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Cloud

Office 365 Gets New Word, PowerPoint and Outlook Features (networkworld.com) 46

New submitter Miche67 writes: As part of the July 2016 update to Office 365, Microsoft is adding several features across the board to Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Word, however, is getting the biggest new features -- Researcher and Editor -- to improve your writing. "As its name implies, Researcher is designed to help the user find reliable sources of information by using the Bing Knowledge Graph to search for sources, and it will properly cite them in the Word document," reports Network World. "[Editor] builds on the already-existing spellchecker and thesaurus to offer suggestions on how to improve your overall writing. In addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and the wavy blue line under bad grammar, there will be a gold line for writing style." The new features are expected to be available later this year. In addition to the two new features added to PowerPoint last year -- Designer and Morph, Microsoft is offering Zoom, a feature that lets you easily create "interactive, non-linear presentations." "Instead of the 1-2-3-4 linear method of presenting slides, forcing you to place them all in the order you wish to display, presenters will be able to show their slides in any order they want at any time," reports Network World. "This way you can change your presentation order as needed without having to stop PowerPoint or interrupt the display." As for Outlook, Focused Inbox is coming to Office 365. Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two tabs. The "Focused" tab is where all of your high-priority emails will be found, while everything else will be in the "Other" tab. Outlook will learn from your behavior over time and sort your mail accordingly. In addition, @mentions are coming to Outlook 365 and Outlook for PC and Mac, "making it easy to identify emails that need your attention, as well as flag actions for others."
Businesses

Apple's Electric Car Project To Be Led By Bob Mansfield (techcrunch.com) 135

An anonymous reader writes: Long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield will lead Apple's electric car project, according to the Wall Street Journal. TechCrunch reports: "Mansfield stepped down from the Apple executive board in 2013, yet stayed around the company to work on, what Apple called, special projects. In this role he was reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. One of Mansfield's projects turned out to be the Apple Watch. Now it seems he will head-up Apple's car ambitions -- a project Apple has yet to publicly confirm. During Mansfield's tenure he lead the engineering teams responsible for numerous products including the MacBook Air, iMac, and the iPad."
Chrome

Google Gets Rid Of App Launcher In Chrome 52, Browser's Mac Client Gets Material Design (9to5mac.com) 67

Google has finally removed App Launcher that it bundles with the Chrome browser for Windows and Mac with the release of Chrome v52. The Mac client, in addition, now embraces Google's Material Design approach, and comes with new icons and flatter and transparent interface. 9to5Mac documents more changes on Chrome for Mac and Windows: Besides a new flatter, sharper, and transparent design, Material is also a "huge engineering feat," especially for Chrome OS and Windows. Chrome is "now rendered fully programmatically including iconography, effectively removing the ~1200 png assets we were maintaining before," Google noted. "It also allows us to deliver a better rendering for a wide range of PPI configuration."
Television

Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps' (venturebeat.com) 62

theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.
Encryption

FBI Agent: Decrypting Data 'Fundamentally Alters' Evidence (vice.com) 89

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: An FBI agent has brought up an interesting question about the nature of digital evidence: Does decrypting encrypted data "fundamentally alter" it, therefore contaminating it as forensic evidence? According to a hearing transcript filed last week, FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin suggested just that. The hearing was related to the agency's investigation into dark web child pornography site Playpen. In February 2015, the FBI briefly assumed control of Playpen and delivered its users a network investigative technique (NIT) -- or a piece of malware -- in an attempt to identify the site's visitors. [...] According to experts called by the defense in the affected case, the fact that the data was unencrypted means there is a chance that sensitive, identifying information of people who had not been convicted of a crime was being sent over the internet, and could have been manipulated. (Alfin paints this scenario as unlikely, saying that an attacker would have to know the IP address the FBI was using, have some sort of physical access to the suspect's computer to learn his MAC address, and other variables.)
Games

PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard (vice.com) 729

Motherboard has an article in which it argues that PC gaming is still way too hard. The author of the article claims that for one to build a gaming PC, they need an "unreasonable" amount of disposable income, and also have an unreasonable amount of time to "research, shop around, and assemble parts" for their computer. The author adds that a person looking into making one such gear also needs to always have to keep investing time and money in as long as they want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games. The author has shared the experience he had building his own gaming PC. An excerpt from it: The process of physically building a PC is filled with little frustrations, and mistakes can be costly and time consuming. I have big, dumb, sausage fingers, so mounting the motherboard into the case, and screwing in nine (!) tiny screws to keep it in place in a cramped space, in weird angles, where dropping the screwdriver can easily break something expensive -- it's just not what I'd call "consumer-friendly." This is why people buy from Apple. It designs everything from the trackpad to the box the computer comes in, which unfolds neatly to reveal everything you need. Apple reduces friction to the point where even my mom could upgrade the RAM on her iMac, and it can do this because it controls everything that goes in that box.That's accurate. But it also means -- at least as of today -- that the current Apple computer -- MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini you purchase packs in at least three-year-old components.
Security

Apple Devices Held For Ransom, Rumors Claim 40M iCloud Accounts Hacked; Apple-Related Forums Compromised (csoonline.com) 73

Steve Ragan, reporting for CSOOnline: Since February, a number of Apple users have reported locked devices displaying ransom demands written in Russian. Earlier this week, a security professional posted a message to a private email group requesting information related a possible compromise of at least 40 million iCloud accounts. Salted Hash started digging around on this story after the email came to our attention. In it, a list member questioned the others about a rumor concerning "rumblings of a massive (40 million) data breach at Apple." The message goes on to state that the alleged breach was conducted by a Russian actor, and vector "seems to be via iCloud to the 'locate device' feature, and is then locking the device and asking for money."In a separate report, the publication reports that three websites owned by Penton Technology -- MacForums.com, HotScripts.com, and WebHostingTalk.com -- have been compromised and their databases are now being sold on the Darknet. While nothing is confirmed, there is a possibility that some of the rumored 40M compromised Apple ID credentials may have come from these forums, or from LinkedIn's recent hack.
Desktops (Apple)

EasyDoc Malware Adds Tor Backdoor To Macs For Botnet Control (theregister.co.uk) 68

An anonymous reader writes: Security firm Bitdefender has issued an alert about a malicious app that hands over control of Macs to criminals via Tor. The software, called EasyDoc Converter.app, is supposed to be a file converter but doesn't do its advertised functions. Instead it drops complex malware onto the system that subverts the security of the system, allowing it to be used as part of a botnet or to spy on the owner. "This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it's hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised system," said Tiberius Axinte, Technical Leader, Bitdefender Antimalware Lab. "For instance, someone can lock you out of your laptop, threaten to blackmail you to restore your private files or transform your laptop into a botnet to attack other devices. The possibilities are endless." The malware, dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, sets up a hidden Tor service and PHP-capable web server on the infected computer, generating a .onion domain that the attacker can use to connect to the Mac and control it. Once installed, the malware grants full access to the file system and can run scripts given to it by its masters.A report on AppleInsider says that malware can also control the FaceTime camera on a victim's computer. But thankfully, Apple's Gatekeeper security prevents the unsigned app from being installed.
Stats

Linux Grabs More Than 2% of Desktop Market Share (w3counter.com) 249

LichtSpektren writes: W3Counter's stats for June 2016 are in, and Linux desktop accounts for 2.48% of all web visits from tracked websites... (Android is counted separately from "Linux desktop.")
Meanwhile, NetMarketShare shows Linux with a 2.02% share of the desktop market. And StatCounter shows a more detailed breakdown of the top 7 operating systems, with Windows 7 at 42.02%, Windows 10 at 21.88%, OSX at 9.94%, Windows 8.1 at 8.66%, Windows XP at 6.5%, and another 4.06% for "Unknown" (which is roughly tied with "Other") -- beating Windows 8.0 at 3.52%. In May they also reported another thought-provoking statistic: that Firefox's browser usage had surpassed that of IE and Edge combined for the first time.
Portables (Apple)

Man Who Teaches People How To Repair Their MacBooks Alludes To Apple Lawsuit (gamerevolution.com) 150

New submitter alzoron writes: After the failure of New York's Fair Repair Act, independent third-party unauthorized Apple repair shops seem to be under attack. Louis Rossmann, owner of Rossman Repair Group, INC has uploaded a somewhat vague video alluding to his Youtube site, where he posts videos about repairing out of warranty repairs, possibly being shut down. Several sources (Reddit, Mac Kung Fu, 9to5Mac) have been speculating about this and whether or not Apple is behind this. Game Revolution reported on the video (Link is to cache version of the site since the report has since been removed), breaking down each section of the video. 6:52: Louis informs viewers that they can download YouTube videos. 7:41: Louis mentions that YouTube channels have a "finite lifespan," often because a large corporation has the power and money to shut them down. 8:42: Louis shares that he's happy when he's lived a difficult life so that he can be strong for the immense challenge that is ahead. 10:06: Louis shares that he is going to have to fight from his point onward. 11:22: Louis states that all his videos may soon be gone. 11:32: Louis mentions that his business may disappear. Given what Louis has mentioned, it's apparent that Louis has been threatened by Apple likely for condemning its policies to a growing subscriber base, but also for showing users how to repair its hardware without going through Apple support.

UPDATE 7/1/16: The headline has been updated to clarify that the lawsuit is unconfirmed. We'll continue to update the story as it develops.
Facebook

Facebook To Shred 'Paper' News-Reading App On July 29th (theverge.com) 23

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Facebook's Paper app for iOS is scheduled to shut down on July 29th. While the app impressed critics, it failed to impress the general public. The Verge reports: "The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. When it was introduced in January 2014, Paper signaled the beginning of a design renaissance at Facebook. The look and feel of the app were orchestrated by Mike Matas, whose design firm Push Pop Press was acquired by Facebook in 2011. Paper was notable for the novel animations it used to guide you through the app -- tap on a link and it would unfold like a letter; pull down on the story and it would fold back up, returning you to the feed. But despite the enormous growth of Facebook, which surged to 1.09 billion daily users this year, Paper has not been among the 1,500 most-downloaded apps since December 2014, according to research firm App Annie. It never came to Android, and the iOS version was last updated in March 2015. Facebook says that ideas from Paper have made their way into other Facebook apps, most notably Instant Articles, the fast-loading story format that the company introduced last year. Instant Articles borrowed several design elements from Paper, including full-bleed images and custom designs for individual publishers' articles."
Microsoft

Microsoft Kills Windows 10's Messaging Everywhere Texts, To Bolster Skype (pcworld.com) 122

Reader tripleevenfall writes: The ability to respond to text messages received on your phone with the same app on your PC. It's a dream that's been a reality for Mac users since 2014, and Windows 10 Mobile users were supposed to get the feature, called Messaging Everywhere, with the Anniversary Update rolling out August 2.
But that's not happening anymore. Instead, Microsoft thinks it has a better idea: add Messaging Everywhere to an upcoming version of Skype for Windows 10 PCs.
Microsoft commentator Brad Sams writes, "Skype barely works; let's add new features. Texting from your phone is cool, let's remove it. 0.0% people want this."
Movies

Minecraft Movie To Compete With Avengers and Star Wars In 2019 (polygon.com) 91

An anonymous reader writes: Warner Bros. announced today that it will be releasing its upcoming Minecraft movie on May 25, 2019, if all things go according to plan. It will be competing directly with Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode IX film, which will be released the same weekend, only a few weeks after Marvel's Infinity War film. The Minecraft movie has already faced some problems. The film's original director, Shawn Levy, left the project in 2014 after his Goonies-inspired movie idea was rejected by Warner Bros. executives. Mojang announced a new director for the movie last July -- Rob McElhenney, star of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The movie is likely to be a hit at the box office as the game has a massive following. Earlier this month, Mojang announced the game passed 100 million sales across all platforms, including PC, Mac, consoles and mobile.
Chrome

Google Ponders About a Chromebook Pro (venturebeat.com) 138

Google is currently surveying people about what a Chromebook Pro should be like. VentureBeat's report cites two people who recently shared the development on a forum. One user was asked the question, "How would you think a Chromebook Pro is different than a Chromebook?" whereas the other user was asked, "what a Chromebook Pro should be like in [his/her] opinion and what type of people would want to use it." From the report:The word "Pro" would imply a high-end laptop running Chrome OS, just like, say, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 4. But there are many other companies -- Asus, Dell, HP, and Samsung, among others -- that make Chromebooks, along with Google. It isn't clear from these survey questions if Google is thinking about making a Chromebook Pro itself, just as it has made high-end Chromebook Pixel laptops, or if Google is just wondering how consumers would perceive a Chromebook Pro made by a third party. Meanwhile, Google last month published a job posting entitled "Quality Engineer, Chromebook Pixel," suggesting that a third generation of that device could be on the way.Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular. They outsold Mac for the first time in the United States earlier this year. The majority of the Chromebooks available today, however, pack in entry-level specifications, giving users very limited choice. Though we have seen devices like Chromebook Pixel, a range of high-end Chromebooks could entice even more customers.
Graphics

Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display (macrumors.com) 168

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially told several news sites that it plans to discontinue the Thunderbolt Display, which has been available online and in Apple retail stores since it was first introduced in 2011. "We're discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users," said an Apple spokesperson. Rumors suggest that Apple will launch a new version of its Thunderbolt monitor later this year, featuring an upgraded 5K resolution and discrete GPU. The new Thunderbolt Display may even launch alongside next-generation Skylake Retina MacBook Pros, which too are rumored to be released later this year. fyngyrz writes: So, bought into the whole Thunderbolt monitor thing from Apple? Might want to collect a few right now, while you still can. It appears that the Thunderbolt monitor is going the way of the analog [headphone] jack over at Apple. Isn't it fun to be part of an unsuccessful experiment?
Security

Citing Attack, GoToMyPC Resets All Passwords (krebsonsecurity.com) 41

Security reporter Brian Krebs writes:GoToMyPC, a service that helps people access and control their computers remotely over the Internet, is forcing all users to change their passwords, citing a spike in attacks that target people who re-use passwords across multiple sites. Owned by Santa Clara, Calif. based networking giant Citrix, GoToMyPC is a popular software-as-a-service product that lets users access and control their PC or Mac from anywhere in the world. On June 19, the company posted a status update and began notifying users that a system-wide password update was underway.
Security

Delete Or Update All Adobe Flash Player Instances, Experts Warn (threatpost.com) 172

An anonymous reader quotes an article from BankInfoSecurity: Security experts are once again warning enterprises to immediately update -- or delete -- all instances of the Adobe Flash Player they may have installed on any system in the wake of reports that a zero-day flaw in the web browser plug-in is being targeted by an advanced persistent threat group.... The bug exists in Adobe Flash Player 21.0.0.242 and earlier versions -- running on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS -- and "successful exploitation could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system." Thursday Adobe released an updated version of Flash patching 36 separate vulnerabilities, including the critical vulnerability which "if exploited would allow malicious native-code to execute, potentially without a user being aware." While applauding Adobe's quick response, researchers at Kaspersky Lab say it's already been exploited in Russia, Nepal, South Korea, China, India, Kuwait and Romania, and BankInfoSecurity writes that "The latest warning over this campaign reinforces just how often APT attackers target Flash, thus making a potential business case for banning it for inside the enterprise."
Communications

Apple Explains Why iMessage Isn't Coming To Android (networkworld.com) 157

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Ahead of Apple's WWDC keynote this year, one of the more bizarre and sketchy rumors we saw take shape claimed that Apple was planning to deliver iMessage to Android. As is typically the case, the rumor mill took this somewhat ridiculous rumor and ran with it. The only problem is that some people were so busy trying to figure out the ramifications of iMessage hitting Android that they didn't take a step back and try and figure out if this is something Apple would even contemplate in the first place. Remember, every move Apple makes is strategic and geared towards making more money, either via device sales or software. That being the case, iMessage on Android would not only be a free app, but it would also eliminate a user-experience advantage of iOS. Interestingly enough, Walt Mossberg of The Verge asked a senior Apple executive about the rumor whereupon the nameless executive all but indicated that iMessage will never be coming to Android. Walt Mossberg writes: "First, he said, Apple considers its own user base of 1 billion active devices to provide a large enough data set for any possible AI learning the company is working on. And, second, having a superior messaging platform that only worked on Apple devices would help sales of those device -- the company's classic (and successful) rationale for years."
Education

Apple Introduces Swift Playgrounds App To Teach Kids To Code (theverge.com) 73

An anonymous reader writes: At their Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We believe coding should be a required language in all schools." To help achieve this goal, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds, a new app that is meant to teach kids basic coding skills in Apple's chosen language. It teaches concepts like loops and conditionals, and uses an animated character tasked with performing simple challenges in a digital maze to help make learning fun. The app also offers suggested coding languages and will be completely free. Tim Cook described it as "a powerful new way for kids to learn to code," and went on to compare writing code to basic literacy. "I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code," said Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It's an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity." Apple announced a host of new features and improvements made to iOS and Mac OS X. Not only did they announce that OS X will now be called macOS, but the first version update will be called macOS Sierra. One of the biggest new features of the new OS is support for Siri.
Operating Systems

Apple Announces Its New Desktop OS macOS Sierra Featuring Siri, Apple Pay (9to5mac.com) 249

After playing with the names of cats and a few California landmarks, Apple at WWDC 2016 announced that its desktop operating system will now be called macOS -- and its first version update is macOS Sierra. It comes with a range of new features including Siri, the digital voice assistant. The move comes roughly a year and a half after Microsoft brought its Cortana virtual assistant to desktop platform Windows 10. Sierra also supports Apple Pay payment service via Safari web browser. Ars Technica reports about some other features of macOS Sierra: Universal Clipboard answers a longstanding complaint of Mac and iOS users -- copying and pasting now works automatically between an iOS device and a desktop Mac device. iCloud now plays an expanded sync role, too, letting you move files and folders from Mac to Mac or from Mac to iOS. Another new feature called Optimized Storage can sweep through old documents and files and push them to iCloud, clearing up local disk space for other uses. It also can automatically dump your trash, clear your web history, and do some other behind the scenes sweeps. Tabs are coming to more and more applications. Federighi said that Apple wants tabs on all multi-window applications, and says that tabs can be flipped on without developer modification. Update: 06/13 18:55 GMT by M : macOS Sierra won't support many Mac models from 2007, 2008, and 2009. Find more information here.

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