Tech News for January 4

2015 Marks Science, Technology Breakthroughs

In 2015, the U.S. Army’s homepage published dozens of stories regarding technology being developed by engineers and scientists across the force. Among the topics of interest were developments in power distribution, robotics and network security software. The editors at Army News Service delved into an array of science and technology reporting from 2015, and pulled just a few topics to highlight here.

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5 Aspects of Cloud Computing to Watch Out For in 2016

What began as a fancy way of doing business is catching up and companies are fast getting onboard the cloud computing bandwagon. Cloud computing affords businesses a set of privileges that desktop computing just cannot match. Some of the chief reasons why enterprises are seeking cloud computing are as follows. Companies today regardless of size can aim for economies of scale thanks to cheap computing power available in the cloud. It is perfectly suited even for small and medium enterprises thanks to the pay as you go pricing model. The applications and the data can be accessed anywhere globally and collaborators can work in real time. Taking stock of the situation is easier thanks to a centralized monitoring facility. The best part is that there is no need to buy expensive software licenses. Any software application upgrades, and the security feature aspects are the sole obligations of the cloud service provider. When it comes to efficiency, flexibility, reliability, and scalability the cloud undoubtedly triumphs over the rest.

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GSA cloud program office open for business

The General Services Administration has launched a program management office specifically for agencies that need help moving to the cloud. Meant as a one-stop shop for “flexible, pre-competed contracts and cloud acquisition expertise [to] give you faster, easier access to cloud computing services available in today’s market,” the Cloud Computing Services Program Management Office is officially open to help agencies meet the federal cloud-first mandates, according to the GSA website. Using the office’s services, GSA says, will help agencies take to the cloud in a more efficient, agile and trusted manner.

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Adobe, Microsoft, Red Hat Aim For Cloud Makeovers

The three big guns in IBD’s Computer Software-Desktop group — Microsoft, Adobe and Red Hat — have reloaded, taking aim at the cloud for growth. The Internet cloud generally refers to services delivered online, such as software downloads, video streaming and data stored in remote data centers that consumers can access anywhere via mobile devices. For makers of desktop software, the rise of such services has caused a revolution, not just in software packaging (there is none), but also in drastically reducing customers’ initial costs of implementing and using new programs.

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The Year Tech & Government Collided, From A-Z

2015 saw amazing leaps in technology of every variety, from consumer video games and toys to data analytics and specialized hardware for the military and international corporations. But new technology and its proliferation also meant that 2015 saw a series of spectacular clashes between the worlds of tech and government. We put together a look the noteworthy moments where the tech industry and government fought, collaborated, compromised or otherwise marked important milestones in 2015 (with big names like Airbnb, Uber and Tesla among the major players on the tech side). This collection shows that, if anything, 2016 will be even more fraught with the complexity of adapting government and regulations to technology and fitting tech into the rest of the world.

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Even More Cybersecurity Predictions for 2016

Last week, we shared with you five cybersecurity predictions for 2016. If those were the only threats, they would be more than enough to keep CIOs and IT admins on the offense all year. But more concerns are on the horizon and must be addressed to ensure enterprise security and data security for the year ahead. We turned to Brian Contos, chief security strategist and senior vice president of field engineering at Norse, which provides live-attack intelligence, to get his thoughts on what lies ahead in 2016. He offered us 10 predictions and key threats to keep top-of-mind.

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How CIOs will refine digital transformation in 2016

Fueled by mandates to create products and services that meet customers’ preferences for interacting with corporate brands online and from mobile devices, digital transformations commanded the attention of many CIOs in 2015. CIOs will refine those efforts in 2016, using security, mobility, analytics and cloud (or SMAC) technologies to buttress operations.

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This Is How Visualizing Open Data Can Help Save Lives

Cities are increasingly releasing data that they can use to make life better for their residents online — enabling journalists and researchers to better inform the public. Los Angeles, for example, has analyzed data about injuries and deaths on its streets and published it online. Now people can check its conclusions and understand why LA’s public department prioritizes certain intersections.

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Law enforcement must report details on shootings and uses of force under new California law

As of New Year’s Day, California law enforcement agencies must collect and report information on all police shootings and other serious uses of force. A new law launches the first statewide collection of such data, providing the state Department of Justice information on all cases in which people are killed or seriously injured by law enforcement officers.

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California Passed A Lot of New Laws This Year. Here Are the Ones You Should Know

It was a busy year for California’s legislature, which signed 807 bills into law in 2015. Some were almost laughably niche (Spanish moss was designated the state’s official lichen), while others were game changers (doctors can now prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients).  Today, the Los Angeles Times published a handy rundown of the new laws, conveniently sorted by category. You should check it out in its entirety, but in the meantime here are some of the most important, interesting, and relevant for us San Franciscans.

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FCC Says Internet Speeds Three Times Faster than in 2011

How fast is broadband in America, really? And is it getting faster? If you listen to telecom providers, the answer is it’s fast and it’s getting even speedier. But is that the reality? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set out to answer just that question in its latest Measuring Broadband America report, a study of the performance of consumer fixed broadband Internet access from coast to coast. The FCC has compiled this report for the past five years to help consumers make better decisions about where to spend their Internet access dollars.

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Why Do the Feds Keep Targeting California?

Nearly 20 years ago, California became the first state to give patients legal access to medical marijuana. It happened with a voter initiative that was short and simple enough to fit on the back of a postcard. And ever since, locals’ relationship with federal law enforcement has been thorny, plagued by waves of FBI and DEA raids in which authorities seize property, break up families and put well-intentioned citizens behind bars.

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New data privacy legislation limits use of student data in California

Technology companies in California are welcoming the New Year with some adjustments. The new California law limits the student information and other data that will be gathered. The said data privacy statute constrains operators and in-charge of education websites, web and other system applications, and online services to use student data often use in advertising.

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California lawmakers return to the Capitol to tackle leftover business

When state lawmakers return Monday for the start of the new legislative year, their plate will be full of leftovers from 2015, including bills to snuff out smoking, raise the minimum wage and expand the state’s policies on paid family leave. And the 2016 agenda will get even more crowded with the raft of new bills lawmakers will introduce as they return from a nearly three-month recess, including a focus on tightening California’s already tough gun laws in the wake of last month’s deadly terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

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Interactive Data Chart: State IT Contracts 2015

In 2015, eighty-one state agencies reported procurement activity to the Department of General Services totaling nearly $1.5 billion in IT goods and services. See the interactive chart for more details. Also see the TechWire State Spending Dashboard here.

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Cannabis Tracking System to Begin in 2016

Three new tax laws took effect on Jan. 1 to regulate the growing industry around cannabis distribution industry under the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). They include a new law that puts in place a “comprehensive statewide regulatory framework for commercial medical cannabis activity,” according to a press release from the BOE’s Office of Public Affairs. The first of the three bills, AB 266, was introduced by Assemblyman Rob Bonta in early 2015. The law will enact the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act within the Department of Consumer Affairs and establish within that department the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.

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New Transportation Laws Take Effect in 2016

California motorists will face a raft of new laws this coming year, including one that adds earbuds to the list of devices and accessories banned to prevent distracted driving. State law already banned drivers and bicyclists from wearing headsets or earplugs in both ears. Now, earbuds and earphones are taboo, too, although it’s still OK to wear them in just one ear. The idea is to make sure drivers and bicyclists can hear sirens, horns and other safety noises. The new law, Senate Bill 491, exempts anyone using noise-cancelling earplugs or headsets while driving emergency vehicles, construction equipment or garbage trucks.

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