Latest Technology News

5 things I don't like about Apple Watch

Apple Watch Charging

About two weeks ago, I shared how Apple Watch tickles my fancy. From likes, we go to dislikes, and keeping with the other I purposely limit the number to five. Quick recap: I bought the aluminum model on June 18, 2015 from the local Apple Store. Seven days later, I exchanged for the stainless steel variant. Except to charge or to shower, I've worn it constantly since.

Broadly, my feelings about the smartwatch are mixed. The delivered benefits are excellent, but they aren't enough to justify the lofty price. If not for using MacBook Pro and iPhone 6 Plus this summer, Android Wear and iOS incompatibilities, or the promise of watchOS 2 coming early autumn, I would not have purchased the device. I'm not dissatisfied with Apple Watch, but want more from it. As I explained on July 18, the measure of success or failure isn't sales but returns. I kept mine. How many early buyers didn't?

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Outlook on the web gets a new look, name, and tools to improve efficiency

outlook_on_the_web

Microsoft today announces a number of changes to the online version of Outlook. One of the biggest updates sees the rollout of a new, cleaner interface which Microsoft says helps to improve efficiency. In addition to aesthetic alterations, there are also a number of new tools that make it easier to manage an inbox.

There is also something of a rebranding taking place. The Outlook Web App (OWA) is no more; say hello to Outlook on the web. The new name is a minor change, however. The big news today are the visual and productivity updates.

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November Xbox One update brings Xbox 360 backwards compatibility and Windows 10

xbox_one_store

The focus of the launch of Windows 10 so far has very much been on the desktop version of the operating system and the preview builds for Windows Phone handsets. But the latest version of Windows is about creating a Windows ecosystem that embraces a plethora of platforms, and that includes Xbox One.

Microsoft has already given us a glimpse of what is in store for owners of its games console, and today the company revealed that the Windows 10-powered update will arrive in November. As well as bringing Windows 10 to gamers -- including Cortana -- the update will also make it possible to play Xbox 360 games.

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New Windows 10 preview builds on the way -- time to opt back into Insider updates!

windows_10_purple

It's now a week since the launch of Windows 10, and if you've missed looking out for the release of new preview builds there's some good news for you. Microsoft disabled preview builds in the immediate run-up to the release of Windows 10, but now you can opt back in.

What does this mean? Now that Windows Insiders have the option of accessing updates from the Fast and Slow rings once again, it's safe to assume that new preview builds are on the way. With the widely-held belief that Windows 10 Service Release 1 is imminent, this is perhaps not entirely surprising -- we may even get a glimpse of Windows 10s first major update.

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SysAdmin Appreciation Day: Did you appreciate your admins in the right way?

sysadmin

You may be wondering -- what exactly is System Administrator Appreciation Day? For the past 15 years, the last Friday of July has been a day dedicated to those who make everyone else’s job easier by making sure IT needs are met and everything is running smoothly.

Yes, System Administrators (SysAdmins) install and maintain everything from LANs to WANs and the Internet and intranet -- but you probably know them as the first person to call when your computer freezes or you can’t access your email.

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Clean up after a Windows 10 upgrade and regain loads of disk space

Clean Win 10

Windows 10 itself has moderate hard drive requirements -- around 16 GB for the 32-bit OS, and 20 GB for 64-bit version -- but the upgrade process can leave behind loads of temporary files that can really impact on your free space.

Browse the root of your system drive, and you’ll probably find two sizable directories -- $Windows.~BT, and $Windows.~WS, as well as a Windows.old directory created during the upgrade. Wondering if you can, or should remove these? It’s a question of lot of people are currently wondering.

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New OnePlus smartphone to launch around Christmas

oneplus

With the OnePlus 2 officially announced, the Shenzhen-based startup is starting work on its third smartphone, set for launch near Christmas. OnePlus CEO Carl Pei confirmed plans to launch the smartphone around that time in an interview with USA Today.

Pei said it may or may not be higher spec than the OnePlus 2, and did not branch off into any more details. Rumors of the OnePlus Mini, Plus and Ultra have all been published, but we have yet to see any concrete proof of a size change.

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Microsoft announces Windows 10-optimized PC accessories

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Windows 10 is off to a very successful start. All around the world, users of Windows 7 and 8 are upgrading to the new version at a furious pace. This is a very smart move, as for the first time ever, a major update to Microsoft's operating system is being offered to the masses at no charge.

While Windows 10 should run absolutely fine on existing computers and current accessories, that doesn't mean there can't be improvements. Today, Microsoft announces updates to its well-respected line of mice and keyboards, with a focus on Windows 10. Will you upgrade your keyboard and mouse to its new offerings?

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Siri might be able to transcribe your voicemails in iOS 10

Siri

The future is here. Apple is now preparing to launch a voicemail service that will use Siri to transcribe your messages. And since we all know what a pain it is to listen to those voicemails again, you will then receive a message from iCloud of the transcribed voicemail, although this is due in 2016.

Here’s the theory that Apple is using: people like to leave voicemails because it is much easier to leave an oral message as opposed to typing it all out in a text message. But, on the other hand, people don’t like to receive voicemails because it is much easier to read a message, than go through all the voicemails someone has left.

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Bringing the power of analytics to performance management

Performance meter

Smooth management of IT systems relies on being able to spot issues early and resolve them before they have a major impact on performance.

Infrastructure analytics specialist Virtual Instruments is launching a new version of its VirtualWisdom solution, a vendor-agnostic platform that ensures performance for enterprise applications spanning physical, virtual and cloud computing environments.

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Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 now come with Windows 10 preinstalled

Surface Pro 3 Win10

If you’ve been thinking of buying either Surface 3, or Surface Pro 3, but have been waiting for Windows 10 to arrive, now is the time to get your wallet out.

Microsoft has started shipping both of its slates with Windows 10 preinstalled. Surface 3 comes with Windows 10, while Surface Pro 3 has Windows 10 Pro onboard.

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Microsoft selects Interana to improve Bing performance

Bing screengrab

Bing is the second largest search engine in the US and in order to maintain its position the team behind it needs to make constant improvements and for that they need insights into how it gets used.

Microsoft has chosen behavioral analytics solution Interana to analyze the massive volumes of clickstream event data generated daily on Bing.

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Control your PC with a webcam via Camera Mouse 2015

CameraMouse200-175

Some Windows applications are keyboard-oriented, others built for touch, but the vast majority are still designed to be controlled by a mouse. And that’s a problem if you don’t have reliable control of a hand.

Camera Mouse is a free tool for Windows XP+ which allows users to control their mouse with head movements, instead. It’s been around for years, but developer Boston College has recently released an update with a couple of new features.

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Web isolation platform adds threat intelligence to improve accuracy

Internet security

We reported on the Menlo Security Web Isolation Platform, which aims to eliminate threats before they reach the desktop, earlier this year.

Now Menlo Security is beefing up its offering, announcing a partnership with threat intelligence specialist Webroot. The link up will deliver granular threat intelligence for the Web Isolation Platform through integration with Webroot's BrightCloud Web Classification Service.

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Why can't Amazon Echo handle this seemingly basic feature?

Amazon Echo

Since receiving Amazon Echo, Alexa, the name Amazon gives these devices, and I have grown to know one another. We mostly get along, but occasionally argue. It (she?) has learned my habits, but began playing the news the other night while I was watching TV, rather annoyingly. I'm looking forward to testing its home automation features with Nest thermostat and GE Link bulb in the near future. Hopefully Alexa won't decide I no longer need heat or lights!

But what can't Echo do? That's an open-ended question with many answers, depending on what the user wants. However, I'm only asking for one small thing, at least for now.

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