Latest Technology News

Microsoft schedules more Lumias to receive Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones

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Windows Phone users are a special bunch. They have chosen to invest in the last-place mobile ecosystem. The reason they chose this route can be many things, such as Microsoft loyalty or having an underdog personality. The most sensible reason for choosing Windows Phone, however, is the potential low cost of ownership coupled with the well-designed user interface. It is a solid experience.

Of course, these users are very anxious to try the next version of the mobile operating system, Windows 10 for phones. When Microsoft released the Technical Preview of the OS last month, the list of compatible devices was so small, that many users of the non-compatible devices felt a bit jilted, and rightfully so. Today, Microsoft releases a list of devices scheduled to get the next version of Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones. To the delight of Windows Phone users, the list is much more extensive, but only includes Lumia devices.

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Google responds to Wall Street Journal's FTC-report hatchet

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Today, Rachel Whetstone, Google's senior vice president of communications and policy, asks what has been on my mind since a stunning scoop set the Wall Street Journal against the Federal Trade Commission and the search and information giant. As I explained in an analysis of the news reporting, the story is flush with insinuation and veiled accusation, bereft of context.

Among my more serious concerns: Journal-parent News Corp's ongoing tug-a-war with Google's business model and its impact on paid content. Both entities likely would benefit by any means that trustbusters could crimp Google. The scoop's timing and tone look like they intend to influence European Union public policy. Ms. Whetstone's response is brilliant, because it gets to the point: Conflict of interest taints the Journal's credibility and impartiality. She rightly observes: "We understand you have a new found love of the regulatory process, especially in Europe".

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Go to summer school with Microsoft -- get $5,000 and a free laptop!

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When people think of "summer school", they often think of underachieving students attending classes in the summer due to deficiencies in their grades during the normal school year. This can be very true; I often had to do this to make up for my failing grades as a young man. Summer school is not only for slackers, however, as I often took college courses during that season as a way to speed up my path to graduation.

Today, Microsoft announces the Research Data Science Summer School in New York. If you are interested in applying, you should act fast.

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Slack is tardy to the two-factor authentication party

Slack is tardy to the two-factor authentication party

Following a four-day long security breach back in February, chat and collaboration tool Slack is finally getting two-factor authentication. Last month, the encrypted central user database was accessed by hackers although there is no indication that hashed passwords were decrypted.

Slack insists that no payment information was seen by hackers, and while the breach is far from good news, there is a silver lining: it has forced the company to look harder at security. Starting today, two-factor authentication is available which locks down accounts via the Android, iOS and Windows Phone apps.

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How custom software streamlines business processes, and three common problems

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When you think about streamlining your organization's business processes, your thoughts may turn quickly to automation. With all of the buzz around business automation -- and the benefits that are supposed to go along with it -- that makes sense. But as is so often the case, the real story behind streamlined processes isn't as simple as automating every possible task.

In fact, one of the keys to building better processes through custom software is to understand that some tasks are better suited to human beings, while others are ideal for computers. A human can react quickly to new and unexpected contexts and make complicated decisions on the fly. Software, on the other hand, excels at sophisticated number crunching and repetitive tasks governed by consistent rules.

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Exclusive: Widespread security flaw affects hundreds of UK news sites

Exclusive: Widespread security flaw affects hundreds of UK news sites

A security flaw has been discovered in a number of UK news websites, potentially placing 24.5 million users at risk. The problem was found in websites run by Johnston Press, a UK media group that is responsible for scores of regional news websites.

Just a few days ago we reported about the findings of security researcher Brute Logic. He discovered an XSS vulnerability on Amazon that risked exposing user data and could be used to compromise accounts. Now the same researcher has discovered another cross-site scripting security flaw that could be used to redirect visitors to malicious websites -- and it's worryingly simple to exploit.

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Pebble Time raises more than $20 million on Kickstarter

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Pebble is one the few startups that knows how to get the most out of a Kickstarter campaign. Three years ago, it was the first on the crowdsourcing platform to raise more than $10 million in funding, and now it is the first to have broken the $20 million mark. Pebble's latest record is likely to last for a while, seeing as it took over two years for its first one to be broken.

At the time of writing this article, Pebble's Time campaign has attracted nearly 78,000 backers, who have pledged $20.16 million in total. The average contribution is $258.9, which exceeds the latest asking prices of $179 for Time and $250 for Time Steel.

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Dropbox brings commenting to its business app

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Last week Dropbox announced that it would be adding a commenting system to Dropbox for Business, allowing for better communication between contributors. The cloud storage service promised it would roll this feature out in the near future. How soon is now for you? The company is announcing that comments are now live, at least somewhat.

If you want to test it out then you'll need early access. According to Dropbox "commenting will allow anyone to add feedback and discussions to files you’ve shared with them. We’re happy to announce that Dropbox for Business teams can start using commenting today, on the web and on iOS. Admins can turn on this feature by visiting our early access page".

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Fitness tracker market could double in value by 2019

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The fitness tracking market might boom to $5 billion by 2019, according to tech analyst group Parks Associates.

That would be double the current value at $2 billion, but correlates with the current growth rate quite nicely, bearing in mind the surge in interest thanks to the Apple Watch and other smartwatch vendors.

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Best Windows apps this week

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One-hundred and twenty four in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows in the past seven days.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 SDK tools for developers this week and an update for the Surface Pro 3 which improves the device by enabling you to disable certain hardware that you don't require using UEFI.

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How the cloud can benefit smaller enterprises

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Moving systems to the cloud is increasingly popular, but it can seem daunting for smaller and medium businesses with the added worry that it may not prove cost effective.

In an effort to make the move easier, Irish telephony and VoIP provider Speechpath has produced an infographic setting out the benefits that smaller companies can gain from a switch to the cloud.

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Comparing Facebook's and Google's vision for mobile

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On the first day of the F8 developer conference, Facebook finally pulled the trigger on something we had expected for months. Facebook messenger is now a platform along the lines of WeChat and other Asian messaging apps. While this isn't necessarily "novel", it tells us something about Facebook's vision for mobile.

Facebook announced the SDK for messenger along with the fact that 40 apps, including ESPN, Dubsmash, and Talking Tom and Giphy had already signed up for the program. Their willingness is simple to explain -- app stores have fixed the app distribution problem, but have consequently made app discovery far more difficult. Easy app distribution and low entry barriers have created a deluge of app developers with more than a million apps and counting. But with these numbers, app developers have found it increasingly difficult to reach consumers through all the noise. This is where Facebook Messenger comes in:

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Xbox One April update preview brings voice messaging and more

Xbox One April update brings voice messaging and more

It's time for a new update to roll out to Xbox One consoles around the world, and April's offering has some key changes that are sure to go down well. The headline addition sees the reappearance of a feature that Xbox 360 owners will remember from the previous generation of Microsoft's console -- voice messaging.

Forget time-consuming typing, now a quick double-tap of the Xbox button is all that's needed provided you have the messages app snapped into place. This week's rollout builds on the features that were added to the version that Preview program members gained access to a week ago.

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Forget wearables, cyborg tech is the future

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The primary goal of technology should be to improve our lives in some way. So far that has seen us embrace computers, the Internet, smartphones and most recently wearable gadgets. However, many are predicting that the future will not see us hold or wear technology, but have it directly implanted into our bodies.

Already, the transhumanism movement is seeing technology implants gain greater acceptance, but many still feel uneasy about the ethics involved when we attempt to improve our bodies artificially. In response to the advances made in body modification technology, we’ve looked at five high-profile examples below.

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Amazon brings unlimited storage plans to the cloud

Microsoft lifts 2GB file size limit for some OneDrive users

The business of cloud storage is a popular one these days, with big players like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dropbox and countless others in the game. In order to compete it takes a combination of features and pricing, both options that big players can more easily provide. Now Amazon is taking its offering up a notch with "unlimited" storage and reasonable prices.

Unlimited storage isn't free, but it's fairly reasonable. Expect to pay $11.99 per year for photos (free if you're a Prime subscriber) and $59.99 for everything -- photos, music, files and more.

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