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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Apple adds Windows 10 support to Boot Camp for all Macs released after 2012

Apple adds Windows 10 support to Boot Camp for all Macs released after 2012 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

If you're one of those people who runs Windows on your Mac, good news: Apple has just released Boot Camp 6, which brings updated drivers and official support for Windows 10 to the company's hardware. New installs of Windows using the Boot Camp Assistant tool should download the new drivers automatically, and those of you performing upgrade installs can use the Windows version of Apple's Software Update tool to download the new drivers before performing the Windows 10 upgrade install.

The new Boot Camp update supports all iMacs, Mac Minis, Mac Pros, MacBook Pros, MacBooks Airs, and MacBooks released after 2012; that's not to say that you can't get it working on older Macs, but you're on your own. If that seems a bit stingy, remember that most PC OEMs aren't officially supporting systems older than 2012 either. The Boot Camp software still supports Windows 8.1, too, but official Windows 7 support was dropped back in March.

Boot Camp 6 brings new drivers but not many other features—the Boot Camp Control Panel is still barebones, and still uses OS X 10.4-era folder icons. If you want to do anything more complicated than tap-to-click with your multitouch trackpad, you'll need to use a third-party driver like TrackPad++, which actually does do a decent job of supporting Windows 10's new trackpad gestures once you've played with the settings a bit.

Otherwise, upgrading from a fully activated version of Windows 7 or 8.x to Windows 10 on a Mac with a Boot Camp partition will work pretty much the same way as it does on a PC, including the oddities involved in getting a new product key and performing clean, properly activated installs.

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Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers

Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Late last week, Microsoft kicked out another Windows 10 build, numbered 10162, to the ‘fast ring’ of its testing community.

The larger Windows Insider program has two groups, fast and slow, allowing people to select how raw they want their code.

The build was rolled out to the larger group of testers today, those in the slow ring. Given that Windows 10 is now just 23 days out, it’s worth taking a moment to dig into what is being released.

The 10162 build, according to Microsoft’s Gabe Aul (see below), isn’t focused new features, but instead contains “bug fixing and final polish.” The company has released a number of builds in recent weeks that were of similar ilk, aimed at beating the operating system into shape, instead of expanding its capabilities.

The code was first pushed to the ‘fast ring’ of testers on the second of this month.

So, consider this to be a build akin to done, but not quite. That means that if you are currently testing Windows 10, regardless of what group you are in, you can now use Windows 10 in a nearly-normal capacity. How polished it is remains your own judgement.

Microsoft recently explained to the public how it will roll out Windows 10. The company intends to deploy the final build to its testing community on the 29th of this month. Following, in waves, other groups will be brought into the fold.

Earlier this morning, The Verge’s Tom Warren reported that Microsoft intends to RTM Windows 10 and distribute it to equipment manufactures (OEMs) later this week. That makes it not too surprising that the software company is working to get fresh code out into the hands of its community.

The long Windows 10 dance is nearly to its first conclusory benchmark. Microsoft has made noise for some time now that it will continue to update the code in perpetuity. But all races, even those that don’t end, have a day one.

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    Your next laptop might have a touch-sensitive spacebar

    The spacebar might be the most used button on your keyboard, but that doesn't mean that it can't do even more. At least, that's what Synaptics thinks. The company — best known for its laptop trackpads — wants to make your spacebar touch sensitive.

    That means that you may soon have two different ways to click on your spacebar. You'll still have that satisfying, traditional physical click for typing, but if your laptop or desktop keyboard has the "SmartBar," you can set custom actions for when you merely tap on the spacebar. In fact, Synaptics says you can set five different actions for when you tap on the SmartBar, presumably depending on where you tap the bar.


    Perhaps more useful is a feature that lets you highlight the word directly before or after your cursor with a single swipe of the bar, to the left or right, respectively. (If you don't do a lot of typing, the old school way of doing this is control-shift-arrow, or option-shift-arrow on a Mac.) Another gesture that sounds decidedly less useful lets you pinch-to-zoom with your two thumbs across the spacebar.

    The most important thing, however, isn't the list of gestures Synaptics has come up with. It's the hardware itself. If and when manufacturers like HP, Lenovo, or Dell decide to put the SmartBar in their laptops, they can easily modify the software to accomplish different tasks.

    We'll have to wait until we can get our fingers on an actual unit before determining how useful the touch-sensitive spacebar is. We do know that it will have to be very good at ignoring errant touches for it to be anything other than a nuisance while typing. However, if it works out, it could do for keyboards what Apple's Force Touch did for trackpads by bringing a new input method to an overlooked part of our computers. The company says that the SmartBar is available now to manufacturers, so the first products with the high-tech spacebar could hit shelves later this year.

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    4 Ways Technology Is Making You Age Faster

    4 Ways Technology Is Making You Age Faster | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    You can't deny technology has made many things easier. But, like with so many good things, too much can be a bad thing. And with people using their smartphones, tablets and laptops for nearly everything, including work, scheduling and socializing, sometimes there's hardly a moment of the day we aren't connected.

    We're living in the first era of such connectivity and only starting to discover the downside of our connectedness. Technology has not only made us less active, but it also has the ability to age us faster than we'd like. Here are four innocuous ways technology is actually making us older:

    1. It's making you lose sleep.
    Of course the constant pinging of emails and text messages will keep you up at night, but studies have shown that using tablets, smartphones or your laptop near bedtime can disrupt your natural sleep schedule. A study published last year by the Brigham and Women's Hospital concluded that using these light-emitting devices suppresses your melatonin levels, making it harder to fall asleep and get more restful sleep.

    And besides feeling sluggish the next day, poor sleep can cause dark circles, a lackluster complexion and fine lines, thanks to elevated cortisol levels which can lead to collagen breakdown. A solution: make your bedroom a technology-free zone and create a bedtime ritual which involves putting away your gadgets before you go to sleep.

    2. It's causing "tech neck."
    In 2014, researchers discovered that staring down at your phone as you text puts five to six times the weight pressure on your neck, creating posture problems and added stress to your spine.

    "The problem of wrinkles and sagging of the jowls and neck used to begin in late middle age but, in the last 10 years, because of 'tech neck', it has become a problem for a generation of younger women," Christopher Rowland Payne, a dermatologist, told The International Business Times.

    Besides, hunching over only makes you look older. The study's author, Kenneth Hansraj, says it's important to keep your neck straight and to bring your phone up to meet your eyes.

    3. It's aging your eyes.
    Whether you notice it or not, you're probably not blinking nearly enough when you're furiously texting or shooting off emails. Some doctors say you blink around half as much as you normally do when you're not staring at computer or smart phone screens. Not blinking enough can contribute to problems like dry eyes, blurry vision and even headaches.

    Plus, if you're having trouble reading your phone, you're probably squinting, which can cause fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes.

    To combat the stress, there are several things you can do. Make your font size bigger so you don't have to strain your eyes to read. Make a conscious effort to blink more. Take a break from your screens every 20 minutes for around 20 seconds (or more) and focus on something far away. Or even better, get up from your desk, and take a quick lap around the office.

    4. It may be affecting your memory.
    Remember the good old days when you used to know all your friends' phone numbers by heart? These days, it's a miracle if we don't forget our own, thanks to the contacts you store on your phone. In addition, the use of a GPS to help you navigate means we're relying less on our own brain power.

    A McGill University study found that people who use spatial navigation (things like remembering landmarks, etc.) to get around had a higher hippocampus volume than people who relied on a GPS. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that processes and stores memories.

    Another study found that taking photos of things can impair your memory. Researchers at Fairfield University had subjects go to an art museum and observe some objects without taking photos -- and then observe other objects while taking photos. What they found was that memories were weaker for the items that were simply photographed.

    It's important not to be entirely reliant on your phone. Try to use the GPS sparingly. Try to memorize a couple of new phone numbers. Try to calculate how much to tip the waiter all on your own.

    You can do it.

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    Microsoft reveals minimum spec for Windows 10

    Microsoft reveals minimum spec for Windows 10 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Windows 10 is going to be released in just a few short months, and you might be wondering whether or not your system will handle the upgrade. Don’t worry: it almost certainly will.

    Things really haven’t changed much between Windows 8 and Windows 10, and that’s no surprise. Back in October of last year, Microsoft announced as much — a logical move since they’re doing their best to wipe the Vista deja vu from people’s memories.

    Microsoft’s new OS will still run on some pretty basic hardware. To run the desktop OS, all you’ll need is 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version or 2GB of RAM for the 64-bit version. In terms of hard drive requirements, you’re looking at a minimum of 16GB and 20GB, respectively. Processors must be able to run at 1GHz or better and GPUs need to support at least DirectX 9.

    The consumer edition of Windows 10 will run on displays 8 inches or larger. That doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see any 7-inch tablets running the desktop OS — manufacturers just have to pre-load the Professional version on them instead (possibly because 7-inch Windows devices work well in certain enterprise settings, but have slid in popularity with consumers).

    Anything below 8 inches  (from 7.99 all the way down to 3) for consumers is Windows Mobile territory. Phones and tablets in this category need just 512MB of RAM, at least 4GB of internal storage, and a display with a native resolution of 800 x 480 or better. Even the dirt-cheap Lumia 520 checks all those boxes.

    One particularly interesting slide in Microsoft’s deck is the one that spells out optional components and connectivity. All types of sensors — including accelerometers — are listed as optional, even for mobile devices. It’s hard to imagine a smartphone launching in 2015 without an accelerometer.

    It’s even harder, though, to imagine one launching without a touchscreen, yet on Microsoft’s slide it, too, is labelled as optional for mobile devices. Either someone goofed while editing this slide, or Microsoft is planning on letting OEMs build feature phones powered by Windows 10.

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    OpenDNS trials system that quickly detects computer crime

    OpenDNS trials system that quickly detects computer crime | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    A security system undergoing testing by a San-Francisco-based company aims to speed up the detection of websites and domains used for cybercrime.

    The technology is being developed by OpenDNS, which specializes in performing DNS (Domain Name System) lookups. The DNS translates domain names such as into an IP address that can be called into a browser

    OpenDNS offers a secure DNS service for ISPs and organizations that blocks requests from Web browsers to sites that may be associated with cybercrime or spoof a company such as PayPal.

    The company, which was founded in 2005, has grown so much that its systems respond to some 71 billion DNS requests per day. That’s just 2 percent of global DNS traffic but is enough of a sample to pick up on many cybercrime campaigns.

    The new system, called Natural Language Processing rank (NLPRank) looks at a range of metrics around a particular domain name or website to figure out if it’s suspicious.

    It scores a domain name to figure out if it’s likely fraudulent by comparing it to a corpus of suspicious names or phrases. For example,—with zeros substituting for the letter “o”—would raise a red flag.

    Many cybercriminal groups have surprisingly predictable patterns when registering domains names for their campaigns, a type of malicious vernacular that OpenDNS is indexing. Bogus domain names use company names, or phrases like “Java update,” “billinginfo” or “security-info” to try to appear legitimate.

    But there’s a chance that NLPRank could trigger a false positive, flagging a variation of a domain that is legitimate, said Andrew Hay, director of security research at OpenDNS.

    To prevent false positives, the system also checks to see if a particular domain is running on the same network, known as its ASN (autonomous system number), that the company or organization usually uses. NLPRank also looks at the HTML composition of a new domain. If it differs from that of the real organization, it can be a sign of fraud.

    NLPRank is still being refined to make sure the false positive rate is as low as possible. But there have been encouraging signs that the system has already spotted malware campaigns seen by other security companies, Hay said.

    Earlier this month, Kaspersky Lab released a report on a gang that stole upwards of US$1 billion from banks in 25 countries. The group infiltrated banks by gaining the login credentials to key systems through emails containing malicious code, which were opened by employees.

    Hay said Kaspersky approached OpenDNS before the report was published to see if it had information on domains associated with the attacks. NLPRank was already blocking some of the suspicious domains, even though OpenDNS didn’t know more details about the attacks.

    “We caught these things well back,” Hay said.

    In some cases, NLPRank could allow a domain to be blocked even before one is actively used. After cybercriminals register a domain, they’ll often visit it once to make sure it’s accessible. It may then go dormant for a few days before it is incorporated in a campaign, Hay said.

    If a fraudster is connected to an ISP that uses OpenDNS’s service, just a single DNS query for that new domain would allow OpenDNS to analyze and potentially block it before it is used for crime.

    “As soon as we see that little bump on the wire, we can block it and monitor to see what’s going on,” Hay said. “It’s almost an early warning system for fraudulent activity.”

    No comment yet.!

    Lenovo will stop preloading Superfish adware on PCs

    Lenovo will stop preloading Superfish adware on PCs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Lenovo found itself in a bit of hot water when some customers started noticing weird sponsored links in the search results on their brand new PCs. The culprit it turns out was a little piece of adware called Superfish the company was shipping on laptops. The company listened to customer complaints and turned off the server-side portion of the app in January. It also stopped pre-installing Superfish on new machines around the same time. While Lenovo said originally that it had "temporarily removed" the software from new machines while its developers worked on an update to address concerns, it now says that it will not preload the software ever again.

    No comment yet.!

    This WiFi chip can 'steer' signals to reach distant rooms

    This WiFi chip can 'steer' signals to reach distant rooms | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |
    Everyone gets WiFi issues every now and then, some more severe than others, prompting companies like Eero to conjure up possible solutions. A San Diego company called Ethertronics believes its new "active antenna" chip originally developed for cellphones can solve slow WiFi connections, though. Even better, the company says the EtherChip can extend your connection's range and make sure there's decent signal throughout your house even without the use of boosters. That chip, which uses "active steering algorithms," creates multiple signals around the antenna and chooses the best one to use for each device connecting to it.

    According to GigaOm, that will allow your WiFi to work even behind thick walls and ceilings to penetrate rooms where it might not typically be available -- Ethertronics claims a 20 to 45 percent increase in signal strengh. It works even better if you're also using the new breed of 802.11ac routers with their multiple antennas. The chip is yet to be used on any phone (previous ones are already found in Samsung Galaxy devices) or other gadgets, but the company's hoping router makers will embrace its technology now that more and more people are starting to use WiFi.
    Marco Torres's curator insight, February 25, 2015 9:51 AM

    interesante combiación de antena y software...!

    Google may be working on a new version of its gorgeous $1,300 laptop

    Google may be working on a new version of its gorgeous $1,300 laptop | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Google may be working on a new version of the Chromebook Pixel, according to a recent report from blog Omg! Chrome! spotted by 9to5Google.

    The blog claims to have spotted evidence that a new Chromebook Pixel is in development within Google's bug tracker for Chrome.

    The bug report, which was reportedly submitted by a Google employee, makes references to an unreleased development board codenamed "Samus," which is believed to belong to the next-generation Pixel. Google's current Chromebook Pixel was nicknamed "Link."

    A development board is printed circuit board that's usually used for experimenting with new products, as electrical engineer Nick Weil explains on his personal blog.

    The new Chromebook is rumored to run on Intel's new fifth-generation processor and may also come with a touchscreen.

    Google may also add a USB 3.1 Type C port to the device, which is reversible and supposedly transfers data at speeds of up to 10 Gbps, according to 9to5Google. This is the same port Apple may use in its next MacBook Air, as 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman first reported in January.  The new Pixel will also reportedly come with a backlit keyboard, too.

    The Chromebook Pixel currently starts at $1,300 and features a gorgeous high-resolution touch screen display. It's the only high-end Chromebook you can buy — most Chromebooks are meant to serve as a much cheaper alternative to the traditional laptop. 

    If Google is working on a new Chromebook Pixel, we may see it debut at the company's annual I/O conference, which takes place on May 28-29. 

    No comment yet.!

    A Security Researcher Just Dumped 10 Million Real Passwords

    A Security Researcher Just Dumped 10 Million Real Passwords | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Security researcher Mark Burnett released a torrent of 10 million passwords and usernames, a trove of comparatively anonymized data that he sourced from open websites from around the web. The passwords and usernames are older and most probably dead and, most importantly, Burnett sourced them from websites that were “generally available to anyone and discoverable via search engines in a plaintext (unhashed and unencrypted) format and therefore already widely available to those with an intent to defraud or gained unauthorized access to computer systems.”

    Why did he do it? Password behaviors are opaque. No one knows why we choose certain passwords over others nor do they have any way of assessing the relative strength of passwords on the web. While corporations like to say their password databases are secure, how do we know? And how can they be secure when the most popular password is “password?”

    Burnett writes:

    Frequently I get requests from students and security researchers to get a copy of my password research data. I typically decline to share the passwords but for quite some time I have wanted to provide a clean set of data to share with the world. A carefully-selected set of data provides great insight into user behavior and is valuable for furthering password security. So I built a data set of ten million usernames and passwords that I am releasing to the public domain.

    You can download the trove here.

    It is interesting to note that Burnett had a great deal of trouble deciding whether he wanted to release these passwords. Because the law is often opaque regarding technical issues and legislators are ignorant when it comes to the same, people like Burnett are actually afraid to publish their research. The jailing of a journalist named Barrett Brown is one step in the long road towards self-censorship in matters of security and that can’t be the case.

    So download those passwords and figure out just where you’re going wrong. I, for one, will never give up my super secure password of “ILovePizzaAndBeerLakers2015!”

    Via Paulo Félix
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    Apple Watch will be released in April, according to CEO Tim Cook

    Apple Watch will be released in April, according to CEO Tim Cook | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |
    Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced that the Apple Watch will begin shipping in April. Cook revealed the shipping timeframe during Apple's quarterly earnings call with investors; the company enjoyed a blockbuster quarter backed by massive iPhone sales and huge growth in China. Now it will look to carry that success forward with the launch of Apple Watch, its first major new product since the debut of iPad in 2010. "We’re making great progress in the development of it," Cook said. He also revealed that Apple is encouraged by the response from developers and app makers so far, saying "We’re seeing some incredible innovation."

    "April meets Apple's definition of 'early' in the year"

    Upon revealing Apple Watch in September of last year, Apple described the smartwatch as its "most personal device ever." Today's the first time Apple has publicly commented on the product's release date beyond a vague window of "early 2015." The company rarely announces significant news during earnings calls, making today a notable exception. Some might criticize Apple for considering April to be "early" in the calendar year, but Cook doesn't see a problem. He said that when mapping out product launches, Apple separates the year into three, four-month windows for early, middle, and late. "To us, it’s sort of within the range. It’s basically when we thought," he said.

    And while he got more specific about the launch, Cook did not reveal any new pricing details for the Apple Watch beyond the "starting at $349" we heard in September. Apple Watch will be made available in three styles: the regular model, an Apple Watch Sport version aimed at active consumers, and an ultra-premium Apple Watch Edition that could be priced in the thousands and compete against brands in the luxury watch market. Even with a release month now official, there's still plenty more we expect to hear from Apple over the next few weeks and months. Aside from sharing full pricing details, Apple will need to set consumer expectations around battery life — for better or worse.
    No comment yet.!

    Motorola sales double in 2014 as the brand re-enters China

    Motorola sales double in 2014 as the brand re-enters China | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Lenovo reported its earnings for the past quarter on Tuesday. During the quarter, the company officially completed its $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google.

    Lenovo announced its smartphone brand sold over 10 million handsets in the most recent quarter. Sure, that pales against sales figures from giants like Apple and Samsung, but at least it’s going in the right direction.

    When Lenovo and Motorola smartphone sales are combined, the company is one of the top five smartphone makers in the world, behind Apple and Samsung and in fierce competition with Huawei and LG.
    Get all the news you need about Mobile with the Gigaom newsletter

    Lenovo Group’s revenue includes laptop and desktop sales, in which Lenovo is the world market leader. Lenovo reported that total revenue was up 31 percent to $14.1 billion. But Lenovo has thin margins, around 2.8 percent, and managed a net profit of $253 million.

    Motorola sales were up 118 percent to $1.9 billion. Lenovo once again confirmed that it plans to sell Motorola phones in China, and said it believes Motorola can become profitable in the next year.

    Lenovo also completed its purchase of IBM’s server business for $2.1 billion in October.

    More importantly, it appears that the Motorola brand resonates in massive and growing smartphone markets like China and India. Motorola announced Monday on Weibo that it had seen 1 million reservations for the decidedly high-end Moto X. In India, Motorola previously said it had sold 3 million smartphones last year, probably mostly the more affordable Moto E and Moto G models.

    Because Lenovo didn’t officially complete its acquisition of Motorola until the end of October, much of this success isn’t from Lenovo’s input — it most likely stems from decisions made while Motorola was a Google company, such as the decision to streamline and simplify its main product line under the Moto moniker. Motorola was the hardware partner for the Nexus 6, Google’s reference device for the latest version of Android. Motorola also produces one of the better-received Android Wear smartwatches, the Moto 360.

    No comment yet.!

    Dell Is Back

    Dell Is Back | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Dell is the company building the most interesting computers right now. Dell is making computers interesting again, period. Who would have thought?

    Feast your eyes on the gorgeous tablet in the picture above. Then take a peek at the sleek laptop below. Those barely-there bezels. That premium ultrathin construction. They came from Dell.

    They're not all looks, either: the new XPS 13 laptop and Venue 8 7000 tablet are among the best we've ever reviewed. And not just that. The laptop starts at $800. The tablet is $400. Two premium products that you could actually afford to take home.

    No comment yet.!

    Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look

    Classic Shell and Start10 banish Windows 10 Live Tiles, bring back Windows 7 look | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    For anyone having regrets about upgrading to Windows 10, there are now two good options for bringing back the look of Windows 7.

    This week, Classic Shell officially added Windows 10 to support for its free Start menu and File Explorer replacement. With this program (pictured above), users can switch to Windows 7’s dual-column view, with pinned and recent applications on the left, and common folders and locations on the right. Classic Shell also includes a classic version of the Windows File Explorer, with a customizable toolbar and a more useful status bar that shows both free disk space and the size of any selected folder.

    Meanwhile, Stardock has just released Start10 out of beta for $5. Much like Classic Shell, Start10 allows for a two-column view that resembles the Windows 7 Start menu, and brings back the ”all programs” menu that groups applications into folders. There’s also an option to hide Cortana from the Windows 10 taskbar, while restoring program and file search in the Start menu proper.

    I gave each of these programs a quick go-round, and in practice the differences between them are subtle. If you’re just looking for the familiarity of Windows 7, either one should do the trick (though Classic Shell has the advantage of costing nothing). Start10 may be more useful for people who still want access to Windows Store apps, as you can preserve them in the right-hand column while tweaking other aspects of the Start menu. Both apps have plenty of customization options, however, and are far more flexible than the default Start menu.

    While Classic Shell is free, Start10 does offer a 30-day free trial, so you can try them both to figure out which Start menu replacement suits your needs.

    Why this matters: Although Microsoft has dialed back some of the radical changes that it made to the Start menu in Windows 8, it can still feel pretty unfamiliar coming from Windows 7. If you’re not really using Windows Store apps, the emphasis on Live Tiles in Windows 10 isn’t much help, especially since it comes at the expense of Jump Lists, quick Control Panel access and the old Recent Items shortcut. It’s unlikely that these replacements will see the tens of millions of downloads that they did with Windows 8, but they’re still helpful for people who’d rather keep things the way they used to be.!

    Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week

    Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Microsoft keeps wending its way past the mile markers en route to getting Windows 10 out to the public on time.

    The software titan is putting the finishing touches on the operating system software and will finalize its prerelease development by July 10, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company's plans. This version ofWindows 10, called "release to manufacturing," will then be sent to PC makers to be bundled into their products.

    Windows 10, which is slated to launch on July 29, comes at a critical time for Microsoft. While Windows overall remains the dominant force in desktop operating systems, running on over 90 percent of computers worldwide, according to NetMarketShare, the last big release -- Windows 8 -- proved a marked disappointment. According to NetMarketShare, Windows 8 musters just 13 percent market share worldwide, far behind the 61 percent share for Windows 7 and just ahead the 12 percent share for the now ancient Windows XP.

    The issues with Windows 8 were numerous, ranging from Microsoft's design choice, called Metro, to a steep learning curve for those used to the old days of Windows. Windows 8, which launched in 2012, also came as consumers and business users were increasingly attracted to tablets and smartphones, which typically ran either Apple's iOS software or Google's Android.

    Microsoft tried to respond by offering its own tablet, the Surface, and partner with third-party tablet manufacturers. The efforts, however, have done little to kick Android and iOS from the top spots.

    Realizing its own miscues and the changing market dynamics, Microsoft has tried to address its Windows 8 woes with Windows 10.

    The Start button is back and the design a bit more traditional, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made clear that Microsoft is a "mobile-first (and cloud-first)" company that will allow for Windows 10 to run on multiple device types without sacrificing features. To boost adoption, Microsoft will offer free upgrades to customers currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- a first for the company. Microsoft has even softened its stance in its longstanding battle with pirates, saying that any pirated copy of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 10 free-of-charge.

    For months now, Microsoft has been offering preview versions of Windows 10 to developers and consumers who want to take the operating system for a test drive. Operating systems go through a series of "builds," or versions, during their development phase. Once the company's development team has finalized the operating system, it goes into RTM phase, which means it's ready to be passed on to hardware vendors for bundling into the PCs they sell. Assuming the report is accurate, hitting the RTM phase this week would ensure Windows 10 would be available later this month, as anticipated.

    That said, while Microsoft seems to be on-pace for a July 29 launch, the company has cautioned thatthe rollout could be slow going.

    Microsoft said last week that it "will start rolling out Windows 10" on July 29, but will roll out the operating system "in waves" after that date.

    "Each day of the rollout, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users," the company said in a blog post. "If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system."

    The blog post seems to indicate that while Windows 10 may be released to PC vendors soon, it will continue to fine-tune the operating system after the July 29 launch date.

    Microsoft has yet to say when its operating system will hit the RTM phase, but in the past, the company has announced the milestone on its site. Microsoft will likely do the same with Windows 10, once it has officially gone RTM.

    No comment yet.!

    How to avoid getting hacked due to vulnerable WordPress plugins

    How to avoid getting hacked due to vulnerable WordPress plugins | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    I’m a huge WordPress fan because it’s a very powerful, effective, and amazingly extensible platform which is why it’s used by 60.4% of [websites with identifiable content management systems which amounts to] 23.7% of all websites. But there’s a risk with any platform that’s extensible trough the use of third party software (called “plugins” in WordPress): That risk is from software vulnerabilities.

    Part of the reason for these vulnerabilities is that WordPress is fairly complex so interactions with plugins can produce unwanted and occasionally dangerous security issues. The other major reason is that the coding practices of third parties can be inadequate so dumb vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows and SQL injections can be part and parcel of some “must have” feature added by a plugin. For a summary of current Wordpress vulnerabilities check out the WPScan Vulnerability Database, a “black box WordPress vulnerability scanner.”

    If you’re running a WordPress site and given the number of potentially show-stopping problems that exist, get fixed, and are replaced with new problems that are just as bad then you need to be on top of what plugins you’re using and what problems they might have. Rather than scanning through loads of vulnerability notices and checking each plugin’s Web site for news there’s not only WPScan, there’s also a free plugin that check the plugins you use for known issues. It’s called Plugin Vulnerabilities and published by WhiteFirDesign.

    The publishers also offer another free plugin, Automatic Plugin Updates that, as its name implies, will update your plugins automatically as new versions become available (you can also set up an “ignore” list to exclude specific plugins from automatic updates).

    When you activate Plugin Vulnerabilities, all of your other plugins are examined and checked against WhiteFirDesign’s database of vulnerabilities. They’re also rechecked whenever a plugin in manually updated or an update executed by the Automatic Plugin Updates or by any other method.

    WhiteFirDesign’s vulnerability stats were, as of April 6:

    • 257 vulnerabilities included
    • 61 included vulnerabilities are in the most recent version of plugins (57 of these plugins have been removed from the Plugin Directory)
    • 24 vulnerabilities have been fixed in part due to our work on this plugin
    • 5 included vulnerabilities in security plugins
    • Top vulnerability types:
      • cross-site request forgery (CSRF)/cross-site scripting (XSS): 52 vulnerabilities
      • reflected cross-site scripting (XSS): 45 vulnerabilities
      • arbitrary file upload: 45 vulnerabilities
      • arbitrary file viewing: 23 vulnerabilities
      • SQL injection: 16 vulnerabilities

    This plugin is, in short, something you shouldn’t do without if you’re running WordPress. It could make the difference between smooth, uninterrupted operations and spending lots of time rebuilding your WordPress site after being hacked.

    The Plugin Vulnerabilities and Automatic Plugin Updates plugins both get a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

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    ​Intel, Micron, Toshiba promise storage that's fast and roomy

    ​Intel, Micron, Toshiba promise storage that's fast and roomy | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Intel, Micron and Toshiba want to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to flash memory, the storage technology used in smartphones, tablets and higher-end laptops.

    Today, smartphones and tablets often don't have enough room for all your apps, photos, videos and music. And laptop buyers have to decide between hard drives, which are cheap and roomy, but slow, and flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) that are fast but expensive.

    A partnership between Micron and Intel, though, is now beginning to yield flash chips with triple the capacity of the top alternative from Samsung. And Toshiba announced a competing chip that matches Samsung's capacity, a competitive move that should help maintain pricing pressure.

    The new chips could mean a 3.5TB flash drive for PCs that's the size of a stick of gum, Intel said. Today's top-end laptops with 1TB SSDs are very expensive options, but more-affordable chips could help fast flash memory displace hard drives in lower-end PCs.

    Both of the new chip designs -- as well as Samsung's chips introduced last year -- take a similar approach called 3D stacking to provide more bits. In essence, the idea is to emulate Manhattan's skyscrapers rather than the sprawl of Los Angeles.

    "3D is going to be one of the ways to go to keep Moore's Law going," said Michael Jackson, an associate professor of microelectronic engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, referring to Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's observation on steady advances in processor capabilities.

    As with skyscraper apartment buildings, the number of cells you can put in a given area still matters. And so does the number of occupants you can put in each cell. The Intel-Micron approach offers two options for this latter characteristic: two bits per cell initially for chips that store 256 gigabits total and, later, three bits for 384-gigabit chips. Toshiba stores two bits per cell for its 128-gigabit chips.

    Many of the gains made by flash memory have come by spreading more and more memory cells onto a two-dimensional chip surface. The Intel-Micron approach matches Samsung's with 32 layers of flash memory, and Toshiba goes a little farther with 48 layers. The companies are delivering the first samples today; Intel and Micron expect to ship final products later this year.

    Several chips are mounted into the same package; a 16-chip, 768-gigabyte package is the size of a fingertip, according to Intel.

    By comparison, today's top-end smartphones come with only 128 gigabytes. And Apple's new MacBook comes with two SSD options, 256GB and 512GB. The price difference is $400, though the higher price also covers a slightly faster processor. For a high-end Dell M3800 laptop, upgrading the SSD from 256GB to 512GB costs $434, and going up to 1TB costs $735. No wonder Intel, Micron and Toshiba are eager for a better showing in the market.

    And they could all use a better showing.

    Intel and Micron banded together to take on flash powerhouses like top-ranked Samsung, which held 28 percent of the flash-memory market in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Statista. Micron has 14 percent and Intel has 8 percent. Toshiba is doing better with 22 percent, but its share has been slipping.

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    Ransomware Attacks' New Focus: Businesses

    Ransomware Attacks' New Focus: Businesses | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Ransomware attacks are getting more agile, varied and widespread, and are increasingly taking aim at businesses of all sizes in all sectors, rather than consumers.

    These attacks involve two-part schemes. First, a device is infected with malware that locks the user out or encrypts files so that the user can longer access them. Then a ransom is demanded through an automated message that appears on the device's screen. The user is told he has a limited amount of time to pay the ransom before the device will be wiped clean or the files will be erased.

    In recent weeks, three reports from security firms and researchers have noted new ransomware scheme trends that are making these attacks more difficult to thwart and detect.

    As a result, experts say businesses need to focus more attention on employee education about how to avoid falling victim to these attacks and other socially engineered schemes.

    New Attacks

    On March 2, security firm FireEye warned that hundreds of websites may have been exposed to "malvertisements" - ads containing ransomware - via criminals' abuse of ad networks that use real-time bidding.

    "Real-time bidding is an ad sale and delivery system that allows for instant, autonomous ad auctions at the time the ads are served," FireEye says. "A number of buyers set up bids ahead of time for a certain amount of ad impressions (i.e., page loads) on pre-selected sites and certain target demographic characteristics. When a user requests an ad, the ad exchange awards the highest bidder who has an active bid on advertising matching the incoming user's demographic profile. As a result, the auction winner's ad is displayed."

    In another recently released report, anti-virus provider Bitdefender noted that cybercriminals were using help files as a way of infecting devices with a variant of the ransomware known as CryptoWall. Attackers sent malicious emails with the subject "Incoming Fax Report" that contained help files with a compiled HTML extensions, Bitdefender noted. When users opened the files, they were presented with a help window that automatically downloaded CryptoWall in the background.

    In a third report, released March 6, a French malware researcher known as Kafeine said he discovered what at first appeared to be a new version of the ransomware known as TorrentLocker, but was later determined to be new malware. This is concerning, researchers say, because it proves how quickly hackers are adapting by developing entirely new malware strains that evade current detection mechanisms.

    The Evolution of Ransomware

    "Ransomware is flourishing as the criminal community appreciates its viability and the ease by which ransomware can be shared," says Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at security firm Trend Micro. "The most troubling evolution is the migration to mobile ransomware.

    In May 2014, security researchers warned of a new type of ransomware attack taking aim at employees and customers of banking institutions in Europe. The attack was being spread to mobile devices through the banking Trojan known as Svpeng (see New Ransomware Targets Mobile).

    Today, attacks waged against Windows and Android operating systems have continued to spread.

    "There is a lot of momentum behind ransomware and we do expect it to be a continuing issue throughout the rest of this year and beyond," says John Miller, manager of the Cyber Crime Threat Scape at cyber-intelligence firm iSIGHT Partners. "Law enforcement in different countries can help educate residents about the threats," which are designed for targeted global markets based on language and payments habits, he explains.

    But it's up to individual companies to educate their own employees about how to identify a ransomware attack before becoming victimized, Miller adds.

    Why Ransomware Is So Dangerous

    Rather than targeting home-users' files, as was common in 2012 and 2013, attacks emerging in late 2014 started targeting business assets by encrypting enterprise database files and shared storage systems, says Jeff Horne, vice president of the security firm Accuvant.

    "This is extremely dangerous to an enterprise network, as it could potentially destroy a business if offline backups haven't been stored," Horne says. "The real issue is the encryption that is being utilized, more often than not, cannot be broken with today's computers. Therefore, when these files are locked, if the ransom isn't paid, the files are gone until computers can break the encryption."

    Another danger, he says, is that hackers sometimes collect the ransom but never unencrypt the data, making it virtually useless to the business.

    Randy Abrams, research director for cyberthreat intelligence firm NSS Labs, malware strains used in ransomware attacks are getting stealthier. And like Horne, he says the encryption hackers are using to lock files is getting harder to break.

    "Older ransomware used cryptographic techniques that could be cracked," Abrams says. "This currently is no longer the case."

    Ransomware can be devastating to victims who have no back-ups or who don't back up to local or network-connected drives, he says. "Online backup services, such as Carbonite, are very useful. But users must be certain that file types are also backed up."

    A Growing Threat

    The use of ransomware is spreading because the attacks make good business sense for cybercriminals because they can reap big payouts, iSIGHT's Miller says. "Windows ransomware is all over the place," he says. "It's very effective and very popular."

    Cryptolocker was the first type of ransomware that got attention, Miller points out, "and criminals' observations of the damage that Cryptolocker was doing made them realize how profitable ransomware could be."

    Today's attackers, who range from organized cybercrime rings to nation-states, are selling ransomware using sophisticated business models, says Peter Tran, general manager and senior director of security firm RSA's global advanced cyber-defense practice.

    "The hacker distribution techniques and ecosystem are run like a business," Tran says. "The development, buying, selling, trading and distribution creates micro-economies that scale very quickly for both cybercriminals and nation-state attackers. This is a global network much like the open-source software developer communities, where software can be developed very quickly and with greater capacity than closed, proprietary development."

    Also, most of the malware strains used in these attacks are evading detection by anti-virus programs, he adds.

    "In the past 12 months, over 300 million malware samples have been reported in circulation, many of which are modifications of existing variants, but many are unique," Tran says. "The sheer scale is overwhelming."

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    Lenovo Releases Tool To Remove The Sketchy Exploitable “SuperFish” Garbage It Pre-Loaded On Laptops

    Lenovo Releases Tool To Remove The Sketchy Exploitable “SuperFish” Garbage It Pre-Loaded On Laptops | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Earlier this week, word started spreading that Lenovo had been pre-installing a sketchy adware program called “SuperFish” onto many of its Windows PCs for months.

    Then researchers started finding nasty vulnerabilities — namely, that SuperFish was using some pretty ugly hacks to tinker with your computer’s encryption certificates, and doing so in a way that seemingly leaves your otherwise “encrypted” communications (everything that goes over HTTPS) unsecure whenever you’re on a shared WiFi connection (like at a coffee shop)

    By this morning, the US Department of Homeland Security was urging Lenovo laptop owners to remove the tool.

    Even without the security implications, SuperFish was pretty sketchy. Its purpose? Catch Google search results before they hit your screen, then quietly modify them to include more ads.

    Lenovo is now rushing to put out the fires; they disclosed yesterday that they’d turned off everything SuperFish-related on the server side back in January — which, while a good step, doesn’t fix the problem of the ugly security flaws lurking in the laptops.

    For that, Lenovo has just released a set of automated removal tools, which they pledge will “ensure complete removal of Superfish and Certificates for all major browsers.”

    They’ve also published the removal tool’s source code for scrutiny, and for those who would like to compile the tool themselves.

    And if that still sketches you out? They’re also supplying a step-by-step for how to remove SuperFish manually on the same page.

    Via Paulo Félix
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    Apple's next MacBook Air could come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor just like the iPhone

    Apple's next MacBook Air could come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor just like the iPhone | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Apple may bring its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to Mac laptops and desktops in the future, according to a new rumor from Taiwanese website, as reported by 9to5Mac.

    The website claims Apple might integrate the fingerprint scanner in the trackpad of its rumored 12-inch MacBook Air and next-generation MacBook Pro.

    For desktop computers like the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini, Apple is likely to put Touch ID in its Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

    There's also a chance we'll see new color options for the purported 12-inch MacBook Air, according to the report. This could include silver, space grey, and gold just like Apple's more recent iPhones.

    It's unclear whether or not the blog's sources are legitimate. But, as 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman pointed out, did publish early photos of the iPad Air 2's Touch ID and the A8X chip that powers Apple's latest iPads in the fall.

    If Apple does bring Touch ID to the Mac, it's probably part of a push to further promote Apple Pay. And as Gurman also notes, Apple will have to make sure it's just as secure as it is on the iPhone. Touch ID's functionality is based on a secure element within Apple's A-series chips that power its iPhones and iPads, which keep financial transactions safe. Apple will have to create the same experience on the Mac.

    We're expecting to learn more about Apple's future additions to the Mac line later this year. The company has been rumored to be working on a 12-inch MacBook Air with a Retina display and an even thinner design than the current model. 

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    10 million stolen passwords were just released – here’s how to see if yours is one of them

    10 million stolen passwords were just released – here’s how to see if yours is one of them | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Earlier this week, noted security researcher and consultant Mark Burnett made waves when he posted 10 million stolen usernames and passwords on his blog. Of course, the security expert didn’t post the passwords with malicious intent. Instead, his goal was to “release a clean set of data” that gives the world insights into user behavior, and also to draw attention once again to the arrest and prosecution of Barrett Brown.

    Burnett didn’t steal the passwords in question, of course, but they’re now easily accessible to anyone and everyone — here’s how you can quickly and easily find out if you are affected.

    Burnett posted the 10 million leaked usernames and passwords in one big torrent file that anyone with a computer can download in a matter of minutes. Thankfully, one of the people who downloaded that file used it to create a simple site where anyone can check to see if their accounts have been compromised.

    Here’s how you can check:

    Simply visit this page on programmer Luke Rehmann’s website, where you’ll be able to search for your usernames and passwords in the leaked file.

    Now, before you start wondering if Rehmann is just using this page to collect the usernames and passwords people input, it’s important to note that you can (and should) search with partial entries. So, for example, if your password is “trustno1,” you can simply search “no1″ or “trus” and see if one of your accounts comes up.

    As Burnett notes in his blog post, the usernames and passwords he posted are a small sample pulled from earlier username and password dumps containing upwards of 1 billion sets of stolen credentials. As a result, running a check on the site linked above doesn’t guarantee that your usernames and passwords aren’t floating around on the deep web.

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    8K laptops could be a reality in 2016

    8K laptops could be a reality in 2016 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    The majority of laptops have been equipped with paltry 1366 x 768 LCDs for the last decade, but we might finally be nearing a higher-resolution era. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) recently approved a new display standard called Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) 1.4a. When implemented, this will enable 8K resolution screens for laptops, phones, tablets, and all-in-one desktop systems. Even the super-fancy 5K iMac can’t compete with that.

    We’re only now getting to the point of having devices of any sort with 4K screens, which means a pixel array of 3840 × 2160. Stepping up to 8K works out to 7680 × 4320 pixels. On a typical 13.3-inch laptop screen that would give you 662 pixels per inch. That’s probably past the point that any human could pick out individual pixels at normal viewing distance. Tablets and phones at that resolution sound nonsensical, but it could happen.

    The new eDP 1.4a standard is closely related to the 1.3 variant that was released in mid-2014. The new v1.4a specifies four high-speed (HBR3) lanes between the graphics adapter and display. Each of these lanes is capable of streaming 8.1Gbps and can be used individually, in pairs, or all together. That gives you a theoretical bandwidth of 32.4Gbps. Certainly a lot of data, but it’s only sufficient for 60Hz at 8K resolution. If you want native 120Hz, that limits you to 4K.

    Other features of eDP 1.4a include Display Stream Compression (DSC) for improved compression of video signals, Multi-SST Operation (MSO) allowing each HBR3 lane to drive a quarter of a display, and Adaptive Sync. Support for Adaptive Sync is optional on the hardware level, but gamers will probably demand it. Adaptive Sync can account for the display and computer falling out of sync, which causes stuttering and tearing. That might be a thing of the past on high-end eDP 1.4a hardware.

    The first devices using the new standard are expected in 2016, although the first round will probably be running 4K panels. While the hardware will have the power to drive an 8K screen, OEMs still need to figure out how to manufacture panels with that many pixels that aren’t giant TVs. That could take a few years.

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    New standard paves way for 8K display in all-in-ones, laptops

    New standard paves way for 8K display in all-in-ones, laptops | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    A new standard that supports higher-resolution displays should help move 8K screens from the realm of high-end TV and into laptops, all-in-one PCs and possibly even mobile devices.

    The Video Electronics Standards Association’s Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) 1.4a will boost image quality on screens through faster video transfer rates. The newer standard is for displays inside computers, and it will replace the older 1.4 standard that was released in early 2013. With 8K, displays will show images at a 7680 x 4320 resolution.

    Displays based on the new technology will start appearing in computers and mobile devices by 2016, VESA said.

    Screens with 8K resolution could find their way into high-end laptops and all-in-one desktops. Apple has used a modified version of the eDP standard in its iMac with 5K Display. Some high-end gaming and business laptops already have 4K displays.

    At the moment, 8K resolution is the province of high-end TVs. Japan’s NHK is testing 8K broadcasts in time for the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo.

    Tablets and smartphones don’t have 4K screens yet, and may not get 8K screens. It’s hard to differentiate pixels on small screens, and 8K screens could be expensive for device makers. For now, mobile devices have powerful graphics processors that are able to process 4K video, which can then be shown on external displays.

    Displays are the most power-hungry components in laptops and mobile devices. But the new eDP standard could improve battery life by reducing display circuitry and improving processing of pixels. For example, the new standard will allow a graphics processor to refresh pixels in only parts of the screen, as opposed to over the entire screen as is the case currently.

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    We're One Step Closer to Blazingly Fast Computer Chips Made of Silicene

    We're One Step Closer to Blazingly Fast Computer Chips Made of Silicene | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    Move over graphene, today is silicene's day to shine. Silicene is a single-atom thick layer of silicon, whose theoretical properties could have exciting applications in computer chips. Now, scientists have made the first silicene transistor, and guess what, it's amazingly fast.

    Graphene and silicene are both single-atom thick materials (though graphene is made of carbon), whose structure allows electrons to zip through them at crazy speeds. Computer chips are already made of silicon, though, so it stands to reason that silicene could be easier to integrate.

    Deji Akinwande of the University of Texas Austin found a way to make transistors out of silicene, a tricky procedure because silicene is an unstable material. Technology Review explains:

    Once silicene is made, its instability means it must be protected, and that makes it difficult to work with. Akinwande found a way around this problem by growing silicene on a thin film of silver capped with aluminum oxide. The whole thing is then peeled off, and then placed on a silicon dioxide wafer with the silver side up. Finally, the silver is patterned to make the electrical contacts for a transistor. Once the device is finished, it is stable under vacuum conditions.

    This is an exciting advance for silicene, but it's still far from coming to a computer near you. Computer chips are made up of millions of transistors, and silicene is still pretty darn hard (and expensive!) to make. Silicene may be not practical yet, but these transistors just proved its potential is not entirely theoretical either.

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    Fly Or Die: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro

    Fly Or Die: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

    The Lenovo Yoga Tablet Pro 2, while long-winded in name, is pretty interesting when it comes to form and function. The kickstand-equipped tablet offers pretty standard capabilities, with a 13.3-inch (2560×1440) IPS display, an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, and an added surprise.

    The 13-inch tablet also comes with a built-in pico projector so that you can blow out movies or presentations on a nearby wall.

    We brought the Yoga Tablet Pro 2 into the office for an episode of Fly Or Die, and to my shock and awe, John Biggs is impressed. He thinks the projector is a helpful addition to a tablet of this size, which could work well for travel or in-home use.

    I’m not quite as wooed by the projector, which doesn’t seem to work well in anything but pure darkness, and the UI that Lenovo slapped over the Android 4.4 tablet is a bit too bare bones.

    One fly and one die, meaning you’ll just have to check it for yourself.

    The Yoga Tablet Pro 2 is available now for $499.

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