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Toy giant Mattel has withdrawn from sale its painfully sexist Barbie book I Can Be A Computer Engineer after a storm of protest.It apologized for making the anatomically-impossible doll incapable of fixing a PC without two lads‘ help – let alone program any software for one.The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for, a Mattel spokesperson said in a Facebook posting.We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl’s imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.

The book was published in 2010 without incident, but caught the eye of the Twittersphere this week thanks to an amusing blog post by Pamela Ribon, titled Barbie fucks it up again.The illustrated tale opens with a bespectacled Barbie – pink frames, of course – explaining to her sister Skipper that she’s designing a computer game. It turns out the actual job of programming the thing will be done by two male friends, though.When Barb tries to email her design to one of the guys, her computer dies. She reckons it’s a virus rather than a hard drive or power supply failure.Luckily, the wannabe game dev has backed up her work on a pink, heart-shaped USB drive she wears as a necklace, and borrows her sister’s laptop to get the email sent – only for that computer to crash too, wiping out Skipper’s homework. Skipper is so annoyed she starts a pillow fight with her sister.At school, she meets up with her pals Brian and Steven, and asks for their help. Luckily for our heroine, the boys are able to hook up her hard drive to the school library’s computer, which has excellent security software, although apparently no means to stop random virus-ridden hard drives being plugged into its network.The boys save the day and retrieve Barbie’s designs and Skipper’s homework. Barb’s sister is so impressed, she writes an essay about how much she admires her computer engineer sister who managed to retrieve her homework. Meanwhile Barbie gets extra credit from her teacher for the game she designed but didn’t write.

As you’d expect for a book aimed at preteen doll players this isn’t Hemingway. But a lot of people were offended that Barbie’s 1337 skills seem to devolve down to getting boys to do the hard stuff and then claiming all the credit, although we can all think of a few bosses (male and female) who’ve turned this into a successful management strategy. Choose your own device (CYOD), the latest incarnation of mobility device management, is being promoted as a smarter alternative to BYOD (bring your own device), with more benefits for everybody and fewer pitfalls.How is CYOD defined in the real world and what are the advantages and challenges for business owners, IT teams and end users? Who is driving demand and how readily is CYOD being adopted?Analyst IDC predicts the global market for enterprise mobility will exceed $174bn by 2017. It is already big business for Microsoft, which has natural CYOD synergies after its purchase of Nokia and its ongoing grab for the cloud through Azure Active Directory.

Microsoft believes that the trend towards CYOD, unleashing a growing diversity of devices that can be used to access corporate assets, presents an opportunity to increase productivity and work satisfaction.Organisations are in search of a simple and consistent way to enable users to be productive on the devices they love, while ensuring their corporate assets are secure and protected,” says Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice president enterprise client and mobility.So what separates CYOD policies from the BYOD that developed organically during the smart-device boom?Curt Cornum, vice president solutions at managed-service provider Insight, defines the market. “CYOD provides users with choice in their environment through company-owned or company-liable devices,” he says.BYOD involves employee-owned devices with which they can walk into the building and access applications and other resources.Device manufacturers look at it differently. HP argues that BYOD focuses on content consumption rather than creation, and that employees using tablets as their main device may become frustrated by a lack of productivity in the longer term.

“Businesses are struggling to balance the aspirational needs of users with the needs of corporate IT, which is heavily dependent on manageability, security and maintainability,” says a company spokesperson.“CYOD and COPE [corporate-operated devices with a personal experience] each address the needs of users without sacrificing the responsibility of IT or exposing the business to risk.”What is so appealing about letting employees use their own choice of smart devices?“The pressure is on businesses to provide a sexier consumer experience rather than restrictive corporate devices,” says Sian John, EMEA chief strategist for Symantec.Formal CYOD policies identify applications that people really want and that give the business competitive advantage. People need secure access to their corporate documents, spreadsheets and presentations across all devices, not just their laptops so they can share data while mobile without connectivity issues and without compromising corporate security.

“CYOD serves as a bridge from the old world of file servers and desktops to the new world of universal smart-device access,” says Anders Lofgren, vice president of product management at virtual-data specialist Acronis.“CYOD makes for faster and more informed decisions. Some customers of ours at a dinner in Mexico City needed information from their server to prove a point.If they had used their laptops and waited to boot up, negotiate VPN connections and search servers the moment was lost. But they used Acronis Access on their tablets to open the documents they needed in seconds.”The bottom line is that corporate data must remain safe. BYOD holds many attractions, including slashed procurement costs, but the complexity of managing employee-owned devices increases security risks.CYOD brings benefits for three distinct groups. The business can offer finite product lists that allow competitive technology procurement in volume, while knowing that employees are equipped with devices that meet compliance standards.

IT teams can stop trying to herd myriad employee-owned devices and instead provide managed access to a known population of tested and approved kit.And end-users get to use devices that deliver the consumer experience they crave while providing access to all the company stuff they need.Organic BYOD has been criticised for exposing corporate data to breaches and security attacks. CYOD policies are sometimes bashed for restricting devices to safeguard business-critical information.For some companies the risks are worth taking but for others security is still prized more highly than employee satisfaction.Security arguments against first-generation BYOD principles are frequently countered by claims that letting people use their own technology saves money – a convincing consideration for smaller enterprises.But expanding the choice of CYOD devices to make users happier can cost more than many anticipate. HP highlights the costs of having to support multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, and device manufacturers could also have a problem with CYOD.

“Insight has spoken to more than 100 providers concerned that they would lose control over the buying cycle and lose their position on the supply chain, and that end-users might even go to consumer stores to buy low-grade products rather than the professional equipment manufacturers would provide,” says Cornum.A Russian research team has found vulnerabilities in millions of the world’s SIM cards, and separate flaws in common 4G modem platforms. Together, the bugs could allow attackers to send crafted SMS text messages to gain access to critical systems and install malware on connected computers.In one dramatic and hypothetical example, the research team of six from outfit SCADA StrangeLove showed how track switching mechanisms in the European Rail Traffic Management System could be altered by remote attackers targeting computers and devices on trains and tracks.They found what fellow SRlabs researcher Karsten Nohl estimated was ‚millions‘ of the world’s SIM cards that could be impersonated by attackers who captured the users‘ Temporary International Mobile Subscriber Identity and decryption key (Kc), numbers that were designed to stop eavesdropping between devices and phone towers.It built on Nohl’s research last year that revealed SIM flaws could allow attackers to intercept calls and target wireless NFC applications like contactless payments through crafted text messages.

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