Latest Technology News

British parents set to spend millions on back to school gadgets

School children laptop

More than a quarter of British parents say they'll be buying new gadgets for their kids ahead of the autumn return to school, with an average spend of £329 per family making a massive nationwide total of £659 million.

This is among the findings of a new survey by comparison and switching site uSwitch.com which finds that the average school bag now contains around £130 worth of tech.

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Easily inspect DXF files with de-caff DXF Viewer

de-caffDXFViewer-200-175

DXF is a very popular CAD file format which has been around since 1982, so you might expect there to be plenty of good viewers around by now.

Unfortunately, the reality is very different. DXF can be complex, and while there are free viewers to be found, they're generally of not much use.

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Uber is stealing drivers away from Lyft

Driving Navigation Car Driver

Ride sharing startup Uber has been caught using "brand ambassadors" to steal drivers away from its biggest competitor, Lyft.

Uber provides teams of independent contractors with credit cards and "burner" phones (essentially phones that can be bought without signing a contract) who then order rides from Lyft and charm the drivers over to Uber.

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Understanding Snapchat's valuation

Snapchat - Valuation

Snapchat's valuation has soared from about $2 billion last year, when it reportedly declined an acquisition offer from Facebook, to $10 billion in its latest round of funding. Let's compare Snapchat's valuation and engagement metrics to those of other social networks/apps and attempt to understand the rationale behind this valuation.

While Snapchat is still a pre-revenue company, they are preparing to roll out their first monetization attempt this November. The service, called Snapchat Discovery, will allow users to view publications or video clips from advertisers. At this point, Snapchat may successfully monetize their user base before Whatsapp does. Of course, there are various monetization models available to both, that have already been validated by Asian messaging apps.

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Google, Nvidia and VMware team up to bring graphics-intensive apps to Chromebooks

VMworld2014-Acer-Chromebook-CAD

VMware, Google and Nvidia are all teaming up in a scheme which will allow high-end graphics intensive applications to be used on a lowly Chromebook.

How will that work? Obviously a Chromebook doesn't have the horsepower to run heavyweight programs such as, say, Photoshop or AutoCAD, but the laptop won't be running it in this case. The software will run in the cloud, on powerful machines in data centers, and be streamed to the notebook.

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Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Beta 1 is here -- Unity not invited to the party

unic

Linux distributions and goofy names go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is a method to the madness though, as code names make it easier to search for version-specific issues. Still, I wish the names would be a bit less silly. Case in point, the new version of Ubuntu, 14.10, is code-named "Utopic Unicorn". Sigh. Whatever.

Regardless of what it is called, Ubuntu is a great distribution, especially for beginners. Today, Canonical announces that Beta 1 of 14.10 is available for immediate download. However, only the alternative flavors are available; the default Unity version no longer participates in official beta releases. Gentleman, start your downloads!

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Apple's march of the lemmings

Apple store logo

So the Apple media invites are out, and I am laughing my ass off at how effectively the company manipulates the Fourth and Fifth Estates and how willing are the lemmings to be led. (I got no invite, by the way, and didn't expect one.)

So what? We've got the same venue where Steve Jobs unveiled the Mac in 1984. Thirty-year anniversary. Check. The hall is considerably larger than the two others more typically used. Check. Add them together and you have a writ-storm of speculation -- and soon purported, unconfirmed leaks -- about something really big coming on September 9th.

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Album sales are in the toilet and that's a good thing

toilet mabn

My biggest hobby, other than tinkering with computers, is listening to music. As a young kid, I discovered my love for music by watching MTV in the 1980s. While I love all genres, I am truly a Hip-Hop fan. Say what youy want about rap music, but there is much knowledge in the lyrics. Sure, some of it is ignorant, but I have learned countless lessons from KRS-One, De La Soul and Common to name a few.

Unfortunately, the internet and piracy threatened the future of the music business. It was a perfect storm, as album prices were getting extremely high around the same time broadband connections became widely available. And so, people justified their theft by decrying the cost of CDs. While online music sales from places like iTunes were more reasonably priced, the damage was done -- album sales were forever doomed. Luckily, streaming services are here to save the day. Things like Beats Music and Google Play Music All Access offer unlimited music in exchange for paltry monthly fees; piracy simply is not worth the effort. As can be expected, these services are driving the final nail into the coffin of album sales...and that's a good thing.

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Twitter Analytics now lets everyone check the popularity of their tweets

twitter_analytics

For a while now, verified users and advertisers have been able to check statistics about their Twitter account so they can see how many times individual tweets have been viewed, check what types of tweet encourage the most engagement, and so on. Now Twitter Analytics is available to everyone -- free of charge.

It doesn’t matter if you have a blue verified tick next to your name or not, now you can use the analytics dashboard to check the performance of tweets. While this is a useful tool for businesses, for the average Twitter user it is a tool that will satisfy an idle curiosity and provide a way to while away the time obsessing over what key phrases yield the greatest return.

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Circular-faced LG G Watch R to be unveiled at IFA 2014

Circular-faced LG G Watch R to be unveiled at IFA 2014

IFA 2014 kicks off in Berlin next week, and one of the devices that will be on display is the LG G Watch R. LG is looking to expand further into the wearable market with another Android Wear watch and the killer feature this time around is a round display.

The circular Plastic OLED face has be been designed to make use of the entire surface -- there is no bezel whatsoever. In terms of looks this could be what sells LG G Watch R, as it's a device that's likely to appeal to those pandering for a more traditional look to their wearable tech.

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T-Mobile will also offer HTC One (M8) for Windows

HTC One Windows

There's no question about it -- carrier exclusives are a bad idea. They hurt consumer choice, limit the chances of a device reaching its full market potential, and have a negative impact on the market shares of the vendor and the platform, just to name a few of the main negatives. This especially holds true for Windows Phone. After all, when did anything good come out out of a carrier-exclusive smartphone running the tiled operating system? Every time one comes out, many platforms fans, as well as reviewers, express their disappointed.

So when HTC One (M8) for Windows only turned up at Verizon at launch, it looked like the Taiwanese maker was setting itself and its new smartphone up for failure. Fortunately, that is not the case, as the Windows Phone 8.1 device will also be available at AT&T and T-Mobile, the latter of which just announced the upcoming availability. That's the good news. Now here comes the disappointing part.

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Huddle unveils secure publishing platform

Secure document padlock

Most organizations share or publish files in some form or another, whether internally or externally, but once content is out there it's difficult to know who's reading it or how it's being used.

The latest product announcement from cloud collaboration specialist Huddle addresses this by providing companies with intelligence around completed content published at scale and how it is being consumed. It also complements Huddle's intelligent recommendation engine, which finds relevant content for each user within large organizations.

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Sorry Nokia Lumia 930, I tried to love you, but we're just not meant to be [Review]

Sorry, Lumia 930, I tried, but I just can't love you

While I'm primarily an Android user, I'll dip my toes in the water of iOS and Windows Phone from time to time -- you have to check out what's going on elsewhere after all. A while back I tried to switch to the Nokia Lumia 928, but found Windows Phone too restrictive. But I'm open-minded... I'll give things a second crack of the whip. So now it's time for me to take look at the Lumia 930.

I am impressed with the look and feel of the handset. It's a very solid device that feels robust enough to be used as a tool for breaking and entering should the need arise. It feels like a high-end phone, it oozes quality. But it has Windows Phone 8.1 installed, and that's a massive problem.

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MacBooster 2 launches, adds System Status, Photo Sweeper and Security modules

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IObit has released MacBooster 2.0, a major new build of its shareware cleaning and optimization tool for Macs. The app, which is available as a 14-day trial download, includes a number of new and improved features.

It also shows off a major redesign, switching to a black-themed UI more in keeping with the company’s Windows product portfolio.

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GlassWire is an easy-to-use network monitor

GlassWire200-175

Whether you're concerned about security, or just hoping to optimize your PC’s performance, understanding what's accessing your internet connection can be very helpful.

Network monitors will tell you more, but they're often targeted at experts, weighed down with complex details which -- even if you understand them entirely -- you may not really need. GlassWire is an interesting free network monitor aimed at a more general audience. It’s easy to use, looks great and provides in-depth reports, but they’re easy to follow and focus on only the most important information.

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PDFCreator 1.9.5

GoodSync 9.9.6.0

PanoramaStudio 2.6.1

ComboFix 14.8.28.1

Ratool 1.1

EverNote 5.6.4.4632

The GIMP 2.8.14

Ad-Aware 11.3.6321

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Aktomat 0.9.3.32

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