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The 14 best Firefox add-ons of 2017

Firefox isn’t the most popular browser in the world — that honor now goes to Google Chrome — but it still has an ardent following. And after slipping in recent years, it has been on something of a rebound this year. On top of that, Mozilla made a big deal about the release of the latest version – Firefox Quantum – which the company says is twice as fast as the browser was earlier this year. (It’s available for download if you haven’t tried it yet, and want to.)

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Why virtual assistants are the ‘killer app’ for wearables

Star Trek got it right.

In the future, we’ll interact with computers mostly by talking.

But for those computers to be available for instant interaction, they’ll have to be attached to our physical persons. I’m talking about virtual assistants on wearable devices.

Technologists are ambivalent about both virtual assistants and wearables. Some love and rely upon them. Others are indifferent.

That’s why it may seem unlikely that these two technologies, used together, are the future of computing. Still, it’s going to happen.

Stay with me here, because by the end of this column I think you’ll see clearly how inevitable this scenario is.

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Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.7 Gains AWS Service Broker Integration

Red Hat adds new extensibility to OpenShift and has big plans for 2018.

Strong and stable: The iOS security guide

Apple’s smartphones are highly secure, but if your private or enterprise data matters to you, it’s essential to ensure your iPhone (or iPad) is as secure as possible.

Why security matters

Just because almost all mobile malware targets Android doesn’t mean iPhone users can be complacent.

Quite the reverse:

We need to be even more alert in case attackers use complacency against us. What follows are a few simple tips to help you secure your iPhone (and iPad).

There’s no way to deny that iPhones are in the ascendant, particularly in enterprise IT. Beyond business, you’ll see them used by educators, doctors, police and politicians and in each one of those cases the information on those smartphones is confidential and must not be abused.

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IDG Contributor Network: Critical updates to IE and Flash for November Patch Tuesday

November brings a relatively light series of updates from Microsoft. We see a return to form, with Microsoft releasing another critical update to Adobe Flash and several critical patches to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge. Office and Windows platforms (desktop and server) have less severe reported exposures with no reported critical updates for November. Unfortunately, there are already a few reported deployment issues with the Windows updates, with the follow patch-related Knowledge Base (KB) issues reported by Microsoft:

  • 4048952, 4048954, 4048953 (Windows 10 1511, 1607, 1703) : Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications that use JavaScript and asm.js may stop working after installing KB4041676. Internet Explorer 11 users who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) may not be able to scroll through a drop-down menu using the scroll bar.
  • 4048958, 4048961 (Windows 8.x and Server 2012) : Users may see an error dialog that indicates that an application exception has occurred when closing some applications. This can affect applications that use mshtml.dll to load web content.
  • 4048957 , 4048960 (Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 SP1) : Users may see an error dialog that indicates that an application exception has occurred when closing some applications. This can affect applications that use mshtml.dll to load web content. Internet Explorer 11 users who use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) may not be able to scroll through a drop-down menu using the scroll bar.

This Patch Tuesday affects the following platforms:

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Patch alert: Microsoft acknowledges printer bug; forced 1709 upgrades continue

The patches have been out for only a few days, but as best I as can tell at this early juncture, November’s Patch Tuesday bugs aren’t as bad as they were in October. Thank Redmond.

If you use an Epson dot matrix printer, if you’re seeing an error that CDPUserSvc has stopped working, or if you were forcibly upgraded from Win10 Creators Update, version 1703, to Fall Creators Update, version 1709, I have some good news and some bad news.

Dot matrix dissed

Microsoft has acknowledged a bug in its Patch Tuesday updates that causes “some Epson SIDM and Dot Matrix printers” to fail. The bug appears in this month’s patches for every version of Windows:

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IDG Contributor Network: The big unspoken problem with digital assistants

AI-driven digital assistants are fast becoming our way to interfacing with everything.  We largely had them in our phones first, then in our homes, but they are coming in our cars, and they are appearing in our offices.   Each of these AI virtual assistants is learning with increasing efficiency what we like, what we want, how to anticipate our needs, and, eventually, how to best make us happy.  But the big unspoken problem emerging is that each of these things is largely an entirely separate system with virtually no sharing of common information or consistency of experience. 

Let’s talk about why that is a problem.  

We are complex but consistent

Having separate interfaces for every machine we worked with made sense before we had intelligence in these systems.  Having the same controls for a blender as you’d have for a tank would have created problems in both the kitchen and the battlefield (though I can imagine a bender targeting a male demographic that might have sold rather well if it had a cannon and trigger).  

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