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Hot News in IT this Week

Simon Eskow, TechBlog Editor. 31 July 2015, 7:00 am

Highlights from the week in IT news in New Zealand and abroad.

Windows Update

New Zealand Windows users: don't despair. Windows 10 was released to the public this week, and it seems to have corrected problems users have banged their head against in Windows 8. The old desktop Start button, lost in the widely maligned Windows 8 design, has made a return, making the Windows tiles that everyone complains about less of a pain. Meanwhile Microsoft is encouraging enterprises to begin considering an update because of Windows 10 management tools that can automatically configure new devices, and security features like Device Guard which lets businesses lock devices down to only run applications from trusted developers they choose. The operating system also includes Windows Hello, which lets people log in with biometric information like their fingerprint or face.

PCWorld: As Windows 10 Launches, Microsoft Target Enterprise

BGR: Five Awful Windows 8 Features Fixed in Windows 10

Computerworld: Windows 10 Upgrade: Who should do it?

Press Release on Free Upgrade to Windows 10

Connection to the Land

Spark has officially launched its Rural Wireless Broadband service following a two-month trial in various remote areas. The service initially uses Spark's 4G mobile network over the 700MHz spectrum. Service is being rolled out gradually, and the provider has posted an address search on its website for customers to determine if it is available to them.

Computerworld: Spark Launches Rural Wireless Broadband Service

Charge of the Light Brigade

California start-up Stower has developed a simple mobile phone charger that runs on candle power. The device is basically a thermoelectric generator with a receptacle for water that can be heated with a small flame. The device generates from two to three watts, or roughly the power derived from a USB port. Stower has developed a similar device designed to charge phones over a campfire, and is currently working on a charger for stove tops in Guatemala as part of a push to expand their business and provide sustainable micro-energy solutions in emerging markets.

ITWeb: Candle Power can Charge Smartphones

Reuters (with Video): Candle Power To Charge Phone


A report released by Grant Thornton on corporate governance concludes that New Zealand companies are not keeping apace with the "digital economy", showing the need for education among New Zealand company directors. The report looks at the composition of boardrooms around the world, including New Zealand, and finds that Aotearoa is not alone in the lack of knowledge of the digital economy among business leaders. The report draws on interviews with board members. It's research concludes that there is a desire among directors to get up to speed, and where it lacks, directors struggle to effectively advise management teams. Meanwhile, iStart reports on a presentation by a Gartner executive on the future of the IT shop in large organisations. According to the presentation, IT departments are facing the kind of "radical overhaul that factory floors endured two decades ago". The outlook is that within a certain time frame, 66 per cent of current IT roles will disappear from the scene as a natural progression of technological transition. As a general rule. IT professionals who successfully transitioned to agile systems development would earn trust by delivering business value to the enterprise.

Computerworld: Are New Zealand Boardrooms Failing to Keep Pace with Digital Economy?

iStart: IT Jobs Face Uncertain Future


TechDay writes about a report released by the Labour party on New Zealand's preparedness for the future of work, in part regarding to the role technology plays in the changing workplace and a discussion of how New Zealand "can use innovation to create decent jobs with high wages". Labour cites an Australian report that estimates up to 40 per cent of the workforce is at risk of being out-right replaced by technology over the next 10 to 15 years. David Cunliffe is reported as saying there are huge opportunities for small geographically distant countries like New Zealand to use technology to reduce the tyranny of distance. "We must create a truly 'smart economy' rather than being wedded to a commodity driven one. But we must ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in and benefit from this new world," he says.

Techday: Labour Poses Questions About the Future of Work

Labour's Future of Work commission site

Broader Broadband

Computerworld this week reports on the entry of 2degrees into the consumer broadband market after acquiring Snap earlier this year. In addition, 2degrees has also partnered with Sky NEON to give customers unlimited access to content for the first six months. 2degrees' purchase of Snap earlier this year has allowed the company to accelerate its entry into the broadband market using Snap's network infrastructure.

Computerworld: Snap Purchase Bears Fruit for 2degrees


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