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Jamf CEO weighs in on Apple deployments and enterprise security (www.computerworld.com) 01/27/2022 11:34 AM

“Apple will become the number one device ecosystem in the enterprise by the end of this decade,” Jamf CEO Dean Hager told me while introducing an in-depth enterprise security trends report that enterprises should look at.

Apple continues to see incredible growth

The nature of enterprise IT is rapidly becoming multiplatform. Jamf recently shared some details concerning the rapid growth in Apple device deployments it is seeing in business. For example, it now has 60,000 active customers, up from 36,000 two years before that – and believes new services such as Apple Business Essentials will help maintain this growth.

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Microsoft beefs up Edge's security against zero-day attacks (www.computerworld.com) 01/20/2022 04:16 PM

In the latest release of its Edge beta, Microsoft introduced a new way for IT admins to better secure the Chromium-based browser against web-based attacks.

The release notes for Microsoft Edge Beta Channel describe the new security features as employing several techniques to guard against so-called zero-day exploits; Zero-day exploits are software or network vulnerabilities developers are unaware of, and so they’ve not been patched.

Imagine if the keylock mechanism on your home’s backdoor was faulty and jiggling the doorknob released the latch. Burglars could walk door to door looking for that particular vulnerability and jiggle doorknobs until one opened. Zero days are the same concept, but in cyberspace.

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Meta's Workplace touts upcoming WhatsApp integration for frontline workers (www.computerworld.com) 01/20/2022 11:53 AM

Workplace by Meta has announced plans to roll out an integration with WhatsApp this year to better support frontline workers whose technology needs often take a back seat at many companies.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many companies found it hard to reach their frontline workforce because they did not have traditional lines of communication within their wider organization. According to Deskless Not Voiceless: The 2021 Frontline Barometer — which examined the views of 7,000 frontline workers and 1,350 C-suite executives in seven countries — only 55% of frontline workers surveyed felt connected to the company headquarters. And 75% of the respondents said they don’t completely trust their organizations to be transparent about company news and updates.

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Video vs. VR: What’s missing for successful collaboration? (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 08:49 AM

Just about every new software solution that allows you to communicate remotely these days is called a “collaboration product.” But most of the options that are videoconferencing-based focus on communication, while the mixed-reality platforms now beginning to explore the metaverse might actually be better for collaboration.

The difference between the two? How they’re used. Mixed reality can help people collaborate on a common product or service that can be manipulated virtually. Videoconferencing basically virtualizes meetings where a limited number of people present to a larger audience. It isn’t ideal for collaboration due to the lack of actual conversations between participants and the tendency to focus on one-too-many communications.

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Can Google be trusted? (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 06:00 AM

For years, it seemed, Google lived up to its old motto, “Don’t be evil.” It also seemed to do no wrong in terms of product superiority.

Google built its reputation as an ethical company that outperformed competitors. But is that reputation still deserved?

One thing is true: It’s been a bad year for Google’s reputation.

Does Google engage in unethical business practices?

An antitrust lawsuit brought by a coalition of US states in 2020 and published in unredacted form last week alleges that Google suppressed competition by manipulating advertising auctions.

Google used what are called “second price” auctions, where the highest bidder wins the auction, but pays the publisher an amount equal to the second-highest bid. If one company bids $10 per click, another bids $8 and another $6. The $10 bidder wins — but pays $8 per click to the publisher.

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After the shift to remote work, new hope for a four-day workweek (www.computerworld.com) 01/24/2022 06:00 AM

The global shift over the past two years to remote work has led to something unexpected: an uptick in the adoption of a four-day workweek, raising hopes that a tipping point could come soon.

In a number of industries, calls for a change to the standard five-day, 40-hour week grew after many companies began to rethink how work is done in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This has given organizations the confidence they need to consider adopting flexible work arrangements such as the four-day week,” said Raúl Castañón, senior analyst at 451 Research, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

There are a variety of recent examples of companies trying out a four-day week or moving toward one permanently. Bolt, a fintech startup, recently committed to a four-day week long term, as did social media software firm Buffer last year. Crowd-funding company Kickstarter is due to start a trial this year, Unilever ran a pilot for staffers in New Zealand last year, Panasonic pledged last month to give workers a four-day-week option, and real estate management firm JLL hinted at similar intentions.

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How to fix iPhone network coverage and hotspot problems (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 11:47 AM

Bad mobile signals and unreliable hotspot coverage on your iPhone could well be two of the most frustrating challenges today’s enterprise professionals face (other than battery life). Here are some ways that may improve network coverage and hotspot reliability, making it easier to get work done while on the go.

How to improve your network signal

The first thing you’ll want to fix is a poor signal; without that, you’ll never get your personal hotspot coverage working at all.

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BrandPost: How Wi-Fi 6 Impacts Your Business Network (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 01:46 PM

It’s no secret that growing businesses depend on the speed and quality of their network.

From communication to collaboration, employees have come to expect a reliable Wi-Fi connection that powers the tools they rely on most to get the job done. This includes video conferencing, digitally enhanced customer experiences, remote work and more, often competing for bandwidth on a single network.

As a result, the demand for scale and speed spurred the latest standard in connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, which supports more devices and faster connections to enable productivity wherever work happens. This is achieved by:

Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive send out warnings to macOS users (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 01:39 PM

Two of the world’s most widely used online storage services, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, are warning Mac users of a looming problem in a coming macoS Monterey update.

You’ll need to download files to use them for a while

They warn that some users may have problems when attempting to open files stored in either service using another Mac application. They urge customers to update their apps once macOS 12.3 is installed.

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About that 'alarming' chip shortage — don't count on new fab plants to help quickly (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 04:03 PM

The global semiconductor shortage made worse by the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain issues shows no signs of improving as industries worldwide have had to halt production while waiting for processors.

A report from the US Department of Commerce released this week revealed an “alarming” shortage of computer chips at a time when the median demand for them was as much as 17% higher in 2021 than 2019.

“This is a major supply and demand mismatch,” the report stated.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the lack of chip inventory leaves auto manufacturers and other chip users with “no room for error.”

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Windows 10: A guide to the updates (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 03:06 PM

The launch of a major Windows 10 update isn’t the end of a process — it’s really just the beginning. As soon as one of Microsoft’s feature updates (such as Windows 10 version 21H2) is released, the company quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

In this story we summarize what you need to know about each update released to the public for the most recent versions of Windows 10 — versions 21H2, 21H1, 20H2, and 2004. (Microsoft releases updates for those four versions together.) For each build, we’ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it. The most recent updates appear first.

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Windows 11: A guide to the updates (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 05:45 PM

A Windows launch isn’t the end a process — it’s really just the beginning. As with Windows 10, Microsoft continually works on improving Windows 11 by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

In this story we summarize what you need to know about each update released to the public for Windows 11. For each build, we’ve included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it. The most recent updates appear first.

Note: If you’re still using Windows 10, see “Windows 10: A guide to the updates.” And if you’re looking for information about Insider Program previews for upcoming feature releases of Windows 11, see “Windows 11 Insider Previews: What’s in the latest build?”

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It’s time to talk about time (www.computerworld.com) 01/27/2022 07:00 AM

Supervisors could supervise by direct, real time interaction. You could have meetings with everyone going into the same room. Spontaneous brainstorming, collaboration, and team-building could take place in the hallway at anyone’s desk or in front of the water cooler.

Before networked PCs, working together meant being together at the same time.

The upside of same place, same time office work was the ability to have ad hoc, intuitive, and effortless engagement with coworkers. The downside was the constant interruptions.

In a hierarchical organizational structure, meetings—especially status update meetings—were a huge time-saver for the Big Boss and a time-waster for everyone else.

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Test your outrage over Google's new Topics advertising system (www.computerworld.com) 01/27/2022 07:00 AM

Google sure has taken an awful lot of heat over its advertising practices lately.

But why, exactly? Today, I'd like to explore that. I've concocted a four-question quiz that'll gauge your rage and help determine whether it's aimed at the right source or perhaps misplaced. But first, we need to catch up on what exactly is happening right now and how we reached this point.

The whole recent Google advertising debacle started with the crumbling state of the digital cookie, y'see — the pressure for Google to move away from its age-old practice of using tiny (and rather tasty-sounding) tidbits of data provided by websites to see what sort of stuff you're interested in and then show you ads that match those subjects.

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VPNs and browsers — staying secure while online (www.computerworld.com) 01/24/2022 12:08 PM

In business, we’ve used Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for years. But I’m now seeing recommendations that consumers use VPN software to make internet connections more private so sites can’t snoop on your surfing and other communications. As someone who runs a website that uses IP address reputation as a guide to know who is and is not reputable on my site, I can tell you that using a VPN often assigns you an IP address that’s less than stellar. As a result, if you attempt to access sites that check for reputation, such as your bank, you may find yourself blocked.

I’m not against the concept of consumer-based VPN software, but I’m not convinced it’s the security panacea many think it is. Users think it’s keeping sites from tracking them, or keeping them safe when surfing on coffee shop Wi-Fi. They think it keeps prying eyes from reviewing our web traffic. But all VPN software is not created equal. I recently read new research from Consumer Reports that tested various VPN platforms; I was surprised to find that the top VPN providers included vendors I’ve not even heard of.

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The ambitious Android tablet option Google tossed away (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 06:00 AM

To say that Android tablets have been a letdown might be the understatement of the century.

When you step back and think about it, the fact that Android tablets are such an underemphasized afterthought is almost shocking. Android is the world's most popular operating system, after all — by a pretty hefty margin. It's easy to forget sometimes, but more humans carry Android-powered smartphones than any other type of device in the universe.

And yet, for all of those advantages, Google has year after year failed to turn Android tablets into a compelling, sought-after type of technology that's more than a mere blip on the mobile-tech radar. It's reached the point where I flat-out tell folks to stay away from Android tablets and consider convertible Chromebooks instead — 'cause unlike the typical Android tablet, any Chromebook you buy will actually get updates. It'll be supported with the latest privacy, security, and performance standards for years after its purchase. And it'll provide a truly great all-around experience.

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Apple's 'wild array' of expected 2022 releases include plenty for business (www.computerworld.com) 01/24/2022 09:02 AM

Apple plans what Mark Gurman describes as the “wildest array” yet of new hardware introductions this year. While these new expectations confirm earlier speculation about what's in the pipeline for consumer markets, what’s coming for enterprise pros this year?

Arriving this spring

Apple is preparing to make a range of announcements this spring, including an iPhone SE with 5G, new iPads and new Macs — potentially including a larger iMac and a souped-up new model Mac mini. Here's a rundown of what’s likely coming.

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How to choose the right project collaboration software (www.computerworld.com) 01/26/2022 06:00 AM

Even before we’d heard the words coronavirus or COVID-19, collaboration apps were on the rise in the enterprise. Now, because of the phenomenal increase in remote work triggered by the pandemic, more and more organizations are implementing project collaboration tools to enable employees to collaborate effectively on project tasks from anywhere.

Project collaboration tools include features that make it easier for team members, project leaders, and others involved in a project to communicate, both in real time and asynchronously. Team members and leaders can use project collaboration apps, also called team task management software or collaborative work management tools, to plan, coordinate, and monitor their projects. The software keeps users informed about updates and helps them complete their work on schedule.

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Apple: iOS 15 now installed on more than 60% of all iPhones (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 04:15 PM

Apple has updated its mobile installation numbers for the first time since iOS 15 was released in September, detailing just how many devices are running its latest mobile operating system.

Apple's iOS 15 is now installed on 72% of iPhones that are four years old or newer – and 62% of all iDevices regardless of age, according to data from the company's App Support webpage.

Apple splits its mobile OS installation data into two main categories: devices introduced in the last four years and all devices; it then tracks iOS and iPadOS installs in each of those categories. The data is based on devices that conducted transactions on the App Store on Jan. 11.

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India eyes home-grown OS to compete with Android, iOS (www.computerworld.com) 01/25/2022 05:10 PM

The Indian government is hoping to spur the nation's private sector to create a national mobile operating system that can compete with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), said this week his agency plans to encourage the tech industry and academic institutions to collaborate on a home-grown Indian mobile OS, according to a report in The Economic Times of India.

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16 ways to speed up Windows 10 (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 11:33 AM

Want Windows 10 to run faster? We've got help. In just a few minutes you can try out these tips; your machine will be zippier and less prone to performance and system issues.

1. Change your power settings

If you’re using Windows 10’s “Power saver” plan, you’re slowing down your PC. That plan reduces your PC’s performance in order to save energy. (Even desktop PCs typically have a “Power saver” plan.) Changing your power plan from “Power saver” to “High performance” or “Balanced” will give you an instant performance boost.

To do it, launch the Control Panel app, then select Hardware and Sound > Power Options. You’ll typically see two options: “Balanced (recommended)” and “Power saver." (Depending on your make and model, you might see other plans here as well, including some branded by the manufacturer.) To see the “High performance” setting, click the down arrow by “Show additional plans.” 

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Nvidia may abandon its $40B ARM acquisition (www.computerworld.com) 01/25/2022 12:44 PM

I can’t help but imagine sighs of relief may be heard from Cupertino on the news Nvidia may abandon its attempt to acquire Apple’s strategically important supplier, Arm.

Competitive concerns put deal on ice

Nvidia has reportedly told partners it doesn’t expect the acquisition to go ahead. That said, both Nvidia and SoftBank appear to be pressing forward with the deal for the time being; Nvidia stands to lose $1.25 billion if it fails.

If the acquisition does fall through, SoftBank may instead issue an IPO of Arm shares — though both Arm and SoftBank argue that the company will be too weak to compete without major financial support. 

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What you need to know about NFTs (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 07:00 AM

Unless you live in a cave, you’re almost certainly aware of a new internet phenomenon called non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The media hasn’t been able to get enough of this topic since a South Carolina artist sold a digital collage last March for the staggering sum of $69.3 million. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that the creation can be freely copied and posted by anyone.

Many people are getting rich off of NFTs right now. In December nearly 29,000 collectors banded together to pay $91.8 million for a single piece of digital artwork. It was the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist in any medium. Last year The New York Times’ Kevin Rose sold a NFT of one of his columns for more than $1 million (the proceeds went to charity).

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Don’t cheap out on essential hardware (www.computerworld.com) 01/25/2022 07:00 AM

On the Reddit SysAdmin group, I recently read a horror story. A car dealership had been using a 14-year-old desktop for its one and only business server. On it, the company was running two business’ customer-relation management (CRM) programs and their inventory management systems. They also—brace yourself—didn’t have an automatic backup system.

The consultant told them that “they should automate backups to a separate system, or use a RAID1 at least. Something!”

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Android's forgotten shortcut superpowers (www.computerworld.com) 01/21/2022 05:55 AM

I sure do love me a good time-saver. And sometimes, the best time-savers of all are the ones that are right under the surface of our favorite apps and services, just waiting to be seen — or maybe remembered.

I'll admit it: Even as someone who uses and thinks about Android almost constantly, as part of both my life and my job, I frequently find myself surprised by how often I stumble onto something that I knew about at some point but long ago forgot to keep using. It happened to me with some of the Android Assistant tricks we talked about a couple months ago, and it's happened to me yet again now with a powerful shortcut system built right into Android and supported by oodles o' different apps.

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Will World War III begin in cyberspace? (www.computerworld.com) 01/25/2022 06:00 AM

People die because of cyber wars, even if no bullets are ever fired. Instead, they die in emergency rooms that no longer have power, from broken medical communication networks, and from riots. All of this has happened before. It will happen again. And now, with Russia poised to invade Ukraine and Russian cyberattacks already in motion, we can only hope and pray that what promises to be the first major European war since World War II doesn't spark the next World War.

If it does, I fear the proximate cause won't be Russian T-90 main battle tanks trying to smash their way into Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. It will be the Russian GRU Sandworm hacking group launching a cyberattack that perhaps wrecks the European Union power grid; or knocks out major US internet sites such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft; or stops 4G and 5G cellular services in their tracks.

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Podcast: Microsoft’s Activision acquisition, explained (www.computerworld.com) 01/20/2022 04:15 PM

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced plans to buy video game giant Activison Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Microsoft branded the deal as a metaverse play, but some industry analysts see it as Microsoft capitalizing on Activision’s weakened position. Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis and senior reporter Lucas Mearian join Juliet to break down Microsoft’s planned acquisition, including how it relates to the metaverse and what it means for the tech industry.   Article: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3647294/microsoft-to-buy-video-game-maker-activision-blizzard-for-687b.html

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CFOs eye tech investments to attract, retain talent with AI/ML skills (www.computerworld.com) 01/24/2022 02:10 PM

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are apparently eager to invest in technology to help attract — and keep — finance talent and workers with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) skills, according to a new survey.

Financial services and human resources software vendor Workday last week released its latest Global CFO Indicator Survey, which indicates that nearly half (48%) of CFOs plan to invest in consumer-like interfaces to attract future finance talent within the next five years — and 57% say they now want AI and ML skills in new hires. 

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Apple (and everyone) needs harmonized digital health regulation (www.computerworld.com) 01/20/2022 09:23 AM

Has Apple lived up to its promises on digital health? Perhaps not, but perhaps this is because we lack international standards for digital medical technology.

A heavily regulated space

Digital health is, rightfully, a heavily regulated space. Those who build solutions in that space must prove their products do what they claim. An easy way to see it is that while you can say apps and services may be of use for overall health, you can’t say they will make a difference — unless you can prove that claim.

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Windows 11 and Android: Rethinking the PC-phone connection (www.computerworld.com) 01/27/2022 12:17 PM

Disclosure: Most of the companies mentioned are clients of the author.

Microsoft just posted an update on Windows 11 that includes several interesting new features. Since we are still early in the Windows 11 life cycle, Microsoft remains focused on adding capabilities rather than pushing them off until Windows 12. (This is the “free gift” period of the operating system’s evolution, and it is often fun, sometimes frustrating, and almost always entertaining.)

The part I’m focused on is the integration of Android apps and why it might make various cell phone integration efforts from Dell, Intel, and even Microsoft redundant. Let’s explore.

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