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Forrester: Bank mobile apps frustrating, confusing

Mobile banking should be effortless, with financial institutions sharing data, offering helpful suggestions and automating frequent tasks. But according to a new report from Forrester Research on mobile banking apps, far too many banks offer frustrating apps that show little thought given to how consumers interact with their financial institutions ? or at least how they should.

"Banks too often send customers to separate apps or web pages to view content. These experiences, which are often inconsistent with the main app, can feel disjointed and confusing for the customer," said the report. "Menus disappear or compete with each other, names and icons have multiple meanings, or links take the customer out of the app without warning."

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Apple tries again with MacBook Pro keyboard design

Dolly Parton described love as ?like a butterfly,? but that isn?t precisely the emotion Mac users have reported on use of the butterfly keyboard design Apple puts inside its notebooks.

When keys take wing

These keyboards have attracted much criticism since they were introduced, so much so that Apple has attempted to redesign them twice and is back with a third redesign (and fourth design) in the newly announced MacBook Pros.

In this latest edition, the company says it has ?changed the material? used in the butterfly mechanism. This should ?substantially? reduce the issues that some users have experienced, Apple said.

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Poorly designed systems make doctors 'a slave to their EHR'

FOXBORO, Mass. -- While electronic healthcare records (EHRs) vastly improved patient information collection and sharing for some healthcare providers and payers, the technology also robs doctors of something critical: the ability to properly care for patients.

EHRs continue to require far too many mouse clicks and pagination to enter data during a visit, diverting attention from patients ? something that's key to not only creating a relationship but getting a complete picture of their health.

"Right now, it feels like physicians are a slave to their EHRs. There's a high amount of burnout ? emotional burnout, depersonalization and a low sense of professional accomplishment," Dr. Alain Chaoui, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said during a presentation last week at the New England HIMSS Annual Spring Conference here.

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Given enough time and resources, it could be done

Consultant pilot fish is called to a community college to develop an online system for registering students in continuing ed classes. At the meeting to develop specifications for the project are fish, the IT director and the continuing ed director, who says that it?s essential that people can?t input invalid Social Security numbers. Fish and the IT director can?t make any headway when they try to explain that there is no way to prevent that.

All right, then, says the continuing ed director, ?If we cannot prevent that, I don?t want the project.?

End of meeting. And for fish, no regrets about that particular lost job.

Sharky doesn?t need your PII, made up or otherwise. Just send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Windows 10 1903 arrives after stretch of extra testing

Microsoft today launched Windows 10 May 2019 Update, aka 1903, after running the feature upgrade through additional testing with Insider volunteers, hardware manufacturers and third-party software developers.

"The May 2019 Update is available for customers who would like to install the latest release," John Cable, director of program management in the Windows delivery and servicing team, announced in a post to a company blog.

Under normal circumstances, 1903 ? the four-digit label in Microsoft's yymm format ? would have gone public six or more weeks ago. But in early April, Microsoft said it would send the feature upgrade ? the first of two presumably slated for the year ? into more testing. The decision was an obvious reaction to the debacle of Windows 10 1809, which in October 2018 launched with a known-yet-still-overlooked bug that destroyed user data. Microsoft pulled 1809 and while the upgrade eventually debuted, albeit months late, in March the company gave up on getting the new version to users.

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Windows 10: A guide to the updates

The launch of a major Windows 10 update like the May 2019 Update isn?t the end of a process ? it?s really just the beginning. As soon as a big feature update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we?ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the currently shipping version of Windows 10 ? version 1903, known as the May 2019 Update ? with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the May 2019 Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1809, known as the October 2018 Update; version 1803, the April 2018 Update; version 1709, the Fall Creators Update; and finally updates to version 1703, the Creators Update. For each build, we?ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft?s announcement about it.

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Review: Windows 10 May 2019 Update unleashes a spring surprise

We?ve become used to the routine: Microsoft releases one of its twice-annual Windows 10 feature updates, often delayed due to bugs, and the world yawns. And throughout most of the six months of previews for Windows 10 version 1903, a.k.a. the May 2019 Update, it looked like it was going to be the usual routine again.

Except this time, it?s different. About six weeks before the update?s planned release, Microsoft made an unexpected late addition, one of the most meaningful features added to Windows 10 in a long time.

What is that feature, and what else is important is in this new update? Read on for details.

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Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the Insider Preview builds

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) started to roll out, the company began working on upcoming feature updates to Windows 10. As it did with version 1903, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.

After years of using ?Redstone? in its code names, Microsoft switched to a new format with the May 2019 Update. The new code names use a YYH1/YYH2 format, with the YY standing for the last two numbers of the year and H1 or H2 referring to the first or second half of the year. So Windows 10 version 1903, which was released in May 2019, was code-named ?19H1? (for first half of 2019) rather than ?Redstone 6.? The next feature update, due in the fall of this year, is code-named ?19H2,? and the feature update that?s coming in the spring of 2020 is code-named 20H1.

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Microsoft returns to Mac browser market after 16 years with 'Chromium-ed' Edge

Microsoft on Monday returned to the Mac browser market when it released the first public preview of its revamped Edge browser for macOS.

Delivery of the "Canary" edition for macOS came two weeks after prodigious Windows leaker WalkingCat, also known by his Twitter account @h0x0d, tweeted the download links for the Canary and more polished Dev builds of Edge for the Mac.

Like Google Chrome, Edge releases in multiple builds representing increasingly more stable versions of the browser. Canary, the least reliable, is updated daily, while the Dev version refreshes weekly. Beta and Stable builds appear every six weeks.

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Revamped Google Glass 2 aims more powerful AR at the enterprise

Google this week updated its workplace-focused Glass augmented reality (AR) headset, offering a more powerful processor and improved camera ? a ?significant improvement? over its predecessor, according Anshel Sag, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Google unveiled the consumer version of Glass in 2013 to much fanfare, but little commercial success. It was relaunched as Glass Enterprise Edition two years ago, after Google decided the headset was better suited to workers who need hands-free computing ? such as in manufacturing, logistics and healthcare. Development was also moved to the X ?moonshot? division within Google?s parent company, Alphabet. 

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Apple has a chance to build a social network we can trust

Apple has never quite managed to create a social network that works, but it seems to have a better chance than ever right now.

All the ingredients are there

The company has all the ingredients: A platform, loyal customers, and a growing range of media services that would benefit from the kind of pester power social media provides.

Apple News+, Apple TV+, Apple Music (will Apple Music+ turn out to be the long-fabled high definition music service?) and even Apple Arcade.

Apple?s servers also hoard vast treasure troves of images and videos captured by iPhone users across the planet.

This is all shareable content that?s kept tightly secured inside the company?s walled garden, within which everything you do is kept as private as possible. (Subject to the privacy practices of your networks, governments, and app developers.)

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Microsoft orphans Windows 10 1809, prepares to jump 1803 users straight to 1903

New data has again hammered home the point that Microsoft has given up forcing Windows 10 1809 on users.

The Redmond, Wash. developer essentially stopped pushing the October 2018 Update, aka 1809, to customers last month, according to numbers published by AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose metrics technology is embedded in thousands of Windows Store apps. Unlike previous Windows 10 feature upgrades, which all non-enterprise users had been required to install every six months, 1809 has been allowed to dawdle in distribution.

Windows 10 1809 powered only 29% of surveyed Windows 10 systems as of April 26, AdDuplex said. The increase from March to April was just 3 percentage points, barely half the increase from February to March and but a third that from January to February. Rather than increasing, as one would have expected from past feature upgrade roll-outs, 1809's adoption has slowed over time, a first for Windows 10.

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What?s the emergency?

Pilot fish works in a large control center, which has several emergency shutdown buttons, not just around the room but in the halls outside as well ? just in case it ever becomes essential to turn off all the emergency power quickly. A moving crew comes along one day with some bulky equipment, and one fellow trying to walk down the hallway has to press against the wall so they can pass. And of course backs into one of the big red shutdown buttons. You can picture what happens: Everything goes down. It?s not pretty.

It?s things like this that explain why such buttons usually have plastic shields that have to be lifted up before you can push the button. That?s certainly what they have now in that control center.

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How to block the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, from installing

Surely you remember how the first release of Windows 10 version 1809 turned out ? deleted files, panicked users, yanked upgrades that were unyanked and yanked again. Heaven knows that the release of Windows 10 version 1903 couldn?t be any worse, but there?s every reason to wait and see.

For almost everyone, the new features in version 1903, known to some as the May 2019 Update ? Cortana banished, a few anemic phone extensions, newly spry response to a failed update ? just aren?t worth the bother of installing and setting up an entirely new copy of Windows. (Unless you really want Candy Crush Soda Saga installed for the umpteenth time.)

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Interest in older iPhones declines

Recent speculation claims Apple may terminate support for some older iPhone models? including the popular iPhone SE ? when it introduces iOS 13.

We won?t know if this is true until WWDC, but it simply reflects consumer sentiment.

People are moving on

The smartphone industry is declining as consumers try to get more use out of their mobile devices.

Manufacturers (including Apple) have responded by focusing on developing cutting-edge high-end devices that consumers are willing to purchase at higher cost.

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