Deployment

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The idea of a multi-user operating system is almost a tautology today but back in the 1980s it wasn't all that common - at least when it came to personal computing. PC-MOS was a multi-user operating system that, like DR-DOS and others, competed with Microsoft's MS-DOS before eventually disappearing at the Redmond juggernaut crushed almost all its competition. Now, Roeland Jansen, Gary Robertson and Rod Roark have put the operating system onto GitHub as an open source project so we can all mess with its source code.

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While smartphones have carved out a really useful space in our pockets, most of us have retained a desktop computer or notebook for "real" work. What if you could have a device that worked as both. Something you could slip into your pocket when you're out of the office but could easily dock and connect to a big screen and a mouse and keyboard. That's the promise of Samusng's DeX - and it looks like it's getting a hefty update to help realise that one device dream.

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Microsoft has announced the release of Visio Online so you can open and edit diagrams from just about any device. Although it will cost you an extra US$5 per month (assuming an annual commitment), that's pretty decent value. It allows your to share Visio diagrams which can be viewed for free using the iOS or online viewers.

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The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2017 (Cth) which was passed on 23 August 2017 and the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill which was passed but the Parliament today are about ensuring large companies don't stifle competition and ensure that abuses of market power are stopped. The previous laws looked at the purpose of mergers, acquisitions and other actions whereas the new rules examine the potential affects of company activities, as well as their purpose.

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Dropbox is continuing its journey away from being simply a file sync service into one that businesses can use for collaboration and more sophisticated information distribution. While their free service remains popular, the company is continuing to push their business creditability with the new Showcase - the centrepiece of Dropbox's new Professional offering. I spoke with Dropbox's Daniel Iversen about the new products and services.

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I couldn't help but think back to the 1970s when Microsoft announced the new Surface Book 2 - memories of the opening titles from The Six Million Dollar Man came flooding back. The new Surface Book 2 boasts the latest processors from Intel, upgraded graphics and a massive 17 hours of battery life when playing back video. And Microsoft has one target firmly in their sights. Most of the comparisons Microsoft makes is with Apple's MacBook Pro, claiming to be better, stronger and faster.

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Patent-holding com nay VirnetX has been awarded almost US$440M in a long running patent dispute with Apple. A Federal Court judge in the Eastern District of Texas ordered the payment because of infringements relating to FaceTime and VPN on Demand. This is Apple's third loss in the matter, having lost and then won on appeal in previous cases. The four patents being disputed were purchased by VirnetX who have also had a crack at extracting cash from Microsoft and Cisco.

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I've been using an Apple Watch since the first unit was released. Back then, the device barely made it through a day between battery charges, wasn't waterproof, lacked an integrated GPS and had a confusing and cluttered user interface. Now, in it fourth hardware iteration and with watchOS 4, the Apple Watch Series 3 comes in cellular and non-cellular variants, has GPS, is waterproof and still has perplexing, but improving software.

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I've all but given up with keeping business cards. My preferred tool for capturing business cards and other bits of paper that float around at meetings and events has been Evernote. The Premium subscription that I pay for lets me scan stuff. The app then performs OCR so the contents can be easily searched. Business card scanning has a nifty feature where it can automatically connect you on LinkedIn and/or send your contact details (a digital business card) over email. Microsoft has now updated their camera app for iOS, Microsoft Pix, so it can recognise documents, whiteboards and business cards.With this latest update, Microsoft has added the ability to recognize and scan blackboards - for students at hipster schools I guess.

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During the first week of November, the OpenStack Summit is coming to Australia for the first time. With sessions focussing on the needs of everyone from the OpenStack newbie through to seasoned professionals with years of experience, the Summit is a biannual event that takes place in different cities around the world. I spoke with Mark Collier, the of the COO OpenStack Foundation, to find out what we can expect from the Sydney event.

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In the United States, one of the biggest retail successes of the mid 20th century was Sears. The retailer created a massive business, that in today's dollars was doing twice as much business as Amazon is currently turning over. And it was built on one critical element - knowing the customer. Sears was eventually swamped by Walmart and others and today we're seeing online retailers doing the same. Looking back at the past can be a great way to learn how to succeed in the future.

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The last Holden car is expected to roll out of General Motors' assembly plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, on October 20, during a ceremony for employees. But an image that surfaced ahead of that appears to show the car in the process of being built. The car will be the last commercial car ever built in Australia.

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Sphero might be best known for their brilliant Star Wars robots - R2-D2 and BB-9E are all kinds of awesome. But the company is about more than making nifty playthings. The Sphere Mini is a spherical robot that acts as a gateway for kids to get into programming, as well as a funky little gaming device.

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Amazon has opened registration for their first Australian Amazon Marketplace Seller Summit. It will take place in Sydney on Monday 13th November at Jones Bay Wharf, Sydney. The half-day event is free and Amazon says it will provide practical guidance on setting up and growing a business online. The event is being run in partnership with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the SME Association of Australia (SMEA).

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It's hard to get too invested in new products from Google. The company has built a reputation for developing interesting and useful projects, only to abandon them when they cannot commercialise them or lose interest. So, when they released Duo last year I didn't really bother with it too much. But they seem to be getting serious about Duo - their video calling challenger to Skype and FaceTime.

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About a week ago, I received a press release letting me know that Dropbox was updating their style guidelines with new typefaces and colours. To be honest, I didn't think it was that interesting. But that new look is making an appearance in app and online updates now. And not everyone is happy.

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I spend a lot of my day reading in order to understand what's going on in the tech world. Among the big megatrends that are emerging as critical areas, augmented reality (AR) is shaping up to be one of the most transformative technologies of the 21st century. But the hype is far from the reality.