March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

Google Home users got a surprise on Thursday when their virtual assistants cheerily mentioned that the live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” is opening in theaters this weekend.

The ad seems to pop up when users ask for a rundown of their day, which kicks off the Home’s “My Day” feature. That feature is supposed to offer users information about the weather, their calendars and relevant news. But at the end of the rundown, the Google Assistant offered the following unsolicited tidbit, according to a video posted to Twitter by Bryson Meunier :

“By the way, Disney’s live action ‘Beauty and The Beast’ opens today,” it says. “In this version of the story, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice. That rings truer, if you ask me. For some more movie fun, ask me something about Belle.”

After users started talking about the message, Google put out a statement saying it “isn’t an ad.” A few hours later on Thursday, the company put out a second statement saying that the movie promotion “wasn’t intended to be an ad.” It’s unclear how the content was different from an advertisement, considering that it was a message inserted into users’ briefings with the aim of getting them to go see a movie.

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

There’s new hope if you installed the latest Windows patches and saw your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011—or possibly CRM 2013 OnPremise—installing reports to go wonky.

An anonymous poster on the AskWoody Lounge, working with a Microsoft support tech, has come up with a one-line fix that appears to work, at least in some cases.

The problem can be traced to a change in the way Internet Explorer 11 version 11.0.40 handles certain CSS settings in Dynamics CRM. In this particular case, the poster confirms:

We logged a Premier Support ticket with Microsoft and they were very responsive.

During a remote session, they confirmed that data was being returned from CRM server side when clicking links, but it just wasn’t displaying.

The issue is caused by improper CSS.  Modifying the height attribute of CSS allowed the data to be displayed successfully during the remote session.  The suggestion was to change one line in CRM’s global.css which fixes the issue across all interfaces.

Since then, our CRM developer has figured out that the issue goes away if you (add) the following line to global.css.aspx: span[type=”subgrid”] {position:static !important}

Poster NeilMcDonald 82 on the Dynamics Community forum says:

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

Another day, another tech rumor.

This time, we are talking about Google — specifically the tech giant’s upcoming phones. While we expected two new ones, like the company released last year, reports now indicate that a third phone could be in the works. And it already had a codename and everything. So what do we know so far?

In IT Blogwatch, we’ll take the fish. 

So what is going on? Kevin Arnold introduces us to the issue:

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

If rumors that James Cameron is interested in picking up Terminator 6 prove true, perhaps Bill Gates will be in the running for a cameo.

Gates recently cautioned that robots are replacing humans in a wide range of jobs, and he proposed implementing a robot tax as a way to temporarily slow the spread of automation.  He was promptly — and predictably — trashed by a bevy of economists

Burn the Luddite!

Lawrence Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary, dubbed Gates’ plan “protectionism against progress,” and others scoffed that the founder of Microsoft had joined the ranks of Luddites. Economic growth has slowed markedly in the past decade, they pointed out. Stagnating productivity and falling business investment indicate the problem isn’t too many robots — it’s too few.

If the United States wants to become a global leader in manufacturing again, heavy investment in automation and robotics is required, they argued. A tax on robots would hamper the ability of U.S. companies to compete globally, stifle innovation, and impede capital investment and economic progress.

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

Augmented and virtual reality are catching on, even if it is still early days for both.

While some analysts at Strategy Analytics worry there aren’t enough engaging 360-degree VR movies and other content on the market, IDC analysts on Thursday said there are plenty of early business-focused rollouts of AR to justify optimism.

IDC pointed to medical, industrial and marketing applications already in use and predicted a bullish, 10-fold spike for AR and VR headsets by 2021.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, vendors demonstrated a variety of capabilities: There were VR roller coasters provided by Samsung and flying wingsuit rides from smaller vendors where users reclined face down on a rotating apparatus while wearing a headset. Other companies, including Verizon, showed off AR capabilities using a smartphone or other device pointed at popular fashion magazines to activate images that demonstrate clothing and makeup variations.

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

When governments turn to private hackers to carry out state-sponsored attacks, as the FBI alleges Russia did in the 2014 breach of Yahoo, they’re taking a big risk.

On the one hand, it gives them a bit of plausible deniability while reaping the potential spoils of each attack, but if the hackers aren’t kept on a tight leash things can turn bad.

Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old Canadian hacker who the FBI alleges Russia’s state security agency hired to carry out the Yahoo breach, didn’t care much for a low profile.

His Facebook and Instagram posts boasted of the million-dollar house he bought in a Toronto suburb and there were numerous pictures of him with expensive sports cars — the latest an Aston Martin DB9 with the license plate “MR KARIM.”

March 17, 2017 brianradio2016

Android has further strengthened its leading position in China, registering a year-over-year share increase of 9.3 percent to reach 83.2 percent for the three months ending January, while iOS had a 8.4 percent decline, Kantar said in a report released Wednesday.

kantar.jpg Kantar Worldpanel

iPhone’s deteriorating performance in China — which saw it register a 16.6 percent market share for the quarter — differs from most other markets that Kantar monitored in the report. iOS smartphones had share gains in markets including Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the USA, and Australia, expanding between 1.2 percent and 4.9 percent.

Even though iPhone shares also declined in Spain and Japan over the same period a year prior, respective losses were 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent in the two markets, a far cry from the 8.4 percent slump in China.

Huawei remains the top seller in Asia, selling over a quarter of overall smartphones, or 26.6 percent, in the region, according to Kantar.

Apple and Xiaomi trailed behind Huawei with 16.6 percent and 14.5 percent of shares, respectively. But the impact of the two brands has been further eroded by rising stars Oppo and Vivo.

In the meanwhile, Windows phones had only a 0.1 percent sales share in China for the period, Kantar said, down from 0.9 percent a year ago.

In the US, Germany, and Italy, sales share of Windows phones respectively accounted for 1.3 percent, 2.9 percent, and 4.4 percent. In Japan, the share of Windows phones increased to 1.5 percent from 0.5 percent a year earlier.

March 16, 2017 brianradio2016

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a new type of radio-on-a-chip that could mean cheaper, more flexible wireless systems. Smartphone makers could, for example, use the technology to make a single model of each phone that works anywhere in the world.

Single-chip radios have become a popular choice for communications hardware in the last decade because most characteristics of the radio are determined through software, not discrete hardware components. For this reason, they are often referred to as software-defined radios.

But software can only do so much. In many transceiver devices — ones that transmit and receive — an array of filters is needed to protect the sensitive receiver circuity from signals being transmitted. Those signals can be up to a billion times more powerful that the ones being received, so without the filters, the radio would be overwhelmed and useless.

In cellphones, the radio transmits and receives simultaneously on different frequencies. This allows you to listen and speak at the same time without having to take turns and say “over” each time you finish.

March 16, 2017 brianradio2016

An unpatched command injection vulnerability could allow hackers to take over enterprise networking products from Ubiquiti Networks.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers from SEC Consult and allows authenticated users to inject arbitrary commands into the web-based administration interface of affected devices. These commands would be executed on the underlying operating system as root, the highest privileged account.

Because it requires authentication, the vulnerability’s impact is somewhat reduced, but it can still be exploited remotely through cross-site request forgery (CSRF). This is an attack technique that involves forcing a user’s browser to send unauthorized requests to specifically crafted URLs in the background when they visit attacker-controlled websites.

“The vulnerability can be exploited by luring an attacked user to click on a crafted link or just surf on a malicious website,” the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Thursday. “The whole attack can be performed via a single GET-request and is very simple since there is no CSRF protection.”

March 16, 2017 brianradio2016

Some users have reported that one of this week’s Windows 10 updates crippled their PCs, according to a thread on Reddit.

They fingered the KB4013418 update as the most likely culprit. That update was marked simply as “Update for Windows 10 Version 1607” in Windows Update, and in the accompanying support document, tagged as a “servicing stack update.”

In Microsoft’s parlance, a servicing stack consists of the executable file and associated libraries needed to install Windows and its updates.

The original poster, identified as “becketbw,” complained that after applying the Tuesday updates, “My computer does not work. Chrome opens, most programs do not, i.e. Start menu, Steam, Control Panel, you name it. [And] I am not able to uninstall the updates.”