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Published: Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:16:32 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:16:32 -0800

 



Google trims the size of app updates with new data-saving technique

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:09:00 -0800

With millions of apps in the Play Store and enough space on our phones to comfortably store hundreds of them, updating can be a tedious, data-chomping process. Earlier this year, Google announced it was using a new Delta algorithm that reduced the size of updates by as much as half when compared to the old way of downloading APKs. Now it’s taking it a bit further in a continued push to save you time, space, and money.

The new approach, called file-by-file patching, creates updates that are as much as 90 percent smaller than the full app. On average, the process trims download size by 65 percent, saving users some 6 petabytes of cumulative data each day, according to Google’s estimates. As Andrew Hayden, software engineer on Google Play, explains in a post on the Android Developers Blog:

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Latest Android security update fixes Dirty COW, GPS vulnerabilities

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:59:29 -0800

The monthly Android security update released this week fixes the serious Dirty COW privilege escalation attack that can allow malicious apps to take full control of devices.

Dirty COW (copy-on-write) is a privilege escalation vulnerability that has existed in the Linux kernel for the past nine years and is already being exploited in the wild. It affects Android because the mobile OS is based on Linux, but it was initially believed that the SELinux security policies enforced by default in Android provided some mitigation against the attack.

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YouTube's top trending videos for 2016

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:42:00 -0800

YouTube Rewind, the popular video site’s annual review, is due out Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST. Leading up to the big reveal, the Google-owned property released its list of the top 10 trending videos for 2016 to several news outlets including Variety.

The list includes the indescribable madness of carpool karaoke, scientific inquiry, John Oliver, and Vlogger Casey Neistat. This year’s list is interesting because while it does have some weird items that are part of the YouTube tradition. There’s also a lot of particularly mundane items like a six-minute short from a sportswear company and a guided tour of first class. These videos received  550 million views and have been watched for over 25 million hours combined.

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10 best sites and services to sell used tech

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:24:00 -0800

At the end of each year, many of us attempt to turn the technology we no longer need into cash. You could be cleaning out the drawers or closets to which you banished old gadgets. Perhaps you treated yourself to a Surface Studio or MacBook Pro and need some extra money to pay for that pricey new computer.

Whatever your reason, selling used tech is much easier today than in the past. You used to have to make multiple decisions just to create a new eBay listing. Now the process of listing an item for sale, or getting a quote, often takes only a few minutes, and many more options exist than ever before.  

Here’s a guide to 10 of the best websites and mobile apps we’ve found for selling used tech, listed in no particular order.   

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The security gift guide

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:20:00 -0800

Even more than most IT professionals, security professionals are asked for advice on a regular basis. We are supposed to know not just about computers in general, but how people can protect themselves both online and in the real world. Whether it is getting a printer working, or if it is safe to shop online, we are expected to have the answers.

At the same time, shopping for gifts can be problematic. You’re never sure what people have. Some people provide gift lists, which are great. But in the absence of a specific request, you might as well give people something useful that might make things easier for you. This guide can be useful even if you are not a security professional. Also remember that security is not just about stopping hackers, but about providing confidentiality, integrity, and availability in all forms.

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Malicious online ads expose millions to possible hack

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:12:00 -0800

Since October, millions of internet users have been exposed to malicious code served from the pixels in tainted banner ads meant to install Trojans and spyware, according to security firm ESET.

The attack campaign, called Stegano, has been spreading from malicious ads in a “number of reputable news websites,” ESET said in a Tuesday blog post. It’s been preying on Internet Explorer users by scanning for vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and then exploiting them.

The attack is designed to infect victims with malware that can steal email password credentials through its keylogging and screenshot grabbing features, among others.

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SoftBank gives more detail about $50B US investment

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:59:46 -0800

Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese telecom firm SoftBank, plans to invest US$50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the U.S. by pumping money into startups, he said after a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.

Son gave few details Tuesday after the meeting with Trump, but he said his focus would be on U.S. startup companies. Son came to meet Trump and to celebrate the Republican's election victory.

The $50 billion is half of an already announced $100 billion investment by SoftBank in the global technology industry over the next five years, Son later told the Wall Street Journal. That investment, done in partnership with Saudi Arabia's public investment fund, was announced in October.

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Duo’s first major update puts an emphasis on better video quality

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:58:00 -0800

When Google launched its standalone video-calling app Duo in August, it promised simple, high-quality conferencing to rival the FaceTime experience on iOS. With a new update to version 5 currently rolling out in the Play Store, Google's streamlining its new system a little more, making it easier to get started and better to use.

(image) @juberti

 Justin Uberti, the Duo team’s technical leader, tweeted this chart to illustrate user’s positive experiences with the new update.

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U.S. Supreme Court leaves gap in Samsung-Apple patent ruling

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:48:00 -0800

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Samsung Electronics and its backers in the industry in a design patent dispute with Apple, when in a 8-0 decision it said that “the term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product, whether sold separately or not.”

But the top court has left a lot unsaid, including by not providing guidance to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on how the damages Samsung has to pay Apple for the infringement of smartphone design patents will have to be calculated. That could also delay for a long time the resolution of the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, which has already dragged on for a number of years.

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Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:38:00 -0800

Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version.

Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras, mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price.

One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday.

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35% off Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker - Deal Alert

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 04:52:00 -0800

Motivation is your best accessory with Fitbit Alta-a customizable fitness tracker designed to fit your personal style . Stay motivated by tracking all-day activity like steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes, and get credit for your workouts with Smart Track automatic exercise recognition. At night, track your sleep and set a silent alarm to wake better and get your best rest. No matter where you're headed, the easy-to-read OLED screen keeps your goals in focus with stats, time, and call or text notifications on display. And with accessory wristbands in metal, leather and sport, help you find the right style for every occasion. Wear fitness your way with Fitbit Alta.  

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Android Pay FAQ: Everything you need to know about Google's mobile payment system

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 04:00:00 -0800

We cover everything from setting up Android Pay, using it as your go-to payment tool, and even saving all of your loyalty and rewards offers.


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Fluance Fi50 Bluetooth Wood Speaker review: This big box puts out really big sound

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 04:00:00 -0800

Canada-based Fluance is relatively well known in the audiophile and home theater community for building good-performing, high-value speaker systems. The company generally sells direct to consumer in order to keep prices down. Shipping is free and if you don’t like the product after trying it out in your home, you can return it without penalty or even shipping costs—so long is it is within the 30-day return window.  By building a good product and keeping its distribution costs in check, Fluance has gained a reputation for delivering audio products at prices far below their value.

The Fi50 Bluetooth Wood Speaker System was once the company’s flagship Bluetooth product, but that distinction now belongs to the gargantuan Fi70, which is also in our review queue. Weighing in at 13.4 pounds—the equivalent of eight UE Megabooms—the Fluance Fi50 is by no means a portable speaker. But that mass enables the Fi50 to deliver bass response that no portable powered speaker can touch.

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Intel may use AMD GPUs to challenge Nvidia's rising power

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:59:00 -0800

AMD already owns the graphics in consoles, and the next place it could plant its flag could be the last anyone expected: Intel.

While rumors of a possible deal have circulated all year, something firmer arose Monday night when Kyle Bennett, longtime editor of enthusiast hardware site HardOCP.com, posted that the ink on the deal was already dry. “The licensing deal between AMD and Intel is signed and done for putting AMD GPU tech into Intel’s iGPU,” Bennett wrote on his site’s forum.

Bennett didn’t detail reasons for the statement and didn’t respond to an email PCWorld sent him late Tuesday. Officials PCWorld contacted at both companies declined to comment.

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Creative Live! Cam Sync HD review: Crummy video tanks this HD webcam

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:50:00 -0800

Creative typically has offered webcams to meet all needs—even if all you want is something affordable to replace your computer’s built-in camera with grainy video and tinny sound. That’s the target for the Creative Live! Cam Sync HD. Suggested for “hassle-free high-quality video chats,” this webcam would seem ideal for folks who want a simple out-of-the-box upgrade. But it’s really a reminder that you get what you pay for.

The first thing I noticed about the Sync HD is how insubstantial it feels. The main camera body is about the size of a small thumb drive, and the entire camera comes housed in lightweight glossy black plastic. It doesn’t seem fragile, but it’s certainly not as robust as other webcams we’ve tested. The mount has a single hinge and can fit most displays, but it doesn’t achieve a very strong hold. The plastic slips, particularly on aluminum-bodied laptops.

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Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 review: An HD webcam for the cost-conscious

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:49:00 -0800

If your budget is unforgiving, Microsoft’s LifeCam HD-3000 ($40) may give you the most bang for the least buck. At less than half the price of the LifeCam Studio, this Skype-certified webcam still delivers HD video. It’s not business-call quality, but it should get the job done in more casual settings.

The black-plastic HD-3000 features a glass lens sitting in a 1/7-inch oval casing. Like the higher-end LifeCam Studio, it hooks over your monitor with a rubber flex mount attached to the back. The camera can be rotated left and right a bit, just enough to adjust your position in the frame. There’s no tripod mount, but if you want to place the camera somewhere other than the top of your computer display, you can fold the flex mount into a serviceable stand that will sit on any flat surface. The camera’s microphone sits at the top right of the lens.

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Microsoft LifeCam Studio review: A hi-def webcam for business or pleasure

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:38:00 -0800


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Logitech C615 HD review: This camera hits the sweet spot between features and price

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:37:00 -0800

Full 1080p HD may be an alluring webcam option, but for some, that feature (and its resulting price) is overkill. On the other end of the spectrum, stepping down to bargain models can shave off too many bells and whistles. Logitech’s C615 HD ($70 MSRP) webcam hits the sweet spot, offering HD-quality video, a durable design, and some of the features of the higher-end C920 for about $25 less. (The C615’s currently available from Amazon for $37, while the C920 is available for $60.)

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59% off Kangora 300 Lumens LED Tactical Mini Flashlight, Pack of 5 - Deal Alert

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:05:00 -0800


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BrandPost: Train Your Brain for Success in the New Year

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:48:00 -0800

Smoking, unhealthy eating, poor sleeping habits, procrastination. What do these vices have in common? They can all wreak havoc on your mental and physical health, and they’re all commonly addressed through New Year’s resolutions. But breaking old patterns is never easy. Those neural connections are tough to unwire, and tougher still to rewire.

Fortunately, there are ways you can turn your bad brain habits into a healthy routine. Here are four tips to help you train your mind to achieve new goals through persistence, intelligence, and technology.

Think About It

From master yogis to The Beatles, people have long been singing the praises of meditation. The good news is you don’t have to move to an ashram to experience the neurological benefits of this ancient practice.

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Arago teaches an AI to play games, the better to manage IT systems

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:48:19 -0800

If an AI could rule a world, would you trust it to manage your IT systems? German software company Arago is hoping you will.

The developer of IT automation system Hiro (short for Human Intelligence Robotically Optimized) has been teaching its software how to play Freeciv, an open source computer strategy game inspired by Sid Meier's Civilization series of games, and in the process is learning to make IT management more fun.

Hiro is an AI-based automation system that usually sits on top of other IT service management tools. Unlike script-based systems, it learns from its users how best to manage a company's IT systems.

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Microsoft's LinkedIn deal clears the EU, will close in the coming days

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:07:00 -0800

Microsoft's mammoth acquisition of LinkedIn has just cleared the last hurdle in front of it, paving the way for the tech titan to buy the professional social network for $26.2 billion. 

European Union regulators have approved the acquisition, joining agencies in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and South Africa. The deal is expected to close "in the coming days," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post Tuesday.

The news comes roughly six months after Microsoft announced the deal. Microsoft at the time said it expected the acquisition to close by the end of 2016, and it seems poised to hit that mark.

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Samsung makes its Gear smartwatches more attractive with new bands, features

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:56:00 -0800

Motorola may be rethinking its wearable strategy after announcing it wasn’t planning to release a new Moto 360 alongside the upcoming release of Android Wear 2.0, but Samsung is more committed than ever to its smartwatch platform.

Gear S2 owners who have been envious of the G3’s new features can stop ogling their friends’ watches. A new Value Pack update delivers many of the new smartwatch’s goodies to the older model, including the pre-loaded watch faces, Reminders and Alt-Barometer apps, and Handwriting Mode, where users can sketch words and emoji instead of typing or dictating them. Also part of the update is expanded S Health functionality for running, walking, cycling, and other exercises, as well as a beefed-up bezel for taking calls, silencing alarms, and scheduling events.

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WD will make a record-breaking 14TB hard drive available next year

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:50:00 -0800

With its enormous capacity, a new 14TB drive from Western Digital is unlike any seen before and is now being shipped to customers for testing.

It's the highest-capacity hard drive developed yet, beating 12TB hard drives from WD and Seagate. It's a larger capacity version of the 12TB HGST Ultrastar He12 PMR hard drive, which also is shipping for testing.

Hard drives ruled when it came to capacity, but this year were overtaken by flash-based SSDs. The 14TB drive, though setting a record for hard drives, comes nowhere close in capacity to Seagate's 60TB SSD, which was shown at the Flash Memory Summit in August.

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Here’s how the Windows 10 Creators Update helps businesses

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:05:00 -0800

A few weeks ago, Microsoft unveiled its major Windows 10 Creators Update with a focus on the software’s benefits for end users when it launches next year. On Tuesday, the company showed a different side of the next major patch for its new operating system, showing off features that will help IT professionals.

Next year, IT folks will get new features focused on security, device management, and upgrade improvements. For one, Microsoft’s advanced security suite for Windows 10 is gaining additional remediation, detection and threat intelligence tools. Administrators will also get new analytics to see how their organization is using the new operating system.

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Dropbox boosts mobile productivity with offline folder support

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:02:00 -0800

Users who need to make sure they can get access to files stored in Dropbox while they’re on the go and away from the web have a new feature to help with that. The company announced Tuesday that users of its mobile apps will soon be able to save files locally for use offline.

It’s a move by the cloud storage company to better compete with the other players in the cloud storage space,  and provide users with functionality that will help them be more productive when they’re on planes, out in low-connectivity areas or just want to save their cellular data quota for other purposes. 

Here’s how it works: users select a file or folder in the Dropbox app, tap “Make Available Offline,” then wait for the app to download the requested files. After that, those files will be available for viewing, even if the phone or tablet storing them is without a connection to the web. 

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Supreme Court kills $399 million patent award against Samsung in Apple case

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:02:00 -0800

The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated a US$399 million infringement award against Samsung Electronics in a long-running design patent dispute with Apple.

The court, in an 8-0 decision, kicked back the patent award to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, saying the lower court calculated the patent award based on the whole iPhone, while the design patents may cover only pieces of the device.

The Federal Circuit’s failure to consider a smaller damage award based on pieces of the iPhone “cannot be squared” with patent law, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the Supreme Court. The lower court, in its ruling, said it could not separate out the infringing pieces of the smartphones because they were not available for sale to the public, she noted.

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Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:00:00 -0800

Mesh Wi-Fi is becoming quite the trend. Google recently rolled out its mesh-capable router Google WiFi, following in the footsteps of Luma and Eero, and today startup Plume announced that its proprietary “adaptive WiFi” system is available for purchase.

Plume’s system is a “routerless” mesh Wi-Fi system that uses what it calls pods distributed in every room of your house. They cost $69 each, though there are discounts for bulk purchases. Three pods will cost you $179, while six are $329. Plume devices were shipping in three to four weeks at this writing.

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WhatsApp releases new update for your holiday GIF-giving

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 08:42:00 -0800

If you haven’t been running the WhatsApp Messenger beta on your phone, you might not know that you’ve been missing out on the wide world of GIFs. The feature's been available since November for iOS users and in beta testing for several months on Android, but the FaceBook-owned company has just unlocked the feature for everyone in its latest Play Store update.

It’s easy to use. Simply click on the familiar paperclip icon you use to attach photos and videos and you’ll see a GIFS section. Inside you’ll find any short animations you’ve saved to your camera roll, and you need only select one to send it to a friend. On the receiving end, GIFs you get will be adorned with a badge that needs to be tapped before it starts playing—a good feature for those of us with GIF-happy friends. Also baked into this month’s update is in-line streaming, eliminating the need to download a video before it begins playing.

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App developers aren't ready for iOS transport security requirements

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 08:22:00 -0800

A month before Apple is expected to enforce stricter security requirements for app communications in iOS, enterprise developers don’t seem ready to embrace them, a new study shows.

The study was performed by security firm Appthority on the most common 200 apps installed on iOS devices in enterprise environments. The researchers looked at how well these apps conform to Apple’s App Transport Security (ATS) requirements.

ATS was first introduced and was enabled by default in iOS 9. It forces all apps to communicate with Internet servers using encrypted HTTPS (HTTP over SSL/TLS) connections and ensures that only industry-standard encryption protocols and ciphers without known weaknesses are used. For example, SSL version 3 is not allowed and neither is the RC4 stream cipher, due to known vulnerabilities.

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