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GDPR predictions for 2017

Data protection

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is due to come into force on May 25, 2018. This means that IT teams have more than a year to audit their IT systems, check existing customer records and data, and ensure that these systems respect the new set of rules that will be in place.

However, the gap between intentions and actions can be a big one. So what do I predict will happen around GDPR in 2017?

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Bluetooth 5 is here


While Bluetooth is not perfect, it has greatly impacted the technology industry. Look no further than headphones and speakers to see that it has made wireless music possible. It is also the technology that links smartphones to smartwatches. Those are just two such examples -- there are countless more.

Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announces the official adoption of the previously-announced Bluetooth 5. In other words, it is officially the next major version of the technology, which will eventually be found in many consumer devices.

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Google makes Android app updates even smaller


When you update apps over a cellular network you go through your data plan more quickly -- and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, Google has found a way to make sure that Android users reach their data limit later rather than sooner.

Using the File-By-File patching technique, Google says that it is able to reduce the size of update files by an average of 65 percent. And, in some cases, the reduction can even exceed 90 percent. But how much data can you actually expect to save?

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Google cozies up with Slack for tighter integration


Faced with competition from the likes of Microsoft Teams, Slack is strengthening its partnership with Google to bring greater cloud integration to users.

The beloved communication tool is teaming up with Google Cloud to improve Google Drive support, but there's also support for bots in the form of Drive Bot. Security and sharing is also in line for improvements, and the recently-announced Team Drives from Google will also be supported.

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Low-code platforms help businesses quickly create apps

App development smartphone

Although we’ve long since entered the digital age, many organizations remain saddled with legacy IT systems, unable to keep up with the growing and ever-changing demands of the business. Not only that, with resources stretched, many IT departments are left with no choice but to prioritize day-to-day management over business innovation. And yet despite considerable challenges like these, there’s also good news: Low-code platforms are helping to bridge the gap between business needs and IT capabilities.

Low-code platforms give businesses the ability to create the apps they need quickly and simply, taking much of the pressure off IT. The result is secure, reliable apps that meet critical business needs while also ensuring that IT maintains control over key business functions such as data management.

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Korora 25 'Gurgle' Fedora-based Linux distribution now available for download


I regularly try many Linux-based desktop operating systems on my computers, just so I can be familiar with them. Ultimately, I always return to my favorite -- Fedora. While that distribution is very good, it can also be a bit difficult to use -- for some. Don't get me wrong, it functions well 'out of the box', but once a user begins needing some non-free packages, it can be tough going. In other words, setting it up can sometimes be a chore.

If you want to use Fedora but do not want to spend time manually installing packages and repos, there is a solid alternative -- Korora. Despite the funny-sounding name, it is a great way to experience Fedora in a more user-friendly way. Today, version 25, code-named 'Gurgle', becomes available for release.

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Pebble shutting down following Fitbit acquisition

Pebble Time on wrist

Fitbit has acquired fellow wearables maker Pebble. The transaction includes "specific assets" like key employees and software-related intellectual property, but not Pebble's hardware. Why? Because Fitbit is not interested in keeping the lights on for long.

Pebble will soon close down shop, as it has announced, "due to various factors" that prevent it from operating on its own. This means that its smartwatch manufacturing has come to an end as well. The company is not taking any new orders and it will refund Kickstarter backers who have shelled out for three of its latest products.

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New platform simplifies integration of business systems

business integration

Businesses increasingly rely on a range of systems. But getting those systems to work smoothly together can prove to be something of a challenge.

Integration specialist Jitterbit is announcing what it calls a Citizen Integrator, a cloud based integration platform.

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Get 10 free Photoshop plugins with Auto FX Free


Auto FX Free is a free collection of 10 free Photoshop plugins which can also be used stand-alone.

The effects include Focal Zoom, Light Brush, Lighten and Sharpen, Mood Lighting, Soften Details, Vitality, Dreamy Photo, Mosaic, Abstract Edges and Photo Border.

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HP announces printer security services

HP logo sign

HP has redesigned the way it protects printers, setting a new industry standard, the company announced in a press release this week.

Its new Secure Managed Print Services (MPS) offer "advanced" security professional services and solutions, as well as expanded core delivery capabilities, which now include a new remote fleet security management service. The company also says it will be pre-configuring its print devices for security.

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Automated phishing boosts profits for hackers

Phishing magnified

Phishing has proved to be one of the most profitable techniques for hackers. A new report from cyber security company Imperva reveals that the availability of turnkey services is making it even more effective.

Imperva researchers explored the darknet marketplace to estimate the cost of phishing campaigns and to get a clear picture of the hackers' business model. They discovered phishing-as-a-service (PhaaS) campaigns were easy to buy and low cost.

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Vinyl resurgence sees records overtaking digital sales in the UK


The music industry has come through all sorts of changes over the last few decades, but it was the birth of the MP3 that many warned was the death knell for record shops.

In recent years however, vinyl has made a major comeback, and in the UK digital sales have just been overtaken by sales of the groovy black platters. For purists, enthusiasts, and fans of certain musical genres, vinyl has never gone out of fashion, but in the run-up to Christmas it is proving more popular than ever.

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Doyodo RetroEngine Sigma is a Linux-powered classic video game emulation console


The Nintendo NES Classic is quite an amazing console. True, it is not as powerful as modern game systems like Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but it comes pre-loaded with many classic NES titles. Unfortunately, its strength is also its weakness -- those pre-loaded titles are the only games you can play. You cannot load other games, so you are stuck with what you got.

As an alternative, some folks use software emulation and ROMs on their computers to play countless video game titles. Of course, there are moral concerns here, as you are often downloading the games illegally -- unless you own the physical copy, that is. Even then, it is a gray area. Today, a company called Doyodo launches a new Linux-powered emulation console on Indiegogo. The device not only plays NES games, but Atari, Game Boy, PlayStation 1, Genesis, and more. You play using USB controllers. In addition, it can serve as a media player (with Kodi) or a full-fledged Linux desktop.

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Google Play now offering 4K movies -- but there's a catch


If you have a 4K TV or monitor, you can enjoy Ultra HD content from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon. You can get 4K Blu-rays, but you’ll need a compatible player, and they aren’t that cheap.

Starting today, Google is offering a new way to get your hands on the latest 4K resolution movies.

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Iperius Backup adds incremental cloud backup


Iperius Backup 4.7.0 has shipped with support for incremental and differential backups to Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, OneDrive and Azure.

That’s the commercial builds, anyway -- as with previous editions, Iperius Backup Free 4.7.0 doesn’t support cloud backups.

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