April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Dallas city officials have added extra encryption and other security measures to the outdoor warning sirens hacked early Saturday.

The hack also prompted the city to evaluate critical systems for potential vulnerabilities, City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in a statement late Monday. City officials are reviewing security for financial systems, a flood warning system, police-fire dispatch and the 911/311 system.

Broadnax told reporters separately on Monday that the hack came over a radio frequency and not over a wired computer network. The attack was “not a system software issue; it was a radio issue,” he told the Dallas Observer and others.

The city believes the hack came from the Dallas area, but officials haven’t detailed how it occurred. Dallas police are working with the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to validate what they think happened and find the source. The hack caused all 156 emergency sirens to activate for about 90 minutes, scaring some residents and doubling the number of calls to 911.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Back up your files, precious photos and videos while connecting to and recharging any USB device, such as your tablet, smartphone or camera — even if your system is off or in standby mode. The Backup Plus Hub for Mac is fully compatible with Time Machine, and will work with Windows based computers as well. This model has integrated USB ports, and packs a generous 4TB of space for just $109.99, a 21% discount over its typical list price of $139.99. See this deal now on Amazon.

This story, “21% off Seagate Backup Plus Hub for Mac, 4TB External Desktop Hard Drive – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft today began pushing the latest Windows upgrade, nicknamed “Creators Update,” to customers, via Windows Update.

The third such upgrade since Windows 10’s mid-2015 debut, Creators Update will be reaching consumers’ and very small businesses’ PCs, those that make up the bulk of devices hooked up to Windows Update. Microsoft will be busy rolling out the upgrade to those users for the next three months or more.

But what about enterprises and other large organizations? What does Creators Update have for IT staffers — and workers — there?

Some of the most pressing questions companies have about the latest upgrade will be about scheduling and servicing for planning purposes. We selected those questions that need answers straight away.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

In 2010, Steve Jobs infamously sat in a comfy leather chair and slowly went through the features of the original iPad. As Jobs walked us through the Photos app, browsing the web in mobile Safari, and sending emails, one question loomed: How much will it cost?

Pundits and analyst predictions ranged anywhere from $400 to $1,000, with the majority of guesses being on the higher end.

Ultimately, Apple priced the original iPad at $499 for the entry model. It was a price point that surprised nearly everyone.

Over the past seven years, Apple has released numerous models, ranging from a smaller iPad to a tablet aimed at replacing most consumers’ laptops.

Despite creating different iPad models, each one aimed at a different type of user, Apple has struggled to move the needle in the right direction for its tablet lineup. Apple’s iPad sales continue to struggle, all the while CEO Tim Cook has continued to profess his excitement for the iPad line and its success.

One of the problems Apple has faced with the iPad is a lack of incentive for users to upgrade. When older iPads continue to work well enough, users don’t need to update existing devices.

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Another problem has been that Android tablets are often priced well below the entry level model iPad or iPad Mini and have offered a cheaper alternative to the premium iPad line.

apple-ipad-2017-1.jpg (Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Then, in March, Apple announced a new model, referred to only as iPad. Without any extra names or numbers, it’s priced at $329. There are two models, one with 32GB of storage and another with 128GB, and there’s only $100 separating the two.

Before you look at the spec sheet, the price alone makes it clear Apple is targeting new customers, enticing old customers to upgrade, and trying to regain a place in the education sector for its tablet.

But price alone isn’t going to turn iPad sales around. Apple needs to deliver a product that offers value in return. After using the newest iPad for the past week, it’s clear the company did just that.

Specifications:

  • Processor: Apple A9, 64-bit architecture
  • Display: 9.7-inch Retina display, 2048×1536, 264ppi
  • Size: 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.29 inches, 1.03 pounds.
  • Storage: 32GB or 128GB
  • Touch ID: 1st generation
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel rear, 1080p HD recording, 1.2-megapixel front
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, optional Cellular model.
  • Battery: 32.9Wh

Familiarity is key

apple-ipad-2017-5.jpg

apple-ipad-2017-5.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

For the past year, we’ve listened and watched as Apple touted the iPad Pro lineup as a means to the end of the laptop. Well, for some, at least.

So, when Apple announced a new iPad, it was reasonable to expect some of the iPad Pro features to trickle down to the entry-level iPad.

However, with the iPad, Apple decided to borrow some aspects — such as a brighter display, complete with the P3 color gamut — while leaving others, such as Apple Pencil support or using its True Tone display tech, to the Pro line.

The iPad Pro’s Smart Connector is also absent, but users can still use external keyboards with the iPad — albeit keyboards that rely on Bluetooth.

Aesthetically, the iPad more closely resembles the iPad Air 2, which is now retired. The iPad is slightly thicker, due to a bigger battery. Cases you own for the iPad Air 2 may or may not work with the new iPad due to the added thickness. Apple also moved the magnets case makers relied on to hold a cover in place with the new iPad, which could also lead to issues with earlier cases fitting the latest model.

Outside of a couple of slight changes to the size of the device, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the iPad Air 2 and iPad. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Familiarity with the layout, size, and looks of a device can be a key selling point for education users who deal with small kids and have already invested in accessories for a device, as well as for those who are often intimidated by new technology.

Performance

apple-ipad-2017-4.jpg

apple-ipad-2017-4.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Inside the iPad is the same processor found in the iPhone 6S lineup, Apple’s A9 processor. It’s an older processor, sure, but it’s faster than the A8X in the iPad Air 2 and offers improved energy performance, IPS image processing, and enhanced graphical performance.

In other words, the new iPad isn’t the fastest iPad available, but thanks to the speed boost of the A9 chip, users should notice the fingerprint sensor is faster and photos are better. (The latter is despite the iPad using the same camera module as the iPad Air 2.)

I replaced my 12-inch iPad Pro with the new iPad during my testing and have zero complaints about its speed or performance. I enjoyed the portability and ease of handling the smaller form factor so much so that I ever so briefly contemplated selling my iPad Pro.

The iPad’s battery life was enough to get through a typical workday of using it to read news articles, catch up on email, and browse Facebook. Standby continues to remain impressive, with the battery only seeing minor depletion as it sits idle.

Apple’s advantage is the App Store

apple-ipad-2017-2.jpg

apple-ipad-2017-2.jpg

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

With a nearly identical design and upgraded internals, there’s not a feature that sets the iPad apart from the competition, as is often the case with smartphones.

Instead, the iPad’s differentiator is the sheer number and quality of apps optimized for Apple’s tablet lineup. Right now, Apple touts 1.3 million apps in the App Store built specifically for the larger screened devices.

In comparison, the biggest problem Android tablets face is the lack of dedicated tablet apps in the Play Store. Most Android apps are larger versions of the phone app, and that dynamic leads to a frustrating experience.

So much for so little

After unboxing the new iPad and setting it up, I remarked, somewhat under my breath, that this particular iPad is priced below its worth.

As someone who has, at times, completely replaced my laptop or desktop Macs with an iPad (both the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro), it’s exciting to me that a tablet that can do so much and yet cost so little.

Is it enough to turn the iPad ship around? Only time will tell.

I can say that those who are still holding on to an older iPad, many of which are too old to run iOS 10, as well as those who have never owned an iPad due to the entry cost, there’s no better tablet you can buy for $329.

VIDEO: Wipe your iOS device clean before you resell it with these quick steps

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Boeing will begin using at least four 3D-printed titanium parts to construct its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and may some day rely on as many as 1,000 parts created via  additive manufacturing.

Boeing has hired Oslo, Norway-based Norsk Titanium AS to print the parts. It marks the first time that FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium parts will be used as structural components on a commercial aircraft, according to the company.

The parts will be used near the rear of the Dreamliner, a mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Boeing builds about 144 Dreamliners each year.

3D printed aircraft parts Norsk Titanium AS

One of four 3D printed titanium parts Boeing will be using in its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Printing 3D parts for Boeing will allow the aircraft manufacturer to eventually reduce the production costs for each 787 Dreamliner by as much as $3 million, Norsk Titanium said.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

TurboTax coaches you every step of the way and double checks your return as you go to handle even the toughest tax situations, so you can be confident you’re getting every dollar you deserve. Its typical list price of $59.99 has been reduced a generous 42% to $34.89, a deal that is exclusive to Amazon. Learn more, or take advantage of the deal now, on Amazon.

This story, “42% off TurboTax Deluxe 2016 Tax Software Federal & State – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

The SanDisk Connect wireless stick is a flash drive with a unique twist — you can access it wirelessly. Whether it’s in your pants pocket, in your bag, or on the picnic table at your campsite, the Connect wireless stick lets you stream media or move files wirelessly with up to three computers, phones or tablets simultaneously. Connections are made via built-in wifi (think “hotspot”), so no external wireless or internet services are needed. A USB connection is also available, if desired. Storage on this model is a generous 200GB. Reviewers on Amazon report at least 8-10 hours of battery life on one charge. This model is currently discounted 30%, from $119.99 down to $83.69. See it now on Amazon.

This story, “30% off SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick 200GB – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Note: This deal is only active until 2am ET, 4/12

The SanDisk Connect wireless stick is a flash drive with a unique twist — you can access it wirelessly. Whether it’s in your pants pocket, in your bag, or on the picnic table at your campsite, the Connect wireless stick lets you stream media or move files wirelessly with up to three computers, phones or tablets simultaneously. Connections are made via built-in wifi (think “hotspot”), so no external wireless or internet services are needed. A USB connection is also available, if desired. Storage on this model is a generous 200GB. Reviewers on Amazon report at least 8-10 hours of battery life on one charge. This model is currently discounted 43%, from $119.99 down to $67.99. See it now on Amazon.

This story, “Today, Get 43% off SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick 200GB – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Lockheed Martin, Procter & Gamble and Caterpillar have joined with 62 other organizations to create hardware and software guidelines for using augmented reality (AR) on the manufacturing floor.

The guidelines are designed to guide AR technology vendors in developing future products for industrial businesses, both large and small. UI Labs and the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA) announced the guidelines in a document released on Tuesday.

Enterprises will benefit from these guidelines, also called “functional requirements,” because they will encourage interoperability among hardware and software products and make it easier to request bids for AR products, AREA said.

The guidelines are obviously voluntary but still deemed to be a consensus among many manufacturers, including AR device makers, that could contribute to greater adoption of AR. Even so, AREA didn’t use the term “standards” in referring to the guidelines.

April 11, 2017 brianradio2016

Cisco this week took the wraps off several products aimed at helping existing Fibre Channel customers grow the speed, capacity and management of their storage environments.

In particular, Cisco rolled out a 32Gb Fibre Channel module for its MDS 9700 storage switch family with baked-in storage networking analytics, a 32Gb Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter for the rack-mounted Cisco UCS C-Series server, as well as non-volatile memory express (NVMe) over FC support for flash memory appliances.

This announcement has several facets – it lets 16GB Fibre Channel users easily move into 32Gb storage connectivity, it lets customers interconnect storage devices and offers analytics to let businesses manage Fibre Channel exchanges said Adarsh Viswanathan, senior marketing product manager for Cisco Data Center Solutions.

Some specifics about Cisco’s rollout: