Google Announces USB Security Key

Posted on: Thursday, October 19, 2017

This one is for those of you who are wary about online account security. Yesterday, Google announced a new and unique security feature for their email system.

Protection has increased over the years, ranging from increased password length and complexity, to multi-step verification, to the next big thing: a portable security key that users will need to carry around with them. The key will fit into the USB slot on computers, and login will not be completed without the key.

This has been dubbed the Advanced Protection Program, and Google says it strives to protect users from various threats. This could be as simple as a hacker or criminal stealing your login information, but also will help to avoid concerns such as phishing. Now, when you’ve forgotten your password, lost the key, or been locked out of your account, many extra security measures will be required to surpass to ensure identity. This could include “additional reviews and requests for more details” as per a Google blogpost on Wednesday.

You may be familiar with two-factor authentication, or 2FA, which requires an additional step users must complete after entering their password in order for them to access their account. The idea with the physical key will be the same, but instead of answering a security question such as ‘What was the name of your first pet?’ you will be directed to insert the key.

Who could benefit from this? For the most part, anyone who is interested in an added security feature who does not mind giving up some of the convenience that SMS text confirmation codes and the like can provide. According to one article, jobs that require and extended amount of security due to the large amount of confidential information they possess, such as an election campaign manager or a journalist could be key targets for the key.

To find out more, check out https://www.blog.google/topics/safety-security/googles-strongest-security-those-who-need-it-most/


Synchronizing Different Email Accounts

Posted on: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In today’s world, there is a huge increase in the number of groups, committees, clubs, organizations, teams, and jobs that individuals take part in. Although this is a given with the fast-paced society that we live in, it can still be very difficult to organize oneself and keep track of everything happening in our calendars when there are only so many different ways to colour-code or separate tasks based on groups.

Email accounts can be an especially daunting thing to organize, let alone attempt to export into a compatible calendar. It would not be uncommon for an individual to posses a large number of emails. For example, a hotmail personal email, an outlook work email, a few different gmail accounts for clubs, etc. Many platforms, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have calendar applications, and many are very sophisticated, yet still easy to use. Further, many applications allow users to access all their different email accounts on one platform, which seems like the perfect solution.

Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if these platforms were flawless? Even though they combine all accounts into one easy space, they are often slow to update, since they are not the primary receiver of the data.

Today, gmail announced an iOS beta that will test the compatibility with third party email accounts. If Google can master the platform, they could become the most widely used email app on iPhones. Google is currently looking for users to test the app with their other email accounts, and they can do so by filling out a simple form and agreeing to the beta terms and conditions. Stay tuned for the results!


Updates To Visual Studio 2017

Posted on: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced an updated version of Visual Studio. For those of you unfamiliar with the platform, Visual Studio allows users to create apps for different operating systems, including the cloud. Personalized extensions and code can be added into the Studio as well. There are 10 big changes that have been released in this update.

First, some of the new app building features include the following: live architectural validation, code navigation, and refactoring. These will allow users to access the system more easily and make changes when needed.

Second, Visual Studio has improved their debugging testing for more immediate results.

Next, the platform is now compatible to connect with the cloud, meaning information can be accessed across different applications.

Visual Studio has also made it easier to work in team settings. Now, managers can type in any group code to access what’s going on within a specific team in their division.

Fifth, the actual process of building apps in Studio has become more sophisticated and advanced. A wider variety of tools are now available to users.

Sixth, more programming languages have been added. The platform even supports third-party languages, as well as the more common C#, C++, and F#.

There have been many more performance enhancements added since the last update as well. This includes items such as better startup time, lower amount of battery power and memory used, and the system being more responsive to a user’s commands.

Eighth, the Integrated Development Environment boasts various enhancements that include conflict resolution, generating overrides, creating new arguments, and removing unused variables.

The customized software can be sent to any platform of the user’s choice. It also allows you to tests apps on almost any physical platform before making them live.

Finally, the new update provides users with free training and software programs from partners. These will be available to both Enterprise and Professional clients.

To learn more, check out: https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/whatsnew/ and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/visualstudio/ide/whats-new-in-visual-studio


Facebook’s Workplace Updates

Posted on: Friday, October 6, 2017

Almost one year ago today, Facebook announced the launch of Workplace, it’s social media platform for business to use for communication within teams and colleagues. It is very similar to other group messaging platforms such as Slack, but it has the added benefit of being linked to a user’s Facebook account. The application supports live video feed, encouraging video presentations through corporate groups. Some other useful tools are the calendar and meeting functions within messenger, which ensure that schedule over-laps will not happen. The app launched as a digital app and works on desktop as well, just as Facebook does.

Since October 2016, Facebook has been working on some new updates to add to Workplace. It is different than many other competing services in the way of its pricing model. Companies will be charged based on the number of monthly active users. This means a cost of $3 for the first 1,000 users, plus $2 for the next 1,001-10,000, and $1 for everything above that. In comparison, Slack’s fee is broken into two tiers, starting at $8/month and increasing to $15 based on organization size. With Workplace, companies will only be paying for their active users, which means it is more of a pay-per-use model versus a flat rate.

Today, Facebook announced that screen sharing would be added to the mobile and desktop versions of Workplace for the chat app. This is an update that many users had been requesting over the course of the last year. This has been a much-wanted feature due to the lack in quality of the other video chat and screen sharing options, such as Skype. Facebook is clearly evolving from text communication to more visual communication with this addition. A user’s full screen can be shared, or simply one application they are running. Oftentimes, employees will have multiple tabs and windows open at work on their computer, and sharing everything they have on the go with a client or customer may not be the most secure. This is a huge safety concern that Workplace is aiming to avoid.


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