Latest Technology News

YouTube channel finally arrives on Roku devices

youtube-roku

Despite countless channels included on Roku, one has been missing since its inception. Now that problem has been rectified, just in time to keep the device a few paces ahead of its latest rival.

Today the set-top box maker announces that it has finally integrated YouTube across all of its devices -- or at least those released since July 2011. This includes "Roku LT, Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2XS, Roku 3, the Roku Streaming Stick (both HDMI and Roku Ready versions) and the Roku HD model #2500", says Roku's Ed Lee.

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Apple's Beta Seed Program brings beta versions of OS X to public -- is that a bad idea?

Seeds

The concept of beta software has changed dramatically over the years. It used to be that a "beta" designation meant software was buggy and not ready for production machines. However, companies like Google have desensitized users by keeping software in perpetual beta mode. I mean hell, Google Maps navigation still comes with a notification about being beta, yet many people depend on it for not getting lost.

Apple is a company that does not offer beta software to the public very often. Although, voice-assistant Siri was in beta status when it was first released. In this case, the beta moniker was really used as a way to deflect negativity. I mean, come on, how can one of the biggest selling-points of your new smartphone be beta? Well, Apple is back at it today, as it makes OS X beta software available for testing to all users -- not just developers and employees.

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Logitech brings three new and distinct iPad cases to market

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There are two products that I use a lot. My iPad Air and the Logitech Fabricskin Keyboard Folio. Logitech's offering essentially turns my Apple tablet into a laptop when needed. With the recent release of Microsoft Office for iPad, I am in productivity heaven when on the go.

The problem with keyboard cases, is that they can be bulky. The Fabricskin is very svelte compared to other models, but still sometimes I would like a more sleek cover when relaxing in bed. Today, Logitech announces some new models of iPad cases, sans keyboard, and I am excited.

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Windows Phone 8.1: Microsoft finally gets it right

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 signals that Microsoft is now finally committed to turning its smartphone operating system into a powerful rival, and viable alternative, to Android and iOS. Gone are the days when essential features were demanded yet completely ignored in the next major update. No more apologies are needed. Users are now finally getting what they have long asked for, and then some. Yes, finally.

Coming from Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1 feels like a huge improvement. When the software upgrade officially rolls out, I suspect many users will have a "wow" moment upon experiencing the new features, and the benefits they bring to the table, for the first time. I know I did. You can blame its unimpressive predecessor for that.

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Lightscreen screen capture tool adds previews, improved area capture mode

Lightscreen

Christian Kaiser has released Lightscreen 2.0, a major new version of his open-source screen capture tool for Windows and -- as of version 2.0 -- Linux.

Also available in portable form, Lightscreen 2.0 debuts a number of major new features, including screenshot previews, support for uploading photos to imgur.com with full history of uploaded shots.

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DrDoS attacks of more than 800 Gbps predicted by 2015

DDoS bombs

According to a new report by security company Black Lotus the average size of a DDoS attack in the first quarter of this year was 2.7 gigabits per second (Gbps).

But the company is warning that a new type of DrDoS (distributed reflected denial of service) attack will see the threat of 800 Gbps or more attacks in the next year to year and a half.

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BetaNews Exclusive: Try AirCover Security Premium for Android FREE for 3 months

aircover

AirCover Security can secure your Android device against malware and theft, help boost your privacy, optimize your system, block unwanted calls and SMS messages, and safeguard you on the web. The comprehensive app is free, with the option to unlock further premium features.

Upgrading to premium adds automatic virus database updates, advanced anti-theft and anti-surveillance features, and privacy advisor with vulnerability scan. The premium version usually retails for $2.99 a month, (or $19.99 a year) but BetaNews readers can try it absolutely free for three months -- saving $8.97. The only snag is that you have just 24 hours to take advantage of our exclusive offer, so act fast!

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Dell partners with DataMotion to offer email encryption

Secure email

When Dell acquired SonicWALL in 2012 it was heralded as a significant step in providing greater security to the company's enterprise customers.

It's now announced a partnership with email encryption specialist DataMotion to allow users of SonicWALL email security to encrypt their sensitive emails and attachments.

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Amazon Fire TV, Roku 3 and Google TV -- which is right for you?

couple-watching-tv

I have just recently finished my review of the new Amazon Fire TV, a box I found tremendously likable and easy to use. However, that doesn't mean it's for everyone. Not all of us utilize Prime for our video content.

However, it’s not the only game in town. Other companies are making competitive boxes, though I can't say I've had occasion to try them all. For instance, I do not have, nor have I used, the offerings from both WD and Apple. However, for the three I have used, I have some early impressions to share that could, hopefully, serve as a bit of a guide towards your next purchase.

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NirSoft releases Wifi Collector -- for Android?

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NirSoft has announced the release of Wifi Collector, its first Android app.

Yes: Android. NirSoft’s Nir Sofer may be best known as a prolific developer of Windows utilities, but he’s now decided to branch out into the mobile world.

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Amazon Fire TV -- the one box to rule your entertainment center? [Review]

amazon-fire-tv

The set-top box market recently grew a bit more crowded, as Amazon unveiled its offering, taking on stiff competition from Apple, Roku and Google. However, with a strong ecosystem for content, the retailer seems up to the challenge.

Like its Kindle Fire tablet line, the little box runs a highly customized version of Android, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the Play store will be there -- it isn't. You are living in the Amazon universe now, but the company doesn't force it wares on you, as there are other services you can also use.

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Honestly, Microsoft, what are you doing?

Surface 2

Microsoft announces fiscal third quarter earnings on Thursday -- reason for me to visit the site today in preparation. I saw what you see in the photo. Tagline: "Honestly, my new PC is exactly what I need at half the price I thought I'd pay". I find the company's months-old "Honestly" campaign to be refreshing in overall presentation and emphasized benefits. Value is big among them. (Colleague Wayne Williams disagrees, by the way.)

Honestly, what's missing: More promotion how great a value Surface is. The Windows RT model doesn't get loads of respect, but I increasingly think that it should. Surface 2 offers HD display, like the Pro model, setting the tablet apart from comparably-sized Androids or iPads selling for about the same price: $449, with 32GB of storage. Microsoft Store offers the refurbished original, granted with lower screen resolution, for $199. Bump memory to 64GB and pay $219. Keyboard cover is another $74.01. Honestly, wow.

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Adobe Air comes to x86 Android

droid

Adobe Air is loved by some developers, but many users hate it. While the runtime works well for many developers and allows easy porting of apps, many people dislike having to install it just to make a handful of apps run. Plus, many simply don't like Adobe as a company. I can understand the company's detractors. After all, much of the company's software is arguably bloated and constantly exploited, causing numerous security updates. Steve Jobs chided Adobe Flash for poor performance, and actually banned it from the popular iOS operating system. Oh, and the information of 2.9 million customers was stolen.

With all of that said, Adobe makes some great products, such as Photoshop and Premier. Quite frankly, Air is pretty good too, despite what naysayers say. Today, Adobe announces that Air is coming to x86 Android, joining the already supported ARM architecture.

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Microsoft's Nokia Devices and Services acquisition completes Friday April 25

nokia-phone

It was said to be happening in April, but as the month drags on it was starting to seem less and less likely. Now, however, we have a solid date for the finalization of Microsoft's acquisition of the Devices and Services arm of Nokia -- Friday, April 25, in case you missed it in the headline. In a post on the Official Microsoft Blog, Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Brad Smith is "excited" to announce the date of the deal closure.

As Smith says, the "completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning" but for those outside of the companies it feels as though machinations have been rumbling away forever -- in reality it is only seven months. Back in September, it was announced that Microsoft wanted to purchase Nokia's Devices and Services business for $7.2 billion, taking on thousands of Nokia employees and providing the handset manufacturer with some patents.

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Unfair comparisons: Google and Facebook vs. messaging apps

mobile phone cloud

This weekend, I came across an interesting post by Benedict Evans on "unfair but relevant" comparisons. While I agreed with everything he said, his focus was entirely on the hardware side of the equation. It may be just as relevant to compare today's hot mobile services to online service start-ups from the PC era.

The chart above compares the growth of Facebook's user base, since inception, to that of KakaoTalk and LINE. One disadvantage here is that we can only compare registered users for messaging apps to active users for Facebook. According to one estimate, 61 percent of LINE's registered users are active. If this proves roughly accurate for major messaging apps, KakaoTalk and LINE would still overshadow Facebook's user growth by a considerable margin. This is because PC-era start-ups like Facebook and Google operated in a much smaller playground as compared to today's mobile start-ups. But the "scale of mobile" has already been beaten to death. Does that necessarily mean that these companies also make more money?

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