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Best iOS apps this week

Heroes of warcraft

Fifteenth in a series. Featured apps this week include the latest installment in the excellent post-apocalyptic fitness app Zombies, Run!, a Heroes of Warcraft card game, a full iPhone video editor from Pinnacle, a piano tutor, a new MediaFire app for iPad, and a DJ mixing tool for iTunes and Spotify.

As always, if I miss an app that you think should definitely have been included, let me know in the comments below, or drop me an email.

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Amazon Fire TV ups the voice search ante, adds Hulu Plus and more

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Amazon's Fire TV, a previously much-rumored device, is now officially on the market, with reviews cropping up around the web -- our own will be coming shortly. One known issue that seems to pop up is that the voice search only encompasses Amazon. But that landscape is already beginning to change.

Today, the retailer announces new partners in this endeavor. Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime, which were already present on the tiny set-top box, will now be included in search, starting this summer (a rather vague time frame).

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Peanuts, Cracker Jack and Chromecast -- MLB.TV comes to Google's dongle

HomeRun

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Take me to Best Buy to buy a $35 Chromecast. When Google's dongle was announced, I don't think anyone truly knew how popular it would be.

At first, it seemed like a cool little accessory for watching YouTube or Netflix videos on your TV. Really, that's all that it was. That is, until Google opened up the SDK. Now, the floodgates are open and the sky is the limit. Today, Chromecast scores its biggest win yet, with live casting from MLB.TV.

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Acer C720P Chromebook puts brawn before beauty [review]

Acer C720P

I struggle to aptly describe my feelings about Acer's affordable touchscreen Chromebook. The C720P is the lover you keep in the dark, for the benefits, but which you wouldn't be seen with in the daylight. Performance and battery life are wow-worthy. But the plastic exterior looks and feels cheap, and the touchscreen is too dim -- well, for my tastes.

More than two months now using the C720P, I like the computer least of all the Chromebooks to pass my way. I really want to love the laptop, and maybe you will. Perhaps experience using other Chromebooks soils my perception, and I am too quick to compare. That's why I sought, and got, reaction from C720P owners, many of which are more forgiving about appearances for performance benefits. Their responses are essential to this review.

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Pinnacle Studio 5 launches on iPhone, updated for iPad

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Corel subsidiary Pinnacle System has launched Pinnacle Studio for iPhone 5.0 alongside an updated Pinnacle Studio for iPad 5.0, which has been rebuilt with an iOS 7-themed interface and 64-bit support.

Pinnacle Studio for iPhone contains an identical feature-set to its bigger iPad brethren, explaining why its first release is version 5. Features include support for mixing video, audio and photos with Storyboard and Timeline editing features plus a wide range of tracks, effects and titles, plus 1080p HD video quality.

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Rain Alarm: a handy weather alert app that works almost anywhere

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As you might guess from its name, Rain Alarm is a smart app which can warn you about imminent snow or rain. That doesn’t sound too special -- there are a host of tools promising to do the same thing -- but this one has what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

It’s about as cross-platform as you can get, for example: there are apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8; add-ons for Firefox and Chrome, or you can just visit the Rain Alarm website from almost anything with a browser.

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Amazon and Samsung launch custom Kindle for Samsung service

Library

Not content with already having a Kindle app for Android devices, Amazon has joined forces with Samsung to launch Kindle for Samsung. The slightly unnecessary venture brings a new custom ebook service to owners of devices from the South Korean firm and launches on the Galaxy S5 immediately. Other Samsung Galaxy handsets and tablets will gain access to the app shortly afterwards, providing they are running Android 4.0 or newer. Of the millions of books and magazines that will be available through the service, more than 500,000 of the titles will be exclusives.

At the same time as the Kindle for Samsung launch, the two companies are also launching Samsung Book Deals. This enables Galaxy owners to obtain up to 12 free ebooks per year, making a selection from a choice of four each month. With the promise that "each book is chosen specifically for Galaxy smartphone and tablet users from a wide selection of prominent titles", there should be something for everyone.

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is here -- Linux fans, download it now!

YayUbuntu

Ubuntu is arguably the best Linux-based operating system for home users. Sure, some people may prefer Fedora, Arch, or SUSE, but none of them can match the ease of use of Ubuntu. The wonderful thing is, not only is it a great OS for beginners and home users, but power users too. It can meet the needs of many, and meet those needs well.

The holy grail of Ubuntu releases is the LTS, or Long Term Support. You see, not only is it a modern release, but it will be supported for a mind-boggling 5 years. This makes it ideal for people that favor stability and dependability over bleeding-edge. Today, Canonical releases version 14.04 of Ubuntu, named Trusty Tahr and it is LTS.

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Post Heartbleed, Tor could significantly reduce capacity -- but is it enough?

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It seems that there have been few big names left unaffected by the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL. Google may have rushed to patch the flaw, but the number of websites and services that fell foul of the discovery is staggering. It seems that even stalwarts of security are finding themselves in troubled waters, and this includes anonymizing service Tor.

Put very simply (very, very simply!), Tor works by not only encrypting data that is transferred online, but also bouncing it around a number of servers, making it all but impossible to trace to a particular user or computer. It transpires that some of the Tor nodes that are used in the process are running versions of OpenSSL that are vulnerable to Heartbleed, and this has led to calls for the affected nodes to be closed down. Writing to the Tor mailing list, developer Roger Dingledine suggests that up to 12 percent of the network's capacity may be lost if all of the vulnerable nodes are taken offline.

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Oracle marketing cloud for manufacturers improves performance and efficiency

human resources CRM

Manufacturing businesses are always looking to improve the customer experience and enhance their marketing effectiveness.

In recent years this has meant moving from a product-centered model to a more customer-focused approach. To help with this process ERP specialist Oracle is launching a flexible industry-specific marketing tool in the form of Oracle Eloqua for Manufacturing.

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Nokia issues warning for potentially shocking Lumia 2520 charger

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Nokia is warning owners of the Lumia 2520 tablet that they should stop using the European and UK versions of the AC-300 charger. The warning affects customers in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and UK, with tablets owners being warned to "suspend use of the charger until further notice". At the moment there is no word on whether or not a full recall will be made, but the problem also affects the Lumia 2520 travel charger that was available in those countries and the US.

Unlike other charger problems that have emerged in recent times, Nokia's warning does not relate to an overheating issue, but the risk of electric shock. This time it has been determined that in "certain conditions" -- which Nokia does not specify -- the charger's plastic cover could work loose and come off, exposing internal components that "pose a hazard of an electric shock if touched while the plug remains in a live socket".

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Chrome Remote Desktop comes to Android, iOS 'later this year'

remote access laptop hacker security

In late-2012, Google released Chrome Remote Desktop, allowing users of the popular browser to provide and receive remote assistance. The feature has been especially useful to those who rely on Chromebooks, which have a much more limited app selection compared to traditional PCs where many tools, like TeamViewer, are available for such tasks.

Now, Google brings Chrome Remote Desktop to Android. Unlike on PCs where the feature can be added to the browser, this tool is a standalone app, designed for both phones and tablets.

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Sony's new PS4 update makes it easier for gamers to edit and share videos

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At GDC last month Sony announced update 1.70 for the PlayStation 4 gaming console. Now some details are beginning to trickle out about what customers can expect from the update, the biggest of which seems to be a new method for editing and sharing gaming videos.

Known as SHAREfactory, the service will let gamers edit and customize these clips before sharing them with everyone. This isn't just simple editing either, it will allow the customer to utilize filters, transitions, and even add text and stickers.

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Windows 8.1 business users get Update reprieve

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Microsoft has had a rather lax policy when it comes to providing Windows updates, allowing users to receive patches, for a long period of time, even without having the latest service pack applied. That changes with Windows 8.1, as the software giant has revealed installing Update becomes mandatory to apply future updates that will be rolled out starting this May's Patch Tuesday.

This move gives Microsoft more leverage than ever before, as the software giant now has a real chance of convincing Windows 8.1 users to more quickly apply Update. But, businesses, which have had trouble getting Update through WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), are getting a reprieve.

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WordPress gains faster, easier media editing

WordPress

WordPress.org has announced the release of WordPress 3.9, a significant update which brings a host of worthwhile improvements.

Uploading your images is now as easy as dragging and dropping them into the editor. Once there, quicker access to crop and rotation tools, as well as the ability to resize them "in place", makes for a smoother editing experience.

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