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Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Having unveiled Windows 10 yesterday, Microsoft today welcomed a new addition to the fold in the form of Sway. This is the latest member of the Office family and it's being billed as a way to "reimagine how your ideas come to life". What does this actually mean? In many ways, Sway is an extension of OneNote. It's a web-based way to collect content, store images and text, add videos, and generally piece together everything you might need for a presentation, project, or idea. Sway is currently a preview product and, in keeping with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first world" there's a strong focus on cross-platform compatibility and cross-device syncing.

Sway is an interesting blend of existing Microsoft products, but it also brings in some new ideas. It's integrated with OneDrive, and has the note-taking features of OneNote. The various templates that can be used to present the data that is collected gives it something of a feel of PowerPoint, but it could also be used for very simple planning and project management like a cut-down, accessible version of Microsoft Project. It's all web-based and Microsoft is touting it as a "new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas".

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Just how effective are parental control products?

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Parents are keen to ensure that their offspring don't access inappropriate material on the web and for that reason most security software providers now offer parental control products, whether as a standalone product or part of an internet security package.

In a study commissioned for a German magazine, AV-Comparatives has looked at the leading products for Windows and mobile platforms to assess which are the most effective.

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NirSoft's OpenSaveFilesView displays recently opened and saved files

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NirSoft has released OpenSaveFilesView, a tiny portable tool which displays files opened and saved by the standard Windows Open and Save dialogs.

This has various potential applications, from reminding yourself where you saved that document last week, to getting an idea what someone else might be doing on a PC.

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iPhone 6: an honest review

iPhone 6

I preordered Apple's new smartphone on September 12, and it wasn't easy. Few months back, I went "Microsoft All-In" for the summer, purchasing the Nokia Lumia Icon on contract from Verizon. So I didn't qualify for the discounted, upgrade price. But when there's a will, there's a way -- and a generous family member helps make something special happen.

My iPhone 6 review begins with such disclaimer. Like iPad Air, I paid for the device. Apple didn't send me a review unit, but I did ask, and I am not on the preferred list of writers who get early access to "iDevices" and who presumably are more likely to rave. Such qualification is necessary, because iPhone 6 is an exceptionally satisfying handset, and I don't want to be mislabeled fanboy for stating such. That's a brash conclusion coming from someone abandoning a competing smartphone with better specs and satisfying user experience.

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O&O SafeErase 8 gains smart Explorer integration

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Berlin developer O&O Software has unveiled O&O SafeErase Professional 8 ($29.95), a new edition of its commercial secure deletion tool.

Version 8 delivers enhanced Explorer integration. If you spot files or folders you need to delete permanently, right-click them, select SafeErase, and there’s no waiting for the full program to load: a simple dialog now quickly appears with the core options you need.

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WordPress and other CMSs are 'inherently insecure'

WordPress and other CMSs are 'inherently insecure'

A large proportion of websites are not standalone sites in their own right, but creations based on CMSs such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. This is particularly true for personal blogs, but using a CMS as the basis for a site has been increasingly popular among larger companies. CMSs are used because they allow for articles to be posted easily, make it simple for multiple people to contribute to a site, and allow for different users to be assigned different access rights. They can also be extended through the use of plugins, but these self-same extensions are also a security disaster waiting to happen.

Security experts High-Tech Bridge frequently discover vulnerabilities in extensions and plugins for popular CMSs. It is standard procedure to notify the developer before going public three weeks after the discovery -- this provides an opportunity for the problems to be fixed without alerting others who might exploit it. High-Tech Bridge CEO, Ilia Kolochenko, says that CMS security issues are nothing new:

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'Grandroid' smartphone designed to meet the needs of the elderly

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As increasing numbers of government and other services go online, internet access becomes more important and mobile devices play a big part in that.

Yet according to charity Age UK there are 10.8 million people aged 65 or over in the UK but only three percent of them own a smartphone which could mean they're missing out on 'digital inclusion'. In order to make smartphones more accessible to older users, the new Amplicomms M9000 has all the benefits of an Android touch screen phone but with hardware and software specially adapted for the less technically adept.

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Nokia Lumia 830 now available

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Nokia Lumia 830 is meant to act as a gap-filler in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 line, slotting in-between the Lumia 930 flagship and the Lumia 735 budget-friendly offering. It's a mid-ranger, in both hardware features and price. It is also the successor to the two year-old Lumia 820, as its name implies.

Microsoft has high hopes for Lumia 830, calling it "the first affordable flagship" and marketing it as cheaper alternative to the likes of Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5. It's a strategy which could pay off in emerging markets, where consumers want premium devices but cannot afford the cost premiums. We will have to see how the market reacts to Lumia 830, which goes on sale starting this week.

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Most businesses waste money on 'shelfware' that’s never used

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Almost two-thirds of companies plan on freezing or shrinking their software spend and 96 percent of organizations report that they're wasting money on software that is unused.

These are among the findings of a new report by Flexera Software in conjunction with IDC which looks at pricing and licensing. The biggest concern is that almost all businesses have "shelfware" that is never used.

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Windows 8.x goes back into reverse gear, losing the most usage share yet

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Windows 10 really can’t come soon enough for Microsoft as its predecessor is continuing to tank. In August the tiled OS actually gained usage share -- according to web analytics firm NetMarketShare -- which was unusual as 8.x had lost users in the previous two months. But any suggestions of a recovery are swiftly crushed looking at September’s figures.

Both Windows 8 and 8.x lost a load of usage share last month, while Windows 7 reached an all-time high. It’s Windows 7 users Microsoft really needs to be aiming for with Windows 10 (and if it can tempt XP users too, so much the better).

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Watch the Windows 10 presentation

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Microsoft disappointed a lot of people yesterday by not livestreaming its Windows 10 reveal. It was a strange move considering that most tech companies offer a stream these days (and even a bad livestream, as Apple gave us for the iPhone 6 launch, is better than none at all).

The reason why Microsoft didn’t offer a stream is that it wasn’t a product launch as such, or even a presentation aimed at consumers. The company revealed the name -- Windows 10! -- talked about the benefits for the enterprise, and then quickly ran through an early build of the product. But while there was no livestream, the event was recorded, and it’s now available to watch.

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Need user-friendly bootable recovery media? AOMEI PE Builder Free has your back

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Everyone -- and we mean everyone -- needs some kind of recovery disc. It could be the only thing between you and losing critical data, or a lengthy (and possibly unnecessary) Windows reinstall, for example.

Most PCs ship with some kind of onboard recovery or repair tools, but these are often limited. What’s the solution? If you’re running Windows 7 or 8 (but not, as yet, 8.1), it could well be AOMEI PE Builder Free 1.0.

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Find a bug in Chrome? You could earn $15,000 and entry into the Google Hall of Fame!

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There are award shows for everything nowadays, celebrating actors, athletes and more. However, computer nerds do not get the credit they deserve; we should get an award show too, right? Hell, they should give out trophies for fixing family members' computers. I have spent hours at my Uncle Roy's smelly house removing malware, only to leave with not so much as a thank you.

Don't worry though, Google cares about your nerdy endeavors -- if it helps the Chrome browser, that is. You see, the search giant is increasing the maximum bounty for finding bugs in the browser to $15,000. While money is awesome, the recognition may be equally cool, as your name may be added to the Google Hall of Fame!

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Sorry Linux fans, Windows 10 will continue Microsoft's desktop domination

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I'll admit, when Windows 8 was first announced, I hated it. Even though I am open-minded about UI changes, the Start Screen rubbed me the wrong way. At the time, I was strictly a keyboard and mouse user, who enjoyed doing things on a large monitor. After months of trying to convince myself that I would eventually like the changes, I gave up and went to Linux full time. I was already a casual user of operating systems based on the open-source kernel, but now I was jumping in head first.

Initially, life was great and I hopped from distribution to distribution trying Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and many more. What was cool about these Linux-based desktop operating systems, was that I could choose the environment of my liking. In other words, if I didn't like the UI, I could easily switch. This was in stark contrast to Windows, which has a take it or leave it approach. Ultimately, I decided on Fedora and the GNOME 3 environment. This surprised me, because as a lifelong Windows user, I expected to gravitate towards KDE. Over time though, something strange happened -- I went back to Windows 8.

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With Windows 10, Microsoft leaves lots of questions unanswered

With Windows 10, Microsoft leaves lots of questions unanswered

So… we now know that Windows 9 is by far the least successful version of Windows ever, grossing Microsoft a total of $0. But Microsoft is as keen as ever to look to the future, and it's pinning its hopes on the newly revealed Windows 10. At the unveiling in San Francisco we learned quite a lot about the upcoming version of the successor to Windows 8.1 (yep... it's going to sound weird for a long time), but there were also a lot of unanswered questions. It was interesting to see that the demonstration used build 9841 which we have already seen in leak, and in this regard there were few surprises. Between the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview Microsoft still has a lot of work to do, and a lot of people to convince to upgrade.

What do we not yet know? We don’t have a release date, at least nothing that has been pinned down. We know it will be some time in the second half of 2015 -- if everything goes to plan -- but that's quite a big Window. We also don’t know what costs, if any, might be associated with the operating system. It has been suggested that Microsoft would make Windows 10 available free of charge, but nothing official has been said on this front. We have no idea what sort of upgrade path may be available -- would this be Microsoft's opportunity to usher everyone away from Windows XP once and for all? Simply offer a free upgrade to an operating system that addresses the issues users have raised and the security problems associated with an ancient version of Windows should diminish.

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