Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Microsoft Tasks Pegatron with Making New Surface Hardware

Chinese manufacturer Pegatron Technology will build Microsoft’s next generation of

Surface products, including the Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2.
Microsoft’s current plans for the Surface line are currently up in the air. The company has confirmed nothing. Certainly the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are unlikely to be refreshed this year. However, a Chinese outlet has offered the clearest indication that the company is developing new products.
Economic Daily News (EDN) says that Chinese manufacturer Pegatron Technology has been tasked with building new Surface devices. Beyond that, we are still left speculating exactly when Microsoft will launch new products. More importantly, we do not know which devices will be launched.
Of course, there is plenty of insider information and speculation to chew through. For example, we know that no new Surface tablets or laptops will arrive this year. However, Microsoft is reportedly going to launch its much-rumored Surface all-in-one PC.
At the moment, Cardinal (PC codename) is expected to arrive in three screen sizes (21, 24, and 27 inches). However, we would say the 24-inch is unlikely, so expect just a 21-inch and 27-inch version. While we are dubious about the need of a Surface desktop, it is a logical hardware progression.
It makes sense that Microsoft will give the all-in-one a clear run without any other competing product launches.

Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2

That leaves Microsoft planning the Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2. This is where Pegatron’s involvement comes into play. The Chinese company has likely already started building those devices ahead of their launch next year.
Awards and accolades continue to arrive for Microsoft’s excellent hardware. In other words, the Pro 5 and Book have plenty of time before they need to be refreshed. We have reported before that Microsoft is waiting until the launch of Windows 10 Redstone 2 before launching the new hardware. That would mean a spring 2017 announcement.

    Microsoft Releases Office 2016 Build 15.27 to Production on Mac

    A week after launching Office 2016 15.27 to the Insider Slow Ring, Microsoft has

     introduced the update to the production release ring.

    Microsoft is continuing to bolster its Office suite on Apple platforms. A week after rolling out an update for Office 2016 on the Insider Program, the updates arrive on the production ring. This means the updates were saw last time have rolled out to all users.
    This brings the Office 2016 suite up to version 15.27 (161003) on Mac.
    The changelog is the same as the Insider release a week ago. However, there is one new addition to the feature set for the production ring release. More specifically, OneNote now sports a new spell checker tool to help users tidy up typos.
    • More functions: In Excel, use CONCAT or TEXTJOIN to shorten your text formulas, or try the forecasting functions to help you see the future. (Feature requires an Office 365 subscription.)
    • Trim audio and video files: In PowerPoint, trim unwanted content from the beginning or the end of your audio or video files. You can also trigger an animation by using a bookmark in your media file. (Feature requires an Office 365 subscription.)
    • Make sure your notes are accessible: In OneNote, find and fix accessibility issues in your notes using the Accessibility Checker on the Tools menu.
    • Try our new designs: In OneNote, we’ve made some changes to help you get around your notes. Check them out by turning on Preferences > General > Enable experimental features, and let us know what you think!
    • In OneNote correct your typos by using suggestions from the spell checker.
    As well as moving version 15.27 (161003) to production, Microsoft also sent out a new update to the Slow ring. This is another 15.27 build, namely 161007. There is no changelog for this release so it is probably to clear up issues and fix bugs in 15.27 161003. Expect this release to make its way to production in the next

    Report: Tech sector growing, but IT is hemorrhaging jobs

    CompTIA's September jobs report reveals some grim statistics for IT pros: 142,000 jobs were lost last month. Tech sector growth slowed as well, but positions were still created rather than lost.

    By Brandon Vigliarolo | October 11, 2016, 9:14 AM PST

    It's not the best time to be an IT professional. Budgets are getting tight, cloud computing is making jobs more difficult, and now CompTIA reports that September was bleeding IT jobs at an alarming rate.

    The CompTIA IT Employment Tracker for October reveals some interesting ups and downs. Before we dive in let's talk specifics: The report uses IT sector employment and IT occupation employment as two distinct terms.

    IT occupation employment is clear: CompTIA uses this term to refer to anyone doing actual IT work. Programmers, CXOs, help desk techs, and network engineers are all in IT occupation employment.

    The IT sector, on the other hand, is everyone involved in the tech world. Only 44 percent of IT sector jobs are IT occupations: The rest are marketing, finance, HR, and other positions.

    The IT sector is growing according to CompTIA. IT occupations, on the other hand, are not.
    Where the losses are

    IT occupations across all industries faced a serious drop in September, with 142,000 jobs disappearing. That wipes away half of the job gains from August, when 205,000 IT occupation jobs were added.

    The one upside to the news is the year-to-date numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is where CompTIA pulled data for the report. Job losses have been numerous but there's still been an overall gain of 17,000 positions since January.

    CompTIA's report isn't specific about the particular jobs that were lost in

    3 ways state and local governments can ensure the future of 5G mobile networks in the US

    Ahead of the White House Frontiers Conference, Richard Adler, of the Institute for the Future, explained how state and local governments can help pave the way for 5G in 2020.

    By Conner Forrest | October 11, 2016, 9:25 AM PST

    The future of many technologies hinges on the deployment of 5G networks, but there are still a few potential roadblocks to their development Richard Adler, a distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, said in a press call on Tuesday.

    The call came a few days before the White House Frontiers Conference kicks off in Pittsburgh. The conference will focus on advances in science and technology, and Adler hosted a call to discuss the importance of 5G networks in supporting innovation and the role they will play in some of the technologies that the conference will focus on.

    Mobile data traffic has experienced a 4,000x increase in the past 10 years, Adler said, and the next-generation 5G networks will help increase communication times, and improve speed and bandwidth as traffic continues to grow. The standard for 5G won't be completed until 2020, Adler said, but actions have been taken around the US to lay the foundation for the network.

    One of the biggest differences with 5G is that it uses what is known as millimeter wave band, which has a shorter range, but is key to increasing capacity. Because of that, though, providers will

    How to get a refund for a Samsung Galaxy Note7

    Samsung recently killed production of its Galaxy Note7 devices for good. Here's how you can get a refund, or exchange your Note7.

    By Conner Forrest | October 11, 2016, 12:18 PM PST

    Samsung recently stopped production of its Galaxy Note7 smartphones and is encouraging users to power them down and turn them in. Here's how to return or exchange a Samsung Galaxy Note7.
    Back up your data to your preferred location before returning your device.
    If desired, after backing up your data, perform a factory reset on the device to clear it of any personal data.
    Determine if you want a refund or exchange.
    Determine where you purchased your device (through Samsung directly, through a carrier, or through a retailer like Best Buy).
    If you purchased the phone through Samsung, follow the formal Customer Guidance process or call 1-844-365-6197 for additional help.
    If you purchased the phone through a carrier or retailer, bring the phone to one of their physical locations or complete their online process for returns and exchanges (details below).
    Select a new device and sync your data.

    When contacted for more details on the process, Samsung responded by sending a link to the same Customer Guidance page listed above. According to Samsung, to fully process your return you will need to provide some personal information such as your name, address, and contact number. You will likely also need to find the original IMEI number of your Note7 device and a

    2017 cybercrime trends: Expect a fresh wave of ransomware and IoT hacks

    This year companies were rocked by over 90 million cyberattacks. In 2017 the number could double. Cybersecurity expert Sameer Dixit explains how new innovation leads to increased vulnerability.

    By Dan Patterson | October 11, 2016, 12:43 PM PST

    The threat of cybercrime looms ominously over companies and individuals. To raise awareness of the growing threat, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the United States and Europe.

    The economic damage caused by cybercrime is massive and quantifiable. In 2016 companies and individuals will be hit by 90 million attacks. That's 400 raids every minute. Nearly 70% of of these attacks will go unnoticed, yet the fallout is massive. Hacking costs companies $15.4 million per attack, according to Sameer Dixit, Senior Director of Security Consulting at cybersecurity firmSpirent.

    The incentive to hack is generally financial, Dixit explained. "Cybercriminals buy and sell stolen data at underground black markets. Social Security numbers, bank account info, credit card data, personal identity information, and personal health information are sold," he said, on the Dark Web.

    Coupled with emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and self-driving cars, Dixit said, new threats emerge with every new innovation. "Given the increase of internet-enabled devices in the market," he said, "the security threats associated with those devices will also continue to increase."

    Dixit shared his predictions for emerging cyberthreat vectors in 2017:


    Next generation cyberwar is fought on the internet. Every day a new headline, tweet, or alert appears suddenly, and more often than not companies are

    Dropbox boosts productivity tools for iOS

    Dropbox has launched a new iOS app with the goal to provide users with the same type of functionality and speed they would typically get on desktop machines.

    By Tas Bindi | October 11, 2016, 9:33 PM PST

    Dropbox has added new productivity features to its iOS application, as it attempts to make working on mobile devices as productive and efficient as working on desktop computers.

    Among its new features is the ability to sign PDFs and share Dropbox files in iMessage while conversing with teammates on the go.

    The company has also introduced a new lock screen widget that allows users to start workflows — such as create, scan, view, and upload images and documents — without having to unlock their mobile devices.

    Users can also get real-time file updates — a notification is sent to users as soon as someone saves a new version of a file they're viewing. A "refresh" button appears that users can tap to see what changes have been made to the file.

    "The goal was to [contain] these workflows that involve multiple steps within the Dropbox app experience," said Matt Pan, Group Product Manager for Dropbox's File Collaboration Product Group, in an interview with TechRepublic.

    "We are constantly building on top of the latest functionality iOS and different operating systems provide to create integrated experiences for our users."

    Other new features include the iPad Picture-in-Picture, which allows users to watch a video on Dropbox while using another app on their iPad — for example, an annotation app. In the coming weeks, Dropbox will also launch split-screen capabilities to allow users to work across multiple apps without having to toggle back and forth.

    "The last two features are all about multitasking. We have a meaningful contingent of iPad users who are using Dropbox extensively for work productivity; and increasingly, they want the same multitasking [capabilities] that they get on desktop machines, on their iPad," Pan told TechRepublic.

    Pan said there is

    The crazy 5 step process for returning a Samsung Galaxy Note7

    If you want to ship your Galaxy Note7 back to Samsung, you'll have to follow their return process that includes three different boxes and special gloves.

    By Conner Forrest | October 12, 2016, 6:52 AM PST

    In an attempt to put an end to its exploding phone woes, Samsung finally killed production and sales of its Galaxy Note7 smartphone. The company then began urging customers to return their devices through the channel by which they purchased them.

    Those who purchased their device through a carrier or retailer can simply take it back to the store. But, for the folks who purchased their device directly through Samsung, the process is more involved.

    Samsung recently began issuing a complicated return kit for users who want to ship the device back to the company. The Android forum XDA Developersposted pictures and a video of the kit they received, which includes multiple boxes and gloves to protect users from certain materials in the kit.

    SEE: How to get a refund for a Samsung Galaxy Note7

    So, how involved is this process? It's not terribly difficult, but users must follow specific steps to make sure that the phone does not catch fire while in transit. Here are the five steps:
    For starters, according to the kit, the phone must be placed in a static shielding bag. This protects the device from electrostatic discharge, which could further damage it.
    After placing the device in the bag, it must then be placed in an OEM replacement box, which looks to be the same size and shape as the original box the Galaxy Note7 came in.
    Next, the OEM replacement box is to be placed inside a slightly larger box that Samsung referred to as the "Inner Box."
    The Inner Box should then be placed in the "Recovery Box," and taped shut. This box contains a ceramic paper lining to prevent a fire. If you are allergic to ceramic fibers, make sure to use the gloves that Samsung includes in the kit.
    Finally, the phone should be shipped. Due to the hazards presented by the Note7 battery, the phone can only be shipped by ground.

    Before shipping your device, be sure to check with your delivery service of choice, as many companies are refusing to transport the devices. Users can view Samsung's official recall page here.

    After launching the Galaxy Note7 in August 2016, numerous reports of overheating and explosions quickly began pouring in. After finally ending the device, Samsung will now need to rebuild trust among its users.

    Playing Warhammer Shadow of the Horned Rat on OS X

    Recently GOG announced that they had re-released Warhammer Shadow of the Horned Rat (WSOTHR), it brought back great memories of playing this exciting strategy game in my childhood. I rushed over to purchase it only to find that it only worked on Windows. Due to my experience with WINE I was pretty sure I could get it working so I went ahead and purchased it and downloaded it. Unfortunately there are somethings I can’t fix and WSOTHR in WINE is one of them (see here) – the main issue was getting 256 colours to work in OS X.

    After failing with WINE I went for the brute force approach – emulate an 90s PC on my Macbook, run Windows 95 and then run WSOTHR. First step was to get hold of the latestQEMU source and compile that on my Macbook – this was pretty easy though I recommend that you chose to only compile the 386 processor to save time, power and space.
    Once you’ve got QEMU working I then got hold of a ISO of Win95, there are a number of places where you can find this – I suggest you search for Win95 and ISO and see what comes up. Roughly following this guide:
    1. Create a hard drive: $ qemu-img create -f qcow win95.disk 2G
    2. Run the emulator with the newly created hard drive as hda and the cdrom pointed to the Win95 ISO you’ve found. I recommend you go for a bit of ram as it’ll speed things up (see the -m 128)  $ qemu-system-i386 -L . -hda win95.disk -soundhw sb16 -M pc -m 128 –vga cirrus -cdrom win95_osr2_en.iso
    3. Install Win95 onto the hard drive, this took a couple of goes as it hung in a few places but finally managed to install.
    4. Boot up in to Win95, you might even get the classic tone coming through your speakers
    5. Next you need to install some cirrus VGA drivers to get the display to use 256 colours as well as create a ISO (CD Image) for WSOTHR.
      1. Download an original copy of WSOTHR (obviously having purchased GOG or owning an original), again this is a matter of searching online
      2. I created a ISO image of WSOTHR as well as a cirrus driver (I usedGD54461.41.EXE), I used Disk Utility on OS X, when you make an image ensure that you select CD/DVD Master and FAT as the format.
    6. Now you can boot Win95 but change the cdrom from the win95 iso to the newly created iso:  $ qemu-system-i386 -L . -hda win95.disk -soundhw sb16 -M pc -m 128 –vga cirrus -cdrom Master.iso
    7. You can now install the cirrus VGA driver, switch to 256 colours and then install WSOTHR
    8. Now you can play – CHARGE!

    Conclusion – it runs pretty well, my Mid 2012 Macbook doesn’t burst in to fan while playing which is good though it isn’t the quickest running, you can turn some features on and off to see if that helps. The only real issue is that the cut scenes don’t work but this might be due to the copy of WSOTHR i’ve got. Otherwise I can now play an awesome game of my childhood/teens – it wouldn’t be difficult to install some other games such as C&C…

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