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    An essential Mac OS X Keychain guide
    Has your Mac suddenly started asking you for account and Wi-Fi passwords it never used to require before? Is your Mail app asking you to enter the password relentlessly? Then there’s a good chance Apple’s password management system, Keychain Access, has a problem, but don’t panic -- we’ve got you covered.Keychain AccessWi-Fi, Mail, user names and more –all these passwords are kept inside Keychain Access. Your system uses these and will require a password (usually your Mac account password) if you want to take a look at any of the passwords it holds. If you use iCloud Keychain these passwords are also made available across all of your approved devices, which is why your Keychain password matters so much.

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    Galaxy S6 pricing slips out: $780 unlocked, at least in Spain
    BARCELONA -- More details surfaced today on Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 smartphone, including an unlocked price of 699 € (about $780) for a 32 GB version, according to Samsung’s website in Spain.A Samsung spokeswoman said U.S. pricing will come from U.S. carriers, which hasn’t yet been announced. She said pricing has begun to appear on Samsung’s website for a few other European countries, in addition to Spain. The phone ships April 10 in 20 countries, including the U.S. Pricing still wasn’t available for the new Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone.Samsung didn’t issue a statement announcing the price, but it was discovered on the company's Spanish site by Computerworld in a standard Web search done from Barcelona, where the phone was first announced on Sunday at Mobile World Congress .

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    Alibaba pushes into U.S. cloud market, signaling global ambitions
    Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is making a push into the U.S. cloud computing market, where it's expected to run into competition from Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft. Alibaba subsidiary Aliyun is already the biggest cloud player in its home market, and on Wednesday, it opened a data center in California, its first data center outside of China. The U.S. business will first focus on attracting Chinese enterprises based in the country, before it expands to international customers in this year's second half, Alibaba said in a statement. No doubt Alibaba will face intense competition in the U.S., where Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are major players. But opening the data center in Silicon Valley sends another message that it wants to be a global company, said Charlie Dai, an analyst with Forrester Research.

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    Freak out: Apple and Android gear vulnerable to yet another open-source bug
    Another month, another ancient OpenSSL vuln. with a silly name. This time, it's FREAK -- Factoring RSA Export Keys (which doesn't even match the acronym).The bug stems from crypto Export controls negotiated in the G.H.W.Bush era.In IT Blogwatch, bloggers love to blame NSA interference. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

    Craig "tip of the" Timberg sinks security hopes: [You're fired -Ed.]

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    China says its new cybersurveillance proposal mimics U.S. practices
    China is scratching its head over why the U.S. is opposing a new anti-terror law relating to cybersurveillance when the U.S. and other countries have also requested that tech companies hand over data to help stop terrorists. On Wednesday, China's parliamentary spokeswoman tried to play down the impact the proposed legislation might have on foreign tech businesses, in the face of U.S. fears it would require companies to hand over sensitive data to the country's government. The anti-terror law is still under review, but if passed, it would require tech companies to give encryption keys to the authorities, and create "back doors" into their systems for government surveillance access.

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    Apple in talks with A123 Systems over worker poaching
    Apple is in talks to settle a lawsuit filed by electric-car battery maker A123 Systems, which has charged the iPhone maker with poaching five of its employees to set up a new battery division. The lawsuit has added fuel to reports that Apple is getting into the electric-car business. Apple filed a motion Tuesday that requested the court for more time to file its response to A123's motions as it and the five engineers charged "are exploring potential resolution of this matter." A123 alleged in its complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that the engineers had worked at its System Ventures Technologies division in Waltham, Massachusetts, which does research and development in the area of lithium-ion battery technology.

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    Apple, like Google, to hire full-time security guards in Silicon Valley
    Apple will replace a number of contract security positions with direct hires for its Silicon Valley operations, amid widespread demands from contract workers like drivers and security guards for better working conditions at tech companies. The move by Apple comes in the wake of growing concerns about inequality in Silicon Valley, arising largely from the gentrification and high-costs in the area driven by the influx of hi-tech employees. In October, Google said it would employ on its payroll security guards, rather than have them placed by a contractor, shortly after a report in August by community labor organization Working Partnerships USA that highlighted the poor working conditions of janitors, security guards and other contract staff, supplied by third-party companies, that are used extensively by tech companies in the valley.

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    IBM plugs OpenPower servers into SoftLayer cloud
    IBM will roll out a cloud computing service next quarter using OpenPower-based servers, continuing an effort to expand the market for Power processors and challenge Intel in hyperscale data centers. The company's SoftLayer division will provide an infrastructure-as-a-service offering using OpenPower systems in the second quarter, initially from a data center in Dallas, Texas, it said Wednesday. It will roll out the service worldwide at a later date. IBM kicked off its OpenPower initiative about two years ago. Its goal is to license its Power architecture to other server makers, who can use it to design systems targeted at online service providers like Google and cloud providers like Amazon Web Services.

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    R in 5 lines or less: Dataviz with the Google Charts API
    Want to tap into the Google Charts API with just a few lines of code? There's an R package for that.For this example, I've graphed daily high and low temperatures in Fargo, ND (known for large temperature swings).
    If you'd like to try this yourself, the code is below. Note that if you don't already have the googleVis library installed on your system, you'll need to install it first with the command install.packages("googleVis"). You'll also need R installed on your system; in addition, I'd recommend using RStudio for your R environment.

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    IT certification hot list 2015
    IT certifications that deliver higher pay
    Shutterstock

    Image by http://www.shutterstock.comEver wonder how much that certification is worth? While it's hard to put a dollar sign on certifications, CompTIA offers some insight in the results from a recent survey.

    • 65 percent of employers use IT certifications to differentiate between equally qualified candidates
    • 72 percent of employers use IT certifications as a requirement for certain job roles
    • 60 percent of organizations often use IT certifications to confirm a candidate's subject matter knowledge or expertise
    • 66 percent of employers consider IT certifications to be very valuable -- a dramatic increase from the 30 percent in 2011
    Numbers like these make it hard to discount the validity of certifications. That said, all certifications are not equal, which is why twice a year we look at which certifications are poised for growth over the next six to 12 months. And with 2015 upon us, we turn to Foote Partners and its recently released "IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report" to find out which certifications will carry the most weight throughout 2015 in terms of pay and demand.

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    With a little work you could get dozens from that!
    At this government agency, the contract for PC support changes hands, and ends up with an outsourcer with a fixation on trouble tickets, says a second-tier support pilot fish."Almost overnight, the emphasis changed from 'get the job done and keep the users happy' to 'close as many tickets as you can as fast as you can,'" fish says."We reported to a nominal supervisor who was one of us. The supervisors reported to a manager at headquarters who was, to put it lightly, clueless about how we worked and what we did -- but boy did he watch those help desk tickets. I would regularly get grief from him over not having enough tickets."When a new piece of hardware and software comes through from headquarters, there's a whole different kind of grief. It's a bar code reader that interfaces with some mainframe software, and it's intended to be used by non-IT people for inventory: Find the equipment, scan it, and type in the location and who owns it.

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    Serious FREAK flaw could undermine the web's encryption
    Experts are warning of a serious security flaw that has apparently gone undetected for years and can weaken encrypted connections between computers and websites, potentially undermining security across the Internet.The flaw, which has been dubbed FREAK, affects the widely used Secure Sockets Layer protocol and its successor, Transport Layer Security, and can allow an attacker to intercept supposedly encrypted traffic as it moves between clients and servers.The flaw affects many popular websites, as well as programs including Apple's Safari browser and Google's Android mobile OS, security experts say. Applications that use a version of OpenSSL prior to 1.0.1k are also vulnerable to the bug, detailed in this advisory.

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