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Microsoft's decision to ditch Surface is a long-overdue mercy killing for Windows RT

Microsoft's decision to ditch Surface is a long-overdue mercy killing for Windows RT

For too long it was the metaphorical unwanted litter of kittens tied in a sack just waiting for someone to ditch it in the river. Windows RT is dead, having enjoyed a cancer-ridden 'life' for longer than many people expected. Microsoft announced that it is no longer going to manufacture Surface devices, all but signing the death warrant for Windows RT.

Hear that sound? No? That's the sound of everyone caring about it. To be fair, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Windows RT was always the sickly twin sibling of Windows 8 and now Microsoft has done the decent thing. It might not quite have delivered the lethal shot to the brain yet, but the gun has been cocked. And not before time.

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Internet censorship: The worst offenders

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In the UK, policies that restrict the flow of information across the Internet are generally met with outcry and consternation for contradicting our fundamental right of free speech, but for many individuals widespread Internet censorship is the norm.

However, online censorship is much more pervasive than one might initially think, with Ethiopia, Russia and even the UK currently listed as Enemies of the Internet by the French non-governmental group Reporters without Borders (RWB).

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Microsoft OneDrive is now the place for your photos

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Microsoft wants its cloud storage service to be the best place for all of your photos, and so is debuting new ways to import, organize, find, improve, and share them.

According to Douglas Pearce, OneDrive’s Group Program Manager, major updates coming over the next couple of weeks include: "the ability for customers to curate photos from their phone, desktop and inbox quickly and simply; a new feature that allows you to view, manage, and share photos with Albums; and finally, through a partnership with Bing, customers can now search for their files and photos in a new and exciting way!"

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Pandora achieves 50 billion 'thumbs' -- users vote on what they like and hate

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Listening to streaming music services can be a very rewarding experience. Unlike listening to vinyl or a CD, which can be a very private experience, streaming can feel more communal. In other words, it can provide the user with the feeling of a shared experience.

Pandora is very successful in this regard, as it allows users to vote with a thumbs up or down to make their voice heard. Ultimately, this allows the service to customize the listening experience, but more importantly, it supplies the company with valuable insights. You see, Pandora is tracking all of the user data on thumbs up and down, and using it for analysis. The company has now received over 50 billion thumbs (both up and down) -- impressive. To celebrate, it is sharing an infographic that tells the story of what music people respond to.

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Xiaomi: Hand over your iPhone, get a Mi Note flagship for free

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Xiaomi is going hard against Apple in 2015. CEO Lei Jun recently gave several shoutouts to the Apple's inferior design quality on the iPhone 6 when compared to the Mi Note.

And now the next step in the battle will focus on swapping iPhones for Xiaomi Mi Note and Mi Note Pro at no extra cost, according to a new report citing Xiaomi's media development director.

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It's Data Privacy Day and Facebook knows you're reading this

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A new global study conducted by Microsoft across 12,000 people shows that most internet users still don't believe they're aware of all the data that's being collected about them.

For example, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ know you've read this page, as they track your visits to any website with a 'Like', 'Tweet' or '+1' button, whether you click that button or not. Information gathered can include anything from your IP address and general geography, to insights into your age, gender, income, hobbies, health status and financial situation, by way of your browsing and purchase history.

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Google Fiber expands, new markets on the horizon

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Everyone wants access to high-speed internet, as it seems to feel like a human right these days. Sadly the US lags behind other nations in this department, but things are slowly improving, thanks in large part to Google introducing its own broadband in the form of Google Fiber.

That offering is now expanding to new markets, with Google announcing four locations set to have their internet speeds increased dramatically. Thus far, the service has existed in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin.

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Securing business applications in real-time

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As demand to access company information on the move and from mobile devices increases it places extra strain on security resources.

Existing web applications firewalls (WAFs) monitor traffic but don't have an understanding of the logic of data flows and the behavior of applications. This can make it hard for them to distinguish between legitimate traffic and attacks on apps such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

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Pushbullet now shares files and notifications between iPhone, iPad and Mac

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Pushbullet is a great app which makes it easy to send files, links, notifications and more from one of your devices to another.

The latest release adds full Apple support. Just as with Android devices, you’re now able to have iPhone or iPad notifications automatically pushed to a Windows or Mac desktop (or anywhere else you’ve installed the system).

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VoltDB looks to simplify database app development

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As the need for real-time data increases thanks to the Internet of Things and growing demand for mobile services, organizations are looking for new ways to capture and process information.

In response to this demand database company VoltDB is launching version 5.0 of its in-memory database application offering increased support for the Hadoop ecosystem, expanded SQL support and a new Management Center.

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Xiaomi brings its Mi 4 flagship smartphone to India

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Half a year after it unveiled Mi 4, Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi is bringing its "fastest & most gorgeous Mi Phone ever" to India. Starting February 10, local consumers will be able to get their hands on the flagship device through retailer Flipkart.

Mi 4 is one of the most interesting smartphones unveiled in 2014, in no small part thanks to its $320 starting price. Handsets from rival makers such as Samsung have price-tags twice as high, so it is easy to understand what makes it such an appealing option in the flagship segment. Fortunately for those wanting to get their hands on Mi 4 in India, its price-tag is still as attractive as ever.

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Flash is DEAD! YouTube goes all-in with HTML5

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YouTube introduced the HTML5 player back in early-2010. I remember it quite well. At the time, it was made available through the Try something new! page, only as an experimental feature. I was excited to get rid of Flash, so I flicked the switch. I had high hopes. I thought I would be able to play all videos using the HTML5 player, but, as it turned out, that was years away from happening -- YouTube's HTML5 player was not yet ready for prime time, and Flash would get a few more years to reign supreme.

Fast forward to early-2015 and YouTube finally announces that HTML5 is the default player. Flash might as well be considered officially dead on YouTube. It's a huge step forward for those of us waiting for the day when sites we visit are no longer asking or forcing us to install Flash.

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Simplifying enterprise mobility management

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Mobile device strategy, especially if it involves BYOD, can mean having to manage a wide range of devices and operating systems. That makes it difficult for IT departments to find a single solution to do the job.

Now though secure mobility specialist Good Technology is launching its Good Management Suite, a comprehensive cross-platform solution for organizations getting started with mobile business initiatives.

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Ex-Opera CEO reveals new Vivaldi browser

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Ex-Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner has revealed a technical preview of Vivaldi, a new Chromium-based browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.

As this is a first release, the big features are mostly "coming soon". There will be extensions support, a built-in mail client, syncing across your devices, but they’re not here yet.

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What Back to the Future II's vision of 2015 got wrong

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To celebrate the fact we are now in the year Marty McFly was teleported to, yesterday we had a look back at what Back to the Future II creator Robert Zemeckis got right in his look forward to the year 2015 where he envisaged everything from smart homes and wearables to hoverboards.

There was, of course, also a whole lot he got wrong about the future, and here’s a rundown of the things that didn’t go according to his vision.

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