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Varjo’s new VR headset points the way to collaboration done right (www.computerworld.com) 10/22/2021 10:44 AM

I receive many collaboration products to test. Most of them are videoconferencing systems that allow people to attend meetings remotely. It often seems that the people who create such products collaborate and yet still don’t realize that most collaboration doesn’t occur during formal meetings. Instead, it occurs when people get together in different-sized groups around the project on which they are collaborating. To collaborate on a project, you need some way to bring the project into the gathering.

Meetings are often a sequence of people presenting slides to the rest of the room. Most of my collaborations have been relatively small and often occurred in my or someone else’s office, and more recently, in my or someone else’s home. I’ve found that the larger the group, the more likely it will be a sequential sharing of knowledge and not true collaboration.

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Apple needs to introduce an iCloud business suite for the enterprise (www.computerworld.com) 10/14/2021 09:24 AM

I agree with CCS Insight that Apple already has the building blocks to offer its own business productivity suite built around iWork and iCloud. It seems strange that it hasn’t provided these yet.

Apple’s business services

The analysts at CCS Insight hold an annual predictions event — 2022 & Beyond — and, among a wide selection of interesting future Apple possibilities, state:

“Apple’s services unit has gone from strength to strength in the past few years. In 2Q21, it accounted for over 20% of total revenue and registered 33% annual growth. The unit’s strength gives the company increasing confidence as a web services provider, and it launches a productivity suite, based on iWork and iCloud, as a service aimed at smaller companies that are less well- served by Microsoft and more frequently use Google Workspace.”

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How to choose the right UEM platform (www.computerworld.com) 10/14/2021 06:00 AM

Endpoint devices have become so ubiquitous, connected, and data-intensive that they are among the most valuable technology assets an organization has today. They’re also some of the biggest security risks. It’s no surprise, then, that managing the large and growing number of smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops, and other end-user products is a high priority for IT.

For a growing number of enterprises, unified endpoint management (UEM) is the method of choice for keeping management of endpoints from descending into chaos. UEM platforms are designed to simplify the management of devices and enhance the security of heterogeneous environments.

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Biggest tech IPOs of 2021 (www.computerworld.com) 10/15/2021 08:01 AM

The 2020 calendar year will long be remembered as an annus horribilis for most, except for a handful of technology companies that reaped the rewards of a global shift to remote work with successful initial public offerings (IPOs).

US companies alone raised a record $435 billion in stock sales in 2020, with more than a quarter of that figure coming from IPOs — far outstripping 2014's mark of $279 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The vast majority of those new listings defined themselves as technology companies.

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Windows 11 and the need for better BIOS integration (www.computerworld.com) 10/15/2021 05:00 AM

Disclosure:  The vendors listed are clients of the author.

Microsoft DOS and then Windows have gone through several evolutions over the years. When Windows first arrived, it was a User Interface (UI) shell on top of DOS. Then Windows 95 absorbed DOS to create something new — but didn’t include security. Windows 8 tried to absorb the smartphone experience, failed, but essentially made third-party anti-virus software obsolete.  

Windows 10 took security a few steps farther (and integrated a better digital assistant, Cortana, that few people ever used). And now, with  Windows 11, Microsoft has begun to integrate hardware security without integrating PC firmware (BIOS). Due to issues with the move to Windows 11, I think the next integration will be BIOS.

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BrandPost: Build for the Real World: Supercharge Your Next Refresh with AMD (www.computerworld.com) 10/18/2021 12:33 PM

No matter the number of systems being replaced, refresh cycles are opportunities. Making the most of these opportunities starts with carefully understanding the evolving performance requirements inside the organization. Then it’s time to evaluate possible solutions, looking at current workloads while always keeping an eye on what might be coming next.

Decision makers need to be clear about their options and maintain consistency throughout each refresh cycle, and this means they need to find meaningful ways to measure and compare performance and productivity. Application or workload requirements are the foundation, but device refresh evaluations must go much deeper to ensure tomorrow’s needs are reliably met.

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Four zero-day exploits add urgency to October's Patch Tuesday (www.computerworld.com) 10/16/2021 09:33 AM

October brings four zero-day exploits and 74 updates to the Windows ecosystem, including a hard-to-test kernel update (CVE-2021-40449) that requires immediate attention and an Exchange Server update that requires technical skill and due diligence (and a reboot). The testing profile for the October Patch Tuesday covers Windows error handling, AppX, Hyper-V and Microsoft Word. We recommend a Patch Now schedule for Windows and then staging the remaining patch groups according to your normal release pattern.

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Windows 10 Insider Previews: A guide to the builds (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 12:43 PM

Microsoft never sleeps. In addition to its steady releases of major and minor updates to the current version of Windows 10, the company frequently rolls out public preview builds to members of its Windows Insider Program, allowing them to test out — and even help shape — upcoming features.

Microsoft numbers Windows 10 releases using a YYH1/YYH2 format, with the YY standing for the last two numbers of the year and H1 or H2 referring to the first or second half of the year. So the most recent version of Windows 10 is officially referred to as Windows 10 version 21H1, or the May 2021 Update. The next feature update, due in the fall of 2021, will be version 21H2.

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Office 365: A guide to the updates (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 12:26 PM

Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscribers get more frequent software updates than those who have purchased Office without a subscription, which means subscribers have access to the latest features, security patches, and bug fixes. But it can be hard to keep track of the changes in each update and know when they’re available. We’re doing this for you, so you don’t have to.

Following are summaries of the updates to Office 365/Microsoft 365 for Windows, with the latest releases shown first. We’ll add info about new updates as they’re rolled out.

Note: This story covers updates released to regular Office 365/Microsoft 365 for Windows subscribers. If you’re a member of Microsoft’s Office Insider preview program or want to get a sneak peek at upcoming features, see the company’s “Release notes for Office for Windows Desktop (Beta builds)” page.

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Podcast: What the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips suggest about the future of the Mac (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 02:39 PM

At its event on Monday, Apple announced new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by their new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Benchmarks for the M1 Pro are nearly double that of the M1, and the M1 Max is even more powerful. As Apple continues on its two-year transition to Apple silicon, its chips' specs outperform those of competitors. Still, not everyone wants or needs a Mac, and Intel has its own super fast chip in the works. So, how can Apple continue to innovate upon its system-on-a-chip architecture, and will the company continue to outpace competition? Macworld executive editor Michael Simon and Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis join Juliet to discuss what Apple's new MacBooks suggest about the future of the Mac, what that future means for competitors and what users should consider before upgrading. 

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Windows 11 Insider Previews: What’s in the latest build? (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 12:58 PM

Windows 11 has been released, but behind the scenes, Microsoft is constantly working to improve the newest version of Windows. The company frequently rolls out public preview builds to members of its Windows Insider Program, allowing them to test out — and even help shape — upcoming features.

The Windows Insider program is divided into three channels:

  • The Dev Channel is where new features are introduced for initial testing, regardless of which Windows release they’ll eventually end up in. This channel is best for technical users and developers and builds in it may be unstable and buggy.
  • In the Beta Channel, you’ll get more polished features that will be deployed in the next major Windows release. This channel is best for early adopters, and Microsoft says your feedback in this channel will have the most impact.
  • The Release Preview Channel typically doesn’t see action until shortly before a new feature update is rolled out. It’s meant for final testing of an upcoming release and is best for those who want the most stable builds.

Not everyone can participate in the Windows 11 Insider program, because the new operating system has more stringent system requirements than Windows 10. As outlined in this Microsoft blog post, if your PC fails to meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11, you cannot join the Windows 11 Insider Program.

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Apple still has a world to reach with the iPhone's 5G promise (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 03:02 PM

Apple’s secret weapon for iPhone 13 deployment isn’t such a big secret: It’s 5G. More specifically, it’s the accelerating adoption and deployment of 5G services and infrastructure that will stimulate demand for Apple’s smartphones. Here’s why:

  1. Infrastructure for 5G is still being deployed. In the US, not every region has equal access to the tech, though many urban areas do.
  2. Outside the US you see similar disparities across nations, with pockets of availability. That means there is plenty of room for growth.
  3. As those unserved areas become served areas, more people may be interested in a 5G iPhone.

But even in areas in which 5G is already available, there’s still a huge upside.

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Got a Pixel? Don't miss these 8 buried Android 12 treasures (www.computerworld.com) 10/22/2021 06:00 AM

Well, my fellow Pixel pals, the time has finally arrived: After months of development, mountains of beta releases, and a weirdly empty-feeling tease of a code release, Google's Android 12 update is finally on its way into our moist, sweaty paws.

Android 12 represents one of the most significant evolutions to the operating system in ages — arguably since all the way back with 2014's Android 5.0 Lollipop release. And much of that comes down to how the software operates on Google's own Pixel devices.

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Customer service: Your greatest competitive weapon (www.computerworld.com) 10/22/2021 07:00 AM

In my quest to purchase a snowblower last weekend, I narrowed my choice down to models from two different brands. In checking customer reviews across an assortment of retail websites, a disparity immediately became apparent. Negative reviews for one of the brands sat untouched while the other manufacturer had responded to nearly every rating of three stars or less with messages ranging from “will take this into account” to “call this 800-number to resolve the issue.”

The company’s responsiveness played no small part in my decision to choose that vendor for a substantial purchase. It’s an example of how, in the age of the empowered customer, service is becoming a profit center.

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How to keep your workers (so you don’t have to replace them) (www.computerworld.com) 10/19/2021 07:00 AM

The “Great Resignation” is killing many small businesses. I see it every day here in Asheville, NC. This tourist town’s many great restaurants can’t keep their doors open because they literally can’t get enough staff to cook the food or serve the customers.

It’s not just restaurants and corner shops. It’s all small businesses.

What can you do? I’ve talked before about keeping your staff on board in general; this time around I’ve got a few more specific suggestions.

First, listen to your people. This is simple, but all too many managers ignore this one. Ask them what their concerns are. What makes them happy at work? What makes them miserable?

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Microsoft makes virtual healthcare visits easier to manage in Teams (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 09:00 AM

Microsoft has added several features to Teams aimed at expanding use of the collaboration application among front-line workers. This includes a Viva Connections mobile app, updates to approvals, and improvements to virtual medical visit management.

While much of the focus around Teams during the pandemic has centered on knowledge workers and the ongoing boom in video meetings, use of the app by front-line workers has increased significantly too, up 150% over the past year, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is one of a number of productivity and collaboration software providers targeting workers in front-line roles, such as those in the retail, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors. These “deskless” jobs have tended to be subject to less investment in digital tools from businesses, though spending has grown in recent years. Facebook’s Workplace and Google’s Workspace both have dedicated pricing and features for front-line workers, for example, as does Microsoft 365.

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Apple’s new MacBook Pros leapfrog the competition (www.computerworld.com) 10/18/2021 05:31 PM

In all my years of Apple reporting, I’ve never seen a change of this magnitude for the Mac.

Since I first began reporting on Apple’s business in 1999, I’ve watched as Apple tried really hard to explain the good points of each iteration of the old G-series Macs. I was pleased at the performance gains the Mac got with the Intel chip. But this? This is something quite different.

Probably the best notebooks in the world

At its October 18 Unleashed event, Apple announced its all-new MacBook Pro lineup. Available in two sizes, 14-inch and 16-inch, the new systems are powered by the company’s proprietary M1 Max and M1 Pro processors, which build on the M1 System on a Chip (SoC) introduced last year.

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The two Pixel 6 numbers that could change everything (www.computerworld.com) 10/21/2021 08:53 AM

They're here. They're really, truly, officially here.

After what's felt like 47 years of waiting and approximately 994 gazillion unofficial leaks, Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones are out of hiding and on their way into the world.

Well, okay: To be fair, they've technically been in the world for a handful of days now — at least, for those of us lucky enough to receive loaner review units for evaluation. I've been totin' the Pixel 6 and its plus-sized sibling around in my dusty ol' dungarees for nearly a week at this point, and lemme tell ya: Based on these first several days, the devices are every bit as impressive as we'd been hoping they would be.

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As Google moves to reshape Workspace, barriers to business adoption remain (www.computerworld.com) 10/18/2021 06:00 AM

Google has been boasting since at least June that Workspace, its productivity and collaboration platform, has 3 billion users, highlighting the huge scale of its largely consumer customer base. But for business adoption, the company still faces several barriers to wrestling market share from its biggest rival, Microsoft’s Office 365.

The latest Workspace user stats amount to a significant increase from 2 billion at the end of 2019. Although Google hasn't offered details, the majority of these are likely Gmail users: Google Workspace (previously G Suite) has four paid subscription options, and is also available for free, providing access to features such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Meet at no cost.

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What happens when you put iPhone chips in Macs? (www.computerworld.com) 10/20/2021 01:17 PM

Ten years after the first Apple-designed chip, the A4 System on a Chip, debuted in the iPad and the iPhone 4, Apple introduced its M1 SoC for personal computers. Launched in November 2020, the ARM-based processor uses the same basic architecture as the A-series chips and powers a range of Apple PCs including the MacBook Air, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Now, with the launch of Apple's 2021 MacBook Pro models, the hugely praised M1 chip has now been joined by the M1 Pro and M1 Max

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Experts call Apple's CSAM scheme 'a dangerous technology' (www.computerworld.com) 10/15/2021 10:57 AM

Apple’s decision to postpone introduction of its controversial client-side scanning (CSS) CSAM-detection system looks like an even better idea amid news governments already want to use the controversial tools for other forms of surveillance.

A 'dangerous technology'

In a new report, an influential group of 14 internationally reputed security researchers have said such plans represent a “dangerous technology” that expands state surveillance powers. They warn the client-side scanning system, if used “would be much more privacy invasive than previous proposals to weaken encryption. Rather than reading the content of encrypted communications, CSS gives law enforcement the ability to remotely search not just communications, but information stored on user devices.”

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Asana takes aim at the enterprise with new workflow features (www.computerworld.com) 10/20/2021 09:05 AM

Asana, a work management platform for teams, today announced the Enterprise Work Graph, a suite of features designed to give greater clarity and flexibility to enterprise workflows. The new capabilities aim to align teams around goals, coordinate workflows across teams and time zones, and provide visibility into where work stands in real time. 

Alongside the new Work Graph data model, Asana is introducing enterprise-grade security and controls to its platform.

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Make your own promotional videos the easy way (www.computerworld.com) 10/15/2021 07:00 AM

Smart phones, webcams, and YouTube have made it simple for anyone to record and share video. But adapting your visual creations for business purposes isn’t so easy.

If you want to overlay text, add background music, splice in B-roll, or add slide shows to your message, you’ll need to load your recording into a desktop or cloud editor and monkey with the controls, which are unique to each platform and are less than intuitive, in my experience. And let’s be honest, most of us haven’t a clue how to create a compelling video in the first place.

The Zoomification of business has made video such a mainstream medium that learning how to tame it can boost anyone’s career, but most of us are just getting started. Vidyard’s recently released State of Virtual Selling report found that 72% of the sales professionals it surveyed classify their video recording and editing skills as either “beginning” or “emerging.”

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JNUC 21 brings major security and deployment improvements to Apple enterprise (www.computerworld.com) 10/19/2021 01:28 PM

Hot on the heels of Apple’s MacBook Pro launch, the world’s biggest (virtual) gathering of Apple admins is beginning with a raft of announcements from Jamf, including solutions to secure remote working, accelerate deployments and more.

The big event for Apple IT

The 2021 Jamf Nation User Conference, a virtual event, will host over 10,000 Apple administrators from across the enterprise, healthcare, and education. The company now has over 57,000 customers, and its software is used to manage more than 25 million Apple devices, the company said.

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Podcast: Apple's 'Unleashed' event preview: 14- and 16-in. MacBook Pros with Apple Silicon (www.computerworld.com) 10/14/2021 02:57 PM

Apple's next event occurs on Monday, and rumors suggest that the company will announce updated 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Consumer-level Macs have already received an Apple Silicon update, and it's expected that the Pro models will receive their refresh next week. It's also rumored that a new Mac Mini could be announced, powered by the same chip as the new MacBook Pros. Macworld executive editor Michael Simon and Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis join Juliet to discuss what to expect from Apple's "Unleashed" event, including product rumors, benchmarks and release dates. Plus, they'll discuss what the new Pro models mean for enterprise users and whether or not IT should upgrade employee devices.

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Zoho One suite expands to more than 50 apps (www.computerworld.com) 10/19/2021 10:08 AM

Zoho has expanded its Zoho One business software suite to include more than 50 apps, adding a wide range of capabilities around analytics, security management, and employee experience.

The vendor launched Zoho One in 2017 with the goal of providing access to a wider range of the applications across its extensive portfolio. The app suite costs $37 per employee per month when subscriptions are purchased annually for a customer’s entire workforce; otherwise annual subscriptions are $90 per user per month.

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13 handy hidden tricks for Google Maps on Android (www.computerworld.com) 10/14/2021 09:00 AM

Who doesn't love Google Maps? The Maps Android app helps those of us with oatmeal for brains find our way anywhere, without having to fire any neurons or exercise any synapses. It even helps us find places to pick up tasty cuisine — like, uh, oatmeal (yum!).

But there's much more to Google Maps than meets the eye — and odds are, you aren't taking advantage of at least a few handy hidden features lurking within the Maps Android app. With Android 12 right around the corner and more shiny new Android goodies showing up by the day, I thought it'd be a fine time to dive deep into this ever-evolving Android anchor and think through some of its more off-the-beaten-path advanced options.

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Just who is Windows 11 for, anyway? (www.computerworld.com) 10/19/2021 08:00 AM

Seriously, who did Microsoft develop Windows 11 for? Only people who like centered taskbars? Only people who don’t mind “unlearning” how to get into task manager?

Maybe not, but I’d argue that Windows 11 wasn’t designed for you and me. Rather, it was designed for the businesses, governments, schools, and other entities that we interact with. It’s built to ensure that sensitive information can be secured.

Baked-in security

For starters, Windows 11 has allowed Microsoft to cut the cord on the 32-bit platform. Windows 11 will be first Windows OS that is 64-bit only. This allows Microsoft to build in more virtualization and containerization security features that cannot be done in the 32-bit platform.

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BrandPost: Wire Your SMB for Digital Success (www.computerworld.com) 10/13/2021 04:33 PM

IT talent is scarce and expensive, so it’s no surprise that many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) operate with limited IT support. For many, this makes them reticent to upgrade their network and deploy more robust solutions with better performance and flexibility. After all, upgrading a network has historically required a large IT time investment and substantial planned downtime.

Thankfully, modern network solutions are far easier to deploy and manage than their predecessors, enabling even organizations with minimal IT resources to take full advantage of their network capabilities.

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Acronis gets deeper into the Apple enterprise with Addigy partnership (www.computerworld.com) 10/22/2021 11:48 AM

The burgeoning enterprise Apple space saw thousands of IT admins virtually attend this week’s JNUC event, and the week tails off with news from Addigy and cybersecurity firm Acronis.

Securing the Apple enterprise

Addigy has confirmed that its cloud-based Apple device management tools now integrate with Acronis. This integration means IT can use Addigy to extend Acronis security tools to Mac and iOS systems via Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud. The idea is to bring all this control inside one management tool.

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