March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

Get powerful performance, stunning 4K and HDR picture quality, and an advanced remote for an amazing streaming experience. The new Roku Premiere+ is for HD & 4K Ultra HD TVs. It delivers ultra-smooth quad-core streaming, brilliant 4K resolution at 60fps, vibrant HDR color, access to 450,000+ movies and TV episodes across 4,500+ paid or free channels, and a handy point anywhere remote.  The Roku Premiere+ list price has been reduced a significant 21% to $79. See the deal now on Amazon.

This story, “21% off Roku Premiere+ Streaming Media Player – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

Beginning with iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, Apple added an unprecedented level of integration between the two platforms. With subsequent releases of both iOS and OS X, this integration has become much better and more reliable.

While initially I found it hard to adopt this into my workflow – partly because I had kludgy workflows in place to try to make switching between the two work – I’ve found that once I’d gone through the process of starting something on my iPad and then switching the Mac a few times, it became second nature.

This is definitely a powerful feature, and once you master if, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use it before.

March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

What does a company dealing with controversy want most? Not more problems, that is for sure.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what Uber just got, after one of its self-driving cars was involved in a crash. But what happened, and what does this mean for the company’s longterm plans?

In IT Blogwatch, we find out what Uber has in common with Herbie.

So what is going on? Marisa Kendell has some background:

March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

VMware’s vSphere 6.5 virtualization platform fixes many issues we had with vSphere 6.0 and delivers significant improvements in management, security and high availability. There are also first steps toward vSphere-Docker integration.

Upgrading and in some cases installing vSphere 6.0 used to be arduous; the good news is that is no longer the case. Our Lenovo server upgraded with ease. Our HPE Gen8 and Gen9 servers required a different ISO, but installed without drama. An ancient Dell 1950 appears not to be able to upgrade past 6.0, so be sure to so check moldy hardware for compatibility.

The biggest news for day-to-day administrators is the new vCenter Server appliance, and it’s breathtakingly more evolved than prior versions. It’s worth the price of the upgrade for the sheer functional and aesthetic value.

The vCenter app, formerly run under or as an appliance VM, is the administrative heart of vSphere. The spot on the wall marked vSphere 6.0, where we beat our heads against it, will be painted over.

March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

A senior U.K. official is asking that law enforcement be given access to encrypted messages on WhatsApp and similar services, a demand that is likely to fuel an ongoing debate over whether companies should create backdoors into their encryption technologies for investigators.

Khalid Masood, the terrorist who killed four people outside Parliament on Wednesday, had sent a message on WhatsApp shortly before the attack, according to reports.

“We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

“It used to be that people would steam open envelopes or just listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what people were doing, legally, through warranty,” she said. “But on this situation, we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.”

March 27, 2017 brianradio2016

A vulnerability in a JSON-based web encryption protocol could allow attackers to retrieve private keys. Cryptography experts have advised against developers using JSON Web Encryption (JWE) in their applications in the past, and this vulnerability illustrates those very dangers.

Software libraries implementing the JWE, or RFC 7516, specification suffer from a classic Invalid Curve Attack, wrote Antonio Sanso, a senior software engineer at Adobe Research Switzerland and part of the Adobe Experience Manager security team. The JSON Web Token (JWT) is a JSON-based open standard defined in the OAuth specification family used for creating access tokens, and JWE is a set of signing and encryption methods for JWT. Developers using JWE with Key Agreement with Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman Ephemeral Static (ECDH-ES) are affected.

A quick primer in elliptic curve cryptography is in order to understand the Invalid Curve Attack. ECC is a way to calculate public-private key pairs based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over a finite data set. The order of the elliptic curve is big enough that it becomes difficult for an attacker to try to guess the private key. ECDH-E is a key exchange mechanism based on elliptic curves, and it’s used by websites to provide perfect forward secrecy in SSL.

The Invalid Curve Attack lets attackers take advantage of a mathematical mistake in the curve’s formula to find a smaller curve. Because the order of the smaller elliptic curve is more manageable, attackers can build malicious JWEs to extract the value of the secret key and perform the operation multiple times to collect more information about the key.

March 26, 2017 brianradio2016

Show me an Android tablet and I’ll show you a device that has yet to live up to its full potential. Google’s Play Store lacks a wide selection of apps that support a tablet’s larger display, with most apps only expanding the phone interface, in turn looking horrible on the smaller screen.

In addition to the lack of quality apps, Android tablets have lacked key accessories such as a keyboard.

For the most part, Android tablets have been relegated to a device used to catch up on Netflix or to entertain kids with games.

Samsung’s $599 Galaxy Tab S3 is the Korean’s company latest attempt to change that narrative. Well, as much as it can. After all, the company can’t force third-party developers to build apps for a tablet. But Samsung has built a stylus and keyboard for the Tab S3, both of which go a long way in making it useful.

After using the Tab S3 for just over a week, it’s clear Samsung set the standard for Android tablets. This Tab S3 is the best Android-based tablet I’ve used, for work and play.

In short: Business users who can’t or simply refuse to use Apple products will find the Tab S3 a capable alternative to the iPad Pro.

Specifications of the Galaxy Tab S3:

Top ZDNET Reviews

Dimensions: 237.3 x 169.0 x 6.0mm
Display: 9.7-inch Super AMOLED (2048×1536) w/HDR playback support
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Storage: 32 GB with microSD support up to 256GB
Memory: 4GB
Camera: 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel front-facing
Video: 4K UDH at 30fps
Ports: USB Type-C
Fingerprint: Yes
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE optional, GPS
Battery: 6,000mAh w/Fast Charging
Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
Samsung Services: Samsung S-Pen, Samsung Air Command, Samsung Flow, Samsung Smart Switch

A familiar design

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-3.jpg Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The first time I picked up the Tab S3 the fit and finish of an iPad came to mind, and that observation still holds (save for the Tab S3’s glass back).

Just below the 9.7-inch display is a home button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. The button is flanked by a multitasking button on the left and a back button on the right.

On the right side of the tablet is where you find the microSD slot, volume up and down buttons, and the power button. On the left side of the frame is where you find the Pogo connector for interfacing with accessories such as a keyboard.

A USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack are along the bottom of the frame.

All about that S Pen

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-5.jpg

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-5.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Every Tab S3 comes with a super-sized S Pen stylus for jotting notes or sketching ideas on the tablet’s display. Unlike the Apple Pencil, the S Pen lacks a battery or any sort of Bluetooth pairing process.

Much like the S Pen’s functionality on the Galaxy Note smartphone line, you hold the S Pen above the display and the tablet automatically recognizes it is present.

With the press of a button on the side of the S Pen you can activate Air Commands. A series of round dots are shown, giving you the option to do things such as take a screenshot or create a note.

For example, using an Air Command you can take a screenshot then annotate it with the S Pen before sharing it as a means of providing feedback to a colleague.

Unlike the Note lineup, the S Pen on the Tab S3 is the size of a normal pen.

As someone who owns an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I was skeptical about how often I would use the S Pen. I hardly ever use the Apple Pencil, save for an occasional stick figure doodle in the Notes app out of sheer boredom.

However, the Tab S3’s screen-off memo feature made the S Pen a valuable tool. The feature works just as its name implies, you can jot down some notes without having to wake and unlock the tablet. Your note is then saved to Samsung’s Notes app.

I used this feature repeatedly to quickly write down an idea or create a list without much effort.

Keyboard

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-1.jpg

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-1.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

A physical keyboard for the Tab S3 is an optional accessory that will set you back $129. And really, it’s something you need to buy in order to crank out emails or edit Word docs on the tablet.

Samsung’s virtual keyboard is good, but there’s a lot to be said about a physical keyboard attached to a device that translates into productivity.

That said, the Samsung Keyboard Case is cramped, and its small keys are something I’m still trying to adjust to.

Just like Apple’s Keyboard Cover, Samsung has done away with any sort of Bluetooth connection and battery. Instead, the keyboard is powered by a Pogo connector that pulls double-duty as a means for the keyboard to communicate with the tablet.

Despite struggling to adjust to its size, I have used the Tab S3 quite frequently to reply to emails and type several documents.

While it’s not likely to be a huge selling point for the keyboard case, but Samsung includes an optional loop with each keyboard to hold the S Pen when not in use.

Personally, I prefer the shallow keys and roomier feel of Apple’s Smart Keyboard to that of Samsung’s Keyboard Case.

Performance and battery life

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-4.jpg

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-4.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Adding an S Pen and keyboard to the Tab S3 puts it firmly in the class of a productivity device, instead of something designed solely for watching movies.

Speaking of watching movies, the Tab S3’s display is stunning. It is HDR-ready for whenever streaming apps such as Amazon or Netflix begin offering the service.

The overall performance of the Tab S3 with its year old Snapdragon 820 processor was with few hiccups during my time testing.

The most prominent and noticeable slowdown of the device occurred nearly every time I used the keyboard shortcut of Alt-Tab to quickly switch between apps. Either the initial view of open apps would take a few seconds to show up, or quickly cycling through apps would cause the tablet to freeze then suddenly catch up to my commands.

The same lag isn’t present when using the tablet’s multitasking button.

Using Android Nougat’s split screen feature to run two apps at the same time ran without issue. In fact, Android’s overall multitasking implementation on a tablet with split screen apps and the mechanism for selecting a second app is something Apple should take into consideration for iOS 11.

Samsung estimates 12 hours of use on a single charge, and I found that to be true. Standby time was also impressive, with the tablet’s battery only dipping slightly after a couple of days sitting in my bag.

Conclusion

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-2.jpg

samsung-galaxy-tab-s3-2.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 is a worthy contender to the iPad Pro for Android fans. It is reliable, offers similar battery life, and the addition of the S Pen and additional features can’t be overlooked.

It’s unfortunate Android tablets are still plagued with a lack of high-quality apps. Although, Microsoft’s Office suite of apps (that come preinstalled on the Tab S3), Slack, and Outlook fulfill many of the expectations and requirements of an enterprise user.

Some have argued the Tab S3 is overpriced at $599, considering the keyboard isn’t included.

At the starting price of $599, you have to consider the inclusion of the S Pen — something Apple charges $99 for for the same size iPad Pro that starts at the same $599 — and the ability to expand storage through a microSD card items that justify the price.

Is it expensive for an Android tablet? You bet. But this isn’t just another Android tablet.

March 26, 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 40% to $35.79, a deal that is exclusive to Amazon. Learn more, or take advantage of the deal now, on Amazon.

This story, “40% off TurboTax Deluxe 2016 Tax Software Federal & State – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

March 25, 2017 brianradio2016

Here's how to wipe your old iPad/iPhone/iPod touch ready for resale

I’ve been asked several times over the past few days about how to wipe an iPad ready for resale (presumably because Apple has a new iPad out). Instead of repeating myself over and over, I thought that a post was in order.

It’s in fact dead easy.

Tip: Remember to do a backup via iTunes first … there’s no going back from a wipe!

  1. If you paired an Apple Watch with your iPhone, first unpair your Apple Watch from within the Apple Watch app.
  2. Back up your iOS device (this is vitally important if you might want to restore the device or load your data onto a new device).
  3. Go to Settings > iCloud > Sign Out (for iOS 7 or earlier, tap on Delete Account). Follow the prompts.
  4. Sign out of the iTunes & App Store by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.
  5. Now you’re ready to erase your device. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. You need to enter your Apple ID and password.
  6. If asked for your device passcode or restrictions passcode, you will need to enter it, and then tap Erase [device name].
  7. And you’re done!

If it has been so long since you last used your device that you’ve forgotten the passcode or restrictions passcode, it’s still possible to wipe the device, either remotely or using iTunes by following these simple instructions.

See also: