February 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Since November, leaders in Silicon Valley have been trapped in an uneasy détente, pussyfooting around a president-elect who opposes the tech industry on myriad key issues. While their employees organized and protested, most tech execs remained silent or issued platitudes about cooperation.

When Silicon Valley leaders were summoned to the White House for a tech summit in December, Kara Swisher berated them for climbing the “Trumplethinskin Tower” in silence. “Now [they] have to become reality show star[s] in a new episode of ‘The Apprentice: Nerd Edition,’ bowing and scraping to that luddite Trump, who will probably simultaneously berate [them] in person and bully [them] on Twitter later with a lot of poop emoticons,” she wrote.

After denouncing the “symphony of compromise,” Swisher excoriated the execs to “realize again that you have the smarts and invention and the innovative spirit to do whatever you like. Realize you have untold money and power and influence and massive platforms to do what you think is right. Realize that you are inventing the frigging future.”

Trump disagrees with the tech industry on net neutrality, encryption, privacy, trade, and many social issues. Venture capitalist Sam Altman cautioned: “Think now about what action President Trump might take that you would consider crossing a line — and write it down.”

February 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2017 software development platform will be officially released on March 7, the company said on Thursday.

Currently a release candidate and previously called Visual Studio 15, the upgrade focuses on code navigation and fixes, refactoring, IntelliSense code editing, and debugging. For teams and devops, it offers real-time features like architectural dependency validation and live unit testing.

Visual Studio 2017 is faster and has been made modular. It focuses on deploying applications and services on the Azure cloud and working with Microsoft’s fledgling Universal Windows Platform, a paradigm providing for multi-form factor Windows 10 application development. The upgrade also highlights Node.js server-side JavaScript development and C++ capabilities for Linux, mobile applications, and games. The platform also features Apache Cordova tools for mobile development with JavaScript.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Visual Studio. On January 28, 1997, Microsoft announced the planned launch of Visual Studio 1997, which featured Internet Explorer, Visual Basic 5.0, Visual J for Java development, and other tools. The toolset these days extends across cloud and mobile development and spans the Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and Mac OS platforms.

February 10, 2017 brianradio2016

Not sure what your phone is collecting about you? A free Android app is promising to simplify the privacy settings on your smartphone, and stop any unwanted data collection.

The English language app, called Privacy Assistant, comes from a team at Carnegie Mellon University, which built it after six years of research studying digital privacy.  

“It’s very clear that a large percentage of people are not willing to give their data to any random app,” said CMU professor Norman Sadeh. “They want to be more selective with their data, so this assistant will help them do that.”

Their Privacy Assistant is designed to automatically modify your phone’s privacy settings for you, based on your views about certain types of data collection.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

The first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina is now fully operational even though the state’s top politicians wanted President Donald Trump to nix the $400 million project because they said it’s a national security threat.

Avangrid Renewables today announced the wind farm, sporting 104 turbines that are 50-stories tall, is now generating 670 megawatt hours (MWh), enough electricity for 61,000 homes. The wind farm is located in the northern part of the state and was built out across farm lands.

North Carolina Wind farm Avangrid Renewables

One of 106 wind turbines under construction as part a 670MWh farm that will power Amazon’s Virginia data centers.

Amazon is buying electricity from the new wind farm to power its Virginia data centers. The North Carolina facility is one of three new wind and solar projects Amazon announced as part of its AWS sustainability project that is now delivering energy onto the electric grid that power its data centers.

After a development and permitting process that began in 2009, Avangrid Renewables began building the North Carolina wind farm in the summer of 2015.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

A Microsoft lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over indefinite gag orders attached to search warrants can proceed, following a federal judge’s ruling on Thursday.

The tech titan sued last year to end the government’s practice of indefinitely blocking it from informing customers of search warrants for their information. Microsoft alleged that such orders violate its First Amendment frees speech rights and the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of its users.

The Justice Department argued that Microsoft couldn’t bring either of the claims in a motion argued in front of the judge two weeks ago.

Judge James Robart from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington said Microsoft’s First Amendment claims could proceed, but its Fourth Amendment claims could not.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

According to the most recent Gartner forecast, there will be more than 8.4 billion internet connected things in use worldwide in 2017, with total spending on endpoints and services rocketing to almost $2 trillion.

When we think of IoT we usually don’t look beyond small, connected devices. But when I look at IoT, I see three core components:

  1. The user facing devices (hardware)
  2. Data centers running services for these devices

  3. Software running on these devices

It should not come as a surprise that Linux is a dominant player in the latter two categories. Most data centers and cloud, irrespective of whether its public cloud or private cloud, run on Linux. Most IoT devices run some form of Linux based operating system.

This translates into one thing: Linux is at the heart of the IoT revolution.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

Microsoft has been stuck on the 400 million mark for Windows 10 for more than four months, as the head of the company’s operating systems group yesterday repeated the milestone when he spoke to developers.

“We now have over 400 million users all around the world. This is consumers, people in schools, people in the enterprise,” Terry Meyerson, who leads all Windows efforts, said at a developer’s day Wednesday that was also webcast by the company.

Yesterday’s number was first announced by Microsoft in September 2016.

The lack of change in Microsoft’s claim about Windows 10 illustrated the slower adoption pace since the company ended a free upgrade program, and in hindsight, demonstrated the firm’s foresight in retreating from a self-professed goal of having it on one billion devices by next year.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

We don’t know what KB 2952664 (for Windows 7) and KB 2976978 (for Windows 8.1) actually do. But both patches have been shown in the past to trigger a new Windows task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun.

The patches appeared in the Automatic Update chute earlier todayas Optional, so they won’t be installed unless you specifically check and install them. But in the past, the Optional versions have been converted rapidly to Recommended, and thus installed on most machines. The last release of KB 2952664 went from Optional to Recommend in a week.

Microsoft’s descriptions of the patches are quite bland:

This update performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. The diagnostics evaluate the compatibility status of the Windows ecosystem, and help Microsoft to ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows. There is no GWX or upgrade functionality contained in this update.

GWX, of course, is Microsoft’s malware-like “Get Windows 10” campaign that plagued Windows 7 and 8.1 users last year.

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

Apple’s next three models of the iPhone — the iPhone 8 and two updated versions of  iPhone 7 — will sport a long-awaited feature: wireless charging, according to an industry analyst with a track record of being right about the company’s plans.

The new iPhone models, which are expected to come in 4.7-in, 5.5-in and 5.8-in form factors when released later this year, will also sport a new 3D Touch feature and an OLED display, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, a financial analyst for KGI Securities.

3D Touch allows users to press harder on the screen to launch actions, such as replying to messages or animating live photos, instead of only selecting applications.

Kuo also expects the iPhone 8 — if that’s what Apple decides to call the new model (see artist rendering above) — to come in an all-glass case, with a flexible, “thinner form factor.”

February 9, 2017 brianradio2016

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This story, “38% Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.