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Updated: 2 hours 28 min ago

Read all about IT: CEOs see IT as more important than ever

9 hours 2 min ago

As IT rises up the list of business priorities, CEOs are more likely to read about new technologies than they are to ask their CIOs for information.

That's one of the findings in a new survey by Gartner, in which 31 percent of business leaders questioned put IT among their top three priorities. It's the highest-ever ranking in the survey for IT, which was trumped only by profits and growth, cited by 58 percent.

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The 388 business leaders questioned -- mostly CEOs, with a smattering of CFOs and COOs -- are twice as likely to want to build up in-house IT capabilities (57 percent) as to outsource it (29 percent), which ought to be good news for CIOs.

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AMD's new Polaris-based Radeon Pro Duo is slower than its predecessor

10 hours 13 min ago

AMD's new Radeon Pro Duo graphics packs two of the company's fastest GPUs, but surprisingly, is slower than its 2016 predecessor.

The Pro Duo, announced on Monday, is based on the Polaris architecture. It provides 11.45 teraflops of single-precision performance, which is a downgrade from the 16 teraflops of performance offered by last year's Pro Duo, based on the Fiji architecture.

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Performance usually goes up with each new GPU generation, but AMD opted to lower the power draw and the number of processing cores in the Pro Duo; as result, the product generates less heat. The Pro Duo draws 250 watts of power, compared to 350 watts by its predecessor.

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Russian man receives longest-ever prison sentence in the US for hacking

10 hours 52 min ago

A 32-year-old Russian hacker was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the U.S. for stealing millions of payment card details from businesses by infecting their point-of-sale systems with malware.

The sentence is the longest ever handed out in the U.S. for computer crimes, surpassing the 20-year jail term imposed on American hacker and former U.S. Secret Service informant Albert Gonzalez in 2010 for similar credit card theft activities.

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Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, a Russian citizen from Vladivostok, was sentenced Friday in the Western District of Washington after he was found guilty in August of 10 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, nine counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, nine counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

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Seeing red: Samsung to offer software fix for tinted Galaxy S8 displays

12 hours 7 min ago

Millions of people around the world are enjoying their first days with the Galaxy S8, marveling over the screen and rocking out with the new AKG-tuned earbuds. But not everyone is singing a happy tune. For some users, the infinity display isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, with some S8 screens showing a distinct red tint.

Reports of the red menace started cropping up almost as soon as S8s began landing in customer’s hands, but Samsung initially brushed them off, blaming the color woes on shoddy calibration. The company directed affected buyers to the Display tab in Settings, where they could use the Screen Mode menu to adjust the color range, saturation, and sharpness of the screen.

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Oracle floats Java hardware acceleration proposal

16 hours 39 min ago

A proposal currently floating in the Java community would use hardware acceleration to improve bulk calculations in the platform.

Project Trinity would explore enhancing execution of bulk aggregate calculations over Streams by offloading calculations to hardware accelerators. Streams in Java allow developers to express calculations so that data parallelism can be efficiently exploited, and the Stream capability in Java Standard Edition 8 is for processing data declaratively while leveraging multicore architectures.

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"Such calculations are prime candidates for leveraging enhanced data-oriented instructions on CPUs, such as SIMD instructions or offloading to hardware accelerators, such as the SPARC Data Accelerator co-processor," said Karthik Ganesan, from Oracle's performance and applications engineering group, in his proposal made Friday in an email-based OpenJDK discussion forum.

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Researchers build a microprocessor from flexible materials

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:38

Researchers have built a primitive microprocessor out of a two-dimensional material similar to graphene, the flexible conductive wonder material that some believe will revolutionize the design and manufacture of batteries, sensors and chips.

With only 115 transistors, their processor isn't going to top any benchmark rankings, but it's "a first step towards the development of microprocessors based on 2D semiconductors," the researchers at Vienna University of Technology said in a paper published in the journal Nature this month.

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Microsoft fine-tunes WebAssembly for Edge browser

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:13

WebAssembly, the portable binary format for improving web application performance, is being tweaked by Microsoft for its Edge browser.

With the browser featured in the recent Windows 10 Creators Update, the Chakra JavaScript engine defers parsing WebAssembly functions until called; other engines parse functions at start time.

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"We've observed startup time as a major headache for large web apps and have rarely seen runtime performance being the issue from our experiences with existing WebAssembly and asm.js workloads," said Limin Zhu, program manager for the Chakra team at Microsoft, this week. "As a result, a WebAssembly app often loads noticeably faster in Microsoft Edge."

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Apple's Mac Pro gets crushed on features by new HP Zbook laptops

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 07:13

Apple's Mac Pro has been ignored for so long that even Windows 10 mobile workstations are catching up on features and performance.

Take HP's latest Zbook laptop workstations , which were announced on Friday. These heavy built laptops -- which is why they are called mobile workstations -- have comparable memory and storage capacity technology to the Mac Pro, but excel in other areas.

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The laptops feature Thunderbolt 3 ports, DDR4 memory, Intel's latest Kaby Lake-based Core and Xeon processors, and the latest GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.

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FCC ends price caps on many business data lines

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 07:07

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to deregulate the providers of the business data lines connecting broadband service to many small businesses, schools, hospitals, and ATM machines.

The deregulation of business data services, or BDS, could mean broadband price hikes for those businesses as well as for mobile phone customers, critics said. BDS provides the backhaul that connects mobile towers to the wired internet.

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The commission's 2-1 party-line vote ends price caps on much of the BDS market across the U.S., while retaining price regulations in about a third of the country.

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Node.js exec director: Our project is transformational

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 06:00

The Node.js Foundation was formed in 2015 to serve as a steward over the Node.js sever-side JavaScript platform, providing a new governance model and taking over leadership from Joyent. Now, the foundation has hired its first executive director, Mark Hinkle, who had been vice president of marketing at the Linux Foundation. Hinkle will work to expand the foundation and articulate priorities.

Hinkle sees use cases for Node.js growing, including IoT (internet of things). InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill recently talked with Hinkle about his new job and what is next for the platform.

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Microsoft will cut OneDrive and Skype access to standalone Office users

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 15:37

When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2010, Microsoft officials said then that customers were asking to move to the cloud. Beginning in 2020, some Office customers will need to buy an Office 365 subscription to do so.

In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released today, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires. Those who have purchased those Office suites will be allowed to connect until Oct. 13, 2020—the day mainstream support ends for Office 2016, and the day the new support policy kicks in. 

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OpenStack cloud deployments are up, but Intel scales back

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 15:06

OpenStack Foundation is upbeat about user participation in its cloud endeavor, despite a recent cutback on the project from key sponsor Intel.

According to OpenStack's ninth user survey, the open source cloud project had gained 44 percent more deployments and input from 22 percent more organizations than a year ago. The average age of a deployment was 1.68 years, with 56 percent of deployments launched either this year or in 2016, and a typical deployment runs nine projects. More than 1,300 users spanning 476 cities and 78 countries participated in the latest biannual survey, which featured responses from 583 deployments logged between January 26 and March 1.

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Flaws let attackers hijack multiple Linksys router models

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 13:17

Two dozen Linksys router models are vulnerable to attacks that could extract sensitive information from their configurations, cause them to become unresponsive and even completely take them over.

The vulnerabilities were discovered by senior security consultant Tao Sauvage from IOActive and independent security researcher Antide Petit while working together to analyze the Linksys EA3500 Smart Wi-Fi wireless router.

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The two researchers found a total of 10 vulnerabilities that affect not only the EA3500, but two dozen different router models from Linksys' Smart Wi-Fi, WRT and Wireless-AC series. Even though these devices are marketed as consumer products, it's not unusual to find them running in small business and home office environments.

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Google reportedly plans ad blocking feature for Chrome browser

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 06:41

Google makes a lot of money from online advertisements. In what appears to be a surprising move at first glance, the company is likely to introduce an ad blocking feature that could be turned on by default in desktop and mobile versions of its Chrome browser, according to a news report.

The move by Google is seen as more defensive rather than a change of heart by the company on the issue of ad blockers, reported The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.

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By bundling its own ad blocker as a feature in Chrome, the most popular browser according to Net Market Share, the company appears to be expecting users to use the default blocker rather than the blockers that have proliferated on the market. It will then allow only certain acceptable ads to be shown, according to the Journal, which said that the feature could be announced within weeks.

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AWS CodeStar offers templates to ease cloud app deployments

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 06:00

Amazon looks to simplify building and deploying apps on its cloud platform with the introduction of the AWS CodeStar service this week.

The cloud service eases project setup by using templates for web applications, web services, and other projects on common development platforms. Developers can provision projects and resources for software development processes ranging from coding to testing and deployment. Templates are featured for such AWS options as EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, and Lambda, and supported languages include JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

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AWS CodeStar was launched in response to organizations facing the challenge of having agile, dynamic software development processes, said AWS Technical Evangelist Tara Walker. "The first challenge most new software projects face is the lengthy setup process that developers have to complete before they can start coding," she said. This process could include setting up IDEs, accessing code repositories, and identifying infrastructure needed for builds, tests, and production.

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Facebook's Relay JavaScript framework gets GraphQL

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 06:00

Facebook has reconstructed its Relay JavaScript framework for building data-driven applications for easier use.

Renamed Relay Modern, the updated framework features a GraphQL framework incorporating best practices from classic Relay, Facebook's native mobile GraphQL clients, and the GraphQL community, Facebook software engineers Lee Byron and Joe Savona said this week.

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"Relay Modern retains the best parts of Relay—co-located data and view definitions, declarative data fetching—while also simplifying the API, adding features, improving performance, and reducing the size of the framework," the engineers said. "To accomplish this, we embraced two concepts: static queries and ahead-of-time optimization."

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Windows 10's power throttling may help battery-hungry laptops

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 06:00

Microsoft claims that Windows 10's new power-throttling feature will boost battery life by about 11 percent, though you'll need a modern laptop to take advantage of it.

Microsoft introduced the new feature to slow down background apps in January, as a trial feature for a subset of users running Insider versions of Windows 10. Although power-throttling is still limited to Insiders, the recent Build 16176 made it more widely available. 

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There's one catch: Power throttling uses Intel's Speed Shift technology, which debuted in Intel's sixth-generation (Skylake) Core chips that began shipping in late 2015. Current laptops with AMD processors won't be able to take advantage of the power savings, a Microsoft representative confirmed, though that could change in the near future: The representative added that the company's "working on expanding support to other processors as well over the next few months."

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Here's everything announced at Wednesday's AWS Summit

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 15:23

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels took the stage at the company’s AWS Summit Wednesday to announce a smorgasbord of new features for Amazon Web Services.

The functionality included new billing for software-as-a-service applications, a new continuous integration tool, and enhancements to the company’s database services. Here's the rundown of what was announced:

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Facebook updates Workplace as enterprise collaboration gets hot again

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 14:56

Just as the enterprise takes another swing at figuring out how to help employees work better together, Facebook continues its push to entice companies to adopt its collaboration service.

During the company's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. yesterday, Facebook rolled out updates to its Workplace collaboration tool.

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"Here at Facebook, we've used Facebook to get work done for years," wrote Simon Cross, the product manager for Facebook's Workplace collaboration tool, in a blog post . "Soon, other companies were curious about how we used Facebook to work and scale, so we built a version of Facebook for work, to be used outside our company."

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SnapLogic's AI simplifies enterprise software connections

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 13:49

SnapLogic wants to make it easier for users of its enterprise software integration platform to connect components of their business systems. The company has unveiled a new feature that uses machine learning to suggest what users may want to do.

The idea behind the new feature, announced this week, is to make it easier to connect and move data between enterprise software systems. SnapLogic's service lets companies take a data source like a Concur instance, and synchronize that with information an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics. 

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