Latest Technology News

Firefox 32 Beta and Firefox Aurora reveal minor features, tweaks and improvements

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Fresh from its release of Firefox 31.0 FINAL, Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 32.0 Beta 1 and Firefox Aurora 33.0a2 for desktop computers.

While there are no jaw-dropping new features in either Beta or Aurora (alpha) builds, both contain a number of minor additions and some useful improvements that help keep the web browser’s evolution ticking over.

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Take control of your Windows startup programs with Autorun Organizer

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Your PC’s taking an age to boot? It could be launching too many programs when Windows starts. There are plenty of freeware "startup manager" tools which claim they can help, but Autorun Organizer is better than most.

The program checks a good range of startup locations, for instance: the Startup folder, the Registry, Task Scheduler. It’s not Autoruns, but there’s more than enough to be useful.

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The technology I'm using this summer [Wayne]

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My colleague Alan Buckingham has already detailed the different hardware he switches to when the weather warms up. He makes his changes to escape his hot office environment, but I have a rather different reason for swapping devices in the summer.

I work in a basement office. It’s a very nice basement office -- it used to be a call center in the days before I moved in -- but the temperature rarely changes throughout the year down there and the lack of windows means the different seasons have very little impact on me. I’m unaware of when it’s snowing in winter, or more importantly, when it’s gloriously sunny in summer. So on days when I know the weather is nice, I move outside, so I don’t miss the sunshine, and get a welcome (and much needed) dose of vitamin D.

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Fake Googlebots used to drive DDoS and other attacks

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Googlebots are essential to the smooth running of the search engine, ceaselessly probing websites to ensure that Google stays up to date with the latest developments and site changes.

But for every 25 genuine Googlebots that visit your site you'll also be visited by a fake Googlebot -- more than 23 percent of which are used for DDoS attacks, hacking, scraping and spamming. This is among the findings of security company Incapsula's 2014 Search Engine Study.

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Mobile phone etiquette around the world

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People in other countries handle everyday situations in different ways, and that can make life difficult for the traveler. What might be seen as a polite action or way of behaving in one country could well be insulting in another, and it's not just customs or beliefs to be aware of.

Every nation has its own idea of what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette. In countries like the USA and UK, we know it’s not polite to do things like talk loudly on your phone in a public place, or answer a call during a movie or in a business meeting -- even if not everyone obeys these unwritten guidelines. Elsewhere around the globe, there are other rules when it comes to how and when to use the phone.

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CCleaner widens cleaning to include TeamViewer and OneDrive, adds repair option

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It’s that time of the month when Piriform issues its regular CCleaner update for Windows PCs, and undeterred by the recent CCleaner for Mac 1.08 release, the company has shipped CCleaner 4.16 and CCleaner Portable 4.16 right on schedule.

The new release adds support for a number of new programs, improves its Firefox and Chrome cleaning tools and adds a new Repair option to the uninstaller should it be needed.

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Data is like currency and should be treated as such

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Cyber security woes continue to burden the minds of organizations of all sizes. This has been further exemplified by the announcement from C5 Capital to launch the first cyber security-focused venture capital fund in Europe, as concerns about leaks and digital technology securities grow.

The London-based firm is looking to raise $125 million  to invest in security and data companies Europe, and highlights that the cyber security threat has certainly become a boardroom issue. Even previously well protected and "secure" industries such as the public sector have realized that they must take extra steps in order to secure their data.

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Mobile ad success helps Facebook deliver stunning Q2 results

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Facebook has smashed all estimates in its earnings and revenue report this week, largely thanks to its robust mobile ad business.

The results slapped down any niggling doubts among critics about the social network's ability to transform itself from a simple communication website to a money-making juggernaut.

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Smart shoes can deliver directions straight to your feet

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Forget smartwatches, or other wearables like Google Glass, as an Indian startup by the name of Ducere Technologies is targeting an entirely different area of the body for "smart" functionality -- the foot.

Yes, the Lechal is a smart shoe or "interactive haptic footwear" which buzzes to give you feedback and directions on where you're going, among other functionality.

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Happy SysAdmin Day -- we're giving away $700 worth of software to celebrate

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The last Friday in July may not mean much to the average person, but it holds a special place in techies' hearts. It's System Administrator Appreciation Day. And we're celebrating it today, for the fifteenth time, with a giveaway!

As we cannot offer you any cake, ice cream or pizza (although would sure love to), we have 10 licenses for System Mechanic to give away instead, courtesy of the software's maker iolo which has reached out to us to make this happen. Every BetaNews reader can enter the giveaway.

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Microsoft embraces Amazon -- brings OneNote to Kindle Fire and Fire phone

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Note-taking and task-tracking can be a real hassle. Not only do you need a device, but the software too. Sure, there are many apps to choose from, such as Evernote and Google Keep, but I prefer Microsoft's OneNote. Don't get me wrong, the other options are good too, but OneNote is the most polished of the bunch.

My favorite thing about Microsoft's offering is that it works with a large range of operating systems. Whether I am using an iPad, Android phone, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Mac or Windows computer such as the Surface Pro 3, OneNote has my back. Sadly, Microsoft's app was not available for Kindle Fire HDX -- a tablet which I love. Today, this changes as OneNote not only comes to the Kindle Fire line of tablets, but the all-new Fire phone too.

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The technology I'm using this summer [Alan]

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It seems all of us have made some switches thanks to warm weather here in the northern hemisphere, where summer is in full swing. Working outside seems prevalent, and that means, in many cases, an entirely different set of hardware.

I, for one, make my porch my office when the weather gets nice, and to do so means certain sacrifices -- or does it? As it turns out, not so much. I'm managing just fine with what I am using, able to get the job done with only the very rare exception that forces me to flee to my (rather baking) third-floor office to use a Windows computer.

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The optical disc lives! Samsung announces new slim USB DVD drives

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Let me tell you a secret -- I am gaga for optical drives and discs. I know, it's a weird thing to be enamored with. If you listen to pundits and "experts", the world is transitioning to the cloud and flash drives. Optical media such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays are relegated to spend the rest of eternity in the graveyard with floppy and zip disks, right? Wrong.

Say what you will, but I am not ready to give up on those shiny round discs. Yes, when backing up photos, I do use the cloud, but I also back up to Blu-Ray (BD-RE). Why? Redundancy is the key to smart backup. Maybe your files will forever be safe in the cloud, but why not store them locally too? Today, Samsung announces two new USB DVD drives aimed at consumers with Ultrabooks and tablets that do not have integrated drives. Surface Pro 3 users, take notice.

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Technology helps college kids communicate and learn

Photo: Petrenko Andriy/Shutterstock

Going away to college is a milestone for both parents and their offspring and technology giant Dell has released the results of a survey showing how families buy technology for this key time.

The survey was conducted among more than 1,000 respondents across the US, split evenly between students of 16-19 planning to attend a two to four year college course, and parents.

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Happy first birthday, Chromecast!

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It seems hard to believe, but Google’s excellent HDMI dongle celebrates its first birthday today. As I’m in the UK, I wasn’t able to get hold of one from the start (even if I had, many of its features wouldn’t have been available to me due to location) but I own one now, and love it.

When my colleague Brian Fagioli reviewed the Chromecast shortly after launch, he called it "greatness in its infancy", meaning the potential was there, but it was limited, thanks mostly to the lack of Chromecast-compatible apps and services. But what a difference a year makes. There are now hundreds of apps on Chromecast, including HBO Go, ESPN, Songza and more, and Google says there are 6,000+ developers actively working on more than 10,000 Google Cast apps across Android, iOS and Chrome. You can browse the full list of available apps here.

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