The Technology that Helped Hikers Survive 5 Days in Mountains

Photo of LifeStrawHydration made a difference.

By Rick Richardson 

Two hikers missing for five days on California’s Mount Baldy were found alive after rescuers tracked their footprints to their camp, according to authorities.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: 5 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses with Remote Employees | What to Expect from the April Windows 10 Update | Amazon Takes More Control Over Smart Home Technology | 5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way | RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It | Vaporize Invisible Smartphone Filth | 190 Universities Launch 600 Free Online Courses | Can a New Font Boost Your Memory?
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Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace had gone hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains in San Bernardino County, California, on April 6 and were expected to return that night. But when the two hadn't returned by 8 p.m., friends reported the two missing.
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5 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses with Remote Employees

Illustration of man pushing padlock buttonMake sure your workers understand the risks.

By Rick Richardson

Currently, 3.9 million Americans work remotely, which marks a 115 percent increase from 2005. Estimates indicate that more than one-third of employees will work remotely in the next 10 years.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: What to Expect from the April Windows 10 Update | Microsoft’s Word on Protecting Your Network | How Google Maps Can Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets | What’s Ahead for the Smart Home in 2019? | Honda Reveals Fluoride Battery Breakthrough
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The desire for greater flexibility and work/life balance is partially responsible for this trend, in addition to an ever-increasing number of businesses that are based entirely online. With cloud and mobile technologies making it easier than ever before to communicate and collaborate regardless of location, organizations are embracing remote work as a way to cut costs and satisfy employee demand.
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What to Expect from the April Windows 10 Update

If you're still on Windows 7, time is running out.

By Rick Richardson

The next big feature update for Windows 10 is right around the corner, which means it's decision time for businesses that are still planning their upgrade strategy. Here's why this update might be different from its predecessors.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Microsoft’s Word on Protecting Your Network | SAP’s New Blockchain Project Helps Weed Out Counterfeit Drugs | IBM’s New Quantum Computer Could Make History | The New $99 Tax Service for the Masses | Software Will Determine Who Wins the Driving Experience Battle | Quantum ‘Compass’ Promises GPS-Free Navigation
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Windows 10 is nearly four years old. In a bygone era, its replacement would have been delivered last year, and early adopters would be eagerly awaiting Windows 11 Service Pack 1.
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Microsoft’s Word on Protecting Your Network

Illustration of cord on keyboardPatches aren't enough.

By Rick Richardson

Networks today are subject to many threats including ransomware, cryptocurrency-miner threats or state-sponsored hackers.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: SAP’s New Blockchain Project Helps Weed Out Counterfeit Drugs | Amazon Takes More Control Over Smart Home Technology | 5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way | RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It
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In line with other security industry pros, Microsoft has confirmed in its 24th annual security intelligence report that ransomware has taken a backseat to pesky cryptocurrency miners.
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IBM Makes Watson Available on Other Clouds

IBM Watson logoBusinesses want tech that doesn't rely on a single vendor.

By Rick Richardson

For years, IBM has offered corporate customers its Watson data-crunching technology – but only if they used it on IBM’s cloud computing service. Now, to expand Watson’s reach, IBM is also making it available on competing cloud services.

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IBM said recently that it would allow businesses to use some of IBM’s Watson-related software with underlying data that is stored in rival cloud data centers such as Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Web Services. Customers will also be able to use Watson with data stored in their own data centers.
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SAP’s New Blockchain Project Helps Weed Out Counterfeit Drugs

Computer monitors morph into chain linksThe solution will aid compliance with new federal law.

By Rick Richardson

SAP has launched a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system to allow drug wholesalers to authenticate pharmaceutical packaging returned by pharmacies and hospitals. That should help them weed out counterfeit drugs from their supply chain.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: How Google Maps Can Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets | 6 Blockchain Jobs of the Future | How Blockchain Is Changing Our World
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SAP says it hopes to eventually expand the use of distributed ledger technology to cover a broader range of pharmaceutical supply chain processes.
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Amazon Takes More Control Over Smart Home Technology

Alliance diagramThere's strategy behind its board seat move.

By Rick Richardson

Amazon now has a say in the development of a commonly used smart home standard, giving the company more power as it continues to push smart speakers, cameras, doorbells and all other kinds of gadgets into its customers’ homes.

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As of today, Amazon has a seat on the board of the Zigbee Alliance, which oversees implementation of the Zigbee wireless protocol. Zigbee isn’t nearly as popular as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but you can think of it a lot like them – it’s a wireless protocol for letting gadgets communicate.
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How Google Maps Can Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets

Screenshot of speed functionUser report results finally make their way into the app.

By Rick Richardson

Drivers will soon have an extra set of eyes on the road, courtesy of Google.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: IBM’s New Quantum Computer Could Make History | 5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way | RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It | Vaporize Invisible Smartphone Filth | 190 Universities Launch 600 Free Online Courses | Can a New Font Boost Your Memory?
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Google’s navigation app, Google Maps, is starting to roll out speed limit and speed trap features.

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IBM’s New Quantum Computer Could Make History

It might not change EVERYthing, but it doesn't have to.

By Rick Richardson

IBM recently debuted its System One quantum computer. It’s not the biggest or most powerful computer the company makes.

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But IBM thinks it’s the one that’ll end up in a museum 50 years from now, and it’s hard not to agree. The IBM Q System One consolidates thousands of components into a glass-enclosed, air-tight environment.
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5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way

Ford wants its cars to ‘talk’ and ‘listen’ to each other by 2022.

By Rick Richardson

Several companies demonstrated C-V2X (cellular vehicle-to-everything) communications technology developed by Qualcomm at CES 2019. But Ford may be the most aggressive in bringing C-V2X to market.

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C-V2X is the latest incarnation of so-called vehicle-to-everything (V2X), a communications technology that allows cars to “talk” to each other and infrastructure.
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What’s Ahead for the Smart Home in 2019?

Asian woman using smart refrigeratorLook for more "smart services."

By Rick Richardson

We’re early in the year, so this might be a good time to propose some predictions for tomorrow’s smart home.

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Video Kills the Telephone Call. The proliferation of smart speakers has continued unabated nearly since their inception, but recently we’ve seen a new feature taking center stage on these do-it-all devices – video.
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The New $99 Tax Service for the Masses

Page of calendar showing date of 15th“Taxes should be as easy as ordering a cab.”

By Rick Richardson

The only sure things in this life, according to Ben Franklin, are death and taxes. And a new startup called Visor has just raised $9 million in financing to make one of them as painless as possible.

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Unlike Dr. Jack Kevorkian (remember “Doctor Death”), Visor won’t kill anyone, but it may ring the death knell for the high-end tax advisors that most Americans can’t even access to get help filing and paying their taxes. It’s like having a personalized accountant for the cost of a high-end, do-it-yourself tax-prep service.
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RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It

Young businessman typing on smartphoneSitting out this dance? Apple.

By Rick Richardson

A lot of people have become bored with SMS messaging, and the tech industry is very aware of it.

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While services such as Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger and the WhatsApp app allow you to add photos, GIFs and videos to your messages, they are not universal solutions – for example, you can’t send a WhatsApp message if your correspondent uses Facebook Messenger. The answer – or so Google and other companies are hoping – is Rich Communications Services or RCS.
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