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Best Windows 8 apps this week


Ninety-ninth in a series. Welcome to this week's selection of the best apps and games that were published to Microsoft's Windows Store.

This week saw some strong releases such as Star Wars: Commander, another official Star Wars game that looks to become as successful as Star Wars: Assault Team.

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Facebook to fire news at you faster than ever

Facebook to fire news at you faster than ever

Part of the point of Facebook, in addition to making it easier to keep in touch with people, is to keep abreast of news. The social network's algorithms are such that you don’t just see a chronological stream of updates from the people, companies, and pages you follow -- stories can 'surface' in a seemingly random order, and may appear some time after they were actually relevant. Facebook is aware that it can deliver posts in something of an untimely fashion, and it's now going to do something about it. It makes a change from forcing users to display their real names...

The social network is rolling out a couple of updates that will help to ensure that stories that appear in your News Feeds are more relevant. There have been complaints that Facebook is slow to start pushing trending topics -- be it sports events or big news stories -- and this is being addressed. Should friends of yours link to, or interact with, a story that is currently trending, it is "more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner". You may well have thought that this is how things worked before, but apparently this is not the case.

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The Internet of Things -- Chasing the waves

Internet of things

Few people have heard of microcontrollers, but a great many people own them. They are found in household appliances such as fridges and TVs. They are small computers that, for example, manage the dials and display on a washing machine, open and close the taps, start and stop the drum, and perform other functions for the user's selected wash program. More complex devices have several microcontrollers. A car, for example, might contain 30 of them.

Manufactured by the million, and costing a few dollars each, they have been a standard feature of product design for years. What is new is that they are becoming connected to the Internet. The result is the Internet of Things. What does this mean for consumers? Some eye-catching possibilities have been widely advertised, such as the ability to turn up the heating in your home on your way back from vacation. But less spectacular benefits, such as higher reliability and lower maintenance costs, could be more important.

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EaseUS Todo PC Trans adds support for non-direct transfer of data and apps


EaseUS has released EaseUS Todo PCTrans 8.0 Free, an updated version of its PC transfer software for migrating data and applications to a new computer.

The new build no longer requires users to transfer directly between two active PCs on the same network. Instead, the program follows more established tools like Laplink in allowing users to save their data to an image file, which allows them to migrate in their own time, or install a new version of Windows on the same PC before transferring back their data and apps.

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epCheck: track your favourite TV shows from the Windows desktop


The easiest way to track your favorite TV shows is usually to download a suitable app, or maybe sign up at a website. There are a huge number of options, and the only real challenge is finding out which one is best for you.

But what if you’d like a solution that works offline? One that doesn’t involve opening yet another account somewhere, and runs happily on the Windows desktop? Then you need to check out epCheck.

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UAG announces military-grade case for Microsoft's Surface Pro 3


The Surface Pro 3 is, for me, hands-down the most significant device released in 2014. It is designed for both productivity and entertainment and delivers on both. Unfortunately, the tablet can be rather expensive which makes me a bit nervous handling it. Don't get me wrong, it is not fragile, I just cherish it and do not want to break it.

Luckily, a new case is coming on the scene, which should protect the Surface Pro 3 from accidental drops. Urban Armor Gear, a company that makes hardcore, yet affordable, cases for smartphones and tablets announces military-grade Surface Pro 3 protection.

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Panic over! Twitpic is given a stay of execution after a buyer is found

Panic over! Twitpic is given a stay of execution after a buyer is found

Twitpic will no longer close on 25 September as the photo sharing service has found a buyer. There's not yet any word on who is behind the acquisition, but the takeaway news is that photos should be safe as Twitpic will live to fight another day.

Just a couple of weeks ago, founder Noah Everett posted the news that Twitpic was to close following something of a legal tussle with Twitter. But things have taken a turn for the better. After users scrabbled to download their images to ensure they were safe, it now transpires that the service is not going anywhere.

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Google: Android L turns data encryption on by default

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.

And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.

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Windows 9 build 9841 screenshots and details leak


Last week we had leaked screenshots and even videos from Windows 9 build 9834, and now new screens have appeared from build 9841, or what might well be very close to the actual Technical Preview.

Whereas all the leaks last week came from, these new screens come from, which also has information on the Start menu (naturally), apps, files, personalization and more. One of the new things we learn is that anyone trying out the preview build will be able to provide feedback directly to Microsoft through a Feedback app. There can be no accusations of Microsoft not listening to customers this time around!

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Why the football Premier League needs to go digital


The use of technology within the sporting world is extensive. Players on the pitch or court, or in the pool, make the most of sports science in their diets and training. Strength and conditioning equipment is state-of-the-art, with some of the biggest names in professional sport investing huge sums of money in training facilities.

Even the kit worn by athletes uses technological innovations to provide every advantage possible. For teams, an inch or a split second can prove vital and kit needs to reflect this.

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LastPass for iOS adds Safari extension, Touch ID integration in iOS 8


Password-management service LastPass has unveiled LastPass for Premium 3.1.0 for iPad and iPhone users with paid-for LastPass accounts.

Version 3.1.0 taps into two new iOS 8 features to deliver direct support for Safari and Touch ID integration, allowing users to unlock LastPass using their finger rather than a passcode or master password.

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SwiftKey is a massive success on iOS 8


SwiftKey has hit the top of Apple’s App Store charts just hours after launching on Apple iOS 8 devices bringing with it the swipe-to-type features that have become second nature to Android users.

The swipe-to-type app is number one among all free "Utilities" apps in the Apple App Store and comes out in second overall for all free apps on the entire Apple App Store.

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These are officially the 4 best cat videos on the entire Internet


While I love all animals, I probably love cats and dogs the most. Growing up, my family always had cats, so they have a special place in my heart. Seriously, what on earth is better than cuddling with a kitten or playing with a ball of string?

For whatever reason, cat videos have become very popular on the Internet. Whether nerds truly love cats, or it is enjoyed ironically, the videos are clearly here to stay. Amazingly, Friskies cat food has an annual awards show to find the best cat videos, called "The Friskies". Here are the 4 best, according to public voting.

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Nero 2015: it’s all about the iOS/ Android extras


Nero has announced the launch of Nero 2015 Classic and Nero 2015 Platinum, a very mobile device-oriented update for its flagship digital media suites.

Nero MediaHome now streams files directly to all Android and ("coming soon") iOS devices (as well as TVs and media players) over wifi, automatically transcoding media along the way for immediate compatibility.

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Google to fund videos from top YouTube creators


Television and movies are so last generation. Nowadays, all the cool kids are crowded around their laptops and tablets watching online videos of cats and other nonsense. However, believe it or not, not all online content is frivolous. There's quite a bit of quality videos on YouTube, and I have a select group of content creators to which I subscribe. Who, you ask? Chris Pirillo, iJustine and Barnacules Nerdgasm to name a few.

Unfortunately, content creation is a huge job and even short videos can take a long time to create. While creators can get paid from advertisements, it probably is not enough to live on. Luckily, Google is going to step in and fund some of the content of its top creators.

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