’s a deep-dive, hands-on look at what’s new. (IT pros: Don’t miss the “What IT needs to know about the Fall Creators Update” section.)

Before I begin, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Like the previous upgrade, this one may have “creators update” in its name, but there’s not much in it for people who create things. However, there’s plenty to cover — so let’s jump in.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Start Menu Preston Gralla / IDG

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers a familiar interface with a few minor tweaks. 

OneDrive Files On-Demand 

Perhaps the best new feature in this update is an excellent refinement of Microsoft’s cloud-based OneDrive storage. It’s now ideally suited for using on multiple PCs, with the OneDrive Files On-Demand feature. You now have access to all of your OneDrive files on every device, without having to download them first.

October 16, 2017 brianradio2016

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

Payments made and received through KlickEx transfer between bank accounts in the Pacific Islands and Australia, New Zealand and Europe; the service also enables consumers in developing nations to transfer funds directly to mobile wallets.

October 15, 2017 brianradio2016

You will see Google Pixel 2 reviews online this week, but you will have to listen to MobileTechRoundup show #409 to see if either host has one coming.

motr-logo1 Image: ZDNet

  • Thanks to our Patreon supporters!
  • BlackBerry Motion debuts: Solid specs for around $450
  • Pixel 2 orders ship this week: Watch for reviews soon
  • Huawei Mate 10 and other devices to be announced this week
  • Have you tried Microsoft Edge on iOS or Android?
  • Cortana for iOS / Android has smart home controls
  • Kevin wants wireless earbuds for AW3 but AirPods won’t do
  • Apple killed the 3.5mm headphone jack. But didn’t they standardize it to begin with?
  • LG V30 retail unit in hand, better battery life than pre-production model
  • Matt bought an Amazon Kindle Oasis

Running time: 65 minutes

Listen here (MP3, 79MB)

Subscribe to the show with this link (RSS)

October 15, 2017 brianradio2016

After a funny conversation with her 3-year-old earlier this month, Alex McDaniel did what she often does and tweeted about it. After recounting their back-and-forth, she wrote, “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.” Pretty harmless, yes? Well, no, as it turns out, because an anonymous tipster reported the line…

October 15, 2017 brianradio2016

Some people want to install the latest version of Windows 10 the moment it’s available. They’ll line up — intentionally or not — to participate in a beta testing cycle that’s disguised as a four-month-or-so exercise, designed to winnow the last bugs out of the new version before it’s deemed ready for corporate use.

If you want to help beta test an unpolished version of Win10, you don’t need to do a thing. Microsoft plans to release Fall Creators Update on Oct. 17 and will roll it out over your machine when the company figures it’s fit.

On the other hand, you might want to consider waiting until any initial problems get ironed out, keeping Win10 Fall Creators Update off your machine until you’re ready for it. Blocking the update isn’t easy, in many cases. But if you’re persistent, you can do it.

Microsoft’s ability to push out new versions of Windows 10 has improved over the years. The first version, in July 2015, acted in concert with the widely despised “Get Windows 10” campaign to take over a wide swath of unsuspecting Windows customers. The result: understandable annoyance and grumbling. The Fall Update that same year, in November 2015, didn’t use the same ham-handed forced-upgrade techniques. But it brought many Win10 machines to their knees.

October 14, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft’s Edge browser, the default in Windows 10, blocked a higher percentage of phishing and socially-engineered malware (SEM) attacks than Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, a Texas security testing firm said Friday.

According to NSS Labs of Austin, Tex., Edge automatically blocked 92% of all in-browser credential phishing attempts and stymied 100% of all SEM attacks. The latter encompassed a wide range of attacks, but their common characteristic was that they tried to trick users into downloading malicious code. The tactics that SEM attackers deploy include links from social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and bogus in-browser notifications of computer infections or other problems.

Edge bested Chrome and Firefox by decisive margins. For instance, Chrome blocked 74% of all phishing attacks, and 88% of SEM attacks. Meanwhile, Firefox came in third in both tests, stopping just 61% of the phishing attacks and 70% of all SEM attempts.

The results were not surprising to anyone who has followed NSS’s tests over the years: The firm has regularly awarded Microsoft browsers, notably the venerable Internet Explorer (IE), the top spots in its malware-blocking evaluations.

October 14, 2017 brianradio2016

iphone-6s-cnet-news-fd-1.jpgQualcomm escalates its war with Apple. (CNET/CBS Interactive)

Qualcomm on Friday confirmed it filed in Beijing property court to stop Apple from selling or manufacturing iPhones in China, according to Bloomberg.

The lawsuit filed on Sept. 29 claimed patent infringement and seeks injunctive relief, and adds to Apple and Qualcomm’s legal battle now expanded worldwide.

“Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” a Qualcomm spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Qualcomm said the lawsuit is based on three non-standard essential patents covering power management and the Force Touch technology in Apple’s touch screen devices.

“Apple believes deeply in the value of innovation, and we have always been willing to pay fair and reasonable rates for patents we use. In our many years of ongoing negotiations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed and in fact were only granted in the last few months,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge. “Regulators around the world have found Qualcomm guilty of abusing their position for years. This claim is meritless and, like their other courtroom maneuvers, we believe this latest legal effort will fail.”

The companies’ legal battles have been raging for months. It began in January with Apple accusing the semiconductor giant of overcharging for chips and withholding nearly $1 billion in contractual rebate payments. Qualcomm has also responded with a lawsuit in the US that opened an ITC probe.

Intel, another chip partner of Apple, claimed earlier this year Qualcomm’s request for the ITC to intervene was “a transparent effort to stave off lawful competition from Qualcomm’s only remaining rival.”

On Thursday, Qualcomm was fined $774 million for a monopoly on smartphone modems in Taiwan. Qualcomm said it plans to appeal the ruling.


October 14, 2017 brianradio2016

Ho-hum. Another year, another crop of amazing smartphones.

The latest advancements come from Apple and Google. The new iPhone 8 line and iPhone X phones, as well as Google’s new Pixel phones, are blistering fast, offer near-DSLR-quality cameras and perform a growing range of cool stunts, such as supporting augmented reality.

If you were to ask the public if they want all this power and ability, they’d probably respond, “Well, yes! Absolutely!”

But if you were to ask them if the newest phones solve any problems people have with their lives, the answer would be, “Well, no. Absolutely not!”

October 14, 2017 brianradio2016

“Porch pirates” may discover that pickings are a bit slim in the not-too-distant future. CNBC reports that Amazon is said to be working on two specific ways to cut down on the problem of thieves stealing boxes off customers’ porches: Your car trunk: Amazon is working with a company called…