Deployment

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Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is here to stay. As the volume of data we are inundated with continues to increase, our ability to manage, interpret and act on it becomes increasingly difficult. AI offers a path forward but how we work with AI is changing on the back of greater accessibility to tools such as IBM’s Watson.

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I’ve been a long time user of Evernote. For the last three or four years, I’ve been a paying customer as I need to sync my notes to multiple devices including two computers, a phone and a tablet. But the Windows 10 experience, on a tablet, is poor. Why is that?

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A year ago, the federal government seemingly gutted science and technology research in this country, to the great consternation of many. But from the ashes of NICTA and CSIRO's Digital Productivity group came Data61. The agency's purpose is to bring together federal and state government departments, industry, university partners and CSIRO-wide capability to foster an ecosystem of innovation and collaboration. And while that sounds like it comes from a marketing brochure, the agency has made great strides in a number of fields and engaged with the public in ways that were rarely seen just a year ago.

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If you were in any doubt about the level of business acumen possessed by the leaders of many of Australia's largest retailers then the last week or so will have confirmed your expectations. Despite what many retailers think, Amazon's big advantage is not price - it's service. But events of the last week seem to have confirmed that Australian retailers are clueless when it comes to reacting to a changing market.

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One of the things that used to be difficult for small businesses was accessing payment system. Typically, you were locked in with your bank and slugged with the cost of a payment terminal that you then needed to integrate with your point of sale system. That's changed as a result of new mobile-enabled payment systems and the new API economy while allows all sorts of systems to access payments and other systems. Square is leveraging all this as they launch a one-stop shop offering a suite of third-party point-of-sale (POS) hardware and accessories.

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Teams is Microsoft's play in the competitive collaboration business. Like Slack and HipChat, it's a chat-based system. But as well as chat, Teams is about allowing coworkers to work together. Of course, that means being able to access content easily.

As part of Microsoft's increased openness to working with third parties, a new integration with Dropbox has been announced, so people can work together on files stored in Dropbox.

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With Windows 10 now receiving biannual updates, keeping up with changes is quite challenging. The Windows Insider program allows you to receive previews of upcoming updates like the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update which is expected during our Spring. I've been living on the edge and running updates from the Fast Ring of the Windows Insider program. A new update, Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 for PC, was made available today and it promises to fix a number of issues from the last release and add some new features.

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It's taken a couple of years but Lenovo is planning to release a retro-styled ThinkPad that brings back the style of the 1990s with 21st century computing power. If it's really like the ThinkPads of old, it will be a very robust computer with the best keyboard on the market and be able to withstand some heavy duty action - those computers were built to last.

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Blockchain has something of a mixed reputation, mainly as it's the underlying technology used in cryptocurrency applications that are often used by criminals to transfer funds without detection. But cryptocurrency is just one application that the blockchain platform can be used for. Accenture and Microsoft have teamed up to use blockchain as the basis for an identity management platform.

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Although Apple's built in Mail and Calendar apps are pretty good, many companies prefer to standardise and have everyone using the same mail and calendar client regardless of the computing platform they use. But Outlook for Mac has always seemed to be a step or two behind its Windows counterpart.

Today, Microsoft has announced that a number of highly requested features (which I think is code for "stuff we do in Windows but never got around to on the Mac") are making their way onto Macs.

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At a recent event, a number of experts contributed to a panel discussion on how technology is changing how health care is being delivered to our aging population. And while technology offers lots of opportunities, it comes with many challenges. The services needed by older people and their carers are delivered by many different providers, funded under different state and federal models with myriad regulatory obligations. And as our population ages the need for high quality services to be delivered efficiently is growing. Technology can help but there are many challenges.

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Earlier this month, I reported that Dropbox was adding their own point of presence (PoP) in Sydney to speed up local services. This followed similar moves in other territories. The PoP isn't a local storage facility but a proxy that is used to speed up sync performance back to the servers in US, which is where almost all Dropbox's storage capacity is located - there's also storage in Germany to satisfy EU data sovereignty requirements. But, it seems Dropbox's ambitions are much grander, as they are building their own private network to service customers.

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While Chrome is most people's favourite browser and Edge is the browser most used to download other browsers, Mozilla's Firefox has just been updated to version 54. The focus of this release was knocking over 32 bugs that were potentially exploitable by attackers.

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It seems the days of large, monolithic software releases are now behind us. Microsoft is changing the way updates to their server platform will be delivered. Starting during our Spring (the northern Autumn/Fall) Microsoft will be releasing updates twice a year. This, they say, is to allow their customers to take advantage of new capabilities faster as they innovate.

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Looking through my RSS feeds, the media releases I receive in my email, and the headlines in the tech press and on social media, there’s one thing that seems to be dominating much of the conversation - artificial intelligence. Some of the applications seem quite interesting, such as the TranslateOne2One. There are others that solve smaller, yet annoying issues, such as the announcement by Slack this morning. But what are the problems we want AI to solve?

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I love holidays but there are two things that really bust my chops about taking some hard-earned R&R: the massive push before you leave to clear everything from your to-do list and coming back to a billion messages. While there’s not a lot you can do about the first problem, Slack is taking a crack at the second part - at least when it comes to messages. Highlights is an intelligence layer that the company says will transform the way people keep up with critical information and build connections at work.