WHETHER IT WAS a billion compromised Yahoo accounts or state-sponsored Russian hackers muscling in on the US election, this past year saw hacks of unprecedented scale and temerity. And if history is any guide, next year should yield more of the same.

It’s hard to know for certain what lies ahead, but some themes began to present themselves toward the end of 2016 that will almost certainly continue well into next year. And the more we can anticipate them, the better we can prepare. Here’s what we think 2017 will hold.

Consumer Drones Get Weaponized

Given how frequently the US has used massive flying robots to kill people, perhaps it’s no surprise that smaller drones are now turning deadly, too—this time in the hands of America’s enemies. In October the New York Times reportedthat in the first known case, US-allied Kurdish soldiers were killed by a small drone the size of a model airplane, rigged with explosives. As drones become smaller, cheaper, and more powerful, the next year will see that experiment widened into a full-blown tactic for guerrilla warfare and terrorism. What better way to deliver deadly ordnance across enemy lines or into secure zones of cities than with remote-controlled accuracy and off-the-shelf hardware that offers no easy way to trace the perpetrator? The US government is already buying drone-jamming hardware. But as with all IEDs, the arms race between flying consumer grade bombs and the defenses against them will likely be a violent game of cat-and-mouse.

Another iPhone Encryption Clash

When the FBI earlier this year demanded that Apple write new software to help crack its own device—the iPhone 5c of dead San Bernadino terrorist Rizwan Farook—it fired the first shots in a new chapter of the decades-long war between law enforcement and encryption. And when it backed off that request, saying it had found its own technique to crack the phone, it only delayed any resolution. It’s only a matter of time until the FBI or other cops make another legal demand that an encryption-maker assist in cracking its protections for users, setting the conflict in motion again. In fact, in October the FBI revealed in October that another ISIS-linked terrorist, the man who stabbed ten people in a Minnesota mall, used an iPhone. Depending on what model iPhone it is, that locked device could spark Apple vs. FBI, round two, if the bureau is determined enough to access the terrorist’s data. (It took three months after the San Bernadino attack for the FBI’s conflict with Apple to become public, and that window hasn’t passed in the Minnesota case.) Sooner or later, expect another crypto clash.

Russian Hackers Run Amok

Two months have passed since the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security stated what most of the private sector cybersecurity world already believed: That the Kremlin hacked the American election, breaching the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and spilling their guts to WikiLeaks. Since then, the White House has promised a response to put Russia back in check, but none has surfaced. And with less than a month until the inauguration of Putin’s preferred candidate—one who has buddied up to the Russian government at every opportunity and promised to weaken America’s NATO commitments—any deterrent effect of a retaliation would be temporary at best. In fact, the apparent success of Russia’s efforts—if, as CIA and FBI officials have now both told the Washington Post, Trump’s election was the hackers’ goal—will only embolden Russia’s digital intruders to try new targets and techniques. Expect them to replicate their influence operations ahead of elections next year in Germany, the Netherlands, and France, and potentially to even try new tricks like data sabotage or attacks on physical infrastructure.

A Growing Rift Between the President and the Intelligence Community

Though the US intelligence community—including the FBI, NSA, and CIA—has unanimously attributed multiple incidents of political hacking to Russian government-sponsored attackers, President-elect Donald Trump has remained skeptical. Furthermore, he has repeatedly cast doubt on digital forensics as an intelligence discipline, saying things like, “Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody.” Trump has also caused a stir by declining daily intelligence briefings. Beyond just the current situation with Russia, Trump’s casual dismissal of intelligence agency findings is creating an unprecedented dissonance between the Office of the President and the groups that bring it vital information about the world. Current and former members of the intelligence community told WIRED in mid-December that they find Trump’s attitude disturbing and deeply concerning. If the President-elect permanently adopts this posture, it could irrevocably hinder the role of intelligence agencies in government. President Obama, for one, says he is hopeful that the situation is temporary, since Trump has not yet felt the full responsibility of the presidency. “I think there is a sobering process when you walk into the Oval Office,” Obama said recently in a press conference. “There is just a whole different attitude and vibe when you’re not in power as when you are in power.” If Trump does eventually embrace the intelligence community more fully, the next question will be whether it can move on from what has already transpired.

DDoS Attacks Will Crash the Internet Again (And Again, And Again)

This was the year of Internet of Things botnets, in which malware infects inconspicuous devices like routers and DVRs and then coordinates them to overwhelm an online target with a glut of internet traffic, in what’s known as a disrupted denial of service attack (DDoS). Botnets have traditionally been built with compromised PCs, but poor IoT security has made embedded devices an appealing next frontier for hackers, who have been building massive IoT botnets. The most well-known example in 2016, called Mirai, was used this fall to attack and temporarily bring down individual websites, but was also turned on Internet Service Providers and internet-backbone companies, causing connectivity interruptions around the world. DDoS attacks are used by script kiddies and nation states alike, and as long as the pool of unsecured computing devices endlessly grows, a diverse array of attackers will have no disincentive from turning their DDoS cannons on internet infrastructure. And it’s not just internet connectivity itself. Hackers already used a DDoS attack to knock out central heating in some buildings in Finland in November. The versatility of DDoS attacks is precisely what makes them so dangerous. In 2017, they’ll be more prevalent than ever.

Ransomware Expands Its Targets

Ransomware attacks have become a billion-dollar business for cybercriminals and are on the rise for individuals and institutions alike. Attackers already use ransomware to extort money from hospitals and corporations that need to regain control of their systems quickly, and the more success attackers have, the more they are willing to invest in development of new techniques. A recent ransomware version called Popcorn Time, for example, was experimenting with offering victims an alternative to paying up—if they could successfully infect two other devices with the ransomware. And more innovation, plus more disruption, will come in 2017. Ransomware attacks on financial firms have already been rising, and attackers may be emboldened to take on large banks and central financial institutions. And IoT ransomware could crop up in 2017, too. It may not make sense for a surveillance camera, which might not even have an interface for users to pay the ransom, but could be effective for devices that sync with smartphones or tie in to a corporate network. Attackers could also demand money in exchange for ceasing an IoT botnet-driven DDoS attack. In other words, ransomware attacks are going to get bigger in every possible sense of the word.

Source: https://www.wired.com/2017/01/biggest-security-threats-coming-2017

Categorized in Internet Privacy

CES provides a first glimpse at the future.

Pretty much all of the tech giants attend the vast Vegas expo - either to unveil new products or to clinch deals behind the scene.

But in recent years it's been start-ups that have had many of the most eye-arresting and sensational reveals.

There are more at this year's show than ever before, thanks in part to crowdfunding. They now have to convince retailers - hunting through the halls for the next bestsellers - that the promise of their concept videos has been delivered upon.

Dozens of start-ups are also there thanks to help from governments and other national bodies - France, Israel, Ukraine and the Netherlands all have stands where they'll fly the flag for local talent.

But China may make the biggest splash with more than 1,300 registered exhibitors.

"Every year at CES I meet the people who work on the technology that affects our lives and you can see literally every part of the tech industry represented," innovation evangelist Robert Scoble told the BBC.

Of course, there's a lot of crud too - the challenge is to distinguish the potential hits from the glitch-ridden flops.

Below, we have picked what could be some of the week's highlights:

Voice control and other new interfaces

CES marks the beginning of a land grab by three of the leading virtual assistants: Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and the Google Assistant.

The companies all want their voice-controlled AIs to power third-party products. And Amazon looks to have the head start.

C by GE

The headphones specialist OnVocal will be showing off wireless earphones that link up to Alexa, and GE has also preannounced a table lamp that doubles as a speaker powered by Amazon's voice service. Sonos too aims to add the facility to its wireless speakers, though we believe it isn't quite ready to show off its efforts.

But don't count the other two out.

We know Microsoft is working with Harman Kardon on a "premium audio" speaker, and the firm has teased adding Cortana to other types of products, including toasters. And Google has secured at least one bit of kit at CES - the Aviva speaker - to host its cloud-based intelligence.


One expert suggested others will also try to gatecrash the party.

It's not all about voice though.

The French start-up Bixi will be making the case for gesture controls. It will be demoing the final design of a gizmo that lets you control smartphones and tablets with a wave of a hand.

More groundbreaking perhaps is the Blitab, a tactile tablet described as the iPad for the blind.

The Austrian innovation produces small physical bubbles in an area above its touchscreen which delivers refresh double lines of dynamic Braille.


Year of the robot?

We're still decades away from having the type of androids seen on TV shows such as Westworld or Humans.

But CES is still an opportunity to see how far along more specialised kit has become.

London-based Emotech is one to watch.

Olly robot

It will unveil Olly - a tabletop bot with its own smart assistant that recognises different household members and adapts it personality to suit each one.

The project was developed with help from academics at University College London, Imperial College and Edinburgh University, and has already secured $10m (£8.2m) of investment from China.

There will also be a range of modular robots.

Several companies are backing the concept, which allows users to switch about parts to change skills and manoeuvrability.

UnibiotImage copyrightEVOVACSImage captionThe Unibot offers changes function depending on which modules are connected to its base

Examples will include Modi, a Lego-style kit that lets owners build a bot out of small cubes - each offering different functions such as motors, lights and infra-red detectors.

Another is Unibot, a robotic vacuum cleaner that trebles up as a mobile home security camera and an air purifier/humidifier.

Meanwhile, OAPs can look forward to Cutii, a robot that resembles an iPad on wheels, which will supposedly become their "companion".

And there will also be bots that zoom round tennis courts picking up balls, remove droppings from cat litter, and even move physical chess pieces around a board.


Keep an eye out for Laundroid, too. The Japanese clothes-folding machine raised $60m from Panasonic and others for its giant clothes-folding droid following an appearance at last year's CES.

Some have described the idea as ridiculous.

But it will be interesting to see if it works well enough to go on sale later this year, as planned.


Health and wearables

Pregnancy seems to be one of health tech's preoccupations this year.

There is both Ava, a sensor-equipped wristband that apparently alerts women to when they are most fertile, and Trakfertility, a DIY sperm count test that tells an associated app what steps the owner should take to boost their numbers.

Ava wristband

And just in case you are tempted to pair off with the wrong partner, Milo Sensors is in town with what it describes as the world's first blood alcohol wearable.

It's easy to joke, but health tech is booming and analysts are competing to predict how many billions of pounds it will be worth in a decade's time.

The ultimate goal is to create something resembling Star Trek's Tricoder - an all-in-one device that diagnoses any ailment.

An Israeli start-up will be showing off a gadget that promises to get us at least partly there.

Tyto Home

The TytoHome is designed to let families take heart, lungs, throat, abdomen and other organs' readings and send them to their clinicians. Its slogan is a "check-up without the check-in", but medics may need convincing.

There will doubtless be new twists on the fitness tracker too. It would be unwise to suggest the market for such devices has peaked - Fitbit's app topped Apple's App Store this Christmas, indicating people are still buying them in droves.

But a more intriguing development is wearables with built-in airbags.

Air bag wearables

ActiveProtective is promising to show off a prototype smart belt for the elderly that triggers a cushioning action over their hips if it detects a fall.

And Inemotion has developed ski racing clothes with a similar function to prevent injuries on the piste.

France's Wair has a different spin on discreet wearable tech with a internet-connected scarf that doubles as an air filter.

But the question remains whether wearable tech has a profitable future beyond health.

There will be more app-laden smartwatches - including the possibility of the first Android Wear 2.0 devices - at the show, but the sector has not been the hit many had predicted.

We're also promised the world's first vibrating tight cut jeans that offer their wearers directions without having to look at a screen.

Spinali Design


If you had asked the experts a decade ago, they would probably have predicted OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs would be the norm by now. But the tech has faced several setbacks.

It's stubbornly refused to become as cheap to manufacture as hoped, it doesn't go as bright as LED equivalents and some complain that it "crushes the blacks" making it hard to distinguish detail in the shadows.

Panasonic OLED TV

Even so, OLED retains a wow factor thanks to its ability to control the light of each individual pixel, helping its images to have more "pop", and its screens to be ever thinner.

Panasonic has hinted it will show off an OLED display at CES that will better handle dim scenes, and there is speculation Sony has similar news.

Plus there's reason to believe prices are about to drop.

Until recently, LG manufactured all the OLED panels used by itself and other brands. But now BOE - a Chinese company - has a rival component. The question is who will break ranks to adopt it.

Samsung TVs

Expect Samsung to make a loud noise about QLED, a new spin on its "quantum dot" technology that allows its screens to be brighter than ever before.

That's important because of HDR - another acronym you're going to have to get used to. It refers to high dynamic range, which allows images to appear more vibrant and detailed - especially in scenes containing both glints of light and shadows.

Dolby Vision

The problem is that there are three rival HDR standards - HDR10, Dolby Vision and the BBC's forthcoming HLG - meaning the potential for another format war.

But it is possible to support all three, so it will be revealing to see if any of manufactures make a commitment to do so with their new screens.

Smart home and other "internet-of-things"

It's now relatively cheap and power-efficient to add sensors and wireless data links to products. That's led to an explosion of ideas - some more sensible than others.


It's debateable how many of us really need Genican, for example, a device that scans rubbish's barcodes as it is thrown away in order to build up a shopping list of replacement items.

Likewise, it's not clear whether an aromatherapy diffuser needs to be smartphone-controlled, even if its scents really boost memory and clean lungs, as claimed.

Where things get more interesting is when tech genuinely makes lives simpler without requiring too much effort.

One way firms are trying to do this is by focusing on the refrigerator.

LG has a model that activates a sterilisation process when it senses temperature and/or humidity issues in order to extend food's shelf life.

And for those who would prefer to retrofit their existing equipment, UK start-up Smarter Applications has Fridgecam: a device that keeps track of what its owners have in stock and when it expires, sending alerts to buy new items when necessary.


But one expert says if the sector is to achieve its potential, consumers need to be reassured that the risks do not outweigh the benefits.

"In the last 18 months the conversation about security and privacy has moved from the tech pages to the front pages of newspapers," said John Curran from the consultancy Accenture.

"To make these devices easy to connect and easy to use, some companies have hardcoded passwords or put no security measures in place, and that made them an easy target.

"At CES we're looking for businesses to be more transparent about what data is being collected, how it's being used and with whom it's being shared.

"And they need to make it easier for consumers to adjust their security settings."

Virtual and augmented reality


There are rumours that HTC will unveil a second-generation Vive VR headset at CES - possibly introducing wireless capabilities - but the system is only nine months old, so that seems a tad optimistic.

The two other big virtual reality firms - Sony and Facebook's Oculus division - launched their kit even more recently.

Even so, there should still be lots of developments.

Huawei has just hired Steve LaValle, one of the brains behind Oculus, and the Chinese firm is set to reveal more about its VR plans at the show.

It's a safe bet that several third-party headsets previously teased by Microsoft will also be on display.

Windows 10 event

And we will also see the introduction of Fove, a crowdfunded VR headset with eye-tracking abilities, allowing gamers to control action with shifts in their gaze.

Fove won't be the only one trying to offer new ways for users to interact with virtual experiences.


A foot controller that lets you direct where your character walks, a sensor-laden T-shirt that tracks your torso's movements, and various haptic devices that try to let consumers feel virtual objects are just some of the products with CES stands.

With augmented reality - where graphics and real-world views are mixed together - things are still at an early stage.

But Asus and others may reveal handsets that include Google's Project Tango depth-sensing technology, adding basic AR capabilities.

Project Alloy

Intel will have more to say about Project Alloy - a headset that lets you see your hands and other real-world objects within VR worlds.

And a start-up called Occipital will demo a contraption that uses an iPhone to create something akin to Microsoft's HoloLens mixed-reality headset.

While hardware may dominate the headlines, it could be content that determines which products are winners.

Occipital Bridge

"In the US the National Basketball Association recently announced that it will broadcast games in virtual reality," noted Mr Curran.

"And as other big media and content companies get involved, they will attract more types of consumers to VR, rather than just the tech-enthused.

"So, I'll be looking to see which platforms the media providers target as they pursue opportunities in this space."


There's going to be a lot of talk and demos of self-driving cars by the big automakers on and off the Las Vegas strip.


Menawhile, rival chipmakers - including Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm - will be excitedly pitching their processors and 5G chips as the potential heart of the autonomous vehicle revolution.

But you'll have to wait for a future CES to find anything road-ready that allows the "driver" to really ignore the steering wheel.

BMW HoloActiv

This time round, look instead for new ways to interact with your vehicle.

BMW will unveil its HoloActiv Touch system, in which motorists use finger gestures to interact with graphics that project out of dashboard screens.

And Continental will demo facial recognition tech that recognises who is driving and adjusts mirror and seat positions accordingly.

Faraday Future is also back for a second year to convince sceptics that it can launch an electric car before its funds dry up.

Faraday Future teaser video

There will also be all kinds of alternative transport ideas including an intelligent scooter that shuts off its power if it detects an accident, a motorised rideable suitcase and the latest evolutions of the hoverboard.

Odds and ends

And we've still barely scratched the surface. There are zones dedicated to drones, beauty tech and 3D printing.

Plus there's room for oddities, such as a device that claims to be able to record smells.

Selfie stock drone and Mi Guitar

The BBC tech team will do its best to keep you across all the major developments from the first press day on Tuesday until the show floors shut on Sunday.

You can keep up to date at bbc.co.uk/ces2017 and by following our Twitter list of those covering CES.

Author: Leo Kelion
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-3840394

Categorized in Internet Technology

From holographic TVs to cylindrical PCs, Samsung bears all

Ohhh boy, Samsung in 2016. You might expect this year in review to be a comedy roast. From exploding smartphones to Supreme Court cases, this was clearly not the South Korean tech company’s time to shine. Fortunately, there were enough silver linings to make up for it.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were Samsung’s best phones yet. In fact, we called the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge “the best smartphone in the world” at the time of its release. And, because of the way things panned out with the latest Galaxy Note 7, we’re inclined to say that may still be the case.

However, Samsung saw success in other areas this year as well. The Samsung Notebook 9, for instance, made our best Ultrabooks list, ostensibly as a return to form for the company’s ostensibly stagnating laptop business. Meanwhile, the company also revealed one of the most unique desktop computers of the year, namely the ArtPC Pulse, which looks to finally take on Apple’s now-antiquated Mac Pro.

Samsung even occupied the top spot on our best 4K TVs list with its quality backlit KS9500 range. That goes without mentioning its advancements in budget-friendly virtual reality options with its third helping of Gear VR headsets.

Looking forward into the future, 2017 could potentially be a year of redemption for Samsung. Although this year brought a handful of stellar product launches, in retrospect they were all overshadowed by one monumental error – perhaps unfairly so.

2017 in Samsung mobile devices

Samsung’s mobile business was hit the hardest this year, and understandably so. The Note 7 blunder, specifically, cost the company nearly $10 billion, according to CNN.

Financial discussions aside, there’s no denying that Samsung’s mobile strategy needs to be turned around in 2017. If rumors and reports are to be believed, the company is most certainly making changes for the better. Next year, you can expect not three but six different smartphones from the Korean hardware maker.

The Galaxy S8, S8 Edge, and Note 8 are all surefire hits – assuming they don’t literally catch on fire – while the company also has refreshes to its low-to-mid range Galaxy A-series smartphones in the works, namely the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7. All will have sufficient bumps in specs including the move to full HD 1080p screens and 3,000mAh batteries at the entry level.

Nevertheless, it should go without saying that we can’t help but have our curiosity piqued more by Samsung’s flagship devices than its low-cost alternatives. If you were one of those who abandoned ship on Apple because of the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack, it may be disheartened to hear that with the Galaxy S8, Samsung may also be moving to USB-C only arrangement.

Like the iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will reportedly lose its headphone jack in favor of newer, digital interfaces. That’s right, USB-C will join the ranks of Apple’s Lightning connector in serving as a means of replacement for the antiquated (and analog) 3.5mm headphone jack we’ve all come to know and love.

Of course, if that were the Galaxy S8’s only change, we wouldn’t be inclined to upgrade. Luckily, it looks as though the Galaxy S8 will also tote a bezel-free design with both the home button and fingerprint scanner built into the screen. Reports also suggest a large 4K screen, 6GB of RAM and a dual-lens rear camera, reminiscent of the iPhone 7 Plus.

In another attempt to steal some of Apple’s lightning, Samsung released a Jet Black-inspired Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge color variant named Pearl Black. Assuming Samsung wants to keep its forthcoming models in line with current-gen handsets, we wouldn’t discount the possibility of the Galaxy S8 twins adopting the glossy black fashion as well.

Keeping with the company’s history in revealing flagship smartphones the day before Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off, we can expect to see both the S8 and S8 Edge in the flesh as soon as February 26.

Another, more far-fetched string of gossip has repeatedly proposed that Samsung has not one, but two foldable phones in production slated for early 2017. One of these devices will ship complete with two flat panels bolstered by a hinge while the other will be sport a single OLED display and ship shortly after the first.

Although it might appear unlikely at first glance, word of a Samsung Galaxy X can be found dating all the way back to 2011. Regardless of budget or personal necessity, Samsung is bound to have something for you in its – as always – vast array of mobile devices set to hit the road in 2017.

2017 in Samsung tablets and computers

Now we’re not going to sit here and pretend Samsung’s computing business has been stellar these past few years, but we’re also not opposed to admitting that this year was pretty damn great for Samsung PCs. The cylindrical ArtPC Pulse tempted us with its potent specs and luscious Mac Pro sense of style.

Meanwhile the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin put the MacBook Pro to shame with an aggressive price point and uniquely HDR display.

Sure, the company had some compatibility issues with Windows 10 earlier in the year, but with PCs as proficient as the Samsung Notebook 9 at the helm, we couldn’t complain too much. While we haven’t heard much about Samsung’s 2017 PC lineup, the company will undoubtedly introduce new hardware come the new year.

Though it’s not a proper home computer per sé, the Galaxy Tab S2 is expected to drop in the first quarter of 2017. This will come not even a year after the release of Samsung’s most recent tablet, the Windows 10-equipped Galaxy TabPro S.

With the strong critical reception to its first shot at Windows on a tablet, we wouldn’t be too shocked to see Samsung take things a step further, opting for a desktop OS on its more affordable tablet PC. As of now, however, all we can say based on reports is that the Galaxy Tab S3 will come in two flavors, one outfitted with LTE functionality and the other without.

Meanwhile, Android tablets fading into obscurity, it would make sense to maintain an exclusive 2-in-1 focus in regard to tablets. SamMobile confirmed back in August that a Galaxy TabPro S2 will arrive across four models in 2017. The outlet’s sources claim that the Galaxy Tab Pro S2 will take advantage of a 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 screen and an Intel Core M-series processor.

Outside of that, there isn’t much concrete evidence pointing to much else as far as Samsung computers go. That said, we wouldn’t be awe-struck to see a Kaby Lake revamp of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin after seeing how it fared with reviewers.

2017 in Samsung 4K TVs

You might say this year was the year that 4K TVs finally managed to truly shake the scene. Whether it’s owed primarily to Black Friday sales or more widely available 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) content, there’s no denying that Ultra HD is the way to go heading into 2017.

With that in mind, Samsung’s KS9500 range leads the pack when it comes to delivering HDR imaging and high quality sound. Because of its overwhelmingly positive reviews, it makes sense that Samsung wants to continue from where it left off in 2017. In doing so, however, this means making some concessions while other companies move on to embrace new technologies.

While the likes of LG and Sony have been quick to employ OLED display panels, VP of Samsung Display, Park Dong-Gun, admitted earlier this year that the Korean tech company would be reluctant to follow suit. Instead, Samsung plans on iterating on its existing Quantum Dot technology, which has demonstrated better clarity and brightness over its OLED counterpart.

Moreover, an emphasis on Quantum Dot will allow for more competitive pricing, enabling Samsung to circumvent its OLED-hoisting opponents. Rather than taking a risk in a polluted OLED market, Samsung is choosing instead to remain at the top of a category it already reigns supreme in.

Lastly, though we shouldn’t expect a consumer version to make its way to brick-and-mortar anytime soon, Samsung filed a patent back in January 2016 for a holographic TV that projects images literally off the screen. Being the ambitious pipe dream that it is, you shouldn’t expect to secure a holographic TV in 2017, but it wouldn’t take us aback to see a working prototype as imminently as CES.

2017 in VR and beyond

We may have only just recently gotten our hands on the third round of Gear VR headsets, and while it’s the perfect gateway drug for Samsung users eager to jump into PC-powered VR, it’s also far from perfect.

Auspiciously, Samsung knows this. That’s why, perhaps with its next Gear VR rendition, the company plans on adding eye and mouth detection for an added layer of immersion (and virtual oddities). This is all just patent hearsay, so don’t sue us if it doesn’t come to fruition, but this does seem like a reasonable next step for Gear VR – aside from better apps and a higher resolution.

All in all, Samsung has a busy year ahead of it, jam-packed with new devices and software across a wide range of categories. Truthfully, it’s rare for companies like this to deliver so many exceptional product offerings across a breadth of different hardware divisions. Here’s to hoping that in 2017, things really blow up for Samsung – just not in the way they literally did this year.

Author: Gabe Carey
Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/what-to-expect-from-samsung-in-2017

Categorized in Internet Technology

iPhone 8, Nintendo Switch ... there are lots of reasons to be excited 2017 promises to be a massive year in tech. From seismic console releases to 10-year anniversaries of iconic products to the fate of certain categories finally being decided, the New Year holds a ton of promise, excitement and nerves, depending on where you stand. Here’s a look at 10 things in tech to look forward to in 2017, in no particular order. Plus, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line in the comments section about what you’re most excited to see in the coming year.

1. iPhone 8

Though its name is still up for debate - will it be the iPhone 7S or iPhone 8? - whatever Apple announces come September, it promises to be big. This is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone after all, and to let the opportunity to do something special slip by would be a shame. Apple, always one for spectacle, probably won’t disappoint. All signs point to overhauls of the iPhone’s design, specs and features, including a curved AMOLED display, no home buttons or bezels, a sloped glass back, possible AR powers and wireless charging. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to rumored changes for the iPhone in its double-digit year, and we can’t wait to see what Apple has in store.

2. Nintendo Switch

A poll of the TechRadar offices for this list turned up the Nintendo Switch again and again as one of the things - if not the thing - we’re most looking forward to in 2017. The Switch marks Nintendo’s first console since the Wii U and its first handheld since the New Nintendo 3DS. Confused? You see, that’s what makes the Switch possibly one of the most revolutionary consoles ever: it’s a hybrid gaming machine that lets you literally switch (hehe) from playing it as a traditional console in your living room to a handheld you take on the go. Though leaked specs point to the Switch losing a considerable amount of power in handheld mode, this is still a revolution for Nintendo and could rocket it back to the top of the gaming world, especially if its price comes in at the $249 (£200/around AU$330) mark we expect it to. The best news about the Nintendo Switch? We don’t have to wait long to get our mitts on it - the Switch is due out in March.

3. Surface Pro 5

Riding a wave of solid releases and Apple miscues, we’re turning to Microsoft to deliver even more with the fifth edition of the Surface Pro tablet. We’re not asking much from the Surface Pro 5 - just better battery life, a bigger and crisper screen (4K, anyone?) and USB-C. In other words, Microsoft can stand to improve its slate in the New Year, and we’re looking forward to seeing whether it can do just that. Not only would this mean a better product for customers to buy, it would also put even more pressure on Apple and other tablet and laptop makers to step up their game. Just like the iPhone 8, Surface Pro is hitting a milestone this year, and Microsoft could leave an indelible impression on 2017 by making one hell of a good slate. Look for the Surface Pro 5 in the spring.

4. Samsung’s bounce back and the Galaxy S8

Look, this was a bad year for Samsung. Despite the stellar Galaxy S7 and even better Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung’s 2016 was marred by the debacle of the Galaxy Note 7. To borrow a quote from American banking history, Samsung is still too big to fail, but the twice-recalled Note 7 is a huge stain on its reputation, and one it will need to recover from in 2017. The good news is that the page could start to turn with the Galaxy S8. Expected to be unveiled at February’s MWC, both versions of the S8 may feature a curved display, while the larger one could finally push the boundaries to 4K. The phone’s design might only hold refinements - there’s not much to improve on from the S7 - but other areas of advancement include the camera and processing power. And a “beast mode” trademark points to Samsung taking its mobiles up a notch in 2017, though hopefully safely. That’s not to say anything of the Galaxy Note 8, which if released Samsung will undoubtedly look to redeem itself even further with, nor Gear VR. Samsung already revealed it as big plans on the virtual and augmented reality fronts, and may even have a demo of the AR tech it’s working on ready for MWC. Now that sounds promising.

5. New, less expensive VR headsets

If 2016 was the year virtual reality (VR) came into its own, then 2017 will be the year prices come down. Leading the charge are a new set of Windows 10 VR headsets from the likes of Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo due out next year. These “mixed reality head-mounted displays” will start at $299 (about £245, AU$295), significantly cheaper than the $600 (£499, AU$859) - $799 (£689, €899) range of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Though not as powerful as their higher-end counterparts, this new wave of headsets won’t require as powerful a PC, lowering the bar to entry even further. And with the aforementioned Samsung Gear VR ($99/about £80 or AU$130) and Google Daydream View ($79/£69/about AU$104) already driving the price of mobile VR down, this could be the year solid yet less expensive headsets become accessible to everyone.

6. Better, richer, more varied VR content

Makers of VR headsets are well aware that, right now, their machines are viewed as expensive gaming devices. Yes, the games are good and getting better, but the next big thing in VR centers around other kinds of content. We’re talking movies, TV shows, graphic novels, comics, sports and more. A wide-range of compelling experiences stands to come to the fore in 2017 as more publishers, developers, film makers, journalists and content creators get their hands on VR and discover new ways of telling stories. This revolution is already under way - Qualcomm and Power Rangers are showing off a VR experience tied to the spring film at CES 2017, and the NBA now offers a live weekly game presented in VR via its League Pass service. In 2017, better, richer, and more varied VR content is bound to take off. Let’s just say, we’ve got our headsets at the ready.

7. The fate of wearables

2017 is going to be a turning point for wearables. Coming off a difficult 2016, where sales plummeted, top hardware makers shied away from releasing new devices and Pebble products went the way of the dodo, it’s easy to take a bleak view of the sector. However, there is hope. As our Cameron Faulkner put forth, now is the time for wearable manufacturers “to cut the excess, and focus in on delivering more polished, accurate and ambitious products to market.” There’s still plenty of untapped potential in the space, and if wearable warriors can strike the balance between fashion and functionality while offering consumers devices they can’t live without, this could be the year that redefines smartwatches and fitness trackers for good. Android Wear 2.0 is leading the way in early 2017 (with the help of two flagship smartwatches confirmed by Google), and we're excited to see if wearables can land on their feet. Er, wrists.

8. The continued surge of smarthome products

This was the year some of the biggest names in tech made plays for our homes. Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers exploded onto the scene, but if you think that’s the plateau for smart home innovation, think again. Microsoft has already said it plans to bring its virtual assistant Cortana to Internet-of-Things connected devices in the New Year, including fridges, other kitchen appliances and thermostats. If it has a screen, chances are Cortana will find its way to it. And word is Apple is planning a smart speaker, too. This wouldn't surprise us in the least given the tech giant's penchant for waiting out the first wave of new product categories, then releasing a version of its own. The rumored Apple speaker is said to have emotion-sensing powers, which is equal parts creepy and cool. If Apple is looking to make a bang at the iPhone's 10th birthday party, a super-smart home speaker could help the cause. Admittedly, none of these innovations will be as cool as Mark Zuckerberg’s Morgan Freeman-voiced home AI, but then again, what could be?

9. Microsoft Project Scorpio

Microsoft released an excellent console this year in the Xbox One S, but Project Scorpio stands to surpass it during next year's holidays, and then some. Project Scorpio - probably not the name it will release under - may redefine what consoles are capable of, and it's already got us licking our chops. That's thanks to promised gaming at native resolutions of up to 4K, HDR support and high-end VR capabilities. Sweetening the sounds of Scorpio even more is its possible price. Xbox head Phil Spencer said Microsoft wants to keep the ultra-powerful machine at a console price point and not take it to the level of PCs. That's good news for gamers. We'll have to wait until later in the year for Project Scorpio, but we suggest circling 'late 2017' in your calendars now.

10. Lots more augmented reality

One of the biggest stories of 2016 was the insane popularity of Pokémon Go, a mobile game that used augmented reality (AR) to bring the pocket monsters to life in the real world. Heading into 2017. don't expect AR to fade quietly into the sunset, even if Go's novelty has worn off. After seeing the success of Pokémon Go, look for more game and app makers to tap into AR to deliver another layer of immersion to their creations. And with the game making the leap to Apple Watch, wearables are the next home for mixed reality experiences. AR is also settling right in with other gadgets as well. The incredibly fun Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first phone equipped with Google's Tango AR tech, was released this year. More Tango handsets, including smaller devices, are due out in 2017. Microsoft has in many ways led the AR charge, namely with its HoloLens viewer and Windows Holographic OS, which the company opened up to all manufacturers this year. We should hear plenty more on Microsoft's AR vision, including a potentially lower price for HoloLens, during Build 2017 in May. Finally, with Tim Cook indicating Apple's interests lie in augmented over virtual reality and a mystery product due from Magic Leap at some point, AR looks poised to ride the wave of its 2016 success well into the New Year and beyond.

Author: Michelle Fitzsimmons
Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/tech-in-2017-10-big-things-to-look-forward-to-in-the-new-year

Categorized in Internet Technology

Stick to your reading goals

Bookout (iOS – free)

A common New Year resolution is a vow to read a new book every week and Bookout could keep your literary motivation high. You can set goals for how much time you want to spend reading (or how many books) and track your progress over the year. Its social features may also turn you into a bookworm bragger before 2017 is done.

Organise your writing

Bear (iOS – free)

Bear is great for anyone looking to start 2017 with a fresh page. Whether you’re writing short notes, longer pieces or even that long-planned novel, its simple-but-slick interface helps you concentrate on tapping in your thoughts, then organising them so they’re easy to come back to at a later date.

Sort out your security

1Password (Android/iOS – free)

High-profile hack attacks were a feature of 2016, so one of your more useful New Year resolution might be to improve your online security. 1Password generates strong passwords for you to use online and stores them securely, accessible through a single password (hence the name).

Stick to all your resolutions

Streaks (iOS – £2.99)

Streaks is the perfect app to keep you on all the straight and narrow paths you’ve chosen for 2017, whether it’s a daily run, drinking more water or eating more healthily. You set up to six daily tasks then let the app know when you’ve completed each one, notching up daily “streaks” as you go. A simple way to keep on track.

Practise mindfulness

Simple Habit (Android/iOS – free trial)

Meditation and mindfulness has quietly become a popular smartphone genre, with Simple Habit one of the best apps to launch in 2016. It aims to get you meditating for five minutes a day, with tracks focused on different situations such as commuting or getting to sleep. After a free trial, it costs £8.99 a month as an in-app subscription.

Learn a language

Memrise (Android/iOS – free)

Memrise is an inventive spin on language-learning apps, turning the process into part game and part story. French, Spanish, German and a host of other languages are supported, with an optional £6.99 monthly subscription providing more features and an offline mode.

Keep a digital diary

Momento (iOS – free)

If you’ve tried and failed to establish a daily diary habit, Momento may be worth trying. It does some of the work for you, pulling in your posts from Facebook, Instagram and other social apps. You can write extra notes and save important photos, building up an archive of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and what you were thinking at the time.

Go to more gigs

Dice (Android/iOS – free)

Dice is one of the best ways to jog you out of only seeing bands you liked when you were 18. It recommends concerts by emerging artists and learns your preferences over time. Plus the tickets are sold within the app, so no bits of paper to lose before your night out.

Get out jogging

C25K (Android/iOS – free)

Those experienced at keeping New Year resolutions know that a concrete goal is always best. For example, aiming to complete a 5k run is better than a vague vow simply to run more. C25K is a carefully crafted app with a program of runs that will take you from a Christmas Day turkey-coma to a 5k run by the end of February.

Track your fertility cycle

Clue (Android / iOS – free)

Clue is one of a number of apps that tracks women’s fertility cycles, aiming to help spot the patterns – whether you’re trying to get pregnant or just want a better sense of when your next period is due. It also helps you track exercise and sleep patterns – with the welcome promise of “no butterflies, euphemisms or pink”.

Get more sleep

Sleepfulness (Android/iOS – free)

A mindfulness app with a specific goal: getting you a full eight hours (or at least, however many you need) of sleep every night. It’s a collection of audio tracks designed to help you drop off, including (via in-app purchase) extra packs for specific issues such as anxiety and pain. It’s a spin-off of the meditation app Buddhify, which is also worth a try.

Find new podcasts

Pocket Casts (Android/iOS – £2.99)

If one of your 2017 resolutions is to make better use of your commuting or travel time, podcasts may be the answer. And yes, there is more to the podcasting world than Serial. Pocket Casts is one of the best ways to discover new podcasts from around the world, then download them for offline listening.

Get to grips with Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe (iOS – £5.99)

If your New Year resolution is to finally make your way through Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, take a look at this app from his publisher, Penguin. From space-time to black holes, this is an accessible way into Hawking’s work, with visuals to help you through some of the more… difficult bits.

Learn an instrument

Yousician (Android/iOS – free trial)

A vow to learn an instrument is a common New Year resolution and a new wave of apps can teach you not only the basics of piano, guitar and other instruments, but also “listen” to your efforts and highlight errors. Yousician is an excellent mix of video lessons and game-like practising. It’s free to try, with a £14.99 monthly subscription for full access.

Learn to code

Lrn (iOS – free)

Boldly going into 2017 with the intention of becoming an expert programmer from scratch might be a little overambitious, but Lrn could be a good way of stretching your brain cells. It is one of a number of learn-to-code apps that breaks up its lessons – in HTML, JavaScript, Python and other languages – into bitesize quizzes.

Try out new recipes

Kitchen Stories (Android/iOS – free)

If you want to jog yourself out of cooking the same five meals in 2017 – and find some healthy alternatives – Kitchen Stories is a good place to start. It’s a collection of recipes with new ones to try every week and video tutorials that are an excellent way of gauging how difficult a recipe is before you start making it.

Let AI help you get organised

Gluru (Android – free)

Gluru is a fascinating spin on the to-do list genre: it claims to use AI technology to dig into your email and productivity apps, and create tasks for you, predicting what you will need to do next. It’s early days for this technology, but it is worth a try.

Get more active and relaxed

Spire (Android/iOS – free)

Like Fitbit, Spire is an activity-tracking gadget as well as an app. Clipped on to your waist, it measures your breathing as well as your steps, with the aim of understanding how calm you are as well as how much exercise you’re getting. The results may help you think about when you get stressed and how to address the reasons.

Give your diet a health boost

Shoptimix (Android / iOS – free)

This is a shopping-list app, but it’s also perfect for anyone trying to eat more healthily in 2017. You can use it to identify food and drink in several categories, from healthier ingredients for kids to good buys for a vegan lifestyle. It’s quick and easy to use, with sharing features to co-ordinate with your family or housemates.

Spend less time on your smartphone

BreakFree (Android/iOS – free)

The irony of a roundup of apps for New Year’s resolutions in 2017 is that many people might be trying to spend less time lost in their mobile. But BreakFree may be able to help: it tracks how much you’re using your smartphone and presents you with the evidence that (hopefully) helps you to spend more time in the real world.

Author: Stuart Dredge
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/01/best-apps-new-year-resolutions-2017

Categorized in Others

Malware attacks on smartphones' operating systems have increased with the rise of the number of mobile phone users in India

With the rise in the number of mobile internet users in India, malware attacks on smartphones’ operating systems have increased and mobile applications through which people hack into phones to access personal data show the same trend, a study has found.

The report “Going Cashless and Digital: Top Cyber Threats and Targets for 2017” released on Thursday by BD Software, country partner of Bitdefender — cyber security solutions provider — highlights major trends in the cyber threat landscape in India in 2017.

“Marked with high-profile breaches and the feel of excitement and uncertainty over the country’s move towards digitising all spheres of life and economy, the outgoing 2016 sets high expectations of more advanced, more complicated and possibly more devastating security breaches in the coming year,” said Ajay Khubchandani, IT Security Expert, BD Software, in a statement.

According to the report, cashless transactions through ATMs, Point of Sale terminals, online banking websites and others are also potential targets of the cyber criminals.

The report noted that personal data is likely to draw the attention of cybercriminals in the coming year.

“As India is becoming more and more digital, the personal data of all sorts, from biometrics and family records to bank accounts and social media accounts is in danger,” the report added.

Researchers predicted that connected devices or Internet of Things (IoT) is another target for cyber attacks.

In governments, government agencies and state-affiliated organisations , the scale of data breaches is going to increase further with cross-border tensions continuing in many regions of the world, the report warned.

Author: IANS
Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/personal-data-to-draw-attention-of-hackers-in-2017-report-4451436

Categorized in News & Politics

Industry experts and influencers provide impactful and action-oriented information all year long via blogs, video and social media. To start the new year off right we asked 17 of them to give us their number one tip as we’re heading into 2017.

Each insight will help you as you plan your digital marketing strategy for the coming year. Step out of your comfort zone and start 2017 off with these awesome insights.

Expert Insights into 2017 from the Pros You Know

1. Look Mom, No Hands!

Voice Search will take a huge leap in the search marketing industry in 2017. Search engines are getting smarter, and consumers are relying on speaking over typing – especially when we need to be hands-free. Major brands such as Google and Amazon have taken advantage of the evolution of voice search, why shouldn’t you? ~ Lance Bachmann

2. Personalize the Customer Experience

2017 is going to be a cutthroat year in business. The key to standing out this year, I think, is to personalize the customer experience as much as possible. This means more marketing automation, more personalized content and a better integration of all your different channels. This will help make more conversions, improve loyalty and increase your sales. ~ Lilach Bullock

3. Avoid Bright, Shiny Objects

The key to success in any endeavor is focus. Stay focused on those top 3–5 priorities critical to reaching your goals. Avoid distractions that could derail your efforts to achieve success. ~ John Carroll

4. 2017 Will Be More Mobile and Local Than Ever!

Mobile, local search and smart technology make up the digital trifecta for 2017. Opportunity is still expanding so join the race! A healthy digital marketing strategy means ensuring accurate online citations, monitoring reputation and interacting with customers. Start with a free visibility report to reveal where a business stands in local search results, then take it from there! ~ Bernadette Coleman

5. Rock Your Wrap-Up & Your Roll-Out

A little planning can go a long way toward a successful year-end wrap up & new year roll-out. Back up your files. Order the supplies you’ll need for the new year (yes, that old chair that makes your back hurt needs to go!). Give yourself the gift of self-care, for it will help you to be able to help others. Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016 wrap-up & a stellar 2017! ~ Laura Darkstar

6. Connection. Collaboration. Conversion.

2017 is the year you can soar to success! You don’t need a mantra, you just need a mission! Focus on creating the right connections, which can turn into collaboration, and you’ll get more conversions.

What’s the secret? Put yourself in the right place at the right time! This means get out of the office (or the easy chair) and get to events to mingle with the movers and shakers in your niche! Don’t be a stalker, be a resource. ~ Patty Farmer

7. Mobile Will Continue to Thrive in Search

When it comes to search, think mobile. For 2017, we will continue to see more searches performed from mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. So, if 2016 was the year of the mobile device, it will be even bigger in 2017. That said, we need to optimize websites for mobile devices first—which means speeding up the load of your web pages, as well as making sure your site is mobile friendly. If you publish content, then make sure that you are set up to deliver your content in AMP. HTTPs, alongside mobile, will also be necessary—which means that if you haven’t secured your website, your search engine rankings could suffer. ~ Bill Hartzer

8. Be Progress

Strategize and commit to a progress based video-centric digital marketing plan and then show patience and persistence. Remember, prospects want progress, not mere change. Make sure each digital impression in your digital footprint offers the promise of progress. ~ Dean Lindsay

9. Learn to Leverage Immersive Video Content in 2017!

Mobile-first immersive 360-degree content is set to explode in 2017! Marketers who embrace live streaming and a focus on short form video content will be able to exploit the shift to 5G wireless which will see record numbers of users consuming video content than ever before. Pay particular attention to brands creating live content at industry events specifically for mobile distribution. ~ Casey Markee

10. Don’t Write for Search Engines: Write for the Answer Engine

Use Google Search Console and the Search Analytics to identify searches that are in the form of a question? “How do I…”, “Why is it…” and “My… is broken”? then create content based on these searches.

With the increase  in mobile usage and the use of voice search, these searches are becoming even more important. Ultimately the goal is to increase leads to new customers finding us over our competition. ~ John Nosal

11. Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop

2017 should be the year we all throw out the old, literally. Old ideas, old strategies, old ads, EVERYTHING! Let’s all put our energy into being more creative and willing to push the envelope like never before. What successes can you find in 2017? Only you can answer that! So my best tip is to go out looking for all new ideas and new strategies you’ve never tried before. BE RELENTLESS in 2017! ~ Roxanne Roark

12. Wanna Succeed in 2017? Open Your Eyes and Ears!

Open your eyes and listen up – to new and different people. Read/follow more people you respect for unique perspectives. Visit marketing and advertising websites you haven’t seen before. Mix new tactics into client proposals to shake things up. This is what I’ll be doing in 2017. What about you? ~ Harley David Rubin

13. Update Your Business in Local Search Listings

Make sure the local search listings have the most up-to-date information on you and your business in 2017. Optimizing submissions to local search listings will quickly build links that search engines can see so others can find your business. For quick and easy ways to do this & other terrific tips, check out “365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great At NETWORKING!”. ~ John Sparks

14. Get Back to the Basics

To compete in 2017 businesses must get their website architecture right first. It’s IT, identity and then marketing. Website technology is improving with component development and new code languages, everything is now on Git and we have absolute version control and collaboration for code and content.

Focus on leveraging hosting solutions that provide control and log file access. Loading a bloated theme on cPanel is simply not enough these days. Does your website load in 1 sec or less? A site that loads fast and renders based on the user requirements, device and browser doesn’t have to worry about Google’s next big change. It is already efficient. These kinds of sites are ready for whatever is thrown at them. ~ Mike Stewart

15. Get Live with Vid 2017!

Customers watch streaming video 300% longer than recorded video, mobile devices and mobile networks have progressed to the point that streaming video from your phone is near professional quality, and social platforms themselves are making major pushes into streaming video with Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram, YouTube, and more. It seems that whether or not companies want to get involved in streaming video, many more brands will be using it, and customers will be more likely to expect it. It offers an unscripted, behind-the-scenes look at your company, perhaps Q&A with experts, tips from your top users, or product announcements and feedback. Streaming video allows for a two-way conversation that has not existed before. ~ Eric T. Tung

16. Increase Your Value to Your Employer, Your Clients, & Yourself in 2017

No matter your digital marketing job title, you must understand all the moving parts. DFWSEM brings you the TED speakers of digital marketing. The thinkers, doers, and idea generators. Increase your value to your employer, your clients, and most importantly to yourself. Out-of-town conference value, at a stay-at-home-price. I plan to be there. You should too. ~ Scott Vann

17. Year of the Human and Bot Recommendations

This is the year that bots and humans recommending content to friends and family that seek it will start to take over from traditional search and display advertising. Facebook’s ‘Recommendations’ is only the beginning. Focus on Word of Mouth campaigns and anticipate Facebook Recommendations to add a paid unit by end of year. ~ Joe Youngblood

These are important insights and get me excited about 2017! Did you notice a common theme here? I know all of these will help you improve and connect with your audience throughout 2017.

And yes, reading through this need-to-know info once again fires me up to share my own observation! It is…

New Social Media Tech Brings Customers Closer Than Ever

Technology? It never sleeps! The social media giants continue to tweak and improve their offerings (even as we speak). Check out virtual reality, live streaming video – and the ability to offer video through private chat! These game changers will grow social media as a customer service interface. Get on board with these exciting trends to bring benefits to users and business in 2017!

Stay up-to-date and get more great tips by subscribing to Rocks Digital all year long.

Author: Lissa Duty
Source: http://rocksdigital.com/new-year-insights-pros

Categorized in Future Trends

It has been a packed political year that included an unpredictable U.S. election, major pipeline decisions and federal action on key files from marijuana to Indigenous relations. What's on our radar for 2017?

CBC News Network's Power & Politics has combed through this year's archives to bring you some of the political highlights of 2016, and to look ahead to next year. Today, we turn our attention to the top political issues to watch in 2017.

The Power Panel — Tim Powers of Summa Strategies, Gerry Caplan, online columnist for the Globe and Mail, Susan Smith of Bluesky Strategies and CBC Radio's The House host and National Affairs editor Chris Hall — helps Rosemary Barton count down the stories to watch in the coming year.

5. Legalization of marijuana

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The federal government may have promised to introduce marijuana legislation by spring 2017, but it's still a long road towards legalization of pot in Canada.

A task force appointed by the Canadian government to study the legalization process had more than 80 recommendations on everything from a minimum age for purchase to where to sell marijuana. Questions remain, however, over whether or not the government will adopt those recommendations — and what to do about pressing concerns on licensing, law enforcement, driving under the influence and more.  

4. Indigenous relationship

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The federal government has made it a top priority to forge a new relationship with Indigenous peoples. After meeting with Indigenous leaders in Ottawa in December, the focus is now on the prime minister to follow through with his commitments.

While Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said earlier this year there's "no question" Indigenous Canadians will work in collaboration with the federal government, he added "we will call you out as well if you're not respecting that partnership."

One of the top files to watch is the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, a key campaign promise of Trudeau's Liberals. While the official launch of the inquiry began in September 2016, commissioners won't begin hearing testimonies from families until this spring. The inquiry is set to wrap up in December 2018. Indigenous women's advocates say they are are anxious to see action soon.

"There's been very, very limited movement forward," said Francyne Joe, interim president of the Native Women's Association of Canada. 

3. The economy

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Sluggish growth, unemployment and a very slow climb in oil prices were all issues in 2016 keeping Finance Minister Bill Morneau up at night — and they're likely to do the same in 2017. 

As the Liberals head into their second full year, what can they look forward to on the financial front? And what should Canadians be looking for as a consequence of their second budget?

2. Canada-U.S. relations

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On Jan. 20, 2017, the presidential transition will be complete, and Donald Trump will officially be sworn in as the president of the United States. What does that mean for Canada's relationship with our neighbours to the south?

For starters, it could mean a ripping-up — and renegotiating — of the North American Free Trade Agreement. There are also border and immigration issues, a softwood lumber trade dispute, and concerns over differing environmental policies.

1. Federal-provincial relationship

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The dynamic between the federal government and the provinces and territories was especially testy in 2016, setting the stage for more disputes in the coming year.

Some of the issues to watch in 2017 include healthcare transfers, the carbon price ultimatum and pot legalization. So is the new era of cooperation and coordination already over?

Be sure to check in all week as Power & Politics counts down the Top 5 newsmakers and political blunders of 2016, plus issues and players to watch in the year ahead.

Author: Katharine Starr
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/top-5-political-issues-2017-power-politics-1.3914020

Categorized in News & Politics

Given the failures of professional pollsters to predict anything of late, I am loath to be your crystal ball for the year’s upcoming tech developments. Those who imagined a revolution last year fuelled by the Apple Watch, heralding the death of the Swiss watch industry, have been proven mightily wrong.

Instead, it’s the little victories that fascinate, and in many ways, have greater relevance. Just as the Apple Watch has not killed off health monitors from Fitbit or Garmin, the new high-definition TV formats won’t necessarily drive those blissfully content with “normal” high-def LCD screens or Blu-ray players to upgrade. Sources in the trade suggest that “4K UHD” (for “Ultra High Definition”) and HDR (or “High Dynamic Range”) are desperate moves by manufacturers to counter the 3D fiasco, as even higher-resolution hardware is being developed for launch a few years hence.

A saturation point is being reached. Fewer people are prepared to swallow the depreciation that accompanies being “early adopters.” Equally, many buyers are overwhelmed by features they neither need nor want – yet they no longer fear being treated like Luddites who are simply afraid or ignorant of technology. Gone are the days when one was mortified by the superior tech knowledge of the average seven-year-old, despite recent TV ad campaigns to the contrary. Simply put, enough is enough.

Smart phones are the exception. A couple of years ago, for example, we reported on the Punkt.Phone, which removed all but the basics for those who only wanted mobile phones for voice and text. I have no idea what the take-up has been, but there is no discernible trend away from do-it-all models, and nothing has slowed down the hyperactivity in the world of smartphones – not even exploding batteries.

Phone junkies are lining up for Google’s first effort, the Pixel, which could be a game-changer. Samsung and Apple clearly have their work cut out for them, the latter having antagonised some customers by ditching the standard headphone socket. The latest craze is improving in-phone cameras, with specialist camera makers collaborating and co-branding with phone manufacturers.

No less than Leica and Kodak, two of the most important names in the history of photography, have appended their logos to new smartphones. Kodak’s Ektra – reviving a name from the past – even looks like an old-fashioned rangefinder when nestling in its case. It offers DSLR functionality, has a 21 megapixel main camera, a front-facing 13 megapixel camera, 4K video capture and a host of features you expect of a camera but not a phone. 


Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 Phone

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 Phone


Leica has teamed up with no less than Porsche Design to create the a limited-edition, all-black version of the Huawei Mate 9, a price tag of £1,200, available exclusively from Harrods. This beauty – which I’ll cover in depth next month after using it “for real” – features a Leica Summarit lens, 20 megapixel monochrome (did you hear that, retro-snappers?) and a 12 megapixel RGB Dual Camera. Both this and the Kodak boast all of the latest phone specs, the former with dual SIM capacity for example, so you aren’t trading off smartphone performance for imaging. 

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 PhonePorsche Design Huawei Mate 9 Phone

That said, the standalone camera is not dead yet. Aside from selfies, smartphones still do not handle as well as made-for-the-purpose cameras, whether SLRs, compacts or rangefinders, and accessing the various functions is still fiddly compared to the physical buttons or knobs on a “proper” camera. The truism remains that the most important element is still the photographer: David Bailey with an iPhone is still going to massacre some nebbish with a Nikon.

Following the success of Olympus’ Pen F and the lust created by Hasselblad’s X1D, next year will see a host of new, sophisticated models to keep serious photographers from abandoning cameras for phones. Most new cameras already feature wireless connection to computers, tablets or phones, for easy transfer of images, GPS to add metadata, high-def video and other niceties. Amusingly, the hottest new cameras, especially the Pen-F and the latest Fujis, boast 1950s rangefinder styling.

Headphones continue their inexorable rise at the expense of loudspeakers – clearly this is analogous to what smartphones are doing to cameras. In sacrificing quality in both instances, we are losing performance for convenience, but the high-end is fighting back.

2017, in part because of iPhone 7, will see an increase in the number of Bluetooth models at all price points and quality levels. For those (like me) who prefer a physical cable, existing models with detachable cables can be converted for the iPhone 7 (which comes with an adaptor, by the way) with new cables terminated in a Lightning plug. 


MoFi One-Step LPs

MoFi One-Step LPs


Far be it for me to suggest that there is global backlash against the tech onslaught in general, but the vinyl LP has had another bumper year, and, surprisingly, it has done so at the expense of downloads. An indication of its return to greatness is not the plethora of cheapo plastic record players, but one significant event: super-hip manufacturer Shinola, which revitalised watchmaking in the USA, has launched a serious turntable made in conjunction with high-end brand, VPI. 


Shinola turntable

Shinola turntable


Called the Runwell, and costing US $2500, it is easy to use, beautifully-made and utterly gorgeous. As with many LP buyers don’t play them but display them as objets d’art, the Runwell could easily find an audience buying it for its looks alone. That would be a waste, however, because we all know that vinyl sounds best. So my predictions for next year? Back to the future.And on that note, have a suitably luxurious New Year.

Author: Ken Kessler
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/technology/technology-2017-gadgetry-goes-old-school

Categorized in Internet Technology

It's October, and there's a good chance you're looking for a new job.

According to LinkedIn data, this is the month job applications spike on the social networking site.

To find out what exactly employers are looking for, and what it takes to successfully land a job, LinkedIn looked at billions of data points and analyzed all of the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on its site so far in 2016to identify the most sought-after skills.

Ultimately they uncovered the top 10 skills that can get you hired in 2017 in 14 different countries.

"While we see job applications spike on LinkedIn in October, we know companies aren't actually hiring at the same rate until January," says LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher in a press release. "While some skills expire every couple of years, our data strongly suggests that tech skills will still be needed for years to come, in every industry. Now is a great time for professionals to acquire the skills they need to be more marketable."

Here are the hottest, most in-demand skills around the globe:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

3. Web Architecture and Development Framework

4. Middleware and Integration Software

5. User Interface Design

6. Network and Information Security

7. Mobile Development

8. Data Presentation

9. SEO/SEM Marketing

10. Storage Systems and Management

In a post on LinkedIn, Fisher explains that the "top skills" list reveals several trends about the global job market, including:

1. Demand for marketers is getting lighter

While marketing skills were in high demand in 2015, "things have changed," she writes.

"This year, SEO/SEM dropped five spots from No. 4 to No. 9 and marketing campaign management dropped completely off the list. Demand for marketing skills is slowing because the supply of people with marketing skills has caught up with employers' demand for people with marketing skills."

2. Data and cloud reign supreme

"I smell a dynasty in the making!" Fisher writes. "Cloud and distributed computing has remained in the No. 1 spot for the past two years ... . Following closely on its heels is statistical analysis and data mining, which came in No. 2 last year, and No. 1 in 2014. These skills are in such high demand because they're at the cutting edge of technology. Employers need employees with cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis and data mining skills to stay competitive."

3. User interface design is what's hot right now

"User interface design (No. 5), which is designing the part of products that people interact with, is increasingly in-demand among employers," Fisher writes. "Data has become central to many products, which has created a need for people with user interface design skills who can make those products easy for customers to use."

Author:  Jacquelyn Smith

Source:  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/2017s-most-in-demand-skills-according-to-linkedin

Categorized in Business Research
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