Facebook is the latest tech giant to hunt for AI talent in Canada

 Facebook is turning its attention to Canada with a new AI research office in Montreal. Google and Microsoft already have outposts in the city and countless other tech companies, including Uber, have researchers based in Canada. McGill University’s Joelle Pineau will be leading Facebook’s AI efforts in Montreal. Pineau’s research focus tends to lean heavily on robotics and… Read More

Google stops challenging most US warrants for data on overseas servers

Google has quietly stopped challenging most search warrants from US judges in which the data requested is stored on oversees servers, according to the Justice Department.

The revelation, contained in a new court filing to the Supreme Court, comes as the administration of President Donald Trump is pressing the justices to declare that US search warrants served on the US tech sector extend to data stored on foreign servers.

Google and other services began challenging US warrants for overseas data after a federal appeals court sided with Microsoft last year in a first-of-its-kind challenge. Microsoft convinced the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals—which has jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York, and Vermont—that US search-and-seizure law does not require compliance with a warrant to turn over e-mail stored on its servers in Ireland. Federal prosecutors were demanding the data as part of a US drug investigation.

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Microsoft building a new graphical interface for managing Windows servers

While Microsoft continues to invest and expand its PowerShell scripting environment—and pushes new GUI-less Windows environments such as the Nano Server configuration—the graphical user interface isn’t going away. GUI tools retain advantages for certain tasks, such as visualizing data and comparing multiple systems. They also tend to be much easier to use for ad hoc configuration and troubleshooting tasks that depend more on exploration and investigation rather than automation.

Most of Windows’ GUI management tools are built around MMC, first introduced in Windows 2000 all those years ago. MMC is clumsy in a number of ways; for example, different MMC plug-ins handle remote system administration in different ways. MMC also does not provide any easy bridge to task automation. It’s often useful to use the GUI to configure one system and then replicate those settings against other systems.

To that end, the company announced Thursday “Project Honolulu,” a new Web-based graphical management tool that’ll be available as a preview for Windows Server 2016 version 1709, along with certain (currently unspecified) other versions of Windows Server. Microsoft also promises that it will require no additional cost beyond that of Windows Server.

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Microsoft’s AI camera app Pix is now a business productivity tool

 Microsoft Pix, the iOS camera app that leverages A.I. to help you take better photos, is venturing beyond being a tool for consumers with an update that now sees it able to assist with photos of business documents, whiteboards, post-it notes, and business cards. According to Microsoft, the additional support focused on office productivity made sense because people were already doing a lot… Read More

Windows 0-day is exploited to install creepy Finspy malware (again)

On Tuesday, Microsoft patched a previously unknown vulnerability that researchers say was actively exploited by an undisclosed nation to install surveillance malware on one or more vulnerable computers.

The exploit, according to a blog post published Tuesday by security firm FireEye, was embedded in a Microsoft Word document. Once opened, the document exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft’s .Net framework. The exploit caused the targeted computer to install Finspy (sometimes “FinSpy”), a family of surveillance software that its controversial developer, UK-based Gamma Group, sells to governments throughout the world. Tuesday’s blog post said the document might have been used to infect an unnamed “Russian speaker.” The vulnerability, indexed as CVE-2017-8759, comes five months after FireEye disclosed a different zero-day being used to distribute Finspy.

“These exposures demonstrate the significant resources available to ‘lawful intercept’ companies and their customers,” FireEye researchers wrote. “Furthermore, Finspy has been sold to multiple clients, suggesting the vulnerability was being used against other targets.”

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Teams adds guest access, Microsoft claims 125K orgs use it monthly

Teams, Microsoft’s Slack-like, IRC-like, collaboration tool, picked up an important new feature today: guest access. While announcing the new feature, Redmond also revealed that in the six months since launch, the product has grown to be used by over 125,000 organizations each month.

We asked how many individual users there are, but Microsoft said it had nothing to share on that front.

When it debuted, Teams had a big flaw when compared to Slack—it was only for Office 365 users. Each organization’s Teams chatrooms could only be accessed by people who were part of the organization, essentially individuals with an account in the organization’s Active Directory. This left these chats off-limits to, for example, contract workers—people outside the organization who were nonetheless collaborating on projects.

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From Apple to Y Combinator—tech sector denounces new “Dreamers” plan

Leading technology-sector bosses denounced President Donald Trump’s move Tuesday to end a program that had prevented the deportation of so-called “Dreamers,” people who illegally came to the US as children.

Apple chief Tim Cook told employees in an e-mail that “We issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again.” Cook has tweeted that 250 people who are Dreamers work for Apple.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his social media network, saying Trump’s decision was “cruel.”

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Microsoft expands availability of colored Surface Laptops, Windows 10 Pro upgrade

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is available in four colors. Every configuration is available in the regular Platinum silvery color, but some configurations are also available in Cobalt Blue, Burgundy, and Graphite Gold.

Today, Microsoft has announced expanded availability of those colored units. Joining the US are Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand.

Further, the i7 models, in Platinum only, are now available in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

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