[Disclosure: AMD and Microsoft are clients of the author.]
This week Google launched their cloud gaming service called Stadia which is built on AMDâs processor and graphics platform. Given AMD also supplies core technology to both Sony and Microsoft, this should provide a faster port of console games that are cross-platform to this new service, as well as the promised support for PC games, giving the platform a strong first mover advantage.
The thing with gaming, however, is that it pushes the performance envelope as much if not more than workstations do and if you can do games in the cloud successfully, particularly First-Person Shooters, there is probably little else you canât do because of the extreme performance requirements Games have.
This division of a paycheck company has 180 users working in a converted warehouse with very dirty power, says a net admin pilot fish working there.
âOur IT budget allowed most of the things we needed â except a UPS for the server room,â fish says. âAfter carefully studying the electrical requirements, I came up with what seemed to be the best and most cost-effective solution: a UPS unit costing $12,000.â
By fishâs calculation, the new UPS will handle all the siteâs current needs and allow for plenty of growth. And heâs pretty pleased that he has solved the problem.
Fish sets up a meeting with the division bean counter and gives him the full pitch in glorious detail: what the site has, what it needs, how much it will cost and â most important â that this will eliminate the power issues the site regularly suffers from.
It's rare for a piece of tech news to truly catch me off-guard these days â to actually make me open my eyes wide, mutter something along the lines of "crikey," and then scratch my gorilla-head as I try to make sense of what happened.
Well, lemme tell ya, my fellow primate: That very thing went down last week when word broke that Google was moving dozens of employees off its laptop/tablet hardware team and into other roles within the company. The news got a bit buried amidst all the Android Q beta brouhaha, but as first noted by Business Insider, the shift affects both hardware engineers and program managers whose pending projects have been called off. It's part of a broader series of hardware-related "road-map cutbacks," the site's sources reported, and is seen as being a first step in Google's plan to "pare down" its product lineup.
Apple is expected to introduce a credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs. How could it make this card a must-have item for its premium customers?
How Apple can thrive
While the attention is focused on Appleâs surprise product release salvo and its forthcoming video streaming services launch on March 25, there are also claims the company will introduce its own credit cardÂ with Goldman Sachs, whose CEO, David Solomon, is expected to attend the Apple launch event.
User calls support pilot fish with PC problems, and he goes to work sorting out her issues. But after a minute or so, she says, âCan you hold on for a second?â and puts down the phone.
Fish waits. After a few seconds, he hears people in the background begin singing âHappy Birthdayâ and then cheering â after which heâs pretty sure he can make out the sounds of people eating cake.
Fish keeps waiting. A few minutes later, he finally hears the user picking up the handset again.
But before he can say, âHello, welcome back,â the user hangs up.
âI guess I wasnât invited to that party. No cake for me,â sighs fish.
âFor the record, I have no plans to burn down the building, which will undoubtedly make my boss very happy.
Appleâs new edition AirPods carry a brand-new piece of proprietary silicon the company calls the H1 (Headphone) chip. What do we know about it?
What we know about the H1 chip in Appleâs new AirPods
While the new AirPods look exactly like the previous models â little white spikes that dangle out your ears -- they bring useful enhancements: 50 percent more talk time, support for hands-free Siri, faster device syncs, better sounding music playback, power management improvements â and just about all of these improvements depend on Appleâs new H1 chip. Â
Those of you who discovered a new optional patch, KB 4493132, on your Windows 7 machines this morning can breathe a sigh of relief. Although Microsoftâs official documentation says the nagware âpatchâ (if you can call it that) should come through automatic update, in fact every report Iâve seen so far says that KB 4493132 is playing nice, sitting in the âOptionalâ list in Windows Update.
Pilot fish is the non-IT IT guy for about 30 fellow cubicle farmers âÂ the person the others turn to before calling IT with a problem. Comes one morning when fish is late, and one of his neighbors with a flickering CRT monitor canât wait to ask for fishâs help. So when fish does arrive, he sees three guys from IT gathered around that flickering monitor, stumped.Â They have changed the monitor, the graphics card, the refresh rate, all to no avail.Â
Fish enters his neighborâs cubicle, moves his new desk fan one foot to the right, and â voilÃ ! â the flicker is gone.Â
Six days into its life, we're still trying to figure out what Android Q is all about â what will come to define this latest Android release and end up having the most impact on us, as nose-breathing mammals who rely it on to power our cellular telephony gadgets.
We won't truly know Q's defining features until the software's further along in its development and all of its elements have been revealed, but having used it for several days now, some intriguing areas of progress are coming into focus â areas where Google is clearly working on refining the user experience and, in small but potentially significant measures, turning Android into an even more effective productivity tool.
Many enterprise users will be interested to learn that Apple has introduced significantly faster iPad mini and iPad Air models â they may also be interested to learn about new features the company will soon introduce in Pages, Keynote and Numbers that make its free productivity suite even more useful for enterprise professionals.
iWork is about to become even more useful
Look around, and youâll frequently find tablets, mostly iPads, in use in real-world business scenarios.
Pilot fish is working at the Washington headquarters of a federal bureau, one that may or may not do investigations, but one that definitely has offices all over the world.
Fish wants to print a document, but the color printer in his office area is out of toner, and none will be available until the next day.
So he opens the print manager, sees his printer in the list, and changes his print command to the next printer down. And he adds a page with his office room number, his phone number and his email, asking whoever finds the printout to contact him and let him know where to find the doc so he can pick it up.Â The next morning, thereâs an email waiting for him: âThis is the Legal Attache Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When can we expect you to come pick up your printout?â
Apple has announced WWDC 2019 will take place in San Jose, California, in early June. What can we expect to see at the show?
What is WWDC?
Appleâs Worldwide Developerâs Conference (WWDC) is the companyâs annual developer event at which its engineers speak with the companyâs vast dev community, explain whatâs new within its operating systems and provide deep insight into how its systems can be used to build third-party services and products.
WWDC 2019 is the thirtieth ever such event and is expected to host 6,000 people with thousands more watching news and talks from the show online.
Pilot fish gets a panicked phone call from the central control supervisor at a busy international airport. The VT420 dumb terminals are double-displaying every character typed, so that âexit,â for example, is being displayed as âeexxiitt.â Of course, when users hit Enter after typing âexit,â they get an error message regarding the unknown command âeexxiitt.â
The terminals are used to enter commands to do things such as starting up and shutting down the central control software â thus the panic.
Fish takes a look and sees that thereâs a setup menu that lets you control the behavior of the terminal. One of the menu options â about three levels deep â is âTurn on Local Echo.â The sole purpose of Local Echo is to repeat each character typed on the keyboard.
Well, sort of: The first Q developer preview â apparently now being called a "beta" right out of the gate â landed with a thump on these rusty ol' nets of inter Thursday afternoon. The software is far from finished, of course; this is merely an early peek at what Google's cookin' up for its next big Android version, provided mostly as a way for developers to get a head start at preparing for the release's actual arrival later this year (sometime between July and September).
Appleâs competitors appear to be focusing their energies on undermining the 30% business model that supports its services, with Spotify and others arguing that Apple is taking too much cash and limiting competition.
This isnât just about music
Think about it and it should be pretty clear this isnât all about the music.
Iâve been involved with HoloLens since it was a targeted prototype for Lawrence Livermore Labs, where they pretty much had to assemble it on your head (and it was tethered)! Now it could actually be successfully deployed by someone other than an expert.
This is a big month for Microsoft updates. With 64 reported vulnerabilities addressed in this monthâs Patch Tuesday release, the focus is on the two zero-days for Microsoft Windows. Both Windows 7 and Windows 10 platforms are affected, leading to a âPatch Nowâ recommendation for both Windows and browser updates.
Both of the reported zero-day vulnerabilities relate to how a core Windows system driver (Win32k) handles objects in memory and both issues could lead to arbitrary code execution on the targeted machines. Unusually, we donât have a critical update for Adobe, and Microsoft Office has a few, low rated updates that can be scheduled into a standard release cycle.
If youâre in the market for a powerful, capable, high-end design suite, then youâll be pleased to hear that CorelDRAWÂ Graphics Suite 2019 is available not only for Windows, but once again for the Mac for the first time since 2001.
CorelDRAW comes back to the Mac
While its appearance is rather late, the return of the Canadian firmâs graphic design suite is a welcome reflection of the expansion of Appleâs Mac since the software was taken off the platform at the beginning of the century.
Corel, which worked with Apple on the project, said it took two years to develop the Mac version. This is feature-identical with the Windows version, including the capacity to open CorelDRAW files created in old versions of the suite on Windows on the Mac.
Patch Tuesday has come and gone, not with a bang but a whimper. As of this moment, early Wednesday morning, I donât see any glaring problems with the 124 patches covering 64 individually identified security holes. But the day is yet young.
There are a few patches of note.
Two zero days
Microsoft says that two of this monthâs security holes âÂ CVE-2019-0797 and CVE-2019-0808Â â are being actively exploited. The latter of these zero days is the one that was being used in conjunction with the Chrome exploit that caused such a kerfuffle last week, with Google urging Chrome browser users to update right away, or risk the slings of nation-state hackers. If youâve already updated Chrome (which happens automatically for almost everybody), the immediate threat has been thwarted already.
Itâs the big iron days of the â70s. Pilot fish and co-workers are installing a very large IBM mainframe. The power distribution units require large 208-volt cables and connectors. A co-worker is sitting on the raised floor and connecting power cables when he picks up one of the heavy rubber cables and says, âLook at the connector writing; itâs in French.âÂ
Curious, fish reaches down and grabs the cable to see what it says. But when he pulls it up, the metal connector hits the raised floor framework and sparks fly everywhere. Fish naturally drops the cable immediately, then gets his volt-ohm-milliammeter and discovers that the metal shell of the connector is 208 volts.
Until enterprise IT truly understands that its own internal systems need to be as easy to use as any iOS app and as easy to learn as an iPhone, potentially damaging data breaches will take place, threatening business confidentiality. Apple is not immune.
Apple and the human interface
The news is that information from some of the worldâs biggest names in business â including Apple, Edelman and Discovery Channel â could have been accessed through Box Enterprise, which offers companies bespoke company name-based file archiving and sharing services using this URL construction:
Why, you might wonder? Simple: Whenever I watch unsuspecting strangers use their phones in public (it's not as creepy as it sounds, I swear), I can't help but notice how many people rely solely on their thumbs for on-screen typing.
Me? I've never been a two-thumb typing man myself. I'm also not a full-time swiper, which is another common type of mobile tech typist you see in the wild these days.
More than anything, what I've learned by observing other people's smartphone-using habits is that there is no universal "right" way to type on a smartphone. There are several distinct styles, and what's most natural for one person is gonna feel impossibly awkward to the next. Like so many things, it ultimately boils down to personal preference.
Itâs 2019 and for one reason or another, your company still has fax machines in the office that you have to support. If I asked you, right now, to list the costs of operating your companyâs fax machines, what would you say?
I actually have a pretty good idea, because we at eFax Corporate ask this question all the time to businesses that approach us about upgrading their fax infrastructure from paper and the telephone network. Every corporate IT department immediately thinks of the easy ones: dedicated fax lines, fax paper, ink cartridges, that sort of thing. We all know that those add up, with phone lines costing on average $720 per year for each connected fax machine or printer, and laser printing costs of 2-2.5 cents per page.
Pilot fish is in charge of production of his companyâs computerized call center systems.Â At the request of the engineers, he listens for about an hour to nearly completed systems, checking for cross-talk between lines, because he seems to have the best ears in the company.Â Eventually he expands this into an inspection protocol.
Boss asks for a cost-benefit analysis of the inspections.Â Fish produces a little table showing that most of the failures in the field were systems that never got inspected.Â Boss, who has read too many quality books too lightly, declares that the numbers are too small to be statistically significant, and decides to end the inspections.Â âWeâve built quality in now,â boss explains.Â To which fish replies, âIf thereâs been no crime in your area for a year, would you favor closing the police station and ending the patrols?â
Apparently, Apple is arguing in Washington that they can be the US champion for 5G, running against the juggernaut that is Huawei.
Before I get into why this is a bad idea, a little backstory: One of the more interesting jobs Iâve held was as a competitive analyst and, apparently, I was good at itâ¦because I not only received a ton of recognition for my work, it formed the foundation for creating a successful analyst practice. One of the biggest problems with this job is that the executives that have power generally fall in love with their own strategies and tend not to be too fond of folks who point out they are idiots based on real market data.