The seemingly common peripheral that sits on our desks and gets taken for granted has not always been a part of computing. The lowly mouse has also changed more than you think over its lifespan, and its contribution to the technology world should be in little doubt. The tiny hand-held device has made major strides since its debut, 45 years ago today.
Yes, it was on December 9th, 1968, long before Windows was even a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye, that the little product made its first appearance. Years earlier, Douglas Engelbart filed a patent for a device he developed in 1963 at Stanford University. However, it took until 1966 for Patent number 3,541,541 to be granted -- fast by today's standards.
In the midst of the Snowden leaks, computer users are feeling very violated. After all, a personal computer is personal -- we want to feel that our data and privacy is secure. Microsoft says it best by saying "people won't use technology they don't trust".
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In the past, sharing media with friends and family meant physically pulling out the photo albums or having to meet up in order to swap a DVD or video. Of course, these days you no longer have to tie yourself to the living room or study in order to access media either.
It’s perhaps surprising then that it’s only now that a cloud-based service has thought about providing a secure, simple way of storing, streaming and -- this is the biggie -- sharing media online. That service is Streamnation.com.
I'm all for curbing government snooping, but what about corporations collecting information? Tech Giant's -- AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo -- reform rally is disingenuous and self-serving. These same companies collect mountains of personal information for profit. So, what? It's okay for them to snoop, but not governments?
While children may tout the educational features of tablets to fool adults into buying them, the truth is, no kid wants to use a tablet for education. It's simply a ploy to obtain a new toy on which to play video games and watch movies.
Sadly, some adults are actually responsible and enable these educational features on the device. To the dismay of children across the globe, Amazon announces new educational options for the FreeTime feature on the Kindle Fire line of tablets. In other words, learning is going to severely impact the playing time of Angry Birds.
Strange and confusing ads are certainly not a new genre, in fact we see more than enough of them everytime we turn on the television. Verizon is taking this path now with a new series featuring Edward Norton -- it's no Fight Club, but it's almost as violent as that classic movie.
While the new campaign is certainly odd, it is also strangely compelling. The 30-second spot teases the real video without ever showing any sort of device to provide a hint of what this is all about. Instead it simply provides a hashtag and a "click here to see the full story" link -- #FortyEight, which seems to have a bit of traction on Twitter.
Amazon has been all over the news in recent weeks, and much of that has surrounded the Kindle line of E-readers and tablets -- we'll ignore those flying robots that have been on your mind. If you didn't get in on the big Cyber Monday sale, then you'll get a second crack at a deal today.
Amazon is holding a today-only Kindle-fest that features select members of the family at new, lower prices. The basic Kindle E-reader Wi-Fi is down from its regular $69 cost to $56. Other deals available include the 16 GB Kindle Fire HD at only $135, Fire HDX 7 16 GB model for $183 and the Fire HD 8.9 16 GB slashed from $269 down to $229. All of these deals are for the Wi-Fi only versions of the tablets.
Headlines about government surveillance of web usage all over the world have been difficult to avoid this past year. Since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on activities by the NSA, both companies and web users have been asking for greater transparency in data collection and there have been endless calls for dragnet data collection to be stopped completely. It is often the case that when confronted with a common enemy, some unlikely alliances are forged. This is certainly true with the NSA, and now Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL are all coming together to present a united front and push for legal reform.
The collective has written an open letter to President Obama and congress, warning that "the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual". There has been quite a backlash against the number of requests for data that the US government has made of companies, and the letter makes it clear that the eight companies that have joined forces are not happy:
When you sell or scrap a PC it’s important to consider your data security. The hard drive will almost certainly have contained confidential information at some point -- user names, passwords, financial details -- and even it seems empty now, it’s worth making sure that none of this can ever be recovered.
Darik’s Boot and Nuke is an open-source tool which offers one possible solution. Burn its ISO image to disc, use this to boot your PC, and it’ll securely wipe your hard drive with the minimum of hassle.
Following Windows market share on NetApplications, as I do every month, it’s clear to me that Windows 8.x isn’t the hit Microsoft hoped for. There are several reasons for this, all of which I’ve discussed previously -- dwindling PC sales, users dislike of touch and the Modern UI, and so on.
Last month Windows 7’s growth outpaced that of Windows 8.x by four fold, and it’s not the first time the older OS has proven the more popular choice either. It’s becoming something of a regular occurrence. Adoption of the tiled OS is slow, very slow. Especially compared with the strong pick up Windows 7 enjoyed from the start.
Berlin-based utilities developer O&O Software has announced the availability of O&O AutoBackup 3.
The big addition in this release is support for real-time synchronization. As soon as file is created or changed in your specified folders, AutoBackup 3 will copy it to the destination drive.
Miami-based startup Textter has developed a new service aiming to revolutionize the way people send and receive text messages.
We spoke to company founder Carlos Cueto in an exclusive interview ahead of next week's official launch to find out more about the product and what it has to offer.
If you need to scroll an application window on a PC then spinning the mouse wheel is probably the simplest route. This only works on the foreground window, though, the one where you’re currently working. And so if you want to scroll some other window, you must click it first.
AlwaysMouseWheel is a tiny portable tool which changes all this. Once running, you can switch to and scroll any window Ubuntu-style just by moving the mouse cursor over it, and spinning the wheel -- no extra click required. It’s a small improvement, but if you regularly work with a lot of open applications then it can make a real difference.
It's that time of year, when the temperatures dip and the snow begins to fall, well, depending on where you live. This is also the time of year when a few radio stations suddenly change formats, and you can't turn the dial without hearing Bing Crosby or Burl Ives. Streaming radio company Rdio is taking a similar approach.
The music service has announced its 2013 lineup of holiday stations and curated playlists to get you in the spirit. "All of your musical needs for the holidays can be found right here on Rdio", the company announces.
Alternate Pic View EXESlide is a lightweight free tool which helps you build extremely basic slideshows. And we really do mean "basic": you can’t annotate an image, add captions or apply effects, and there’s no support for transitions at all.
EXESlide does excel in one area, though -- export formats. The program's slideshows may be limited, but once built they can be saved as self-launching EXEs, screensavers (SCR), Flash animations (SWF), AVI videos and animated GIFs. There are even bonus tools to present individual images as simple games.