Latest Technology News

Big Ass Fans hooks up with Google's Nest for some big ass savings


Air conditioning is one of the greatest inventions of all mankind. As a fat guy, I love keeping my house like an igloo. However, as great as being cool is, conditioned air takes some of the fun out of summer. As someone who grew up without air conditioning, I learned to appreciate having an open window and enjoying the sounds and smells of the season. Crickets chirping, thunder in the distance, and the smell of fresh-cut grass are lost when you shut the windows and turn on the artificial cool air.

While I am too far gone to ever return to life without an air conditioner, I am still quite conscious of the extremely high electric bill that it causes. Today, Big Ass Fans, a fan manufacturer, announces that one of its fans, the Haiku with SenseME, can now work with the Nest thermostat to lower bills. If this fan can give me big ass savings, I'm all for it!

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Bye bye, Ballmer -- Steve bows out from the board at Microsoft

Bye bye, Ballmer -- Steve bows out from the board at Microsoft

Having left his post as CEO of Microsoft six months ago, Steve Ballmer today further cut his ties with the company. In a letter to Satya Nadella, he explains that it would be "impractical" to continue to serve on the board of directors. The decision comes after the purchase of the LA Clippers, and Ballmer's letter makes reference to "the start of the NBA season" meaning that his "departure from the board is effective immediately". But Steve is not cutting the umbilical cord entirely; he remains a shareholder and wants to keep his hand in to some extent.

The heart-warmingly friendly letter praises Nadella's drive and vision at the top of Microsoft, and it's clear that Ballmer is still deeply passionate about the company he leaves behind:

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Finally! Microsoft optimizes OneNote for Android tablets


Microsoft produces some amazing things; the Surface Pro 3 is revolutionary and Office is a staple in productivity around the world. However, there is one service that the company provides that does not get the attention it deserves -- OneNote. Yes, the software that many have installed, but few use, is actually very good. It is a wonderful way to take notes and organize your thoughts. Best of all, it is cross-platform and has a web-based version, so it can be accessed on Android, iOS, Windows, OS X, Chromebooks and Linux.

Sadly, Microsoft did not make an Android version optimized for tablets. This was tragic, as many people use Google-powered tablets as their daily organizers. Today however, this changes as Microsoft releases a tablet-optimized Android version of OneNote. What took so long?

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HTC One (M8) for Windows is the Windows Phone you've been waiting for


Earlier today the first pictures of HTC One (M8) running Windows Phone 8.1 appeared on the web. The leaked images looked genuine, but we were waiting for official confirmation of the device before sharing the news, and the Taiwanese firm has just provided that.

The HTC One (M8) is one of the best -- if not the best -- Android phones available and the Windows Phone variant keeps everything that’s good about it, including the all-metal unibody design, tapered edges, and curved back, 5-inch 1080 by 1920 display, 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and Duo Camera setup.

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Emsisoft Emergency Kit 9 overhauls interface to simplify malware cleaning


Emsisoft has released Emsisoft Emergency Kit 9, a major new build of its portable malware cleaning toolkit for Windows PCs. The new build jumps from version 4 to 9, which brings its version numbering into sync with the main Emsisoft Anti-Malware line of products.

Version 9 promises a simpler, more user-friendly user interface, faster scans and improved detection, clearer log entries and a new Pro license for use in a commercial environment.

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New ransomware charges $300 (early bird special) to unlock your files


PandaLabs has discovered a new strain of ransomware which it is calling Trj/Crypdef.A. The new variant works like other forms of ransomware in that it locks infected computers and encrypts a user’s files before demanding a ransom to get control back.

The ransom demand says "By purchasing a license from us, we are able to rescue your files 100% guaranteed for a very low early bird price of only $300". Don’t think $300 is a bargain? Well, in five days the demand goes up to $600, and after ten days it will cost you $1,000 to unlock your system and restore your files.

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Is a lack of Wi-Fi truly good for business?


As the world packs its bags and forms an orderly queue in crowded departure zones, the plethora of smartphones, tablets and laptops coming along with us, highlights a need to stay connected on holiday. This is the age of the connected consumer. As travel surveys and online review sites repeatedly confirm, the most important amenity for the connected consumer is Wi-Fi.

Whether venues like it or not, wireless internet access is now as important to customers as electricity, or water in the bathroom, and for many more important than a clean room or a brilliant hotel restaurant.

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A Linux Trojan gets ported to Windows


While most people consider Linux safe and secure, it isn't always the case. When the bad guys of the internet have a will, they find a way. That's why, back in May of this year, security firm Dr. Web reported a new family of Linux Trojans designed for DDoS attacks.

Now the company reports that one member of that family, known by the catchy name of "Trojan.DnsAmp.1" has been ported over to the Windows side of the computing world.

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Plans to slap age ratings on online videos are completely and utterly pointless

Plans to slap age ratings on online videos are completely and utterly pointless

Head to the stores to look for real, physical DVDs and Blu-rays, and you'll probably find that there's an age rating on them. Now plans are afoot to bring the same idea to the web. As insane an idea as this may sound, this is actually happening, and it is completely pointless and unworkable. Initially starting off with the involvement of YouTube and Vevo, the scheme is the brainchild of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and will start as a pilot program in October. It's something that is likely to appeal to concerned parents, but the practicalities are a rather different matter.

Announcing the ratings plan, Cameron said: "We shouldn't cede the internet as some sort of lawless space where the normal rules of life shouldn't apply. So, in as far as it is possible, we should try to make sure that the rules that exist offline exist online. So if you want to go and buy a music video offline there are age restrictions on it. We should try and recreate that system on the internet".

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Convert eBooks between 25+ formats with TEBookConverter


eBooks come in many different formats, and while some are easy to read anywhere (PDF, DOCX) others can be much trickier to handle outside of your regular reader (FB2, PDB). If that’s a problem, you might like to try TEBookConverter, a portable tool for Windows which converts these more awkward eBooks into something you can access just about anywhere.

The program is essentially a shell for Calibre, which immediately gives it support for 25+ common formats: djvu, docx, epub, fb2, html, mobi, pdf and more.

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Symantec sets out plans to simplify its Norton range


We all know it's important to keep our PCs safe from online threats, but the range of options available to do that -- even from just one developer -- can be bewildering.

Symantec has recognized this problem and has announced that from this fall it will streamline its nine existing security offerings into just one flagship Norton Security product.

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Emerging markets say 'bigger is better' when it comes to smartphones


A new report from market research firm Jana has revealed that emerging markets prefer smartphones with a larger screen -- that is, "phablets".

Out of 1,386 smartphone users, over 50 percent of users expected their next phone to have a screen that's at least 5in or larger. The reason for the popularity of a large screen is that for many users in emerging markets the smartphone is their only portal to the Internet.

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GCHQ accused of scanning entire nations for hacking vulnerabilities


The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spy agency has been exposed scanning entire countries for server weaknesses that allow it to exploit vulnerable ports. According to reports, it does this using a tool called Hacienda, which is Spanish for estate.

The accusations came out in German newspaper Heise. "In 2009, the British spy agency GCHQ made port scans a 'standard tool' to be applied against entire nations," Heise reports. "Twenty-seven countries are listed as targets of the Hacienda".

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Roku TV is a reality -- simple and revolutionary


In recent years, I have enjoyed simplicity in my home. Long gone are the days of owning stacks of CDs and DVDs. Instead, like many people, I have embraced streaming audio and video. Not only is it convenient, but it helps to prevent clutter. A tiny box can be placed next to your TV, which can deliver thousands of hours of entertainment. However, which one do you choose? Apple TV? Fire TV? Roku?

Ah, Roku. Something about that box's UI and remote make it a dream to use. It is not much bigger than a hockey puck, but I guess for some, even that is too big. Well today, the Roku goes invisible -- how's that for small? Don't worry, magic is not involved and technically it isn't invisible. Actually, it is being hidden inside the TV, yet it is so much more. Yes, with Roku TV, an embedded Roku is finally a reality and you can pre-order it today.

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Microsoft shows Xbox One owners some love -- brings MTV and reddit to the console


In my day, video game consoles were made for video games. There was no confusion over which box did what. If I wanted to listen to music, I would simply insert Bell Biv DeVoe into my cassette deck. If I wanted to watch a movie, the VCR was right there. Only a loon would try to jam a VHS tape of Richard Simmons' Sweatin' to the Oldies in the Nintendo.

Nowadays though, everything is a technological Swiss Army knife. Hell, people buy game consoles and don't even game on them! Whether you buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One you are buying an entertainment box that can do so many things beyond gaming. Today however, Xbox One learns some new tricks, such as accessing reddit. But wait -- that's not all; MTV is coming too. Sorry PlayStation 4 owners, you must sit this one out.

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