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Microsoft apologizes for Halo: The Master Chief Collection snafu with a bunch of freebies

Microsoft apologizes for Halo: The Master Chief Collection snafu with a bunch of freebies

The Halo series has been a massive success for Microsoft on Xbox, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection was an eagerly anticipated launch. But when the remastered game collection hit Xbox One, it didn't take long for gamers to discover a raft of problems with multiplayer games, and a range of glitches that impacted on performance.

Now Microsoft and games studio 343 Industries have apologized for the issues in a way that the companies are hoping will be well-received -- by giving away a batch of free stuff. That's not to say that an actual apology has been issued; instead the freebies are a thank you for gamers' "support and understanding as we worked through issues impacting" the game.

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Holiday 2014 gift guide for procrastinators

Leeo

You lazy son of a bitch. It's Sunday, Christmas is Thursday, and you still haven't started shopping for gifts? Don't worry, we've got your ass covered with a quick, down-and-dirty gift bonanza. It's an eclectic mix because we have the attention spans of mice intoxicated by coffee and Krispy Kremes.

Lucky you. Many U.S. online shops grub for dollars by offering last-minute, free one-day shipping. Ha! There are some rewards waiting until Santa attaches reindeer to the sleigh. Read fast, because some of these are deals that won't last -- and when we say this grab bag is random, we mean it.

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Tor network could be attacked and knocked offline this week

Tor network could be attacked and knocked offline this week

Roger Dingledine, leader of the Tor Project, has warned it could be the subject of an attack this week. In a blog post, he cautioned users that the project had learned that directory authorities might be seized in an attempt to incapacitate the network. Dingledine does not hint at who might be responsible for a future attack, but reassured users that anonymity would be maintained.

Directory authorities are used by Tor clients to help route traffic through the network, ensuring that users remains anonymous at each stage. An attack on directory authorities would probably have little effect to start with, but there is potential to take down the network if enough servers were targeted.

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Reddit (sort of) launches its own nebulous cryptocurrency, Reddit Notes

Reddit (sort of) launches its own nebulous cryptocurrency, Reddit Notes

We've already heard that 2015 is supposed to be the year of cryptocurrency, and Microsoft recently announced that Bitcoin is an acceptable form of payment. Now Reddit is getting in on the virtual currency action. Kind of. Well, perhaps. The details are vague at the moment, but the intriguingly-named Reddit Notes have been announced.

It comes just a few months after Reddit managed to secure $50 million in funding, and at the time "the investors in this round have proposed to give 10% of their shares back to the community". The birth of Reddit Notes is the start of this payback, but it's not yet clear who will receive them or what they will be used for.

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Clean up your inbox with Automatic Outlook Duplicate Remover

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Outlook provides various ways to manage the size of your mailbox (see Mailbox Cleanup in Outlook 2013), but nothing to help you deal with the duplicates that could be cluttering your system.

Automatic Outlook Duplicate Remover is a free tool which does exactly what you'd expect, finding and removing duplicates from your Outlook email folders, contacts, calendar, notes and tasks.

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You likely won't catch Ebola, but you can help find a cure

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Ebola has created quite the stir in 2014, for both the right and wrong reasons. There's no doubting it's a serious disease that needs to be wiped out, but panic over catching it has greatly outpaced the actual spread, which is rather slow and involves the transmission of bodily fluids. The CDC outlines basic guidelines to keep you safe. Despite the worry of the public at large, you simply aren't likely to get infected.

However, that doesn't mean everything is coming up roses. As I said, it's something we need to eradicate like Polio and Smallpox. The US government has thrown financial support behind the initiative in an effort to both help, as well as allay fears and prevent widespread panic over this outbreak.

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Microsoft offering 'Super Saturday' in-store deals -- tomorrow only!

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Holy cow, where did the time go!? Tomorrow is December 20th, and Christmas is almost here. If you are like me, you have not finished your shopping yet; yes, it is time to start panicking. Sure, I can run down to Bath and Body Works and buy some lotions for gifts, or go to Target and buy a foot-bath or two, but let's be honest -- those aren't the most thoughtful. In my experience, body lotions, foot-baths, Chia Pets, etc., often get tucked-away into a closet to be regifted at a later date.

Today however, Microsoft is here to help, announcing some special in-store deals for last minute shoppers -- gifts people might actually want. These deals will only be live tomorrow, so be prepared.

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Is fashion behind the rise of wearable technology?

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"Today, your task is to create a piece of wearable technology," Lord Sugar told the candidates at the start of a recent episode of BBC1’s The Apprentice. Unfortunately, the boys’ team went on to create a grey jumper with a small inbuilt camera and novelty Christmas lights. Meanwhile, the girls’ team devised a jacket with solar panels on the shoulders and a few lights on the lapels.

Not products that are going to grace the catwalk at London Fashion Week any time soon. Yet, for all their painful sound bites and poor decisions, the candidates were right to some extent in thinking that making wearable technology look fashionable is key. As it happens, the wearable technology sector is increasingly relying on the fashion industry to drive it forward, but is it enough for wearables to be wholeheartedly adopted by mainstream consumers? Let’s look at a few examples.

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Microsoft rolls out Lumia Denim -- most users will get it in 2015

Nokia Microsoft Lumia Denim

Microsoft is keeping its promise of delivering Lumia Denim in the last quarter of 2014, as the firmware update is rolling out now. However, most devices which are slated to get it will only receive it starting early next year.

"The Lumia Denim update has started rolling out to a limited number of devices in selected markets, and will continue arriving in waves by device", says Microsoft's Adam Frasier. "A wider rollout of Lumia Denim to all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to begin in early January, following partner testing and approvals". I wouldn't be surprised if the roll-out ends very late in Q1 2015.

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This holiday season you can window shop with Google Street View

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'Tis the season to go shopping, and the point where desperation begins to make its ugly presence felt. The holidays are just around the corner. One thing popular with folks this time of year is "window shopping", meaning walking along the streets and checking out the displays.

If you enjoy this activity then there are no better places to do it than New York City and London. Coincidentally, that's exactly where the Google Street View team recently trekked, taking in the sites and recording them for the rest of the world.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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One-hundred and ten in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows 8 in the last seven days.

The games category of the store is plagued by fakes this week. You'll find popular games such as GTA 5, Skyrim and Dragon Age Inquisition in the store offered not by the publisher of the game but by individuals. It is not clear why Microsoft seems to have such a hard time preventing these apps from being listed in store in the first place.

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How your data will be at risk in 2015

2015 Ahead

The world of information security is, as we know, a constant arms race between the hackers and cyber criminals and the protection industry.

Since the focus has turned to making money rather than simply causing disruption it's become big business too. 2014's string of retail and other security breaches is testament to this.

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Employees are the biggest security risk in the cloud

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Staff members present the biggest security risk to a company, and the most likely weak point when it comes to data in the cloud.

According to the recent State of SMB Cybersecurity report from CloudEntr, which took in the opinions of 438 IT pros across 20+ different industries, 77 percent said that staff members are the weakest link in their security infrastructure, and a liability when it comes to cloud usage.

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Sign up now to beta test a 'Dog Wearable Device' with Betabound by Centercode

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Nowadays, dog ownership is more like adopting a baby than buying a pet. What do I mean by this? Canines are often a part of people's families, sometimes kept in higher regard than the human members. While this may seem crazy to some, I totally get it. My dog has more clothes than me and she has more toys than the average human child. Keep in mind, dogs love you unconditionally, and make your life better -- they deserve to be spoiled and have the best lives possible.

One of the most popular things in technology nowadays is wearables. While smartwatches have been slow to take off, Apple's watch will likely change that next year. For now, it is fitness wearables that are all the rage. Guess what? An all-new health-focused wearable for dogs is getting ready to hit the market and I am happy to say that dog-owning BetaNews readers can apply for the opportunity to test it.

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Discover useful USB device details with Temple

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Copying files to a USB storage device is generally very easy. Plug it in, the drive appears in Explorer, drag/ drop, go do something else until the transfer is complete. Simple.

If you’re moving a lot of files, though, you might want to know more. Like, does your device support USB 3.0? And if so, have you connected it to a USB 3.0 hub, to ensure you’ll get the best possible performance?

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