Sunday, October 16, 2016

Researchers develop joystick style interface for smartwatch

Researchers develop joystick style interface for smartwatch

A team of researchers has developed a smartwatch prototype that uses the wrist wearing the watch as an always-available joystick to perform touchscreen gestures with one-handed continuous input. Checking email, tracking fitness and listening to music, are just a few things that a smartwatch can do but what if your hands aren’t free? WristWhirl is the answer.
While other studies have explored the use of one-handed continuous gestures using smartwatches, WristWhirl is the first to explore gestural input. “This shows what smartwatches may be able to do in the future, by allowing users to interact with the device using one hand (the one that the watch is worn on) while freeing up the other hand for other tasks,” said Xing-Dong Yang, assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth College.
To develop the WristWhirl prototype, researchers investigated the biomechanical ability of the wrist by tasking a small group of participants to conduct eight joystick-like gestures while standing and walking. Participants wore the watch on their left wrist and were asked to use their wrist to make four directional marks similar to flicking a touch screen, and four free-form shapes, such as a triangle.
They were asked to make these gestures with their hand-up in front of their body during which they could see the gesture being drawn on the watch’s screen, and with their hand-down alongside their body. They were able to make directional marks at an average rate of half a second and free-form shapes at an average rate of approximately 1.5 seconds. WristWhirl was built from a 2-inch TFT display and a plastic watch strap augmented with 12 infrared proximity sensors and a Piezo vibration sensor placed inside the wrist strap.
The project will be presented at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Tokyo on October 19.

T-Hub launches program to network startup ecosystems

T-Hub launches program to network startup ecosystems

T-Hub, one of India’s largest startup ecosystem builder, in partnership with Uber and TiE Silicon Valley has announced the launch of T-Bridge — a unique initiative to connect startup ecosystems from around the world to India. The programme will connect Indian startups with global market opportunities, and help bring global startups to India. T-Bridge will help startups access UberEXCHANGE — Uber’s flagship startup mentorship program and TiE Silicon Valley’s mentor network.
Telangana’s Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao, who is currently on a visit to the US, inaugurated T-Bridge at Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco. He opened T-Hub’s first outpost in the US in association with Uber and TiE Silicon Valley. T-Bridge will enable startup communities in India and around the world to cross-pollinate ideas, innovate and create channels for knowledge transfer.
It will also create a network of mentors, VCs, incubators and accelerators that is advantageous to the Indian startup ecosystem, said a statement released from the minister’s office here on Saturday. T-Bridge will provide a platform for such fast-track tech companies looking to tap into India’s huge consumer market for technology. “We have a strong vision to make Hyderabad one of the top 10 startup cities in the world. T-Bridge is one such move towards opening a channel of investment from the world to the state of Telangana,” said Rao.
“The Telangana government has been one of India’s most progressive states. The vitality and transformational mindset of its leadership gained quick notoriety within the startup world. TiE Silicon Valley is pleased to host the first T-Bridge outpost in Silicon Valley,” said TiE Silicon Valley’s incoming President Ram K. Reddy. “Today more and more people around the world want to build something themselves. Through initiatives like UberEXCHANGE, our mentorship program for Indian startups, we hope to spur entrepreneurship,” said Uber’s senior Vice President for policy and communications, Rachel Whetstone.
Creative partnerships like T-Bridge will strengthen ties between India and the global startup scene, Whetstone said. T-Hub’s CEO Jay Krishnan said since the launch of T-Hub last year, Hyderabad witnessed a threefold increase in startup activity, and added “The city is abuzz with over 30 incubators and co-working spaces. There is something happening in every corner.” “We’re committed to enabling and growing this community and helping Indian entrepreneurs access global resources. T-Bridge is one such initiative in that direction,” Krishnan said.
T-Hub is a unique public/private partnership between the government of Telangana, three of India’s premier academic institutes (IIIT-H, ISB and NALSAR) and key private sector leaders.

India and Russia sign agreements across multiple sectors

India and Russia sign agreements across multiple sectors

Image: Reuters.
India and Russia on Saturday signed 16 agreements across multiple sectors following delegation-level talks co-chairedd by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin here. “New horizons in the #IndiaRussia partnership. PM & Prez Putin witness exchange of 16 agreements and 3 announcements across fields,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted following the 17th annual bilateral summit between the two countries.
Among the agreements signed were procurement of the S-400 air defence system and construction of 1135 series of frigates in India. Another agreement was signed to set up a joint venture to manufacture helicopters. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up an investment fund of $1 billion. Agreements were also signed for developing smart cities in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, and for developing transport logistics systems for such cities.
Another important agreement was signed for the joint study of a gas pipeline to India from Russia. According to separate agreement, a Russian consortium comprising energy giant Rosneft Oil Company, commodities trader Trafigura and private investment group United Capital Partners agreed to purchase 98 percent of Essar Oil for $10.9 billion. Rosneft also signed an agreement with ONGC Videsh for education and training in the oil and gas sector.
Both sides agreed to extend cooperation in railways development and to increase the speed of trains between Nagpur and Secunderabad. An MoU was signed between India’s ISRO and the Russian state space agency on collaboration in space technology. An agreement was signed on cooperation on international information security.
Another MoU was signed for expansion of bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and Russia. A road map for celebrating 70 years of India-Russia diplomatic ties was also announced. Another announcement pertained to cooperation between the two countries on international issues.

Panasonic develops a invisible glass pane television

Panasonic develops a invisible glass pane television

Image: AFP
Imagine a TV that looks like glass and can be fit into your furniture’s glass panes. Panasonic has developed a protoype of an “invisible” TV which generates bright, clear images as normal TVs. According to tech website Engadget, Panasonic has improved the image quality in the new prototpye. “The OLED screen is made from a fine mesh, embedded into the glass sliding door,” the report added.
The TV image is visible even with the backlighting on. Once it’s dimmed, the image is bright enough to be almost indistinguishable from existing TV sets. The screen shifts between “transparent mode” where you can see the shelving behind it, and “screen mode”, where you can see the screen.
“Because the display is on a railing, you can move it up and down the shelf for even greater customisability,” Engadget reported. According to Panasonic, the television is likely to hit the market in the next three years.

Three day conference showcases emerging materials for defence and Infrastructure

Three day conference showcases emerging materials for defence and Infrastructure

A three-day conference-cum-exhibition on material engineering technology and heat treat ended with a showcase of the latest advancements in materials and processes for industrial application specifically in the defence and infrastructure sector. Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the conference on Wednesday in the presence of industrialist Sajjan Jindal and scientist R A Mashelkar.
Speaking on the occasion, Parrikar said that India shares $1 billion of the global heat treat market which is growing at 12 per cent per annum. He added that this exhibition is truly international as 300 participants from all over the world have congregated on a single platform. “With the growing population of the world, resources are getting scarce and expensive. Materials & Engineering conference focuses on developing new materials, processes, theories and computational models to understand materials,” Parrikar added.
“Emerging Materials for Defence and Infrastructure” was the theme for the three-day event. “The fast growing Asian economies have created market opportunities for heat treatment technologies, products, services and equipment. The growth of the Indian infrastructure and automotive industry is providing the demand for most heat treating activities. Over all, the potential for growth of furnace building activity and heat treatment activity is huge, driven primarily by the growth of the auto sector,” said Prem Aurora, Chairman of ASM International India Chapter that organised the event.

Illegal mining to be monitored by surveillance system

Illegal mining to be monitored by surveillance system

Image: Sumaira Abdulali
With the objective of curbing illegal mining, the government on Saturday launched the satellite-based Mining Surveillance System, an official statement said. The system is built up to establish a regime of responsive mineral administration, through public participation, by curbing instances of illegal mining activity through automatic remote sensing detection technology, it said.
The Mines Ministry, through Indian Bureau of Mines(IBM), developed the system, in coordination with the Gandhinagar-based Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics(BISAG) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), to use space technology for curbing illegal mining activity in the country, said a Ministry statement. Developed under the Digital India Programme, MSS is one of the first such surveillance systems developed in the world using space technology, it said, adding that as the current system of monitoring of illegal mining is based on local complaints and unconfirmed information, there is no robust mechanism to monitor the action taken on such complaints.
Launching the system, Union Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said: “MSS will put a leash on illegal mining through public participation.” The system checks a region of 500 metres around the existing mining lease boundary to search for any unusual activity which is likely to be illegal mining. Any discrepancy, if found, is flagged-off as a trigger. An automatic software leveraging image processing technology will generate automatic triggers of unauthorised activities.
In the initial phase, a total of 296 triggers have been generated in the MSS software across the states covering a total area of 3994.87 hectares under the system. The process is underway to launch a similar system for minor minerals in coalition with the state governments, it said.

Google now has a fact-check label for Google News

Google now has a fact-check label for Google News

Google has introduced a label to help readers identify fact-check articles in Google News. Google News labels stories according to the kind of content and origin. Major stories of local origin are labelled “Local Source,” opinion pieces have the “opinion” label, and Wikipedia stories are tagged as “Wikipedia”.
In the information age inaccurate stories can spread quickly. Sites that depend on clickbait for traffic can potentially fabricate news articles as well, or spread rumours. Fact checking sites monitor major stories and verify the authenticity of the content and sources. Articles that are fact checked by reputed fact checking networks will be tagged with the label in Google News. The measure is to help readers easily identify the major stories that have been verified by fact checking organisations.
Fact checking networks monitor over 100 news publication sites for the accuracy of the information posted. Fact checking is a collaborative effort, and one of the largest initiatives is the International Fact Checking Network. The labels can be seen in the expanded story window on Google News. The update has rolled out first on the UK and US versions of the site. The labels will be seen on both the web version of the site and on the apps for iOS and Android.

US bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from air travel

US bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from air travel

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone devices will be banned from aircraft in the United States starting on Saturday at noon EDT (1600 GMT) under an emergency order, regulators said on Friday after numerous reports of the devices catching fire.
Samsung has scrapped its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Tuesday because of incidents where the phones began smoking or caught fire, dealing a huge blow to its reputation. The decision came after reports of fires in replacement devices prompted a new round of warnings from regulators, phone carriers and airlines.
The order from the U.S. Transportation Department and other agencies bars owners from carrying on the devices or stowing them in checked baggage during flights.
“We recognise that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
The Transportation Department warned that passengers who packed the

Consortium of tech companies including IBM and Google to take on Intel with new processor interface

Consortium of tech companies including IBM and Google to take on Intel with new processor interface

Image Credit: REUTERS
Technology giants IBM Corp, Google and seven others have joined hands to launch an open specification that can boost datacenter server performance by up to ten times, to take on Intel Corp. The new standard, called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.
The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centers to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads. The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is known to protect its server technologies and has chosen to sit out of the new consortium. In the past also, it had stayed away from prominent open standards technology groups such as CCIX and Gen-Z. “As artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics become the price of doing business in today’s digital era, huge volumes of data are now the norm,” Doug Balog, general manager for IBM Power, told Reuters.
“It’s clear that today’s datacenters can no longer rely on one company alone to drive innovation,” Balog said.

India revenue crosses $1 bn for Cisco

The US-based company has recently announced that it will commence manufacturing operations in Pune early next year

Press Trust of India | New Delhi October 16, 2016 Last Updated at 11:58 IST

With over $1 billion in revenue already, India is poised to become one of the top four markets for technology giantCisco in the next few years on the back of strong growth in government and enterprise business.

The $49-billion firm, which has some 11,000 employees in India, counts the South Asian nation as its second headquarter after the US.

"If you look at our business performance over the last couple of years, our business is over a $1 billion in India. Last year, it grew over 20 per cent," Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told PTI.

He added that the company will continue to invest and launch new projects in India.

"India is already among our top five markets, absolutely. There are different ways to look at it," he said. Cisco's leading markets include the US, Japan and China.

Cisco President India and SAARC Dinesh Malkani added: "In the next few years, we should be top three or four (in terms of revenue)."

Asked if this could be achieved before 2020, Malkani replied in the affirmative.

In March, Cisco had committed $100 million to be spent over 18-24 months, including $40 million to fund early-stage and growth-stage companies in the country, and train around 2.5 lakh students by 2020.

The US-based company has recently announced that it will commence manufacturing operations in Pune early next year, making India the 12th country after the likes of the US, Mexico, China, Brazil and Malaysia to house a production unit.

Cisco, which reported global revenue of $12.6 billion for the quarter ended July 30, 2016, saw its top line in India rising significantly by 20 per cent, even as the overall revenue fell two per cent.

Its India operations have seen nine straight quarters of growth starting from the fourth quarter of 2013-14 (18 per cent) to the just-concluded one.

Talking about its team here, Robbins said India is an "incredible source" of highly-talented engineers.

"They are completely energised around the challenge of new innovation. For me, this is not only a talent pool, but a living laboratory. This is a place where we will continue to see investment and new projects being launched and new businesses being developed. I see nothing but opportunities," he said.

Etisalat Misr, Vodafone Egypt sign 4G license deals in Egypt

(Reporting by Ora Noureldin; Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Mark Potter)

The building of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co is seen at the Smart Village in the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
CAIRO (Reuters) - Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr have signed license deals allowing them to operate fourth-generation (4G) mobile services in Egypt, the country's telecoms regulator said on Sunday.
Egypt is selling four 4G licenses as part of a long-awaited plan to reform the telecoms sector and to raise money for stretched government finances.
The country's three existing mobile phone operators - Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat - initially all turned down the 4G licenses saying the amount of spectrum on offer was not sufficient to allow them to offer the service efficiently.
The regulator then announced that operators that paid for a license entirely in dollars would be given priority in buying additional spectrum. U.S. dollars are scarce in Egypt due to a long-running economic crisis.
Orange was first to sign the deal last week, paying $484 million for the license. Vodafone Egypt agreed to pay $335 million in a deal signed late on Saturday, the regulator said.
Etisalat Misr, the Egyptian unit of Etisalat, also signed a deal late on Saturday, and will pay $535.5 million. An official from Etisalat Misr said his firm would also receive 10 Megahertz of additional spectrum after the deal.
Both Etisalat Misr and Vodafone also agreed on fixed line phone service licenses for $11.26 million each, the regulator said.
Telecom Egypt, the state's fixed-line monopoly, was the only company to take up the original offer, buying a 4G license in August for 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds ($797 million) to enter the mobile market directly for the first time.

How to maximize using Siri in macOS Sierra

Image: Brandon Vigliarolo/TechRepublic

Siri on a Mac is one of those seemingly innocuous features that can change the way you work. Learn tricks for making the most of the macOS Sierra integration.

By Erik Eckel | October 13, 2016, 8:14 AM PST

When I first heard Apple was bringing Siri to the Mac, I didn't believe the enhancement would prove that useful. But, properly wielded, Siri proves to be a surprisingly helpful feature. The trick is to know Siri's desktop and laptop capabilities, as well as the feature's limitations.
Understand Siri's constraints

Don't ask Siri to close an application. She can't—she's not allowed. She'll offer a quick apology, and that's all you get. And, it makes sense—I'm confident Apple precluded the ability for fear of losing unsaved data or accidentally closing an application in the middle of a critical process.

You also shouldn't try using Siri in noisy environments because, odds are, she's not going to be able to understand your commands—and, you'll look a little strange talking in public to your computer. But when you're in the privacy of your office or another quiet location where the audio won't prove disruptive to others, Siri will pause background programming long enough to provide a fair shot at speaking commands.

I don't recommend leveraging Siri to perform complex tasks, such as editing photos, editing spreadsheets or documents, or composing presentations. It's all about possessing accurate expectations.

Follow these tips and tricks for using Siri

Several options exist for summoning Siri. By default, you can press and hold the Command and Space keys. Or, you can click the Siri icon macOS Sierra Places, by default, within the Dock. Or, you can click the Siri icon from the Mac's menu bar. You can also

Metasploit eyeing Linux and usability improvements; iOS support uncertain

Image: iStock/weerapatkiatdumrong

Metasploit owner Rapid7 is working on making its penetration testing software easier to use, more welcoming for Linux-based techniques, and a better partner to network security controls.

By Evan Koblentz | October 14, 2016, 10:50 PM PST

Engineers at Rapid7, which owns the popular Metasploit penetration testing tool, are preparing a variety of enhancements for the ramp-up to version 5.0 in 2017.

Metasploit evolved in 2003, Rapid7 acquired it from the original developers in 2009, and fourth-generation software debuted in 2011. Metasploit Pro is currently in version 4.2 and costs several thousand dollars for a license; Metasploit Framework currently in version 4.12.33 is open source, officials explained.

Leo Varela, director of engineering, said his team is developing capabilities such as a single-pane interface, ways to convert Android vulnerabilities into corporate network access, a new focus on automated testing of network security controls, and a code base that's slimmer and faster.

Metasploit is traditionally Windows-centric. However, for Apple iOS testing, Boston-based Rapid7 is in the same boat as everyone else in the security and forensics fields—it's very difficult to do. Varela said he's open to adding iOS modules if the community of open-source Metasploit Framework users can help. Apple's mobile operating system is a custom version based on a derivative of Unix, and in recent and upcoming changes, "We are adding the capabilities to be able to interact with Linux and with Unix," Varela noted.

"It's up to the open-source developers to add content to it. We believe these [other] investments are much more valuable to the penetration testing community at large while we allow the open-source community to come up with iOS modules," Varela added.

Joshua Marpet, of security and forensic consulting firm GuardedRisk, said Rapid7's ease-of-use plans sound helpful for lower-level employees, but security professionals are happy using the command line and would rather see Rapid7 put its resources into new modules.

Marpet gave an example of the recent distributed denial-of-service against prominent security blogger Brian Krebs. By going through network-connected street cameras, the attackers made whole new approaches, he said. That differs from the antivirus world where new viruses are typically just different payloads wrapped in existing techniques, he observed. Rapid7 needs to keep up with this, he urged.

Marpet, in Wilmington, Del., said another tool he likes is Strategic Cyber'sCobalt Strike because of its automation features. Washington D.C.-based developer Raphael Mudge made Cobalt Strike atop Metasploit Framework but later changed its foundation to a different system. Mudge, asked about his product's roadmap, said he has new releases every few months but declined to comment because of frequently changing priorities.

The secrets to big data project success for small businesses

Image: iStock/stefanamer

By Mary Shacklett | October 14, 2016, 9:13 PM PST

Big data analytics can help small businesses level the playing field. Find out what the cloud has to do with it, and read tips on selecting the optimal analytics tools to use.

Companies that sell third-generation reporting products and many cloud solutions providers have expanded into the domain of big data and analytics, making these technologies more affordable and accessible to small companies. Unfortunately, many small companies don't know how to make the best use of these resources, or know how to change their operations so analytics can help their bottom line. Read about two small companies that have succeeded with big data.

Two big data success stories

Outdoor venues like the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, rely on attendance to keep the doors open, and attendance is highly dependent on weather. The zoo's management worked with IBM and BrightStar Partners, an analytics firm, to come up with a better way of predicting outdoor zoo attendance for the purposes of budgeting and staffing. Historical attendance records for the zoo were parsed and then analyzed against years of detailed local climate data collected by the National Weather Service. This ultimately led to new insights that helped the zoo anticipate with surprising precision how many customers would show up on a given weekend. The analytics helped with staffing, predicting attendance, and launching promotions.

In Tucson, Arizona, Brian Janezic was used to going through cleaning supplies and vending machine items to determine what to order for his two self-service car wash locations. He installed sensors and collected IoT (Internet of Things) data from his drums of chemicals, which enabled him to automate the monitoring of chemical consumption and the triggering of reorder points. This saved him time and more efficiently managed costs of operation.

Guidelines for small businesses with big data projects

Since most analytics end up coming from data sources that small businesses are already familiar with, the keys to success depend on identifying a tightly defined business case that is calculated to bring specific results and on not making the initial project scope too big. Also, small businesses should look to augment corporate knowledge obtained from their internal systems and offline documentation with big data insights.

In addition, small companies can avoid expensive capital investments in hardware and software, since they can check out the offerings of cloud-based big data crunchers and analytics providers.

In the cloud market, there are pay-for-use and pay-by-subscription providers that help businesses get their non-digitalized data into digital form so it can be used in analytics. Other providers collect the data and combine it with publicly available information to help the small business owner better understand the market and their customers in order to make smarter business decisions. These providers can supply the small business owner with the reporting and query tools and dashboards so they can ask their own questions of the data. Other providers, like Google Analytics, offer free web traffic monitoring tools, metrics, and traffic sources, and share data about website visitors.

Ultimately, your business case and project will dictate the types of analytics tools you will use. The tools should meet these four vetting criteria:
the cost should be reasonable (preferably, you pay only for what you use);
the tools should be easy and intuitive to use, with very short learning curves;
the data that you provide to the process, along with any data provided by your vendor, should be data that you trust; and
the solutions must enable you to meet your goals.

Using these guidelines, small businesses can have successful big data projects, and better yet, help level the playing field in today's highly competitive marketplace.

For the first time in a long time, there are zero Critical issues affecting the MediaServer in the Android Security Bulletin. Get the highlights of the October 2016 bulletin.

Image: Jack Wallen

By Jack Wallen | October 14, 2016, 12:57 PM PST

How did October fare for Android security issues? Let's pick through the latestAndroid Security Bulletin and find out.

SEE: Securing Your Mobile Enterprise (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)
Check your security release

Before we highlight what's included with the October 2016 Android Security Bulletin, it's always good to know what security release your device has installed. Of the Android devices I use regularly, the Verizon-branded Nexus 6 running Android 7.0 has the October 2016 security update, and the OnePlus 3 running Android 6.0.1 has the September 2016 security update. Nexus devices, as well as the new Pixel phones, will always be ahead of the curve for the

The latest version of the Windows 10 Start menu lets you hide the app list. Here's a look at how it works.


By Greg Shultz | October 14, 2016, 10:36 AM PST

In recent articles, I've explored the changes to the Start menu that were introduced in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and shown how you can use them to your advantage. InHow to customize the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Start menu using the "Pare It Down" technique, I explained that because the All Apps list now appears on the left side of the Start menu by default, you can create a more efficient application launcher by removing all the tiles and resizing the menu. And in How to customize the Windows 10 Start menu with numbered shortcuts, I showed you how to improve the efficiency of the pared-down Start menu by numbering the shortcuts.

To build upon the work it did on the Start menu in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is continuing to improve the Start menu. In build 14942, available on the Windows Insider Fast Track, Microsoft has introduced the ability to hide the app list on the Start menu.
SEE: Windows 10: Microsoft reveals new features to guard against crashes and give firms more control
The release announcement

In Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14942 for PC, Donna Sarkar, a software engineer in the Windows and Devices Group, introduced this new feature:

"We are releasing a new feature that enables you to collapse the app list in the Start menu. This has been a top feedback request from Windows Insiders."

So while many of us have been happily trudging along with the existing Start menu, exploring customization techniques, or turning to third-party solutions, the elite cadre of Windows Insiders has been pounding Microsoft with requests to improve the menu. And now this new Hide App List In Start Menu feature is making its appearance. There's no indication of when the feature will be available to the general public or whether there will be additional enhancements to the Start menu, so we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, let's take a closer look at the feature in Windows 10 build 14942.
The Hide App List In Start Menu feature

To begin, you can immediately see that the Start menu in build 14942 looks like the current version, as shown in Figure A. The All Apps list appears on the left and the tiles appear in two columns on the right.
Figure A
The Start menu in build 14942 looks the same as in the current version.

To enable the Hide App List In Start menu feature, you right-click on the

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about Google's Chromebooks and Chrome OS.

Image: Google

By Brandon Vigliarolo | October 14, 2016, 9:48 AM PST

With every passing iteration of technology more and more of the things we use most move to the cloud. Google knows this, and its G Suite allows users to create, edit, and store documents safely and securely online.

Chrome, Google's market-dominating web browser, has also turned into an operating system that's unique to Chromebooks. These budget laptops running Chrome OS are cloud-powered bargains that can help everyone get work done for a fraction of the cost of a MacBook or Windows laptop.

TechRepublic's smart person's guide about Chromebooks is a quick introduction to these laptops, as well as a "living" guide that will be updated periodically as new models and features are released.

Executive summary
What are they? Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google's Chrome OS, an operating system based on the Chrome browser. Chromebooks are very affordable and are built around G Suite, Google's online cloud services.
Why do they matter? Cheap laptops running Chrome OS can be easily deployed to students or employees, allowing the machines to be very valuable to the enterprise world. Since most Chromebook work is done in the cloud they're a much lower security risk than typical laptops.
Who do they affect? Chromebooks have the potential to affect anyone who relies on the cloud or web apps for most of their work.
When are they happening? Chromebooks have been on the market since 2011, and in 2016 they surpassed sales of macOS devices.
How do I take advantage of Chromebooks? Chromebooks can be purchased directly from Google and at stores like BestBuy; enterprise solutions are also available.
What are Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are any laptop that, under license from Google, runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS. Chrome OS is incredibly lightweight, drawing almost all of its interface from the Chrome browser. It also supports Chrome apps, and as of late 2016 will be the only platform to get new Chrome apps.

Chromebooks are manufactured by a variety of vendors, such as Google, HP, Acer, Samsung, Dell, and others. They range in price from the mid $100 range to over $1,200 for the Google Pixel. Educational pricing is available as well.

Android apps are slowly becoming available for Chromebooks too. As of this writing there are still only a few machines that have access to the Google Play store for Android, but the list continues to grow. Google plans to make Android apps available to all Chromebooks in the future, which will make them even more practical and useful.

You can see the full list of Chromebooks that can run Android apps on the Chromium Projects site.

Long time rivals VMware and AWS recently partnered to offer VMware's SDDC platform within the AWS data center, but questions remain.

Image: iStockphoto/peangdao

By Keith Townsend | October 14, 2016, 5:13 AM PST

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy announced a significant partnership between the two companies on Thursday when the pair appeared on stage together to introduce VMware Cloud on AWS. According to VMware's press release, the VMware Cloud on AWS is an expansion of VMware's Cloud Foundation Program. VMware also announced a similar partnership with IBM's Softlayer. The VMware Cloud on AWS solution is now in preview with full availability expected mid 2017. VMware will manage, sell, and support the service directly.
The technology

It's helpful to understand the technology architecture associated with VMware Cloud on AWS and how it differs from existing solutions. Oracle's Ravello Systems offers a solution that runs VMware-based virtualization images on top. Oracle is essentially reselling AWS instances with a proprietary hypervisor that translates the VMware instructions. Ravello Systems' solution comes with a significant performance cost and is positioned for non-production workloads. Ravello Systems also doesn't support full integration with VMware's management interface or software-defined data center (SDDC) concept.

AWS has an existing vCenter plugin that allows for simple migration of VMware workloads to AWS. The AWS solution is production-class use cases. Similar to Ravello Systems, the AWS vCenter plugin is limited in the integration with extensions of the VMware SDDC platform.

Coming from the other side, VMware had an ill-fated attempt to build a large-scale public cloud. VMware's vCloud Air public cloud service leverages the vCloud Director (vCD) orchestration platform. VMware Cloud on AWS is a completely re-engineered cloud offering. VMware and AWS have teamed to run the entire SDDC portfolio on bare metal servers within AWS data centers. VMware Cloud on AWS supports vSphere, NSX, VSAN, and vRealize. Unlike vCloud Air, which required a vCD plugin, a VMware Cloud on AWS data center is managed directly from a customer's existing vCenter Plugin.
No mention of hybrid cloud

I found it curious neither VMware nor AWS called the solution hybrid cloud. Integration of operations between public cloud and traditional on-premises data centers has proven an elusive goal. The partnership highlights the business challenges of each vendor. VMware experienced many stops and starts with gaining traction as a public cloud provider. Likewise, AWS found it difficult to entice enterprises to move VMware-based workloads to EC2.

The theory of this partnership is that customers wanting to use their existing VMware software and operations strategy can leverage VMware Cloud on AWS. Customers seamlessly move workloads from their on-premises data center to vSphere servers running on AWS infrastructure. The use case is a similar value proposition as VMware's vCloud Air public cloud, but with the important distinction that the infrastructure is AWS.
More questions than answers

I walked away from this announcement with more questions than answers. VMware and AWS essentially presented hosted VMware in AWS. Today, the primary advantage over other hosted vSphere implementations is the proximity to AWS solutions. It's as close to co-location as VMware customers get into an AWS data center.

However, it doesn't solve the problem of building a hybrid infrastructure. Missing in the announcement were advanced tools for integration of the VMware Cloud on AWS with other AWS products. While possible for a customer to run NSX in the VMware Cloud on AWS, there isn't integration between AWS VPC and NSX. There's also the inverse challenge. VMware Cloud on AWS doesn't bring a private version of AWS to VMware infrastructure. Customers wanting a serverless computing option that leverages private data center resources still have to look toward solutions such as AzureStack.

I'm expecting more meat on the bone from both VMware and AWS. While an attractive technical solution, both companies have to fill in some blanks on what business challenges the solution solves. I'm looking forward to seeing further integration from products such as VMware Cross-Cloud and AWS Lambda.
What are your thoughts?

Is VMware Cloud on AWS a game-changing announcement? What use cases come to mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

White House announces $300M in tech funding for digital health, smart cities, AI, and getting us to Mars

Image: White House Frontiers Conference

By Alison DeNisco | October 13, 2016, 1:03 PM PST

On Thursday, President Barack Obama hosted the White House Frontiers Conference, where he discussed America's initiatives to leverage tech for health, smart cities, and space travel.

On Thursday, the White House announced more than $300 million in funding, through partnerships, for tech innovations that will help Americans live in smart cities, improve healthcare, and even make it to Mars—while also addressing what increased automation could mean for job security.

At the first White House Frontiers Conference, co-hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, President Obama opened up a conversation on current innovations underway in America, and ones to come.

"We may be in a slightly different period now, simply because of the pervasive applicability of AI and other technologies," said President Obama in a video shown at the start of the conference. "High-skill folks do very well in these systems, and can leverage their talents and interface with machines to extend their reach, sales, products, and services. Low-wage, low-skill individuals become more and more redundant, and their jobs may not be replaced, but wages will be suppressed."

Here are the five frontiers of innovation the White House examined at
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