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How to remove the dangerous Superfish adware preinstalled on Lenovo PCs

Lenovo’s been caught going a bit too far in its quest for bloatware money, and the results have put its users at risk. The company has been preloading Superfish, a "visual search" tool that includes adware that fakes the encryption certificates for every HTTPS-protected site you visit, on its PCs since at least the middle of 2014. Essentially, the software conducts a man-in-the-middle attack to fill the websites you visit with ads, and leaves you vulnerable to hackers in its wake.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Free security tools you should try You can read all the sordid details here. This article is dedicated to helping you discover whether your Lenovo PC is infected with Superfish, and how to eradicate it if you are.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

9 futuristic display technologies

9 far-out future display technologiesImage by Pawel GaulFor decades, there was exactly one way to look at electronically displayed text and images: the cathode ray tube. This hardworking, stalwart technology was the display of choice for everything, from radar systems in the 1940s all the way to desktop PCs in the 1990s, with millions of heavy, fragile cabinet TVs in between.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

How machine learning ate Microsoft

At the Strata big data conference yesterday, Microsoft let the world know its Azure Machine Learning offering was generally available to developers. This may come as a surprise. Microsoft? Isn't machine learning the province of Google or Facebook or innumerable hot startups?In truth, Microsoft has quietly built up its machine learning expertise over decades, transforming academic discoveries into product functionality along the way. Not many businesses can match Microsoft's deep bench of talent.[ See what hardware, software, development tools, and cloud services came out on top in the InfoWorld 2015 Technology of the Year Awards. | Download the entire list of winners in the handy Technology of the Year PDF. | Stay up on key Microsoft technologies with InfoWorld's Microsoft newsletter. ] Machine learning -- getting a system to teach itself from lots of data rather than simply following preset rules -- actually powers the Microsoft software you use everyday. Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

HP latest to unbundle switch hardware, software

HP has joined the disaggregation party through two partnerships that will produce a branded white box switch capable of running multiple network operating systems.HP has expanded a relationship with Accton Technology to offer two new switches initially, and more later this year. The switches will be low-cost, software-independent white box hardware targeted at Web scale data centers supporting cloud, mobile, social media and big data workloads.Under a second arrangement, HP will offer Cumulus Networks’ Cumulus Linux network operating system on the Accton switches. Cumulus Linux runs on a variety of white box and branded switching hardware based on merchant silicon, and is intended to make the software side of networking hardware independent.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Long-awaited Blackphone tablet may emerge at MWC

Paranoid tablet users, rejoice. The first units of the secure Blackphone tablet will be demonstrated at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona early next month.The tablet will be the second product from SGP Technologies, which makes the privacy-centric Blackphone smartphone. A pre-release version of the tablet will be shown at the booth of Graphite Software, which has written a special interface for the device to run sensitive applications.SGP is planning a press conference at MWC where it will probably announce the tablet. A Blackphone spokesman declined to share details on the tablet launch or the press conference. However, a Graphite Software executive said the tablet would be announced at MWC and would be on display at Blackphone’s booth as well as Graphite’s.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Sony looks to PlayStation to revive fortunes, could ditch smartphones

Sony will invest more money in the PlayStation as it fights to return to a profit, and could reportedly exit from selling smartphones and TVs.Sony will pump extra cash into its games and network services division in a bid to attract more users to the PlayStation and its PlayStation Network of online games. The company has sold 18.5 million PlayStation 4s since they went on sale in late 2013, of which 4.1 million were sold in the 2014 holiday season.Sony will also provide more funding for the division that makes image sensors for devices including the iPhone 6. That cash will go towards researching new technologies and increasing production.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IBM’s Robert LeBlanc has his head in the cloud

IBM’s new man in charge of the cloud business is moving fast.“What I’m focusing on is speed,” said Robert LeBlanc, the new senior vice president for IBM Cloud. “Because the market continues to change, we have to get things to market quickly and then iterate.”LeBlanc is in a key spot at IBM: the company’s cloud-related technologies enjoyed a whopping 60 percent growth to $7 billion in 2014. The growth came much sooner than expected, and that’s critical in the midst of the company’s ongoing struggle to shift focus from low-margin hardware to the new paradigm of cloud computing.That struggle was evident in IBM’s financial results for 2014. The fourth quarter brought yet another decline in sales—it was the 11th consecutive quarter to do so—and profit targets for 2015 were down as well.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

How a university’s data center overhaul makes a green impact

To say that University of Cambridge deployed disparate and diverse data storage and data center infrastructure would be a vast understatement. In a 2013 IT review, data center manager Ian Tasker and his team discovered almost 200 servers across the University's 120 departments. These installations ranged from single servers housed in closets to larger rooms containing 20 to 30 servers, but all contributing to a major drain on power and cooling resources, as well as creating one heck of a management headache."Our IT review is a periodic way for us to look at how we're carrying out the responsibilities of IT, and how to best align IT with the work of the university. What we found was everything was fragmented and each department was doing their own thing when it came to provisioning, storage and management. Where we had a small number of racks, they weren't powered or cooled efficiently, and that was our other mission: to reduce our carbon footprint as a university by about 34 percent by the year 2020," Tasker says.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Budget smartphones to get 4K video, faster LTE with new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm is planting the seeds for 4K video and faster LTE speeds in more affordable smartphones with its new Snapdragon 620 and 618 processors, which will reach devices in the second half of this year.The new chips could be in smartphones priced at US$300 and above, and some performance and 4K features are being cascaded from the Snapdragon 810 chip, which goes into premium smartphones priced above $500.Previous Snapdragon 600 series chips have appeared in a few handsets and phablets from HTC, Samsung and LG. Amazon’s Fire TV also uses a Snapdragon 600 chip and is able to deliver full high-definition video to TV sets.The new 600 series chips are built to support Android and Windows, said Tim McDonough , vice president of marketing at the company.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Competition, new rules to spur West African electronic financial services

New regulations, competition and product diversity are likely to help boost digital financial services across the eight West African Economic and Monetary Union countries.Making financial services available and affordable to all segments of the population, especially those excluded by income level, political instability, gender, location, or education, has been a major topic over the past few years in Africa.The availability of financial services to those who historically not had access to them—so-called financial inclusion—is essential for widespread economic growth, according to the African Development Bank (ADF). However, Africa has been lagging behind other continents in this area, with less than one out of four adults holding an account at a formal financial institution, according to an ADF report, “Financial Inclusion in Africa.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IBM puts software and cloud at the center of storage

The future of storage may not be in storage itself, but in the intelligence to manage it.Major storage vendors and startups alike are now pushing software-defined systems spanning anything from a set of arrays to a whole enterprise. On Tuesday, IBM placed a big bet on this trend, announcing the first product in a portfolio called IBM Spectrum Storage and saying it will invest $1 billion in storage software over the next five years.The strategy will see IBM offer its traditional storage systems in software form so customers can choose to buy them as appliance, software or service. The first Spectrum Storage product out of the gate is IBM Spectrum Accelerate, software that’s based on the company’s own XIV high-end storage appliance.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Dell XPS 13 vs. MacBook Air: A closer look at battery life

The MacBook Air's battery life is legendary. Colleagues who drive MacBook Airs claim they can get all-day battery life, and that no similarly sized PC can do the same. But now we have a real contender: The Dell XPS 13. Time to test those claims.Before we dig in, it's important to note that there's no single test that can compare PC and MacBook battery life directly. We have to arrive at comparable numbers through reasoned use of similar tests. I'll also be discussing other reviewers' tests to help paint a more detailed picture.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Payments startup iZettle makes chip & PIN card reader available for free

With a free Chip & PIN card reader, Swedish mobile payments company iZettle is lowering the threshold for small companies to start accepting card payments.The Card Reader Lite, released Tuesday, connects to tablets or smartphones via an audio cable and it is meant to lower the cost barriers small merchants face when setting up their businesses, iZettle said.Startup costs weren’t that high to begin with though. Businesses only pay €49 (about US$55) for iZettle’s wireless Bluetooth card reader, which it will continue to offer, and similar readers from competing services such as Payleven and SumUp cost only a little more at €79.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Materials breakthrough promises smaller chips

If you haven't heard of graphene, or its new brother silicene, you will.For the uninitiated, graphene is a super cost-effective, ultra-hard and light-weight conductor. It's better than copper at conducting and is in fact the world's most conductive substance. Silicene is similar in that it's also ultra-thin, but it has properties that may be more suited for use in chips.We've been hearing about graphene for a while. However, this miracle substance has a slight, somewhat awkward problem for a superstar. Despite its second-coming-like trumpet blowing, it's not very good in transistors. The reason: it doesn't have the necessary logic operation capability.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Products of the week 02.16.2015

New products of the weekOur roundup of intriguing new products. Read how to submit an entry to Network World's products of the week slideshow.Actifio OneKey features: Actifio One is a flexible cloud-based service for midmarket companies to extend their datacenter. Built on the copy data virtualization technology, applications are available when and where users need them. More info.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Infosys to acquire startup Panaya to automate customer tasks

Indian outsourcer Infosys is to acquire Panaya, a U.S. vendor of automation technology for testing enterprise software deployments and upgrades.The cash deal values Panaya at an enterprise value of US$200 million, and is in line with the company’s strategy under new CEO Vishal Sikka to automate processes, including by using artificial intelligence, to cut down on repetitive tasks and accelerate services delivery.“This acquisition aims to use automation to boost the revenue of the company without a corresponding increase in staff,” said Sudin Apte, CEO and research director at analyst firm Offshore Insights. He pointed out that Infosys’ rivals like Tata Consultancy Services already use some degree of automation developed in-house.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Vint Cerf worries about a ‘digital dark age,’ and your data could be at risk

In this era of the all-pervasive cloud, it’s easy to assume that the data we store will somehow be preserved forever. The only thing to fret about from a posterity perspective, we might think, is the analog information from days gone by—all the stuff on papers, tapes and other pre-digital formats that haven’t been explicitly converted.Vinton Cerf, often called “the father of the Internet,” has other ideas.Now chief Internet evangelist at Google, Cerf spoke this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he painted a very different picture.Rather than a world where longevity is a given, Cerf fears a “digital dark age” in which the rapid evolution of technology quickly makes storage formats obsolete thanks to a phenomenon he calls “bit rot.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple is said to recruit engineers for car development project

Apple’s automotive ambitions may extend beyond CarPlay, its vehicle dashboard software.Managers from the company’s iPhone unit are leading employees in automotive research projects at a secret Silicon Valley lab, according to a report in the Financial Times Friday.Apple designers have met with executives and engineers at auto makers and in some cases recruited them, including the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley research and development division, the report says.If Apple is indeed building a car it will quickly run into one of its biggest rivals—Google, which is far along in its development of an autonomous vehicle. Traditional automakers are also getting smarter about incorporating technology in their vehicles. Chevrolet’s cars can come with built-in LTE hotspots, and in January Audi ferried journalists from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas in a self-driving car.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Newsreel reveals that even 1946 debut of ENIAC was greeted with ‘1984’-ish suspicion

A “today in history” post from The Poynter Institute includes an old newsreel showing that ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, was also the first to raise the specter of government prying eyes ... or a least a look over your shoulder.Here’s that 20th Century Fox newsreel, with a transcript below for those who’d rather read: Transcript:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Panasonic’s Toughbook 54 gets lighter, but stays strong

Panasonic’s Toughbooks are known for their strength and durability, but the company is trying to resolve some of the heft and size issues with its latest model.The Toughbook 54 14-inch laptop is just 1.9 kilograms (4.19 pounds), much lighter than its predecessor, the Toughbook 53, which was over 2.5 kilograms. Panasonic has also doubled memory capacity of the laptop to 16GB, and included a spare bay to improve storage capacity.The Toughbook isn’t going to compete on weight with laptops marketed as being super light, such as Dell’s XPS 13, which weights a bit more than 1 kilogram. But it is much tougher, thanks to a magnesium alloy chassis that can withstand drops of just under 1 meter. The Toughbook 54 has a handle, making it look much like a mini-suitcase.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here