Latest Technology News

Microsoft offers free Skype calls in Nepal, Facebook donates $2 million

Microsoft offers free Skype calls in Nepal, Facebook donates $2 million

The terrible repercussions of the earthquake in Nepal and the aftershocks continue to be felt. With thousands of people yet to be accounted for, Google and Facebook have already launched services to help connect with people in the affected areas.

Now Microsoft has entered the fray, offering free Skype calls to both landlines and mobiles in Nepal. Starting immediately, Skype users can make calls from within Nepal, or place them to the country regardless of whether they have any credit.

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Google wants to buy your patents from you

Google wants to buy your patents from you

Got a spare patent or two lying around, gathering dust and cluttering the place up? Google might be interested in taking those patents off your hands in return for cold, hard cash. Today the search giant announces details of the Patent Purchase Promotion which will run for two weeks in May.

The move is an attempt to "remove friction from the patent market", with the added benefit for Google that it will help the company to expand its patent portfolio. The online patent-selling portal will run from May 8 to May 22 and has been designed to be accessible to smaller players.

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Kingston HyperX releases Savage -- a fast and stylish SATA SSD

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While enthusiasts move away from SATA-based solid state drives for faster (and more expensive) options, most consumers are perfectly fine with the standard option for now. In fact, it is a great time to be in the market for SATA SSDs, as larger capacity drives are becoming more affordable.

I just reviewed the SATA Samsung 850 EVO; a drive I like very much. While I appreciate Samsung's optional (and apparently, controversial) rapid mode and conservative design, there are people who are not fans of either. Kingston is a company known for quality, and its HyperX division is no exception. Today, that company releases the sexily-named Savage -- a traditional SATA SSD with an awe-inspiring and ostentatious design. If you like bling, the red aluminum will certainly get your motor running.

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This is how the enterprise can keep up with hackers

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The days of blissful ignorance are over. With consumers increasingly aware of the security and protection issues relating to their data, companies have been forced to become more transparent. Already the majority of states in the US have passed legislation requiring companies to notify customers when data breaches occur and efforts are also underway to strengthen similar laws across the EU.

Notifying consumers of data breaches is an important consideration in retaining trust but there is an equally important point to bear in mind. Sharing the related breach data to improve endpoint security will be crucial in giving businesses the best chance of repelling future threats. It will also help to limit the reputational and financial damage that such attacks can cause. After all, it is the application, not the notification that will help the enterprise gain the upper hand.

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The Sun newspaper launches anonymous Tor-based WikiLeaks-style SecureDrop

The Sun newspaper launches anonymous Tor-based WikiLeaks-style SecureDrop

The likes of Julian Assange's WikiLeaks have set the standard for blowing the lid on huge stories based on tips from anonymous sources. Whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden have brought to public attention stories which would otherwise have been kept hidden from the public, and it has been with the help of newspapers such as the Guardian that this information has been disseminated around the world.

Other newspapers are keen to ride on the coattails of those blazing a trail in the world of investigative journalism, and the latest to join the party is The Sun. Today, Murdoch-owned News Corp's newspaper and website launches SecureDrop -- a way for whistle-blowers to anonymously leave tip-offs that can be further investigated.

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The greatest innovator in mobile payments isn't Apple

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Every week the technology world holds its breath with anticipation as the latest tech giants make new strides into the mobile payments sector. After years of low consumer take-up of services like Google Wallet and Square, the launch of Apple Pay last year was hailed as a pivotal moment, signaling the time when mobile payments would finally go mainstream.

With mega players like Facebook and Microsoft now joining the peer-to-peer money sending and digital payments fray, even sceptics are wondering if 2015 might truly be "The Year of Mobile Payments". Yet what many don’t realize is that these services are already lagging 10 years behind.  The rest of the world is paying attention to a different mobile payments phenomenon -- one that’s been taking place thousands of miles away. Last month, global telecoms body GSMA revealed that the number of active users of Mobile Money -- a service which enables users to send and receive money from basic mobile phones without requiring a bank account or payment card -- had doubled from 2013 to reach 103 million globally.

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Mobility is the top focus for developers

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According to a new survey by application delivery company OutSystems, 43 percent of respondents rate apps or sites that are mobile friendly as critical to their plans in 2015. The way in which Google has changed how it weights mobile-friendly sites is presumably a driving factor.

The survey conducted with content specialist TechValidate talked to 200 IT decision makers worldwide and focused on the business and technical priorities and challenges that IT organizations face in building applications in today's complex development landscape.

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Find the best Wi-Fi networks around the world with wiMAN

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Restaurants, malls, trains, hotels: it can feel as though Wi-Fi is everywhere these days. Until you’re traveling, when you can still spend an age trying to find a network, only to find it’s password-protected or the local winner of Slowest Wi-Fi 2015.

WiMAN is a free Wi-Fi manager for Android and iOS which can display a map of all your local Wi-Fi networks, along with estimates of distance (x minutes by foot/ car), and flagging them as "verified" (another wiMAN user has connected), "authentication provided" (another user has connected but you need a user name/ password) or "not verified" (no-one has connected yet).

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38 percent of Apple Watch buyers have no idea when to expect their orders

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Apple Watch went on sale last Friday, with the first lucky buyers receiving their pre-ordered devices over the weekend. Apple’s latest product line hasn’t had the smoothest of launches, but at least some purchasers finally got to see what they had ordered online.

However, according to digital commerce analysts Slice Intelligence, only 22 percent (376,000) of the estimated 1.7 million pre-ordered Apple Watches have been delivered to US consumers so far. Other less fortunate (or just slower) buyers can expect a far lengthier wait.

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Free Windows 10 upgrade is actually a 'marketing and promotional activity'

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To drive consumers' interest in Windows 10 from the get-go, Microsoft announced earlier this year that its upcoming operating system will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. This surprising move is expected to have a major impact on the immediate consumer adoption, as well as convince developers to embrace Windows 10 early on.

What is interesting is that, while it is publicly touted as a free upgrade, formally Microsoft is calling it a "marketing and promotional activity". And it certainly seems to fit the bill.

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The top 5 recommendations for IT decision makers

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During competitive and challenging economic landscapes, business productivity takes precedence over other priorities. Without service assurance, poor service performance degrades the customer experience, reduces business productivity and eventually results in lost revenue. Since both lost productivity and revenue are quantifiable and can be tied back to quality of service, IT infrastructure and operations need to explore best practices that can resolve any performance issues.

However, this is a complex process because problems can originate anywhere across the service delivery infrastructure, including networks, servers, enablers, and applications. In a recent survey, Forrester found that 91 percent of senior IT decision makers at large North American firms responsible for application, network and/or service monitoring technology cited problem identification as the primary area that needed improvement. The survey found that one hour of service downtime costs $29,162. Since half of these respondents reported that 90 percent of their IT issues take more than 24 hours to resolve, the annual cost of brown-outs or service downtime quickly escalates into the millions.

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Broadband policy could affect how 1 in 5 UK residents vote

Ballot box wi-fi broadband

If you live in the UK it probably won't have escaped your notice that there's an election campaign underway. But could your broadband connection affect the way you vote?

According to a survey from broadband, TV and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk almost one in five (18 percent) of 2,500 people polled say that broadband policy could affect the way they vote.

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The Top 15 Apple Watch apps -- according to Apple

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When the Apple Watch hit the stores last Friday, the Watch App Store opened its virtual doors to everyone in possession of the fabled wearable device.

The store already has some 3,000 apps available for download, but the Cupertino company narrowed the choice down to a handful of apps it believes are a must-have at this point.

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Debian 8 'Jessie' is here -- download the Linux distro now!

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Another day, another Linux distribution. While many distros are yawn-worthy, Debian demands attention. The wildly popular operating system is used by many people, and it is used as a base for many projects. Most notably of late, Raspbian, the often-used operating system for the Raspberry Pi, is based on Debian.

Today, after a long wait, the operating system finally reaches 8.0 with a code name of "Jessie". This gender-neutral named Linux distribution has as ton of changes, with ISOs available featuring multiple desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE and Xfce to name a few. Will you try it?

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De La Soul 'And the Anonymous Nobody' Kickstarter success -- an interview with Dave aka Trugoy

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De La Soul is one of the most important rap groups in the history of Hip-Hop. When they debuted in the 1980s, many other rappers were acting phony and embellishing their lives of crime. Conversely, the Long Island trio kept it real by rapping about everyday life and not fantasy. Unfortunately, many took their realness and honesty for a weakness, dubbing them 'positive' rappers; a label that followed them their entire careers. While many other rap groups have come and gone -- formed and broken up -- De La Soul is still here. In fact, they are planning a new album called "And the Anonymous Nobody".

Rather than go the traditional route of signing with a record label, the group has turned to Kickstarter to fund the project. Yes, these aging rappers have turned to the Internet, crowd-funding and social media, to make the album happen and it has been a huge success. They met their goal of $110,000 in one day, and as of today, are over $500,000 with close to 10,000 backers. In other words, you can teach an old dog new tricks, and sometimes the old dogs outfox the young pups. I talked with David Jude Jolicoeur, aka, Dave, aka Trugoy, from De La Soul about the campaign.

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