Data Shows Information Technology Jobs Grow, Showing Recovery

In January, the United States economy struggled, adding only 49,000 jobs overall. Despite the low number of total jobs, the past two months saw 55,000 new Information Technology (IT) employment, revised from the 18,000, which was initially reported according to research from Janco Associates, Inc.

Compared to January 2020, total U.S. IT jobs have decreased by 35,800, or about one percent. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100,000 IT employees were furloughed, representing roughly three percent of the entire workforce.

According to CompTIA’s press release, the IT sector saw growth of 11,500 new hires and an estimated 40,000 total new technology employees. CompTIA calculates technical and non-technical positions, whereas Janco analyzes IT positions, including software developers in all industries.

Tim Hebert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said, “With net job gains of 33,500 positions through the first two months of 2020, this is the best start to the year for the tech sector since 2017. However, we must acknowledge the possibility of a hiring lull due to the uncertainty many employers are facing.”

CompTIA calculated that an estimated 78,000 IT-related jobs were added in January across the industry sectors, including sales positions. The unemployment rate of 2.4 percent was down from three percent in December 2020. In all job areas, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent. The number of IT-related job listings also grew in January to nearly 26,000, surpassing 232,000.

Janco CEO M. Victor Janulaitis expects eleven percent growth in U.S. IT jobs over the coming decade. He said, “Most of the growth in the IT job market will be with software developers, quality assurance, and testers. This will be driven by [work from home] as it is will be embraced by more enterprises in normal operations and internet-centric applications are developed and deployed. The projected growth for that sector alone will be almost 18 percent,” he said.

According to CompTIA, the states with the most IT job openings in January included California, Texas, Virginia, New York, and Florida. The most substantial month-over-month growth in job postings took place in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Alabama.

The top three industries for IT were scientific and technical services (51,278 job postings), finance and insurance (23,566 job postings), and manufacturing (20,581 job postings.)

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PC Sales See Biggest Upswing in Ten Years

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home and shelter-in-place orders have driven Personal Computer (PC) sales to the highest rate in a decade.

IDC, a PC company, said global shipments of PCs in 2020 reached 302.6 million devices, a 13 percent increase from 2019. The jump was the largest annual gain since 2010, with the volume being the largest since 2014, which was notable since six of the past ten years saw declines. Gartner Research also showed a boost in PC shipments, with steady growth that was the highest measured since 2010.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobile device tracking team, said, “A lot of volume early in the year was because companies had people working at home. Enterprises purchased large numbers of laptops to equip those suddenly-remote workers; the sales volume at time sufficient to completely throttle the component supply chain.”

With many school districts focusing on remote learning, many tried to equip students with PCs (low-cost laptops), to learn adequately. Families with school-aged children also added PCs to households when districts could not afford to cover costs for every child.

Gaming PCs also proved useful during the pandemic, when people were hunkered down at home for long periods of lockdowns and quarantine. Entertainment-wise, families needed distractions, and games became an easy target. Those interested in playing games on old PCs were in for a surprise, as many didn’t make the cut for gaming, crafts, or other projects. Therefore, those consumers were forced to purchase new devices, which also helped drive sales.

Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo reported the highest PC shipment numbers for 2020, according to IDC. The highest year-over-year growth rate went to Apple, coming in at roughly 22.8 million. Chromebook, Google’s laptop powered by a Chrome-based operating system, also surged in 2020. Shipments grew by more than 80 percent, totaling approximately 30 million.

Ryan Reith of IDC, leader of the firm’s mobile device tracking group, said, “Demand is pushing the PC market forward and all signs indicate this surge still has a way to go. In retrospect, the pandemic not only fueled the PC market demand but also created opportunities that resulted in a market expansion.”

Consumer shipments are projected to increase through 2024. “We’ll see a lot of demand in 2021 because some of that went unfulfilled in 2020. Those orders slipped from the end of 2020 into early 2021,” Ubrani said.

For all your computer needs, contact the experts at CPS. Our fully-trained, knowledgeable staff can help troubleshoot or answer any computer questions.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Computer Scientists Say Super-Intelligent Machines Could Be Uncontrollable

Theoretically, it is impossible for humans to control a super-intelligent Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine. It is also nearly impossible to detect when such an AI is created.

In 2015, Google developed AI software that was able to play – and regularly win – classic arcade games. Their findings were detailed in the journal Nature. In 2018, a study published in Science outlined how AI can regularly master chess, shogi (Japanese version of chess), and Go (ancient Chinese strategy game) through self-play. Smartphone apps can easily beat world chess champions such as Magnus Carlsen.

The Three Laws of Robotics are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Additionally, the “Zeroth Law” states that a robot may not harm humanity, or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

Researchers from Tufts University’s Human-Robot Interaction Lab are trying to develop mechanisms for robots to reject orders received from humans, as long as they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Now, researchers are warning that any program written to stop AI from harming humans (and destroying the world while they’re at it) might conclude to halt or not. Mathematically, it is impossible for us to be absolutely sure which route the AI will take.

An alternative would be to teach the AI “ethics” of sorts and order it to not destroy the world. Researchers say this limits the super-intelligence capabilities and would force the AI to be cut off from parts of the internet or specific networks. Moreover, this defeats the purpose of creating AI in the first place: If the AI isn’t going to be used to solve problems beyond a human scope, then why exist in the first place?

As AI research expands, we might not recognize when the super-intelligence beyond human control forms. It would be incomprehensible, thus, uncontrollable.  

Read the full article in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research to learn more. Check out a full paper that outlines how humans are developing mechanisms to allow AI to reject any given orders.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Quantum Teleportation Achieves 90% Accuracy Over 27 Miles

Today’s internet is a hacker’s dream: from vulnerable communication links and incompetently secured cloud data, weaknesses are everywhere. Quantum physicists are looking to construct quantum networks in substantial full-blown glory where information is created, stored, and moved around in ways hackers could never replicate or trace. If implemented, these networks could rise to fruition with an extremely high level of privacy, security, and computational power.

These networks might be a distant vision, but recent breakthroughs in transmitting, storing, and manipulating quantum information have convinced some physicists that a quantum internet is closer to reality than initially speculated.

A lightning-speed, completely secure internet is possible. Scientists recently teleported high-fidelity (over 90 percent accuracy) quantum information over 27 miles.

Dr. Panagiotis Spentzouris, a physicist from Caltech’s Fermilab particle physics and accelerator laboratory, was pleased with the results, “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication,” he said.

Qubits are unmeasured particles that remain suspended in a blend of possible states. Similar to spinning dice, qubits are full of possibilities. When dice land on any number, they are both guaranteed to add to seven no matter the distance. Much like dice, qubits that are introduced to each other are connected (quantum entanglement) in ways that become obvious once they are measured. This data is reflected from one location to the next.

The science of quantum entanglement and data teleportation is intricate and complex. Even experts aren’t sure how the technology would work in a quantum network. Each proof-of-concept positions scientists one step closer toward creating such a network. The most recent teleportation brings a city-sized quantum network closer to reality as it has never before been demonstrated with such accuracy over a long distance. Years of work remain ahead to create the vision, but the results are promising.

Quantum internet would provide large increases in speed, computational power, and security. Hacking attempts would be futile. Researchers believe quantum internet networks will be unique extensions to today’s classic rather than a comprehensive replacement.

For more information, check out the journal article published in PRX Quantum.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

RIP Adobe Flash Player

At an ancient technological age of 24 years old, Adobe Flash Player will no longer run after January 12, 2021. The latest Flash Player update specified new content would not be released. “Today marks the final scheduled release of Flash Player for all regions outside of Mainland China. Adobe will no longer support Flash Player after December 31, 2020, and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021,” according to a release issued by Adobe. All users are recommended to uninstall Flash player from their operating systems.

According to Adobe, “Open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content. Also, major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Flash Player.”

Adobe officially announced the demise of Flash Player in July 2017. Companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and many others have taken part in the overall plan to stop updating and distributing Flash Player. Adobe “believes that there has been sufficient time for developers, designers, businesses, and other parties to migrate Flash content to new standards.”

Flash Player opponents point out that it was a security disaster in the early 2000s, consisting of endless rounds of patching security vulnerabilities (usually the worst kinds), which prompted many content creators to use other, more efficient software partners.

For more information regarding the retirement of Adobe Flash Player, check out the Adobe Flash Player End of Life (EOL) General Information Page. Here you will also find detailed instructions on how to uninstall Flash Player from your operating system.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

2020’s Hot Gadget: The Computer

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to hunker down inside, spending time in front of various screens. From TVs to tablets, many of us have resorted to this form of entertainment to pass the time. Countless people now work from home instead of heading into an office…which means even more screen time. The days of picking out school outfits are gone, too, as thousands of students across the world are now attending class online.

One gadget answering the call, both figuratively and literally, those dusty computers and laptops have become even more essential to our lives. Computers have experienced a spike in popularity, as many of us are typing, clicking, scrolling, and (definitely) paying attention in class. Our daily activities have morphed from physical to socially-distanced, a change our computers and laptops can seamlessly integrate and accommodate.

As we all garner a renewed appreciation for our personal computers, their adaptability is what truly stands the test of time.

International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that the first half of 2020 saw a resurgence in the PC and tablet markets. Supply cannot keep up with demand, primarily driven by pandemic lockdowns and remote working/learning. It is predicted that the market will expand by 3.3 percent, with shipment volumes climbing to 425.7 million units.

To read more, peruse The New York Times article. For all of your computer questions or troubleshooting issues, contact the PC experts at Creative Programs and Systems.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

The Five Best Blue-Light Blocking Glasses to Reduce Eye Strain

Eye fatigue from staring at computer screens, tablets, and smartphones is a real thing. Blue light emitting from these screens can cause dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain. If you work in front of a computer screen or your eyes come in contact with blue-light emission for more than a few hours a day, it might be a good idea to invest in some computer reading glasses.

  1. Warby Parker: boosting a home try-on option, these blue-light-filtering lenses start at $50. Customers can pick five frames to test out for five days, shipped free of charge. For each pair of glasses purchased, the company distributes a pair to those in need.
  2. Zenni Optical: these “Blokz” lenses start at just $16.95 and are available with several features such as photochromatic (light-changing), sunglasses, and impact-resistant for kids. They can also be bought as fashion/style glasses without a prescription.
  3. Gunnar: selling “gaming” glasses since 2006, these glasses boost experience other brands cannot compete with. They offer a Blue Light Protection Factor (BLPF), which measures lens protection for the eyes, ranging from clear to heavily tinted amber. These specialized glasses start at $49.
  4. Ambr Eyewear: husband-and-wife team based in Dublin, Ireland started this business in their kitchen after realizing there was a high demand but no answer for stylish blue-light blocking lenses. Starting at $62, they range from plastic to metal, clear to tinted.
  5. Cyxus: these glasses have been affordable since 2009, starting at just $20. A technology called “HEV-Absorb” blocks out blue light in glasses designed for women, men, kids, and teens.

For all other computer or technology needs and questions, contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems. We know how to handle screen issues of all kinds.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Hackers Target Hundreds of Hospitals With Ransomware

According to security researchers, a hacking group is targeting U.S. hospital systems with Ryuk ransomware. Several federal agencies warned hospitals and cyber-researchers about “credible” information “of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.” The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an advisory outlining the situation and warned that the ransomware might be used “for financial gain.”

Ransomware is a computer virus that locks computers until payment is waged for a decryption key. It works by infecting a computer, encrypting all the files, and victims have to pay the hackers (usually in Bitcoin) to release the data; otherwise the files are deleted permanently. When doctors are conducting emergency surgery and seeing patients, these attacks can potentially cause real-world harm.

The cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. reported that multiple hospitals across the U.S. had been hit by a “coordinated” ransomware attack. The computer virus warning comes as the coronavirus pandemic surges across the country with increased cases and hospitalizations.

A financially-motivated cybercrime group (dubbed UNC1878 by security researchers) carried out the attack, according to FireEye’s Chief Technology Officer of Strategic Services, Charles Carmakal. Multiple hospitals have been hit over the past several weeks, and the cybercrime group intends to deploy ransomware to hundreds of other hospitals in the near future.

“We are experiencing the most significant cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States. UNC1878, an Eastern European financially-motivated threat actor, is deliberately targeting and disrupting U.S. hospitals, forcing them to divert patients to other healthcare providers,” Carmakal said.

Hospitals are not the only victims of these virus attacks, however. Retirement communities and other medical centers have been targeted as well. UNC1878 surpasses computer security by sending phishing e-mails to victims. The messages appear to be featuring a real Google Docs file, when in actuality, they are links to a malicious payload. In some cases, these e-mails seem even more realistic as they contain the recipient’s name, employer, and even corporate logos.

For more information about the ransomware attacks, read the full article on TIME’s website. To protect your home or office from ransomware attacks, contact Creative Programs and Systems today. We specialize in managed IT for healthcare and can help thwart these attacks.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Top Antivirus Software for 2020

Home computers have morphed from being an afterthought to the forefront of our lives. The internet is vital to work, school, staying in touch with family and friends, and more. These crucial connections are nearly priceless, so it is imperative the computers connecting you to the internet are running smoothly, efficiently, and without viruses or malware.

While viruses are older and less-relevant, malware is more fruitful for hackers, making ransomware and data-stealing Trojans much more common. Most antivirus programs rid your computer of Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, and others. PCMag tested more than 40 different commercial antivirus utilities to help consumers ensure they are using the best software available.

The top ten antivirus programs are:

  1. McAfee AntiVirus Plus
  2. Norton AntiVirus Plus
  3. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  4. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
  5. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
  6. ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  7. Malwarebytes Premium
  8. Sophos Home Premium
  9. Trend Micro Antivirus + Security
  10. F-Secure Anti-Virus

Do you need help or guidance finding the right antivirus software for your computer? Have you gone through steps on your own but are still experiencing virus, spyware, Trojan, etc. issues? Are you looking to prevent future infection? The computer experts at Creative Programs and Systems specialize in virus removal. Our trained, experienced professionals can assist you by getting your vital device back up and running in no time.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Most Popular Web Browsers as of September

Web browsers play an integral role in supporting many peoples’ daily activities. These programs allow access to the World Wide Web. Websites host different types of information; web browsers retrieve that information from the web server, displaying the content on the device used by the user. Devices include smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, etc. Approximately 4.3 billion people used a browser in 2019. The most popular browser is Google Chrome, followed by Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and others.

Data shows Google Chrome’s September market share dropped to 66.3 percent, the first time it reached below 70 percent since May. The one-point drop was the first since October 2019 when Chrome decreased by 1.1 points. Apple’s Safari represented 16.73 percent of worldwide users, Mozilla Firefox stayed steady at 4.09 percent. The browser leader, Chrome, has fallen for two straight months, which is uncharacteristic of the behemoth.

Microsoft’s browsers Edge and Explorer both recovered nearly a fifth of previous losses from August, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point combined. While Internet Explorer stayed steady, Edge increased three-tenths of a point. Microsoft is due to release Windows 10 20H2, which will come with Chromium Edge, and will be an opportunity for a market share bump. Microsoft has a difficult road ahead in its attempt to replace users’ main web browser, Chrome, with Edge. Chrome gained the majority market share after Microsoft abandoned several versions of Internet Explorer during 2016, which enabled Google’s web browser to jump ahead. Without another catastrophic event, it seems unlikely any other browser will compete with Google Chrome’s market share.

At Creative Programs and Systems, we are familiar with all browsers and can service most devices. Have a question or want to learn more about browsers, safety, and market share? Contact CPS or read this article to learn more.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.