Microsoft lures Windows 2008 users to cloud with offer of extra support

Microsoft is dangling three years of additional support in front of customers running Windows Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 if they move the servers’ workloads to Redmond’s cloud-based Azure.

SQL Server 2008 — and its follow-up, SQL Server 2008 R2 — exit support July 9, 2019, or less than a year from now. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be retired from support about six months later, on Jan. 14, 2020. After those dates, the server software will not receive security updates, leaving them vulnerable to attack by hackers exploiting unpatched security flaws.

In an effort to entice customers to move to the cloud, Microsoft last week said it will provide three additional years of support to Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 when those systems’ workloads are migrated to Azure virtual machines or Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, respectively. (The latter is a new service set to debut in the fourth quarter.) Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads transferred to Azure will receive fixes for vulnerabilities rated “Critical” or “Important,” until January 2023; SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will get the patches for bugs designated as “Critical,” with the end of extra support coming in July 2022.

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Get ready for the next silly smartphone superlative

Smartphone marketing tends to revolve around superlatives — you know, words or phrases that suggest being the most something in all of the land.

The specific quality in question shifts pretty regularly (hey, you’ve gotta keep it fresh, right?). For a while, way back when, the boasting was all about having the phone with the most processing power. Since then, in no particular order, we’ve seen phone-makers focus on having the biggest, the smallest, the thinnest, the brightest, the most pixel-packing, and the least-bezel-showing devices. Oh, and don’t forget megapixels. For the longest time, having the phone with the most megapixels was about as good as you could get in terms of ad-ready bragging rights.

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The power of diversity within yourself | Rebeca Hwang

Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities — Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, education in the United States — and for a long time she had difficulty finding a place in the world to call home. Yet along with these challenges came a pivotal realization: that a diverse background is a distinct advantage in today’s globalized world. In this personal talk, Hwang reveals the endless benefits of embracing our complex identities — and shares her hopes for creating a world where identities aren’t used to alienate but to bring people together instead.

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The mission to create a searchable database of Earth’s surface | Will Marshall

What if you could search the surface of the Earth the same way you search the internet? Will Marshall and his team at Planet use the world’s largest fleet of satellites to image the entire Earth every day. Now they’re moving on to a new project: using AI to index all the objects on the planet over time — which could make ships, trees, houses and everything else on Earth searchable, the same way you search Google. He shares a vision for how this database can become a living record of the immense physical changes happening across the globe. “You can’t fix what you can’t see,” Marshall says. “We want to give people the tools to see change and take action.”

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IDG Contributor Network: Lawmakers investigate how AI in Apple, Google invade privacy

We all carry smartphones. It’s become one of the most important things we grab along with our keys and wallet when we walk out of our home in the morning. However, companies are going under the microscope with how they intrude on our privacy with these devices. It started with Facebook and Marc Zuckerberg in front of Congress. Now it’s Apple and Google. What’s next?

After the recent eye opening and jaw dropping testimony from Marc Zuckerberg and Facebook lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are finally getting more interested in how companies take, use and abuse our privacy in order to grow.

Now this investigation is spreading to smartphone makers Apple and Google with their iPhone, Android smartphones and Gmail. Who’s next? AI like what we use in Amazon Alexa and Google Home are one of the hottest new technologies and areas of growth. They are always listening to every word we say.

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How to use Apple Maps more effectively

While we wait for Apple to implement its promised deep changes to Maps, here is how to use a few of the lesser-known features in the company’s navigation software.

Take control of Maps

I’m going to skip the basic stuff about using Maps. In this short guide you’ll learn how to:

  • Scroll Maps the easy way
  • How to find and add pit stops to an existing route
  • How to export a Map as a PDF
  • How to find the car
  • What Apple Watch is trying to tell you

There are lots of other Maps features. Take a look here and here for other ideas.

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6 efficiency-enhancing Android apps

Your phone is now essentially your personal assistant — and like any aide, it needs the right set of tools to do its job effectively.

The good news? As an Android user, you’ve got no shortage of efficiency-enhancing options. Unlike other mobile platforms, Android affords you the opportunity to customize and control the core user interface to make it better suited to your needs. And while the more advanced UI-adjusting tools tend to be targeted at the power-user crowd, you don’t have to be a card-carrying geek to take advantage of what they offer.

Behold: six innovative apps that’ll empower your favorite high-tech helper and allow it to reach its full productivity potential.

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Why your smartphone needs 5 cameras

Who knew that the camera in your phone would turn out to be the most popular, useful and important technology in your life?

The human race will take 1.3 trillion photos this year, according to Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends. Smartphones will be used for 87% of them.

Most of these pictures are useless and frivolous — not only selfies, but bad selfies that will never even be posted. Don’t even get me started about videos. Smartphone cameras are responsible for the biggest waste of storage space in history.

But a huge number of these photos are valuable for business or professional uses.

Businesspeople of all kinds are increasingly using smartphone cameras as all-purpose sensors for harvesting data from the environment, augmented reality, quick data entry and far more.

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Surface Pro 2 owners wonder: Will Microsoft ship TPM firmware that works?

If you have a Surface Pro 2, you’re in for yet another runaround. This time, the controversy surrounds the SP2’s TPM chip – the chip that controls access to BitLocker and some other disk encryption technology.

The SP2 shipped with an older, less-secure version of the TPM firmware. If your machine has an older version of the TPM firmware, you see a Win10 Defender warning like the one in this screenshot.

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The genius behind some of the world’s most famous buildings | Renzo Piano

Legendary architect Renzo Piano — the mind behind such indelible buildings as The Shard in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the new Whitney Museum of Art in New York City — takes us on a stunning tour through his life’s work. With the aid of gorgeous imagery, Piano makes an eloquent case for architecture as the answer to our dreams, aspirations and desire for beauty. “Universal beauty is one of the few things that can change the world,” he says. “This beauty will save the world. One person at a time, but it will do it.”

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