Latest Technology News

Android apps gain massive web performance boost from Chrome custom tabs

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Android developers looking to include web content in their apps have a new option available to them that will help to greatly improve performance. The new (for the stable branch, at least) 'custom tabs' feature makes it possible to pre-load pages in the background resulting in load times that are a fraction of using WebView or firing up Chrome separately.

The feature can be used by developers to use their own app to change the way Chrome looks and feels, effectively blurring the move from app to the web. In addition to the speed advantages, custom tabs also bring improved security to apps, and provide users with a more familiar browsing experience.

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'Extremely critical' OS X keychain vulnerability stealthily steals passwords via SMS

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Two security researchers have discovered a serious vulnerability in OS X that could allow an attacker to steal passwords and other credentials in an almost invisible way. Antoine Vincent Jebara and Raja Rahbani -- two of the team behind the myki identity management security software -- found that a series of terminal commands can be used to extract a range of stored credentials.

What is particularly worrying about the vulnerability is that it requires virtually no interaction from the victim; simulated mouse clicks can be used to click on hidden buttons to grant permission to access the keychain. Apple has been informed of the issue, but a fix is yet to be issued. The attack, known as brokenchain, is disturbingly easy to execute.

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Motorola unveils the new Moto 360

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Motorola's Moto 360 remains one of the most interesting Android Wear devices, despite being introduced a year ago. Its elegant design has been unmatched so far by most competitors and the user experience continues to be solid. However, when compared to some newer rivals, like Apple Watch, the device is showing its age, being designed with a different market in mind. A successor is much-awaited.

Today, Motorola takes the wraps off its new Moto 360, revealing a smartwatch that will appeal to a wider range of consumers, including iPhone users. The new device features a similar design to its predecessor, but improves upon the original formula by adding more powerful internals, more customization options, and a wider range of models, similar to what Apple has done with its offering.

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How to use a video as your account picture in Windows 10

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Associating a picture with your Windows 10 account is just one way to personalize your computer, but it also serves as a way to easily differentiate between accounts. If you want to be a little different, you don’t need to stick with a dull static image on the login screen -- it is possible to use a video instead.

You can use your webcam and Windows 10's built in camera app to record a short clip and use it in place of your regular account image on the login screen. It might not serve any real purpose, but it's pretty cool. Here’s what you need to do.

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Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as Google Maps takes you to Galapagos

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Sir Isaac Newton famously said that "If I have seen further, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants". Newton referred to the scientists who came before him, but Charles Darwin could have uttered a similar phrase. The explorer and scientist visited the islands of Galapagos and saw literal giants in the form of turtles, or tortoises to be precise. In fact, Darwin brought one home to England, though Harriet eventually resided in Australia before she died at the age of approximately 176.

Now you can see these famous, and seemingly ageless, creatures on Google Maps. No need to board the HMS Beagle and set sail, just look on your computer.

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HP adopts Browsium browser management as part of its Internet Explorer 11 migration service

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We recently reported on HP's new services to help enterprises migrate to Windows 10. Part of this being the WebApp Accelerator Service for Internet Explorer 11.

Web technology specialist Browsium has revealed that HP has selected its browser management solution as a core component of this service.

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IFA 2015: Sony announces Xperia Z5 smartphone series, including a 4K handset

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Not content to launch a single flagship smartphone at IFA 2015, Sony has today launched an entire range -- the Xperia Z5 series. Comprised of three phones -- the Xperia Z5, the Xperia Z5 Compact, and the Xperia Z5 Premium -- the series receives an update that Sony will no doubt hope offers real competition to Apple's upcoming iPhone models.

At the top of the range is the Xperia Z5 Premium which is a world first smartphone, featuring a 4K display. But it's not just the number of pixels that Sony is pushing with its new flagship device; battery life of two days is also touted. Each phone features a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button, and is waterproof.

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Toshiba releases impressive new SSDs and HDDs for gaming and more

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While many consumers are starting to embrace solid state drives, mechanical hard drives are still the most cost effective for data storage. Ideally, you will want to use an SSD for your operating system, while storing files on an HDD.

Today, Toshiba announces new solid state and hard disk drives that are available now. Some of the models are marketed towards gamers, but they will of course work fine for other uses too. Actually, the company has a diverse offering to meet the needs of many.

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Nest Thermostat moves ahead to third generation

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The Nest Learning Thermostat has become quite popular, at least in the tech community. It learns from a user's habits and can be remotely accessed via an app on a phone or tablet. In fact, it can even be controlled using a Harmony Ultimate Home remote control.

Now the product has edged forward into its third generation, bringing a slimmer and sleeker design, as well as being "more beautiful", at least according to Nest.

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TeleSign simplifies end user verification

ID verification

Being able to accurately and safely verify identity is increasingly important as online fraud remains a major threat.

Mobile identity solutions specialist TeleSign is announcing the launch of TeleSign Smart Verify, a new unified API that simplifies end-user verification and two-factor authentication (2FA) for online and mobile app-based accounts to help prevent fraud and stop account compromise.

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If the iPhone empire is collapsing, Apple should be pleased

Future Man Looking

Even when Apple is doing great, some people believe the company is in trouble. Just a few days ago, my colleague Joe Wilcox wrote Collapse of the iPhone empire, in which he explains how the brand that has made Apple so successful could just as easily fall from grace with consumers. Right now, however, this could not be further from the truth.

More than a quarter of smartphone buyers across Europe have dumped Android smartphones for iPhones in the three months ending July 2015, leading to a boost in market share to 17 percent, up from 14.5 percent over the same period a year prior. And Apple has not even launched its new iPhones yet, which could spell even more trouble for premium Android vendors.

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Hundreds of unscrupulous black hat editors banned from Wikipedia

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Crowd-sourcing of information by Wikipedia has helped create a vast resource, used by millions of people. But the fact that anyone is free to contribute to the online encyclopedia means that there is potential for corruption.

Wikipedia has just banned hundreds of black hat editors which were found to have been paid to edit articles. It is a violation of Wikimedia's terms of use to accept money to promote people, companies, and interests on Wikipedia as the site is supposed to be free from bias and undue influence.

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Facebook and Twitter's autoplay videos in the firing line after Virginia shooting

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The Virginia shootings in which two journalists were killed on live TV by Vester Flanagan highlighted one of the problems of social media: it can be used for terrible things. If the news of two needless deaths was not enough, countless Facebook and Twitter users were upset by footage of the killings that quickly spread around the social networks, automatically playing for many people.

This is not the first time that autoplay videos have been in the news, and it certainly won’t be the last. Now politicians in the UK are calling for Facebook and Twitter to better police content that is uploaded by users to avoid a repeat incident in which people are unwitting viewers of horrific scenes.

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Acer pulls down the top on new convertibles, running Chrome OS and Windows 10

Acer Convertibles

Today, at IFA in Berlin, Acer unveiled its first convertible Chromebook and updated the Windows counterpart, which gets 6th-generation Intel Core processors and USB 3.1 Type-C port. The two computers join a surprising assortment of new gear, including gaming notebooks and tablets and smartphones.

The Chromebook R 11 Convertible comes in consumer and commercial models. Base specs: 11-6.-inch display (1366 x 768 resolution); 1.6GHz Intel N3150 or N3050 Celeron processor; 2GB or 4GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB SSD; Intel HD graphics; webcam; USB 3; WiFi N; and Chrome OS. Weighs 1.25kg (2.76 pounds). There are four modes of operation, depending on positioning: display, laptop, pad, and tent.

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Acer unleashes Predator on gamers

Acer Predator

It's IFA Berlin, and Acer means business about play, unveiling new desktops, laptops, monitors, and tablets in its gaming series. The Predator G3 and G6 PCs get 6th-generation Intel Core processors and new thermal systems. The Predator 15 and 17 notebooks get 6th-gen processors and updated fan designs.

New monitors are available in 27, 28, or 35 inches. The new 8-inch tablet features FHD display and Intel Atom x7 processor.

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