June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

iOS 11, like other versions of the software, show previews of your messages and emails on your lock screen, allowing anyone with access to your iPhone or iPad to take a glimpse.

To limit this feature, for example, to just showing the sender of the message, go to Settings > Notifications and then select Messages and Mail for text messages and iMessages and email, respectively. From each screen, you can change the preview style. For maximum privacy, disable Show Previews so messages won’t be displayed on the lock screen.

A new feature, dubbed Persistent Banners, will alert you but require action before moving on.

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

I’ve been using my new iPad Pro 10.5 for a couple of weeks, and thanks to a couple keyboards, it is serving as my daily commuter platform to get work done.

The Apple Smart Keyboard was available at the Apple Store when I bought my 10.5-inch iPad Pro, so I bought one to try and also compare to other keyboard options. Logitech sent along a black Slim Combo that also is sold in Apple stores and on the Apple Store website.

Logitech is well known for its keyboards, and I have been using them on various mobile devices for many years. The Logitech Slim Combo for the iPad Pro is designed to work in four ways Typing in standard landscape orientation with the keyboard attached, viewing without the keyboard attached and the hinge down at a flatter angle, FaceTime calling with the keyboard removed and the iPad propped up in portrait orientation, and reading with just the iPad in your hand inside the upper part of the case. Reading could also be expanded to drawing, too, since this case comes with an integrated sleeve for the Apple Pencil — something that is sorely missing on the Apple Smart Keyboard.

Top piece of the Slim Combo

The Slim Combo is a two-piece solution. The upper portion houses your iPad Pro and securely holds it after you snap in your iPad. There are large openings in the frame piece on the right side (in landscape orientation) for the dual speakers and Lightning port. The bottom is also mostly open since that is the area that connects to the Apple Smart Connector.

There are openings on the back left side for the speakers, headphone jack, microphones, camera, and flash. Raised buttons for volume and power are also present.

An Apple Pencil sleeve is positioned along the top (in landscape orientation) that covers about 50 percent of your Apple Pencil to keep it securely in place. I find myself using the Logitech Slim Combo more than the Apple Smart Keyboard on my daily commute due in large part to having a place to store the Apple Pencil. This is important for the road warrior carrying everything along with the iPad and one reason the Logitech Slim Combo is a good option.

There is also a large flap on the back with two hinges. You are able to extend this flap to prop up your iPad back about 50 degrees and then down to nearly flat. The hinges are stiff and once you move the flap into position everything stays exactly where you placed it. It’s a great hinge design and has satisfied all of the angles I desire for use.

Bottom piece of the Slim Combo

The bottom piece is the keyboard itself. It attaches via the Apple Smart Connector and is fully powered by your iPad. This includes providing the backlight and making the pairing of the keyboard possible. Apple reports that the keyboard uses around 0.4 to 2.3 percent of iPad battery for an hour of typing.

There are 14 keys on the top row of the keyboard that serve as the following shortcuts:

  1. Go to the Home screen
  2. Adjust screen brightness
  3. Adjust screen brightness down
  4. Bring up iOS search field
  5. Switch keyboard input language
  6. Adjust brightness of keyboard backlighting down
  7. Adjust brightness of keyboard backlighting up
  8. Media control for back
  9. Media control for play/pause
  10. Media control for forward
  11. Mute
  12. Volume up
  13. Volume down
  14. Locks iPad Pro screen

There are five rows of keys below this top line with a full number row, directional arrows, two CMD, Option, and Shift keys. Keyboard spacing is good and the travel is excellent, so I don’t feel I am compromising on performance. I don’t feel cramped by the keyboard, even though I have mid-size hands.

The Logitech Slim Combo keyboard has a 19mm key pitch and 1.5mm key travel with scissor key mechanism. There is an ample palm rest too with the 12.9 inch palm rest having a foldable design.

There are three levels of backlighting, so you can use the keyboard in any lighting condition. The bottom of the keyboard is textured so that it doesn’t slide around and is easy to hold onto when the package is closed up.

Daily usage experiences

I was quite excited to try out this keyboard solution, and for the most part, it is very functional and improves my productivity. However, I think the name is misleading since the Logitech Slim Combo is anything but slim. The cellular iPad Pro I own weighs in at 1.05 pounds, while the Slim Combo is 1.16 pounds. The weight doesn’t even bother me, though. It is the thickness of the combo that disappoints me.

With slim elegance, the Apple Smart Keyboard is what you want to carry for a minimalist solution. While I like the additional features of the Logitech Slim Combo, it is 1.06 inches in thickness when the top is closed down on the keyboard. The iPad Pro 10.5 is just 0.24 inches thick, so you can see this is not a very slim package.

I can understand the bottom portion with the keyboard being a bit thick in order to support the travel of the keys and backlighting while also having a bit of an angle for easier typing. However, the top has a deep frame around the iPad that seems unnecessary and the complete combination package just feels too thick for an elegant Apple solution. Maybe there are reasons for this, but I think Logitech can do better at making a slimmer combination in the future. Or maybe Logitech just needs to rename the keyboard solution.

The 360-degree protection is provided by the Logitech Slim Combo, so I did feel that my iPad was very well protected when traveling in my bag during my daily commute.

My iPad Pro turned on every time I popped open the keyboard. The keyboard connected every single time. The hinge worked well at propping up the iPad. And I was able to enter text at a fast rate. The Apple keyboard shortcuts are supported by the keyboard, so you can always simply press and hold the CMD button to view the available shortcuts in each app you use on your iPad.

The Logitech Slim Combo comes in black or blue and is available for purchase in Apple retail stores, Apple.com, and Logitech.com. The suggested retail price for the Slim Combo for 10.5-inch iPad Pro is $129.99. You can also find the combo for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro at $149.99.

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

I’ve spent a few weeks with the Huawei MateBook X (see my full review) and thanks to the included MateDock 2 I have been able to use it efficiently with a dual screen setup.

At the time of my review we only knew European pricing, but we now have the details on availability in the US. You’ll be able to pre-order the MateBook X, MateBook E, and MateBook D on Amazon and Newegg starting on Friday, June 30, through Friday, July 7.

The MateBook X will be available in space gray with the i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB drive for just $1,099.99 while a prestige gold one with an i7, 8GB RAM, and 512GB drive will cost you $1,299.99. These include the MateDock 2 so are ready for productivity right out of the box.

The MateBook E will be available in titanium gray with the M4, 4GB RAM, 128GB drive model priced at $799.99 and the i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB drive model in champagne gold at $999.99. The MateBook D will be available only in champagne gold with the i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 1TB drive for $699.99.

These are surprisingly much lower than the European pricing, which ranged from $1,569 to $1,906 for the equivalent MateBook X models. I have been testing the i5 model MateBook X and am very surprised to see the $1,100 price tag. I think it is definitely a device to consider.

The MateBook X is a sleek, attractive, and well designed laptop with an outstanding Dolby Atmos sound system that is more than just a name, but an audio experience developed in direct partnership with Dolby.

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

On June 9, 2008, a year after the original iPhone went on sale, Apple rolled out its successor, the iPhone 3G. The new model could connect to faster 3G-based networks, included built-in GPS, offered more storage and was cheaper. Selling for $199 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 16GB version, the iPhone 3G was available on July 11, and offered something called location services. “Location services is going to be a really big deal on the iPhone,” said CEO Steve Jobs. “It’s going to explode.” [See launch story here.]

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

Samsung vs Apple

Image by Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons) https://secure.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

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Digital Transformation: A CXO's Guide

Digital Transformation: A CXO’s Guide

Reimagining business for the digital age is the number-one priority for many of today’s top executives. We offer practical advice and examples of how to do it right.

This story is about seduction and explains how a sexy, new Galaxy S8 pulled me toward Android and away from my beloved iPhone 7 Plus.

Over the years, I have used both iOS and Android phones extensively. My work with CXOTALK involves lots of travel, so I’m always looking at the latest and greatest devices. Communication on the go — emails, meeting planning, conference calls, reading attachments, video calls — means less catch-up back in the office.

Like many executives, when it comes to mobile computing, I value ease-of-use, speed, and visual clarity on the screen. In other words, I need a quick learning curve and a great screen to read messages without glasses.

Also: iPhone 7 Plus review: With bigger battery and more RAM, it’s a 6s Plus perfected for the enterprise | Samsung Galaxy S8 review: Near-perfect comeback leaves competitors in the dust | This is what the iPhone 8 will (probably) look like | Six features the iPhone 8 needs to stay ahead of Android

For the last several years, Apple has been my device supplier of choice, the latest being an iPhone 7 Plus. When traveling, I carry an iPad Mini 4, Apple wireless keyboard, and a MacBook Pro (late 2013) laptop; an Apple Watch Series 2 rounds out the package.

It’s worth mentioning my desktop computer is Windows and I have no particular loyalty to Apple as a brand, even though I like their products.

A few weeks ago, Samsung sent me a Galaxy S8 phone to check out. (For free. So be aware that’s a disclosure.) My first reaction was, “Meh. I already have a phone.” Still, they did send the new device so it made sense to take a look.

Samsung vs. Apple: The epic battle

Studying the Samsung phone, the bright screen and small size were immediately attractive, and my mind opened to possibilities beyond Apple.

To put the Samsung / Apple battle into perspective, see this chart from IDC, showing relative market shares from the major phone manufacturers. It’s a fight for dominance in a crucial market:

IDC mobile market share

IDC mobile market share

Image from IDC

The battle for mobility is complicated, involving hardware, software, user experience, and the entire ecosystem of apps and connected devices. Choosing a phone, therefore, requires buyers to make a complex series of decisions and tradeoffs.

The three dominant mobile operating system players — Apple, Google, and Microsoft — feed this decision-making beast by creating their own ecosystems. Mail services, app stores, smart watches, user experience, and the like draw users in and create entanglements that make it hard to switch from one operating system to another. Handset manufacturers build on this lock-in by adding their own services and unique features.

Given these pieces, my decision to evaluate the new Galaxy S8 required real commitment. Here are the key dimensions I used to assess the Samsung phone. Bear in mind this is not a full review, but an explanation of attributes that seduced my attention:

Although it’s hard to separate some of these items into discrete points, let’s examine each in turn and compare the Apple iPhone 7 Plus against the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Phone size. The iPhone 7 Plus is a big deal… literally. It’s tall and wide with large bezels at the top and bottom and smaller ones on each size. As you would expect, the standard Galaxy S8 (not the larger Plus model) is smaller than iPhone 7 Plus.

However, because the bezels are smaller on the Galaxy S8, the screen is virtually the same height as that on the iPhone 7 Plus, as you can see in the photo below.

The Samsung physical design is a brilliant example of form following function, based on technological advances. Apple is definitely behind the curve here.

iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8

iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8

Photo by Michael Krigsman

The Galaxy S8 screen is tall rather than wide, which also makes it easier to hold.

Apple is certainly aware of the screen size issue. As ZDNet has reported, one of the most persistent rumors for the iPhone 8 is a virtual home button, which presumably would function similar to that on the Samsung.

Hardware: speed, connectivity, and screen. Based on my use, both phones are fast enough for business users, although raw speed is hard to measure without specialized tests.

There was one significant difference I discovered, however. The Samsung seems to pick up weaker WiFi signals better than the Apple. For business people, this is important because it can make the difference between maintaining an active connection or not.

The Galaxy S8 screen also has higher resolution than even the larger iPhone 7 Plus. The screen looks brighter, sharper, and easier to read.

I should mention that Samsung pumps up the display colors so they pop more strongly. Beware when editing photos because other people won’t see your pictures as you intended (unless they have your same phone and settings). Fortunately, you can turn off these unnatural acts of color with a setting.

Then there is Bixby, Samsung’s new and immature competitor to Siri, with its own dedicated hardware button. Allocating a dedicated button to Bixby was a lame move. As business people on the go, we need simplicity and not gimmicks. This is one area where Apple’s product designers show far greater polish and maturity than Samsung.

Operating system and options. Here’s where we get into the religious wars, so I will say it plainly: both Android and iOS are excellent operating systems. Android is like a racy sports car while iOS is a comfortable sedan.

In general, Android offers greater flexibility and customization options while iOS limits choices. Although flexibility is great, it can create complexity and a steeper learning curve. The Samsung device has many little options, with names like “Direct call” or “Palm swipe to capture.” I’m sure all of these choices and options are important, but with names like that, it’s hard to say.

As with most people in business, I have little interest in spending the time needed to explore lots of configurations and jargon.

Apps and software. In general, major apps tend to be available for both Android and iOS with similar functionality. However, if you need specialized apps or features, they may not be available on both platforms.

Importantly, check with your IT department to see if they require one platform or the other. Some organizations standardize on a single platform and build dedicated apps for that operating system alone.

In summary, both platforms support general-purpose apps equally well but Apple has greater richness and depth than Android.

Security. Both Apple and Samsung use a fingerprint sensor to secure their phones. Samsung offers additional options, including facial recognition and an iris scanner, but does not have Apple’s reputation for tight security. Samsung does not enable data encryption by default; it’s a separate switch that you must manually configure.

Seduction and passion

Phone size, screen quality, and better connectivity became determining factors in my Samsung seduction, even though neither the iPhone nor the Galaxy S8 are perfect.

To summarize, the Galaxy S8 hardware is superior to the iPhone 7 Plus while its software is good enough. With this combination, the move to Samsung is consummated and complete.

Switching is a hassle, but I’m comfortable with my choice so far. Of course, we will see what happens in the fall when Apple releases its next iPhone. In the meantime, I’m selling my Apple Watch (which does not work with Android) and deciding which fitness tracker to buy next.

Which do YOU think is better – the iPhone or Galaxy S8? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

The Eclipse Foundation’s annual release train, featuring simultaneous updates to dozens of projects, has just arrived, featuring preliminary Java 9 support. Called Oxygen, the release train covers 83 projects and includes 71 million lines of code.

Here are the key updates in Oxygen:

  • Java 9 support remains in beta stage, because Java 9 itself will not be made available until Java Development Kit 9 ships on September 21. Oxygen’s Java 9 support includes the ability to add the Java Runtime Environment for Java 9 as the installed JRE as well as backing for the Java 9 execution environment. Developers also can create Java and plug-in projects using Java 9 and compile modules that are part of a Java project. Eclipse’s signature Java IDE has been enhanced as well, with improvements to the UI.
  • Eclipse Linux Tools 6.0 updates Docker Tools with more security options. This project provides a C/C++ IDE for Linux developers.
  • Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) 5.0 supports the 7.1 version of PHP, which offers nullable types and a void return type.
  • The Eclipse Sirius 5.0 platform for building domain-specific modeling tools, with usability enhancements.
  • Eclipse EGit 4.8.0, offering performance and usability for the Java implementation of Git code management integration for Eclipse.

Focused on open source tools, Eclipse has offered annual release trains every June since 2006, letting developers coordinate upgrades or new releases of multiple projects. Last year’s release train, Neon, offered tools for Docker and JavaScript. June 2018’s release is slated to be called Neon.

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

Like FreeBSD Jails and Solaris Zones, Linux containers are self-contained execution environments—with their own, isolated CPU, memory, block I/O, and network resources—that share the kernel of the host operating system. The result is something that feels like a virtual machine, but sheds all the weight and startup overhead of a guest operating system.

In a large-scale system, running VMs would mean you are probably running many duplicate instances of the same OS and many redundant boot volumes. Because containers are more streamlined and lightweight compared to VMs, you may be able to run six to eight times as many containers as VMs on the same hardware.

In an application environment that has web-scale requirements, containers are an appealing proposition compared to traditional server virtualization.

To understand containers, we have to start with Linux cgroups and namespaces, the Linux kernel features that create the walls between containers and other processes running on the host. Linux namespaces, originally developed by IBM, wrap a set of system resources and present them to a process to make it look like they are dedicated to that process.

June 29, 2017 brianradio2016

Network World | Jun 28, 2017

Network World’s Brandon Butler checks in from Las Vegas, where this week’s Cisco Live is under way. The big story: Cisco’s efforts to move from hardware to software, security and “intent-based networking.”

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June 28, 2017 brianradio2016

A San Francisco-based start-up is creating a line of Linux-based laptops and mobile devices designed with hardware and software to safeguard user privacy.

Purism this week announced general availability of its 13-in. and 15-in. Librem laptops, which it says can protect users against the types of cyberattacks that led to the recent Intel AMT exploits and WannaCry ransomware attacks.

The laptop and other hardware in development has been “meticulously designed chip by chip to work with free and open source software.”

“It’s really a completely overlooked area,” said Purism CEO Todd Weaver. “We also wanted to start with laptops because that was something we knew we’d be able to do easily and then later get into phones, routers, servers, and desktops as we expand.”