9 technologies that IT needed but didn’t get in 2016

Despite some significant arrivals, 2016 also failed to deliver some long-awaited technologies. And some of what we eagerly ripped the wrapping paper off proved to be a letdown.

Here’s a rundown of the gifts IT didn’t get in 2016.

Professional-grade 3D printing

If you want to print out a stand for your phone or a model for a new product, you can easily find a 3D printer for the office that can do that — as long as you want to print them out in plastic. You can spend more and get a 3D printer that can UV cure resin and make small objects like custom-fit earplugs in about 10 minutes (I watched my ACS Custom in-ear monitor headphones get printed from digital scans of my ear canals earlier this year). Even HP’s $ 140,000 Multi Jet Fusion printers — promised for this year and offering multi-color printing — only just went on sale, and they still only print nylon. You can prototype a (plastic) circuit board with conductive ink circuits with the Voxel8 Developer Kit, as long as you pause the printing and add the chips by hand.

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Network World Cloud Computing

A.I. tools came out of the lab in 2016

You shouldn’t anthropomorphize computers: They don’t like it.

That joke is at least as old as Deep Blue’s 1997 victory over then world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but even with the great strides made in the field of artificial intelligence over that time, we’re still not much closer to having to worry about computers’ feelings.

Computers can analyze the sentiments we express in social media, and project expressions on the face of robots to make us believe they are happy or angry, but no one seriously believes, yet, that they “have” feelings, that they can experience them.

Other areas of A.I., on the other hand, have seen some impressive advances in both hardware and software in just the last 12 months.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

AI tools came out of the lab in 2016

You shouldn’t anthropomorphize computers: They don’t like it.

That joke is at least as old as Deep Blue’s 1997 victory over then world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but even with the great strides made in the field of artificial intelligence over that time, we’re still not much closer to having to worry about computers’ feelings.

Computers can analyze the sentiments we express in social media, and project expressions on the face of robots to make us believe they are happy or angry, but no one seriously believes, yet, that they “have” feelings, that they can experience them.

Other areas of AI, on the other hand, have seen some impressive advances in both hardware and software in just the last 12 months.

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Network World Cloud Computing

HubSpot Inbound 2016: A tech conference disguised as a sales & marketing one

I had my reservations about hitting HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference in Boston this week. Yes, it would be easy enough to swing by from our suburban Boston headquarters, but Network World caters to enterprise IT professionals, not software maker HubSpot’s sales and marketing crowd.

Sure enough though, the 19,000 registered attendees at the flashy event full of funky seating arrangements and celebrity speakers (including President-elect Donald Trump, er, Alec Baldwin) were treated to a steady stream of tech talk, so I didn’t feel out of place at all. Neither did the target audience given that they are increasingly making the kinds of technology purchasing calls in this cloud-happy world of which IT staffs are well aware.

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Network World Cloud Computing

The best new features in Windows Server 2016

As we’ve come to expect from new versions of Windows Server, Windows Server 2016 arrives packed with a huge array of new features. Many of the new capabilities, such as containers and Nano Server, stem from Microsoft’s focus on the cloud. Others, such as Shielded VMs, illustrate a strong emphasis on security. Still others, like the many added networking and storage capabilities, continue an emphasis on software-defined infrastructure begun in Windows Server 2012.

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