Latest Technology News

Chromebooks going back to school in new ad

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Google is making an ever increasing amount of inroads with the education sector. Chromebooks have been finding new homes in many schools over the past year, with institutions either purchasing the devices for students or requiring them to attend with one.

Google is not above taking advantage of this momentum by using it in new advertising, and is doing exactly that with a new video that seems made for TV.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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Ninety-first in a series. Windows Store saw some great releases this week, including a fantastic looking shooter from Gameloft, a cute racing game in the style of Micro Machines, and an excellent action RPG optimized for touch-input.

In other news, the notebook app Bamboo Paper has been released for Windows 8. To celebrate this, all premium writing and drawing tools are free of charge for the time being. Make sure you download them while they are free if you like the application.

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The Fed suckered IBM into a failing cloud strategy?

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Economist David Stockman, who is probably best known for being President Reagan’s budget director back in the era of voodoo economics, has been particularly outspoken about IBM as a poster child for bad policy on the part of the US Federal Reserve. How this would be isn’t immediately obvious but I think is worth exploring because IBM is far from the only company so afflicted. There’s an important effect here to be understood about corporate motivations and their consequences.

So I’ll begin with a story. Almost 40 years ago there was a study I worked on at Stanford’s Institute for Communication Research having to do with helping farmers in Kentucky be more successful by giving them access to useful government data. The study was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and it gave portable computer terminals to farmers along with access to databases at the USDA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, etc. The idea was that with this extra knowledge farmers would be able to better decide what crops to plant, when to plant them, when to harvest them, etc.

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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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