Why parents should worry about Office 365's Immersive Reader dictation feature for students

11 hours 30 minutes ago

Beginning in February, Microsoft plans to offer a new feature for young students: Immersive Reader dictation, a new feature within Office 365 apps for Windows and the Mac. As a parent of two elementary school students, though, I’m concerned that this feature—which brings smartphone-style voice dictation to traditional desktop apps—will be an unwelcome crutch.

It’s not just on Windows, either. Microsoft is pushing dictation onto Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad, and OneNote Mac.

Even though I write about technology for a living, I’m sort of feeling my way through applying it toward parenting. Is a smart speaker an annoyance or a learning aid? Do I need to place hardwired parental controls on my kids’ screen time, or can I just check up on them? And when do I need to have “the talk” about using the computer to solve problems that my kids are struggling with? 

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Mark Hachman

Hackers are stealing millions in cryptocurrency during ICOs

11 hours 48 minutes ago
A new report from Ernst & Young details just how big of a problem security is when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Researchers collected data on 372 initial coin offerings (ICOs) that took place between 2015 and 2017 and found that over 10 percent...

How to protect your PC from the major Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws

12 hours 2 minutes ago

A pair of nasty CPU flaws exposed this week have serious ramifications for home computer users. Meltdown and Spectre let attackers access protected information in your PC’s kernel memory, potentially revealing sensitive details like passwords, cryptographic keys, personal photos and email, or anything else you’ve used on your computer. These are serious flaws. Fortunately, CPU and operating system vendors pushed out patches fast, and you can protect your PC from Meltdown and Spectre to some degree.

It’s not a quick one-and-done deal, though. They’re two very different CPU flaws that touch every part of your operating system, from hardware to software to the operating system itself. Check out PCWorld’s Meltdown and Spectre FAQ for everything you need to know about the vulnerabilities themselves. We’ve cut through the technical jargon to explain what you need to know in clear, easy-to-read language. We’ve also created an overview of how the Spectre CPU bug affects phones and tablets.

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Brad Chacos

Corporate Cultural Issues Hold Back Secure Software Development

12 hours 4 minutes ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: As the digital economy expands and software becomes more critical, security worries grow. In a new survey, 74 percent of respondents agree that security threats due to software and code issues are a growing concern. The study of over 1,200 IT leaders, conducted by analysts Freeform Dynamics for software company CA Technologies, finds 58 percent of respondents cite existing culture and lack of skills as hurdles to being able to embed security within processes. In addition, only 24 percent strongly agree that their organization's culture and practices support collaboration across development, operations and security. On top of cultural limitations, less than a quarter of respondents strongly agree that senior management understands the importance of not sacrificing security for time-to-market success.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Google's $20 million Lunar Xprize will end without a winner

12 hours 9 minutes ago
The Lunar Xprize is about to come to an anticlimactic end after more than a decade. Google has confirmed to CNBC that it doesn't plan to extend the $20 million competition past its March 31st deadline -- itself an extension well beyond the original 2...

Meltdown and Spectre FAQ: How the critical CPU flaws affect PCs and Macs

12 hours 17 minutes ago

Massive security vulnerabilities in modern CPUs are forcing a redesign of the kernel software at the heart of all major operating systems. Since the issues—dubbed Meltdown and Spectre—exist in the CPU hardware itself, Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, iOS, Chromebooks, and other operating systems all need to protect against it. And worse, plugging the hole can negatively affect your PC’s performance.

Everyday home users shouldn’t panic too much though. Just apply all—well, most—available updates and keep your antivirus software vigilant, as ever. If you want to dive right into the action without all the background information, we’ve also created a focused guide on how to protect your PC against Meltdown and Spectre.

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Brad Chacos,

Michael Simon

BrandPost: Productivity booster: A simple case of improving the user experience

12 hours 27 minutes ago

Many people can relate to the scene from the movie “Office Space” when several employees take a baseball bat to an office printer.

Although the film made for a good laugh, challenges with office hardware and software do have a serious effect on the business. Ineffective tools and technology lead to frustration and, in many instances, result in employees disengaging. And worker disengagement is the last thing companies need, as digital transformation ups the competition ante. Organizations are depending heavily on employees to help them capitalize on the latest opportunities within the new digital economy.

What differentiates digital transformation from previous business trends is the focus on enabling engagement and enhancing the user experience. The new economy is fueled by organizations that have recognized the power of customizing to the customer.

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Brand Post

Intel Urges OEMs and End Users To Stop Deploying Spectre Patch As It May 'Introduce Higher Than Expected Reboots'

12 hours 44 minutes ago
Intel executive vice president Neil Shenoy said on Monday that the chip-maker has identified the source of some of the recent problems, so it is now recommended that users skip the available patches. From the blog post: We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


BrandPost: Empowering the workforce: How hybrid ECM boosts productivity

12 hours 45 minutes ago

Business is moving significantly faster, with the objective of continuously improving the customer experience. Because after all, engaging the customer means being able to compete and grow.

As a result, organizations are constantly looking for ways to empower users with access to the data they need to make quick and informed decisions no matter where they are — for example, in the office, at home, or at a customer’s or supplier’s location.

This is why enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud offerings. Doing so enables organizations to quickly realize new levels of agility, cost reduction, scalability, and flexibility — while putting data more effectively in the hands of users.

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Brand Post

Stop installing our buggy Spectre CPU firmware fixes, Intel says

12 hours 46 minutes ago

The firmware patches designed to protect Intel processors against nasty Spectre CPU exploits have a big downside: They’re forcing more frequent reboots and other performance issues on some systems, including PCs that released in 2017. The problem is severe enough that Intel is now recommending that users not install currently available patches and instead wait for new ones to be released.

“We have now identified the root cause for Broadwell and Haswell platforms, and made good progress in developing a solution to address it,” Intel executive vice president Navin Shenoy said in a January 22 post. “We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.” 

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Brad Chacos