Andy Patrizio

Author Archives: Andy Patrizio

When anti-malware vendors get into a slap fight, users lose

All is quiet on the Microsoft front, but there are other technology issues to address, which I will be doing in the next few blogs. The first is about a battle between two anti-malware vendors: PC Pitstop and Malwarebytes. --------------------------------------------------------Most software markets tend to consolidate around a handful or even one or two vendors. How many competitors are there for Photoshop, after all? But there are two markets that thrive and have a large number of players: gaming and anti-virus/anti-malware. It started about a month ago. On Dec. 7, PC Pitstop, maker of the PC Matic repair software and those obnoxious TV commercials, posted a ransomware test performed by AV Comparatives that included its PC Matic product and its many competitors, including Malwarebytes, the latter included for the first time. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

When anti-malware vendors get into a slap fight, users lose

All is quiet on the Microsoft front, but there are other technology issues to address, which I will be doing in the next few blogs. The first is about a battle between two anti-malware vendors: PC Pitstop and Malwarebytes. --------------------------------------------------------Most software markets tend to consolidate around a handful or even one or two vendors. How many competitors are there for Photoshop, after all? But there are two markets that thrive and have a large number of players: gaming and anti-virus/anti-malware. It started about a month ago. On Dec. 7, PC Pitstop, maker of the PC Matic repair software and those obnoxious TV commercials, posted a ransomware test performed by AV Comparatives that included its PC Matic product and its many competitors, including Malwarebytes, the latter included for the first time. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The downside of buying used gear via Glyde

Growing up in Rhode Island, the way to buy and sell used stuff was in the local newspaper, the Providence Journal. We had something in the classifieds called The Yankee Trader, where you could sell stuff in tiny, one- or two-line ads. You clipped out a form from the paper, filled it out and sent in $1 for the ad to run a few days later. You would contact the seller and meet to make the exchange. These days, those types of ads are dead in the water. I mean, it took 2-4 days just for your ad to run. Now there's eBay, Craigslist and a host of electronics resellers to buy and sell stuff immediately. Unfortunately, when buying from strangers all over the country, there are potential pitfalls—as I keep falling into. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The downside of buying used gear via Glyde and Gazelle

Growing up in Rhode Island, the way to buy and sell used stuff was in the local newspaper, the Providence Journal. We had something in the classifieds called The Yankee Trader, where you could sell stuff in tiny, one- or two-line ads. You clipped out a form from the paper, filled it out and sent in $1 for the ad to run a few days later. You would contact the seller and meet to make the exchange. These days, those types of ads are dead in the water. I mean, it took 2-4 days just for your ad to run. Now there's eBay, Craigslist and a host of electronics resellers to buy and sell stuff immediately. Unfortunately, when buying from strangers all over the country, there are potential pitfalls—as I keep falling into. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

SoftBank invests $1.2 billion in the OneWeb satellite network

We now know at least one recipient of Masayoshi Son's massive $50 billion investment for the U.S. He ponied up $1.2 billion for OneWeb, the global satellite project for worldwide internet coverage. OneWeb is a project from English entrepreneur Richard Branson. The goal is to put as many as 2,400 small satellites in low orbit to provide complete global coverage for broadband internet access in many places where it's not available. According to SpaceNews, that number has been reduced to 900. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Why are browsers so bad after 26 years?

We all live in a browser if we use the internet. You're in one right now if you're reading this. And it's not a new piece of software. Sir Tim Berners-Lee first introduced us to the Mosaic browser in 1990. And despite 26 years of development, the browser remains the worst piece of software we use on a daily basis.Broke. Buggy. Bloated. Hogging memory. Crash-prone. Susceptible to malware. Lousy HTML rendering. I could go on and on with a litany of poorly constructed sentences describing the current state of browsers, but you get the idea. + Also on Network World: Windows 10 browser beatdown: Who’s got the edge? + Browsers aren't just for watching YouTube videos or visiting news sites, either. With the on-demand world of SaaS, browsers are the portal into important line-of-business software, even if the high priest of SaaS, Marc Benioff, hates that word. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple is dedicated to the Mac desktop. And it’s not.

Several weeks ago, we ran a feature story by yours truly questioning Apple's dedication to its Mac hardware line. At the time, Mac desktops and MacBook notebooks were falling years out of date. Since then, Apple has introduced some new MacBooks, but desktops such as iMac, Mac Pro and Mac Mini remain woefully out of date. This led to more questions and doubt, and it forced the normally recalcitrant Tim Cook to post on an employee message board a letter assuring the staff that the company remains committed to the desktop line. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft launches a Windows error code troubleshooting site

If you have used Windows for any length of time, you've undoubtedly been hit with an error code during an Update that told you absolutely nothing. "Error code: 0x80070422?" What the hell does that mean? If you were industrious, you could Google the code and maybe find a post on a Microsoft forum or elsewhere that offered some kind of clue as to what the error was and perhaps a solution. Now Microsoft has given us something a little more official. It’s a web page on the company’s support site called Fix Windows Update Errors that aims to help Windows users resolve update-related errors.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft announces multiple location-based services deals

Microsoft announced a series of partnerships with location-based services in the hopes of creating what it calls a "world graph," covering all kinds of locations and objects and how they work together. The first was a multi-year deal to use HERE mapping data across a number of its own services, such as Cortana and Bing Maps. Audi, BMW and Daimler purchased HERE from Nokia last year for €2.8 billion and use it in their GPS systems. Microsoft also announced a partnership with a number of mapping technology leaders, including HERE, TomTom and EsriI, to create what it describes as a "world graph" that details "a new data index of physical places, objects and devices and their interconnectivity." To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Are OEMs already jumping on the Windows-on-ARM bandwagon?

No more than a week after the news that Microsoft had successfully gotten x86 Windows 10 to run on an ARM-based processor through emulation, a report out of Asia indicates OEMs are already interested in the offering and looking to make products. Microsoft made the announcement at the WinHEC show in China last week. It showed a native x86 version of Windows 10 running on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors with full x86 compatibility. The emulation was done on a new Snapdragon, the 835, that's not on the market and supports only 32-bit apps—but that's not a big deal, since most apps are 32-bit anyway. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft’s year in review: The highs and lows of 2016

After the turmoil and chaos of the Ballmer years, the Nadella Era of Microsoft is almost boring. The company is executing well with a few misfires—nobody's perfect or flawless—controversy is minimal and employees seem content for the first time in ages. CEO Satya Nadella enjoys a 95 percent approval rating, according to Glassdoor. That doesn't mean 2016 was an uneventful year, just quieter than in the past with no major blowups. But let's look back at the year that was in Microsoft highs and lows. High: Microsoft introduced its real-time translation technology for Skype, creating the sort-of equivalent to the Star Trek universal translator where voice conversations would be translated in real time. We learned why the Skype translator came out. Nadella saw it still running as a lab project and lit a fire under the researchers to productize it. He wanted to see more of an effort to make commercial projects out of research experiments, and the translator was one of them. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft adds Skype translation to landline calls

One would think the addition of a feature like this would have Microsoft screaming from the rooftops, but very quietly Microsoft added a new feature to Skype that supports its real-time translation technology in calls to landlines and mobile phones. The new feature was added to its preview build of the Skype Windows Store app late last week. The new version of Skype Preview can now perform real-time spoken-word translations via Skype Translator when calling landlines and mobile phones, and the person on the other end does not need Skype on their phone to receive translations or be translated.Of course, it's not for everyone. To use this new version of Skype Preview, you need to be run the latest build of Windows 10 Insider preview from the fast ring. That tends to be reserved for dedicated testers and developers, since fast ring releases aren't as stable as normal builds and are geared for debugging. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft extends the lifecycle of Windows Server and SQL Server

In recent years, Microsoft has made enormous efforts to get people to migrate off products that had reached their end of life. In 2014, it was Windows XP. In 2015, it was Windows Server 2003. This year it was SQL Server 2005. So, knowing what the company went through to make people migrate makes this latest bit of news somewhat baffling. Microsoft has quietly announced the addition of a third tier to its product lifecycle, expanding the lifespan of both Windows Server and SQL Server by an additional six years. Microsoft usually offers two tiers of lifecycle support covering a 10-year lifespan. The first five years, known as Mainstream support, include new features as well as security and non-security updates. The last five years, covering Extended support, has security and non-security updates, but no new features are added to the product. After that, all support ceases. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Microsoft extends the lifecycle of Windows Server and SQL Server

In recent years, Microsoft has made enormous efforts to get people to migrate off products that had reached their end of life. In 2014, it was Windows XP. In 2015, it was Windows Server 2003. This year it was SQL Server 2005. So, knowing what the company went through to make people migrate makes this latest bit of news somewhat baffling. Microsoft has quietly announced the addition of a third tier to its product lifecycle, expanding the lifespan of both Windows Server and SQL Server by an additional six years. Microsoft usually offers two tiers of lifecycle support covering a 10-year lifespan. The first five years, known as Mainstream support, include new features as well as security and non-security updates. The last five years, covering Extended support, has security and non-security updates, but no new features are added to the product. After that, all support ceases. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Tech predictions for 2017: What I expect to happen

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Where does the time go? Anyway, it's time for us in the news business to make our annual predictions for the coming year. Unlike some, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions made a year ago and admitting what came true and what didn't. So let's get into that. How good were my 2016 predictions? 1. IBM becomes a major cloud player.Not really. The most recent numbers, which covered Q2 of this year, put IBM at under 10 percent share. It's still an Amazon and Microsoft world. The good news is IBM grew 57 percent year over year, so it is making up for lost ground. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Tech predictions for 2017: What I expect to happen

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Where does the time go? Anyway, it's time for us in the news business to make our annual predictions for the coming year. Unlike some, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions made a year ago and admitting what came true and what didn't. So let's get into that. How good were my 2016 predictions? 1. IBM becomes a major cloud player.Not really. The most recent numbers, which covered Q2 of this year, put IBM at under 10 percent share. It's still an Amazon and Microsoft world. The good news is IBM grew 57 percent year over year, so it is making up for lost ground. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Tech predictions for 2017: What I expect to happen, and what I hope will happen

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Where does the time go? Anyway, it's time for us in the news business to make our annual predictions for the coming year. Unlike some, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions made a year ago and admitting what came true and what didn't. So let's get into that. How good were my 2016 predictions? 1. IBM becomes a major cloud player.Not really. The most recent numbers, which covered Q2 of this year, put IBM at under 10 percent share. It's still an Amazon and Microsoft world. The good news is IBM grew 57 percent year over year, so it is making up for lost ground. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Tech predictions for 2017: What I expect to happen, and what I hope will happen

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Where does the time go? Anyway, it's time for us in the news business to make our annual predictions for the coming year. Unlike some, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions made a year ago and admitting what came true and what didn't. So let's get into that. How good were my 2016 predictions? 1. IBM becomes a major cloud player.Not really. The most recent numbers, which covered Q2 of this year, put IBM at under 10 percent share. It's still an Amazon and Microsoft world. The good news is IBM grew 57 percent year over year, so it is making up for lost ground. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

iPhone power plug knock-offs are a fire hazard

Sorry for the Daily Mail-like clickbait headline, but there's no simple way to say it. Chartered Trading Standards Institute, a U.K. group that's similar to the Consumer Product Safety Commission here in the U.S., issued a warning that 99 percent of the third-party Apple chargers do not meet proper shielding standards. The group tested 400 of these counterfeit Apple chargers and found only three of them were properly shielded to prevent a fatal electric shock or spark a fire Leon Livermore, CEO of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, told the BBC that shoppers should buy electrical goods only from trusted suppliers.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Prepare for a spike in SSD prices

SSD prices have been in a freefall for the last few years thanks to increased output by NAND flash memory makers and those vendors converting their production to 3D NAND, which offers increased density at a lower cost. That's why you are seeing so many 1TB SSDs on the market these days, but it's also why prices are going up.However, going into the busy fourth quarter, the industry has been hit with a double-whammy of lower production and increased demand, and at that point it's basic economics of supply and demand. The result could be a spike in prices in the coming months.A report in China's CTimes states that revenue is up considerably for NAND flash makers such as Samsung, SK Hynix and Toshiba because prices have risen recently. Part of the reason is the increasing demand of 3D NAND flash, which stacks the memory cells in layers to achieve greater density in a smaller space. Vendors are converting their fabrication plants to handle 3D, but it takes time and money. Lots of money. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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