Patch to fix Intel-based PCs with enterprise bug rolls out this week

Intel is also offering a tool to help IT administrators discover machines built with the vulnerability

Intel

PC vendors this week will start rolling out patches that fix a severe vulnerability found in certain Intel-based business systems, including laptops, making them easier to hack.

Intel on Friday released a new notice urging clients to take steps to secure their systems.

The chipmaker has also released a downloadable tool that can help IT administrators and users discover whether a machine they own has the vulnerability.

In addition, vendors including Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo have released lists showing which products are affected and when the patches will roll out.

The products include laptops from Lenovo’s ThinkPad line and HP’s EliteBook series, along with servers, and desktops. Some of the patches are slated to come in June.

Computers running enterprise management features found in Intel-based firmware from the past eight years will have the bug.

Specifically, the vulnerability resides in past versions of Intel Active Management Technology, Intel Small Business Technology, and Intel Standard Manageability.

Fortunately, the vulnerability can only be exploited if these features have been enabled, according to security firm Embedi, which uncovered the bug.

These enterprise features were designed to help businesses remotely manage, track and repair huge fleets of connected computers, including retail checkout systems, digital signs, and PCs.

However, Intel’s firmware bug could allow a hacker to take over the PCs and devices that use these remote management technologies, the chipmaker said.

In March, Intel learned about the vulnerability from a researcher at Embedi, a security product provider.

On Friday, Embedi released more technical details about the Intel firmware bug, saying it could be exploited to remotely control a machine’s mouse and keyboard and even turn the computer on or off.

“Which means, you can remotely load, execute any program to the target system,” Embedi said.

The vulnerability also bypasses the machine’s authentication processes, so no knowledge of the password is needed, Embedi said.

Until the patch becomes available, Intel is recommending users manually apply temporary fixes to address the threat. Users can also contact Intel’s.

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The next 5 years in A.I. will be frenetic, says Intel A.I. chief

Companies are jostling to claim a spot in A.I. before the industry steadies.

170510 rao 1

Research into artificial intelligence is going gangbusters, and the frenetic pace won’t let up for about five years — after which the industry will concentrate around a handful of core technologies and leaders, the head of Intel’s new A.I. division predicts.

Intel is keen to be among them. In March, it formed an Artificial Intelligence Products Group headed by Naveen Rao. He previously was CEO of Nervana Systems, a deep-learning startup Intel acquired in 2016. Rao sees the industry moving at breakneck speed.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “You go three weeks without reading a paper and you’re behind. It’s just amazing.”

It wasn’t so long ago that artificial intelligence research was solely the domain of university research labs, but tech companies have stormed into the space in the last couple of years and sent technical hurdles tumbling.

“We’ve hit upon a set of fundamental principles, and now we can really get to that point where we can innovate and iterate quickly on them and build really new cool things,” he said.

Rao likened it to the development of concrete. It took a while for humans to invent and perfect concrete, but once that happened, all sorts of things suddenly became possible.

“That’s why I think the next five or six years are going to be really, really fast moving. It will stabilize at that point after we figure out what the stack looks like and who the players are in the stack,” he said.

Intel’s new A.I. group represents its biggest step yet toward being one of those leaders. The group brings together all of the company’s hardware and software research tied to machine learning, algorithms and deep learning.

While Intel is best known as a chip maker, its A.I. research also includes software packages that help developers add A.I. capabilities to Intel-based hardware. By doing some of the software work, Intel aims to make it easier for its customers to build A.I.-based systems. That, in turn, will help it sell hardware.

The company does something similar in other areas of its business. One of the areas it’s already focused on is self-driving cars. The vehicles use artificial intelligence to make split-second decisions about how to navigate roads and are a good example of a research area that’s seen rapid progress.

Intel autonomous driving Martyn Williams
A car used by Intel to test the company’s autonomous driving technology as seen on May 3, 2017 in San Jose, California.

A lot of Intel’s competition comes from the big tech companies of Silicon Valley. The U.S. is one of the biggest players in A.I., thanks to companies like Google and Facebook, and Rao also credits Canada and the U.K. as pioneers. But China is beginning to make its presence felt.

“I was in China a few months ago. It’s really taking off,” he said. “The folks there are very hungry to build these kinds of things, and the skill sets are building up really quick, so I think in the next couple of years you’ll start seeing China be a major player.”

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What is blockchain? The most disruptive tech in decades

The distributed ledger technology, better known as blockchain, has the potential to eliminate huge amounts of record-keeping, save money and disrupt IT in ways not seen since the internet arrived.

the word

Blockchain is poised to change IT in much the same way open-source software did a quarter of a century ago. And in the same way that Linux took more than a decade to become a cornerstone in modern application development, Blockchain will take years to become a lower cost, more efficient way to share information between open and private networks.

But the hype around this seemingly new, secure electronic ledger is real. In essence, blockchain represents a new paradigm for the way information is shared and tech vendors and companies are rushing to figure out how they can use the distributed ledger technology to save time and admin costs. Numerous companies this year have been rolling out pilot programs and real-world projects across a variety of industries – everything from financial services to healthcare to mobile payments.

It’s unlikely to be a wholly disruptive technology that attacks traditional business models with a lower-cost solution that overtakes other networking technology quickly, according to Karim Lakhani, a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. Instead, Blockchain is a foundational technology, with the potential to create new foundations for economic and social systems, Lakhani said in The Truth About Blockchain, which he co-authored.

Blockchain adoption is expected be slow and steady, as the changes it brings gain momentum, according Lakhani, a principal investigator of the Crowd Innovation Lab and NASA Tournament Lab at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science. “Conceptionally, this is TCP/IP applied to the world of business and transactions,” Lakhani said in an interview. “In the ’70s and ’80s, TCP/IP was not imaginable to be as robust and scalable as it was. Now, we know that TCP/IP allows us all this modern functionality that we take for granted on the web.

“Blockchain has the same potential.”

What is blockchain?

First and foremost, Blockchain is a public electronic ledger – similar to a relational database – that can be openly shared among disparate users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block (hence the name), and it allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. Each block is linked to a specific participant.

Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased. The blockchain contains a true and verifiable record of each and every transaction ever made in the system.

The Linux Foundation has created tools for building out blockchain collaboration networks. And in July, the open-source developer unveiled Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a collaboration tool for building blockchain distributed ledger business networks, such as smart contracts.

Why is blockchain now getting so much buzz? In a word, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the wildly hyped cryptocurrency, a method of transacting payments over an open network using digital bits and encryption. It was the first ever decentralized one when it was created in 2009. Other forms of cryptocurrency or virtual money, such as Ether (based on the Ethereum blockchain application platform), have also sprung up and have opened new venues for cross-border monetary exchanges.

The term bitcoin was first… well, coined in 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto (likely a pseudonym for one or more developers) wrote a paper about a “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

What does blockchain do?

As a peer-to-peer network, combined with a distributed time-stamping server, blockchain databases can be managed autonomously to exchange information between disparate parties. There’s no need for an administrator. In effect, the blockchain users are the administrator.

Additionally, blockchain networks can be used for “smart contracts,” or scripts that automatically execute when certain conditions are met. For example, users of Ethereum’s Ether exchange must meet pre-determined conditions that prove someone owns the cryptocurrency and have authority to send the money they claim to own. In addition, multiple blockchain users can create contracts that require more than one set of inputs to trigger a transaction.

One example: real estate transactions require sign offs between buyers, sellers and their financial institutions.

How is blockchain secure?

While no system is “unhackable,” blockchain’s simple topology is the most secure today, according to Alex Tapscott, the CEO and founder of Northwest Passage Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in blockchain technology companies.

“In order to move anything of value over any kind of blockchain, the network [of nodes] must first agree that that transaction is valid, which means no single entity can go in and say one way or the other whether or not a transaction happened,” Tapscott said. “To hack it, you wouldn’t just have to hack one system like in a bank…, you’d have to hack every single computer on that network, which is fighting against you doing that.”

The computing resources of most blockchains are tremendous, Tapscott said, because it’s not just one computer but many. For example, the Bitcoin blockchain harnesses anywhere between 10 and 100 times as much computing power compared to all of Google’s serving farms put together.

“So again, [it’s] not un-hackable, but significantly better than anything we’ve come up with today,” Tapscott said.

Public vs. private blockchains

There are a variety of blockchain permutations, and they fall mainly into one of two categories – public or private. Public blockchains allow anyone to see or send transactions as long as they’re part of the consensus process. There are also consortium blockchains, where only a pre-selected number of nodes are authorized to use the ledger. For example, a group of banks and their clearinghouse might use blockchain as part of the trade-clearing, where each node is associated with a step in the verification process.

Private blockchains, in contrast, restrict the ability to write to a distributed ledger to one organization, such as a group of employees within a corporation, or between a set number of organizations, such as a number of banks that agree to a network partnership.

Along the way, blockchain – because of its self-policing security – eliminates huge amounts of record keeping, which can get very confusing when multiple parties are involved in a transaction, according to Saurabh Gupta, vice president of strategy at IT services company Genpact.

What industries use blockchain?

Shipping. Fintech. Healthcare. Blockchains are being put to a wide variety of uses in several industries. In shipping, for example, a bill of lading for cargo shipments has traditionally been paper based, which requires multiple sign-offs by inspectors and receivers before goods can be delivered. Even when the system is electronic, it still requires multiple parties to sign off on cargo shipments, creating a lengthy administrative process. To try and streamline that cumbersome process, the world’s largest container shipment operator, Maersk, recently announced it is using a blockchain-based ledger to manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers by digitizing the supply chain.

Each participant in the shipping supply chain can view the progress of goods through the blockchain ledger, understanding where a container is in transit. They can also see the status of customs documents, or view bills of lading and other data in real time. And, because it creates an immutable record, no one party can modify, delete or even append any one of the blocks without the consensus from others on the network.

“Blockchain and distributed ledgers may eventually be the method for integrating the entire commercial world’s record keeping,” Gupta said.

Genpact, for example, announced a service for finance and accounting that leverages blockchain-based smart contracts to capture all terms and conditions between a customer and an organization for an order.

Blockchain in FinTech

Accenture recently released a report claiming blockchain technology could reduce infrastructure costs for eight of the world’s 10 largest investment banks by an average of 30%, “translating to $8 billion to $12 billion in annual cost savings for those banks.”

In the case of cross-border payments, processing is often complex and includes multiple layers of communication among payment participants to verify transactions – an operation known as payment and settlement.

Payments, clearance and settlement in the financial services industry – including stock markets – is rife with inefficiencies because each organization in the process maintains its own data and must communicate with the others through electronic messaging about where it is in the process. As a result, settlements typically take two days. Those delays in settlements force banks to set aside money that could otherwise be invested.

Because it can instantly share data with each organization involved in a blockchain database or ledger, the technology reduces or eliminates the need for reconciliation, confirmation and trade break analysis. That helps yield a more efficient and effective clearance and settlement process, according to Accenture.

J.P. Morgan has created what is arguably one of the largest blockchain payments networks to date: the Interbank Information Network (IIN). The financial services company announced that the Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. have joined INN, “representing significant cross-border payment volumes.”

J.P. Morgan created the blockchain network to significantly reduce the number of participants needed to respond to compliance and other data-related inquiries that can delay payments.

“IIN will enhance the client experience, decreasing the amount of time – from weeks to hours – and costs associated with resolving payment delays,” said Emma Loftus, Head of Global Payments and FX at J.P. Morgan Treasury Services. “Blockchain capabilities have allowed us to rethink how critical information can be sourced and exchanged between global banks.”

Mastercard, meanwhile, is launching its own blockchain network to enable partner banks and merchants to make cross-border payments faster and more securely. The Mastercard blockchain service can be used to clear credit card transactions and eliminate administration tasks using smart contract rules, thus, speeding up transaction settlement.

Blockchain and mobile payments

Prior to rolling out a blockchain-based electronic exchange, peer-to-peer foreign exchange provider KlickEx was limited in scale by the company’s own infrastructure; it served about 1 million users per day across eight countries, or about 80% of households in its Pacific region. Today, the monetary exchange handles about 90% to 95% of all electronic payments for the region that are for $200 or less. When not overtaxed, the old KlickEx exchange system was able to clear payments in between 90 and 200 seconds. But a common processing issue often slowed the process: payments received would outpace payments issued, forcing the exchange to use batch processing. That caused payments to enter queues and created a delay that could take days.

A new blockchain-based payment system that KlickEx has created can process cross-border payments in seconds.

The Polynesian payments system provider partnered with IBM to create an open-source payment network as a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger. The new network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“In bringing IBM in to mature the technology, we think we’re pushing something like 8 million…payments per day capacity, which is a long way up from where we started,” KlickEx CEO Robert Bell said. “So the new real-time system based on blockchain means payment happens immediately, rather than in batch files.”

Blockchain in healthcare

Blockchain can also act as a collaboration network, enabling varying parties to exchange and add to information, such as a patient’s electronic healthcare record, in real time. The blockchain acts as a verification tool, ensuring only those authorized users — such as a physician, insurance provider or patient — to make changes to the ledger.

MintHealth, a portable, personal health record, was recently announced as a mobile platform based on a blockchain exchange. MintHealth will be rolling out the platform to commercial health insurance plans to help patients with chronic conditions, such as heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions that account for more than 90% of healthcare costs today. In addition, patients at risk for, but not yet suffering from, chronic conditions will also benefit by having access to their medical records and control of their own health data by entering data such as vital signs or blood glucose levels.

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How to use Google Drive for collaboration

Sharing files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is an easy and effective way to collaborate with others. Here’s how to do it.

Google Drive logo

Many people think of Google Drive as a cloud storage and sync service, and it is that — but it also encompasses a suite of online office apps that are comparable with Microsoft Office. Google Docs (the word processor), Google Sheets (the spreadsheet app) and Google Slides (the presentation app) can import and export Microsoft Office files, and you can use them to work together with colleagues on a document, spreadsheet or presentation, in real time if you wish.

Here are the essentials to know in order to effectively use Google Drive’s office suite to collaborate.

Sharing and access options

Google Drive gives you fine-tuned control over who can see your files and what they can do with them.

Public vs. private sharing

There are two ways you can share a Google Drive document, spreadsheet or presentation with other people. (For simplicity’s sake we’ll just say “document” from now on, but the same steps apply to spreadsheets and presentations.)

Publicly: Anyone can access your document by clicking a link to it. No sign-in is required. You can give out this link to anyone, or publish the link on a website or message board.

Privately: You enter an email address for each collaborator. Google Drive will email each person a link. Only the people who receive the email can click the link to access your document.

To edit or comment on a private document, your collaborators must have a Google account. If any of your collaborators already has a Gmail account, then they can immediately collaborate as long as they’re signed into their account. Anyone who doesn’t will have to register for a user account using a current email address, which doesn’t need to be a Gmail one.

Viewing vs. commenting vs. editing

Regardless of whether you publicly or privately share a document, you can choose one of three ways as to how other people can interact with it.

View: Others will only be able to scroll through and read your document.

Comment: Others will be able to add comments but not change the body of the document.

Edit: Others will be able to actually edit the document (change text, add images, etc.) and share the file with others.

You can combine the sharing and interaction options any way you choose — for instance, you can share a document publicly and grant view permissions only, or you can share it privately and grant comment permissions. With private sharing, you can give some people view permissions and let others comment or edit the document.

Less common scenarios are public sharing with commenting or editing enabled. Why would you ever want to publicly share a document and let anyone comment on it? Maybe, for example, you want to gather opinions about a rough draft of a presentation. So you share a public link to it on a message board for colleagues in your line of work, inviting them to comment.

As for why you would allow public editing access, a plausible scenario might be if a collaborator you know doesn’t wish to register their email address with Google for some reason. Without a Google account, they can’t be granted private access. Under this circumstance, you should only enable public access to edit at the time when this person will be online to edit your document. As soon as they are finished, you should disable public access with edit capabilities.

How to share a document for collaboration

From the main page of your Google Drive user account (listed under the heading My Drive), click the file name of the document you want to share so that it’s highlighted in blue.

To share publicly: Click the link icon (it looks like a chain) on the toolbar above the list of your folders and files. A panel will open, showing you a web link. You can copy and paste this link to share with other people. By default, they will only be able to view your file when they visit this link.

Google Drive collaboration get public sharing link Google

To allow the public to comment on or edit this document, click “Sharing settings.” This will open a “Share with others” panel. In the first gray box, click to change “Anyone with the link can view” to “…can edit” or “…can comment.”

Google Drive collaboration public sharing permissions Google

You can change a document from public to private at any time by clicking the same gray box and selecting “OFF – only specific people can access.”

Conversely, there is a way to make a document even more public. By default, when you create a shareable link, only people who have the link can access your document. But if you click that same gray box and select the “More…” link, you’ll see an option that says “On – Public on the web,” which means that your document is accessible by anyone on the internet and may turn up in Google searches. Warning: Choose this option only if you truly do want to share your document with the world.

(Note that you can additionally send private email invitations to the document from the “Share with others” panel, as detailed below.)

To share privately: Click the icon of the silhouette head with the + sign on the toolbar. This will open a simpler version of the “Share with others” panel. Type in the email addresses of the people you want to collaborate with. To the right of this entry box, you can click the gray box to grant each collaborator the ability to edit, comment, or only view. (“Can edit” is selected by default.)

Google Drive collaboration - sharing a document privately Google

If you’ve chosen to share a document privately, you can make it public at any time by clicking “Get shareable link” in the upper-right, which creates a public link and opens the same expanded version of the “Share with others” panel that we saw when public sharing was enabled.

You can use both public and private sharing options for the same document — for instance, you could allow the public to view your document but let only specific people edit or comment on it.

Clicking the “Advanced” link at the bottom of the “Share with others” panel opens an even more expanded version of the panel that makes available all the settings for enabling public or private access to your document. In addition to the sharing options outlined above, you can prevent people with view or comment permissions from downloading, printing or copying the document. You can also prevent anyone with edit permissions from sharing the file or changing its access permissions.

Google Drive collaboration - advanced sharing pane Howard Wen / IDG

There are two other ways begin sharing a document in Google Drive. From the main My Drive page, you can right-click the file name or thumbnail of your document and select “Get shareable link” or “Share…” from the panel that pops open to enable public or private sharing, respectively.

Google Drive collaboration - right-click menu

 

Howard Wen / IDG

To share a document that you’ve already opened and are currently viewing, click the blue Share button at the upper-right corner. This will pop open the simpler version of the “Share with others” panel, which you can expand as needed.

How to share from the Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps

To share a document from the mobile app version of Google Drive, tap the three dots to the right of the file name. From the panel that slides up, you can tap “Add people” to share privately; that brings up a screen where you can send email invites and set editing permissions just as with the Google Drive web app.

For public sharing, when the three-dot menu slides up, tap “Share link” (in Android) or “Get link” (in iOS) to turn on link sharing for the document. When you do so, an online link to your document is copied to your phone’s memory; you can paste it into an email, for example, to share it with others.

Google Drive collaboration - sharing from GDrive app Howard Wen / IDG

When you’re on the home screen in the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps, the sharing steps are basically the same as in the Google Drive app. When you have a document, spreadsheet or presentation open in its respective mobile app, the “Add people” icon for private sharing is located at the upper-right. To share as a public link, tap the three dots icon at the upper-right corner, and tap “Share & export” from the panel that appears.

Google Drive collaboration - sharing from Docs app Howard Wen / IDG
Sharing from within the Google Docs app. Let’s hope any collaborators spot the error in the first sentence.

Sharing status

When a document on your My Drive page is set as shared, it will have an icon of two silhouetted heads to the right of its file name to indicate this status.

Google Drive collaboration - shared file icon Howard Wen / IDG

(An oversight on the part of the Google Drive developers: If you have your My Drive page set to grid view, which shows your files and folders as thumbnails, this icon won’t appear over the thumbnail of a shared file.)

What if you’re on the receiving end: Someone has shared a document with you to collaborate on? Along the left side of your My Drive page, clicking “Shared with me” will show you a list of files that others have shared with you.

Google Drive collaboration - shared with me Howard Wen / IDG

The mobile apps use the same silhouetted heads icon to indicate a shared file and the same “Shared with me” link to show you files others have shared with you.

How to collaborate on a document

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides offer a few different ways for people to work together: comments, direct edits and suggested edits, with a few extras thrown in for real-time collaboration.

To add and review comments

Anyone who’s been granted comment or edit permissions can add comments to a document. Set the cursor in the document where you want to insert a comment. Alternately, you can highlight text or an image. Then, click the black dialog icon on the toolbar above the document.

Google Drive collaboration - add comment icon Google

A panel will open at the lower-right corner, inside which you can type your comment.

Google Drive collaboration - adding a comment

 

Howard Wen / IDG

Comment cards created by you and your collaborators appear along the right side of the document.

Google Drive collaboration - comment cards Howard Wen / IDG

Clicking the gray Comments button at the upper-right corner will open a panel listing all the comments made by you and your collaborators. You can scroll through them, and you and your collaborators can respond to each one with a brief message.

Google Drive collaboration - review comments pane Howard Wen / IDG

The mobile apps also let you add and review comments. With a document open, click the pencil icon in the lower-right corner. Put your cursor where you want to insert the comment, tap the + icon on the toolbar at the top of the screen and select Comment from the panel that slides up. Type in your comment, then, in Android, tap the Comment button to insert it; in iOS, tap the check mark to insert it. To review all the comments in a document, tap the gray Comments icon.

To make direct edits

Anyone who’s been granted edit permissions can directly edit the document. As you’d expect, you can simply insert your cursor, then add or revise text, insert images and so on. (In the mobile apps, tap the pencil icon in the lower-right corner to enter editing mode.)

With multiple people editing the same file, however, it can be difficult to keep track of who’s done what. That’s where version history comes in. If you’re away when a collaborator makes changes to your document, the next time you open it, a status line above the toolbar will tell you how long ago the last edit was made and by whom.

Google Drive collaboration - edit tracking Howard Wen / IDG

If you click this status sentence, you will be taken to a screen showing a list (on the right side of the screen) of older versions of your document. The entry for each version states the date and time when the revision was made and by which collaborator. The text or images that a collaborator added will be highlighted in a color that matches the color next to their name in this entry.

Google Drive collaboration - version history pane

 

Howard Wen / IDG

You can also access this archive of older versions from the main document viewing window by clicking File > Version history > See version history.

Google Drive collaboration - version history menu Howard Wen / IDG

Click one of the dates, and the version of your document that was saved at that marked time will show in the main window. (If you want to give an older version a unique name, click on its date. You’ll be prompted to type in words to replace the date.)

To restore an older version so it becomes the one that you and your collaborators will work on together, click the big blue RESTORE THIS VERSION button at the top of the screen. (The last version you were working on will then be listed at the top of the “Version history” list.)

Google Drive collaboration - restore this version button Google

To make edit suggestions

There’s a better, and clearer, way to go over edits made by your collaborators. Ask them to enter their additions under Suggestion mode. This is turned on by clicking the Editing drop-down menu in the upper-right corner and selecting Suggesting. (Suggestion mode is not available in the mobile apps.)

Google Drive collaboration - suggesting menu option Google

When anybody adds text, it will appear in a different color; each collaborator gets their own color text. If they add an image, that image will have a border in their color. And anything they delete will have a strikethrough in their color.

Google Drive collaboration - making suggested edit Howard Wen / IDG

A note card will appear to the right of the document. This will list the added or deleted text or image, the name of the collaborator who made the change, and the time and day when the change was made. To accept the suggestion, click the check mark on the note card; to reject it, click the x.

Google Drive collaboration - suggestion card

 

Howard Wen / IDG

To see your document, spreadsheet or presentation with or without suggested edits, click Tools > Review suggested edits. A gray box will open toward the upper-right of the screen. To view the document with the suggested edits merged in, click the “Show suggested edits” drop-down and select Preview “Accept all.” To view without the suggested edits, select Preview “Reject all.”

Google Drive collaboration - show suggested edits Google

If you want to accept or reject all suggestions at once without going through them one by one, you can click the Accept All or Reject All buttons in this box.

Whenever your document gets a suggested edit by a collaborator, Google Drive updates a tally that’s set next to its file name as seen on your My Drive page. (If you’re viewing your My Drive page in grid view, this number total appears over the thumbnail of your document.)

Google Drive collaboration - suggestions count Howard Wen / IDG

Real-time collaboration

When you and one or more of your collaborators are viewing your document, spreadsheet or presentation at the same time, an icon appears at the upper-right corner for each person who is currently viewing the file. The icon may be a headshot of that person or the first letter of their first name. They will also see your online status as an icon at the upper-right corner of their screen.

Google Drive real time collaboration - person icon Howard Wen / IDG

You can chat with one another. Clicking the speech bubble icon (to the right of the icons of your collaborators) will open a chat window along the right side of your screen.

Google Drive real time collaboration - chat pane Howard Wen / IDG

Whenever you or your collaborators add a comment, text or image, the others will see the comments or changes appear at that moment on the document, spreadsheet or presentation.

Google Drive real time collaboration - live edit Howard Wen / IDG

Now that you know the ropes, it’s time to start collaborating in Google Drive and its related apps.

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Wireless charging explained: What is it and how does it work ?

Wireless charging technology has been around for more than 100 years, but its inclusion in devices such as Apple’s new iPhone line has given it new life. Here’s how it works, and why it could soon show up in everything from homes to robots.

Apple wireless charging AirPower

Wireless charging has been around since the late 19th century, when electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla deomnstrated magnetic resonant coupling – the ability to transmit electricity through the air by creating a magnetic field between two circuits, a transmitter and a receiver.

But for about 100 years it was a technology without many practical applications, except, perhaps, for a few electric toothbrush models.

Today, there are nearly a half dozen wireless charging technologies in use, all aimed at cutting cables to everything from smartphones and laptops to kitchen appliances and cars. 

Wireless charging is making inroads in the healthcare, automotive and manufacturing industries because it offers the promise of increased mobility and advances that could allow tiny internet of things (IoT) devices to get power many feet away from a charger.

cota circuit board Ossia
The wireless charging circuit board used for Ossia’s Cota RF technology, which can send power over distances greater than 15 feet.

The most popular wireless technologies now in use rely on an electromagnetic field between a two copper coils, which greatly limits the distance between a device and a charging pad. That’s the type of charging Apple has incorporated into the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X.

How wireless charging works

Broadly speaking, there are three types of wireless charging, according to David Green, a research manager with IHS Markit. There are charging pads that use tightly-coupled electromagnetic inductive or short range charging; charging bowls or through-surface type chargers that use loosely-coupled electromagnetic resonant charging that can transmit a charge a few centimeters; and uncoupled radio frequency (RF) wireless charging that allows a trickle charging capability at distances of many feet.

Both tightly coupled inductive and loosely-coupled resonant charging operate on the same principle of physics: a time-varying magnetic field induces a current in a closed loop of wire.

Ikea wireless charging pads

 

Ikea

Ikea’s wireless charger line-up, which includes a pad that’s capable of charging three devices at once (center).

It works like this: A magnetic loop antenna (copper coil) is used to create an oscillating magnetic field, which can create a current in one or more receiver antennas. If the appropriate capacitance is added so that the loops resonate at the same frequency, the amount of induced current in the receivers increases. This is resonant inductive charging or magnetic resonance; it enables power transmission at greater distances between transmitter and receiver and increases efficiency. Coil size also affects the distance of power transfer. The bigger the coil, or the more coils there are, the greater the distance a charge can travel. 

In the case of smartphone wireless charging pads, for example, the copper coils are only a few inches in diameter, severely limiting the distance over which power can travel efficiently.

But when the coils are larger, more energy can be transferred wirelessly. That’s the tactic WiTricity, a company formed from research at MIT a decade ago, has helped pioneer. It licenses loosely-coupled resotant technology for everything from automobiles and wind turbines to robotics.

In 2007, MIT physics professor Marin Soljačić proved he could transfer electricity at a distance of two meters; at the time, the power transfer was only 40% efficient at that distance, meaning 60% of the power was lost in translation. Soljačić started WiTricity later that year to commercialize the technology, and its power-transfer efficiency has greatly increased since then.

In WiTricity’s car charging system, large copper coils – over 25 centimeters in diameter for the receivers – allow for efficient power transfer over distances up to 25 centimeters. The use of resonance enables high levels of power to be transmitted (up to 11kW) and high efficiency (greater than 92% end-to-end), according to WiTricity CTO Morris Kesler. WiTricity also adds capacitors to the conducting loop, which boosts the amount of energy that can be captured and used to charge a battery.

The system isn’t just for cars: Last year, Japan-based robotics manufacturer Daihen Corp. began shipping a wireless power transfer system based on WiTricity’s technology for automatic guided vehicles (AGVs). AGVs equipped with Daihen’s D-Broad wireless charging system can simply pull up to a charging area to power up and then go about their warehouse duties.

While charging at a distance has big potential, the public face of wireless charging has until now remained with charging pads.

wireless charging iPhone 8 damage battery

 

IHS Markit

“In terms of progress and industry readiness, charging pads have been shipping in volume since 2015; charging bowls/through-surface type are really just launching this year; and charging across a room is probably still at least a year away from commercial high-volume reality–- although the new Energous products show this method working over very short range right now, e.g., a couple of centimeters,” Green said.

Just over 200 million wireless charging-enabled devices shipped in 2016, with almost all of them using some form of inductive (charging pad) type design.

In September, Apple finally chose a side after lagging behind other handset manufacturers for years by embracing WPC’s Qi standard, the same that Samsung and other Android smartphone makers have been using for at least two years.

The first class of mobile device wireless chargers emerged a six or so years ago; they used tightly coupled or inductive charging, which requires users to place a smartphone in an exact position on a pad for it to charge.

“In my mind, lining it up exactly to charge doesn’t save you a lot of effort from just plugging it in,” said Benjamin Freas, principal analyst for Navigant Research.

While early adopters and techies bought into inductive charging, others did not, Feas said.

cw boostup wireless charger diagram Belkin/IDG
Belkin’s BoosUp wireless charging pad is similar to others in that it contains a copper transmitter charging, a chipset to control the power delivered to a device, and foreign object detection technoogy to ensure objects that shouldn’t recieve a charge don’t.

In September 2012, the Nokia 920 became the first commercially available smart phone to offer built-in wireless charging capabilities based on the Qi specification.

The wireless charging standards battle

For several years, there were three competing wireless charging standards groups  focused on inductive and resonance charging specifications: The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The latter’s ۲۹۶-member roster includes Apple, Google, Verizon and a veritable who’s who of electronics manufacturers.

The WPC created the most popular of the wireless charging standards – Qi (pronounced “chee”) – which enables inductive or pad-style charging and short-distance (1.5cm or less) electromagnetic resonant inductive charging. The Qi standard is being used by Apple.

apple watch wireless charging Apple
The Apple Watch, launched in 2015, uses a inductive wireless charging cable, which still requires the device to be tethered to a cord.

The PMA and its Powermat resonant charging specification found success by piloting its wireless charging technology in coffee shops and airports. Starbucks, for example, began rolling out wireless charging pads in 2014.

With competing standards, support for mobile devices remained fragmented, with most mobile devices needing an adaptive case to enable a wireless charge.

In 2015, the A4WP and the PMA decided to band together to form the AirFuel Alliance, which now has 110 members, including include Dell, Duracell, Samsung and Qualcomm.

powermat charging starbucks PMA/Starbucks
In 2014, Starbucks announced it would roll out wireless charging based on the Powermat specification for its customers in the U.S. at nearly 8,000 coffee shops.

As part of the AirFuel Alliance, Duracell Powermat claims it has more than 1,500 charging spots in the U.S., and through Powermat’s partnership PowerKiss, 1,000 charging spots in European airports, hotels and cafes. AirFuel has also announced wireless charging at some McDonald’s restaurants. That, according to Freas, is one way wireless charging could see wider adoption.

AirFuel focuses on electromagnetic resonant and RF

AirFuel has focused on two charging technologies: electromagnetic resonant and radio frequency, which offers the ability to move around a space and still have your mobile device charge.

“We’ve seen clear market indicators that resonant and RF are the way to go. Both technologies offer distinct advantages in terms of spatial freedom, ease of use, and ease of installation – big factors in creating market value and customer satisfaction,” said AirFuel spokesperson Sharen Santoski. “And we believe resonant is the best technology to enable widespread public infrastructure deployment in the near term.”

As a result, Santoski said, a growing number of coffee shops, restaurants and airport have deployed resonant-based wireless charging stations. “Taiwan is investing heavily, as is China,” Santoski said.

AirFuel recently announced a project with the Taoyuan Airport Metro, which is putting Resonant charging in its trains and stations. And furniture maker Order Furniture has created a new line of Resonant-enabled furniture.

“If in every restaurant and coffee shop you have it, then people will be more likely to use it and get a pad to charge at home,” Freas said.

Most of these projects are still just pilot programs, Freas said, adding that consumers and businesses are less likely to want tightly coupled charging and more likely to opt for loosely coupled resonant charging That’s because loosely coupled charging provides more spatial freedom – the ability to simply drop a phone, tablet or laptop on a desktop and have it charge.

WiTricity and wireless charging in vehicles

In July, Dell released a Latitude laptop that incorporates resonant wireless charging from WiTricity, a Watertown, Mass.-based company that licenses technology originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Dell wireless charger offers up to 30W of charging power, so a Latitude laptop will charge at the same rate as it were plugged into a wall outlet.

dell laptop WiTricity WiTricity
Dell’s new Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop and wireless charging pad.

But WiTricity’s main focus is the auto industry. The company, which is part of the AirFuel Alliance, expects a number of electric car manufacturers to announce wireless charging for their vehicles, according to WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen.

The company’s electromagnetic resonant technology allows power to transfer at distances of up to about nine inches away from a charging pad. That would allow electric cars to charge just by parking on top of a large charging pad.

For example, Mercedes-Benz this year will roll out S550e plug-in hybrid sedans with the ability to use WiTricity’s technology; the S550e can simply park over a pad and they begin charging even more efficiently than if it were plugged in.

Qi wireless charging damage your iPhone

 

Wireless Power Constortium

Nearly 50 car models now offer Qi-based wireless charging in their cabins.

The electric vehicle application is tailor-made for electromagnetic resonant charging, Kesler said. That’s because a vehicle doesn’t need a charging cable, and the wireless charging pad delivers electricity more efficiently than a cable. (Wired charging systems use electronics to convert AC to DC and regulate the flow of power, reducing efficiency to about 86%, Kessler said.)

“Our wireless charging can be 93% efficient from end to end – from the wall to what’s being delivered to the battery,” Kesler said.

Wireless charging over distance

This month, Apple surprised some industry watchers by purchasing PowerByProxi, a New Zealand-based company developing loosely-coupled resonant charging technology that’s also based on the Qi specification.

PowerbyProxi was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Fady Mishriki as a spin-out from the University of Auckland. PowerByProxi has showcased charging boxes and bowls into which multiple devices can be placed and charged at the same time.

The Aukland-based company got its start selling large-scale systems for the  construction, telecommunications, defense and agriculture industries. One such  product is a wireless control system for wind turbines.

PowerByProxi, a member of the WPC’s Steering Committee, has also miniaturized its technology and placed it into AA rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need to embed the technology directly into devices. The wireless technology takes up about 10% of the AA battery height.

Apple could use PowerByProxi’s technology to expand its use fo wireless charging beyond just smartphones, using it, for instance, to charge TV remote controls, computer peripherals, or any number of devices that require batteries.

While the most visible use of wireless charging technology has been in mobile device charging pads, the technology is also making inroads into everything from warehouse robots to tiny IoT devices that otherwise would need to be wired or powered by replaceable batteries.

Both Ossia and Energous have demonstrated wireless charging beyond 15 feet. Ossia’s charger can send about two watts up to several feet, but that drops off quickly as the distance increases. Even at 30 feet, however, the amount of power that can be transmitted is “meaningful,” according to Ossia CEO Mario Obeidat, alluding to trickle powering devices so as to maintain their charge.

Ossia Cota Wireless Charging system

 

Mark Hachman

The Ossia Cota wireless power system includes this large cylindrical transmitter as well as receivers. 

“Let’s say I’m in an office for eight to 10 hours a day and I’m receiving a half a watt or a watt of power; it’s charging my device all the time,” Obeidat said. “So if it takes five hours to fully charge that devise, that’s fine because you’re there all the time.”

“I’ve used both [Ossia and Energous]; the technology works,” Rob Rueckert, the managing director at Sorenson Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm, said in an earlier interview with Computerworld.

Rueckert believes charging at distance is a more compelling technology than charging pads or even boxes that still require a mobile devices to be relatively tightly connected to a charging source.

how wireless charging works resonant

 

PowerByProxi

How wireless charging works.

Both Energous’ WattUp and Ossia’s Cota mobile device charging systems work much like a wireless router, sending radio frequency (RF) signals that can be received by enabled wearables and mobile phones. A small RF antenna in the form of PCB board, an ASIC and software make up the wireless power receivers.

Using a multi-antenna management chip about 4x4mm in size, the Cota power transmitter can be built into a variety of form factors, everything from ceiling tiles to  tables, desks, glass, televisions and automobile dashboards.

The transmitter automatically detects Cota-enabled devices and includes a temperature-sensing unit to prevent overheating.

“We call it real wireless power,” Obeidat said. “The difference between our technology and others in market, like Qi, is we can deliver meaningful power remotely. Others require you to place your device on the pad. So, effectively you have to give up the device to charge it.”

Obeidat also claims Cota charging can work through walls, just like a Wi-Fi router.

“Our technology is agnostic. You can envision having a transmitter in room where it powers a smartphone, a tablet or a smart watch, all at the same time,” Obeidat said.

Ossia has been piloting its technology on electronic labels for products on retail shelves. The labels can inform shoppers of product details or sales without requiring workers to place physical signs or change price stickers.

While some have scoffed at the idea of only transmitting a couple of watts of power over distance, investors have taken the idea seriously. For example, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Energous – an AirFuel member – raised about $25 million when it went public in 2014.

Energous’ WattUp charger uses the Bluetooth wireless communication spec. Like Ossia’s Cota technology, the amount of wattage WattUp can send is limited. As a result, Energous is focused on powering small mobile devices rather than laptops or batteries that require higher capacities.

energous wireless power Energous
Michael Leabman, founder and CTO of Energous, demonstrates how one of the company’s wireless charging routers can send power at midrange and far-range distances.

A single WattUp transmitter can charge up to 24 devices, all under software control that enables or disables charging, according to Energous. The maximum amount of power – ۴ watts – can only be delivered to four devices simultaneously. As more “authorized” devices enter a room, the charge to each device drops.

One potential obstacle to adoption of wireless charging at distance is that neither Ossia’s nor Energous’ can charge Qi-enabled devices; the technology is proprietary.

Only the beginning

Green believes Qi and Powermat provide a great start, but stresses the technology  isn’t completely wireless. “Qi has started the conversation about wireless power. There is an important need to educate consumers about what is possible,” he said.

By starting with a Qi pad charging, users can begin to accept the premise of wireless power and will soon demand a much more flexible, robust solution: power at a distance with the flexibility to use your device while charging.

“One thing is clear: in 2017, we’re not going to see a device offering full-speed wireless charging across a room,” Green said. “There’s two ends of a scale instead, charging at the same speed as a wire but on a charging pad, or perhaps trickle charging very slowly but at a larger distance away.”

www.computerworld.com

Windows 10: A guide to the updates

Microsoft Software Updates

Windows 10: A guide to the updates

What you need to know about each update to Windows 10 as they roll out from Microsoft. Now updated for KB4041676, the latest release from Oct. 10, 2017.

windows 10 logo

The launch of a big Microsoft Windows 10 update like the Creators Update isn’t the end of a process — it’s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we’ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update since the Creators Update, with the most recent on top. For each build, we’ve included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it.

Note: This story covers updates to the currently shipping PC version of Windows 10 — version 1703, known as the Creators Update. If you’re looking for information about Insider Program previews for the next major release of Windows 10, see “Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the builds.” And if you’re still using an earlier version of Windows, see the Microsoft support site for details about updates to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 version 1607 / Windows Server 2016.

KB4041676 (OS Build 15063.674)

Release date: October 10, 2017

This non-feature update addresses a wide variety of issues, including ones related to security. It fixes a bug that won’t allow some games from downloading from the MIcrosoft Store. The build also fixes an issue in which some Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Centennial apps (.NET and Win32-based Windows applications that have been packaged to be published to the Microsoft Store) have a gray icon and display the error message “This app can’t open” on launch.

In addition, security updates are included for many parts of Windows, including Microsoft Windows Search Component, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Microsoft Graphics Component, Internet Explorer, Windows kernel, Microsoft Edge, Windows Authentication, Windows TPM, Device Guard, Windows Wireless Networking, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Microsoft Windows DNS, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows Server, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Microsoft JET Database Engine, and the Windows SMB Server.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4041767.)

KB4040724 (OS Build 15063.632)

Release date: September 25, 2017

This non-feature update addresses two very minor issues: Cellular connectivity and reliability have been improved, and performance problems with Microsoft Edge that were introduced in KB40387888 have been resolved.

(Get more info about KB4040724.)

KB4038788 (OS Build 15063.608)

Release date: Sept. 12, 2017

This non-feature update addresses a wide variety of miscellaneous minor issues, including one where some machines fail to load wireless WAN devices when they resume from Sleep, and another where spoolsv.exe stops working. Also addressed is a problem in which the option to join Azure AAD is sometimes unavailable during the out-of-box experience, and another in which clicking the buttons on Windows Action Center notifications results in no action being taken.

What IT needs to know

This release includes security updates to Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Windows shell, Microsoft Uniscribe, Microsoft Edge, Device Guard, Windows TPM, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows Hyper-V, Windows kernel and Windows Virtualization. Because it’s a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4038788.)

KB4034674 (OS Build 15063.540)

Release date: Aug. 8, 2017

This non-feature update addresses a variety of minor issues, primarily aimed at IT. Two fixes are for mobile devices: One in which the policies provisioned using Mobile Device Management (MDM) don’t take precedence over policies set by provisioning packages, but should, and another in which an access violation in the Mobile Device Manager Enterprise feature causes stop errors. Also addressed is an issue in which the Site to Zone Assignment List group policy (GPO) was not set on machines when it was enabled.

There are also security updates for many Windows features and services, including Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Windows Search Component, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Microsoft Windows PDF Library, Windows Hyper-V, Windows Server, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows shell, Common Log File System Driver, Internet Explorer, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4034674.)

KB4032188 (OS Build 15063.502)

Release date: July 31, 2017

This non-feature update addresses a variety of minor issues and bugs, including one in which Win32 applications have problems working with various Bluetooth LE devices including head tracking devices, a reliability issue with launching the Settings app while an application is using the camera, and a bug in which video playback artifacts appear during transitions from portrait to landscape on mobile devices.

What IT needs to know: Several minor issues addressed in this update affect IT, including the Mobile Device Manager Enterprise feature not allowing headsets to work correctly, and a bug that can cause a service using a Managed Service Account (MSA) to fail to connect to a domain after an automatic password update.

(Get more info about KB4032188.)

KB4025342 (OS Build 15063.483)

Release date: July 11, 2017

This security update (a Patch Tuesday release) fixes 54 vulnerabilities in Windows 10, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange. Nineteen of the vulnerabilities were rated as critical, 32 as important and three as moderate.

The critical bugs include six remote code execution ones, including one for Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality head-mounted display that is currently available only to developers. It allowed the device to be hacked “by merely receiving WiFi packets, apparently without any form of authentication at all,” in Microsoft’s words.

Microsoft Edge received patches for thirteen critical scripting engine memory corruption vulnerabilities, including one in which an attacker could gain the same user rights as the current user.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update. In addition to the patches for Windows 10 Creators Update are security patches for Windows Server 2016 / Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

(Get more info about KB4025342.)

KB4022716 (OS Build 15063.447)

Release date: June 27, 2017

This non-security update kills more than three dozen minor bugs. Among them are one that causes the Camera app to use a lot of memory on mobile platforms, which reduces battery life. The update also improves Bluetooth connectivity with wearable devices.

What IT needs to know: Some of the bugs affect networks, including one in which network printers may fail when using the printer vendor’s setup software on machines with less than 4GB of RAM. Installing the printers using the Settings app or from Devices and Printers in Control Panel will ensure they’re installed properly. In addition, the update fixes an issue which prevented users from connecting to the Terminal Services Gateway (TSG) running on Windows Server 2008 SP2 after it has been upgraded to the Creators Update, with the result that users were not able to access Remote Desktop Services or remote apps.

(Get more info about KB4022716.)

KB4022725 (OS Builds 15063.413 and 15063.414)

Release date: June 13, 2017

This security update closes dozens of security holes, including two remote code execution vulnerabilities (CVE-2017-8464, which is similar to Stuxnet, and CVE-2017-8543, which is a wormlike attack).

It also fixes a variety of bugs, including one in which a user may have to press the space bar to dismiss the lock screen to log in, even after the log on is authenticated using a companion device.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied immediately, especially because several of the security holes are being actively used by attackers. (Get more info about KB4022725.)

KB4020102 (OS Build 15063.332)

Release date: May 25, 2017

This non-security update fixes a wide variety of bugs but offers no new features. Among other issues, it fixes a problem when network printers may fail to install using the printer vendor’s setup software on PCs with less than 4GB of RAM. It also fixes several problems with Internet Explorer, including one where non-administrator users can’t install ActiveX controls. (Get more info about KB4020102.)

KB4016871 (OS Builds 15063.296 and 15063.297)

Release date: May 9, 2017

This is a security update that also includes minor bug fixes, but no new features. The security updates are for Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows SMB Server, Windows COM, Microsoft Scripting Engine, the Windows kernel, Windows Server, and the .NET Framework. Among the bugs fixed are one in which autochk.exe can randomly skip drive checks and not fix data corruptions, which could lead to data loss.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update. (Get more info about KB4016871.)

KB4016240 (OS Build 15063.250)

Release date: April 25, 2017

This non-security update squashes a wide variety of bugs but includes no new features. It fixes a bug that caused intermittent logout from web applications and another that made systems unresponsive in certain situations after running Direct3D apps in full-screen exclusive mode. Previous to this patch, Windows Forms configuration issues caused antivirus applications to stop working at startup; they now work.

What IT needs to know: Two of the bugs fixed with this release are one in which some VMs experienced network connectivity loss while provisioning IP addresses and another that prevented Group Policy settings from disabling the lock screen. (Get more info about  KB4016240.)

KB4015583 (OS Build 15063.138)

Release date: April 11, 2017

This security update includes only a few minor bug fixes and no new features. It updates security for Scripting Engine, libjpeg image-processing library, Hyper-V, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Adobe Type Manager Font Driver, Internet Explorer, Graphics Component, Active Directory Federation Services, .NET Framework, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, Microsoft Edge and Windows OLE. In addition, it fixes a problem with updating time zone information.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied soon. Over the next few days, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update. (Get more info about KB4015583.)

KB4016251 (OS Build 15063.13)

Release date: April 5, 2017

This non-security update fixes a few very minor bugs and has no new features. It repairs a problem that caused the Surface USB: Bluetooth radio to sometimes fail during hibernate/resume, and fixes an issue in which a virus protection product driver installation would trigger a system crash on Windows build 15060 configured with DeviceGuard. (Get more info about KB4016251.)

Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703)

Release date: April 5, 2017

Version 1703, dubbed the Creators Update, is the most recent major update to Windows 10. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for users in the Creators Update. (For more details, see our full review.)

  • It helps you better organize the Start menu by letting you put multiple tiles for apps into a single folder — for example, you can group all social media apps into one folder.
  • Users are given a bit more control over the update process: They can delay an update for three days and keep delaying it in three-day increments, or choose specific times for updates to install.
  • The Edge browser has gotten some improvements, including having Flash disabled by default for security reasons and supporting the ePub and PDF formats for reading books and other content.
  • Microsoft added some 3D and virtual reality features, including running HoloLens virtual reality and mixed reality apps for the first time, and introducing a Paint 3D app for creating 3D objects.
  • System settings that previously were in multiple locations have been consolidated into the Settings app.
  • There’s a new all-in-one security dashboard called Windows Defender Security Center that consolidates many security and computer health settings and information.
  • New gaming features include streaming gaming sessions over the internet; a Game Mode to improve gaming performance; and a Game bar to let you record your gameplay, take screenshots and perform games-related tasks.
  • The Cortana personal assistant gets a few modest additions, including scheduling monthly reminders and helping you set up devices.

What IT needs to know: IT staff should be aware of these features that are new in the Windows 10 Creators Update:

  • Security has been improved in a number of ways, including adding new features and insights into Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to better investigate and respond to network threats. Among the new features are sensors in memory, better intelligence and improved remediation capabilities.
  • Several new configuration service providers (CSPs) available in the Creators Update let administrators manage Windows 10 devices through Mobile Device Management (MDM) or provisioning packages. The DynamicManagement CSP, for instance, can enable or disable certain device features depending on location, network presence or time.
  • New mobile application management capabilities can protect data on personal mobile devices without requiring each device to be part of the corporate MDM.
  • The Windows Configuration Designer (previously called Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer) includes new wizards to make it easier to create provisioning packages, including for desktop devices, Windows mobile devices, Surface Hub devices, HoloLens devices and kiosk devices.
  • Enterprise security administrators get a more comprehensive documentation library for Windows Defender Antivirus.
  • If an enterprise-wide update policy hasn’t been configured, users with Windows Pro, Windows Enterprise or Windows Education editions have much more control over how Windows updates. With the Creators Update, users can now automatically delay cumulative monthly updates for up to 30 days, and can delay feature updates by up to 365 days.

For more details about new features for IT, see the Microsoft blog posts “Windows 10 Creators Update advances security and best-in-class modern IT tools” and “What’s new in Windows 10, version 1703 IT pro content.”

This story, “Windows 10: A guide to the updates” was originally published by Computerworld.

جایزه ۱ میلیون دلاری برای حل معمای شطرنج

آیا ذهن خلاق و مطمئنی برای حل مسائل محاسباتی دارید؟ اگر اینطور فکر می‌کنید بهتر است بدانید که دانشگاه «سنت اندرو» آمریکا با همکاری موسسه Clay Mathematics مسابقه‌ای در همین رابطه برگزار کرده‌اند. روز پنجشنبه اعلام شد کسی که بتواند این معمای شطرنج را حل کند، از طرف موسسه Clay مبلغ ۱ میلیون دلار جایزه دریافت خواهد کرد. محققین تخمین می‌زنند که حل این مسئله هزاران سال ‌طول بکشد.

این معمای شطرنج ابتدا در سال ۱۸۵۰ مطرح شد و طی آن از شرکت کنندگان خواسته ‌شد که ۸ مهره وزیر را طوری روی صفحه شطرنج جای‌گذاری کنند که هیچکدام قابلیت حمله به یکدیگر را نداشته باشند. این معما سال‌ها پیش توسط انسان‌ها حل شد اما حال که صفحه شطرنج در ابعاد بسیار بزرگتری طراحی شده، دانشمندان دانشگاه سنت اندرو معتقدند که حتی برنامه‌های کامپیوتری در مدت زمان کمتر از هزار سال نمی‌توانند این معما را حل کنند. البته شما این فرصت را دارید که زودتر از کامپیوترها این معما را حل کنید!

پروفسور «یان جنت» در زمینه محاسبات ریاضی فعالیت می‌کند در مصاحبه خود گفته که یافتن الگوریتم چینش مهره‌ها یک قسمت ماجرا است و قسمت سخت‌تر، پیش بردن الگوریتم به مرحله‌ی بعدی است. ظاهرا این ادعای پروفسور جنت کاملا صحیح و منطقی است. او در ادامه گفت، علاقه‌مندان با اثبات اینکه حل این معما الگوریتم خاصی دارد و اینکه این معما کلا غیرقابل حل شدن است، می‌توانند برنده‌ی این جایزه‌ ۱ میلیون دلاری شوند!

طبق گفته‌های پروفسور جنت، حل این معما سخت‌ترین کار در علم کامپیوتر محسوب می‌شود، به این دلیل که متدهای امروزی در حل معماهای شطرنج همگی از روش آزمون و خطا استفاده می‌کنند و بایستی تمامی راه حل‌های ممکن را یکی یکی از ابتدا امتحان کنند. برای حل این معما به یک الگوریتم محاسباتی کاملا جدید نیاز است.

ضمنا پروفسور جنت سه توصیه برای افراد مایل به حل این مسئله و کسب جایزه یک میلیون دلاری دارد: مدرک Ph.D خود را در زمینه پیچیدگی محاسبات کسب کنید، فوق‌العاده هوشمندانه عمل کنید و در پایان سعی کنید خیلی خوش‌شانس باشید.

منبع: itiran

آغاز عرضه نسخه بتای GNOME 3.26

سیستم‌عامل متن‌باز لینوکس، اگر زمانی به عنوان یک انتخاب برای صرفاً حرفه‌ای‌ها و یا محافل آکادمیک تلقی می‌شد، اما اکنون به نظر می‌رسد طرفداران فراوانی به ویژه در میان کاربران عام پیدا کرده و ظاهراً ستاره اقبال آن رو به صعود است.
لینوکس البته در قالب توزیع‌های مختلف و برای اهداف گوناگونی عرضه می‌گردد، که یکی از این توزیع‌ها، GNOME نام دارد.

با توجه به همین استقبال از لینوکس است که به تازگی مدیران پروژه GNOME اعلام کرده‌اند که نسخه دسکتاپ ۳.۲۶ این توزیع لینوکس وارد مرحله عرضه بتا شده است تا یک گام دیگر به عرضه نسخه نهایی آن نزدیک شویم.

به گزارش ایتنا از رایورز به نقل از وب‌سایت خبری تحلیلی softpedia، چندی پیش بود که مدیر پروژه GNOME یعنی “میشل کاتانزارو” از طریق ارسال یک ایمیل، اطلاعات و چزئیات بیشتری درباره جدیدترین گام این پروژه ارائه کرد.
بر اساس این اطلاعات، تهیه GNOME دسکتاپی نسخه ۳.۲۶ به‌صورت رسمی به مرحله بتا از چرخه توسعه خود وارد شده است و در این مرحله، کاربران منتخب می‌توانند به یافتن باگ‌های این نسخه کمک کنند تا با رفع اشکالات احتمالی، به صورت کامل و بی‌نقص در اختیار همگان قرار گیرد.

گفته می‌شود این نسخه -که در حقیقت به‌عنوان نسخه فنی ۲.۲۵.۹۰ شناخته می‌شود- سرانجام به‌صورت رسمی در پایان هفته (یکشنبه) به کاربران عرضه خواهد شد.

البته رسیدن به این مرحله، در حقیقت نتیجه تلاش سختی است که تیم توسعه‌دهندگان در این مدت بر خود همواره نموده‌اند.
کاتانزارو در این باره می‌گوید: «ما در طول هفته گذشته در حال طی کردن مراحل feature freeze، UI freeze و API freeze قرار داشتیم و به همین دلیل نیز توسعه‌دهندگان در حال تلاش برای رفع باگ‌ها و بهبود پایداری سیستم‌عامل بودند تا بتوانند با نزدیک شدن به زمان عرضه نهایی GNOME نسخه ۳.۲۶، این امر را تحقق بخشند.»

شایان ذکر است که GNOME نسخه ۳.۲۶ یکی از نسخه‌هایی است که به شدت به انتظارها دامن زده است و به نظر می‌رسد تعداد زیادی از کاربران از عرضه قریب‌الوقوع آن هیجان‌زده هستند.

منبع – itna.ir