Just over a week ago, Microsoft lashed out at Google with its latest installment in the Scroogled campaign, hiring Pawn Stars to belittle the Chromebook platform. Reaction ranged from positive to negative, but it can't be argued that it did get attention. Despite those negatives, Microsoft has no intention of backing down, and actually added another video to the archive today.
This time, the company has enlisted the aid of its popular spokesperson Ben Rudolph, "Ben the PC Guy", of "Smoked by Windows Phone" fame. Microsoft sent Rudolph out on the streets of Venice, California with a Chromebook in his hands and a camera crew in tow.
BitTorrent Sync has been around since January, when it debuted in private alpha. After moving to beta and going public, the service announced a major update and the achievement of reaching one million users. That was 30 days ago, and what a difference a month makes.
After taking from January until November to hit that first million, the organization has doubled the user base in just one month, today announcing two million users. "The milestone demonstrates the accelerating momentum for BitTorrent Sync. It also signals that in it’s first 8 months BitTorrent Sync has grown more rapidly than Dropbox at the same stage", BitTorrent told BetaNews in a statement.
Most Commented Stories
Today in Tech History
I like to consider myself to be pretty reasonable when it comes to my technology choices. Being an enthusiast, I choose my tech based on how much I think it can improve my way of living, not because I'm an Apple fanboy or inherently biased against Microsoft, or vice versa. But everything changes when it comes to the Xbox. I am a true fanboy and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
In case you've been living under a rock, Sony and Microsoft released the latest editions of their popular gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. I purchased my day one edition of the Xbox One and was pretty excited to unpack it and get everything setup. Admittedly I was a little nervous after hearing about some of the show stopping issues Sony was having with consoles being dead on arrival and other massive issues plaguing the PlayStation Network. Particularly as the Xbox One hasn't escaped unscathed as users report numerous issues with their consoles, the biggest of which seems to be faulty disc drives. Microsoft has gone on record about this issue and has worked hard to quickly replace these devices. However, the tech giant hasn't said a single word about a host of other issues users are experiencing; one in particular that is gaining momentum on the official Xbox Forum concerns a controller disconnect problem. This is an issue I've personally experienced.
Google deserves some credit for providing its 'Takeout' service that allows customers to easily move their data somewhere else if they decide to make a switch. It's a service many of us became all too familiar with in the summer when Google killed off Reader. Now the search giant is providing another way for customers to take control of their data.
Gmail and Calendar users will now be able to directly download their personal information. "Starting today we're rolling out the ability to export a copy of your Gmail and Google Calendar data, making it easy to back up your data or move to another service", states Google software engineer Nick Piepmeier.
I'm returning my PlayStation 4. It's a shame because I love it very much. The games are wonderful and the streaming video capabilities are very useful. However, I simply cannot trust the PlayStation Network. The old saying is "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". After the first PSN hack, I should have known not to trust it. But here I am in 2013 with a PlayStation 4 -- shame on me.
Today, I received an email from Sony that says, "the Sony Entertainment Network team routinely monitors for any irregular activity, and if such activity is detected, we may sometimes reset passwords of affected accounts to protect consumers and their account information. Your account password was recently reset as part of this process". Oh my. Surely a call to Sony will give me more details right? Wrong.
Given all of the current buzz surrounding mobile you'd think that businesses would be falling over themselves to embrace the technology. But a new survey of IT decision makers by enterprise application and security expert Mobile Helix shows that whilst 78 percent of enterprises have a mobile strategy, 86 percent are not using it to transform their business.
The survey of 300 CIOs in the UK and US reveals that 87 percent think that their employees would benefit from mobile access to enterprise applications. However, many of them are reluctant to invest. Complexity is cited by 66 percent as a reason not to pursue a mobile strategy, with 72 percent saying it's too costly to integrate mobile innovations into legacy applications. Development, security and support concerns are also listed as limiting factors.
PDFs are great for distributing information, but not so convenient when you need to reuse their content elsewhere. Fortunately there’s now a host of free tools able to convert PDFs into other formats, and the latest is the entirely free 4dots Software’s PDF to JPEG Expert.
The program is simple to use. At a minimum you might import one document or an entire folder; choose your preferred image dimensions and resolution, then click Convert and wait for the results.
With just 15 days until it’s pulled from the web, the future is increasingly looking bleak for popular media player Winamp. Now is the time to download the latest version while you still can before backing it up in triplicate.
With its end fast approaching, rival media players are looking to bite into the Winamp market share. One such tool is Freemake Music Box 1.0, with its makers keen to point out you can easily import your existing Winamp music playlists into Freemake Music Box.
Microsoft took a huge gamble with Windows 8, reinventing its operating system for tablets and touch screen PCs. Unfortunately, when it was first released there really weren’t many touch devices for it to run on, and the majority of desktop users (myself included) hated the bolted on full screen Modern UI that replaced the traditional Start menu.
With Windows 8.1, a lot of the complaints aimed at the tiled OS have been addressed. Desktop users can pretty much avoid the Modern UI altogether, and overall 8.1 is a much more polished affair. Despite the improvements and near ubiquity on new hardware, Windows 8/8.1 is still struggling to find an audience. Last month, Windows 7’s growth was four times that of the newer OS. So where does Microsoft go from here? Mary Jo Foley of the All About Microsoft blog reports the answer is "Threshold".
Despite the fact we have been living with the Edward Snowden leaks regarding NSA spying since May, the story remains front page news and continues to raise questions from citizens and governments the world over. The allegations that the National Security Agency is circumventing security measures without seeking warrants is a concern, not only to every citizen, but also to major corporations which survive by promising to protect their customers' data and privacy.
Now Microsoft is taking action. Regarding the recent news stories, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, states "if true, these efforts threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications. Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an 'advanced persistent threat', alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks".
Google has revealed a "one-time optional swap out" program for the first-generation Google Glass, giving owners the option to upgrade, free of charge, to the new model, by sending their older one back. The program was introduced following the release of the new Glass Explorer Edition.
The new Google Glass is, according to the company, basically the same as the old model with the exception of "some subtle improvements". "It's a bit faster and more durable. It's compatible with upcoming prescription frames. All new accessories were designed for the new hardware, including the new Shades and a mono earbud included with your new Glass. It's the future", says Google.
Last week I began this series on large companies in turmoil by looking at Intel, which I saw trying to guarantee its future through enlightened acquisitions that actually emulated this week’s company -- Cisco Systems.
So if Cisco already knows how to assimilate other companies and technologies to stay ahead of the market, how can it have a problem? Cisco’s problem is its market is mature and being commoditized with all boats sinking. And this time there isn’t an obvious new idea to buy.
The PC world has plenty of hex editors; does it really need another? Our first thought was probably not, but that was before we’d spent a little time with the fast, feature-packed and extremely capable wxHexEditor.
Some hex editors have annoying limits on file sizes, for instance. But not this one. WxHexEditor can handle files up to 2^64 in size, that’s 16 billion gigabytes, which will probably be enough for the foreseeable future.
When Windows 8 was released, it blurred the line between the desktop and mobile operating system. Sure, not everyone loves the one-size-fits-all UI philosophy of the OS. However, it has sparked some interesting computer designs such as convertible laptops.
The most unique design has been the combination tablet and all-in-one. In other words, the computer is a tablet, with a battery, that can be docked on a stand as a desktop. Today, Acer announces that it is releasing one of these types of computers -- the Aspire Z3-600. However, rather than come with a dock, it has an integrated kickstand. In typical Acer fashion, they are delivering a lot of value for your dollar.
HTC could be banned from selling its One mini phone in the UK if an appeal against a court ruling fails. Judge Richard Arnold has ruled that several HTC handsets could be removed from sale after a court battle with Nokia over patent infringement claims. HTC has already lodged an appeal against the ruling which has the potential to block the sale of other HTC phones -- although the HTC One managed to escape the ruling.
Nokia had claimed that some of HTC's phones included chips for which the Finnish company owns the patent and back in October the High Court in London found this to be the case. This latest ruling is the next step in Nokia's legal battle, but it is not yet clear whether a ban will definitely be put in place -- this depends on the success, or otherwise, of the appeal.