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Microsoft launches blockchain development kit

No stranger to blockchain projects, Microsoft today released a blockchain development kit on its Azure cloud platform designed to enable seamless integration of blockchain with Microsoft's and third-party SaaS offerings.

"This kit extends the capabilities of our blockchain developer templates and Azure Blockchain Workbench, which incorporates Azure services for key management, off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging APIs into a reference architecture that can be used to rapidly build blockchain-based applications," Marc Mercuri, principal program managers for Microsoft's blockchain engineering team, said in a blog post.

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Blockchain 2019: How crypto will convert cash, property into digital assets

In 2019, the most innovative work involving distributed ledger technology (DLT) ? blockchain ? will focus on the tokenization of assets, or the ability to represent digital or physical assets and fiat currencies as tokens that can be sold or traded on a network.

DLT has the ability to take anything, from a piece of artwork to gems and real estate, and represent them as cryptographically hashed assets on a peer-to-peer, open electronic network that has no central authority, such as a bank, governing their trade or sale.

The cryptocurrency market capitalization is estimated to be $211 billion, according to a new report from auditing and business services firm KPMG.

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Is your company a great place to work in IT?

Computerworld's annual Best Places to Work in IT list showcases organizations that offer great benefits, challenging work and ample opportunities for growth. Nominate an organization for the 2019 list!

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Hey, LG: How's that 'Software Upgrade Center' going?

Back in April, LG came out with an almost laughably bold declaration: The company infamous for treating Android software updates as an afterthought was breaking new ground by opening a "Software Upgrade Center" ? and not just any "Software Upgrade Center," mind you, but the industry's "first such facility aimed at providing customers worldwide with faster, timelier smartphone operating system and software updates."

Um, right.

As I said at the time, LG's history with Android upgrades made me pretty darn skeptical that this was anything more than an inconsequential marketing stunt. LG, y'see, has not only been among the worst performers when it comes to post-sales software support ? with a lovely zero percent "F" ranking on my most recent Android Upgrade Report Card ? but it also has a funny habit of pairing its obvious indifference with a shocking level of bravado.

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How to use your iPad Pro to replace your laptop (Part 5)

We?re looking at how you can use your iPad Pro to replace your laptop. I thought it might be useful to share some of the many useful utilities that help you get more things done than you knew were possible on Apple's iPad Pro.

Episode guide:

  1. Part OneiPad Equipment
  2. Part TwoKeyboard, Typing, Shortcuts, and Dictation tips
  3. Part ThreeHow to multitask on iPad Pro
  4. Part FourHow to use Apple?s Files app and tags

There?s an app for that

Apple?s new iPad Pro is a foundation platform for future vision and implementation in the tablet space. If you look, you?ll often find that in almost every case, you can get your hands on an app that will help you get things done. All the same, there are always a few useful apps you should think about installing on your iPad for when you need them.

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How to upgrade to the version of Win10 Pro that YOU want

Those of you on Win10 Pro version 1703 ? that?s my version of choice ? just ran out of time, at least to a first approximation. Microsoft won?t be pushing any more security patches onto your machine. Yes, I know some of you figure that?s a feature, but never mind. You?re left with three options: Move to Win10 version 1709, version 1803, or (with fear and trepidation) version 1809.

If you?re running Win10 version 1709, you have the option of staying with 1709, moving on to 1803 (and thus giving yourself seven additional months of support), or leaping on 1809. Be careful what you wish.

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Throwback Thursday: That WOULD explain it!

Support pilot fish gets a call from a user whose computer won't boot. "Going through the basics, I quickly determined that it wasn't a boot problem, but probably something a bit more basic," says fish.

"Is the computer plugged in?" fish asks. Yes, user tells him. "Is the power strip turned on?" Yes. "Does the power indicator turn on when you press the power button on the computer?" No.

"Did you do a normal shutdown the night before?" fish asks.

"No," user says, "I just unplugged the computer."

Fish: "Why would you do that?"

User: "There was smoke coming out of the computer, and it quit working."

Fish: "So let me get this straight. Yesterday, the computer was on fire and you didn't call. Today, first you actually plug the thing back in, and then you call because you can't get it to boot?"

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AR in the enterprise: Tips for a better augmented reality app

Augmented reality is the next big thing ? or one of the next big things, anyway. The technology, which overlays digital images on the real world, has a host of potential uses in the enterprise, from training tools to customer demos to collaborative design spaces.

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(Insider Story)

Windows 10 update (and retirement) calendar: Mark these dates

Microsoft's shift to Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) for Windows 10 yielded a repetitive, predictable schedule of version release and support expiration dates for Windows 10.

Although consumers can essentially ignore any schedule ? Microsoft decides when their devices are upgraded ? business customers and their IT personnel should be marking the calendar with the important upcoming events.

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With Windows 10 1809 re-release, Microsoft decides not to cheat on promised support

Microsoft yesterday re-released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after a 38-day delay caused by multiple bugs, including two that deleted customer files.

As it re-issued the fall feature upgrade, Microsoft also reset its support, a move that Computerworld expected by the time the distribution stoppage had run through much of October. By ignoring the original launch date of Oct. 2 and pretending that the delay never happened, Microsoft ensured that users receive the promised amount of support, more or less.

According to the definitive "Windows lifecycle fact sheet," the original end of support for Windows 10 Home 1809 and Windows 10 Pro 1809 - the four-digit label is the upgrade's name in Microsoft's yymm format - was April 14, 2020. Support was to expire for Windows 10 Enterprise 1809 and Windows 10 Education 1809 on April 13, 2021.

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Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the Insider Preview builds

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) started to roll out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, due to be released next spring. As it did with the October 2018 Update, 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 is changing it up with the next release, which is code-named "19H1" (for 2019, first half) rather than "Redstone 6." What follows is a list of every preview build of Windows 10 19H1, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release, a summary of what?s in the build and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it.

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Cisco?s Webex Teams gets BroadCloud Calling integration

Cisco has added cloud calling to its Webex Teams messaging app ? something the company called a ?significant step? in the integration of BroadSoft?s technology stack  following the completion of this year?s $1.9 billion acquisition.

The combination is designed to provide an ?enterprise-grade? cloud-based PBX [private branch exchange] phone system in addition to existing message and document sharing features.

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Chrome OS: Tips, tools, and other Chromebook intelligence

Google's Chrome OS platform sure has come a long way.

From the early days, when Chrome OS was little more than an experimental "browser in a box," to today ? with the platform powering first-class hardware and supporting a diverse range of productivity applications ? Google's once-crazy-seeming project has turned into one of the world's most intriguing and rapidly expanding technological forces.

I've been covering Chrome OS closely since the start. I lived with the first Chromebook prototype, the Cr-48, and have used Chromebooks as part of my own personal computing setup in varying capacities ever since. I write about the field not only as someone who's studied it professionally from day 1 but also as someone who has used it personally that entire time, up through today.

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Android security: Analysis, advice, and next-level knowledge

It's tough to talk about Android security without venturing into sensational terrain.

A large part of that is due to the simple fact that the forces driving most Android security coverage are companies that make their money by selling Android security software ? and thus companies with strong interests in pushing the narrative that every Android phone is on the perpetual brink of grave, unfathomable danger. Plus, let's face it: A headline about 70 gazillion Android phones being vulnerable to the MegaMonsterSkullCrusher Virus is far more enticing than one explaining the nuanced realities of Android security.

In actuality, though, Android security is a complex beast ? one with multiple layers in place to protect you and one that almost never warrants an alarmist attitude. I've been covering Android security closely since the platform's earliest days, and I've busted more myths and called out more shameless publicity stunts than I can even count at this point.

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Patch Tuesday problems include even more reported bugs with Win10 version 1809

Yesterday Microsoft released security patches for 63 separately identified vulnerabilities and three new Security Advisories. Microsoft rates 12 of the security holes as ?critical,? and 8 of those are for the Edge scripting engine. Only one has an actively known exploit, discovered by Kaspersky, on 32-bit Win7 and Server 2008 systems in the Middle East.

Martin Brinkmann has his monthly summary on ghacks.net for an overview of the numbers and links. Dustin Childs picks up all the nuances in his Zero Day Initiative post. Short version: As usual, if you avoid Internet Explorer and Edge, you should be fine for now. But, again as usual, you?ll have to patch eventually.

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