IT Pro

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Who doesn't fantasize occasionally about completely upending their lives by giving up blogging so they can start a completely new career as a puppy Instagram account manager? Whatever your current career and pipe dream career are, it is possible to turn your dreams into reality, but only if you're willing to work for it.

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This year will, I think, be remembered for many things. But on the technology front, it will be the year that collaboration systems really started to hit their straps. Continuing that trend of improvement and evolution, Dropbox has revamped the iPad experience for their collaboration tool Paper as well as adding Outlook calendar integration and the ability to link events from the Google or Outlook calendars to notes.

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Microsoft has quietly added beta versions of an SSH client and server to the next major update of Windows 10. The SSH client and server will allow admins and developers to securely connect to other systems without needing a third-party app like the popular PuTTY.

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In August 2016 the Mirai Botnet was unleashed, using millions of poorly secured IoT devices to launch a number of DDoS attacks that resulted in relatively minor impact by taking down the website of security analyst Brian Krebs through to clobbering the Dyn network which, in turn, resulted in some of the world's biggest websites dropping off the Internet. The creators of the Mirai software have been charged and have pleaded guilty in a US court.

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Online apparel shopping service, THE ICONIC, has launched their new Snap To Shop service. It allows you to take a photo of some clothes, either in a store or on someone, and then use that image to search against THE ICONIC's inventory to find a similar garment or ensemble. I spoke with the company's CTO, Zoe Ghani, about what tech they're using to make this possible.

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A vulnerability from last century, dubbed ROBOT (Return Of Bleichenbacher’s Oracle Threat) is back and potentially impacts a number of major websites including Facebook and Paypal. ROBOT affects the handling of RSA encryption keys as they are applied to the TLS protocol. If a website uses these keys, it is possible to launch a man-in-the-middle attack by sending dodgy queries to a website which result in the session key being revealed. This allows an attacker to decrypt traffic between the web server and the browser.

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For the last year or two, many pundits have said AI and automation will result in substantial job losses in many sectors. While we've seen widespread automation in the automotive industry and other manufacturing sectors, we're starting to see the advent of AI moving into white collar jobs. Someone even trained some AI to write a chapter for a new Harry Potter book. But Gartner says our fears are unfounded as AI is likely to create, rather than destroy jobs.

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I recently wrote about the creeping costs associated with subscription services. So, in an effort to better manage my monthly spending I've been looking at where I'm spending my dollars. One of the services I've been subscribed to is Adobe Creative Cloud. For almost $30 per month I had access to one app - InDesign - that I was using with one client. But I no longer need the app. And I discovered Adobe's exit fees were nothing short of exhorbitant.

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If you had any doubts that criminals were in investing in technology, then this will allay those concerns. By aggregating the data from over 250 separate breaches, cybercriminals have created an easily accessed and usable treasure trove with 1.4 billion clear text log-in credentials according to security researchers 4iQ. If you're in the habit of reusing your credentials then this aggregated, interactive database which lets criminals query and receive responses in under a second should have you worried.

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Microsoft has added a Google Calendar and Gmail connector so you can use the voice-assistant to check you calendar, set reminders and pull up a contact. With Microsoft's assistant accessible through some of the new connected speakers coming on the market, it's a sign that the folks in Redmond don't want to be left behind as Apple, Amazon and Google push ahead with their own digital concierges.

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Lots of people switch between different smartphones. For some, it's an upgrade to the latest version of their preferred device while for others it's a jump from one platform to the other. When it comes to switching, there are some people who are so committed to one platform that the thought of jumping ship seems fanciful. So when the former editor of Macworld Australia, Chris Oaten, dumped his iPhone for an Android device I was pretty surprised.

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Uber has become a verb for getting a ride, much like Google simply has come to mean search. But Europe's fastest growing ride-share service, Taxify, aims to change that. The company has added Australia to its list of 20 countries where the service is making inroads into the competitive ride-share industry.

The company is promising lower fares for passengers and a bigger cut for drivers with 4000 drivers already on their local books.

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While most of us think hard about spending $2 in the App Store, Apple has splashed about $400M to buy music matching service Shazam. While the app is really popular, the tech behind it is really the goose that Apple wants, as it adds the golden egg of AI to their Siri and Apple Music baskets.

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Optus has been forced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to refund thousands of customers who were promised fast broadband but received slower throughput. Almost half of Optus' customers who paid for 100Mbps downloads didn't get what was promised.

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The humble padlock has been a mainstay of security for a long time. While outwardly simple, these 2,500 year old inventions have been used to secure everything from loads on trading routes to gates into our backyards. But they've now been given the "smart" treat - replacing the lock-and-key with a mechanism that is activated via a secure app on your smartphone. Don and Bone sell a variety of different Smartlock devices. I've tested their travel lock for suitcases and the Locksmart Mini - which is pretty darn big for something with the "mini" tag.