Chromecast Audio revisited: 4 months with Google’s simple streaming solution

Our house is frequently filled with the sound of music. Not The Sound of Music as in “the hills are alive,” mind you, but the sound of music as in “we like to listen to a variety of tunes (that may or may not involve Julie Andrews).”

(They usually don’t. I swear.)

So back in October, I was pretty excited to pick up a few of Google’s then-new Chromecast Audio streaming devices. If you aren’t familiar with ’em, they’re little $35 pucks that plug into existing speakers and make them “smart.” Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword — I know. All that means is that you can stream audio wirelessly to your old speakers without any fuss, just by using the regular music apps you already have on your phone, tablet, or computer.

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The best antivirus apps for Windows PCs and Androids

Although you likely have your own favorite antivirus solution, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what products are considered best by AV-Test, a well-respected independent IT-security institute.

AV-Test ran tests on Windows PCs and Androids in 2015 and yesterday announced the award winners for both home users and corporate users. The results were broken down into categories covering protection, performance, usability, repair and even best Android security.

Best protection awards

Symantec walked away with the coveted “best protection” award for both home and corporate Windows users. Symantec Norton Security won “best protection” for consumers, while Symantec Endpoint Protection won for the corporate solution. A happy Symantec explained, “Security solutions are subjected to over 1,000 live zero-day attacks delivered via infected websites and e-mail to measure a product’s complete protection ability. In addition, AV-Test measures the security solution’s detection of more than 150,000 current and widespread threats.”

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5 facts about Apple and the terrorist’s iPhone

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Skype introduces free group video calling across iOS and Android

Skype announced Thursday that iOS and Android users in the U.S. and Western Europe can expect to start making group video calls from their smartphones and tablets in the coming week. 

The feature will allow users to hold conversations with up to 25 people at once. Skype designed two new views for group video conferences: The first allows users to see one another in a grid, and it’s designed for calls with a handful of people. A second active speaker view shows a big picture of the person talking by default, along with a small, scrollable row of other participants. 

In that view, users can also “pin” someone, so they can always see a large view of the most important person in the conversation for them. Users can change who they’ve pinned during the call, or remove the pin and go back to Skype’s default mode of primarily showing the person talking. 

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Supply chains: Danger ahead!

Poor Chipotle! No company wants CNN, Forbes, MSNBC or other news services reporting on its latest corporate debacle. An E. coli outbreak in the food industry is a company’s worst nightmare, and can tank a company’s reputation (and stock price!). Businessweek’s barfing-burrito cover is an image that will live in advertising history and, unfortunately, customers’ memories. While I hope Chipotle will not back away from its commitment to small, local farmers supplying hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, the outbreak highlights the difficulty of managing a complex supply chain with a large number of suppliers.

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Apple is right, the FBI demand makes us all less secure

There’s a war going on. You’re part of it and, like it or not, you’re going to have to take sides.

Freedom by design

What am I talking about? I’m talking about global government in its creeping attack on encryption, because the government’s are calling this wrong. They are using arguments of national security to advance an agenda that ultimately leaves us all less secure.

They say they want Apple to create a way to break into a criminal’s iPhone. Now, I’m going to gloss over the horror of the crime, though as we already know the criminals are guilty, what’s to be gained?

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BrandPost: Why You Need Data Security Intelligence

Have you ever stopped to think about the sheer amount of information that your brain collects and processes to make decisions? What you notice and why? How and when do you recognize risks rather than unknowingly filter out the mass of information that is safely ignored? Just as our intelligence provides us with a remarkable capability to make judgments by integrating and examining a wide variety of data, recent technology advances are enabling new insights and automated determination of risk for data security.

Data is inextricably linked to most organization’s intellectual property, revenue stream, and/or competitive advantage. Consequently, sensitive data risk and security is a Board-level concern that can impact the very heart of the business. You see this reflected in the language of 10K statements, which has evolved from “incidents have been insignificant” and “our systems may be vulnerable” to “our systems are vulnerable” and “we have recorded significant expenses.” And, more recently: “we cannot ensure that we can identify, prevent, or contain the effects of attacks.”

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This Hollywood hospital didn’t backup its data? “Ransomware” payday for evil hackers

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was forced to pay a ransom if it wanted its critical data back from hackers who encrypted its computers. The hospital’s CEO announced he’d spent around $17,000 in Bitcoin—after a week of failure to restore important health data, email, and other critical stuff, presumably.

In other words, it appears the hospital failed with its disaster-recovery (DR). Looks like it either didn’t have backups, or the restore failed.

Oopsy daisy, hashtag-fail, oh noes, etcetera. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers see a lesson for all of us: Backups aren’t backups unless you can restore them! Not to mention: My mom is an avacado

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