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Microsoft Patch Alert: October?s been a nightmare

This month?s bad patches made headlines. Lots of headlines. For good reason.

You have my sympathy if you clicked ?Check for updates? and got all of the files in your Documents and Photos folders deleted. Even if you didn?t become a ?seeker? (didn?t manually check for updates) your month may have been filled with blue screens, odd chicken-and-egg errors, and destroyed audio drivers ? and Edge and your UWP (?Metro? Store) apps might have been kicked off the internet.

You didn?t need to lift a finger.

Worst Windows 10 rollout ever

Hard to believe that Windows 10 version rollouts could get any worse, but this month hit the bottom of a nearly bottomless barrel. Some folks who clicked ?Check for updates? wound up with a brand spanking new copy of Win10 version 1809 ? and all of the files in their \Documents, \Pictures, \Music, \Videos and other folders disappeared. I have a series of articles on that topic, arranged chronologically:

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Apple Watch Series 4: A review

Some say discretion is the better part of valor, which means the discreet yet useful Apple Watch Series 4 may be the bravest thing of all.

Apple's brave little watch

What is the nature of a wristwatch?

For most of us, it?s something we wear and look at when we need the time. A smartwatch adds an indefinable number of additional features, and at their best, these don?t get in our way and are there only when we need them to be.

That?s certainly the message when it comes to one of the flagship features of the watch, Siri.

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Back pay payback

This IT staffer is hoping his pay will go up after his annual review, but that depends on his manager actually doing the review, reports a pilot fish in a position to watch the story unfold.

"He finally got his review -- with the pay increase -- six weeks after the official deadline," fish says. "He received four weeks of retroactive pay at the higher level.

"When he went to question Payroll and HR about the missing two weeks, the mistake was identified and he received an additional week of retroactive pay at the higher level. That final missing week of additional pay was not received."

IT guy keeps pushing, and eventually the cause is tracked down. According to Payroll and HR, the review forms incorrectly list his anniversary date as a week later than it actually is, and his manager will have to push through the correction to the form.

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Review: Google?s Pixel 3 has looks and smarts but isn't the best for biz

It?s going much too far to say that flagship Android smartphones have all become the same, but the differences between their hardware have become pretty narrow. Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, OLED screen, Gorilla Glass ? if you were buying strictly off a spec sheet, it?s become fairly difficult to make a mistake if you?re picking from among the top four or five phones or vendors.

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(Insider Story)

Google aims Plus at the enterprise as consumer side falters

Google will aim Google Plus solely at enterprise users as it shuts down consumer access to its ailing social network over the next few months. 

Google announced plans to discontinue Google Plus last week, following reports of a security flaw that exposed user data to third-party developers. The bug was discovered and patched by the company in March as part of an internal audit of privacy controls, dubbed Project Strobe. But the breach was not made public until recently. 

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Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, dies at 65

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his family said in a statement.

Allen, 65, started Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, and was first diagnosed with the cancer in 1982. He stepped away from the company in March 1983, just months before doctors said his treatment had beaten the illness. The disease recently returned after years in remission.

Although Allen co-founded Microsoft with Gates - the two met at a Seattle, Wash. private school - he left before many of the firm's signature moves, including Windows (1985) and Word (October 1983), debuted. But he was instrumental in the foundational rounds of the company's pioneering software strategy, such as Microsoft BASIC and MS-DOS.

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Thoughts on the ambition of Apple Watch

Siri Shortcuts, your Apple Watch, and various sensors and biometrics mean the wearable device will become critical to your identity, at work, at home, and at play.

The 'most personal device ever'

Apple has described the Apple Watch as its ?most personal device ever.? That?s not just because it sits against your skin and you can purchase snazzy new watchbands for it; it?s also because its sensors assess all sorts of personal data about you:

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The Pixel Slate reality people seem to be missing

Reading coverage of Google's newly announced Pixel Slate ? the two-in-one device that's both an Android-like tablet and Surface-like Chromebook ? the clear and consistent theme you see is that Google just dramatically changed course with its computing vision.

I've lost count of the number of tweets, analyses, and hands-on assessments I've come across expressing that sentiment ? that the Pixel Slate represents a whole new beginning for Chrome OS in terms of both its Android-reminiscent interface and its positioning as a best-of-both-worlds tablet platform.

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Big browsers to pull support plug for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 encryption protocols in early '20

The makers of the four biggest browsers all said Monday that their applications will drop support for the TLS (Transport Layer Security) 1.0 and 1.1 encryption protocols in early 2020.

"In March of 2020, Firefox will disable support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1," wrote Martin Thomson, principal engineer at Mozilla, in a post to a company blog.

Other browser developers, including Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome) and Microsoft (Edge and Internet Explorer) issued similar notices. All pegged early 2020 as the target for disabling support.

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3..., 2..., 1? How complaints tamed Microsoft's aggressive feature upgrade strategy

Microsoft has jiggered and rejiggered Windows 10's release and support model enough times to befuddle even the most astute follower. Each time, the company downplayed what had been true and highlighted what had become the new truth. That's how things work. But it's left users without context.

Here is a brief history of how Microsoft reacted to balking customers and changed the cadence of Windows 10.

3...

Before Microsoft got around to launching Windows 10, it was talking up the development and release cadence, promising that it would roll out a refreshed operating system at the unprecedented rate of three times a year.

In an April 2015 Microsoft-hosted webinar, the company said the impending OS would receive upgrades - those that included new features and functionality - about every four months. Under that schedule, Windows 10 Home would first receive each feature upgrade; the same version would be served to Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise four months later.

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Leadership, demonstrated

This company's CIO has a shiny MBA to go with his limited grasp of technology, and he puts both on display in the series of weekly incident review meetings he decides to launch, says an IT pilot fish whose attendance is required.

"These meetings consisted of non-technical upper-management types grilling the poor techs over every detail of any failure during the previous week, from broken laptops to major software outages, with no regard to severity -- all were considered class 1 outages," fish grumbles.

"During a discussion about network latency and a failed router, the CIO blurted out, 'Is latency bad? Why do we have latency? Is this bad? Can we fix latency?'

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Mingis on Tech: The Pixel 3 arrives

Google's newest smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, officially arrive on Oct. 19 (though pre-orders are already under way). And the devices are winning rave reviews for the combination of solid hardware upgrades and the use of AI and machine learning to do everything from pre-screen incoming calls to enhance photos.

Of course, the over-sized notch in the 3 XL and the matte-finished glass back, which some find rather slippery, have gotten less favorable attention.

pixel 3 xl pr Google

This year's Pixels come in three colors: black, white and "not pink."

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Stats make iOS a hard OS to ignore

The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system ? iOS 12 ? was released just a few weeks ago, and yet it's already installed on 53% of relatively newer iPhones (introduced since September 2014) and 50% of all iPhones. Bottom line: It's the fastest acceptance of any Apple OS.

This is more than a minimally interesting statistic. It illustrates the key difference between Apple mobile devices and Android mobile devices: Although there are more Android users on the globe, Apple's users are much more of a community. That means many things from an Apple marketing perspective, but for IT, it means far greater security.

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Economist Nouriel Roubini: Blockchain and bitcoin are the world?s biggest scams

New York University professor and global economist Nouriel Roubini testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking last week, saying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are the mother of all scams and bubbles.

He followed that assertion up by calling blockchain, the technology unpinning bitcoin, "the most over-hyped ? and least useful ? technology in human history."

Today, Roubini doubled down on his claims in a column published on CNBC.com in which he said blockchain has promised to cure the world's ills through decentralization but is "just a ruse to separate retail investors from their hard-earned real money."

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IDG Contributor Network: CEO Hans Vestberg is changing Verizon leadership to focus on 5G

It sounds like new Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is making some serious leadership changes. I think this is exactly what he needs to do. The reason is his desire for Verizon to be a leader once again in the coming 5G wireless revolution. If they want to be a leader, not a follower going forward, then they need to make some serious changes. Good goal. Next question, will he be successful?

Over the last decade, Verizon has been a mixed bag of successes and failures. Over that time, they have generally rewarded investors and had happy customers. They are the highest priced competitor, but their network is no better than AT&T. They used to be a leader in the wireless and telecom space, but that was a long time ago.

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