Latest Technology News

The best thing about San Diego Comic-Con

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The world's most lively pop-culture event reaches the half-way mark today. Four glorious days of geekdom concludes tomorrow at 5 pm PDT, but there's lots to come before the end. Saturday is typically Comic-Con's busiest and brightest day. With the masquerade ball coming tonight, cosplayers will be everywhere. I reflected on "the roles we play" three years ago and adapted the post into the introduction to my book Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth.

About 130,000 make the pop-culture pilgrimage. They come for all different reasons. Some love comics. Others want to see their favorites stars, close up or in celebrity panels. Collectibles draw many people -- those free or purchased. Others want to meet those whom they idolize, which might be getting an autograph from an actor or chatting with an artist. Then there are the artists, writers, and other storytellers who want to learn something that will turn what they love into successful careers. But most attendees share something in common: They are fans. Many are geeks, while others see themselves as misfits -- non-conformists who aspire for something greater.

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Seven teenage tech entrepreneurs who made millions before they turned 21

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If you’re a tech entrepreneur, or want to be, the good news is there’s still plenty of money to be made if you have a great idea, and can attract the right audience and/or investors.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of first-time tech entrepreneurs is 39 but really there’s no age limit -- they can be much older, or much, much younger. In fact plenty of teens have managed to make it big with nothing more than a great idea and the willingness to pursue it.

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Information retrieval requests put a major strain on IT departments

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Time consuming data retrieval requests are putting a big strain on IT teams, at least according to a new piece of research.

Iron Mountain (a storage and data management outfit) conducted the study, and spoke to a number of senior IT bods across Europe (including the UK) to get their opinions on exactly what weight big data was putting on their shoulders these days.

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Top 10 cyber security tips

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High profile hacking incidents continue to make headlines around the world. The Target data breach that compromised 40 million customer accounts is still reverberating around the retail universe, and earlier this month a hacker organization targeted CNET, the popular technology and consumer electronics site. The group claims it obtained over a million usernames, passwords and email addresses.

If you run a business and have valuable customer data to protect or even if you just enjoy visiting sites online and shopping at ecommerce hubs and want to keep your personal information safe, you may worry about hacker attacks. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Here are 10 ways to keep your personal or business information safer.

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Spotify to appear on Vizio Smart TVs

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Smart TVs and Blu-ray players have become all the rage these days, with customers using them to replace the need for a set-top box, though in most cases apps can be limited. So when a new one debuts on a platform it can be a big deal to customers who invest in that particular device for their living room.

Now Spotify announces it will be making its way to Vizio TVs. The app will begin appearing for download in the Internet Apps Plus store right on the big screen.

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Amazon's Fire phone gets more premium apps -- MapQuest and WeatherBug

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Can you feel the electricity in the air? Today is Amazon Fire phone release day! Yes, the mythical smartphone, which was rumored for years, finally becomes available to consumers today. Next door to the pizzeria where I got my meatball parm hero for lunch today, is an AT&T store littered with signage for the device. There definitely is a buzz. Will it be a success? Time will tell, but a big factor will be app selection.

Yesterday, Amazon scored Microsoft OneNote for it -- a huge win for both companies. Today however, the app train keeps on rolling. MapQuest and WeatherBug, both of which are premium apps, are now available for Fire phone too. However, these are not just ports, but customized versions to take advantage of Amazon's unique hardware.

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Chromebooks going back to school in new ad

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Google is making an ever increasing amount of inroads with the education sector. Chromebooks have been finding new homes in many schools over the past year, with institutions either purchasing the devices for students or requiring them to attend with one.

Google is not above taking advantage of this momentum by using it in new advertising, and is doing exactly that with a new video that seems made for TV.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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Ninety-first in a series. Windows Store saw some great releases this week, including a fantastic looking shooter from Gameloft, a cute racing game in the style of Micro Machines, and an excellent action RPG optimized for touch-input.

In other news, the notebook app Bamboo Paper has been released for Windows 8. To celebrate this, all premium writing and drawing tools are free of charge for the time being. Make sure you download them while they are free if you like the application.

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The Fed suckered IBM into a failing cloud strategy?

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Economist David Stockman, who is probably best known for being President Reagan’s budget director back in the era of voodoo economics, has been particularly outspoken about IBM as a poster child for bad policy on the part of the US Federal Reserve. How this would be isn’t immediately obvious but I think is worth exploring because IBM is far from the only company so afflicted. There’s an important effect here to be understood about corporate motivations and their consequences.

So I’ll begin with a story. Almost 40 years ago there was a study I worked on at Stanford’s Institute for Communication Research having to do with helping farmers in Kentucky be more successful by giving them access to useful government data. The study was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and it gave portable computer terminals to farmers along with access to databases at the USDA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, etc. The idea was that with this extra knowledge farmers would be able to better decide what crops to plant, when to plant them, when to harvest them, etc.

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Firefox 32 Beta and Firefox Aurora reveal minor features, tweaks and improvements

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Fresh from its release of Firefox 31.0 FINAL, Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 32.0 Beta 1 and Firefox Aurora 33.0a2 for desktop computers.

While there are no jaw-dropping new features in either Beta or Aurora (alpha) builds, both contain a number of minor additions and some useful improvements that help keep the web browser’s evolution ticking over.

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Take control of your Windows startup programs with Autorun Organizer

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Your PC’s taking an age to boot? It could be launching too many programs when Windows starts. There are plenty of freeware "startup manager" tools which claim they can help, but Autorun Organizer is better than most.

The program checks a good range of startup locations, for instance: the Startup folder, the Registry, Task Scheduler. It’s not Autoruns, but there’s more than enough to be useful.

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The technology I'm using this summer [Wayne]

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My colleague Alan Buckingham has already detailed the different hardware he switches to when the weather warms up. He makes his changes to escape his hot office environment, but I have a rather different reason for swapping devices in the summer.

I work in a basement office. It’s a very nice basement office -- it used to be a call center in the days before I moved in -- but the temperature rarely changes throughout the year down there and the lack of windows means the different seasons have very little impact on me. I’m unaware of when it’s snowing in winter, or more importantly, when it’s gloriously sunny in summer. So on days when I know the weather is nice, I move outside, so I don’t miss the sunshine, and get a welcome (and much needed) dose of vitamin D.

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Fake Googlebots used to drive DDoS and other attacks

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Googlebots are essential to the smooth running of the search engine, ceaselessly probing websites to ensure that Google stays up to date with the latest developments and site changes.

But for every 25 genuine Googlebots that visit your site you'll also be visited by a fake Googlebot -- more than 23 percent of which are used for DDoS attacks, hacking, scraping and spamming. This is among the findings of security company Incapsula's 2014 Search Engine Study.

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Mobile phone etiquette around the world

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People in other countries handle everyday situations in different ways, and that can make life difficult for the traveler. What might be seen as a polite action or way of behaving in one country could well be insulting in another, and it's not just customs or beliefs to be aware of.

Every nation has its own idea of what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette. In countries like the USA and UK, we know it’s not polite to do things like talk loudly on your phone in a public place, or answer a call during a movie or in a business meeting -- even if not everyone obeys these unwritten guidelines. Elsewhere around the globe, there are other rules when it comes to how and when to use the phone.

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CCleaner widens cleaning to include TeamViewer and OneDrive, adds repair option

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It’s that time of the month when Piriform issues its regular CCleaner update for Windows PCs, and undeterred by the recent CCleaner for Mac 1.08 release, the company has shipped CCleaner 4.16 and CCleaner Portable 4.16 right on schedule.

The new release adds support for a number of new programs, improves its Firefox and Chrome cleaning tools and adds a new Repair option to the uninstaller should it be needed.

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