February 22, 2017 brianradio2016

To keep private Wi-Fi networks secure, encryption is a must-have — and using strong passwords or passphrases is necessary to prevent the encryption from being cracked. But don’t stop there! Many other settings, features and situations can make your Wi-Fi network as much or even more insecure as when you use a weak password.

For instance, some wireless routers with a seemingly unique default SSID can be security risks, and even networks protected with WPA or WPA2 encryption have vulnerabilities if you’re using the pre-shared key (PSK) mode. Or perhaps your users are hopping on to neighboring Wi-Fi networks, or snooping on each other’s traffic.

Make sure you’re not leaving your network vulnerable by doing any of the following.

February 22, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens augmented-reality device more than two years ago. Taking augmented reality a step further than overlaying data on a screen image, HoloLens uses its sensors to anchor computer-generated 3D objects in the real world, putting them on walls, sofas, tables, and so forth.

In those two years, HoloLens went from a research prototype to developer devices, then a fully supported enterprise headset. We’re now seeing the first enterprise applications. Taking advantage of 3D development tools like Unity and the Universal Windows Platform tools in the latest Windows 10 SDK, these new apps go a lot further than the initial demos, with larger, more complex models and much more interactivity via voice and gestures.

Much of that improvement is due to a greater understanding of the limitations of HoloLens hardware. It’s not the fully immersive environment that the videos of some of Microsoft’s first on-stage demos showed. Instead, HoloLens apps give users a relatively narrow field of view, an approach that’s very similar to the heads-up displays in military aircraft. (The reason for the small field of view: the constraints of the holographic lens used to overlay imagery onto the real world.)

HoloLens headsets also are not as powerful as computers because they use the slower but more power-efficient Atom processors with custom silicon to deliver 3D imagery. Although you can play games with it, a HoloLens headset is far better suited to modeling and displaying fixed environments.

February 22, 2017 brianradio2016

Deep learning is many things, but it isn’t simple.

Even if you’re a data scientist who has mastered the basics of artificial neural networks, you may need time to get up to speed on the intricacies of convolutional, recurrent, generative, and every other species of multilayered deep learning algorithm. As deep learning innovations proliferate, there’s a risk this technology will grow too complex for average developers to grasp without intensive study.

But I’m confident that, by the end of this decade, the deep learning industry will have simplified its offerings considerably so that they’re comprehensible and useful to the average developer. The chief trends toward deep learning tool, platform, and solution simplification are as follows:

1. The deep learning industry will adopt a core set of standard tools

By the end of this decade, the deep learning community will converge on a core set of de facto tooling frameworks. Currently, deep learning professionals have a glut of tooling options, most of which are open source. The most popular include TensorFlow, BigDL, OpenDeep, CaffeTheanoTorch, and MXNet.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft has released an old-fashioned Security Bulletin, MS 17-005, which shepherds a handful of patches for various versions of Windows. The patches, all called KB 4010250, implement the Flash Player fixes contained in Adobe’s APSB17-04, which fixes 13 critical vulnerabilities. It took Microsoft a week to plug the holes.

The patches are beginning to roll out now through Windows Update on machines running:

  • Windows 8.1, RT 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 running Internet Explorer 11
  • Server 2012 running Internet Explorer 10
  • All versions of Windows 10 — RTM (1507), 1511, 1607, and Server 2016

Note that Windows 7 PCs don’t need the patch, even if they’re running Internet Explorer 11. Flash is built into IE11 on Windows 8.1 and Win10, so the updates for IE (and Edge in Win10) have to come from Microsoft. IE11 running on Windows 7 uses a separate Flash Player, via ActiveX, which is updated by Adobe. If you have Win7 and use IE11, chances are good that Adobe updated you last week.

You can either go to Windows Update and install the patch, or you can download it manually from the Windows Update Catalog.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

As the term ML (machine learning) gains attention and popularity, it begins to lose its true definition and risks becoming poorly-used marketing language. ML is so much more than a buzzword, it is something that holds promise and profound beauty for our civilization.

Existing computers are merely declarative devices, taking explicit instructions from different inputs for quick processing. Methods are specific and structured with limited expectations.

The ML process differs in that it should accept desired outcomes with example inputs to then complete a different task without further instruction. This new paradigm assumes a machine can do more with less by applying past experience to different situations.

Decisions based on new information

Imagine a robotic arm on a conveyor belt that sorts bottles and cans all day as they come down the belt. The arm is programmed to tell the difference between the shape of a can and the shape of a bottle as it puts them each in separate bins at the end of the belt nicely with no mistakes.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

The PT-D210 makes it easy to create great-looking labels for your home and office. With convenient one-touch keys, you can quickly access fonts, symbols, frames and templates. Plus, you can preview your work on the display. The highly rated unit is a #1 best-seller on Amazon, where it has been discounted 75%, for what will likely be a limited time. So instead of $40 you’ll be paying just $10. See the deal now on Amazon.

This story, “75% off Brother P-Touch PT-D210 Label Maker – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

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February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

Ask a security professional about infosec challenges, and you’ll get an earful of complaints about everyone else: Users click on bad links and open attachments, developers release buggy code, IT lags in applying software patches, the C-suite doesn’t understand security priorities, and so forth.

But the truth is IT is figuring out how to work with developers, and today, many enterprises are starting to take user training seriously. In fact, security professionals fail to collaborate because they’re too busy pointing out all the things everyone else is doing wrong.

Case in point: Last week, when I was at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the DeveloperWeek conference was underway nearby. At the latter conference, I could find only one security-related talk on the schedule: Pete Chestna, Veracode’s director of developer engagement, talked about how security was the next opportunity for developers. Veracode also had two workshops at DeveloperWeek on how the company approaches devsecops (the integration of devops and security).

To me, it’s astounding that none of the usual experts who rail about software vulnerabilities and application security made their way to DeveloperWeek. It raises the question of exactly who these companies are selling to if they aren’t talking to developers.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

Every business is now a digital business in one form or another.

And in the spirit of “making IT good for society” (in the words of the British Computer Society), there’s a tremendous opportunity for the technology community to make a difference. The scope of this opportunity now extends well beyond green IT to focus on using digital transformation to help all industries meet their sustainability goals and reduce their carbon footprints.

While the concepts of green IT and sustainable IT were originally focused on IT operations and the technology product lifecycle, the new call to action as companies undergo digital reinvention is for them to give environmental factors early consideration in their planning and to extend the scope of their sustainability improvements beyond IT operations and across many of their digitally transformed processes.

Done correctly, digital transformation can make a large contribution in helping organizations, cities and nations better meet their sustainability goals — including those laid out by the Paris Agreement on climate change, which has recently gone into force. The agreement is “a global and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to well below 2°C.” It’s estimated that information and communications technology (ICT) devices, such as IT-enabled smart grids and buildings, have the potential to deliver a 20% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030, and over $11 trillion in new economic benefits.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

Google recently launched Android Wear 2.0, an operating system for its smart watches. The entire OS has been refined and revamped.

To help with the launch of the new OS, Google and LG collaborated and came up with two Android Wear devices: The $250 LG Watch Style and $350 LG Watch Sport.

The approach is similar to the Nexus program, where Google would work with a phone maker and release a Nexus phone alongside the launch of the latest and greatest version of Android. Only now Google is making its own phones under the Pixel brand.

For the past 10 days I’ve been using the LG Watch Sport, the bigger, better-equipped of the two new Android Wear 2.0 watches available right now.

lg-watch-sport-hear-rate-sensor.jpg Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


  • Dimensions: 45.4 x 51.21 x 14.2 mm
  • Processor: 1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • Operating System: Android Wear 2.0
  • Display: 1.38-inch Full Circle P-OLED (480 x 480, 348ppi)
  • Housing and screen: 316L Stainless Steel and Gorilla Glass 3
  • Strap: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
  • Memory: 768MB
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Battery: 430mAh (wireless charging)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, PPG (heart rate sensor), Barometer, Ambient Light Sensor
  • Color: Titanium, Dark Blue (Google Store only)
  • Misc: Dust and Water Resistance, IP68

It’s big, like, really big



LG Watch Sport compared to the Apple Watch Series 2.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

It’s hard to gauge just how big the Watch Sport is when looking at photos. Comparing it to Samsung’s Gear S3 makes it look as if the two devices are nearly the same size, with the Watch Sport being only slightly thicker. In person the watch is big. Huge, even.

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Surely LG had to increase the size of the Watch Sport to make room for all of the sensors, wireless radios, and larger battery packed inside it.

A few days after the initial shock, however, any issues with the size of the watch were all but forgotten. It’s big, yes, and it’s an adjustment when you first put on the Watch Sport, but it’s not something I found myself constantly thinking about.

On the right side of the watch are three buttons. Two are shortcut buttons dedicated to launching apps or functions of your choosing with a press. The middle button rotates for scrolling on various screens. The buttons are firm and responsive.

The watchband on the Watch Sport can’t be swapped out for a different band, meaning you’re stuck with the look of the watch you purchase.

Overall, the Watch Sport isn’t a bad looking watch, but it’s not nearly as classy looking as the Gear S3 or Apple Watch.

Always connected



Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The LG Watch Sport is the first watch I used with built-in LTE connectivity. I activated the Watch Sport on AT&T as soon as I received it, thinking the experience would completely change the way I view carrying my phone with me at all times. (There’s also a Verizon compatible model.)

I was wrong. In fact, I found almost no real use for an LTE connection on the watch. At least not enough use to justify paying $10 per month.

As I previously detailed, using AT&T’s NumberSync service to sync text messages sent to my phone number with the Watch Sport proved to be a mess. When NumberSync was active, I would receive each text message twice. Once on my phone, and once again on the Watch Sport.

It’d be nice if there was a way for the watch to recognize it’s currently connected via Bluetooth to my phone and not alert me twice for every text message I receive.

Battery life, performance



Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Battery life on the LG Watch Sport is horrible. There’s no other way to say it. Each day over the course of my testing, I would take the watch off the charger around 6:30 am. Every single night, by 8 pm, the watch would be completely out of battery and end up on the charger.

Fourteen hours of battery life for a smart watch is very disappointing. If you were to go out after work, odds are you would have a dead watch on your wrist, incapable of showing you the time, let alone providing alerts and counting your steps — unless, of course, you were to take your charger to work with you and recharge towards the end of your work day. But who wants to do that?

I had cellular connectivity enabled every day, save for one day where I disabled it, throughout my testing. The day where I used the watch with its cellular functionality disabled didn’t provide better battery life.

In comparison, I can get through two full days of use out of the Apple Watch Series 2 and over two days of use from the Gear S3.

Outside of battery life, the Watch Sport was fast and responsive when using apps or scrolling through the Play Store. I can’t recall an instance of the watch slowing down or struggling to complete a task.

Android Wear 2.0

Google originally announced Android Wear 2.0 in May of 2016, with a release timeframe of later that same year, sometime in the fall. Ultimately Google delayed the release of its wearable OS until mid-February.

With the new OS, Google added a dedicated Play Store, complete with stand-alone apps that no longer require the watch to be connected to a phone. There’s also a new keyboard that’s far too small to actually type on, plus a handwriting feature that makes it easy to scribble quick responses to a message. Paying with the watch through Android Pay is now possible, as long as the watch is equipped with NFC.

Google Assistant, the company’s virtual personal assistant is now just a button press away. Google also redesigned how notifications look, and the way apps are arranged in Android Wear 2.0.

With a few extra months worth of polish, Android Wear 2.0 should look and feel like a finished product. In practice, it feels more like one of the beta developer previews Google released while working on the update.

Some times Google Assistant will launch and work without issue. Other times, an error message would show up stating the Watch Sport didn’t have any sort of data connection, despite having a connection to my phone and Wi-Fi network.

Another annoyance is the inability to use the rotating dial to scroll on every screen. Adding a dial as a scroll mechanism, similar to the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch or rotating bezel on the Samsung Gear S3, makes a ton of sense. Using swipes or gestures on the tiny screens isn’t always the best method to accomplish a task.

For example, in the Android Pay app you cannot scroll down using the dial. You have to swipe up on the display in order to view more information. Conversely, when viewing the list of apps installed on the watch you can use the rotating dial to scroll up or down.

An inconsistent experience only confuses and frustrates users.




Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The LG Watch Sport just didn’t live up to my expectations. After Google’s Pixel smartphone launch, the company set the expectation of refined hardware, with a user experience to match.

Neither the hardware nor the software on the LG Watch Sport live up to that expectation.

Going into my time with the LG Watch Sport, I considered the Samsung Gear S3 the best smartwatch available for Android users. That opinion remains unchanged.

February 21, 2017 brianradio2016

Worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will reach $122.5 billion in 2017, representing an increase of 24.4% over 2016.

As enterprises across the world increased investment, overall public spending is expected to surge 21.5% by 2020, nearly seven times the rate of overall IT spending growth.

By 2020, IDC research forecasts public cloud spending will reach $203.4 billion worldwide.

Software as a service (SaaS) will remain the dominant cloud computing type, capturing nearly two-thirds of all public cloud spending in 2017 and roughly 60% in 2020.